Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Classic Beauty | Beth

I decided I needed to focus more on beauty shots and lighting.  I have been really inspired by actresses from the 40's, 50's and 60's.    I love the classic look, the beautiful lighting, and the black and white.  Here is my tribute to the classics.  Here is Beth.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sneak Peek: Classic Beauty | Beth

I am so excited for my new series, Classic Beauties.  I am inspired as of late by wonderful, beautiful and talented actresses from the 40's, 50's and 60's.  I love the lighting, I love everything about them.  Here is Beth's sneak peek because I just couldn't wait to post them. More to follow!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Composition 101

Alright, so, I have had a few requests for a composition tutorial.  The main rule of composition is the rule of thirds.

The idea is that you can divide the image into 3 equal horizontal sections as well as 3 equal vertical sections, like so:

When the lines intersect that point is where you want your main subject to be.  It could be the eye of the person you are photographing

or where the building is set

or where the bee is sitting on his flower

This is giving your subject more emphasis.  You know the pictures that you or someone you know take with the persons head right smack dab in the middle of the picture with tons of head space above and little of their body?  Not so appealing most of the time.  I have, however, seen this done once where it totally worked and was beautiful.  You have to know the rules in order to break them effectively.  I do not always follow this rule of thirds, but most of the time I do and it is second nature.  I did it even before I knew the rule.  To me, it just looks better, and then I learned that it is a rule.

I mean it says "rule" but I sometimes like to break rules.  If you CHOOSE to break this rule, just be careful and make sure it is still going to have the desired effect you want.  I mean, play around with this and see what you like better.  Ask others to critique your work for you, but when asking others be sure to ask someone with similar knowledge to get a educated critique.  Sometimes I find when asking just anyone I get a lot of focus on how cute the model is instead of is this compositionally sound and does it draw you into the right spot, etc.

This is not the only rule in composition.  There are others that help you to have a compositionally sound image.

Framing.  You can use buildings, trees, balloons, or just about anything to frame your subject.  Although, I think rule is too strong.  This is a good tool and an excellent option for bringing your attention straight to your subject.

In this image I used the tree branches to frame my evil queen in my Snow White shoot.  Your framing can be subtle or dramatic.  I mean, you could have a frame that is an actual frame, or use a window.  There are so many options.  Try something new and maybe a little zany.  See how it works for you.

Leading lines.  In my very first photography class back in middle school we learned about leading lines.  A leading line is something that creates a line leading your eye to your subject.  An excellently composed image should be able to lead your eye directly to your subject.  If there are more than one focuses in your image your lines should flow to lead you from one to the other and back again.  

In this image below the box is creating the lines that draw your attention to the bucket which when you follow the circle brings your attention to the rings.  Now for a ring shot you usually want the attention to immediately go to the rings but this one I wanted to take you all over so you can see the decorations as well.  

Simplicity.  Try not to over do it with information in your images.  To much information is confusing.  Your viewer will not know where to look and will likely just look away.  So, when getting started in the photography world, keep in mind, the rule of thirds, leading lines and simplicity.  There are a lot more rules and guidelines to photography but focus on these for your composition and you will not go wrong!

Here is another site with some information on composition.  He adds more rules than me but I don't think color is a rule since I like black and white, but when shooting color it is a good idea to keep that in mind too.  http://www.picturecorrect.com/tips/photography-the-rules-of-composition/

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Local Beauties

Here is a just for fun photo shoot of some local beauties.  I found three adorable girls all 4 years apart, 3, 7, and 11.  We got together on a gorgeous Saturday morning just after 9am.  I had just gotten my lens fixed and wanted to play with it since I had not shot with it in over a year.  It was fun.  The girls were wonderful and the light was excellent.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Sunrise, sunset Part 3

The third and final tutorial on lighting using sunrise, midday and sunset.  These are.... Sunset. ;)  

What you will need for these shots:
-of course a camera (dslr with manual settings)
-reflector (remember the foam core boards at Michaels for $2.80 work just as well as an expensive reflector)

You will want to decide what you want out of this shoot.  For instance, do you want it back lit? Side lit? full frontal lighting?  Of course you can have it all but it is best to imagine what you want out of your shoot BEFORE you go in to start photographing.  Especially if you are photographing small children.  They only have so much patience for the camera and it is best not to waste that trying to figure out what you want because by the time you know, they will be ready to go home.  

I went into this shoot knowing I wanted the back lighting to give a nice golden hair light.  What is great about sunset pictures is the golden hue you get.  If you don't like the golden hue, don't shoot at sunset.  Sunrise would be better or even midday (remember with mid day to use a diffuser to eliminate those harsh shadows). 

Here's how I set it up.  Sun in the back and slightly to the right and the reflector directly in front of her.  I had helping hands but you could always find something to prop it up.  These images were taken at 6:30 pm.

 Here is the finished piece!  It took a lot of persuasion and a lot of clicking to get this shot but once we convinced her to stay put and asked her to show me her pretty dress she grabbed one side of it and started swaying left to right.  I clicked away and got this beauty.  I did minimal editing by sharpening adding a little contrast and very low opacity on some color enhancement.

Next is another shoot a little later in the evening, just as the sun was setting, about 7pm-7:30pm

 Here's the set up.  Again I had helping hands.  I used the gold side of my reflector to add even more warmth to the images.

 These images the reflector was to my left.  I shot with many different angles while she played, frolicked and dances in the prickly grass.

As I am sure you noticed, these last images are more golden than the ones taken at 6:30 pm.  As the sun sets it casts a more golden light as well as with the help of a gold reflector you get a yummy color.  The image on the left was just before the sun disappeared. 

Now get out there and shoot! :)