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Photo Tips from Across America

Nikon training specialist, Kristine Bosworth, covers the country and sends photography…

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Destination Latin America:

Blaine Harrington on photographing Latin America

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3.3 Rating
Preserve and Protect: Got a Backup Plan for Your Photos?

Don't lose those precious photos. Make sure you've got a backup…

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Destination Asia: A Showcase for the Storytelling Power of Travel Images

Travel shooter Blaine Harrington offers tips for…

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Thomas D. Mangelsen Understands the Behavior of the Animals he Photographs

Photography is about much more than taking…

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A Light in the Forest

Rod Planck on photographing critters in the field with a Speedlight

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4.2 Rating
Partner Up for Better Pictures

Learn how you can benefit from taking photos with a friend

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No Limits: For Better Photos, Think Like a Photojournalist

David Handschuh on thinking like a photojournalist

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How a Sports Illustrated Photographer Shoots his Kid's Games

What can a Sports Illustrated photographer teach you about…

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Searching for Perspective in Photography

Ami Vitale discusses perspective in photography

Beginner

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The Importance of Pro Bono Work

Sandro speaks to the importance of doing pro bono work

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Bright Idea: Adding Star Power
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Bright Idea: Adding Star Power

Creating a starburst in your photographs

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Getting Started: Memory Cards and Batteries

Take care of the little things, and you'll be ready for the big things.

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Night Photography

Reed Hoffmann's tips for great night photography

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Flash Points: The Control of Light

Color temperature, rear sync, slow sync: Three key elements in flash photography.

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What Your Favorite Films Can Teach You About Making Films

Steve Heiner creates a short D-movie based on blockbusters that…

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Photographing it All

With experience as a newspaper photographer and close to 20 years with Sports Illustrated, George…

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One Shot: See a Puddle, Make a Picture...or Two

Randy Ziegler on the importance of patience while out shooting

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How to Take Pictures of Water Using Long Exposures

Getting that "silky" look when photographing moving water isn't…

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Tips and Techniques For High Flying Photos

Tom Bol discusses taking photos from hot air balloons, planes and helicopters

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4.7 Rating
Destination Europe: Do a Little Research, Then Go Light on the Gear

Blaine Harrington on travel photography in Europe

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Polarizing Filters Add POW to Pictures

An Easy to Use Accessory, Polarizing Filters Bring out the Color and Definition in…

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Online Exclusive: Time Lapse Photography Adds Interest to your D-Movies

Speed up time with interval shooting.

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One Shot: Supermoon

Sam Garcia photographs the Supermoon

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Comfort Zone

When we noticed that all the photos we chose for this article were taken with prime lenses, we thought, that sounds about right. A wedding photographer’s day is a long one, and Ryan Brenizer wants the lightest load possible.

Turns out, that was only half the story.

“Wedding days are 12 hours long,” Ryan says, “and I carry two cameras, and even though they’re not small, I find them very manageable as long as they have lighter lenses on them. But the main reason for those lenses is that it’s so important to make people comfortable, and a big part of that is not walking around all day with a camera up to my face framing a shot. People will be uncomfortable when they’re staring down the lens of a camera, but they don’t think about me if I’m walking around and what they see is my face.”

Ryan’s taken hundreds of thousands of photographs with his prime lenses and knows exactly what the frame is going to be before he brings the camera up to his eye. He can walk around, waiting and watching, and when the photo is there, he can quickly raise the camera and take the image he’s previsualized at 24mm or 35mm or 50mm. “I can tell looking around a room where the frame lines will be.”

There’s more: “At the reception, where I want to get a variety of perspectives, I’ll move the camera around—hold it over my head, shoot over someone’s shoulder—putting it in places where I couldn’t really stand, but that have interesting perspectives. I know exactly what my frame is going to look like.”

And still more: “With a camera up to my eye, even with a wide lens, I’m missing a lot of things that are going on in the room. I may be framing one shot but I’m missing something more interesting that’s happening to the side.”

Getting to the real emotions of the day requires that people be as comfortable with me as possible.

Ryan’s goal for his photographs is, he says, “to go beyond what things look like and get to how things feel. Most clients hire me for my journalism skills, for my ability to document the day in a way that shows real emotions, and getting to those emotions either in portraiture or in documentation requires that people be as comfortable with me as possible. So I’m very big on making sure that at every stage of the game they’re comfortable with the whole process and can start to relax a bit. Then I can see their real selves coming through in the photos. Being comfortable is what makes them look great. Your ‘photogenicness‘ is so tied up in comfort. Thirty years from now I want the couple’s kids to say, ‘I can’t believe my parents were so cool.’“

To get what he’s after, the pictures have to be practically personalized. “None of it—the settings, poses, backgrounds—is cookie cutter,” Ryan says. “It’s not about thinking, here’s the corner where everybody stands. It’s about the look and the personalities of the people matched to the feeling of the day and what the day is giving me. Where's the light coming from? What’s the weather like? What’s the background? I think, right now, where’s the best place? I want to see the people and the setting with fresh eyes...and I want everything, all the elements, to work together.”

To achieve that takes a fast thinking and personable photographer with eclectic skills. “If a commercial photographer shooting for a magazine or an ad campaign is the scientist in the lab, slowly building to the result,” Ryan says, “then a wedding photographer is MacGyver. He’s got five minutes, everything’s working against him, he has a potato and a wristwatch and has to make a bomb.”

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