I can see it in your eyes! Excitement is brewing for some sort of fancy new lens or the latest camera body that breaks all the megapixel records. I know because I do the same thing! Surprisingly, though, in my experience it isn't the latest, fancy, glass that truly improves my photography, rather, I've found that making the right small upgrades tend to have a much more profound impact as they make the act of doing photography so much less of a hassle. Which, in turn, frees more of my focus to attend to the images I'm creating rather than fighting with gear which is refusing to perform.
Articles written by Ryan Cooper
Photographers can often be lumped into two distinct camps. The first is the "what" group which is represented by people who study their craft and follow tutorials as if they are a scripted set of instructions never caring about anything other than if the technique works or not. The second group is the "why" group who study their craft and follow tutorials while also striving to learn about why what they are learning actually works. The second group has a tremendous advantage over the first as their deeper understanding of technique gifts them with far more versatility than those who simply collect a library of preset recipes with little care as to why those recipes work.
It goes without saying that creating a comfortable, safe environment while shooting beauty photography can go a long way towards building a strong working relationship with your model. Comfortable, however, is what I'd define as the "barrier to entry." What you really want to do is go beyond that by giving your model a slight boost in confidence. By building up the model's self-esteem you get her thinking positively, and that state of mind leads to fantastic moments which create a genuine spark of expression.
Nearly every day I am hearing about some pseudo-horror story from a model or client about a shoot that went missing because of some technical problem after the photos had been created. Nothing is more frustrating than working hard to create the images that your client wanted only to be unable to deliver on time (or at all) because of some unforeseen technological problem that derails your entire process. As a professional you need to be prepared for these sorts of surprises before they happen so that you can always be ready to pivot and still deliver on your promise.
Recently, Ted Forbes over at The Art of Photography posted a rather interesting video that challenges the pervasive axiom of the artistic world that the action of making art will inevitably translate to an audience valuing and appreciating your work. Forbes asserts that our society is so saturated with creative content makers that it is nearly impossible to create photography that people care about unless you are pushing beyond the normal limits and expectations of what is already present in the world. I agree with this on the surface; however, I also feel that it doesn't tell the entire story.
The Neewer Flat Panel Reflector is a great tool designed for those looking for the benefit of something such as a V-flat or large reflector frame without the bulk of having to haul them around. The Neewer Flat Panel Reflector is basically a 3 foot by 6 foot wind sail that you can use as reflector or flag during virtually any shoot. At $69.99 the Flat Panel Reflector offers fantastic value for an innovative new light modifier to add to your arsenal.
As a group, we photographers tend to like to do everything ourselves. I think it is something about depending on someone else that pushes against our most basic instincts. However, great portrait photography is always a team activity. This team can range from just you and your model all the way up to a full production, but one thing remains consistent: without a team, there is no photo.
When I sat down to read the copy of Picture Perfect Lighting by Roberto Valenzuela my first expectation was a book that parroted much of the same content that many other photography books had already laid out many times in the past. Basic lighting tips, the exposure triangle; the usual sorts of stuff that you'd expect from a typical book on photography. To my surprise, however, Picture Perfect Lighting offers a delightfully unique glimpse into lighting that can help beginners and veterans alike.
Some of us photographer types are rather notorious gear junkies. I'm as guilty of it as the next guy. We like our toys and love to collect as many gadgets and doohickeys as we can get our hands on. Few things grab our attention more than the spec sheet of the newest cutting edge camera. Our budgets, however, aren't as infinite as our eagerness to spend them, which often leads to the need to prioritize purchases. Despite what your eagerness is telling you, the most valuable update might actually be upgrading your computer rather than that shiny new camera body.
Your online portfolio is one of the most critical tools you have at your disposal when looking to make a sale. Clients are looking to your website as a sign of both your skill and professionalism. The customer wants to find a photographer who is the perfect fit so your website needs to be built to enable that feeling. Below are four priorities that photographers often overlook when designing their websites.
The Sigma 150mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM APO Macro is somewhat of a red herring that doesn’t get talked about very often. Most macro shooters are content with a 100mm macro lens, and most portrait shooters tend to go with a 70-200mm for their telephoto needs. 150mm just isn’t a focal length that is commonly seen these days. Does that make this Sigma lens a sleeper gem or just another lens to overlook in favor of other options?
It is no secret that Nikon is starting to fall behind in the lens game, partly because competitors, such as Sigma and Tamron, have doubled down on quality and focused heavily on innovating, but also partly due to Nikon's seeming unwillingness to invest in new and updated, innovative designs. As the demands of modern sensors expand, so does the demand for sharp, high resolution glass. Nikon has several legendary lenses in their past, which with a modern facelift could become some of the most competitive lenses in today's market.
When the term "compositing" comes up, one often considers it a destructive, transformative process that involves frankensteining a myriad of images into a single, completely new, composition. This method can draw as much ire as it does praise. Personally, I love great composites, but many feel that they are too fake. Not all compositing has to be a metamorphosis creating a brand new image, however. By leveraging compositing technique to make slight alterations to your image you can, instead, create a shot that is much more true to reality but still creates a sense of fantasy or surrealism.
Photographers almost always begin as artists. The camera doesn't draw the interest of the business minded, rather, it draws the passion of the creative. We all entered this pursuit chasing expression of some sort or another. For some, that passion eventually transforms into the longing for a career. The business of photography, however, throws a nasty wrench into the artistic pursuit of photography forcing photographers to overcome several of our most core creative instincts in order to create value that a client is willing to pay for.
Some photographers value the technical aspects of a lens above all else. Others prefer lenses that create unique, if not technically perfect photos. The Helios 40-2 85mm f/1.5 is for those in the latter camp. This lens is famous for its characteristic swirly bokeh, and in that it does not fail to disappoint.
I’m baffled by how often I encounter photographers who tell me they have been shooting for years but still haven’t created their portfolio because their work isn't good enough. After a bit of convincing, I can usually prompt them into sending me a few shots to take a look at, only to find out their work is more than ready to be displayed.
There is no shortage of amazing videos on the subject of photography. The field is broad. Every once in a while, however, there is a video that pops up which leaves me with my jaw on the floor. Whether it invokes the magic of inspiration, or opens doors I didn't even know existed, those sorts of videos stand out as keystones of great, inspirational teaching.
Adding a colored background to your studio shots can vastly change the impact of a studio photo. The most obvious method to do this is by collecting an army of colored backdrops that take up space and are a headache to swap in and out from shoot to shoot. Instead, it is quite easy to build this coloring effect using Photoshop so that you can shoot each image using a standard white or grey background.