Better Family Photos Index


Updated 13-Mar-2015: adding a few missing Canon lens/camera posts, and making the titles appear better.
Updated 3/5/15: includes articles from January 2014 to  March 4, 2015.  New section on video (under Equipment).  Split up the Cameras and Lenses categories by brand.
Updated: September 12, 2011
Articles with titles but with no links indicate future articles.


- Fundamentals (Exposure, Composition, Color, etc.)
- Lighting (Ambient, Flash, Balancing Ambient and Flash, etc.)
- Post-Processing (includes post-processing techinques and workflow discussions)
- Others

- Cameras
- Lenses
- Lighting (Flash, Triggers, Modifiers, and other lighting-related equipment
- Video
- Others (Tripods, Bags, etc.)



Those Topics are Described in Detail Below.


      1. Snapshot or Photograph?
      2. Beginner's Simplified Guide to Exposure
      3. Basic Tone Placement with Simplified Zone System
      4. Raw vs. JPEG - The Definitive Guide.
      5. Manual Exposure Tip: Baseline Shot
      6. Spot Metering on Palm as Gray Card
      7. Mitchell Kanashkevich's Captivating Color
      8. Simple Backgrounds
      9. Beware of Straws and Flowers
      10. 3 Suggestions for Capturing Fleeting Moments
      11. It's Not About You
      12. Tip: If your viewfinder has no ISO
      13. 8 Tips for Indoor Party Photos.
      14. Taking photos at aquariums and exhibits
      15. Focusing Tip: Zoom In
      16. Reducing "Shutter Lag"
      17. Tip: Shutter + Aperture Priority for Nikon
      18. Tension and Climax
      19. What Not To Do As An Event Photographer



        1. Turnabout is Fair Play
        2. Using Shade as Soft Light
        3. Au Naturel
        4. Using Midday Sunlight


        1. Introduction to Basic Lighting
        2. Why Use a Flash?
        3. TTL Flash FAQ
        4. TTL Flash Tutorial (Part 1 and Part 2)
        5. TTL Flash Troubleshooting Checklist
        6. Diffusion Doesn't Soften Light!
        7. Captured by the Light by David Ziser
        8. Mitchell Kanashkevich's Seeing the Light
        9. Syl Arena's Speedliter's Handbook
        10. Rick Sammon's Light It! for iOS
        11. Base ISO vs. Sync Speed
        12. Why Sync Speed is Optimal for Flash Efficiency
        13. How Sync Speed Multiplies Flash Power
        14. Improving Flash Efficiency with an ND Filter
        15. Quality vs. Contrast: Soft Light Ain't All That
        16. TTL vs. Manual Flash: a False Dilemma
        17. Does TTL Take Ambient Into Account?
        18. How to Use Manual Flash
        19. Super Manual Flash
        20. AF Assist Light Stealth Hack


        1. Step-By-Step Example of Balancing Ambient with Bounce Flash
        2. Balancing Flash and Ambient: Easiest Scenario
        3. Balancing Flash and Ambient: Sunny Outdoors
        4. Balancing Flash and Ambient: Dim Ambient
        5. Flash Blur
        6. Effect of Shutter Speed and Aperture on Ambient and Flash Exposure
        7. Setting the Ambient Exposure with TTL: Aperture, Shutter Speed or ISO?
        8. Holiday Pictures Outdoors at Night
        9. Candlelight Photos.
        10. Birthday Cake.
        11. Balancing Flash and Ambient: Does TTL Take Ambient Into Account?

      4. FILL FLASH

        1. Flash Series Part 6 - Using Flash in Daylight
        2. Fill Flash: Summer Pool Party
        3. Easy Beach Photos


        1. The Most Efficient Setting for Bounce Flash
        2. Review of Neil van Niekerk's On-Camera Flash
        3. Testing Neil's Bounce Technique
        4. Video of Neil van Niekerk's Flash Techniques
        5. Tip: Using Hand as Flag
        6. Bouncing Flash Outdoors in Daylight
        7. Controlling Spill from Bounced Light
        8. Bulletproof Bounce Flash Settings
        9. Will It Bounce?
          1. Will it Bounce? Part 1: Pergola
          2. Will it Bounce? Part 2: Very Blue Fabric
          3. School Concert
        10. Extreme Bounce Flash
        11. 12 Alternatives to Bouncing from Ceilings and Walls
        12. Underrated Bounce Flash Technique
        13. Getting Directional Light With Popup Flash
        14. Upside Down Flash
        15. Latitude of Bounce Flash as Fill
        16. Black Foamie Thing on Video
        17. Lighting a Geomag, The Lazy Way


        1. Studying Portrait Lighting with a Mannequin Head
        2. High Key & Low Key
        3. Feathering the Light
        4. Low-Key Self-Portrait
        5. Backlight vs. Rim Light
        6. Lighting Case Studies and Examples.
          1. Family Portrait Walkthrough
          2. One Room. One Subject.  One Flash.
          3. A Quick Simple 2/3 Light Setup
          4. Evening Portraits with Flash
          5. Simple Family Portrait with rim light


        1. Nikon CLS Advanced Wireless Lighting Tips
          1. Invisible Pop-Up Flash
          2. Shortening the Preflashes
          3. Wireless Control Without Menus
        2. How to Get a Black Background Without a Backdrop
        3. Wireless High Speed Sync
        4. Portable Short Light, Rim Light or Hair Light
        5. Cheap Light Box
        6. Pumpkin Carving
        7. Selling Staid Stuff Sexily in Sizzling Strobist Style
        8. Junior Strobist in Training
        9. Layers
        10. Pumpkin Patch Day
        11. Happy St. Patrick's Day
        12. Adding Soft Light to Rim Light


        1. Water Splashes with Olympus and Yongnuo
        2. Freezing Time with Flash
        3. Taking Photos at Aquariums and Exhibits
        4. How to Avoid Reflections on Eyeglasses
        5. Large Dimly Lit Room with High Ceilings
        6. Softer Hard Light Without Modifiers
        7. Creepy Ghost Portrait
        8. Glowing Air: Volumetric Lighting
        9. Panning Action Shots - Two Approaches
        10. Stop Thinking
        11. Right-Brained Guide to Combining Guide Numbers
        12. Radial Panning Zoom Blur
        13. Portrait with Fountains and Fireworks
        14. High Key Headshot with One Flash
        15. AF Assist Without Center AF Point
        16. Smoke Photography
        17. Secret Tool for Smoke Photography
        18. Illuminating a Room
        19. Real Estate Photos: Strobist Style
        20. Real Estate Photos: HDR Style
        21. Adding Form to Backlit Photos
        22. Step-by-Step Analysis of Speedring Shot
        23. Portrait Session
        24. Inspired by UFC
        25. Toys in Distress


      1. Basic Post-Processing for Newbies
      2. Post-Processing with Picnik and Picasa
      3. Mitchell Kanashkevich's Understanding Post-processing
      4. Lightroom
        1. Best Deals for Lightroom 3
        2. Intro to Lightroom 3
        3. Moving to Lightroom
        4. Creating a JPEG Lens Correction Profile
        5. Using Lightroom to Reorganize My Folders
        6. Lightroom Workflow Tip: Raw + JPEG
        7. Merging a Mobile Catalog Reliably
        8. Fixed Drive Letter for Lightroom
        9. Checklist for Moving Lightroom
      5. Practical Workflow for Family Photographers
      6. Making the Final Cut
      7. Raw vs. JPEG - The Definitive Guide.
      8. Using Raw (vs. JPEG); Nikon's ViewNX
      9. Seeing Flash Metadata with ViewNX
      10. Photoshop Elements 9: Content-Aware Fill for the Masses?
      11. Rescuing Underexposed Images
      12. Rescuing Overexposed Images
      13. Tutorial: Sharpening Images for the Web
      14. Alternative for Softening Skin
      15. Deep Blue Skies
      16. Topaz Remask 3
      17. Choice of Web Album
      18. Reminder to Recalibrate Monitors

    4. OTHERS

      1. Quick and Easy Portrait
      2. DIY Passport Photos.
      3. Swing Into Focus
      4. Dealing With Creeps: Cheap Tripods in Portrait Orientation
      5. Tension and Climax


    1. CAMERAS

      1. GENERAL

        1. Should I buy a DSLR - the most important question
        2. Upgrade your software before your hardware
        3. Checklist for Evaluating Used Camera
        4. Second body vs. Second flash
        5. Reflections on 2015 CP+
        6. 2013: the Camera Year
        7. A Tale Of Seven Cameras, And One Subject
        8. From Canon to MFT: “The Truth Behind The Migration” by Mohammad Shafik
        9. The Truth Behind The Migration
        10. Packing A Small Do-It-All Kit For Travel

      2. CANON

        1. Canon 5D Mark II

          1. Canon 5D Mark II: First Impressions 
          2. Story & Review: Canon 5D Mark II vs Canon 60D & Canon 6D
          3. Canon 5D Mark II - AF Point Area Expansion Issue

        2. Canon 5D Mark III

          1. That's Why I Love My Canon 5D
          2. A Tribute To The 5D Mark III

        3. Canon 60D

          1. First Impressions: 60D + 35mm f/2
          2. Canon 60D vs. 550D vs. 600D
          3. Canon 60D Wireless Catchlights
          4. Comment on Canon's New EOS 60D

      3. NIKON

        1. Nikon D600 Resource Page (all D600-related posts in one page, organized by topic)
        2. Long Live the Nikon D80
        3. Nikon D70
          1. Nikon D70 Sync Speed Tests
          2. Update to Nikon D70 Sync Speed Tests
        4. Nikon D90's Successor: Nikon D7000

      4. MICRO FOUR THIRDS (Olympus, Panasonic)

        1. Olympus E-M1

          1. Making Up My Mind
          2. Say Hello to My New Friend
          3. Touch Focus for Stills and Video
          4. E-M1 tracking BMWs
          5. Fishing with E-M1 and 12-40 2.8
        2. Review: Olympus E-PL5 and VF-4
          1. Say Hello to My Newest Olympus Family Member
          2. Upgrading E-PL5 Grip
        3. A Fun E-Mx comparison
        4. Exploring Micro Four Thirds
        5. Second Opinion on Micro Four Thirds
        6. Packing A Small Do-It-All Kit For Travel

      5. SONY

        1. Sony A7 Mark II

          1. First outing with the Sony A7 II and the Zeiss 55 f/1.8
          2. Canon FL 55mm f/1.2 + Sony A7II
          3. Fast 50mm Shoot Out: MFT vs FF (or why I bought the Sony A7II and a single FE lens)

        2. Sony a6000

          1. First Impressions
          2. Recommended Menu Settings
          3. Autofocus Speed Test
          4. Sony a6000 vs. a5100: a user's perspective

      6. SAMSUNG
        1. NX500
          1. Samsung NX500 Review
          2. Testing the Samsung Auto Shot
          3. Unboxing and First Impressions
          4. NX500 Puts Samsung On the Map
      7. POINT AND SHOOT; Fixed lens cameras (arranged from newest to oldest)

        1. Panasonic LX100

          1. Can This Be A Coincidence?

        2. Olympus Stylus 1

          1. Stylus 1 Review Part 1
          2. Stylus 1 Review Part 2 (Long Term)
          3. Autofocus Speed Test
          4. Photo Essay: Space Derby
          5. Stylus 1 Firmware Update
          6. Adapter Tube and Macro Conversion Lens

        3. Fuji X100S

          1. Fuji X100S for Family Photos? A Candid Assessment
          2. GGS LCD Protector for X100S
          3. Best Lens Hood

        4. Sony RX1

          1. Review Part 1
          2. Review Part 2
          3. Intimacy (photo essay)
          4. One Evening: RX1 Photo Essay
        5. Sony RX100: Pocket Rocket

        6. Panasonic LX5

          1. Weekend with LX5

    2. LENSES

      1. GENERAL

        1. What's the point of having different lenses?
        2. Portrait on a Crop Sensor: 35mm vs. 50mm
        3. Using Zoom Lens as Compositional Aid
        4. Wide Angle Converter
        5. Getting a Large Moon in the Background
        6. Sensor Size Battles: Lenses as Equalizers

      2. CANON

        1. Canon FL 55mm f/1.2 + Sony A7II
        2. Macro Talk: Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM
        3. Legacy Lens on a Modern DSLR: Zuiko 50 f/1.8
        4. Canon EF 35mm f/2 Review
        5. The Final Chapter: Canon 40mm f/2.8 Pancake STM
        6. Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Review
        7. Quick Review: Canon 85mm f/1.8
        8. Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM Review
        9. Tamron Lens Caps (or the Mark II Canon Lens Caps) for Canon Lenses

        10. Canon Lenses Chat

          1. Canon Lenses Chat - Part 1: Standard Zoom Lenses
          2. Canon Lenses Chat - Part 2: Telephoto Zoom Lenses
          3. Canon Lenses Chat Part 3: Prime Lenses

      3. NIKON

        1. Search for Wide Angle Lens
        2. Tamron 17-50 VC
          1. First Impressions
          2. Tamron 17-50 VC Update
        3. Sigma 50-150.
          1. Sigma 50-150 is TIGHT
          2. Update on Sigma 50-150
          3. Intensity
          4. Why I love my Sigma 50-150
          5. New Sigma 50-150 OS
          6. Sigma 50-150 OS or Non-OS?
        4. Sigma 18-35 1.8 announced
          1. Sigma 18-35 1.8 Revisited
        5. Alternative Full Frame Lenses for Nikon
        6. Comment on Sigma 17-70 OS
        7. Nikon 24-120 f/4 VR


        1. Fast 50mm Shoot Out: MFT vs FF (or why I bought the Sony A7II and a single FE lens)
        2. Optimizing My Gear
        3. Fisheye Fun (Samyang/Rokinon/Bower 7.5 fisheye)
        4. Long Term Review of Olympus M.Zuiko 75 1.8
        5. Review: Panasonic Leica 25mm f/1.4 Summilux
        6. Olympus M.Zuiko 45 1.8
        7. Canon FL 55mm f/1.2 on MFT
        8. Review Part 1: Tamron SP 90mm f/2.5 Macro (on MFT)
        9. Sample Photos: Nocticron 42.5 f/1.2
        10. Are You Thinking of Getting the Olympus 14-42 Pancake?

      5. SONY

        1. Sony a6000 and a5100 lens guide
        2. Canon FL 55mm f/1.2 + Sony A7II
        3. Fast 50mm Shoot Out: MFT vs FF (or why I bought the Sony A7II and a single FE lens)
        4. Sony 35 1.8 OSS Sample Shots
        5. Sony 18-105 f4 Review
        6. Sony 16 2.8 Part 1 and Part 2 (Ultrawide and Fisheye Converters)
        7. The 200L is Back (200L adapted for Sony A7II)


      1. FLASHES

        1. Yongnuo

          1. Review: YN-560II, YN-560III and RF603
          1. YN-560 First Impressions and Surprises
          2. How to Sync the YN-560 with Nikon CLS Advanced Wireless Lighting
          3. YN-560 Drop Test
          4. YN-560 Update
          5. YN-560 Label
          6. YN-560 Zoom Repair
          7. Alas! Poor YN-560!
          8. Is the YN-560 a Headturner?
          9. YN-560 Reliability

        2. Olympus

          1. FL600R Review

        3. Canon

          1. Flash Series Part 1: Canon Speedlites Chat

        4. Nikon

          1. Old School Flashes.
          2. Nikon SB-700 Released!
          3. Search for Second Flash
          4. Second Search for Second Flash
          1. In Retrospect: Search for Second Flash
        5. Converting TTL to Manual Flash

      2. TRIGGERS

        1. Yongnuo

          1. Review: Yongnuo YN-560TX Trigger
          2. Triggering a Camera and a Flash Simultaneously with the Yongnuo RF603
        2. Radio-based wireless TTL for Sony, Nikon and Canon (Nissin)
        3. Radiopopper JrX Studio Review
        4. Meike MK-RC7 radio trigger
          1. Review
          2. Troubleshooting
          3. MK-RC7 Review Updated
        5. Flash Series Part 4 - Triggering Your Hotshoe Flash
        6. Flash Series Part 5 - Remote Adjustment Radio Trigger Options

      3. MODIFIERS

        1. Do Small Modifiers Work?

        2. Umbrellas.

          1. Handheld Umbrella - An Excellent Light Modifier
          2. Handheld Umbrella Indoors
          3. Small Umbrellas
          4. Ultimate Handheld Umbrella - Propet Umbrella Bracket
          5. Creative Light Shoot-Through Umbrella
          6. Reflective Softbrella vs. Convertible Umbrella
          7. Westcott 60-inch Convertible Umbrella
          8. Last Umbrella You'll Ever Need?

        3. Softboxes.

          1. Lumiquest Softbox III Review
          2. Largest On-Camera Softbox: Fotodiox 8x12
          3. Lastolite Ezybox 24-inch softbox
          4. CowboyStudio 24-inch softbox with grid
        4. Coco Ring Flash
        5. Flash Series Part 2 - DIY Gels
        6. Flash Series Part 3 - Rogue Grid Review
        7. Bare Bulb Superiority: Fact or Fiction?
        8. SG-3IR infrared panel
        9. K-8 Flash Accessory Kit
        10. Double Bounce Card


        1. Intro to Studio Strobes
        2. Multiple Speedlights vs. Studio Strobe.
        3. Are you ready for AlienBees?
        4. One Speedring to Rule Them All: One Set of Modifiers for Speedlights and Strobes
        5. AlienBee ABR800 RingFlash
        6. AlienBee Moon Unit
        7. White Lightning X3200
        8. Vagabond II
        9. Dance Like a Speedlight, Sting Like an Alien Bee: Intro to Quantum Qflash


        1. Cheap and Versatile Multiple Flash Bracket
        2. CowboyStudio Bowens/Calumet/Travelite Speedlight Bracket T
        3. Manfrotto Super Clamp
        4. Manfrotto Justin Clamp
        5. Linco Background Support System
        6. Savage Seamless Background Paper

    4. AUDIO & VIDEO

      1. EQUIPMENT

        1. Audio: Zoom H2n


    5. OTHERS

      1. CAMERA BAGS

        1. BlackRapid SnapR 35 Review
        1. LowePro Toploader Zoom 45 AW and 55 AW
        2. Targus Camera Bag / Slingbag and Tripod
          1. Camera Bag and Tripod
          2. Targus Camera Bag and Tripod
          3. Update: Ripped Seam!
        1. Lowepro Pro Runner 200AW 

      2. FILTERS

        1. One Filter Ring to Rule Them All
        1. Fotodiox Generic Cokin P Type Filters
        1. Circular Polarizer Samples
        1. Graduated ND Filter
        1. Easiest DIY Infrared Filter
        1. Stacking 50 UV Filters.

      3. TRIPODS

        1. Going Crazy With Tripods
        2. Opteka TS-1 Ballhead
        3. Real World Test with Opteka TS-1
        4. KS-0 Ballhead


        1. Must-Have Lens Cap for Sony and MFT Pancake Zooms
        2. LCD Protector by GGS
        3. Mennon White Balance Cap Review


        1. iPhone 6 Camera Review
        2. What are iPhone 6 "focus pixels"?
        3. My Choice of Tablet
        4. Reflections on Photography and Phones
        5. Best Phone for Photographers
        6. 360 Panorama app for iOS


        1. UDMA CF Card and Reader Speed Tests
        2. Outperformers: 5 Products that Beat My Expectations


      1. Too Good to be True?
      2. Caveat Venditor - Seller Beware
      3. Seller Rating is Not a Guarantee
      4. Like Getting Gear for Free
      5. Canon Professional Network
      6. Photoverse for iOS
      7. Tracking Sunlight for Environmental Portraits
      8. 8 Techniques to Get Good Deals on eBay


      1. Film Photography

        1. Film, Digital and Crappy Office LCDs
        2. Trying Out Film
        3. The Look of Film vs. Digital
        4. Choosing a Film Camera
        5. Comparing Digital with Film: Dynamic Range
        6. Options for a Hybrid Digital/Film Workflow
      2. Annie Leibovitz: Life Through a Lens (DVD)
      3. Comment on Mirrorless Cameras
      4. Money is Probably Not the Issue
      5. 8 Techniques to Get Good Deals on eBay
      6. Case Studies and Sample Photos.
        1. Vintage Mercedes Sewing Machine
        2. Osram Xenarc
        3. Easter Egghunt Photos
        4. Playing at Pacific Park
        5. Stella and Sophia
        6. Sophia
        7. One Afternoon with My Dad
        8. Maty and Sophia
        9. Brushing the Sky
        10. Sophia's First Smile
        11. My Little Sister
      7. Learning from Critiques
      8. Faces!
      9. Bits & Pieces, A Wide Variety Of Photos
      10. Thank You Fellow Bloggers: My Favorite Blogs
      11. How Does it Feel to Have Your Work Stolen?


  1. I laud you for the work you've done here! Fantastic!

    1. Thanks, my friend! We appreciate the feedback. If I may be so bold, I'd like to ask your help by letting others know about our little blog (for example, by posting relevant links to articles to forums and such). The more readers there are, the greater our motivation to post more frequently. :)

      Best regards,

    2. I've already Facebook, forum and twittered your blog!

    3. Awesome!!! Much appreciated. It really helps us out.

      Best regards,

  2. Wow! Excellent. Extremely helpful! Thanks.

    1. Thanks John! We appreciate your feedback.

      Best regards,

  3. Very Very very Helpful.. Thanks a lot for this wonderful blog.....

    1. Thanks! We appreciate the feedback!

      Best regards,

  4. A new and aspiring photographer...I've learned so much here going through the posts!

    1. Thanks! The good news is that there are even more helpful articles from the last few years. However, the index doesn't include those articles yet so you'll have to just go through them until we update the index.

      Best regards,


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