A whole new way to learn photography
I’ve spoken with thousands of people who – despite the beginner or even intermediate courses they’ve taken – are still confused about the basic elements of photography. It’s obvious that many traditional methods of teaching photography just don’t work!
I’ve developed my own style of teaching. It’s based on an artist’s natural instincts of curiosity and discovery which quickly produces dramatic results. Through my many free resources on this site and my photography tutorials, you’ll learn about photography in a whole new way. I will help you take your first few steps the path to creating your own kind of art.
Software you need
I’m constantly trying new things, but I only review stuff that I actually use. That should help keep the clutter down and keep you focused on the best stuff out there. I hope these reviews are of benefit to you in your lifelong adventure of photographic fortune and glory.
- Aurora HDR – I developed this software along with Macphun for HDR and general processing. I also have a free tutorial and a special video tutorial that’s over an hour long!
- Photomatix Review – if you’re on Windows, this is your best choice for HDR processing
- SmugMug Review – how I share my photos online… I think SmugMug is the best
- Macphun Review – fast, fun, and powerful post-processing tools for Macs
- OnOne Software Review – a robust suite of products and great tools you should know
I have many more photo software reviews of packages I’ve used and recommend.
Software & Tools
Trey’s photography tutorials showcase his unique teaching style combined with amazing videography. He will guide you slowly through the basics or you can jump straight to see his advanced techniques. The video tutorials include in the field instruction and detailed, step-by-step, post-processing workflow.
You’re invited to join us for a once-in-a-lifetime photo adventure of epic proportions! You’ll end up with great photos and stories, no matter your skill level.
There is a growing collection of helpful eBooks in our online store that cover everything from Trey’s artistic influences to his more advanced techniques.
Cameras I Recommend
Below is a list of cameras I recommend that should work for any skill level or budget. In addition, I have a more complete list of my camera equipment that covers all the gear I use for my photography.
Good Camera: Sony a5100
This Sony mirrorless camera is highly recommended if your budget is keeping you around the $500 level.
If budget is not a concern, I suggest you jump down to the “Better” or “Best” or “HARDCORE” recommendations. However, if budget is your principal concern, then no worries; this Sony is the way to go! One great thing about it is that all the lenses that you get for this camera can also be used if and when you decide down the road to upgrade to the Sony a7Rii model below.
Better Camera: Sony a6300
Starting at below $999 for the body.
The A6300 is the latest evolution of the high end Sony APS-C models. It features, amongst other great features, enhanced autofocus speed and 4K movie recording. You can read my complete Sony a6000 review, it is the model the A6300 replaces and has many of the same specs. The a6000 series has a number of advantages over the lower-priced a5000 models. It has a built-in electronic viewfinder, more focal points, and faster continuous shooting (11 fps vs 6 fps).
Best Camera: Sony a7R II
Starting at just over $3198
A full-on Sony a7R Review is here on the site that is full of a ton of sample photos. The Mark 2 is faster, 42 Megapixel (instead of 36), and, most importantly, it has in-body stabilization. AWESOME. I used this camera ll the time before getting the Hasselblad X1D below. It’s a great camera and much more affordable than the Hasselblad. I absolutely love it even though I’m not using it any more. It has all the power of the giant DSLR systems at a fraction of the price and size. Its Full-Frame goodness combined with a small mirrorless form factor gives you everything you need. Plus, the camera smarts inside are absolutely insane. Check on the review there to see even more!
HARDCORE MODE: Hasselblad X1D
Starting at the low low bargain price of around $9,000.
- Check price of the Hasselblad X1D on B&H Photo
What a beast! I don’t have a review up yet for this, as I want to use it for a few months. But I’ve used it long enough to know that I like the photo results better than the Sony A7r series of cameras. It’s medium format and mirrorless, which means it’s got a much bigger sensor than the Sony and is not that much bigger in size. 50 megapixels. Beautiful and Sleek. I have the 30mm, 45mm, and 90mm lenses and they are all outstanding! The only downsides I can see so far is it is a bit slow (like 2 frames per second) and the software is a tiny bit buggy. I think the latter will be fixed with firmware.
Here are some quick links to tutorials I have written on the site.
I have a big section of reviews here at the site as well. Below are some of the most popular.
- Photomatix Review – the software I use most for the “look” of my photos
- Topaz Adjust Review – an amazing plugin to give very nice effects
- Topaz Detail Review -another winner from Topaz
- Noiseware Review – great for reducing the “noise” in photos
- OnOne Plugin Review – a robust suite of products and great tools you should know
- Nik Review – a wide variety of post-processing filter options that are fun!
- Lucis Review – wonderful for adding sharp detail and pop
- Portraiture Review – used for making people and portraits look amazing
- Silver Efex Pro Review
- Genuine Fractals Review – you don’t know what you are missing when it comes to making photos bigger!
- Photoshop Review – a nice review of Adobe Photoshop and why you need it!
- Screenflow Review – What I use to make all those cool videos
I own a pretty good number of lenses. I will put these in the order that you should buy them if are primarily interested in landscape and secondarily interested in people/objects. Of course, there is no “correct” order, but simply a suggestion.
Note that you do not need all these lenses!
Sony a7R – First Three Lenses
- Sony FE 24-70mm f/4 (Amazon | B&H Photo) – A great mid-range lens the covers wide to mid-range zooming. See more on the Sony 24-70mm review.
- Sony FE 24-240 F/3.5-6.3 (Amazon | B&H Photo) – This lens is great. What a range! It’s not super-fast, but that’s not a problem for me.
- Sony FE 16-35 f/4 (Amazon | B&H Photo) – I’m so excited about this lens! This is the first full-frame wide angle lens that fits the eMount on the Sony a7 line of cameras.
Sony a7R – Other Goodies!
- Sony Alpha Adaptor (Amazon | B&H Photo) – So that you can attach the other Sony full-frame Alpha lenses to your Sony a7R
- Novoflex Leica Adaptor (Amazon | B&H Photo) – Fantastic for attaching any lens that uses the Leica lens mount. WARNING: Do not get the cheaper adapters. I tried them, thinking it was just a piece of metal, but it was not and many of my photos, especially at infinity, were out of focus. Check out my Leica Lens Buying Guide for more info.
- Nikon F Lens Adaptor (Amazon | B&H Photo) – To hook up your Nikon DSLR lenses
- Canon EF Adaptor (Amazon | B&H Photo) – To hook up your Canon DSLR lenses
Sony A5100 / A6300 Camera – Two Great Lenses
If you are just getting started and want recommendations on your first three lenses, here they are. Often times a camera will come with a “kit lens” that is pretty versatile and can get you a long way. The Sony a6300 comes with a 16-50mm lens that produces great pictures. But there are many lenses that are better for more specialized situations.
- Sony 55-210mm (Amazon | B&H Photo) – This lens is a little big but its versatility is perfect for mid-range stuff like landscapes, birthdays, sports, etc.
- Sony 10-18 F/4 (Amazon | B&H Photo) – A great lens that gives you maximum wide-angle flexibility for landscapes and architecture. To find out more, read my full Sony 10-18mm Lens Review. Note: This is also a great lens for the Sony A7r Mark 2, giving you the full range of 12-17mm. The edges get a bit ropy, but only hardcore camera nerds look at the edges.
Leica Lens Buying Guide
I’m really getting into using Leica lenses with the Sony a7R. You have to manually focus but you still get focus peaking and all of the other sweet features of the Sony mirrorless system. I’ve created a Leica Lens Buying Guide where I’ll chronicle what I learn and recommend.
All Lens Reviews
I only write reviews for lenses that I used and I recommend. Below is the full list.
- Sony FE 24-70mm Review – A very versatile full-frame lens with excellent quality. I keep this lens on my camera 90% of the time now.
- Sony FE 70-200mm Review – An awesome full-frame zoom lens that I used throughout my trip to Africa.
- Sony 10-18mm Lens Review – A great lens that gives you maximum wide-angle flexibility for landscapes and architecture.
- Nikon 14-24 Review – A great wide-angle lens for landscapes and architecture that I use for about 60% of my landscapes
- Nikon 16mm Fisheye Review – A fun lens that seems to work best when there is just A LOT to capture in a scene and traditional wide angle just can’t cut it.
- Nikon 28-300 Review – An incredible lens. I currently use it for most of my landscape shots, unless things get really wide. In that case, I use the 14-24 lens.
- Nikon 24-70 Review – Perfect for mid-range stuff like landscapes, birthdays, families, close-up sports, events, holiday cheer, swinger parties
- Nikon 50mm Review – Ideal for cute children, close-up objects where you like a blurry background, friends, interventions
- Nikon 70-200 Review – A great lens for things that are kinda far away, like animals or sports or that girl you are stalking
- Nikon 85mm Review – Incredible for people shots. Just. Incredible.
- Nikon 200-400 Review – A super-zoom lens, perfect for wildlife and other shots from a distance.
- Nikon 18-200 Review – A great all-around lens for wide-angle and zoom. Just getting started? This is what you need!
Want to try out a lens? See my Lens Rental review of BorrowLenses.com – Netflix for lenses!
- Newsletter Software – Information on the best one I have found at the AWeber review
- Dropbox Review -This is what I use to send large files to people, share files across computers, and do backup of important files.
- Backblaze Review – My solution for ensuring all my files and photos are backed up onto the Internet in case of a big fire or theft.
- HDR Book – A book by yours truly on HDR Photography!
I only review and recommend software and hardware that I actually use. Because I am viewed as a trusted expert in their software, I end up sending the manufacturers of these applications massive traffic. Often, some of these companies will also be financial sponsors. Whether or not they are sponsors, I only use the best of breed and I recommend them accordingly.