If you would like to submit photography or photo restoration tips to this blog, please email me at KevinRetouch@gmail.com.

We will gladly provide a link to your website or blog along with your contribution.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Street Photography

Originally, only photographers own professional cameras. But since those cameras are now made for public use, many people are trying their hands at this  new hobby. More and more people are drawn into photography, most specifically street photography.

When you take pictures of public places, people, and events in their most natural state, you are doing street photography. Yes there is a term for whatever it is that you are doing. However, there are a few things you need to remember when practicing this craft.

1. Get used to taking pictures of strangers. If you are a shy person, you might want to practice some more. You can first practice on your friends and family members. Capture them at their most natural state to get candid shots.

For example, you might find it interesting to get good angles of your ill-tempered brother who is studying.  When you are able to handle this well, you can go to public places and take pictures of strangers.  But if you want, you can skip this step and go to public places immediately.

2. Be prepared. Bring extra batteries, flash cards, and lenses and put them inside a small carrying case. You won’t know when you will be able to get a good shot. Others get lucky and find great shot early in the morning while there are others who won’t even get single great shot even if the day is about to end.

3. Be inconspicuous as much as possible. Keep a low profile so people will not be too conscious of your presence. Dress just like them so you won’t stand out from the crowd.  Let them be comfortable of you. In no time, they will no longer mind you taking photos of them.

4. Go to events. People are less concerned about being models of a photo when they are having too much fun.

5. Be sensitive to other people’s feelings. Some people just don’t like it when they are subjects of your photo. If you see that they don’t like it, just go away and find other subjects. Learn to draw a line between what is okay and what is inappropriate.

6. Bring someone who can look after you while you do your thing. Not everyone wants their picture to be taken.  Some people think that you are invading their privacy so expect attacks. This is harsh but true. If you have someone to watch over you, you are free to think creatively without having to worry about yourself getting mobbed. 

7. Study about the technical details. Don’t just keep shooting. In order to master your craft, you  have to study and research about techniques and the right tools to use. For example, you should use a lens with a focal length of 35mm. You should set a fast exposure too to avoid blurs if you are taking pictures of fast moving objects such as cars or moving people. Higher ISO should be set if you are shooting in a low light. Details like these will help you improve greatly. Here are few Outdoor Lighting and Contrast tips.

8.Try different things. You can shot from from different angles and viewpoints. Don’t be afraid to experiment so you can finally get a great picture.  Just make sure that you and your camera are safe when you are trying out every possible angle or options.

If that time comes, it will be easy for you to take a shot as your camera is just near. But if your camera is too big for daily use, you might want to buy a point and shoot camera with high megapixels.  This way, you won’t miss an opportunity.

The tips in this post are pretty easy and I am very sure that you can manage it. keep practicing. Who knows? This might even be a career for you in the future. Good luck!


Friday, August 12, 2011

Create Your Own Designer Wedding Album

If you have been to a recent bridal show, you have witnessed the impressive growth of an entire industry revolving around wedding albums. Some brides are even choosing their photographer based on the quality of their albums. For those photographers who have mastered the art, making albums has become a key revenue generator for their business. In fact, I have spoken to photographers who have lowered their coverage prices and put more energy into making high-end albums. Even with significant coverage price reductions, many photographers are generating higher profit margins due to increased album sales. The key is creating a custom one-of-a-kind album that your clients will love. This can be very intimidating and push you out of your comfort zone behind the camera. To take the edge off creating your first album, we will explore some techniques the professionals use.

What are the style options?

Most albums fall into two categories, flush-mount or matted styles. Both can be bound in beautiful leather and look very elegant, but there is a significant difference. Matted albums are ones you have probably seen from the days of yore. They consist of actual photo-prints that slide inside pre-cut matte layouts, typically 1-4 photos per page. There are several layout options available with this style, but your flexibility and creativity is limited because can’t deviate from the provided template. To me, that is a deal breaker and is the reason this style of album is becoming less popular.

Flush-mount albums, sometimes called “magazine style”, are much more versatile. You are only limited by your imagination and graphic design skills. Each page is digitally printed as a single image and is then hard mounted to give thickness and strength. You can drop in as many images as you would like, use background images and have images span the entire width of two pages. Some album companies use a technique of one seamless photo with no split, just a fold down the center.
So which style do you choose, flush or matte? In reality, it’s not your choice; it’s the bride’s. I recommend you have a sample album of both types to show perspective clients, but I generally steer them towards the flush-mount style because of the higher image count and the uniqueness of the book.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Photography Tips for Beginners

As a new photographer, these are some of the ideas that have helped get me going.

1. Don’t go crazy buying the most expensive equipment right away.

It’s possible to get very nice photos with an inexpensive point and shoot. See these examples on Flickr. The more photos you take, the more you’ll know about what kind of camera to get when it’s time to upgrade.

2. Consider a tripod.

On the other hand, an inexpensive tripod is worth getting, especially if you have shaky hands like mine. When I got a tripod, my satisfaction with my shots skyrocketed. For even more stability, use your camera’s timer function with a tripod (read our introduction to tripods).

3. Keep your camera with you all the time.

Photo ops often come when you least expect it. If you can keep your equipment relatively simple – just a small camera bag and a tripod – you might be able to take advantage of some of those unexpected opportunities. Or, if your phone has a camera, use it to take “notes” on scenes you’d like to return to with your regular camera.

4. Make a list of shots you’d like to get.

For those times you can’t carry your camera around, keep a small notebook to jot down places you’d like to come back and photograph. Make sure to note any important details, like the lighting, so you can come back at the same time of day or when the weather’s right. If you don’t want to carry a notebook, send yourself an email using your cell phone with Jott.com.

5. Don’t overlook mundane subjects for photography.

You might not see anything interesting to photograph in your living room or your backyard, but try looking at familiar surroundings with fresh eyes. You might catch an interesting trick of the light or find some unexpected wildflowers in your yard. Often a simple subject makes the best shot.

6. Enjoy the learning process.

The best part of having a hobby like photography is never running out of things to learn. Inspiration is all around you. Look at everything with the eyes of a photographer and you’ll see opportunities you never noticed before.

7. Take advantage of free resources to learn.

Browse through Flickr or websites like the Digital Photography School Forum for inspiration and tips. Also, your local library probably has a wealth of books on all types of photography. If you’re interested in learning about post-processing, give free software like the GIMP a try.

8. Experiment with your camera’s settings.

Your point and shoot may be more flexible and powerful than you know. Read the manual for help deciphering all those little symbols. As you explore, try shooting your subjects with multiple settings to learn what effects you like. When you’re looking at your photos on a computer, you can check the EXIF data (usually in the file’s properties) to recall the settings you used.

9. Learn the basic rules.

The amount of information about photography online can be overwhelming. Start with a few articles on composition. Be open to what more experienced photographers have to say about technique. You have to know the rules before you can break them.

10. Take photos regularly.

Try to photograph something every day. If you can’t do that, make sure you take time to practice regularly, so you don’t forget what you’ve learned. An excellent way to motivate yourself is by doing the weekly assignments in the DPS Forum.

11. Don’t be afraid to experiment.

If you’re using a digital camera, the cost of errors is free. Go crazy – you might end up with something you like. You’ll certainly learn a lot in the process.