Phowd Blog

Photography inspiration: How to keep shooting imagesAs an amateur we see images taken by photographers like Eric Kim or Jeremy Cowart or Chase Jarvis or classical photographers like Ansel Adams and Henri Cartier-Bresson and we figure out we could do the same if were to get a good enough camera. After all everybody raves and compliments our Facebook uploads! If we can be this good with our smartphones imagine what we can do with a professional DSLR? Thus, we save, and save and save and finally after a year of sacrificing some of our other indulgences, we finally get our hands on our dream cameras. The first few weeks after we receive our camera are exciting days. We wake up early in the morning, take images of anything that moves, make the exact same composition about a 100 times, each time thinking it is better than the last time and ask anybody we know to pose for a portrait session. We are truly one with our cameras. Read more...
8 Unique Ideas for Wedding PhotosA new spouse, a new last name, and photos - the three must-have takeaways of any wedding. Though every couple wants the obligatory wedding shots such as the posed family photo, the newly-ringed hands intertwined, or the bride getting dressed before the long walk down the aisle, photos of the big day should also include shots that are as unique as the couple themselves. Below are eight fun and unique wedding photo ideas that are sure to keep the memories alive for years to come. Read more...
11 Tips on How to Make Your Travel Photos Go From Average to Wow!Having spent thousands of dollars on a dream vacation at some pristine holiday destination we come home thinking that the images we took would remain a constant source of reminder of that wonderful time spent together. That’s until we download the images on to the computer. A shocker awaits us. A number of under-exposed images, that mostly have our faces barely recognizable, welcome us. This to be only bettered by over-exposed photos where everything seems to be coated with a blinding flash light further depresses us. Not to mention the half-hearted compositions, that have everything going for them but for the background, cluttered, boring and plain shocking at times. Really our travel photos can be so depressing at times that the whole mood of coming back from a great vacation can be lost in just a few minutes. Most people would be inclined to think that it is their camera that should be blamed. “Boy, I wish I had a better camera!” Well, dear friend, that’s an excuse and nothing more. Your camera is only as good as you are with it. If you know how to shoot great pictures you would do a much better job with a simple 5 megapixel phone camera than someone who wields a 5D Mark III and knows nothing about how to use it. Read more...
Using Circular Polarizing Filter (a C-PL Filter)Photographers shooting landscapes in broad daylight or shooting objects with shiny metallic surfaces or may be shooting at places with a lot of reflective material around, have something common to counter for – glare. Glares from window glass, shop displays, automobiles lined up in a car show etc. are all potential nightmares to shoot. If you have your blinkies (highlight indicators) turned on, you are likely to be warned that you are passed the red line with your highlights. While there are some photographers, who don’t quite appreciate the concept of cutting down glares and reflections, for most these are quite offending. For the latter group of photographers, circular polarizers are the only way to cut down glare. Read more...
7 Tips to Shooting Great Portrait PhotographsPortrait photography is like a bread and butter thing for professional photographers. No matter which other genre their passion might be so far as photography is concerned, they ought to be able to shoot portrait photos for a living. For many it is the only way to make some decent amount of money doing photography as a professional. Read more...
Understanding the Basics of a Good ExposureExposure is the key concept that governs all forms of photography where light in some form or the other is used. Regardless of the camera, lens or other gear you may have, or post processing skills you may possess, if you are unfamiliar with the concepts of exposure and are incapable of getting a good exposure 9 out of 10 times, in camera, you will never be a good photographer. Even if your concept is a good one, a poor exposure is going to ruin the image. Read more...
Essentials of Good Street Photography

Street photography has been defined by different photographers in their own distinct ways, often reflecting their unique viewpoints and somewhat revealing the inspiration behind their work. Instead of going into that list of definitions we shall be delving into the world of street photography itself. In the process we shall strive to become better at capturing stunning images from the streets.

It is a bizarre and a serene world coexisting at the same time. Streets I mean. Somehow, on one hand, street photography manages to capture that seemingly endless flow of humanity, capturing its pulse and the progress of humanity over decades and documenting it for future generations. On the other hand it also captures the emotions that revolves around us, the upheavals, the destructions, the grief and the momentous joy that punctuates our lives. Look at street photographs from different decades of the past century and you would immediately be transported back into time, experiencing what people of that particular time in history had experienced, sharing their emotions. Street photography is a very powerful genre of photography. In some form street photography is an offshoot of journalistic photography. It records the actual, un-fabricated truth and leaves the part of judgment to the viewer. Read more...
Image Stabilization: Why It Matters, Types and How to Use

In the overall history of camera technology image stabilization is a rather recent development. Image stabilized lenses did not appear up until 1995 when Canon introduced the EF 75-300mm f/4 – 5.6 IS - the first image stabilized lens. IS or Image Stabilization is the acronym that Canon uses to refer to this technology. The technology was actually first seen on a previous lens, also made by Canon, the EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM. This lens however did not reach the market up until 1999 which made the 75-300mm the first commercially produced image stabilized lens the world has seen.

Nikon calls this technology VR or Vibration Reduction. Other manufacturers use different other acronyms to label this technology. However, at the end of the day, they all mean the exact same thing. Though, in this case it is fair to say that all technologies are not the same. In fact all lenses are not optically stabilized either. There are some manufacturers who prefer to stabilize the sensor inside the camera rather than the lens! This happened because when image stabilization was developed digital sensors were not around and it would have meant either moving the physical film or the sensor. Canon and Nikon devised it was much easier to move the focusing elements inside the lens than moving the actual film.

Okay. Now we need to have a deeper understanding of how image stabilization works and why most professional and serious enthusiasts prefer to pay more for image stabilized lenses. Read more...
5 Tips to Choose an External Flash

Congratulations on buying your first DSLR! Now you are well and truly on the road to photographic nirvana! Your DSLR is a very powerful tool for making images. With it you can control the amount of light reaching the sensor, thus, allowing you to balance an exposure, pursue creative ways to express yourself through your images and in essence capturing more than just light inside the small box. For all practical reasons a DSLR is the only camera you will ever need.

But there are more to good compositions than just the camera. A good composition involves not only a good subject matter or a moment but also good light and of course clever use of all the elements to put together an image. Literally, you don’t take an image, you make it.

Good light is unfortunately something which is not within the control of a photographer. However, if you are really good with a camera and have an astute sense of lighting, you will be able to make better use of the available light than most. But even the most experienced photographer, at times, require additional lighting tools to fine tune a composition. In this article we shall be looking at one such tool - speedlight or an external flash.

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