Product Photo Turtorial

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Product photography entails photographing a single product on its own with an ordinary background to remove any distractions and focus the viewer on the product. While practicing product digital photography can be fun in and of itself, it is specifically vital if you want to offer things on ebay.com or through your personal web site. A good product image could make your listings much more effective as well as enhance your sales.

Recently I did a product photoshoot for some wrist wraps by a company called Essential Fitness (www.essentialfitnessgear.com). Doing so reminded me how much fun these types of shoots can be and how you can make a lot of money doing these if you are good at them. Most photographers don’t focus on these types of shoots so I figured I would create a tutorial on this and help out any possible photographers who are interested in this.

To establish a location for item digital photography, you could make use of a table pushed versus a wall. Utilize an item of huge white card and attach one end to the wall and one end to the table. Be careful to ensure the card has a curved bend where it goes from the wall (vertical) to the table (straight) as you intend to prevent any sort of creases in the card. This will certainly create a white seamless background for your product digital photography.

Next, set up a couple of lights or flashes to light your item and the background. A two light setup could take far better pictures compared to relying upon organic light. The capability to control the power, form, dimension, and position of lighting offers you a lot better control over just how the images will look.

Always-on very hot lamps, little speedlights, and full size flash strobes will all work well for illumination, so long as you have some method of regulating their power output. Use light stands to hold your lights in place, as this will certainly keep the lights constant in between shots. Your illumination has to be diffused, otherwise you will wind up with harsh shadows that distract from the product.

To diffuse the lighting, there are a lot of accessories available. Some common diffusion methods are utilizing a softbox, reflector, and shoot through an umbrella, or reflective. These connect to your lights or the light stands. Diffusing the light will certainly help bring out structure and information in the product without triggering extreme shadows and clipped highlights.

If using flash systems for illumination (in contrast to always-on very hot lights), you will certainly need some means of triggering the flashes. You could make use of flash sync cables that connect the flash systems to the video camera, or radio trigger systems. Some speedlights could additionally be caused by an infrared signal from your video camera’s pop-up flash.

Place your item on your backdrop and set up your camera on a tripod. For product digital photography, a focal length of 35mm – 100mm will certainly function well, offering you a reasonable working range between the camera and the product. Take some test shots, change the brightness of your lights as needed, and position the lights to give pleasing illumination. 2 lights aiming down at the product 45 ° to either side from the front works well in most cases.

If you would certainly like a representation below your item, put the item on a piece of perspex plastic. Shoot down at a small angle to include the reflection from the perspex in the picture.

Take a selection of shots of your product, at various angles, and some information shots. When you have your illumination set up correctly, taking additional pictures ought to be just a case of changing the placement of the product, as well as possibly adjusting your video camera position somewhat.

Depending on the dimension of your item, a macro lens may be needed for taking detail shots. Macro lenses are specifically designed to be able to focus at close ranges and also keep their intensity, where with other lenses, image top quality may weaken at short distances.

While it may cost a little bit to buy light stands, speedlights or strobes, as well as diffusers, it can make a large difference to your item images. And also if you are a company, excellent item photos can make a big distinction to your sales. If you are a budding digital photographer, keep in mind that these accessories are additionally useful for other sorts of digital photography, such as portrait digital photography, and also will likely be an excellent financial investment to boosting your photography.

Product photography can quickly be executed in the house or in the office, and you do not need a bunch of pricey equipment (though some fundamental equipment such as lights will make it less complicated). For more recommendations on item photography, see product digital photography pointers. As well as photographing items for usage on a website or eBay, photographing your latest acquisition merely to show off to close friends on Facebook or Flickr can be enjoyable. And if you adhere to these product digital photography suggestions, your pals will certainly marvel at your pictures.

How To Do Product Photoshoots The Right Way

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Do you ever see ads for fast food restaurants on billboards or websites, that contain pictures of a particular food, like french fries or a cheeseburger? Do you ever wonder how they make the food look so good? That would be from the talents of the photographer. Marketers put a lot of emphasis on taking great photographs of products they are selling. Millions of dollars are spent on marketing campaigns that emphasize new products and limited time products, so they want the products to look the best that they can.

I was recently asked to do a photoshoot for some highly rated wrist wraps for a company called Essential Fitness. They sell fitness-related gear and were wanting some good photographs for a new marketing campaign and I figured it was a great time to share some of the best tips to doing this particular type of photoshoot. This is the second product shoot I’ve done, a few years ago I did a photoshoot for a top rated casein protein powder. I’ve been wanting to do more of these so this was a great chance to do that and whether you are a professional or novice photographer, the tips I share in this article are very helpful.

Setting Up the Photo

The best background for me to shoot against is consistent, meaning continuous, almost blended in. You want the attention to be on the product, so I usually choose a neutral background like white or light gray. I have used white walls, pieces of paper, and white bed sheets to achieve this look. As for lighting, this would depend on what the product is that you are shooting. You can use natural light near a window or professional lights that soften the product’s appearance with a diffuser. For the product I shot for Essential Fitness, which were wrist wraps, I chose natural lighting with the wraps both wrapped and unraveled with a white background.

You Need Good Equipment

While not impossible to take great photos with the camera on your iPhone, especially with the newer models, you may not want to use it to take product photos. I would recommend investing in a decent DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera. They are more affordable than ever before. You will also need some good lenses that have a variety of ranges, from close-ups to wide shots. Also, don’t forget to get a tripod for steady shots. I chose a DSLR camera with three different lenses. But I only used a tripod for a few shots.

Settings and Angles

Don’t be stagnate with your photography skills. Make adjustments to the settings of the camera. Shift the focus of the product, mess with the lighting, etc. Do whatever feels best, but don’t be afraid to try new things. Also, shoot the product from different angles – from up above, from behind, from the side. For the wraps, I put them on my assistant and shot them from a diagonal angle and straight on, among other angles.

Of course, there are MANY other tips to doing a product photoshoot. This list was just a starting point for you if you are doing a photoshoot of your own. The most important piece of advice I can give about the experience is to be open-minded, adaptable, and creative. What may work for one product may not work for another one. I kept this in mind for my photoshoot and the pictures turned out better than I could have imagined.

Lighting Basics: The 3 Types of Lighting

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Have you ever seen someone’s photograph that you loved and wished to replicate it and then you were left thinking, “That picture is just too dark”? Or maybe it casted a weird shadow on a face that was distracting? The difference many times between a great looking photograph and one that seems to be missing something is the lighting. It can literally make or break your pictures and ultimately your success as a photographer. In learning to take pictures, lighting techniques should be one of the first topics that are tackled as they are essential to achieving a high quality photograph. Without proper lighting, photos can be grainy or blurry. Different types of light can produce different types of photographs, depending on how they are used. Knowing how to manipulate the light can make it easier to take the picture exactly as you want to get it every time.

To become a good photographer you should be familiar with the types of light that can be utilized and how to use them effectively. You’ll find the 3 types of light below and how you can use them to your advantage.

1) Natural Sunlight

If you know how to work with sunlight, you are on the right track. First of all, it’s free! Second, sunlight changes constantly through the day so you have many options as to how the picture will turn out. Sunrises and sunsets produce an effect that angles the light on the subject differently than during the middle of the day. Clear days in the afternoon are very bright and bring out colors and detail. Cloudy days sometimes are easier to work with since the sun may not be exposed. Within natural light there are 4 types you should know about:

  • Soft light – The type of light that is found in shade or completely cloudy day. Color contrasts are heightened and tints can be seen. Soft light also dials down the intensity of complex subjects, where direct light is too much.
  • Front light – You achieve this light by putting the sun behind you. The shadows are hidden behind the subject and the sun lights evenly and sharply. Make sure to use this light with a lot of colors, as the direct light can wash out the subject.
  • Side light – If you want shadows, use this light. It creates a lot of contrast and is popular in black and white photos.
  • Back light – Used to create beautiful silhouettes by creating a sharp contrast between the light and shadows. All the focus is on the subject, making translucent subjects interesting against the sun.

2) Low Light

It can be tricky to take photos in a low light atmosphere. On one hand, using the flash may wash out the subject. On the other hand, not using flash at all can make the photo blurry and grainy. It’s best to change up the settings on your camera to catch as much light as possible by playing around with it for a few minutes. It can be very difficult to catch the best image in a room with low light but if you can master it you can take some great looking photos and have the confidence to take pictures in any light and during any setting. Do your best with what you have and don’t be afraid to experiment.

3) Reflected Light

That dreaded “sun spot” in photos can happen if you don’t know what to do when the light is shining directly on the subject. It’s a good idea to even the light out by reflecting it onto a white background and bouncing in back onto the subject. The glare is gone and the light is diffused. Professional portrait photographs much rather prefer to use reflected lighting than be outdoors where the sunlight is hard to control. You can adjust the shadow on the subject by changing the angle of the light. In this situation a meter to measure the light exposure is good so that you can be consistent in the lighting that works best for your pictures.

There is so much more when it comes to lighting but if you’re just starting out this will give you a great foundation and ability to practice taking pictures in different light. Start experimenting and see what works for you and what light you love to shoot in. Every photographer has a favorite lighting and you can only find this through practice and taking lots of pictures.

10 Tips To Take Great Photographs

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Are you a photography novice, taking photographs as a hobby, or have you been a professional photographer for years? Either way, you could always learn something new when it comes to the art of photography. Whether it be the lighting, angle, shadow, or the subject itself, any tips for taking great pictures should not be dismissed. We decided to take a collection of the best tips on taking great pictures and put into a simple list. Read on below to find out our top 10 tips for taking great photographs.

1) Make eye contact with your subject

Hold the camera at the subject’s eye level, and engage their gaze. This will make the picture feel more personal and inviting to the one looking at it. It’s also more comfortable for the person that’s being photographed as people enjoy eye contact and this can show in pictures.

2) Use the flash outdoors during the day

file0001758869502You might think, “I don’t need my flash when it’s so bright.” Sometimes the sun creates unwanted shadows on people’s faces that the flash can wipe out. Turning on the flash can brighten faces and even out that unwanted light that can be harsh.

 

3) Get up close

Fill the frame with your subject by getting in close and not wasting so much space around them. Plus, you might be able to see details on someone that were once too far away to detect from farther away. Many novice photographers make the mistake of not getting close enough as they assume the picture can be cropped down later. This can be done but you lose a lot of detail that you otherwise would have picked up if you just get a little closer.

4) Natural expression

Try and get a “real” smile out of someone to make the photograph seem more genuine. Tell a funny joke or compliment them to make the smile feel more natural. Great photographs are natural, you don’t want forced expressions like a JC Penny Portrait Studio.

5) Do research, quit buying

So many photographers starting out think they need all the best equipment to be the best. Put away the urge to buy ANOTHER lense, and pick up a photography book, shadow a more experienced photographer, even go online and look at examples of creative photographs. There are many world renowned photographers that are using what many would consider out of date gear. Much like golf, it’s not as much about the clubs as it is the swing. Same goes in photography, it’s not as much about the camera as it is the person holding the camera.

6) Focus, focus, focus

Up Close PhotographyNobody wants a blurry picture, right? Lock in the focus of your subject by moving them slightly away from the center. This will keep the auto-focus function from kicking in and give you more control of how to adjust your lens.

7) Simplify your pictures

Putting too many things in your image is distracting and can be confusing on what the person looking at the photo should be focusing on. One to three things is enough to engage the person. A solid rule of thumb is that you want your pictures to be as simple as possible, just keep it simple.

8) What’s that back there?

Be aware of what lingers behind your subject. Be sure to survey the entire photograph area and not just the subject. An unpleasant background that draws the eye away from the subject is the opposite of what you would want.

9. Change it up!

Varying the types of photos you take can help to convey what you as the photographer are trying to get across. For example, shooting portraits the same way every time is boring and doesn’t show your strengths and adaptability. Not to mention if you never venture out and try different things you may never discover where you truly shine.

file000116228129010) Practice makes perfect

Wanna get better at taking pictures? Take pictures. A lot. Play with different backgrounds, focal points, and angles. The point is to experiment with all possibilities and to form your own photography style, making your pictures unique.

How To Take More Flattering Photos

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Looking for pointers to take much better pictures? Well, you’ll locate several of the most important ones below. These just cover the basics, but we advise that you invest in some digital photography books considering that they are more likely to provide you a lot more recommendations and also show you the ropes. In the meantime, start with the initial pointer then follow the guidelines.

- Break the Rules

“Rule of the thirds” suggests that the person or object can be on the either of the frame but never in center. Though it does make for an excellent position, there are no rigorous rules in digital photography. If you assume that an image will certainly look great with the person in center, then go for it. Let there be no limits to keep you from taking your ideal shot. You’ll be stunned to see that one of the most striking images come from bending or breaking the guidelines.

- Eye Contact

Have the subject make eye contact with the camera while holding it at their eye level. This straightforward trick can make the subject seem even more active and also will certainly get you an interesting picture. But there are other things you can try to make the shot more alluring. The “off camera appearance” has the subject concentrating on something outside the frame. Any type of emotion from the topic will interest the audience as to just what is making the subject appear surprised or depressed. An additional great suggestion is to have the subject focus on something within the frame of the camera. If there are 2 subjects, let them encounter each other or merely a glance. This will certainly produce a story or relationship in between the two subjects as well as a second point of interest for the customer

- View the Light 

Early morning and the moment prior to the sunset is the very best time to take images. The orangey radiance makes the subject look a lot better, unlike the noontime sunlight that makes any blemishes on the skin stick out. The light is softer, making the shade stick out. There are many ways to use lighting to your advantage. Side lighting or backlighting covers the subject, yet makes their structure a lot more noticeable. Silhouetting also conceals your subject’s face that looks exceptionally desirable. Use shots throughout the day. This forced added light will certainly complete the shadows of the midday sun.

- Utilize Props

The right props can boost the shot and also provide it more definition. Focus might change from the subject, but the prop will include a depth to them. The prop can be something personal or anything that may be fun in the shot. Individual props make the best sort of props, where the concealed significance is just apparent to the subject, but the appropriate digital photographer could make the visitor feel its significance. Make the shots ageless to make sure that they might not appear obsoleted on the mantelpiece.

- Be Mindful of Arms

Arms straight down the sides makes arms look bigger as well as offers a boring appearance. The static look does not add much to the picture so it’s much better to place arms in a manner that shows motion. Similarly, when the subject is sitting and their legs are revealed, it shows even more fluidity in the position. Pay attention to the difference between males and females to create definition.

If your images don’t turn out so well, do not worry. It takes time to get used to these methods, so keep at it.

The Importance of Great Product Photography

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productphotosThe look and feel of any kind of online establishment or ecommerce website can be said to be astounding if the images of the services and/or products sold are visually eye-catching, and enhances the sale of the product or service. Actually, we come across a lot of  the internet websites across many various sector segments that have a vast array of items, but quite restricted pictures displayed on screen or just bad products pictures at that. With the lack of touch and inability for a potential purchaser to be in a physical store, any type of unanswered questions concerning the item will only end in lost sales and profits.

Right here is where the significance of product web pages for every ecommerce website is highlighted. The item images or product pictures provide the ‘last push’ in getting a potential customer that goes from browsing to ending up being an actual customer.

The reason for this is that images often speak louder than words. Pictures can do the actual selling, even with lazy customers, they can visually see the items available right in front of them. This is especially true if the items are displayed in a way that is persuading and also answers questions, e.g. the item’s dimensions, shape, colors, measurements, material, longevity etc.

Some of the elements that are important in product photography can be summed up as follows:

1. Show In a Suitable/Optimal Setting

These are especially helpful for items like footwear, as the purchaser gets an actual view of the product not only in a studio setup, but in actual use also. Fake lighting and interior arrangement could be unsuitable for many products, knowing when to use the right setting is vital. For outdoor items, showing them in their natural environment improves their appeal.

2. Alternate Pictures

A number of images of products and angled pictures could communicate a wide range of details such as functions, advantages, versatility, range, etc. Such images say to the customer that the website is taking care to make sure that the purchaser has all the info they need to assist them in the acquisition process.

3. Attention To Detail

This is a key thing to offer top quality products where branding, unique attributes, and type of material or fabric should be highlighted. They are particularly beneficial as a descriptive measure to highlight distinct qualities of art pieces and craft where the concentration is on qualities such as customization, craftsmanship, and so on. Such focus on specific details depends on the needs of the buyer so the seller/photographer should be mindful of this.

4. Display As It Is

For an internet site that sells fashion items, clothes on hangers or mannequins are not as appealing as they are on an actual physical model. Nowadays, clothing sellers go to great lengths to display images of designs using garments to assist customers in choosing their fit and size, in addition to specifics of the design’s measurements, weight, and garment dimension as reference. This has actually worked out incredibly well, specifically for large sized ladies who may not feel as comfortable with walking into a retailer and not finding something that fits them properly.

Photos are no doubt powerful and also attractive to potential customers. Good product photography can be the key to the success of an e-commerce website by creating a easy way to see the items and relay the information needed to assist online buyers and as a photographer you should be an asset to clients in this sense when they hire you for such work.

The Benefits Of Attending A Photography Workshop

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6uK-2006-at-photography-workshopSo you want to be photographer, huh? How do you plan on getting started? A great event that is very beneficial to learning more about photography is attending a photography workshop. You are able to learn a great deal about not just shooting techniques but also other skills from the best of the best, while also getting a chance to network with other photographers around the country. While signing up oneself in a photography workshop, one could reap several benefits once they are finished with it. Read on to find out more.

 

Direct Contact With The Best In The Field

These workshops give photographers the opportunity to be around those that have experience in digital photography and are well-known people that have obtained accolades for their job as well as offer useful advice. They know extensively about the different fundamental skills needed for photography and also how to bring life to any type of photography situation. They recognize the advancements in digital photography as well as the different cameras and lenses that permit individuals to take top notch photos.

 

Seeing Some Serene Places

These workshops consist of theoretical lessons as well as practical lessons from experienced photographers. The lessons many times consist of tours to areas that contain a selection of locations that might be a topic of interest for the photographer and/or participant. Relying on the selection of locations or the subject, one could appropriately decide in the area they mean to go to as the workshop planners keep the alternatives open in order to allow their participants to select the area in which they mean to boost their skills.

 

Being Surprised By What One Sees

The areas where the workshops are conducted are ensured to be packed with no just good or great photographers but also good photographic areas, as one always expects from a gathering of photographers. While visiting a large location, one can expect numerous experiences such as going to the workshop as well as interacting with the natives, recording pictures of the landscape, nature, wild animals, plants, manmade structures, etc. It aids in learning about the brand-new area that they have visited, the history of the different traditions, as well as being exposed to a number of various other encounters besides just digital photography.

 

Understanding The New Techniques Of Using A Camera

Having the most recent electronic camera doesn’t mean that you are constantly going to make top quality photographs because of it, so one should learn about the different methods to make use of the tools attached to the electronic camera. The latest methods for taking a photo from numerous angles are affixed to all the modern-day camera versions, yet using one’s individual vision as well as their skills that they have truly bring out what the essence of excellent photography is.

 

Coming Home Happy

The workshops will not only include a schedule that enables the individuals to learn more about photography but they also allow you to communicate with fellow photographers along with entirely focusing on the objective of learning about excellent photography. The participants are treated with respect and have  the instructors or presenters accompanying them wherever they go many times as well. This individual attention also lends one to find out the fine art of digital photography a lot better while also creating some strong friendships along the way as well.

Basic Skills Needed To Be A Successful Photographer

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People of many ages, from teens to seniors, enjoy photography. It’s an extremely optimal outlet that can be used to extensively release or express your imagination. Photography is an area that is forever changing as a result of the countless possibilities for professional photographers, which wish to work independently or with a team of professional photographers for a reputable employer. Whether there are weddings, photojournalism, senior pictures, sporting activities, or nature, it does not matter as photographers exist almost all over. There are a few essential skills that are essentially called for to be an effective professional photographer. These abilities are as follows:

 

Training and equipment skills

 

One of the most vital skills that is needed by any type of professional photographer is to take a magnificent or stunning image. These skills entail understanding every little thing about the camera, establishing an eye for choosing the right and suitable angle, as well as understanding the lighting. You can attend workshops on just about any sort of photography training program in order to grow these abilities and skills thoroughly. In addition, it is not a bad idea to find an apprenticeship program or a mentor to learn from. Follow an experienced photographer during a shoot, watch them edit the photos, and survey how they interact with customers.

 

Editing abilities

 

Digital photography has totally opened up a completely new world of imaginative possibilities. As a digital photographer, you should acquire skills for modifying your photos by practicing a whole lot using any sort of software program related to photo editing. You can make a particular photograph go from “good” to “amazing” using proper editing techniques.

 

Marketing skills

 

Marketing is very important to become a great photographer. As a professional digital photographer, you have to have good advertising and marketing skills and also interpersonal abilities in order to enhance your customer base, which then will allow you to enhance your profits. For this specific objective, you need to begin networking on various social websites, neighborhood functions, and company functions. People will certainly come to know about you,  so you could easily market yourself to your optimumal potential. Once you are able to establish your own digital photography website, you will have the ability to promote your photos all over the world and millions of individuals will certainly come to know about you and the great photographs you can take.

 

People abilities

 

Unless you are a unique outdoor or nature digital photographer, there are many opportunities that will involve you just photographing individuals. Thus, you need to have the ability to relate every little thing to your client and then offer direction for their pictures. You must also have very good listening skills in order to comprehend every little thing that your customer desires from you. Hence, you need to have great interpersonal abilities or individual abilities to ensure that your clients create a connection with you and want to collaborate with you again and again. By establishing that bond with your client, this client is more likely to tell others about you. Word-of-mouth is still a very powerful marketing tool.

Common Photograpy Mistakes

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Blunders are of course a normal and even unpreventable stage of learning. For a lot of photographers, conquering blunders as well as making certain you do a top quality job is necessary. The following is a compilation of the 5 most common photography mistakes and pointers that can help you take better pictures. Dealing with these errors will considerably enhance your photography capabilities in no time..

1. Buying tons of digital photography equipment all at once

This blunder of acquiring a great deal of brand-new photography equipment at the same time influences both seasoned professional photographers as well as newbies. Nevertheless, brand -new professional photographers commonly presume that purchasing the best state-of-the-art equipment is actually going to help them be the best photographers in their market. Purchasing a brand-new lens, flash, or even video camera won’t make you far better at this hobby. Really, the ideal professional photographers may conveniently grab wonderful pictures with nearly any camera. What is more vital is actually the imagination, technical understanding, and also an eagle eye for illumination that will enable you to be a considerably better digital photographer. Clearly, this certainly does not mean you should never purchase brand-new gear. Various equipment is actually useful in delivering far better resolution and additional versatility. Put simply, don’t forget to improve your skill sets as the photographer, while making use of the equipment.

2. Altered perspective

You find yourself in a place grabbing a gorgeous sunset along with your most recent camera. However, in the passion of getting that excellent sunset, you forgot to ensure the perspective level. Therefore, all the dusk images are actually crooked. Thankfully, there is a straightforward method of repairing this problem of a misaligned perspective. Most of the picture editing software available can do this automatically or even allow you to create the appropriate edits by casting the canvass to a straight location in a software program like Photoshop or Lightroom. You should likewise activate your camera’s digital lighting level or even virtual horizon when recording the photo to ensure much better precision.

3. Bad White Balance

Do your pictures seem somewhat awkward or off-center? This is a typical error that is actually when the cam wrongly examines the white balance. While AWB (automated white balance) may conveniently identify a suitable setting based upon the situation, the very best choice of getting it straight the very first time is actually by setting your personal white balance figure. Through remedying this error, your photos will certainly show up more naturally and you won’t have to carry out a great deal of editing work in the future.

4. Lens distortions

This certain blunder prevails with amateurs as they are actually even more prone to making use of the incorrect lens. Some lenses create subjects that seem out of shape, while some introduce some unwanted aspects like the reduction of brightness or color around the sides. The very first technique of addressing this error is deciding on the correct lens along with an ideal focal point for your subject. There are actually some cameras that also apply improvements automatically as you catch JPEG pictures. However, this is actually most efficient and most convenient to fix this oversight when editing and enhancing the photo afterward.

5. Picture Focus

Counting on autofocus is actually not recommended for any qualified photographer. This is likely due to the camera being inefficient at doing this. When this happens, you see that your images are in front of or even behind your subject. So to see to it, your camera picks your preferred aspect and establishes concentration mode as single factor AF.

5 Tips To Book More Wedding Gigs

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The US Department of Labor lists more than 150,000 wedding photographers in the United States alone. Whether you are a new photographer or one who has built a solid business over the course of the past several decades, getting customers is more difficult now than ever before. Try these five sales strategies to boost your business’s top-line revenues.

Book Your Next Session

Too many wedding photographers focus on the wedding alone. According to Marketing Myopia by the Harvard Business Review, businesses should never forget their purpose. Likewise, wedding photographers should remember theirs: capturing memories on film (or in another digital format) to allow customers to escape back to those special moments. While weddings are undeniably extremely special, so is that first anniversary, the discovery of a pregnancy and/or that baby’s first birthday. In many cases, these lower-income events can get booked during the week’s slower periods (thereby not interfering with high-income wedding weekends) for a couple of hours’ work.

Capture Prospect Data

Sounds like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? However, after attending several wedding shows this past year, it is evident that wedding photographers do not capture prospect contact information … and those that do, do not do it well! Offering a nominal gift in exchange for an email address (rather than suggesting inquiring brides-to-be visit the website listed on your business cards or fancy postcards) is the best and most-effective way to build a prospect list.

Using Social Media

Everyone uses Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. You should too. (Note: “using” and “being there” are two different things). Once you have the first half-dozen or so edited photos available (and with the blessing of your clients, of course), why not post them to your Facebook page, Instagram account or make a mention on Twitter … all while tagging your clients so all of their friends see that you are their photographer … and the wonderful work you’ve done.

Communication Is Paramount

Sounds trivial, doesn’t it? But it’s worth noting that very few photographers keep in touch with their past clients. What a shame … again, people hire photographers in order to capture the most precious moments of their lives on film (or other digital formats)… if you aren’t top-of-mind, they might hire someone else (or, worse, enlist one of those studio photographers!) for that non-wedding special event.

Believe it or not, but communicating with past customers is easier than ever, particularly if you’ve been able to harvest their email address or add them as friends on social media. All it takes is one email every few weeks to let them know some of the non-wedding things you’ve done … and that will get their imagination working about when or how they can work with you again!

Asking for Referrals

By employing these strategies, you will develop something of a relationship with your past clients. So when they come back to you, why not ask for a referral? It’s easily done. “Any friends’ weddings coming up for you, Cassie Customer? Yours was so beautifully done, I wouldn’t be surprised if all of your friends are on the wedding bandwagon now.” And when Cassie Customer says she has five more to attend before the end of summer, why not mention, “Oh, I ‘d love to get to work with a friend of yours … if you pass along her contact information, I promise I’ll call her.” (The promise is key, as it makes you accountable, not Cassie).

Pulling it Together

Once you’ve booked your big weekends, it seems nothing can stop you. However, working with existing customers is seven times easier than finding new customers. Capitalize on what you’ve built by building it out … it’s much easier than finding new customers! And word-of-mouth will start to spread among those circles of friends that have seen you at multiple weddings (and events)

Photographing Food: How To Do It Like A Pro

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We’ve snapped a shot of a delicious meals we were about to eat, right? You probably just got out your iPhone, took a quick pic, and posted it to Instagram. Chances are, that photo was low quality and doesn’t make your food look all that appetizing to those viewing the photo. Photographing food is not difficult to do, as long as you know some insider techniques. We’ve listed some tips for you to consider the next time shooting a special dish comes into play.

The Best Photography Team

A person doesn’t become successful all on their own. The people they surround themselves with play a big part in their achievements. Same goes for food photography. If you can, hire a food stylist. They are experts in arranging the food that is aesthetically pleasing. No stylist? Ask a friend that dabbles in art, decor, or any kind of creative avenue. Some of the same rules of those artistic methods apply to food photography. In the case you are alone, make sure the colors pop. You want bright, shiny, and a little symmetrical. Take some test shots to make sure the colors contrast enough.

Keep Enough Extra Food on Hand

You may be in a situation where you’ve been hired for an extended period of time to photograph various types of food, for a restaurant perhaps. There are cases where you will need to keep the food fresh, like ice cream or anything juicy. Within minutes, these foods lose their appetizing luster and need replacing. Having enough on hand will make the process go more smoothly.

It’s All About the Details

You want there to be definite details of the food apparent in the photographs. Make sure we can see those sesame seeds on a hamburger bun, or the grill marks on a piece of chicken are defined. Bring in the shot close if you need to. Along with this idea, too many details can be distracting, so limit how many items are in the image. You don’t want to pull focus away from the food the image is trying to promote.

Natural Light is the Best Light

This tip can be used for ALL types of photography. Sunlight gives the subjects of the image a more natural look. You can use backlight, sidelight, or shadows, depending on what type of food you are shooting. In the case where it is not possible to use natural light, be sure to use lights that replicate the sunlight the best. There are many options for these lights.

Focus on the Front Objects

Called the shallow depth of field, you want to shoot the photo with the focal point on the front image. For example, say you are shooting a plate of cookies laid out evenly. Don’t focus on the cookies furthest away from the lens. Let the closest ones be the focus and the others will naturally flow into the background. This creates a better distribution of the objects and is easy for the view to know what the intended focus of the image is.

 

Taking Great Portraits

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A staple of photography and something that sets good photographers apart from great ones is their ability to take a portrait shot. But it’s not supposed to be like the old school portraits where everyone looks the same. What makes a great portrait is that it amplifies everything about the person in the portrait. A portrait should be as original as the person that’s in it and no two portrait shots should be exactly the same. It should tell a story.

You may be thinking that sounds all well and good, but how does one actually go about doing this? Well, to help out all my fellow photographers or at least aspiring photographers, I’m going to share some tips with you and help you take amazing portraits.

Don’t Be Boring

If you want to stand out as a photographer, then you don’t want to be boring or just another run of the mill portrait taker. We don’t want J.C. Penney portrait studio shots. We want original and great looking shots. People today want their pictures to tell a story and be unique. You don’t want to boring. Be willing to alter the perspective of the picture. A portrait doesn’t have to be where a person sits in a chair and looks directly at the camera. Try taking the picture from above with them looking up, having them lay on the floor and you shoot the shot with your camera at floor level. It takes some practice to get right, but you can really have portraits that have a real WOW factor to them.

Eye Contact

Be willing to play with the eye contact of the person in the portrait. They don’t have to stare into the camera. Have them look to the side, look away, or perhaps laughing at something off camera. Another great way to bring some personality and uniqueness to a portrait is to bring in their child or a loved one for them to look at. Nothing will show the joy they have in their life for that loved one than a portrait that displays that joy for everyone to see. Again, be willing to play around with this and create your own look.

Lighting

I’ve talked about this before, but lighting can make or break a great photograph. If you play with the lighting just right, you can create amazing pictures. Be willing to try different light settings during the session. Sometimes you won’t really know until you edit the pictures later what light suits your model the best. The best photographers develop a style of lighting that works for them and their clients. Step out of your comfort zone for a few shots and give some different lighting situations a try. The worst case is that it won’t work and nobody will ever know anyways.

Off-Center

The person in the portrait doesn’t always have to be directly in the center of the shot. Some really neat portraits have the person off-center to the left or right. It’s a great way to add some artistic flair to what can sometimes be a dull process. During a session, try this and see how it plays for you. It’s a hit or miss sort of thing. If you’re hired to take a portrait, some clients may love the idea while others may hate it. Try both and let them decide which they like.

Candid Shots

Many times some of the best photographs happen when people don’t know they are being photographed. During a session, always have your camera ready as you may see a great photo opportunity while your client is on the phone, talking with someone, or laughing at a joke. You can also have your client step out of their comfort zone by taking a picture of them doing something perhaps they never do, like shouting, jumping up in the air, or anything else that comes to mind. This can make the process fun for both you and the client and you may just end up with some great looking pictures.

Here’s a good video that will give you some more tips on taking great portrait pictures.

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