Portrait Photography Lighting

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Portrait Photography Lighting – Light is really the raw material for a photographer. Much as the sculptor works with stone and the painter works with paint, the photographer works with light. This analogy is not quite so precise though, because as the painter and sculptor work with tangible material substances, a photographer works with a form of “energy”.

By understanding the behaviour of this energy that we call light, you form a foundation for your success as a portrait photographer.

A painter might not need to know the chemical and physical properties of each and every component of her oils or paints, but she must however, understand how to blend the different colours.

Also, how the paints behave as she applies them to the canvas takes practice, experience and knowledge.

Just as a sculptor or painter must gain masterful insight into the physical behaviour of the raw materials of their chosen arts, so must the portrait photographer gain a keen and polished understanding of the behaviour of light.

The first prerequisite for any photography is some form of light being emitted from a source. Think about it, without

Camera and Multimedia Insurance

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A Guide to Camera, Indemnity and Liability Insurance

The Need for Camera and Multimedia Insurance – A good photographer friend of mine recently had all of his back up photography kit stolen including a top end DSLR and lenses…during a wedding shoot! Far be it from me to judge, but leaving it in your car, although well covered and in the car park of a very posh restaurant, is just asking for trouble.

However, that news hit me like a freight train as I realised I had no camera insurance whatsoever and my car has my photography website address splayed all over it which is basically saying “Come and break into me, I have expensive gear inside!”

Nobody ever has though.

Sure, my kit is covered in my house under the contents insurance but out in the field? Nope!

Over the years I have accumulated quite a stash and tend to take a lot of it with me when I go out on shoots.

The amount of times that I leave my bag unattended as I run around like a loon trying to capture events at the venues is

The Future of Photography

The Future of Photography – Since its birth and for around 100 years, photography hasn’t really changed that much if you think about it. You had a box with a lens attached which streams light in and records it onto a film plane and now onto a digital sensor.

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The Future of Photography

In Ye Olde days of film cameras, the only things that changed with regards to technology were the lens quality and the mechanics of the camera itself, the shutter, the exposure system, the speed etc, the recording media (film or emulsion) hasn’t really changed too much over time, especially towards the end, not when you compare it to digital and its rapid advances.

They tried to miniaturise cameras with the 110 range as well as the appalling Kodak Disk cameras but nothing really caught on or excelled. Compare that to mobile camera phones now.

Things were easy then although I didn’t know it at the time.

You could have a top of the range pro SLR shooting Fujichrome Velvia and you were set for years. If the quality of the slide or film

Controlling Light in Photography

Control the Light and You Control the Shot!

Controlling light in Photography – The term “photography” comes from the Greek “phos”, meaning light, and “graphis”, which means to draw or write. If photography is defined as “the art and science of altering images on a sensitive surface through the action of light”, we see that there is at least in principle, some understanding of the nature of light and how to control which is fundamental to one’s success as a photographer.

In Part 1 of this article, the behaviour of light which concerns the portrait photographer is addressed.

We shall begin to explore methods used by portrait photographers to control the behaviour of light when rendering artistic interpretations of their subject, living or otherwise. There are many aspects involved when manipulating light for the purpose of portrait photography.

One fundamental aspect is always exposure. The degree of sensitivity of light (photosensitivity) on the surface to which an image is to be fixed, whether film or digital, dictates the required intensity and length of exposure.

The aperture of most modern camera lenses is designed to allow control over the intensity of light falling onto the film (or digital image sensor). In layman’s terms, the aperture is a hole or

Photography Ethics and Photoshop

Photographer or a “Digital” Photographer?

Is Photoshop really cheating when it comes to photography ethics?

I keep coming across people accusing and being accused of “cheating” an image by using the wonders of Adobe Photoshop, and that their work isn’t really photography at all, but another form of art altogether.

First of all, my opinion is “so what”? What does it really matter how the artist or photographer got to the finished image? As long as it is thought provoking and pleasing to the eye, and as long as it can be used in any necessary context for publication if so desired, do we really need to know how and/or why it was done?

Sure, a hard-core, original style photographer would say that the true image should be made at the time of capture, as the event happens and that any later enhancements are misleading to the end viewer. To that I say “poppycock”!

For me, the only true and real photography is that of photojournalism, and as I am sure you will agree, photojournalism should not and must not be tampered with for monetary gain or to purposely mislead the viewer.

Some of the most awesome and thought provoking photo-journalistic images have stayed in my mind since I was at primary school. One image

Photos For eBay

Photos for eBay – A picture is worth a thousand words. Nowhere else is that more true than on eBay! For example, recently two cuckoo clocks sold on eBay. One had a nice clear picture. The other had a fuzzy picture with a dark contrasting background.

The two clocks sold for vastly different prices. Can you guess which one sold for more money? Of course – the one with the nice picture! It sold for nearly double the price of the other clock.

Which clock was the better clock? I’ll never know. All I know is the owner of the clock fetching the higher price had a much better picture!

Here are five ways you can improve your pictures and sell your goods at a much better price on eBay:

1) Photos for eBay – Use an uncluttered background.

I saw a picture of another cuckoo clock almost lost in its surroundings – with a small tree next to it and a wood grained panel on the other side.

Below it was something that looked like a bat (no kidding!) hanging from the chains to this clock. I couldn’t tell what was on the clock face – since the clock was kind of in the distance.

The seller of

Digital Photo Frames

How Digital Photo Frames Are Changing Your Home Photos

…while Keeping Your Best Memories Front and Center

It used to be a time-consuming and expensive task to keep, print, and display your favorite photos. You had to find the best ones, have them printed, buy a frame for each and find another place to display them.

So, what’s the best way to display your favorite photos so that everyone still gets to see them and friends and family don’t have to squeeze around a phone or wait for you to get on your computer?

Digital photo frames answer all the old problems of print photos while giving you the specialization that a phone or computer can’t. Here are the best reasons to go with a digital picture frame when you want a great way to display your photos.

Digital photo frames are meant for displaying photos

Yes, you have some pictures on various social media sites, some on your phone, and others just stored on your computer. A digital frame gives you one place to store all your photos to organize, find, and display them in various ways.

The photos are always on display, in a nice size that everyone can see easily. When you pass by,

Top 5 Printers for Photographers

How do you choose the printer that is right for you?

In our digital world we sometimes forget that a photograph looks best when it is printed out, in the flesh – or paper, as it were. There are numerous printers aimed specifically at photographers and photo printing, but which are worth considering? Well, here are five of the very best to narrow your choice down…

1) Epson Stylus Photo R2880

One of the more expensive printers coming in at a penny under £1000, this Epson is for the established professional. Though released in 2008, it still boasts some of the best printing capabilities in the industry. With its three black-ink system, the R2880 can achieve some of the highest quality black and white photos around. 5760x1440dpi takes care of the HD resolution and advanced magenta pigments add vibrancy to when you want a little colour.

2) Canon PIXMA MG7550 All-in-One Wi-Fi Printer

While its sleek design does resemble an early broadband router, the Pixma is a fantastic printer for the photographer on a budget. Alongside its Wi-Fi capabilities, it is also capable of Cloud printing, making life easier for the busy photographer who keeps their life up in the air. Though it does also

Digital Photo Paper Guide

In the digital world we live in, traditional media such as printed photographs plays second fiddle. When photographers look to print their work, the lack of readily available information makes it hard to decide on the correct type of digital photo paper. In this guide we will talk you through your options.

Printing Systems

Printers use either liquid ink in the case of Ink-Jet printing technology or micro polymer powder in the case of laser printing technology.

While both use the same principle of mixing four base colors to generate colorful images, the method of dispensing the color is different.

It means that Inkjet photo paper will not suit laser printers and naturally the other way around.

Therefore you must first match the intended paper to your printer’s technology. Overwhelmingly, Inkjet is the choice of photographers who are serious about printing detailed images due to its ability to print at up to 2880dpi vs. 720dpi of most laser printers.

Photo Paper Size

The most common sizes are 13x18cm, A5 and A4 sizes. Other sizes to consider are the smaller photo lab size of 10x15cm and the commercial size of A3 (in which an A3 printer is required). It is imperative to match the size with the intended

Flash Exposure Meter

The Advantages Over Relying on the Camera and Speedlight

A flash exposure meter can give exposure reading in reflected light and incidental light and can detect a one-tenth of an F-stop difference in light levels.

A digital sensor has less dynamic range than negative film, and resembles slide film-If you get the exposure just a little bit off, the resulting images are less than desirable. Although software such as Photoshop etc, can correct exposure via curves and levels, by needing to redistribute tonal qualities in an image, valuable detail suffers in the process.

If you look at the histogram of an image that has been manipulated in this manner, gaps will be apparent, to show that there are no pixels present in those tones. By using a hand-held meter, to gather exposure information, your image will need little or no tonal correction in Photoshop.

When you need to measure flash exposure, you can either set meter to flash, (Lightning symbol) for use with pocket wizards, or corded flash, (lightning symbol with C) when using a pc cord which plugs into the meter itself.

To use a hand-held flash exposure meter, first you set the ISO rating, by pressing a button. Then you set the

Long Term Photo Storage Devices

Long term photo storage devices and file archiving in general is becoming an issue for many photographers and videographers these days. With most consumer CDs and DVD’s having a scarily short shelf life, we need to re-think how we back up our precious files.

Film archiving was great as negatives, if looked after well enough, lasted a lifetime and longer. Digital media is somewhat different. As camera sensors and High Definition video files become larger, the need for more and more space is greater than ever. I remember when I bought my first PC in 1999; the guy that built it for me said I should never need more than 20GB for my internal hard drive…Fool!

As I mentioned before, standard CDs and DVD’s have a shelf life mainly determined by the coating and handling of the discs. The materials used in them can decay over time and render them unreadable, as can minor scratches as often proved by the handling skills of my two young children we are on our third copy of the “Cars” movie!

So on to hard disks. Altogether a much safer set of long term photo storage devices but these still have their weaknesses. Technology changes fast and even though USB 2.0/3.0 and

Buying a Digital Camera

Guide to Buying Your First Digital Camera or DSLR

When buying a digital camera, I feel that after visiting so many photographic websites and reading so much advice on what to buy, and by frequently visiting the photography forums online, I have to speak a little on this subject.

For the majority of the camera buying public, there are just 2 main categories that we fall into when starting out or upgrading our equipment in digital photography, the “Absolute Beginner” or the “Amateur” (or serious amateur also sometimes labelled as the semi pro).

Starting with the Beginner, or someone getting started in photography altogether (not just digital), the choice when buying a digital camera nowadays is quite overwhelming!

Everywhere you look there are cameras, and not just in the camera shops like the good old days, but on the internet, in mobile phone shops, in the papers, magazines and supermarkets. You can even get given a cheap digital camera as a free gift for buying something else in some places.

Nowadays, you even get reasonably powerful digital cameras up to 12 megapixels (!!!) in the newer and more expensive mobile phones…and they come in all shapes and sizes.

So where do you start, and how do you make the choice for buying a digital camera

Wedding Couple’s Special or Group Photo Requests

If you shoot weddings for long enough, maybe even during your first time, you will come across a couple, or at least a bride, who give you a definite list of images they “definitely want” taken at their wedding.

Not normally a problem as this usually involves a short list of family group shots, special friends or family from afar or the children.

However, you will get the request now and again that goes a little too far.

Huge Group Shot Lists

It has happened to me on many a wedding where the couple hand over a list of photos they would like taken at their wedding and the “groups” list is huge.

I have counted more than fifty (yes 50!) shots requested for one wedding which is crazy ridiculous. The average seems to be between 20 and 30 which is still far too many…but why?

If you think about it and recall your experiences from other weddings, whether as a guest or as a photographer, you will realise that things don’t always go to plan.

Ready for the bride’s family group shot? Where’s Dad? At the bar? In the toilet? Having a sneaky cigar somewhere? What about aunt Flo who finds it hard to get around

Wedding Photographer Scam

This is the Latest Scam to be Directed at Wedding Photographers…Be Aware!

If you have received a request to shoot a wedding lately that may have seemed either too good to be true or a bit shady, no matter how real it seemed, you could be the target of a current scam that is doing the rounds.

It is a scam that can easily slip by undetected because you actually get to bank the cheque into your account…

What happens is this.

A person (usually from abroad…they say Spain but it is normally, actually Nigeria) says that they are getting married at a legitimate venue in the UK, or the US…and would you be their photographer for the day. It is natural to agree and they will promise to send a cheque for the full amount that you agreed upon.

What then happens, is that a cheque for well over the agreed amount arrives.

Say you agreed to £800 GPB for shooting the day, a cheque for £3000 or more may arrive…DO NOT BANK IT!

If you were to bank the cheque, the “couple” would then call to say there had been a mistake as they had sent the full amount due to the hotel and not

The Wedding Photography Zone

This article was inspired by something my brother said to me as I headed off for Italy this year for a destination wedding. When I explained that I was a little nervous and felt out of my comfort zone, he said…

“Don’t worry, once you get there, you will really be in the zone man!!

A little “tongue in cheek” maybe but I understood totally what he meant, especially on my return. Seven days in Tuscany, on my own with nothing to do other than think about and experiment with my photography in a totally new and beautiful place. That was being in the wedding photography zone!

So what exactly is “the zone”?

Well, anyone who has shot even just one wedding will understand the necessity to have your wits about you at all times. The zone is a place you really want to be from the minute you wake up on the wedding day to the moment you pack up your gear and go home.

The wedding photography zone is a place where nothing else matters other than the task in hand. All minor problems cease to exist and you are focussed 100% on being a professional photographer.

Stepping out of this zone during the

Destination Wedding Photography

A Lucrative Business That Requires More Preparation

Destination Wedding Photography Tips – I am hardly the most qualified person to harp on about destination weddings but recent events have prompted me to write this article. This year, I have shot weddings in the UK, Spain and Italy so maybe I am a “little” qualified.

Destination Weddings – Why?

First of all, why would you want to shoot destination weddings? Fun? Fame? Fantasy?

I think one good reason would be the increasing saturation of wedding photographers in and around your area. There are so many wedding photographers sprouting up now it is getting harder to compete.

Secondly, you may just want the buzz of travelling and working abroad…nothing wrong with that but when it comes to destination weddings in unknown territory, you have to be prepared.

One reason for me is the desire to travel and see new places and get paid along the way. All being well I get to take my family with me too. If I end up coming home with a few pennies and we have had a great holiday paid for by a couple of days work…brilliant!

So, where do you begin when looking to start on destination weddings? With the money of course!

Keeping Your Cool at Weddings – The Wedding Photographer

A Wedding Photographer Plays a Large Part in a Wedding, Keep a Cool Head Always

Keeping Your Cool at Weddings – So, it is a hot day anyway, you have spent weeks preparing for this wedding photography shoot, you have met the couple once or twice, you have visited the location once or twice, you have meticulously cleaned all your kit twice and finally charged all the batteries to the hilt!

You then arrive at the bride’s location on the morning of the wedding only to be turned away because she is stressed and “nowhere near ready”.

First piece of advice…don’t take it personally!

When this happens to me I just think…”Ok! You are paying (or have hopefully paid by now) the bills” and I head off to the church to get the next set of shots.

Throughout the rest of the day you start to wonder if they have it in for you…

  • During the ceremony the world and his wife shuffle around, even up at the front of the church, with their new digital cameras firing wildly. The couple walking back down the aisle at the end of the service is more like the première of “Harry Potter 19 – Grisleshnitchzen Weasledwarf III fights back“…photographers

Wedding Photography Guide For Brides

Wedding Photography Guide for Brides – I’m sure you already know that choosing the right wedding photographer is just as important as choosing the right groom. Just kidding. Getting the right photographer is important, but there are lots of things that YOU can do to ensure that your wedding photos are as good as they can be.

Wedding Photography Guide for Brides – Pre-Wedding Photo shoot

Having a pre-wedding photo shoot can improve your wedding pictures more than anything else you might do. Think about it, your photographer is VERY comfortable on his end of the camera. The time you spend with your photographer in front of the camera will help you become more comfortable being the subject.

Try to get to know your photographer. Have fun. Be crazy. Let’s face it; those “magazine bride photos” that you have been looking at do not happen all by themselves. They are well planned, rehearsed, and the photo that you finally see in the magazine was probably picked from hundreds of photos. The more time you spend with your photographer, the more likely it is that he will capture that one special moment that only happens once.

Wedding Photography Guide for Brides – The Pose

“Chin up,

A Crash Course on Professional Wedding Photography

Crash Course on Professional Wedding Photography – Essential Equipment

  • Two camera bodies that share the same lenses
  • Two flashes (strobes) plus cables, etc.
  • 28mm Wide-angle prime lens, or 28mm-70mm zoom
  • 50mm standard lens F1.8 or even better F1.4 for low light situations
  • Not essential, but handy for candids and from back of church images is a 75mm-300mm zoom lens or similar
  • Twice as much film as you think, or minimum of two large capacity (250MB – 1GB) digital storage cards depending on your camera
  • At least twice as many batteries as you think you will need
  • Two white reflectors
  • Diffusion (soft-focus) filter
  • Red filter (for black & white only)
  • 85c warming filter for grey days
  • Tripod for formal photos
  • Lens hoods to control flare

Crash Course on Professional Wedding Photography – Planning the wedding shoot

You must have a timetable to work from, or you will fail miserably.

You must always remember:

  • The Bride is never on time
  • Cars are sometimes late arriving
  • Ministers will often talk for longer than expected
  • Traffic may be chaotic
  • Something may have been forgotten somewhere

Murphy, being the Patron Saint of Wedding Photographers, will no doubt ensurethat if anything can go wrong, it will, and usually at the most inopportunemoment. Allow for plenty of time for each section of the shooting script.

Crash Course on Professional Wedding Photography – Planning

Amateur Wedding Photography Tips

Basic Wedding Photography Tips for the Amateur

Amateur Wedding Photography Tips – Since I have been using the internet over the past 4-5 years, I have come across many photography sites, some quite excellent and some that are quite honestly abysmal.

The danger with the internet is that when a “photographer” with a newly built website, is possibly someone who has just taken up photography, bought themselves an overly expensive and professional camera and then maybe stumbled across a great photo or two!

They then learn how to do a few tricks or manipulations with editing software such as Photoshop and “Da-Naa” they are a professional photographer.

I wouldn’t want to put anyone off this great hobby, past-time or vocation, but it is extremely important to establish the credibility of the individual giving out the advice and amateur wedding photography tips, PARTICULARLY when it comes to wedding photography.

I have occasionally read amateur wedding photography tips and advice from sites on the net that really wouldn’t pass muster as being from a wedding photographer, as not once did I see the words professional or professionalism. Anyone can click away with a top end digital camera at a wedding, but to do it correctly, in sequence, with all the required and necessary photographs being taken efficiently