Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Shoot for the Moon: Tips on Photographing the Moon

Shoot for the Moon: Tips on Photographing the Moon

Link to PictureCorrect Photography Tips

Shoot for the Moon: Tips on Photographing the Moon

Posted: 06 May 2014 11:58 PM PDT

If care is not taken when photographing the moon, it is likely that you will get either an overly dark photo, a moon that looks like the sun, a very small moon, or all of the above. I would like to offer some tips on a different strategy for making compelling moon photographs.

moon photography

“Moon” captured by Navid Qureshi (Click image to see more from Qureshi.)

So lets first discuss why it is so difficult to photograph the moon. There are two main issues:

  1. the brightness of the moon
  2. the size of the moon

Almost everyone has experienced a “moon-lit night”. This is when a full moon, or nearly full moon, lights up a dark night. You see everything around you fairly well, which is evidence that the small amount of sunlight that the moon reflects is actually quite bright.

Why is this a problem for moon photography? When the moon is so bright and everything itself is much darker, it is impossible to make a photo where both the moon and the subject are clearly visible. Either the moon is very bright and washed out (and everything else is properly exposed), or the moon’s details are well-defined, but everything else is black or very dark. We’ll get to possible solutions in a little bit.

The other problem with moon photography is that the moon is actually quite small in the sky. Using a normal lens will cause the moon to appear very small in the resulting photo. This will not usually create a compelling image, even if the frame is properly exposed. Of course, you can use a zoom lens and take a photo of the moon, but that is usually pretty boring.

Tips for Photographing the Moon

So what is a photographer to do? My suggestions are as follows:

  • Plan on photographing a full moon at or near moonrise or moonset, when the moon is very near the horizon.
  • Look for interesting subjects that are large (e.g., buildings or trees), are in a flat region, and are visible from a distance of a few hundred feet to a few hundred yards.
moon and trees

“The Super Moon” captured by Fergal Gleeson (Click image to see more from Gleeson.)

  • Research the direction/angle (the azimuth) where the moon will rise or set in a given month, and select a location where the moon will be easily be visible and adjacent to the subject from a distance.

OK, you may not be able to easily visualize these ideas, but let me explain what I’m trying to accomplish here. I want you to photograph the full moon near the horizon, from a distance, and with an interesting subject in the frame. The reason I want you to photograph the full moon near the horizon is because the light it is emitting nearly matches the ambient light of the rest of the world at that time. That’s because the sun is directly behind you and it is illuminating both the moon and your subject equally.

moon and windmill

“Windmill Moon” captured by David Farmer (Click image to see more from Farmer.)


This concept of even lighting only works with the full moon, because during other phases of the moon the moon is either too high in the sky or below the horizon when the sun is behind you.

Now, simply photographing the moon near the horizon does not alone make for an interesting image. So think about making the moon LARGE in the frame, and in combination with an interesting subject. This is the hard part. You obviously will be using a zoom lens for this, so you will be shooting BOTH the moon and the subject from a distance. They need to be very near each other in the frame. This is where a lot of planning is needed. You need a large, unobstructed, flat area for this (i.e. no hills, trees, buildings, etc) so that the rising or setting moon is visible.

There are websites for researching the direction and time of moonrises and moonsets throughout the year. There are only about 12 full moons per year (sometimes 13), so you may end up getting very few good opportunities to make the shots you are planning. And don’t forget about mother nature–a single cloud can ruin all of your plans.

I hope you can make use of these tips in your moon photography.

About the Author:
This article was written by Matt Shrier (, a photographer based in Bucks County Pennsylvania.

For Further Training on Night Sky Photography:

Capturing star trails and other night sky scenes is truly one of the most technically difficult forms of photography due to the extreme low light conditions. This new in-depth guide was released to help photographers thrive in these situations. We were able to arrange a 25% discount for our readers, simply remember to use the discount code picturecorrect at checkout.

Found here: Shooting Stars – How to Photograph the Night Sky

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

5 Things You Should Never Do When Taking a Selfie (Video)

Posted: 06 May 2014 04:57 PM PDT

Admit it, we’ve all taken a selfie. And while we’re being candid, let’s go ahead and let it be said that most selfies are pretty much rubbish. That being said, the craze has become so mainstream the Oxford Dictionary inducted the word selfie into its pages. In order to make the world a better place, Kai has made it a point to talk about five things you should avoid when taking a selfie. Take a look at the humorous video below to see how you can do your part:

The 5 Major Don’ts of the Selfie

  1. Selfie photo bombing. While slightly amusing, selfie photobombing can also be done in bad taste–like the girl who selfied herself with the a man jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge in the background.
  2. Wrong place, wrong time. There’s a time and a place for everything. For example, a funeral definitely isn’t the time or the place.
  3. Too much face. Composition is king.You’re selfie probably won’t be a candidate for a fine art gallery, but composition still matters. Try to max out the amount of yourself in the photo to 30 percent. Don’t let your face overwhelm the image; let the subject and background share some of the glory, too!
  4. Weird angles. Using a strange perspective doesn’t always translate to creativity. When taking a selfie, more often than not, weird angles have negative effects on the image.
  5. Ignoring your audience. It’s not all narcissism. (Or, at least, it shouldn’t be.) Remember, you’re not the only one looking at the selfie. Avoid boring selfies. Make sure your image has something of interest that isn’t just you!
Nearly everyone is guilty of taking a selfie.

Nearly everyone is guilty of taking a selfie.

Remember, if you must take a selfie, at least make sure it’s a good one!

Go to full article: 5 Things You Should Never Do When Taking a Selfie (Video)

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

High-Speed Camera Captures Goshawk Grabbing Water Balloon (Video)

Posted: 06 May 2014 02:37 PM PDT

Creating high impact, slow motion videos is not only fun, it can also teach viewers a few things. The guys over at Earth Unplugged have put together an amazing slow-mo video of a goshawk hunting. While not the ideal prey for such a powerful bird, watching a goshawk destroy a water balloon in slow motion really gets the point across that these birds of prey are beautiful, yet deadly, creatures:

This precision flying bird, often dubbed the “cheetah of the sky”, attacks a water balloon while being filmed at 4000 and 5000 frames per second. At 5000 fps, you can really see the detail, even though the video loses a little resolution going up that high.

goshawk hunting

Make sure you watch the video to get the full impact. The detail of the goshawk and the balloon exploding is incredible!

Go to full article: High-Speed Camera Captures Goshawk Grabbing Water Balloon (Video)

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

Photographer Shows Us the Beauty of North Korea (Album)

Posted: 06 May 2014 01:02 PM PDT

North Korea isn’t exactly known for its tourism, and very few pictures of it exist on the internet. The photos that do exist generally document the strict government and regulations. On a recent trip to North Korea, however, one photographer made a point to find the beauty that was surely buried beneath all the propaganda:

The photos were captured by photographer B.C. Tørrissen with a Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-HX100V. His album is an interesting and telling look at a place most of us will likely never set foot.

“You’ve seen the bad parts, over and over again. Here’s my attempt at showing that the country can be an interesting and even sort of pretty place to visit. Please do not interpret that as me supporting the government. I don’t.”

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

The Secret to Approaching and Photographing Strangers (Video)

Posted: 06 May 2014 10:28 AM PDT

Taking photos of strangers on the street, doing their everyday things, can be a bit of a challenge. Well, taking the photo is the easy part, getting a stranger to let you take it is the scary part. Brandon Stanton, the photographer behind Humans of New York (HONY), just might be the best in the world at stopping random people on the street and getting them to let him take their photograph. Here’s how he does it:

In 2010, Brandon set out to photograph 10,000 people in the not-always-so-friendly city of New York. His goal was to create a catalogue of New York City’s inhabitants by plotting their photos on a map. But, as he went out every day to photograph these people, he also got to know them a little. Now, Humans of New York is a widely popular photoblog and New York Times bestselling book, offering intimate insights of the people living in the city. (Via PetaPixel)

To date, the blog has over 6,000 photos of New Yorkers alongside inspiring, personal, and often funny quotes and short stories they have shared with Brandon.

photographing strangers

Brandon shares his subjects’ stories and advice on his blog.

Since he has approached over 10,000 people, Brandon has become quite the expert at knowing how to make strangers feel comfortable enough to let him take their photos. Even more challenging, he gets them to open up in short interviews, which are really just brief, natural conversations.

“It’s taking the atmosphere of fear and strangeness and uncomfortableness and turning that into an atmosphere of intimacy where people feel comfortable to disclose in a very short amount of time.”

Brandon figured this out by doing it 10,000 times and getting beaten down. He’s been yelled at many times and has made a lot people very nervous and uncomfortable. As he kept at it, he naturally learned how to make people comfortable when first meeting them.

When he first started HONY, Brandon experimented with wording a lot; he thought about which words would work best to allow him to get this person to take their photograph. He basically had a script, a speech, that he tinkered with constantly, debating between words like portrait or photograph, really trying to make it perfect, to maximize the effectiveness to make people comfortable.

making people comfortable

Sometimes you’ve got to get down to your subject’s level—literally.

He eventually realized that his approach had nothing to do with the words he was saying.

“It’s all about the energy that you’re giving off. It’s just 100 percent energy.”

Brandon says the worst energy you can give off is nervousness. But, it’s almost impossible to not be nervous if you haven’t approached people 10,000 times.

If you walk up to somebody and you’re shifting about, not looking them straight in the eye, they can feel your nervousness and subconsciously react to it, automatically getting nervous themselves.

Tips for Photographing Strangers

The way he does it is just by being as calm and nonthreatening as possible. His tips:

  • It’s easier to approach someone standing alone. People standing with friends or someone they know tend to clam up.
  • Never approach from behind. (Brandon will stealthily make his way to the other end of the street to come from a front approach.)
  • If the person is sitting, crouch down beside them to be on the same level.
  • Just ask if you can take their photograph. “Do you mind if I take your photo?” “Excuse me, is there any way I can take your photograph?”
  • If the person hesitates, and you feel the “no” coming, then explain what you’re doing and why you want their photo.
  • Always take a full body shot first, as it’s less intimate. This will help the person feel more comfortable before moving in for the close-up.

For HONY, because he wants more than just the photo, Brandon also needs to make the person comfortable enough to talk and open up. To do this, he sits down, usually on the ground at their feet, stretches back into an almost lying down position propped up on his elbows. He tries to be as non-threatening as possible. From here, he gets more intimate. He asks questions and tries to find out something about this person that is unique or personal.

meeting strangers to photograph

Connection is the key to getting subjects to open up.

4 Steps to Achieving Intimacy with Street Photography Subjects

The entire path is escalating levels of intimacy:

  1. Can I take your photo?”
  2. Explain your project, your passion, and your reasoning.
  3. Ask them something broad—a starting point to get into a conversation. “What’s your biggest struggle right now?” “Give me one piece of advice.”
  4. Expand on the initial questions to get that one thing that nobody else has told you. For example, if their advice is “take more risks,” ask them to tell you more about a time when they didn’t take a risk and regretted it.

As Brandon says, it’s very safe for someone to give a broad answer, so it’s always an effort to take the very broad and turn it into the very personal.

Your interactions with strangers are all about about open or closed energy. Your energy needs to ease the person into a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere so they open up to you. Only then will you achieve the intimacy necessary for meaningful portraits of strangers.

Go to full article: The Secret to Approaching and Photographing Strangers (Video)

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

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