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Tips, Tricks and Updates

Filtering by Category: Tips and Tricks

Up to the challenge?

Bryan Weiss

The challenge was Shallow Depth Of Field.  So I thought...  What are the technical ways to create shallow depth of field?   

Focal length - Zoom in to the max focal length on any zoom lens and you will create shallower dof.  The longer the focal length the shallower it gets.  

Aperture - A more open aperture will create less depth of field.  When you think of aperture values, an easy way to remember if it's a big or a small aperture when you see the F# would be to think of the number that is closer to a 0 as a more open hole.  f1.8 v f22  1.8 is closer to 0 than 22..  So it's a more open aperture.  

Proximity - The closer you get to your subject, the shallower the depth of field.  If you hold your finger out in front of you at arm's length and as you stare at it, pull it closer.  You'll notice the background blur more .... before you go cross eyed and feel a little sick.. 

When you combine these three things the dof is even shallower!   So.....  That's where I went with my theme.   

This photo was made by light painting with red and white flashlights.  It's a 30 second exposure at f4 and shot at 85mm.  The lens I used was my 24-85 Nikon f2.8-f4D.  I love this lens because it has the ability to switch it into macro mode and I can get much closer focusing distance.  

So to sum it up, I shot all the way zoomed in with a lens that has very close focusing ability and opened up the aperture all the way at that focal length.  I've combined all three ways to create shallow dof therefore it is incredibly shallow. 

As far as the content of the photo.  I have had a bit of a stressful situation with .... how do I put this.... humans lately and needed to get back to what's important.  Peace and love.  I thought it was fitting and it was quite therapeutic as well making this photo.  I used a red gel on a flashlight to make the red and I used a normal white flashlight with a homemade snoot attachment on it for the white that draws the eye to where the story is.  

I didn't edit this photo.  Not that I don't believe in editing, I just didn't think it needed any.  

Here's a cell phone shot of the set up.   A TV dinner tray, a garbage bag a camera, remote and 2 flashlights.  With the lens zoomed in and the camera so close to the stones, all I needed to do was move the rear stone a few inches from the front one to make it virtually unreadable.  

Here's a cell phone shot of the set up.   A TV dinner tray, a garbage bag a camera, remote and 2 flashlights.  With the lens zoomed in and the camera so close to the stones, all I needed to do was move the rear stone a few inches from the front one to make it virtually unreadable.  

So this is how I created shallow depth of field but how would you do it?  If you like the challenge than I hope I get to see your interpretation!


Gabriel Bousquet

On our last show we had the good fortune of having the wonderful and talented Ron Clifford. He  spoke very passionately on a topic that has been coming up more and more in my life recently as well, focus. In this ever changing world we as photographers find ourselves torn in many different directions. From Facebook to Google+ to 500px to Instagram and on and on it goes. So we decide to hop on our computer to edit some images, or write an article, but wait, that little red number in the corner tells me there is something to look at on Google+. There goes 20 minutes. Well, I can’t look at Google+ and not Facebook… there goes 15 minutes. While scrolling Google+ you see a nice picture from 500px and click on it… 30 minutes gone. It’s now been over an hour and you haven’t done a single thing.

At Daytripper photo we know the above scenario all too well. We call it squirreling (If you have ever seen the movie UP you will know what that means).

Ron had the great advice of leaving the computer at home and bringing nothing but a notepad. Great idea, not going to work for me, so I had to find a way to stay focused while still using the tools that help my creativity grow, my laptop.

Here are some great tips I came up with. I hope they can help you as much as they helped me! 

What you'll need

- Chrome Browser HERE

- StayFocusd browser add on. HERE

- Youtube or Focus@Will Account.

- Headphones


Chrome because it’s awesome, but also because you can install the “Stay Focusd” browser extension. What does it do? It removes access to all websites except specific sites you set up in your whitelist.  You can set how long to block all the sites so if you want to sit down for 45 minutes and focus, set the timer and enjoy the quiet. You can also set nuclear mode meaning you can’t turn it off until the timer runs out, no matter what. I have never used that mode, I’m not ready for that type of commitment.

YouTube or Focus @ Will:

These are two services I use a lot. Go to YouTube and search for “Relaxing Music” and you will find many three hour tracks of waves crashing on the shore, or a roaring fireplace or just classical music. We often put these on the TV during dinner to help relax us after our busy days. Nothing like the sound of California waves crashing on a beach during sunrise to wash the day away.

If you want something with a little higher production value, focus@will is amazing. To take the words from their own site:

Do you like to listen to music while you work?

  • Check out our neuroscience based music channels!

  • Increase attention span up to 400%

  • Effortlessly zone out distractions

There is a paid version, but the free account gives you an hour long track of Classical, Ambient, Water, White Noise and other sounds and music proven to help with concentration and focus.


To listen to the music silly!

I recommend Google Docs for writing as your documents are save letter for letter as you type so you don’t have to worry about being 55 minutes into a writing session and having Word crash and lose everything for you.

I hope this has helped give you some ideas and resources for focusing.

If you have any tips of your own, we would love to hear them.

Three things to think about before you press that shutter.

Gabriel Bousquet


One of the "myths" photographers like to spout while being nostalgic about film is that it "slowed us down and made us think about what we were shooting". This was a handicap, not a feature. This was because it took days for the image to come up in the "viewfinder". 

Weather you run and gun or take your time is up to you, not what equipment you use. That being said, our new found freedom allows for a new level of speed never before seen in this industry. It's tempting to snap an image and walk away but as it has been said by those much smarter than I "there is a huge difference between taking an image and making an image." 

Here are three things you can ask yourself before you press that button that can help take your photography to the next level. 

1) Why? 

There is nothing worse then a sharp image of a fuzzy concept - Ansel Adams 

Why are you taking this image. What story are you trying to tell, what message are you trying to convey. Could you get it better from a different angle? Are you rushing the image and fuzzying the message? 

2) Are you seeing everything? 

I know this has happened to me more than once. Everything looks perfect when I'm shooting then I get home and see a telephone pole coming out of their head. We tend to get tunnel vision and forget to look behind and around what we're shooting. 

3) How can you add the 5%. 

There is a difference between a picture that looks nice and a picture that absolutely blows you away. That difference can be as simple as waiting five minutes for the perfect light or adding a flash in the right spot or adding smoke to the background.