6 simple cropping techniques to improve your lifestyle portrait photography. Whether you’re trying to capture an outfit, photograph yourself against a stunning backdrop or want to find a fun way to photograph a group of your friends on holiday. Here…
Just finished processing almost 40,000 images from a gruelling two months of non-stop traveling and shooting around the Philippines. My job was to document martial law victims receiving the second tranche of compensation for human rights violations committed against them and their families. This slideshow is just a microscopic view of that exhaustive documentation. As a Filipino, I just hope that those who did not go through what these martial law victims suffered during martial law not take their pains, and heroism, lightly. Although the martial law victims had moved on, the compensation reminded them again of the torture and the killings like it just happened yesterday. But in spite of that, they are filled with gratitude to the lawyers and nameless individuals who helped them get some kind of justice and reparation. They simply pray now that nothing like martial law ever visits the country again.
Ever so often while I am photographing portraits, I receive requests on how to become a model. Some of the usual questions I get asked are: How do I get started? Where do I find a Modeling Agency? How do I get my first photo shoot? Before…
Advice found in photography books, magazines and blogs concerning picture composition is often treated as if by following a few rules you can miraculously somehow bring about the perfect picture. It is better to think of any of these rules simply as…
Dramatic Lighting Using One Studio Strobe Having some fun with one studio strobe to create some dramatic lighting. This series of images were created using only one studio strobe, a 22″ white beauty dish and a 30 degree grid. As you can see from…
shooting events such as these worth all the troubles. Like “unphotogenic” stage lighting that turns people into green, red, or blue ugly monsters; the jostling for position with other photographers; or the group shot where only one or two people are looking at your camera. As an event photographer, you just have to live with these and constantly think on your feet to minimize them. Sure there are many ways to eliminate these problems but they take time, which an event photographer doesn’t have as fleeting moments happen every second whether you’re ready to capture it or not. But when you do capture it, it’s priceless.
More photos below of that moment.
Shot this on my way to a client meeting one afternoon with my Canon PowerShot G11, which I always bring when not “officially shooting” . I was in the MRT station when this beautiful view presented itself. To paraphrase a line from one of my favorite movies, “Photography is like a box of chocolate. You never know what you’re gonna get.” So bring your camera always. And walk. Couldn’t have taken this if I was driving or riding a bus.
If you have similar found landscape views or objects you made a picture of while you’re on your way to somewhere, feel free to post your story here and put a link to the photo. We’d very much like to see it.
Here are five guidelines to help you move from beginner to advanced digital photographer, whether you’re using your mobile phone, point-and-shoot, or DSLR.
Pay attention to what you see in the viewfinder. Look right, left, top, and bottom of frame. What do you see? Is your subject filling the frame? If not, fill the frame with your subject. One way to do this is to move closer. Or zoom in. Now, is there anything more in the frame that distracts from your subject? A tree or a light post, perhaps? Move your subject to another position to get rid of the distraction. If that’s not possible, go around your subject until you find a viewpoint that shows you only your subject. These are the things that a good photographer will do.
Take Great Close-up Pictures
Most cameras today come with a “macro mode.” Think of it as a magnifying glass that allows you to get extreme close-ups of your subject, like a flower. At this mode, petals and leaves suddenly become exciting subjects as its colors, shapes, and textures are presented in a way you may not have imagined before. Definitely adds excitement to your picture making. Play with this particular feature. There are definitely a multitude of ways to use it to bring your photos to a different level.
Buy a Tripod
Professional photographers own one or more tripods. They know their cameras are not exempted from blurry photos. And yours is not exempted either, however advanced or expensive it may be. Accept it. It’s just the way it is. That’s why it’s important to develop a technique in holding your camera steady while taking a picture, just like any pro photographer. If you’re having difficulty holding it still, get a tripod. There are many brands and types to choose from. Expensive and cheap. Light and heavy. Short and long. Good photographers rely on it. You should, too. Get one that’s relatively light and easy to set up and which you can bring along anywhere. Believe me, it will save you hours of frustration and help ensure you take pin-sharp photos. Every time.
Have you seen photographers lying down to take a shot? Or hanging precariously on the side of a cliff or building? How about hanging on a rope? Yes, photographers usually do that just to get the shot they want. And no, you don’t have to be that photographer if you simply want to take a photo of your child playing. The “get active” simply means to get out of your usual box when it comes to taking pictures. It could mean get low, get high, run alongside your subject, explore other angles and point of views, that sort of thing. It’s what photographers do. Once you get into the habit of moving around, you can expect a pay off in the form of creative and out-of-the-ordinary beautiful shots of your loved ones.
Take a Class
Want to take your photography to the next level? Take a photography class. There’s one everywhere nowadays. Online, at your local recreation center, or school. There are photography classes and workshops for beginners, advanced, and even professionals. There’s really nothing quite like continuous learning. It’s the only way to develop your craft. Combine this knowledge with constant practice and you’ll be on your way to becoming a better photographer.
But after all’s been said and done, keep in mind that it takes time to hone any craft. You definitely won’t turn into an expert photographer in your first week. Simply keep trying new techniques each time you’re using your camera and, very soon, your family and friends will be admiring your newfound photographic skills and will always be calling on their favorite photographer.
Every year, manufacturers are coming up with new digital camera models. And each model varies in design, functions, and features that it can leave anyone in the market for a point-and-shoot or DSLR confused.
If you have a brand preference, you’ve already narrowed down the choices to just that manufacturer’s units. If not, well, I suggest you pick one of the well-known and traditional camera makers, like Nikon (my brand, btw) and Canon. I personally stay away from the appliance manufacturers who recently joined the digital camera circus although I’ve heard and read some very good reviews of their cameras. In fact, I’ve tried a couple of their digital cameras and they are indeed impressive. You might love them, who knows?
Don’t go looking for “Made in Japan” or “Made in America,” either. You’re going to have a hard time finding them. These digital cameras are now mostly made in China, Taiwan, or Thailand (the Nikons I use, at least).
Below are the things that I think anyone buying his or her first digital camera should consider instead.
What to look for when buying a digital camera
1. Budget. If your father was rich, I’d say buy the most expensive digital camera and impress your friends. I’m pretty sure, though, that you’ll only be using it once a month when you’re bored or once every few months during birthdays, summer outing, and holidays because you’ll eventually realize that you don’t want to lug around that heavy and badass piece of equipment around. The manufacturers will be grateful to you and your dad, though. But if you’re buying it with your hard-earned money, the most basic of the lot will do. Believe me. Even today’s mobile phone’s cameras are surprisingly good.
2. Where will you use your digital camera? Again, if you’re not a professional photographer and just want to record your daily activities at work or play, the most basic of the lot will do. You can even look for the low megapixel cameras, like the 5- or 6-megapixel units if you want to save some money. They work just as good and you can get them very cheap nowadays.
3. Memory. How much do you need or willing to spend? 2gb? 4, 8, 16, 32? The higher the megapixel count of your camera, the more you need to spend for storage, especially if you take lots of pictures. Professional wedding photographers take at least 1,000 high-resolution photos for every event. Will you be taking as much photos on your child’s Christening or mom’s birthday? If you know you will, you need at least 8-16gb SD or CF card.
Want to keep all the photos you’ll be taking with your new digital camera? Get an external drive for storage and back-up (or stacks and stacks of DVDs).
4. Batteries. If you’re diligent in fully recharging your camera’s battery before you use it and if you don’t look at your LCD every time you press the shutter, I think your battery will have enough juice until your last frame. If not, get a spare battery; two if you’re going out on a long trip.
5. Go online and read people’s opinions about, and experiences with, the camera you’re eyeing. You can find these people in photography or digital camera equipment forums. Avoid the manufacturer’s press releases and marketing hype. Go to their websites only if you want to get the camera specs. I have a technique in sifting the hype from the truth when searching online and you can use it, too. In Google search box, type “(name of camera and model) sucks.” It usually works.
6. Finally, read the manual after your purchase. You’ll be surprised at the many wonderful things your digital camera can do if you simply read its manual.
Happy shooting with your brand new digital camera! Cheers!