Category Archives: Photography

Digital Photography – Making Bad Weather Photography a Blessing For Your DSLR Digital Camera

This preservation attitude will keep an open invitation for future generations of photographers.

So where do we begin as nature photographers?rs?

1. Equip yourself

This is really key to any form of nature photography from landscape on the one side right across to close-up and macro on the other. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to shoot a subject that is just out of reach or the inability to get close enough. There are minimum equipment requirements and you should get good advice from other photographers or reputable equipment suppliers. A zoom lens with a macro feature could suffice for close-up photography and coupled with a two times converter for bird photography. It doesn’t have to be expensive to begin with.

2. Be patient and practise

Patience is a virtue and no more so than with nature photography. Animals and birds (even in zoos) do not act on cue so it becomes necessary to wait for hours and sometimes, as with professionals, even days. Waiting for the right weather conditions, right animal or right lighting conditions takes a lot of patience and effort. If you aren’t prepared to do this then maybe it’s not for you. Because of all these factors, practise becomes an essential part of a nature photographers life. If you don’t continue to practise you won’t get the shot. It’s 99% effort and 1% luck.

Try visiting your location or subjects several times before starting your photography so that you get to understand their environment. Read books, join societies and search the internet until you feel you know enough about your chosen field to start shooting images.

4. Find a suitable location

All wildlife or nature photographers aspire to shoot the big five, humpback whales or the elusive snow leopard. These are not the place to start unless you live on a game reserve or at the coast. Find a place close to home like your back garden, a local botanical garden or even a zoo. Somewhere you can be comfortable and practise without major effort. Try things on a small scale and work upwards as you gain more experience and are up to the challenge. A good location with good subjects will spur you on to greater heights.

5.
Are you like me and love taking outdoor photographs of anything and everything with your DSLR digital camera? One of the things that so often keeps digital cameras hidden away out of site tends to be bad weather, even though some great bad weather photography gets taken when the elements seems to take a turn for the worst. Are you missing out on some great photographic opportunities?

I certainly would not say take your digital camera outside and stand in the rain taking pictures of things as this really is Not a good idea and the camera would possibly end up getting ruined, but with a bit of thought and planning you can soon be capturing some great images that might otherwise not be possible.

This will also allow an instant extension on your collection of mainly fine weather pictures. I try and allocate a whole day each week purely as a photography day where I go out to various locations and see what unfolds before me.

I used to get disappointed when I would chose a specific day, look out of the window and see a miserable dark and grey sky.

Digital Background- Chroma Key Photography Creation

A few years ago the digi-world was more of an out-of-sight and out-of-mind concept but when its capabilities were realized, it was understood to be one best technical medium and large format film has better resolution than the cameras that are available in today’s time. The advantages of shooting film are far better than thought. It could be said that a majority of portrait photography professionals are making use of digital technology now. Newness has been seen in digital backdrops. More number of photographers is making use of Chroma key background when shooting. Initially photographers showed reluctance in terms of making use of it but as time passed, the technique demonstrated its capabilities and thus gained ample popularity all through the world. If you are still in a state of perplexity then here are a few benefits mentioned relating using green screen backdrop while shooting.

Possibly the best money saving means is this! Traditional backdrops if you have been planning to buy then you might need spending quite an amount on it.

Portability! What do you think about it? Definitely, it is just one thing that you would have to carry with you everywhere whenever you want to shoot a movie or still photographs.

Whether it is a sight of sea swamped with aquatic animals is what you want to show or a wilderness covered in green with exotic animals, all can be done easily as you have the liberty to select the background of your choice.

Shooting with the help of this technique isn’t tricky at all. However it is essential that when using, backdrop is evenly lit in order to get good quality results. With the latest technology, you could alter the background like in Photoshop. If you take up the help from here then it would be wise to make use of range of colors or eraser for background. When you need placing something in the background, digital images could be used in every form. Shooting with Chroma key gives you all the freedom to do whatever is desired and this means that a photographer can literally create a magic.

Different Types Of Portrait Photography Tips & Suggestions

The term portrait may refer to Portrait Painting and Portrait Photography both  here, the facial expression of the subject is captured by the painter or the photographer. People interested in a career in portrait photography should know the basics of this subject and maintain these guidelines while taking pictures of people.

Portrait photography has many branches; lets learn about them first.

Different types of Portrait Photography:

Portrait photography is further classified under four main sections:

1) Close-ups
2) Facial Shots
3) Upper Body Shots
4) Environmental Portrait

Professional photographers always try to capture the true self of a person through photography. However, with a camera focusing on the face, people become nervous and make faces that do no represent their real personality or the mood. And the photograph looks artificial.

An expert photographer would follow his own tricks to make the person feel comfortable and relaxed so that the right facial expression is captured. As a photographer you have to make the subject feel easy and not worried about the camera. While taking pictures of professional models, you dont need to worry at all as they are quite trained on how to face the camera. But general
people become very much camera-conscious during photo shoot. Hence, to capture natural photographs, you have to take few snaps without making them aware. You may go through portrait photography tips to know more about such tricks.

Some easy and widely practiced tricks are stated below:

Ask your subject to get ready for a photograph; let them prepare for the snap; and then take a picture. Now as the shutter moves up and down and your subject starts to relax, take few more snaps very fast. This would help you capture their true persona.

Some professionals tell funny jokes while taking pictures to ease up the situation; some ask the subjects to engage in some easy and fun activities and take the snaps when the person is unaware of the camera.

The activities may depend on the age of the subject. For example, if you are taking portrait of a child, ask him or her to look at a picture and count number of circles in it. OR ask them to play with toy, solve a puzzle or copy an easy illustration.

Tackling children is quite easy than adults. A matured person is very much aware of the situation and knows that you are trying to distract his mind from the camera. Hence, you may need to choose some other tricks.

Some professional portrait photographers prefer to chat with their subject for hours before taking them to the shooting floor. You can engage someone to talk with the subject when you prepare your camera, lens and lights. You can also ask them to continue talking when you take pictures.

You can also think of some tricks of your own OR consult professional portrait photographers for more effective ideas. Many such methods, tips and tricks of portrait photography are available online. You can go through online photography tutorials or attend workshops to know more about portrait photography.

Commercial Photography – Shooting For Magazines

Digital photography has caused a massive surge in the popularity of this once mysterious art. Secrets of the darkroom, once accessible only through years of study and practice, are now widely available in digital photo editing suites. Film which would cost a professional photographer hundreds of dollars over time has been replaced by memory cards with infinite re-shoot possibilities, and the low cost of entry for digital has allowed thousands of new users to jump into the fray with minimal financial risk. With so many new photographers in the profession, it has helped expand the market for both publications and photography opportunities and created new sources of images and places to sell them. But as a new photographer it may seem challenging to get started so let’s take a look at the world of magazine photography.

What Do Magazines Want?

Sure, there are plenty of magazines out there that deal primarily in celebrity gossip or trendy news. Since its not likely you will be booking Brad Pitt into your studio (or sneaking around outside his house), its important to remember that there are thousands of magazines out there that are all dedicated to pretty much everything else. There are magazines on cars, dogs, computers, fitness, home decor, cooking and so many others. These magazines are always on the market for relevant and useful images that fit their niche.

One way to think about it is that these magazines will always need images of their topics and are happy to pay for them. For example, dog magazines, will never stop needing dog photos so why not focus on a specific niche?

How Do I Get Started?

First, you should look for a niche that you find interesting. Whatever topic you love, chances are good that there is a magazine focused on that particular subject. Once you’ve decided on a market, swing by your local bookstore and grab a few magazines off the rack. Take a look at the kinds of photos they are using, and ask yourself if these are the kinds of photographs that you will enjoy taking. Its also important to be honest with yourself at this step  can you deliver photographs that are at or above the quality of the photos they’re using? If not, work on your photography until you can.

Once you’re ready, look through each magazine and find the photo editor or information on how to submit photos. You want to make sure that you understand the magazine’s guidelines before you start otherwise your pictures will likely not be accepted. Once you know where and how to send your photo, send it in. Its always good to accompany the photo with a brief note  this is a good place to link your portfolio.

The Waiting Game

Anytime you submit a photo to a magazine, plan to wait several weeks for a response. Magazines are a print media, and even if accepted your photographs will not show up for a few months. Additionally, its always best to only submit each photo to one publication at a time, this way you don’t run the risk of having to decline an offer because another editor has chosen to use your image.

Many times, magazine will note their usual response time to be between 2-8 weeks. If you haven’t heard anything after this time has expired its okay to send a follow-up note reminding the editor of your submission. Just keep it polite!

What’s so surprising about selling pictures to magazines is that the process is so easy. It can be summed up in its entirety by find it, shoot it, mail it. Selling your photographs to a magazine may sound like a crazy idea, but once you get started making submissions, you’ll wish you would have started doing it sooner!

Clipping Paths In Pack Shot And Product Photography

In my 14 years of photographing professional photography I’m always being asked to shoot a clients product in front of a simple white Colorama. Typically this is because the client wants to place the object on a white printed brochure page or web page and also because products often contrast well against a white background, showing off their colour, intricacy and contrast.

For some subject matters the task of retaining a superbly lit, well exposed and crisp product whilst creating a flat true white backdrop from corner to corner is indeed manageable, notably when the product is much darker than the whiteness of Colorama.

Although, 9 times out of 10 reasonable results can infrequently be achieved. This is for one very simple reason:

When shooting most items I always shoot in a way that brings out the best features of the product itself which doesn’t necessarily create a truly white background. Correct lighting of the object will thus often result in underexposure of the background so that it appears an unpleasant and patchy shade of grey. Think of a pair of white shoes as an example. If the professional photographer was to endeavor to light the background so it appeared as a even white then they would very likely neglect the shoes making them appear overexposed, bleached out, lacking in detail and as flat and 2-D as the backdrop itself.

Needless to say these problems can generally be overcome with extensive and time consuming photographic lighting solutions such as flagging the item. A ‘flag’ practically creates a physical obstacle between the studio light and the object, as a result shading the item so that it gets less light whilst subsequently raising the intensity of light to the backdrop. This is good if the client has the means for what I call ‘bespoke’ product photography, but more often than not they have many hundreds of products they simply need cataloging so budgets and time scales are understandably limited.

In these instances the quickest, most inexpensive and often most practical solution is in the creation of a post production clipping path. A clipping path is where the image is imported into image manipulation software, mostly Photoshop, and then the object or product is essentially drawn around by hand via the pen tool to create a vector based path. This clipping path can then later be employed to the image file to effectively ‘cut-out’ or isolate the object from the background, such as when wishing to print. Consider this action as basically drawing round an object in a magazine with a pen then cutting round this drawn line with scissors to remove the object from the rest of the magazine.

The good point about clipping paths is the fact that not only can you precisely modify the exposure, colour caste, sharpness and contrast of the object separately without effecting the background, you can then place that object onto any background of your choice, as many times as you want. One day you may very well decide to paste it onto a white website the next week ask your designer to print up a mailshot with a whole range of products, all appearing as if they were shot at the same time. In order to give your cut out product a more ‘real’ feeling you might also ask your designer or photographer to attach a soft drop shadow, both to give it weight on the page and create a delicate transition between the products edges and the page.

In conclusion clipping paths offer the customer a cost effective and long term solution when confronted with the task of shooting bulk product shots, allowing the photographer to fully exploit the aesthetic attributes of the product without fretting about the final appearance of the background.

Creative Maternity Photography Ideas

Creative maternity photography is now a popular practice for expecting parents. More and more people are beginning to realize that the pregnancy stage is a very important part of their lives, so they make sure that it is documented. Its a special moment most especially for the expecting mother because she is experiencing the miracle herself. Having a creative maternity photography is a sure way to safeguard this precious memory for life.

There are many types of photo shoots to choose from for you and your wife. But if you want to be creative you’re going to have to do something different and out of the ordinary. There are some photo shoot ideas that can make your creative maternity photography session one to remember. Here are some of the ideas that you may like.

Shooting outdoors might be a common thing, but the beauty of it is you never end up with the same shot because of the opportunities this option offer. What makes it different from shooting in a studio or at home is that it allows you to play with the elements and enhances your creativity. What you can do is to spice up your outdoor shoot by coming up with more adventurous poses. Make the elements work for you, blue skies, green fields and a glaring sun are only some of the factors that can add to the impact of the picture. Incorporate these elements into the photograph using different angles to have a more creative photo.

Not many mothers are open to body painting because they believe it doesn’t look right for a mother. Most body paints are water based and come off easily, and it can look feminine if you want it to. Painting flowers and ribbons on your belly is definitely something out of the ordinary. Painting your whole body would definitely make an impact, just make sure that what is painted on you is something that you like.

Having a theme for the photo shoot is also an option you can take. Vintage is one look that doesn’t seem to go out of style. Old diners and gas stations have a natural vintage feel and are good locations for this type of shoot.

All you need to do for you to have a creative maternity photography session is to work on your creativity. So stop thinking like an ordinary parent and think out of the box.

Bird Photography Tips

A few people have emailed me asking for some bird photography tips and tricks of the trade. After some thought on the subject, I have come up with the following 10 tips for photographing birds.

Practice with the Locals. The best way to become familiar with photographing birds in your own backyard. What birds can you photograph at home? Do you have a birdfeeder or birdbath set up in your yard to draw birds in? Use these local birds to see behaviors such as how close you can get before they spook, and whether they eat at the feeder or take the food to somewhere nearby to enjoy it. Start by photographing birds in your yard to get used to their movements and feeding habits.

Timing is everything. Most species of birds eat in the morning or late afternoon. Get to know the habits of the bird that you are photographing and where it returns every day to feed.

Walk softly. Learn how to approach birds quietly and with very little movement. This goes for all wildlife photography.

Be respectful of nature. When photographing a bird, or photographing any wildlife, never corner the animal. Be mindful that the bird has a way of escape if it gets scared. This helps to ensure that the bird does not begin to fear all humans because of one disrespectful one.

Be wary of the weather. If the weather is threatening, the birds will tuck themselves where they will be safe from the weather. It may be best to just try another day.

Know what you want. Study bird photographs. Most bird photographs were the result of countless hours of waiting, and perhaps returning for several days to the same location that the bird frequents. If the image that you seek is of an Osprey catching a fish, the odds are very small that you will just happen upon that opportunity and get it, especially with the perfect light and background.

Do not chase. It sometimes is hard to finally see the bird that you want to photograph and not chase it around wildly. Be conscious of your movements and the signals that you giving to the animal. If you act frantic, don’t you think that the bird will too?

Behaviors make the best bird photographs. Photograph birds doing natural movements such as pruning, bathing, or feeding make for much more interesting photographs than a bird sitting on a wall.

Prepare in advance. When you know where you are going, and when the bird will be there, it is easy to get a chair and tripod set up so that you are ready to photograph the bird when it arrives. Do your homework.

Be patient! I always have to reiterate this with new wildlife photographers. The bird is not going to arrive and ask for its photo to be taken! It is a blessing when the opportunity for a great photograph happens. Appreciate it!

Choosing A Photography Career

As with any career where the path is a tricky one, the most important attribute you will need to have is determination to succeed. If you think it might be nice to be a professional photographer, but there are other careers you would also be happy in, don’t choose photography!

So, given that this is the career path you absolutely have to follow, which path is for you?

Portrait photography

The portrait photographer will either work out of a studio, or have the occasional location job; school photographs, or headshots for actors, singers, and dancers. They will need excellent organisational skills, as they will most likely be doing their own diary-management, as well as keeping themselves fully apprised of the latest developments both in digital photography and post-production. Although no formal qualifications are required, a reasonably high level of training and professional competence are essential.

Family photography

The family photographer will be almost entirely-studio based. Frequently dealing with fractious small children, their people skills are as important as their skills as a photographer. The family photographic shoot requires diplomacy, and an ability to keep people focussed yet relaxed. Like the portrait photographer, formal qualifications are desirable rather than essential.

Fashion photography

Breaking into this glamorous side of the industry is incredibly difficult. The fashion photographer will require an extensive physical portfolio of their work, and also an excellent personal website to serve as a gallery. Their digital manipulation skill of the images they shoot should be exceptional. Unlike most other fields of professional photography, the fashion photographer should have an agent, who will negotiate the sale of their work on their behalf.

Photojournalism

The photo journalist is essentially a storyteller, presenting the truth, with images seldom doctored before they find their way into print. Formal training could be more important here than in other fields, as a degree will present challenges and theoretical scenarios for the student to tackle. A graduate course will also provide vital contacts.

Wildlife photography

Again, the wildlife photographer will need a stand-out portfolio, and a keen interest in the natural world. With stock agencies overflowing with images, the budding wildlife photographer will need extreme levels of persistence, patience, and the ability to see the long game. Requiring excellent business and marketing skills, they will need to charm their way into good relationships with animal parks, enabling access to restricted areas.

Wedding photography

One for the adrenaline junkies of the photography world, wedding photographers need nerves of steel to be master of the perfect shot. Dealing with the preservation of people’s treasured memories, their people, and indeed crowd-management skills should be exceptional. Their editing skills should also be top-notch, as a little subtle photoshopping can make the difference between a good photograph, and a perfect one.

Your path within the profession depends as much upon your personality as your skill – if you tailor your career progression to who you are, you will find developing your skills extremely rewarding.

A Guide to Photography

Photography is often famed to be a captured form of art. Sometimes it is rated as inferior to that of a painting! Nevertheless, many artists have shunned the so-called derogatory -lower form of art’ which photography was famed to be earlier. Ansel Adams, Robert Kapa, Yosuf Karsh, Dorothea Lange, Brassai and Jay Maisel, to list a few are the most celebrated photographers who are or have been known to take the most striking images, be it in monotones or in colour. With the epitome of certain economic factors, or maybe because of a certain steep of consciousness to liberal arts, it isn’t uncommon to see every girl or boy next door owning a professional camera. Few know the aesthetics of it, while the others are aware of the technicalities. On a personal front, one does not need to be Dr. Callaghari of all the technicalities to take a breathtaking picture. As they say, your camera lens is nothing but an extension of your eyes. As nave as it may sound that technicalities are not extremely important for photography, but there are certain basic -technical-know-hows’ one needs to enlighten himself when he possess a camera.

Shutter Speed Take your camera lens as a faucet. The smaller the opening of the faucet, there will be lesser flow of water entering the faucet and vice versa. This is the idea behind a shutter. The longer the shutter speed, for example, 1/4th of a second, it lets in more light, then a shorter shutter speed, let’s say, 1/400th of a second. Therefore, longer shutter speed blurs time and a shorter or lesser shutter speed stops action.

Aperture and f/stop Descriptively, aperture is the size of the opening in the lens when a picture is taken. Hence the larger the hole, more light enters the lens, the smaller the hole, lesser light enters. Aperture is measured in f-stops, or often referred to as f-number, per say, f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/22 and so on. One confusing factor for beginners maybe larger apertures (where lots of light gets in) have a smaller f-stop numbers and lesser apertures (where less light gets in) are given higher aperture numbers.

Exposure A simpler way to explain exposure in photography is the amount of light collected by the sensor of the camera while taking a single shot. In simpler words, if the shot is -exposed’ for too long, the photograph will be washed out or as the jargon goes, -over-exposed’. And if the photograph is exposed for a shorter time then it will appear dark or -under-exposed’. Aperture and shutter speed are the two primary controls for which exposure is extensively used. ISO In layman’s language, ISO is the sensitivity level of your camera when exposed to light. The ISO number is directly proportional to your camera’s light sensitivity. With a high ISO your camera is capable of capturing images in low light without a flash. But higher ISO also has its own disadvantages. With an increased sensitivity, the picture might come out to be grainy or as it is called in still photography, it may have -noise’.

Depth of Field Also abbreviated as DOF, Depth of Field is the distance between the nearest and farthest objects that appear within a sharp focus in your picture. Since DOF is just a concept in still photography, it is subjective. It is a personal choice of the photographer whether or not he wants to enhance his photographs with the use of a DOF.

Rule of Thirds This is one and only important compositional rule you need to keep in mind while you have a camera in your hand. This rule works simply. Three imaginary diagonal and horizontal lines are drawn diving your image into a 3/3 diagram. The area of interests of your photograph must be within where these lines intersect each other. As I said, it is not necessary for a person who owns a professional camera or a good photographer to follow the above compositional rules or concepts from nook to hook. But it does give one a certain idea nonetheless. If you want to educate yourself further regarding still photography, digital photography ad more detailed aspect of the same, you are more than welcome to opt for the Book Chums eBooks subscription, wherein you can access eBooks for free or by paying a nominal charge which will definitely help you make the best out of your budding skills in photography.

All The Secrets Involved In Digital Photography

It’s unbelievable how many people are beginning to take part in amateur digital photography these days. Most amateurs are actually becoming quite good and infact turning professional quickly due to the fact that technology has improved a vast amount over the turn of the century. So what is involved in amateur digital photography? This is a question that everyone wants to know and it’s easy, very little! With this said however, there are still things that you must know so that you can constantly imrprove the quality of the photos you are taking.

So What Are The Advantages?

One advantage to amateur digital photography is knowing immediately which photos you may want or need to retake. On most digital cameras when the picture is taken it shows on the LCD screen and you know immediately if it’s in focus, heads are cut off and so on. You can retake the shot at the time and not whine about how bad it turned out later.

Amateur digital photography is a growing hobby as the price of quality cameras are coming down and the software to manipulate the images is becoming easier to use. More and more people are taking the time to learn the finer points of amateur digital photography and finding the results are better than expected.

Hobby Not Just For the Kids

It’s a funny paradox that most people nowadays who take up photography are more likely to be older retirees who have a limited knowledge-base of technology. Fortunately there are classes that teach people all there is to know about digital photography. When this form of technology first hit cameras, many people were skeptical of buying cameras that they may not know how to use or would have difficulties with, just as they had difficulties with their computers.

This of course is not true at all, as digital photography was actually invented as an easier way to take, store and print photos and it’s funny to see that many of these people who were skeptical at the time are now the ones praising such an amazing feat for technology.

One of the most popular recent editions to the digital photography world are the new printers that people can buy along with their cameras. These printers make it fast and easy for people who are wanting to print out the photos immediately as soon as they are taken. All that is required is to place the digital camera inside the corresponding printer, by that I mean the printer that supports the type of camera you have, and press print. Also it’s important to note that you will need to buy proper printing paper that is only used for photographs. Using normal paper will reduce the quality of the photos once they have been printed.

If you don’t wish to buy one of these printers, then there is another option. You can take your digital camera or just the memory stick into any digital printing shop and pay to have someone print them for you. This works out to be a little bit more expensive on the whole, however the quality of the photos you are having printed will be second to none.