TIPS ON NEW EXCITING WAYS TO DO “COUPLES” PORTRAITS

Photo by Annette Sousa on Unsplash

There are several different options couples have for their “couples” photo. The first is the Professional Portrait Studio sitting, in which you go to a photo studio and have a professional photographer take your pictures. That is a very formal way to take the “couples” photo. The other method, of course, is the relaxed informal, fun pictures they have taken by their best friend, who supposedly knows how to take photos of “couples”.

In today’s world, let’s look at the one that will be the most popular many years down the road. The “creative” way to take “couples” photos is the one both people will enjoy looking at the most. The one where they are doing something together, and it’s romantic, and is a huge memory for both. And I think that is the key: taking memorable pictures.

In this next little bit, let’s talk about memorable photos. I am going to give you several photos, and you should see how much more these type of photos will be the most popular.

happy trendy couple hugging in park in sunlight
Photo by Katerina Holmes on Pexels.com…… You know there is always a pose that you can tell the couple loves to be together. Capturing the look of love and comfort. That is what you want to do. This photo would be the one at the wedding reception if they did not do any formal studio sitting. It’s a photo of them enjoying each other.
Photo by mari lezhava on Unsplash…….The photo of the couple in a “feeling in love” photo. This photo doesn’t even have to have both faces showing completely. It’s a photo that shows that they want to be together, to touch each other, to hold each other. It shows a deeper love than what you can do in a studio, usually.
Photo by Caleb Ekeroth on Unsplash…… Getting a silhouette of the couple looking off in to the distance is a real good one that most couples like. It’s like they are looking into their future, imaging the good times they will have together. Try this, and you will be surprised at how much they like this one too.
Photo by Suzana Sousa on Unsplash —— I think you have to do something that shows the couple just having fun together. You love being together, and the smiles have to be big. Capture that moment, and you will have a winner (it helps too, if they both have braces).
persons hands with rainbow colors
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com ——- This is also the time to just do something creative…. with lighting. Usually you can find some way to use light to create something together. Don’t worry, they will enjoy doing this for you.
two person holding pinkies
Photo by Valentin Antonucci on Pexels.com……. Just hands again, but this time as a silhouette. Watch your horizon line when doing this. You do not want anyone about to tip over.

Photo by Vince Fleming on Unsplash——Oh, and how are you going to get a picture of them kissing? Do it when they aren’t expecting it, and you will have a winning photo. They may be embarrassed at first, but don’t worry, it will be one of their favorite photos.

Conclusion:

Doing photos of couples in love is a fun thing to see. Especially when you are not in a studio setting. But, it has to be professional enough to have photos that will beat out the studio sitting. Can you do it? Do these photos give you some ideas of what you can do to make great couples photos? Try it next time.

Article written by: Lanny Cottrell for 123Photogo.

“SEEING A PHOTOGRAPH” PART 2

As stated in the previous presentation, the thing we are trying to accomplish here is “how to “see” a photograph. There are a lot of professional photographers that I have noticed as well, that are noticing that most people fail to “see” a photograph when it is right in front of them.

Please look at yesterday’s blog for valuable information about how to “see” a photo.

Today, I want to tell you another way to “see” a photograph, and it seems to come easy if you know all the rules of composition. Memorize them, and then as you look at a scene, you will try to determine if that will fit in with the rules of composition.

Let’s just go over these again. I am sure I have done a blog on this, but, we will repeat it with new pictures for better understanding.

Fill the frame in your picture:

If your subject is in danger of distraction because of a busy background, make sure you crop in close to the main subject and have the subject fill the frame. This works especially well with portraits outside. When you go outside, you are always in danger of something in the background that will distract from the main subject, so remember to get in close.

Don’t cut off limbs:

Don’t cut off the ears.

If you look at rule number one, it gives you the impression to get in close. But, don’t get too close that you cut off an appendage, whether it’s an animal or person.

Understand the rule of thirds:

Rule Of Thirds
Subjects should be placed in one of the intersecting quadrants.

The most basic of all photography rules, the rule of thirds, is all about dividing your shot into nine equal sections by a set of vertical and horizontal lines. With the imaginary frame in place, you should place the most important element(s) in your shot on one of the lines or where the lines meet. It’s a technique that works well for landscapes as you can position the horizon on one of the horizontal lines that sit in the lower and upper part of the photograph while you’re vertical subjects (trees etc.) can be placed on one of the two vertical lines.

Use Frames if possible:

Framing around your subject is a beautiful thing to do!

We are often surrounded with many opportunities to “frame” a subject naturally. If you have that opportunity, then do it. But, remember, in learning to “see” a photo opportunity, you need to be looking for it.

In scenery, look for something natural to frame with.

As you can see in the photo above, having something to “frame” a photo will make it even that much better.

Make the most of leading lines:

Finding leading lines in scenery photos will improve it drastically.
Another example of leading lines. It makes a powerful statement in composition.

Our eyes are unconsciously drawn along lines in images so by thinking about how, where and why you place lines in your images will change the way your audience view it. A road, for example, starting at one end of the shot and winding its way to the far end will pull the eye through the scene. You can position various focal points along your line or just have one main area focus at the end of your line that the eye will settle on. Shapes can be used in a similar way, for example, imagine a triangle and position three points of focus at the end of each point where the lines of the shape meet. By doing so you create balance in your shot as well as subtly guiding the eye.

Simplify your photo to “know” your focus point:

Make sure your subject is in focus, and the rest won’t conflict with

Make sure the subject in your photo is sharp, and make sure the surrounding area does not interfere with the main subject. Do not try to have more than 1 thing in focus. It will just be confusing to the viewer.

Watch the background:

The famous sign post growing out of the head, is a good one to watch for.
If you have a background that could easily distract from your subject, make sure you throw it out of focus with your depth of field.

Portraits, especially, make sure the background will not distract from the portrait. Know how to control your depth of field so you can accomplish this.

Conclusion:

The key to really “seeing” a photo is to know the rules of composition above. Once you have those memorized, then you will be looking for those photo opportunities more often. Practice, Practice, Practice. A wise photographer once said: “you won’t get good at photography until you have shot 10,000 photos,

train railway near trees
Photo by Krivec Ales on Pexels.com

LEARNING HOW TO “SEE A PHOTO” Part 1

I have done this blog now for several years, and it hits me more now than ever that the most important thing people miss when they take photos, is “seeing” a photo. How do you “see” a photo? Is it that you just walk up into the canyon and put your best foot forward and do the best at composition? “Seeing” a photo is something that is all around you, and it’s the little things that people miss, when they are standing right next to the subject they thought was so important.

Let me give you some examples. I have been finding these photos as well in various places, mostly Facebook because you have so many photographers putting their work on Facebook.

In the photo above, you may have seen photos like this of Southern Utah / Northern Arizona. The big tall mountains of rocks in the distance. But, look at this photo more carefully. Did this photographer “see” something different than everyone else? Oh yeah! This photographer wandered around the site that probably every photographer stood, and captured the real starkness of this desert: the dead trees and sagebrush struggling. This photo is just so much more than the photo of the steeples of the rocks. You have to learn to look around.

There are so many beautiful photos of the ocean done with a long shutter speed to get the “dreamy’ effect, where the water is blurred. It makes for a great photo, all of them. But, can you see what we have been missing all this time by not taking the photo of the waves using a high speed shutter? I am guessing the photographer got wet taking this photo, but, isn’t this unique?

Yes, this is an image of a penguin. Do we really need to see all of the penguin? Yes, but, also looking up close, what do you see that you don’t see when you get the whole bird. The coloring of it’s bill, the tiny spots on the head, the small eyes. All that is more amazing than the whole bird. Now if we could only put their odor in the photo (haha).

Here’s another photo of “seeing” a photo. I am sure the photographer went out to get a picture of the sunrise (sunset). As you look out into the field, you can see what a nice photo that would be. Most photographers will miss the fence in front of them all covered in frost. A chain-link fence is not something you would think of. Take your time and walk around and find these little things that most people would miss.

Here’s another great example of “seeing” a photo opportunity, or being prepared to capture more than the usual pose. Any animal might give you a totally different photo that the one you took, IF you take the photos with your motor drive doing it’s thing. You might end up taking 10, 15 30 photos, but, there might be a photo that is so unusual that it might be an award winning photo. Try it. You know, at some point you can delete all those other photos that you don’t need or use.

Taking photos of people is fun to do. I do one thing, and every one of the people I do this to, like it. And that is to start taking pictures before they get ready, and to continue taking pictures after you have done the original photo you were taking. The Photo above, the guitarist wanted a picture of him playing his guitar. Now isn’t this a better photo, to get him in action. So, don’t stop taking photos of people once you have taken the original photo. Keep the motor drive running with people as well.

This photo above is an award winning photo from Japan. This brings me to the point that you should never stop taking photos during action time. Keep the camera rolling and you too, might get an award winning photo.

More amazing photos NOT missed by learning to “see” a photo:

Include people in your photo. You will get a perspective of the trees, or surroundings.
This photographer was supposed to be taking pictures of Trees! But, found something else to take a photo of.

HOW TO BECOME A MORE “POLISHED” PHOTOGRAPHER:

I hope as you get into photography, that you don’t think you can become a good photographer overnight. I have never seen one yet that could just understand all the little things that make a photograph good. And good, I mean that is worthy to call it a “professional photo”.

Photo by Sergey Pesterev on Unsplash

Let’s look at some ideas that will help you along the way:

  • Learn to live with the camera you have. Once you start understanding your current camera, you will realize that it can take pretty good photos. Learn how it works and find out it’s limitations so you can work around those.
  • Understand what it means to really keep your camera clean. I see photos posted on social media and the first thing I say: “Why don’t you clean your lens?” It will look so much better if you are aware of the need to keep your camera clean for better photos. Get in the habit of cleaning it often.
black bridge camera
Photo by Snapwire on Pexels.com
  • Learn to take your camera everywhere. If you don’t have it, you can’t take pictures. How often have you said to yourself: ” I wish I had my camera with me”. If you want to get good at photography, you have to partner with your camera everywhere.
  • Practice, practice, practice. Once you learn a new concept, go out and practice. You have to practice a concept until it becomes natural.
woman taking picture using camera
Photo by David Bartus on Pexels.com
  • Stretch yourself by learning how to take photos in “manual mode”. Once you master all the different things about manual mode, you will understand the “why’s” of a picture.
  • Get close to your photos. Learn to fill the frame. It’s amazing the difference you will have in your photos, if you just get closer.
white and purple petal flower focus photography
Photo by Anthony on Pexels.com
  • Lighting! You have no photo if there isn’t light. Now, to learn the different colors of light, what a flash will do, how to control the flash, using bounce flash, trying different colors of light bulbs, etc. There is a lot to learn about lighting. Learn what different angles of light can do, etc. This is where creativity and professionalism meet.
brown and green grass field during sunset
Photo by Jonathan Petersson on Pexels.com – Learn how to shoot into light effectively. Learn how the sun has different colors. Learn how a light globe comes in different colors.
  • Composition: Learn the rules of composition, and you will find the artist come out in you. I don’t think anyone will have good photos that doesn’t learn the rules of composition. (Note: rules of composition blog coming out soon).
Photo by Arnold Leow on Unsplash – Rule of thirds always makes a blah picture, very interesting.
  • Share. Learn to share your photography with others. Submit your photos on social media or create a blog and you’ll find fellow photographers are always eager to help and share their own experiences, too. In fact, 123PhotoGo has a place where you can share your photos with others. See how they compare with others, learn to get different ideas of photos. On Facebook go to: 123Photogo group. (Here’s the link if you would like to share your photos: https://www.facebook.com/groups/162729727828362 )
  • Continue to learn from photographers. Or from a school, or online course, or just follow well known training sites, such as this. Be a regular scholar of photography.
Here is an ad that runs occasionally. Just to give you an idea of how big this site is.

I hope this gives some idea of the necessary steps to becoming a good photographer. When you eat, breathe photography, you will find the joy in it.

dock under cloudy sky in front of mountain
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Photos of the Week: THE ART OF FLOWER PHOTOGRAPHY !

Taking photos of flowers is something that everyone loves. But, there is an art to taking good photos of flowers. Ideally, you would want some type of close-up system, either a macro lens, close-up filters, or extension tubes. And it seems the good photographers have realized that you need to have the depth of field just perfect. So, let’s take a look at these amazing flower photos:

Photo by Amy Shamblen on Unsplash

A reminder that Valentines Day is February 14th. Don’t forget the one you love !

Photo by Urel Landetne on Unsplash

Colorizing photo petals on Roses and other flowers is a new unique art provided by some custom flower shops. You want to give real color to your loved one, look for that in the local flower shops.

Photo by Ray Hennessy on Unsplash

As a photographer, you have many choices to take in flower photography. This type of flower is generally called “wild flowers”, and often will grow anywhere their seeds will drop. This is something that attracts bees and birds as well.

Photo by Alex Seinet on Unsplash

Taking photos of flowers in a setting of “still photography” is real popular for the art lover. Having flower petals just adds to the photo.

Photo by Phwar Cho

Do you want to get into real art with flowers, do your own setup of a “still photo” like the one above. Can you see that hanging on your wall?

Photo by Lanny Cottrell – 123PhotoGo

To add extra story to a flower photo, a bee is the key. Also, notice in this flower photo that it follows the rule of thirds. It’s like the flower has space to grow into.

Photo by Gaetano Cessati on Unsplash

One thing that flower lovers are looking for, is a new color to see. If you can find flowers with unique color and lighting, you have a winner.

Photo by Léonard Cotte on Unsplash

There are many ways to take photos of flowers. In their natural habitat is a great way to do it, especially if you can have the sunshine light up the flowers. This is a bit tricky, so if you want to do this, make sure you have the right exposure on the flowers.

Photo by James Wainscoat on Unsplash

If you can get a good photo, like this one, you appeal to the flower people as well as the animal or bird lovers. This photo is not an easy one to take. Hats off to James Wainscoat.

This type of flower photo is really popular because it shows the living area that they are in, giving you the feel of the surroundings. Looking through magazines, you will see this type of photo if you are being introduced to a particular home or area.

“I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn’t photograph them.”
Diane Arbus

Photo by Анна Хазова on Unsplash

People and flowers interacting can be nothing but special for the people involved in the photo, or their family and friends.

Photo by Lanny Cottrell Photography – 123PhotoGo

Flowers in harsh environments are especially unique, because flowers just don’t usually like this kind of weather. So, capture it for something unique.

Still photo by Ela Drzazga

Another incredible artistic photo with minimal effect. But, so powerful with the subtle lighting.

Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

Here’s another great photo idea: Simplification. This above photo, in a frame will look so good in the right part of the house, like the kitchen. It will bring such joy.

Did you know that 123PhotoGo has a store? Yes, and now you can go check it out, and if you see anything you want, this coupon is good only until February 28th. So hurry and check it out. https://123photogo.com/shop/

“The whole point of taking pictures is so that you don’t have to explain things with words.”
Elliott Erwitt

Photo taken by Lanny Cottrell – 123PhotoGo

The flower above, was taken in the middle of a hot summer. But, sprinkling some water on it, makes it look more refreshing, and ideal for an interesting photo.

Photo by Alex Blăjan on Unsplash

If you can do this with your subject, nothing is more beautiful than a pretty girl mixed in with pretty flowers.

Photo by Peter Hammer on Unsplash

Flowers with scenery is a great idea. Look for this type of opportunity.

Photo by Brandon k on Unsplash

What is the main subject in this photo? The butterfly or the flower? I’d say both, and each subject compliments each other. That pose of that butterfly is perfect. Love it.

NOW, JUST A FEW MORE GREAT PHOTOS OF FLOWERS:

Photo by Richard Loader on Unsplash
Photo by bady abbas on Unsplash
Photo by fred tromp on Unsplash

ANOTHER WINTER ACTIVITY: STILL LIFE PHOTOGRAPHY !

Sometimes we all get a little “itchy” to take some photos in the winter, while we wait for a good snow storm. This is a time to be thinking about “still photography”.

“Still photography” is an art in and of itself. It requires setting things up that don’t talk back to you, and getting the perfect light. There are a lot of things that you can use for subjects of still photos. Let’s first take a look at some of the photos I have seen lately, and then I will give you the tips on how to take good still photos:

pumpkins on a table
Photo by Anna Tukhfatullina Food Photographer/Stylist on Pexels.com

This is considered “Food Photography” in a sense, but when I first looked at it, I thought it was a picture of “fall”.

variety of pumpkins
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Pexels.com

Now, here is another form of taking still photos, and compare it with the one above. Which do you like better.

They are both really good still photos, and here are some points of taking good still photos:

1- Most people who are really good at this, find some kind of wooden table to organize their product. That is not always the main rule. But, seems to work well. It’s your canvas on which to draw from. Your drawing is the assembly of your product(s).

2- You may need to experiment with your “f-stop” or aperture. You want the subject to be in focus, but, you will need to control the depth of field so that it goes blurry, right behind, and I mean exactly right behind the subjects.

3- Lighting is a real key to doing good still photos. Here is another photo, that I think is amazing. But, can you tell which way the light is coming from:

Photo by Boni Photo

This lighting on this, and almost all lighting used in still photography is just by a sidelight, sometimes best from a nearby window. This gives it dimension and it often will just accentuate the product more. Note on this above photo that they did not use a table, but, an old box, or table, just something old. This helps create the mood for this photo. Step #1- again, look for something that will add to the photo by the table or background you choose.

4- Step 4, and all these steps, are just guidelines. But, this step #4 is to keep the background dark so that the lighting stays on the subject and the background is not important.

orange flowers in brown vase beside sliced orange fruit
Photo by Eneida Nieves on Pexels.com

Look at this photo, and especially the background. It is much darker and does not distract from the main subject.

5- If you don’t have all that old stuff, like a unique antique looking background, or table that looks like it’s old and aging, the other trick is to use a beautiful cloth, or blanket, or drapery material and just cover the table and backdrop:

Photo by Ploesteanu Anisoara

Notice with this above photo how the photographer used a drapery material or cloth to have the background and the table all covered. Wow! This could be done on a kitchen table if you want to do it this way. But, watch your lighting again.

6- Keep your subject material all the same type of group, such as: all food, flowers and pots, books and glasses, etc.

Photo by Luigi Scarpelli

Notice how this amazing photo kept to the subject: Food! There is no flower in there, just flour.

7- Keep your photo and subjects clutter free. Take photos that don’t have a lot of parts to the subject. Simplicity is the key:

Photo by Randy Benzie

Sometimes the most loved photos are just the simple ones. When you do that, make sure the light is good on the subject, shallow depth of field, and a dark background is the key to a winning photo.

Doing still photography, and practicing on the tips above is a very satisfying way of photography. There are some real pros out there, as you can tell from the photos I used today. Yours can be one of them too.

If you would like to share some of your photos with us, then submit them in the comments below, or send them to : http://question.123photogo.com

Here are some more amazing “still photos” to enjoy:

close up of paper against black background
Photo by John-Mark Smith on Pexels.com
twig with tender magnolia flowers
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com
red cherries on stainless steel bowl
Photo by Wendy van Zyl on Pexels.com

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