Photographic Tips


Recently Pete Dobré was awarded-

 “Pete Dobré Photo Tours as Best Australian Tour Operator Sydney 2014 by STA Adventure Travel Expo”

Depth of field

 Photographic Tips are so useful.When I’m out shooting and whether I’m by myself or running my photo workshops/tours, it’s always important to look at not only the different angles that one can shoot, but also to look at the depth of field.How much of the picture do I want in focus. Do I limit the depth of field so it becomes very shallow or do I have a greater depth of field in the picture. By limiting your depth of field you are highlighting just the subject. It will be sharp (providing you have focused correctly)  and your background will be blurred.Your eyes are drawn to just the subject and there are no distractions. This has many advantages to it and it’s good at times to mix this effect into your picture taking as it gives a point of showing that your  pictures don’t look the same. Having  a greater depth of field shows in more detail the surrounding scene where the foreground and background are in focus.  So which is better?

Never forget photography is very subjective, what one person thinks is a great picture , another will think, “ what’s the fuss about?” What one thinks is a great effect by using a shallow depth of field another will prefer more detail being shown in the shot. One is not more right than the other. It’s just want your personal preference is.That’s why even judging of pictures by photographic judges in my opinion is also very subjective and at times can be seen as complete nonsense by what the judges state.( that’s another story)

So when you are out shooting, don’t be scared to play around with your depth of field and give a different outlook in your pictures.

You will find that there are some subjects that it will work better with compared with others. Unless you try, you will never know. Be adventurous in your picture taking,try new things and look beyond the normal, well look beyond your own comfort zone and you’ll be surprised with what you discover.

Both set of these pictures were taken on f2.8 and f22. Camera was on a tripod. For those in the beginning of their photography, setting your camera on f2.8 with give you a shallow depth of field , that is what ever you focus on, that’s it, it will be highlighted and the background will be out of focus  and at times the foreground can be out of focus as well.Setting your camera on F22, means that you have a greater depth of field and your foreground and background will be in focus. Now it will also depend on what lens you use to what effect that you get.A zoom to telephoto lens will give you a more dramatic difference as your shot is compressed as compared to a wide angle lens.

Go and have fun  and see what you come up with. Set the camera up on a tripod and take the same landscape scene of portrait shot on f2.8 and f22 and see what you achieve. Remember, using a telephoto lens or zoom lens zoomed in will give you a more dramatic noticeable difference.:)

This picture was taken on f2.8. This gives a shallow depth of field and the result highlights your main subject.

[p]This picture was taken at f22. This not only highlights the old car but also brings the foreground and background into focus.[/P]


[P] In this series of pictures you can see the difference that the f stops make. This is an exercise that is worth you doing in order to understand how depth of field works. The camera was placed on a tripod to give consistency in the angle that was shot.

As your eyes scan from left to right, you will notice that the picture is coming more into focus. In this series of pictures the focus on the lens was never touched. I focused on the fungi at the start of this sequence and that is where it stayed. All that was changed was the apertures and these are known as f stops.

By looking at the series of pictures , you can see that f2.8 gives you a narrow depth of field. In other words, what you focus on , is only in focus and the rest of the picture is blurred.If you were to print this , this is the shot that you would get.

This is good for when you want to highlight one aspect of your picture, where you want the attention drawn straight to it. Often one will use this as well if you are taking a picture of someone and you might have a distraction in  background and through using a narrow depth of field you can eliminate the distraction.

At the far right of screen you will see that all of the picture is in focus and often landscape photographers will use f22 to ensure that the whole scene is in focus. There are times however when even taking a landscape you may not want the entire scene in focus.

As mentioned before, once you understand how the aperture works, you will have far more control over your picture taking.

I need to stress one point and for those just starting out, it may take a while to get your head around the following.

Earlier I stated that I had not changed the focus in this series of shots and that is true. All that changed was the f stop numbers as I took my picture and turned the aperture dial in order to set the next aperture. When you look through the camera at f22, you will see what you see at f2.8: it will still look like that the fungi is in focused and the background is blurred. It will still look like you are using  a limited depth of field whereas you are not.

In order to see what you are shooting, most cameras have a Depth of Field preview button and this is usually located to the side of the camera or in some cases under the lens.

What this does is that when you press this button, it will show you clearly as to what is on focus and what is not. If you press the depth of field preview button and you are shooting at f2.8, then you will see what you see in the picture above. Remember I just stated that when you take your picture on f22 as above, the picture when you look through the view finder, will look like what you see in the picture at f2.8.When you press the Depth of Field preview button as you look through the camera, the screen will go dark and you will need to allow time for your eyes to adjust and then you look past the darkness and you will actually see what you see in the picture showing f22.

As a small exercise to do, if you hold the depth of field preview button down and move thr0ugh the  f stops starting at f2.8 and making your way through to f22, you will notice the view finder gradually getting darker as you go and you’ll also notice that as you go through to f22, you will see more of the picture coming into focus.

If it is still a little unclear, join me on my depth of field workshop  to make it clearer.



[p]Refer to my blog to see the vertical shot of the same subject. Which is better, vertical or horizontal? It’s simply a personal choice, there will be times when both will work for you and when you take the same shot both vertical and horizontal, if you were in doubt,it’s usually made clear to you:)[/P]

Vertical vs Horizontal

[p]Photographic Tips are there to enhance what you take and this is another photographic Tip for you. When you are out shooting and you have your subject picked out, before you take your shot, make sure you look through the camera both horizontal and vertical to see which fits better, which composition looks better, feels right. There are times when both are fine and will give you a different feel for the shot although you have just taken the same subject.Don’t just get use to the same view point, mix it up and below is a series of shots to demonstrate this.:)[/p]

Lightning in the day

[p] Photographic Tips are far and wide and will enhance your picture taking. Lightning during the day, how do I capture this? Well you can stand there  and press when you thing you saw it coming and I have done this on many occasions. There are times when you press just at the right time and you have nailed it and there are times you miss it. In my case I missed more than I captured the image during the day. That was also back in the day where film was the go, so as you can imagine,this was an expensive exercise.[/p]

[p]To over come this today, you can buy The Lightning Trigger. This small compact and very light device is sensational. It connects to your camera and is mounted on your hot shoe on top of your camera. It comes with instructions and is very easy to use and the results are awesome when you have lightning. It’s very sensitive  and will take pictures even if the lightning in not in view of your frame. I’ll post a picture of the lightning trigger soon. They are worth several hundred dollars but so worth it as it takes the guess work out during the day.[/p]

[p]This is the link to where I bought mine. It’s a good site as it has lots of useful information that is worth knowing. Have fun shooting your lightning during the day:)[/p] IMG_9909

ND Graduated Filters

[p]ND Graduated Filters are amazing in balancing your exposures. Come with me on my day workshop and learn how to use these awesome devices and see how it will improve your photography. Below is a video taken on the workshop. For details click here [/p]


[p]Often when we are out  and about taking pictures we tend to stand in one stop, lift the camera to our eye and snap, we are done. Have you ever thought about putting some interests in your pictures? Why not vary the angle. The images below demonstrate how easy it is to add  a little more interests to your subject.[/p]

[p]The first picture is what most people would take. People come across their subject, in this case a group of lilies  in a field, snap and they walk on. The second picture shows a little more interest in the picture.By getting down on your tummy and shooting ground level  you can change the whole feel of the pictures.

[p]Now if you are at an age where getting down is hard, then if you have a camera that has a flip out screen, then place the camera on the ground, pull the screen out and you’ll be able to see what you are going to be able to take. Put your camera on self timer press the shutter and stand up and wait for the camera to take the pictures for you. Try it this week some time. Take two pictures of the same subject , one from standing level and one from the ground level and email them to me  as I would love to see what you come you with. Pete:)[/p]


IMG_6661blog [p] For this small task, you can email the pics to  I give you this email address as when I’m on the road, i can access email address a lot better than my business email address:) [/p]

Understanding Light

[p] Understanding Light  – A photographic tip is a key to better photography. When you are understanding light and how light works, the light blub is switched on and it becomes brighter.[/p]

[p]I have many people comment through email about the shot you see below and how did I take the shot. I need to say from the outset that no external flash was used, not other electronic devises were use, just my hands .[/p]

[p]Understanding Light and how it works and reflects is what photography is about.[/p]

[p]Understanding Light gives  you have the knowledge of how light works, then when you are out and about shooting you will came across things  and moments to shoot that you hadn’t planned for and yet it comes about when you increase your knowledge in how light works. When you understand light, many new doors of photography will open up for you.[/p]

[p]This shot was taken on a day workshop that I run in South Australia where I live. We were traveling to a wonderful part of South Australia called Deep creek Conservation Park.[/p]

[p]The lilies were in full bloom and as I drove the 4WD to our destination , I saw them growing in the field and decided to stop and have a look at the flowers to get the team to take some shots.[/p]

[p]All of the flowers were is full sunlight. All I did was cast a shadow over the region as much as I could  and only allowed enough light to hit the base of the stem where the flower starts.I did have light to the right of the flower as I couldn’t create enough shadow there but with the others, we teamed up and we were able to cut a lot more light out. This is the shot that I had taken, my students shots are much better and more striking than mine as we worked as a team to cut as much light as we could to create an even more dramatic effect.[/p]

[p]The light was always there  but when you shut other aspects of the light down, you allow the small shaft of light to shine and glow and the result is the small glow lighting up deep inside the flower.[/p]

[p]That glow was always there but you couldn’t see it as the whole flower was lit up by the sun.By casting a shadow over it and only allowing enough light to hit the base of the flower, then you allow the glow to stand out against a dark back ground.[/p]

[p]What made this even easier was that the sun was not high above us but at an angle to the flower which meant that the light was directional coming in low from behind us. This added to the effect and the end result is what you are looking at.[/p]

[p]The others gain even a better result than my picture here as both Haydn and myself were both blocking the light out with our hands to create the shot and only allowing a small shaft of light. [/p]

[p]The lush green hill was a delight but it was also in a  small steep section although the other phone below with us in it doesn’t show it. The steepness was enough to force you to be aware of your footing and not to slip. Well I did slip and landed on my side and the good thing was that I was able to protect the camera which I did as I landed on the rocks below, but we got the shot. !!! whoohoooo!![/p]

[p]So the next time you are out and about,  and the sun is at least of a 45 angle and or more, look to see if you can do a similar things with highlighting a flower but blocking the light out expect for a small shaft.[/p]

[p]Thank you Maureen for taking this picture and showing the process in action. If I hadn’t explained what was going on in this picture and asked you to give an explanation, you may have been scratching your head in wondering what we were doing.[/p]

[p]As I mentioned before, my students shots were far better and I’ll try and get a copy and add this section so you can even get a better understanding of the shot that was create. Until i can, this will give you an idea of what we achieved through casting a shadow over the flower and allowing the light to hit the base of the flower.[/p]

[p]I hope you enjoyed this simple but effective tip. Pete:)[/p]



Waiting For The Light

[p]When you are out in the field shooting, always look skyward and see where the sun is. We are always in a hurry to take our shots and then run. There are times when waiting 10 minutes can be all the difference of having a scene lit up evenly and it can change the feel of the picture.[/p]

[p]Looking skyward has many advantages  and if there are clouds about and you see a scene that is in half shade and sun light, then it may be wise to wait for the sun to light the entire scene up.When a scene is in half sunlight and shade there are times when it can work and other times it doesn’t work. [/p]

[p]Photography is very subjective as what one person really likes another may not think too much of it. [/p]

[p]In the example that I have given here, I prefer the sunlight lighting the whole scene and all I had to do was wait 10 minutes for the sun to pop out.[/p]

[p]As I mentioned before, there are times when a landscape is part shadow and part sunlight and can be very emotive and be such a strong image.[/p]

[p]The purpose of this photo tip is to make you aware of what is above you and if the scene in front of you would look better all lit up, then wait for the sunlight to emerge from the clouds as it can make all the difference to your shot. [/p]

[p]Just a little patience is needed. Pete:)[/p]

  IMG_9692blog IMG_9696blog


[p] When you are out there traveling, looking for patterns that can add interest to you pictures. In this picture I was taken not only by the sky about me, but by the texture and on going patterns on the dirt road.It’s always good to be able to see if you are on going patterns that keep repeating themselves as they add interest into your pictures. They can also be emotive, thought provoking and pleasing to the eye. Go look for your patterns, keep your eyes open and you’ll be surprised how often they are out there ans yet, at times we fail to see what stands before us. Enjoy the patterns.Pete:)


The Sequence Of Shots

When I’m out shooting for myself, I always try to take a series of shots that show the progression of a series of shots on a particular scene. Try this and this will add interest to the people that will view your shots. It’s also a good way to keep your audience interested and keen to see what you might be showing next.

Now to do this, make sure you use a tripod as you want to same position kept so it is easy on the eye when people are making comparisons when they look at your shots and using the tripod will also help into creating sharp pictures.

Once the tripod is set up, you then need to set your camera on continuous shooting, particularly if you are doing quick moving subjects like waves, cars, trains, people and so on.

Make sure your focus is spot on , if it is not, then you have killed your shots. The other thing to be aware of, if you have the camera on the tripod, make sure your image stabilizing switch is off.

All the best with capturing your sequence shooting.




Macro World

[p]Marco world of photography is an exciting part of photography to get into .What I love about the amount that I do and it is nothing compared to others, is that you are seeing things that you would normally just walk past and so on. Once you start to think Macro World, then you will notice things that you haven’t before.They have always been there but we have just walked past it all.[/p] [p]I think it is good for all photographers when starting out to look at Macro World as it does teach you a lot about the things that are there that you wouldn’t normally notice. If you start looking into this wonderful area, you will be teaching yourself to be even more aware of what is around you. The rewards are stunning and you are making people aware the things that lay at their feet, or up in branches, in reeds or where ever it may be, you’re making people aware of a whole new world.[/p] [p]
In order to have some success in Marco World as I call it, there are some things that you need to consider. Firstly you need to make sure that you have true dedicate marco lens for the job. A fixed Macro lens will always give you a better result than trying to use the close up function on some of the zoom lens that are out there.There is no substitute in my view for a dedicated macro lens.[/p] [p]The other thing which is the number one thing to be aware of  and it is so important , use a tripod. Don’t be lazy!!! Now there are others who don’t use a tripods and they do get very good results and in some cases outstanding results but most of us are not that good at hand holding the camera dead still.. So for me, the golden rule is  when I’m teaching people, you need a good sturdy tripod and not skinny tripod that is go ing to wobble as soon as you place the lens on it.At the end of the day, a camera on a tripod will always be sharper than a hand held image in my opinion.[/p] [p]Once you have the shot set up, I always do two things .If you camera a has mirror lock up on it, then use it and lock it up as this prevent camera shake as well and the other thing that I do all the time is to use the self timer on the camera. This is crucial as this eliminates any camera shake.[/p] [p]I use the self timer on my camera where ever I can as no matter how careful you are in pressing that shutter down, you will still over the camera, even if it is on the tripod. Remember when we take a picture we are trying to create the sharpest picture possible and in Macro world.It is so important. I do understand  and know that there are places where setting the self timer is not practical  and one must hand hold but where ever you can, use it.[/p] [p]Another important aspect to Macro World is to have no wind if possible. I say this as when you are close up on your subject, you can have the slightest breeze and when you look through the cameras view finder it looks like a blowing through the lens!!! The ideal day for marco world is a windless day. If there is wind out there and I have never used these but I have seen the results are they are very good, you can buy special soft boxes that will fit around your subject that will cut a lot f the wind out.[/p] [p]So why don’t I have one of these? Well for the same reason I don’t have a ring flash as there is only so much you can carry and for me I want to enjoy my photography as much as I can not not to be carrying a  ton of gear.[/p] [p]Having said that if my main focus in photography was Macro World, then yes I would have a ring flash and a special soft box. That’s common sense. I try to worked with as little gear as I can  the older I get and there are still items  that i need to cut out .. I still have a lot of stuff but much less than others.[/p] [p]What I do if I need a flash is use my the pop up flash on your cameras as these are awesome additions to your camera and in most cases  you can control the strength of the flash which gives wonderful reflects. Is it as stunning as the ring flash, no but for those who know me and have done my photo tours, the one thing that I always stress is that photography is about compromise and in my case, I will travel as light as I can wherever I can.[/p] [p]If Macro World was your main focus in photography then a ring flash would be a must and will give better results. I do take with me a reflector, a small one to reflect light onto my subject and this is a great help and having you camera on the tripod means that you have your hands free to do these extra things.[/p] [p]When doing Macro World I like to explore this region when its been raining. Why is this? I like the freshness and richness in colour that the rain brings and you get to explore the world of droplets of water as well.[/p] [p]When shooting things in Macro World you need to have the subject on the same plane if you can. This will give you far better results. What do I mean on the same plane? It’s be square on to your subject. The images on this butterfly with its wings spread out, I was above it, looking straight down on the butterfly with my camera.The leaf with the water droplets on it, my camera was on the same plane, looking right down on it. If you have the camera on same angle to the subject, it will be much easier to have it all in focus. So having the camera square on the subject or on the same plane will give you best results, particularly if you are just starting out in macro World.[/p] [p]Having said that, you still will get amazing and stunning results when the camera is not square on, these notes are for people just starting out and to get them on their way and I want them to come away with pleasing results with their first attempts of Macro World and as they improve, their creativity will grow as well. The Journey is endless.[/p] [p]When shooting Marco World and this is a general rule and like everything there are always exceptions to the rule. f 16 should be your starting point and going upwards in your numbers. Now having said that, you can use a shallow depth of field if you are just wishing to highlight one part of your subject, thats another topic yet again. The thing about using a shallow depth of field where you burr the background out, you will be removing naturally any distractions. [/p] [p]Most good DSLRs will have a depth of preview button and this is your best friend when doing Macro World.Don’t be lazy, research it on your camera by ready your manual as when you know how to use this simple button, it will actually show you what is in focus and what is  not. It’s a great tool that your camera has to guide you with your subject in letting you know how you are going with your subjects focus.[/p] [p]When shooting Macro World , make sure your subject has a main point of interest where you are drawn into the picture, this will give it great appeal and emotive impact.[/p] [p]When it comes to focus, I always use manual focus and I do think this will give you better results. If you are using auto, just be aware that it will hunt and may focus on the wrong part of your subject. Remember in Macro World, you are taking people to an area where they normally don’t go, you are highlighting something to them where you are taking them either semi close or right in close so you need to make sure that you are focusing on the right spot. You can shift your focus points around in your camera and if you are not confident in manually focusing your camera, make sure you are aware of how to change your focus dots so you can put the focus dots on the area where you need to focus on the right area.[/p] [p]The pictures that I have submitted are all taken on the 105mm Nikon macro lens. These are all film based, not digital, ( the butterfly is the exception, that was taken on a digital DSLR )taken on Fuji Velvia, rated at ISO 25.[/p] [p]These images are not extreme macro but they are macro and can’t be taken with out that lens. It’s a lovely and sharp lens. I want people to make a good strong start in Macro World hence the examples that I have shown are easily achievable and the results are pleasing.[/p] [p]Now in the digital world there are programs that can take you to other levels that are impressive and this will be the follow up article to this later.[/p] [p]In that world it takes longer, you spend more time on your computer. The above is simple I know but it will get you going and not having to spend time on your computer.[/p] M-Blog-01






Shallow Depth of Field

The good thing about photography is that there is so much to learn, to explore and to experiment with. In this small tips section, it’s about using a shallow depth of field to create impact in your pictures.

Usually when we take a landscape scene we want the foreground, middle and background to be sharp in focus. Now I know there are exceptions to this so I’m speaking in general terms for those wishing to understand the concept here and this is aimed at those just coming to terms with their new found love in photography.

We do this by carefully choosing the right f-stops or aperture which are usually around f16 or f 22 and this will have the entire scene in focus.

At the opposite end of the scale if we chose the lower f-stop numbers, 2.8, 4, 5.6 and at times f 8 , we can isolate the subject and this is using a shallow depth of field. This is really an exciting lesson to learn as once you have understood this, you can vary your shots.

Isolating your subject means you draw your viewer straight to your subject and there are no distracting background behind the subject.

An advantage of learning how to do shallow depth of field is as follows- Lets say you are taking a lovely shot of your mum or dad or friend and you have fences in the background that you don’t want as you find it too distracting.Through using a shallow depth of field and using the right lens, you can blur it right away in camera and your subjects don’t have poles growing out of their heads and so on.

I can hear some of you saying, ” Ah, I can do that in photoshop !” Yes you can, but I’m a firm believer to get as much right in camera so you can spend as little time sitting in front of  a screen. We are all different, but this is my outlook, spend less time on your computer and more time out in the field having fun with your camera.

Now this effect will vary a little depending on the lens that you are using  and how close the subject you are when shooting.

Generally speaking, you need to use a zoom lens or fixed telephoto lens where you can be zoomed in. The more you are zoomed in, the closer to your subject you are, the more you  will burr the background out.

You can do this to any subject, ranging from people,animals and even landscapes. I know I mentioned earlier that you  normally want all of the landscape in focus and most people when they’re taking an overview of their landscape will chose to have the entire scenes in focus .There are times when you may want to isolate something in your landscape so you draw your viewer to that point of which you wanting to highlight.

Below you will see some examples where I have used a shallow depth of field. All of the images that are in this exercise are taken with either a fixed telephoto and for those who are new to photography and you are reading this( thank you for joining me here) a fixed telephoto is a lens that cannot be zoomed in or out, whatever the lens is, e.g. 400mm, 300mm, 200mm, 100mm, that’s it: you can’t zoom in with them. The only way that you can zoom in or out would be to physically walk closer to your subject or to walk away form the subject.

What I love about using a shallow depth of field is that you chose what you want your viewer to see. You are showing them through your eyes , what you see as important in the shot.

To get the best results it will come when you understand how to you use camera manually .I run day workshops where I teach you “ getting of auto” and I have one called Understanding Depth of Fields which is what we are discussing here one on the next level.

Using your camera on auto, you can create the above effect if you put your dial on the portrait mode on your camera and providing you are zoomed in you to your subject you’ll get the same effect as what I’m referring to.When you have the dial set to this, it chooses the aperture for you and it chooses one around the f4.5, f5.6 and this will give you the desired effect.

So why bother with the manual side of things with your camera then which you can get the same result in auto?

When you know how to use your camera manually, when you understand the f-stops and depth of field and in this case, a shallow depth of field, you will be able to be far more creative  control when using your camera than on auto and in portrait mode.

Knowing the manual side of your camera will enable you to be able to fine tune to a degree of what you want in focus and what you don’t. This will put you to the next level and your creativity will increase as well.

So go out, have fun using a shallow depth of field and see what you come up with.
















Shooting into the Sun-Is it ok?

Years ago we were taught never to point the camera and take a picture if you are looking towards the suns direction. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are outstanding pictures to be taken into the  direction of the sun. These will be posted a little later.

These two pics show the basic thing you need to be aware of when shooting in the direction of the sun. Make sure you cast a shadow over the entire lens and this will take away sun flare and will give you the texture and colour that you need. If you forget to do this, then as the first pic shows, your shot will be washed out and the sun glare destroys the picture.

Always when shooting in the direction of the sun, make sure you have a shadow over your lens. This can be done with holding a cap over your lens or simply standing in the shade of a tree and so on. 🙂


Shooting into the sun with no shadow over the lens.


 The shadow has been placed over the lens giving a far better picture.