Category Archives: Gear

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!

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.

Key Tips On Taking The Best Basic Portrait Shots While Holidaying

You’ve browsed through your Facebook profile and stumbled upon your album from your last trip to Hawaii. There were a lot of pictures, but while you were navigating through all of these, you’ve noticed three things. One, most of them are selfies which means that you never got the chance to highlight the majestic tourist spots; two, your pictures are a blur; and three, you don’t have any pictures of the locals living there. You don’t even know why you’ve uploaded all of these in the first place - they aren’t good enough! And now that you have an upcoming holiday trip next month, you want to make sure that your portrait shots will turn out better. You promise yourself that your pictures this time will be worth bragging about.

You don’t have to worry because even if you have the most basic camera (or even a smartphone) and some basic photography skills, you can still take the best portrait shots. Here’s how:

Plan ahead: Since you know where you’re going, it follows that you should know what to prepare for. Research the most famous tourist spots (and not so famous) in your destination. If you’re planning to visit any establishments like museums or churches, call them ahead of time and inquire if tourists are allowed to bring their cameras inside and if they’re open during your preferred time and date. Create a schedule of when are you planning to visit these locations and stick to it. You want to capture the best portraits while travelling without stressing-out, and this is the way to do it.

Employ a local guide: If you want new ways to travel, employing a local guide can help you. These people basically know every area in your destination like the back of their hands so you won’t have any problems on your trip with them by your side. They can also introduce you to new locations which are not too “touristy” and shots taken here can be an excellent addition to your gallery! You’ll be the envy of your friends once you show them pictures like these!

Always ask permission: You want to take portraits of the locals in your new travel destination, right? Before you do, make sure that you ask permission. You don’t want the locals to be distracted by your camera’s flash. You also wouldn’t want to ruin cultures or observances that they have. Before taking their pictures, tell them your intentions and try to build a connection with them. Make them feel at ease with you as this will be obvious in your photos. You’ll not only have fantastic portrait shots, but you’ll also gain friends.

Book a hotel room with a view: Aside from taking pictures of the locals, you would also want to bask in the new scenery you’re facing. Sure, it might have the same tall buildings like in your hometown, but the entire view will be different, and you want to capture a portrait of that. Booking a hotel room with a view will also allow you to take the city’s breathtaking sunsets and sunrises. You’ll be able to capture scenery in a different angle. Every cent is worth it once you end up in a hotel room like this.

Highlight the background: There are always tourist spots wherever you go. It may be an old church, a huge statue, or a beautiful lake. But whatever it might be, take the time to visit some of these (much better if you can visit all!) and use these locations as your background. Make sure that your photographer stays away a few feet from you to ensure that the background becomes the highlight and you as the subject, is just an accessory. When there are buildings that are too high, tell your photographer to try out new angles to capture them. You’ll never know when you’ll be coming back here so go out there and enjoy every side trip.

Don’t bring too much gear: You don’t need to bring all the equipment like you’re going to a photoshoot whenever you take portrait photos while travelling. Aside from being too heavy to carry, it’ll take you too much time to set-up everything. As much as possible, you want to be ready to capture candid moments and bringing all of this equipment just won’t do the trick. Instead, use something that’s lightweight and produces good quality photos. Look for devices which can be water-proof too, to ensure that you can still take those portrait shots anywhere, even at the beach.

There are a lot of ways on how you can shoot that best portrait photos while travelling. Even the best Chicago portrait photographer knows that it’ll take some time for you to get the hang of this, but it will be worth it later on. For sure, you’ll have photos that can earn hundreds of likes on your Facebook account and they’ll be raved about by your friends for days. Your photos will be so good that they’ll make them wish they were with you during your trip!

Michael Schacht is a portrait photographer and photography educator based in Chicago Illinois. As owner/operator of 312 Elements Headshot Photography located in Chicago's West Loop neighborhood, Michael overseas the day to day operations and has had the opportunity to photograph thousands of corporate professionals over the last decade. Through his direction, attention to detail, and people skills, he's helped these clients to craft a narrative around their personal brand. It's his belief that the headshot is the modern dad business card and that a better headshot is essential for a better career.   Michael, his wife Meghan and his two daughters reside in Tinley Park Illinois where he is a community leader and active participant in the local business sector. Michael studied business at Ball State university and photography with world renown headshot photographer, Peter Hurley. It was Hurley that trained Michael in the art of human expression. Michael is now a Headshot Crew certified Mentor and active member of the Headshot Crew community where he was named one of the top 20 headshot photographers in the world.

Lens choices

As mentioned in the lessons - making a choice of lens can create very different looks in your photos. One of the biggest drawbacks with smartphone photography is the choice of only one lens type (wide angle.)

The basic approach to choosing the right lens length is that: if you want to isolate and feature a person, object or texture, you want a longer lens; if you want to keep proportions of a person's face when doing a fairly close portrait, you want a medium to long lens; and if you want to include the environment around your subject or distort your subject you want a wide lens.

But for a more in-depth look at lenses, Cathryn and her daughter - who are readers of this Best Photo Lessons -  sent me this link to a buying guide by Best Buy - we're not affiliated in any way with the retailer, but thought this was good enough to suggest you review what they suggest.

bestbuy.com/site/buying-guides/lens-buying-guide

Buying a new camera

A lot of people wonder - "What camera should I buy?"

The answer is complicated, which is why they ask the advice - however there's a lot of factors that go into the best recommendation. What do you want to photograph? Are you thinking of turning professional or want to be a hobbyist (I'd rather see people do it as a hobby rather than try to go professional and burn out on photography - which happens a lot, being in business is not easy.)

If you're a first time dSLR (digital Single Lens Reflex) buyer - my recommendation is:

First - set your budget, it can be anywhere from $500 to $5000 (U.S. or Canadian dollars, your local currency may differ), so what you're comfortable spending is how much you should spend. And yes, you'll likely spend far more down the road, but what you're comfortable with now is what's important.

Second - go to a camera store and try out several in your price range. You want to see which ones are easiest to do some specific things: setting exposure manually, formatting the memory card, able to hold the camera comfortably.

Yes, buying online is cheaper in theory - but if its the wrong camera you wont use it, and a camera you never use is a lot more expensive than a camera you use all the time.

You'll want to do manual exposure to learn to control the camera - not let it make decisions for you. The easier to set those controls the better you will learn.

Menus on various cameras are easier for some people to use and harder for others - so make sure it is easy for you to understand and formatting cards is something you'll do a lot of.

Notice I'm not talking about all the features cameras come with these days - ignore them. If you want to learn to do photography at the highest level, you need to really understand what makes the right exposure for your vision of the finished image - and the only way to learn that effectively is to do it manually.

Honestly, if all you want is a glorified snapshot, get a really good quality point-and-shoot, you'll be much happier in the end.

Notice also that I don't recommend any one brand - each brand works better or worse for different people, so choose the right one for you. I've used Nikon, Canon, Fuji, Sony, Leica, Hasselblad, Pentax, etc. They are all good brands, and I'd happily shoot with any of them again - as long as I can easily make my own choices for exposure.

You might also want to look at a "mirrorless" camera - which look a lot like the old rangefinder cameras. They're kind of like an advanced point-and-shoot, except they use the same sensor as dSLRs and have controls for easily doing manual exposure. I bought one and have gotten many great shots. No its not quite as good as my professional camera, but at 1/3 the price its probably 85 per cent the quality, which is a very good buy to me and is a lot easier to take with me.