Sep 2013 16

Everyone is bummed, Summer is officially over. But for any sports lover or photographer, there is one thing that makes colder weather and shorter days bearable: Football. Having covered football from high school to the NFL, I was asked to give five tips for covering football:

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PHOTO COPYRIGHT: PATRICK SMITH/GETTY IMAGES
1) Do Your Homework: Much like anything else, one must prepare. Find out what the story of the game is. No matter what the age of the players, find out who the all-star players are and what is everyone talking about between the two teams? Go early and stay late. Walk around the field and look for the cleanest backgrounds and try to determine when and where the best light is. All these little things can help in capturing the best image of the game.

 

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PHOTO COPYRIGHT: PATRICK SMITH/FOR THE BALTIMORE SUN
2) Get Moving: Everyone is jealous of sideline access at sporting events. But the reality is that sometime the best pictures come from where the fans are sitting. Don’t be afraid to get off the sidelines and roam around the field or stadium. There are pictures to be captured from different angles and capturing big plays, moments from a vantage different from everyone else will make your images stand out. Nonetheless, the sidelines will still always give you a more dramatic image in most cases.

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PHOTO COPYRIGHT: PATRICK SMITH/FOR THE BALTIMORE SUN
3) Feel the Emotion: Action images are always compelling, but can you feel how hard the hit was? Can you feel the dejection of an overtime loss? Or how about the pure joy of the quarterback winning the championship? Players body language and emotions are key to great story telling and sports are no different than any other story. Combining coming early and staying late with players emotions is critical to finding moments others are overlooking.

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PHOTO COPYRIGHT: PATRICK SMITH/GETTY IMAGES
4) Action Away from Action: Look for a way to humanize the sport. From youth to pros, at the end of the day, these athletes, and those involved, are no different than anyone else. Walk into the tunnel before the game, get access to the locker room before the high school game or get into the huddle (Note: Obviously all with prior permission from coaches/security). These are my favorite images to capture, because it helps show viewers a part of the game they rarely ever see.

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PHOTO COPYRIGHT: PATRICK SMITH/GETTY IMAGES

5) Have Fun: This is the best advice I was ever given. To some reading this, photography is a hobby, and to others it’s their livelihood. In the end, if you’re not smiling and having a good time, chances are your pictures are going to show that. Be proud that you have the amazing opportunity to be capturing the moments in front of you. Professional sports doesn’t mean better pictures. Share your tips, talk to others shooting the game and work together. I guarantee this tip alone will help you in being a better photographer and person.

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Patrick Smith is an award-winning freelance photojournalist currently based in Baltimore, Md., covering the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan region and beyond. Patrick fulfills the needs of editorial, action, commercial, and corporate clients with his fresh eye for color, versatility and graphically compelling images. He continually documents news and sports for Getty Images, including NFL games. To find out more about Patrick and his photographs, visit his website www.patricksmithphotos.com or follow him on Twitter or Instagram.

 

Sep 2013 30

Oh hello Fall, we’ve missed your cool temperatures and beautiful colors. It’s easy to to be so inspired this time of year with Mother Nature’s grand show of changing colors and temperatures.  When it comes to photographing the Fall, there are a few items you may want to think about to step out of the box of just snapping a picture. Here are 5 tips to get you going.

1. BUMP IT

Try tweaking with the saturation a bit. You don’t need to go overboard here but  a slight bump in both the saturation and contrast will make the image pop. Nature already puts on a fabulous show so a slight bump is more than enough to make your image speak.  For those of you that are  little more advanced, you can also change your in camera settings to give you more vivid colors.

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2.  Change It Up

It’s easy to get caught up  and take all your images from the same angle. So now is the time to try something different, your subject isn’t going to move on you so take your time and change it up. Try getting close to the ground and maybe focusing on what’s in front of you while throwing your background out of focus. Not everything needs to be in focus with fall photos, depth of field can really make your images take on a whole new feel to them.

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3. Follow the Story

Nature has a way of incorporating itself onto buildings and fences. This can tell a beautiful story. Break away from just photographing trees and leaves. Try finding other fall stories, like vines that reach across an old stone house or moth changing its colors for fall. Open your eyes and you’ll see there’s more going  on around you than just the change of the leaves.

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4. The Golden Light and Overcast

Those evening moments just before the sun sets illuminates a warm glow. This is the perfect time to go out and photograph foliage. When this happens, incorporate as much sky as possible. Also sunrise is another fantastic time to catch the beauty of the season. However, more often than not, skies are overcast or it’s foggy. Don’t let this deter you. You just need to think differently. Catch the fog in the mornings with just a peek of color shining through your image. This can make for a moody image. Or, if your day is overcast, simply go up close to your subject, eliminating your background. You can still catch colors and tell a story by isolating your color.

 

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5. Tripod It

Have fun and keep it steady. You might want to catch movement with water and slow down your shutterspeed. In order to do this, you’ll need  something steady to put your camera on.  Or you may want to get in the image yourself!  Now is the time to experiment and take your time. If you don’t have a tripod, try setting it on your vehicle, a fence or a park bench. This is the perfect time of year to experiment with iso, shutter speed and aperture. Take your time, find what works for you and give yourself the freedom to play with Manual Mode.

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Special thanks to Jenna Van Valen of Roverexposed.com  for supplying some of the fabulous fall images. Written by Michelle Libby for Adoramapix.

 

Nov 2013 19

So have the rules changed now that smartphones are capturing more photos a day than dslrs? As a photographer you’re generally concerned with all the details, button and dials to make everything work and create an image. However with the smartphone, we get to take a step back and simplify things a bit.

Guest Blogger, Kate Hailey is a freelance portrait photographer in Seattle and an avid iPhoneographer. I noticed her work a few years ago and instantly was intrigued by the way she photographed with her smartphone.  Over the past four years, she’s thoroughly enjoyed her  photographic journey via the iPhone. She shares with us some tips on composition with the smartphone.

While simplicity is fabulous and many individuals use their smart phones to document their day to day lives by taking snapshots, I always make the effort compose my images with care.

I thought I’d share some of my best tips to master composition, “in camera” with your smartphone.

 

1. Rule of Thirds

There’s a long standing rule of not having your main subject, smack dab in the middle of your image. Envision a grid (pictured below), you have 9 segments in that grid, your main subject should be placed along the right third, left third, top third or bottom third. Whichever strikes your fancy, this is generally considered more visually pleasing. This concept also applies to painting and filmmaking.

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2. Leading Lines

When we look at a photograph, our eyes are drawn along lines, pulled in, led left, reaching right etc… with leading lines we can direct the viewers eye.

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3. Symmetry + Patterns

There’s something rather appealing about symmetry and something intriguing about patterns. Look for a scene that has balance and symmetry. Or to change things up, seek out repetition.

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4. Point of View

We’re all different heights, so we all see the world a little different. If a scene looks interesting to you, but you feel like the angle is just not right, even after trying a couple of snaps. Stand up on something, sit down on something, or even lay on the ground. You never know how changing your perspective this way, might be just pay off!

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5. Background

Is the background of your image adding to or distracting from your main subject. If it’s distracting, then move your subject, if you can’t move your subject, then move yourself to a different spot where hopefully you can better capture your main subject.

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I hope these tips help you out. All of these images were captured and edited on an iPhone4s. – Kate

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Thank you Kate for your insight. To view more of Kate’s amazing iphone work you can see visit her BLOG and of course you can follow her on Instagram, her handle is @katehailey. 

 

 

Dec 2013 03

Are you shopping for a camera for your child this holiday season?  Do you want to introduce your children to the wonders of photography, without sacrificing your fragile iPhone or pricey camera in the process?  With all the stuff out there this holiday season, a camera is a relatively inexpensive gift that will last for years, while providing hours of education and creativity in kids as young as two years old.  Adoramapix Ambassador, Jay B. Wilson of Jay B. Wilson Photography gives us five tips on introducing your kids to the amazing world of photography.

 

1. Avoid “Toy” Cameras  - There are a lot of toy cameras out there, and while they may seem like an easy choice for your child, I’d caution you on most.  They tend to take extremely poor quality images – something they might have lived with ten years ago, but if your kid has experimented with your smartphone camera, he or she is going to be disappointed.   Yes, they’ve got princesses and superheros plastered all over them, which may get you some big smiles when they’re unwrapped, but kids aren’t dumb – they’ll lose interest quickly if they can’t really enjoy the images they create.   And you’ll be frustrated too, trying to explain why that photo of the cat they worked so hard to get looks like a furry smudge.

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2. Go for Durability - Any camera you get for your child is going to get dropped, stepped on, thrown, and generally mistreated.  Yes, you want to instill a sense of responsibility and care in your child, but if you teach him or her to treat their camera like a delicate flower, with constant admonishments to “be careful!” they’re going to be afraid to use it.   One of the most important considerations for pro photographers when choosing a camera is feeling comfortable with it in our hands and having a good “build quality” – it’s durable and will stand up to constant use.  Take it a step further with your child’s camera and choose a water-proof, shock-proof model.  Not only will this give you peace of mind your investment won’t be listed on eBay for parts by New Year’s, your child will be able to take it to the playground, to the beach, and even in the water, which will open up creative possibilities they wouldn’t have if the camera had to stay home.  I particularly like the Nikon Coolpix S31 - which comes in a variety of colors (yes, even pink!) is waterproof to 5 meters, and takes HD video.  Best of all, it’s less than $100 and you can find it HERE on the Adorama site.

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3. Get Them Inspired - One of my favorite bedtime activities with my daughter is to scroll through my Instagram feed looking a photos from around the world.   She’s developed a specific taste in styles and subjects – she despises black & white – and loves recognizing locations and photographers she’s familiar with.  Share the photos that you’re taking – of family events, vacations, and more – preferably on the big screen of your computer or television, so that your child gets the full effect of what a powerful image can be.  Take her to a photography museum like ICP, or a local gallery in your town.  Find some fun photography books like Underwater Dogs at the library or bookstore.  Stoke your child’s imagination with the possibilities of their new camera, and they’ll have a head start on creating beautiful images.

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4. Print! - Sadly, with the proliferation of social media and smartphones, printing photographs is done less and less frequently.  But there’s something about holding a photograph in your hands, or hanging it on a wall, that makes the process so much more fulfilling.  Children love to make stuff, so don’t let that memory card fill up and sit in a desk drawer somewhere.  Whether you use a home printer (I love the Canon Pixma series), a local drugstore,  or a professional lab like Adoramapix in NYC (yes, they ship!) I really think it’s imperative that you DO something with those photos.  Let her decorate her room with framed photos that she’s taken herself.  Let your preschooler take some 4×6 prints from his holiday break for show and tell.   And with photobooks, prints on canvas, and other photo products, the possibilities really are endless.

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5. Don’t Push It - You’ve bought the perfect camera, made prints of your child’s work, encouraged her to bring it along on vacation.  But she’s just not taking to it as you had hoped.  Don’t force the issue.  In my experience, trying to force a new hobby or interest on a child who isn’t receptive is doomed to failure, and may close their minds to other experiences.  Perhaps he’ll never develop an interest, but maybe it’s just not the right time.  Conversely, if he takes to photography like a fish to water, encourage him.  Lots of schools and community centers have photography classes for kids as young as kindergarten.  As with any skill, photography takes lots of practice – the sooner you start her off, the sooner you may have the next Vivian Maier on your hands.

Thank you to guest blogger and Adoramapix Ambassador Jay B. Wilson of Jay B. Wilson Photography for these insightful and fun tips in getting your kids introduced to the world of photography.

 

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Jan 2014 28

She lives in one of the most scenic areas in the world and photographs weddings in adverse weather conditions – most notably, the snow. Anastasia Chomlack is from Whistler, British Columbia and she believes whole heartedly in capturing weddings and love with the natural environment that is Whistler. This includes beautiful green pine trees in the summer and breathtaking, snow capped mountains in the winter. Anastasia gives us a few tips on photographing in the snow and cold.

1. STAY WARM.

This goes for the photographer and the client.

I used to apologize to the bride when I was dressed in boots, and layered in jackets and sweaters and she was in a dress… but honestly the warmer I am- the more patient I can be, the more time and care I can take to get the right photo. When photographing a wedding outside my best friends are my fingerless gloves and I have stopped apologizing for that!

Even though the dress may be strapless or lightweight I always encourage my brides who want snow photos to bring warm accessories that make sense in the snow; warm yet cute boots- a shawl, wrap or small jacket- even mittens… I want to take photos that are authentic and real- not just set up and styled. A bride freezing and underdressed in the snow just does not make sense:)

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2. Know your snow, and communicate it to your couple.

Small flakes will fall for longer and often that means its colder… large flakes will soon turn to rain and will not last for long. Communicate all of this to your client. The bride in this photo wanted to have the large snowflakes- they started to fall literally minutes before the ceremony- I immediately went to the couple and told them this was the window for large snowflakes and also told them that if we took the photos now they would be wet for the ceremony- They went for it- we spent five minutes outside, the guests loved the opportunity to watch the couple run outside in the snow and these photos were the brides favorites even if her hair was wet for the vows.

I make sure to share all of the different weather possibilities with my couples- and never promise a clean or dry dress after photos. There are so many unknowns when photographing in the winter- it is best to be prepared for anything!

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3. EXPOSURE.

The white dress on the white background can be tricky with the light reflecting off the snow creating highly reflective surfaces. When photographing in the snow I am watching my histogram more then the image itself- knowing that to to get white snow your graph should be roughly in the middle, and to the right.

Especially in the snow you need to remember that you are smarter than your camera- your camera will want to expose to the bright snow and end up creating underexposed photos.

Another tip is to be aware of the time of day- I do everything I can to not shoot in harsh sunlight during these sessions- always location scouting to make sure I can find open shade.

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4. PROTECTING YOUR EQUIPMENT.

Moving inside and outside for ceremony, reception and outdoor photos can create condensation and fogging which could limit your readiness to capture an important moment. Knowing my schedule is important- and I try to keep a second camera for indoors ready to go- so that my outdoor camera can warm up gradually to avoid condensation.

Another trick is to invest in some silica bags to put in your camera bag to quicken the drying up.

The cold will also make your batteries drain more quickly so pack extra batteries on cold days!

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5. Go with it.5. 

If it is super windy, super snowy, super cold… I like to use that in the images and not try to work against it. Snow photos are for the adventurous bride- and if that means a little snow in the face, wind in the hair…. arms wrapped around each other to keep things warm- then all the better! I am not afraid of flushed cheeks or red noses- it is all an authentic part of being photographed outside and I think it all adds so much to the image- it tells a story!
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Thanks to Anastasia for her amazing imagery and helpful tips. If you would like to see more of Anastasia’s work you can visit her webpage HERE. You can also follow her on Pinterest Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.   
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