Category Archives: Photo Tips

How To Take Stunning Black and White Wedding Photos

Ah, weddings! Who doesn’t want to witness the solemnity of two individuals becoming one in the presence of their loved ones, right? We always say wedding photography is one of the most romantic professions in the world. Wedding photographers capture the sincerest times; they see the beauty of people and the event through their small screen and translate it into something tangible that imprisons the very moment.

Wedding photography, couple under arch in black and whiteOne style of photography that doesn’t grow old no matter the occasion and time is black and white photography. Especially in weddings, this type of photography can capture the emotions of the subjects and highlight the very essence of the event.

If you’re a wedding photographer who wants to try black and white or wants to improve their monochromatic style, read on below to learn essential tips in taking black and white wedding images.

Shoot in Raw

If your camera allows you to shoot in raw, do it. Shooting in raw gives you infinite control over the post-production of the images. If you shoot black and white, the photos might not be as good when you’re taking them and when reviewing them on your computer. With raw, you have the chance to process the photo and change it to a colored one if you think the black and white concept doesn’t go well with it.

If your camera doesn’t have the option to shoot in raw, shoot not in black and white but color using JPEG. While you can still produce reasonable results if you shoot straight in black in white, you’ll have more control of the photo if you shoot in color as you can always do your conversion to black and white later.

Keep a Low ISO

If you want to take stunning black and white wedding photos, keep your ISO as low as possible. While this technique is normal when taking colored photos, it’s particularly true with black and white photography. The rationale behind this is noise created by ISO can even be more visible in a black and white photo, so by lowering the ISO, you also take the noise out.

If the noise is what you’re after, you can always add it in the post-processing phase. Also, there are noise removal programs you can use during post-processing to reduce the noise of your images.

Mind Your Composition

This is no surprise for photographers. Alongside many other factors, composition is surely one to consider when taking photos. The general tips and techniques applicable when composing and framing subjects also works just as well in black and white photography.

The only major difference to note is you can’t use color to lead the eye to the subject. This means you need to be keen on spotting other elements such as textures, shapes, and tones and making them your points of interest. Pay attention to shadows and highlights, which are significant features of your frame.

Another way to compose your photo is to look for patterns. Patterns are a great feature in pictures because of their ordered repetition. Often in colored photos, our eyes get distracted by color and may not pay as much attention to patterns. Black and white makes patterns more compelling. Train your eyes to look for patterns such as people’s feet standing in line at a wedding party or cars in a parking lot.

Black and white wedding photography of coupleLook For Contrast

The most stunning black and white wedding photos feature a great contrast of black and white. Contrast in a picture that is created by a portion of nearly pure white and some almost black parts magnifies interest to the scene.

Capture Emotions

If you want to capture emotions of people such as the bride tearing up while walking down the aisle or the groom hugging the best man, black and white can be your best bet. While colored photos also offer the emotion of the subject, black and white goes the extra mile and accentuates the feeling and passion within an image.

Tweak The HSL Panel

During the phase of post-production, raw pictures will be converted and enhanced. When post-processing the image, you definitely need to tweak the HSL system in your Lightroom or Photoshop to get the most stunning version of the photo there is.

Conclusion

There you have the essential tips to take remarkable wedding photos in black in white. While it is important to follow the general principles of photography, it’s also crucial to discover and enhance your own style as a wedding photographer, just like Solaris which has established a unique presence in Houston’s field of photography.

Erika Bourdeaux

Erika B - wedding photographerErika Bourdeaux is a writer who regularly submits content to Solaris Studios. She always make sure she adds a creative spin to all of her pieces, and as a result her pieces remain entertaining and engaging. She spends her free time painting.

Power Tips For Taking Photos For Your Custom Bedding Designs

Photographing your products in the highest quality possible is of utter importance when you're in the e-commerce world. It’s because providing high-quality photos of your products does not only attract more customers, it also builds your credibility as a seller. Some e-commerce entrepreneurs take this for granted and that's where they get it wrong because it doesn't just help you present yourself well, but it also helps speak about the quality of your products and services, and when you sell custom bedding designs for a living, you should give it your best effort.

Here are some power tips for taking photos of your custom bedding designs to make sure you're only getting the best shots:

  1. Gather all the materials

When you're taking product photos, you don't really need the most expensive gear on the market because even professional product photographers improvise on their set for the most convincing shots using everyday household items. However, you’ll need the basics such as:

  • Tripod - to provide stability for your photos
  • Overhead Lights/ Desk lamps - to provide artificial lights
  • White background - to create focus on your background
  • Lightbox - this is recommended for smaller products
  • Light reflectors/white cardboard - whether you're working with artificial or natural lights, a light reflector comes in handy when it comes to properly distributing the light
  • DSLR - although mirrorless cameras are much of an option these days
  1. The light is your best friend

When you set up your makeshift studio, provide as many lights as you possibly can. Therefore, you must make sure you're working in a room wherein the windows are wide to let in as much natural as possible. For artificial lights, make sure they are well-distributed all over the product to feature as much of it as you can.

Take photos from different angles and by moving the lights from time to time. In this way, you'll end up with more choices during post-production.

  1. Place it in various settings

Since you’re selling custom bedding designs, you’re basically selling comfort as well. Show comfortability in your photo by placing it in different settings such as being a crucial part of a breakfast in bed or being used by a person comfortably sleeping. For this matter, you're not just selling a product—you’re selling an experience.

If you want custom-designed beddings, you can get your own from Vision Beddings. Good luck with your photographing!

Matthew Lambert

Matthew Lambert is a writer contributing pieces to Vision Bedding. He understands the needs of informative and engaging pieces to keep readers interested. He loves a good cup of tea with a good book during his free time.

Scouting Quality Photo Locations

Quality Photo Locations Scout Sessions 101: Choosing The Best Location For Your Photo Shoot

Location scouting for photography - free photography course

You’re a budding photographer, and you want people to know your name. And you think that one way for you to achieve that goal is by choosing the besta locations for your photoshoot. You believe that this will have a significant role in the outcome of your photos and eventually, in your career. But since you’re still starting in the industry, you know that choosing the best locations is never easy. There are a lot of things to consider and the fear of the location being “not good enough” for your audience is always there. While that notion can be true, you don’t have to let it ruin your career. Yes, choosing a location for your photo shoot might be difficult, but there are more ways than one to solve the problem – and let this article show you how.

When you’re still a novice, chances are, you don’t have any idea on how to get the job done. All you have is a goal in mind but getting there is still difficult – and coming up with the best location for your photo shoot is not an exemption. To help you with that problem, you may consider the points below to help you come up with the best location for your photo shoot.

Choose A Meaningful Place

When you’re a photographer, it’s not always about convenience – and the same goes when you’re choosing a location. You can always choose a location which is accessible to you, but this isn’t always the best choice. For instance, if you live near a park with lush green trees, you can always choose this as your location as it will save you time and energy as you no longer have to think about going somewhere hard to reach. While this can look attractive, it might not be the best option for you.

You should keep in mind that every subject is unique and has its own personality. This is also what makes people interesting so you should use this as one of your basis for the location. If your subject is a music lover, consider using a jukebox store as the location. If he/she is a teacher or achiever in school, look for empty schools or universities for your photoshoot. Not only will you be able to tell a story but considering your subjects’ interest can also serve as an avenue for your audience to easily connect with your photos.

Choose A Quiet Place

One of the worst locations for a photo shoot is in the middle of crowded places like cities and public parks. You should stray away from these kinds of locations as you’ll have to wait for people to move out of frame, deal with questions from every passer-by and your subject might feel uncomfortable. Everyone involved in the photo shoot will be stressed because of the hordes of people around them.

Contrary to popular belief, looking for a quiet location isn’t as difficult as it seems. If you’re currently living in the city, you can consider getting off the beaten track and move a few hundred yards away from the hustle and bustle of urban life. If possible, you can also avoid cities altogether and head on to sandy beaches, or grassy fields. All of these locations might require you to travel for a few hours, but your pictures will be worth it. These locations can provide you with a great backdrop, and since these are usually deserted, you can have complete reign to move around and ask your subject to try out different angles and poses.

Think About Permits

However, not all of the locations you’re eyeing for can be used anytime. You should remember that certain locations are protected by copyright and need special permits before you can do your photo shoot. Regardless of the case, you should be able to get your permits in order before planning any further. While some are easy to acquire, some can be more demanding. But if you think that you found the perfect location, you should be willing to go through the processes of obtaining the permits. You wouldn’t want your subject to dress up and end up not being able to access the location, right?

Don’t Let The Location Distract You

A suitable location is vital to the success of your photos but keep in mind that it’s not the only thing that contributes to your output. When you’re already in the location, and you’ve started to take photos, have the time to look at your shots and determine if your eye is more drawn to the scenery than the subject because if it does, it means that you’re putting too much emphasis on the wrong thing.

For you to avoid doing that, open your lens’ aperture up wide. This is a simple and effective technique which puts the background in a blur while restricting it from being too distracting in the photos. Doing this can also create depth in the scene and draw the audience’s eyes to your subject.

In conclusion

Photography is beautiful and an exciting hobby. When you get to take pictures of people or places, you’re creating memories which can last for years. But before your photos can do that, you should be able to a photo scout and choose the best location. And coming up with one can be tricky. But you should not worry because as long you follow the tips presented in this article, you’re a step closer to choosing the best location for your next photoshoot!

Steve McIntyre

Steve McIntyre is a writer contributing works to Photoshoot Locations UK from time to time. He extends a particular care for his readers that is clearly seen in the things he writes. He makes sure topics he discusses aren't only properly explained, but entertaining as well. As a photography enthusiast, he's currently trying to tackle street photography with his film camera.

Shooting in Black and White: Rediscovering the Monochrome Magic

Black and white photography can be intimidating for beginning photographers. However, you don’t have to be a veteran photographer to start shooting in black and white photography. Here are some ways that you can add black and white photography to your portfolio.

Why it’s Magical

Best Photo Lessons black and white photographyShooting black and white photographs can be an extremely effective way to convey emotions and to bring attention to details.  Black and white photographs can be a way to create an intimate and timeless frame due to its nostalgic nature. Black and white photography as explained by Guru Shots can create a magical and timeless image that can be extremely powerful in event photography, portraits, landscapes, and wildlife photography.

Due to this magical effect, it is important that you plan on when to use black and white. You should not just shoot color photography and hope that one of your photos may look good in black and white while you’re editing in post. Your photos will be far more effective if you plan on using black and white while you’re composing the shot.

While you are setting up the shot, it’s important to imagine the scene in front of you without the colors. Instead of looking at how the colors interact with each other in the photo, you need to look at how the hues and tones work together in the photos, as exhibited here with beautiful, tone-perfect images.

If you’re unsure about how a photo may look or are having trouble imagining it, a good trick to use is to put on a pair of sunglasses. This will help you see the potential tones and block out some of the distracting colors that you may be seeing through your lens.

How to compose the best black and white photo

The most interesting black and white photos can be taken when the contrast between highlights and shadows is extreme. While you can look for these specific times of day and light scenarios, there are specific cameras offering features that bring out the best in your monochrome work. However, that’s not the only way that you can create contrast in your photos. Contrast can be found in colors (light and dark) and with lines (architectural and otherwise).

However, in order to create dramatic contrasts in your black and white photos, knowing how to work with and create shadows is a must. This could create a space for dramatic storytelling.

If you want to use shadows to create a dramatic effect, it’s important to be shooting in a location where shadows are readily available or can be made. This can also greatly depend on the time of day. If you’re looking for the most dramatic shadows, noon is a great time to shoot for that is when the sun is the most high in the sky. If you want softer, but maybe more angled lighting/shadows, shoot during early morning hours or sunset hours.

If you’re not able to shoot during those times of day or if you don’t have a location with light, then you can always create your own shadows. You can do this in a studio space or in any location if you have an external flash or man-made light source.

If you have found the perfect light and the perfect scene, but there are no shadows in the frame, you can also create your own shadows. These methods can create unique looks and further your storytelling:

  • Use hands to create shadows. Use your own hands or the model’s hands to create shadows over wanted areas. For example, you can create interesting lines over a model’s face, using just fingers (theirs or someone’s off-frame)
  • Use a piece of lace or fabric. Place a piece of fabric strategically over your light source to create an intricate shadow pattern over your subject.
  • Some other common objects that can create dramatic shadows include: window blinds, fences, glasses, forks, whisks, etc.

What not to do in black and white photography

The most important thing to remember when shooting in black and white photography happens in post. When you’re editing detail in black and white photos, you want to be careful not to overdo it. You want it to look natural and don’t want the texture to be too extreme.

A feature of shooting in black and white is that it brings out details automatically, and they are more noticeable. While this is usually a positive, it can be a negative when it comes to close-up portraits. You don’t want the skin on someone’s face to look rubbery or fake. To avoid this, be cautious with detail and luminance while you’re editing your photos.

Lastly, avoid using black and white photography as a way to try to make photos redeemable. Some people tend to use a black and white filter on photos that didn’t turn out like they wanted them to in color. You may think that a black and white photo will hide your mistakes, but in reality, it usually only highlights those imperfections more.

Reviewing Tips & Tricks

  • Plan on using black and white in your photography before you shoot, not after.
  • Use a pair of sunglasses while composing your shot to help imagine what the tones and hues may look like in black bestphotolessons.com and white.
  • Shoot at noon for the most dramatic shadows.
  • Use or make shadows in order to create high contrast photos.
  • Don’t be afraid to create your own shadows.
  • Don’t use black and white photography to “save” your bad photos.

Manual mode – do I need it?

Assuming you have or are interested in a camera with manual capability - have you wondered WHY you might want to go to manual mode instead of letting the camera decide?

Here's the real deal - automatic modes work great with fairly even light coming from slightly behind you and the tones you're photographing are either middle tones or there's a good distribution of tones.

Tones being white to black and all the levels of grey and colours in between those extremes.

Expsoure in steam in fog - program vs manual modeWhere auto or program modes start to fail is when you have a mostly white scene - like a white puppy on snow, or being out in fog, which makes a camera think it needs to make the pictures darker and thus white becomes grey. Auto and program modes also have difficulty when the light comes from behind or beside the subject - imagine your child in a white shirt standing in a doorway and the sun is coming from the side (which would be a cool and dramatic picture - what part do you WANT to be exposed right? Do you expose for the bright part of the face or do you expose for the shadow side letting the bright side go completely white?

depth of field - shallow focus - manual modeThe other aspect is how much do you want to be in focus? Do you want shallow focus so that just your partner's face is in focus or do you want to have everything in focus? Auto and program modes default to more of the 'everything in focus.'

In the end - are you TAKING  a picture, ore are you CREATING a picture? If you want to get really creative you want to create each picture - make it look the way you envision it. That skill takes time and practice - and taking lots of pictures, and doing it in manual so that you have control over each aspect of the image.

However if what you're doing is documenting your life and not worrying about being 'artsy' - then program mode is fine and will do a great job.

As in all of photography - the purpose of the photos determines the methods being used.

What to DO with your photography

wallartMillions of photos taken daily never get seen again. I'll bet you're like me and have a ton of photos that you've shot in the last few years and they are sitting in an unused on your computer.

Here's a few ideas to bring out and be used. Not all of them are about making giant enlargements - but then again, why not? (See below.)

1 - Sort Them

I'm a big proponent of Adobe Lightroom. You can buy it for about $149 USD or you can get it on subscription for $10 USD along with Photoshop. By importing all your images to Lightroom you can classify, keyword and rate each image so it is easier to find when you're looking for an image that will meet a specific need.

But that's not the only way to sort images. Your camera likely came with a program that will do much the same sorting and rating – probably not as well but it will work.

Even if you just create folders on your computer such as: Cats, dogs, kids, friends, sky, etc you will then have something to go by when using the images.

There's other programs as well such as ACDSee or Corel AfterShot Pro - and many others. Do a web search and you'll find many options.

2 - Print Them

Load a bunch of your favourites and put them on a USB stick and head off to a lab to get 4x6 prints done of each. It's inexpensive and fun. There are labs, drug stores and even Costco can do great printing. There are also online labs but I prefer going to a local lab.

One of the coolest ideas I've heard to do with prints is get a big basket, drop all the prints into that and put it on the coffee table or side table where people can rummage through the images at their leisure.

You can also put them in albums - which don't get looked at as often but do keep them organized. Really great if you put descriptions beside each image of when they were taken and who was in the image. Great for family histories. Not as important the year they were taken but amazing keepsakes for families.

3 - Screen Saver

screensaverLoad up a special folder on your computer and let it display the images when you're not busy on the computer.

And many TV's can take a USB thumb drive and run slide shows - the biggest best digital frame you probably already own.

Or you can buy a digital frame and let images run that way - another great way to continuously show your images.

4 - Printed Books and 'Magazines'

booksmagsSelect a bunch of images of similar nature - maybe a trip you've taken or certain group of friends, or even your kids doing silly things. If you own a Mac you have Photos installed which lets you assemble and print softcover and hardcover books of your images very easily. I've found the image quality of the Apple created books to be outstanding.

But there are also online labs that can do that as well. Do a quick online search and you'll find lots of ways to print your own books.

5 - Print Them - Big

Make enlargements of your best images. Be proud of your images. One of the quickest way to make your image 'fine art' is to have it printed 20 x 30 inches or bigger in black and white. That looks fantastic on a wall.

6 - Slide Shows

In 2008 I did a project where I crossed Canada driving from Victoria BC to St. John's Newfoundland - all 7500 kilometers. Along the way I stopped every 50 kilometers and photographed whatever was there.  I then did about a year of slide shows for libraries, seniors groups and other groups who were interested.

If you've done a special project or have a good series of images that cover a subject that could be of interest - put together a slide show and get the word out to all your friends, relatives and business associates that you'd like to do presentations.

Conclusion

Doing photography is fun - showing your photography to interested people is even funner. Whether its 4x6 prints in a basket or a slide show for seniors, do something with your photos and you'll discover even more enjoyment in this great hobby.

Discover emotion in every photo you take

Paris emotion photography

Paris Photographer Ciprian LupanMany of us that like taking photos everywhere we go in order to capture best moments of a meeting or a date, or the funniest moments spent with friends. These are moments of life that will be never left behind from our memory.

The best element that can be captured in a photo is emotion. A beautiful photo, taken at the right time, can create an entire story in your memory, a beautiful sequence of events, feelings, smells and that simple photo can make you go in the past.

But how exactly can a photo do this? It is not about the photo, it is about the message of the photo and the transmitted emotion. When taking a photo you have to do your best to capture the essence of life, all the elements of the background at the right place, the beautiful smile of the loved person which reminds you why you love her so much. A wrong detail can ruin your photo and that is why you have to pay a lot of attention in order to get perfect results.

Emotion photographyBut, how can you “capture feelings” in a photo?

1. Capture moments. When you are a photographer and you are collaborating with different kind of couples then you realize that capturing a caress or a glance at the appropriate moment is more than a photo where everything is perfect placed or the landscape is dreamy. If it is necessary you can use some color effects to make your photo look amazing.

2. Be a good reader of the facial expression. The best moment to catch someone’s amazed face expression is the proposal time for sure. In that moment there are millions of thoughts expressed in a single look. A natural smile makes more than a thousand words, so try to get it.

3. Look for details. You have to know where to look. Not only the face and the eyes can share emotion. The gestures, the handshakes, in a couple, the way of walking together, even the laughing of the partners are a key element in capturing happiness.

4. Use Portrait Mode if available on your camera. Try to also make portrait – or vertical orientation – photo in order to capture another side of a person, the natural side. The portrait mode will allow the light to go into the camera in abundance. (editor's note) If you don't have a specific portrait mode on your camera, try aperture priority and set the fstop as open as the lens will go – lower numbers are better, ie f1.8, f2.8, f.3.3 etc.

When having a photo session, every element of the landscape or background must have a purpose. The colors must fit perfect with the mood and must create a universe.

5. Black and white landscapes. Sometimes, a picture in white and black shows more expressions that a colored one. Especially when you are a professional photographer and you have full control of the photos, and you can make any area lighter or darker.

6. Using continuous focus. Moments to surprise a real emotion are rare. So, in order to be prepared, you can set your camera on continuous focus, to have the best photos in every moment.

It is big deal to discover lots of emotions in a photo and everyone that considers himself a professional photographer needs to develop their talent and skill to do this. In that way, you can see beyond the capture taken at a certain moment and create a story. Because great stories use full range of emotions.

Emotion Paris photographyCiprian Lupan is a professional Paris photographer specialized in proposal, engagement, wedding and family photos. If you want to have the best experience and beautiful photos at the Eiffel Tower, just visit the website.

Don’t Let Bad Weather Keep Your Camera Tucked Away

Foggy weather photography

Here in the northern hemisphere, it's winter. And where I am right now - it's very winter. Miserable stuff that snow. Except when you have a camera in your hand.

Then it's a playground. The landscape takes on a very different look, colours become monochrome, crystals form, fog moves in on cat's paws (to quote a poem we learned in high school), rain creates incredible reflections and clouds create wonderful patterns.

When the weather stops being sunny, some of the best opportunities for great photos come around.

A couple of hints for you. Cloudy, rainy, snowy, foggy days all have low contrast and will fool a camera meter to make the picture darker than the scene actually is. Increase your exposure by about one and a half stops to compensate.

Night photos require longer exposures, grab a tripod or place the camera on a sturdy support. If you can set the self-timer you'll get even sharper images, especially with dSLR's because the mirror in the camera won't be moving at the time of the exposure.

 

File 2015-12-28, 9 24 13 PM

Add More Color with Black and White – Part 2

(Continued from part 1)

Adding Interest to a Photo Album

3Not all photos need to be in color when they are included in a photo book. In order to add interest and age to a digital photo album, the photos can be a mix of color and black and white photos. In addition, the aforementioned graphic software programs have filters that can be used to create an aged tone to photos.

A sepia filter will deliver an aged photo appearance to a portrait photo. This type of photo manipulation is seen in photo booths at carnivals and fairs where people dress up in vintage costumes and pose for photos. There are also filters that recreate hand-tinting, such as was found in the early 1960s. The greyscale photos can be printed and hand-tinted using ink kits as well.

It is suggested in this photo book blog that mixing and matching photos in both color and black and white help to add interest to the album and make it a cohesive history of a family and you can also see some examples on their photo book page (scroll down). The scanning of old photos certainly adds an extra amount of entertainment to a family gathering. Everyone loves to look at old photos and poke fun at other family members. The shapes and colors of those old photos add a certain amount of charm to the book.

4Not everyone has old photos from the 1960s, but if they have access to a graphics program, they can create old photos from new photos. By using a Photoshop mask in any of the programs, corners can be cropped and rounded. The addition of a frame in post-production allows the photographer to present a photo as if it was a Polaroid. Many photo ideas and frames can be found online at places like this.

Photo books are the easiest way for a family to put together a history that can be enjoyed for generations to come. These books are easy to create. Beginners will have no problem setting up a great book for their family.

The key to setting up a photo book is the photos themselves. The rest is like adding pieces to a scrapbook. Since the digital camera allows as many photos as the card will hold, there are more than enough chances to get that photo just right. It may take practice to see black and white while looking in color, but the end result will be worth.

by Andre Smith