Get the Perfect Light Writing Sparkler Shot

Get the Perfect Light Writing Sparkler Shot

Every wedding photographer is always seeking to get the perfect image that will capture the unique setting, timing, and location of the big day. Bobby and Tanya of Frozen Exposure Photography + Cinematography have written up a quick tutorial on how to create unique wedding portraits using sparklers. Check it out and make your own photos shine! Want to Re-Enact This Shot? Brides: The “Light Writing Sparkler Shot” is always a favorite and such a cool way to celebrate, photographically, your new last name, or if your new last name is hard to write in “sparkler,” then spelling out “Love” is gorgeous, too! This shot is even MORE fun when another couple helps with the writing! Especially if that couple is recently married or engaged! Frozen Exposure recommends getting this photo in the middle of the reception, when everyone else is comfortable and after the “cake shot” so that you can be outside and have at least 15 minutes for this shot to be set up, laid back and fun. It really turns out to be a special moment between the couple, and if you have some or all of the bridal party together helping, then it’s always super fun when everyone runs to the camera after the shot, sees how perfect it turned out, and jumps up and down screaming. This is always a moment of major camaraderie. Photographers: Make sure to use the 36 inch sparklers  to prevent the sparkler from running out on you mid-word. Always remember to try this shot at a very low key time when the bride and groom are happy and ready to get 15 minutes away from...
How to Keep Your Gear Clean and Protected: Summer Edition

How to Keep Your Gear Clean and Protected: Summer Edition

Summer is full of outdoor excursions, worldwide travel, and photo/video projects which take advantage of the long sunlit hours.  Among all the wonderful outcomes of summer exploration it’s good to keep in mind how to best protect your gear when the tides may turn for the worst. Sea Sand Sun Considering your next photo shoot or outdoor adventure at the beach or on a boat?  Do it!  Just be prepared for the elements.  The beach and open waters are littered with hazards that can be potentially harmful to your gear. Use a UV filter and lens hood to protect your lens from loose sand or sea-spray. Bring an umbrella to shield your bag from blowing sand. Wrap your camera in a plastic bag when not in use. Keep your gear in a shaded place to protect it from intense sun exposure for lengthy stretch of time. Never change lenses or memory cards while on the beach.  If sand finds its way into your camera it could be devastating! If sands makes its way onto your gear use an air blower first to avoid scratching the glass elements before wiping it down with a microfiber cloth. Video tip: bring a wind screen for clean audio Fungus is Among us Summer (and winter for that matter) have varying degrees of temperature changes when going from indoors to outdoors and vice versa.  When gear is involved in this shift, condensation will occur and over time could wreak havoc on sensitive internal mechanisms. Place your camera and lens in a plastic bag when going from AC to humid outdoor weather to ensure condensation...
Part 2: Basic Steps and Lessons of Using Tilt/Shift Function

Part 2: Basic Steps and Lessons of Using Tilt/Shift Function

This is part 2 of a series on tilt-shift lenses. Be sure to also check out part 1: Will Learning Tilt-Shift Lenses Improve Your Photography. John Cooper specializes in corporate, industrial, and commercial photography for various business communities in Texas and teaches basic skills to other burgeoning photographers. If you are just starting out, or looking for a refresher, check out his advice below. You can also read more tips for architectural photography from John on our blog.  Basic Steps for Using Tilt-Shift Controls Select your perspective and lock down your tripod. Making sure you are level to the horizon; compose the scene straight on using the “live-view” mode. Set to bracket exposure. I use one full stop since the light measurement goes crazy with everything moving around. Bracketing with tilt-shift, I feel, is mandatory. Select f/8. Remember that aperture settings do not affect DOF on tilt-shift lenses. If your focus plane has been aligned with the sensor plane, then focusing on that plane will result in total plane focus regardless of aperture. I use f/8 because it consistently produces the sharpest image on the wide angle lenses I use. There are 3 controls and 5 knobs or buttons on all tilt-shift lenses to control everything you do. The Lens Rotation control is the button at the rear of the lens. Depressing it allows the lens to move a full 360° and always remains parallel to the camera’s sensor. Loosen all control knobs and start composing! Throw caution away and have some fun. It will take a long time but you will soon see this “plane of focus” I keep talking about. Compose...
Part 1: Will Learning Tilt-Shift Lenses Improve Your Photography?

Part 1: Will Learning Tilt-Shift Lenses Improve Your Photography?

John Cooper specializes in corporate, industrial, and commercial photography for various business communities in Texas and teaches basic skills to other burgeoning photographers. If you are just starting out, or looking for a refresher, check out his advice below. You can also read more tips for architectural photography from John on our blog. Here is his advice on whether tilt-shift lenses are worth it for photographers. Part 1: Will Learning Tilt-Shift Lenses Improve Your Photography? by John Cooper Are tilt-shifts worth it? It depends on what ‘it’ is. Most will argue that software editing can replicate the effects of a tilt-shift lens – so why bother? We need to first understand three key facts: An SLR camera focuses to a plane, not a point, even though you can select the precise place you want to focus on. Depth-of-field and depth-of-focus (DOF) mean the same thing in this discussion. The slight difference between the two does not affect the tilt-shift principles discussed here. The only way to control DOF on any SLR camera without a tilt-shift lens is by aperture. The sketch below shows how the Sensor Plane (SP) is always parallel to Plane of Focus of the lens. This remains constant for all lenses except on tilt-shift lenses. All SLR camera lenses, except the tilt-shift lenses, focus ONLY “front-to-back”. Whatever position your camera is in, relative to the subject, will produce a DOF “plane”. If your subject is parallel to your camera’s sensor plane, then everything will be in focus. If your subject is on a diagonal then only the plane you focus on will be sharp. The images below illustrate the...
Breaking the Rules to Get the Most Out of Natural Light

Breaking the Rules to Get the Most Out of Natural Light

In photojournalism school, students are taught to underexpose when out in the field in order to achieve the richest colors and most intense contrast possible in a photograph. The trick, conventional wisdom explains, is to bring the exposure back up in post processing. I shot this way for years and it always treated me well. I’m still a big fan of the ‘underexpose method’ when shooting landscapes and documentary stories. The technique brings out the drama of what you’re trying to capture; old, wrinkly faces look like they belong to lost souls with millions of years of stories to tell, a canyon or mountain scape appears to be straight out of a dream with rainbow-like colors and dark, cloud-filled skies seem to hover over every crevice of the earth. Depth and drama are what this technique creates  — perfect for telling stories with a ‘wow’ effect. After starting my own wedding photography business, I slowly learned how to bend and, even break, the rules. My focus shifted from news stories that break your heart to telling the happiest stories imaginable — family moments of pure joy and love as young couples prepare for their next stage of life together. When photographing a wedding, you are trusted to document one of the most precious moments in a person’s life. I wanted to do these people justice by focusing on the beauty within. By capturing them in just the right light, I knew I could help them see their own beautiful depth radiating out. With this new goal in mind, my style began to morph. I no longer cared as much about the...