Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Travel Photography: How to Capture the Character of a Place

Travel Photography: How to Capture the Character of a Place

Link to PictureCorrect Photography Tips

Travel Photography: How to Capture the Character of a Place

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 11:05 PM PDT

Many different elements go into making up the character of a particular destination or location, whether it be a far flung exotic city or your home town. It is the travel photographer’s job to cover these elements in order to present that character to the viewer. This article looks into what goes into bringing the character of a place to the audience.

travel landmark photography

“Trevi Fountain” captured by Bazli (Click image to see more from Bazli.)

Essential Elements

There are many separate “parts” that make a location what it is, but these generally boil down to landscape, people, and culture. Let’s look at these in a little more depth.


Every city, mountain range, or coastal area has its own unique look and feel. This might be created by architecture exclusive to that part of the world, such as Gaudi’s designs that are so prominent in Barcelona. Or well known landmarks (Eiffel Tower anyone?) or rough seas and steep cliffs like those so characteristic of the northern coasts of Scotland and Ireland. What does it look like in the morning? At night? The location might take on several personalities through the day, so it is essential to capture as many of these as you can to give a broader picture.

travel landscape photography

“Ireland” captured by PaweĊ‚ Kostka (Click image to see more from Kostka.)


Possibly the most influential factor in the character of a location is the people who live there. The way they look and dress, the way they carry themselves, the lifestyle they live, and the customs they observe. Is there a particular piece of clothing that defines them? Or maybe a certain characteristic? For example, if they are known to be happy and smiling people, show them as such. If they are known to be hardworking, try to include some shots of workers.

candid travel portrait

“Untitled” captured by Saut Hutabarat (Click image to see more from Hutabarat.)


This can encompass subjects such as food and drink. Local dishes give an immediate insight into the way of life lived by people of a particular place. Freshly caught seafood may be a specialty of the area, or it may be famous for a particular dessert or drink. Culture can also be shown in the festivals and events held in the particular region. This might be an annual parade where locals dress in the traditional costumes of their ancestors or a huge street party that captures the energy and vibrancy of a population.

travel photography

“Night Lights of Shibuya // Tokyo” captured by Richard Schneider (Click image to see more from Schneider.)

Putting It All Together

To put these elements in photographic terms, I like to think of the process as zooming in on a subject. Starting with the landscape element described above, you essentially form an overview—or wide angle view—of the subject, capturing surroundings. Distinctive buildings and landmarks give a feel and sometimes instant recognition to the location.

travel architecture photography

“Amsterdam” captured by Ramon Alvarez (Click image to see more from Alvarez.)

Zoom in to form a collective portrait of the people, their way of life, and daily activities. It is a good idea to use both posed portraits and candid shots to show personalities as well as customs and way of life.

Finally zoom in further to capture details such as local food and dishes and detailed studies of buildings. Text such as in shop signs shows languages spoken. Also, look for any products that are traditional or well known in the area. For example, leather goods from Morocco or electronics from Japan.

travel and culture photography

“Batik” captured by Saut Hutabarat (Click image to see more from Hutabarat.)

Travel photography is, in a sense, a very broad specialization. Possibly not a specialization at all. A travel photographer needs to be a landscape photographer, portrait photographer, still life photographer, and nature photographer—often all in the space of a single shooting session. Learn to cover all these elements within the broader subject, and you are well on your way to becoming a more accomplished photographer.

About the Author:
Mark Eden is a freelance photographer and the founder and director of Expanse Photography (www.expansephotography.com). A photographic services company offering fine art images as well as stock and assignment photography and a range of publishing and printing services.

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

Demystifying Your Camera’s Histogram (Video)

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 06:26 PM PDT

You hear the word histogram tossed around all the time when reading about photography. For professional photographers, the term is a household word—and there’s a good reason for that. Knowing how to read and use the histogram on your camera will help you make the leap from auto to manual mode and still be able to take properly exposed photos. Take a look as John Greengo explains the mysterious tool and teaches us why it’s so important to know:

What Is a Histogram?

As Greengo explains, a histogram is essentially a graph of the tonal distribution of a photograph. It tells you the tonal quality of the darks, shadows, mid-tones, and highlights by displaying whether they are over-, under-, or properly exposed. When looking at the histrogram chart on your camera, these values are read from left to right, with the far left side of the histrogram representing the darks and working its way through shadows, mid-tones, and highlights, which are on the far right side of the chart.


The levels in a histogram are read from left to right, starting with the darks and ending with the highlights.

How to Read a Histogram

Now that you understand how the histogram is laid out, reading it should be fairly easy for you. Depending on how the historgram spikes or dips, you should be able to tell exactly how the image is exposed. For example, let’s look at these three exposures of a tiger and compare their histograms:


The histogram tells you how the image is exposed.

The correctly exposed image has a histogram that is balanced nicely in the mid-tones, with a slight weight toward the shadows. This histogram tells us the mid-tones have a lot of pixel values and a nice exposure, whereas the extreme darks and highlights have no pixel values, signifying that the image is neither irrecoverably dark nor does it have blown-out highlights.

Comparing the over-exposed and under-exposed frames, it’s easy to conclude what “bad” darks and highlights will look like on your histogram. If your histogram is heavily pushed toward one side of the chart, chances are you don’t have the exposure you need. Try adjusting either you ISO, aperture, or shutter speed to either decrease or increase the exposure until everything meets back up near the middle.

“Generally, what you want is a mountain in the middle, and you don’t want it stacked up on either the left or right side. I would have to say that you probably want to be most careful of things that are stacked up on the right side. If you have blown out pixels, they are generally very, very bad.” -John Greengo

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

Interesting Photo of the Day: Clouds in My Coffee

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 05:51 PM PDT

This is not your average cup of coffee photo! Sakir Yildirim used his iPhone 5 to snap this unique perspective. What is considered an ordinary morning ritual by millions is changed into a beautifully surreal moment; a dreamy cloud filled cup of coffee presented over a bird’s eye city view. A good photographer can take a pretty photo of something, but a great photographer is able to take the mundane and create something fresh and inspiring:

Clouds In Coffee

Coffee clouds by Sakir Yildirim (Via Imgur)

Yildirim is a self proclaimed ‘art addict’ and iPhone photographer. He documents his life through beautiful photographs on his Instagram feed. We all can afford to take some pointers from Yildirim: always look for unique angles, interesting settings, and don’t be shy about photographing anyone or anything around you!

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

How to Use Intentional Lens Movement for Creative Photos (Video)

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 04:57 PM PDT

There are so many things we can do with cameras and lenses to create amazing photos without manipulating the image in post-production. If you have a willingness to think outside the box and experiment, there are many simple techniques you can try to add a little oomph to your photography. Here, Joe McNally shows us how moving your lens during exposure can produce a creative and unique effect:

Moving the lens while you’re snapping a picture is usually considered a no-no and may seem like a sure-fire way to mess up a perfect shot, but what if it actually makes the picture better?

While it will ruin the shot if you’re looking for a clear, sharp final image, moving the lens during exposure can produce a particular type of effect that adds some character, edge, and a little fun to your photo.

Positioning his model in front of a simple background of Venetian blinds, McNally shows us just how easy it is to add a sort of vortex feel to an otherwise nondescript setting by using a zoom lens. He uses 24-70mm lens and a gridded Nikon SB-910 TTL AF Speedlight Flash positioned over his subject. To blend in a little ambient exposure in the room, he lengthened his shutter speed. McNally shot with a small aperture—f/13, and a shutter speed of 1/6 of a second. The slow shutter speed is crucial, because you need the extra time to adjust the lens.

The Technique

So simple. As you click the shutter and it opens, you physically move the lens. Since the physical elements of the lens are now moving as you make the exposure, the image will distort. Here are McNally’s steps:

  • Set the timing of flash to rear curtain (the flash will go off at the end of the exposure).
  • Begin the zoom before triggering the shutter, since 1/6 of second happens pretty quickly and doesn’t leave much room to zoom after hitting the shutter.
  • Squeeze the shutter as you’re starting to zoom.

McNally tends to zoom from telephoto to wide, because depth of field increases as you zoom to wider. Some people prefer to do it differently to get a different effect, but it’s up to you.

creative photography technique

Zooming the lens during exposure creates an interesting vortex effect.

So, as much as photography rules make sense in other cases, for this technique you want to throw the rules out the window. Forget about the rule of thirds, stick your subject right in the middle of the frame and zoom in on the bullseye as you shoot to create a pretty trippy image.

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

Focus Mask: A Preview of the New Photoshop CC Feature (Video)

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 03:14 PM PDT

Adobe is starting to make announcements about new features that are being added to the forthcoming version of Photoshop CC, and there’s one feature that looks especially useful. Watch this short reveal video to learn more about this exciting feature and start dreaming about how much time this will save you now that you won’t have to do this manually:

The newest addition to the photo editing powerhouse is essentially a quick selection tool that lets you select either in-focus pixels or out-of-focus pixels. This is especially useful when creating masks that separate the in-focus subject from the out-of-focus background. (Via PetaPixel.)


The focus mask tool is easily adjustable with a refine edge option.

You can easily add Adjustment Layers to the section to make editing a background (or foreground) a breeze. This tool comes as a welcome new feature to anyone who frequently works with these kinds of images and has similar editing workflows as the example in the video.

What do you think? Are you excited for the new tool?

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

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