Knowing Lighting Ratios

A general scare exists among photographers at any photo studio about lighting, but in fact there is no mystery about it. There exist two aspects of it: exposure and shadows. Of course, there are more things to it that need to be taken into consideration like color, composition, background, makeup and hair if it is shooting a model.

In the studio, special attention needs to be paid to the exposure relationships between the different light sources, which is expressed as ratios and determine the places where it needs to be placed to make the subject look good. Here comes the role of shadows.

Lighting Ratios: If light is placed in front of a model directly, there is no need to consider about ratio. The exposure is straightforward. To set up the image, a meter could be used in incident mode and the metered reading taken.

With two lights, the input can be varied (hence the exposure) with each of it by changing the distance between the subject and the source and also making changes to the power setting. With light ratio of 2:1, the difference between the main light and the fill light is one f-stop.

For a 3:1 lighting ratio, there are one and a half f-stops of discrepancy between the two sources. Digital cameras use 1/3 f-stop increments to measure light, though the 3:1 ratio as was used traditionally is taken with half f-stops.

Due to the ability of sophisticated handheld light meters to read light in tenths of an f-stop, one can easily determine one and a half f-stops if there is a requirement of such ratio.

The positioning of a handheld meter helps in precisely measuring the light on a product of face and is a great advantage to the photographer. By measuring a reading from the position of the subject after pointing the meter’s white dome toward the primary light source, the correct exposure can be determined for the main source.

Then on removing the white dome away from the main light projecting toward the fill, a precise reading on a fill light could be taken. By taking note of the f-stop readouts as given on the LCD and making adjustment to the light, the ratio could be found that will help in making the subject look in the way that is needed. It is not always necessary that studio lighting is taken in the studio itself. The outdoor location could be turned into a studio.

Pooch Pics

Try a trigger word such as, “walk”, “drive” or a word they know that will peak their interest to get a lively look from them. Some dogs are too excitable for this though and you may have to leave a long lead on them and work with them a bit. The key to dogs learning is repetition so it may take a few times before you get them to stay just where you want them to. As for backgrounds it would be best to pick a background that suits the look of your pet. Puppies look best from a very low angle, up close, in long grass. Dropping to a lower angle can also make your older dog look a little more puppy like, especially when you get in close. The colour of your dog or cat, is important when it comes to the background, and the whole essence of a good photograph. A lightly coloured or even white coloured coat can often wash out against a white wall, so be mindful of the “blending issue”, where you pet can disappear into the background.

Soon you will discover that photographing pets – or dogs in particular – is not harder than photographing children or shooting family portraits. This is an ever-going field of photography that attracts many new and seasoned photographers alike.

Photographing Clouds

The use of filters can help the photographer emphasize these differences. A UV filter is great to cut through haze and improve clarity. A polarizing filter is perhaps even better to isolate the different areas of the clouds and highlight their features. When doing black and white photography, a red filter is a plus to use to make the clouds really stand out and appear bolder.

A good time to photograph cumulus clouds is both before and after a storm. In California where I live, high clouds will normally precede an approaching storm front followed by more and more cumulus clouds as the cloud cover drops lower and the clouds thicken. At anytime during this process great opportunities for photographs exist. Here in California and other desert areas during the summer monsoonal rain season, thunderheads will often begin to build up over the mountain areas. These gigantic cloud formations stretching thousands of feet into the air are particularly beautiful to photograph as the sunlight plays upon their different features.

Always use a study tripod so that there is no camera movement. The evening is a great time to photograph thunderheads as the light at this time will give them a beautiful reddish glow. Also, scattered clouds at just the right particular height will take on some beautiful warm red to fuchsia colors. I love to photograph clouds that are categorized as “linear ventricular”. These clouds are long horizontally and have the shape of a “flying saucer”. They too are often found during the monsoonal season hanging over mountainous regions.

Select The Scenic Places For Photography

Finding the perfect location to be shot: It’s always easy and comfortable to go for places around you, like a park. But to find a location for a memorable picture one can think of some special locations like the ocean side, mountains or forest-side. Each location has its own individuality and charm which makes the picture interesting and happening.

Perfect natural lighting: A location which has natural light is preferred by a photographer. But try to avoid direct sunlight of the mid day, always go for shaded lighting than a harsh one. A soft and flattering sunlight would bring out the best picture. Early mornings and evenings light would be the best lighting for a perfect picture.

Being alert: Photography in outdoor locations always comes with the risk of sudden and unexpected changes in weather. So be sure you are ready with a back up plan and have necessary arrangements, in case of bad weather conditions. Make sure you have got something like a shaded shelter nearby to protect your photographic equipments from sudden downpour.

Always go for quiet places: A crowded place is always a distraction to capture the real scenic beauty. Mountains, hills, beach side etc are some of the best locations for scenic photography. These scenic places provide ample opportunities for experimenting.

Decide on a focal point: A focal point always gives your landscape a certain definition and brings out an amazing and eye-catching frame to the viewers. A tree that appears unique or a formation in rock or anything else that appears striking can be taken as the focal point to enhance your photograph.

Cover the sky in photograph: Always make it a point to include and give due consideration to include sky above the landscape in your photograph. A scenic beauty would look incomplete without its overlying sky. Different colours of the sky and formations out of clouds can really bring out an awesome look to the landscape. Even if the look of the sky is dull it can be enhanced with the help of filters.

Photo Booth Rental Tips

  • If you are picking out your own album for a photo guest book, I recommend using one with black pages – at least 20 of them. The photo strips and metallic gel pens for messages look fantastic on black pages.
  • If you are using the photo strips as your primary wedding favor, consider having the strip customized to include your names and the date – or a special message.
  • Tailor the photo strips to fit with the mood you are trying to set with your wedding. Color strips look great at any wedding, but we can also make them black and white, or sepia tone for a classic or retro touch.
  • To take your photo strip wedding favors to the next level, place 2″x6″ acrylic, photo strip frames at each place setting or some other style of 2″x6″ frame.
  • At the end of the evening, all the images will be placed on a CD to be used however you see fit. Consider projecting them onto a screen with an LCD projector for all to see toward the end of the reception.
  • Consider having duplicates of the photo strips printed out later to be included with thank you notes, birthday cards, holiday cards, etc.
  • As you consider your options: make sure you are comparing apples to apples. Not all photo booths are created equal – there is a photo booth for every price point – from “photo booths” that are assembled with pipe and drapes or a tripod and a back drop, to upscale, authentic, hard-sided photo booths. If aesthetics are important to you, ask your photo booth rental company to see a picture of the booth that will be at your event. Also make sure to ask for a sample of the photo strips they provide. Not all photo strips are created equal either. Image clarity and flattering lighting is not only important for the benefit of your guests, but it greatly enhances the quality of the photo guest book that is created for you.

Street Portraiture

I’ve been reading a lot about Street Photography. It piqued my interest and I spent many nights, scouring the internet. The main issue that I had was that it was too detached for me. The almost voyeuristic detachment with which the street photographer hangs back and observes what is going on, before clicking the shutter at the Bresson-esque decisive moment, generally goes unnoticed by the subject. Despite street photography taking place in public places, such as a train or a cafe, the photographers aim is to avoid having any impact on the scene unfolding before them. Anonymity is key. For me, I like the interaction. I like to talk to people. I wanted my subjects to be involved. I can only advise that anyone who is going to try the same thing as I am, should take a look at the ‘Humans of New York’. The photographer approaches and speaks to the subjects before taking a photograph of them. In my own opinion, this makes the photograph more about the interaction between the photographer and the subject and less about the observation of people.

I’m certainly not claiming to be an innovator here. There must be a million photographers before me who gone down this well trodden path, but I’m not interested in them because this is my personal project. I’m starting a collection of photographs of people that I’ve never met before. Throughout the course of any day, we all see many, many interesting people who we don’t know. Perfect Strangers. People who for some reason capture our attention and interest. The reason may be good, or bad, but for some reason, they stood out and made us wish that we could photograph them. It’s difficult to break down the social boundaries that stop us from approaching a total stranger and talking to them, it’s even more difficult to ask them if they will let us photograph them. For anyone in the same position as me, I’d recommend this project and the aim is simple. To eliminate the fear that we have of being rejected, photographically speaking. Our aim should be to encourage ourselves out of the comfort zone, to force ourselves to approach the people that previously, we’ve only imagined talking pictures of. What’s the worst that could happen? They might say “no”.

Benefits of Getting a Photography Degree

Have access to professional quality equipment

By going to school, people have access to multitude of professional equipment. Schools are constantly updating their facility and gadgets and students have access to that. Students will be able to access these resources in school and learn how to operate them.

Get professional feedback

Photography schools will provide professional photographers as mentors to give feedback and critique work. Having a mentor, peers, and professors to constantly judge your work will help you grow as a photographer. Understanding different perspectives from different people will allow you to further your skills.

Become a well-rounded individual

Photography school will allow students to take a multitude of courses in different types of photography and other areas. Students will be able to become familiar with different concepts, styles, and techniques. This will allow students to become better rounded.

Get job placement

By being in school, there are many opportunities to get a job after school is completed. Schools may offer job opportunities to students who will be close to graduation. There may also be tons of resources for part time or internship work. The career services department can prepare students for interviews and job placements for the real-world as well.

Abstract Photography

As the name implies “abstract” denotes what can be interpreted but not seen. The art form is many times debated to be complex and difficult to understand. Yet it attracts a horde of art critics and art collectors from every part of the globe, and several interpretations may accompany abstract paintings. Similarly, abstract photography draws the same popularity except it is done with a camera and not with brush and paint!

The exact definition of this art is difficult but it is sufficient to understand that there are no rules or norms for creating and in layman terms “anything goes” as long as it appeals to the eye! The photography technique is used to capture almost any event in a subtle manner such as a drop of water splattering in a pool to look like a crown or a piece of hemp rope at close quarters that looks like a striated bundle etc. The composition is immaterial; it is only the way a scene (really a photograph) is captured on film. The interpretation may come later.

It is necessary to have a professional high speed camera and sometimes a special high speed film. The best results can be obtained by using a black and white film and many valuable photographs are of this monochrome variety. The following aspects need to be kept in mind:

A perfect understanding of conventional photographic principles regarding shutter speed, aperture, focusing, film speed and lighting effects.

Telephoto lenses and close up lenses and flash equipment form a part of certain trick effects one wishes to create.

Films of different types like color, black and white, speed in ASA or DIN, tripod stands, remote shooting, filter lenses, shadow hoods etc.

Abstract photography is really the prerogative of a true artist and one who also has a scientific bent of mind. Composing a perfect shot requires the “artist” and taking the photograph requires the “technician”! Imagination knows no bounds and the best results are when one uses creative powers to its full capacity.

Take Amazing Travel Photography

Choosing the best camera to buy requires a good amount of research. However, most modern cameras will do a good enough job, particularly if you do not want to get technical. Today, if you buy any mirrorless or DSLR, you will get a very good camera. Just skip the kit lens and buy a good general purpose one but not a super-zoom as those compromise in image quality and low-light performance. For just making nice photographers, you can get a smaller fixed-lens camera. There are plenty of premium models offering 1″ sensors which is a huge leap in image quality from the typical ultra-compact and cellphone camera.

Still, better image quality only allows a photographer to show the images bigger. It does not improve a photograph itself. Even a low-end camera now offers much better image quality than what 35mm used to be like 20 years ago and many such images graced covers of National Geographic. So, make sure you have a camera and let’s get started on how to make amazing photographs!

Actually, the second step to create stunning images starts without the camera! What your images need to do is share your amazement of a place. So what you need to do is look for what amazes you and investigate it well.

Say you just arrived in downtown Lima at the Plaza de Armas. The plaza is enormous, it’s surrounded by imposing historic buildings on 3 sides, there’s a huge fountain in the middle, lights, flowers arranged in patterns and hordes of people passing through.

You feel amazed but you can’t snap a photo as soon as you step onto the plaza and expect a great outcome. An actual photo of the plaza in impossible from within it, you would need to seek a good vantage point for that. Instead, find each element and details that make the place amazing to you.

The cathedral, for example, on the east side of the plaza, is extremely imposing. It also has these spectacularly carved wooden balconies protruding from the stone walls. Get close to it, look at what element fascinates you the most. Once you have mentally noted elements that interest you, it’s time to start composing your image.

Composing means place elements together. Of course, you cannot move the cathedral or the fountain but you can move yourself to show elements together or separate them. This is where the camera lens makes the whole difference and where zooms greatly help. Place yourself where you can see the elements you thought of and bring the camera to your eye. Look and inspect the view. Adjust your position and zoom until what attracted you to make this photo is prominent and there is little to nothing else in the frame. Remember the saying:

“Perfection is Achieved Not When There Is Nothing More to Add, But When There Is Nothing Left to Take Away” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Taking Great Photos on Phone

Check the Lighting

First of all it is all about the lighting, if the lighting is poor, you can forget about having a great image. Check if your flash is on, and check the light settings. This is a fantastic way to make sure that you can snap the perfect photo. Great lighting, equals great photos and that means that your images will look great no matter what.

Choose Your Background Wisely

Make sure that you’re standing in a position that has a great background. Don’t settle for clutter in the background, or people that are walking past as you take your photo. If you’re trying to snap a photo of the scenery around you, then wait for the perfect moment. One of the great skills that a photographer needs is patience.

Practice Makes Perfect

Take more than one picture and choose the one you like best. If you want to snap a good photo, you should aim to take the same image more than once, at least three times. That way you will be able to flick through your snaps and choose the best one afterwards. Practicing with your camera and capturing the same images more than once will most definitely result in you being able to get more picture perfect snaps.

If it’s A Selfie Look Happy!

If you are capturing a selfie moment, then make sure that you smile and look happy. No one wants to see a picture of you looking moody and glum.

Make Sure That Your Lens Is Clean

As silly as it sounds, many camera phone owners attempt to take the perfect picture, but forget to clean the lens! Just make sure that you make a point of routinely wiping your camera phone lens. It should be done at least weekly, and always checked if you feel that your photos are looking a bit worse for wear.

Turn Off All Effects

Effects are a great feature on your mobile phone, but make sure that you turn them all off when taking pictures. Perfection does not come with effects when you are snapping the image; make sure that frames, effects like black and white are all switched off. You will do a lot better by using a photo editing tool after your pictures have been taken.