1. ISO is an important setting. It controls how sensitive your camera’s image sensor is to the light. In bright light use a low ISO, in low light you can use a higher ISO.
2. WB or White Balance is a setting used to ensure you have even white and grey tones in your photos. Different kind of lights can make the whites in a photo appear to have a color to them. Fluorescent lights can make white sheets appear bluish. Tungsten lights (like a lamp) can make things appear yellow. Cameras have many settings for White Balance, but learning to use custom white balance is a great tool. Check out my blog about white balance to learn more about how to use the custom setting.
3. Aperture controls how much light is allowed through your lens by setting the f-stop. A lower f-stop (like 1.4) will let in a lot of light and a higher f-stop (like 16) will let in less light.
4. Shutter speed controls how long the image sensor is exposed to light. A lower shutter speed will let in more light, but may give your subjects motion blur if they are moving in the photo.
5. You don’t need to use manual focus to photograph in manual mode. Manual mode means you’ll have more control over how your camera reads the light, but manual focus will entail a few extra seconds to use the focusing ring in order to capture a sharp image. Many photographers auto focus so they can photograph and capture moments quicker and ensure they are tack sharp.
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This week is all about posing! Posing can be stressful and sometimes overwhelming when you have so many other things to worry about at a shoot…equipment, camera settings, lighting, and communicating with the client. Amongst all of that, it is your job to come up with posing that is both flattering and creative for your client/subject. By learning and practicing the basic elements of posing and making those second nature, you can then focus on more fun and creative posing.
Photography Posing Mistakes and How to Fix Them
Let’s discuss 12 tips for avoiding some common posing mistakes. The tips on women can be applied to brides, high school seniors, models, and moms. The guy tips are universal for men, high school seniors, and models.
Women Mistake #1 – Neck creases
The Fix – It doesn’t matter how thin or not thin a woman is. It doesn’t matter how old or not old she is. If her body is turned away from you and she is turning her head to look over her shoulder at you, it is very likely she will have a nice set of neck creases. Neck creases/wrinkles may not bother some photographers, but they bother me, and they will most likely bother your client. There are a couple easy fixes. You can 1) tell her to turn her upper body and shoulder (the one closest to you) more towards you so that it opens up that area and minimizes the creases, 2) adjust your shooting position more to the side of her, rather than directly behind her so that she doesn’t have to crank her head so far to see your camera, or 3) use her hair to strategically hide the creases.
Posing can be a stressful task. You have a million things going through your mind during a photoshoot: light, camera settings, interacting with the client. Then you have to come up with interesting and flattering poses for each and every shot! Yikes!
Or, posing can be easy. True story! You don’t have to stress. You don’t have to worry. You don’t have to memorize a million poses. You don’t even have to change things up that much to get variety!
The key to stress free posing is to make small adjustments in order to get a LOT of variety from one simple setup. Yep, it’s that easy. Tweak things a little, engage the couple, get them to interact, and get some great expressions. Then tweak again, and repeat. You’ll get a ton of variety, without having to worry about thinking up a completely different pose for each shot.
Today we’re going to look how to use this idea with standing poses and a couple. Standing works in pretty much every situation, is comfortable, and has roughly a billion different setups possible, so it’s a great place to start!
Eventually you’ll put together different simple setups like standing, sitting, and lying down. Then you’ll get mega variety!
First, the most basic setup: standing side by side, holding hands, facing their bodies to the camera, looking at the camera.
Alrighty! Last time on Stress Free Posing we went through some standing poses for a couple, now let’s take a peek at some easy ways to create natural sitting poses.
The basic idea here is the same: start with one option, then make small changes to the way they’re sitting, looking at each other, and holding each other. Excellent variety + minimal work = maximum fun.
Let’s discuss a couple quick points about sitting before we dive in.
First off, sitting a great equalizer, height wise. It brings both heads to roughly the same level, allowing for more interaction. If you have a really tall guy, and a much shorter gal, sitting poses are going to be your go-to option.
It can also be very flattering when you shoot your subjects from a slightly elevated position (it lengthens out the neck, gets rid of double chins, and opens the eyes up a bit more). This is super easy to do when your couple is sitting, so take advantage of that.
Finally, if you’re going to be sitting in a field, or working with a bride, bring something to sit on. A small blanket works well, as you can hid it if you don’t want it to be in the photo. Or, if you use a Shootsac, just pull off the cover with a flourish and let them sit on that—you get awesome points when you do that.
Here’s an awesome tutorial that teaches you how to create beautiful light painting sparkler photos. The materials are pretty cheap: all you need is some steel wool, an egg whisk, and a rope or cable. Simply place the steel wool inside the whisk, light it on fire using a lighter or 9V battery, and swing it around at the end of the cable while your camera snaps a long-exposure photo. Just be careful not to start a fire!
Recommended Starting Settings:
Shutter Speed: 30 secs or Bulb
White Balance: Tungsten
Wondering what filter to use?
Including a filter or two in your kit can change the look and feel of your photos for the better.
Whether you’re shooting digital or film, you’ll find that if you begin to incorporate the use of filters into your photography you’ll achieve much more professional results. Polarising and neutral density filters or even colour converters are useful additions for any photo enthusiast’s camera kit ( though a lot of colour correction can be done via white balance with a digital camera). Still, you’ll be surprised how the addition of filters can make an image look much more natural as they help your camera to compensate between the way your eye processes an image, to how your camera sees it… This is the reason that most snapshots lack the look and feel of reality. Your camera simply doesn’t process or see things the way your brain does. Similarly, the use of a filter can help you cheat with the look and feel that you want – say by bumping up the colours on an overly bright day or when shooting in the midday sun.
Here’s a rundown on some basic filters that will help you achieve better looking photos.
A blue yellow polarising lens is great for picking up the depth of blue in the sky while also adding a much warmer tone to any earth colours in your image. It’s particularly useful when shooting at high contrast times of day such as midday – although its best to avoid using these on an ultra wide angle lens as the sky varies too much and your image can wind up looking a little weird. Also don’t forget a polarising filter will reduce the light entering your camera by 1-3 stops, so bear this in mind when taking your shot.
Absolutely essential if you plan on shooting B&W film. A yellow filter will help you avoid overexposed skies and generally kicks up the tone in your photos, making them look much crisper to the naked eye.
Our quest to be green friendly has a down side – fluorescent globes seem to be everywhere these days – which are an anathema to a shooter thanks to the hideous green cast they seem to give to any humans within a few feet of them. What’s the answer to avoiding that green-tinged hue? A purple filter. Presto! No one looks like the Wicked Witch of the West any more.
NEUTRAL DENSITY FILTERS
Popular with landscape shooters the world over, neutral density filters are available in solid or graduated formats and suppress the amount of ambient light coming into your camera. A graduated ND filter is great for enhancing detail in the foreground whilst assisting you in avoiding over exposing your background. Therefore it’s particularly effective when shooting land and seascapes. A graduated ND filter is great for this purpose as the colour of the filter fades from dark to light and can be manipulated to suit the area of your image requiring correction.
Popular with shooters who like to experiment with monochrome, the infrared filter filters out all wavelengths apart from red and infrared. The result is a blood red image that can look spectacular.
Most popular with SLR shooters, UV filters not only protect your lens from everyday scratches and grime, they also reduce the effect of haze or UV scattering – so they can be particularly useful when shooting on water. However the grime they are meant to protect your lens from can just as easily wind up deposited on the filter, so be sure to clean thoroughly before use.