Monthly Archives: August 2016

Perfect Headshots

A headshot is generally defined as a photograph in which the focus is the model’s face. In industry terms, a headshot is a glossy photo of the dimensions 8″ x 10″ that has images on both sides. While one side is a full facial shot, the other side is a collage of three or more photos, which are a depiction of the different characters that the model is comfortable playing. As with other forms of photography, there are some important tips that you should keep in mind regardless of whether you are a model or a photographer.

Tips for Photographers

For first-time photographers who do not have much experience with headshots, there are a few important tips to keep in mind. These have less to do with actual techniques and more to do with the things that you will need to focus on.

  • While taking close-up shots, remember that the angle from which you will take the photograph will affect the shot a lot. For women, it may be a good idea to take a slightly high angle shot as it makes their eyes appear larger and gives them a more vulnerable look. For men, take a slightly tilted low-angle shot as this can provide the illusion of strength.
  • Focus on the eyes. Your model’s eyes are the most important part of the photo. They will be the focus of the photograph and need to reflect the model’s personality.
  • As a photographer, it is up to you to get the right expression from your model. Try to shoot as naturally as possible. Have a conversation with them constantly, get them to laugh for the headshot with a natural smile, and ask thoughtful questions for a more serious look.
  • Add a head light to create a slight halo behind the subject that can add depth to the shot. Also use diffused lighting to hide any flaws on the skin. This also helps create a gentler look.
    With experience and time, every photographer adds to his repertoire of skills that help him click better photographs.

Tips for Models

Most people who are getting these photographs clicked are entrants to the fashion or movie world and looking at improving prospects with agents, scouts, casting directors, etc. It is important for these people to portray the image that they would like to be identified with.

  • Firstly, remember that it is important for your personality to shine through your photos. While you may want to portray your glamorous best, the fact remains that these are not for your beauty queen pose. These are the photos from which the casting director gets an accurate picture of you.
  • While getting your photograph clicked, remember to dress appropriately. Do not go overboard with bling or glitter. Stick to solid colors and ditch patterns in favor of these solids. Do not wear white or any light shades. For headshots the focus has to be on you and not your clothes. Try to take along a change of clothes, a formal set and a casual set, and get photographs clicked in both outfits.
  • When it comes to applying makeup, try to keep it subtle and simple. Use makeup to hide your flaws and accentuate your best features, and not to look like an over made-up doll.
  • Before you get your photographs clicked, discuss with the photographer about what you are looking for from your photographs. Tell him where you will be sending out the photographs and accordingly decide on a pose that works well.
  • Along with a close-up, opt to get a three-fourth shot clicked as this will help the casting director to get a look at your body type which can be important for proper characterization.

You should now have no problem when you go to get a close-up clicked for yourself. Just keep these tips in mind and you should have a photograph that will truly showcase your best side

Tips About Black and White Photography

Black and white photography is one of the most interesting forms of art, which is growing in popularity. Picture taking in itself is a vast subject, and this form is considered to be more challenging than color photography. It is necessary to understand the correct use of black and white (often abbreviated as B&W) to create stunning images. With the advent of color photography, several years ago, this form of picture taking had almost taken a backseat. However, with time, photographers have realized that there are a plethora of possibilities associated.

The beauty of this form of picture taking lies in the fact that it has a timeless appeal. A normal composition can be turned into a beautiful visual depending on the skills of the photographer. This form is suitable for any subject be it nature, fashion, or journalism. To be successful in clicking black-and-white images, one would require loads of practice and skill. The trick; however, lies in using a combination of various factors, such as light, texture, etc.

Some Useful Tips

☤ Contrast is an extremely crucial feature in this form of photography. A B&W photo can look simply stunning with the proper use of contrast. Light, in this case, plays a very important role. A photographer would need to consider the direction of light for a strong contrast between the foreground and atmosphere around the same.

☤ One should also consider the use of light and element of shadow. To begin with, you can click snaps of a particular scene at different times of the day. A bright weather would give a different result as compared to a foggy one. This would help you understand the importance of various tones.

☤ The use of texture helps to add an interesting element to a B&W photograph. What may seem to be very boring in color can be made to look really interesting in black and white. To begin with, you can even click various interesting textures that will help you understand the different tones and the use of light and shadow.

☤ As a photographer, you would also need to be aware of how colors complement each other. This is because the kind of contrast that shows in color may not be the same in B&W. Therefore, you would need to develop your power of observation to be able to identify the most suitable tone for your photograph.

☤ You can also make good use of shapes and views to create spellbinding compositions. An otherwise dull composition can be made to look interesting with the use of lines and perspective. A new angle or even a combination of some interesting subjects can create beautiful frames.

Thus, this form of picture taking is a fine medium to explore once you gain a strong foothold over the basics. Use these tips to discover some new and interesting facets of this form of art. Happy snapping!

Photography in Cold Weather

download-10Photography in the winter can produce dramatic and beautiful images of snow-capped mountains, forests draped in crystal sheets of ice, or birds huddling beneath a rooftop out of the driving sleet. But photography in cold weather is much more challenging for photographers and equipment than warm weather shooting.

Protect Yourself
Everyone knows to wear a coat or sweater if you’re going to be outside for any length of time in cold weather. The face and hands are the most endangered body parts in cold weather photography. But photographers can’t completely muffle their faces or hands or they won’t be able to handle their camera and other equipment successfully. To keep most of your face warm while shooting, try wearing a ski mask to reduce the amount of skin exposed to cold wind and wintry weather. A ski mask will not only keep your face warm, it will help reduce the amount of hot air you breathe onto your camera, which conflicts with the ambient temperature to cause condensation.

Keeping your hands warm is particularly problematic for photographers in the winter. Gloves keep your hands warm between shots, but often you’ll have to remove your gloves to handle the camera or equipment more easily and accurately. Bare hands expose your fingers to cold and wind, which can cause numb fingers and frostbite. Depending on how cold the weather is, you may even risk having your fingers freeze to the metal on the camera, which can damage your skin and the equipment.

To solve cold-finger problems, try wearing gloves in layers. Wear silk or fine mesh gloves first, or use glove liners. Over these thin gloves add a pair of fingerless crafters gloves for more warmth on your palms, which will cut down on hand fatigue. Hunters’ gloves have a removable fingertip section, which can add still another layer that leaves your fingers free. Finally, top all the layers with regular cold-weather heavy gloves. Because you will have to remove these while shooting, be sure to bring a cord to hang them around your neck to prevent losing them.

Your fingers will still get cold while you’re shooting, but the extra protection will stave off damage to your joints and skin until you put your heavy gloves back on. In bitterly cold or windy weather, try keeping a chemical heat pack in your coat pocket to quickly reheat your hands between sessions.

Pay extra attention to your feet when shooting outside in cold weather. Even when you wear well insulated boots, your feet can become damp if you walk in snow higher than the tops of your boots. Wet skin is a major cause of damage from cold weather, and damp socks inside cold shoes are a recipe for disaster when you get home and take your boots off. Keep extra socks with you at all times in case you have to change them while you’re out shooting. Another good thing to keep on hand is a couple of kitchen dish towels or hand towels so you can dry off your feet before changing your socks.

A common cause of injuries during winter shooting is photographers not paying enough attention to their surroundings while focusing on a subject. And in cold conditions, almost any surface can be covered in ice, which is often completely invisible. Be sure to pay attention to where you are about to step, and wear shoes or boots that have heavy soles with good traction, in order to avoid a nasty fall that could injure you or ruin your equipment.

Protect Your Equipment

Batteries lose their charge more quickly in cold weather. So be sure to carry spare batteries for all of your equipment. Lithium batteries carry a charge better than older style batteries. You can keep spare batteries in your coat pocket, your camera bag, or other relatively warm spot out of the extremely cold temperatures. But be sure not to keep batteries in a too warm spot, or they could cause condensation when you place them inside cold equipment.

Condensation is a particularly troublesome problem for photographers. Just like your rear view mirror fogs up when you get inside your car because of your body heat and breathing, condensation can fog up your camera lens and the inside of your camera when temperatures change rapidly. Condensation is water forming on surfaces that are significantly colder or warmer than the surrounding air. So if you are outside shooting in cold weather and take your camera into an area where the air is warm, condensation will form if the camera is colder than the dew point. By the same token, if you take your camera out of a warm room or car into cold weather, condensation can form.

The best way to avoid condensation is to bring your camera through extreme temperature changes gradually by sealing it inside a bag containing the same temperature the camera is already acclimated to. By doing this, any condensation that accumulates forms on the bag instead of the camera, as the air inside the bag gradually equalizes to the new environment. You may get cold waiting for the camera to cool off before you can begin shooting, but the wait is worth it to protect your equipment.

Another source of condensation is actually you. If you breathe warm air onto your camera, you risk fogging it. Also, the warmth emanating from your eye can cause problems in the viewfinder. These types of condensation are more of an annoyance than a risk to the camera, but they are issues to keep in mind while shooting. Don’t hold the camera to your face continually for a long length of time, to keep the warmth of your eye from fogging the viewfinder. Try to remember to exhale away from the camera, or even hold your breath or breathe shallowly while shooting. Be sure not to put your camera in a pocket or inside your coat temporarily, because even a small change in temperature for a short amount of time can raise the temperature of the camera and lens enough to cause a problem.

Remember that condensation can form inside the camera where you will not be able to see it. The moisture inside can cause problems with the electronic workings of the camera while you’re shooting, but worse, it could freeze in very cold conditions and completely ruin the camera.

By taking a few precautions before you begin taking a few pictures, you can ensure that your winter photography exploits result in beautiful photographs rather than expensive repairs or serious injuries.

Landscape Photography

A landscape photograph is a photograph in which the main subject is nature. The purpose of a landscape photograph is to capture the beauty of a natural landscape, and this is the reason landscape photographers do not include people as their subjects. Landscape photography, just like wildlife photography, is not easy as it requires a lot of time and effort. There are three styles of landscape photography: representational, impressionistic and abstract. No matter what your style is, the following tips on landscape photography are sure to help you.

Useful Tips for Landscape Photography

Just like any other art, there are certain landscape photography techniques that you should follow if you wish to click some awesome shots. If you have tried your hands at portrait photography before, you’ll find that these tips are different from tips for portrait photography for the fact that these are two very different styles of photography.

Tip 1: Use a Wide Angle Lens
The ideal lens for landscape photography is a wide-angle lens. Using a wide-angle lens allows you to capture more of the breathtaking view in your shot. Also, using a wide-angle lens for your shot gives you the option of converting it into a panorama, with the help of editing software. You can experiment with different angles for the shots and also with lenses of different focal lengths.

Tip 2: Maximize the Depth of Field
Increasing the depth of field of the photograph means a greater part of the photograph is in focus. To do this you need to decrease the aperture of the camera. However, decreasing the aperture size means less light reaching the image sensor, which needs to be neutralized by increasing the shutter speed.

Tip 3: Use a Tripod Camera Stand and Remote
For the simple reason that you need to set the shutter speed as high, to compensate for a smaller aperture, it is extremely important that your camera is completely still while the shot is taken. If you hold the camera in your hand during the shot, chances are that it may get shaken, resulting in a blurred image. It is even better if you use a wireless remote instead of manually clicking the shutter with your hands as this way you’ll get really sharp images.

Tip 4: Use Filters and Polarizers
If you are taking the shot during the day, it is advisable to use graduated filters. This way, there will be a balanced exposure in the photograph right from the beginning without you having to spend hours on Photoshop editing it. There are an array of different filters that serve to enhance your shot in different ways. While density filters control the amount of light reaching the lens, color filters come in different colors, and add a touch of a particular shade to the photograph. Polarizing filters add saturation to your shots.

Tip 5: Choose the Perfect Timing
The quality of landscape photography depends a lot on what time of the day you take your shots. Experts believe that the best time to take your shots is either early in the morning or late in the evening. Sunrise and sunset add a special touch to your photographs and are termed as the ‘golden hours’. This is because the angle as well as the color of the light during these hours have been widely accepted as the best for landscape shots.

Tip 6: Follow the Rule of Thirds
The ‘Rule of Thirds’ is helpful in creating a balanced composition, which is essential for landscape photography. According to this rule, you are supposed to divide any composition into three parts by imagining lines passing across it. Now, you have to set the frame such that the areas or objects you wish to focus on, lie on the intersection of these lines. This can be a useful tip for beginners in the field of landscape photography.

Tip 7: Capture Movement
The term ‘landscape’ generally brings serene images to our mind. However, objects in motion do form a part of many landscapes. Consider this. You climb a hill to capture the breathtaking view of the valley below. On your way back after having clicked some splendid shots, you suddenly come across a majestic waterfall. Being the nature lover that you are, would you not want to capture the beauty of its cascading waters? ‘But how?’, you may ask. Well, to capture moving elements in a landscape, you need to set a slow shutter speed. However, you must keep in mind that a slow shutter speed means more light reaching the lens. To counter this, you need to have a smaller aperture and use the right filters.

Tip 8: Be Patient
Patience is one of the key ingredients to stunning landscape photography. Rushing through the entire process would land you with images that might be good enough but never extraordinary. If shooting a masterpiece is what you are after, then you need to put in that extra effort. On reaching the location, just spend time in scouting for the perfect angle and wait for that time of the day when the lighting is just perfect.

Tip 9: Shoot in RAW Format
Whenever you shoot landscape, do so in RAW format. This is because images captured in RAW format not only portray the minutest details of the landscape but also give you a wider scope for manipulating and enhancing the image with the help of image editing software such as Photoshop.

Tip 10: Learn to Use Lines and Points of Interest
To make a composition truly interesting and visually appealing, you need to add something that holds the viewer’s interest and kind of leads him into the picture. To bring out this effect in your composition, all you need to do is add an object of interest which can be anything as varied as a strange-looking tree to a weird-shaped sand dune, or even a cottage in the distance. Another way to lead the viewer into the photograph is the use of ‘leading lines’ that end up at the point of interest or the focal point. You can use winding lanes, streams, railway lines, etc to direct the viewer’s attention towards the focal point of the composition.

Quick Tips for Landscape Photography

In addition to the most important tips given above, there are a few more quick tips and tricks that might prove useful.

  • Use the histogram feature on your camera to determine the perfect exposure required for the shot.
  • Experiment with different locations and do not hesitate to explore unknown or uncharted territory.
  • Try experimenting with the different features on your camera.
  • Try shooting in black and white.
  • Pay attention to the position of the sky and the horizon in your composition.
  • Learn from the works of master photographers like Ansel Adams.

This was all about some effective landscape photography tips that will help you click that perfect shot you have always dreamed of. However, it’s not necessary that you go by the rules every time. Put your own ideas to use and who knows, you might just end up with something truly appreciable and indeed unique. After all, as the most famous landscape photographer Ansel Adams said, “There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.”