Jack Halfon Faces and Places (131)In two sentences, create a story of what you see. Make it believable, make it memorable, and most importantly, make it everlasting.



Photography 101: Using Your DSLR Camera Part 1


A digital single-lens reflex camera, commonly referred to as a DSLR camera, is a digital camera that combines the optics and the mechanisms of a single lens reflex camera with a digital imaging sensor. For many individuals, attaining this camera is the first step in igniting their passion and their hobby.

Below, you will find eight helpful tips you need to get the ball rolling. Understanding these concepts will not just aid you in taking quality photos, but also develop you as a photographer.

1. Read Your Camera’s Manual

While many overly enthusiastic amateur photographers may overlook this step, reading your manual can sometimes be the definer of sparking your interest or destroying it. Yes, the manuals are not always engaging to read, but they do provide you a wide variety of information of how you can use and optimize your camera to its fullest. By internalizing the functionalities of your camera, you will be able to learn and grow as a photographer every click that you take. In addition, most manuals are not available electronically. If you ever need to reference how to use a DSLR camera, try looking it up online.

(Watch a video tutorial on the basic use of your DSLR camera here.)

2. Always have Your Camera Near

When beginning your journey as a photographer, try and play around with it as much as possible. That being said, try and keep your camera by you. Remember, it is more than just a simple click. Here, you are capturing a memory.

3. Practice Every Day

Similar to any new thing that you do, photography is a skill that needs time to develop. The best way you can do this is by taking every day. While this does not always require the use of your DSLR camera, you want to start thinking like a photographer. Understand the angles, positioning, and subject matter you want to control for your photos. Afterwards, try practicing it on your DSLR camera. Test out different features and functions and, most importantly, go beyond your comfort zone.

4. Play with your Settings

This all goes back to know your manual. Before you take any photo, get into the habit of checking your settings. Depending on the photo, a certain setting may need some adjustments. Take for example a portrait and a landscape photo. Clearly, both provide two completely different subject matters. But what you need to understand is the overall concept of the photo. With an incorrect setting, the photo could essentially lose its meaning, or worse, its depth!

5. Test out Different Angles and Perspectives

The world as we see it is from an eye level. But with advancements within technology and social media (such as the selfie), you should not be surprise by this. When you are out taking photos, start taking risk. Take various shots from your knees, on the ground, from various heights, or from close up. Set up different angles that manipulate the status quo to add that dramatic feature to your photos. And most importantly, know your photography rules such as the rule of thirds or lines of symmetry. Those rules and perspectives can be a game changer in how you take photos.

6. Know Your Meter

Make sure you know your camera’s metering modes and use them to your advantage. When you frame an image, see the light and then meter how you want your scene to be exposed. Knowing the meter will allow you to provide strong light photos or dark intense shots. At the end of the day, the ruling is subjective. Use the best setting that fits your message and your story.

7. Do Your Research

While the camera itself is smart, there is still much to learn about photography from your end. Remember, you are entering into a new field, a new hobby. Take a look at various tutorials online or purchase a book online or at a bookstore. If possible, I highly recommend David Busch’s Mastering Digital SLR Photography or Brian Black’s DSLR Photography for Beginners. Both provide various tips and hints of how you can utilize your camera to its fullest.

Sit and Relax

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I’ve always understood that the beauty of photography is not just the photo itself, but the message behind the photo. If you can picture it, imagine it, and feel it, then you have a good photo.

A House is Not Just a House

Jack Halfon Faces and Places (110)When we think of our homes, we think of them not just as four walls where people live in, but a place for people to grown in too. For every house, they have their own personality. They tell their own story. What story do you see here?


The Eyes of the Beholder

Jack Halfon Faces and Places (111)When we look at a portrait, various lackluster questions come to mind. Who is this person? What do they do? Where do they come from? Beyond the antiquated questions of photography, a strong portrait is not just simply meant to have you ask questions, but to answer his or her story.

Instagram, the Mother for Millennial Photographers


We have all seen the photos and the ‘heart-shaped’ like button given by the widely popular online mobile photo and video sharing application Instagram. For some, they despise this application. They believe it sets a disconnected jealousy of an intangible world in order for the millennial generation to receive some social acceptance. While I will not disprove this this opinion, as highlighted by the Australian teen Essena O’Neil, there is a huge benefit that ultimately goes down to Instagram’s motto, “Capture and Share the World’s Moments.”

As an amateur photographer, capturing the raw human emotion and natural beauty is the underlying definition of art. When we snap a shot, it is not meant simply to take what I see with my eyes. Rather it is to seize a moment and retell it through time. I can never forget the first time I pressed the shutter of my camera. While the photo itself was not my best, it was a match that ignited a flame that continues to burn today. This flame allows me to express my emotions and the emotions of those around me into an artistic format that would last a lifetime.

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Currently the process itself took some time to perfect (which is still ongoing today), I think about the angles and the story I want to tell every click I take. During the years, however, things have changed. Since the early 2000s, social media engraved its signature onto the public and gave life to unknown photographers. Though the overall process is different from the approach of a real photographer, the motto and vision is still the same. We all want to share those moments.

When I first tried Instagram, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Yes, it is still not like my original approach, but the overall concept was simplistic and astonishing. For every photographer, we go through a process of editing and printing our photos with black rooms and photo techniques. But with Instagram, the concept is different. You are not just able to take photos or videos, but also able to instantaneously share them through a variety of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or Flickr. The antiquated sense of mailing photos was gone. This was the future.

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Now beyond the innovative approach of instant sharing, Instagram has modified its application to allow millennial photographers to engage in various photo-editing techniques. This first starts off with strategic planning and the question of what photo should I take? Afterwards, users are able to manipulate the photo by changing the frame, lighting, shadowing, symmetry, cropping, filter colors, white balance and more. Through a combination of these features, a person is able to create a photo of lackluster quality and manipulate it into a form of art.

While I am still very much fond of my DSLR camera and believe this is one of the best ways to truly ignite your passion, Instagram has show to be a very viable tool within the field. Having over 300 million users, one has to question who, of the 700 million, will be the next great photographer?

Faces & Places

It is not what you know, but what you have done. Question is, what was your impact?

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Faces & Places

You don’t need to know what I do or why I am here. All you need to do is look into my eyes and listen my story.

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6 Photo Editing Tips for your Smartphone

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In the modern day age of technology, the use of high-powered professional Canon cameras is no longer the only devices that can archive scenic and inspirational photos. Today, new generations of smartphones have changed the notion of traditional photography. Their easy to carry and fully functional editing features have increased its popularity than buying overly expensive bulkier DSLR cameras. But one huge advantage that these devices have over the traditional ways is simply the idea of photo-editing and photo-sharing instantaneously. Apps such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other various social media properties have become a huge game changer in producing quality and likable photos. There indented purpose of posting to family and friends have forced companies such as Apple and Samsung to improve the quality of their cameras with fully functionally professional editing features.

Now, it is no surprise that most people underestimate the capabilities of smartphone cameras, especially to the older generation. When camera applications came to light for the phone back in the early 90s, it was simply meant to capture a photo; nothing more, nothing less. Today, photo-editing applications on our smartphones have improved dramatically in quality making it easier than ever to enhance, crop, remove, add, and filter your photos on the spot. These various tweaking within your settings such as angling, lighting, enhancing, or filtering your photos truly transforms these pictures into memories and moments of a special time and place.

Below, you will find six handy tips and guides in how to utilize your smartphone camera to the best of its abilities. By leveraging these tools, you, as well as many others, will be able to produce high quality photos just like a professional.

1. Know Your Smartphone Camera Setting

This is a simple step people do not take the time to understand. One thing you need to understand is that if you want to produce remarkable stunning photos, than you should not rely on your phone’s default auto mode. Think of the default mode as a simple idea of opening a notebook with a blank sheet of paper. It is your job to figure out what you want to capture. To do this, tap on where you want the phone to focus on to give you a sharper clearer image. In addition, various smartphones have other alternative settings. Look at the options of focusing, exposure, and white balance. These specific features can be the difference from 5 likes to 100 likes.

2. Play with the Resolution

The higher the resolution of your photo, the better the quality you will produce. When taking images with your smartphone, try and go as close as possible to the subject rather than zooming in when you take your shot. Zooming lowers the resolution, quality, and overall subject of what you are trying to take. In addition, play with the overall settings such as exposure, focus, and lighting to improve your resolution of your photo. One problem you should note is that higher resolution photos can eat up space on your phone. The best way to handle this problem is one of two ways: 1. Post then delete. As it sounds, posting your photo online and deleting it after can help with the storage issue. If, however, you want to save the photo, try saving it externally such as on your computer, the cloud, or an external drive.

3. Selfies vs. Photos

This one should be obvious, but the back camera of your smartphone generally provides higher resolution specs than the front camera. Unless you are taking selfies, it would be your best intention to utilize the back camera for higher quality photos.

4. Play with the Lighting

One of the biggest problems people have when taking photos is lack of lighting. With the right amount of lighting, your subject can look livelier, especially with a welcoming environment. Keep in mind, natural lighting is definitely more preferred. If you are taking photos indoors, try standing near a window or a door where there is an ample amount of lighting. This can create a certain effect that can highlight various characteristics and features in your subject.

5. Rule of Thirds, Leading Lines, and Framing

Composition, composition, composition! Many amateur photographers think it is a simple quick snap and edit. To take attractive welcoming photos, learn the basic composition of the Rule of Thirds, leading lines, and framing. Think of this in angles. Shooting at different angles can enhance your subject in the best of ways. In addition, it also presents different perspectives that can provide new meaning to the overall theme of the photo.

6. Photo-Editing Applications

In addition to your smartphone settings, try looking into various photo-editing applications. At times, there are things that can be controlled and manipulated simply through these smartphone applications. For example, many people use these apps to enhance their photos by filtering the lighting and setting like in Instagram or Facebook. In addition, play around with the settings. Similar to your smartphone settings, your photo-editing application settings provides various tips that can change the contrast, structure, brightness, warmth, saturation, color, filtering settings, fading, shadowing, and much more. Begin by playing around with it and seeing which features best portray the theme of your photo.