Category Archives: Photography Tips and Tricks

New Nikon D4 Footage

We’ve  been impressed with what we’ve seen so far! Wonderful colors and very crisp footage. Sure, some post production was done, but overall, we’re extremely excited to see that the Nikon D4 is living up to it’s hefty price tag of $6000.00

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Wide Open Tees Facebook Photo Contest #3 Winner: SPEED

Melissa is our latest Wide Open Tees Facebook Photo Contest winner! Congratulations and we hope you enjoy your photography shirt from Wide Open Tees!

About the Photography and Photographer:

(Exif: 111mm – f/3,5 – ISO 125 –  1/1000). This photo was taken at a photoshoot for a small horse magazine. The woman whose riding the horse has been national champion a few times. Watching this horse take very sharp turns at such a high speed was amazing to watch. Taking the photo at the right moment was difficult. She only did 3 or 4 runs, and it all goes so fast, so you need fast fingers and fast eyes!

You can visit Melissa’s portfolios here for more wonderful photos: www.xMelis.deviantart.com – www.flickr.com/photos/melissakamps/

What a wonderful depiction of speed, Melissa! The movement of the dirt is spectacular! Keep up the great work.

Don’t forget to Like our Facebook Fanpage for your chance to win awesome gear from Wide Open Tees. Submit your photo today! We’ll also announce tons of promotions there first!


Wide Open Tees Photography Shirts Photo Contest #5: URBAN EXPLORATION

Our 5th photo contest on POTN forums has ended! Ed is our winner with his amazing submission below:

About the Photographer and Photograph:

Canon 50D, Sigma 18-200mm OS, 1/100 ex, f/8, ISO800. Shot on a rainy day, and the rain added a cool effect to the shot I think. Processed as a single-shot “pseudo-HDR” with Paint Shop Pro X2. Basically a group of photo friends got together and went to Gary Indiana to shoot the popular Gary Methodist Church, and then went to this abandoned train station. The police came and asked us to leave, so on the way out I looked back and thought it’d be a cool shot.

Mood plays a huge part in photography and Ed captured the mood very well in this photo! Really great shot! Especially love the movement of the rain to add that final touch. Congrats and enjoy your photography shirt from Wide Open Tees, Ed!

If you’d like to know more about the photo or the photographer, check out his other great work at any of the sites here: Flickr | FB | 500px | Razzi


Wide Open Tees Supporters Are the Best!

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Wide Open Tees fans, supporters, and customers are the absolute best! Recently, Jake put together a Steadicam review with Learning-DSLR guru Dave Dugdale. Jake took the time to sport a Wide Open Tees Photography shirt in the very informative review below. Check it out!

We love supporting photographers who help others become better photographers. That’s what Wide Open Tees was built on! So take the time to check out Jake’s wonderful portfolio here!

Wide Open Tees doesn’t discriminate when it comes to amateurs or pros. Many thanks to Jake and Dave for providing kind and helpful information for all levels of photographers. Keep up the amazing work guys!


Question Time: Wide Open Tees Answers Your Questions!

Hi Wide Open Tees! I want to get into photography but don’t have money to buy a DSLR. What should I do?

  • Don’t fret! A DSLR doesn’t automatically make you an amazing “photographer.” Tons of great photographers produce amazing shots with a simple point and shoot. Don’t believe us? Just do a search for any point and shoot on flickr. You’ll be amazed with some the photographs produced by <$200 point and shoots. In the meantime, use what you have, or save up for a good quality point and shoot. We’d recommend some, but haven’t tested every point and shoot out there! A short Google of “Best Point and Shoot Cameras” will lead you in the right directions! If you find out that you really enjoy it, maybe an entry level DSLR will be a good fit for you down the road when your finances line up. Our belief here: Don’t let camera-envy define you as a photographer.

What type of lens would you recommend for someone trying to upgrade from the kit lens on a T2i?

  • (Assuming you’re referring to the 18-55mm) The 18-55mm lens is a great beginner lens. It’s considered a walk-around lens, meaning whatever subject/object you want to shoot, the lens should be more than able to handle the situation. If you’re planning to replace the lens (sell it once you receive your new lens), a new walk-around would be the best fit. Obviously, your budget is important since lenses can range from $90 to $2500. For the sake of answering your question, we’ll do our best to keep it on the less expensive end. The Sigma 17-50 f/2.8 and Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 (VC and non-VC) are great lenses. The f/2.8 will allow you to shoot in low-light situation and produce a rather creamy bokeh wide open. It’s also versatile when it comes to general walk-around shooting. If you’re keeping the 18-55mm, we’d recommend something that helps your photographic-needs. If you love shooting portraits (family, friends, etc.), 50mm, or 85mm, or 100mm would work wonders. Canon and Sigma produce great “portrait” lenses when it comes to 50mm and 85mm. If you’re really strapped for cash, Canon produces a 50mm f/1.8 for just around $100. Don’t be fooled by the low price; The 50mm f/1.8 is a great lens. If you love shooting landscapes, consider an ultra-wide angle lens like the Sigma 10-20mm. Of course, we hate to push you in any direction. So take our opinions for what it’s worth. Find the right lens for you!

ARGH! Why is photography so expensive?

  • LOL! Tell us about it! Although we’d love for photography to be a bit less expensive, we’ll defend it for the sake of this answer. Photography can be a form of art, but it’s also a form of capturing memories. Most of us want to remember certain milestones in our lives and photography helps us do that. Considering how much you can get out of photography, the price can sometimes be justified. Whether you profit from it as a pro, or have images of your baby’s first steps. Photography can have a great return on investment financially and emotionally.

I’ve had a cheap Canon pocket camera for awhile now. I think I want to get into DSLRs. Any recommendations?

  • There are tons of great entry level DSLRs out there. We might sound like a broken record, but finding one that fits your needs should always be the first priority. That being said, we’d recommend a Canon only because you own a Canon point and shoot (pocket camera) now. Making the jump to Nikon would be absolutely fine if you’re willing to learn a different layout. Canon and Nikon do a great job keeping button layouts and options similar model-to-model, so users have a sense of familiarity when staying within the product line. If you weren’t happy with your Canon, take a look at the Nikon d3100. It’s a great entry level camera that can produce amazing photos. If you like to keep the same knowledge that you have with your Canon now, try the T2i or the 60D. Both produce amazing photos and comes with everything that you need to get started. All three shoot 1080p video as well.

I hope this isn’t a stupid question, but should the first thing I look at when buying a dslr megapixels? I’m not sure what megapixels actually do or is. Is it as important as all my friends say it is?

  • That’s not a stupid question at all! Buying DSLRs, or cameras in general, can be difficult. Your friends are right and wrong. When digital cameras first came out years ago, yes, megapixels were rather important. Today, not so much. Now, megapixels are only somewhat important. Megapixels are used to describe the resolution of your photos that your camera can capture. To keep it simple, more megapixels means that your photo is captured larger. No, that doesn’t mean if you buy a 21MP camera, all your photos will print out as posters. It just means you have the ability to do so if you’d like. More megapixels are good for 2 reasons: (1) as mentioned before, you have the ability to print larger photos (poster sized), and (2) you have the ability to crop your photos without losing too much detail. That being said, if you’ve never or rarely crop your photos and don’t print larger than 5×7 or even 8×10 photos, megapixels shouldn’t be your number one concern. In today’s market, entry level DSLRs have more than enough megapixels! So don’t be fooled by salesmen who say, “Buy this one because it has more megapixels!” If you want a big viewfinder, look for that. If you want ease of use, look for that. If you want something technically advanced and want to experience the learning curve, look for that. So to answer your question, megapixels can be important to you, especially if you want to print poster-sized photos or crop your images rather small. Otherwise, we’d recommend looking for your next need/want on your list.

That’s all we have this week. If you have a question, send it in and our photographers will answer them for you! Send all of your questions to: service@wideopentees.com or post them on our Facebook Fanpage. You’re not limited to one question. If you have 2, 5, or even 10 questions, send them all in! We’re here to help!


Photographing Fireworks Tips

With Fourth of July right around the corner, I thought that an article about photographing fireworks would fit the bill perfectly! It’s a little intimidating knowing you only have about 20 minutes to get a great shot. There isn’t much time to perfect your settings out there. Not to mention fireworks only shoot about 4-6 times a year, it’s not something you can readily prepare for. The following article is a bit more technical than I’d hope, so my apologies for those who aren’t versed with terms such as ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. Many point and shoots now come with a fireworks setting. Some cameras yield good results, others not so much. However, there is still time for you to whip out that manual and learn how to play with these settings! Most likely, your camera (yes, your point and shoot camera included) will allow you to change these settings easily. Likewise, those who own DSLRs but don’t stray away from auto mode can learn these settings as well. It shouldn’t take you more than 10-15 minutes to learn how to play with these settings.

DIFFICULTIES AND COMMON MISTAKES

Many people think that because fireworks are a nighttime affair, their major concern should be the low-light. However, it’s the complete opposite. Capturing too much light is much more common! This is where our cameras get confused. The bursts of lights that last only a few seconds, accompanied with multiple bursts will throw your light readings all over the place. If you’re setting your shutter speed to more than 4 seconds, you’re most likely going to get huge bursts of lights. Many people bump their ISOs higher because of the low light, resulting in a noisy night sky, which isn’t very attractive.

A TRIPOD IS IMPORTANT

The low light does affect one thing, your shutter speed. For those who aren’t photography nerds that know the ins and outs of photography, shooting at night usually results in blurry shots. This is because the shutter needs to stay open longer to allow more light in. Therefore, when your subject moves, or when you inadvertently move the camera, your shot comes out blurry. A tripod will definitely fix this! Tripods are useful because they keep your hands off the camera, keeping the camera completely still. If you don’t want to spring for a tripod just for this one fireworks show, then find a ledge or tabletop that is steady. You might find yourself having to fandangle some type of contraption to point the camera towards the fireworks as well, which can be a pain. Can you shoot without a tripod? It’s possible if you have a steady hand and shoot closer to 1-2 seconds. Give it a try, you might surprise yourself!

APERTURE (f/#), ISO, SHUTTER SPEED, AND TIMING

Start off by setting your ISO to the lowest amount your camera offers to combat noise. I recommend shooting at or around f/8 with a 2-3 second shutter speed. Now, the shutter speed is actually the one element you can change to your liking. If you let the camera try to figure it out, you will most likely get a shot with a huge light burst, because it’ll suggest 10+ seconds. You want to stay in the range of 1-4 seconds. 4 seconds is a little long, but might work under your circumstances. The longer the seconds (shutter speed), the more flares/tails you will get from the fireworks. The shorter the seconds (shutter speed), the less flares/tails you’ll get. It’s all personal taste at this point. Timing is also a big deal. You want to catch the firework right as it’s exploding. Some have an eye for the tiny lit tail that is shooting up, which is great. You can watch it burst and hit the shutter. If you don’t have a keen eye, listening for the burst works well as some of my colleagues have suggested. Lastly, because you’re manually setting your shutter speed, you can keep the flash off!

PHOTO PROOF


RAW vs. JPEG Shooting

“Shooting RAW is the only way to shoot!”

I see that quite a bit, but is it always true? For semi-professionals, professionals, and hobbyists who have the proper software and time to edit these RAWs, it’s a great way to get absolutely beautiful photos. But does that mean shooting JPEG is the “wrong” way to shoot? This article’s here to help!

Before I begin, I’ll do my best to help explain it in the simplest terms so you’re not bored with drawn-out, long-winded definitions.

SHOOTING RAW:

RAW shooting gives you the ability to easily manipulate the photograph using photo editing programs like Adobe Photoshop in post-processing. Post-processing, sometimes referred as “PP”, is the photo editing process a photographer applies after he/she takes the photograph. When the camera snaps a RAW photo, the image will be recorded to the memory card rather bland and dull. Some shooters think shooting in RAW is the best way to get the best shot straight from the camera. That’s not the case at all.

SHOOTING JPEG:

JPEG shooting is almost the opposite of RAW shooting. When you shoot JPEG, you’re telling the camera to do all of the compressing for you. It automatically applies all of the right corrections in order to get a good photo. This correction is different on every camera. So it’s wise to do your research before selecting the right camera for you, but that’s another topic!

PROS FOR RAW:

RAW shooting can lead you to amazing photographs. Say you take a photograph of a beautiful landscape, and the sky isn’t quite the right shade of blue for you. You can easily change it to the right shade that fits your standards. However, this isn’t the only correction you can make. When shooting in RAW, you’re in charge of what the photograph looks like in the end. You have the ability to work with the brightness, contrast, colors, saturation, exposure, and so much more.

PROS FOR JPEG:

Shooting in JPEG has its own benefits. First, JPEGs file sizes are much smaller. The difference can range from 800kb JPEG to a 25Mb RAW depending on your camera and camera settings. Secondly, you might not have the budget for expensive software like Adobe Photoshop ($200). Third, you might not be very interested in post processing. Photographers would much rather be out shooting!

CONS FOR RAW:

As mentioned above, RAWs are huge files. If you don’t have the patience or hard drive space, shooting in RAW isn’t for you. Secondly, photo editing software is not as easy as Windows Paint, not to mention expensive.

CONS FOR JPEG:

You lose the ability to edit your photos easily. Sure, photo editing programs can edit JPEGs, but it won’t be able to clean up your photo as well as it could with a RAW photo.

SO WHICH IS THE WAY TO GO?

Simplistically speaking, you’re working with many more levels (not to be confused with exposure levels) when it comes to RAW files. Therefore, you have a bit more freedom when it comes to editing your photos. When it’s all said and done, it’s all personal preference. It depends on where you are in the realm of photography. If you’re an enthusiast that loves to point, shoot, and upload, then shooting JPEG should be sufficient. If you’re a hobbyist who wants to get into more detailed photography (maybe even becoming a pro), RAW is the way to go. Both have pros and cons, but it depends on which pros and cons outweigh each other for you. Don’t let others tell you that shooting in RAW is the only way to shoot. It’s not for everyone, and with today’s technological advancements, trusting the camera to do all of the fine tuning usually ends rather well!

PHOTO PROOF:

Here is a photo taken with a Canon 7D. I purposely shot into the sun to show levels, contrasts, and brightness within the trees in the foreground.

The first set is straight off the camera (RAW version vs JPEG version). You can see that the trees are underexposed in the raw version, and the JPEG version did it’s best to correct that, resulting in a “better” version.

The set below is the “best case scenario” after editing.

You can see both JPEG and RAW after post processing yields great results. The RAW version did better when it came to the underexposed trees and details in the sky (see the cloud details). The difference is also in the variety of post processing. The JPEG you see in the second set is pretty much the only good version that will come out after post processing. With the RAW, you can obtain many more results that turn out beautifully. Say, you wanted to add a nostalgic-element and push your white balance towards the yellow side. The results:

You can see that the sky in the JPEG version is completely blown out on the right side. Likewise the sunlight on the tips of the trees are completely washed out as well. With that being said, it’s not impossible to correct that. You can always bring down the brightness, but that would completely darken the trees in the foreground. Bumping the fill light beyond this point will only make the JPEG more noisy, which is a no no. Of course you can always start mixing multiple layers (background, foreground) to fix this unevenness, but that would of course take you more time and patience. That’s starting a whole different subject (HDR, or High Dynamic Range).

OVERALL THOUGHTS:

Shooting RAW has it’s benefits. You can see it in the photo proof above. However, that doesn’t make JPEG completely obsolete. It all comes down to personal preference. When people say, “RAW shooting is the only way to shoot.” They aren’t explaining all of the advantages and disadvantages to you. You have to consider the price of RAW-capable cameras (which are usually expensive DSLRs), price of photo-editing software (usually expensive), and the ability to actually edit photographs (which takes time to learn). The biggest misconception is when people buy RAW-shooting cameras expecting to get amazing photos when they shoot in RAW, without realizing that the benefits are in the post-processing.

Want us to discuss something to help you becoming a better photographer? Send an email to: service@wideopentees.com or leave us a message on Facebook! You might see your question on our next blog!