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WELCOME TO MY BLOG for Judith M Photography:

Tips for Creative Digital Photography and Lighting

 

2015_Become a Better Photographer

December 29, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Make your top priority for this New Year to become a better photographer.

  1. You do not need a new camera to take a great picture. Learn to use your camera and study the User Manual as the first step. Take the manual with you or download a digital copy to your portable device. Understand all the controls. Shoot often and rate your photos. Then reevaluate your favorites frequently. In Lightroom, save your favorites in a Collection to make this easier.

Shoot in aperture priority with exposure compensation to make adjustments in exposure as your go to setting. Learn to use manual when you need greater control, such as the studio setting with accessory lighting.

  1. Knowledge is everything. Never stop learning from reading, taking workshops, on line tutorials such as Kelby One Training. Photography is ever changing and there is always more to know. Learning lighting – available light to strobe (flash or studio) is important.
  2. Composition and design elements are the key to making your photograph compelling. Michael Freeman’s “The Photographer’s Eye” is an excellent review and a great investment.
  3. I always shoot in RAW, save as DNG’s and process and organize my images in Lightroom. I still do use Photoshop CC when needed, especially when adding texture layers, masking, creating book covers with text overlaying an image or doing extensive dust or pollen removal. But then save, not save as to bring the image back into Lightroom. A big advantage to Lightroom is that it is nondestructive and you can always get back to the original by choosing Edit Original. Lightroom history saves all. In Photoshop you would need to always use the Smart Filter option.  I occasionally use SilverEfex Pro for B&W conversions and some other Nik or Topaz filters.
  4. Critique is Key to improvement. And not from family or friends. Enter competitions, juried shows, portfolio reviews and become active in art association photo interest groups. Don’t let Facebook become your only focus group. 

Please let me know what I can do to help. Would a Lightroom Boot Camp or "Learning to See the Light" tutorial help? Group or individual instruction is available. judith@judithmphotography.com.                Happy New Year, Judith

BONUS SLIDESHOW:


Break Some Rules for the New Year

November 30, 2014  •  Leave a Comment
  1. Forget the Golden hours of Dawn or Dusk: Shoot in mid-day with an infrared converted camera or digital SLR for high contrast images or on a cloudy or foggy day to create mystery. B&W or toned is often best.
  2. Ignore the rule of thirds for greater freedom: Move with your feet and not just use your zoom lens. See the world from all angles to find a unique perspective.
  3. Avoid Program or Auto modes as well as Scene modes if you want to advance your photographic skills: Learn aperture priority with exposure compensation to adjust your exposure; darker for silhouettes or lighter. Or, even better, use manual and adjust your aperture or shutter speed to achieve the look you want. Take control!
  4. Ignore the Histogram only after you learn how to interpret it: The histogram is just a guide since every picture will have a different histogram. Just avoid blowing out the highlights (look at the binkies) and try for detail in the shadows. 
  5. Don’t always shoot with the sun at your back: Side lighting will reveal texture and detail while back-lighting can create rim light or silhouettes.

Learn the rules but then try breaking them to see the effects? Have fun and look around you. Slow down by using a tripod. Learn by making mistakes.


Photography of Silhouette’s, Shadows and Reflections:

November 01, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Photography of Silhouette’s, Shadows and Reflections: Less may be more

  1. Back lite photos (light from behind the subject) present two choices: either fill flash to help light the subject create a silhouette.  By changing your camera settings in aperture priority to add Minus 1 ½ to Minus 2 exposure compensation, the subject will go nearly black. The silhouetted subject needs to be distinct enough on its own to be recognizable without the additional detail provided by lighting.
    Color, B&W or toned is another choice to make. In general, I Lose the color if it does not add to the picture.
  2. Shadows may create a more compelling photo than the subject itself. Line and pattern are key. Let your eye fill in the blank details. Less is more.
  3. When shooting for shadows: remember soft diffused light close to the subject – such as a large umbrella or soft box or even clouds (relatively closer than the sun) will produce softer shadows. If the light source is distant and unmodified – i.e. direct- the light will be harsh and thus, will create sharp shadows. Know what you want to achieve and thus select the correct lighting.
  4. Reflections can include or exclude the object it is reflecting. Day or night, reflections can add an extra dimension or can even stand alone.

Pet Photography:THE JOY OF A DOGS LIFE

October 01, 2014  •  1 Comment

Sense of Place

An assignment I was given at the Griffin Museum of Photography Atelier 21 program recently was “A Sense of Place”. We were told to walk around and shoot images of the area where you live, spend your weekends, were you work, etc. Thinking about that I planned on staying around my home and area. I did not want to include the gardens since so much of what I do is flower and still life photography. I decided to photograph the day to day life and joy of my pets. Since it was not easy walking with them on a dual leash and shooting with a DSLR, I was not happy with the results.  So I changed the concept to more of a illustrative approach such as for a Children’s book: “THE JOY OF A DOGS LIFE”. I used the new Topaz Impression application after basic processing in LightRoom. More to do and text to write!

Cuba's wake up time with his toy "Baby".

Tony and Cuba waiting for their morning walk.

Down the driveway!

Pure joy running on the morning dew covered lawn.

Starting the exploration:

Their favorite place: What do you think? A fun assignment. Try it yourself with Topaz Impression.

 


Landscape Photography: September 2014 Photo Tips

August 28, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Landscape Photography:

1. Look for bad weather with great skies before a storm as well as the post storm quiet. This gives you freedom to go beyond the golden hours of predawn and dusk. Protect your gear with a shower cap or just dry off with a towel when done shooting.

Even rainy days can present unique opportunities. Try shooting through your windshield for a unique blurred water look.

2. Trust your instinct. If a site looks inviting, explore it further looking for angles and the direction of light to enhance the effect you envision. Walk around. Apps will help you predict sunrise, sunset and moonrise. I recommend TPE, The Photographer's Ephemeris.   Here is a link to a good review of Shooting the moon with help from this app.

3. Learn to tell a story or awaken the viewers imagination. Look for a strong element in the foreground to anchor your image, mid ground to balance and give direction, while choosing a background that will tie it all together and set the stage.

4. Capture an impression of what you see using light, movement and all your camera settings. Control of aperture and shutter speed (actually shutter duration) will provide the necessary tools if you take control. Supplementary fill flash of the foreground may be helpful to add interest to the foreground. Adding texture or other painterly effects can help.

5. HDR (High Dynamic Range) is another tool you can utilize to show the full tonal range of an image. By capturing multiple images in rapid succession in aperture priority with a fixed aperture but with varying Shutter Speed you can produce an image that your eye can see but the camera cannot yet capture effectively in one shot. Set up for 3 to 5 exposure bracketed shots (each varying by one f stop for under, correct and overexposed images) on Continuous High with a tripod or steady handhold. Process these images in Photoshop with merge to HDR, NIK HDR Efex Pro or Photomatix Pro.