Friday, June 26, 2009

:Camera angle - move for a chance!

Photography has become very quick and simple. Mobility is what we need. It's the only way to get a little variety into the world of pictures. The majority of all photos are still taken at eye level. However, when choosing a suitable camera angle, we shouldn't leave anything to chance. Consider alternatives! However, if we squat down a bit, stand on a wall or move a little to the left or right, we often get a completely different effect. A lot of photographers are not really aware of just how important the right shooting height can be. Changing the camera angle causes the motifs to overlap and cover or frame one another. Do a test: just point the camera at an everyday object such as a park bench or car. Then deliberately vary the camera angle. Observe how the picture changes. Pay attention to how the effect of the foreground and background varies when the camera is held higher or lower. We should still take a few seconds to find the optimum camera position. Don't just look at the main motif in the viewfinder, but rather scan the entire frame to find the ultimate effect. It's best to select our motif even before looking through the viewfinder. Select the rough focal length beforehand. Decide whether we want a section of the scene or whether we want to show more of the surroundings by using a shorter focal length setting. Doing something different makes a familiar background suddenly look totally different. We can emphasize things or we can also simply hide unimportant elements. Depending on the position of the camera, outlines and structures become more or less prominent. Anyone who abandons the eye-level view will be able to greatly enhance the mood of many of his or her photos. Just squat down and see how the effect of a targeted motif changes. Sit on the ground if we are planning to take a whole series of shots. Consider kneel down when photographing children, in order to approach the little ones at their level. Sometimes an extremely low angle to be creative. Just lie right down on the ground. The effect is astonishing: the children, and of course other motifs suddenly look dominating.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

sunrise...its never to late to capture it....

Anyone witnessing an unforgettable sunrise forever wishes to capture the moment of splendour on camera. Many try, but few succeed. Either we are too late, or too early, at the wrong time or the wrong camera. But whatever the ailment, we have all had our moments where we longed to capture the beauty of sunrise.
Capturing a gorgeous sunrise on camera is not as difficult as you may think. It is all about preparation and timing, both of which have to be perfect. Being prepared means to pre-think the shot and be ready, before the sunrise arrives.
It is important to include elements in your sunrise photos in order to create a sense of scale and depth. Plain sunrise, without additional elements, is boring. Cloud formations, water, buildings, or people add drama that draws the viewer into the photo. When choosing elements to include, remember that everything in the foreground will be in silhouette. If you use a flash, you will ruin the effect of the glowing light. Another important point to consider is location. Scout around your neighbourhood in order to find a perfect location that gives you a full skyline view of the horizon. This site might be a city skyline with the buildings in silhouette. The trick is to scout the location for several days and note the position of the sun at different times of day. Now, assuming you have picked your spot and have the camera its time to consider the almighty exposure. There are as many tricks of the trade as there are photographers but there are several tired and true formulas that will give you great photos under most circumstances. One of my favourite methods is to use a grey card, or anything that reflects the same amount of light such as a sheet of newspaper. Hold the newspaper or grey card facing the setting sun. NOTE: Your back should be towards the sun to do this. You want to meter the side of the card facing the sun not the backside, which will be in shadow. Take a reading with your camera's meter then set the exposure accordingly. This will give you a great starting point. Bracket your shots 2 up and 2 down. Another method is to meter the brightest part of the sky and then close two f-stops to get a starting point. Here too, the key is to bracket. You can also try turning your body away from the sky at a 45degree angle and then metering the sky in that direction for a middle tone range. Remember these are just starting points and you should always bracket your shots. Keep shooting until the sun well above the horizon as some of the most shots come from the glowing sky. The techniques for shooting sunset are virtually the same but in reverse.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Into the light …

The way in which a subject is lit is invariably a crucial element of a photograph. What determine a good light is not always entirely straightforward. A dull cloudy day sometimes makes a mood and dramatic images, while a bright, sunny day with a blue sky may seem perfect but it can often result in bland and uninteresting pictures. When shooting outdoors we have only limited degree of control lighting effects, and we are largely at the mercy of the weather. In sunlight, however, the choice of viewpoint and the position of the subject have a significant effect on the quality of the light, and shooting into the light often captures interesting photographs. This lighting helps to ensure a good separation between subject and background. Portraits can be particularly pleasing when photographed in this way, as the facial lighting is quite soft and flattering and the backlighting throws a pleasing halo of light around the subject’s outline. Be careful that the backlighting does not spill onto the face in a way that creates unpleasant highlights. Backlit landscapes can also be striking, since such lighting helps to reduce detail, simplifies the image and creates bold masses of tone emphasising shapes and textures. Early-morning and evening shots are especially effective. In colour the added warmth of light when the sun is low in the sky adds atmosphere, which can be further heightened if mist is present.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Mood and atmosphere

When we consider that a photograph is simply a piece of paper on which an image is formed by chemical and dyes, it is remarkable how many subtle qualities it can possess. A feeling of depth, distance, form and texture can all be conveyed most lively by a good photograph. Perhaps the most elusive quality which a photographic image can convey is that of mood. It’s elusive because it depends upon so many different things. The subject itself may impact a strong sense of mood. However, an atmospheric subject does not guarantee that a photograph will necessarily convey the same mood.
Factors like lighting and image quality can enhance or destroy this, often, indefinable quality. Lighting is crucial since it helps to establish the tonal range of image. It would be hard to convey a sombre mood when a scene was lit by bright sunlight with sparkly highlights, just as a happy mood would not be created by a subdued shadowy lighting. A high key image which consists of primarily light tones and pastel colours tends to create a soft a romantic mood, like a misty atmosphere for example.
Low evening sunlight and dark stormy skies make for low key images which rich tones and colours, which may be enhanced by choosing a viewpoint and framing the picture to emphasize the darker areas of the scene. Shooting into the light also creates this effect, particularly when the image is slightly underexposed. The romantic and light hearted quality of a light toned picture is more likely to be found on days when the sky is overcast or hazy with a soft indirect light and no deep shadows.
The colour quality of a photograph will also have a significant effect on its mood. A scene where bright saturated colours like red and yellow will help to impart a lively happy atmosphere like wise a more subdued colours like green and blue and purple tend to produce a more restful and introspective mood.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

What should we photograph?...the decisive moment

What to photograph is the most difficult question in photography. Most books and website concentrate on the technical side, because this is relatively easy. It certainly isn't a place we can start in photography, and it will take us a lot of work, luck and some talent to get there. Finding our subject in photography is in the end finding the kind of person we are. Let our interests and enthusiasms lead us where they will. I'd advise anyone starting now to start with a digital camera because we can take pictures without worrying about cost, and can see the results immediately. I always advised them to use a simple manual 35mm camera, where we have to set everything by hand - shutter speeds, aperture, focus etc. It still can be a great learning experience so far as the technical side of photography is concerned. Learning about these aspects is still vital to getting control over our images, even with getting the most from highly automated digital systems. But digital photography gives us a new ease of working at the more difficult questions: what to photograph? , and then how to communicate effectively through our images. Start by photographing our life and environment and things that we are interested in. Our own life is a subject to which we have unique access. Most of us also have an appropriate audience for at least some of this work in our friends and family, but we can also make use of it to explore wider issues. We may think our life is ordinary, but so were the lives of most of the people in the classics of documentary photography.
French photographer and father of photojournalism ">Henri Cartier –Bresson , coined the phrase, "The Decisive Moment , it is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as the precise organization of forms which gives that event its proper expression. In photography, the smallest thing can be a great subject. The little human detail can become a leitmotif."
We can elaborate to our present day digital photojournalism as “capturing the decisive moment, capturing in images what cannot be denied in words thus providing the true information. “ The decisive moment is all about recognizing photographic opportunities and seizing those moments by capturing them with the camera. Recognizing opportunities and seizing moments takes an attuned compositional eye and technical competence in order to use photographic equipment -- cameras, lenses and flashes -- to capture fleeting images with both beauty and clarity. In other words we need to have our technique sorted out so we can reliably produce pictures, and we need to be in the right place at the right time. Finding out what is happening; getting to know the right people, gaining access to take pictures is a large part of the job in reportage or documentary work. Our own life and that of our friends and community is the easiest and the best starting point for our work. In it we will develop the technical skills and the personal skills that we need to be a photographer. For many photographers it has been the springboard to greater things. We can come up with ideas for our self, often through looking at our pictures and thinking how we can take them further. Other photographers are also a great source of ideas and inspiration, in books or on the web, or better by actually finding others who share our interests.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Preparing for photojournalism


The great teacher of photojournalism Eugene Smith argues that 20 years are needed to make a photographer. This is overstatement, perhaps, but Smith makes the strong point that photography is much more than master basic technological skill.

It understands images, it understands audience, it knows something about art, it is constantly enlarging your perceptions, and it is acquiring knowledge versatility and quickness. For here we can understand the first valuable point about preparing for a career in photography that we cannot do it in a year.

For me, the first thing is to study the great works of other photographers and formulate your own style. I am amazed at how few young photographers know nothing about successful photographers, past and present. The present problem among photographers is to avoid becoming a technological idiot, the person who knows nothing but photographic skills.

In the world of mass communications, a photographer should know a lot about news concept, a lot about reportage, considerable about witting. The second aspect is to acquire a broad a liberal arts education a possible. Much of being a successful photojournalist depends on the ability to understand people and events and circumstances that surround them.

In photojournalism, you must keep up with news events and personalities. In particular, you must develop finesse with news ideas, scouring you home environment for photographable events, persons and environments. To a certain degree, success in photojournalism is in direct proportion to news sense.

You must also subject yourself to evaluation and criticism outside your own ego. One of the major problems confronted by the young photographer in his tendency to let go ego over-ride judgement. For psychological reasons, you may feel strong attachment to particular image among your contacts but find, in the audience beyond yourself, that image conveys no message, creates little response. Editors bring to you experiencing communications, as well as evaluations beyond pleasing you own psyche.

You probably will develop a personal style eventually, compounded of your news concept, of your technological preferences, of your reporting techniques and motivations and of your personal vision. But style may take time to emerge. It will formulate itself gradually and quietly, but you cannot calculate it and force it on audience and editors.

Finally, you must always work on the necessity to be a better photographer, to search out and work with events and people and environments, to fasten together the kind of personality that persists in fulfilling assignments whether you enjoy them to not.

To become a photojournalist of quality is the most difficult challenges in the world of visual communication.

Many try, hoping to turn a hobby in photography into a profession in photojournalism. Few make the grade. Somewhere along the line, ego rules out a prospect. Or technological growths stops, and another prospect is stunned. Or visual perception is too clinched. Or self-motivation is lacking.

But if you do make it, you will be admitted to an endlessly fascinating, constantly challenging, vastly satisfying and unique inner circle.