Friday, 13 June 2014

The 8 Worst Habits of Beginning Photographers

The 8 Worst Habits of Beginning Photographers

Link to PictureCorrect Photography Tips

The 8 Worst Habits of Beginning Photographers

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 11:18 PM PDT

A habit is something one does regularly without thinking. There are good habits, such as looking both ways before crossing a street, more or less benign habits, such as biting the ends of pencils, and bad habits, such as being persistently late. Photographers fall prey to all sorts of bad habits, and becoming aware of them is the first step in breaking yourself of them. From lecturing on photography, exchanging critiques with fellow members of three photography clubs, and so on, I have compiled a list of the worst of a photographer's habits. These are the habits that beginners often find the most difficult to break and that even experienced photographers drift into more or less randomly without being conscious of them.

beginner photographer

“I’m a little photographer” captured by Aikawa Ke

Habit #1: Shooting in bright daylight

For some people this habit is left over from pre-digital days when film was slow and strong light was often necessary to capture a good image. This bad habit is also encouraged by using cameras without viewfinders so that the brighter the scene, the stronger and clearer the image may appear on an LCD screen viewed in daylight. But bright illumination bleaches out light areas and obscures detail in the photo. It creates harsh shadows and lessens the vibrance of colors. Bright light also makes human subjects squint or even close their eyes. Try instead shooting on overcast days or very early or late in the day—or at least in solid (not dappled) open shade.

overcast light

“Untitled” captured by Kousis Konstantinos (Click image to see more from Konstantinos.)

Habit #2: Shooting jpeg

Yes, jpeg images take up less computer storage space than do raw images, but hard drives and other types of digital storage are now so cheap that it costs little to save raw images. Why let the camera decide how to alter you photos when you can do a better job of post-processing with modern, easy to learn, inexpensive software? Compression by jpeg narrows the dynamic range of your photo, changes colors (occasionally in outrageous ways), and can't be undone. Virtually all post-processing software is now non-destructive, so whatever you do, you can undo. (If only everything in life had that option!)

Habit #3: Centering the subject

This may be the hardest bad habit for beginners to break, but it also sometimes plagues even seasoned veterans. Boring! Sure, there are times when centering is best, but those times are much rarer than you might guess. Simply obey the thirds rule, and most of the time you'll be okay. With experience you can learn to compose images in other ways that are neither centered nor thirds, but experimentation is necessary, because this is much harder to do well than composing by the rule of thirds.

rule of thirds

“Lift Off” captured by Gary Vernon (Click image to see more from Vernon.)

Habit #4: Shooting from eye height

This is another bad habit that renders your photos so much like run-of-the-mill snapshots. We all look at the world most of our waking lives from our eyes while standing or sitting. Photos from these two vantage points usually just tell us something we already know. Merely squatting or dropping to your knees brings a remarkable freshness to your images. I sometimes carry a yoga mat so I can lie flat on the ground in relative comfort. Or get above your subject; shoot down from a hill, a balcony, the top of a flight of stairs, or from a second-floor window.

photography perspective

“Up” captured by Mark Fox (Click image to see more from Fox.)

Habit #5: Ignoring the background

Utility lines are the enemy of outdoor images, yet inexperienced and careless photographers tend to include them all the time. It is easy to become so focused on the subject that you don't notice anything else in the frame. We have all seen outdoor pictures with the photographer's shadow in them—ugh! When possible, choose a location with simple surroundings especially for photos of people so they don't have light poles sticking out of their heads, for example. Another solution is to use a long focal length to make the subject sharp while the background is blurry.

portrait with blurry background

“How to haggle with a Moroccan” captured by Rob Castro (Click image to see more from Castro.)

Habit #6: Taking commonplace shots

At a local photo exhibit I said to a friend—while we were viewing an entry—that I had seen that photo before. Being a good photographer herself, she knew I was complaining that I had seen quite similar photos many times over. There is nothing wrong with photographing familiar sights or subjects so long as you find an uncommon way to do it. I try to shoot something commonly photographed in a new way, such as through an archway or with a person in the foreground enjoying the sight. I’ve framed a familiar lighthouse through a chain-link fence. I've returned at night to shoot a church or other building that everyone else photographs during the day. Take pains to avoid boring your viewers.

creative composition

“Peace Memorial, Paris” captured by Studio Laurent (Click image to see more from Studio Laurent.)

Habit #7: Hand-holding every shot

As miraculous as modern image-stabilization hardware is, it has limitations. It can't freeze camera shake that's too fast or too extreme, it doesn't allow for slow shutter speeds or timed exposures, and in some cases it can even work against you. Of course, tripods can’t be used where they are prohibited, where there isn’t sufficient space, when there is no time to set them up, or when they are too heavy to lug the distance you must walk. But you don’t have to have a super lightweight, expensive, carbon-fiber tripod for most purposes. Furthermore, other types of camera supports exist: monopods, gunstocks, beanbags, and so on. Photos are so much sharper when a tripod or other support is used; some kind of support should be employed whenever and wherever possible.

Habit #8: Taking one shot

Back in the days of film, every shot cost real money, either for processing or for the chemicals to do it yourself. One reason pictures appearing in National Geographic seemed to be so far beyond what the average photographer could possibly emulate was this: the magazine's professional photographers took so many pictures of the same subject that one or two of them simply turned out better than most. Nowadays anyone with a digital camera can take zillions of shots of a given subject, and the only cost incurred is the time required to cull them. And experience automatically decreases that culling time as you become a ruthless critic of your own work.

You may not agree that these are the most critical bad habits of photography, but if you manage to avoid all of them, viewers will be suitably impressed with your work—even if they can’t put a finger on the exact reason.

About the Author:
Jack Hailman is a photographer based in Jupiter, Florida.

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How to Capture Motion Blur in Your Photos (Video)

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 04:25 PM PDT

Photographing fast-moving subjects doesn't always mean using quick shutter speeds. In fact, adding motion to your still images can enhance the look and feel of the speed. Corey Rich explains how to imply movement in photographs with simple panning:

Rich, using a Nikon D4S and a Nikon 17-35mm ED-IF AF-S zoom lens, photographs mountain biker Jake Dorey speeding down a forest trail. By using a fast shutter speed of 1/1000 of a second, Rich easily captures the biker's swift movements. In the true definition of a "still" photograph, the biker looks as if he is motionless, frozen in time.

imply motion still photography tips

A fast shutter speed makes it look like the biker is sitting still.

So how do you create the feeling of speed on a mountain bike? Or any moving subject for that matter?

"By slowing the shutter speed down we can really create the illusion of speed. Often times that's the challenge; you don't want to freeze your athlete, you really want to create this illusion or this feeling that they're moving fast."

How To Add Motion to Your Photographs

  • Slow down your shutter speed. Adjust your shutter speed and then compensate with aperture. Since depth of field is not as much a priority against a blurry background, don't worry if you must use f/8 or f/16. Rich uses a shutter speed of 1/40 of a second to photograph his biker using the Nikon D4s and a 17-35mm f/2.8 lens. It’s best to troubleshoot with your camera, lens, and subject—but try for a shutter speed of  1/100 of a second or slower.
  • Use a simple setup—your hands! Hold your camera with firm arms, and twist your torso to follow the movement of your subject. Move your camera consistently and fluidly along the same plane as your subject. (You can try it on a tripod or monopod, but it's not necessary, and at times it’s even more difficult.)
  • Shoot in burst mode. You’ll probably need to shoot several frames to get the subject just right in the frame.
  • The idea is to get something from your subject sharp in the frame, while lines of motion appear in the background. You may want a less blurry background to preserve context, or you may not—that’s up to your creative vision.
  • Repetition and troubleshooting are the name of the panning game. Panning and creating motion in images can be a tricky thing; it takes practice to get the perfect shot. Don't give up after 10, 20, or even 50 tries!
imply motion still photography tips

It may seem counter-intuitive, but a slower shutter speed is often the best choice for quick-moving subjects.

"At the end of the day in still photography, what we're really searching for is one great photograph… It's about getting out there, perfecting the situation, repeating that situation over and over until you really have that perfect frame.”

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Interesting Photo of the Day: Amazing Drone Portrait from Jangfrau Summit

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 02:55 PM PDT

An epic journey calls for an epic photograph. This jaw-dropping portrait was taken by staff of Mammut after their climb to a 4,158 meter summit of the Jungfrau. The Jungfrau is one of the main summits located in the Bernese Alps of Switzerland:


Drone picture of Mammut employees at the Jangfrau summit (Via Imgur. Click image to view full size.)

The photograph was taken for the Mammut summer 2012 campaign, which marked the Swiss company's 150 year anniversary, as well as their 150th summit climb. The extraordinary feat was part of the “Biggest Peak Project in History,” as rope teams ascended 150 summits in 40 countries, including the seven highest continental peaks of the world.

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Tips For Shooting the Groom’s Wedding Details (Video)

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 02:28 PM PDT

On a wedding day photo shoot, a lot of emphasis is put on the beautiful blushing bride, her dress, and her accessories. But don't forget about the groom—it's his big day, too! Photographer Jasmine Star gives us a few great tips for photographing men’s wedding details:

Photographing the bride's wedding dress and shoes came naturally to Jasmine, but what to do about the groom's details?

"I needed to strengthen the way that I photographed menswear, as well as the corresponding wedding details."

Tips for Shooting Wedding Details for Men

  • Be prepared and minimize disturbance. Gather what you need from the start. Let the groom know in advance what you will need from the outfit for photographing.

men wedding detail photograph tips

  • Photograph his suit, tie, cufflinks, watch, pocket square, shoes, and maybe even his socks! If there is anything sentimental around on his big day (cards, letters, etc.) be sure to photograph that, too.
  • Find the best light available. Wedding photographers usually shoot the details at a home or hotel, so use what you’ve got to your advantage. (Natural lighting works well, but don't be afraid of some artificial light!)

mens wedding detail photograph tips

  • Stylize the groom's details. Try using some men's magazines for inspiration! Go for simplistic shots, and switch up the items. Photograph them individually and collectively so the groom has some options when choosing the shots he likes best.

men wedding detail photograph tips

Don’t leave out the groom when you photograph wedding details. Why not get creative? You’ve got your imagination and your camera—don't be afraid to use them!

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Photojournalism: How to Connect with Subjects and Master the Craft (Video)

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 09:57 AM PDT

Perhaps more than any other photography genre, photojournalism is about telling stories. Photojournalists often tell hopeful tales of great human triumphs, long-awaited reunions, and love, but they are often also tasked with telling the hard stories that no one really wants to hear—the ones about sex slaves and slums and struggling amputees. Whatever the story, photojournalists have to masterfully communicate emotion to the viewer or the viewer won’t be able to connect.

In the following video, photojournalist Deanne Fitzmaurice discusses her methods for connecting with subjects and cultivating the drive and passion necessary to thrive and stand out in such a competitive field. During the interview, Fitzmaurice offers five bits of advice related to the goal of becoming a master photojournalist:

1. Make human connections.

Above all else, most photojournalists strive to help viewers to emotionally connect with pressing issues that are difficult to engage with if they’re not immediately relevant in viewers’ everyday lives. To someone who has never lost a loved one to cancer or experienced it themselves, hearing about cancer would probably not be enough to provoke that individual to join the fight against cancer. But a skillful photograph of someone battling cancer with teary loved ones looking on just might move them to act.

“When I pick up a camera, what I want to do, most of the time, is to make a human connection with my subject,” said Fitzmaurice. “I want to humanize the issue.”

disease sick woman

Immediately after looking at this image, the viewer wants to understand this boy’s struggles.

2. Earn your subject’s trust.

Photojournalism is concerned with reality—real events, real interactions, and above all, real emotions. As with any portrait or wedding shoot, the importance of capturing subjects’ true expressions and emotions is paramount. Without that, the images captured would have less impact and even risk appearing cliché. To avoid that, always make sure to forge relationships and build trust with your subjects before you ever pick up your camera.

soldier iraq afghanistan injured survivor amputee

Fitzmaurice wanted to put a face to the growing epidemic of U.S. soldiers returning injured from war, so she earned the trust of this man, who let her into his life.

3. Have a plan, but be willing to let things change.

Experienced photographers know that, while nothing ever goes according to plan, it is important to have an ideal plan for a photo shoot mapped out before you begin shooting—and even before you arrive on site. This type of plan would include envisioned shots and all related elements, such as composition and lighting. Flexible plans can be springboards for creativity and can help you to keep your basic goals for the shoot in mind if you do have to switch gears.

“I think it’s important to have a general plan, but you have to be willing to let things change because [things] never go exactly like you expect [them] to go… you have to have a loose plan and just see what happens.”

mud cowboy ranch rancher cows cattle horse herding country

Shooting through a muddy truck window might have been Fitzmaurice’s original plan for this image, but if it wasn’t, her flexibility left her open to noticing this unique viewpoint.

4. Network with the pros.

As in most career fields, sometimes success in photography depends upon who you know and, more importantly, who sees your work. Fitzmaurice recommends making networking through workshops, seminars, and other means of communication a priority as you build your photojournalism career.

deanne fitzmaurice celebrity media press barber shop haircut

Networking can open doors for unique shoots and projects that will build your career.

5. Be passionate and driven.

Becoming a master photojournalist is remarkably difficult, but Fitzmaurice has confidence that anyone with enough passion and motivation can get there. Learn all that you can; devour photography blogs and videos, take online courses, attend workshops and seminars, network with pros, and practice making photographs every day.

branding brand branded ceremony ritual tradition

True passion will drive you to make photographs every day, unto the goal of creating masterful images like this one.

“It is difficult to break in[to the industry], but if you’ve got this underlying passion and drive, you can do it,” Fitzmaurice said. “[Photography] has to become you. It has to be a part of you. You [have to] wake up in the morning and say… ‘I want to be a pro. This is what I’m going to do every day.’”

At the start of her career, Deanne Fitzmaurice worked as a staff photographer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Throughout her career thus far, she has contributed to many honored publications such as National Geographic, Time, and Sports Illustrated, and has completed commercial work for NBC, Microsoft, and Adobe, among others. She was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2005.

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

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