You can double the unique pictures you make during every shoot by utilizing the No-Look portrait. Most portraits include the subjects looking at the camera smiling. But every pose you set up and each location should also include shots with the subject looking someplace other than into the camera. Don't Look Ahead One key to the No-Look portrait is that the subject should rarely be looking right where their body is facing. When the subject is looking downward in-line with the rest of their body it looks a little depressed or like they're … [Read more...] about Portrait Tips: Include the No-Look Look
The other morning I was in the mountains waiting for the sun to rise and looking for the right composition. The moon was helping me because it was indicating exactly where the sun would be rising, which was great because the layers of hills made it hard to see the center of the sun's glow. Anytime the moon is not full, the thickest part is pointing toward the sun, and you can use this to know where the sun will be. … [Read more...] about Quick Tip: Use the Moon to Find the Sun
A comment on one of my recent articles got me to thinking that I need to write some tips on how to make good looking photos on a grey day. This is the first in a series of challenges to get out and shoot even when the weather isn’t cooperating. Think In Color Assignment number 1 - On the next grey day, when you think there couldn’t possibly be anything pretty or compelling to make photographs of, go out and find color in your world. Muted colors can be nice, but I’m thinking big, bold and beautiful colors like Calder Red, Blue Bridge Blue … [Read more...] about Quick Tip: Shooting On A Grey Day – Color
When packing for trips, I find myself seesawing between my Fuji X system and Nikon DSLRs. We do underwater, street, nature and landscape photography. Do I pack the Fuji X-Pro2, the crop sensor Nikon D500 and my old D800 or complicate things and buy the new Nikon D850? Earlier this winter, we were packing for street and winter nature and landscape photography in Japan. My wife and partner in Aperture Photo Arts is a die-hard Fuji shooter and between us, we have most of the Fuji X lenses and spare camera bodies. This was the logical … [Read more...] about Rediscovering a lens that I already owned
As photographers, depth of field is something that's important to take into account with every image we produce. While it can create some cool creative effects like bokeh, it can also be used in professional ways to create a more appealing photograph. What is Depth of Field? Simply put, depth of field is the "distance between the nearest and farthest objects in a scene that appears acceptably sharp in an image" (Wikipedia). A large, or broad, depth of field (small opening large number i.e. f/16) has more of the image sharp and in-focus, … [Read more...] about Mastering Depth of Field
(Vanelli's note: Michèle Grenier, a talented sports photographer based out of Quebec City, Canada, needed 75 hours of mentoring before she could complete her degree in photography. After meeting her at Photoshop World a year earlier, she called to ask me if I could be her mentor—I’m based out of the East Coast of Florida. Honored, I said yes and, when she arrived, we dove into a 13-hour day of learning and shooting. Her first shoot was at a high school track-and-field event. To help reinforce her learning, I asked her to gather her thoughts and … [Read more...] about How I Got the Shot: The High Jump
(Editor's Note: This is a guest post from our partner mpb.com a great place to use your old gear to acquire newer gear.) For many, the thought of revisiting an old location may seem like a step back rather than the potential for a step forward in terms of honing your skills. However, as you grow as a photographer and as your personal perceptions change, a location can develop a new meaning or open new opportunities. Locations don’t wait for you to photograph them, nor do they give you a heads up when conditions are ideal for you to realize … [Read more...] about Do You Revisit Old Locations?
I look at a lot of portraits and I can confidently offer a general critique of 99% of them. I see work from photographers who make very good portraits with great lighting and terrific wardrobe and beautiful people, but they lack this one thing that would turn an otherwise well-made portrait into an intriguing piece of art. The problem with most portraits is that they lack engagement. What the Heck Is Engagement? By this, I mean that the subject of the photo looks a little blank. Looks like they don't care, or like they don't have any opinion … [Read more...] about Portrait Tips: You Gotta Make ‘Em Engage!
Every lens manufacturer wants their potential customers and users to know how wonderfully sharp their lenses are. Great pains are taken to tweak all aspects of things technical to correct any that need be tamed to make wonderfully crisp images; spherical and color aberrations, coma, astigmatism, etc. So, if we crave the ultra sharp, why wouldn’t we simply want every image to be really “sharp”? To be or not to be--sharp Some subjects are sharpness dependent, for without detail the image is lost. Macro photos of things like insects, big … [Read more...] about Tech Corner: Soft Effect Lenses and Filters-Still Relevant After All These Years…
Love that blurred background look, but don't have a lens with a wide open aperture? Even if you're limited to something like a kit lens, you can still achieve the same effect. Both of the above photos were shot with my Olympus 40-150 f/2.8 lens at the same 40mm focal length, with an aperture of f/4. The only difference was that I physically moved closer for the photo on the right, which helped to shrink the area of focus. This in turn helped to blur the background more than it was. The same trick can work for any type of shot — try it at your … [Read more...] about Quick Tip: Get Close to Achieve a Shallow Depth of Field
Photographers love symmetry. We like things neat and we like horizons straight. That's great for landscapes and products, but when you photograph groups of people you need to rein in your symmetry bug and set things a little off-kilter. If you line up faces side by side with eyes and mouths at the same level it looks static and the people don't look cozy or comfortable. Sometimes you can solve this simply by tilting the camera a little bit, which will misalign their eyes and mouths and it gives the image more energy. A rule of thumb is that … [Read more...] about Portrait Tips: Avoid Symmetry In Groups
Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Cathy Seaver, a commercial photographer in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She works primarily for Cull Group shooting product, corporate headshots, and other client needs. In her off time, Cathy enjoys getting out into nature to shoot what she sees around her. She is also an avid horseback rider, enjoying her time in the saddle on trails and playing around with a bit of dressage. Check out her work on Instagram. Shooting commercially, a photographer doesn’t necessarily get to choose what they are shooting, … [Read more...] about Turning a Boring Shoot Into an Inspired Photo Session
When you make a picture--any kind of picture--you should think, "What word would I use to describe this picture?" From what I've seen on the interwebs, lately, the word most people seem to choose for their portraits is simply "sexy." If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then surely we should expand our vocabularies to include more words and elicit more expressions and moods. Even if sexy is the word you're going for, look it up in a thesaurus and use other words to get there. If you talk with your subject about this and discuss various words … [Read more...] about Portrait Tips: Expand Your Vocabulary
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