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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Putting it in Perspective

How do you look at the world?

Is it bigger than life, a stepping stone across the lake, a bright brilliant smile?

Perspective, is your view, your take on life. It is also a great camera technique. Where you lead the viewer of the image on a journey. 

One of the easiest way's to create perspective, is by adding something to your image that people can relate to. In the case of the above image, this is the father's hands. It tells the story in this single image of 4 1/2 lb premmie angel named Hope. 

Delicate, loved and protected. 

This week I will be talking about several different ways to utilize perspective in your photography! I would love to see your images, so...
Today, I challenge you to find something around your house, and use perspective to tell the story.. 

Look and think before opening the shutter. The heart and mind are the true lens of the camera. – Yousuf Karsh

Friday, February 21, 2014

Seeing the Light

The quality of your light, sets the mood for your images.

By knowing the type of light you are shooting in, you can change the mood and look of your images! Above you will note the warm, orange and yellow tones that really pop in this dry field of grass. That is because we took the shot about an hour before sunset when the light is the "warmest". Do you remember our Kelvin guide? Here it is again, this shows the temperature rating of the different types of light. This also dictates what color of light is captured by your camera, even though you might not be able to see it in your eye!

As a good contrast, The background here is grey, it's cement on a staircase. However, it shifts to blue because we were shooting in the shade. Personally I love it, and didn't change my WB (white balance) because I like that the background makes her eyes pop more.

By being aware of when and what type of light you have available you can create some really amazing and striking images! It's all about working with your environment, rather than hiding from it!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Bokeh, a light effect

What is Bokeh?

Bokeh, is the unique look to photos that you achieve by spinning reflective lights out of focus in the background of your images. You can see this effect in the small dots of light that appear white and blue in the above image.  <extra examples, Wikipedia>

This is a fun effect to use, with Christmas lights, or any nighttime photography, but you can also use it during portraiture or any other time you can have an large aperture. (Reminder: A large Aperture means a low number which equals a LOT of light coming into your exposure.)

There are three basic steps to achieve this effect.
  1. Set your camera to keep the aperture wide open (the lower the number you can reach the more you will see the effect, however you need to balance that with your overall exposure so it takes some practice not to overexpose your subject, especially if your shooting during the day.) 
  2. Get as close as you can to your subject
  3. Keep the background with the lights as far away as you can. 

HAWKQUEST: I have had the extreme pleasure of working with HawkQuest in Colorado on several occasions. It is a non-profit that has a strong goal of making education about birds of prey both fun and meaningful. To learn more about HawkQuest, how you can help or even where they will be so you can come in close contact with these amazing animals check out their website. http://www.hawkquest.org/

Monday, February 17, 2014

Light and Focus!

Light makes photography. Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography. – George Eastman

Light is the soul of photography, if you can find it, recognize it and manipulate it to your needs you will have success. It doesn't matter what 'kind' of photographer you are, you have to embrace the soul of photography... LIGHT. 

In these images the light was completely different. The butterfly was captured with light that was natural and not manipulated in any way. The way it reflects off the wet leaf and glistens adding highlights to the image was brought to the forefront of the image by using a large aperture setting. That allowed a lot of light into the shadows and it allowed the camera to capture the correct exposure for the subject of the butterfly. 

While in this image, the light was completely controlled being studio strobes and reflectors. Light was strategically placed to reflect off of some of the gem cuts and bring out the highlight of the silver flowers. What I am drawn to in this image is that the back of the bracelet is blurred so your focus is on all the beautiful details in the front. This effect can only be accomplished by using the same technique as with the butterfly. 

Understanding Aperture control. Your aperture is the control on your lens that is opened or closed depending on the setting. The Larger the aperture, the smaller the aperture number, the MORE light that is let in. It's a bit of a contradiction to most people. But once you remember smaller number = more light is reaching your exposure the easier it will be for you to recreate images like those above. By adding more light to your image through aperture you can capture images in darker settings, or create a smaller depth of field and focus on a specific part of your image and let everything else blur out. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Lucky Cat

Lucky Cat is a Krmbal t-shirt design that I was fortunate enough to have in the studio last week. I specifically shot these two examples because I wanted you to be able to see just how hard it is to get the "right" shot with red. This is doubly tough because it had gold imprinting. Make no mistake the quality on the shirt is AMAZING! I was super impressed!

Having the correct exposure on any image is important. Understanding what exposure is, and how to manipulate your camera settings and environment (ie, light) around you will take you from having some snapshots to have some amazing images. You can see on the image above that the difference in how my lights were set - adds shadows, and highlights that are distracting in this image. It also makes the gold go slightly red... which really detracts from the beauty of this shirt. You can't really see the detail and brightness of the reflective gold.

When you shoot red, be sure to work with your light and aperture to acquire the right balance for your subject. Regardless if it is for product or people, if your shooting red you need to be EXTRA mindful of your exposure and lighting in order to get the image that you will LOVE!

I would be remiss in my duties as an Indie shop lover and supporter if I also didn't share with you some highlights about Krmbal - Owner and Designer Tessa is a self appointed "apparel nerd" which cracks me up and speaks to my inner geek. I copied just a bit from her website because she does such a fab job of telling you EXACTLY why I love this shop!

I wanted to take back my t-shirt! I wanted another option, a BETTER option. So I did it. I struck out, with the support of a lot of people and krmbal was born. I hope you’ll join me in standing up for being as eco-conscious as possible, giving back to our communities, both on a local and global level and be as proud to wear krmbal as I am to make it. 

To shop Krmbal follow any of the links above, or click here for a direct link to her shop! 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Seeing Red

What's the cutest little button you ever saw?
I was super excited to share these little guys with you all today! As most of you know I am part of a great group called The Indie A-list. It's a fantastic place not only to network with other business owners but to find great shops to support like Little House of Craft! 
 Little House of Craft creates handmade pinback buttons, magnets and perlers to share their love of geekery with you! I have to say, they really are my kind of geeks. 
Not only will the "Bazinga" pin totally ROCK for a little extra something for my bug who has the BIGGEST crush on Sheldon - but we found this for me!

Because I have said for years, it's just not me without a little bit of love.

Btw, I say it over and over - Red is TOUGH to shoot! If your going to opt for red in your portraits- think about it in small pops - like these fun little guys! 

Monday, February 10, 2014

What's Red with you?

Today, I am sharing our RED Planet photo! Just a fun image from our explorations of Space Center Houston this past weekend.

The Space Center is located fairly close to Galveston and I would certainly recommended it to anyone who is a history / Space buff who has 6-8 hours to kill.

The Space Center itself, isn't much to speak of. There is a small kids area, which has more Ipods than working hands learning activities. Although I admit the docking your ship activities and driving a mars rover was fun. The highlight and what you are really paying for is the opportunity to take a tram to the Johnson space center for the tours there.

It took us 2 and 1/2 hours to do 1 of the two tours due to how they worked the lines. Two trams were filled before we got to board ours, even though we were only the second group to the front of the line. Not sure how that worked, but they took people directly out of the warm building before loading the people who were waiting out in the 50 degree weather. Needless to say we skipped the other tour because we only had 2 hours left before they closed and we didn't think we would see much of note for our troubles.

The tour itself was interesting and we got to see the life size mock up of the International Space Station where the astronauts train,  and some of the equipment they are working with including some cool robots and vehicles.

This is an image of the "spider" which is just something I think should be in a Si-Fi movie. It was a little disappointing that they didn't have any way of getting close to much of it. Everything we saw was from a catwalk covered in class and about three stories high. I was pretty lucky to have a 1.8 lens with me and could manage some images without a flash. There were several on our tour that didn't get a single good image because the items were too far away, and the glass reflected the flash that there cameras  "auto" fired because of the lack of light. Situations like this really teach you to be aware of your cameras other functions and how to work the situation to your advantage!

VERTETIP: Learn your Flash commands! Just because your camera thinks you need flash doesn't mean you should use it! It's never the best option for museum images or other situations where you are shooting through glass!