Category Archives: Photography
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and photography serves as the perfect medium for these words. The beauty of a photograph is the fact that it isn’t merely another piece of art or some random words put together, in fact every single photograph is a moment forever preserved in time. Photography finds its place and is very much an integral part of many an industry, right from toy makers using it to sell their products, to super luxurious car makers selling their top cars. Photography isn’t just restricted to selling a product, but can also be a very powerful tool in trying to convey a message or to add to a message.
Photography which is not aimed at selling a particular product or intended to advertise anything commercial is called editorial photography. This field is rather vast and spans across almost all topics imaginable, right from still photography aimed at adding to the appeal of any literature or poem, to medical photography which tries to explain some rather serious matters about health. These photographs could either speak entirely for themselves, or, as they are often used, may be used to better portray a subject.They could be used in print and written media or used for online and web content. Editorial photography serves as a perfect platform for ardent photography fans and budding shutterbugs, as they prepare to get into the field of commercial photography. As opposed to commercial photography, editorial photography gives you a lot more scope for showing off your creative side, and add to your portfolio.
Getting Into Editorial Photography
You could either choose to go solo and freelance in the field, or take a more traditional approach and join a photography agency. Most agencies actively look for amateur photographers in this field, and although there is no dearth of photography enthusiasts, there’s always room for more creative minds. You might want to focus on your strengths, and try to choose a line which appeals to you, rather than try your hand at everything. There are plenty of online sites as well, that promote upcoming talent in this field, and with time you might just have your own little fan base as well!
Photography Tips and Techniques
The beauty of this photography is the creative license and freedom of expression that you have. You are bound only by your imagination, and as they say, great photography is all about being at the right place at the right time. It is imperative that you do not think of only one single picture, but rather think of a sequence of pictures. Often it takes a hundred takes before you get that one perfect shot, and at times just a casual click might become the centerpiece of your entire portfolio. The key here is to be patient and click away, ‘cos you never know which one would turn out to be that perfect image. If you can manage to narrate a story of sorts through these photographs, it would greatly improve the chances of your photographs getting selected for publication. Here are some commonly known photojournalism photography tips that might seem rather obvious, but if taken care of can make all the difference between just another photograph and a breathtaking photograph.
- Cutlines for your photographs are necessary. This refers to a brief description of the people, place, and situation captured in the photograph.
- Obviously, the image quality of your photograph needs to be top-notch. Mediocre quality photographs have no chance of intriguing the viewer.
- The format of the image and its size are also crucial factors. The images should not be RAW files and should be in the JPEG format. The image should also be 200 pixels per square inch.
- It is also advisable to keep the Photoshopping of the image to a minimum.
- The sequence to follow for the shots should be the main shot, opening shot, overall shot, detail shot, and closer shot.
Scope of Photography
The market is very competitive and overly subscribed. For a young inexperienced photographer to get into this field would require a lot of hard work and plenty of patience. Though the market for this field of photography has expanded due to the widespread revolution in printing, the number of photographers has made the competition rather intense.
In the foreseeable future, this rising trend might continue to prosper as the costs of publishing and maintaining publications have come down greatly, due to technology. This is a trend that may never occur for portrait photography or landscape photography. Tips for this type of photography though, will serve you well. So grab your camera and start snapping already!
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Techniques of Taking Photos of Your Jewellery
If you want to have good quality pictures of the jewellery you sell, there are some simple techniques you need to abide by. It is important to setup the jewellery correctly if you want achieve results that you can be proud of. If you use a light tent,it will soften the shadows of the pieces and eliminate glare but will give you a clean background.
Sharpness, Lighting and Exposure
The key to having great photographs of the jewellery that you sell is sharpness, lighting and exposure. If you have gemstones you are photographing, you want to make sure that they are going to sparkle in the photos. All of the photos need to be sharp and have a crisp focus. If you want to get those close-up shots of your jewellery, you are most likely going to have to get a camera with good manual focus feature on it.
Using a Tripod
In order to get a sharp image of the photos you take of all of your jewellery, you are most likely going to need to get a tripod. It is very important to use a tripod when shooting pictures of all of your jewellery. It is going to cost you more in price but a sturdy tripod is going to be much better than a flimsy one. No matter what, use some type of tripod when taking the photos. Remember, the photos you iswhat is going to help you sell your different jewellery pieces even more.
Good lighting is also important when taking your jewellery photographs. In most cases, soft lighting is going to work best. The flash on your camera is not going to lead to good jewellery photos. The flash on your camera will also create harsh and distracting shadows. Rather than a flash, it is best to use continuous lighting for the photos because it makes it easier to visualize what the final image will be like.A small light tent is going to make it easy to reduce glare and control shadows for the photos of the jewellery.
Proper exposure is the key to getting good photos of your jewellery pieces.
Light tents are used because they provide a fast and easy way to use soft lighting on your jewellery pieces. The light tents will also instantly provide a clutter free background along with giving you a convenient backdrop support. When taking photos of all of your different pieces of jewellery , always take into account how to get the images that are going to be sharp, crisp, clean and have good lighting. When you are taking your photos of the different jewellery pieces you have to show off, by simply getting a tripod, the photos of your jewellery is going to look so much better.
As your wedding moments are something that you hold close to the heart, you want the album to reflect elegance and stay memorable forever. There are two options for you at this point. Either you can try yourself or depend on the wedding photographer or a professional company. If you have decided to give it a try, there are certain wedding album design tips for photographers that can be helpful for you also. Your story is always special and unique. So, these tips are generic and you can definitely move ahead with out of the box thoughts. Normally below advices come handy in most of the cases.
Start by organising the photos
You surely have hundreds of digital photos with you snapped from different angles. They reveal various situations, actions and moments. It will take time but please go through all of them and organize them based on the instances. Sort out the ones that you wish to see in your final album. Filtering the needed photos will make the entire process swifter and easier. This will also give you an idea regarding yourmuch-loved and unavoidable ones as well as the order in which they can be organised.
Let the order of arrangement speak your story
Going through the album should narrate a story. Following timeline of events while arranging the images helps in that. You can start with the first and detail shots like the wedding invitation cards, rings, costumes and snaps of getting ready for the grand day. This can be followed by shots of venue and ceremonies. Now proceed to group photos with families and friends. Conclude with the exit and outdoor shoots. Most of the companies that offer wedding album design service follow this pattern. Your wedding album should carry with it the essence of how your marriage day felt.
Differentiateand diversify your spreads
There are several free layouts and templates you can get from the web. However, going for paid ones will bestow more charm. Using the same ones repeatedly is easier and cheaper but having varied spreads helps immensely; most relevant images can be focussed in pleasant manner. Keep on experimenting various backgrounds and play with the dark and white spaces. Favourite and important photos can be featured on single page or two page spreads. Opting for collages is also fine. Using colourful pictures is recommended but adding some black and white ones strategically elevates the grace. Every spread should have only a single theme or event to showcase. Thus individual images are given more significance and pages are availed different tones. The mood can be serious, playful, dramatic or exciting; you should present it gracefully and professionally.
Don’t stack too many images
You may have a lot of images with you but adding all of them to the album will do harm than good. Using lesser ones is recommended but be careful about selecting the right and relevant ones. After initially sorting out the images that you want to take in, keep on filtering them until you feel that every image left behind has great value and thus is unavoidable. Don’t hesitate to add your favourite photos even if they have nothing to do with the entire theme. Dedicate a page separately for that as these snaps can be of great emotional value for you when you open the album several years later.
However, the entire process of marriage album creation is not that easy. If you are least acquainted with different photo editing software programs and tools, things may not proceed as you expect. So, seeking external help is the wiser choice to make.
Win Biz, wedding album designing company has brought smile to the faces of several hundreds of couples. People here are expert in making wedding albums echo emotions every time you open it. Understanding how much you value this bundle of joy, our professional album design services are aimed to meet your expectations with innovative thoughts and advanced tools. Our company never wants budget to be a hindrance and hence we offer various affordable packages for all categories of customers. To discuss more, reach us directly.
They say, a picture is worth a thousand words and of course it is, when it brings out the reality without any alterations. To capture a moment through a camera, is not just a ability that comes with owning a camera, but an art that only a few can master. It takes an eye for detail, which can take notice of a moment just a little in advance to capture it forever. As a novice at photography, experimenting with photography projects for beginners will teach you a lot about the camera and also about how to get good pictures. To improve your photography skills, practicing is the only option.
Ideas for Amateur Photography
Sunrise and Sunsets
Light is an essential tool that a photographer needs to learn in great detail, while honing his photography skills. Light keeps changing very hour, which changes in geographical locations and with changes in weather conditions. As it is a naturally available source, using it in the best possible way, is imperative. Shooting sunrise and sunsets is a great idea to study light in the fastest way. Shoot sunrise and sunsets, for a week at different locations and see the difference in shots. As sunrise and sunsets last only for a few minutes, painting the sky in hues of orange, purple and pink. To get some of the best shots, you will have to first study the location and light. Being quick and alert is the key to taking excellent pictures of shot term phenomenon.
A change in season brings about a change in scenery. Fashion changes, environment changes, animal behavior change, and most importantly there is a drastic change in colors around you as well. The best way to do this photography project for beginners, is to shoot your own garden. Shoot various subjects in your garden such as the lawn, bird feeder, plants, a bench, picket fence, the pathway which leads to your door and so forth in spring, summer, autumn and winter. These snapshots, will bring out different aspects of the same subject with changes in the seasons.
This photography project is about capturing 365 days in the life of your subject. This can seem a little tough, as you will have to stay with the subject for an entire year. This photo shoot will capture your subject in every light, in every season and in every condition. Nothing is more rewarding than the ability to look back and see every single day of your life through those photographs. You can either shoot a family member to make it a little easier as being with them all year round is very much possible. Another easy way to do this project is to capture the highlight of your day for a year.
If you are always on the go, then this photography idea is totally for you. Take a picture of something that strikes you at every place you visit, every month. It could be a person, a place, a tree, a road, a station, an animal or any other thing. The pictures needs to strike you in some way of the other. By the end of the year, when you have 12 noteworthy photographs, turn into a calendar which depicts the year that was!
Photography projects are meant to help amateurs understand the finer nuances of taking pictures by learning the technical details of a camera. As identifying and chasing the subjects get more and more difficult, the project ideas will get more rewarding. So, take up each of these ideas as a challenge and learn photography in a focused way!
Traveling and photography go hand in hand. Most of us can’t travel without taking photos, some travel for photography, while some work as photographers in order to travel! The allure of photography to a traveler goes much beyond just having a memory of having been at a particular place. It is an attempt to capture the very essence of the place he/she has visited, an effort to bring to life what makes the place tick, an innate desire to make others see the place through his own eyes.
In today’s digital age, it is virtually impossible to take a bad picture, with the variety of tools at our disposal. However, there are still some basic methods that need to be followed and tips that need to be mastered through practice so that your travel photography becomes more than just a pastime. Here’s more about the practicalities of this enriching hobby. Here are some tips and tricks in travel photography for beginners.
Travel Photography Tips and Tricks
Start Using a DSLR Camera
Starting off with a seemingly obvious one, but a surprising amount of wannabe photographers still desist from buying a DSLR, and persist with their point-and-shoot playthings. A DSLR gives you complete control over a lot of things that you can’t adequately control in point-and-shoot cameras, the most important of which is the type of lens you want to employ. It also allows you to shoot RAW pictures, which is akin to having the negative of a picture at hand to be molded however you want to, rather than the ready-made JPEG pictures captured by point-and-shoot cameras. The latter is fine if all you are going to photograph is family gatherings, but for serious photographic journeys, you seriously need a DSLR.
Pack a Variety of Lenses …
Different lens settings are useful for different scenes. To be efficient with your equipment, you only need two types of lenses: one that can be versatile with its focal length; a 25-200 mm lens (or thereabouts) will work just fine, and another that has a prime focal length, such as a 50 mm lens.
… But Don’t Pack Too Much
Unless you are a professional photographer, you don’t need (and probably can’t afford) a whole range of variable lenses. As said before, you only really need two lenses; even one would suffice. As they say, it’s the photographer that clicks the photo, not the camera! If you find a beautiful scene, even a standard, kit 18-55 lens is more than enough to make it look fantastic. When the perfect moment unfolds before you, you don’t want to be stuck changing your lens―you want to be clicking away.
Research Your Location
Of course, there are beautiful scenes wherever you go, but getting the opinion of other, more experienced photographers about certain places is really important. If someone you know has been somewhere you are going to go, bug them for information about scenery, the best locations to view it, and weather conditions. Look up various locations around your destination on the Internet, and get involved in photography forums.
Limit the Number of Touristy Photos
Yes, you got to have a photo of you and your smiling partner next to the Eiffel Tower, or holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa, but try to limit yourself to wasting a minimal amount of time on such photographs. A photo is not just what you see, it’s about what you want to show. Try to take pictures with your unique take on the familiar scene.
Include People in Your Shots
And I don’t just mean portraits by that. Places don’t come alive thanks to the stunning architecture on a medieval wall. They don’t come alive thanks to fields of flowers stretching before your eyes. They come alive thanks to the little boy staring intently at the wall, and the little girl running through the flowers. There may be appealing scenes, but in travel photography, what you want to show is the people that make up a place. The places remain the same, but the people may never come to that particular spot again.
Use the Golden Hour
Golden hour photography is a freebie given away by nature for newbies. It makes everything appear more beautiful and warm. Use the moments just before and just after the sun sets and rises (don’t be too lazy to wake up before sunrise) to give your frame that enviable golden luster. Cityscapes look much more inviting and appealing in the golden light, and portraits carry a bronzed hue.
Keep a Backup
Let me just repeat that: Keep a backup! Memory cards love getting lost and putting you in a fix. An easy way to defeat their purpose is to back up your photos to your laptop daily. Better be pedantic about keeping a backup than sorry about losing your precious memories in one tiny stroke of bad luck, right?
That shot you think would be amazing of a waterfall taken from its summit? There’s a device for taking such shots, and it’s called a helicopter. That shot you just got to have of that snake staring into your lens? What you actually need is a lot of distance between you and it. Don’t put yourself in undue danger for the sake of a photograph! The point of photography is to make memories, not be one!
Use Image Editing Programs Lightly
Some ‘serious photographers’ are incredibly self-righteous about photographers who use such software, and fair enough, if your photo has to be ‘rescued’ with the help of Photoshop, you shouldn’t be clicking photos. But there is nothing wrong with using it for basic functions, such as optimizing the contrast and color settings, or removing red-eye. Do the best you can with the initial photo, and only use editing programs to refine the shot, not to virtually make the shot.
1. Choose an interesting subject to photograph
One of the easiest ways to improve your photography is by taking photos of interesting subjects. Of course, you can take great creative photos of uninteresting subjects, but if you choose an interesting subject to photograph in the first place, it makes taking a great photo much easier.
So where do you find these interesting subjects? They can be found everywhere, from a stormy landscape, to a simple street scene, to a flower in your garden or local park.
Just take a walk around your local neighbourhood with your camera, and you’re sure to find something interesting to photograph.
2. Pay attention to the light quality
Something that has a big effect on how your photograph looks is the quality of light that is hitting your subject. There are two aspects of lighting that you need to pay attention to – the colour of the light and how harsh / diffused the light is.
As a general rule, we tend to prefer photos with a warm (golden) tone. The warmest light naturally occurs around sunrise and sunset, and this is why many landscape photographers prefer this time of day.
The colour temperature of a photo can also be modified by adjusting the white balance setting on your camera. And if you are taking photos using flash, you can use a warming gel on the flash to warm up the light.
Of course, in some instances you may want to go the opposite way, and use light with a cold (blue) colour temperature.
Diffuse vs. harsh light
Diffuse light is where the light creates soft shadows, which is preferred for most types of photography, but particularly portraits.
Diffused light can be created by reflecting light from a large surface (like a wall), or by using a large piece of semi-transparent material between the light and your subject. This works the same way as when there is a thin layer of cloud, which diffuses the sunlight and creates a nice soft light.
Harsh light creates strong shadows. Natural light is at its harshest around midday, while an undiffused flash will also create a harsh light. When shooting with harsh light, try and use the strong shadows it creates to your advantage, incorporating them as an element of your photograph.
3. Compose your photograph carefully
When taking a photograph, it’s all too easy to just point and shoot. However, try and take a bit more time to think about the photo and the composition.
Rule of thirds
Composition is how the elements in the photograph are arranged, and a good guideline for composition is the ‘rule of thirds’. The rule of thirds works by splitting an image into thirds both horizontally and vertically, so you end up with 9 sections.
In many good landscape photographs, you will see the photographer places the horizon in the top third of the photo, while the landscape takes up the bottom two thirds of the photo.
As well as placing elements along the thirds lines, you can also try and put your main point of focus so that it falls on the intersection of two of the thirds lines.
The Golden triangle
The golden triangle is a good compositional guideline to use when your photograph contains strong diagonal elements. It involves splitting the photo into three triangles that contain the same angles (are the same shape).
One right-angled triangle runs diagonally from corner to corner, while the other two triangles are created by drawing a line that goes from one of the other corners to meet the diagonal line at a right angle. Try and place the diagonal elements in the frame so that they follow this pattern for a pleasing composition.
Leading lines and converging lines
Use leading lines or converging lines to draw the viewer’s eye into the image. Good examples of this you can use in landscape photography are roads, paths, fences, hedges etc, really anything that creates a line that leads into the photo.
Try and avoid including lines that lead out of the photo as this has the opposite effect, and leads the viewer’s eye out of the photo.
The Fibonacci spiral or Golden spiral
The Fibonacci spiral is a spiral based on the Fibonacci sequence, while the Golden spiral is based on theGolden ratio. Both are very similar, and can be used as a compositional tool.
If you look at a curled up fern, this roughly follows the spiral pattern. By photographing a subject where the elements can be arranged in the golden spiral pattern, the curve of the spiral will help lead the viewer’s eye through the photograph.
4. Check the exposure
One of the main advantages of digital photography is the ability to check the photo on the camera’s rear LCD. When taking photos, you should check that the photo has been exposed properly, i.e. is not too dark or too bright. Although modern cameras have sophisticated auto exposure systems, they don’t always get it right.
As well as inspecting the image, most digital cameras also have a couple of tools that can help you judge the exposure of an image. The first one is Highlight Warning, colloquially known as ‘blinkies’. What this does is that any areas blown out white will flash when reviewing the photo on the camera’s LCD.
The second tool is the histogram. This is a graph that shows the range of tones in your photo. If there is a peak at the very left edge of the histogram, this means that some of your photo is solid black. And if there is a peak at the very right edge of the histogram, this means that some of your photo is solid white.
Either way, areas of the photo that are solid white or black contain no detail. Maybe this is what you want, but generally it is better to have detail available even if you don’t need it.
You can modify the exposure of the photo by adjusting the exposure compensation. Use negative exposure compensation to darken the photo, or positive exposure compensation to brighten. Take the photo again, check the exposure again, and repeat if any more exposure adjustment is necessary.
Generally the ideally exposed photo is one that is as bright as possible without any detail being blown out white. You can then adjust the photo on the computer to darken it if needed. It is an extra step, but maximises the image quality.
5. Reduce camera shake
Blurry photos can be a problem, especially if shooting handheld when it is relatively dark. The key to reducing blur caused by camera shake is either to make sure you are using a fast shutter speed or to make sure the camera has a solid support like a tripod.
To ensure a fast shutter speed, put your camera in the shutter priority shooting mode. As a general rule, the shutter speed should be 1 over the 35mm equivalent focal length, e.g.
- A full frame camera with a 50mm lens would need 1/50s shutter speed for a sharp handheld photo
- A 50mm lens on a camera with an APS-C sized sensor has a 35mm equivalent focal length of 75mm, and so would need 1/75s shutter speed for a sharp handheld photo
- A four thirds camera has a 2x crop factor, meaning a 50mm lens has the equivalent 35mm focal length of 100mm. So it would need at least 1/100s for a sharp handheld photo
The actual shutter speed you need will depend on your handholding ability. To try and give the camera more support when shooting handheld, hold the camera up against your eye, use both hands to grip the camera, and push your elbows in against your stomach / chest.
If using a fast shutter speed makes your photos too dark, try increasing your camera’s ISO setting, and / or using a wider aperture. This will allow more light to reach the camera’s sensor without having to reduce the shutter speed. If you are photographing a person or nearby object you can also use flash to provide enough light for a fast shutter speed.
The alternative to increasing the shutter speed is to use a tripod or some other form of support (e.g. placing the camera on a wall or table). Make sure the camera is secured tightly on the tripod and either use a cable release or self timer to trigger the camera’s shutter. This way the camera doesn’t receive any shake from the process of pressing and releasing the shutter button.
Try to come out of the auto-mode and start handling the options found in manual mode like ISO, shutter speed, aperture, etc. Read the manual that came along with your camera, and refer to the guidelines to get a good hand on your primary equipment. Once you get to know how to navigate through the manual settings, you’ll be able to customize every shot as per your liking.
If your camera comes with an external attachable lens, it is better to carry a decent zoom lens to maintain a safe distance between you and the subject. A handy waterproof backpack, along with comfortable shoe wear are a must-have for a quiet predatory walk near your subject. A compact lightweight tripod can help in getting the perfect steady shot.
Whenever you are trying to capture any photo, never compromise on the sharpness aspect. An image which is not sharp enough should hit the trash. Try clicking the capture button when you are breathing out for maintaining a more steady hand, if you are taking the shot by hands.
If you want the subject to be still while keeping the background a little blurred, it is advised that you take the shot at high shutter speeds. The more challenging the shot is in terms of movement, the higher the shutter speed should be. Adjusting the proper shutter speed manually for capturing the perfect shot will take diligent practice.
Keeping the ISO value at an optimal level prior to taking the shot is quintessential. Ideally, the ISO value should be inversely proportional to the day-light availability. The less amount of natural light in the environment means you should set the ISO value at a higher level. You can use the Auto ISO setting, but it may sometimes result in noise factors. After taking a good amount of pics, you’ll get a good idea as to what the ISO value should be set at.
Climatic conditions play an important role in photography. A normal sunny day is apt for taking photographs, but too much of sunlight may result in shadows. Using a flash to clear the shadows is one solution, but it may scare away the subject, so it’s best avoided.
Patience is a virtue that you’ll have to worship when studying your subject. You may have to make multiple trips to the same place in order to click that magic moment, and yet, still control yourself of not going berserk when things don’t happen the way you plan.
Don’t get caught up in the intricacies of photography, so much so that you miss the bigger picture. Whether you’re on a wildlife safari or just for a trip around the zoo, take your time to enjoy the moment, relax a bit, and then opt for clicking your desired picture. “There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.” – Ansel Adams
Capturing images of pets is quite difficult as it’s not easy to predict the mood and actions of animals. Let’s take a look at the top 10 tips for pet photography.
- To begin with, first relax! You need to clear your mind from other affairs and concentrate on your project and doing this important. Take some deep breaths and hang out with your pet to find out the type of pictures you want to click. Stay focused on the current moment as pets often do something surprising at any minute.
- Go through the Basics! Before doing anything else, you can go through a photography book that gives details about pet photography. You’ll become frustrated soon, if you don’t know the basics of capturing pets’ images.
- The shade velocity should be no less than 1/250 of a second or quicker. (Read the manual to figure out how to do that) You need fresh, clean pictures with no signs of blurring. If you’re utilising a point to shoot, then simply put the speed dial on.
- Find A Good Background! Ugly backgrounds simply ruin pet photos than anything else, except bad exposure, so look at it and move your pet to another area if the background has a garage, a dirty wall or a garbage bin.
- Move In Close! Ensure that you move in near to make the viewer feel of being in that spot. This will likewise trim out the background issue, which you can’t wipe out.
- Continuously concentrate on the eyes! Unless you’ve a horse as a pet, you have to get down sufficiently low to capture pictures of your pet at eye level. If you’re capturing images of a cat or dog, then lie down on the floor and utilise your elbows to get the camera up to your eye.
- Try To Keep Everything Simple! Focus on catching one thing and one thing only. First decide, whether you want to capture a photo of your dog & your room or just your dog? Choose! It is typically difficult to catch two thoughts in one photograph.
- Evade Harsh Light! Are you planning to shoot outdoors at noon on a sunny day? Wrong decision! There’s no doubt that sun helps to capture some of the most mesmerising pictures, but the situation is not the same when it comes to pet photography. Capture images either in the early morning or in the evening, when the harshness of the sun reduces. Cloudy days are also considered ideal for pet photography.
- Props Can Be Used! Use props to catch astonishing expressions. Use a toy, a whistle or a bright colour cloth. Be prepared! Props just work until the pet becomes bored and exhausted, so you need to capture images immediately.
- Have A Good Idea About Flash Range!
#Bonus Tip: Patience! It’s the key when it comes to photography, especially when you’re doing pet photography. Sam Crawford, an expert photographer says that you never know what’s store in the future, so you have to be always ready and have lots of patience to capture photographs of animals.
Yeah I blurred the jock into oblivion with my camera when I took the photo, so she won’t go, “Wow! Look at him!” I didn’t want that. I will now teach you the same secrets that I know to help make the front ‘pop out’.
First up, the need for blurring backgrounds. You need a blurred background,
- If you need to get rid of something unsightly that might reduce the photo value.
- If you need the foreground really stark in comparison.
- If you’re taking a macro (close up) of an object.
- If you are into Bokeh.
This may also happen often that you take a picture, only to later realize there’s a disturbance in the background, or the center object could have been sharper. To prevent this from happening, you will first develop the sense to use the camera according to the picture you want to take. If you’re a novice, the one thing I can tell you to do is to experiment. The mind-bender in my case was, I always got a blur when I wanted a still and a still when I really needed a blur. Yeah, that can happen. Play with your camera until you figure out all that it can do. Maybe you’ll even come up with some new, cool way to take a picture! For now, we’ll concentrate on how to get a blurred background, the right way.
Blurred Backgrounds and How to Get Them
There are essentially two ways to do this; using the camera lens and Photoshop. If you’re using Photoshop, all you need to do is get the background in one layer and the object in another, and add the blur filter or the ‘Smart Blur’ to the background. If you want to accept the challenge to get the perfect blur, however, you need to use your camera right.
Choosing Your Center of Focus
Backgrounds blur according to how the center object holds itself according to the background and how you hold the camera to the object. You’re basically giving the object more attention than the rest of the things. It’s a good practice to focus on the eyes when you take a portrait. That way whenever someone sees the photo, they see the eyes first. In the dog’s picture, the focus on the eyes blurs out even his nose a little bit.
Another way to focus on the object is to pan with the object as it moves, like a runner or a car. This is a tough method and takes a little practice, but you end up getting a dynamic picture with a blurred background, accentuating the object’s movement. The other way is to keep the subject still while the background moves, like the New York traffic cop and the taxi. You can also get a better blur if you fill more of the frame with the object than the background.
The Right Camera
Smaller digital cameras can get you a blurred background, but it won’t be as good as you might expect. The reason? The lens won’t be wide enough or fast enough, and the imaging plate won’t be large enough. Simply put, what you’d be doing is throwing the background out of focus. You just need to reduce the area of focus of the lens, so that anything outside it gets blurred. There are a number of things that come into effect to create the right kind of blur.
An easy way to get a simple blur would be to get a camera that has the Portrait Mode (colorful leaf on a branch), a special mode that automatically prompts the camera to give more focus on the subject. It won’t be as good as a blur on macro mode (like the dice on the right), but get your distances right and the background will go into a partial blur. Other things you’ll need are a manual flash selection and a good optical zoom rather than a bad digital zoom. If you own a simple digital camera or are trying to get a blurred background on a cell phone camera, the Macro Mode would be the best option for you.
A wider aperture gives a smaller depth of field and a smaller aperture gives a wider depth of field, the depth of field being your area of focus. So, to get a blurred background, you need a lens that can give you a greater or wider aperture. Get a camera with a maximum aperture of something around F/1.8 or more. This is where your experimentation really matters. Switch to the A Mode on your camera and try getting the same image with various aperture settings. Another thing to remember is if you change the lens aperture settings, you also change the shutter speed. Most cameras today do this automatically. If you want to, you can play with this too. Just be careful to not get too much exposure with a slow shutter speed.
The other thing you need your lens to have is a long enough focal length. You can get a better blur in the background if you zoom in on the center object, and the more you zoom in, the more the background gets blurred. For a good zoom in, you’ll need a lens with a high natural focal length, say around 50 mm.
Distances are one of the important things to consider when you’re trying to get a blur. The two distances that you need to take care of are; the distance of the center object from the background and the distance of the camera from the center object.
If the background is further from the object, a narrow focus from the camera lens will disregard anything that’s too far out in the back, giving you an almost complete, incoherent blur. Take a closer look at the left hand of the girl. It’s a little blurred too because of the narrow focus.
If the camera is closer to the object, the multiple objects in the background tend to cluster together and eventually blur. This may also give the center object a blurred outline. The background can also turn out smoother as the colors tend to spread and mix up together. This is more prominent if the background is in shades of the same color, just like the apple on the right.
Another thing to be kept in mind is the background lighting and it’s distance to the subject. For example, the sunlight bouncing off the girl’s hair adds to the entire blurred background, while creating a bit of a contrast effect, with the sunlight to her left and the greenery to her right.
Naturally Blurred Backgrounds
They are nothing but light dispersion created using fog or glass. The most common way to get this is the clear glass in a house or on a car. The child (right) looks on into what’s not necessarily a blur to him, but the mist settling on the glass blurs the trees outside for us.
Rain falling on the windows of a car (left) gives a paintbrush type of background, each stroke distorting the light that enters the glass. Again, it’s great to experiment when you’re learning something, try to get a shot in macro with the subject in front of a naturally blurred background. It will add to the blurred effect.
‘Bokeh’ means ‘blur’ in Japanese. If you’re not Japanese, Bokeh means ‘artistic blurs’. It’s basically the art of creating a blur. You can get a pattern in the blur, you can superimpose the blur to the foreground. The main thing about Bokeh is the fading of the main object into the background. The other main thing is the lighting in the background.
More often than not, you’ll have shapes of smaller individual lights in the backgrounds. These shapes can also be manipulated according to your wish, you can use crosses, hearts, polygons or plain circles. To get them, you’ll have to get lens kits like the Lensbaby aperture kit. Another trick while trying Bokeh is keeping your camera as close to the subject as possible and ‘drops’ of blurred light in the background. The light needs to fall on the subject’s outline, adding to the blur.
Whatever your style, I hope you now have a good idea of how to get the right kind of blur that you want in your background. In the end, the camera can be only as good as the photographer. And if all else fails, do what I do; stand still, aim your camera, hope for a still and get a blur!
Your wedding bells are ringing and love is in the air. The weather is good, the ambiance and the venue is perfect. What else do you need? Oh yes! To capture all these beautiful moments, all that is left to complete the entire set up are the photographs! Today, a marriage cannot be complete without the blissful and passionate moments caught in the lens. So if you want to make your album interesting, take a look at some of the ideas given below.
Behind the Scenes
This might seem a bit odd, but it could be real fun for those getting married as well as the photographer. Clicking the photographs just before the ceremony, when the preparations are in full swing, capturing the chaos and the frenzy of the entire atmosphere is a great idea. It is moreover, a great way to capture candid and natural photographs of the after party too.
Fill in the Places
One way is to click the portrait of the couple at the place where they met for the first time. It would be interesting to see the kind of places and photos that come up. The venue can be anything, a coffee shop, a theater, a basketball court or just about anywhere!
Adieus and Farewell
Capturing candid and natural expressions while the bride is being given a farewell by her parents and her side of relatives will definitely add a new angle. Clicking pictures of the parents intermittently throughout the day while they undergo a whole range of emotions would be a very unique proposition.
Maid of Honor
Be it any location, this can be an extremely endearing subject. Yes, the maid of honor with bridesmaids and the best man with the groom’s best buddies – the groomsmen. Spontaneous hugs, carefree whispers and laughs shared, with giggles and exclamations and expressions are one of the best things to capture on the D-day.
If there is a hobby or activity that the couple shares, a photograph in conjunction with that can be a great pick for parties and portraits.
- The first and the foremost tip is to be prepared. A major chunk of preparation, apart from your logistics, involves communicating with the bride and groom as to what kind of photographs they want.
- The subjects are the most important thing to be captured on the lens.
- One of the best natural and candid shots is to catch the bride walking down gloriously and gracefully down the aisle.
- In case of the necessary evils of the portraits, go descending. Begin clicking the largest group, zeroing in on the bride and groom ultimately.
- Being bold sometimes and thinking ahead can help you get a great click.
- Sneaking in a photo of the couple after the I do’s when it is supposed to be just their time, can be a good idea.