Camera Skills Without Photoshop

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Re: Camera Skills Without Photoshop

Postby Gulliver » Tue Sep 04, 2012 10:19 pm

Photographing people – a couple of basic tips
Mugshots are for passports, ID cards and prison records. Mugshots are those full-on straight-facing, looking down the lens shots of heads or head and shoulders. Avoid if possible - you can do better in most cases. Consider an alternative angle, Consider if you might take the shot from a higher or lower position. Does the subject have to look at the camera? Could they look at something off-camera? Or could you include something interesting in the shot which they might look at? A toy, perhaps! Or a treasured possession! Or something related to their daily work or hobby.

Backgrounds – Very many shots of people are ruined by the choice of background. You must choose either to have a simple uncluttered back-ground or a background which adds context. But a picture with an unrelated item in the background – e.g. something unrelated hanging on a wall is a disaster. Many cameras nowadays have a “portrait” mode. If used correctly, this can achieve a very effective result whereby the subject is in focus, but the background is out of focus.

Flash Shadows – Many shots are ruined by using direct flash where the subject is close to a wall. This produces a line of shadow around parts of the subject, depending upon the position of the flashgun in relation to the lens. This can be avoided either by bouncing (directing the flash at the ceiling to diffuse it), repositioning the subject, or using supplementary lighting.

Dismembered feet – how many shots have people with their feet cut off at the calves. This arises because the natural tendency of beginners (and some others) is to point the camera at the persons head when taking a full-length shot. You get a shot with a lot of sky above, and no feet. If you feel that you must point it at something, then point it at the persons naval (aka belly button). Better still, “frame” the shot, i.e. look at the shot in the viewfinder as you are taking it, and ensure that the subject is fully caught within the frame of the viewfinder, with an appropriate margin both top and bottom.
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Re: Camera Skills Without Photoshop

Postby Navanman » Tue Sep 04, 2012 10:53 pm

Gulliver
Very good points.

If I could just add 2 more to that

When taking a photo of somebody avoid having a drainpipe or ESB pole coming out the top of their head.

They say to divide the lens (picture) into 3 even spaces top to bottom and side to side (like X and O's). The subject should be either on the LHS line or the RHS line and the horizon should be either on the top line or the bottom line.

Hope I am explaining myself OK?

Am really enjoying the tips on this forum (although some of them I don't understand).

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Re: Camera Skills Without Photoshop

Postby Micheál » Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:01 am

Jemser,
Nice one of the Obelisk - you're spot on about time of day.

Its always tricky to capture an image against a bright skyline without compromising the lighting of the main subject but you seem to have overcome that with nice crisp focus and good lighting. Did you use "fill in" Flash as well by any chance? And now that Lord Malpas' monument has been restored, maybe its time for a rerun - how about a then and now image pair?

All,
I once read in a photo text book that a great way to practice with a camera is to see how many perspectives you can create of the same subject. Strum was probably the author. Perhaps this is an opportunity for all locally resident posters to stretch our legs and see what unusual perspectives they can capture of the Obelisk (or other Dun Laoghaire landmarks). Who knows, maybe someone will capture the first red squirrel scampering to the top.

By the way, I feel a bit like Brian (as in "The Life of . .") surrounded by all his adoring fans waiting for him to pronounce some deep thoughts. Please be assured I've absolutely no photographic credentials other than setting up this topic on which I have a significant interest - but one that's inversely proportional to my skill. Do as I say, not as I do.
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Re: Camera Skills Without Photoshop

Postby Micheál » Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:21 am

Gulliver & All

Your perfectly in focus (again) with those tips. I particularly like the bit about Flash and people against walls. I take a lot of people photos (teams mostly) and I'm always amused when they come into, say, a big hall for a photoshoot, they are invariably invited by the organisers to line up against the wall "to get their picture took". I always break this up and make them re-assemble as far away from the wall as my viewfinder will allow. This causes direct flash shadows to diffuse and if the DOF is tight enough the wall will probably be out of focus.

One more thing on team photos. I once had a disagreement with a Press Pro when we were taking pre-match photos in Parnell Park. (I'm name dropping now). The Pro wanted the team lined up facing the sun (even though he was with the Mail). I insisted that they line up with the sun behind them. Had the pro got his way, he'd have secured a well lit group - but with all the players squinting. With the sun at their backs, and my field of view ensuring that the sun was not in the frame, I got an evenly-lit shot of the team all with their eyes wide open looking at the lens.

Technically, I dont know which of us was right - but I'm sticking to my technique when sun is high in the sky. The only risk I can think of is that if the sun is too close to right angles you get nose shadows on the subjects face and you risk getting lens flare - beams of light creeping in from the edges.

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Re: Camera Skills Without Photoshop

Postby Micheál » Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:29 am

Another little tip.

Taking team shots of girls can be problematic. With long hair, they are naturally distracted with brushing stray hairs from their faces and its hard to find the moment when all faces are hands-free.

I always make a point of formally inviting them all to fix their hair and give them a countdown "5-4-3-2-1" . . wherupon all hand are withdrawn, faces are visible and smiles are radiant.

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Re: Camera Skills Without Photoshop

Postby Micheál » Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:38 am

Final thought tonight.

Adding to Gullivers good advice on unintentional clipping of body parts.

I don't know what exact composition/aesthetic rule is at work here but - some portrait shots can look really good when only the face and not the whole head - is displayed. I see it in magazines quite frequently - seems to be something about highlighting the really important features. Though I've never felt confident enough to try this very often myself.

good night all

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Re: Camera Skills Without Photoshop

Postby Rocker » Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:44 am

Good night Brian!

I have such alot to learn. Will sit at your feet again, :D
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Re: Camera Skills Without Photoshop

Postby Strum » Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:52 pm

Great stuff altogether lads. Thanks for all the tips and info. :D
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Re: Camera Skills Without Photoshop

Postby Gulliver » Wed Sep 05, 2012 2:06 pm

Photographing babies

Pointing a camera into a pram does not produce a good photo… normally.

The only way to photograph a baby is to get down to the babies level – usually lying on a rug or on the floor (both you and the baby). Approach the task with a sense of fun. A mini-tripod – about 6 inches high is very useful. A small shoe-box can be a good substitute.

The emphasis is normally on the babies eyes firstly, and then the head generally – it works very well if you can get the head in focus and the rest out-of-focus. Get very close up, with the zoom at its widest and “portrait” mode set – and take a large number of shots. If you have a “burst” facility (takes a series of shots over a couple of seconds) use it. Avoid flash if you can… get close to a window to get the best natural light.
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Re: Camera Skills Without Photoshop

Postby Micheál » Wed Sep 05, 2012 7:23 pm

On-line Photographic Resources

B&H Photo Manhatten
Probably the best photography shop on the planet. Their site has everything in the way of photo equipment. (& if you ever get to NYC, the’re are just behind Madison Square Garden. Being Jewish, they are closed Saturdays.)
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/browse/Photography/ci/989/N/4294538916

Diginal Photography Review
Best site for camera reviews and comparing features
http://www.dpreview.com/

Luminous Landscape
This is a favourite of Micheál’s. Site layout is a bit dated but content is superb.
http://luminous-landscape.com/index.shtml

Feel free to add your favourites with a short descriptive note. Just copy the latest list into a new post and add your own bits.
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Re: Camera Skills Without Photoshop

Postby Strum » Wed Sep 05, 2012 8:02 pm

Great stuff again Micheal thanks. :D

I just wanted to say that when out taking photos of people be respectful. It is not against the law to photograph a person in a public place but I'm personally always remindful of their privacy. For instance...
I took these from a good distance so the people are not aware of being photographed. (Remember this is not against the law)
I call them portraits.


When you photograph people in colour you photograph their clothes.
But when you photograph people in Black and White, you photograph their souls!
Ted Grant



From the Obelisk.


Image



Down the Pier.

Image
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Re: Camera Skills Without Photoshop

Postby Toss » Thu Sep 06, 2012 11:10 am

Toss wrote:Obviously a woman would prefer to have the meat and two veg on the table. :lol:

try this one ......

Image


Micheal ........ It took me awhile, but if you look at the t-shirt of the girl on the right, it looks like Marilyn Monroe is biting off more than she can chew. :roll: :lol:
According to Myers-Briggs, I'm a "ENTJ-a"....
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Re: Camera Skills Without Photoshop

Postby Strum » Thu Sep 06, 2012 3:01 pm

Get you head around that one! :D


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Re: Camera Skills Without Photoshop

Postby Rocker » Sat Sep 08, 2012 9:55 am

What a wonderful shot.

It has taken me (and my brain) some time to see the two faces. I think I have it sussed.
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Re: Camera Skills Without Photoshop

Postby Micheál » Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:17 am

Guys,

I referred earlier to a whole bevvy of beauties waiting patiently to get their pictures snapped. Today some of you have an excellent opportunity to practice your portrait skills -
just 2 conditions
be over 50
know your way to the zoo

http://www.dublinzoo.ie/News/66-74/Over-50s-Day.aspx

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Re: Camera Skills Without Photoshop

Postby Rocker » Wed Sep 12, 2012 10:51 am

Micheál,

Good find. I seem to miss all the good opportunities. I am not in any organisation for the older bod but, will have to sharpen up as this sounds good. I haven't been in the aZoo for over 30 years - shame on me!!!. The programme they did on the T.V last year should have been enough to gee me up but, with age I forget !

I love your avatar. Is he yours?
Back on topic. I love all the photo tips. HID is into photography and a few years ago we went to N.Y. A Jewish friend(who is a professional photographer) told him to be sure to go to B&H shop where he himself had a great Jewish "Man" who helped him buy everything. We set off for the shop and wondered if the "Man" would be on duty and wondered how we would know him as we neglected to get his name. Wow, when we arrived at the shop it was like arriving in Israel. We laughed ourselves silly ..we never thought there would be more than one Jewish Man. Our friend dines out on the story of the two thick OOrish thinking they would have difficulty finding the "man" in B&H. It was an amazing experience and we spent most of the day in there buying. Absolute first class place. Go early and be prepared as it is floors and floors of amazing gadgets.
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Re: Camera Skills Without Photoshop

Postby Micheál » Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:04 am

okay guys, eyes down - its back to work - never mind the little dog Rocker (His name is Teddy)

A quick introduction to Aperture and why you might mess with it.

Aperture refers to the width of the lens opening. Or to be more precise, the relative width compared to the lens length but hey, this in an introduction.

SLR lens have variable Apertures so they can be opened up and closed down. Maximum Aperture value is a predictor of price. Bog standard lens might be 5.6 but a so called "fast" lens is far pricier and might give you a max of 2.8. Yeah, the lower the number the wider the Aperture. (Everything in planet camera is measured inversely 1/2.8 is bigger than 1/5.6 - that's the end of the Maths).

Aperture settings, like bus routes, are graduated in "stops". Generally speaking, each stop represents a doubling /halving of the available light (fancy cameras tend to have intermediate stops but never mind).

So why mess with Aperture?

A fully opened lens, set at the lowest Aperture value - lets in the most light. This is desireable for
- low light conditions
- achieving tightest possible Dept of Field
- compensating for your using a fast shutter speed (say when freezing motion)

A closed lens, ie set towards a high Aperture Value - lets in less light and this is desireable for
- overcoming very bright conditions
- achieving widest possible DOF - as in landscapes (They say John Hind had a real tight aperture)
- compensating for using a slow shutter speed - (say when picturing waves or waterfalls to make them arty-farty cloudlike)

I mentions "compensating" for shutter speeds. Guess what, they are graduated too and, conveniently, a change in shutter speed is typically the same as aperture - giving you half/double the light. More on Shutter Speeds another day though.

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Re: Camera Skills Without Photoshop

Postby Micheál » Thu Sep 13, 2012 4:42 pm

Why are those Aperture “stops” not equal values apart?

I implied, in an earlier post, that Aperture was a measure of the width of the lens. To be more precise, it’s a measure of the AREA of the lens opening. And do you remember how we calculate area of a circle?
Pi * r *r (what's in the pi is irrelevant – just remember its 22/7)

So suppose you have a lens, or pipe or something circular, its capacity for carrying light, water, blood, would depend on its radius. Regardless of the units being used the following Radius (distance) /Aperture (area) values are constant -
Rad / Ap
2 / 0.05
4 / 0.20
6 / 0.44
8 / 0.79
10 / 1.23
(Trust me these sums are fairly accurate. The Christian Brothers impressed these on me just like they did the calculation to discover the probable trajectory of a Blackboard Duster thrown at 70 mph)

But we are only interested in Aperture and what radius is needed to achieve it. So lets look at the problem the other way round.
inverting the same formula (trust me) gives us the following Aperture/Radius values -
Ap / Rad
2 / 0.80
4 / 1.13
6 / 1.38
8 / 1.60
10/ 1.78

As you can see, the effect of that pesky formula makes the relationship “non-linear”. To double the Aperture you don’t need to double the radius – you simply adjust the radius to the required value i.e. the next “stop” and the stops are not equally spaced. I’ve used notional units to demonstrate this. Lens makers use different units but the irregular spacing of apperture values is based on the same formula.

Okay - schools out. No homework.
M.

Footnote: The plumbers among you will recognise this formula and recall this explains how a single ¾"" pipe can adequately supply two ½"" pipes.
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Re: Camera Skills Without Photoshop

Postby Gulliver » Thu Sep 13, 2012 9:54 pm

Image

I've posted this image under Camera Skills Without Photoshop for 2 reasons
(1) because it is an interesting historical picture of the building now occupied by Marks and Sparks. It is dated about 1920 AFAIK. It is part of my increasing collection of Georges St pics for a project of rephotographing Georges St

(2) because it uses camera skills which are very difficult to achieve with a modern camera without using Photoshop (I prefer Paint-shop-pro anyhow!)

Have a look at the picture! Anything unusual about it? Remember that this picture was taken in a narrow street, and so it is close-up with quite a wide-angle lens.

Take a shot today from the same place and your shot will not look like that.

Notice that the sides of the building are almost exactly parallel - just like they would be in an architects drawing. But on your modern picture, the walls appear to come closer together at the top. This is the effect called parallax, and a parallax correction has been when taking the old photo. How was this achieved???

Many of the old plate cameras had a bellows which was flexible. Mostly the bellows was used to allow the lens to be moved further back or forward for focussing or for use of different lenses - but on many cameras, the lens could also be moved up or down, or even tilted. In the photo above, the lens is moved up and tilted to achieve the straight sides on the building - parallax correction 1920s style.
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Re: Camera Skills Without Photoshop

Postby Jemser » Thu Sep 13, 2012 11:23 pm

Great post Gulliver and very good observations. I didn't know that the old bellows cameras could be tilted to overcome parallax error. Well you know what they say .... that you learn something new everyday.... I learned something new today. Thanks. Also this must be the shop that previously occupied the old FW Woolworth's shop, is that correct?
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Re: Camera Skills Without Photoshop

Postby grammer » Thu Sep 13, 2012 11:48 pm

Thats all very fine guys -

all I'm really interested in is how I can take better photos on my digital camera- :D

I havent got a bellows on me camera -dont want one -
Instead of trying to impress each other with how much we all know or dont know
can we get back to everyday handy tips on how to make the best of the cameras we have
I'm sure like me most of the members have ordinary everyday digital cameras
and have no interest in the tech side of it --
-jaaaaaaaz a camera is for taking photos-take enough shots and hope that some will turn out fine
if not delete-

Pie sqd me xxxx- :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:(reminds me of school days :roll: )
when you guys are finished trying to impress each other
can we get back to the basics
please :D :D :D :D :D
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Re: Camera Skills Without Photoshop

Postby Gulliver » Fri Sep 14, 2012 6:12 am

grammer wrote:Thats all very fine guys -

all I'm really interested in is how I can take better photos on my digital camera- :D

I havent got a bellows on me camera -dont want one -
Instead of trying to impress each other with how much we all know or dont know
can we get back to everyday handy tips on how to make the best of the cameras we have
:D


Grammar
The posting was about camera skills without photoshop in a thread called "Camera Skills Without Photoshop"
It does what it says on the tin :? :? :? :? :? :?
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Re: Camera Skills Without Photoshop

Postby Rocker » Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:25 am

Grammer,

I know what you mean but, have to say I am reading all the tips with great interest. I know diddly squat about cameras or taking photos but this is geeing me up. I have HID driven mad "come and read the great tips" "did you know this" etc. His wry comment to me was"the only tip you need at the moment is to take your camera out of the box"! He is right... I know some day I will get shots like Strum, Farmboy, Gulliver,Snowy etc. I'm at the crawling stage. But, lads keep going with the tips.
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Re: Camera Skills Without Photoshop

Postby grammer » Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:48 pm

Camera Skills Without Photoshop
by Micheál » Thu Aug 30, 2012 12:11 am

This topic is intended to facilitate Tips, Qs & As about beginner camera skills and avoid discussion about image editing software.

I would like to draw attention to the above sentence and the word"beginner".


Grammer bows to the superior knowledge of Gulliver in this topic
( I dont but grammer does :D :D :D )
back to the Qs & As.
without jumping the gun -
I use the default settings on my dig. camera

should I go into the settings and experiment ????
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Re: Camera Skills Without Photoshop

Postby Gulliver » Fri Sep 14, 2012 2:31 pm

grammer wrote:I use the default settings on my dig. camera???


I use the default (i.e. "auto") settings for the vast majority (over 80%) of shots.
In my mind, it's all about the composition of the picture. It's about getting in close, "framing" it correctly to give an interesting picture, and timing the shot (if the subject is inclined to move)
If you have a "scene" setting (usually marked SCN) this provides up to a dozen other settings (Examples:- Portrait, Landscape, Night scene, Beach, Foliage, Snow etc.) these provide better settings than the Auto for these named scenes. These will set the correct aperture/shutter speed for you for superb shots.
You may have a "sports" setting (usually indicated by an icon of a runner)

Between those three settings I take all of my shots... I never (almost!) think about aperture, shutter speed, or ISO(film speed)
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