4th of July Shooting Tips for Beginners

4th of July Shooting Tips for Beginners

For most photo enthusiasts, 4th of July is more than a holiday – it is a day to practice some challenging shooting situations beyond just capturing fireworks. Here are 5 tips/shooting ideas for beginners (and reminders for seasoned shooters) that will help advance your skills over 4th of July. 4th of July Shooting Tips for Beginners 1. Show Parade Action with Slow Shutter Speeds 2. Light Write with Sparklers 3. Take Advantage of Selective Focusing 4. Shoot into the Sun 5. Capture Context During a Fireworks Show Show Parade Action with Slow Shutter Speeds Our instinct is to freeze moving objects but then they look stationary and the image feels flat as a result. Many parade photos end up looking boring for this reason. Practice slowing down your shutter speed to something longer than 1/100th of a second (experiment). If you’re out in the bright sun, you will need to increase your aperture to compensate and prevent extreme overexposure. See this section of our sports post for more details on panning settings. Light Write with Sparklers This is a fun activity that is explained in full in this post and this post but here are the quick basics for light writing: • Put your camera on a tripod. • Put your camera in “bulb” mode. This will keep the shutter open for as long as you want. If you do not have bulb mode, start with an exposure that is 30 seconds long (available on most cameras, including point and shoots). Below is an example of the bulb mode setting on a DSLR body and a mirrorless body. • Put your lens...
10 Sports Photography Gear Tips

10 Sports Photography Gear Tips

Gear never matters more than when you’re out shooting sports. It is one of the most difficult things to capture well and takes years of practice. Whether you’re aiming high or just want better after-school action candids, here are 10 home run gear tips to kick off the sunny season. These are aimed for beginners but are great reminders for seasoned pros. Get Your Best Shot of the Season with These 10 Sports Photography Gear Tips Use a Low Profile Tripod for a Heroic Look If your sports shots look a little flat, get down for a new perspective. While shooting from below is a general no-no for people photography, in sports it makes players look heroic. If ergonomics are a worry, support yourself with a specialized low profile/small footprint tripod, like the Induro tabletop tripod, which can carry up to 220 lbs while weighing less than 5 lbs! Beat the Sun with LCD Loops and Electronic Viewfinders Reviewing images in the bright sun can be an act of suffering. Screen covers or “loops” help you better see what you’re working with. Sometimes they are just a simple tube that can be placed over your screen, like the snap-on Hoodman or the mountable Z-Finder Pro 2.5x. Mirrorless cameras, like the Olympus OM-D E-M5 II and the Sony Alpha a7II Mirrorless Digital Camera, sport robust anti light-leaking electronic viewfinders that show you a preview of your image right inside the viewfinder so that you never have to take your eye off the action. Use Cameras with Back Focus Buttons Most people are used to half-pressing a shutter button for focus and then full-pressing the same...
Your Gear Guide for Better Wedding Photography

Your Gear Guide for Better Wedding Photography

Find your perfect match in time for your next (or first) big wedding shoot. Many of you are probably worried about not bringing the right equipment with you. We have thousands of items for you to rent but only certain items are ideal for weddings. This list will help you narrow it down to just the essentials to fit your shooting style. Take note of these 10 tips that will help you complete your skills. Ten Gear Tips for a Better Wedding Day Photography Workflow: 1. Zoom with a View: Using Long Focal Lengths 2. Safety in Numbers: Spring for a Second Body 3. Fall in Love with Battery Grips 4. Something Borrowed, Something Blue: Mixing Artificial with Natural Lighting 5. Enjoy the Silence: Quiet Shutter Options 6. Portable Prowess 7. N+1 Yourself: Using Dual Memory Cards 8. Up Close and Personal: Macro Lenses 9. Practice Mindfulness: Gear Security 10. Going Slim to Win: Consider Mirrorless Zoom with a View: Using Long Focal Lengths Longer lenses tend to keep your subject’s facial features in proper proportion, which is more flattering. There are a couple of fast telephoto zooms we rent that allow you to shoot with a wide-open aperture for a very pleasing out-of-focus background without sacrificing the convenience of being able to shoot at a variety of lengths. Plus, having a longer lens means you have to stand further from your subject. Sometimes this allows the couple to relax a little bit and act more naturally for their portrait. We Recommend: • Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II • Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II • Sony 70-200mm f/2.8G SSM II for Sony A Mount • Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO for...
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...
6 Website Mistakes You’re Probably Making Right Now

6 Website Mistakes You’re Probably Making Right Now

Our friends over at SmugMug.com help photographers from all walks of life put their best memories into beautiful and safe photography websites. They have seen every kind of website, from breathtaking portfolios to always-under-construction blunders. To kick off a new blog series of photography website tips and tricks, SmugMug lists the most commonly made mistakes of the website world. Avoid these and you’ll be on the right track toward making a good first impression! 6 Website Mistakes You’re Probably Making Right Now by Schmoo Theune So you’ve put your photos online? Great! At SmugMug we believe photos are best when shared, even if it’s only with a few people you really trust. Many of us love to make new connections by building a fully public website but to throw open your door to opportunity (or profit), you’ve got to have the right combination of personality and presentation. Your personality is ultimately up to you but as website builders we’ve got a few tips to help you get the most presentable, functional, online home possible. We’ve seen thousands of websites by photographers who shoot all kinds of stuff so we’ve compiled a few of the most common website bloopers we help customers eradicate every single day. 1) The Dead-End Hello: Zero Contact Information This is one of the most common mistakes we see. You may have done everything right and created a beautiful website but what happens if your visitors love your work and want to hire you? So many websites have great photos on them but zero personality, such as an email address, a personal photo, or even a brief bio....