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Archive for the ‘photography’ Category

Pet Photography

Working with pets in photography can be quite a challenge.

In my opinion, one of the best approaches to take to this type of photography is to look at the subject as almost like working with a small child. Why? Well the obstacles you may face are often the same. Both children and pets move around a lot, have short attention spans and sometimes have difficult times when it comes to taking direction. Here are a few photography tips that might help.

Make sure you have a lot of light

If you have lots of light it will make it easier for you to shoot at a proper exposure level with a reasonable shutter speed. This will help to reduce blur if the pet moves quickly.

Use props

Having toys or something that can visually stimulate a pet or engage one of their other senses may help to keep the animal more focused which will help to make your job easier too.

Shoot fast and often

Because animals move frequently, shooting in burst mode or without attempting to adjust setting between shots will make in more likely that you will end up with some shots you like.

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My dog Cinny.

Creative alternatives to your own studio

I used to rent a space to use as a studio for my model and portrait photography work in Pittsburgh. But after a little while, I noticed I wasn’t using it enough to maintain a regular shooting location for the price I was paying. So, if anyone else is also in need of a shooing space from time to time but nothing more, these ideas might help you with some alternative options for indoor shooting.

Airbnb

These vacation rentals are much like hotels except you have a wider variety of options like using an entire house or apartment. The cost is often reasonable and the variety of locations is wide.

You can check it out at airbnb.com

Hotel rooms

While these are more expensive and have some major drawbacks including a negative reputation for legitimate photo sessions, they are an option that might work at times.

Unrented property

Sometimes commercial store or office space owners may be willing to allow you to use their space for a short period of time so that they are at least making a few bucks off of a vacant location. You might also be able to arrange a trade with them to provide photos for rental ads in exchange for shooting space.

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Bars or clubs

Often during the times when these establishments aren’t operating, the owners or managers may be willing to allow you to use the space for your photography work.

Office rental space

Some groups and companies like Regis rent out spaces for meeting and events. This is a good way to find a safe and professional atmosphere for your shoots.

Extra rooms

If a fried or family member has an unused room at their home you can always ask them if they’d let you use it for your art.

Just a note:

Be sure you are on the same page with the owner of establishment when it comes to the content of your photography work and the images you plan to shoot at the location. This is a major part of being professional and not getting yourself into any legal issues.

Creating Silhouettes

Silhouettes can be some of the most beautiful images a photographer can take. So, what’s the secret behind getting this effect in your photos? It’s all about lighting and position of the subject.

Think backwards

As a general rule, we want the source of light in our images to come from in front of the subject and to be project on them facing toward the camera. With silhouettes, this is actually not the case. For a good silhouette, you need the light source to be coming from behind the subject. This is why many of these images seem to be in front of windows with natural light for example.

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Time of day can matter too

In some case, the time of day you shoot can make a big difference. I find that for outdoor silhouettes, it works best if you are shooting as the sun is going down but still very strong. I suppose this is because it minimizes the light in front of the subject and emphasizes it behind.

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Black and white

In general, silhouettes seem to look better in black and white so I would suggest adjusting your final image to a grayscale setting of some sort.

What exactly is a GWC?

In photography circles, especially when it comes to working with models, many photographers work hard to be professional and produce high quality work. However, a few bad apples sometimes give the rest of us a bad name. These are sometimes what has been granted the acronym GWC.

So what is a GWC?

It is short for the term “Guy With Camera” (although in rare occasions I suppose it could apply to females as well). As Urban Dictionary defines it – “Commonly used in the modelling/photographer biz, ‘GWC’ is any poser/creep with a digital camera pretending to be a pro/semi-pro photographer.”

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This is not a bad definition but a little more needs to be addressed here. The basic facts are that a guy (or girl) with camera is:

  1. Is primarily interested in getting their subject naked or scantly clad with no real regard for art.
  2. Is overall unprofessional in their approach.

This means that a GWC can be a photographer of any skill level or experience using any type or camera, including very high end ones.

Conversely,  a professional attitude and artistic outlook can make even those with less experience and a low end camera or equipment not a GWC.

The basic lesson here is two-fold:

For models –

Avoid working with GWCs

For photographers –

Avoid being one

Fun With Food Photography

It probably won’t come as a surprise to just about anyone out there that there are several different sub-sections within the art of photography. Of course, there are landscape photographers, those who work with portraits, people who take photos for journalist purposes, fashion photographers and many, many more. One sub-section that may sometimes get overlooked a bit is food photography.

Whether you pick up on it or not, food photography is everywhere. From art exhibits to advertisements and even the images that line the walls in your favorite restaurants, it’s hard to miss if you really take the time to notice it.

With all that in mind, here are a few tips for taking appealing images of food that will make you want to say “yum.”

Lighting

Just like in every other form of this artistic method, lighting is crucial. Obviously, you are going to want to make sure the image is bright enough to effectively show the culinary goods but not so bright as to washout the image. The more you can adjust the lighting to conform to the most natural looking colors within the food, the better. For example, if you’re lighting is in cool tones of a somewhat bluish tint, it’s probably not going to work out well for a photo of a basket of apples.

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Detail

One of the most appealing things about food it the detail, specifically when it comes to things like texture and shape. For example, if you are shooting a photo of an uncooked steak, the image becomes much more appealing if you can capture the marble coloration of the mixture of fat and lean. For those of you who prefer the veggies, making sure to emphasize the crumpled effect of lettuce in a salad really helps as well.

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No distractions

Just like with other photography work, if the subject of the image is surrounded by other items that can be a distraction, it takes away from the purpose and goal of the shot. Basically, the photo becomes too “busy” if you will and results in over stimulation. Do what you can to remove objects that may fight for attention with the subject from the background as well as anywhere else.

27 Mar 2008, Garnerville, New York, USA --- Assorted Junk Food --- Image by ?Envision/Corbis

Moisture

Showing a wetness or moisture in your food images can go a long way in making them stand out to the viewer as well. This is especially true when it comes to foods that are typically expected to be juicy. In many cases, food photographers make a few enhancements if you will like using a spay bottle to add some droplets on whole fruits or veggies or any number of other substances, edible or not, to meats and pancakes with syrup.

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The Photography of Meg Spotts

Over the course of the years working in the field of photography, I have met a lot of talented people who share the love of the art. One such person is my very good friend Meg Spotts. And as such, I’d like to share a couple of her shots with you on this blog. Please check them out below:

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This is a beautiful shot of the full moon over the Western Pennsylvania sky against the backdrop of a pitch black night.

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This closeup of a stunning rose with water droplets upon the petals really draws in the viewer.

You can check out more of Meg’s work here.

Vintage Photography / Videography Collection Contest (Results)

Congratulations to Julie Ann, the winner of the Vintage Photography / Videography Collection Contest! Just in case you are wondering, the correct answers are below.

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TOP SHELF – Wein WP5008 Flash Meter (Germany), Hanimex 49mm Skylight Polarizing Lens Filter (Japan) and Tiffin 49mm Lens Filter (USA)
SECOND SHELF – Kodak Brownie 8 Movie Camera (USA) and External Flash (Manufacturer unknown)
THIRD SHELF – 1920’s era Kodak folding camera (USA) and AFGA Insta Folding Camera

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