Tag Archives: photography

Feature Friday // Everything, Everywhere – Gary Ardnt

As we are preparing for the PhotoEx: Austria and Switzerland trip starting on Monday I have been reading up on some travel blogs in preparation. Gary Ardnt has some really great tips and life experiences which he has all over his blog. One that I found helpful and interesting was this post.

Yes, I have been working on German and know my “Hello” and “Goodbye”.

I did read this article about finding the perfect bag. Bags are important right? Especially when traveling light. And yes, Jocelyn and I have talked about what shoes we are bringing. Good shoes are must.

Definitely looking forward to exploring new places and making memories with some awesome IPS peeps!


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Feature Friday // Media Novak

Do you have a photography blog or business? Want some helpful marketing ideas?

If you answered “yes!” to either of those questions, check out this website. It’s all about giving helpful ideas to YOU as a photographer.

I found this article on marketing extremely helpful. 

I also think I want to try this on instagram …

And, because I like to learn from the mistakes of others.

Media Novak

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Feature Friday // National Geographic Travelers Photo Contest Winners

Check these images from the winner and runner ups of the National Geographic Travelers Photo Contest 2013!

Sometimes photography is being at the right place at the right time and sometimes it’s waiting for that perfect shot.

These are pretty cool.


Have you ever wanted to submit an image to a contest? Have you had any success?

Photo by MJ Hight

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Feature Friday // Jennifer Blair – Photographer

Jennifer Blair.

Heard of her? She is in South Alabama and I just spent a little while on her website and blog. I really like her work and I think you will too!


Here is a link to a rather interesting article she wrote about “Why Your Wedding Photography Should Be Like My Old House”.

Why do I like her? I like how bright her photos are. They have a nice feel to them. I also like how real she comes across on her blog. She is a real person. That’s always fun to read about and “blog-stalk”.

What do you think?


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How do I get a Blurry Background?

Today, for Photo Tip Monday, I’m going to show you how to get the background blurry in your photos. Blurry backgrounds are that awesome photo element that hides distractions, highlights your subject, and separates your images from all the pretenders.

 Craig and Elizabeth Caswell are Married!

There are two different photography terms that talk about that blurry background. The first is “bokeh,” which describes the quality of the blur, is it nice and smooth, etc. If you want to sound like a total nerd you could look at a photo and say, “Whoa, that’s sweet bokeh!” Try to use a surfer accent when you do. The second term is “depth of field,” which is a bit more useful. We all know that cameras need to be focused, and what whatever we focus on is sharp. Depth of field describes how much of that sharpness spreads to the background. If a photo has a large depth of field, the background will be sharp, a photo with a shallow depth of field will have a blurry background.

There are three things that affect your depth of field:

  • Distance
  • Lens
  • Aperture

Distance – the closer you are to your subject, the blurrier the background will be. The farther away your background is, the blurrier it will be. It doesn’t matter what camera (or phone!) you have, bring your subject closer to the camera and move farther away from the background for better … bokeh.

How to photography blurry backgrounds

It is very difficult to get the background blurry with an iPhone. You have to get very close to your subject and have your background far away.


Lens – Photography lenses are measured in numbers, typically something like 35mm or 85mm, etc… The secret here is that the bigger the number, the smaller the depth of field, and the blurrier the background. This means that you just need to zoom in. The more you zoom in, the blurrier that background is going to get.
How to photography blurry backgrounds

This image was created with a 200mm lens. This has the effect of blurring the background more than, say, a 50mm lens.


Aperture – Here’s the most nerdy of solutions. Inside your lens lives something called the diaphragm. Every time you take a photo it closes down to control the intensity of the light – much like the iris of your eye. The opening that the light flows through is called the aperture, and it is measured with numbers like f/2.8, f/5.6, f/22, etc. The secret here is that the smaller the number (e.g. f/2.8), the shallower the depth of field, and the blurrier the background. If you’re shooting with a camera that allows you to control the aperture, adjust that number until it’s as small as possible to get that background blurry.


How to photography blurry backgrounds

This image was photographed with an aperture of f/2.8. This has the effect of blurring the background more than an aperture of f/8 or f/22.


Now, let’s connect the dots. For maximum blurriness, set the aperture to the smallest number, zoom your lens in all the way, and get as close as you can while keeping your subject in focus.


It’s not magic, but it sure can feel that way!



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