1: Use the Rule of Thirds
This rule helps you take eye-catching pictures by using one of the most effective rules of composition.
If you want to take pictures that have a “wow” factor built in them, the Rule of Thirds is the composition secret you need to take advantage of!
To use the rule of thirds, imagine four lines, two lying horizontally across the image and two vertical creating nine even squares. Some images will look best with the focal point in the centre square, but placing the subject off centre at one of the intersecting points of the imaginary lines, will often create a more aesthetically composed photograph.
When a photograph is composed using the rule of thirds the eyes will wander the frame. A picture composed by the rule of thirds is usually more interesting and pleasing to the eye.
2: Avoid Camera Shake
Camera shake or blur is something that can plague any photographer and here are some ways to avoid it.
First, you need to learn how to hold your camera properly; use both hands, one around the body and one around the lens and hold the camera close to your body for support.
Also, for handheld shooting, make sure that you are using a shutter speed that is appropriate for your lens’ focal length. If you’re shutter speed is too slow, any unintentional movement of the camera will result in your entire photograph coming out blurry. The rule of thumb is not to shoot at a shutter speed that is slower than your focal length to minimize this problem:
1 / Focal Length (in mm) = Minimum Shutter Speed (in seconds)
So, as an example, if you’re using a 100mm lens, then your shutter speed should be no lower than 1/100th of a second.
Use a tripod or monopod whenever possible.
Are you confused by any of the terminology? Do you want to easily control your camera and finally get rid of the confusion about focal length, aperture, shutter speed and other settings?
3: Learn to use the Exposure Triangle
To get your photos looking their best in terms of exposure and overall appearance, you need to master the three basics: Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO.
You also need to understand the relationships between these three controls. When you adjust them, you would usually have to consider at least one of the others, to get the desired results.
Using Auto Mode takes care of these controls, but you pay the price of not getting your photos to look the way you wanted them, and often disappointing.
It’s a better idea to learn how to use Aperture-priority or Shutter-priority modes, and ultimately shoot in Manual mode.
4: Use a Polarizing Filter
If you can only buy one filter for your lens, make it a polarizer.
The recommended type of polarizer is circular because these allow your camera to use TTL (through the lens) metering such as auto exposure.
This filter helps reduce reflections from water as well as metal and glass; it improves the colours of the sky and foliage, and will help give your photos the WOW factor. It will do all that while protecting your lens. There’s no reason why you can’t leave it on for all of your photography.
5: Create a Sense of Depth
When photographing landscapes it really helps to create a sense of depth, in other words, make the viewer feel like they are there.
Use a wide-angle lens for a panoramic view and a small aperture of f/16 or smaller to keep the foreground and background sharp. Placing an object or person in the foreground helps give a sense of scale and emphasizes how far away the distance is.
Use a tripod if possible, as a small aperture usually requires a slower shutter speed.
6: Use Simple Backgrounds
The simple approach is usually the best in digital photography, and you have to decide what needs to be in the shot, while not including anything that is a distraction.
If possible, choose a plain background – in other words, neutral colours and simple patterns. You want the eye to be drawn to the focal point of the image rather than a patch of colour or an odd building in the background. This is especially vital in a shot where the model is placed off centre.
7: Don’t Use Flash Indoors
Flash can look harsh and unnatural especially for indoor portraits. Therefore, there are various ways you can take an image indoors without resorting to flash.
First, push the ISO up – usually ISO 800 to 1600 will make a big difference for the shutter speed you can choose. Use the widest aperture possible – this way more light will reach the sensor and you will have a nice blurred background. Using a tripod or an I.S. (Image Stabilization) lens is also a great way to avoid blur.
If you absolutely must use flash, then use a flash with a head you can rotate, and point the light to the ceiling on an angle.
8: Choose the Right ISO
The ISO setting determines how sensitive your camera is to light and also how fine the grain of your image. The ISO we choose depends on the situation – when it’s dark we need to push the ISO up to a higher number, say anything from 400 – 3200 as this will make the camera more sensitive to light and then we can avoid blurring. On sunny days we can choose ISO 100 or the Auto setting as we have more light to work with.
9: Pan to Create Motion
If you want to capture a subject in motion, then use the panning technique. To do this, choose a shutter speed around two steps lower than necessary – so for 1/250, we’d choose 1/60. Keep your camera on the subject with your finger half way down on the shutter to lock the focus and when ready, take the photo, remembering to follow them as they move.
Use a tripod or monopod if possible to avoid camera shake and get clear movement lines.
10: Experiment with Shutter Speed
Don’t be afraid to play with the shutter speed to create some interesting effects.
When taking a night time shot, use a tripod and try shooting with the shutter speed set at 4 seconds. You will see that the movement of the object is captured along with some light trails. If you choose a faster shutter speed of say 1/250th of a second, the trails will not be as long or bright; instead you will freeze the action.
Try shooting other compositions with moving objects or backgrounds such as waves on a beach, crowds of people walking, cars commuting, with different shutter speeds to either capture blurred movement or snapshots that freeze everything sharply in time.
Whenever using slow shutter speeds to blur movement, it is critical that the camera is stabilized to eliminate camera shake.
See image below.
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Take a look at my personal choice of the best photos from around the UK in 2017.
So its the build up to Guy Fawkes night, a celebration we have each year on the 5th November here in the UK.
Its history begins with the events of 5 November 1605, when Guy Fawkes, a member of the Gunpowder Plot, was arrested while guarding explosives the plotters had placed beneath the House of Lords. Celebrating the fact that King James 1st had survived the attempt on his life, people lit bonfires around London, and months later the introduction of the Observance of 5th November Act enforced an annual public day of thanksgiving for the plot’s failure.
As a photographer this gives me a yearly opportunity to take some great pictures of the fireworks themselves. You dont have to go far in England to find a decent display this time of year. Schools, community groups, young people all have fireworks somewhere around as they are easily available in the shops during this time.
This year I went out to a local school display. I say went there but rather than spend the entrance fee to see them up close I chose to stand in the next field which happens to be parkland and get a view of them from slightly further back.
Setting up the camera I followed the following points.
My camera doesnt have a noise reduction but a low ISO eliminates a bit of this need.
The main thing I realised would be an issue is knowing exactly where the firework is going to explode. This is a bit tricky.
Wanting to give a good range of fireworks, the display organisers would obviously choose different heights and explosive power to impress the viewing public.
Using live view on the camera was the best solution to this. Once I could get a rough area of the sky observed, a press of the cable release and wait 3–5 seconds on each exposure meant that 75% of the time I would get something in full frame and have interest in the image. The arm of the tripod quickly allowed me to adjust the camera up or down according to where the display was the busiest.
A few points I would add to the above list would be
7. Use manual mode and set your lens to manual focus.
8. Focus to infinity so that you dont have to worry about the lens being out of focus or hunting around in auto focus risking missing the shot.
9. Use BULB mode on the shutter speed setting so you can control the length of the exposure.
The lens used on the pictures in this article was a 50mm prime. On my Canon camera which isn’t a full frame sensor, made it nearer 80mm so going further away from the actual event was the best option.
Once over, I imported the pictures into Lightroom. The RAW setting on the camera gives me a vast palette of options in the software and I could reduce the glare in the sky by reducing the blacks slider and playing with other settings such as contrast a vibrancy brought out more of the colour of the explosion. There was a slight wind so this helped blow some of the smoke generated by each explosion away allowing the next shot to be clearer. With some smoke on the edges of the shot, I could bring out some coloured light reflection in Lightroom.
Overall I think firework photography is now my new favorite thing to photograph! Simple, random, effective and punchy, I look forward to taking better and better shots each display.
If you like any of the pictures you see here and would like a print, please contact me.
Email me firstname.lastname@example.org and follow me on Twitter @mikemolloyphoto
So after a meet up at the hotel at the end of the first night where the conversation flowed about all sorts of photography related chat and who we all watched on youtube, it was time to get to bed and a 5.30am alarm call for the next morning.
Waiting for us at the car park for North Hill around 6.15am, Andy led us up the very steep slope to the the summit area. The wind was pretty strong and conditions wern't great but we persevered.
We all played with a few combinations of shot and explored what we could and we all said that if we dodnt get anything it was ok. I think in general despite the conditions we all did pretty well.
After a descent and a breakfast at the local pub, we all split for a few hours to relax and get ready for the afternoon shoot.
A change of plans due to the weather meant that we thought it would be best to go indoors. A few more photographers had joined us at that point, each experts in their own style of photo. After a quick 10 min intro for everyone and waiting for Andy we then decided on a plan. Luckily across the street from where a couple of us were staying was Great Malvern Priory.
Wikipedia: "It was was a Benedictine monastery c.1075-1540 and is now an Anglican parish church. In 1949 it was designated a Grade I listed building. It is a dominant building in the Great Malvern Conservation area. It has the largest display of 15th century stained glass in England, as well as the largest collection of Medieval floor and wall tiles. In 1860 major restoration work was carried out by Sir George Gilbert Scott. It also the venue for concerts and civic services."
What a great venue to shoot in. The group all wandered freely and found their own compositions. One of mine is below.
Outside the weather wasnt good, the light was flat and fading and after a couple of hours shooting the obligatory curry followed.
Malvern is a great venue to shoot if you are in the area and please feel free to leave a comment if you want to know the best vantage points in the area.
So here it is folks, Day 2.
From inside Gt, Malvern Priory
Images from the episode.
So this weekend gone (21 Oct 2017) saw me visit Malvern in the beautiful county of Worcestershire in the UK.
About 18 months ago I bought a smart TV and this came equipped with YouTube as an app built in. Before this i'd never really watched the platform possibly only for the occasional funny video through Facebook and maybe playing random music choices. Now that I could control the TV with my phone and watch in the comfort of my sofa in the living room rather than under the stairs where my PC is based, I now started to look for videos on my 3 favorite passions. Hiking, photography and guitars...!
Starting with a few suggestions that YouTube offered based on these 3 searches was fantastic and introduced me to a few photographers i'd never come across before. The photography options I'd watched further suggested videos that I might like. Amongst these was a Malvern based pro photographer Andrew Maguire
Andys engaging photography and lifestyle vlog captivates and entertains while allowing you to appreciate the photography he creates and explains in detail the shots he is trying to get and the reality of life as a pro photographer.
One vlog announced a weekend meetup in the Malvern Hills and came with the opportunity to meet like minded photographers and see a part of the UK that I hadn't been to before. It was an opportunity I felt I should take. Only a short 2 hour drive from home, it's a perfect distance to travel to get some great shots.
So this lead to last weekend. With only 3 of us and Andy on the first evening and next morning shoot (sunset and sunrise) we were later joined by 4-5 others for the next evenings shoot which due to adverse weather, changed the original plans so that we went to shoot Malvern Priory. We weren't disappointed by this change. More about this in Part 2.
So here it is folks, the meet up - Day 1.
And the photo featured in the Vlog....
Images from the episode.
Today, at IFA, Sony revealed the RX0, a tiny (just 59 x 40 x 30mm) camera that Sony hopes will be start a new type of camera segment, something it is calling multi-view recording. The RX0 is small enough to mount almost anywhere, making it possible to capture a scene or event from multiple viewpoints. Think: mounting cameras on every musician's instrument at a live show, film people singing karaoke in private automobiles without shooting through a windshield, or capturing point-of-view footage of Hobbits from inside a floating barrel. The RX0 could do all of this without sacrificing image quality, thanks to its 1" Image Sensor, ability to output uncompressed 4K video, waterproof and shockproof build, and ability to record and sync time-code metadata wirelessly between multiple cameras.
It is tempting to compare the RX0 to action cameras based on its diminutive size and waterproofness, but there are a few notable differences that make this camera distinct. First, the RX0 has a much larger 1" sensor, more than four times as large as the 1/2.3" sensors typically found in action cameras. Another difference is that the RX0 has a 24mm equivalent lens. While 24mm is relatively wide, it might as well be telephoto when compared to the 12mm equivalent lenses you see on most action cameras. This camera is for something different.
Before the RX0, if there was a shot you wanted that required the camera to be tiny and light, the only option available was action cameras. In fact, in the past few years an entire cottage industry has sprung up to try and make consumer action cameras work in a professional workflow, from camera modifications that replaced the soft, distorted lenses with higher-end optics to custom timecode generators that attach to the back of cameras. Even with those modifications, the resulting video quality was still hampered by the small image sensors, rolling-shutter artifacts, and low-bitrate recording to which consumer cameras are typically limited.
The lens of the RX0 is a ZEISS Tessar 24mm equivalent f/4.0 lens. Low-light fanatics hoping the four-times-larger image sensor would lead to four-times better low light might be disappointed by this. But the f/4 lens was a necessary compromise to get it into a package this small. However, there are plenty of other advantages to a larger sensor. With the RX0, you should see significantly better dynamic range, less noise at low ISOs, and increased overall clarity when compared to cameras that have a wider aperture on a smaller sensor. Also, thanks to the stacked CMOS sensor with DRAM on the chip, the rolling shutter on the RX0 will be greatly reduced.
One side effect of combining a larger image sensor and a narrower field of view is that the RX0 needs some sort of focus system. The RX0 has Auto Focus and Manual focus modes, with a minimum focusing distance of 20", and the infinity focus point is at 39".
The RX0 can record video internally in up to 1080p at 24, 25, 30, 50, and 60 fps, as well as 720p at 100 and 120 fps, all at 50 Mb/s in the XAVC codec. Advanced picture profile modes like S-Log are also available. For even higher-quality video, the RX0 outputs uncompressed UHD 4K video via HDMI for external recorders. The lack of internal 4K recording is a bummer, but even larger cameras with a 1" sensor like the RX100 IV tend to overheat when recording in 4K, so it's not really a surprise.
The camera can be controlled directly via on-camera buttons, or remotely via the Sony Play Memories app from an Android or iOS smartphone. Up to five cameras can be connected to one phone at once with no additional hardware, and more than five can be connected if there is a wireless router available. Via the app, you can control recording, as well as timecode, which should allow for the cameras to be edited easily in post. A wired solution through Ethernet hub to connect and control even more cameras will be available soon, expanding the multi-view capability further.
The RX0 is not designed to capture vacation surfing videos—its narrower, less distorted field of view will make it harder to see your feet while you surf, and extra features like timecode and the ability to focus on something other than infinity are probably over most people's heads. What the RX0 allows is for professional videographers to mount cameras in places they have never been able to before and still get high-quality, timecode-synced video that can be integrated easily into a normal production workflow.
Head for the Shade
Shooting portraits outdoors in the middle of the day can be very challenging as the directly overhead angle of the sun result in unflattering shadows on the face, specifically under the nose, chin and brow bone.
The easiest way to overcome this issue is to find some shade to work in. Look for deep shade like that created by a building or large tree. Areas of open shade are excellent for portraits as the natural light is broad, even and easy to work with.
When working in open shade I like to place my subject close to the edge of the shaded area, which allows additional light to spill into the shot gently. The bright sunlight outside of the shaded area bounces in and can result in a beautiful accent effect on the sides of your subject’s face.
Slay the Sunlight
Another great way to deal with harsh midday sunlight is to diffuse the sunlight that is falling on your subject’s face with a diffusion panel. Placing a diffusion material above your subject’s head will significantly soften the sunlight and create a flattering area of pretty light to work in.
Adding a white reflector below your subject can do even more to enhance the shot as it bounces the diffused light back up into your subject’s face. This has the effect of brightening the complexion, softening shadows and adding catch lights to the eyes. In the example above, photo assistants were holding the diffusion and reflection panels in place but this can also be done with stands and clamps.
Fix Ugly Backgrounds with Bokeh
When shooting portraits in a public location like a city park or pavement, the background can be very busy and look messy in the final image. Using a shallow depth-of-field for selective focus can do wonders for drawing the viewer’s eye to your subject and helping them stand out from the background. Wide open f-stops like f2, f. 28 and even f4 will turn random clutter into a beautiful bokeh effect.
I hope that these techniques will inspire you to get outdoors and capture some great on-location portraits.
Take your photography editing to the next level with the new Adobe Lightroom Keyboard.
The new backlit keyboard features over 100 shortcuts for Adobe Lightroom and vastly improves your productivity within Adobe Lightroom.
The keyboard works by showing you all of the keyboard shortcuts for Adobe Lightroom. It helps by colour grouping similar tools so your eyes can find them easily.
Each key contains the keys shortcut icon for tools such as Loupe, Light Mode, Tool Bars and Cropping. The key also contains a text reference and standard typing letter.
The keyboard is backlit so you can edit your photos well into the night or help reduce eye strain in your studio.