How To Take Pictures Without A Shadow Indoors, Outdoors, and of Products

If you are wondering how to take a photo without a shadow, then you have come to the right place. Yes, natural light is a vital part of photography, but not in all cases. Sometimes you may find yourself doing a photoshoot where you need to avoid shadows.

In this guide, we’ll share some tips and techniques on how you can take pictures without shadows for indoor photography, outdoor photography, and product photography.

How To Take A Picture Without Shadows

How To Take A Picture Without Shadow – Indoor Photography

Indoor photography is probably one of the most difficult things for a photographer to learn. When you have natural and artificial light blending together with the light reflecting through the windows and off walls it often results in unattractive photos.

Read on to find out how you can avoid shadows with indoor photography.

Use A Slower Shutter Speed

The first thing you should do is go to your camera settings and set your camera to shutter priority mode. Your camera will select the aperture and ISO.

A slower shutter speed is important because it increases the amount of light that reaches your camera. The speed you require depends on the lighting conditions.

Slow speeds are 1/30th and 1/60th of a second. But we advise you not to set the shutter speed to anything lower than 1/60th and higher than 1/200, as this range avoids artificial light interference and captures sharp images with no motion blur.

Use A Reflector

A reflector is a handy piece of equipment for any photographer. It’s also pretty an affordable tool, but if you don’t want to buy one you can always make one yourself.

A reflector offers great coverage for the lighting of indoor and outdoor photography. The white paper gives the photo a professional look by providing a soft fill for shadows that are cast onto the subject.

Use a Tripod

A tripod can prove to be very useful in most situations. Whether you are photographing landscapes, shooting sunsets, or capturing action shots, this gadget is a must.

It provides your camera with stability to capture sharp images with no motion blur at any shutter speed or long exposure.

Tripods allow you to capture fixed subjects in low light indoor photography by using a long exposure setup to increase the light sources and balance the shadow-light proportion.

Use Natural Light

The natural light that falls on a window or comes through a room door, gives the subject good, soft lighting. A north-facing window produces softer light than an east or west-facing window.

This helps the shadows make the image appear with a shallow depth of field and good white balance. This form of lighting is much more effective and even brighter than a flash.

Avoid using direct sunlight, because you need diffused light.

Avoid the Shadowed Wall Effect

One of the most common issues with indoor portrait photography is when the shadow of the subject is cast onto the wall. The problem with this shadow is that it is very distracting and immediately takes away the focus from the subject.

This is known as the shadowed wall effect.

The shadow is generally caused because the subject is very close to the wall where the light is directed at.

To prevent this you first need to move the subject away from the wall, and secondly add a reflector or another light source in the background.

Then you need to adjust the lighting position to lower the shadows and decrease the shadow that appears on the wall.

Set the White Balance

Make sure to set the white balance when you are capturing images in JPEG format. This will reduce color cast and help you deliver more realistic colors for your subject.

Avoid using the Auto White Balance and rather choose the specific light source you are shooting under like tungsten, fluorescent, daylight, etc.

How To Take A Picture Without Shadow – Outdoor Photography

Light is one of the most important aspects of photography. Outdoor photography and natural light photos are best taken in the early morning sunlight or during the golden hues of the setting sun.

But unfortunately, when dealing with clients this is not always the practical choice.

Read on to find out some tips you can use when photographing outdoors to avoid the harsh effects of the midday sun.

Face Subject’s Back To The Sun- Backlighting

If you are shooting in full sunlight with absolutely no shade in sight, then your best option is to place your subject with their back facing the sun.

This will help reduce the amount of direct light falling on their face and prevent them from squinting. As a result, the subject’s face will be evenly shaded with no harsh light spots. This technique is known as backlighting.

If you would like to maintain a detailed background or capture the sky in a backlighting technique then you require additional equipment like a reflector. This will help to bounce back some light onto the subject’s face.

Use Shaded Area

The most effective way to prevent distracting facial shadows from midday sunlight is to photograph your subjects in a shaded area. This could be under a big tree or an awning. Basically, anything that casts a large enough shadow to cover your subject.

Shade is important because it creates even lighting where there is no direct sunlight hitting your subject’s face or body. The trick is to seat your subject at the very edge of the shade so that they remain evenly lit, but there is still enough light to illuminate them.

Avoid using patchy shade with a portrait shot as it casts dappled light on your subject which results in harsh light spots on their face and body.

Put Camera Flash On

A strong flash can even overpower midday sun until it looks as if you took the image against a black background. This is a useful tip especially if you have an unattractive or cluttered background.

On most occasions when you are taking pictures you’ll use your flash as a fill light. This means that it will fill in the hard shadows that appear under your nose and chin as a result of the direct sunlight.

Use a Circular Polarizer

A key accessory for outdoor photography is having a circular polarizer. They cut through haze, add contrast to the sky, and reduce reflections on the water.

A polarizing filter is great for midday photos because it creates white light and reduces the glare and reflections on foliage, enhancing the greenery of forests and giving autumn colors more depth.

Use a Diffuser

If you have no choice but to place your subject in full sunlight then try using a diffuser. This is the translucent panel of your reflector. You could even use a translucent white fabric like a white sheet as a diffuser.

The diffuser absorbs the harsh sunlight and evenly spreads it across your subject. It also casts a shadow on your subject which prevents them from squinting.

Wait For The Clouds

If you are lucky enough to be taking portraits on a bright, sunny day with plenty of puffy white clouds then all you have to do is be patient to capture the perfect shot.

Wait for a cloud to float across the sun, then click away! At that exact moment, you will have the perfect lighting for outdoor photography.

However be careful of dark, cloudy days as these bring poor lighting.

How To Take A Picture Without Shadow – Product Photography

Whether you are taking pictures of products from home or a studio, lighting plays a crucial role in the quality of your photo. The last thing you want is to have shadows pop up and draw away all the attention from your product.

Read on to find out how to eliminate shadows for product photography.

Use a Lightbox

A lightbox is a five-sided box with bright white on all five sides. The sixth side is the opening which is where you will take photos from.

They come in a variety of sizes and a large one acts as a soft light source.

The combination of light and brightness of the white inside the box creates a diffusion of light and provides a clean white background for your photos.

Using Soft Light

Light sources that are larger than the product and are in close proximity, will create soft light. This type of lighting wraps around the product and reduces the shadow.

The best source of soft light is natural lighting. The combination of the sun and the clouds, which spread the light over a greater surface area, create the perfect frame for your shot.

Another source of soft light is studio lights.

Avoid Hard Light

Hard light, as the name suggests, is the exact opposite of soft light. It is a bright source of light that is smaller than the object.

This type of lighting should be avoided if you want to eliminate shadows. The shadows and light created are very harsh and defined.

When you use hard to light your product will cast a distinct, hard shadow, and we want to avoid hard shadows.

No Flash

Your camera’s flash is a source of hard light, casting shadows and creating photos different from what you actually see.

The flash is difficult to control unless you are a pro. To reduce shadows in product photography, if hard light is coming from your direction it means that the shadow will fall on the opposite side of the product.

Use a Light Tent and Pop-up Light Tent

A light tent is a great alternative to a lightbox. They are available in a variety of shapes and sizes and provide a soft light source that reflects back from the tent to the central product.

You can even use a white poster board, but you need to adjust it till you get the right angle. To remove shadows you need to place the poster on the opposite side of the product across from the light source to bounce the light back.

Use a Translucent Acrylic Flexible Surface with Lighting from below

This is a different kind of technique that requires you to place the product on a glass table with a light underneath, shining upwards.

The next step is to surround the product with a sheet of Translucent Acrylic Flexible Surface. This will help bounce the light around when the light is at the correct angle.

Reducing the Light

When you are avoiding shadows, dulling the light is another option. If you use studio lights, you will know that they have three brightness settings.

By simply reducing the brightness, it can help eliminate the shadows. You can also try moving the studio lights further away from the product to reduce shadows.

How To Take Picture Without Shadow – Our Verdict

Taking photos on your camera without shadows just requires a little bit of tips and tricks. Always remember that lighting is super important in photography, it either makes or breaks your shot.

There are so many different techniques we covered in this article that you can use in outdoor, indoor, and product photography to help you avoid shadows in your frame.

How to Merge Layers In GIMP: A Simple Guide

When working on a project on GIMP, you will most likely be working with multiple layers. Having numerous layers means that it can be easier to change and manipulate the images in your project.

But having so many layers on GIMP can be a bit overwhelming. You can fix this problem by merging layers and flattening them.

So how do you do this? Here, we’ve outlined the pretty simple steps for merging and flattening layers in GIMP.

What does it mean to merge layers in GIMP?

In GIMP, the “Merge Visible Layers” option allows you to combine two or more layers into one single layer. To ensure that you can merge the layers needed into one, you must make sure they are marked as visible layers.

You’ll be able to see which layers are the visible layers when they have an “eye” icon next to the small image of the picture you’re working on. You can make a layer disappear by clicking on this “eye” icon.

How do you merge two layers together?

When you’re busy with a project on GIMP, you might find it easier to work with a single layer instead of juggling multiple layers. Luckily, there’s a way for you to merge two layers to make your work a lot easier.

Step One

The first step is to ensure that you’ve got your project open and that the two layers you want to merge are marked as visible.

You can check this by seeing if the “eye” icon is visible. If the icon isn’t visible, it means that they aren’t marked as “visible layers.” All you need to do is click on the “eye” icon of the layers in the layer stack.

If you’re using multiple layers in your project, you can still merge just two layers. You can do this by marking the two layers as visible layers. Just click on the “eye” icon with the layers you don’t want to merge.

Step Two

The next step involves finding the “Merge Visible Layers” button. There are at least two ways that you can do this.

The first method would be going to the “Image” tab in the crossbar at the top of the screen. Click on the tab and then scroll down to the “Merge Visible Layers” option.

You can also right-click on one of the layers you want to merge. A menu should pop up, and you can find the “Merge Visible Layers” at the bottom of this menu.

Another way to merge visible layers on GIMP is to use the keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+M. From there, a “layers dialog” should pop up.

Step Three

After you’ve used the “Merge Visible Layers” command on GIMP, you’ll get the “Layers Merge Options” Dialog. With this dialog, you’ll get different options for merging the other layers.

These options in the layers dialog include the following:

Expanded as necessary: This means that the final layer will be big enough to contain all the combined (merged) layers. You should remember that in GIMP, layers can be bigger than the pictures.

Clipped to image: With this option, the final layer will have the same size as the picture. Any layers that are bigger than the photo will be cropped.

Clipped to bottom layer: Choosing this option means that the bottom and final layers will be the same size. This means that GIMP will crop the final layer to have the same size and position as the bottom layer.

Merge within the active group only: This option is activated with a group layer.

Discard invisible layers: GIMP will delete all the hidden layers from your layer stack with this option.

Where is the merge down in GIMP?

The “Merge Down” command is a handy command that you can use to combine or merge an active layer with the next layer in the stack.

This command will include the different properties from the active layer. The final layer will be in Normal mode and get the qualities of the layer underneath. You can find the “Merge Down” command in two different ways.

With the first way, you can click on the layers menu on the menu bar at the top of your screen. Then scroll down till you find the “Merge Down” command. When you click this command, you’ll see the top layer merge with the layer below.

The second method is straightforward. All you need to do is right-click on the visible layer and scroll down till you find the “Merge Down” command. Your layers will merge automatically without the pop-up dialog from merging visible layers.

gimp merge layrs 2

How do I flatten layers in Gimp?

With the “Flatten Image” command, you can merge all the layers in your stack into a single layer without using an alpha channel. With this option, you will end up with a single final layer without any transparency.

By flattening the layers, you will make considerable changes to the picture’s structure. With this command, it’s recommended that you save the image in a format that doesn’t support transparency or support levels.

Step One

You can do this by finding the command under the “Image” tab and scrolling down to the “Flatten Image” command.

How do you merge and flatten the multiple layers?

When you’re working on a project with multiple layers, you can choose to combine them into a single layer either by merging them or flattening them.

Merging multiple layers

To merge more than two layers on GIMP, you can use the “Merge Visible Layers” command under the image tab.

To do this, make sure that ALL the layers that you want to merge have the “eye” icon. Then you can either use the keyboard shortcuts (Ctrl+M) or find the “Merge Visible Layers” command under the “Image” tab.

Flattening multiple layers

The “Flatten Image” is a helpful command for quickly combining multiple layers with one swift click. You can do this with a right-click on one of the layers in your stack and then click on the “Flatten Image” command.

You can also do this by going to the “Image” tab and finding the “Flatten Image” command near the bottom of the scroll-down menu, underneath the “Merge Visible Layers” command.

Conclusion

Merging and flattening two or more layers in GIMP is pretty simple. Both these commands can make your work a lot easier when turning multiple layers into one layer with all the changes you’ve made on GIMP.

Can Taking Pictures of the Sun Damage a Camera?

Can taking pictures of the Sun damage a camera? Looking directly at the sun definitely damages the eyes, so it’s reasonable for someone to wonder if taking pictures of the sun can damage a camera.

Every profession has their main tool for operation. For photographers, it’s their cameras, and they are their heart and soul, and God forbid if something were to happen to the camera or the camera lens, I’m sure it would create quite the havoc, and we wouldn’t want that now, would we?

The skills of a photographer combined with the best camera helps capture the perfect image, and that perfect image then tends to become a door to millions of memories. Making sure that their memory-making camera remains in good condition is a photographer’s responsibility.

There are many ways a camera could get damaged; some are obvious while some aren’t. Here is one of them – “can your camera be damaged by taking pictures of the sun?”

Can you damage your camera by taking pictures of the sun?

photography of sun

Photographers wouldn’t want their equipment to spoil and being impaired by the rays of sun does seem a bit far-fetched, but not entirely impossible. So before getting into technicalities, let’s answer this question in a much simpler way. Taking pictures of the sun cannot damage a camera’s lens, but it is possible that exposure of your camera lens towards the direction of the sun for long hours can cause damage. So probably avoid that during day time photo shoots!

Furthermore, there can be instances where the image sensor could get damaged by the harmful UV rays, even after a short exposure; depending on the model of your camera.

It really all depends on the shutter speed of the camera. If the shutter is open long enough then the sun might be able to do some damage.

However, if your camera setting is set on automatic, you risk less damage, as your camera will pick a faster shutter speed, probably hundredths of a second; which isn’t enough time to damage anything.

Sunrises and sunsets don’t count as the sun’s rays aren’t as harmful during this time around. Maybe the afternoon sun is the one you need to be on the lookout for.

The chances of this kind of damage in SLR and DSLR models is less in comparison to the point and shoot models. This is because the point and shoot models tend to keep their shutter open the entire time you’re using the device, and since there is no mirror to redirect the sunlight from the image sensor, there are higher chances of damage.

The SLR and DSLR models have a mirror to reflect off sunlight so that it causes less damage to the lens.

However, if your camera has a UV coat over the sensor, then you’re probably safe. This is something that should be taken care of while purchasing a camera.

If you don’t know for sure whether your camera sensor has been damaged or not, a purple blotch at any side of your image might be the first clue that your camera needs to be checked.

To make sure we don’t leave any questions unattended; sunlight exposure can damage your phone’s camera as well.

How to prevent unnecessary damage to your camera by the Sun

Since we know that not all camera models are safe from damage, you need to get creative in ways that you can protect it from the sun, especially necessary if you are planning a big outdoor daytime shoot. Here are some tips that may protect your camera lens from getting fried.

  1. Make sure that the lens cap is on when you are not using the camera anymore.
  2. After taking pictures of the sun, put the camera back into the camera bag. This will allow the camera to recover from the heat.
  3. If you don’t have a camera bag, you can wrap your camera in a towel or any soft material that would protect the camera and its lens from any more direct or indirect sunlight.
  4. If you have a big photo shoot and you cannot attach and detach the camera lens, then maybe arrange some umbrellas for some extra shade, to give your camera protection during the shoot.

Conclusion

In conclusion, just remember this little thumb rule, It’s exactly how your eyes function – direct exposure for a long period of time towards the sun will damage your eyes, now apply the same, for your camera lens.

As long as you remember and follow this, your camera is safe from damage! Remember, the photos are only going to be one of a kind if the camera has been taken care of in the way intended with no impairment to the camera lens or the image sensor.

What are JPEG artifacts and how do you fix them?

Sometimes there are instances where images are smudged in the corners or there is too much grain in them or they come out tarnished. If this happens due to JPEG compression, then it is called JPEG artifacts.

What are JPEG artifacts?

A passionate and a professional photographer puts in a lot of thought and planning while taking a picture – the scenery, the placement of the camera, the exposure, the shutter speed, the IOS, etc. This thought process remains same for a big photo shoot or even leisure photography. The planning expresses his passion for photography, but the end product, the images; express his talent. None of the planning will matter if the images don’t come out clear and noise free.

It is said that “a picture speaks a 1000 words”, but for the picture to be able to speak these many words and be appealing to the viewers, it has to be as such.

What do JPEG artifacts look like?

Before we understand in depth what JPEG artifacts mean, let’s start easy and learn what an artifact actually means. An artifact is a term that defines an image that is degraded.

To elaborate, this is a picture that would have obvious signs of distortion, or blotchy spots or even off-color pixels. It can also be described as the unwanted side effects of image processing.

Now, back to the main topic, JPEG artifacts are visible indication of excessive JPEG compression, that may cause the image to appear unclear and blurry, horizontal and vertical patterns may be visible too at extremes.

This could also occur if that image is saved too many times; this can affect the quality of the image and not in a good way. It’s very obvious to notice these smudges if one has already observed it before and knows what to look for. Then accordingly a decision can be made if that particular image is acceptable or not.

Technically, JPEG has been most commonly used for image compression around the world and it is also widely used as a digital image format. However, if you tend to compress the image more than the ratio of 10:1, the image may lose its quality. This is what we need to stop from happening! These images need our saving! So let’s save them, but first, let’s understand how to identify them.

jpeg artifact example
Roger McLassus, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

How to identify a JPEG artifact?

The process is a little complicated, but we are going to try and make it as comprehensive and easy as we can.

So, if you are using a digital camera, shoot the same scenery twice. Shoot the first image of the scenery in your highest quality setting which could be either RAW, TIF or the best JPEG quality setting and then shoot the same scenery the second time, but use the lowest quality setting.

Use the same setting while saving the images too. Don’t forget to add compression to the image clicked with the lowest quality setting.

Once this is done, view the contents of both the images together by zooming in on them about 4 times the size of the actual image. When you zoom to this extent, you will notice the differences between the 2 images.

The difference you observe are the JPEG artifacts. The first time you may have to scroll around a bit, but once you notice one dissimilarity, others will come to you naturally.

The differences you may come across other than the image being blemished are “vague dark smudges” around the corner, some false color and color changes in some areas would be evident too.

Now that we can identify JPEG artifacts in the pictures, we should try and avoid these type of instances as much as possible. There is not much you can do in this area, but making sure that the image is not compressed too many times, not shared a 100 times, and clicked and saved in a high quality setting, would be a good place to start. It’s only logical!

Furthermore, we now are aware of what a JPEG artifact is and what does it do, but what is more important? That we have the knowledge of how to get rid of it.

No photographer would like their images to be blurred or discolored, until they were going for it as a part of some elaborated theme.

How to remove JPEG artifacts

For all the Photoshop users, there is a tool called JPEG artifact removal neural filter that helps in adding quality back into the photo and reducing pixilation. This feature works by trying to reverse the effects of compression to smooth the blur edges and bring back the charm of the original image.

The steps are as follows:

  1. Open the pixelated image in Photoshop.
  2. Go to the top and choose the option “Neural Filters” from the filter bar.
  3. Once you click on the neural filters, a tab will open up on the right side, from there choose the option of JPEG artifact removal.
  4. There are 3 levels present in which the removal would take place – low, medium and high. Depending on the impact of the JPEG artifact on your image, choose your level.
  5. After selecting your desired level, go to the right bottom corner and choose your output method for the neural filter. The options you would see in the output method are: smart filter, new layer, duplicate layer masked, duplicate layer, current layer. Out of these options, it is advised that you choose the “smart filter” option.

And that’s it. It takes 5 simple steps in Photoshop to reverse the unclear effects on the image. The point to remember is that this feature may not on all the JPEG artifacts. Basically, if the picture is too pixelated, this feature may not be able to remove all the pixels and noise, but it sure is worth to try!

This is all that you need to know about artifacts, JPEG artifacts and how to remove them if the time ever comes. We sincerely hope your photographs are always artifacts free.

15 Free Adobe Lightroom Tutorials For All Skill Levels

When it comes to quick, accessible image storage and editing tools, Adobe Lightroom is the trusted tool for photographers around the world. Trouble is, the software can feel overwhelming to the uninitiated. That’s where we come in.

We’ve scoured the internet for Adobe Lightroom tutorials to help you get started on your journey. We’ve tried to find Lightroom editing tips that cover a broad range of different goals. It’s important to note here that Lightroom really isn’t as complicated as it first appears.

After just a few free Adobe Lightroom tutorials, you’ll be photo editing like a pro in no time! Read on to up your game.

Why People Choose Adobe Lightroom

If you’re looking for Lightroom editing tutorials online, chances are you have a good idea of why the software is worth using. For millions of users around the world, it’s the best option out there. Whether you’re a professional photographer editing portraits or a complete novice, there’s loads of reasons for giving Adobe Lightroom a go.

Why All Photographers Should Consider Lightroom

There’s loads of reasons that a ton of photographers trust Lightroom. This killer video from Peter McKinnon explains most of them. He explains precisely what makes the tool so versatile and easy to use. He also peppers in some of his expert tips and tricks for good measure.

If you’re a beginner wondering which editing tool to start using, you might like to check this video out.

It’s Accessible

Using an Android phone? iPhone? Mac? Windows PC? You’ll be able to use Lightroom on any one of these devices! The accessibility of the software is one of the things that makes it so popular. If you like to edit photos on the fly, the smartphone app can be particularly useful.

It’s a Great Photo Editing Tool

This is true of portrait photography, landscape photos, and so much more. While it doesn’t quite reach the levels of Photoshop in terms of detailed controls, it offers more than enough for most people. With just a few Lightroom tips from this page, you’ll have far more power at your fingertips than you might expect.

It’s Relatively Easy to Pick Up

One great thing about Lightroom editing tools is that they’re fairly easy to pick up after a Lightroom tutorial or two. Compared to Adobe’s heavier duty program, Photoshop, you shouldn’t have much to worry about here in terms of a learning curve.

Stick with it and you’ll be a master in no time!

It’s Included With Adobe’s Creative Cloud!

If you already subscribe to Adobe’s Creative Cloud then you have access to Adobe Lightroom for no extra cost. As cynical as it sounds, this is a huge reason that Lightroom has become as popular as it is today.

After all, users who already subscribe for apps like After Effects or Photoshop might as well take advantage of the other software that’s available to them!

Our Favorite Adobe Lightroom Tutorials for Beginners

Right, let’s get into it! The free Lightroom tutorials below are some of our favourites available. Whether it’s portrait retouching, Lightroom presets or anything in between, you’re bound to find a Lightroom tutorial that works for you.

1. Auto Mask Lightroom Tutorial

This fantastic video tutorial from Signature Edits tells you everything you’ll need to know to master the auto mask feature in Lightroom. You’ll learn how to recover the precious details of your backgrounds, mask unwanted colors in certain areas, and so much more.

In our opinion the video is super easy to follow and should get you up to speed as quickly as possible! Check it out:

2. Adobe Lightroom Tutorial for Landscape Photography

Looking for a free Tutorial for landscape photography in Lightroom? Check this one out.

Landscape photography is arguably one of the most versatile and rich genres of the art form. So many incredible photos are taken in landscape every day! In this easy-to-understand tutorial (from the YouTube channel of Mark Denney), you’ll learn 7 simple steps to help you treat your landscape shots with the respect they deserve.

This one is geared firmly towards beginners so look elsewhere if you already have a little experience with Lightroom!

3. Lightroom Basics

Want something that just covers all the basics in as little time as possible? This video from Photo Genius is well worth a look. The tutorial is around 20 minutes long but it covers a ton of ground in this time!

If you’re new to the program, we strongly recommend giving videos like this a go. They can help ease you into the software with just the right learning curve. If you’re pressed for time, watch it at 2x speed and then do a repeat viewing later in the day – this way you’ll strengthen your memory of the details in the same amount of time!

4. Adobe Lightroom Level Horizon

This is one of our favorite Lightroom tutorials. It’s designed to get you up to speed with using the app’s level horizon features. In short, there’s more than one Lightroom level horizon feature that can help you quickly straighten out the background of your images.

This snappy guide tells you about three options in just over 2 minutes! It’s well worth a look in our opinion.

5. Video Tutorial – Lightroom Presets

One of the quickest ways to transform your images in Lightroom is to use one of the program’s powerful presets. In just a few clicks, you can dramatically shape the way your work is perceived and the color temperature you use for your scene.

There are plenty of free preset options out there and a fair few paid alternatives too. The ones you go with are up to you! Take a look at examples online and make the choice that works best for you.

The tutorial below discusses some premium packs and how to use Lightroom presets in general. Whether you’re a pro photographer or complete novice, you should find something useful within!

6. Lightroom Tutorial – Black and White Photo Work

There’s nothing quite like the drama and flair of a good black and white photo. Adjusting the white balance and other elements of your scene can work wonders if you know what you’re doing. That’s where we come in! This killer video from Evan Ranft runs through some great techniques for working with black and white images in Lightroom.

The good news here is that many of these techniques are transferrable to other photography genres too!

7. Split Toning in Lightroom

So, what is split toning in Lightroom? In short, split toning is a surprisingly underutilized Lightroom tool that allows users to tweak the highlights and shadows of an image independently. This means you can tweak the darker elements of a scene without worrying about what it will do to the brighter areas of your image.

Sean Dalton covers the topic very well on his YouTube channel here:

8. Lightroom Grainy Matte Effect

A matte or grainy matte effect can be exactly what your image needs to elevate it from ‘meh’ to incredible! This is a pretty easy effect to achieve with just a little know-how. Wondering where to start? Check out this fantastic Lightroom video from Signature Edits.

We think it does a great job of covering the topic in enough detail. It discusses how to add a matte effect, how to create your own matte preset, and how to add it to the tone curve in Lightroom. Great stuff in our opinion!

9. Adobe Lightroom Tutorials –Image Organization

One feature of Lightroom that we haven’t really discussed yet is how great the software is for image organization! If you’re a professional photographer – or even just a hobbyist with a ton of pics – having somewhere convenient to store and organize your photos can be a real Godsend.

While the storage and organization features of Lightroom are pretty easy to get to grips with, it can take a second if you’re brand new to the program. This tutorial from PHLEARN on YouTube explains how to quickly and effortlessly put Lightroom to work!

It covers importing, sorting, and much more. Check it out:

10. Lightroom Tutorial – Tone Curve

Mastering your color temperature, contrast, and color details in Lightroom means mastering the tone curve tool. While the tone curve can seem super intimidating at first, it’s actually fairly straightforward once you get the hang of things!

Using tutorials like the one below from Signature edits is a good way to go. It does a great job of teaching you everything you need to tweak things to your heart’s content. Understanding the tone curve can pay dividends in Lightroom. You’ll be miles ahead of other newbies and will have increased control over the final look of your photos.

11. Lightroom Tips – Adjustment Brushes

One of the primary ways you’ll be working with your images in Lightroom is with the program’s ‘adjustment brushes.’ Without the right adjustment brush, you’ll find it hard to achieve the results you’re looking for. Luckily, they’re designed fairly intuitively and can be picked up and mastered without too much effort.

We’re big fans of this tutorial from Ed Gregory. It’s a few years old now but still holds up in our opinion. It covers a whole lot of ground in less than 15 minutes and should teach you everything you need to know to get started with the right adjustment brush.

12. Lightroom Full Workflow Tutorial

One reason that so many photographers trust Lightroom is that it offers everything you need to cover your entire workflow. From taking images to the fine details of post processing, you can become a much better photographer if you master all the tools that the software has to offer.

This tutorial from THAT ICELANDIC GUY offers a ton of insight into the photographer’s general approach to using the program. You’ll learn how to start using the app like a professional and get to grips with the bulk of its settings, retouching tones, and additional presets.

Beginners and pros alike will find plenty to appreciate here.

13. Spot Removal Tool

No, this tool isn’t specifically for removing acne – although you could definitely use it for this! The spot removal tool in Lightroom lets users remove practically anything they don’t want in their scene. Editing with this tool can feel a bit fiddly at first but it’s well worth the effort in our opinion.

Photographers around the world use this kind of tool to elevate their work to where it needs to be. The tips in this video from THAT ICELANDIC GUY are worth paying attention to. They cover most of what you’ll need to know when starting out.

14. 10 Lightroom Tips You Should Know

Clickbaity title aside, we’re big fans of this video from Peter McKinnon. It’s perfect for beginners who are first getting to grips with how Lightroom works. When working with your photos, it’s important to have an idea of what the ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ are with your editing software.

If you ask us, this video is well worth a watch. It’s only 15 minutes too!

15. Portrait Photography in Lightroom

A good portrait image can make an impression that lasts a lifetime. A huge part of getting this kind of result is editing your photos the right way. If you know what you’re doing, Lightroom can offer exactly the levels of control and flexibility that you need.

This tutorial from Lucy Martin does a great job of explaining what you’ll need to get started:

Free Lightroom Tutorials – Final Thoughts

We hope you find the videos listed on this page useful! Our final piece of advice would be to emphasize how important practice is when picking up a new skill. The more you can actually sit down and work with Lightroom, the easier it will be to polish your pics to perfection.

Whenever you’re stuck on a problem or wondering what to do, check out the rest of our site for helpful tips, tricks, and buyer’s guides.

Happy editing!

Camera Settings for Portraits – Shoot Portraits Like a Pro

Portrait photography is an incredible discipline. With enough patience, practice, and the right equipment, you can produce some truly breathtaking shots. If you’re first starting out, camera settings for portraits can be difficult to figure out on your own. That’s where we come in!

We’ve scoured the internet to find the most up-to-date advice. From shutter speed to outdoor portraits, we’ve got you covered.

Also be sure to check out our equipment and general tips guide a bit further down this page. It’s designed to help you put your best foot forward when first starting out. Before you know it, you’ll be taking stunning portraits every time!

Best Camera Settings for Portrait Photography

We cover all the camera settings you’ll have to worry about in this section of the guide. We’ll also explain the advantages of manual mode and how to know which settings mode is best when shooting portraits.

Scratching your head wondering about shutter speed? Overwhelmed by how much there is to learn? Don’t worry. The bottom line here is that the more you practice, the easier all this will become. You’ll develop a kind of ‘sixth sense’ for portrait photography settings and you’ll instinctively know what will work for a given situation.

To get to this stage, though, you have to practice!

portrait o

Which Mode Should I Use?

So, which settings mode should you use when shooting? In general, we recommend getting to grips with the manual mode of your camera. This can certainly feel like a steeper learning curve at first but it’s worth it – trust us.

Once you’re familiar with tweaking your portrait photography settings manually, the level of control you’ll have at your fingertips will be impossible to achieve with an auto mode alone.

This isn’t to say that leaning on some automatic modes can’t be helpful, though. Some cameras come with a built-in portrait mode that could prove useful, at least when first starting out.

Also, automatic features such as aperture priority mode are worth using even if you’re an experienced photographer. We discuss these in more detail further down this page.

ISO For Portrait Photography

The hard and fast rule here is to set your ISO as low as you can without affecting your image quality. The aim is to avoid as much image noise and distortion as possible. The specific number you choose will be determined by your lighting conditions, lens, and camera body.

Try starting at an ISO of 400 and adjust up or down until you like the look of your test shots.

Best Shutter Speed for Portrait Photography

If you don’t know already, your shutter speed setting determines how long the shutter element of your camera stays open before taking a photo. This influences the amount of light that is let into your lens and the level of image noise you’ll have to account for.

In general, a faster shutter speed lets in less light but makes it much easier to keep things sharply in focus. In contrast, a slower shutter speed can be great for long exposure shots like astrophotography, but can cause too much blur for your portraits if you’re not careful.

When deciding your portrait photography camera settings, you’ll want a fast enough shutter speed to keep things in focus, but will need to keep the setting slow enough to get the right light for your shot.

When using the manual mode on your camera, you should see a built-in light meter that’s designed to help you choose the right shutter speed. After taking stock of your available lighting and setting your ISO, adjust your shutter until you see a comfortable middle reading on your meter.

Take a couple of test shots to make sure you’re happy with the result and you should be good to go!

Aperture Settings for Portrait Photography

It’s not quite as simple as learning the best aperture setting and sticking to that one figure. Instead, it’s best to approach this with your desired outcome in mind. Looking for a classic blurred background? Want to use an in-focus background element to frame your model?

Both of these would require a different aperture setting to get the results you’re looking for.

If you’re going for the ‘stereotypical’ blurred background, try starting with a nice wide aperture of around f/1.4 and adjust from there. For a sharper background, you’ll have to narrow things to somewhere around f/6.

Use your best judgement here. Take plenty of test shots while working to find the best camera settings for your environment. Be sure not to over do things with your depth of field, either. You still want sharp focus for your models!

Aperture Priority Mode

Aperture priority mode can be super useful for portrait work. It acts as a kind ‘halfway point’ between manual mode and auto mode. It lets you manually set the aperture setting you want. Your camera will then automatically choose an appropriate shutter speed that will properly expose the photos you take.

Aperture priority can free up some much-needed thinking space. Having one less setting to think about can be a real bonus when working on the fly.

White Balance Settings for Portraits

White balance determines the color temperature of your images. The goal here is to do your portrait subject justice and create an image that’s as ‘true to life’ as possible. So, how do you find the correct white balance setting for your portraits?

This is one area where you can lean on the preset, auto white balance settings of your camera. Play around with the white balance presets that came with your device. Try to match your chosen preset to the current lighting conditions of your scene.

Choose the option that stands out the most to you when taking test shots.

Focus Settings

Once you’ve pinned down your minimum shutter speed and accounted for things like camera shake and your available lighting, it’s time to decide which focus settings to use. Using manual mode can really help you fine-tune things here but to be honest, a huge proportion of portrait photographers stick to auto.

There are a couple of things to mention about this though:

  • Make sure you’re using a camera/ lens with a solid auto mode
  • Don’t use ‘tracking focus mode’ – this is best for fast-moving subjects

Should You Use Flash for Portrait Images?

That depends, where are you shooting? Flash photography has earned something of a ‘bad rap’ in recent years. If you’re shooting outdoors or by a window with plenty of natural, diffused light, a flash is probably unnecessary.

If you’re in an artificially lit studio, however, flash photography might be the right way to go. You’ll want to play around with your strobe’s power setting to make sure you’re properly exposing your images.

Also, using an umbrella diffuser like this one with an external studio flash can help you overcome some of the harsher tones that flash can introduce. Use your best judgement and pick the option that works best for you!

Which Format Should I Us?

Where possible, shooting in a RAW format is the right way to go in our opinion. Portrait photography usually involves a fair bit of photo editing to get the results you’re looking for. The RAW format maintains a mountain of image data that can be lost if you shoot in JPEG.

With the right editing software, you’ll have all this data at your fingertips and will be able to tweak your images to your heart’s content. This can also help you do a much better job of maintaining final image quality and getting an accurate color temperature.

Our Portrait Photography Tips

So, you’ve got your shutter speed and other settings tuned to perfection. Now what? Camera settings are only half the battle here. You’ll also need to make sure you’re making the most of your environment on the day.

Check out our tips below to get you started!

Take Advantage of Your Available Light

Any photographer worth their salt understands that lighting will make or break a photo shoot. Before you start adjusting settings or doing anything else, take stock of the light you have available. If shooting outdoors or exclusively with natural lighting, pay attention to the position of the sun and where best to place your model to flatter their face.

You’ll want plenty of soft, diffused, natural light that will help to capture your portrait subject in all their glory. If working with studio lights, pay attention to your model’s appearance and position your gear to flatter the natural features of their face.

Check out our in-depth guide to lighting and photography here.

Try Shooting Outdoors

While we’re on the subject of natural light, shooting outdoors can be a fantastic way to get the results you’re looking for. The lighting, foliage, and colors can all make for sensational images that make a lasting impression.

Looking for photoshoot ideas? Click here. ambient light outdoor portraits.

Use the Right Lens for Portrait Photography

There’s no one-size-fits all approach here. The best lens for your portrait work will come down to your style as a photographer and the environment you’re shooting in. That said, many people like to use some of the following options:

  • A short telephoto lens with strong autofocus features
  • A ‘nifty fifty’ prime lens
  • A relatively fast macro lens for very detailed portrait work (careful, sometimes a macro-level of detail can be unflattering!)

Using a Sony camera? Check out our guide here.

Keep Things Steady With a Tripod

Truth is, not everyone uses a tripod when shooting portraits, but it can really pay off if you use one properly. Problems like camera shake and motion blur can quickly lead to blurry photos if you’re not careful.

With the right tripod, however, you’ll have one less thing to think about!

Looking for recommendations? Check out our guide!

Consider Softboxes and Reflectors

Using reflectors like these and softbox kits like this one can help take your portrait work to the next level. If you’re choosing one or the other, we say opt for the cheaper reflectors over the softboxes. Reflector kits can help you squeeze every last drop of light out of your shooting environment.

Sometimes the difference between a boring image and a breathtaking shot is just a bit of light repositioned to the right spot! Having an assistant on-hand can be really helpful here. They’ll be able to hold your reflector and reposition your natural light while you setup the rest of your gear.

Consider an IR Remote

As we’ve mentioned earlier on this page, the less you have to worry about on the day, the easier it will be to produce incredible shots. With this in mind, it might be worth picking up an IR remote like this one.

To be clear, these things can be super annoying to set up when you first get them. Once you’ve paired it with your camera and have set up your tripod, however, they can be an absolute Godsend. The ability to trigger your camera button without physically holding your camera can let you focus on what really matters – your model and image composition.

Our Last Tip – Practice!

The phrase ‘practice makes perfect’ is a cliche for a reason – it’s true! Any genre of photography can feel super overwhelming when you’re first starting out. However, if you stick with it and find as many opportunities as possible to practice, you may surprise yourself at how quickly you pick things up.

Problems like choosing the right shutter speed or exposing an image properly can quickly become second nature to solve! The more you can force yourself to take photos, the better you’ll become!

Final Thoughts

We hope you’ve found the tips on this page helpful! Portraiture is one of the richest genres of photography out there. With just a little practice and the right know-how, you’ll be taking incredible shots before you know it.

For all your photography questions and gear needs, check out the rest of our site!

How to Use a DSLR as a Webcam

Looking to use your DSLR for video chats and work calls? You’re in the right place. We’ve scoured the internet to find some of the best options out there. The good news here is that there’s usually a pretty simple answer for most cameras.

With just a few tweaks, you’ll have a powerful video conferencing tool at your fingertips. You’ll be live streaming with incredible video quality before you know it! Just so you know, many of the tips on this page also apply to mirrorless cameras.

Whether you’re using a digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera or a more modern mirrorless, we’ve got you covered!

Advantages of Using a DSLR Camera for Video Calls

The events of the past two years have made video conference calls a regular fact of life (for better or worse!) An increasing number of people are looking to up their game when chatting on Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, or Zoom.

In this section, we explore some of the main reasons that people decide to switch to a more premium capture device for their calls.

Better Video Quality

It’s pretty obvious, but picture quality is probably the main reason that most people make the switch. If you’ve spent any time calling on your average computer, chances are you’ve realised that your laptop’s camera leaves a lot to be desired.

A DSLR webcam is a different story. These devices are built from the ground up to deliver some of the best quality video available for live streams and the like. With the right software installed – and a small amount of tweaking in your settings – you’ll be good to go!

dslr as a webcam

Improved Control

In addition to better image quality, your new webcam can also offer an increased level of control than you may be used to. This depends on the webcam utility you’re using, but most camera manufacturers these days offer pretty good solutions.

You’ll be able to tweak your high quality webcam to your heart’s content!

Less Stuttering and Dropped Frames

As a general rule, using a DSLR as a webcam means you’ll be dealing with less stuttering overall. This is because many DSLR cameras can record footage with a much higher FPS than your average webcam. You’ll enjoy buttery-smooth video for your calls.

Provided you have a decent internet connection, that is; a call with a slow connection will suffer in quality no matter how good your camera is!

Better Low-Light Performance

A lot of the time, you won’t be video calling in ideal lighting environments. Oppressive fluorescent lighting, overhead lamps, and dim rooms can all affect the quality of your calls. A decent DSLR or mirrorless camera with a good lens usually does a much better job of adapting to lighting changes than a traditional webcam.

Using DSLR Cameras as Webcams – What You May Need

In this section, we explore what you may need when setting up your DSLR camera for video conferencing. You won’t need all of these as it all comes down to the specific camera you’re using and the approach you choose when setting up your gear.

In short, these are the main ways people set up a DSLR webcam:

  • By using a capture card like this one
  • Using their camera manufacturer’s webcam/ streaming software
  • Using other software that works more universally

We discuss the details below!

Your Digital Camera

No points for guessing this first one! You’ll need a decent DSLR or mirrorless camera to make this process worthwhile. Make sure you’re familiar with your camera’s settings and know how to use its HDMI output features.

When streaming video with your camera, you’ll have to switch to video mode or find the appropriate ‘streaming’ option in your settings.

A USB Capture Card

You’ll often have to pick up a capture card like this one to allow your camera to communicate with your desktop PC or laptop. In short, a capture card lets your computer and camera talk to each other via your DSLR’s HDMI output.

HDMI to Micro HDMI Cable

In most cases, you’ll want a micro to full-size HDMI cable to connect your camera to your PC. Double-check the socket on your camera to make sure. Some older Sony and Canon models may use a proprietary cable that you’ll need to source through them.

If you’re using extras like an external microphone, you’ll also need a usb cable.

External Microphone

This one isn’t strictly necessary, but it can really take things up a notch. Depending on the age of your DSLR, your internal microphone might let down the quality of your streams. External microphones can be picked up reasonably cheaply and give your streams the crisp audio they deserve.

A Tripod or Mount

Another piece of additional hardware worth considering is a decent tripod/ mount for your camera. Most DSLR cameras are quite heavy and will need some hands-free support to function properly as a webcam.

Check out our guide to camera tripods if you’re unsure where to start.

Free Software

As mentioned earlier, you’ll need some form of extra software in order to use your camera as a webcam. Make sure that any option you consider works with your operating system and will actually play nicely with programs like Zoom or Microsoft Teams.

We list a few options below.

SparkoCam

SparkoCam is a webcam app that works with a broad range of DSLR cameras. It comes with a suite of tools that make it easier to control your camera with your PC. There are also some fun gimmicks like face filters and green-screen modes thrown in for good measure.

This option is for PC users only and costs $70 a year (free options below!).

CamTwist

Using a Mac? The program CamTwist makes it possible to run live streams using your digital camera. It’s designed to work with HDMI capture cards and can be downloaded for free. You’ll also have access to a ton of different effects and visual tools which is a great bonus.

digiCamControl

Another option for Windows users is digiCamControl. Expect a suite of tools and effects that make using your DSLR as a webcam a breeze! Just as a head’s up – the settings menu might feel a little fiddly to non-power users but it’s nothing you can’t get used to.

If You’ve Got a Canon DSLR Camera

Want to take advantage of the image quality on your Canon camera? You’ll want their dedicated webcam software.

canon camera as webcam

Canon EOS Webcam Utility

Download here: link

The Canon EOS webcam utility is designed to transform your Canon DSLR into live video powerhouse! Using your digital camera as a webcam doesn’t get much better than this. When downloading the program, you’ll need to provide some info about your camera’s specific model.

Check your camera’s manual if you’re unsure. This lets you download the right drivers so everything runs smoothly from the moment you open the app. When plugging in your camera, you’ll probably have to switch to ‘movie mode’ in your settings menu.

If you’re scratching your head and wondering where to start, this guide might be able to help:

It will talk you through the camera settings, hardware, and other considerations you’ll need to think about.

Use a Fujifilm DSLR as a Webcam

Fujifilm users don’t need to feel left out of the party. The company’s ‘X Webcam’ software works with a ton of their cameras and seems to work very well.

Fujifilm X Webcam

Download here: link

This handy bit of software is available for both Windows and Mac operating systems and can interface with your camera via a USB or HDMI connection. You’ll be able to use your DSLR for Zoom, Google Meet, Skype, and more.

Just make sure you’re using Edge or Chrome as your web browser of choice.

Overwhelmed? This guide from Fujifilm may help.

Use a Nikon DSLR as a Webcam

Nikon users should install the Nikon Webcam Utility to use their DSLR as a webcam

Nikon Webcam Utility

Download here: link

This live streaming app is available on both MacOs and Windows and has been tested on all of the video conferencing apps you care about. When connecting your Nikon camera to your PC, make sure you’ve selected ‘PC Mode’ and disconnected your USB cable from any other hardware.

A note for Mac users – this doesn’t work in Safari and you’ll have to use Chrome or Edge.

Panasonic Live Streaming App

Using a Lumix camera? There’s a beta version of Panasonic’s webcam app available that you might like to try.

LUMIX Webcam Software (Beta)

Download here: link

Say goodbye to your laptop’s webcam and boost your video quality with this handy software from Panasonic. Make sure you’ve put your camera in ‘PC Tether’ mode before plugging in your USB. Use the link provided above to double-check compatibility and setup support.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve already got a powerful camera lying around, setting it up as a webcam can be easier than you might expect. Our main advice is to double-check whether you actually need a capture card before ordering one.

Some setups need them, others don’t. Check the guidance from your manufacture online if you’re unsure. Whichever approach you go with, we hope it serves you well during your video calls and streams!

7 Sites Like SmugMug – Paid and Free Options

When it comes to online image hosting and portfolio building, sites like SmugMug are tough to beat. For professional photographers, the convenience and opportunity that come with these platforms can be indispensable.

Earning money from your work means being able to store and share it with the world. Social media can be great for exposure, but lossless storage and sharing is something that the likes of Facebook and Instagram just can’t offer.

If you’re taking your photography seriously, you’ll probably want to look elsewhere.

If you’ve tried SmugMug and are looking for alternatives, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve scoured the internet to find our favorite sites that offer similar services and features. We’ve considered a ton of factors including price, convenience, availability, and much more.

Looking for a SmugMug Alternative? Think About This First

The good news is that there’s a ton of SmugMug alternatives out there if you know where to look. Each comes with its own set of pros and cons which we’ll dive into a little further down this page.

In this section, we’ll explore some of the main things to consider when searching for alternatives online. Check them out.

Which Features Do You Actually Need?

One of the great things about SmugMug is the number of tools it gives you as a photographer. You get access to stellar online photo storage, a portfolio site builder, and great commerce tools, to name a few.

Thing is, these are only worthwhile if you’re actually using them on a regular basis. If your main reason for using SmugMug is for photo storage, for example, you can almost certainly find cheaper alternatives online.

Price

With this in mind, it’s worth thinking about how much you’re willing to spend per month on sites like this. It all comes down to how often you use them and how much they’re benefitting you as a photographer.

Using them constantly and actually making money through sales, etc? You can probably justify the cost of sites like SmugMug.

Just starting out and money is tight? This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go for it, but proceed with caution.

Compatibility

SmugMug works on Android phones, iPhones, Macs, and PCs. Can you say the same of the alternative you’re considering? It sounds obvious, but it can be easy to overlook if you’re not careful.

Make sure that any SmugMug alternative you consider will work with your current setup. The last thing you want to do is interrupt your workflow with a silly mistake like this – trust us.

Ease of Use

One thing many SmugMug customers praise is how easy it is to navigate and use the site. Make sure that any alternative you consider won’t cause you headaches down the line.

This works both ways too – if you’re looking for some coder-friendly, in-depth features that SmugMug just doesn’t offer, it’s worth keeping an eye out for these tools during your search. It all comes down to the type of site you’re looking to build and your level of experience with this kind of work.

Sites Like SmugMug – Our Recommendations

Right, let’s get into it! The list below contains some of our favorite SmugMug alternatives in 2021. Some come with fully fledged features suites that are on par with SmugMug. Others offer a more minimalist approach that can save you money.

We’ve compared online reviews, feature sets, price, and availability to find the suggestions made below. Read on to find the best option for you!

22 Slides 22 slides screenshot

Cost: 30-day free trial then $10/month

Link: here

First up is the refreshingly simple 22 Slides. This is a portfolio website builder that’s dedicated to being easy-to-use yet powerful in the hands of the right photographer. You get a good impression of 22 Slides the moment you look at their ‘pricing’ page.

They offer one payment plan – $10 a month with absolutely 0 upsells or extra gimmicks to be found anywhere. This no-nonsense approach can be found throughout the 22 Slides platform.

It’s lean yet powerful throughout. Customers can easily build unique portfolio websites, integrate commerce tools, master their site’s SEO and much more. If you’re looking to set up your professional site as a photographer, this is a fantastic option in our opinion.

The site builder and cloud storage on offer here are exactly what most people will be looking for. Over 200 servers worldwide for speedy load times? Check. Flawless Flickr and Instagram integration? Double check.

Free custom domains, coding tools, and flexible pricing features? Check, check check. The list goes on. Long story short, 22 Slides is a phenomenal, no-nonsense SmugMug alternative in 2021. Check it out.

Pros:

  • Super simple pricing structure
  • Powerful, lean site builder
  • All the tools most photographers will need

Cons:

  • No smartphone app

Format format screenshot

Cost: 14-day free trial then $7, $15, or $25 a month

Link: here

The tagline used by Format is ‘where photographers get serious’ and for the most part, we agree with them. The platform comes with a slew of tools that make it easy to set up a site and start showcasing your work.

In some cases, this can be all a good photographer needs to start earning money through their images. The templates on offer here deserve praise in our opinion. Their award-winning design makes it effortless to build sites that are beautiful, easy-to-navigate, and effective.

Users will be able to upload their images at full resolution and showcase them in a number of convenient ways. The client gallery feature will be especially useful to headshot or real estate photographers who need a place to store and organize their individual clients’ shots.

Format starts at just $7 a month, but you’ll have to pay significantly more if you want access to the full suite of features. This basic payment tier only grants access to the platform’s ‘starter’ templates, for example.

Pros:

  • Great portfolio tools including client galleries
  • Award-winning templates
  • Convenient hosting options

Cons:

  • A three-tiered pricing structure that limits access to customers who pay less

Adobe Portfolioadobe portfolio

Cost: $10 for Portfolio tools or $50 a month for the entire Adobe suite

Link: here

Adobe has been an industry-leader in the world of photography and software editing for quite some time now. Their Portfolio platform is designed to add one more tool to their already substantial suite of creative online tools.

The primary purpose here is to help creatives set up a site, set their pricing, and start selling to customers. There’s a ton of beautiful templates to choose from that are designed from the ground up to showcase your work in all its glory.

If you’re already a Creative Cloud subscriber, you’ll be able to access Adobe’s portfolio tools for no extra cost. This of course is only worthwhile if you’re already subscribed for other tools, but it’s worth mentioning.

With killer features like Lightroom integration, password protection, image hosting, and much more, Adobe Portfolio is another great alternative to SmugMug, especially if you’re already using Adobe’s other programs.

Pros:

  • Great templates
  • Optimized for practically any device
  • Free for Creative Cloud subscribers

Cons:

  • $50+ for Adobe’s entire suite might be too expensive for some

Pic-Timepic time screenshot

Cost: Free (with 15% commission on sales) or $17, $34, or $50 a month

Link: here

If you’ve built up a collection of high-quality work but are just starting out professionally, Pic-Time might be a great option. Unlike the other platforms discussed so far, it’s possible to build and maintain a site on Pic-Time without paying a monthly subscription.

Instead, the site takes a 15% commission on any sales made through your galleries. Once you start earning as a photographer, this might be a bit of a steep cut. If you’re a newcomer to the profession, though, this could help you cut costs early on.

The platform comes with plenty of templates to choose from and most of the pro-grade tools you’d expect. It’s easy to set prices, tweak SEO, automate commerce functions, and much more.

We’re big fans of the simplicity and convenience on offer here.

Pros:

  • A great free option for beginners
  • Commission-free paid options for pros
  • Lovely templates and powerful tools

Cons:

  • Not suber robust for self-coding fans

Zenfoliozenfolio screenshot

Cost: $4-$10 a month

Link: here

Another SmugMug alternative that’s worth considering is Zenfolio. Like the other options listed on this page, it makes it super easy to start showcasing your work to the world. Expect convenient templates, simple selling tools, and hosting that should be more than enough than most people.

In general, we found the site builder to be pretty easy to use. If you’re used to the in-depth, power-user features of platforms like WordPress, you might find Zenfolio a little too simple. For most people, however, you should find it refreshingly easy to build what you’re looking for.

This platform has done a great job of cross-device optimization. Once your site is up and running, it will look just as good whether you’re viewing it on a Mac, PC, smartphone, or tablet.

The pricing here is particularly compelling – you can get started for as little as $4 a month!

Pros:

  • Pretty affordable for most people
  • Great cross-device optimization
  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • Not great for power-users

Dropboxdropbox

Cost: Free, or $8-$18 a month

Link: here

We’ll cut right to the chase here – this isn’t the option for you if you want to build a portfolio website. If the main appeal to you with SmugMug was the file hosting, however, Dropbox might just be a welcome alternative.

It’s one of the world’s leading cloud-based file storage solutions (as if you didn’t know that already). It comes with a surprising number of tools that make it really easy to share your files with other people.

The platform has put a lot of effort in recent years into their collaborative tools. They’re designed to help people come together virtually and interact with files online. When sharing or tweaking content with a client, this might be more than enough for your needs.

Dropbox can be used for free, but if you want to take advantage of higher storage volumes, you’ll need to subscribe.

Pros:

  • No-nonsense file storage
  • A surprising number of collaboration tools
  • Access your files anywhere

Cons:

  • No site building or portfolio features

Squarespace squarespace

Cost: $10-$30 a month

Link: here

If you haven’t heard of Squarespace before, where have you been the past ten years? The platform has reached legendary status in the world of website building and online commerce.

There are plenty of photographer-focused templates on offer here that make it really easy to share your work with the world. If you’re more technically minded, Squarespace also makes it possible to tweak things to your heart’s content.

Coding, SEO adjustments, HTML changes, and much more are all just a few clicks away. Keep in mind that Squarespace is built to be an excellent website builder, but it’s not a purpose built photography tool like some of the other options on this page.

There are premium plans available for more intensive image hosting, but the switch from sites like SmugMug might take a little getting used to for some people. In general, though, this is a fast, convenient way to build a photography website with impact.

Pros:

  • Loads of high-quality templates
  • Plenty of more in-depth tools
  • Super intuitive

Cons:

  • Not perfect for high-volume image hosting

Sites Like SmugMug – Verdict

We hope you’ve found the recommendations on this page helpful. Remember that there’s no one-size-fits all approach here. We recommend taking advantage of a few free trials before pulling the trigger. A huge amount of your decision-making process should come from actually using the tools described on this page.

Until you’ve tried them for yourself, it can be hard to know which will be a good fit. Consider your requirements, budget, and experience level and try to choose a platform that fits.

Whichever option you choose, we hope it serves you well for many years to come!

When it comes to online image hosting and portfolio building, sites like SmugMug are tough to beat. For professional photographers, the convenience and opportunity that come with these platforms can be indispensable.

Earning money from your work means being able to store and share it with the world. Social media can be great for exposure, but lossless storage and sharing is something that the likes of Facebook and Instagram just can’t offer.

If you’re taking your photography seriously, you’ll probably want to look elsewhere.

If you’ve tried SmugMug and are looking for alternatives, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve scoured the internet to find our favorite sites that offer similar services and features. We’ve considered a ton of factors including price, convenience, availability, and much more.

Aluminum VS Carbon Fiber Tripod – The Lowdown (With Recommendations)

Aluminum VS carbon fiber tripods – which is the better option for you? We encounter this question a lot on our photography escapades, especially among newcomers to the hobby. If you find yourself scratching your head when looking at tripod listings online, help is at hand.

On this page, we’ll dive into the details of the aluminum vs carbon fiber debate. Spoiler alert – it all depends on the kind of photography you’re doing and the budget you’re working with. But what should you do?

If you read through this page, we promise things will become a little clearer. Let’s get to the bottom of this once and for all!

Aluminum VS Carbon Fiber Tripod – Our Comparisons

As with most things in life, there’s no clear winner here. It all comes down to what you’re looking for. We’ve split things into categories to hopefully make it easier for you to make your own decision.

Weather Proofing – (Choose Carbon Fiber)

If you do even a small amount of shooting outdoors, the weatherproofing and corrosion resistance of your tripod should be towards the top of your priority list. That shiny new accessory might look great now, but is it still going to hold up once it’s been exposed to the elements?

The good news here is that with even a small amount of maintenance, both aluminum and carbon fiber can stand up fairly well to occasional water exposure. Just make sure you thoroughly wipe down and dry your gear in between sessions.

It’s worth keeping in mind that aluminum tripods will probably show signs of water damage sooner than their carbon fiber counterparts. They won’t rust as poorly as materials like steel, but a powdery substance called aluminum oxide will start to show.

If in doubt, go for carbon fiber.

Price – (Aluminum Wins)

There’s a pretty clear winner here. If you’re trying to save money, you’ll find it much easier to find a good deal on an aluminum tripod. Don’t get us wrong, you can find excellent value for money in both categories. It’s just that aluminum products tend to consistently undercut carbon fiber products when it comes to cost.

Just make sure you do your due diligence if you’re pinching pennies. There are plenty of high-quality aluminum options out there, but you can get burnt if you’re not careful. Check online reviews and comparison sites like this one to be sure.

We make a few suggestions a little further down this page if you’re interested.

Stiffness – (Go With Carbon Fiber)

Stiffness is one of the biggest things to think about when picking up a new tripod for your gear. The whole point of using an accessory like this is to reduce camera shake and the resulting image noise it can cause in your photos.

The stiffer your tripod, the less shake you’re going to have to deal with. As a general rule, carbon fiber products offer a far superior stiffness to weight ratio than their aluminum counterparts. This means that per pound of weight, a carbon fiber tripod will serve you better when shooting.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you should abandon aluminum options altogether – the weight of your camera plays an important role. If your gear is a little on the lighter side, you might not notice much benefit from a stiffer tripod.

Those shooting with heavier DSLRs should consider carbon fiber, however.

Portability (Carbon Fiber Wins)

While we’re on the subject of weight, how easy will it be to cart your tripod from place to place? Photographers who move around a lot between different shooting environments will definitely want to consider options that aren’t going to weigh them down.

Both aluminum and carbon fiber are relatively lightweight materials. It’s worth noting, however, that carbon fiber is a clear winner here. The nature of the material means that inch for inch, it’s much easier to carry with you than other options.

When it comes to tripods, this might only mean a difference of a pound or two. Trust us, though – if you’re carrying it with you all day, you’ll notice the difference.

Tripod Stability – (Choose Aluminum)

Another area where weight is worth considering is the stability of your tripod. A heavier weight overall can actually make a tripod more stable and less prone to wobbles caused by the wind when outdoors.

For this reason, the slightly bulkier aluminum tripods can actually serve you better when it comes to keeping your gear stable. To help you with your decision, consider how often you’re likely to be working outdoors in windy environments.

Outside all the time? Think about aluminum. Usually in the studio? Carbon fiber might be the right way to go.

Overall Quality – (It’s a Draw Overall)

Most good camera equipment doesn’t come cheap. It’s important to find products that will stand the test of time and stay useful for you for many years to come. The good news is that there are some incredible options out there in both the aluminum and carbon fiber camps.

One thing to think about is damage from accidental drops or bumps. The nature of aluminum means that it’s quite susceptible to dents and warping. Even a light bump could cause grief with certain models.

On the other hand, it’s not uncommon for the outer casing on carbon fiber tripods to crack after a bump or two. It all comes down to the specific make and model in a lot of cases. Check out online reviews and pay as much as you can afford to on your new tripod.

Availability – (Aluminum Wins by a Hair)

A product could be the best thing in the world, but it’s going to be useless if you can’t actually buy it anywhere! The availability of a product is worth considering if you’re in certain parts of the world.

Broadly speaking, both aluminum and carbon fiber tripods are pretty easy to find. That said, aluminum tripods have been around for longer. As aluminum options tend to be cheaper, they can be significantly easier to find.

You shouldn’t have much trouble either way, but it’s worth keeping in mind.

Check out our other tripod articles:

Some Great Aluminum Tripods

So, we’ve established that carbon fiber tripods tend to be stiffer, more durable, but more expensive, while aluminum products are a little looser, more stable, and easier on the bank account.

The bottom line is that you can find excellent accessories made from both materials – you just need to know where to look. That’s where we come in. We’ve scoured the internet for options, considering price point, quality, and online reviews.

The recommendations below are a few of our favorites. Check them out.

K&F Concept 62” DSLR Tripod, Lightweight and Compact Aluminum Camera Tripod

K&F Concept 62'' DSLR Tripod, Lightweight and Compact Aluminum Camera Tripod with 360 Panorama Ball Head Quick Release Plate for Travel and Work (TM2324 Black)

Compact, relatively lightweight, and super-configurable, this aluminum tripod from K&F is unlikely to disappoint. The brand has been producing stellar camera equipment for quite some time now and their experience really shows.

The ball-head design used here makes it super easy to adjust your setup to your heart’s content. Taking a great photo means having accuracy and speed on your side. Tripods like this one give you one less thing to worry about.

Something else that deserves a mention here is the locking mechanism used for each of the legs. Everything can be tweaked and secured in a matter of seconds and the mechanism seems refreshingly easy to use.

With a max height of 156cm and a minimum configuration that reaches just 47cm, you’ll have plenty of wiggle room to get your shot just right. As far as aluminum products go, this is a great one in our opinion.

Pros:

  • Very portable for an aluminum tripod
  • Super easy to set up and adjust
  • Decent max height

Cons:

  • There are cheaper options out there

ZOEGATE 79” Tripod, Camera Tripod for DSLR, 200cm DSLR Tripod Compact Aluminum Lightweight Tripod

ZOEGATE 79'' Tripod, Camera Tripod for DSLR, 200cm DSLR Tripod Compact Aluminum Lightweight Tripod with 360 Degree Ball Head and 10kgs Load for Travel and Work

We’ve included this option from Zoegate primarily for its versatility and lightweight frame. This compact piece of kit functions superbly as both a tripod and a monopod. This gives you a whole world of flexibility when shooting outdoors.

The height range is also very respectable, coming in at 47-200cm. Whether you’re shooting a sweeping landscape or keeping things stable for macro photos, this tripod is unlikely to let you down.

Just remember that carbon fiber will be the way to go if you need something super stiff when working. Overall, however, this is a fantastic tripod that’s currently offered at a pretty reasonable price. It’s worth a look if you ask us.

Pros:

  • Versatile mono/ tripod configuration
  • Great height range
  • Reasonably priced

Cons:

  • Not as stiff as its carbon fiber counterparts

Some Great Carbon Fiber Tripods

So, aluminum tripods just aren’t working for you and you’ve got the budget for carbon fiber? You’re in the right place. The two options below represent fantastic value for money in our opinion.

We’ve compared online reception for carbon fiber tripods to find the suggestions we make below. Check them out.

Neewer Carbon Fiber 66 inches/168 centimeters Camera Tripod Monopod

Neewer Carbon Fiber 66 inches/168 centimeters Camera Tripod Monopod with 360 Degree Ball Head,1/4 inch Quick Shoe Plate,Bag for DSLR Camera,Video Camcorder,Load up to 26.5 pounds/12 kilograms

This is another option that can serve as both a tripod and monopod. This can be especially useful for those who do a lot of outdoor shooting over unpredictable terrain. Thanks to the carbon fiber construction, you’ll have no trouble carrying this thing with you throughout long shoots.

The twisting adjustable legs used for this tripod’s design deserve a lot of praise in our opinion. They seem super easy to tweak on the fly and are built to a very high standard. Just remember that you’ll be gaining stiffness but losing some stability when working with carbon fiber VS aluminum.

Don’t worry, though – this thing is still plenty sturdy for most people. Unless you have a ridiculously heavy camera setup, you should be just fine. At a little over $110 at the time of writing, this isn’t the cheapest accessory in the world.

If you ask us, though, it’s worth the money.

Pros:

  • Tripod and monopod functions
  • Super portable
  • Easy to adjust

Cons:

  • The max height (168cm) is good but not excellent

Carbon Fiber Bowl Tripod, AS80C Heavy Duty Camera Tripod

Carbon Fiber Bowl Tripod, AS80C Heavy Duty Camera Tripod Ultra Stable & Lightweight Professional Camera Travel Tripod,Max Load 44lbs/20kg,65mm Bowl Adapter as a Gift(RT80C Upgraded)

An impressive 8 layers of carbon fiber make up the legs and body of this heavy-duty tripod. Whether you’re roughing it in the great outdoors or throwing it around a studio environment, this thing is plenty tough for most people.

The three-level angle adjustment used for this design gives users a ton of flexibility when working. You shouldn’t have any trouble setting up the shot you want and it won’t take you much time either.

Keep in mind that the max load for this product is 20kg. This will be more than enough for most people, but those with heftier lenses and camera bodies may need to look elsewhere.

Overall, this is an excellent tripod that’s well worth a look.

Pros:

  • Max height of 200cm for versatile shooting
  • Easy to set up and take down
  • 8 layers of carbon fiber

Cons:

  • Pretty expensive compared to other options on this page

Verdict – Which One Should You Buy?

As you can probably see from our discussions on this page, there’s no clear-cut winner here. It all comes down to the type of photographer you are and the budget you’re working with.

In general, keep the following in mind.

Carbon fiber is better for:

  • Resisting corrosion
  • Stiffness
  • Portability

Aluminum is better for:

  • Price
  • Stability
  • Availability

There are fantastic options available made from both materials. This means that your best bet will be to treat each product on a case by case basis. Does the tripod have the height range, weight capacity, and features you’re looking for?

Does it have a ton of positive reviews online? Whether it’s aluminum or carbon fiber, you’ll probably be happy with what you get. Whichever tripod you choose, we hope it serves you well!

 

15+ Indoor Macro Photography Ideas

Looking for indoor macro photography ideas? We don’t blame you. Macro work gets you up close and personal with the intricate details of the world around us. Take the dullest of subjects and it instantly becomes fascinating when viewed through a macro lens.

There’s just so much the human eye can’t perceive alone. A photographer with even a little skill and the right equipment can produce shots that stay with their viewers for years to come.

Thing is, a ton of macro photography takes place outdoors. This makes sense, as nature is teeming with incredible macro subjects. If you’d rather stay indoors, however, the suggestions on this page will be right up your street. Read on to spark your creativity.

How to Take Macro Pictures

Whether you’re at home or outside, it’s important to make sure you’re doing things properly. Check out our micro guide and tips below.

Use the Right Lens

For your photography to be ‘true’ macro, you’ll need to be using a lens that offers a 1:1 reproduction ratio. If it’s advertised as a macro product, it will be 1:1 out of the box. In short, this means that an object that’s 1 inch long on your viewfinder will also be 1 inch long in your final image.

Make sure it’s a true macro lens before shooting.

Confused? Check out our in-depth guide here.

Get the Lighting Right

As with every photography genre, it’s critical that you make good use of your available light. When shooting indoors, you might have less sunlight in your environment than is ideal. This means relying on artificial light sources instead.

Pay close attention to the lamps and overhead lights in any room you’re using for photos. Consider picking up some basic lighting equipment if you plan on doing a lot of shooting at home.

Use the Right Settings

Your shutter speed and aperture are perhaps the most important settings to think about when taking macro photos indoors. They impact the amount of light that enters your lens and also affect how long you’ll have to wait before you get the perfect shot.

Be prepared for a degree of trial and error when working. As you move from subject to subject and room to room, you’ll likely have to tweak things from time to time.

The more you practice, the easier it will become to make adjustments on the fly.

Keep Things Steady

A tripod is basically a must-have when taking macro photographs. Unless you have the steadiest hand in the world, consider picking one up for your shoots. The less you have to worry about camera shake and resulting image noise, the better.

Macro photography can be a finicky business at the best of times – keeping things steady with a tripod gives you one less thing to worry about.

These tripods are perfect for macro photography.

On a Budget?

The good news here is that macro lenses are relatively affordable when compared to most other lens types. If you’re looking to really pinch pennies, however, there’s a cheaper option out there for those willing to tolerate a lower-quality image.

Extension tubes can be a budget friendly alternative to macro lenses that produce reasonable results if you know what you’re doing. We discuss the pros and cons of these accessories vs a traditional lens here.

Indoor Macro Photography Ideas

The list below is far from exhaustive. It’s designed as a jumping-off point to help spark your creativity. Check out our suggestions and see what new subjects you can think of along the way!

The great thing about macro photography is that basically anything can become interesting once viewed up-close. In particular, look out for the following when finding your own subjects:

  • Textures
  • Shapes
  • Colors
  • Patterns
  • Dynamics (moving VS still subjects)
  • Size

When looking at a potential subject, see if you can find one or more of the above-mentioned aspects that interest you. If you can, it’s time to get shooting!

Pets

macro photograph of a pet's nose

Our furry (or scaly!) friends can be wonderful macro subjects. Think about which parts of your pet you’d like to capture. Their textured little nose? Their intricate scales? Their paws? The world really is your oyster here – if you’ll pardon the pun.

Remember that pets can be a little frustrating to capture at first as they tend to move around more than you’d like them to. Practice by finding ways to keep your pet still when working. Treats and a little patience can work wonders!

Fruits, Vegetables

macro photograph of pomegrate

Macro images reveal just how fascinating fruits and vegetables can be. Look out for rough, bumpy textures and spectacular colors. With certain fruits, cutting them open first can be a great way to get the shots you need.

When going for a certain color palette, choose fruit and veg that compliments your theme. Check out our specific suggestions below:

  • Pomegranates (the spiky top and the ruby-red seeds)
  • Avocado skin
  • Apple cores
  • Lettuce
  • Cabbage
  • Blueberries
  • Sliced cucumber
  • Dragon fruit
  • Blood oranges
  • Raspberries

Food in General

macro photo of tortilla chips

 

While fruit and veg can provide some truly unique textures for your macro shots, don’t be tricked into overlooking the rest of your pantry. There’s a ton of intrigue to be found throughout your whole kitchen.

A great ‘game’ you can play when taking macro photos is to try and mislead your viewer. How can you capture an image that makes people go ‘wait, what am I looking at?’? This is half the magic of macro photography – the ability to make the mundane magical.

House Plants

macro photo of leaf

Plants and their beautiful foliage are timeless classics of the macro photography genre. If you’ve got indoor plants in your home, it’s well worth putting them under your macro lens. As with outdoor plants, look for specific textures, lines, and shapes that catch your eye.

Is it worth including part of the plant pot? Which focus point will look just perfect? Answer questions like these when working and you’ll be well on your way to a killer image.

Textiles and Furniture

macro photo of woven fabric

What looks like a simple couch or cushion can become valleys of texture and curiosity through a macro lens. Take a moment to look at the different furniture pieces and textiles throughout your house. Don’t just rely on your eyes here.

Running your fingers over things can be super helpful too – it makes it easier to identify the awesome bumps and creases that only become visible through your camera.

Unique House Features

macro photo of drops on a window

Got funky wallpaper in your house? Do certain areas have hairline cracks or crevices that are hard to notice? This kind of feature can be perfect for macro photography. Showcase the weird and wonderful parts of your home and get creative with how you capture them.

Your chosen focal point and angle can be just as important as the object itself. Don’t be afraid to play around until you get things just right. One of the great things about taking macro photographs at home is that you have the luxury of time on your side.

Get to know your house on a whole new level with macro photography!

Vases

photograph of plant in a vase

The colors, patterns, and textures that come with vases can be excellent photography subjects. For clear glass vases, it might be a good idea to put some flowers in there too. The obscured roots and leaves through glass can make for some incredible shots if you know what you’re doing.

For colored and patterned vases, try to find spots that really pique your interest. If your eye is drawn there, chances are it’s the right spot to focus on.

Water

macro photo of food coloring in water

We’ve dedicated a few paragraphs below to water-specific examples. Water can provide a phenomenal canvas for the home photographer. The only limit here is your creativity. We outline a few ideas below that use water in all its forms. Check them out.

Droplets

A well-timed shot of a water droplet can be truly breathtaking. Be prepared, though – you’ll need a little patience to get the shot you’re looking for. Play around with your aperture, shutter speed, and exposure and try to maintain sharpness on this fascinating moving subject.

Definitely use a tripod if you’re trying to take photos of a moving object.

Steam

The snaking wisps that rise from a cup of coffee, the enticing mist that hangs over a gloriously hot bath – steam is an excellent choice for a stunning indoor macro image. Composition will be especially important here.

Think about what else you’d like to include in your frame. The rim of our aforementioned coffee cup? Some other source for the steam? Consider how you’d like your viewers to perceive your final photo.

Ice Cubes

Ice cubes are another great one and are far less dynamic than steam or falling water droplets. They’re especially interesting when beginning to melt at room temperature. Look through your camera lens and search for spots on your ice cubes where cracks and droplets are beginning to show.

Can you create the impression of a vast iceberg from within your kitchen? Macro photography makes it possible.

Add Oil or Dyes

It’s amazing what a little olive oil or food coloring can accomplish. Fill a transparent dish or container with water and then drop in a little food coloring or similar dyeing agent. Gently swirl the mixture and capture the result in all its glory.

Plenty of bright light will help for this scenario. The specific viscosity of your mixture will determine how quickly you have to take your image. Experiment, and have fun with it!

Smoke

macro photo of smoke

The snaking tendrils of smoke from a fire or candle can be rendered jaw-dropping with a little macro magic. Make sure that any smoke-related photography takes place in a well-ventilated room and with an abundance of caution.

Direct lighting in an otherwise dark room can work well when taking photos of smoke. No one knows your home better than you so feel free to play around with different lighting states until you find what works.

Cutlery

close up photo of a fork

Cutlery may appear perfectly pedestrian to the untrained eye but point a macro lens at it, and a whole world of stories emerges. Fingerprints, micro-scratches, and small dents can add dazzling texture to this otherwise mundane photography subject.

Overhead lighting can help reveal many of these imperfections when working.

Clothing

macro photo of a sweater

Fling open your wardrobe and have a root around for your next masterpiece! Sequins, intricate stitching, and woven patterns can all be great for macro shots. Think about which angles will work best for each piece.

Top-down? Parallel to the surface of your shirt? It’s up to you!

Jewelry

macro photograph of a ring

There’s a reason that most promotional jewelry photos are taken with a macro lens – the level of detail you get is hard to beat. Choose a few special pieces and dive into their intricate details. You might be amazed by how much you can capture with a little patience.

If you’re looking to learn more about photographing your rings, earrings, and other accessories, check out our guide here.

Toys

macro photograph of toys

Lego soldiers, plastic bricks, and any number of other toys can produce a stunning macro photograph. Think about the stories you can tell with your images. Does your chosen toy have a mucky fingerprint on it? Perhaps it’s been scuffed up by your kids. In the world of photography, this is a chance to capture more than just an object, but a memory too.

If your kids are particularly patient, you could even experiment with including their hands in the frame too.

Indoor Macro Photography Ideas – Final Thoughts

We hope you’ve found the suggestions on this page helpful. Remember that they’re just here as jumping-off points. If you think you can come up with better ideas, that’s great! The more you experiment and tinker with your photography gear, the better photographer you become.

Don’t forget to look for interesting textures, colors, and shapes that catch your eye. If you find it fascinating, chances are your viewer will too. Whatever subject you choose, we hope you have fun capturing it. Happy clicking!