Month: November 2019

Explaining How To Properly Use A Monopod

Unfortunately dragging around a massive tripod can often be a huge challenge, not to mention that a lot of the time we find ourselves in a position where it is impossible to use one. There simply is not sufficient space.

Therefore, most photographers (at least the ones that are concerned enough to want great pictures) end up getting themselves a monopod.

If you didn’t know – a monopod uses the same type of camera mount and so forth as a tripod, but has the benefit of only using one leg.

This feature is both good and bad…

Having only one leg makes it lighter and less tiresome to carry around – it can even be used like a walking stick if you’re trekking out in the wilds.

However, after a few uses, the majority of us shooters come to the realization that using a monopod is not any steadier than not using one. What’s more since it has only one leg, it wiggles around so much that it is usually WORSE than shooting without one. So we heave our monopod in a spare closet and never touch it again.

This is a huge mistake! Your monopod is entirely as solid as a tripod, it’s only that so few of us have learned how to properly use it.

Generally we use it like a stick with our cameras affixed to the top – rather, we need to be using it like a tripod!

Here’s how to use the monopod…

  • First… For stability we need three legs. Like a tripod. The monopod itself is ONE leg, our own two legs, separated a bit wider than shoulder width form the other two legs of the tripod.
  • Second… Place the monopod in front of you far enough out so that when you tilt it back and bring the camera to your eye, it creates a 45 degree angle to the front. You’ll have to increase the monopod’s leg by quite a bit to get the 45 degree lean yet have it positioned at eye level. There is your tripod, both your legs spread to the side and the monopods’ leg extended to the front…
  • Third… Your camera should be affixed to a swivel mounting head. Tilt the camera forward with the swivel mount so that when you tilt the Monopods’ leg back at a 45 degree angle to your eye, the camera is level even though the monopod is leaning at 45 degrees backwards.
  • Fourth… Then when you are shooting, position yourself into a stable stance and press your camera’s viewfinder tightly to your face. Finally you have a – virtual – tripod that’s every bit as solid as most – real – tripods. Along with the added bonus of being easier to use!

Posing for Family Group Shots

  • One of the easiest way to dramatically improve your composition is to stagger everyone’s head position (but keep them close). Arrange faces on different levels so that any pattern of height does not distract the viewer from seeing the group as being one cohesive unit.
  • Position each individual so they are visually connected to another individual. You can do this by having them stand very close to one another and better yet, have them touch another person. No matter the poses you go for, always try to incorporate direct contact through touch. Hands on shoulders, arms around waists, any way that you can get everyone in physical contact with each other. This will convey emotional closeness.
  • The other posing technique that I often use is to have the pose wider at the base and narrower at the top. Some photographers refer to this as the pyramid pose. This makes the group look like a single unit and the composition looks complete.
  • Pay attention to your subjects hands. It is usually a mistake to have everyone in your pose doing the same exact thing with their hands. Occasionally I will direct one or more of my clients to change their hand position to improve the pose as well.
  • It’s ideal to have everyone in the family looking in the same direction, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be in your direction. You can direct everyone to look behind you or at the youngest family member.

So it really doesn’t have to be stressful the next time you want to capture your family’s portraits. Be patient, be flexible and make it fun. You’ll end up with some awesome portraits, lots of real moments, happy parents and happy kids! Try it out! It will surely improve your photos.

About Lytro

Here are the main features of Lytro that photographers might find interesting.

  • The Light Field Sensor is a micro-lens with a digital image sensor. This is what helps produce good light direction, intensity and color. It helps define a photo.
  • Its 8x optical zoom with constant f/2 lens allows anyone to create photos with good details. With this feature, it is easy to take capture scenes as they happen without worrying about distance.
  • The Lytro has two modes of shooting,
  • Everyday Mode is ideal for those who want to stick with the basic point-and-shoot function of a camera. All that one needs to do is point the camera to the scene and then shoot. Refocusing can be done later.
  • Creative Mode is best for people who want to experiment and explore their imagination. In this mode, a user has more control, particularly in terms of the blur. For example, the camera can be refocused closer to the scene so that the photographer can aim it on the subject or area he or she wants to highlight. This can be done while one takes the shot so that lesser refocusing will be required later on.

This mode is perfect for those who want to create dramatic effects with their photos.

  • There are Manual Controls that allow users to adjust ISO and shutter speed. The Lytro’s minimum shutter speed is 1/25 while its ISO ranges from 80 to 32000.
  • The Perspective Shift is what one needs if he or she wants to change the point of view of a certain Lytro photo. This interactive feature allows a user to shift the view of a photo so that its perspective changes. The photo can be viewed upward or from the right, it all depends on which direction the user desires. A mobile app or a computer is needed for this tool to work. This feature is best for both stored Lytro photos and the newly taken ones.
  • For those who want to further add effects to their pictures, there are Living Filters. Users can choose from nine filters, all of them interactive. All you need to do is click on the filter you want to use and the photos will be enhanced.
  • Sharing is an important feature for majority of today’s devices and the Lytro is not far behind in this department. In fact, it has several advanced sharing tools. With the help of the camera’s Wi-Fi capabilities and its downloadable mobile app, any user can share photos on Facebook and Lytro.com. Resharing of photos on Twitter and Google+ is also easy. In addition, a user can convert his/her photo to GIF and then send it to anyone through email or SMS. Once the photo is shared, it can be refocused by simply tapping or clicking the screen.

Lytro is available in 8GB and 16GB (internal memory) versions. It can house 350 to 750 living pictures.

 

Starting Out in Photography

The question is no less important when you start thinking of working for yourself as a photographer, but unfortunately there is no easy formula available to calculate your fees. There are however a number of factors that you have to take into account.

You will need professional quality equipment, and you need to factor in the cost of initial purchase and the cost of eventual replacement or upgrading.

Your premises costs affect your charges: rent, utilities, cleaning are just some of the charges you’ll need to meet. Even if you work from home, there are basic costs like phone and electricity bills that you need to cover.

There is then the real question, which is how much profit a photographer should be making. There are three key factors here: the rate currently being charged by photographers in your area (either geographical or professional specialty), your reputation and how much you want the work.

When you are starting out, you need to be mindful of the rates being charged by other photographers in your area. Unless these photographers are rank amateurs, producing low quality work, your charges need to be similar to theirs. The simple truth is that most customers will have a budget, and when they have a choice of two similar services, they will usually choose the cheaper. So you need to do some research to see who is working in your market, and what they charge.

Once your reputation is established, your prowess and skill widely recognised, word of mouth recommendations and the quality of your portfolio will mean that you have many requests for your work. At that stage you can review your charges, perhaps quoting on each project depending on how much you want the work.

Because this is the final factor to consider. I think we have all heard of builders or plumbers who submit very high quotes for the jobs they don’t really want to take on. A similar reasoning applies to working as a photographer: a high-status job which will give a wider audience to your work may be worth getting at any cost.