- Top 10 Tips for Family Photo Poses
- Photographing the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights (Video)
- See the Energy Behind an Ambitious Portrait Photograph (Video)
Posted: 13 Dec 2013 09:58 PM PST
In both studio and on-location photography, the right family poses make the difference between stunning memories and forgettable snapshots. Most families and groups don’t know the simple techniques that can create amazing frame-worthy shots. These ten tips tell you how to pose to get it right:
1. Get close.
When family members are touching, the viewer gains a much better sense of intimacy among the group. This does not necessarily mean shoulder-to-shoulder, but can mean hands around each other’s backs, a hand on another’s shoulder, or leaning against each other.
2. Go outdoors.
As in most types of photography, a stunning background and sunlight make for better pictures. Nature shots do not need to be as grand as the ocean–just some trees or grass make all the difference.
3. Find enjoyable activities.
Group poses don’t need to be formulaic. You can photograph a family while they are doing something they enjoy together in a candid style. Simple activities like throwing a ball or huddling around a card game make for engaging images.
4. Stimulate interaction.
You will achieve better group poses when the family is interacting with each other and not with the camera or photographer. Encourage the family to react to each other, talk, smile at each other, and engage playfully with one another.
5. Use angles.
Professional photographers know that straight-on shots framed without angles are astonishingly boring. For better photography poses, use at least two types of angles; turn each person in at an angle from the camera or tilt the frame slightly to give some zest.
6. Use props.
Family poses are immeasurably improved when the family is composed with some key element of the setting or some objects that they are holding. This can be chairs, picnic blankets, musical instruments, sports equipment, bicycles, or whatever best matches the family’s personality.
7. Coordinate clothing.
This is not for all families, but memorable images result when a family matches. Naturally, the group doesn’t need to all wear the same outfit, but coordinating colors can make for a catchy shot.
8. Stagger depths.
To make an interesting image, do not put everyone in the group in a straight line at the same distance to the camera. While they do need to be relatively close to maintain focus, introduce some stagger into family picture poses and you will find the extra dimension brings terrific character.
9. Avoid awkward moments.
For many families, being photographed is uncomfortable or awkward. Make everyone comfortable. Don’t ask them to do things that are unnatural to them or the attempt to instill clever poses will be worse than no poses at all.
10. Be creative!
Avoid the classic and formulaic structure of having the tallest family members in the back and shortest in front. Similarly, avoid the mountaintop framework of tallest in the center, flanked by shorter people in the group.
Experiment and enjoy!
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Posted: 13 Dec 2013 03:50 PM PST
Those of us who live in warmer climates often tend to look at the rocky ice-fields of Alaska (or Canada, or Russia) and wonder, “Why anyone would choose to live in such a frigid and hostile environment?”. Today’s featured video almost makes the question sound stupid, as it shows us the breathtaking beauty to be found within the Arctic circle. This short film is about “the Aurora Hunter” Todd Salat, a dedicated nature photographer who pursued his passion for the visible cosmos straight up to the Great White North, where he spends his life photographing the elusive aurora borealis:
From its very beginnings, the strength and beauty of photography was in its unique ability to document moments in time which could be captured in no other way; it rescues reality from the realm of stories and myths and turns it into something we can observe over and over in our collective efforts to communicate and understand the natural world.
Growing up in Iowa, Salat was fascinated with the stars and their immovable dominance over the night. As any astrophotographer knows, the best skyscapes are to be found as far away from human civilization as possible, untouched by the sprawling metropolitan light pollution that drowns out the view above us. Even compared to Iowa, Alaska is a holy grail of isolation, and home to some of the most awesome night skies on the planet. This is especially true on those lucky eves that the sun’s flares reflect through the Earth’s magnetic field, causing the Northern Light show which captured Salat’s imagination and inspired him to leave his midwestern life and follow the cosmic curtains to the snowshine state.
Auroras make a fantastic subject, if you’re lucky enough to witness them. Salat uses wide-angle lenses to emphasize the epic scale of the Alaskan sky and long exposures to show the softness and gentle swirling motion of the glow. As with any other type of landscape, many of his shots are given weight by the inclusion of a main focal point that provides context and juxtaposition to the light show going on behind it. This type of photography requires a tough camera (one that can operate in sub-freezing temperatures – he appears to be using a Nikon D800), a sturdy tripod, and a lot of patience.
The most important lesson I take from this story is about the artist’s complete and unwavering dedication to his craft, and the pure joy and excitement that he finds in practicing it. Once a photographer gives up their day job as Salat did, it’s very easy for their approach to become less personal and more practical, as it morphs from a fun hobby into something that puts food on the table. Salat’s enthusiasm teaches us that the greatest images don’t come from the fanciest gear or the most Instagram followers, but from an earnest and humble appreciation for the world around you, and for the unique opportunity that we’re given to grab hold of it.
Go to full article: Photographing the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights (Video)
Posted: 13 Dec 2013 11:33 AM PST
We don’t always get the chance to see and appreciate the passion that goes into a photography project. Artists spend days, weeks, months, or even years planning and executing profound works that, in the end, come down to the presentation of a few still frames.
Photographer Kirsty Mitchell shares the energy that went into creating one of her portrait projects in this behind-the-scenes footage:
The featured photograph, called Gaia: The Birth of an End, is one piece of a Mitchell’s Wonderland project. The goal behind the portrait was to portray Mother Earth’s transformation to a goddess. It is symbolic of Gaia’s incarnation and the artist’s beliefs about the never-ending presence of the human spirit.
Gaia’s elaborate headdress, which is prominent in the image, was constructed and painted by Mitchell’s hands. Its size and embellishments made it too heavy for the model’s head to support–it had to be suspended from the ceiling beams with wire.
The design of the model’s costume wasn’t the only time-consuming endeavor of this ambitious project. The shoot itself spanned an entire day, including five hours just for the makeup and body paint preparations. Assistants were on hand to create bursts of yellow powder to represent and explosion of energy. By the end of the day, everything in the studio was covered in yellow, and Mitchell had captured 700 frames.
Kirsty Mitchell went all out for her project’s final photograph. Everything from the design of the set to the end product–the photograph was to be printed two meters high–was executed on a grand scale. The size and energy that went into the portrait were meant to create a powerful emotional connection with the viewers.
Knowing how a picture is created is often just as meaningful as the photograph itself. In many cases, the power behind an image stems from the parts of the project that happen before the shutter is ever pressed.
Go to full article: See the Energy Behind an Ambitious Portrait Photograph (Video)
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