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

Nov 2013 05

Everyone says it’s good luck when it rains on your wedding day.  However, if you’re the wedding photographer, you might be sweating bullets to make sure your couple gets as many fantastic images as if it were a sunny day.  What your couple wants is to have spectacular shots and more specifically fantastic shots outside. So as the photographer, how do you accomplish what you may think is the unattainable. It’s not as hard as you may think — here are some tips from our wedding photographer friends in the rainy upper North and NorthWest.

 

1. Be Prepared

That means, don’t place 100-percent confidence in the weather forecast. If you see rain is in the forecast, even for the day before or day after, do your research. Find locations where you can take your bride and groom where they will be undercover. Think about  opportunities like doorways, under bridges, under big trees.  These  locations will provide for a beautiful backdrop and keeps your couple dry.

rain1

 

2. Use Umbrellas

You don’t have to hide the fact that it’s raining on your couple’s wedding day. Talk to your couple about the possibility about getting some matching umbrellas. Play with the umbrellas. Change your perspective with umbrella shots. Photograph down at the umbrellas or have them take up a small portion of the frame.

swaneset-wedding-7

 

paulsylvia

 

3. Protect your Gear

Most camera gear is water resistant, this does not mean it is waterproof. There is a  huge difference. There are a lot of  gadgets and products out there to help you protect your body and lenses.  Here are some other ideas, when photographing your couple or have your assistant or even someone from the wedding party hold an umbrella over your head. You can’t handle an umbrella as well as a camera. If you are in a pinch, use a ziplock bag to protect your gear. I typically tear a small hole in it and I am able to fit my camera through it. It’s not ideal but it’s saved me a few times.

rainblog

 

4. Close Ups

Now is the time to focus on close ups. Make sure your couple gets in tight for shots. You can usually squeeze under a awning  if it’s raining. It may be tight on space, but you can go in tight – play with the veil or focus on the bride’s eyes. It’s always fun to get in for tight shots.

closeup

 

 

5. Reflections

This is the perfect time to take advantage of puddles! Yes, puddles. The reflection you get is something that is artistic and different than you would get on a rainy day. Instead of fighting the rain, embrace it.

rainblog2

 

We hope these tips help you get inspired when the rain falls on your couple’s wedding day.

Nov 2013 12
The holiday season is approaching fast and besides the hustle and the bustle of the season, comes some amazing feasts with friends and family. Ever wanted to know how the professionals photograph food? It’s more than just taking out your iphone and uploading it to Instagram. It requires skill, creativity and precision. Here is a look at 5 tips on photographing food.
1) Don’t use the on-camera flash.
Light coming straight at the food from the direction of the camera is not flattering. Place the food near a window and have the light come in from behind or to the side. Using a tripod helps tremendously.
Shadows from back side light
2) The bigger the window, the better the light but, don’t use direct sunlight. Direct sunlight causes harsh shadows and high contrast.
Filter the light or use indirect sunlight. A white translucent shower curtain makes a good filter.  A white reflector card can be used to lighten the shadow side.
Soft Window Light
3) If your food has texture, show it. Light from the side and show the texture.
Shadows show texture so don’t be afraid of shadows.
Texture
4) Watch your background and make sure that it doesn’t take away from what you want to say in your image.
Your photo has one hero and that hero should be the food-not the props or the background.
Make the food the hero
5) If your food has height, show it. Shoot at a low camera angle.
If your food is flat, but graphical, shoot from above. If you can’t decide, try shooting from a diner’s point of view.
Graphical shot from above
Special thanks to guest blogger Jerry Deutsch of Photography by Jerry, LLC. He has a passion for food photography and has been doing for 3 1/2 years now.  His work caught my eye when I was looking through members’ photo books and his latest portfolio blew me away. If you would like to view more of his work you can check out his website at Photography by Jerry, LLC. Here also is a look at his mouthwatering Adoramapix Photo Book.
jerry
Nov 2013 19

So have the rules changed now that smartphones are capturing more photos a day than dslrs? As a photographer you’re generally concerned with all the details, button and dials to make everything work and create an image. However with the smartphone, we get to take a step back and simplify things a bit.

Guest Blogger, Kate Hailey is a freelance portrait photographer in Seattle and an avid iPhoneographer. I noticed her work a few years ago and instantly was intrigued by the way she photographed with her smartphone.  Over the past four years, she’s thoroughly enjoyed her  photographic journey via the iPhone. She shares with us some tips on composition with the smartphone.

While simplicity is fabulous and many individuals use their smart phones to document their day to day lives by taking snapshots, I always make the effort compose my images with care.

I thought I’d share some of my best tips to master composition, “in camera” with your smartphone.

 

1. Rule of Thirds

There’s a long standing rule of not having your main subject, smack dab in the middle of your image. Envision a grid (pictured below), you have 9 segments in that grid, your main subject should be placed along the right third, left third, top third or bottom third. Whichever strikes your fancy, this is generally considered more visually pleasing. This concept also applies to painting and filmmaking.

katehailey_ruleofthirds

2. Leading Lines

When we look at a photograph, our eyes are drawn along lines, pulled in, led left, reaching right etc… with leading lines we can direct the viewers eye.

katehailey_leadinglines

3. Symmetry + Patterns

There’s something rather appealing about symmetry and something intriguing about patterns. Look for a scene that has balance and symmetry. Or to change things up, seek out repetition.

katehailey_symmetrypatterns

4. Point of View

We’re all different heights, so we all see the world a little different. If a scene looks interesting to you, but you feel like the angle is just not right, even after trying a couple of snaps. Stand up on something, sit down on something, or even lay on the ground. You never know how changing your perspective this way, might be just pay off!

katehailey_pointofview

 

5. Background

Is the background of your image adding to or distracting from your main subject. If it’s distracting, then move your subject, if you can’t move your subject, then move yourself to a different spot where hopefully you can better capture your main subject.

katehailey_background

I hope these tips help you out. All of these images were captured and edited on an iPhone4s. – Kate

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Thank you Kate for your insight. To view more of Kate’s amazing iphone work you can see visit her BLOG and of course you can follow her on Instagram, her handle is @katehailey. 

 

 

Mar 2014 11

The snow is melting, the birds are chirping and the crocuses are starting to push up through the ground. It’s the first signs of spring and for those who are nature enthusiasts now is the time to gear up for flower photography. However, before you snap the shutter there are a few things you should keep in mind.  We asked Adoramapix member, Kathleen Clemons for some advice. Her flower photographer will inspire you.

1. Use Soft Lighting

Harsh, direct sunlight is the worst light you can use for flower photography. It creates washed out colors, a loss of texture, and strong shadows which chop up the petal lines of your flowers. Soft, even lighting is the best type for flowers, overcast days are wonderful for flower photography.

 

Tip 1 KathleenClemons Canna Curves
Tip 1 KathleenClemons Irises

2. Pay Attention To the Background
When you are photographing flowers, pay close attention to your background. You want a background that adds to the image, not one that distracts or pulls attention away from your subject(s). Remember, if it doesnʼt add to the image, it needs to go! Sometimes, I actually choose the background first if that is what catches my eye, and then I choose a subject that contrasts or compliments it.
Tip 2 kathleen clemons Charleston Iris web
Tip 2 Kathleen Clemons One among many site  copy
3.Get Closer

Move in closer! This eliminates anything in the background that could detract from your flower. Try filling the frame with your subject. Start shooting wide and move in closer and closer. You’ll be amazed at what you will see. Shoot many variations of your subjects, gradually moving in closer and closer, with more and more of the flower filling the frame.

Tip 3 kathleen clemons Anemone shine site copy

Tip 3 Kathleen clemonsWhisper in Pink site copy

4. Simplify Your Composition

Learn to see the distractions that pull your eye away from your subject, and eliminate or minimize them. Change your angle of view, move in closer, or use a larger aperture to blur elements that distract. Most of my flower photos are shot with large apertures to reduce depth of field and simplify the subject.  Using a selective focus lens like a Lensbaby is a great way to draw attention to one area of your composition.

Tip 4 kathleen clemonsPink Whisper web

Tip 4 Kathleen Clemons Tulip curls tex site

5.Work it!

As with all photography, beautiful and successful flower images begin with learning to see. This means really looking at your subject, from all possible angles. Examine the flower from the side. Notice the lines of the stem, stamen, the curve and texture of the petals. Now look from the top.  Notice any grains of pollen clinging to the center or spilling onto the petals. Lay down on your stomach and look up to see the underside of the flower. Sometimes this is the most beautiful part of a flower, and often overlooked. Really study your subject and shoot it from different angles, choose the best point of view. When you think you are finished with a subject, ask yourself, “Did I work it?” If not, you aren’t finished!

 

Tip 5 kathleen clemons Dancing Daisy web

Tip 5 kathleen Clemons White Dahlia site

 

Thank you Kathleen for sharing your advice with us. If you would like to see more of Kathleen’s work you can check her sites out here:

Twitter: @kathleenclemons
My photography classes: www.ppsop.com

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