Jul 2012 02

What’s loud and spectacular and occurs every year at the same time in the United States? That’s right Fireworks!  Ever since I was a child, I could not wait to get everything ready to view the fireworks. I still have not lost that child-like fascination with fireworks. I have photographed them ever since I was a kid, sometimes it worked other times it did not. I’m a little bit wiser and a little bit more prepared, but I thought it was a great idea to have someone share their quick tips with us on shooting fireworks.

Meet Jay Caruso of Caruso Photography. Jay has been making pictures since the days of film in the early 90′s starting with his first SLR camera, a Canon T-60. Now armed with Nikon digital equipment, Jay still enjoys shooting what he did in 1993 – portraits, events and landscapes. When he’s not shooting, he’s doing business consulting and spending time with his wife and his teenage son and daughter.

Here are Jay’s five quick tips.

1. Get a tripod or some other kind of stabilization. This is a must as these will be long exposures. The tripod is the easiest solution as it is portable and allows you to set up where you want. If you do not have access to a tripod, you can steady the camera on the roof of your car or on a railing.
2. Switch to manual focus. Your autofocus mechanism won’t work here.  Switch to manual, focus to infinity and use a high aperture (f16-f22) as the increased depth will give you sharper images.
3. Use the self timer.  Just because you have your camera on a tripod or stabilized in some other way, doesn’t mean it won’t move when you press the shutter button.
4. Use low ISO and long exposures.  Get the ISO down to 200 (or 100 if you can). Choose exposure times between 10-30 seconds. A lot will depend upon the size of the show you are capturing. If you’re shooting the Macy’s fireworks display in NYC, then a 30 second exposure could fill the frame with way too much light. However, at a smaller show, a 10 second exposure may leave you with little in the way of bursts. You’ll have to get a few shots to find that sweet spot.
Thank you Jay for sharing your tips with us. If you would like to see more Jay’s work , please feel free to check out his work HERE.
Jan 2013 17

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.

veronica-armstrong-photographer

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.

veronica-armstrong-photographer

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.

veronica-armstrong-photographer

Stop conforming.

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.

veronica-armstrong-photographer

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.

Apr 2013 23

The birds are singing.

The trees are blossoming.

Spring has finally arrived and with it, glorious photo opportunities.

Flower Photography Tips,

Capture the beauty of spring with the following flower photography tips, whether you shoot with a fancy DSLR, point-and-shoot camera or your trusty camera phone.

5 Flower Photography Tips

These easy-to-follow tips are perfect for the everyday photographer. Grab your camera and get ready to click!

1. Frame your subject, creatively and thoughtfully. Beautifully composed photos have the power to wow! Eliminate distracting elements in the background and fight the urge to constantly position your subject in the center of your photo. Shake things up and add a bit of interest by placing your subject off center.

Flower Photography Tips,

2. Get up close and personal. Pull in closer. Don’t be shy. Create more powerful images by getting up close and personal with your subject.

Flower Photography Tips,

Flower Photography Tips,

3. Shoot from different perspectives. Break out of that boring photography rut and think outside of the box. Experiment with a variety of angles and perspectives – shoot from up high, down low, straight on, etc.

Flower Photography Tips,

4. Capture the often overlooked details. There’s beauty in the details. Don’t forget to photograph details like stems, buds and pollen.

Flower Photography Tips,

5. Find ideal light. Sunny, cloudless days can make for tricky lighting conditions – creating harsh shadows, loss of detail and highlights. Try shooting on a bright, but overcast day when light is soft and diffused.

Flower Photography Tips,

Or add major drama to your photos by shooting during the Golden Hours – the hour or so following sunrise and prior to sunset.

Flower Photography Tips,

Capturing the beauty of spring can be so much fun. What are some of your favorite things to photograph each spring?

AdoramaPix Contributor: Kristi Bonney is a writer, photographer and speaker with a deep-seated love for all things social media. Her blog, Live and Love Out Loud, is a beautiful and inspiring hub for photographers of all skill levels – featuring photography tips and tutorials, freebies and inspiring photo challenges. Kristi’s passion for photography is matched by her love of parenting and empowering women.

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.

 

 

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