Jul 2013 22

Summer is upon us and that means it is a great time to capture lasting memories.  Whether you are traveling far for your summer vacation or planning a ‘staycation’ with activities near home there are lots of ways to capture the moment.  You don’t need to have an expensive DSLR camera to take great vacation photos.  Nowadays your smart phone or point-and-shoot camera can take stunning high-resolution photos.

Far too often we take multiple photos but never print them.  This year make it a point to learn how to take great vacation photos.  All it takes is a little bit of planning with a purpose to consciously frame the image before you shoot.  Before you know it you will have many wonderful moments captured in photos to create your own coffee table vacation album.

  • Minimum camera requirements: While you don’t need an expensive camera, be sure you have the following minimum features:
  1. The ability to focus and snap pictures quickly for that split-second amazing image.  Many point-and-shoot cameras have a sport setting, which enables you to capture split second shots.
  2. A minimum camera resolution of 1024×768.
  3. Battery life that can last for hundreds of photos or at least 8-10 hours.
  4. Ways to charge the camera or carry a battery back up when you’re out all day.
  5. Extra memory cards or a way to download your images daily to leave room for the next day’s photos.
  • Set your camera to a high resolution: If you are using your smartphone or point-and-shoot, be sure it is set to the highest resolution.  That way the images will look clear and sharp for prints larger than 8×10 inches.  For DSLR users, medium to high-resolution is usually enough for a nice size, 12×12 or greater album.

Tell a story: When you start your day plan it as if you are telling a story.   From the moment you wake up and get your first cup of coffee at the corner café to the moment your head hits the pillow, take shots of the sights around you to remember those fleeting memories.

Morning cup of coffee

Morning cup of coffee

Don’t forget the details:  You may not think details matter but when you recall your vacation it is often the little details that trigger the best memories.  What you ate, what the people around you wore, street signs, food, menus, maps, store signs, hotel room numbers, the view from your hotel, all of these seemingly small details complete your vacation story.

Signs of Summer

Zoom in:  One of the most common mistakes people make when taking photos is having too much background and not enough focus on the people.  Experiment and try zooming in more than you have in the past to see their facial expression or capture what the person is doing with their hands.  If you stumble upon someone making a craft, wrapping up a purchase, or handing you your coffee, snap that photo and capture a memory.

Happy summer faces

Landscapes:  In order to capture the beauty and spirit of your location, this is when you take landscape photos.  Of course, people can be in the image but this is when the focus is on the place. When you try to capture the people and the landscape at the same time you may miss getting a good photo of either.  For great landscape images be sure to set your aperture between f/8 to f/16.  For your smartphone or point-and-shoot choose the landscape setting for the best clarity to capture the horizon, mountains, and foreground.

Sydney Harbour

Turn the flash off:  People are often surprised that turning their flash off results in better images than when it is on.  This isn’t always the case but these days so many smartphones and point-and-shoot cameras have such high ISOs that even in a dimly lit area the photos capture the mood and lighting better than when a flash is used.  Take some test shots with and without the flash.   Then determine which photo you prefer.  And remember, when taking photos at sunset it is best to turn off the flash.

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Iconic shots with a twist:  When traveling to places where there are famous landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty, Sydney Opera House or the Golden Gate Bridge try taking it from another perspective.  Using the Golden Gate Bridge as an example a hummingbird came into view which became the focus of the photo and the bridge was blurred. When viewed from a different perspective you capture details that show you were standing right next to a landmark and not from a guided bus tour.

Focus on the hummingbird with the Golden Gate Bridge

Get In the Picture: Too often we forget to get in the photo ourselves.  Be sure to get in a few photos even if it means using the self-timer or holding your camera at arms length.   When you include even a tiny piece of the location you will be able to prove you were there.

Guitar man

Use a photo editor: Even the best photographers use editing tools.  There are several free tools that help brighten, straighten, crop and adjust the colors in your photos.  Popular apps such as Instagram also include a variety of filters that create different moods to your photos.  Don’t be afraid to check them out.  What might have been an otherwise ordinary image can be altered with a photo-editing tool.  Free editing tools including Aviary, Picasa, and Microsoft Photo Gallery.

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With just a little bit of practice you will be taking stunning photos that capture once-in-a-lifetime memories.

Be sure to check out Adoramapix and create a wonderful keepsake photo book of your summer vacation.  The pages are printed on beautiful photographic silver-halide paper with a lustre finish.  All Adorampix photo books use real archival quality photo paper for vivid fade-resistant colors and brilliant whites.

tinaambassador

Tina Case  an Adoramapix Ambassador and is a writer and photographer out of the San Francisco Bay area.  She writes co-writes for the photography blog Moms Who Click where she shares photographer tips, tricks and interviews.  Tina shares her parenting stories and more on Yahoo! where she is a featured “Parenting Guru.” Check more of her photos at Tina Case Photography, on Facebook and Instagram

Aug 2013 27

 

Every photographer hits a wall, or draws a blank at one point or another. I did so just recently. Here are a few tips that just might help you get out of that rut you’re in.

1) Walk Away

Not quit photography, just walk away and totally stop taking photographs for a few days. If you’re passionate about photography, the urge to start again will come back to you.
Manhattan Bridge 30.0sA

2) Work on your backend

What I mean by “backend” is the following. Work on items that are photography related, such as taking the time to update any software that you use on or PC or Mac for photography. During my rut I spent a day dedicated to updating my Canon camera’s software. Programs that I have currently on my Mac for my Canon camera are EOS Utility, Digital Photo Professional, and Image Browser. Programs usually have automatic update setting. But at times you have to manually check for updates either via the active program or via the camera’s manufacture’s website. As well I use Aperture for Mac and I had discovered at the time that it was due for a software update as well. Once I updated all my software I had discovered that the various programs worked better that before and made things a lot easier for me when processing photos. There are more programs that I use; I’m just listing the ones that needed an update during my rut.

Church Tower

3) Rethink you’re plans and goals

I had to revamp my photography goals and projects; the plans I had originally were ok. But could have been better, so after some thought and going over my current situation I had reprioritized what I wanted to do and get done. Some items got pushed back from my original timeline. And that is totally fine for it gave me more flexibility and room to work with. Better to push a project back than to totally abandon it I say. A perfect example of this is the following. One project that I was working on was that I was looking into getting a new external hard drive for my Macs backup system that I had originally set up. It’s a robust system that involves three (yes… three) external hard drives. One main/master back up drive and the other two drives are mirror copies of the back up drive. Basically it’s a back up for the main/master backup drive. If the Master back up drive fails, I have the other two drives that would take over in the process. In layman’s terms… No data or photo lost. Recently one of the back up drives had failed and crashed. Mind you of course the other two are still working. And took over the role of the failed drive. So my photo files and my entire Mac’s files and settings are still currently safe. I manage over 10,694 photos, and over 80 documents. Call me paranoid about my back up set up, but this current failure that I had did prove my point that it could happen. I was going to get a replacement drive a few days after the failure happened. But after some thought, I thought it would be best just to wait a few more weeks to get it. After all the other two drives are doing well, so no major rush on replacing the failed drive. Matter of fact I plan on getting two drives for a total of four. One main back up drive and three mirror drives will be my upgraded back up system.

Sunset and Street Corner

4) Make the time to work on unfinished photography projects:

An example of this is the following: Some time back about over a month ago. I purchased a used Canon EF 80-200 mm f/4.5-5.6 lens, at a very low price. I cleaned it up and thought to plan on testing it in the next couple of days after I purchased it. Well guess what? I never got around to testing the lens. It was basically never tested because I never took the time to do so. So I did exactly just that, make the time to test out that lens. No agenda, no particular item to photograph. Just go outside take a walk or a bus ride to any random location such as a park and just start shooting. To my pleasant surprise the lens works quite well and I did manage to capture some good photos in the process.

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5) Use Instagram:

In a recent blog post that I had written. I said. “When I post photos to Instagram. It’s usually a preview of an actual photo that I’m about to take. I gauge how well a photo is going to be responded to or “liked” by the amount of people that comment or like the Instagram photo. The responses to my Instagram posts are always a gauge of how well I did with my personal styling in selecting the subject that I choose to photograph.” This still holds true and as well the feedback that you get from liked photos does in a way tell you how good your photography idea was when you photographed the subject and posted it to Instagram.

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If you would like more inspiration and tips feel free to check out Luis Castro’s original blog post HERE. 

 

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Luis Castro owns and operates JPeg Image Photography out of New York City. He specializes in portrait, fine art and event photography.  To see more of his work you can check out his webiste JPeg Image Photography, his Flickr page or his Instagram handle is  @JPEGIMAGEPHOTOGRAPHY.

 

 

 

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.

famous-maple (1)

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.

ground-level

 

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.

famous-maple-meta

 

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

 

Oct 2013 07

The fall season is a busy time for photographers. Many families start scheduling their end-of-year portrait in time for their holiday cards and newsletters. As a photographer one of the most common questions I get asked is “What should we wear for our photo session?”

The best way to answer that is with photos, of course! I also have a few rules that work for any season and any venue. The key is to keep it simple, coordinate colors and perhaps the most important, be comfortable.

Rule #1 Pick two or three main colors to coordinate everyone’s outfit

The key to having a unified family photo is to coordinate colors with everyone’s outfit. That means selecting two to three main colors and then picking tops and bottoms that reflect one or all of those colors.

In the photo below, we see blends of  grey, maroon and blue. And even though the colors are not identical they are within the same color hue, which adds subtle distinction and yet unifies at the same time.

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(stock photo)

Rule #2 Add accessories to highlight or cover-up

In the “What to Wear” board below I’ve included a scarf for mom using a color that coordinates with the daughter’s top. The scarf gives a bit of color pop for mom and red is a great color to bring out the blush. Scarves can also help disguise some minor flaws in the neck or upper torso area. As for jewelry, I recommend taking off your bulky watches and bracelets as they add too much weight and detract from everyone’s faces. Keep earrings and necklaces simple and coordinate them with what you are wearing.

Adorama2

 

Rule #3   Use the same color hue for tiered coordination

In the second version of the “What to Wear”  board I made a subtle change from the board above.  In this example I picked tops for the boy and girl that are in the same color family.  This creates a ‘team within a team’ effect.  Even with identical twins I prefer they dress differently but within the same color hue to provide this subtle distinction.  This rule works well when you have a multi-generation portrait.  Use colors and color hue variations to achieve a coordinated look.

Adorama3

 

Rule #4   Use plaids and prints with caution

Plaids and large prints can be distracting in a photo.   If you choose to have a plaid or print rather than a solid color top be sure to choose subdued patterns. If two or more people are wearing plaids or stripes it’s important that they work well together.  Avoid T-shirts with logos and large symbols on them because they distract the eye from the person’s face.  Flowery or paisley prints should be very subdued.  Below is an example where a small print works well.  The girls’ dress has a subtle print and yet ties in nicely with the mother’s dress color.  The blue in the father’s shirt adds a nice pop of color and compliments the red tones nicely.

Adorama4

Rule #5   Keep it comfortable

Most of all when you are having your family portrait taken be sure to dress with comfort in mind.    I advise people to wear clothes that they can move freely in because when you’re comfortable it’s easy to have a natural and relaxed expression.  If you have uncomfortable clothes it will show in the grimace on your face and you will look stiff and unnatural.  Make it a point to try on what you’re going to wear before your photo session to avoid any unnatural creases, folds or tight areas that might cause discomfort.

 

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(stock photo)

Next time you’re going to have a family portrait session be sure to review these handy tips.  And let us know if you have a great tip that works for you.

tinaambassador

 

Tina Case is an Adoramapix Ambassador and is a writer and photographer out of the San Francisco Bay area.  She co-writes for the photography blog Moms Who Click where she shares photographer tips, tricks and interviews.  Tina shares her parenting stories and more on Yahoo! where she is a featured “Parenting Guru.” Check more of her photos at Tina Case Photography, on Facebook and Instagram.

 

Oct 2013 15

As photographers, we all know now is the busiest time for family portraits. As much as we love to photograph happy families, we also sweat bullets wondering how we can get a great picture and keep everyone happy. There are a few tips you may want to keep in mind when tackling the family unit.

1. Get it Off the Bat

I find that with new clients and old clients one thing always seems to work. Get the formal shot right off the bat when everyone is  listening and ready. You can get the casual shots later when they all relax and they start to lose interest.  I typically will take dad and have him sit in his position so I can get a good meter reading. This way I’m not wasting valuable time by trying to have children sit still while I figure out my exposure. Next, I’ll place mom and lastly the kids. I photograph full length and 3/4 right off the top. This way the first 10-15 minutes I spend getting the posed shot and knowing everything else is extra. The following image was the 8th photo I took of the family.

stephenson-8a

 

2. Keep it Short

With younger families especially, time is crucial. Ever notice you start to lose the little one’s attention about 10 minutes in? It’s not you… it’s them. They need to be constantly moving and active. Anything more than 10-15 minutes and you’ve already lost your window.  Break after a few minutes, let them run around and relax.  Plan your next pose and start all over again.  The next image, I made everyone stand up just moments after everyone was sitting.

stephenson-174

 

3. Don’t Cut me Off

You have a lot of people in the portrait. That means you have a lot of feet and hands as well. Keep in mind to not cut off the feet or hands or fingers on full length portraits.  This is not to say you can’t get artistic and try different things.  Just make sure on the family formal portrait you get everything included in the first round, then you can experiment. Here you’ll see ll fingers and toes are accounted for in this image.

stephenson-19

 

4. Hold On

Little ones are active. It’s hard for them to sit still. Telling a child to put their hands down constantly while everyone else is ready  is stressful to the family. Keep it simple and give the little one something to hold in their hands.  Give them something seasonal, like say for instance a leaf or a pine cone to play with, this will keep their hands busy. If you look closely at this image, you’ll see the youngest has a small leaf in her hand.

stephenson-37

 

5. Loosen Up

Every family is quirky. It’s important to capture this as well. You know you got the formal pictures right off the top of the session, so now it’s time to have some fun. Loosen up and let them to hug or kiss. I typically say, tickle the funniest person in your family. The images are fun and relaxed and unexpected. It’s ok if not everyone is looking into the camera, the smile on their faces is worth a million bucks.

stephenson-177

 

written by Michelle Libby for Adoramapix

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