- How to Shoot the Perfect Picture
- What is a Tilt-Shift Lens and How Does it Work? (Video)
- Interesting Photo of the Day: Aerial View of Shanghai
- The Challenges of Photographing a Pilot and Fighter Jet (Video)
Posted: 22 Jun 2014 11:54 PM PDT
An image does not just appear in front of your lens and you press the shutter button and there it is. Neither is it luck or pure chance. The perfect image starts long before you press the shutter. It starts when you are far away from the scene you are about to photograph. How to start that process and what route to take to get the image is what I am going to help you discover on this exciting journey as you learn digital photography.
What I discovered many years ago was that great images and those dramatically inspired photographs don’t just happen. If you were to speak to a National Geographic award winning photographer, you’d find out that there is a process that leads up to the outstanding image. Now, I am not going to give you the keys to that type of image, because I wasn’t part of the photographer’s process. I am going to give you some basic steps to get you moving toward your personal goal of that perfect image. Before we go on, I need to make it clear that the perfect image for you is one that is in your mind and nobody else’s. So here are some tips to head you in the right direction.
1. Define yourself as a photographer
This is really simple and not as difficult as the step sounds. Defining yourself as a photographer means discovering what you like to shoot and what genres you want focus on. This might be landscape, portrait or close-up and macro. If you don’t do this you’ll be a generalist and never focus on what really motivates you to take photos. As I said, the perfect image starts with a process and this is the first step.
2. Learn to think
Once you know what you want to shoot and have an idea of what you really like, it’s time to take a step back from the actually shooting and learn to think. Take time out to think about what the final result will be. Begin with the end in mind. If you love close-ups, is it that green tree frog with bright red eyes? Or, perhaps the bee on a bright red flower? Start to visualise what the final images should look like and what you need to do to get to that point. Where you need to go, at what time of day, and what equipment you need to take with or plan to buy now or in the future. The perfect image comes from a lot of thought and planning.
3. Take your time
Perfect images can never be rushed. As the golfer who takes a lucky swing and gets a hole in one so are the chances of you getting the lucky shot. By taking your time to find the right location, setting up equipment properly, and thinking about the image, you will increase your chances of that perfect shot. Passion and enthusiasm are sometimes hindrances to great photography because they induce haste and speed, which are big negatives to the process.
This is a key component to realising a great image. It includes finding the best location for a perfect photo, preparing your equipment, working out the technical aspects of the image, and understanding what the best lighting and other weather conditions will be. Those who fail to plan, plan to fail. A good plan will increase your chances a hundredfold of shooting the photo of your dreams.
Although you have a plan and a series of steps you need to take to get the image in your mind’s eye, don’t be afraid to experiment. Make sure that you implement your plan carefully; this is number one. But be prepared to try out other ideas, angles, and settings. You never know what will happen, and a variation of your plan may just result in something dramatic and an image that is beyond your wildest dreams.
6. Practice makes perfect
If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. Practice makes perfect is what the old adage says. If the plan doesn’t work out then try it again and again and again and vary it, as I said when experimenting. You may get 70 percent of the plan right or even only 50 percent. Don’t give up, but keep on trying because next time it will be 75 or even 90 percent right. As you go along, you’ll find yourself perfecting your techniques and repeating the successes more often. All this adds to the process, and you will find yourself getting nearer and nearer to that perfect image.
Once again, the perfect image is one that is in your mind and not someone else’s. Nobody can prescribe to you what that image should be. It may look like something in a travel magazine or on the cover of Nature magazine or National Geographic, but it is still your image. Take the time to plan, experiment, and practice until you reach that perfect goal in your photographic journey. As you learn digital photography you will learn something new every day, so build on it, and soon you will become an accomplished photographer. Happy shooting!
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Posted: 22 Jun 2014 03:19 PM PDT
There is something undeniably charming about seeing our world in miniature scale—tiny cars, tiny people, and tiny dramas. Created by the "tilt-shift" lens, the effect has gained a lot of popularity (some would argue too much) over the past few years. Beyond producing the miniature effect, the tilt-shift lens possesses some amazing functions. Vincent Laforet of Canon Explorer of Light demonstrates the tilt-shift's ability in eliminating lens distortion:
What is a tilt-shift lens?
The tilt-shift lens has two distinct types of movements as described by its name.
Tilt is the rotation of the lens plane relative to the image plane, controlling the area of an image that appears sharp. Think of it like "selective focus"—this is what creates the miniature effect.
Shift is the movement of the lens parallel to the image plane, allowing the position of the subject in frame to be changed without having to move the camera around.
Traditionally, the tilt-shift is used to help minimize distortion of wide angle lenses. It has found a welcomed home in architectural photography and portraiture, as well as landscape and product photography.
Laforet sets up his Canon 5D Mark III and TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II under the Brooklyn Bridge to photograph the twilight cityscape. Many of us will have to make a choice when composing our frames with wide angle lenses. For Laforet, it’s keeping the top of the Brooklyn bridge in a distorted frame, or tilting down for no distortion with loss of the bridge.
Tips for Using Tilt-Shift Lenses
He gives us a few pointers on using a tilt-shift for lens distortion correction:
The lens will do the rest! Watch as the distortion or "pinched" look disappears, leaving you with a natural looking image.
Go to full article: What is a Tilt-Shift Lens and How Does it Work? (Video)
Posted: 22 Jun 2014 01:39 PM PDT
Even the most mundane job can produce something beautiful. Amateur photographer Wei Gensheng takes advantage of his job as a crane operator for Shanghai Tower, which will be the second tallest building in the world once completed. As he works, he takes the opportunity to take breathtaking photos of the sprawling cityscapes below him:
Gensheng is often as high as 2,000 feet above ground when he shoots his images. This photo especially accentuates the 20,000 buildings that are over 11 stories high in Shanghai. His series of images won Gensheng the second highest prize in the Shanghai City Photography Competition.
Go to full article: Interesting Photo of the Day: Aerial View of Shanghai
Posted: 22 Jun 2014 10:54 AM PDT
In our photographic careers, we inevitably face times where we must photograph our subjects in less than perfect circumstances. But have you ever tried to photograph a fighter jet in bright sun? Jay P. Morgan shows us his lighting process on an air force base shoot:
Shooting in Bright Sun Light
When Morgan arrives at Luke's Air Force Base to photograph fighter pilot Josh Moffet and his F16, several obstacles quickly surface. Morgan has to figure out how to photograph a jet facing an undesirable direction, and do it under the scorching hot and very bright sun of Phoenix, Arizona.
Morgan shoots toward the west, capturing the east side of the plane, eliminating all the background clutter. Shooting at a low ISO of 100, 1/200 of a second shutter speed and an aperture of f/13 helps combat the extremely bright sun.
Lighting a Fighter Jet
Morgan uses four 400-watt strobes to light his subject and the jet. The first Photoflex Flexflash strobe is fitted with an Octodome and acts as the key light, illuminating Moffet. The second strobe, a Photoflex Triton, covers the tail section of the jet. On camera right, the third Flexflash with reflector aims at the mid-section and wing of the jet. The last and fourth flash illuminates the nose of the fighter. With the help of radio slave pocket wizards, the strobes are fired in unison.
Morgan and Moffet brave the heat and capture several different poses.
Morgan certainly did make it happen:
As the crew packs up, Morgan decides to grab a few extra shots; a sign of a true photographer. It's important to shoot around, experiment with other angles and backgrounds, even in the final moments of a shoot.
The images are post-processed with a dark contrast layer (excluding Moffet's face and body), added contrast and light desaturation.
Morgan proves that it is possible to dominate the elements working against you to come out on top with a selection of wonderful photographs.
Go to full article: The Challenges of Photographing a Pilot and Fighter Jet (Video)
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