Now that summer is in full swing, I’m sure many of you have been tending to your gardens. As an avid gardener, I’ll often take time out to photograph the flowers I work so hard on helping grow. However, I am the first to admit, my flower photography is lacking. This is where I met Justin Jayubo to help me and others who might be challenged in this area of photography. I met Justin on Twitter and soon started to follow his photography. He is a student of the arts and freelance photojournalist based in Northern California. While keeping a diverse style in shooting, his main subjects include landscapes, nature, sports, and street photography. Aside from photography and school, he enjoys collecting art, traveling, comic conventions, video games, and spending time with family.
Justin breaks it down for us into five easy tips on how to photograph flowers.
1. Familiarize Yourself with the Environment – I usually find myself doing macro shots in the morning or late afternoon. The direct light on flowers can really throw off the colors I look for. Shadows and highlights can be hard to avoid during the day when the sun is shining on almost everything. If wind is a problem, then I avoid using a tripod, and use the lens image stabilization.
2.Water the Plants/Flowers – Water can give the petals a more rich and healthy color. The droplets add a new dimension with their reflection, which I always find interesting. Don’t hose the flowers soaking wet, but enough to make it look natural.
3. Know Your Bloom – Find out what exactly you’re shooting, what time of year they bloom, and what they look like at all stages of life. If you’re shooting something that blooms once a year, then make sure you get what you want before the flowers wilt. I always make sure to get pictures of cherry blossoms once spring arrives.
-4.Smaller Aperture – Having a smaller aperture will bring more of the image in focus. If you want more of the flowers in focus, then more depth of field can give you what you want.
5. Experiment – Try composing shots at various angles and distances. Explore the possibilities and creative process before moving on. I try to find new ways to compose shots each time I go out and take pictures of flowers.
With some light snow on and off and occasional 10 minute snow storms throughout the day, we learned quickly that we couldn’t move anything on the table set up. If we did, you could easily see were we had disturbed the snow, which would have to involve more postproduction work in photoshop. A lesson in making sure its right the first time! With several set ups in various spots and with cold temperatures I wanted to keep the lighting portable and simple. Speedlights with some simple modifiers were the way to go. As we know, proper exposure can be tricky on the snow. A little over exposure kept the snow a crisp white, I found about +2/3 of a stop seemed to do the trick. You also have to consider your white balance, especially if you want to consider submitting your images to a magazine as they always look for color consistency. We had to consider how our images are going to look when we shot in natural light, with flash, in sunlight, in the shadows of evergreens, in a snowstorm, etc. The white balance was changing constantly. Looking back we wish we would have had the expo disk to make the job easier for post production. Facing all these challenges of shooting in the snow you have to also make sure you’re shooting in RAW format.
Sun up till sun down, it was a long day. We had two awesome table set-ups, an amazing ice bar, a gorgeous cake and the models. All this had to be shot between warming up! Being a wedding photographer, I find myself at complete ease during creative shoots. You just don’t get this kind of time and control at a wedding.
Winter shoots seldom seem to have a game plan set in stone. You find yourself shooting between set ups quickly, all according to the weather. If this is something your willing to take on, the biggest words of advice we have for you is to surround yourself with good vendors. Good, experienced people make a world of difference. Happy shooting my friends.
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.
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.
Newborn photography takes a lot of patience. This is no surprise to the photographers who specialize in newborn photography. Sessions can last anywhere from a half an hour up to four hours. This is one photography specialty where the client is in complete control. For those of you just starting in this category, there are a few things to keep in mind when capturing those tiny clients. Here is our 5 tips on photographing newborns
Newborns are not able to regulate their body temperature. Keeping babies warm helps them stay healthy and comfortable. So with this in mind, you’ll be able to have a successful baby photo shoot. Typically, start with them all bundled up. You might also want to think about warming up your studio or bringing in a space heater to warm up the area. When doing photos of the baby without clothes, start by undressing them and laying them with their diaper on (but unhinged) and resting skin on skin on their mom or dad with a blanket over them. This way when you transfer them from their parent to the set up, you are also transferring that heat with the blanket over them. Let the baby get settled in before taking off the diaper or transferred blanket.
2. Know their Happy Times
Babies have happy times. Typically it’s usually right after they feed or they wake up. Identifying these times will typically lead to a better photo shoot. Newborns rarely have control over their muscles including smiles, so if you or the parent are waiting for the baby to smile, know that it’s rare to get these and in fact a lot of those smiles come in their sleep. The main objective is to make the baby comfortable.
3. Get a Close Up
Those eyelashes, those cheeks and those tiny fingers and toes are so important at this stage. Change your lens out from a portrait to a macro. Focus on all those little details, which will never be this small again. I personally, like the photos that show the scale of their tininess. These detail shots also make for a great addition when you are putting together a photo book for your client. Fill those pages with portraits and details and you’ll have an ecstatic client.
4. Lights, Sound and Action
Babies are very sensitive to noises and light. So with this in mind, you’ll want to be prepared. Try diffused light when photographing babies. In other words, try window light. If you must use strobe, then I would find the biggest softbox you can find to diffuse the light as much as possible. The main thing is to not keep flashing a strobe in a baby’s face. Choose your shots carefully. As far as noise, they love constant soothing noise. There are free apps out there that can provide you with white noise. Remember, it was very noisy in the womb for babies and they tend to like muffled white noise to comfort them.
5. Get the Siblings and Parents Involved
This is such a special time for the whole family. Now is the time to get them involved. Have a sibling kiss the baby’s forehead. Have the parents kiss the toes or fingers. It’s fun to see how proportional the baby is to the rest of the family. Remember, from this day on, this is the tiniest the baby will ever be again.
There is one other tip that was not included but it’s probably the most important, patience. Newborn photographers have the patience to wait for the baby. Babies have a way of not doing what you want them to do, so relax and be patient. This is the baby’s shoot and he or she is running it. You just need to know what the baby needs and make sure they are comforted at all times. This will ensure a happy baby, happy parents and a happy photographer.
Special thank you to Milwaukee newborn photographer, Christine Plamann of Christine Plamann Photography for supplying us with the adorable photos. You can check out more of her work on her website or blog.