Hi, I'm Julie Diebolt Price, a professional photographer, and teacher. Let me take the mystery out of digital photography! I help novice and amateur photographers learn what all the buttons and dials do on the camera. Ask me anything!

Julie Diebolt Price
Jul 22, 2018

I've been helping fledgling photographers for more than 30 years learning how to use their digital cameras. I translate the acronyms and owner's manuals to something you can understand.

I'm passionate about photography and teaching. Visit my website www.jdpphotography.com and FB page to learn more about what I bring to the table.

See my video here.

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What can be done to prevent red eyes in pictures?
Jul 29, 11:19AM EDT0

Red-eye is caused from the flash striking the back of the retina in the eyes and reflecting the blood, thus the "red".

The built-in flash is mounted directly over the barrel and when our subject looks into the lens, the flash can't help but project into the eyes.

Using an external flash that mounts in the hot shoe can help the problem, but not eliminate it all together. Depending on the height from which the photographer is capturing images, red eye can also result.

Bouncing the flash off the ceiling (or wall) creates softer lighting around your subject. You can use a small white card to bounce a little light into the eyes creating a needed catch light (just a little spark in the eyes) to make it look natural and fill the shadows.

Removing the flash unit from the camera body using a bracket attached to the camera body, almost certainly will eliminate red-eye. The flash is raised well above eye level so there is no light moving in a straight line into the eyes.

Better yet, setting up off-camera flash on a small light stand at a 45-degree angle from the photographer creates better light to help shape your subject. Then, you never have to worry about red-eye again!

Jul 29, 1:48PM EDT0
How do you choose the right ISO for each situation?
Jul 29, 11:05AM EDT0

The best ISO to use is the lowest setting that allows you to capture the desired image. But, how do you know what that is?

You could use a hand-held light meter and test the light before you set your camera. In the olden days, that's just how photographers did it. As a matter of fact, I use a hand-held light meter in my studio when I am setting up studio strobe lights...as well as cool lights for my product photography assignments.

It is much easier today to do meter readings. Every camera has a built-in meter. So, all you have to do is point the camera at your subject, depress the shutter half way, and see what the camera recommends. You can then adjust the ISO to achieve the aperture and shutter speed settings that you desire.

You must first understand how ISO affects your images. Low ISOs are sharp, crisp, and not pixelated. High ISOs are noisy, "grainy", and pixelated.

If you have lots of light, you can use a low ISO. If it is very dark and you want to hand-hold your camera (no tripod) and don't want to use flash, a high ISO is required.

You, as the artist, get to decide what look you want to achieve and what you want to communicate. That begins with ISO.

With practice, you will be able to "read" the light with just your eyes, and get a starting ISO. The camera manufacturers typically make it very easy to change your ISO with control buttons on the outside of the camera. That's because you will be changing your ISO frequently.

Jul 29, 2:03PM EDT0
What camera settings are used to take pictures of the sun?
Jul 29, 10:38AM EDT0

It is VERY important that you use a solar filter over your lens before photographing the sun. You MUST protect your eyes.

ISO 400, Manual Mode, 1/125, F5.6

Bracket your shots as many times as your camera allows (e.g., 7 shots for each exposure)

Shooting in RAW mode will allow you up to three more stops in post-processing.

Jul 29, 2:27PM EDT0
What kind of camera build is needed to take pictures of the moon?
Jul 29, 10:18AM EDT0

If you mean what equipment do you need to take pictures of the moon, here are my suggestions for two different scenarios.

Just the moon in the sky - 400mm lens or larger. Anything smaller will not allow the moon to fill the frame and you will lose detail if you crop in.

Moon and landscape - wide angle. If you want to create an interesting image that includes landscape and the moon in relationship to it, you will need a very wide angle lens to place the landscape in the foreground. Then, timing is key to capturing the moon in the best place in your landscape.

It is important that you use a tripod (and shutter release method) in both scenarios because you will be able to see camera shake if you don't and it will ruin your photograph.

Jul 29, 2:10PM EDT0
What is your experience with wildlife photography?
Jul 28, 10:01PM EDT0

My experience with wildlife photography is truly minimal.

The typical long lens that I use is 200mm - not nearly long enough to capture wildlife.  I have captured hummingbirds close up, and bears in Alaska with this lens. But, no doubt, this is too short of a lens to be used for wildlife.

I have rented a 600mm lens. I quickly learned that it's not only the lens attached to the camera body but all the add-ons that are required to make a good image. For example, you need a tripod with a "stable" head - not a ball head. A gimble mount is in order, too. The added equipment needs (cost) precluded me from pursuing wildlife photography.

In addition, I've just learned to camp in the last year or two and capture night photography. To obtain the needed equipment for wildlife photography is cost prohibitive and I am not that interested in experiencing the rigors of wildlife photography - cold, patience, more cold, and much more patience.

The takeaway from this? Not everyone is suited for wildlife photography.

Jul 28, 10:15PM EDT0
Besides photoshop, what other similar and more affordable editing software do you recommend for photography students?
Jul 28, 12:49PM EDT0

Because Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom are the industry standard, those are the programs that I use and recommend. For beginners, Photoshop Elements is an excellent choice. Lightroom also works with Elements.

Jul 28, 3:05PM EDT0
How long does it take to your students to start producing technically consistent images?
Jul 27, 5:24PM EDT0

After my students have completed the 12-hour "classroom" program that I designed, as well as several field sessions with the associated critiques, there begins to be some consistency. 

It is exciting to me to see improvement and a "style" developing. At that point, I recommend other instructors to further develop those skills.

Jul 27, 6:29PM EDT0
Is there a limit to the image quality that lens and image acquisition technology can reach?
Jul 27, 3:11PM EDT0

If you are asking if there is a limit to image quality between the lens and camera, the answer is yes. Even with the best, highest quality lenses and best, highest quality sensors, all images can be improved with post processing.

Jul 27, 5:10PM EDT0
What are the most important parts of a camera?
Jul 27, 10:51AM EDT0

The most important parts of a camera are the hands holding the tool to create images envisioned in the photographer/artist's mind.

Jul 27, 4:40PM EDT0
What are your personal tricks to take pictures of moving objects in which the motion is translated beautifully to the static image?
Jul 27, 9:11AM EDT0

There are three techniques that I employ to record motion in a still image.

1.  Panning - always a challenge but so pleasing when done well. That's where you open the shutter and follow the subject's movement and create a blur in the background.

2. Slow shutter speed - allows motion through the image to be recorded. Think of misty, silky waterfalls or people walking through your image and appear ghostly.

3. Fast shutter speed -stops motion at the decisive fractional moment. Think of a baseball thrown at high speed and it is suspended in midair. 

Knowing the Tripod of Photography (ISO, aperture, shutter speed) and how they work to control light is the personal best "trick" I have. With that, I know how to achieve the desired results.

Jul 27, 4:38PM EDT0
Are phone cameras going to replace dedicated cameras in the professional field?
Jul 27, 3:12AM EDT0

Never is a long time...

In previous answers, I've addressed this issue, but not so specifically, so let me say a few more words about this topic.

I use a phone camera (I've been a professional for many years) that replaced my point-and-shoot camera. Today, I create saleable images (stock photography sales) with this handy little tool. However, some images from my phone camera were rejected by an agency because the quality was not good enough for their standards. This proves that the phone camera will not replace a camera that delivers better quality imagery in the near future.

For my corporate and small business clients and their usage, only images captured with my DSLR will do.

I enjoy having phone, DSLR, and mirrorless cameras in my kit. I will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. 

Jul 27, 4:29PM EDT0
Have you got a favorite camera that is somewhat sacral to you?
Jul 26, 4:44PM EDT0

Unlike Henri Cartier-Bresson whose sacral camera was a Leica, the closest I can come to that is my marriage to Canon bodies and lenses.

Jul 26, 5:16PM EDT0
What kind of macro lenses are best suited for taking close-ups of insects?
Jul 26, 5:05AM EDT0

A macro lens is designed to focus from infinity to 1:1 magnification which means the size of the image in real life is the same size as it’s copied on the sensor. An example is 1:2 ratio means the subject will be 1/2 the size of the subject versus 5:1 means the subject will be 5 times the size in the image.

Macro lenses allow for closer focusing than a "normal" lens.

Small insects are best captured with a 100 mm lens. Larger insects with a 160 mm lens.

There are very few recommended macro lens. The Canon 100 mm f2.8L Macro, Nikon 60 mm f2.8G Macro, and the Sony 90 mm f2.8G OSS Macro.

Jul 26, 12:28PM EDT0
In terms of image quality, what is the best phone camera that you have used?
Jul 25, 3:13AM EDT0

The only phone camera I have used is the Apple iPhone. Currently, I am using the iPhone 8+.

As with DSLR cameras, once you make a decision to "marry" the manufacturer, it becomes cost prohibitive to use more than one brand. When you make the purchase of a good camera body, then you start investing in good lenses. You invest in the system.

I did get rid of my old point-and-shoot when the iPhone 4S was introduced. The convenience outweighed the quality at that time. Now, I create saleable images with the iPhone regularly. There are so many apps available to enhance images easily.

I do know of a few people who have changed from iPhone to another brand. Not for the quality of images, however. They did it from the operations standpoint.

Jul 25, 11:18AM EDT0
What experience do you have with natural life photography?
Jul 24, 2:09PM EDT0

If you mean nature photography, I consider landscapes, macro, animals, and outdoor photos to be classified as "nature".

If you mean natural light photography, it includes all those listed above but also includes environmental portraits of people and animals, too.

When someone starts out with photography, they are learning "natural light". That is making an exposure with available light and no added light sources.

There are some photographers that eschew all mechanical methods of adding light to pictures and simply use natural, ambient light with some reflectors to bounce the natural light where they want it to go.

I've been a photographer for more than 30 years and, therefore, have extensive experience with both natural and strobe/flash lighting.

Jul 24, 3:08PM EDT0
What role does photography play in your life? Do you think of it as of your hobby, passion, or work?
Jul 24, 3:20AM EDT0

Photography IS my life. I see the world in "snapshots", always composing pictures when I see new things and visit new places. For example, when I am at a restaurant, I compose still life images in my mind, eliminating distracting backgrounds (blurring or cropping).  I want to tell stories with photos. Hence, my career direction currently is travel photography and writing.

Photography started out as a hobby which developed into work. After I earned my BSBA I learned that I love going to school. Photography was a natural subject for me to study. At the time, I thought that one class would be enough. Ha! There is always something more to learn about photography.

When people ask what I do for a living I always respond that I am a photographer first and foremost. I also love running a business and help small businesses start and run theirs. So, work is photography.

I've tried to set photography aside and concentrate on other life priorities. But, I can't help myself. I ALWAYS return to photography and feed my passion for creating and sharing photographic images. I even tried video to a small extent. While it is entertaining, I don't excel at it and prefer to stay with making still imagery.

In my off time, I generally do something related to photography. So, the craft is my hobby, passion, and work!

Jul 24, 10:25AM EDT0
Do you think education and professional gear are important to become a good photographer?
Jul 24, 3:15AM EDT0

Education is essential to becoming a good photographer.  Even if you study the images of other photographers whom you admire, that is education.

We learn in many different ways - some in the classroom (tell me how to do it), some with hands-on (show me how to do it), some OJT (on the job training), and others just poke around and see what works.

Professional gear helps to make great images. For example, high-quality lenses will have the greatest impact on your photos. However, it's not the gear that makes the photography. It's the photographer and their vision and creativity using the tools at hand.

I have seen amateur photographers buy upgraded cameras (more than once) and they still are not happy with the results. They don't realize that it's not the camera that makes the pictures. It's the person pushing the shutter button. That's where education plays such an important role. 

When one learns the "rules" of photography and composition, then one can break them deliberately. That is true art.

Jul 24, 10:10AM EDT0
Did you develop your photography style by yourself through trial and error or was there someone or something who inspired you and helped you shape your style?
Jul 23, 6:30PM EDT0

I developed my style through education, some assisting, and trial and error. I wished I would have spent more time assisting other professional photographers who I admired. I can be reserved (shy) about asking for help. Also, I was rebuffed by some pros because they were afraid I might take their clients from them.

I have continued my education with workshops, conferences, conventions, and some one-on-ones for answers to specific questions because they feed inspiration, creativity, and new ideas to try.

The key is to always continue learning. You will get stagnant if you don't.

Jul 23, 7:26PM EDT0
How can a photographer capture moving subject before it is in the frame?
Jul 22, 6:00PM EDT0

I think what you mean is how do you anticipate when the subject will be in the frame (there is no reason to take a picture before the subject is in the frame).

The photographer must anticipate the movement through the frame. Keep both eyes open and when the subject is nearing the frame, press the shutter just before it enters. 

Panning is a technique to follow the subject when it is in the frame. The background becomes blurred and the subject is sharp (that's the goal, anyway).

Another technique is to use the burst mode. While still anticipating with both eyes open, press and hold the shutter to capture as many frames as possible when the subject enters the frame.

Now, if you want to show action/motion, you will want a slow shutter speed to blur the subject as it is moving through the frame.

These techniques are always a challenge, but lots of fun.

Jul 22, 10:56PM EDT0
How do you educate others to take better pictures?
Jul 22, 1:00PM EDT0

I start with the basics of camera functions, give assignments to get creativity flowing, teach the Tripod of Photography (ISO, aperture, shutter speed - how they all work together), then how to get more wow! with your images. We wrap up with the critique process - learn (inna positive way) how to improve your photos. 

I teach in the classroom, in person and online tutoring. I am very methodical in my teaching process, but not everyone learns that way. I like to adapt my style to the student’s needs. 

Jul 22, 1:22PM EDT0
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