All posts by Instructor

6 tips for bad weather photography

Cameras and bad weather days can be a disastrous combination. One bad day can damage your equipment or ruin your momentum. 

Don't let rainy, windy, and stormy days limit your creativity. There are several tips you can use to capture beautiful images in all kinds of weather.

6 Tips for Taking Photos in Bad Weather Conditions

Some photographers tend to wait for bad weather to pass and reschedule their shoots. While this is reasonable, taking pictures during days with bad weather can provide a surprising host of opportunities. The experts over at Táve have also shared their tips on how to brave weather elements to capture stunning images.

Enjoy the Weather While Protecting Your Gear 

When it's raining, one of the first things you must do is to keep your camera dry at all times. While a hint of moisture may not necessarily ruin your camera; it can cause a fogged-up lens and ruin your shoot. This might sound like a small problem, yet moisture build-up condensation can lead to the growth of mold. 

There are several materials you can use to protect your camera, so you can still take amazing photos even during terrible weather conditions:

  • Rain cover: Slip this over the camera body and lens. If you don't have a rain cover, make a DIY cover using a Ziploc bag and secure it with rubber bands.
  • Lens hood: Protects the lens against rain droplets while still getting an extra framing.   
  • Napkins and microfiber cloths: To remove water or grime. 
  • Waterproof camera: If there are times when you are not shooting, keep the camera safe inside a bag.

Use Longer Lenses

Shooting in rainy conditions doesn't mean you have to soak yourself. In some cases, you can head indoors and take the shot from that angle. 

Remember, seeking shelter protects you from sickness and your gears from damage. With the help of telephoto and zoom lenses, you can keep subjects in focus without exposing yourself to harsh weather conditions.

Adjust the Shutter Speed

Shutter speed is the amount of time the sensor becomes exposed to light. When it comes to bad weather, the shutter speed must depend on what type of look you prefer.

For instance, a raindrop can go a long way in an entire second. Hence, you'll get a streaky picture if you use really slow shutter speed. On the other hand, if you want to take a shot of a lightning bolt or moving water, slower shutter speed is your best friend. 

When you are using longer shutter speeds, make sure to use a tripod, as the camera will likewise capture the motion of the camera shake. 

Open Up the Aperture

Since you'll probably use slower shutter speed, pairing it up with a small aperture is the best way to move forward. The more you open up the aperture, the clearer your shots will be. In effect, you capture the small details like droplets. 

Watch Out for Human Behavior 

There are people who look grumpy because of rainy days. Some people become lively when the sun's out. Regardless of the weather, you'll see all kinds of emotions and human behaviors.

As a photographer, watch out for spontaneous moments like people trotting around the rain or a person trying to control his umbrella despite strong winds. These moments make for really interesting photos.

Check the Weather Ahead and Prepare Yourself

Do a weather check before you head out. In this way, you can bring protective equipment both for your gear and yourself. If you stay dry, you have more confidence in trying out angles and shots even if you kneel or stand in the rain.  

If possible, wear waterproof clothing that protects you from head to toe. At the very least, wear a coat with a hood, waterproof trousers, thermal socks, and a good pair of boots.

Conclusion

One of the essential traits you need to develop as a photographer is the ability to adapt to unpredictable weather conditions and still take amazing photos. With these tips, you can continue taking photos, and consequently, become a better photographer. 

5 BAD HABITS

One of the secrets to improving your photography is breaking bad habits. You may be making some mistakes unconsciously, which is why we're here to help you identify and overcome those bad habits. With determination and practice, you can work on becoming a photographer with good practices instead. 

5 Bad Photography Habits to Break Today

While these habits may not totally ruin your images, they can affect your perspective and attitude towards photography. Now, let's spot some of the things you should not do as a photographer.

Relying on Auto Mode

Letting your camera do all the work inhibits you from thinking about both the technical and creative aspects of photography. Hence, start by learning how to tweak camera settings to hone your photography skills. 

The four main camera modes are:

  • Manual: Gives you full manual control of shutter speed and aperture. 
  • Program: Camera chooses the shutter speed and aperture based on the amount of light that passes through the lens. 
  • Shutter Priority: Manually setting the shutter speed, and the camera automatically selects the right aperture. 
  • Aperture Priority: Manually setting the aperture while the camera picks the appropriate shutter speed. 

Practicing all camera modes enables you to take control over settings, focus, exposure, and available light. Learning how to switch from one mode to another allows you to think and use the appropriate mode depending on the shoot. 

Acting Unsure After You Take a Photo

The number one way to make your subject feel uncomfortable during a shoot is by saying something negative after you take their photo. For example, if you’re posing someone while shooting high school portraits and start to take their photo before realizing the pose looks awkward, don’t look at the back of the camera and say something like, “Oh, that didn’t turn out very good.” Not only might the senior be concerned that they look bad, but they may also start to doubt your skills and abilities as a photographer.

Instead, once you realize that something isn’t working with the pose, say something like, “Okay, great - let’s move on!” The goal is to transition into something else without the client knowing that the previous pose didn’t actually work out.

Not Studying Lighting

Lighting is one of the key aspects of photography. The bad habit of not paying attention to lighting can produce unnecessary shadows and noise in your pictures. If you understand how to combine light with the right aperture, shutter speed, ISO, you can capture evenly exposed photos. 

Try to know as much as you can about good lighting, from natural lighting to the use of strobes. Learning how to work with light will make the difference in an image's composition, brightness, tone, and mood.

Using Only One Lens

There are photographers who have the bad habit of carrying only a single lens because they think it's enough. In some cases, they fail to bring another lens with a different focal length because they don't want to carry too much equipment. Don’t fall for this.

Bringing a 50mm lens with an aperture of f/1.8 works for low-light and portrait shots. Meanwhile, a 24mm wide-angle lens is more suitable for architectural images because of its exaggerated perspective. On the other hand, it's better to use a 75-300mm zoom lens for creative and sports photography.

Forgetting to Clean Your Camera

If you use your camera regularly, it can gather dust or smudges on the sensor, mirror, and lens glass. If you are a landscape photographer who usually travels to beaches, forests, and other outdoor sceneries, the camera can collect dirt, grime, and sand. 

While you don't need to clean your camera after every shot, it's best to do some cleaning once a week. Not only will cleaning keep your gears in tip-top shape, you can also avoid spending hours removing dust specs during post-processing.

Final Thoughts 

Getting your hands on a camera can be exciting, causing you to simply click the shutter button to your heart's content and overlook some crucial factors. Remember that the only way not to commit mistakes is to stop making them now. Let's break a bad photography habit today! 

Budget-Friendly Wedding Tips: How to Take Wedding Photos Like a Pro?

People love weddings — an age-old tradition of publicly exchanging vows to love and cherish each other no matter what life may bring. Because a wedding is considered to be one of the best moments that can happen in life, couples go through great lengths to achieve their dream wedding. As a photographer, this should be the prevalent thought in your mind each time you handle this type of event.

Photographers have witnessed people cringe when fees come up. As a professional, you should help couples in achieving a great wedding by offering tips for a wedding on a budget, making sure that the soon-to-be bride and groom get the best value without breaking the bank.

If you’re up to the task, here’s some advice for you on how to take wedding photos like a pro.

Client Management

Sit down with your clients so that you can set their expectations appropriately. They may have preferences on who or what they want to be photographed so take notes and create a checklist. Present the idea of having a photography coordinator to assist the couple especially for group or family photos. Show samples of your previous works and agree on a format for the final output.

Camera

Quality is expected from professional photographers, and you should expect the same thing from your gear. Choosing the right camera within your budget is a vital process, and if you would be doing the photography service on your own, having a backup camera is strongly advised. Features to consider are:

  • Interchangeable lenses
  • RAW format capability
  • Quick and accurate autofocus
  • Multiple memory card slots
  • Great low-light shooting

Accessories

A big part of photography is light control. Flashguns and portable continuous lights will give you ample room to play with and be creative. It also guarantees that the subject you are shooting is adequately lit. Bring extra batteries for your lights and camera, too.

Straps keep your camera safe, but always check that these are securely attached to your camera as well as to you. Accidents do happen, and you wouldn’t want your camera to crash on the ground during a wedding coverage. For steady shots and long exposures, a tripod would be your best bud.

Mobile storage is another key accessory to have. This can range from camera bags to travel cases, depending on how much equipment you need. Strong, durable, and easy to move around are elements of a good camera case.

Don’t forget to bring a strong laptop with a reliable photo-editing software to process your photos. Your clients may want to check out your shots immediately, and your computer will come in handy.

Site Inspection

Familiarizing yourself with the wedding venue beforehand will simplify things for you. You would be able to map out shooting spots and natural backdrops. For instance, if you will be covering a grand Hotel Monaco wedding, examine the place before the day of the wedding so you can plan your shots and pick the right gear to bring. Don’t be afraid to use event furniture and decorations as additional props, but do remember to ask permission first.

Shoot a Story

You have the responsibility of capturing and preserving the memories on the wedding day. Be observant and capture the various emotions to create a photo story.

  • Focus on smiles and laughter.
  • Frame the tears. Don’t make crying people look bad in your photos.
  • Capture the beauty of the event: people, place, and design. Include the small details.
  • Shoot reactions and interactions: a father-daughter dance, a firm handshake, and a welcoming hug.
  • Vary perspectives. Do not shoot from a single angle. Go high; go low. Shoot in between obstacles. You may have to nudge around for a good shot. Be brave but not brash. 
  • Take group photos and do not forget to take family photos.
  • Keep all your shots and sort through it after the event.
  • If possible, create and present a slideshow showcasing some of the earlier shots during the reception. 

Let these tips serve you well. Be confident that being prepared will get you through the unexpected. Most of all, have fun!

Your Headshot Photographer Lesson To Taking Great Headshots

Your Headshot Photographer Lesson to Taking Great Headshots

If you want to make a name as a photographer, you need to master the art of headshot photography. Every individual will need a headshot photo at some point in their lives, and if you want to stand out from this industry, you need to deliver excellent headshot photos. Your skills in taking headshot photos can be your leverage to gain the trust of customers, which can pave the way towards your goal of being a renowned photographer. Take note of the following headshot photographer lessons for you to take great headshots:

1. Have a pre-session consultation:

Your headshot photographer walking with camera

Before you mark your calendar for an upcoming photo shoot, schedule a pre-session consultation with the client first. This consultation should be done in person, not through e-mails or phone calls

. When you interact with your clients personally, it’ll be easier for them to be comfortable about working with you and everything that will happen during the photo shoot. Having this kind of emotion can significantly change the outcome of their photos. The more relaxed your clients are, the more pleasant they’ll look in their headshot photos.

During the consultation, inquire what the client would want for their photos. You should also learn about their profession, so you’ll know which equipment or tools you should prepare. If your client is a lawyer, a clean white background will be suitable for their headshot photos. If your client is a yoga instructor, opt to have the photo shoot outdoors for you to capture the natural environment – perfect your client’s industry!

2. Help them choose the right clothes:

It’s typical for clients to be clueless about what they should wear for their headshot photos, especially if they’ll be doing a photo shoot for the first time. Since clothing significantly impacts the look of your clients in their headshot photos, you should help them choose the right clothes. Generally, neutral colors work best for headshot photos as these don’t contrast against people’s faces. If your clients are a group of people from one company, for example, it’s important that everyone knows what the required outfit is. If it’s formal wear, everyone should wear formal wear. If your clients are required by their boss to wear their uniforms, they should show up for the photo shoot wearing them.

But regardless of the times you’ve reminded your clients on what to wear, there will be instances when they’ll forget to follow. As a precaution, bring a spare jacket, especially for the men. If other photographers are helping you out for the photo shoot, have them bring several pieces of clothes, too. Doing this will not only provide a consistent look in your headshot photos, but this will also reflect how prepared and flexible you are as a photographer.

3. Create separation from the background:

All of your clients’ effort to look good will be worthless if there are shadows in the background of their photos. To prevent this from happening, make sure that your client isn’t standing too close to the background. If you’re having the photo shoot indoors, standing too close to the background can create shadows, and this can make your photos look unprofessional. The same concept should also be followed when you’re shooting outdoors. You shouldn’t let your client stand too close to the background in order to create a bokeh effect, which can create a stunning but nondistracting background.

4. Starting the session:

Your Headshot Photographer with smiling woman

Sure, you might have the chance to have a pre-session consultation with your client days before the photo shoot, but with everything that’s happening during the photo shoot, they can still feel nervous. Regardless if your client is a single individual or a group of employees, make time to have a little chat with them before the photo shoot starts. Ask about how they’re feeling, how they’ve prepared for the shoot, or if they have any kids or pets. The minutes you’ll spend talking to your clients will go a long way so they can feel and look relaxed in their photos. They’ll appear more comfortable and confident – all thanks to the short conversation you initiated!

5. Silly faces:

Having headshot photos with silly faces isn’t an option especially if these photos are intended for a business’s marketing efforts. However, just because it isn’t an option doesn’t mean that your clients can’t do it, right? On the contrary, making silly faces in front of the camera will help your clients relax and determine their best angles. Plus, this can also be an excellent icebreaker so the client will feel at ease in working with you. Having your client make silly faces for the first few frames can also serve as your lighting test. You’ll be able to determine which needs to be adjusted in order to come up with the best headshot photos!

6. Keep talking and always be positive:

Working with a client who has never been in a photo shoot before can be stressful. You’ll have to instruct them about what they should do and not do. As a professional photographer, like www.jaheadshots.com, you shouldn’t let your nerves get the best of you. Instead, you should reassure your client that he’s doing a good job and you’re getting excellent images from his efforts (even though you’re not). Silence can quickly kill the atmosphere, which can make the client become more conscious about his poses. This will only lengthen the duration of the photo shoot. So no matter what happens during the photo shoot, keep talking and be positive!

No Shortcuts

There are a lot of sources that can tell you how to take great headshots. You can find a handful of these sources from the Internet and from first-hand experiences of photographers. But regardless of the source you’re going to follow, you should always be patient with your attempts. You should also have the determination and perseverance because even if you followed an expert’s advice in taking headshot photos, success doesn’t come overnight.

Better landscape photo finishing touches

I don't know about you, but I have been disappointed by the images I got out of the camera when out shooting landscape and nature images. I've come across a lovely scene, but the picture just doesn't stand out the way I remember the scene.

Boring typical dSLR landscape shot
Boring typical dSLR landscape shot - photo by Neil Speers

Cameras are really good at capturing information, but not emotion. That's where retouching comes in.

Sometimes, it's just best to make the image black and white. If you've shot a scene at midday, especially when you've shot for texture and tone, black and white can look great.

But if the subject relies on the colours, or you really want to keep the colours but make it 'more exciting.' then you need to spend some time working on it.

Post processed dSLR landscape shot
Post processed dSLR landscape shot  - photo by Neil Speers

Here are some tips to keep in mind when shooting:

  • Keep the camera level, the horizon line should be level in the photo
  • Figure out what made you take the picture in the first place and make it stand out
  • Before you take the photo, determine if you want to use the aperture to include or exclude the background
  • Before you take the photo, determine if you want a fast shutter speed to freeze action or slow shutter to blur the action
  • What do you want around the image? (called the ‘negative space' - which is anything that isn’t the main subject) Make sure there are no distractions, only show what helps tell the story of what is the subject. Or  blend a distraction into the background if you can't get rid of it by cropping or putting it behind the main subject.

Here's a video I created to show how I went from before to after.

Yes, this requires Photoshop and Aurora HDR - the way I did it, but you can find alternatives what will let you do very similar things while editing your photos.

Key Steps To Setting Up A Photo Studio For Your New Business

After months of thinking about it, you finally decided to turn your hobby into a new business – you want to set up a new photo studio. You have been taking photos of different sceneries and models, and your friends have started praising your work. They started commenting on how breathtaking your photos are and they think you should consider making this as an income-generating endeavor. And while you have a goal in mind, you still don’t know the first steps in setting up a photo studio for your new business. If this has been your dilemma, consider the tips below:

Creating A Photo StudioClear a space: This is probably one of the most basic things you should consider. If you’re a budding photographer, you should know that a photo studio requires space – you need a place for your model and equipment, right? If you’re eyeing to turn a large room in your house as a photo studio, for example, make sure you have a space allocated for the business.

Add light sources: And while the daylight is the best source of light for photos, expect that your clients won’t always visit you during these times. This is why you should ensure that you have adequate equipment which will give you light. You can have the option to purchase artificial lights for your photo studio or create your own lights.

Build beautiful backdrops: Sure, the room you’re using for the business has a colorful pink background but having the same backdrop in all of your pictures can never do good for your business. Instead, build beautiful backdrops so your clients can have a variety to choose from. You can use a cloth or curtain for this purpose. Think out of the box and be creative as possible for your backdrops!

Don’t forget the props: Your photo sessions will be more fun if your models have something to play with. This will make them more comfortable in doing poses which can result in better photos. Your photos will also have a “story” once the props are appropriate for the background and the model. These props might be considered as small details, but this can contribute a lot to how your pictures will look.

Aside from the tips presented in this article, you can also draw inspiration from photo studios who have been operating for years. A Miami photography studio like this one here, has all the facilities and equipment for clients’ different needs.

In Conclusion

Setting up a photo studio for your new business might seem tough. There’s so much to be done in order to keep the ball rolling. But you don’t have to feel all the stress in the process. As long as you know what you should and shouldn’t do, you can expect that your business will operate as soon as possible! Keep in mind the things presented in this article, and for sure, you’re a step closer to making that dream photo studio of yours come true.

Studio OwnerI am the owner and operator of the largest television & film studio in South Florida known as M3 Studios. It was all a dream and in 2003 I turned that dream to a reality and started with one film studio, the facility now has 7 Sound Stages, 3 CYC Walls, Green Screens, 6 editing bays, and over 122,000 sq. ft. of state-of-the-art studio space that include full-service production staff and equipment, editing suites, office/conference rooms you name it. Anything you need to complete a creative project. I love film and entertainment so much that I even stunt coordinate on the side for fun. If you would like to see more about the studio follow our instagram account @M3StudiosMiami it's always fun to see behind the scenes of movie magic.

How To Take Stunning Black and White Wedding Photos

Ah, weddings! Who doesn’t want to witness the solemnity of two individuals becoming one in the presence of their loved ones, right? We always say wedding photography is one of the most romantic professions in the world. Wedding photographers capture the sincerest times; they see the beauty of people and the event through their small screen and translate it into something tangible that imprisons the very moment.

Wedding photography, couple under arch in black and whiteOne style of photography that doesn’t grow old no matter the occasion and time is black and white photography. Especially in weddings, this type of photography can capture the emotions of the subjects and highlight the very essence of the event.

If you’re a wedding photographer who wants to try black and white or wants to improve their monochromatic style, read on below to learn essential tips in taking black and white wedding images.

Shoot in Raw

If your camera allows you to shoot in raw, do it. Shooting in raw gives you infinite control over the post-production of the images. If you shoot black and white, the photos might not be as good when you’re taking them and when reviewing them on your computer. With raw, you have the chance to process the photo and change it to a colored one if you think the black and white concept doesn’t go well with it.

If your camera doesn’t have the option to shoot in raw, shoot not in black and white but color using JPEG. While you can still produce reasonable results if you shoot straight in black in white, you’ll have more control of the photo if you shoot in color as you can always do your conversion to black and white later.

Keep a Low ISO

If you want to take stunning black and white wedding photos, keep your ISO as low as possible. While this technique is normal when taking colored photos, it’s particularly true with black and white photography. The rationale behind this is noise created by ISO can even be more visible in a black and white photo, so by lowering the ISO, you also take the noise out.

If the noise is what you’re after, you can always add it in the post-processing phase. Also, there are noise removal programs you can use during post-processing to reduce the noise of your images.

Mind Your Composition

This is no surprise for photographers. Alongside many other factors, composition is surely one to consider when taking photos. The general tips and techniques applicable when composing and framing subjects also works just as well in black and white photography.

The only major difference to note is you can’t use color to lead the eye to the subject. This means you need to be keen on spotting other elements such as textures, shapes, and tones and making them your points of interest. Pay attention to shadows and highlights, which are significant features of your frame.

Another way to compose your photo is to look for patterns. Patterns are a great feature in pictures because of their ordered repetition. Often in colored photos, our eyes get distracted by color and may not pay as much attention to patterns. Black and white makes patterns more compelling. Train your eyes to look for patterns such as people’s feet standing in line at a wedding party or cars in a parking lot.

Black and white wedding photography of coupleLook For Contrast

The most stunning black and white wedding photos feature a great contrast of black and white. Contrast in a picture that is created by a portion of nearly pure white and some almost black parts magnifies interest to the scene.

Capture Emotions

If you want to capture emotions of people such as the bride tearing up while walking down the aisle or the groom hugging the best man, black and white can be your best bet. While colored photos also offer the emotion of the subject, black and white goes the extra mile and accentuates the feeling and passion within an image.

Tweak The HSL Panel

During the phase of post-production, raw pictures will be converted and enhanced. When post-processing the image, you definitely need to tweak the HSL system in your Lightroom or Photoshop to get the most stunning version of the photo there is.

Conclusion

There you have the essential tips to take remarkable wedding photos in black in white. While it is important to follow the general principles of photography, it’s also crucial to discover and enhance your own style as a wedding photographer, just like Solaris which has established a unique presence in Houston’s field of photography.

Erika Bourdeaux

Erika B - wedding photographerErika Bourdeaux is a writer who regularly submits content to Solaris Studios. She always make sure she adds a creative spin to all of her pieces, and as a result her pieces remain entertaining and engaging. She spends her free time painting.

Power Tips For Taking Photos For Your Custom Bedding Designs

Photographing your products in the highest quality possible is of utter importance when you're in the e-commerce world. It’s because providing high-quality photos of your products does not only attract more customers, it also builds your credibility as a seller. Some e-commerce entrepreneurs take this for granted and that's where they get it wrong because it doesn't just help you present yourself well, but it also helps speak about the quality of your products and services, and when you sell custom bedding designs for a living, you should give it your best effort.

Here are some power tips for taking photos of your custom bedding designs to make sure you're only getting the best shots:

  1. Gather all the materials

When you're taking product photos, you don't really need the most expensive gear on the market because even professional product photographers improvise on their set for the most convincing shots using everyday household items. However, you’ll need the basics such as:

  • Tripod - to provide stability for your photos
  • Overhead Lights/ Desk lamps - to provide artificial lights
  • White background - to create focus on your background
  • Lightbox - this is recommended for smaller products
  • Light reflectors/white cardboard - whether you're working with artificial or natural lights, a light reflector comes in handy when it comes to properly distributing the light
  • DSLR - although mirrorless cameras are much of an option these days
  1. The light is your best friend

When you set up your makeshift studio, provide as many lights as you possibly can. Therefore, you must make sure you're working in a room wherein the windows are wide to let in as much natural as possible. For artificial lights, make sure they are well-distributed all over the product to feature as much of it as you can.

Take photos from different angles and by moving the lights from time to time. In this way, you'll end up with more choices during post-production.

  1. Place it in various settings

Since you’re selling custom bedding designs, you’re basically selling comfort as well. Show comfortability in your photo by placing it in different settings such as being a crucial part of a breakfast in bed or being used by a person comfortably sleeping. For this matter, you're not just selling a product—you’re selling an experience.

If you want custom-designed beddings, you can get your own from Vision Beddings. Good luck with your photographing!

Matthew Lambert

Matthew Lambert is a writer contributing pieces to Vision Bedding. He understands the needs of informative and engaging pieces to keep readers interested. He loves a good cup of tea with a good book during his free time.