There are no hiding places in a black and white portrait. With no distraction from color, the physical characteristics of the subject are revealed. Monochrome exposes intimate details such as bone structure, texture, and expression to a much greater level than an equivalent color image. Read more →
I got up really early while on vacation. I have always wanted to try doing some sunrise photography, so these are some of my first attempts.
All the settings I used are saved in the EXIF; if you don’t have an exif reader, here they are:
- Nikon D3300
- Nikkor 60.0 mm f/2.8
- Neewar wide-angle adapter
- ISO 200
- I used my handy Sony tripod (duh!)
- Shot while tethered to my Samsung Note4 using DSLR Dashboard app
- As the sun rose, I varied between 1-13 second exposure times
- Processed in Lightroom 5 with a new preset created just for sunrise photography (download it below!)
The entire collection had a painfully obvious green color cast to it. This is easy to do when you have no idea what you’re doing. It’s very easy to avoid when you are skilled. Read more →
We’re two weeks into 2015 as of this writing, and can you believe it? How are your New Year’s Resolutions holding up? Have you taken those photos, lost that weight and started exercising? Yeah, me neither. That’s why I’m intentionally posting this article now, rather than with the flood of similar articles that appeared about two weeks ago, since I’m… Read more →
If you just got your first DSLR or if you’ve had one for awhile and want to get serious about taking better pictures, the advice in this article is for you.
Delete Bad Photos
If you don’t do this already, then start. The pursuit of any interest will include disappointment, so be prepared to delete them from your hard drive—that is, after you’ve taken a hard look at WHY they don’t look good. But, the more good literature and tutorials you absorb, as well as advice from the more experienced, your pics will begin to take on more vibrancy and life.
Take Tons of Pictures
After shooting reams of pictures, you start to realize that it’s a matter of visualizing the final result, and more importantly, controlling the technical aspects of your camera and the lighting that surrounds your subject. As your technique becomes more instinctive, results then become more predictable as time moves on. Let’s break this down a bit more.
Learn How to Use Your Camera’s Advanced Features
So you have a nice camera. Big deal. So do a lot of other people, and yet their pictures do nothing more than document where they’ve been. To move beyond that, you need to master your camera by overcoming the fear of using all the buttons and dials. I recommend that you spend some dedicated time experimenting. (If you’re using film, a few rolls sacrificed purely for the sake of learning will have huge payback later. I do this when I buy a new flash or camera body, as all the TTL metering and calculator dials in the world don’t guarantee a good shot. Sorry, I let out some geek-speak there!)
Start with setting your camera to ISO 100 and then 800. Use a tripod for the 100 ISO. The other settings can do without one if the light is bright enough. Lower ISO settings are good for waterfalls, still life, portraits—anything that takes bit of setup time. An ISO of 100 will still do for handheld shots in bright sun, even if there are a few clouds. And ISO 800 is for action-stopping situations like sports. The point is, the lower the number, the slower the shutter speed.
You may know this already, but the higher the ISO, the more sensitive your sensor. Modern DSLR cameras are smart. Taking pictures with the various settings I recommend above will make your camera vary its shutter speed and/or aperture size to let in just the right amount of light. The basic results from each picture will be similar. The main difference between these different ISOs is speed. (A “fast” ISO needs a fast shutter speed to match its light requirements.) However, be aware that digital cameras exhibit what is called “digital noise” at their higher ISO ratings, which appear as artifacts in the photo.
Master the 4 Important Elements of Photography
Now, there are four very important elements that you have control over here. This is at the crux of all photography, and if you stop depending on your camera’s program mode and take control of these variables as you understand them more, you then have enormous creative freedom. They are: shutter speed, aperture size, exposure, and framing. The first three are technical, and the fourth is more artistic in nature.
Before starting, please familiarize yourself with a couple things on your camera. Learn to change the mode from program to shutter priority, aperture priority, and lastly, how to read the internal light meter. It’ll all be in your manual.
1. Shutter Speed
As mentioned earlier, in program mode, your camera varies the shutter and aperture settings based on a number of elements, but mostly on the ISO setting. So if aperture is kept constant, and ISO is changed, the shutter will need to speed up or slow down to expose correctly. When shutter speed needs to be fast to stop motion in lower light, a fast ISO is required, such as 800 or 1600 ISO.
But if shutter speed is not your first consideration (i.e., when the camera is steady on a tripod, such as in portraiture), go for a slow speed that will render a better quality shot.
Your camera will have some means of moving from program mode to shutter-priority (or “TV” on most cameras). Again, read your camera’s manual to understand how to move into this mode. Once there, keep the shutter at, say, 1/250 of a second. Your camera will then automatically adjust the aperture to let in just the right amount of light for a proper exposure. Fire off a few shots in this mode, changing the subject and light intensity with each exposure. An example of a nice long-exposure picture is that of waterfalls. With your camera on a tripod, set the shutter to ½ second if your ISO is slow enough, and expose based on the method described in the “Exposure” section below.
Ever walk into a dark room right after being outdoors in the bright sunlight? Notice how dark it is, as if you have sunglasses on? We know it’s our eyes adjusting, because if we stand there a couple minutes, the room lightens up. That’s thanks to the amazing engineering behind the iris in each of your eyes, which controls the amount of light that hits our retinas. Your camera’s aperture setting is to your camera what your iris is to your eye.
Now’s the time to put that dial into Aperture priority mode, or “Av.” Here’s where you choose to set the aperture (or “f-stop”); the camera then chooses an appropriate shutter speed.
The real fun starts when you manually control the aperture size in your camera lens, because something called “depth of field” comes into play here. I’m sure you’ve seen pictures in which the subject is in focus but everything in the background is not. This draws attention to your subject, whether it is a bird, insect, flower—you’re not distracted by surrounding elements in the frame. The amount that the background and foreground are out of focus is up to you, and this is controlled by opening and closing the aperture with the f-stop control. Your camera’s manual will provide details on manually changing the f-stop setting.
When shooting various test shots, your camera will alter the shutter speed quite a bit as you experiment with different f-stop ratings. Keep in mind that the smaller the number, the larger the opening, and the more light that hits the sensor. An f-stop of 2.8 will yield a fairly shallow depth-of-field, whereas f/22 is almost like a pinhole camera, where everything is in focus—this is good for landscape shots, but probably will require a tripod because of the slower shutter. An f-stop of 5.6 or 8 will yield an average-looking photo and will be very sharp. This is because most lenses perform best in this range.
Most (if not all) DSLRs have an exposure lock button. This is to set the camera’s exposure at an optimal level in case your subject is off-center, and/or the optimal “mid-gray” portion of the frame is off-center. This is because cameras are programmed to use the center of your picture as a reference point when measuring light. Your camera has a microchip that measures the amount of light when you snap a shot at the current setting, so in program mode, it will set the aperture and shutter speed based on a number of variables too complex for this article, but suffice to say it tries to make an intelligent choice. And most times it will, but if you were only a point-and-shooter, you wouldn’t be reading this far, would you?
So if the optimal light intensity (again, mid-gray) is somewhere off-center of the picture, what do we do? Point the camera to this mid-gray portion of your shot, lock the exposure, re-frame, then shoot! This is a great way to avoid many common exposure mistakes. Common reference points are a person’s face if the shot includes people, or green grass in an outdoor shot. Many winter pictures display snow as grey instead of white for this reason; your camera is only trying to “average” the exposure.
Why mid-gray (or skin tone)? This is used as a reference for all camera and light meter exposure systems. It exposes flesh at just the right amount, so it’s a good idea to get a reading on a section of your picture that is closest to this mid-toned shade. If you want to get technical, purchase an 18% gray card and use that as a reference. Your pictures will be dead-on. Remember to get an exposure lock when the card is directly facing the camera lens.
So, knock off a bunch more shots, playing with aperture size and changing ISO settings. By keeping an eye on your camera’s light meter, you’ll soon discover both the variations and limitations of your camera.
Mentioned above, “framing” your shot is adjusting the distance and angle between the camera and the subject so as to create a pleasing photograph. A rule of thumb in many situations (where the object you’re photographing doesn’t take up the entire shot) is something called the “Rule of Thirds.”
Imagine dividing the frame into thirds, both horizontal and vertically. Now line up your subject in any one of the intersecting points of the lines used to divide up the picture. These “hot spots” are deemed most aesthetically pleasing, as opposed to always having your subject in the center. This isn’t always the case, but something to keep in mind.
Another nice touch is to allow elements of the picture to become a frame themselves, like an overhanging tree bough. Other times these things clutter and distract, but experience is the best teacher here. Simplicity and elegance go a long way in creating pictures with “wow” factor.
So, with your camera, some time, and a notepad and pencil, one afternoon’s experimentation will go a long way in de-mystifying the ins and outs of serious photography. Whether this is at a hobby or professional level, the four elements of shutter speed, aperture, exposure, and framing are the essential ingredients in creating art that will please yourself and others for years to come.
About the Author:
James Hutchison (www.jamesphotography.ca) is a graduate of the New York Institute of Photography, and a member of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals.
For Further Training:
There is a downloadable eBook multimedia tutorial that teaches you how to take control over your camera, and get creative and confident with your photography. By combining illustrations, text, photos and video, it will help you get control in no time.
Found here: Extremely Essential Camera Skills
Go to full article: Getting the Most Out of Your DSLR
Article from: PictureCorrect
[this post syndicated from Picture Correct]
Holidays are great times for getting pictures of family and friends. Everyone is together, and normally having a good time; it is people at their best.
It’s also important from a historical perspective. You might be tempted to skip taking the camera, but think about how many times you’ve looked back on old photos of family and friends. For better or worse, those pictures mark the progression of your life. I’ve never looked back on any family event or place I’ve visited and wished I’d spent less time taking pictures—it’s almost always the opposite.
So take the camera. Here are a few tips for getting the most out of your holiday pictures, whether you have an inexpensive point-and-shoot or the finest DSLR on the market.
Control Camera Shake
When you can, brace yourself against a wall, a chair, or something sturdy to give yourself a little extra stability, particularly when shooting indoors. This is a bigger problem with small cameras using an LCD screen at arm’s length than with larger cameras, which you’re holding closer to your eye.
Check Camera Settings
I’m notorious for bumping my camera mode selector, so I check it religiously. Check to make sure your camera is on the proper setting. But don’t be afraid to deliberately fiddle with the settings to get a different look; just remember where they were when you started!
Watch Your Fingers
Yes, even pros get fingers in the way of the flash sensor and the lens, especially with those little point-and-shoot cameras. Stay aware of how you hold the camera.
Take Pictures at Odd Times
Everyone does group pictures before going their separate ways, so think of something different. Shoot pictures at the breakfast table, while traveling somewhere, or at other times.
Use Odd Angles
Experiment. Lie on the ground. Find a higher perspective or some other unusual angle. I once took a picture from the perspective of the Thanksgiving turkey being carried to the table; it’s one of our family favorites. It costs nothing to delete digital pictures, so don’t be afraid to be creative.
Use Natural Frames
Use doors and windows as natural frames. Framing adds visual impact, so use doors and windows to your advantage.
Look for Details and Texture
Sometimes it’s textural details that spur the most vivid memories: a close-up of someone’s hands, the colors of a favorite shirt. Get in close and emphasize the details and textures of your subject.
Use Leading Lines
Try to find a perspective where a road, path, or other picture element leads your eye to the subject. Instead of standing over there by that house, take a perspective farther back and use the path to lead in to the subject.
Go Out in Bad Weather
Take pictures on bad weather days, too. Every day does not have to be a sunny day. Rainy days have their own special appeal, and dark clouds can add drama to any scene.
Mainly, just have some fun. As I look back at my pictures, the ones I like the best are sometimes just pictures of nothing special. A grove of trees outside our old house, a picture of my mom in the kitchen with my nephew and his fiance, candid moments when I just pointed the camera and pushed the button without really even thinking about it.
About the Author:
Peter Timko writes on behalf of Proud Photography – which offers online photography courses on a variety of subjects.
Go to full article: Holiday Season Photography Tips
Article from: PictureCorrect
[this post syndicated from Picture Correct]
Candid photography focuses on what the subject is naturally doing and not on what the subject must be doing. It is a photo similar to that of a stolen shot. Most images taken in candid photography are of people not looking directly at the camera. Read on for five helpful tips to successfully snap a candid photo:
1. Always Carry Your Camera
Bringing cameras along with you as you go about your everyday routine will help you take better candid pictures. You must be alert to any situation and be very observant about what is happening in your immediate surroundings. Taking candid pictures is naturally easy, but you can’t take a second picture that looks like the first one, because every moment is unique. So when you see an opportunity to take candid shots, focus on that, and then click the shutter. Point and then shoot must be the initial reaction.
2. Avoid Complicated Lighting Techniques
Using complicated lighting techniques is not always advisable when taking candid photos. Always remember that having a perfect photo is not really necessary. What is important is for the photo to capture real-life, unscripted shots.
3. Blend In With the Environment
Taking candid pictures requires great discipline. This is because it requires the photographer to blend in with the environment. Candid photographers should not be too obvious if they want to produce the most unscripted shots of frozen moments. Take photos without holding the camera up to your eye as often as possible. For example, you could put the camera near your waist to take the shot. This will also help you to see the pictures from another angle.
4. Use a Long Lens
Using the camera’s fullest zoom will also help you get a good, candid photo. As long as you are not seen, the subject will act naturally. When you are a fair distance away from the subject, you can use the telephoto lens. Avoid taking pictures of people’s backs.
5. Capture the Subject in Black & White
Converting the picture to black and white is another great idea, because it will help you capture the subject’s emotion. Taking pictures of people who are doing things or are in constant motion is the best situation for taking candid shots. Capturing the essence of a person’s task in black and white will emphasize the emotion on the subject’s face.
6. Ask for Permission
Never forget to ask permission when appropriate. Although for some shots it is okay not to, asking for permission is always a safe and appropriate decision. This will prevent conflict and intrusion of someone’s right to privacy.
The best way of capturing a candid picture is to experiment often. Explore everything, try every angle, and don’t forget to look at other photographers’ work for inspiration.
About the Author:
This article was written by Patricia Strasser from Foto TV. It was founded in 2007 by Marc Ludwig and is headquartered in Cologne.
For Further Training on Candid Street Photography:
This 141 page eBook covers everything about the genre even down to specific post processing techniques that can bring the best out of street scenes (& includes a bonus eBook of interviews). We were able to arrange a 25% discount for our readers. Simply use the code picturecorrect at checkout.
Found here: The Essentials of Street Photography
Go to full article: 6 Tips for Beautiful Candid Photography
Article from: PictureCorrect
[this post syndicated from Picture Correct]
A shot of Santa using a new action for Photoshop and Elements, and snapped with my Diana 70mm glass lens Read more →