For this lesson, photographer Jay P. Morgan was in New York City shooting in Times Square. He wanted to explore shooting bokeh with all the intense lighting of Times Square. The term “bokeh” is Japanese and means “blur” or “haze”. Here, Morgan takes a look at different lenses and aperture settings to see how they create this cinematic look. Different lenses create different patterns and you’ll see how a 200mm lens compares to that of a 50mm lens. Read more »
“That is such an awesome camera! No wonder you take great photos!”
If you’ve ever heard this in person, I feel sorry for you. Photographers, like most creative individuals, tend to take things very personally, and this is one of the most insulting things you could say to a photographer. I don’t need to tell you why everything is wrong about this, but because it is so frustrating to hear it, it’s very important not to get carried away in front of your client and remain calm. To defuse the situation and restore your status (also patch your damaged ego), use this anecdote: Read more »
If you are making a living from photography, chances are some of your clients have requested all the photos from a shoot or an event, depending on the case. It is a common occurrence that I believe is due largely to a misunderstanding that people have in our work. Some photographers give in and offer all the photographs, the ones straight out of the camera, unedited. Let me assure you, this is a mistake and I will later explain why. Others refuse to do so directly, or try to steer the discussion in that direction often leaving their clients frustrated and confused. Here is why you should never give away raw files and how to explain it to your clients without harming your relationship with them. Read more »
Loaning and borrowing photographic gear has always been a delicate subject, especially among photographers who are also good friends. It involves a lot of trust on one side and responsibility on the other. The value of the tools is fairly high most of the times and that makes things even more delicate. I’m not in any position to judge whether it is right or wrong to loan cameras, but I would like to shine a light on some of the risks that come with putting your camera in strange hands. These are real risks you have to acknowledge and they should have you carefully consider who it is you decide to help. Read more »
For the most part, we use our cameras to capture a scene the way it looks in real life. Sure we might add some more color and contrast, maybe even make the shot look a little more dramatic with a flash. But we usually want the scene to look realistic. However, cameras do not always capture what we see the same way that we see it. In fact, there are many ways that we can purposely make a photograph look surreal just by altering the camera’s settings. One way we can do this is by changing the shutter speed.
This is something that we often want to avoid in photos because it usually looks messy and we lose detail in the subject or object being blurred. But motion blur can add a certain quality to a photograph when captured in a certain way. It can convey motion and life in a way that a static moment cannot. Think about a busy public place like Time Square. Which do you think would better convey the sense of busyness that takes place there? A still shot of everyone in the square, or a shot where figures leave blurred trails in the direction that they’re walking. This technique is even used by professional photographers. Take, for instance, Art Wolfe’s work. Many of his photographs of wild animals are captured with a carefully thought out slow shutter speed and movement tracking technique.
Flash + Slow Shutter Speed
This is a similar technique to motion blur, but with a distinct and important difference. The use of flash when using a slow shutter speed enables you to essentially freeze a subject, but keep the blur of motion paths made during the exposure. For instance, if you photographed someone running with a flash and slow shutter, you could get a clean detailed shot of the runner where the flash fired, but the blur from his movement would still be visible behind him. This technique is a little more complicated and takes some practice to get down, but it can produce some amazing photos.
This is probably the most common technique used on this page. Long exposures are quite popular, and sometimes essential when taking photographs at night or in other dimly lit settings. The premise is quite simple. You just leave your shutter open for a long length of time to allow the camera to capture more light and properly expose the scene. In many situations, a wide aperture and high ISO will not be enough to expose a scene, so a long exposure is used out of necessity. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of creative input into a long exposure. Just like any other shot, you have to be aware of your location, composition, highlights, and shadows. If it’s a really long exposure, you have to keep in mind any moving objects in your scene such as stars or cars, which will leave light streaks, and moving people, which may not even show up in the final image if you exposure is really long.
On the other side of thing, you can also freeze fast-moving objects. Sometimes these freeze frames can give you a unique perspective on an animal or person whose quick movements you may not be able to get a clear image of in reality. This is used in many situations such as physical sports, racing, wildlife, kids running around, etc. But thinking outside the box, you can position people in ways that make them look like they’re defying gravity. Try telling a friend to jump in the air and then photograph them with a high shutter speed. Shooting with you subject in various positions, you can make it look like they’re flying or floating or taking a nap in the air.
Photo copyright PhotographyTalk member Alex Schult
Written by Spencer Seastrom
Sometimes you don’t have a tripod or a park bench or a trash can to set your camera on to avoid camera shake. Or maybe you do have something available but it’s too high or behind another object that would obstruct your photo. In these cases, the only option you have is hand holding your camera. At night, going hand-held is not recommended as your shot will often turn out blurry due to slower shutter speeds. But here’s a few tips to getting sharp hand-held photos at night: Read more »
Tips for Capturing Better Photos with Your Point Shoot
Your pocket-sized point-and-shoot may not be as robust as a DSLR, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create some amazing photos with it. Of course, if you leave your camera on auto mode all the time, then your photos aren’t going to look much different from others. To switch to manual settings is to really have control over your photography. A professional photographer would chose a cheap camera with manual controls over a super high-tech camera with only auto mode any day. So if you’re looking to get the most out of your point-and-shoot camera, follow these tips: Read more »
Thinking Creatively: Diptychs
They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. But what about two pictures combined into one? When we think about a photograph, we often think about a single image. The idea seems to be to use one image to convey a subject, idea, or emotion. But we are not limited to a single photo. We can combine multiple images into one to further add to our subject or idea or emotion, and while adding too many photographs to an image may be distracting, diptychs can create quite a powerful message. Diptychs are simply images that contain two separate pictures adjacent to each other. Thinking creatively, you can create some really unique imagery with this technique. Read more »