Monday, September 10, 2007

Product Shot - Daylight in Studio


* The brightness of the light should be even throughout the frame, meaning no falloff of the light. If the light is brighter on one side of the frame and it diminishes on the other, it will give away the trick.

* Use lots of fill light. Without lots of fill, the shot could look like night.

* Shadows tend to look blueish outside, so use cool fill cards to get the look.

* Some part of the highlight area should blow out a tad. The contrast levels outside during the day are high, so expose for the middle tone and bracket your exposures.

* Decide what time of day it is you are re-creating. This will dramatically impact your lighting style. If it’s high noon, the light should come from overhead and be somewhat harsh and very blue. If it’s late in the afternoon, the shadows should be long, the light should be warm in color, and don’t use quite as much fill light.

* Use a low ISO, such as ISO 50 or 100. This will diminish the grain and is what the eye is used to for film photography.

* Maximize depth of field (unless going for a long lens look)

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Monday, September 3, 2007

Photographs of people

Of all the various subjects, people reliably make the best photographs. Nothing is more fascinating to us than other people. A good 'people' photograph shows character, emotion and a connection for the viewer. Here are some tips to help you take great shots of the people in your life.

Subject Placement. The biggest mistake many photographers make is to try to shoot a person's whole body, head to toe. Don't attempt this, unless clothes are important (such as a uniform). Instead, focus on the face. The eyes and mouth are the most important features, so start there and work out until you have just enough to represent the individual(s). Crop tightly, and don't be afraid to overflow the frame with the person's face.

Lighting. A standard lighting technique is to position yourself so the sun is behind you and to one side. This arrangement will shine light on the subject's face, while the slight angle will produce shadows to illuminate form. A better approach is to put your subject in a shady area with a shadowed background. Unlike the human eye, photographic film can't easily handle bright areas and dark shadows, as in direct sunlight, so use the shade for a narrow tonal range. Overcast days are usually best for portraits. Use the flash ('fill-flash' or 'daylight flash') to add light to the face and fill in shadows.

Lenses. Use a long lens such as 135mm - the 'people' lens. A wide-angle distorts the face, although it can be effective for parties. Find a simple, mid-toned background and use a wide aperture to throw it out of focus. I like to use tree leaves or a wall as a background and a 200mm lens set to f2.8. Center the eyes in the shot, not the head, to provide balance in the shot. When photographing children, crouch down so that you're shooting at their eye-level.

Setting The Scene. Try to set-up your camera ahead of time rather than making people wait. Help relax your subjects by engaging them in conversation. Get them to laugh or smile with a joke from the day. Finally, be sure to put yourself in the shot -- that's what the self-timer is for!

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Sunday, September 2, 2007

Lighting 102: Unit 1.1 - Position (Angle)

Summary: Lighting angle reveals form in a three-dimensional object. To see how light from a particular angle will affect your subject, view the subject from the position of the light.


We live in a world of off-axis light. The sun does not stay right behind us. Our lighting fixtures at home illuminate us from above and other various angles. And we are constantly exposed to imagery - both still and moving - that makes use of very sophisticated off-camera lighting techniques.

Yet so many photographers, when they take the time to compose and illuminate their photos, settle for the bland, flat, on-axis (i.e., on-camera) light. Because that is the path of least resistance.

The biggest failing of on-camera flash is that the light, which comes from a point very near to the camera's optical axis, does not have the ability to reveal the three-dimensional quality of the subject.

Granted, most flashes can be tilted to bounce the light off of walls or ceilings while still attached to the camera. But those are very limited choices out of a wide variety of lighting angles available to the off-camera lighting designer

very interesting post from ... i love this place.

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new Firefox addon

Palette Grabber 0.3.6 Homepage

by Konstantine Prevas

Creates a color palette for Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, GIMP, or Flash based on the current page.

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