Sunday, 30 June 2013

How to Photograph Fireworks: eBook Deal Until July 4th

How to Photograph Fireworks: eBook Deal Until July 4th

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How to Photograph Fireworks: eBook Deal Until July 4th

Posted: 29 Jun 2013 03:32 PM PDT


How to Photograph Fireworks (Click to Learn More)

With Independence Day celebrations quickly approaching, we have been receiving many requests for more training on how to photograph fireworks. This publisher has kindly agreed to offer our readers a discount on their popular training eBook for a short time. For the next few days use the discount code PICTURECORRECT to receive half off!

Discount ends July 4th (50% off)
Found here: How to Photograph Fireworks

A common result of photographers new to fireworks photography is capturing nothing but bright white spots instead of colorful bursts. This eBook does a great job of explaining the process from start to finish, everything from gear and camera settings to composition and post-processing to achieve great results.

Some of the Many Topics Covered (50 Pages):

  • Equipment & Accessories Needed
  • Using a DSLR for Fireworks
  • Using a Point & Shoot for Fireworks
  • Composition
  • Using a Neutral Density Filter
  • Country Shutter Technique
  • Post Processing
  • Conclusion
fireworks photography

Pages from How to Photograph Fireworks (Click to See More)

With these suggested settings and tips in hand, you should be fully prepared to photograph fireworks. While the exposure fundamentals of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO are essential to great fireworks, it's important to make sure you have the right accessories and set up for your shots correctly.

How to Get a Discounted Copy:

You can receive 50% off until the 4th of July by using the discount code PICTURECORRECT at checkout. It also carries a guarantee, if you do not find the book useful just let them know to receive a full refund. So there is nothing to lose in trying it.

It can be found here: How to Photograph Fireworks eBook

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How To Become a Storytelling Photographer

Posted: 29 Jun 2013 01:28 PM PDT

Natan Dvir is a photojournalist and a documentary artist who has a vast range of photographic experience for Polaris Images and other leading magazines. Born and raised in Israel, Natan moved to New York to pursue a Master’s degree in Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts.

In this video he discusses various aspects of being a storytelling photographer and how one should visualize, conceptualize, plan and execute a documentary type photography project. Natan goes on to describe the aspect of becoming a storytelling photographer through various photos explaining how to capture the correct moment at the right time (for those of you reading this by email, the seminar can be seen here):

Natan initially began working for Tel Aviv in Israel with a small time photography gig. This evolved into a full-time photography hobby and soon enough he started working on freelancing contracts. His first big photography assignment was during the Burning Man festival in Nevada. The decision to quit the full-time computer job came for Natan when he attended the Visa Pour L’Image festival that happens in south of France. That festival as per Natan inspired him to a whole new world of news photography and documentary. He soon left his full-time job to take up photography and embark upon a whole new journey.

Natan took up commercial photography to begin with but was more fascinated by people and thus moved on to documentary photography. His first project the Burning Man festival was not a good success as per him. But his second project named Shirat Hayam is what kick started his aspirations. In the video he gives a brief background about Israel and the various settlements. Natan then walks through how he went about shooting photographs in refugee camps, various small villages and towns in Israel and describing the reasoning behind doing this photo shoot.

He provides a brief account of how he found families living by the beautiful beach, surrounded by concrete walls and immediately followed by another fence providing a sense of conflict. Natan decided to tell the story of Shirat Hayam and thus initiated the photography documentary project for the same. He provides various images of what he captured during this assignment.

storytelling photographer

For this Shirat Hayam project, Natan recollects the following aspects -

  • Experiencing a bipolar effect – going from extreme sadist to extreme joy
  • He selected 20 favorite pictures, printed 20 copies of 5×7 of each picture and bonded them together into 20 small booklets
  • Natan titled this booklet “Shirat Hayam Independence Memorial Day 2005″
  • And then he went on to meet the people and handed them these booklets describing his feelings and intentions of his task
  • Gifting them a present started a conversation and Natan went on to provide details about his project

As per Natan, the major point was to show respect and engage with these people. This enabled him to visit families, learn about their background, shoot various photos and this eventually turned into a major documentary. He used to even end up staying with these families. He describes these details to summarize what are the few aspects for any documentary photographer to invest into. The video describes many examples and stories giving aspiring photographers pointers and directions on how to develop storytelling photography.

As per Natan, there are many factors that go into deciding your aspirations to become a documentary or a storytelling photographer. A few of these aspects include -

  • Getting access – This can make or break your project. It’s similar to crossing barriers. Bureaucratic barriers, psychological barriers and knowing your way around.
  • Being creative – Sometimes shooting documentaries requires bringing your creative best to the forefront.
  • Choosing the right idea – This is critical to realize the full potential and value of your project. Investing into a wrong idea is of no use.
  • Researching – Hunting for existing documentaries, reading materials, relevant information and content in regards to an idea is useful to plan the project
  • Equipment – Choosing the right type of lens, fast cameras are a few essentials that needs to be taken care of to capture the precise moment.
  • Camera Settings – Reacting to the environment and appropriately choosing the right camera settings are imperative.
  • Engaging with people – While shooting people, its good to interact and get them into a comfort zone. This will help you put your photography imagination to work
  • Preserving reality – Its important to maintain the reality in the photos. Not involving it in heavy post processing helps you preserve the real idea behind the image

The video encompasses many images and concepts that Natan describes in detail to deliver the message across. He provides tips, suggestions and pointers on how to evolve as a documentary storytelling photographer. Talking from his real photography project experiences, Natan delivers insights into various challenges on how to become a storytelling photographer. Loaded with stories and real life examples, this video will walk you through the journey of Natan and his photography works!

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

Basics of Aerial Photography from an Airplane or Helicopter

Posted: 29 Jun 2013 12:30 PM PDT

Aerial photography presents unique challenges. It requires much more than just shooting from a high elevation, and it can be very mundane if not done in an artistic and creative way. Professional commercial photography is intended to sell a client’s product, whatever it may be. In the case of aerial photography, it may be that a developer needs to show a recent residential development or a new shopping center. An architectural firm may want to show a project in a scope and perspective that only an aerial photograph can properly portray; a resort may want to show its amenities and golf course. Whomever the client, an aerial photographer must create effective images that successfully illustrate and sell the product.

"Spelling Manor, Holmby Hills" captured by Atwater Village Newbie on Flickr.

“Spelling Manor, Holmby Hills” captured by Atwater Village Newbie on Flickr.

A good aerial photograph should convey much more than just information about a city grid or of a landmass from a high elevation. Care must be given to the composition of your subject in aerial photography, just as it would be for any other kind of professional photograph. Most aerial photographs are taken from an oblique angle as opposed to straight down, as in satellite imagery. The oblique view gives much more interest and dimension to the image, not to mention it is much more practical to shoot from an oblique angle than from straight down.

Although one may be able to capture a satisfactory image with a few exposures, I find that for critical composition I need to circle around the view quite a few times to be certain that I have what I want for the final image. I allow 20 to 30 minutes of shooting once I get to the location. A shoot can be much faster, perhaps, but I would rather take more images to make sure that I have the perfect shot. Aerial photography requires a fair amount of consideration. You are trying to navigate an aircraft with a pilot while moving at 100 MPH, and the pilot usually doesn’t know exactly what it is you are looking for with respect to angle, distance, and elevation–the three most important factors in composing a good aerial photograph.

"Eastward Ho Golf Course Aerial" captured by Christopher Seufert. (Click image to see more from Christopher Seufert.)

“Eastward Ho Golf Course Aerial” captured by Christopher Seufert. (Click image to see more from Christopher Seufert.)

The Aircraft

The first thing to consider is the type of aircraft to use: a small airplane or a helicopter? Aerial photography from helicopters is easier than aerial photography from a plane. Helicopters have much more control, so getting your camera angle is much easier. They can also fly much lower. Although helicopters are much easier to navigate for composition, they are not always practical. Their hourly rates can be prohibitive, and they might not be available in many locations. I have contracted helicopters from a couple hundred miles away from the shoot location, but that can be very expensive. Because of these limitations, it’s important to learn to shoot from a small airplane.

Cessna’s (152, 175, etc.) are the best planes to work with for oblique aerial photography. They are very popular and almost always available. They are affordable (around $175/hour, which includes the pilot), and most importantly, they have an overhead wing, which is critical. The other important factor with the Cessna is that the pin from the window can be taken out to allow the window to be in the full up position while shooting. While flying, the wind will keep the window all the way up and out of the way for an unobstructed view. You will have to inform the pilot that you need the pin out before take off; it’s a simple thing to do. I also try to “fly left” (pilot is on the right side of the plane), because I am right-handed. It is more comfortable and easier to maneuver myself when shooting down and to the rear, which is how you will be shooting.

"Charlotte Aerial Photography" captured by James Willamor on Flickr.

“Charlotte Aerial Photography” captured by James Willamor on Flickr.

The Process

It’s a different world up there, and it is advisable to scout the location from the ground first in order to find your subject. It is hard to orient yourself, and knowing of a few large landmarks near your shoot location is very helpful. Of course, having GPS coordinates is important as well, but there have been times when the GPS has failed and I had to depend on my own reckoning to find my location.

Once I arrive at the location, I am in constant communication with the pilot. I will have him or her go as low (in a plane, 500′ in rural areas and a minimum of 1000′ in urban locations) and as slowly as possible. I will then start circling around the subject many times, starting at the lowest elevation that I can. I usually vary the elevation in order to insure that I have the shot I want. It isn’t easy to compose when flying at a minimum of 100 MPH. When I get to the optimum camera position, I ask the pilot to bring the wing up. This gets the strut out of the way and puts the airplane into a “slip”, which pushes the aircraft further away but maintains the camera position so the perspective doesn’t change too much.

A few other common sense things to keep in mind are:

  • Keep it simple.
  • Have everything set up before you go up, like the camera settings etc.
  • Keep the horizon line straight.
  • Shoot with a fast shutter speed: a minimum of 1/250 of a second.
  • Depth of field is no issue so an f-stop of 4 or more is acceptable.
  • Frequently re-check camera settings and focus.
"Dubai Aerial Shot" captured by Levent Ali on Flickr.

“Dubai Aerial Shot” captured by Levent Ali on Flickr.

One of the most important elements in a good aerial photograph is clear light, and that can be a very frustrating and challenging thing to deal with, especially in large urban areas where there might be air pollution and haze. A clear, cloudless high-pressure system day is best. I have gone out on an aerial shoot, only to have to turn around and come back down because the conditions suddenly changed and were no longer favorable. A haze filter over the lens can also be helpful.

Aerial photography can be a new adventure. It is a totally different perspective, and it has a place in both the commercial and fine art worlds. However, remember the Boy Scout motto and be prepared. If something goes wrong with your equipment up there it could be a disaster for your shoot and your client. Always cover yourself with a backup camera and lens system. After over 30 years in the business, I have seen it all!

About the Author:
Paul Schlismann is a Chicago Aerial photographer, corporate photographer and an award winning architectural photographer with offices in both Chicago and Arizona serving the architectural, and corporate markets since 1980. He travels regularly from the two locations and is readily available for assignments for architectural, corporate and aerial photography in Phoenix Arizona as well, Because of his two locations, he is also regularly working in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and San Diego and travels for nationwide assignments.

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

Photographing Acrobats on Trampolines in the Streets

Posted: 29 Jun 2013 11:27 AM PDT

You don’t often hear about live photography events. There are photography shows where you can view an artist’s work or photography exhibits where you can scope out new equipment, but rarely do you hear of an event where someone is actually taking the photos in front of an audience. Well on May 7th, photographer Jordan Matter stood outside the Grace Building in New York City and photographed the STREB EXTREME ACTION team bouncing on a trampoline while a large crowd stood and watched the action (for those of you reading this by email, the video can be seen here):

This live photo shoot was done to promote the book, Dancers Among Us, which captures dancers all around the world in both ordinary everyday moments and big celebratory moments. The idea is to convey the passion we should seek in everyday life, taking it in and enjoying all it has to offer. And just as the book is about living in the moment, so does Matter’s live photoshoot give passerbys the opportunity to stop and enjoy the acrobats in their moments of flying through the air.

After the photoshoot, a live screening was given of the photos taken during the day, and prints and books were raffled off to the crowd. The show was a success in spreading the love of photography, dance, and life.

trampoline stunt event photography

A member of the STREB team jumps on a trampoline in front of crowd of people for a live photography event

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Saturday, 29 June 2013

Understanding Exposure: An Introduction to Photography

Understanding Exposure: An Introduction to Photography

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Understanding Exposure: An Introduction to Photography

Posted: 28 Jun 2013 06:35 PM PDT

Mastering photography is like playing a musical instrument. Anyone can make noise on a piano, but to really make music, it is important to read music, learn proper fingering, and practice your scales. Learning how to control exposure is a similar discipline. It’s not exactly fun, but if you ever want to get beyond ‘click and hope for the best’ it is absolutely essential.

What is exposure?

The fundamentals of a camera are very simple: a box with a door (the shutter) that allows light in to burn an image on a light-sensitive surface. The term ‘exposure’ refers to the amount of light to which the film–or the sensor–is exposed.

The most basic photographic errors come down to allowing in too much light (over-exposure/too bright) or too little (under exposure/too dark).

In the photo above you can see the difference between an under-exposed, a properly exposed, and an overexposed image. "Progression of an HDR" captured by Jim Bauer on Flickr.

In the  bottom row of the photo above, you can see the difference between an overexposed, a properly exposed, and an underexposed image.  The top two frames are the same image after a little post production.
“Progression of an HDR” captured by Jim Bauer on Flickr.

A word about light

Understanding exposure makes one marvel at the human eye’s capacity to adjust to the huge differences in light we experience every day. There is around 1,000 times more light outdoors on a bright sunny day than in an averagely lit room indoors. Our eyes can simultaneously process a sunlit lawn and a log in the deep shade of a tree. Cameras are becoming better at this, but the light ‘latitude’ of a sensor is still nowhere near the capabilities of the human eye. To correctly expose the sunlit lawn (i.e. make it appear as it does to the naked eye), the log would be lost in blackness. Correctly exposing the log would leave the lawn a blaze of white.

Shutter speed, aperture, and ISO are the holy trinity of photography. They work in tandem, and to master them is half the battle of becoming a true photographer.


Don’t worry about what the acronym stands for (it’s ‘International Organization for Standardization’, if you must know). ISO refers to the ‘speed’ at which film–or a sensor–absorbs light. Outdoors on a bright sunny day you would use ISO 100. This is a ‘slow’ ISO but since there is so much light it can absorb it very easily. A ‘fast’ ISO (e.g. 1600) such as you might use at dusk, would be overwhelmed or ‘burnt out’ by so much light. Slow ISOs give minimal grain (for film) or noise (for digital). Generally, this is desirable. Shots taken in low light tend to be grainy or noisy–a trade-off for the ability to shoot when it’s so dark. ISO is the first thing I set on my camera when starting a shoot. Unless the light changes, I can forget about it and move on to aperture.

Using high ISO can cause digital noise in your images."Thingamagoop 2 from Bleep Labs" captured by Kevin Dooley on Flickr.

Using high ISO can cause digital noise in your images.”Thingamagoop 2 from Bleep Labs” captured by Kevin Dooley on Flickr.


Put crudely, the aperture is the size of the hole through which the light passes on the way to the sensor. It belongs in the lens rather than the camera body. Making the aperture larger allows in more light; making it smaller allows in less light. Aperture is measured in ‘f stops’ with slightly odd numbers attached. F2.8 is a relatively wide aperture size. If we halve the size and therefore the amount of light, we talk about ‘going down a stop’ to f4. If we go down another stop, we’re at f5.6, etc. The higher the f-stop number, the smaller the diameter of the aperture. Aperture not only controls exposure (how bright/dark an image is) but determines depth of focus – one of the most creative tools available to the photographer. But more on that in a later tutorial.

Shutter speed

The shutter is like a door. Most of the time it’s closed, but every now and then, when we press the shutter button, it opens. The longer it stays open, the more light it lets in. Shutter speeds vary greatly–for portraits, 1/125 of a second is fairly normal. Aside from exposure, shutter speed is important in allowing the photographer to blur or freeze movement. Again, that will be discussed in a later tutorial.

Shutter speed not only allows or blocks light, but it also freezes or blurs motion. "Moment supreme for Kingfishers" captured by Dennis Rademaker. (Click image to see more from Dennis Rademaker.)

Shutter speed not only allows or blocks light, but it also freezes or blurs motion.
“Moment supreme for Kingfishers” captured by Dennis Rademaker. (Click image to see more from Dennis Rademaker.)

Understanding stops

ISO, aperture, and shutter speeds all work on the principle of ‘stops’, a standard measure of light that is most easily tracked in half or double increments.

For ISO and shutter speed, this is fairly straightforward. ISO 400 (a good ISO for a heavily cloudy day) is a stop ‘faster’–or twice as light absorbent–as ISO 200.

A shutter speed of 1/250 is twice as fast 1/125 and therefore lets in half the amount of light.

For aperture, only the numbers are confusing–the principle remains the same. F11 allows in half as much light as f8 since it is one stop ‘smaller’.

If you take a shot that is too dark, you could try increasing the exposure (letting in more light) by a) opening up the aperture by a stop (say f8 to f5.6) or, b) slowing the shutter speed by one stop (eg from 1/500 to 1/250). This way you double the amount of light entering the camera. Either adjustment will result in the same exposure.

If all that has left you a little befuddled, fear not. In the next tutorial, I’ll take another look at exposure–this time how it can be applied in a more practical sense using the different camera modes (M, TV and AV).

About the Author:
I'm a photographer based in Sydney's Inner West ( While I have always loved portraits, it was the arrival of my son that made me appreciate just how fun and rewarding family photography could be. He's now five and, along with his younger sister, remains my favourite – and at times most challenging – subject. Besides my work as a family photographer, I shoot plenty of weddings as well as documentary work for the likes of the BBC, Marie Claire, The Weekend Australian Magazine, UNICEF, Oxfam and Save the Children.

For Further Training:

There is a popular downloadable multimedia guide with videos that teaches you how to take control over your camera, and get creative and confident with your photography. By combining illustrations, text, photos and video, it will help you get control in no time. Includes a bonus Field Guide—a printable pocket guide with some of the most essential information beautifully laid out inside.

It can be found here: Extremely Essential Camera Skills

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Interesting Photo of the Day: The Tianzi Mountain in China

Posted: 28 Jun 2013 05:14 PM PDT

The Tianzi Mountain in China is no less magnificent from the ground, but some say it is best viewed from a cable car. It takes only a few minutes for visitors to reach the summit where they are greeted by the Tianzi mountain peaks rising one after another. Located in the Northern side of the Wulingyuan Scenic Area, the Tianzi Mountain is at a higher elevation, providing users an expansive view of the Wulingyuan Area.

tianzi mountain china

Tianzi Mountain in China (Click Image to See Full Size)

These sandstone pillars can reach up to 1,200 meters in height. Acrophobics beware!

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This Short Film about the Leica M just Won 5 Awards

Posted: 28 Jun 2013 02:32 PM PDT

You’ve probably seen a lot of camera commercials in your life, but you’ve probably never seen one like this. It’s a minute-and-a-half art film that’s at once enticing, exciting, sexy, and sentimental. It was made to promote Leica’s new black-and-white only model, the digital M-Monochrom, and it recently won five awards at the Cannes Lions Film Festival. These include a Golden Lion in cinematography, a Silver Lion for direction and two Bronze Lions for editing and art direction. These are in addition to the 12 international awards it had previously received (for those of you reading this by email, the short film can be seen here):

The photographer referred to in the video was Robert Capa, a Hungarian combat photojournalist who covered World War II and the Spanish Civil War, among others. He was a co-founder of Magnum Photos – the infamous association of the world’s greatest photographers – along with Henri Cartier-Bresson and others.

Although many details of his life are true (he did indeed die from stepping on a landmine), some Capa advocates argue that the film contains historical inaccuracies or rumors; they claim that he stopped using his Leica in Spain, and was using a Contax and a Nikon at the time of his death during the First Indochina War.

leica camera ad

Nonetheless, the film is a beautiful achievement in its own right. It is narrated by Capa’s old Leica III, and uses low camera angles, sporadic focus, and hectic shots to give the perspective of a lens slung around his neck. It tells (a version of) the story of Capa’s life through stark, gritty, and evocative images which give a palpable sense of passion and of tragedy.

leica camera ad

It was created specially for the opening of the new Leica store in São Paulo, Brazil. Its production was actually not associated with the Leica Camera company at all, and was made independently by Felipe Vellasco of Sentimental Filmes and FNazca / Saatchi & Saatchi (both sites in Portugese). Its title, “Alma”, translates from Portugese (and Spanish, too) as “Soul”.

leica camera ad

In case you’re unfamiliar, Leica is a legendary German manufacturer that is considered the cream of the crop as far as camera production goes. They have been known for their optical superiority and exceptional build quality since they introduced the world’s first practical 35mm camera in 1924.

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The Wrong Way to Photograph Wildlife

Posted: 28 Jun 2013 11:10 AM PDT

If there’s one thing everyone – photographer or not – should know about wild animals, it’s “keep your distance”. This rule goes double when the animal is eating, and triple when their young are nearby. These are the most vulnerable times for an animal, and they will fiercely defend themselves and their food/babies from any swaggering intruder. Case in point: in this clip, taken in the Scottish highlands by videographer Johno Verity, sports photographer Dan Milner tries to photograph a stag deer from about three feet away, and gets a lensful of antler for his audacity (for those of you reading this by email, the video can be seen here):

I suppose the temptation of getting a wide-angle closeup of such a wild beast was too much to resist, but this is exactly the reason that telephoto lenses were invented (well, at least ONE of the reasons). He probably could have stayed inside the car and got his shot, but in our smug sense of human dominance, we can often forget just how dangerous animals really are; they can seriously and even fatally injure a person without hesitation.

Always stay a safe distance from wild animals, and never taunt them the way Milner does at the beginning of the video (Via Imaging Resource). They may not understand your words, but they can probably tell you’re trying to mess with them, and they won’t appreciate it (Via Petapixel). Luckily for Milner, the stag only wanted to warn him – it bucked him and then retreated, and he made it out of there with nothing but a bloody cut on his nose.

wildlife photography

In case you’re trying to decipher his equipment, you’re not crazy – that is a Nikon lens mounted on a Canon body. To be precise, it’s a Canon 1D (can’t make out which version) with a Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 lens (aka, the opposite of a wildlife lens). According to Milner’s blog, though, the lens actually survived the incident, which is a pretty good endorsement for Nikon’s build quality.

Go to full article: The Wrong Way to Photograph Wildlife

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

Friday, 28 June 2013

Animate Your Stills, Search Engine Optimization, Spotlight On HD Video + Win A GoPro!

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