web analytics

Useful Photography Tip

Black and white vs Color comparison the phoblographer

Want more Useful Photography Tips? Click here.

A while back, I posted a short tutorial on the secret behind sharper photos; to this date it’s one of the site’s most popular posts. But as I’ve been experimenting more and more with black and white photography, I’ve noticed something different. In that secret to sharpness post, I talk about the black levels and how deeper blacks help the eye to perceive that you’ve got a sharper image. It’s part of the idea behind the manipulation of contrast and mid tones in Adobe Lightroom.

While I’m not suggesting that everyone always shoots in black and white, if you want an image to appear sharper, you should convert it to black and white. But at the same time, don’t use this as a crutch to not getting good lighting and a sharp image to begin with. Just use it as a way to enhance the experience if you absolutely care about a critically sharp image that will make people on DPReview’s forums order Vaseline and Kleenex.

In general, high contrast and overly sharpened black and whites generally look much better than images in color.

You can view the images individually after the jump.

[click to continue…]


Want more Useful Photography Tips? Click here.

Lens hoods are generally a great idea. In fact, I’d say that you should always have one on the front of your lens to protect the front from damage of most sorts. But if you’re shooting with a macro lens in the macro ranges (super duper close up focusing), then having the lens hood on isn’t such a great idea.

Sounds like photography 101, right? Unfortunately, for many folks it isn’t.

When you’re focusing on a subject within the macro ranges, you’ll need all the light you can possibly get. At a certain focusing distance from the subject, a lens hood will just get in the way of allowing more light into the scene or even to allow light in the scene at all. You’d be surprised at how that can happen even if you’re using a flash or strobe lighting.

To get the absolute sharpest macro images, it makes sense to do this with a traditional and proper studio setup involving a tripod, strobes, reflectors, etc. That way you can control the light to function exactly how you want it to with your camera set to a low ISO reading. Oh right, and be sure to remove the lens hood.

If you’re really concerned about the front element of your lens, then a UV filter is an affordable solution.

Looking for your own macro lens? Here are some you’ll really enjoy.

Want more Useful Photography Tips? Click here.

Halloween is coming up, and you know what that means? You’re going to spend the entire time alone at home eating all the candy by yourself and watching reruns on TV spend time taking photos of people in their awesome costumes. But don’t just ask them for a portrait–make your photo stand out from the crowd. We’re not just talking about adding lighting to bring out beautiful details in the image, but instead this is all about posing and scenery.

First off, try to get a neutral background, that way someone will be able to focus on just the person and the costume when they look at your image.

Then, try to go for even lighting on the subject. If you don’t have a flash, then go for ambient light sources like a street lamp or a ceiling light.

Lastly and the most important, talk to the person about who they’re dressed as and try to get them to mimic a specific pose from that person or thing. It’ll just make sense. For example, if someone is dressed as Stewie from Family Guy, you know to make sure that they look miserable or like they’re plotting something.

The last bit is the most critical part and like anything in photography, it requires communication between people.

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

Want more Useful Photography Tips? Click here.

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

Want more Useful Photography Tips? Click here.

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

Want more Useful Photography Tips? Click here.

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

Want more useful photography tips? Click here.

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.


Want more Useful photography tips? Click here!

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

Want more Useful Photography Tips? Click here.

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.

Model: Asta Paredes

Model: Asta Paredes

Want more Useful Photography Tips? Click here.

Let’s think about the way that we naturally see light in the world: the sun, street lamps, ceiling lights and many more are all above us. So with that in mind, it just makes sense to say that the light that we ordinarily see on a consistent basis is above us, correct?

That’s the basis behind today’s Useful Photography Tip: to get more flattering light on a subject we recommend that you place your light source above your subject but not directly above lest you create shadows under the chin and eyes. Instead, bring it above and to the front to evenly illuminate the person’s features. That means that what you’ll be doing is shooting a photo subject with the light source (like a flash or strobe) behind you, above you, and facing down towards your subject.

If you’re using natural lighting like the sun, then don’t put the sun behind you. Instead, put it behind your subject and spot meter for their eyes. This is called backlighting. In fact, we recommend that any constant light be backlit unless it isn’t very intense on the eyes.

Remember, it’s all based on how we naturally see light when shooting a portrait.

google dfp advertising operations