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Wedding Days: The Fine Art of Brides, Grooms, Light and Location

Sam Sciarrino on photographing brides and grooms

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Using the Highlight-Weighted Metering Mode

When to use the D810 and D750's highlight-weighted metering

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4.1 Rating
Active D-Lighting

Active D-Lighting optimizes high contrast images to restore the shadow and highlight details that are…

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4.2 Rating
Photographing Dogs: Capturing Action

Tips for taking better photos of your dog in action.

Beginner

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4.2 Rating
Using Variable Neutral Density Filters to Adjust Exposure in DSLR Video

Adjusting exposure with Variable ND filters

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Bright Idea: Adding Star Power

Creating a starburst in your photographs

Beginner

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4.7 Rating
COOLPIX Cameras and Cool Lighting with Speedlights

Lucas Gilman shows you how to use Speedlights with COOLPIX cameras

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3.3 Rating
Using Fill-Light Adds to the Expressiveness of Portraits

A tip from Nikon Ambassador Tamara Lackey

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4.8 Rating
A Light in the Forest

Rod Planck on photographing critters in the field with a Speedlight

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4.7 Rating
Using Auto FP High-Speed Sync to Illuminate Fast Sports Action

Dave Black on using high-speed flash sync for sports…

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High Speed Sync: A Flash Technique To Add a Pro Touch to Your Photographs

Kevin Kubota on auto FP high speed sync flash…

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4.6 Rating
Canyon Country Shooting

Tips for taking great photos of the Southwestern United States

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4.4 Rating
Shooting Spectacular Sunrises and Sunsets

Jim Harmer’s tips for photographing at dawn and dusk

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Landscape and Travel Photography

Ideal for those who want to take their travel & landscape photography to the next level

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Shooting Long Exposures:

Deborah Sandidge on shooting long exposure landscapes and cityscapes

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Using Shadows for Dimension in Photographs

Joe McNally explains how shadows add dimension

Beginner

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Photography Lighting Tutorial Part 2 - Control of Color

Go on location with Joe McNally for a video tutorial on lighting…

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Lighting for Video with AE-Lock Tutorial

Basic lighting tips for shooting video

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4.6 Rating
Photographing the Night Sky

Astrophotography: tips for making great images of the stars, moon and night sky time-lapse

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Learning How to Use Your Camera's Histogram

The histogram is a useful tool that analyzes tonal range and helps in…

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Hands On

Lindsay Silverman discusses autofocusing when using teleconverters

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Destination Latin America:

Blaine Harrington on photographing Latin America

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Capturing or Freezing Motion in Photos

Learn how to freeze the motion in an action scene or capture a blur to show…

Beginner

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Cat Photography: Capturing Cats in Pictures

With a little patience you too can make great pictures of your pet cat or…

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3.6 Rating
Benefits of Using Fast Lenses in Low Light

A tip from Nikon Ambassador Lucas Gilman

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4.6 Rating
Photography Lighting Tutorial Part 1 - Control of Color

Go on location with Joe McNally for a video tutorial on lighting…

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Lighting Cars for Studio Shots

Blair Bunting on photographing cars in the studio

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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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10 Tips for Shooting Autumn Foliage

Nature photographer Rod Planck offers tips for shooting colorful fall foliage

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FOCUS First: A System for Better Photos

Mark Alberhasky's 5 step system for taking better pictures

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Route 66 Road Trip

Tom Bol travels Route 66 with a Df D-SLR

Beginner

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Versatile Views of the World of Wildlife:

Ron Magill field tests the AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens

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Tips for Using Auto WB for Incandescent Lighting with the D5/D500

Three settings let you keep warm or cool whites in Auto…

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Speedlight Tutorial: Artificial Sunlight Technique

David Tejada uses Speedlights to add a late afternoon look to a scene

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4.3 Rating
Exposure Bracketing: The Creative Insurance Policy

Get creative with your photography by using this age-old technique.

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3.9 Rating
Basics of Exposure and Camera Controls

Ideal class for those who want to go beyond point & shoot photography

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4.2 Rating
How to Choose Your Next Nikon 1 Lens

Go beyond your Nikon 1 camera's kit lens

Beginner

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Take Better Portraits

Tips for taking a good portrait photo

Beginner

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4.1 Rating
Photographing the US National Parks

Chris Nicholson on photographing in the US National Parks

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Using the D810A DSLR for Deep Space and Nebulae Astrophotography

Photographing Nebulae and other celestial objects with…

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3.7 Rating
Advanced Wireless Lighting

Advanced wireless lighting is the use of multiple Speedlights set up for wireless remote…

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Chromatic Aberration

Chromatic aberration is a phenomenon in which light rays passing through a lens focus at different…

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Making Pictures in the Rain

Just because it's raining doesn't mean there aren't great pictures waiting to be made.

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Using Speedlights on Sunny Days

Ron Magill shares a tip for using flash in bright sun

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Capturing Moments in a Wedding Day

Cliff Mautner discusses capturing wedding day moments

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3.8 Rating
Exposure Compensation When Using i-TTL Gets Easier with the D4/D4s

Exposure compensation and flash compensation can be…

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4.2 Rating
Which NIKKOR Lens Type is Right for Your DSLR?

Learn what the different types of NIKKOR lenses are and which ones will…

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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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Photograph the Classic Holiday Light Bokeh Effect

Want to know how to photograph holiday lights to get the great bokeh that you see from the pros? It’s easy. It’s best to use aperture priority or manually set the exposure for this type of image, so you can control the aperture and shutter speed. You will also want to manually focus the lens to control the amount of blur or bokeh in the final image.

Lights as the main subject

For an image where the only subject is the bokeh of the lights, you can either have the lights placed on a Christmas tree or arranged in a bunch.

If you have a tripod, place the camera on it or put the camera on a sturdy surface to ensure you won’t add camera blur to the final image. If you want to hand hold the camera and lens and have a VR image stabilized NIKKOR lens, activate VR.

You want to use a wide aperture of f/4 or wider. Lenses that offer a wide aperture of f/2.8, f/1.8 or f/1.4 are ideal to use.

With the aperture set wide open, if the camera is in aperture priority mode, it will always adjust the fastest shutter speed—no matter what the lighting condition is. If in manual mode, you’ll need to set the shutter speed manually. Use the camera’s built-in meter to make sure the exposure is correct for the scene. You may have to increase the ISO, to get the exposure you want and that’s ok.

The secret to the amazing shots of soft colorful globes of light is to manually focus the camera so the lights are out of focus. Since the definition of bokeh is the soft, pleasing out of focus effect from a lens, it makes sense that you want to defocus or not focus on the lights for this effect.


Lights as a background effect

For an image where you want a main subject with the bokeh of the lights in the background, you’ll set up the shot almost the same. The one difference you want to make is to put the main subject—whether it's a person or an object—close to the camera, with the lights separated from the subject by some distance.

By using a wide aperture, and focusing on the main subject, the lights will go out of focus. For more of a soft, glowing look, place the lights further back. If you want more definition to the shape of the lights, place them closer to the main subject.

You can also experiment by using white lights instead of color lights for a different effect.

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