The photography world is vibrant and alive right now with many artists and visionaries active in creating and sharing great images online. Toad Hollow Photography has been busy searching all over the internet, looking for links to some of the best tutorials, special features and great photography to share here with everyone. We hope you enjoy checking out these amazing posts and pictures as much as the Toad did himself in bringing this list to you.
Photo by Adam Bautz
The complete SEO guide for photographers: 50 tips to maximize your Google rankings & get found online – this is, without a doubt, the most comprehensive list of tips and tricks I’ve seen for optimizing your online presence for SEO. Each of the points discussed is covered in good detail, but not so technical that the key points are lost. Almost everyone will benefit from reading the list and applying at least some of the techniques to website seeding.
10 Different Ways to Use the Same Softbox – controlling light is a key way to manage the creation of a strong image. This video tutorial is just over 20 minutes in length and takes you through the application of a single softbox in 10 different ways with 10 different professional high-quality results.
Photoshop Video Tutorial #4: Healing Brushes from The Beginners Basics Series – this great 15 minute video tutorial takes you through the basics of using the healing brushes in Photoshop, a very powerful and easy to use feature once you understand the basics. The video presentation uses screen captures of a picture in process to perfectly illustrate the key issues being presented.
Using a 10-Stop Neutral Density Filter for Daytime Long Exposure Photos – this short video presentation discusses the application of a 10-Stop neutral density filter as used during the day to shoot landscapes. All key aspects of this style of photography are covered in this brief piece, giving you enough background information to get out there and try these techniques in your own practice.
Video Tutorial: Quick and Easy Cinematic Color Grading in Photoshop – a quick and easy to understand 5 minute video tutorial that takes you through the methods and procedures used to create a strong cinematic color grade for your images. This is a very contemporary look, one utilized in many modern video productions.
Gear Review: The Nitz Strap – Jim Denham reviews and writes about a terrific new accessory for the avid photographer, a wrist-strap that stands on it’s own. Securing your camera in a way that leaves you feeling confident is paramount for those who are mobile with their photography gear, and in this review Jim discusses a custom designed solution invented by a fellow photographer for photographers.
Photo by Thomas Leuthard
Ice Castles ~ Stratton, Vermont – A.D. Wheeler delivers another of his unique special features in this post, this time taking us to a magical place full of carefully and meticulously crafted ice castles. Each display is handmade and many are lit from behind and within, casting colors and shadows amongst the ice formations that add to the overall feel and mood of the location.
The Magic of Tilt-Shift Photography With a Leica – tilt-shift lenses can be applied many different ways in the creation of images, but the most notable has to be how it can be applied to architecture. This great article covers the principles in how to utilize a tilt-shift lens on a Leica body, and it includes some absolutely incredible sample photographs of very dramatic interiors and exteriors.
Austin vs Dallas – Jim Nix shares a terrific photo expose that focuses on the differences in the cities of Austin and Dallas, both in the state of Texas. Each city has it’s own unique flair and personality, and this extensive collection of images and thoughts from Jim are a fabulous way to experience both from the comfort of your chair.
A Stone's Throw Away – the Old Stone Butter Church on Vancouver Island is my muse, and I return often during different times of the year under different lighting circumstances to capture it’s haunting beauty. This shot, captured by Thomas Dawson, brings a fresh take on the scene as Thomas visited early one morning this winter to capture it under cover of a vibrantly colored sky as the sun begins to rise.
Yet Another Seattle Skyline Image – Scott Wood captures and delivers a wonderful photograph of the Seattle city skyline as night begins to fall. The architecture of the city is punctuated by the world famous Space Needle in the composition, and the snow-peaked mountains in the distance add a lovely finishing touch to this unique capture of a frequently photographed city.
Iconic Barn – as Len Saltiel notes in his post, this barn is widely considered to be the most photographed barn in the world. And for good reason, too. Len’s composition uses a tree to help frame the scene, adding a touch of context, and focusing the viewer onto the gently lit face of this wonderful piece of heritage architecture.
50 Years since the axe fell – this incredible black-and-white photograph comes to us from Graham Fox who delivers a stunning image of a historic steam train. We find incredible details to explore in this shot, creating a wonderful portrait of an important piece of history that creates a period-correct and nostalgic feel for the viewer.
Home town – a layered composition that portrays a strong sense of depth and scale is presented here by Tiger Seo. The morning light gently drapes the landscape, highlighting the thin wisps of fog and the wonderful layers of landscape that create a beautiful and distinctive Korean scene.
Photo by pedrik
Frozen Sunrise – Steven Perlmutter captures a delightful morning shot, featuring incredibly vibrant colors of the morning sky setting off the surroundings. The perfect finishing touch with this piece is the wooden bridge that creates a terrific leading line, eventually falling off into a great vanishing point for added drama.
A Short Eared Owl in flight – dramatic contrast highlights the character and spirit of this terrific bird as it flies. Austin Thomas delivers a spectacular shot in this piece, showcasing the natural beauty of this winged creature as it roams the sky.
Golden Gate – Michael Criswell delivers a unique take on an often photographed feature, the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco. Michael’s application of black-and-white for processing this shot translates into a perfectly blended image that naturally highlights the raw drama of the structure against the backdrop of this beautiful location.
Man of War Bay Dorset – Barry Turner captures a wonderful photograph that features the swooping arms of landscape that form a natural bay, and with it natural leading lines to guide you through the image. The perfect finishing touch is included in the composition in the form of a gorgeous sunset that bathes the scene in wonderful colors.
Epic Sunset – beautiful and stunning evening colors greet the viewer in this wonderful shot by Paul Ruji. Paul’s shot features a batch of vibrant purple flowers in the foreground, leading the viewer through the shot and out to where the world-famous Golden Gate Bridge sits under an incredible sky as the last rays of daylight bask over the scene.
“Shooting Infrared with Zeiss Lenses” – the infrared spectrum reveals details and features normally lost, and in many cases the results are astonishing. This wonderful image by Joe Farace is a terrific example of this, featuring a bucolic scene with a large tree as the primary subject, with a character wood fence encircling it to add the perfect touch.
Frosty – a panorama piece captured and shared here by Timothy Poulton features the dramatic character of a world-famous church on the shores of a lake in New Zealand. The incredible details and textures of the stone frame of the church works in wonderful harmony with the epic natural beauty that surrounds it, bringing it all together in one mesmerizing scene.
Always a good idea… – life on the beach is always one the beckons us to sit a spell and contemplate life. In this post by Sherry Galey, we enjoy a wonderful shot of a hammock beach-side under a beautiful blue sky, accompanied by a piece of poetry that speaks to the importance of pondering serious decisions before making them.
Dubai Marina Blue Hour – another spectacular shot featuring the sprawling city of Dubai at night far below, captured and shared here by Adrien Clement. The light trails from bustling traffic works in harmony with the great details in the dramatic architecture that makes this a world-famous location.
“Adrift” in the Fog – life on the west coast of Canada is famous for being damp and foggy, and in this post Laurie MacBride shares a series of wonderful photographs that depict the very best of our landscapes in this condition. Rugged coastlines create leading lines that vanish into the fog, peppered with features and details of the raw landscape that make this such a special place.
Watercolor – one of the most amazing places on earth is found at Lake Bled in Slovenia. Photographer Tramont_ana captures a stunning shot of the monastery on the island at the center of the lake surrounded by the soft colors of the rising sun as a soft mist gently drapes the entire scene.
Owl Meet You Before Winter Is All Gone – a lovely image of a Short-eared Owl in flight greets our screens in this post from Jay Taylor. The warm tones of late days light accent the composition, backlighting one edge of the wing of the bird for an added layer of interest to the photo.
Eltz Castle – castles make terrific subjects for photography, exhibiting the best of architectural styling from the period as well as the great character that makes them so naturally dramatic. This shot by Uwe Müller features all those key elements, making for a shot that is simply a must-see in this week’s list.
A Typical Day in Havana – Edith Levy shares a terrific black-and-white architectural study focusing on the dramatic features of a building in Havana, Cuba. Edith’s application of black-and-white to the processing of this image does a terrific job of highlighting the great textures and details in the structure.
Reincarnation VIII – lines, geometry and shadows converge in this piece to deliver a stunning image full of wonder for those who love to find the abstract within dramatic architecture. Roland Shainidze’s amazing image is processed as a monochromatic piece to highlight the raw drama of the scene, which finds further interest in the dynamic sky the looms above to add a finishing touch.
Spring is on the Way – a long and cold winter for many paves the way for forward looking thoughts of pending springtime. This post by Jimi Jones takes us to Maryland in the summer where bright and warm imagery helps to run the cold doldrums of winter away in anticipation of better weather.
What We Recommend to Improve Your Photography Fast
It's possible to get some pretty large improvements in your photography skills very fast be learning some fundamentals. Consider this the 80:20 rule of photography where 80% of the improvements will come from 20% of the learnable skills. Those fundamentals include camera craft, composition, understanding light and mastering post-production. Here are the premium guides we recommend.