It’s mid January and by now you might be a little New Year’s resolution-ed out. I’m not. I love fresh starts and new beginnings, especially when it comes to photography. The start of a new year is the perfect excuse to assess your progress and set attainable goals. Here are some of my personal photography goals for 2013. Hopefully they get you thinking about what you hope to accomplish as a photographer in 2013.
Don’t follow photography rock stars.
I could spend hours staring at the work of my favorite photographers. It’s inspiring and fun. However I notice a lot of photographers emulating the popular internet photographer du jour’s style and suddenly the blogosphere is saturated with a ton of clones. I understand that trends come and go. I don’t want to be one of them. Through trial and error I’ve learned that emulation (as it relates to the artistic qualities of photography not technique) doesn’t get a photographer far.
I don’t want to be a clone of Miss Three Million Facebook Fans photographer. I’m happy for her success and enjoy her work but I am not her. That’s okay. The less time I spend comparing myself to someone else the more time I have for personal growth. It’s impossible for me to discover who I am as a photographer while I’m constantly forcing myself under the shadow of someone else. Not in 2013.
Master off camera flash.
I adore good flash work. My Speedlite will not conquer me. I recently upgraded to a full frame camera and adore the flexibility the high ISO gives me but I refuse to let my flash get dusty. Natural light is beautiful but with proper technique so are other light sources. I want to explore them all.
In 2013 I will learn how to use off camera flash properly.
I’ve mastered the technical basics of photography. I know where my work is strong and where my work is weak thanks to a critical eye and a few helpful portfolio reviews. It’s time for me to take risks and stop worrying about how my work will be received by my peers. It feels great to hear positive feedback from friends and family but if the work doesn’t speak to my soul then it isn’t worth doing.
Photography is my passion. This year I will shoot what I want how I want. If clients book me that’s fantastic. If they don’t that is okay too. Eventually I will find a clientele that is a good fit for my photography style. If I don’t then at least the walls of my home will be adorned with pretty art.
What are your photography goals for 2013?
Veronica Armstrong is a guest blogger for Adoramapix. She is a freelance photographer and writer.. a double threat. Her young ones keep her busy but she never loses her passion for family, photography and education. Thank you Veronica for your inspirational words and motivation. If you would like to see more of her work you can go HERE.
Hi, all! I’m Monica Shulman and I am a photographer in New York City. I also write Ciao, Chessa! — a lifestyle blog focusing on art, photography and travel. Thank you Adorama for inviting me to share on your blog!
I’m a bit obsessed with creating gallery walls and I’ve decided that I need more walls in my home. The wall above the dresser in my daughter’s room was a sad, empty space that taunted me for months. I thought about leaving it blank but one rainy afternoon, while we were lying on the floor reading some of her favorite books, my girl stopped me and staring at her existing gallery wall she started calling out everything and everyone she saw in the photos. Soon this became one of her favorite activities. She walks around our apartment (especially in the kitchen), points at photos and talks about them and the people in them and I tell her the story of the day the photo was taken. I started thinking about the kind of pictures that I wanted to put up on that little wall and soon the stories started to unfold. I use Instagram (A LOT) to capture the moments of my life and with a toddler running around sometimes the iPhone camera is the only practical way to take pictures because I simply don’t have the time or the hands to use my dslr. And so the idea for my newest gallery wall started to form. I had never printed my Instagram photos before but I knew, after years of working with Adoramapix, that the quality would be amazing and would not disappoint.
I used my own gallery wall tutorial as a guide:
(1) get all the necessarily materials (I LOVE painter’s tape)
(2) choose the frames and photos
(3) frame your wall using painter’s tape
(4) choose a layout, and finally
(5) hang the frames
The best part of creating this wall was choosing the images and once I decided that I was going to print pictures from my Instagram feed the fun really began. I love mobile photography because it has allowed me to take photography in general less seriously all the time. For the first time ever, as a photographer at least, I have finally learned to relinquish a bit of control (just a little) and in doing so I’m actually having more fun and have gotten better at capturing quiet, spontaneous moments and the images that I chose for this wall illustrate that. All of the photos are taken from behind or above when my daughter didn’t know that I was there, when she was in her own world, doing something wonderful and fun – jumping in puddles, running fearlessly toward the waves, sleeping peacefully in her beloved crib. I’m always, always there with her, watching her, letting her run and encouraging her to be adventurous and live playfully, even when (perhaps especially when) she doesn’t know I’m right behind her.
I’d highly recommend printing some of your favorite phone photos. If you think about it, these are the times when you feel the least self-conscious about your photo-taking skills because after all, it’s just a phone. The majority of my favorites happen to be Instagram pics but the idea behind mobile phone photos is the same…they are real, seemingly inconsequential but actually quite meaningful moments. I used Adoramapix and the prints look great in the 10×10 and 5×5 size.
I’m curious to know what you think. Do you have any tips for creating gallery walls or favorite apps for your iPhone or android? Share them in the comments!
I wish I could tell you that every photo book I’ve done has been a wondrous masterpiece – inspiring the amazement and admiration of all those who are fortunate to gaze upon it. But admittedly even I make mistakes sometimes (gasp!). Honestly, I don’t think I would feel qualified to write my photo book review blog if I didn’t hit a few bumps along the way (and learned from those mistakes). It enables me to share my experiences with you and hopefully I can help point out potential issues ahead of time. My blog is all about encouraging everyone to make a photo book and to not be intimidated to give it a go. I’m a firm believer in trying everything at least once (okay correction – most things at least once). I bet when you see your photos in a designed book (or when that special someone gushes over the professional-looking gift you made them) you will be quite addicted to photo books as I am and will want to make more and more! I have repurposed these tips from an earlier blog post, but this time with AdoramaPix in mind.
Here are some of my best tips. Before you hit that order button make sure to go through this checklist!
1) Consistency – typically I advocate using no more than one to two font styles in your books for a cohesive look. Go back and make sure that you’ve been consistent in both font size and type. I usually use one font for the main narrative, and a different font for the titles. I have accidentally used a different font on a couple pages of a book before, but luckily they didn’t look that noticeably different (except to me because I knew!) Had I checked more closely I would have caught it. When using AdoramaPix, I just copy the same text box and paste it on the new page so I know that the size and font have remained the same without having to reselect any settings. AdoramaPix’s text tool also automatically remembers your last font and size selected, so it makes it easy to be consistent. Change your mind about the font you want to use? With AdoramaPix, you can select more than one text box and make changes to all the text boxes on that page with a single action. Just make sure to go back and double check that your global font change hasn’t altered your layouts unexpectedly;
2) Alignment- are your photo boxes and elements aligned properly? There are two features I recommend checking in AdoramaPix. If you hover over an image, you’ll see an “X” and “Y” coordinate. The “X” represents the horizontal coordinate while the “Y” represents the vertical coordinate. So, if you want to make sure two photos are aligned on the left, make sure the X numbers are the same. If you want to make sure the photos line up at their tops, make sure the Y numbers are the same. You can also turn on the “moved objects will snap to grid lines” feature which will make sure the photos align with the grid when you lay them out;
3) Margins – did you put anything too close to the edge? Most programs have guides that show you a safe zone. Anything inside those borders will print, but anything outside may get cut off when the book is printed and bound. Sometimes this safe zone is rather generous, but the printers have to have some leeway. If you have chosen one of your photos to be printed as a full bleed (where your photo fills an entire page or spread) make sure there’s nothing on the edges of the photo that is essential. If there is, then you may want to think about making the photo a bit smaller than the entire page (and add a background) so you’re guaranteed no image loss. When you check the book preview the software will give you a warning if you have elements too close to the edge so you can go back and make any edits before ordering;
4) Gutter – “mind the gap” – similar to #3, typically I suggest to folks not to place anything important in the center of the spread, especially text or people’s faces. With AdoramaPix however, there is no split or gutter, so you’re free to design across the center of the spread which is great if you want to do a full page bleed (where a single photo spans both pages of a spread). Still, whether or not you want to put someone’s face in the middle of the spread is a personal preference, as you may not want to have the focal point of your image appear with a crease down the center;
5) Spelling and typos – use the software’s spell check where possible (AdoramaPix’s is built-in and you’ll see a red line appear under a word the software doesn’t recognize). If it’s not available, copy and paste your text in your own word processor (like Microsoft Word) to double check your text. For more on the right way to add large amounts of text from an external source such as a document you already typed in Microsoft Word or Word Perfect, check out the link. I can’t stress this enough – if you choose to paste directly from Word or an e-mail, chances are you will also copy some formatting code that will be “invisible” to you and will not show up as an error in the preview, but will only show up after you get the printed book – eek! It also may be helpful when possible to have someone else check your narrative or captions – spell check won’t catch errors such as missing words for example;
6) Photo Quality – AdoramaPix has a photo quality indicator that pops up telling you your photo is not of sufficient resolution, but keep in mind that it’s not an indication of whether your photo is too light or too dark or whether your subject has red eye for example. So make sure to scan through your pages to see if any photo stands out in a bad way, or appears off in comparison to the other photos. Sometimes you can’t tell a photo is a bit off (such as one photo being considerably darker than the others), until that photo is put along side another photo. I have often gone back after running the preview to adjust some photos and re-upload them to the book. Some photo companies have some photo editing tools within the program, but many do not or they are very limited. Err on the side of brightening your photos – most photos end up printing darker than what you see on your screen (it’s hard for printed matter to match the luminosity of our computer screens). Don’t have post-processing software? Check out my posts on free photo editing tools here.
So, there you have it! Be sure to run the photo book software preview before you order while keeping these tips in mind!
Are you new to photo books? You won’t want to miss my “How To” series on photo books. This is the best place to start and has my best tips! Happy Photobooking!
Snow can be tricky to shoot in, there’s so much white and when the sun comes out the light reflects all around making it difficult to expose properly. There is also the cold temperatures to deal with, making sure you are dressed warmly and that the moisture doesn’t damage your camera.
But the snow also makes for some wonderful photo opportunities, so there’s no excuse to not get out there and take some great photos of your kids!
Keeping your Camera Dry
One problem with shooting in adverse weather is keeping your camera safe. When shooting on cold, snowy days it is important that you keep your camera dry. You may want to invest in a specially designed camera sleeve, or in a pinch you could used a plastic bag with a hole cut in it for the lens to keep moisture (or an errant snowball!) off of your camera.
You also want to avoid condensation build up on your camera, so seal it in a plastic bag before you return inside. The condensation will form on the outside of the bag instead of the camera as it returns to room temperature.
Metering and Exposure
Taking photos in the snow can be a little tricky at first, there’s just so much white reflecting light back at you. Your camera’s meter tries to compensate by under exposing and you end up with dull, grey looking photos.
I prefer to change the camera’s metering mode to spot metering and expose off of my subject, I may lose some detail in the snow but I would rather see the detail in the subject I am shooting. Alternatively you could adjust your exposure compensation to over-expose slightly.
Capture the Wonder and Fun
Whereas adults seem to bore quickly of the snow and only notice how cold it is out, children are constantly fascinated by it. Step back and capture images of your children tirelessly playing: whether they are building a snowman, throwing snowballs, catching snowflakes on their tongues or simply watching the snow fall to the ground.
There are a multitude of different things you could photograph your children doing in the snow, from different angles. Why not try positioning yourself above them to take a photo looking down on them making a snow angel? Crouch down to capture them digging in the snow, step back to photograph a sledding scene or get in close for photographs of snow covered hats, gloves or eyelashes.
AdoramaPix Contributor: Rebecca Sims is a British transplant living in the bustling city of Chicago with her husband and son after the three years that they spent living together in Germany.
Her blog, Bumbles & Light, is a place where she shares her love of photography, writing, cooking, and creativity.
When we launched What’s App Wednesdays we wanted to look at some of the apps out there that helped photographers edit their smart phone images. What we forgot to do is start with the basics. So this quick 5 tip post is designed for those who are just starting out with their iphones or want to capture better images.
As with any type of photography, you need to know your camera. In this case, it’s your iphone.
1. Learn Composition
According the Wikipedia, the rule of thirds was first jotted down in 1797 by John Thomas Smith. The rule of thirds is the basic guideline to use when composing your shot. On your iphone, when you click on your camera icon hit the “options” button at the top in the middle. This will give you two options, Grid and HDR. Turn the grid on. You will now see a grid appear when you are composing your shots. Do not worry, this will not show up in your pictures, it’s merely there to help you compose and straighten your images.
Instead of just tapping on the camera icon and letting your iphone do the thinking, try using the focus button and show it exactly where you want the focus located on your image. If you tap on the screen lightly, a small blue box will appear. This is your focus button, you can move this anywhere you like on your image and your phone will focus on that area. You should also note, this will adjust your exposure. The point where the iphone is focused, is also where the phone will read for its exposure.
3. Stand Still
This goes with regular cameras as well. I was intrigued by a young man who was rollerblading in a park. The amazing flips and heights he reached were unbelievable. I wanted to catch it on my iphone and it took me about 5 tries, but I finally got it. First, I set the focus point to the ramp where I knew he would jump. Then each time he reached that area, I would hold my breath, steady the phone, rest my elbows on my chest and take the picture. I finally caught the image I wanted but it took a few practices.
4. Find the Light
I found one of my favorite trees, a magnolia tree was in bloom. Be still my heart! I started snapping away and yes, I admit I did not look for the light. On the left, you see my first attempts, very dark and murky. The image on the right, I moved my camera up and towards the light, even straight out of iphone it looks heaps better than the first image. This is true with regular cameras as well, always find the light and work with it.
5. Know your Flash
Your flash is attached to your camera, so it will not be the most flattering since it’s not diffused in any way. Since it’s attached, you should know that the flash has a range on it. The results are varied but most reports tend to agree that anything more than 15 feet away will have poor results. So using your iphone and flash at concerts will not give you the desired effect you desire. Also, turn the flash off when you are photographing reflective subjects such as mirrors and windows. The flash can also be harsh when photographing people at night. So you’ll just need to practice in various set ups and situations to see what works best for you.
These are 5 very basic tips to help you get started on iphoneography. Over the course of time, we will continue to review apps and hardware that help you on your way.