Over the weekend I had the opportunity to photograph the water lantern festival. The festival is an evening of being reflective on one's life while enjoy the atmosphere of those around you. There is food, music, and booths with artist to entertain you while you decorate your lantern. When the starts to set it's time to launch the lanterns into water. Below are some of my favorite lanterns from the event.
Something that is very important to me is giving back to my community. I often do so in ways that do not involve my photography skills. A few weeks ago I had the honor of using my photography skills to capture the memorial walk for the victim of the shooting on May 31st. The day was somber but full of hope and resilience as people from all over Hampton Roads got together to celebrate the lives 12 lost and raise money for their families and survivors of the shooting. As well as provides crises resources to the community. Remember we are all #vbstrong
A Reminder to Keep Trying
When starting out with photography, there may come a time when you struggle with self-confidence. You may feel that your work isn't good enough or that you will never be a great photographer. Almost everyone feels that way at some point.
When I first started out as a photographer I was not very good. I compared my work to other photographers who were doing better than me. Which only made me feel worse about my skill level. I didn’t give though I kept work and soon I got the opportunity to shoot a show where some of my favorite bands were playing. I remember being excited and having so much fun at the show.
The next day I shared some of the photos (of which a was pretty proud I might add). But there was this one photographer who told me my work was shit and I should stop trying. At that point, I felt I wanted to cry like everything I had worked at was getting me nowhere.
At that point, I decided I needed to make a choice. I could either sit and feel sorry for myself or I could work hard and become a better photographer. So I looked at YouTube videos, took my camera everywhere I went, and worked my but off, eventually I got better at it. I learned how to manipulate my camera in manual mode as well how to time the best shots.
It took time and hard work but I'm now where I want to be. I no longer only shoot for fun but in a marketing department at a university. I now know how to ask for press contacts to shoot a show and I've had my work used by musicians and music blogs.
The moral of the story, never give of up on your dreams because you can make them a reality.
The name Golden Hour is a little misleading as it refers to the time right after sunrise and right before sunset when the light is softer and redder than at any other point during the day. The term hour is figurative because the timing depends on where you are in the world as well as the season. For example, in the summertime (eastern hemisphere) the golden hour is around 8 pm to 9 pm.
How does this relate to photography? It's the best time of day for photography. The lighting is perfect if you're going to shoot landscape, portraits, or nature photography.
Golden light is soft, it will allow you to have your subject facing the light without them squinting and the light will be flattering on their face.
The color temperature of golden light is warmer than regular sunlight bringing out the red/gold colors more. This is what gives the photos that warm glow. Golden light is also diffused, the sun is on the horizon because of this the atmosphere acts as a diffuser. The diffuser creates so much soft light that it is easier to get a good exposure. The light is also directional it creates long shadows. You can also create texture and details with the golden light.
A want to start this post off by apologizing for being away for a few weeks, as the fall event season gets underway my blog update may not be as constant as I would like them to be due to busy nature of my work.
Now for the good stuff, to fully understand how your camera works you have to understand shutter speed. The simple definition of shutter speed is how long the shutter is open but there is so much more to it than that. Shutter speed is measured in seconds or fractions of a second to be more accurate. When annotating shutter speed, it is written as a fraction for example 1/60sec. is one sixtieth of a second. You can have a shutter speed of 1sec. or slower but generally you will be working with faster shutter speeds. The farther away from one second you go the faster the shutter speed for example 1/60sec. is slower than 1/125 sec.
We all have that one lens that we gravitate towards every time we pick up our cameras for me, it’s the 75-300mm f 4-5.6(you can get it here). For a lens of this range, it's smaller, lighter weight, cheaper than other lenses in this class. But don’t be fooled by this the lens is quite powerful and great for someone starting out or on a budget and need something with a large focal length.
I work primarily work outdoors and this lens is great for daytime shooting. When I shoot festivals it’s great for getting crowd shots and people milling around it also allows a very short me to get all the action on the stage, for portrait shoots gives a nice bokeh at longer focal lengths.
The glass quality in it is pretty good I can use a 13-year-old Canon 10D with it and still get great shots. There are a few downsides to this lens though there is no image stability, at longer focal lengths the images are little on the softer side, it needs a lot of light or higher ISO to get great images, and somewhat slow to autofocus. For me personally theses aren't big problems because of my shooting style, where I'm shooting
Depending on what you’re doing you can still make great use of this lens. If it is a little bit of learning curve trying to figure the best settings to maximise the lens used but that’s true of lens you buy.
If you're looking for something more powerful than this the 70-200mm f/2.8 lens (you can get it here) is the way to go but just now the price goes up significantly but it’s sharper, not as slow to focus and doesn’t really have that softening problem. I still gravitate more 75-300 because of the fact that my gear gets too heavy with the other lens and I have to stop frequently due to a shoulder injury. I also don’t see a big enough image quality difference to warrant changing how I do things for now.
Have a favorite lens let me know in the comments below?
Being a photographer is just one part of who I am, I'm also working on a degree in psychology. Mental health and the stigma surrounding it is something that I am very passionate about. Over the past 10 months, I've been working on creating an awareness campaign that combines my love of photography with my training in psychology. I am currently in the final stages of getting it ready for the world to see but I need your help. The project is to show people with mental illness as normal, by telling your stories showing your achievements and that you are more than your illness. I as well be a part of this part this project, together we can show the world that we are normal. If this is something you want to be a part of fill out the contact form below or email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are three basic principles of photography, one of which we talked about a few weeks ago. ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed are often called the holy trinity of photography because they control almost everything needed for the composure of your image. I already talked about how aperture affects depth of field and the focus area of a photo. Today I will teach you about ISO and later we will go over shutter speed.
ISO is how sensitive to light your camera’s sensor is. It originally meant how sensitive film was to light, when digital cameras came around the principle was applied to the sensors in them. Smaller numbers (ISO) have a lower light sensitivity as where higher numbers have a greater light sensitivity. ISO affects how exposed your picture will be and it works in conjunction with shutter speed and aperture to do this. If you want to use a small aperture and fast shutter speed changing the ISO will allow you to get a proper exposure. A lower ISO level gives you a darker image due to the sensor being less sensitive to light. A higher ISO level gives you a lighter image due to the sensor being more sensitive to light. So say you're shooting at a concert and you're using f1.8 and a shutter speed of 1/200sec then the only way to make sure you get a good exposure is to use higher ISO levels 1600 or higher.
A couple of weeks ago I talked about the essentials needed for festival photography. Today I’m going to tackle what you will need to make any portrait shoot a success. Some of the things listed will be the same as last time because there are some things you should always have your camera bag. This list will be a tad long but everything here has saved a photo-shoot at one point in time. Ready? Here we go:
1. Bring Backup
Always have a backup SD/CF card you never know when you'll fill one or have one become corrupt and not know how to fix it (I have had both of these things happen, don't be like younger me bring a spare). Also, invest in good SD/CF cards and card readers (I learned this the hard way when I first started) the cheap ones break easily or simply give out after a few uses. I highly recommend using SanDisk Ultra cards they can be a little pricey but worth it (you can get SD cards here , you can get CF cards here). For card readers, I use Insignia they run around the same as SanDisk and can read every type of card imaginable (you can get the card reader here).
2. Bring a Spare
Spare batteries are always a great idea, external factors like heat can make your battery drain faster. You don't want to get half way through a shoot and have to stop because your batteries are dead. I've seen for some battery types portable battery charger if they make it for the type you use get it. Do whatever you can to extend your battery life (no battery = no shooting) if that means brings a car charger and charging backups while shooting then do it. Your client would rather you be prepared than have to stop because your cameras dead.
3. Messy Hair Be Gone
As an on-location portrait photographer, I have found the elements to be a challenge. Some days it’s windy, that can mess up a great hairstyle that your client spent hours trying to achieve. Your job is to give them the perfect photo-shoot, messy hair can ruin that. I know what you’re thinking I’ll photoshop it, well that’s hours of extra work you don’t have to do if just pack a comb and some bobby pins. At most you may have to erase to the bobby pin but that’s better than spending hours fixing fly away hairs or having to wait for the wind to stop to get your shot.
The rule of thirds is one the basic photography rules every photographer should know. The rule of thirds is a composition rule that helps to make an image more pleasing to the eye. The idea is that you want your subject in either the right or left thirds of the image.
To illustrate let's divide an image up with 2 vertical lines and 2 horizontal lines. Your subject should be positioned along where the lines meet. Look at the photo below, notice how the person in the photo is lined up with the intersecting lines. He is off center, this is done to make the photo look natural. It looks natural because the 4 points where the lines intersect are the strongest focal points of an image. You want the viewer to focus on the most important part of the photo, using the rule of thirds helps you to do that.
Ashley is a Virginia based photographer living her dreams of shooting concerts & interesting people. When she's not shooting or writing for the blog you can find her curled up with a good book and a latte (coffee keeps her going).