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Category Archives: Photography

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 Make the shots timeless so that they might not seem outdated on the mantelpiece 10 years from now like a chair in the middle of anywhere makes for a very good shot.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

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

About Watermark Photos

The watermarks on your photos that I’m referring to are more like the latter.

They don’t get in the way of the photo, but enhance it and you at the same time.

Here are the three reasons, you might want to watermark your photos.

1. Branding.

Your watermark can be a signature, a small photo or a logo. As such, it serves to brand you. When people look at your images, they learn something about you.

If you consistently show photos that appeal to them, they’ll get to know who you are and look forward to seeing more of what you publish.

Your images may be quotes or landscapes or funny stuff that you share.

2. Promotion.

Watermarks on your photos promote. What do you want viewers to do? Where do you want people to go? What do you want them to see beyond the image?

Answer these questions to determine what kind of watermark you should create.

You may want to promote yourself, your business, a website or blog. Make sure your watermark reflects that.

For example if your business has a logo, choose that for your watermark.

Your signature would be a good choice if you are promoting you,

I chose to create a community on Facebook, and as such, use a logo of its name, which is both personal and business.

If you use social media with its sharing capabilities, your images can potentially be viewed by thousands or million of people. That’s a lot of promotion.

3. Protection.

Certainly if your images go viral on the Internet, you want to protect your brand, so that people cannot simply take your photo and brand it as their own.

Although this latter point isn’t foolproof, because watermarks can ultimately be removed, it has some safety benefit.

In most cases, unless you are a professional photographer, you won’t need to copyright your photos.

If you’re like me, a network marketing professional, you will be using other relevant photos you find online that you want to put your own words to or your favorites quotes.

Useful Photoshop Image Editing

Cropping the photo

In most of the photos, even if they are well composed, you will find that there are some portions in it which you do not need. Hence the next step in Photoshop image editing is to remove the unwanted area of the photo, which can be easily done by using the crop tool. You have to press the control key to select the crop tool, and then create a box inside your photo. As you notice a tick-box in the corners of your crop-box, you can move and resize your area to select the precise area you wish to crop.

Removing Sensor Dust

Another element to enhance the quality of your photo is to remove the spots of dust which many times sticks to the lens of your camera. The sensor dust and other crud on your camera’s sensor are most visible on images taken at small apertures or those taken on plain areas such as the sky. Hence you should use the Healing Brush to get rid of the dust spots on the photo.

Boosting Contrast

The next important factor in Photoshop image editing is to boost the contrast of the image to make it more lively. This can be easily done by brightening the highlights and darkening the shadows of the image. You have to drag the white arrow (right hand) in the levels window to the left for lightening, and the black arrow (left hand) to the right for darkening.

Fine tuning the colors

In some images, you may need to fine tune the colors of your picture, as garish, noisy colors often look awful. Hence you can boost the saturation levels of your image. Although adding lots of saturation makes the picture look more colorful, but you should try to keep the changes to the colors minimal as more saturation may make the image look unnatural.

Photography Studio in Greenhouse

Photo studios require adequate space for capturing different angles and properly zooming in on subjects to prevent image distortion. It is also important to have enough room for storing props, backdrops, and equipment. For these reasons, a small living room nook will not provide the appropriate space for a photography studio. A greenhouse, whether it is a standalone structure or a lean-to addition, will provide enough room for moving subjects, zooming, and storing equipment. A lean-to will already have one solid wall, which is perfect for the staging area. Freestanding greenhouses can be designed with a solid wall, or they can include a sliding wall with solid panels that act as a solid wall when closed.

Since a greenhouse is predominantly made of glass, photographers are able to take advantage of ample natural lighting. There is some controversy surrounding natural light photography, but when properly harnessed, natural lighting is a cost-effective and efficient photography method. When planned correctly, a greenhouse can be used for both natural and artificial light photography. The windows will provide enough light to eliminate the need for a flash, but they are also easy to cover with a proper shading system. Because of this, there is a reduced need for standard lighting techniques, such as: constant lights, speedlights, and studio strobes, as well as light modifiers, like umbrellas and softboxes.

During the planning stages, it is important to determine the best possible location for a greenhouse photo studio. A south or north facing structure will be out of direct sunlight and will produce soft, even light. For increased lighting control, drapes and adjustable shading systems can be added to the windows and ceiling to help photographers create the perfect lighting for any photo shoot. Polycarbonate can be used as an alternative to glass in the ceiling and walls to reduce light transmittance and leave the studio illuminated with a soft, natural glow. For those looking for more a traditional glass structure, Dynamic glass is a self-tinting option, which reduces light transmittance, but does not require a permanent change in traditional aesthetics. With this option, different window sections can be tinted individually at various levels, allowing photographers to control the light transmittance at any angle of the greenhouse.

Backdrops and props are essential in photo shoots. A greenhouse photo studio can include an interior dividing wall such as a folding glass wall to separate the storage area from the work area ensuring the studio remains organized at all times. An interior dividing wall can also create different climate zones to separate a growing area from the studio area. This will allow tropical plants or orchids to be grown in the greenhouse zone and used as unique scenery for pictures, all while keeping the studio zone at a comfortable climate for clients.

About Seamless Portrait Editing

When I was pursuing my bachelor degree I felt in love with a girl. After two years of sweet and sour romance, we decided to marry. My parents were not aware of my secret affair, because I never exposed my love letters before them. I was so afraid of showing my girlfriend’s photo to my parents, because she had a face full of pimples. After reading some articles on how to edit portrait in Adobe Photoshop CS 6, I decided to apply it on my girlfriend’s photo. Believe it or not I succeeded to make my parents impressed and get married. The method I used is called frequency separation.

Before getting into the process let me give you a clear idea the term. You heard about mega pixel and you know that digital image is made of pixels, which is considered as the unit of digital photography, but have you ever heard of frequency? There are many frequencies in an image. We can easily divide them in two parts, namely higher and lower frequency to retouch our image flawlessly. In fact using frequency separation technique is very easy. Follow the simple steps below to apply this special effect.

Open Your Portrait

After opening your portrait on Photoshop make a duplicate of the image twice by pressing Ctrl + J two times, because we don’t want to affect the original image.

Naming the layers

Edit the upper layer name to ‘High Frequency’ and lower layer to ‘Low Frequency’. Hide the upper layer by clicking on the eyeball icon.

Applying Gaussian Blur Effect

Select the lower layer and go to the Filter and click on Blur then select Gaussian Blur and drag the slider to right to get a slightly blurry effect so that wrinkles and pimples disappear. Now bring back the visibility of the upper layer and select it.

Apply Image

Selecting the upper layer, in our case ‘High Frequency’ go to Image and click on apply image from the drop down menu. When the dialog box appears, select ‘Low frequency’ and for blending mode select ‘Subtract’. The Scale should be 1 or 2 and offset 128. After altering all the values properly, click on OK. You will notice the upper layer turns to grey embossed type. Now change the blending mode of the upper layer to ‘Linear Light’. As soon as you change it your photo gets back to its original appearance.

Cycling Lends

What they did help provide however was a fantastic and totally unexpected atmosphere. With the arrival of a the long train of support vehicles, police and in particular the French gendarmes (yes the French police with their comedic siren exploited brilliantly in the Pink Panther films), then I begin to notice a faint tingling on the back of my neck. The helicopters overhead then raise the anticipation to fever pitch and I begin to focus on a stretch of road in the distance. No riders yet. But the helicopters remain. My dog Jip stops fidgeting and barking and pricks his ears up attentively. Someone further along calls out, “They’re here!”

That magical sunny day (they forecast rain you know) will live with me I hope, always. Now, I intend to capture ordinary people’s passion for cycling, and this is how I and other would be snappers might go about it.

Loaded with a camera and lens capable of taking action and sports shots (I use a Canon 50mm f1/8 which can be purchased for between £60-70), I locate myself at points along various cycling routes – road or off-road. Organised events will also provide opportunities. One eye should be on the weather beforehand, as a torrential downpour could render all your preparation as useless.

Care will be taken not to take photos of younger cyclists unless parental consent is given. Moreover, care will also be taken not to take a photo if it might hinder the cyclist’s concentration, thus causing an accident (such as on busy roads).

The best photos will probably be provided by muddy mountain bikers hurtling over a jump but brightly garbed road cyclists riding along in the majestic light provided by a summer’s evening glow will take some beating aesthetically.

Info of Phone Photography

What a surprise! The photography possible with this machine is far better than any camera owned previously. It takes shot after shot of incredible photos whose detail can be enlarged and studied. Like the camera before it of course it takes videos as well.

This is a far cry from the first camera that my brother gave me when I was around 8 years of age. It was quite small but the photos I took have survived and are a record of the family history from those early years. Film had to be inserted and then the photos developed through the local chemist. It meant saving my pocket-money to redeem them.

From that time to this photography has been one of my hobbies and the quantity of shots from just about everywhere travelled or experiences enjoyed are filling albums and taking up storage space around the home. That is unnecessary with the new technology. The computer stores anything needing to be kept while some photos are printed immediately either through my printer or the local shop.

The difference in convenience and cost is astronomical and the pleasure of taking photos has increased enormously thanks to the new smart phone.