Archivi categoria: howto

Quick Tip: Three Composition ‘Rules’ and How to Break Them

One of the best reasons to learn the rules of photography is so you can start breaking them. In this short video, Canon Explorer of Light and music and sports photographer, David Bergman teaches you how he goes about breaking 3 of the cardinal composition rules in his work, using his Bon Jovi portfolio as an example.

The three rules and their alternatives are pretty straight forward:

  • Forget the rule of thirds, put the subject “dead center” instead
  • Forget shooting with the sun behind you, play around with silhouettes and backlight instead
  • And finally, forget filling the frame, try using negative space to your advantage.

It’s worth noting—and David does point it out, too—that you have master the rules first before you go rogue. Once you know the rules, you’ll be better equipped to decide when it would be best to throw them aside.

Check out the video up top. And if you enjoy this one, you can more of David’s “Two Minute Tips” on Adorama TV, where he shares more on photography, gear and lighting.

(via ISO 1200)

6 Creative Portrait Photography Hacks in 2 Minutes

Ready for some rapid-fire DIY tips? A team of French photographers who goes by the moniker “Shootr” has put together a simple photo hacks video that offers a few creative ideas for your next portrait shoot.

Let’s take these one at a time.

1. Tin Foil Background

Don’t have (or want to use) a standard portrait background? Try crumpling up and hanging some tin foil instead, and then add a colored gel to your flash. The pop of color will show up in the reflection in the tinfoil, and it makes for a unique, sparkly background.

2. Tin Foil Foreground Bokeh

Once you’re done with your tinfoil background, fold it up and cut it into tin foil confetti. Then have someone sprinkle it in front of your model while you shoot with a relatively open aperture. The out of focus foil bits will catch the light from your flash and add some foreground pop to your shots.

This, by the way, is our favorite tip of the bunch.

3. LED Lights Foreground Bokeh

If you don’t have an assistant or you don’t want to clean up bits of tinfoil, using some of those tiny, copper-wire LED lights that are so popular these days is another great foreground bokeh option.

Hand a strand or two (or six) from a C-stand, or hold some up in front of your lens yourself. The results are quite dreamy.

4. DIY Cinematic Snoot

A popular tip (for good reason), use some foam board to make a DIY snoot with barn doors for your off-camera flash. This way, you can shape your speedlight output and create neat effects like the one above. You can also take it a bit further by…

5. Add a Window Pattern to Your Snoot

…cutting out some sort of window pattern from an extra bit of foam board and placing it on the end of your snoot. This is just like yesterday’s biscuit box tip, except Shootr went with a “Windows 95” theme for theirs.

6. Water Spray Foreground

Finally, the last tip is to load up a small spray bottle with water and use that to add some foreground interest. If you want an extra pop of color (and a real mess to clean up) add some food coloring to that water and play around until your flash catches the mist just right.


And that’s it! Check out all 6 tips up top to see them in action, and then head over to Shootr’s YouTube channel for more photography tips, gear reviews, and other interesting videos.


Image credits: All photographs provided by Shootr and used with permission.

How to Create a Simple DIY Smoke Effect for Product Shots

This short DIY tutorial by Caleb Pike over at DSLR Video Shooter shows you how to create a great smoke effect for your product shots or B-roll footage—no fancy smoke machine required.

Smoke is an intriguing component of photography, but it’s difficult to produce conveniently and photograph correctly. The direction and thickness of the smoke is never fully under your control and that makes photographing it a challenge. Fortunately, this little DIY technique helps you reign that pesky smoke in.

To do this at home, you’ll need a simple bulb syringe and a smoke-creating vape device made up of a battery and a tank. In Caleb’s case, he used an Eleaf iStick 50W battery attached to a Nautilus Atlantis tank, that he then filled with some kind of vaping liquid.

(Note: Caleb does NOT use liquid that contains nicotine. Nobody is encouraging smoking. Everyone’s lungs are okay. No baby seals were hurt in the making of this video.)

From that point on it’s pretty simple. You press a button on the vaping device to create the vapor, use the bulb syringe to draw it out (sparing your lungs in the process) and then apply that smoke wherever you might need it.

This simple setup is a great way to create and disperse small amounts of smoke exactly where you want it. It’s particularly useful where a big smoke machine would be overkill, filling up the room and ruining your images.

To see the simple idea in action, check out the video above. And if you like this simple tutorial, head over to the DSLR Video Shooter channel for more like it.

(via ISO 1200)

This Shutter Speed Chart is a Simple Photography Cheat Sheet

When we talk about the Shutter Speed in photography, the first thing that comes to mind is its relationship to Exposure. Shutter speed is an essential part of Exposure Triangle (Aperture, ISO, Shutter Speed) and it helps photographers to get perfectly exposed photos.

But my belief is that to understand and to master Shutter Speed for taking the perfectly exposed images is the easiest part of the equation. The more exciting, but at the same time more challenging, part is to learn how to use Shutter Speed as the artistic tool in our photography. By using different settings of Shutter Speed we can achieve some interesting effects.

The goal of Shutter Speed Chart is to summarize and illustrate the different aspects of Shutter Speed to help photographers to master Shutter Speed to get well-exposed photos and to embrace it as an artistic tool. You can download the full PDF version here.

Full Stop, 1/2 Stop, 1/3 Stop

We all know that together with the Aperture and ISO, the Shutter Speed controls the exposure of your image.

And for a long time, it was a pretty simple and straightforward equation, by changing the shutter speed from 1/200s to 1/100s we double the amount of light (1 stop) that reaches the film or sensor. You keep shutter open twice longer you get twice the amount of light.

But with the introduction of digital cameras, we are not restricted to changing the shutter speed by one stop only. Some cameras allow us to change the shutter speed by half (1/2 stop) and some cameras by third (1/3 stop).

The shutter speed chart helps us to do exposure estimations and calculations easier.

Safe Shutter Speed

When you have moving objects in your composition, it is paramount to use the right shutter speed in order to get sharp photos. The Safe Shutter Speed illustration let us visualize that by using the shutter speed slower than 1/100s we enter the potentially unsafe area with the regards to sharp photos goal.
 

Light

This is a simple illustration of correlation between shutter speed values and the amount the light reaching the camera’s sensor. The faster the shutter speed, the less light gets in; the longer the shutter speed, the more light gets in.
 
 
 

Shutter Speed Chart and Types of Shooting

This is what I call a Shutter Speed Cheat Sheet that helps photographers to use a shutter speed as the creative tool.

Birds in Flight 1/2000

When wildlife photographers track and photograph a bird in flight, it requires an extreme shutter speed of 1/2000s to get the bird perfectly sharp. The variation of this technique is to reduce the shutter speed to 1/400s will result in a sharp body of the bird but blurry wings. This is a more creative approach wildlife photography.

Action Sports 1/500s – 1/1000s

You probably do not need an extreme shutter speed when photographing a golfer putting on the green, but any sports that involve fast movements and actions will need special attention to shutter speed value. Photographing professional football game or your kids playing soccer will require shutter speed between 1/500s and 1/1000 to freeze the action and get sharp photos.

Street Photography 1/250 – 1/500

In general, when photographing street scenes, that scene is in constant motion. You have people walking towards you or crossing the street, cars moving and stopping, birds, bicycles, and more. The proper shutter speed is paramount, not only for getting the right exposure, but also for avoiding blurry or soft images.

Landscapes 1/125 – 1/4

It’s hard to pinpoint the shutter speed range for landscapes because the techniques and the setting you use will vary greatly depending on if you’re shoot hand-held or on a tripod. The slower shutter speed of 1/8 or 1/4 is totally acceptable when using a tripod, but if you shoot hand-held, you need to reduce the value to get sharp photos.

Panning Cars 1/15 – 1/60

Planning is one of the most interesting creative techniques, and you need to know your shutter speed to do it. Using a longer shutter speed (1/15 -1/60) and tracking the moving object (car) when the shutter is open lets us create an effect where the main object is in focus while the environment around it is blurred.

Waterfalls or Fast Running Water 1/8 – 2 sec

Here we are entering a more creative approach to photography in general, and shutter speed in particular. Photographing a fast running water with a longer shutter speed allows us to create a visual effect that does not exist in real life. You open up the shutter speed for a longer period of time and let moving water to create motion blur.

Blurring Water 0.5 – 5 sec

Blurring the water is a staple in seascape photography. Nothing makes a seascape look dreamier than a long exposure effect in the water. When photographing ‘the ocean, sea, lakes, and rivers where movement in the water is not very fast, you need a slower shutter speed value (compared to shooting the waterfalls) in order to create this silky and smooth effect in the water.

Fireworks 2-4 sec

It is not easy to photograph fireworks—you’re shooting at night, in the dark, with bright lights popping up randomly all over the place. The logic here is to open the shutter speed long enough to capture the entire lifespan of the shoot, but be careful.

If you use a fast shutter speed and you will get a tiny unimpressive light in the vastness of the dark sky; if you use a shutter speed that’s too long, you will achieve only an overexposed, blurry, and unnatural effect. I find a shutter speed between 3 and 4 seconds works the best.

Stars (Astrophotography) 15-25 sec

Shooting astrophotography allows us to capture things that are not visible to naked eye. By opening the shutter for a long period of time, we can amplify the dim lights of the stars into a full-blown celestial light show… but you need to strike a right balance.

If you use a fast shutter speed, the stars will be tiny and dim; but if you use a speed longer than 30 seconds, you’ll start to get a star trail effect thanks to the movement of Earth. A shutter value between 15 and 25 seconds will produce stars that are both sharp and bright.

Star Trails – One shot at 15 minutes, or multiple shots at 30 seconds

This technique enables us to take advantage of steadily spinning Earth. If you open the shutter long enough, you can capture the trailing effect of the stars.

The traditional technique requires the shutter speed value of 15 minutes and longer. But with the digital workflow you can simulate the same trailing effect by taking series of photos, let say 120 of them, with 30 sec exposure and blending them together in Photoshop. In this way, you can create the effect of 60 min exposure without the noise this would otherwise create.


About the author: Viktor Elizarov is a travel photographer based in Montreal, Canada. He’s also the man behind PhotoTraces, a travel photography blog and community of over 60,000 photographers. Visit Tutorials section of his blog for free tutorials and free Lightroom presets. This post was also published here.


Image credits: Header image by Neurovelho.

Trey Ratcliff Says ‘Apple is Dead to Me,’ Explains How and Why He Switched

“Goodbye Apple, hello Windows.” It’s a phrase many a photographer is considering these days, but if you’re afraid to make the jump, have no fear. Photographer Trey Ratcliff has already done it, and he says the water’s fine. In fact, he’ll explain how and why you should switch too.

In a video released last month, the Stuck in Customs photographer put it pretty bluntly:

Apple, you’re dead to me. DEAD.

It was the release of the new MacBook Pro that pushed Ratcliff over the edge. “I’ve been a loyal Apple guy for years,” he says, “but the new [Mac] that they came out with is just… weak. I need a workhorse […] and I feel like Apple has really abandoned the creative.”

And so he made the jump, ordering a beast of a Windows machine: this 17-inch MSI WT72, AKA the world’s first VR-ready mobile workstation. Basically, Ratcliff ordered one of the most powerful Windows machines he could find, bought a Microsoft Surface Pro 4 as a “sort of iPad replacement,” and began the arduous process of switching over from Mac to Windows while traveling for the holidays.

That’s where his second video comes in. He didn’t just spend the holiday season throwing shade on Apple, he actually created this How-To guide for any photographer who wants to make the jump and switch from their Apple machine to Windows.

The video and accompanying blog post break the transition down into six steps that can help entrenched Apple user like Trey break free of that ecosystem without too much pain in the process:

Step 1 Get your ‘essential programs’ up and running.

Step 2 Begin copying over all your data.

Step 3 Get signed in everywhere and start syncing.

Step 4 Switch over your storage.

Step 5 Use Windows exclusively for the first week

and finally…

Step 6 Color calibrate your new Windows machine to match your old Mac.

Ratcliff obviously goes into much more detail over on his blog, so if you’re thinking of making the switch or if you already bought a Windows machine but you’re nervous to start the transition, give his videos and blog post a look.

(via SLR Lounge via DIYP)

Photoshop Tip: How to Make Eyes ‘Pop’ in 30 Seconds

There’s a simple way to make your subject’s eyes pop in a portrait, and it doesn’t involve touching vibrance, saturation, luminosity, or any other color-based edit. In fact, you can make the full edit in 30 seconds.

This quick Photoshop tip comes to us from photographer Mathieu Stern, who uses a simple sharpening technique to make his subjects’ eyes stand out. Here’s the step by step:

1. Duplicate your background layer (your portrait).

2. Go to Filter > Other > High Pass and apply a High Pass filter with a radius of 10 pixels.

3. Set the layer blend mode to Soft Light

4. Alt+Click on the layer mask icon to create a black layer mask

5. Use a soft brush to pain white over just your subject’s eyes.

That’s it. Done right, the filter will take your subject’s eyes from this:

To this:

Helping them to stand out without that “nuclear eyes” look that so many saturation-obsessed shooters have accidentally created before. Check out the full demo in the video above, and if you like this video, head over to Mathieu’s YouTube channel for more.

Learn Photoshop Tricks in One Minute with Adobe’s ‘Make it Now’ Series

I once read a Quora question that went, “What can I learn in one minute that will be useful for the rest of my life?” I don’t know about the rest of your life, but if you’re a photographer, head over to the Adobe Creative Cloud YouTube channel and check out their ‘Make It Now’ one-minute video tutorials on designing (not retouching) with Photoshop CC.

One of the big problems I have with watching videos on the Web is that, half the time, I get 4 minutes into a 12-minute video that seemed useful before I realize that I was, in fact, totally wrong. There’s another 4 minutes I’m never getting back…

That’s why I love super short tutorial videos like these.

How to Make a Double Exposure

How to Create a Composite

How to Create an Animated GIF

How to Make a Poster from a Template

If you’re new to Photoshop, you may find the video moves too fast for you to keep up; if that’s the case, click on the gear symbol at the bottom right of the screen and select 0.5 speed. Heck, if you want to take notes, go for 0.25 speed.

And that’s it. Congrats! You can now add “Graphic Designer” to your LinkedIn profile! Okay maybe not…

(via Fstoppers)