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Posts Tagged ‘Shoot’

Photo story of the week: A spectacular wedding shoot in Norway

19 Nov

The bride and groom, Tim and Kylie, were married two years ago in Long Beach and between all the formalities and rainy weather they were left feeling a little empty handed and did not get the photos they imagined. They wanted to remarry and to be intentional about making their day about everything they could ever imagine.

They are both very into fitness and outdoorsy people and love hiking locally around Laguna Beach, CA. They were intrigued about writing their own vows and going to one of the most magical places on earth that has recently become very popular: the Trolltunga in Norway.

None of us had been to Norway prior. We were worried about there being crowds at the Trolltunga or the visibility upon arriving to the top. We checked the weather every day for a week before arriving and every day it said it would be sunny. But on the day of their wedding, heavy rains were in the forecast. Although it rained throughout the hike, we miraculously had somewhat of clear skies with epic clouds that added a little bit of drama to the composition of the photos.

The hike took us a little longer than it typically would: 14 hours total. We all had backpacks weighing around 35lbs. We also had rogue weather… it would be windy, raining and then just stop. Although it was definitely physically difficult, your brain is so stimulated from being surrounded by such beauty that it makes it enjoyable. There is some out of this world scenery and half the time you can’t even believe what’s around you.

It is our instruct as humans to want to capture what is around us to make it last and sink in. So as you can imagine being in an unbelievable place with something around every corner you want to snap every second. But on this particular hike the main goal was to be intentional in capturing the story of what was happening, really zoning in on the dialog between the couple and place.

For me, this particular wedding and photos represent one of the biggest challenges I’ve come across in shooting photography: the mental game. I literally had to jump over obstacle after obstacle, but pushing through always pays off. There’s nothing like being at the top of an immense landscape or mountain, literally or figuratively, looking into your viewfinder, and knowing that everything that came before was so worth it.


Nick Falangas is a professional photographer, half of the husband and wife duo that make up Priscila Valentina Photography. He is constantly striving to push the boundaries and create exceptional photography.

He has shot hundreds of events all over the world. You can follow along on Instagram @PriscilaValentina_Photography, Facebook, Website and Blog.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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How to Shoot Engaging Travel Portraits from Start to Finish

19 Nov

I love travel portraits. Not only do they test your photography skills but also challenge you to interact with people in unfamiliar environments. The end result directly reflects your subject’s personality along with your ability to make them feel at ease, read the light, select optimal settings, and compose a great shot.

How to Shoot Engaging Travel Portraits from Start to Finish:

A boy named Ashim and his father at Dasaswamedh Ghat – Varanasi, India.

Every photographer has a slightly different approach, which evolves with every new person you meet and country you visit. Join me as I walk you through an encounter from start to finish and share tips on how to shoot engaging travel portraits.

1 – Approach the person and get permission

As a photographer, it’s up to you to develop your own code of ethics. However, I implore you to seek permission and not just stick a camera in someone’s face. The initial approach can often be the hardest part; taking the shot is comparatively easy.

Aim for a consensual, mutually enjoyable exchange from which you can both walk away with a happy story to tell. Be open, smile, and pay people compliments.

How to Shoot Engaging Travel Portraits from Start to Finish:

Boy monks at Rumtek Monastery – Sikkim, India. I kept my camera at my side, introduced myself, and asked their names. Their answers made me regret leaving my notebook in the car (Sikkimese names are notoriously long). They wanted to talk about soccer. When I asked for a photo, the boy on the right jumped and said “I know a good place. Follow me!” It was a fun encounter and their personalities shone through in the pictures because they’d had a chance to chat about their favorite topic.

If it’s a firm no, you can smile warmly, tell them it’s absolutely fine, and ask them if they would like to see photos you’ve taken of the local area. This way, you can both still walk away having had a pleasant experience, and sometimes, they even change their mind.

2 – Communicate for a meaningful experience

Your challenge now is to make your subject feel at ease. The best portraits come when people are relaxed and open to you. Most crucially, don’t rush the photo, say goodbye, and walk away. Show genuine interest in their lives.

Ask questions if you can speak a mutual language. If not, remember that much of your intentions and warmth can be communicated through body language, facial expressions, and gestures.

How to Shoot Engaging Travel Portraits from Start to Finish:

Ba-An, an 81-year-old lady, in front of the Banaue rice terraces – Luzon, Philippines. I will remember Ba-An because I had the longest and most interesting conversation I’ve had with anyone before taking their portrait. “These? They’re chicken feathers,” she said when I asked about her headdress. “Sometimes I tell people it is tradition, but really, we just started doing it a few years ago!”

3 – Read the light and use it to your advantage

With permission granted and your subject warming to you, the next step is reading the light. Whether it’s day or night, look at the lighting conditions around you. Consider asking your subject to turn their body or move completely to seek the best light.

How to Shoot Engaging Travel Portraits from Start to Finish:

While waiting for a Hindu ceremony to begin, this gentleman wobbled his head enthusiastically and motioned towards my camera – Varanasi, India. Sometimes, as in this situation, when people see you photographing others in a respectful manner, they may prompt you to take their portrait. I asked him to turn so that the light from a spotlight would be cast across his face at a less harsh angle.

4 – Select your settings

Ideally, you have a fixed focal length (prime) lens with a wide aperture attached to your camera body. However, if you’re traveling, you may have an all-purpose zoom lens attached. I like portraits that I’ve taken with both types.

With my fixed focal lens, I often shoot portraits at f/2.8 or slightly above. If you shoot any wider, the focal plane can be so thin that you risk your subject’s eyes being in focus but having their nose out of focus. For a zoom lens, I recommend selecting your widest aperture but standing further away from your subject. Zooming in on their face will accentuate the shallow depth of field effect that works so well for portraits.

How to Shoot Engaging Travel Portraits from Start to Finish

A Muslim traveler at Haji Ali Dargah, an Islamic shrine off the coast of Mumbai – India. My settings and lens for this portrait were f/2.8 | 1/1600th | ISO 160 | Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art lens. The fast shutter speed allowed by using f/2.8 picked out fine details on the man’s face. Such a fast shutter wasn’t necessary for this level of sharpness but it was an extremely bright day in Mumbai.

For engaging portraits, the most important element requiring sharp focus is the eyes. I suggest setting your camera to spot focus on the center AF point. Next, aim the center point at one of your subject’s eyes. Use the focus and recompose method or even better – the back button focus method to lock in on the eyes. This will ensure they’re in sharp focus in the finished photo.

5 – Choose a strong composition

Numerous compositions can work for portraits. The rule of thirds can work incredibly well but try not to wear it out or all your travel portraits will look the same.

Another one to try is placing one of your subject’s eyes directly in the center of the frame; a study proved that portraits composed this way appeal to viewers on a subconscious level. I promise I’m not making that up. This can be applied in portrait or landscape orientation.

A general rule exists in travel portraiture that you shouldn’t place your subject directly in the center of the frame; however, rules are made to be broken sometimes.

How to Shoot Engaging Travel Portraits from Start to Finish

As I stood taking pictures of the Banaue rice terraces, I heard a frail voice saying “Photo? Who is taking a photo?” It belonged to a 96-year-old woman named Bah Gu-An. She was completely blind. I wasn’t sure how to communicate as I normally would for a portrait so took her hands in mine to let her know I was there. Her friends translated back and forth for us. I decided on a rule of thirds composition because I felt the blue umbrella added extra visual interest and balance to the frame.

6 – Come down to their eye level

Try not to stand above your subject if they are sitting. This is intimidating and works against your goal to relax them. Positive psychological things happen when you come down to someone’s eye level. Take a look at the example below.

How to Shoot Engaging Travel Portraits from Start to Finish

A Hindu holy man on a tiny island in the Brahmaputra River – Assam, India. This is not a touristy location in India so he is the real deal. I sat down on the step to receive a blessing. Accompanied by mystical chanting, I drank some lukewarm tea of unknown provenance, had air blown all over my face, and ash spread across my forehead. We chatted after and I felt in no rush to suggest a portrait. It was a fascinating experience. What do you think when you look at his facial expression – Is the time spent together palpable?

7 – Shoot different styles of portrait

Posed versus candid portraits

Posed refers to approaching a person and asking them to sit for a portrait, whereas candid portraits refer to catching a person in an unguarded moment. This doesn’t have to mean without permission.

For the image below, I’d already gained this lady’s trust and permission but waited until she’d forgotten that I was there to continue shooting. Later, I showed her all of the photos, which she seemed happy with.

How to Shoot Engaging Travel Portraits from Start to Finish

A devotee watches the nightly Ganga Aarti ceremony – Varanasi, India. This image could be called a candid environmental portrait.

Headshot versus environmental portraits

A headshot refers to filling the frame with your subject’s face. The background is not important for setting the scene, although you might consider finding one of a complementary color to your subject’s clothing, skin tone, or eye color. Environmental portraits are zoomed out to allow your subject’s surroundings into the frame to add to their story.

8 – Shoot a series with the same subject

When you have someone’s permission and have bonded with them, consider staying with them a while and shooting a series of images. This is what I did when I met one man in the Philippines recently. I directed him gently for a series of shots after telling him how interested people would be to learn about his culture. He was happy to oblige.

How to Shoot Engaging Travel Portraits from Start to Finish

I would have kicked myself if I’d walked away without getting a side profile shot of this man and his headdress that featured the real heads of a long-dead bird and monkey.

How to Shoot Engaging Travel Portraits from Start to Finish

I decided to fill the frame here to draw attention to his excellent smile, patterned clothes, and monkey headdress.

9 – Always remember aftercare

Aftercare means bringing the encounter to a close in the best possible manner. I believe an extra layer exists as to why the verb is to “take” a portrait. You are taking something from them, but what are you giving in return?

Make sure you show the person their image on the back of your camera, pay them a compliment, and thank them sincerely. So much joy can come from this simple act.

How to Shoot Engaging Travel Portraits from Start to Finish

A man named Ibrahim at the Haji Ali Dargah, Mumbai. As we sat together cross-legged on the ground enthusiastically shaking hands at the side of a busy walkway, I could tell from his reaction and those of passersby that this wasn’t a common occurrence. The overall encounter lingered with me for the rest of the day, and I sincerely hope that Ibrahim remembers it fondly too.

Conclusion

I want to know your best advice for shooting travel portraits and see the images you’re most proud of. Be sure to share them in the comments section below.

The post How to Shoot Engaging Travel Portraits from Start to Finish by Ben McKechnie appeared first on Digital Photography School.


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How to Shoot High-Traffic Locations Creatively

17 Nov

The experience of the hustle and bustle that comes from shooting in high-traffic, highly photographed areas is a pain that most photographers know all too well. People can be packed into overlooks and pull-offs with hardly even room to stand let alone set up a tripod.

It seems as if everyone is trying to get the same shot. Not that there’s something incredibly wrong with making photographs just like the person standing next to you. If you are simply after a snapshot to record where you’ve been then a quick capture or two taken from the herd will do just fine.

How to Shoot High-Traffic Locations Creatively

However, if you’re like me, you probably want more from a location than just a cookie cutter photo. When I visit a well-known photo spot that is crowded with people all shooting the exact same thing, I feel a need to produce something that is more of an artistic expression of how I view the scene.

While recently shooting in Yosemite National Park, I observed this situation in full force. But how can you shoot in these high-traffic areas creatively? Believe it or not, in some cases it doesn’t require too much effort in order to breathe new life into a stale or overshot scene. In this article, we’re going to talk about three ways that can help you break the monotony and guide you toward making your photos of well-known areas less ordinary.

#1 – Get High…Get Low

Changing from the common perspective to one that is either more or less elevated can have a huge impact on the final interest of your photographs. Often times, the majority of photographers shoot from the same plane of view each and every time which often produces literal “photocopies” of the same location.

This changeup doesn’t have to be anything drastic, either. It can be as simple as holding your camera at waist level or even above your head.

How to Shoot High-Traffic Locations Creatively

If you’re able to be more adventurous, then search for even more unique vantage points. Ones which can show people a well-known place from a different angle than what they’re used to seeing. This is the key to setting yourself apart as a photographer.

How to Shoot High-Traffic Locations Creatively

This was just up the road from the famous Tunnel View in Yosemite. While it’s virtually the same landscape, the higher elevation adds a different feel to the scene.

#2 – Shoot at Night

This is likely the easiest and most powerful methods of creatively photographing popular locations. There’s almost always less crowding (unless it’s a spot popular exclusively at night) which will give you much more room and creates a more relaxed experience.

However, the most obvious benefit that comes from shooting at night is the instant change in the visual appeal of the landscape.

How to Shoot High-Traffic Locations Creatively

The inclusion of stars and moonlight or even bright city lights and cars can add so much to a scene that has been completely worn out during the day. If it can be done safely, I urge you try out shooting a popular destination at night during your next photo excursion. You just might get hooked.

#3 – Ignore the Popular Subject

Yeah I know, this is one idea that is difficult for some people to get a handle on initially. Please don’t misunderstand me here, I’m not talking about completely disregarding the main attraction. Rather, place the popular subject within your photograph in such a way that is still recognizable but doesn’t consume the composition.

How to Shoot High-Traffic Locations Creatively

Just remember that if you want to produce something truly unique you will have to learn how to think critically and creatively about what you’re shooting and why. This means coming up with new ways to display the subject in a way that might not have been considered by many others.

How to Shoot High-Traffic Locations Creatively

This image was made while standing shoulder to shoulder with about 25 other folks. I happened to notice the reflection of Half Dome in the water and decided to approach the scene in a more surreal, abstract way.

Some Final Thoughts

There will be times when a location becomes almost too popular for its own good. Even beautifully majestic locations can become artistically depleted. This is when we as photographers have to stretch our creative legs to produce more unique images.

While there’s nothing wrong with shooting alongside the masses, the overall power of an image can be lessened if every photo of a place looks exactly the same as the next 50 images. Here’s a recap of some ways you can shoot a little more creatively:

  • Change your perspective. Try shooting from a higher or lower vantage point than is usually seen.
  • Try the nighttime. Popular locations are often deserted at night. Night photography will also give you the opportunity to present the scene in a way that might not be common.
  • Move the primary subject to the back burner. Try setting the commonly shot subject matter as the secondary subject.

Adding a little spice to your images taken in such high-traffic places can be a lot easier than you might think and can work wonders for your photography. A little effort truly goes a long way.

The post How to Shoot High-Traffic Locations Creatively by Adam Welch appeared first on Digital Photography School.


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How to Shoot in Manual Mode Cheat Sheet for Beginners

16 Nov

The “Manual Photography Cheat Sheet-Reloaded” by The London School of Photography is a clean-cut, visual way of showing you how to step-up your photography game from automatic to manual shooting. Not only does shooting in Manual Mode enable you to produce sharp well-composed imagery – but you’ll also gain a stronger understanding of the inner workings of your camera and just how all those curious settings work in synch with each other.

How to Shoot in Manual Mode Cheat Sheet for Beginners

By shooting in Manual Mode you have full control of your shutter speed, ISO, and aperture, among an array of other settings that can further fine-tune your images. Manually controlling the aperture, for example, can help you achieve those beautiful portraits with blurred bokeh backgrounds. It’s also highly useful for changing shutter speeds, enabling you to achieve amazing shots of those fast-moving subjects like cars or cyclists in crystal clear motion without sacrificing quality.

You may often find yourself in a tricky lighting situation where everything appears far too dark, too light, or very grainy. Unfortunately, automatic mode can’t always hack these extreme conditions and often activates your camera’s flash at the smallest hint of darkness (making some photos appear positively awful). This is where learning to shoot in Manual Mode can be a lifesaver.

ISO

One of the most talked about settings on a camera is the ISO; a numerical value on your camera that controls light sensitivity. Your camera’s ISO allows you to adjust its light-sensitivity and allows it to pick up more light. Or on the flip side, to reduce your exposure on those bright sunny days for a well-balanced result.

I highly encourage experimenting with different lighting conditions to find your ideal ISO. But be wary of making your ISO too high in dark conditions as this will increase the amount of noise in your final images.

Aperture

Another common term you may have come across is aperture. This is essentially an opening in the lens that affects your exposure. It is also responsible for controlling the depth of field.

Generally, the lower the number (or f-stop), the larger the opening of the lens will be which will result in less depth of field – ideal for those blurry backgrounds. On the other hand, the higher your aperture the sharper the background will be – making it great for capturing all the tiny details in your scene (great for landscapes).

Shutter Speed

How to Shoot in Manual Mode Cheat Sheet for Beginners

Shutter speed is another key player that determines your image’s final outcome. It is essentially the exposure time of the camera’s inner shutter that stays open to allow light to enter and hit the sensor.

Generally, if you’re after blurred shots that illustrate an object’s motion (for example a racing car or cyclist) then a slow shutter speed will keep the shutter open for longer, allowing for a longer exposure time. A faster shutter speed, however, is perfect for a pristine action shot with no motion blurs.

White Balance

Another setting on your camera which also directly affects your images is your White Balance (WB). The process of setting your White Balance involves removing unrealistic color casts and ultimately using a setting that produces more naturally toned images.

It is especially useful in removing harsh yellow tones or redness on the skin. Alternatively, White Balance can be used in unconventional ways to refine your photographic style. For example, for edgier photos, the Tungsten White Balance preset can be used in an overcast setting to produce blue hues and enhance contrasts. With this in mind, it’s highly beneficial to experiment with the various White Balance modes to achieve your desired results.

Things to note for shooting in Manual Mode

Keep in mind that when you’re ready to shoot in Manual Mode your settings will not adjust to your shooting conditions. You have to adjust them, manually. By keeping this in mind you’ll ensure your exposures are consistent throughout a shoot. The process of changing your settings may sound tedious at first, but it will actually ensure your images are consistent.

This is what shooting in an automatic mode lacks, as it calculates how much light is being measured through your camera’s light meter. As good as this might sound to you, you’ll probably find that as you adjust your shooting position, the subject moves, or the lighting condition changes to overcast – you’ll eventually have a set of very inconsistently exposed images.

Other shooting modes

camera modes - How to Shoot in Manual Mode Cheat Sheet for Beginners

As much as I love to shoot manual, don’t forget about the other letters on your mode dial that are sparking your curiosity. In fact, I even recommend shooting in these semi-automatic modes as practice to help you understand exposure compensation.

  • Program mode (P) is a great transition mode when stepping out of the auto-shooting world. It governs similar shooting to auto but allows you to adjust the exposure by controlling compensation through a dial. If any of your photos appear dark, then using this simple feature can increase the brightness.
  • Aperture priority is another great transitional mode to shoot in that allows you control over aperture as well as the ISO. It gives you control over your depth of field as well as the exposure compensation to control brightness.

If you think you’ve mastered these settings then you’re ready to go manual!

Finally

In addition to camera settings, we highly recommend the following tips that will further enhance your experience of migrating to manual shooting; such as the use of a tripod, golden hours, and the top photographic golden rules to keep in mind for capturing stunning imagery time and time again.

How to Shoot in Manual Mode Cheat Sheet for Beginners

Download the full cheat sheet infographic all-in-one here.

The post How to Shoot in Manual Mode Cheat Sheet for Beginners by Antonio Leanza appeared first on Digital Photography School.


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Professional photographers explain why they shoot Panasonic Lumix

13 Nov

Being a professional photographer used to mean carrying around heavy SLRs and medium-format camera, tripods and cumbersome accessories. As cameras have evolved to become smaller and smaller, those days are over.

Panasonic was a pioneer in the mirrorless camera market, and over the past decade its G and GH-series cameras have been adopted by a wide range of photographers, including professionals in various different fields. In a new video by filmmaker Griffon Hammond, professional photographers Daniel J. Cox, Ben Grunow, William Innes and Jennifer Maring explain why they choose to shoot with Panasonic Lumix cameras.

Panasonic’s latest G-series camera is the impressive flagship Lumix DC G9, which features a suite of powerful features including high frame-rate stills shooting and 4K video.

Read more about the G9 here

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Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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6 Tips To Help You Shoot In Low Light Without a Tripod

31 Oct

Most photographers will tell you that a tripod is invaluable and is usually the favorite accessory that they carry with them. While a tripod remains an essential piece of equipment, especially for low light photography, it is also usually the one piece of camera equipment that draws the most amount of attention.

In some scenarios and places, you won’t be allowed to use a tripod so you have to find other ways of utilizing your camera to take the photo you want. Here are six tips to help you capture photos in low light without a tripod.

6 Tips To Help You Shoot In Low Light Without a Tripod

#1 – Raise the ISO

The first option that most people will turn to is to raise the ISO setting in the camera. Principally, the ISO is the sensitivity of the camera’s sensor to light. The higher the ISO the more “sensitive” the sensor becomes to light which in turn means you can capture more detail in low light conditions. In simple terms, the darker your scene is, the higher you need your ISO. But before you start whacking your ISO up to 25,600, beware that raising the ISO also has a detrimental effect on the image.

The higher your ISO setting, the more noise you’ll see in your photo. Too much noise and your photo will begin to start looking soft. The key to being able to use ISO effectively is to balance it with other elements such as shutter speed and depth of field to be able to capture the shot you want.

Always aim to have your ISO as low as possible. Also, make sure you test your camera at different ISO settings before you use it for an actual photograph you intend to take.

Taken at ISO 4000. It was the only way that I was able to capture a photo in this dark tunnel.

#2 – Use Mirror Lock-Up and Live View Mode

Have you ever taken a photo with a tripod, with good depth of field, at a slow shutter speed only to see the final photo on your computer is slightly blurred? This is one question that has often baffled novice photographers but there is a simple solution.

When you press the button to take a photo, the mirror inside the camera flips up out of the way. This mechanical process can mean that there is a slight movement in the camera, which in turn causes a small shake, hence the blurred photo. To get around this problem, you can set your camera to Live View mode (when you get a live picture on the display of your camera) which essentially flips the mirror up permanently (until you switch off Live View mode) and means that when you take the photo you don’t get the movement the camera. Some cameras also allow you to “lock the mirror” without using the live view mode (so using your viewfinder).

This issue would be the same when photographing without a tripod in low light conditions. So in this scenario, set your camera to Live View mode/mirror lock-up to avoid that small, unwanted camera shake.

6 Tips To Help You Shoot In Low Light Without a Tripod

#3 – Use High-Speed Burst Mode

One of the great innovations of modern DSLR cameras is how much faster you can now take photos in burst mode. Using a high-speed burst mode is a really good trick to capturing decent photos in low light. But this only works when your shutter speed is just below the threshold of you shooting handheld.

For example, if you can hold your camera steady enough to take a sharp photo at 1/60th, you may be able to get away with using high-speed burst mode and using 1/45th or even 1/30th of a second. This is because with high-speed burst mode you have less time in between photos for the camera to move and often you’ll find one or two photos sharp enough for use in the middle of the burst.

Just remember to use high-speed burst as some cameras also offer low-speed burst option and aim for a good number of photos. You’ll also be well advised to try out this trick a few times to find out what your threshold is before you use it in a real-life situation.

6 Tips To Help You Shoot In Low Light Without a Tripod

#4 – Find a Ledge or Wall

Often your best bet for capturing photos in low light is to find a ledge or wall that you can rest your camera on. Not only does this mean you can have your settings at pretty much exactly what you would with a tripod, but you can also often find interesting camera angles which are different to traditional photos you’d see taken with a tripod.

One thing to be aware of is that you may need to raise your lens up slightly. Otherwise, you may see the ledge/wall in the foreground of your photo. You can use anything you can find or have with you to slightly tilt the lens upward.

6 Tips To Help You Shoot In Low Light Without a Tripod

I found a small ledge in this old church that I was able to rest the camera on to take this photo.

#5 – Use Your Bag

Over time you’ll begin to pick up tricks and techniques that you will use in your photography. One of the most useful that I have found has been to simply use my backpack. Put it on the floor and put your camera on top and you have a quick tripod without all the attention that a tripod brings.

This trick has been really useful in buildings and places where tripods are not allowed like museums or galleries. You can put your bag on benches and even rest it on a branch of a tree (as I did once).

6 Tips To Help You Shoot In Low Light Without a Tripod

#6 – Train Yourself

Like anything else photography is something that you can improve your skills. This is also true of actually being able to hold the camera steady. So start by practicing your stance and make sure that you are holding the camera as securely and comfortably as you can.

Work on your composure and try to teach yourself to relax when you are going to take the photo. By practicing over and over again you may find that you actually can hold the camera at slightly slower speeds than you were able to before.

6 Tips To Help You Shoot In Low Light Without a Tripod

Conclusion

There’s no question that if you want to capture the best possible photos at the best quality in low light conditions, then a tripod will give you the best results. But in situations when that might not be possible, using the tips and tricks above might help you capture the shots you need.

Anything else? What tricks do you use to capture photos in low light conditions without a tripod?

The post 6 Tips To Help You Shoot In Low Light Without a Tripod by Kav Dadfar appeared first on Digital Photography School.


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Video – How to Shoot Stunning Photos at Sunrise and Sunset

28 Oct

In another video from Practical Photography, get some really good tips on how to shoot at sunrise and sunset to get the most epic images.

Follow along as two photographers go head to head in a little friendly competition to get the best sunset and sunrise photos. Get some practical tips that you can use in your photography at these magic hours as well.

Need more sunrise and sunset tips? Try these dPS articles:

  • 4 Reasons Shooting at Sunrise and Sunset Will Help You Take Better Photos
  • 8 Simple Guidelines for Capturing Spectacular Sunrise and Sunset Images
  • 7 Uncommon Tips for Winter Sunrise Photos Near Water
  • Tips for Location Scouting to Get the Perfect Sunset Photograph
  • Tips for Doing More Spectacular Sunset Photography
  • 5 Tips to Take Better Sunset Photos – and Why Not to Photograph the Sunset Directly

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How to be Better Prepared for Your Next Photo Shoot

21 Sep

Greater success with your event, street, travel or any other genre of photography can depend a lot on how prepared you are before you leave the house and how observant you are at the location you are making pictures. Here are some tips to help you be better prepared for your next photo shoot.

senior Thai woman taking part in a street parade holding a painted parasol - How to be Better Prepared for Your Next Photo Shoot

A participant in the annual Chiang Mai Flower Parade enjoys having her photo taken.

I’ve based this article on street and event photography so I can use my photos to illustrate specific situations.

Planning

Planning your photography session in advance can make it a much more rewarding experience. You don’t necessarily need to start making spreadsheets and contingency preparations if you’re going out to photograph a local farmers market or craft fair. But a little groundwork can make times you are out with your camera significantly more enjoyable.

Having some prior knowledge of your subject, the location, and the type of activity that happens there (if any) will increase the opportunities you have to capture better photos. Even the way you dress and the footwear you choose can potentially have an influence on your photos. Certainly, the amount and type of camera equipment you choose to carry will have an effect on the outcome of your photography excursion.

Women in traditional Thai costume prior to the start of the Flower Parade in Chiang Mai, Thailand - How to be Better Prepared for Your Next Photo Shoot

Girls talking before a parade starts.

For example

Performers rest prior to the start of a Chinese New Year parade in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Performers rest prior to the start of a Chinese New Year parade.

Before heading out to photograph the Chinese New Year Parade I checked so I knew the starting time, location, and the route it would take. I arrived at least an hour early for some behind the scenes moments when the morning light was rich.

Some prior knowledge of the type of subjects and activity I would encounter enabled me to anticipate the flow of action. So I was able to capture the dragon as it moved through the streets and received cash gifts from locals in its mouth.

A woman places money in the mouth of a Chinese New Year dragon during a street parade in Chiang Mai, Thailand. - How to be Better Prepared for Your Next Photo Shoot

A woman places money in the mouth of a Chinese New Year dragon during a street parade in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Prepare yourself too

I was wearing a good pair of sports shoes as I knew I would need to run at times to keep ahead of the parade. With many parades and festivals in south east Asia, there are often few restrictions for photographers assertive and considerate enough to just go with the flow of things.

I traveled light, without an abundance of camera gear. There’s always a choice between carrying more and having it weigh you down and making your movements more difficult and not having the right lens with you. I typically prefer to take two lenses so I have one on the camera and the other in a small belt bag. This way I am free to move and can often get closer to the action than if I was weighted down with a shoulder bag or backpack full of gear.

Chinese New Year parade and photographers - How to be Better Prepared for Your Next Photo Shoot

Photographing the dragon during a Chinese New Year parade.

Researching is easy these days. So planning and being prepared before you head out with your camera takes very little effort but can make a huge difference to the photos you’ll make and how much you enjoy your experience.

Anticipation

Once you’re on location it pays to take a little time to observe and anticipate how you can obtain the best photos.

  • Walking around, watching people, and considering what you think will be the best spots to take photos from is an important first step. Think about lighting and composition.
  • How many places will you be able to clearly see your subject?
  • What will the background be like?
  • Will the lighting work for the style of photo you want to make?
  • Are there any vantage points that allow you to get above your subject?
  • Is there some place safe to get down and lie on the ground for a low perspective?
Chinese New Year parade with a ceremonial dragon - How to be Better Prepared for Your Next Photo Shoot

Try to position yourself where there will be a good background.

Find a good vantage point

Once you’ve found a good location it can often pay to stay there for some time. Consider the flow of the action and if you can get a good variety of photos from your position, don’t rush off. This is particularly relevant when you have a pleasing combination of good lighting and a background you can incorporate into strong compositions.

If you are constantly changing locations you may find that you have to adjust your exposure frequently and your background is different which will require more attention to your framing.

Sometimes moving around is necessary to follow your subject. It’s good to be aware of your surroundings and considerate of who else is around you, especially if you are on the move a lot. At events with a lot of spectators, you don’t want to block their view but you also want to make sure you and your equipment are safe.

How to be Better Prepared for Your Next Photo Shoot

Watching dancers practice prior to the start of a parade I observed the pattern of their movement and positioned myself so the background and light were best, and then made a series of photos. The image on the left illustrates reasonably well what’s happening. But because I had paid attention to the dance I knew the girl would arch her back and I would be able to photograph her face and a more interesting pose.

Get out of the flow of traffic

Putting yourself in position a little away from the traffic flow, when there is one, will allow you to work more freely also. I made this series of photos of cheese vendors at Istanbul’s spice market by standing in between two of the stalls where there were no other people. I got the nod from the men selling the cheese nearby that I was okay to be there and was even offered a slice of very tasty cheese to try.

Vendor selling cheese at the Istanbul spice market - How to be Better Prepared for Your Next Photo Shoot

It’s good to get out of the traffic flow so you can take photos without being bumped or disrupting business.

As I savored the flavor of the cheese I observed the action of the vendors offering cheese to passers by and got a feel for the rhythm of activity.

close up of cheese being sold in a Turkish street market - How to be Better Prepared for Your Next Photo Shoot

Once you find a good location make a series of photos.

Being out of the flow of foot traffic (which was very busy) allowed me to take my time without being bumped and jostled. I made a series of photos that illustrate this part of the market better than I could have with a single image taken as I was just passing by. This series of photos were made with my 50mm prime lens.

Istanbul spice market cheese - How to be Better Prepared for Your Next Photo Shoot

A few tips for taking the photos

  • Concentrate. Don’t hesitate or be distracted from your task. Stay focused and single-minded about getting the photos that you have come to make.
  • Don’t worry about making mistake. These will help you learn. Keep all your photos on your card so you can compare them once you have them loaded to your computer.
  • Choose your moments carefully. Machine gunning your subject will result in an overwhelming number of bad photos which can be discouraging.
  • Use a narrow aperture and a fast enough shutter speed to avoid blur. You might need to raise your ISO even if you are working in bright conditions.
  • Use manual focus and zone focus to ensure greater success.

Kebab Seller, Istanbul, Turkey - How to be Better Prepared for Your Next Photo Shoot

Conclusion

With a little research and planning, you’ll be better equipped mentally to approach your chosen subject with confidence. Observing your surroundings and the flow of activity once you’re on location will help you find the optimal spots in which to position yourself to obtain the best photos. Then, employ some solid photographic technique to ensure you make some great photographs.

The post How to be Better Prepared for Your Next Photo Shoot by Kevin Landwer-Johan appeared first on Digital Photography School.


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How to Plan a Street Photography Shoot When Traveling

19 Sep

Street photography is normally a very open and free-form photography genre, but sometimes because we are traveling it’s better to plan a shoot rather than relying on luck.

Fortune, they say, favors the prepared, and when all you have is a few hours in a new land, better get ready to make the most of what you’ve got. Makes sense, no? Here’s how I prepare a street photography shoot when I know time will be limited.

What to do a few days before

A few days before your shoot you will need a few apps and tools.

The first is an offline map, Google Maps allows you to save chunks of the map but some areas are off limits (I tried to save a map of Osaka and wasn’t allowed). You need to find apps that have offline maps from the get-go and download the map of the area where you are going. It sounds stupid and you might be tempted to skip this part, but when I went to Hong Kong, I wasted an hour and a half trying to get out of the subway area into the main roads.

How to Plan a Street Photography Shoot When Traveling

The second app you need is called the Photographers Ephemeris (iOS / Android). It’s designed for landscape shooters but it’s also useful for street photographers because it allows you to know where and when the sun will rise and set. It tells you what to expect in terms of light. It is a paid app, but alternatively, you can get that information for free online.

This is very useful information that you can use to predict what camera/lens you may require also. No need to get your high ISO camera if you plan to leave before the sun sets, for example.

How to Plan a Street Photography Shoot When Traveling

Planning your shoot

Here’s the deal, if you had all the time in the world, you would stroll and go wherever you feel images are calling you. But you don’t, probably one or two days is all you have while traveling. So you need an idea of where to go while leaving things open to opportunity and chance as well.

1- Check the weather

Don’t miss this step! It may sound stupid but this not only allows you to plan ahead and might tell you to bring extra protective gear. I usually check the day before because the weather is very unreliable and the forecast can change quickly.

How to Plan a Street Photography Shoot When Traveling

2- What are your numbers?

You need to know when you are arriving and leaving. For example, imagine you are arriving at 8 pm and leaving at 4 pm the next day. What I recommend first of all is to set an alarm that tells you when to start and stop shooting, it usually takes an hour to get situated so I would set an alarm for 9 pm and 3 pm the following day. You need to figure out the amount of time it takes to get from the airport to where you are staying and to return again. I personally have an alarm for when to eat too.

While this might sound tedious, it gives you the freedom to shoot because it will tell you exactly when to start and when to stop, and you do not have to worry about it. When traveling you have no familiar bearings so the alarms get you grounded.

How to Plan a Street Photography Shoot When Traveling

Consider your arrival time

The other reason for knowing your numbers is knowing what you can expect. Remember the information you got from Photographer’s ephemeris or online. When are the sunrise, midday, and sunset?

Let’s say sunset is at  7 pm and sunrise at 7 am. If you are arriving at 8 pm you would know that you will arrive at night. So if you want to shoot the morning light, you need to wake up before 7 am and you know that you will miss the sunset. This kind of information will tell you what kind of light you can anticipate. But you also need to know where you are going.

How to Plan a Street Photography Shoot When Traveling

Where to go

When going somewhere new, I try to find the population centers and busy streets. So I google “[city name here] busy street” look at the results, and try to find the names of the busiest streets. It’s not magical, it’s probably overshot but where there are more people, usually there are interesting shots. Here are my results using Hong Kong as an example.

How to Plan a Street Photography Shoot When Traveling

Note: This is where you want to google according to your project and style. If you have a project with businessmen, you want to find out where the central business district is for example.

When looking for populated areas, there is usually a long stretch of road that is popular that provides great opportunities. For example:

  • Market Street in Philadelphia
  • Times Square in New York
  • Dotonbori in Osaka
  • Ocean Drive in Miami
  • Gangnam in Seoul
  • Nathan road in Hong Kong

Then I map out how to go there from the airport. When you know your times and where to go, you have a clearer idea of what you can expect. All of your energy is saved for shooting and not figuring things out when you arrive. Like I said above, after sweating like a pig trying to get out of the subway area in Kowloon, Hong Kong, it zapped my energy levels greatly. I doubled down on coffee.

How to Plan a Street Photography Shoot When Traveling

Use your gathered information wisely

It takes some experience but after a while, you start to know what to expect with all the information gathered. In the morning, you know what direction to be in to shoot the sun or have it at your back. You know when stores will start opening and people go to work. Knowing where you are going will help with your expectations. For example, if there are a lot of high-rises that will create shadow areas.

Knowing what time night falls will tell you when street vendors will start to close, the light from stores will create a new light source, or when to pull out a flash if that’s your thing.

How to Plan a Street Photography Shoot When Traveling

Protection

You have to be careful. What you believe is a camera is someone else’s next meal for a month. Population centers and busy streets are opportunities for street photographers but also for street thieves. It depends on where you are going, some places are safer than others. I like the anti-theft Pacsafe brand, but you can make yourself less pick-pocket friendly if you turn your backpack and hold it against your belly.

Also, don’t flaunt your camera if you know you are going somewhere there are lots of pick-pockets. You have to be careful not to damage the camera, but some tape is perfect to uglify the camera. And as much as you can, avoid backpacks and bags that scream “camera bag”. It immediately flags you as having a camera.

How to Plan a Street Photography Shoot When Traveling

Conclusion

There you have my system for how to prepare for a travel street photography shoot. I would be the first to say that it’s better to go somewhere and leave things open, but sometimes that’s just not a good use of your time when you only have a few hours or days to shoot somewhere. It’s better to prepare and then leave things open. Be yourself, stay focused and keep on shooting.

The post How to Plan a Street Photography Shoot When Traveling by Olivier Duong appeared first on Digital Photography School.


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Photo of GoPro Hero6 leaked, will be able to shoot 4K at 60 fps

15 Sep

We’ve already knew the GoPro Hero6 was on the way thanks to company CEO Nick Woodman, who revealed the camera’s existence back in February. But a newly leaked photo of the Hero6 reveals one very exciting feature we didn’t know about: the little camera will allegedly be able to shoot 4K at 60fps.

The leaked photo was sent to Photo Rumors by a reader of theirs, and as with any unofficial leak, it’s worth taking the image with a grain of salt. But if it is legitimate, this is what the GoPro Hero6 will look like in its final packaging:

If the packaging is legitimate, we can see that the Hero6 is waterproof to 10m, takes 12MP photographs, and can shoot video at 4K and 60fps. The current Hero5 maxes out at 4K 30fps, which puts it at a disadvantage when you compare it to cheaper action cameras like the Yi 4K, which shoots 4K 60fps and costs just $ 340.

The Hero6 will very likely cost more than this—even the Hero5 still goes for $ 400—but with more accessories to choose from and a brand name people recognize, it might just convince some Yi fans to return to the mothership.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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