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Category Archives: Photography

Silhouette Photo Tricks

In the area of photography, a silhouette is defined as an outline that appears dark against a light background. More specifically, it is where your subject appears as a plain black shape against a brighter background. It is an artistic photography expression that many photographers like to refine and perfect in their images. This effect can be achieved with any bright light source with the sun being the most common. In a sunset silhouette photo, the sunlight in the background is exposed correctly forcing everything else in the photo to be underexposed causing the effect.

When you are preparing to take a silhouette image, there are many things to keep in mind. These tips are equally effective for both digital and film photography. First of all, you need to make sure that there is not too much light on your subject, even if it is being reflected on to your subject the stray light will ruin the effect. If there is not enough light in the background, your subject will appear grey instead of black. The effect is just multiplied when you have multiple colors of bright lights in the background. Some photographers focus on artificial lights, others focus on the sun at certain times of the day, the possibilities are endless.

I usually take my silhouette images when the sun is just above the horizon. I prefer the time around sunset because the sun causes the sky to be brighter than everything else for greater contrast. Another technique I use is to align the sun directly behind the subject so it causes a glow effect around the main subject. I usually use a relatively big subject so it creates a more drastic effect then a small insignificant subject.

I always use a narrow aperture (high f/stop) so the camera captures the whole scene with a high depth of field so everything is in focus. I usually use the aperture manual mode on my camera so I can control what the aperture will be and then the camera automatically selects the right shutter speed necessary for the photo. If you are trying to create the effect with a point-and-shoot camera make sure you compose the photo with the background light by pointing the camera at the background. If you compose the image by pointing the camera at your dark subject, then the background will be over-exposed and you will not end up with a silhouette.

Underwater Camera Housing

Check your underwater camera housing to see how many feet it is rated (its maximum working depth underwater). Will the camera be adequately and safely protected during use in rugged environments? Does it have injection-molded plastic? Is it constructed to take the rigorous environments that underwater photographers and outdoor photographer’s experience, and will it protect digital cameras in these demanding activities?

Just as most underwater video manufacturers limit their design efforts to Sony cameras, the majority of still housing systems are built around the Nikon line. Although Canon has increased in popularity with topside professionals, few underwater housings are offered for Canon systems.

For your underwater camera housing, you will want something durable. It should be made from machined aluminum, black type III ‘hard’ anodize finish, and sealed with a nickel-acetate process, have no sticking buttons or faulty electronic controls, use quality optics with clarity, sharpness and no vignetting (cutoff dark corners) to spoil your images. It should allow you to change lenses underwater from wide to macro with a MultiPort and include lighting options.

About Painting With Light

Outdoors, sunlight shows crisp edges, creates dimensional shapes, reveals textures and outlines silhouettes. The color differences between direct sunlight and light from the open sky intensifies the feeling of outdoors, though this effect must be used with discretion. A cloudy day usually portrays a somber mood, lighting everything with a top-weighted blue cast.
A warming filter changes the blue mood to one of happier emotions.

Indoors, the light from a window is very shape-revealing in nature. Care must be taken to provide light on the shadow side in order to balance the picture. A blue sky as a source must be warmed up with a filter (80A) when using outdoor film. Sunlit clouds are a perfect source of light for your window pictures. Incandescent light is much warmer and must be used carefully. When incandescent light is used, a cooling filter (81B) will prevent the photograph from appearing too orange. Fluorescent lights are lacking in red may not portray skin tones properly.

The width of the light source must be taken into consideration. The widest possible light source is the wrap-around effect of a cloudy day at the beach. Round shapes are flattened, detail is obscured, and areas of similar color are often presented monochromatically. A point source like the sun or a light bulb throws sharp shadows and will emphasize small detail. Every effect of light can be used as a tool to further the aims of the artist. If there is a special effect which is necessary to the message within the composition, the photographer must wait for that perfect time and weather. Medium wide sources of light are desirable for their flattering, yet shape-revealing effect on the human face.

Practically, when outside, look for a white wall sit by the sun with a shaded area nearby. A low reflector like a sunlit patch of concrete, a beach, a light colored car, or anything with an appreciable area which will reflect light makes a good source of light. Unless wanted, make sure the surface is not too far from white, or the subject will take on that color.

The angle of the light is also important. For faces, the hours between nine AM and one hour before sunset are not the most flattering times. The moments just after sunrise and just before sunset is often referred to as “The magic hour” for the beneficial effect it has on the human face as well as on most other objects. The next time you see an advertisement for a new car, try to ascertain the direction and time of day the photograph was taken. I think you will find that “magic Hour” played an important role.

Avoid Or Reduce Red-Eye

It can be noted here that the only important thing is that the users must ensure that the proper fixing of the angle between the flash beam and the lens axis. The general rule here is that the photographer must keep the angle wide enough that the light beam from the flash does not reflect off the retina of the person being photographed and comes right back into the digital camera lens. A good idea is to make the red-eye reduction work by making the flash shine a light into the eyes of the person being photographed just before the flash is incident and the shutter is pressed. This causes the irises in the eyes of the person being photographed to narrow down or shrink. As a result of this the eye develops a smaller opening for the eye view of the digital camera and does not show off the blood filled retina. This light is called pre light! And very importantly this process works only if the person to be photographed is in point of fact looking directly at the flash for the pre-light to come.

Other factors influencing the red eye are the level of ambient light during the time when the photograph is being taken and how near the flash light is to the lens. The rule of thumb comes out that the brighter the ambient light; the lesser is the effect of red eyes, everything else being one and the same. As the flashlight goes farther from the lens, the fewer becomes the effect of red eyes, everything else being one and the same again. Thus the key idea is that red eye is not caused if the ambient light is comparatively high. And it does have a significant effect if the shooting area is dark. Many digital cameras have built in features for anti red eye that is used to reduce red eye when taking a picture of a person looking straight at the camera also. But manually, the best red eye reduction can be obtained with the help of an external flash as described.

The above discussion has dealt with the most important ideas regarding the red eye effect. The discussion has analyzed the inherent facts about the digital camera red eye effect, their causes as well as remedies. The only thing that remains is that the users must implement these ideas while shooting under circumstances discussed here so that the red eye effect cannot harm the beauties of art created with the aid of the fantastic device, the digital camera!

Ideal Digital Camera

If you’re an amateur photographer, keep to the low-end of cameras, one that you can afford. Then teach yourself about composing photos, exposure, along with other techniques.

Once you determine that you enjoy photography as a hobby and you would prefer some advanced functions, then you can sell your old equipment and graduate to higher-end models.

If you figure out that you’ve got a secret gift in taking great pictures and you’re thinking that you may genuinely wish to make some money from your talent, then you can spend more money on fancy equipment.

But your cash goes furthest if you get quality lenses. This will make a bigger impact than buying a costly camera body.

The biggest misconception when picking a camera is that the megapixels make a big difference in the quality of your images.

Unless your image is going to be plastered on a billboard, every camera presently on the market should be perfectly sufficient to satisfy your MP needs.

Instead, think about these distinctions between high-end DSLR vs. low-end DSLR vs. point-and- shoots.

  • Price (the difference between the top and bottom could be a few thousand dollars)
  • Response time (the time it will take the camera to take the photo after you hit the shutter)
  • Auto-focus
  • Functionality in low-light conditions
  • Video functionality
  • Weather-proof bodies

So here’s how to tell if you are a true photography buff: if you’re always snapping pics with your camera, particularly of things that many people probably would not consider photogenic, then you can consider yourself a real aficionado. In this case, you’re probably a person who would take advantage of the extra features of a DSLR.

Info of Creating Portraits

Props should be kept to a minimum. Allowable is anything which will support the mood and which will not detract from the main subject. A high key portrait can be enhanced with a white wicker chair, a loose white flower arrangement out of focus in the background or a high-keyed landscape judiciously placed off center, blending with the other background tones. A large, dark sculptured bowl of red apples, a black poodle, or a dark-toned piece of furniture in the background would contrast too sharply with the generally light toned subject and background. Attention diverted to these items due to their strong intrusion in the composition is lost to the main subject and detracts from the ambiance.

Attention should be paid to the lines created by the subject and other components in the composition. Lines leading strongly out of the picture should be avoided. Rather use curves to bring the eye back to the main subject. Moveable items in the composition can be place to complete gap in a leading line so as to facilitate the eye in its movement around the work. Invisible paths of light can be created with the use of similar colors, a repeated pattern or item, or the play of light and shadow along an edge. Where possible choose components with care, preferring meaningful items which play a part in the life of the subject, rather than an object chosen solely for its shape and color. For instance, if the subject is a potter, choose an attractive urn instead of, say, an antique doll which has no place in the subject’s interests.

The light that falls on the subject can be used to support the mood. Natural window light suggests an old master genre and the sharp golden rays of a small source of light created the highlights necessary for a mood with a positive spin. Any available light can create a beautiful portrait if the direction and ration of light to dark is controlled. Reflectors add light to a dark, shadowed area, scrims or shades can tone down a too-strong source. The direction or the main source of light should enhance the features by sending light into the eyes, outlining the jaw and cheek, and finding the proper areas to highlight. Additional highlights are supplied with back or side-back rays of light, as long as their effect does not invent unwanted facial highlights or block up needed detail. Pure rim lighting is fairly safe if used with care.

Composition in Photography

What I am trying to do is to encourage you to think about what you are trying to achieve when looking through the viewfinder. I will start then with something that you have probably already come across:-

The Rule of Thirds.

Basically, if you imagine a photo divided into thirds, both horizontally and vertically, the main subject of the image should be where a vertical line cross a horizontal one.

Many modern cameras allow you to place a grid in the viewfinder which can be used to place the object where two lines intersect. While we are talking about the Rule of Thirds, it is generally best to place the horizon on one of the thirds, rather than in the centre of the frame, dependent on whether the main points of interest are in the sky or on the ground.

Leading Lines

These lead the viewers eyes into the picture either to the main subject or on a journey through the whole of the picture. Examples of leading lines could be a path wandering through the image, a fence line, a meandering road or a stream or river.

Symmetry

To demonstrate that the rules are no more than guidelines, the next one contradicts the Rule of Thirds. If your image is symmetrical, then it could benefit from being centred either on the horizontal, or vertical centre line. This works particularly well for reflections

Rule of Space

This rule is talking about giving the subject in the photo, space to move into the frame. This particularly applies to animals and vehicles. The object should have the most space in front of it, and not be right up to the edge of frame, giving it nowhere to go.

Rule of Odds

Generally speaking, it is thought that photos with an odd number of subjects is more visually appealing and natural looking than those with an even number, where the viewers eyes may flick around the image, unsure of where to settle. I tend to use the rule of odds particularly if taking a close up of flowers or the like.

I hope that I have given you a brief insight into composition and that when you next look through your viewfinder you will at least stop and think for a few seconds at what you are looking at and how the shot may be improved. But just remember, these rules, and all the others you will come across, are simply guide lines to help you go in the right direction, they are not railway tracks that you have to stick to rigidly. Finally I will end with the words of Pablo Picasso – “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”

Photo Retouching

Not Ridding Halos around Objects Completely

Coronas are groups of lights that embellish the edges of the primary questions in photos. They fundamentally emerge as the consequence of poor climatic conditions. This in this way implies they must be wiped out to give the photos the honesty they require.

In many examples, these coronas are never expelled totally. Along these lines, the last nature of the photographs are not as attractive as in a perfect world should be the situation. Most extreme care in this manner must be taken to make sure that they are totally dispensed with.

Over-brightening of the Teeth

Those photos that are taken of grinning individuals will typically get defensive. While stained teeth are awful to see, over-brightening them, then again, may mutilate the honesty of the ultimate result. This may render the photograph insignificant and conniving particularly if the subject is an outstanding open figure. Therefore, this action must be completed precisely and with most extreme concern.

Editing Images Disproportionately

In a few cases, the pictures must be edited to guarantee some coveted measurements. To edit a picture just means slicing that picture to measure for advantageous surrounding and accomplishment of the coveted angle proportion.

This methodology has regularly been mishandled however, a reality that has frequently prompted lopsided ultimate results. It ought to accordingly be done fastidiously and ideally by a prepared master as it were.

Photographing Animals

1) Eye contact is important, but not always necessary. In some instances, a pose with eye contact from an animal works. In my opinion, this type of pose is equivalent to a traditional, formal portraiture. When the pose works, the body position is natural and shows the full-body.

2) The surrounding setting is important too. If there are a couple of background textures and tones which complement the animal and setting, this would be perfect! In this way, the animal and setting (the background) contain visual unity.

3) The camera’s flash fills in shadows and enhances the appearance of humans, as well as animals. Take a fill flash photograph and look for the shadows on and around the animal’s body. Now, take another photograph without the flash. Without the flash, part of the animal’s face is darkened and the shadows are not as pleasing to the eye. The shadows tell us about the form and shape of an object. Normally though, shadows can add beauty to forms.

4) Viewpoint perspectives can make or break a photograph. Sometimes, shooting down on an animal works and other times not. Photographers have to make needed adjustments for each situation. While maintaining eye contact with an animal, just as with people, the animal should not be straining his or her neck to look at you (or the camera). Make sure the pose of the animal is not disturbing to look at. The animal should look true to form and natural.

Camera and Condensation

This explains why my viewfinder got all steamed up when I started using my camera yesterday (ok, I had left it in the boot of my car overnight – this should not be condoned for reasons not only of condensation but also of potential theft). Luckily, condensation doesn’t usually signify resultant damage to the camera or lens and, after wiping the moisture away, I was able to take my intended shots.

Care should be taken though. Rough treatment of your lens with an inappropriate cloth could lead to scratches. Pooling of the water droplets around the edge of the glass could possibly seep into the lens mechanism. Not a good idea.

Most times however, you are advised to leave and store your equipment where there is warmth. You can reduce condensation by storing your camera in a good bag when it is brought in from the cold – the temperature change will be less dramatic. Luckily, most condensation will evaporate very quickly.

I always carry a soft cloth with me. This serves to remove the condensation without risking damage to the camera or lens. So far, I have not had any problems, and don’t expect any.

Condensation that forms on the lens can even be useful! It can give a nice soft focus effect for impromptu romantic images!