Category Archives: Photography Tips

Pretty Lights in Telluride

This past weekend we gathered a group of 11 college kids, piled into a van and drove 14 hrs to Telluride, Colorado for a Pretty Lights concert! Needless to say we had a blast and enjoyed the gorgeous views of Telluride as well as the atmosphere of the concert during the weekend!!

Here are a couple photos from the trip!

Group Photo_Logo Jay_Logo



I recently witnessed a gorgeous sunset, with purple skies and pink clouds. This sunset got me on the path to find out how to take awe-inspiring sunset photos.

I  found this brilliantly awesome website that helped me to take the best sunset shots I have ever taken.

Here is an outline of what the website basically says.

Think ahead- Find out when the sun will set or rise and get there at least a half hour early.

Shoot at a variety of focal lengths- Using a wide angle will get you a large sweeping landscape. Whereas if you would like the sun to be the feature of the picture, use a zoom lens 200mm or higher. This increases the need for a tripod.

Silhouettes as focal points- Silhouettes add mood and context to a sunrise or sunset shot. As with most photos, sunrises and sunsets need a focal point. The silhouettes create that point.

Shoot a variety of exposures- There is no one “right” exposure for a sunrise or sunset. Do not just let the camera choose the settings, change to shutter priority or aperture priority in order to get some stunning shots.

Bracketing- This helps to find the exposures that make the sunset look outstanding.

Take camera out of Auto White balance mode- When your camera is set to Auto, you tend to lose the warm golden tones of sunrise or sunset. Try shooting at “Cloudy” or “Shade”.

Tripod- If you are shooting with a zoom lens then this is a must in order to get a sharp photo.

Keep shooting- A sunset or sunrise is constantly changing. They can continue to produce great colors well after the sun goes down, or comes up.

Here are some photos to inspire you.

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First off. What is Bokeh?
Bokeh is the quality of the part of a picture that is out of focus when a photographer uses a shallow depth of field to capture their subject. Many people, including myself, tend to focus on the part of the picture that is in focus. This is a big mistake. There are ways to control the bokeh’s aesthetic appearance. By adjusting the depth of field, choosing the correct lens,  and choosing the correct bokeh to coincide with the foreground subject, you too can create pictures that have that “wow effect”.
Bokeh is directly controlled by depth of field. If you increase the aperture size, the smaller the depth of field will be, and if you decrease the aperture size, the depth of field will increase. Choosing proper depth of field is more important than always choosing the blurriest backgrounds you can find.
Most pro photographers like the look of circular bokeh compared to the normal octagonal bokeh that we see in many photos. However finding a lens that has more aperture blades or uses curved aperture blades, to create the circular effect, is hard and they are expensive.

Relating the background bokeh to the foreground subject creates a picture that the viewer did not anticipate. Such as in wedding photography when you see the bride in the foreground and the groom in the back out of focus. Another technique is to have the foreground interact with the bokeh.

Using these techniques can help to improve your photography dramatically! Good luck!

Rule of Thirds

The most important rule of taking any good shot is the “Rule of Thirds”. As I found out the hard way. Taking pictures this way and that not knowing what I was doing. My dad who also has a hobby in photography helped to teach me the “Rule of Thirds”.

The basic principle is that you divide your image into 3 sections both vertically and horizontally so that you end up with 9 parts. Obviously you cant draw onto your view screen or viewfinder. Instead you do this with your minds eye as you get ready to snap that perfect shot.

The idea behind this is that the intersections of the lines is where it is best to place points of interest. This usually makes the picture look more well balanced and visually appealing to the viewer.

When you begin to take a picture ask yourselves these questions:

What are the interesting points in this picture?

Where am I intentionally placing them?

As usual rules are meant to be broken and once you become proficient in using the “Rule of Thirds” try breaking the rules. See what kind of striking photos you can take once you start thinking about where the points of interest are and where you want your viewers eyes to be drawn to!!!

Living Life Through the Lens

A recent discussion with my father about memories and how we remember them led to the topic of, do we take a camera everywhere in the hopes of getting that perfect picture? Or do we leave it at home sometimes in order to enjoy the spontaneous moments that seem to ingrain themselves into our head anyway?

I have decided that although a picture may be worth a thousand words. That picture will never convey the actual moment that was happening. Fireworks in New York look better in person than with a camera. Weddings are remembered not by the pictures we take but by the little things we remember.

So back to the question. To take the camera everywhere, or to leave it at home once in a while? While it seems like my opinion should be pointed in the obvious direction. I would say that having a camera at all times is necessary in order to capture many of the moments that would go unnoticed! In moderation of course. You need to be able to put down that lens when your little one wants to play or when your wife asks for you to get something. There shouldn’t be this incessant need to take pictures all the time.

So as a conclusion, take your camera almost everywhere, but learn to put it down once in a while and maybe even take some time to pass on your skills to someone who will appreciate it!