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.

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.

The Latest Photography Trends in 2014

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Remember when Instagram was starting to gain in popularity, and filters were being used left and right? Or, that literally EVERYONE takes a selfie now? How about the obvious helicopter shots to hide wrinkles and fat? Thankfully, those trends, and many more, won’t be around forever. But there are new photography trends that are popping up, both with professional photography and smartphone photography. The tools and functions are getting better on cameras and more shutterbugs are popping up, ready to share their ideas and methods with the world. Let’s look at some of the more recent trends gaining traction. These included trends involving gear and techniques.

1. The Return of Black and White

What was once the only image option for color 100 years ago, black and white photos are making a comeback in popularity. Photographers will take the picture in color, then transfer it to black and white. The contrasts and shades are remarkable. With black and white, you can alter the tones in development to create a work all your own. What can help you stand out from other black and white photography is lighting that you use as it can really make a black and white image pop. You can learn more about lighting here.

2. Super Close Up

It’s all in the details! All-in-one zoom cameras are providing photographers with a way to take a close picture with a lens that provides a wide enough range for any shooting circumstance. By using a very close zoom, you can catch all the little intricacies of the subject that is not apparent from further away.

3. Video and Digital Still in One

I can remember needing two different cameras to catch photos and video. Well, that is quickly going to the wayside, as all-in-one cameras are essential and a must. Even iPhone’s can do this (taking a screenshot from a video). This technology is constantly improving so keep a look out for the latest cameras that offer this. I’ve even been able to take a still from a video shot and the quality is remarkable, you would have to be a diligent expert to notice it was taken in such a way.

4. HDR (High Dynamic Range)

Let It BeTrying to achieve an image with the best color and contrast can be difficult if not given good lighting circumstances. HDR is a function (on smartphones, too!) that takes a few images taken at different exposures to form one photo that shows all the shadows, highlights, coloring, etc. It’s not easy to do well, but it created an image that is detailed and unique. When done correctly it can help give your images a great all around and balanced look.

5. Mirrors and Reflections

Using a subject’s reflection is the latest trend in storytelling through photography. The look of someone gazing into a mirror, or angled shot of someone crying taken through a reflection produces a very powerful image and makes the viewer feel more emotional.

6. Gray and Natural Colors

Bright and colorful images are in…for now. There is a gradual move to more muted tones that don’t take away from the subjects. As with fashion, natural colors have become more popular and therefore more common in photography. Don’t try and be too trendy with your photography though because true photography is timeless and you don’t want a powerful image to be ignored years later because it was shot in a “trendy” fashion at the time.

7. Cooking

With the explosion of cooking shows and food blogs, the exploration of “real” cooking and what the food actually looks like when cooking is on the up swing. This technique helps the viewer connect with the image and photographer better. Focusing on details becomes important with this trend.

iPhone Photography 101

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There are more and more people out there don’t own an actual camera. Especially those who are looking to just get into photography but what most people do have is an iPhone. If you are like most people, you use your smartphone for everything, and that’s usually means for taking pictures as well. The good news is photography using an iPhone has improved greatly since the 1st generation was released in 2007. In fact it can be a great tool to help you learn the art of photography before you make your first camera purchase. Nowadays you can add filters, cropping tools, even change the color. The camera itself auto adjusts, focuses, etc. But all of those extras doesn’t mean much if you don’t know the best way to take a photo with it.

If you follow these simple rules when using your iPhone to take a picture, your results will be much better and you’ll be happier with your photos. Keep in mind that some of these tips could apply to an actual camera too, not just an iPhone.

Good Lighting

Don’t make the person in the picture stare into the sun! Put the sun behind them or to their side to create cool shading and not wash them out. Lighting can make or break a good photo.

HDR

As with good lighting, HDR will take 3 different pictures and put them together to give a better lit photo. Takes some getting used to to get right, since movement between the 3 pics will cause a blurry image, but the results are beautiful with practice.

Use Both Hands

You don’t want a shaky or blurry image because your hand isn’t steady. Use 2 hands to sturdy the phone and take advantage of the shutter function to get the best possible picture from a group.

Grid Lines

The grids divides the image into 9 equal boxes and helps you create the image you want. Move closer or move away depending on what fits in the boxes.

Don’t Use The Zoom

If you are looking to take picture that is grainy and distorted, using the zoom function can achieve this. It’s best to physically move forward or backward for a clear image.

Download Some Apps

There are literally hundreds of camera and photo apps that you can purchase to help you take a better photo. They offer ways to tweak the photo after taking it, or ways to improve the focus, exposure, etc.

AE/AF Lock

This function is so awesome to easily focus on the subject. Tap the screen where you want to focus and then hold until the box bounces. Now, no matter where you move the camera to, that same area will remain the focus. Great for backlit subjects.

Minimize The Use Of Filters

Instagram filters are very popular, and thus, overused. Every picture you see on Facebook or Instagram start to look the same. Use tools from other apps to achieve a unique look. Just don’t use a filter EVERY TIME you take a pic.

Horizontal

Quit taking pictures with the phone held vertically. You’re likely to not be able to fit subjects in the image and have to move farther away, making it difficult to see any details. Horizontal photos are much more professional looking and easier to print out if you choose.

Here’s a great video that has some more tips also!

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