1 Easy Way to Guarantee Your Photography Will Improve

1 Easy Way to Guarantee Your Photography Will Improve

How do you make every day count as a photographer? How do you make every day count for yourself? There is 1 major project that thousands of people start every January 1st that improves their lives and it has nothing to do with going to the gym. Photo-a-Day, or 365 Projects, is the secret to success for many photographers of every level. They are fun, challenging, sometimes mundane, sometimes exhilarating, and always a great teacher. Why do people commit to taking a photograph every day for a year – rain or shine, sickness or heath, inspired or not? I will explain the main reasons why Photo-a-Day goals are healthy, what you can do with the results, and how to get started. 3 Reasons to Start Taking 1 Photo Every Day: Presence, Practice, and Purpose Your only requirement for starting a Photo-a-Day project is the desire to participate. There are 3 main reasons photographers make this commitment: Presence, Practice, and Purpose. Let’s look at each one in detail. Presence In art and in life we’re thinking about the next big thing. A Photo-a-Day goal makes you think about right now. Looking for something meaningful, interesting, or even funny to photograph every single day helps to slow down time. Mindfulness gives you heightened awareness of your surroundings and you start seeing the photogenic in everything. Over time, your eye gets better and more discerning which allows you to walk away from every situation with more winning shots than duds. Your everyday environment may look very different to you at the end of the year than it does today. Practice The daily discipline...
Have All Your Holiday Pictures Become The Same? Try Telling A Photo Story

Have All Your Holiday Pictures Become The Same? Try Telling A Photo Story

The holiday season is in full swing and for many of us it is a time to spend with friends and family, some of whom we may not get to see often. Is it great to have that group shot of long lost friends or 3 generations of family in one frame? YES! But why not test your skills this year at telling a photographic story. Follow these simple steps to communicate just how beautiful, exciting, or sentimental your time was spent over the holidays. Doing so just might jog those memories ever more clearly in the years to come and leave you with something to always cherish. The Checklist A good way to start is by considering what your story or angle will be before you even pick up a camera. Plan ahead the shots which will be most critical, whether they are portraits or wide angle landscapes, that best tell your story. Having a loosely memorized shot list will increase your chances of capturing those key moments as they arise, since there will be many distractions while you shoot. Follow the Same Rules as Writing Whether you are blogging, sharing on social media, making a scrapbook, or submitting for publication your viewers will need to understand the context of your pictures. As you shoot, remember the who, what, when, where, and why. Your goal is to explain to viewers the reasons for your subject’s actions. Variety is the Spice of Life To tell a bigger more compelling story, shoot the subject or event from a range of viewpoints. Understanding beforehand how you would like your photographs to be read...
What do Meditation and Macro Photography Have in Common?

What do Meditation and Macro Photography Have in Common?

Macro photography is much like a meditation practice: there must be a willingness to experiment outside your comfort zone, practiced patience, and a dedication to learning. The genre has been a popular niche for decades and now with easier accessibility to the tools it takes to create this kind of photo, there are a few ideas it is best to understand first. With its popularity there is a lot of technical information available that can be difficult to understand when you are first starting out. Whether you are shooting detailed still lives or capturing your environment in a new perspective, there are certain things to consider that will aid in your success and help you avoid defeating frustration. Understanding the most important questions to ask yourself and why its important to know the answers before you even pick up your camera is the first step. Let’s take a closer look at the best tools of the trade, tips, and tricks to get started in macro photography. What Exactly Is Macro Photography? Macro photography has been in pop vernacular for some time now and is the close-up photography of very small subjects captured life size. You will often hear the terms magnification rate or reproduction rates when referring macro photography, which translates the size in which the subject is being captured in relation to their actual size. A ratio of 1:1 is imagery true to life in size, 1:2 is half it’s size in reality, and so on. You can tell the ratio you are able to shoot by reading the markings on the side of a macro lens. For...
Getting Started: Environmental Portraits

Getting Started: Environmental Portraits

Portrait photography is a very common entry port into a burgeoning photographic hobby or even career. There are several main categories of portrait photography, environmental portraits being one of the first attempted due to its accessibility. To accomplish a successful environmental portrait you do not need a studio, elaborate lighting techniques, or hair and make-up specialists. What you do need, however, is a vision or a story that you wish to tell that works in balance with the subject you are photographing. Read on to find out what to keep in mind when first embarking on this style of photography to increase your success of creating impactful photographs. Let’s first start by explaining what we mean when the term ‘Environmental Portrait’ is thrown around. It is a portrait taken of a subject that interacts and has meaning with the environment it is in. The portrait not only relies on the subject but also the context, clues, and points of interest which are given to the viewer to determine a background story. What is the difference between an environmental portrait, standard portrait, and candid portrait you ask? A standard portrait’s intention is to focus solely on the subject, relying on expression, physical characteristics, and lighting to communicate an impression. The difference with an environmental portrait, as the name suggests, is setting. It is generally shot with a wider lens to include more context of the scene, and offers the subject an environment that can put them at ease, sharing the attention with their surroundings. There can be a fine line between an environmental portrait and a candid photograph which is dependent on circumstance. The subject, whether a planned session or someone who has...
10 Wicked Portraits and Halloween Shooting Tips

10 Wicked Portraits and Halloween Shooting Tips

Fall is the landscape photographer’s dream season but Halloween is when portrait photographers get all of the fun! Check out the images below, plus gain some shooting tips from working photographers. Let the shapes and shadows of the night inspire you and have a safe and happy Halloween from everyone at BorrowLenses! Niki’s Tip: Shoot multiple exposures right after sunset during blue hour to combine a moody atmosphere and a sharp subject. Use exposure blending in post processing for a great effect. Allie’s Tip: Use a 5-in-1 light modifier to create light for all tones. It will ensure that white balance is on cue while you’re developing that fall feeling surrounding the child/subject. Julia’s Tip: Plan your shoots in advance and brief your team at least a few days prior to the shoot. Often makeup artists and hairstylists are willing to purchase additional tools, products, makeup colors, or even hair extensions to get better creative results. Give them some extra time to do their shopping – the entire team will benefit from it! Renee’s Tip: Learning to see color accurately is very difficult and time consuming. Pick up books on color theory, attend a painting class, or hang out with painters who understand it well. Your art will appreciate it in the future. Alex’s Tip: Use slow shutter speeds to gather moody ambient light and then compensate for motion blur with flash. Emerald’s Tip: Have a kid who hates having their photo taken? Put them in a villain costume and take advantage of the abundant attitude. My kid actually enjoys her sessions for once when sneers, snarls, and wiggling are welcome! Jamie’s Tip:...
Filter Size Guide

Filter Size Guide

Filters are optional accessories that can either be screwed onto, dropped in front of, or dropped into lenses. They are usually made of glass with a metal or plastic frame. We put UV filters on almost all of our lenses going out on rental because even cheap filters help protect the front element during transport. Not keeping them on, or at least putting them back on when shipping back, can cost you! However, most people use filters for artistic reasons. They either want to restrict the amount of light coming into the lens, as in the case of neutral density filters, or they are trying to cut out glare with polarizing filters. There are strong UV filters that cut out visible light in the violet end of the spectrum (reducing haze) and there are graduated filters used to cut down exposure on only part of the frame – and many more! You can even stack them, though we kind of overdo it. Most of the time you’ll be encountering screw-on filters. Make sure you are renting the right size with the right-sized lens. Usually the front element of any lens will tell you its filter size (the lens cap is also telling) but here are some handy guides to help you find the correct pairing: Lens to Filter Chart – Canon with even more information here. Lens to Filter Chart – Nikon with even more information here. Lens to Filter Chart – Sony Lens to Filter Chat – Tamron Lens Chart (see Filter Size column) –...
10 Essential Tips To Get Great Blue Angels Photos

10 Essential Tips To Get Great Blue Angels Photos

This weekend is Fleet Week here in San Francisco and given numerous emails I’ve received about photographing the event I thought I would consolidate my tips to photographing the Blue Angels. Following these 10 Blue Angels photography tips as originally found on my blog  should put you on the fast track to walking away with some great photos. Logistics – Be Prepared In San Francisco that means get to the show very early. Parking is always a challenge and will test your patience. Don’t let the search for parking ruin your day. If you want to avoid that aggravation then take public transportation and/or park far away. Bring a lunch or a snack. Get the nutrients and fluids you need in your system ahead of time so you can keep your eye on the show and not your bag of chips. Finding an unobstructed view can be a challenge. Arriving early will not only enable you to find the best location possible but will give you the time to scout out various spots to set up. Know Where Center-Point Is Center-point is the physical location that all Blue Angels maneuvers are centered around. This is the mark they aim to criss cross over and navigate around. For Fleet Week here in San Francisco that point is in front of Aquatic Park. Knowing this location is critical if you plan to capture the Blue Angels Criss-Cross maneuver. Location, Location, Location! As with realestate location is everything. In San Francisco for Fleet Week there really isn’t a bad spot. I have taken photos of the Blue Angels from a variety of locations...
Lightroom Keywording Tips

Lightroom Keywording Tips

Seán Duggan is a fine art photographer, author, educator, and an Adobe Certified Photoshop Expert with extensive experience in both the traditional and digital darkroom. His Lightroom Viewfinder series provides photographers with the tools they need to effectively use Lightroom for organization, editing, and printing. Lightroom Keywording Tips by Seán Duggan Keywords are an important part of the organizational workflow for maintaining an image archive that is easy to work with, and one where photos can be found quickly. In an earlier article, I covered some basic keyword strategy and concepts for how you might use keywords to add more meaning to your images. In this article, we’ll concentrate on the procedural side of applying keywords with a look at some essential techniques for adding keywords in Lightroom. Apply Keywords on Import The first step in taking full advantage of keywords in Lightroom is to apply them as early in the workflow as possible In the Import dialog there is a place to add keywords in the Apply During Import section in the right panel. Location, event, or client names are all things that can be applied to all of the images on the card (assuming it contains a single shoot). Even if the card contains a mixture of images, you might be able to apply a couple of very general keywords (i.e. Europe, France, travel) that work for all the images on the card. Start Broad, then Narrow the Focus Once the images have been imported you can then apply more specific keywords. Let’s say you have a card full of images taken at several locations in California. The basic location...
Senior Portrait Rules and Resources New Photographers Must Know

Senior Portrait Rules and Resources New Photographers Must Know

Senior portraits have been an American tradition for over a hundred years and were traditionally shot by a school-invited studio where everyone was posed the same way. Today almost anything goes for a senior portrait and that can be lucrative for freelance photographers. If you’re new to senior portrait photography, here are some things to know: 1) Not All Schools Accept Freelance Portraits Before you market too heavily to certain districts, find out which schools contract strictly with certain studios and which ones are more lax. While any student can commission their own senior portraits for ceremony invitations and keepsakes, some schools will only allow the robe-and-cap standard portrait into the actual yearbook. 2) Specs Matter Find out the school’s requirements. Many schools want their yearbook shots to be vertical with no props or hands in-frame. If you’re just taking shots for a senior’s invitations then there are fewer rules to worry about. 3) Consider the Professional School Photographers Association International Particularly suited for those working directly with and for schools, the PSPA provides licensing, insurance options, and handy format guidelines. 4) Prepare to Print Seniors need prints for their ceremony invitations so print sales are a bigger guarantee from this client type. Don’t be caught unprepared! Get print samples and template tests ahead of time and find out how to prepare your files for print. 5) Railroad Shots Are Vetoed Just in case anyone missed the memo, posing your seniors on railroad tracks has been publicly condemned. Even if you’re not easily swayed by public sentiment, know that U.S. railroad tracks are private property. We hope these tips help get...
Alternative Ways To Photograph Iconic Landmarks

Alternative Ways To Photograph Iconic Landmarks

The sheer volume of iconic imagery is boundless. Although enticing to point your camera and begin clicking away at the first landmark you see, below are some quick tips that will help set you apart from the crowd. Use Foreground to Your Advantage Landscape vistas are awe inspiring and finding a vantage point that grants you an uninterrupted panoramic can yield spectacular photographic opportunities.  However much a majestic view, creating a unique image that differs from others who have shared your view can be right in front of you. Try adding something simple to the foreground of the scene to enhance interest and intrigue to the overall picture. Push yourself to build layers of information that will depict  a story of space and time. Find Symmetry Composing a picture that abstracts a scene is a clever way to shoot more commonly photographed landmarks. Finding patterns or symmetry can give energy and visual organization to the scene as well as directs viewers around the frame. Make It Personal When visiting iconic places, whether they be natural wonders, national landmarks, or even small town trips, it’s important to remember the experience is unique to you. Try incorporating aspects of your personal experience to help encapsulate what was happening at that very moment in time and how you were feeling to later reflect upon and inspire others who may have shared that same feeling. Find A Unique Vantage Point There are some things out there that are undeniably beautiful and despite how many times they have been photographed you just can’t resist to try your hand at it. By finding a unique vantage point that is lesser known, or perhaps needs a...