Author Archives: Giuseppe Sapori

My 2020

Tags : 

Here we are my final post of the year, my annual photo composition. Every year I create a personal photo manipulation obtained with all top elements that distinguish the year. In this photo composition every thing, object and person you see has its own meaning, its importance, its memory for me, a moment that I want to remember and keep with special affection in this 2020

This is a personal representation of my 2020, here we have places visited, travels, personal goals and all that was dear to me.  This image has meaning for myself but I like to think that this image is beautiful even for you who look at it

I really hope you will appreciate the work, as you know I always love to ear this from you! I want take the opportunity to thank you all for the support on my page and socials during this year, I want to wish you a happy 2021 to all!


7 Reasons to Prefer Manual Focus over Auto Focus

Tags : 

Focus is certainly the main aspect of photography, if the images are out of focus they are ruined definitively. There may be several reasons that lead to an out of focus image, some of which may be the difficulty of automatically focusing on a subject but anyway the best way to get out images perfectly focused is by using manual focus. So here are 7 reasons to prefer manual focus over auto focus

1. Sharpen Images

The main reason for preferring manual focus to auto focus is certainly to get sharper images, the best way to deal with manual focus is to achieve it by using live view, following these simple steps:

  1. Set your lens to Manual Focus
  2. Set Live view on your Camera
  3. Use zoom button to zoom into the are you want to focus
  4. Turn the focus ring until what you see is in focus

In this way you should be able to focus manually with ease. There’s also another step to do just to be sure your images are 100% in focus and extra sharp: compare the images captured with manual focus system and live view with an image captured from live view using auto focus. If you’ve done things right the image taken with manual focus should be with better focus and sharper

2. Photograph with every Light

Focusing with auto focus in low light conditions this one may not work properly or be inaccurate. Imagine shooting during the night, especially for night photography, images like milky way or light painting or startrails, manual focus becomes crucial to focus into a total darker scene

3. Capture low Contrasts

The auto focus to work properly needs some points that are “recognized” to the camera. If you’re shooting something that has similar colors, tones, and textures, or a smooth wall your lens can struggle in autofocus mode. In all these cases manual focus is of great help to be able to focus on subjects with low contrasts

4. Capture out of Focus images

One of the strongest photography composition guidelines is framing. Composing a framing with an out of focus element can be a successful compositional element of a photo and can lead the viewer’s eye through the main subject. Manual focus helps in this sense to be able to take our images with such compositional techniques and play between in focus and out of focus elements

5. Photograph with Fog

Fog is that element that helps make the image more striking and create a beautiful atmosphere in the image. But fog will reduce contrasts and scatter light in the scene, and focusing with fog can be difficult with auto focus if there’s not strong contrasted element in the scene. In all the cases of fog and misty landscapes using manual focus will avoid the problem of having out-of-focus images in fog

6. Focus Stacking

Focus stacking is one of the most used technique to ensure all of images elements are in focus. With focus stacking you take many images of the same scene with different focus in order to achieve a completely focused images with all the elements of the scene perfectly in focus. I created a detailed guide on how focus stack your images using bracketed shots. For a precise use of focus stacking it is very imporant to use manual focus, because it allows you to have great control of the elements of the frame in at different focal angles

7. Moving Objects

This point can be connected with the previous one but also because mobile elements are present in landscape photography. Imagine having to focus stack on flowers in the foreground that are moving on a windy day, or simply wanting to give movement to an element of the photo while keeping the focus fixed in one point. All of this with auto focus would be slower and even more difficult to achieve

Conclusions

Even if manual is better for all the reasons we talked about automatic focus can be very usefull in other situations, the auto focus should be used for:

  • Photographing animals, sport or other scenes where the subject is moving
  • Photographing events and concerts where the subject doesn’t stand still
  • Photographing handheld

Even if auto focus are certainly valid in different cases, for professional results rely to manual focus is the best solution. In any case relying on own’s eyes and judgment is always the best choice


10 Pro Tips for Snow Photography

Tags : 

A snow covered landscape is always an attraction for every landscape photographer, for this reason every year I take almost two trip on the snow to take photos with beautiful icy and snowy sceneries. I love the colors of the sunset that reflects on the white that characterizes the landscapes this period of year. Photographing in the snow can give beautiful lights to your images, but to do the best you need to be prepared, which is why I have prepared this guide about 10 pro tips for snow photography

1. Save your Batteries

Cold is one of the downsite of snow photography, this reduces the battery longevity of your camera and all your electronic devices, including phone. One solution is to always have a spare battery and to put the camera on the bag when you don’t use it in order to keep your equipment warm

2. Be Careful of Condensation

This point is partly connected to the first one, before going from a cold to a warm environment remember to put your camera in your backpack. Switching from a cold environment to a heated indoor environment instantly creates condensation that can damage your camera and lenses

3. Set the Right White Balance

White balance is very important, especially when photographing in the snow. In snowy locations a trick is to set maually the white balance using Kelvin mode, this allows you to handle the white balance in various situations and set it on the light you have. If 5000K is the mid-day light a good starting point for white balance for snow is around 8000K

4 Use the Histogram

Using the histogram is very usefull in every photography situations not ony during snow photography, but in these cases the histogram takes on even more importance because it gives us a correct and graphic measurement of the exposure, avoiding relying only on a visual image in a prominent white scene

5. Find Colors and Contrasts

This is a compositional tip: in a mainly white scene playing with colors or strong contrasts helps the image to be pop or of greater impact for the viewer

6 Protect your Gear

When shooting in the snow some recommended precautions are:

  1. Keep the lens cap when you don’t use your camera to prevent moisture on the lens,
  2. If your lens becomes fogged avoid to blow warm air on it,
  3. Hold your breath when bringing your camera up to your face to take a picture could prevent fogging on your LCD screen and viewfinder

7 Use Polarizing Filters

Using a polarizing filter while shooting a snowy scene will help you cut through over-powering glare. The use of filters also reduces the light that passes through the lens and can make a great difference in the final result

8 Use Zoom Lenses

Images appear flat when there is nothing standing out in the foreground and most of the image is white. Snowy scenes are dominated by prominent colors over white. Getting closer on the main subject and its details is an interesting compositional solution to add depth to the image and make the image more captivating

9 Adjust the Exposure

In the white of the snow it may be necessary to have to adjust your exposure compensation to get the right light on the snow, in addition to this it is always useful to shoot in raw to be able to fix the exposure even in post with ease

10 Protect your Hands

While shooting landscapes we all use a lot the hands to interact with the camera, for this reason always having warm and dry hands is essential.
Having a pair of warm gloves that allow you to interact easily with the camera will prove to be the most important choice for the success of your winter photos


Let it Snow

Tags : 

I found this photo from the photo album of my last trip to the Dolomites, almost a year ago now … an incredible snowy landscape and a magnificent backdrop of the Friulian Dolomites

I remember spending most of the day in this location from late morning until almost evening since the sky offered the most disparate facets that day, starting from an overcast sky up to openings full of wonderful light like this one

I made this shot with a focus stacking on only two points, foreground and background, capturing a series of exposures for each type of photo to capture as much dynamic range as possible

WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

I started with a digital blending between the two series of shots, than I merged the images into Photoshop in order to obtain one image with all focused points

I made the major adjustments using  luminosity masks on highlights, shadows and contrasts. I applied high details filters using TTS Pro, I also launched orton effect and glow tool in order to increase the glowing atmosphere of the image

I fixed color cast and I pushed up the warmth of the whole image increasing vibrance and yellow tones. With dodge and burn I lightened some areas around the trees and on the mountains

I darkened a bit the whole frame and I created some lighting spot on the main areas of interest using brush, as final step I a fixed the lasts lights using levels to better balance the image

I really hope you will find this usefull. I’m always happy to ear this from you!

TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-800

Nikon 14-24 f/2,8 (used at 15mm)

Focus Stacking

ISO: 100 at f/13

Software: Photoshop CC2021

Plugin: TTS Pro


Last Autumn Flashes

Tags : 

A image series of autumn colors captured in the countryside of northern Italy in Friuli some time ago. As I wrote in my guide how to photograph the beauty of autumn colours in the search for the right autumnal atmosphere it is important to take advantage by fog and clouds

Luckily I came across scenarios characterized by important fogs and low clouds that helped me to increase the autumn atmosphere of my shots. this series of images comes from all different places but obviously all within the same geographical region

The common line of these shots is that all these images are not the result of a planning or scouting for a location; they are all captured while I was driving my car and along the way I found these view, I pulled up the car on the side of the road and started shooting

WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

These images are the result of all single shots, therefore no digital blending has been done here, however I have always used luminosity masks to correct exposure, contrast, shadows, highlights, etc…

In all my images I applied a strong orton effect to increase the autumn mood of the shots and I also increased this using the glow tool along the most darker areas

I increased details selectively, I increased colours and fixed the color cast in all the images using TTS Pro. I made some crops to make some images more interesting to the viewer and increased the vignetting on all the images

I really hope you will find this usefull. I’m always happy to ear this from you!

TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-800

Nikon 14-24 f/2,8 (different angles)

N/A

ISO: 100 at various f/values

Software: Photoshop CC2020

Plugin: TTS Pro


In the Wood

Tags : 

A small series of images that I collected during my latest photo session inside the wood. I waited here until sunset to catch the colors of autumn and to give more prominence to the leaves. The sun filtering through the branches of the trees was also a strong inspiration for me, as my previous post, for that as well as an important point of energy in the photo

The first image is a bit of a classic of autumn photos although I have never taken anything like this before, on the other two I tried two different point of view

WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

I made for all the shots very similar edits. I captured all the shots with no brackets so every image is a single shot, I didn’t use any digital blending here, but at the same time I used for all the fixes TTS Pro with I launched orton effect, increased glow, details, contrast and warmth

I also increased the color vibrance to push the red color up, I increased the yellow tone of the sky and pushed up the highlights, I also added a smart vignette effect to the image to increase the sense of darkness in the wood

I hope you will find this informations usefull. I love to ear this from you!

TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-800

Nikon 24-70 f/2,8 (different angles)

N/A

ISO: 320 at f/9

Software: Photoshop CC2020

Plugin: TTS Pro


In the Wood

Tags : 

The autumn scenarios are of great inspiration this period for me and for this reason this week’s photo is centered on a autumn forest scenery. I found many leaves on the ground and no longer on the trees but despite all the forest was enveloped by a magical mysterious autumnal atmosphere

In this photograph I tried to focus more on capturing the sun filtering through the dry branches of the trees, pushing myself as low as possible with the camera to have an overbearing foreground

I made this shot in focus stacking because I had in front of me several points with different focus starting from the roots up to the trees that are at the bottom of the woods

WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

I started stacking all the exposures into a final image, after this I fixed all the highlights and contrast using luminosity masks. The image needed a perspective correction that I made through the use of Photoshop Warp to bring the roots a little closer and arrange the other trees in the forest

I increased details and created a glow atmosphere with orton effect using TTS Pro, with a paintbrush I glowed also the highlights to increase the sense of glow coming from the sky

After fixing color vibrance and saturation I added a small vignette to focus more attention on the sun spikes and the main tree

TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-800

Nikon 14-24 f/2,8 (used at 14mm)

Focus Stacking

ISO: 100 at f/22

Software: Photoshop CC2020

Plugin: TTS Pro


Side Walk

Tags : 

Waterfalls and autumn are two elements that always get along very well. During the autumn season I always try to find some beautiful glimpses with waterfalls inside woods and small forests, the water as I wrote in my tutorial dedicated to autumn how to photograph the beauty of autumn colours ,is a very strong element for autumn shots

I took this photo without the help of any filter since the water flow was very strong and I didn’t want to risk an excessive loss of water texture

I used focus stacking in this photo by focus on the foreground and then on the rest of the scene, since the focus point was the same

WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

I create the shot to edit blending the shots needed for focus stacking. Also with this image for every focus point I take two exposures, darker and brighter in order to digital blend the shots before proceed with focus stacking

I increased the highlights coming from the aperture on the trees to increase the sense of glow in this picture and I pushed up orton effect and glow effect for this

I increased details selectively on the rocks and on the trees, with luminosity masks I fixed contrast and lights over the scene, I added glow in the scene also using the glow tool

As final steps I increased the color vibrance and pushed up the autumn colours

All the edits are done with my TTS Pro panel, I hope you will find this usefull. I always love to ear that from you!

TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-800

Nikon 14-24 f/2,8 (used at 14mm)

Focus Stacking

ISO: 64 at f/11

Software: Photoshop CC2020

Plugin: TTS Pro


The Touch

Tags : 

Not so far from the city of Rome some forests still looks green, it will take some other week to turn to the beautiful autumn orange. Meanwhile, here is another image of a waterfall captured directly from its shore, the series of waterfalls in this area creates a deep pool of water on multiple levels

Since I was in a wooded area quite closed from light, I went here during the day with full daylight, to benefit from a brighter light to sufficiently illuminate the scene. From the right suddenly a strong light filtered towards the water and the leaves that were in front of me and that I used as the main subject of the foreground, as a touch of light in a darker scene

I capture this photo through focus stacking and perspective blending techniques, so I capture different focus on the scene and I blended togheder to obtain a perfectly focused frame, I already corrected the perspective with the waterfall using another waterfall picture with an undistorted perspective

WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

I captured 4 different focus point in the scene + another picture for the correct perspective of the waterfall + another one for saving the moving foliages

For every focus point I got two exposures darker and brighter that I used for digital blending. Once I composed the base working image, I started editing the image using TTS Pro. With luminosity masks I fixed the highlights and shadows in the frame and with dodge and burn I decreased all the strong lights in the frame

I used orton effect here, perfect for this kind of scenes and with the use of glow tool  I created some glowing lights in the picture. I increased the color vibrance, increased details and sharpness on the rocks and on the leafs

As final step I launched a soft vignette to favor the impression of a mysterious image to the viewer

As always I hope you will find this usefull! I love to ear that from you!

TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-800

Nikon 14-24 f/2,8 (used at 14mm)

Focus Stacking

ISO: 64 at f/14

Software: Photoshop CC2020

Plugin: TTS Pro


How to Photograph the beauty of Autumn Colours

Tags : 

Autumn offers many photographic opportunities for the beauty of his colours and moody shots and is therefore one of the favorite seasons of landscape photographers. Capturing the colours and the atmosphere of autumn is not so obvious, so in this guide we will see how to photography the beauty of the autumn colours following this 8 tips:

1. Prefer the Golden Hour

This applies as a general rule not only in autumn photography, golden hour helps to get much more vibrant and pop colors that best suit to get that perfect glow effect for fall colours

Since many autumn photos are taken in wooded environments, photographing during the golden hour in an area with very dense and closed trees can be counterproductive so in this case prefer times with the highest sun position

2. Use the Right White Balance

Usually automatic white balance is one of the most used one, automatic mode is comfortable and often reliable but this tends to flatten and neutralize the colours of the photos. To emphatize the autumn colours it would be preferable to choose a white balance using Shade mode. The light in shade is normally a little cooler than in the daylight, so this mode will add some warmth to your image

A pro tip is to use the Kelvin mode in your autumn shot, so you can adjust the temperature as your taste using live view in order to obtain more customizable results

3. Take Advantage of Fog and Clouds

Fog is that high-impact element that will incredibly help you create more atmosphere in your autumn landscapes, this because fog softens the contrasts of the scene and gives a nice depth of field. Fog is that high-impact element that will incredibly help you create more atmosphere in your autumn landscapes

Cloudy sky likewise comes to our aid, rain and overcast skies are all conditions that help to focus on the colours of the autumn composition

4. Use Polarizer Filters

In autumn photography the polarizing filters are of great help to enhance the colours and contrast, this will give you a base image more easy to start editing. Other benefits of using polarizer filters are: reduce the glare, make sky more clear, allows to using lower shutter speed in case you shot for water

5. Use the Right Lens

In landscape photography the wide angle lens is often used, but knowing how to vary the lenses according to the condition allows you to capture the best image in the right moment

In autumn photography the attention to detail is the key, that’s why I take many photos with my 70-200 telephoto. Using a telephoto will help you to focus on a single spot and better enhance the scene details

6. Natural Frame your Shots

Framing is a very effective photography composition rules, taking advantages of the colours of the foliages, the trees, rivers and rocks can be a great help to better composite your shot and emphatize the viewer’s eye on the main subject.

Playing with colours while taking advantage of natural framing completes this tip even more

7. Look for Water

Adding water in your autumn shots will add a strong element to enhance your image, imagine a lake that reflects all the beautiful autumn colors in your scene, or a waterfall that with its flow guides the viewer’s eye towards other elements of the photo

Water is in general a very strong element in landscape photography and especially in autumn photography. To get the most out of the water combine it with the golden hour for a very powerful impact effect

8. Bonus Tip

If the colors of your autumn photographs do not seem so impactfull, I suggest you download my TTS Fast Panel or my TTS Pro Panel, in both of these adobe extensions panels there is an effect to enhance the autumn colours and bring out the best of your shots

Conclusions

Autumn photography offers many photographic ideas but mostly made up of opportunities, a planning phase is fundamental as is knowing how to exploit all the changes in the light conditions. To win this challenge, take the right time to go out, experiment and you will get to photograph the best autumn photos


Site Founder

Hi, my name is Giuseppe Sapori, a professional photographer and author of this website, created by yours truly to show my work and share with you the techniques I use. My expertise is in the field of Landscape Photography... (Read More)

Newsletter Signup