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Monthly Archives: July 2017

Flattering Photos

– Break the Rules

Rule of the thirds implies that the subject can be on the either of the frame but never in middle. Though it does make for a good pose there are no strict rules in photography. If you think that a photo will look good with the subject in middle then go for it. Let there be no boundaries to stop you from taking your perfect shot. You’ll be surprised to see that the most striking photos come from bending or breaking the rules.

– Eye contact

Have the subject make eye contact with the camera while holding the camera at their eye level. This simple trick can make the subject seem more alive and will get you an engaging photo. But there are other things you can try to make the shot more alluring. The ‘off camera look’ has the subject focusing on something outside the frame. Any emotion from the subject will intrigue the viewer as to what is making the subject look surprised or sad. Another great idea is to have the subject focus on something within the frame of the camera. If there are two subjects, let them face each other or just a glance. This will create a story or relationship between the two subjects and a second point of interest for the viewer

– Watch the light

Morning and the time before the sunset is the best time to take photos. The orangey glow makes the subject look better, unlike the midday sun that makes any imperfections on the skin stand out. The light is softer which makes the colors stand out. There are numerous ways you can use lightening to your benefit. Side lightening or backlighting obscures the subject but makes their frame more prominent. Silhouetting also hides your subject’s feature that looks extremely attractive. Use flash even during the day. This forced extra light will fill in the shadows of the midday sun.

– Use Props

Right props can enhance the shot and give it more meaning. Focus might shift from the subject, but the prop will add a depth to them. The prop can be something personal or anything that might add fun to the shot. Personal props make the best kind of props, the hidden meaning is only evident to the subject but the right photographer can make the viewer also feel its importance. Make the shots timeless so that they might not seem outdated on the mantelpiece 10 years from now like a chair in the middle of anywhere makes for a very good shot.

Image Manipulation

Overall Image manipulation can fall into two categories – Technical manipulation and Creative manipulation.

Technical manipulation is used for restoration or enhancement of an image. The most common among them are the modeling advertises. Almost all models have been digitally airbrushed, retouched, corrected and almost digitally altered in every way to achieve that perfect look. This is more noticeable in lingerie ads where the skin has been retouched in such a way that it appears flawless from top to bottom. So how is this immaculate look achieved? The image is first smoothed out using a “healing brush”, which automatically removes blemishes and spots from the skin. So after just a few clicks you have nice plain skin, with no markings what so ever and then they are airbrushed to give them that nice smooth glow.

Another example of everyday technical manipulation would be in the magazines. The most highlighted of which, would be the 1982 cover of the national geographic where a photo of two pyramids were brought closer so that it would fit in the cover. It triggered the debate of whether the image manipulation was appropriate in journalism as the image depicted something that did not actually exist.

Creative manipulation on the other hand is more of an art form. It is used for commercial advertising for companies striving to create more interesting and breathtaking advertises. Creative manipulation can create extraordinary images that come right off the page with the help of Image composition. Here multiple photos are used to create a single image and 3D graphics design. It also takes us one step forward out of Photoshop into graphics design as both graphics design and illustrator capabilities have surpassed anything that Photoshop could offer to the creative mind.

Cleaning and Maintenance For DSLR

Keeping the lens clear of dirt and debris, so it goes on taking crisp, clean images;

Keeping the rest of the camera clean of dust and debris, so that it doesn’t manage to find its way into any points that are opened or can be opened to the elements (e.g. battery & memory card slots; microphone sockets; or even down the ultra slim gap between the buttons or dials and the camera body itself). Also, dust on the camera body can easily find its way onto the lens. So, if you only bother to clean the lens and ignore the camera body, you may return from a long or important photo shoot to find one or two annoying specks of dust or debris that had been dislodged from the camera body or lens barrel, only to find their way onto the lens. Do you really want to take that chance? I’ve experienced this and it’s not something you allow to repeat too often.

If you’ve bought yourself a “proper DSLR”, you will also need to:

Factor in keeping clean the rear of your lenses, including the metal contact pins (which allows the lens and camera to communicate the necessary data, making things like your camera’s Autofocus work as intended);

Potentially clean the ultra sensitive sensor, as well (you certainly don’t need to be cleaning the sensor after every time you’ve changed lenses, only if you discover that there are specks of dust or debris on the sensor, which you will likely find if your photos still have spots on when you’ve made doubly certain the glass of the lens, at both ends, is clean and dust free. I’ll talk more about sensor cleaning, later on in this article).

Right then, this is the cleaning and maintenance process I followed with my two cameras, which has now become something of an ingrained habit, over the years…

Cleaning and Maintenance of Bridge Cameras

1. Preparation – Getting Ready To Clean The Camera… I like to get organized, first, by taking out all of the cleaning tools I’ll need and putting them on the surface where I’ll be detailing my camera (whether that’s at the kitchen table or wherever’s most convenient at the time). Tools include:

a Lens Pen (which contains a soft bristled brush, which I use on the camera body and lens barrel, as well as a statically charged tip, which I use primarily on the glass of the lens, but also have used it on the LCD screen and viewfinder, from time to time).

an Air Blower (I blow off any dust and debris that can be easily dislodged with this tool. I do this before I use the brush from the Lens Pen, so as not to risk harder bits of debris potentially scratching delicate surfaces. Maybe it’s overcautious, but that’s just my way of doing it. The Air Blow works pretty well).

a Microfiber Cloth (I wrap a clean area of the cloth so that it’s taut around a forefinger and then I use a circular motion for cleaning, especially on the glass of the lens itself. So, at this stage, I will have used, first the Air Blower, then the brush of the Lens Pen, and now the Microfiber Cloth for the rest of the job. While the statically charged tip, housed underneath the cap of the Lens Pen, can be used for cleaning the glass of the lens, I typically like to reserve / preserve that for when I need to clean my camera away from home, as it’s less fiddly than using a Microfiber Cloth. When at home, I will opt for the Microfiber Cloth for this part of the job. Choose whichever method you prefer, if you have the choice of cleaning with both a Microfiber Cloth AND a Lens Pen).

Lens Cleaning Fluid (this is used with the Microfiber Cloth. I tend to only use this fluid if the camera and/or lens becomes particularly grubby. First, I wrap the Microfiber Cloth around my cleaning finger and then I spray a small amount onto the cloth – NOT directly onto the lens or camera body, as it can be easy to spray too much, and then you’re effectively pouring liquid into the gaps of your camera, between buttons and dials, for instance, which could be just as harmful as getting any of the other unwanted elements in there. Spraying onto the cloth helps absorb any excess fluid, first, and then you’re good to clean the body, lens barrel, or lens).

2. Cleaning the Camera… I clean my cameras in the following order and now it’s just become a habit. First, I clean the Lens Barrel, so that no surface debris or dust falls off and onto the glass of the lens when I turn the camera over to access different parts for cleaning. Next, I clean the glass of the lens and, finally, I clean the LCD & Viewfinder.

Cleaning and Maintenance of DSLR Cameras

I follow the same procedure for cleaning my Panasonic FZ1000 Bridge Camera, only now, because my Panasonic GH4 is a “proper DSLR”, with interchangeable lenses, I have to be vigilant about not getting dust on the sensor or on the rear of the lens, when switching lenses and, if that happens, I need to take steps to clean either the lens, camera sensor, or both.

3. Cleaning The Lens … There will be a button on the body of the camera, which you push and then you turn the lens (typically in a counter-clockwise direction), to remove the lens from the body of the camera. Now, before I do anything else, I pop on the bottom lens cap (which will come with any new lens that you buy from any good manufacturer) and set the lens to one side. If you have a cap that will go over the exposed sensor, on the camera body, now is the time to put it on (so that no household dust can find its way onto the sensor – there’s no sense in having to clean the ultra sensitive sensor, if you don’t have to). Once done, now I can clean the lens, itself.

I tend to clean the body of the lens, first, using first an Air Blower to remove the loosest of the dirt or debris. Then, I’ll use the brush on the Lens Pen to get rid of the more stubborn bits of debris. If needed, I’ll use the Microfiber Cloth, with a spray or two of Cleaning Fluid, to finish cleaning the body of the lens. Next, I’ll take off the lens cap and clean around the edges of the lens, before using a circular motion with the cloth, to clean the glass of the lens. After putting the lens cap back on, I’ll check the bottom of the Lens (the end with the metal contact pins). If it needs it, I’ll clean this in the same way that I detail the front of the lens. However, I often find that there aren’t any marks, nor any grime or debris on this end (because I’ve been careful when changing lenses and have managed not to get any dirt on this end of the lens – I tend to go out of the house with the lens I intend to use, so changing lenses “in the field” isn’t something I have faced, as yet. That is when you’re more likely to find specks of dirt or debris on the bottom of the lens, and so will need to clean it).

And that’s it, the lens is cleaned and it can either go back on the camera or away into my camera bag, which is where I keep my lenses.

4. Cleaning The Sensor… I’m going to refer to the user guide for my Panasonic GH4, to explain how sensor cleaning is done with the this particular camera. If you have a different camera, because of the sensitivity of the image sensor, it’s recommended you consult the manufacturer’s user manual before attempting to clean the sensor.

Some Wonderful Effects of Photography


Panning is a photography technique that is mostly used to shoot moving objects such as sports cars, race competitions. It involves the horizontal, rotational and vertical movement of an image or video. To achieve best results of a sharp subject with a blurred background, you need to stay with an object as you frame and press the shutter button. It is among the old techniques, so it needs a lot of practice and patience to master.

Thirds rule

It is a method that is frequently used by artists and painters. Work produced using the technique can be found in art galleries. The rule of thirds method involves breaking down the photo in thirds, vertically and horizontally to have nine parts. The focus object is usually not placed in the middle which results to it being interesting, moving and dynamic. Factors to consider are the point of interest and the frame. Mentally divide your viewfinder into three to frame the shot.

Golden hour

Also referred to as the magic hour, it is the first hour of sunrise and last time of the sunset. The light is of different quality thus add quality and interest to the photo. It requires one to be fast for the quality of light fades quickly

Fill flash

This technique involves filling the dark areas of an image using flash. The background of the picture is usually brighter than the subject. A photographer needs to adjust the shutter and aperture speed to expose the background. The circumstances when to use flash are:

• When foreground light is less than in the background

• When close to the focus subject