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Breaking the Rules to Get the Most Out of Natural Light

Tips & Tricks

In photojournalism school, students are taught to underexpose when out in the field in order to achieve the richest colors and most intense contrast possible in a photograph. The trick, conventional wisdom explains, is to bring the exposure back up in post processing. I shot this way for years and it always treated me well. I’m still a big fan of the ‘underexpose method’ when shooting landscapes and documentary stories. The technique brings out the drama of what you’re trying to capture; old, wrinkly faces look like they belong to lost souls with millions of years of stories to tell, a canyon or mountain scape appears to be straight out of a dream with rainbow-like colors and dark, cloud-filled skies seem to hover over every crevice of the earth. Depth and drama are what this technique creates  — perfect for telling stories with a ‘wow’ effect. (more…)

Prime Lens Basics and Why You Should Ditch Zoom Lens Photography

Gear Talk

Prime lenses are a not-so-secret weapon favored for their fast apertures, crisp detail, and creamy bokeh.  They differ from the more commercially popular zoom lenses because of their ability to better maximize available light and separate foreground from background with aesthetically pleasing crispness.  They also possess the power to be a catalyst for creativity since they force the shooter to be more physically involved in their compositions.

50mm f/1.8 used in two different ways.

What is a Prime Lens?   (more…)

Freelance Filmmaker Uses BL Gear for Documentary Project

Gear Talk

Jason Aron is an avid freelance filmmaker and customer of BorrowLenses. In 2013 he raised over $50,000 for the production of a documentary film project entitled Back in Time. The film that is scheduled for release in the fall of 2015 examines the Back to the Future franchise and its cultural relevance. Aron made a 3-week journey from Santa Monica, California to Maui, Hawaii capturing the scenes for his movie with gear he rented from BL. Check out what Jason had to say about the BL gear he used while filming Back in Time.

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A Photographer’s Guide to Modern Urbexing Jamie MacDonald

BL News Tips & Tricks

Jamie MacDonald is an Olympus Trailblazer who shoots nature and wildlife in the Mid-Michigan area exclusively with the Olympus Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds camera systems. He is also a contributor for Small Camera Big Picture. As a nature and landscape photographer he enjoys exploring new areas that have often been abandoned. Learn the tools of the trade to modern “urbexing” in the article written below by Jamie MacDonald. He has also been featured on our blog discussing a new light painting tool to create a successful light painted photo

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Behind The Shot: Rocking Up Close

Behind The Shot

Behind The Shot is a recurring feature where we dig deeper and find the backstories that accompany amazing photos. Do you have an awesome photo or know of one that we might want to feature? Send us an email!

Photographer/Filmer/Editor: Curt Dennis

Gear: Canon T2iSigma 17-70mm 2.8

Settings: 17mm, 1/200th second @f/2.8, ISO 400

K2 (1)

Backstory: I’ve been photographing concerts for the past 9 or so months. I usually do local photography, but managed to obtain a pass for a festival in Florida, Fort Rock. It was a really great time, and this is a picture of Korn bassist Fieldy. I hadn’t seen Korn live or read anything about them, so I didn’t expect him to be so photogenic. The entire set, Fieldy in particularly, really played with the crowd. This shot was just either perfect placement by me, or Fieldy being really cool. He got right in front of me and started playing just like this. When I was going back through my photos, I didn’t realize I caught such a great shot where everything lined up: he’s in focus, exposed, and there’s some slight flare going on which I love. Definitely a fun band to photograph, and one of my favorite shots I’ve ever taken.

Check out more of Curt’s work on his website & Facebook page.

If you like this photo be sure to share it! Do you have an awesome photo or know of one that we might want to feature? Send us an email!

8 Helpful Tips for Firework Photography

Tips & Tricks

Each year millions of people pack up their cars and head to a local destination to watch the sky light up and crackle. Firework shows are not only a desired destination for families but also for photographers looking to capture that perfect firework photo to add to their portfolio. This year we want to help you capture a special photograph by offering you a couple tricks that will prepare you for the beautiful lights in the sky on the Fourth of July.

 8 Helpful Tips for Firework Photography

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Bird Photography Advice from Nature Photographer David Bernstein

Gear Talk Photographers Tips & Tricks

As the weather gets warmer and daylight hours are lengthened, those who have been stuck inside for the long winter months are ready to begin exploring the great outdoors once again with camera in tow.  I caught up with local wildlife photographer David Bernstein to answer a few questions regarding his experiences. Bernstein started out using a humble Rebel series camera and over time grew into being what he calls a “photo-naturalist”, taking pictures of landscapes and creatures large and small. He especially loves photographing birds and has graciously shared a few tips for those of us looking to brush up on our skills or begin a new photographic hobby. (more…)

The Importance of Being Archived

Tips & Tricks

Our friends at SmugMug really care about photography and the importance of taking pictures in everyday life. This is part 2 of a 3 part series on improving your online life as a photographer, whether that is by improving your website or backing up your files. Here are some tips on how to avoid a personal, digital meltdown and keep your memories safe against fire, flood, hard drive crashes, and other unexpected blips in the matrix.


SmugMug’s 9 Must-Haves for a Successful Photography Website
reprinted with permission 

We see so many websites each and every day and love hearing about how people are using their online websites and how having an online presence affects so much of what they do. Not long ago we shared 6 top mistakes people make when they put together a website but this time we’re addressing a topic that most people probably don’t want to even consider: backing up your photo and video files. A hard demon to face but we’ll show you why it pays to prepare for a potential doomsday disaster. (more…)

Nikon D4s: Thoughts, Test Shots, and Quick Review

Gear Talk

Court Leve is a sports, wedding, portrait, and pet photographer. His work has been published in National Geographic Adventure, Powder, Ski, Skiing, Freeskier, Parade Magazine, ForbesLife Mountain Time, Spirit Magazine, Southwest Art, and more. He is a regular contributor to the BL Blog.


Nikon D4s: Thoughts, Test Shots, and Quick Review
by Court Leve

Like most new iterations of Nikon’s pro bodies, the D4s is yet another leap forward in imaging. In my case, coming from a D3s to a D4s ,the improvements are quite noticeable. If you are a current D4 user, the differences will be more subtle but still noteworthy especially for those shooting video.  (more…)

BorrowLenses Takes a Ride with the Freefly MōVI M5

Gear Talk

One of our video gurus, Javi, drew the long straw to be the first one to play with our new Freefly MōVI M5. Here’s his quick attempt at stirring up envy: (more…)

Two Lighting Styles in 1 Shot with the Pocket Wizard MultiMax

Tips & Tricks

Alexis Cuarezma is a San Francisco-based photographer who specializes in both on-location and in-studio portraiture. An alumnus of the Eddie Adams Workshop, Cuarezma has done assignments for the LA Times, the New York Times, HBO, and a number of international publications. He recently did a shoot with Shayne Skov for Sports Illustrated at Stanford University, where he had precious little time to essentially do two shoots at once. (more…)

Memorial Day Weekend Photography/Videography Shooting Ideas

Tips & Tricks

If you’re lucky enough to have a long weekend coming up, seize the opportunity to get some valuable shooting time in. If you’re stuck indoors there are still a few things you can accomplish to make this short break a productive one. Here’s 10 great activities for new and seasoned photographers and videographers alike. (more…)

The Bokeh Effect: How Sensor Size Affects Background Blur

Gear Talk

Of all the things that photographers argue about in our secret monthly meetings, sensor size and its impact on our work is perhaps one of the most heated topics that can come up. From the true “bigger is better” snobs (“Sensors? Bah! 8X10 film is where it’s at!”) to the ones who prize portability above all (“Micro-Four-Thirds rules!”), the debate between advocates of MFT, APS-C, and full-frame sensors often reaches religious fervor.

Contentious topics related to sensor size include resolution, high-ISO performance, and dynamic range, but the quality and characteristic of bokeh, or out-of-focus backgrounds, is perhaps the most fiercely contentious. While there’s no contest that the bigger sensors can clearly produce much smoother and, well, blurier (not a word, I know), it’s also an unfair statement that the smaller sensors like the ones in Olympus and Panasonic Micro-Four-Thirds cameras can’t produce good bokeh. (more…)

Calibrating your Monitor: Using the ColorMunki

Tips & Tricks

So often I hear of photographers, both pros and hobbyists , whose pictures live only on hard drives and online. If this is you, it’s time to get printing! As photographers we spend countless hours in front of our computers editing our work to create dynamic imagery that reflects us as artists. Every level adjustment and brush stroke is an artistic choice made to emphasize our vision. For this reason, it is vital to work with a color calibrated system which produces accurate color and contrast during printing and instills confidence when transferring images off-site. Here is an abbreviated lesson on how to painlessly calibrate your monitor and printer in under an hour.

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Join Us On a Paramount Studio Backlot for Cine Gear: Win a GoPro HERO3+

BL News

We’ll be soaking up the sun from our booth on the Paramount Studio Backlot for Cine Gear June 6th and 7th. Please visit us because we’ll have two brand new GoPro HERO3+ cameras burning a hole in our bag to give away! Stop by booth #34 in the New York Street Outdoor Exhibits portion of the expo and get your badge scanned for a chance to win 1 of 2 GoPro HERO3+ cameras. (more…)