The Character of Candids

 

If you plan to photograph kids in their Halloween costumes this weekend, consider how compositional tastes have changed in recent years.

In the past, parents typically preferred images where children were perfectly posed, smiling nicely and sitting still. Photographers fumbled with toys and distractions, attempting to goad said cooperation in a desperate effort to achieve these impossibly picturesque shots.

However, this is no longer the case as taste is seemingly shifting in favor of a more candid, honest one- and understandably so. For many people, photos aren’t artistic works as much as they are mechanisms for preserving otherwise fleeting moments and memories- and memories are rarely perfect.

If your nephew spends this Halloween sobbing because he’s scared of all the costumes, a forced, awkward photo of him beaming on the front porch, superficially enjoying the evening won’t correspond to the memories you’ll one day laugh about while looking through family photo albums. So shoot what’s true- whether it be laughter, playfulness or tears.

Digital Camera Cleaning and Maintenance

It is too easy to come home after a days shooting, whip out the memory card, have a play with your new images and forget all about maintenance of your kit.

If you are like me, anything new that I buy over time (car, motorbike, watch, glasses etc), get cleaned immaculately at least once a day. Then after a few weeks it falls to once a week or so and then just “on the odd occasion” or when they look really dirty.

Because photography is my livelihood, I have to physically make myself grab my camera bag, go and sit somewhere quiet and take a good half an hour to an hour after a shoot to clean every piece of equipment that I have used.

This kit has cost thousands and its cleanliness has a direct bearing on the quality of my images and the longevity of its use. Not only that but as I upgrade my equipment, I may want to sell on my old cameras at the best price.

These are the checks that I make;

Get Your Romantic Portraits

If you’re a portrait photographer and you want to find new clients in your area, Valentine’s Day is a great time to advertise your services. If you don’t already do so, you should start maintaining an organized archive of contact information for every prior (and potential) client you’ve spoken to in the past. That way, around the holidays you can send out an email blast offering some original ideas and price estimations available to plan a fun themed photo shoot for clients, their families and friends.

Pick an exciting subject line like, “Get Creative This Valentine’s Day with a Romantic Portrait Session!” Then you can detail price offers, location suggestions and pose options within the body of the email. Try to send this out a few weeks before the holiday so you can book a handful of clients leading up to the day itself. If you’ve already taken couples portraits in the past, include some of those in the email to give clients a look at your compositional style.

On the day of the shoot itself, here are a

How to Step Up Your Game With an ND Filter

If you’ve dabbled in long exposure photography or time-lapses, you understand the value of a good ND filter. And, if you haven’t yet forayed into these adventurous worlds, trust me when I say a good ND filter is every bit as important as the lens to which it attaches.

Now there’s a new player in the ND filter market that can help you step up your game. It’s called the Super Dark and it’s made by Syrp.

It’s a variable ND filter, so you can adjust its filtering power with a simple turn of the filter glass. You get between 5 and 10 stops of adjustable exposure, meaning, you can take gorgeous time-lapse photos in widely varying lighting conditions.

The Super Dark is made of high-quality Japanese glass, and with an HD coating, offers a highly precise and clear result when you take your photographs and make your videos.

Offered in 67mm and 82mm variants, and packaged with step up rings, the Super Dark is compatible with

8 Simple Motivation Tips for Photographers

As a photographer, getting into a rut with your indoor shots is a common problem. This situation is especially true if your photography business is centered around a theme such as newborn photography or high school graduation portraits. Instead of getting into the doldrums about your work, you can change up the pace and get back into the magic of photography again using these eight simple motivational tips.

Develop a New Skill

Get to know the features that your camera has and see if one of those features can help you learn a new photographic skill. Read through your camera’s instructional menu. Go to the manufacturer’s website and explore their list of tips on how to use the features that are built into your camera. If you have purchased additional lenses or other accessories for your camera, experiment with those to see what you can come up with.

Choose a Theme

When you’re unmotivated, sometimes you may need to narrow the focus of your work to regain momentum. Choose a theme and give yourself a timeline to work with that theme. Some themes you could try include unique ways of framing, new angles, paired

Top 5 Printers for Photographers

In our digital world we sometimes forget that a photograph looks best when it is printed out, in the flesh – or paper, as it were. There are numerous printers aimed specifically at photographers and photo printing, but which are worth considering? Well, here are five of the very best to narrow your choice down

1) Epson Stylus Photo R2880

One of the more expensive printers coming in at a penny under £1000, this Epson is for the established professional. Though released in 2008, it still boasts some of the best printing capabilities in the industry. With its three black-ink system, the R2880 can achieve some of the highest quality black and white photos around. 5760x1440dpi takes care of the HD resolution and advanced magenta pigments add vibrancy to when you want a little colour.

2) Canon PIXMA MG7550 All-in-One Wi-Fi Printer

While its sleek design does resemble an early broadband router, the Pixma is a fantastic printer for the photographer on a budget. Alongside its Wi-Fi capabilities, it is also capable of Cloud printing, making life easier for the busy photographer who keeps their life up in the air. Though it does also

Photographing Falling Snow

In preparation for winter weather, here’s a simple guide you can reference next time you want to photograph snowfall in your area.

1. Adjust your Shutter Speed– This depends on the look you’re trying to achieve, which will differ depending on your personal taste. Long exposures will capture the snow in longer, falling streaks. Quicker shutter speeds will depict individual flakes.

2. Increase your ISO– Will it add more noise to the shot? Maybe- but it can help lighten things up if you’re working under a dark, cloudy sky. Experiment until you find a balance you’re happy with.

3. Flash– Again, the decision to use flash will depend on your personal vision. If you’re trying to capture a shot of individual snowflakes however, flash might be the way to go.

Share your best shots with us for a chance to win a free Canon EOS Rebel T6i DSLR, enrollment at NYIP, a Lowepro Nova Sport shoulder bag, a Toshiba 16GB memory card, an Adorama digital pro LCD screen protector and a cleaning kit for optics and cameras.

6 Poses You Can Use to Avoid Camera Shake

You can minimize camera shake without a tripod just by using your own body.

The Heidi Klum

The simplest method is to simply tuck your elbows in, like Heidi Klum striking a pose on the runway. Doing so improves your overall stability while giving your camera additional support because its weight is transferred from your hands to your arms to your elbows and finally to your chest.

Additionally, camera shake can be induced by the action of breathing. When using this technique, it’s important to exhale before you press the shutter button. If you don’t, the movement of your chest outward and inward as you breathe could cause your image to be blurry, especially if you’re shooting at a large aperture or slow shutter speed.

The Scarlett Johansson

Next up is the simple “on the ground technique.” It’s reminiscent of when Scarlett Johansson fell on her face and set the internet ablaze with memes.

It’s simple in that it’s really a no-brainer – lie flat on the ground and let your elbows and the ground form a tripod, as seen in the image above.

Choosing JPEG Over RAW

Since purchasing the small but powerful Olympus Pen F, I’ve been shooting in Jpeg Large/Fine as opposed to RAW. This is a massive departure from my former routine which involved processing RAW files in Lightroom. Now I let the camera’s Jpeg engine do the image editing at the time of the shot. This includes noise reduction, sharpening, contrast and saturation adjustment. Contrary to popular belief, there is little (if any) noticeable difference in file quality. In fact, images really pop right out of the camera.

With their new “Monochrome 2” profile, Olympus has created an incredible JPEG picture mode which is perfect for shooting street scenes and portraits in black and white. Many photographers believe it has a similar look to Kodak Tri-X. This was a popular film known for its bright whites and inky blacks. It was used by some of my favorite street photographers including Garry Winogrand. There is even an option to add various levels of grain though I generally choose to leave this off.

By working with a JPEG file I can quickly choose and transfer images to my phone. This feature does not work with RAW files. The camera’s Wi-Fi mode

Black and White Photos to Capture the Soul

These are the sort of adjectives that spring to mind when you look at a well-executed black and white image, whether it’s a portrait of an individual, a still-life or an action shot. But what makes a particular monochrome image stand out from the crowd and how can you achieve this with your own photography?

Tricks of the Light

Photography is, if nothing else, the manipulation of light and shadow, black and white, darkness and illumination. All photographers can learn about this from the works of the Great Masters of the art world – chiaroscuro is the term used to describe the use of strong contrasts of the light in painting, photography and cinematography. Immerse yourself in the works of Rembrandt, El Greco and Caravaggio to gain an insight as to how effective this technique can be.

Understanding correctly how to use lighting in your photography can directly affect the mood of your picture – and its impact on your audience. So how do you go about achieving these different affects?

Continuous Lighting

With a reputation for over-heating and exploding, the use of continuous lighting was until recently not particularly popular. However, with

The Camera Phone

In the past we have considered adding a section devoted to your camera phone to ATP but felt the resolution and popularity of most mobile phones with cameras didn’t justify it. Now however, most mobile phones being manufactured include a high quality camera and video feature as well as all the other goodies that they pack into mobile phones these days.

Do you use the camera much on your mobile phone? Do you use the video? How important would you say the camera feature is when buying a new cell phone camera? Please share your thoughts, ideas and images at the bottom of this page, we would love to hear from you!

We will start to incorporate camera phone photography into ATP now that they have better:

  • Resolution
  • Flash
  • Mega-pixels
  • Quality
  • Ease of uploading images to the web
  • Focussing
  • Tracking
  • Video
  • Face recognition
  • …the list goes on

So it may be time to start looking into how to take better photos with your camera’s phone.

Because these mobile phones and their cameras are so incredibly portable, we are seeing a huge surge of images being taken at venues that:

  1. Don’t allow traditional cameras
  2. Are generally not suited for bulkier cameras

Camera

4 Things Photographers Wish their Subjects Knew

Some photographers have a hard time working with picky subjects. Creative visions clash, groups don’t see eye to eye, and what should have been a fun afternoon quickly feels awkward and upsetting. So subjects, here are some things photographers might want you to know:

1. Let us call the shots. Of course we want to work with you. We want to hear about your creative vision and about the ‘perfect shot’ you’re picturing- and we want to help you achieve that. But sometimes in order to discover some more great shots along the way, you have to relinquish some of the control and let us take the creative reigns. It will be worth it, trust us.

2. Don’t try to haggle with us about pricing. We advertise our costs for a reason. If you think they’re unfair, don’t schedule the shoot. When you try to convince us to offer you cheaper fees after the fact, it feels like you’re implying that our work isn’t worth it.

3. Some creative people struggle with typical 9 to 5 organizational norms. Not all photographers work normal hours. Spontaneous creativity sometimes clashes with traditional workplace dynamic.

Photographing Raindrops

If you’re interested in exploring macrophotography, close-up captures of raindrops can be a great project to start with. Before you begin, here are 4 tricks to consider during your first shoot:

1. Choose a practical subject. If it’s your first time photographing tiny water droplets, try to choose a bright backdrop on which the translucent condensation will stand out against more vividly. Experiment with plants, flowers and colorful leaves around your yard until you find a natural hue to serve as a concrete backdrop.

2. Bring your own water. Fill up a small household spray bottle and bring it along on the shoot. That way, you can re-spray leaves that are starting to look dried-up, plus you won’t have to wait for a rainy day to get practicing.

3. Try an action shot. For this project, you might want to work indoors against a dark, synthetic backdrop. Use a little backlighting with that dark display and position an object (maybe a picked flower or leaf) in your view. Ask an assistant to stand out of the frame and squirt the spray bottle onto the prop. Mid spray, try to capture the action

Top 3 Polarized Filters That Won’t Let You Down When It Counts

Got glare in a mid-day scene you need to get rid of? Want the colors in the photo you’re taking to be more saturated? Do you want the skies in your landscape shots to be a deeper blue with brighter white clouds?

A good polarized filter can accomplish all of these things!

As many photographers know, a polarized filter can be your best friend, but with so many options out there, deciding on a good filter can be just as difficult as composing the shot. To help you narrow down your list and get the best possible filter that will perform for you no matter the conditions, we’ve put together a run-down of three of our favorite polarizers on the market today.

Singh-Ray 77mm LB Warming Circular Polarizer Filter

For the highest quality polarized lens, it’s hard to find anything better than the Singh-Ray 77mm LB Warming Circular Polarizer Filter. This ring-mounted filter is built using highly polished proprietary glass that offers you unparalleled image clarity and quality. The LB notation on the filter stands for “lighter, brighter,” meaning the filter has a lower optical density that gives you the

Cleaning Camera Sensors

Processing was a breeze with bright bold colours and no more spots of dust than normal. (I am of the thinking that I can cope with “healing out” or “cloning” a few noticeable spots away rather that being without the camera for weeks on end whilst it is being cleaned).

However, I had another wedding a few days later and I was shooting a preliminary “pre-wedding” meal near the beach and…HORROR! I hadn’t used the camera or changed lenses since the previous wedding and cannot for the life of me understand where all this dust had come from.

I looked at the blue sky on the preview screen and it looked like hundreds, no thousands of flies were attacking the coast of Spain! I used my backup camera but also shot a few with the dirty 5D at wide aperture to try and kill the dust.

After painfully processing these images, I decided to have a closer look at the sensor…what a mess! I had another big wedding coming up and needed this camera as my main and had no time to send it away or order a pro cleaning kit (impossible to get in Spain).

Low Angle Photography Tips

If you’re bored with your compositional routine lately, mix it up with some new techniques. Low angle shots are a great way to give viewers an entirely different look at any scene.

By offering a new perspective, you’re able to take photos that truly stand out from the rest- one of the most important steps in becoming a uniquely successful photographer. Getting started, here are 5 things to keep in mind when trying this method:

  1. Use Depth of Field– If your camera actually offers a Depth of Field Mode, this is the right time to use it. This tool will work to keep as many parts of the image in focus as possible which otherwise gets complicated if, for example, you’re shooting a composition with leaves on the ground close up and a church in the distance further back.
  2. Do Some Guesswork– Realistically, you aren’t going to be able to look through the viewfinder as you normally would with other shooting styles. You’re going to have to take some test shots, use your stylistic judgment, do some guesswork and adjust- that is, unless your device offers a screen that folds out.
  3. Position Objects

Tips for Landscape Photography With a Telephoto Lens

For some photographers, the notion of shooting a landscape with a telephoto lens is sacrilege. After all, the majority of landscape photos are taken with a wide-angle lens, and it’s probably safe to assume that most landscape photography tutorials approach their teaching as though a wide-angle lens is the best choice.

But, as is the beauty of art, the decision regarding the lens you use is wholly up to you. If you want to shoot with a wide-angle lens, that is your prerogative. It is important to note that while wide-angle lenses do indeed offer wonderful opportunities for making landscape photos, telephoto lenses offer wonderful opportunities as well.

One can argue that landscape photography with a telephoto lens leads to more creative and unique images, simply because fewer landscape photos are taken with a telephoto lens. You can isolate certain elements of the landscape in the frame much more easily, as was done in the image of the waterfall above. By the same token, you’re more apt to eliminate distracting elements from the scene by using a telephoto lens because of its narrower angle of view.

Another benefit of using a telephoto

The Benefits Take Photo at Night

Many photographers avoid nighttime shoots for seemingly obvious reasons- it’s hard to see what you’re doing in the dark, low light performance isn’t the greatest, etc.

However, these issues are arguably ones of the past. Thanks to new camera design and the presence of user-friendly LCD screens, you can see what you’re doing regardless of time of day. Designers and camera manufactures have made significant strides in improving low light performance as well- providing you with the opportunity to take some stunning shots after sundown.

There are three key advantages to switching out of your daytime routine in favor of some nighttime shoots.

  1. Effects– There are several incredible effects you can experiment with at nighttime that don’t work as well (or at all) when the sun is up. From light trails to motion blurs, all these long shutter speed techniques offer some of the best results when executed in the dark.
  2. Consistency– During the day, one of the most frustrating issues photographers face is an unexpected weather change. You think you’re about to take the perfect shot, then some clouds unexpectedly roll in and the lighting you just accommodated is completely different. Nighttime

Photography Tips—Success Tips for Beginners

If you’re serious about developing your digital photography skills, then there may come a day when you decide to go “pro.” It’s unlikely you’ll start with a beautiful, spacious studio and a long list of clients. The reality is that you will probably never progress beyond the point of photography as a sideline to your full-time profession. Virtually every photographer that went “pro” started as a part-timer. Those that do make a living as a professional photographer are usually able to balance the artist within them with the entrepreneur/businessperson they must also be. They’ve learned some insider secrets, often by making mistakes, which this PhotographyTalk.com article will reveal, so you can avoid them.

The Busy Bird Catches No Worms

To the uninitiated, it may sound cool and professional to tell a customer on the phone that your schedule is extremely full. After all, what could make you seem more professional than that customers are in a line outside your front door? Established professionals’ experience proves that that is not the first thought that crosses customers’ minds. Instead, when they hear you’re busy, they think that you won’t miss the business if they decide to miss the

How to Take Pictures of Strangers

If you love taking portraits of people but you’re somewhat shy, you surely understand the frustrating feeling of allowing nervousness to ruin an opportunity to photograph a unique looking stranger.

Next time you’re in public and you see someone you’d like to photograph, here are a few things to remember:

  • Don’t be shy– Approaching someone you don’t know is a daunting task for many people. Asking someone you don’t know if you can take a picture of them, for many, significantly intensifies this unease. You might feel worried about seeming intrusive or creepy, but our best advice would be to remind yourself that in the absolute worst case scenario, the subject could say no. We recommend simply explaining that you’re a portrait photographer getting some practice for the day and asking if they’d like to be a subject. If they seem uneasy or say no, don’t ask again or try to convince them. Move on. What we tend to find instead however, is that most people are excited for the change to participate and flattered that you found them interesting enough to want to include in your portfolio.
  • Be ready– If you’re planning