Archivi categoria: Tips

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.

7 Tips for Making Lightroom Run Faster

Not happy with Lightroom’s sluggish performance on your computer? Here’s a helpful 15-minute video in which photographer and instructor Anthony Morganti shares a number of helpful tips for optimizing your Lightroom’s performance.

The tips are various settings you can adjust and tools you can run inside Lightroom, from Catalog Settings to Preferences and more. Since photographers have different workflows and needs, customizing how Lightroom runs can help make it run faster for your own purposes.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the main performance optimization tips discussed in-depth in the video:

#1. Build 1:1 Previews: Make Lightroom create a 1:1 preview of your photo files, trading extra disk space and slower importing for faster performance while working with your photos.

#2: Discard Previews: Have Lightroom automatically discard your 1:1 previews after a certain number of days to free up disk space.

#3: Preview Size and Quality: Make sure your preview size and quality and set to appropriate settings for your monitor.

#4: Camera Raw Cache Settings: Increase your cache size as large as you can from the default of 1GB.

#5: Use Graphics Professor: Try enabling or disabling the use of your graphics processor to see if that improves performance.

#6: Smart Previews: You can give up disk space and editing quality by using Smart Previews for faster performance.

#7: Optimize Catalog: Use the built-in optimization tool to keep things humming along over time.

Watch the video at the top of the post for a more detailed look at how you can make these adjustments and what they can do for you.

The video is episode #92 in Morganti’s helpful Lightroom Quick Tips video series. You can find his entire collection of videos on his YouTube channel.

(via Anthony Morganti via Fstoppers)

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)

How to Develop and Push the ISO on Color Negative Film at Home

I finally did it! After sitting in my fridge for a few months, I managed to developed myself a roll of CineStill 800 pushed to 3200 ISO, and the results look great! The great thing: it’s actually pretty easy to develop pushed C-41 film at home.

If you don’t know what pushing film means, let me introduce this technique.

Basically, you purposely shoot a roll of film at a higher ISO than it’s intended for, in order to gain extra stops of light. This means that you underexpose your film, then compensate this lack of light by extending the developing time.

Why Would I Do This

If you are shooting in low light or need a faster shutter speed to freeze an action shot, this technique can be helpful.

Black & White film photographers are usually familiar with pushing film because most of them are processing their own film at home, and can adjust the developing time at their convenience.

On the other hand, pushing color negative film is not as common, simply because it requires manual development and most labs can’t (or won’t) do it because the machines they use are 100% automatic. It’s convenient for them because, when shot at box speed, all C-41 films require the same developing time regardless of their ISO rating.

But that’s not an issue anymore and, like B&W film, you can develop color film yourself too!

Before we get started, let me introduce our partner in crime: CineStill 800.

Initially, this was a film used to record motion picture, hence its legendary cinematic look from. The Brothers Wright later made this film usable in C-41 chemistry by removing a layer called “remjet”. This allows us (and labs) to develop it without ruining our chemicals.

It performs best when shot under tungsten lights (city lights) but you can also get great results in daylight by using an 85B filter to adjust the light temperature.

Another advantage of this film is that it can be pushed up to 3200 ISO, and that’s what interest us today.

These images were all shot at night when I was in Vienna for my birthday. I wanted to travel light so my tripod stayed at home and this was the perfect excuse to push CineStill to its limits. You may have guessed it already, but I used my Hasselblad Xpan and its loyal 45mm lens.

About the exposure. Usually, you want to expose for the shadows when shooting color film, but here it was impossible… there wasn’t enough light even at 3200 ISO. So instead, I exposed for the highlights and then added 1 or 2 stops when possible just to make sure that the darker areas wouldn’t be completely black.

Most of the photos were shot between f/4 or f/5.6 and 1/15 or 1/30 of a second.

Now, let’s talk about the home development process. I ordered a Tetenal Colortec C-41 kit that comes in the liquid version. It also exists in powder version, but I guess there are very similar in the end.

Basically, you get 3 solutions:

  • The Developer
  • The Bleach/Fixer (aka Blix)
  • The Stabilizer

Each of them has to be used at a specific temperature, which makes it slightly more challenging that developing B&W, but it’s not complicated at all.

On the instructions, you can read that development temperature should be either 30°C or 38°C. Today, we’ll go for the latter as this is the one suggested for pushing film. It says that developing time should be extended by 30 seconds for each stop (no need to extend the fixer or stabilizer time). Here, as the film was pushed by 2 stops, I should have added 1 extra minute on top of the 3 minutes 15 seconds recommended.

Thankfully, Paul from the Facebook group “CineStill Film Users” suggested adding 1 min 15 sec per stop to avoid having negatives too dark. I knew that my images would be very dark anyway, and was afraid to get too much color shifting by extending the developing time for too long, so I went for an average time and developed for 4 min 45 sec total.

The negatives still came out very dark, but I managed to get the grain contained and the colors represented accurately. Then I slightly increased the exposure in Lightroom by 0.5 or 1 stop just to bring back some details.

One last good point for CineStill is that it’s very easy to scan, and the colors look very good straight out of the scanner. That’s not the case with every color film, as you can see in this article where I show you how to correct color negatives scans.

This result are exciting to me. CineStill 800 is a fantastic film that helps to push the boundaries of color film photography in low light, and I will certainly reproduce this experience.

Also, just to be clear with you guys, by no means am I associated with or sponsored by CineStill for this article. I bought everything with my own money, like the grown up adult that I am ;) It’s just an honest opinion on a film that I admire for its characteristics.


About the author: Vincent Moschetti is an Ireland-based photographer who is in the middle of a year-long experiment where he’s shooting only film photography. You can find more of his work or follow along on this adventure by visiting his website or following him on Facebook and Instagram. This post was also published here.

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.