UNDERSTANDING “ISO”

white vase beside apples
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YEA! 2020 is over! Time to set some PHOTOGRAPHIC GOALS!

I hope you don’t think that this is some boring topic. I know that some of you don’t set goals, but, in your photography world, isn’t there this one goal you want to achieve:

I WANT TO BECOME A BETTER PHOTOGRAPHER !
woman camera girl photographer
Photo by Thorn Yang on Pexels.com

Even professional photographers are always trying to improve their photography. And if you like photography in any way, then this is something to read.

Let’s take a look at some things that you can do, and even we can do to help you become a better photographer. Let’s look at these questions:

1- I want to learn more about macro photography

2- I want to be a pro at composition.

3- I want to start taking professional looking portraits

4- I want to learn how to run my settings on my camera better.

5- I would like to have personal training from a real professional photographer.

6- I just need someone to keep my motivated to take photos.

7- I need some help just finding things to photograph at any time of day or any day.

8- I want to start making money with my photography.

9- Can I find someone who can critique my photos and let me know if they are good enough to sell.

10- I would like to find some way to teach photography as well, on a blog format or video format.

smiling ethnic woman having photo session with plants
Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

With all these ideas I know are going through some people’s heads, I want to see how I can help as a blog (or vlog) producer. And here are some things I want to do different in 2021:

1- Have an open line for questions on how to do certain photographs.

2- If you are set up to maybe learn on a certain day, I can set aside a certain day just for certain subjects (such as: how to take macro photos, how to learn composition better, how to learn my camera settings, etc.)

3- Get some help from outside sources to help us all learn about photography. There are hundreds of photographers who are out there, who are willing to help people with photography.

4- Find special ways to stay motivated in your photography. Want to go take pictures with me? Perhaps we can connect our phones and I will go walking with you.

5- I will try to improve the “Photos of the Week” to show how these photos were taken.

6- I think there are many other ways, we can all learn together, and please submit questions to this link: question.123photogo@gmail.com

WHY IS WINTER SO HARD TO GET GOOD PHOTOS?

If you are a regular scenic photographer, you obviously have tried your skills at all the different seasons. Many people find that summer and fall are probably the easiest, because everything is green, and flowers are blooming, there is just so much color in those two seasons.

I have recently discovered how beautiful winter is. I probably have learned to love the winter photography, because of it’s challenge. Here are just a few examples of what is so hard about winter photography:

Right after a snowfall. If you look for it, you can do some incredible black and white photos.

1- It’s cold and miserable (had to be first on the list). 2- It’s hard to shoot everything that is white, and get it perfect. The light meter just does not understand you are shooting white things. 3- I have to worry about my batteries going “dead” before I finish taking the photos. 4- I have a hard time finding things to take pictures of in the winter.

Winter is cold and miserable. Who wants to be miserable while taking pictures?

It’s time to look into snow boots, gloves, hats, and coats that keep you warm. If you are going to actually go out in to the snow to take pictures, you must dress warm.

Being in the snow is a challenge. Learn to dress warm and you will enjoy it.

Two people in a conversation about the weather: one person says they hate winter because it’s always so cold. The other person says: “Winter is the best because you can just put on more clothes and fix the problem”. The first person says they love summer the best because it’s warm, everything is green. The second person says: “I hate summer. It’s too hot! You can take off all your clothes and you are still hot. You just can’t get away from it”.

Look, there are ways to solve all the above problems. Just learn how to fix it.

How can I make my snow look white, instead of blue or grey?

When you use your automatic mode on your camera, the white snow will come out either blue or grey.

How come you get blue or grey snow? Here is the real reason: The light meter in your camera is balanced to a spec called 18%grey. If you take all the colors in the world, and mix them up, you will get grey. And your light meter in your camera doesn’t know you are taking pictures of white. It thinks the white is supposed to be grey. So, what do you have to do? You have to “overexpose” just slightly so that it gives you a brighter picture. Overexpose? That’s not in my book. If you want white snow with your photo, then overexpose. If you are shooting in an automatic mode, then find the dial that goes: +.5, +1, +1.5, +2.0 and so forth. You have to experiment a little so you know how much that dial should be set at. It will vary depending on your light. A good rule of thumb is to set your camera dial at: +1.5. That should be the best choice, and then check out your results.

Another way to do it, and it depends on your camera, is the little pictures or icons on your camera. If you set the dial to “snow” or “sand”, it should work pretty good with that setting. Again, try it, and see how it looks.

How do I protect my batteries in the cold?

Every good winter photographer is aware of this problem. And every good winter photographer keeps a spare set of batteries in his pocket. It is just something you do if you want to be successful at winter photos.

What can I take pictures of in the winter? Everything looks so “dead”.

That’s because everything is dormant right now. But, there is beauty in this if you look for it. Look at the trees? Are they covered in snow? What angle would work?

Sometimes winter will provide you with a little fog to create a certain mood.

When you look at the photo above, yes, you can see a bunch of dead plants to the side of this road. But, notice how they are all frosted. Or they could have snow on them to make it even more interesting. Use your composition skills as well and look for leading lines.

Conclusion:

If you want to take good winter photos, it will take practice. And you will have to get into the habit of “looking for a photo”, to get something you want. It seems that every time I go out and take photos in the winter, I can come up with some real good photos every time, because I “look for a photo”. Apply these tips listed here and you too can enjoy winter.

Here are some more winter photos I love:

Aspen forest in the winter.

Learn how to take great winter photos:

Most people, when they think of winter, just want to stay in the house and be warm. Winter is definitely a harsh, brutal time of the year. But, the photographers of the world are noticing all the beautiful photos they can take. And as they go out to take pictures they are challenged by the harshness of the light, the exposure, the ability to think through the white balance and so on.

Let’s get in to the best tips of taking photos in the winter:

EXPOSURE

Let’s be up front with you right now. The camera will do it’s job, but, it really doesn’t know that you are taking pictures of snow. It thinks you are going to take pictures of dirt, and it’s about 18% grey. So, if you just leave your camera on auto, your snow won’t be white, it will be grey or a blue. When you look at your pictures, you will wonder what happened. It is often helpful to overexpose by +0.3 to +1.0 EV for a better exposure value, achieving a truer whiteness but taking care not to overexpose too much and lose any detail. How much of an increase you will need depends on a number of factors, as all cameras have slightly different settings and the light around you is not always the same. So play around.

photo of snow field near trees
Photo by Burak K on Pexels.com

I have also found that if you learn your camera well, you can use the “white balance” feature of your camera. That is basically telling the camera that what you are pointing at is white.

GET YOUR SUBJECT IN THE VIEWFINDER MORE

If you can get your subject to fill the frame in your camera’s viewfinder, that will work wonders for you. Allow the camera to take a better and more accurate reading and avoid the subject being too backlit, which will cause a silhouette effect. It’s best to take a meter reading from just in front of your subject, then light and set meters accordingly, but for amateur purposes the former is better, especially if you are relying on the camera to do the lion’s share of the metering.

man using ski
Photo by Mati Mango on Pexels.com
BE AWARE OF YOUR BATTERIES POWER

When you get out in the cold, and your taking lots of photos, the one thing you want to be aware of is the fact that batteries in your camera do not like the cold. Have a spare set or two in your pocket so you don’t miss those amazing photos.

batteries lot
Photo by mohamed Abdelgaffar on Pexels.com
KEEP YOUR CAMERA AND LENS DRY

It can actually be tricky to keep things dry while photographing in the snow. You take your lens cap off, and stick it in your pocket, then you touch some snow…. then you put your wet lens cap on your lens, and you have a problem now. Water spots on the lens. Make sure you check your lens regularly while shooting in the snow.

photo of woman taking photo
Photo by JACK REDGATE on Pexels.com
MAKE SURE TO GIVE YOUR CAMERA WARMING TIME BEFORE SHOOTING AGAIN INSIDE
light landscape fashion man
Photo by C Technical on Pexels.com

Problems may occur when moving in and out of freezing conditions, so allow your camera to warm up slowly. Even better, if you need to start shooting again indoors then make sure you have a camera inside. Otherwise you may be stuck with a foggy lens while your camera warms up!

WEAR WARM CLOTHING
cheerful woman recording voice message on smartphone in street
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

And the most important… Wear thick socks and gloves. If you can get some gloves that are fingerless, that will help during your photography.

Photo by Lanny Cottrell Photography
DON’T MISS TOMORROWS BIG BLOG: THE ANNUAL: “ART OF BLACK AND WHITE”. Showcasing amazing photographers who have discovered that black and white is beautiful.

ARTICLE WRITTEN BY LANNY COTTRELL /CREATOR OF 123PHOTOGO.

CREATIVE THINGS YOU CAN TRY ON YOUR CAMERA:

A lot of photography techniques can be complex and require a steep learning curve.

But in today’s article, you’ll learn 11 easy creative photography techniques you can start using today! The techniques described below all require minimal extra equipment and don’t require additional post-processing.

Read on to get the most creativity from your camera with these easy-to-use techniques.

1. Reflection

easy creative photography techniques down low reflection
It’s worth getting down to a low angle for reflections.

This is an easy creative photography technique to learn and is popular among many photographers. The main requirement is finding a reflective surface, though this is not all there is to it. Consider the following, and you’ll be capturing amazing reflection photos in no time:

  • Reflective surface: Look for surfaces that reflect (and there are many). Flat water works well, as does glass, marble, or even a regular mirror.
  • Choose a main subject: A successful photo will match up a reflective surface with an interesting main subject. Consider going out after it’s rained, as a puddle in front of a famous monument may only be there after heavy rain.
  • Find the angle: To get a better reflection, choose the correct angle. This often means getting right up against the reflective surface so the angle of reflection is shallow.
  • Create your own: No reflective surface? No problem. Just create one! Use the surface of a smartphone, a small mirror, or perhaps a bucket that you use to spread water and create a puddle.
  • A filter: The best way to control your reflection is by using a circular polarizing filter.

2. Silhouettes

easy creative photography techniques silhouettes
Strong silhouettes work well against a horizon line.

The next option on this list of easy creative photography techniques is silhouettes.

Silhouettes occur when you photograph against the light. The key is to find an interesting shape, and then make sure the background is brighter than the object itself.

You’ll often need to get down to a low angle and then photograph up toward the sky; that way, you can ensure the silhouetted object stands out against the bright background.

Also, when photographing silhouettes, make sure you expose for the bright background. This will turn the subject into a dark silhouette.

3. Repetition

easy creative photography techniques lines and repetition pattern
Lines and repetition can make for a strong composition.

A great design element to add to your frame is repetition.

This is something you’ll usually need to look for, but it’s sometimes possible to create your own repetition. There are possibilities for this both in nature and in the man-made world. Repetition may take the form of a line of trees, or of many bricks in a wall. The question, then, is how you’ll use this repetition.

Here are a few ways you can work with repetition to improve your photos:

  • Create a texture photo: In this case, the high level of repetition forms a texture.
  • Break the pattern: Here everything else is the same, with one variation. This works well to highlight that variation, which will then be the photo’s main subject.
  • Use background repetition: Backgrounds with repetition work very well for portrait photos or still life images.
  • Two or three: You don’t need to have repetition to infinity; two or three repeating objects, such as wine glasses, can work well.

4. Refraction

easy creative photography techniques glasses
Wine glasses filled with water will produce refraction.

This is a form of photography that can be practiced with a camera as simple as a smartphone. You’re probably thinking of lensballs, but refraction photography can take many forms, including:

  • A lensball: This is a large glass ball that creates a refracted image of the background inside it.
  • A prism: A prism splits the light and can be used to produce a rainbow. You could either photograph the projected rainbow or photograph through the prism.
  • Water drops: Get out after it’s rained, and you can produce refraction in things such as water drops on a spider’s web.
  • A wine glass: Fill a wine glass with water, and you will see the refraction effect!

5. Contrast

easy creative photography techniques silhouettes
Contrast with silhouettes works really well.

Contrast is a great concept to use in your photography.

The most obvious way to use contrast is by emphasizing dark and light areas of your photo through things such as silhouettes and shadows. But this is not the only way contrast can be used in your photography; anything that has an opposite can be used. You might choose to contrast something old with something new, for example.

6. Framing

easy creative photography techniques cave entrance frame
Natural frames such as cave entrances are good frames.

The world is full of frames, from pictures on the wall to window frames. These frames can be used in photography, which is another easy creative photography technique.

You can achieve a great framed photo with any kind of camera. Good options for this include doorways and windows. You can even become more creative and make your own frame using objects that contextualize the scene behind it.

7. Panning

easy creative photography techniques panning
Bikes are the easiest moving object to try panning with.

Panning is a form of intentional camera movement. The technique involves following the motion of a moving object and using a slower shutter speed to blur the background behind it.

As long as your camera allows you to use a slow shutter speed, this is a technique you can try. Those using a smartphone should download an app that allows you to use a slower shutter speed to take a photo.

8. Point of view

easy creative photography techniques buildings from below
A worm’s-eye view can look amazing. This example also shows how lines and repetition can work in a photo.

Changing your angle can give you dramatically different results, and it doesn’t matter which type of camera you use for this technique.

It’s easy to photograph from a standing position, but try some of these alternative angles:

  • Low angle: With this angle, you’ll get low to the ground. Things look different from down there!
  • Worm’s-eye view: This angle involves looking straight up. It can be even more dramatic when you get right down to the ground.
  • Bird’s-eye view: The easiest way these days to take a bird’s-eye view image is with a drone. However, find a high vantage point from a tall building and you can achieve a similar result.

9. Lines

easy creative photography techniques lines
This photo shows several lines converging in the left third of the frame.

Using powerful lines in your photos will almost always give you a strong composition. The trick, of course, is to utilize those lines correctly using the focal length available to you.

Here are some of the lines that can be used in your photography:

  • Leading lines: A leading line leads the eye to the main subject of your photo. This line might take the form of a road or a river meandering through your frame.
  • Horizon lines: Many photographs have horizon lines in them, which is a strong line running through the middle of your frame. Look to position it at the top or bottom third of your photo (using the rule of thirds).
  • Converging lines: In some photos, many lines converge at one point: the infinity point. This can be compositionally very strong. Look for lines of trees or a tunnel for this type of photo.

10. Shadows

easy creative photography techniques shadows
The shadow in this photo shows an element of repetition, as well.

Photographing shadows requires a strong light source. This can be the sun, but an external flash is another option.

The best time of the day to photograph shadows is therefore when the sun is at a low angle: an hour after sunrise or an hour before sunset.

Shadows can be formed and used in different ways. You might photograph a person’s shadow, shadows formed from trees, or the way shadows emphasize the shapes of hills.

11. Minimalism

boat minimalism
This minimalist photo uses a bird’s-eye view taken from a bridge.

Keeping your composition nice and clean is the key to a good photo. This means that one of the best easy creative photography techniques is minimalism.

You can create minimalism even in the most cluttered environment as long as you frame your photo correctly. This style of photography requires that you give your subject some room to breathe. Focus on the main subject and position it in front of an uncluttered background.

Try out these easy creative photography techniques, yourself!

There are so many ways to be creative with photography. Which techniques do you like to use? Are there any simple-to-apply techniques you’ve tried that didn’t make this list? Share your thoughts in the comments!

And if you have any photos that illustrate these techniques, share them in the comments, too!

Then get photographing with these easy creative photography techniques!

The post 11 Easy Creative Photography Techniques You Can Try on Any Camera appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Simon Bond.

Here are a few more photos, using those steps above:

Leading lines
Silhouette
Minimalism
white and brown trees on forest during daytime
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com / Shadows