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DP School’s Top Tutorials for the Second Half of 2012

November 29th, 2012 No Comments

If you’re a photographer, you know about DP School.  Two days back they listed their fifteen most popular tutorials from the latter half of 2012, during which time they published about 300 such tutorials.

Fifteen out of 300 – we’re looking at the top five percent.

The fifteen how-tos are a seriously varied bunch – one tutorial may appeal to the rank newbie; another to the experienced pro.

The top ‘how-to’ is one that seems counter-intuitive; in fact, it is a justification or discussion rather than a how-to: Why Your Kit Lens is Better than You Think.  In second and third place are Posing Guide: 21 Sample Poses for Photographing Women – Part 2 and 8 Tips for Long Exposure Photography respectively.

A good lens from a top maker, say Zeiss, or even a high-end offering from your camera’s maker itself is always going to be an improvement on your kit lens, isn’t it?  Andrew S. Gibson tries to argue otherwise.  The gist of his discussion is that you should see your kit lens as a wideangle and a short telephoto two-in-one.  Oddly enough, his counter-argument is stronger.  He goes on to list the drawbacks of kit lenses, the biggie being the small ‘hole’.  Basically, Gibson is paraphrasing John Lennon: “Give Kit-Lens a Chance.”

The posing guide has line drawings to get you started on posing your subject/model.  One point this how-to completely misses is accounting for the age and body-shape of your female subject.  A pose that will work beautifully for a particular age and body-shape can look funny and contrived for another, so keep that point in mind.  For example, no. 6 is an all-purpose pose that will work out well with mature and/or well-built women.  It won’t be a great choice for a slim teen, though, and may look artificial.  No. 13 will be great for willowy young women but is to be avoided if your subject is mature and well-built.

Things get really interesting with the Long Exposure tutorial (which has briefly been mentioned in an earlier post).  It is not so much about night photography as about using ND filters to force long exposures to smooth out water, create cloud streaks, and so on.  This how-to has some useful tips.  For instance, while Tip 3 is well known to old hands, Tip 2 – ND filters throwing off the AF sensor/mechanism – is a very sharp one.  The author’s tips clearly come from a photographer with experience in the field – take “Choose the right conditions.”  This is not a tip that one could readily anticipate.

Three of the most valuable, interesting, or unusual tutorials fall right at the end of the list, so don’t miss out the ones that teach you how to read a histogram (valuable), creating backlight/hairlight with natural light (interesting), and doing away with fear of street shooting (unusual).


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