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By Joseph Linaschke | Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Shoot Great Macro Photos — with a Cheap Plastic Cup

WhiteCupMacro_02_assembled

Have you ever shot really close-up hand-held macro photography and struggled with keeping your subject still, holding your camera steady, or avoiding harsh, ugly shadows?

I’m going to show you how to solve all of those problems in just a few minutes with nothing more than a plastic cup and some scissors.

By Robbie Carman | Saturday, August 30, 2014

Shooting Video with Ultra Fast Prime Lenses

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In an interview or close up shot, setting a soft background with bokeh is a really popular look.

Ultra fast prime lenses allow you to work with more of a set’s natural light to help you create that soft look, while keeping the focus area crisp and sharp.

This week on Video Gear weekly, Rich and I shed light on why a fast prime lens should be in your camera bag.

By Richard Harrington | Friday, June 27, 2014

Cheap Camera Lenses: Some Surprising Benefits

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The type of lens you use adds character to a shot. However, you don’t always need an expensive lens. Sometimes, a cheaper camera lens can give you the results you are looking for.

By Jim Heid | Thursday, November 07, 2013

Should You Bother Using a Lens Shade?

Ben Long demonstrates a lens shade

The lowly lens shade might just be the least glamorous piece of gear in your camera bag. It’s that plastic ring that attaches to your lens and helps guard against flare—those bright circles that appear when your camera is pointed near the sun or another bright light source.

Most new lenses include shades. So why does Ben Long confess to rarely using them—indeed, to having a “completely irrational fear” of the things? That’s the subject of this week’s installment of The Practicing Photographer.

By Richard Harrington | Friday, October 11, 2013

Mastering Shutter Speed

Master your shutter speed

Does your footage look too choppy? Are action scenes a streaky mess? It might be because your shutter speed isn’t set properly. The shutter in a camera is a lot like a pair of shutters on a window. It controls how much light comes through and hits the camera’s sensor.

This week, we continue to look at exposure. There are three critical pieces to achieving good exposure and creative control with your shots. Fortunately, shutter speed is the easiest to learn, with just a few simple rules.

By Richard Harrington | Friday, October 04, 2013

Mastering Aperture: DSLR Video Tips

Mastering the ApertureExplore DSLR Video Tips at lynda.com.[/caption]

How much light does your camera see? The aperture of your camera is its portal to the light in your scene (and without light, there are no pictures or video). Controlling the aperture is essential to getting the right amount of light on to your camera’s sensor to capture the best shots.

There’s another side to aperture as well. As you open the aperture wider, you can narrow the depth of field in your shot, blurring more of the frame outside of your immediate focus area. This is often a hallmark of the “DSLR video” look. Mastering aperture is critical to high-quality video and photos.

By Jim Heid | Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Practicing Photographer: Expand your filter options with step-up and step-down rings

Expanding your collection of lens filters is a relatively inexpensive way to expand your creative options. A polarizer reduces glare and adds pop to clouds and skies. A neutral density filter reduces light so you can use slower shutter speeds to add blur to waterfalls and waves. An infrared filter lets you explore the surreal world of invisible light. And a close-up attachment lets you get closer without having to buy an expensive macro lens.

In the ideal world, you’d be able to buy each type of attachment and use it with all of your lenses. But that world doesn’t exist, at least not in this universe. The problem is that lenses often have different-sized threads for screwing filters into place. Some lenses have larger diameters than others, and that means they also have larger filter-thread diameters.

For example, my walk-around zoom lens has 72mm filter threads. My macro lens has a thread size of 62mm. My 50mm prime uses 52mm filters. And my ultra-wide zoom lens uses 77mm filters. So if I want the flexibility to shoot with a neutral density filter on each of the lenses I use most, I need to buy four ND filters—at about $75 apiece.

But there’s an alternative, and it’s the subject of this week’s The Practicing Photographer. Ben Long shows how to choose and use step-up and step-down rings—simple adapters that screw on to a lens and let you attach a filter that wouldn’t otherwise fit.

Using step-up and step-down rings to expand your filter options

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