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20 Things I Wish I Knew About Photographing in Manual Mode

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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Posted by on June 27, 2012 in Technique, Tutes & Tips, Worth a Look

 

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Common Photography Posing Mistakes and Fixes | I Heart Faces

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.

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Posted by on June 27, 2012 in Portraiture, Technique, Tutes & Tips, Worth a Look

 

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Pet Photography Tips – Photographing Pets for Portraits

If you have the opportunity, it’s best to take some pet photos with the needs of a portrait specially in mind. For some pets, a beautiful photograph capturing their best qualities is very easy, while for others it is frustratingly elusive. Many choose a professional pet photography studio for this reason, and while this can be a good solution, with a little preparation and plenty of patience you should still be able to achieve similar results yourself. After all…who else knows your pet better?

Above all, remember to have fun and don’t be in a rush. Patience is most definitely a virtue when it comes to photographing pets! Be ready to click away and take plenty of shots. Here are a few simple yet effective tips I’ve found can give the best results…

LIGHTING:

The best possible lighting is achieved outside in natural light. Try to do this even if your pet is an indoor only pet – though of course safety comes first and this may not always be possible. Having your pet close to a large window, with plenty of natural light coming from behind or slightly to the side of you as you face your pet, is the next best option.

Avoid direct sunlight, as it can alter natural colouring and increase the contrast between shadow and light, hiding some features. A bright but overcast day is perfect.

Don’t use a flash, as this can cause red-eye and distort the true colouring & shading of your pet. An exception to this is if your pet has a black coat, in which case a flash or bright sunlight can actually bring out shading and texture which may be lost in photos taken under other lighting conditions.

POSITIONING:

Photograph your pet on their level. Don’t have them looking up at you unless this is how you wish the portrait to appear. Don’t make them come to you. Instead, go to where they are most comfortable and see the world from their point of view. Sit on the grass, lie on the floor, whatever it takes. This is especially important for full body shots, which look best from the side rather than above.

Take plenty of facial photographs with a zoom lense if possible, and have their face fill the frame while still in sharp focus. Try taking some three-quarter views as well as from the front, as a slightly angled pose can sometimes make a beautiful portrait photograph.

If your pet will not sit still, have someone hold them in position. If these pictures are solely for the portrait, then hands and arms in the frame do not matter and are easily removed as long as they do not cover important markings.

PERSONALITY:

Keep your pet as comfortable and at ease as possible. Cameras can be distracting for some animals, so if you cannot get your pet to behave normally, try having someone else present to divert their attention and keep them engaged.

Capture the most characteristic expression & pose of your pet. If they are generally happy, try to catch them doing their version of a smile.

A good idea is to have favourite treats or toys at the ready. Hold them up near the camera to catch (and hopefully hold) interest in the right direction. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to be silly. Try making funny and unusual noises or movements to get their attention.

via Pet Photography Tips – Photographing Pets for Portraits.

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2012 in Portraiture, Worth a Look

 

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TUTORIAL: What’s your time of day? (Part 2) Shooting at Second Light

By tom dinning via Light Stalking

This is a guest post by Tom Dinning who, besides being a professional photographer, teacher and mini-celebrity in the Light Stalking community, has also shared some very popular tutorials in the forums and in other posts.

If you have recovered from my recent post on shooting at first light, you might be ready for something a little more sedate. Enjoy breakfast with your partner, have an extra cup of coffee, even suggest your partner might like to come along (…on second thoughts, tell him/her you’re going to the dentist). Today we are photographing in that lovely light after sunrise.

Second light – Botanic Gardens.

I call this second light because, although I hate getting up too early, my preference is still for the light before sunrise. Still, it’s a great time to be out and about, especially if you’ve pulled a ‘sicky’ from work to join me.

I’m heading for the local Botanic Gardens for no particular reason than it’s there. My kit is made up of the usual suspects: a wide zoom (14 -24mm) and mid (24-70mm) but I’ve added a macro and a long focal length (200mm) for good reason as you will see.

Today is bright and sunny so I make sure I have all my lens hoods and a hat (that’s for my balding head). The tripod is always with me. In my experience, this time of the day can be deceiving. There seems to be heaps of light about but the shadows are quite dark so there could be some moderately long shutter speeds, especially if I want an extended depth of field.

(If you’re a beginner and I’ve just lost you with that stuff about depth of field and shutter speed, ask someone on Light Stalking to explain it to you. They’re really good at that.)

In my part of the world, this time of the day always seems extra saturated with the colours and the tonal contrast is amazing. So, I take full advantage of this. It’s what I call ‘shooting for the conditions’. I can’t change the climate but I can learn to live with it.

My eyes immediately begin to search the landscape for places where this saturation and contrast brings out the best in the frame. Deep green shadows are avoided. Speckled light is hard to expose correctly so I move out into the open.

Botanic Gardens are designed. So it’s worth looking for vista’s, frames within your frame, and nooks that have been purposefully constructed to catch one’s eye.

The low angle of the Sun provides beautiful backlight, rimming the tree trunks and highlighting the foliage. I walk and watch towards the Sun. seeking out long shadows that can be used to lead the eye.

Foreground and background are important but it’s easy to clutter the frame with too much. To avoid this, I take full advantage of my walking shoes and seek the best perspective before shooting; always endeavoring to keep that sun in the background.

‘But shooting into the sun?’ I hear you say. With a bit of maneuvering, the sun can be tucked behind some foliage or a tree trunk. You will need to  watch that histogram for blow-outs (sorry, there’s nothing wrong with the tires on your car). If you’re not sure how to use it, read the Light Stalking article on how to read a histogram.

Go for detail in the shadows if you can and let the sun burn out a bit behind the trees. It gives a nice halo effect and gives the impression of a brilliant sunny day. But don’t overdo it.

Since it’s usually quiet this time of the morning there’s always an opportunity for a self-portrait. Seats are placed strategically among the trees for effect as well as rest, so include them in your shots.

Also look for those special plants, unusual textures, surprising angles and, of course, the obligatory close-up.

One thing I learnt from this trip was to watch where I leave my kit. This is the time when the gardeners are testing their sprinkler system. At least it saves me washing this week.

For some reason, Botanic Gardens are not heavily frequented by wildlife. I have more birds in my back yard. I did find a few grazing geese and a spider, but other than a stray dog and a dead cane toad, I was the only animal in the park – and even my zoological status has been questioned by some.

Now its time to finish up. You’ll have enough time to download this lot before settling on a nice lunch and a glass of Chard. Then prepare yourself for the midday run.

Thanks for joining me.

This is a guest post by Tom Dinning.

via Light Stalking » TUTORIAL: What’s your time of day? (Part 2) Shooting at Second Light.

 

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TUTORIAL: What’s Your Time of Day (Part 1)- Shooting at First Light

By tom dinning via Light Stalking

This is a guest post by Tom Dinning who, besides being a professional photographer, teacher and mini-celebrity in the Light Stalking community, has also shared some very popular tutorials in the forums and in other posts.

Recently I had a browse through my files to see if there was any consistency with the times of day I choose to take photographs for my own pleasures. To my surprise, there was an even split between early morning, mid-morning, midday, late afternoon and evening. Its good that I’m not a creature of habit.

I though it might be a good exercise to examine each of these times of day in terms of the photo’s  taken and the issues that arise during the preparation stage and the recording of the images.

So here’s the first.

EARLY MORNING – COAST

First Light. Nightcliff Beach NT

I’m not good in the morning so the first preparation for such an event is to psych myself up weeks in advance for a possible 4am start. The next bit of preparation is to prime Christine for the awakening for fear she may be expecting something more than a gentle kiss goodbye. She’s even grumpier than me in the morning.

High tide. Myilly Point NT

Since I want everything to be just right for such a monumental occasion I check the sunrise times well in advance. I’m also interested in the time for first light, since I want some preparation time when I arrive at my destination. My preference for the coastline means I need to check the tides. Low tide is best where I live. It allows access to the beaches. It’s also more visually interesting since there will be many isolated pools along the beach for those nice reflections. All the information you need with regard to sunrise, first light and tides can be obtained through the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) website (in Australia) or the equivalent in your country. While you’re there, check the weather. You don’t want to be caught out in the rain, but a few clouds add interest to the sky.

Casuarina Beach NT

Checking the equipment the night before is part of the routine. Clean your sensor. Those funny little spots will show up against a clear sky at small apertures. Charge your batteries and take a spare. I’m not big on long focal lengths but that’s just me. I find myself using wide to mid-range (anything between 14mm and 70mm). A tripod is essential since you will probably be shooting at shutter speeds slow enought to write in your diary while taking the shot.

Tidal pool. Casuarina Beach NT

Getting there before the first glow of light needs a torch if you have some interesting ground to cover. It helps to find your way, locate things in the kit bag, provides a reading light for your camera knobs and dials if you haven’t learnt to find them in the dark yet, and, if its a big enough torch, it will fend off the dogs and muggers ( and the odd croc in my part of the world).

Casuarina Beach NT

It’s always good to check out the scene from a vantage point and grab a few shots to start with but usually I reconnoitre the spot a few days before so I know what I’m in for. Moving around in the dark in unfamiliar territory is risky for an old bloke like myself.

Rock outcrop. Nightcliff Beach NT

Shooting from water level creates great foreground for the shots. Look for items along the beach that might serve as points of interest. Watch how the light reflects from the water. Look for points of contrast as focal points in your frame.

This can be a time of solitude as well. Encompass that feeling and get it in the frame. Simplicity and the light is all you need to work with.

Casuarina Beach NT

Think in B&W as well. The tones will be subtle but worth capturing.

Little Watego’s Beach, NSW

Keep your shutter speed long enough to blur the movement of water. If the clouds are moving as well, all the better. You can get some great textures in the sky.

Rocks. Byron Bay, NSW

Reflections work well. Seek out the pools left behind. Walk around the pools to find the best angle. Get the best depth of field possible for these shots and make sure the foreground is sharp. If the auto-focus isn’t working its because it can’t find enough contrast in the scene to focus on. Switch to manual. When the going gets tough on focusing, I set the manual focus to about 2m and the aperture to about f:18. This seems to take care of most situations.

Dripstone Cliffs NT

As the light intensity increases, life and focusing will get easier. But there will be another issue to deal with. Exposure.

That sky will be about 6 or 7  f:stops over the ground exposure level. Your sensor will probably have a fit. Bracket and deal with it when you get home and have had your first cup of coffee.

Outcrop facing East. Nightcliff beach NT

In spite of the sand in your shoes and camera, wet feet from the incoming tide, the odd dogs dropping you stood in, a grumpy spouse to return home to and the need for a Granny Nap during the day, it should be worth every minute of your timely effort.

Low tide. Lee Point NT

If it’s not, take up knitting.

This is a guest post by Tom Dinning.

via Light Stalking » TUTORIAL: What’s Your Time of Day (Part 1)- Shooting at First Light.

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2011 in Composition, Featured, General, Landscape, Technique, Tutes & Tips, Worth a Look

 

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How to Use Natural Frames to Enhance Photographic Composition

By Light Stalking

In a lot of photographic situations, a photographer will often come across a natural object near the scene that can be used to “frame” the main element of the image. It’s a common photographic composition technique and one that can be used to great effect if you can pull it off. Here are a few things to think about when you next have the opportunity to frame your photograph as well as some examples of successful images that use framing.

Alcatraz - Exercise Yard Exit Door "Sailing Away"
Photograph by David Paul Omer

Keep in the back of your mind the common objects that can be used to frame an image naturally. The most common are trees and branches for landscapes, windows and doorways and tunnels and cave-openings. Of course, that is by no means an exhaustive list, but remembering these common objects gets you into the habit of considering less common things to frame an image.

I get the window seat!
Photograph by Ed Siasoco

Remember to use the frame to convey depth in your image. There are basically two main ways to do that. Colour and depth of field. The most common (though not only) way to use colour to convey depth is to have the frame in silhouette (or at least much darker than the main object of the image) such as the forest image below. That means that you need to expose for the background or main object of the image.

As the frame is a foreground, you also have the opportunity to either have it in focus with a narrow aperture or out of focus with a tighter aperture. The choice will very much depend on the situation, but remember to consider the options before taking your shot.

Our love is like the misty rain that falls softly, but floods the river...
Photograph by ManojVasanth

Potato Island

Photograph by Wolfgang Staudt

Don’t think that the frame needs to cover every side of the image either. Many of the most successfully framed images only have one or two sides framed (such as with a tree trunk and branch). On the other hand a fully framed image through a window or door can also be very effective. Use your own judgment.

Employ framing only when it suits the image. Don’t use a frame for every shot. It is easy to overdo framing, especially in a collection of shots from the same shoot. Use it sparingly and only when the opportunity for a good shot is there. Framing can look a little forced at times, so don’t fall into that trap, but don’t be afraid of it either. Again, this is one of the things in photography where every situation is different and you are best advised to use your own judgment.

no need for a frame
Photograph by Izarbeltza

Using a frame in your shots gives you an opportunity to draw the eye of your audience to the main element of the image that you want them to look at. By remembering a few basic pointers as well as always looking out for unique ways to frame images, you give yourself a much better chance of capturing a great photograph.

two Sides
Photograph by Robb North

via Light Stalking » How to Use Natural Frames to Enhance Photographic Composition.

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2011 in Featured, General, Landscape, Technique, Tutes & Tips, Worth a Look

 

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Using content to increase the visual impact of your travel photos

{Post removed at request of Lonely Planet Images due to copyright issues}
Richard I’Anson talks about photographing iconic images.Lonely Planet images discusses what camera gear to bring on the road.

Read these insightful tips on editing images in Lightroom.

Get all the great hints and tips on travel photography from Richard I’Anson’s latest book.

via Using content to increase the visual impact of your travel photos « Lonely Planet Images Blog.

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2011 in Worth a Look

 

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