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THE ART OF “STILL LIFE PHOTOGRAPHY”

 

Still life photography is not a dead art.  It is fun and exciting !  Here are some helpful tips on Still life Photography:

My wife and I were out taking pictures the other day of the fall leaves, the beautiful scenery, and we couldn’t help but think that you could grab a bunch of fall leaves, put them together in a special grouping of such, and create a great “still life photo”.  You know, still life photography is a wonderful art that is a fun thing to do.  You don’t have to worry about making people smile just right, and you have time to work on lighting, etc.  This can be a real fun art in photography.  Here are some ideas of “Still Life Photography”  that is something to think about:

Wait a minute….. take a look at the many calendars that are out there.  Look at the many photographic images of food you see on Social media every day.   How about product images you see every day?  Huh?   Are we getting the picture now?   So, still life can pay big money if you know how to make it work right.

Oh, you mean food falls in the category of still photography?  Yes it does!  Well then, that makes sense to talk about this.  There are a lot of photographers making money at taking pictures of food.  Here is another one that is considered still photography that you can make a lot of money at as a good still photographer:

Commercial products for manufactures.  Can you get the lighting just right?  Placement of product to show it off?  Do you realize how important it is to get this angle right, and the lighting right, and to make it look so good that people will want to buy it just because you made it look so good in your photography?   That is what Still photography can do for you.  There is an ART to Still photography.  It is used everyday in the real world.  And I wanted to address this in great detail.  Here is an article by a professional photographer, who makes money at doing this all the time and we can learn a great deal from this photographer.  Let me introduce:  AUTUMN LOCKWOOD.  Autumn will introduce to us her article about taking still photos.  And thanks to PictureCorrect for the use of this article:

STILL LIFE PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TECHNIQUES:

Still life photography has many uses. Perhaps you want to take a picture of a beautiful shell or perhaps take a picture of a product that you’re selling on eBay. Other reasons for learning still life photography may include selling still life photograph downloads at stock photography sites or to food magazines. No matter what your reason, still life photography is a great skill to learn.

photo by Rick Harris

Unless you’re photographing specific products or pictures for a magazine assignment, the subjects for your still life photography are endless. Despite common belief, still life photography isn’t limited to just pictures of apples and grapes. Even something like artfully arranged spools of thread can be interesting and visually appealing. Microstock sites like Shutterstock and iStock that cater to commercial users have a high demand for all sorts of still life, often of very simple objects, like a cup of coffee or a key.

photo by C_osett

People often times think of still life photography as a lot easier than other types of photography like sports or landscape photography. With stills, you often have full control over the composition and can arrange the inanimate objects exactly how you want them.


And sometimes, good quality still life pictures can be even more challenging to photograph. That’s because they are close up so it’s easy to spot imperfections like a blemish on a piece of fruit that would usually pass unnoticed.

photo by Samantha Durfee

Despite the challenges, using basic photography skills and the following tips, you can create quality still life pictures.

LIGHTING FOR STILL LIFE PHOTOGRAPHY:

Professional photographers usually use a soft box or a light box to shoot their still lifes. Although soft boxes can help out a lot, they still aren’t absolutely necessary to get good results as you’ll see shortly. However, if you do want one, you can find a softbox online or you can easily make one using instructions you find online. The purpose of these lighting tools is to provide even light on the subject.


You can also get a good quality of light by setting up your photo shoot outside. A high overcast or bright sky can create a natural soft box effect without having any of the harsh shadows.


COMPOSING STILL LIFE PHOTOS:

When composing your photograph, you need to arrange the objects in a pleasing composition. You should consider using classical composition techniques like the “Rule of Thirds,” “Leading Lines” or “Frame within a Frame” for ideas of how to best compose your pictures.

photo by Olga Filonenko

Artfully arrange the objects, and use your imagination. For example, if you’re taking a picture of an apple try taking a bite out of it to give it some added interest.

FILL THE FRAME WITH YOUR STILL LIFE SUBJECT:

When taking still life pictures, always remember that your subject should be the only thing that you see in your viewfinder or LCD screen. You need to remove any distractions or clutter from the background so you can have a clean and up close image.

photo by aotaro

If you have a backdrop or background you don’t like don’t worry about it because it can be easily solved. The light box or soft box will solve this problem, but if you’re taking pictures outside and have a distracting background simply place a piece of white foam board behind your subject and you’ll be all set. If you want a sharp image, make sure to use macro mode or you can end up with a fuzzy image.

LOOK FOR A GOOD ANGLE:

Instead of shooting from your height, hold the camera so that it is level with your subject. You should also try shooting from a variety of different angles. Hopefully you can start applying these still life photography tips immediately so you can start seeing a difference in the quality of your still life images.

About the Author Autumn Lockwood is a writer for Your Picture Frames. .

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Entertainment & learning for the photographer

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7 Photography Myths Exposed

7 Photography Myths Exposed

Photographers, of all people, should know that the world is not black and white. There are many shades of grey between black and white, between good and bad, and between right and wrong. It’s all a matter of perspective and circumstance. Yet photography is full of blanket statements about what you should and shouldn’t do. In this article, I expose (pun intended!) a few of the most common photography myths every photographer should know.

North Algodones Sand Dunes, California - 7 Photography Myths Exposed

1. Full frame cameras are better

A full frame camera has a larger sensor than a crop sensor camera. That means you might get more megapixels or you might get larger megapixels or even both. But there are many more important factors to consider when choosing a camera than megapixels.

First, crop sensor cameras are generally smaller, lighter and much less expensive. Second, if you like to shoot wildlife, you’ll get extra reach with your telephoto lens on a crop sensor camera. A 400mm lens on a full frame camera is equivalent to over 600mm on a crop sensor camera. Also, if you like to photograph wildlife, a more important factor to consider above megapixels is frames per second.

A few years ago I went to Africa to photograph wildlife and took two cameras: a full frame Canon 6D and a crop sensor Canon 7D. I learned that the 7D was much better for my purposes because of the frames per second rate it was capable of shooting. The 6D (at the time) did 4.5 fps and the 7D did 8. That was a huge difference in the field.

Lion and cub at Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania - 7 Photography Myths Exposed

2. Always use a tripod

A tripod is an essential piece of gear for any photographer and usually, you will notice a huge improvement in image quality when you start using one. However, “always” is one of those blanket statements that doesn’t always make sense (see what I did there?). I often notice photographers arrive on a scene, set up their tripod, and then try to find a composition they like. That tends to limit their possibilities since they are already stuck on the tripod.

A better approach is to go free hand until you find your composition. Then, when you find it, try to make your tripod fit in the exact position necessary. Sometimes you’ll find it won’t fit. Either the angle is lower than your tripod will allow you to go, or the tripod is not tall enough, or the position isn’t stable. When that is the case, ditch the tripod in favor of getting the composition.

Plateau lizard by Anne McKinnell - 7 Photography Myths Exposed

3. To make better photos, you need better gear

Undoubtedly, you will reach a point in time when you need better gear to carry out your vision for what you are trying to achieve with your photography. But the most important thing is to have that vision. Before getting new gear, make sure you exhaust your current gear. Use every single function and feature it has and know exactly what it is you need that your current gear doesn’t have before you move on. Blaming crappy gear is just a crutch. A really good photographer can make great images with pretty much any camera.

4. Never put your subject in the middle

Ah, the rule of thirds. The golden ratio. The fibonacci spiral. All good tools when it comes to learning composition. But don’t forget about the beauty to be found in simple symmetry.

When you think about a person’s face, the most beautiful face is the most symmetrical face. It’s all about balance, equality of proportion, and harmony. The key to making a compelling symmetrical composition is in the perfection of the symmetry. A composition that is almost symmetrical will seem off, but one that is perfect will seem awe inspiring.

Baobab tree in Tarangire National Park, Tanzania - 7 Photography Myths Exposed

5. Manual is the best shooting mode

It’s beneficial to all aspiring photographers to learn to shoot in manual mode so you have independent control over every factor in making your exposure including aperture, shutter speed and ISO. It’s no doubt that it’s one of the best ways to learn how your camera works. However, once you’ve learned how to use manual mode, why not let your camera do what it’s good at? Cameras these days are smart and the fewer things you have to do manually, the quicker you will be at responding to a changing scene.

When you are on a scene, decide which factors are important to you before you select your shooting mode. For example, if you are trying to intentionally blur a subject, shutter speed is important. You can use shutter priority mode and let the camera choose the aperture and ISO. That way when you want to shorten or lengthen the shutter speed, you only have one thing to change and the camera will figure out the rest. Similarly you might decide that depth of field is most important, and if you’re using a tripod, shutter speed might not matter at all. In that case, aperture priority mode is most convenient.

Summer flower in Butchart Gardens, Victoria, British Columbia - 7 Photography Myths Exposed

6. RAW format is better than JPEG

This refers to the image quality you select in your camera’s settings. You can choose to have your images saved as either RAW files, JPEGs, or both.

RAW is better than JPEG only if you are planning on post-processing your photos, which most people do. A RAW file contains more data and therefore you have more leeway in your post-processing. However, if you are just starting out and you haven’t gotten to the point where you’re processing your photos yet, it’s probably better to shoot JPEGs.

In JPEG mode, your camera will make some decisions for you when it comes to color and contrast and your photos will look better straight out of the camera. Ultimately you’ll likely come to the point where you want to make those decisions yourself. That’s when it is time to make the switch to RAW.

7. Good photography requires good light

All light is good light. The trick is to know what kind of images to make under the lighting conditions that are available. Do you have harsh (hard) light? Look for interesting shadows or photograph in the shade. Soft light? Perfect for macro shots. Looking into the sun? Find subjects with interesting shapes for silhouettes.

Saguaro in silhouette at Tucson Mountain State Park, Arizona by Anne McKinnell

Conclusion

Remember, as an artist, you are free to go about making your art any way you like. You can use your tools any way you see fit. The most important thing is to have a vision and then use your tools and techniques to help you achieve it.

 

A SPECIAL THANKS TO ANNE MCKINNEL FROM DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY SCHOOL FOR THIS GREAT ARTICLE.   FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT ANNE MCKINNEL AND HER OTHER GREAT ARTICLES, PLEASE GO TO:  https://digital-photography-school.com/author/annemckinnell/

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THROWBACK THURSDAY: PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: 9/8/2016

THROWBACK THURSDAY:

LOOKING BACK AT SOME OF THE GREAT “PHOTOS OF THE WEEK”, THIS ONE IS ONE OF MY FAVORITES. TAKE A LOOK AT THESE PHOTOS.  AMAZING ARTISTRY AND PHOTOGRAPHY…. DEFINITELY WORTH SHARING AGAIN:



PHOTOS OF THE WEEK

SEPT. 8TH, 2016

This week’s photos are amazing.  Once again, pulled from the internet, social media, professionals, as well as amateurs who have demonstrated great skill in producing a great photo.  A photo worthy of being titled:  “PHOTO OF THE WEEK”.   Congratulations to these winners.  And I hope this will bring you some great exposure (pun intended).

Oh wow!  lets start out with something that will grab you.  A menacing shot of a black panther.  This shot happens to grab your attention because of those eyes.  And the fact that this cat is a dangerous cat.  A perfect pose.

Photo courtesy :  Amazing beautiful world.

 

 

I have seen this type of photography before, but have never seen this taken and come out quite so beautiful as this.  There are two things that make this photo incredible.  1-  A long exposure, that makes that waterfall so silky smooth and 2- taking the photo and slightly underexposing the  shot just to get the richer colors.  I have tried that with some success before, but, this one is done really well.  Besides this just being a beautiful place.

PHOTO BY:  Guðmundur Árnason

 

 

This photo just captures macro work at it’s finest:  A close-up of a butterfly and a flower all in the same shot.  Take a look at this overall photo, though.  This has a nice hue to it that makes this one worthy of hanging on the wall.  Just one gorgeous photo.  Thanks to the photographer for capturing this photo, this way.

PHOTO COURTESY:  FLOWERS AND BUTTERFLIES.

 

 

 

This series of photos this week, seems to have it’s share of animals.  But, I am amazed at what photos have been found with animals captured in a very rare form.  That is one small frog, like hanging on for life, just after he smiled for the picture.  Does this seem almost posed?  Gorgeous photo.

Photo taken by:  Rodolfo Marcianti

 

 

PORTRAIT OF THE WEEK

I love that when you have a talent and show it off for your portrait.  That is this type of portrait.  Obviously this photo is a portrait, the model was posed for what she does best, her make-up done to perfection, this is one of the most incredible portraits you could do.  Congratulations to the photographer:  Via Morin Photography. 

 

 

 

When I read what it took to create this photo it made me realize that this photo is not only way cool, but, that it took a lot of work to create  such a shot.  Check this out:

This shot is in camera with a few tweaks in Lightroom.
Question: How many flashes did I use?

Answer:
This photo would be black without the flashes (strobes). There are 6 flashes altogether. 2 key lights, one on camera right and one on camera left. Two in the car, one with a green gel, one with a yellow gel. Flash at the rear of the car, with a red gel. One flash with a orange gel to light up the fog to make it look like fire.

Photo taken by:  Raymond Perkins and submitted in:  Photoshop and Lightroom.

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That is this week’s “Photos of the Week”.  Congratulations to this week’s winners.  I hope you all enjoyed this week’s entries.  Please take the time to study these photos so you can see how they were created, and perhaps you will take photos like this too.  These photos should be shared.  Please take a moment and share these with your friends, and Facebook friends etc.   These need to be shown. 

 

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Check out this new photo available for sale at our store.  Many new photos have just been added and you should find an incredible variety of photos for you to hang on your wall.  Go to:  www.123photogo.myshopify.com