Well…maybe I am, but that’s not why I was in the straight-jacket! While I was in high school, I became enamored of the magical arts and became an amateur magician. (Yes,
I was a nerd and no I didn’t have a date for the prom.) One branch of magic is doing escapes, ala Houdini. Back then, Houdini had only been dead about 30 years and was more of a household name than he is now. – Escapes were big!
Photo Article 90
The Rule of Thirds –
Raising the Bar of Excellence
By: Tedric Garrison
The three greatest secrets of all time as far as photography is concerned include: leading lines, the rule of thirds, and framing. This article will only address one of these, but when you master all three of these, your photography will look better than 90% of all the pictures being taken on planet earth.
Centuries ago, Greek artists discovered that the eye tends to focus on certain points in any given image. If you divide your picture into thirds both horizontally and vertically, the points at which those lines intersect are the points where most people focus comfortably. You don’t have to draw an arrow, in most cases this is where they will look without any coaching from you or anyone else. This is commonly referred to as the “Rule of Thirds”.
By placing your subject (or point of interest) at one of these natural focus points, you have greatly increased the odds that the viewer will indeed be captivated by your work. As you do this more and more; people will notice that for some reason your work seems more interesting than their “Bull’s-eye” type snap shot. They won’t understand it, but they will be drawn to your work just like a magnet.
The Greeks and Egyptians were great mathematicians. I on the other hand; am not great at math, but I do understand the concept of 1/3rd in from the left or right and 1/3rd up or down. Those who know the formula will argue that it’s not exactly 1/3rd, but that’s OK. One of the things the rule of thirds does for your image is to give it movement. But wait a minute; you’re asking what if my subject isn’t moving? That’s fine, but it gives your mind somewhere to go with the image. When your subject is dead center, your mind takes one glance and says, “Ok, next.” Remember: “It’s kind of hard to experience a photograph, if there’s nothing left to the imagination.”
Even when doing extreme close-ups it is possible to use the rule of thirds. Think of a beautiful models face, what’s the first thing you look at? Do you immediately look at the nose? No, I doubt that very much. Usually you either look at the eyes or the lips. Both of these happen to be located where? Both of these heart stopping subjects are located 1/3rd up or 1/3rd down from dead center. Since the nose is usually located dead center; that’s why I tend to doubt that it was the first thing that would catch your attention. I’m not saying a person can’t have a cute nose, but where it’s placed in the picture will determine just how much attention it will get.
Most girls are self conscious about their looks, that’s why they tell you to back up. But in reality, that’s exactly why you should NOT back up, in fact, you should probably get closer. In a front facing full body shot, what area is approximately 1/3rd up from the bottom of the frame? Usually it ends up being her hips or higher. If a girl is thinking she’s fat, you don’t want people staring at her waist. Force the viewer to look at her strength’s. Draw his attention to her dreamy eyes; or her wonderful smile, not the few extra pounds just above her waist.
This same concept works for other subjects besides people. Say for example you have a beautiful stream coming down a mountain side. If you shoot horizontally with the stream dead center, most people will miss what you were trying to show. Now in this example, we also do have to consider the idea of leading lines as well. If the stream starts in the upper right third and ends somewhere in the lower left third of the picture, you have still taken advantage of the rule of thirds. This idea of placing objects where people naturally look is either overlooked or not understood by a large portion of amateur photographers. It is in fact one of the great secrets to raising your own bar to the next level of excellence.
Tedric Garrison has done photography for over 30 years. In college he was an Art Major, and firmly believes that “Creativity can be taught.” Today; as a writer and photographer he shares his wealth of knowledge with the world, at: https://betterphototips.com
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com
Photo Article 84
Choosing a Photographer
for Your Pregnancy Pictures
By: Monica Nelson
The process of choosing a photographer becomes more difficult than usual when you’re not after the usual family or wedding portrait. If you’re looking for someone who could capture you at your pregnant best, not just any photographer would do.
Tips for Choosing a Photographer for Your Pregnancy Pictures
Tip #1 Look for a pregnancy photographer who understands the essence of pregnancy. Don’t consider gender or marital status as an indication that your photographer understands what pregnancy means. Having kids doesn’t quite make the cut either. Understanding the essence of pregnancy, seeing the beauty of it and recognizing the glow of pregnant women is primarily dependent on the individual’s perspective of pregnancy regardless of who he is.
If you don’t see the same happiness you feel with your pregnancy in your photographer’s eyes then you better move on to the next one.
Tip #2 Experience is very important. Although it’s okay to good new and first-timers a try, getting your photo taken while you’re pregnant is not an entirely convenient process so it’s best that you work with a photographer with lots of experience photographing pregnant subjects. A photographer with the desired expertise won’t waste your time committing various mistakes that a first-timer could do.
Ask for the photographer’s portfolio and exact samples of pregnancy photos to know whether he has the requisite experience or not. Ask for the number of years he’s in the business and referrals.
Tip #3 Look for a pregnancy photographer with a style that matches your preferences. If you’re in love with sepia tone photographers, you won’t fall in love with the works of a photographer specializing in colored photos even if he had accepted numerous awards for his works. It’s all about style and since you’re the client, it’s your preferences that matter.
Again, ask for the photographer’s portfolio to get an idea if he can meet your expectations or not. Of course, make sure you inform him what you want as well because he could be willing to try something new in your case.
Tip #4 Although pregnant women are often described as glowing, this doesn’t mean they’re walking on sunshine all the time. Pregnancy can be an agonizing process: the added weight is unfamiliar and burdensome. There are also various pains and aches that pregnant women are exposed to during this time. As such, make sure that your photographer is willing to adapt to certain stipulations your condition could require.
If nausea often hits you during the day, you might prefer to have your photos taken at night. Will the photographer be able to do so? What if you’re confined to your home for the rest of your pregnancy? Is the photographer willing to conduct home sessions?
Tip #5 In the event that you’re willing to have your pregnancy photo taken in the studio, make sure that you look for the studio best equipped for pregnant clients like you. Look for the studio with the right service and supplies.
If you wish to have your photo taken with your children, will the staff be capable of entertaining them while you’re having your makeup on? What kind of makeup do they have? Will it be able to conceal scars or stretch marks in your body? Will they apply makeup to your belly as well? What kind of actual and digital retouching will they give you?
After having your pictures taken, does the studio have a private bathroom where you can clean up? Do they offer you free tea, slippers, or crackers to keep you comfortable and free from nausea?
What about privacy? You might want to get your photo taken in the nude, but will you have to bare your body to all to see?
Tip #6 Also, look for a pregnancy photographer that you’re comfortable talking to. It’s hard to get perfect photos taken if you’re not comfortable with the person taking your picture. Look for a photographer that you don’t have problems expressing your concerns to.
Tip #7 Last but not the least, consider the pricing. Compare and contrast rates offered. Does the pregnancy photographer offer packaged deals? What kind of payment methods is offered? Are there any discounts or promos you can take advantage of?
Take your time finding the right photographer because when you do, he or she will make everyone see just how beautiful a pregnant woman can be!
Monica Nelson shares information about womens health and fitness issues, and about specific topics such as pregnancy symptoms and advice for parents about teenage pregnancy. These health articles are provided as a helpful news service and are not to be considered medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about health issues such as pregnancy.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com
Now check on protocol, for example certain people will sit at the front centre and certain others beside them. For example the pipe band drum major often likes to sit or stand in the centre. Get this part arranged first and then ask all others to place themselves on your prearranged chairs. The group members will know, but do remember to ask. I’ll now show you a way to save some valuable time, end up with a more marketable photograph, and lighten up the group ready for their shot! When you have arranged the group almost ready for the shot, ask each person to turn and inspect the one next to them for straight ties, dust on shoulder, squint badges and so on, have then preen each other and do your work for you.
Consider joining a message board or forum that is dedicated to professional wedding photography. If you do, be careful to not ask too many questions at the beginning! Instead, spend hours reading through old posts and learning as much as you can. Once you’ve read several months worth of posts you will be in a better position to ask proper questions. Digitalweddingforum.com has a special “starting” section for beginner photographers – but there are other resources online as well. And be careful to not just READ the information, print the information out, shut your computer down, get your camera, and practice!!
Photo Article 76
Wedding Photography Tips for Amateur Photographers
By: Christopher Maxwell
This article is the fourth in a series that I am writing to help beginners that are preparing to photograph their first wedding. These articles are written for those who are serious about their photography and are willing to invest A LOT of hours preparing to shoot their first wedding.
If you aren’t serious about your photography and don’t want to spend time preparing for your first wedding, you might as well stop reading these articles as they won’t help you much. While I’m a firm believers in practical advice (which is what I’m trying to give in these articles) – nothing can replace the benefit of picking up your camera, taking photos, critically reviewing them, and then starting the process over and trying to take better ones.
This article continues looking at things you can do to prepare (ahead of time) for the wedding. The previous articles discussed knowledge of photography, preparing your equipment, online/internet preparations, wedding photography books, and spending time with the couple.
Create a Shot List
With the couple, work through a list of “formal” images that they want (if they want any formal shots). Be very specific! Find out exactly who is to be included in the “Bride and Groom with Groom’s Family” photo (parents and siblings? what about sibling’s spouses? or their children?). Otherwise, at the wedding, in the middle of the photo session while you are trying to call people together for the shot (I always try to enlist the help of the wedding coordinator or a family member/friend to round people up) you will have to ask the couple exactly who they want in the shot.
My goal has always been to present the couple with any and all decisions before the wedding so that they will hopefully not have to make any photography-related decisions on wedding day. I want them to enjoy the day! The last thing I want them having to be faced with is me, as the photographer, asking them who is supposed to be in a certain photo – when it is so easily dealt with ahead of time. I’m always open to extra photos they want or other people they want to include in formals, it’s just that I want to get as many decisions out of the way ahead of time.
For beginners, I recommend you put more than just the formal images onto the shot list. I know – a shot list is the last thing you would expect a photojournalistic photographer to recommend. But it is important for your first weddings. And I highly recommend putting photojournalistic/unposed images on the shot list!
Shots like “image of groom’s parents” would be great to have on the list. You don’t have to pose them for the image! You just want to make sure you get the image and can “cross it off the list” at some point during the day.
You can search the web for sample “shot lists.” Some of the wedding photography books also have shot lists. I never did like the incredibly long and formal lists online or in books. But, I would take them as a starting point and then cut them down and convert a lot of the shots to photojournalistic.
Practice, Practice, Practice!!!!
Once you have your list I recommend you practice as many shots that are on the list as possible. Enlist family and friends to help out so you can practice your posing and arranging skills. Ideally you’ll be able to find a “couple” that will help you out. Practice taking photos of her and him by themselves in the very same poses you’ll do with the bride and groom, and then take shots of the practice couple together.
The goal is not to setup a shot, practice that one shot over and over, memorize it, and then rigidly take that same image at the wedding. The real goal is to increase your skill and “comfort level” with posing people while at the same time lighting and composing the shot. If you increase your ability to take photos of a posed (or even an unposed!) couple, and can light and compose those shots properly, you’ll be way ahead of the game on wedding day! Think about it: while the wedding day is tremendously special for the couple, in regards to your photography skills, nothing magical is going to boost your skill on that day. You will be taking the same caliber of photos on the wedding day that you took the day before. Or, because you’ll be under pressure and possibly a little rushed, you may actually be taking images that are below your normal skill level!
Definitely go to the wedding and reception venues to take sample photos on-site. All the better if your “models” can go with you. If you can’t take a well-lit photo of your friend walking down the aisle at the church with the same lighting that will be used at the wedding —– you can probably guess what I’m going to say —– you won’t be able to take a well-lit shot of the bride coming down the aisle.
A good way to visualize your “training” for the wedding is to think about a Police SWAT team. They spend far more hours training for events than they do at actual emergencies. And when an actual emergency occurs, they know that they aren’t going to have a chance to “redo” anything – it has to be handled right the first time or lives could be at stake. The SWAT team wants the right thing to happen “automatically” and “instinctively”, and that is why they train so hard.
Obviously, your wedding photography isn’t a matter of life and death. But those that view the time before shooting their first wedding as a serious time of training and who actually practice will take much better wedding photos than those who don’t do much, if anything, to prepare. Sure, you might be able to “slide” by with your current skill level, but why not seek to improve as much as possible between now and the wedding?
Christopher Maxwell is a photographer in the Kansas City area. He has a web site that provides an FAQ for Amateur Photographers Who are Facing Their First Wedding. He shares practical advice and information that he has learned while photographing weddings as a professional.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com
Photo Article 80
Using Photoshop To
Create The Perfect Shot
By: Andy Bramhill
Many amateur photographers have recently switched over from using traditional film to the digital realm, especially with the advent of the cheaper digital SLR or DSLR cameras.
Now you can use your digital camera in exactly the same way that you could a traditional 35mm SLR. In fact the digital models are even better as you can set the film speed and make previews etc etc.
Having made the change to digital there are far too few photographers who realize the power of Photoshop.
Digital enhancement of your images is something that can turn some of the most amateur photos into professional looking shots.
The possibilities are endless but include;
Creating better composition.
This is the first and most important step in creating the perfect image. Get this right and your photo could be stunning.
There are certain rules to the composition of the perfect image which we will not go into in detail here but you can adjust your image in Photoshop so that it adheres to some of these rules. For example, with a little creative use of the crop tool you can resize your image and adjust the position of the subject to fall into one of the key positions making it more pleasing to the eye. For example, in most cases, a central subject is not as effective as one that is offset to the side (adhering to the rule of thirds). Using crop can effectively move the subject over, up or down to position it perfectly.
Create depth of field.
You can quite easily add depth of field to the images that you have taken “snaps” of. If you have an image that is completely in focus and the background too is in focus (a common effect of non SLR digital point and shoot cameras) the you can solve this using Photoshop. You simply draw a mask or make a selection around the subject, invert that mask so that it selects all but the subject and apply a blur effect to the part of the image that is selected. In the later versions of Photoshop there is actually a filter that emulates the natural lens blur. The end result is a sharp, in focus subject with an out of focus background. This can be very effective and can draw attention to the subject.
You can change the color of your image and balance the overall exposure of your images in a number of ways. The most common is by using the levels function or the curves. Here you can gently touch up your photo making the dark areas darker and the lighter areas lighter to achieve greater or lesser contrast.
There are countless other methods and techniques you can use with Photoshop to better your images without having them look like they have been altered. Selective blurring can give the impression of movement, you can change certain areas of a photo such as the color of a specific object, red eye effects can be removed, skin blemishes and spots can be hidden and even with a little more skill and knowledge, complete makeovers can be achieved.
We have an ever increasing collection of video tutorials on our Photography Book web site which show you step by step how to achieve some of these process.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that Photoshop is a tool for designers and fantasy artists alone. It is fast becoming the chosen tool of the trade for most professional photographers and is used on a daily basis.
If you found this article of interest you might want to check out some of the tutorials on offer at our web site. We also have a popular digital photography blog which offers many tips and trick on a daily basis. Subscribe to our blog here.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com
Normally, I would be in and out of the room where the bride is getting ready (but I do not take photos of the bride while she is changing) and would be communicating to her about the schedule. Not telling her what time it is and what she should be doing, but letting her know a little while before 1:00 p.m. to see if she thinks she’ll be ready. But, either way, I’ll let her know that things are going great. Don’t be the bossy, domineering wedding photographer that is trying to run the schedule and rule the day. Be flexible – and accommodate the couple on their wedding day. Rest assured: most couples really do want the day to go according to the previously-arranged schedule.
Photo Article 63
How To Be a Successful
By: Elizabeth Soergel
People comment to me all the time about the fact that I must just love what I do. The truth is – absolutely I do. Wedding photography has changed drastically over the last 10 years and I am excited and grateful to be part of such an exciting industry.
Of course being successful in this industry takes a lot more than just knowing how to take great shots. Vancouver has become one of Canada’s must competitive markets and staying on top takes constant effort and dedication.
The thing about wedding photography is that pretty much anyone can get a camera, put out an ad in the local wedding directory and get a few phone calls. That’s the beauty of this industry. It’s ready made. It’s assumed by most that you need a photographer at a wedding. Budgets automatically include photography services so all that is needed is to ensure your visibility to an ever changing audience. Only once in my career have I had a repeat bride.
This is where the real effort comes in. Aside from producing great work – which actually comes naturally to most photographers I know – marketing is the most challenging work. It’s important to define your ideal client and approach it with that in mind. Knowing your audience will determine pricing, which product to carry and which avenues are best suited to advertise your service and reach the brides you want to attract.
What are some ‘must haves’? A well designed and easy to use website is first. Everyone knows the internet is the best tool for both supplier and consumers. Use it. Once your site is designed and looks hot – hire the right people to get that site placed where people will see it when searching for Vancouver wedding photographers.
Offer a unique product that will separate yourself from the rest. Figure out what it is that you are offering that is different and exciting and market that. If you don’t stand out you will simply blend into an ever growing mass of average wedding photographers.
Under promise and over deliver. We’ve all heard this a million times but giving great service is what makes people talk. I hear so many stories from my brides about vendors who seem to care very little about them. It’s as though these vendors have taken their brides for granted. A wedding is one of the most important events in a woman’s life and they want to feel special. Help them feel that way by giving them 110%. Your clients will be excited and grateful and will rave about you to their friends and family.
Vancouver brides are very wise and informed shoppers. With the resources Vancouver’s wedding industry has provided – brides learn what to look for and where to find the best photographers this city has to offer. That’s why it takes more than just a phone number, website and a couple of ads to ensure a long and successful career in Vancouver’s wedding industry.
Elizabeth Soergel is a Vancouver BC based wedding and portrait photographer with over 10 years of experience.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com
Photo Article 64
Ten Tips for Photographing
Wildlife Like a Pro
By: Stephen W Oachs
Tip 1: Miss the eyes and you’ve missed the shot. Getting the eyes in focus is key to capturing a photo of an animal. It’s human nature to look at the eyes. It’s how we determine emotion and how we connect. When I was in Homer, Alaska, I came across a moose on the move. Given it was early morning and the light was low I knew getting a fast shutter speed to freeze his movement would be tough, so I quickly adjusted my camera to lock the focus on his eyes, and took the shot. The majority of the picture was a bit blurry, but because the eyes are in focus, the shot was saved.
Tip 2: Use a telephoto lens. Getting closer to the action, yet staying a safe distance, is the key to photographing wildlife. By keeping your distance you allow the animal to be in their comfort zone and are more likely to get natural behavior. Safety is also a factor when photographing in the wild. Always keep at least 100 yards distance from wildlife, for your safety and for the well being of the animals. Another good use for a telephoto lens is a trick not many people know, which comes in very handy when photographing animals in the zoo that are behind fencing. If you move close to the fence (keep a safe distance) and use at least 100mm of your telephoto lens, focusing beyond the fence, with a wide aperture, you can “focus out” the fencing and take a photo of the subject with no wires! Now, there are some exceptions, such as, if the fencing is black you’ll have a much better chance of pulling this off. Regular chain link fence is gray and semi-reflective, which in the sunlight can cause a glare and is often too bright to focus out. I’ve also had some successes at trying different angles, so experiment for your best results. I often shoot with a Canon 100-400mm IS USM and a Canon 28-300mm IS USM. If you’re new to telephoto lenses, on a budget and not sure what to get, I suggest the Tamron 28-300mm or a Sigma 70-300mm. I’ve also had great results with the Sigma 50-500 which, as of this writing, I consider to be the best bang for the buck. These lenses all work with teleconverters of 1.4x and 2.0x so you can easily extend your reach even further, often while keeping auto-focus (with Canon L lenses, a minimum aperture of 4.0 or less will support auto-focus. Above that a manual focus is your only option.)
Tip 3: Use a wide aperture. Learning the effects of adjusting your camera’s aperture will go a long way toward improving your photographs, especially in portrait style shooting. In a photo of a grazing elk I shot in Yellowstone, I chose a very wide aperture to blur out a potentially busy background and bring attention to the subject instead. As you learn to control your camera you’ll also find that adjusting your aperture will have a direct effect on your shutter speed. This will prove especially helpful when shooting in the early mornings and late evenings, when animals are typically most active and the light is warm and muted.
Tip 4: Adjust your shutter speed to stop/show the action. When animals are on the move you need to decide quickly on the type of shot you want to take. If you want to freeze the action, you’ll need to shoot at 1/500 or faster and depending on light, that can be tricky. One option, if you’re shooting digital, is to adjust up your ISO, which will make your sensor more sensitive to light and give you that needed boost in shutter speed. Now, if you want to give a sense of motion to your image, try shooting with a shutter speed of 1/4 to 1/8 and pan your camera with the animal. Pan steady and remember, keep the eye in focus if you can! For best results, pick backgrounds that are uncluttered and simple, as this will make the subject standout in the image.
Tip 5: Use a flash to fill in shadows. It may sound odd, but using a flash outside on a bright sunny day actually makes a lot of sense. In this situation, you’re not using the flash to illuminate the subject, as you would in a dark setting, but rather to fill in the shadows and provide detail where harsh shadows would otherwise be heavy and dark. It’s important to use flash wisely and here are a couple of other suggestions:
- Be conscious of the animal and whether flash will scare them and,
- There are times where your only shoot is through glass — using a flash behind glass will ruin your shot. The glass will reflect the light back at the camera and you shouldn’t be surprised if all you get is a big white picture!
Tip 6: Plan for the best light. There’s nothing like a cloudy day to provide soft, even light for wildlife photography. Clouds act like a giant diffuser to the sun, spreading the light out evenly and taking away harsh shadows that are created by a bright, sunny day. Of course, a cloudy day has its challenges as well, such as lower light, which will force you to adjust ISO and shutter speed settings for stopping action and getting sharp, in focus images.
Tip 7: Composition – Framing your shots. Some simple framing advise can go a long way toward improving an image, and for those who are computer savvy, a little trick called cropping (software technique to cut a photo) can help improve composition that wasn’t quite right at the time the photo was taken. The best way to think about composition is to picture a tic-tac-toe grid in the view finder of your camera (I’ve seen some new cameras that come with this as a feature you can turn on!) and use that grid to organize your shots. There is no hard rule, but the general theory behind good composition is that your subject lies in one of the crosshairs of the grid. Setting up your shot to lead the eye is also a good example of composition.
Tip 8: Shoot with two eyes. This is a tip I’m sharing here, but often have a hard time remembering myself. I can’t tell you how many shots I’ve missed because I didn’t see the action coming. By keeping both eyes open you’ll see the subject in the viewfinder and you’ll also see what’s going to happen next.
Tip 9: Anticipate behavior. This tip goes well with Tip 8, shoot with both eyes, because anticipating behavior is often key to capturing a rare moment, action and unique situations. Panning the camera to follow an animal can be a tiring process, so often I’ll study the animal’s behaviors watching for a pattern and then use some anticipatory shooting, and a little luck, to hopefully capture that perfect moment.
Tip 10: Use a tripod. Using a tripod is one of the best things you can do to improve your photography, and wildlife is no different. By mounting your camera to a tripod you reduce camera shake, which is usually the cause of blurry photos. To take this a step further, I use a shutter release cable, which eliminates the need to touch the camera while snapping shots and thus removes almost all potential for camera shake.
Bonus Tip: Shoot. Shoot. Shoot. This tip is a no-brainer for those of us who shoot digital. Shooting digital is cheap — technology is advancing so quickly that, as of this writing, a 4 gigabyte memory card is selling for less than $100 and you can get A LOT of photos on a 4 gig memory card. The bottom line of this tip is take photos….a lot of photos. Don’t be shy. I often take multiple photos of the same scene or subject and then later choose the best from the group. This is also a great way to learn; by adjusting your camera between shots you can experiment and see the results of different settings of your camera. And, don’t sweat the details of trying to remember which photo had which settings…another great thing about shooting digital is something called EXIF (Exchangeable Image File Format). EXIF data is written to every photo so that later, upon review, you can see every setting your camera used to take that image.
Stephen Oachs spends every chance he gets looking through the viewfinder of his cameras. He is an accomplished nature photographer with an impressive gallery of stunning wildlife shots. Visit his photo journal at www.stephenoachs.com. Read more about him at his blog, stephenoachsphotography.blogspot.com. When not taking photographs, Stephen’s day job is spent as technical director of VisiStat.com, a leading next generation Web Analytics service that specializes in real-time Website Performance Management.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com