Archive for October, 2010

Create Haunting Halloween Photographs

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

Halloween is one of those times when kids can beg for candy without being scolded and adults can dress up in full costume with the excuse that “it’s for the kids, you know.” While you’re searching for the perfect costume, scary props and fun holiday treats, remember to plan a bit of time to create fantastic Halloween photos.  This year, mix things up, have some fun and experiment.


Stage Your Shots: The standard head-on group shot is fine for starters, but here’s a chance to let the kids play a commanding role.  Ask them to create their own scary poses or have them jump out from behind a wall and shoot once they scream “Boo!” Let them orchestrate a scene and photograph each step—your burst mode might come in handy here—and create a series of action photos that tell their unique and spooky story.


Photographing Your Jack-o-lantern: Photographing a jack-o-lantern can be a tricky proposition. Make sure the carvings allow enough light to come through the holes—consider carving a wider smile or eyes if needed.  Most people put a single candle inside but for photography purposes, you’ll need more light to come trough so consider adding one or two more candles per pumpkin.  Better yet—try inserting a small flashlight instead.


You can also up the spook factor by placing your jack-o-lanterns on a reflective surface such as a wood table.  Just be aware of the area behind you; keep the lights dim and move any objects that would clutter or compromise the background.


Make Your Own Lighting Prop: Instead of using a flash, which can be too stark to create the scary feel you seek, try taking a flashlight and covering the front with wax paper and a rubber band.  Have your child point the flashlight toward his face—keep it at waist level and out of the shot—to create a soft and spooky lighting effect.


Give the Kids Presence: Position yourself close to the ground and photograph your subjects while shooting upward.  By playing with your position and their poses, you can create an ominous image and make the kids look taller and more foreboding. They’ll get a kick out of seeming larger than life and the resulting photographs will be more compelling than a standard shot.


Enhance the Details: Does someone have an amazing make-up job or scary mask? Shoot their face full-frame for greatest effect.  Today’s costumes have some of the most remarkable and intricate detail, so if something catches your eye, use it as a focal point for an image.  Maybe it’s a skull bracelet or a prop that grabs you; it’s the small details that often make the most unique photographs.


No Reckless Photo Posting: Remember to never post photos of anyone else’s children on Facebook or other sites without first getting permission from their parents. It can be very disconcerting for someone to come across a photo of her own child without knowing about it in advance.


Happy Halloween!

How Color Temperature Affects Your Photography

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

Photographers will often comment on an image appearing ‘cool’ or ‘warm’ in tone, which translates into whether the photo has more of a red/yellow cast or a blue cast.  It all begins with the color temperature because a lower color temperature will emit a warmer cast while a higher color temperature provides a bluish tint.  It is important that you are able to gauge your available light’s temperature and adjust when needed through custom white balance settings.  Color temperature is measured in degrees Kelvin.  For example, tungsten studio lights measure at 3,200K while a sunny day and clear sky will register at about 6,000K.  By contrast, a heavily overcast sky reads at close to 10,000K, which explains the bluer tint to images as it is higher on the temperature scale.


The current generation of digital cameras does a pretty good job of using automatic settings for white balance, but this gets more difficult in conditions where there is less light available. If you’re in a situation where the lighting leaves something to be desired, creating a custom white balance for a particular place to be used at that time may yield far superior results.


If you only learn a few key features on your DLSR, creating a custom white balance is one that will come in handy in many situations.  If you’re not sure how to do this, give us a call or bring your camera into the store—we’d be happy to help you.  You won’t believe the difference in your photography!