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Useful Photography Tip

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Don’t ever pretend like something negative or crazy doesn’t happen in your life. No one has the perfect life no matter how positive of an image we all try to put forward as creatives. But every now and then, something awful happens to all of us that nearly ruins our day. For some of us it happens many times–over and over again. And for the most unlucky of us, it can happen consistently and we have no control.

But we, as creatives, have the gift of being able to express ourselves in ways that others can’t. We, as photographers, have the gift of being able to create a scene that illustrates the way that we feel in a way that someone else will see it and either sympathize with it or be completely captivated by it.

I’m going to repeat this again: we are creatives. We have a gift–and no photographer should ever forget this. Rather, we should embrace it in some of our darkest times. It will see you through to the end and the person you are will never change because of these rough times.

So how do you persevere through rough patches? It quite literally involves channelling the negative energy into creative energy. To do this, you need to find a way to illustrate how you feel and be imaginative about it. Again, it’s about expressing yourself. Sounds easier said than done, right? Well here is a check list to help you. In your mission to channel the negative energy, liken the answer to each of these questions to something else and then go ahead and create a scene:

– Who or what hurt you?

– Why are you hurt right now?

– How do you feel?

– What about your personality makes this hurt so much?

– What time during the day or night did this happen?

– If your life were a television show or a movie, how would the scene look right now?

Start with these questions and while answering them, try your hardest to focus on these and only these. Then create something. And the beautiful product you create that was fueled by the negative emotions will be the positive result.

 

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer 85mm vs 50mm portrait test Sigma 50mm f1.4 other (1 of 1)ISO 2001-640 sec at f - 2.8

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Besides straightening a subject’s back and adjusting the shoulders, another really important part of the body to look at when shooting portraits are the thighs. Human beings are taught from day one to sit back and sit up straight. When shooting a portrait, this is a giant faux pas.

If a subject sits all the way back in a seat until the backs of their knees touch the edge, then all of the weight is distributed on the rear and their thighs. What this ends up creating is outlines and arches that make your subject look much wider than they actually are. So to make them look more flattering, ask your subject to bring themselves to the near edge of the seat. But in order to make them not fall off, have them sit so that their thighs aren’t on the seat.

In effect, what you’re doing is putting all of the weight on the rear, and making the thighs look much thinner. From here, you can do a multitude of different poses: and we have lists for men and women.

Beyond this, other strategies that you can do have to do with the overall body shape of the person and it can number anything from:

– Crossing their legs

– Sitting with the legs apart

– Stretching them out and having one foot crossed over the other

It all depends on what kind of body language you’re trying to get across in the photo.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 135mm f2 review images (9 of 11)ISO 2001-640 sec at f - 2.0

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When photographing a person or a thing, you may be inclined to try to get as much bokeh as you possibly can. The most efficient way to get better bokeh is to shoot as close to the subject as you can due to the way that depth of field works. But if you do this, also keep in mind the perspective distortion effect. This states that the closer that you are to the subject, the more distorted that the image will be.

While you’ll want to get close to a portrait subject, don’t feel bad if you step back a bit. The longer the focal length of the lens is, the less perspective distortion you’ll generally have within reason. This is why we think that it’s so important for portraits to be done with longer focal lengths. We’ve also tested it and so have others. There are ways to make them look similar, but it all has to do with lighting and post-production.

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The question of whether one should use TTL vs manual flash output is one that many photographers will experience at one point or another in their careers. Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages. The majority of flashes can shoot in manual mode (thought there are some that indeed can’t and there are also flashes that can do both). But not every flash can fire in TTL mode.

TTL communication requires specific pins on the camera hot shoe and flash to communicate and relay information about the exposure to make the two work together.

In general, TTL has been the king when it comes to photojournalism, weddings, events, and sports. But in situations where you are trying to mix ambient lighting with natural lighting, TTL can be a godsend and eliminate the need for specific metering that will need to be done. In my apartment, I sometimes like shooting a subject in front of a window. Evenly illuminating the subject while properly exposing the outside can be tough, but it is a challenge very easily done by using TTL metering.

Manual light output is typically used on editorial, portrait, headshot, commercial, and fine art photo situations where someone can take their time and set a scene up. It gives the photographer specific control over the light to make it look brighter or darker or exactly the way that they want it. In contrast, a TTL system will read your camera meter and adapt itself to deliver a result that you may not necessarily want.

Manual lighting also works best when working with large light modifiers as a TTL light can sometimes not work so effectively based on various parameters like how large a light modifier is and how far it is positioned from a subject.

Keep this in mind when you’re shooting, and be sure to also check out our massive lighting tutorial roundup.

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There are times in portraiture where your camera will render a person’s skin as way too orange. This tends to happen a lot during the golden hour. But getting rid of that problem is very, very simple and it can be fixed in less than 10 seconds. It has nothing to do with the desaturation slider–at least the one all the way at the top in Adobe Lightroom!

To start, the most obvious way to prevent this problem is to manually white balance. But that isn’t always possible and sometimes you just don’t have time to do so. After you’ve got your white balance just right, it’s time to work with the skin tones.

The secret is to work with the color channels specifically. We recommend turning up the luminance a bit to brighten the orange color channel and then slightly desaturating it to give the skin tones a more natural look. But to be sure that the program sees it as orange to begin with, we recommend choosing the dropper tool. Sometimes, Lightroom can see oranges as yellows or reds.

If it isn’t working for you, then take the adjustment brush and touch up the areas by brightening them a bit and desaturating them as well.

The results of this project are after the jump.

[click to continue…]

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Panasonic GM5 first impressions images (4 of 5)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 5.0

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While this tip may seem completely obvious to those of us that have been shooting for years, we encourage you to pay it forward and share this with those that are newer to interchangeable lens photography.

This is the story of two different people who took the lens off of their camera and put the camera in their one pocket and the lens in their other pocket.

Again: I’m going to repeat that.

This is the story of two different people who took the lens off of their camera and put the camera in their one pocket and the lens in their other pocket.

If you’re a veteran shooter, you know much better than to do this–or at least you know to use a body cap and a lens back cap. But for the less initiated, doing this makes cloth, debris and dust get right onto your camera sensor and at the back of the lens. In both cases, the camera was taking photos with spots in the image and the lens wasn’t working. Why?

Imagine a person putting little bits of dust in your eyes. Would you be able to see? Probably not–and neither can your camera since the sensor is very much like the eye. Then also imagine putting on dirty glasses. Obviously, seeing wouldn’t be the easiest thing to do. That’s what happens when you put a dirty lens on your camera.

But even further, the second person got so much dust on the contacts that the lens couldn’t autofocus. If you want to fix a problem like this, use Isopropyl alcohol or use a special brush to clean the sensor.

And make sure that you maintain your camera. But whatever you do, always protect your camera’s sensor.