Moi, aujourd'hui.

Even in a snapshot, you want to;

  1. Avoid direct light (use reflected light instead).
  2. Use an off-centre composition (follow “the rule of thirds”).
  3. Blur the background, if the picture is a portrait.
  4. Straighten horizontal/vertical lines.
  5. Fill the frame.

If you do all that, your pictures will be better than Uncle Fred’s.


As a shooter, and as a teacher,and as a tech blogger, I need the most recent equipment. So I have no obtained a Canon 1D MkIV to replace my 1D MkIII.

So far it seems fine. Not the same great focus system as the 7D, but th same solid feel as the 1D MKIII and the same software options, which Canon has left off the 7D (e.g. the option to name the files to your liking). And lowernoise than the 7D (of course, if only because it is a 1.3 crop factor sensor). Fast 10 fps shooting that lasts much longer than on the 1D MkIII. Sozen of full RAW shots before the buffer fill sup even with a slow memory card.

So far. so good. You can be sure I will post detailed information, rather than these very first impressions, in the next days.

Creative Bokeh

Bokeh means the blur, or the quality of the blur, in parts of your image that are out of focus.

And you can use this to effect. For instance when shooting city lights, or Christmas tree lights, you can make them into circles by throwing them out of focus:

That was shot with a Digital Rebel with a 50mm f/1.8 lens. You cannot get simpler than that!


A few words on light meters.

When shooting studio shots like the ones I talked about, you use a flash meter. When doing that to accurately judge the right exposure, keep this in mind:

  • Have a spare battery at hand
  • Move the dome out. Do not leave it screwed in.
  • Use the meter in Flash-metering mode!
  • Only flash one flash at a time. Turn off other flashes when you meter one.
  • Start with your key light; then one by one meter the other flashes. These will be darker generally.
  • Ensure your meter is set to the right ISO.

Then use the measured aperture as your starting point and check the histograms on your camera for fine adjustments. I believe that “exposing to the right” is generally a good idea.

Also, don’t forget to use a grey card to get a nice white balance reference target.