Here’s a quick and easy tip from Scott Kelby for portraiture: reduce the number of distracting elements in the shot by positioning yourself with the background in mind. Sure it’s a simple and obvious tip, but those are usually the kind that come in handy most often.
Here’s a fun and creative idea that requires brains rather than a big budget: using an ordinary video-capable camera and some basic editing software, you can show a person walking forward through a world that’s traveling backward. For even crazier examples of this same technique, check out the music videos for The Scientist by Coldplay, Typical by Mutemath, and Drop by The Pharcyde.
Here’s an educational time-lapse tutorial by Los Angeles-based architectural photographer Mike Kelley in which he walks through how he goes about photographing buildings. His technique might be described “manual HDR” — after shooting the building over a longish period of time to capture different lightings, he then enters the scene and lights different areas of the building using two Canon 430EX Speedlites. Afterward, he loads the stills into Photoshop and selects different portions of the scene from different photos depending on the lighting he wants. The finished composite photo ends up looking as if it were lit by a large number of Speedlites.
Here’s a neat productivity tip for those of you who regularly buy stuff online (e.g. obsessive photo gear buyers): you can track most packages by simply searching for the tracking number with Google! The search engine automatically figures out which service the number belongs to, and provides you with a direct link to the droids page you’re looking for. Since some shipping companies don’t have bookmarkable tracking pages, this tip can help you avoid having to go through those companies’ websites.
In this video, UK photography instructor Damien Lovegrove demonstrates how you can add some pseudo-sunlight to portraits by simply placing some weeds or part of a bush — which he calls a “dingle” — between an off-camera flash and your subject.
We shared a couple weeks ago that it’s possible to scan film using an ordinary flatbed scanner and a DIY cardboard adapter, but did you know you can also use a large-screen cell phone or tablet computer to provide the necessary backlighting? All you need is a way to turn a large portion of the screen entirely white (e.g. a “flashlight” app). Simply place the device facedown over the film on the scanner, and scan it with the cover open. Read more…
Having a hard time getting a kid to smile? Children’s photographer Jennifer Tonetti-Spellman suggests botching children’s songs on purpose to draw out natural smiles and laughs:
I always warn parents that I can be a little kooky during shoots. And to brace themselves for bad singing. Just take a song every child knows like Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. Now, change a word in it. “Twinkle, Twinkle little COW.” What? COW??!!” Seriously. This. Works. Every. Time.
The child cracks up and you can get some mileage out of the joke a few more times. You will start to get the smile before you even ‘fill in the blank’ after you do it once, because they anticipate the silliness. I usually do it one more time and say “Oh I am so sorry, let me try again. Twinkle Twinkle, little DUCK.” You get the picture. This works best for children who actually understand what the words are in the song, and aren’t too old yet to give you the ‘this woman is not smart’ look.
Check out this mummified camera used by Reuters photographer Jo Yong-Hak. Yong-Hak was assigned to cover the popular Boryeong Mud Festival this year in South Korea, and decided to protect his gear with some good ol’ fashioned plastic wrap. Read more…
If you’ve tried to scan film using an ordinary flatbed scanner as you would a piece of paper, you’ve probably discovered that it didn’t turn out very well. The reason is because film needs to be illuminated from behind, while conventional scanners capture light that’s reflected off what they’re scanning. Before you give up hope and shell out money for a film scanner, here’s some good news: you can build a cheap and simple cardboard adapter that turns any scanner into a film scanner! Read more…
Do you have an efficient way of keeping track of which batteries or memory cards are fresh and ready to use? Flickr user Damon Hair uses Post-it Flags to tag charged batteries and formatted memory cards, letting him quickly swap out used ones when shooting without having to check them one at a time. For an even cheaper solution, you can try wrapping a small rubber band around them instead.