Warm Color Balance

You have already shot some video and on playing it back the colors just don’t seem right, the sky is not the blue that it was when you shot the clip and your face appears ‘different’ than what you see looking in the mirror.

So what do you need to do to to capture the rich colors that you would expect to see in a Hollywood movie and that nicer on the eye for your viewers.

The answer is that you need to ‘[tag]warm balance[/tag]’ your camcorder before you shoot to obtain better results. Now this is new to me and it is important that you appreciate what warm balance is compared to white balance.

Instead of using pure white, you will often get far better colors in video by using a light color, but something other than white. If you use a very pale shade of blue when you white balance your camera, you will get much deeper colors from your camcorder. It will actually help give pale skin a healthy, natural glow.

If you use a ‘minus green’ to do a white balance, it will help eliminate the pale effects normally seen when shooting under fluorescent lighting.

The picture shows a comparison between shots taken with a white balanced camera, and one that was warm balanced.

Thousands of television cameraman, videographers, and digital photographers around the world use warm balance every day because it is an indispensable tool for high end video production and digital photography.

You can buy warm balance cards from WarmCards.com or make your own. Print out an A4 page on your ink jet printer colored warm blue (hex color code: #D1EEF2) and one colored minus green (#DDF4E2).

Normally you will want to use the warm blue but the minus green is used when shooting under harsh fluorescent lights.

To use your warm balance card and improve the color of your videos do the following.

  • Set up your video shoot as normal and turn on the lights if using them.
  • Set the camcorder to manual mood.
  • Place the card or have someone hold it at face level and zoom in so that the color card fills the viewable area of the screen.
  • Press the ‘white balance’ button on your camcorder.
  • Remove the card, keep in manual mode and shoot the video.

Successful Stock Photos

Fake water reflections

Too many pictures have a fake water reflection, courtesy of Flaming Pear’s Flood filter. Whilst the filter can do a reasonable job, it usually ends up look fake and clichéd. On the off chance that I need to use it, I have this filter insatlled on my computer.

Don’t submit only monochrome images

Much as I love them, monochrome images, either straight black and white or toned, are of no use to me. Give me the color version and I’ll convert it to black and white if I need to and I’ll have complete control over the conversion process.

Isolate images on a white background

If you’re going to isolate your image from the background, please put it on a white background. Don’t use a graduated color, especially if your photo is of something glass. If you object is predominantly white, another color can work, but an image isolated on black never seems to look good to me.

Don’t rotate images

Rotating the image can make it seem more dynamic, but, if I have to straighten the image and then crop it, I’ll usually loose too much of the image in the process. Just give me a nice level image please.

Don’t overly manipulate the image

My vision of the final image may be different to yours and this just limits what I can do to the image myself. Don’t darken the sky and clouds, don’t sharpen it, don’t radically adjust the brightness or contrast. What ever you do, don’t blow out the highlights or block up the shadows.

Positive and Negative Space

Many photo books mention the idea that you don’t want telephone lines
coming out the ears of someone you are taking pictures of. While this is
true, that’s only the tip of the iceberg. By the way, have you ever wondered
what people mean when they use that phrase? When you look at an iceberg,
what you usually see is just the part that lies above the surface of the water.
No matter how huge it appears, you are only seeing 10% of the entire iceberg.
Imagine missing 90% of a movie, or 90% of a book. Would it still hold your interest?

Imagine if you will that no matter what you are shooting, no matter what it is,
the subject is only 10% of the problem. How is that even possible, you ask?
Well let’s think about what type of things can detract from a really good photo.
The background can detract. Lighting can detract. Shapes can distract. Color
can distract. Lines can detract. Texture can detract. I could go on, but I think
you get the general idea. No matter how wonderful the subject is, there are
many more factors that make up a great photograph besides the main subject.

I refer to this understanding as positive and negative space. Positive space
is the area of the photo you want your viewer to concentrate on. Negative
space is everything else. Negative space can actually be a positive thing as
long as it supports what you are shooting. Let’s say for example, you’ve taken
a shot of a small young lady reading a huge book. If the background has a big
picture window with a storm outside, it says one kind of story. If, on the other
hand, the background has rows and rows of books it tells a completely different
type of story. Obviously, if the book blocked part of another person, such as an
arm or a leg coming out one side, that would not be supportive.

When you think about positive and negative space in every shot, you soon become
more aware of other elements you might have easily ignored before. Have you ever
seen one of those optical illusions where if you look at a certain picture one way it’s
a young woman and if you look at it another it’s an old lady? What makes an optical
illusion work? Every person on the planet sees things his or her own way, based on
the experiences they have had up to that point in their life. Some people only see a
young girl or an old lady in the illusion. They may know that the other exist, but they
just can’t see it.

To become the best photographer you can be, you have to open your consciousness
to see multiple possibilities. I once shot a wedding where there were a lot of small
children. This made for some great candid shots. In one case, the bride bent over
while in the reception line to pick up a little girl. I was ready to take the shot, except
for one small detail. When the bride bent over, she revealed much more of herself
than she had planned. If I only noticed the child, I would have taken a shot that would
have embarrassed several people, myself included.

I encourage you to simplify the background when ever you can. But don’t close your
mind to the possibilities of images within images. If in the positive space has a young
couple kissing, and the negative space is a clear blue sky, that’s an OK shot. But if that
same shot has a little girl covering her eyes in the background (negative space) now all
of the sudden you have a great shot. We usually define positive space by what is dominate
or what is in the sharpest focus, but as you can see from that last example . . . there are times
when the negative space can actually be more interesting than the positive space. There
are some people who will never see past the tip of the iceberg. Just remember
the main subject often only represents 10% of the possibilities.

Myth of Mega Pixels

The word itself simply means a million pixels and a pixel is the smallest individual part of a digital image. If you have some viewing software that allows you to zoom right in to an image then you can see them for yourself – they just look like different coloured squares. You might recognise the “pixellated” effect used on TV to obscure peoples faces.

Every digital image (including the screen you are looking at now) consists of a rectangular array of pixels, the more is has, the bigger the image. If you look at the display settings on your computer, you can find the number of pixels in the screen image you are viewing right now. This should tell you the horizontal and vertical number of pixels. Multiply these two numbers together to find the total number of pixels.

A very common screen size is 1024 (horizontal) x 768 (vertical) pixels. Multiply these numbers together and you get 786,432 pixels in total. In terms of mega pixels, that’s less than 0.8MP. So, if you are looking at an image from your 10MP camera on a screen that is only showing you 0.8MP, where have all the other pixels gone?

In truth they have just been lost. The fact is that you cannot see any more pixels than exist for the size of the screen on which you are viewing them. In order to see an entire 10MP image your viewing software has to “lose” 90% of the pixels. If it didn’t, you would only see a small part of the image at one time and you would have to scroll around to see the rest of it. This is exactly what happens when you get a large image in an email or a website.

The number of pixels or mega pixels in an image is often called the “resolution” of the image and the more you have, the higher the resolution your picture will be. Resolution means the ability to see fine detail in the image so you should expect that a 10MP image would show a lot more fine detail than, for example, a 1MP image. But does it?

Well, if you are looking at the whole of your digital image on screen, the simple answer is – no!

You don’t have to take my word for it, you can see this for yourself if you have software that allows you to resize an image as well as zoom in or out. If you take a large image, make a copy of it and then reduce it in size to something around the size of your screen, you can then compare a high and low resolution version of the picture side by side.

When you make an image smaller you are, of course, lowering the number of pixels in it and therefore, its resolution. This is also what happens when your viewing software zooms out to fit a large (high resolution) picture on your screen. The difference being that the zooming process has no effect on the digital file itself.

When you compare a high resolution image that has been zoomed out to fit the screen with a low resolution one that is the same visual size without zooming, you will find the level of detail in both to be identical. It cannot be any other way. The maximum resolution you can ever see on screen is that of the screen itself. There may be much more resolution in the original image but you cannot see it and look at the whole image at the same time.

The fact is that of the millions of digital pictures taken each day, very few are ever printed. Most are simply viewed on computer screens and stored somewhere for later viewing. Whilst there is absolutely nothing wrong with that if you are one those people who never print digital pictures, then the myth of mega pixels applies to you especially.

If you are looking for a new camera, you will probably not find anything with less than about 4MP, rising up to about 12MP. As we have seen however, both these cameras effectively have exactly the same resolution if you are just viewing the whole image on screen.

What is more, the 12MP image will take up more space on your memory card (so it will hold fewer pictures) and you will need to resize it for sending by email or posting on a web page. It will also take much longer to send by email and view on a web page.

Even if you have a high resolution, large mega pixel camera that does not mean that you are stuck only taking large pictures. Digital cameras can take pictures at different resolutions and you simply need to find your settings menu to make this happen. The setting may be called resolution or size. Depending on the camera, you may have numbers or just high/medium/low as your choices. Setting the value to the smallest number or low will give you images that are much better suited to viewing on screen.

Loading Film Into Camera

There are various types of films on the market from which to choose. Historically, the most popular brands are Fuji and Kodak. You can also purchase film that is either black and white or color. And different types of film are designed to record images snapped at higher and lower shutter speeds. The higher the ISO number on the film, the faster the speed it handles.

A 100 ISO film, for example, is normally used for taking outdoor pictures. If used indoors, the outcome of picture will be darker and probably of poor quality. If a 100 ISO film is used to take pictures of moving subjects, the picture will look shaky.

An ISO 400 film, on the other hand, is suitable almost anywhere, whether indoors, outdoors, or for moving targets.

Lock and LoadSet the ISO on the camera according to the speed of the film. The ISO can be adjusted by using the speed dial. On most cameras, this dial is located on the left top of the camera, but it is not always there.

After this you should pull out the film tab from film casing approximately three inches. Using the release button, open the back of camera. As with the ISO setting, some camera position the release button on the left, and others on the opposite site. (You should take the time to become very familiar with the individual parts of your camera as displayed in its user booklet.)

Next, position the film inside the left portion of the camera such that the film’s flat surface is facing toward you. Then pull the film from its canister until it reaches the spool on the right inner side of the camera. Insert the film tab into the spool. Manually wind it counter-clockwise, the direction that wraps the film around the spool.

For an automatic camera, spooling is much easier. Once the film is properly positioned inside the camera, all you are required to do is shut the back of camera. This automatically spools the film.

When you are finished loading, adjust the film – if necessary at all – until the counter that sits on the top of the camera shows the number one.

At this point, you are ready to begin taking those amazing pictures. After each shot, though, manual cameras require you to move the film to next position.

Regardless of whether you have an automatic or manual camera, you should ensure the film is advanced to the next number after each shot and before shooting another picture. If the film does not advance, you could ruin a great previously-taken picture by snapping a second exposure on top of the first.

Shoot Video Like A Pro

Say YES to a tripod

The majority of home videos end up looking shaky, which is a drag to watch. Even with a small investment of $30 on a tripod, your footage look will look professional and steady. Also, you’ll have the ability to execute pans and zooms without trouble.

No tripod? Lean against a wall to minimize shakiness. OK, no wall you say? Putt your butt on the ground, bend your knees, and drop your elbows on them.

If your shooting an event where space is limited or you’re on the constant go I recommend a monopod. These are a real lifesaver. Not only can you get rock steady shots, you occupy less space and can relocate in a matter of seconds.

Give me light

It doesn’t matter how good your camera is. If you have crappy lighting, it will reflect (no pun intended) in your video. A quick solution to overcome lighting issues is to shoot outdoors preferably in the morning or late afternoon hours. Why? At these times of the day the light is less harsh and produces a more pleasant softer look on the video – no shadows over the eyes, squinting, or washed out skin tones.

If you must shoot indoors take notice of which way the light is directed in the room. Avoid shooting your foreground subjects close to bright windows behind them. You don’t want your camera to expose for the background leaving your foreground subject dark. Certainly let as much light into the room as possible and try to have the light coming from behind you towards your subject. If the light levels are low, its good practice to disable autofocus or you will encounter problems as the camera attempts to focus properly.

Hi-Fi Audio

Many people don’t notice good sound but they sure notice bad sound. Getting good sound does take some work but its do-able. The microphones built into most cameras are pretty basic and are not considered high-end. When your dealing with an uncontrollable environment it’s always best to get as close as possible to the source as possible to ensure the cleanest recording. You must monitor your audio with headphones to ensure the best results.

Composition

Proper composition is everything when setting up a good shot. Professional videographers obey the “rule of thirds” and you should do the same. Imagine a tic-tac-toed board over your viewfinder. The lines interact in four spots. Your goal should be to frame the action using one or more of those spots.

Of course, art is subjective and you can break this rule if your feeling creative. But exercise restraint: you don’t want to alienate your audience.

Candid Photography

Plan For Spontaneity

This may sound like a contradiction but it is a good idea to plan for spontaneity. What I mean is, think about the event that you are photographing. If you are at a friends birthday party, think about where most of the guests will be during the party and think about where you as the photographer can stand to take photos without being noticed. A lot of people stand in kitchens at parties to get away from the music so they can talk and tell jokes. Think about where you could stand and capture moments of spontaneity from the guests without drawing the dreadful posed “say cheese” kind of photographs.

Take Lots Of Photographs

Digital cameras with big memory mean that you have the ability to take a large quantity of photographs at no real cost to you. This is perfect for taking candid shots. Take as many photos as you can from many different angles and from many different zoom settings. From this you greatly increase your chances of getting some real gems.

Human Interaction

Some of the best candid shots I have taken have been when people are interacting with each other. It might be an animated conversation about politics or discussion of a book they have read. It could be a couple of children laying with a toy. The point is, human interactions result in some of the most incredible photographs.

Never Leave Your Camera At Home

This is a simple tip but probably the most important one. How many times in the past have you been out and about and seen something where you suddenly say to yourself, “I wish I had my camera with me”. I know this has happened to me so many times. You don’t have to carry a big Canon Eos SLR with you all the time, just a good quality point and shoot digital camera will suffice for some good spontaneous shots. Don’t forget to take some spare batteries with you though!

Stealth Mode With a Long Zoom

For the ultimate in stealthy candid photography, use a camera with a long lens and hide behind some nearby trees or bushes. Paparazzi photographers use this technique a lot to take photos of celebrities in candid moments. You can use this technique to capture candid shots of friends and family also though.

Sharing Your Photos

Remember the days when the phone company, AT&T, was the only game in town? We were impressed with its telephonic innovations, but not until diversification of the telephone giant, did we realize what we had been missing out on in the way of telephone service, lower fees, and innovations.

Likewise, today, not everyone agrees that Microsoft’s Operating System is the all-out best system. You’ve probably heard of one of the rivals to MS, Linux. The founder, Linus Torvalds, of Finland, had the idea he could build a better operating system than what was currently available. Some say he did. But more importantly, in the spirit of sharing, he opened up his source code to the community of programmers and would-be software designer wannabes. The “open source code development” movement was born. Open Source affords anyone, anywhere, the ability to contribute to a development project or to download and use an application or source code free of charge.

Many a software company lost a fortune due to the open source movement, and scores more individuals have benefited from it. It’s quite a controversial subject among software firms and developers alike, even today. However, in the spirit of sharing, without “copying,” Linus Torvalds has been able to take the Internet to the next stage.

Yes, Copyright is a colorful subject. It’s also controversial, especially when you are involving artists, photographers, writers – the whole intellectual properties community, in the discussion arena.

Pre-Wedding Photo Shoot

As time changes, there is a new concept which is trending. This new trend is called pre-wedding photo shoots. Everyone wants to flaunt about how they met and how their love story started and what better way to tell this through a pre-wedding photo shoot. Photographs are the best way to showcase anything. Every photograph has a huge story behind it. They are the most expressive tools available. There are many pre-wedding photographers available in Delhi. They are very talented and come up with creative concepts for not only pre-wedding shoots, but also other photo shoots.

They are professional photographers who come with a very affordable fee. They have very good skills and very professional. These photographers are ideal for pre-wedding photo shoots and never disappoint any client. They have their own tools and own props so that the client does not need to worry about the props and location and can easily enjoy their photo shoot.

If you are someone who does not have the budget to afford a pre-wedding photoshoot, here are some tips to make it happen on your own. Although professional photo shoots are always preferable, you can do it too! All you need is a good quality camera and a pretty location.

Whenever you take a closer shot use a longer lens. This helps taking a very detailed shot and helps capture those small and subtle details which are important to capture. Midrange lenses are not recommended as they might make the people look broader and unflattering. Longer and higher resolution lenses are always recommended and advised for great quality pictures. Always shoot in burst mode available as most of the poses are candid and a continuous movement goes on. When pictures are clicked in burst mode, it helps in capturing fleeting movements for a photo shoot.

Also set your shutter speed beforehand for capturing continuous movements. This helps to click continuous shots and helps to have multiple pictures and options to choose from. You can choose the best pictures by setting your shutter speed. Also talking to the couple beforehand is important. The couples are not models, so they can be camera conscious. Therefore, talking to them beforehand is always advised.

With a professional camera, a beautiful location and the couple, you are good to go. With all of them together and a great photographer, your pre-wedding photo shoot will turn out to be the best.

Take Picture Like Pro

  • Read the specs. Most consumers, when buying a camera, only look at the megapixels or picture elements that the camera provide. Although the higher megapixel, the better the picture comes out, there are also certain factors that you must be cautious about. There’s the anti-shake function, night mode, color tones (sepia, black and white, greyscale) and optical zoom. The anti-shake function is best for moving pictures. When pictures are taken with this function, the pictures do not come out as blurry. The night mode allows you to shoot even in low lighting. The color tones give you a variety of effects, from going really old in sepia or adding the drama in black and white. The optical zoom shows you how far your lenses can see. Usually, digital cameras have 6.7x to 20x optical zoom lens. The higher the lenses, the better you can see.
  • Clip it. To prevent shakes and blurs, clip your elbows to the sides when taking a pictures. This prevents your hands and arms from shaking and distorting the focus of the lens.
  • Frame it. When you peer into your lens, you usually see a box or defining lines around the edges. That is your frame. Any picture outside that line is not in the picture at all. Collect your subjects or the things you want to take a picture of, see if they fit the frame then click the button.
  • Experiment. You know how a picture up close has very sharp lines and the background is completely blurred? You can do that by coming close to an object and playing with your lenses. Creating effects as such are usually discovered by accident. Do not be afraid to explore your equipment. Cameras are worthy investments, so go ahead and play with them. Just don’t try to see if it could float.
  • Buy a photo software. Because of the continuously advancing technology, we can actually edit the pictures that we take. There are a lot of photo softwares available on the market. Make use of your digital camera’s computer cable, upload your photos and tweak on them so they come out exactly the way you want them to. Take them to the printers after and you will see results with your name on it.

These are just some tips that you can easily do with your digital camera. It’s not that I am discouraging you from taking up photography. Unless you want to do it as a job or career opportunity, these advices would do for now. So go out, get a camera and start clicking!