Trending December 2023 # Iphone Photography & The Magic Of Hdr # Suggested January 2024 # Top 20 Popular

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Great to have you back for our 3rd installment in the iPhone Photography Series here at iDB. A couple quick housekeeping items. If you’d like it see what I’m up to as I prepare our next lesson or if you have questions, give my Facebook page a like or follow me on twitter (@justinbalog). I always do my best to help others realize their own creative vision.

A few non-iPad users asked about my book being available for other devices, I have good news.  It’s now available in .PDF which will work on all your devices. Also included in it are the videos from the interactive iPad Version.

That being said, the world of photography has had a long standing workaround. It’s a technique called High Dynamic Range photography (HDR)…

Highlight Detail – Here in this image, I have exposed for the beautiful blue sky. However, in doing so I have lost all the bridge detail in shadows.

Shadow Detail – In the opposite exposure I was able to reveal the intricate details in the shadows, but lost the impact of the beautiful blue sky.

Balanced Exposure – By enabling the HDR feature of my iPhone, I was able to produce a balanced exposure that is accurately exposed for both the bright sky and the darker bridge in the shadows.

How To Limitations

That being said, HDR is not the silver bullet it appears to be. There are two distinct limitations of HDR and one personal consideration. Before we get to the limitations, let’s get the personal consideration out of the way.

HDR images take your iPhone longer to process and they can potentially increase your photo storage requirements. Speed is obvious, if you take a photo with HDR enabled, you will notice the processing spinner spins just a bit longer than without. In terms of storage, if you have ‘Keep Normal Photo’ enabled in your ‘Photos’ settings, you will be saving two images for every image you take. You will save both the HDR image, as well as, the middle exposure image. Again, these aren’t deal breakers, but something you should consider prior to leveraging HDR for all your photographic needs. Now, on to the limitations of HDR.

Camera Motion

Here in this image of the world famous Red Rocks Amphitheater, you can see evidence of the camera movement along the edges of the rocks.

Subject Motion

The second major limitation with using HDR is subject movement. You can mount your iPhone to the most stable tripod in the world, but if your subject is moving, you are going to have a problem. The photo industry refers to this phenomenon as ‘Ghosting Artifacts’.

Here is this image, after our yoga instructor Ron swam across the lagoon, I thought it would be a good idea to snap a quick photo of our couple’s retreat. It was a beautiful setting for morning yoga. However, my attempt at capturing it failed because Ron was moving around helping all the women with their poses and saying things like “Encouragement….boom…..boom….” and winking.

Here are a few of my photos when HDR was successful.


Your assignment this week is to experiment using HDR. You don’t have to have a tripod, just do your best to keep your iPhone still. I will be posting a few more examples over on my Facebook page, so give it a like. Also, make sure to tag your Instagram images with #iDBHDR and I’ll select a few of my favorites to share in the next lesson. Speaking of our next lesson… we will be exploring composition in two weeks so make sure to check back!

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Iphone Photography: How To Use Intentional Camera Movement To Your Advantage

I hope you have had a great couple of weeks making some HDR magic with your iPhone. Today we are going to explore a more abstract and fun approach to iPhone photography. If you remember a couple of lessons back we were using a slow shutter speed to create light trails. You probably remember having to hold your iPhone still and leave your camera shutter open for a long time. It was kind of complicated and gear intensive.

This time around, we are going to leave our shutter open for a long time but careless about holding our iPhone still. This is a technique that we in the industry call “Intentional Camera Movement” or ICM. The goal is to intentionally use blur to create something unique and beautiful!

ICM is a fun way to continue to expand your creative landscape photography. It instantly turns the ordinary into the extraordinary.

Configuring Your iPhone For ICM

To get the ball rolling and your iPhoneography moving, we will be using the Slow Shutter Cam app. Configuring it is easy:

Step 1: Bring up the Settings menu.

Step 2: Set it to operate in “Automatic” mode. In Automatic mode, the iPhone will calculate the appropriate exposure (brightness/darkness) of the image for us and keep things simple. In our next lesson will take a deeper dive into the the relationship of light, aperture, and shutter speeds. For ICM, we will keep it simple by using Automatic mode and let the iPhone figure all that out for us.

Step 3: Set Your Shutter Speed. Shutter Speed will control how long your exposure will last. For example .5 = 1/2 a second and 15 = 15 seconds. “B” is a unique one. “B” harkens back to the days of DLSRs. When you select “B,” the shutter will remain open as long, or as short as you like. You are in total control of the duration by simply touching the shutter button to start the exposure and touching it again to end it. This is a great option for low light situations when you need exposures longer than 15 seconds. I’d suggest you experiment with different shutter speeds as you also experiment with how fast you move your iPhone.

Step 4: Close up the Settings, move your iPhone, and make some magic!

Step 5: When you’re done and the ICM image appears, make sure to save it by touching the disk icon. That will save it to your Camera Roll for further processing if you’d like.

Types Of Intentional Camera Movements

If you would like to see a few different types of camera movements, I put together a little video where you can see them all in action along with their results.

Other Examples

A great way to leverage ICM is to have a static subject in your photo, with a blurred background. If you have a Hemi (like my buddy Jacob Lucas), you don’t even need to use a slow shutter. I created this photograph simply by focusing on the mirror while we were driving through the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon.

If you don’t have a Hemi, or your out on your bike you might need to use Slow Shutter Cam. I discover all sorts of creativity when I’m out on long bike rides by myself. Eighty kilometers into a recent ride, I tried my hand at some ICM from the bike.


ICM works better in lower light – By no means does it have to be dark, but if you have a choice of photographing the scene in the sun or shade, choose the shade! Why? Because darker scenes allow the shutter to be open longer, letting the movement be more exaggerated.

Move parallel to the lines – As you saw in the video, there are different types of direction of movement. Personally, I like to move my camera parallel with the lines in the scene. If there are more horizontal lines present, I like to move horizontally. Vice versa for vertical lines.

Experiment by combining movements – You can have all kinds of fun by trying different movements at the same time. “Pan & Zoom” or “Zoom & Pan.” Film is cheap these days so have some fun with it!


I’ve really been enjoying following all your iPhone Photography. You are all very creative and I’m thankful you are sharing your part of the world with us. Let’s keep the tradition alive and tag your Instagram photos with #iDBICM hashtag so we can all follow along. I’m looking forward to seeing the unique imagery you make!

What Is A “Candid” Photo? – Candid Photography Explained

What Is A Candid Photo?

The first time you hear someone talk about “candid” photos, you might be left wondering what that actually means. Whether it was from your friend, family member, or a fellow photographer, people of all skill levels can come together and agree on one thing. That candid photography is awesome! So what exactly is a candid photo?

A candid photo captures the natural expression and movement of a subject without any pre-planned posing. This style of photography is great for capturing authentic moments of people being themselves. When shooting candids, the subject is often unaware that you’re taking a picture, helping them to act more naturally in front of the lens.

Let’s go over some examples of candid photography to help you get a better idea of this style of shooting.

Candid Photography Examples

How Do You Take Candid Photos?

To take candid pictures, you need to avoid thinking about things as the conventional plan, pose, and shoot mentality. Although these steps work for other genres of photography, it’s not ideal for candids. Since great candid photos can be captured at any moment, you always need to be ready.

Here are 10 easy tips you can use to get better candid photos of absolutely anyone.

1. Keep Your Camera Setup Small

When shooting candids, keep your telephoto lens and battery grip in the bag. By keeping your camera as low profile as possible, it will be much easier to snap photos without your subject taking notice.

If you can, try using a compact zoom or a prime lens to ensure your camera doesn’t look too flashy. In order to take good candid photos, you need to keep a low profile. This low profile look all starts with your camera setup.

2. Shoot In Burst Mode

Although you can get a general idea of when a great moment is about to unfold, burst mode ensures you nail the shot. Rather than hoping you press capture at the right moment, you’ll have a few more options to choose from.

Burst mode works great for capturing people’s reactions to things. Whether it be someone yelling with excitement, sharing a romantic moment, or just goofing around, burst mode will capture it all.

3. Talk With Your Subjects As If The Camera Isn’t There

Candid photography doesn’t have to be of people who don’t know you’re there. In fact, you can take candids of clients that are paying to shoot with you. The only difference is that you capture them acting as normal rather than posing them throughout the shoot. To help your subjects forget about the camera, keep the conversation flowing.

Some of the best candid photographers will keep a conversation going with their subjects and snap photos when the moment strikes. Perhaps they’re telling a story or thinking about an interesting question you asked.

When people are talking with you, it’s a lot easier for them to relax and forget about your lens. This is when you’ll strike gold with your candid photography.

4. Use Autofocus

Rather than wasting time setting focus manually, use autofocus. That way you always get a sharp image, in way less time. Autofocus lets you forget about everything else and only focus on the moment you’re shooting. If you want to get good at candid photography, this is an important camera setting to use.

5. Use A Semi-Automatic Camera Mode

As amazing as manual mode is, it’s not necessarily the best camera mode for candid photography. Instead, try using something like Shutter Priority (Tv or S) or Aperture Priority (Av or A) mode to nail your exposure in every photo.

With semi-automatic camera modes, you’re in charge of either the shutter speed (shutter priority) or the aperture (aperture priority). All your additional camera settings are taken care of by the camera. That way you can focus on getting the shot you want, without futzing around with settings.

Since candid photography requires you to always be ready, semi-automatic camera modes help a lot. Even if you’re going from indoors to outdoors, or from the sun to shade, you can spend more time shooting and less time adjusting settings.

6. Don’t Stay In One Spot

For candid photographers, you need to stay on the move. You need to be on the prowl for new compositions and angles. If you stay in one spot for too long, people will become aware that you’re taking pictures and subconsciously pose when facing your direction. By continually moving around, it’s much easier to seem discreet while shooting.

Now, this isn’t to say you have to be walking around the entire time you shoot. It’s more meant to remind you not to get too comfortable in one position. By moving around, you can explore more options and get a better variety of candid photos.

7. Don’t Use A Flash

Let’s face it, a flash can be off-putting even when you’re expecting it. Adding a flash to your candid photography is a surefire way to ruin any level of discreetness you have. Your subjects would know every time you snapped a photo by each time the flash popped off. With something so in your face, it’s pretty hard for anyone to forget you’re there.

Instead, keep your flash tucked away and don’t use it for candid photos. That way you can shoot more discreetly and won’t make your subjects feel uncomfortable.

8. Anticipate The Action

The truth is, you will have a hard time capturing candid moments if you’re not paying attention. As a photographer, it’s crucial to be aware of the environment and what your subjects are doing. That way you can better anticipate what might unfold before it actually happens. This is extremely useful since you can better position yourself for the perfect shot.

Whether you’re shooting an engagement session, an event, or street photography, anticipation is key. By keeping your eyes open while looking for potential places to shoot, you’ll have an easier time finding the right composition.

9. Shoot From The Hip When Possible

Nothing screams “I’m about to take a picture” than when you raise your camera to your eye. Instead, use a wide-angle lens and snap photos from the hip. If you have a flip-out LCD screen to use, you can use this to help guide you if needed.

As long as you’re using a wide-angle lens, there’s a good chance you’ll get the shot you want without having to look. With your lens pointed in the right direction, you’ll be surprised how well these spur of the moment shots turn out.

Although shooting from the hip isn’t always ideal, it’s perfect for ensuring your subject doesn’t know when a photo’s being taken.

10. Always Keep Your Camera Out

If you want to take great candid pictures, make sure your camera is always ready for action. Don’t bother putting it away in your bag, when you never know when the next candid worthy shot will arise!

Instead, keep your camera slung around your neck so you always have quick access. Nothing’s more of a let down than when you miss a great photo op trying to get your camera from the bag!

How To Take Candid Photos Of Friends And Family

Candid photography doesn’t have to be of clients or random people in the streets. You can also take great candid photos of your friends and family using the 10 tips discussed above.

The trouble is, when shooting people you know, you might not know how to catch them in a “candid” state. To help get the ball rolling, here are a few easy ideas for taking candid photos of friends or family members.

– Do An Activity Together

While you’re hanging out with a friend or family member, try to do some sort of activity that you both enjoy. Something that will distract them enough that they’ll forget you’re even there with your camera. These moments are guaranteed to create amazing candid shots since they’ll be perfectly in their element.

Whether it be cooking a meal, playing a game, or sitting around a campfire, there are endless ways to capture friends and family candidly.

– Don’t Tell Them You’re Trying To Take Candids

This may go without saying, but don’t tell your friends or family that you’re trying to take candids of them. Instead, just have your camera with you and pretend like you have no interest in shooting them. That way they aren’t anticipating photos being taken of them and won’t be on edge.

As with any subject in candid photography, you want to photograph them when they aren’t expecting it. By not telling your friends about your intentions, they’ll be pleasantly surprised when you show them all the great photos you took.

– Take Photos During A Conversation With Them

Just like keeping the conversation flowing with your clients who are looking for candid pics, do the same with your friends and family. While you’re hanging out with them, keep your camera out and go about your time together as normal.

When you see a nice moment arise, start snapping away while they’re laughing or smiling at something. Everyone looks their best when they’re showing off a natural smile!

Using these three simple tricks with the general candid photography tips in the previous section, you’re guaranteed great images!

Can You Take Candid Pictures Of Yourself?

So what if you want some cool candid pictures of yourself, but you don’t know anyone who could take the photos? Well, you can take them yourself! The trouble is, how are you supposed a “candid” picture when you’re aware of photos being taken? Here’s how to do it.

First, set up your camera on a tripod. Point your lens in the general direction you want the photo to be framed in. This could be along a shoreline, in your bedroom, or anywhere else you want!

With your camera in position, set your camera to a continuous shutter so it takes photos every few seconds. Some cameras will have this feature built-in while others will require a shutter release for this. Set the timer and make your way into the frame.

Rather than posing for photos, give yourself an action to do. Anything that feels natural to you that will help you avoid directly posing for the camera. This could be skipping rocks, making a campfire, or dancing around in your house. Whatever your thing is, do it and be as shameless as possible.

Since your camera is set to take pictures every few seconds, it will be there capturing every moment. With so many options to choose from, later on, you’ll be guaranteed to have a worthy candid picture of yourself.

Candid photography and self-portrait photography are a lot of fun and give you a chance to just be you in front of the lens. As photographers, we rarely get the chance to be on the other side of things!

So now you know what candid photography is all about and how you can start taking these types of photos. Candid photography is unique in the sense it captures real moments as they happen. Rather than posing or pre-planning your shots, it’s all about being present and ready for anything. As a photographer, learning how to take great candid pictures is a skill that will improve other aspects of your work. Now get out there and start having fun with your camera!

Happy Shooting!

– Brendan 🙂

35 Common Photography Terms Beginners Need To Know

35 Must-Know Photography Terms For Beginner Photographers

Let’s face it, there are a ton of common photography terms for beginners to try to remember. When you’re just starting out, all this photography jargon can make your head spin, and it almost feels like you’re learning a new language! That’s why in this article, I’ll break down 35 of the most common photography terms that every beginner should know, and what each of them actually is.

1. Aperture

The aperture is a small donut-shaped ring found inside of a camera lens. This ring opens and closes to allow more or less light into the camera. A wide aperture will make your photo brighter, but also leave you with a shallow depth of field(less in focus). A smaller aperture will make your photo darker but will leave you with a larger depth of field(more in focus). You can learn more about aperture here.

Your aperture size if displayed in F-Stops. F-Stops will look something like F/8, for example. A wide aperture size would be F2.8, a small aperture size would be F22. Below is a more visual example of apertures through their sizes.

2. Aspect Ratio

Aspect ratio is a vital photography term for beginners to remember since it references the dimensions of a photo. The most common aspect ratio in digital photography is 3:2, but you can change this ratio in your camera settings. Other aspect ratios in photography include 16:9, 4:3, and 1:1. Above is an example of how each aspect ratio would crop your image.

3. Bokeh

You’ve likely heard a lot of photographers use the term bokeh and how much they love it. Bokeh is the effect that occurs when a light source becomes out of focus and forms a soft orb shape in the background of a picture. Utilizing bokeh is an easy way to make your photos more exciting and works exceptionally well with portraits!

4. Bracketing 5. Burst Mode

Burst mode is a setting you can use to capture a quick series of photos by holding down the capture button. Different cameras are capable of varying burst amounts and can be adjusted in your drive settings. If you are unsure, consult your cameras user manual. This mode is great for taking action shots where you never want to miss a moment!

6. Camera modes

Camera modes are all of the different shooting options you have on your camera. The modes are most commonly found on the mode dial on the top of your camera. Various camera modes will have their pros and cons depending on the situation and Range from completely automatic, through to full-on manual mode. You can learn the best settings for beginner photographers here.

7. Chromatic Abberation 8. Composition

Composition is a photography term that refers to everything inside of your photo and how it sits in the frame. By improving the composition of your pictures with techniques such as the rule of thirds, leading lines, or frame within a frame, your photos will appear more appealing to the eye. You can learn more about compositional rules and what they are HERE.

9. Crop Factor

When you are shooting with a crop sensor camera, you will get what is known as crop factor. Since crop sensor cameras have a smaller sensor size than their full-frame counterparts, the photos will appear more cropped or zoomed in even at the same lens size. You can see the effects of crop factor in my Full Frame VS Crop Sensor Comparison Video.

10. Depth Of Field

Depth Of Field in photography means how much of your photo is in focus. Depending on the size of your aperture, you’ll be able to keep everything in focus at once(large depth of field), or you’ll only have a small area in focus while the rest remains blurry(shallow depth of field). I talk more in-depth about aperture and depth of field working together in my FREE Photography Essentials Ebook that you can get your hands on HERE. Go get it!

11. DSLR Camera

A DSLR Camera stands for Digital Single Lens Reflex Camera. There are mirrors inside the camera body that reflect incoming light up to the viewfinder that you put your eye up to. This is most commonly done with a series of mirrors, but prisms are also used in higher-end DSLR cameras. The term ‘reflex’ refers to the mirror’s reflection in the camera body.

12. Exposure

Exposure describes how bright or dark your photo is. If you have an excellent exposure, all the areas in your picture won’t look too bright or dark. In more simple terms, exposure is how long your camera sensor is exposed to light. The longer the exposure, the brighter your image. This is a very common photography term for beginners to memorize!

13. Filter

A filter is a piece of glass that goes over the front of your lens to alter the amount or the way light is entering your camera. For example, a few common photography filter types are Neutral Density Filters, Polarizer Filters, or UV Filters.

Each filter will have its own specific uses from reducing glare, helping with long exposures, or just protecting the glass of your lens. Photography filters are a ton of fun and an excellent tool for a beginner photographer.

14. Focal Length

Focal length is a term used to describe the amount of ‘zoom’ a lens has. Focal lengths are denoted as MM for millimeters on your camera lenses, such as 50mm, 200mm, or 17mm. Utilizing different focal lengths in your photography will help you to capture a variety of unique looks.

Photo Challenge: Try taking a photo of a friend at a zoomed-in focal length, like 70mm, and then a wide focal length like 24mm and see the differences it makes!

15. Full Frame

A Full-Frame camera is a camera with a sensor size of 36x24mm, which is equivalent to the size of 35mm film. A full-frame camera does not have any crop factor and can capture more information compared to a crop sensor camera. You can see how a full-frame and crop sensor are different in this video.

16. HDR

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. Dynamic Range is a term that describes how many shades of grey a camera is capable of processing. The more shades of grey, the better the camera will perform in post-processing when you want to recover details in the shadows and highlights.

HDR photography is when you take the same photo at a series of different exposures and blend them together in post. The result is a perfectly exposed image where the highlights, mid-tones, and shadows all are nicely exposed. Using HDR will add a very distinct ‘HDR’ look to your pictures that is loved by some and hated by others. Above is an example of an HDR image.

17. Hot Shoe

The hot shoe is a funny piece of photography jargon that references the little silver square on the top of your camera. A hot-shoe can be used to mount accessories on your cameras such as flashes, microphones, or remote triggers.

18. Image Stabilization

Image stabilization is used to help counter the natural shake and movement that occurs during an exposure. When image stabilization is active, any small movements made while you are taking a picture will be smoothed out and still allow you to capture a sharp photo.

Different cameras and lenses will have a variety of stabilization capabilities, so if you’re unsure, it may be worthwhile to check up in your camera/lens user manual.

19. ISO

ISO stands for International Standards Organization and refers to the cameras sensor sensitivity to incoming light. The higher your ISO, the brighter your image will become, but the more noise and contrast will be present in the photo. Each camera has its own ISO range, but a typical range would be ISO100 through ISO6400.  It’s best practice to keep you iso at a lower setting whenever possible. I go way more in-depth with ISO in my FREE Photography Essentials Ebook you can get HERE.

20. JPEG

JPEG is a photo file format that is best used to share and publish your photos. This file format is more compressed than others and is not ideal to post-process. Whenever you are exporting an image, a JPEG file will be your best bet for general use and sharing purposes.

22. Long Exposure

A long exposure is a fun technique(especially for beginner photographers) that is used to blur certain parts of your photo, such as water, clouds, or anything else that may be moving! A long exposure works by using slow shutter speed, allowing light to hit the camera sensor for an extended time, meaning anything that moves will become blurred. This is a great photography technique for landscape photography and essential to capturing pictures of the stars.

23. Manual Mode

Manual mode is a camera mode that puts you in complete control of every setting on the camera, there is nothing automatically done for you. This is an essential step to make for all beginner photographers since manual mode will open up way more creative opportunities than any other mode.

24. Metering

Metering, also known as light metering, is a photography term used to describe your light meter working its magic. The light meter is a built-in feature in all cameras that can be found when looking through the viewfinder. This little feature constantly measures incoming light and lets you know how bright or dark your photo will appear based on your current camera settings. With the help of your light meter, you can make informed decisions on camera settings before you ever take a photo!

25. Mirrorless Camera

A mirrorless camera doesn’t have any internal mirrors or reflex systems like their DSLR counterparts. A mirrorless camera is completely digital and even uses a digital viewfinder. These cameras are typically much smaller and lighter than a DSLR camera, but with no downsides to the quality. That’s one of the many reasons mirrorless cameras have really gained traction over the last few years.

26. Noise

Noise or grain is a bit of a funny photography term since photos obviously don’t make any ‘noise.’ However, noise in photography relates to the amount of static looking particles appearing in a photo. Noise is caused by high ISO settings and can end up degrading the quality of your photos in some cases. Below is an example of how noise appears in a photo.

27. Prime Lens

A prime lens is a lens without any zoom capabilities. Prime lenses have a fixed focal length but typically will have a wider aperture, allowing for better depth of field and low light performance. Prime lenses are a big favorite amongst portrait photographers who really like having a shallow depth of field to make their subject pop. If you are someone who likes to hike with your camera, having a half dozen prime lenses probably won’t do you as well unless you want to get in excellent shape, of course.

28. RAW

RAW is an uncompressed file format that can be shot in most modern cameras. Shooting in RAW allows photographers to have better control when they go to edit their images, gaining better detail and exposure recovery. This file format is only useful if you are editing your photos. If you don’t want to edit your photos, I’d suggest sticking to JPEG. If you still aren’t sure what ones best for you to use, check out the differences between RAW and JPEG.

29. Shutter Speed

Shutter speed is used to describe how fast your camera shutter opens and closes. As your camera shutter opens, light can pass through and hit your sensor to create an exposure(aka picture). The faster your shutter speed, the darker your photo, the slower your shutter speed, the brighter your photo. You can learn more about shutter speed and the effects it has on your photography in my FREE Ebook.

30. Subject

The subject is what your photo is all about. A subject could be anything from a person, to a colorful flower, to a nice dock on the lake. ‘Subject’ is a piece of photography jargon you will hear constantly, and it’s meaning will change photo to photo. Just remember the subject of a photo doesn’t always have to be the same thing, it’s just whatever that particular photo is all about.

31. Timelapse

A timelapse is a series of photos taken (to be later made into a video) at set time intervals to capture changing conditions in a scene. This is usually done with the help of a remote trigger and a tripod. It’s an enjoyable and rewarding process, especially for beginner photographers, but just remember to bring something to occupy your time with. They take a long time to capture!

32. Telephoto Lens

A telephoto lens is a zoom lens that is typically smaller in size but still covers a wide range of focal lengths. These lenses are great for capturing pictures of sports, wildlife, or anything far away and is a true must-have for any beginner photographer.

33. Viewfinder

The viewfinder is the little window on the back of your camera that you look through when taking a photo. The viewfinder will display all the important information about your camera settings such as shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and even your light meter!

34. Vignette

Vignette is a lesser-known photography term among beginner photographers that describes the darkening around the edge of a photo. Depending on the lens or camera you are using, your images can have vignetting at wide focal lengths, or with certain filters. There is nothing wrong with vignette, but it is something to be conscious of and is equally loved and hated by many in the photo community.

35. White Balance

White balance is an essential camera setting that helps to make your colors look true to reality. If your white balance is set correctly, the color white will appear as pure white. You can alter the white balance to make your image appear warmer (yellow) or cooler (blue) to perfectly capture the colors in a scene. White balance is measured in Kelvins and is displayed as 5600K, for example.

As a beginner photographer, it’s worth remembering that 5600K is the same white balance as the light outside, 3200K is the same white balance as the common tungsten bulbs found in your house. If you are ever unsure at which white balance to use, auto white balance or the preset options still work sufficiently!

So that was 35 beginner photography terms that you absolutely should know. With a little bit of memorization and practical application, you’re going to sound like a photo wiz with all this new photography lingo added to the vocabulary.

Happy Snapping!

-Brendan 🙂

Peak Design’s Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod Completes Any Pro Photography Kit

For some, Photography is a hobby and a way of life; for others, it’s their livelihood. Whichever camp you see yourself in, it’s always a brilliant idea to equip yourself with decent gear that will last for as long as you plan to partake in this activity.

Any photographer will tell you to invest in a decent tripod because it’s quite literally the foundation of a stable photograph. The one tripod that I recommend out of the many different types of configurations out there is the Peak Design Travel Tripod, and more specifically, the carbon fiber edition.

The tripod that replaced all others in my kit

Peak Design hit a home run with their Travel Tripod. Their engineering team spent a lot of time trying to make it as compact as possible while maintaining the structural rigidity and utilitarianism that professional photographers demand, and that’s precisely what you get with this piece.

The Peak Design Travel Tripod’s unique design means the legs tuck well into the center mass, leaving a small footprint that, when folded, compares to a circumference of a water bottle:

But don’t be fooled by the compact appearance; with a total of five sections separated by four levers on each leg, this tripod can elevate your camera more than five feet in the air to provide the height you need on your travels. The leg locks are lever-based, which makes setup and take-down quick and efficient compared to traditional twist-type leg locks:

At the end of each leg is a rubber boot that sets flat on any surface you stand the tripod on. These result in a firmer stance that doesn’t wobble like traditional rounder feet would:

At full extension, the Peak Design Travel Tripod measures 60.2 inches high, and when not extended and the legs laid as wide as possible, can measure as low as 5.6 inches.

Each segment of every leg on the Peak Design travel tripod is comprised of carbon fiber material, which is stiff and resilient. They support up to 20 pounds without any sort of wobble or movement, making it ideal for DSLR or mirrorless cameras. For additional stability, you can use the load hanging hook at the bottom of the vertical shaft, which you can use to hang your kit bag from for additional stability.

At the top of the Peak Design Travel Tripod is a custom compact omni-directional ball head that maintains a low-profile appearance when retracted:

Upon extending the ball head, you can twist the surrounding ring to loosen it and make adjustments as necessary:

Peak Design paid attention to a lot of small details in the Travel Tripod that other manufacturers miss or just flat-out don’t implement. For example, there’s a hidden smartphone mount adapter in the vertical shaft that you can remove by simultaneously pulling and twisting the load hanging hook. This mount goes right into the ball head where the plate would go and it’s large enough to accommodate even the largest iPhones in a case:

On one of the Travel Tripod’s legs, users will find a convenient wrench. It has two different sizes, which can be used to tighten or remove camera plates, tighten or loosen the Travel Tripod’s screws during maintenance, and more:

Carrying the Peak Design Travel Tripod around with you is a breeze. You can either attach a strap to one of the many anchor points, or you can stow it in the included weather and impact-resistant carrying bag. Because of the diameter of this tripod, it easily stows in the water bottle section of any backpack, and every one of Peak Design’s bags have a place to put this thing.

Whether you’re an amateur photographer or a professional one, it’s hard to go wrong with the Peak Design Travel Tripod. Albeit costly, the company does offer a cheaper aluminum version for nearly half of the price of the carbon fiber one. Generally, carbon fiber offers more rigidity, but the material’s light weight can sometimes make the tripod top-heavy, which is why we suggest utilizing the camera bag hook to add weight.

Retailing at around $650, the carbon fiber Peak Design Travel Tripod isn’t cheap, but neither is the build quality or the attention to detail. It’s obvious that this tripod was carefully planned by photographers for photographers who demand the best innovation and performance from their kit. The aluminum version of this Travel Tripod, on the other hand, retails for around $380.

You’ll notice that Peak Design went all custom on many of the features of their Travel Tripod, and that’s part of what makes it so expensive. That, and the fact that it’s guaranteed for life under the company’s no-hassle warranty. If anything fails for any reason, they’ll make it right, assuming you register your product at the time of purchase.

One thing I want to point out about this tripod for anyone on the fence regarding the price is that the build quality stands out to me. I’ve used many different tripods in my lifetime, many of which were either wobbly or lacking the features that Peak Design puts in their product, forcing me to carry more gear. I appreciate the compact ball head, the integrated mobile phone mount, and how small it folds away for travel.

My take

After having tested the Peak Design Travel Tripod on some of my photography journeys, I’ve noted some pros and cons to share:


Exquisite build quality unlike anything I’ve ever used before

Very portable form factor with a convenient travel bag

Useful odds and ends, such as the mobile phone mount

Low-profile ball head with non-complicated controls

Sturdy legs that support up to 20 pounds of weight

Lifetime warranty


A costly piece of equipment

Carbon fiber tends to be top-heavy unless you weigh it down via the hook

Carrying strap not included

Only one mounting plate included

How to get one

You can always opt for a cheaper tripod, but without the non-worry of a lifetime warranty paired with unparalleled build quality, you just might be paying the same amount in replacing the cheaper tripod over and over as you would simply getting the Peak. Buy once, cry once, as they say…

17 Best Iphone 11, Iphone 11 Pro, And Iphone 11 Pro Max Accessories

Best Accessories for iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max

As to what accessories can go nicely with your iPhone, all I can tell is check how loaded your wallet is and where your priority lies (with pun intended). Yeah, when you have a problem of aplenty, you better zero in on what you are after. Of course, there are items like a screen defender and a protective cover that are a must-buy; but beyond those things, it all boils down to your preference and requirement. With that said, let’s explore the collection to see which accessories look right on the money for your demand!

Best Screen Protectors, Skins, and Cases for iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max 1. OMOTON Screen Protector

Whenever I think of safeguarding my iPhone, the first thing that strikes the mind is giving an extra bit of shield to the expensive Retina Display. Considering the unbelievably high screen repair cost, (out of warranty screen repair cost: $199 for iPhone 11, $279 for iPhone 11 Pro, and $329 for 11 Pro Max), it pays to choose a trusted screen defender upfront. And if you want to have a top-notch screen protector for your 2023 iPhone, I would recommend you to try out OMOTON.

Buy from Amazon: $5.99-$7.98 (for iPhone 11, for iPhone 11 Pro, and for 11 Pro Max)

Would you like to explore more screen protectors for the 2023 iPhones? Well, we have made a separate post for each of the new smartphone. So, head over to the roundups of the best screen protectors for iPhone 11, screen protectors  for 11 Pro, and  screen protectors for 11 Pro Max.

2. dbrand Signature Skins

For those of you who claim to be case-less guys, dbrand Signature skins are the way to go. The skins are incredibly thin and provide pretty comfy gripping thanks to the smooth texture. With the precision finish and neat cutouts, the wraps fit snuggly on the smartphone. Moreover, they come in a plethora of designs like matrix, swarm, camo, carbon fiber, dragon, stone, matte, wood, you name it. Better yet, you can also get your dbrand skins customized so that they can get along nicely with your style statement.

Just in case you wish to take a peek at more skins, do check out our separate lineups for iPhone 11 Pro skins and 11 Pro Max skins.

3. Spigen Liquid Crystal

Sporting elegant design and crystal clarity, Spigen Liquid Crystal is clearly one of the best clear cases for iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max. The clear case is made of pretty soft TPU material and features soft surface for anti-slip gripping. Being very flexible, the Liquid Crystal is easy to install and remove. While the reinforced buttons offer tactile feedback, the cutouts are precise. At $10.99-$12.99, this crystal cover looks reasonably priced.

Buy from Amazon: $10.99-$12.99 (for iPhone 11, for iPhone 11 Pro, and for 11 Pro Max)

4. Nomad Rugged Leather Case

Buy from Nomad: $49.95 – $79.95

5. Aria Luxury Wallet Case from Pad & Quill

Granted, Pad & Quill’s wallet cases may not fit into everyone’s budget. But just in case you don’t want to settle with anything less than truly premium wallet cover for your all-new iPhone, do not miss out on them. Talking about Aria Luxury wallet case, it’s carved out of full-grain American leather and features nylon stitching with French hem styling. The premium leather wallet case comes with multiple slots that can carry up to 5-7 credit cards. Plus, the interior also has a big pocket to keep your cash securely inside. Better yet, Aria Luxury is UV resistant that enables it to keep the shine intact for long.

6. Mophie Juice Pack Access Battery Case

While iPhone 11 claims to have up to an hour of increased battery life over iPhone XR, the 11 Pro delivers up to four more hours of battery life than Xs. As for the 11 Pro Max, it offers up to five hours of more juice than the predecessor – iPhone Xs Max. Even with such long battery life, the iPhones might not live up to the rigorous demand of power users including hardcore gamers or those who like to stream media for hours. And this is where a top-notch battery case like Juice Pack Access has a role to play. The case has a compact yet durable design to protect the smartphone. Moreover, it’s also said to feature Qi-enabled wireless charging input to let you charge your device securely.

Buy from Mophie: To be launched soon

It’s not over yet! If you would like to explore more impressive cases and covers, jump over to our separate roundup for iPhone 11 cases, 11 Pro cases, and 11 Pro Max cases.

1. AirPods

Buy from Amazon: $149 / $169

2. Bose SoundSport

Buy from Amazon: $129

3. Bone

For the fitness freaks who never want to keep their iPhones away even during intense running or rigorous exercise in the gym, a soft and flexible armband can be a great pick. Bone has come up with a sporty armband with silicone bands that fit most smartphones including the iPhone 11 series. With the open design, you can comfortably interact with your smartphone. Courtesy the soft silicone, and neoprene material, the armband feels very comfortable to wear. Besides, the arm strap is sweat-resistant and skin-friendly, which means your skin won’t itch even after wearing it for hours.

Buy from Amazon: $24.99


Buy from Amazon: $45.99

5. Erligpowht Selfie Stick Tripod

Snapping group photos and fun-filled videos become a tad easier when you have an elegant selfie stick tripod. I mean a selfie stick that also dons the role of a tripod. Erligpowht offers a great selfie stick tripod that comes with a built-in wireless remote to let you capture cool pics and record videos with ease. Talking about length, the stick extends between 7.9 – 27 inches which are good enough for capturing any type of shots. And with the 360-degree rotatable phone holder, it offers you the desired flexibility to position your smartphone in the ideal orientation.

Buy from Amazon: $14.99

Would you like to check more selfie sticks? Head over here to explore a variety of options including ultra-portable and versatile selfie stick tripods.

Best Charging Accessories for iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max 1. Yestan

If a versatile docking station is what you are after, Yestan can live up to your expectations (and might even exceed). The dock looks quite compact and can charge almost any devices including the 2023 iPhone 11 series, Apple Watch, and AirPods due largely to the availability of Lightning, Micro USB, and Type-C interfaces. Plus, it also supports wireless charging so that you can power up your Qi-enabled devices without having to deal with tangled cables. With the soft silicone material, it makes sure your devices remain scratch-free. As for the protection, Yestan has packed built-in safeguards to prevent over-current, short-circuit and other dangers.

2. Bonai

How can you ignore an accessory that can deliver tons of battery life to your iPhones, making sure you don’t have to run for power sockets time and again during long travel or a memorable holiday? With a huge 30000 mAh battery, Bonai is all you need to keep your devices charged up. The power bank is equipped with four ports and delivers reasonably good 5.6A output to charge your devices faster. The smart circuitry design plays a pivotal role in safeguarding your devices against dangers like overcharging and voltage instability. Design-wise, Bonai looks a bit sturdy, so you can expect it to take some beating.

Buy from Amazon: $40.99

3. Anker PowerWave

Well-known for producing top-grade charging accessories, Anker’s PowerWave is the most efficient wireless charger for the iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and Max. The PowerWave charges supported iPhones with 7.5W speed which may not be at par with the 10W speed with which it chargees compatible Android devices like Samsung’s flagship devices, but the speed is up to the task. Another notable feature of this wireless charging stand is that you can place your iPhone both in portrait and landscape orientations depending on your convenience.

Buy from Amazon: $29.99

4. Gembonics

A compact and ultra-portable car charger like Gembonics comes to the play when you wish to quickly power up your iPhone while being on the drive. If you often have to take a long route for business or personal purposes, this secure car charger for iPhone 11 series can be a handy asset. With two USB ports, you can use it to charge not only the Lightning-equipped iPhones but also Android devices. Using smart IC tech, it also provides the needed shield against short-circuit and overcharging so that your devices stay secure while charging.

Buy from Amazon: $16.99

5. Humixx

Buy from Amazon: $32.99

6. JSAUX – 18W Charger and USB-C to Lightning Cable

Alas! What worth is the support for fast charging when you neither have the compatible USB-C port nor the required USB-C to Lightning cable and the fast charger? Even if they failed to make their latest iPhones USB-C equipped, the company should at least have packed in the same 18W charger and USB-C to Lightning cable with iPhone 11 that it offers in the iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max boxes. So disappointing, isn’t it? But before you become sad, let me tell you that JSAUX has come with a pretty affordable solution. It offers a reliable 18W faster charger and durable USB-C to Lightning cable at just $28 (combined). They are equipped to let you turbocharge your iPhone 11.

SEE ALSO: 7 Best 10.2-inch iPad (7th Gen) Keyboard Cases You Can Buy

Choose the Best Accessories for Your iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max…

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