If you’re having trouble getting the right exposure, here are some basic tips that might help you solve your problems.
If you make portraits – be they of fish, birds, insects, people or animals, you need to think about catchlight.
They bring life to the subject. Without them, you might as well be shooting at a wax museum or taxidermy.
Here are some tips for finding the catchlight.
a. Make sure the light source is BEHIND the camera. If not, it’s going to be pretty tough to see that reflection in the eye of the subject.
b. If you can’t find the catchlight in the subject’s eye, move the camera until you can.
c. If moving the camera doesn’t help you find the catchlight, move the subject.
d. If no natural catchlight exists, consider using a reflector or fill flash.
e. Avoid multiple catch lights. There is only one sun so here on Earth so let’s make sure we have no more than one catchlight in the eye.
Alan Murphy is a busy bird photographer. His work has appeared in publications ranging from National Geographic to Bird Watcher’s Digest. Alan also has a CD Book coming out in mid December detailing the secrets of his fantastic songbird photography.
Scott Bourne interviewed Alan earlier this year.
Photography is a two-dimensional pursuit happening in a three-dimensional world. When you see flat, boring, uninspiring photos, this can be just one of the causes. The photographer may not have understood the important relationship between the foreground and the background. You can use this relationship to add interest, change perspective and depth to a photo.
We hear a great deal about shutter speed, aperture and ISO, but there’s another control we need to remember and often don’t. That’s the white balance. For those of you shooting video on a DSLR it’s particularly important. Video folks spend much more time worrying about color balance than still photographers. One of the reasons is that changing color in post is more complicated in video than in still photography.
In my opinion, everyone should pay attention to white balance no matter what they shoot. It saves time in post and therefore is a good thing.
The best way to set your white balance is to use an ExpoDisc.
The difference between using an ExpoDisc and a traditional gray card is simple, as is the WHY or reason I use one.
1. The ExpoDisc doesn’t introduce any color cast
2. The ExpoDisc has the ability to give you white balance info via incident rather than reflective meter readings and is more accurate and easier to handle
3. If you go to ten camera stores and buy 10 different gray cards – even of the same brand – and you put them to the TRUE test to see if they are indeed 18% gray – using a spectrometer – you will see that each of them gives a different reading – thus no gray card is truly accurate
4. It works better in mixed lighting than a gray card
5. It’s a time saver
To take advantage of the ExpoDisc’s features, you just put it on the camera lens and point directly at you light source rather than pointing it at your scene as you would do with a traditional camera metering off a gray card. You make an exposure and use that exposure to set your white balance. As long as the light doesn’t change, you’re good to go.
For more information or to purchase an ExpoDisc, check them out in the OPG store: ExpoDisc
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I’ve been using flash modifiers literally since I was a teenager. I’ve made my own and bought just about every conceivable retail modifier made – but as of this year, I’ve dumped almost everything but my HonL stuff. Here’s why…
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Martin Bailey is a British nature photographer living in Japan. If that doesn’t get you interested in this interview, nothing will! Martin is also a member of the Outdoor Photo Gear Review Board. This article contains excerpts from Martin’s interview by Scott Bourne.
1 – Scott: Please tell me how and when you got into photography.
[Martin Bailey] My induction into photography was a long process. My earliest photographic experience was with a Polaroid camera that Dad bought when I was around 7 or 8 years old. It disappeared from our house pretty quickly though when he realized how expensive the film was. I played with my friend’s Dad’s camera sometimes, and he let me shoot the odd frame, which was a real kick. I then had a number of basically plastic toy cameras over the years, which I enjoyed shooting with, but we didn’t have a lot of money, and so the developing costs held me back a lot. In my teens I remember asking my Mum if I could paint our bathroom black and find some way of sealing up the windows when necessary so that I could make my own darkroom. You can imagine that this conversation didn’t progress very far.