keskiviikko 26. helmikuuta 2020

Startrails at the Devil's Cave by BertB (

100 shots @ 30 sec, F4, Iso 1600. Manually blended via 500px Interesting Photo of the Day: Falcon 9 Rocket Launch Long Exposure

When SpaceX was founded, they made it clear to the world about their ambition. Starting with a motive to enable mankind to live on other planets is no joke. In case you’re wondering, what makes their rockets unique is their capability of reflight. Their Falcon 9 rocket is the world’s first orbital class rocket capable of reflight. It has been making round trips since March 2017. Photographer John Kraus who specializes in photographing rocket launches took the following image of a SpaceX Falcon 9 taking off, and it looks spectacular:

rocket launch captured

The image is a single long exposure that Kraus took with his Nikon D7500 and Nikon 14-24mm lens.

Surely, the curvature of the launch path and the symmetry is what makes this image so pleasant to look at. Kraus planned the shot around the tide so that he could achieve a reflection of the blast on the wet sand. This is a great example of how proper planning can aid in taking beautiful images.

“It was almost low tide, which meant I was able to set the camera up very close to the water. The wet sand and water allowed for the reflection.”

Besides the symmetry caused by the reflection, you can see another example of symmetry in the sky. It’s in the form of a white streak. In case you’re wondering, that’s the second stage. That’s when the rocket and the spacecraft are in orbit and the engine shuts down. Truly a marvelous capture by the photographer.

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tiistai 25. helmikuuta 2020 Winter Portrait Photography Idea

Winters can be harsh. And for a portrait photographer, the conditions can make it even more difficult to work. It can thus be a good idea to work in the comfort of your lovely warm home. All you’ll need is a small home studio and some lights. Photographer Gavin Hoey from Adorama shows you how:

As Hoey demonstrates in the video, you can add a festive and warm feeling to the image by using some Christmas lights. The key here is to start off by exposing for the LED lights. Then, add in your flash to expose for the model. Since flashes have a cooler color temperature, add an orange gel to make the image appear warmer. Then, post-process the image as required.

Besides working with Christmas lights, you can think of other props to give a feeling of warmth and coziness. You can shoot near a fireplace, have the model drink some hot chocolate, or simply photograph them reading a book bundled up in the blankets.

What other ideas can you think of?

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via IFTTT Using Light Effectively to Capture the Perfect Portrait

Want to capture the perfect portrait every time? Keep reading to learn some tips professionals use that you can adopt – even without a fancy camera or a studio of your own. Learn what you need to know about simple but effective lighting, flash photography, and more. You should also consider following a photography course online that would guide you step by step until you could take truly memorable portraits time and time again.

effective portrait lighting tips

Photo by double : zanzo; ISO 400, f/3.2, 1/250-second exposure.

Good lighting is key to any successful portrait. With on-camera flash, you encounter problems that detract from a quality picture. For example, flash brightly illuminates your subject in an unnatural, flat light. It can also cast harsh shadows behind your subject, especially if they’re positioned near a wall or some other object. This effect is not attractive. Additionally, flash frequently reflects light from the pupils in the eyes, causing the dreaded red eye effect—something you definitely want to avoid.

Portraits are actually much more interesting if there is some shadow on the portrait, but not harsh background shadows. It’s good to work with directional lighting and then use a reflector or some fill lighting to lighten up features that might otherwise fall into deep shadows. You don’t want to eliminate the shadows altogether, though. That can make for a portrait that lacks dimension.

Where possible, try ambient light, such as that through a large window or outdoor light . If using supplemental lighting, place a bright, diffused light directly behind where you are standing with the camera. This illuminates the subject’s face effectively. You can then try adding some subtle light to one side of the subject to fill in some of the shadows and emphasize the soft shadows on the other side. You could also “bounce” some light from a reflector onto the side of the face, instead of using direct light, so it is less intense.

This set-up creates a well-lit portrait; then you can start experimenting with adjusting the lights to see the effect you can achieve. If the light from behind you is very bright, you may need to reduce exposure settings on your camera to compensate so the final image is not overexposed.

window light portrait

“May – Graduation” captured by plaits

Another approach to try is to place the bright light to one side of the subject and then to place your fill light or a reflector on the opposite side. Your fill or reflected light should always be less intense than the main light. This will effectively reveal the curves on the face and body. If you use extra lighting, take note of how it affects your image. You may need to adjust the white balance on your camera or set your camera for the kind of lights you are using to avoid yellow or blue color casts on your photos. You can avoid this if you use natural outdoor light.

portrait with reflector

“March 6, 2011” captured by Jeremy Jenum

For a great outdoor portrait, an overcast but bright, cloudy day works well. The clouds diffuse the sun so the light isn’t too strong, yet there is plenty of light to work with. Alternatively, you can photograph in an evenly shaded area. This will also eliminate hot spots or over-exposed highlights on the face in your portrait. Make sure you don’t have any light filtering in between leaves and branches, though, as that can look odd when it shows up in your pictures. Avoid using the flash outdoors if you can help it, too.

One great way to add dimension to your portraits and flatter almost every face and body type is to turn the subject’s body away from the light about 90 degrees. In other words, have the subject face the light and then turn their body one-quarter turn. This gives shape to the body as the light wraps around it. Now turn the subject’s face, so they are facing toward the light. This illuminates the face, which is the focal point of your image. It gives your subject a subtle glow, and should result in some catch lights in your subject’s eyes, which really brings a portrait to life!

Using lighting effects successfully can be a little daunting at first, but practice makes perfect; experimentation is key. By following a reliable photography course online you could easily master these, and more, lighting techniques, learning when and how to apply each for optimum results.

About the Author:
Article written by Paul Summers is from PhotographyCourseOnline.

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via IFTTT How to Take a Self Portrait

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Although you might think that a photographer would love taking a self portrait, it’s actually one of the most difficult pictures to take. With self portraits you don’t have the advantage of looking through the lens and carefully composing your image, so it can be real tricky to get it right. But with that being said, there are a few important tips you can use to make taking your self portrait a whole lot easier.

self portrait techniques

Photo by Wesley Nitsckie

Delay Timers

These days just about every SLR camera now has a delay timer which can come in very handy when taking a self portrait. This delayed timer will give you between 5-10 seconds (depending upon the camera) to push the timer and to run into the picture area just before the shutter releases. This isn’t ideal, but it will work in a pinch.

Remote or Wireless Shutter Releases

A remote shutter release will allow you to activate your shutter without having your finger on the trigger. They come in many varieties (including wireless) and work with most newer cameras and are the best option for taking serious photographs of yourself. They range in price from about $30 for wired versions to $50 for wireless, or you can build one yourself if you’re tech-minded (there are some great “how-to’s” for this available on the web).

Recruit a Friend

In almost every case (unless you can measure the distance and set your focus appropriately), it’s best to have someone sit so you can make sure the composition and focus are right on. A patient friend or family member will usually do the trick, or you can use any object that can sit at the correct height. One of the toughest part of self portraits is focusing, so you make need to take a few shots to get it right.

Be Honest

Remember that a photographer’s job is to tell the truth. It can be tempting in self-portraiture to only shoot images that show us in a positive light, but in all circumstances the integrity of the final image should take precedence over our sensitivity.

methods for self portraits

Photo by Andrea Parrish – Geyer; ISO 200, f/9.0, 1/60-second exposure.

This doesn’t mean you can’t take flattering pictures of yourself, but just consider the technical perspective instead of just considering the most complementary one. If the image tells the story you wanted to tell, whether or not you look “good” in it is secondary.

Get Your Lighting Right

Getting perfect lighting while shooting a self portrait can be quite challenging. If you use a stand-in, unless they have almost the exact same skin tone as you, there will need to be adjustments made throughout the shoot to create ideal light. The best approach is to set your camera on a full manual setting so you can adjust every photograph without being at the mercy of the camera’s internal sensors.

As far as actual “lights” go, you can use desk lamps, natural light, floor lamps, and/or your camera’s native flash to build an environment that works for what you’re trying to accomplish. Don’t be afraid to spend a couple of hours on your shoot; messing with the little details can be one of the most fun parts of self-portraiture.

Use Your Creativity

Just like with other types of portraiture, taking your self portrait requires a bit of creativity and thought. Use your imagination to think of ways that you can present yourself in different ways from the standard portrait. Try using props like costumes or dynamic lighting and interesting backgrounds that will help make your self portrait stand out.

self portraiture tips

Photo by cheriejoyful; ISO 500, f/1.8, 1/200-second exposure.

So, have fun taking your self portrait as it can be a fun break from the demands of other portraits. With self portraits, there are no pressing deadlines so take as much time as you need to get it right. In the end, it’s your own imagination that is your only limitation in getting the self portrait that you’ve always wanted.

About the Author:
Autumn Lockwood is a writer for Your Picture Frames. Shop online and see our selection of distressed picture frames in a wide variety of colors, styles and sizes.

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portrait photography

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maanantai 24. helmikuuta 2020 5 Tips for Better Wildlife Photos

Wildlife photography is a pursuit that can be challenging, frustrating, but ultimately rewarding to any photographer. The arrival of digital cameras has inspired a whole new generation of photographers to take an interest in wildlife photography.

elk sunset photo

photo by Larry Smith

Most photography courses, workshops and books concentrate on the technical aspects of camera craft: but really good photography relies more on composition, lighting, and sensitivity to your subject. This means you can improve your photography by thinking creatively, not technically.

Here are five of my top tips for taking better wildlife photographs:

1. Get to the subject’s eye level.

Wildlife photos are most effective if they create an intimate connection between the subject and the viewer. The best way to do this is to take your photo at the subject’s eye level. This way, your wildlife photo can create the illusion of sharing a moment inside the world of the subject, rather than from the outside looking in.

If, for example, your subject is low to the ground (like a lizard, frog, or even a pet), crouch or lie flat, getting as low as possible so you can take your photo at the subject’s eye level.

wildlife photography eye contact

photo by Gemma Stiles

2. It’s all in the eyes.

The personal connection mentioned in tip #1 is really about eye contact, so it is important to get the eyes right. If the eyes in your wildlife photo are sharp and clear, the photo will probably work. If they are out of focus, lost in shadow, or if the subject blinks or turns its eyes away, the connection will be lost, and the photo will almost certainly fail.

You don’t even need your whole subject to be in focus. Your animal could be mostly hidden by leaves, in shadow and out of focus. The picture could still work…as long as the eyes are open and captured sharply in the picture.

3. If the background doesn’t help, get rid of it.

Many wildlife photos are spoiled because the background is cluttered, distracting, ugly, or just plain inappropriate. For example, seagulls on a beach can be quite beautiful, but seagulls at the local rubbish tip is a different matter. Also, wildlife photos look far less natural if you can tell they were taken in a zoo. Apply this principle: “Anything that does not make my photo better makes it worse.”

background for wildlife photography

photo by Kristina Servant

This does not mean you can’t take a good wildlife photo at the zoo, at the tip, or anywhere else for that matter. You just need to manage it. If your background is spoiling your shot, zoom right in on the subject to eliminate as much of the background as possible. By zooming in, you will also reduce the depth of field to a minimum, so any background that does appear in your photo will be out of focus and less distracting.

4. If your background is working for you, use it well.

A wildlife photograph that captures the subject in a beautiful natural setting can be even more effective than a simple close-up. My photos of a kangaroo on the beach, for example, show the subject in an unexpected context, making a more interesting image than a close-up portrait style photo.

wildlife background

photo by James Brooks

If you take your wildlife subject as part of a wider landscape, you need to consider all the techniques of composition that apply to landscape photography. Remember the rule of thirds (which may or may not help) and be careful to position your animal so that the subject and the background work together to make a more effective composition. In particular, try to position your wildlife subject so that it looks toward the center of the picture, not towards the edge of the frame.

5. Capture your subject in the best possible light.

Even the most perfectly composed wildlife photo can fail because of bad lighting. Losing your subject in the shadows, glare reflecting off shiny feathers, and shadows across the face of the subject are all simple mistakes that can ruin a photo.

best lighting for wildlife photography

photo by CheepShot

There is no single rule for lighting in a wildlife photograph, but here are some suggestions. I often find the best results when the sky is lightly overcast with thin cloud. This produces light that is bright, but soft and even compared to full sunlight. Your subject will be well illuminated, but you avoid harsh contrast and heavy shadows that rob the image of important detail.

If the weather is sunny, try to take your photos early and late in the day when the sun is low. At these times the light is soft and warmly colored. It is also easier to catch the full face of your subject in sunlight, rather than half-obscured by shadow.

So there you have my five tips for wildlife photography. I could cheat and add tip #6: take lots of photos. Animals twitch, flap their wings, blink, and generally find a way to frustrate even the most patient photographer. Don’t forget, with digital photography it costs you nothing to keep snapping. So practice, persevere, and try out these tips…you could be taking better photos in no time.

About the Author:
Andrew Goodall writes for and is a nature photographer based in Australia. He manages a gallery in Montville full of landscape photography from throughout Australia.

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sunnuntai 23. helmikuuta 2020 How to Handle Catch Lights and Eyeglasses Glare in Portrait Photography

I’ve previously discussed the importance of catch lights. Without them, your subject’s eyes look dull and lifeless. They help add interest to portraits and are a very effective way to add depth to the eye.

portrait lighting catch lights

photo by Victor Semionov

Catch Lights

Ideally, catch lights should be round. This tends to be the most natural and visually pleasing shape (reflections of the sun are round, and we are used to seeing the round shape). The shape of your catch lights is generally only a problem if you are using a square reflector or diffuser. If you are going for a contest winner, you will want to retouch your catch lights to make them round.

Be careful about the number of catch lights visible in the eye. Your fill light or reflectors will add additional catch lights to the eyes. You usually only want one in each eye. Retouch or adjust your lighting to remove any extras.

Lastly, the catch light (ideally, provided by the main light) often looks best at the 11:00 or 1:00 o’clock position within the subject’s eye. Knowing this will help you determine how high to place the main light. It should be at about 45 degrees from the axis between the camera and the model and high enough to be slightly above their head.

Every face is different, so watch the shadows and catch lights to determine the right placement for the lighting pattern–shadows to determine the light pattern, catch lights to determine the height of the light source.


Reflections in glasses can kill a portrait faster than just about anything else. Here are a few pointers:

The first thought that many of us have is to just take the photo with the subject not wearing glasses. This can work–or it can be a problem.

If the subject does not normally wear glasses (they may habitually go without them or they may usually wear contacts) go ahead and shoot without them. If the subject normally does wear glasses, and you shoot without them, no one is going to like the portrait. The person in the photo won’t look natural. Plus, their eyes might look slightly unfocused or even crossed.

"Untitled" captured by Ryantron on Flickr.

photo by Ryan Ritchie

Rule of thumb: if your subject shows up for the portrait session wearing their glasses, leave them on.

Since the lights are generally higher than the subject’s head, one way to avoid glare from the glasses is to raise the part of the stems going back to the ears. The hooked part will be raised half an inch or so above the ear. This tilts the lenses down and can eliminate glare.

If tilting the glasses doesn’t eliminate the glare, you may have to raise the lights. Be careful about tilting the glasses too far; it looks odd if you overdo it.

Lastly, you can actually take the lenses out of the frames and have your subject wear the empty frames. This is a method that’s been touted by photographers for decades! For most eyeglass frames, it is easy to remove and replace the lenses with an eyeglass screwdriver kit. It would be worth your while to get one and keep it in your camera bag.

Be cautious though. If you break or scratch your subject’s glasses, you could end up buying him or her some new ones. You will drop the screws, so have extras on hand.

Catch lights and glare prevention need not be complicated. Make sure your catch lights are the right shape and in the right location, watch for glare in your model’s eyeglasses, and you’ll be quick to improve your portrait photography.

About the Author:
Dan Eitreim writes for He has been a professional photographer in Southern California for over 20 years. His philosophy is that learning photography is easy if you know a few tried and true strategies.

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