Video tutorial

Video tutorial

MASTER EXPOSURE BLENDING

Find the best ones

Find the best ones

TOP PHOTOGRAPHY SPOTS

Learn photography

Learn photography

BOOK A PHOTOGRAPHY COURSE

Taking photos

I take at least 95% of my photos with a tripod. Over time I just got so used to be able to use any exposure I need, just by having one. The resulting photos are so much better, and since I’m also forced to set up the tripod, I tend to get better composition in the end. But there are of course instances where this is not possible. There are more and more places where one can no longer use a tripod. Or you don’t have one available. Maybe it’s because the airline lost your luggage (like happened to me) or something similar.

So how does one get a nice photo in those occasions, where you just have to shoot handheld. Today I will share with you few tips for that. Also, if you have a steel grip, and you can hold a few second shot handheld without problems, this is not for you :)

Taking photos without a tripod

  • Place the camera on something – If you can, put your camera on something, a bench, wall, pillar, anything with a flat top. Then push your camera down so it stays firmly in place when you are taking the photo.
  • Brace yourself against something – If you can not place the camera on anything, try bracing yourself against something. Lean on a railing, pillar, sit on a bench, on the floor. The less your body is moving, the more stable will you be able to hold the camera.
  • Hold your camera close to your body – Your body is always moving, holding the camera away form the body will transfer much more movement to it. Hold it close to you, so minimizing this movements.
  • Use a timer – Pressing the shutter button will move your camera. Even on a tripod this can cause movement. Set your camera to a two second timer, so it takes the shot automatically. The less movement the better.
  • Underexpose your photo – If you shoot in a RAW format, you can easily underexpose all you photos by 1 to 3 stops (depending on your camera) and still get a good photo. You just overexpose it later in post-processing. Each stop down splits in half the time needed to take the photo, so one stop down is 1/2 the time, two stops is 1/4 of the time needed and 3 stops is 1/8 of the time needed. So for instance, if you need a 1s exposure taken handheld, just by underexposing by 3 stops, you shorten this to 1/8th of a second.
  • Set minimum exposure time – On some cameras you can set up the ISO speed settings. This is an option where you can set the longest exposure time the camera uses in automatic modes. So if you see that you just can’t hold a 1/25s or 1/50s steady enough, you can set you camera to always use a shutter speed shorter than 1/125 or 1/250 and similar. You of course limit this by the max ISO you set in the camera. If you set this up, you can be sure that you camera stays in faster shutter speeds, so you have better chance of sharp photos.
  • Take multiple shots with the same settings – Don’t take just one photo, take multiple photos with the same settings. You can put your camera into burst mode, and just hold the shutter down. If you take multiple photos, there is a bigger chance one of them will be good. If you take only one, you just have to be lucky.
  • Forget about bracketing – Bracketing exposures in pointless when shooting handheld anyway. I know photographers that do it, but I personally never been able to get a really good result by doing so. Even in very bright situations. The shots never align anyway. Rather, take multiple same exposures, or underexpose the shot. By using RAW you will get enough information most of the time anyway.

This one is one of the very few photos I took without a tripod. Here I pout the camera on wall, and hold it down to keep steady.

Taking photos without a tripod

At the canals in Amsterdam

Let’s stop by Amsterdam with today’s photo. I tried to include the bicycles here, as I do with most of my Amsterdam photos, as the canals with them just identify the city so nicely. Actually while I was taking this one, a car passed behind me, and lit up the bicycles. It was only on one exposure, but I could blend it in easily. Really great to have multiple exposures to work with :)

This is a 5 exposure blend, done in Photoshop.

At the canals in Amsterdam

Social networks

Yesterday I noticed a tweet by my friend Jim Nix, in which he mentioned, that he no longer uses Facebook and Instagram that much, but he appreciates Twitter more and more. And funny enough, I feel exactly the same way. But why is it so? I though about it, and this is what I gotten to.

Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

All social networks are different. And one joins them for many different reasons. I joined Facebook because of my friends. Instagram to share photos and follow other photographers. Twitter mostly from curiosity. There are one’s where one shares more, and ones where one reads more. But over time I lost most of my interest in them. I removed Facebook from my phone around a year ago, and don’t plan to add it back. Instagram is still there, but have not been used in a while. But I do visit Twitter daily.

I though abut why this is, and in the end I found the reason. The biggest difference is, why I follow people (and companies) on these different social networks. There is a different reason for every single one.

  • On Facebook, I follow mostly family, friends and acquaintances. But over time, I noticed, that those that I care about, I talk to and meet outside of Facebook, so I don’t need to check on them there. And the rest is just too much information I don’t need.
  • On Instagram, I follow accounts based on how good or interesting their photos are. It’s all about photography. I don’t think I followed anyone there for a different reason. Of course as a photographer I’m interested in photos but I don’t feel the need to check them out all the time. It’s same as with 500px and Flickr. I go there sometime, but don’t feel the need to be there all the time.
  • On Twitter, I follow accounts that share stuff I like. I have many interests and there are a lot of accounts that fit them. People share about photography, movies, books, games, software, anime, models, drawing, culture and much much more. Like this, my feed is very diverse, full of stuff I like. I also find there is much less personal updates, which you get much more on Facebook or Instagram. It feels more as a place to share ones interests. And that’s why recently I been mostly just there.

This all could be because how the different social networks started, and what kind of content they were build for. Even if you can find everything everywhere, there are still associations to the content they have been started for.

What are you still using? Or nothing anymore, like a lot of people tend to do now. Maybe the era of booming social networks is over. Who knows.

You can find me on Twitter here.

Evening clouds over Bratislava

This is a quite common view of Bratislava now, after they replaced the Old bridge. For few years, with the old bridge closed off, and then being completely gone, this view was not accessible at all. Still, with the trams passing quite frequently on the bridge, getting a nice evening photo is not that easy. The bridge can shake like crazy. Even with this photo, I started editing a different shot, and then I noticed that the bracket were completely miss-aligned and bury. Luckily, I tend to do multiple shots in places like this, to be sure one is good enough. And one was.

This is a blend from three exposures, done in Photoshop.

Evening clouds over Bratislava

Mobile wallpapers


Photos with a lot of bokeh usually work great as wallpapers, as the icons stand out quite nicely in the out of focus areas. So today I have for you some of my spring photos, with a lot of bokeh. And they are all formatted as mobile phone wallpapers. These are all in 1080×2160 resolution, and will work great for most phones. Even if they get cropped a bit or stretched, they look great on an average size phone screen.

I have not added a watermark to these, as on wallpapers this size, it would be too distracting and won’t look so great.

Don’t forget to check out other available wallpapers:

Spring themed mobile wallpapers

And here are the wallpapers. I kept them bright and colorful, perfect for a Spring feeling :)

FREE EBOOK!!!
Subscribe to my newsletter and get a free Capturing fireworks ebook. 
Subscribe