PictureCorrect.Com – Outdoor Flash Photography Tips with Children & Pets

Outdoor Flash Photography Tips with Children & Pets

As we all know, photographing children can be very challenging. It is tough enough just to keep them in sharp focus. Who in their right mind would complicate the task even further by adding pets and flash lighting to the mix? You should!  Adding the right amount of flash at the correct angle can turn an ordinary snapshot into a work of art.

Two Speedlights Used

120mm lens, ISO 400, F6.3 x 1/200 sec., WB 7000K. Feathering the Main light evenly lights both subjects with flash.

Select a Familiar Environment

The photograph of the three year old girl and her dog was shot in their back yard. Children and animals are most comfortable in a familiar environment. Most photographers think a beautiful location is the answer to great portraits—wrong! Relaxed and comfortable subjects are the key.

Popular scenic locations are always overrun with lots of people and too many photographers. Who can relax under those conditions? Remember– your subject is the star of the photograph, not the background.

This article demonstrates the following techniques:

  •  Underexposing the Background for Drama
  •  Multiple Speedlights
  •  Line of Sight Communication
  •  Feathering a Light Source
  •  Flash-Fill
  •  Inverse Square Law

How the Subject was Lit:

The background was deliberately underexposed one stop to emphasize the subjects and add drama.

 Feathering the Light

Lighting setup for the above photo.

Main light (B) was placed into an Umbrella Softbox six feet from the dog, just outside of the camera frame. The Umbrella Softbox, attached to a lightstand, was handheld by the child’s mother above the subjects’ heads and feathered (angled) slightly left of the child (see diagram). This technique evenly lights both subjects, since a light source is brighter in the center. The dog was lit by the dimmer edge of the light source and the child was illuminated by the bright center.

Speedlight B was set to ½ power.

Inverse Square Law

Fill light (A) is an on-camera Speedlight with a medium-sized diffuser attached. Its job is to add a little detail into dark shadows. The power was also set to ½ power. Why?  Since the fill light was much further from the subjects than the main light, the power had to be set high enough to brighten the shadows.

The Inverse Square Law tells us that F8 (the distance between the Umbrella Softbox & midway point between our subjects) is a little over 3.5 stops brighter than F28.

Calculate light to subject distance in F-Stops (2’, 2.8’, 4’, 5.6’, 8’, 11’, 16’, 22’ etc.) and this will help you set the correct power settings on your Speedlights. For example: Move your light from 4’ to 5.6’ and you lose 1 F-Stop in power, move from 4’ to 22’ and you lose 5 F-Stops in power.

Fill Light A was approximately 3.5 stops less bright than main light B. It brightened the dark shadows on the dog and girl slightly.

Knowing photographic math helps, but don’t sweat it! In reality, shoot a test and adjust your power settings accordingly.

“Line of Sight Communication” is built into most modern Speedlights

Rotate the head of the Speedlight toward the subject. Sensors must see each other without obstructions.

No radio slaves were needed for this photo. “Line of Sight Communication” – the system that is built into modern Speedlights, made both Speedlights fire simultaneously. It works flawlessly when used correctly. You must make sure that the Slave Speedlight sensor is aimed at the Master Speedlight’s sensor. The Master Speedlight is on the camera and the Slave Speedlight is off the camera. The Speedlight’s adjustable head makes this system of lighting possible! Point the light at the subject and rotate the sensors toward each other.

Note! It is critical that any modifier attached to the Speedlight not obstruct the sensor.

Light Modifiers are used to Soften Harsh Direct Flash

Speedlight modifiers used: Diffusion Mitt – left. Umbrella Softbox – right. Handheld attached to lightstand and used as boom.

Manual Mode is Usually Best

The Speedlights and camera were set to manual mode. Manual mode gives the photographer maximum control and the results are consistent shot-to-shot.  However, if I was chasing this three year old around the yard it would be best to switch the Speedlights to ETTL. (That article is in the works, so stay tuned.)

One Speedlight Used

200mm lens, ISO 400, WB 7200K, F5 x 1/200sec.

Flash-Fill from the Camera

Lighting setup for the above photo. Ceiling blocks unwanted top light. Subject lit by flattering side light.

The photograph of this beautiful young girl was far less complicated. She was positioned on a bench at her home under a covered patio. The ceiling above her head shielded unwanted top light from striking the subject. Light from the side is more flattering than overhead light. It creates a more three-dimensional appearance.

The only problem was that the shadows created by the open skylight were too dark. The simple solution was to add a little Flash-Fill from the camera’s position to lighten the dark shadows.  A medium sized diffuser was attached to the on- camera Speedlight to soften the flash. Speedlight set to ETTL -2 FEC.

Lighting setup for the above photo. Ceiling blocks unwanted top light. Subject lit by flattering side light.

(A) Diffusion Mitt attached to on-camera Speedlight to soften Flash-Fill

About the Author:
John Rogers is an award winning photographer from Boise, Idaho and owner of prolightsecrets.com.

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PictureCorrect.Com – How to Book More Clients at Higher Rates as a Photographer

How to Book More Clients at Higher Rates as a Photographer

One piece of equipment that photographers don’t learn how to use correctly is the telephone. This is where the money is. Learning how to speak to potential clients is crucial to the success of any photography business. Read on for some helpful tips to improve your rapport on the telephone and give your business a boost.

There are two types of phone calls:

“Untitled” by Alexei Jurchenko. (Click image to see more from Alexei Jurchenko.)

1. If you have your prices on your website then you’ll get some prospects interested in hiring you straight away as they feel they have all the information they need. Naturally, you might think this is a good thing – but it’s not. I’ll explain why later.

2. People who are interested in more information.

Let’s look at that first scenario a little closer. Why have they decided they want to hire you? 99 times out of 100 it will be because they like your photos and you’re at a price they’re prepared to pay. Great huh! Or is it? Most photographers have decent photos on their website so in the eyes of the prospect we’re all very similar. They don’t understand the problem with viewing products and packages on a website. One print, album or frame is much the same as another, right? Nope, but our clients don’t understand or appreciate the huge differences at this stage in the buying process.

So, they call you up because you’re one of the cheaper photographers whose work seems ‘good enough’. Great, you now have a long line of people who want a fairly cheap, half decent photographer who don’t particularly understand or appreciate what you do. Is that the niche you want?

You’ll always be struggling to make a decent living, your clients won’t respect you and you’ll be so busy trying to make enough money that you rush people through like they’re on a production line. To keep costs down you’ll have to use poor quality printing and paper which doesn’t do your work justice and that fades in a couple of years. Before long you start thinking that none of this is worth the effort because you feel like a worthless commodity, not the respected artist you always dreamed of being. Not a great result I think you’ll agree.

So, let’s look at scenario two – people calling you for more information. The first question we’re asked is nearly always the price because you’ve been smart enough to not put the price on your website. You’ve not put the price on your website because you’re charging a much more sensible and worthwhile amount. You realise you’re an artist, someone who’s spent years learning their craft and deserves to be paid handsomely for your skill and expertise. You’re going for the high end of the market. This is the right strategy for a photographer who wants to be successful, but it does mean you have to be much better at marketing and much better on the phone.

This article is about how you handle phone calls, improving your marketing is for another day. These are the five best tips for handling phone calls.

“First Came The Kiss” captured by Gagan Dhiman. (Click image to see more from Gagan Dhiman.)

Don’t do it on email!

What I mean by this is that if someone emails you then call them back, if they leave a number. If they don’t leave a number then don’t spend ages crafting an email back. Pre-write several suitable emails for all the usual types of enquiry you get. The task of each of these emails is to get the prospect to call you. Don’t give away prices, even if they ask for them. It’s way too early in the process to start talking about prices. You handle the question of price by saying that you can do a lot better than just sending them a price list. You’d like to get a deeper understanding of what they’re after and that it will be a lot quicker for them to give you a quick call to go through everything. All this is true since it’s hard to quote meaningfully without knowing exactly what they want and before you’ve had a chance to explain everything properly.

Don’t try and get the sale on the phone

The phone call is all about finding out if you’re a good fit for one another. If you are a good fit then your only objective is to arrange a chat to go through things in more detail and to show them some of your products. Many photographers work themselves into a frenzy because they feel they must get the sale over the phone. This turns off the prospect because they sense you’re not focused on what they want, only on what you want – the sale.

“Candace” captured by Rome Wilkerson. (Click image to see more from Rome Wilkerson.)

Ask lots of questions

One of the most crucial elements of the call is building rapport with the prospect. The best way of doing that is by asking lots of questions. This is because it shows you care. When a client has finished explaining one of their requirements or worries you then explain something about your service that addresses their need or concern.

Explain the benefits of meeting up

If you don’t explain why the prospect benefits by meeting you then they’ll either resist it or they’ll just not turn up. If they understand the value of meeting up then they’re much more likely to oblige.

Lead the prospect with confidence

The more confident you sound the more likely the prospect will follow your lead. If you ask them whether they’d like to meet up it sounds like you’re half expecting them to not want to. Instead, simply say “Let’s meet up for a chat, I’ve got next Tuesday at 4pm or this Saturday at 11am.” This sounds much more confident, like you expect them to say yes. Notice that you’re providing two dates; you’re not giving them the option of not bothering.

Don’t be specific on price

The phone call is still too early to get into specific pricing details. Explain that there are lots of options and that they can really invest as much or as little as they like depending on what they choose. Express that it’s best if they see the products first. However, you should always volunteer a ball park figure based on your more economical packages. This will give you and the prospect some frame of reference on price without being too specific. If your low end is way out of their budget then they may not be right for you, although don’t give up straight away.

Be emotional

Investing in photography is a deeply emotional decision, not a logical one. Don’t get caught up in packages and prices and sizes. Ask about their family. Ask them what the most important thing about the photos is. Get them thinking emotionally about what these images will mean to them. This takes practice if you’re not used to speaking like this, but it’s a crucial element in subtly demonstrating the value of your product.

“A Love Story” by Gagan Dhiman. (Click image to see more fromGagan Dhiman.)

Mention your guarantee

People don’t like parting with their money, particularly when they’re not certain what the end product will be like. Explain how much you care about creating something special for them and that if they’re not absolutely delighted then you’ll give them all their money back. It takes all the risk away from them. They start to feel they have nothing to lose.

The phone call is just one part of a much larger system, but it’s a crucial part that most photographers don’t execute well enough.

About the Author:
Dan Waters teaches photographers how to sell portrait and wedding photography and build a successful business. He shares lots of free information that he’s learned from the most renowned marketing and sales professionals like Drayton Bird, Jay Abrahams, Ari Galper, Clayton Makepeace and many others. He then translates their ideas into practical advice for photographers.

For Further Training on Growing a Wedding Business:

Check out this in-depth playbook on techniques to grow a wedding photography client list. This eBook will guide you through the process of developing a strong base of referrals so a consistent scalable business can be built. The guide also carries a 180 day no-questions-asked guarantee so there is no risk in trying it.

It can be found here: Get Connected – Build a Wedding Photography Business

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PictureCorrect.Com – How to Establish Your Photographic Style

How to Establish Your Photographic Style

OK, you’ve bought all the right camera equipment. You have three camera bodies, 10 lenses, a stack of lighting gear, all the filters and attachments you can think of, you’ve read the manual and gained some experience in taking different types of shots, but you’re still not happy with your results. You’ve even copied other people’s styles but they’re just good photos and they look the same as everyone else’s. They don’t stand out and nobody would instantly recognize them as yours. In other words, you have no distinct photographic style. What is photographic style and how do you establish your photographic style?

"Summer In London" captured by Jirina Kantova. (Click image to see more from Jirina Kantova.)

“Summer In London” captured by Jirina Kantova. (Click image to see more from Jirina Kantova.)

Photographic style is not a destination, it’s the journey itself. You don’t suddenly develop style. It’s the result of your experiences, an extension of who you are and how you see the world. It’s what you evoke in people viewing your work that makes you unique. Photographic style is not copying someone else’s style, but it is about making your photography an extension of yourself. In other words, don’t just copy the masters, try to be one!

As this article is about helping you develop a personal style, how do you go about it?

• Discover what you are passionate about. It’s easy to see which photographers are passionate about their work because it shows in many images they capture.

• Enjoy your photography for the same reason. It will shine through.

"Bookman-Bookwoman" captured by This Room Became A Hill. (Click image to see more from This Room Became A Hill.)

“Bookman-Bookwoman” captured by This Room Became A Hill. (Click image to see more from This Room Became A Hill.)

• Try new and different things to photograph subjects that challenge you. Every new challenge adds more skills and more experiences.

• Do not be afraid to fail by taking bad photographs. Overcoming failures by taking better photographs only make you a better photographer.

• Assign yourself assignments that you have not attempted before, especially those assignments that you’ve never seen done by others before.

• Be free to express yourself. Ignore the set rules. (Set by whom?)

• Be inspired. Attend workshops, seminars, look at photography blogs, magazines and books.

• Act as your own critic. Look at your own collection of shots and ask yourself how they could be improved. Is your work exciting to you or just another bird photo?

• Share your work with your friends and family, or got one stage further and sign up with photo web forums. Attend local meet up groups. Treat all negative feedback as a means to learn from them. Treat positive feedback as being on the right track.

• Take a camera wherever you go. That one perfect shot is waiting to be captured by you.

• Specialize on particular genre of photography but do it differently.

• Decide on a medium. Do you want to photograph in black and white only, HDR images? Pick one and be consistent in the main and I mean 90% of the time. There’s nothing worse that browsing through someone’s portfolio to see colour, black and white and some HDR. It cries out that you haven’t developed a style yet.

• Try and describe your style to others. Do you capture the moment, freeze action, tell a story or do you aspire to being a photo journalist? This will help to define your style by telling others.

"A Day Out" captured by Jay Sadler. (Click image to see more from Jay Sadler.)

“A Day Out” captured by Jay Sadler. (Click image to see more from Jay Sadler.)

Eventually, you will come to realise what your style really is. One word of caution, don’t over process your images in your favourite imaging software. Keep it simple and your work will stand the test of time.

About the Author:
Geordie Parkin is a photographer based in Forest Lake, Qld (http://photopress.in/brianparkin). For further information about wildlife photography, pet photography or general questions about digital photography.

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Copyright © 2003-2013 PictureCorrect, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

PictureCorrect.Com – Photography Contracts

Photography Contracts

Protecting yourself and your work as a photographer should be at the forefront of any photographer’s to-do list. Yet, many of us often overlook this facet of running a business. Contacting and working with a lawyer who specializes in business law can help you protect yourself from dishonest and disagreeable clients should a problem arise. Despite which genre of photography your work happens to fall in–perhaps you are a multi-faceted photographer–having a solid contract that is suited to your specific needs will take the guess work out of a job for both you and your client. Below, you can find an assortment of pre-made contracts which are available for use, free of charge.

photography contracts

“husband and wife” captured by Gagan Dhiman (Click Image to See More From Gagan Dhiman)

  • Portrait Photography Contract – A plain language contract suitable for use when you will be taking portraits of clients either in the studio or at an event. Includes payment, copyright, and creative license terms.
  • Contract for the Sale of Fine Art Photography – Covers the sellers terms involved in the sale of a piece of fine art photography including but not limited to price, insurance, framing, and a section for an in-depth description of the piece to eliminate any confusion.
  • Gallery Contract for Sale of Photography – This contract is useful for the consignment of photography to a professional gallery and includes sections for sale and payment procedures as well as loss of risk terms.
  • Model Release – A necessary document if you’re working with models and talent. Protects the photographer from potential remuneration claims made by talent.
  • Minor Model Release – Essential model release for working with minors. To be signed by the minors parents or guardian.
  • Licensing Contract to Merchandise Images – Useful for when you wish to sell your images to clients for merchandising rights.

"Fashion" captured by Naim Zion. (Click image by Naim Zion.)

“Fashion” captured by Naim Zion. (Click image by Naim Zion.)

While having contracts made specifically for your business by a licensed attorney is ultimately the safest route to protect yourself, the contracts from above are an excellent starting point. They can be altered to meet your needs and are available for use free of charge. Feel free to download and use the contracts as needed; however, these contracts may not be all inclusive for every type of situation. If at any point you feel they do not meet all your requirements, you may wish to have your own personalized contracts printed. The peace of mind a well written contract will give you is well worth the work.

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PictureCorrect.Com – Architectural Photography: Shooting at Twilight to Add Drama

Architectural Photography: Shooting at Twilight to Add Drama

An architectural photographer can create dramatic images of buildings that perhaps at first glance, do not seem to be all that photographic. Understanding architectural design and then selecting the angles that best portray the building, combined with critical lighting – which is determined by time of day – are all essential components in fine architectural photography. Many buildings can appear much more dramatic when photographed at either dusk or dawn.

"Lighting By Desing-Pool" captured by Greg Thompson. (Click image to see more from Greg Thompson.)

“Lighting By Desing-Pool” captured by Greg Thompson. (Click image to see more from Greg Thompson.)

Outside lighting on the structure, landscape lighting and even the atmosphere of city lights, can separate the building from it’s surroundings and create a more visually exciting image than a daytime photograph might be able to do. Another added feature when shooting during this time is that the sky becomes a very deep cobalt blue. Twilight photography is also a good way for the architectural photographer to take control of an undesirable weather condition. If the light during the day isn’t optimum due to clouds or if the building faces north and it must be photographed at the time of year when there isn’t any north light, photographing at twilight (dusk or dawn) can save the day. It is also a helpful technique when one needs to make a mundane building look more dramatic or to clean up the environment; for instance, if the building has undesirable elements around it, or if the landscaping isn’t in yet.

A Hotel or Resort photographer will find this technique especially valuable to convey the atmosphere of the property, especially in heavy tourist areas where there is a “night life” with exotic landscaping, fire pits, lit swimming pools and Jacuzzis. These areas draw thousands of tourists every week and the hotels and resorts in such areas are very competitive. Photographing these properties in twilight will add an element of life and excitement that can give your hospitality client maximum visual impact for their marketing and advertising.

For the architectural photographer whose client is the architect, this technique of photographing at twilight is especially important when the building has a glass curtain wall, enabling one to see the interior from the outside. In this scenario, the interior becomes an important compositional element of the exterior view and it may be a much more dramatic way of showing the architect’s complete design. Sometimes the building may have it’s own exterior lighting, however, usually I add my own lights to creatively illuminate the exterior of the building in an interesting way which at the same time accentuates it’s design.

Architectural twilight photography must be well planned, because the optimum exposure time (when the interior exposure and the exterior exposure fall within an acceptable range) lasts only for 10-15 minutes. Depending on the circumstance, this may have to be done at dawn rather than at dusk; for instance, in a situation where there is heavy traffic or when photographing in a busy city. Shooting at dawn is a bit more inconvenient, because it will require a very early set up – at least an hour before the sunrise. It is also imperative that special arrangements are made with the building engineer in order to make sure that all the building lights, both inside and out, are turned on and that they stay on. New buildings are designed to be energy efficient and I am finding that I frequently need to have someone walking in the building, in and out of offices, in order to activate the motion detectors and keep the lights on.

"Lighting By Design-Front" captured by Greg Thompson. (Click image to see more from Greg Thompson.)

“Lighting By Design-Front” captured by Greg Thompson. (Click image to see more from Greg Thompson.)

Dusk photography requires long exposures so a sturdy tripod is absolutely essential for the architectural photographer. If there are people or traffic in the view, one could use the longer exposures in a creative way by intentionally letting the moving cars or people blur. Be careful however, as the client may find the blurring effect to be distracting. Also, if you choose, or if the scenario dictates, that there will be blurred pedestrian or vehicle traffic, one must make sure that the blur adds to the composition in a complementary way and not over-power the visual impact of the building or interior space.

Architectural photography is a highly specialized field and twilight photography can be an effective and useful tool for the Architectural photographer and the Hotel or Resort photographer in making any building more dramatic; especially if it is fairly mundane to start with.

About the Author:
Paul Schlismann has been a professional architectural interior photographer (http://www.schlismann.com/), resort photographer and hotel photographer since 1980. Having established his career as a Chicago architectural photographer, he now has offices located in Arizona as well, and is working in Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas and Chicago. His work is regularly published and many of his architectural clients have won design awards utilizing his photographs.

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PictureCorrect.Com – Composition: 10 Photography Tips for Amazing Results

Composition: 10 Photography Tips for Amazing Results

Composition doesn’t come naturally to many photographers. The technical aspects can be learned relatively easily but some say that composition can not. Although I don’t believe this to be completely true, photography is an art form and does require some natural ability.

"Whitby Peir" captured by Ian Staves. (Click image to see more from Ian Staves.)

“Whitby Peir” captured by Ian Staves. (Click image to see more from Ian Staves.)

So what can I do, my composition sucks? Composition is subjective so there will always be someone out there who likes you work regardless of how bad you may think it is. Most non-photographers are not that discerning but to capture truly great shots composition is key. A well composed photograph just works, it’s pretty clear-cut but it is more a feeling than conforming to a set of rules.

Here are some composition tips to remember next time you go out to shoot. Keep them at hand and see if they work for you.

1. A painter chooses what to include in a painting, a photographer must choose what to exclude. Declutter compositions removing unnecessary components by selective framing. Use your legs, walk about looking for alternative compositions and use the cameras zoom to control what you want to include and more importantly, exclude.

2. The ‘rule of thirds’ is a well known compositional practice but doesn’t necessarily need to be strictly adhered to. The rule dictates that the main elements that make up the image should fall on or near imaginary vertical or horizontal thirds.

3. Check your horizon. For me the horizon should only ever be perfectly horizontal. Use the top of the window in the view finder as a reference. I often point the camera downward to align the horizon before re-composing.

4. Don’t leave large empty spaces. Leaving large holes in the composition such as uninteresting expanses of water or dark or very bright elements should be avoided. Change perspective by shortening the tripod legs to compress large gaps in the mid to near foreground. Conversely elements should not be cluttered, raise the height of the camera to increase the distance between elements.

"She Spins It Right Round" captured by Greg Thompson. (Click image to see more from Greg Thompson.)

“She Spins It Right Round” captured by Greg Thompson. (Click image to see more from Greg Thompson.)

5. Take a walk before settling on two or three compositions to shoot. Take time to refine them instead of shooting anything and everything.

6. Make both the foreground and background interesting.

7. Use leading lines such as rock formations or movement in water to lead the eye into the frame.

8. Check the edges of the frame for any distracting elements (half a tree, breaks in clouds etc.), and recompose if necessary. Make sure you are able to concentrate the viewer’s attention to the subject and try not to distract them away from it unnecessarily. Ask yourself, ‘what is this image about?’

9. Try to keep compositions balanced to some degree where possible. A protruding headland or building can upset the balance, eliminate it and look for an alternative composition.

10. Practice, critically reviewing your own work and looking at how other photographers compose their photos. Check out this landscape photographer for a start.

"Morning Reflections, Vermilion Cliffs" captured by Nathan McCreery. (Click image to see more from Nathan McCreery.)

“Morning Reflections, Vermilion Cliffs” captured by Nathan McCreery. (Click image to see more from Nathan McCreery.)

Above all, get out there and enjoy, exploration of composition is a continuous learning curve.

About the Author:
If you are a fan of photography be sure to head over to Lee’s Landscape Photography website for more tips, education offerings and fantastic photography. Lee conducts both capture and post processing photography courses throughout Australia.

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PictureCorrect.Com – Catch Light in Portrait Photography

Catch Light in Portrait Photography

While most of you know what a portrait photography catch light is, bear with me. At some point, it was a new idea for you, just as I’m sure it is for some of the other readers. In the interest of being thorough, in today’s photo tip, let’s have a quick look into the catch light.

Simply put, a catch light is the reflection of the portrait lighting source in the eyes.

"Untitled" captured by Taylor Hooper. (Click image to see more from Taylor Hooper.)

“Untitled” captured by Taylor Hooper. (Click image to see more from Taylor Hooper.)

We generally just think of it as a specular highlight in the eye, but it can be (and is) a vital part of the image. Particularly in portrait photography.

While the old cliché that, “the eyes are the windows to the soul” may or may not be true… a catch light makes the eye appear brighter and more exciting. Eyes without a catch light appear dull and lifeless.

If you have catch lights in the eyes, they are generally not noticed. If you don’t have them, their lack can ruin a photo. Or not! If you want to make a person appear evil – why you’d want to I don’t know – an old cinematographer’s trick is to eliminate the catch lights!

Try it this Halloween, you may win a contest or two!

If you DON’T want your subject to appear evil, a catch light in both eyes is vital. So vital in fact that if photographers are using a lighting pattern where they are not getting a catch light, they will add a special “eye” light to their lighting setup.

Typically, an eye light will be of low intensity so it doesn’t affect the highlights and shadows of the overall lighting pattern. It just puts a little glint in the eye.

In learning how to create various lighting patterns or trying to determine what type of lighting the photographer used, it is often helpful to examine the catch lights.

The eye acts like a mirror and will reflect the light source(s). By studying the reflections, we can determine how many lights were used, what type of light (diffused or hard light) and their general location in relation to the model.

These are all good things…

"Jess Up Close" capture by Yuliya Libkina. (Click image to see more from Yuliya Libkina.)

“Jess Up Close” capture by Yuliya Libkina. (Click image to see more from Yuliya Libkina.)

A bad thing about the refection showing the type of light, is that sometimes that reflection is unattractive and takes away from the photo. Though purely a matter of opinion  if you’ve ever noticed the reflection of a “ring light”, it (to me) looks creepy and I think it is why ring lights are not more popular.

Btw, a “ring light” is an on camera flash that goes all the way around (rings) the lens.

So, bottom line, make absolutely sure you have a catch light – in both eyes – unless you have a specific and preplanned reason not to. This photo tip is one of the vital rules of portrait photography that should never be broken whether you are shooting people, pets or anything else with eyes.

About the Author:
Dan Eitreim writes for OnTargetPhotoTraining. He has been a professional photographer in Southern California for over 20 years. He philosophy is that learning photography is easy, if you know a few tried and true strategies.

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PictureCorrect.Com – Checklist for Your Camera After a Portrait Shoot

Checklist for Your Camera After a Portrait Shoot

Whenever I return from a shoot, I go through this process every time with each camera so that they are ready for the next time.

1. Camera bodies off. This is to remind me that I use a variety of lenses and if I remove them, I have to select an appropriate one for my next shoot.

2. Camera batteries recharged after each and every shoot – no exceptions. I have lost count of the number of times when I am in the middle of a shoot that I get a battery warning. To this extent, I even take along a spare battery for each camera.

3. Flash off. Try and get in the habit of doing this as you don’t want to scare wildlife or pets by accidentally firing off the flash.

4. Flash batteries recharged after each and every shoot – no exceptions. I am paranoid about this aspect, in fact all batteries get charged straight away. Having rechargeable batteries is a must in my opinion.

"Untitled" captured by Keenan Butcher. (Click image to see more from Keenan Butcher.)

“Untitled” captured by Keenan Butcher. (Click image to see more from Keenan Butcher.)

5. Check to make sure the memory card slot is empty and working correctly. This reminds me that I should routinely transfer my images to another storage medium like my portable hard drive. I also take spares along for each shoot.

6. Check spare memory card. I get in the habit of checking all my memory cards for damage, wear and if they can be read without problems.

7. Set quality settings to RAW/JPG. I use this setting as opposed to just RAW or just JPEG. If I want to process the images more I can, or if I am happy with the images, I don’t have to do much processing in JPEG.

8. Set ISO to 200. This is a good idea regardless of the weather or lighting conditions, i.e. sunny or cloudy. I don’t like highlights to be blown and this setting allows me some leeway in processing the images.

9. Set aperture to wide open on all lenses. This is the setting I most use for portraits etc as it blurs the background nicely while keeping the subject in sharp focus.

10. Set shutter speed to 1/125. This is a decent shutter speed for most of the lenses I use in portraits. As I usually choose a focal length of about 90mm, it helps prevent camera shake issues.

11. Set mode dial to Aperture Priority. I prefer to shoot in aperture priority as most of my portrait subjects are fairly stationary.

12. Set metering mode to spot or matrix. I find this gives me the best metering for the stable exposure conditions that I work in.

13. Set white balance to AUTO. I work with this setting the most; however, if I’m in my studio, I will normally do a preset with a grey card.

"Model Portfolio - Kat Alderidge" captured by Shaunna Marie Brunk. (Click image to see more from Shaunna Marie Brunk.)

“Model Portfolio – Kat Alderidge” captured by Shaunna Marie Brunk. (Click image to see more from Shaunna Marie Brunk.)

14. Set exposure compensation to “0.” This prevents me from over exposing or under exposing since I was out last in daylight and had to adjust the exposure compensation.

15. Reset the focus point to the centre – single point. This is my preference for most shoots.

16. Set shutter mode to single. Most of the time I don’t use continuous shot mode unless I am taking fast action sports or wild life shots.

17. Set all lenses with focus stops to focus maximum area of focus. A good habit to get into. You can always adjust accordingly.

18. Remove any and all filters. This prevents you from leaving the polarizing filter or the neutral density filter attached. It’s amazing how often this happens and it takes a while to see what the problem is.

19. Check that the camera body and any/all lenses are set to autofocus (unless you just always use manual focus – in which case disregard.) This is a great tip as you can grab the camera for a quick shot in most situations.

20. Do quick visual examination of the camera to look for damage defects. I usually check lens surfaces, the screen, and everywhere else if I’ve been out in the rain or wind when sand is blowing about.

"Now That's What I Call A Sturdy Tripod" captured by  Jeff Laitila. (Click image to see more from Jeff Laitila.)

“Now That’s What I Call A Sturdy Tripod” captured by Jeff Laitila. (Click image to see more from Jeff Laitila.)

21. Finally, reset additional gear like tripods, light stands, etc. They all go back in their individual bags and covers. It also means that I don’t leave bits lying around – my greatest concern after a shoot.

About the Author:
Geordie Parkin is a photographer based in Forest Lake, Qld (http://photopress.in/brianparkin). For further information about wildlife photography, pet photography or general questions about digital photography.

For Further Training on Portrait Photography:

Professional photographer Edward Verosky has released two eBooks designed to help photographers with advanced portrait photography concepts:

These eBooks are now available through Edward Verosky’s website:

They contain unique information on how to beyond the rules of conventional portraiture with creative ideas and guidelines for developing your own unique style.

Go to full article: Checklist for Your Camera After a Portrait Shoot

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PictureCorrect.Com – Moon Photography Tips

Moon Photography Tips

It’s easy to learn how to capture the moons craters and detail with your digital camera. In fact once you get a handle on why you must use these wonderful photographic methods, taking pictures of the moon will be pretty easy from now on.

moon photo

Photo captured by Navid Qureshi (Click Image to See More From Navid Qureshi)

A cloudless night

The first thing to try for, naturally, is a clear night a night without clouds. Clouds can smear and smudge an otherwise sharp photo of the moons craters. A lovely, clear night provides the ideal circumstances to take photos of the moon. If there are clouds that butt in, then use that. Try a photo of a soft cloud streaking gently in front of the surface of the moon. This really does lay the foundation for superb images. So let’s have a look at precisely what you will want for your moon shots.

How close?

Lets examine what focal length works best. If you want to take pictures of the moon close up, use a four inch telescope. You can screw your digital camera on a mount and then the telescope effectively results in being your lens. It utilises the lens and you can get close images quite straightforwardly. Of course your camera will need to have the ability to interchange it’s lenses.

If you don’t own a telescope then you can use a telephoto lens. A telephoto photographic lens is a lens that is very long. You may have seen them before. It is used for wildlife photography and portraiture, like wedding photography for example. A good range of focal length might be something like 200mm to 400mm. These telephoto lenses are very expensive but get the loveliest shots.

What about the light of the moon?

Numerous people capture the moon the equivalent way as they would a dark night time city scene. If you do this too, you may experience a big ball of bright light against a black night sky, without detail. That may be okay if you are photographing the moon over a pond for example, but if you like to take photos of the craters, then this is basically not the way to shoot it.

photographing the moon

Photo captured by Catherine Read (Click Image to See More From Catherine Read)

The moon is very, very bright, especially when it’s full. I suggest choosing settings that are used for brighter, daylight conditions. I know this sounds funny, so bear with me.

When I shoot the moon I put my settings at anything from 180th of a second to 60th of a second. If you are not sure which shutter speed is better to use then try few shots on a different selection of shutter speeds to get the best one.

Setting up

You will want a tripod when you take photos of the moon. This is since the moon is so far away, any movement of the digital camera and you may find you chance missing the gorgeous craters. Position your camera on a tripod, and if you have one, use a shutter remote cable to be in command of the shutter speed. We use these because we do not want to accidentally move the camera by pressing the shutter button down. And that’s right, even movement as light as a finger can put your entire photo out of focus.

Keep that camera still!

It’s essential to keep the camera fixed and immobile so you get everything in focus. I use manual focus so I can get the craters as sharp as I can. I occasionally find that auto focus can either have difficulties getting the correct focus or sometimes can’t focus in the least. It can be tie consuming and frustrating. Try moving the focus ring until you come across a position whereby the moons craters look razor-sharp.

Lighting sensitivity

ISO is a quality of your digital camera that controls how responsive the camera is to lighting. If you are photographing the moon as the major theme against a black sky, then you will not want a very high ISO.

moon photo tips

Photo captured by Cristiano Frank (Click Image to See More From Cristiano Frank)

If you are shooting the moon as an addition to your shot, then this becomes a different matter altogether. The closer you get to the moon, the less ISO you require.

What about the camera’s aperture?

Since the moon is in the far distance I suggest shooting with a tiny aperture. In other words make use of a large f-stop number. I usually fancy F22 for the sharpest I images I can get. It’s better to get as much sharpness into the deepness of your scene as you possibly can. If you can go higher than F22, then by all means try it out. Just remember that the small your aperture the longer the shutter speed you will need.

Image quality

Shoot at the very maximum quality you can. I always select RAW for all my photos and shooting the moon is no exception. If you want excellent quality pictures then opt for the highest quality setting you can go. Even if you are not able to shoot in RAW, pick the largest Jpeg size possible. This might be displayed as Jpeg “L”.

Sharpening and Tweaking

Once you have taken your moon photograph, you may have to sharpen it a bit. Not for the reason that your photo will come out blurry, but remember, it is over three hundred thousand kilometres away. A little increase in the sharpening will help enhance some of detail in the craters. Try improving the darks and lights a little too by using your contrast tool in Photoshop or your favourite editing program. That naturally helps to give the surface more of a three dimensional look and detail, rather than having a large flat white surface. Increasing contrast, clarity and sharpness makes the moons craters look deeper and more interesting.

moon picture

Photo captured by Tammy (Click Image to See More From Tammy)

Moon photography is so much fun and takes a precise type of photographic applications. Just apply some of these principles and methods that I use and you will pleasantly surprised at the lovely photos you get all the time.

About the Author:
Amy Renfrey writes for DigitalPhotographySuccess.com. She’s photographed many things from famous musicians (Drummers for Prince and Anastasia) to weddings and portraits of babies. Amy also teaches photography online to her students.

For Further Training, PictureCorrect Suggests:

Capturing star trails and other night sky scenes is truly one of the most technically difficult forms of photography. This new in-depth guide was released to help photographers thrive in these situations. Currently 50% off until Friday (simply use the voucher code PICTURECORRECT at checkout).

It can be found here: How to Photograph the Night Sky

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PictureCorrect.Com – To Ask or Not to Ask in Street Photography?

To Ask or Not to Ask in Street Photography?

Photography sometimes confronts one with an almost Shakespearean dilemma; do I ask to take a picture of someone on the street or simply take the photo and move on? To risk rejection and the petty indignity of small-minded people or opt for the safety and anonymity of “shoot and scoot”?

Unfortunately there is no one right answer for either street or outdoor photography. As a photographer sometimes you just have to learn to read the situation and use your best judgement.

The good news is there is seldom a moral dilemma involved in taking pictures. There is no expectation of privacy in public spaces outside of areas that modesty would typically dictate there be no surveillance like bathrooms, public baths and changing rooms.

"Father's Love" captured by Gagan Dhiman. (Click on image to see more from Gagan Dhiman.)

“Father’s Love” captured by Gagan Dhiman. (Click on image to see more from Gagan Dhiman.)

What makes this discussion surreal is that the modern world is jammed packed with cameras taking pictures and video of people in public constantly. Walk down any big city street in almost any industrial nation and you’ll turn up on dozens of surveillance cameras; some run by private companies, some run by the state. But those cameras are discreetly hidden from view behind watertight housings, one-way mirrors and dome enclosures. After a while people tend to forget they’re even there.

But they can see a photographer and that big camera and that sometimes triggers an overreaction in some of the world’s self-appointed picky-poo hall monitors and bored security guards. Almost every street photographer has at least one story about about being confronted by angry subjects, security guards or the police.

Your best defenses are a quick smile, calm demeanor and solid understanding of exactly what your rights are. It’s also wise to keep in mind that history is littered with sad stories of people who were dead right. A balance between all those factors will arm you with a good internal guide as to when to stand your ground and when to let it go and walk away.

When it comes to taking pictures of people in public places, sometimes it’s better to just get your pictures and move on. The less time you’re around, the less time for people to get annoyed or suspicious. If you find one subject particularly intriguing, then just walk up ask them if it’s okay to take their picture. You’ll be surprised at how many times people will agree, or agree with some minor condition. If you asked 10 random people on the street, probably 80 percent will not have a problem being photographed and the other 20 percent will have a good reason for not cooperating.

"Burma: Monk on Train" captured by Thomas Jeppeson. (Click image to see more from Thomas Jeppeson.)

“Burma: Monk on Train” captured by Thomas Jeppeson. (Click image to see more from Thomas Jeppeson.)

Getting turned down is definitely not personal. Some people are in a hurry or were startled by the question. The world is full of scam artists and the predatory and suspicion is unfortunately understandable. Still, despite all that, you’ll be amazed at the people who will say yes.

Don’t be afraid to ask as it gives you a chance to interact with complete strangers. You’ll make new friends, broaden your social network, and get to know people, even if it’s just briefly, that you might not have met any other way. For many those positive interactions are worth more than the few missed shots from people who said no thanks.

About the Author:
Peter Timko writes on behalf of Proud Photography – which offers online photography courses on a variety of subjects.

Online Photography Courses Offered by ProudPhotography:

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

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