Oct 112012

Whenever you are outdoor for shooting, you may have Sunny or Cloudy day. Keep following in mind while taking pictures.

Sunny day
Avoid direct sunlight on your subject’s face as it creates Harsh shadows. Try to find a shade e.g. under a roof, under a tree or large shadow of a building. It reduces or eliminates shadows on faces.

Try to shoot with subject facing backwards to Sun and switch on your Flash “ON”. Sunlight on back will create nice looking edge light on subjects body, it also highlight hair. But might think that in such case face will be dark, you are correct but thats where your flash will come in picture, it will fill the darkness on his/her face. Such portraits can be very dramatic.

Cloudy Day
Cloudy day is perfect for photography of protraits as the light in atmosphere does not create any harsh shadows. It is even light through out.

(This tip is part of the series which focuses on improving everyone’s photography whether using a SLR camera, simple point and shoot camera or even just your mobile camera.)

Please share this with all your friends for helping them improve their photos.

Oct 072012

Here are the default settings I have on my camera most of the time. I start with these settings most of the time when I pick up camera. Although it is more dependent on the ambient light I have in the scene.

My Camera Settings

My Camera Settings (Nikon D90)

Mode : Its always Aperture priority (A). It gives me opportunity to define depth of field in my photograpgh

Aperture Value : I start with 5.6 as it gives nice depth of field some where in between shallow and deep . For portraits I tend to change this to f4 or below. For Landscapes its usually more than f8 or f11. Otherwise for general city shots f5.6 is good as it keeps shutter speed to reasonable value :)

Shutter Mode : I am mostly on [S] mode. It is single shot on Nikon cameras.

Metering Mode : I am mostly on SPOT Metering. I find it more comfortable as it gives me granular control of exposure in my shot.

ISO : I am mostly start with 400. Although my camera allows lowest as 200. But since it gives considerable decent results in 400 too. I use it as I get 1 stop extra in my shutter speed. In cases where I am non Tripod, I move this to ISO 200 for best results

File Type : It is always RAW. I rarely shoot in other modes. The fact that I edit my photos in LR3, I dont want to use any other mode. I advise to use this mode as it saves you in cases of wrong decisions made while shooting

White Balance: Always Auto, I rely on my camera to set WB automatically. Fact that I am on RAW mode, I know that I can change this anytime if I like.

Also, a small tip or best practice. Always leave your camera in your camera bag, the way you want to shoot often as you may have to take out your camera quickly for a shot and you might not have time to set it.

Please share your views on this or if you want to share your settings too.

Sep 252012

Most of us when we take pictures, we shoot straight. Which is fine but slight movement of camera position improves photographs a lot. Try shooting at different angles.

For example, shooting children, bend down or sit and take photos of children with camera at their eye level rather than you standing.

Take pictures of adults from below (bending or sitting) or slightly above their head poiting camera down (standing at a higher level or keeping camera high).

Pictures of flowers can be taken from low angle pointing camera above and keeping Sky as background of flowers.

Even tilting your camera slightly will add interest to your photographs

Try different angles of the same scene. You will be surprised to see improvement in your photos.

(This tip is part of the series which focuses on improving everyone’s photography whether using a SLR camera, simple point and shoot camera or even just your mobile camera.)

Please share this with all your friends for helping them improve their photos.

Nov 142011

iPhone 4 and even previous models has feature which allows you to select the focus point while taking the photograph. All you need to do is to tap your finger somewhere on the screen where you want your focus to be. Basically it tells the camera that the photograpgh should be properly focussed and clear at that particular point.

There is one thing additon to that happens when you Tap the focus point, which is camera selects that Tap point as reference for Metering (Metering is the mechanism by which camera selects how bright or dark the resultant photo should be)

Let me explain this with an example. In the following photograpgh you can notice that there are three different types of areas,
* Left side mostly bright
* Center – optimum light
* right – dark side

Now comes the selection of the point. If we tap at a darker area, camera will automaticaly make the picture brighter. If you tap at a brighter area, it will adjust the brightness and make the picture little darker. It depends on the scene and the frame you are capturing, how you want the photorapgh to be.

In the above photograph I tapped at the left side of the image thus it adjusted the light and made the left side optimum (by reducing the brightness) while making rest of the areas as dark (see right side)

In the above photograph I tapped at the right side of the image thus it adjusted the light and made the right side optimum (by increasing the brightness) while making left area as more brighter (see left side)

So whenever you are taking photograpgh using iPhone, just take care of the Tap point as it will afect your overall picture exposure.

Hope it helps !

Oct 142011

The subject should be well lit from the front, thats the advice generally every photographer gets. Your key light should expose the subject properly.

Though it is correct and applies to most of the cases, there is however a possibility to try another perspective and break this rule which in turn opens other possibilities to capture the scene.

What I tried here is to back lit my subject which expose many details in its formation. In some cases back lit subjects provide details around edges of the subject. There are many examples on internet and many ways it can be tried out e.g.

* Shooting a person with sun behind it
* Shooting leaves/flowers with key light behind them
* Shooting glass or transparent objects with key light from behind

All such cases reveal the texture of the subject and its edges

Here is a shot I tried of a slice of orange with key light behind it

Back lighting subjects

Its simple to do with just basic settings, Lets see how this particular shot was done

* Get a clear glass piece as table top. In my case it was my dining table top which is of glass.
* In order to have a smooth translucent background, I pasted a sheet of white paper below the glass top
* Clean the surface of glass properly on top
* Place your subject and postion where you want it

Now that we have the subject in place its time to add back light to the frame. You can use any light source which is bright enough to properly lit the subject and reveal its texture.
I used my Flash YN-560 and placed it below the glass top and set its power to about 1/4 which was sufficient to lit it.

So now we have
* Flash set at bottom at quarter power
* flash was triggered remotely using a wireless trigger
* Set up camera on tripod and angled down on glass top

Since its we dont have any deth of field issue as background is just flat we can go for a large aperture which your lens supports.
Be sure to have your shutter speed less than the sync speed of your camera in my case it is 1/200

Simple setup ! Now start shooting and try with various combinations of light and composition which suits best

I hope you found it useful, kindly leave comments below.

Oct 102011

Here are two shots from recent jewellery photography attempt

and another one


ISO : 200
F : f/16
S : 3 sec
Focal : 50 mm

The setup was simple.

* D90 on tripod with 50mm 1.8D lens

* Two ceiling yellow CFL lights as ambient light

* One small flash light used to add additional sparkle effect

* Background is black satin cloth placed on a table

For this shoot I opted for Tethered shooting using Lightroom as this gives me oppurtunity to see details while shooting

Hope you like it. Please provide your comments below

Jun 162011

These days digital cameras are equiped with back LCD displays which allow us to see the captured photo instantly. They even have varioous photo editing options to edit photos directly in camera. Zoom feature is also present which allows photographer to enlarge the photo to analyze the details captured.

Although zoom helps a lot but still in some cases picture as seen on camera LCD is different when viewed on your computer screen. Once the shoot is over and we download the images to computer and start vieweing it sometimes its observed that some details of some aspects of the photo is not correct as it should be which may be dissappointing for a shoot which can not be repeated.

Tethered shooting is a way to take pictures from camera and see them directly in computer instantly. Here is how it is done.

Tethered shooting setup

What we need for Tethered shooting:

* A Camera with USB port
* A USB cable
* A computer
* A software that allows tethered shooting

Usually camera is set on a tripod. Camera is connected to computer via a USB cable. Cameras have a USB port and the cable is mostly supplied with it.

What you need to have is a software that understands your camera. There are many softwares available which support multiple vendors camera models. Often this is a paid software. In our case here I am using “Adobe Lightroom 3″.

Start your software and open the Tethered shooting window.
Connect your camera using a cable. You will notice that software will detect your camera and is displayed with model number. Other details shown are Aperture, Shutter speed, ISO values of the current settings in your camera.

Setup your shot and then go to your computer screen and click on the shutter button on screen. This way you can sit back and relax and keep on shooting. Pictures are directly loaded in your computer and you can view each and every detail simultaneously and adjust your camera and subject settings in between.

See the screenshot of a photo shoot I did for apples using tethered shooting.

Tethered shooting using Adobe Lightroom

You can see there is a tool bar over the image which display the Camera model as “D90″ which is connected and the exposure settings in the camera. On the right side of the tool bar there is a cicular button for triggering the shutter release of the camera.

At the bottom of the screen there is a strip bar which displays various pictures taken during the shoot.

Some softwares even allow you to see live view directly into the computer screen.

Advantages of Tethered shooting:

* Allows you to see the picture instantly in computer
* You can analyse the shots during the photoshoot only rather than dissappointing once all is over
* It acts like a remote release for your camera too
* No need to import photograpghs as pictures are directly saved in computer
* Show to client instantly and get their feedback instantly

I hope you liked the above piece of information, please post your comments

Jun 142011

Most of us either have a Point n Shoot camera or atleast mobile camera. We love taking pictures often. Here are few tips for improving your photographs taken by your point n shoot cameras or mobile cameras or infact any camera.

* Choose an angle other than a usual one. Dont just take photo from you standing straight in front of the subject, Get down or slightly above the subject. change direction towards left or right and see the difference in perspective.

* Try to use “Non-Flash” mode in your camera. Flash sometimes just flatten the image and does not project the real ambience in photo. Put your camera on Non-flash mode and make sure your camera is on some steady support like a table or wall etc. as your camera will take little more time in taking that shot and if the camera is not steady it may shake during capture and make photo blurry.

* When taking pictures of children, get down to their eye level, bend your knees or sit down etc. as shots taken from their level are more impactful.

* During landscape photos, see if anything can be in the frame near to the camera as well. For example if taking a photo of a beautiful valley, see if any near by tree or rock can be put in frame. This will add sense of depth in the photo

* When your subject is far away and you can not zoom much, keep your camera settings to maximum resolution(Mega Pixels or picture size) it can afford. Reason is that you may want to crop the shot later to pop out your main subject in the final image.

* “Dont use Zoom”. Yes you read right, Sometimes you can keep your camera at a fixed zoom position and then you yourself go back or forward and try to fit your frame, this makes you a better photographer.

* Avoid taking closeups of people at the “Wide” zoom position of your camera. Instead set your camera to extreme end of “Tele” mode and then shoot portratits of people. Shooting at “Wide” distorts the picture of close subjects and may make for example nose of the person much broader than real.

* When shooting indoors, switch on as many lights as possible. Otherwise your camera would adjust the settings automatically and may make your picture little grainy.

* When your subject is standing in front of the main light source for example person standing with sun behind him/her. Always set your camera to “Fill Flash” or “Flash On” mode which makes sure that flash will be fired always. This mode will help you to put light on person face otherwise it will come as dark

* Lastly, most point n shoot cameras have a “M” or Manual mode, Try learning that. You can create some good effects using that mode. There are many websites which you can read to learn basics of photography including this one.

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