Category Archives: Photography

Instant Camera

The instant camera is a type of camera which uses self-developing film to create a chemically developed print shortly after taking the picture. Polaroid Corporation pioneered (and patented) consumer friendly instant cameras and film, and were followed by various other manufacturers. The invention of commercially viable instant cameras which were easy to use is generally credited to American scientist Edwin Land, who unveiled the first commercial instant camera, the model 95 Land Camera, in 1948, a year after unveiling instant film in New York City. The earliest instant camera, which consisted of a camera and portable wet darkroom in a single compartment, was invented in 1923 by Samuel Shlafrock. Polaroid cameras can be classified by the type of film they use. The earliest Polaroids (pre-1963) used instant roll film. Roll film came in two rolls (positive/developing agent and negative) which were loaded into the camera and was eventually offered in three sizes (40, 30, and 20 series). The next generation of Polaroid cameras used 100 series “pack film,” where the photographer pulled the film out of the camera, then peeled apart the positive from the negative at the end of the developing process. Pack film initially was offered in a rectangular format (100 series), then in square format (80 series). Third generation Polaroids, like the once popular SX-70, used a square format integral film, in which all components of the film (negative, developer, fixer, etc.) were contained. Each exposure developed automatically once the shot was taken. SX-70 (or Time Zero) film had a strong following with artists who used it for image manipulation.

Polaroid also invented and manufactured an instant movie camera system was called Polavision. The kit included a camera, film, and a movie viewer. When the movie was shot, it would be taken out of the camera and then inserted into the viewer for development, then viewed after development. This format was close to Super 8 mm film. Polavision film was different from normal film in that it was an additive film, mixing the primary colors (red, green, blue) to form the color image. The biggest disadvantage of the Polavision system was the low film speed (ASA 40), which resulted in having to use very bright lights when taking the movie, as well as requiring a special player to view the developed movie. It also lacked audio capability. Because of this, and combined with the advent of VHS video recorders, Polavision had a short history. Pack film cameras were mostly equipped with automatic exposure, but still had to be focused and a flash bulb or cube unit needed to be used with colour film indoors. The development of the film required the photographer pull two tabs, the second tab which pulled the positive/negative “sandwich” from the camera, where it developed outside the camera. If the temperature was below 15°C (60°F), the positive/negative “sandwich” was placed between two aluminum plates and placed either in the user’s pocket or under their arm to keep it warm while developing. After the required development time (15 seconds to 2 minutes), the positive (with the latent image) was peeled apart from the negative.

Creating Double Exposures That Rock

Simply put, double exposure is a combination of two different images in one frame to create a unique photo. Taking double exposures means overlaying or superimposing two exposures in one frame. Creating a double exposure photo normally requires one to take an initial round of shots and then a second round to create the superimposed images. Years ago, this was done using a film camera and a dark room for developing the images. Changing your camera’s settings to get double exposures may sound easy, but there are actually other things to consider aside from that. As such, it is important to know the basic tips to follow when shooting double exposures, especially if you are a first timer. You will be shooting two images with your old school camera. The first image will be your primary subject, while the second image will be the supporting or supplementary. Normally, first images have the light or sun behind them. The second image, on the other hand, can either be a landscape, figures, flowery items or a textured backdrop. Decide which images you want to be primary and secondary and try to imagine what they will look like when superimposed. This will give you an idea of how to execute the shot.

Whether you’re using a digital or the traditional film camera, you need to be absolutely sure that you have the right equipment. So, this is the first thing that you need to consider. Next, check your photoshoot location. Come up with a shot list or a prospect for the shots you are going to take. Be sure to specify which ones are initial shots and which ones are the second shots. As previously mentioned, it is important to have the right equipment before going out to shoot. For digital camera double exposure shoots, having a shutter release cable, a flash and a tripod will greatly help. Likewise, be sure to bring with you a plain black or white cloth or anything that can be used as a backdrop. The next thing you should do is find out where your camera’s multiple exposure features or settings are. You have to be familiar with how it works. It will be a good idea to read the user’s manual and to do a simple research online. It will also help if you practice before going on an actual shoot. You can do this at home or anywhere you want to, as long as you are able to practice using two images in one frame. The next step is for you to shoot your second image. Be sure to position and frame it well so it does not cover the entirety of your first image. The two images should blend well. To do this, experiment with the angles so you’ll know which scenes complement each other well. Do not be afraid to experiment; this is what double exposures are all about.

The actual steps for taking double exposures may be simple, but you will still need to follow some tips and consider some tricks that can help you.

  1. Although there are no set rules for double exposure photography, it is important to follow some techniques. For example, you need to know that using lighter or brighter subjects is not recommended because this will affect the details of the image. Instead, use darker scenes or subjects. The best advice? Use silhouettes. They work best for double exposures.
  2. However, it is also important to go a little extraordinary. You can, for instance, use a dark silhouette over a bright or shining white background. The effect will be quite dramatic, with the white washing out the image and creating an interesting scene.
  3. You can also choose to shoot double exposures that come out like ghostly apparitions. To do this, simply position your subject away from the frame. This will create a translucent illusion.
  4. Of course, some DSLR photographers, especially those who are busy, prefer to create double exposures with the help of a software. But, where’s the fun in that? It’s always exciting to try out something new in photography.

Capturing Great Autumn Bokeh

One especially excellent way to capture fall in all of its splendor is by looking to incorporate bokehinto some of your images. Bokeh is a Japanese word that translates into “blur,” and among photographers, it refers to the way the lens renders out-of-focus areas in the background or foreground as orb-shaped spheres of light. Looking to incorporate bokeh into your compositions can make for some striking images, especially during the fall, when the world is awash in color. If you’re hoping to capture the vibrant colors of autumn, consider heading out to a place where the changing foliage is in full swing. The sunlight filtering through the leaves makes a great opportunity for capturing bokeh, allowing you to create some classic autumn bokeh images. Heading out just after the rain can make for some striking images. Since the leaves will be damp they’ll be more vibrant and the colors more saturated than they would otherwise be.

In most images, bokeh features in the background, but you can capture beautiful foreground bokeh as well. Both foreground and background bokeh are similar in that if you focus on the subject, and there’s a distant element in the background, that element will be out of focus. Similarly, if you have an element that’s close to your lens, and it’s out of focus, you can capture some great foreground bokeh as well. For great foreground bokeh, you’ll want to pay attention to the light and look for elements of light. Autumn light filtering through some leaves, translucent flowers or stalks of grass, or drops of dew clinging to a spider web can present great opportunities for beautiful foreground bokeh.

If you have a fast lens, by all means use it, but if you don’t have one – don’t worry. You can still capture some great bokeh. Just increase the distance between your subject and the background, or zoom in closer to your subject to separate them from the background, resulting in more blur – and better bokeh. Keep in mind that the farther your subject is from the background, the more creamy and blurred the background will be. Bokeh can enhance almost any type of imagery. While the most common shots of autumn bokeh feature leaves or foliage, you can capture bokeh in a range of different situations. Consider photographing city lights after dark, or heading to a farmers’ market to capture the good that are on display. Aim to capture bokeh in the background of your autumn portraits, or get up close to an insect, an acorn, or seeds for some beautiful macro shots. There’s no shortage of opportunities for bokeh in the fall, so keep your eyes open! Any time you see some beautiful light reflecting off of something in the background or foreground, you know you have a great chance to capture bokeh.

Best Night Sky Photographs

You can take stunning night sky photos using just a professional photo camera. For best results, you can also invest in a fisheye lens, to capture as much of the sky as possible. This type of lens also adds a curving effect to the final image, which works well with night sky photos, as it can really capture the sense of awe it can inspire. If you do not have a professional camera, or a very powerful camera, or you just want to capture a higher level of detail, you can also use a telescope. Even a cheap Celestron telescope is enough to do the trick. You will also have to purchase an adaptor ring to mount it one your camera. Make sure everything is compatible, as newer adaptor rings might not work for older cameras. Night sky photos can be less demanding than proper astrophotographs, though there are a few tricks that makes taking astrophotographs easy as well. For these types of photos, buying a powerful camera and telescope is not optional. Set up is also more rigorous. But once you learn the basics of night sky photography, you can move on to the next challenge.

Obviously, light pollution can be a major issue when it comes to night sky photos. Part of the reason why these photos are so impressive is because we rarely get to see the stars and the moon in all their glory when living in the city. That’s why ideally you should be at least 50 miles away from any town when taking these pictures. At that distance, you’re more or less sure to have no light pollution. Air pollution can also be a factor, so you should steer clear of any large factories or other industrial operations. Even though they may not give off any light, smoke and gases can cloud the sky and obscure the subject. With newer, more powerful cameras, you can take clear pictures of the stars in as little as 25 seconds. Still, you should mount your camera on a tripod, as 25 seconds is a pretty long time to stand perfectly still with a camera in hand, especially if you’ve mounted a telescope on it. When it comes to settings, you should take a look back at your equipment. The wider the fisheye lens, the more light comes through the camera. That means you’ll have to spend less time capturing the photo.

Hopefully, these tips will help you see that night sky photography is much easier than it may first appear to be. Arguably, the most important tool at your disposal is patience. Patience to find the perfect locations, the right settings and the best compositions. And most importantly, the patience to experiment.

Underwater Photography

Underwater photography is the process of taking photographs while under water. It is usually done while scuba diving, but can be done while diving on surface supply, snorkeling, swimming, from a submersible or remotely operated underwater vehicle, or from automated cameras lowered from the surface. Underwater photography can also be categorised as an art form and a method for recording data. Successful underwater imaging is usually done with specialized equipment and techniques. However, it offers exciting and rare photographic opportunities. Animals such as fish and marine mammals are common subjects, but photographers also pursue shipwrecks, submerged cave systems, underwater “landscapes”, invertebrates, seaweeds, geological features, and portraits of fellow divers.

The use of a flash or strobe is often regarded as the most difficult aspect of underwater photography. Some misconceptions exist about the proper use of flash underwater, especially as it relates to wide-angle photography. Generally, the flash should be used to supplement the overall exposure and to restore lost color, not as the primary light source. In situations such as the interior of caves or shipwrecks, wide-angle images can be 100% strobe light, but such situations are fairly rare. Usually, the photographer tries to create an aesthetic balance between the available sunlight and the strobe. Deep, dark or low visibility environments can make this balance more difficult, but the concept remains the same. Many modern cameras have simplified this process through various automatic exposure modes and the use of through-the-lens (TTL) metering. The increasing use of digital cameras has reduced the learning curve of underwater flash significantly, since the user can instantly review photos and make adjustments. Color is absorbed as it travels through water, so that the deeper you are, the less reds, oranges and yellow colors remain. The strobe replaces that color. It also helps to provide shadow and texture, and is a valuable tool for creativity.

Another format considered part of underwater photography is the over/under or split image, a composition that includes roughly half above the surface and half underwater, with both in focus. One of the pioneers of the traditional technique was National Geographic photographer David Doubilet, who used it to capture scenes above and below the surface simultaneously. Split images are popular in recreational scuba magazines, often showing divers swimming beneath a boat, or shallow coral reefs with the shoreline seen in the background. Over/under shots present some technical challenges beyond the scope of most underwater camera systems. Normally an ultra wide angle lens is used, similar to the way it would be used in everyday underwater photography. However, the exposure value in the above water part of the image is often higher (brighter) than in the one underwater. There is also the problem of refraction in the underwater segment, and how it affects the overall focus in relation to the air segment. There are specialized split filters designed to compensate for both of these problems, as well as techniques for creating even exposure across the entire image. However, pro photographers often use extremely wide or fisheye lens that provides extensive depth of field – and a very small aperture for even more extensive depth of field; this is intended for acceptably sharp focus both on the nearby underwater subject and the more distant elements above water. An external flash can also be very useful underwater, on a low setting, to balance the light: to overcome the difference in brightness of the elements above and below the water.

Shots of Food for Restaurant

Since you want to sell the food on a menu, the images of said food need to be top-notch. Again, people won’t find poorly shot food appetizing to eat, and including low-quality pictures of certain dishes on a menu would likely dissuade people from ordering those dishes! Part food photography, part great technique, taking electrifying shots of food for a menu is an exciting and rewarding process that will translate into real profits. Some may have a big budget they can spend on the shoot, which means you as the photographer are like a kid in a candy store, as you’ll have access to better lighting and equipment, but that’s not always necessary. At the same time, maybe you want to bring in a host of expensive equipment yourself because the shoot is for a big client. For some more low-budget clients—maybe it’s a casual-fare restaurant that’s just opened or even a food truck – relying on just natural light for your shoot can work wonders, too. After all, the determining factor is really the technique you use, more than anything else. In this piece, we’ll look at natural lighting.

Even great menu photography deserves thoughtful composition. Remember that these shots are vital to your client’s business, as customers will be making their buying decisions in large part based on your photos. You don’t want to overcrowd the photo because the subject is obviously going to be the plates of food. Putting too many elements into the background can distract from the food you’re shooting, and that would be self-defeating. Instead, use minimalism to overcome this potential source of trouble. Limit your foreground or background elements to just one or two, thus ensuring that your dishes are the main stars of your menu photography. The elements in the foreground or background should also be blurry (out of focus), so that viewers have no choice but to look at the food and pay attention to it.

Photographing food for a client’s menu is considerable fun and also stimulating work. Besides dealing with the challenges of shooting inside of a restaurant and finding that natural light in only a few, choice places, you’ll also have to contend with the challenge of making your food look great. That’s no easy task, to say the least! But when you focus on great technique like making sure your composition is lined up right, then even the most challenging menu shoot becomes something manageable. And if you still have problems with the food, don’t hesitate to try unexpected tricks to really doll the food up. After all, the only thing that matters with menus is making the pictures you take for them good enough to eat right off the page.

Creating an Impressive Photography Portfolio

However, creating a photography portfolio is not easy. It’s not something that you can do in a few hours or overnight. You have to invest your time, effort, talents, and your photography skills to create an impressive collection. After all, your portfolio is your investment; it is your calling card and it introduces your work to the world. There are now two ways for you to create a portfolio. You can choose to make a physical portfolio, or you can go with an online portfolio. For maximum visibility, however, you should go for both. Create a traditional photography portfolio first and then find someone to help you make an online portfolio. You can choose to do just one, but majority of clients nowadays look for both. So it’s better to be sure than sorry.

1. Identify Your Audience

Before you start building your portfolio, you need to identify your niche or audience first. To whom do you want to show your photos? To whom are you trying to reach out? Who do you wish would view your photos? Knowing the answers to the said questions will help you determine your reason for creating the portfolio. Additionally, the answers can also help you identify the style, tone, and content your portfolio should possess.

For example, if your target audience is couples planning their weddings, your portfolio should showcase engagement, bridal shower, and wedding photos. Likewise, the tone and style should also complement an engagement or wedding vibe. If you have a website, your main homepage should feature your niche photos. For instance, in Sumastre Photography, we specialize in aerial photography. We highlighted all our aerial photography and videography works at the top of the homepage so that it will be prominently displayed at the website. It’s the first set of photo-collection the visitors and potential clients will see – no need for them to click other links or navigate away from the main webpage.

2. Choose Your Photos Wisely

You will need to plan or choose which photos to include in your portfolio. Better yet, decide on whether or not you need to shoot new ones (most photographers do this). Brainstorming (if you have a team or with your friends) and planning are two ways of making sure that your project is well organized.

3. Create a Web Presence

Since you’re going to build an online portfolio, too, you have to create a website. Make this a part of your brainstorming session, but be sure that you have a good web designer with you. The designer can help in laying out the technical attributes of the website, including the SEO side of it (if you want your site optimized for search engines). Likewise, with a designer around, you’ll have someone who can help you with the visual aspects. Designers have a very keen eye for details, and this is an advantage for anyone who wants to come up with an attention-grabbing portfolio.

Motion Blur

Motion blur is the apparent streaking of rapidly moving objects in a still image or a sequence of images such as a movie or animation. It results when the image being recorded changes during the recording of a single exposure, either due to rapid movement or long exposure.

In televised sports, where conventional cameras expose pictures 25 or 30 times per second, motion blur can be inconvenient because it obscures the exact position of a projectile or athlete in slow motion. This can lead to more perceived motion blurring above and beyond the pre-existing motion blur in the video material. See display motion blur. Sometimes, motion blur can be removed from images with the help of deconvolution. In video games the use or not of motion blur is somewhat controversial. Some gamers claim that the blur actually makes gaming worse since it does blur images, making more difficult to recognize objects, especially in fast-paced moments. This does become noticeable the lower the frame rate is.

How do you blur the background in your photo in the camera?

1. Open the aperture more for a shallow depth of field.

Use a wider aperture (thats the opening in your lens) by choosing a smaller f number on your camera’s settings. This will cause less of the scene to be in sharp focus, something we call a shallow depth of field. The reason why a wider aperture results in more background blur, and a thinner area of focus can be explained by a scattering effect. Think of a garden hose, with the nozzle almost closed, producing a thin jet of water. Since the water does not spread very much, over distance, the water’s spray does not change very much. Now the same hose and water, with a wider, more open nozzle – the water sprays out, and the further it travels, the wider and softer the spray. Light travels in a similar way. A wide aperture allows the light entering to spread much more, causing a scatter effect from any light that is from out of the focus zone. The wider the aperture, the more this scatter occurs.

2. Use a longer focal length to blur the background more.

Zoom in more, or use a longer lens. The more zoomed in you are, the more shallow the depth of field. It’ll also compress the scene, making distant objects appear to be closer, but more blurred out. An oversimplified explanation – By zooming in, the actual depth of field doesn’t change, but the angle of view is much smaller, meaning you’ll only capture a smaller area of background. With a smaller angle of view, the rays of light entering the camera are more parallel, and less focused.

3. Get closer to the subject for that macro effect.

By getting closer to the point of focus you’ll move the focus area closer, and throw the background more out of focus. This is how macro lenses work.

4. Combine these tips for maximum blur.

Choosing a wider aperture, and a longer lens, then getting really close to the details, you’ll get maximum blur and really restrict focus to the area you want the attention to be on.

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.