8 Tips for Photographing Men

Posted by on Apr 22, 2016 in Fashion, Featured, lightroom, Photography Tips, photoshop, portrait, Portraiture

8 Tips for Photographing Men

When I put my hand up to write an article about photographing men, it didn’t occur to me (until I sat down in front of a blank screen) just how big a topic it actually is. While much could be written about photographing men, from lighting ratios to posing, post-processing and more, there seems to be a drastic imbalance in the amount of material devoted solely to photographing men, as compared to women. A guide to how lighting ratios can differ for men, women and children are covered in the article Lighting Ratios to Make or Break your Portrait, and Tips for Posing Men offers suggestions, along with Posing Guide: 21 Sample Poses to get you Started with Photographing Men. When it comes to context, men are photographed within the genres of photojournalism, fashion, sports, travel, wedding and family photography, and corporate portraiture to name a few. My primary genre is family photography, and I also shoot corporate portraits. There is a growing demand for more relaxed professional portraits for clients to use on their LinkedIn profiles, professional Facebook pages – even online dating sites. Clients want a portrait that flatters, showcases their personality or perhaps the type of work they do, without looking too corporate. For the purpose of this article, I’ll be talking about photographing men mostly within these two contexts. Tip #1: Include him in the consultation process This tips sits at number one with good reason. One of the most common complaints I hear in portrait photographers’ forums is that of the reluctant father/husband – the guy who turns up to the family portrait session, looking like it’s the last place on earth he wants to be. His crankiness is infectious, and makes your job of capturing all those joyful family connections close to impossible. I confess, it was one of my bugbears also until I realized how often I’d been leaving male partners out of the consultation process altogether. In every grumpy dad case I encountered, I had mistakenly assumed that the women I spoke to during consultation would communicate everything to their partners, and in turn, share with me any concerns their partners had. Following a major light-bulb moment, I started to include men in the process, and it made a world of difference. Turns out, they just want to be heard. The more you engage with a man before the shoot, the more comfortable he will be when you are wielding a camera, and the better the photos you will get. This applies whether you’re photographing a paying client, the guy next door, or your brother. Ask him if he has any features he’s sensitive about. A prominent nose, a double chin, acne scarring and a bit of a tummy are common sensitivities. Allow him to express his insecurities without feeling silly, and reassure him that you can work around these with...

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A Guide To Content Aware Fill | Is it Still Useless?

Posted by on Apr 22, 2016 in Bokeh, canon, Fashion, Featured, lightroom, Photography Tips, photoshop, portrait

A Guide To Content Aware Fill | Is it Still Useless?

Ever wanted to remove something from your photos? Stupid question. We all have, and Content-Aware Fill is one of the many tools Photoshop provides which aids us at this endeavour. Whether it be a blemish, person, car, or building, Photoshop is your friend. Content-Aware Fill, however, has often been thought of as less than useful, to putting it politely. But advances in technology have improved it drastically, so Is this still the case, and for those that don’t know, what is Content-Aware Fill anyway? What is Content-Aware Fill? Content-Aware Fill, in the conventional sense, is accessed via Edit > Fill. Make a selection around the item you want to be removed, go to Edit > Fill, and you’ll be presented with the dialog you see below. Select Content-Aware from the drop down menu at the top, click ‘OK’, Photoshop analyses the pixels surrounding your selection and perfectly removes the offending object. At least, that’s how it should work. In practise, the results can vary wildly. As well as this “conventional” form of Content-Aware Fill, you will also find it in other forms throughout Photoshop. There’s Content-Aware Scale (Edit > Content Aware Scale), Spot Healing Brush, Healing Brush, Content Aware Move and the Patch tool. To one degree or another, each of those tools utilises, what I can only assume to be, a similar algorithm. The algorithm analyses the pixels surrounding your selection (or brush strokes) and replaces those pixels, thereby removing the object. The big difference between using Content-Aware Fill via Edit > Fill Vs. any of the other tools mentioned above, is that applying the effect through Edit > Fill requires your layer to not be empty. In other words, you’ll need to duplicate your background or create a merged layer for the effect to work. That can be annoying as it increases the file size dramatically and makes maintaining a non-destructive workflow a little more problematic. However, if you insist on continuing in that fashion, at the very least use the shortcut Shift + Backspace (PC) or Shift + Delete (Mac). [REWIND: AN EASY & QUICK WAY TO REMOVE DUST SPOTS USING CONTENT AWARE FILL] As well as the blank layer annoyance, another big difference between the methods mentioned above is the ability to adjust Structure and Color. The Patch Tool and Content Aware Move tool allow this refinement, even after you have made the adjustment. Now, I’m sure some of you are going “huh!?”. Let me explain. If you head over to Photoshop and select the Patch tool (hit shift > J until it appears) you’ll see the following menu and, hopefully, ‘Structure’ and ‘Color’. Those two settings allow us to restrict Photoshop. The higher the number, the more we give Photoshop free reign to adjust either the color or structure of whatever we are editing. Pick an image, use the patch tool to remove an...

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Change Your Background To Any Color In Photoshop

Posted by on Apr 21, 2016 in Featured, lightroom, nikon, Photography Tips, photoshop, portrait

Change Your Background To Any Color In Photoshop

Whether you’re shooting a product, person, pooch or child, there may come a time when you want to change the color of your background. I’ve seen lots of different methods of doing this over the years and most are unnecessarily complex. The method I’ll show you today is quick, easy, and works perfectly. I’ll be demonstrating this on a product photo, but the same technique can be applied to any subject shot on a solid color background. The more complex your subject, the harder it will be to change the color of the background. The reason for this is you must create a very accurate mask. Things like hair and clothing can be problematic to cut out. However, there are loads of tutorials floating around with guidance on that. The more complex your subject, the harder it will be to change the color of the background, and the reason for this is you must create a very accurate mask. Things like hair and clothing can be problematic to cut out. However, there are loads of tutorials floating around with guidance on that. How To Change Your Background To Any Color And Make It Believable When changing the color of a background, it almost goes without saying that your mask will need to be very good. If not, you’ll have the outline of your old background around your subject. A dead giveaway that something has been done. You also might want to consider how your lights will be affecting the background. For this image, I’m not too fussed. It’s a product shot, and our eyes are used to seeing this type of thing. However, if it were a person I was placing on this background, it would look weird if the background didn’t vary a little, as though it had picked up some of the light from your strobes. A similar point can be made when it comes to the brightness of your subject in relation to the background. A bright, evenly lit subject will look odd on dark background. Thus editing the subject is often necessary. Having created an accurate mask around your subject, you can change the background to any color – that’s obvious and easy; although mask creation can be very time-consuming. Shadows, on the other hand, are another matter. How do you transfer the shadow from one image to another? I’ve seen people do this using Luminosity masks to select dark areas, painting shadows on, all sorts. Transfer Shadows From One Background To Another As you can see the SOOC image above is thoroughly uninspiring. My intention was always to cut it out and place it on a more vibrant background which complimented the bag. The first step with anything like this will always be to create your mask. I do not care how you do it; luminosity masks, pen tool, select focus area, select color...

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Make a Professional Wedding Album in Minutes With Fundy’s New Album Designer 7.0

Posted by on Apr 20, 2016 in boudoir, Featured, lightroom, Photography Tips, photoshop, portrait

Make a Professional Wedding Album in Minutes With Fundy’s New Album Designer 7.0

Back when I was photographing weddings every other weekend, it was common to find me editing late into the night after a full day of work at the day job. Then after hours of photo editing, I’d have to design the wedding album. For larger wedding packages, I’d hire a professional wedding album designer, but for the smaller weddings, it didn’t seem worth the extra money. Having no knowledge of how to navigate InDesign and only rudimentary knowledge of Photoshop, I ended up purchasing some wedding album design templates and painstakingly spent hours putting albums together. Oh, how I wish a professional wedding album design software like the newly released Fundy v7 were available back then… [REWIND: FUNDY ANNOUNCES NEW V7, HIGHLIGHTING NEW PROFESSIONAL AUTO ALBUM DESIGNER] Being someone who likes to just jump in and figure out things as I go – no instructions to guide me – I downloaded the beta version of Fundy Designer 7.0 software to see if it was really worth the hype. Fundy Designer 7.0 is the world’s first professional auto album designer, it is template-free but provides thousands of layout possibilities. That means I can choose the layout and then drag and drop my images in however I want them. Yes, drag and drop. This professional wedding album designer is going to change your life, wedding photographers; here’s how. (Note: The Fundy Album Designer can be used for more than just weddings. You can use it to design any type of album you wish). Image via Jay Cassario – http://www.twistedoaksstudio.com/ 1. Design a Professional Wedding Album In Minutes With The Auto-Design Feature No one has time these days. It’s a commodity in this a fast-paced world and with the amount of stuff we juggle as business owners, spouses, parents, etc. no one has the time nor the inclination to sit down and design an album – much less learn how to utilize InDesign or Photoshop to do so. I downloaded Fundy Designer 7.0, installed it (which took about 15 seconds) and opened it. The opening screen gave me the option of either choosing to have my album sent to one of the album companies on their list, design and export the album to the exact specifications preloaded in the Fundy system (there are 110+ labs and 3400 album sizes and specs within the system) or create a custom size if my album company or size wasn’t preloaded. No more digging through my preferred album company’s website and looking for the exact specs to use. I randomly chose BayPhoto, a lab I’ve used before to see what options popped up. The next screen asked me the size I wanted, they led me to choose the type of material, cover, etc. from an already populated list. So far, I’ve spent less than a minute within the design ecosystem and have used very little energy...

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How to do Light Painting Photography Art with Endless Possibilities

Posted by on Apr 19, 2016 in Featured, Photography Tips, photoshop, portrait

How to do Light Painting Photography Art with Endless Possibilities

Wikipedia defines light painting as “A photographic technique in which exposures are made by moving a hand-held light source while taking a long exposure photograph, either to illuminate a subject or to shine a point of light directly at the camera.” In essence, with a basic DSLR, a tripod, and a light source of some kind, you have endless possibilities to create unique images. This technique is a way to unleash your imagination and inner artist – this article will show you how to do it. When I realized this artistry had endless possibilities and creativity, I was in. Who wouldn’t be, right? Light painting always amazes me as to how you can create beautiful photos by simply capturing light. I started doing light painting for fun, but then it became a very therapeutic regime for me. If I was having a tough or bad day I would grab my gear, wait for it to get dark, and start painting. Some basics before you begin: You don’t need any fancy equipment. Wear dark clothes if you don’t want to be seen in the image. Typical camera settings for long exposure light painting are: Manual Mode, aperture f/3.5-5.6, exposure 10-30 seconds, ISO 100-125, lens 18-55mm. Bring a friend. While you can do light painting solo (and I often do), it’s a lot more fun with a buddy. Beginner DIY light painting tools you can make I bought all of my supplies from the dollar store, ebay, or home depot. In my kit, I currently have: Basic DSLR + wireless remote (optional) + tripod Flashlights (all different sizes) Mini keychain flashlights Glow sticks LED battery operated fairy lights (variety of colors) Hoola-hoops (regular and small) Sparklers (variety of sizes) + a lighter Steel wool kit (wire whisk, dog leash, gloves, lighter, steel wool grade #000) A variety of light sabres and flashing rave toys The first two tools that I ever made were a light stick and a light hoola-hoop. They both serve me well. For the light stick you need a piece of wood (any size you want, mine is 57×2″), tape, and one string of battery operated fairy lights. Lay out your lights next to your piece of wood and tape them on. Viola! A home-made light stick. If you use white lights, you can tint your photo with your basic windows photo gallery editor. I have two, one with white lights and one with multi-colored lights. Here are some of my top photos using just a light stick. For the second tool I made, the light hoola hoop you need: a hoop, one string of battery operated fairy lights (approximately eight feet long or less, depending on how big your hoop is) and some tape or zip ties. Tape or zip tie your lights around your hoola-hoop. Bam! Advanced light painting tools (The Pixelstick) For those of you...

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4 Steps on How to Read Images and Learn to Replicate the Results

Posted by on Apr 19, 2016 in Bokeh, canon, Featured, landscape, Photography Tips, photoshop

4 Steps on How to Read Images and Learn to Replicate the Results

Earlier, I wrote an article called: why asking what camera settings were used may not be as helpful as you think, and in it, I touched on the concept of reading an image. Learning to read images – from a technical perspective and not a conceptual one – is something that I believe all photographers must be able to do, as it allows you to get a rough guide on what settings may have been used to create an image. They won’t be the exact settings; but you’re most likely not going to have the exact same lighting environment as what a particular photo was taken in. A wide aperture was used her to achieve a shallow depth of field. Dive in to read an image To begin reading images you must have, at the very least, a good understanding of aperture, shutter speed and to a lesser extent, ISO. You’ll want to understand how these things affect the image in different ways. For example, if you saw an image with a lot of motion blur, you would know from your understanding of shutter speed that a slower shutter speed was used. As you become more proficient with lighting and off-camera flash, you can even read how the subject was lit with artificial lighting, and begin to replicate how it was done. But don’t worry! This article will be focussing on the three major aspects of photography exposure (aperture, shutter speed and ISO) to help you begin your journey to reading images. What shutter speed was used here – a fast or slow one? Step 1: Shutter Speed – Fast or Slow? I find that determining whether a fast or slow shutter speed was used first, can help greatly when it comes to determining aperture and ISO later. The first thing you will want to ask yourself when assessing shutter speed is; was it fast or slow? This can be decided by how much, or how little, motion blur is present in the image, as that is what shutter speed controls. If everything in the image is pin sharp, and there is absolutely no motion blur at all, then a fast shutter speed would have been used. However, if there is a lot of motion blur, then a slow shutter speed was used. Here are some points that you can take out of knowing if the shutter speed is fast or slow: But how fast is a fast shutter speed, and at what point does the shutter speed become slow? To answer this, think of your shutter speed in relation to your subject’s speed. For example, when photographing sports or other fast action, you may find using a shutter speed of 1/1000th is required to freeze your subjects. This is because your subjects are moving quite fast. However, if you were to photograph people walking down the street, you...

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