I recently bought a house, so I was looking at loads of real estate pictures. Most are simply informative pictures, and most are made with a smartphone. Real estate pictures can be fun to make, however, and when done well they can help sell a house more quickly. HDR is a great tool to make good real estate photos, but if you let your imagination run away you can end up with a picture that belongs more on a movie poster than the MLS. Let me share a few ideas to help you make the most of your HDR's for real estate. Time of day As with all … [Read more...] about How to NOT ruin real estate HDR’s
“Unless some sweetness at the bottom lie, Who cares for all the crinkling of the pie?” This line is from William King's Poem, "The Art of Cookery," and it applies perfectly to portraiture. Today's tip is quick, and it includes the challenge that you should memorize this line of poetry — it'll broaden your horizons ;) Does your portrait emote? I take this line to mean that no matter how good a pie looks if it doesn't taste good then it's a failure. For you and me, that means that no matter how much hairspray you've used, no matter how … [Read more...] about Portrait Tips: Does your picture have the sweetness?
There are two things you are almost always guaranteed to find on the Oregon Coast: Stunning beauty and lots of rain. This summer, I took my family on a quick photo adventure along the central Oregon coast to enjoy the last days of sunshine before school started up again. One of the locations we visited was Devil’s Churn, a place known for beautiful landscapes surrounded by crashing waves from the Pacific Ocean. My plan was to shoot some sun-kissed landscapes, but unfortunately, we were greeted with overcast skies and lots of mist when we … [Read more...] about Landscape photography on gloomy days
Are you interested in shooting stock photography and video to make a little extra income? Me, too. However, don’t waste time shooting images you can’t use because your image violates intellectual property (IP) rights. Here are a few shooting tips to help ensure your images will be accepted by stock agencies such as Adobe Stock. If you are already familiar with IP, skip to the tips sections; if not, I encourage you to spend a few minutes here to understand these rights so you don’t violate them. Understanding intellectual property The United … [Read more...] about Stock Photography: Shooting tips on how to avoid violating IP rights
Having a conversation with your camera in hand doesn't mean you should talk to your camera — that's fine to do in private settings, but not recommended in public. I mean that you should have a conversation with your subject while your camera is doing the work. As you converse with your subject you'll discover subjects that bring their eyes to life and positions for their bodies that work best in the light. Here are a few ideas to help you camera-guided discussions. Don't look at the camera When folks are looking at your camera, there's very … [Read more...] about Portrait Tips: Have a conversation with your camera in hand
Last week, I went out and photographed after our first big snow in West Michigan. I kept my pack light, taking just my Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 12-100mm f/4 PRO lens, NiSi 10-stop neutral density filter and a Vanguard Alta tripod. We received about five inches of snow overnight, and it was that wet snow — perfect for sticking on trees. I made my way east to the Fallasburg Bridge in Lowell, a suburb of my hometown Grand Rapids, Mich. I was amazed at the scene. While I had photographed the Fallasburg Bridge several times before, I had never … [Read more...] about Long exposure tricks: Use a low camera angle
As a commercial architectural photographer, most of my clients want images shot in great weather conditions: Blue skies, maybe a few clouds, green grass, leaves on the trees, etc. Living in Toronto, it means I can photograph exteriors from approximately June to October (or May to November on a good year). Does it mean I never shoot in winter? Not at all! There are some shooting opportunities in winter, like interiors and shooting with snow. Snowy conditions and low winter light can be great for architectural photography. With the right … [Read more...] about Photographing architecture in winter
Editor's Note: We welcome Mike Hagen to the Photofocus team. Mike Hagen is a professional photographer, author, and educator. He operates workshops around the world and is well known for his engaging style and humor. Learn more about Mike at visadventures.com Every week I get questions from people about the image quality of cell phone cameras. In fact, just the other day, I was meeting with a gentleman over coffee and he wanted to know about the image quality differences between my Nikon D850 and my iPhone X. It seems like a silly … [Read more...] about Five keys to printing cell phone photographs
A long exposure works because most people don't stand in one spot for more than a few seconds, so the camera doesn't capture them. For them to be captured, they would have to stay in one spot the entire time you are taking the photo. You will notice a little ghosting of people that stood a little longer. If it's a high traffic area, take a couple of shots and fix it in Photoshop. Want to learn more? Check out this article, "Easily Remove People from a Photo" … [Read more...] about Quick Tip: Use a long exposure to remove people in a scene
Removing harsh, ugly shadows from what would be a beautiful portrait is relativity easy. You find a shaded area, set your camera to a low aperture of f/2.8, diffuser the light and then let Mother Nature’s light do the rest. It really is that easy. Here are the steps in more detail on how to remove harsh shadows using natural light. Find a shaded area Look for a close shade treetop canopy or an open shade area — a building or an object blocking direct sunlight — to remove your subject from direct sunlight. This solves the problem of harsh … [Read more...] about Removing harsh shadows using natural light
I just got back from an amazing Olympic Weightlifting (O-lift) meet. Many athletes were competing to qualify for the upcoming nationals. Needless to say, it's been an intense and exciting event! O-lift is a very challenging discipline. It is challenging to photograph as well. Everything in a lift happens in literally a matter of moments. Timing is the key between making or missing a great shot. Here's exactly what I do to make mesmerizing pictures that the athletes and the event organizers are willing to pay for. Locating the camera In … [Read more...] about Timing the power — how to photograph Olympic Weightlifting
Lately, I feel like gels have become all the rage in the photography world and I am loving it. I was recently teaching at my son's school, as I am the teacher for their school's photography club. I was showing some images for colored lights when a student turned to me and said, "But how do I get a colored light look if I don't have any gels?" I couldn't come up with an answer and I was slightly bugged, so I went home and started doing some experimenting and came up with two ideas — a posterboard and a projector! Let me first show you how … [Read more...] about How to get colored light without using gels, part one
Using a fog machine indoors — especially in a small, unvented room — can be challenging. On your next shoot, try Atmosphere Aerosol, a.k.a. Fog in a Can. Atmosphere Aerosol looks like hairspray, but without the choking fumes. It enables photographers to add fog or haze during a shoot. It’s a safe, non-toxic, clear spray that won’t stain gowns, suits, uniforms or garments. Want to learn more? Check out this article, "Fog… in a can?" … [Read more...] about Quick Tip: Try fog in a can
Shooting with speedlights on-location is a great way to be mobile, creative and light! We all know how heavy camera equipment can be. Speedlights on-location allows you to have the perfect light on your subject with a dramatic sky! I shot this photograph along the waterfront of downtown Sharjah, UAE during my Location Lighting Workshop at the Xposure International Photography Festival. I had a beautiful model and a beautiful golden light in the sky. How do I get dramatic color in the sky? You start with "the element you cannot control," … [Read more...] about Photographing portraits during Golden Hour
Holy cow, it's the holidays. Yeah, crept right up on me. With family and friends getting together, you could have a golden opportunity to make terrific portraits. If you don't blow it. Another picture...? The problem is that these people know you are crazy about making portraits and they've suffered you for years — or maybe only this year if you're new to this marvelous game. They may be a little tired of feeling compelled to participate in your hobby (no matter how much your peers realize it's a passion, it'll always be a hobby to family. … [Read more...] about Portrait Tips: Holiday portraits
Earlier this year, I was flying back to Toronto from Vancouver, and I got to witness something pretty incredible: The Northern Lights. I was on a red-eye flight, and I can never sleep on airplanes. I got lucky and had the whole row to myself (I'm more of an aisle seat person usually). Being bored, I moved to the window seat and looked outside, only to realize there was something unusual: I could see the Northern Lights. Now, it's easy to miss, as they mostly looked gray to the human eye. But since I had photographed them once before, I took … [Read more...] about How I shot the Northern Lights from a plane
When you hold your camera, especially with a long telephoto lens, cup the barrel and bring your elbow tight into your body. Look through the eyepiece as you firmly press the camera to your forehead. You just made a steady tripod. This will reduce the risk of camera shake, which causes blurry photos. Want to learn more? Check out this article along with a short video, "For God’s Sake, Hold Your Camera Correctly!" … [Read more...] about Quick Tip: How to hold a camera super steady
Capturing a sunburst in a photo adds a beautiful element to a landscape scene. It can get a little complicated to capture the same sunburst while shooting a portrait. Here's how to photograph a sunburst and enhance it by adding Luminar’s Sunrays filter. Backlight the subject with the sun The first step is to use the sun to backlight the subject. The easiest way to determine camera settings is to use aperture priority. Set your camera to an aperture of f/16 — this stops down the lens and makes the opening very small, causing the sunburst — … [Read more...] about How to capture a sunburst and enhance it with Luminar’s Sunrays filter
Photofocus features a series on multi-shot photography excerpted from Rocky Nook’s “The Enthusiast’s Guide to Multi-Shot Techniques” by Alan Hess Camera settings for time-lapse photography As with any other type of photography, before you shoot images for a time-lapse, you need to determine which exposure, focus, and file type settings to use. You’ll need to know what you want to focus on and how to make sure the focus doesn’t change during the series of exposures. Selecting a file type is more a matter of choice, but you need to know the … [Read more...] about Enthusiast’s Guide: Camera settings for time-lapse photography
The other day I was in New York City for PhotoPlus Expo and Photofocus hosted its annual photowalk. It's a highlight of my photography year and I hope you can join me next time, or at the next conference (like WPPI). I had the pleasure of making several portraits during our walk, and you might benefit from simple principles for making street portraits while photowalking. 1. It's just a portrait First of all, there's nothing different about street portraits. It's still a picture of a person, and you should do your best to make it a good … [Read more...] about Portrait Tips: Street Portraits
Photofocus features a series on multi-shot photography excerpted from Rocky Nook's "The Enthusiast's Guide to Multi-Shot Techniques" by Alan Hess Time-lapse and the needed numbers There is some math involved in creating time-lapse videos, but don’t let that scare you off—it isn’t very complicated. The basic concept is to decide how long you want your final time-lapse video to be, and then determine how many individual frames you will need. Then you can work out the amount of time between each frame based on the number of frames and the … [Read more...] about Enthusiast’s Guide: Doing the numbers for time-lapse photography
The time change time means you should rethink what you plan on photographing. I find during the fall season, I shoot later in the day than I do for springtime. The spring season lends to more sunrise shoots and morning portraits because the sun rises later in the morning. Now that the sun will rise at 6:30 a.m. on Florida's east coast, I find it harder to get clients — especially models — to meet that early. Instead, I may focus on landscapes and sunsets. Think how the time change will affect your photography and adjust your shooting. Want … [Read more...] about Quick Tip: Daylight saving time has ended; rethink what you plan to photograph
Making time-lapse videos is fun. They exaggerate the passing of time and reveal a whole different view of the world. I carry my Platypod Ultra everywhere so I'm always ready to set my camera to time-lapse mode and record traffic or clouds or airport work or a wildfire. I was making one the other day while awaiting my flight home from PhotoPlus Expo. And making them is simple, too. Many cameras — and even smartphones — have settings for creating a time-lapse. Look for it under interval shooting in your camera's menu. Then set the exposure … [Read more...] about How could I forget the first rule of making a time-lapse?
If you’re getting bored shooting on the same background you can create a unique look by using a simple $15 pegboard as a background with a larger light positioned behind it shining through. Change it up by adding different color gels to the light. The key is to experiment, have fun and create great photos. Want to learn more? Check out this article, “Using a Pegboard to Shoot Creative Portraits” … [Read more...] about Quick Tip: Use an inexpensive pegboard for a creative portraits
(Editor's note: Over the next several weeks, Photofocus features a series on multi-shot photography from Rocky Nook's "The Enthusiast's Guide to Multi-Shot Techniques" by Alan Hess.) For a time-lapse series of photographs to work properly and be worth watching, the camera needs to be held stable, you need to be able to take multiple images over time, and the final movie needs to compress the time in a way that keeps the viewers interested. A time-lapse in which nothing seems to be happening or changing can be quite boring. On the flip side, a … [Read more...] about Enthusiast’s Guide: Time-lapse basics
Working with animals can be the ultimate exercise in patience. They cannot take direction like a human model. Be patient and remember you are on the pet’s time. You have a very short window of opportunity to get the shot, so develop lightning-fast timing! Want to learn more? Check out this article, "3 Tips for Great Pet Photography" … [Read more...] about Quick Tip: Have patience when working with animals
Only a few hours left! We hope you can join us tonight, Oct. 26, for a New York City photowalk! We’ll start in Times Square, help each other make great pictures and have a fun time in the Big Apple. We’ll begin in Times Square and venture upon some of the iconic places within walking distance. We’ll have trial units and prizes from our friends at Lume Cube to help us make pictures like never before. We’ll use these to photograph buildings, people — even cops — as we walk around. Several of our Photofocus authors and publisher, Richard … [Read more...] about Join us tonight to explore New York City!
We hope you can join us tonight, Oct. 26, for a New York City photowalk! We'll start in Times Square, help each other make great pictures and have a fun time in the Big Apple. We'll begin in Times Square and venture upon some of the iconic places within walking distance. We'll have trial units and prizes from our friends at Lume Cube to help us make pictures like never before. We'll use these to photograph buildings, people — even cops — as we walk around. Several of our Photofocus authors and publisher, Richard Harrington, will be there. We … [Read more...] about Tonight’s the night — join us for a NYC photowalk!
We hope you can join us this Friday night, as we photowalk around Times Square in New York City! Come join us for this FREE event, as we help one another make great pictures and have a fun time. We'll begin in Times Square and venture upon some of the iconic places within walking distance. We'll have trial units and prizes from our friends at Lume Cube to help us make pictures like never before. We'll use these to photograph buildings, people — even cops — as we walk around. Several of our Photofocus authors and publisher, Richard … [Read more...] about Join us Friday night for a New York City photowalk!
We're photowalking in New York City! Come join us for this FREE event, as we help one another make great pictures and have a fun time. We'll start in Times Square and see some of the iconic places within walking distance. Plus, we'll have trial units from Lume Cube along to help us make pictures like never before. Their lights are compact in size but huge in illumination. We'll photograph buildings and people and cops and all kinds of city stuff. Several of our Photofocus authors and publisher, Richard Harrington, will be there. It's going … [Read more...] about October 26: Join Photofocus and Lume Cube for a New York City photowalk