Keep Digital Photos Safe by Making a Backup: Use CD, DVD, Pen Drive or External Hard Drive. Print Best Photos Too

Before digital photography, people kept prints in an album. They usually kept the negatives as well. Now photos download from a digital camera onto a computer. The pictures are there to enjoy. They don’t fade or crumple. But they do risk being lost for ever – in an instant.

Computer accidents happen. They wipe out everything, including photos. Typical scenarios are:

  • the hard disc fails
  • some one accidentally deletes the picture files
  • a burglar takes the computer
  • the computer is destroyed by fire or flood
  • a lightning strike travels through household wiring and burns out the computer

Make a BackupThe answer is to back up your data, in other words, to make an extra copy (or two extra copies) of photos as soon as they are downloaded onto the computer. There are several ways to do it:

  1. Burn a CD or a DVD with the photo files. Label it with date and subject and store it safely. CDs are cheap and don’t take up much space. The downside is that they may deteriorate in time and become unreadable.
  2. Copy the photos onto a USB pen drive or stick. It’s quicker than burning a CD and great for carrying around to show friends and family. Beware, a USB pen drive is small and easy to break or lose so it’s not the best thing for long-term back up.
  3. Copy the photos onto an external hard drive that plugs into the USB or FireWire socket. It is quick to use and safer than a pen drive. Some drives have several years guarantee. Check when you buy. This is currently the best way to back up digital photos. A one terabyte drive holds 100,000 to 200,000 photos. The exact number depends on the camera used.

Consider Off-Site Storage

Keep copies of photos right away from home. A burglar could take the computer and the back-up external drive. A flood would wreck both.

One way to do it:

Buy two external hard drives.

  1. Copy your photos onto both drives.
  2. Put one back in its box and take it to a friend who can store it in their home.
  3. As you add new photos to your computer, back them up on the external hard drive you have kept.
  4. Each time you visit your friend, take the hard drive and swap it with the one they have.
  5. Take that one home and add the new photos.

Get Some Prints

Chose the best photos and order prints. Printing out favorite photos saves them from computer disasters. Photo-quality computer printers give great results, but inks and paper can be expensive. For larger numbers it can be cheaper to get prints at a high street photographic shop or from an online printing service.

There is another reason to get prints. Digital formats change. Twenty years ago, five-inch floppy discs were a common storage system for data. Now, very few people have the equipment to read them. Photographic prints from a hundred years ago are still clear. Many families enjoy researching their history. Old black and white prints of great-grandparents are treasured possessions. Prints will help future family historians more than digital data in an obsolete format.

Do It Now!

Images on a computer seem very real. It’s hard to believe how temporary they can be. Don’t wait until they disappear for ever due to a technical fault or an accident. Make a back-up, order some prints and save treasured memories.

Inexpensive Macro Photography: Close-Up Lenses: Magnify the World Around You and Take Amazing Photos

Macro, or close-up photography, is the art of making photographs that display the subject at life size or larger. Filling the frame of a picture close up results in amazing detail, revealing the intricacies of life often overlooked by the naked eye.

Dedicated macro lenses are available for SLR and dSLR cameras that offer the ability to magnify a subject to life size, or a 1:1 magnification ratio. These lenses are often expensive. What is a photographer to do if he or she would like to try out macro photography without making a large financial investment? There are several inexpensive options available.

Macro Equipment

Extension tubes are one inexpensive option for macro photography. They allow for greater magnification from existing lenses on an SLR or dSLR camera by shortening the minimum focusing distance. They aren’t ideal for all shooting situations, however, as they decrease the light that reaches the camera and cannot be used with some lens mounts or with fixed lens cameras.

Close-up lenses are a more flexible option than extension tubes.

  • They screw into the filter mount of the camera lens, allowing them to be used with both fixed lens and SLR/dSLR digital and film cameras.
  • They don’t decrease the light reaching the camera and don’t adversely affect exposure or auto-focus ability.

Close-up lenses work by magnifying the subject and decreasing the focusing distance of the camera. Their strength is measured in diopters, where higher numbers offer greater magnification. A close-up lens set typically includes several lenses with strengths of +1, +2, +3, and +4. Two close-up lenses can e stacked on top of each other for a cumulative effect. Just be sure to put the stronger lens on first.

How to Use a Close-Up Lens

Prepare for a macro shooting experience by finding a close-up lens that fits the size of the camera lens’s filter mount. These are measured in millimeters, such as 49mm or 58mm. Next, select the preferred amount of magnification and screw the appropriate close-up lens onto the camera lens’s filter mount or filter mount adapter.

Shooting with a close-up lens is similar to shooting without one. Close-up lenses have no adverse effects on exposure, so there’s no need to worry about decreased light reaching the camera. There’s no need for exposure compensation, and if shooting is done in daylight, it can often be done hand-held without a tripod.

The major concern when shooting with a close-up lens is the need to shoot at smaller apertures. Most inexpensive close-up lenses are not corrected for optical aberrations. These aberrations can result in false colors, color fringes, or halos in photos. Shooting at an aperture of f/8 or smaller (higher) can reduce these distortions. With the decreased focusing distance, the depth of field will be shallow even at these higher apertures. The creative effect of blurred backgrounds (or “bokeh”) can still be achieved with a close-up lens.

Because close-up lenses introduce another layer of glass to the shooting scenario, they slightly decrease the resulting image quality when compared to a dedicated macro lens. Stacking two close-up lenses further degrades the image quality. However, these supplemental lenses are so inexpensive that they offer a great alternative for entry level and budget conscious photographers looking to try out macro photography.

Keep a close-up lens in the camera bag. They’re great for getting a little closer to the world around you.

Improving Child Photography With Digital Cameras

Children are among the most common subjects of photography. Family albums are filled with uncounted photographs of children taken over the decades and many of them are unfortunately forgettable to anyone but mom and dad. With pictures easier and cheaper to take now, parents still depend heavily on professionals.

Posing Children for Photography

Children do enough memorable things so that posing is often unnecessary. Have a digital camera ready and take frequent pictures. When a child is playing with a pet, for example, things can happen rapidly. Parents are advised to just keep taking pictures. Most will not be great but one or two might be.

Computers allow parents to keep the best and even improve them with cropping and adjustment of color and exposure. If a child needs to be posed with a memorable backdrop like Mount Rushmore, have them stand facing the mountain and point toward it to make it look more natural.


Avoid a posed appearance. Family albums can be terribly boring with picture after picture of children standing at attention in front of some natural wonder. Study pictures in magazines to get an idea of what the professionals do. Take pictures of children doing things. Modern cameras can freeze movement in most lighting conditions.

There is no longer a need to tell everyone to stand still and smile. As a matter of fact some of the best pictures can be taken when children don’t know parents are paying any attention.

Children at play or sleeping make great subjects. They tend to have pronounced features – especially eyes. Close-up shots that emphasize eyes wide open in surprise or delight are always winners.

Parents Should Take Pictures at a Child’s Level

Another common aspect of family albums is the appearance of small children staring up at the camera being held by an adult. Generally speaking, unless the photographer wants to emphasize some type of special perspective, it is best to stoop to the level of the child’s eyes.

Getting down to the child’s level might mean getting down on the floor. Great! Now the picture has a perspective that more accurately shows the world as a child sees it.

A Flash may or may not be Helpful

Part of learning how to use a digital camera involves knowing when to use its features. Flashes for typical amateur cameras are of little use beyond 10 to 20 feet.

Also, available lighting – no flash – can be more pleasing is many cases, as flash photography can cause harsh shadows or “red eye,” caused when the light from a flash bounces straight back to the camera after lighting up the blood rich capillaries in the eye.

Red eye is more likely to be a problem when the subject is looking directly into the lens. Flashes that can be elevated a couple of inches or more above the camera body can change the angle enough to eliminate the problem.

Sometimes there is enough available light being cast on the subject to provide suitable illumination while creating a dark background. Darkness preserves the reality of the scene and may emphasize pleasing feature.

For example, A Christmas tree loses its charm when the lights are washed away by the light of a flash. Try a silhouette of a child in the dark with the tree illuminated tree in the background.

Flashes are often helpful during bright daylight to fill in dark shadows on a face or to illuminate a subject standing in a shadow with a sunny area behind them.

Take Lots of Pictures

The price of flash memory cards for digital cameras has plummeted. Thousands of pictures can be stored temporarily on one card costing less than $15. There is no need to be stingy with pictures. Of course it is best to delete the bad shots and have photos made of the best.

Friends and relatives will appreciate a variety of interesting pictures rather than dozens of the same theme. For parents who can’t bear to delete any pictures, the good, the bad, and the ugly can all be cheaply burned onto a CD and kept forever and serve as backup files.

Learn Basic Functions of Photo Enhancing Software

There are many software programs available for editing pictures. Often a basic program will come with a digital camera. For the amateur functions that allow adjusting exposure, color, cropping, and red eye removal are generally sufficient.

Expensive editing programs are often too complex in purpose and operation for amateurs. Expensive, high quality cameras will likely have a complete editing program that might require some special knowledge. Fortunately, newer versions of Windows Office allow simple editing with Office Word, as well as templates for projects such as greeting cards.

Google offers a free download for Picasa, which is easy to use and performs the operations mentioned above as well as filing and sorting functions.

Digital photography has made taking family pictures easier and cheaper than ever. Children make great subjects and with a few tips parents can greatly enhance the quality of their family albums. The use of editing software is an almost essential skill to get the best pictures. Basic software is cheap or even free.

How to Save Money on Senior Portraits: This High School Pastime Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive

It’s the last year of high school, and there are tons of things required of most students. They’ve got to be looking at what college to apply to and finishing out their toughest classes. When word comes from the school that they’ve got to provide a yearbook photograph, it’s usually on top of an already growing list of tasks.

Senior portraits can be fun and create a record of the student during the last year of their high school experience. To make sure you’re getting a great deal, follow these tips that most photographers follow.

Think Off-Season

Most senior portrait photographers are slammed in the early fall – it’s when the schools notify parents of a deadline and everyone begins to call. By then, it’s too late to ask for an off-season discount, but if most parents (or students) think ahead, they can get a killer deal on their portrait session.

Try calling your local photographer in the spring at the end of junior year. Very few students are photographed at that time of year, and they’ll be happy to have the business.

Become a Rep

Most photographers run programs where they enlist student representatives to represent the photo studio at their school. It differs between photographers, but most offer some sort of extras if you recommend your friends, plus goodies like extra sessions or free makeup and hair on the day of the session. Be sure to ask extra-early about these programs, since they usually fill up fast.

Pick Your Favorite

One way to be sure you waste your money on senior portraits is if you pick a photographer whose style you don’t like or appreciate. Since you’ll most likely be paying a photographer, make sure there is some bang for your buck by choosing someone who captures the spirit of the senior and does fun, modern things that are likely to really represent the student. Most photographers offer packages in which products are discounted so that you can display some of those new favorite photos at home or in the wallet.

Don’t Go Amateur

Sometimes the cost of senior portraits pushes seniors to choose friends or family members with a camera to take their senior portraits. It’s an option, but one that’s often risky. Yearbooks have technical specifications that must be met in order for the photos to be accepted, and there’s no guarantee the photos will come out.

If there’s no choice but to go amateur, think about inquiring at the nearest photography college, where students should know about technical standards and have plenty of practice. Remember to give them lots of time to get it right and to ask for photos in a digital format so that you can be assured they’ll be archived.

Senior portraits often become treasures over the years, as they immortalize that last year of high school and full youth and vigor. Be sure to not only save money, but also get value, when making this purchase.

How to Photograph in Low Light: Tips for Night Photography Using Available Light

Often in night photography it is too dark for reading the explanatory symbols for the controls on the camera’s body. Photographers need to operate their equipment without looking at the controls, instead locating and adjusting them by feel. You even need to be familiar with the locations of the settings of the illuminated menu system, because these can be very different from normal daytime photography, so as to be able to find them in the menus structure, because reading the manual in the dark could be difficult.

Know Your Gear

Cameras have different characteristics, particularly regarding digital noise performance and inbuilt shake reduction. Just because there is a high ISO setting available it does not mean the digital camera will produce useable images. This is often a creative decision for the photographer as to how much noise they find acceptable in each situation. This takes some experimentation with different ISO settings to find the upper ISO setting that limits noise to a comfortable level.

Various camera systems offer shake or vibration reduction systems, either in the camera body or built into the lens. This allows slower shutter speeds without the need for tripods or other supports. Their effectiveness is influenced by how steady individual photographers can hold a camera, so experiment and find the slowest shutter speed that produces sharp pictures with each system.

High ISO

Normally the best image quality comes with low ISO settings as these minimize any digital noise produced in the image making process. In low light photography some noise is almost inevitable and in some situations adds to the mood. Carefully select higher ISO settings to give enough sensitivity to produce the image while balancing the amount of noise. Expect some digital noise in dark areas.

Flash Ruins The Mood And Colors Of Dim Lighting

Particularly in concert photography using electronic flash is either ineffective or overpowers subtle stage lighting designed as an integral part of the performance.

Find the Light

Rather than lament the lack of light in one location, search out spots where the light is good and make the best use of it. Sometimes this means waiting for the subjects to come to the light.

  • Wide Angle Lens: Shorter focal length lenses are often better in night photography as they are not as sensitive to camera shake due to slow shutter speeds as are longer focal length lenses. A photographic rule of thumb is the slowest shutter speed for safe camera handholding is 1/focal length of the lens.
  • Prime Lenses: These lenses often offer wider apertures to let in more light at a reasonable cost. For example, a 50mm f1.4 is a common choice for low light photography as even expensive zooms struggle to go beyond f2.8.

Manual Metering Mode

Auto metering modes are programmed for daylight shooting and attempt to expose for 18% gray and overexpose the shots, low light shots should be dark. Experiment and use the LCD monitor as a rough guide to aperture, ISO, and shutter speed. Take a number of shots at different apertures and shutter speeds until you get a feel for how the camera’s LCD screen displays images. It is a guide not a precision exposure meter.

Learn To Hold The Camera

If the camera has an optical viewfinder in then use it in preference to using a live view image on the LCD screen. This is start to holding the camera properly to minimize camera shake at the slower shutter speeds of low light photography. Elbows tucked into the body and camera viewfinder braced by the head is the most stable camera holding technique. Also look for solid objects such as walls fences chairs, and garbage bins help to steady the camera – of course use a tripod if possible.

Flash Contradiction

Sometimes flash is useful in available light photography so long as it is only part of the overall lighting plan, such as highlighting a portion of the scene. There is more on this topic in upcoming advanced flash techniques articles.

How to Find Freelance Photography Jobs: Become Self Employed

Becoming self employed is pretty much an uphill battle, but it can definitely be worth the 

How to Find Freelance Photography Jobs

effort. Want to start working at an enjoyable, fulfilling, rewarding career? Learn how to find freelance photography jobs to make money and begin a whole new life – with a lot of hard work.

Want to become self employed in a career path that’s artistic, methodical and interesting? Learn how to find freelance photography jobs. Professionals with a lot of discipline and determination, an eye for art and a lot of drive to succeed can learn how to make money in this field…when they know how.

Knowing how to do the work (take pictures, develop film, etc.) is only the tip of the ice burg when it comes to becoming a self employed freelance photographer. Many other skills have to be mastered to make this career work.

Become Self Employed

Want to become self employed? Whether to career is freelance photography or in any other field, there are few basics skills that every independent contractors must learn how to master. Find out what it takes to make money and create a successful career:

  • Self employed marketing. The first step to making money as an independent contractor is marketing. Photographers should focus on their own local markets, avoiding long-distances jobs whenever possible. It’s a good idea to place an ad in local phonebooks, print business cards to pass out when meeting new people and always remember to promote photography skills to friends and family. For professionals who are just starting with a new career, it’s always good to focus on promoting to known associates first.
  • Creating opportunities. Take self employed marketing one step further by creating opportunities. When it’s hard to find freelance photography jobs, learn how to make them come on their own. Create a Web site displaying pictures, use social networking sites to promote from a different angle and never forget to market skills and services at every possible opportunity.


  • Freelance job boards. Use job boards to search for freelance jobs and opportunities. Some job boards, like Craiglist, offer local listings so professionals can seek out freelance gigs by city.
  • Know the market. Successful photographers know where and how to find work to make money. Want to find freelance photography jobs and opportunities? Know where to look for them! Photographers are often needed at weddings, for school portraits and for team pictures. Market specifically to individuals who might need services to increase the chances of finding work.

How to Buy a Camera Tripod: Choosing a Key Item of Equipment for Landscape Photography

A tripod is another piece of equipment to carry; is it really worth taking on long hikes to photograph the landscape? It might not be essential every time, but it will almost always help and there are many situations where you cannot expect acceptable results from hand-held shots.

Why Use a Tripod?

Holding a camera rock-solid steady, essential for good photography of any kind, can be difficult outdoors in the wind and on uneven surfaces. Many of the best landscape pictures are taken soon after dawn or in the evening, when the light can require slow shutter speeds. And long exposures can be used creatively with moving water and wind-blown grasses or leaves.

So the main reason for using a tripod is to have complete flexibility in choosing lenses and shutter speeds without having to worry about camera movement and shake.

Tripods also help in composing pictures accurately, particularly to get level horizons. And high dynamic range techniques require precisely the same composition taken with, usually, three different levels of exposure, which is only possible with a good tripod.

Tripod Features to Consider

Tripod prices very widely, from £25 / $50 to £300 / $600, so what would be a sensible choice? Weight, collapsed size, stability and build quality are basic considerations, here are some less obvious features that can greatly affect a tripod’s practical value:

  • Both the tripod and head should be rated as strong and steady enough to hold your present camera and lens, with a margin for what you might buy in future.
  • Ball heads usually have both a smoother and a more flexible movement than pan-and-tilt heads, making it easier to compose shots accurately.
  • A three-way spirit level will help with keeping horizons level.
  • A quick release lever for the camera is useful for setting up and moving around the site.
  • The legs should be manoeuvrable independently and the tripod should be tall enough to set up and use on tricky, steeply sloping sites.
  • A removable central column that can be set horizontally, or upside down, is a great help for close-up or macro shots of the inner or micro landscape.
  • A hook to hang a camera bag, usually at the bottom of the central column, will add stability.

Tripod Manufacturers

Benbo, Giotto, Gitzo and Manfrotto are all excellent manufacturers, though others also produce good models. The tripod is such a central piece of equipment that it is wise to take a close, hands-on look before buying, so a trip to a camera shop will be a better bet than an on-line purchase.

So what is a tripod likely to cost? Don’t expect much for £25 / $50; at that price you will probably soon want something better. For a good one, including the head, expect to pay at least £100 / $200, perhaps double that for a tripod that will last for many years of use and camera upgrades, and more to combine all the best features with light weight.

While you are at it, get a remote shutter release. It is another way to keep things rock steady when you take those long exposures.

Holiday Photo Greeting Cards: Tips For Taking the Best Family Photo

A personalized photo card of all the kids, or the whole family together can make a great keepsake. When not using candid photos, follow some of these tips to help ensure a better photo.

Dress to the Setting

The first thing that needs to be decided upon for the holiday photo, is the location. Should the picture be taken outside, with a fall or winter theme? Or should it be shot indoors, in front of a fireplace, or in the living room? Picking the location, before trying to come up with clothing for the participants can go a long way toward ensuring a great photo.

Denim photographs very well outside, while khaki and white will look washed out in the outdoors, but photographs well in indoor lighting. Black can give a more formal look to an outdoor photo, but may look too dark indoors.

The type of lighting, surrounding colors, or scene can also have a big impact on how the photograph will turn out. An overcast day at the pumpkin patch can be brightened with saturated fall colors, while a family photo in front of a lit fire, with a bright glow can be toned down more.

Choose Co-ordinating Outfits

It can be tempting to match everyone in the same outfit, but for large families or groups, sometimes choosing coordinating outfits, rather than matching makes more sense. Take a color, or group of colors for everyone to wear, and use them as a starting point. Or find one piece of clothing that looks great on a young child, and build everyone’s outfit around that.

Another fun idea, for outdoor photographs, is to have everyone dress in one color, and accessorize with different colored hats, scarves and gloves. So dad can be in navy, while mom is in red, and the children in green, pink and yellow. If the under garments are all black turtlenecks, the bright colors will show up well, and give a pulled together look, without being overly matching.

Photograph Small Children Naturally

If trying to get a photo of a few small children without adults in the picture, try grouping them around something that interests them, and let them be natural. It can be difficult to get many small children to all look in the direction of the camera at once, so try to have them all focus on the same thing, whether it’s a toy, a pet or something brightly colored and entertaining just behind the photographer.

Sometimes pictures of small children just “being busy” or being themselves, can make for a better photo, than one that’s staged, since it can be difficult to get them to all look up and smile at once.

Older children can handle staged photographs easier, as they will have more experience with following direction, and looking into a camera. Give the little ones something to do, like a puzzle to put together, or a toy to hold, and take multiple photos.

Be sure to take lots of pictures, even after it’s thought that the “right one” has been found. Sometimes pictures that weren’t thought to be as good in the moment can turn out to be poignant, or amusing and make for a better photo greeting card, than those where the participants are wooden and fixed.

Remember to relax, and know that just receiving a personalized photo card is going to be what makes someone’s day, not necessarily how perfect everyone appears in the photo.


Fun, Free Photo Shoot Ideas – Street Grafitti: Urban Architecture, Citizen Art, Collaborative Art, Expression

Graffiti is largely socially maligned by many people as being gaudy, or simply vandalism under the guise of art. Nothing could be further from the truth when considering the beauty of street art, or responsible graffiti.

Responsible Graffiti Far From Vandalism, Can Inspire Social Thought

While many examples of urban graffiti are simply tags that are used to represent a certain graffiti artists hallmark, many other examples exist of truly beautiful graffiti artwork.

Graffiti is an excellent photographic resource for photographers in that it does not bear formal copyright, meaning that it can be used in post-production for a variety of purposes – ranging from creating a poster for a local indy rock or metal show to inclusion in a portfolio showing the more populist, underground side of the city in artistic fashion.

Graffiti is also unique to many other forms of art in that it almost always is used to convey a theme or message alongside of it’s purely aesthetic value. Messages of “No More Prisons”, “Feed the Poor”, “Legalize It”, “An End to Racism”, and other populist slogans are very common amongst street taggers and artists wishing to make a public statement through artwork.

Such themes and slogans are perfect for the photographer, particularly in an artistic sense, because these captured images can be manipulated or complimented via Photoshop or even with an accompany poem – a form of found poetry, for example – that uses the photographed graffiti as a source material.

Use Photographed Graffiti as Material for a Collage

Collage work is one of the most interesting tasks for any photographer, a blend of original exposures melded together, each shot contributing to a greater theme. Graffiti is especially rewarding – and yet challenging – material for a collage due to its largely organic, asymmetrical nature. Most grafitti is not angular and rigid, but rather flowing and somewhat amorphous – larger than life and more vibrant.

Graffiti collages make excellent band or event posters, industrial and architectural themed artwork, political and activist literature, as well as simply great exposures for modern, urban artwork that not only reflects your own twist on the original artwork but also a compositional touch that allows the photographer to play with colour, arrangement, depth of field, and general theme.

By taking a stroll about town and enjoying some of the beauty of citizen made street art (and, unfortunately, encountering some graffiti that might honestly be classified as talentless, derivative vandalism) one can enjoy a philosophical and aesthetic challenge that is free exercise both for the body and the mind.

Foregrounds in Landscape Photos: The Micro-Landscape Can Enhance your Panoramas

The idea of a landscape photograph may suggest a sweeping panoramic view towards a distant horizon. But an interesting foreground is at least as important to the composition as the early morning light and shade on the far away mountains.

With the wide angle lens that you will usually use for your landscape shots, think of the foreground as the lowest horizontal third of the frame, starting just two or three meters in front of the camera. At that distance the well-focused, tiny details of the landscape – grass, reeds, leaves, flowers, shells, pebbles or rocks – can make a good foundation for the whole picture.

A Foreground Point of Interest

The main point of interest in your foreground may be man-made rather than natural, perhaps a lichen-encrusted dry stone wall, a weather-beaten shed or an old wooden boat. And it might occupy the left or right third of the frame rather than the lower third, perhaps a skeletal tree or a line of fence posts diminishing towards the centre of the shot.

Foregrounds that look like barriers usually don’t work well. A wall that doesn’t fit smoothly with whatever lies beyond it, or an abrupt cliff edge against a distant mountain or cloudscape, can create a sense of separation and an unsettling feeling that the viewer is missing something and wants to peek over the top to see whatever is hidden.

But the picture will only work if those foreground details are absolutely pin sharp, so you will usually want the widest depth of field that your equipment can manage and a very steady camera.

Calculate the Hyperfocal Distance

For the best depth of field you will need to know the hyper-focal distance for the shot, meaning the distance at which you should focus to maximise the depth of field, and from that the near-focus and far-focus distances. These are the formulae, with all distance measurements in millimetres:

  • Hyperfocal distance ((f*f)/(N*c))+f
  • Near focus distance (s(H-f))/(H+s-2f)
  • Far focus distance (s(H-f))/(H-s)
  • H Hyperfocal distance, mm
  • f Lens focal length, mm
  • s Distance to subject (focus distance), mm
  • N f-number
  • c circle of confusion, mm

The circle of confusion is the size of an optical spot that can be considered an acceptably sharp focus; the value is specific to each camera model but is usually about .02 or .03 mm.

A good approach is to use the formulae to build a spreadsheet with a range of f-values and focus distances suited to your equipment and needs, and keep the printed tables in your camera bag for easy reference.

Use a Tripod

For shots like these you will usually use a small aperture. That will often mean a slow shutter speed, particularly during the hour or so around dawn and sunset when the light is at its best for landscape photography. But in any case it is always best to use a tripod and a remote shutter release to reduce the risk of shaking the camera. Even then you might not see the blur from camera shake on your camera’s little LCD screen, so take two or three shots for insurance.

To round off the shoot, those foreground details can make fine pictures in themselves. When you have done your scenic views, keep the camera on its tripod and take a few close-up shots of interesting natural landscape patterns like wild flowers, the bark of a tree or the grain of the rocks. Pictures like these can complete a satisfying portfolio for that location.