Thursday, 31 January 2013

Portrait Photography - Skin, Love It Or Leave It?

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Today's photo tip is about including skin in your portrait photography.
Actually, since portrait photography generally involves the area from the chest and up, the issue of skin is mostly concerning bare arms and low cut bodices.
Here is a golden rule that you should put in your notebook right now... "In a photograph - any photograph not just portraits - the eye is immediately drawn to the lightest areas."
Now consider a typical portrait, it has a background that is usually darker than the head being photographed. So, that makes the skin from the face, arms and chest area the lightest areas.
With all that skin drawing attention, the viewer's eye is bouncing all over the place!
BTW - in a high key portrait, in our minds the background disappears. The focus shifts to the subject - and the skin is still the lightest area.
In a portrait, you want all the focus to be on the face - nothing else! But, all that skin pulls the eye away. Not to mention that the arms are generally going down and out of the photo frame and will pull the eye completely out of the photo.
In other words, you could conceivably end up with a portrait where no one actually looks at the face!
An additional negative would be that as we age we put on additional weight. For many women, the weight shows up in the arms first. No one wants a portrait that makes them look fat.
"But", I can hear you say, "all the fashion magazines show all the top models posing in skimpy outfits and showing LOTS of skin!"
They are being photographed by the top photographers, so what's up?
Keep in mind that fashion photography and portrait photography have vastly different goals.
In portrait photography, we want the attention focused on the face. Later, if the viewer can describe the clothing worn, we've failed.
In fashion photography we want the attention focused on the fashion! If no one can later identify the model, that's actually a good thing. (Except in the case of celebrity models -which is a whole different ballgame.)
So all of this has been to say - cover up the arms and chest in portraits. Your clients will like them much better!
If you are planning on going into the upcoming holidays without your camera - you are missing out on some amazing photo opportunities!
Parties, family gatherings and so on are the perfect opportunity to get some portraits where your friends and family will look at them and say, "Wow, you did that?"
It's time to finally shut down that "uber-successful" blow hard that is always bragging about the latest deal he single handedly put together that saved the company.
Believe me, he won't be able to make portraits like you, and EVERYONE would rather look at portrait photography of themselves than listen to another of his adventures! Use this photo tip starting today! For more information, check out the resource box!
posted by michaelabela.weebly.com

Common Photography Courses

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Photography training can seem simple but it is quite advanced and takes different kinds of courses to complete thereby changing you into the professional that you need to be with your camera. The different courses now made available makes it possible for all to get the kind of training which is in relation to their photography needs. There are common photography courses you will find in most training institutions.
The beginner's course: this is a short photography course only needing two weeks to complete. It is a course which will help you learn much more about the camera and how to handle it without the need to delve deeper into the subject. It is a great course for all photography beginners as it introduces them to the wide photography world. It is most ideal for those with no photography experience looking to be in better position to use their cameras.
Intermediate photography course: it is also classroom based as the beginner course but takes longer since there are different things which need to be covered within the period. It is a great course to improve your photography skills and introduces you to a whole new perspective of looking at the world. Some of the things that are covered in the course include picture composition, basic digital imaging, light and artificial light as well as portraiture.
Advanced photography course: it is a course which is most suitable for those who have already gone through the beginner or intermediate courses. Those who have a level of understanding or experience in photography technique can also join the course. It goes deeper into photography covering different topics and areas of photography. It can take up to six weeks to complete and will cover topics such as advanced portrait posing, panoramic digital shooting, location portraits and even painting using light techniques.
Digital imaging course: it is an advances imaging course covering subjects such as exposure adjustments, multi layer montage, contrast and color. It can also involve more complex subjects and can take several weeks to complete. It is an interesting course just like the rest and is most suitable for those looking to be professionals as far as photography is concerned.
When thinking of joining photography training course, it is important to check all available options so that in the end you take up something matching your photography needs. It is most advisable to go through all the courses for those with the need to be professionals with their cameras.
posted by michaelabela.weebly.com

Portrait Photography Guide

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When I first started doing portrait photography, I wished there was a straight forward guide that explained to me what I needed to do to take awesome portraits. Every book that I read seemed like it contradicted the previous book. One Author would say, you should do things this way and another one would say you should it that way. Since I didn't know much about portrait photography at the time; they all seemed right. However, if everyone was right, then who should I have really listened to?
I decided to find a way that worked best for me. I had a lot of trial and errors and made a number of mistakes. If there is a thing that you are thinking of trying, chances are I may have already done it. I feel the best way to learn something and actually remember it, is to make a lot of mistakes!!!
For this guide, I am going to assume that you are a beginner and can't wait to get started. I hope that after you are done reading this guide, you will be able to take great portraits and hopefully get a paying gig.
I have divided beginner's guide to portrait photography into the following sections:
Picking Your Camera
Different Camera Modes
Finding Your Style
Picking Your Camera
As a beginner portrait photographer, you might get caught up in the "Megapixels" (aka - MP) hype. Some people might tell you - you NEED at least 8 MP for a good quality. Others might say - you MUST have at least 15 MP for a good quality photo. Then the camera company will say - you need this $10,000 camera which is 21 MP to take fantastic photos.
As a beginner, you might think more "Megapixels" means better pictures, right? I thought the same thing, but found out that's not always the case as there are other factors that are involved; such as camera exposure, light and so on.
I believe the better question you need to ask yourself as a beginner portrait photographer is what size pictures do you plan to print? Are you going to print - 4x6s, 5x7s, 8x10s, or 11x14s?
If you are only going to print 4x6s, you will need at least 800x1200 Pixel Resolution and 3 MP.
Different Camera Modes
Sometimes many beginner portrait photographers get confused about which camera mode they should use. Should they use P, AV, TV, or M? Let's find out what each of these modes can do.
In P (aka - Automatic or Professional) mode, your camera does everything for you. All you have to do is just point and shoot. In AV (aka - Aperture Priority) mode, here you can change the ISO and Aperture. In TV (aka - Shutter Priority) mode, here you can change the ISO and Shutter Speed. In M (aka - Manual) mode, here you can change everything (Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO).
I would suggest that you start of with "Professional Mode". This will allow you to focus more on building your own personal style. As you will learn later, building your own style is more IMPORTANT (in my opinion) than learning all the technical side of camera. i.e. camera settings.
After you feel comfortable enough to shoot in P mode, then you should move on to different modes. Your goal should be to feel comfortable enough to shoot in "Manual" mode. This is my favorite mode!!!
Finding Your Style 

There is a famous saying that I love and that's "what's being said is not as important but the way we say it is!!! It's not the subject of the photo, rather the way we take it, show it, and make it our own. If you take a group of 30 photographers to a location and ask them to take a picture, assuming that all of the photographers have the same cameras, you will get 30 different unique photos. But you will know which photo belongs to which photographer because of his/her unique style.

I believe one of the reasons why my clients hire me is because of my photography style. In my style, I try to show my personality and try to capture emotions (smiles, laughs, serious editorial looks, and so on) that I want to photograph.
When trying to find or build your own style, you might want to ask yourself what it is you love about the photograph or frame before actually taking a picture; then try to capture that. This could be a head shot, full body shot, just the face and so on.
posted by michaelabela.weebly.com

Portrait Photography - Bare Skin?

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In previous articles, we've talked about including bare skin in our head and shoulder portrait photography - and how it draws the viewer's eye away from the face... (That's a bad thing!) Today's tip is a continuation of that subject, but we are expanding it into three - quarter and full length photo portraits.
Even in full length portrait photography, the face is the key and ALL elements of the portrait should be focused on getting the viewer's eye onto the face and keeping it there!
So, let's talk about skin and the clothing that shows it. Actually, I have 2 skin/clothing tips for you.
First... Stay away from bare stomachs!
In a previous tip we discussed how we should avoid showing bare arms and necklines because all that skin draws the eye away from the face.
That is true whether we are shooting in head and shoulders poses or full body. Keep away from skin to keep attention on the face.
When shooting in full body poses we have numerous opportunities to break the no skin rule.
There are not only bare arms and necklines, now we have bare midriffs and legs.
While bare midriffs can be very appealing and sexy - and I like looking at pretty, sexy girls as much as the next guy - in photo portraits they can ruin an otherwise award winning shot.
Keep the viewer's eye on the face!
Not to mention that styles change and in a few years that bare midriff photo may not be as appealing as it once was.
Remember the "big" hair days?
Second... Shorts.
Like any other skin, shorts will draw the viewer's eye off the face and onto the legs.
Again, I like looking at shapely, bare legs, but that's what the beach is for. Your portrait photography has to be focused on the face. That's what portraits are for.
And guys... there's a reason why all the skin care products and leg shaving commercials are aimed at women! No one is buying magazines to look at men's legs! If you are having a casual day and want to wear shorts, that's fine. But if you are having a portrait done, it will be around and looked at for decades - put on some pants!
Side note: Just last week I saw one of those morning talk shows where they were discussing a company that has just launched a new line of panty hose. FOR MEN!
To me, this is taking the "metro-sexual" thing too far! Any bets on how long they stay in business?
Back to bare skin...
Yes, I admit that I like bare skin and it may even look nice in photos. But, if you NOTICE that it looks nice, your portrait has failed!
You should be looking at their faces. BTW - in addition to single portraits, these tips apply to groups too!
The project for this tip is to - as always - grab your camera and do some portraits. But in addition to that, sit down with your "model(s)" and advise them on their clothing choices. The very act of doing that will impress them and elevate your stature tremendously! No one else - even most professionals - have EVER counseled them on what to wear!
You will start winning photo contests and will quickly become the "go to" photographer when your friends or family want portrait photography. For more information, check out the resource link below!
posted by michaelabela.weebly.com

4 Fun and Creative Ways to Display Your Photos

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Photographs are special, they help us capture moments in time, unique moments, important moments, moments that we wish to cherish. As technology continues to advance we have seen photography go through some similar exciting and innovative developments. With this has come some interesting and creative ways in which we can display and present our photographs. This post will explore some of these new and creative ways to display your photographs.
The world is digital, huge advances in technology has propelled us into a world where information can be shared and viewed at an alarmingly fast rate. Photography is an industry that has heavily evolved with the growth of new technology. Most people have access to a digital camera, be it integrated within their phone or as a stand alone device. As a result people are no longer printing photos, instead it is more easy to store them on their computers or use a digital photo frame to display a select few. In my opinion a photograph should be physical, something that you can touch, admire and interact with. A great way of displaying your photos is by turning your photo into a Canvas Print. Canvas Wall Art is a huge current trend amongst the interior design industry. Canvas Prints can be used to add excitement, character and dynamic to an otherwise dull and monotone space. You can transform any image or photograph you wish into a glorious Canvas Print, and through a bit of creativity the results can be spectacular. The benefits of this to a photographer is the chance to see your photographs in a large scale. By printing to this scale you can bring out the most within your photograph and present your work in a more unique and eye-catching fashion. Canvas Photo Prints also make for fantastic gifts suitable for wedding gifts, and celebratory occasions such as the birth of a child or an anniversary.
Another new and unique way of displaying your photography is through 3D Glass Art. This is a fairly new concept but has been rising in popularity. This clever and spectacular service allows you to display your photographs within a glass object, using bubbles to re-create the pixels of your digital image. 3D Glass Art can make the perfect gift, and is ideal for wedding gifts or to celebrate the birth of a child. The process is surprisingly cheap and quick to create, whilst the results can be absolutely breathtaking.
Some photographs such as those of small children and pets make for wonderful gifts. So why not get creative and turn your photographs into a fantastic T-Shirt or huggable cushion? Printing on fabric is a great way to present your photography. Through being creative it is relatively simple to turn any image into a Warhol style Print, or perhaps a stencil print in the style of Banksy, both of which make for unique and personalised designs which can look great on a cushion or t-shirt. Printing to fabric is a brilliant way to permanently display your photography in a personal and interesting way that will stand out.
Finally, if you really want to make a bold statement with your photography and display it in a way for all to see, you could explore the addictive world of Stencil Wall Art. World famous street artists such as Banksy, have contributed to the creation of an entire art movement through their stencil grafiti. Prints by these artists can be found almost everywhere in today's society, and are hugely popular all around the world. As a result many have taken to creating their own stencil art, and this can be applied to photography too. It is rather easy to create your very own stencil art, stencils can be created using any photograph or image. If you are not confident however it is possible to seek help from a stencil art specialist. The joy of displaying your photographs through stencil is the creativity you can explore, and the scale that you can display your photographs. Any dull or plain wall can be instantly transformed into a magnificent piece of wall art, and the wonderful thing about stencilling is that, once you have your stencil, you can repeat the process over and over again.
There are many creative ways that you can display your photos. Create unique Canvas Wall Art, make the perfect gift or decorate and personalise your home. With a little creativity and the right photograph you can create something unique and special out of your own photography that is sure to turn heads and catch the eyes of all that view.
posted by michaelabela.weebly.com

Photo Tip - How To Get The Best Photo Exposure For Skin Tones!

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Getting the right photo exposure can be a bit tricky at times. Expose for the highlights and lose the dark areas - expose for the dark areas and blow out the highlights... it's a never ending battle. Today's photo tip answers a question about how to get the best photo exposure for skin tones.
Here is a question I was recently asked... "When taking pictures of black people, do you have to open up the f-stop more?"
Great question!
They were referring to a studio lighting set-up, but the issue remains in any photo lighting situation. And not necessarily just with skin tones.
What if you are shooting a black dog and a white one?
Or, more commonly a bride with a white wedding dress next to a groom in a black tux?
If we expose for the white area, we will get nice detail and properly show all the lace and bead work in a wedding dress. Or the fur in a white dog, or all the subtle skin tones in a white person.
On the flip side - by exposing for the white areas, that means we will inadvertently under expose the black areas.
We will lose all the detail and the black area will become nothing more than a big black blob.
We have problems going the other way too!
If we expose for the black area, we show all the nice detail in the black areas of the photo, but the white parts are totally over exposed and blown out. We lose all detail and the white part is ruined.
Stop reading for a second and think, what would you do? What is the best course of action?
Most of you probably went with - "Expose for a middle of the road area. It's not perfect, but at least you won't totally lose either side."
Good call. In fact, a middle of the road exposure is the concept that all reflectance light meters are based on. BTW - a reflectance meter is what is in your camera.
No matter what your light source is, when light hits a subject, it reflects off. The color and even the types of materials present have a fairly large impact as to HOW MUCH light is reflected.
White areas reflect more than black areas, velvet absorbs more light than satin.
After reflecting off the subject, the light goes into your camera. The meter absorbs all this light, and sets the exposure for a setting that is in the middle.
The middle setting is calculated to be 18% gray which is a whole book of its own. Just know that a middle setting is what your camera's reflectance meter will give you.
Not perfect on either end of the spectrum, but workable.
The other type of light meter is called an "incidence" light meter.
This is the type of meter that is outside the camera and is hand held. That is the one you see photographers hold up to a model's face and fire off the lights.
We most often see it used in a studio setting, but it works with any light source. We just tend to be too lazy to get it out in normal day to day stuff and rely on the meter in our camera.
An incident meter doesn't measure the light reflected off a subject. It measures the amount of light hitting a subject.
This may seem like basically the same thing, but it is radically different.
Reflected light is affected by color and the various reflectance properties in the frame. Incidence metering is measuring the light BEFORE it hits the subject and is not affected by color, etc.
Measuring the actual light hitting a subject means that we are properly exposing for the light as well as the colors in the photo. It will record colors and so on exactly as we see them - under those lighting conditions!
The whites will record as white, the blacks will record as black and everything else in between.
It is a far better way to meter your shots and that's why you see the best photographers buying and using incident meters even when they have a perfectly good reflectance meter in the camera.
To answer the initial question... With a reflectance meter, yes, you have to open it up to get the right exposure for black skin tones. (And close it down for white.) With an incident meter, it doesn't matter what colors are present.
If you want to truly master your camera - and get the photos you see in your most creative visions, you have to take your camera off automatic and start taking control. The first issues you will have are with photo exposure. Learn the various metering methods (in this photo tip) and you are one step closer to winning photo contests!
posted by michaelabela.weebly.com

My First Model Photo Shoot

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Shooting a model is considered a staple for many, if not most, photographers. Models are photographed for portraits, advertising, stock, etc. Most of us, especially when starting out, use family and friends as our models. It's a great way to gain experience and practice. But, at some point, you may want to shoot someone with modeling experience. I decided to have my first model photo shoot because I wanted to add more people photos to my portfolio. After having my first model photo shoot, I've learned a lot that I can share with you guys. Here are some tips on finding and shooting a model.
Finding a Model
Finding a model for your first model photo shoot is easier than you might think. You can hire one, obviously. But, when you're just starting out, you may not have a lot of resources to hire a model. But, there's a solution to that, and it works well for both you and the model.
Look for models that are just starting out. For them, there is something that they need more than money. Photos.
In order for models to get paying work, they have to be able to show work they've done in the past. In other words, they need a strong portfolio. Sound familiar? It should. Because you, as a photographer, also need a strong portfolio to show if you plan on getting paying jobs. So, by finding a model that is building their portfolio, you can offer a trade-for-prints deal, or TFP for short. Even though it's called trade-for-prints, you don't actually have to provide prints, unless that's part of the deal you make. Many just provide the photos to the model on a DVD.
For my first model photo shoot, this worked out perfectly. I went on Craigslist and checked under the "talent" section. I was actually looking for models I could offer a TFP deal to, but I didn't have to. There was an ad posted by a model that was looking for a photographer to do a TFP deal! I answered the ad, and after a few emails discussing specifics, we had a date and time set up for the shoot.
Directing the Model
It's a little awkward if you think about it. You get to the location and you're about to start shooting photos of a person that you don't know. You, as the photographer, are responsible for directing the model and getting the best shots you can, both for you and your model. There will be lots of things racing through your head, hoping you're getting the job done right. But remember, if you appear nervous or tense, it will make your model nervous and tense. If that happens, the photos are going to suffer.
The best thing to do is just take a little time at first to talk. My model (Chrissy) brought a friend with her (Ben), which helped a lot. By being there, he helped her with any nerves she may have had. (He also helped me with my equipment. He carried my camera bag and tripod. Ben, if you're reading this, you rock! LOL!)
Take a few test shots just to get some shots in the bag, so to speak. This does wonders for helping everyone relax and really get loosened up. Once your model feels comfortable, they're able to do what they do. Chrissy made things so easy. That's one of the biggest differences between shooting friends and family and shooting someone with modeling experience. Models know how to pose and give you a range of emotion. But, they also know how to take direction. Don't rely on them alone. The model is posing, but they are relying on you, as the photographer, to be their eyes. They can't see what the shot looks like. Check your viewfinder. Look for ways to improve. After your model has given you several poses, give them some direction on a few more.
Also, don't be afraid to try things. If you're shooting digital, shots don't cost you anything but memory space. There were several shots I took where I said out loud, "I'm not sure if this will work, but let's try it." Sometimes it didn't work. But, there were a few times it worked great! So, don't be afraid to try things. Especially if it's your first model photo shoot.
Know Your Camera
When working with a model, you don't want to waste time. That doesn't mean you need to rush. Take your time and do a good job. But, you don't want to be playing with your camera, trying to get it to do something you aren't sure how to do. Have an idea in your head of how you want to shoot the model. Are the shots going to be portraits? Plan on shooting with a big aperture to get soft backgrounds. Are the shots going to be more action oriented, like sports or dance? Plan on shooting with a high enough shutter speed to catch the action. You need to have in mind the kind of shots you're going to take so you aren't wasting time trying different settings. This doesn't mean you can't experiment with different shots and settings. Just have those ideas in mind so you can quickly set up and shoot.
By knowing the kind of shots you're going to take, you'll know what you need to have with you. For this photo shoot, I knew it would be bright, especially knowing the time of day we would start shooting. So, I made sure I had my lens shade with me. As it turns out, I didn't need it. But, it's better to have something you don't need, than to need something you don't have.
Know Your Location
For my first model photo shoot, we went to the beach. Dauphin Island, Alabama has a great beach with several locations to take advantage of. I really like the dock there. It's kind of weird because it doesn't go out far enough to reach the water. I'm not sure what the dock was meant for if it doesn't reach the water, but I know it's great for taking photos! You can shoot on the top of the dock. On top, there are several places in wide open sun, as well as covered areas for shade. There are steps you can shoot on that take you to the bottom of the dock. At the bottom, you can go under the dock and get some great shots using the shade and the pillars.
The point is, I knew my location. I had been there before, and I already had shots in my mind that I wanted to get. Nothing wastes more time than endlessly walking around a location, trying to find a good place to shoot. So, have your location in mind. I recommend getting there 30 minutes early so you can look around and get some more ideas of the shots you can take.
Some other important things to keep in mind about location are the conditions. You probably won't be able to plan for this until the day of the shoot. Check the weather to have an idea of what you'll be shooting in. You can only plan this so much. My first model photo shoot was in bright sun, and we started shooting at 2:00 pm. Not the best time to shoot. The lighting is very harsh. But, you can't always control when you shoot. You'll have to shoot when your model can. So, you need to have in mind ways to shoot around the weather and lighting conditions.
One thing that did catch me off guard was the wind. It was incredibly windy during the shoot. There were some shots that the wind worked to our advantage though.
Take Lots of Shots
You want to take lots of shots. Especially if it's your first model photo shoot. This gives you a lot of photos to pick through when done. You never know when you might snap a photo that captures the perfect expression or glance. When going through the photos later, you'll have to decide which ones to keep and which ones to get rid of. By shooting many photos, you'll have several that are very similar that you can select the best from. For example, the model would give me a certain pose, and I would snap 3 or 4 photos in a quick burst. Each of the photos would be slightly different. These subtle changes make a huge difference in selecting the best photos.
Very Rewarding
My first model photo shoot was a very positive and rewarding experience. It helped me get a feel for what shooting a model on location is like. It helped me understand how important communication between the photographer and model is. It gave me an idea of what kind of work is involved after the shoot. Shooting photos is only part of it. You have to go through the hundreds of shots and try to narrow them down to the ones you want to keep.
On this particular shoot, I shot around 350 photos in a 2-hour span. I narrowed them down to what I felt were the top 50 shots. I made sure there was a variety of photos that both the model and I could use in our portfolios. Another reason to narrow them down is because you don't want to have to post process 350 photos in Photoshop! Don't waste time editing photos you aren't going to keep. Select the best ones and go from there. Dump the rest. Remember, the model will be showing your work in their portfolio. Don't give them subpar images. It reflects on you! Only give them your best work to show.
On the DVD I gave to the model, I had a folder with my top 50 shots in high res. These are the files Chrissy can use to make prints from if she chooses to. I also included a "Copyright Release Form" that gives her the right to print the photos for personal, non-commercial use. This is required because some places won't allow the model to print the shots without signed approval from the photographer. I also included a folder of the 50 photos in low res form. These are optimized for online use on places like Facebook. On the low res photos, I also included a small watermark in the bottom right-hand corner of each photo. This watermark has my website address. So, when the model posts the photos online, I get a little free advertising. If you do this, make sure the watermark is readable, but not intrusive.
One of the greatest rewards was seeing Chrissy light up when she saw the photos for the first time. I met her and Ben at a bookstore and we looked at the photos on her laptop. She was smiling ear to ear and kept saying how happy she was with the photos. It's a great feeling when you collaborate with a model on a photo shoot, deliver the photos, and walk away knowing that the model was beyond satisfied with your work. It builds your confidence as a photographer.
So I can say that my first model photo shoot was a very positive experience. Follow these tips, and yours can be too!
posted by michaelabela.weebly.com

Food Photography Basics for Beginners

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If you have a passing interest in taking photos of dishes you create in the kitchen but you aren't a professional food photographer, I have compiled a few basic techniques you can use quite easily (and cheaply) at home to create your own culinary photography magic.
These simple considerations are key to any food photography and are used by food photographers regularly.
Lighting Tips 

Don't use a frontal flash on your subject, flashing from the front will wash out the texture of a dish or food subject. In food photography texture is what you want to achieve.

Do use lighting from the side or rear, this gives depth to your photo, it helps give the viewers eye an interesting perspective to focus on.
Natural lighting, i.e. the sun, works well in the above positions also. However it may not always be in the right place for you to use, especially when doing indoor shoots if you have windows that are not facing sunny positions.
Small mirrors work very well for focusing light on to particular parts of a dish to help reduce very harsh shadows or to draw attention to areas of interest in your composition.
Composition Tips 

Most importantly perhaps, food used for food photography should always be fresh. This means check for blemishes on fruits and vegetables, make sure items aren't too soggy or burnt or crumbly. Small imperfections are easily picked up and will degrade the overall look of your photo.

Arrange the composition to suit the camera you are using. Depending on what type of camera you use this means constantly check the viewfinder or LCD to see how the camera sees your presentation. If you use a digital SLR and lens for example this will be even more noticeable as the camera's perspective can be different to that of your eye.
Food photography is an art form with many techniques that can be explored in depth if you are interested in furthering your skills. Just keep in mind these most basic of tips to use as a solid foundation to building better looking food snaps at home.
All it takes is a camera and a natural light source to start with, you can very cheaply add to your food photography equipment by using household mirrors, lamps and even torches. Experiment a bit and you will find you can come up with a method that works best for you that may not even be written about yet.
posted by michaelabela.weebly.com

Sexism In Portrait Photography!

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Today's tip involves portrait photography and sexism!
Here is a simple tip where if you do this right -you are golden.
Do it wrong and no one will like your photos and winning that photo contest is never going to happen. What's worse, their dislike will be on a subliminal level and no one will know WHY they don't like it, just that they don't.
I could have titled this one as: "How to be politically correct and ruin an otherwise great photograph!" It's all in the angles. This applies whether you are doing a head and shoulders portrait, three quarter pose or something larger.
Rule of thumb: Men don't like to appear feminine in their portraits and women don't like to appear masculine.
And yes, this photography rule is sexist and falls back on the old male/female stereotypes. (Male dominant, female submissive.) Sometimes it just works out that way. I'm about as enlightened as anyone I know, but in the real world these stereotypes exist and we have to accept it.
First the basics... For both males and females, unless they actually ARE a football player - on the field in full uniform - we don't want football shoulders. Have them turn their body to about 45 degrees to the camera. Then we can make adjustments.
If you are shooting a male in your portrait, make him look aggressive and masculine.
There are three ways to do this...
One - have him leaning forward into the camera.
Have him lean forward at the waist and slightly jut out his chin. Be careful that you don't overdo it or it will look comical. This is more a subtle adjustment than an aggressive stance.
Two - Lower the camera a bit in relation to the model. As kids we always "looked up" to authority figures and it has become ingrained in the way we see things. To give your model more authority, have the viewer looking slightly up at them. Again, it's a subtle tweak. If the viewer realizes what is happening, you've gone too far.
Three - In all portraits, we want the shoulders to be at different levels. This is a continuation of the anti - football shoulders rule. If the shoulders are at different levels, that means one is higher than the other. (Duh!)
Have the male tilt his head TOWARDS the lower shoulder!
This is a big one. Tilting the head towards the higher shoulder will definitely make him appear feminine! Never violate this rule.
Want a feminine look? Do the opposite!
Have her lean slightly away from the camera, raise the camera angle so you are slightly higher and tilt her head toward the higher shoulder.
BTW - In females, the head can be tilted either way - and still look good. But traditionally tilting toward the upper shoulder is more feminine.
Women can be posed either way but men must tilt to the lower shoulder.
These three portrait posing rules will definitely set you apart from the crowd. In no time you will be winning photo contests and getting all the "ooohs and aaahs" from your friends and relatives. Isn't that what you want? Isn't it why you got into photography to begin with? For more information, check out the resource box...
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Lifestyle Photography Or A Studio Session

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When many of us think about booking a photography session, we automatically imagine ourselves in a photographic studio with bright lights, reflectors, and a whole host of technical looking equipment. Whether we have chosen to book a couple's photography session, or family photography, the default is the studio session, but there is an alternative option. Lifestyle photography is shot on location and offers an opportunity to take much more relaxed, natural photographs.
Studio session photography is something I am sure we are all familiar with; often featuring a white background these days, the photographer usually encourages you to bring fun props and wear brightly coloured clothes. During the shoot you may be encouraged to do all sorts of silly things to make you all laugh and act comfortable and natural. You can certainly get some fabulous images with this method, and a major benefit is that it is usually cheaper, however lifestyle photography offers a different style for you to choose from when booking a photography session.
There is a completely different emphasis when you book a lifestyle photography session. The location acts almost like another character in the photos. Ideally you would choose somewhere that means something to you or your family; somewhere that has a certain significance for you is perfect. The aim is to capture a moment in time, un-posed, just you in surroundings you feel like yourself in. Imagine stunning family shots that you could have taken yourself, if only you had the skills of a professional photographer!
Lifestyle photography works for most subjects. An engagement photography shoot at the place where your fiance proposed will be something you can treasure forever, while a family photo session in a location that your children love exploring and playing in can deliver some absolutely amazing images.
Many young children can feel uncomfortable in a studio, with so much complicated looking equipment, and bright lights shining directly on them. A lifestyle photography session eliminates this as you can choose to be in a place where they feel comfortable and can be themselves. Most parents know that if you ask a young child to smile for the camera they can pull the oddest faces; sure they think they are smiling, but you know it's not the same as the smile you get when they are having fun and are absorbed in the moment.
Most people choosing a lifestyle photography session pick an outside area that means something to them, whether it is a local park or your own allotment, a good photographer will be able to find a way to make both the location and yourself shine. Whether you choose lifestyle or studio photography, the important thing is to enjoy yourselves and you will end up with some fantastic pictures that will last a lifetime.
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Architectural Photography - The Top 5 Hotel And Resort Photographers In India

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Hotel and Property photography is the commercial aspect of architectural photography. Good architectural photographers can add a lot of marketing mileage to an enclosure through their work.
In India, the field of architectural photography for hotels, properties and institutions is very competitive with many freelancers and agencies competing for the title of best architectural photographer.
So as a client or an upcoming photographer, it is important to know the top architectural photographers in India. This way, you can compare your existing pictures or the portfolio showcased by someone whom you may hire, with the best hotel and resort photographers in India.
These five photographers/agencies are considered by most to be among the top brass in India. However, we have not ranked them 1-5 since they target different clients and have different types of photography. We have not included overseas photographers who also operate in India, to keep the list simple. In alphabetical order
  1. Amit Mehra : Based at New Delhi, Amit Mehra has over 22 years of experience in photography. He has established himself as an independent photographer for hotels, advertisement and the fashion industries.
    • Type: Established Freelancer with wide experience in architectural and documentary styles.
    • Areas of expertise: Hotels, Homes, Fashion, Fine-art, Portraits
    • Diversification: Stills, Prints
  2. Fotobubbles: A Bangalore based company of creative professionals serving the hospitality, real estate and education industries. Started by IIT Grads, Fotobubbles has garnered a lot of accolades in the short span since its beginning. Definitely a go-to agency for high quality stills, panoramas, corporate presentations and other creative solutions with a marketing edge.
    • Type: Creative Agency praised for packaging photography with unique solutions.
    • Areas of expertise: Hospitality, Real Estate, Education, Weddings, Portraits
    • Diversification: Stills, 360 Panoramic Tours, Videography, Presentations, Design
  3. Hardev Singh Photographers: Hardev Singh and Harmeet Singh, operating from New Delhi, are professional photographers recommended by SINAR. They specialize in high definition imaging for hotel interiors and exteriors apart from food photography.
    • Type: Experienced Photography Agency with a good repertoire and international presence.
    • Areas of expertise: Hospitality, Destination, Food, Travel
    • Diversification: Stills, 360 Panoramic Tours
  4. Jaideep Oberoi: Jaideep Oberoi finished his photography education at Brooks Institute, Santa Barbara, USA. He operates from his studio in Mumbai for up-market clients.
    • Type: Acclaimed Independent photographer offering professional service.
    • Areas of expertise: Hotels, Resorts, Spa, Models, Lifestyle
    • Diversification: Stills only
  5. Sodhi's Photography: Sodhi is a Gurgaon based photographer for architectural and commercial photography. His agency takes pride in their high-end equipment and offer still images and panoramic tours for clients.
    • Type: Photography Agency equipped for taking high quality medium format pictures.
    • Areas of expertise: Hospitality, Industrial, Food, Products
    • Diversification: Stills, 360 Panoramic Tours
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2 Portrait Photography Clothing Tips To Lose Weight!

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Today's portrait photography tip concerns clothing. Bright clothing to be exact. If you want your portrait photo to stand out in the crowd - and win photo contests - the clothing matters!
Today I have two tips for you.
Today's Tip #1 - Avoid bright clothing and clothing with bold, eye catching patterns.
Let's talk about bright clothing. With bright clothing we once again run into a problem with the viewer's eye being drawn away from the face. It's the same thing with loud patterns. Remember, the eye is automatically drawn to the brightest part of a photo.
Bright clothing will have the eye bouncing all over the place, with no distinct place to settle. In other words, for the viewer it is confusing. Confusing the viewer is something to be strenuously avoided. We want our photo to have ONE distinct star and there should be no confusion about what or who that star is.
Today's Tip #2 - When in doubt, go black.
Unfortunately in modern society, we have an issue with weight. The problem is, being over-weight is not the most attractive look in a portrait photograph! Keep in mind our goal is to make our subject look better than they have EVER looked in a photo.
How?
Have them wear black or dark clothing. Preferably with no pattern. (And pose them at 45 degrees to the camera and have them sit up straight.) I'm sure all of you already know this, but I'm including it as an attempt to be thorough.
Why does it work to visually slim down our subject? It's the shadows. Highlights and shadows are what define form in a photograph. The eye picks up on these visual clues and they are what make us look fat!
If we eliminate them - and go with solid black for example - it is harder for the eye to pick out shadows. (Black shadows on top of black clothing.)
In addition to hiding the shadows, be careful of your lighting so that you keep the highlights on the clothing to a minimum - and keep all of the viewer's attention on the face.
These simple tactics can visually take 10 - 15 - even 20 pounds off our subject!
Following all these portrait photography rules can often be a real pain... but it is worth it. If you've been reading my portrait photography article series, you now know as much or more than most professionals. But here is the real kicker... most of the pros may know the rules, but they don't use them! THAT'S why you are going to start winning photo contests and be the "go to" photographer when anyone in your circle of friends and family wants a portrait. You'll simply be the best in your area.
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How To Make Money With Selling Your Photos Online

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The internet is just in its early stage and the growth in internet based commerce has resulted in a high demand for digital images. Professional photographers are well aware of this and they are constantly searching for ways to sell their work. And with success! Selling photos on the internet is one of them.
Do you think you have what it takes to be able to sell photos online? The answer is probably "No". But with a little research, some good equipment and the love for photography you have what it takes to start earning.
Selling photos online is called stock photography. Stock photos can be used legally by media and businesses. Nowadays, it's quite common for businesses to use stock photography websites to find digital images for their advertising. They can use it for magazines and websites to complement articles. Graphic artists use it for web design purposes. This means businesses can save a lot of money as compared to hiring professional photographers.
Is stock photography for everyone I hear you think? Well the answer is "Yes". You need to become a member of a stock photography website of course. But after doing that all you have to do is upload your photos that you think will sell. Every time someone buys one of your photos, you get paid a commission which is usually between 50%-80% of the amount paid. The commission varies and depends which stock photography website you sell your stock photos. The price of one stock photo is between 1-10 dollars. 1 to 10 dollars doesn't sound like much, but if you add up all the sales you get when you sell photos online each month, it can become a nice source of profit for your photography hobby. It can even become your full time income.
Things are starting to get interesting right? You probably still have doubts if you have what it takes to start earning selling your photos. I can give you some tips to get you started:
1. Good equipment 

It's obvious stock photography websites and their customers want good looking photos. A good digital camera is a must. You can search the web for advice which camera to buy. Read through photography forums and customer reviews.

2. Find out what stock photography websites are looking for 

A close-up picture of a rose might seem like a cool photo to you but is that what stock photography websites are looking for? They probably already have thousands of similar photos. Try and choose generic subjects. Do some research so you'll get an idea about what kind of photos actually sell online.

3. Take the photos 

You've got the right camera and you now what kind of photos are selling. Now it's time to start shooting. Take a lot of photos so that you'll have a good amount to select from.

4. Find a website to sell your photos to 

Register yourself to more than one stock photo website. The more the better Use Google and look for terms like 'places to sell photos online' or 'stock photography websites' etc.

5. Submit your photos 

After you've chosen the website you wish to use to sell photos online, it's time to submit your photos. Always make sure you follow ALL the rules the site has for submission.

So let's get started. Grab your camera and start shooting. Good luck selling photos online.
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The Nikon D5100: An Excellent Choice for the Beginner to DSLR Photography

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The Digital Revolution
The last decades our world has experienced a revolution: The Digital Revolution. Digital cameras and smart phones allow almost everybody to take nice photos. Photography is a child's play. The popularity of digital cameras created such a huge market that the uninitiated must be overwhelmed by all the choices.
Point-and Shoot vs. DSLR
Having taken photos with a smart phone or point-and-shoot camera people might suddenly discover a new hobby or even passion for photography. This can find its expression in an appetite for more, for a 'real camera' that is a reflex camera with interchangeable lenses, a DSLR or Digital Single Lens Reflex.
The Nikon D5100 - Your Access to more Creativity
Photographic gear on the shelves ranges from top-of-the-line professional tools like the Nikon D4 to entry-level consumer cameras.
This is where the Nikon D5100 comes into play. The D5100 sits between the smaller D3100 and the high-end D7000, but offering basically the same features and quality as the much more expensive D7000.
Key Features
  • 16.2 Mega Pixel DX-format (1.5x FOV crop) CMOS sensor
  • Side-articulated 3.0"LCD monitor (920,000 dots)
  • Fast 11-point Autofocus System (with 3D tracking)
  • Sensitivity range ISO 100-6400 (expanded up to 25,600)
  • HD movies with Full Time Autofocus (1080p, 720 or WVGA)
  • Continuous shooting at 4 fps
  • In-camera effect modes for stills and video
  • In-camera HDR (High Dynamic Range)
  • Comes with Nikkor 18-55mm f3.5-5.6G VR lens
  • Built-in Speedlight Flash with Intelligent i-TTL
  • Live View
Handling and Feel
Digital cameras come a long way. The Nikon D5100 offers today quality and features that were not long ago only found with professional cameras. First of all, this camera with its high-resolution 16 Megapixel DX CMOS sensor and EXPEED 2 Image Processing Engine delivers an outstanding image quality. With only 822 grams, including kit lens, this small and light camera handles very well. The newbie might be confused first by all these buttons and levers on the body, but will soon realize how intuitive the layout and functions are. This is how the D5100 benefits from Nikon's decades long experience of being at the very front of professional photo gear. Dedicated buttons make a fast and efficient way of shooting possible.
The centerpiece of the D5100 is its vari-angle 3 inch LCD monitor with 920,000 dots and 170 degrees wide viewing angle, allowing for versatile high quality viewing and playback.
Try a high angle for overhead shots, shoot from the hip for candid shots or a low vantage point for looking up into the sky and last not least have fun taking a controlled self-portrait. The virtually 100% frame coverage makes it easy to check the composition while using Live View or shooting HD movies.
The clear layout of the control panel shows the most relevant settings like File Format, White Balance, ISO, Autofocus, Metering, Bracketing etc. at a glance. With pressing just two buttons, Info and Multi Selector, changes can be made easily.
The top of the body gives access to an array of additional functions. The main dial includes all the various Modes, besides an All-Auto Mode there are the standards like P=Program, S=Shutter Priority, A=Aperture Priority and M=Manual Mode.
For those willing to explore more options, there are Scene Modes like Portrait, Landscape, Child, Sports etc. and even Special Effects like Night Vision, Color Sketch, Miniature Effect, Selective Color etc.
Tell your Story with a Movie
The Nikon D5100 is not only an excellent still camera, but allows also high-quality movie-making with its Full HD capabilities (1920x1080 @ 30, 25, 24 frames per second, NTSC or PAL), the most advanced in continuous autofocus tracks your moving subjects with great accuracy. Live View and D-Movie start button are conveniently located on the top and allow video sequences up to 20 minutes. In-camera editing and creative tools will improve your still and movies. There is even a special jack for an external stereo microphone to achieve professional sound quality.
Nikon Software
The Nikon D5100 comes with a simple, yet useful software ViewNX2, allowing some basic editing like Resizing, Cropping, RAW processing and Movie editing.
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Photo Tip - How To Use The Portrait Photography Catch Light!

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While most of you know what a portrait photography catch light is, bear with me. At some point, it was a new idea for you, just as I'm sure it is for some of the other readers. In the interest of being thorough, in today's photo tip, let's have a quick look into the catch light.
Simply put, a catch light is the reflection of the portrait lighting source in the eyes.
We generally just think of it as a specular highlight in the eye, but it can be (and is) a vital part of the image. Particularly in portrait photography.
While the old cliché that, "the eyes are the windows to the soul" may or may not be true... a catch light makes the eye appear brighter and more exciting. Eyes without a catch light appear dull and lifeless.
If you have catch lights in the eyes, they are generally not noticed. If you don't have them, their lack can ruin a photo. Or not! If you want to make a person appear evil - why you'd want to I don't know - an old cinematographer's trick is to eliminate the catch lights!
Try it this Halloween, you may win a contest or two!
If you DON'T want your subject to appear evil, a catch light in both eyes is vital. So vital in fact that if photographers are using a lighting pattern where they are not getting a catch light, they will add a special "eye" light to their lighting setup.
Typically, an eye light will be of low intensity so it doesn't affect the highlights and shadows of the overall lighting pattern. It just puts a little glint in the eye.
In learning how to create various lighting patterns or trying to determine what type of lighting the photographer used, it is often helpful to examine the catch lights.
The eye acts like a mirror and will reflect the light source(s). By studying the reflections, we can determine how many lights were used, what type of light (diffused or hard light) and their general location in relation to the model.
These are all good things...
A bad thing about the refection showing the type of light, is that sometimes that reflection is unattractive and takes away from the photo. If you've ever noticed the reflection of a "ring light", it (to me) looks creepy and I think it is why ring lights are not more popular.
Btw, a "ring light" is an on camera flash that goes all the way around (rings) the lens.
So, bottom line, make absolutely sure you have a catch light - in both eyes - unless you have a specific and preplanned reason not to. This photo tip is one of the vital rules of portrait photography that should never be broken whether you are shooting people, pets or anything else with eyes.
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