Posts Tagged ‘photographer’

A lot of people including me have trouble making great images. We know some stuff about aperture, exposure, shutter, ISO and so on but there are some secrets you have might not been told. So here is a good article from Advanced Photography about few of these things.

This time I’d like to tell you something about a cool app. It runs under Adobe AIR so you can use it on Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad and other devices. It is called The Photographer’s Ephemeris (TPE). You can download it from here. And what it does?

It uses Google Maps with internet connection to give you all info about sunrise, sunset, moonrise and moonset. But not just times but also it shows you the direction! It is based on date and place so you can take a look on next week if you’re planning some trip. Let’s say I want to shoot some outdoor portraits on specific place and date. I’ll just put in that info and it will show me the time sun will set, give me info about direction, I can imagine where the sun will be positioned etc.

It is really useful app so check it out, it’s free. If you don’t like it, you can always delete it 😉

Some time ago I posted an article about who inspires me. It is Jeremy Cowart. His style is killing, his vision is awesome. Another photographer can be Cliff Mautner. I won’t write here anything about his Bio or something like that, you can google it out. Of course, you can check his website or visit some of his boot camps. But Jeremy, Cliff and many other great photographers are on one spot – Kelby Training Online!

It may see as some king of advertisement but I’m not payed for this. Kelby Training is cool website where you can learn from other professional photographers. But it isn’t just about learning. Take a look on some shots and try to redo them in your enviroment. Because you see how they did it, what settings they used, where was the light, how intense was the light, what modifier was used, where was photographer, were was model etc. you have more than plenty info.

But Cliff is absolutely crazy photographer! He strarted out as a photo journalist and now he shoots weddings. I took a look on his first class, essensials of photography and was just blown away! I didn’t think it could get any better, but than I saw his video of shooting beautiful brides and it was even better! And with his third training video …. well you can figure it out!

It changed my hierarchy levels in photography.

  • Succer (can’t shoot but behaves like if he was shooting like Joe McNally)
  • Tourist (classical point-n-shoot guy)
  • Amateur (guy with interest in photography at starting point)
  • Euthusiastic Amateur (he’s getting better and better)
  • Semi-Pro
  • Professional Photographer
  • Scott Kelby
  • Joe McNally
  • Chuck Norris (yeah, he’s everywhere 😀 )
  • Cliff Mautner
  • Jeremy Cowart

 

Forbidden Area (click to enlarge)

I don’t know why, but now I shoot a lot more HDR. Maybe it is because I can use better tools like LR3, PS CS5 or Photomatix 4, maybe just because it is cool. Two days ago I was on a walk with my friend Clara and we were passing throught graveyard. Yes, I know it is a weird place to go, but we wanted to know how we will end up 😉 But anyway, right at the entrance was this cool scene so I started thinking about it. Of course I made some portraits of her but she was so embaraced and asked me not to show them to anybody … don’t know why, because she’s one great looking sexy girl! 😀

I knew I had to shoot in HDR, because there were big differences between light levels. So I set my camera to AEB +/- 2. Now I needed to find that cool angle and feel for the image and it did take just a second. I realized I can shoot the “forbidden area” style. One element in foreground is in focus and is restrictive, the rest behind it is out of focus. The shot itself wasn’t bad. But I had to make it even better somehow. I felt it’s potential, just to process it the right way and I could get away with awesome photo. I’ve decided to go with Orton Effect. And of course, some other adjustments in Photoshop and Lightroom, as always. The final image is on the left of the post, click on it for better view, it will forward you to the photo on my Flickr account.

Here is the video about Orton Effect.

So after some time I’m posting another post, this time with a bit interesting topic. Let’s say you are starting in photography and you would like to make a living out of it one time. So how should you get noticed? Today there are many ways how you can do that and lets start with the biggest one.

The Internet

There are many photo galleries and websites specialized in showing your work. But not just that. Many of these webs have comment sections where viewers can put comment about what they like in the shot and what they don’t like. Then it is just about you what you will take and what you won’t. It never is a bad idea to listen to comments. With this you will also create your own style of photography. Just like I did. Shooting wide open, minimal aperture at f/5.6 except some shots with landscapes, then I go to f/11 or f/16. But most of the time I’m wide open. And these sites helped me to develop my style.

But here are some sites I publish my photos on. The following list isn’t in any order 😉

The first site is Photo Extract. It is a Czech website with gallery and it also supports English. People can comment photos, rate them and tell what they like and not. There is also a graph that will show you views of your photo. It has camera and lenses databaze so when you want to buy a new lens and chech out the images you can get with it you can use it. The same with camera body. But remember, every gear is as good as the photographer. So if you suck in photography than buying a 500 f/4 will not make it better. But comments might 😉

Another cool website is Digital Photography School. In forum you can share your shots and people can put critique on your photos. This forum is great, it isn’t just about photos but also about gear. So when you want to buy something new, just like I bought my Manfrotto 190XPROB tripod, I made a post on their forum and other photographers will give you advices about it. Really cool and need stuff so be sure to check it out.

And the last but not least one is Flickr. A lot of people out there have Flickr account and it is great place to meet new people, share shots or just talk. Another fact is that some people search images in Flickr and then they contact you with permission to use your image. And that is what you want!

Facebook

A huge part of photography in modern days. It is so big that I didn’t put it into the Internet section. What to do with Facebook and who should use it? To be honest, everybody can. But as a people photographer you have a huge plus! For example I made a photo shoot some time ago with my cousins. After it I picked the best shots, run them throught the Photoshop and finally posted it on Facebook and marked the people on the photos. That means all their friends and also your friends will see those photos and I can’t calc how many times I’ve heard the phrase “will you shoot me”?

So for me these are my primary web channels that I put my photos on. You can also contact some magazines and do other stuff but that is good topic for another post.

BTW I’m not payed by any sites I’ve mentioned in the post, this is just the way I do it 😉

Yesterday after Tottenham won against AC Milan (Go Tottenham) I was browsing the web a little bit and find this really cool site. I have in my favorites the Digital Photography School and now I found another interesting website Advanced Photography. What got my attention was their post about aperture, what is it’s effect, how it behave and all sort of other stuff. Really interesting post and I’m sure you should at least read it because it could be a huge plus for your photography.

Here you can find the post and be sure to check out also their whole website, not just that one post.

Last time I wrote a post about this topic I posted a video by Joe McNally and his Da Grip. This is really important technique and you should get used to use it and really make sharp images. Today I’d like to tell you about something different. This is a technique or setup what I use and it is absolutely subjective. You don’t have to do it the same way how I do it, just give it a try and you will see if you like or not. Without it you cannot say it.

Use back focus button instead of focusing using shutter release button. This topic was discussed in a podcast and Scott Bourne has his opinion why should he press one button extra (the focus button) when he still needs to press the shutter button to take the picture. How I said someone likes it, someone doesn’t. But I cannot imagine focusing without using back focus button. Here are some reasons why.

I’m a Canon shooter and factory default settings for my Rebel XSi (450D) was to focus and lock down exposure by pressing the shutter button half way down. When you are shooting in One Shot mode (AI-Single), then the camera had to focus first and than it will take picture. But imagine you have a bit trouble with focusing and with my L glass 70-200 f/4 you can have it on M/A, let camera do the focusing and if you need to than you can adjust it manually. But when you want to make another shot camera will refocus and you will need to adjust it manually again to get the focus where you want it to be. With back focus button setuped it will be individual, you can focus and you can take shot anytime you like.

Another reason for this is when you are shooting some action or sports. Cameras have buffers. Buffer is space in camera where images are stored until they are transfered to cards. And buffers have limits. For my XSi it is 6 RAW files or 9 JPEGs. When your buffer get full you need to wait until it makes some space and for that time camera will not shoot. Some photographers like to release the shutter button to give camera time to empty this memory and write it all down to SD or CF card. But when you will release your shutter button, your camera will stop focusing. And that means you will need more time to focus after the buffer is empty to get sharp shot. With back focus button, you can still hold it and the camera will keep focusing. Then you just have to press the shutter.

Another great thing is with default setup you locked exposure and camera started focusing. With setting up back focus button, you will leave your shutter button just with exposure lock and that gives you more creative options and possibilities.

These are two great advantages of using back focus button and I got really used to it. I don’t focus anymore by shutter button and that is the way it is. But it is really up to you if you like it or not.

Here you can find an article from Digital Photography School about using Back Focus Button.

OK, so after some time processing in Lightroom and Photoshop and few episodes of Gilmore Girls I finally finished the first favorite portrait. In this post I’ll tell you all the settings I used in the camera and lighting. Of course I’ll show you a small drawing with light to know where it was, in what position was model and where I was shooting from.

 

Portrait Setup

Here you can see the basic setup. I bought for this event a 32″ shoot-thru umbrella. Why that small size umbrella? Well to be honest I with this type of umbrella you can get it very close to your subject and my 430 EX II isn’t powerfull enought to light the whole umbrella, it has a bit problems even with my 32″. Yeah and BTW, this umbrella is made by Lastolite, I wanted some quality product. Flash was setuped manually at 1/8 power and this all was mounted on my second tripod, the Hama Star 62.

I was shooting with my Canon 28-70. Great lens for portraits because you can get wide shot and than zoom in for head shot. My favorite 70-200 lens had not been used so much as I wanted to but 28-70 is also great lens, a bit old but very, very sharp. My 450D was setuped at ISO 200, 1/200s and f/5.6. Lens was zoomed in @53mm. Here is the final shot, hope you like it!

 

Portrait

Hi everybody, what is more important? Getting sharp images or getting less noisy but blurry images? For most photographers the most important thing is to get sharp shots. But how to get them? I realized many photographers don’t know about it so I think I could post here some tips about getting sharp shots.

What will be the first tip? Well … Da Grip by Joe McNally. He is fenomenal photographer and in this video he shows you how to hold your camera, what to do, what not to do and other stuff. If you are left eye shooter than even better because you can use the same technique Joe is using. But enought me talking, here is Joe!

I think this name is quite good for things I’d like to tell you about. HRD stands for High Dynamic Range and there is a huge boom with HDR photographers. The basic idea of this type of photography is to mix multiple exposures and increase a dynamic range. You can do it using several methods, the most complicated is using Photoshop and masks to blend your exposures together. Thanks God, there are few good pieces of software that will do it for you.

The most know is probably Photomatix by HDRSoft. Another cool tool is Photoshop, but version CS5. This exact version has HDR Pro feature that will merge your exposures and do it the cool way 😉 But this article isn’t about using different programs to do this type of photography. It is about something different.

A lot of folks out there think HDR is cool, some are neutral and the rest hate it. That is OK, but many photographers that like HDR images get pissed off when they take their HDR images and then they will start to hate it. How may it happen? Simple, all this softwares like Photomatix or even HDR Pro are made “just” for merging down your exposures, it won’t make the final image on its own. But a lot of people don’t know that and that might be one of the problems they thinkHDR sucks.

So how do you get those cool looking images like Trey Ratcliff makes? When you merge your exposures, save the file as a 16bit TIFF file. Then go into Photoshop or any other program you are using for editing and finish it there. With HDR photography a huge problem is halo (those shiny aura looking area around some part of image) and bad color. On the image bellow you can see how it looks and get familiar with it.

 

HDR Image w/o color and halo correction

When you click on the image next to this text you can see all the issues. Yellows are too much yellow and around the tree is a big halo. Halos happen in parts of image where there are big contrast differences like in this part. Tree branches are dark color, about dark brown and the sky is nice light blue tint.

And that color issues? Well lets think about it first. Lets say you are taking some images of landscapes and your exposure setting is absolutely correct. What will happen? You will have good exposure on the landscape but colors might not be so good and to be honest I’m almost sure you’ll try to fix it. When you’ll underexpose the scene, colors there will get more vibrant and saturated. That is good point and one of the reasons why Moose Peterson, famous landscape and wildlife photographer, shoots almost all the time at -0.5 EV from correct exposure. For the colors.

Now when you have some scene with a lot of dark spots, your colors will be more saturated there and even more when you will use some HDR program to process it. That is what happend with the bottom part of the tree and houses in the background.

Now how to get rid of this stuff? Simple, hop into Photoshop, because that is the best way, at least for me, how to do it. For getting rid of that bad color I try to get my white point, black point and grey point set correctly. Another way how you can do it is using Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and affecting only colors you want to affect. After it use layer mask to blend it with your picture. It may require more than one Hue/Saturation layer and don’t be afraid to experiment. The last but not least option is to use one of the original images and layer masks to blend it with the HDR processed image. To be honest, I don’t use this last method.

About halos …. well that is more simple than you think. You can use clone tool with blend mode set to normal. Then clone the pieces further away from the tree over the ones that are closer and lighter. Another way is to set your clone tool blend mode to darken. This will affect only pixels that are brighter than the clone source and clone just those. The problem here is that it is still cloning. You take one part of image and insert it severaltimes into different locations. The default texture might go away. I personally like to use burn and dodge tools for this. It is simple and fast. Problem here is a bit with control because the changes are made on the actual layer and with using clone tool you can make changes on blank layer above. That way bad cloning won’t affect the original layer you are cloning from.

There are of course other ways how you can do this but this is the way I do it 😉 Here is the final image.

HDR w/ corrections