Preparing a Photo Shoot Before the Wedding Ceremony

A wedding may just be the most important day in a bride’s life and nothing should go wrong for either you or the bride and groom. Always come prepared when you’re hired for an event. Create a set schedule based on the wedding time frame. Make sure you know beforehand the specific time, location and most especially the key places where you can position the bride and groom as well as family members and the wedding entourage for portrait shots.

weddingnew Preparing a Photo Shoot Before the Wedding CeremonyHave the right equipment that will allow you to cover the whole wedding without encountering any problems. Make sure you have back-up gear that will cover any emergency you may come across. The usual wedding photographer’s equipment include around three camera bodies and all kinds of lenses from prime lenses to telephoto lenses to specialty lenses such as a macro or a fisheye lens. It also includes off-camera flash units, portable reflectors and diffusers, extra battery packs and memory cards. 

weddingnew2 Preparing a Photo Shoot Before the Wedding CeremonyOn the actual wedding day, the bride and groom, as well as family and friends tend to have many things on their mind and fail to appreciate the little things such as ‘getting ready’ for the event,. It would be nice to capture these moments for a nice keepsake. The ‘getting ready’ part mostly involves candid shots beginning with make-up and styling of the hair for the bride. It would be ideal to mix colored as well as black and white photos for variations in effects and impact. As much as you are engrossed taking shots of everyone, they are also busy and probably highly excited as they help each other prepare. Try not to distract them or get in the way of their own preparations. 

The wedding dress plays an important part in the getting ready portion of the event. It has been painstakingly chosen especially for this day and is often pricey. It can even be considered an heirloom in the future for those who would want to pass on the dress to their daughter. Make sure that emphasis is placed on the dress. You can shoot the bride wearing the dress or just the dress as a solo subject against a background that frames it well.

weddingdetails Preparing a Photo Shoot Before the Wedding CeremonyAlways remember that the bride and groom hired you to record this momentous occasion in their lives and through this, they will be seeing their wedding through your eyes. It is crucial that you don’t make them miss out on anything and this includes the complete scene of the day. Every little detail counts, from how the table was set, how the food was served, the placing of the bouquet up to the setting of the sun.

On such a busy day, many of the couples never get the chance to actually enjoy the little details of the reception venue while it’s set-up before it starts to fill with guests. Try to take shots of the venue at its best before guests start to arrive. Make sure you include close-up detailed shots of table settings and flower arrangements and such. 


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4 Things to Remember When Shooting Car Light Trails

Light trails are a popular subject matter among photographers and not only can they appear dramatic in an image, but it also gives you good practice on how to shoot at low light with long exposures. 

light trails6 4 Things to Remember When Shooting Car Light TrailsWhen shooting light trails, you will be looking for a location where cars pass by. Set up your camera and compose the shot to make sure the framing covers the area where the light trails will appear due to the long exposure. The road will give you a good idea of how the light trails will curve and travel through the image. It’s normal not to get the shots you want during the first few tries. When photographing light trails, you might end up experimenting heavily with your exposure settings, the position of the camera, and so on.  Here are great tips on how to capture great looking light trails in your image:

light trails1 4 Things to Remember When Shooting Car Light TrailsConsider the time of day – you can shoot in the middle of the night since this is the time when the sky is at its darkest (unless there is a bright moon) but it could also mean fewer cars. Shooting just after the sun goes down is another option; there is still just enough ambient light in the sky to show the scene without taking away the brilliance of the light trails. A lot of cars may also be on the road at this time, giving you many chances of shooting the trails. 

Equipment – there is no special gear you need to have to capture light trails but you do need a camera that allows you to adjust exposure settings, especially shutter speed. This should not be a problem since nowadays, all DSLRs and most point-and-shoots have a manual mode or a shutter priority mode. Shooting handheld will most certainly cause camera shake with during the long exposure, therefore a tripod is needed. If you don’t have one, you can place the camera on a secure and stable surface instead. Other accessories that you might find useful are remote shutter cables and a lens hood to block out ambient light flares.

light trails5 4 Things to Remember When Shooting Car Light TrailsLocation – there are a lot more things to consider aside from knowing you will be setting up your camera near a road. Try to include something that would add interest to the shot, such as building or structure that is also lighted at night. You can choose an intersection or a curving road so that the trails created will have a different shape compared to a straight line. Make sure the spot where you are shooting from is safe and there is no chance you will be hit by a car or be robbed while you are engrossed with taking shots. 

Histogram – in a shoot like this, it is easy for shots have blown out highlights or washed out areas because of too bright lights such that coming from a nearby street light or a car headlight. These lights could ruin your shot because of overexposure and would also lead your viewer’s eye from the point of interest. Use the histogram to have a quick check whether your lens is capturing strong light. 

 


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7 More Digital Photography Lessons to Teach Your Child

Enjoying photography can mean sharing the joy and experience with loved ones, and passing on the passion to your child. In a previous article, we wrote several photography lessons for your child. Here are 7 more:

child6 7 More Digital Photography Lessons to Teach Your Child1. Find a point of interest – teach your child to focus on the most important element in the image by knowing how to identify the point of interest. Once your child understands this, he will know how to position himself and angle his photographs as well as use other photography techniques to place emphasis on a subject.

 2. Teach your child the basic composition techniques – explain the techniques in simple terms and avoid any jargon that may just add to the confusion. It’s not easy to teach a child that by placing a subject 1/3 or 2/3 of the frame for composition makes the photograph more visually appealing, but teaching him to place a subject slightly off center can be a start.

child5 7 More Digital Photography Lessons to Teach Your Child 3. Take interest in your children’s images – one of the most important parts in teaching your child how to photograph is actually sitting with them and reviewing the images he’s taken. By going through the shots, you can praise the shots that have been taken well as well as give suggestions on shots that can be improved. Give extra attention and pay generous compliments to the images that have been taken well because these will feed enthusiasm and inspiration to develop their skills more.

 4.  Teach your child the relevance of a photograph – impart to your child that a camera can capture memories, not just record images. Ask him to remember to include himself in some of the photographs by asking a friend to take a picture of him.

5. Practice how to use focal lock – teach your child to use focal lock by pressing the shutter halfway down to focus and to frame a shot while still holding the shutter down. This is a technique that he can use forever. Even if most, if not all, of the digital cameras out in the market are equipped with auto focus, it still cannot determine the main point of focus or the actual subject.

child4 7 More Digital Photography Lessons to Teach Your Child6. Different modes for different situations – teach your child to use the different modes of a camera such as ‘sports’, ‘macro’, ‘landscape’, etc. Explain the meaning of each mode and if possible, demonstrate the differences. It is also important that your child knows when the appropriate time is to use each mode and how to switch to manual mode. This makes children more aware of their subject as well as learning how lighting, focal distance and movement can affect a shot.

 7. Exposure settings – when you child has a full understanding of the basic techniques, you can move on to explaining the importance of exposure. This may be a lesson for older kids with advanced compact cameras, but depending on how you explain the three exposure settings, the concept of ISO, aperture and shutter speed is a start. Explain the functions of each setting and what it can do to an image.  Showing them how to use aperture and shutter priority modes will help them on their way to fully understanding these functions.

 Depending on your child’s age and experience with a camera, you can pinpoint how to proceed with their photography lessons. A simple point and shoot will be sufficient in getting your child to learn and explore the world of photography and capture amazing photos at the same time. At best, be patient and give quality time when getting them started. Most of all, make it a fun and exciting experience for the both of you.

 


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7 Helpful Wildlife Photography Tips

Wildlife photography is not a genre that the average person will have the opportunity to practice all the time. The choice of subjects makes it very challenging but the results can be well worth it. Here is a list of tips that every wildlife photographer needs to know:

wildlife1 7 Helpful Wildlife Photography TipsHave lots of patience – when dealing with wildlife photography, you have to posses the virtue of patience. Wild animals will not listen to direction, and they will not willingly pose or sit still until you get your shot. Since they can be very shy and skittish, you might end up with blurry shots as they abruptly move just as you are pressing the shutter-release button. You might not get adequate images first few times around but with large amounts of patience, you will have a better chance of getting great shots.

You cannot dictate to Mother Nature – the weather conditions, geographical patterns, and habits of wild creatures are all uncontrollable elements that you will have to work with. Creatures in their natural habitat will be much harder to capture in an image since they can quickly hide behind bushes or just disappear in the dark shadows of foliage. Instead of imposing your presence in an effort to get your shot, why not use these elements to your advantage by understanding how they work. You can then include them in your composition which can make the image brim with vitality.

wildlife2 7 Helpful Wildlife Photography TipsOpportunity knocks only but once – if you are carrying your camera, this means that you are prepared for anything. Wildlife subjects are not like models that you can direct in a pose. Many opportunities to get the award winning shot are missed by not being prepared. Always anticipate what you least expect.

Bird talk can contain information about their behavior – birds are very intuitive animals. Most of the time, they give you distinct signals for the best opportunities to capture a moment you can miss at most times.

Eagle eyes are outdoor eyes – eagle eyes are, by definition, having keen eyes and the ability to observe more closely and pay attention to detail. If you use this trait to notice even the minute details that is oftentimes missed, you can get the ideal shots and capture the essence of wildlife.

wildlife3 7 Helpful Wildlife Photography TipsFocus on the eyes -just as the saying goes, the eyes are the doorway to our souls. The eyes of wild creatures can be very expressive and also fascinating to look at with all its myriad details. From an observer’s point of view, when your subject looks straight at you and you capture that moment, it’s like actually making eye contact, thus having the same effect on the viewer. Try to include catchlights in your image. These are points of light that are reflected back to the camera and make the eyes appear alive and well. Without catchlights, eyes can look dull and dead and leave an overall negative visual impact. 

Distance yourself from large wildlife – large wildlife is just that, large. They are large enough for you to be able to distance yourself from them and have a better chance to observe them in their natural habitat and capture them unaware. This will provide you with natural and realistic photos that capture a truly natural setting.


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How to Use the High Pass Filter to Sharpen Images

Photo editing programs offer various methods for you to sharpen your photos and the High Pass filter is one of the easiest yet most effective tools for the job. It selects the edges found in the image and sharpens them without affecting the areas that have no edges.

People have personal preferences over which sharpening tool works best for them and the High Pass filter is arguably the most popular for good reasons. One is that it locates the edges for you and you don’t have to manually select areas as you would with the Sharpen filter or Unsharp Mask (insert link to unsharp mask article). Another reason is that adjusting the filter is very simple since there are less settings to tweak compared to the others; in fact there is only one (unlike the Unsharp Mask which has three settings and the Smart Sharpen which has even more.) 

Here is a short tutorial on how to use the High Pass filter. Adobe Photoshop CS2 is used for this purpose and you might be using another photo editing program, but the concept works the same. If it is your first time ever to use this technique, you would be surprised by how quickly you will get the hang of it and make it a part of your post processing routine. 

Step 1: 

Open a copy of your original image (one can’t be too careful with keeping the original image safe!) and create a duplicate layer. The keyboard shortcut is Ctrl + J for Windows and Command + J for Mac. 

Step 2:

Change the duplicate layer’s blend mode from ‘Normal’ to ‘Overlay.’ You can find the blend mode options in the Layers Styles dialog box at the bottom right of the screen. The High Pass Filter works by turning to neutral gray all the areas of the image that do not have edges and the Overlay blend mode keeps all neutral gray areas from being adjusted. Therefore, the neutral gray areas will not be included in the sharpening. 

When you click on the Overlay blend mode, your image will suddenly appear to have more contrast like this:

highpassoverlay How to Use the High Pass Filter to Sharpen ImagesThis saturated effect will disappear once we click on the High Pass filter. 

Step 3:

While still highlighting the duplicate layer, click on the Filter menu (found on the toolbar on top of the screen) and choose ‘Other’ from the dropdown list, and then click on ‘High Pass.’ The High Pass dialog box will appear showing the preview of an area of the image in gray (edges are darker gray), the preview option and the one and only setting we mentioned earlier, the Radius setting. 

The Radius slider controls the amount of sharpening to be applied around the edges. Dragging the slider to the right will increase the radius value (in pixels) and affect a bigger area, while sliding it to the left reduces the intensity of the effect. By keeping the preview checkbox ticked, you can see how the image in the main screen is affected when you move the radius left or right. 

How much radius value to use depends on the pixel dimension of your image. Generally, the larger the image size, the higher the radius value you’ll need to use. A sign that you’re going overboard with the radius value is when halo effects begin to show up around the edges of details. This image size is rather small so a radius value of 1 pixel is enough to sharpen the edges without causing ill effects from oversharpening. 

highpass How to Use the High Pass Filter to Sharpen Images

Once you have chosen the radius value, just press ‘OK’ and you’re all done!

The photos below show the difference between the unedited image (photo on left) and the result of using a High Pass filter (photo on right):

hpf How to Use the High Pass Filter to Sharpen Images

Notice that the areas with edges, especially the hair, eyes, lips and the yellow curls, have become more defined while the areas with no edges, namely the cheeks, have remained smooth. 


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4 Sound Ways to Get Organized with your New Photography Business

When business is paired with photography, it can be both a pleasurable experience and a challenge as well. You will no longer be taking pictures just for the pure fun of it, you now have to also think and plan how to earn from your photos and services as a photographer. A business mindset is important since without it, your sales will surely suffer no matter how good a photographer you are. Here are 4 suggestions to help you make a smooth transition from hobbyist to pro: 

working at desk by szeileng 4 Sound Ways to Get Organized with your New Photography Business1. Put your business strategy in writing- this will work as your guide to beginning, organizing and making your business grow. It will contribute in evaluating how feasible your business will be in the current market. Planning your business strategies and jotting them down will also aid in achieving your goals. This will also assist you in identifying the important economic factors of your business, it will help you recognize the financial necessities of your business, evaluate your resources, and give you the initiative to balance your means to obtain your venture capital for the business, This will lead you to You can then begin to determine the financial restrictions and status of your business. Once establishing business strategy, you can begin to identify your possible customers, establish a step by step schedule and determine reasonable fees or costs and map out your advertising and promotional campaigns. 

commercebooks by gabetarian 4 Sound Ways to Get Organized with your New Photography Business2. Determine your legal business characteristics in legal terms – every continent, country, state and city have specific rules when it comes to businesses. Depending on your locale, check the laws and bylaws of your area in relation to your business through your local county clerk. If you are not too well versed about legalities and legal jargon, you can ask for help from a lawyer or a friend or relative who can help you go over any legal issues.

3. Start a business account with your local bank – always keep business and personal finances separate. This would include debit and credit cards as well as PayPal accounts if you have any. Use a separate credit card for your personal use and for your business use. For ledger page by morrhigan 4 Sound Ways to Get Organized with your New Photography Businessusing the start-up capital for your business as the initial deposit for your business bank account, keep track of whatever the incomings and outgoings are pertaining to the business. Aside from the regular bank statements that are sent to you, it’s also advisable to keep a ledger to record your business finances.

4. Check zoning restrictions in your area – before starting your business full blast, make sure you check on the zoning restrictions in your vicinity especially if you have a home-based setup. You will be having clients over at your home for a photo session and this may be something your neighbors may consider a disturbance. 

Coming soon are more tips to help you with your new photography business. Stay on the lookout for it!


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Various Image Ownership Rights Terms Explained

There are many opportunities for selling your photographs and it’s best to always be clear with buyers regarding ownership rights. Your photos can be used by a worldwide circulated magazine or by excited newlyweds, and for every time you sell your work, you might want to specify in your contract the extent of the buyer’s privileges in using your images. Here are various definitions of ownership rights that you can familiarize yourself with:

3 Various Image Ownership Rights Terms Explained1. Exclusive Photo Rights – this means the buyer has sole privileges to your image and no one else can benefit from it. The degree of this exclusivity can be further differentiated in a particular target market and depending on the agreement, arrangements can be made to allow you to have more control over how the image is used. For instance, a wildlife magazine purchases exclusive rights to your image and you may not be permitted to sell it to magazines with a similar target readership. However, you may still be able to promote the photograph to a different, non-related niche.

2. One Time/Lease Rights – in this scenario, you image may be used only within a certain time period, or for an agreed amount of exposure.

3. Electronic or Online Media Rights – Your images can be integrated in digital format such as in a CD or DVD, or be viewed in a media website. You might find it beneficial to insert digital metadata in your images. 

4. Transfer Rights – you can turn over your image’s copyright to another person.  Be wary of the fine print in some buyer contracts, some of them may have hidden clauses that you are not initially aware of. Also be aware of copyright renewals. 

fine print by kajrdj Various Image Ownership Rights Terms Explained5. First Rights – the buyer has rights to your photograph for only one time and often pays extra to obtain the privilege to having first dibs to presenting your image.

6. Print Rights – Your pictures may be accessible by way of conventional print media.

7. All Rights – You permanently give up all rights or semblance of ownership to your photographs, or for a certain amount of time.

8. Work for Hire – this means the images you capture in relation to the job description are owned by your employer, either automatically, or as specified in the terms of agreement. If you consent to Work for Hire, try to reach a deal with the buyer to compensate for surrendering your photography ownership rights.

 


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Photographing Snow Scenes

When the land gets covered in snow, it transforms into a different place, something magical, mysterious or desolate. Pictures of winter landscapes can be mesmerizing but taking those shots can be one big challenge. Not only will you have to think of composition and lighting but also how the cold will affect your camera gear. Before you head out into the world of snow, there are a few things to remind yourself about:

snow1 Photographing Snow ScenesProtect yourself – keep yourself warm with gloves and a jacket. Not only will you be less uncomfortable but it will lessen the chances that you will shiver and cause camera shake. Gloves might make it awkward for you to hold and use the camera but numb fingers won’t be a good thing, either. If you are in not so familiar territory such as hiking in the mountains, stay away from snow drifts and areas which might be dangerous. Taking a picture of that wonderland of snow in the distance is not worth risking your health for. 

Protect your camera gear – Camera batteries are very susceptible to cold temperatures and there is a possibility they won’t last as long as they usually do. Bring extra batteries, just to be on the safe side, and keep all your batteries as warm and cozy as possible by placing them in your pocket next to your body or by keeping your camera in an insulated bag when not in use. Avoid keeping your camera slung around your neck and try not to carry a lot of gear while walking. The bulkier the equipment you carry, the bigger the chances of you losing your balance. Not only might you get hurt if you do, but your gear might suffer, too. When you arrive home, give your camera time to adjust to the change of temperature before using it to avoid moisture or fogging of the lens.

snow2 Photographing Snow ScenesAdjust exposure settings – snow is white and has reflective properties, and without adjusting camera settings, your images can end up looking underexposed or dirty gray. The reason for this is that the camera meter is designed to compute for the middle gray in a scene and if what the lens sees is a lot of white, the light meter will compensate by underexposing the snow, hence making it appear gray instead.   A lot of digital cameras come with automatic presets and you can use the snow scene preset which can usually do a good job in using the right exposure. But you might want more control over your camera settings and use the manual mode instead.  To get around the possibility of underexposure, you can deliberately overexpose the shot by adding a stop of two to the exposure settings. You can also lessen the chances of getting images with the wrong exposure by bracketing your shots so that you will have options to choose from. 


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7 Digital Photography Lessons to Teach Your Child

One of the many advantages of technology nowadays is having the opportunity to use a digital camera where the cost of film and developing is not something to consider when first teaching a child on how to use a camera and take photographs.

We all would like to preserve memories of our children growing up, but we can’t always be there to record every moment of their life. Moreover, it would be a completely different experience if a child recorded their own memories through their own experiences and their own eyes. Besides, it is not all the time that they let us in on all their secrets. This is a way for them to express themselves as well as discover who they are and perhaps open doors to what they would want to be in the future.

Here are a few lessons you can give your child on getting started in using a camera and taking photographs of their own.

child1 7 Digital Photography Lessons to Teach Your Child1. Experiment – show your child different techniques to try when shooting one subject. Let your child try shooting from different perspectives such as up high or down low. Explain the difference between a close up shot and moving further away from a subject to include more of the scene. Show your child how to shoot with different angles by moving around a subject. Also, how to use the different settings on a camera by experimenting on different exposure modes and what outcomes each may produce.

2. Pay attention to the background and foreground – teach your child to be aware of the background and foreground of a subject and to be conscious of possible clutter that may be a distraction. Give emphasis on the importance of framing to eliminate some of the distractions, as well as to give more focus and attention to the subject.

child3 7 Digital Photography Lessons to Teach Your Child3. Keep the camera straight – although off-kilter shots can have a playful feel to the images and have a candid effect, it’s important to teach your child to frame an image. This would give your child the very basic principle of leveling all of the shots and once that is imparted and practiced, even candid shots will look great and won’t have that dizzying effect.

4. Hold the camera properly- don’t assume that anyone can hold a camera, especially a child who is unfamiliar with it. Your child may need a few tips in holding a camera correctly to help avoid the usual problems encountered such as camera child2 7 Digital Photography Lessons to Teach Your Childshake. Advice your child to use the camera strap to lessen chances of the camera falling on the floor.

5. Get in close – teach your child that getting close to the subject can capture so much of the details that are often missed. It will also make your child more observant and appreciative of ‘ordinary’ objects.

6. Take lots of photos – it’s great how taking photographs aren’t as costly with digital cameras today. You and your child can preview the images right after they are taken and edit out the ones you don’t want to keep. By letting your child freely take pictures without having to stop at a certain number of shots, they get to play and have fun and explore what they can do with the camera.

 



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Understanding Polarizing Filters and Natural Density Filters

There are many kinds of filters to help you control the light in a scene when capturing the shot. Two very common and useful filters are polarizers and natural density filters. We previously explained how polarizers can affect an image and here we will explain the difference between linear and circular types. Also, the usefulness of natural density filters will be further expounded upon.

circular filter Understanding Polarizing Filters and Natural Density FiltersLinear vs. Circular Polarizing Filters:

Circular polarizing filters are designed for metering and auto focusing functions of a camera. Usually, if the camera is equipped with autofocus, a circular polarizer is what is most advised.  Most modern cameras are equipped with a polarizing half mirror known as a split beam metering system. In most cases, a circular polarizer is needed for the meter to be accurate.

Linear polarizers are less expensive but cannot be utilized for cameras with through-the-lens (TTL) metering and auto focus, which encompasses most of the models of digital SLR cameras. You can make do without metering and auto focus, but these are sure fire ways to help improve your images.

Light rays reflecting from any surface are already polarized. Polarizing filters selects what kinds of rays are allowed into your camera’s lens. Linear polarizing (PL) and filterpolar3 Understanding Polarizing Filters and Natural Density FiltersCircular polarizing (CIR) filters do the same, but it’s important to know what best suits your camera. This permits you to filter out any undesirable reflections from surfaces that are non-metallic such as glass and water. It also allows color saturation and makes hues more vivid with improved contrast without affecting the color balance of an image as a whole.

Neutral Density (ND) filters:

ND filters function by lessening the light that reaches the camera’s sensor. This is most helpful when long exposures are not possible in a range of apertures that are set at the lowest ISO setting.

These may best be applicable in scenarios where you need to smooth out a shot when trying to capture images that include flowing water such as rivers, waterfalls and oceans. ND filters can help you attain a shallower depth of field in bright light situations. It also helps reduce diffraction which also reduces sharpness by allowing a larger aperture to make subjects in motion appear less defined, allowing blur to indicate movement.

ND filters are best applicable when trying to diminish light. Now light can be reduced by using faster shutter speeds, or using a smaller aperture which will impact depth of field. However, by using an ND filter, it allows you to reduce light without compromising your exposure settings. You can have a slower shutter speed or a larger lens opening without fear that the shot will be overexposed. 

The table below is a guide on attaining the correct amount of light required in a shot using the different ND filters based on the general information already provided by relevant companies:

filter chart Understanding Polarizing Filters and Natural Density Filters

Just a couple of ND filters are needed to achieve extreme light reduction to allow long exposures in broad daylight and a few f-stops for subjects in motion.


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