Sketch Ideas | Planning a Photoshoot

We don’t always need to have a concrete idea of what we’re planning for our model and set when going into a photoshoot, especially a casual one, but having at least a good idea is great for getting the creative ball rolling!

There should ideally be room to play when photographing a subject, especially since our original ideas don’t always work out!

 

This is where sketching comes in!

Even a simple stick figure with notes gets the creative juices flowing, and the more ideas we put to paper, the more we’ll have to play with in the photography studio and the more fleshed out these ideas will be!

We’ll also get a clue as to whether our ideas will actually work!

Wish sketching, we can visualize different lighting, costumes, hair design, backgrounds, set, posing, and crop!

 

Planning ahead isn’t something I usually do myself, but it’s definitely something I’m trying to get better at!

The more we plan, the easier it is to infuse meaning into our work, and have a variety of options for a more successful shoot!

 

Much Peace and Keep Roamin’

If you have any questions or suggestions for Tips, Tricks, and Tutorials Tuesday, please leave a comment or contact me!
See you next week!

Choose a Lens That Meets Personal Needs and Goals

It seems like common sense, but choosing the right camera gear for our photography can get a little difficult, whether we’re just starting out or more experienced.

It’s easy to get caught up with what we see online and what other photographers can’t stop talking about.

 

Knowing our current gear, and our needs, preferences, and shooting goals is a must!

An 11mm f/2.8 lens used for astro photography isn’t going to give us the same look as an 80mm f/1.8 portrait lens.

 

That doesn’t mean we can’t experiment and mix it up, but getting to know our photography equipment and what’s available can help us make better buying choices!

So far, f/stop, speed, wide angle vs telephoto, and manual vs automatic focus are the aspects to focus on!

When we know our current gear and what isn’t working for us, we can hit the photography books and forums to see what kind of lenses other photographers are using that will meet our needs, preferences, and goals!

And when it comes to investing in new gear, let’s not overlook renting or buying used!

 

If you have any questions or suggestions for Tips, Tricks, and Tutorials Tuesday, please leave a comment or contact me!
See you next week!

Much Peace and Keep Roamin’

 

Continue to Learn

As with any practice and art, photography requires a commitment to learning.

We will never grow and improve if we’re not willing to keep learning, exploring, and pushing ourselves.

It’s simple, but easy to forget and get complacent.

Continue to learn.

Let’s set ourselves a goal to learn and practice something new every week.

Find a new lighting setup to try, learn about color management, find out what’s up with that ‘histogram’ thing, or get back to basics with color theory and design.

Continuing to learn and practice new things is one of the best ways to guarantee that we won’t grow bored and depressed, and that our art won’t become stagnant carbon copies.

Let’s write down a list of things we’d like to learn about, have avoided learning, and keywords we want to research.  And let’s cross something new off this list each week!

Much Peace and Keep Roamin’!

 

If you have any questions or suggestions for Tips, Tricks, and Tutorials Tuesday, please leave a comment or contact me!

See you next week!

Improve Our Photography by Changing Our Shooting Height

Changing the height we shoot at is a simple trick that can greatly improve our photography.

It’s easy to go around shooting at our eye level, but this can result is images that look a bit flat.  There’s wiggle room and no set ‘rules’, but here are some general tips!

  • When photographing a portrait, shoot at the model’s eye-level to minimize distortion.
  • Alternatively, if shooting a full-body fashion portrait, shoot a bit lower, around the model’s waist-level, as this will stretch their legs and make them look taller!
  • When photographing landscapes, get low to the ground!  The lower we can get, the better.  A shot taken when we’re laying in the mud often looks much more dynamic than one taken while standing up!  Plus, the added foreground elements add space and dimension!

These rules of thumb basically bank on the fact that what’s closest to the camera looks bigger and is empathized.

If you want someone to look tall and powerful, shoot below eye-level, if you want them to look vulnerable, shoot above eye-level.  And when it comes to landscapes, lower is often better!

 

These are some simple tricks to improve your photography, as dynamic images are about how we use our equipment, not on what equipment we’re using! (relatively)

Let’s mix it up, change our position, and see how something as simple as kneeling down can improve our art!

Much Peace and Keep Roamin’

 

If you have any questions or suggestions for Tips, Tricks, and Tutorials Tuesday, please leave a comment or contact me!

See you next week!

Essentials for Self Portraits | Getting Started

Self-portraits are a great way to learn about your camera, lighting equipment, posing, costuming, and yourself!

It can be difficult to be both model and photographer, so here are some essentials to get started in self portrait photography!

 

  • A Tripod
    For regular or beauty portraits, it’s often best to have the camera at eye-level

For fashion portraits, consider having the camera a bit lower, maybe waist level.  It’ll make you look taller!

 

  • A Focal Point
    Depending on how you trigger the camera, just a point on a wall can work, but I personally use an extra light stand with a foam head on it.  This way you can better see what will fit in the frame and how the light will fall!

When you get before the camera to model, you’ll take the place of what you used to focus.

 

  • A Trigger
    The camera’s self timer can work, but I highly recommend a remote shutter release!

There are wireless, time-lapse timers, and corded options, so consider what kind of portraits to want to take.

Corded and wireless are great when you’re relatively close to the camera, and a time-lapse remote is wonderful when you’re going to be far from the camera (like an environmental portrait).

 

  • Patience
    Patience is necessary for self portraits, as it can take dozens if not hundreds of photos to get one we like!

 

  • Extra batteries
    If you’re using a remote that uses batteries, be sure to have extras on hand.  You don’t want to be all dolled-up and have the remote suddenly stop working!

 

Self portraits are a huge opportunity to learn and grow, so I highly recommend giving them a shot!

We’ll delve into self-portrait photography more in the future, but now you have the essentials to get started!

 

If you have any questions or suggestions for Tips, Tricks, and Tutorials Tuesday, please leave a comment or contact me!

See you next week!

Much Peace and Keep Roamin’

Push Out of Our Comfort Zone for Better Photography

Our photography will never improve if we aren’t willing to stretch ourselves out of our comfort zones, try new things, and strengthen our weaknesses.

In the process, we never know what we’ll discover!

 

Flash photography used to be not only mysterious, but something I wasn’t good at and wasn’t too keen on improving.  Then a class had me work with strobes A LOT, and now they’re my favorite tool in the studio!

 

Let’s identify where our comfort zone is, what tools an techniques we don’t understand and that make us nervous, and what our weaknesses with our photography are.

Then, let’s push ourselves out there.  Let’s get out of our comfort zones, learn and understand our tools and techniques, and work on improving our weak areas!

Let’s push ourselves out of our comfort zones, and watch our photography improve!

 

Much Peace and Keep Roamin’

If you have any questions or suggestions for Tips, Tricks, and Tutorials Tuesday, please leave a comment or contact me!
See you next week!

Editing Tips for Photography

Tutorials abound when it comes to editing your images after the shoot, but here are some lesser-known tips for working with your photography:

  • Edit photos at 16 bits/channel instead of the standard 8, but when saving for the web, switch back to 8 bits.

In PS CS5: Image > Mode > 16 bits/channel

You’ll get more shades of color and reduce banding when you edit in 16 bits (32 is a bit overkill, personally).

This added data can slow your image download time, so when saving for the web, revert back to 8 bits and save as a different file!

  • Sleep on it.

When you’ve been editing for hours and are in the zone, you may be tempted to just get it over with, hit ‘save’, and publish immediately.

Sleep on it, instead.  Give your eyes a day to rest, a chance for your perspective to change, and come back to it.

You may just decide that the colors ARE too saturated for your liking, or you may notice some distracting details you hadn’t before.

  • Zoom in.

While you’re editing, and when you’re ‘done’, zoom in to 100% and double check.

Are there harsh lines from compositing/masking that need to be graduated?  Did you accidentally erase a dot on your photo?  Is there a lot of noise you didn’t notice?

  • Zoom out.

If you post your work online, zoom out to about the size your image will appear on your website, and the size it’ll appear on phones.

Are there any distracting details/bright spots that need to be toned down?  Do certain areas need brightening for the image to read better?  Do the highlights and shadows still look pleasing?

  • Consider your aspect ratio/crop in relation to social media.

Personally, I love photographing images horizontally and a bit longer than others.  This can cause problems when sharing online (think Twitter or Instagram) as some social sites only allow a certain aspect ratio or may zoom in more than you’d like, cutting off part of the image.

And even if not cropped, horizontal photos can loose a lot of detail when shrunk to fit the screen.

You don’t have to shoot to cater to social media, but be aware how these sites may change your photos!

  • Save A LOT

This is a well-known tip, but it still bears hearing.  Save your work as you work on it!  You don’t want your computer to crash and loose hours of work!

  • Save in stages

Consider saving in stages as you go, labeling the file ‘stage1’, ‘stage2’, etc. respectively.  That way, if you sleep on the image or something goes wrong, you can start over from an earlier stage.

 

If you have any questions or suggestions for Tips, Tricks, and Tutorials Tuesday, please leave a comment or contact me!

See you next week!
Much Peace and Keep Roamin’

 

More from Tips, Tricks, and Tutorials Tuesday:

3 Photography Essentials to Get Started