David Hobby has written up a great post over at Strobist on how he avoids shoot-ruining confrontations with police officers when shooting in public locations (we shared an example of a confrontation yesterday). His tricks include calling the police ahead of time and leaving notes on the doors of houses nearby:
Before I shoot (a couple hours, usually) I call into the duty officer of the local precinct. I tell them my name, that I am a photographer, and where/when I will be shooting. I explain that, just in case some overenthusiastic passerby calls me in as a suspicious person, I just want to save them a call. I offer them my cell number, and ask if they want my sosh or driver’s license number. I have never been taken up on this, but I would happily give it.
[...] I print up a sheet and stick it in everyone’s door who is within eyeshot of the shoot at night. Because believe-you-me, it you are popping flashes in the woods at 2am, some idiot will absolutely call your butt in. To them, it’s gotta look pretty much like Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
Some of you might not like these tips because they appear to be the equivalent of putting up a white flag in the fight for photographers’ rights, but they may come in handy if one day you have a critical photo shoot that you can’t afford to have interrupted.
So I’ve been shooting some shows for some of the choral groups on campus at my school, and I’ve started to notice a trend: people make some stupid faces when they are singing. They can range from an approaching sneeze to a full-on O-face. Read more…
Mark Rober — the guy behind the gaping-hole-in-torso costume — recently came up with a creative way of getting up close and personal with gorillas at his local zoo. It turns out that apes can’t resist looking at themselves in mirrors, so Rober drilled a hole in a mirror and pointed his iPhone’s camera through it. He was then able to snag some awesome footage that most visitors would never be able to capture. This trick may also work for other animals that are known to pass the mirror test of self-awareness, including dolphins, elephants, and certain birds.
Here’s a short and sweet video in which Chicago-based food photographer Stephen Hamilton shares some tips on how to take photographs of food using your smartphone. One tip is to use a white napkin as a makeshift reflector to fill in some of the shadows in the shot.
Here’s a quick and simple tip for better portraits by Reddit user rmx_:
Everyone has a lazy eye. By that, I mean one eye is always smaller and/or more closed than the other eye. In some people, it is very easy to spot; in others, nearly impossible. The “beautiful people” have more symmetrical faces, but still, one eye will open more than the other. (Denzel Washington has one of the most I have seen [...])
[...] here is the tip: get the smaller/lazier eye slightly closer to the camera. Oh, and don’t tell the person what you’re looking at their eyes for! You’ll make them self conscious. Simply ask them to look at your finger and move their head to follow it, and then guide them left or right as necessary. Chances are, the movement needed will not be so much that you have to adjust your lights.
Reading a camera’s user manual is a great way to become familiar with all of its features and functions, but what if you don’t have the patience to sit down and chew through it? Here’s a strange but useful trick for making sure you read the manual thoroughly: put it in the bathroom. By placing it in a place where you’re desperate for things to read, you’ll slowly work your way through it and understand your camera more without having to take a chunk out of your busy day!
Beauty dishes are pricey, and so are dedicated cases for carrying them around. If you want a cheap and simple way to protect your dish, LA-based photographer Mariusz Jeglinski suggests buying a Christmas wreath bag for less than $10. The shape works nicely for dishes, and you can add some extra padding to the case if you want added protection.
Here’s a video in which business-savvy photographer Sal Cincotta shares some tips on how to turn your photography service into an experience that your clients will remember and be excited to recommend to others.
Have a habit of losing your lens caps? Add a clip to them to keep them attached to your camera strap when not in use! All you need are a lapel clip — the kind found on old wired cellphone headsets work great — and some strong mounting tape. It’s basically a DIY version of the Nice Clip, which we featured back in October.