Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Review of the TAMRON 28-75 F2.8

Holiday season is over. And boy was that stressful or what? After buying gifts for your loved ones, I'm sure you want to buy yourself a gift too. And for people who are thinking of lens as gift for themselves, this review might help you (or confuse you if you're already planning to buy other brand of lens).

This is my informal review of the TAMRON SP AF28-75mm F/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical [IF] MACRO. Whew! Is that a long name or what?! I literally went back and forth the Tamron website and blogspot as I was copying that incredibly long name. There's no way I could memorize all of those letters... 

Anyway, this lens is a fast general purpose lens. This model can be used for full frame bodies and for APS-C sized sensors. Take note: on an APS-C sensor with a 1.5X crop factor such as my Nikon d5000, it will be 42-112.5mm. Honestly, it is a bit short on the wide end but it depends on your shooting style. I was used to having a 50mm on my d5000 for a very long period of time so it was a breath of fresh air. Tamron also makes a 17-50mm F2.8 lens which is perfect for APS-C cameras but once you upgrade to a full frame camera, you can say goodbye to your lens. As I've said, the 28-75 can be used by a full frame, an APS-C, or even a film camera. I like having options so that's a no brainer for me. 

The Tamron uses a 67mm filter diameter. The body is made mostly (I think) of plastic but the lens mount is made of metal. It comes with a petal shaped hood. There is a lock to prevent the lens from extending but I think it isn't necessary for the lens has no creep issues. But thanks to Tamron for putting it there. Added protection is always welcome. There is also a manual and an autofocus switch at the side. 

For Nikons, this lens comes in 2 models: with and without BIM. BIM stands out built in motor. My Nikon d5000 doesn't have an autofocus motor so I bought the one with the BIM. For d90's and above, you can just buy the lens non - BIM. They say it is much faster in auto focusing as compared to the BIM model. But the supply for the non - BIM models are dwindling so if you see one, grab it!

Thanks to the XR technology (extra refraction), this lens is light and small. It's only 510 grams and 3.6 inches long. From afar, you would mistake this for the kit lens. It can focus as close as 13 inches thus the name "macro". It isn't technically a macro. But hey, it's still pretty good. 

I know what I wrote above is just nonsense to you. And don't worry. Again, this is an informal review so I won't bore you with charts and graphs to show you the lens performance. I will show you it's performance with the help of my newborn daughter's pictures.  =)

f/4 at ISO 640

As you can see, stopped down to f/4 it's sharp. I think this could've been sharper unfortunately, I have very shaky hands...

f/2.8 at ISO 200

I focused it at her eyelashes. It's a bit blurry but then again, we're at wide open. All lenses are sharper when stopped down at around 1 stop. 

f/3.2 at ISO 640

Again, sharp (look at that hair) stopped down. But there is a bit of chromatic aberration present. But still excellent result. CA's are almost non-existent. 

* Note: All photos were taken using raw and then converted to jpegs for demo purposes. And I'm not trying to be defensive but the jpegs in my laptop are much more sharper than these. I'm just sayin'.

As you can see, this lens has a yellow cast. I like it personally. But if you don't, you can easily correct that in lightroom. A problem I have with this lens is that sometimes, it misfocuses... I know it's weird but I did a test where I placed my dslr on a tripod and let it focus on a cardboard box. The AF point I used was the center. I thought my lens backfocused. But upon repeated tests, I found out that sometimes, it back focuses and sometimes it front focuses. Again, it is still within acceptable limits. But it's not really spot on. But like in the examples above, it's sharp enough. Only photographers like to pixel peep anyway.

An image stabilization will greatly help in the sharpness of the lens. But even the Nikon and Canon equivalent of this lens don't have one so I think it's okay. If image stabilization is really important to you, I suggest you buy the 17-50mm VC. I have very shaky hands so it's a bit difficult for me especially in the 75mm. As you know a 75mm needs a shutter speed of at least a 1/75. ( 1/75th of a sec is still blurry to me. Yes. I know. And please don't tell me to practice holding a dslr. Remember, I'm a dentist so I always have tired hands.) So one trick I can give to people like me is to boost the ISO to make the shutter speed faster. But not too much okay? For example, in the last photo, I used an ISO of  640 even though normal people would've used 400. But again, don't overdo it. You might have a sharp photo but if there is too much noise, you'll have to remove it. If you remove the noise, you also remove sharpness. So it's a balancing act.

In my opinion, it is a great lens. So if you want a lens that offers very good performance for a very good price, the Tamron 28-75 is a good choice. I'd give it a 9 out of 10. It's not perfect, but it does so much more than what you would expect from its price. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I'm just sayin (part 2)

The last blog was about the difference between people who studied and those who just rely on talent. This blog is all about gears: "You don't need to have professional/ crazy ass expensive/ equipment to be able to produce good images."

*There are a lot of kinds of professional equipment out there, but for simplicity's sake, let's just think of lens since I'm sure most of you dream of upgrading lens.

When I bought my dslr, it came with a kit lens. I told myself that I don't need to buy a fancy shmancy lens because I believe that it still depends on the user. The user must know the limitations of his camera and adapt his shooting style to it. And that's what I did... for a while. If you just like taking pictures of your family on holidays, then the kit lens is perfect for you. But sometimes, kit lens is not enough...

You see, photography is like a girlfriend. The 3 types of guys are:

1.Guys who leave their girlfriends behind. To these guys, photography is just a passing interest. Maybe they thought that it's too complicated, bitchy, demanding, two - timing piece of... oops... I got a little carried away. I mean some people lose interest because they think it's complicated.

2.Guys who love their girlfriends but don't want to get married. These guys think that kit lens are good enough for their needs.

3.Guys who love their girlfriend so much that they want to marry them. Of course, if you want to marry someone, it is preferable to move into a better house. Staying in your mom's basement or your disgusting moldy apartment won't do. A house with a big lawn and a swimming pool is the dream, dude. A movie house and a bowling alley inside won't hurt either. To these guys, photography became a passion. You want to create better pictures and you know that sometimes, ordinary equipment has limitations. You can overcome those limitations for sure. But it will be difficult. Who wants to make love in a sticky couch with cockroaches falling from the ceiling? YOU CAN. But the results won't be good...

Basically, it depends on your needs. If you're just a casual shooter then your kit lens is fine. If you're a casual shooter but wants to have nicer pictures then it's okay to buy a nicer lens. But if you want to be a professional, it is proper to use professional gear. You wouldn't want to go to a dentist that uses a straw to suck the saliva from your mouth then spit it in a bucket right? Dentists should have a machine to do that. That example is a bit exaggerated. But it's true. For example, covering for a wedding is so hard when the only thing you've got is your kit lens. The lights inside churches are usually dim so you have to use slow shutter speeds to achieve proper exposure. And as you know slow shutter speeds result to blurry photos. You can use a tripod to counter camera shake. But it's too cumbersome to move around with it. And remember, tripods only remove camera shake. Your subject's movements will still be blurred... That's okay if you want to make your groom and bride look like ghosts. You can also use the pop up flash but the pictures will be as if it came from a point and shoot camera. There's no depth. It will also have that distinct "deer in the headlight look". If you want decent photos, you should have a fast lens and a speedlight to bounce off of walls.

Having said that, please don't think that you will suddenly have "professional" shots once you buy professional gears. Just because you have a machine that sucks saliva like there's no tomorrow doesn't make you a good dentist. A lot of people make this mistake. They often blame their current gear set up. You should study the fundamentals of photography and practice. And if you found out that your gear is lacking at something, then that's the time you buy. Base your purchases depending on your style and needs. Don't just buy everything you can afford.

To sum things up, it basically depends on your needs. Period. "Ordinary" gears are for casual shooters. Professional gears are for professionals. Casual shooters can buy professional gears as well as long as they know what they're buying and how to use it. But professionals shouldn't use "ordinary" gears. As professionals, you do have to get good gears to get incredible images. But please take note: I used the adjective "good". I didn't say "expensive". Unfortunately most of the time, good gears ARE expensive. But again please take note: I used the word "most" not "all". Confused? Yeah, me too. Anyway, the point is, there are some gears out there that are cheap yet good. An example of this is the Tamron 28-75 f2.8. This baby is incredibly sharp. Even at wide open. I'll make a review of it soon. Please watch out for that.

But you have to realize that there is no perfect gear but there is a perfect gear for you.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I'm just sayin

What I'm going to blabber about now isn't a lesson. But I'm going to discuss my opinions on two, very controversial yet widely known sayings in photography. These are:

1. You don't need to study photography to be good at it.
2. You don't have to have professional/ crazy ass expensive/ equipment to be able to produce good images.

Let's just deal with the first one. We'll deal with the second on the next blog.

I believe that there are two types of photographers: those who studied photography and the insanely-weird-guy-who-for-some-unknown-reason-takes-good-pictures-even-though-he-doesn't-know-what-iso-is-or-any-other-photography-terms-means guy/gal. Some of these people would prefer to be called talented but I think that is too douche-y. So let's just call them weirdly gifted.

Let's face it. Those weirdly gifted guys have good taste that's why their compositions are good. It's just like making out. You are a good kisser. Period. No one taught you that. You're so good, science should be studying you. But talent can only go so far. It's only limited to good compositions as humans aren't normally born with camera terms let alone camera skills in their brain. Yes. People must know how to use the camera to produce what they're imagining. Your composition might be spot on but if you don't know how to control the shutter or whatever, then your image might be blurry. You might have some crazy creative idea for a silhouette photograph but you don't even know how to create one. It's like being an awesome driver with an awesome car. Sometimes, you want to be more awesome-ly fast but you don't know where the awesome turbo button is so you push a little red button on the dashboard. That was actually your awesome windshield wiper. Fail... I hope you get my idea.

However, those who studied don't have the right to be cocky. Just because you know how to do stuff manually doesn't mean you are better than those weirdly gifted guys. Remember, photography is art. It's about self expression. You may know all the rules of composition and I'm sure your shots are good but if you focus on the theoretical side, it'll be too monotonous. Too formulaic. Too contrived. Again, let's go back to our kissing metaphor. I'm not a sexist but let's assume that you are a guy. They call you El Casanova. You're so awesome you  formulated a system for kissing. You might be a good kisser but if you just kiss your girl the same way you kiss other girls, then what if you need to kiss your sister? Kidding! What I mean is you shouldn't rely purely on the theoretical side. You should just use what you've learned as a foundation only. Use your technical know-how to make your photographs portray the feelings that you're having.

So basically, nobody wins. We're all equal. Talented people should study to help them produce what they're imagining. And those who studied shouldn't rely too much on their brain. They should rely on their emotions as well.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

It's a girl!

Yes! After months of absence, I'm back! I was so busy taking care of my wife who is now pregnant with our baby girl! =) We haven't done our official preggy shots yet but I tried some shots just to get the feel for things. This is the best in my opinion:

I was so happy with the result! Now since this is a photography class, I'll share how I took the shot.

This was shot using a Nikon D5000 body with a 50mm f1.8 lens. I used an aperture of 2.8 to give it a shallow DOF. Reminder: the bigger the aperture, the smaller the number. (Yeah, I know... Pretty confusing eh?) And also, the bigger aperture, the shallower the DOF. So you're probably asking, "If you want shallow DOF then why didn't you just shoot at 1.8?" Good question! I have 2 answers for that:

1. It's because as with any lens, it's sharpest is only achieved a few stops down its maximum aperture. So if your max aperture is 1.8, try to shoot at around 2.8. It will still have a shallow DOF but it'll be sharper. Of course, the softness of the image is dependent on the quality of the lens. Most pro lenses are still sharp even if shot wide open.

2. 1.8 is so shallow. If I used that, most of my shot will be blurred. The only sharp part will probably be the ring on her finger.Why? Because big aperture = small sharp part. small aperture = big sharp part. I don't want to focus mainly on the ring so I used a smaller aperture. Don't worry. I'll discuss this in detail on my next blog.

For the lighting, I used a speedlight and simply bounced off the wall and ceiling to achieve that look. As you can see, it's very soft. Again, as a rule, the larger the light source, the softer the light is. I suggest you try practicing bouncing off different parts of the room to familiarize yourself on how bounced light behaves.

So I guess that's it for now. If you have any questions or corrections for me, feel free to leave me a message. =) Until next time, classmates!

Monday, January 17, 2011


Hi guys! I’ve been so busy lately so sorry if I haven’t posted for a while. So let’s get right into it. The lesson for today is: Metering.

What is metering? Metering computes the amount of light that passes through the camera to help you achieve the best exposure for the photograph that you’re taking. For example, if you are on semi automatic modes e.g. Program, Shutter priority, Aperture priority and Auto, the camera does the computation for the exposure triangle and ADJUSTS whatever it can so that you can have a properly exposed photo. In Manual, the metering computes the exposure triangle as well but it DOESN’T ADJUST them. Instead, it shows you a graph to tell you how over exposed or underexposed your photo will be so you have to adjust it by yourself. It’s like the camera is asking you: “Are you sure you want this photo to be underexposed like this?” or maybe : “Are you sure? These settings that you chose will give your subjects a characteristic that medically inclined people usually call “albino-riffic”...I’m just saying... It’s up to you... *cough* dumbass *cough*”

“So what’s the point? Why bother? I’m always in semi automatic mode so why do I need the rest of this lecture? I mean the camera will compute for the proper exposure! Duh?! ” Thanks for the very good question. Basically the metering modes are there to help your camera see which part is the best to meter from and how much. Why? Because not everything around you has an equal amount of light. Some parts are darker, some parts are brighter. So, for example, if you told the camera to focus on something that is dark, it will think that the whole image is dark. If it thinks that the whole image is dark, it will try to overcompensate for that and result in an overexposed image.

The 3 amigos of metering are: MATRIX/EVALUATIVE, CENTER WEIGHTED and SPOT.

Matrix or evaluative metering is the most commonly used because it is the easiest. It “sees” the whole image splits it into parts and then calculates complicated algorithms to expose for it.

Center weighted metering prioritizes the center part of the image(duh?). It’s a bit more accurate because the camera is only considering a small part of the photo.

Spot metering concentrates on a spot. Literally. About 1% of the frame.

How to use them? It’s up to you. It depends on the effect that you’re trying to achieve. I’ll give you an example. Let’s assume that you’re a guy. You're in a beach. You’re lazy so you always shoot  in Aperture priority mode. You saw a very sexy lady wearing a very very revealing bikini *gulp* and you suddenly had an inspiration. You imagine a photograph of a silhouette of a lady against a sunset. Nice! Here’s what you should do:
1. Take that creepy smile off of your face.
2. Wipe the drool on your chin.
3. Go up to her and ask if you could take a photo of her.
4. If she says yes, please try your best to remain calm and composed. Calm and composed...
5. Step back and point the camera towards her. Tell her the poses that you’re imagining. NO. Not those poses! I mean the poses for the silhouette shot. *cough*creep*cough*
6. You’re probably perspiring... A lot... You are not thinking properly that’s why you made a mistake of putting your metering to spot. Since your subject is the lady, you’ll probably meter her first. Wrong move. You’ll soon discover that the shot has a very nice exposed body, I mean lady, and an overly exposed sky. I’m sure that photo would still be awesome, but it will only because of the body of the subject and not because of your photography skills.
7. If you use evaluative/matrix, it will try it’s best to keep the subject and the background properly exposed. So again, you won’t have a silhouette because the shot would probably have a balanced foreground with the background. Instead, try using center weighted. But don’t meter off of the girl. You meter the skies so that the sky is properly exposed and then the girl would now be a silhouette. You could use spot metering and meter again for the sky but since you are metering using only a spot, it might be a bit difficult because of inconsistency. If you meter on a darker part of the sky, you would have a totally different photo if you compare it to a lighter part of the sky. Whereas for center weighted, you could just expose at the same part of the horizon over and over until you finish all of your shots.

The camera makes mistakes too. It’s because it doesn’t actually see light. Its computations are based on middle gray. Middle gray is like the “standard” of perfect exposure. Blah blah blah. I’m sure you don’t want to read these. But what you should remember is that sometimes, the camera can be a “dumbass” too. It can be fooled when looking at a scene that is mostly white or mostly black. It doesn’t really know what light looks like so if it sees a surface that is white in color, it is fooled into thinking that that white surface is a light source even though it is not. So, if the ambient light in a shot is just right but the scene is mostly white, then the camera might think that the scene is bright. So it will try to underexpose the image to “balance” it out, resulting in an underexposed shot. When the camera sees black surfaces, it thinks that it is seeing a scene that doesn’t have any light. So again, if there is sufficient ambient light, it will still think that you don’t have enough light so it will make the image brighter, resulting in an overexposed shot. So as you can see, telling the camera where to point and what mode of metering to use is crucial to having a perfectly exposed shot. Here are some examples:

This photo is shot using evaluative/matrix metering. As you can see, it is a bit underexposed. But only a bit. Why? Because there are more white surfaces than black. So the camera thought there's too much light and it darkened the shot a bit.

Now in this photo, I used center weighted. It's overexposed. Because the center weighted metered the mostly the black part of my cellphone and only a bit of the white table. Since the camera mostly saw the black part of the cellphone, it got fooled into thinking that the photo needs extra light. That is why it over exposed it.

Now in this photo, it is waay over exposed. I used spot metering in this one and metered only the black part of the cellphone.

Now, in this photo, I used center weighted again but this time, I took the liberty of placing it in a different place so that it has almost equal amount of white table, silver keypad and black lcd of the cellphone. The result is a properly exposed image.

So there you go! Now you know metering. Try to practice it to get a feel for what metering mode to use in a given situation. It will help you tremendously. See you next time!


Since I was gone for a long time, I'd like to give you a bit of a bonus tip. Here's my technique. Others may find it complicated, others might think it's convenient so it's up to you if you want to use it. You may consult your manual if you get confused with these settings:

1. Set your camera so that when you half press the shutter, it autofocuses.
2. Set your AE-L/AF-L (nikon) to Auto exposure lock only. For Canons, I'm not sure but I think the button that you should be looking for is the Star or Asterisk button. This button is your Auto exposure lock.
3. Set your focus to Single point.

After you've done that, here's what you can now do:

1. Put your subject in the center of your viewfinder. Focus on it by pressing the shutter button halfway. Don't let go of the button.
2. Meter where you want to meter. If you're using the spot and center weighted mode, you can point to wherever you like. Then press the AE-L/AF-L (nikon) or Star or Asterisk button (canon) to lock your exposure. However, if you are using Evaluative/Matrix mode, disregard this and proceed directly to step 3.
3. You can now compose your shot. After composing, press the shutter button fully.

"Why do I need to do these steps?" So you can control everything. This way, you can focus on a subject, and then move around to meter where you want to meter.

-Autofocus sometimes focuses on the wrong thing. But with Single point focus, just point it at where you want it to. You can recompose the shot while maintaining focus as long as you don't let go of the button.

-Exposure lock is very helpful because once you lock it in a proper part of the camera, you can recompose the shot but still get the the proper exposure until you let go of the button.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Hi guys! It’s been a while since my last post. I'm sorry. You see, my fiancĂ©e and I are still editing the save the date video and I was busy doing stuff for our upcoming trip to Korea. Yes. Korea! =) I'll be posting my photos from the trip so watch out for that! =)

Anyway, the last blog was about (excluding the dslr test) the rules of composition. Those were the things that you should do. This week, I’m going to show you the things that you shouldn’t do. I have to admit, I do make a lot of mistakes too and I only see them when the pictures are in my computer already. Sometimes, I only see them after editing them! So without further ado, here are some of my own personal mistakes:

1.Don’t place your subjects' faces near the edge of the photograph. Give them some space to look into. An example is this:

As you can see, the subject's face is really in front of the edge of the photo. Her face should be facing the other way.

Your subject doesn’t really have to be looking sideways for this rule to work. For example:

She is looking at the camera but her body is facing a bit towards the nearer edge of the photograph. It looks a bit unnatural isn’t it?

Doing this to your subject is the equivalent of “talk to the hand” in photography. These mistakes deserve a stereotypical African American “Oh no you didn’t!!!” remark with accompanying head bobbing and finger snaps tracing the form of an invisible letter Z.

2. Don’t forget to check your focus. Make sure that you are focused on your subject. If you’re using a manual lens or if your autofocus is set on single point, make sure that the subject is what’s in focus. Look at this photo for example:

As you can see on the photograph, what’s in focus is the wood instead of the hands. The hands are the subject so why the hell is the friggin splinter on the wood in focus? I honestly don’t know. Maybe I was too busy focusing manually and composing the shot that’s why I neglected to check the viewfinder thoroughly. I was too preoccupied. So maybe it’s a good thing that I am a photographer because if I was a carpenter and I was easily preoccupied, then there’s a 95% chance that I don’t have a complete set of fingers now.

Although sometimes, breaking the rule can give you better shots. For example, in this photo, the subject is blurred giving it a "dramatic" look:

But again, if you're breaking a rule, make sure that it looks intentional. In the photo above, the subject is so blurred that it can only be thought of as intentional. However, if you look at the photo of the hands working on the wood, there's not much difference in terms of blurriness. I guess it can pass with ordinary people. But when photographers look at it, it whispers "accident".

3. Don’t make your subjects look like they came from a movie shoot of the 101 Dalmatians.

The subject was in the shade that’s why it resulted in a dappled light. Dappled light has its place in photography but not in portraits. Portraits generally should use soft light. Why? Because harsh lights will accentuate the angles of the face. It will give your subjects a “gaunt” look. But sometimes, harsh lights are pretty good too. Again, if it looks good, then it looks good. Period. Anyway back to dappled light, these kind of light usually works in landscape photography. It gives depth to the image. But use that in portraits and you just effectively made your subject look as if she has a lot of cancerous moles.

4. Don’t be afraid of your subject. Fill the frame up with your subject.

Look at the photo above. I was so far from the subject. I guess it’s okay if you’re on a tour or if the background is beautiful but it’s not. It just looks plain. So don’t be afraid of approaching your subject. (but if she’s really scary, stand back as far as you can and then just zoom!) Here’s an example of what filling up your frame can do:

5. Don’t use the pop up flash. Direct flash is seldom, good. Look at the example below:

No, these overly white women with shimmering, shiny skin are not new characters from the very famous Twilight saga. These friends of mine are not vampires. (or are they?...) Anyway, the subjects’ faces are so blown out, it looks so flat. “So what the hell am I supposed to do?!” Bounce your flash. “Huh?” The explanation is this. SMALLER LIGHT SOURCE = HARSH. LARGER LIGHT SOURCE = SOFTER. So that’s why you bounce the flash. If, for example, the flash hit the ceiling, the light will bounce off of it downwards. And since the ceiling is big, doing this will effectively make it a larger light source. I’ll show you the shot where I bounced the light to the ceiling to give you an idea of how it looks and well, mainly because these girls will kill me if I just ended this without showing you the better shot so please... Please look at the example below:

It’s much better right? Huge difference! It’s more natural. They look so much beautiful. That’s the main reason why photographers buy flash guns. Flash guns have moveable heads so you can point it at ceilings, walls, etc. If you don’t have a flash gun, you can easily do so by sticking a white cardboard in front of your flash at around 45degrees so the light will bounce off the ceiling and wall.

There are a lot more don’ts in photography but these are the faults that I usually (unknowingly) do. I have to admit though, I didn’t know I committed mistakes on some of my photos until I purposely searched them to use for this blog. So please don’t be too harsh on yourselves. Everyone makes mistakes. Just be aware so next time, you can avoid it (unlike me). =)

Friday, September 3, 2010

IT'S ALIVE!!!!!!!

Hey guys! I'm sorry I'm a bit busy editing the save the date for our wedding. But in the meantime, please enjoy the part 2 of the dslr durability test. I think you'll be amazed at the results! =)

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Hello Classmates! I know some of you don’t have a DSLR yet. So you can’t really appreciate the lessons the way DSLR users appreciate them. So this lesson is for you! Anyone can practice this week’s lesson whether you have a point and shoot or a DSLR.

This week’s lesson is all about the rules of composition. What is composition? According to Wikipedia:

COMPOSITION is the placement or arrangement of visual elements or ingredients in a work of art, as distinct from the subject of a work. It can also be thought of as the organization of the elements of art according to the principles of art. 

Did you get it? I didn’t. But you can memorize that so you can say that to your friend so he/she will think that you are a very smart, knowledgeable yet pretentious douche.

COMPOSITION is simply how you put together whatever is in your photo. Yes. It’s that simple. This lesson is very important because composition is what separates a photographer from an ARTIST.


For example, I’m sure you’ve seen pictures taken by paparazzi (quick trivia: paparazzi = plural; paparazzo = singular). Are they pretty? From an artistic point of view, NO, but they are sometimes “pretty” especially if the picture is a sexy star caught naked or something; but still, they can’t be called art. Everyone can do that, well, technically not everyone. You have to have balls of steel first. What I meant was that if you give a camera to anybody and ask them to shoot something, they’ll probably look the same as with the paparazzi’s photograph. But if you look at an artist’s photo, it’s very different. It has an X Factor... It has emotion... It has depth... It has ... ART. Basically, all of that is because of the RULES OF COMPOSITION.

Rules of composition will make your photographs artistic. But breaking them can also look good too. But the rule is, YOU MUST KNOW THE RULE FIRST BEFORE YOU BREAK THEM. So here are some of the most popular Rules of Composition:

1.Rule of thirds. It is the most commonly used rule. Have you played tic tac toe when you were a kid? Imagine the lines. Then put that line into your photo. Done? Okay. The rule states that the subject of your photo should be on one of the intersecting lines. To make it easy, I put a black circle at the intersections. For example:

Look at the plant. It’s just a plant. Period. But it looks good. Why? It is in the intersection of lines at the bottom left of the screen. If it was in the middle, it would’ve been ordinary. And also, you won’t see the beautiful clouds at the background. Now here's the photograph without the distracting lines and circles:

2. Leading lines. Eyes are naturally drawn to lines. I guess we can compare it to a sexy woman. I’ll use woman as an example because even women can appreciate other women’s bodies. Unlike men. Men don’t appreciate other men’s bodies because that’s just gay. Anyway, let’s go back to leading lines. If the girl is fully clothed, and her blouse is full of ruffles and her radioactive-polka-dot skirt is so long it reaches the floor, she’s interesting, let’s give her that. But she’s not pretty. If I ask you to look at her “assets” it’ll be a bit hard because there are too many lines on her body. But Imagine her naked. As in real naked. Your eyes will go from her head down to her bosoms, then down to her you know what, then down to her feet and back up again. We could’ve just targeted the erogenous zones but we didn’t. Our eyes followed the curves or lines of her body first. So basically, that’s the function of leading lines. They help us to appreciate all the parts of the photograph while helping us go back to what is important. The subject. Here’s an example. And NO. It’s not a naked lady. It’s just a bowl on a windowsill.

Your eyes saw the line first before going to the subject didn’t it? In this example, the subject is “in” the line. But you can also put subjects at the end or the start of the line. The line will then act as an “arrow” and point to the subject.

3. Framing. No. We’re not talking about photo frames. But the principle is like that. Question: Why do people put photographs inside frames? Answer: So you’ll have a hook or a stand at the back to display your photo! Duh! But seriously, you put it inside a frame to highlight the photo. It gives it emphasis. Framing in photography gives the subject more emphasis. It can also make you feel as if you are in there at that exact moment. Here’s an example:

When you look at the photo, it highlights the bride because she’s framed by silhouettes of people looking at her. And also, you get this feeling that you are inside the church too, looking through people’s heads to see the bride.

4. Simplicity. A simple photograph with a simple background and a simple subject looks good because of its simplicity. It’s that simple. Here’s an example:

In the photo, the subject is the tip of the fork and knife. Due to the simplicity of the background, your eyes are immediately drawn to the subject.

5. Point of view. Shooting at eye level is okay. But soon you’ll realize that some of your pictures are boring. Why? Because you’re capturing them like the way you’ll see them in person. It’s typical. What to do? Try to vary your point of view. Shoot upward. Shoot downward. Shoot sideward. Shoot upside down-ward. Wait, don’t do the last one. That’s just stupid. I forgot that there is this thing called rotate. Besides, I don’t think upside down-ward is an actual word. Anyway, here’s an example:

The subject is simple and beautiful. Shooting this at eye level will make it boring. For this photo, I had to squat and take a picture from below. This way, you can see a side of the subject that won’t be typically seen by the naked eye. Remember: photos look better if you had to position yourself in very uncomfortable positions.

So what are you waiting for? Shoot shoot shoot!!! =)

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Hi classmates! I've got a treat for you. As you know, I try my best to make every entry in this blog entertaining. And lucky for you, I found this very entertaining AND very disturbing video from DigitalRev. This video is a durability test for the NIKON D70 and the CANON 400D. Now I have to warn you, this video is not for the faint of heart...