When shooting portraits, just setting the color balance on Automatic or one of the Temperature “modes” is not the most efficient way of capturing natural skins tones. Instead, take a manual white balance reading of your subject in the environment and then make adjustments from there.
With all of the portraits I shoot, there are a few constants: low ISO (200–400), mid range f/stop for more lens clarity (f/5.6–f/9), telephoto lens for narrow depth of field (70–120mm) and the sharpest part of the image being the subjects’s eyes. The last “given” when I shoot is to always capture the image in Raw—knowing I can easily manipulate it in editing if needed.
We don’t normally speak of soft drinks and flowers in the same sentence, but there is a very cool technique that brings these two unlikely subjects together. Actually, you can use any kind of seltzer water or flavored water that is carbonated. Put the carbonated clear liquid in a glass or plastic container with clear and flat sides, and when you submerge the flowers in the liquid the bubbles cling to the petals. This is a unique subject matter for macro work, and with dramatic lighting the results can be quite beautiful.
I’m sure you have been intrigued by the rainbow colors you can see in CDs and DVDs. As a visual person, it’s hard not to be attracted to these intense, supersaturated colors. I’ve tried to photograph them but was never happy with the results until I experimented with placing drops of water on the surface of the disc. That changed everything. The colors of the CD combined with the defined shapes of the drops in amazing ways, and this was even more captivating than just seeing color in the disc.
On The Cover
In this month’s issue we cover wedding and portrait topics, including tips on lighting, posing, and gear. We also have bonus lighting gear tests, as well as a look at a new Canon 13” printer and a test of a new breed of a Nikon interchangeable lens camera, the 1 series. We also have a new series of camera lab tests, Image Tech, starting with the Olympus E-PL3. Look for more Image Tech reviews to come in future issues.
I photograph natural subjects without manipulation when possible, but there are many instances when it is necessary to control a situation to show a subject in an artistic and beautiful light. Indeed, many times it is necessary to manage a subject specifically to make it look natural in the photo. Technical and practical issues are often present that make it virtually impossible to take the kinds of pictures we really want to take and that we can see with our eyes.
Photographing small birds is extremely difficult because we can’t get close enough to them to fill a significant part of the frame and they are often so fast that it’s impossible to focus quickly enough. Autofocus is a great tool, and the AI Servo feature works sometimes, but neither can keep up with fast-flying birds.
There may be times when you need to capture the action in a performance for a local newspaper, publicity shots, a memory of a child’s concert or simply because you want to capture images of the event. The first step is to make sure you are allowed to photograph during the performance; that’s easy if you’re hired to do so, but always check and find out the ground rules. Shooting during the actual performance has challenges so it is always a good idea to shoot the dress rehearsal—if you can. The shots here were mostly made during rehearsals of a dance recital, but the tips can apply to other types of performances as well.
Some of the most haunting images of our time are those made in areas of armed conflict. Among the earliest war photographs were those taken by an anonymous American who made a series of daguerreotypes in 1847 during the Mexican-American War.
On The Cover
This month, in addition to our usual run of product reviews, we are presenting you with a bit of software magic, as we share new tools and tricks we uncovered in the latest image-editing applications. We are also featuring an assortment of photo essays by photographers who realize the power the black-and-white medium holds.
Like many photographers, I grew up beholden to the great color palette and brilliant results of Kodachrome 25 and the easily pushable, low-light capabilities of Kodak Tri-X black-and-white film. These iconic products are but two of Kodak’s remarkable achievements that come to mind as we ponder the recent Chapter 11 filing of the company that invented the hand-held camera and was one of the world’s most notable brands for over a century.
If your primary goal on a trip is to photograph animals, say on a safari or “eco-tour,” this changes your approach to photography quite a bit. You have to think about many things that don’t apply to other types of travel work.
A word that is often associated with wide angle lenses is “distortion.” It is true that wide angles distort what we see, but that’s not necessarily bad. In fact, it can work to our advantage. Photographers who like to capture what they see—or as close to it as possible—shy away from wide angle lens particularly those that are extreme—say wider than 20mm. This is especially true for portraiture, where exaggerated and distorted faces and bodies may not go over very well with the subject. However, as an artist you should have all the tools and techniques at your disposal to create dynamic images, and I would like to suggest that if you have not explored the creative potential for shooting people with wide angle lenses, it’s time you try it.
Below is a list of my ten favorite places to photograph in the world. There are still many places that I haven’t been, and even though I’ve been to 83 countries, as of the spring of 2010, I feel like I have hardly scratched the surface. There are so many wonderful places to shoot that in ten life times a photographer would still feel he or she needed more time. All of the places on this list offer such rich photographic experiences that you could return again and again and produce a different body of work each time. They never get old.
Three prominent industry organizations have just launched a comprehensive and long-needed campaign to permanently embed standardized metadata and copyright-status information in digital files. The program is intended to benefit those who create, as well as use, digital photos, text, audio and video files.
Monochromatic color themes have been around since the inception of photography. Toning black and white prints with a sepia toner was begun at a time when photographers could only dream of color. The noxious fumes made the darkroom work memorable, to say the least. With digital technology, we can get the same look of a toned print. When I first started learning Photoshop, I translated my knowledge of the darkroom into the digital world. In other words, I learned how to create in the computer the same effects that I had been creating in the darkroom.