perjantai 30. heinäkuuta 2021

PictureCorrect.com: Street Portrait Photography Tips

Street photographers often shy away from making portraits because they don’t want to impose on people. Creating remarkable street photography portraits isn’t as scary as you may think. By making a stranger’s portrait you may also make their day.

tricycle taxi with monk

Be confident in yourself. Know your camera intimately. These are two of the most important aspects of becoming a successful photographer. No matter what you choose to photograph. Having a strong belief in what you do is far more important than having the latest camera equipment. Knowing how to use the camera in your hands is far more important.

A balance between having a solid intention and a plan will help you capture more impressive images. Know the type of portraits you want to create and go out and make them. Study what it takes to make this happen and be consistent about how you do it.

street vendor

Know Your Camera and Focus on Your Subject

Don’t just focus your lens on your subject, give them your attention. It’s one thing to be able to create nice, sharp portraits, but unless you’re truly concentrating on your subject you will often miss your mark.

Have an intimate relationship with your camera. Know the settings you most need to use intuitively and forget about the rest. This happens with frequent use. Picking up your camera every day and taking a few photos will help you grow in familiarity with it. You will also become more confident.

Study your camera. Understand how it works and what you can achieve with it. Don’t be wowed or distracted by all the extras, but do know how to focus it and set the exposure well. Once you’ve got these two things down, you’re well on your way to creating more interesting photographs.

shopping for fruit

When you come to make a portrait of someone, be ready to give them your attention. Don’t have your head down fiddling with your camera. This is not going to help your subject have confidence in what you’re doing.

Before you approach someone, get your settings right, or as close as possible. Check your exposure settings before the person is even aware of you. If you use manual mode, take a light reading from your subject using your spot meter and make the necessary adjustments. Using an auto mode, make sure the camera will set the exposure for your subject.

Beware of bright light behind your subject. This is the most common occurrence that will throw your exposure off. Compensate so the camera will record good detail in the person’s face and not be influenced by the bright backlighting.

If you can, preset your focus by using manual focus or holding down the focus lock button. This may not be completely accurate if you’re not in position. At least you will be in close proximity to the right distance when you approach your subject.

porter

I photographed this porter in a local market. I saw him leaning on his hand truck from my position across the street. I figured he may let me take his photo if I asked. I wanted to get in close, as I only had my 35mm prime lens and wanted to show the traditional tattoos on his arms. I also thought I may not have much time when I approached him.

I made a spot meter reading from his face and took a test exposure without him being aware of me. I also set my focus roughly to the distance I thought I would be from him.

Approaching him, with my camera plainly visible, I asked if I could take his picture. He agreed, but at the same time dropped his arms down by his side. As I indicated to him I would like him to stand as he had been, a few of the market vendors nearby started to tease him and tell him to smile.

I managed just one frame before he became uncomfortable with the attention and pushed his hand truck away. My camera settings were correct and the one photograph I captured was in focus and well exposed. The next time I saw him I had a print of the picture to give him. He always smiles and says hi to me each time I’m back at the market.

Knowing your camera well will enable you to be more focused on your subject. Had I approached him and spent the precious moments setting my camera, I would not have been so successful with my portrait.

Anticipate the Action

Thinking ahead to what may happen when you approach your subject is important. If you’re prepared in your mind you’re less likely to be taken by surprise.

hot street breakfast

Not everything will go as planned every time, but you may be surprised at how often it does. Work on anticipating the action and build this skill.

Capturing a remarkable street portrait requires a certain amount of planning and often a good dose of luck. Without planning, the luck doesn’t happen so frequently.

Particularly for candid street portraits being able to anticipate the action will result in a higher success rate. Look at these things:

  • Lighting
  • Background
  • Distracting elements
  • Movement

Is your target subject in good lighting? This will make or break your portrait. If the light is not so good, can you somehow compensate for it?

Do you need to move to avoid a very bright or distracting background? Strong light behind your subject can be challenging to deal with. If it’s what you prefer, then be careful to set your exposure well.

pipe smoker

Distracting elements in your composition will detract from your subject. Make sure that you fill your frame only with what’s relevant or come in tight so you are only photographing your subject.

Will people or passing traffic interrupt your photo by moving into your frame? Time your photos well to avoid these things.

Candid or Posed?

Many photographers prefer a candid approach to street photography. This avoids interacting with their subject. Fear of imposing is the most common reason my workshop participants have for not photographing people.

smiling man street photo

Learn to be bold. Don’t be pushy or abrasive, but pleasantly approach people and ask if you can photograph them. Be prepared for a little friendly interaction when you do. You will be surprised at how often people will feel blessed by the attention you’re giving them.

Spend a little time chatting and putting them at ease. Explain what you’re doing and why you want to take their photo. Having a photography project you are working on and can tell them about will often raise their interest and put them at ease.

Engaging with your subject in this way will often produce a portrait with more feeling than candid portraits do. Don’t be shy; be confident. It will be difficult and even a bit scary at first, especially if you’re naturally introverted. I am, but I love making connections with the people I photograph in the streets.

When I see someone engrossed in what they’re doing, I often prefer to make candid portraits, though. Their concentration can make a more interesting portrait than if they’re posing uncomfortably.

Practice Your Style Consistently

Going out once and plucking up the courage to approach strangers in the street to make their portraits will rarely build lasting success. The first time you do you will probably fail. Don’t give up. Try again and refine your methods.

posed street photo

You will learn to read people and perceive who will enjoy being photographed and who will refuse you. This is not a science. At times you will get it wrong and be met with rejection. The more you practice approaching people the easier it will become and the more remarkable street portraits you will be able to take.

About the Author
Kevin Landwer-Johan is a professional photographer, photography teacher, and filmmaker with over 30 years of experience. Originally from New Zealand, he has made his home in northern Thailand since 2002. His passions are people and documentary photography.


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PictureCorrect.com: Interesting Photo of the Day: Afternoon Rays of Light

Many photographers believe that capturing landscapes only works when the sun is hanging low on the horizon. Well, sure, shooting during the golden hour is great—it makes the landscapes appear magical and makes your work a whole lot easier. But don’t let this keep you from shooting during the afternoon, when the sun is high. If you want to develop your skills as a photographer, getting results in diverse scenarios is what matters most. The following image by landscape photographer Rob Phillips is a beautiful example of this concept:

afternoon light in Grand Teton and Snake River

“Afternoon Rays in Grand Teton and the Snake River” by Rob Phillips (Via Reddit. Click image to see full size.)

“I’ve always struggled to grab an interesting shot from Snake River Overlook in Grand Teton so it’s fitting that the one I like the most from the last trip is a non-golden hour image.”

Phillips shot the image on a Sony A7RIII with a Sony 24-105mm f/4 lens at 73mm, f/11, 1/400th of a second and ISO 50. He shot it at the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. The image features the Teton range in the background and the Snake River in the foreground. If you’re feeling like you’ve seen this image somewhere before, you could be recalling “The Tetons and the Snake River,” one of the best-known and critically acclaimed works of famed landscape photographer Ansel Adams.

We can clearly make out that the clouds are playing a crucial role in making the image work. The sun rays tearing their way through the scattered clouds add a dreamy look, and the way the river and the landscape in the midground are highlighted with patches of light adds further interest. In fact, those light patches draw our eyes from the beginning, starting from the river right towards the mountains.

Did this image remind you of Ansel Adams? Or is it bursting with originality? Let us know in the comments.


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PictureCorrect.com: Is Your Landscape Photography Cautious or Improvisational?

Based on how landscape photographers use their gear, you can categorize them into two broad types. The first is someone who always carries a tripod and filters with them and spends a lot of time preparing their shots. The second is more into freestyling, shoots everything handheld and doesn’t use filters. Today, photographer Jonny Keeley talks about a third kind—one he believes falls beyond those categories, which represents himself. Let’s see what differentiates his work style from the other two types of photographers:

The meticulous ones cannot leave their homes without carrying a tripod and filters. When it comes to composing a shot, they are happy to invest a good chunk of their time. You can see them very carefully lining up their compositions and using the appropriate filters to get the image right. This is sort of a perfectionist approach.

If you are not used to working this way, you may feel tripods and filters slow you down. You want to go with the flow and try out different compositions and perspectives, shot after shot. You’re happy to spend a bit more time looking at images on your computer and pick out the best ones.

But, as Keeley explains, he falls into a third category—somewhere in the grey area. He doesn’t like to walk around with tripods and filters; he, too, feels that these additions to the camera slow him down. He carries this gear anyway, however, because he likes to use them when shooting water bodies. A neutral density filter can block the light from entering the camera allowing you to take long exposures even during broad daylight and gives a silky effect to the flowing water. A tripod allows you to keep the camera steady. When executed properly, this can give an ethereal vibe to your image.

Which category do you fall into? To gear, or not to gear? Let us know in the comments below.


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Startrails 2 by extremalen (500px.com/extremalen)


Startrails above abandoned mine. Different edit without the star spikes plug-in. via 500px https://ift.tt/2UGkP5X

torstai 29. heinäkuuta 2021

PictureCorrect.com: Flash Photography: Taking Photos With vs. Without Flash

Without flash: When taking photos without flash, you’re relying on the image sensor being sensitive enough to capture as much information about the scene as possible, based upon the available light—whether that’s ambient light from the sun, whether the sun is shining directly or being diffused through cloud cover.

no flash portrait

Without flash, ISO 250, 1/125 sec, photo by Ansel Edwards

The larger the sensor, the more data can be recorded, and this helps, to a degree, when taking photos in low light conditions, particularly indoors. However, with the more sophisticated, modern DSLR cameras, there are a few settings adjustments you can make to help improve both the amount and the quality of light that go into making a nice looking photo.

Adjusting the ISO Setting = Adjusting the Sensor’s Light Sensitivity

One of the things you can do to improve the light recording capability of your DSLR is to adjust the light sensitivity of the sensor. This is done by adjusting what is known as the ISO (pronounced “EYE-so”) setting. This is a numerical value and the higher the ISO number, the better your camera’s sensor will deal with low light conditions—to a point! You see, there is a trade-off for this wizardry; the higher you push the ISO setting, the grainier your photos will turn out. This graininess is referred to as “noise” and it lowers the overall quality of the image.

high iso noise

ISO 3200, photo by suman roy choudhury

A general principle is to keep the ISO setting as low as possible for the best possible quality in your images. Get to know your camera’s lowest “native” ISO setting. What I mean by this is that on some of the more sophisticated DSLRs, you get the option to select Extended ISO from the camera’s menu and this allows you to digitally take it below the manufacturer’s natural or “native” ISO setting, which is where the camera’s sensor performs at its best. For instance, on the Panasonic GH4, you can turn on the Extended ISO feature and this will allow you to take the ISO down to either 100 or 80. Turn off the Extended ISO and the lowest you can get to is ISO 200—this is the Panasonic GH4’s lowest native ISO setting.

Adjusting the Aperture Lets More Light in Through the Lens

Another thing you can try to adjust is the aperture of the lens. This works like the iris of a human eye: the wider it opens, the more light can enter, so the scene looks lighter and brighter; with a narrower aperture, less light can enter the lens, so the image will be darker.

If your images are looking too dark when you review them on the LCD screen of your camera, you can try and open up the aperture. This will require dialing down to a lower f-stop number. For instance, f/2.8 is a wider aperture than, say, f/8. If, on the other hand, your images are too bright and detail is being lost because of the brightness, you can try to dial a higher f-stop number, to close the aperture down and make the image darker.

shallow depth of field

photo by Joel Olives

However, notice that in both instances I said “you can try”? This is because adjusting the aperture impacts on the overall image by adjusting how much of the scene is in clear focus and how much will be blurred. Basically, lowering the f-stop number (widening the aperture of the lens), increases how much of the background will be blurred (focus on a subject in the foreground and stuff in the background will become defocused/blurred), and you might not want this; you might want everything in the image in clear, sharp focus. The way to do this is to increase the f-stop number (narrowing the aperture of the lens). But, in doing so, you’re going to reduce the amount of light that can come through the lens, so you’ll once more encounter darker images.

Adjusting the aperture, to employ what’s called “selective focus”—where you deliberately blur out background subjects in order to make foreground subjects stand out more clearly, helping direct the eyes of those looking at your photos to precisely your chosen subject—is a key part of helping your photos tell a story, so you may not want to adjust your aperture in order to brighten up your image. It depends. If your image doesn’t suffer from the wider aperture, then do so to help aid the image sensor in grabbing as much of the available light as possible.

Adjusting the Shutter Speed Allows More or Less Light to Be Recorded by the Sensor

If you’ve decided you’ve got the right aperture for your photo and don’t want to alter it any further, then adjusting the shutter speed is another way to increase or reduce the amount of light that can be recorded onto your digital image.

Basically, when you select a faster shutter speed, you’re reducing the time that the shutter stays open and, as a result, less light can reach the sensor, so this will make images darker. Conversely, when you select a slower shutter speed, you’re keeping that shutter window open for longer, exposing the image sensor to more and more light. For all the time the shutter is open, the sensor will record every scrap of light it detects. Keep it open for long enough and you will end up with an overexposed image, to the point where you just have a totally white photo, which has lost all of its detail because you allowed the shutter to stay open too long—light rays get recorded on top of light rays, and you end up with a washed-out image. So, you play about with the shutter speed, increasing and decreasing it until you have the shutter staying open just long enough to capture the perfect amount of light detail, resulting in a nicely exposed photograph.

However, there may be times when you don’t want to adjust your Shutter Speed any further. For instance, you may deliberately want a slower Shutter Speed, because you’re trying to capture movement of, say, a car as it passes with its lights on, and you want to add a sense of motion to your still image, by capturing the light trails as the vehicle whizzes by.

Taking Photos With Flash

What do you do when you’ve adjusted your ISO and don’t want to risk introducing any noise into your images; and when you’ve adjusted your aperture to get the right amount of depth of field; and when you’ve adjusted your shutter speed as fast or slow as you want it and you’re still not getting enough light onto your sensor to expose your photo(s) properly? Well, that’s when you need to add some flash into the mix, preferably from an external flash (as you can control direction, as well as the power of the light, to get that perfect balance of light hitting your subject when you take the shot).

camera flash

photo by Tom Pumford

The pop-up flash on your camera is better when you’re able to turn down the power, so you’re just “kissing” subtle light onto your subject to fill in what would otherwise be lost to shadows. But because it’s facing your subject directly, it tends not to give the most flattering look, especially when taking photos of people. If you can get hold of an external flash unit, you will improve the look by taking the flash off to the side (at an approximate 45-degree angle from your subject).

Depending on the external flash unit you get, you will be able to change certain settings on the flash, to add sufficient light when you don’t want to make any further changes to your camera settings.

Settings that top of the range flash units allow you to adjust, include:

  • Flash Power. This will be a feature of virtually all external flash units, allowing you to keep the ISO on your camera low, by increasing the power of the flash output.
  • Flash Zoom. If this is an option on your flash, you’ll be able to select a wide angle setting, to spread the light wider in the foreground; or you can zoom the flash to get it to spread deeper into the scene (but at the expense of how wide the light will spread – the further out you zoom the flash, the narrower the beam).

And Don’t Forget to Experiment With Bounce

When I first got my external flash for my Panasonic FZ1000, I was a bit disappointed with the results. No matter how much I changed the flash power and zoom settings—higher or lower—it made no difference; the photos just didn’t look very good. And then, just pratting about out of sheer frustration, I turned the flash head so it was pointing up toward the ceiling, and with that one change, I got instant improvement with my photos. As the light from the flash hits the ceiling, especially if it’s a light colored ceiling, it spreads out and is then redirected back down. As it comes back down, it spreads out. The force of the direct flash is softened and this helps to give a much nicer spread of light down onto your subject. Direct flash (when the flash is pointed “directly” at your subject) tends to be a bit too hard, but when you bounce the light off a surface (it can be a side wall; it doesn’t just have to be the ceiling, so experiment!), the softer light just has a nicer look to it against your subject.

photo by Kyle Cleveland

One thing you’ll need—particularly with the ceiling bounce—is to find a way to project some of the light forward. If  it all goes straight up to the ceiling, this is when you’ll likely get unpleasant shadows, particularly under people’s eyes, nose, chin (basically, anything that protrudes that will block the fall of the light as it comes down off the ceiling). The flash unit I bought came with a white strip of plastic that you pull out and this helps to project some of the light forward. It’s okay, but I found the white diffuser cap, which also came with my Panasonic flash and fits over the flash head, helps to soften the light coming out of the flash, as well as projecting slightly more light forward, even when doing a ceiling bounce. Other products that seek to enhance this forward spread of light, are Gary Fong’s Half Cloud, and Rogue’s Flash Bender, both of which increase the area the direct flash light hits as it leaves the flash head, thus throwing even more light toward your subject than a basic diffuser cap, helping to fill in more of the shadows. So far, I’m happy with the results I’ve been getting with a simple diffuser, but I am considering experimenting with those other two flash attachments, and that’s possibly something you’ll want to consider, too.

About the Author:
Graham Wadden created and maintains the Creative Commons photography website, WaddenCCPhotography, specializing in creating stock photography primarily for home educators and those in education.


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PictureCorrect.com: Interesting Photo of the Day: Milky Way Island

The Pacific Northwest is renowned globally for its incredible beauty and striking landscapes. Photographer Kevin Shearer has trekked out to some of the most remote coasts of the region in order to fully grasp all that the nature has to offer. Based on the results Shearer managed to capture in just a few exposures, it’s easy to come to the conclusion that the hike was well worth the effort:

Oregon Milky Way Nightscape

Samuel H. Boardman State Park, OR (Via Imgur. Click image to see full size.)

More reminiscent of a colorful fantasy than anything we’re able to see with the naked eye, this image was made with a simple Nikon D810 equipped with a 12-24mm lens. Using a long exposure paired with corrective software, Shearer captured the fine details of the night sky without any light pollution interference.

Regardless of whether this image underwent heavy digital manipulation or advanced HDR processing, one thing is for sure – today’s inspiring picture is all the motivation any person needs to get out of town and explore what sort of small treasures the planet has to offer.


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PictureCorrect.com: Wildlife Photography: DSLR vs Mirrorless Cameras

Many photographers were reluctant to try out mirrorless cameras when they debuted. Some even mocked their performance. But today, mirrorless cameras have had a couple of generations out in the market, and the technology has proven itself a worthy adversary to standard DSLR. The progress has been so impressive that traditional DSLRs have been struggling to keep up, and the whole industry is now leaning towards mirrorless cameras.

But what is it that makes the mirrorless cameras so much better? In today’s video, photographer Villiers Steyn puts two great mirrorless and DSLR cameras into the race, comparing them in how they fare specifically for wildlife photography, and shares his experiences.

For the purpose of this video, Steyn puts the Canon 5D Mark IV DSLR camera with a 100-400mm II lens against the Canon R6 with a 100-500mm RF lens and compares the overall experience and results. Both of these setups are hugely popular with wildlife photographers, so his comparison makes a lot of sense.

While we don’t like to make photographers fret over which piece of hardware they own, wildlife photography is uniquely demanding. Having some top-notch features always helps capture animals in the wild. And from Steyn’s experience, he also accepts that the advanced features of the mirrorless camera should improve his efficiency.

While there was a time when mirrorless cameras focused slower than DSLRs did, that is not at all the case now. The R6’s auto-focus beautifully keeps birds sharp. The DSLR, on the other hand, struggles whenever there’s anything in front of the subject. Similarly, the frame rate is equally important for wildlife photography. And this too is an area where the mirrorless is unbeatable. With the ability to shoot up to 20 frames per second—silently—it means that there’s a greater chance that you will capture the decisive moment.

But it does come with a catch. The fast performance of the mirrorless means there is a greater chance you’ll take lots of photos. In the video, you can see that Steyn’s friend, with a mirrorless camera, ended up taking more than three times as many photos as Steyn, who used a DSLR. This means spending a lot more time going through photos afterward, and spending more money on buying storage. You might want to be careful on this front.

When it comes to image quality, however, the difference is insignificant. When Steyn compares the images taken under the same conditions by the two cameras, he sees no difference at all. The only notable difference is that the R6 has a better noise performance at a higher ISO. This is expected, considering that the R6 was released some four years after the 5D Mark IV.

Are you a DSLR user or a mirrorless user? Do you like how it performs? Let us know in the comments.


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