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Category Archives: Photography

How to Photographing Your Pet

The first thing you have to understand when photographing your pet is it’s not going to do what you want it to do. So getting a “staged” or “posed” photo is not going to be possible unless you have a trained animal and good luck in finding one of those. The best thing you can hope for when photographing your pet is the best possible situation that is going to come about on its own. Having said that, there are things you can do to help the situation along.

For starters, you’re going to have to get down to your pet’s level in order to photograph it properly. That doesn’t mean you become a blithering idiot and start drinking out of the toilet. We’re referring to the angle of the shot. If you’re photographing a small cat, for example, you’re going to want to bend down to the floor in order to shoot the animal, unless of course it happens to be sitting on your favorite sofa taking a nap. In either case you want the camera to be at eye level with the pet. If it’s possible to get even lower than the subject, then by all means give it a shot. This will make for an even more interesting photo.

The next thing you want to make sure you DON’T do is startle the animal. No sudden movements or noises. These things are most likely going to end up chasing your subject out of the room in a hurry. You want to be quiet and sneak up on the subject slowly. This gives you the best chance of actually having a subject to shoot.

Action photos are great, but very unpredictable when it comes to pets. If you are lucky enough to catch your cat or dog in the act of playing with some object then don’t wait for him to look at you. Fire away. These make for some very interesting photos.

One way to get your pet to perform for you is to get a family member involved, especially if you have a child or somebody in the family who the pet is very attached to. Many cats and dogs will actually perform tricks for certain family members they are comfortable with. If you can orchestrate the situation then by all means do it. These will become some of the more interesting and entertaining photos you are bound to take.

When photographing pets, you’re going to probably have more “throw away” photos than good ones because of the nature of the subject. So make sure you have plenty of extra film. The last thing you want is for your cat to finally do that trick you were waiting six hours for and you’ve run out of film.

These tips are by no means exhaustive, but they will get you a good jump on getting the jump on your subject, before your subject jumps out of the picture.

 

Lighting in Photography

For starters, you need to know the difference between indoor and outdoor lighting. It isn’t just that one is indoors and one is outdoors. Sunlight, which is natural light and lamp light, which is man made light are quite different and will give you a different look to your photos.

If you’re taking photos in sunlight, for one thing, you’re not going to need a flash. Even on an overcast day the light from the sun is still stronger than anything you’re going to be able to hook up in a studio or home, unless you’ve got some serious heavy duty lighting that is sure to set you back a pretty penny. For photos in sunlight, you’re not going to need a flash at all. However, when taking photos in the sunlight you want to make sure that your back is to the sun, otherwise the glare that you’re going to get off the lens is going to destroy your photos. If you’re photographing a moving subject, like a model, this is always within your control. But what do you do if the subject you want to photograph, say a house, is right in the line of fire with the sun directly in back of it? Simple. There are filters that you can buy for your camera that will filter enough of the sun out so that your photos don’t look like one big sun spot. If you can’t afford a filter, or you have a camera that can’t be used with one, another technique that will work just fine is to shoot the object from an angle instead of head on.

What about lighting for indoor photos? Well, this is critical and unfortunately your photos indoors are only going to be as good as the lighting itself. With poor lighting your photos will turn out grainy, even with a high resolution digital camera and the colors will be washed out to the point where your photos almost look like they were taken in black and white.

So how much lighting is enough? It depends on how strong the lighting is and how close to it your subject is. You can get very good photos from a 100 watt simple living room lamp if your subject is standing right under it, sure. But sometimes this isn’t practical. The fact is, your common ordinary house lights, even 150 watt, are not going to be strong enough to get good photos. Professional lighting will be needed. This is going to require you to shell out a few bucks, but it will be worth it. Also, as with photographing a subject outdoors, you want to make sure the light is shining on your subject from either the sides of the subject of from in front of the subject, which would require the lighting to be set up behind the photographer. Never have the lighting set up behind the subject, especially if it is very strong lighting. The glare will turn your photo into an indistinguishable mess.

Of course lighting is much more complicated than this if you want to be a professional photographer, but this should at least give you the basics so that you can take some decent photos without having to get a major education in photography.

 

Photographing People Tips

1. Make it Personal

When photographing people involve sopmething that makes it more personal and about that individual. One of my favourite images shows a little girl in what is to her a very natural environment. Her grandfather breeds and races pigeons and since she could walk she has helped him in the daily tasks of cleaning and feeding them. The photograph shows her with the pigeopn on her lap as she feeds it peanuts. I always look to try and capture images that tell stories and capture a little bit of the true spirit of the person being photographed making it so much more personal.

2. Have Fun

False smiles are hideous and should be banned. Asking someone to smile or say cheese is a last resort. If you want natural smiles and laughs you need to create things for people to smile or laugh about. Personally I much prefer images with people laughing out loud to a posed straightforward Victorian styled portrait.

3. Always be Ready

I always remember a certain portrait session. I had been photographing a family on the beach. The little girl decided she wanted to climb onto a small pier that led out to sea. Luckily I had my camera out and managed to capture a few frames as she crawled along. Had I attempted to set this image up there are a million things that would have got in the way. As luck had it everything went right and a fantastic image was captured.

4. Get in close

Don’t be afraid to get in close and clip the tip of peoples heads out of the frame. Very often it helps the image, giving it a more dramatic approach.

If your camera doesn’t have a zoom facility then move closer physically.

5. Take Photographs Outside

You will get far far better images of young children if you allow them to play. As long as you pick a safe area you can let them run loose and do as they wish leaving you free to concentrate on capturing some magical moments. In my portrait business I take 98% of my images outside. I know this works as I continually receive more and more referral business from happy clients who recognise the joy and happiness in their childs expressions.

6. Catch people unawares

Very often the best images are when people don’t realise they are having their photograph taken. I recently shot a portrait session in London of a young couple. The girl had large ties to a market and wanted some atmospheric images. However her partner wasn’t keen to be photographed in public. I solved the problem by using a long lens and concentrated on capturing some totally natural images as they were walking around the market.

7. Change the angle you are shooting from

I always have a change of clothes with me when I am on a shoot because I tend to end up covered in mud. Don’t be afraid to lay on the ground. You will be rewarded by the images you take.

8. Capture natural reactions

Encourage people to react normally as they would every day. One of the joys of my job is taking images of new mums and their babies. I know if I ask mum to get in close to the baby nine times out of ten I will get a totally natural reaction as the baby and mother react to each other. All that is needed is for me to them judge the right time and capture the image.

I find if you ask people to get closer than they would normally do it will cause them to laugh. However this is not the case with teenagers as they see it as uncool to like brothers / sisters so with this age group differant approaches are needed.

9. Consider your background very carefully

The background is as important as the subject you are photographing. Ensure it is pleasing to the eye without distracting away from the image. Some colours are worth avoiding. Red for example will trigger the eye to look at it immediately and drag attention away from the main subject. People far cleverer than me have attempted to explain why (something to do with it being nature’s danger colour). The best thing to do when lining up your photograph is to avoid red altogether.

10. Practise

You can read a million books and visit every website on the planet but I believe there is no substitute to actually doing something and learning by experience. I personally run training days for people who like yourself just want to have a go at a new style of image making. The people who attend have various skill levels but as I place the emphasis on being as low tech as possible they are of use for everybody from the amateur through to the seasoned professional.

11 Be different

Try and do something out of the ordinary. Use your imagination to create images that stand out. If everyone else does a top ten do a top eleven, it will bring more interest guaranteed because it is out of the ordinary.

I wish you luck on your future image making and hope we can talk at some stage in the future.

 

Tips on Your Next Photographic

1. Get on Their Level – With a live subject it is important to get at eye-level before taking the shot. For children and pets this may mean kneeling, squatting, sitting or even lying down to get on the same level as your subject. While it is fun to experiment with different angles, you will have much greater success if you look your subject in the eye.

2. Fill out the Frame – Photographs are more powerful and interesting if the subject fills out the frame. Many photographers make the mistake of being too far from the subject. It is best to zoom in close enough the that the subject reaches or goes just beyond the edges of the photo frame in your view finder. This allows the viewer to see more detail and expression, and prevents the background from taking over the photograph.

3. Get a Little Closer – When you think your shot is set, try taking a few steps closer. Get in closer to your subject will show detail and emotion that add interest to your photographs.

4. Simple backdrop – When photographing a specific subject be aware of what is going on behind them. You want to choose a backdrop that will not distract or obscure the look of the subject. Choose plain color background or simple natural greenery with few accents to really highlight your subject.

5. Use the Flash – Most people think that outdoor photos never require the use of a flash, but that is not the case. When the sun is at its brightest, can be the time when it casts the most shadow. Adding a flash on an already sunny day can even-out the shadows cast by wrinkles, strange angles, or other people. Just make sure that your camera flash is close enough to the subject to be effective.

6. Watch the Light — Light is one of the most important factors in photo taking. When you get ready to take a shot, pause for a moment to take accounting of where the sun is and what shadows may be obscuring the view. You don’t want your subject squinting into the sun, nor do you want the light so bright behind them that it makes the subject look dark in comparison.

7. Go Vertical – Don’t get stuck in a rut. Many pictures would look better if you just turned them vertically. There are certain subjects that lend themselves to a vertical framing such as lighthouses, the Eiffel tower, or a beautiful tree. Try going vertical with some less likely subjects to see the difference it will make.

8. Get out of the Middle – Another common mistake photographers make is to put the subject of the photograph directly in the middle of the frame. This technique is usually not the most pleasing to the eye. Instead shift your subject to one of the four corners of the frame so that it is prominent, but not center stage.

9. Steady does it – Make sure the camera is steady when you are taking photos. A steady camera will prevent a blurry photo. If you are not the best at holding steady consider using a tripod to get a clear shot.

10. Shoot Away – If you really want to get better pictures, take more pictures, more frequently. With a digital camera it is no longer a waste to snap away. Feel free to take a lot of photos of the same subject, just varying the angle, lighting, or backdrop. Experimenting will allow you to find the tricks that work best for you, and will ensure that you will have at least a few great shots of each subject.

Several Tasks that You Have to Accomplish fro Hobby to Your Own Business

Market Your Photography Skills – Sell yourself, in other words! Let people know about what you can do in the field of photography, why they need your skills and why they should hire you. Make sure, however, that you charge them reasonable rates since you’re still more or less an amateur in the field of photography.

To effectively market your photography skills, don’t be afraid of spending a little money on posting ads in the classified sections. Don’t stop there but post about your photography business in as many places as you can.

Join Interest Groups – This could be the local photography club in your community or the association of young photographers in your school. It could also be a Yahoo Group that you could easily join.

Usually, these groups are able to hold regular or annual exhibits of their works and it wouldn’t hurt to expose to the world the beauty of your works in photography.

Join Photo Competitions – Two things that you could enjoy when joining photography competitions: fame and fortune. Both are equally important. Fame would do wonders to your career in photography because it would let the world know about your skills and winning a photography competition may also offer the prize of having an apprenticeship under a world famous photographer. And when it comes to wealth – well, when did extra money ever hurt?

Offer Your Skills For Free to Government Projects – The government is always on the lookout for professionals who are willing to work for free and you should take advantage of this. Offer your photography skills for free because this would give you the opportunity to show them what you got.

Offer Samples of Your Work to Newspapers and Magazines – This is just like joining a photography competition. When you offer samples of your work to newspapers and magazines, you’re improving the chances that you’ll get noticed by the people who matters.

Although we can’t say that the road to victory is easy, never give up, never stop taking pictures and you’re sure to go far!

 

How to Get Great Children’s Photographs

Don’t rush into things.

Children can be very shy at first and it takes a real skill to get a child’s trust in a short period of time. I have an advantage over studio photographers in that I regularly shoot out doors (about 95% of the time). This means I can often meet the children at there home or a place familiar to them which makes it easier for the child to be relaxed. Having arrived at the location I set about gaining the child’s trust and breaking down the shy barriers. This is essential if I want to capture the completely natural images I have made my name on. I never take the camera equipment in to the house straight away. I’ll leave it in the car until I feel the child is ready. This also helps the parents to settle down. Its important to realise each little one is an individual and as such there is no hard and fast rule of how to treat any of them.

Timing

Not only is your timing of each shot vital but also the time of the day. Children normally run on a routine that involves sleep, food, drink and play. If you schedule the shoot to take place in anything other than a child’s natural play time you are asking for trouble.

It should be fun for all involved.

If you want to capture natural expressions of joy (and who wouldn’t) then the only way to achieve this is to make it fun. Depending on the age group the way this can be achieved differs but the basic guideline is, you play by their rules. Find something that would entertain them. For example for 0-4 year olds can be easily distracted with a bubble machine. For over 4’s perhaps a kite or remote control car something that is both colourful and enjoyable. What you are aiming to achieve is a happy child who soon forgets about the camera and really is having great fun.

Don’t force things

As any parent will tell you trying to get a child to do something they don’t want to do is as close to impossible as things get. You can guarantee tantrums and tears follow if a child is forced into doing something they’ve decided they don’t want too. The trick is to get them to want to do whatever it may be. Constant praise is all that should come from the photographer on how well they are doing. When I’m photographing children and for whatever reason they decide that they’re not going to lie down / kneel or even stand I try once and then move on to something else. Ten or twenty minutes later I’ll come back to the original pose and try it again, nine times out of ten this will succeed as the child has forgotten about not wanting to do whatever it was and we get the shot. As is mentioned before, you’re playing by their rules.

Be prepared

You never know what each second holds when photographing children especially when you’re outside. Many things can make fantastic photographs, throwing stones into a lake, patting a dog, throwing leaves all this and more. If you switch your camera off and put your lens cap on it’s a sure way to miss fantastic unscripted moments.

Enhance The Experience on Landscape Photography

Lighting speaks volumes in landscape photography. Getting up with the sun at dawn, watching the animals hurry around as they gather their food for the day, and while the sun is just peaking its face over the background would make for great photo with perfect light. When the sun is on its way down, this is great for a landscape picture of peace and serenity. This time of day is when animals and people are heading home for the night where the land is clear of “clutter” and the trees, skies and land are open. Shadows will add depth to any photo of the landscape and give it more of a three-dimensional feel to it.

Landscape photography should be relaxing and fun to do. It also requires some time to get the precise composition. When a camera is slightly shifted one way or another, you can see how it will dramatically improve the picture you are looking to take. When it comes to taking a picture of the landscape, taking one photo is just as good as taking ten. You do not have to waste film on something that can be done right the first time, this can be achieved with a bit of patience, and some practice.

When photographing landscapes, give your photo a feeling of depth by including close objects in the frame as well as the distant objects.

A fine lens for landscape photography is the 50 mm lens that comes as standard equipment on many SLR cameras.But if you are seriously interested in photographing landscapes, a good lens to have would be a wide-angle lens.

Losing detail due to camera shake is the biggest problem in landscape photography.So, a tripod and a shutter release cable are very helpful tools to have.

 

Helpful Tips to Print Better Image

Printer

When buying a printer think about the materials that you’ll be using. If your are going to be printing your images in large format buy a printer that can handle rolls of photographic paper. These printers are usually more expensive, but great savings can be made when buying paper.

Paper

Photographic paper comes in many different sizes and textures. It doesn’t do any harm to test a few different papers from different manufacturers to see which one suits your needs.

Ink

When buying inks for your printer I would strongly recommend that you buy from your printer’s manufactures. Third party inks will give you great savings but may not be suited for your printer.

When buying a printer, photographic paper or inks, it is advisable to plan well in advance. If you are only going to print a small amount of images it may be better using your local photo lab. If you’re planning to sell a large amount of images, your own printer will be very valuable. Having your own printer will ensure that you can process orders immediately after getting them.

In today’s world, offering a speedy delivery can be the difference in making a sale. Using a third party to print your images may take a week or more before you’ll get your images back. This will not be good for your business.

Presentation.

When you are happy with the quality of your printer you now need to consider presentation. Placing an image in to a cheap frame will not do anything for your prints. Presentation is all about giving your images the impact they truly deserve. Before you print your images start thinking about presentation.

It is often very effective to add a white border in Photoshop before printing. If you decide against Photoshop I would recommend that you mount your image before framing.

When finished printing match your prints to your computer screen. If you think you have a problem with your final print you may need to calibrate your computer. This is a common problem with a lot of people printing at home. Most advance photographic software comes with a basic calibration program, which can be simply used in improving results.

Printing Tips

Before you print your images do a final check to make sure colours are perfect and that there are no marks on your image.
Make sure that you have the right quality settings on your printer.
Always use the best printing options available on your printer.
If you are using heavyweight paper – load the paper one sheet at a time. This will avoid clogging.

Once you are happy with your printing, allow your prints to rest for 24 hours, place a sheet of plain paper between each print when storing your images.

Other printing tips: Most ink and paper companies claim that their product dry instantly – this means that they are dry to touch. If you print you own images there are a few important points to follow before framing.

1 – allow your prints to rest for 15 minutes after printing.

2 – after 15 minutes place a sheet of white paper over the print – use standard paper – don’t use photographic paper. The paper acts as a sponge absorbing the outgoing gases from the printing process. Allow this process to continue for twenty-four hours.

3 – if the plain paper is crimped once removed, repeat the process for another twenty-four hours. If not, your image is ready for framing.

 

Landscape Photography Filters

Neutral Density Filters (ND)

Neutral Density filters will certainly help you with tough exposures. These filters work by cutting down the light that reaches your lens. These filters come in a variety of strengths with the most popular being 0.3, 0.6 and 0.9 – these filters will help with exposure without affecting colour.

One half of these filters is dark and the other is completely clear. They basically work by reducing brightness. The different numbers stand for the amount of brightness they reduce – 0.3 ND reduces light by one stop – 0.6 reduces light by 2 stops – 0.9 reduces light by three stops.

Lets say you arrive at a high contrast scene, – you take a light reading of the sky and get an exposure reading of F/22 at 1/8 second; you take a reading from the ground in front of you and get a reading of F/22 at 1 second. This is a difference of three stops of light. You need to reduce the brightness of the sky. By using the 0.9 ND you will reduce the light in the sky by three stops without affecting the light hitting the ground in front of you.

Polarizing Filters

A polarizing filter should be top of the list – a polarizing filter can be used with colour or black and white and is probably the most important filter on the market today. The polarizing filter will also darken the blue sky to give it a strong rich colour. It will make mist stand out and can be also used to give fast flowing water a misty effect. This filter is most effective with side lighting.

Warm-up filters

In overcast conditions, don’t put your camera away. This is an ideal time for you to switch your attention to landscape detail. On an overcast day images often appear cold and dull. Try using a warm-up filter. These filters will remove the dull effect that you get shooting without the sun.

The 81-series are the best choice and will give your images an extra bit of life. An 81A warm-up filter is ideal to use in adding extra warmth to low light images.

Filters for B/W photography

Just because you use black and white film it doesn’t mean that you can’t use filters – there are several filters for B/W photography. The polarizing filter is one of the few filters that work for B/W and colour photography. It will help to darken shades of grey in your final print.

The red filter is one of the most popular. This filter will darken the sky giving your image more impact. The most common red filter is the number 25. Filters for B/W work by transmitting light of its own colour, and holds back light of the other colours.

There’s a large amount of filters available; these are the most important filters for landscape photography.

There are also several filters on the market today that will do very little for your photography. Colour graduated filters should be left at home or placed in the bin – colour graduated filters work by creating un-natural colours, destroying your final print.

 

Photo Accessories

Tripod

A tripod is important for one main reason, keeping your images sharp. You’ll want to select a small aperture to maximize depth-of-field, so you should be using a shutter speed of less than 1/60 second. It’s impossible to get a sharp image holding your camera in your hand at these slow speeds.

When choosing a tripod pick one made out of carbon fibres, these are light to carry but are sturdy in the ground. Choose a tripod that the legs will spread out far, this will help to optimise the strength of your support.

Filters

A small selection of filters is well worth packing when heading off for a trip. They don’t take up too much space and will definitely add a bit of spice to your images. A polarizing filter should be top of the list, while a few Neutral Density filters will certainly help with tough exposures. A 0.3, 0.6 and 0.9 will help with exposure without affecting colour.

Bring a few warm-up filters to help when the light is cool. The 81-series are the best choice, which will give your images an extra bit of life. There’s a large amount of filters on the market today; these are the most important filters for landscape photography.

Correct Film

Fuji Velvia is an obvious choice for me when it comes to shooting landscapes. This is a slide film that is high in saturation and is perfect for capturing the colour of all seasons. It comes in two speeds of ISO 50 and ISO 100.

It’s always handy to have a few rolls of Black and White film in the bag. You never know when you see a scene and know that it’s perfect for B/W. Whichever film you choose, bring plenty of rolls; don’t be caught in the middle of nowhere without film.

If you are shooting with a Digital SLR bring plenty of memory.

Cable Release

If your camera has a connection for a cable release you should buy one. It is a perfect accessory to minimise the risk of camera shake – especially if you are taking long exposures. It doesn’t take up too much room and is extremely light.

Light Meter

All modern day cameras have light meters built into them, but if you are serious about landscape photography it’s advisable to have a hand-held light meter. These are small and of light-weight, and when used correctly are extremely accurate.