BTL: Sun Starburst Effect Wedding Party Portrait

In Photographyby Jerad HillLeave a Comment

In our fantastic Facebook Group, a question was asked about how you can exaggerate the sun coming through the trees. This came at a perfect time because I had just photographed a wedding where I had the sun shining through the trees to create a natural sun starburst effect. Not all camera settings are created equal when it comes to trying to capture the sun in this way. It also becomes challenging to capture a sun starburst while at the same time, keeping your subjects in the foreground exposed properly. As you can see in this image, I probably could have used a bit more light on my subjects but overall the photo turned out pretty good. Due to the excessive amount of light coming through the tree, there is some degradation in the finer details of the leafs of the tree. If you don’t zoom in on the photo, you probably won’t notice. Most tutorials online will suggest that you need to close down your aperture to something like fstop 18 or even 22 to achieve this effect. As you can see, my aperture was set to 6.3. I was able to achieve the sun starburst effect because the sun was so overpowering and because my focal length was so wide. This is also why I decided to have the sun backlight my subjects. If the sun was behind me, lighting the front of my subjects, they would have barely been able to keep their eyes open. I would rather combat strong backlighting than force my subjects …

BTL: My Son on the Dock in Newport Beach

In Photographyby Jerad HillLeave a Comment

This is one of my favorite photos I have taken of my second child. I captured this photo while we were on vacation in Newport Beach in 2013. He was 17 months old at this time. He was sitting on the steps of the dock and I just happened to have my camera in hand. I walked right up to him and said, “hey buddy.” He looked up at me, smiled and I took the photo. The sun was low as it was less than 30 minutes from sunset. The sunset was actually behind me but it was blocked by houses. To compensate for the fact that the sun was not out and shining at that point, I increased my ISO and opened the aperture wide. This also gave the photo a nice shallow depth of field, which I believe helps draw your eyes to him. A shallow depth of field puts everything in the background out of focus. You can see that in this photo, though the furthest point of the background is not far away, it is out of focus. I made sure to quickly focus on his eyes using back button focus rather than allowing my camera to focus as I pressed the shutter down (I will post a tutorial on back button focus soon). I have missed focus so many times by allowing the camera to focus as I press down the shutter button, especially when I needed to capture the photo fast before the moment had passed. I kept the shutter speed …

Welcome to the Ditch Auto Podcast – 001

In Photographyby Jerad HillLeave a Comment

Welcome to the new Ditch Auto Podcast. This video podcast is dedicated to helping photography enthusiasts get out of auto mode and use manual features of their cameras. This podcast is not simply about DSLR Cameras, it’s about getting out of automatic mode as a state of mind. This video introduces what is to come with the Ditch Auto Podcast. Make sure to subscribe on iTunes to get the latest videos each week.

BTL: Rick Santorum Daytona 500 Pit Road

In Photographyby Jerad HillLeave a Comment

I had the opportunity to shoot photos at the Daytona 500 this year and it was an amazing experience. This was my first NASCAR race and first pro sports event I had the chance to photograph where I had actual credentials to do so. The group I was with was a non-profit that was doing some work with Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum. Hours before he arrived at the track, I was told that his staff photographer was unable to make it and that I was going to become his photographer for the day. Part of my job was to continue covering the event for the non-profit I was working for while now at the same time capturing photos of Rick Santorum interacting with people. The access we had was unbelievable. Before the race, we were walking down pit road at Daytona Motor Speedway. Rick was out front along with members of the non-profit and a couple of high ranking Air Force officers. I ran ahead and grabbed a photo of Rick who seemed to be amazed himself at what he was experiencing. After posting this photo to Twitter, Rick Santorum’s staff asked for permission to use this photo on their website and to be able to post it to Rick’s social media accounts. This gained me a lot of retweets and some followers. Rick Santorum himself even followed me on Twitter. When you are photographing events like this, where lighting changes quickly depending on the direction you are pointing your camera, it is important to have …

Ditch Auto Hits 41,000 Students!

In Photographyby Jerad HillLeave a Comment

What an amazing milestone. When I first launched the Ditch Auto – Start Shooting in Manual course on Udemy.com, I figured that friends and perhaps past clients of mine who wanted to learn more about photography would take the course. I could not have imagined that over 41,000 people from all over the world would end up taking the course. What is next for Ditch Auto? In the coming weeks we will be launching a podcast and start posting tutorials to this website. I want Ditch Auto to be more than just an introductory course. The feedback many of those who took the course have provided let me know that there is a need for more information. Though there is plenty of good information already on the internet on photography, it’s always good to have different perspectives on things. I am a hands on learner and teacher, it seems that people are drawn to that teaching style. Through this website, the podcast, my Youtube channel and future courses, I hope to continue to help people Ditch Auto and get the most out of their cameras. Here are some of the things people are saying about Ditch Auto: Went from having no understanding of how to shoot in manual to gaining a good understanding of cause and effect relationships with that will allow me to take better photos. ~Nathan I really enjoyed watching and taking part in this course Jerad Hill is a great teacher and he’ll show you part of his knowledge in a easy way. …

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Adobe Lightroom Error – There Was An Error Working With The Photo

In Photographyby Jerad Hill7 Comments

Today I received an error in Lightroom that read, “There Was An Error Working With The Photo.” That was all it told me. Upon inspection, it seemed to only affect that group of photos. A quick search in Google offered me a couple of fixes that I tried with no luck. I knew that the photos were ok because I was able to open them in Adobe Photoshop without a problem. The solutions online, which did not work, suggested that I trash Lightroom preview files and even Lightroom Preferences files. When this didn’t work, I tried something much more simple and less evasive, I moved the files. The files I was having issues with were stored on a local NAS (Network Attached Storage) server I have on site. It’s a Synology DS1813+, amazing piece of equipment and well worth the money it cost to set up. I currently have it configured with 24TB of storage. Once I have delivered image files to my client, I move them to the NAS to free up available memory on my iMac or MacBook Pro. Moving the files off of the NAS did one simple thing, it forced Lightroom to look for those files and resync them. Since I knew the files were working fine on their own, I moved the folder of images to my desktop. Once I knew the files were copied over, I deleted the copy off of the NAS. Once they were deleted, Lightroom noticed they were no longer available so each image had the little …

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Ditch Auto: Adobe Lightroom & Photoshop Workflow

In Photographyby Jerad HillLeave a Comment

I am happy to announce my next workflow course which will help you regain the life your photo was destined to have. We don’t always have perfect lighting conditions. Sometimes we have to stretch our cameras to the limit to get the shot. That can leave the photo feeling a bit flat. That was the case with this photo. The photo you see is right out of my camera. I didn’t have a flash on my camera at the time and the lighting was very low due to the sun being almost completely gone. What do you do when you are shooting at 1/125 sec; f/2.8; ISO 4000? Most cameras can’t even get to ISO 4000 and if you went there, the image would be grainy. You would most likely throw away the photo and try again when you have better light. With the right techniques, you can bring back life into that same photo and produce a nice end result such as you see in the photo below. Here is what you can expect to learn from this course: Importing of images into Adobe Lightroom Image Adjustment Settings in Lightroom Repair of Underexposed and Noisy Images How to bring back detail in the image Opening a photo in Photoshop from Lightroom Editing and Cleanup in Photoshop Sky Replacement Returning to Lightroom to Color Correct Watermarking Image Export I look forward to sharing with you in this course, to take the course, click here.

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How to Make an Animated GIF in Lightroom and Photoshop CS6

In Photographyby Jerad Hill6 Comments

The other day, I had the need to generate my own Animated GIF. It had been years since I had made one and my workflow has changed a lot since then. Though there are applications out there you can buy that make it easy to create animated GIFs, I did not want to go purchase software to do something I could already do in applications I already had. Since the process for creating animated GIFs had changed since the last time I made one, I had to relearn how to do it so I thought, why not make a video. Lightroom is where I spend most of my time on images, but it does not have the capability to output animations like Photoshop does. Photoshop used to have an Animations window that you would use to create your GIFs but since introducing video functionality the Animations window has been replaced with the Timeline editor. This actually gives us more control over our animated GIF, which I outline in the video below. Have fun creating animated gifs in Lightroom and Photoshop. Think of the fun you could have with your clients creating a fun animated GIF of them.

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Ditch Auto – Learn To Shoot In Manual

In Photographyby Jerad HillLeave a Comment

Why Take This Course? You have a DSLR Camera or a fancy Point-and-shoot, but have not been using it to it’s full potential. You know that the scary “manual mode” holds a whole new level of customization which would result in better quality photos but have resisted. Terms like Shutter Speed and Aperture sound confusing and you don’t know where to start. If that sounds familiar, I want to assure you that by the end of my FREE course you will understand what those settings do and be on your way to controlling your camera rather than your camera controlling you. You made an investment in a decent camera and it’s time to start using it’s features. In this course you will learn the basics of DSLR Photography and how to shoot in manual mode. My goal is to give you the tools so you can train your brain to think like a Photographer. You will also know how to control your camera instead of leaving it up to Auto Mode to try and to it’s best. Take the course for free on Udemy: https://www.udemy.com/ditch-auto-start-shooting-in-manual/ How Long Is This Course? So far, the course is just over 4 hours in length. You can watch it in chunks or all at once. It is best to watch it with camera in hand so you can pause and follow along with your camera. All DSLR Cameras are different so your settings may look different than mine. What Should I Expect? You should expect to be able to shoot …