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HDR photography guide for beginners

HDR basically stands for high dynamic range. As a beginner, you must have heard the term "HDR" being thrown around everywhere on the photography forums. With recent advancements in technology, HDR games and HDR TV units are also into the digital market now. HDR may sound complicated from the name itself, but to be honest it is a very straightforward and simple technique. Let's start with an introduction of dynamic range and why do we even need HDR photos.
Dynamic range Dynamic range in photography is the difference between the brightest and darkest part of a scene that a camera sensor can capture. Let's keep it simple silly as the whole purpose of this post is beginner focused. The dynamic range of a given camera sensor becomes important when the photo has a major difference between the dark and bright parts. Example: A room with a window during the daytime. When trying to take an indoor space shot, it would be super hard for the camera to capture everything in one s…

sRGB vs Adobe RGB colour space explained

Digital images are everywhere, both offline and online. Each digital image is made up of a large number of square sized individual pixels. Zoom into an image at 2000 % or more in any of the viewers, you will see these pixels. Here is an example:

In order to categorize pixel colours, RGB and CMYK are the two widely used colour models. According to the RGB colour model, each pixel colour can be considered as an addition of different shades of red/green/blue light. These light shades are calculated according to the bit depth of the image. Jpeg images are usually 8 bits per colour channel (red, blue or green), which means 2^8 ( 256) different shades of each red/blue/green colour are possible. Few examples to make it clear how different colours shades are represented:
Red: (255, 0, 0)
Green: (0,255,0)
Blue: (0,0,255)
White: (255, 255, 255)
Black:  (0,0,0)

What does CMYK do? It is a subtractive colour model for printing purposes and stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. According to …

Best Lightroom export setting for Instagram and Facebook

Social media forms an important part of every professional and amateur photographer's online success. In addition to a website, having good social media presence helps with getting clients and networking with like-minded passionate people. When it comes to digital photography, Facebook and Instagram lead the way due to the huge number of active users. Instagram is so easy to use and totally centered around the concept of sharing stunning mobile images. The huge success of this app has attracted even non-photo related businesses too. But what about the photo size and resolution requirements so that our huge sized DSLR photos don't lose quality? We will focus on Adobe Lightroom Classic CC image export settings for both Instagram and Facebook in this post. 

Little background: Uploading a full resolution DSLR camera image to Instagram or Facebook is an easy way to trigger the complex resize-compression algorithms and ruin image quality. Both Instagram and Facebook use compression …

Fixed aperture vs variable aperture zoom lens

As a total beginner, it can be confusing to understand the meaning of F/3.5, F/5.6, F/2.8, etc. written on DSLR camera lenses. Some lenses have two F numbers, while others have only one F-number. So what's the difference between these two lenses? How do they work when changing in-camera settings?
Lenses with single F-number value like F/1.8, F/2.8, F/4, F/5.6 are known as fixed aperture lenses. Fixed aperture lenses are not to be confused with fixed focal length lenses, fixed focal length ones are called prime lenses.  Prime means the lens will only have one focal length, and all the zooming in and out part is done by the user moving physically. On the other hand, lenses with multiple values such as F/3.5-F/5.6, F/3.5-F/4.5, etc. refer to variable aperture zoom lenses. In simple words, these lenses change their widest aperture values when zoomed in or out.

Example of fixed aperture prime lenses:
Canon EF-S 24 mm F/2.8
Nikon AF-S Nikorr 85 mm F/1.4G
Nikon AF-S DX 35 mm F/1.8G

Contrast detection autofocus vs phase detection autofocus

When I started my photography journey 6 years ago, a simple question came to my mind one day while fiddling with a manual focus lens. How does a camera autofocus work? Is it the lens doing all the work or the camera does something too? Being totally new to digital photography at that time, a simple question turned out to be a great learning experience for a few weeks. Using my T2i, I learned the basics of autofocusing and the difference between live view focus and viewfinder focus. The two very basic techniques of focusing in digital photography include:  -Manual -Autofocus
Manual, as the name suggests, is a technique where the user rotates the lens focus ring to achieve focus. In this mode, there is no help or assistance offered by the electronic circuit inside the camera to achieve focus. Night sky photography enthusiasts love the manual focus, as explained in my post about achieving infinity focus.  Coming to autofocus, half-pressing the shutter button activates the focus search m…

Digital photography histogram explained for better photos

The ability to read histograms in digital photography is an excellent skill that every photographer should have. Getting a properly exposed shot is crucial when it comes to photography, and using the histogram is a solid way to achieve it. That 2 to 3 inch LCD screen located on digital cameras is only a quick way to look at the photo exposure and its details. In harsh lighting or vivid ambient lighting conditions, it can prove to be misleading to the human eye. Sometimes the LCD brightness level can also create issues with judging the exposure of a shot. So what does histogram explain about an image? How can histogram help you to take better images? In this beginner-friendly post, I will try to answer these questions. You can consider it as a tutorial or cheat sheet for digital photography histograms.
Photography histogram image examples: The histogram is basically a mathematical way of representing data, and it applies to digital image information too. In digital photography, histogr…

DSLR vs Mirrorless camera for photography

Similar to the evergreen battle of Nikon vs Canon, there are a few other hot as pepper discussions when it comes to modern digital photography. One such discussion is the DSLR vs mirrorless camera talks. Questions that can commonly be seen on forums no matter what day or time it is:  Is mirrorless better than a DSLR camera? Is DSLR better than a mirrorless camera?  Is mirrorless better for beginners or professionals?  Is DSLR better than mirrorless for beginners?
Technological discussions defining the "best" or "better" are always tricky to handle as camera manufacturing companies come up with new features every single year. What is best this year for a given feature might not be best by next year, technology evolves so fast. But who doesn't want the best bang for every dollar they spend? In this post, I will include both sides of the coin for each camera type. From a construction perspective, DSLR cameras have a mirror which reflects the light coming from the…

Best mirrorless camera for beginners

Mirrorless cameras are known for their lightweight which makes them a fantastic choice for easy packing travel and outdoor enthusiasts. By the time DSLR manufacturers like Canon and Nikon will reach the quarterfinals of mirrorless race, Sony and Fuji would have already made it to the finals. It may sound funny but it does hold a lot of meaning when it comes to mirrorless camera technology. Sony has an extensively attractive and versatile line-up of beginner-friendly mirrorless camera bodies, and Fuji is also catching up with time.  For total beginners who don't feel prepared to learn about metering or histogram yet, an electronic viewfinder is a good choice as it provides an exact view of what the photo will look like. One common complaint I hear about mirrorless cameras is the poor battery back up due to this electronic viewfinder functionality, but it has improved with the latest generation of mirrorless camera bodies. 

Sony Alpha cropped sensor:
A6000: No in-body stabilization,…

Haida NanoPro MC ND 3.0 10 stop filter review

Neutral density filters or ND filters can be used to produce stunning landscape and portrait photos. The two common DSLR photography usage of ND filters include longer shutter time or a wider aperture. A 10 stop ND filter looks very similar to a black piece of glass, which is why it is also known as a black filter. Due to the extreme darkness, it becomes nonrealistic to use 10 stop filter for outdoor portraits. If you are wondering the meaning of 10 stop or how ND filters are named, check out my old post about the nomenclature of ND Filters.  For daylight landscapes, you need 6-10 stops to create those stunning long exposure shots. In fact, a few things you will easily find in a landscape photographer's arsenal includes:  Sturdy tripod Polarizing filter Neutral density filter

Hoya, Singh-Ray, B+W, Lee, Haida, Cokin, etc are few known brands in the neutral density filter market. The cost of a given neutral density filter is determined by the coating and optical quality of glass us…

DSLR photography flash zoom explained with examples

Whether you are a beginner or a professional, flash units have proven to be helpful in low light situations for everyone. In addition to low light, flash units combined with a soft box can produce wonderful outdoor portraits. High speed sync, flash power, eTTL and iTTL are a few terms that can be easily heard during off camera flash discussions. In contrast to this, Flash zoom or flash focal length zoom is a term that does not often come into DSLR photography talks. Just like a variable focal length lens can zoom, a flash unit also has the capability to zoom in the light burst.

The zoom values given on flash unit are equivalent of 35 mm full frame camera focal length field of view. Some modern flash units adjust automatically according to the sensor format of camera (DX or FX) used, but not every flash has this add on. For better understanding, I will be using my Yongnuo 568 EX II flash unit as a test case. This unit has a built in zoom head reflector which controls the angle of ligh…