- Flower Photography: 4 Quick Tips for Great Tulip Photos
- Timelapse of the Photography Captured by the Curiosity Rover: First Year on Mars
- Shark Week Photo of the Day: Great White Shark Spotted While Diving in South Australia
- Watch a Professional Photographer Try to do a Low Light Photo Shoot in 5 Minutes
Posted: 09 Aug 2013 04:35 PM PDT
Armed with the four simple, yet very effective strategies that I will share here, you can venture out to capture tulips, or any flowers, in a captivating and impressive manner. These quick tips can be applied to any type of floral photography, of course. By keeping these tips in mind and by applying them, you will find yourself producing fewer average images and many more “keepers.”
Tip #1: Consider Your Point of View
One of the characteristics that makes an image strong is the presentation of a scene in a way that we don’t normally see it. As you walk through life each day, you see everything, for the most part, at eye level. As beautiful as a tulip may be, if you photograph it from your normal standing position, it will look like every other tulip you have seen over the years. Beautiful? Yes. Unique or interesting? Probably not so much.
Look to present tulips in a way they are not usually seen. When was the last time you got down on your belly on a nice day and gazed upward at the flowers? Maybe never, right? By gaining a different perspective than what you are used to seeing, the image now possesses the unique and interesting factor that makes it visually appealing.
Tip #2: Notice Your Backgrounds
If you happen upon a scene that contains a field of tulips as far as the eye can see, or one where there’s a glorious mountain or sunset as the backdrop, well then you’re pretty much golden to start shooting away. However, for the other 99% of the time, you will be faced with less than glorious surroundings. This is when it is important to manage the scene. Even the most dazzling flowers will not be as appealing when you see parked cars, campers, stores, etc. behind them. Unless the background elements support your photograph, they should not be included.
There are several ways in which you can remove distractions from your background. One is by simply walking around your scene and finding a vantage point from which the less than desirable background elements are not visible. An example might be to shoot upward from a very low vantage point. By using the sky as the backdrop, you have avoided any existing distractions. In addition to getting down low, you can attempt to photograph the flowers close up with a tight crop. Any items that may have been behind the floral subjects are nowhere to be seen, and the focus of the image is on only the tulips.
Tip #3: Use Depth of Field to Your Advantage
Depth of Field (or DOF) is basically the distance between the nearest and farthest elements in a photograph that appear sufficiently sharp in focus. When an image has a large depth of field, most elements in the scene from front to back will be in sharp focus. If an image has a shallow depth of field, the subject of the photograph will be sharp, while elements in front or behind it will be out of focus.
Controlling DOF can be a powerful tool in creating strong images. Let’s go back to the previous tip, regarding backgrounds, for example. In addition to the strategies we discussed for removing distracting background elements, you could also use depth of field to your advantage. By throwing a background element out of focus, you will draw less attention to it.
Manipulating the depth of field can assist in producing a strong and dynamic image. For example, with an out of focus foreground and background, you can keep the attention on a single tulip just by keeping it sharply focused.
Controlling depth of field is a technique that deserves its own article. In short, however, there are a few ways of controlling it. One of the most common ways is to use a large aperture (lower f-stop number) for shallow depth of field and a small aperture (higher f-stop number) for greater depth of field. This means you will have to get yourself out of automatic mode and choose either manual mode or aperture priority mode on your camera.
Tip #4: Focus on the Small Details
As mentioned earlier, when you offer the viewer a perspective that is different from what they’re accustomed to, you have a greater chance of producing a unique or interesting photograph. One such way this can be achieved is by focusing in on the small details, or just a part, as opposed to the whole.
You might aim to fill the frame from edge to edge with color and a close up view that provides an interesting perspective, void of any distracting background elements, all while keeping the depth of field fairly shallow. As a result, the eye will be drawn to one specific area of the tulip (such as the stamen), which becomes the subject of the photograph. The subject matter has now been presented in a unique, interesting, and obvious manner.
There you have it. Keep the ideas presented here in mind as you venture out to capture some stunning floral photographs!
About the Author:
For Further Training on Flower Photography:
There is an eBook called Wildflower Photography by Steve Berardi; designed to be a complete guide to photographing wildflowers. At 64 pages, it goes through the whole process from macro photography equipment and camera settings to post-processing in Photoshop.
It can be found here: Wildflower Photography Training Guide
Go to full article: Flower Photography: 4 Quick Tips for Great Tulip Photos
Posted: 09 Aug 2013 03:25 PM PDT
The aptly named Curiosity is NASA’s land rover machine built to explore the surface of Mars and conduct research. In this video, a series of 548 images have been put together to give you a view of Curiosity’s first year on the martian planet (for those of you reading this by email, the timelapse video can be seen here):
Curiosity was sent to the Gale Crater on Mars to learn several things. First off, Curiosity has investigated the geology and climate conditions of the planet. As part of this, it has also been geared to research whether life was ever hospitable on the planet’s surface. This includes finding out whether Mars ever held water, and, if so, what happened to it. Curiosity is also working to determine if future planet habitability is possible. In the video, you can see Curiosity taking soil samples for research.
Go to full article: Timelapse of the Photography Captured by the Curiosity Rover: First Year on Mars
Posted: 09 Aug 2013 01:14 PM PDT
Some photographers would jump at the chance to photograph great white sharks, but only from a very safe distance away, preferably with a few inches of sturdy glass between them. It takes a special breed of people to get in the water with these beautiful creatures and photograph them up close and personal while they are in their element:
The photographer shared using a pseudonym on social media.
Go to full article: Shark Week Photo of the Day: Great White Shark Spotted While Diving in South Australia
Posted: 09 Aug 2013 11:07 AM PDT
Photoshoots are time consuming undertakings. There are lights to set up, angles to figure out, assistants to organize, not to mention all the small details that need to be sorted out. In Kai’s latest challenge, he challenges photographer, Chow Kar Hoo, to conduct a professional style shoot in just five minutes. In that short window of time, the photographer must set up his lights and do all the other necessary procedures to take a photo that is worthy of framing. Check out the video below to see how the Kar Hoo fared (for those of you reading this by email, the video can be seen here):
With his work cut out for him, Kar Hoo really stepped up to the challenge. As soon as the clock started ticking, his assistants moved onto the scene and started setting up lights and a reflector to bounce light off of. The team also used a handheld light meter, to save time and gain improved accuracy over an in camera meter. Within a couple minutes Kar Hoo started snapping test shots and working with the assistants to fine tune the lighting until it was just right.
To make the challenge fun for everyone, Kai also had to drink a pint a beer within the five minute time frame. As you can see in the final above, the empty glass in his hand signifies a successful completion of his challenge as well.
Go to full article: Watch a Professional Photographer Try to do a Low Light Photo Shoot in 5 Minutes
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