In today's digital cameras, there are a plethora of options in terms of setting your white balance. And many photographers I talk to just set it on the Auto setting and never think twice about it. But there are major benefits to not only setting your white balance but using a specific setting called the Kelvin scale. Why Worry About White Balance? I've found that, in most situations, Auto White Balance (often noted as "AWB" on cameras) does a pretty good job. The colors are well-represented, and I rarely get a weird cast when shooting. But … [Read more...] about What is Kelvin White Balance, and How Do I Use It?
When shooting winter landscapes, I often want to show the cold temperatures I'm fighting through in my photographs, by having a cooler white balance. Using the Kevin color temperature scale, the normal temperature is 5500, known as "Natural Daylight." But if I want to show just how cold it was when shooting this, I take it down to 4800, which brings a cooler temperature into the photograph. … [Read more...] about Quick Tip: Cool Your Winter Photos with the Kelvin Scale
In shooting still life from above, I often decide to not show the entire subject, instead focusing on one particular element. In this photograph, there are several drinks shown, but the only one that's shown fully. By cutting off the other drinks from the frame, you help direct the viewer into what you want them to see and still lets you capture the essence of the subject. … [Read more...] about Quick Tip: Cut Off Elements for Still Life Creativity
Wildlife photography from a life cycle approach not only gives structure and purpose to your photography but also adds to the broader knowledge about these creatures that is necessary to understand and protect them. Every time you create a wildlife photo, you can help educate others about the general awesomeness that is nature, and to the specific awesomeness that is this particular animal. Pretty cool when you think about it that way! (Have I mentioned I truly love what I do and this is one of the big reasons why?) In the first part of this … [Read more...] about The Life Cycles Approach to Wildlife Photography – Part 2: Capturing the Complete Picture
A few weeks ago, I had the chance to photograph a local event with entrepreneurs from Detroit, who had traveled to Grand Rapids to visit with other "makers" in the area. There were talks and hands-on interaction; a lot of which I'm used to with corporate events. But there was also a lot of time for me to get creative. The client didn't have a need for hundreds of photos of each speaker or the crowd. So I went exploring. Focusing on the Details The event was held in two shops downtown. One was more of a workspace than a store, while the … [Read more...] about Getting Creative with Event Photography
When you buy a fast lens with a bright aperture, like f/1.8, you go crazy making photos with a super-shallow depth of field. You photograph flowers where only one stamen is in focus, and you shoot people with super blurry backgrounds, and it's lots of fun using the thin slice of focus. However, there are many times when that thin slice just doesn't cut it. Sometimes you just need everything in focus, and even if you stop down to the lens's smallest aperture you still may not be able to get everything in sharp focus. That's where focus stacking … [Read more...] about What Is Focus Stacking?
Why I love Instagram & Hipstamatic Like every photographer nowadays, I have been shooting with my iPhone more—it has virtually replaced the pocket point & shoot! The one camera that is always with me, it has come to represent the future of photography technology, and it cannot be ignored. More often than not, my go-to photo app is Hipstamatic. Why? The funky, old fashioned, snapshot camera simulator has an interesting effect on my vision, simplifying my approach to picture making by virtually removing the post-processing part of image … [Read more...] about Its All About the Square
Having photographed thousands of people, it's true that most people have a 'camera smile', and most people desire 'natural expressions' in their pictures. Whether you're photographing children or adults or groups, there are two tools you can use to elicit natural expressions: props and prompts. How to Use Props Using the birdie over the camera is an age-old device that gets kids' attention or hitting yourself in the head with a rubber chicken. But in this case, I don't mean that the photographer should use props, I mean that the subject … [Read more...] about Portrait Tips: How Do You Get Natural Expressions? With Props & Prompts
Every chance you have with a wild animal in front of your lens is an opportunity not just to capture split-second moments of action or behavior, but to also learn more about its life story. The things this creature does daily to survive and thrive in an often harsh world. As photographers, we are storytellers. By telling an animal's tale through your photography, you reveal one of countless stories being played out as part of a greater whole within the place this animal calls home. Not just the story of an animal, but also a family, a species, … [Read more...] about The Life Cycles Approach to Wildlife Photography – Part 1: Learning and Telling the Story
A quick google search told me that at least 60% of people wear glasses or contacts, and that means your next client probably does, too. I wore glasses for many years (I had LASIK, so I don't anymore) and can attest that when you're a glasses wearer, photographs can make you a little more anxious than usual because you've experienced really bad glare in the lenses. The thing is, photographing people with glasses is simple. Let me show you how. Reflection Direction Glare in glasses comes from light reflecting off the lenses and into the camera. … [Read more...] about Portrait Tips: How Do You Photograph People With Glasses?
From the course: Portrait Photography: Sports Portraits on LinkedIn Learning Composing for the team shot from Portrait Photography: Sports Portraits by Robert Vanelli All teams love having a team portrait but, you know what, putting about 15 kids—especially teenagers—in one straight line to get the shot perfect is extremely challenging. So what we're going to do instead is have our players pose as if they're standing in line all the way through, using three different types of poses. One is the person who's going to be forward, … [Read more...] about The Secret for Posing a Team Photo
There is nothing like using holiday lights to set the mood for a photograph. When you see those little lights twinkling in a picture, you immediately know what time of year it is and it immediately brings lots of warm feelings to the photo. However, over the last decade, LED's have replaced tungsten lights as the primary kind of light you'll see adorning houses and trees. These lights last longer and use less power than traditional lights, but they have a major downside. Let me show you how to conquer the problem of photographing LED's--it's … [Read more...] about How Do You Photograph LED Holiday Lights?
Earlier this week Bryan Esler posted an article about Getting Creative on Christmas Morning. Here are a few more tips that may add something different and fun to your holiday photos. 1. Think Outside of the Gift-Wrapped Box Have you seen those cardboard glasses that make your tree lights look like mini snowmen, Santas or Christmas trees? Use them as a filter! Hold or tape them in front of your lens. The results are really fun! 2. ‘Tis the Season of Bokeh! Is it cliché? Sure. Is it pretty? You bet! Pay attention to your Depth of … [Read more...] about 5 Tips for Shooting During the Holidays
The Holidays are one of the best times to make pictures. (Check out Bryan's and Lauri's articles for some terrific ideas.) And it's a great time to photograph kids--if you haven't discovered it, yet, a simple truth is that the Holidays are better with kids. Here are two simple tips to help you make better pictures with kids, and you should do these everytime you make pictures with children. Get Down Your pictures will be much more engaging if you get the camera on the same level with kids, at the same height as their perspective. In fact, you … [Read more...] about Portrait Tips: Always Do This When Photographing Kids
Testing the Ultimate Technical Camera - part 2 This 2nd part of my examination of the Cambo Actus GFX system focuses (literally) on the lens tilting functionality. The tilting lens stage allows the photographer to alter the plane of focus, usually to match the plane of focus with the subject, to achieve better depth of focus with near-to-far subjects, or with macro focus situations. This lens tilt takes advantage of the Scheimpflug principle, a geometric rule that describes the orientation of the plane of focus of an optical system … [Read more...] about Cambo Actus + FUJIFILM GFX-part-2
From the course: Portrait Photography: Business Portraits on LinkedIn Learning Gear recommended in this article can be found on B&H Photo & Video Lens choice for portraits: 85mm f/1.4 How to work with the subject from Portrait Photography: Business Portraits by Robert Vanelli Before we start clicking away, it's very important that we get to know our subject. And we have to ask our subject what's the message they want to portray in their portrait. Talking with Trevor, he's a scientist, and sometimes he does … [Read more...] about Tips for Getting to Know your Subject Before taking their Portrait
Testing the Ultimate Technical Camera – part 1 Cambo USA recently contacted me with an opportunity to test the Cambo Actus technical camera with the FUJIFILM GFX—this was very exciting for me because I could renew my experience with view cameras in a new digital configuration! The folks at Cambo USA provided a fully configured demo unit, so I could put the system through its paces! The Cambo Actus is essentially a view camera front end for just about any digital camera that gives the serious photographer the ability to use full lens tilt & … [Read more...] about Cambo Actus & FUJIFILM GFX – part-1
Aah, Christmas morning. As kids, my sister and I used to wake up at the crack of dawn and wait on the steps 20 minutes for Santa to figure out how to use the camcorder and make any last-minute adjustments under the tree. Long are the days of sitting on the downstairs steps before we could come upstairs. Now, I'm in charge of capturing those ever-important moments by the tree. Below are a few techniques I use when photographing every Christmas, that will ultimately lead to sharper, more creative photographs that will help you better … [Read more...] about Getting Creative on Christmas Morning
Pixelstick meet Fujifilm... now lets create! While we were on our photo tour of Venice Carnival, Bobbi Lane and I had a great opportunity to test out a prototype of Fujifilm's new medium format camera, the GFX. I had been planing to create some images using the amazing Pixelstick, a very cool, programable light painting device, and Venice Carnival was the perfect setting for creative play! You can see more about the Fujifilm GFX in my previous blog post here. For now, I'd like to introduce you to the Pixelstick! The Pixelstick is a linear … [Read more...] about Fujifilm Meets Pixelstick
In our last post, we discussed the where and when of being in a place to see the Northern Lights. If you missed it, find it here: https://photofocus.com/2017/12/07/lovely-lofoten-a-photographers-dream-destination-part-1/ We were in Lofoten, Norway, north of the Arctic Circle, but far enough south that the nights are dark enough to see this amazing display. It was September, within the optimal Northern Hemisphere fall and winter time frame of September to March. September also offered fall color and warmer temperatures than full on … [Read more...] about Shooting the Northern Lights in Lofoten: Lessons learned (Part 2)
Nature is extraordinarily complex and beautiful. It is easy to forget in our modern world just how powerful its forces are. Being a nature photographer presents constant, humbling reminders of this fact! A large part of what drives me is wanting to experience every facet of nature, then create and share images of these forces at work. In doing so, I am often going into potentially dangerous situations for me and my gear. In my part of the world, wildfires are a necessity to the health of our ecosystems. But, they are, to put it bluntly, … [Read more...] about Photographing a Dangerous and Extreme Force of Nature, Wildfires!
A few of the Photofocus authors will be together in Tampa, Florida next week, and we're photowalking, and we thought you might like to join us. Come on down before you go to work and we'll have a fun time making pictures and exploring the University of Tampa with our cameras, and maybe grab a bite to eat afterword. Jason Hahn, Vanelli, and Levi Sim will all be there. We're going to be on campus for sunrise, so this is an early meetup. We'll get together at 6:40am (who's idea was that???). Let's meet at the Glazer Children's Museum, and we'll … [Read more...] about Photofocus Photowalk: Tampa 12/6
A few of the Photofocus authors will be together in Tampa, Florida next week, and we're photowalking, and we thought you might like to join us. Come on down before you go to work and we'll have a fun time making pictures and exploring the University of Tampa with our cameras, and maybe grab a bite to eat afterword. Jason Hahn, Vanelli, and Levi Sim will all be there. We're going to be on campus for sunrise, so this is an early meetup. We'll get together at 6:40am (who's idea was that???). Let's meet at the Glazer Children's Museum, and we'll … [Read more...] about Photofocus Photowalk: Tampa, 12/6/17
Group pictures can be intimidating. All the skills you've mastered to make a person look great in a picture now have to be applied to a bunch of folks all at once, and that's not easy. Let me share a simple idea about posing groups that will help you arrange your subjects in a pleasing composition. This is a principle that you can apply to any size group. Go for Pyramids When you group people together, try to group them so that three faces make a triangle, and you can use the same face in multiple triangles. So you'll have little groups … [Read more...] about Portrait Tips: Pyramid Posing For Groups
There are places that can be too difficult to stay with a camera and shoot, there are events that are too dangerous to be around when they occur, and there are animals that are too shy of humans to ever get near to photograph. This is when photographers turn to using Photo or Camera Traps, a way to capture these types of images or video from a distance by remote control. In part 1 of this series, I covered the fundamentals of creating a simple remote camera trap. Now that you have that skill in your proverbial photography toolbox, let's … [Read more...] about Get Ready to Remote, Part 2: Advanced Camera Traps
Whether it’s of a bird or a person, eye contact in a photo engages and draws the viewer into the photo, creating a connection between them and the subject. As easy as it sounds to just shoot when the critter is looking at you, rarely in the great outdoors are we lucky enough to just walk up to our subject and grab an instant masterpiece image of it. Getting eye level and capturing the right type of eye contact for your composition requires thought, a careful approach, and attention not just to the subject, but everything going on around … [Read more...] about Get Eye Level to Make More Powerful Animal Photos
For the past several years, our Thanksgivings have been pretty low-key as a family. We sleep in, watch football and eat turkey. Needless to say, there's not much activity...unless you're in the kitchen. And while we've all seen tons of cooked turkey photos, I challenge you this Thanksgiving to go beyond the "arm's length" typical turkey feast photograph. Instead, focus on the details. Get Creative While capturing the turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie is great, it can get a little boring. Muted tan and brown colors don't exactly scream … [Read more...] about A Low-Key Thanksgiving: Focus on the Details
Go out into the great outdoors. Find a place that animals like to hang out when people aren't around. Set up your camera to automatically take a photo of them when they do show up. Leave it there. Come back tomorrow to see if you got any shots. Repeat it all over again until you get the awesome shots you want of those shy, hard to photograph animals. Welcome to Remote Camera Traps! In previous articles, I've shared the different ways I've used Platypods in my photography. Possibly one of the best uses I have found is in helping set up a … [Read more...] about Get Ready to Remote, Part 1: Simple Camera Traps For Wildlife
Let's be clear on one important fact. I. Don't. Shoot. Weddings. Period. Back when film was photography's medium, I did my share of weddings. For the most part, it was fun. I took great satisfaction in recording a happy time for the couples and their families. Early on I noticed that the women of the bridal party were outwardly happy while, at the same time, wondering how they and been convinced or was it coerced into wearing hideous (their description not mine) eggplant or fuschia colored dresses that would never leave their closets until … [Read more...] about Bridesmaids and The Bride
Zoos are a great place to practice shooting (not a good word to use but this is a photography site) animals. The thing is, we all have great images of the lions, tigers, and bears (oh my). What about finding the less popular or, even better, the less seen shots? Capturing Details I recently had a couple of hours to wander the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, TX. It’s a very manageable zoo to walk in a short afternoon. Before I even got there I had an idea in my mind to only shoot details using my Canon 70-300mm lens. Yes, mine is an older … [Read more...] about Seeing Differently at the Zoo