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Tag Archives: photography tips
Check out the photography of my 52 Photo Walk Group!
One of my goals as a photography educator is to give my photography students opportunities to practice the photography skills they learn in my workshops. The photographer tours that I present are all built around the bringing photographers to unique locations to practice different types of photography.The 52 Week Photo Walk group I have organized on Flickr is another methods I have provided to get folks out with their cameras.
We have a group of 95 photographers participating in the Photo Walk program! This group has worked hard all year and much of their beautiful image making is found on our group page.
Becoming a good photographer requires regular practice. The more you work at learning your tools, practicing your camera work the better your photography will become. Make sure you take some time to look at the photography produced by this wonderful group of photographers I hope you admire their efforts and appreciate the work they are putting into their photographic craft.
Want to learn more about becoming a better digital photographer?
Make sure you sign-up for my email list (see right sidebar for form) so you can receive notices about my photography education program and photo tips. I present photo workshops in my studio and at locations throughout New England and beyond. In 2013 I will be introducing more interactive online learning programs that you will not want to miss.
A point that I make in all of my photo workshops is about the most important photo accessory that every photographer must use. What is the “most important” photo accessory? you ask. Your feet. If you want to improve the look of your image; move!
Changing your camera position, your point of view, is the best way to improve how your photography looks. Compose your image carefully and fill your frame. Only include the essential visual elements in your frame. Determine your camera position relative to the direction of the light falling on your subject. Select a focal length the create the arrangement of distance you want to appear in your photo and then move your feet. Don’t believe me ? Here is what the iconic photojournalist had to say about the subject.
I offer a program of photography workshops and photographer tours at my studio in Nashua, NH and in locations throughout the Northeast. For more information contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
My next photographer workshop is October 13-14 in Lincoln, NH. For information about the third annual WHITE MOUNTAIN PHOTOGRAPHER WEEKEND go to the workshop website.
Some Tips And Info For Selecting The “correct” ISO For Your Digital Photography
ISO selection is important because it is allows the photographer to adapt to the lighting conditions found in their scene. The ISO value you select is one leg of the exposure triangle, along with aperture and shutter speed, which allows for precise exposure and creative control. Understanding ISO and how to use it is a fundamental photographer skill.
With digital cameras the ISO is a numerical value given for the level of sensitivity your camera sensor has to light. We saw the same rating system with film. Remember shooting ISO 100, 400, 800 etc… rated rolls of film? Do any of you old timers remember ASA ratings on film (pre-ISO)? With digital cameras we have the option to select a particular ISO value for every shot, which is a big advantage with digital photography.
In general the lower the ISO setting the less sensitive your sensor will be to light, the higher the ISO setting the more sensitive your sensor will be to light. This means that when you are shooting in bright conditions you can use a low ISO value and when shooting in low light conditions you select a high ISO value.
Most digital cameras offer a range of ISO values to choose from; 100 to 3200 is a common range of choices, although many models of camera go higher and lower. In general, the lower the ISO the better quality your results will be. Using a higher ISO will increase noise (digital artifacts), reduce sharpness and decrease the contrast ratio of your results. Digital cameras with larger sensors produce less of these negative effects than cameras with smaller sensors. Low ISO setting will then have less noise, more sharpness and a larger contrast ratio which will produce the higher quality images relative to high ISO settings.
In my opinion these disadvantage, the reductions in image quality have to be weighed against the benefits of having the option to shoot at a higher ISO rating. Most issues with noise, sharpness and contrast can be restored with software and I would urge you to shoot high values when conditions dictate. Being able to shoot action photos at high shutter speeds, with a telephoto lens in an indoor scene is only possible with high ISO values (1600, 3200, 6400) makes the trade-off in quality acceptable .
A variable ISO allows you to adapt your exposure settings to the scene and the creative options you want to use in your photography.
My general recommendation is to select the lowest ISO value that will allow for a proper exposure with the least noise.
ISO TIPS FOR DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHERS
Here are some of my recommendations for using different ISO values in your digital photography. This is an important photographer tool and I encourage you to explore this option for exposure control in your photography. Good images always start with good camera work and ISO is a fundamental tool for photography.
- TURN OFF your AUTO ISO – By using auto ISO you are letting the camera give a ISO value choice and you are not deciding which ISO suits your photographic intent best the scene. This is one habit you want to change if your goal is to take control of your creative results.Turn AUTO ISO off, and leave it off!
- SELECT the ISO FOR THE SCENE: When you are beginning to determine your exposure settings, one of the first steps is to select an ISO value that is right for the scene and your photographic intentions. If you are in the woods with an overhead canopy of foliage blocking your light you would select a higher value. If you are shooting portraits with plenty of window light and you want to use large apertures for shallow depth of field then a low value would be your best choice. Evaluate the lighting resources and exposure options for the image you want to create and choose the ISO according to those objectives.
- CHANGES in ISO ARE EQUAL TO “STOPS” – When we change our exposure settings (in whole stop increments) we are halving or doubling the amount of exposure. For example if you move from F 11 to F 8 you are doubling the aperture size or if you move from 1/250th of second to 1/125th of a second you are cutting the duration of your exposure in half. The same ratio holds true with ISO, when you move from 400 to 800 you are doubling the sensitivity setting or as we would say increasing it by a “stop”. Digital cameras allow for incremental changes in EV (Exposure Value = Stops) usually and half and third stop amounts. You can refine exposure equally with aperture, shutter speed or ISO in those partial stop increments.
- SHOOT RAW – RAW is the best format for image capture and will yield the best results because you are collecting the maximum amount of data when you make your photo. JPEG is great file format to distribute photos but it produces less quality for capture. RAW files can be processed with photo editing software post capture to yield the highest quality images. The negative effects of shooting with high ISO (noise, sharpness, and contrast effects) are increased when shooting JPEG compared to RAW
- PLAY with EXPOSURE COMBINATIONS – There is no exact recipe for exposure combinations. Play with a variety of exposure combinations and ISO settings and compare your results on your computer. Each variable in the exposure triangle makes a difference in how your images will ultimately look. Experimenting with combinations will produce a variety of visual results.
- USE A TRIPOD – If you are seeking low noise, high sharpness and a wide contrast ratio that low ISO settings provide use a tripod. Long lenses and long exposure times make hand held photography difficult, especially in dim light at a low ISO. Securing you camera on a tripod is the solution for this type of shooting situation.
- SHOOTING HAND HELD with TELEPHOTO LENS – Long lenses are difficult to use when shooting hand-held. By increasing your ISO setting you can then shoot at faster shutter speeds which will eliminate the blur caused by camera movement. For example an ISO of 1000 with a shutter speed of 1/1000th of a second shooting with a 500 mm lens.
- HIGH SHUTTER SPEEDS = HIGH ISO – If you want to stop subject action you need to shoot at high shutter speeds. Increasing your ISO will allow you to increase your shutter speed. This is especially useful for shooting indoor sports or performances with limited stage lighting.
- USE ARTIFICIAL LIGHT – Sometimes we run into the limits of ISO choices in particular photographic conditions. For example you are shooting a portrait in a low available light setting. Facial details and skin looks best at low ISO values (100-200) and raising the ISO to a high value will produce less than flattering results. The solution to this situation it to use flash or other artificial light sources to keep the quality you desire. More light is often a better solution than a higher ISO.
Digital cameras have very precise exposure refinement tools and a variable ISO option is one of the most important. Understanding this feature and how to deploy, and how to select ISO for your scene ,to achieve your desired photographic result is essential for good image making.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Photographer and photo educator Dan Splaine has more than thirty years experience producing photography for public relations, marketing and editorial clients. His company TEST of TIME PHOTOGRAPHY based in Nashua, NH provides commercial photography services in studio and at client locations all over the world. He presents a program of digital photography workshops and photography tours for adults throughout New England.
On Monday (7-9-12) I will be Kevin Willett’s guest on his radio show broadcast on WSMN radio in Nashua, NH. Kevin is the founder of the FRIENDS OF KEVIN NETWORKING GROUP, a really terrific business networking group that I am a member of. He connects business people from around the Merrimack valley and southern New Hampshire together with his program of events and activities.
There are two things about this group that make it distinctly different from the other business networking groups I have experienced. The first is Kevin’s goal of doing some good for the communities while helping members build their businesses. He opens the group to not for profits, leveraging the network to support their needs in any way possible.
The other feature of the group adds to its effectiveness, is Kevin himself. This guy is really working on behalf of the members, deploying a mix of technology (social media) and a friendly personal touch. The FRIENDS OF KEVIN RADIO SHOW, that I am a guest on tomorrow, is a perfect example of the extra value he provides members.
I am looking forward to our conversation and having a unique platform for getting the word out about my photo services and photography workshops. Please listen in from 11 to 12 to WSMN 1590 radio to catch his program. I am scheduled from 11:40 to 12:00.
We will be discussing how to use photography for business communications and social media, specifically how my commercial photography services can add to bottom line. The other topic we will cover is my program of digital photography workshops and photographer tours. I have a number of events, like the Bronx Zoo Photographer Tour (July 21) and my Photo Walk Workshops that I want to promote to Kevin’s audience.
A tip for improving your photography
Do you ever look at the photography in magazine and on websites and think “why does this image look this good”? Are you wondering why your photographs seem to lack the impact that you see in professionally made photographs? Let me first say that if you are asking these questions, if you are thinking critically about your photography – Congratulations!
Good photography is thoughtfully conceived and executed. Devoting time looking at other photographers work and finding inspiration and insight in those images is an important way to improve you own photography. Now, I am not suggesting that you mimic or outright rip off the work of other photographers. My advice is to develop your critical eye, to learn how to find the qualities in an image that make it successful. Use that insight to inform your own creative process and approach to image making.
How do we define an image as successful? My standard for success is very straightforward: the viewer response. If you make a photo that engages the viewer, which captures their attention and elicits a response, you are successful. If the viewer is distracted by a technical flaw or bored, you’re not. A response can be cognitive – your photo makes them think, emotional it evokes a feeling or perhaps they become engrossed in narrative the story in your photo.
Good photography engages the viewer, it captures their attention. Good photography also inspires, entertains and is a catalyst for action. For example the photography of Lewis Hine (1874-1940) who used photography as tool of social reform. His photography directly led to child labor law reforms because of the impact they had on the public awareness of the issue.
When you look at photography made by others begin to deconstruct the visual elements and creative techniques employed in its creation. Break down the building blocks, the creative components of the shot. Analyze lighting sources – quality and direction, subject features, composition, optical choices, camera position, color, tone, mood, emotion and all the features of the image. Consider the relationship of these elements and the impression they have on you – the viewer. Use those insights when you make your photography. Identify the elements in your scene and use your critical assessment skills to arrange them in your camera frame.
ABOUT the AUTHOR: Photographer Dan Splaine has more than thirty years experience creating original photography for corporations, institutions and individuals. He operates TEST OF TIME PHOTOGRAPHY in Nashua New Hampshire, a commercial photography and corporate assignment photography services company. A live action and location photography specialist, he is most noted for his photography of people. His assignments have involved travel to dozens of countries and at locations throughout the United States. ranging from tropical rainforests to the hall of Congress.
Dan Splaine is also a photography educator and he presents a program of digital photography workshops and photographer tours. The tours and workshops are held in New England and at international locations.
Ten testimonials from some of the photographers who have attended one of my recent digital photography workshop and photographer tours.
I present a program of photography education for adult photographers of all skill levels. I host my digital workshops at my studio in Nashua, NH and at locations throughout New England. The photographer tour I organize at locations in New England as well at international locations.
Listed below are some of the testimonials posted by my photography students on the website of the IMAGE MAKERS PHOTOGRAPHIC WORKSHOP meet-up group I run. These comments are much appreciated and I think they show the level of positive experience my photo workshops offer to my photography students
“It was a great class. Dan was very informative. I really enjoy his easy-going and comical personality/instruction. He makes confusing concepts very easy to understand. Perfect Boston sites for this workshop.” Izzy S.
“OMG, this was such an AWESOME Class! Dan was AWESOME! I learned so much and had so much fun! And I’m looking at my pictures now and I am SO PLEASED! They came out incredible! Thank you so much for your time and sharing your knowledge Dan!!! “ Erica M.
“A great opportunity to see Boston in a different light (pun intended!). Dan provides the foundation before letting us loose to shoot, then provides whatever amount of supervision/advice each person wants. Definitely recommend” Marian
“A lot of really awesome work to review this month! Dan’s informative comments about each participant’s individual shots are so helpful. These meetups are a great way to share knowledge and learn how-to’s from other photographers. Again, thanks Dan for putting all the time in and being so willing to share your knowledge.” Sharon R.
”I always take away at least a few new ideas from Dan’s classes and this workshop not only did that but gave me a great way to challenge myself even more with a handout that included exercises. Thanks again, Dan.” Corinne C
“Had a great day and shot some decent images. Now to work on editing. Met some new people, practiced a new technique, shot some good images, had a great lunch and got exercise. Can’t ask for more…Thanks Dan it was really great” Laurie L-B
“A very welcoming, fun, casual gathering of budding photographers,lead by a pro who graciously lends his time, studio space, knowledge and humor to the group. I’m looking forward to next month’s meeting” Linda L.
“Great weekend full of information and techniques…and the ability to go out and try these tips. It was wonderful that if we needed one-on-one assistance Dan was there to help. Thanks very much for a successful photo weekend getaway.” Christine C
“Thanks, Dan, for the well-presented workshop and accompanying worksheets. You’re great explaining all the points and oh, so patient with the queries.” Jeanne P.
“I loved the informal setting. It was very easy to ask questions and the discussions were very informative. I walked away with a better understanding of aperture, shutter speed and ISO. And also learned some valuable tips. I loved this workshop” Angela Smith
My digital photography education program for adults includes field photography, studio photography, on-location sessions involving a range of photography topics. The photo tours are held in interesting locations and events around New England. For more information contact me at email@example.com or visit the TEST of TIME PHOTOGRAPHY website and add yourself to my email list.
Thanks to all the photography student who attended one of my recent workshops and photo tours. A special thanks to all of you who posted sch positive comments and testimonials. I look forward to seeing you at your nest photo workshop. _ Thanks, Dan
Have some summer fun with your digital camera and join in the photography challenge for July 2012- FIREWORKS PHOTOGRAPHY.
Join in with the other members of the IMAGE MAKERS PHOTOGRAPHIC WORKSHOPS meet-up group for this photography education experience. Register for the event (it’s FREE) and share your fireworks photography with this group of over 200 photographers. You can download a FREE guide to Fireworks Photography prepared by me to help build your photo skills. Photographers can also win a private photo tutoring session if they participate in this photographer challenge.
The New Year is upon us and of course our inclination is to set some goals and resolutions to carry out in 2012. One of the goals I have tasked myself with is spend some time on a regular basis practicing my photography skills. This goal has led me to develop a program that I would like to share with other photographer’s to help them grow their photographic skills.
I invite you to join me for the 2012 IMAGE MAKER’S 52 WEEK PHOTO WALK program. The concept is simple, make a commitment to take a walk with your camera for one half hour once a week and post a single image from that excursion online. The aim is 52 new images in 52 weeks. The idea behind this is to spend a small amount of time each week practicing your skills , and over the course of the year your work will improve. The weekly investment in time and effort can easily be accomplished and the online conversation will encourage folks to stick with it for the entire year.
The photos will be posted and shared online through a Flickr group I have organized.
Full details and the rules for participating are listed on the Test of Time Photography website CLICK HERE
Jump into the challenge, the more folks participating the more motivation to continue. Sign up here
What do I mean when I distinguish between simply “taking pictures” and the photographic method of “mage making”? Image making is a deliberate process for creating original photography that produces predictable and repeatable results. Picture taking is random and sporadically produces good images. Shooting snapshots can be fun and for the average digital photographer and can provide plenty of satisfaction. For shooters who have higher photographic aspirations a more skillful and deliberate approach is required.
I am constantly referring to “image making” in my digital photography workshops and photography tours. My goal as a photo educator is to help my students build their understanding and skills so they can fulfill their creative intent or more simply to make the photographs they imagine. The approach I advocate to photography is all about understanding the mechanics of cameras and photographic techniques in order to achieve the greatest amount of creative control. Photography is a remarkable melding of art and science and digital cameras are extraordinary tools for personal expression.
My objective as a photo educator is to enable my photography students to realize their creative intention. My approach is to build the skills and technical understanding that allows my students to make photographs in any condition with a deliberate creative objective. Learning digital camera controls, developing an understanding of light and the relationship between the two is the core of the image making technique.
Another element of image making is to develop your photographer’s eye, to begin to see the world photographically. When we are observing a scene an analysis of lighting conditions, optical choices and design considerations should be made before we raise our camera. Good photographers are careful observers and good photography should be deliberate in conception and execution.
Photography is a wonderful medium for creatively expressing an individual point of view. How we understand and adapt all of the photographic tools available and apply them to our observations is at the heart of that expression. Building photographic knowledge and skills provide creative control and ultimately greater satisfaction in the photography produced. Reconsider your photographic approach and make to move from “picture taker to image maker.”
Photographer Dan Splaine of Test of Time Photography in Nashua, NH presents a full program of digital photography workshops and photographer tours for adult photographers of all skill levels. Currently we have several photo workshops scheduled for September and October as well as a 10 day photography tour in Ireland in April 2012. Our fall program includes a photography weekend in the White Mountains of New Hampshire on October 15-16, 2011. Click on the links above for further information about our upcoming program. For more information or to answer any questions send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I would like to invite you attend my WHITE MOUNTAIN PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP on the weekend of October 15 and 16, 2011. We are presenting this weekend program with the able assistance of our partner NH TOURS. Join us at the Mountain Club on Loon, a great resort located in the heart of the White Mountains in Lincoln, NH.
Join us for a weekend of immersing yourself into exploring the White Mountains with your camera. Our package features many items, including photo instruction, a critique session and accommodations at a very comfortable resort. This is our second year for this workshop and we expect it to be very popular. If you have a partner or spouse that is not into photography, you may want to consider bringing them along to enjoy the resort amenities. They can enjoy the spas and nearby shopping while you are happily tramping around the forest.
To view a video about the workshop with images from last years event go to the following link.
This weekend program is open to adult photographers of all skill levels. It will be a great experience for beginner and advanced photographers alike. The package includes accommodations (one night), photography instruction and handouts, lunch on Saturday, evening photography critique session, a voucher for the Loon Mountain Gondola and of course plenty of photo opportunities.
For registration, information and a schedule of the workshop click here
If you have any questions or need further information please contact me at email@example.com.