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Staff Posted: Mar 17, 2015 0 comments

This month’s assignment was “bokeh,” which is the beautiful background blur you get when you capture an image with a shallow depth of field. Bokeh, which is derived from the Japanese word for “blur,” is typically achieved by using a lens with a wide aperture (f/2.8 or faster is ideal) and a nine-bladed diaphragm, to create an almost painterly background with highlights broken into soft glowing forms. Just as critical to creating a great picture utilizing bokeh is the sharp subject matter in the foreground, which draws the viewer’s eye in like a laser beam. Here are our 10 favorite examples of bokeh from Shutterbug readers.

Staff Posted: Nov 29, 2016 0 comments

Today’s camera gear is faster than ever and much of it is tailor-made for capturing any sort of motion or movement. So then why do so many photographers struggle to shoot compelling images of action? Part of it has to do with timing and part of it has to do with composition. Your camera and lens can only do so much and there’s more to a great action shot than simply capturing the moment and making sure it’s in focus. For this assignment, we were looking for images of anything from basketball to dance to wildlife, just as long as there was some kind of action in the scene. For the winning images, we were looking for great composition, effective use of backgrounds and scenery, and powerful emotion: human, animal, or otherwise. Here are our six favorites.

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Staff Posted: Aug 16, 2016 0 comments

Shutterbug readers were ready for their close-ups with this month’s Picture This! assignment.

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Staff Posted: Sep 13, 2016 0 comments

While it’s true that black-and-white photography presents a classic look that will likely never go out of style, if you want to create an immediate impression with an image, some stunning color certainly doesn’t hurt. This Dazzling Color assignment proved just that. We wanted Shutterbug readers to show us images of a variety of subjects as long as they included a stunning use of color. Photos could include everything from landscapes to still lifes to portraits or action shots.

Staff Posted: Feb 05, 2016 0 comments

We love outdoor photography but we like it even better when there’s some element of the “extreme” involved. Yes, extreme is tough to define but for this assignment we were looking for images of dizzying mountaintops shot from harrowing angles, exploding volcanoes, dangling ice climbers, kayakers barreling through rapids, or stunning displays of weather. We didn’t get all of those things but we did get some amazing images from Shutterbug readers. Check out our favorite 10 outdoor images that made us see the awesomeness and danger of nature in the extreme.

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Staff Posted: Jul 24, 2015 0 comments

Shutterbug readers got super artsy with this month’s Fine Art Photography assignment and the results were stunning. While it may be hard to precisely describe what fine art photography is, the 10 images we chose this month all struck us as being gallery-worthy. These shots display a firm vision, a great eye, a keen knowledge of forms, and, overall, an appreciation of the abstract beauty of the natural and man-made world.

Staff Posted: Jun 07, 2016 0 comments

We’re a little surprised—but maybe we shouldn’t be—that Fine Art Photography was one of our most popular and most competitive assignments yet. Maybe it’s because fine art photography, as a category, can encompass so many different subjects, including landscapes, cityscapes, macros, wide angles, long exposures, abstracts, portraits, nudes, semi-nudes, black and whites, color photos, surreal photos, hyperreal photos, nature photos, and on and on and on.

Staff Posted: Apr 12, 2016 0 comments

If you think about all the people snapping shots of their favorite meals with their smartphones these days, you might say food photography is one of the more popular imaging genres right now. But while many of these phoned-in food photos end up on Instagram and other social networks, most of the images are downright unappetizing.

Staff Posted: Oct 16, 2015 0 comments

Beautiful lighting, in many ways, is what photography is all about. And as our readers proved with this month’s submissions, if you want great lighting, all you need to do is look outside your window. While it’s not entirely surprising, our 10 favorite photos from this month’s assignment are all bathed in natural light. The results are simply radiant.

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Staff Posted: Dec 16, 2016 1 comments

For this assignment, we wanted you to go all dark and moody and share images that recalled classic “film noir” movies. For those readers who skipped Cinema Appreciation class, film noir is a French term used to describe stylish Hollywood crime dramas from the 1940s and ’50s. But we weren’t looking for crime scenes (necessarily). Here’s what we asked you to shoot for: gritty, high-contrast images, preferably in black and white, captured in low-light conditions. Of course, color photos were eligible, too, but we wanted them shadowy and mysterious: more Edward Hopper than Walt Disney.

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