6 Tips and a Bonus for Fantastic Digital Portraits Shot Outside

Taking pictures outdoors creates an interesting challenge for a digital photographer. There are weather elements to consider, different lighting and the dread of a possible photo bomb. Top digital photographers weigh in on how they always achieve the perfect outdoor portrait.

Avoid Using Auto Focus – When you are photographing portraits outside, you will need to choose the focal point manually. Your camera is unable to read your mind, and will simply zero in on what is closest to the lens. This means that if you are shooting your subject in a field of flowers, the flowers in front will stand out, while your subject is blended into the background.

Focus on the Eyes – If you focus on the eyes of your subject, everything else will fall into place naturally. The skin is softened and the natural background stands out in contrast to the color of the eyes.

Shoot in the Shade- Direct sunlight is harsh on a portrait picture. Not only will your subject be squinting, but the shadows will create unpredictable effects. Use objects of interest to create the shade and add extra effect for your portrait. For example, if you are trying to capture the mood of someone at a campsite, pose them in front of the family size tent with the door partially open. Or place them in the shade of a mighty tree as they look pensively at their pocket compass.

Wait for an Overcast Day – Clouds make a wonderful natural softbox and allow you to pull your subject from the shade without harsh white effects. These are the types of portraits where the natural beauty of the sky will serve as your ideal backdrop.

Avoid Distractions – Unless they are a part of the portrait story, avoid having things like street signs or power lines in the background. This may create a posing challenge, but if you pay close attention to the way you position yourself, you should be able to exclude anything unsightly from your pictures.


Make Sure that You are at the Same Level as Your Subject – This is especially important when taking portrait shots of kids outdoors. Get down on your knees so that the photo does not appear as if it was taken by a giant. If shooting at a park or other area where kids play, position yourself where you can get their most natural expressions as they play. For example, put yourself at the bottom of the slide and then shoot them as they are sliding down.

Last but not least is that inevitable photo bomb. Whether it be a human or object, having something suddenly appear in the background could ruin the whole feel of a sophisticated portrait shot. Pay close attention to your surroundings as you are photographing outside to make sure you can stop a photo bomb before it starts.

Infrared Light – What is it and How is it Used?

We keep hearing about infrared light as a part of new products being introduced in a number of different fields. This source of energy is able to perform much better than older technologies in a broad range of functions.

Infrared light is electromagnetic radiation waves that have longer wavelengths than that which we see in visible light. This is similar to most of what we get from the sun. Scientists have figured out ways in which that energy can be used in all types of industries, including industrial, scientific, and medical applications. It is also used in many consumer products.

In photography, film and image sensors are sensitive to infrared light, and the part that is used is referred to as near-infrared. Far infrared is the domain for thermal imaging. The wavelengths used will range from about 700 to 900 nm. Since film is typically sensitive to visible light, an infrared passing filter must be used that allows the waves to pass through to the camera, but blocks the light spectrum.

infraredThese filters allow you to create incredible effects in your photography such as false color or black and white. There is also an appearance that is known as the wood effect, which is cause from the light reflecting off of leaves or blades of grass. You will also find that with infrared filtering you are treated to darker skies in your photos and atmospheric haze.

Other Uses For Infrared Light

Because of its longer wavelengths, infrared light is more powerful than regular light, and that energy is being harnessed in a number of ways. One that is growing in popularity, and great for at home relaxation, is the at-home sauna. The long waves are able to penetrate deeper into the skin, giving you a more thorough cleansing than a traditional sauna.

Since these are portable devices, you can enjoy the full on benefits of a spa sauna, without it taking up too much space in your home. If you are interested in learning more about portable infrared saunas and how they work, visit a review site like www.saunainsider.com and see what people who use them have to say.

If you are interested in expanding your knowledge of photography, and its applications, infrared light is one valuable tool to incorporate. Experiment with various filters and lighting techniques and you will find that you are able to develop incredible images that your subjects will love.

The Beauty of Underwater Photography

Underwater PhotographyIf you have tried diving with your best snorkel, then you would know the sheer beauty of the underwater flora and fauna. It’s like going to a different world with all the different organisms doing their business and frolicking to and fro. From fishes to corals to sea urchins, each displaying their beauty right before your eyes, you would think of taking pictures as the only remembrance for your latest adventure. But what’s stopping you? Why not try the beauty of underwater photography?

How to Get Started with Underwater Photography

First, using the best snorkel gear guide, pick your diving gear so you can use it to scout your next location. Once you have established your next photo location, the next thing you have to do is take your underwater camera and go for a dive. But before you take your first picture, here are some tips to ensure that the adventure is worth your time.

  1. For most of your pictures, you will need flash to be on. This will add color to your shots because if you miss this, your pictures will be mostly blue. Make sure that your camera is set to “forced flash” not to “auto flash” so that you are sure that all your shots will have a flash.
  2. Its important that your camera is in macro mode. This is usually between 1-2 inches and 2 feet away from your subject. If you move closer, chances are, your subject will move away and you can’t take some photos. If you’re too far, you turn the macro mode off.
  3. If you are within 3 feet of your subject, make sure that you turn your internal camera on. This will ensure that the resulting photo will not look blue. If you are comfortable with your camera setting, you should opt for the full manual mode.
  4. Make sure that your aperture setting is in full zoom out. This will ensure that an ample amount of light will come in. This will allow you to focus on your subject.
  5. Make sure to move slowly and avoid spooking your subject. When they are spooked they will move away and you will definitely have a hard time looking for them. Its better to just look for another subject in this case.

The beauty of the underwater world is best captured with an underwater camera. But unlike regular photography, the challenged involved in underwater photography is enormous. If you follow the tricks presented here, you can be sure to capture the best pictures in underwater photography

Reptiles Make Great Models

NYC PieA reptile is now on a photo shoot? Yes! Just like any other pets, reptiles also make great models and can look perfect in front of a camera. Many pets and animal magazines are starting to use reptiles for picture-perfect and rare moments.

Many photographers find reptiles as good subjects. The fact that reptiles come in different species and they vary in colors and kinds, it makes them very attractive in photos. The challenge, however falls on making sure that they are kept away from getting stressed during the time of photo shoots.

Tips When Taking Photos

When taking photos of animals, you have to remember that itís not as easy as giving your model a cue and it will strike a pose. You will sometimes find it hard to make the best picture that you want due to large movements that reptiles do. Unless you tame or contain them in an area, then youíll get the perfect picture that you want.

Good photographers can find a way to make the right camera settings for a great picture outcome. Through macro technology and speed photography, you will have a way to capture a smooth and clear picture of moving reptiles.† It is also a way of taking photos of animals in their natural setting.

Whether you set up a photo shoot inside a studio or on their natural habitat such as a zoo or a farm, you need to make sure that you have the right reptile information to know how each reptile behave. Although most reptiles are non-aggressive, some might react and will put their defense when they think they see threats. And you have to consider your safety first.

The Animal Welfare

20c6c051aaef9aed_foam-roller-lower-back.xxxlargeSince you will be using animals as models, you also have the great responsibility of putting their welfare on top of everything. As models, you need to put them on certain angles and settings in which might be done quick and easy, keeping them away from getting stressed out fast.

Your photo will not even look authentic when your model looks haggard and not in the mood for it. For instance, you want the reptile to look alert and healthy in the picture while climbing on a tree. But it doesnít even want to stay in place for a shoot, and then maybe itís time to call it a day and let the animal to take a rest.

You need to make sure that above having the best photos, you have to put priority on the reptileís welfare. Although using animals and reptiles as models may not be illegal, but what can be a ground for illicit is if you are proven guilty of cruelty. Remember that these animals are always protected by the law.

Reptile Photography

Have you seen reptile photography yet? Do you see how these awesome creature projects themselves in front of the camera? They look perfectly awesome. So if you are looking for a good subject for your photography hobby, then using reptiles might be a great idea. Your picture will look unique and perfectly close to nature that many people will absolutely love!

5 Music Photographers You Should Know About

Shooting live action shots is not an easy feat, especially when the subjects are dancing around a stage bathed in laser lights. Rock photographers have their work cut out for them, and should be commended for their dedication. Here is a list of 5 whose names you may not recognize, but who have taken candid shots of some of the most well known faces in the music industry.

Brad Elterman

During the ‘60’s and ‘70’s, images shot by Brad Elterman were everywhere. Whether it was of Joan Jett eating on the pier, or Leif Garret snuggling in the sheets with Nicolette Sheridan, Elterman made it a point to try and capture the musicians in their most vulnerable state – as humans.

Jenny Lens

Patti Smith once referred to Jenny Lens as “the girl with the camera eye”. Lens crashed onto the punk scene with her camera in the late 1970’s and became a big part of it. Unlike Elterman, she captured the essence of punksters such as Dee Dee Ramone in their more comfortable element – onstage being a rock star.

Mick Rock

Starting his photography career in the late 1970’s with the glam rocksters, Mick Rock should just go ahead and take singing classes online. He is still a major player in the rock photography industry, having recently taken stills of Lady Gaga and Daft Punk. Maybe if his online singing lessons pay off, he can become one of Gaga’s monsters.

Charles Peterson

Charles Peterson is too young to remember classic rock, but he did make a name for himself in Seattle when the grunge scene took over. Peterson is the man behind the lens in a number of Nirvana shots as well as Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains. He has broadened his horizons since then and is now a world renowned photographer in a number of genres.


Janette Beckman

A native New Yorker, Janette Beckman had her camera on her nose when rappers like Run DMC first made an impression. As punk was going out, she was taking shots at Blondie, while also running around shooting the likes of Slick Rick. You can still see Beckman in modern music photography through performers like Missy Elliot and M.I.A.

These photographers made a name in the industry because they found a subject matter that they loved and chose to stick with that. An aspiring picture taker needs to look at what inspires them, and make that the inspiration for their portfolio.


How to Not Take a Tacky Selfie (Hint: hide that toothpaste in the background)

Thanks to the cell phone cam, we see tons of selfies when logging into the internet. It seems that there is an obsession among you people to take these kinds of pics and then use them to allure likes and comments.

I recently went through a list of these, where the author was able to point out the don’ts when it comes to taking a self photograph. He made some valid points, which should be obvious in many cases, but I will still point them out:

Stop Leaning into the Camera

Girls, we know what you are trying to do here, but what ends up happening is you look like a bubble head. You know, where your head is bigger than it should be. For a more attractive selfie, stand tall and straight with the non picture taking hand on your waist. If you want something to stand out, use a blouse to do that.

Get out of the Bathroom

Honestly, this just leads to way too many opportunities for photo bombs. I saw a whole bunch of stuff I wish I could unsee looking through bathroom shots. The least worrisome being clutter like an electric toothbrush and water flosser on the counter top. That wasn’t so bad, at least you brush your teeth like a human being. You should however look at what is going on behind you. And since we are on that topic, it is blatantly obvious when you are sitting on a toilet. Stop taking pictures there, or anywhere inside of the bathroom.

The Fakers

Fake selfies have become a thing on FB. Where a picture is posted and the comment is contradicted by a clue in the picture. An example would be a selfie of you behind the wheel, complaining about the traffic. Yet the reflection in your sun glasses shows not another car in sight. Just be real people, otherwise you make yourself look bad.

The Group Selfie

Can one of you step outside of the picture and take it for the group? The only thing worse with a group of people in one self shot is one taken in the bathroom. The angle is not wide enough for this and makes everyone in the shot seem scrunched together.


Photo Shop

A picture that has been photo shopped can be seen from a mile away. Trying to make things look bigger or smaller, a different color, or different body altogether never works. If you aren’t happy with your selfie, just delete and try again.

There isn’t anything wrong with taking a self portrait artists have been doing that for centuries. The difference is they paid close attention to the details before sharing it with the public. That’s what you need to do as well if you want your selfie to be classy and realistic.

New Project: Making People Taste My Pictures

I wanted to give taking pictures of food a try, to see how much appeal a picture can really make. Food shots are all the rage thanks to Instagram, but I wanted to be a bit more professional then the burritos I had at Taco Bell. During my trial run in food photography, I learned a few things that cost very little to nothing, but really made a difference in the shot.

Food Needs Light

Food looks best in photos when it is captured in natural light. Kitchen lighting will make everything look yellow and your flash will create unnatural shadows. Take the bowl of fruit outside or put it next to a big window if you really want those strawberries to look fab.

Shoot Like It’s a Recipe

There is no reason why you can’t show a shot or two of how you got that fried chicken to look so crispy. When shooting for a recipe, don’t be shy about showing the progression in photos. Take a shot of your base ingredients, how they were blended and even the frying unit you used to finish them off. Use fun angles like looking down into the boiling oil while the chicken is working, just be careful not to get oil on the lens.

chickenAdd A Lot of Green

When you are showing a finished product, make sure you garnish it. Or place it on top of fresh ingredients like lettuce. Fried chicken on plate is one thing, but a piece of fried chicken on a bright green bed of kale? That’s sumptuous. You can also sprinkle the food with parsley or chopped chives to make it look better.

Restaurant Food

Since you are not in control of how the dish looks, taking impromptu shots of restaurant food is a challenge. Plus you have the background to contend with and how appealing it looks. Here you want to first make sure that the plate of food looks great, and then take the shot looking straight down on it. This was the only way I had success with taking food shots in restaurants.

When in Doubt… Fake it

If you are having a hard time getting the food to behave for the shot, fake it. No one will know that the salmon in the picture is cold if you pour hot butter on top of it first to make it look just off the grill. Learning how to make the conditions right will get you the perfect shot each time.

I enjoyed this experiment and gained a few pounds doing it. Learning a new aspect of photography is always an eye opening experience. Experiment with your food photography and see if you can’t make people want to take a bite.

Invoking all the senses in a Photograph

For a professional photographer, getting the visual across is only part of the art. An exceptional photographer is able to make those who view it, feel the image with more than just the eyes. They can taste, smell and even feel what the object of your lens wants them to.

This is not easy to pull off. First you need the right subject. If you are given the task of shooting food, make sure that it looks like something you would want to eat yourself. Bright colors against a stark white or black background make food shots stand out and look good enough to eat.

To invoke the sense of touch you are going to want to pair like objects together to offer the viewer a frame of reference. For example, if working with a clothing company that sells leather pants, have the model sitting on a leather sofa. We all know how nice leather feels and will be able to sense that from the picture.

Surprisingly, the sense of smell is the easiest to work into photography. Take perfume ads for example. Many of these are in print and yet wildly popular. Why? Because the model is surrounded by subtle hints at what the scent she is wearing is. A small vase of flowers on a night stand or a little strawberry in the hand lets the viewer know how she smells without even them knowing why.


In some cases it is even how the bottle is displayed in the ad. Take essential oils for example. If you wanted to shoot a picture of an essential oil diffuser necklace and show how lovely they smell, you can simply place the necklace and bottle of essential oils surrounded by the herbs, flowers, or fruits. Peppermint sticks for peppermint oil, rose petals for rose… you get the idea. There are a few examples of this at www.scentsationoil.com.

How about making somehow hear your photo? This is not as easy to pull off and is dependent on your subject. Let’s say for example you are shooting a guitar and want to portray how loud it is. Dark colors with a little bit of fuzz in the photo will convey the message that this is a loud musical instrument.

One of my favorite sound shots are of breaking waves. There are just some pictures of surfers that I have seen where I can actually hear the wave break on the sand. This is done with a wide angle shot that shows both the water and the beach.

During your career in photography, you will be called upon to shoot a large number of items that at first glance may seem simple and boring. Put that thought aside and try to think outside of the box. If you frame it right and add sense invoking elements, you will create more than a photograph, you will create art.

The Art of Sports Photography

We have all seen them on newspaper covers and in magazines, that perfect shot of an athlete as he or she is midway in a throw, shot or hit. The look on the face priceless as the photographer catches them at their greatest moment.

Whether you are shooting a pro basketball team, or your sons little league, there is a certain art to this kind of photography. Just as you need to take certain things into consideration when shooting party scenes, you must also study a playing field first if you have dreams of capturing that glory moment.

Shutter Speed

A professional sports photographer is using a shutter speed of 1/1000 of a second or higher. This is good for daytime sports but if shooting a night game you are going to need a faster F stop. If you increase the ISO your camera is going to see more light and the shots will look better. Try this with a night time football game and you will see a big difference.

Change the Angle


Sports shots at face level are a thing of the past. Try moving your body into position to get the shot from a different perspective. Got a little leaguer running to first base? Lay down on the ground and shoot from his feet up. This offers a whole new way of looking at how the game is played.

The Background is Important Too

Fan shots tell the story and show the excitement that the game is providing. They can also convey a striking image for what may seem to some a boring event. Take shooting archery for example. There is not much action here beyond pulling back the recurve bow and taking aim, but if you shoot the arrow in flight, with the archer framed by beautiful woods scenery, you have created a masterpiece.

Try getting an inexpensive beginner’s recurve bow at FastFlightArchery.com to use as a prop for your upcoming shots.

Can You Use a Flash?

In most cases you will not be able to use flash at a sporting event. This will be distracting to the players. Inside events are usually equipped for photography with bright lights already set up. This should provide more than adequate lighting for your pictures to come out beautifully.

Practice the techniques first at amateur events to get a feel for how the photography works. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get that perfect shot at every game. Sometimes the moment doesn’t happen.

Once you feel comfortable at amateur events, try your techniques on a professional level. You will be amazed at the difference in the way they look and the emotions they portray. As your skills grow your pictures will improve and may very well end up on the cover a newspaper one day.

What’s the Trend in Today’s Wedding Photography

wedding photographyIf you are planning to take advantage of Calgary wedding photography services nowadays, you should at least know what the trends in this type of photography are so you can expand your choice of themes and scenes.

In photography, you will find a lot of aspects being added as well as many techniques that are being used to produce high quality pictures. If you want to make sure that your wedding photographs are as memorable as it can be, you should at least know what to look for in a wedding photography service.

The first thing that you may want look into is the type of equipment being used in taking photographs. Gone are the days when we use Polaroids, films and all that stuff. Nowadays there are various types of cameras which can be used in taking pictures for special moments like this. One of the major options nowadays is a DSLR camera which has so many features in zooming, clear capture and all of those elements needed to capture special moments on a wedding event.

You can as well opt for various types of photography trends such as the usual black and white soft toned pictures that you may always see on a wedding album, candid wedding pictures which can surely reflect the happiness not only of the couple but the people who have been invited to join this special occasion or you can opt for a Hollywood style wedding photography theme that can surprise everybody else.

If you were to get the services of a wedding photographer it is essential that you have seen his or her previous works to check if this is the type of photography that you really want for your own wedding event. Checking the portfolio of wedding photography services is one smart thing to do before signing those papers.

You can as well do your own research. Usually these wedding photographers or videographers have their own web pages online which you can use for your own reference. Some of them have reviews which you can try to read first to check on how reliable their services are for events such as this. In doing this, you can now compare the services you can get from these various providers and help you make the right decision on who to hire.

We are all aware on how expensive a wedding event could be. To save more money and to save time from making mistakes, it essential to find the right services that will make things happen for you. A wedding is a once in a lifetime event in your life and it pays to make the right decision in choosing the right photography service that you can rely on and can deliver the type of pictures that you want.