Judith Monteferrante Photography: Blog http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog en-us (C) Judith Monteferrante Photography. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED judith@judithmphotography.com (Judith Monteferrante Photography) Sun, 06 Apr 2014 17:01:00 GMT Sun, 06 Apr 2014 17:01:00 GMT http://www.judithmphotography.com/img/s8/v81/u301397341-o507391668-50.jpg Judith Monteferrante Photography: Blog http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog 120 120 Photography of Musicians http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2014/4/photography-of-musicians Photography of Musicians:

1. Strobes (or Flash) vs. Available Light:

During a performance, flash is typically avoided due to its distracting effect. Occasionally off camera flash on a light stand on stage is allowed, but don’t overwhelm the stage lights. Use  Spot metering mode on the main musician’s face which should be in the light since the background is best left dark. Using aperture priority, an aperture of F/4-5.6 is a good starting point, but you may need a wide open aperture of F/2.8 with a fast lens. This will limit the DOF (depth of field), but keeping the performers in one plane will help. Usually a high enough ISO to allow a reasonable shutter speed should be quite doable if you have a fairly current low noise hi ISO camera. If not possible, seize the effect of motion or learn to anticipate pauses and shoot then. In the studio, I shoot with 4 to 5 strobes and always in Manual mode with F/8-11 typically and 1/125, with an ISO 200 (to 400). I meter the foreground and background with a hand held light meter and adjust the lights accordingly. If using a white background, overexpose it by one to one ½ stops. If black, keep light off the background for pure black.

2. On Location: During an indoor performance, learn to keep quiet and keep a low profile. Look for simplicity and avoid distracting elements in the frame as much as possible. Keep to the side to separate the musicians from their microphone. Try to show the interaction among the musicians. Capture the musicians enjoying themselves; their “music face”.

3. Prepare: Creativity is a must and look for a theme or storytelling quality. Plan ahead with some possible scenarios. Listen to your client regarding what their needs and ideas are. Props are important and may be instruments, microphones or items of clothing such as jackets or hats. Push the limits for possible poses. Keep in mind the style of their music and the instruments they use. Meet with them in advance and review some possibilities. Note their hair color since if dark haired against a black background they will benefit from hair light. Have at least a dark and a white background with possible gels to add color. Prepare as much as you can in advance. I test some lighting scenarios on myself the day of the shoot.

4. Clothing: Solid colors without logos or patterns are the best. At least two changes of clothing – one relaxed and one more formal with choice of dark and light outfits. Dark or black clothing against a dark background is slimming. Keep tones and styles similar if shooting 2 or more people. Avoid sleeveless tops except for the young – long sleeve is best. Avoid lots of jewelry. Simple casual clothes such as jeans and a white or black T shirt are timeless.

5. Expressions:  Look for facial expressions and posture. Vary the positions and have some looking at the camera, some looking away, some looking at each other.  With or without their instruments. Some contemplative, some smiling. With and without singing and or playing. Make it a two way conversation.

judith@judithmphotography.com (Judith Monteferrante Photography) Photography instruction bands concerts musician photography musicians photo tips photography tips portraits studio http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2014/4/photography-of-musicians Tue, 01 Apr 2014 12:00:00 GMT
Spring into spring with Flower Photography http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2014/3/flower-photography
  • Vary your depth of field (DOF = Zone of acceptable sharpness) to see what looks best. Get close to your flower and have a background that is distant from your flower with nice muted or complementary shades. This first cone-flower at f/9 (more wide open aperture) has a softer background than the one shot at f/22 with the same 105 mm macro lens (focal length). OR use a more telephoto lens zoomed in at 200 or 300 mm while able to be more distant from the flower. The key factors that influence DOF: aperture, focal length and distance to the subject.     
  • Change your position. Don’t just shoot down on a flower or flowers. Look at them from below or from the side. Early morning dew as on this tulip adds to the dreamy quality. You can bring a spray bottle to help if nature disappoints. Adding glycerin to the water will help produce larger droplets.
  • It wind is your enemy, go with it. Try long exposures on a tripod to capture the flowers motion in the wind. Or hand hold and zoom your lens in or out while twisting the camera to produce this effect (Spin-Zoom).
  • Find an object of interest in or around your flower to spice up your image. Here this green tinged insect brings in the background colors.
  • Look for abstract or graphic elements. These colorful roses add a softness or drama to the rose petal curves. B&W will bring out the texture.
  • ]]>
    judith@judithmphotography.com (Judith Monteferrante Photography) Flower photography Photography instruction flowers photo tips photography tips spring summer http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2014/3/flower-photography Sat, 01 Mar 2014 18:51:16 GMT
    February 2014 Photo Tips http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2014/1/february-2014-photo-tips Here is another review of some of my older images that I liked. I then analyzed them looking for why and how they worked for me. You should do this too on your images.

    1. What do you do on a dull gray day with haze, fog or mist? Add a tint. This is easy to do in Lightroom by adjusting the White Balance (WB) with the temperature slider towards yellow to add warmth or the tint slider towards magenta. WB can be adjusted the same way in Camera RAW in Photoshop, or you can add an adjustment layer to modify the hue/ saturation, add a tint to Black & White, or pick a color for the Photo Filter or choose a warming or cooling filter among other choices. 
    2. It is hard to expose for the Landscape and the Moon. This African scene from the shores of the Zambezi River works however with the orange harvest moon and the darker tree with the darker grassy hill. However typically to expose properly for both as well as to maintain the size of the moon your mind sees, it is best to shoot each separately. Use a telephoto lens to zoom into the moon and just expose for the moon alone and then zoom out and shoot a wide angle scene to include the moon.  Afterwards in Photoshop, just exchange for the larger and properly exposed moon.
    3. What do you do with back lit scenes too distant to use fill flash? Create a silhouette. In aperture priority, use – 1 to – 2 exposure compensation to allow the silhouette to go completely black. You can still adjust the black point afterwards as well. You do need a clearly recognizable figure for a silhouette to work well.
    4. Photography of glassware has special lighting requirements to add the black or white line to the edge of the glass. First you need to be in a darkened room to avoid reflections on glass. White Line: Against black, add white foam core to the edges of the scene with black foam core or other background directly behind the glass. Light only the white edges. This can also be done by using a white sheet or translucent material as the white and then lighting it from behind. Black Line: is the reverse. Just light the white foam core or the translucent material behind the glass with the light (or just use a softbox as your white panel). Add black material to the edges or just the absence of light to these areas will create the black line.
    5. Reflections will be crisp if you use plexiglass – black, white or mirrored. Reflections enhance the dimension of a still life. If you just use glass over white or black paper, there will be a double line in the reflection, due to the refraction by the thickness of the glass. 
    judith@judithmphotography.com (Judith Monteferrante Photography) Black line Judith M Photography Judith Monteferrante creative photography glassware photo tips photography tips reflections silhouette white line http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2014/1/february-2014-photo-tips Fri, 31 Jan 2014 22:45:00 GMT
    January 2014_Photo Tips_Wildlife Photography http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2014/1/january-2014_photo-tips What makes animal or any wildlife photography special? What makes someone want to linger over an image? Emotion or feelings provoked by the image are often responsible. Memories also induce our minds to wonder, while good composition leads the way.

    Let’s review six key elements that I believe add to this magic: eyes, patterns, reflections, action, environment and/or the young.

    1. The Eyes have it! It has been said that the eyes are windows to the soul. Eyes draw us in and evoke an emotional response. Eyes (or near eye) need to be in focus and best if shooting at their level and not down. Eyes need to be at a good location according to rules of composition. For example, at an intersection point on the grid for the Rule of Thirds or in the top 1/3rd if a head shot or head and shoulders. A catch light is important as well, since this conveys a spark of life and a connection. Front lighting, flash with the white card up or using the focused flash beam with or without the Better Beamer to extend this distance.
    2. Patterns or Symmetry create a graphic pattern. Learn to look for patterns and shapes. Zebra stripes are like fingerprints, and are unique for each animal. If the message of the image is this pattern, think of what distracts from this. Color does, so convert to B&W with a definite white and black point but minimal in the mid-range (or grey tones). If the grey tones remain, you would just have a color photo with the colors removed. Black and white often reveals more about the subject by enhancing contrast and texture with control of the position of your light. Silver Efex Pro 2 has some great presets to try. Toned images such as Sepia add warmth and an old world feel. 
    3. Reflections double the impact. Look to shoot after a rain storm or near a quiet body of water such as a puddle, pond or lake without sun shining directly on the water.
    4. Look for Action that you can either freeze or blur. Avoid shooting when animals are eating with their head down or resting, usually mid day. Most activity occurs in the early hours of the day or around dusk. When light levels are lower, it is easier to use a slow shutter speed and pan. With mid day light, freezing the action is much easier. Typical shutter speeds to freeze action would be 1/125 for large animals, 1/250 for medium animals, 1/500 for small animals or large birds and 1/1000 for small birds. Use continuous servo Auto Focus with predictive focus tracking and Continuous Low or High speed shutter release mode to follow action. Choose the auto focus area mode, such as Dynamic to track action and select 21 focus point option! Read your manual, since options will differ depending on your camera. Panning for Motion requires a slower shutter: 1/60, 1/30 or slower and may require a low ISO, stopping down to a small aperture such as f/22-32 and / or using a Polarizing or ND filter. Target the subject’s shoulders or torso and keep the panning vector aligned with the animal’s direction of travel. Set for high speed shutter release, and move smoothly through he series, continuing the pan even after you releasing the shutter button. Turn off vibration reduction during panning. Lots of trial and error here. 
    5. Sense of place will help you tell a story. Environment is important in setting the stage and to create a sense of place. Dusk and Dawn, the Golden Hour, has always been important for the photographer, and getting up early and staying out late is typical. During the golden hours, the sun is at an angle where it will illuminate mist, fog or dust, giving you a great golden glow when the weather conditions permit it.  It is best to avoid cluttered background either with your position, by zooming in or by using a more shallow depth of field (shooting wide open – one or 2 stops smaller than the max aperture: such as f/4 to f/5.6 with an f/2.8 lens).
    6. Everyone loves a baby or a family scene. Plan your trips around the time of year young can be anticipated. This generally means spring in the US but the opposite for Africa. For example on the Serengeti most of the wildebeest calves are born during a three week period, usually the beginning of February. The lioness will share the task of raising young with her sisters and multiple sets of cubs may be seen at the same time especially during our fall in Kenya.
    judith@judithmphotography.com (Judith Monteferrante Photography) Photography instruction animal photography bird photography nature photo tips photography photography tips wildlife http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2014/1/january-2014_photo-tips Wed, 01 Jan 2014 15:00:00 GMT
    December 2013 Photo Tips http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2013/12/december-2013-photo-tips Winter Photography Tips:

    1. Remember the three basics to getting a good shot: SAS – concentrate on the SUBJECT then see how you can draw ATTENTION to that subject then SIMPLIFY by making sure nothing is in the shot that will distract. Avoid having the horizon dead center, remember the rule of thirds and look for leading lines which will draw the eye into the photo. _-4
    2. Exposure challenges with snow: The modern digital camera has a very accurate matrix or evaluative through the lens meter (TTL) that measures the light reflected back adjusts for average luminance (50% lightness or middle grey). Therefore snow may meter too bright if it is a large part of your image. The camera exposure in aperture priority or shutter priority may then compensate and make the snow more light grey. You want the snow to be pure white and slightly overexposed.  The color balance may appear blue tinged (will suggest the cold but may be not what you want). Therefore when shooting in aperture exposure mode, add +1/3 to 2/3 exposure compensation if needed and perform an in camera White Balance for the most accurate color or just use a Cloudy white balance to warm up the Blue if desired. Avoid Auto White Balance.
    3. Cold protection: Remember to dress in layers, wear hi tech snow boots, a hat, and gloves made for cross country skiing or, if planning an all-day shoot, use ice climbing gloves. Keep your spare batteries warm in an inner pocket of your snow jacket and pack plenty of them, since the cold will discharge batteries much quicker. Avoid breathing on your lens. Breathe through your mouth to avoid getting condensation on your viewfinder. When going from a warm to cool place or the reverse, protect your camera and lens with a sealed plastic bag lined with a white towel inside to absorb the condensation. This may take a few hours. Keep the gear in your car when working covered with a white towel when out of the bag. Choose a memory card suited to extreme temperatures. Avoid changing lenses in winter weather.
    4. Great Skies: In the winter, dawn and dusk still add wonderful color and mystery to your photos. Grey skies can add drama. Plan on shooting during a snow storm or right after one for the most mystery and controllable light. Avoid full sun or mixed and dappled light for a landscape with snow. Niles Beach in winter
    5. Remember foreground, mid ground and background elements: Zoom out or stand back to look for foreground elements to balance out the photo and add interest or flow to the rest of the image.
    judith@judithmphotography.com (Judith Monteferrante Photography) Judith M Photography cold cold weather landscapes photo tips photography seasonal snow winter winter photography http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2013/12/december-2013-photo-tips Sun, 01 Dec 2013 18:15:00 GMT
    November 2013 Photo Tips_Portrait Photography Deadly Sins http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2013/10/november-2013-photo-tips Five Six deadly sins to avoid in Portrait Photography:

    1. Wrong focus point:  Focus on the eyes or the eye closest to the camera. For head and shoulder shots, eyes should be in the top 1/3rd of the view. Eyes are the window to the soul and give the portrait life! Also position the camera at the same level as their eye line or slightly below. If they are too tall, have them sit or you can move further away and zoom in. This is essential for children and pets as well. If doing a group photo, keep everyone in the same plane (equal distance from the camera) to give you more option in the choice of aperture (f/stop) and still keep everyone in focus. This concept is also important for macro photography.
    2. Lack of attention to the Background: Unless you are doing an environmental portrait where the background helps tell the story, pay attention to the background to avoid distracting from your picture. Distance from the background is important (greater is better- as much as 10 feet if possible) as well as adjusting the depth of field to blur the background (create Bokeh by using a wide open aperture such as 1.4 or 2.8 - remember proper focus will be even more important). Or get closer and have the subject fill the frame.
    3. Using the wrong lens: Again, unless using a wide angle lens close to the subject to capture the environment as above, avoid wide angle lenses since they distort (such as making the nose more prominent). Stepping away from the subject and use a telephoto lens such as 200-300 mm is the most flattering and is used by fashion photographers. Some portrait photographers favor the 85 mm prime lenses (with FX - or full format cameras) or 100 mm macro (if a DX format - digital cropped camera) but most prefer a focal length from 120 to 200 mm.
    4. Taking boring, routine portraits: Get to know your subject before you start shooting. Ask them to bring a prop from their hobbies or profession, or just something that is important to them. An interesting location or great textured wall or background may be another option to consider. Turn the camera and shoot vertical (portrait orientation). A simple flower, fruit or favorite hat may help bring out the soul of the person and enliven them and thus the picture. Change perspective or add a slant; mix up your style; try something new. Remember your goal is to bring out their personality and character.
    5. Poor posing techniques: Most people are intimidated by being in front of the camera, so make them feel comfortable first by just chatting. Guide them into some attractive natural appearing poses and avoid having them sit squarely facing the camera. Good posture is always important. Start with having them facing 45 degrees away from the camera and then have them turn their head to face the camera. (45 degrees is a good angle to remember)  Another is to sit sideways in a chair with the legs angled.  Watch the position of their feet and hands.
    6. Poor lighting: Choice of light will enhance or soften features, so this is another crucial aspect. Avoid outside locations on a sunny day unless early morning or dusk or just look for shady spots. Cloudy days are more forgiving. If using flash, all your portraits will be vastly improved by taking the flash off the camera and positioning the flash or any light source to one side at around 45 degrees and slightly above the subject pointing downward like the sun. Window light (with sheer fabric or frosted shower curtain softening it if it is a bright sunny day) should also come from around 45 degrees from your subject so that light can illuminate while shadows define. If they are facing the window directly, light will be flat which may be useful to soften wrinkles. Beauty light is similar with a piece of white foam core or fabric held at any angle below the frame of your picture and angled upward towards the chin, to eliminate harsh shadows or soften them.
    judith@judithmphotography.com (Judith Monteferrante Photography) Fine Art Photography Judith M Photography Judith Monteferrante Portrait Photography background creative photography focus lens lighting photo tips photography photography tips portraits posing http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2013/10/november-2013-photo-tips Thu, 31 Oct 2013 17:15:00 GMT
    October Photography Tips_2013 http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2013/9/october-photography-tips_2013 This month I thought I would review some of my older images. This was prompted by 2 recent sales of some of these prints -from Africa – both of zebras. It is always a good idea to review old images and consider carefully what worked and what didn’t work to gain perspective. It is also a good time to fine tune techniques.

    1. Solarization or polarization effect – Sabatier effect-  with Photoshop and a curve adjustment level to create a colorful background for my “Motherhood” image of a pregnant zebra mare with young zebra from my first trip to Africa. The zebras were masked to exclude the effect on them. This effect was popularized by the surrealist photographer Man Ray in the early twentieth center. This occurred when his darkroom assistant accidentally turned the light on while a print was in the developer causing a partial reversal of the tones in the image. Using a Photoshop curve adjustment level with an inverted V and the other adjustments OR use a duplicated image and blend with the Difference mode can also work. I do not think PS filters work as well. Different images react in different ways, so experiment. 
    2. Digital Infrared (or Infra Red) photography – with my old Nikon D2 converted to an IR camera by LifePixel which they did by removing the IR blocking (hot mirror) filter in front of the sensor and replacing it with a filter that removes visible light. (These conversions work best on older cameras).  I had a color IR conversion done, so I need to convert my images to B&W or reverse the channels so the sky remains blue and ground is red-orange. I prefer B&W. This “Woods effect” is caused mainly by foliage that strongly reflects so that it appears white while the Sky appears dark black. Focus is less sharp. Landscapes work best. People appear soft and veins become prominent.  Pepsico stroll
    3. Light Painting a Landscape or Structure at Night – using long exposures, prefocusing then switch to manual focus, tripod, remote shutter trigger and then lighting part of the subject during the exposure (flashlight or multiple on the flash itself triggering of the flash). This photo was taken late at night during a light drizzle, no other light source anywhere near the scene and total cloud cover. I was surprised to see stairs when I reviewed my images later. Shutter Speed 30 seconds, but longer SS usually needed, f/8 and ISO 400 are starting guidelines. If very long exposures are anticipated, use a higher ISO to freeze the stars. My exposure for this picture was Shutter Speed of 5 seconds (which really is duration), Aperture of f/2.8, ISO 200, 0 EV. Lots of trial and error. Remember to choose a setting with minimal if any available light. Bring a headlamp for setup, but then need to turn it off. The first to try this was Pablo Picasso. Again, experiment and always have fun! 
    4. HDR – I am not a big fan of HDL but some images with a wide range of light benefit from HDR. My newer Nikon camera can now do this in camera but requires a switch to jpeg format first. Photoshop as well as other vendors speed the post processing. Enough said. Lots to read if you are interested. May work even better on your B&W images. 
    5. B&W landscapes – photographed in color and then converted to B&W. Today, there are so many ways to convert to B&W but I usually use Nik Silver Effex Pro recently. This is an individual choice. Shoot in Raw format and look for lines, shadows, shapes and patterns as well as side lighting to enhance texture. Remember to keep the wide tonal contrast range with a black point for some pure black and white point as well as varying tones of grey. 
    judith@judithmphotography.com (Judith Monteferrante Photography) Africa Fine Art Photography Judith M Photography Judith Monteferrante black and white photography creative photography photo tips photography tips http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2013/9/october-photography-tips_2013 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 12:00:00 GMT
    September Photo Tips 2013 and the Making of the Lismore Castle Book http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2013/8/lismore-castle-ireland-and-september-photo-tips  

    Were were all invit...
    By Judith Monteferrante

    The link to the book preview to "Once Upon a Time, We were invited to a Castle"  Lismore Castle in Ireland. Take a look! Full preview available.

    September High Five Photo Tips:

    1. Ideally travel light: one body (unless you have the room for a spare), enough memory cards, and a lightweight monopod. My favorite is a roller camera bag. Remember you need to protect against heat, cold, sand and moisture. Extra trash bags come in handy. I don’t like to carry extra weight, and would rather walk around just with the camera and lens for freedom, and leave all the extras in the hotel or car.Ballroom Dining

      2. Travel opens up a wide scope of genres for the avid photographer to explore, and choice of lens or lenses is important. If you can select one glass, opt for a fast zoom such as an 18-200mm DX or 28-300mm FX etc. Sometimes you’ll find the focal point far off in the distance, but other times it could be right under your nose, as such a variable focal length lens that starts with a healthy wide angle and follows through to telephoto is ideal. If you have extra room or would prefer a wider choice consider: a portrait prime lens (e.g. 50mm or 85mm), a wide angle lens or fisheye (e.g. 10-24mm) and a telephoto (e.g. 70-200mm or 80-400mm).Castle from Blackwater River with Reflections

    3.  Shooting in RAW will offer the greatest flexibility on your return and highest resolution files. It is best to download your images to a laptop or photo storage device every night which will also allow a quick review to make sure all your settings are ok. When you go off shooting, take twice the amount of cards/capacity with you than you would expect to need as well as spare batteries, lens cleaners and a towel if it rains to dry your camera and a pillow case to protect your camera from sand if needed.Irish Countryside

    4.  Each night, after a busy day with your camera, take the time to add keywords and locations of places, people and activities featured in your photos while still fresh in your memory.Candlelight Dining

    5. In choice tourist destinations, it can be difficult thinking of novel ways to shoot recognizable landmarks and sight-seeing subjects. I prefer to focus on originality and plan for a story I want to tell. My Lismore Castle Book is one such example. This helps me plan what shots I took each day, remembering to get the long views at different times of the day, macro and detail shots and enough people and location shots to anchor the story. Take a look at the book preview on the link above to see what I mean.Night view of the Castle

    judith@judithmphotography.com (Judith Monteferrante Photography) Judith M Photography Lismore Lismore Castle Lismore Ireland Photography instruction castle creative photography photo tips photography photography tips river. http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2013/8/lismore-castle-ireland-and-september-photo-tips Mon, 26 Aug 2013 16:00:00 GMT
    July - August 2013 - Upgrade to Lightroom 5 http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2013/7/july---august-2013 Why you should upgrade to Adobe Lightroom 5? :

    1. The Spot Removal brush - which is really an advanced healing brush - has been greatly improved and works more like the content aware healing brush in Photoshop. You can paint over the entire defect in a continuous motion and then even adjust the correction source. Terrific! On the bottom of the picture, you can check visualize spots: then adjust the size to help locate spots by edge detection on smooth surfaces, the sky, dust on tables, etc. Very helpful. See example below.
    2. The Graduated Filter has always been one of my favorite additions to Lightroom. Now there is an additional Radial Filter,  that gives more control to global and localized adjustments such as off center vignettes and adding highlights, which is an improvement over the Adjustment Brush tool. See below.

    1. Perspective can now be fixed with vertical correction and also level to correct the horizon easily with the new Upright Tool. In the Lens Correction module>Basic - check Enable Profile Corrections (don’t check remove chromatic aberration) and check auto, level, vertical or full depending on the image. If not enough and you need more control, select Manual on the top bar.


    1. If you would like to work on your files on a laptop (such as after a shoot while traveling) or on a work computer without the original Hard Drive connected, you can create Smart Previews (at time of download or after) that will allow you to work in the Develop module without the original images. These are 20% of the size of your original files and allow for faster downloads and then you need to create only standard previews. When you re-link to your hard drive, it will update your original files and connect them with your develop or metatadata updates keeping the smart preview and the original.

    Orchid duet

    1. Some additional Notes: Negative Sharpness reduces apparent depth of field while negative clarity creates softening. Audio and video can now easily be added to slideshows, even on a PC. And the best part, all your settings and presets from the prior version are remembered. On MAC however make sure you check - store presets with catalog. Plus the Book module has been greatly improved. Great! Lightroom 5 is priced at $149 as a standalone purchase, with upgrading pricing of $79 available to current Lightroom users. Subscribers to Adobe's Creative Cloud service will also receive access to Lightroom 5 with their memberships.
    judith@judithmphotography.com (Judith Monteferrante Photography) Fine Art Photography Judith M Photography Lightroom 5 Lightroom upgrade photo tips http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2013/7/july---august-2013 Mon, 01 Jul 2013 17:00:00 GMT
    June_Capturing Sharp Photos http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2013/6/june_capturing-sharp-photos
  • Use a tripod to keep the camera rigid.  Invest in a good steady but lightweight tripod such as carbon fiber one.  Manfrotto if you like clips or Gitzo if you prefer rotational twist on the legs. Next a great ball head. I prefer Really Right Stuff products for this or Arca Swiss monoball 2. Best to go into a good local camera store for help with deciding on what you need based on your camera and lens weight, as well as your height.  B&H in NY or Hunts in the Boston area.
  • Use a shutter release.  Pressing the shutter will cause vibrations than reduce the sharpness of your photo.  Use a remote – wired or remote – switch. Or use your camera’s self-timer with a short delay such as 2 seconds.
  • Mirror lock up to reduce the vibration from the movement of the camera’s mirror (if it has one) when the shutter releases. This presents more of a problem is the shutter speed is less than 1/30 second.
  • Most cameras have a sharpest aperture and it’s not at any extreme f/stop; that is when wide open due to aberration or stopped down due to diffraction. F/8 to f/11 is usually a safe bet.
  • For a moving subject, choose the shutter speed (in Manual or Shutter Priority) that is high enough to freeze the subject movement. This may require an increase in the ISO.
  • ]]>
    judith@judithmphotography.com (Judith Monteferrante Photography) Fine Art Photography creative photography photo tips photography photography tips sharpness http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2013/6/june_capturing-sharp-photos Sat, 01 Jun 2013 12:00:00 GMT
    May_People and Portraits http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2013/4/may_people-and-portraits 1. Remember, portraits are usually in the vertical orientation, so do not forget to rotate the camera out of the landscape or horizontal mode. Try both orientations since sometimes horizontal may work best! Break rules only after you understand them.BEGGAR Leave some negative space.




























    2. A great portrait does not always need the face - add mystery. Less may be more!


    3. Props or the environment are often an important part of the portrait. This includes clothing. Be aware of everything!

    motorcycle with grey hair bearded man

    4. Look for a plain or simple background. Avoid distracting the eye with a busy background or an over-bright sky. You may need to move your subject. Sometimes standing a bit further away and zooming in to throw the background out of focus will be needed for a background to be less distracting and make your subject stand out easily.


    5. Be aware of various skin tones and preset your White Balance to a neutral target (custom white balance (WB) with a white or grey WB card or by shooting a color checker WB card to correct later.


    judith@judithmphotography.com (Judith Monteferrante Photography) Fine Art Photography Judith M Photography Judith Monteferrante creative photography people photo tips photography tips portrait portraits http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2013/4/may_people-and-portraits Wed, 01 May 2013 21:30:00 GMT
    April Photo Tips_Wildlife Photography http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2013/4/april-photo-tips_wildlife-photography
  • lion cubs Be at your subject’s eye level to create an intimate environment. The worse position is shooting down on the wildlife subject. You may need to lie on the ground. Moose Peterson uses a Frisbee disc to slide on beaches to get close to shore birds. 
    Lion in B&W
  • Eye connection is important.  Eyes need to be sharp and clear, even if the rest of your subject or scene is not. A Fresnel accessory for your flash (Better Beamer) for fill light will help extend flash distance and allow you to get catch-light in the eyes even if the animal or bird is in the shade. This is the signature of a professional nature photographer.
  • Shoot with a wide open aperture – generally one to 1 ½ stop above the max aperture. Need to de-emphasize the cluttered or distracting background that does not add to the image.wide open
  • Remember the basic rules of composition. Rule of Thirds, for example, recommends you place the animal at one of the crossbars, facing into the scene and not away.leopard in B&W
  • Look at the light – the quantity, quality, direction and temperature and adjust the time, direction and place of your shoot. Move and adjust. Mid day with clear blue skies usually will not work, but a lightly overcast sky will add depth since the contrast range is within the range of most camera’s capabilities. Early or late in the day (the Golden Hours) will generally be best.elephants at dusk If you are planning an African safari, I have a pdf guide to help you plan and then experience the best photography photo safari experience. Email me if interested - from the contact page http://www.judithmphotography.com/contact.html.
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    judith@judithmphotography.com (Judith Monteferrante Photography) . Africa African safari African wildlife Fine Art Photography Judith M Photography animals creative photography mammals photography photography tips safari wildlife safari http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2013/4/april-photo-tips_wildlife-photography Mon, 01 Apr 2013 14:00:00 GMT
    March Photo Tips_ Breaking Rules http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2013/3/march-photo-tips_-breaking-rules I always say you need to know the rules before you break them! But when you do, here are some exceptions:

    1. Taking pictures in the Golden Hour around sunrise and sunset.  Requires more stamina and early to wake and late to dinner, but the light is gorgeous and an accepted rule for professional nature photographers.  Mid day is a challenge but the shadows create magical contrast and quiet more intimate scenes. There are lots of ways to counter the harsh light, but that is for another blog posting.  This is also a great time to shoot with an infrared converted camera. Always have your camera at hand, any time of day.Mid day arabian horse 2. Rule of Thirds.  This is a good start but not the only guideline for composition. It is essential however to not place the horizon line in mid image.  That is a snapshot, not a photograph. Avoid fly by shooting, where thought is not required. Slow down. Move and reposition. Back lite whales These Orca whales divide the scene but the dramatic back lighting and reflections overcome that restraint. These tomatoes are another example.tomatoes

    3. Trust your TTL (Through the Lens) camera metering. Metering is set to put mid gray in the middle of the tonal range. Therefore, if your image is mainly white, this will be metered as mid gray. Thus, the resultant image will be midtoned and the snow, grey and not white.  For a largely white scene such as a snow scape or fog scene, when shooting in aperture priority, add +1 or more exposure comp. snowed in boat winter evergreen seedlings

    4. All photos should have a bell shaped histogram and thus average.  Wrong. Every image should have its own shaped histogram depending on the tones in the image. A purely black and white zebra, will only have tones at both ends of the scales.  An image with dark to mid tones, like this cabbage and pepper abstract, will have a left shifted curve. There is NO NORMAL.cabbage and pepper abstract histogram

    5. Always shoot with the sun to your back.  Most of the above images prove that wrong and boring. Nothing is as magical as back light and as revealing of texture as side light. Move and explore the potential of light.lion, backlight, in sunset, as silhoette

    judith@judithmphotography.com (Judith Monteferrante Photography) Fine Art Photography Judith M Photography Judith Monteferrante creative photography photo rules to break photo tips photography photography tips rules http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2013/3/march-photo-tips_-breaking-rules Fri, 01 Mar 2013 14:00:00 GMT
    February Tips_Creating a Still Life http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2013/1/february-tips_creating-a-still-life During the winter, when days are short and weather unpleasant, still life photography or painting is a great project. Key elements to consider are:

    1. Tell a Story or Create a Mood or Feeling– What is the reason or objective for this still life? Why am I doing this?  Create a plot first. Warm or cool will help set the mood. Create tension or a relationship. Never forget - what is the center of interest? Is it evident? Do you want to emulate realism, abstraction, cubism, expressionism, impressionism? Lincoln with Window light
    2. Lighting - You will need to decide on whether you want to use window light, candle light, tungsten light or utilize strobe light such as studio strobes or flash. Diffuse this light with fabric, tracing paper, frosted shower curtain or with bigger lights -  soft boxes or translucent umbrellas. Light and shade are key. Keep light from one direction (like the sun).
    3. Composition – This is not a landscape! Express your point of view. Horizontal is peaceful and suggests movement while diagonals suggest conflict. Differential in height is important and a triangular shape to the object in positioning with triangular movement is one way to go. Curved and circular motion is another possibility.  Remember to consider negative and positive space. Lost and found edges will help set a mood. Soft v. hard edges will help establish a relationship in that sharp edges bring out outlines and contrast while soft edges will help enhance these sharp edge effects. Texture is another element to consider – rough, smooth, even, uneven. Remember to simply!African daisy with orange vases
    4. Materials and their arrangement – From choosing the background such as a home setting, canvas or other cloth or paper material to the objects you will display and their relationships. Surface qualities such as polished wood or acrylic will enhance reflections, while old wood or tumbled marble will not. Shapes, size and placement such as facing or overlapping, will exhibit a dramatic effect. Odd or even number of objects? Color, dark or light, tall or short, with a pattern or plain, straight or curved, large or small among other qualities, will have great effect. Remember, you are in control and the artist.peaches
    5. Traditional v. Contemporary – Traditional still life is horizontal. In times past, homes had high and small windows and artists preferred the light falling from the left. Use only one light source to mimic this traditional look. White foam core can help fill in and soften the shadows. Alter the perspective. The impressionist artist often kept the tabletop skewed.lobster feast
    judith@judithmphotography.com (Judith Monteferrante Photography) Judith M Photography Judith Monteferrante creative photography photo tips still life http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2013/1/february-tips_creating-a-still-life Fri, 01 Feb 2013 15:00:00 GMT
    January 2013_Winter Photography Tips http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2013/1/january-2013_winter-photography-tips
  • It is crucial if you are in cold temperatures to keep your digital camera cool. Do not attempt to make it warm through putting it beneath your coat or possibly in a heated place. Relocating the digital camera from the chilly to warmer heat range rapidly will result in condensation. Moisture build-up or condensation is a sure way to damage a digital camera.lobster pots
  • Even though the digital camera must be used chilled, the batteries must not! Keep spare batteries warm in your chest inner pockets or trouser pockets. If rapidly moving your camera from warm to cold or the reverse, keep your camera in a camera bag or plastic bag until temperatures equalize.ship on land in snow
  • Digital camera devices will regularly misinterpret the white balance in the snowfall. The camera meter will expose for mid grey. This could cause a greyish or blue look in the pictures. The perfect solution is always to overexpose the photo. If shooting in Aperture Priority, add +1 exposure comp and adjust as needed to maintain snow white as white.
  • Play with your macro lens and look for smaller scenes. Look at icicles, frozen wildflowers or grasses, ice formations or reflections.rose hips in snow
  • Throughout the winter season the hard storms as well as cold temperatures usually lessen the air pollution with the atmosphere. Consequently, the skies tend to be crisper. This will make for excellent aerial as well as scenic images.Good Harbor beach in the snow
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    judith@judithmphotography.com (Judith Monteferrante Photography) Fine Art Photography Judith M Photography Judith Monteferrante creative photography ice photo tips photography photography tips snow winter http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2013/1/january-2013_winter-photography-tips Wed, 02 Jan 2013 03:30:00 GMT
    December 2012 Photo Tips_ Make these your New Year’s Photo Resolutions: http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2012/12/december-2012-photo-tips_-make-these-your-new-year-s-photo-resolutions
  • Use a tripod to slow you down and allow you to think – as well as to stabilize your camera. AND review your camera manual. Learn to use all your equipment in an educated way.
    1. Learn to use your flash off camera and as fill light. Even in broad daylight, flash can improve your photography greatly. In mid-day sun, for shallow depth of field use your Auto Hi Speed FP flash settings (with minus 1 to 2 flash exposure comp) on you camera for Nikon or on the flash for Canon to allow bursts of flash despite the full sun without overexposing. If this seems daunting, sign up for my Creative Lighting course this February at North Shore Community College!  Info below.gloucester state fishing pier, fill flash, reflections
    2. Don’t be afraid of the rain or foul weather. Shooting right after the rain can add reflections in puddles and any wet surfaces that can enhance the image. Stormy clouds create extra interest.Rain at Good Harbor
    3. Wake up earlier to get morning light – right before and for about an hour after sunrise.  And/or eat later and shoot the hour before and after sunset.  However, don’t just shoot the sunset, but the scene behind you that the magical sunset is lighting! Good Harbor in early morning rain and fog
    4. Citiscapes with deep blue skies after the sunset (for about an hour) is a great time to shoot city lights at night.Manhattan Lights

    NEWS ON COURSES I am teaching:   


    1. Creative Lighting Photography  

    with Judith Monteferrante - at North Shore Community College, Danvers, MA

    Four Tuesday evenings in February, 2013 (Feb 5 through 26th) 

    For complete information, click on the link in blue above, go to the blue "Search" column on the left, click on "Instructor" and choose Judith Monteferrante.  

    Sign up now.

    2. Boston Camera Club - Creative Available Light - any light that is available. March 19, 2013 at 6 pm.  Parish House of All Saints Parish Church, 1773 Beacon Street, Brookline, Massachusetts.  Join the Boston Camera Club for monthly educational sessions.

    judith@judithmphotography.com (Judith Monteferrante Photography) Judith M Photography Judith Monteferrante Photography instruction cold weather photography creative photography photo tips photography tips http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2012/12/december-2012-photo-tips_-make-these-your-new-year-s-photo-resolutions Tue, 04 Dec 2012 18:00:00 GMT
    Photo Tips for November 2012 http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2012/11/photo-tips-for-november-2012 1. Take your photo in the best possible light. You may have heard that the best light for most photography is very early or very late in the day, when the sun is low, and the light is soft and colorful. This is a good rule to follow most of the time. Not only is the light more attractive, you can also avoid the contrast and heavy shadows of midday.

    Some subjects actually work better on cloudy days. For animals and people, cloudy weather softens the light and overcomes the problem of your subject squinting into the light. In the forest, overcast skies prevent the heavy contrast that is a problem on sunny days.

    Paddle surfer at Dusk

    2. Landscape photos: create a more interesting composition. Many photos can be made more interesting not by zooming right in on the subject, but by zooming out, or standing further back to capture more of the surroundings. The important thing is to use make sure you use the surroundings to add impact to the picture.Yosemite with Gathering Storm

    3. Sunset and Sunrise. Everyone loves taking sunset (and sunrise) photos. A brilliant sunset sky can make a great photo, but you can make it even better by looking for a good subject in the foreground. The key is to find something that stands out against the sky, with an outline people can recognize; a tree, a windmill, even a row of power poles. The subject does not have to dominate the photo; in fact it is probably best if it only takes up about ten percent of the composition so that the sky remains the starring attraction. But if you can create a striking silhouette, you will immediately add character to your sunset photograph.

    4. Animals (And People). Portrait style photos are usually spoiled by a distracting background. When you take a photo of a friend, a pet, or an animal, you don’t want the surroundings to take attention away from the subject.

    So here’s the trick. Don’t stand close to your subject and take the photo with a regular or wide-angle lens. Stand further back and zoom in with your largest lens magnification. This will have two results. First, it will reduce the area behind and around the subject that is visible in the photo. Second, it will minimize the depth of field, which means only your subject should be in focus. Anything in front or behind the subject will be out of focus, and will not cause a distraction.Lilac Breasted Roller

    5. Concentrate. Sometimes all it takes to make a photo a success is to move a little to the left or right, or zoom in or out just a little more. If you just point the camera in the general direction of the subject without thinking about what you are doing, your results will not improve. If you slow down and really examine what you can see in the viewfinder before you press the button, your success rate will improve. Simple things to look out for include; trees and power-poles appearing to grow out of the head of the subject (move yourself or the subject to a better position); litter on the ground (pick it up); aircraft or distracting clouds in the sky (wait for them to pass by); blurry branches on a windy day (wait for conditions to settle for a moment). All these things and more can ruin a photo, and they can all be remedied by taking a good look to make sure your picture has captured everything you want, and nothing you don’t want. Atmosphere and weather is so important!Good Harbor Bridge


    Tips from Andrew Goodall. Thanks!  Photos are mine. We can all learn from others. Follow my tweets for lots of great learning links.https://twitter.com/drjmonte

    judith@judithmphotography.com (Judith Monteferrante Photography) Judith M Photography Judith Monteferrante photography photography tips http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2012/11/photo-tips-for-november-2012 Fri, 02 Nov 2012 00:45:00 GMT
    High Five Photo Tips for October, 2012 http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2012/9/high-five-photo-tips-for-october-2012 1. Remember most people want to feel CALM, and strive at achieving it. Look for images that speak to you about calm and relaxation. B7W sailboat with graphic lines and calm waters 2. Simplify.  The new key to life! Or maybe always the key.Skiff in the marsh and calm bay waters 3. Consider Color or B&W.  What works for each image? B&W often appears more dramatic and graphic. 4. Find a theme! Water, sky, street, nature, men in suits, nudity in nature. The choices are overwhelming. But choose one and stick with it.  dahlia in water with bubbles against blue

    5. Shoot daily. Everyone is now a photographer and recent poll said 1 out of 125 adults say they are visual artists. Really???  Hard to believe. So what you do need to set yourself apart? Read, attend workshops, practice! Keep experimenting.

    judith@judithmphotography.com (Judith Monteferrante Photography) Fireworks Montage Judith M Photography black and white photography creative photography photo tips http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2012/9/high-five-photo-tips-for-october-2012 Mon, 01 Oct 2012 18:45:00 GMT
    High Five Photo Tips for September: Using Light in Photography and Painting http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2012/8/high-five-photo-tips-for-september-using-light-in-photography-and-painting
  • To create white lines on glassware that defines edges against black: Use 1. white panels on the sides that are lite either from behind with a large light source behind a white sheet or with a soft box OR 2. from the front with light focused on the white panels using a flag to block the light from hitting the front of the glassware.Limes with Blue Glass on Black Orange Vases with daisy
  • Using a white background panel with dark on the edges will create black lines on the edges of glass.
  • Using Plexiglas panels as a surface - in clear, white, black or mirrored - can create reflections to enhance the image.orange vase with dahlia
  • Learn to use window light creatively to enhance a mood.  In the early evening, sending a light from outside through a window (covered with sheet or frosted shower curtain – or rain) can change the mood of portrait.
  • Remember, light illuminates and shadows define. Using them effectively, will create the mood of the picture. And Light has direction. “American Gothic” by Grant Wood illustrates the use of light direction to sculpt the face adding character to the male figure while the broad lighting of the woman softens her features.American GothicMore images on my newsletter and website  so sign up now at: http://www.judithmphotography.com
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    judith@judithmphotography.com (Judith Monteferrante Photography) Fine Art Photography Judith M Photography commercial photography creative photography life photo tips produce still http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2012/8/high-five-photo-tips-for-september-using-light-in-photography-and-painting Sat, 01 Sep 2012 14:00:00 GMT
    High Five Photo Tips for July-August http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2012/6/high-five-photo-tips-for-july-august High Five Photo Tips for July-August:

    Summer Photography 
    1. Photograph the Weather! Often best right before or just after the storm.
      Nor'easter Storm
    2. Keep it simple but not too simple.  You do need a point of interest. Slow down, look and think. A tripod often helps - more then just providing a stable platform.   
    3. Be creative with Pet photography.  It is always raining cats and dogs, so take advantage. Get Down to their eye level. Create action shots by hold treats such as peanut butter or store bought treats. Horses will perk up there ears if you crinkle paper. Experiment! Beans
    4. Think! Plan and Create.  Forget drive by shooting.  
      dories in a marine area
      Beacon Marine Gold
    5. Explore the water and night sky. Summer is the perfect time to get out and expand your horizons. Get out of the box. Think and Dream. Thus, create. 

    judith@judithmphotography.com (Judith Monteferrante Photography) Fine Art Photography weather Judith M Photography pet photography creative photography http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2012/6/high-five-photo-tips-for-july-august Fri, 29 Jun 2012 05:30:00 GMT