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Ten expert tips for successful macro photography

23 Jul

Thomas Shahan’s tips for successful macro photography

Thomas Shahan is a macro photographer and artist from Tulsa Oklahoma who specializes in entomology and traditional relief printmaking.

Thomas’s interest in macro photography began when he started watching jumping spiders in his backyard. After studying art at the University of Oklahoma, he left for Oregon to work in the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s entomology lab. There, he worked as a digital imaging specialist, taking high magnification focus-stacked photographs and SEM images of arthropods – good practice for macro photography.

In this article, Thomas shares advice for successful closeup photography of bugs, insects and small animals. Click through for his top tips, and be sure to check out the video we made with Thomas recently, embedded at the bottom of each page.

All images by Thomas Shahan, used with permission.

Tip #1: Bugs are everywhere

Wolf Spider – sp, hogna, shot in Norman, Oklahoma using a Pentax 50mm F1.7, reversed on tubes at ~F16 equiv.

You don’t need to travel to exotic locations to take pictures of bugs – they’re everywhere. A few minutes spent turning over stones and logs in your back yard, or local park will reveal plenty of creepy-crawlies.

Bugs are most active in the middle of the day but they can be found at any time, even at night.

Tip #2: Learn about your subjects

A jumping spider – sp. psecas, shot in Peru with a Vivitar 55mm F2.8 at ~F10 equiv, on a 2x teleconverter.

Sure, to begin with you might just explore your yard and see what you come across, but the more you know about bugs and insects, the more likely you’ll be able to find them, and get the shot that you want.

Perhaps you live in a part of the world where a certain species is particularly common. Perhaps the particular spider, or fly that you want to photograph only comes out at a certain time of the day, or likes to hang out in a particular kind of environment. The more you know, the better your chances of finding it, and getting a great shot.

Tip #3: You don’t need expensive gear

We were using the Fujifilm GFX 50S for our recent shoot in Idaho, but you don’t need such expensive equipment to get great macro shots. Thomas’s usual setup (pictured here) is centered around a midrange Pentax DSLR, and a collection of second-hand lenses and extenders.

A newer camera with a good live view mode and a dedicated macro lens will certainly make life easier, but they’re not essential to getting great shots.

Tip #4: Use diffused light

A bess beetle – sp. passalid, captured during our shoot at the Ketchum Bug Zoo, Idaho.

Many bugs, like this bess beetle are glossy, so try to shoot them under diffuse light, to avoid distracting ‘hot spots’ on their shells. Experiment with different kinds of diffusion material for both natural and flashlight.

Tip #5: Small apertures increase depth of field

A tarantula, captured during our shoot at the Ketchum Bug Zoo, Idaho.

Shooting at small apertures will give you more depth of field, meaning that more of your picture will be in focus. This is essential when taking pictures of very small insects and bugs, but also useful with larger animals, like this tarantula (shot at F10).

The downside of shooting at small apertures is that it cuts out a lot of light, so you should experiment with using flash as your main light source. A relatively low flash output should work in daylight and it won’t scare away your subject.

Tip #6: Shoot Raw, at low ISOs

A bearded dragon, captured during our shoot at the Ketchum Bug Zoo, Idaho.

Shooting in Raw mode will let you get the best possible resolution out of your camera, and keeping your ISO sensitivity as low as possible means that you won’t need to worry too much about noise levels. Shooting Raw also gives you a lot of scope for post-capture tonal adjustment.

Tip #7: Don’t be afraid to crop

A bess beetle – sp. passalid, captured during our shoot at the Ketchum Bug Zoo, Idaho.

Don’t worry if your lens can’t focus super close – if you’re working with a high megapixel camera, you can always crop in afterwards. This image of a bess beetle is a pretty heavy crop from the GFX 50S’s 50MP sensor, but the output resolution is still very good, at around 15MP.

Tip #8: Focus manually

A jumping spider – sp. Habronattus americanus, shot in Oregon with a Vivitar 55mm F2.8 at ~F16 equiv, on a 2x teleconverter.

If you are working at very close distances, turn off AF and focus manually, then bracket focus by moving your camera slightly back and forth.

Tip #9: Experiment with color and contrast

Madagascar hissing cockroach – sp. gromphadorhina, captured during our shoot at the Ketchum Bug Zoo, Idaho.

Experiment with color and contrast. Simple colored backgrounds can be very effective. Here, a bright red piece of cardboard contrasts with the warm tones in the carapace of a Madagascar hissing cockroach.

Tip #10: Take a lot of pictures!

Horsefly – sp. Tabanus, shot in Tulsa OK with a Vivitar 55mm F2.8 at ~F10 equiv, on a 2x teleconverter.

Macro photography is fun, but it’s tough – especially when it comes to flies and other small, fast-moving animals. Increase your odds of getting a great shot by taking lots of pictures!

Thomas Shahan’s tips for successful macro photography

We recently spent a couple of days with Thomas down in Ketchum Idaho, to get a feel for how he approaches one of the most challenging kinds of photography there is – macro shots of bugs and small animals.

Check out more of Thomas’s work on Flickr


This video is sponsored content, created in partnership with Fujifilm. What does this mean?

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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10 Photography Bad Habits for You to Conquer

21 Jul

Let’s define what a bad habit is first; A habitual behavior considered to be detrimental to one’s wellbeing. However, this can be extended into learning a new skill set (like photography) where you may develop habits that can inhibit your learning progression, or even cause you physical injury.

How to Conquer Your Photography Bad Habits

Magnolia bud, not 100% sharp as I hadn’t taken my tripod with me

Before you can fix or adjust a bad habit, first you have to identify it. There is a good chance that a majority of photographers pick up or share the same habits, so maybe you can learn from my list. Possibly you are doing some of the same things. If you are lucky you aren’t doing all of them and this will help you avoid picking up any new photography bad habits.

There is little as heartbreaking as downloading your photos from a shoot to find you did a really stupid thing like have your ISO really high, or the wrong white balance setting or some other silly thing. Take the time to develop good habits and break any bad ones you might have.

How to Conquer Your Photography Bad Habits

Macro image of a gerbera, achieved by allowing sufficient time and patience to set up the shot and my gear correctly.

Confession Time

Most of the following are simple stupid things, stuff that doesn’t take a lot of time to think about or do but is easy to put aside for later. Except later usually doesn’t come, and then you pay the price.

Bad Habit #1 – Batteries not charged and ready

Failing to check and charge spare camera batteries when they need it is an issue. Nothing worse than being in the middle of a great shoot, having to switch batteries to find that all your spares are flat.

10 Photography Bad Habits for You to Conquer

Bad Habit #2 – Memory cards not empty and ready to use

Forgetting to take the CF card out of the camera and wipe it before reusing is bad habit number two. I have multiple spare cards so leaving one in the computer isn’t a deal breaker, but I am bad about formatting the card and dumping the previous images before a new shoot.

10 Photography Bad Habits for You to Conquer

Bad Habit #3 – No cleaning routine

Another photography bad habit is not completing a regular cleaning routine after each shoot. Living in a coastal area means always being aware of salt spray off the sea. You should have a regular cleaning routine for your camera, lenses, any accessories and don’t forget the inside of your camera bag as well. The life of your expensive camera gear will be extended. Also if your lenses and filters are clean, there is less to handle (fix) in the post-production stage.

10 Photography Bad Habits for You to Conquer

Bad Habit #4 – Not checking camera settings

Are you guilty of this one – not checking how the camera is set up before a new shoot? Time to fess up – this is my personal worst habit and it has cost me some good shots over the years.

Before you go out on your next shoot, allow time to go over your gear, check that you have everything you need, and set your camera up to your preferred base starting point. A few minutes spent here is an investment that saves you hassles and disappointment later.

10 Photography Bad Habits for You to Conquer

Shot unnecessarily at ISO 400 because I forgot to check my camera settings BEFORE the shoot.

Bad Habit #5 – Underestimating travel allowance time

Underestimating your travel allowance time so you can get on site and scout out in advance can be a problem. Sometimes it’s hard to find a particular spot, or the sun is setting as you are driving home from work. There are a Lot of reasons for you to be in a hurry to get to somewhere with your camera. But, make life less stressful by allowing plenty of travel time and plan out your route in advance. Get there early.

10 Photography Bad Habits for You to Conquer

Bad Habit #6 – Not stopping when you see a shot

Have you ever seen a possible shot while driving and not stopped?  I often think I will get it on the way back, but the light changes and the shot is gone forever. Of course, habit five applies here as well, if you have allowed sufficient travel time and built in a buffer for possible stops along the way, then you can stop.

10 Photography Bad Habits for You to Conquer

Bad Habit #7 – Not protecting your gear properly

Not protecting my gear as much as I should.  Doing things like putting my tripod legs in the sea, forgetting to use my rain cover for the camera, relying on the weather sealing to protect my camera and lens in a drizzle. Guilty!

If you do use your tripod in water, learn how to take it apart and clean it. They get a surprising amount of sand inside the legs which can eventually rust. Use proper rain gear to take care of your equipment.

10 Photography Bad Habits for You to Conquer

Bad Habit #8 – Not using a tripod

Sometimes I’m lazy about taking my tripod with me. It’s heavy and carrying it everywhere can be annoying sometimes. However, for landscapes and long exposures, it is a necessity.

10 Photography Bad Habits for You to Conquer

This bokeh shot was only possible while using a tripod.

Bad Habit #9 – Getting caught in the excitement

Getting caught up in the excitement of an event or happening and forgetting to take my time and plan for strategic shooting.

This is possibly less of a habit and more something you learn with time and experience. But learning how to distance yourself from the excitement of what is happening in front of your camera is a necessary skill to help you compose and capture meaningful images, rather than “spray and pray”.

10 Photography Bad Habits for You to Conquer

Taking myself off to the side of this light display, after capturing the usual images I decided to have a play with some ICM – Intentional Camera Movement.

Bad Habit #10 – Afraid to hit delete

Being afraid to delete images. While there is some merit in keeping images that you can come back to and edit later when your skills might have improved, part of your journey in learning to improve is being able to critique your own work. Learn to identify average shots, poor composition, dull lighting and other things that lessen the quality of your images, and don’t be afraid to cull them. If nothing else, it will help extend the life of your computer hard drive capacity.

10 Photography Bad Habits for You to Conquer

It’s a nice memory of a fun birthday lunch but it’s not the most amazing photo ever!

Conclusion

“I don’t have time to do it now” or “I’ll do it later” are two of the worst mental habits you can get into as a photographer. Learn to stop yourself when you think these things, then take the time to do whatever it was you were going to put off.

Being a photographer means you need to cultivate the art of patience. With patience, you also have to learn to allocate your time effectively and efficiently. Spending time looking after and checking your gear in advance of a shoot, will save you from making mistakes or wasting time later on fixing them.

Your photography bad habits may well be different to mine, so make a list of your own personal ones. Don’t try to fix them all at once. Pick the two that have the most impact and concentrate on fixing those. Over time you may find that the good habits you develop make it easier to quit the bad ones.

Keep an eye out for developing new bad habits in the future too. It’s easy to tell ourselves we won’t, but trying to be perfect is one of the worst habits of all. Do the best you can on the day, and hopefully every day it gets easier, and your good intentions become habits. Positive outcome!

The post 10 Photography Bad Habits for You to Conquer by Stacey Hill appeared first on Digital Photography School.


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How to Find Animals for Wildlife Photography Beginners

21 Jul

Wildlife photography may seem like an attractive field of photography to you, but one of the most daunting things for beginners is how to actually go about finding the animals in the first place. Thanks to mankind’s destructive nature we’re used to seeing fleeting glimpses of animals, often far away, prompting heated debates between groups as to what is that winged black speck in the distance.

5 Beginner Tips to Help You Find Animals for Wildlife Photography

Two female red grouse amongst the heather on a British moorland.

As a newcomer to wildlife photography, you may find yourself wondering how on Earth you are supposed to get even remotely close enough for a picture. Sure, you can maybe settle for an atmospheric habitat shot, with the subject small in the frame, but you’d be forgiven for wanting close-up portraits of animals too.

So let’s look at some of the ways you can achieve those super detailed close-up shots, showing every part of fur or feather.

1. Wildlife Parks and Reserves

5 Beginner Tips to Help You Find Animals for Wildlife Photography

One of the first pictures I ever took was in a wildlife reserve, and of this slightly soft Mandarin Duck.

One of the first places I visited when I first embarked on my journey as a wildlife photographer was a small wetland reserve. This reserve had some birds kept in open enclosures, as well as a river which was host to many wild ducks. Ducks tend to move slowly, at least when swimming casually along and are fairly easy to get close to (especially in a reserve frequented by well-intended people).

The best attraction for me, though, was the woodland hide. Situated in a quiet clump of trees, this woodland hide looked over a feeding station for wild birds. It was visited by mainly small passerines, such as great tits and bullfinches, but occasionally the odd predator would drop in such as a sparrow hawk.

5 Beginner Tips to Help You Find Animals for Wildlife Photography

Even small woodland birds are interesting and exhibit great behavior if you watch for a long time.

If you can find yourself a local reserve like this one, or just a public wildlife hide in a good spot, put in the hours and try to think outside the box. You’ll most likely come away with some decent images that you can be proud of.

2. Get a Wildlife Blind

Not happy with a public hide? Get your own wildlife blind – a camouflage tent, if you will – and set it up wherever you think wildlife may frequent. This might even be in your backyard, and if you set up a small feeding station there you could have all sorts of birds and small mammals visiting. Bird feeders filled with sunflower seeds will quickly attract small passerine birds, with squirrels most likely making a visit there too.

5 Beginner Tips to Help You Find Animals for Wildlife Photography

Wildlife blinds can get you close to all sorts of rare animals, like this black grouse.

Working in hides requires a lot of patience. In the past, I spent 15 hours a day for two weeks in a hide waiting for brown bears make an appearance. But even with animals that are visiting regularly, you’ll need to put in the hours to capture interesting behavior and something more than just a simple “bird on a stick” portrait shot.

3. Try Using a Trail Camera

If you’re really stuck for ideas or want to track down something a little more interesting, try setting up a small Bushnell trail camera in likely locations for animals. Such locations might be runs in a woodland (trodden down trails in the grass you can see, where animals move regularly). The camera will sit and watch 24/7 for you, triggering when something moves by. They’ll record video or take photos that you can later review, unveiling the secrets of a particular area to you.

5 Beginner Tips to Help You Find Animals for Wildlife Photography

Track down regular haunts of hard-to-spot animals like foxes by using a trail camera.

Some animals are nocturnal, and in those cases, you could even try setting up a DSLR camera trap, although these are usually used by more practiced wildlife photographers. I wouldn’t recommend trying out this technique just yet if you are very new to the game, and instead, stick to the trail cameras for finding locations.

4. Practice Your Fieldcraft Techniques

If you want to be a successful wildlife photographer, then you need good fieldcraft skills. You need to learn how to remain concealed, and silently approach animals without them noticing you. This involves learning to properly observe your subject. Only move when they are distracted. You should never approach an animal that is clearly alert and wary that something is nearby. Wait until they’re relaxed and unaware, before continuing to move closer.

5 Beginner Tips to Help You Find Animals for Wildlife Photography

Practicing your fieldcraft skills lets you get closer to animals without the need for a blind.

But learn the limits. There’s going to be a point you need to stop, otherwise, you would be standing nose to nose with a moose or something similar. You’ll need to practice stalking techniques, with many failures no doubt, before you get it just right. Simple things like thinking about the material your clothes are made of, in order to prevent loud noises when your walk, will make all the difference.

Once you’ve done that, you’ll find yourself able to spot an animal at a distance and get closer and closer. It takes time, but it’s great fun and it definitely makes the final image more worthwhile thanks to the hard work you put in. I love to try stalking red deer – they’re big, charismatic subjects but they’re really wary of people. They’ll happily stare at you standing still, but once they spot you moving towards them they’ll run a mile.

5. Keep Alert

Many of my wildlife photos are opportunistic. It doesn’t hurt to drive around with your camera in the passenger’s seat, keeping your eyes peeled for wildlife. In an ideal world, you’d have someone driving for you so you can pay 100% attention to the surrounding areas, rather than having to focus on the road.

5 Beginner Tips to Help You Find Animals for Wildlife Photography

Using your car as a hide can be a great way to find wildlife over a large area, like I did with this cuckoo bird.

Cars can be the best wildlife blinds available. Animals are so used to seeing them that they are mostly ignored. While you may get a photo from your car, this is also a great way to find the regular haunts for a particular animal. Dawn and dusk are the best times to start exploring when animals are generally most active.

Conclusion

Do you have any other tips for doing wildlife photography and finding animals to photograph? Please share in the comments below.

The post How to Find Animals for Wildlife Photography Beginners by Will Nicholls appeared first on Digital Photography School.


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Concert Photography 101: Cameras and Lenses for Beginners

20 Jul

If you’ve ever wondered how to become a concert photographer, one of the very first steps is to acquire the right gear. You’ve probably been to a concert or festival and seen music photographers hauling tons of equipment such as two camera bodies and enormous lenses. While it’s certainly ideal for a professional to have this much stuff (and then some), most beginners or amateurs absolutely don’t need this much gear to get started. Read on for some of my suggestions on how to gear up as a beginning doing concert photography.

Concert Photography 101: Cameras and Lenses for Beginners

Concert photography rules

Before we get into gear, let’s discuss your typical concert photography setting. Whether you’re shooting a big arena show or a small, casual performance in a bar, concert photography rules are more or less the same. You get to shoot for the first three songs only, and cannot use a flash or strobe of any sort. With these two rules in mind, this means that you need gear that allows you to adjust and shoot quickly and pull off shots in a low lighting setting.

What kind of camera do you need?

First off, invest in a solid DSLR camera. While there are point and shoot cameras that could arguably get the job done, you need the lens choices that come with DSLRs. It doesn’t really matter what brand you choose. What does matter is being comfortable using it and knowing that you have a wide variety of lenses to pair with it. Canon and Nikon are two of the biggest camera brands that are among the most popular for concert photographers.

Crop Sensor or Full Frame?

When researching DSLR camera options, you’ll have a choice between investing in a crop sensor or full frame camera. The differences between the two types of DSLR cameras is best explained in this article.

To quickly summarize, crop sensor cameras are typically smaller in size and much cheaper than full frame cameras. The main disadvantage to crop sensor cameras has to do with their smaller sensor sizes that will impact available ISO options, thus resulting in slightly noisier or grainy photos than full frame cameras. In short, start out with a crop sensor camera if you’re on a budget, and aim to upgrade to a full frame camera the further you get in your concert photography career.

Concert Photography 101: Cameras and Lenses for Beginners

Canon 5D Mark III (full frame) on the left and a 6D on the right.

Suggested concert photography cameras

Full Frame

  • Canon EOS 6D
  • Canon 5D Mark IV
  • Nikon D810
  • Nikon D750
  • Nikon D610

Crop Sensor

  • Canon 7D Mark II
  • Canon 77D
  • Canon 80D
  • Canon EOS Rebel T6i
  • Nikon D500
  • Nikon D7500
  • Nikon D5600
  • Nikon D3400

What are the best concert photography lenses?

After you’ve invested in a DSLR, be sure to budget for the purchase of accompanying lenses, which can end up being just as expensive as the camera body. Generally speaking, you shouldn’t use the kit lens that automatically comes with your DSLR camera.

Most of these kit lenses are fine for shooting in ample lighting conditions, but they won’t perform well in the low light settings of concerts. Instead, what you want is a fast lens with a wide aperture (or f-stop) of between f/1.2-f/2.8. This will help you capture moving subjects in dark settings.

Concert Photography 101: Cameras and Lenses for Beginners

Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 and 70-200 f/2.8.

Start with prime lenses

For beginning concert photographers on a budget, prime lenses are your best bet. While these lenses have fixed focal lengths, meaning you can’t zoom with them, their low f-stops mean they will shoot better in low light. Prices and exact lens models will vary according to which camera brand you’ve chosen. Since I’m a Canon shooter, these lenses are geared toward Canon.

  • 50mm f/1.4 (or the cheaper 50mm f/1.8) – for Nikon try the 50mm f/1.8G
  • 85mm f/1.8 – for Nikon try the 85mm f/1.8G
  • 35mm f/1.4  – for Nikon try the 35mm f/1.4

Put these lenses on your wish list

Pretty much every professional concert photographer will have two go-to lenses on hand: a 24-70mm f/2.8 midrange zoom lens, and a 70-200mm f/2.8 telephoto lens. Neither of these lenses is cheap and should definitely be considered a long-term investment. But if you can afford one or both, don’t hesitate to add these lenses to your concert photography kit.

Concert Photography 101: Cameras and Lenses for Beginners

Keep an eye on third party brands

While it’s certainly ideal to purchase lenses in the same brand as your DSLR camera manufacturer, there are many third party companies producing cheaper and sometimes even better options. Great lens options exist from Sigma, Tamron, and Tokina, to name a few. Again, the specific options will depend on the DSLR camera body you’ve chosen, but here are a few possible options for Canon shooters:

  • Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 (for Canon EF-S/crop sensor or Nikon DX)
  • Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 (for Canon EF-S/crop sensor or Nikon DX)
  • Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8

If you’re on a budget

It’s a reality that concert photography equipment isn’t cheap. But there are some ways to score more affordable camera gear. First, look into used or refurbished camera bodies and/or lenses. As long as you purchase from an accredited source, you can save hundreds of dollars on gear.

On the flip side, keep in mind that camera gear retains its value as long as you take care of it. So if you buy a lower-end camera or lens and want to upgrade later on, it’s pretty easy to sell off your old gear to help you invest in newer options.

Finally, look for older models or previous versions of gear. For example, you could spring for the brand new Canon 5D Mark IV camera body, or you can save over $ 1,000 by investing in the older yet still very functional Canon 5D Mark III. The same is true for many other camera bodies and lenses on the market. It all depends on your budget and what kind of features you absolutely need to have.

Concert Photography 101: Cameras and Lenses for Beginners

In Conclusion

Consistently pulling off pro-quality concert photos often requires investing in pro-grade camera gear. But it’s best to start small and to upgrade over time as your skills and budget increase. What are your go-to concert photography cameras and lenses? Let me know in the comments below!

Concert Photography 101: Cameras and Lenses for Beginners

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7 Travel Photography Tips I’ve Learned from People in the Industry

20 Jul

Like any profession, over the years and countless hours of working and talking to people in the industry, you will pick up tips, advice and even things to avoid. This will ultimately help you improve and possibly make your photography business more profitable. Here are some of the main tips that I have picked up over the years from people in the travel photography industry.

7 Travel Photography Tips I've Learned from People in the Industry - new zealand

#1 – Blue Sells

If you were to line up a whole load of travel magazines next to each other, you will notice that the vast majority of their front covers have something in common, the color blue. Whether it is the sky or water, magazine covers tend to feature photos of gorgeous sunny days rather than moody, dark and atmospheric conditions.

I had always noticed that my “gorgeous sunny weather” shots outsold the photos with other types of conditions. But it wasn’t until the editor of a travel magazine told me the reason that I understood why. They found that historically, issues with beautiful sunny shots on the front cover sold much better than issues with dark and moody conditions. The reason is that most people going about their day aspire for tranquil and beautiful holiday conditions. So, while a stormy landscape photo might look more dramatic and striking, the average holidaymaker doesn’t want to go somewhere and experience a storm.

7 Travel Photography Tips I've Learned from People in the Industry - Scotland

#2 – Avoid “Tourist” Shots

I remember asking a picture editor once for the single biggest piece of advice they could give me and they responded with, “Don’t send me tourist shots.” But what does that mean? After all, if you are in a city and have to photograph the most famous landmark then how do you avoid tourist shots. Once I delved in a little deeper, I realized what he meant was that he didn’t want just another shot of the famous landmark taken at eye level because he could get thousands of them through any stock agency.

Instead, he wanted to see a photo that demonstrated an experience, feeling or mood. This was a few years back and more and more I have been asked by picture editors and stock agencies I work with to try to show these “experiences” in the photos. So rather than taking a photo of the landmark, it might be worth photographing a couple enjoying an ice cream in its shadow. The key is to look beyond the obvious shot and look for a moment or composition that can convey an emotion.

7 Travel Photography Tips I've Learned from People in the Industry Turkey

#3 – Give Them People

Often the easiest way to capture unique photos that don’t look like tourist shots is to include people. But including people in your photos can also convey a sense of scale, portray an emotion or a feeling and often tell a much more intriguing story. One of the best bits of advice I was given was that including people can also help you capture different types of shots from the same location. That, in turn, means you can maximize your stock shots from a single location.

For example, take any scene in front of you. If you capture that scene with a couple admiring the view holding hands it tells a completely different story than capturing the scene with someone running or cycling. So you suddenly go from one photograph per location to three. Move slightly around the scene and capture a few different scenarios and you can suddenly end up with a whole load of different stories from practically the same spot. As any stock photographer will tell you, it’s a numbers game and the more photos you have the better your chances of selling some.

 7 Travel Photography Tips I've Learned from People in the Industry Turkey

Taken from the same location as the photo above but a completely different message.

#4 – Check Every Photo, Every Time

Photography is a competitive industry. You are often competing with pretty much everyone with a camera to try and get work or make sales. The last thing you want to happen is to have a photo that has been chosen by a client come back to you because it isn’t focused properly or you haven’t removed the dust particles. Not only is it embarrassing, but it can also hurt your chances of working with that client further down the line.

So don’t try and cut corners. You worked hard to capture the photo so do it justice and make sure it looks its best when it’s going in front of someone else. Check every inch of the photos you intend to send out to clients. View them at 100% in post-production and make any corrections or edit as necessary. Be professional in your approach from start to the finish.

7 Travel Photography Tips I've Learned from People in the Industry

#5 – Face the Opposite Way

It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, there will usually be a spot marked “sunset viewpoint” or similar where everyone will go to capture their photos. Often this is because that particular spot offers the best view. But sometimes it is because it is the easiest and most convenient place for lots of people to get to or stand.

One bit of advice that has been floating around for many years and has been said by numerous photographers, is that when you get to one such location, face the other way. Go against the crowd and photograph what is behind everyone. Clearly this advice shouldn’t be taken literally as sometimes photographing the other way wouldn’t give a good photo. The point is to look beyond the first and most obvious location and viewpoint.

If you are prepared to do your research beforehand and are willing to put more of an effort in than the average tourist, you will undoubtedly end up with better photos.

7 Travel Photography Tips I've Learned from People in the Industry

#6 – Step Closer

The world famous war photographer, Robert Capa said, “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough.”. This is something that most amateur photographers struggle with for travel photography and photographing people. It often means having to get close to your subject and they then might notice you.

The truth is that usually, the worst that can happen is that the person you want to photograph will just say no. But getting closer means having to be right in the middle of the action and that you also have to engage with that person and build a connection, if even briefly. This, in turn, will transfer into your photographs and give you a much better and more intimate photo than if you were standing 300 yards away with a telephoto lens.

7 Travel Photography Tips I've Learned from People in the Industry - Italy

#7 0 Don’t Be Shy

One of the biggest things that you may realize as a photographer is how accommodating and intrigued most people are about your profession. I have not kept a tally of the number of conversations I’ve had with total strangers all based around photography, but it’s been a lot. One thing I learned is that sometimes when you have a camera on your shoulder it can work to your advantage (and sometimes it can work against you) as people may help you capture the photo that you want to take.

But you have to be willing to ask. If you don’t ask you will not get. For example, one of the best places to take photographs of a city is from your hotel room. I’ve lost count of the number of times that I have been upgraded to a room with a better view by simply asking and explaining the reason for it. This extends to if you want to photograph people, places, and so on. Don’t be shy, just ask. The worst that could happen is being told no.

7 Travel Photography Tips I've Learned from People in the Industry Thailand

I took this photo of the Bangkok skyline from my hotel room.

Conclusion

Over the years you will pick up your own tips and advice that you have been given or have derived from your own experiences. In the meantime, hopefully, the ones above can be as helpful to you as they have been for me.

Do you have any other bits of advice that you have been given? Please share below.

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7 Different Ways to Approach Macro Photography

19 Jul

Macro photography is one a genre that many people love. But the expense of buying a top lens to take close up photos can make it restrictive or impossible to do. However, there are many ways of approaching this kind of photography, and not all of them have to break the bank.

Here are seven different approaches to macro photography. We’ll start with what most people think of, and cover other ways to help you do macro photography when you don’t have a big budget to do what you love.

7 Different Ways to Approach Macro Photography - orange flower

105mm Macro lens with auto-focus. I have used the same flower for all the photos. They were taken as close to the flower as the lens would allow for focusing. A full frame camera was used to take the images, except for the last one.

#1 – Dedicated Macro Lens

Getting yourself a macro lens is one if the best ways of doing close-up photography. These lenses are specifically designed to allow you to focus very close to your subject. With most macro lenses, you can get as close as about four inches or 10 centimeters (compared to “regular” lenses which close focusing distance is usually around 12 inches or more). That is with autofocus on, but if you turn it off you will be able to focus even closer.

Manual focusing seems to be the preferred way of doing macro photography. If do some reading, you will find a lot of photographers prefer to use their macro lenses this way. It allows them to get even closer. This, then, might be where you ask the question, “Why should I bother buying a macro lens that has autofocus?”

Many of the top lenses manufacturers make options for macro photography. They are high-end, and the quality is as you would expect those brands to produce. However, they are also very expensive and you can expect to pay quite a bit for a dedicated macro lens.

Many other companies are now also making macro lenses. Some don’t have autofocus, but if you are happy using manual then they may be a better (or less expensive) alternative for you. They are often around half the price of the big brands, so if you can’t afford one of the top models, then this could be a much better fit for you.

7 Different Ways to Approach Macro Photography

Shot with a 105mm Macro lens using manual focus.

#2 – Zoom Lenses

When many people start doing macro photography they often start with a zoom lens and do their best to get as close as possible. Depending on the focal length of your lens you can get pretty close to your subject. You may not get tiny bugs on your flowers from the garden, but you will get whole flowers.

There are some zoom lenses that also have a macro ability which makes it easier for you to get great photos and it allows you to focus in closer. Often zoom lenses will only focus if you are a few feet away from your subject. If you have one with the ability to get closer, then you will be able to get fairly good “almost macro” images.

7 Different Ways to Approach Macro Photography

Image taken with a zoom lens and the focal length was 300mm.

#3 – Lensbaby Velvet 56

The Velvet 56 by Lensbaby is a special lens that can be used for taking normal photos, but what a lot of people use it for is macro photography. It looks like a normal prime lens, but it has a very short depth of field, which makes it ideal for macro photography. You can change the aperture to give you very little in focus or a lot.

A lot of macro photographers who start using the Velvet 56 fall in love with it and find it difficult to use other lenses again.

7 Different Ways to Approach Macro Photography

This image was taken with the Lensbaby Velvet 56.

#4 – Lensbaby Composer Pro and Optics

This is a unique system where the first part, the Lensbaby Composer Pro, fits onto your camera like a lens. It is made up of two parts which are connected by a ball-like socket so you can move the outer part around to put your focus point and plane where you want. Into this, you put an optic that will give you the desired effect you want. There are many different types of optics, however, the Sweet 35 and Sweet 50 are the most popular ones for macro photography.

The Composure Pro and optics gives you a lot of opportunities to get some interesting and different effects. You can change the point of focus to anywhere you want in the image. You can also decide what depth of field you want to get. Macro images that are very different to what you can achieve with other types of macro lenses are possible with this system.

Read my overview of the Lensbaby system here: Overview of the Lensbaby System – Is it for you?

7 Different Ways to Approach Macro Photography

This image was achieved by using the Lensbaby Composer Pro with a Sweet 50 optic.

#5 – Extension Tubes

You can also get extension tubes that will fit in between your camera and your lens. These will make your lenses get closer to your subjects (and shift the focusing distance). Your 50mm lens with extension tubes, and you can start taking photos that are very close to those from a macro lens. It should be noted that there are differences though, and a dedicated lens for close ups is easier to use.

Extension tubes are usually bought in a group of three, you get a 12mm, 20mm and a 36mm. You can use them individually, or combine together. You can get one that will not allow the lens to communicate with your camera, they are usually much cheaper. So look for what they call automatic rings, with Autofocus. I use Kenko Automatic Extension Tubes.

You have to be careful with the rings as they are not very heavy and if you put a big hefty lens on your camera and don’t give it enough support, then you risk damaging the connection between the lens and camera.

7 Different ways of approaching macro photography

Shot with a 50mm lens on its own.

7 Different Ways to Approach Macro Photography

Shot with a 50mm lens and a 36mm extension tube.

#6 – Close-Up Filters

There are many filters available for your lenses and you can also get ones that help you get really close to subjects. They are called close-up filters and are like magnifying glasses. You are quite limited in what you can do with them, and they can be hard to use.

When you go looking for close-up filters you will find different levels of magnification. It would be tempting to get lots of them, but you really only need a couple. The one I have is a +5 from B+W.

I also use the close-up filters on my macro lens as it allows me to get even closer to the flowers I’m trying to photograph. Sometimes you have to use everything you have to get as close as possible.

7 Different Ways to Approach Macro Photography

105mm macro lens with a +5 close-up filter.

#7 – Phone

Most cell or mobile phones have quite good cameras now and you can get some really good images with them, including macro photography. You can find the option for macro photos in your settings. Though my Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge doesn’t have a specific macro one, there are some that will help you get better photos.

With the phone, you can get just as close to your subject as you can with most macro lenses. That makes it great, however, it can be much harder to get a good image. It is very hard to hold the phone steady enough to get good photos. It takes a lot of practice to get good images.

Many companies now produce lenses that you can use with your phone including a macro lens which can be a great way for doing this kind of photography.

7 Different Ways to Approach Macro Photography

This macro image was taken with the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Phone.

In the end

There are so many different approaches, and while seven have been mentioned here, there may be a lot more. Whichever way you choose to go, you have to find the method fits within with your budget and the amount of time you want to spend photographing subjects at a macro level.

What do you use to do macro photography? Do you have a different approach you can share with us?

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Weekly Photography Challenge – Green

19 Jul

Take a look at these 19 bright and colorful images of green things.

By Ram Yoga

Weekly Photography Challenge – Green

This week your job is to seek out anything green and photograph it. Find some good light, make a creative composition, and do your best for this week’s challenge.

By PicturesFromWords

By VirtualWolf

By Hamish Irvine

Share your images below:

Simply upload your shot into the comment field (look for the little camera icon in the Disqus comments section) and they’ll get embedded for us all to see or if you’d prefer, upload them to your favorite photo-sharing site and leave the link to them. Show me your best images in this week’s challenge. Sometimes it takes a while for an image to appear so be patient and try not to post the same image twice.

Share in the dPS Facebook Group

You can also share your images on the dPS Facebook group as the challenge is posted there each week as well.

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Winners of the 2017 Magnum and LensCulture Photography Awards announced

19 Jul

Winners of the 2017 Magnum and LensCulture Photography Awards announced

Earlier today, Magnum and LensCulture officially announced the winners of their 2017 Photography Awards, doling out prizes in six categories: Documentary, Fine Art, Open, Photojournalism, Portrait and Street.

Each of the ‘Single Image’ award winners (Magnum and LensCulture also gave out awards for best Series) walks away with $ 1,500 in prize money and the serious bragging rights that come with having won an award administered by one of the most prestigious names in photography.

Additionally, all of the winners, finalists and juror’s pics will be screened at various photo festivals worldwide throughout the year.

Press Release:

WINNERS OF THE MAGNUM AND LENSCULTURE PHOTOGRAPHY AWARDS ANNOUNCED

Twelve international photographers have been announced as the winners of the 2017 Magnum and LensCulture Photography Awards. The legendary photography agency, Magnum Photos, and LensCulture have joined forces for the second time to produce this opportunity to recognize, reward and support photographic talent. Each photographer will be awarded a cash prize and will also receive international exposure through Magnum Photos and LensCulture’s combined audience of over 6.5 million. The winning projects will be shown in a digital exhibition at The Photographers’ Gallery in London later this year and exhibited at photography festivals worldwide. Furthermore, the laureates will be awarded access to expert guidance from Magnum and LensCulture.

The twelve winners of the prestigious award hail from all over the world and deal with a diversity of subjects. Nick Hannes, the Documentary series winner, pursued a project featuring the culture of the elite in Dubai, while Lissa Rivera’s striking portraits of her non-binary partner explore contemporary notions of gender and its narratives in today’s society. All told, the series and single image awards include six categories: Street, Portrait, Photojournalism, Open, Fine Art and Documentary.

SERIES WINNERS

Street: Argus Paul Estabrook, South Korea — “Losing Face”?

Portrait: Lissa Rivera, United States — “Beautiful Boy”

Photojournalism: Jason Florio, United Kingdom — “Destination Europe”

Open: Medina Dugger, Nigeria — “Chroma: An Ode to J.D. Okhai Ojeikere”?

Fine Art: Daniel Shipp, Australia — “Botanical Inquiry”

Documentary: Nick Hannes, Belgium — “Bread and Circuses”

SINGLE WINNERS

Street: Hakim Boulouiz, Switzerland — “Choral”?

Portrait: Artur Zdral, Poland — “Kasia”

Photojournalism: Szymon Barylski – “Fleeing Death”

Open: Britta Jaschinski, United Kingdom — “Confiscated”?

Fine Art: Ellie Davis, United Kingdom — “Stars”

Documentary: Retam Kumar Shaw, India – “Street Wrestling”

In addition, twenty-one finalists have also been selected, and each juror has chosen one photographer as a “Juror’s Pick.”

Jurors’ Picks

Edgar Martins, United Kingdom — “Siloquies and Soliloquies on Death, Life and Other Interludes.” Selected by Yumi Goto, independent photography curator, editor, researcher, consultant, and publisher.

Shahria Sharmin, Bangladesh — “Call Me Heena.” Selected by Susan Meiselas, Magnum photographer and MacArthur Fellow.

Christian Werner, Germany — “Road to Ruin.” Selected by Sarah Leen, Director of Photography at National Geographic Magazine.
Sonja Hamad, Germany — “Jin—Jiyan—Azadi: Women, Life, Freedom.” Selected by Lesley Martin, creative director at the Aperture Foundation and publisher of The PhotoBook Review.
Antonio Gibotta, Italy — “Enfarinats.” Selected by Jim Casper, editor-in-chief of LensCulture.

MD Tanveer Rohan, Bangladesh — “Fun Bath.” Selected by David Hurn, Magnum photographer.

Terje Abusdal, Norway — “Slash and Burn.” Selected by Alec Soth, Magnum photographer.

Mirko Saviane, Italy – “B-Uranus.” Selected by Azu Nwagbogu, Founder and Director of LagosPhoto Festival and the African Artists’ Foundation.

Finalists

Zhang KeChun, China — “Between the Mountains and Water”

Thomas Alleman, United States — “The Nature of the Beast: Living On The Land In Los Angeles”

Thom Pierce, South Africa – “The Horsemen of Semonkong”

Sasha Maslov, United States — “Veterans: Faces of World War II”

Roei Greenberg, Israel — “Along the Break”

Paul D’Haese, Belgium — “Building an Imaginary City”

Panos Kefalos, Greece — “Saints”

Jonathan Bachman, United States — “Unrest in Baton Rouge”

Jens Juul, Denmark — “Biotope”

Gregg Segel, United States — “Daily Bread”

Gabriel Romero, United States — “Liberation and Longing”

Emilien Urbano, France — “War of a Forgotten Nation”

Ash Shinya Kawaoto, Japan — “Scrap and Build”

Antonio Faccilongo, Italy — “Habibi”

Ramona Deckers, Netherlands — “Goran in Bed”

Matthew Sowa, United States — “Grandmother’s Room”

Karen Pulfer Focht, United States — “Busiest Brain Surgery Unit”

Farida Lemeatrag, Belgium — “Milo”

Ana Carolina Fernandes, Brazil — “Burning Bus”

Amos Nachoum, United States — “Seal and Penguin”

A.M. Ahad, Bangladesh — “Childhood Covered with Metal Dust”

Winners of the 2017 Magnum and LensCulture Photography Awards announced

Retam Kumar Shaw, India – “Street Wrestling”

Photo © Retam Kumar Shaw. Documentary Single Image Winner, Magnum and LensCulture Photography Awards 2017.

Winners of the 2017 Magnum and LensCulture Photography Awards announced

Ellie Davies, United Kingdom – “Stars”

Photo © Ellie Davies. Fine Art Single Image Winner, Magnum and LensCulture Photography Awards 2017.

Winners of the 2017 Magnum and LensCulture Photography Awards announced

Britta Jaschinski, United Kingdom – “Confiscated”

Photo © Britta Jaschinski. Open Single Image Winner, Magnum and LensCulture Photography Awards 2017.

Surely an elephant foot is of no real use to anyone but the animal itself. These elephant feet were attempted to be smuggled from Africa to the US, but were seized by the American Border Patrol and are currently stored at the National Wildlife Repository Denver, Colorado, USA.

I have been documenting illegally traded wildlife products since August 2016 at borders and airport across the globe.

Winners of the 2017 Magnum and LensCulture Photography Awards announced

Szymon Barylski, Ireland – “Fleeing Death”

Photo © Szymon Barylski. Photojournalism Single Image Winner, Magnum and LensCulture Photography Awards 2017.

Fleeing Death. Refugees in the queue for the checkpoint at Idomeni, Greece. March 6, 2016.

Winners of the 2017 Magnum and LensCulture Photography Awards announced

Artur Zdral, Poland – “Kasia”

Photo © Artur Zdral. Portrait Single Image Winner, Magnum and LensCulture Photography Awards 2017.

Winners of the 2017 Magnum and LensCulture Photography Awards announced

Hakim Boulouiz, Switzerland – “Choral”

Photo © Hakim Boulouiz. Street Single Image Winner, Magnum and LensCulture Photography Awards 2017.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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5 Guidelines of Minimalist Photography to Help Improve Your Work

18 Jul

 

Minimalism is one of those movements that some people see as a recent fad or newfangled things, like fidget spinners or man buns. In reality, minimalism is a true case of making what was once old new again, and unlike the aforementioned man bun, that’s a good thing.

In photography, minimalism is an obvious visual statement; the story of the photograph is simplified, elements are reduced, and clean space is added. Not only has minimalist photography become its own genre (you can see some excellent examples of minimal imagery here), but photographers specializing in the discipline have come into their own, creating a revitalized, attractive space of art for us all to enjoy.

5 Guidelines of Minimalist Photography to Help Improve Your Work

Minimalism (even in photography) isn’t new. Before the term became ubiquitous and synonymous with “new” and “clean”,  the style existed in various forms under other names. It has had a profound and positive influence on photography as it exists in the modern world.

But do you have to fully embrace specializing as a minimalist photographer to benefit from the advantages of the style? Absolutely not! Each of the tips below can work for almost any kind of photography. Let’s explore some of the guidelines and see how you can apply them to your own work, regardless of genre or type.

#1 – Make the story concise

As with any photo, the story is the most important thing to convey to your viewer. In minimalism, you want to tell that story as efficiently as possible. That means clean backgrounds, negative space where appropriate, and a well-defined subject.

We will discuss background and separation of the subject in more detail below, but generally, you don’t want any distracting elements in ANY photograph. Keeping your background clean, whether through blurring, or using a solid color or simple texture can remove any unwanted distractions.

5 Guidelines of Minimalist Photography to Help Improve Your Work

Negative space is defined as the margin around your subject and other important objects in your composition. Properly used, this space accentuates what you actually want the viewer to deem as most important in the photo.

When looking through the viewfinder at a potential shot, take a moment to get a feeling of the complexity of what you’re seeing. If the composition feels muddy or hard to discern, recompose your image to include some extra negative or white space around your subject.

#2 – Isolate the subject

Wide-open apertures along with proper positioning of the subject to background tend to make smooth, creamy backgrounds, separating it from the subject of the photo. This is right up the minimalist’s alley. Having a solid or smoothly blurred background really isolates what you want to highlight in the photo, and keeps the viewer’s eye from being overrun by more complex patterns to distinguish.

5 Guidelines of Minimalist Photography to Help Improve Your Work

In some photos, you may not want that blurred effect on your background. Many landscape photos, for example, are shot using stopped-down apertures such as f/11 or f/16, because you want most of the scene in focus. This is because, in those situations, the entire scene can be the subject. In those situations, using color or patterns are other ways of separating the subject from your background.

But many other types of photos, especially nature and portraiture, benefit greatly from a wider aperture and using that to create separate layers in the image. Experimenting with the effects that aperture and distance have on that separation can provide many different looks for the same composition.

#3 – Use color to your advantage

One of the most powerful methods of constructing a minimalist image is by using color to create a contrast. While you don’t necessarily have to go to the extremes that you would in a completely minimalist photo, picking two or even three colors that juxtapose well with each other and featuring them prominently in the textures of the image can improve the attractiveness of the shot.

While minimalist photographs tend to use large areas of solid contrasting colors to establish simplicity, other photography can benefit by keeping the color palette small and using colors that work well together or invoke a particular feeling in the viewer. For example, I find one of the most intriguing and pleasing color combinations to the eye to be blue and red, as in this example of the old red rowboat on the shore (bel0w).

5 Guidelines of Minimalist Photography to Help Improve Your Work

Using a color wheel (as shown below), you can identify color harmony, which are complementary color combinations that are pleasing to the eye. Then try to use those color combinations in your images.

Color wheel

Diagram by Wikipedia contributor Jacobolus

#4 – Embrace leading lines

Because minimalist photography tends to feature very simple compositions, lines and textures are often used to improve upon storytelling and point the viewer in the right direction. Finding natural leading lines in your compositions can help guide the eyes of the viewer where you want them to go, which allows you to minimize the number of elements in your photo needed to tell the story.

5 Guidelines of Minimalist Photography to Help Improve Your Work

Lines can be found everywhere; train tracks, roads, sidewalks, and buildings are just a few examples. While they are easy to find, it is just as easy to misuse them and confuse the viewer. If the line is easy to pick out, then it should lead the eyes somewhere relevant. Lines should not lead the viewer randomly away from the subject, or out of the frame with no real destination.

#5 – Find texture and use it

Texture can be a powerful element in a photograph, especially when an entire image is built around it. Obviously most often used when shooting subjects in the natural world around us, textures are a tool that can communicate many things to the viewer, including emotions, mood, light, and darkness.

Because of the limited language of minimalism, texture itself is often used as the subject, usually in the form of repeated patterns. All photography, however, can benefit from its strategic use. What is the effect when the subject features a consistent, repeating texture, as opposed to one that consists of an uneven texture made up of objects of varying size and smoothness?

5 Guidelines of Minimalist Photography to Help Improve Your Work

Texture is a great way to put a large, consistent element in your image without introducing too much distraction.

Can millions of grains of smooth beach sand, saturated with ocean water, serve as a different backdrop than a large area of broken shells and sand mixed together? What type of effect will this have on the viewer’s perception of the image?

Conclusion

As photographers, regardless of skill level, we are destined to be students of an innumerable amount of subjects. We must constantly keep learning, and apply the things we learn to our work, to keep innovating our style, invigorating our images, and keep our viewers interested.

While minimalist photography is very popular today and is an intriguing discipline, it’s not the chosen style for us all. But the ability to take the most important points from that genre and apply it to your own work is what elevates you as a photographer, and keeps you on top of your game.

What are your thoughts on the current state of minimalism, and its influence on art and photography? Is minimalism your favorite photography style? Have some minimalist images of your own to share? Let’s discuss this and more in the comments below.

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6 Tips for Posing Hands in Wedding and Portrait Photography

18 Jul

One of the most challenging and misunderstood elements in posing hands and how to use them correctly. Hands are so important in an image because they can say so much. They can convey masculinity, femininity, strength, softness and between couples, they can show love and affection.

6 Tips for Posing Hands in Wedding and Portrait Photography

So the big question is what can we do with hands? How can we make them look elegant and soft? Where should they be placed to convey the most realistic emotion and feeling? Here are a few helpful tips and ideas to keep in mind for your next wedding, portrait, or fashion shoot that may help correct the most common hand posing issues.

#1 – Avoid showing the widest part of the hand

To help make hands look elegant, simply avoid having the back of the hand facing towards the camera as that is the widest part of the hand. This is important because the hands in proportion to the subject’s face can make the hands look larger than they actually are, or can make feminine hands look quite masculine. A simple twist of the wrist, so the smallest part of the hand is showing, is all it takes to change the look and feel of an image from average to wow.

Tips for Posing Hands in Wedding and Portrait Photography

#2 – Soft hands

Female hands need to appear soft, delicate, and elegant. To achieve this, it’s a matter of conveying to your bride or model to relax or soften their hands. A simple way of demonstrating how to do this is to hold your hand out then fully tense it up and then allow it to drop and relax slightly even wiggle the fingers so they are loose. Think of it like a big balloon, you’re just letting out a little air so they don’t look so hard and stiff.

Tips for Posing Hands in Wedding and Portrait Photography

#3- Bend the wrist

Bending the wrist (a slight bend so it’s not straight) is such a simple method to break a straight line and create more shape and texture in a shot. Remember the female form looks best when we can see beautiful natural curves, this includes the wrists.

Tips for Posing Hands in Wedding and Portrait Photography

#4 – Have the hands doing something that appears natural

People often ask, “What can I get my model or bride to do with her hands? I’m stuck for ideas.” This one is one of the simplest issues to address. You could have her holding the flowers, her veil, her dress, fixing her headpiece, adjusting her engagement ring, putting on perfume, touching her man softly, the list goes on. Just make sure it’s something she would normally do so it appears natural, otherwise, it may look a little posed and stuffy.

Tips for Posing Hands in Wedding and Portrait Photography

#5 – Posing hands with couples

When photographing the bride and groom, think about where you would place your hands if you were cuddling your wife, husband, boyfriend, or girlfriend. Have the bride’s hands touching the groom’s hand, forearm, chest, or face in a way that says, “I love you”.

Have the groom’s hands on the bride’s waist or on her hands while saying, “I love where your hands are”. This can really change the feel and emotion of your photos.

Tips for Posing Hands in Wedding and Portrait Photography

#6 – Don’t amputate hands or fingers

When you have two hands overlapping each other it can appear that a hand is missing due to your angle and/or crop. This can happen when the bride has her hands around the back of the groom’s neck or you’re shooting a portrait side-on (as pictured below). The hand closest to the camera is on the other hand making her look like she has no hands or the fingers are amputated. To avoid this just switch hands over so you can see finger tips from one of the hands.

Tips for Posing Hands in Wedding and Portrait Photography

Conclusion

With all these tips in mind, the most important thing to remember is that hands should be placed in a natural realistic location doing something they would naturally do. So I suggest getting a friend or model and going out and just practicing for an hour or so to see what works and what doesn’t. This way you’ll have confidence on your next the wedding day or portrait shoot.

6 Tips for Posing Hands in Wedding and Portrait Photography

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