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Category Archives: Photography

Know the Mistakes when Photographing Waterfall

#1 Photographing Waterfalls on a sunny day

Sunny days in the forest may be nice for close-up studies, but adding sun to a waterfall landscape is not a good idea – the range of light and dark is so extreme that your compositions will be washed out or hidden in blackness. The best time to head out for a waterfall shoot is on an overcast day, with or without rain.

#2 Setting your camera to auto-select aperture and shutter speed

Metering is something that cameras generally do very well. They begin to fail, however, when you start to introduce very white or very black subjects in an image. The reason for this is because humans see in 16-stops, whereas cameras “see” no more than 5-stops. This means that images with high contrast are not correctly exposed when left to the camera’s automatic settings – if you have a lot of white in your subject of focus, the camera tends to make it grey in the final image, and correspondingly underexposes the rest of the image. Similarly, if you have a lot of black in your image, the camera tends to make the black turn out grey in the final image, thus overexposing the rest of the image.

#3 Shooting Waterfalls without a polarizing filter

In a nutshell, polarizing filters cut the glare. Wet surfaces tend to reflect the sky colour, so you’ll actually need the polarizing filter more for rainy days where the sky colour is grey than for sunny days. But we’ve already agreed you shouldn’t photography waterfalls on sunny days… Removing glare from an image allows you to see the colourful world underneath the glare, and no amount of Photoshopping after your shoot will fix it.

Tips to Correcting #1, #2, #3

The idea is to meter off the part of your composition that would be closest to medium grey, should the image be turned to greyscale. If your waterfall is surrounded by lush forest, try metering off nearby green leaves or grass – never off the waterfall, and never off anything in shade. If you’re photographing at dawn or dusk, meter off the sky. This will make the waterfall appear white, and the shady areas appear black. It’s really very simple!

In automatic mode :

First, learn how to “lock” your camera’s exposure so as to trick it into getting the right exposure. (Each camera is slightly different, so you’ll have to check your manual for more information.) Enable bracketing if you’ve got it. Point your camera at the green leaves or dusky sky, and lock your exposure. Re-focus your camera on the waterfall, and click the button – this should tell your camera to expose the scene how we see it, and not what its algorithms have told it to do.

In manual mode:

Set your exposure to -2/3 of a stop. Point your camera at a spot nearby the waterfall that is neither bright nor dark. Set your aperture and shutter speed to whatever you prefer (see Mistake #4). Now point your lens at the waterfall and frame the scene in your viewfinder. Click the button and voilè  Рbeautiful exposure!

#4 Leaving your waterfall site without trying to slow the water motion on camera

Let’s face it, it’s fun to try to make those ethereal shots of rapids or waterfalls where the movement of the water looks like silk. Why walk away from a waterfall if the conditions are right for taking such a shot?

Tips to Correcting #4

It’s very simple; here’s what you need to do:
– ensure the sky is overcast
– decrease your ISO setting to as low as possible
– consider enabled auto-bracketing on your camera, if you have it, or setting the exposure to -2/3 of a stop
– set your camera up on a tripod and frame your waterfall in the viewfinder
– lower your shutter speed to 1/15th of a second or less
– take a shot and check the histogram
– play with slower shutter speeds and different exposure bracketing

Black And White Photo

For some reason it’s hard to remember our parents were children once too. We only know them as the adults they have become. I want my children to be able to do the same thing with me one day. So far my wife and I have accumulated around a dozen photo albums. We have two or three of them made up of black and white photos.

Some people actually prefer black and white photos since they tend to hide imperfections a little better. However, now days the digital cameras are so widespread and simple. So many photos are taken and downloaded to our laptops. This is much less expensive if you don’t print them out.

Do you take a lot of pictures? Well, if the answer is no, then you should start. Pictures are the keys to great memories. I noticed that I did not start taking oodles of photos until I had my first child. Suddenly, I wanted to preserve every single pose. Some of my favorites are black and white photos.

These old-school pictures have a certain presence all their own. It’s almost like they show a deeper emotion. There’s something to be said about the lack of color. It allows us to see beyond the mere cosmetic factor. This is why my wife and I love to shoot plenty of black and white photos of our children and family.

In this modern world of color, it’s rather hard to come by classic black and white photos anymore. If you’ve not dabbled in this area of photography, I suggest that you at least give it a shot.

Get some great black and white photos of your family and loved ones. If you would like a preview of some extraordinary black and white photos, you can always surf the web and find a spectrum to choose from.

The quality is not lost in black and white photos, it’s merely the color. After dealing with both sides of the coin, I don’t think I will ever prefer color pictures over black and white photos.

Exposure and Metering Basic

Exposure

Exposure is the quantity of light allowed to act on a photographic material. It is a product of the intensity, which is controlled by the lens opening (aperture), and the duration (shutter speed) of light striking the film or paper. Your ISO setting, your aperture size, and your shutter speed directly impact the exposure of an image.

Metering

Metering is the process of calculating the best exposure from the existing light conditions.

When your digital camera meters a scene, it measures the amount of light in the scene and calculates the best-fit exposure value based on the metering mode (see below for details). All meters are designed to produce midtone results – neither black nor white, neither light nor dark, but somewhere in between. Metering systems are typically calibrated to a value of 18% gray because a typical scene reflects the same amount of light as this gray value. As a result, scenes with high contrast can give the automatic exposure a difficult time.

The metering mode on your camera defines which information in the scene is used to calculate the exposure value. Metering modes depend on the camera and the brand, but are mostly variations of the following three types:

# Spot (Partial) Metering
Spot metering is a method of metering that only uses a small spot in the centre of the composed scene. The size of the spot varies with the brand of camera, but typically ranges from 1% to 3.5% of the image area. Partial metering covers about 9.5%. Spot metering allows you to meter the subject in the center of the frame (or on some cameras at the selected AF point). This type of metering is useful for brightly backlit, macro, and moon shots. Use this metering method when your scene has significant differences in brightness (e.g. between foreground and background) or for subjects that require precise measurement, such as close-up photography.

# Center-weighted Average Metering
Center-weighted metering is averaged over the entire scene with emphasis placed on the center area (typically 75% based on lighting conditions at the center and 25% outside). It assumes that you will be composing with the subject in the middle of the frame and most of us know this is not always the case. Center-weighted metering is probably the most common metering method implemented in nearly every digital camera and the default for those digital cameras which don’t offer metering mode selection. Most centre weighted systems have greater sensitivity in the bottom half of the frame, which, when used in landscape format, cut down the influence of the bright sky on the exposure. Be careful when using this mode for portrait photography when the camera is turned on its side.

# Matrix or Evaluative Metering
Matrix was introduced to the world in 1988 with the Nikon F4. This is probably the most complex metering mode, offering the best exposure in most circumstances. Essentially, the scene is split up into a matrix of 3 to 16 or more, typically 6 metering zones which are evaluated individually, taking into account such factors as the focusing point in use, subject size, position, distance, overall lighting level, front and back lighting and color. The overall exposure is based on an algorithm specific to that camera, the details of which are closely guarded by the manufacturer. Often they are based on comparing the measurements to an on-board database of images. Matrix metering uses a microchip that has been exposed to literally thousands of picture-taking situations. As you point the camera towards your subject, matrix metering recognizes its light/dark pattern and reads the light accordingly.

If you test your spot meter on various parts of a scene you’ve composed, you’ll no doubt prove to yourself that there is a vast range of light and shadow, but since the film or digital card cannot record more than a five stop range, what difference does it make? You will still end up keeping the same two or three exposures that were created using center-weighted or matrix metering.

Both center-weighted and matrix metering prove accurate in 90% of one’s picture taking efforts. That should boost your confidence in choosing them when you realize that nine out of ten pictures will be a correct exposure! In either center-weighted or matrix metering modes, you can aim, meter, compose, and shoot when your subject is frontlit, sidelit or under an overcast sky.

 

Steps to Consider when Starting a Photography Business

1. Start by defining the type of photography you choose to offer your clients. Everyone has a different reason for becoming involved in photography. Some love working with babies and children. Some prefer working on location with families and pets. Some love commercial work, and making products come alive. Some find passion in creating wedding photography.

While many photographers choose multiple specialties, keep in mind that any one of these can make a lucrative career. The more passion you have in your chosen line of photography, the easier it is to promote your work, and get known within your specialty.

2. Establish your business identity. Once you decide on your specialty, use that specialty to identify your name and your brand. While some photography studios are named after the business owner, others use a more generic name.

A name is a personal choice. But above all, make sure your name speaks to your desired clientele.

3. Decide what resources you need for your business. Do you need a commercial location for a studio? Will you work out of your home? What type of camera equipment will you need? While a start-up business shouldn’t invest in extravagant equipment, you should purchase enough equipment to sufficiently do your job, and to have backup equipment available at all sessions.

4. Decide what vendors you will be using for your business. A photography studio needs a variety of services, including a professional photography lab, album companies, framing companies, office supplies, and production supplies.

An easy way to find many of these vendors is to attend a photography expo. There are many local, regional, national and international expos available to the professional photographer, including Professional Photographers of America, and Wedding and Portrait Photographers International. And sign up for newsletters at places like VirtualPhotographyStudio.com to stay on top of some of the newest and most exciting trends.

5. Join professional organizations to network with like-minded individuals. There are a variety of professional photographer organizations. It’s also important to join organizations in your community, such as entrepreneur groups, networking groups, and chamber of commerce’s. All can provide you with invaluable resources.

6. Market your business to prospective clients. Every business needs customers to survive. Top priority for any new business is to bring in new clients not only to establish yourself as a business, but also to begin making a profit for your business.

7. Add your own goals to your photography business checklist. Provide specific goals that will help you realize your dream. Add things like ‘quit full time job in October’ to help motivate you to take action on your ideas.

 

Techniques of Photography

Standard lenses

Standard lenses are the most common use on today market. A standard lens has a focal length between 40 mm and 60 mm, which can be used for all types of photography. It’s the most flexible of all the lenses and should remain on the camera body at all times.

Telephoto zoom lens

for any one interested in wildlife photography a telephoto lens should become your standard lens. With a focal length of between 60 mm and 300 mm, this is also a perfect lens for the sport enthusiast. The telephoto lens allows you to capture the far away object and can also be used for landscape images

You can use this lens for close-ups, but be careful with your composition. Large areas of the image will become blank and could destroy your picture.

When using a telephoto lens always make sure that you have the camera supported with a tripod. If you cant use a tripod try using a beanbag – rest the lens on the bag when taking your images.

Wide-angle lens

Wide angle lens is the choice of most landscape photographers. They allow you to include as much of the scene as possible when you look in your viewfinder with a wide focal length of 17 mm to 40mm. The wider the lens you use, the closer you need to be to an object of foreground interest, to add impact to your photography. Ultra wide-angle lenses have a focal length of 8 mm to 28 mm.

Macro lens

Macro lens is perfect for ultra close-ups shots with an average focal length of 100 mm. If you are looking to take images of small objects, such as: flowers or insects, a macro lens should become part of your camera bag. A macro lens will also allow you to take unique abstract images. By using a wide aperture with a macro lens on natural shapes can create the perfect abstract image.

Film vs Digital Cameras

History

Originally, there was resistance from the professional photographers to buying digital because the quality of digital images was significantly less than film quality. But now, the resolution and sharpness of digital images has all but caught up to what is possible with film, and certainly any images I print (up to 13″x19″) are handled by digital just as well as film. Quality printers and paper for the non-professional market have improved, too, so printing selective images at home is now a viable option.

Feedback

The real reason why I prefer digital cameras over film is because digital cameras allow you the ability to see your image immediately, without you having to go home and develop the film before you figure out what you should have done differently. It also gives you the freedom to delete bad images immediately, without having to pay for any extra developing – I can’t tell you how many rolls of film I’ve wasted with poor shots, only to throw them away and be frustrated. With digital, I don’t care how many shots of the same thing I take unless I’m close to filling up my flash card. If the sun comes out after you’ve taken your last shot, you can delete it and snap another.

ISO Settings

ISO is also conveniently handled with digital cameras by giving you the ability to change the ISO setting in between shots. In the film cameras, you had to wait until you were finished with your current roll of film before rewinding and switching your 800 ISO-rated film to a 100 ISO-rated film. What a pain!

Cost

The up-front cost of a digital camera is usually more than a film camera because you have to purchase a flash card on which to store your digital images, instead of rolls of film. However, the long term cost of digital photography is notably cheaper since you never have to buy a flash card again – buying film and paying for development is very expensive, and is where a lot of companies make their money. Having said that, even large companies like Kodak have noted the market shift towards digital photography and have stopped making some film types altogether in favour of supplying the home markets with photo quality paper for the home printers.

In conclusion, I highly recommend that amateur photographers purchase digital cameras instead of film cameras because of the ability to change ISO between shots, the high quality of resulting images, the ability to immediately view your image, and the long-term cost savings.

 

How to Taking Great Pet Photos?

Eye Level

When you are taking a photograph of a small pet, be sure to get on their level. Sit on the grass, lie on the floor, whatever it takes. This is especially important for full body shots, which generally look significantly better from the side rather than above. The same is true for large pets, if you are photographing a horse you might find you need to use a step ladder to take full body shots. Try to avoide having the pet looking up at you, unless that is the specific image you wish to record.

Pet Position

If the pet will not sit still, have someone hold them in position. If the photographs are solely for the portrait, then hands and arms in the frame do not matter and can easily be removed as long as they do not cover important markings. Pets are most amniacable when you go to where they are most comfortable; it is crucial you don’t make the pets come to you.

Capture The Pet’s Personality

Capture the most characteristic expression and pose of the pet. If the pet is generally happy, capture their version of a smile.

Lighting

The best possible lighting is achieved outside, in natural light. Try to take all photos in natural light, even if the pet is an indoor only pet. The sun and natural light will enhance the pet’s coat and bring out any natural highlights, that may not show up in photos taken with poor lighting. Using a flash when photographing pets will often cause red eye.

A flash can also distort the true coloring and shades of the pets coat. The exception to this unwritten rule is if you are photographing a black pet, if that is the case a flash can actually bring out shading and texture which may be lost in photos taken under other lighting conditions.

Photography Props for Pets

A good idea is to have the pet’s favorite treats or toys handy. Hold them up near the camera to catch the pet’s interest. In fact, photographing pets is often not very different from photographing young children, don’t be afraid to be silly. Sometimes making funny and unusual noises or movements will capture the pets attention and focus.

 

Tips to Photograph Your Dog

You want your dog to be relaxed and at ease. Try to take the picture with him in his favorite hangout. This can be his favorite chair, his place under the shady tree in the backyard, or the porch. You will know the place that I am talking about. It’s his special spot and he loves it there.

Try to tell a story with the shot. You have seen pictures of dogs looking out the window. We can imagine a story behind this photo. It doesn’t have to be a long story. For example, you might be trying to take a photo of your dog and in walks your toddler with an ice cream cone and your dog knocks it out of his hands. The end result will be a fantastic story, albeit one that is a little upsetting for your youngster. It would be a good idea to have your camera at hand so you can get to it quickly when you see a good story.

Be prepared for movement. Dogs are unpredictable. Some dogs jump at the sound of the shutter click so try to set your camera accordingly.

Follow your dog’s thought process. In other words, eat, sleep and play. Simplify the set. If it is indoors, get rid of the clutter. If outdoors, watch out for lawn furniture, stray toys, etc. Delete things that distract and do not add to the story.

Try to fill your frame with your furry subject. Place the camera at the same level at your dog. By seeing your subject’s point of view, it can give you extra creativity that leads to better photographs. Remember that you are not after the scenery; your dog should be the center of attention.

Remember the treats! If your dog has a weakness for peanut butter, biscuits, or stinky cheese, use them to take that perfect shot. This works great when photographing people with dogs. Try to have the person and the dog to look in the same direction. Make sure all parties in the picture are comfortable with one another.

Study your dog prior to the photography session to see what sets him apart from other animals. If you want to take a special photograph, behavior is the key. What do they do to entertain themselves? Do they have the same habits as their owners?

Another approach to dog photography is to take the shot when your dog isn’t looking. Some of the best photographs are taken when the dog is oblivious to the camera. It is during these times when you catch that certain expression or when he almost looks human.

Last but not least, exercise your dog prior to the event. A walk or some play time will do wonders for your dog’s temperament and adaptability for the photo session. Following these tips should help you to get that perfect photograph of your loyal and true furry friend.

Famous Photographers

Probably one of the most famous photographers of all time was Ansel Adams. Adams was born In San Francisco California in 1902. He lived in Carmel until he died in 1984. His most popular photo was titled “Moonrise Over Hernandez, 1944”. This is a breathtaking photo showing a beautiful night view and the small town below it. Other famous photos by Adams were “Clearing Winter Storm” and “Winter Sunrise”. Adams did a lot of outdoor photography with some breathtaking views. His most popular photo has about 1000 copies in print. The price range of these photos, depending on condition goes from $5,000 to $175,000 if you can find one.

Moving from outdoor photography of landscapes to nude women on beaches we have the works of Jock Sturges. Sturges was born in the big city of New York in the year 1947. He currently lives in Seattle, Washington. His most popular images, all of beach nudes, are “Misty Dawn 1991” and “Northern California, 1991”. His prints range in price from $1,000 to $3,000. His most expensive print sold for $4,000.

Herman Leonard was known for taking great photographs of jazz legends. He was born in Allentown, PA in 1923. He currently lives and works in New Orleans. His most popular images are photos of great jazz legends Dexter Gordon, Duke Ellington, Frank Sinatra, Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday. Herman Leonard was one of the more active photographers even when not working at his craft. He often traveled with great entertainers like Marlon Brando, who he hung out with in 1954. His photos range in price from $950 to $5,500.

Another great photographer was Irving Penn who was born in Plainfield, NJ in 1917. Penn was actually known for a number of different styles of photography including fashion photography and provocative life style portraits. His most famous work was “Cuzco Children” which sold for as much as $175,000 at the turn of the century. Penn worked for some of the most popular magazines of our time including Harper’s Bazaar, Saks Fifth Avenue and Vogue Magazine.

Another great photographer, who most people have actually heard of, was the one and only Helmut Newton, who just recently passed away in 2004. He was most known for photos involving fashion and nudes illustrating themes of mass media, glamour, sex and theater. Newton’s work was often categorized as bizarre. He was once quoted as saying “My job as a portrait photographer is to seduce, amuse and entertain”. He most certainly did that better than just about anyone else. His most popular image is “Sie Kommen I, II”. His photographs are in such demand that some go for as much as $400,000 each.

The list of famous photographers goes on, literally forever. So if you are thinking of joining the ranks of these greats and many others, then you’re going to have to work hard at your craft.

 

Step to Create Model Portfolio

Your model portfolio book will be made up of a book with anywhere between 10 and 25 photos normally consisting of 9×12 prints.

You will want a good selection of different types of “looks” in your portfolio. For example; have some photos created indoors in a home setting, some in the studio, some outdoors in different locations.

Also include shots which may be considered commercial, fashion, casual, and editorial content. Ask the photographer to help you with choosing looks that best fit your personality and the type modeling you wish to pursue.

You’ll also want to include a good headshot (without makeup) and a good body shot (swimwear or tight-fitting clothing) especially if you plan to apply to the larger model markets. These larger markets such as the top NY agencies like to see exactly what they are getting when they view your photos. They don’t want to see fancy posing or clutter, just you so keep this in mind when creating model photos for them to view.

Do not think that “more is better”. It’s much more effective to have 8 absolutely beautiful, perfectly shot photos in your portfolio than 100 mediocre ones.

Please keep this in mind when putting your portfolio together because it’s very important! If you have to really pine over whether or not an image makes the grade for quality or belongs in your model book, it most likely doesn’t.

A professional photographer or agent can help you decide when it comes to quality of photos so ask for advice if you’re not sure. Also, you can view model images on agency websites or on my on site at www.bobpardue.com/model/photo-gallery to see if the quality of your image is up to standard.

Let’s get started

Now, let’s get started in developing your model portfolio. A really good, complete model portfolio is not created overnight. You will develop it as you develop your talent by working with different photographers.

Different photographers? Won’t this cost a fortune?

A terrific model portfolio won’t cost you a fortune if you follow the simple steps below. Your model portfolio will not be free, mind you, but way less expensive than paying several different photographers to shoot each section.

Step One – Paid Photo Session

If you are working on a tight budget, this may be a little painful to you but worth it if you are trying to build a killer portfolio.

Finding a photographer for your first model session

Although your local portrait photographer may be teriffic in doing family portraits or weddings, he/she may not know all the ins and outs of creating a model portfolio. You may want to check to see if they offer this service but I would check places like One Model Place or Model Mayhem for photographers who are well experienced in portfolio work.

You should be able to hire a really good photographer for anywhere between $300. to $1,000. with the latter being the extreme in a high-end market area. I would think the average would be around $600.
When choosing your photographer, don’t just base your decision on price. If the photographer can’t produce those perfect images for your portfolio, it doesn’t matter what it costs!

What you should ask the photographer

Below are some questions to ask your photographer before agreeing to hire him/her for the job of creating your model portfolio.

Ask if he is experienced in model portfolio development – Be sure to choose a photographer who is used to creating model portfolios so that there is less chance of confusion about what you need and desire in your portfolio
Ask where the photographer is located (This really seems silly but I have received hundreds of contacts from across the US just because models brought up my website when they did a search on photographers in their areas)
Ask for references of recent model shoots (contact at least two models)
Ask for the price range for portfolio packages, how many photos, etc.
Tell the photographer the type 0f model images you need and ask if she has the ability to create them.

Ask who will provide the hair and makeup artist(s), you or the photographer. This varies greatly and I would suggest having these services no matter who provides them.

Ask if he provides retouching or airbrushing services and whether this is included in the original fee given.

Ask how the photos are delivered – This also depends on the photographer’s way of doing business so is very important. For instance, we deliver all our images on cd but in printable and web formats so that the model can have copies made whenever she needs them. Also, this means she does not have to print every photo to get what she needs.

Ask about usage rights – This question relates to the previous one. It’s very important that you receive usage and reprint rights for your promotions. If the photographer does not offer reprint rights, ask about usage of the prints. You may be able to work something out with him.

Ask how long it takes to receive your images after the shoot. You don’t want to wait for an eternity or until you are six months older before receiving your portfolio photos.

Ask about clothing and props – What should you furnish and does the photographer have any props and/or outfits on hand.

Ask if she will assist you in your posing – Tell her that you are new and ask for posing suggestions.

Ask if you can bring a friend or parent (If the photographer refuses this request, I would suggest looking for a different photographer).

Ask if the photographer will help in your promotion – Not the usual job of the photographer but some will. We offer an online comp card album online for six months with each model portfolio session.

Ask the photographer if she offers a guarantee. You should be well satisfied with your photos. After all, it’s your model portfolio you will be showing to the world so you’ll want it done right!