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Monthly Archives: September 2018

Flower Photography

One of the characteristics that makes an image strong is when it presents a scene in a way that we don’t normally get to see it. As you walk through life each day, you see EVERYTHING, for the most part, at eye level. As beautiful as a Tulip may be, if you photograph it from your normal standing position, it will look like every other Tulip you have seen over the years. Beautiful?… yes, Unique or interesting?… probably not so much.

Look to present Tulips in a way they are not usually seen. When was the last time you got down on your belly on a nice day and gazed upward at the flowers? Maybe never, right? By gaining a different perspective than what you are used to seeing, the image now possesses the unique and interesting factor that makes it visually appealing.

If you happen upon a scene that contains a field of Tulips as far as the eye can see, or one where there’s a glorious mountain or sunset as the backdrop, well then you’re pretty much golden to start shooting away. However, for the other 99% of the time, you will be faced with less than glorious surroundings. This is when it is important to manage the scene. Even the most dazzling flowers will not be as appealing when you see parked cars, campers, stores, etc. behind them. Unless the background elements support your photograph, they should not be included.

There are several ways in which you can remove distractions from your background. One is by simply walking around your scene and finding a vantage point in which the less than desirable background elements are not visible. An example of this might be to shoot upward from a very low vantage point. By using the sky as the backdrop, you have avoided any existing distractions that may have been there. In addition to getting down low, you can attempt to photograph the flowers close up with a tight crop. Any items that may have been behind our floral subjects are nowhere to be seen and the focus of the image is on only the Tulips.

Depth of Field (or DOF), is basically the distance between the nearest and farthest elements in a photograph that appear sufficiently sharp in focus. When an image has a large depth of field, most elements in the scene from front to back will be in sharp focus. If an image has a shallow depth of field, the subject of the photograph will be sharp, while elements in front or behind it will be out of focus.

Controlling DOF can be a very powerful tool in creating strong images. Let’s go back to the previous tip, regarding backgrounds, for example. In addition to the strategies we discussed for removing distracting background elements, you could also use depth of field to your advantage. By throwing a background element out of focus, you will draw less attention to it.

Manipulating the depth of field can really assist in producing a strong and dynamic image. For example, with an out of focus foreground and background, you can keep the attention on a single Tulip just by keeping it sharply focused.

Controlling the depth of field is a technique that deserves its own article. In short, however, there are a few ways of achieving it. One of the most common ways is to use a large aperture (lower f-stop number) for shallow depth of field and a small aperture (higher f-stop number) for greater depth of field. This means you will have to get yourself out of the automatic setting and choose either manual mode or Aperture Priority mode on your camera.

Get Perfect Head Shots

The problem with professionally taken head shots like actor head shots and corporate head shots is that the object doesn’t have much control; the photographers give out instructions to follow, which oftentimes can be quite intimidating and confusing. The worse thing is that these photos are taken with the goal of creating a good impression, so the pressure is definitely on! It truly is quite awful when the shots turn out looking all sorts of funny and awkward. Pros can’t risk the displeasure and dissatisfaction of clients, which is why they have decided to share helpful tips so the photos will look impressive and completely appropriate. Check out what expert photographers say about this.

It’s always good to start out knowing that you’re properly made up; the right hair, the right make-up, the right clothes – these can provide a strong confidence boost. Do some facial exercises to relax those facial muscles – with relaxed facial muscles, smiles come easier and look more natural. Rotate the neck and shoulders as well, which at times tend to look stiff in head shots.

Take a deep breath and let it out slowly before posing. The release never fails to relax the muscles so a more comfortable expression is created. Practice the three-quarter profile shot because it’s often the most attractive and frequently used for photo displays. Corporate photos are typically taken in this particular shot.

Think of pleasant things so the eyes would look “alive.” The eyes should be able to smile on their own. A trick to help you achieve this is to look down first before looking straight into the camera. If the photo shoot will allow for several shots, try different facial expressions – smile, don’t smile, look serious, look fun. One of them will likely look naturally attractive.

Tricks Improve Photos

Use the rule of thirds

Most good photos have a main subject which uses the rule of thirds. This is one tip every photographer should know. Where the subject is placed has a big impact on how the overall photo will look. The rule of thirds is placing your subject on either four points of intersection of three horizontal and vertical lines.

Develop your own style

Developing your own style is essential to create distinctive photos. Everyone has their own definition of what a good photo is, different perspectives and angles on how to shoot a good photo. You do not want your photos to be exactly the same as other people’s photos as that does not show who you are as a photographer.

Colour translation

Be aware of how the colours you see in person would be translated onto the photo. No matter how breath-taking the scene seems, if you do not know how they will turn up on the photo, that photo would not be a good one.

Understand all the features of your camera

It is essential to understand all the features of your camera if you want to improve your photos. You must know how the shutter speed affects your photos and in what way. The same goes to aperture. You must also know the different modes that your camera can shoot at. This would enable you to shoot the best shot with less trouble. Shooting photos would be more fun and rewarding.

Know different settings

Taking pictures of portraits are very different from taking pictures of landscapes. You have to know the different settings for each type of shot. A slight difference in lighting can turn a potentially great photo into a bad photo.

Do Time Lapse Photography

Time lapse photography can work well for anything that’s moving fast. We slow this down to create a sense of time passing. Subjects such as fast moving cars, planes, people or water make good subjects to create time lapse photos from. Water tends to be more gentle and romantic than urban scenes with fast cars. You can also create something truly ethereal with time lapse water photos.

Water is a very popular subject to photograph. Waves, streams, waterfalls constitute wonderful time lapse photos. As photographers we are drawn to the energy and power of water. Creating a blurry motion effect is the key to successful time lapse photos of water.

So let’s look at how to create a lovely time lapse photo of water. When creating time lapse photos the water will look like a soft blanket of silk. This is what’s known as the “silken effect”. The silken effect occurs when you have a slow shutter speed. The shutter remains open so that the camera can capture every moment. The longer the shutter is open the more likely this effect will occur.

One of the problems with the shutter remaining open for a long time is over exposure. Over exposure occurs when there is too much light. Your scene will have a big block of white and absolutely no detail. The shutter stays open and too much light enters the lens for too long.

So just how do we get a nice amount of silken effect without over exposing the photo? There are two main ways to do this. The first is to shoot at night. Leaving the shutter open for 30 seconds of longer, at night, will usually yield some nice results. You can create the silken effect without much trouble.

What happens when you don’t want to do night photography but still want to create a nicely exposed image and create the silken effect too? You could try using an ND filter. ND stands for Neutral Density. This is a special kind of filter that reduces the light and retains the colour whilst giving you the silken effect.

Don’t forget your tripod. There’s nothing worse that a beautiful exposure that’s blurry in all the wrong places. The trick to this method is to keep your camera still so everything but the water is blurry. Even though the blurred water will create the silken effect, you still want your trees and sky to be sharp into the distance.

Subjects that move are great elements for creating time lapse images. Water is just the beginning. Cars at night create streaky lights. Planes create the same effect. The secret is a long exposure, a still camera and ways to reduce the potential over exposure.