Thursday, December 11, 2014

Taking Long Exposures

It seems to me that we live in a world orientated to a digital generation demanding instant gratification. This extends to photography, encouraged by the prevalence of camera phones and Instagram type apps. How many photographers, when they come across a beautiful scene, just stop and snap a photo with a camera phone and then move on?
Long exposure photography is different. It demands patience, an appreciation of beautiful light and a deep understanding of composition. It is as much about the mind-set of the photographer as it is about the subject. It’s not brash or flashy – you rarely see long exposure photographers use techniques such as high dynamic range (HDR) photography or adding texture layers.
What is long exposure photography? There is no precise definition. I think of it as involving shutter speeds of ten seconds or longer, but I’m sure some photographers will be thinking in terms of shutter speeds of a minute or more. But the aim is the same – to create beautiful and surreal images by leaving the shutter open long enough to record anything that moves within the landscape, such as water, as a blur.
That’s why most long exposure photography tends to take place along the coast or near moving water. It creates an interesting subject, helped by natural features such as rocks and islands, and man-made ones like piers and jetties.
Painting with light is also a form of long exposure photography.


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

It's all about the focus, learn it and apply it !

All pictures of people soar when you focus in on your subject’s eyes, and that’s no different with Christmas photos. It’s critical to compose the image with as little headroom and dead space on the sides as possible, so the image is more about the faces and the eyes than anything else. The rest of the d├ęcor will filter into the image on its own. In our photographs, always try and nail the eyes to be on the same plane, and this is effective for this kind of photo as it shows a subtle unity among family or group shots. 
You should always use a flash with most indoor Christmas photos, but use a detachable flash (or an angled flash) and bounce the light off the ceiling or walls and don't be afraid to review your picture and then re set it. Remember, the ambient light levels will be raised by the Christmas lights (and possibly candles too), and you don’t want the vibrant colors washed out by the flash. And as always, don't miss those special moments and get in the picture yourself if it's your family picture, have a tripod handy and a remote trigger and don't take just one as kids can be the hardest to capture the right expression and the eyes.

Steve
Dance Media Ltd