Concert Photography

The concert photography is one of the most difficult fields in the photography world, different to others kind of photos; in this photography we have no control of almost anything in the picture. We can’t direct the object being photographed, we do not have control over the lighting, which is constantly changing, also there are people around us who paid money for enjoying the show so we can’t annoy them and last but not least we have limited restrictions on any angle.

Tips for improving your concert photography 

1- Always use “M” (Manual Mode)

The lights in the concerts change a lot so you need to have to be able to control all the settings of your camerareally fast if you don’t want to lose the perfect photo.

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(Photo by Canon Digital Learning Center – Canon Global, License CC)

2- Use the Lowest Aperture Possible

Use fast lenses. Set your aperture to the smallest number on your lens (. f/1.8). This allows the most possible light to enter your sensor and is an excellent option with low light situations.


Unless you want to have photo with a moving effect, use a fast shutter speed so you make sure you freeze the action, the formula to know what exactly is the speed that freezes the action is: Make sure the speed is higher than the number of your lens so if you have a 28mm -135mm to make sure you freeze the action you have to set the speed greater than 135.

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(Photo by Hani Amir, License CC)

4- Use High ISO 

The higher the ISO less light you need to a correct composition but also need to be alert of the noise.

5- Spot Metering 

This takes a light reading limited to the center of your viewfinder so check your manua and set this setting. When shooting concerts, you will often find yourself in a situation where the artist is hit by a spotlight and the rest of the stage is almost dark. When using spot metering mode, place the artist’s face in the middle of your viewfinder and you’ll get the right exposure for it.


(Photo by Natasha Díaz, License CC)

6- Use Burst 

Set your camera to multi-shot mode, It allows you to rapidly shoot three to four photos in a row of course depending on the frames per second of your camera model. Is important to set this feature because in a concert the subject move a lot and you don’t want a blurry photo, you want a perfect still photo.


(Photo by Natasha Díaz, License CC)

7- Never use Flash 

First of all, if you use flash in a concert I’m sure you are going to get kick out because the light of the flash annoys the person in front and also flash pictures don’t look awesome so don’t use it.


(Photo by Natasha Díaz, License CC)

8- Shoot in RAW

If you shoot in JPEG mode, the internal camera computer adds contrast, saturation and sharpness to your photos. The files look great when you open them on your computer, but you can’t manage them in post-production. If you shoot in RAW format, the camera does not process the photo and the advantage is that you can change things like exposure, white balance, saturation, contrast and clarity.

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(Photo by The Phoblographer, License CC)

9- Use Silhouettes 

Lenses with over 2.8 aperture can cause problems when trying to capture the subject on focus. This is because of the changing lights that are usually dark. One of the solutions is to shoot silhouettes. Is better to have a silhouette that is very clear so that the viewer can see and understand what the subject in the frame it is without seeing his faces. You can take a good silhouettes when there is no light on the subject and the only lights are behind the band, singer or dancer.

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(Photo by, License CC)



Portrait Photography

Portrait photography is a photograph of a person or group of people that captures the personality of the subject by using effective lighting, backdrops, and poses.

The portrait photography is important because you can see how you change overtime or your family and if you don’t like being photographed think that in years to come when members of your family are looking for photos of you, what will they find?, you may be thinking in all the negative things to not take a portrait but you have to realize that NOW is the perfect time because later you are going to say “I’m too old for that” or things like that so don’t make excuses.


(Photo by Axel Santiago, License CC)

Tips to improve your portrait photography:

1- Wide aperture – All depends of the type of portrait that you want but one of my favorite type of portrait is when I use a wide aperture because the background behind your subject is nicely blurred, making them stand out better.

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(Photo by Neilvan Niekerk, License CC)

2- Shutter speed – You have to be alert of the shutter speed because you don’t want a shake photo, you want a perfect still photo. A basic rule is: Make sure your shutter speed is higher than your effective focal length. For example, at 200mm use a 1/250 sec shutter speed or faster.

Image result for jesslee buchanan best photos

(Photo by Jesslee Buchanan, License CC)

3- Increase your ISO (But avoid the noise)

The best lens for a portrait: 

  • Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM.
  • Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM.
  • Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM.
  • Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM.
  • Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM.
  • Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G.
  • Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G AF-S ED VR II.
  • Nikon 50mm f/1.8G AF-S.

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(Photo by Katya Miro, License CC)

4- Make rapport with the model –  Take time to chat with your subject before the shoot – have a meet and talk over your ideas so both of you are connected to the shooting and in the same page.

When the shoot begins, offer them direction, don’t shoot silently. Tell them what you want and how you want them to pose. Remember as well to show them some shots because this can build confidence.

5- Use a reflector – One of the easy ways and affordable to add some light to your portraits and to give them a professional look is to use a reflector. Use them indoors (near windows) or outdoors to bounce light back onto your subjects and to fill in unwanted shadows.

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(Photo by Wesctott, License CC)

6- Focusing the camera – When using wide apertures, your depth of field decreases dramatically, so it’s crucial you know where to focus, otherwise you could end up with out-of-focus face, like the person’s nose may be sharp but the eyes soft. So my recommendation is that With large apertures, focus on the eyes, with wider aperture, focus on the head.

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(Photo by Karla Souza, License CC)

7- Posing your model – If the person you are photographing is not a professional model, the person may need help to pose, so it helps if you bring examples in your phone or printed so the person can look and try to copy it.

Image result for the best poses for a photoshootImage result for the best poses for a photoshoot

(Art by Digital Photography School, License CC)

8- Try black and white 

If you take a portrait and you don’t love the result try change the picture to black and white in some cases the picture looks like if it was a different photo, in some cases the photo look better in black and white.

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(Photo by Northrup.Photo, License CC)


(Photos by Axel Santiago, License CC)


Wildlife Photography

Wildlife photography is a profession which demands a passion for nature and art. Wildlife photographers make a career of traveling to remote areas and taking pictures of wild animals and natural scenery, personally my wildlife photos are of domestic animals but it counts.

Also this photography is important because it helps document all the animals that exist in the world and if for a reason one animal get extinct, the years will pass and thanks to the photos we are going to know how it look so this photography is an historical document too.

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(Photo by Axel Santiago, License CC)

Here are some tips to improve your wildlife photography:

1- Know your camera – The really great moments in wildlife photography last between 5 and 20 seconds so is not much and you have to know your camera well so you can shoot in the right moment and not lose the best shot.

You should know things like:

What the minimum shutter speed so you can obtain a sharp image with your camera

How high you can push your camera’s ISO setting without getting noise

What is the minimum and max of your aperture

2- Know your subject – Much of wildlife photography is based on capturing fleeting moments of natural history, you have to know the poses and behavior of the animal you are taking a picture so you can anticipate what he is going to do next and take the shot. To know them theres only one way and is spend time with them or watch videos o the internet. Don’t just hang around for a few minutes and look out the next subject if the one you are observing or photographing isn’t doing what you expect because maybe if you leave you lose a great picture.

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(Photo by Axel Santiago, License CC)

3- The rule of thirds –  “Is applied by aligning a subject with the guide lines and their intersection points, placing the horizon on the top or bottom line, or allowing linear features in the image to flow from section to section”.

Is recommend it because is more pleasing to the eye and looks more natural than one where the subject is placed right in the middle of the frame also it give life and a flow to the picture.

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(Photo by Codrops, License CC)

4- Shoot wider and shoot closer


(Photos by Axel Santiago, License CC)

5- Patience – Nature is unpredictable. Anything can happen at any time and most of the time happen rarely, they rarely coincide with the exact time that you are in that specific spot waiting to take the shot (Yeah I know is frustrating). You have to be patient.

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(Photo by Max Rinaldi, License CC)

Recommend it Gear:


Head Lamp

Telephoto Lens – Canon 200-400 f/4 L IS 1.4ext –  Canon 100-400


Rain Cover

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(Photos by Axel Santiago, License CC)

Architecture Photography

Architecture photography is photographing buildings and similar structures that are aesthetically amazing. Architectural photographers are usually skilled in the use of specialized techniques and equipment.

Is important that you know that architecture photographers and real sate photographers are not the same.  Real estate photographers look properties with the intention of making a sale. Architecture photographers, focused on capturing the aesthetic and intention of a structure in the most interesting, creative and unique way possible.


(MIAMI by Axel Santiago, License CC)

Here are some tips to improve your architecture photography skills:

1- Look around the place,  your subject isn’t going anywhere so take your time to look around and discover the best angle, convergences of lines and perspectives to take the shot. The most obvious point of view is not the most interesting.

2- Use a tripod, it all depends of the situation and the photo you want to take but in some cases maybe you need to use a small aperture to maximize depth of field, which will need a slow shutter speed that make difficult hand-holding. Always bring a tripod to really avoid any chance of camera shake, is better have it and do not use that do not have it and need it.

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(Photo by Contrastly, License CC)

3- Optional – Add a human to the picture, if you add a human you would give a sense of relative scale of how big is the building. Be sure your human is dressed appropriately to the mood of the space. If it’s an office building, he or she should wear business look.

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(Photo by, License CC)

4- Watch your White Balance, when you shoot at night or indoors, be aware that the color temperature of the artificial light can change the color of the architecture. This may not necessarily be a bad thing but it is something that you need to be aware of. Rather than using auto white balance, shoot RAW and use a color calibration kit such as the Datacolor Spyder 4 to get the most accurate color from image capture.

5- Use wide angle lens

6 – Take the shot

Suggest Gear for architecture photography:

Tilt-Shift (AKA perspective control) lens 

Canon 17mm TS-E F/4L

Canon 24mm TS-E F/3.5L II

Canon 45mm TS-E f/2.8

Canon 90mm TS-E F/2.8

Nikon PC-E Nikkor 24mm f/3.5D ED

Nikon PC-E Nikkor 45mm f/2.8D

Nikon PC-E Nikkor 85mm f/2.8D

A Tilt-Shift lens projects an image that is larger than the area covered by the camera’s sensor. When photographing architecture, a photographer shifts the front element to get rid of the “falling backwards” effect that occurs when shooting up towards a tall building, and uses the tilt feature to control depth of field.


Dolica Proline 68″ Professional Tripod

Slik Pro II Tripod

MeFOTO RoadTrip Aluminum Travel Tripod


(NY by Axel Santiago, License CC)

Polarizing Filter

When photographing architecture, what’s reflected on mirrors and windows is sometimes part of the story you’re telling. But at other times, you’ll need to eliminate reflections on windows, also if you want to make an long exposure shot and the sun is still out you can do it with the filter.


(Photo by Axel Santiago, License CC)

Adobe Photoshop 

To fix light problems and imperfections on the photos photoshop is great.


(Photos by Axel Santiago, License CC)





The Bokeh Effect

The bokeh effect is the quality of the blur produced in the out-of-focus parts of an image produced by a lens but you can also make it using your computer screen. Bokeh has been defined as “the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light”.


(Spider Man Bokeh, by Axel Santiago, License CC)

How to do it?

1- Use the right lens ( Use a fast lens, since aperture impacts the depth of field. The best lenses for beautiful bokeh are portrait lenses such as 50mm f/1.4, 85mm f/1.4 and 70-200mm f/2.8

2 – Set your camera on M (Manual Mode)

3 – Select a small aperture

4- Get close to your subject

5 – Focus on what you want to be sharp

6 – Place your subject far from the background you want blurred out.

7 – Take the shot


(Bokeh by Axel Santiago, License CC)

Tips for an excellent bokeh:

1- You can experiment bokeh at your home. But, if you want to be a different photographer and impress with yours pictures, grab your gear and head out on the streets

2- Night is the best time to shoots bokeh, there is no rule that bokehs should not be shot during the day. but, it’s more fun to shoot bokehs at night, the colors are better, the  patterns look beautiful when shot at night.

3- Make sure your find a place with a proper light, Light is the most important factor for photography and shooting bokeh is not the exceptions . When the background has a good light it’s easier to get those perfect patterned bokehs. If the light is insufficient bokehs maybe will not turn out well.

4- Manual Focus is a good tool, shooting bokehs with the focus in auto mode can be quite a pain. Focusing, adjusting, refocusing you will end up doing repeatedly. Manual focus works best.

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(Photo by Shilpa Venkat, License CC)

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(Photo by, License CC)

(Photos by Drew Gurian, License CC)

Long Exposure Photography?

The long exposure photography is a technique that involves using a long-duration shutter speed to sharply capture the stationary things of images while blurring, smearing, or obscuring the moving things.


(Photo by Axel Santiago, License CC)

Step 1 – Use a tripod

Step 2 – Focus the subject and lock the focus.  If you are using the autofocus mode, you should focus by half-pressing the shutter button, and once the focus has been made, while still holding down the shutter button halfway, turn off the Auto Focus to Manual. by doing that, your camera will maintain the focus.

Step 3 – Set the Aperture (Exposure)


(Photo by Axel Santiago, License CC)

Set your camera to M (Manual mode) then set the aperture to an appropriate value, it all depends on the weather or time you are taking the picture.

Step 4  (Optional) Add your Neutral Density (ND filter), maybe you will not be able to see through the viewfinder or the Live View. Do not worry, sometimes it happens, you can’t see, but your camera will see everything perfectly.

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(Photo by , License CC)

Step 5: Set the time that your shutter will be open, I recommend that you start on 30 seconds and see how it go and if is overexposed then you decrease the time or decrease the aperture, managing the Iso is the last option.

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(Photo by, License CC)

Step 6: Take the picture


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