Tag Archives: Digital Photography 1

Free Video: What Camera Mode Should I Use?

Your Digital SLR camera has 4 different advanced exposure modes. At their heart of hearts they all are designed to do the same thing – capture a properly exposed image – but they all go about it different ways. This video will teach you the strengths and weaknesses of Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, and Manual modes and how to use each of them well.

This video is part of our Digital Photojournalism Class. To watch more videos like this become a member or join a class!

Have a question about camera modes? Leave us a comment below!



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This Week at IPS // Sunrise & Sunset

This week our Digital Photography 1 students photographed some amazing sunrises and sunsets. These 7 images are my favorite of the bunch, though they aren’t the only good ones. What I love about each of these photos is that they all have dramatic color and light, a clear subject, and a compelling composition. Way to go guys!

Comment to let me know which image is your favorite and why!


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Photo Tip Monday // Rule of Thirds

If you’ve been around photography for any time at all you’ve probably heard of this thing called the “Rule of Thirds.” It’s not the kind of rule that you get punished for breaking, more the kind of rule that helps you know what to do. The big idea behind the Rule of Thirds is that helps you arrange your photo for greater impact.

When composing your images there are so few things that are RIGHT or WRONG that to use those words isn’t generally helpful. Rather, it’s far better to think of compositional elements as being STRONGER or WEAKER or to describe something as more or less SUCCESSFUL. This is where the Rule of Thirds comes in really handy, because it highlights the stronger areas of a photo, helping you put the important subject(s) there.

Here’s what that looks like:

Rule of Thirds - Grid

Take your frame (viewfinder) and draw a mental tic-tac-toe grid over it. The places your lines intersect are the strongest areas within your frame. It doesn’t seem to matter who looks at a photo, as humans, we seem to naturally be drawn to these areas and this geometric breakdown of a photo. I believe this is because of the way the world is made, and ultimately the character and nature of God.


So, as a smart photographer, I naturally want to put the most important things in the area or region of the photo that draw more attention anyway. I can do that will all sorts of subjects.

Rule of Thirds - Composition

In this photo the man is clearly my subject, and the most important compositional element. While the photo could be composed many ways, I have used the Rule of Thirds as a guide to help me place the most important element in an area that is naturally strong. I have aligned his body on one of the vertical lines, and placed the crossing line on his torso.


Rule of Thirds - Stronger

In this photo, the IPS student in New Zealand is my subject. I want to draw you into his experience, the concentration with which he approaches his subject. I’m going to do that by first, filling my frame, and second, applying the Rule of Thirds. By knowing where the strongest areas of my photo are, I can place my subjects face on that intersection and make my image stronger.


Rule of Thirds - Landscape

This photo demonstrates a different application of the Rule of Thirds. In landscape photography, I will generally place horizons along either the upper or lower third line of a photo. This reduces the tension in a photo by moving the horizon out of the middle of the frame to a more naturally balanced place.


Photographers aren’t the first to appreciate the Rule of Thirds. Historically it has been called names such as the Golden Mean, the Golden Spiral, the Fibonacci spiral and others. For thousands of years people have pondered the Golden Ratio, observed it in nature, and applied it to their own artistic endeavors. Today I invite you to join us!

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