Tag Archives: Planning

The simplest way to add depth to your pictures

• Young Knights battle at the gates to the castle •

• Young Knights battle at the gates to the castle •
Click image to view large
• Young Knights battle at the gates to the castle • By Netkonnexion on Flickr External link - opens new tab/page
The foreground interest fools the eye into seeing depth. In this case the path line and undulations in the mid-ground also help.

Understanding the power of the foreground…

Is the first step to creating a sense of depth in your pictures. Our eyes use markers like foreground, lines and background to gauge depth in the landscape. If we provide these in a two dimensional picture we fool the eye into seeing depth there too.

Foreground Interest – Video

Bryan Peterson explains in the video how to take a position that brings out the foreground interest. It’s easy. Make sure you shoot past something close when shooting into the scene so you can see a progression of depth… foreground, mid-ground and background. Simple.

adoramaTV  External link - opens new tab/page With Bryan Peterson

Scale

In fact you can use this landscape trick in the studio, or even a small room. Position yourself close to a foreground object and shoot past it into the room or scene. For example, use a chair or a table to occupy a part of the near end of the picture. That gives you a close marker allowing the eye to gauge a distance into the room. Here is an urban shot using the same principle…

Monument

• Monument •
The presence of the coffee cup on the table gives an immediate scale marker to the eye. The rest of the scene has depth because the eye can match the scale differences progressively as it looks into the scene.


The very well known scale of the size of a coffee cup in the picture is the clue to the depth of the rest of the shot. The eye/brain system does the rest. Simple principle – simple composition.

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By Damon Guy (author and Photokonnexion editor)

Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photog and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photogs.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.
By Damon Guy see his profile on Google+.

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How to prepare for a photo safari and what to take

The King

• The King
Image by John de Jager • OnePhotography  External link - opens new tab/page

Going on safari – it’s amazing.

Photographic safaris should be experienced by every photographer at least once in a lifetime. They provide the perfect opportunity to photograph wildlife and nature as they are dedicated tours focusing on photography.

What is on offer on a photo-safari?

Most offer private vehicles allowing the photographers to focus on specific wildlife, spend the needed time with the wildlife to get the shot, and allow for a more flexible approach to the safari. Most importantly, the safari is hosted by an expert wildlife photographer to assist clients with getting the perfect shot and then processing the images.

How should you prepare

• Contact the operator of your chosen photographic safari company and confirm with them what their recommended equipment is. This can vary from area to area, especially with regards to lenses. Some reserves allow vehicles to follow animals off road and one can get away with shorter lenses e.g. 200mm. Other reserves are more restricted and longer lenses are required e.g. 600mm.
• Spend time getting to know your camera and equipment. Wildlife photography is not static. You will see fast moving subjects and shifting light. You should be able to change settings quickly.
• Practice by photographing pets or birds in your local home area. Get a feel for photographing a moving subject. (You can get some more advice on this in our action photography course – Editor).
• Beginners and amateurs, don’t worry! This is exactly why an expert wildlife photographer joins you on safari. The host will assist you with the best camera settings and how to get the best out of your camera.

On a mission

• On a mission •
Click to view large
Image by John de Jager • OnePhotography  External link - opens new tab/page

What you should take

Once you are out in the field it is not easy to get more equipment. Think ahead…
• A camera and lens within your price range (some operators offer equipment rental). Lens wise, it is good to have a wide angle lens for landscapes and a telephoto lens for the animals.
• An external flash with spare batteries is well worth having. If you can also bring a wireless flash transmitter to avoid “red-eye”.
• A shutter release switch for star trails and possibly an (intervalometer).
• Take enough memory cards (high speed). I have shot 8GB in RAW images in less than an hour on safari before, so it is important to have enough backup memory space available. Some form of external storage device to transfer images onto after each safari is advisable too. The reason why I suggest high speed cards is because in wildlife photography you will often shoot in high speed continuous mode. Card speeds affect how many frames you can capture in a burst of shots.
• Take spare batteries. You can be out on a drive for many hours at a time.
• A good laptop powerful enough to process images on Photoshop/lightroom or other post-processing software. Some operators offer monitors to uplink to for editing purposes but if not, bring a laptop with dedicated graphics and an RGB LED screen.
• A memory card reader or method of downloading your images to clear your memory cards each day.
• A good lens cleaning kit is essential. Being out in the field leads to dust collection!
• Insure your equipment! Weather can be unpredictable and I have had a client lose a Canon 600mm lens in a freak wind storm that caused a log to fall on the lens. The lens was not insured…!
• Bean bag or vehicle mount to hold your camera nice and still while shooting.
• Plastic packets, waterproof camera sleeves or waterproof material! Thunderstorms are common in Africa through the summer months. So bring something just to cover up that lens or camera.
• Bring a lot of patience! Wildlife photography is often about waiting for the right moment. Under the guidance of your host and guide, this wait will be more than worth it.
• A willingness to learn and share. It is important on these safaris to be willing to learn, not just about photography but about the creatures you are photographing. The more you learn about animal behaviour. the better. It will allow you to anticipate your next shot. Share with the others on safari too. Everyone has some idea or technique that may just help others in the group.
• An ethical respect for nature is very important. Not only is it unethical to disturb animals to get a shot, but it can at times put you and the rest of the clients in danger.
• Adequate protection against the sun (hats, sun cream etc).

John de Jager (Contributing Author)

John de Jager is the owner of Onephotography  External link - opens new tab/page; a photographic safari company operating in South Africa. They specialize in luxury photographic safaris focusing on rare and endangered species found in South Africa – as well as all the classic wildlife. For details on your next photo safari go to http://www.onephotography.co.za/  External link - opens new tab/page or OnePhotography on FaceBook  External link - opens new tab/page for regular updates and stunning imagery.

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Three great tips for travel and street photography

Three 'Ain't a Crowd

Three ‘Ain’t a Crowd – Taken in Lisbon, Portugal
By Paul Donohoe – Street photographer
• Click image to view large •
By Paul Donohoe on Flickr  External link - opens new tab/page

Travel and street photography are a natural fit.

All street photography involves travel. Whether you are travelling round the world, or just across town, this article is for you. It all involves travel. Adventure awaits the traveller and street photographer.

Finding the location

How do you go about finding the best location for street photography in a new place? I am going to cover three tips to help any street photographer, wherever they are travelling, and regardless of the time they have. Each tip will require a little tinkering depending on your needs and preferences, and on the place you’re travelling in.

1. Explore with or without your camera – Play the Tourist

Yes, that’s right: with or without your camera. Surely, you are asking, a good street photographer always carries a camera? Well, sometimes, no. You can carry one as you explore if you insist, but it’ll work better without!

What do people say about tourists? They are so busy trying to get pictures of the things they are looking at that they end up seeing hardly anything at all. Here is tip one: play tourist but without the camera. Just wander around, looking at — and seeing — the sights. Soak up the atmosphere.

If you’re in a new place for a week or so, take more time to wander around. Of course, if you’re visiting for only a day then you might only take an hour.

Following this plan has advantages for the street photographer. Just looking at the sights gets the sightseeing part of the deal out of your system. It’s important for a photographer to spend time without a camera, just using their eyes. In a new place there are always new sights to see. This can be really distracting when you are trying to focus on the lives of the people carrying on amid the other eye candy.

As you explore, you will discover places that appeal to you. You will find where the crowds are, the interesting backdrops – the places you just know you will come back to.

Lisbon Wall

Lisbon Wall • After Escher
By Paul Donohoe – Street photographer
• Click image to view large •
Pauls-Pictures, on Flickr  External link - opens new tab/page

I saw this wall and climbed those stairs once or twice as I explored. I saw this image in my mind’s eye. Then when I came back with my camera, it was there waiting for me!

2. Research: the where, the what, the who and the when

It’s not hard to spend an hour on the internet looking at maps and other information. A lot of people will be content to conduct this research after they arrive at their travel destination, and that’s fine. For me, I like to prepare ahead. The planning, for me, is half the fun!

Are there events, festivals or other activities happening? Where do people gather? What about shopping areas where people stroll? Knowing these things ahead of time, will not only get you excited about your visit, but will start the creative juices flowing.

Check online for the work of other street photographers in the place you’re visiting. Read their blogs, think about their experiences. This isn’t so you can “copy” what they’ve done. You’d be surprised how much you can learn about where and what to photograph — and sometimes where and what not to!

Flea Market Stall Holders

• Flea Market Stall Holders •
By Paul Donohoe – Street photographer
• Click image to view large •
Pauls-Pictures, on Flickr  External link - opens new tab/page

Having heard there was a huge flea market twice a week, I headed there at the first available opportunity. I sometimes think markets were invented for street photography)

3. In street photographer mode…

Keep walking and exploring or focus on a favoured place you’ve found and stay there. You’ve explored and you’ve done your research. Now it’s time to get on with it and get some street photos! The crucial factor in being able to make good street photographs is to be in street photographer mode.

You will read that some people are always in that mode. Perhaps. However, here’s what I mean… To make good street photographs you have to be truly in the space and in the moment. You need to be in tune with the environment and with the people you encounter. In other words, you have to become “of the street” – you belong there, it is your space but it’s also a space you are sharing, even if only temporarily, with other people around you.

Keep walking. Go back to the places you discovered in your exploration and research.

So much of street photography is about feelings, intuition. If, by chance, you come across a space you feel is just right for you, sit awhile and watch the people go by. It might be a park, a town square, or even a train station entrance.

Walking or staying put: there’s no right or wrong. And you can switch between the two; sit for a while till you just feel it’s time to move on.

The picture at the top of the page is one of my all time favourites. It happened after I’d spent an hour just hanging around a small square five minutes from where I’m staying in Lisbon. You really do become invisible if you hang around in one spot long enough.

Three tips… plus!

So, there you have it – three tips for finding the best street photographs when you arrive somewhere new. Actually, there are a couple moew things… Have some fun while you’re at it. Whether you’re there for a day or a couple of months, take your time. There’s no rush – you’ll get the photos you’re meant to!


Paul Donohoe is a Social Documentary and Street Photographer currently travelling to random places as the fancy takes him and his partner. He is passionate about his art and takes his role as a photographer very seriously. He believes that there are no ordinary moments and there are no ordinary people and he has a simple but profound philosophy which informs his work: “Love, Compassion and Empathy are my guides”. At present Paul sells his work through his own Pauls Pictures  External link - opens new tab/page, and a number of fine art and stock agencies.

Pauls Websites

Instants Out of Time (blog)  External link - opens new tab/page
Pauls Pictures – Showcase and sales of Pictures by Paul Donohoe  External link - opens new tab/page
Pauls Pictures on Flickr  External link - opens new tab/page


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Seven easy tips to improve your group photography

• Boys Group •

• Boys Group •
The humble group photograph can be much improved by a few simple steps.

Simple steps lead to great shots…

With groups you must go a little further than with straight portraits. Getting people coordinated, a range of different settings, beating the dreaded ‘blinks’, great sharpness… Check these out, go the extra mile.

Planning

When doing group shots a few ideas up front helps. Some simple ideas about cohesion, commonality and framing can make your shots more compelling. Clear ideas about how you want this particular group arranged will enable you to get them quickly into place. Groups, by their nature become impatient quickly. Preparation moves things along keeps people on the ball. Have your location scouted and know where you are going to place your group. Have a good, simple background ready. Make sure you have adequate light to work with. Location is everything.

Settings

Remember, groups require a wide view and you need some depth too. Set your aperture too large and you risk the back row being out of the zone of sharpness. Most groups are best photographed at f8 or even better f11. To get the sharpness work with your shutter speed up reasonably high. 1/125th minimum – better 200ths of a second. Go higher if you don’t need flash.

Bigger groups always have a certain amount of movement. Higher shutter speeds help to freeze the action. The problem is, high shutter speed and small aperture leave you needing flash or extra lighting. There is always a trade-off. To compensate you may need to raise your ISO.

Sharp shooting

Shooting at high speed will help freeze the action. It will not steady your hand. If shooting a big group, especially for formal shots, it’s best to use other sharpening techniques. Consider these sharpness…

  • Using a tripod
  • Use mirror lock-up function
  • Image stabilisation off (not needed on tripods – it creates vibration)
  • Auto-focus off on a tripod after the group is focused (it creates vibration)
  • Operate with a remote shutter button or use the on-camera timer

A tripod saves time. You can arrange the group and smooth the shot through. If you have more than one group, your camera is always set up when it is on a tripod. It helps smooth the flow.

Light and shade

Overall light in the scene is important, so is the shade. When taking pictures of groups you are taking a wide angle view. The group is often spread out. It’s easy to miss that one or two of the group are in the shade. Or, with a camera mounted flash, the shadows from the flash fall harshly onto the people behind. Trees, buildings, other people, towers, street lights – any number of objects can cast unexpected shadows which are difficult to notice. Flash casts shadows you don’t see until you open the picture on a computer later. Look carefully at your group. Arrange them to be in clear, consistent light. Make sure any lights or flash you are using treats all the members of the group evenly and fairly.

Clothing

So often with groups you have no control over clothing. If the event is formal the clothes often have a stiff and upright feel. People don’t relax so well in this situation so you will have to set the scene and pose them accordingly. It is not easy, especially with family conventions or a preset plan. Where possible let them arrange themselves with your help. People will be most comfortable next to the people they like and know.

When a group is coming together informally the clothes may be wildly variable in character. What matters when working with a candid group is the fun arrangement of the group. Try to get the group to look dynamic and together. This will offset a strong clothing variation.

The prize giving

• The prize giving •
If the group feels comfortable and you work with them they’ll help make a great picture.

Organisation

Groups, especially close up, look odd if the faces are at different distances from the camera. They are close enough to us to look fine. However, the lens plays tricks on our eyes. If they are out of line – at different distances, but close together – they will appear to have different head sizes. Try to make people in each line of a group stand evenly down the line.

Sometimes the classic, short in front taller to the back works fine. Other times it is better to actually mix up short and tall – especially with different generations. It is much more natural for grandchildren to be arranged with grandparents than stuck on the end of the line because they are small. Putting children between adults also provides an opportunity to have a shorter person behind so as to break up a line up – to make it less formally arranged.

Close family groups, and friends, often look good leaning together, or heads together. It is very intimate to touch heads.

The dreaded ‘blinkies’ strike every group shot if you are not careful. The bigger the group the more likely that someone will blink. Overcome it with a little group control. Ready to shoot? Tell them you are going to help stop them blinking in the shot. Tell every one to shut their eyes. Count to two, tell everyone to open. Count to two. Press the shutter. Everyone will have open eyes. Explain it first so they know what is coming. It will make sure they all have eyes open long enough for you to get the shot.

So, with all these different ways of organising the group make sure that what you have is comfortable, natural – never forced.

Posing

Organising the group is about positioning and location. Posing is about personal stance and comfort. You, as the photographer, need to direct the group. But on the other hand you have to work with the people you have before you. Try to make it fun. Get them to relate to one another. If you have time, especially with candids or informal group, get them to experiment. Handshakes, greetings, hugs, arms around each other, standing in groups – the idea is to make ‘that’ group look good. Another group might not look good with the same poses. You should work with them, discuss ideas with them, respect their thoughts. They probably know each other better than you know them and will make the best suggestions. It is your job as a director to pick up on the most effective shots from their ideas. Consider what you know about them, consider their ideas for their poses – then work together to make the shot just right.

Getting the right feeling…

Working with groups is more than just lining them up. You have to consider the time, place, light, shade, the settings and the technique. But the best shots still come from the group itself. If the members of the group are comfortable, having fun and feel natural about their poses they will make sure you get a good shot. Work with them, help them make your picture work.

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By Damon Guy (author and Photokonnexion editor)

Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photog and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photogs.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.
By Damon Guy see his profile on Google+.

Five simple tips for making street portraits

• The Lady •

• The Lady •
Classic Rembrandt Lighting in a modern street portrait
Click image to view large
• The Lady • by Netkonnexion, on FlickrExternal link - opens new tab/page

There is a beauty in simplicity.

I love to make street portraits, simple characterisations of people in their real lives. The street photographer thrives on the capture of the moment in someone’s life that just says a little about who they are… a moment in the life of a person you will never know. In this post I am going to look at how best to capture a street portrait.

1. Eye to eye

Out there on the street you a part of the scene – creating a momentary rapport with your street subjects. People like to communicate. And, they like to see communication. When you take a street portrait try to get your subject looking at you. If they are, they are communicating with you. The viewer of your photograph will be a part of that correspondence too. It will pull them in. Work at the eye level of your subject. Explore their faces through their eyes. Your capture will have much more power. If you are able to capture them looking in your direction, make sure the eyes are in focus too. This is good advice for any photograph, but it is critical for portraits. If the eyes are out of focus any appearance of communication will be lost.

2. Understanding the background

Every subject exists in some sort of environment. However, street portraits don’t allow much control over the background. Sometimes that can ruin your shot. A street portrait is about your subject. If there is too much going on around your subject then it can be a distraction. It takes the viewers attention away from the person you are showing them. When you are doing street portraits you can control the background in two ways – capitalise on it or get rid of it. If it is interesting, not too distracting, and puts your shot in context, then go for a deep depth of field (say, f11). That way you show your subject in the full light of the city environment. On the other hand if the background is complicated, distracting, or just uninteresting – go for a wide aperture and shallow depth of field. If your subject is away from the background your subject will stand out leaving the background out of focus.

3. The other people round about

If your subject is a part of a group then include the group. However, if they are not in a group portrait the other people round about can add to the shot or create a distraction. Try to make your shot pick out your subject or the group they are in. If you are trying to do a street portrait then your concentration should be on the subject you are trying to show. If you are more interested in your subject with their group then the relationship is important. Fix on that and bring it out.

The point of street photography is to show something coherent. If what you show is simply the chaos of a street scene, most of the time the impact will be lost in the chaos. When there is more than one person in your scene you need to bring out relationships, coherence or some sort of point that makes the shot interesting. There is nothing wrong with capturing a group of people as long as the capture has a point. Tell a story, bring out the meaning.

• Paper hats •

• Paper hats •
Pulling a group portrait together requires a coherence, collective story or central interest to the shot.
Click image to view large
• Paper hats • By Netkonnexion on Flickr External link - opens new tab/page

4. In the best possible light

The character of the light is one of the most important aspects of the shot. There is no single rule for lighting but it certainly helps to have an idea about the basics. In the photo above, “The Lady”, you will notice the triangular patch of light on her left cheek. This is a portrait lighting situation called “the Rembrandt” after the famous renaissance painter who pioneered this lighting. The form of the light/shadow helps show off the shape of the face and highlights the cheeks beautifully. In this case her eyelashes cast an interesting shadow and add character to the shot too.

When you are taking street portraits it helps to know about basic portrait lighting. The light and shadow on your subjects face is important. The wrong light can affect the form and shape of your subjects face, be unflattering or even create odd contrasts or miss-shape the face. It can certainly create a distraction if it is wrong. If you want to know more about how to light the face for portraits then check “Simple positions for classic portrait work”. It is the face that gives the most character to your subject. A beautifully photographed face is the foundation to a great shot.

5. Shoot many shots

No one should just be machine-gunning shots. Look for great shots and take them with care and consideration. On the other hand, you really want to make your trip worthwhile. Concentrate on bringing out some of the points above, but make sure you take lots of shots. Street photography is an uncontrolled situation. To ensure you get the best out of the subjects you see you will need to follow up on as many interesting points as you can. Things change fast – you may not get a second chance. Look, study, consider, frame, shoot – a working sequence of steps for a great shot. If you keep spotting interesting things… do your best to capture them.

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By Damon Guy (author and Photokonnexion editor)

Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photog and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photogs.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.
By Damon Guy see his profile on Google+.

Can you write? Of course you can!
Write for Photokonnexion...

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The 5 secret steps every creative photographer should know

Coloured pencils

• Coloured pencils •
The creative process involves five simple steps…

The creative photography process is simple…

It’s completed in five steps. Knowing each step helps you be creative without forcing it. Recognising each step will help you know what to do and how to prepare for the next step. Here is the process for you to work through.

Here are the five steps in the creative process…

Stage 1. Imagining/visualising:

Actions…
• Developing ideas, visualising details, solving problems, considering concepts, ideas, feelings
• Storyboarding, scenarios, presentation shots, angles and lighting
Explanation… In this stage the primary ideas and concepts will need to be ironed out into the visualisation. Your mind-picture of the final creating will need to be fully detailed. This is the stage where you decide what you are going to shoot and how that shoot will turn out. For more on visualisation see: 80 year old secret of world class photographers revealed.

Stage 2. Planning:

Actions…
• Experimenting, researching, designing the set/shoot context
• Provision of props and equipment
• Consideration of location/studio planning work.
• Creating check-lists for the shoot requirements.
Explanation… This is where your ideas need to be tested and planned out ready for the shoot. If you need to acquire resources, travel, consider staff/models etc these will need to be included. At a smaller level, say table-top still life it may be no more that gathering your props. The planning needs to be on a size and time-scale appropriate to the shoot you have in mind.

Stage 3. Artistic Interpretation:

Actions…
• Developing the story/angle of approach/main idea
• Style considerations
• Technical variations of camera settings (movement blur/Depth of field/exposure etc)
Explanation… This is the most indistinct stage. Your artistic interpretation of the scene may be integrated into the planning stage, or into the shooting stage. Alternatively it may stand alone. It depends on how much of a story there is, or how much of a range of shots you anticipate shooting in the end. In my experience it helps to have a lighting plan and camera position plan from the planning stage. But, keep yourself flexible in the shooting stage. You need to be able to respond to the light and scene characteristics of the location in stage 4. However you choose to organise this stage, your story-board/visualisation will guide you in artistically approaching how your shots will be set up in this stage.

Stage 4. Shooting; evaluation/refinement:

Actions…
• Application of skills and techniques to realise the scene as visualised
• Technique types include – aesthetic, intellectual, and technical (photographic).
• Technical variations of camera settings
• In-camera review of results and re-shoot as necessary to achieve visualisation
• Shoot variations ensuring spread of images exploiting potential of the scene
• Refining/re-shooting/possible reinterpretation
Explanation… Here is where the plan and the visualisation come together. You are going to do the shoot. You will need to evaluate your results as you go along (chimping). You will also need to make sure that you cover all aspects of the plan for the shoot (check-lists).

Stage 5. Presentation:

Actions…
• Presentation, competition, viewing, website publication, other publication
• Exhibition
• Sale/contract fulfilment
Explanation… This is the final goal. In this stage you are presenting the final result of your shoot. The different ways you present depends on your media, the publication type and what you are hoping to achieve (public or private end result; exhibition; sale etc.)

The exact detail of what happens at each stage

The creative process will differ from shoot to shoot. After all, the idea itself, the circumstances and the resources needed will vary. So you will need to adapt the circumstances of each shoot to the stages in the process. To begin with, work on understanding how to use each stage and what to achieve to complete it. With experience you will be able to work through each stage quickly.

Overall…

This five step process helps to provide a framework for you to follow when going through the creative process from idea to final presentation. It will not stop you going through the agony of the creative birth of an idea, but it helps to inform you how you should bring that idea to fruition. Creation is more than an idea, you have not truly created something until you have a tangible result at the end.

By Damon Guy (author and Photokonnexion editor)

Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photog and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photogs.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.
By Damon Guy see his profile on Google+.

Three easy photography time savers

Making time by saving time.

We would all like to spend more time with our camera. If we can save time on our shots we will have time to take more of them. It is about being photographically efficient.

1. Plan your shoot

Most photographers find out the hard way. They go to do what they think is a great location to do a shoot. When they get there they find out that all is not as they thought. Here are some common problems encountered because of lack of planning…

  • No photography allowed – eg. public buildings, churches, malls and private offices.
  • Area is too large to complete everything you wanted to do.
  • You cannot find what you want. Wild life is especially difficult to predict.
  • Did not check the weather at the destination before leaving.
  • Failed to check up on local information with local people/camera clubs.
  • Do a little planning and you could save your whole day or get more shooting done.

    2. Use a tripod and work sharp

    The aim of great photography is to do as much as possible to create sharp images in camera. Sharpness is much sought-after among those who are trying to improve their photography. Oddly enough most improvers are too anxious to move onto the next shot. In their haste they sacrifice sharpness, or fire off a machine-gun-like series of shots in the hope that one of them will make the grade. During a day you will get hundreds of shots of not very many subjects.

    OK… here is the news. After the shoot you will spend hours going over all those shots choosing the sharpest and doing the post processing. Professional photographers know that they want two things: a sharp shot and a good composition. Consequently they take a little more care and time making the shot in the field. They use a tripod and follow a procedure for checking their composition and ensuring sharpness. Check these posts out for some ideas…
    An old sailors trick to improve your photography
    The fifteen second landscape appraisal
    Three Tips for Pin Sharp Shots with a Tripod
    The Zen of sharpness – 12 easy ways to improve
    Here is the trick. If you learn to do sharp shots at the outset you save time two ways. First, you will be able to efficiently arrive on the scene, set up, get the shot, move on. Secondly, you will save hours of time on your computer trying to find the right shot and then spending time cleaning it up. You will have fewer shots of more subjects.

    Know how you are going to shoot your subject

    Every photographer has to learn what works and what does not. You can save a lot of time on that learning curve by researching the best way to take particular shots. Online photographs are perhaps the best way to do that. When researching a new shot Google Images is a great resource. Go to Google and select images, then enter the subject you want to shoot. There will be thousands of images to choose from so you can get some great composition ideas for your subject. Look at the angles of the shots. Check the point of view. Look at backgrounds… all these give you great ideas. It is not cheating. It is doing what every artist has done for centuries – getting a great understanding of their subject and then adding their own creative touch. Not only does this save you time on the shot, it helps you develop your creativity. That’s a win:win situation.

    Saving time is cool and gives you more creative time on the shots you want. Spend time on these points and you will earn the time back later hundreds of times over.

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    By Damon Guy (author and Photokonnexion editor)

    Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

    Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

    Damon is a writer-photog and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photogs.
    See also: Editors ‘Bio’.
    By Damon Guy see his profile on Google+.