Monthly Archives: May 2017

Black & White Photos

There are a lot of reasons why you’d want to upgrade your black and white photos. As previously mentioned, you’d want your photos to convey the story or message you intend for the audience. In addition to this, improving your B&W photos will also mean creating images that are more memorable and have stronger recall with your viewers. Lastly, upgrading your black and white photos will give you a chance to control the outcome of the images, so that they’ll be able to interpret reality better. Here are some tips to keep in mind if you want more striking black and white photos.

When practicing, try to picture the subject in black and white and visualize how it will look to you as a viewer. Additionally, if you are using a DSLR camera, shoot your photos in RAW format and in black and white mode. Your camera’s LCD screen will show the image in black and white but all the color details are retained and kept in the RAW file. If the image looks better with colors, you can always use the said information to develop your photo in color. You will want your black and white photos to be more defined, even if they do not display a lot of colors. If you utilize the tonal contrast, your images will come out with good highlights and shadows that help make the photos richer, livelier, and more captivating. As a result, viewers will not be seeing just one shade, but different tones – lighter tones and darker tones. This gives the photos more depth and meaning.

Use a polarizing filter so that you can effectively remove or lessen reflections, especially in shiny surfaces like water. If you do this, you’ll be able to keep the focus on the subject, not on the shiny object/area or reflection. Additionally, the polarizer can also be used to enhance the image, like darkening a spot or certain aspect of the image so that other elements can be highlighted, or so a more dramatic effect is achieved.  If the photo is in color, all you need to do is control the white balance and make sure that it is neutral. Then work on the gray area/s of the photo by using the White Balance eyedropper tool. In the Treatment section, click on the button that says Black & White, and the image will now be converted to black and white. You can then proceed with editing the photo. For your black and white photos, there are of course Lightroom presets that you can use.

Dramatic Pictures

Photography is an art form, so infusing the right amount of drama into your images is just the master touch that will take your photos from attractive to amazing. Dramatic images are exhilarating and fire up the imagination of your audience. In short, they do wonders for how your images are received by your audience. What are silhouettes if not mysterious? Anything that’s mysterious and gives off a sense of the evocative will add drama in an instant to your photography, which is why silhouettes are such a smart technique to use. The simple-though-effective outline of a familiar shape – whether that’s a person or an object – plays both sides of the field. It’s mysterious enough because the viewer doesn’t know the exact details, but he can generally understand what the element is in your picture.

Believe it or not, striking colors can greatly affect an image’s sense of drama. Vibrant colors may not exactly be what you’re thinking of when you think of dramatic, but they have their place. The thing is that colors set the emotional backdrop for your audience. As such, being very selective about the colors that make it into your final shot can be of great help when trying to make a shot more dramatic. For instance, if you’re shooting a forest of trees with the light just slightly filtering through the dense layer of leaves and tree trunks, take the shot when the natural light is strongest to really highlight the green colors of the forest. Should there also be a dirt trail or path – as a way to use leading lines for a focal point – it helps if it’s a bold, brown color as well. Drama doesn’t just have to be about making your picture darker for extra mood; it can also be dramatic when you have vivid colors to make an impact on your audience.

This expands on the tip above to use dark skies to bring drama to your shots. You can take this darkening and apply it to most any situation, even indoors, if you just take away the light in your images. The more you take away the light, the more you get shadows, which add drama. Psychologically, it deprives the audience of as much as they’d like to see, making it a great technique to use. Of course, you can’t take away the light totally, or else you’d just have a black frame. It’s actually the contrast with dark and light that creates the greatest drama.

Photography is probably one of the few areas in life in which creating more drama is actually a good and beneficial thing. As you can see, there are numerous techniques you can depend on to incorporate more of the dramatic in your shots. Adding drama to photography is always a win since it persuades your audience to look at your shots with added interest and attention. It’s because they’re trying to make sense of what’s either mysterious or strongly implied by the reduction of light. As a photographer, you want to give your audience a reason to stick around and do more than just give your images a passing glance. Drama done right in your images accomplishes this to a wonderful effect.

Amazing Night Photography

While night photography can be a challenge, it can also be extremely rewarding. While anyone can take daytime images, night photography requires some practice and work to perfect. Images taken at night are unique and offer completely different results than ones taken during the day. While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for capturing amazing nighttime imagery, there are a few things that everyone who’s interested in this type of photography should know. With this in mind, here’s a look at a few tips that you’ll want to follow that will help you to capture some amazing nighttime images.

Once the sun starts to set, the sky will start changing quickly. Getting set up early will allow you to capture the various stages of the sunset, including the different shades of reds and oranges as well as the beautiful blue hour that sets in just after the sun dips below the horizon. Even though you’ll be shooting the same location, you’ll end up with drastically varied images, each one with an entirely different look.

Make sure you bring along the right gear to increase your chances of capturing some amazing images. Here’s a look at some things you’ll want to pack.

  1. A Tripod

    To get the sharpest, clearest images possible during low light conditions, you’ll want to steady your camera, especially during long exposures. In most cases, a tripod is the best option as it allows you to stabilize your camera to help prevent camera shake and image blur.

  2. A Wide Angle Lens

    While the best lens for night photography varies, most night landscapes will call for a wide angle lens. Something around 14-24 is usually ideal. A wide angle will help you to fit everything in the frame and will also enhance the sense of distance in an image. It will cause elements in the foreground to appear larger and more prominent, and mountains in the distance to look farther away. Wide angles are also more forgiving when focusing in the dark, and provide sharpness throughout your image especially when you’re using higher f-stops.

  3. A Flashlight

    Don’t forget your flashlight! Not only will it help you to see what you’re doing when working in low-lighting conditions, but it’ll also come in handy if you’re hoping to illuminate dimly lit areas in the foreground of your scene; making it easier for your camera to focus.

  4. Remote Release

    A remote release is helpful when you’re using long exposures where even the slightest movement can cause image blur. Having a remote release, or using the timer on your camera, will keep you from having to press the button, preventing unwanted blur.

While it’s easy to focus on the spectacular night sky, you’ll want to try to find some interesting elements to include in the foreground as well. These details can help add more definition to your compositions, and draw the viewer into the image. While night photography can be a challenge, especially in the beginning, that’s part of what makes these images so rewarding. By mastering the basics, and getting plenty of practice you’ll soon be capturing amazing, eye-catching nighttime images yourself – ones that you’ll be proud to call your own.

Use a Telephoto Lens for Landscape Photos

You may be surprised to hear that in some cases, the somewhat unlikely telephoto lens may prove to be an ideal option. These lenses are ideal for compressing the elements in a scene, and helping to minimize the sense of scale and distance in a composition. This means that for those times where you’re hoping to showcase a distant mountain in all of its grandeur, photograph a full moon looming over the horizon, or capture a distant bird in flight, a telephoto is your lens of choice.

When presented with a beautiful landscape, the challenge shouldn’t be to “fit everything in,” rather; your goal should be to effectively capture the scene at hand. Often, this means finding a focal point, and isolating the main point of interest. Using a telephoto can help you to capture powerful images since it makes it easier to select a slice of the landscape that has the most appeal or interesting details. Focusing on part of the scene, rather than the entire vista will allow you to create a tighter and simplified image, and leaving out any unnecessary and potentially distracting details.

Telephotos are ideal for those times when you want to compress the visual elements in a scene. Any time that you’d like both near and distant objects to appear similar in size or closer together, you’ll want to reach for your telephoto. This is also the case if you’re hoping to draw a distant element – such as a hill, a distant house, or the moon – a bit closer. If your focal point is a distant element, you’ll want to use a telephoto. A telephoto is also ideal for creating panoramic images – and with a minimal amount of image distortion. Using a telephoto will allow you to zoom in on different areas that you’d like to photograph, and capture a series of images that you can stitch together in post processing. Your telephoto will also prove to be useful during stormy or misty weather conditions, allowing you to easily capture a patch of the distant, brooding sky, or isolate a section of a beautiful foggy valley. Instead of feeling tempted to fit everything into your scene, try zooming in and filling the frame with a section of the setting for a unique and powerful image.

You’ll also want to take special care to ensure that your camera is steady when using a telephoto. These lenses are very sensitive to movement, so be sure to use a tripod or stabilize your camera to prevent blur. When using a tripod, you’ll want to turn off any image stabilization features. You’ll also want to utilize the ‘mirror lock-up’ feature on your camera and consider using a remote shutter release to further reduce the chance of camera shake.  When using a telephoto, you’ll most likely run into situations where different areas in your image will require different exposures, especially images where you’re capturing both the sky and foreground. For situations like this, it’s a good idea to get some neutral density (ND) filters that will fit your lens. Or, you could capture bracketed exposures, exposing for the sky, then the foreground, and then the whole scene, and then blending them together in post-processing. While creating breathtaking compositions with your telephoto may prove to be a challenge initially, being able to use these lenses for landscape photography will open up a whole new world of potential photo opportunities. Soon you’ll be using your telephoto to create images that are breathtaking and powerful, and capturing scenes that are every bit as beautiful as they appear in person.