Tag Archives: tips

More Tips for Improving Your Photography

Keep an open mind

I have to remind myself to take my own advice on this on occasion.

Just because I don’t use a certain technique like HDR, it doesn’t mean I should’t learn how to use it.

I usually photograph people and HDR is mostly for subjects that don’t move since you’ll be bracketing.

That’s not to say the next time I’m on vacation, I won’t come across a scene that is so majestic that it begs to be shot with HDR.

Rent a new piece of equipment

lens rental
It’s always good to find new ways to capture our world.

That might mean renting an exotic lens like a super long telephoto or a super wide angle, or even a lighting kit like a battery operated flash.

Rental places like Borrow don’t even need you to leave the house, only when you return the equipment.

Read photo books even older ones

Just because a book is outdated, that doesn’t mean you can’t glean something useful.

In today’s world of fast changing versions of software and digital camera bodies we sometimes loose track of what makes a good picture.

I just bought a Photoshop CS2 book for $7.

It’s ancient in photoshop version years but the shooting tips from the photographer is still relevant because light and the very principles of how the camera record it have remained the same. Continue reading More Tips for Improving Your Photography

How to photograph a fruit-themed still life against banana leaves

fruit themed still life photographed against banana leaves
A papaya, banana, pineapple, coconut, watermelon photographed against banana leaves in my messy garage. A $10 budget production.

Photographing a fruit-themed still life against banana leaves

In college I never understood the obsession  my photo-Illustration classmates had with surfaces.

They practically lived in the studio.

They spent hours learning how to light, pick props, arrange those props on a backdrop of some sort.

They often reshot again and again each time consulting with their instructor.

Sometimes it would be around a theme, other times they would be working on an ad for a fictitious product.

I remember one particular fellow who combed flea markets, thrift stores and junkyards for flat pieces of wood, strange plexiglass and other odd flat objects.

Over time, the communal studio became a pigsty because no one wanted to throw those treasures out. Continue reading How to photograph a fruit-themed still life against banana leaves

Using daylight one flash for a different mood

Wendy Mayberry's picture taken at about mid-morning looks like it was taken at dusk because she was able to use one Speedlight using a shutter speed of 1/800 sec f5.6 ISO 100 Canon 60D 35mm setting on 18-200 zoom. I added more warmth in the color in post production to create the illusion that the picture was taken at dusk.

Rainy or cold weather should never discourage photographers from leaving the house.

Some of the more unusual and interesting pictures happen when the sun is not dominant in the heavens.

Landscapes have a different feel when clouds appear in the sky.

Compare the picture that Wendy took with what the scene was like in the picture on the left. Her models brought a change of outfits which made her pictures even better.

As with my previous field trips, weather threatened the field trip for my Digital Wedding Photography class. Continue reading Using daylight one flash for a different mood


Lizbeth Zamora’s picture of Brianna Aguirre swaying as she doodles shows what might happen if exposure builds up from repeated flashes. Notice her grey top and her torso. Had she had a white top on, her top would be over-exposed to the point where there wouldn’t be any detail.

After adding color to the plain black background by introducing the Christmas lights, I thought adding multiple images of my subject would make it even more interesting.

This is where I have to stress I had intentionally asked my students not come dressed in light shades especially not white.

For reasons far too scientific for us to ponder here, suffice to say, white reflects too much light in contrasty situations, so it’s best for your subjects to avoid wearing that color.

Also, since repeated flashes tend to build up cumulatively, over time there will be loss of detail in light colored clothing. Continue reading Painting-with-light2