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Sunday, 16 June 2013

Photographing Babies - Getting Started

Photographing Babies - Getting Started By Bobby Jonnes

This article will focus on photographing babies. The baby portraiture session gives you a good opportunity to get to know the family and sow the seeds of a long-term relationship with potential for repeat business.

Baby portraiture, is unlike other forms of portraiture, yes it is still about capturing light and complementary images, however you don’t have the same opportunity to communicate what you are looking for from the subject! This requires a different approach to posing as well as lighting your subject.

There are some basic rules to follow to achieve your goal. Some methods and techniques work best with newborn babies, while others are most used for older babies (by older my definition is up to approximately 2 to 3 years old). No technique is restricted to a specific gender or age group, however.

It is up to you as photographer to determine the wants and needs of the parents, then adjust your lighting and posing to meet those wants and needs. You should also keep in mind that when photographing babies all of your best laid plans can be turned on their head, and you can end up with no saleable shots.

This is one of the reasons that some photographers refuse to photograph babies. I have found that it is best to have some standard lighting setups and ‘poses’ to use as a starting point. I use the word poses loosely, because it’s more a case of you positioning the baby in a pre-determined way to leverage your chance of a good shot. These can be varied to better suit the individual subject.

Using more than one setup is something you should do to keep all of your baby portraits from looking the same. You will get many and varied bookings as a long-term result of customers being satisfied with the portrait of their beloved baby. I have had many customers who have started their relationship with me through having their baby photographed. This has led to birthdays, anniversaries, graduation and even wedding shoots for the same family, so never underestimate the earnings potential of that first baby portrait session.

Do I Need a Studio?
Before I had my studio I started doing baby portraiture in the homes of my customers. You can do this too. Some of the best shots I have taken of babies were taken in customer’s homes, with minimal equipment.

For example a hand held single brolly can give excellent results when photographing babies.
There is obviously a limit to the amount of equipment that you can easily transport around, assemble and disassemble, without the exercise becoming counterproductive. If you have the luxury of a large enough spare room at home you can elaborate on the portable setup.

One advantage that I find in the studio is the immediate availability of a large number of props. This coupled with the consistency of semi permanent lighting set-ups and backgrounds will give you the added confidence of predictability of results, compared with the range of different environments and potential enforced variations in lighting encountered when visiting the customer’s home.

However, having mentioned the advantages of having a permanent studio, I am not suggesting that being portable does not have its own advantages. Parents often feel more comfortable in the surroundings of their own home; this is often reflected in the mood of the baby, relaxed parents give more chance of relaxed baby! Also, if the baby is wearing something which you know will look dreadful it is easier for the parents to change them quickly into something else.
I hope you have found this article helpful.

Do you want to learn more about how I do it? I have written a comprehensive guide on baby photography.

Find our more from here Photographing Babies
Bobby is a photographer and author. He has been commissioned to shoot thousands of events, including weddings and portraits.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Bobby_Jonnes

Photographers Creative Portraits

Photographers Creative Portraits and Photographers Creative Portraits

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Props For the Studio

There is a never ending quest for a ‘different’ look in the portraits we take. One easy way to inject interest in a portrait is to add a prop or two to the scene,. After a few years, you may have too many props adorning the walls, floor and ceiling and you may have to discard some and make new ones.

Some of my favorite props have been and 1890s tricycle, a 1910 iron and wood sleigh, a white wicker sleigh/bassinette and a couple of faux marble columns. The wicker sleigh made it easy to prop up wobbly babies and when leveled with foam and a blanket, supplied a nice base for tummy shots. Of course we couldn’t do without the ubiquitous baseball.

The marble columns came plain white plastic so I painted them to simulate real marble. First I prepared four buckets with white, light gray, darker gray and black water paint. Latex is fine. I placed the bare column on a large plastic sheet and quickly painted one side of the column with the white paint. A handy hose set at fine mist then wets down the Wet paint. Applications of the light and dark gray latex and sprayed with water allows the colors to blend naturally. After all sides are completed, a feather dipped in black latex and drawn randomly along the surface supplies the final touch. A c oat of clear acrylic will protect the surface for many years.

For Communions, I cut a 30 inch circle out of heavy cardboard. Making an X from two rectangular pieces of cardboard, I stapled the circle on top, creating an instant round table. Cutting a piece of white Dacron for a table cloth that just reaches the ground results in beautiful natural folds. On top can be placed a bouquet of flowers, a candle, missal or white gloves and placed in the near background of the Communion picture.

One photography prop that has many uses is white nylon tulle. Used to cover flower arrangements, antique boxes or any accessories in the background, it imparts to these artifacts a smoky ethereal atmosphere. The lowered contrast and softening of detail allows more emphasis to be placed on the main subject while adding interest to the composition. The white tulle is especially effective on a near white background. Large amounts of tulle can represent clouds or water.

For a rustic look, several four foot weathered barn boards can make a country look background for children’s portraits head shots. This easily made prop can be stored in a small area. A small section of white picket fence can be part of a beach scene or a Huckleberry country look. An eighteen inch long log with rough bark provides a handy place for young feet or to straddle. A taller log is handy for resting elbows and log sitting.

Introduction to Travel Photography

If you’re a traveler and a photographer you’re blessed with the opportunity of a lifetime to capture moments in time from throughout the world and allow others to experience the world through your photography. Your adventures will become others dreams and inspiration. Often a particular photograph could make someone want to follow in your footsteps. Just one photograph could trigger the travel bug in someone and the next thing you know, you, the photographer, and enhancing people’s lives through the use of your camera.

Besides the impact travel photography has on others, it’s also very rewarding to the travel photographer. Chances are you would have had a camera on you anyways, so why not apply the creative principles of art photography to help enhance the pictures you take.
How to take the best travel photographsThere are two types of travel photography.

1) The “stand in front of that sweetie” brand and the “spontaneous and interesting” brand. Unfortunately most travel photography falls into the former category. We’ve all seen this type of photographer before, and regrettably most of us are guilty of it as well. We will try and capture the shot of something for no other purpose than to just prove we were there. The result is an often scripted, uncomfortable, predictable and visually boring picture. These types of pictures clog photo albums. Page one; the family in front of a water fountain. Page 2; the family in front of a monument. Page 3; the family in front of a sign that says something only funny to tourist. Congratulations, you’ve taken the same shots, in the same position as thousands and sometimes millions of other people. Let’s now turn our attention to the other brand of travel photography, the spontaneous and interesting brand.

2) with this type of photography you are still free to capture the tourist site and you are still allowed to include yourself in the picture. However, there will be a stark difference in both composition and character engagement. Let’s say for example that you and your family have gone on a kayaking for the day. Some people may line the kayaks up, gear up and stand in front of the kayaks, throw their thumbs in the air and “click”. The picture is taken. When you get home to look at your shot you realize that the picture didn’t capture the peacefulness of kayaking, the calming backdrop of mountains or the scared look on sisters face when she had to duck under a log. You’ve simply captured proof that you’ve been there and done that. A better idea would be to have someone on shore (because you probably don’t want a camera in a kayak unless you’re very skilled), and have them take pictures of the action while its happening. Even if you have to recreate events, it is still better than the scripted and visually boring alternative. Obviously capturing the moment spontaneously is best, but recreation finds itself in second place if that’s the only other option.

Likewise if you’re in Rome and you’d like to get a picture of your friend and the Coliseum all in one, try quickly pulling out your camera while they are looking at the size of the structure and snap a shot of the wonder and curiosity in their eyes. Often this takes some preplanning with however you’re with. You will need to tell them; “Look, when I take out the camera I don’t want you to stop what you’re doing and “say cheese”. Just keep doing what you’re doing because I’m trying to capture our unpredictable and beautiful life as it unfolds”. It may take a couple of times before they stop turning and looking your way, but once you get this down pat as a team, your pictures will turn out much better.

Camera Digital Technology

Camera digital technology: do you have to understand it to utilize it? Probably not, especially if you're using a consumer digital camera - a point-and-shoot - and you just want to get that holiday trip recorded for posterity.
On the other hand, it is quite useful to have a good grip on camera digital technology to get the best out of that little technological marvel!
For starters, it makes sense to know that the number of pictures you can take on your camera depends on the file format you select, and on your camera's storage capacity.

Camera digital technology generally works with two main formats, the JPG and the RAW file. The latter is for storing as much as possible original data per picture, to be adjusted later on a PC. The RAW format is of particular interest to professionals. RAW pictures often need nearly 10 times as much storage space as JPG files, so a casual photographer will generally choose to use JPG.

However, your camera might give you the option of selecting high quality JPG's or standard quality JPG's - the latter using less space, and mostly giving quite satisfactory results.
The camera will store the picture files on a card. A 256MB card can sometimes store more than 80 images of standard JPG size. If you're willing to spend more, new camera digital technology allows you to buy cards with 10 times more storage capacity.

Another aspect of camera digital technology which is useful to know about, is the way the images are captured. In stead of the film of well, film cameras, digital cameras have a silicon sensor with light-sensitive photosites (pixels) which capture the light information.

These sensors are often less precise than film when it comes to rendering detail in shadows and highlights. Camera digital technology therefore dictates that you should be careful not to "blow" your highlights. If they are not captured in the first place, you can't make any adjustments afterwards in your software processing.

To ensure you capture as much shadow and highlight detail as possible, and in a balanced way, camera digital technology offers you the use of a histogram. This handy tool is a little graph which indicates how the levels of brightness are distributed in an image. Many cameras show a histogram in real time, while you compose your image, giving you the opportunity to make exposure adjustments.

While digital camera lenses are essentially "old technology", it is useful to know that you can get excellent quality pictures from fairly inexpensive consumer cameras. This has once again to do with the sensor used in camera digital technology.

As the sensor in these point-and-shoots have a much smaller surface area than the 35mm film of a film camera, the former can get a much sharper and detailed image than a film camera with the same lens, due to the smaller focal area.

Camera digital technology has the major advantage of offering you stacks of opportunity to experiment with taking first-rate pictures, because you don't have to be concerned with the expenses relating to camera film.

Graduation Gifts Mean Personal Electronics

Graduation season is just around the corner, so it's time to start thinking of gift ideas for the graduate in your life. This year, electronics top the "most wanted" list of nearly every graduate. And with such a variety of personal electronics available in virtually every price range, there's no reason you can't make your grad's wishes come true.

Digital Cameras
When your graduate heads off to college in the fall, a digital camera will help ensure that he or she stays in touch. After all, what could be easier than attaching a photo to an email and hitting the "Send" button? Besides, college years are so precious and fleeting that your graduation gift will be put to good use and provide a lifetime worth of memories.

What should you look for in a digital camera? A digital camera with at least three megapixels should do the trick, as long as it also has an optical zoom. The most straightforward digital cameras come with a cable that hooks right up to the computer so that photos can be easily uploaded, and software that can manipulate photos by cropping them, adjusting the lighting, and removing that fabled red eye. Digital cameras are notoriously hard on batteries, and there are almost as many proprietary camera batteries as there are manufacturers. If possible, choose one that uses rechargeable AA batteries, and tuck some extra batteries and a charger into the graduation gift.

Cell Phones
What young adult doesn't live and breathe without a cell phone plastered to his or her ear - or to his or her fingers as they furiously text message their friends? With the rite of passage of graduation, it may be appropriate to spring for one of the latest models, and include a calling plan that makes it free (or nearly free) to call home. If you're willing to foot the cell phone bill for the first six months, chances are you'll hear more often from your grad.

A notebook computer is a must-have for every college student. The student will be more inclined to take thorough notes in class, and have an important tool for writing and submitting papers. College campuses are increasing jamming wireless signals in lecture halls and classrooms, so you probably won't have to worry that your grad is surfing the Internet instead of listening to the professor. When you purchase the computer, don't forget to pick up a printer. There are many compact color or black and white printers available that take up little room but give your student the flexibility he or she needs to print out research, papers, and other important documents.

Graduation is a memorable time; by selecting a graduation gift that's both useful and sought after, your gift is sure to be treasured.

Chris Robertson is an author of Majon International, one of the worlds MOST popular internet marketing companies on the web.
Learn more about Graduation Gifts Mean Electronics! or Majon's Gifts and Collectibles directory.

Portrait Photography: Tips and Methods

Portrait is defined as, “A likeness of a person, especially one showing the face, that is created by a painter or photographer, for example.” In the area of portrait photography there are some guidelines that you should consider when you go to take photos of people.
The different types of portraits are: close-ups, facial shots, upper body shots or environmental portraits. Environmental portraits are where you focus on the subject and on their surroundings that provide more character to the subject.

When people have a camera in their face it usually makes them nervous and they will try to put on a face that does not portray who they really are. The real skill to portrait photography is trying to capture photos when the subjects are comfortable and not worried about a camera.
Many professional photographers try to capture their subject’s true essence by using tricks. One example of this is counting to three so the subject prepares and then while they are relaxing after taking a planned photo the photographer will snap a few more unplanned photos. In most cases the subject won’t even know that more than one photo was taken but it’s usually the photos that the subject wasn’t expecting that capture their true essence.
Another more common strategy professionals use is to tell funny jokes that make their subjects genuinely laugh or smile. I’m sure that you have probably experienced something like this yourself.

These usually have the subject’s shoulders and head or less. They are framed around the face. These are the most common and best at capturing expressions and glamour shots. For these it is very important to have the light coming from a good angle. To accent wrinkles or small details you should have the light coming from the side or from the top. To create flattering pictures you should choose a cloudy day or try to create diffused light so there are hardly any shadows. Also make sure the subject is brighter than the background to reduce distraction.

For close-up portraits you should use a wide aperture (low f/stop) to make the background out of focus and therefore less of a distraction. Professionals commonly use a fixed telephoto lens that’s 90 mm or higher for portraits in order to de-emphasize the subject’s nose or any other unflattering feature. It works because at that distance the nose or any other feature does not seem closer to the camera than the rest of the face.

These are easier to capture because the subject is probably more relaxed because it’s less personal. These include a little more of the background than close-ups. These are commonly used for both single subjects and multiple subjects. This is the kind of portrait used to mark occasions such as graduation, yearbook, birthdays and other parties. The ideal lens would be about a 90 mm fixed telephoto or more wide angle depending on how many subjects there are.

These are the portraits that let you into the life of a subject. They might include the whole subject in a scenario or the subject participating in some hobby that they enjoy. These are best for telling a story to the viewer about the subject. They are almost always used by photojournalists to look into the lives of interesting people. They also make great Black and White pictures.

Use this information to develop what kind of portrait style you would like to take, and then practice it before dealing with any serious clients.

Richard Schneider is a digital photography enthusiast and founder of http://www.picturecorrect.com/ which offers tips and news about digital photography, digital camera reviews, photoshop tutorials and computer wallpaper.