Monthly Archives: September 2018

Interesting Photography Tips

Some Basic Photography Tips

Any photography hobbyist would do well to keep their eyes and ears open for photography tips. While some people just seem to pick up on the methods of taking great photographs, others can always use some hints and tricks to help them take their pictures from drab to fab. It may seem a bit overwhelming to think that you can apply all the little so-called secrets that professional photographers employ, but in reality, even some basic photography tips can help turn your photos into something worth bragging about.

Portraits

If you do portraits as a hobby, remember to be creative in your poses and settings. While good photography tips involve keeping things simple, you do need to dress things up a bit when positing portraits. For instance, if you’re going to do a portrait of a couple, don’t just have them sitting and facing the camera. Try getting a profile as they look at each other or a playful pose as one kisses the other’s cheek. Family portraits also mean working on your poses and settings. Again, avoid having them just sitting and facing the camera. Try having one of the parents swinging the child above his or her head, or mom and dad holding the child’s hand as they walk forward.

Other photography tips for portraits include getting out of the drab studio and using different settings. If the subject has a beloved pet, go outside and include the pet in the portrait. If it’s someone that just got their driver’s license, pose them in front of a car.

Photography Tips for Landscapes

If you enjoy taking pictures when you’re on vacation or traveling, you may wonder how to spruce up those landscape pictures. There are some very quick and easy ways to do this.

First, keep your eyes on the colors in the picture. If you snap a picture of a lake against a blue sky, that’s an awful lot of blue! It might be better to wait until sunset when the color of the sun breaks up all that blue. Good photography tips for landscapes and any other type of picture include being aware of how the same color is going to translate on a photo, regardless of how breathtaking it may be in person. If you are looking at autumn foliage, avoid a picture of just a bunch of trees all at the same height. Again, it may be just a jumble of all the same colors. You may do well to adjust your angle so as to get a hill or part of a field in the picture so as to break up all that color.

Simple Lighting Techniques When Making a Video

So you’re making a video for the first time. Your first thought may be – where’s the script? And then – how much money is this going to cost? Can dry ice and glitter be involved? At some point, you will need to think about lighting. How do you get that picture-perfect, cinematic quality in the final cut?

The good news is that you don’t have to hire an entire production crew to master professional lighting. Here are three techniques to reduce harsh shadows, disperse light across your subjects, change temperatures or moods, and ensure your video looks and feels like it came straight from Hollywood (or close to it).

1.) Move

Okay – time for set up. You have the lights, but where do you put them? The most basic formula to light your scene is the 3-point system: key, fill, and back. The highest-powered light, key light, should be placed in front of the main subject of your scene. Position another light source to the side of the subject, usually in a lower position to balance shadows and harsh contrasts. Another light is placed behind the subject to separate from the background and to create highlights. Now move the lights until the scene illuminates that perfect shot. You can rent lighting kits that range in various prices, but ARRI Kits are favored for their durability and simplicity. They rent for $100-$125 per day.

2.) Diffuse

Cast, props and crew are in place. But you notice shadows casted across one of the actor’s face. And you are not necessarily going for that Maltese Falcon kind of tone. The best way to soften light and spread it over the entire scene is to use diffusion methods.

Three essential gear choices to correct your scene are 6×6′ Silks, Diffusion Gel, or Softboxes.

Diffusion gel is the most versatile tool because it’s disposable and easy to pack, especially for location shooting. They can be placed just about anywhere with a few C-47s. Clip onto your light’s barn doors and this heat-resistant material will soften extreme spotlights. Gels comes in ¼, ½, and full diffusion varieties for less or greater amounts of softening. You can buy one sheet for $5 or an entire roll for $100.

Silks are used to diffuse harsh, direct sunlight when shooting outdoors or can be placed in front of tungsten lamps and HMIs. The benefits to silk frames? They are easy to set up and move around set, you can reuse them for the next shoot (go green!) and they are available in multiple sizes. This is key if you want to have consistent lighting across a wide shot. You can rent 6×6′ silk sets for $50/day and 24×36″ or 18×24″ flag sets for $25/day.

If you have more money to spend on production, a Softbox, or Chimera, will give you better control on how lighting hits your subject. These attach directly to your lights and are great for portrait photography and interviews. If you need a lot of light but want it soft and evenly dispersed across your subject, the Joker 800 HMI is an optimal choice. You can rent a kit for $175/day.

3.) Reflect

Next up – the beach scene staged in conference room two. How do you emulate the sun and make it look authentic? Reflectors are an inexpensive way to redirect light from other light sources onto your subject. Change your shot’s mood with four color options: silver for high-contrast, edgy and cool; gold for warm, natural, and sunny; white for neutral and fill light; and black to get rid of unwanted reflections or casts of color. You can buy a 5-in-1 reflector for $40.

Indoor Portrait Photography Tips

Here are some indoor portrait photography tips that does not require you to have access to expensive studio lightings, but will still be able to produce professional indoor portraits.

What say you if there are ways you can conduct indoor portrait photography at the comfort of your own home? Although with only one light source, you can still take photographs that look stunning. All you’ll need is an angle-poise lamp.

8 Tips For Indoor Portrait Photography

Photography Tips #1 – Background

To begin, position your subject to be sited in front of a light absorbing black velvet. The velvet creates a black background for your photo shoot. As to support the velvet, you can use about anything to hold it up. A bookcase for instance, is good enough.

Photography Tips #2 – Lighting Tips

After your model is comfortably sited, adjust the lamp so that it is positioned just slightly above his/ her head. Also, have the lamp positioned towards the right side of your model. This light setting will create a classic and stunning portrait photography result.

There are many other lighting effects you can try out. So go wild with creativity and don’t limit yourself.

Photography Tips #3 – Fast Shutter Speed

Set your shutter speed to be relatively fast. I normally set my camera to 1/160 sec at f/2.8, ISO500. Also, it is advisable that you use a tripod to complement your photography.

Photography Tips #4 – Use A Tripod

The tripod will get rid of camera shake, hence refrains from ruined indoor portrait photographs. The indoor portrait photos produced will be sharp when you use a tripod.

Photography Tips #5 – Longer Focal Length

I normally use the 80-200mm f/2.8 lens and set it to 145mm. This is because longer focal lengths will result in a much more stunning indoor portrait photograph.

Photography Tips #6 – Take a Few Shots

Another thing you can do is to take a few shots just to test the exposure and general set-up. If you’re satisfied with the settings for the photo shoot, you can start your indoor photography session. It will be great if you can discuss with your model beforehand about the various poses and expressions he/she can do.

Photography Tips #7 – Experiment The Various Lighting Conditions

Different lighting angles will result in a different indoor portrait photography effect. All you have to here is to try the different lighting positions and see which one works well for you. Such lighting angles include the right side, above, the left side, below and from behind your subject.

Photography Tips #8 – Use A Reflector

Whenever the light is too harsh, it creates unwanted shadow that ruins your indoor portrait photography attempts. What you can do here is to use a reflector on the opposite side of the light source. The reflector bounces the light onto your subject, thus creating a much softer light illumination.

Creative Photography Tips Step-By-Step Guide

There is no doubt that composition and framing are both components that play very important roles at producing stunning photography results. There are little-known creative photography tips that have to do with framing that photographers can implement to bring about extremely creative photography effects.

Creative Photography Tips #1 – Enclose Subjects within Frames

When you keep your subjects within the natural frame, this will bring the viewers of your photographs to be led towards the focal point. It also adds interest to the photographs. A few examples of natural frames are windows, doors, and also encompassing trees.

Creative Photography Tips #2 – Frames As Center Stage To Compositions

Another great creative photography trick is to shoot images where frames take the role of becoming the center stage to compositions. When you do this, make sure you the results turn out in an abstract fashion so that it becomes the primary subject of the frame.

Creative Photography Tips #3 – Subjects with Repetition

You can use these photography tips and implement them onto the various subjects. The main thing to look out for is the existence of repetition on your subjects. For instance, you can use these creative photography tips on a group of trees. You can also shoot photos of a corridor of doors.

Creative Photography Tips #4 – Step-by-step Guide To Photographing Pylons

Another example of subjects with repetition is pylons. Pylons can be found in areas such as suburbs and rural areas. I will now reveal you a complete simple step-by-step guide to photographing pylons.

Here is a very important key pointer to note when photographing pylons; make sure that the day you conduct this photography attempt is a day where the skies are blue with beautiful and puffy clouds. Avoid photographing pylons in overcast situations.

Step #1

First of all, look for the pylon you want to photograph. Once you have located it, be sure to ask for the permission to photograph the pylons from the land owner.

This is just a matter of courtesy and to avoid getting into unwanted troubles. Land owners are normally more than pleased to give you the permission you seek, if asked properly.

Step #2

Properly attach your camera to the tripod. What I did when I photographed pylons back then was to set my camera to the aperture-priority mode. I also dialed up an aperture of f/14.

Try shooting through the legs of the pylons and shoot to a telegraph pole located a distance away (if possible). This is to allow the pylon to frame the image.

Step #3

Next, check the results of the image you photographed on the LCD monitor. The image taken should be framed with the pylon still girders. Your goal is to have the result of the photograph taken to turn out looking abstract.

Step #4

If you happen to not be satisfied with the earlier creative photography attempt, try again. This time however, you can try out another viewpoint.

Re-adjust the positioning of your DSLR camera that you have attached to the tripod so that it faces the next pylon along the field (approximately 500 yards away is good enough). You can use the corded remote release to reduce camera shake.

Step #5

Check the result of the shoot once again through the LCD monitor. The result of the shot should turn out looking better than the first one because of the viewpoint; the power lines of the pylon naturally frame the shot well.

Step #6

Nonetheless, the color of the blue sky may be washed out, making it look really pale. When this happens, you can use a circular polarizer to your lens to fix the pale blue sky.

The polarizer makes the blue sky’s color richer. The sky will also appear looking more saturated. Using a polarizer definitely adds punch onto the photographs.

You can use a square-shaped ‘Cokin-style’ polarizer as it brings about the same effect.

Step #7

Now, try photographing the pylon from another viewpoint – right under the main pylon of your choice. Photograph this scene with your camera attached to a tripod. Adjust them so that the lenses aim straight up towards the top of the pylon. Whenever possible, consider using a remote release to better aid camera stability.

Step #8

From my experience with this viewpoint, pictures turn looking way better! The framing of the image looks perfect with the criss-cross metal structure that the pylon has. This gives the result of the photograph an abstract feel.

What you can do after taking your first shot is to take a few more shots from this same viewpoint. Reason being you’ll be better able to ensure that it is symmetrical.

Creative Photography Tips #5 – Polarizing Filters

What exactly do polarizer filters do? These filters actually help to darken skies and get rid of unwanted reflections that appear on surfaces like water and glasses. This is possible as filters act to reduce directional light. Polarizing filters produce a much more intense and saturated image.

The 2 main type of polarizing filters that are tailor-made for DSLR cameras are;

A) Slot-in Polarizing Filters

These types of filters fit perfectly into a special filter holder. If you want a recommendation, I suggest that you get the Cokin’s P-system. It is indeed the most well-known, also the most reasonably priced slot-in polarizing filters in the market.

B) Screw-in Polarizing Filters

These filters are made available in a range of filter threads so that it fits your lens. Hoya screw-in polarizing filters are definitely an excellent range.

Tips For Picking a Great Stock Footage Clip

There are more stock footage video clips than ever before but that doesn’t mean there is consistent quality with each stock footage clip you search for. There is a vast array of options and choices when hunting for the perfect stock footage clip to use in a video, advertising or PowerPoint presentation project. Searching for a stock footage clip that fits the bill in terms of subject matter and quality of execution can often times be tedious and frustrating. Below is a list of ten tips for picking a great stock footage clip for your next project.

1. Composition

Every great stock footage video clip starts with eye-catching composition. Composition includes the way in which the visual subject is constructed and placed within the frame. More standard composition places the subject in the center of the frame and uses symmetry and balance to compose the picture. A more photographic and stylized approach is to “weight” the frame and place the subject near one of the edges of the frame, which gives the stock footage clip an edgier and more modern look. Visually engaging composition is one of the primary elements of a great stock footage clip so pay close attention to this when choosing a clip.

2. Motion

Motion is another important element to carefully look at when reviewing and selecting stock footage clips for your projects. Motion can include both camera movement as well as movement of subject. Typically the most dynamic and enticing motion happens when the camera is moving in some way. A moving camera during a shot adds drama, power and impact creating a high level of cinematic production quality. There are a variety of camera movement techniques including using a dolly, jib arm, crane, tripod or many other specialty equipment devices that can create beautifully crafted movement during a shot. Look for stock footage clips that have distinct movement to give your project an added level of craft and production value.

3. Performance

If you’re searching for a stock footage clip that includes talent, then it’s key that the performance of the talent is believable in the clip. Stock footage clips that include talent have received a reputation over the years of looking “staged” and less than real. Another key element to selecting a great stock footage clip is the believability of the performance of talent within a clip. There is a lot of stock footage in the marketplace that features bad performances and over acting of talent. Be selective when choosing a stock footage clip and weed out talent and performances that look staged.

4. Lighting

Good lighting can greatly enhance the overall quality of a stock footage clip. What defines good lighting you ask? Good lighting is the balance, ratio, look and level of the overall light within a scene or shot. The lighting can come from a natural light source, be generated artificially or be a combination of both. Premium and pro stock footage clips are shot by seasoned directors of photography who are experts at creating shots with commercial-grade lighting. They have an arsenal of techniques, equipment and tricks for making a stock footage clip look stylish and professional with lighting. Use a critical eye to look for those stock footage clips with the best use of lighting.

5. Focal Length

Focal length describes the length of the lens used on the film or video camera for a particular shot. A short focal length will give the image a wider field of view whereas a longer focal length will compress the image and bring the field of view tighter and closer. The longer the focal length typically the more out of focus the background is from the subject. Different focal lengths give different emotional feelings to a shot and can have a profound effect on the look and quality of the stock footage clip you’re using in your project.

6. Art Direction

When researching and selecting stock footage clips, quality of art direction will be another important element to consider. Art direction primarily refers to the scenery, decoration and props within a scene. Like any other art form, the quality of execution when it comes to art direction can vary from one stock footage clip to another. Pay careful attention to these details because art direction that is well thought out and implemented can have a big impact on the stock footage clip.

7. Locations

The location or locations featured in a stock footage clip has a big influence on the quality of the clip. A visual and relevant location has as much impact on the shot as composition, camera movement and lighting. A good location influences the overall emotional tenor of a shot as well as providing context for the subject matter, whether it is a high concept clip or a more realistic one. Locations during shooting are enhanced with good art direction, props, lighting, composition, talent and camera operation; however the foundation for a quality stock shot starts with a solid location.

8. Authenticity

The overall authenticity of the stock footage clip you’re selecting for your project is another key criterion when researching clips. Authenticity is all about the truthfulness, realism and naturalness of the overall qualities of the stock footage clip. This includes many of the elements discussed above but especially includes the performance of the talent (if any) as well as the props, wardrobe and art direction for the scene. All of these elements must “ring true” for you and your audience or the clip will scream out that it’s a stock footage clip. The believability of the stock footage clip or clips you choose will determine how well it integrates into your final video, commercial, TV show or PowerPoint presentation.

9. Resolution

With so many camera acquisition formats on the market today, there are a countless number of delivery resolutions and formats for stock footage clips (i.e., 1080i, 1080p, HD, 720p, SD, PAL, etc…). It can be overwhelming for sure. Be sure you research and understand what the final resolution of your project is before final delivery of your project. Talking to your video editor and technical team upfront before researching and searching for stock footage is a key step not to be overlooked.

10. Compression & Delivery

Compression is an important consideration when ordering and/or downloading the stock footage clip(s) that you choose for your project. Different companies offer a variety of compression codecs when delivering files and masters to you after you’ve ordered. If choosing to have digital files delivered to you be sure you understand the type of codec and compression that will be used within the stock clip you’ve ordered. Some companies deliver stock footage clips without any compression and others deliver clips with a considerable amount of compression. Knowing the codec and compression of your clips before ordering is an important consideration to remember to be sure you’re getting the quality you need for your project.