Category: Photography Tips & Tutorials

? Finding Fresh Angles in Photography


This post is by Erik Naso from PictureCorrect

How on earth do you find a fresh angle to shoot from when they’ve all been taken? That’s not what I mean. I do not mean discovering a new angle but using new angles you don’t usually shoot from. By changing your angles you’ll add a whole new dimension to your photography.

fresh angles for better photos

Photo by Sathish J; ISO 400, f/14.0, 1/100-second exposure.

The question I get asked as a photography teacher is how do the pros do it? Why are their images so different from mine? Simple, one of the techniques they use is angles or viewpoints. Implement them in your images and you are one step nearer to a great image. The key here is varying the angles and trying to think outside the box.

1. Don’t stand in front of your subject

Everyone shoots an image from directly in front of their subjects or objects. They line everyone up, tell them to say cheese, and push the shutter button. Then they wonder later why their images all look the same. The reason they all look the same is because most people shoot from eye level, which, on average, is about 1.5 meters or 5 feet above the ground. Boring because everyone does it. So think before you shoot, and use your feet to move around.

2. Use your stomach not your head

How low can you go is the chant when attempting to belly dance under a balancing pole. Get down low on the ground and shoot from that angle looking up at the subject. Immediately the perspective has changed and the image is dramatically different.

low angle bridge

Photo by Nick Page

How many people do you ever see in a tourist spot lying on their stomachs getting a shot. No need to answer. I have never seen …

Framing in Photography


This post is by Eric Myrvaagnes from PictureCorrect

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Just to be clear, for this article we are not talking about the frame the print goes into, but “framing” your subject with something in the environment. The frame is a part of the scene, so it tells a bigger story and places your subject in context. It also suggests things about the image.

tips for framing your photos

Photo by Björn Bechstein; ISO 100, f/2.0, 1/2000-second exposure.

Simple framing elements are doorways or windows. These create a portal that takes the viewer into the world beyond, a suggestion of something being possible.

best framing tips

Photo by Vincent Brassinne; ISO 400, f/5.6, 1/125-second exposure.

By being dark, a frame adds drama–possibly danger or suspense–to your image. If the frame is bright beyond your subject, it lends a heavenly, divine sense to the subject.

easy tips for better framing

Photo by Spiros Vathis; ISO 400, f/11.0, 1/640-second exposure.

The lighter the frame, the more delicate and happy the image will feel. It creates a desire in the viewer to go through the frame and join them to be part of the joy. You create the emotional trick of the viewer joining the joy by the desire to go through the frame.

framing tricks for photos

Photo by M R Navin; ISO 100, f/5.0, 1/1250-second exposure.

The frame can be in front of or behind your subject, and it does not even need to be complete for it to work as a frame. The mind completes things when it sees the suggestion of the shape. So a subject can be seen through a gap in a row of surfboards or snow skis.

Framing Tricks for Photographers

  • Don’t skimp. Pull back so you can see what the frame is.
  • Keep it square. Frames usually have a geometric …

Depth of Field: A Major Player in Creative Control


This post is by Erik Naso from PictureCorrect

When you hear the phrase Depth of Field (also called DOF) you may wonder why you should care as long as your pictures are in focus. Well since DOF is generally referred to as the range of a pictures over all sharpness; and most people are instinctively drawn to the sharpest part of the picture first, I would say that it is indeed a major player in the game of creative control.

depth of field

Photo by Julien Sanine

Most articles or books you will read on this subject immediately jump into talking about f-stops. These are numbers like f-1.4 to say f-22 that represent how much light the aperture is letting into the camera. Although I will explain that more in detail in a few minutes, it is not where I want to start.

3 basic things that affect DOF:

  1. the lens aperture (f-stops)
  2. the lens focal length (the size like: 35mm vs. 200mm)
  3. the subject difference (how far it is from the camera)

Keep in mind that most digital cameras do not have f-stops as per say. In fact if you have a straight point and shoot camera with a set lens, it may feel like you have no control at all. Although it does take a little more effort there are still things you can do to enhance your Depth of Field experience.

Both the point and shoot and even many of the more advance digital cameras are based on a false premise. They assume that all people want all their pictures, all the way in focus, all the time. “Now wait a minute”, you may be saying to yourself. “Of course I want my pictures in focus, don’t I?”

When we say in focus, we are not talking about the results of a 110 year old lady …

Working with Flash Photography in Daylight


This post is by Nicholas Mitchell from PictureCorrect

Shooting with a flash when photographing outside on a sunny day may sound counter intuitive. But, by placing the flash just right, you can get some beautiful results. In this video, professional wedding photographer Vanessa Joy with Adorama explains how you can shoot outside with an off-camera flash and make it look like you have two light sources:

As Joy demonstrates in the video, you can get some really nice shots by mixing the sun with flash. The trick is however to treat the sun as the secondary light, and your flash as the main light. So, position your subject so that the sun falls to their back and highlights their hair and shoulders.

Before using any flash, start by metering for your background. Then, use the flash to illuminate the subject from the side. If you’re not sure about what power setting to use, start by using TTL. You can then switch over to manual to adjust from there.  Having the subject turn towards the flash will help you to illuminate their eyes and facial structure for a beautiful effect. And also make sure that the flash is not harsh. Ensure that it’s subtle and melts into the scene.

“I made sure that the flash was pretty much to a 90 degree angle, maybe a little bit less to my subject so that shadow kind of goes down the middle of the subject.”

If you haven’t tried mixing flash with daylight, try out Joy’s method. You just might fall in love with the results.

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Going the Extra Mile For a Great Photo


This post is by Erik Naso from PictureCorrect

Nature photography classes have taught me a lot as a teacher. They have helped me to evaluate how much emphasis in nature photography should be on technology—and how much on creativity.

Half my time spent teaching is concentrated on the essential mechanics of good photography: aperture, shutter speed, ISO, lenses, and so on. The rest of the time is focused on understanding natural light and the techniques of good composition.

I truly believe that a good photographer, no matter how good their camera may be, must have a good grasp of the basics. If you don’t understand the relationship between shutter speeds and movement effects, you won’t get the best results from your waterfall photos. If you don’t understand depth of field you won’t know how to capture real character in a wildlife photo.

However, the simple truth is that most of the time, especially in clear daylight situations, you can leave your camera on automatic and rely on it to do the job for you. I don’t encourage this, as the more experience you have with your manual settings, the better prepared you are to use them when the situation calls for it. But auto is a reliable option most of the time.

So, if your camera can take care of the technical aspects of your photography for you, what sets a good photographer apart from the rest? The answer is simple: their creativity and their willingness to put in the extra effort for a great photo.

If you’re prepared to go to the trouble to take your photos in the best possible light, you can improve your photography one hundred percent overnight—without doing one thing to the settings on your camera.

If you ask 100 people what is the …

10 Tips for Drone Photography


This post is by Nicholas Mitchell from PictureCorrect

Aerial photography used to be a thing that only professionals could have a go at. It required expensive equipment, extensive training, and comprehensive knowledge of the equipment. But with consumer drones flooding the market, aerial photography has become more accessible to the masses. This has further allowed photographers to capture images from a totally different perspective – and this is why it has gained so much interest within a short span of time. If you’re new to this genre of photography, photographer Andrew Marr shares 10 tips and tricks to help you with drone photography:

One good thing about drone photography is that there’s a bigger window of time to take your shots. While landscapes appear brilliant during certain limited hours, this isn’t the case with drone photography because you’re shooting downwards.

“I really enjoy the fact that even if there are no clouds in the sky, the sun is overhead, and the light is quite harsh, I can still take drone images.”

Drone photography isn’t very different from regular photography. Of course, one major difference that you’ll see is the perspective. But remember that you don’t need to fly too high. As Marr demonstrates in the video, even just flying about 30 meters above the surface gives an entirely different look to the landscape around you. And just like we move around when taking photos on the ground, be sure to move around the camera on the drone. Don’t just shoot vertically downwards – try different angles with the camera. Also, try varying the altitude and see what composition suits best the scene you’re capturing.

Besides these tips, Marr covers various other topics regarding battery, composition, details, and textures when using a drone for photography. Be sure to watch the full video for all the insightful details.

For …

Photographing and Editing Real Estate Interiors


This post is by Nicholas Mitchell from PictureCorrect

Real estate photography is all about presentation. You really want to showcase the best look of the location that you’re shooting. This means that the composition should be spot on, and you may want to be picky about what you want or do not want in your frame. Besides the shooting process, how you choose to post-process your work also matters a lot. Photographer Rich Baum takes you through how he typically photographs a master bedroom, and the editing process in this video:

Composition

Before you even take a photo of any room, take your time to understand what it has to offer. Keep an eye out for interesting viewpoints of the room, and think about how you can include them in your composition.

Typical shots can include a view from the entry way, view from the bed, and any other interesting features of the room. Also pay attention to how the room looks best. If it looks boring from the eye-level, try a lower or a higher perspective. Feel free to compose the way you like. It is also a good idea to talk to the client to understand if they have any specific requirement.

Photographing a Real Estate Interior

You’d typically want to take two types of images when shooting rooms: with ambient light, and with flash. The idea is to take these two photos, and later create a composite.

When taking the ambient shot, set up your composition and expose the image so as to capture the essence of the room with pure natural light. Don’t worry if the exterior is over-exposed. You’ll be taking care of that in the next step.

ambient shot of a master bedroom

Image taken with ambient light only

Next, without making any change to the composition, adjust your settings to expose for the window light. Then, using …

How to Create a Luminosity Mask in Photoshop


This post is by Erik Naso from PictureCorrect

In this article, let’s look at HOW you can actually create your first luminosity mask for yourself…

You can run through these steps on your own shot, try to pick a shot that’s kinda similar for the purpose of this demo – i.e. a bright sky with a dark foreground.

luminosity masking

Bright sky, dark foreground

First step, open up the image in Photoshop and activate the Channels panel.

(Either click in the sidebar if it’s there, or choose “Window > Channels” from the menu)

channels panel

Channels Panel

The Channels panel shows us 4 channels. There is a lot more to learn about channels, but that’s a larger topic for another day.

For now, lets just run through the steps you need to follow to create your first luminosity mask…

Actually, before we do that… Let me take a quick step back and give you a bit more background…

The “normal” way to create a selection in Photoshop is to draw a shape into the image with the Marquee tool. Everything inside that shape is part of the selection, regardless of brightness, colour, or anything else. If it’s inside the marching ants, it’s part of the selection…

Now, when you add any kind of adjustment layer (curves, saturation, levels etc) to an image and you have a selection active at the time, then that selection will be automatically loaded into the layer mask that is attached to that adjustment.

For example, if I create a “regular” selection around the rock using the rectangular marquee tool, the marching ants will look like this:

rectangular selection

Creating a selection

Then if I add a curves adjustment layer, it will automatically start out with a layer mask that looks like this:

layer mask

Layer Mask

And if I use that adjustment to darken the image, the layer mask will …

Creative Tips on Using Fabrics for Studio Backgrounds


This post is by Nicholas Mitchell from PictureCorrect

Backgrounds play a pivotal role in studio photography. They play a subtle yet very important role to help fill out evocative portraits. They complement the subject, adding a sense of depth and creating a certain mood. When selecting the background for your studio, using fabric can be a great idea. There is a variety of colors and patterns to choose from. However, making a fabric background that actually looks good is a bit tricky. In this video, photographer Gavin Hoey from Adorama shows how you can make a crease-free fabric background, and also shares ways you can create different backgrounds using the same fabric:

One major challenge you’ll face when using fabric for your studio background: creases. They may not appear when you look at the background straight, but they’ll surely be visible when the background is lit from the sides. In this context, Hoey shares a very handy tip: get yourself a fabric that’s a bit stretchy. This way, you can easily tackle the creases by stretching it using clamps, light stands and poles.

Hoey further demonstrates how the position of your lights affects the appearance of the fabric background. The closer the light is to the background—and the smaller the angle is between them—the greater are the chances that the imperfections will show up. So be very careful when setting up your lighting.

Toward the end of the video, Hoey also shares two great tips on how you can use the same fabric backdrop in other ways to achieve an entirely different look. Be sure to watch the complete video. We’re sure you’ll love it—especially if you’re setting up a small studio on a budget.

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A New Photographer’s Guide to Composition


This post is by Kyle Agee from PictureCorrect

It’s easy to be swept away by the technical demands most DSLR cameras require. But as a new photographer, it’s critical that you develop your composition skills. Your ability to compose a powerful, visually captivating image is one of the most important keys to a great photograph.

So how do you begin?

First, let’s dive into what composition is and what composition isn’t. Many beginners get the wrong notion of the skill and as a result find improvement difficult, if not impossible.

long exposure

Photo by Azrul Nahar Zailah @ Lazim; ISO 100, f/16, 3-second exposure.

What is Composition?

To start, composition is not a series of rules or testaments you must follow. The rule of thirds, leading lines, and simplicity are all guidelines with one sole purpose: to get you to see what you were previously blinded to.

Each “rule” makes us aware of a specific visual cue. The rule of thirds, for example, teaches us to see our frame in three separate sections, vertically and horizontally. Leading lines opens our eyes to all the visual lines around us.

Herein lies their fault.

If we rely solely on 4, 7, or 11 composition rules, we’re allowing our vision to be limited. Instead, use these composition rules for what they’re meant for—opening our eyes.

So how do you open your eyes up to as much visual beauty as possible? And how can you do it quickly, being new to the art of composition?

This post will serve to guide you along just that path. You’ll be given a few simple but effective ways for opening your eyes and, consequently, improving your compositions.

reflection photography

Photo by Neil Howard.

1. Become Aware of Visual Space

Each and every shot you take is comprised of visual space. You have your subject, background, foreground, and secondary …