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Useful Photography Tip

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Portraits from Early Winter 2015 extras (13 of 21)ISO 4001-180 sec at f - 5.0

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Illuminating someone’s face when using a flash is pretty simple to do and really all about positioning more than anything else. Best of all, you can do it all with one light source.

If you’re using natural light:

– Don’t have your subject look into the sun.

– Find diffused light; like that under a tree, awning, or in a building.

– Preferably, find a reflective surface that bounces light back into the person’s face.

– Place the reflected light source in front of or slightly to the side of the person.

If you’re using a flash in the hot shoe:

– Bounce the flash output off of a surface to the side and slightly behind you.

– Have the subject face you directly.

– Do not bounce the flash directly off of the ceiling. You’ll create shadows under the eyes.

If you’re using a flash/strobe out of the hot shoe:

– Put the flash in a large modifier–one that is larger than the person’s face

– Place the light modifier with the flash in front of the subject/slightly to the side

In all of these situations, try to turn the subject’s face slightly towards the light source. This will create more direct illumination onto the eyes.

Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 5.59.02 PM

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Adobe Lightroom has a little section that is most likely ignored by so many of you. It’s called the Split Toning panel. If you’re a concert photographer dealing with some crazy mixed lighting situations and you want to neutralize the problem, you can use this section and specific application of color theory knowledge to fix it. But by setting the highlights to one color at one end of the spectrum and the shadows to another color, dialing the saturation for each to an equal amount, then playing with the balance you can create similar vintage filter effects to what Instagram, VSCO, EyeEm and others will offer you.

For example, setting the highlights to a degree of blue and the shadows to a degree or orange, cranking the saturation of each to 32, and then messing with the balance between highlights and shadows you can create looks similar to that rendered from Instant film like that from Fujifilm’s Instant 100-C peel apart film.

Alternatively, you can invert the hues for the highlights and shadows then change the balance to be more skewed to the shadows. This will give you a much different look and effect closer to a very soft contrast film if you raise the exposure levels just a tad.

Again though, this is something that you’ll have to experiment with and try for to get the “best results” for you. While some love the extreme filter look, others prefer to dial theirs back to a very conservative amount. But consider this the next time you want to render these looks in an organic way and without destroying the sharpness of the image.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer New York Comic Con 2012 Photos (6 of 33)ISO 200

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Wrap around light: what this means is light that literally wraps around a subject and gives the illusion of two lights. Traditionally, photographers needed two or more lights to do it, but the effect can be created in camera with one light.

There are two components to this: One massive light modifier in relation to the subject and and one light.

First off, face your subject and place the light (inside the light modifier) in front of your subject and slightly above the camera. Angle the light modifier to be flat against the subject though you can also place it a bit higher and angled downward a bit.

How big of a modifier are we talking? Generally it should be larger than your subject. If you’re photographing a mango as a still life, then a 24 inch softbox or some sort should be more than enough. If you’re photographing a person, then you’ll need something like a six or seven foot umbrella or softbox.

Then what you’ll need to do is meter the subject for the flash/strobe output and then meter accordingly on your camera to the ambient light. When you’ve metered for the ambient, underexpose by around 2/3rds of a stop.

If the shutter speed is too slow for you to handhold, use a tripod or crank up the ISO and re-meter for the flash output.

If you don’t want to raise the ISO any higher, then what you’re going to need to do is use a tripod to avoid any camera shake.

When a flash and strobe are involved in the creation of an exposure, the flash output exposure is dictated by the aperture while the ambient light is dictated by the shutter speed. ISO controls the overall sensitivity of the scene.

As long as your positioning of the light covers and wraps around the subject and the ambient light is accordingly exposed for you’ll be able to create a beautiful wrap around light effect.

The other alternative: Place the light on one side of a subject and then place the subject by a wall and have the light bounce off the wall and fill in the other side of the person. The wall will act like a natural reflector.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm XT10 first impressions (2 of 15)ISO 2001-750 sec at f - 1.4

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Cameras by default are set to metering a scene through the evaluative setting, but they have three different settings. Evaluative will analyze an entire scene and figure out a way to create the scene that the camera thinks you want. Center-weighted metering meters a scene based on what’s in the center of whatever the camera is pointing at and sees. Spot metering meters the scene off of a specific spot that you choose. This is best used in combination with manual autofocus point selection.

Most people shoot and never think about their metering mode. Then when they chimp their LCD screen and don’t like the image, they simply just overexpose or underexpose. But to avoid that altogether, the best route to take is to first consider what you want in the end vision of your photo.

In the image above, Erica was being strongly backlit by the sunlight coming down the avenue. In the evaluative mode, the camera would have compensated for this and made her very dark in order to cater to the highlights. But in spot metering mode, the camera metered for her face due to my metering off of it and autofocusing off of it.

If I didn’t switch to spot metering, the camera would have needed to be set to overexpose the scene by around a stop at most. This can save you a bunch of time in post-production but it can also just make your life easier as far as actually getting the image you want the first time around goes.

In general, the best reason to use spot metering would have to be if only a specific thing in the scene is more important to you and the image more than anything else–such as with a portrait. With a landscape, you’re probably best off with evaluative metering unless you spot meter the highlights, then spot meter the shadows, then find a happy medium point. If you figure this out, you can then go ahead and get the exact photo that you want with less attempts.

Merged-two-images

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Creating more lifelike colors in Adobe Lightroom is really, really simple once you identify and pay attention to specific areas in your images. Best of all–it’s a process that works with every image 100% of the time.

The process goes like this:

– Look at the image and figure out if you want it to be brighter or darker. You absolutely must go one way or the other even if it’s 1/3rd of a stop.

– Slightly raise the contrast and clarify a few points, no more than 10 each.

– Move down immediately to the color channels and identify the most important colors in your scene. For the image above it was red, blue, purple, green, and orange.

– Start by working with the saturation levels of each of your paramount colors. Move the slider back and forth until you get the colors to be exactly how you want them to be. Saturation makes colors more or less punchy.

– Once you’ve done this, tweak each of the colors that you manipulated with the luminance bars. This makes them brighter or darker individually.

– Finally, tweak your white balance providing that the balance isn’t terribly out of the norm. If it’s out of the norm, then do this way before you even really begin editing the image. What you’ll find is that generally you’ll only need to change the white balance just a tad.

And that’s it, you’re done. For the image above we raised the exposure, did the contrast/clarity tweaks, saturated pretty much all of the colors except for purple, and we also individually raised each color a bit more to add even more punch and impact to the scene. The great this is that this works for every photo; but in general it’s worth it to figure out what colors Lightroom believes each section to be. Once you’ve got this you’ll be able to create better color every time.

fireworks for the 4th

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If you’re in the US (where most of our readers are from) or Canada (where lots of readers come from), you’re going to be celebrating the celebration of your nation’s birth very soon. If you’re a reader of this site, then you’re probably going to have your camera in hand as you’re celebrating.

Don’t do that.

No, seriously–don’t handhold the camera. Instead, to get those trademark beautiful fireworks images you should get your hands on a tripod, point the camera and lens up to the sky, stop the aperture down, and use a slow/long shutter speed to capture those picturesque light trails.

As for lens choices, it really depends on where you’re standing. If you’re on flat even ground near sea level, then opt for a telephoto lens and pray for the best. If you’re on a rooftop of some sort or really high up on a building, then go for a wider lens.

Then when you’re all done, turn your lens to your friends and family and try to capture beautiful candid moments as you and your loved ones are celebrating.

And as always, have a happy celebration on Independence Day.