Saturday, 3 August 2013

How to Use a Neutral Density Filter for Dynamic Landscape Photography

How to Use a Neutral Density Filter for Dynamic Landscape Photography

Link to PictureCorrect Photography Tips

How to Use a Neutral Density Filter for Dynamic Landscape Photography

Posted: 02 Aug 2013 04:36 PM PDT

Neutral density filters are used to block some of the light coming into the lens so that we can have longer exposure times than the available light would allow without the filter. For landscape photography, neutral density filters are indispensable.

How Does a Neutral Density Filter Work?

To explain how a neutral density filter works, I used an old standby, the waterfall–shot on a bright and sunny day.

With the available light, we may have a fast shutter speed that will freeze every droplet in place. If that is what we want…great!

But what if we want that long and silky cotton candy effect we see so often?

"Webster Falls Revisited" captured by Paul Bica on Flickr.

Neutral density filters allow you to expose for the dark parts of the image without completely blowing out the highlights. “Webster Falls Revisited” captured by Paul Bica on Flickr.

To do that, we need to use a longer exposure time. That’s where the neutral density filter comes in. It blocks light entering the lens and allows for the longer exposure times needed.

Neutral density filters come in various densities and can be stacked to get to the exposure times we want.

If you live near the ocean, try going to the beach and shooting the waves as they crash onto the shore. With enough neutral density filters, you can smooth the water out and make it look like there were no waves at all! Toss in a dramatic sky, and you have a contest winner for sure!

In previous articles, I’ve written that the best time of day for landscape photography is at dawn and dusk. when we get the most beautiful light on our subjects. But there is a problem. Because of the dramatic difference in light (on the ground vs. in the sky) at that time of day, half your photograph is improperly exposed.

If our subject is the dramatic cloud formation in the sky, that’s great. We make the clouds the star. We expose for all the light in the sky, but that makes the ground go dark. (The ground is under exposed.)

If our subject is the ground, we expose for the minimal light on the ground, but that lets the sky get blown out. (The sky is over exposed.)

How can we shoot at the best times of day, still have a star in our photo–either the ground or the sky–but not have the rest of the photo be improperly exposed?

"Surreal Falls" captured by Trent Roche on Flickr.

The silky effect on the water is due to a long exposure made possible by the use of a neutral density filter. “Surreal Falls” captured by Trent Roche on Flickr.

Split Neutral Density Filters

Enter the split neutral density filter (also called a “graduated neutral density filter”). This is a filter that is clear on one half and has a neutral density filter on the other half. These filters come in various degrees of density, and the division can be a sharp line or a gradual fade.

With a split neutral density filter, we can hold back some of the light in the sky and not affect the light on the ground. All we need to do is determine what the amount of difference there is in exposure value between the sky and the ground, then add enough neutral density light blockage to the sky to make the values equal.

Since the filtration is “neutral”, it will not take away any of the colors or drama in your shot… it just cuts back on the light being admitted into the lens.

Here is a helpful video tutorial on the subject (for those of you reading this by email, the video can be seen here):

“Getting lovely smooth water isn’t simply a matter of choosing a slow shutter speed. No, you’ll need to reduce the amount of light hitting the sensor by using a filter.”

Adding neutral density filters to your landscape photography arsenal is vital. You should never leave home without one if you want to put the “WOW” factor into your landscape photography.

About the Author:
Dan Eitreim writes for ontargetphototraining (link currently down). He has been a professional photographer in Southern California for over 20 years. His philosophy is that learning photography is easy if you know a few tried and true strategies.

For Further Training on Landscape Photography:

This new guide, Living Landscapes, will help you move past the point, click and hope approach to landscape photography. You'll learn from a pro how to capture stunning landscape photos you'll hang on walls – not hide in albums – by mastering the three key ingredients to stunning and engaging landscape photography. It is currently 33% off for the launch sale which ends soon ($20).

Found here: Living Landscapes – A Guide to Stunning Landscape Photography

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

Camera Water Gun Prank

Posted: 02 Aug 2013 02:13 PM PDT

Megapixels, aperture, shutter speeds, bracketing, clients, business cards, studios, lenses, tripods, filters… With all of these things to think about, photography can sometimes get a little too serious and overwhelming. That’s why it’s always nice to sit back and enjoy the lighter side of things for a while. In this viral video, a “traveling photographer” plays a prank on unsuspecting London tourists with his special camera (for those of you reading this by email, the video can be seen here):

Novelty cameras like these can be fun for taking a break from your normal business photography routine. Though this camera doesn’t appear to take actual pictures, here are a few novelty cameras that do:

  • Sunglasses Camera – There are several companies that make these type of spy cameras. Many include the option of taking video so that you may record your friends and co-workers when they least expect it. Just don’t become too suspicious by wearing these sunglasses indoors or at night.
  • 360 Degree Panoramic Ball Camera – This green rubbery ball, constructed by researchers from a Berlin university, contains 36 cameras which fire simultaneously when it reaches its peak height after being thrown in the air. A special program allows you to automatically stitch the photos together for a perfect 360 degree view.
  • Juice Box Camera – This cute little camera look just like a child’s juice box and can take lo-fi photos by pushing down on the straw. This is yet another way to take photos inconspicuously..that is, if no one thinks it’s odd you carry a juice box around all day.
  • Lomography Cameras – Lomography has a wide variety of toy cameras that let you do everything from capture photos with the sprocket holes in the frame to capturing 9 photos at once. Though the quality is nothing compared to professional cameras, their unexpected results are what drives photographers to buy them.
camera squirt gun prank london

He’s just taking photos, really

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

Top 8 Questions a Second Shooter Should Ask: Wedding Photography Tips

Posted: 02 Aug 2013 12:21 PM PDT

As many of you know, I work alongside my wife Jasmine Star as her second shooter. Together, we've shot hundreds of weddings and transformed a pipedream into our dream business. It's been an amazing experience working with her – not many people get to spend all day alongside their significant other and get paid to do so! That said, I haven't always shot with Jasmine, and I've learned a lot during my career as a second shooter — both directly from and independent of my wife.

Top Questions a Second Shooter Should Ask

Top Questions a Second Shooter Should Ask

Like most aspiring photographers, I was thankful for whatever job I could book when I was first starting out. I didn't ask many questions, kept my head down and tried to do the best job that I could. Sounds like the perfect second shooter, right? No. As a second shooter, you need to ask your employer key questions to avoid confusion regarding payment, ownership, and even legal issues. The following list of questions is not my "top 8 questions you should ask," but the "vital questions you MUST ask."

1. What am I allowed (and not allowed) to do with my images after the wedding? Can I use them in my portfolio?

This answer changes every time. Some photographers will allow you use the images for a lot of things including blog posts and general portfolio use. However, other photographers take a hard line – if they own it, they own it fully, just as someone who pays a writer to ghostwrite owns the piece outright.


2. Do I need to mention you when I post the images? Do I need to state that I was the second shooter?

Make sure you know how the main photographer wants to be credited. Sure, it's entirely possible that you will shoot the best image during the event, but you were paid to shoot it by whom? The main photographer! Their money, their work.

3. Can I edit my own images?

Just as a photojournalist is limited to what he or she can edit, so is the second shooter. If the principal photographer owns your photos outright, then they have their name attached to the product whether it's edited or not. They may choose to take your memory card the same night as the wedding. They might also provide you the memory card and take it back immediately.


4. Will you credit me when you blog about the wedding, or if you get published?

At the end of the day, you did help them shoot the event. Sure, it's paid help, but they know the power of word of mouth marketing and if you have a positive experience with them, you will most likely refer people to them in the future.

5. When and how will I get paid?

Lock down the details. Will you be paid in cash? When? Does payment depend on a delivery time of your photos?


6. When and how should I deliver the images to you?

Each photographer is particular about the form that you deliver images. Make sure to talk about this before the day of the event.

7. Would you like me to shoot on your cards or my own?

It's great if they provide you memory cards, but this usually means you won't have access to the images later. However, if you don't ask the question, and there aren't enough cards on the big day, you'll be the one in big trouble.


8. If something were to happen and you couldn't make it, would I become the lead photographer? In that case, What would my compensation be?

This is my favorite question. Why? Because it accomplishes two things. One, it shows that you've thought of everything. Two, it shows you are responsible and willing to take more responsibility if the price is right.

If you want to learn more about how to become a second shooter, JD and Jasmine have a workshop on creativeLIVE August 6-7. They will go into the role of a second shooter in detail and even take you through a photo shoot with a bride and groom!

About the Authors:
JD and Jasmine are international wedding photographers, educators, creativeLIVE instructors, and entrepreneurs based in Southern California.

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

One Small Bag of Skateboard Photography Equipment for Any Situation

Posted: 02 Aug 2013 10:51 AM PDT

Suppose you want to shoot on location but you don’t have access to a car or a crew to move equipment. Impossible? With the right setup, it doesn’t have to be.

Photographers work and travel in all sorts of situations. The key to success is assembling an appropriate set of equipment that works for a given scenario, including schlepping on public transit. Matt Price, photographer for The Skateboard Mag, gives us an inside look at his mobile, compact gear kit that works for getting to and shooting at just about any locale (for those of you reading this by email, the video can be seen here):

Price is able to fit everything he needs for magazine-worthy skateboard photos into one over-the-shoulder camera bag. Inside the bag, you’ll find the following gear:

Resourceful use of his simplified kit eliminates the need for Price to carry light stands. He often sets flashes on the ground or found objects, like rocks or hydrants, to serve as makeshift light stands. Another trick that gives his photos a different look is the use of shoelaces to tie flashes onto fences. Because the placement of flashes without stands isn’t always precise, he compensates by zooming his flashes out until the light hits the subject.



The downside of storing all of your gear in a small bag is the difficulty in finding and removing gear from the kit when you need it. By using a compartmentalized camera bag, Price stays organized and knows exactly where to find each piece of camera gear.


Price’s photographs demonstrate his mastery of working with minimal equipment:


“You need shoelaces always. For everything.”

Go to full article: One Small Bag of Skateboard Photography Equipment for Any Situation

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

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