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Portrait

Using Costumes for Fun and Unique Portrait Sessions

Using Costumes for Fun and Unique Portrait Sessions

Halloween is no longer the one and only go-to time for dressing up in cool costumes! Costumes are catching on even with adults. When you think about it, it’s really not hard to understand why. There’s something exceedingly attractive about becoming someone else, even if it’s just for an afternoon. And if that someone is a character you admire – whether it’s Khaleesi from Game of Thrones or Carson from Downton Abbey, it can be both a thrill and a boost to your self-esteem to pull off a great costume. And naturally, if you’re going to go to all that trouble, you need photos. So why wait until Halloween or until the next ComicCon? You can get some really fun and memorable photos of the whole family at any time of year, just by combining great costumes with an awesome setting. Here’s how.
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How to Photograph Strangers

How to Photograph Strangers

There are two kinds of photographers in this world: those who take pictures of people they know, and those who take pictures of people they don’t know. Yes, I am aware that this is an oversimplification, but for a lot of people it rings very true. It’s really hard to photograph strangers. In fact it’s one of those fears that probably ranks right up there with public speaking and death.
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Shooting Portraits with Window Light

Shooting Portraits with Window Light

All indoor photographs are low light photographs. But not all indoor photographs are break-out-the-super-fast-lens-and-tripod low light photographs. In fact, during the brighter parts of the day, you may actually be able to get better photographs indoors then you can outdoors. That’s because the type of natural light you get in the middle part of the day is direct and comes from directly overhead. When you take photos in these conditions you get subjects with black shadows over their eyes and under their noses and burned out highlights or super-black shadows in other areas of the photo. When you move indoors, however, the natural light that comes in through the window is indirect and easy to control. Think of it as your own personal photography studio that you didn’t half to invest any money in. How do you get the best out of this beautiful, free light source? Read on to find out. Continue Reading »

Making People Comfortable When You Photograph Them

Making People Comfortable When You Photograph Them

Photography can be a sort of introvert’s hobby. It’s just so easy to hide behind that giant DSLR, isn’t it? And what could be more soul-searching than traveling the wilderness with your camera in hand, taking photos of wild places and enjoying the solitude?

How about taking photos of people? I know, it’s not the same thing. At all. There’s not really anything soul-searching about photographing a person who would clearly rather be doing just about anything except having his photo taken.

Portrait photography is often the domain of the extrovert – but would you believe me if I said that it doesn’t have to be? While there is definitely some skill involved in getting your subjects to relax in front of the camera, and while there are definitely some people who were born with a knack for it, it can be a learned skill. All it really takes is a couple of tried and true techniques, and some practice.
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Pointers for the Perfect Self-Portrait

Pointers for the Perfect Self-Portrait

Are you guilty of an occasional selfie? Most of us are. It’s true, we are a selfie-obsessed culture but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Self-portraits have a long history as part of an artist’s journey of self-discovery. They give us a way to try out new techniques, fail in privacy, learn, grow and adapt as photographers. They are also a way to chart how we physically change over time. Here are some items and practices that help me achieve the self-portrait I set out to create.
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How to Photograph People in Harsh Midday Light

How to Photograph People in Harsh Midday Light

Everyone loves the beautiful, diffused light of the golden hour right before the sunset, but our lives exist outside of that hour. Often, it’s impossible to avoid harsh midday light. The results are blown highlights, severe shadows, and washed out images. Luckily, it is possible to outsmart the sun and the havoc it wreaks on your photography. Here are some things you can do to improve your midday photography.
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9 Tips for Lifestyle Photography

9 Tips for Lifestyle Photography

Often times, the photographs we feel the most connected to are simple. They freeze time, a moment as it is, instead of the contrived editorial work of fashion shoots and perfume ads. Babies sitting on a shiny hardwood floor, kids in an intense game of flag football, this season’s first snowfall. These photos are so easy to connect with because they are honest portrayals of life. This is called lifestyle photography. Lifestyle photography is a genre of photography which serves the purpose of documenting life honestly and artistically by capturing authentic, usually candid moments as they happen. What that actually translates to in regards to actual photographs depends on you the photographer and your artistic vision.
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Breaking the rules: When is it OK to break the active space rule?

Breaking the rules: When is it OK to break the active space rule?

Now that you’ve learned all the rules of photography, I’ll bet this is just what you want to hear: forget everything.

Well, don’t forget everything. The “rules” are there because there’s a very good reason for them. Most of the time, you will want to follow the rules of photography because most of the time they will serve you very well.

But not all the time. That’s why I’m bringing you this series on when and how to break the rules of photography. This is rule number two on my list, or rule-breaker number two: the “active space” rule.
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Fine Tuning Portrait Poses

Fine Tuning Portrait Poses

Most of the time, when you’re shooting portraits, you want your subject to be happy with the final photo. Not all the time, because honestly we all get a little bit of evil delight from catching a misbehaving toddler in full-tantrum mode, don’t we? But other than that and maybe a few other circumstances, it’s probably safe to say that when you’re shooting a portrait the photos are not just about your subject, they are for her, too.

And let’s face it, no one wants to look bad in a photo. And let’s also face this: it’s easy to make people look bad in pictures, even when they really look very good in person. If you’re going to be shooting a lot of portraits – especially if you plan to one day make them a part of your business – you need to know the tricks to posing your subjects so that they’ll look great in those photos. Here’s how.
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Capturing Personality in a Photo

Capturing Personality in a Photo

The day of the family photo shoot arrives. The lighting is perfect, your camera settings are spot on, and the composition is perfect. You direct everyone to look at the camera and “say cheese”. You rush home to find an SD card full of stiff looking people with lots of teeth and all the personality of a driver’s license photo. What went wrong?

Sometimes we get so hung up on the technical aspects of portrait photography we forget about the subjects themselves. With visions of aperture and shutter speed dancing in our heads, we forget our job is to capture the essence of that person. We need to help them look natural and take a picture that reflects who they are. How do you do that? Read on for tips on capturing your subject’s personality.
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Photographing the Elderly

Photographing the Elderly

The elderly members of our communities are some of our greatest assets. They have seen the roar of change, the cruelty or war, the upset of recession, and the power in our humanity at work. Photographing them gives us a chance to capture the history they have witnessed and participated in but there are some distinctive challenges that are paired with reaping these benefits. Here are some tips to make photographing elderly people an overall smoother experience.
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Keeping your subjects interested (and interesting)

Keeping your subjects interested (and interesting)

If you’re a parent, you already know the situation I’m about to describe. You probably know it intimately. You’re trying to get a photo of your kids in their holiday finery, or maybe you just want a nice group shot of them on the first day of school. Or you just want to get that one best-of-the-best shot that you can send off to your far-away family. So you decide to take your child(ren) outside for a photo shoot, and it all goes downhill from there. Your kids don’t want to have their pictures taken. They don’t want to smile. They don’t want to go stand in that one place and do that one thing.

Take heart, you are not the only person who has ever had this problem. Even photographers who photograph adults have to deal with bored subjects quite regularly, because that’s just one of the hazards of taking pictures of human beings. And bored subjects usually (though not always) make for boring photographs. So what’s a portrait photographer (or a parent) to do? Let’s find out!
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How to Take a Great Selfie

How to Take a Great Selfie

If you’ve been living in a tent on the tundra or under a rock in your backyard, you may not have heard the term “selfie.” In your defense, the term itself isn’t really that old – it was coined in 2005 as a way to describe a special kind of self-portrait. A selfie isn’t usually a carefully composed image of the photographer in his studio, taken with a tripod mounted camera on the timer setting (though it can be). “Selfie” usually refers to an image that is much more informal that that, generally taken with a digital camera or smart phone held at arm’s length, snapped on the fly and usually destined for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or some other form of social media.

Now you know what a Selfie is, but have you even taken a good one?
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Soft Light in Portrait Photography

Soft Light in Portrait Photography

There are lots of things to think about when taking a portrait. You have your camera settings to worry about, the composition of the photo, and last but certainly not least the lighting. The lighting and how you position your subject with respect to the light dramatically changes the look and quality of your pictures. In some cases you may, for artistic reasons, choose hard light that casts dramatic shadows. However, if you are taking more of a standard portrait and want a beautiful result, soft light is key. Read on for tips and tricks to using soft light both outdoors and in.
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Taking Awesome Group Photos

Taking Awesome Group Photos

We can’t avoid taking pictures of groups. They are part of every company picnic, Sunday night family dinner, and school picture day. They are also the first pictures pulled out when everyone in hunched over the photo album, reminiscing about all the fond memories associated with family gatherings and nights out with friends. While they are a common part of our lives as people and artists, they can sometimes be stressful to pull off and difficult to do well. Here are seven tips to help you achieve the best possible results.
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