Why Are My Photos Blurry?

Something a bit different for today’s post.  I gave a short presentation at my local camera club today to answer a question on why photos taken by club members are sometimes blurry.  You might find some of this information useful.  Click on the pause button to stop on any slide.

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If you would like to download a copy of the presentation, click below.  You will need either Microsoft PowerPoint or a compatible presentation viewer to open the presentation.

Why Are My Photos Blurry?

The Myth of Fast Lenses

Since I took up photography full-time 3 years ago, I’m much more informed about equipment and techniques.  There are some well-rehearsed lines in this industry:  photography is about shaping the light; remember to work the shot; don’t take pictures – make pictures.  And on and on.

Many of those tomes are also around gear – usually put out by manufacturers I think.  As an example, fast lenses (those with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 or larger) are always better than other lenses.  Better for low light capture, better for managing depth of field, better for autofocus performance.  Always buy the fastest lens you can afford.

SaleWhenever I venture to purchase a new lens, I’m typically presented with the fastest lens first – the advanced option.  But the more I’ve shot, the more I’ve come to question this equipment mantra.  Most of the time, you DON’T need the fastest lens.  Here’s why. Continue reading

Tools That Make Macro Photography Easier – Helicon Focus Pro and CamRanger

Spring has sprung.  New life all around us, providing a wealth of photographic subjects.  Perfect for macro photography.  Macro photography reveals the smallest of these subjects, from tiny lichens to the wing details of insects to the inner sculpture of a summer bloom.

Canon Macro LensMacro photography requires only one unique piece of equipment:  a lens that can focus within a tiny distance of the subject, resulting in an image that is the same size on the camera sensor as the subject is in real life.  But macro lenses have an amazingly small depth of field, almost guaranteeing that some part of the image will be out of focus.   What’s a photographer to do? Continue reading

To Print or Not to Print, That is the Question

We didn’t learn about printing photographs during my training in digital photography.  Some of you might say “What did you expect, it was a DIGITAL photography course?”

Good point.  But I always felt there was something missing in my training and I recently attended a two day course on printing photographs.  It opened my eyes to the value of a hardcopy print.  Here’s why. Continue reading

Tools That Make My Photography Easier – Luminar

For as long as I can remember, Adobe Photoshop has been the king of image editing software.  It is used by professionals in the photographic and graphic industries to work wonders with any form of image, even allowing you to create an image without using any camera at all.

But the consumer revolution left Adobe a bit behind, with savvy semi-pro and enthusiast photographers looking for image editing options that were reasonably priced and didn’t require a college degree.  To Adobe’s credit, they saw that demand and Adobe Lightroom was born.  But recent moves to subscription services and releases of updates users didn’t want have set them back a bit.  Room for others to step in?  Now we have a new player in this arena – MacPhun’s Luminar.
Continue reading

Light Painting with Patrick Rochon

I had the pleasure yesterday of attending a presentation by Patrick Rochon, also known as Patrick the Light Painter.  There are many ways to express one’s creativity in photography and Patrick has chosen light as the medium for his expression.  You might wonder what’s unique about that, since every photographer uses light.  It’s how he uses it that sets him apart. Continue reading

Shedding Light on Adobe Lightroom

The most important tool in my kit is Adobe’s Lightroom CC.  It is the lifeline to my photographs, providing import, organization, editing and delivery for the thousands of images I’ve captured.

Lightroom is billed as a companion product to Adobe Photoshop.  It’s packaged with Photoshop in the Adobe Photography subscription plan.  Lightroom was designed from the ground up to be a standalone workhorse and many people use it as such.  But it is equally a great companion to Photoshop, allowing for many basic workflow tasks to be performed quickly in Lightroom before launching Photoshop for more complex edits.

Despite these positive features, I’ve spoken to people who describe Lightroom as frustrating and overly complex.  It seems this is because of 3 design decisions that Adobe made in terms of how Lightroom operates. Continue reading