Just another artistic swimsuit photo to end the summer. Telling more of a visual story with the all the elements in the shot.
Photo tip of the day: Shoot between poses to capture the most honest candid moments.
Whenever I take portraits I would always remind myself to be mindful and ready in capturing those candid reactions of my subjects. I would rarely put the camera down as I find that the most honest and sincerest photos I come up with on every portrait session, I get between poses or directions. Those unguarded moments will always reflect more personality and tell more of a story.
Of course making sure your subject is relaxed and comfortable is key and a good sense of humour or pleasing personality would go a long way too.
To me one of the most rewarding aspects in photography is the opportunity to witness and take part in a special moment which I hope to share with my subject/s or clients, whether it would be for a wedding, an event, a portrait, or a family photo. Although to most, family portraits would be a priority of less significance or importance , taken for granted and often gets pushed back and postponed. Priorities, schedule, work, more important tasks, momentarily separation by time or distance are among more popular excuses to postpone what could be the most important investment one should make…
An investment on lasting memories captured in the best light and frozen in time.
Why should it be so important?
Photos showcase your family, images of your history, the individual personalities of each member of the family, the bond, the love and the stories which can be handed down through the next generation as part of your family legacy. A reminder of good times or of lessons learned from the bad, of breakthroughs and victories. A good family photo is always the best topic of any conversation, the centerpiece of your home, a focal point of adoration which always brings a smile or a stimulus purely out of a conveyed emotion. A photo printed and on display and an image file kept safe will always give you a visual reference of gratefulness, of accomplishments, blessings, family milestones, events, changes, maturity, growth and of course riches.
Invest in memories and spend a special moment with the people who matters the most.
When was the last time you’ve had your family photos taken?
As a family man with a loving and supporting wife and 3 wonderful kids, I always make it a point to document and capture everything. Have the best photos printed, framed and displayed in a feature wall at our home.
As a photographer I always strive to create the best visual memories. Knowing how special and important these memories are, would be more than enough reason to always give the best effort in capturing these moments and with no compromises.
Following my simple formula: ASK, LISTEN, OBSERVE, and then CAPTURE. Outdoor, indoor, or at the comfort of one’s home, candid, environmental or creative, it will always be a pleasure capturing the story, taking family photos and of course building and nurturing new relationships. Extending the family!
To think that for most people when asked what object would they first save from their home in a time of calamity or catastrophe, their family photos.
Spend a few minutes and sit down with your family and look at old family photos. What comes to mind after you have viewed them?
Treasure what you have today, for yesterday is past. Appreciate the love of family and friends, for the time they are here.
What is colour? Objects absorb and reflect different wavelength of light, and how each object absorbs and reflects the different wavelengths is how they form colour. A red rose, well in this case its petals absorb all wavelengths of light except red. Some objects will reflect more than one colour in such cases when an object reflects yellow and red then it becomes orange.
In photography the colours we choose or capture impacts the overall emotion, mood or roles in an image. Knowing how to use or capture the colours around us is an important technique one can use and creative photography. Using a a single tone or many, combinations of different colours or the right composition or placement of colours will most definitely improve the way you tell a story or ‘the story’ in your images.
Let’s start with some general colours:
Red – in photography this colour is the most powerful or dominating colour. It represents passion, love, danger and yes stop. Stop because this colour grabs immediate attention. Personally I treat this colour with great respect, if you’re not careful it can be a distraction.
Green – the colour of nature, colour of health and life. Green is very soothing and calming but can easily be dominated by other colours. That is why in a landscape photo you tend to easily overlook this colour and search for other much vibrant colours such as colourful flowers.
Yellow – colour of nature and autumn. Yellow is also a strong colour such as the colour of the sun and of course all drivers will know that yellow means ‘caution’, feel free to use it but with a bit of restraint.
Blue – is a colour that can portray both positive and negative emotions. Coldness, sadness and loneliness are well portrayed in blue but can also represent serenity, peace, sereneness and tranquility.
Another important part of using colours as a technique in creative photography is understanding how to combine colours. It is crucial to know which colours clash and work well together. Clashing colours can either provide drama or just create confusion while using the right harmony of colours enhances an overall theme and a sense of completeness. Have a look at a colour wheel, the primary colours sit equidistant to each other, and flows from the closest shade to the next. Contrasting or complimentary colours would then be the opposite colour where it sits on the colour wheel.
It is also important to know how different colours behave in a 2D environment. Warm colours such as red and yellow would seem to pop-out or advance while cooler colours like blue and green tend to recede.
The next technique you can apply is knowing and experimenting when to mute colours or when to make them bolder or harsh. It will all depend on the story you would want to portray.
Remember, use colours to enhance your subject, as part your composition and to tell a much better story. No! Selective colouring when finishing your images is not a technique, to be honest Im not really fond of seeing them.
“ Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph.” – Matt Hardy
A group of people giving up a day, sharing the same passion, honing their craft, a day of camaraderie and fun.
Spent a day sharing what I know in photography last Saturday (August 12, 2012) with a group of great people. I can definitely say I’ve learned more from them that they did from me, from the conversations and the behind the scenes moment of the workshop.
The workshop was a fast track to artistic and creative photography, from the basics of proper shooting posture, operating their cameras to exposure and composition. Applying all these knowledge in being creative in artistic in their story telling. Knowing the basics gave them the freedom to experiment and of course creatively ‘break’ the rules.
To all the participants, our photographic journey continues, it’s just more fun now as we have all built good relationships sharing the same passion…taking fantastic images.
Watch out for the next one and of course the next series.
In the right light
Photography is derived from 2 greek words “photos” and “graphe” together it means “drawing with light”. Whether you would like to take photos using ambient or natural light or having full control using flash, light is an important aspect of a photograph. The type of light, angle, direction, and amount should always be factored in. Each element will have a its own unique effect and can change the overall appearance of a photograph.
Taking photos during mid day with the sun at its peak will result in deep shadows hence the need to use flash to properly expose your subject and the background. An afternoon sun can produce a nice glow to your subject when directed at the back of your subject. Overcast conditions are always good for taking portraits although a fill-in light should be used such as light bouncing off a reflector.
Always remember, if you can’t control the light or the direction it’s coming from, try to move your subject or yourself. Trying different angles and subject placements would do wonders on a photograph.
Using flash or strobes is always good in terms of making an image in a controlled environment.
Chase the light and tell a story
“A good photograph is knowing where to stand.” – Ansel Adams
Keep your horizon straight
This is one of the most basic fundamental you can apply to capturing an image. Keeping your horizon straight provides the proper perspective to your photo. A sloping horizon would most likely ruin what could be a beautiful photo. Hopefully after reading this post you would be able to avoid this mistake that I have also done in the past.
With the horizon straight or level, the viewer does not need to tilt their head or look an image upside down to appreciate your final output. A straight horizon will also avoid making your main element seem like they are falling or sliding out of the image, making water appear to be leaking outside the frame or making your subject look like they are struggling to find their balance just to stay in the same spot.
When looking through your viewfinder or LCD screen, make sure that the horizon is parallel to the border of the frame. You could also use a hot shoe spirit level, which especially handy when taking scenic, seascapes or landscape shots. The last resort is to adjust it on a digital darkroom, although I would certainly always suggest getting the shot right the first time to make processing a lot easier. A thought that would often appear in my posts…don’t waste time processing a bad picture.
This small detail can greatly affect the overall impact of your photo and would sure convey a much different story. The general rule with horizons is that they should either be straight or sloping at an obvious angle, otherwise it would appear to be a mistake. As for all rules, it can be broken but remember that it should complement the overall theme and composition of the photograph. Knowing the rationale behind this rule would allow you to experiment effectively.
“Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson
Taken June 2010
2 Light set-up
1 Fill light
f:11, iso 200
Model: Isidora Sukkar
The photo above was taken with an entry level dslr with a mounted kit lens…
As most of you might have heard in one form or another it’s not the tool it’s how you use it.
The purpose of this post is to encourage most people to express creativity in taking photos regardless of what camera they are using.
Thanks to modern technology It is safe to assume that most people nowadays have an access to a camera in any shape or form. From mobile phones, compact point and shoot, and professional cameras. The camera is your tool when taking photos, like a carpenter who uses a hammer, as long as that hammer is purpose built to drive nail into wood so is any camera purpose built to take photos.
Dont be discouraged if you don’t have the latest gigapixel camera with a ‘Hubble’ like digital zoom functions or the newest pro consumer camera with cool ‘Red Rings’ or named with a ‘VR’. Focus on telling a story with your photos, experiment with angles and vantage points, take time to look around and of course have fun, it’s all about making that one single moment last a lifetime regardless of camera brand or make.
Now, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with having the latest gears and professional equipment they are just better tools, as long as you can afford it and would take time to train yourself to fully use an expensive gear and maximize its features. Learn, learning is the best way to develop the need for better equipment, with more knowledge and experience it establishes the need to find better tools. Read, always read the manual that comes with the gear. Plan, plan to purchase these types of gears based on need and upgrade to improve your photography and not purchase them on impulse and thinking that they will make you a better photographer, you are the photographer and the camera is your tool…
Remember if you need professioal quality photos now, you could always hire a pro or learn from a pro.
Another reason to go on a holiday.
Here’s one more reason to book a holiday soon…to practice your photography. Spending time with the people that matter most is all about building memories. Taking pictures may be an afterthought to some or to most, taken for granted with snapshots by simply documenting the event only to be reminisced long after the experience has past.
Make most out of the moment by telling a story within the story. Use all the elements available to you in an image to show more about the holiday experience. Don’t be afraid to use your camera flash when you have no choice but to shoot under harsh lighting conditions, when at a beach at high noon. Make sure there’s something to look at when you compose for that shot, use your foreground, the subject and the background to convey a story, experiment with your exposure settings to show movement, drama or action and most important of all take your time. Allow some time to look around, slow things down, look for angles and absorb the view or the experience. Don’t rush it!
A holiday picture can be more than just an image of your family standing in front of a landmark or a view. You can use it to practice telling your story within a story.
Parent warning: children may suffer from posing exhaustion while taking a good picture.
Character in a story
A straightforward composition, slight colour tweaking, her favourite past time, her native garments, her favourite spot, her eyes, her experiences, her mannerisms, her personality, her character and her story.
A portrait does not only show an image but a good portrait will also show the subject’s personality, attitude, state of mind, their mannerisms and most of all reveal and showcase their character to tell a story.
Offer more than the subject’s face, challenge yourself in paying more attention on the smallest detail and sometimes you don’t need to be fancy.
All you need is an interesting subject and a character in the story…
The story within a story
Under the soaring afternoon heat, doing some initial prep work for a group shoot in a small barn I noticed that a small crowd had gathered to checkout what was going on. It wasn’t often that a group of creative people with cameras, reflectors and make-up kits venture into a small farming bario without attracting some attention.
I stood by the barn door and saw a peeping eye right next to a small partition on the wall. Checked my camera settings, aimed my lens, composed the image, made sure I had the right focus and pushed the shutter button. Soon after I took the shot, the kid noticed me and shyly tried to walk away, I caught him just before he left and asked him if he wanted to see the photo I just took, he obliged, we sat down and he asked me what was going on. His curiosity instantly turned into a deeper need to learn and to ask more questions and as far as I remember I might have spent an hour just sharing the passion of taking photos, the discipline of slowing things down to look for moments such as this and the joy of dissecting every mental image.
He ended up staying with us for the rest of the shoot and afterwards said our goodbyes, packed up and left. I will never know if this kid ever tried to pick up a camera and fiddled with it, one thing I know, every time I see this image I will always remember that this curious eye turned into a moment for me to share the passion of taking snapshots such as this.
The story in a portrait starts with a well focus eye…
This photo was taken at a photo assignment I did a few years back. I saw this gentleman outside a Catholic church asking passers-by for some extra change. I approached him hoping to start a conversation. He ended up sharing his story of losing everything, his livelihood, his love ones and according to him his dignity. I stood there and listened to him thinking of ways to encourage him (keeping the story of Job in mind), I decided to just listen and hear more, as a father myself I can only imagine the pain and hurt he’s been through.
It would have been very easy for me to take a portrait of this gentleman in his current state, sitting right next to this picturesque building door with crowds walking past him with only him noticing me and looking straight at my lens but I have come to know the man, I have heard his story and I felt it was more satisfying to show him in a different light, a smile. To him, his smile might have lasted for a second a mere reaction to whatever I said, maybe it was because he found someone who listened to him or maybe I had something on my forehead he found amusing I wouldn’t know, for that moment he forgot the hurt he forgot the pain…he smiled. For me his smile will surely last for more than a second, the conversation etched in my mind and the image printed and framed will always remind me of the deeper meaning of the photo and the story behind it.
A deeper meaning, a story within a story…
Here’s my first entry into my weekly photography blog. Sydney based professional photographer, I aim to freely share some practical knowledge and techniques when it comes to creative photography although I must admit I still have a lot to learn and I only have my works to speak for themselves and 14 years experience in both film and digital photography, I only hope that readers would see the passion and love I have for this craft and hopefully one day have the same appreciation and interest in photography.
For the people I have collaborated with in the past and/or currently working with, this blog is also to acknowledge my appreciation for the creative input and hard work.
For all our clients, past or current whom we have established great relationships with, you have all become my dearest friends and I am deeply grateful for the opportunity and trust you’have given me in doing these assignments.
For our future clients, at the end of the day or at the end of each assignment what matters to me the most is your friendship. Not only do I make sure that I give you images that are creative, elegant, artistic and professionally done we are also in the business of building relationships.
Read the blog, check my website, join us on facebook or follow me at twitter, I am always just a few clicks away.