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...
7 Reasons to Print your Work

7 Reasons to Print your Work

The chances are high if you are reading this article that you are a visual artist to some degree.  Maybe you have years of shooting under your belt, having started off shooting film and familiar with the printing process.  On the flip side, perhaps the popularity and accessibility of digital shooting inspired you to take a deeper interest in photography and filmmaking.  You may even be an artist who strictly uses your smartphone as a tool, yielding results that beg viewers to exclaim  “that takes better pictures than my real camera!” With so many moments being captured digitally and shared virtually these days the popularity of printing and giving life to pictures outside of the digital realm has taken a nose dive.  Here are 7 things you get to experience when you print your images: Signing Your Work Have your experienced countless hours of thinking how to take that singular picture or how to tell a story that just won’t get out of your head? The money and effort it takes you to pull off your unique vision shouldn’t end by posting it on the interwebs.  Printing an image onto fine art archival paper and signing your work of art can generate great satisfaction and act as a symbol of the culmination of hard work it took creating it. Hosting an Art Exchange Do you have amazingly talented friends whose work you enjoy immensely but may exceed your budget when it comes to decorating?  Do you want an excuse to throw a party?  Host an Art Exchange!  Those in attendance are required to print multiple prints of just one work...
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...
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...
Adding Value to Your Image Archive with Keywords

Adding Value to Your Image Archive with Keywords

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.  Adding Value to Your Image Archive with Keywords by Seán Duggan Maintaing a well organized image archive is an ongoing project. There is always work to do, whether it involves importing and editing new photos, or organizing and culling older images. One of the most important ways that you can “upgrade” your image catalog is by regularly adding keywords to your photos. In this article we’ll take a look at some essential keyword strategy for your photo library. Adding Value to Your Archive Keywords not only ensure that you can easily find the photos you’re looking for, but they also can significantly add value to your image archive. That value can be something that will impact you on a personal level, for the simple reason that you will enjoy your archive much more when you can easily find a photo when you need it. Value can also be measured in financial terms, because an image archive that makes good use of keywords will allow you to respond quickly to opportunities for monetizing your photographs. The more information you can add to your images that describes the scenes and people they contain, the more potential value they have. Starting Points: Basic Keywords How many keywords you apply to your photos, and what type of keywords, really depends on how you use your images. A portrait or wedding photographer...
Destination Wedding Photography : The Checklist

Destination Wedding Photography : The Checklist

Being a destination wedding photographer is on the bucket list for many budding and professional photographers alike.  The industry is all about connections and referrals; once you have impressed several couples and their wedding parties, chances to be hired outside your region will have grown exponentially.  If you’ve proven yourself in terms of having a unique perspective and polished craft, couples who are planning destination weddings often bring their preferred vendors along with them.   The best method for success in this, and all facets of business, is preparation.  Here are a few tips to help you along the way if you are newly experiencing this avenue of photography. The Checklist When traveling via plane to shoot a wedding, the challenge is to pack as lightly as possible. Depending on what you normally rely on, this can be a true feat of ingenuity!  Not only must you consider weight restrictions, you also must  take into account the terrain in which you’ll be working within.  Will you be shooting on a beach and trying to drag your camera bag suited with wheels through sand?  Will you be on a boat with limited places to secure your gear or need some type of water protection? Will you be shooting in colder temps that drain your battery faster than you are used to?  Will you need power converters for outlets with different voltages?  These and many more questions must be considered beforehand and having a clear “essentials” list while packing is a must!  Here is a handy outline we created to help you pack!  Of course the gear you pack will vary dependent...
The Importance of Being Archived

The Importance of Being Archived

Our friends at SmugMug really care about photography and the importance of taking pictures in everyday life. This is part 2 of a 3 part series on improving your online life as a photographer, whether that is by improving your website or backing up your files. Here are some tips on how to avoid a personal, digital meltdown and keep your memories safe against fire, flood, hard drive crashes, and other unexpected blips in the matrix. SmugMug’s 9 Must-Haves for a Successful Photography Website reprinted with permission  We see so many websites each and every day and love hearing about how people are using their online websites and how having an online presence affects so much of what they do. Not long ago we shared 6 top mistakes people make when they put together a website but this time we’re addressing a topic that most people probably don’t want to even consider: backing up your photo and video files. A hard demon to face but we’ll show you why it pays to prepare for a potential doomsday disaster. The Worst-Case Scenario Imagine this: you’re booting up your laptop, ready to email your recent trip photos to your friends, and all of a sudden you get the BSOD. In one split second, poof! Your hard drive is gone. As you wipe the sweat from your face, you realize – oh no! All the photos and videos I shot, all the things that I lived and saw in those two weeks abroad, those were the only copies I had. And they’re gone. Forever. Why Back Up? The subject of backing up your files...
Two Lighting Styles in 1 Shot with the Pocket Wizard MultiMax

Two Lighting Styles in 1 Shot with the Pocket Wizard MultiMax

Alexis Cuarezma is a San Francisco-based photographer who specializes in both on-location and in-studio portraiture. An alumnus of the Eddie Adams Workshop, Cuarezma has done assignments for the LA Times, the New York Times, HBO, and a number of international publications. He recently did a shoot with Shayne Skov for Sports Illustrated at Stanford University, where he had precious little time to essentially do two shoots at once. Cuarezma has a passion for bold visuals, bright colors, and high contrasts. However, his assignment called for “gray seamless”. To accommodate both Sports Illustrated and his personal style, Cuarezma harnessed the light grouping abilities of the Pocket Wizard MultiMax. He assigned all of the lights Sports Illustrated wanted for a uniform, seamless look to one channel and the punchier lighting setup to another channel and used the MultiMax’s Speed Cycler feature to fire off the two setups in succession. “As soon as I saw this, in my mind I knew I could use this. I didn’t care to fire off strobes at 10 FPS, however, I did care about being able to fire off 2 different sets of lights back-to-back because they don’t have to be the same setup/look. I have a Canon 1D Mark IV that can fire off 10 FPS. So that’s taking a frame every 100 milliseconds. In theory that’s 2 separate images in 200 milliseconds and with the Speed Cycler feature that could be 2 completely different looks shot nearly simultaneously.” Cuarezma set off to draw a lighting diagram for his assistants and to make this concept a reality. So long as the transmitting MultiMax is set...
Memorial Day Weekend Photography/Videography Shooting Ideas

Memorial Day Weekend Photography/Videography Shooting Ideas

If you’re lucky enough to have a long weekend coming up, seize the opportunity to get some valuable shooting time in. If you’re stuck indoors there are still a few things you can accomplish to make this short break a productive one. Here’s 10 great activities for new and seasoned photographers and videographers alike. 1) Get Reflective Avoid the traffic, the crowds, and the madness for awhile and spend some quality time with the ones you love: your camera and lens. Fire up some new romances while you’re at it – after all, Memorial Day is a free rental day! 2) Build a Photobooth Photobooths are one of the more efficient ways to capture the life of any get together without having to be the “event photographer” the entire time. If you’re new to photobooths, now’s the time to practice (your family and friends will love it even if it’s your first one). Try our  Photobooth Essentials to get started. We also have a swank Drop It Modern backdrop you can try. 3) Get Some Exercise Want a workout? Rent a rig. You’ll build some muscle in no time while harnessing creativity. 4) Pack Well If you’re air traveling, don’t check your gear! It will end in tears. Get a bag that is carry-on approved. 5) Embrace Your Inner Hybrid Cameras like the Panasonic Lumix GH3 and GH4 are fantastic at shooting both stills and video. Becoming versatile with both will improve your marketability. 6) Learn to Light Paint Light painting is fun and requires inexpensive materials to accomplish. Check out this tutorial by Olympus Trailblazer Jamie MacDonald on how to enhance your everyday pictures with this unique lighting style. 7)...
Calibrating your Monitor: Using the ColorMunki

Calibrating your Monitor: Using the ColorMunki

So often I hear of photographers, both pros and hobbyists , whose pictures live only on hard drives and online. If this is you, it’s time to get printing! As photographers we spend countless hours in front of our computers editing our work to create dynamic imagery that reflects us as artists. Every level adjustment and brush stroke is an artistic choice made to emphasize our vision. For this reason, it is vital to work with a color calibrated system which produces accurate color and contrast during printing and instills confidence when transferring images off-site. Here is an abbreviated lesson on how to painlessly calibrate your monitor and printer in under an hour. Step 1: Download the ColorMunki Software. Step 2: Plug in the ColorMunki and open the software if it doesn’t open automatically. Step 3: For accurate precision profiling, measure the ambient light of the room by turning the rotary dial on the side of the unit to position C (third notch from the top). Place the ColorMunki next to your display and choose ‘calibrate’ on screen or by clicking the measure button on the side of the unit (the only button that can be clicked). It should take less than 1 minute to optimize the luminance of the display. Tip: Computer monitors display colors best in low light. Keep it low while judging color and eliminate any illuminating objects that may surround the monitor. Step 4: Once the software tells you the ambient light has been measured, choose ‘Match My Printer to My Display’. Turn the dial of the unit to position D (fourth and last notch at...