fever.carmepla.com’s Saved Items http://fever.carmepla.com/fever Shaun Inman’s Fever http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss <![CDATA[Photo Editing Alternative – An Overview of ACDSee Ultimate 10]]> As more and more people take up digital photography and want to get started editing, many are asking the question, are Adobe’s Lightroom and Photoshop my only options? ­­­At ACD Systems, they have their own editing software called ACDSee Ultimate 10, which allows you to do many of the same functions as the former.

Adobe’s subscription model—membership and monthly payments—is a big turn off to many, particularly because if the price becomes too high, it will become unattainable, and then they will be left with nothing. We have already seen some price hikes recently. ACDSee Ultimate 10 could be perfect for those looking for an alternative to what Adobe offers.

Please note: this product is available for Window’s only.

ACDSee Ultimate 10

Starting Up ACDSee Ultimate 10

Without a doubt, you will scratch your head as you try to work out how to do things in ACDSee Ultimate 10, but this can be said for any new software you try. If you have used Lightroom, then much of it should be easy to work out, and there are a lot of similarities. If you have not used it or any other photo editing programs, then you will find a wide range of videos on their website to take you through how to use ACDSee Ultimate 10 and understand it.

One of the biggest problems with Lightroom is how you must import your photos into it. With Ultimate 10, there is no need to import your photos as they are read directly off of your hard drive and displayed in the exact same folder structure you see in Windows Explorer (or Mac Finder). This saves you one step altogether, however, there is also an import function available, which you can use to apply some batch functions, such as renaming while extracting the photos off of your device.

ACDSee Ultimate 10

What Manage Mode first looks like when you open ACDSee Ultimate 10.

Parametric Processing

As you work your way through the videos, you will hear a lot about parametric processing. If you are like me, you have never heard the term before. It is another way of saying non-destructive, or in easy terms, you can save all your layers so you can go back to it and work on it some more, later.

Using ACDSee Ultimate 10

There are obvious differences between ACDSee Ultimate 10 and Lightroom, but you are also going to find a lot that is similar—perhaps even better. When you open it up, you can see in the top right corner the different modes that are available: Manage, Photos, View, Develop, and Edit. We will take a look at each mode and see how they compare with Lightroom and a little of Photoshop.

It is fair to say that Photoshop does offer a lot more than this program. However, as many people prefer using Lightroom, this could be a really good alternative for them. You can certainly do all the same edits that you can do with Lightroom. However, it’s when you start getting into the more advanced image manipulating where you would normally use Photoshop that you may find limitations withACDSee Ultimate 10.

See a feature comparison between Lightroom and ACDSee Ultimate here.

Manage Mode

The Manage Mode is very similar to the first window you find when you open Lightroom, the Library Module. On the left, you see a column with all of the folders on your computer. It displays the folder structure you have on your hard drive, so there is no searching through unfamiliar territory. The way Lightroom does this can be confusing and it can be hard to find directories.

ACDSee Ultimate 10 - manage mode

Taking a look around to see what is in Manage Mode.

Underneath the above, you will find details about the selected image, such as the camera model, the size of the image, and what your settings were. Then under that, you will find a histogram of the image.

The middle section is where you see the contents of the selected folder and any subdirectories that may be in it. Each thumbnail indicates what type of file it is, RAW, PSD, etc. It is still possible to put ratings and labels and such on your images. There are categories and keywords that Lightroom users will be familiar with, which can be used the same way in Ultimate 10. This section works like a proofing sheet, which allows you to see all of the images in the folder.

In Lightroom, you can get a preview of the image by pressing the spacebar, however, in Ultimate 10 you use View mode to get a larger view of your images. To get there you can double click or press enter with the desired image selected. In the right-hand column, all the EXIF data that is available in the image is found there. There is the same additional information that you find available in Lightroom.

Photos Mode

In this mode, you will get a small preview of every image that you have on your computer. It is almost like a list, in order. The images will be sorted by the date they were taken, and you can do rearrange to sort by day, month, or year. It is a great way to help you find photos when you can’t remember where you put them, especially if you’re like me and don’t use categories or keywords.

04-leannecole-acdsee-software-review

How Photo Mode appears.

In Lightroom, you could only do this with the photos that you have imported. In Ultimate 10, it doesn’t matter; it will show every image that is on your computer.

View Mode

In View Mode, you will get a larger view of the selected image. Underneath the image, there is a filmstrip with all the photos in the selected folder so that you can navigate between them. There are also some basic functions you can apply to the image if you want to make some changes. However, this mode is more for viewing your photos and figuring out which ones you might want to work on.

ACDSee Ultimate 10

Opening View Mode.

In this mode, you can add ratings, labels, and set your categories. To rate an image, click Ctrl/Cmd plus the number you want to assign to it, or to label an image press Alt/Option then the number according to the color you want to apply. You can do many other things to the image as well. There is a small menu on the left just above the filmstrip, or you can right-click on the image to get options as well.

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Some of the functions you can do in View Mode.

Develop Mode

This is the mode that seems to most resemble Lightroom and is your workspace. It is laid out differently and you will find all the adjustments in the left-hand column. Many of them are the same, though to get to each of the sections you will find these modes; Tune, Detail, Geometry, and Repair near the top that you click for various adjustments. Each one of those modes have different tools you can use to make the various changes to your images.

ACDSee Ultimate 10

Opening an image in Develop Mode.

A lot of the processes are set out differently, but they often have the same names. There are titles for each one which, like Lightroom, are menus and when you click on them new adjustments can be accessed. The plus sign means it is closed and when it’s opened, it turns into to a minus sign.

ACDSee Ultimate 10

Looking around Develop Mode and the Tune Mode.

ACDSee Ultimate 10

What is available in Detail Mode.

ACDSee Ultimate 10

What you can do in Geometry Mode.

ACDSee Ultimate 10

A quick look at Repair Mode.

Develop Presets

In ACDSee Ultimate 10, you can save your develop settings as presets, either globally by mode (Tune, Detail, Geometry, Repair) or by tool group.  You can then apply saved presets to a single image, or a batch of images in Manage Mode.

Develop Brush, Linear Gradient, and Radial Gradient

These three tools similar to Lightroom’s Adjustment Brush, Graduated Filter, and Radial Filter. They can seem a little strange at first if you are used to Lightroom. The Develop Brush doesn’t have an erase button, so how do you remove the parts you did by mistake? By right clicking and going over the part you no longer want. This is actually much better, and makes your workflow much faster.

In Lightroom, when you want to use the Graduated and Radial filters, you click on them and then draw a line on your image. With Ultimate 10, once you click the Gradient button, the Gradient will appear on your image, and then you move it, enlarge or shrink it, or rotate it to where you want. There are specific places on the gradient to do that. The cross in the middle is used to move it, the hook from the cross rotates it, and the squares on the dotted lines are used to resize it. It is different but doesn’t take long to get used to. If you want more than one gradient, you will find a section with the icon and a blank square above it. To apply another brush, just enable the next checkbox.

ACDSee Ultimate 10

How the Graduated Filter works.

ACDSee Ultimate 10

How the Radial Filter works.

To make them disappear once you are done, click on the icon for the tool and the program will unselect it.

Edit Mode

Edit Mode is very similar to Photoshop, however, again, it is set out a bit differently. In this mode, you can do a lot of fine-tuning. You can use layers and make adjustments.

The tools are along the top under the menu bar, and the edits that are available are down the left side. On the right, you will find your layers panel, and the layered adjustments are down the bottom of that panel. Underneath those, you will find where you can add new layers, masks, or duplicate layers.

ACDSee Ultimate 10

Opening up into Edit Mode.

When you have different layers, you will also find the rubbish (trash) button will appear there. Highlight the layer you want to delete, and press the button. Though you could simply press delete on your keyboard as well.

The feathering option is different and you don’t set how much you want to feather until you have added the mask. You press the mask button and the settings for it will appear at the bottom of the layers panel.

ACDSee Ultimate 10

Adding layers in Edit Mode.

Edit Presets/Actions

While you can also save presets in Edit mode, perhaps even more useful is the tool they developed to address the general limitations of batch editing. ACDSee Actions allow you to “record” any and all adjustments you make in Edit mode, and then to apply them to other images, (individually or to a batch), by “playing” them back (like Actions in Photoshop). It’s as simple as pressing a Record button before you start editing, pressing Stop when you’re done, and then choosing a name to save the action under.

If you forgot to begin recording before you started editing, you can simply use the Undo button, press Record, and then press the Redo button. You can even preview the effect that an action is going to have on an image before applying it. This really speeds things up and ensures that you can apply anything in a batch.

ACDSee Ultimate 10

Using Actions.

Overall Impressions of ACDSee Ultimate 10

Without a doubt, ACDSee Ultimate 10 is a good alternative to Lightroom. It has a lot of similar functions, and many of the things that you do in the first, you can do in the second. How you use it is always going to be different and finding your way around the settings and functions will take time, but that is the same with any software.

If you are someone that doesn’t use Photoshop but you would like to start working with layers, then Ultimate 10 could be a good way to start.

ACDSee Ultimate 10

The final image.

Owning or Renting

With the latest release of Lightroom, everyone was told that it would be the final one that you would be able to buy outright. All future releases will come under the Creative Cloud subscription plans. This has made a lot of people nervous. Meanwhile, many are frustrated that while they have purchased it, there are still functions that are only available if you subscribe to Adobe.

At ACD Systems, they understand this frustration, and you can buy all their products so you own them. Or, if you want the benefit of getting updates and having the latest version, you can also subscribe. The choice is yours.

If you are unsure of what to do, their Live Chat is available, along with email and phone numbers for you to call as well. To take a look at the Ultimate 10 follow this link, ACDSee Ultimate 10.

ACDSee Ultimate 10

A quick look at the website where you can find videos.

Finally

ACDSee Ultimate 10 is a great program for anyone who wants to get into photo editing. While there is a learning curve, that is true for any other editing software that is available. For most photographers, Ultimate 10 will have everything they need to do the image adjustments they would like. Give it a try and tell us what you think.

Disclaimer: ACD Systems is a paid partner of dPS

The post Photo Editing Alternative – An Overview of ACDSee Ultimate 10 by Leanne Cole appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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https://digital-photography-school.com/photo-editing-alternative-overview-acdsee-ultimate-10/ 772074@fever.carmepla.com/fever Thu, 06 Jul 2017 16:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[How Do you Really WORK a Portrait??]]>

Watch how Bryan Peterson reveals how to work his subject! One person, one background, multiple epic images!!!

You Keep Shooting,

-BPSOP Founder – Bryan F Peterson

Bryan Teaches:

Understanding Exposure & Your DSLR

Understanding Color, Seeing Color & Composing Color

Understanding Close-Up Photography

Mastering Nikon Flash Photography

The Art of Seeing

The post How Do you Really WORK a Portrait?? appeared first on Online Photography School.

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https://bpsop.com/really-work-portrait/ 750358@fever.carmepla.com/fever Wed, 10 May 2017 15:46:30 GMT
<![CDATA[How to Plan a Successful Sunset Portrait Session]]> In this article you will get some solid tips for planning and executing a sunset portrait session. Learn how to take the images that you and your subjects will love.

Planning sunset portrait session 01

Plan ahead for a successful sunset portrait

Many photographers feel overwhelmed when they start photographing portraits, professionally or for fun.

Where should I shoot? How should I pose people? What lens should I use? What settings should I be using? When should I move them to/from a great spot? What should I say to get great emotion?

A plan will give you confidence and help alleviate some of the immediate pressure of decision making. It’s not restrictive because often the best shots are unplanned, but rather something to give you confidence and a direction to fall back on when you aren’t feeling inspired.

Here is our rough plan for all of our sunset shoots, whether it be an engagement, part of a wedding, family portrait, maternity, or outdoor newborn session. Our sunset portrait sessions are always planned approximately one hour before sunset.

This plan’s purpose is twofold – it not only helps you have more confidence and direction, but will also help you make the most of your location and sunset lighting.

Planning sunset portrait session 04

STEP ONE: ARRIVE EARLY TO SCOUT

Plan to arrive at least 20-30 minutes early to scout a new location. You never know what amazing little lane or spot may be just around the corner, so it’s worth taking some extra time to explore. It’s also nice to arrive before your client so that you can make them feel welcome upon their arrival.

STEP TWO: ASSESS THE LOCATION

Start to assess the location by asking the following questions:

Where are some nice shady spots to begin? Shady spots are perfect to start off with while the sun is still bright and harsh.

What is the highest point at the location? If you are at a hilly location, this is where you will be able to capture the final moments of sunset and make the most of the golden light.

Where is the most impressive spot for sunset? This is where you want to end up – so it should be last on your route.

With these questions answered, you can very roughly map out a planned route. This means you’ll always have a direction to head and will be able to lead the clients confidently around the location.

Planning sunset portrait session 07

STEP THREE: SHOOT FOR THE BEST LIGHT

To make the absolute best of the sunset lighting, you can follow the same sort of pattern every shoot (in this order):

  1. Shade shots
  2. Filtered Light shots
  3. Silhouette shots
  4. Sunset shots
  5. Dusk shots

Let’s put your plan into practice, assuming sunset is 6 pm:

4:40 pm – Arrive, scout the area and assess the location.

5:00 pm – Your client arrives and is briefed about the fun time they are going to have!

5:10 pm – SHADE SHOOTING

Get straight into shooting in the nice shady spot you already found. We love to knock out some more formal shots like these here, as usually these are photos clients love, but don’t want big on the walls. Save the more impressive lighting for landscape shots.

Planning sunset portrait session 02

Planning sunset portrait session 03

5:25 pm – FILTERED LIGHT SHOOTING

You can then move on to any shots where you want the sun in the photo, but you can filter the light through the trees. (Read our past article on four different ways to filter sun flare in this article: How to Control Sun Flare in Your Photos). Photos such as these:

Planning sunset portrait session 05

Planning sunset portrait session 06

5:40 pm – SILHOUETTE SHOOTING

Roughly 10-20 minutes before sunset is usually the best time to try a silhouette. As silhouettes require you to shoot at a very low angle, you won’t be able to match up the height of the sun with the clients’ feet if you wait any longer. You can read our article on capturing silhouettes here.

Planning sunset portrait session 08

Planning sunset portrait session 09

Planning sunset portrait session 10

5:50 pm – SUNSET SHOOTING

At this point, the light will be golden – so you want to be at your final spot. Do all you can to make this most of the beautiful soft light – you can even position your clients out in the open if you know how to control sunflare. We try to take a variety of photos at this time – a landscape, waist-up, and close-ups. That way, we can create wall art sets that all have the same sunset colouring.

Planning sunset portrait session 11

Planning sunset portrait session 12

Planning sunset portrait session 13

6:00 pm – DUSK SHOOTING

The sun has set, but you still have a glorious window of 15 minutes where you can capture the gorgeous colours of dusk. Because the sun is no longer emitting harsh light, you can now use the whole other side of the location! Areas that were previously too lit by the sun can now be shot in the soft light of dusk.

Planning sunset portrait session 14

Planning sunset portrait session 15

Planning sunset portrait session 16

6:10 pm – DONE!

This plan is designed to give you some structure if you are lacking confidence and direction for your sunset portrait photo sessions. It will help you get the most from the sunlight, and effectively manage your time during the shoot. Of course, being photographers, we’re all for creativity, so breaking the rules is great once you have more confidence.

Please share your sunset portrait images in the comments below.

Planning sunset portrait session 17

The post How to Plan a Successful Sunset Portrait Session by Alana Orth appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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https://digital-photography-school.com/plan-successful-sunset-portrait-session/ 740050@fever.carmepla.com/fever Mon, 01 May 2017 14:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[Seeing the Obvious: You Keep Shooting with Bryan Peterson]]> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8X26THFLH7E 733154@fever.carmepla.com/fever Sun, 16 Apr 2017 17:41:12 GMT <![CDATA[How to Create Portraits with a Black Background]]> Who does not love a crisp, deep black background for a portrait? You can achieve this with the application of just two ideas, and just a little post-processing too.

black background

We are talking about a couple of techy things in hopefully, a non-techy way. These two ideas will give you tips for how to make black backgrounds for your portraits.

No calculations necessary

As an erstwhile teacher of Mathematics, I should not apologize for numbers, should I? There is quite a lot of Mathematics in photography. However, you may be pleased to know that I think you can achieve everything, without thinking much beyond the basics. If you have a broad understanding of the concepts you will be absolutely fine.

These techniques are not just applicable to portraits.

Two Tips for Making Portraits with a Black Background

Banana palm leaf

Firstly, please think of stops of light as units. Using the term stop is like saying that something weighs 12 kilograms or that it is 10 miles away. As photographers, we tend to talk about stops and stopping down, but it is just as valid to say units. The thing is not to get bogged down in technicalities, the term stop is only a unit of measure.

The falling off of the light

The first concept might be stated simply as light falls off rapidly. Fleshing that out just a little, the amount of light available decreases greatly as you move away from the source of the light. But we are photographers and we do tend to think that a picture is worth a thousand words, so look at the diagram below:

In the example above, one unit of light arrives at our subject, one meter away from the window. If she moves two meters away, just one-quarter of a unit of light will now be arriving at her. Then, if she moves three meters away from the window, which is the source of light, there will be only one-ninth of a unit of light. The available light disappears very quickly.

It might suit some if I illustrate the same point with a graph (which, in the past, I have tended to introduce to students as a Mathematical picture).

Two Tips for Making Portraits with a Black Background

A mathematical picture tells a story?

How does that affect the background?

When trying to achieve a black background, you are interested in the amount of light hitting it. Again, pictures tell the story best. Both these photos had only white balance and very small adjustments to balance exposure done in post-processing.

Two Tips for Making Portraits with a Black Background

Not happy

The image on the left has the background close to the subject, about three feet (one meter) behind her. Then, on the right, the white background is about thirteen feet (four meters) back. You do not need me to do calculations, quote some nice formulae, to prove what is happening above. It is obvious, isn’t it?

In these photographs, the subject hasn’t moved and the exposure does not change. The background moves farther away, and the amount of light reaching it reduces rapidly. Even when the background is white, rather than the desired black, it gets much darker the greater the distance it is positioned from the light source.

In the practical world, there may be limits to what you can do, perhaps by the shooting space you have available. However, the message is simple, push the background as far away as possible, and even a seemingly small distance will help make it appear darker.

Two Tips for Making Portraits with a Black Background

Young Filipino.

The background for this photograph was the inside of a room. The teenage Filipino boy was standing in a doorway, getting full benefit from the light source. The background, the far wall of the room, might be only eight feet (just over two meters) away, but it is getting very close to the blackest of blacks, isn’t it?

Combine this reasonably straightforward science, the way light falls away, with the science of the dynamic range of camera sensors and you will be a long way towards achieving black backgrounds for your portraits.

Dynamic Range

Please understand that the numbers I am using here are approximate. They do vary from camera to camera, and from the conclusion given by one source to another. But I am going for using what is easy, what is really needed to make the point so you understand.

Dynamic range is the measurement from the darkest to the lightest item which can be seen. Your camera has a great deal less dynamic range than the human eye. It is much less capable of seeing into dark and light areas at the same time. That is why, when your camera produces an image with blown out highlights, and blocked up shadows. But your eye can still see the detail of a bird, which sat in bright sunlight, and you can also see the black dog which sat in the darkest shadows. Your camera simply cannot see both at the same time.

Two Tips for Making Portraits with a Black Background

Light the subject, not the background

It might be stating the obvious, but it needs to be said – the first step to getting a black background is to use a black backdrop. Then, if you can get the subject lit more brightly than the background, that will push the background into the underexposed, dark areas, outside the camera’s more limited dynamic range.

Portrait setup

If you can throw some extra light onto the subject and have them exposed correctly, in the brighter end of the dynamic range, that will help to send the rest of the image into darkness. The brightly lit subject should be properly exposed. Then there is a good chance that the background will be outside of the part of the dynamic range for which you are exposing. It will, at the very least, be heading towards black.

Portrait setup

Here is the setup for a portrait, with only natural light hitting the subject. It is not as obvious in this reduced jpeg as in the original RAW file, but the background is rather muddy, certainly getting towards black, but not the pure black you are looking for. In the original, you can clearly see folds in the cloth.

Two Tips for Making Portraits with a Black Background

Still not happy – most people would describe the background as black, but it is not the blackest of blacks, is it?

Here is the same set up again, with some extra light on the subject.

black background

I think the point is illustrated. Is it clear that the background is worthy of the classic description “inky”? Other things could be improved with a few post-processing tweaks. They are presented to show the backgrounds, not as finished portraits, and I’ve only changed color balance and tried to balance the exposures.

Use the natural law (it is called the Inverse Square Law) which dictates that light falls away rapidly from the source, and the limited dynamic range of your camera and you are a long way to getting a good, deep black, background. Next, you can help complete it further in post-processing.

Post-processing

I am referring to Lightroom here, but there are equivalent tools in other software.

Two Tips for Making Portraits with a Black Background

A bit of a muddy RAW file.

This is the photograph from the top of the article, as it first appeared out of the camera. You do not want to hear my excuses, but I did not get it as completely right in-camera as I would normally like to do. However, it turns out that is lucky, as it makes a good example for a post-processing in this case. Because the file was produced with the application of the ideas talked about above, it is very workable.

Most of the way to being processed in just a very few steps.

Edit intuitively

One of the best bits of advice I ever received, which I sometimes manage to apply, is to ignore the numbers. You should move those sliders till they give the look which you think suits the picture. Look at the photo and see what happens, take a breath, pause for a moment, and make some judgment as to whether it gives you what you’re looking for. Often this involves going a bit too far (whether it be with sharpening, or exposure, shadows, or whatever) and then dialing back a little.

I managed to do just that with this image. It makes me smile when I look at it now, a few weeks later, as I am slightly surprised at how far I went. I adjusted the color balance, brushed some negative clarity onto mom’s face, rotated the image counter-clockwise a little, but the exposure was not adjusted at all as the faces looked fine to me. Then I started pushing the sliders around.

Push the limits

It was a bit of a surprise to see just how far towards the negative I had moved the contrast slider. This may be counter-intuitive when you are trying to make parts of the image darker, but because we have got a reasonably well-produced file, we can get away with reducing the contrast, and this has the pleasing effect of lightening the hair and separating it from the background.

Of most significance to this exercise is the shadows slider which was moved in the opposite direction to usual. It was moved to the negative, to block up the shadows, rather than to the right, to try to pull out some detail.

I was also a bit surprised at how far I moved the black point. It seemed to work, though. As I say, I think it often works best if you move the sliders, without too much concern for the numbers they represent. Try to look at each photograph individually, rather than apply some sort of formula.

The final image had only a couple more, tiny, detailed tweaks.

black background

Extra Tips

A couple of other things.

How you decide to throw some light onto the subject of the photograph is for other articles. There are many other great Digital Photography School articles, which offer a huge number of suggestions for illuminating subjects. I thought you should know that I do very much like my LEDs, as I like being able to see the light. I also use reflectors. However, the first source of light in all the photographs above is natural light. You do not necessarily need a fancy kit.

In respect of the black cloth, most advice will suggest that you buy black velvet. I am sure it does an excellent job of absorbing light from all directions. But it is expensive, and with careful technique, it seems to me that another dark, non-shiny cloth can do the job too. One thing to pay a little attention to is making sure that you stretch the background cloth out a little. Try to get it as smooth and even as possible, with no creases, as any imperfections are liable to catch the light.

black background

Conclusion

The power of photography! 25 years after the event, I paid a bit of homage to Annie Leibowitz’s photograph of Demi Moore. I was not trying to replicate it as such, just nod in the photograph’s direction. But I did manage to get a really black background, didn’t I? Please give it a go yourself.

Share your images and questions in the comments below. I’m happy to try to help further if I can.

The post How to Create Portraits with a Black Background by Richard Messsenger appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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https://digital-photography-school.com/create-portraits-black-background/ 717196@fever.carmepla.com/fever Thu, 06 Apr 2017 14:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[10 Things to Photograph Indoors When There’s Bad Weather Outside]]> No matter where in the world you live, there are some seasons that are more conducive to outdoor photography than others. That said, bad weather is no excuse to stop learning about photography! Here are 10 beginning photography exercises to try the next time you’re cooped up indoors due to bad weather. Each exercise includes a subject theme, discussion about the type of skills you’ll practice with that particular subject, as well as some questions and/or ideas to walk through in order for you to really take your understanding to the next level.

1. Flowers

bad weather

Pick up an inexpensive bouquet of flowers the next time you’re at the grocery store and bring it home. Pop the flowers in a vase, and start shooting!

If you choose a bouquet with a range of colors (including white flowers if possible), you’ll be able to practice properly exposing your images across the dynamic range. Photographing flowers is also a great opportunity to play around with different apertures. If you’re currently shooting in Auto, pop your camera over into Aperture Priority mode, and give things a try. How does changing from f/2.0 to f/5.6 affect the image? Which look do you prefer?

2. Candles and/or a Fireplace

bad weather

There are a few different benefits to spending some time photographing a flame. Whether you’re photographing a collection of candles or a fireplace, try experimenting with different exposure lengths in Shutter Priority mode. Try both long and short exposure times, and also be sure to note how the shutter speed affects the overall exposure of your image. Does a longer shutter time translate to a lighter or a darker overall image? How could you balance out a longer shutter opening without overexposing the entire image?

Another benefit to photographing flames is that it also makes you consider composition in a way that many subjects do not, especially in terms of reflections. Try putting a mirror or other shiny surface underneath a candle and photographing it. How does the reflection of the flame affect the overall image? Do you want to include the reflection in your image, or do you prefer to crop it out?

3. Oil and Water

This simple project packs a big punch!

bad weather

Equipment and supplies

A macro lens will help you out tremendously here, but if you don’t have one, extension tubes are also a great option. This image was taken with a $15 set of extension tubes and a 50mm lens. Basically, all you need is a clear glass dish, two cups, colorful paper, water, and olive oil.

Setup

First, take your colorful paper, and set it on a table or counter. Then take your two cups and set them on top of the paper, several inches away from each other. Next, take your glass dish and set it on top of the cups, so that it’s elevated off of the colorful paper. Add a little water, then a little olive oil, and be ready to photograph the bubbles that appear. You may want to spend some time experimenting with photographing the glass dish at differing heights above the paper underneath. Experiment with different types of colorful paper; scrapbook paper is a great resource for this. Try differing amounts of oil and water, and see how those small changes affect your image.

This is a great opportunity to experiment with macro-like photography in a way that has a pretty big impact. If you are using extension tubes rather than a macro lens, keep in mind that your extension tubes may or may not work with your camera’s autofocus. If you’re having trouble getting the bubbles to come into focus, you may need to focus manually (try the LiveView focus technique).

4. Food

bad weather

Photographing food is a great opportunity to play around with styling, as well as post-processing. It’s my humble opinion that much of your direction in terms of styling and processing will come from the food itself. In this case, I had a rustic loaf of bread that was covered in different seeds. It reminded me of rustic, communal dinners, and so I wrapped it in a tea-towel and stuck it directly on my table (something that happens with fair frequency to loaves that have just come out of the oven around here). I also knew from the get-go that I’d apply a more matte post-processing technique than I usually use in portraits in order to echo the rustic feel of the bread.

On the other hand, what approach would you take to styling and photographing a sleek cheesecake? Or a classic fruit salad? This short little exercise allows you to push yourself in terms of styling and post-processing, trying out skills and techniques that you may not typically use, as well as spending some time thinking about what types of styling and post-processing would best represent the subject.

5. Window Silhouettes

bad weather

I don’t know about where you live, but around here it can often be rainy and sunny at the same time. If you find yourself faced with similar weather, it’s a great opportunity to try doing a window silhouette.

Window silhouettes are a great exercise if you are learning photography because it will help you understand how your camera sees light. If your camera is on auto, and you focus directly on your subject, what does your camera try to do? If you move your focal point off of your subject, what does your camera “see” then? Does it affect the focus of your image? What happens if you try out the different metering modes? Does one seem to be more effective than the others in creating a silhouette?

6. Food Coloring and Water

bad weather

Grab a tall glass or vase, fill it with water, and then drop a couple of drops of food coloring into it.

This is a simple and colorful way to examine both shutter speed and light. Try using a short shutter speed. What does the image look like? Try using a long shutter speed. How is that image different?

In addition, try shooting with all different types of light. The transparency of the water is a great opportunity to practice capturing backlit images.

7. Interiors

bad weather

You don’t need to have perfectly clean or perfectly decorated rooms in order to gain valuable experience and knowledge from photographing them. Just a pick a room and go for it.

Experiment with light sources. How does the final image look when you use only natural light? What happens when you use only overhead and/or floor lights with the curtains closed? How does the image look when you use a combination of natural light and accent lighting? Think both in terms of exposure, and also the color balance of the image. Which look do you personally prefer?

8. Books

bad weather

I’m a huge bookworm, so it’s no surprise that I really enjoy photographing books in all sorts of scenarios. I love the texture of the pages, I love the different colored spines. I love basically everything about books!

Photographing books is also a great way to learn about aperture. Pick any book, and crack it open. Look for a short passage that you enjoy. Set your camera to Aperture Priority mode, and start with the lowest number you’re able to select (f/4 or f/2.8 for example). Set your focal point to your desired passage, and shoot. How much of the image is in focus?

Now set your aperture to one or two numbers higher than your first setting. How much of the image is in focus this time? Continue shooting up and down your available aperture range, noticing how the image changes as you do so. When might you want to use an image with only a sentence or two in focus? When might you want an image that included more of the book in focus?

9. Pets

bad weather pets

Photographing a pet can often present many of the same challenges that you might experience when photographing children. Certainly, this will depend greatly on the type of animal you have as well as their temperament, but it holds true for our cat.

She moves quickly and is often not super interested or cooperative when I’m attempting to photograph her. So, trying to photograph our cat is a good opportunity to practice shooting candidly, as well as waiting patiently for just the right moment. Our cat is obviously never going to walk right in front of me, sit, and smile for a photo. Instead, it’s my responsibility to sit on the couch with my camera, waiting patiently. When she decides to come over and investigate, I’ll be waiting and ready. (Read: 9 Tips for Taking Better Photos of Cats

10. Craft Supplies

bad weather

Craft supplies are a great tool for photographic exercises because they’re usually a good source of color. Play around with color and group items randomly. Then group similar colors together.

Next, pick one single item or color to focus on. Photograph it alone, as well as grouped with the others. Is the image stronger with only one color or with many? Do you prefer the colors to be randomized, or grouped together?

Conclusion

Have you tried any of these approaches? What other ideas do you have for bad weather, indoor photography exercises that would help beginners understand an element of photography better?

The post 10 Things to Photograph Indoors When There’s Bad Weather Outside by Meredith Clark appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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<![CDATA[Visual Flow – How to Get the Most out of Composition]]> In photography terms, composition can make the difference between a good image and a fantastic one. Yes, you need all the other components; the light has to be dramatic, the subject compelling, and the colours vibrant. All of these will add to the final result. If you have all that, but your composition is not great, the image will fall flat.

Jay Maisel has a quote that goes like this, “As the photographer, you are responsible for every inch of the frame”. This is true, and one of Jay’s other mantras is that he prefers to speak about framing and not cropping. His view is that framing is done at the time of making the image. Cropping is done afterward in post-production. He maintains that cropping changes the original intent of the image. If you frame an image in a particular way and then crop it afterward, it really is a different image.

 

Visual Flow - How to Get the Most out of Composition

Frame your scene correctly in camera

I don’t think Jay is saying that you shouldn’t crop, but rather that you need to compose with intent and purpose, not simply hope for the best and try and “fix” the image later by cropping. Good composition can really be impactful on your image. Changing your composition is free. You don’t need any special equipment or lenses. There’s no need to wait for a specific type of light. You can shoot at any time of day. Composition is the one thing in photography that is easiest to fix, yet it is most often overlooked.

There are many articles on DPS and other sites about composition and the best techniques for improving composition, so I won’t try to reinvent the wheel. What I want to talk about here is visual flow. This is more about the visual journey you are taking your viewer on than the destination. In this article, we aren’t going to discuss the rule of thirds and powerpoints, but we will discuss how framing, removing distractions, and how light, shape, and texture will all contribute to your composition.

We will look at how someone’s eye will travel through your image. You want the viewers of our images to look at them longer, to find them interesting and to be captivated and inspired by what they see.

Framing not cropping

As the photographer, you need to take responsibility for everything in the frame. That means, you decide what will be in the shot and sometimes more importantly, what will NOT be in the shot. Your subject needs to be in the frame obviously, but what else absolutely needs to be included? Ask yourself if all the elements in the frame are adding to the narrative or story you are trying to tell. If not, get rid of what is not working.

In this case, less is definitely more (and usually better). Be aware of visual clutter in the frame, objects that are distracting or drawing the viewer’s full attention away from the subject. This is really tough to get right and it takes time and practice. But once you become aware of this and work hard on fixing it, it will become much easier.

Visual Flow - How to Get the Most out of Composition

Focus on your subject

Remove distractions

This sounds obvious but is not always easy. There are many things that can cause your viewer to be distracted when they look at your image. Any words in your photograph will automatically draw they eye. Signposts, graffiti, street signs…anything with words or letters will cause the viewer to look at that part of the image. If the wording is not the reason for the image, then try and remove that item from the frame as it may be distracting.

Color can cause the eye to wander. If your scene is full of color, that’s great, but if it is largely monochromatic and there is only one color in the frame, that color will become the focal point. Warm colors like yellow or red will very quickly pull the eye across to them, so be aware of the colors in your image.

The human form will also draw the eye. Again, if the person in the frame is a key part of the image, that’s great, leave them in the shot. But if not, then wait until they leave the scene or reframe the scene without them. As humans, we tend to find the human form in an image very quickly and this will become the main focus of the image.

Visual Flow - How to Get the Most out of Composition

Be aware of distractions, words, powerlines etc

Using light, shape and texture

These three elements (there are more) will greatly help you in your visual flow.

Light is key to making any image. Without light, we cannot do photography. Light also informs so much in your image. You can use side light to emphasize texture in your image. You can use front light to create a silhouette, which will emphasise shape. These three elements are important tools in making sure your image compels people to look at it.

Shapes in your image add a dynamic feel. Get in close and emphasize the shape of an object. If it has a curve, make that curve fill the frame. Shapes can make a great subject too. They are all around you too, you just have to start looking.

Texture is a great way to emphasize your subject. To get great texture images, your light needs to come from the side. Side light enhances texture and each granular detail can be seen if the light is right. Texture will make your images seem three dimensional. Using texture is a great way to communicate more information about your subject.

Visual Flow - How to Get the Most out of Composition

Use side light to emphasize texture.

Get in close

To make sure that you get the most out of the scene, you can do a few things. First, move in closer and fill the frame with your subject. This is especially useful if you are doing abstract or creative images. If you are not going to fill the frame, then decide where to put your subject. Yes, you can use the rule of thirds for this (this would be my last choice), but you can also use the Fibonacci Spiral (Golden Ratio) or any number of other compositional techniques.

The most important part of an effective composition is to make sure that your viewer knows what they are supposed to look at in your image. If your subject (the reason for the image) is unclear, your image will have little impact. You have likely seen this happen. You show someone photos from your last trip and they simply glance at them in passing. Then suddenly, something catches their attention in a particular image and they stop and look intently at the scene. That’s when you know your image has hit the mark.

As I said earlier, all the elements need to come together to make a great image, but if you have good light, great exposure and bad composition, chances are, people will just flip past the image.

Visual Flow - How to Get the Most out of Composition

Fill the viewfinder with your subject.

Conclusion

So, how else can you improve your composition? It is deceptively simple but easily overlooked. Some of the things I do is get inspiration from the top photographers in the genre I want to shoot. If it is street photography, then I am looking at Henri Cartier-Bresson, Jay Maisel, Ernst Haas, and others. If it is landscape photography, then I will be looking at Ansel Adams, Charlie Waite, and Koos van der Lende. I look at photographers who inspire me. I also make a point of visiting art galleries whenever I can.

Photography is not even 200 years old as an art form. Much of the techniques we use as photographers have been learned from the painters and artists of old. Spend time looking at the composition of master painters. Look at how they placed subjects in their scene. See how the light works in their paintings, is it hard light or soft light? Spend time taking note of how they used color and shapes in their images. Then, go out and apply that to your photographs. Over time you will begin to see your eye and your images improve.

Visual Flow - How to Get the Most out of Composition

Work hard at improving your compositional eye.

The post Visual Flow – How to Get the Most out of Composition by Barry J Brady appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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<![CDATA[Compyte, herramienta para medir y mejorar la competitividad de las PYMEs]]> compyte

De vez en cuando conviene poner en valor lo que se hace en casa. Pues bien, es el caso de Compyte, una herramienta desarrollada desde Mondagon Unibertsitatea-Enpresagintza junto a MIK y que ha sido posible gracias a la implicación de Laboral Kutxa Empresas. Se trata de un esfuerzo importante por ayudar a las pymes a identificar cuáles son las áreas en las que mejorar de cara a su competitividad. El diagnóstico se realiza en base a cinco grandes elementos: emprendimiento, financiación, personas, internacionalización e innovación.

Se ha desarrollado un sitio web para que las empresas puedan darse de alta como usuarias y accedan a un completo autoanálisis de sus fortalezas y debilidades en esos ámbitos. Para ello utiliza una categorización de las empresas en cinco tipos:

  1. Startup, para organizaciones de menos de 5 años y un crecimiento inferior al 20% en facturación durante 3 años consecutivos.
  2. Gacela, con más de 5 años de actividad y crecimientos superiores al 20% en facturación durante 3 años seguidos.
  3. De alto crecimiento, como las gacelas pero con una antigüedad de más de 5 años.
  4. Madura, de más de 5 años de antigüedad pero con crecimiento inferior al 20% en facturación durante 3 años consecutivos.
  5. Estratégica, con crecimiento inferior al 20% anual durante 3 años consecutivos pero que cumple ciertas características vinculadas a sector de actividad, tecnología, innovación, internacionalización o gestión del talento.

El enfoque de la herramienta no es por supuesto solo medir: además del diagnóstico se plantean otras dos fases, una de asesoramiento y otra de acción. El sitio web recoge también los casos de algunas organizaciones que se han considerado de éxito como Grupo TTT, Hadimek o Metallied.

En principio el cuestionario online no debería llevar más de 15 minutos. Anímate a probar con el diagnóstico.

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http://blog.consultorartesano.com/2016/09/compyte-herramienta-competitividad-pymes.html 704743@fever.carmepla.com/fever Mon, 26 Sep 2016 03:30:07 GMT
<![CDATA[Win One of Three Lenses from Tamron – Enter the Sunshine Photography Contest]]> Win one of THREE lenses from Tamron! Enter the “Sunshine” photography contest today.

Win one of the following:

  • A Tamron 28-300mm Di VC PZD lens
  • A Tamron SP 90mm F/2.8 Di VC USD lens
  • A Tamron SP 70-300mm Di VC USD lens

Over the last few years here at dPS, we’ve run very some very popular competitions with our partners, to give away to lucky dPS readers some of their great photographic products. We are lucky enough to be able to do it again.

For this contest, Tamron is giving away three lenses!

These three unique prizes are designed to help every level of photographer create better pictures. Tamron is the world’s most awarded photographic lens line. Each will be won by a different dPS reader. Here’s what you could win:

Our First Prize Winner will receive:

A Tamron 28-300mm Di VC PZD (model A010) – $849 value, for canon, Nikon or Sony cameras.

Tamron 28 300mm

The Second Place Winner will receive:

A Tamron SP 90mm F/2.8 Di VC USD Macro Lens (model F017-new) – $649 value, for canon, Nikon or Sony (without VC) cameras.

Second Prize SP 90mm

The Third Place Winner will receive:

A Tamron SP 70-300mm Di VC USD Zoom Lens (model A005) – $449 value, for canon, Nikon or Sony cameras.

 

Tamron-70-300

Learn a little more about Tamron here: Tamron USA

How to win

To win this competition you’ll need to:

  • Visit the above lens information pages and learn more about the lens and its core use.
  • Post your sunshine photo, along with a few words on how you feel one of the above Tamron lenses would help your photography. It’s as easy as that!
  • Do this in the next 21 days and after June 1st, 2016, the team at dPS will choose the best three photos and we will announce the winners in the following days.
  • The deadline to enter is May 30th at 11:59pm PST (UTC-7). Photos and comments left after the deadline will not be considered.

Bee Image

By best – we’re looking for people who have an understanding of photography, the role of lenses, and how they will best suit your needs. So you’ll need to check out the product pages to put yourself in the best position to win.

There’s no need to write essay length comments to win – but we’re looking to hear what you like about the lens, and how it would help your development as a photographer. Don’t forget to include your favorite sunshine themed photo. We encourage you to have fun and be creative.

This competition is open to everyone, no matter where you live – but there is only one entry per person. To enter – simply leave your photo and comment below.

Tamron logo

Disclaimer: Tamron is a paid partner of dPS

The post Win One of Three Lenses from Tamron – Enter the Sunshine Photography Contest by Darlene Hildebrandt appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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<![CDATA[How to Create a Silky Water Effect in Post-Processing without Using Filters or a Tripod]]> Affiniy-photo-mean-stack-mode

Smooth water effect edited in Affinity Photo using the Live Stacks feature.

Even if you don’t shoot landscape photography, photos of waterfalls with the smooth water and glassy appearance are awesome. The gist to achieving this, and I do stand corrected if I have this wrong, is as follows:

  • Slow shutter speeds – the need for a tripod
  • A remote shutter release or your camera’s timer
  • Wide angle lens and the camera settings using a small aperture of f/22, ISO 100
  • Neutral Density and/or polarizer filters, as you’ll be shooting long exposures during the day
  • Of course the scene and by all accounts patience too

However, I personally don’t own ND or polarizer filters. These type of filters are required for long exposures during the day, so that your shutter speeds are slow enough, possibly one minute or more to get that misty look. On top of which, you have to get the exposure right, which requires a bit of math and experimentation. ND filters block out the light in terms of stops.

So taking long exposures during the day is an involved process, especially if you want to create that smooth, silky water effect in-camera. But, is there a way to simulate this effect in Photoshop or other post-processing software? Yes there is! It does require that you take multiple shots. I’m not advocating that this technique in post editing is a replacement to going out and achieving long exposures out in the field, far from it. But, I hope this technique may serve as a stepping stone or inspiration to go out and capture silky waters, clouds etc., in-camera.

This article will demonstrate how you can achieve a similar result by taking a bunch of photos in continuous mode without using any filters or a tripod. Although, I would recommend you use a tripod.

First, I’ll demonstrate this effect using a manual method in Photoshop CS6 (standard version). There is an automated way to do this with the Stack Mode feature, which I believe is in Photoshop CC. If you have previous versions of Photoshop, the Stack Mode feature is only available in extended versions, not standard, unfortunately. However, Gimp has this Stack Mode feature and it’s free. Then, I will compare the manual method in Photoshop with Affinity Photo, using Live Stacks. I was really impressed with this feature.

Photoshop manual method

Let’s begin. On the day I took these images, I was pressed for time. So I took a series of shots in continuous mode, and handheld the camera while I focused on this part of a small river. I would recommend that you use a tripod and give yourself some time. It will be easier to align the images later.

small-river-handheld

I took a bunch of images in continuous mode of this small river, close-up deliberately for this article.

You will need to load your images as layers into one document in Photoshop, as follows:

file-scripts-load-files-into-stack

Loading multiple images into one document in Photoshop. File>Scripts>Load Files into Stack

Go up to the Menu Bar > File > Scripts > Load Files into Stack. As I didn’t use a tripod, I selected all the layers to align them. Go to Auto-Align under Edit. As you can see, Photoshop had its work cut out trying to align the images.

images-after-auto-align-photoshop

I handheld my camera when I took a bunch of shots in continuous mode. As you can see from this screenshot, I needed to use Auto-Align Layers in Photoshop. If you use a tripod the alignment will be much easier.

Now that the layers are stacked on top of each other. Start at the bottom and leave this layer at 100%, go to second layer above and reduce the opacity by 50%(100÷2=50). Continue with the next layer and reduce the opacity by 33%(100÷3=33).

percentages-opacity-reduced

Reducing the opacity of each layer by dividing the number of the layer into 100%. The bottom layer remains at 100%. The second layer is 50% and so on.

Therefore, depending on the amount of layers you have, and where they come in the stack, divide this number into 100. So if you had 30 images, the opacity for the top layer in the stack will be 3% (100÷30=3). Remember the bottom layer is always 1=100%. What this is doing is averaging out the layers. This may sound complicated, but in practice, it’s more straightforward. Although it is a bit more tedious than the automated way.

This is the effect of averaging out the layers in Photoshop - reducing the stacked layer's opacity by X amount. I also had to crop this image, whereas the same image when edited in Affinity Photo kept more of the image. See below.

This is the effect of averaging out the layers in Photoshop – reducing the stacked layer’s opacity by X amount. I also had to crop this image, whereas the same image when edited in Affinity Photo kept more of the image. See below.

I have been keeping a close eye on Serif’s Affinity Photo. So I took the plunge and purchased it for (€39) $44 USD. That was a discounted offer. At such an affordable price, I was curious to see how this software performs and what it can do.

In Affinity Photo, there is a Live Stacks feature which is similar to Stack Mode in Photoshop. It was easy and simple to use, and the process was fast.

Affiniy-photo-mean-stack-mode

Affinity-photo-new-stack

The equivalent Stack Mode feature in Photoshop is called Live Stacks in Affinity Photo.

Go to File > New Stack. The pop up dialog box appears where you select your images. Make sure Automatically Align Images box is ticked. Click Ok. This takes a couple of seconds. It defaults to Median in the Live Stack Group, but scroll up to the next one and this is Mean. That’s the one you want.

Affinity-photo-auto-align-images

images-selected-after-new-stack

When you create a New Stack, the pop up dialog box appears. Select your images on your computer and click Open.

Affinity-photo-live-stacks-mean

The stacked images are grouped into a folder called Live Stack Group. The different stack options are located by clicking on the small icon, circled in blue. It defaults to Median but I changed it to Mean.

The cool thing about this feature is when you scroll through each of the different stack modes, it shows the different results live.

Affinity-photo-live-stacks-maximum

Different stack options can be scrolled through one by one, and the results can be seen live, which is impressive.

When I compared the two results from Photoshop and Affinity Photo, I could see no obvious difference, with the exception that I had to crop the image of the river more in Photoshop, whereas the auto alignment in Affinity Photo meant I didn’t lose much of the image at all.

second-river-original

Here is another example of moving water.

The same image as above edited in Affinity Photo using Mean in Live Stacks. I got the same result using the manual method in Photoshop.

The same image as above edited in Affinity Photo using Mean in Live Stacks. I got the same result using the manual method in Photoshop.

Take away tip:

In my examples, I didn’t use a tripod. I would recommend using one. I also took only a series of 8-10 shots. I would recommend taking at least 15 or more.

I found this technique interesting and fun, and I am now inspired to go out and take images of waterfalls. The good thing about this technique is if you don’t have ND or polarizing filters, it doesn’t prevent you from going out and taking shots of waterfalls. Then when you get back to your computer, you can create your own silky, smooth effect.

Let’s see some of your examples below.

The post How to Create a Silky Water Effect in Post-Processing without Using Filters or a Tripod by Sarah Hipwell appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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<![CDATA[10 Tips for Photographing Wide-Angle Landscapes]]> A wide-angle lens is considered an essential piece of gear for any landscape photographer because it gives you a perspective that you cannot achieve with any other lens. You’ll not only be able to photograph grand vistas, but you’ll see lines in a different way, and emphasize subjects by getting super close.

So if you haven’t tried one yet, borrow or rent a wide angle lens and get ready to make images with a different flavour using these tips.

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona

21mm, ISO 100, f/18, 1/15 second

What is a wide-angle lens?

Camera lenses are defined by comparison to the field of view that the eye naturally sees – which is 50mm on a full frame camera or 35mm on a crop sensor camera. This is known as a normal focal length. Any wider than that is a considered wide-angle.

My favourite wide-angle lens is in the 10-20mm range on my crop sensor camera, or 16-35mm on a full frame camera.

When to use a wide-angle lens

Many people think the purpose of a wide-angle lens is to photograph grand vistas and get a lot in the frame. While that is one purpose for a wide-angle lens, its real power is in using its perspective to emphasize objects that are very close to you and de-emphasizing objects that are farther away.

1. Emphasize a foreground element

Wide-angle lenses allow you to get really close to something in the foreground, which will emphasize it and make it look larger and more important than the background elements. A wide lens has a way of changing the relative size of the objects in the frame, so that things that are closer to the lens appear larger, and things in the background appear smaller proportionally.

Black Eyed Susan by Anne McKinnell

20mm, ISO 200. f/5.6, 1/160 second

Try using a low angle and getting very close to your main subject. By close, I mean inches away. You’ll be surprised when you look through the viewfinder and discover that objects don’t appear quite so close through the lens.

2. Photograph your subject and its environment

My favourite way to use the lens is to get very close to my main subject so it is large in the frame, as mentioned above, but also include other elements in its environment in the frame. This is a great way to create a story-telling image that provides context for the main subject.

Balancing Rocks at Little Finland, Nevada by Anne McKinnell

16mm, ISO 200, f/8, 1.3 seconds

3. Get everything in focus

Another great power of a wide-angle lens is its ability to have incredible depth of field. You can get everything from two feet away to infinity in focus. Of course, this depends on the exact lens and the aperture you choose, but all wide-angle lenses have a greater ability to get more in focus than a telephoto lens (which is excellent at shallow depth of field by blurring the background). You’d be hard pressed to blur the background with a wide-angle lens.

Whitney Pockets, Nevada by Anne McKinnell

19mm, ISO 100, f/20, 1/20 second

You can use a hyperfocal distance calculator to figure out exactly what will be in focus for your lens at the aperture you choose. But generally speaking, if you focus on something close to you and use a small aperture like f/18, everything from front to back will be in focus.

4. Watch out for distractions

Since wide-angle lenses include a lot in the frame, you’ll need to be extra vigilant to make sure there are no distractions. Everything that is in the frame should have a purpose.

Check your composition to make sure there is nothing in the foreground that you didn’t notice, since objects just inches away from you will be in the frame. As well, check the background to make sure there you haven’t included something unintentional.

Ideally, your composition should clearly show what the main subject is, what the supporting elements are using an interesting graphic design, and not include anything else. Simplify the composition as much as possible.

Kirkjufellsfoss, Iceland by Anne McKinnell

11mm, ISO 100, f/20, 1/6 second

Because the frame contains such a wide field of view, it will have a lot in it, so it is especially important that the main subject is obvious.

5. Keep the camera level

Wide-angle lenses are notorious for displaying distortion around the edges. Anything with straight lines at the edges of the frame will appear to lean inwards. To avoid or minimize distortion, keep the camera level with the ground and don’t angle it up or down.

6. Angle your camera upwards

On the other hand, you can use this distortion to your advantage! Just make sure it is intentional and you are using it to emphasize something. For example, by angling the camera upwards you can emphasize the sky, and any clouds in it will appear to point towards the center of the frame.

Valley of the Gods, Utah by Anne McKinnell

15mm, ISO 100, f/11, 1/60 second

7. Angle your camera downwards

Similarly, if you angle your camera downwards you can emphasize leading lines on the ground and create a perspective that really draws the viewer in.

Fire Canyon Arch in the Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada by Anne McKinnell

10mm, ISO 200, f/11, 1/20 second

8. Make images in close quarters

Whenever you are in an enclosed space, making images with impact can become difficult, since you cannot get far enough away from your subject. If you are in a tight situation, a wide-angle lens is a necessity!

Antelope Canyon, Arizona by Anne McKinnell

21mm, ISO 100, f/11, 5.0 seconds

9. Beware of polarizing filters

You may already know that polarizing filters can darken skies, emphasize clouds, and saturate colours when you are photographing in a 90 degree angle to the sun. If you are photographing with the sun directly in front of you or behind you, the filter does not have this affect.

With a wide-angle lens, you may find that part of the scene in the frame is at a 90 degree angle and is affected by the polarizing filter, and the other side is not. When this happens, it is better not to use the polarizing filter at all (it will give you an uneven sky which is darker on one side).

10. Manage uneven light

When photographing landscapes with a wide-angle lens you’ll frequently encounter varying amounts of light in the frame. Often the sky in the background is much brighter than your foreground. When this happens, you can use a graduated neutral density filter to darken the top portion of your image and even out the exposure.

Wildflowers in Big Bend Ranch State Park, Texas by Anne McKinnell

10mm, ISO 200, f/11, 1/100 second

A wide-angle lens is often the favourite lens in the kit for landscape photographers and with these tips it may become your favourite lens too.

What do you like to shoot with your wide lens? Please share your tips and images below.

The post 10 Tips for Photographing Wide-Angle Landscapes by Anne McKinnell appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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<![CDATA[10 Ideas to Instantly Improve Your Photography Composition]]>

It is an illusion that photos are made with the camera; they are made with the eye, heart and head. – Henri Cartier-Bresson

My photography training took place back in the early 90s, at an intense technical photo school in California. I love tech in all forms, and I love reading my camera manual. I love the precision and procedure of processing my own colour film, and I love learning the ever-advancing skills on photo software – I am a total tech nerd. But technical knowledge will only get you so far; it’s really the second part of the story in photography. Photography composition is the first part.

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The first part is your vision of what you want your photography to be, and learning the ability to compose compelling images. Your technical knowledge will only give you the ability to execute your vision, and make the most of the composition that you have created. It can’t replace the ability to see and to compose stunning compositions.

So all things should flow from a good composition. And when we are learning about composition I like to keep in mind that quote that may or may not have been spoken by Picasso (it’s under dispute on the internet): “Learn the rules like a pro and break them like an artist.” Rules, guidelines, ideas about composition will give you a place to start, help develop your skills and propel you out of a rut. But they should not be followed slavishly or forever.

Here are my ideas on what you can do to make your compositions more captivating. But, bear in mind that creating totally unique compositions comes down to creating your own style . So don’t be swayed too much by other photographers’ advice on this subject. Photography is an examination of the world through your eyes, it’s totally subjective, totally about connecting with what inspires and excites you. Just pick up ideas that make sense and motivate you.

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To practice, pick one concept from below that jumps out. Don’t take all these ideas and try to incorporate them into your photography all at once. Pick one and really embrace it – then the results will come.

So here are my 10 favourite tips on how you can instantly improve your composition.

1. Light

“Light makes photography. Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography.” George Eastman

For me more than anything, photography is about light, and learning to identify interesting light is one of the best skills to learn. Light that is doing something interesting, or is beautiful or colourful; will take a good subject and turn it into something completely amazing.

Light is my starting point when I am taking photos. It is the thing I consider first, and what affects me the most when deciding what to photograph. Look for light doing strange and wonderful things – creating long shadows, diffused light falling over a broken wall, reflecting, creating bursts of colour. Look for the colour of light, too: the cool blue light before dawn, the cold, almost transparent light of a winter’s afternoon, the rich orange light of near twilight – and how that affects your subject. Think always: how can I get the best out of the light that I am photographing?

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In the photograph above, the beautiful light is obvious. I have used the silhouette of the column, to contrast the dappled light which is illuminating the clouds beautifully. This contrast makes the light look spectacular because it’s showing off its range of colours and depth against the heavy dark column.

Learning to notice light in all its forms and colours is an excellent way to improve your compositions.

When you see a subject you wish to photograph, look at the light around it. If it’s not interesting light – if it’s flat, boring, or draining the sense of colour – have a look at what else is happening with the weather. Maybe you can wait for clouds to pass, come back later or earlier in the day, see if you can organize the composition to incorporate light from other sources. It doesn’t have to be natural light. Artificial light, and particularly the play of natural and artificial light, can make an inspirational combination.

Here’s another photo where the main subject is the light, but this one is more subtle. The absence of light is most pronounced in this shot, and then all of sudden the glow of dawn light is reflected in the windows. Again, there is a contrast of darkness against light.

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There is lots of negative space in this photo, an overload of industrial blandness, wastelands. And then these two buildings and the sudden glow of the charming light.

2. Simplicity: think in threes

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” Hans Hofmann

Simplicity is often very hard to accomplish, and can be more challenging than more complex compositions. I find there can be a misunderstanding about how to achieve simplicity in your photos. People often think it’s about taking a photo of one subject. But actually I rarely take photos which contain only one subject. Usually there has to be one subject with at least one, but usually, two supporting elements. So I like to say – think in threes.

Humans love to think in threes – (breakfast, lunch, dinner; past, present, future; and small, medium, large). We like to find rhythms and patterns in everything.

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This photo above is a very good example. How many elements make up this photo? Well, first you have the beautiful blue gradated sky, then the wild, chaotic pattern of the bare branches. That’s all very nice, but it’s the third element that is the subject, and that really makes the photo – the two men blending into the branches, while creating distinct human shapes. The photo without any one of the elements wouldn’t be as interesting.

I am a particular fan of very simple compositions when photographing people and I often use plain and colourful backgrounds. In the photo below, again there are three strong elements: bright pastel colours, the two guys and the strong lines.

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It also works when photographing pigeons! Another photo with three elements: the grey, slightly dishevelled pigeon, the wash of colour, and the texture and lines of the wet paving stones.

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3. Move your feet

When you are looking at a professional photographer’s work, one thing that they do more than an amateur photographer is move. You may have a killer shot laid out before you, but you still have to find the killer angle that will make the shot really special. Every shot has a perfect angle, and it’s your job to find it. If you are shooting a subject you love and then look at your images and are disappointed with what you find, I guarantee it’s because you haven’t found the perfect angle.

Get up on that roof, lie on the floor, move your feet around until what you see in frame is the best possible angle, the best possible position you can manoeuvre yourself into. Get dirty if you have to. This requires patience (and good knees), and patience is one thing I think most amateur photographers need to develop more of.

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There is one particular culprit in our kit that discourages us to move, and makes many of us lazy – a zoom lens. This should NEVER be a replacement for moving around a scene and finding the best angle. Do not fall into the trap that just because you have the subject in frame you can just zoom in to get it. Compose your best possible shot in frame, zooming in only if it’s totally the right thing to do , and not as a default option for moving. My best advice for zooming is pick a focal length, then move your feet and find the angle you need.

4. Get closer

Robert Capa said – “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you are not close enough.”

This concept reminds me of when I once read about a famous chef, who believes that the difference between home cooks and professionals is that home cooks are afraid of heat, and don’t turn their gas hobs up high enough. It’s the same with photography – obviously!

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If you feel yourself not wanting to get closer, then this is definitely an idea you should explore. You will almost be able to notice in your images that barrier of fear you set up of getting closer because there will be a distance to your subject. Push through that fear, and your images will benefit from more intimate images. The iconic travel photographer Steve McCurry always photographs subjects within a few feet of himself. For him that is the distance that feels most intimate. That is his style.

Take a deep breathe, hold your fear in check, and just get closer. Investigate as though nothing is holding you back.

5. Build your photo

When I am out wandering around looking for things to shoot, I am looking for elements that I can combine. Often it starts with one thing; it could be anything – an odd looking person, a beautiful shaft of light, a piece of amazing graffiti on a pockmarked concrete wall. If one thing strikes me, I start to look around to find something else to build on that first element to make it more interesting.

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In this photo above I think you’ll agree that if you took away the light in the window you’d have a perfectly lovely shot. But that light is what makes it work. It’s that additional element, creating another layer of depth, and providing an echo almost of the church light of the same colour. I passed this spot on many mornings and often took this particular shot, but one morning the window light was on and it changed it from a beautiful scene into a great image.

6. Look behind you

I shoot in places where I often find myself surrounded by other photographers – the Eiffel Tower at Dawn, sunset on Westminster Bridge – and it continuously stuns me that almost every (or even every) photographer will be pointing the same way and shooting the same thing. Now of course a purple pink sunset over the Houses of Parliament is gorgeous – but that light will also be doing incredible things to everything around you. So, while everyone is going nuts at the obvious, do something different – turn around, walk down that alley way, do what everyone else is not doing.

When I was in Paris I was intimidated about shooting the city. It’s the most visited city on earth (hence the most photographed). It is a small city and much of what’s amazing to photograph has been shot to death. I wanted to shoot the Eiffel Tower differently. Here is one shot I liked. You’ve got opulent gold, beautiful dawn sky, the iconic Eiffel Tower – all pretty so far – but then you have this injection of something that most photographers would have avoided – the cleaners.

Have the patience to explore other angles.

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The streets cleaners are a vivid contrast against the opulent gold, and while I kept the iconic Eiffel Tower in the shot, it’s really only as a background. Paris is obsessed with tidying itself, so this is also a nice little comment on the city.

7. Simplify your kit (and get really familiar with it)

I think most people generally have too much kit. If you have a lot and you don’t use it daily or even weekly, you’re not going to have that intimate knowledge of how it responds to situations and subjects. Try reducing to just one lens for a while and really get to know it.

When you have a lens that you know exactly what it will do in every situation, you’ll be able to execute even more interesting compositions, as you aren’t leaving things to chance. Chance is something that professional photographers will go out of their way to avoid.

8. Find beauty in the mundane

It’s easy to get a spectacular shot when you have a spectacular subject. But to make simple, boring, or mundane things look interesting – now that’s a challenge! But it’s a challenge I invite you to take up, because it’s an amazing way to train your eye to reveal the beauty of any subject.

This for me is a good example. There are three things that are interesting in this photo (can you guess?) You have the bold colours, and then a little bit of light falling on the wall to create a contrast, and the lines. Now if light was falling on the whole wall, or if there was no light at all, the photo would be totally boring. But can you see how just three simple elements working together can make a photo?

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And as I am obsessed with colour and light, I admire this shot.

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It’s part of a longer story I am working on in Istanbul at dawn, but to me it shows that there is no subject that isn’t worthy of attention from your camera.

9. Pre-visualize

I love my digital camera, but I also still use film, and now that I’m mainly digital I appreciate the discipline and grounding I received from training in film. I use these skills to help me now.

One super important skill that will really help your compositions is pre-visualizing. It’s a skill you had to have when you shot film, because otherwise you were just shooting randomly.

Pre-visualizing is, “the ability to anticipate a finished image before making the exposure” (Ansel Adams said that, not me). What I love about this, is that it’s about creating space between seeing a shot, and taking it. It’s about being prepared, thinking through what you want to capture, looking at all of the elements of light, positioning, etc., and then picturing in your mind what the final image will look like. For example, imagine your final output was a print. Imagine the print in your hands. What would it look like? If you can see it clearly then your are pre-visualizing. If not, then keep working at it until you see the image in your head. When you have a solid picture in mind, take the shot.

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You can also use pre-visualization when you think about timing. A lot of landscape photography is really about waiting around for the perfect moment, that great light. Here is one situation (above) where I knew the scene had potential, but was pretty flat, and if nothing else happened it wouldn’t be interesting. So, I waited for the sun to rise just that little bit more and ping, the clouds were filled with pink light giving the photo more depth.

10. Look for patterns

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Patterns come in many forms, and are extremely pleasing to the eye. A pattern is anything that is repetitive, that turns your subject from its innate quality, into something more abstract. So people will look and respond more to the pattern and shape that it makes, and less to the subject itself.

“Whatever emotional response a single design element arouses is multiplied when it is repeated in a pattern.” – Bryan Peterson

Patterns are particularly effective when you fill the frame with your subject, and totally cut off the rest of it. These are particularly interesting to look at.

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Another way to create patterns is reflections. I love playing with reflections. Anywhere you have a bit of water, even just rain on the street, or shiny surfaces, you have the ability to play with reflections.

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Once you start looking out for patterns you’ll start seeing them everywhere.

Time to practice

I’d love to know what you think of these ideas, and if you put any into practice. Which compositional techniques do you use to enhance your photos?

The post 10 Ideas to Instantly Improve Your Photography Composition by Anthony Epes appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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<![CDATA[Review: Manfrotto 5001B Nano Light Stand]]> Rating: 10/10

Among the most essential parts of a photographer’s lighting kit, is a sturdy light stand. While there are a wide variety of options that definitely fall into the sturdy category, many of these light stands are also heavy, bulky, and difficult to travel with. One light stand that is pretty much the complete opposite of every other option out there, is the Manfrotto 5001B Nano. Compact, lightweight, and surprisingly tall for its size, this light stand is my go-to favorite that accompanies me on every one of my photo shoots, however it won’t necessarily meet the needs and expectations of every photographer. Here are some reasons why you might love this light stand, and why you might opt for another option.

Manfrotto 5001B Nano Lighting Stand 1

Manfrotto Nano 5001B shown next to the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens and light stand adapter (neither of these is included and must be purchased separately).

Manfrotto 5001B Nano Specifics

Weighing in at a mere 2.2 pounds (1kg), this aluminum light stand stands at just around 19-inches (0.48m) when it is collapsed, and can extends up to 74.8 inches (1.9m) tall when all of its 5-sections are fully extended. According to the product manual, it has a maximum payload of 3.3 pounds (1.5kg) . Compared to other light stands, most of these stats aren’t particularly impressive, and it should now be apparent why the Manfrotto 5001B Nano won’t be suitable for every photographer. But, here are some situations when this light stand absolutely shines.

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Lighting stand as seen with a Speedlight adapter attached. Adapter sold separately.

Extremely Compact and Travel-Friendly

The main benefit of this light stand is its compact size, which makes it easy to carry when shooting on location, or in situations when you need a stand or two without carrying an excessive amount of gear. When pairing this light stand with a speedlight, and simple lighting modifiers like an umbrella or any of the Westcott Rapid Box series, you get a simple yet effective lighting setup that won’t take up a ton of room when assembled for use, and when transporting it.

Flexible Light Stand Legs

Unlike most other light stands, the Manfrotto Nano’s legs have little rubber tips to prevent sliding, and the legs themselves are very thin and not rounded, allowing the stand to fold down to 19 inches. The method of folding the stand can take some getting used to, but another unique aspect of the stand is its ability to get extremely low to the ground, thanks to the unusual folding of the legs. This increases the light stand’s overall footprint, offering increased stability, as well as the option of lighting areas close to the ground, without taking up a ton of floor space.

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Light stand with adapter, speedlight, and umbrella attached. The ideal use for this stand.

Trading Stability for Compact Size

As mentioned earlier, not every photographer will be in love with the Manfrotto 5001B Nano, as it often trades stability for its compact size. Flexible legs are great for packing up small, but also a recipe for disaster if the gear it holds is not balanced or is too heavy. Being very lightweight, without the option of suspending sandbags, this stand is also susceptible to being knocked over by even a slight bump or gust of wind, so outdoor photographers will want to have an assistant to hold it in place.  It’s definitely not as sturdy or as beefy as other light stands, meaning you won’t want to rely on it if you use heavy strobes, or big lighting modifiers.

In Summary

If you’re a location shooter, who doesn’t carry a ton of camera gear and has compact lighting equipment, the Manfrotto 5001B Nano will be your new best friend. Having one or two as travel light stand alternatives, will give you the flexibility to do a quick and easy lighting setup in tight spaces, without carrying extra weight. However, steer clear of these light stands if you prefer uncompromised stability and/or have heavy, valuable lighting gear.


The post Review: Manfrotto 5001B Nano Light Stand by Suzi Pratt appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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<![CDATA[The 7 Qualities of People Who Are Highly Respected]]>

We are judged by how we treat people who have less power or status than we have. Be nice to everyone you interact with and your kindness will come back to you in abundance.

It’s also important to show respect. Respect is something not automatically given. It must be earned. When you’re in a leadership position, it is imperative that the people with whom you work respect you. They might respect your work habits, your intelligence, or your ability to close a deal. Yet, there’s more to respect than that. If you can earn their respect as a person, then you’ve really won the game.

Here are seven qualities of people who are highly respected. Read more.

The post The 7 Qualities of People Who Are Highly Respected appeared first on Jacqueline Whitmore.

        
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<![CDATA[How to Educate Your Clients to Make Them Comfortable and Get Stellar Shots]]> We’ll never forget the look on one of our earliest client’s faces when she arrived at her photoshoot. She stepped out of her car and saw our smiling faces waiting, cameras in hand, ready to take her photo. Abject terror is an understatement. We spent half of the shoot calming her down, soothing her nerves, and making her feel right at home with the camera. Meaning we had half has much time to get the stellar images we were being paid to get.

Her deer-in-the-headlights expression has stuck with us as a constant reminder, that no matter how comfortable we are as photogs BEHIND the camera, most of our subjects in FRONT of the lens are not used to being there. We think of her every time a new client books with us, because the fault was entirely ours for not properly educating her before her shoot.

client-education

An educated client is a confident one. The onus is on you as the photographer to over-educate the client before their shoot: it doesn’t just create happier, more comfortable photo subjects, it helps you create the images you’re both dreaming of. Our goal is to always become stronger in educating our client at each stage of their shoot. We divide client interaction into four distinct categories, each with its own ideal outcome:

#1 Pre-client phase

This phase is when a future client knows about you, but isn’t necessarily in the market to hire you right away. This is the time to develop an indirect relationship with them, and begin the education process before they ever hit send on your contact page.

Your brand is spread out across multiple locations: everything from Instagram, to your interactions with guests at weddings, is announcing who you are, and what you’re about. One of our biggest goals with clients, is for them to be confident that they can trust us to be really solid humans. Being a genuinely good person, is an increasingly valuable commodity in this complex world of endless information. So, when we first started out, we set the simple plan of introducing ourselves to future clients, with every piece of media we created, no matter how subtle.

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We knew we had zeroed in on our voice when we began getting email after email saying things like, “I feel like I know you so well already!” or, “We’ve never met, but I just think you’d be so fun to have at our wedding.” BINGO, this was our goal!

Creating a client who trusts you, begins way before you think it does. It doesn’t only hinge on email conversations, or some copy on your website. People research: your personality, brand, likes and dislikes, are attached to every piece of information you put out there, whether it’s a Facebook post or an interaction with a wedding guest.

If you mention something in a blog post that you absolutely love shooting, whether it’s a location, style, or piece of inspiration, people hear that. We casually mentioned that we love having dogs come with on engagement shoots, and suddenly our next three bookings all brought their pups, as we jaunted around town taking their photo.

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This also works in reverse—without getting negative, if there’s something you despise during shoots (for example, we cannot abide jumping shots or fake smiles directly at the camera), talk about the opposite so people subconsciously gravitate away from it. Keep your brand consistent and true to yourself, and your future clients will begin developing trust in you, and understand what you’re all about before they ever contact you.

Education Goal: Let the world get to know your personality and trustworthiness, and in the process, subtly educate people on what you want.

#2 New client, pre-shoot phase

Woohoo! You’ve got a new client who just booked a shoot, and now they’re sitting around twiddling their thumbs while they wait for the shoot date. What are you going to do with them in the interim?

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This time frame is solid gold, if you use it well. We realized early on that we could save ourselves a ton of time, and repetitive emails, if we just listened a little more closely to what clients were asking us, and beat them to the punch. The most common questions we get before a shoot are:

  • What should I wear?
  • Where should we go?
  • Do you even KNOW how stupid I look in photos? Wait, this isn’t a question, really. I’m telling you I’m the most awkward human on the planet.

Since we can confidently predict that a client will email us with those questions (and a few more that are more or less consistent depending on the shoot style), we head them off at the pass, and send out a handy little info packet as soon as they put the deposit down on the shoot. In this fun little PDF, we cover clothing options (including How to Put Together an Outfit 101, How to Coordinate with your Lovah, and so on), recommend locations in their area (or lead them to come up with their own ideas by suggesting types of locations that you prefer shooting in), and tell them in no uncertain terms that even Naomi Campbell thinks she’s awkward (probably not a true fact) and that we have our tried and true methods of making anyone look good. At this point, an educated client is a confident client, and confidence is the #1 thing you want when they walk in the door to the shoot.

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Education Goal: Have the client prance into the shoot feeling like they brought the right clothes, look bomb as can be, are in capable hands, and won’t seem like a nob on camera.

#3 Current client – shoot day phase

The day has finally arrived, the batteries are charged, the lights are on, the client is taking their first foray into being a model. What’s the best part about being the photographer? You are the one in full control of the mood, atmosphere, and pace of the shoot. Ah, the sweet smell of owning your territory. There’s nothing better, or more important on a shoot.

Okay, so you’re also at the mercy of the person in front of your lens, but the goal for the shoot is to create an ongoing verbal education, so your client is equipped to work with you in creating images together. Every photographer is a unique snowflake, and you’ll have their own methods and style for how you arrange and conduct yourself during a shoot. But the only way to tackle this, is to keep it real by continuing the extension of your brand, that you’ve been putting out there all along.

client education (3 of 1)

Our personal strategy, honed through shooting each other through long stints of travel (and never wanting a client to look like a deer in the headlights again), is to talk a ton. Keeping the atmosphere light is what suits us best and makes our clients happiest, but that’s not necessarily the best fit for all photographers. We just watched a documentary on Richard Avedon and couldn’t stop laughing because he was SO DARN SERIOUS all the time—talking about dead dogs, and the end of life with his clients, and otherwise basically being silent! His whole methodology gave us cold sweats, but it was completely true to who he was, and more importantly, obviously produced master-level work. We have complete and utter respect for him, because he practiced his craft in the precise manner that got him the results he was looking for, and was truest to his own brand (even if he wouldn’t have described it as such). Be the same way: cultivate your own methods of shooting and own them.

Education Goal: Make the person in front of the camera think like Beyonce. Or a dead dog, depending on what kind of shot you’re going for.

#4 Archived client – post-shoot phase

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The shoot is over… now what?

Post-shoot is the time when it’s easiest to drop-off in terms of client education. The normal routine is to send the images their way, drop them a little thank you note, and move on with your life. But this is such a great time to step your game up, and help yourself out in the process!

Depending on how you deliver images, sending along a detailed explanation of next steps is a lovely last touch. Explain to your clients how to download, share, and order prints—the things that seem so simple to us, when we deal with them all day long, are surprisingly complex for the first-time print orderer or mother-in-law trying to download a set. We strictly use an online gallery for deliveries, but many photographers are still sticking with a thumb drive or other physical delivery systems. Whatever you choose, make it user friendly and simple, and explain it in detail!

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At this point, your client is riding the high of seeing their own images come to life, after so much thought and effort went into them. May we humbly suggest taking advantage of this energy by asking for what you want! In most cases, we are thrilled if a client is happy and recommends us to their friends. At some point, we realized, “Why are we just sitting around hoping that will happen? Why don’t we ask them for help with referrals?”

The key here is to provide excellent service throughout the customer experience, and help educate them towards an experience that benefits not only them, but your business in the long term. Be specific about what you’d like them to do; ask them to like your Facebook page, follow you on Instagram, or tell their friends about their experience with you. This isn’t opportunistic or tacky when it’s done right, and most importantly, when you’ve gone above and beyond in customer service, most people are MORE than happy to pass your name along!

Lastly, sending a thank you note or gift, depending on the client, is a classy little touch that we absolutely adore doing. We look forward to the end of each wedding season, when we sit on our living room floor surrounded by individually-chosen prints and gift boxes and handwritten notes to each of our couples and send a bunch of love out into the world.

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Education Goal: deliver an excellent product and encourage the client to rave about you to their friends.

At the end of the day, the relationships we create through photography never fail to blow us away with their depth and compassion, and educating a client throughout their experience with us makes all the difference. This is a work in progress, and we’re always looking for ways to improve our game, so we’d love to hear your strategies in the comments.

The post How to Educate Your Clients to Make Them Comfortable and Get Stellar Shots by Tim Sullivan appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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<![CDATA[#ANECUP El vot anul·lat que hauria canviat la història]]>

L'empat sonat que es va produir ahir a l'assemblea de la CUP celebrada a Sabadell hagués pogut tenir un desenllaç totalment diferent si no s'hagués comptabilitzat com a nul un vot que seleccionava la primera opció (sí a Mas i sí a l'acord amb JpSí) però que tenia una caricatura d'Anna Gabriel en topless. Un cop descartada aquesta papereta, es va produir l'empat tècnic de 1515 vots per a cada opció. Aquest va ser el vot de la discòrdia que va produir que els dirigents de la CUP tardessin tant alhora d'exposar els resultats tant a la militància com a la roda de premsa.

Més...]]>
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<![CDATA[How to Find Inspiration Photographing Locations Near Home]]> Everywhere you look there are thousands of images depicting beautiful places in the world. How many times have you thought to yourself, “I wish I could travel so I could take the same photographs?” The reality is that most of those photos were taken by people who live close to the locations, or have the ability to travel there multiple times.

It is a statement that you hear from many photographers. It may be true, but the truth is most of us live in wonderfully rich photographic areas. The problem is that you see it every day, so it no longer seems interesting.

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Knowing that a storm is coming, then being able to get to a good location quickly, is an advantage when you photograph near where you live.

What would you recommend to a visitor

If another photographer was coming to your area and wanted to know places to go, what would you recommend? Think about what someone else might be interested in, that is a way you can photograph it. Try to look at your area from another point of view.

How to find something to shoot

There has to be something unique or different about where you are located. Look at the history of your town or area. See if you can find out about an event that happened where you can visit the place. Use the history as your motivation for photography. Google the area around you, and see what you can find.

Think about interesting buildings, ones that are abandoned or still in use. There may be some interesting landmarks that can help tell a story. Perhaps there was an industry there that no longer exists.

For example, suppose in your area the local hospital started as a home for incurables. Then the land was given to the city for a permanent hospital. How has that hospital shaped the town? Is the original hospital still there? Has the hospital gone, but now something else is in its place?

There is always the possibility that nothing has ever happened. Maybe your location is devoid of that, and in which case you could photograph the normality of it. What makes it boring? What does the main street look like? Is there anything interesting there at all? There will always be something.

leanne-cole-photographing-home-001

An older part of the Austin Hospital in Heidelberg.

How far are you willing to travel?

Mark a circle on a map of where you would be willing to travel to in a day. For instance, you might be prepared to travel at least two hours to get somewhere. Perhaps time isn’t on your side, and you can only travel 15 minutes in any direction. That becomes your zone, and the area you are going to photograph.

My area is two hours, or around that. I will travel somewhere for the day and take photos. I will go back to the same areas. There is a lot that is within that area near where I live.

Find the story

Perhaps instead of finding individual images of the place you might be better off trying to do a whole story on it. Find the story of the area. What makes it important to the people who live there? Why have they stayed? Why do you live there?

The answers to all these questions will help you find the story, and can inform your photography.

leanne-cole-photographing-home-002

An old car left to rust in the Mallee.

Advantages

When you photograph where you live, you have nothing but all the advantages:

1 – You can take photos at the best time of day

One definite advantage you have over visitors to your area, is that you can work out when the best time to photograph that spot. Then, you can go back as many times as you need.

If it is very close, you can get up early and see if it is worthwhile going there for a sunrise. Perhaps in the afternoon you can see if there are clouds in the sky, which might make it a good opportunity to get a sunset. You will be able to look out the window and figure out when you want to go.

Most people have to hope that the one time they go, the conditions will be perfect for what they want to photograph. You know how often that happens.

leanne-cole-photographing-home-003

Getting sunrises is easier when you can wake up and go down the road to capture it.

2 – Experiment with different techniques

You can try a lot different techniques to take photos. You can go home and see what you have, then go back and experiment with other angles or conditions another time. You can try more experimental types of photography, that other people who only have one opportunity to go there, might not want to try.

Every time you go, try to shoot it that spot a different way.

leanne-cole-photographing-home-004

Sunset over a salt pan in the Mallee. Being able to get back to the same spot to get the best photos is a bonus.

3 – Visiting the location multiple times

How often have you gone somewhere, put your photos on the computer when you got home and thought, “I wish I had noticed that tree” or something else on the side of the image? Maybe you wished you could have taken it at a different angle.

If you live there, that will never be a problem for you again. You can visit that spot as many times as you like, to get exactly the photos that you want.

leanne-cole-photographing-home-005

Old towns can have great buildings that have just been left, like an old shearing shed make from kerosene tins.

4 – Have access to local knowledge

Visiting any places where you might only go once, you have to be content with information from the internet, or with what you see when you get there. However, when you live in an area, you can talk to people you know, who may be able to introduce you to others. If they know you are interested in the local area and taking photos, then you might find people coming to you, to tell you about places that you didn’t know existed.

Disadvantages

Are there really any disadvantages? Perhaps the fact that you aren’t going anywhere exotic to take photos, unless you already live somewhere like that.

When you decide to photograph the area you live in, you get all the advantages that so many others don’t have for that place. It is up to you to make the most of it. Some examples:

A Mallee Town of not much consequence

Take a small town in North West Victoria (Australia) where my mother lives. I go up there to visit all the time. According to the locals there is nothing there. But when I drive around, I see shops that are now empty, or a train station that has closed, and stopped being used many years ago. There are things that give hints to a time past, that was industrious. The town had a past where it was bigger, where those stores were open for business.

It would be easy to agree with the locals that there is nothing there, but that would be a mistake. The story is there in those closed buildings and what is left of the town. As a photographer you can then show what is happening there.

leanne-cole-photographing-home-007

Getting to know locals in towns can give you access to buildings, like this old church in a Mallee town.

Finding the history of where you live

For many years I always travelled to other places, in the city, or in the state of Victoria, to take photos because I was convinced that what was around me was boring. Who would be interested in what’s here?

I started to realize that this area has a rich art history. Some famous Australian artists have painted this area, and perhaps that was where I needed to start looking. Once I started looking with different eyes, a lot of new places started to open up to me. This area has some great parks. It is quite old so there are ancient homes, hospitals, cemeteries. Now I photograph it all the time.

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Knowing the local train station and timetable, can be great for getting to the station at a good time to take photos.

When you photograph somewhere you live or a place you travel to often, you really get so many wonderful opportunities.

Many photographers dream of travelling to other places and photographing the world, but sometimes your best subject is right outside your door or within a stone’s throw of where you live. You just need to get out there and see what you can find.

What would you recommend to photograph in your area for someone who was visiting it for the first? Please share your local photography finds and your images in the comments below.

The post How to Find Inspiration Photographing Locations Near Home by Leanne Cole appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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<![CDATA[Women should not bother negotiating salary]]>

In a survey of graduating professional students, Linda Babcock, of Carnegie Mellon University, found that only seven per cent of women attempted to negotiate their initial offers, while fifty-seven per cent of the men did so. After years of analysis, she concludes that women might, in fact, be better off not negotiating.

Babcock is not the only person to draw this conclusion. Here’s why:

1. Women are often penalized for negotiating.
Men are rewarded for negotiating because doing so makes them seem tough and self-confident. But women are considered brash and annoying when they negotiate. The New Yorker reports how “Women who don’t negotiate may not be refraining because they are shy. They may, instead, be anticipating very real attitudes and very real reactions that are borne out, time and again, in the lab and in the office.” Often, negotiating has an even worse effect than saying nothing.

Most people are hired and fired based on the elusive cultural fit, which mostly means they can become part of the boys club, especially at higher levels. Women need to pass that test just to get an offer and they need to toe the line to keep from getting fired. Not negotiating is often an effective part of that strategy.

2. Women don’t get as excited about winning.
In competition, both men and women have a rise in testosterone. But whereas men see another rise when they win, testosterone levels in women don’t change whether they win or lose. For women, then, the process is more important than the success, according to Marvin Zuckerman, professor of psychology at University of Delaware.

Taking Sex Differences Seriously is a compendium of this type of research. Over and over again—in tennis, in trading, in management, and so on—hormonal differences are crucial to understanding why men negotiate and women don’t. Women have ten percent of the testosterone that men do, but women have high levels of oxytocin and estrogen which make women peacemakers and collaborators rather than dominators and competitors.

You can’t make a woman get excited about something her brain chemically does not care about. If it were life or death then maybe women could take testosterone (which has been shown to increase competitiveness in women). But surely hormone therapy doesn’t seem appropriate merely for salary negotations.

3. Learning scripts works better for women than negotiating.
Chris Voss spent decades as a hostage negotiator for the FBI, and he’s got some negotiating advice for civilians.

If someone says, “Let’s revisit your salary in three months.”
You say, “How am I supposed to do that?”
They will realize it’s an impossible thing for you to do.

If someone says, “It’s not a good time,” or “We don’t have the budget.”
You say, “It seems like there’s nothing you can do.”
People don’t like feeling powerless, so they might think of an alternative to demonstrate their power.

The most important script for women is probably the one that avoids having to give salary history. This is so important the the US Department of Labor is considering making it illegal to ask salary history because it serves to perpetuate salary differentiations between men and women.

For example, often women make lifestyle choices and take lower pay. But if you take a lower salary for a few years so you can have room to take care of your family, you should not have to reveal that salary when you’re ready to ramp up your career later.

So you need to learn a slew of scripts to get you out of any tough spot and keep negotiations going in your favor. Even if negotiations are dead, it should be because you chose to end them.

4. A more sure bet for a good salary is to work for a man with a daughter. 
When male CEOs have kids, women benefit, according to a paper presented at the American Economics Association. When the first born is a girl, both men’s and women’s salaries improve, but women’s increase more. When the first born is a boy, overall salaries decrease, but only men’s actually reduce while women’s salaries improve, albeit slightly.

Or you could just play the salary statistics game. Keep your maiden name, because women who keep their maiden name get higher salaries. You’ll earn 14% more salary if you drink alcohol. And keep your chin up when the company starts to fail. You’ll be a likely candidate for your boss’ job because women get promoted when the organization is already going to hell.

5. Save your feminist rampage for another time. 
Women do not teach men how to behave better through negotiating salary with them. Because men are not trying to be sexist. They just have no idea they are doing it. Women do not stand up for themselves when they negotiate, because the best way to stand up for women is to get power, and you can’t get power if you keep getting fired because of a bad cultural fit.

Also, please do not rip me apart in the comments for being bad for women. I still get threatening emails from when I said women should not report sexual harassment. Look, I’m not making the rules here. I’m not creating reality. I’m just reporting reality to you so you can make a good decision. You will be fired if you report sexual harassment and you will be fired if you negotiate as hard as a man does. Deal with it.

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http://blog.penelopetrunk.com/2015/09/01/women-should-not-bother-negotiating-salary/ 597458@fever.carmepla.com/fever Tue, 01 Sep 2015 09:05:16 GMT
<![CDATA[5 Ways to Face the Challenges of Coaching Teammates]]> Continue reading ]]> https://leadershipfreak.wordpress.com/2015/07/22/5-ways-to-face-the-challenges-of-coaching-teammates/ 594812@fever.carmepla.com/fever Wed, 22 Jul 2015 12:15:22 GMT <![CDATA[Ten ways autonomous driving could redefine the automotive world]]> http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/automotive_and_assembly/ten_ways_autonomous_driving_could_redefine_the_automotive_world 580130@fever.carmepla.com/fever Mon, 15 Jun 2015 14:27:29 GMT <![CDATA[How to Pose Groups for Portrait Photography]]> Group Main

For many years the gold standard for posing groups looked just like my first grade school photo. Everybody would be lined up and asked to stand as awkwardly as possible, feet together and for the lucky ones in the front, hands clasped together in their laps.

The photographer would shoot two frames (one for safety) and count every one in with a “1..2..3…say cheese” my grade one teacher Mrs. Witchell was way too cool to do cheese. She busted out her own version of Blue Steel instead. Respect.

Sadly this style of posing large groups is still pretty much the norm. But with some careful planning, and a little imagination, portraits of large groups can look far more dynamic than my grade one school photo.

Group 1

The classic school or sports style group photo is rigid and posed awkwardly. Introducing some variation in height, pose and shape of the group with give your portraits more life and energy making them far more interesting and dynamic.

There are four main styles I like use to shoot my groups:

1. The 90210

I learned this style of posing groups by studying the publicity shots of the American teen drama from the 90s, 90210 (I had a huge crush on Dilan). I have now developed, and modified, this technique and it has become my go to pose for many of the cast shoots I do.

I like to create interest in these group shots by staggering the levels of all my models. I will have the back row standing. Middle row seated at various heights including high stools, chairs, lower ottomans or boxes. I then have a third level either on the floor or seated on very low stools or boxes. Lastly I pose each person individually and bring them onto the set one at a time, so I can see how the overall shot is looking.

90210 2 3 90210 2 4
90210 2 90210 2 6

Checklist

  • Shoot at 50mm or longer, as wider lenses will distort the group and make people in the front appear larger than those at the back. I usually shoot at around 100-150mm.
  • Ensure everyone is clearly visible.
  • Try and space everyone out so the image does not feel too constricted.
  • Shoot at least 10-15 frames. This is harder than it sounds because large groups can be intimidating and many people in the group tend to lose interest after two or three frames. The way around this is to warn everyone that you will be shooting at least 10 frames.
  • Keep the dialogue going. Be complimentary. Never single anyone out for doing the wrong thing.
  • If you need to, stop the shoot and give more direction.
  • Don’t be afraid to make people wait. I used to rush through my group shots (particularly with corporate males and athletes) because they intimidated me. I now realize that when I rush I don’t get great shots. Be confident and explain that you want to get this right, and if everyone does their bit it should all be over in five minutes.
  • Keep the dialogue going. Silence is a cue that you are unhappy with the shot or are finished shooting.
  • Lower your tone and speak calmly. This is a great trick I learned from my teacher training. Whenever I’m speaking to a large group I lower my voice rather than raise it. This way everyone becomes silent to hear you. I also find that women’s voices tend to go up and sound shrill when they try and raise it. This doesn’t sound very assertive or authoritative.

90210 3

The 90210 style also works for larger groups like this shot of the entire cast of the Australian Soap Opera, Neighbours ( above) or the cast and crew shot of the musical Moonshadow (below). I use the exact same approach and set up my shot in groups of three and five, staggering the head heights to keep the shot from looking too square.

Big Groups

2. The Reservoir Dog

This shot was inspired by the opening sequence of a Quentin Tarantino movie, Reservoir Dogs.

Resdog

This is a great option to photograph groups if you are pressed for time, need something more dynamic, or have a group of people that have trouble posing or taking direction.

I like to shoot very low to the ground (sitting or laying) and ask the group to walk towards me. It works best when I give each person individual direction before we start. Eg., Person 1 put one hand in your pocket;,Person 2 walk and fix your tie as you go, Person 3 button your jacket up as you walk, Person 4 walk with a strut and attitude.

Reservoir Dog 2

If this shot is left to chance you may get lucky, but a little direction will really take it to another level.

When shooting set your camera to autofocus (AI servo for Canon or continuous for Nikon) and shoot with a long lens 150-200mm (to remove background distraction). I recommend aperture of f/5.6, a shutter speed of 1/250th of a second or higher, and focus on the face.

3. The Cartier-Bresson

This style is named after Henri Cartier-Bresson, a French photographer who took snapshots of everyday life and made them look extraordinary. He was a true master of candid photography.

I love photographing groups in is this fly on the wall style, which is posed to look like a candid snap-shot of life. I often get my inspiration for these poses from popular culture.

Cartier Bresson

This photo of the cast of The Footy Show is homage to the famous 1932 image Lunch atop a Skyscraper.

When I’m directing a shoot like this I give everyone a role and ask him or her to repeat it over and over again. Poses are varied only minutely. For example: Billy and Shane (far left) were directed to look at the newspaper and eat the sandwich. Sam and JB (center) were asked to have an animated conversation and Garry (far right) was asked to laugh off camera. Expression was varied slightly but the pose was kept the same.

Lastsupper

This image was inspired by DaVinci’s Last Supper, and was photographed using a very similar technique to the Footy Show image.

4. The lineup and “v” posed group shot

Small Time Gangster

I photographed the cast of Small Time Gangster individually for this movie poster and then the shots were Photoshopped to create a “V” shape that is really popular in advertising and the entertainment industry.

Husbands A

The Cast of House Husbands was shot individually for this group shot, then the best expressions and poses were selected to create this image.

Project Runway S4

This style of photography works really well for large families and corporate groups, and really lets the individual personalities come through. I thought this was the ideal way to capture the cast of Project Runway Season 4.

This style of shooting was born out of necessity. Many of the TV shows I shoot cast shots for can’t schedule all their talent to be on set at once so I shoot them individually, and combine the shots in post-production. This is a great technique to capture everyone’s personality and it always looks dynamic.

Finally, don’t forget to have fun when shooting group portraits and let their personality (and yours) shine!

Lifestyle

These images were all posed to look like they had been taken candidly. The problem with candid photography is that you are relying on too many variables to be just right before you can get your shot. You need good light, location and expression. Miss out on one of these and your shot may turn to caca. If you set up the shot and give everyone great direction, you are guaranteed a great shot.

What are your favourite ways to pose and direct groups? Is there anything I may have missed or do you have a group portrait you are really proud of? I’d love to hear from you.

All images copyright Gina Milicia 2015

The post How to Pose Groups for Portrait Photography by Gina Milicia appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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<![CDATA[A Guide to Photographing Dance Performances in a Theatre]]> DSC4090

One of the biggest challenges as photographer is shooting inside a theatre, simply because the only thing that you can control is the camera. You may be faced with very dim lighting conditions, dancers moving around at great speed, different lighting settings during the show, no use of flash, and your movement in the theatre during the show may be limited.

I am writing this guide based on an assignment you have with the organizer, as photographer of the event. Some of the points might not be relevant or accessible for you if you are attending a performance as a member of the public.

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Preparation for the shoot

Know the ground

A protocol for all professional photographers is to understand the grounds and what to expect. This can be done through an early visit (if allowed), or a search online for other’s work in the same location, to understand the layout and surroundings.

Request to attend a rehearsal prior to the performance (usual this is done free of charge) if possible, but to me this is mandatory if the opportunity exist. This not only gives you a chance to enter the theatre but also to understand what is to be performed and its sequence. You can then be better prepared to know the photos you will wish to take, and at which location you’ll need to be so you’ll be ready for the shot. Take this opportunity to talk to the organizer on which seats you will be allocated or which seat you prefer. I will cover location of seat for shooting in the technique part later.

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Settings: f/2.8, 1/125th, ISO 1600

Choosing your seat (if you have a choice)

I am very particular in my location of shoot as it reflect the quality if work I will produce from the assignment.
Most theatres can accommodate hundreds, to thousands of spectators at various elevations. My personal recommendation is to locate yourself on the ground level, a few rows behind the front, right in the middle. Below are some explanations of some problem you may encounter at different locations.

Up in the balcony

Cons: Too far from the stage, shooting angle not directly perpendicular to the dancers.

First row seats

Cons: Too near to the stage.

Side Seat

Cons: shooting angle not directly perpendicular to the dancers, too many distractions in photos (sometimes you can see dancers at the side before entry to the stage.

IMG 4399 1

Ideal seat

On the ground level, a few rows behind the front, right in the middle is the ideal seat. Personally if I can only sit at one location throughout the show, I will prefer this seat as it provide me a comfortable direction to the stage and most of my shots will be facing the dancers.

Type of Equipment needed

With the above, you can know decide what equipment you need for the shoot.

Flash Gun

As most performances prohibit use of flash during show, you can omit having one on your camera during the performance but do still carry one with you (I use it for group photo at the end of the show). The use of LED light is good as well for after the show shots.

Camera

In such challenging conditions, a camera with capability to handle high ISO settings without producing too much noise is preferred. I usually have my Canon 5D Mark II, and also my Sony 7R for such assignments.

IMG 6849 IMG 4669 1

Lenses

The most important piece of equipment you need after understanding the grounds and location is the right lens. A zoom lens is mandatory for me to enable me to reach out to the stage and get close-ups of the dancers. Lenses with large apertures are preferred in such low light conditions. I will touch on that more at the later section on why. I usually have my 70-200mm f/2.8 on my Canon, and the 16-35mm f/2.8 on my Sony 7R for wide-angle shooting.

Tripod/Monopod

This is a interesting topic as most theatres prohibit you from setting up a tripod, subject to organizer approval. If you are given a seat for shooting, a tripod will be difficult to manage with limited legroom space. I always use a monopod for such assignments in order to conserve energy.

IMG 6252

Camera settings: f/2.8, 1/30th, ISO 1000

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Camera settings: f/3.2, 1/500th, ISO 2500

Know your gear inside out

I am often on site photographing events and someone will come and ask for help as they can’t tune back to certain setting or something is not functioning correctly on their camera.

Shooting in a theatre is like sports photography. If you missed a moment it will be gone, and you will not have a second chance. Always be ready, and anticipate what is coming up. Study your camera inside out for all the functions that you wish to use and manipulate during the shoot. Know all the commonly used functions like setting ISO, aperture, shutter speed, etc. I usually use AV (Aperture priority) and control the ISO if I need more shutter speed.
On ISO, every camera has its own capability to handle ISO and minimize noise. Know the limit of your camera, like my 5D MarkII, I will not push it to more than 5000 ISO.

IMG 4470 1

Camera settings: f/2.8, 1/200th, ISO 800

Techniques to adopt

Basic technique for shooting such scenes is to select the right ISO for the shot with the right shutter speed, depending on the movement speed of the dancer. Things moves very fast in a performance and you have to make your camera adapt to what is happening on the stage, so you capture what you need.

A common trick I use something is to pre-focus on an stationary object on the stage prior to the dancers coming into position. This only works if you attend the rehearsal and know the staging of the show.

Lastly always shoot RAW for such events so that back at your desk the white balance can still be adjusted. Color balance can be off due to some lighting differences during the show.

IMG 4908

Camera settings: f/4, 1/250th, ISO 1600

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Camera settings: f/2.8, 1/320th, ISO 1600

Photos taken during Enana Production and Academy performances.

The post A Guide to Photographing Dance Performances in a Theatre by Ray Toh appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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http://digital-photography-school.com/a-guide-to-photographing-dance-performances-in-a-theatre/ 569562@fever.carmepla.com/fever Wed, 08 Apr 2015 19:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA["Los datos son valiosos, pero la mayoría no dispone de medios ni para adquirirlos ni para procesarlos"]]> https://gigaom.com/2015/03/04/data-might-be-the-new-oil-but-a-lot-of-us-just-need-gasoline 559025@fever.carmepla.com/fever Thu, 05 Mar 2015 21:33:59 GMT <![CDATA[How your boss can track your every movement]]> A forthcoming app could make bosses everywhere aware of their employees’ every move. And employees would have to wear it on their wrists.

BetterWorks, an 18-month-old startup service used by businesses to track employee goal progress, recently announced an app for smartwatches. The service has the backing of Google board member John Doerr, according to Wired. It’s set to be unveiled this summer.

The app appears to be tailored for the Apple Watch, which is expected to launch in April. More details are likely to be announced at an Apple event on March 9.

The app works like this: BetterWorks tracks performance digitally all the time and allows co-workers to “nudge” each other to work harder, or congratulate one another for an accomplished task. On the desktop version, there’s the ability to view org charts of workers, check out analysis of project progress and set goals, according to the company website. CEO Kris Duggan told Wired: “The real product metaphor for me is: FitBit for Work. How do we make things open, transparent, measurable, and engaging?”
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<![CDATA[How to Get More Natural Smiles in Child Photography]]> A natural smile – the holy grail of child photography.

Angie baxter 001

A genuine, heartfelt smile is more than just turning up the corners of the mouth. A real smile radiates from your whole face, and particularly for children, is often felt with the whole body. Not only is a forced and fake smile easy to spot in photographs – we know that wearing a fake smile and having it photographed doesn’t feel too good at the time, and it doesn’t feel great for children either.

So while we want to photograph a child’s beautiful smile, we also want them to enjoy the process of being photographed. And as the photographers, we want to have a good time photographing them too.

Angie baxter 004 1

There is so much to discover with children – all their favourites, their take on issues big and small, how they feel about themselves, their family and this funny old world. Children are cheeky, fun, creative, enthusiastic and curious – they are also clever and can tell when someone is not genuinely interested. So make sure your heart and intention is in the right place.

If your small subject is feeling uncomfortable it will be impossible to garner a sincere smile. Placing emphasis on creating an honest connection with children so they feel at ease will lead to them sharing their best selves – most of the time.

Angie baxter 006

Following are four conversations that I love to have with kids that always result in joyous laughter and real smiles.

#1 Discovering their favourite toy or character

Favourite toys and security items are often important for small children. If your subject has a special toy (i.e. “Bunny”), I will use that as part of our conversation.

  • Does Bunny have a mouth?
  • Does Bunny have a belly button?
  • I wonder where Bunny sleeps. Does she sleep in this shoe? (holding up their shoe)
  • Hmm, does she sleep in the fridge?
  • I know, she must sleep in bed with Mummy and Daddy?

Angie baxter 005 1

or alternatively, Buzz Lightyear may be their favourite character.

  • Does Buzz Lightyear have Weetabix for breakfast?
  • Does Buzz go to school?
  • Does Daddy have Buzz Lightyear underpants?

Closed-ended questions are great for this age group so they don’t have to think too hard and can just nod or shake their head, and smile and giggle along.

#2 Animals

Angie baxter 003 1

Animals are something kids can easily relate to. I like to make the questions silly and fun.

  • If you could have any animal as a pet, what would it be?
  • What are all the things you know about this animal?
  • What would be a good name for this pet?
  • If you had a pet donkey, what would you name him?

I play around with lots of animals for that last question – if you had a pet giraffe, or caterpillar, or hippopotamus. Choosing animals that are not usual pets.

#3 When you grow up

Angie baxter 004 1

Conversations about jobs, growing up, and the work their parents do always get good reactions. Your questions can be light-hearted or more serious, depending on the child’s age and personality.

For the more carefree child, I might start with:

  • When you grow up would you rather be a ballerina or a princess? (for boys)
  • When you grow up would you rather be a mum or a dad? (for girls)
  • When you grow up would rather be a frog or a snake?

Angie baxter 007

For an older, more serious child you can ask things like:

  • Who has the best job in the world?
  • What job would be the most boring job?
  • What does Dad do when he gets to work?
  • When you grow up, would you rather be a chef or a dancer? Or, a builder or a truck driver?

It can be easier for kids if you give them an either/or question rather than just saying, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Asking kids to think of a detailed answer on the spot can be a bit difficult for them.

#4 Family rules

Angie baxter 008 Angie baxter 009 1

This is also a really fun conversation topic – particularly for the parents who are listening in.

  • If you were in charge of your family, where would you eat dinner every night?
  • If you had to set the bedtime, what time would you go to bed?
  • If you had to choose the family breakfast, what would you have?
  • Who is the boss of your family?”

When photographing children, take your time and enjoy being with them. The time spent before you even pick up your camera is invaluable to gauge their personality – are they outgoing, reserved, tired, hyperactive, shy, giggly? Make intuitive decisions as to which conversation style will work best for each child. This gets easier with experience, so spend as much time with children as you can ,and fun conversations with them will soon become effortless.

The post How to Get More Natural Smiles in Child Photography by Angie Baxter appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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<![CDATA[Win One of FOUR Online Photography Courses from New York Institute of Photography]]> Over the past few years here at dPS, we have run some of our most popular competitions with a very valued partner – the New York Institute of Photography – to give away to dPS readers handpicked photography courses.

Due to popular demand, NYIP and dPS bring you yet another opportunity to win one of these valuable courses!

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For this competition, NYIP is giving away FOUR prizes

Each will be won by a different dPS reader. Here’s what you could win:

These are NYIP’s newest courses. They will teach you everything you need to know to take your skills to the next level in each category. These courses are all online. As a student you get access to videos and lesson materials prepared by experts in each field. You can access the course materials on any device, from anywhere in the world, and learn at your own pace.

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How to Win

To win this competition you’ll need to:

  • Visit each of the above four course information pages and choose which of the courses suits your needs best. Choose one that you’d like to win.
  • Leave a comment below and tell us which one you’d like to win and WHY you’d like to participate in the course. Please note: there is a limit of ONE entry per person.
  • Do this in the next 10 days and after March 13th, the team at NYIP will choose the best four answers – one for each course – and we will announce the winners in the following days.

The deadline to enter is March 13th, Midnight PDT (GMT-7). Comments left after the deadline will not be considered.

By best – we’re looking to see if you have an understanding of what the course offers and how it suits your needs, so you’ll need to check out the course pages to put yourself in the best position to win.

There’s no need to write essay length comments to win, but we’re looking to hear what you like about the course and how it would help your development as a photographer.

This competition is open to everyone around the world, no matter where you live, but there is only one entry per person.

To enter, simply leave your comment below.

Don’t forget to share this post with your friends and like NYIP on Facebook for special offers and announcements on all NYIP Courses

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Learn more about NYIP’s online photography courses.

Disclaimer: NYIP is a paid partner of dPS.

The post Win One of FOUR Online Photography Courses from New York Institute of Photography by Darlene Hildebrandt appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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<![CDATA[5 Mistakes Leaders Make That Undermine Confidence]]> 5 Mistakes Leaders Make That Undermine Confidence

“Karin, I get the whole confident humility thing, I really do.”

“But, no matter what I try, my team just waits for me to tell them what to do. They seem scared to act. We’re in a real crisis.”

“If they really cared, they’d step up and do something. I don’t really have time to fix them, we need results now. I think some of them may need to go.”

If you’ve tried to develop confidence in your team, but they’re still scared, take a closer look. You may be falling into one of these 5 traps.

1. Give me a new big task, because you believe in me, but don’t give me enough support to succeed.

Stretch assignments and special projects are one of the best ways to build confidence and skills. Be sure you’re also providing the scaffolding and resources to succeed. Failing at one of these big opportunities will make both of you gun shy to try it again. If they’re scared to even try, help them get past their bad last-time experiences.

2. Tell me I am doing great, but with no details as to what is working.

If someone’s insecure about their accomplishments, it’s particularly important that your praise is specific. You did a great job when __________. The presentation you gave worked so well because__________. Shallow or unspecific praise is more likely to be discounted by your team member’s competing inner voice. If you want to build confidence, praise with specifics.

3. Recognize what I do at work, and ignore who I am and what I am accomplishing on the sidelines.

Always remember the person is bigger than the job. Treat them that way. If you want to tap into your team member’s full potential, pay attention to what they’re already accomplishing in other arenas. A great way to build workplace confidence is to help them leverage skills they already are using outside of work.

4. View me as a specialist, and over look my creative idea and what I could do to contribute to the bigger picture.

There’s a downside to being pigeon-holed as an expert. If you only go to the finance guy for finance things, he’ll always act like a finance guy. To build larger confidence ask provocative questions that get him thinking more strategically.

5. Stay calm, cool, and collected, and show no emotion around my big wins.

When a team member is feeling really proud and comes to you for affirmation, it’s okay to say “wow.” I promise, being impressed with incremental wins will build confidence, not encourage them to settle for mediocrity.

Wait – There’s More

For a great line-up on confident humility, see what Lead Changers and others have to say in the confidence and humility editions of the Frontline Festival.

Also, for exercises to build more confidence in your team, download my free e-book Talking Teams featuring nine activities to inspire confident humility and achieve breakthrough results.

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<![CDATA[Stupid is the brand killer]]>

When you make your customer feel stupid, you've given him no choice. He needs to blame you.

Some ways to make people feel stupid:

  • Charge different prices at different outlets and shrug your shoulders when you get found out.
  • Insist that the warranty ends precisely the day you said it would. 
  • Give new customers a great discount for signing up, but tell long-term customers that they're out of luck.
  • Make your expensive items less networked, less powerful and less reliable than your cheaper ones.
  • Give your customers a product, idea or service that causes them to be ridiculed or shamed by people they hope to impress.
  • Sell the private data you get from customers to other marketers without asking first.
  • Put the important information in your terms and conditions, in little tiny type.
  • Collect money as though you're in the long-term relationship business, but in every other way, act like you don't expect the relationship to last.
  • Talk about your customers (students/clients/members) behind their back in a way you'd never talk to their face (hint: it'll get back to them).
  • Lower your pricing but don't honor it for people who just bought from you. That shrug again.
  • Scold someone because the last three people already heard you just answer that question (but we didn't...)
  • Assume the worst about a customer's intent, intelligence and background.

Most people (particularly the customers you seek) don't mind paying a little extra if it comes with dignity, confidence and a smile.

       
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<![CDATA[Beware of being ‘faceless’]]>

I got an approach recently, from a company wanting me to outsource my VA work to them. They told me they wanted to partner with me. Naturally I went and visited their site and in particular, checked out their ‘about page’. Pretty much a stock standard paragraph or two on the services they provide but nothing about who ‘they’ are, no names, nothing about their knowledge, experience, background, no photos (other than stock photos). facelessIn other words they were faceless and there was no way I could look them up to learn more about these people who wanted me to do business with them.

I see quite a few VA sites, particularly those who approach me to outsource work to them, and find this same thing. The sites are almost a copy of each other, as though they’d bought a cookie cutter template, complete with the wording. Why would I want to do business with people who can’t even identify themselves and back up their promises with years of experience and knowledge?

As a VA you are providing a personal service to other business owners. They want to get to know you as a person – not someone who is faceless and nameless. Don’t hide who you are but make yourself available and let others get to know and trust you. Show your photo, share your experience and background – your website is really your CV and if you want to gain clients, you need to give them some confidence in your abilities and to even know whom they’re addressing if they call or email.

The post Beware of being ‘faceless’ appeared first on A Clayton's Secretary VA Directory.

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<![CDATA[7 Tips to Writing the Perfect Thank-You Note]]>
My personal thank-you note caddy.

My personal thank-you note caddy.


In the era of electronic connections, thank-you notes may strike some as relics. But I’m a big fan of writing notes.

When I was a little girl, my mother insisted that I sit down and write a note to my grandparents who always gave me $5.00 for my birthday. As I got older, I kept up the practice and now I try to write at least one or two thank-you notes a week.

A thank-you note can have a big impact because it’s more personal than an e-mail or text and it takes some effort on your part to write one.

Here are 7 tips to writing the perfect thank-you note.

Keep it simple. The note doesn’t have to be more than four or five sentences.

Be specific. In one short sentence, tell the giver how you plan to use the gift. For example, “The teapot will look beautiful in my new kitchen and will be used extensively this winter.”

Write by hand. What deters a lot of people from writing thank-you notes is their handwriting. If your handwriting is poor, print. I recommend practicing on a piece of paper before you write on the note.

Send it promptly. Try to send your note within 24-48 hours. Don’t let the passage of time keep you from sending a note at all. If you forget, send it anyway when you remember because it’s better late than never.

Make letter writing a fun exercise. It helps if you have personalized stationery. Invest in stationery with your own name on it. It’s much more fun to write a thank-you note if it reflects your taste and personality.

Buy nice stamps. The stamp helps customize the envelope, plus it makes it more attractive.

Finally, just do it. When you write a thank-you note, it shows that you care enough to express your gratitude and you create something that will last on paper and in a person’s memory.

These tips previously appeared in my interview with The Pueblo Chieftain, “Saying thank you in writing can have big impact.”

The post 7 Tips to Writing the Perfect Thank-You Note appeared first on Jacqueline Whitmore.

        
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