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Monthly Archives: May 2017

Become a Self Taught Photographer

The photographer is an artist. This is a creative person. There are thousand various ways of becoming great from various famous photographers like Helmut Newton or George Edward Hurrell. Here’re some tips which, however, will perfectly fit an ordinary modern person willing to become a good photographer.

1. Drink a bottle of champagne in the morning, after the breakfast – for courage, and to mark the beginning of a new life.

2. Take a TV cable and cut it off. You can throw your TV set through the window, as well. Now you’re ready.

3. Realize and accept your new hobby (or passion) as its is.

4. For the first time, completely exclude reading some non-photographic literature. Read it everywhere: in the kitchen, in the bathroom, bedroom, and other locations. Read literature about the photos and photo albums, successful photographers, online editing/proofing software, mobile photo processing tools, etc. After some time, you will have a grasp of photography theory as a result of reading. Any information hunger for books and periodicals will be good for you and make the learning process easy and fun.

5. Train your eye, dwell on imagination. Whatever you do, look for photographic subjects and angles. Do not be distracted by nonsense. Focus, watch at home, on the road, at work, at rest, having sex, walking the dog, always, in general. If your attention is scattered, and you forget about the photos, use reminders.

6. As soon as you see something worthy of capturing (object, still life, landscape, person, genre scene, interesting texture, and so forth.), take a camera and picture it.

7. After making shots always ask yourself: “Why?”. Your art should have reason and purpose, and the history. Close your eyes, open your mind and try to absorb the sacramental photography knowledge spilled everywhere in the environment. Urge for inspiration in ordinary things that surround you every day, even in routine.

Tricks Landscape Photography

1. Light:
Mesmerizing landscape photos are majorly defined by the amount and quality of light they were shot in. If you observe, most photographers prefer to shoot early morning or later afternoons where the light from the sun in low. The low lights add subtle moody hues to the frame and also offer lots of colours to play with. The photographers term these as “Magic Hours”.

2. Composition:
Using the ‘rule of thirds’ is the easy way to understand composition for landscape photography. The principle suggests you divide your frame using imaginary lines to divide into sections. These sections are on the vertical and horizontal axis. Now place your element of interest at the intersecting points. This rule is one of the key tricks used by critically acclaimed photographers.

3. Focal Point:
It is not just portraits; landscapes too need a focal point. A landscape photograph without a focal point usually looks dull and empty. A striking building, silhouette, tree, structure, boulder or rock formations, could all work as focal points. Use the rule of thirds to place the focal point in your frame.

4. Sky:
One of the key elements of a landscape picture, sky, as it makes for the most dominant foreground. The cloud formations or the lines in the sky can add drama to the pictures. In a boring frame, you could also consider enhancing the sky post production or by using polarizing filters. These filters help add colours and contracts to the frame. You could make the skyline shine by placing the horizon lower.

5. Leading lines:
Leading lines by definition leads the eye of those viewing towards the focal points of the shot. Mostly the leading lines are used in the foreground. However, you could use these lines as you please to enhance the picture too. There have been many famous shots comprising only of leading lines that create a pattern. Take your pick but stick to the concept of leading lines.
These lines add depth to the image and also scale the quality of the shot.

Take Shots Without Expensive Camera

HOLD YOUR HORSES

How cool is it to learn “the secrets” of taking good photos? Which, is really not too difficult to get started… you do not need an expensive camera either. All you need is a good eye, and planning the shot before taking the photo.

Let me get started with something called “snapshot” and “composed shot”. Most people will causally whip out their camera, and just take a photo of what they see. Good photographers don’t just do that. They plan and design the photo before they take a shot – a “composed shot”.

You, my dear reader, if you want to take better photos, you have to learn to design your photo before going trigger happy. Don’t worry, it’s not rocket science. At the very basic, you have to learn to look out for 3 basic things – colors, lines and shapes.

COLORS

Since the dawn of time, we can all agree on one thing. We humans are attracted to colorful things, and we react differently to colors. I shall not go deep into the study of colors here, which will end up in a tearfully long and boring bible of colors.

I shall give a few tips on how to use colors instead:

  • Avoid overwhelming dull colors… like a grey sky and grey city, or murky waters with grey sky.
  • Some clashing colors can be beautiful, for example, an orange sunset with blue sea.
  • Add a drop of red in a sea of blue, or vice versa. Put a sunflower against a grey sky, a single red apple in a sea of green apples… you catch the drift.
  • A splash of colors can be messy, but also be sometimes interesting. For example, different colored balloons in the air.

LINES

Where are the lines in a photograph? Look carefully and you will notice.

  • A tree or tall building in the photo creates vertical lines.
  • A horizontal line in a photo of sunset on a beach.
  • Roads can cut across the photo frame, creating diagonal lines.

Photographers play with these lines in clever ways.

  • Vertical lines tend to cut the frame. Image a photo with a box full of red apples on the left, and a box full of green peppers on the right.
  • Horizontal lines are the easiest to use – look at all the good sunset photos all over the world… but note where they put the horizon. It’s mostly in the middle or 1/3 into the frame.
  • Diagonal lines tend to lead your eyes. For example, roads may lead to an interesting Ferris wheel.

SHAPES

Shapes are terribly similar to lines. Put them in the right places, and you get an awesome photo.

  • Squares and rectangles makes the photo look “stable” and “restful”. Well, you can think of a sunset horizon photo as two big rectangles… With the sun as a circle somewhere in the top rectangle.
  • Circles are attention grabbing in a photo, especially big ones. Yep, for example, the sunset.
  • Triangles almost have the same effect as an arrow. “The look here” effect, I call it. They can be tricky and fun though, you can try putting a few cucumbers together to point at a banana or something…

Bridge Camera versus Proper DSLR

Prefer A DSLR

1. Because you want the choice of using multiple different types of lenses, whether it be Fish Eye lenses, Macro lenses, or various Zoom or Telephoto lenses (perhaps you don’t need anything more than 100-200mm, for doing a mix of portrait photos and general photos of all sorts of subjects; or, maybe you intend to photograph wild animals in their natural habitat, in which case you’ll want maybe a 400-600mm lens or longer, so you can stay hidden and capture the animals totally at ease, without spooking them).

2. Because you want good performance in low light conditions. Larger sensors off this, especially Full Frame digital sensors, which are the equivalent of 35mm film cameras. At the time of writing (March 2016), a 1-inch sensor was the largest most Bridge Cameras offered, and this was a problem for the FZ1000, which didn’t perform all that well in low light; even the Panasonic GH4, with its slightly larger Micro Four Thirds sensor, wasn’t the best performer in low light situations. So, Bridge Cameras aren’t going to be a good choice if you think you may be taking photos in conditions where natural light isn’t adequate.

3. Because you’re thinking of moving up to a DSLR, anyway, at some point. In hindsight, I should have put my money straight into purchasing a proper DSLR, like the Panasonic GH4 I now own, rather than going for the intermediate choice of buying Panasonic’s FZ1000 Bridge Camera. This camera has all the features of a proper DSLR, and I still had to learn how to use them. But, once I’d mastered these features, it wasn’t long before I found I was needing more than the camera could offer – either a longer or wider focal length from the lens, or a narrower aperture to get everything into clear focus (the FZ1000 has an aperture limit of f8; a lot of times, I really could have done with f11, f16 or f22, but I didn’t have that option on the FZ1000 and wasn’t able to switch lenses to solve the problem (the clearest photos were often tantalizingly out of reach of the FZ1000, for a number of situations in which I found myself). After only a year of using the FZ1000, which cost me just under £800 (US$1,150 approx.), I was forced to either accept the limitations of the FZ1000, or dip into my piggy bank and pay a further couple of grand, for a proper DSLR (plus a couple of lenses to get me the range that I had with the single lens system on the FZ1000). If I’d have gone straight for the Panasonic GH4, I would either have saved myself 800 quid, or been able to invest that into an extra lens. In hindsight, knowing what I now know about using the main DSLR features, I wouldn’t have purchased the FZ1000; I would have gone straight for a proper DSLR.

Prefer A Bridge Camera

1. Because you’re a casual photographer or may be traveling a lot and don’t want to be burdened by multiple lenses; yet you still want to have a quality camera that can take pretty decent photos. Bridge Cameras, particular those with lens systems that offer a variety of zoom ranges, from wide angle to telephoto, are great, because you can take with you a decent range of lenses in a single camera. Camera’s like the Panasonic FZ1000 and Sony’s RX10 offer DSLR-like performance and image creating technology in an all-in-one package.

This is really the sole, main reason to purchase a Bridge Camera – the convenience of not having to fuss about extra lenses, yet still having a sophisticated image creation machine to take high quality photos. Even as camera technology advances, the FZ1000 will still be a very good, high end camera for the keen photographer. In early 2016, I had another look at the price of this camera, and discovered you can get one brand new for under £500 (US$720, approx.); these good quality cameras are becoming ever more affordable.