Posts by Nicholas Donner

Nicholas Donner
I am a Washington, DC based photographer and artist. After studying graphic design in California (when I wasn't surfing or mountain biking) and starting a successful freelance business, I turned my attention to photography. Over the last 5 years I've built up a portfolio that includes portraits of star athletes and musicians, several magazine covers, destination and US weddings, landscapes, and architectural photos. I still love learning new things about light and composition and trying out new technology and software. And I love sharing my knowledge with people who are also interested in photography.

Photography Blog

Macro Photography: Getting Great Photos Up Close

Macro PhotographySometimes it can be fun to take photos of an object from very close to focus in on details that you might not see from a normal viewing distance. If you try this with a normal lens, like a 50mm, you’ll find that at as you get closer than 18 inches or so your camera will not be able to focus. This is where a specialized piece of equipment called the macro lens comes in handy. Macro photography is used on all sorts of things from plants and animals, to product details and textures, to natural phenomena. Read more »

Photography Blog

Photography Friday: Controlling Depth of Field

Controlling Depth of FieldDepth of Field is a very important piece of the photography puzzle when you are trying to make compelling images. DOF is basically the distances at which your subject is in focus, relative to the rest of the photo. A wide DOF means that a large range of the photo is in focus and a narrow DOF means that a narrow range is in focus. These distances (and ranges) change based on a few things: sensor size, aperture, the focal length of your lens, and the distance from the subject. Read more »

Photography Blog

Photographing Fireworks: Great Shots This July 4th!

Photographing FireworksIndependence Day is coming up in the United States and that has me thinking about taking photos of fireworks. For many years I tried getting cool shots of fireworks with terrible results, until I thought through what I was trying to catch. Be prepared to capture your local fireworks show by following some of these tips. Read more »

Photography Blog

What is Portrait Photography: Lighting People

Lighting for Portrait PhotographyOh, boy! This is a big topic. There are entire Web sites devoted to portrait lighting, so we’ll do this in the most basic of ways, assuming you have already read my post on Natural Light Portraits, and are just getting started in using artificial light, and have a very basic and inexpensive one or two speedlight setup. The truth is, you don’t need much lighting equipment to create awesomely lit portraits—just a little creativity and a little technical know how. Here’s a quick step-by-step for lighting people. Read more »

Photography Blog

What is Portrait Photography: Posing People

Posing for Portrait PhotographyKnowing how to pose people in a way that looks natural is half the battle when you are trying to get awesome portraits. You are probably not surprised to hear that many people lock up when a camera is pointed at them. All of a sudden they get stiff and aren’t quite sure where to look, or where to put their hands. Your job as a portrait photographer is to gently guide them into looking natural. There is no magic pose or formula that will instantly turn your average photo subjects into Kate Upton, but the posing tips ahead will help you make people look their best in front of the camera. Read more »

Photography Blog

Photography Friday: Building Rapport with Subjects

Portraiture PhotographyPhotography is equal parts art and science and then, on top of that, making an interesting photo means knowing something about the subject you are photographing or the audience you want to see your photo. But beyond knowing your subject, there are a few other things that help with building rapport. Discover them here! Read more »

Photography Blog

What is Portraiture Photography: Mastering Group Portraits

Group PortraitsEvery photographer will, at some point, have to take a photograph of a group of people. Even if you specialize in landscapes or product photography it’s inevitable: you’ll be at a party or a family reunion and, as the only one there that won’t botch the photo, you’ll be asked to take a shot of the group. With some practice I think my skill at producing a frame-worthy group portrait has become better, and these are the things I have learned along the way. Read more »

Photography Blog

What is Portraiture Photography: Creative Portraits

Creative PortraitsIn order to keep things interesting for myself and to keep clients from feeling like they are being put through a standard photography formula, I like to get at least one shot that I’ve never done before and pushes me to think a little harder. To me, a creative portrait must have some deeper meaning behind it. Usually, it’s personal to the subject, ironic to the viewer, or identifies something about the subject that you may not have otherwise have known. Read more »

Photography Blog

What is Portraiture Photography: Headshots

Portraiture PhotographyJust about everyone needs a headshot. Authors, actors, speakers, sports figures, teachers, business people, and elected officials are all among the individuals who need headshots. If you plan to travel out of the country you need a headshot for your passport. If you are a photographer this is a great type of photography to practice, since everyone can use a good headshot! Read more »