Monthly Archives: April 2008

San Jose Photography – Portrait Photographer Tips Although portrait photography may seem simple to most, it is actually one of the trickiest photographic skills and takes years to master. On the plus side, because of the posed and scheduled nature of portrait photography, it is also one of the easiest ones to practice. If you’re considering starting a studio in your garage or living room, here are a few handy tips to keep in mind before you call your subject in for the shoot. Brighter Isn’t Better Harsh, bright lights will definitely give you lots of illumination and make photographing your subject super simple. However, these lights are rarely flattering and should be avoided if you want natural results. Portrait lighting is best achieved with soft light. You can find this light in the shade, on overcast days, or by using umbrella reflectors in the studio (these are available at a relatively low price). Using soft, even light will be easier to work with and will help to highlight your subject nicely. Light Setup Two lights should be enough for portrait lighting. Use one main light to determine the tone and direction of your light, then offset it with a second light placed near the camera. This will help to soften any harsh shadows and even out the strong contrast. Another way you can get this effect is by placing a light above the camera and one fill reflector below the camera. Both of these options will give you good quality results without special equipment. Use What You Already Have If you don’t have money to spend on a professional light setup, you can often get near-professional results by using a few desk or floor lights. If you want even more control, try using bed sheets to reflect the light around the room. Look around your house for possible lighting equipment and you may find some unique opportunities to use for your portraits. Don’t Forget the Sun Often times, we think of portrait photography as studio photography, but that doesn’t mean you have to be in a studio for professional results. You can get incredible results using natural light if you know how to properly use it. For example, if you have a large window in your house, you can use it as a source of natural light. If you’re taking pictures outside, use a big sheet of white posterboard (or foam board) as a reflector and point it at your subject to minimize harsh shadows. Much like every other sort of photography, portraiture requires practice, patience, and a whole lot of love. Luckily, it doesn’t require a lot of professional equipment or a lot of money. Be creative with your materials and subjects and you’ll be surprised at how great the results can be. Portrait lighting is all about subtlety but that doesn’t mean that it’s not a lot of fun!  

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San Jose Photographer – How to Photograph People in  Action When it comes to capturing good action shots – whether a teen’s latest skateboard maneuver or Fido’s latest antic – one of the most important digital photography basics to consider is shutter lag. More accurately called “processor lag,” this is the time that passes between the moment you press the shutter release button to the moment the camera actually gets the shot and you see that green light. Press too soon, and you end up with something completely different than you’d expected. In spite of all their advantages, compact digital cameras are slower than film cameras, some more than others. This article provides some tips for dealing with this lag, as well as tips for just generally taking some exciting and memorable action pictures. 1) Be Ready to Shoot – While you can’t know if your child is going to make that soccer goal, try to anticipate when then things are most apt to happen. Even professional sports photographers with speed-of-lightning cameras try to anticipate the action, just so they can be in the right spot and point the camera in the right direction. To better anticipate the likelihood of that great shot, gain a basic understanding of what/whom you are photographing. In other words, if you plan to photograph your child’s soccer game, learn the rules of the game. If your child’s performing in the Nutcracker, watch a rehearsal or two. 2) Shop Around before purchasing a new compact digital. Unfortunately, there isn’t just one camera spec that will tell you how fast the camera will capture the picture from the time you press that button. Other factors can slow down the processing too, like the quality of the sensor and in dim lighting, the ISO setting. So check out what others are saying at photography forums and honest review sites, and read all the specs available. 3) Spring for a DSLR (Digital Single-Lens-Reflex). They’re more expensive than compacts, but they’re FAST. These cameras do not have shutter-lag issues, and if you’re shooting action indoors, you can ramp up the ISO without your photos being marred by the digital noise that you’ll get when doing the same with a compact. Digital Photography Basics to Use with any Type of Camera Whether you have a compact, DSLR, point-and-shoot film camera or camera phone, try these professional tricks. 1) Zoom in on Faces – Don’t always focus on the action. Capture those expressions of determination, triumph and even defeat (especially if it’s an opponent!). 2) Tell a Story – Look for shots that tell a story of the event. For example, begin with a shot of the team’s huddle or your fellow paddlers launching their rafts. 3) Freeze! – To freeze the action, set your camera to sports mode or set your Shutter Speed Priority to a high setting. For an example of the difference in settings: freezing action in a soccer game requires a shutter speed in the range of […]

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San Jose Photographer – Choosing a Portrait Photographer *** 1. Location Do you want to be traveling across the country to do a portrait session? If the answer is no, you should start a search based on your location. How far are you willing to travel to get your portraits done? How long will your kids last in the car? Is an hour too far? Figuring these things out is key to finding the right photographer. You don’t want a group of grumps showing up for the portrait session instead of your wonderful family. Also keep in mind that most photographers are up for traveling further than their immediate area for a small fee. 2. Quality The quality of the photographers work is also very important. You want someone who has the knowledge and skill to translate your family and their personalities into a photographic medium. Anyone can push a shutter button, take a snapshot, or say “smile”. It takes a true professional to understand different personalities, knowing how to interact with people to open them up. You also need someone who is aware of the light around them and how to work with it. Light can be flattering, and it can also be down right ugly. Being knowledgeable in the field of photography and understanding the controls of an SLR camera work are just as important as drawing out an individuals personality. Lower quality prints can fade overtime. When you are looking for a photographer take a good look at the photographs on their website or in their portfolio. Do they have a good image here and there? Have they set a standard for professionalism? Talk with your friends to find out their experiences with photographers. 3. Style When selecting a photographer you want to find a style that is relatively close to your own. When looking at their photographs select a few keywords to best describe their images. Do these key words fit with the personality of your family? If not you might try looking around for someone else. Just because you appreciate a photographer’s style does not mean you will like their images hanging on the walls of your home. 4. Availability The best way to guarantee being able to schedule the photographer when you need them is to schedule in advance. Most professional photographers book 3-4 months in advance or even more. You do not want to miss out on having the right photographer there to capture your son’s first birthday party because you put off booking a children photographer until the last minute. 5. Price Never select a photographer because their prices are the cheapest. There is a reason why their prices are so low. These are your memories and precious moments; you want them to last a lifetime. Plan on spending between 1,000.00 and 5,000.00 for your annual portraits. If you plan ahead and set aside the money every year for your family portraits you will not be stuck hiring someone who does not […]

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