Fstoppers Original Articles

New Locations and How A Photographer Can Find Them

When I was younger, my dad took a class on photography at a local community college. To this day, he says that the biggest thing he learned from the class was that to take interesting pictures, you have to go to interesting places. I suppose that if you are a travel, landscape, or nature photographer, that is true. What a lot of people don’t realize is that interesting places are all around us. Having grown up in Ohio, I always thought that I was stuck in a dreary, featureless landscape of corn and soybeans.

Why is Renowned Playboy Photographer Jarmo Pohjaniemi Using a Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L?

While there are obviously no strict rules about what lenses a photographer should buy, my curiosity was piqued recently, when legendary Glamour Photographer Jarmo Pohjaniemi (Playboy, Shoot The Centerfold) announced he was headed to Santorini with a pair of Canon EF 11-24 f/4L USM lenses. I assumed he was going to shoot landscapes (after all, it’s Santorini), but his answers when I asked were far more interesting than that.

Most People Cannot Tell The Difference Between Nikon, Sony, and Canon High Res Files

Last month we had the three highest megapixel cameras by Nikon, Sony, and Canon in our office, and we filmed a pretty polarizing review pitting them against each other. Many viewers pointed out an unfair bias in our studio test so we redid the test again using the same lens on all three cameras. We then asked our readers to pick the best looking image from the 3 cameras without telling them which camera took which photo. The results from this test were pretty alarming.

16-Year-Old Photographer Shoots Flash Photos Inside Waves

Leroy Bellet is a 16-year-old freelance surf photographer from Australia who has recently been featured in several major surf publications because of his experimentation with artificial lighting in the water. Using a flash in the water allows the subject to still be illuminated while taking advantage of times when the natural light is most unique, like early morning, sunset, and night. We recently got the chance to talk to Leroy and learn a little bit about him and his technique.

The BOOMR Camera Strap Unfair Review: Don't Use It for Pullups

Each week, we get contacted by a range of different companies asking us to review their products. Normally, we don't accept the majority of these products, but for your entertainment, we've decided to review every single one of these products in some sort of entertaining (and unfair) way. Today, I got the BOOMR camera strap in the mail and put it through a stress test.

Critique the Community Episode 11a: Headshots with Peter Hurley

A few weeks ago we offered to critique a handful of headshot photographs from the Fstoppers Community. I was able to sit down with professional headshot photographer Peter Hurley for his advice on how you guys can help improve your own headshot photos. Since there were so many submissions we were only able to get to about 18 images, but don't worry because next week Lee and David will tackle many of the images that did not make this episode of Critique the Community.

Here's Why You Need Photoshop's Pen Tool in Automotive Retouching

First off, some Fstoppers readers who follow my articles may be confused right now because I am posting an automotive retouching tutorial. For those who don't know, I used to do quite a lot of automotive photography work from 2011-2013 or so, and these days I still take the occasional car job here and there. But what I was so grateful for in 2011, when I started in this direction of editing, was that I was already very familiar and comfortable with Photoshop's pen tool - the ultimate weapon in automotive retouching (and more).

Creating Virtual Reality Test Drives for Car and Driver Magazine

Like it or not, 2016 is going to be a huge year for virtual reality content and technology. It seems like every major brand is dipping their toe in one way or another. Even Pixar is creating their own movie studio in order to create 360-degree films. Magazines are no exception for desiring and creating this content. It's a perfect way to immerse their readers into their content. Recently Hearst Publishing's Car and Driver Magazine hired my company, 8112 Studios, to help create their first ever virtual reality car reviews.

The Bare-Bones Minimum Gear Needed to Photograph a Wedding

Having the right gear for the job is essential in being able to handle the barrage of lighting scenarios that a wedding photographer will encounter on each outing. I, like many others, am constantly thinking about the next piece of gear. What lens, what camera, or what lighting system will allow me to take higher quality images and provide a better experience to my client? This led me to think, what do I really need to shoot a wedding? I mean in reality, to walk out my door and provide my bride with the images she expects, what are the bare essentials I really need?

Treat Yourself This Holiday Season: Things That Make Traveling a More Pleasant Experience

While some photographers stay close to home, others travel quite regularly. I’ve been traveling my entire life for one reason or another. And whether it was for a newspaper job I was essentially commuting to (living four days in Southern California and three days in Northern California every week) or a short trip on a personal photographic exploration, I quickly learned that it’s great to have some creature comforts to keep you company along the ride once whatever glamour of traveling that’s left these days fades away.

bella boudoir experience

While all photographers are unique and differentiate through their style and specialty, there is one constant throughout: client experience. All photographers must provide an excellent client experience in order to stay in business. When clients choose us to document their lives, they may love our style and even like the final product, but if they have a poor experience, they will not recommend us to others or refer us new business. Particularly in the boudoir genre, because we provide such an intimate service, the client experience must be a priority for a photographer to be successful and have a lasting career.

Critique the Community Episode 10b: Natural Light Portraits

Due to the incredible amount of submissions, we decided to film a second edition of Natural Light Portraits! This time, Lee and I sat down in the Fstoppers studio and critiqued an additional 20 Natural Light Portraits. Check out the pictures we selected and feel free to add your thoughts in the comments!

World-Famous Instagram Model Essena O'Neill Quits Social Media

Sometimes the time comes to say "enough is enough" and move on from something that has become a cancer in your life. That day has come for Australian model Essena O'Neill who over the last few years has accumulated over 500,000 followers along with myriad of modeling contracts, offers from major agencies, and an endless lineup of sponsors.

If You Are a Photographer and You Aren't on Instagram, You're Doing It Wrong

That’s right, I said it: If you aren’t sharing content on Instagram, you are shutting the door on a world of potential opportunities! With over 200 million users, this social network has the power to become one of your most important means of promoting your photography business.

Why I Think All Creatives Should Consider Working for Free More Often

Let me set the scene: I’m a 24 year-old photographer based in London. I specialize in portraits with actors, models, and musicians and I started freelancing almost three years ago. I didn’t know what to expect when I first started working in the creative industry, but I soon learned the extent of how many jobs are expected for absolutely no payment in return. But is it really all that bad? Speaking honestly, I don’t think so. Here’s why I think we should stop complaining and, within reason, keep saying "yes" to more free projects.

Your Desire to Create is Stifling Your Creativity

Photography is tough. There's no doubt about that. The gear and the numbers are the easy parts. These can be practiced, learned, and applied over time. Creativity is at the core of what we do as photographers and that's the tricky part. Jose Rosado's article here on Fstoppers talks about bridging the creative gap and pushing through challenges. Today, we're going to talk about something a little more introspective. Receptiveness.

I'm Part-Time, So Are You, and That's Okay

I have a confession, one that honestly seems to be a little taboo in this photographic world of “professional versus hobbyist” that we seem to have created. My confession is this: I am a part-time photographer. But there’s a good chance you are too, and that’s okay. We’re okay.

The Story of One of the Earliest Composite Controversies

The use and misuse of composite photography is a story we hear about quite often. Long before the days of Photoshop and digital manipulation, though, composite photography existed. Here's the story of one of the earliest controversies surrounding a composite.

Tips For Dealing With Stress As A Photographer

Stress is a killer. I’m sure you’ve heard that before. Study after study after study all concludes that stress can lead to a whole slew of nasty consequences. It would then stand to reason that it is in our absolute best interest to reduce it as much as possible. Anyone who has chosen to make their living as a photographer, however, will tell you that this is harder than it appears.

Nico Becoming Photographer Portrait Studio

This is the most simple and basic component of life: Our struggles determine our successes. Hence, what pain do you want in your life? What are you willing to struggle for? As Mark Manson tells us, the question that determines your success isn’t "what do you want to enjoy?” The question is “What pain do you want to sustain?”

How To Create A Scary Photograph With No Budget

Happy Halloween everyone! Today we decided to create a super simple, creepy image with some basic equipment. With 2 lights, a gel, smoke, a cardboard box, and some quick Photoshop we were able to create something almost anyone could easily reproduce.

6 Do’s and Don’ts on Working with Models

A simple Google search will turn up millions of results on what photographers should do/not do when working with models. However, nine times out of ten, these articles are written from a photographer’s perspective, and the model’s voice is rarely heard. Well, today is your lucky day! I have jumped in to give you the model perspective! Whether you are shooting underwater, commercial, fashion, conceptual, etc., some of the same rules of etiquette apply across the board.

VSCO Jumps Into the GIF Game With DSCO

On Thursday, Visual Supply Company (makers of the immensely popular editing app, VSCO) announced the release of DSCO, their new app for creating short, GIF-like clips. I downloaded the app and spent some time with it today.

Why I Traded My Sony a7II for a Nikon D800

Simply put, cameras are tools. It is up to the artist to create the image. Digital photography is everywhere nowadays. Point-and-shoots and iPhones are capable of some amazing things, and consumer level DSLRs are cheap enough to bring a high level of image quality to the masses. What separates soccer moms from professional photographers is the deep understanding that professionals have of their art and their gear. Anybody can learn the relationship of aperture, ISO, and shutter speed, but the application of it and the understanding of the side effects that those bring transcends any technological advancements. DigitalRev has plenty of proof on that concept. At the same time, if your camera is downright annoying to use, what use is it at all? That is where my issues with Sony began.

Every Apple Store Experience Ever

The Apple Store is a glorious place to visit. I love technology and I really appreciate their knowledgeable staff. Buying, returning, and repairing Apple products in their store has never been a smooth process for me though.

How Smartphones Can Help Your Business (No, Really)

Smartphones get a bad rap. They’re ruining the photography business, they’re the downfall of society - you know, that sort of thing. Wedding photographers complain about the glare of screens dotting the aisle like a runway landing strip. Newborn photographers cringe when mom shoots over their shoulder. Clients text you at all hours of the night, not realizing your “work phone” is sitting on your bedside table. But as much as we hate on smartphones, we can’t ignore that they’ve given us the ability to network, communicate, and market in ways that weren’t possible just a few years ago. Here’s how to use your smartphone to build your business more effectively.

An All-Too-Important Primer on Insuring Your Drone Activities

AIG's recent move to begin insuring unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) marked the beginning of the first large, national insurance company to get ahead of (or catch up with) the "drone movement." Like this season's migration of Canadian geese, everyone seems to be flocking in droves, clearly intent on getting to the online shopping outlets and local electronics stores that sell the latest drones. But few actually know about how to use their newly affordable crafts safely and without risking their entire life's savings. A quick phone call with the Hill & Usher insurance agency led us to a few clues about where to start.

Critique the Community: Submit Your Best Swimwear Photos Now

Our next episode of "Critique the Community" will feature swimwear photography. This featured image was taken by the amazing swimwear/fashion photographer Dixie Dixon. In our next episode, Dixie and Patrick Hall will critique 20 random images submitted by our readers. Please post your submissions into this post by Sunday November 1st at 11:59PM EDT for your chance to get direct feedback from Dixie and the FS staff.