- Photography Tips In a Pinch
- Architectural Photographer Abseils from Skyscrapers to Capture Unique Perspectives
- School Portrait Photography Tips
- Telling the Full Stories of War: Conflict Photojournalism
Posted: 10 Aug 2013 04:43 PM PDT
Good photographers try to be prepared for almost any situation. Unfortunately, if you tried to carry everything you’d need to meet every possible contingency in the field, you’d have to pack like a Bedouin trader.
Many times that simply isn’t possible. So seasoned photographers learn to be resourceful. Here are a few miscellaneous tips that can save your back and wallet, particularly on short trips near home:
Use a Monopod
In all but the most extreme lighting situations, a monopod can substitute nicely for a tripod and is a lot easier to carry. With practice you’ll be able to hold a monopod nearly as stable as a tripod–for a short time anyway.
One trick for stabilizing a monopod is to wrap the camera strap around your upper arm and push on the monopod while exerting gentle backward pressure on the strap. Similarly, you can place a large clamp on your monopod and use it as a shoulder brace, almost like a gun mount. It might look a little funny, but it works surprisingly well.
Work With Sand
For those times you have to drag a tripod to the beach or sandy area, grab three tennis balls on the way out the door. Cut a hole big enough for a tripod leg and fit a tennis ball over each end.
The tennis balls won’t sink in the sand, will keep most of the grit out of the end of your tripod leg, and can be thrown away when you’re finished.
Another great thing about working at the beach is you don’t need to carry sandbags. Just bring empty bags. There’s usually plenty of sand already on the beach. Sandbags are priceless for weighting reflectors, which tend to act like sails in ocean breezes.
Bring a Cooler
Coolers have several advantages over equipment cases in many situations. They’re solid, have handles and wheels, and they can be used to sit or stand on in a pinch. If you lose or break a cooler, you’re only out about $40.
You can still carry drinks with the camera gear carefully. Get the kind of drink cozies that you put in the freezer. They will keep your drinks cold without bringing down the temp too much in the cooler. The last thing you want to do is bring cold optics or a camera out into a warm, muggy atmosphere. Expect instant condensation if you do.
Carry a Bag of Rubber Bands
They’re just so handy for so many things and so easy to carry. You can use them for emergency repairs and to keep papers from flying away.
A fat rubber band is handy for dislodging a stuck filter. Wrap the rubber band around the edge of the filter; it should give you enough grip to get it loose.
Create an Incident Light Meter
Many photographers still carry light meters, even in the days of high-end digital SLRs. If you’re packing light, you can use a Styrofoam cup over the end of your lens and use your camera’s light meter. Hold the cup in place with one of your rubber bands.
Record the exposure of the inside of the cup at the subject’s position, pointed toward where the camera will be, then walk back to shoot the picture. Note that Styrofoam cups do come in different thicknesses, so you may want to calibrate yours using the Sunny 16 rule before you leave home.
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Posted: 10 Aug 2013 03:17 PM PDT
For architectural photographer Carlos Ayesta, dangling from skyscrapers hundreds of feet above urban cityscapes is all in a day's work. Ayesta shoots highly unique architectural photographs using a climbing technique called abseiling, or rappelling, which is a controlled descent down a rock wall—or, in this case, the side of a skyscraper. From this angle, Ayesta is able to capture what most photographers miss. "I can take pictures of hidden things," he said. "No one on the ground or on top of the buildings can see what I see." Watch his process here and then you can see some more shots from his portfolio here:
Despite the inherent risks of rappelling, the stunning beauty of Ayesta's work outweighs the drawbacks of such high exposure, since rappelling allows him to portray cities and their buildings and inhabitants "in another dimension," from never-before-seen perspectives.
While most architectural photography is just steel and glass, rappelling enables Ayesta to weave a profound human element into his work.
Throughout his career, Ayesta has abseiled from Parisian skyscrapers like La Tour Eiffel, La Grande Arche de la Défense, the Center of New Industries and Technologies, Tour EQHO, and Tour Sequoia, and he plans to dangle from buildings in Tokyo on his next project.
Go to full article: Architectural Photographer Abseils from Skyscrapers to Capture Unique Perspectives
Posted: 10 Aug 2013 02:46 PM PDT
School photography is a growing niche. The Western culture has started the trend of taking model-like photo shoots with all the glitz and glamour. Photographers have found this niche very rewarding, as there are thousands of children finishing their schooling every year.
In many cities, large and small franchise studios have a monopoly on public grade schools and high schools. However, there are many private schools, preschools, and daycare centers that are open to the idea of using someone new. It’s not only an amazing way to reach many families, but it can be an amazing way to generate a substantial income.
1. Be Organized
If you are doing this for the first time, make sure you plan and double check everything before you go into action. Use a calendar to design your work schedule. Since you will be interacting with a lot of parents, teachers, and students, there are chances for a lot of confusion. Prepare a workflow that includes touching base with all parties before you work. You can conduct an informal meeting where you discuss your entire plan and service to avoid any confusion.
2. Don’t Overbook
It may be very tempting to add more schools to your client list. But this will lead to nothing but trouble. School photography is a time-consuming process, and you need to give the school 100%.
3. Price Appropriately
Pricing is a very sensitive topic, and you do not want to lose out on business due to lack of communication. Make sure you tell your clients that this is a special project that requires special investment of your time, money, and resources.
4. Photograph Each Child Differently
Make sure to do something creative in the photo shoot of every child that you shoot. Parents will not mind shelling out extra to get a one of a kind portrait of their child.
5. Make a Story
Get them to giggle, dance, and move around. Parents will purchase more when you have a sequence of shots that show their children having an awesome time. It creates higher sales and makes people talk about you! That is the goal: make some money and get your name out there!
6. Be a Friend, Not a Hindrance
Obviously you will be working within the school premises a lot, so make sure to maintain good relations with the staff, parents, and children. They will provide you with something that you need as well as give you company between shoots.
7. Come Back Next Year
There is nothing better than assurance that you will be returning next year to have a photo session. You want families to feel a sense of gratitude that you came to their school. You want them to be excited each year that you’re coming back. When I say different, think of all the things that the typical school portrait photographer does and do the opposite. Use awesome backdrops, take many different shots from different angles, let parents view before they order, and offer a few products that school portrait photographers don’t offer. Keep it simple, yet different!
8. Manage Quality
Keep the quality high, but not as high as your other portrait sessions. At the same time, do not do a poor job on the pictures. For example, understand the essence of the shoot and bring the props accordingly. Instead of taking all your high end props that you use in your studio, take props that are fun and colorful. Make sure the props chronicle the child’s age and personality.
9. Create Magic
Be true to you! Do not conform to what you think families will want. Be true to your style as a portrait photographer. If you like deep, rich tones and colors, then make sure your school portraiture looks the same. If you like light, bright colors then use them when photographing a school. You don’t want a huge disconnect between what you do in a full session and what you do at schools. If people loved what you did at the school enough to call and hire you for a full session, they are going to expect close to the same style.
10. Retouch Your Photos
Make sure to give your photographs to professional retouching agencies. By doing this, you will have time to take more pictures without worrying about retouching them. Also, giving the work to experts ensures the best quality.
11. Keep the Contacts
Since you have worked so hard with the school, make sure all your hard work does not go in vain. Add parents to your mailing list, and make sure to include a little thank you note with your contact details in the final pictures. Send them offers from time to time to keep the communication open.
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Posted: 10 Aug 2013 10:51 AM PDT
From June 29th through September 29th, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. is showing the exhibit, War Photography: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath. The gallery contains over 200 photographs from dozens of photojournalists and covers wars from 1846 to 2012. In this video, ReasonTV interviews photojournalist Michael Kamber at the exhibit about his recent book and thoughts on the Iraq war:
What’s interesting about this gallery is that it doesn’t focus solely on the armed conflicts themselves, but shows the events surrounding them. Here are some of the other things that the exhibit shows:
Go to full article: Telling the Full Stories of War: Conflict Photojournalism
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