How to Use the Canon Camera Connect App

Cameras with built-in Wi-Fi connectivity are all the rage today, but not necessarily the most intuitive feature to unlock. Luckily, Canon seems to have listened to 6D owners, and increased the ease of use of their Wi-Fi platform by switching up the free mobile phone app that comes with the 6D. Previous versions of the app where called EOS Remote and Canon CameraWindow, but earlier this year, a new improved app called Canon Camera Connect, became the main app endorsed by Canon.

This is a visual tutorial on how the new app works. Please note that the tutorial is written assuming you already know how to enable Wi-Fi shooting on your particular device.

Canon Wi-Fi App

Step 1: Check for compatibility and download the app

Currently, Canon Camera Connect is a free app available for download on Android and iOS devices. The app is compatible with a limited range of Canon digital cameras, including select PowerShot point and shoot cameras, the EOS M2, and the EOS 70D and 6D. You can check full compatibility specs here. This tutorial was created using the Canon 6D camera, and a Moto X Android phone.

Step 2: Enable the Wi-Fi function on your camera

This step will likely vary depending on your model of camera. For the Canon 6D, this is a somewhat complicated process that merits its own tutorial, but the methodology can be summarized as such: you are effectively turning your Canon 6D into a Wi-Fi hotspot, that your phone must connect to as a means of communicating with your camera, for either remote shooting or downloading images. Thus, you must first activate the Wi-Fi hotspot on the 6D (or one of the compatible models), then connect to it via your phone’s Wi-Fi networks. Be aware that this WILL temporarily disable your phone’s functionality until you disable the connection with your camera.

Step 3: Explore the interface of the Canon Camera Connect App

After you have successfully connected your phone to your camera, the app should launch, and show you the opening screen, as seen below. The app’s menu is minimal, and pretty straightforward. You will most likely stick to the top two options, which are described in more detail below.

Canon Wi-Fi App

Images on camera

Pressing this will show you a gallery of all of the images on your connected camera, sorted by the date they were taken. To zoom in to any image, simply tap it with your finger. Three options will then appear at the bottom of the image: Save to phone, favorite (star), or trash. If you wish to share an image via email or social media, remember that you can’t do so without first disconnecting your phone from your camera. To work around this, choose the Save to camera option to store the photo on your phone, and then upload it when your phone has internet connectivity again.

Canon Wi-Fi App

Canon Wi-Fi App

Remote shooting

Selecting this option enables live view on your connected camera, and lets you control most of the settings from your phone. Controllable settings include: changing the shutter speed, aperture, ISO, exposure compensation, drive mode, focus mode, and of course the activating the shutter button to take a photo. All the controls can be adjusted and activated using touch screen control. There are a few shortcomings to the remote control settings as listed below, but off the bat the app provides quite a few options for remote shooting.

Canon Wi-Fi App

Canon Wi-Fi App

Camera settings

The third and final main menu option in Canon Camera Connect app is probably the most useless: it allows you to set the date, time, and time zone of your camera. This is a feature you probably won’t use often unless you take your camera traveling a lot.

Canon Wi-Fi App

What the app does

Shoots in JPG or RAW

The app is very quick and responsive, even when shooting in large RAW files. Also, it easily resizes RAW files to JPGs when you save images to your phone.

Will read JPG files taken from any camera

If you have JPG files taken from any other devices, the Canon Camera Connect will likely be able to read, and transfer them to your phone or tablet. I’ve done this using photos shot from an Olympus Tough TG-2 point and shoot, Fujifilm x100s mirrorless camera, and Canon 5D Mark III, so I would assume it would also hold true for other camera models.

What the app does not do

These are shortcomings, specific to using the app with the Canon 6D; some of these issues may not be points of contention when using the app with other compatible camera models.

Adjust to portrait mode while remote shooting

If the app does allow this, the user interface needs to be adjusted to make this feature more obvious. As is probably obvious from some demo shots above, I haven’t figured out how to enable it.

Remote shoot video

Whenever the Wi-Fi function on your Canon 6D is enabled, you cannot simultaneously activate video recording, so unfortunately remote video shooting cannot be achieved.

Time lapse

While you can set your camera to shoot in continuous or self timer mode with the app, there is not the option to shoot time lapses. This is a feature that Canon will hopefully implement in future iterations of the app.

Hopefully this overview will help you see if this app is useful for you. If you have one of the compatible cameras listed, give it a try and let me know what you think. Do you have any other uses for remote apps I haven’t thought of or mentioned?

The post How to Use the Canon Camera Connect App by Suzi Pratt appeared first on Digital Photography School.

Tips for Capturing the Holiday Festivities at Home so You Can Enjoy Them Too

If you are a busy parent, you likely rely on your smart phone or pocket camera to capture the events of your daily life, especially at holiday times. But sometimes you want a little bit more than just the usual snaps, without the hassle of your bulky DSLR.

Photo4b details

There are some days when you often wish you had the time and ability to take meaningful photos of your family and capture special, magical times. Not the phone snaps that mostly end up as blurry images, but the ones that evoke emotion and feeling, and make new memories. There may be times when you wish you had a handful of quality photos as opposed to a hundred unrecognizable snaps on your phone or pocket camera.

This article has nothing to do with awesome DSLRs, it is about using the camera that you have with you to document fleeting moments of your family life. But it’s different from just snapping away without a little artistic vision. Instead, it’s about about seeing differently – with a creative eye, and most importantly, having fun doing so.

Note: Of course if you wish these tips can also be applied using your regular DSLR. It’s about whatever works for you so that you can still have fun participating in the activity with your family

Remember preparation is key, even if a lot of it is mental preparation and you only devote a few minutes to it. It gets you thinking and creative juices flowing.

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Christmas is just around the corner so let’s start get started creatively capturing Christmas at home in 10 images using the humble point and shoot pocket camera.

Part one: Capture a mini Christmas story at home in five photographs

Think of a simple theme (decorating a Christmas tree, making a Christmas card or décor, decorating a cake, etc.).
Choose a subject – a person, little or large. Find a location or corner in your own home and de-clutter the area. Choose a spot with ample light, or a light source such as next to a big window, lamps lit up, tree lights, or better yet just outside the house.

Select the macro or close-up scene mode. Turn your camera flash OFF as direct flash flattens the image and removes contrast making your photograph looking very two-dimensional. You want a play of light and shadow going on in your image to make it more interesting. Set the scene up as a fun activity with your family.

Top tip: When taking the photo, tuck both arms in, stay steady or lean on to something if that helps, and hold your breath as you press the shutter (some say press the shutter as you exhale but holding my breath works better for me).

Get ready to take photos. Wait for your moments. Take your time. Don’t snap loads of photos, rather try looking at the scene with an artistic eye. Remember you are only after 5 photos that tell a mini-story.

Photo 1: Get close and cosy

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Choose a Christmas decoration in your home. Get really close to it and shoot at an angle so you need to tilt your camera. Shooting very close or with a wide aperture can help achieve nice blur (bokeh) in the background. In macro mode, shooting a scene that has several focal planes helps in achieving some bokeh.

Photo 2: Blur it all

Include beautiful blur in the background, or use blur as the subject of your photo. Make sure your subject is at some distance, and in front of the light source. Press the shutter while your camera is still focusing. This way you get intentional blur even while using the automatic mode.

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Photo 3: Capture it

Choose a very simple activity, for example, ask your child to put a decoration on the tree. Tilt your camera, and fill the frame focusing in on the action. Avoid empty spaces in the background. You will have a more dynamic photo if you go close and fill the frame.

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Photo 4: Mirror it

Make sure there is ample available light, then photograph a reflection instead of the subject. Try to use a mirror, or any reflective object like a bauble, to frame your subject.

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Photo 5: Look straight down

Ask your subject to lie down under the tree and play with the baubles. Crack some jokes or tickle tummy and toes to get some genuine expressions. Make sure that the light from the window is illuminating your subject’s face so there is light in their eyes.

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Part two: Capture a Christmas activity and document the process

Set the scene, the photos below show a Christmas decorating activity. Get everything ready. Buy a Christmas cake if you haven’t had the time to bake one.

Choose the look (outfits and colour scheme), as you want some sort of coordination so that there is a focus. For example, if the cake is colourful, you may want to put plainer aprons or outfits on your kids, so that there is contrast and focus, and vice versa. Limit your colour scheme to three or four colors, so there is some sort of harmony and cohesion. Try not to go too matching though.

Make it a fun activity, but explain to the children that there is a process to follow to ensure a successful outcome, therefore they must allow time for each process. In your head, plan to document this process. Give them a sequence of stages so they look forward to the next step.

Set your camera to portrait or macro. The automatic settings for these in-camera include a wide aperture so lots of light enters the lens, and a slower shutter speed which allows in more ambient light. The danger here is blur, but you can use that creatively too. To counteract blur, try to be very still, and hold your breath as you press the shutter. You can also steady yourself against a table or wall.

Get ready to document.

Photo 1: Set the context

Photo1 context

In this case, it’s the bare, undecorated cake. One of the ways you can shoot editorially is to take the photo from a bird’s eye view. To make it interesting, rather than just photographing the cake on its own, get the kids to wave their hands on top of it for some energy and action. The blurry action creates an effective contrast to the still cake.

Photo 2: Introduce the characters

Take a photo of the kids kitted out in their aprons or outfits you planned for earlier, remember to try and capture expressions. You can introduce the kids by taking a more traditional front view image, or employing some creative cropping for a more interesting take.

Photo2 characters

Photo 3: Direct the spotlight on some details

Details are so important in telling a story, enhancing memory, and evoking emotions. Choose special, or key items in the process to focus on, and photograph them close-up. Avoid too many empty spaces in the background. A full frame engages the viewer more in this case.

Photo3 details

Photo3a details

Photo 4: Document some action

Movement and blur add so much dynamic and energy to a photograph. They strengthen a story and allows for fun moments too.

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Photo 5: Add fun

Talking about fun, allow some silliness in the process, such as painting their faces with a bit of flour, writing their names on flour, waving decorations around while singing Christmas tunes, etc. Make it an experience, not just a secret photoshoot!

Photo5 fun

So there you have it, 10 creative photos capturing some Christmas joy in your home.

Do you have any tips for photographing the Christmas spirit in your own home, or images to share? Share them in the comments below.

The post Tips for Capturing the Holiday Festivities at Home so You Can Enjoy Them Too by Lily Sawyer appeared first on Digital Photography School.

Using Smart Objects to Add Text With a Reflection in Photoshop

Photoshop is a massive program, with many ways to do things. To help you learn Photoshop it’s great to just pick one thing, one new tip, and try it out.

In this video from Phlearn Aaron Nace will show you how to add text with a reflection to an image, but with a neat little twist that allows you to edit the text any time and have it update your finished image automatically using Smart Objects. Have a look:

He even goes over the steps as a summary at the end of the video.

This is a fun project to try on a rainy day – give it a go.

If you want more Photoshop tutorials check out these:

The post Using Smart Objects to Add Text With a Reflection in Photoshop by Darlene Hildebrandt appeared first on Digital Photography School.

7 Quick Tips on How to Use Visual Balance to Make Better Photographs

Balance is one of the characteristics of good composition. It is the way elements of an image are arranged to create a feeling of stability. If you imagine that your image is a set of scales, all elements of your composition should be balanced to make a photograph feel stable.

balance 1 eva polak

There are many ways to create balanced images. The easiest way to achieve it is by using symmetry, as it guarantees left to right, or top to bottom balance. The results look formal, organized, and orderly.

If you would like to create a balanced composition that feels more casual, free, and energetic, then use asymmetry.
To understand this concept, let’s go back to our analogy of a set of scales. If you have several small items on one side, they can be easily balanced by one large object on the other side. Visual balance works in a very similar way, but it can be affected not only by the size of objects, but also by their value, colour, texture, quantity, orientation and isolation.

Different colours, shapes and sizes create different degrees of visual interest. So, to achieve asymmetrical balance you need to arrange elements of all different visual weights, when composing your image, in such a way that each side is still balanced out.

balance 2 eva polak

There are seven basic factors to consider when you compose your images with visual balance in mind. Let’s have a close look at how you can use these different factors affecting visual weight and gain some advantage.

1 – Colour

1 Colou by Eva Polak

Colour has many properties that can affect an object’s visual weight relative to others in the photograph, such as saturation, brightness, darkness, and hue. Warm colours advance into the foreground and tend to weigh more than cool colours, which recede into the background. Red attracts attention better than any other colour, and thus has the highest visual weight as opposed to yellow, which has the least visual weight. Also bright colours attract more attention than subdued colours.

2 – Size

2 Size by Eva Polak

Large elements appear heavier than small ones. Size is an evident visual weight factor because, in the physical world, an object that’s bigger than another will naturally be heavier, and will take up more physical space. Large elements command more attention. We naturally see them first, or spend more time looking at them anyway.

3 – Value



Value is a powerful tool for balancing images. Dark elements feel heavier than light items. The higher the value-contrast (between object and background), the heavier will be the weight of the object.

4 – Texture



Texture adds visual weight to items in photographs. Texture is just more interesting and our eyes are drawn to it. Smooth areas will feel lighter than those with a lot of heavy texture.

5 – Isolation

Objects isolated in a space appear heavier than those surrounded by other elements. Look at the image below with a brown circle on it. Your eyes go directly to the brown circle first because there’s nothing else to see.



6 – Quantity

A few small objects can balance out a single large object. Repetition of objects can be used here as well. In the example below, the three small berries are balancing out the large berry.



7 – Orientation

Vertical objects appear heavier than horizontal objects. A diagonal orientation carries more visual weight than a horizontal or vertical one. Lines can be very powerful in your composition. Pay close attention to them.



Remember, you don’t have to balance colour with colour, or light with dark – you can mix and match your visual weights. For example, a counterweight to a large, bright area might be a small red object. Experiment with different kinds of balance and play around with visual weight. See what works best for your images and the story you want to tell.

As you go out exploring with your camera on your next photo shoot, keep balance in mind and the seven factors of visual weight. Look closely and try to determine which elements are commanding the most visual weight when you compose your photographs, and see how they affect balance in your images.

If you have any comments or questions please post them below. And we’d love to see your visually balanced images.

The post 7 Quick Tips on How to Use Visual Balance to Make Better Photographs by Eva Polak appeared first on Digital Photography School.

Take your Composition & Lighting Skills to the Next Level with this 70% Off Deal

It’s time for day 6 of our 12 Deals of Christmas and this one is from our good friends at Photography Concentrate who have two fantastic eBooks for you to choose from (and a great offer when you pick them both up).

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The post Take your Composition & Lighting Skills to the Next Level with this 70% Off Deal by Darren Rowse appeared first on Digital Photography School.