Malinda Hartong, Photojournalist/Instructor, Greater Cincinnati Ohio area + Travel 513-245-4100

Moving subjects – switch to CONTINUOUS focus mode – constantly adjusts & tracks subject as you 1/2 press shutter button.

Fix Focus On Your Digital SLR Nikon Camera

Factory settings for can be confusing and very frustrating when it comes to focus on a Nikon Digital SLR Camera, and explaining what all 3 buttons do together can get a little complicated but here goes. Hopefully afterward you’ll be able to change them to suit your subject and get more successful shots. It just takes some practice…


Fix Focus On Your Digital SLR Canon Camera

Factory settings can be confusing and very frustrating when it comes to focusing your Canon DSLR, and explaining what all 3 buttons do together can get a little complicated but here goes. Hopefully afterward you’ll be able to change them to suit your subject and get more successful shots. It just takes practice…

Cincinnati Magazine Creative List

I’m so excited to be featured by Cincinnati Magazine in their post on the Top 5 Places to Get Creative in Cincinnati.
I feel so blessed to share my passion for photography with all of you! Mission accomplished with all the great feedback after the latest DSLR Beyond Auto Workshop at Clifton Cultural Arts Center yesterday, and a fabulous 1-1 lesson after that with “new camera parents”. They went from absolute beginners to pretty confidently taking great photos of each other in 2 hours. It doesn’t get better than that! I can’t wait for the next lessons and classes. Spring will be arriving soon – Who’s excited?!

Upcoming Photography Classes

Private Camera Lessons – indoors or outdoors, your location or ours.
Digital SLR Quick & Easy – Loveland – Sat March 22
Digital SLR Beyond Auto Mode – Clifton – April 5-19 – Saturday Mornings
Editing Photos with iPad – Evendale – Mon April 28, 7-9pm

Painting photos with ipad app

Painting photos with ipad app

retouching and painting photos with ipad

photo before painting with ipad


clifton-mapI’m excited to announce new photo workshops for 2014! I’m adding a few workshops at Clifton Cultural Arts Center & Grailville in Loveland. Here’s what’s coming up for early 2014:

Digital SLR Beyond Auto Mode

Our Winter sessions of this workshop are 3 Saturday mornings from 10am – 12:30pm for just $125. We include time to practice before the end of class, trying the settings we’ve discussed during that class.

January 11-25 – Evendale Cultural Arts Center

February 8-22 – Clifton Cultural Arts Center (see map) Register here for Clifton’s February Session, $125
Register Now for Clifton workshop

Photographing Children

January 8-22, 2014 – Clifton Cultural Arts Center, 4-5pm. Join me for this 1st session at a special introductory price of just $59. This workshop is geared to parents trying to make better images of their kiddos, whether using a Point & Shoot or SLR camera.
Register Now

iPad & iPhone for Seniors & New Users

February 4, 11:30-1:30pm, Clifton Cultural Arts Center. Jump into iPad & iPhone with this 2 hour class geared to new users & seniors. Just $49
Register Now

Digital SLR Quick & Easy

Grailville in Loveland – so excited about having 300 acres to explore in nice weather! Our 1st chance is March 22. Cross your fingers for great weather!

Got a sec?

Please take a moment to help with your feedback/suggestions for locations, workshops…
Your response is completely private – we never share your personal information. You’re free to remain private if you like… THANKS!


Glenn’s photo walk is posted. Here’s a shot from last year’s group.This year he’s following roughly the same idea as mine (which is full with a long waiting list).

Cincinnati World Wide Photo Walk with Glenn Hartong, Cincinnati Enquirer Photographer

When: October 5, 2013. Meet at 9am.

Where: The Banks, Smale Riverfront Park by the Suspension Bridge

Cost: Parking & lunch. No charge for the photo walk.

Why: It’s Fun to take photos of downtown. We’ll be answering your questions (& shooting you shooting) along the way.

For photos from last year, visit Glenn’s Flickr group here 

Malinda’s group photos from 2012.

Details: Please visit this World Wide Photo Walk 2013 post for full details.

About Glenn Hartong

20130619-6773 This could take a whole blog by itself. Let’s just say “hubby” is a busy photographer & video producer, with 20 plus years of DAILY photo & video experience, shooting EVERYTHING from horrific tragedy to kindergartners at play – sometimes within an hour of each other.

Been there, done it all. He shoots Canons at work and Nikons at home. He can answer about ANY photo related question you can throw his way – from studio to sports. He has so many news & video awards (Emmy nomination), he only has room to put up the 1st place ones, and not even all of them. His photo credits start with National Geographic and span the globe, literally, from NY Times to Washington Post to … well, you get the picture. He’s ‘capable’ and FUN! Plus he loves to teach as much as I do.

All Photographers are welcome to walk

All Welcome! Absolute beginner to Professionals!

Walk & shoot at your own pace. You can bring friends or family if you like. Photographers only need to register.

We’ll be scattering in the area of The Banks for lunch afterward. Please stay tuned here, facebook, and our Walk pages for updates. You must be signed up as a photographer, not on waiting list, to receive walk update emails.

Your contact information is not made public. We don’t even see it.

World Wide Photo Walk Cincinnati with Glenn Hartong

World Wide Photo Walk Cincinnati with Glenn Hartong


Just Keep Shooting

I’ve photographed countless butterflies going about the business of hunting for their next meal. And I just keep shooting. With unpredictable subjects (almost everything right!?), you just keep at it and hope for the best.

Yes, being prepared and setting your camera helps too.

butterfly flying on the next butterfly bush at the park

ISO 400. f 3.5, 1/2500. ©MHartong


Photographing The Banks & Fountain Square

World Wide Photo Walk 2013 Cincinnati featuring Fountain Square & The Banks

World Wide Photo Walk 2013 Cincinnati featuring Fountain Square & The Banks with Malinda Hartong, photojournalist, photo workshop instructor

Saturday October 5, 2013, 8:30am – Noon EST

We’re leading a group for The World Wide Photo Walk 2013 again in Cincinnati! YAY! This is the 6th year for the photo walk and Glenn & my 3rd year in a row to lead a group of 50 camera-toting folks around town. What fun!

Open to All Abilities & Experience Levels

You don’t need to know how to use your camera to join us. iPhone to SLR – you’re all welcome! (more…)

How to set White Balance for Better Outdoor Images

Most cameras, especially on FULL AUTO MODE (typically a green square symbol), are set to Auto White Balance. As with other settings, taking control over AUTO white balance can dramatically improve your images.


What is White Balance?

White Balance is a digital camera setting you can change to adjust the overall color of the image. White balance is based on light source – from standard household light bulbs to the sun outdoors.

For this post, let’s concentrate on outdoor light.

What color is Sunlight?

Daylight – light emitted from the sun – or lack thereof – is not just 1 color. It varies so much! Here are a few variables that change the “color” of daylight.

  • time of day: morning, high noon, evening, dusk
  • time of year: Spring, Summer, Winter
  • distance to equator/elevation: Midwest vs Southwest
  • direct sun or shade
  • and very importantly – weather – and so on.

More Color on Overcast Days

With rain and cloud cover comes gray skies. Great for soft even light – even nice for some portrait shoots, but not so great for colors. That’s where white balance comes in handy.
change camera mode to Program with top dial

change camera mode to Program with top dial

STEP 1: P for Program Mode

When in FULL AUTO (green box), your camera may not let you change settings like White Balance. Let’s switch to Program mode to have more control.
TIP! Make sure ISO is sets properly for your light level and action requirements. If  in doubt – set ISO to AUTO. That’s another topic…

STEP 2: WB Setting

Canon: look for the WB on the top of the “circle” of buttons on the back.

Nikon: (3100, 3200, 5200… & similar style) Press the (i) button 2 times on the back lower left. Then move to WB setting by pressing up or down on the control wheel on the right.
adjust white balance

Adjust white balance

Changing White Balance from AUTO (AWB) to CLOUDY typically makes colors look richer and a bit warmer.
white-balance-hartongStill not warm enough? Shift to SHADE to further reduce a blueish cast to your images. 
Sometimes I’ll even use CLOUDY or SHADE to “rush” evenings’ “Magic Hour”.
Magic hour is a term used by photographers to describe beautiful low glancing warm light that happens about 2 hours before sunset. It’s gorgeous to shoot in. I’ve had portrait subjects just walk toward the light with great results. To “fake” some of that warm glow, try changing your white balance.
CLOUDY – usually a bit warmer than auto – bring back some color on gray days.
SHADE – less blue, more orange. Try it for more color in sunset skies (with a stop underexposure). Looks like a small house with hash marks on the side.
Be sure to contact me if you have any questions.
And post a few images on my facebook page or flickr to let me know how it’s going! Want to know more? I’d be happy to help with a 1-1 lesson (in person or skype) or check out when the next group workshops are happening.
Great Blue Heron, Winton Lake during a 1-1 Photo Workshop: Shade | Cloudy | Sun white balance settings.
Helicopter flies through Evendale after my workshop that ended at 9pm. The sky was STUNNING! Shot on cloudy white balance and -1EV made it even better. iso 800, f 5.6, 1/1600, -1 EV, cloudy wb
iso 800, f 5.6, 1/1600, -1 EV, cloudy wb

iso 800, f 5.6, 1/1600, -1 EV, cloudy wb


Area-wide Cincinnati Firefighter & Disaster Training

Over 200 volunteer victims were “extricated” & transported during a mass casualty drill at the Hamilton County Fairgrounds involving overturned buses, squashed cars, explosions and more. Fire departments and hospitals throughout the area worked with Red Cross. Even fake “media” was on scene. ©Malinda Hartong, Freelance Photojournalist, Hartong Digital Media llc.

Fun Summer Photo Fest

Summer is coming! We’ve come up with a new Photo Workshop idea to get your photos in shape for a ton of Summer fun! Get 5-15 of your friends & family together and learn tons of photo tips to make your summer unforgettable.

Camera Workshops

Sunset Photo Workshop

Photo Fests include:

  • 1 hour instruction on any amateur photography topic
  • 1.5-2 hours hands-on practice & your questions answered
  • Printed Handouts filled with photo tips!
  • Location – your choice – home or your favorite spot within 30 miles round trip from Winton Woods.
  • At your home, I can bring projector & tabletop screen or just plug iPad into any HD connection like TV – even better if you have Apple TV – connecting wirelessly is so easy.
  • Just $50 per guest, minimum of 5, max 15.

Hosts can book the date/time online or contact Malinda for a reservation. Malinda will set up a special registration link just for you to share with your guests. A minimum of 5 registrations is required. For groups larger than 15, please contact Malinda directly. To regsiter, just click the button & choose Summer Fun Photo Workshop from the menu, then date/time, then $50 registration via paypal. Malinda will contact host within 1 business day.

Get My Party Started

Malinda is currently working on a FAQ for summer fun photo workshops, but there are only so many weekend appointments available. For more information, contact Malinda asap to reserve your date and make a plan.

sunset_macro_hdmLocations are virtually limitless

with iPad I can really teach almost anywhere. Here are some cool ideas for fun summer photography:

  • Moms Group
  • Pool Party
  • Bar-b-que & cookout, picnic
  • Birthday Party
  • Teen Photo Safari
  • Girls Night Out
  • Photo Fiesta


Topic ideas for your Summer Photo Workshop:

  • Why are my photos too light (or dark)
  • Why are my photos orange & how to fix it!
  • When & how to use Flash
  • Camera modes
  • How to get the most out of Auto & Scene modes
  • How to shoot kids sports
  • How to shoot inside & low light
  • How to get the best shots of active kids
  • Photo shooting & editing with any mobile phone or iPad
  • Photoshop Elements
  • iPhoto
  • Help for any camera owner: smart phone, point & shoot, or SLR, absolute beginner to advanced amateur.
  • Your questions answered!

In case of inclement weather, we have an indoor location for up to 8. Not included: Commercial location fees & permissions if required – organizer is responsible for securing any necessary permissions & any Location fees – which are not covered by workshop.

Grand Opening for The Dragonfly Foundation: The Landing

hartongs-thelanding016The Dragonfly Foundation was started by Christine & Ria after Christine’s son was diagnosed with cancer. They bring support and joy to other families going through childhood cancer and blood diseases. If you have time and talent to give, please join us in supporting them.

The Landing is a lovely place where families can kick back and let go, let the kids play…

Glenn & I joined them for their “hose-cutting ceremony” Grand Opening and Open House. These are some of those images. The Stonelick Township fire department blessed them with a parade truck all dragonfly-d out! It’s awesome!

Glenn is a full-time staff photojournalist at The Cincinnati Enquirer, and I’m a former staff photojournalist there and freelance for corporate and other events, plus head shots, portraits, and more – in addition to teaching group classes and private lessons covering cameras, photography – beginner to pro, iPhone/iPad, Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Lightroom, and more. Enjoy the images! Hope to see you at the next Dragonfly event!


It’s vacation time again. So many folks going to the beach, I thought I would share my favorite filter. Using a Circular Polarizer is like adding sunglasses to your camera.


How to Use A Circular Polarizer 

  1. Only use during a bright sunny day. This filter is DARK. It’s supposed to be. So only use it when you need it. Don’t leave it on all the time.
  2. Compose your shot first. A polarizer refracts light at only certain angles. When you’re looking at your shot, the sun should be to your left or right at a 90 degree angle for the best effect.
  3. Focus. Hold your DSLR camera up to your eye and focus on your subject. Lock focus by holding the shutter down 1/2 way with your right index finger and don’t move it…
  4. Now turn the filter in the direction you screwed it on (so it doesn’t fall off). You should see a distinct difference as you turn the filter. When you’re happy with the results, press the shutter the rest of the way to take your shot.
Circular Polarizer filter: better skies, water, fall color.

With & Without Circular Polarizer at Winton Lake

Photographing Landscapes: Brighter More Saturated Colors

saguaro cactus photographed with circular polarizer filter

Sapphire Skies in Arizona

If you’re out in the middle of a bright sunny day, add a circular polarizer to get more saturated colors. Water looks amazing when you remove reflections. Beaches look better too as sand is like glass and is reflective. Even Winton Lake pops with deeper greens and blues. Just image what the tropics will look like!

Whiter Clouds & Bluer Sky

For bluer blue sky and whiter puffy clouds use a circular polarizer. Really want to make blue sky pop? Try a polarizer out west in Arizona or New Mexico – be ready – it might knock your socks off!

Better Foliage

Have you noticed how some leaves are really glossy? A polarizer will reduce the glare from that glossiness and give you deeper more saturated colors. I use a polarizer for better fall foliage shots all the time.

Polarizers add contrast so having your DSLR set to standard or neutral scenes is much better than vivid  - which already increases contrast and saturation. Neutral settings will help you keep detail in the highlights and shadows.

Tip #1: Personally I prefer the best glass I can afford. Tiffen makes a nice filter. B+W – even better coated German glass with metal ring.

Tip #2: Take off your lens cap & look at the number on the back. Canon – typically says 58mm (B+W from Adorama about $86 for pro quality). Nikon – depends on the lens. My suggestion is to get the filter for the largest mm lens you have, then a step-down ring to use the same filter on any smaller lenses… For instance, if you have 72mm large lens, get a 72mm filter, and a ring to go from 72 to say 52mm for the smaller lens… Adorama 52mm Tiffen Filter is under $20 at the time of posting – absolutely fine for “non-pros”.

polarizer-after4, With polarizer: saturated colors, less glare on leaves

With polarizer: saturated colors, less glare on leaves


glare on leaves without polarizer

Want to learn more? Join me for a private photography lesson or a family photo safari at a local park. You’ll be amazed with at the difference my polarizer filter can make in person! See for yourself. Private lessons start at 2 hours for just $125.