Announcing the winner of my Home Studio Lighting Kit contest! The FJ Westcott Top Pro Tour in Burbank was an amazing success. From lighting patterns, lighting ratios, composition, and hands-on shooting with live models – everyone had fun and learned something new. We selected the Top 10 images and after careful consideration we have chosen the winner of the Home Studio Lighting Kit, it’s…drum roll please …Frederick Melikian! Honorable Mentions go out to Michael Palma and Judith Grothause. Congratulations! Thank you all for participating in the workshop and the contest, it was wonderful meeting you. I hope to see you again in another workshop.
Archive for the ‘dSLR’ Category
Are you tired of the same old ho-hum holiday snapshots? Would you like more consistent results when capturing those special moments? You’re not alone. Get a handle on this season’s shots with my Portrait and Candid Photography Workshop. This one-day-only event takes place on Saturday, November 20th, just in time for the holidays!
Click HERE to find out more.
Painting with light can produce images that range from ethereal and beautiful to funky and fun, but how do you paint with light? What are you painting with? What are you painting on? Is expensive equipment required? Why does this technique sound so mysterious?
Find out how! Read my article on the Canon Digital Learning Center
Whether you’re gathering for a family reunion, celebrating a birthday, or capturing your favorite sports team, a group photo is always a good idea. The problem is, a successful group photograph can be a challenge for even the most experienced photographer – from impatient subjects, to closed eyes, bored expressions, bad light, and blurry images, what’s a person to do? Don’t worry, with a few tips and a little practice you’ll feel confident about directing the group and your pictures will look fabulous.
The three main areas we covered in my Digital 101 class at BlogHer were light, composition, and authenticity. My talented students picked up on the lessons very quickly and either found prior photos that would be appropriate or created new ones for submission into my BlogHer Photo Contest. After much deliberation the winners are…. drum roll please!
First Prize – Bridget Ivey aka QueenofHaddock
Very beautiful. I love the late afternoon quality of light and the timeless feel to the image. A candid shot often incorporates a person in a personal moment, unaware of the camera, and you’ve captured this moment as if it’s a memory the viewer is experiencing. You won a F.J. Westcott 42″ 6-in-1 Reflector Kit!
Second Prize – Cindy Streams aka CityStreams
This little boy looks so sweet and the image really tells a story. You’ve created a compelling composition with him in the foreground and the family visible, but blurred in the background. His expression is very authentic….as if he’s excited and proud to have a new baby in the family. You won $50 worth of Digital Photography Titles from Wiley!
Third Prize – Tara Gerner-Ziegmont aka FeelsLikeHomeBlog
Great shot! The color is vibrant, the composition interesting – nice use of the rule of thirds and the angle creates energy in the image. You won a dSLR Gorillapod from Joby!
Honorable Mention – Virginia DeBolt aka Veesees
The relationship between Mother and child evokes a warm and fuzzy feeling and the S-curve of the hand and little baby foot creates an interesting composition. Nice job. You won a Gorillapod Original from Joby!
Remember that all my BlogHer students win a premium subscription ($40 value) to Club Smilebox. Email me for details.
Thank you to everyone who participated! I enjoyed meeting you all and look forward to seeing more of your wonderful images online.
I had the best time teaching Digital Photo 101 at the BlogHer conference July 24th in Chicago – what a fun group! We planned to have the initial part of the class inside, which worked out great for learning about the camera functions, lighting basics and a little about composition. Next, we went outside for a hands-on lesson about working with natural light using reflectors and diffusers. The sun was in and out of the clouds that day, so it made for an interesting lighting lesson. Essentially, bring a reflector where ever you go (or learn to look for light surfaces for reflective light), it makes you look fabulous.
We picked a spot to set up along the Chicago River.
Here’s our (reflected) group shot, thanks Ashley!
“Group hug” or “Jump for joy” are a couple of good ideas when you’re thinking of things to do in a group picture.
I’m announcing the winners of my BlogHer Photo Contest later today (August 18th) so stay tuned for some wonderful images from the winners and great prizes!
1st Prize – F.J. Westcott 42″ 6-in-1 Reflector Kit
2nd Prize – $50 worth of Digital Photography Titles from Wiley
3rd Prize – A Gorillapod from Joby
All my BlogHer photo students – A one year premium membership to Club Smilebox (email me for the info!)
The Whole Picture Wins Two Classic Telly Awards.
I’m getting ready to go to PMA 2009 (March 3-5 in Las Vegas) and I’m so excited! The Photo Marketing Association trade show is a great place for photo retailers, professional photographers, and educators to learn about the hottest imaging products for the year. Last year I visited a few of my favorite booths and decided to create a video so you can see some of the cool stuff I found in 2008. Thanks to my producer, Michael Welch, for shooting and editing this video for me.
The holidays are here! Lights twinkle, candles cast a warm glow, and fireplaces illuminate the room, creating a beautiful, festive atmosphere. Most people try to capture this mood in a photograph, but often end up with underexposed, overexposed, or blurry images that don’t reflect the feeling of the moment. Low-light photography can be a challenge, but with a few simple tips you’ll be on your way to successfully capturing those holiday memories that you and your family will treasure forever.
If you’ve ever tried to capture a picture of an ornament or other holiday decoration in low-light, you may have experienced a few problems. Following are a few examples:
I shot this photo using the Auto Flash mode and Auto ISO. You can see how the flash caused a distracting reflection and overexposed the image.
I shot this second photo with the Flash Off and the ISO set to 200. I’m hand holding the camera and the image turned out blurry.
The final image was shot with the Flash Off using an ISO of 1600, and I’m still hand holding the camera. By setting the camera’s ISO to a higher number, I’m letting more light into the camera which allows for a faster shutter speed and results in a sharper image. Keep in mind, when you raise your ISO you introduce noise into your image (similar to film grain). This translates to tiny, discolored pixels in the dark areas of your image. Typically, dSLR camera sensors are better at handling higher ISO speeds, but now even compact camera sensors are producing less noise at higher speeds. Personally, I’d rather deal with a little “noise” than have a blurry shot. Experiment and see how your camera responds.
Your camera’s flash reaches approximately 10 feet so it won’t illuminate anything past that distance. When shooting a landscape in low light, turn off your flash, steady your camera on a tripod or solid surface to prevent blur, and take advantage of your camera’s two-second self timer to prevent any accidental camera movement.
- If you’re shooting with a compact camera, you may not be able to manually select a slow shutter speed, but your camera will adjust for a decent exposure.
- If you do have manual control over your shutter speed, or you’re using a dSLR, set your camera to Manual, your ISO between 200 and 400, and try various slow shutter speeds (1/30 of a second and slower). Adjust your aperture to create an exposure that looks good on your LCD viewfinder. Every lighting situation varies, so experiment and don’t be afraid to take chances. With digital photography, you can take as many pictures as your memory card can hold.
Every December our local pier dresses up for the holidays. I try to capture a different angle and lighting condition each time I venture out to document this tradition, and I always take a lot of pictures. As the light changes, I adjust my camera settings. Some of the images from this session were very dark, others were lighter, I thought this one was just right.
Here’s the deal - it’s dark outside and your subject is standing in front of some very festive lights. You’d like to capture the glow, yet still light up your subject. Poof! You take a picture and your flash goes off. The resulting image shows a well lit subject, but the lights look….washed out. What happened?
The Auto Flash works well in some situations, this is not one of them. Notice that my subject is illuminated, but the background lights look dim.
Most compact cameras and entry level dSLRs have a Night Portrait or Night Scene setting denoted by an icon on the Mode Dial or in the Menu settings. If you don’t have this option, look for Slow Synchro in your Menu settings. Night Scene, Night Portrait, and Slow Synchro use a slower shutter speed that captures the ambient light in your scene, while the flash still illuminates your subject. Since the shutter speed is slower, you may need to use a tripod or rest your camera on a stable surface to reduce image blur. Or you can use the blur as a creative element in your image. Try it, and see what happens.
This family photo was taken using a slow shutter speed (1/30) and flash. This setting allowed me to capture the glow of the tree lights and the flash cast a nice, even light on everyone’s face.
I hope these low-light photo tips inspire you to capture and remember the important people, places, and things that make your holiday special.