Digital Photo Academy

Learn How To Use Your Digital Camera


General Tips


As summer months start, so will dramatic shadows and silhouettes to add more drama and eye-catching interest to your photographs. Let's look at how they make their magic.


REMEMBER--PIXELS ARE FREE Rebecca Bozarth  attended a session led by DPA Instructor, Ken Ross, at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens and beautifully exemplified the old Photo Adage, that "Pixels Are Free" so take as many images as you can, from every angle because you may not have another chance!! In fact, as we should have guessed, Rebecca is not the typical Digital Photo Academy student. She is a professional photographer in Atlanta, Georgia, who owns her own design company, Fotografia Film & Design  She is a SCAD Atlanta graduate, and specializes in photography, videography, graphic, and web design. Great opening image with colorful floating orbs in the foreground to anchor the eye of the viewer and lead first to the Chihuly glass structure with adequate attention to the waterfall and of course the magnificent plant lady. The entire scene is upon us without too much focus on a detail or too far away so the impact of the scene is lost. Remember, either with your lens or your body or both, get closer. In this case the image is still anchored by the floating orbs but not all 4 and there is greater emphasis on the chihuly AND waterfall. The plant lady is left in the shadows. Now after closer go further back. The plant lady is shown in the context of the broader setting and creates a different perspective of the way she dwarfs the Chihuly. Interesting perspective. The colorful flowers in the foreground, green leaves included add a brightness to the overall image and compliment the Chihuly. Now back even closer than before to isolate the Chihuly and its relationship to the waterfall, grey stone to accentuate the artwork, with drama added with a shutter speed priority to catch the water in midstream. Even closer to allow the viewer to make a comparison and closer still. This one would might be favored by Chihuli himself even though a portion of his work is cut off. Now an emphasis on the plant lady in a vertical, enabling the viewer to take greater note to the water from the lady's hand. Chihuly is nice but the image works without its presence too. Same notion but this time horizontally and the photographer has a choice as does the viewer of the photo. This time the colorful orbs are missing and it is a study in green, enhancing the focus on the lady's face and arm. Another vertical with some complimentary yellow in the hair and closer look at the face of the lady This Chihuly might even be a completely different display but why not add it in to show the Art Deco, opaque whimsy of the man's creation.

Critique from Harry Wendt of and Digital Photo Academy Team-Sarah Corbin – “Galloping through the Marsh”

"Galloping Through the Marsh" taken in the Camargue, France. Copyright 2011 Sarah Corbin You’ve made a lot of really nice decisions here, Sarah. First, we like the sepia tone. We were wondering if you chose to shoot in monochrome or if it was a post-process choice. A lot of pros will tell you to make the choice in the camera to shoot monochrome, instead of it being a computer edit. You’ve done a great job of capturing these wild horses in their own world. Composition-wise, there really are no suggestions for you here. This is a really nicely layered image with the water in the foreground, the horses and splashing water in the mid, and the reeds and trees in the background, all which bring our eyes back to the subject. Geographically, we would advise you that there are still wild horse and pony herds in Tonto National Park, near Saguaro Lake in Arizona (though these are going to be relocated), and along the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Artistically, we would recommend you look up Robert Farber and Bobbie Goodrich, both of whom photograph wild horses. You might also be interested in the work of Paul Caponigro, who shot wild white deer. He was born in 1932, and a world renown master shooter and father of accomplished photographer, John Pajul Caponigro. The high shutter speed and 5.6 f-stop are both great technical choices. The shutter speed is going to stop the action of the horses and water splashing. The 5.6 aperture is enough to keep your subjects within your depth of field, but keep your foreground and background out of focus. My suggestions on technique would be that if you shoot a little lower shutter speed (anything over 1/1000s should stop the action) you could lower your ISO, increasing image quality and decreasing noise (not that any noise is seen here, just a note). We looked at your other images on your site and see that you make good post-production choices. We also liked the profile picture of the horses that we saw. We were wondering if you used a brush (Mylio will have brushes as of Monday) to burn in the background behind the horses a little? If so, was it a conscious choice to leave some shadow in the bushes immediately surrounding the horses to help them stand out, or was that just a lucky coincidence? Either way, it really helps the white horses pop out of the background.

The Story of 1,000 Cupcakes

Boston Advanced Class Highlights

Your Point and Shoot Camera – Quick Fixes for Crooked Horizons

Quick Fix for Crooked Horizons We have all shot those crooked horizon landscape shots, Sometimes when you’re forced to us a slow shutter speed, you’re holding the camera steady, or resting it on a ledge or railing ... The support is crooked. It happens all the time. More commonly many people don’t even notice a crooked horizon, when they shoot or even later when they view the photos. Me? ... It’s the first thing I notice, it jumps out at me like a flash of light. Fortunately there are a couple of easy remedies. One in-camera and one in post production. The in-camera fix necessitates you level up the camera before taking the photo. This is much easier to do if you select the GRID viewfinder available in your camera menu. You’ll need to check your particular camera to see if this is a feature but in Panasonic cameras this is found in the Tools Menu. Look for the Wrench or Custom Wrench icon in the menu and find Guide Line, then just turn it on (Guide lines will NOT show up in your photos). Using this feature to straighten a horizon is a easy way to make you photos look cleaner and more professional. If you find it distracting for non-landscape photos you just turn it off, either by hitting the display button, or going back into the menu. Alternatively, to fix the horizon of a photo you’ve already shot you can perform an easy repair in Photoshop. Go into the tools menu and find the ruler tool. Draw a line along the crooked horizon. Then go into the Image Menu, Select Image Rotation, Arbitrary, then click OK. That’s it ... Your horizon is now level. Photos by DPA student Henry Cohen, Instructor Rick Gerrity, NJ and NY Henry’s great photo from a memorable vacation shows a slight tilt in the horizon. Select the Ruler tool and draw a line following the crooked horizon. In tools menu find the ruler tool. Draw a line along the crooked horizon. In the Image Menu, Select Image Rotation, Arbitrary. Click OK and the software straightens the horizon. You always lose a little around the edges of the photo when the leveling correction is applied. Select the Crop tool to cut this off and hit enter to crop. Photos by DPA student Henry Cohen, Instructor Rick Gerrity, NJ and NY. Top photo is with crooked horizon repaired. Bottom photo is enhanced with NIK Viveza 2 software. The final repaired photo above looks cleaner and the horizon is no longer a distraction. For display during the webinar John added a little structure to Henry’s photo using NIK Viveza 2 to sharpen up the image, adding some crispness to make it more legible. A quick painless fix transforming a snapshot to a beautiful photographic memory, a keeper. Webinar Submission Specs: All DPA students can submit photographs for inclusion in the Digital Photo Academy, LiHD Webinar, Online Photo Class Series. If you would like to submit your photographs for an upcoming webinar, read the following. Each webinar has a specific theme or topic. You can see the date and topic of the next webinar at, Tip of the Day, Online Photo Class. Note that webinars are edited and formatted days in advance, thus please submit your photos at least a week in advance of the webinar, late submissions can not be added. Photographs are chosen, and edited, for their applicability to the webinar theme, artistic and technical merit, and content length. If your photograph is NOT chosen, it will be archived and may appear in a more appropriate future webinar. Submit your photographs to By submitting your photographs for consideration, you grant and authorize, The Digital Photo Academy, and Panasonic, the following rights: The right to use your photographs in the content and promotion of the webinar series, and for use on each company’s respective website. You further authorize your photographs may be archived online and/or in a database, and allow unrestricted internet availability of any webinars containing your photographs. You further authorize the use of your photographs in any future webinars. By voluntarily submitting your photographs for consideration you agree to the aforementioned without any legal claims, or claims for remuneration, whatsoever. You, as the photographer, retain the copyright © of any submitted photographs. The aforementioned companies will make best possible efforts to apply proper photo credit and acknowledgement with your photograph whenever possible and practical.  

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