Train your eYe!

Developing your photographic eye doesn’t happen overnight but there are many little habits you can implement to help kick things along. Sometimes it’s best to begin without a camera…simply look at a scene and imagine how it could be captured.

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The most important yet the least talked about!

“The part of your mind that actually helps you see the world and share it with others.”

Your eye is trained and developed over time with training!

No matter what camera you are using or even a mobile, here is my tips for you:

  • The less you have to think about settings and technical details, the better!

“Keep a camera with you as much as possible!”

  • Create images that you like!

“Don’t be afraid to fail either, learn from your mistakes and keep working!”

  • Don’t just take snapshots of what you are looking at, but use it to express you!

“Take a walk around your town (without a camera) and look for photographic opportunities. The ability to take a great photograph begins before you even pick up your camera. You need to see it first.”

  • Composition: Think about your intentions to place the subject to the left, to the right or wherever you are placing it.

“Look for the light. Practice researching the best times for your area to shoot warm afternoon light and then look for locations that soak it all up.”

  • Take a simple object like a bottle of water and photograph it on an empty table against a blank wall.

Grab a friend of family member and ask them to be your model for 30minutes.

  • Practice and practice and practice… Look at others work and try to criticise yours!
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Quick tips for the new photography lovers

When i started to get involved with photography, i used to search everywhere (in magazines of course because there was still no internet) to find some useful tips and to write them down in my photography small booklet. I know how useful are those small tips for the new learners or those willing to improve in photography!

That’s why i will keep every while posting those small quick tips…

  • When taking portrait photographs at any aperture, make sure you nail the focus on the eyes.

“The more mistakes you make, the faster you’ll learn and improve your photography skills.”

  • Using built-in flash as a primary light source can create very harsh shadows and an unflattering look.

“For each rule, there is going to be photos that disregard it and still turn out beautiful.”

  • Depth of field in photography is the relation of how sharp the plane of focus is compared to everything away from that plane.

“Remember to rotate your camera for a different look( portrait and Landscape ).This can often result in improved photographs too!”

  • Don’t shoot only from your eye level…Experiment with different angles to discover new perspectives!

“Determine what your subject is and be selective about what else is in the frame.”

  • The rule of thirds in photography is not a hard and fast rule, but a good guideline to follow instead of just placing your subject dead center by default.

“As a new photographer, you simply won’t need a lot of gear since you’ll have lots of learning to do before your skills surpass the capabilities of the kit lens.”

  • Focusing on what you love will make photography more enjoyable for you.

Keep in mind!

An advice for you!

Look at your photos, then figure out what photographer you are.

One of the lessons I’ve learned is that in order to make more beautiful photos, we should seek to “make” not “take” photos!

When you are shooting, look at the edges of your frame.

Having a more megapixels is better? Well let’s make it that way: more megapixels = more problems!

Don’t see your photos as photos, but as works of art.

To make a photograph with emotion, put your soul in the photograph.

Buying a new camera or lens will NOT make you a better photographer!

To make better photos, you need to practice more!

Make photos that express who you are, and how you see the world!

Never compare yourself with others!

When you have nothing to shoot, go for self portrait!

One of the big myths in photography is that the bigger your camera, the more “professional” you are!

Ask yourself: “Why do i make photos?”

What to use when doing street photography

First, i want to thank all the good friends who wrote to me asking why i stopped blogging and asked me to continue… Simply, i was not in the mood for writing!

Today, i decided to talk a little about STREET PHOTOGRAPHY, especially for those who wanna start doing it and get confused about the perfect camera and lens selection…

Let me start by telling you that there is no “perfect” camera for street photography – every camera has its pros and cons.

Make it as compact as possible, as you will be walking and carrying it for hours… PLUS keep in mind the following:

The best camera for street photography is an extension of your eye plus your soul…

I will share with you a part of my e-book: “the vision” which you can download it for free here.

The first thing to keep in mind when practicing photography is to recognize that the skill you are growing is your ability to “SEE”.

For me, “seeing” is a complex combination of your physical “eyesight” and your mental “vision”

A good way to enhance your ability to see, and thus your vision is the act of observing your surroundings… You can do it at any moment and all what it requires is a little extra “attention”.

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What is the best lens for street photography?

In general, a 35mm on a full frame camera (or 24mm on an APSC camera) is a great street photography lens.

I prefer to shoot with prime lenses not with zoom lenses for one main very important reason: They force you to be more creative! while using a zoom lens makes you lazy 🙂

Prime lenses tend to have larger maximum apertures (f/1.2, f/1.4, f/1.8, f/2) which make them fast, make good BOKEH and are effective in low light conditions.

 

As a conclusion, i can tell you again :

There is no perfect lens for street photography.

I recommend you to experiment and try out what works for you!

 

Creativity in photography

The creativity journey starts with YOU… Camera is not involved… only YOU!

Many people speak of creativity using nice words like soul, mood, passion, feeling and spark. And yes, these are all great words to wrap around the concept of creativity, however they are not particularly helpful in giving us some real goals to aim at.

For me, creativity implies that we have created or added ‘something extra’. It is that bit of ‘magic’ which will occasionally take what we make and transport it to a special place.

 

There’s No Recipe for Creativity!

Several photographers can shoot the same subject and all come back with technically competent captures. But one of those photographers might produce results that will shine —all because of the creative X factor!

My creativity is not the same as your creativity, nor should it be. My eyes and my experiences are different than yours.

“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes and having fun.” ~ Mary Lou Cook

HOW THEN DO WE BECOME CREATIVE?!

Some argue that creativity cannot be taught… It’s a gift for the privileged few…

Based on my own experience, i disagree!

Throughout every step of my journey, there have been people, books, movies, classes, and workshops that have helped me to become more creative! I still remember when studying photography that my instructor George Seper in his food photography class showed us his passion for food photography and how this led him to be one of the creative and famous food photographers. He taught us how to think with creativity!

Creativity is NOT something only a few are born with!

It is an ASPECT OF LIFE that some nourish and others ignore.

” Creativity is imagination and imagination is for everyone” – Paul Arden

When we were younger, our imaginations were limitless and unfettered with practicality…

That’s why Picasso once said: “All children are artists. The problem is to remain one when you grow up”

If you want to be creative, you need to step out of your comfort zone, be a beginner again! challenge yourself and your way of thinking in photography… Try something new even if you know you are bad in it… It is all about challenging yourself and in the same time exploring your self… Break the rules… use your imagination and have fun!

 

How to choose what is best for you? RAW or JPEG?!

 

Another frequent question i get asked and the most confusing one for most of the amateurs…

Many switch to RAW without fully knowing why while others keep shooting JPEG because it’s just plain easy…

 

Now shouldn’t you know why you’re doing what you’re doing?  

 

There are lots of situations where shooting in RAW is better BUT also many situations where you should choose JPEG.

 

Which Format Is The Better Format To Use?

An argument can be made for both formats. Some photographers will feel more strongly in backing the use of one versus another, but it is ultimately an individual choice.

Personally, I shoot RAW + L (large) JPEG as it provides me greater flexibility. For photographs that I’ve exposed correctly, JPEGs allow me a faster path to share images online and selectively use for printing. For photographs that I am interested in having published or printed, I begin my post-processing from the RAW file and make alterations in lossless file formats (TIF). The end result is the production of images that I feel are of the highest quality.

 

If you shoot hundreds or thousands of images in a day shoot JPG and don’t worry!

 

SO WHICH IS BEST?

 

The Pros of RAW format:

  • RAW is a digital negative holding all of the data captured by your camera with no sacrifice of image quality.
  • RAW file software editors allow you to quickly and easily change the output of your image such as adjusting exposure, white balance, noise reduction, saturation, contrast, levels, curves, sharpness, output resolution, bits/channel, etc…

 

The Cons of RAW format:

  • RAW files take up more space…
  • RAW files require you to work with a raw editor then convert your image to an editable file type for editing, printing and/or online display.

 

The Pros of JPEG format:

  • JPEG is a file format that has been adopted as a standard and can be loaded in a variety of programs making display easy and simple.
  • JPEG files take up less space.

 

The Cons of JPEG format:

  • JPEGs are not a lossless file format. Each time the file is saved data is compressed, with some data being lost in the process. The net impact can be loss of color saturation, color range and sharpness.
  • JPEG files reflect a one-time interpretation of your subject based on the settings of your camera (white balance, exposure settings and output resolution, etc.). Altering these settings and re-outputting a new file, as you can with a RAW file, is not possible. What you capture is what you get.
  • With specific types of photographed scenes JPEG compression artifacts can appear in prints.

 

Now the decision is yours 🙂

 

 

 

How to shoot fireworks!

Fireworks

 

A frequent question “How to shoot fireworks?”

With the summer coming up and different celebrations you may have the opportunity to photograph some fireworks.

 

Photographing fireworks can be challenging but it’s not impossible!

 

Choose your location wisely 

Take the time to discover a great location to view the fireworks from. When you get to the location, look for foreground objects. Fireworks against a black sky are colorful, but not that exciting in a photograph. Reference points—buildings, hillsides, trees, monuments—help a lot.

  • Tip – be careful of the wind direction! Otherwise after the first couple fireworks your photos will be clouded by the smoke.

 

Be sure that your flash is OFF

 

Tripod is a Must!

To effectively capture fireworks, you will have to use a long shutter speed and without a tripod you simply will get a blurry photo.

 

Shutter Release Remote

You ideally should be using a shutter release remote which will let you open the shutter without having to physically touch the camera – which can cause blur. I use a cable release

 

Keep ISO Low 

Make sure to use as low of ISO as possible to ensure your photos are as noiseless as possible.

 

Which lens is best?

Unfortunately, the best answer I can give to that question is, “It depends on your location.” . I prefer wide angle!

 

Manual Focus 

Focusing at night is always a challenge. I recommend to set the lens to manual focus and set it to the ∞ (infinity) mark. With most autofocus cameras, use autofocus to focus on something very far away, and then reset it to Manual focus to lock the focus at infinity for the rest of the night.

 

Camera settings 

It is impossible to tell you what is the “exact” settings…

But we can start with ISO100, f/11, 2 seconds shutter speed. If the fireworks are too bright, pick a higher f-stop number and if too dark, vice-versa (like f/8).

I use “bulb” mode in which I control the length of the shutter manually.  If using “bulb” mode, open the shutter at the start of the firework trail and hold open until the burst, or longer to capture more!

 

Do NOT use live view 

If your camera has it. This will eat up your battery really fast!

 

Shoot most of your shots at the start of the show

To avoid the smoke/haze that appears a bit later and ruin your photos!

 

Make sure you leave enough room in your frame to anticipate the height of the opened bursts!

 

Have fun and experiment!