Light is Your Crayon

Remember: all cameras average the existing light. What that means is, just because
you can see it . . . doesn’t mean the camera can. The human eye is far more
sophisticated than the most expensive camera money can buy. If . . . for example,
you stand someone in front of a bright window, your eye can still tell who that person
is . . . but the camera can not, at least, not without help. Your eye will zoom into a
person’s face and ignore that bright light around them, but the camera will not.
The camera’s whole purpose in life is to make an image that is 18% gray. Long ago,
someone decided that 18% gray was as close to the human eye, as a camera can get.
But if for example, 80% of the picture frame is filled with light that is brighter than
18% gray, what does the camera do? It tries to average out the given light. It will
take your best friend and makes him or her, a silhouette. Don’t get mad at the
camera, it’s only doing what it’s been told to do.

Use a flash indoors 90% of the time. The only reason, I don’t say 100% is because
some events won’t allow a flash indoors. If that’s the case, get a higher speed film
(400 or 800 ISO) and use a tripod. If you can’t give a subject more light, give it light
for a longer period of time. If you use a flash the camera speed is usually about
1/125th of a sec. or faster. But if you’re not allowed to use a flash for example,
you may shoot available light at 1/30th of a sec. or slower. (That’s why I suggest
the tripod.)

Personally, I like using a flash. I probably use a flash, even outdoors, about 80%
of the time (when I happen to be shooting people, that is). Why? Just because there’s
plenty of light, doesn’t mean that it’s the right kind of light. Bright light (like at high
noon) causes harsh shadows. I can give a short burst of flash (commonly called:
“Fill Flash”), and suddenly my colors are more vibrant and the shadows are less harsh.

Remember, if you want a subject to actually be white (a wedding dress for example)
you will have to give the shot more light than the camera suggest. If you want it to
actually be black, (a black horse for example) you will have to give the shot less light
than what the camera is indicating. If you shoot indoors, use a flash when you’re
allowed to do so. If you shoot outdoors, try using a flash, it might surprise you.

You have to make the decisions about how to expose your photos, not the camera.
The camera is only a guide, but it has no artistic taste. It will only do what it knows
how to do, which means it will give you an average exposure. If you want your shots
to look extraordinary, don’t rely on just an average reading. There are 26 letters in
the alphabet, but not every combination makes a great novel. What you do with those
26 letters determines if you are a great writer. What you do with the information your
camera gives you, determines whether or not you are a great photographer.

Photography For Newbies

As there are so many photography novices are very concerns about their techniques to get good quality photographs. As we all know that there is no one who can be called the photograph expert, who could come to us and give some tips and techniques for novices like us, unless you pay a bit of money to join photograph school. What we are doing when we take photo graph is to find the best quality camera, and believe that that magic functions of the camera (as advertised) will help us to get good quality pictures without having other specific technique of photography.

In fact, this is quite true but just some part of the whole truth. We take photograph by ourselves only when it is informal occasions, such as when you are traveling to other places with your friends or take photographs during family part. However, in our life time, there are still so many occasions that need formal picture and may need a photograph professional to take care of this stuff, the example of there occasions are weeding ceremony or wedding reception, graduation ceremony etc. That is precisely why at most important occasions people hire the services of a professional photographer.

Therefore, we may need a professional for these occasions but in the mean time, the cost for hiring a professional photographer is very high and very difficult for someone who has very limited budget. So for many photograph newbies, then try to find photography tips in order to help them to get good quality pictures without paying fortune for professional. Here is some tips for you, which I have gather some of them for professionals that I have known recently.

Firstly, try to get everyone into the picture frame. It is the fact that sometimes when novice taking photograph, they did not ask everyone who want to take a picture included in the picture frame, then when the film is developed there is someone is not included in the picture and this is really ashamed. For you, as a beginner this mistake is usually happened, Therefore you have to make sure that you guide everyone to include themselves in the frame before taking a shot because they will never know until the photographer tell them.

Secondly, when you shooting outdoor, many of beginners have trouble with sunlight direction which really effect to the quality of picture. You have to make sure that you will not shooting directly with the sunlight, which will create the dark shade on the picture. You can see that there’s practical value in learning more about photography. Can you think of ways to apply what’s been covered so far.

Defense of Digital Photography

Those of us who have spent many hours in the agonizing yet captivating atmosphere of a photographic darkroom recognize the scene. We are compelled to witness –and direct– the birth pangs of each of our graphic creations. Yet all of us know it is contrary to human nature to confine oneself to such isolation and environmental danger. Such is the allure of the muse.

This is serious stuff. We wonder how many present-day darkroom photographers are short-cutting their longevity by continuing to engage in this archaic working method. Are we subjecting ourselves to Alice-in-Wonderland dangers similar to those faced by the Mad Hatter? (A reflection of the hat makers of a couple of centuries ago, who used arsenic in the fashioning of their beaver skin hats and frequently were gradually poisoned as a result.)

To put this in perspective, if digital photography had been discovered first, and then film photography, would any of us have opted for the latter?

Today’s digital photography offers the promise of safe imaging, once the prices come down. (Only the very costly digital cameras currently produce the reproduction quality demanded by the printing industry. The $200- $800 digital cameras aren’t yet at that level. For now, film photography is still the medium of choice for publishing use.)

Digital photography gives to all of us the luxurious shooting style of Henri Cartier-Bresson, the renowned French photographer of the mid-century. He never stepped into a darkroom. “No, I have never done my own printing,” he told Charlie Rose in a recent interview. “Why should I spend my time in a darkroom when I could be out shooting?”

Most film photographers, because of the high cost of film and the processing delay, are conservative regards the number of pictures they shoot. However, as Cartier-Bresson is famous for saying, “I want to capture the precise moment.” Such moments escape the average photographer who is stingy with film.

Not so with digital photography. One shoots with a freedom to not only capture the “precise” moment, but to also self-educate and experiment. Digital “film” is cheap.

The world of digital photography is easy to enter. Medium-quality images, ease of processing , enhancing, and transmitting, are now available to the average photographer. Digital results are readily acceptable if your work is Web-based, or for buyers who only expect to use the image quarter-page size. At present, as you are reading this, the cost for serviceable digital is well within the budget of most.

Comparison in Filmmaking

Film

When shooting moving pictures Film is a highly difficult task:

  • Film celluloid does not record audio and one needs a separate recording device. Focus is very complex and there is an additional person that operates that side of the camera.
  • Film needs to be developed and can’t be seen immediately unless it is also recorded on a digital device.
  • Lighting can be a lot more difficult than digital because film is highly sensitive.
  • Reels need to be changed often in a highly difficult process involving unloading and reloading in the dark, with out the use of visual sight!
  • Film material and the process of filmmaking is offensively expensive. It does not allow filmmakers to take a lot of takes and that creates more room for mistakes.
  • High Cost of raw material makes it harder to acquire the desired practice, hone it and penetrate the film industry.
  • Large crews are needed for a shoot.
  • Big studios have absolute control of what is filmed and what is not. That means they control the amount of films made, talents and the content.

Digital

Digital camera revolution made shooting pictures easier:

  • Audio is recorded on the same strip as the film, using multiple channels.
  • Digital Cameras are user friendly and viewing the materials is possible Immediately, after a shot is taken.
  • Materials are cheaper and allow plenty of takes. DV cassettes cost few dollars and allow at least 45 minutes of straight recording.
  • Reloading a tape is simple and no “blind” practice is needed.
  • Digital format is not as sensitive to light as film. Although it reduces some of the contrast and color range, it also reduces the amount of light needed.

These digital format advantages allowed a huge change in media. Documentaries are popping out in great numbers. All one needs is a $2,000, 3 chip camera and a desire to tell a story. The home computer may be a good enough solution to edit the film and compose the sound track.

The Internet is full of Websites introducing amateur work. These amateurs have the chance to make films in industry format and get discovered as talent.

Independent filmmakers are making feature films and do not need to answer to the big studios. Freedom of speech wins!

Even well known directors are shooting in high definition digital format. George Lucas made the first three ‘Star Wars’ digitally.

Benefits of Digital Stock

Lets say you publish a magazine, newsletter, or website and you’re writing a story about city life in barcelona, and you need photography to liven up the text. One way of getting the images is to send a photographer all the way to barcelona to get the pictures you need, but this isn’t exactly the most sensible option. Another way is to find a freelance photographer over there to get the pictures you need, but this would probably be expensive. The third, and best option, is to purchase stock photography. Stock photos are images that a photographer has already shot and are available for you to reprint.

The biggest advantage of stock photography is that you can get images at a fraction of the cost of using your own photographer or a freelance photographer. Stock photography is comprised of two types of images: royalty-free and rights-managed, or RM. A lot of stock photography websites offer royalty-free and RM images. Royalty free images are often less expensive than rights managed images, but you will find that Royalty Free images will also be published by hundreds of other publishers because of this and the reduced restrictions of use.

Rights managed stock photographs are not as widely published. The price for using the image is usually based on whether or not you want exclusive use of the photo, what size the photo will be when it’s published, and the number of publications it will appear in. For example, a 1/5-page shot on an inside page of your magazine will be cheaper than if you were to use the photo on the cover. Also, if your magazine has a circulation of 50,000, the photo will cost less than if you had a magazine circulation of 1,000,000.

Another big advantage of stock photography is the ability to view and instantly download stock images. You dont have to wait for prints or negatives to be sent to you. You can easily view all of the available photographic images and download the ones that you want, usually at whatever resolution you need. The images are digital so there will be no reduction in quality.

Info of Photo Restorations

In today’s age of digital photography, it may be a good idea to take precautionary measures by saving your photos on a CD or a memory stick. This gives you a backup in case of any problem with the hard disk. It may not be out of place to put your money in digital photo recovery software. This will take away a lot of your worries about retrieving your photos.

Also, sometimes, it may be so that you would like to retain the warm Sepia tone of your old photographs, because of the feeling of those ‘old, nostalgic times’. You can follow certain steps which can help you do a better job of your photographs, by working on them in Adobe Photoshop. For example, if you want a pleasing black and white photograph with a range of tones, you can remove the colour information from the photograph. For dual tone effect, you can choose the “duotone” effect, which will be applied to your photo to produce the pleasing Sepia toned effect, you would like. For the final touches, you can apply a “Hue/Saturation” adjustment layer.

For removing cracks and creases, you can use the Clone, Healing and Patch tools in Adobe Photoshop, although this may take a lot of time, in case the photo in question is severely damaged, because it requires fine work to bring them to good shape, as you go about ‘healing’ the crease-marks. If you visit online, you can also come in contact with technicians who have experience and expertise in advanced photo restorations.

Community Photography

One answer is for a small studio to contact a local community such as a Lake Association, a Rotary Club or any other organization that promotes a family lifestyle. Your deal to them is that you will photograph all the families in their organization who wish to have a family portrait. A couple of club volunteers can make the appointments fifteen minutes apart on a single day, preferably a Sunday. Two fifteen minute session can be awarded to extremely large groups. You may want to reward their help with a free set of portraits and a substantial donation to the club treasury.

Large groups are to be encouraged since you stand to make more money with large families. Wall portraits are to be preferred with large groups and breakdowns can swell the order appreciably. Pricing generally is half of the studio rate with not session charge. An eight hour day can accommodate about thirty families. Generally, end of summer is the best time for family portraits since the kids are back from vacation and new clothes are available.
Most communities have a community hall available for portraits if reserved well in advance.

A sample table containing all the sizes with several wall portraits on easels should greet the family on Portrait Day. Avoid using head close ups in your sample pictures. Several chairs for waiting clients and a check in booth will expedite flow.

As to equipment needs, a large (12′ x 21′) muslin background with attendant supports, five lights, tripod and camera is all that is needed. One soft box main of 200 watts, one umbrella fill of 100 watts, one 100 watt hair light with boom and two 100 watt kicker lights for an evenly lit background are needed for quality work.

I recommend photographing a name and session number included in each session for ordering ease. Packages ranging from one eight by ten and two five by sevens to ones including an eleven by fourteen and many eight by tens, five by sevens, and wallets. Four by sixes should not be available since they are large enough to take the place of five by sevens and also they look like the snapshots they get from their personal cameras. Wall portraits should be treated individually and priced accordingly with and without frames. Delivery is cost effective with all photographs placed in a large paper bag with your logo on the front. You should be able to qualify for reduced rates from the print lab.

In order to make money at this, you must use a good family portraitist who can work fast and neat. Pay him or her well. Two photographers work well, offering breaks and lunch times for less stress. Breakdowns should be encouraged – for instance : a family of two adults, three children, three grandparents and a dog should be photographed like this. Six photographs of the whole group (first), six photographs of two different poses of the family of five, three shots of the parents, six shots of the three children, two shots of each child, three shots of one pair of grandparents, and three shots of the single grandparent. One photograph of the mother with her parent(s) and the same for the father. These breakdowns will be irresistible to the client and will multiply your orders dramatically. I advise you to ask the mother for any special requests for poses. They are often shy to ask a special grouping or pose. Remember, this will result in a guaranteed sale.

Telephoto Lenses and Aquarium Shots

ISO 400 is the best option for capturing moving objects on film. It can grab shots of a fast moving subject without blurring the image. It also helps for when the brightness of light is low while the targeted subject is moving fast.

Lens Length?

A lens ranging anywhere between 28-80 millimeters is acceptable. However make sure that you use the best one available by first trying different types of lenses to achieve the most desirable results. For shots that are very close range, use an extending tube. The lens types you would otherwise use while taking outdoor shots might not produce same effect as when taking an aquarium shot indoors.

Be Aware of Shadows

Try various angles and techniques to achieve your most desirable results. Take multiple pictures from different directions to ensure that no shadows are caught in the background. It is advisable before shooting to wait for the fish to position itself so it appears to contrast against the watery background. Doing this will ensure that the subject appears sharp and clearer in the picture afterward.

Availability of Light

Without the proper amount of light, the shot you take will not provide you the appearance you desire. The aquarium should be well illuminated. Preferably, as stated earlier, lights should be placed at the top of the tank. Be extra careful handling the lights near the water since an electric current is involved. Mishandling them near water could prove fatal to both you and the fish. Position the lights first; then plug in the power cord.

It should be noted that the camera’s built-in flash should not be used for these pictures as light will reflect off the glass and cause glare on the final output.

Focus!

While the fish is moving, adjust your camera’s settings, such as the lens, aperture openings, shutters speed, etc. If a fish is moving toward you, increase the camera’s depth field to focus more clearly on the fish.

Secret to Great Photography

It may take a lengthy period of time of practice and building a good personal knowledge base before you achieve the skills of a professional photographer. This includes both technical skills and effective techniques.

In short, photography is one of the best ways to express one’s emotions. For a good photographer, this is a hobby that needs constant exploration. On the other hand, for a professional photographer, it is a method of conveying a concept. Either way, photography can be a thrilling experience offering almost unlimited means of capturing awesome scenes – even inside an aquarium.

Preparing For Your Portraits

Plan Ahead

Your photographer should offer to have a meeting with you to discuss and plan your portrait with you. During that meeting/ consultation, you and your photographer will get to know each other a little better, and he’ll get your ideas about what you want for your portrait. You should talk about color schemes, discuss hair and makeup options as well as the overall look and feel you want in your portraits. A thorough consultation will also help you start planning how to incorporate your portraits in with the other furnishings in your interior decoration scheme.

A Helpful Consideration

At the elite level of sports competition as well as in business, a method called visualization is used with excellent results. It can have a measurable effect in the end results of your portrait session as well. Obviously this will require some serious thinking. Consider who you are as a person, a couple, and, or a family. Condense your description down to one or two sentences. Then consider how you could best portray that “essence of who you are” in a portrait. Imagine what the portrait should look like. Imagine your pose, your clothes, your expression…visualize what it will look like, and the feeling of great satisfaction you will have as a result.

Wardrobe, Dressing For A Portrait

They say, “the clothes make the (person)”. The art of portrait photography is to capture not only the best view, or countenance of the subject, but also the personality and mood. It is a person’s eyes and face that tell the story of their personality. (Include body language in ¾ and full-length portraits). So, the goal of wardrobe in a portrait is to flatter the subject, and influence the mood. To that end, the clothes should be relatively subdued. Colors should be muted rather than bright and loud, and solid colors are usually better than prints. Aloha prints with a color print over a color background are better than those with white over a dark color. Those present too much contrast and will distract the viewer from the subject(s).

Keep in mind that the clothes help to set the mood or feeling of the portrait, so it’s best to avoid the ‘latest’, ‘greatest’, “in” styles in favor of more timeless standards. That is, if you want your portrait to have a lasting quality and value, and not be too dated.

Light tones in clothing, bright and cheery though they are, are not necessary for a portrait to have a bright and cheery look. It is also true that dark clothing will not necessarily present a somber mood. Again, it is the eyes and facial expression that dominate and tell the story.

In photographic portraiture, the fact that light colors diminish shadows produces the result that the figure appears slightly fuller. Also, very light or white clothes can tend to wash out your skin tone. The opposite is true with dark toned clothes: they intensify shadows, have a slightly slimming effect, and skin tones appear deeper.

Here are a couple more tips about dressing for your portrait: loose fitting, long sleeves will draw attention away from your arms. If you feel your arms are too big, or you have blotchy skin or band-aids on your arms, wear long, loose fitting sleeves. An open, scoop or V-neck shirt or blouse will add the appearance of length to your neck, where a crew or turtleneck will give the appearance of a shorter neck.

Jewelry And Accessories

Keep it simple is the best advice here. Remember, the part played by accessories and jewelry, the same as with clothing, is simply to flatter the subject, not steal attention from the subject: you. Unless an accessory or piece of jewelry is essential to the look or feel you want in the portrait, or is something you wear all the time, or has special meaning to you, leave it out.

On the other hand, if something is important to you such as your great aunt’s locket, or great granddad’s walking stick, or plays an integral part of your life such as a stethoscope, or a canoe paddle, talk with your photographer about how to include it in some of your portraits.

Makeup

Men will tend to skip right over this while women will zoom in…MEN: before by-passing this whole topic, look in a mirror at your face. What color is your skin? How’s the complexion? Circles under the eyes? Are your nose and forehead shiny? You want to look your best in your portrait, and it’s perfectly OK for men to blotter the forehead, put a little powder on for portraits. Even a little lightener under the eyes or blush on the cheeks! Even Arnold, and Steven Segal wear makeup when on camera!

Now, Ladies, just do what you do normally in applying your makeup, as if preparing for an evening at a benefit gala: tastefully a little stronger than for daytime. It’s a good idea to bring all your makeup to the session along with some tissues and cold cream. Your photographer may have some suggestions for color changes or additions.

Hair

Real basic here: Make sure your hair is clean and styled the way you want it when you get to the session. And bring your brush, comb, spray, gel, whatever you might need to re-do it! If your hair needs to be cut before the session, have it done at least a week prior to having your portraits made. If you are having your hair styled specifically for the session, have it done just before going to the studio.

Posing

Whether your portrait style will be literal or interpretive, if you give some thought to posing before going into your session, it’ll be easier to work with your photographer, and you will look more natural and relaxed in your portraits. In the weeks or days preceding your portrait session be particularly aware of people you see in commercials, movies, magazines, TV shows, at the park, at home, at a friends house. Try to see poses of individuals, or groups, which look good, and portray a quality of feeling or emotion as in a good painting. Imagine yourself or your group in the same or similar pose.

When we see ourselves in a photograph, or portrait, we don’t always look the way we think we do, or should. Fact is all faces are asymmetrical to a greater or lesser degree, and we can present different looks from different angles. It’s a good idea to look at your face in a mirror and ‘practice’ looks that you think are flattering to you. Check your smile from different angles. Look at your nose and chin from different angles. What looks best to you? Work on reproducing two or three looks that you like. When you get to your portrait session show your photographer what you like, and ask for help if you think you can use it. Remember, the lighting your photographer uses wont be the same as you have in your bathroom or hallway where your mirror is, so if he knows what you like, he’ll be able to reproduce it for you with his lighting.

Digital Flash Photography

Some of the tips listed will only pertain to Digital SLR users. These cameras allow you to manually adjust settings, change lenses, and also they provide a hotshoe to mount an external flash. This external flash is much more powerful than the built in flash, & it can give you the option to bounce and diffuse the flash.

Point and shoot cameras will often have a built in flash of their own. This does not provide the creativity of the SLR camera, but some of the following suggestions will pertain to these cameras as well.

  • Clearly see your background: Anything in your field of view behind your subject will also be in your finished photograph. Carefully check to see that any shiny metallic surfaces or mirrors are not lurking there. The light from your flash will bounce off these surfaces and come right back to your lens. The result being a big blob of white light.
  • Be sure to charge your batteries: The condition of your batteries will determine how long it will take your flash to recharge. In other words, how long before you can shoot another picture. The fresher your batteries are the quicker you can shoot again. Also, if your flash doesn’t use it’s complete charge, your recycle time will be a lot faster. It is always important to have fresh batteries, & maybe even a backup set.
  • Flash Falloff: Flash falloff is when the flash is more powerful in the center of the photo. This is most common with the compact cameras. To overcome this, try and position your subject to be in the area with the best light.
  • Type of Light: Light from a flash can often be very harsh. It is often helpful to bounce the flash off a wall or the ceiling, especially lighter colored ones. Another handy tip is to use a diffuser over the flash. Small plastic units will work, some use hosiery, some will angle a white notecard in front of the flash. Trial and error will help you determine what works best for you. Keep in mind that diffusers will reduce the amount of light produced. You must adjust your exposures accordingly.