8 TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL GROUP PHOTO

I’ll give you the 6 steps I follow when I take a group picture. This can be useful for a wedding, a birthday, an evening… In short, for all types of events.

1. NURTURE YOUR BACKGROUND

To make your photo look good, the fewer elements in the background, the more transparent, and more precise your image will be. So the first thing to do is to clean your frame of any disruptive elements. Moreover, this advice is valid as well for a group photo as for a portrait or a photo of details.

2. LIGHT: BACKLIGHT & CO.

As usual, place your subject either in the shade, in an open-shade, in a shady place or against the light. This allows you to detach your subject well from the background, to have a soft and homogeneous light and especially not to find yourself with a series of faces tense by the sun… If you do not see what I am talking about, I invite you to watch the video on the portrait in natural light.

When you shoot against the light, I advise you not to get precisely in the axis of the sun. Without this, when the rays enter directly into your lens, it will desaturate your image and create a white veil on the photo and a halo (called “lens flare”). A drop in contrast often accompanies this. This is an effect I’m looking for more artistic photos, but I don’t think it’s appropriate for group photos. For example, for a wedding, women wear their best dress and men their best suit. If a woman with a red dress ends up with a pale pink dress in the group photo, I think she might be a little disappointed.

3. PLACE YOUR SUBJECTS

Ask yourself the question: who is important? Who is at the center of the event you are witnessing? It can be the bride and groom, the person whose birthday it is or retirement… Once the main topic is determined (quite quickly I think), place it at the center of your group. Then ask the rest of the group to fight on either side of the group. If necessary, move a person or two to balance the group.

The enormous “plus” for a superb group photo is to have homogeneity in the outfits worn by your subjects. It is a pure joy to photograph people who are all dressed the same way or in the same tones. This offers many composition possibilities.

4. WHICH OPENING TO CHOOSE?

Contrary to what one might think, you can use a large opening (small number). For example, f/1.8. Moreover, it is always in the same concern to detach your group well from the background and to put it forward in your image.

Instinctively, you tell yourself that with such an opening I wouldn’t have a sufficient depth of field (PdC) for everyone to be precise. However, don’t forget that the further you get away from your subject, the wider the focus area becomes. Also, a wide angle is often used for a group photo… which adds to the POC. In any case, you can use a large aperture and remove your subject from the background. If you’re not convinced, try it, you’ll see.

If you take your picture with a telephoto lens (nothing is prohibited), which has the characteristic of considerably reducing the sharpness area, I invite you to close your diaphragm. Without it, I doubt you can get everyone clean.

Also, think that if you want to have a beautiful background blur, you will have to move your group away from the background.

5. WHERE CAN I FOCUS MY ATTENTION?

Well, it’s straightforward, it’s the main topic that has to be clear whatever happens. So you have to focus on his face.

In a family photo, you may not have the main subject. In this case, focus on the person in the middle of the first row.

6. GET THE GROUP’S ATTENTION AND SHOOT!

There are always “bad” students chatting at the back of the class. So I got into the habit of always saying two little sentences:

“Now that everyone’s in position, I’ll take the picture. One last thing before you start: if you don’t see me, be sure I won’t see you in the picture.

It must seem logical to you, but believe me, it is not always the case for your subjects.

Moreover, here’s the second thing I say before I shoot:

“Now I’m gonna count to three. Moreover, on three everyone opens your eyes

Landscapes:An introduction to HDR photography

HDR photography is an effective method for successfully capturing a scene where the distance between the shadows and the highlights is very pronounced. Cameras have their limitations, and for some situations, the use of image fusion software to reproduce what our eye has seen is necessary.

The biggest challenge with the HDR photo is to generate as natural an image as possible, without falling into the trap of exaggerated processing that risks breathing a “grungy” and surrealistic look into the finished product. Using simple steps, we will see together how to make an HDR photo to obtain images with bright colors and exciting contrasts.

In this first part, we will approach the notion of HDR photography to understand well its process and the technique to apply to the shooting. In the second part, we will view step by step the various tools to process the final image.

I would like to clarify that each photographer has his approach and that my method is no better than another. I share my experience with you, hoping to give you a guide to invite you to experience HDR photography.

WHAT IS HDR PHOTO?

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. This technique makes it possible to photograph a scene whose dynamic value is too significant to be captured adequately in a single shot.

Note: Technology has evolved enormously since the first digital cameras appeared. The latest boxes on the market have features that make it easy to succeed in a single image, the dynamic range we are talking about here for the HDR photo. Small downside, the price, they are costly.

HDR from the camera body: Some models offer the possibility to perform HDR from your camera. This is an exciting but limited option. In extreme conditions, such as sunrise, the results will not be satisfactory, the gap between highlights and shadows is too high. Try it for yourself, so you’ll learn to master your camera.

Manual HDR: Using luminance masks, you can take a picture that reproduces the extended dynamic values of the HDR process. Many professional nature photographers make good use of it. However, the complexity of the process is time-consuming and requires the use of software such as Photoshop to merge the different layers manually.

WHEN SHOULD A HDR PHOTO BE TAKEN?

You will use this method on very contrasting landscapes, where the gap between highlights and shadows is very pronounced, sunsets or sunrises are a good example.

If you take a single picture, the details will be lost in the shadows, and the highlights burned, leaving a visually disappointing image. To succeed with this shot, you will need to take three to five photos, sometimes more, at different exposures (-2, -1, 0, +1, +2 Ev) to eventually merge three images to get the full dynamic range of the scene.

Varied dynamic values

To give you an idea of a dynamic value, here are some figures :

  • An extreme scene represents: 40 diaphragm
  • Human vision adapted to darkness: 27 diaphragm
  • Punctual human vision 14 diaphragm
  • Digital SLR Camera: 9 f-stop
  • Photographic paper: 6 diaphragm

Do the following test: observe a contrasting panorama, stand in front of a building where a bright sun illuminates the background, you will notice that your vision can distinguish details in the shadows as much as in the much lighter parts. Your eye perceives up to 27 diaphragms, that’s why a sunset appears so beautiful to the naked eye, but once on the sensor (which only captures 9 diaphragms), it’s another story! The sky is colorful, but the ground is entirely in the shade.

Low contrast RAW file

Check your histogram: It is not always necessary to take an HDR picture, if your histogram tells you that the scene contains all the appropriate information (a relatively centered histogram), you will get exposure in a single picture.

HOW TO TAKE A HDR PHOTO?

The process for taking an HDR photo can be summarized in three steps:

1. The shooting

You prepare the scene in the same way as if you were taking a regular photo; your camera is installed on a tripod, with the difference that here we will take several images, bracketed at various exposures to merge them later in an HDR processing software.

2. HDR treatment

To merge our series of images, we will use software specialized in HDR photo processing.

DJI Mavic Pro Test

This drone has been available for less than a year now and we can now say that this is one of the best (if not the best) video drone on the market right now!

As professional photographers we have had the chance to experience with quite a few quadricopters over the past few years and we have to say that the whole team has been pretty impressed by this new DJI little foldable drone!

This is the most portable and compact drone readily available on the market and for less than 1000$ you can now get professional quality and results for your daily activities.

This little Mavic (little in size but by as per its specs) his close to being the ultimate aerial platform for photographs around the world. If you are always in motion and traveling the world, look no further this drone was made for you.

 

If you want to find more on this new drone from DJI, make sure you visit the following page for an in-depth review:

Test DJI Mavic Pro, il en a sous le capot !

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The 6 Best Photo Tech Gifts for Christmas 2016 That Will Leave Your Photographer Friend Spellbound

Is your best friend crazy about photography? Or are you a passionate Lomographer in your right? Either way, there is a full range of photography gifts out there you can use to wow your friend or yourself. From Wi-Fi memory cards to instant photo printers, check out these six amazing and useful photo tech gifts.

1. Go, Pro Karma Drone, Quadcopter

karma-gopro-drone-2016Is your friend a fan of outdoor photography? Perhaps aerial photography is more their inclination? Or just maybe they would love to experiment with this kind of photography. The Go Pro Drone Quadcopter is the perfect gift for adventure photography lovers who want nothing less than hours of endless fun. If your buddy is anything like most photographers, they will love what this smart drone camera can do, enabling them to capture spectacular aerial photos right from their smartphone devices all with the tap of a finger. With its easy-to-fly nature, obstacle avoidance capabilities and extensive app control, no one needs any experience to start flying this bundle of joy. Head over to drones à offrir noel 2016 to know more !

2. Polaroid PoGo Printer

If your friend is anything like most people, they are damn tired of having to wait for hours or even days to finally get their photos in hard copy. A Polaroid PoGo is the best solution to this problem. Just like having a traditional printer wherever they go, they can shot their photos and instantly have the printer print them all without ink. Sure, that’s right, instead of ink the printer uses Zink paper technology to print pictures meaning that you will never run out ink and all you need to release the images in your camera is simply Zink ink paper. And the printer is wireless since it comes with Bluetooth capabilities. Just transfer your images from your camera or mobile device and print.

3. iPhone Telephoto Lens

lens-for-iphone-smartphonesSmartphone photography has its limits. Many photographers will not know the joy of telephoto lenses until they use them for the first time. Being able to shoot the once incredible shots with a smartphone can be one of the most delightful experience for a photographer. Stretching the limits of what a smartphone can is as easy as using a telephoto lens…
These superb accessories allow you to blur backgrounds and narrow focus, change the picture’s perspective, zoom in on far-away objects and take smart photography to the next level.

4. Digital Photo Frame

Everyone loves a beautiful photo display, so why not surprise your friends with a smart way to display all their pictures. You could buy them a digital photo frame and transition them from the heavy, analogue picture frames of the past. A digital photo frame will allow them to upload all their best photos to one photo Frame. And of course, they can set how they want the frame to display their pictures, is it a particular photo all the time or all the photos in a continuous slideshow? The best thing about these digital photo frames is that the pictures don’t fade with time like the printed photo frames.

5. Eye-Fi Card

quality-memoe-cardThose photographers who wish they could upload their masterpieces automatically from their SD cards to their laptops or smartphones without having to take the cards out of the camera can do so with these powerful memory cards. With inbuilt Wi-Fi capabilities, these unique memory cards allow you to automatically upload their cool pics to their PC or mobile devices. They market the perfect gift for prolific photographers, who frequently run out of storage space.

6. Adobe Lightroom 6

For the serious photographer who wants to have the best photo editing software in their arsenal, Adobe Lightroom 6 is the undeniable answer. It features advanced capabilities such as old photo restoration, picture text combination, panorama shots, HDR images, facial recognition and sophisticated video slideshows. It is one photography gift you can never go wrong with.

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7 Tips & Techniques for Better Photography

Do you notice a distinct difference between the photographs you imagine and those you take?

If you do, you can be sure that it’s something that many photographers understand. But if you are looking to bring what you see in the camera’s lens and what you see in the final shot closer together, you will want to pay heed to these tips and techniques for better photography.

1. Decide on your subject. What is the primary subject of the photograph that you are trying to take? From the looks of many pictures, it’s hard to tell. Before you snap your picture, determine what it is that you are trying to show then, and only then, should you snap the shutter. You will be better, and your pictures will convey the messages that you want as well.

2. Remember the difference between your eye and the camera’s eye. Did you ever notice that the picture you took simply didn’t have the details included that you saw with your eye?
There’s an excellent reason for that. It’s called dynamic range, and your eyes have a higher dynamic range that your camera does. This accounts for the detail that your eyes capture, but your camera does not. it’s for this reason that you need to know how your camera works and how you can compensate for the lost detail. You can do this by opening your camera’s aperture, adding fill light, or making other adjustments that you always have at your command, but you have to know how to use them to their greatest advantage.

3. Figure in the aperture. There are several controls that most photographers know about. These include, most often, the shutter speed and the ISO. Unfortunately, one control that most photographers don’t think of is the aperture, which you can use to great advantage when you understand what it can do for you. A small f-number, or a wide aperture, will give you a very narrow depth of field. On the other hand, setting your f-number higher, resulting in a narrow aperture, will give you a very deep depth of field.

4. Watch your composition. It’s so simple, but it’s also often forgotten that the easiest way to control your final picture is at the composition stage. Don’t wait to do what you can when you process your pictures when you take a picture.

5. Be ready. Have you ever had something happen that you wanted a picture of, but quickly figured out that your camera wasn’t ready? That’s a big and very common mistake. There are a lot of factors that influence your ability to take a good picture on short notice, some are unavoidable, but things like always making sure that your camera has fresh batteries, and plenty extra, is not.

6. Watch your lighting. Lighting is another of those factors that you should always take into consideration when you set up your shots. It’s fine that you know where your subject is, but where, for example, is the light coming from? Little things like this can dramatically affect the outcome of your pictures, and it’s so easy to take into consideration when you shoot your pictures.

7. Be sure of your camera’s settings. When was the last time that you went to take a picture and your camera was set up for the last time you used it. It’s a common saying that left over settings produce left over pictures, and it’s true. Make sure that checking your camera’s setting is on the list of things you do before you take a picture, and it will probably be much better than if you hadn’t.

Photography. It’s a wonderful thing to keep memories alive and to create them in the future. Fortunately, with a little knowledge and experience, you can make sure that the pictures you take will always be better than those you take without that background in mind.

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6 Tips to Improve Your Photography Skills

When professional photographers are asked what makes a good photograph, they will often say, “f8 and be there.” It’s a joke, to be sure, but it also serves as a reminder that good photography is often a matter of being in the right place at the right time. But once you get there, how do you make your photography truly memorable. Here are a few tips to help you accomplish just that.

1. Get in close. Every good picture needs a subject. Unfortunately, when many people take pictures, they are often so far back from the subject that it’s hard to determine where they want your attention. You can solve this problem by always getting close to what you are taking your picture of. It is especially true of people shots. Look them in the eye.

2. Try to get a plain background. In some cases, notably with action photography, controlling your environment can be difficult. Regardless, try to make your background as plain as possible. It is another way to make the subject of your photographs the centre of attention.

focus-on-a-camera-lens3. Use your flash in the daylight. Your flash isn’t always something you use at night. Sometimes, especially when you have dark shadows, a flash can be used to fill in those dark areas and bring things back to life. It is called a “fill flash,” and it will lighten the darkness of shadows to a great extent.

4. Move from the middle. You can make your photograph more interesting instantly by throwing your subject out of the centre of your picture. The subject is still the centre of attention, just not in the physical centre of the photograph.

5. Lock your camera’s focus. Most cameras today will focus on whatever is in the middle of the picture. It is fine until you want to move your subject from the middle. It’s at these times that you will want to lock the focus of the camera on the subject, then recompose your picture to move them out of the centre. It will maintain focus on your subject but leave the background blurred.

6. Watch your light. Light can cause huge problems when it comes to good photography. It always seems like it is too much or just as often too little. When you are using a flash, make sure you know the range of your flash. Otherwise, there’s a good chance that the light that your flash provides to you will be diffused by the time it gets to your subject, leaving it in the dark. If you are outside, one of the best ways to control your light is to watch the time of day you are taking pictures. In the middle of the day, when the light is at its harshest, it would be better to change to an earlier or a later time when lighting is softer.

Finally, always remember that the more you know about your equipment, the better control you will have over your ability to work with other conditions of your photography. It is then that your photographs will improve.

Photography tips that will help you shoot like a pro

Are you equipped with the right skills needed to shoot great photos? If you’re a novice or somehow not sure of yourself, these photography tips can go a long way into helping you shoot great pictures. Until you can produce professional photos which are also worth selling to an agency, there is no need to feel contented with your current skills. So this is how to go about it.

art-and-design

Focus on the subject’s eye

The secret to shooting great photos is by focusing on your subject’s eye (if it’s a person). So when aiming at them, hold the camera at an eye level with the subject. This will unleash the true power of their magnetic gazes and exhilarating smiles. If the subject is a child, then it could mean stooping low enough to hold the camera at their level. Remember, the subject doesn’t always need to stare at the camera. The idea of holding the camera at the eye level is to create that personal and inviting experience which pulls you into the image.

A plain background is good

To highlight all parts of the subject which you are photographing, you need to use a plain background. It can be achieved by studying the viewfinder feature and looking into the surroundings of your subject as well. Ensure those other elements are not functioning in some parts of your subject. For instance, you should not take the shot if something which is not part of the project is dangling on their ear or protrude from their head.

You can use flash outdoors

shooting-great-photos-require-the-right-equipmentThe bright rays of the sun are known to create bad facial shadows. But the shadows can be eliminated by turning on the flash feature which will lighten the subject’s face. Take note that there are two options when it comes to using flash mode. These are fill-flash mode and full flash mode. If the subject is standing 5 feet away, you can use fill flash mode. But if they are standing a distance that is far away, you should engage the full power mode. Finally, if you’re doing this using a digital camera, you could review the results using the in-built display of the camera.

Step in closer to the subject

In photography, people learn how to aim at different subjects depending on their sizes. If you’re taking the photo of your car, for instance, you can be forgiven for standing beyond 5 feet away. But if you’re dealing with a person, then it’s always a good idea to step in closer and zoom in on them. When you’re up-close, you can be sure to reveal details like an arched eyebrow, a wrinkle, etc.

However, you should not get too close. Otherwise, your shot will be blurry. Keep in mind that most cameras will take good photos if you’re standing at least 3 feet away from the subject. That’s the average focusing distance you could ever stand as far as good photography is concerned.

These tips and tricks will work fine if you have a decent camera at your disposal. Remember that photography is a skill. But it’s a skill that can be acquired with practice and experience. You can do well in the long run.