Tag: how to

Light Painting Lecture

A great discussion of light painting. This video includes some tips and tricks for how to make wonderful light painting photographs. Painting with light is an age old technique for showcasing photographs in a really unique way.

Video by BandH.

Behind The Scenes: Olympics Photography

London 2012 Olympics Photographers
photo by Duncan Rawlinson

Here is a roundup of articles about the photography of the Olympics.

Wired: How to photograph the Sochi Winter Olympics, as told by a pro

CNET: Photographing the Sochi Winter Olympics with Getty

Gizmodo: The Inside Story of How Olympic Photographers Get Such Stunning Images

Gizmodo: All the Gear an Olympic Photographer Is Bringing to Sochi

Extreme Tech: Sochi Olympics 2014: The tech behind the world’s biggest photo shoot

Complex Mag: Getty Images Sports Photographer Streeter Lecka Talks About Shooting for the Sochi Olympics

Jeff Cable: What is it like to be a photographer at the Olympics?

Jeff Cable: Jeff Cable's Sochi Olympics Workflow

olympics photography
photo by Duncan Rawlinson

What Is The Best Way To Learn Photography?

Let's set the record straight.
There is no best way to learn photography. There are plenty of ways to learn photography and there really is no perfect answer this question. Everyone has their own learning style, as such there is no 'one size fits all' solution.

Some people teach themselves, others benefit greatly from a formal education. Others choose to get best of both worlds by learning photography online and teaching themselves.

A Few Ways To Learn Photography:

The list could go on and on. The main thing is that nobody can tell you what is best for you!

What you should really be asking:
If you want to learn photography, ask yourself what is the most fun you've had learning something? And then try to replicate that. When something is fun people tend to learn quickly. Also as yourself what format do you prefer when learning? Some people prefer the written word and others are more visual. Then choose your method(s) accordingly. A hybrid approach is really great. Just combine a few theoretical and practical approaches and you'll be all set.

Essential To Learning Photography:
This really applies to anything you want to get good at but it really works with photography.

  • Have fun
  • Practice hard

Without the hard work of practice and the fun of learning you won't get anywhere.

Photography is a Life-long Journey:
One of the most fascinating aspects of photography is that you really never stop learning. Not only does the art form evolve over time but you get older and you attain a different perspective. Your early photos will be embarrassingly bad but they may be more interesting in a different context. What's more, the technology of photography changes regularly as well. There is always something new to learn! How great is that?!

Your first 10 000 photographs are your worst.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

What are you waiting for? Get started learning photography now. The sooner you start the better! When you enroll in this course you can start learning right. There is no waiting!

Getting Close Is Critical For Stunning Photographs

"If your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough."
- Robert Capa

That one line photography quote by the great Robert Capa is so so true!

If there is anything you can do to dramatically improve your photography immediately, it's get close, and then get even closer.

Here is a example of something I witnessed at the top of Uluru in Australia. The man below thinks he is going to shoot a good photo and he is trying his best. In fact this is how close the average person gets when taking a photograph like this.

This is how close I get when taking a photograph:

It's so easy to get close and it results in vastly superior photographs almost every single time. Also take special note here that the best way to get close is by moving your feet. If that doesn't work only then do you use your telephoto lens. Got it?! Good!

Just look at the photos below and you'll see how different the same subject can be.

Too far:

photo by rankingfuuta

Just right:

photo by mjmerry

Here is a video from Vsauce about this subject:

Here is a video from Mike Browne on this subject:

Here is a different opinion on the subject from Matt Granger:

So get out there and get close!

Want to learn more simple ways to improve your images? We have all kinds of tips and tricks like this in our photography course.

Learn The Importance of Scale In Photography

(Photographer unknown. If you know who took this get in touch so we can give credit where it's due!)

This photograph of two men standing at the bottom of a very large ship in a dry dock is a really stunning example of scale in photography. Using scale in photography is very important because as humans our minds figure out the size of our surrounding world in various ways. Of course your brain knows the size of a human and in this case that means that is one HUGE ship!

Scale gives the person looking at your photograph a frame of reference. Scale is often an under-utilized technique in photography. In fact many beginners in photography will even go so far as to remove people from a landscape photo thinking people in the image detract from the view. When in fact having people in your landscape photos can often be great! For example look at how much better this image is because there is a person in the foreground:

photo by steved

Be aware your brain can and will play tricks on you:

In fact this caused problems for astronauts on the moon! Here on Earth, distant objects are obscured by the atmosphere, and we use that to mentally estimate distances. That makes things a little tricky on the moon because there is no air! An object can be very far away on the Moon and still razor sharp to the eye. You can't tell if a boulder is a meter across and 50 meters away, or 10 meters across and 10 miles away!

To give you an example this watch the rock the start of this video. Try to guess the size of the rock at the start of the video. Then watch until the end and see if your original guess was indeed correct.

Here is another fantastic example of scale in photography:

example of scale in photography

(Photographer unknown. If you know who took this get in touch so we can give credit where it's due! Image via Imgur)

Scale is a great technique to improve your images and shouldn't be overlooked. You can even have fun with it like this. As humans we need scaled to know how large and small the surround world is. In photography it helps us to enjoy the image instead of adding mental work to figure out the size of various elements.

Here is another video about scale (and polarizing filters)

Now go forth and take some great photographs with scale!

Update here is another great ship photo.

Finally, check out these great examples of scale in landscape photography in Iceland.

Here is a video that uses scale nicely:

How To Take Jumping Photos

Everywhere we go it seems like people want to take photos of each other jumping in the air! And why not? It’s great fun and you can get some really fun and energetic photos this way.

Based on the number of people who seem to try to take the same photo over and over it seems people don’t understand how to take photographs this way. There are so many failed attempts that we thought we’d put together some tips on how to take these photos properly.

Get close
The closer you are the better your jumping photo will look. The subject will look as though they are much higher in the air and the effect will be more pronounced. In this photo I was using a wide angle lens and I was quite close.

Get low
The same applies here, the lower you are the better your jumping photo will look. Again, the subject will look like they are much higher in the air and the overall effect will be more energetic.

Use a flash
If you can, use a flash to help freeze the action. Using the flash adds more light and makes it much easier for your camera to shoot an image that isn’t blurry. If no flash was used in this image it simply would not have worked at all. This photo was taken inside a massive tree.

Learn your camera’s timing
If your camera is not a DSLR there may be a delay between pressing the shutter and when the photo is actually taken. The trick is the learn the delay between when you push the button and when the photo is shot. Most point and shoot cameras have some kind of delay because of their auto-focus system. Once you have this delay mastered your jumping photos will be dramatically improved.

Do the countdown
Tell your subjects that you will countdown from three and say jump in order to get the timing right. So you’d say something like 3,2,1,JUMP! You may have to do this a few times to get the timing right. Interestingly many people say things like “ready? go!” or “ok, JUMP!” which clearly doesn’t work.

Shoot Portrait not Landscape
If you shoot your image in portrait as opposed to landscape you'll exaggerate the height of the jump. You'll also have a better chance of catching the action given it's quite an up and down... Also, be sure to include some of the floor or ground in the image to show more height.

Strike a Pose
Tell the person you're photography to do a funny 'move' or 'pose' when they're in the air. It will make for a more dynamic image.

There are even websites dedicated to jumping photos:

I took all the photos in this post and had lots of fun doing it. We hope you enjoy taking your jumping pictures as well.

Removing Skin Blemishes With Photoshop

Cleaning up small and large skin blemishes in Photoshop is an incredibly easy process. It’s actually quite fun to do as well because you have complete control over how much you clean up the skin in the photograph. Unlike retouching the entire area of skin, cleaning up blemishes requires no Photoshop filters or layer masks. There is a great tool in Photoshop called the “spot healing brush” and it looks like this.

photoshop shop healing brush

All you need to do is select this tool and use the “alt” key to select a sample of good skin. Ensure your brush size is set to just larger than the size of the blemishes. You can change your brush size by clicking on the drop down button in the upper left side of the screen.

Once you are ready to get rid of the small and large blemishes in the skin, simply start clicking away. The spot healing brush is great because unlike the stamp tool is blends in both the texture and color in a seamless fashion leaving virtually no sign of the blemishes in the first place.

Look at the image at the top of this blog post to see both the before and after pictures of the skin with blemishes and then without blemishes.

Retouching Skin in Photoshop. Making Bad Skin Look Good

Retouching Skin in Photoshop. Making Bad Skin Look Good

Here is a quick Photoshop tutorial on how to make bad skin look great. Retouching skin is not a simple task. You can easily overdo it and make the skin look unnaturally airbrushed and almost cartoonish. That being said, with some care and a few practice runs you'll be touching up skin in your photographs with Photoshop in no time.

Step 1:
Open your photograph in Photoshop

Step 2:
Right click on your background image in you layers window and click "duplicate layer". You'll now have a clone of your background. This is important for both masking your image and adding the right skin texture later on.

Step 3:
This is where you make most of the changes to your subjects skin. Make sure your second layer is active and go to your "filters' button at the top of the Photoshop window. Click "filters -- Blur -- Surface Blur". Ensure that "preview" function is activated so you can see the changes that you're making to the skin tone immediately. There are no ideal settings for this filter. simply play around until you feel comfortable with having cleaned up any sking blemishes in your subjects face or body.

Step 4:
You will have lost some detail in important areas such as the eyes of your subject as well as any areas with hair. This is easily fixable by ensuring your second layer is active and clicking on "layer -- layer mask -- reveal all" (found at the top of the Photoshop window). You need to use this mask to expose the textures in the eyes and the hair. To do this simply choose black as your foreground color and paint with the "brush tool" over the objects eyes and hair. The original texture of the image will become visible.

Step 5:
However, you'll probably notice that your image has a slightly plasticized look to the skin. Although the skin blemishes are fixed, the image now looks unnatural. In order to fix this you need to expose some of the background skin texture. To do this simply ensure your second layer is active and then use the "opacity" level in the layers window to expose some of the original skin texture. Usually a setting above 50% is desirable because it allows you to maintain the effects of the cleaned up skin while at the same time making the photograph look natural.

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