About Greta Jacobs

With a background in media and design, Greta has an eye for innovative and mind-blowing photographic techniques. She studied photography for over five years and started practicing from college. Her inclination to arts is another asset you will notice in her in depth posts.

Minimalist Photography – 10 Useful Tips to Get You Started

Minimalist photography has an ever-growing popularity among both amateur and professional photographers. We often hear that “less is more” and it’s quite true. We live in a saturated world where our surroundings can seem a bit overwhelming. Minimalism is like a breath of fresh air we are so looking forward to taking in.

Minimalism is, of course, a subjective notion in the art world. To put it lightly, it is a technique characterized by uttermost simplicity. Many embrace the idea while others consider the extreme sparseness as a lack of creativity.

We believe that less is indeed more, and the simple lines, contrasting color, geometric patterns, and lone subjects are a great way to draw the viewer into the story. Here are a few tips on how to make the most out of minimalism in photography.

minimalist photography yellow walls

Minimalist Photography – Tips for Eye-Popping Minimalist Pictures

1. Learn About Minimalism

There’s a whole philosophy behind minimalism. As with any other type of photography, you need to understand it in order to implement the concept perfectly into your images. You can look for information about minimalist art either online or find books on the matter. We recommend “The Minimalist Photographer” by Steve Johnson photographer and “Minimalist Lighting: Professional Techniques for Studio Photography” by Kirk Tuck.

2. A Simple Composition Is Key

Needless to say, minimalist photography is all about keeping things simple. That’s the most important rule and you cannot bypass it. A lack of elements does not mean your photograph will turn out boring. Try incorporating interesting subjects into your picture and focus only on them. Drawing the viewers’ attention to one or just a few elements will catch their eye instantly.

The perfect example of minimalism in photography is the presence of a single human or animal figure against a plain background or a close-up on wood or brick patterns. There are many other ways you can use the technique to shoot just about anything. Don’t worry if a few other elements find their way into your picture. You can always do a little bit of cropping or erase them in Photoshop.

minimalism simple composition

3. Don’t Be Afraid of Color

Another key aspect of minimal photography is the presence of bright colors or contrasting colors. The same goes for textures, which are frequently present in minimalist pictures. Your goal should be to focus on eye-popping color to make up for the lack of elements in the photograph. Experiment with different angles to create a more complex composition while still keeping things as simple as possible.

4. Increase the Contrast

There’s nothing like a high-contrast image to grab our attention. Contrast is one of the main factors when it comes to evoking an emotional response. It can be applied to colors, patterns, shades, shapes, all to create tension.

high contrast minimalist image

5. Make Use of Negative Space

Negative space is defined as the area between and around the elements in an image. It’s basically a composition tool that indicated where the focus should be. It’s a concept that is being used in art, architecture, design, and sculpture with great success. In photography, it’s one of the factors that can help determine if the picture is bad or outstanding.

Here’s how you must use negative space. When you go about framing your shot, adjust the composition until the filled (positive) and empty (negative) spaces look nicely balanced against one another. Allow a significant amount of empty space to “fill” the picture because you most certainly don’t want to cram too many elements into your frame.

6. It’s All About Lines and Shapes

Lines and geometric shapes are some of the most distinctive indicators of minimalist photography. A great way to start shooting the minimalist way is to take your camera out in the city.  Modern architecture is a great subject to explore. The lines and geometric patterns make an excellent background for minimalist pictures.

7. The Plainer the Background, the Better

Plain backgrounds are essential when it comes to capturing minimalist images. Let’s think about product photography. The whole idea is to have your viewer lured to a specific area in the frame, and a simple background means fewer distractions.

minimalist food photography tomatoes

8. Light and Shadows

Lighting is very important in minimalist photography. Both light and darkness can be used to create stunning minimalist images. Look for opportunities to bring out the most of what the natural lighting has to offer. It will really bring the colors and the textures to life. Additionally, dark shadows can become a central part of your simplistic composition.

9. Don’t Forget About the Rule of Thirds

The well-known rule of thirds is one of photography’s elementary basics. Let’s see what it’s all about. By diving the space into three vertical and horizontal parts and positioning the elements of interest along the lines or at the intersection of the grid lines, we can shoot more well-balanced photographs. Studies have shown how our eyes will drift in a more natural way to the intersection points rather than the center of the image.

In minimalist photography, the rule is even more easily applicable. A person looking at your images will understand where it is you want to direct their eyes.

10. Tell a (Minimalistic) Story

Keeping it basic doesn’t mean there’s no room for storytelling.  Push your photography to a new level by creating a tale behind the image. The easiest way is to head into the city and practice minimalist street photography. Humans and animals can become focal points of the image and more often than once you must move quickly. Stories happen in seconds and you must have your eyes wide open to your surroundings and press that shutter button as soon as you see an opportunity. It might be gone is just a second.

 

Now go out and practice because you can add a new perspective the elements around you anywhere and anytime. Keep your eye out and remember to keep it as simple as possible. Get creative, find what you like and start snapping pictures. Minimalism is subjective, and you will find that what you perceive as eye-candy is not what others see. But you’re the only one that knows best.

IMAGE SOURCE1234

Astrophotography Software – Capturing and Editing the Stars

Astrophotography software helps you add that little extra touch that helps your equipment obtain the best results possible, or helps you in your post-processing stage. Even the most skilled photographer cannot rely only on the capabilities of its camera, telescope, autoguider, and other astronomical imaging devices.

Once you have invested in your astro-equipment, it’s time to get your hands on a quality astrophotography software and get your photos sparking.

pleiades star cluster astrophotography software

Astrophotography Software – Capturing the Stars

When it comes to astrophotography software, we’re talking more than just image processing software. Here are a few types of software that are guaranteed to help you obtain the best results when you want  to target on your subjects:

DSLR Camera Control

Thanks to camera control software for DSLRs, astrophotographers can manage their camera functions and settings straight from the computer. Using a USB-2 cable, you get to Live View the real-time image that your camera sees on the computer screen. This also helps you achieve a better focus, and also to control the bulb setting for exposures exceeding 30 seconds.

You can download camera control software such as digiCamControl, Images Plus, and BackyardEOS or BackyardNIKON.

Software-Assisted Focusing

Accurate focus can be achieved with a little help from a software-assisted focusing. The latest DSLR models provide software focusing that can be obtained by manual focusing and Live Viewing the image on a computer. Additionally, you can use autofocus if you are shooting with an autofocus lens.

The types of focusing features you can find in the camera’s software are:

  • Numeric readout of the star’s brightness
  • Graphic representation of the star’s brightness
  • Numeric readout of the star’s image width

You can use software aids such as Brightest Pixel, FWHM (Full Width at Half Maximum), and CCDSoft Version 5.

Autoguiding Software

Guiding is a must when it comes to long exposures because that’s how you capture the highest quality images. Following your astronomical object, either manually or automatically, will correct the ascension and declination.

Autoguiding software used for higher tracking accuracy include GuideDog, PHD Guiding, CCDSoft, MaxIm DL, and Guidemaster.

Image Acquisition Automation

With image acquisition automation you can automate the process of capturing images. For example, you won’t have to shoot many short exposures manually when you can set your camera to shoot at specific time intervals. Images Plus, CCDAutoPilot, AstroIIDC, or MaxDSLR, can help you on this.

eagle nebula astrophotography software

The most reliable back yard software for astrophotography:

Astrophotography Software – Editing the Stars

Image Calibration Software

Image calibration removes undesired fixed signals and corrects signal modifications. This way, you get an accurate picture accurately representing the intensity of the light incident on the camera’s sensor at the time of the exposure. Images Plus and MaxDSLR, which you can use to aid you while actually capturing the image, can help you process your pictures too. You can also choose the editing-oriented software, such as IRIS, AstroArt, or Regim.

Photo Stacking Software

Image stacking is a process through which you can combine multiple images to get a final image that is more intensely detailed. This is mainly used in astrophotography, where stars can be too faint. But taking multiple photos of the same item and then merging them results in a single, eye-popping picture.

The best part of photo stacking is that it can be done with the world-renowned Photoshop, which you may already own. Additionally, you can opt for astrophotography software developed for editing purposes. DeepSkyStacker is a free post-processing software that is specially made to help astrophotographers stack their photos. Other freebies include Registax, Keith’s Image Stacker, and Nebulosity.

The most important thing to remember when merging your astronomical images is to align them neatly. You will most likely have to slide the pictures until the difference turns black, and you might have to rotate one or some of the layers for a perfect match. Then, play around with the layers’ transparency level, because you don’t want the result to be too overwhelming.

Image Correction Software

photoshop astrophotography software

As we always say, sometimes, it is just not enough to be incredibly talented and tech savvy to get the pictures just right. Astronomical objects are tricky and sneaky, and some captures might require more work than others. Have your colors come out a bit wrong? Are your targets too dim? Has a little bit of noise made its way into your photo? Luckily, you can fix all these, and more, with the help of the many post-processing software available on the web.

The fixes can be done in astrophotography software such as Images Plus, AIP, AstroArt, MaxDSLR, IRIS, which are quite useful for a large variety of purposes.

However, most astrophotographers would more likely prefer to switch to the good ol’ Photoshop. You can find countless tutorials on image processing dedicated to this field of photography.

A Little Glimpse into Astrophotography Post-Processing

First, you might want to install Lightroom. It’s the best program for organizing, managing, and sharing your pictures. You can even do a little bit of light editing if that’s what you’re aiming for. So either stick to Lightroom or fire up Photoshop and start working on your basics. Work on the contrast, color correction, reduce the noise, and go to the temperature sliders and adjust the color of the deep sky. The gradient tool is also an important feature, especially when bringing up the foreground. If you still have some remaining noise, you can brush it out in Photoshop.

startrails software

If you want to create the famous and mesmerizing star-trail photographs, you can either stack layers in Photoshop or download Startrails. Instead of taking just one long-exposure picture, you can take multiple short-exposure ones and then combine them to get that star-trail effect. The significant advantage is that the background will remain as dark as it would on a single long-exposure. Startrails also has a time-lapse movie feature, and you can then save your video as an AVI file. You can also take advantage of this feature to create other time-lapse videos, not just astronomical movies.

IMAGE SOURCE1234.

How to Start a Photography Portfolio in 5 Easy Steps

If you want to learn how to start a photography portfolio, look no further! Follow the 5 easy steps presented and you will be the proud owner of a unique photography portfolio. First of all, you need to understand how important your portfolio is for your career: the portfolio is the photographer’s business card, so make sure that yours is professional, attractive, and creative.

image reading building a better photography portfolio

Source

Whether you wonder how to start a photography business or just want to display your work in a professional way, this article is the right tool for you. You will learn how to properly show your photographs for them to be appreciated, what theme you should choose and what design best fits your style. Take your time to read through and then opt for what best represents your particular personality and view, so you end up with a portfolio that speaks clearly about you and your abilities.

Step 1: Understand why you need a portfolio

Starting a photography portfolio might seem scary at the beginning, but to make everything easier, you need to first understand why you need it. A portfolio is a presentation the work you’ve done so far. Don’t be inhibited by the misconception that is should represent a sort of best of album. However, you should select the photographs you are most proud of while keeping an eye on a common theme that brings everything together.

Think of the reason for starting your portfolio in the first place. Is it a tool for you to get a job interview, an exhibition in a gallery or do you want to use it to make yourself recognized? Answer these question first and once you know why you need it, your mental image about your portfolio’s aspect will be much clearer.

Step 2: Decide on an individual, unifying theme

What is the invisible thread that brings together the work you will include in your portfolio? You have to know the main theme you want to pursue before even deciding on the photographs you will include because this way your job will get easier. Once you know your theme, you will find it much simple to select the photos, the style, and format of your presentation. Bearing in mind the theme, you will know what unifies your work, bringing a more cohesive aspect to your portfolio.

Step 3: Select the most suitable photographs

This part might be a bit difficult because an artist is not always able to judge his work objectively. You should resist the temptation of choosing your favorite shots, and try to select your best work. That means starting from a group of 100 photographs and then gradually eliminating those who are not perfectly executed. You should also keep in mind the theme of your portfolio in order to decide what fits and what doesn’t.

A good trick to help you ensure that your best work goes in your portfolio is to ask for someone else’s opinion. A friend you trust or a fellow photographer who has more experience can offer you valuable insight and help the process of selection. It’s always good to ask for their opinion because it will certainly come in handy and it will improve the general look of your portfolio.

photography portfolio of Jeremy Cowart

Source

Step 4: Decide on a great layout

For print portfolios, you should really think about the best presentation for your work, starting from the paper, you print the photographs on, how many you have on every page and the general aspect as a whole. Print them at a high resolution on good quality paper because even though it is more expensive, it’s worth every dollar. If you are careful with these aspects, you will be able to present the best version of your work that will improve your chances of getting noticed.

The best way is to keep just one shot per page, as it provides a fresh look and also ensures that every one of your photographs gets noticed. A more spaced out layout also adds to the value of your portfolio, making it easier for the audience to enjoy it. Keep the captions underneath your shots simple and direct, including only the title, location and the date when you took the photo.

Step 5: Find your audience!

After you have built your portfolio and you are proud of the work you’ve included and satisfied with the resulting product all you have to do is show it to people. If you created it as an attachment to your resume, then your mission is simple, just send it to your prospect employer and wait for a positive reply.

If on the other hand, you want to use it to make yourself and your work known, then your mission is a bit trickier. No reason to worry, though, you have an amazing portfolio, and there are tons of people out there who want to see it you just need to find them. Send your portfolio to local gallery owners and don’t forget to keep an eye out for the unconventional spaces that might host a future exhibition of yours.

How to start a photography portfolio might seem like a challenge at first, but after you’ve followed the steps in this article, your work will be a lot easier. All you have to do is realize the importance of a good portfolio that will launch your career and then start working on it. Browse through your shots and select the best ones that match your theme and then think about the layout. After you’ve made up your mind, head to the printing center.

Your portfolio  should develop into an interesting story that engages the viewer, so let the photos speak for themselves. Keep the captions brief and don’t forget to include a presentation of yourself and your professional achievements. You’re almost done! All that is left to do after you’ve built your portfolio is to show your work to future employers, fellow photographers, and gallery owners.

Be proud of yourself, you now have a visual resume that will ensure your success. Good luck!

Macro Photography 101: Equipment and Techniques

 

Macro photography can be a powerful tool for creating spectacular photos. It can be quite challenging to find the right equipment or the appropriate techniques for the kind of subject you want to shoot. That is why we have compiled a complete guide which will give you the basic tips to get you started on it.

Macro Photography 101

What is Macro Photography?

The definition of macro photography might seem counterintuitive since it refers to taking photos of really small things – be they small objects or creatures, or detailed parts of bigger things. It can be both challenging and gratifying to try this style of photography.

Ratios are important in order to understand the basics of macro photography, even though for digital cameras they do not matter as much as they used to. The closer you get to the object, the smaller the ratio gets.

Equipment: Macro Lenses

The first thing you should have is any type of DSLR camera; your iPhone won’t help you. With that in mind, the next thing on your list should be a macro lens. You can find great macro lenses from Canon and Nikon, which are specially made for focusing at a short distance.

Filters

Macro Photography 101: Equipment and Techniques

A filter works similarly to a magnifying glass. This is one of the reasons for which getting a filter might not help out much in terms of quality. You can find filters that come in packs, with a different magnifying power for each of them. You can also stack filters together to increase the power of your camera, but this will decrease the quality of the photo.

Extension Tubes

The great thing about extension tubes is that you can start a DIY project to obtain them. Any tube you have around the house could serve as the basis for a macro tube, and you can find many online tutorials for beginners, which will get you started.

If you are not the DIY type, then you can also buy macro extension tubes for a reasonable amount of money. These tubes also come in packs and can be stacked to shoot from a closer range. Unlike filters, extension tubes do not lead to a poorer quality of your photos.

Tripod

Tripods can help improve macro photography because they keep your camera really still. No matter how good you are with your hands, nothing beats a tripod. Even the tiniest move can majorly impact your end result, so a tripod will make sure you get a super shot with the minimum of effort.

Macro Rails

Macro rails are a good product to have around if you also need to move your camera around when taking macro shots. A rail will help you move your camera back and forth, left and right, with the use of a simple knob.

General Advice for Macro Techniques

Macro Photography 101: Equipment

The best advice you can get is that you should always try to move the object closer to your camera and not the camera closer to the subject. Moving the camera will change your frame considerably, even if you don’t have a wide one.

Choosing your subject

Choosing a subject for your shot is the first thing you will consider. Obviously, a landscape shot is out of the questions, but interesting subjects include food, flowers, eyes, or pages of books. The more still your subject is, the better. An eye might seem still, but don’t forget it is attached to a person who will find it quite painful not to blink.

Lighting

Lighting can be very important when trying out macro photography. You don’t have to go to any extreme length to get the appropriate lighting, just make sure you are not shooting on a super sunny day. Flash is also not recommended unless you use a ring in order to take your photo. A ring flash can also be useful when taking indoor photos in a studio.

Focus Stacking

A general technique you can use when you have a shallow field depth is focus stacking. How can you do this? By combining several images taken in a sequence. If you can only focus on certain areas at a time, then the best thing to do is to combine multiple shots of the same subject to obtain a beautiful image. For this you will need the appropriate software which will combine all the shots, but you can easily find several free options online. You can also use this technique if you want to do without all the fancy equipment or accessories needed to obtain macro images.

Techniques Depending on Your Subject

Macro shooting techniques can vary greatly depending on the subject you are shooting. You can get as creative as you want in order to get a cool shot from an original angle, but you should bear in mind that different subjects require different approaches. We have compiled a list containing a few examples of techniques you can use for your macros. Who knows? Maybe you can also get some new ideas for perfect nature shots.

Insects

An insect can be a challenging thing to shoot since they can move quite a lot and, depending on the type of insect you are trying to photograph, they can also move rather quickly. Just think of how a spider moves! Avoid a fast mode of approaching the subject and take care you don’t cover them up with your shadow.

Plants and Flowers

A flower offers a beautiful spectacle inside a gallery, but make sure that when you are shooting it outside there is very little wind. Petals can be very gentle and even the slightest breeze will change their appearance. If the wind is a bit more rough than it should, try shooting sturdier plants that are unshakable.

In case you are up for a challenge, you can even try underwater macro photography. Just make sure you have the appropriate settings and setup. An online forum or a tutorial can get you a long way. Black and white macro shots can also be used for more abstract themes.

There’s nothing left to define, we have covered everything you need to know about macro photography. You can now start your amazing journey into the world of Lilliputians!

Image sources: 1, 2, 3

Halloween Photography Ideas: Get Ready to Trick or Treat

Autumn is such an amazing season for vibrant, colorful photography! Now that the Halloween is just around the corner, it is about the right time to impress your viewers with some new photo tricks. Without further introduction, here are the Halloween photography ideas and tips we want to share with you. Don’t forget to spread the enthusiasm!

Eye the Wow Factor: Shoot a Halloween Parade

The beauty of this celebration is that everyone will dress-up.  Ghosts, witches, goblins, and monsters of all kinds will pervade the streets, all smiling and ready to be photographed. All you need for fantastic, memorable shots is to get out there with your camera in hand and see what tickles your imagination. Ghostly, spontaneous portraits are allowed. This is a simple point and shoot strategy. Photograph a Halloween parade and have some fun.

Halloween photography ideas shooting a parade

New York’s Village Halloween Parade, 2014

Capture the Atmosphere: The Challenge of Shooting in Dim Light

Shooting in low light settings is a real challenge if you are not well-equipped. A good DSLR can do the trick for you with a few adjustments, but if it lacks image stabilization, we recommend mounting low light, fast lenses.

However, there are a few tricks you can do and catch the Halloween feeling in your shots without employing extra equipment. Halloween photography should be all about having fun, not carrying around heavy gear.

Here’s what you can do to improve the accuracy of your images when shooting in dim light:

  1. Most cameras come with a Night Mode that allows you to capture your subjects in detail, and emphasize the setting at the same time. The disadvantage, though, is that, if your subjects don’t remain still, the images will get blurry.
  2. What you can do best is take full control of your camera settings. Start by selecting a high ISO speed (400 or more). The downside of doing it is getting noisier images. But if you know your camera well enough, you’ll find the right value.

Learn more about ISO meaning and uses in photography. Leave the flash at home and experiment more.

  1. Don’t forget to select a slower shutter speed when adjusting the ISO sensitivity. If you want to capture a sense of speed or, on the contrary, to freeze the moment, we’ve got the best techniques for shutter speed photography explained here.
  2. Choose a wide aperture and shoot in RAW format if possible. This way you will avoid a reduction of the image’s saturation.

By increasing the aperture, more light will get into your camera’s lens. This will also result in a shallow depth of field. If you wish to learn more about how aperture affects the quality of your images, check out our article on aperture settings and techniques.

  1. Use a tripod. To get astounding night photographs, you need to control the composition of your shots. The easiest way to achieve great exposure is by keeping your camera still.

Consider Candid Photo Techniques

I cannot conceive Halloween photography in the absence of a few candid shots. Move around, experiment shooting from different angles, mix the perspectives, and be ready to take some unusual group pics.

Halloween Photography

Capture a Spider Trick

What I love about candid photography is that it doesn’t require posing. It is all about picturing how people interact and enjoy their time. Plus, candid photos add fun and a sense of story to the images.

Choose Your Time Wisely

Shooting in low light does not necessarily mean to wait until the night comes. Profit from the magical hour (actually, those 20 minutes before and after the sun goes down) and make your subjects look like fairy-tale characters.

This is also the perfect time to take incredible silhouette images by playing with shadows and backlighting. As a top tip, try taking photos of your subjects holding lit pumpkins. Position them against the sky at dusk for a more dramatic effect.

We’ve got more golden hour photography tips to help you find the best perspectives.

halloween photography - scary pumpkin

Halloween Scary Pumpkin – Autumnl Setting

Focus on Halloween Photography Props

Halloween pictures are all about capturing the spooky mood. Try setting up a bit the areas you photograph. Bring on the devilish cakes and spooky decorations.

What you can also do is find innovative ways to light your images. You know, this is the only time of the year when taking creepy photographs is entirely acceptable. Use flashlights, lit pumpkins, or glow sticks to accentuate the spooky traits of the characters your subjects impersonate by pointing them up, at their face. Also, you can photograph them with and without their masks.

Focusing on Halloween props shouldn’t be something static or boring. Besides a few close-ups of bleeding cakes and creepy cocktails, make Jack-o-lantern the main character of a time-lapse video. You can also capture the pumpkin’s transformation in a series of creative pics.

Dress-Up. Enjoy Halloween.

You cannot naturally interact with your subjects if not dressed-up. Play your role and you’ll make everyone feel more comfortable. Make it fun. Make it exciting. Don’t be afraid to go overboard with your shots. It’s Halloween!

Helpful Baby Photography Ideas & Tips

Who does not love newborn baby photography? Although we all love it, it can be a real challenge to convince the little ones to stay the way we want to for a photo shoot session. That is why we’ve gathered a few baby photography ideas and tips for both parents and photographers.

A successful baby photo shoot should include the following: an attractive decor, a few funny props and, of course, the baby model. There are other aspects to consider too. Patience is the keyword and we mean it! Having to get that perfect angle or moment worthy of a photo album can take quite some time.

Without further introduction, let’s take a look at the baby photography tips and ideas we have stored for our readers.

Baby Photography

1. No Hungry Babies Allowed

Although it might sound ridiculous and many people overlook this aspect, this is one crucial aspect to take into account. A hungry baby is a cranky baby. So before initiating the photo shoot make sure the little one is well fed. Another benefit is that if the baby eats well before commencing the photo shoot, then most likely he will doze off at one point. This is, of course, an excellent moment to take some cute and lovable snapshots.

2. Unique Baby Photography Props

Try using a variety of unique, fun props. When we say props, we mainly refer to blankets and other fabrics. They may include silk, fur, velvet or wool. Just envision the cuteness of a baby burrito. For more inspiration, we invite you to check out our post on 5 must-have newborn photography props.

3. Family Portrait

A lovely baby photograph must also include the family. Having the parents sitting next to, or holding the newborn baby will surely make for a very emotional pic.

4. No Flash, Please!

One of the worst ideas possible when taking newborn baby photographs is to use the flash. They simply cannot stand it. So find a spot with natural light and profit from it.

5. Monochrome Pics

Black and white photos will never lose their charm. Monochrome pics are a safe choice for a baby photo album too. If, for instance, you get hired for a baby shower photography shoot, include black & white images as well. This will create a beautiful effect and a long lasting memory. Not to mention that the picture might make a beautiful cover of the family photo album.

6. Playing with Poses

Pretty straightforward, just find those poses that the baby enjoys the most. One can spend hours searching for the best, funniest poses for their babies. Make it fun. Stimulate the parents’ imagination.

Baby Photography

7. The Secret of a  Comfortable Environment

Both the baby and the parents should feel comfortable during the photo session. A good idea would be to increase the heat. Although adults might be prone to sweating, the babies will enjoy the extra warmth. Parents will also feel more relaxed seeing their child is feeling good.

8. Creativity vs Professionalism

Do not concern yourself with being too professional. In such scenarios, the most important thing is to take the photos that will speak to the viewer.

9. Relaxing Music 

Babies are used to sounds even before they are born. When still in their mothers wombs they hear and even get familiar with a multitude of sounds. From their mother’s heartbeat, blood circulation, digestive system all the way to outer world sounds, such as traffic and much more, babies can hear many things. So consider playing some relaxing music. This will help both infants and parents relax.

10. Swaddled Baby Poses

Some of the cutest poses out there requires the baby to be wrapped. What is important here is to make the baby feel comfortable. Additionally, a nice idea might be that of swaddling and swaying the baby. Babies love to be swayed. By doing so, you can make them fall asleep. Just keep the baby’s blanket a bit loose, to make the baby feel comfortable and look pretty.

11. Consecutive Shots 

Do not try to capture one single perfect moment and thus wait for it. Take instead multiple, consecutive shots. So rest assured, out of 40 consecutive shots taken at least one will be the prize winner.

12. Make the Baby Laugh

A happy, smiling baby can only mean one thing in this context: a lovely baby photograph. Try catching the baby’s attention and make him laugh, from hide and seek behind the palms to funny faces and goofy sounds. The baby will love them and make us smile in return once we see his or her adorable happy reaction.

Baby Photography

Taking a lovely baby photograph is not hard, but it takes patience and experience. The secret is to make the baby feel comfortable. Invest into making a comfy environment, for both kids and parents. Babies are well attuned to their parents’ emotion. Learn how to help babies and mothers relax during newborn photography in our post. Other than that, try to act naturally and enjoy the photo session. In the end, this experience should be fun for babies, parents, and the photographer too.

We hope our tips will prove most useful to you. Do you have other baby photography ideas and suggestions to share with us? Feel free to leave a message in the comment section below. Until next time, happy photographing everyone!

Image Sources: Pixabay.

Amazing Travel Photography Locations For This Summer

We know that all photography enthusiasts have a ‘bucket list’ of travel destinations they dream of shooting. Even so, there’s always room for more inspiration and useful tips. That’s why we’ve come up with a short selection of travel photography locations you can enjoy visiting and shooting this summer. Ready to be amazed?

Location: The Great Barrier Coral Reef

Located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, Australia, the Great Coral Reef expands onto 2.300 km and around 900 islands, making it the largest coral reef system in the world. The stunning structure created by living organisms can be seen from outer space and offers a variety of wonderful spectacles. The Great Barrier Coral Reef was made a World Heritage Site in 1981 and it amazed marine-biologists as well as tourists from all over the world. Although facing a series of environmental threats, this destination still remains a hot-spot for scuba divers, tourists, and photographers.

Fish in the Coral Barrier Reef

Photo Tip: Make sure to be accompanied by professional scuba divers if you are still at the beginning of your scuba lessons. Other than that, the very diverse marine ecosystem offers countless hours of photo-sessions.

Recommended Equipment: It would be great if you could hire underwater lenses. For spectacular results, we recommend experimenting with fisheye lenses such as Nikon 10.5mm fisheye lens or Tokina 10-17mm fisheye.

Location: Barcelona

The capital of Catalonia, Barcelona offers many tourist hot-spots and an endless array of sights worth photographing. Falling heavily under the architecture style of Antoni Gaudi, including his famous unfinished Sagrada Familia, Barcelona attracts travelers by its sheer beauty and stunning culture. Including the Sagrada Familia, other places worth photographing are the Montjuic Park, La Pedrera (another one of Antoni Gaudi’s famous buildings), Guell Park, Poble Espanyol, La Seu Cathedral, Palau de la Musica Catalana and the list can continue. From fine sandy beaches to impressive architectural feats, Barcelona has much to offer to every travel photography enthusiast.

architectural detail from La Sagrada Familia

Photo Tip: Time! Barcelona hosts a vast number of attractions, too many to count, so be sure to take your time and try to go through as many as you can.

Recommended Equipment: For urban shots, we suggest using a good wide-angle lens so you can capture as broad areas of view as possible. Macro lenses might also be useful for stunning close-ups of architectural details.

Location: Venice

It is hard to make a top of amazing travel photography destinations without including the city of Venice. Built by the Roman Empire, the city of Venice rose to fame especially during the Middle Ages when it became one of Europe’s most important centers of commerce. Originally a shallow swamp-land, the unique pillars onto which the city was built are still regarded as an impressive engineering feat, almost all being unchanged since the city’s creation. This most famous city includes a vast number of tourist hot-spots such as the Doge Palace, Piazza San Marco, the Murano islands, the Grand Canal and of course St Mark’s Basilica. The city also hosts a film festival making it one of the best photography destinations, especially for loving couples.

beautiful night picture in Venice

Photo Tip: Photographs taken while on a gondola can amaze any viewer, especially due to the magnificent surroundings in Venice, offering the chance to photograph streets, houses, parks, as well as some of its most impressive monuments.

Recommended Equipment: Night scenes over Venice are truly spectacular. Make sure you take a tripod with you so to avoid blurry pictures.

Location: Easter Island (Rapa Nui)

Changing a bit the perspective, the Easter Island is one of those haunting places capable of unleashing anybody’s imagination. The moai, Ester Island’s famous statues make for epic pictures. Every year the place comes to life with feats, music, parades, traditional dance and sports during the Tapati Rapa Nui festival.  What is really impressive is the way local culture is celebrated. Tapati Rapa Nui welcomes visitors from around the world, but at the same time it is a festival made for locals. Have we stirred up your curiosity? The Easter Island definitely makes for an un-missable photo and traveling experience.

Easter Island - The Moai Statues

Photo Tip: If you cannot be there during the festival and take a few magical shots, don’t worry. Nothing beats a picture of the stone statuary under a starry sky.

Recommended Equipment: Don’t forget to pack your tripod and, if possible, use an aspherical wide-angle lens. Rokinon 24 mm f/1.4 for Canon is ideal for night photography and especially for astrophotography.

Location: Danube Delta

Finally, we decided to include one of Europe’s most stunning ecosystems. The Danube Delta is located in Romania and hosts over 300 species of birds and 45 species of freshwater fish. This eerie ecosystem impresses due to the little impact it suffered from mankind. Frequent tours via the Danube, which springs from the Black Forrest Mountains in Germany and flows into the Black Sea, can be made by crossing several capital-cities such as Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest and Bratislava. Best period to visit the Danube Delta is from late spring to early autumn when warm temperatures allow for all sorts of activities such as boat rides, fishing, sightseeing, birdwatching and, of course, stunning photo shootings.

Panorama over the Danube Delta

Photo Tip: As a valuable tip for all those passionate about nature photography, be sure to capture this unique biosphere reservation in all its splendor. The Danube Delta is ideal for wild photography holidays. Also, if you enjoy admiring nature’s treasures in solitude, there are a few secluded beaches worth visiting and shooting at Sulina and Sf Gheorghe, two of the three channels. The misty mornings and fiery sunsets make for astonishing golden hour pictures.

Recommended Equipment: For stunning images, especially when shooting from bigger distances, we recommend using wide angle zooms. These lenses will allow zooming out and capturing more of the surroundings at the same time. Pretty amazing, isn’t it?

We hope you enjoyed our travel photography location ideas and tips. Do you have in mind any other iconic locations and dream destinations? Feel free to drop us a line and share with us your travel photography ‘bucket list’.

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Light and Shadow: Two Powerful Photography Tools

Quality photography relies heavily on light. The very meaning of the word “photography” underlines the importance of finding the perfect lighting balance, as it stems from two Greek words: “phos” (meaning light) and “graphis” (which translates into drawing). But despite the fact that most photographers would argue endlessly over the fact that lighting is everything, there is exquisite creative potential in the lack of this highly praised element.

Though often overlooked, shadows can only exist in the presence of light. Oxymoronic, I know, but light would be nothing were it not for the shadows it casts. Learning how to manipulate shadows and seamlessly incorporate them into your composition is an essential element of any photographer’s skillset.

A photograph of a bicycle casting a shadow on the wall

With that in mind, grab your camera, at least one subject and let’s get started!

The Importance of Shadows

We have to stop thinking of shadows as mere dark masses bordering the light. For without shadows, there would be nothing to draw attention to the light we speak so highly of. When correctly using shadows, photographers discover unique opportunities. Before getting down and dirty with techniques you are not familiar with, make sure to visit the exhibitions of experienced photographers and draw inspiration from there.

Creating context and adding drama to a composition is one of the main uses of shadows. Viewers are naturally drawn to areas in your picture where high tonal contrasts exist and such contrasts are impossible without shadows. As such, light by itself could never be able to create the subtle nuances that shadows make possible.

Beautiful composition of the sun shining through the branches of a tree. The branches cast shadows on the snow.

This exquisite photograph, for instance, perfectly uses the juxtaposition shadows and sepia tones to add warmth to an otherwise chilly winter day.

Apart from creating contrast, shadows also allow photographers to focus a viewer’s attention to what is most important in the composition. On the one hand, shadows can be manipulated to remove irrelevant details from portions of the photograph that aren’t as important as others.

Shadow photography portrait showcasing a beautiful model whose face is contoured by cones of shadow.

This photographs creates a striking contrast between the model’s eyes and the rest of her features, which are hidden in cones of shadows falling at different angles.

Photographers can also use shadows to highlight the model’s qualities: from the striking innocence of a child’s face to the subtle sensuality of a female model, everything lies in correct positioning and the artist’s unique view.

two shadow portraits of an innocent child and a sensual woman, both highlighted by correct shadow placement

Another exquisite use of shadow allows photographers to reveal texture. Such images are obtained when the illuminating body (in most cases the sun) is found at a low angle to the horizon, so as to cast shadows across the terrain. Such compositions allow for the textures of certain objects to be emphasized.

use of shadow photography to highlight sand texture

Correctly Including Shadows in Your Composition

Photographing shadows isn’t the easiest task, especially since most settings will cause the targeted shadows to come out too light. Capturing shadows involves a series of tweaks which may contradict a camera’s essential purpose (which is to expose the film to enough light to make the detail visible).

So when you’ve set your mind on shadow photography, be sure to:

  • Switch from automatic to manual mode. Not a beginner photographer’s best friend, manual mode allows you to set the aperture time, ISO value and shutter speed. As such, you are in full control of what your camera is capturing. Beginners may copy the values from these settings from those used by your automatic mode. Tweak and alter each individual setting to identify precisely what you need.
  • Use the exposure lockdown feature when available. DSLR cameras often include an exposure lock feature in their settings menu. Experiment with this feature to include that part of your scene which doesn’t lie in the shadow and use the automatic exposure calculators to obtain exposed highlights contrasting with deep shadows.
  • Consider exposure value compensation. Digital cameras allow photographers to quickly assess their work and if your composition seems to be too bright, slight exposure value tweaks may correct the issue. Lower exposure values to deepen shadows or increase it if your composition is too dark.
  • Bracketing helps. An alternative is to bracket your image by taking successive shots at different exposures. Although high-range cameras (and several mid-range ones) include BKT buttons which have this feature build in, you can achieve the same results with lower-range cameras by simply using manual mode and taking different shots at alternating exposure value compensations.

Tips and Tricks for Shadow Photography

Now that we’ve gotten the technical aspects out of the way, let’s discuss some tips to help you with your creative process. Shadows are excellent starting points especially when you lack a muse.

With that in mind, please remember that a shadow is not the same thing as a silhouette. While silhouettes represent the outline or the dark shape of a specific object or being against a lighter background, shadows represent the shapes or areas formed when objects come between the illuminating body and a surface.

Most photographers find their inspiration looking up or around, so paying attention to the sidewalk or the ground will be a new experience, especially if you haven’t worked with shadows before. But, though unsurprising, you’re only going to find shadows on the ground or against walls. Start actively searching for shadows and seeking inspiration in places yet undiscovered.

stunning contrast between the shadows cast by the building's columns and the girl dancing between them

The human eye enjoys symmetry and shadow patterns create unique compositions which are particularly appealing. Combining shadows and patterns can yield sublime results, so shift angles and experiment with positions to see whether you can capture interesting patterns.

Monochrome and black-and-white compositions are also a good option especially when the shadow you’re photographing is the center-piece of your composition. By removing the colors which would otherwise compete with your viewer’s perception, you’re setting yourself up for great results. Strong, graphical shapes fare best in monochrome, especially when captured from unexpected angles.

Numerous artists have played with shadow compositions. Denis Buchel, for instance, recently won an award for his divine composition focusing on Istanbul’s dim sunset light and the long, converging shadows cast by the people and trees it encountered.

stunning photograph of a hot Istanbul day with converging shadows

Shadow photography is a subtle art and requires a trained hand. It will take time to learn precisely how to incorporate the various elements, shapes and textures to obtain the perfect picture, so give yourself the time to get there. And allow yourself to experiment (even when the experiments don’t produce the results you’d expect). It’s all part of the learning process!

Photo credits: 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7

Pet Photography Tips & Tricks

As fun as it may look like, pet photography can be a tough nut to crack. Apart from having the appropriate equipment and skill, it takes a bit more of patience and genuine care for your models. Don’t worry! We are here to provide you with special tips and ideas on how to create the best pet photo shooting atmosphere. Dealing with the technical side of the story is equally important, so make sure you stop our useful camera settings and tricks. Let’s get started!

Pet Photography Tips for a Relaxed Photo Shooting

Pets are like little kids. They need careful attention and a nice, clean environment. What we recommend is choose a location they like, either indoor or outdoor and photograph them in familiar environment. The context of your photo shooting is as important as your model. As long as you make sure your pet feels comfortable, you can achieve great results.

Treat to Trick!

One of the best tricks for a successful pet photo shooting is to treat your pet. Think of the rewards he enjoys the most and you cannot possibly go wrong with it. Not only that your dog will love you (if it’s a cat it will love you for a minute, maybe), but you will also take some great shots. You can use their favorite food or toys as props as well.

Have Some Fun!

Now that you have created a relaxed atmosphere you can have some fun! Whether you have a lazy cat, a playful dog or a noisy parrot, be creative and experiment with different props and accessories.

Here are some funny must-have pet photography props:

  • A Washing Machine (be careful with that!)

pet photography using a washing machine as a prop

  • A Small Boat (who would have thought boats are for cats?)

pet photography using a small boat as a prop

  • Books and Glasses (for a smart, hipsterish look)

pet photography using books and glasses as props

  • A Fashionable Scarf and Flowers (why not?)

fashionable scarf for pet photography

  • A Crown (of course!)

crown for pet photography

Technical Pet Photography Tips

Shoot in Natural Light

Shooting in natural light is essential for all photography niches. When it comes to photographing your pet, all you can ask for is a nice, bright yet diffused morning light. If you choose to shoot indoors, try to photograph your model as close to the window as possible.

I wouldn’t recommend to use the flash only if it is absolutely necessary. It can be very annoying for your pet and the results can be disastrous.

Best Lenses for Pet Photography

Wide angle lenses should be your first choice when photographing your pet. Don’t be surprised if by using wider angle lenses you will capture pet photographs with a twist. Play with different angles and perspectives for more imaginative shots. Either you photograph them from their eye level, from the above or from below, these kind of lenses will provide your pictures with a broader perspective and some interesting effects.

Close-up Portraits

The eyes of your pet can say more than thousands words (if only they could speak!). That is why some of the best pet photographs you can take are close-up portraits.

Whether you want them to be dramatic or hilarious, pet portraits are very expressive and eye-catching. You know what the best thing is with close-up pet portraits? There are no props needed.

Here’s what you should do in order to get sharp close-up photos of your pet

  • Use manual focus on your camera and make sure you highlight their eyes.
  • Focus on your model while creating a blurry effect for the background. Set a wide aperture (f/2.8 should do the job), get close to your pet and shoot!

Outdoor Pet Photography Tips

  • Photograph Your Pet in Motion

Want to capture your pet enjoying some time outdoors? Choose a fine, sunny day, set your digital camera to shutter speed priority mode and to continuous focus and see how it goes.

  • Freeze the Moment!

Pets can be very playful which makes pet photography even more challenging. That is why a good DSLR and some patience are priceless. Set your camera on shutter speed mode, or if you feel confident enough operate in manual mode by setting a fast shutter speed and adjusting the aperture accordingly. All you need to do is anticipate a great moment for your shot and capture some joy!

Image Sources: Pinterest

Using the Best Techniques for Shutter Speed Photography

Today’s post focuses on photography techniques that will help you use the shutter speed both effectively and creatively. We hope this article will provide you with inspiration for a new day of work.

Shutter Speed Photography Techniques

Before getting into detail and discussing more complex aspects of shutter speed photography, let’s go back to the basics and see what shutter speed is and why it is essential to know how to use it for high quality photos. Shutter speed refers to the length of time the camera’s shutter is open when capturing an image. Also called exposure time, the shutter speed is measured in fractions of a second and seconds. [Read more…]