Posts Tagged ‘Viewfinders’

There are a number of reasons why you might be reading this post, however assuming you have at least a minimal interest in studio photography its probably because the thought of a ‘professional’ shoot excites you. I am however betting that a lot of people reading this have never made the leap into a full blown studio session, and that probably the majority of readers who have did so through a workshop or paid lesson rather than under their own steam.

Photographers found the thought of shooting in a studio exciting but have until recently never been brave enough to actually try. Fear of failure is a common paralysis experienced by photographers and primarily results from expectation and self pressure.

I am sure that most of you have found yourself in situations where friends or family have asked if you could take a few ‘snaps’ at that all-important family occasion. No matter how much they reassure you that all they really want are a few nice pictures, its not too long before tension and (a lot of Photoshop) set in.

So its easy to see why, no matter how much we want to do it, the thought of putting ourselves in a high expectation situation such as a studio shoot is enough to ensure we never actually do it. Having brooded over this for years, I’m here to tell you that no matter how formidable it seems, organizing and executing your own studio session is affordable, very achievable and probably one of the best opportunities you have for taking your photographic skills to the next level.

Benefits – Why You Should Rent a Studio

The main advantage of shooting in a studio is of course the ability to control and shape the quality of light. Shooting under studio lighting also has the pleasant side effect of making pretty much any camera capable of rendering sharp, well detailed images. All of this control and quality comes at a price, usually a fairly hefty price, so renting a studio space is a great way to gain experience without the financial pain of buying your own equipment. Studio rentals can be incredibly good value with a half day session costing as little as $75 per hour…not bad for one of the best photography investments you can make.

Hints for Renting a Studio Space

Whilst finding a studio should be relatively easy (usually it only requires a simple Internet search), there are a few things to be aware of before making a booking:
•Rates – Rates can vary greatly from studio to studio however so can the amount of time included, so it’s worth double checking especially when charges are listed by fractions of a day.
•Size – Studios come in a range of sizes and again this can have a bearing on hire charges, as a rule bigger spaces are better as they offer a greater array of creative options.
•Hidden Charges – Beware of hidden fees, examples include the use of consumables such as backdrop paper and parking which can make a big difference in terms of total rental cost.
•Overtime – Most studios will charge a premium for overtime and its important to be aware of these before booking. Plan your shoot carefully to avoid any overruns and nasty surprises.
•Equipment Hire – Whilst most studios include equipment hire within the total rate, some can apply additional charges so double check to see what is and isn’t included.
•Assistant/Tutoring – Some studios offer the use of an assistant in addition to hire of the studio space, this can be a great way to learn how to use available equipment and make the most of the session time. Sometimes the presence of a stranger can add pressure to the situation so don’t be afraid to go it alone
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Some might remember when a photographer had to load there non-digital cameras with stuff called “film” and then after the shoot, that film would be taken into a “dark room” and processed into photographs. Now that technology has made that process obsolete, the current day photographer has different tasks they need to follow, one that includes data management and social networks. Creating an effective workflow from the beginning of the shoot to the delivery of the goods, is essential to putting out a great photograph or design.

A basic and thorough workflow can consist of the following steps:

  1. Shooting images
  2. Downloading images to the computer
  3. Backing up raw (untouched/unedited) images
  4. Importing photos into image-management software
  5. Organizing images into an image library, with keywords and virtual photo albums
  6. Processing/retouching images to get a desired look
  7. Outputting images for clients, printing, or Web sites
  8. Backing up processed images and the image library
  9. Archiving images for permanent (offline or online) storage

Breaking it down into a series of steps helps to simplify workflow and keep it consistent, which increases the likelihood that you’ll get through all the steps efficiently and quickly. (http://blog.photoshelter.com/2009/09/an-effective-workflow-for-phot/)

 

Bryan Peterson has written a book titled Understanding Exposure which is a highly recommended read if you’re wanting to venture out of the Auto mode on your digital camera and experiment with it’s manual settings.

In it Bryan illustrates the three main elements that need to be considered when playing around with exposure by calling them ‘the exposure triangle’.

 

Each of the three aspects of the triangle relate to light and how it enters and interacts with the camera.

The three elements are:

  1. ISO – the measure of a digital camera sensor’s sensitivity to light
  2. Aperture – the size of the opening in the lens when a picture is taken
  3. Shutter Speed – the amount of time that the shutter is open

It is at the intersection of these three elements that an image’s exposure is worked out.

Most importantly – a change in one of the elements will impact the others. This means that you can never really isolate just one of the elements alone but always need to have the others in the back of your mind.

Many people describe the relationship between ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed using different metaphors to help us get our heads around it. Let me share three. A quick word of warning first though – like most metaphors – these are far from perfect and are just for illustrative purposes:

 

The Window

Imagine your camera is like a window with shutters that open and close.

Aperture is the size of the window. If it’s bigger more light gets through and the room is brighter.

Shutter Speed is the amount of time that the shutters of the window are open. The longer you leave them open the more that comes in.

Now imagine that you’re inside the room and are wearing sunglasses (hopefully this isn’t too much of a stretch). Your eyes become desensitized to the light that comes in (it’s like a low ISO).

There are a number of ways of increasing the amount of light in the room (or at least how much it seems that there is. You could increase the time that the shutters are open (decrease shutter speed), you could increase the size of the window (increase aperture) or you could take off your sunglasses (make the ISO larger).

When a boy comes of age at 13-years-old he has become a “bar mitzvah” and is recognized by Jewish tradition as having the same rights as a full grown man. A boy who has become a Bar Mitzvah is now morally and ethically responsible for his decisions and actions. The term “bar mitzvah” also refers to the religious ceremony that accompanies a boy becoming a Bar Mitzvah. Often a celebratory party will follow the ceremony and that party is also called a bar mitzvah.

The Viewfinders had the pleasure of covering Louis Shulman’s Bar Mitzvah. After the ceremony, fun and games and celebrity appearances… and adulthood, awaited. The link here is to the highlight video of his coming of age party.

The nominations for the Oscars are out but what happened to the digitally enhanced category? The highest grossing movie of all time, Avatar, was snubbed when it wasn’t nodded for Best Picture and the trend continues. Computer graphics and motion capture seem to be all the hype in the mainstream, but when it comes to getting acknowledged for something new and game changing, these movies are getting brushed under the carpet.

With movies like Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin, motion capture was the basis of the movie making process. Although they were incredible in their own ways, the Academy didn’t seem to think they were worth Oscar’s time.

“For whatever reason, boomer-age people, older Gen X-ers [in the Academy] are threatened by it,” journalist and Hollywood Elsewhere writer Jeff Wells told MTV News. “They feel on some level that they’re going to be lost, that they’re going to be digitally wiped out in the future.”