Monthly Archives: March 2017

Landscape Photography

Whether you’re a professional photographer or a budding hobbyist, one of the many challenges you might face is choosing the perfect subject for landscape photography.

Given the abundance of natural splendor that’s available, it can be difficult to focus on an appropriate subject for your landscape photography. These tips should help you capture beautiful images of scenic landscapes.

Brainstorm

Regardless of where you live, there are probably some really great landscape scenes nearby. Take a drive around the countryside and keep your eyes open for possibility. Perhaps there’s an old farmhouse or beautiful creek that runs near your home. Odds are, you’ve already passed a hundred suitable spots in your daily life. Take the time to think of some of the places where you’ve gone for walks or a drive.

Make a list of possible places and ask your friends if they have ideas. Try scouting potential areas at different times of day to see what the natural play of the sunlight brings out. Scenes change as the sun moves across the land. Something ordinary can become extraordinary with just a shift of light.

Don’t Be Afraid To Follow The Footsteps of Others



Take some time to look at what the landscape photography pros have done in the past. This is particularly helpful if the photographer lives in your general area. Don’t be afraid to look at their shots of local landscapes and think of ways you can improve on what they’ve done.

The same subject from a slightly different angle can become something entirely new and different. If their contact information is available, reach out and ask if the photographer has any special places they’d be willing to share.

If you are going on a trip, look up photographers in that area and check out their galleries. The internet is a wonderful place to find ideas for photography. With just a few key strokes, you can come up with places that others have photographed and get a pretty good idea of how those photos turned out. Some photographers plan an entire vacation around landscape opportunities.

Photograph Challenging Types of Light

Something I go on and on about is how photography is all about light – that’s no secret. Without light, there is no image. As photographers we’re used to looking for an interesting subject to shoot, but consideration always needs to be taken as to the type of light you’re dealing with.

Midday Sun

Undoubtedly one of the most challenging types of light to shoot with, midday sun is when the sun is at its highest position, sitting directly overhead. The resulting light creates very hard shadows, which are almost impossible for your camera to penetrate. Most of the time, photographers will try and avoid shooting at this time of day but sometimes it may be inevitable.

The easiest way to work with this type of light is to use fill-flash – a short burst of flash from your flashgun or, if your camera has one, by firing its pop-up flash. This will help to fill in the shadows. You can also use a reflector to help fill in the shadows, although this won’t be as effective as the flash.

Bright Overcast Skies

Whilst this sort of light can produce dramatic images if handled correctly, it can be tricky to master. The main problem is that the sky can be hard to meter, as the contrast between brightness and overcast can fool the camera into underexposing the image. Alternatively you can end up with blown-out parts of the sky when the camera has metered for the scene as a whole.

The simplest way to deal with this problem is to invest in a graduated neutral density (ND) filter. By positioning the dark half of the filter over the sky you’ll let less light into the lens on this half of the image. This means that you can meter correctly for the land, whilst also keeping the sky correctly exposed. ND filters come in different aperture strengths (e.g. 2, 4, 6), allowing you to choose the one most suitable for the lighting requirements.

Backlight

When you position your subject in front of the light, you create backlighting. And if you don’t meter properly for this situation, you’ll end up with a silhouette or an under-exposed subject. This is due to your camera trying to compensate for the bright light in the background.

You’ve got two options to solve this problem. One is to switch to centre-weighted or spot metering mode, allowing you to meter specifically for your subject. Alternatively you can use a flashgun to put light onto your subject and balance out the light with the background.

Low light

Low light presents its own unique challenges, especially when shooting landscapes. Obviously, a landscape requires a large depth of field but this means a small aperture. The usual solution to this problem is to use a long exposure and put your camera on a tripod. The problem is, of course, if you’re out and about without a tripod and spot a great shot. A way around this is to push your ISO to a higher sensitivity.

Modern cameras allow you to push your ISO further, meaning that you can get acceptable results up to ISO 3200 / 6400. The important thing here is to know how far you can push your own camera, as each model’s limitations are different.

Incredible Surf Photography Approaches

If you’ve ever tried photographing surfers before, you know how challenging it can be at times, with the constant motion of your subject and even the environment of the saltwater and the salty sea air.

Learn About Surf Photography

Before jumping headfirst into this genre of photography, do a bit of research so you understand what you can do with this pursuit instead of just showing up at the beach and snapping away crazily.

The most obvious place to get a sense is surfing magazines. Here, you’ll find out all about the angles being used, the locations for photography, proximity to surfers, and equipment being used. You’ll also get a good deal of inspiration about what kinds of pictures to take and how to proceed.

Some of the leading publications include SURFER Magazine, Stab Magazines, and CURL Mag.

After all, when you begin to chronicle a sport like surfing through your photography, you first have to find out the basics, such as how said sport can translate over to an art form like photography.

Get a Good Location, First of All

Surf photography is hard to pull off when you’re in the wrong spot or wrong beach. The weather conditions and opportunities for great shots simply differ based on the locale you’re at.

Here’s a great example: Hawaii’s North Shore, just by nature, features grand and impressive-looking waves. Photographing them is going to produce extremely different results than going to your local beach or even surfing spots on the east coast.

In the end, it comes down to your technique and experience in how your shots come out.

Understand How the Light Will Work

Photographers always have to work with light, but with surf photography, this is more intense than ever since you’re dealing with strong, natural light, as well as light during the brightest times of day.

Start by looking right at the water and studying how the light’s bouncing off of it. Depending on the time of day as well as your positioning, you’ll often notice that there’s a considerable amount of reflection on the water. Look opposite to this reflection, and you’ll simultaneously realize that there’s a lot less or even no reflection at all.

To get the best shots of surfers amid this reflection, shoot at an angle while on the beach and in the direction with little or no reflection at all.

Nailing the Exposure

The next part is getting the perfect exposure. Set your camera for shutter priority. Then, make some test exposures and check your histogram to ensure that you’re not inadvertently removing the highlights of the whitewater. The whitewater is the ridge of foam and turbulence that occurs as a wave begins to break, which looks great in shots.

It’s vital to capture rich detail in this whitewater, as it’ll make your shots that much more exciting. To achieve this, start with -1/3 exposure compensation, and then keep checking your histogram to ensure that the whitewater isn’t being removed. You should keep going with the exposure compensation until you see the whitewater isn’t being clipped from the frame.

The Size of Your Surfer Subjects

Depending on how far away surfers get from the beach, they can appear relatively small in your shots. You don’t want tiny spots of surfers in your shot, as this’ll defeat the purpose of surf photography.

In general, aim to make your subject larger in the camera’s frame than one of your camera’s focal points within the viewfinder. If the surfer ends up being smaller than one of those points, it’s a clear sign that you’re too far away from him.

Either get nearer of grab a better zoom if this happens.

A Low ISO Is the Way to Go

Help your surf photography out by making your ISO as low as you possibly can. The lower that you set your ISO, the less noise you’ll have to tackle inside your image.

Always remember that you’ll be virtually bathed in a plethora of natural light each time that you’re out on the beach for this style of photography. Thanks to this sheer availability of natural light, it should be no problem to keep your ISO as low as possible.

In general, though, keeping your ISO low is usually a helpful approach in any style of photography.

Storytelling in Your Photographs

We all love a great story. It’s a human habit that’s ingrained in all of us since we were young kids, and it’s also cross-cultural, as it’s a universal practice to tell stories.

Remember to tell a story with your surf photography. It can be easy to get carried away with snapping action shot after action shot, but try to infuse some story into each shot.

For example, it could be a complicated maneuver done by a surfer, or perhaps it’s just the gorgeous beauty of the pristine waves. Even relatively simple shots of surfers simply sitting on their boards and talking can be an effective way of telling the story of surfing: relaxation, a good atmosphere, and hanging out with your surfing brethren.

Are You a Rude Photographer?

From concerts and baseball games to barbeques and beach days, we bet you’ll be spending plenty of time at snapshot worthy events this summer. But when you bring your camera along to public parties and occasions amongst large crowds, it’s important to use the best photographers’ etiquette. Often times in an effort to get the best shot, we forget to remember that others around us are trying to enjoy the show as well, and we might be stepping on their toes. To save you from social faux pas, we came up with a quick list of protocol you should generally adhere to:

1. Flash –

Picture this- you’re at a beach wedding during sundown and there’s really low lighting. Is it okay to use flash? We vote no- when it comes to special events (especially those where there is likely a hired photographer there on the job), religious ceremonies, or intimate concert settings, you should respectfully avoid using your flash. The best way to gauge? If no one else (other than paid photographers working the function) is taking flash photos and your flash would be even slightly noticeable in an otherwise very dimly lit ambiance, it would be distracting to other guests and rude of you to use.

2. Photographing Strangers –

If you’re in public somewhere (like on the beach or at a park), this can be a fun time to practice your portraiture- but would it be rude to take a stranger’s picture? In this instance, our advice is to simply ask.

You might feel worried about seeming invasive, but just try to remind yourself that in the absolute worst case scenario, the subject could say no, in which case they’ll surely be glad you asked instead of just going for it. We recommend simply explaining that you’re a portrait photographer getting some practice and asking if they’d like to be a subject. If they seem hesitant or uncomfortable, don’t ask again or try to convince them. What we tend to find instead however, is that most people are excited for the chance to participate and flattered that you want to include them in your portfolio. If the shot comes out really well, they might also appreciate if you offer to email them a free copy of their own.

3. Special Events-

To elaborate on the example used in #1, if you’re at a wedding or special event where a photographer has been hired to take pictures, is it rude of you to also unpack your camera gear and start capturing your own shots? It really depends on the preferences and comfort level of the professional, and we strongly advice you politely introduce yourself and ask. Simply explain that you’re a friend/ relative of the guest of honor, you’re a photography hobbyist yourself and that you’d love to take some pictures for your own collections or to share with others. If he/she tells you this makes them uncomfortable, you should respectfully refrain.

Generally speaking, you can use your own judgement to decide whether your photoshoot is impeding on a special event or distracting the people around you. For the most part, we find that other professionals are excited to meet another photo enthusiast, and that pedestrians are happy and flattered to be included in your shots. Just remember to be polite, and to always err on the side of polite caution by introducing yourself and asking permission before you get started.