5 Easy Photo Tips To Create Amazing Blur Images

In most cases the main purpose in making a good shot is to make the image as sharp as possible. But there are cases, when adding movement to your pictures can result inimpressive and splendid shots. Let’s try it out.

When the object in a frame is moving, the final image is always blurred, unless the optical exposure is short enough to fix the object. The degree of blur depends on two things: how fast the object is moving and how long the exposure is.

Surely, you can’t always control the movement of an object you are shooting; still you can control and adjust your exposure to get the effect you want. That’s what we’re going to do.

That’s the effect from shooting night streets with traffic with long exposure.

traffic

In theory, everything that moves could be the object for your shooting – traffic, people, flowers in wind, animals and lots more. It all depends on your fantasy. The technique is easy, yet the results can be astonishing and amazing.

nullThat’s what happens when you shoot flowers in heavy wind with a 1 second exposure.

1. Always use the tripod. It’s obvious that when you set a long exposure it becomes impossible to shoot with your hands only. You have to show the movement of an object, not the movement of your camera.

2. Shoot on a cloudy day. Sunny days are not very suitable for such techniques for several reasons. First of all, bright lighting often doesn’t allow using long exposures. Second, bright lights make high contrast images and the exposition will be unsatisfying so you’ll lose the details.

3. Use a filter. Shooting in faint lights often can affect the color balance. Many pictures could have blue gradations for example. In this case 81A, 81B and 81C filters will do.

4. The exposure. Any exposure longer than 1\125 sec could provide the blurring effect of moving objects. Still, a small degree of blurring could be regarded as you mistake or incompetence, so pay attention. In order to get the blurring effect that looks intentionally made you can start from 1\2 seconds exposure and go on. Make some shots, experiment and practice.

5. Set your camera to the exposure priority mode (Tv), so that you could always control your exposure.


Moving objects shot using long exposure could result in totally abstract images. These black birds were shot using the 1\2 seconds exposure.

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Tips on Shooting Fireworks Display

Now that the Christmas season is coming to a near, learning to shoot fireworks might just be something you’re not gonna regret after the year ends.

So here are some tips for shooting good firework photographs:

1. You must arrive early

This is the first important thing to do if you want to get the best spot in the venue. It is even better if you spend some times to scout the location and have a little talk to the event crews to determine where the fireworks will be launched. Once you’ve got all the information needed, try to position yourself wisely. Find a clear, unbostructed view that meets your compositional requirements based on the terrain. Also try to find a place where people won’t be able to wondering around in front of the camera or worse kicking your tripod in the mid-exposure

2. Always use tripod (& camera remote control/cable release)

To be able to capture the light trail as shown as the fireworks picture above requires long exposure times ( 4-10 secs). You will definately need a tripod to do that kind of shot. There’s no way you can hold your camera for at least 5 secs without making any movement. The camera remote control is used to ensure that you won’t have to physically touch the shutter release thus eliminating the possibility of camera shake.

3. Your Focus Setting

If you have a point and shoot digital camera, try to set your camera to landscape mode which typically designated by an icon that looks like a small mountain range. This will set you lens to infinity that will free you from any focussing issues.

If you have a DSLR camera, then it’s better if you set your camera to M (manual) mode and also manually set your lens to infinity.. or in my case, with the fireworks exploding over the bridge, i tried to focus my lens on the bridge.

4. Your Exposure Setting

There’s no exact rules for your exposure settings, where shorter exposures don’t always capture the full burst and longer exposures tend to produce washed-out results. The beauty of Digital camera is that you can always check your picture before deciding the next exposure setting to get a better picture. My first fireworks picture above was shot at ISO 100 at f/16 and 8 secs.

If you have a B (Bulb) shutter speed setting you can use it to control exactly how long your shutter is open. The trick is to open the shutter right at the beginning of the burst and close it when it reaches its peak.

Using one of the suggested apertures listed below, you can use your preview to test and then compensate the aperture accordingly.

ISO 50
Aperture range: f/5.6 – 11

ISO 100
Aperture range: ƒ/8 to 16

ISO 200
Aperture range: ƒ/11 to 22

It’s highly recommended that you’re using ISO 100, which makes your correct aperture will be somewhere between ƒ/8 and ƒ/16. As I mentioned earlier, watch the first few explosions of the fireworks show in the camera’s preview. You don’t want the exposure to wash out the colors of the red, blue and green bursts. They should appear clearly, but they should show their actual color rather than wash out to a yellow/clear tone.

Riverfire Fireworks
River Festival Fireworks, Brisbane – Australia (ISO 100 at f/16 and 8 secs)

5. Always use the lowest ISO setting & Highest Quality Setting

In the digital world; long exposures, higher ISO settings, and even higher temperatures can introduce noise into your digital photographs. You can’t avoid long exposures when shooting fireworks, but you can always choose a lower ISO setting.

By choosing a high Quality-setting you will reduce the amount of compression applied to your images. Less compression means fewer image artifacts and ultimately better image quality.

6. Bring extra batteries & memory cards

Have backup batteries in the event that your primary batteries give out during the show. Also don’t get so excited in the beginning that you fill your card before the grand finale. A good finale will produce peak light, color, and excitement. So make sure you have ample storage space available. Also make sure that your batteries have enough power to photograph the finale.

Source: DPhotoJournal.com

Taking Better Candid Photography

Candid styles of photography are increasingly becoming popular both in general day to day photography but also in formal photographic situations. Last time I was asked to photograph a wedding the couple actually hired me purely to take paparazzi style shows of them and their guests throughout the day. They had another photographer for the formal shots and gave me the brief of getting a behind the scenes look of the day.

The results, when they put together my shots with the formal ones were a wonderful blend of photos that told a fuller story than if they’d gone for one or the other.

Below are a number of tips to help photographers improve their ‘candid’ photography. Please note that these tips are not about taking sneaky, voyeuristic or true paparazzi shots (ie photographing people without their permission) but rather about how to add a more candid feel to the shots you take of people that you know.

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1. Take your Camera Everywhere

Probably the best way to take spontaneous photographs is to always be ready to do so. I have a DSLR which I take out when I’m on a shoot but between shoots like to cary with a quality point and shoot camera that I can whip out at a moments notice to capture the many opportunities for a good photo that life presents us with. Taking your camera with you everywhere also helps people to be more at ease with you taking their photo. I find that my friends and family just expect me to have my camera out so when I do fire it up it’s not a signal to them to pose but it’s a normal part of our interaction – this means that they are relaxed and the photos are natural.

2. Use a Long Zoom

Obviously the further you are away from your subject the less likely they will be to know that you’re photographing them and the more natural and relaxed they’ll act. Using a telephoto lens or long zoom enables you to shoot from outside their personal space but keep the feeling of intimacy in the shot you’re taking.

3. Kill the Flash

Perhaps the most obvious way that you can signal to another person that you’re photographing them is to use a flash. There’s nothing like a blinding flash of light in the eyes to kill a moment. If possible (and it’s not always) attempt to photograph without the flash if you’re aiming for candid shots. When in lower light situations increase your ISO setting, use a faster lens, open up your aperture or if your camera has a ‘natural light mode’ turn it on. Hopefully one or a combination of these approaches will help you blend into the background a little more.

4. Shoot lots

I’ve written about this before on this site but when you shoot multiple images quickly of a person you can sometimes get some surprising and spontaneous shots that you’d have never gotten if you shot just one. Switch your camera to continuous shooting mode and shoot in bursts of images and in doing so you’ll increase your chances of that perfect shot.

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5. Position Yourself strategically

While Candid Photography is about capturing the spontaneity of a moment and getting that perfect shot at the right split second of time I find that if you think ahead and anticipate what is about to unfold in front of you that you can greatly increase the chances of getting some great shots. So at a wedding get to the church early (or even go to the rehearsal) and think about what will happen during the ceremony and where will be best for you to stand to capture each moment. Which way will people be facing? What will they be doing? What will the light be like? Thinking through these issues will save you having to run around repositioning yourself when you should be shooting images – it’ll also mean you take a whole heap less shots of the back of people’s heads!

6. Photograph People Doing things

Images of people doing things tend to be much more interesting than people sitting passively doing nothing. For one your subject will be focussed upon something which adds energy to a photo (and takes their focus off you) but it also puts them in context and adds an element of story to your image. Timing is everything in Candid shots so wait until they are distracted from you and fully focussed upon what they are doing or who they are with and you’ll inject a feeling into your shots of them being unaware and that the viewer of your image is looking on unseen.

7. Photograph People with People

Something very interesting happens when you photograph more than one person in an image at a time – it introduces relationship into the shot. Even if the two (or more) people are not really interacting in the shot it can add depth and a sense of story into the viewing of the image. Of course ideally in candid shots you’d like some interaction between your subjects as that will add emotion into the shot also as we the viewer observe how the people are acting.

8. Shoot from the Hip

If your subject is aware that you’re there and that you have your camera out they might tense up or act a little unnaturally as they see you raising your camera to the eye. The beauty of digital cameras is that it doesn’t cost you anything to take lots of shots and it can be well worth shooting without raising your camera. To do this most effectively you might want to set your lens to a wider angle setting to make up for any aiming problems you might have.

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9. Mix up your Perspective

The other beauty of shooting from the hip is that it gives you a slightly different perspective to take the shot from (ie shooting from 3 feet height instead of 6). This adds to the candid nature of the shots. In fact sometimes it’s the slightly crooked, slightly out of focus or poorly composed shots taken from this type of angle that ends up looking the best because they come across as quite random. Of course you can add all these new perspectives to your shots without shooting from the hip. Crouch down, get up high, frame your shots on an angle, zoom in close and then quickly zoom out to a wide angle, break the rules of composition etc and you will add a new perspective to your shots that can mean they look fresh and surprising.

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10. Frame Images with Foreground Elements

A trick that I often use in candid shots is to purposely include something in the foreground of the shot to make it look as though I’m hiding behind it. You might do this with by shooting over someone’s shoulder, by including a little of a tree branch or the frame of a doorway.

11. Take Posed Shots into Candid Territory

One of my favorite times to shoot candid shots is when other people are taking formal ones. This is because everyone in the shot is focused on the one element (the other photographer) – but it’s not you. If the main photographer has posed the happy couple of the day or their bridal partly look for a different angle to them to take a shot of the same subject. Often if you take a few steps to the side and shoot from almost a profile position you can get great shots. Also zooming in to take shots of just one or two of the people in a larger group at these times can work well. Also try zooming right out to take a shot of the photographer and their subject all in one. If you’re the only photographer and you’re taking formal shots a great technique is to take your posed shot and then continue to shoot after everyone thinks you’ve finished. It’s often the shots just after the posed one that are the best as people relax and look at each other.

Source: Digital Photography School

Capturing Moving Water in Photography

Rivers, waterfalls and gently babbling streams are soothing even in photographs.

We are automatically drawn to the contrast of blue and white waters passing through brilliant green landscapes, gentle fields of yellowing grass, or tumbling through grey and green moss covered boulders and rocks.

How do you capture water in motion?

Photorealistic Images:

If you permit the automatic settings in your camera to record the moving water, chances are it will opt to utilize a fast shutter speed to eliminate blur.

While this gives an accurate depiction of the moving water, it may not create the tone or texture that is desired.

Smooth Water:

By adjusting camera settings manually the appearance of moving water can be made smooth and almost “soft”. This is done by choosing a slow shutter speed.

This may require reliance on a tripod to prevent hand shake and blurriness, but the result will be dramatically different than from an automatic settings. The slower the speed of the shutter the blurrier the passing water becomes giving it the softer and opaque appearance.

Basic Shutter Speeds :

For blurry water it is best to begin with one eighth second setting and work down from there, but true smooth water usually is not available until a shutter is open for a full second or more. Also the lower the ISO on the shot the more likely the image captured is going to be satisfactory.

This is where the smallest aperture and highest f/stop will result in the slowest possible shutter speed for the ISO and lighting conditions.

Remember Distance:

The distance between the camera and the image of water it is capturing changes the effect of shutter speed on the “blur” factor. The closer the camera is to the water the more quickly the blur is captured.

Low lighting may exist within many moving water environments and this too will necessitate slower shutter speeds and even tripods.

Rely on Shutter Priority settings:

Experiment with a few shutter speed settings for moving water, and allow the shutter priority to determine the f-stop and aperture on the image.

Record which results you find the most appealing and visit other bodies of moving water to further experiment.

Don’t Limit Subjects:

remember that water flows to the sea shore in large waves and gentle lapping tides, it flows from lawn sprinklers and regularly spurts and erupts from public fountains, so experiment at many types of locations.

Moving bodies of water never present the same image capture requirement which is why photographing moving water can be such a fun and highly experimental venture.

Many photographers return to the same locations throughout the year to record the variations in plant life, water levels and to learn about photographing in the changing light and seasons.

Source: Digital Photography Tips

4 Reasons Not to Write off Shooting in Automatic

Sometimes photographers have a complex about shooting in automatic. I shoot primarily in Aperture Priority (and am not here to knock manual settings AT ALL), but I have a tender place in my heart for ol’ Auto. Here are 4 reasons not to write her off too quickly.

1. If you’re relatively new to photography.

If you’re relatively new to photography, Auto can give you a great opportunity for exploration, frankly because it’s less to think about. You have the freedom to “go out on a limb” artistically speaking that you wouldn’t be able to were you going mad metering light, selecting shutter speeds and fiddling with apertures. I really believe that photography takes a certain amount of training of the eye to fall into your personal artistic niche- you’ve got to be free to do that, no strings attached. You can’t surpass the limits of shooting Auto until you become familiar enough with your camera (and photography in general I must add) to know what they are. I shot in Auto for over a year before making the transition over. Shamelessly! The images were superb and it is very rare (like it’s NEVER happened to me once) for anyone to look at a great image and say, “Wow, but did you shoot that in Auto?” No one cares. A good image is a good image is a good image. Period.

ANY friend of mine who comes to me early on in their photography “career” asking for lessons is forbidden from shooting in any mode other than AUTO for at LEAST 3-6 months. In my mind that’s enough time to get your framing style down to the point where it’s just, for lack of a better word, automatic. . . second nature. When that happens, THEN you’re ready to explore other settings. I’ve known too many photographers who are technically off the chart but can’t frame an image worth poo. Don’t fall into that trap by plugging up the artist in you by focusing too much on the technical aspect. It will come. It will. I PROMISE.

2. It can save you when you’re just not QUITE sure.

I have a little “trick” that I use every so often.

If I’m busy shooting away in manual or AP and I’m just not 100% sure I’m nailing the shot, I’ll fire off a few frames in Auto just to be safe. That way if I’ve muffed my shot, there’s still hope. It’s been amazing for me, as it’s saved me a few times over. It’s also been great because it’s given me confidence. There’s nothing like the insecurity of not knowing if you’re really capturing what you hope you are. Yes, I know, LCD screens are helpful. But let’s just face it, they could be a whole heck of a lot bigger. Plus, if you’re shooting anything other than a 100 year old woman who couldn’t move if she wanted to, you don’t have time to check to be sure you got the shot after each frame. You’re rippin’ shots off just about as fast as you can and don’t have time to check to be certain you’re nailing each and every one. There’s nothing as depressing as coming home, uploading and finding that an entire batch is totally underexposed.

Over time you’ll come to where you’re generally happier with the images where you were the boss of your camera rather than the other way around. Mmm. That feels good.

3. The terms: Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Manual mean nothing to you.

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Awesome! Less pressure! Just don’t mess where you aren’t yet comfortable. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was Ansel Adams. Just keep pressing forward. You’ll feel inclined to learn when you’re ready. No rush. Just don’t pick your son’s first birthday party as your day of camera setting exploration. . . set a time and run a test shoot. Play it safe!!

4. Your subject won’t sit still.

Sometimes I run into issues shooting in manual when I’m doing candid shots of kiddos. They’re constantly running in and out of the light, and up and down and around and through and over and under and. . .you get the picture. I can’t switch my settings fast enough to catch them before they’re on to the next adventure. When that’s the case I click over to automatic and thank my lucky stars! She’s so good to me!! Sure if I had time and patience I could fiddle and faddle around to get the precise setting, but generally I’m working against the light, against the clock (a 1 hour sitting) and against the patience of a two year old! I’ve gotta be quick so that I have a broad selection post shoot.

Example: I shot the most darling little boy the other day at a beach that also has forest, caves and cliffs. He’s just the coolest little kid ever AND he’s got enough energy to put my 3 year old to shame (and if you know Cardon you understand that that’s REALLY saying something. . .REALLY). He was EVERYWHERE. I couldn’t fire off a shot before he was on the move again. I was going haywire trying to focus. The changing light as he would run in and out of thick forest (remember I live in Hawaii, the canopy is dense) and climbing up onto bright cliffs, was really throwing me for a loop, so I hopped on over to Automatic and yippee! She saved the day.

Source: Digital Photography School

Take Professional Looking Photos with Your Digital Camera

FACT: Even with your entry-level or semi-pro digital cameras, you are still capable of taking professional looking photos.

And here are some tips that may help you….

  • Use the vertical

The handheld camera has traditionally been a horizontal or landscape instrument. It is the way cameras are designed to be held, one of the reasons being that it is easier to hold them steady that way. But it is not the only way to take a photograph. Regular snapshots are often plagued with a boring consistency of being in the landscape format and sometimes it pays to think differently.

Landscape vs portrait format photographs

If you think the shot doesn’t look quite right, try turning your camera on its side and you will be surprised at how much of the difference it can make to your pictures. The camera might be designed in a landscape format, but unfortunately the world isn’t always suitably wide to fit into the frame. In fact, if you think about it, you probably spend most of your time behind your camera taking pictures of people, and the last time I checked people are most certainly not built in a landscape format. Make this simple change and you might be able to stand taller the next time you are sharing your holiday photos with friends.

  • Switch off that flash

One of the best developments in modern photography for the lay person has been automatic cameras. With auto-focus, auto-exposure, and auto-flash, you can safely take photos without a thought. Unfortunately to take good photos a bit of thinking can sometimes help, and the cameras can’t do it for you. They can only calculate. A camera doesn’t decide to turn on the flash because it thinks the picture needs more light, it just turns it on because a mathematical calculation shows that it needs more light. That mathematical calculation is not always right, and right or wrong the flash almost always ruins the final result.

Flash on vs off in photographs

Dead white faces, blue tinged scenes and people who look like they were caught in front of the blazing headlights of an oncoming truck. These are all symptoms of the photographs that relied too much on the camera’s judgement on flash usage. Try second guessing your machine, and rely on the miracle of natural light on some occasions. You might need to take a little extra care in holding the camera steady for longer exposure times, but you will marvel at the results.

  • Get close to your subject

Distant vs close-ups photographs

An instant way to recognize the clueless photographer is that they stand too far away from their subject. This is fine when you need to take a wide angle shot of the grand canyon with your friends dwarfed before it for effect, but most of the time it’s not. The majority of the photos you take will be about the people, and even if you want to include some of the cool background for posterity, you will find that you need less of the background than you think.

Use the miraculous zoom lens you have on your camera. Better yet, take a few steps towards those wonderful people holding maniacal grins on their faces just for you. Don’t worry, they wont bite. And what you’ll get will be photos that are much more dramatic, much more personal, and much more beautiful than those shots you’ve been getting of whole famous buildings where you need to convince people that that tiny speck at the bottom is indeed you.

  • Use the Rule of Thirds

The Rule of Thirds used in a photograph

All good images come down to good composition. Artists and designers can spend years understanding and practising the nuances of what makes a good visual composition. But since you don’t have years to take that shot as your wife/girlfriend/miscellaneous family member balances precariously on some ledge, you need a quick fix and this is one of the easier ones. The rule of thirds isn’t so much of a rule as it is a guide line. The idea is that if you drawing lines over your image to divide it into three equal horizontal rows and three equal vertical columns, you are most likely to get an attractive result if you place your major points of interest at the intersection points of the lines or along the lines.

We don’t need to analyse why this works, but know that it does in the majority of the situations. If you’re used to putting everything smack dab in the middle of the farme and turning up some very boring shots, try this out. It can be a good rule of thumb to decide on a shot, and it rarely makes things worse. Like all rules though, once you truly learn and master it, you will have a lot of fun breaking it in creative ways.

  • Save face with telephoto

By default, most cameras have a wide-angle lens. This basically means your camera can look at a very wide view of the world around. Our own eyes are not as wide-angled and a bit more “zoomed-in”. These zoomed-in views are possible in a camera using a telephoto lens. The problem occurs when you try to take close up shots of people with a wide-angle lens. Their faces end up looking funny because this is not how you can see them with your eyes. Heads become distorted, faces seem to bulge, and arms and shoulders that are closer to the camera begin to look too large in proportion.

Wide angle vs telephoto photographs

The way to solve this problem is to use your zoom lens and step back a little from the person when taking a portrait shot. This way you get a close up of the face without all the wide-angle distortion. Now you won’t have to hear all those complaints about you always ruining people’s faces in your photographs. Another relationship saved by the power of good photography!

Hope you enjoyed these quick tips. What are your secret formulas for taking good shots? Please share them by leaving a comment here. I would love to hear what you do to dazzle your friends with your photographic prowess. Keep on clicking.

Source: Samirbharadwaj.com