Category: Photography

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.

Take Good Beach Photos

  • Recommendation 1: You can ask your traveling companion who is holding the camera to capture your turning around moment with a big smile and looking straight at the camera. Capturing the exactly turning moment is the key to make this pose successful, which requires privity between you and the photographer.
  • Recommendation 2: Back facing the camera, you can fondle your hair with your left hand and take your large brim hat with the right hand. Your should face towards the direction of the wind at beach, so your hair and brim hat will sway like dancing along with the wind. What a beautiful moment that would be!
  • Recommendation 3: When the sunshine become soft at dusk, you can capture the scene when the sun is sitting in the horizon of the sea. Stand on your toes and ask your partner to squat, with the sunset ornament your body, you would become part of the beautiful sight.
  • Recommendation 4: You can make a good use of the sands. Sands can be the easiest tool for taking beach photos. Actually it can be very useful for many poses. Today I recommend you this simple one: just fiddle up the sands and shoot the exact moment when they are spreading down, PS with a nostalgic grounding color, your eyes won’t want to leave such a picture in the photo albums.
  • Recommendation 5: You can also lie down at the beach to let your companion take the photo from your head side. With both of your hands at the wide brim beach hat and kneels stay higher than your head, you can make a lovely photo pose. The hat is better being white, the same color with the clouds, or blue, the same color with the sky and the sea.

Creative Photography

Don’t Be Afraid To Break The Boundaries

One of the most common mistakes amongst beginner photographers (and not only!) is that they are afraid of breaking the patterns, of trying something new and revolutionary, something no other photographer has tried in the past. It is OK to be different, and remember the thumb rule when it comes to photography: you can break all the rules of photography, as long as the final result is outstanding!

Use Tricks In Your Best Interest

Every photographer, regardless of how good he is uses tricks and photo editing programs to enhance the quality of his images. Trick photography is a great way to take pictures on a budget, as you do not need to invest in heavy equipment nor do you need a certain environment to take a unique shot that can make history. Photo editing programs, on the other hand, are widely used all over the world – from correcting skin flaws to adding a touch of color to clouds or a lightning, these programs are truly amazing and they can help you.

Become Familiar With Shutter Speeds

In a nutshell, there are two types of exposure: long exposure and short exposure. This refers to the amount of time the camera’s shutter is open. The shutter speed coupled with the aperture of the lens determine the amount of light that reaches the film. A slower shutter speed is recommended if you want to introduce an element of blur, while a very fast shutter speed can make a moving object to appear frozen.

Macro Photography

The world is amazing in all its beauty, so why not take photos of the small elements of nature that we often ignore? A bug, a butterfly or a caterpillar – they can all be great elements for creative photography. This is where macro photography steps in and allows you to zoom very much without distorting the quality of the image in any way. Up-close shots require the macro technique, otherwise the object in the picture will be blurry and your effort is in vain.

Think Outside The Box!

In the end, this is the purpose of creative photography – it aims to teach both photographers and their subjects how to think outside the box. Do you have an outrageous idea that you want to use in your future shootings? If so, then go for it! Dress up as your favorite character, wear your high school’s mascot costume or add some homemade items and crafts – whichever suits you best!

Make The Most Out Of Photo Editing Software

Resizing Your Photos

Aside from editing flaws, you can also use online image editing software to help to resize your images. Sometimes when a photo had been snapped, there is a lot of unnecessary scenery in the background. By resizing the image you can simply remove this. Also, of course there are strict size regulations in place for some profile pictures on the internet, and banners and images for promotional items require that a document is printed at a certain size. By using software to change the size, you can easily make sure that your photos comply with the regulations that are in place.

Image Rotation

Sometimes you may have taken a great photo, but have captured it upside down, or in a manner where it would look better if it was rotated. Software on the internet will allow you to be able to rotate the image, turning it around to blend in with your requirements. Photo editing software will help you to be able to do just this.

The examples in this article where photo editing software can be used to your advantage are just a few. The list is really endless and could go on and on. Technology is developing each and every day and we are now able to turn the worst photos, into the best ones with the simple use of online tools. This is great news for people that want to be freelance photographers and have a dream to work from home and make a career out of freelance photography.

Photograph Interiors

Decide on camera position.

When photographing an interior, do you do that with the eyes of the visitor or user of a space or the designer? A designer may want you to give an overview of the interior to enable him to explain the layout of the place. The camera standpoint is that much higher than that of a visitor. For a good coverage you may want to do both.

When positioning the camera, use a sturdy tripod with good leveling possibilities. You will find that the so called ‘ball-head’ tripods used for flexible positioning are far from ideal for this type of work. Better is to use a tripod head where you can adjust every dimension independently. The build-in leveling device will give you a good starting point. Look for walking patterns and view lines in the interior. Make sure that the vertical lines remain vertical, in a way that walls don’t fall and furniture doesn’t look pear shaped. Try to realise that when transforming a 3-dimensional space into a flat 2 dimensional image, the picture needs to be pleasing to the eye. So look for classic diagonal view lines and try to implement the rule of thirds. Subsequently look for horizontal lines in relation to the frame of the picture. If the horizontal lines are level with the picture frame than this would be perfect. Don’t forget that any correction of vertical and horizontal perspective in post-processing will eat into the overall resolution of your image. The use of wide angle tilt-shift lenses will make live easier and gives you more flexibility in choosing your position. Also live view is a very necessary feature of your camera with this type of photography attached to a laptop or tablet computer. In the olden days, analogue photographers took these images with large bulky technical view camera’s and had to judge the ‘preview’ upside down covered with a black sheet… Although I am not that old I used to work with them when I studied photography that the Academy of Art in Groningen.

Exposure and contrast

The wide angle lens and tripod enables for great depth of focus by using small apertures. For a 17-24mm lens for a full-frame camera, use f8-f16 for the sharpest images at iso 50-200. Use a remote control or the timer to avoid any camera shake.

You will find huge differences between the lighter and darker area’s of an interior, especially when bright daylight is coming in. If you use the centre weighted average or evaluative exposure mode of the camera the white walls and ceilings will look dull and grey and the shadow area’s will lose detail and colour. A simple way to overcome this is over-exposing the image and darken certain area’s in post processing by ways of dodging and burning. The success rate of this way will depend on the contrast, exposure and the dynamic range of your sensor. Better is to use a combination of analogue techniques and digital contrast enhancement in post-processing.

By adding light to the darker area’s the overall contrast will decrease and colour and clarity will return in the shadow area’s. Obviously, this needs to be done in a subtle way so that the natural atmosphere of the space is not changed.

Another way is combining multiple exposures in Photoshop. Do this by adjusting the exposure time and take 3-6 exposures depending of the overall contrast. Make sure that the camera doesn’t change position during the exposures and that there are no moving subjects in the image. There are various automated ‘HDR’ type software methods to combine these images automatically, but I find that the end result tends to look very artificial. I use a manual method called DRI, or Dynamic Range Increase in Photoshop. I start with the one or two stops over exposed image and then put the darker ones in layers over each other, by selecting the highlights and masking them. This will take a bit of practice, but you will get very natural results!

Obviously in some situations you can combine the two above described methods.

Colour temperature differences

An interior will have a wide variety of light sources. Fluorescent will generate a green-ish image, whereas tungsten will make the surrounding area of the light source brown-red. Incoming daylight contains a lot of blue light and the flash light as well. It is therefore crucial that you adjust the whitebalance of your camera as accurate as possible using live view and some careful interpretation as it is impossible to remember how it was when you are sitting behind your monitor.

Usually the colour balance will lean towards tungsten and the camera should be set somewhere in the region of 3000 – 4000 Kelvin. Some partial editing will be needed to certain area’s to bring these within an acceptable level. Usually the blue effect of daylight is accepted and very much liked in the interiors industry because of the high tech stage light effect.

Handy Tricks to Master Google Photos

Turn off cellular data

This is essential for smartphone users that don’t have unlimited data. Many users use Google Photos to not only back up existing photos on their cameras but also automatically back up images that were taken on their smartphones. For this reason, it is crucial to turn off back up over mobile data and also allow the Google Photos app to only back up when you are charging your phone to protect your battery life.

Upload old photos

For you to save more storage it is important to upload your old photos to the Google Photos Library. This is a simple process that only involves dragging and dropping the photos from your external storage. In the library, the photos will appear based on the date they were taken hence, making it easier for you to locate them when you need to. Your connectivity will determine how long the uploading process will take.

Free up more space on your phone

For a user without an SD card or a phone with unlimited storage, it is important to regularly free up space on your device. Google Photos does this really well by just tapping at free up device storage in the settings menu. This is a safe process because although the backed up photos will be deleted you can always access them when you are connected to the internet.

Label your photos

Labeling the people in your photos comes in handy in the future. This is because you can easily identify them by searching by their name in Google Photos. This makes it easier to find every picture of the person you are looking for. It also saves time especially when you are in a hurry.

Get free unlimited storage

Google Photos offers unlimited storage with a minor caveat. It only offers a maximum of 16MP resolution. This can be tricky while saving videos and photos at their original quality because they will eat up into all the space that there is. To solve this it is crucial saving your photos and videos at high-quality resolution. This majorly helps you free up some space.

Edit and save your photos

Google Photos has an option to edit your photos to the desired look you’re after. This feature allows you to add a background color, crop among others. You can easily remove what you don’t want on your videos or images. It is, however, important to save the images once you edit them.

Remove geolocation

Images and videos were taken by your phone nowadays have a lot of location details on them. This is good for your storage because you would want to remember all about the details. However, Google Photos uses such information to actively map out where your pictures were taken. This is not good because you do not want people viewing or receiving these photos knowing exactly where they were taken, especially when you share via emails. For this reason, it is best to remove geolocation.

Defy Gravity With Awesome Moves

One of the simplest, yet most overwhelming and inspiring feeling is found in the types of photographs where the subject seems to levitate above the ground. Levitation photography is still one of the most eye-catching and spectacular types of photographic subjects. However, despite the seemingly complex nature of these photographs, many of them are simple to achieve either all “in-camera”, with the use of Photoshop technology or even using an application on your phone.

For most amateur or aspiring photographers, the ability to improve your picture-taking skills is actually easier than we might think. Presented in this article is an informative preview about levitation photography. The article also shows you how to incorporate this type of special effect into your repertoire. The following are tricks to aid you accomplish levitation photography.

Jumping Technique

The most spectacular effects are the simplest of all to photograph. The subject simply jumps in place, above the ground and then snaps the photograph. There are no post-production or editing effects required since everything takes place inside the camera. However, it does take more than just simple jumping to achieve the effect.

Stationary objects should also be included. In other words, the levitation effect is more pronounced when we see objects that are normally stationary in the frame of the picture, such as a house, vehicle, furniture or any type of stationary object in a levitated position.

The human subject must not look like he or she is jumping. You can achieve this stationary position with a calm expression on the face, slight bending of the knees so that the feet will appear to be floating effortlessly off the ground and some kind of rigidity on the clothing, which, does not give away that the subject, is in some type of motion.

If your subject has long hair, it would be important to press the shutter button during the middle of a jump, and not in the final phase while the subject is descending with their hair appearing to be hanging from the sky thus giving away clues of a poorly taken jump shot. You can also use hair styling product to minimize hair movement to make the shoot easier.

The shutter speed on your camera must be set fast enough so that there is no motion blur as motion blur occurs when someone is moving quickly. Such instances of motion blur happen while you are jumping. You can hire a skilled model, particularly a dancer or athlete who is accustomed to jumping to be the subject, making it a more realistic effect.

Double Exposures Technique

The next type of levitation trick is using objects for example stools and ladders to support the subject. After this, you should mask out the subject in post-production editing with the use of a photo editing software (e.g. Adobe Photoshop). This is perhaps the most common type of levitation photography.

This type of levitation photography can achieve some spectacular effects if done correctly. You should ensure that objects used to support the subject are easy to remove in post-production editing. To perform the post-production editing, you will require double exposures (i.e. shoot two images for post-processing).

Tips on how to capture images

  • Use a sturdy tripod to hold your camera, and place the tripod at a fixed position for the entire shoot.
  • Use manual mode on your camera to achieve your desired lighting exposure, and maintain the same setting for your entire shoot.
  • Use manual focus-mode on the camera lens to achieve your desired focus point on your subject, and maintain the same focus point for your entire shoot.
  • Consider using a remote shutter release or set your camera on self-timer mode. This is if you are modeling for your own shoot.
  • While shooting double exposures, the first image should consist of only the background without the subject and supporting object. The second image should consist of the exact same background but with your subject and the required supporting object.

After capturing the images, you will need to use the Photoshop software to align the two images. You can then easily remove the supporting object by using the masking technique.

In essence, there needs to be a significant color difference between the supporting objects and the subject itself. This makes it easier to isolate and remove the supporting object while editing.

Tips on how to make your picture appear more realistic

  • Try to include or create shadows of your levitating subject. You should shoot the picture under soft lighting to achieve soft shadows, as it will make your work easier during the post-production editing. When necessary, you can clone out the shadow of the supporting object and add in artificial shadows using the burn tool in Adobe Photoshop.
  • The complex the background, the more believable is the levitation. Using a simple, solid color background makes it very easy to achieve levitation effects. However, the more complex and natural the background, the more believable is the image. Removing and replacing the support structure is more difficult to achieve.

If you apply the above tips and tricks on how to shoot levitation photography, you will definitely add wings to your existing portfolio and help you draw impressed audience at a quicker rate.

Photography Tips for Amateurs

Get a PEZ on the hot shoe

Trust me the kid will just fail to look away. He has all his attention drawn on the PEZ dispenser put up on the camera’s hot shoe.Get some candies too. Incredible genius is what accomplishes will call you later.

Flashing day and night

If you are an outdoor photographer, the same kind of lighting is sure to get you bored. A wedding or an engagement is where the lighting can never be forced upon. The trick to changing the lighting is to the flash at maximum power. The subject will turn out to be extremely bright.

Likewise, in case you need it out to darken all the way, the background can be turned to night just by changing the focus of the subject to expose on your camera settings. There you go, Night in the middle of broad daylight.

Take the lens off

Take the lens off and hold it in front of your camera t makes it function like a macro lens. This is one of the neatest tricks to get the exact that works as if it is a charm.

Make a bokeh out of cardboard

Make a bokeh of any kind, and hold it over the lens. But the aperture has to be very large if you are using this kind of a bokeh. The bokeh is simply to be made by cutting out a cardboard to a shape, and then sharpening it by a knife. The shape should be large enough to accommodate a nickel.