wedding photography tips
– A family is on vacation and wants to get a nice portrait shot with the wondrous background scene. The problem is when the family gets home and looks at the portrait and realizes that they tried to get too much background into the shot and they can barely tell who is in the picture. This scene can be anywhere: on vacation, at the beach, even in the backyard. The most important thing to remember with portraits is that the subject is the person or people in the photograph. I recommend head and shoulder shots for the most part. It is okay to pan out a bit to let some background in, but too much background may cause a subject conflict and the viewer’s eye may not be able to tell what to focus on.
If you pan out to get a better picture of an action portrait then the background is too distracting. To fix this you can decrease the aperture setting on your camera to narrow the depth of field and this will cause the background to be out of focus while keeping the subject in focus. This technique takes a bit of practice but the effect is worth it. Depth of field means your subject is in perfect focus while the background becomes out of focus causing a blurred effect. Notice in the sample photo, the subjects are clearly in focus while the ocean background is a bit fuzzy. This is a nice effect. Most people tend to shoot what they see with there eye. This becomes too distracting with much more background than necessary
While a point and shoot camera usually does not allow the user to change aperture setting, this same depth of field effect can be obtained by simply moving closer to the subject. The closer the subject is to camera, the narrower the depth of field it will appear in. Notice in the sample image, the subjects appear perfectly in focus and the background a bit blurred. This is an example of depth of field. It is a beautiful effect.
Tips On Clothing Style And Accessories
- Very simple garments always photograph best.
- Turtle necks or V-necks are flattering provided that neither is exaggerated in style. Avoid very wide or particularly deep V-neck garments as well as bulky cowl neck sweaters that completely hide the neck.
- Long sleeves are essential for teens and adults, as bare arms call attention to themselves and will overpower the face.
- Women being photographed in full length should wear long skirts, pants, in order to keep the eye from being directed toward the legs and away from the face.
- Men should have their hair cut about one week before the portrait session. Women should be photographed whenever they are happiest with their hair in relation to the time it is styled.
- Light colors are always best, especially on the beach. Try to be coordinated without looking too uniform. What I mean is instead of everyone wearing white shirts and khaki shorts, women wear white dresses, men where khaki long slacks and white button down and kids wear khaki shorts and polo (for boys) and white sun dress (girls). This makes for a much more natural photo.
When our studio was just getting started and money was tight, we had to get really creative. Talent aside, one of the reasons that photography studios charge what they do for sessions is the very expensive equipment they must have to make your session a success. Back in the day, my photographers would come to me and say, I need this filter for a shoot or we need a new backdrop set up because the only one we have is out on another shoot. I am going to share with you some of the crazy and creative things we did when money was tight.
Lets start with backdrops. A good portable backdrop set up can run into the hundreds even thousands of dollars depending on your tastes. PVC pipe can be your friend in these situations. Go to your local hardware store and look in the plumbing department. Everything you need is there. Draw out on a piece of paper the dimensions of your backdrop. Lets say you want a 10 foot wide backdrop. All you need is a 10 foot piece of PVC for the top bar, two 8 to 10 foot pieces for the sides, and two bases. For the bases, we used a base from an patio umbrella table. You will also need utility clips, also found at the hardware store to clip your backdrop cloth and you are ready to go. The back drop cloth is a breeze. The fabric will need to be a long bolt so go to a store that has fabric for sofas that are much longer bolts than regular fabric. Muslin or sheer fabrics work well. Always have utility tape on hand as a backup. All you really need to do is draw out what you want and the nice men at the hardware store can set you up. Amazing how creative they are.
On to homemade filters can be made from a variety of objects that can be found around the house and an inexpensive UV filter that can be bought at most photography shops for around $10.
To add fog to an image, you can smear a little bit of petroleum jelly on a UV filter. The layer should be very thin for the best effect. For different looks, the petroleum jelly can be spread on only the bottom of the filter, on the top, or anywhere that the photographer wants a little fog.
To add an artistic blur to an image, a little more petroleum jelly can be added to the filter. Smearing it on thick for works for very blurry images and a little thinner works for softer images.
Colored filters can be fun to play with to add a certain emotion to a photo. To add a little extra color to photographs, you can simply cover the camera lens with colored cellophane and secure it with a rubber band. For a less intense color, a piece of plastic wrap can be colored with permanent markers and attached to the lens.
Want that diffused look, a filter that will give aged skin a more airbrushed appearance. To create this filter, the you can cut a square of fabric from an old pair of pantyhose and stretch it across lens, securing it with a rubber band. The photographer may want to experiment with different hose colors for different looks.
Lastly, polarizing filters can be as simple as taking your sunglasses and putting them in front of your lens. This will do the same thing for your photograph as it does for your eyes.
Being from Myrtle Beach, aka The Redneck Riviera, rigging homemade photography equipment and accessories seems like second nature. I hope some of our tricks will help you beginners take some great new images.
What makes famous artwork and photographs great? There are many basic rules that a professional uses as a guide when creating, and usually the first rule is called the Rule of Thirds. This very simple rule of design can be applied to your photographs making them more interesting than the everyday snapshot.
(photo is correct use of the rule of thirds)
THE RULE OF THIRDS – by definition
“The rule states that an image can be divided into nine equal parts by two equally-spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines. The four points formed by the intersections of these lines can be used to align features in the photograph. Proponents of this technique claim that aligning a photograph with these points creates more tension, energy and interest in the photo than simply centering the feature would.” – “Rule of thirds.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.
Simply put, an image, where the main subject of a photograph (be it a person, an object or the horizon line) is put at either/both the vertical third or horizontal third of the frame, has more impact than simply placing the subject in the middle. In a photograph where a person is the subject, the rule of thirds says to move the camera and place the person on the right or left side of the middle. Or, in the case of a portrait, the eyes should be 1/3 from the top of the frame in most cases.
(this photo is an example of no use of thirds rule)
Another application of the rule of thirds is in landscape photography. Though it may sometimes work, the horizon line should rarely ever be at the absolute center of a photograph. Another note, the horizon should not go directly through a persons head. It simply looks odd and distracts from the subject.
So, next time you are out shooting nature or photographing your family, keep in mind the rule of thirds. You just may find that your images spark more positive compliments.
As you know if you read my blog, I am not a professional photographer but I play one on TV. Just kidding. Being the owner of a photography studio and not a professional photographer, I know alot about photography but don’t have much time to apply my knowledge. I decided to take my camera out and get some shots of the fireworks on the 4th. I am going to upload my results. Please feel free to comment, good or bad on my results.
These were shot with a Canon 1D MarkIII and a Canon 70-200 f2.8 lens. The settings were manual with the shutter speed at 4 and the f-stop of 6.4 and an ISO of 500. The editing was done in Photoshop CS2. I did a level to get the smoke out of the photo. I then went into hue and saturation and make adjustments until the image was the way I wanted it. Remember, when your shutter speed is set that slow, you definitely need a tripod. I hope you enjoy my 1st attempt at fireworks as much as I did.