All posts by Jason Odell

Are you overthinking your camera settings?

Modern DSLRs offer many custom image settings, but do any of them really matter?
Modern DSLRs offer many custom image settings, but do any of them really matter?

How do I set up my in-camera settings? I get asked this question a lot. Most modern DSLR cameras offer a tremendous number of options for image quality and other settings that go beyond film, when all that mattered was setting the appropriate exposure.

Camera settings come in several categories, but here are the major ones:

  • Exposure (shutter speed, aperture, ISO)
  • White balance (color temperature)
  • Processing settings (color, contrast, sharpness)
  • Noise reduction settings
  • Other corrections (lens distortion, vignette removal, etc.)

Each of these settings offers the photographer control over the final image, so it’s easy to see how they can quickly become overwhelming. But here’s the deal. Unless you shoot JPEG or use your manufacturer’s raw conversion software (eg, Nikon Capture NX or Canon DPP), most of these settings are utterly meaningless.

For RAW shooters who use a 3rd party software tool such as Lightroom or Capture 1, the majority of these camera settings are completely ignored! Wait… what?! Continue reading Are you overthinking your camera settings?

Old Car City USA Creative Photo Workshop: March 11-12

Take a road trip and explore creative close-up and HDR photography in a rusted car paradise

Join me at Old Car City USA March 11-12 for a creative photography workshop!
Join me at Old Car City USA March 11-12 for a creative photography workshop!

I just got back from visiting Old Car City USA near Atlanta, Georgia. What an amazing place! With nearly 40 acres of vintage cars, this one-time auto parts yard is now a photography paradise for anyone looking to get creative while exploring textures, colors, and vintage icons of American automotive yesteryear.

At Old Car City, we'll explore close-up compositions of decaying vehicles.
At Old Car City, we’ll explore close-up compositions of decaying vehicles.

I’ll be leading a creative photo workshop here March 11-12, 2016. We’ll have two days to shoot at Old Car City, plus field and classroom instructional sessions where I’ll help you bring out the best in your photographs; both during and after the shoot. I’ve also arranged for discounted lodging right down the road so we won’t have to make the hour drive from Atlanta each day.

This location is often described as a “bucket list” spot for anyone who likes old cars. I think it’s perfect for photographers of all levels, especially because the sheer vastness of the site really requires you to think about subject and composition while exploring details, textures, and colors in the huge collection of decaying vehicles.

Space is limited to 15 photographers; RSVP deadline February 15th

Sign Up Here via Meetup.com 

Sonoma Coast Photo Safari: May 15-20, 2016

Capture stunning sunsets along California's rugged Sonoma Coast May 15-20, 2016
Capture stunning sunsets along California’s rugged Sonoma Coast May 15-20, 2016

Join me in beautiful Bodega Bay, California for a 5-day photo safari along the Sonoma coast. We will start our safari exploring the coast and communities near Bodega Bay, and then we’ll head north to spend two days exploring the northern Sonoma parks, including Salt Point and Fort Ross. Continue reading Sonoma Coast Photo Safari: May 15-20, 2016

Denver HDR Workshop & Photo Shoot

Join me in Denver for a private photo shoot and HDR workshop!
Join me in Denver for a private photo shoot and HDR workshop!

Join me February 6th, 2016 for special tripod access to photograph the amazing vehicle collection at the Forney Museum of Transportation, followed by a hands-on HDR image processing workshop where we will process our images together.

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Photograph in a private group with special tripod access.

The Forney Museum of Transportation has a wonderful collection of 600 historical transportation artifacts, including antique cars, motorcycles, and the famous Union Pacific “Big Boy” steam locomotive #4005. There is even a car once owned by Amelia Earhart on display and a huge collection of classic Indian motorcycles.

In this workshop, we’ll have exclusive tripod access before the museum opens to the public. Normally, tripods are not permitted in the museum. After the shooting session, we will download and process HDR images and I will teach you the best practices for HDR photography and post-processing.

RSVP Deadline Jan 31st

Showcase Your Best Photos with a Lightroom Smart Collection

Hope you all had a great new year, and welcome to 2016!

I use Smart Collections in Adobe Lightroom to create a dynamically updated virtual folder of my favorite shots from the past year, which I can then triage down to my best ones. The trick is to use Attribute tags in Lightroom (Flags, Stars, and Labels) and then set up a Smart Collection. Here’s how I do it:

Master Lightroom with Jason’s Comprehensive Guides