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Lots of timely holiday information in this edition of our newsletter.

Let's start with "bokeh."

See the round lights and the blurry background behind this cat? That blur and the round shapes are called "bokeh." Bokeh is created and affected by several factors, with the main factor being a shallow depth of field. How do you get the shallow depth of field for your pet or people portraits this holiday season? Wider apertures!

Read on in this edition for lessons on aperture, pet and portrait tips, and more!

Aperture is the opening of the lens. Aperture can be used for creative effect. In portraits, wider apertures are used for background blur. This blur helps separate the subject from the background. In landscapes, narrower apertures are used so the background is not blurry and more of everything is in focus.

Another factor that helps create that blur for portraits is distance. You want the subject separated from the background by a good amount of distance. The more distance, the more it helps create the blur. Notice how the background behind the cat is off in the distance and not right behind it?

Here are two resources to help you learn more about aperture and using wide apertures (smaller f/#) for better bokeh.

Then keep scrolling, we have even more for you!

Free Aperture Hands-On Lesson
Article on Depth of Field
Follow us on Twitter or Facebook (click links above). Over the next month we will be sharing tips and tricks to improve your photography, sales and coupons for deals during the holiday shopping season, and some fun photo activities to try at home.
Our Holiday Gift Guide - 50 Fabulous Photography Gifts
Something for Every Budget!

All kinds of photography related gifts, gadgets, and equipment to get you "geared up" for the holidays! Put these items on your wish list or buy them for a photographer you know. You can even buy these items for yourself ;)
Free Cheat Sheet!

The handy cheat sheet below can be printed and kept in your camera bag. Or download the image and keep it ready on your phone. This is one card from our Best Settings for Beginners Cheat Sheets card set that we offer on our Etsy shop.

Order the whole set here:
And if that one cheat sheet isn't enough, we've got another one for you!

Use this one to determine where to crop people when taking portraits.

As a general rule don't crop people (or animals) at a joint. If it is a "bend" in the body, then it is not a natural spot to crop. Cropping between joints is better and looks more natural.

Pet Portrait Tips

One more helpful tidbit for your portrait taking is our Pet Portrait Tips sheet.

This full page document covers everything from best exposure to getting accurate focus! Check it out! Click the link below to download.
We have added a few new Blog Posts:

Program Mode - A Beginning Photographer's First Step to Getting Your Camera Off Auto:
Aperture, Shutter Speed & ISO - Understanding the Exposure Triangle:

Even though this is an older post, it might be relevant as you shop for the holidays.
How To Save Money on Camera Gear:

Check out our "Free & Extras" page of our website for lessons and cheat sheets. We add new content frequently:
For an update on Industry News including new cameras, lenses, and other information from camera manufacturers visit our News Page.

The current edition covers lots of updates on new cameras, lenses and more that might be beneficial to know as you do your holiday shopping! Get "geared up" for the festivities!
We have several new items and gadgets in our Etsy store:

You can preview the Creativity "Fun Subjects" Cards we have for sale in the image below.
The 10 card set is $6 and it's an instant download!!

Each card provides a color prompt/task, background on the topic and its history, suggested subjects, creative ways to complete the task, an inspiration gallery, hashtags for sharing, and pro tips with addition information via QR code links! These are not your ordinary cheat sheets or "topic/task" cards. You will learn tips and tricks, composition basics, and camera settings while improving your photography at the same time!

The Ultimate Photography Cheat Sheet

It is like 12 cheat sheets in one! Covers everything a beginner needs to know. Digital download is sheet front and back and covers exposure, metering, depth of field, basic steps to get off auto, and much much more.

The Exposure Triangle Tool

Want to learn how to make adjustments to exposure, but unsure which way to adjust or how far? This tool can help train you to understand the "stops" of exposure and how to adjust them for your subject and composition. Start learning full manual mode with this handy gadget!

It's time to invest in your photography skills!

Consider joining our Composition Basics Text Message class.
Get one lesson/text per day with hands-on activities and lesson questions.
Get feedback!
Ask questions!

And the best part of all it is only $5 for the entire month!
Sample/preview below.

That wraps up this edition of our newsletter. If you have ideas for content or cheat sheets you'd like to have, suggestions for lessons or videos, or just general comments or encouragement, we'd love to hear from you!

If you find our content worthwhile and would like to reward us for being "good" this holiday season, please consider "Buying Us A Coffee." Your contribution goes toward helping us make more content for our audience! Thanks for your support!
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