With a little planning, doing a family portrait should be fun for both you, and the family you’re photographing. Assuming that you are setting something up, choosing the time of day and the location carefully, you have control of all the elements.
Inconsistent exposures create more work in post processing, as you have to even them all out. Just as you do not want the exposure to change from frame to frame, neither do you want the focus to be adjusted. Set your camera up to do one of the following: use focus lock, back button focus, or use manual focus. Bonus tip: If your camera has video capabilities you have a neat way of doing manual focus.
You may or may not have heard this one before, or perhaps you weren’t 100% what it meant. If someone has a bigger bottom half, don’t pose them walking away from the camera using a wide angle lens.
When you have a couple that has a huge height difference get the man (usually the taller one) to stand with his feet further apart.
For really heavy people (or those overly self-conscious of their weight) use the lying down in the grass pose and pile the kids on top. Avoid using an overcast day simply because the lighting is even and less harsh than bright sunlight. Just as important as getting some light in the eyes is having it come from a good direction.
I volunteered my time at an event called Help Portrait last year that has photographers, make up artists and organizers giving their time to create portraits for people that otherwise couldn’t afford a professional one.
In posing families, I ask them to touch each other’s shoulders, arms, waists, depending on the overall pose and composition.
My only other comment on the author’s examples, which are overall quite beautiful, is that to my taste she is a little to far away from her subjects. Thanks also for the what to wear ideas – it’s amazing how much difference a quick word can make before the shoot to eliminate crazy pattern clashes and colour nightmares! You need to give space around them and allow for some composition and negative space otherwise they’ll feel crowded.
Most of us don’t drive through neighborhoods looking for houses to photograph because, let’s face it, houses can be pretty boring. This may seem obvious, but mowing the grass and cleaning the weeds out of the gutters will make a house look a lot better. To make a house look cozy and inviting, there is nothing more important than balancing the light from the windows with the light outside. Because of the challenge of balancing natural light outside with electric light from the windows, this is a great time to use your camera’s RAW setting.
Compare the picture above to this one to see the difference twenty minutes and a different perspective can make.
Become a Contributor: Check out Write for DPS page for details about how YOU can share your photography tips with the DPS community. A lot of housing magazines, at least in Florida, want HDR shots of houses now, both interior and exterior. I guess what I’m trying to say is that you don’t have to make houses look pretty! I was just given a polarizing filter to play with too, so I might give that a shot tomorrow as well ! Grab the upper corner of the image and expand by pulling out until the perspective looks good, Often a little keystoning looks normal. When I shoot the front of a home no matter which angle is best, I like to see the front door, and if possible the door knob.
With that said, it is very hard to shoot for a specific time of day when you have more appts than days in a week. The town I live in dates back before the Revolutionary War and I shoot homes around here because there are so many houses of different periods of the town. Bird photography is one of the most challenging branches of Nature and Wildlife photography, and in it photographing birds in flight is undoubtedly the toughest trick to master.
Here in this article we will discuss about tips that could help you master the art of photographing birds in flight. As is the case with any other branch of nature and wildlife photography; good knowledge of the species of birds that you are about to photograph will go a long way in ensuring that you get good pictures of them.
It is good to know the direction of the wind, heavy birds often take off into the wind and the flight pattern and direction will change with changing wind direction.
When it comes to photographing birds in flight, the gear you use could either make or break the shot irrespective of your skill level, it is kind of 50: 50 ratio thing. Find a suitable place, if possible a slightly elevated place like a hill so that you are somewhat level with the birds in flight and are not shooting pointed up.
You could choose either manual or any of the semi automatic shooting modes to shoots birds in flight. It is better to set your camera to the continuous shooting more or the burst mode so if you keep the shutter button pressed the camera takes many shots in quick succession. The selection of auto focus points depends on the actual scene; if you are shooting your birds against the clear blue sky or any other uncluttered background that is clearly far from the subject, then it is better to activate all the autofocus points your camera has. Many zoom lens have this function, it instructs the lens to limit itself to the set zoom range there by reducing the area the lens has to cover and thus making focusing easier. To get good pictures of birds in flight it is necessary to perfect your panning technique; stand relaxed in a position which allows you to shift fast. Image stabilization is not such an important factor when shooting birds in flight as you are using very high shutter speeds. For shooting birds in flight the best lens options are fast lenses in the medium tele photo range of 200 – 500 mm. If it comes to compromising any of the elements of exposure the first priority should be given to shutter speed, then the aperture and the last is ISO.
Using spot metering mode and taking metering from the body of the bird ensures that your bird is properly exposed even if the background or sky is not. Every few shots, take a break to check your exposures and make corrections, check for focus, sharpness, background, depth of field, camera shake etc. The main light I used here is the Magic Tube, the cheaper alternative to Westcott Ice Light. To diffuse the main light, I covered it with the Rogue Bender diffuser for the strip light. Position the main light at 45 degrees to the subject, up high to emulate light coming from a tall window. The second light is also an LED, this time a small video light positioned to camera right, at 45 degrees, but at the same height as the subject. I tried the exact same setup, although the lights were positioned the opposite way, with the main light on camera right.
I’m sure if I had gridded the main LED to avoid spill into the light background, while increasing my shutter speed, the background would have gone darker, but I would have lost the soft and atmospheric look I was after. What it actually seems to be is a digital camera that also has the ability to print like an old-fashioned instant camera as well as post your photos on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or send by e-mail or message. Tech Tips Weekly - If you don't want our Tech Tips newsletter every day, then sign up for this weekly newsletter to get the best information of the week. WorldStart's Daily Deals - Every week, we send out great deals in our Daily Deals newsletter. Just For Grins - Each issue includes a couple clean jokes, some funny quotes, and a hilarious reader's story. They are very real people and they feel even more uncomfortable staring straight into your lens than they do looking at you. It also can cause a slight color shift, increase noise (if underexposed) and other undesirable things.
Try and position them so that no head is directly on top of, or beside (same level) another.
People tend to stand stiff and rigid when you position them, so you need to get them to bend a few body parts to look more natural.
The best way to get someone to do any of this is to do it yourself and have them mirror you. The girls did a much better job here than the guys but even the arms bent at the elbow helps. Again this is a whole other class on lighting but learn to know when you need more light on their faces. It even helps to have an assistant, tell them to bring Grandma along or a friend to help out. Create a few really whacky shots at the end of the session (or even in the middle if the energy seems to be fading).

They ended up sending most of the families to me, initially because I had the biggest area to do the group photo and later because the other photographers said I was the best with the kids. She is also an educator who teaches aspiring amateurs and hobbyists how to improve their skills through articles, online photography classes, and travel tours. While this may be her preference, and often for good reason, it really depends on your location’s light. This not only gives them something (natural) to do with their hands, but creates a warmer, more loving appearing group. These are family portraits, not landscapes, so ideally, the faces should be larger and more prominent. Out of interest, were the locations fully public places or did you have control of passers by? Getting your flash off camera will give you more directional light, from camera will flatten out your subjects.
The further away you get the harder it is to relate and even talk to them, you end up shouting at them or running back and forth a lot. There is a misconception that just diffusing your light with one of those plastic spheres will make it softer – not true. It also gives you at least two choices of what to include in the background, so pick the angle that is flattering to the house and provides the best backdrop. With your RAW converter you can tweak the balance between the lighting and adjust the white balance to emphasize the warmth. This next picture was taken eight minutes after the first and it’s already too dark outside. I find if taking a photo to sell a house, using the widest lens you have makes the house look bigger and improves it’s appearance.
The sky is still blown out in the best one though, unless the sky was just totally overcast. I shot many of my images straight-on as the old houses had a flat front wall and I wanted a slightly desolate look and to focus on the character of the house.
This save postprocess time and you can shoot a lot quicker with the same great results as HDR (and also a bit more realistic). Tomorrow I have to photograph a building, I have a wonderful cloudy day today, but I do not have my camera with me. If possible, shoot with a longer focal length lens from a distance rather than an ultra-wide from up close; unless you specifically desire the distortion inherent in UWA shots. You could place a grid over the image to assist in getting the lines vertical but, I just eyeball it.
Take a wide angle lens but make sure your camera is horizontal or be ready to fix it in post processing.
I couldn’t get far enough back to get out of the way of my reflection in the patio door. But I think about the suggestion of shooting in a cloudy day that is not 100% right because in my opinion a blue sky with just 1-2 clouds is much more nicer. 1 stop and ramp up the flash 1 stop (use hotshoe flash not pop up) it creates a nicer darkened sky, and deeper colors throughout while still lighting the subject home(experiment with various settings based on this technique). I’m more interested in the impact the picture might have than in the richness of detail, and I think the last one is more interesting. I'm more interested in the impact the picture might have than in the richness of detail, and I think the last one is more interesting. To get good photographs of birds in flight, one must possess great skill, a good deal of practice, and decent gear. It will take a lot of practice and persistence to get there but as you slowly improve your skills you will notice that your keeper rate (ratio of good shots to bad ones) also improves. Each species of birds are different; they have their own feeding habits, flight patterns, breeding, nesting behaviour etc etc. If you could find a nesting spot and position yourself unobtrusively you could notice that the parent birds follow the same route to get to the chicks, they’ll often reach the general area, land on some nearby tree or a high spot with good visibility of the nest and its surroundings, make sure there are no immediate threats (they do not want to attract attention to their nests) and once they are sure no adversaries are present they scoop down to the nest. I do agree that you could take some great shots even with your point and shoot camera, but it is not worth the time and effort put in; as the only factor that could have made it possible is plain luck.
Also take note of where the sun is when choosing your position, it will be better if you have sun at your back as then the birds you are shooting will be front-lit; although birds in flight pictures which are backlit also do turn out pretty well, front-lit subjects are easier to expose right.
If you know how to set the auto focus function to the rear button (independent of the shutter release) it would be of much help as you could have both the convenience of single shot focus and AI servo.
In other situations when there are other elements that could potentially distract the cameras focus pointers it is better to stick to the centre auto focus point only. RAW format gives you maximum flexibility while post processing and Jpeg will let you shoot the most number of frames before the camera’s buffer is filled. It also helps improve picture quality by blocking stray light from entering the lens and also offers some protection to the lens. In normal cases Image Stabilization could work against you if you try to pan along with your subject. Prime lenses are better choices than zooms as any way you will be using the lens in its maximum tele photo length so zoom function is of little use. There is no point in getting a perfectly noiseless image at ISO 100 if it has camera shake, or if only certain portions of the bird is in focus. It is a good idea to keep your camera aside, sit down or take a small walk and relax a while.
There is a plethora of choice when it comes to these: soft boxes, diffusers, reflectors, foam cores panels, umbrellas, flags to name a few. There are many types of LED lights, including ones that you can adjust their brightness as well as colour temperature. You can adjust the brightness of the light, and it comes with a tungsten gel if you need it. Substitute the main light with your window light, but make sure you are diffusing the light coming from a window with a sheer voile, or fabric to soften it.
However, instead of using a diffuser to modify this light, you can turn it around so the light faces away from the subject, and put a reflector in place to bounce the light on.
This setup had a lighter background, in this case lightly patterned, and the results were far from moody. Compare this photo below to the one underneath it, and it’s pretty obvious the darker background is most definitely better at achieving the moody look. Popular photo-sharing site Instagram has inspired a real-life Polaroid camera that will look like the Instagram logo.  Instagram was, of course, inspired by the idea of making digital pictures look like old-school Polaroid prints. The photos will have a pull-off glue strip that will allow you to attach prints to surfaces.
Many of these deals are exclusively for our Daily Deals newsletter subscribers and can't be found with our regular specials. You can check your settings, review the composition, and exposure to make sure you’ve got everything right. But if you put it in Aperture or Shutter priority, depending in the metering mode selected, the camera could choose a slightly different exposure for each frame. You do NOT want that! Likely if you’ve posed your group in a relatively static position, they will not be moving. Diagonal lines are more dynamic and add interest to an image, so try to do that with the people in your grouping.
Hides tummies, stretches out chins and makes the kids closer in size because it’s just faces. The biggest thing you want to make sure you do for portraits is get light into your subjects’ eyes. Why because the sun is lower on the horizon and you don’t get the harsh overhead light you do at midday. Overcast days give you direct overhead lighting and dark eyes, especially anyone with deep eye sockets. If you cannot see a catchlight (the lightsource reflected in their eyes) then there isn’t enough light in their faces. I used a flash, bounced into an umbrella also to the left to add light to their faces, without it they’d be in shadow. But what always happens is you get the kids all looking and smiling, and what are the parents doing? Get her free ebook 10 Photography Challenges to help you take better pictures or save $50 OFF on her Photo tour to Nicaragua - by using the discount code: dps50nica and join her on an adventure of a lifetime! I have had some mixed experiences where subjects have felt a little self conscious with random people stopping to see whats going on, especially in cities..
When you block the overhead light it IS darker for sure but the direction of light changes to coming from the front instead of overhead, so you don’t get dark eyes.
So you end up having to dodge on every single image and causing yourself a lot more work in post production. Most of my portraits are done late evening and there tend to be less passers-by at that time of day.

If you are bouncing indoors off the ceiling or a wall then yes it will – but outdoors it will not make the light any softer. If you’re shooting real estate images, then go with an angle to give a better dimension to the house.
Or another way to think of it is, if this was an architectural sketch, you would definitely see the front door. There’s no way to hit each one at the same time of day and certainly no way to wait for cloudy days. This is a good option for middle of the day sunny conditions to avoid the harsh effects mid day sun creates. I know photographers who could take sharp photos of birds in flight with a digital camera mounted with a manual lens and no autofocus, that makes it a fully manual device – Manual aperture setting on the lens, shutter speed, ISO, manual focusing, no image stabilization, etc etc.
The most important features to look for in your photographic gear is the speed of auto focus.
You could also manage with a rate of 3 – 4 frames per second anything below it will make you miss certain shots. Find a spot where the birds are flying parallel to your lens that is they are flying from side to side and not towards or away from you. We will be discussing how to set auto focus function to the rear button in a future article.
The best method is to hold the camera with your right hand, with your left hand supporting it at the far end of the lens (near the hood).
Personally I do not recommend shooting in RAW + Jpeg mode as it will slow down the actual shooting process and also fill your memory cards faster.
However some lenses have a panning mode (in case of Canon IS mode 2) which could detect motion in one direction and deactivate Image Stabilization in that direction.
Moreover zoom lenses are typically slower and heavier than their fixed length counterparts. If for any situation you have to choose between Image Shake and Image Noise, compromise on noise. Noise reduction software’s and improved high ISO performance of modern digital cameras could easily tackle noise issues.
It will help your body regain your energy and help muscles recoup; else fatigue will soon catch up and you will end up a very tired man with shaky hands making it either very difficult or impossible to shoot hand held. But, just like the above, regardless of brightness intensity of the continuous light, it is essential to modify LEDs to get soft, pleasing, beautiful light -overall a better quality of light.
Apart from looking lightsaber Star Wars cool, the Magic Tube also comes with a charger that allows continuous charging while it is being used.
The subject (filling in the shadows) gets illuminated by the soft bounced light from the reflector. I did not want to shoot at a smaller aperture as I wanted to blur the pattern of the wallpaper in the background. Other than that, as a homebody, she is content curled up on the sofa, hot chocolate in hand, watching films with her family whenever she has a free weekend. Plus, if you decided you don't like our newsletters (don't worry, you'll love them), unsubscribing is fast and easy.
All to often it’s easy to get carried away once you put the camera up to your eye and forget to check something only to see later you had the wrong White Balance, or ISO was 6400, or you accidentally shot Small JPG. But you’ll get way better expressions by interacting with them than you will looking through the viewfinder. Just remember that each time you change the pose, location, etc, you need to check exposure again. The image on the screen will zoom in (your lens doesn’t) so you can see what is in focus which allows for much most precise manual focusing. There are many ways to do that and that’s a whole huge topic but there are a few things you can do to set yourself up to start off with good light. That’s why if my faces are dark I add a flash (bounced into an umbrella or bounced off a big reflector) off to one side to add light into their eyes. Regardless, when the time comes, you may find out that making a house look good can be a challenge.
But as the sun sets, there will be a window of time when the exterior of the house can be properly exposed while the interior appears to glow with warmth (thanks to man-made lighting.) This may only last for ten minutes, so make sure everything is in place in advance. Also, I’d sometimes intentionally expose for the house and blown out the sky for a more stark look.
I am going to try to photograph the building in the day and then again just as the sun is setting. And always make sure all exterior lights and if possible interior window lights are on for added drama. Wear dull colour dress preferably camouflage, and make sure your presence is in no way deterring the birds from visiting the nests.
Still they manage to get great shots, it’s nothing but the combination of great skill, much practice and to an extend sheer luck. It is mostly a combination of the speed of the lens auto focus system and the speed of the camera body used.
Also pay attention to what constitutes your background, pick a spot from where you will have nice clean background that matches your subject.
Do not grip the camera very tightly, adopt a steady and easy stance with your legs slightly spread for more stability.
Weight should be a major factor influencing lens choice as you will be hand-holding for extended periods.
Keep your expectations really low, Persistence is the key here, keep on practising and soon you will get good results.
So you can always have access to power by just plugging it in if the battery charge runs out. To further modify the Magic Tube after I have attached the Rogue Bender diffuser, I also used the diffusion (translucent part) panel of a 5-in-1 reflector and had an assistant hold the panel in front of the main light. I also wanted to emulate sunlight shining through a window illuminating a dark room, and this setup just did not work to achieve that look. I have ordered several LED’s and am looking forward to using them for portraits as an alternative to speed lights.
That will give the company the opportunity to sell you the special ink and paper required to print the photos.
That all may be true and in some cases (like photographing kids running or doing more documentary style photography) it may be better to shoot hand held.
I just took another look and of all the images the only one that’s maybe a bit looser cropped is the family in black sitting on the rock (3 young kids).
Waiting until dusk, when you are on the Front Range, ends up leaving you with your lens pointing right at the sun.
Fast lenses with wider apertures let more light in to the sensor and thus are faster to achieve focus, so does lenses with Ultra Sonic Motors built in to the lens itself.
On a bright cloudless day, shooting in open shade minimizes the harshness, but still takes advantage of the beautiful natural light. Having these two diffusers together reduces the strength of the light, but also greatly softens its quality.
Use what is naturally in the environment to pose them, or if you have nothing available just arrange them so the heights are staggered. You want the light to come from the side more, 30-45 degrees from camera is a good starting point. The dad in the photo above by the brick wall pretty much has the same expression all the time. Once everything is all set up as Darlene says, just shoot as many shots as you can in a very short amount of time. For me showing more of the scene that they chose around them it gives more of a sense of who they are as a family.
Shooting in shadows, located next to reflective surfaces, also leverages any bounced natural light. To learn more about this read my article on the 6 Lighting Patterns Every Photographer Should Know. A portrait for me isn’t about what they look like, it should give insight into their personality too. I don’t know about the rest of the country, but here in Colorado the blue skies are a big deal and 90% of my clients WANT clue skies in the photos.

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Comments to «Digital photography school tips and tutorials»

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