Easy Photography – tips

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19th August – World Photography Day…!

Remembering the awesome contributions of many dedicated individuals, groups and corporates towards development of the art, science and technology of photography…..

Accepting that I am insignificant and surrender for the great art of photography, which is larger than the universe…..

Bowing down my head to all the great masters of photography who had made remarkable pictures that changed the faiths and beliefs of the world……

Respecting all the dedicated mentors whom I know directly and indirectly for imparting the knowledge and the power of photography in me….

Accepting my ignorance for the unknown and feeling proud about the little known facts about photography….

Taking an oath to spread the message of photography and guide the society of enthusiastic young photographers…..

Believing in the imagination, creativity, confidence, hard work, patience, sharing, learning…which are more important than the supporting gadgets and technology.

Living and dreaming only photography…..

Proud to be a professional photographer…feeling high behind the camera

– KL.Raja Ponsing

IMG_0003 (1)

Note: On this eventful day, 19th August 2017 at 11.00 am, Ambitions 4 Photography Academy hosts the INFOCUS 2017, the photography exhibition – the students work and celebrates the Graduation Day – successful students take the credit of the qualification. Dr. Balasandilyan (Balasubramanian, CEO, Vision Unlimited), J.Lakshmankumar M.F.I, Director of photography, V.S.Ananadhakrishnan – fashion photographer, Sudarshan Balaji -Fashion Photographer -participate as guests of honour.

Wow… its food photography…!

soup

Food a most essential thing for all is something we see and taste on every day basis. We also see a lot of food pictures in advertisements, menu cards, websites, indoor displays etc.  But how many of us have really visualized as how the food is shot for commercial purposes?  Well, what is so special about shooting food as a table top set-up? It’s about showing food appetising and fresh in the photo.

orange-juice

Is that simple? It is not that simple as we think. We need to understand every single food with respect to its colour, texture, form, shape and arrange them aesthetically beautiful so that it catches the eyes. Well, can we shoot the food that is served to eat? Many times the answer is ‘No’. You cannot shoot the food that you eat and cannot eat the food that you shoot.

salad

Interestingly, many food set-ups contain uncooked or half cooked food or ingredients and dummies to make them look fresh and retain the colour, texture, form and shape. Most of food contents degenerate or undergo a lot amount of physical and chemical changes when cooked.

beverage

We all know that food has a strong cultural value and background. The presentation of food in front of the camera needs to carry the cultural feel. Well, you need to use the appropriate table top, background and the plates, cutlery, accomplishments, properties, garnishing, and arrangements to match the cultural value or background of the food. For example, while shooting a Chinese dish, we can include a pair of chopsticks…!

melon-balls

Choose to work with a competent food stylist and culinary artist. This will add a lot of value for food photography. In the recent Food Photography workshop conducted by me, I had got a perfect assistance from the Chef Uma Sankar, an Olympics bronze medallist in culinary art, assisted by Bindhu Hepzibah an artist. Uma Sankar’s contribution as a chef and culinary artist went a long way in making the food fresh and appetizing.

pasta

A professional high resolution digital camera with optically perfect lenses and studio lights could make the food photography complete. Choose to shoot food in the studio for a better control or create a setup near the kitchen of the restaurant. A lot of training on lighting and composition is required to get the shot right. Use of multiple, small, pointed light sources apart form an overall lighting from a soft box is needed to get the highlights in the desired portion of the food.

milk-and-cookies

Love food.., in the sense of feel and visual aspects. This is a most important eligibility to become a food photographer.

Proud to be a Professional Photographer…

 

vietnam-nick-ut-40th-anniversary

Vietnam-war-napalm-girl-photo by Nick Ut

19th August – the World Photography Day…!

“Remembering the awesome contributions of many individuals, groups and companies towards development of the art, science and technology of photography…..

Bowing down my head to all great masters of photography who taught us thorough their great masterpieces and changed the faith and beliefs of the world……

Respecting all the great mentors whom I know directly and indirectly for imparting the knowledge and the power of photography in me….

Accepting my ignorance for unknown and feeling proud about the little known facts of photography….

Taking an oath to spread the message of photography to the society of enthusiastic young photographers…..

Believing in observation, imagination, creativity, confidence, hard work, patience, sharing, caring and learning which are more important than supporting gadgets and technology.

Accepting that I am insignificant and surrender to the great art, photography which is larger than the universe…..

Living and dreaming only photography…..

This is what it means for me on this ‘World Photography Day’ ”

– KL.Raja Ponsing

image courtesy: http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2015/04/vietnam-war-napalm-girl-photo-today

How to shoot through glass?

There are lot of occasions we will be shooting through transparent glasses. Especially scenes from inside a car or airplane, aquariums, merchandise on display, exhibits in a museum, artifacts and lot more. If we are not careful, we may end up with disastrous pictures.

inside a display case

Inside a display case

The following few tips can help you to get the shoots right when you shoot through the glass,

  1. Use manual focus to get the subject behind the glass sharp. Some autofocus cameras may not get your subject sharp when it is behind the glass.
  2. Clean the surface of the glass if possible to get the subject clear. Dirt is a major enemy for shots through the glass.

    from Indigo

    Inside a flight

  3. Shoot from near the glass to make the dirt/scratches go out of focus. This also could take the reflections outside the frame
  4. Use Polarising filter to remove unwanted reflections of the surrounding on the glass. Rotate the glass element of the filter till you see the reflection going off.

    from giant wheel cubicle 011

    Shot from a Giant wheel cubicle

  5. Do not use direct on camera flashes while shooting parallel to the glass surface. Stay little diagonal to use a bounce flash light from the ceiling or walls.
  6. Avoid back light as it unnecessarily reveals all the dirt/scratch on the glass

    Energy

    Shot from inside a car

  7. Check for proper exposure as there may be drastic difference in brightness in the scene. Play with exposure bracketing to settle for something you want.
  8. You could try HDR imaging technic for high contrast subjects

    from a car

    Shot from a moving car

  9. Use the best of white balance control to shoot subjects inside glass cases lit with different kinds of display lights.
  10. Include the frame or the edge of the glass using wide angle lenses to establish the glass if you want to show that you are shooting through it.

If you found this article usefull, please check our Basic DSLR Photography weekend course , where we explore all the essentials of Digital SLR photography in detail. It is an intensive, 10 weekend (60 hours) course 

 

How to create the feel of depth in the photos?

The feel of depth can be understood as the feel of walking through the photo. A photo is two-dimensional and the feel of three dimension is all about the feel of depth in it. An illusion of the third dimension is tried in all the photos to give the feel of reality. It is the added perspective mainly from the point of view. Our eyes can see in three dimension as the scene in front of us is not flat. The feel of variable distance of different objects in the frame is known as the feel of depth.

To establish the depth, the photo must contain multiple planes or layers in it. May be foreground middle ground and a background._MG_4178c

The following tips may give us a feel depth in our photos

  1. Use wide-angle lenses for a greater feel of variation of the object sizes in the frame and the feel of distance in it.IMG_9664c
  1. Avoid using very long focal length lenses as they compress the scene and make it look very flat without depth.
  1. Lookout for multiple planes or layers as seen from the point of view. Every distinct planes will give an additional feel of depth in the photo.IMG_0404c
  1. Include or add a foreground element in the scene to get a comparative distance from the main subject_MG_4723c
  2. Lookout for visually identifiable real or imaginary lines or curves running from the corner of the frame diagonally across. This will give an illusion of depth and distance.IMG_9490c
  1. Avoid flat front lighting and use sidelight with good shadows to define the planes and distance.
  1. Shoot from a diagonal angle to give the feel of diminishing perspective. This will give a feel of depth to the scene.   IMG_0242c
  1. Include repetitive and overlapping patterns to add the feel of depth
  1. Use shallow depth of field while shooting portraits and people shots. The out of focus background will give the feel of extra distance from the main subject._MG_0005c

If you found this article useful, please check our Diploma in Professional Photography course , where we explore all the professional aspects of photography in detail. It is an intensive 6 months fulltime course 

How to use backlights for an effective feel of the photograph?

Back lighting is something which gives us the feel of mood and glow in the photos. In particular, the back light with a feel of rim at the edge of the subject truly brings the third dimension of the subject. The translucent subjects reveal fantastic texture details in the backlight scenes. Landscapes looks refreshing with a good backlight

IMG_9644c

The following tips may help you to shoot nice backlight shots.

  1. Choose to shoot in early mornings and late evenings for an effective back light.
  1. Use mist, smoke, stream, dust and extra humidity for an effective visual of backlight._MG_4991c
  1. Position the Sun at an oblique angle and let the light pass through the scene towards the camera.
  1. Use good lens hood or light cutters to avoid unwanted glare or flare in the shots. An added glare or flare sometime gives an extra punch to the photo.IMG_0149
  1. Take exposure for the shadows and underexpose for about a stop or more for a better details of highlights.
  1. Use gentle fill in flash for people shots to get the details of the shadow areas.IMG_0096c
  1. Be careful about Auto focus. Most of the entry level DSLR cameras may not be able to autofocus the scene that easily. If you are comfortable and the subject is fairly not moving fast, then you can try manual focus.
  1. A shift in the white balance towards amber will be good for day light shots.
  1. A landscape shot with the feel of shafts of light using back light will be looking fresh and energetic.                          _MG_0211c
  1. Add an extra contrast in the picture style setting or while working in the digital darkroom.
  1. The punch of steam or smoke will be appetizing while using a gentle back light.
  1. Use a gentle rim or back light for all the portraits and people shots to enhance the texture of hair and skin textures._C1A6700
  1. A bright back light where the exposure is settled for highlights, results in a beautiful silhouette.
  1. A back light shot of a food setup and transparent products are definitely appetizing.IMG_3842s

If you found this article usefull, please check our Advanced DSLR Photography weekend course , where we explore all the essentials of Advanced Digital SLR photography in detail. It is an intensive, 12 weekend (72 hours) course 

How to look for different/unusual view points

A photograph looks different when it is shot from an unusual point of view. An unusual point of view is a view that many photographers would not have tried. May be it is something very contemporary or unconventional. A conventional photograph is one that is normally shot from a comfortable zone. When we try to jump out of a common path the photo automatically becomes different. The unusual point of view creates an extra attention to the photo.

The following tips may help you to shoot something unusual.

  1. Come out of the tourist instinct and avoid seeing things from a gallery point of view or a tourist guide’s point of view.

turban

  1. Go around the subject if possible or visualize the other sides of the subject.

temple

  1. Step out of the common path…and refrain from shooting along with most other persons with a camera.

Kapaleeshwarar temple

  1. Avoid eyelevel point of view as far as possible. Look at the subject little from a low level or climb up little elevations.

forest

  1. Include some interesting foreground… a suitable or meaningful foreground will make the point of view truly unusual.

Balaji Prasad (4)

  1. Shoot through arches, doorways, holes, fences, jolly etc. to make it interesting.

Hindu temple

  1. Look for interesting reflections in the foreground or background.

Church

  1. Shoot people from others point of view – an over the shoulder shot will be exciting and unusual.

ganesha

  1. Overlap the subject meaningfully on to a suitable background to make the subject unusual.

Jallikattu

  1. Use extra wide-angle lenses for unusual perspective distortions and visual effects.

Rajasthan

If you found this article useful, please check our Diploma in Professional Photography course , where we explore all the professional aspects of photography in detail. It is an intensive 6 months fulltime course 

Just in about half an hour…!

Many times when we go out for travel photography and try shooting heritages, temples, landmarks, we may not get a shot as required/visualized. This is mostly because the light is not perfect or we reach the place at the wrong time of the day. But sometimes to our surprise the light is not only fantastic but also changes fast to get a lot of variation in the shots.

One such magic happened to me recently on my trip with my students of Ambitions4 Photography Academy to the UNESCO world heritage site, famous tourist spot – Shore temple, Mamallapuram about 50km from Chennai (a most popular place for all kinds of photographers). It was on a sunny day after gentle rains in the previous day; the sky was clearly blue contrasting with buddle of beautiful bright clouds. The crispy bright and fresh Sunlight on the ancient shore temple (a marvel of temple architecture built by Narashimavarman of the great Pallava Dynasty in 8th century AD) made it look terrific.

Most other earlier times I visited this place was truly disappointing. I just come with few record shots only. But this time, I was excited like a child… took my DSLR with a circular polarizer on my lens and shot about 50 images in less than half an hour from different angles and compositions. I got my shots for the day even before 7.30 in the morning…!

May be this is what people say “You have to be on the right place at the right time to get most of your shots right in photography”!

Focus Stacking

Focus stacking is a technique to get an extended depth of field in photographs where the maximum depth of field* is not possible using the popular photography techniques.

* ‘Depth of field’ is the acceptable range of effective sharpness of the subject on the axis of the lens.

We know that the maximum depth of the field is possible,

  • By using smaller aperture diameters (higher f numbers like f32/f22/f16
  • By using smaller focal length lenses
  • By shooting from a longer distance
  • By using cameras with smaller sensor size

Despite of using the above techniques, some times we cannot show the subject sharp all through.

Particularly when shooting from a closer distance, to get the maximum sharpness spreading all through the subject area, ‘focus-stacking technique’ is used.

This technique is useful for shooting small objects using macro lenses / product shots / jewelry shots / food shots where the subject demands total sharpness.

This is nothing but shooting a sequence of images focusing at various planes and then merging them carefully in the post production process using an image processing software. In the image shown here, the milk and cookies at different planes are focused individually.

Focus stacking

The three individual images where the points of focus are different give a different range of depth of field. Composting all the three images into one by erasing the less sharper areas of the individual images using layer masking technique to retain only the sharp areas gives complete sharpness all through the image. This gives a feel of extended depth of field, which is not otherwise achievable.

focus stacking

Note: The camera needs to be on a tripod and the subject must be stationary to take control of composition.

If you found this article useful, please check our Advanced Diploma in Professional Photography course , where we explore all the professional aspects of Commercial photography in detail. It is an intensive 12 months fulltime course