Friday, 21 March 2014

10 Tips to Improve Your Photography & Camera Skills

10 Tips to Improve Your Photography & Camera Skills

Link to PictureCorrect Photography Tips

10 Tips to Improve Your Photography & Camera Skills

Posted: 20 Mar 2014 11:13 PM PDT

1. Get to know your camera.

Cameras come with instruction manuals for a reason. Use them. Quite often, these little books packed full of information explain the reason for your terrible shots. I teach beginners the ins and outs of not being scared of your camera’s settings and features. I always tell students that the more they know about their camera, the quicker they can respond, especially when on holiday, enjoying something like whale watching. Not getting to know all the features of your camera and how to adjust or access them with practice will always ensure you get the after splash and not the tail fin of the whale.

wildlife photography

“Whales” captured by Colton Eastcott (Click image to see more from Eastcott.)

2. Use every setting you can find.

The features built into some cameras nowadays are astounding. One example is extreme ISO speed. You can set the sensitivity of your camera to see light that essentially can’t be seen. The ISO speed in a digital camera is no different to the film speeds we used to use many years ago. Remember from your local supermarket or department store you could buy Kodak 100, 200, or 400 speed film.

Well digital doesn’t use film. Cameras now come with an ISO speed setting built into them, where you can adjust the sensitivity to suit your needs. This is especially good for parties. Here’s my tip, free to you. Turn off the flash at a party and push your ISO button and move it from the standard of 100 or 200 up to 1600 or 3200 or higher and see what you get. I bet you’ll be surprised that without the flash you can actually see all the colours of the party, making for a much more interesting shot. Try it, along with all the other buttons and settings, and experiment.

party photography

“Buffalo City Carnival” captured by Zilba Raubach (Click image to see more from Raubach.)

3. Look at what makes a good photograph…and remember it.

I am always looking at the work of other professionals. This gives me the ability to assess my own work against industry standards and what trends are being sought by clients. Amateurs can do exactly the same, especially if they are planning on taking their photography to a professional standard. In a previous article on photographic awards and competitions, I wrote about two organizations: the AIPP (Australian Institute of Professional Photography) and the PPA (Professional Photographers of America). Both these organizations have a history of past winners on their website. Take the time to see what’s the best in the world, and take note of their way of doing things.

award-winning photography

“2010 Team Power Smart photo contest grand prize winner,” captured by Bethany Brouwer

I’m not saying copy them, but take note of the fact that aspects of their images don’t have a tree branch poking out of a persons ear in the background, they don’t cut off the tops of peoples’ heads, they don’t have a crooked horizon, etc. I think you get the drift.

4. Become friends with your F-stops.

F-stops are often identified on a camera’s LCD screen or aperture adjustment wheel as numbers in decimals, e.g. f/4.5, f/5.6, f8. f/11, etc. They are also known as the aperture of your camera, which dictates two things in your photographs: how much light is let into the camera to allow for an exposure and how much of your scene is in focus, referred to as “depth of field”. I’ll start with the first, which is fairly simple: light control. Choosing an aperture of, say, f/16 or f/22 will generally minimize the amount of light in your exposure and require a longer time to expose the photo. But choosing f/4 will let in a lot more light. That said and done, your chosen aperture then dictates your depth of field, as well. An easy way to remember what’s happening is this example:

If we choose f/22 for an image, then we will have the equivalent of 22 meters, or a “long” focus, and we will have turned off 22 of our light bulbs, resulting in a picture that has everything in focus from right in front of our camera to the far off horizon, but we will have a very dark image. Choosing the opposite end of the aperture range, say, f/4, will give us exactly the opposite (in general terms). That is, only about 4 meters, or a “shallow” focus, and with only 4 light bulbs turned off, a much brighter picture. I hope I explained that well. F-stops are not difficult, and the above should help you get a better understanding of how they affect your photos.

5. Practice, practice, practice.

This is by far the most important, but it must be done consistently and with a concentrated effort. It took me a long time to understand the relationship between each of the crucial settings on my first camera, but the more I practiced and experimented, the quicker I understood, and then once it just clicked and I no longer had to think about it.

Practice costs nothing other than time, especially now that we are in a digital age with a delete button, to erase our mistakes!

6. Simplify the scene.

Including too much in your scene is often too much to view, hence why one of the most effective techniques is to lessen what’s in your shot. Keeping a single subject, complemented by a plain simple background or surroundings, makes all the difference.

portrait photography

“Unlock My Dreams” captured by Mohamed Rafi (Click image to see more from Rafi.)

7. Line edges up.

Using the edge of something in your scene to interact with another edge creates a visual pathway. The shoreline of a beach leading out to a headland can create the impression of a continual line. Use these to your advantage. Line up as many things as possible to lead to your subject.

beach photography

“Pismo Beach CA Sunrise” captured by Clifford Briggin (Click image to see more from Briggin.)

8. Tell a story.

I am always looking for a way to convey a message in my photography. That often means finding a bizarre angle, a lower vantage point, or simply getting closer. But all in all, every photograph is about telling a story, and to do so, you need a connection. The stronger the connection between your subject and its environment, the stronger the message, and the stronger the appeal of the image. Look to include items/things/views, etc. that complement the subject or challenge it. Either way, questions drawn from your image all lead to building a story.

9. Experiment with color.

Color isn’t the aim for every photograph. Experimenting with different color hues, such as black and white, or sepia, or some other monotone, or even just de-saturating (removing some intensity) the color a little can help reduce distraction. Too much color sometimes distracts the viewer from the subject, because they wow over the color and then look for a subject. It’s all about experimenting.

color portrait

“FunShoot 2014″ captured by Nollitsac Ryan (Click image to see more from Ryan.)

10. Show it off.

Showing you work is one of the best ways to get feedback. Show your images to everyone you can: friends, family, strangers. Listen to their very first reactions… “wow” or “oh OK” or “that’s nice.” The latter two are your first indicators that the image didn’t grab their attention immediately. Look at what can be improved and get out there.

About the Author:
Steve Rutherford ( is a photographer with a publication based in Australia.

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

How to Take Better Pictures Through Windows (Video)

Posted: 20 Mar 2014 06:30 PM PDT

It’s often tempting–or unavoidable–to take photos through a window or glass door, but it’s not always easy to get great images shooting this way.  There are some tricks that you should know beforehand to ensure you get great photos without unwanted reflections. In the video tutorial below, there are some helpful tips to get you started:

Tips for Shooting Through Glass

There’s more to shooting through a window than you might have thought. Here’s a run through of everything Gavin covered in the clip:

  • Don’t use a flash! That should be pretty obvious, but it’s so important that it is certainly still worth mentioning. The glare and reflection it will cause in the window will essentially ruin the photograph.
  • Clean the glass well. Wipe down the whole window, including outside if possible, not just the area you think your lens will cover. Better safe than sorry.
  • Time your photo shoot so the sun isn’t glaring in through the window. It’s best to wait until the sun goes down or is behind you.
  • Turn off overhead lights or lamps inside the room, especially when shooting in the evening. This will create a little more ambiance and mood in your photograph.
  • Get your camera in close–or touching the glass, if possible–to help minimize reflections.
  • Shoot straight on to the glass. The more directly you look through the glass, the fewer reflections you get.
Reflections from glass can be distracting and make a photograph unusable.

Reflections from glass can be distracting and make a photograph unusable.

The Black Bag Trick

If you are still struggling to eliminate the reflections like those in the photo above, you can use a trick called the black bag trick. To do this without any special equipment, simply hold up a black cloth–a sheet, jacket, bag, whatever you have–in front of the source of the reflection. This should result in a much cleaner image, like the one below:

It is possible to eliminate the reflections using a black sheet.

It is possible to eliminate the reflections using a black sheet.

Polarizing Filters

Lastly, a great tool to use when photographing through glass is a polarizing filter, such as the Hoya Multi-Coated Circular Polarizing Filter. The filter easily screws onto the front of your lens and makes for a quick and easy adjustment to further reduce reflection.

There are times when shooting through glass is unavoidable, but you don’t have to settle for less than ideal shots. These simple solutions will quickly improve any image you take through a window.

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

Interesting Photo of the Day: A Dazzling Iranian Mosque

Posted: 20 Mar 2014 05:07 PM PDT

At mid-morning, the Nasir Al-Mulk Mosque, a.k.a. the Pink Mosque, in Shiraz, Iran, fills with sunlight. The stained-glass windows pour a symmetrical stream of psychedelic colors onto the intricate carpeting, making this 126-year-old mosque perhaps more colorful than any other in the world:


The Nasir Al-Mulk Mosque is one of the most vibrant mosques in the world. (Via Imgur. Click for larger image.)

This photo was created by Mohammad Reza Domiri Ganji, a northern Iranian photographer who uses HDR and fisheye lenses to creatively skew Muslim architecture into dazzlingly twisted shapes and colors. He also dabbles in landscape and documentary shots–candid-like images of locals writing or weaving carpets in a factory.

If you liked this photo, you should check out Mohammad’s interactive 360-degree panorama of the Pink Mosque. It’s great to see strong creative output from lesser-seen parts of the world, and this is a perfect blend of modern technology and traditional culture. 

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

Creative Mom Takes Adorable Photos of Her Sleeping Son (Video)

Posted: 20 Mar 2014 03:32 PM PDT

A California woman has earned herself quite a following after taking a series of photographs of her young child. Taking a unique approach to baby photography, she created incredibly ingenious portraits of her son doing a variety of activities, including interviewing the President of the United States, charming snakes, and playing the part of a nutcracker. Take a look at the clip below to see an interview with the photographer and indulge in some of her fabulous portraits:

Wengenn, the unknowing subject of the portrait series, is quite the star. After posting her photos online, Wengenn’s mother, Queenie Liao, says she received over one million likes in just a matter of days. She is still receiving requests for prints, calendars, and books.


There’s no end to this photographer’s creativity.


A circus scene is just one of Liao’s many ideas.

If this sleeping babe isn’t enough cuteness for you, be sure to check out this adorable toddler napping with his puppy.

Liao’s advice to aspiring photographers with children:

“Take lots of pictures, because they grow really fast. Be creative. Enjoy the process and have fun. It's the work of love, and your kids will treasure them when they grow up."

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Now You, Too, Can Buy a Million-Dollar Platinum Portrait of Your Face (Video)

Posted: 20 Mar 2014 02:07 PM PDT

They say money can’t buy happiness. Unless your definition of “happiness” happens to be ordering a giant portrait of your face, composed of 10,000 shiny platinum balls molded by a Japanese company for a minimum of half a million dollars, in which case, I guess money’s pretty useful.

Watch the intense chemical compounding process here:

The company is called Platinum Sphere Portrait, and their system is simple: You and/or a loved one can sit down for a one- or two-hour portrait sitting, or provide a high-resolution photo of your own. A computer graphics team designs the layout of your platinum sphere portrait and sends it to you for pre-approval. If you say yes, they order approximately 10,000 variously-sized tiny balls of platinum and proceed to recreate your face.

Five-hundred-thousand dollars gets you 1,000 grams of platinum, while $1 million gets you 3,500 grams and, according to their website, “$UNLIMITED” gets you enough platinum to, presumably, fuel the entire South African economy through the next half-century.


Oh, and did you like that video? According to the company, you can have your own: “The setting process can be videotaped upon request.” Consider it a platinum cherry on top.

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

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