Category Archives: Photography

Summer Drone Photography

Remember the days when having a mirrorless camera was cutting-edge?

Those days are gone, and if you don’t have a drone to use for photography, well, you’re behind the times!

What I love about drone photography is the unique perspective you get when taking photos.

It reminds me of looking out the window of an airplane as you come in for a landing…

The trick, of course, is to figure out how to frame up shots from above that look amazing.

Our friends over at the Cooperative of Photography (COOPH) have teamed up with photographer Christoph Oberschneider to give us the summer drone photography tips we all need.

Check them out in the video above, and for a step-by-step breakdown, see the text below.

Whether it’s your weekly ultimate frisbee league or your kid’s summer soccer tournament, sporting events offer some excellent subject matter for drone photography.

Once the action starts, fly directly above for some fun aerial shots. By looking directly down at the athletes, you’ll be able to offer viewers a bit of scale as the players will be fairly small in relation to their surroundings.

If possible, shoot your aerial sports photos in the morning or evening when there’s nice sidelighting.

With the sun a little lower in the sky, your subjects will cast interesting shadows across the frame, which creates a lot of depth in the image, as seen above.

Look for patterns or textures, too. They add a bit of a dynamic feel to the shot and help break up the monotony of the background, or, in this case, the ground!

Take Better Portraits in Just 4 Steps

If you look at the portraits you take and think, “Gee, these could be better” but aren’t sure what to do to make them better, this tutorial is for you!

We all make mistakes when creating portraits, but there are some mistakes that are more common than others that are actually pretty easy to resolve.

And rather than offer up every possible scenario for what might go wrong and cause your portraits to go awry, let’s just focus on these common issues and see what we can do to help you take your portraits to the next level.

Without further ado, let’s get to it!

Everyone has seen the “typical” portrait of the subject posed and looking right down the barrel of the lens.

Don’t get me wrong – those types of portraits are necessary and can be quite fetching.

But if you want to elevate your portrait skills to another level, it’s a good idea to challenge yourself to think outside the box.

There’s tons of things you can do to create a more unique portrait, too.

Work from an interesting angle to give viewers an unexpected point of view, as seen above.

You can also place your portrait subject in an environment that has interesting features.

This might be a graffiti-filled alleyway as seen above, a lush garden, or a landscape that’s got great lighting.

Heck, even taking a documentary style portrait of your subject in their own home can be a beautiful version of a portrait.

You can even incorporate props into the shot.

Props are an interesting proposition because, on the one hand, they give your subject something to do with their hands, which helps them relax in front of the camera.

On the other hand, if the props aren’t right for the situation, they can stick out like a sore thumb and look pretty terrible. Just be careful in what props you choose, and if they don’t feel right for the shot, get rid of them!

Building Your Photography Business With a Franchise

When it comes to starting a photography business, it can be a scary proposition.

There’s all the expenses – getting the necessary photography gear.

There’s also the business expenses of renting an office or studio space, buying computers and other office supplies, and marketing, too.

The time investment is pretty significant as well.

And all that without much of a guarantee that your business will be successful, either.

But it doesn’t have to be scary.

In fact, there’s a way to build a strong photography business that minimizes all of the issues above – building your business with a franchise.

Let’s take a look at three primary benefits of building your photography business in this manner.

When you become a franchisee, particularly with a high-end franchise like Spoiled Rotten Photography, you get the benefit of having support and guidance of experts along the way.

There’s no worry about how to get your business off the ground, no worry about what to do next.

Instead, you have photographers and people with business savvy there by your side, from start to finish, such that you have a strong foundation upon which to build your business.

From the outset, a franchise gives you the opportunity to learn all the skills you need to be successful.

Franchisees of Spoiled Rotten Photography participate in a two-week training course where they learn all the processes and procedures needed to build a successful business.

That includes training on photography topics like exposure, composition, posing, camera gear, and plenty of hands-on training in lighting techniques.

There is also extensive training in customer care, business basics, accounting, and other essential business topics.

Getting Sharper Photos

I’m sure we’ve all experienced focusing problems.

You know – you have an otherwise pretty good shot, but the subject is just ever so slightly out of focus.

And the toughest part is that you often don’t notice the focus problem until you’re back home, checking your photos out on your computer screen!

No amount of sharpening in Photoshop is going to save an out-of-focus photo, either. That means it’s imperative to get it right in-camera.

The question is, what are the best ways of getting tack-sharp photos?

We provide the answer to that very question in this post.

 

Single Shot Autofocus vs Continuous Autofocus

Single shot autofocus is typically the default setting on most cameras and is the most common way to focus for most shots.

It gets its name because the camera focuses and maintains that focus for one shot, which is how most of us shoot most of the time for things like portraits, landscapes, and other still subjects.

Using single shot autofocus is extremely easy, too.

Just depress the shutter button halfway, which instructs the camera to focus.

The camera will maintain focus on the subject until you either take the shot by pressing the shutter button all the way or you release the shutter button altogether.

The problem, of course, is that to lock that focus, you must keep the shutter button depressed halfway, and that can be tricky at first.

You’ll likely end up with a few “oops” shots from accidentally pressing the shutter button all the way. Likewise, you’ll probably find that you accidentally release it sometimes, too, meaning you have to start the process over again.

But, once you get the hang of it, you can use single shot autofocus to acquire focus on your subject (say, the eyes of a person in a portrait), lock that focus, and recompose the shot.

For example, in a portrait, your initial framing might have the model in the middle of the shot while you’re locking focus on their eyes.

But once you depress the shutter button halfway, you can then recompose the photo for a more pleasing look, but still maintain focus on the original target. This is called the focus and recompose technique, and you can see it in action in the video above by Matt Granger.

Photographer Today in 9 Easy Steps

It might be cliche to say, but the phrase “practice makes perfect” has a lot of merit.

That goes for a lot of things in life, and photography is one of them.

I often hear complaints from new photographers that their photos aren’t as good as those they see from the pros.

Those complaints are usually accompanied by a wish that they knew how to improve their photos – and fast.

Becoming a better photographer, above all else, takes time and dedication to the process of learning.

But that doesn’t mean it has to be a complicated process…

With that in mind, here are nine easy things you can do today, right now, to become a better photographer.

The challenge (well, one of them…) of photography is to represent a three-dimensional subject in a two-dimensional medium that somehow still feels three-dimensional.

It might sound like an impossible task, but really all you need to do is utilize tricks that add depth and dimension to the shot.

Leading lines are a great way to add depth because our eyes are naturally drawn to lines.

Put a line in your photo, and viewers will use that to travel deeper into the shot, inspecting various parts of the image as they go.

Looking at the image above, notice how the line directs our attention to the background of the image. Taking us to the back of the shot helps give it the feeling that there’s a dimensionality to it.

Another way to add depth to your photos is to layer the image.

Layering simply involves having foreground, midground, and background elements that draw the viewer’s attention.

Again, the practice of layering points of interest in the shot helps move the viewer’s eye around the image, taking in one point of interest before moving on to the next, the result of which is a feeling of greater depth.

In the image above, note how the layers and layers of mountain peaks help define the space and give it a sense that the mountains in the foreground are nearer than the mountains in the background.

Tricks for Better Smartphone Photography

I remember the days when carrying a camera meant having a big 35mm SLR body, a couple of hefty lenses, a bunch of rolls of film, and a big tripod – to name a few things – in a bag slung over your shoulder.

Today, though, we’re spoiled in that we’ve got powerful cameras right in our pockets.

That’s nice for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is being able to carry a lot less gear!

It’s also nice because having a camera on us at all times enables us to practice our craft more often, and as they say, practice makes perfect.

So, as you practice your photography skills with your mobile phone, keep the following tips and tricks in mind to help you create even better photos.

If you really want to expand your phone’s capabilities as a camera, you need to get an add-on lens.

Better still, why not get a series of lenses, each for a different purpose?

For example, I shoot with Sirui’s line of smartphone lenses, which includes a portrait lens, a wide-angle lens, and a fisheye lens.

As you might imagine, having these lenses at my disposal gives me many more opportunities to create interesting smartphone images.

The 60mm portrait lens shown above is an ideal focal length for portraits.

It gives you just the right perspective for getting frame-filling portraits of friends and family, but without being right up in their face.

At 18mm, the Sirui wide-angle lens is perfect for capturing wide subjects like street scenes, landscapes, and even large group portraits.

In other words, it’s a much more versatile focal length than what your camera’s native lens offers.