Saturday, 31 May 2014

Community & educational development


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7 Tips for Posing Family Portraits

7 Tips for Posing Family Portraits

Link to PictureCorrect Photography Tips

7 Tips for Posing Family Portraits

Posted: 31 May 2014 01:21 AM PDT

Posing families and groups is one of the more intimidating feats for photographers. Working with several people of different heights and ages is certainly a challenge, but following a few posing guidelines makes the job a bit simpler.

family photo with children

“September 2012 Family Photos” captured by Kate NG Sommers

1. Family portraits are largely about capturing relationships and interaction, and that’s pretty tough to capture when everyone is far away from each other, so the first thing I do is get everyone to squish together.

family photo pose

“Walker Family Photos” captured by Meghan Marell

2. I like to get everyone’s heads fairly close together which can be done by having everyone sit down. Even if the kids are dramatically different heights, sitting down brings everyone closer. It can be as simple as just sitting on the ground. Look for nice colors, textures, and clean backgrounds. Steps and benches work great, too. There are tons of options!

family photography

“Untitled” captured by Dave Malkoff

3. One of the easiest way to dramatically improve your composition is to stagger everyone’s head position (but keep them close). Arrange faces on different levels so that any pattern of height does not distract the viewer from seeing the group as being one cohesive unit.

family group photo

“Young Family” captured by Good Eye Video

4. Position each individual so they are visually connected to another individual. You can do this by having them stand very close to one another or, better yet, have them touch another person. No matter the poses you go for, always try to incorporate direct contact through touch. Hands on shoulders, arms around waists—any way that you can get everyone in physical contact with each other. This will convey emotional closeness.

outdoor family photo

“Banchitta Family Preview” captured by Pete Labrozzi

5. The other posing technique that I often use is to have the pose wider at the base and narrower at the top. Some photographers refer to this as the pyramid pose. This makes the group look like a single unit and the composition looks complete.

family group pose

“Kathy’s 50th” captured by Nom & Malc

6. Pay attention to your subjects’ hands. It is usually a mistake to have everyone in your pose doing the same exact thing with their hands. Occasionally I will direct one or more of my clients to change their hand position to improve the pose as well.

7. It’s ideal to have everyone in the family looking in the same direction, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be in your direction. You can direct everyone to look behind you or at the youngest family member.

parents and child family photo

“Untitled” captured by Kenji Wang

It really doesn’t have to be stressful the next time you want to capture your family’s portraits. Be patient, be flexible, and make it fun. You’ll end up with some awesome portraits, lots of real moments, happy parents, and happy kids! Try it out! It will surely improve your photos. Good luck.

About the Author:
Linnae Harris is a portrait photographer who specializes in photographing families, babies, children, and high school seniors. I primarily photograph families and children outdoors or in their home for natural light sessions.

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How to Create Imaginative Photos on a Low Budget (Video)

Posted: 30 May 2014 07:43 PM PDT

As a photographer, it can be easy to get caught up in the latest gear and equipment. Conceptual photographer Brooke Shaden wants to remind us that it is much simpler than that. She focuses on promoting an interest in the ordinary and making something out of nothing. Watch how she created three dark, imaginative pieces of fine art with just one trusting friend and a few skeins of red yarn:

Shaden expresses her idea of making interesting images from the mundane through this simple photo shoot in the woods. Her budget was just $20, which paid for the bright yarn she used. Her prep time was about three hours.

Start With a Concept

Before making any purchases or plans, begin with an idea. Shaden wanted to make a model look as if she was knitting herself. She decided red yarn would be used as a symbolic measure to illustrate her idea.

With a plan in place and props purchased, Shaden covered the tree with yarn, and then she wrapped most of her friend's body in the remaining yarn.


Shaden’s only prop was red yarn.

 Don’t Give Up

When wrapping the yarn around the model’s body proved difficult, she improvised. She wrapped the yarn sporadically for a more feral look, rather than discounting the entire project.


Artistic work in Photoshop solidified the concept.

Use Post-Processing to Complete Your Vision

Once the photo shoot was over, Shaden used Photoshop to complete the look she had envisioned. It’s important to consider post-processing before you start shooting so that you know what kinds of images you’d like to capture.

Shaden gives us some final advice to make a day of it. Think of an idea and follow through. Get creative with what you already have or something you can buy cheaply. Even if your idea does not work out as planned, the experience or end product could make up for it completely.


Creative poses produced multiple images.

Amateur photographers might not think they have the budget or the time to produce a successful fine art shot. But Shaden shows us that working creatively with the surroundings you already have access to can save not only money but time and energy, as well.

 "If you build the life of your dreams, then you can live the life of your dreams. No one is going to do it for you, but if you do it yourself then it will be more meaningful and more personal.”

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

5 Tips for Your Best Flower Photography Yet

Posted: 30 May 2014 04:32 PM PDT

Are your photos of flowers not turning out how you’d like? Get five tips for capturing flowers like never before! Then, see here for a chance to take the online Craftsy class Photographing Flowers with macro-photography expert Harold Davis, and learn even more essential exposure, focus, and macro techniques for shooting captivating floral photography.


1. Use mirror lockup if you’re using a tripod.

For macro flower shots, if you are using a tripod, you should generally use mirror lockup (if hand-held there is no point in mirror lockup and it isn’t workable). With the camera on a tripod, there is no downside to mirror lockup—it can only help with vibrations. Somewhat counter-intuitively, mirror lockup is most important at fairly fast shutter speeds (by macro standards), between 1/60 of a second to 2 seconds. With exposures longer than 2 seconds it matters less, because the vibrations caused by the mirror plopping down are a less significant percentage of the total exposure!


2. Capture artistic photos by stacking your filters.

Play with techniques like selective focus, in-camera multiple exposure, deliberate under- or overexposure, stacking your filters, and more. When stacking your filters, stack the ND (Neutral Density) filter first, because it is double threaded and the polarizer is not. This also works better because you need to be able to rotate the outer element of the polarizer. You also probably wouldn’t want to shoot with the polarizer going through another piece of glass! Make sure to compensate for your filters by increasing your exposure.


3. Use a contrasting, uncluttered background.

Try photographing flowers from behind or underneath to capture a different point of view. Get in a position where nothing distracts from your subject, and the focus is on your main flower. To make your flower pop even more, while maintaining balance in your composition, try to position the flower against a background with a contrasting color. For example, photograph a red flower against a sea of green grass or a yellow flower against a deep blue sky.


4. Avoid grain degradation when printing by selecting the right ISO.

The ISO you need to avoid grain degradation when you are printing an enlargement of a photograph depends on many variables, including the sensor and the camera you are using. Recent models are much better about processing relatively high ISOs without noise becoming out of hand. Also, the size of print you will make has a big impact. Finally, don’t forget that underexposure is one of the biggest causes of noise when you boost the dark areas. All that said, when using a Nikon D800 you might be relatively comfortable going up to ISO 800, just to provide a basis for comparison. Remember that the craft of photography is largely a craft of trade-offs.


5. Stop and smell the roses.

Have fun with the process and take your time. As you’re walking, make sure you’re paying attention and seeing all the possibilities. Rather than photographing every flower, go with the things that really catch your eye and speak to you the most about a particular spot, whether they’re small or large. Once you find an intriguing subject, take a few minutes approaching it from all sorts of angles before settling on your composition.


Now that you have a few new ideas for inspiration, take the next step toward capturing mind-blowing macro photography, when you see here for a chance to take best-selling author Harold Davis’ online Craftsy class Photographing Flowers. Get instant access to seven easy-to-follow video lessons you can watch anytime, anywhere (even on-the-go!), forever.


What tips and tricks do you have for photographing flowers?

One fortunate PictureCorrect reader will be randomly selected on June 9, 2014 at midnight MT. This has been a sponsored post kindly brought to us by Craftsy.

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Interesting Photo of the Day: Hot Air Balloon Over the Mountains

Posted: 30 May 2014 01:58 PM PDT

Michal Karcz is a big Steve Roach fan. The Polish photographic fine artist loves the American ambient soundscape musician so much that this photo, a delicate scene combining a floating hot-air balloon in some Mount Everest landscape, ought to feel quite loud and robust—but it doesn’t. Like most of Karcz’s shots and all of Roach’s music, it feels minimalist, surreal, and awe-inspiring:

The image shows off Karcz’s excellent eye for composition. (Via Imgur. Click for larger image.)

The artist relied heavily on Photoshop for this image, to be sure; skeptics will note the balloon’s shadow as being somewhat flat and off-kilter from the ray of golden light, for example. But the overall effect is pretty magical.

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DIY Photo Covered Coffee Table (Video)

Posted: 30 May 2014 11:10 AM PDT

Family photos or vacation pictures make excellent gifts as canvas prints, framed artwork, or greeting cards. But, what photo gifts can you give your friends and family once you’ve exhausted the usual options?

Canon has collaborated with “A Beautiful Mess” blogger sisters, Elsie and Emma, to create DIY projects using your favorite photos. In this short video, they  explain how you can use your pictures to decorate a common piece of furniture and make a great conversation piece:

How To Create Your Own Photo Covered Coffee Table

1. Locate (or build) a table. You will need a coffee table that has a 1 centimeter deep lip around the edge. The lip is necessary to contain the resin when you pour it on the surface of the table to cover the photos.

photo furniture

Use a table with a raised edge to contain the resin.

2. Tape off the edges. Use painter’s tape to cover the edges of the table (or any surface you don’t want coated with resin).

3. Print your photos. Create prints in any dimensions you desire–just make sure they will fit completely on the table top.

4. Plan your design. Arrange your photos on the surface of the coffee table. If you would like to add an extra dimension to your work, consider placing 3D objects like shells, rocks, or other mementos that compliment the images on top of the photos.

5. Glue the photos. Use a spray adhesive to coat the back of the photos and adhere them to the table top. Make sure you lay each photo flat on the surface, eliminating air bubbles as you smooth it down.

6. Mix the epoxy resin. Combine the two ingredients in the epoxy resin according to the instructions on the box. Choose an epoxy that does not yellow, as this will change the color of your photographs.

7. Pour epoxy. Coat the table surface with the epoxy resin, allowing the liquid to spread out. Make sure you pour enough resin on the table to fully cover the photos and any objects you embedded, but don’t add too much or you run the risk of overflowing!

8. Torch out any bubbles. Use a small propane torch (like those used to make creme brûlée) to heat the epoxy and bring all air bubbles to the surface. Keep the torch in motion to avoid burning the epoxy or the table.

9. Dry it completely. Let the table sit overnight to completely cure. Make sure nothing touches the surface until it is totally dry, as it may leave a mark.

photo gifts

That’s all there is to it!

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

Friday, 30 May 2014

Wedding Photography Tips and Techniques

Wedding Photography Tips and Techniques

Link to PictureCorrect Photography Tips

Wedding Photography Tips and Techniques

Posted: 29 May 2014 09:05 PM PDT

Final Reminder: Only 1 day left! in the deal on: Before/After Lightroom Photo Editing Tutorial

So – you love photography and have been asked by a friend to take pictures at their wedding. Why is it that it seems like every professional photographer will recommend you don't do it? Are they a bit biased? Maybe they don't want to be blamed for encouraging you to take the photos if you make mistakes and ruin the wedding photos. I'm a wedding photographer who realizes every professional started out by photographing a "first wedding" at some point. While I will still recommend you give the couple a monetary gift so they can hire a professional photographer, if you are going to go ahead and do the photography yourself, I want to help you do the best job possible!

"the most romantic photograph ever" captured by Jason Lavengood

“the most romantic photograph ever” captured by Jason Lavengood (Click Image to Find Photographer)

I remember spending more than a hundred hours working HARD to prepare for my first wedding. Learning as much as I could online. Buying wedding photography books. Taking practice photos (indoors and outdoors). Visiting the church and reception site. Taking more practice photos. Begging people (family members, relatives, friends) to pose for me so I could practice arranging…

It is possible for an amateur to successfully photograph a wedding – but you have to be willing to work really, really hard. And be willing to dedicate a lot of time to preparing for the wedding. And make sure the couple knows it is your first wedding so that they have low expectations. Then you can blow them away with your good results!

Learn About Lighting

Do you know how to take well-lit photos in a variety of settings? Can you take nicely-lit photos that primarily use natural light while indoors? Or do you use "blast-flash" on all your subjects?

"Wedding" captured by Samantha Foster

“Wedding” captured by Samantha Foster (Click Image to Find Photographer)

There are three basic settings on the camera that control exposure. Do you know what those three are? If you are a student of photography you should immediately know the three I am referring and you should know how they interact.

1. ISO

Do you know what ISO refers to and what settings work best for various lighting conditions? If you stepped outside for some photos at a wedding, what would you move your ISO to? If you are indoors, what ISO setting will give you a good mixture of quality and light capture? At what ISO setting does your camera begin to take grainy photos? On my Nikon DSLR I will shoot indoors at ISO 400 all day and end up with beautiful, grain-free results. If needed, I can go up to ISO 520 or 640. I try to avoid moving up to ISO 800 or higher – but will do it if needed (there are tons of Photoshop plug-ins, free and paid, that can be used to lessen the grain).

Photo captured by Joe D'Alessandro

Photo captured by Joe D’Alessandro (Click Image to Find Photographer)

2. Shutter Speed

Do you know what shutter speed you can comfortably shoot at without taking blurred photos? The first bit of advice is to hold the camera as still as possible while taking photos. Sounds simple, but it's important! Don't jam the button down; press it gently.

The second bit of advice is to use a tripod whenever possible. I almost always use a tripod during wedding ceremonies that are indoors. Most of the time it is the only way I am able to get natural-lit shots of the wedding ceremony (due to the slow shutter speeds and dim lighting).

The third bit of advice is that, if you can't use a tripod, try to brace yourself on whatever is handy. Lean against a wall. Set the camera on the back of a pew as a stabilizer.

The fourth bit of advice is the industry-wide rule of thumb regarding shutter speeds: you generally shouldn't shoot at a shutter speed "faster" than the zoom of your lens. If you have a 50mm lens (don't forget about digital magnification factors) you would want to shoot at 1/50 or faster. A 200mm zoom would be best shot with 1/200 of a second or faster. But this is why PRACTICE is so important: over the years I have found I can shoot with a slower shutter speed if I am using flash (to find out about my flash lighting techniques, visit my web site which I link to below). I've successfully taken non-blurred images while indoors with extremely dim lighting using ISO 520, f2.8, 1/30 of a second exposure with a 70mm lens and some bounce flash.

3. Aperture

Do you know what aperture setting is best for indoor photos? For outdoor photos? For achieving a blurred-background effect (yes, shooting "wide open" – which means a low-numbered aperture – with a zoom lens is all that is needed)? For having as much of the photo in focus as possible?

Photo captured by Joe D'Alessandro

Photo captured by Joe D’Alessandro (Click Image to Find Photographer)

This is the first in a series of articles that are designed to help amateurs as they prepare to photograph their first wedding. I have a significant amount of additional information on my web site, and also link to other web sites that have information to help you out!

About the Author:
Christopher Maxwell is a photographer in the Kansas City area. He has a web site that includes Wedding Photography Tips for amateurs. He shares practical advice and information that he has learned while photographing weddings.

Related Deal, Only 1 Day Left:

Learning how to post-process your images can make the difference between bland and amazing. But how to get there isn't always clear. It's not just a matter of knowing what tools are available to you. You also need to know when to use them, and why. And that's where this new tutorial comes in. You'll get to watch the transformation of 11 images, and discover the thought process behind the decisions that are made. We were able to arrange a 30% discount for PictureCorrect readers which expires at the end of the month.

Found here: Before/After Lightroom Processing Tutorial

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Street Photography Tips & Tricks for Traveling Abroad (Video)

Posted: 29 May 2014 05:03 PM PDT

It can be awkward and nerve wracking to become involved in street photography, especially when taking photos of strangers in a foreign setting. Zack Arias, a street and portrait photographer, explores Marrakech, Morocco, with his Fujifilm X-T1. Along the way, he gives advice on how to take street photography and some tips and tricks for avoiding uncomfortable encounters:

1. Be a magician.

Attempt to distract potential candid subjects from your picture-taking by moving their attention away from you. Arias suggests acting like you are taking a picture of a nearby building or monument. When you go to look at the fake photo you've taken, you can take a picture of your real subject without them becoming suspicious. If they do begin to catch on, commit to your sleight of hand even further.

2. Look for framing elements.

Seek out interesting backgrounds or arches to frame your subject. Then, wait by this element as people walk by. Arias also counts the strides of his subjects in order to catch them walking in full stride in just the right place.

framing street photographer walking stride

3. Use Wi-Fi.

To get the camera in close while you stay back, control your camera remotely. With the Fujifilm XT One and some other cameras, you can link the camera to your smartphone. On your phone screen, not only can you see a live view of the camera and take photos, but you can change the ISO and exposure settings, as well. If a smartphone connection is not an option, you can still take photos nonchalantly with a remote—you’ll just need to pre-focus.


4. Go local.

When traveling abroad, hire a local to help you get around, gain access to more exclusive areas, and communicate in the native language. Though you may have to pay them, they will save you money in the long run with their knowledge of the area and connections.

local zack arias morocco

5. Make new friends through photos.

Arias often gives his subjects Instax photos using one of the Fujifilm Instax Mini cameras. These mementos not only break the tension between photographer and subject, but they give the recipients a way to remember the photographer, too.


"The thing I love the most about photography and the most about my life right now is that these little cameras are my passport, and right now they are my passport to the world."

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Utah High School Photoshops Yearbook Photos to Cover Girls’ Bare Skin Without Permission

Posted: 29 May 2014 03:15 PM PDT

Wasatch High School in Heber City, Utah has drawn the attention of national news agencies after it Photoshopped sleeves and high necklines into some female students’ yearbook photos without telling the students or their parents they were doing so. The school argues the girls did not adhere to dress codes and their photos were too racy to be used in the yearbook, leaving the school no choice but to edit the images before printing. You can listen to the full story here:

While most of the students understand that they did not strictly comply with the dress code, they say they were never told to change their clothing before the shoot, nor were they asked to resubmit images in which they were wearing clothing that was deemed more appropriate by school officials. Instead, they were met with great surprise when the yearbooks were released; they discovered the questionable Photoshopping of additional clothing into their photographs.

The major complaint by the students is the inconsistency with which the school edited images. Where some students had sleeves or higher necklines added to their portraits, other students wearing similar style clothing had nothing done to their portraits. In one case, one student wearing the same shirt as another student had her photo altered while the other student’s portrait was left untouched.


Sleeves were added to many girls’ photos.


Raised necklines were Photoshopped into some students’ photos.

The school apologized publicly to the students regarding the fact that some of the portraits of students in violation of the dress code were edited, while others were not. But the school is standing by its decision to Photoshop the portraits. The school says there was a sign posted during the portrait session informing the students the images may be altered if deemed necessary:

“It was a large enough sign that other people clearly remember seeing it, and certainly it should have gotten their attention that it was a possibility. We only apologize in the sense that we want to be more consistent with what it is we are trying to do,” says superintendent Terry Shoemaker.

The school’s dress code cites tank tops, short cut skirts, shorts, and dresses among other items of clothing as being extreme and does not permit the students to wear such items to school.

Go to full article: Utah High School Photoshops Yearbook Photos to Cover Girls’ Bare Skin Without Permission

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Photographers Take a Pygmy Hedgehog on Adventures Around the World (Album)

Posted: 29 May 2014 12:37 PM PDT

He's every photographer’s dream subject: photogenic, relaxed, and without objection. He's also exceptionally easy to transport from shoot to shoot. Meet Biddy, the extremely well-traveled three-year-old African Pygmy Hedgehog. Photographers Thomas and Toni bring their little ball of prickly-awesomeness on adventures exciting enough for humans and hedgehogs alike, while documenting it with the cutest travel pictures you’ve ever seen:

Biddy and his human parents live in Oregon, and their well-photographed travels take them to mountains, beaches, donut shops, and waterfalls all over the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

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How to Keep Your Light Stands from Falling Over in the Wind (Video)

Posted: 29 May 2014 11:43 AM PDT

One good gust of wind and your expensive lights could hit the ground resulting in breakage and broken hearts. This scenario can be avoided, however, by using this quick little pro tip as shared by Enlight Photo:

The trick, which helps to justify over-packing your camera bag as we all like to do, is a simple fix to a potentially major problem. By simply tying the light stand to his camera bag, the light stand is much more secure due to being weighed down by the bag.


A few simple tools can make your light stands windproof.

light stand setup

A cord and an easy knot help hold down your light stand.


A simple solution for keeping your light stands upright!

Use bongo ties or a couple loops of paracord to keep on your light stand and camera bag so you are always prepared and don’t need to go through the initial hassle of having to tie up your gear every time you use it. Simple!

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips