Apr 2013 17

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.

 

2. Focus

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.

 

May 2013 12

Today is Mother’s Day. It’s no surprise, it comes every year. So why was I surprised, when I was looking through my photos that I could not find one of myself with my children from the past year either on my phone, camera or in print by Adoramapix? Yes, I had let a whole year slip away without one picture of me with both my kids.

When I was talking with member Natascha Lee of  Natascha Lee Studios out of Colorado, we talked about not only photographer moms not getting in the pictures, but our clients as well were just wanting the kids in the photos.  These are such wasted opportunities.  Natascha Lee wrote a sweet article on encouraging moms to get into the picture.

Those who have spoken with me know that I am pretty passionate about photographing moms and dads with their children; not just the children alone but children with their parents as well! How else can you truly capture the love and special connection of a family?

When I get a push back on this (“Oh no, I don’t want to be in the photos — just the kids”), I ask:

What is *your* most cherished childhood photo?

Is it the one of you smiling big on your first day of school? The one where you are holding up your Christmas gift? The one where you are sleeping on the beach? Or is it the one, that includes your parents, playing with you, holding you, just being themselves?

For most of us, our most cherished images include our parents, and show the love we felt for each other. They might not be technically perfect but they are real and they are precious.

I worry that mothers are taking hundreds (thousands?) of images of their kids,  and not including themselves in hardly any of them! I want to encourage all those moms who take tons of snapshots of their kids, to make sure that they themselves are in at least some of them.

It’s not hard I promise!  Have your spouse or partner take a turn with the camera/phone, ask another parent to snap a few or hold the camera or phone out the way you  do when you take pix with your bestie.

That photo where your hair wasn’t perfect but you were having a snow fight with your kids? Or the ones where your smile is a little lopsided and you are still in your pjs cuddling with your kids on the couch? That’ll probably be their favorite.

Thank you Natascha Lee, an important reminder to parents. By the way, I did find a picture of myself and my son together. This is how he sees me and I love it.

Happy Muvrs Day!

 

 

May 2013 13

Senior  photography has grown tremendously over the years thanks in part to social media. Teens love to share their photographs with each other. So it’s no wonder that graduation photography is such an important part of their lives. Like any specialty, there are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind when photographing graduates.

 

1. Know Your Client

Each client is unique. What defines them at this age is their interests. The more you can connect with them on this level the more they will feel comfortable with you and in front of the lens. I know a lot of photographers that will send out a “Get to Know You” questionnaire to their clients. It’s a short survey that asks clients about their hobbies, music tastes, sports, etc. As you prepare for the photo shoot, you may want to have your client bring their ipod or mp3 player loaded with their favorite songs as background music for the shoot. You can also suggest they bring any sports items they have or  instruments they played. Anything to make their experience unique and specialized.

2. Dress for Success

Nothing dates an image more than the style of clothes a person wears. When my Senior images were taken, acid wash was the rage. Let the Senior bring their favorite clothes and what makes them feel comfortable. You may also want to suggest to throw in a few more timeless and simple outfits ie, solid colors, no big logos, etc. This way you are covering all bases and will ensure the images will not be outdated as the fads change. Also, if your client wears glasses you might want to suggest they get a pair of frames without the glass. Most glasses give a glare from studio lights or reflections from outside. You don’t want them to look differently without their tradmark specs, but you also don’t want to spend a lot of time retouching glare.

 

3. Posture and Hand Placement 

Posture and hand placement  are so important in senior photography. For most Seniors, this is their first time being the solo subject for a professional photographer. So they will not automatically know what to do with their hands and limbs. Typically, girls should have soft hands and boys should have more confident hand placement.  Instead of telling your subjects what they should be doing or going in and mechanically moving their limbs for them, show them how to pose. This way, they don’t feel as awkward or embarrassed that they are doing it wrong. This should be a positive experience and the more you can alleviate any stress for them the better.

 

4. Bring Along Support

You might also suggest they are welcomed to bring a long a friend, parent or sibling. Sometimes having a familiar face in an unfamiliar place makes all the difference in the world. I think it’s often important too to snag a few candids of the Senior with this person. It’s a simple thing to do and it makes for a lasting memory from a great session. Some photographers will even include their support person in the portrait session. Whatever your view is, this person is special to your Senior, so take the time to capture it.

 

 

5. Be Social Savvy

It seems like a majority of Seniors are very social savvy with accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.  It’s imperative to be just as savvy. In your questionairre from step 1, make sure to ask your Seniors for their various handles on social media channels. I always ask if it’s ok to tag them on Facebook and give sneak peeks on other social media channels. I’ve also Instagrammed between set ups where the client is relaxing a bit and laughing. It’s important to find out what they are comfortable with in regards to social media and then target your marketing accordingly.

The most important item to keep in mind is to make your client feel at ease. You are documenting a really important time in their life. Keeping it fun, positive and smooth on your end will go a long way in making a great memory.

May 2013 21

May and June are typically the months when wedding photographers start to get busy as the season starts. I truly believe, wedding photography is one of the hardest specialities. The reason : You need to be a photojournalist, stock photographer, architectural photographer, portrait photographer, food photographer, a commercial photographer and the list goes on. You need to have knowledge in all these areas to be truly great at your craft.  Aside from the technicalities of wedding photography, there are a few things you should keep in mind when photographing the couple on the way to the altar.

 

1. Preparation

I can’t say this one enough. Preparation is key. Have a questionnaire for your couple. In the questionnaire,you should ask the basics : start time, venue location etc. Also ask, about relations and the names of family and wedding party. It’s hard to remember everyone’s name in the wedding party, but learning the names of the parents, grandparents and siblings will take you far.  Also, ask if there are any family situations to be made aware of, such as divorces or deaths. It’s important to set expectations with your couple ahead of time instead of having a surprise or problem on the day of the wedding.  Remember there is no such thing as too much information when it comes to wedding photography. As far as preparing equipment, check and charge everything the night before if not earlier.

2. Scout your Location

I have always scouted my locations a week before the event. The reason being, I needed to know where the sun set in the sky during the time I would be taking wedding pictures. I may have been at this venue before, but generally the time of day and seasons may have been different.  Also, I check to see if there are any races or street fairs I should know about on the wedding date as this might affect traffic to and from the ceremony or the reception. You also want a back up plan. If it rains on the wedding day, you should be prepared with a  plan “b”.  A plan to execute in case it rains, you don’t want to be left high and dry without a back up plan.

3. The Power of Light

Know your light. Everything from natural to flash to strobe. When working with natural light, do you want a sihlouette or do you want to work with the sun? This will make a difference in your settings.  For flash, there are a number of ways to diffuse your flash to make it softer on your subjects. If you don’t know how to use your flash manually, try using a diffuser . You can also bounce it off walls, ceilings, even off reflectors. If you are using strobe, make sure you have tested your triggers or you have plenty of extension chord if it’s a plug in.  The key is to have the most flattering light possible on your subjects.

 

4. Details

Your couple has spent a lot of time picking out the right shoes, the right tie, the right rings, the right dress , the right suit. Spend some time getting images of these various articles as well as all the little details at the reception. You would be amazed how these detail shots help in setting up a wedding album. They often make the perfect filler or background.

5. Social Media Savvy

I can’t think of a better event to be social savvy at  than a wedding. Your opportunities to market are endless. From your questionnaire on step 1, ask for the bride and groom’s soial media handles on facebook ,twitter, instagram and such. Go over your plans with the couple on how you will present their images on your website, facebook and other channels. Some people are still very private, so it’s important to know this ahead of time.  Make it fun and get everyone involved. Sometimes coming up with a fun hashtag on Instagram can get the wedding party and guests involved. For example, #MikeandSallyTieTheKnot. Or when loading photos to Facebook, have your couple invite their friends to “tag” themselves in the photo.  At the reception, print out little cards with the website and password to the images for the wedding. Marketing is a different world now days with the internet and it’s important to not only discuss this with your couple but to also stay one step ahead of the technology curve.

There are so many more tips and tricks to wedding photography, but these are definite starting points. I have been a wedding photographer for 13 years and I can honestly say, it is one of the most difficult and demanding photography specialties. I admire those who have been in the business for years and I admire those just starting out and pushing the boundaries. Documenting a couple on one of their most cherished days is an honor and more importantly, giving them beautiful images documenting their wedding day is the best marketing you can do for yourself as they show them to their friends and family.

 

 

May 2013 29

Father’s Day is just around the corner and now is the time to think about  photo sessions.  If you’re stuck on ideas on how to photograph dads, here’s a hint : Let them play with their kids!  Adoramapix Member,  Natascha Lee of Natascha Lee Studios (Baby and Family Photography in Broomfield, Colorado),  creates vibrant, natural images of families having fun, especially her photos of Fathers playing with their children. So in honor of Father’s Day (June 16th),  Natascha  shares her top 5 tips for photographing Dads.

1) Recognize
Recognize that Dad may being coming along at Mommy’s request and might not be all that enthused about having photos taken. So it’s important to honor his starting frame of mind, which might be, “Let’s get this over with.” By the end of the session, my Dads are amazed at how much fun they had!


2) Relax
Things may have been stressful at home, getting both parents and all kids ready for the photo shoot. So be friendly and upbeat but relaxed; make sure you don’t “bark out orders” or give too many directions, instructions or requirements.


3) Intention
Approach family sessions with the intention to include Dad + Kid photos. If your mission in similar to mine (to provide priceless family memories in a highly artistic fashion), then capturing the relationship between Daddy + Kids is a crucial part of providing that service. I also always photograph just Mommy + Daddy (or Mommy + Mommy, or Daddy + Daddy), for the same reason: to honor and celebrate their relationship as adults, as well as parents.


4) Set it Up
I now offer headshots to parents during my family sessions. It provides a great looking photo to use on LinkedIn and enables me to set up my Daddy + Kids opportunity. First I photograph Daddy alone. Then, when it’s Mommy’s turn, I ask Daddy to please take the kids “over there” (someplace with a great background) and “just play with them.” When I’m done shooting Mommy’s headshot, Daddy is inevitably playing adorably with the kids.


5) Shoot It!
First I’ll observe and take candid photos of them playing together. Then I’ll start to ask for some/all to look in my direction. I don’t want to interfere too much, just to capture the natural love and energy they have together.

When I edit for the final gallery, having photos of Daddy with the kids makes for a much fuller (and harder to resist) gallery to present to your clients. It also creates two parents who are jointly AND individually thrilled with the experience and the images.

For more inspiration, you can find Nataschalee’s website HERE and her blog HERE.

 

 

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