“What’s the best _________ for _________ ?” Can you fill in the blanks? Even if you stay well within the realm of photography you could rattle off an endless stream of possible answers. We’ve all heard them, we’ve all asked them: what’s the best lens, camera, focal length, aperture? For birds, flowers, fireworks, sports? I understand this sort of question gets asked so often, particularly by those who are in the early phase of their photographic evolution; it’s natural to look at all the impressive work around you and want to replicate what others have done. You figure if you can use the same gear or settings, you can achieve the same results. That’s a rather shortsighted way of looking at things but, again, I understand it because I’ve been there. To make matters worse, there are those who will happily dole out similarly shortsighted advice about “bests” simply because it’s what works for them, not because there is any objective, universal truth to it.
In photography, light is everything. However, the most important element thing to remember is the amount of light that should be utilized in creating an image. When it comes to proper exposure it is almost never about as much light as possible, rather it is the precise amount of light that will make the shot properly exposed. So, what do you need to know about it?
Cities are transformed by the cover of night; these labyrinthine centers of concrete, steel and glass seem to magically morph into mazes of colorful light once the sun sets. A photographer doesn’t need to live near mountains or canyons or prairies in order to have access to grand, imposing, natural subjects. Cities, with their bridges, skyscrapers, and highways, provide their own brand of topographical texture. While there are certainly no rules about what time of day you can photograph various city scenes, you might want to be mindful of the role that natural lighting — even just a bit of it — can play in the making of your images. If you are looking to maximize the impact of color and contrast in your cityscapes, consider the following.
A lot of photographers today find themselves more comfortable posing individuals and groups in a natural way, rather than the strict fashion most of us grew up with. That is, letting those groups pose themselves to some degree. With some outside direction from the photographer, a group of people can often arrange themselves rather organically, displaying their personality in the process: Wabi-sabi posing; Delightfully imperfect posing. As the group gets larger though, organic posing starts to fall apart too quickly for you to get a good shot.
Let’s be honest, if someone mentions landscape photography to you, most people immediately think of beautiful sweeping vistas, majestic coastlines with surreal water or cascading waterfalls in the middle of nowhere. Rarely do we think of side streets in a city or other man made locations. The fact is though, cities and towns are replete with landscapes, urban landscapes and these can be every bit as dramatic or as intimate as a rural landscape. Today we will take a look at how to shoot the urban landscape.
When photographing wildlife, we typically have a few seconds to ‘get the shot’ of that bird, bear, deer, common or rare animal. Our beautiful subjects don’t often move to the perfect pose or perfect setting and hold the position while we snap away. We have to think quickly on our feet. But what makes a great wildlife shot and who determines if it is great or not? Let’s answer the 2nd part first. You do. However, if you’re not happy with the image, that doesn’t mean it’s not a great image. It may be as simple as it didn’t turn out the way you planned. Asking for other’s opinions may confirm your instinct or make you reconsider another image that you had discarded as just ‘okay.’
Ever wondered how those fun and surreal photos are made? Well, usually the process of making them requires multiple images, some graphic design skills, and a brilliant idea. Other than that, there are absolutely no rules on how the final image is made. Of course, it is wise to stick to the basic photography rules in order for the image to catch the eye, and to stick to good color palettes.
Before there were photographers, there were painters. These painters helped pave the way for our photographic endeavors through their dedication to studying light. Fortunately, much of what these “Old Masters” knew have been passed down to us and established themselves as the fundamentals of photographic lighting. Through studying the works of the painters such as the English Masters, we can better understand how to utilize light to create impactful photographs outdoors. Let’s take a look at some examples as we examine five lessons that the English Masters can teach us.
High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography refers to creating an image, from two or more exposures of a scene, in which the appearance of colors is broader and richer than what is captured in a single photograph. The objective of HDR photography is to create an image that is closer to what you see than what your camera sensor can capture. HDR is used to bring out more details and tones versus a single photograph. HDR processing produces rich natural images. Additionally, HDR is also used by photographers to apply an artistic, surreal and even ethereal, creative flair.
No matter how good a photographer you are, blurry photographs will happen. It’s an undeniable fact of every photographer’s life. Professional photographers understand how and why blurry pictures occur, and do everything in their power to keep it in check. Beginners need to remember a couple of things to avoid blurry photos. At the moment, the only thing that you need to know is that blur is created by motion or by optics. Let’s look at why blurry images occur and the solution in each case.