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

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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

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Plate and pixels

hey are ideal photo models. They come in endless varieties, stay put through the shoots, throw no tantrums, and are happy to pose on tables. Sure, they suffer meltdowns in the heat and excitement, and sometimes wilt. That’s okay, say their photographers. There is nothing we can’t fix with a little make-up. Too far gone? Replace them! We “prepare our subjects well,” says K.L. Raja Ponsing, founder-director, Ambitions4 Photography Academy. “We make them look good on brochures, cookbooks, restaurant boards, hoardings, menu cards and newspapers.”

Food photography (FP) is huge business now. Raja’s Academy has FP in its curriculum. Well-known photographers boast of expertise in FP. Our new-found love for international cuisine has launched a tribe of specialists in food photography.

http://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/art/plate-and-pixels/article3393615.ece

Pushkar and photographers….

Camels and photographers

The photographers (people with cameras) outnumber the camels…is not an exaggerated statement. Wherever I point my camera, there will be some photographers in my frame. It is almost impossible to get a shot without a person with a camera in it.

Photographers on the mound

Pushker this year had a lot of such visitors.  Many of them are beginners, hobbyists and random shooters. They are from some photography clubs; groups, institutes, colleges and of course there are many from abroad. Many of them are with not less than a Canon 5D MkIIIs & ‘L’ lenses or with Nikon D800s and professional lenses. Some of the camera manufacturers even bring a bunch of people with their cameras, bright logo printed jackets like in a road show.

tourist

I interacted with some of them and even saw few of their shots. Most of them are pretty much vague even in identifying a subject for photography. When one identifies a subject (it may be camels or people), you can find atleast fifteen others shoot from the back of that one person (sometimes in front of the person also to block his point of view..!). Surprisingly Pushar is a ‘drive-in-studio’ where the subjects, [particularly people] not only comes in front but also remain in front of the person with the camera posing for long till the person tries a technically good shot…!

street-photographers

painted human gods

Most of these subjects – women, kids or the owners of camels or shops demand a lot of money from camerapersons. They don’t let them leave without paying after shooting. Sometimes the camera groups pay a lump sum and enjoy clicking few random shots. There were groups of camerapersons, setting up shots with the men and women dressed and made up in the native costumes for a shot.

child-god

dad and daughter

I just heard a local boy asking these camerapersons as what they do with these pictures? Most of them do not have an answer…!

End of the day, its more of fun and time pass.

Camels are beautiful and graceful…!

I heard people saying camels are ugly animals. But when I went around the camel fair in Pushkar, I find them as elegant as other animals. When I Iooked through my camera, I find the graceful body language in its every movement. The way it turns around the neck and head, the way it sits on the ground, the way it stretches on the ground, the way it walks, the way it runs, the way it drinks water, the way it shares the love and affection, the way it responds for its calf, the way it closes the nostrils against the sand storm, the way it greets the owner/boss, the way it obeys the command…. Everything has a beauty in it.

I just had an opportunity to be with these lovely animals for about eight hours in total to capture various gestures of them. Like other animals camels are also very unique and beautiful. More than all they are photographer friendly….!

The Background

Like the subjects, the background is also an important in the photographs. Yes, whether you like it or not you always shoot a picture with a background. May be you can eliminate or change it by using an image editing software! But it is impossible to shoot only the main subject without a background. At the same time, just by moving or shifting your camera slightly to your left or right you can change the effect of the background in your picture.

In photography, the background plays a vital role and used for ‘story telling’. The background needs to be definitely interesting but not distracting. If not handled carefully, background could do more harm than good for a fine subject. This is because, when you see, your eyes see very selectively (many time we don’t even care about the background) but in a photograph, it is seen because the camera sees the subject and the background alike (the camera doesn’t see selectively).

Learning to understand about the ‘background’ in photography is something similar to learning to understand the ‘parking rules’ before one learns driving..!

Experienced photographers are very careful about the choice of backgrounds because the background does a lot of magic in photography.

A perfect scan on the background every time will help to get a meaningful image on the digital sensor. 

Photography appears to be a simple matter, but it demands powers of concentration combined with mental enthusiasm and discipline – Henri Cartier-Bresson

The Black & White

couple

Way back in the early 80’s, colour photography was introduced to India. I still cannot forget the excitement and demand it created among the photographers and the public. Studios in India added ‘Colour’ in front of their existing name like – ‘Raja Colour Photo Studio’. Photographers waited for months to get their rolls developed and printed. I still remember that I used to send my rolls to Kodak, Bombay (now it is Mumbai) and wait for at least a fortnight. The development in the colour imaging technology has now reached a different level.

Despite the ‘information and details’ given by colour photography, there is always something missing in it. It is undoubtedly the ‘feel or the emotion’, which is the power of ‘Black & White photography always. Don’t you think that whenever you wanted to communicate emotions in a subject, colour really takes it away by its power of attraction?

Though not in most other subjects, people and portrait shots deserve to be shot in B & W as they are truly powerful in expressing the emotional content of the subject.

But for me, B & W photos are very special because they are not true to life. The reason being their ‘default creativity.’ When you are trying to express something that is not true to life then, you have a lot of scope for imagination and creativity. May be that is what made the ace photographer Ansel Adams create several black & white landscape shots. How can a B & W landscape shot be true to life? But, they were truly beautiful and undoubtedly artistic. That is one of the reasons why B & W pictures take the lion’s share in the photo exhibitions, competitions and art galleries.

Enjoy artistic photography….! Learn to see the world in a different way…. the B & W way!

A photographer does not operate a camera to merely take pictures. Photographic work is always personal. A photograph reveals the photographer.

‘Photography knows how to authenticate its misrepresentations’- Manson Cooley