Month: January 2013

Portrait at a party

I took this picture a few years ago at a family party. It’s one of many examples why prime lenses (fixed focal length) are so great: large aperture catching all the light, sharp foreground on a blurry background letting the subject ‘speak’. Absolutely fabulous for portraits

(Nikon D70s + Nikkor 50 mm f/1.4 @ A-mode, ISO 200, 1/160 s, f/1.4, auto white balance -3)

This is also a fine example of why camera bodies are not that important: the D70s is now 6 years old. It’s the lens, stupid! Or even better: It’s you, stupid!, because even the finest camera and lens will shoot bad pictures if the scene is boring.


No flash

No-flash photography is great because pictures will reflect how the environment actually looked in reality. Using a flash will wash away the mood of the original scene.

Take a look at the photo I took last weekend at a birthday party:

(Nikkor 35 mm standard lens @ f/1.8, shutter 1/30 s and ISO 1600, NO FLASH)

Prerequisite to shoot in such low-light environments is a lens with a large aperture. Fixed focal length lenses are excellent choices, like my 35 mm f/1.8 lens costing only 189$. Doing the same with zoom lenses is virtually impossible, even with the 1000$+ f/2.8 zooms.

Note that shooting pictures of people was impossible without flash. A shutter speed of 1/30 s is fast enough to avoid motion blur by involuntary movements of the hands, it’s way too slow to avoid motion blur by moving people.


I started this website to provide basic lessons for beginner-photographers mainly dealing with the technical aspects of photography (see the menu’s above). And while this knowledge is important, thousands of websites already cover this and more (and better).

So I decided to focus more on how I came to photograph a scene, a view into my mind as I was standing there with my camera. This can include camera settings (aperture, shutter, …) and/or artistic views and feelings (balance, composition, …).

A word of warning though. I am an amateur and still learning every day. I would even dare say I am a beginner myself. So don’t expect any pro-grade artistic advice. There will just be my thoughts and opinions, that may be right or wrong or nothing at all. In the process I can only hope to help a few others.

August 2014