Wednesday, February 27, 2013

How to Become A Better Photographer

Do you take your camera with you everywhere you go? Do you stop your car in the middle of traffic just to get a shot of the sunset? Do you love the sensation of having a camera in your hand, but you’re not exactly sure how to use it? A lot of people love taking photos, but they lack the technical know-how to take really good photos. Here are some tips to improve your shots and take your status from amateur to pro.

Don’t just use the good: keep the bad and ugly
Very rarely will you get a perfect shot, first time. According to Photoble.com, it’s advisable to have a lot of space on your memory card and your hard drive. That way, you can take a series of pictures, comb through them, and then choose a handful of the best ones. Photography is mostly about trial and error.
Photoble.com also suggests that you turn your attention away from cute kittens and pretty flowers. Instead, take photos of ugly things. Art can be found anywhere, and the trick to capturing an artistic image is to find the beauty in the mundane – or even ugly! If you can make a pile of garbage or a dilapidated building look visually appealing, you will be able to understand what photography is truly about.

Set your own deadlines and assignments
This is an excellent way to give yourself a little push, especially if you’re just starting out and you’re not sure what next step to take. According to Smashandpeas.com, this will give you a challenge and will keep you focused on your photographic goals. It’s important to keep your self-imposed deadlines realistic, but you also need to push your boundaries. For example, if you enjoy taking still pictures of people, why not try getting an action shot, or try approaching someone who looks visually unusual or interesting (say, if they’re covered in tattoos)?

Explore mobile
Being a photographer isn’t only about having a big zoom lens. More photographers are starting to embrace mobile technology, particularly smartphones. These devices offer convenience, as they’re easy to whip out, and some of their lenses are of a high quality. According to CNN.com, you should explore taking photos with a variety of tools – smartphones being one of them. It’s important to keep in mind that a different approach may be needed, as quality can easily be lost. Creative shots can be taken with a smartphone, but remember to never use the mobile zoom function, as this is a sure fire way to distort your image. Rather move closer. Also remember to lock your exposure and focus, as this will improve the quality of your shots dramatically.
If you want to explore photography further, there are a number of short courses you can do online. They can teach you the secrets to taking excellent shots, and because they’re not classroom-based, you can learn anywhere, whether you’re in Adelaide or Perth. Most of these courses are aimed at beginners, and, despite being web-based, they’re hands-on. They’ll teach you tips and tricks, and help take your photography to the next level.
Featured images:

Ang Lloyd is a keen amateur photographer who loves challenging herself with new assignments and improving her skills with photography courses, such as those available in Adelaide, which are promoted by Now Learning.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

How to Take Better Wildlife Photos

Taking wildlife photographs is an exciting, yet extremely challenging, experience. If you have ever leafed through a coffee table book on the wildlife on the Serengeti, or flipped through a calendar on the animals in the arctic, you might be inspired and awed by the great shots, but how do you make sure your pictures are held with the same regard?

Research the Animals
The more you know about an animal, the better your shots will be, and the reason for this is simple; you will have a better chance of determining where you should be pointing your camera. It doesn't matter whether you are snapping birds in your backyard or antelope in the bush, when you know where the animals eat, sleep and drink, you'll be waiting in the right place, and this makes it easier to get those great shots.

Patience is The Key
When you're watching a wildlife documentary, you'll probably find a lot of action taking place; not only will you see animals feeding, but you might catch glimpses of some of the rarest animals on the planet. In reality, you will have to be very patient if you are looking to get great shots, and so you need to be patient.

Blend in Well With Your Environment
You are often just as interesting to the wildlife as it is to you, and if you want to photograph the animals in their natural environment, the last thing you will want is to distract your subjects. When you are in the field, be sure to blend in well with your environment; this means that you will often need to learn how to disguise your scent, as well as your physique.

Take a lot of Photos
Once you start snapping, be sure to take more photographs than you think might be necessary. When an action scene is taking place in front of you, whether you are photographing a deer drinking water or two male lions in battle, you never know which picture might be the winner, so make sure that you give yourself a wide selection to choose from.

Experiment With Colors and Textures
A wildlife photograph is not just about the animal; it is about the surroundings, and this includes the colors and textures. It is also important to keep the environment of the animal in mind; after all, this is going to be the canvas on which your 'portrait' is 'painted'.


Matt and his wife Brenda work for Foden Photography, which is based in the UK.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Sunday's Thought

Lately I've been finding discouragement coming at me from all sides. Even when I shouldn't be experiencing the discouragement.

The simplest things have brought about discouragement. An email from my boss. Looking at pictures from a recent adventure. Sometimes it's even the touch of my wife.

I hate these times. The thoughts that run through my mind are no good.

There's one sure-fire place I can turn to when I face this onslaught of discouragement. The Scriptures.

Here are three Bible verses that I find brings me comfort and renews my soul.

·        Jeremiah 29:11 - For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Such comfort is found here. Knowing God has plans for my life. Not just plans, but good plans.

How great is that?

·         Peter 5:10 - But the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast.

This is a reaffirming piece of scripture. God's reassuring us that He's going to restore us. Even after we've suffered, we will become strong.

What a promise!

·         Galatians 6:9 - Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Ever feel like giving up? Yeah, me too. There's plenty of days I want to throw in the towel.

But we're encouraged not to in Galatians. Instead, we're encouraged to not grow weary. To keep doing good. To make the 20 mile march.

The results may not be showing up but we need to continue. If we do, we'll be rewarded. All of our hard work will pay off.

If you're discouraged today, focus on these three verses. See what God is speaking into your heart. Let His words soak in. Be renewed and refreshed.

Question: When you're discouraged, what Bible verses do you run to? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

This is a guest post by Joseph Lalonde. He is a youth leader and leadership blogger at JMLalonde.com. Joseph shares leadership tools and encourages you to become a better leader. With him on Twitter or at his blog.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wednesday's Words

"An Orange Zinnia"

One of my favorite verses when life gets to be a bit rough and tough is:

Be content with what you have,
because God has said,
"Never will I leave you:
never will I forsake you."
-Hebrews 13:5

Now, if I could always just remember this when something happens instead of stressing out and forgetting or remembering later, life would be grand!  But, many times I do, He gently reminds me as His Peace and comfort passes all understanding.

Monday, February 18, 2013

How to Choose and Handle Your Camera

Are you ready to purchase your first camera? Depending on your locality, there is a wide range of cameras you can choose from. In Godstone, there are a few camera shops which offer new and used cameras for different types of usage. Whether it’s for family photos, sports photography, wedding photography, wildlife photography, or just something for the pocket to use in your hobby, you can get whatever type of camera you want. Of course, there are thousands of online stores that will deliver whatever camera you desire almost anywhere in the world.

Choosing the Camera

Uses

To pick your camera you have to first figure out what you will be using it for. A point and shoot camera would better suit a beginner who takes photos as a hobby while a professional may prefer a DSLR camera. Of course, it may be the other way round too depending on specific needs.

Resolution

You need to consider the resolution you will need. Usually the higher the camera resolution the better. However, I tend to think most needs are covered by anything over 10 Megapixels. For non-professional needs, even a 5 Megapixel camera will create wonderful photos to share with family and friends.

Price

When considering price, you have to keep in mind not just the price of the camera itself but other inherent factors. These include prices of lenses, batteries, memory cards, filters, and other accessories. You may also want to know if there are any warranties and guarantees and whether they are extended.

Aperture

The more light the lens lets into the camera, the better the quality of the photo. This is even more important when shooting in dark areas or indoors. It also means you don’t have to irritate people by using the flash at parties. You can disable flash and still take great photos. You can also take photos without attracting attention. Remember, the smaller the number denoting the aperture, the better. For instance, an f/2.0 lens is better than an f/4.0 lens.

Zoom

Most modern cameras have variable focal length, which means you can zoom in and out. The greater the zoom the better you are able to have a mixture of wide angle shots and telephoto shots. One thing about the zoom, ignore the digital zoom ratings and just focus on the optical zoom.

Lens Quality

Lenses differ in quality and this is evident when you look at the color contrasts. A high quality lens will produce sharp pictures without aberrations.

Software

According to Wedding Photography Godstone team "The compatibility of your camera with your computer software is of importance." However, of even greater importance is the software within the camera itself. This is because digital cameras first take a pre-photo before producing the final image.

Type of Media

The memory cards most often used and compatible with most cameras are Secure Digital. ComapctFlash is also widely used while Sony cameras have their “memory sticks”.

Video Function

There are professionals who focus only on still photos. But nowadays most digital cameras come with a video function.

Upgrades and Updates

In the long term, it is cheaper to spend a little more purchasing a camera that will be easily upgradable with future products. Some of the low end cameras usually cannot keep up with technological advancements and are rendered obsolete in a short time.

Handling the Camera

Once you have purchased the ideal camera of your choice, you should then learn how to take care of it. Most cameras represent a sizeable financial investment and need to be protected to ensure you get value for money.

Lens

Rule number one in handling your camera, always protect your lens. Use a shade or filter on the front, especially a UV filter. Remember, if something sharp hits against your camera, you would rather lose a $20 filter rather than a $400 lens.

Cradle the Camera with Your Left Hand

Use your left hand to create a base support for your camera when in use. This also allows the same hand to work on the zoom and focus comfortably.

Right Hand

The right index finger should be the one to press the shutter release. The other fingers grip the camera while individual fingers may be used to rotate nearby knobs and dials, depending on your camera type.

Never Dangle

Never let the strap dangle. Always place it around your neck or around your forearm.

About the Author:
Jhon is a full time photographer by profession and photography blogs writer by hobby.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sunday's Thought


"Spring's Flowers"

All things bright and beautiful, 
All great and small,
All things great and wonderful,
Our Father made them all. 

-verse 1,
"All Things Bright and Beautful"
Words: Cecil F. Alexander
Music: 17th Century, adapt from Louis Sphor, 1784-1859

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Visual Storytelling: Seven Reasons Not to Become a Freelance Professional Photographer

Last Saturday, I was going through my email from LinkedIn groups that I subscribe, and came across an interesting topic in one of the photography categories.

There is a lot of truth in this blog post, if you are interested in becoming a freelance photographer or advancing your career in photography, take the time to read it, maybe print it to hang where you can see it often- highlight the points in yellow!

Anyway, here is the link to the post, Visual Storytelling: Seven Reasons Not to Become a Freelance Professional Photographer.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Friday's Foto

"Red Splotched Tulip"
I have to share a taste of spring in my blog today- though the first day of spring is still several weeks but I love it's arrival and start getting anxious about now.

We could still have a snowstorm or two before the winter season ends.  If we do, I'll try to post an image or two.  

I was practicing with my macro lens when I created this image.  I enjoy exploring and practicing with the macro because I usually get some great up close or see something unexpected like a spider or ant.

What is your favorite form of photography?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Matching Your Lens With The Moment

Ever decided to go away somewhere special? Or wanted to capture a special place but never had the right means to? Maybe you and your family are looking to going away somewhere extremely scenic of action packed? Or has your camera broken and you do not have the money to purchase another?  It is understandable that it may be difficult to purchase these items in the current economic climate, but that doesn’t mean you should be left out. There is no need to fret, as there are many solutions! Camera or Lens hire being one of them. Hiring everyday items and items in general is becoming an increasingly common thing in everyday life and why not; it makes sense if you only need to use it a few times a month or once in a blue moon.
Lenses
Lenses differ from standard, wide angle, medium telephoto/portrait, telephoto, specialist and many more.

How to choose the right camera lens
When choosing a camera or lens you must bear in mind that you tailor the camera to the purpose of what you are using it for. By all means, choose the most stylish of cameras, but do not over compensate for the needs that might only be minor. In turn you may spend more time figuring out all the aspects of the camera that you forget what you actually purchased it for. Lens Hire allows you to be able to compare lenses to see which one is best suited to your needs.
You must also understand all the features that it has to enhance all the photos and ensure they look truly captivating. High end cameras have a ton of features and some of which you may never use. To get the best out of your camera, you should take the time to learn all you can about it. It can take roughly 10 minutes how to figure out some of the basic settings on a camera, which is not long. Most cameras have an auto setting that detect the surroundings and select the best setting for you. However, if you prefer to tailor your photos, then be sure to read the manual.

It is therefore no surprise when you hear that in order to be able to take good photos at the time and place, you should know exactly what you are doing. Ensure this is possible by taking time to figure out what each of the functions do, as well as the best angles for lighting.

If for whatever reason you were unclear then you could always check out YouTube for videos on how to get the most of your camera! By Googling or searching for more information on the specific camera you are using, there will be information not too far from it. Try out as many lenses as you can as the more you practice with various lenses, the better you become. If you are unable to afford a lens, have a look at some lens hire websites as they are usually cheaper to rent.

Safety and stability of your camera
Cameras can be tricky to carry around with you all day, especially if you are on a family holiday or day out which requires you to always be extra vigilant when using the equipment. If you are like some who do not like having to put the camera in a bag then why not try a case that fastens onto your belt? This is a very effective a quick method for when you need to find and use your camera. Cases also ensure that you have good security whilst having easy and fast access.
Whilst travelling places, you should ensure that you have all personal belongings with you at all times. With all the busy schedules and experiencing new places, it is easy to forget something! Having said that, you may also consider taking out a special insurance that covers property like your expensive technology, so there is nothing that could spoil your trip or make you regret it otherwise.
Featured images:
  •  License: Image author owned 

About the Author: Cejay. Cejay is a blogger for blog.limetreeonline.com. She prefers to blog about photography, academics and social media.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wednesday's Words

"Rolling Hills"

As for God, His Way is perfect;
the Word of the Lord is flawless...

-Psalm 18:30

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Glimpse Into The World Of An Architecture Photographer

At its very basic level, architectural photography is the photographing of built structures in a way that best represents their aesthetic appeal. It may very well sound like a simplistic endeavor to snap a nice shot of a building, but in reality the work of an architecture photographer is one that requires great technique, skill, patience, and a keen artistic perspective.

The role of a photographer of any sort is to capture a moment in time in such a way as to evoke a certain emotion or mood in the viewer; a talented photographer approaches his or her subject with respect and with a predetermined vision.   Photography is not simply the act of taking a picture in a technically apt fashion, but rather in capturing the best of a subject, paying respect to the subject of the image by showing it at its most beautiful. For an Architecture photographer, not only is one paying respect to the beauty of the built structure in question but also paying respect to the architect and his or her vision for the building. Undertaking the task of capturing on film the product of another person’s artistic vision is not one to be taken lightly. It requires a deep appreciation for other art forms.

One of the major difficulties in the world of an architecture photographer is capturing the beauty and integrity of a building (either interior or exterior) whilst representing one’s own vision simultaneously. Just as in shooting a human model, shooting a building requires having a technical appreciation of its’ best angles and bringing those out on film. Architectural photographers will have all the knowledge of photography principles that allow them to do this; this includes focusing the lens properly, knowing various light levels, texture and a myriad of printing techniques to give a finished photograph a distinct feel or vibe. In addition however they must have a keen enough eye to frame each individual structure properly and in a way that best evokes the mood that his or her client wants to achieve.

Architecture Photography by Tobey Carter
Due to this natural inclination to represent buildings at their best or most unique, architectural photography lends itself to a variety of careers. There are those who may travel the world, following in the footsteps of anthropologists to capture newly discovered ruins or buildings that have stood the test of time yet beautifully show their age. However, many photographers also lend their skills to new projects, wherein the architect wants each stage of the building process to be documented. The architect may want every detail captured in an appealing manner for a promotional publication, for their individual portfolio, or to be used in informational packets for those interested in the project. In this case, an architecture photographer must be aware of how images are presented in context, what frames to include at each stage, and which angles to include (for example, is an aerial view necessary?). This type of commercial photography is important to the career of the architect, in particular if they are using these images to garner support (financially or otherwise) for their project.

An architect or interior designer may also hire an architecture photographer to photograph the more artistic side of their project to be put into a non-promotional artistic portfolio or book. For these projects, photographers are able to show their true artistic vision by using the techniques in their repertoire to produce a series of photographs that tell a story. In this case the architect is less concerned about selling commercial property, and more about having his or her work presented in the most beautiful and awe inspiring fashion. An additional aspect of the life of an architecture photographer is the client-based nature of the work. For this reason, photographers must be well attuned to the needs and wants of clients and know how best to interact with all types of personalities.  In general the photographer must be respectful to the home or building that he or she is in, and respect the wishes of their client.

The world of an architecture photographer is one that can be incredibly varied, satisfying, frustrating, and rewarding. These types of photographers capture the artistic work of others while inserting their own tastes and visions into the project. The delicate balance of marrying two art forms, while not overshadowing either, is what makes architectural photography such a vibrant yet nuanced art form. Tobey is fully immersed in the world of architecture photography and even a cursory look at his portfolio demonstrates his passion and commitment to the craft.

Featured images:
  •  License: Image author owned 

About the Author:
Tobey Carter is an architecture photographer that specialises in photography and video for architects, designers, engineers and construction companies.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Mobile Photography

Mobile photography has grown exceptionally over these last few years. National and international competitions are also becoming popular and recently a Jimmy Mazur won the iPhone photography awards for his mobile photo shot of two boys in a car.
The advantage of a mobile phone camera is that you’ll always have it nearby. Conventional cameras are bulky and difficult to store where modern cameras fit easily into your pocket and produce large resolution photos with ease. Mobile Phones are also great for multiple purposes and is clearly cost effective compared to just buying an expensive camera with all the additional accessories needed. Although aperture settings and other essential settings aren’t on all the mobile phones, you’ll see them incorporated in all the phones in a year or two (few phones already have aperture control as well as many settings a normal DSLR has).
Extensions for your phone are also being produced and you can buy a lens adapter for your phone so that you can attach your SLR lens onto the mobiles camera lens.
Flickr, a photo sharing community website, lists the most popular cameras used for photos uploaded by users. The two most popular cameras the moment? The Apple iPhone 4S and the Apple iPhone 4, both mobile phone cameras.
In the top cameraphone category the following 5 cameras are listed:
  1. Apple iPhone 4S
  2. Apple iPhone 4
  3. Apple iPhone 5
  4. Apple iPhone 3GS
  5. Samsung Galaxy S III
Post Process:
Mobile Phones are mobile studios in your pocket. With your conventional camera you have to take the photo, go home, download the images, post process them and then connect to internet and then share. With a mobile phone you can take a photo, edit it on the fly (with some great effects) and share it with your friends on multiple social media platforms in an instant. If you’re not interested in the benefits of the social media society then you can still use your mobile phone to send the images to your clients, co-workers and others through mail and sms’s.

Applications:
There are great applications out there dedicated to photographers. Probably one of the most noteworthy is Instagram which has a 100 million users and shares at least 4 billion photos since this post. If you’re not using this app yet we would suggest you jump on the band wagon and start snapping with Instagram.

Shireen Louw is a professional wedding photographer from Cape Town who specialise in natural light photography.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wednesday's Words

"A Frozen Leaf"


The world and its desires pass away, 
but the man who does the will of God
lives forever. - 1 John 2:17

Monday, February 4, 2013

Spring Photography Season Ideas

Spring can be a beautiful time of year to have pictures taken, no matter the occasion. Whether they'll be wedding photos, family photos, senior portraits, or other type of photos, you'll be able to find the perfect spot for photos, with the perfect background. However, you do have to be careful, as some areas can be very muddy in the springtime. Use these ideas and recommendations to inspire your photo session!

Beautiful Backdrops

Spring provides ample opportunities for beautiful backdrops. However, you do have to be careful to pick places that aren't low-lying, as those areas could be incredibly muddy. Areas with a lot of blooming going on could be perfect, as many flowers and trees are blossoming all spring. Some flowers bloom earlier than others, such as daffodils and forsythia. If you can find areas where these flowers are blooming, that could be a gorgeous backdrop. If you're not a big flower person, then look for a park full of crabapple trees. They bloom with a beautiful pink or red flower that fades to white as the season goes on. But hurry, because they fall of shortly after their peak.

Perfect Temperatures

If you've got a photo session booked for the middle of summer, chances are you'll be glistening in them. While photographers can help erase some of that sweaty glisten with some photoshopping, you don't want to be uncomfortable during your session. In the spring, however, the temperatures can be really bearable, yet can change very quickly. Make sure you have an alternative planned or fun umbrellas packed in case of rain, and have a couple different clothing ideas in mind depending on temperature.

You can also choose to make a rainy spring day work to your advantage, especially if you're doing family pictures. Dress kids and yourselves in rain coats and cute rain boots, grab big umbrellas, hold each other close and then let the kids jump around in some puddles. It'll make for some really fun pictures!

Fun Props

Besides an umbrella, there are some other really fun props and items you can use in your spring photo shoot. For instance, you could stage a picnic by bringing along a basket, a couple cute plates, and some colorful foods. If you can't find a dry spot, use a picnic table. Get creative - you can sit on top! Use flowering foliage to pose with, take a flower and put it in your hair, or climb a budding tree. Include your pet, find a paved area to draw on with chalk, or stroll near a spring-swelling creek. There are plenty of things you can do that don't involve laying in muddy grass!
Featured images:





About the Author:
Joli D. writes for Flash Digital Portraits, providing family photography, senior photography, newborn photography, and more at their studio locations in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and Ohio.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sunday's Thought

"Fog Over Great Falls"

A friend of mine, while praying, felt God sharing this with her about her concerns. She and I would like to share it with you......... 
Revelation from God about this Country's Path
by Kim Kirby

This Country's path to hell, death and destruction is like a boulder rolling down a hill, gathering speed as it travels and collecting things along the way: people; policies; churches; gov't officials; schools; organizations; etc.

Living in the path of the boulder looks great. It has the prettiest locations, the best homes, the best jobs, places where someone else will take care of your needs, and where you don't have to do anything if you don't want to, but...

If you don't open your eyes and see the Truth of the boulder coming towards you and get out of the way, you will be caught up and roll with it down a violent path of death, destruction and hell.

And then it will be too late and you cannot be saved.