• Apr

    6 Photography Tips


    In this post we look at several photography tips, from close up work, to flash photography, studio lighting issues and more.

    1. About Close-Ups

    For shots that are closer than 3 feet, use the LCD monitor to frame your image, otherwise, you won’t be able to see the effects of depth of field. Also, looking the viewfinder will not show you the same perspective of the scene since it is offset from the lens.

    To increase depth of field with close up shots, don’t get any closer than necessary, focus on the middle distance (since depth of field applies to both the foreground and background), increase the illumination if possible and choose a smaller aperture, such f/8 or smaller. Flash is really useful here because it allows you to use a smaller aperture and it reduces blurring caused by camera or subject movement.

    2. Flash Portraits

    Portrait photography works well with flash, which keeps blurred images are kept to a minimum. It’s also excellent for moving around the scene while hand-holding the camera, allowing for greater flexibility while shooting and you can shoot as fast as it take for the flash to recharge. Bouncing light off the walls or from an umbrella reflector reduces the hard light of the flash.

    3. Other Lighting Issues

    Other problems come from the lights you use. If you use photo flood lights, you can shoot with a daylight film. If you use tungsten lighting will give your images an orange cast and fluorescent lights introduce a green cast. This will require manual experimentation with the white balance settings. Additionally, certain images will require the use of polarizers over the lights and a circular polarizer on the camera to reduce glare on reflective surfaces.

    You may even require a matte black shield over the camera itself so only the lens shows through to minimize reflections. And with paintings, certain areas on the surface will catch light and cause some imaging problems. To minimize this, you may have to use scrims over the lights (a translucent material set into a frame) to soften the light and reduce the possibility of highlights.

    4. Shooting the Unexpected

    While shooting quality images relies on several techniques, one can get unexpected results by doing something different. Here are a few ideas for different shots. In photography, the rule of thirds is often used to place the horizon line at one-third from the bottom of the image, but trying it on the top third or even at an angle can produce interesting results.

    An example is with landscapes. If they contain mostly horizontal and vertical lines, you will have a calm image, but it will lack life. Adding angles to your composition immediately creates drama and action.

    5. Keep all your Images

    STOP!!! Don’t hit that delete button. If you have extra storage cards, save all your images for downloading and viewing on the computer. You can always delete them later. Why? Because quite often, a photograph that appears to be a dud, can be fixed in an image editing application like Photoshop. Through color manipulation, selective sharpening/blurring, masking and/or cropping techniques you can revitalize an otherwise unusable image. An unusual color balance can be created with an image editing program or simply by taking advantage of the existing light on a scene.

    6. Trust your Gut Feeling

    While good photography often relies on technique, there is no substitute for an inner sense of design and composition, in other words, “what feels right.” As the saying goes, practice makes perfect. And with a digital camera, perfection is easier to attain.

    © Nathan Segal

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