Archive for the ‘Nature Photography’ Category

22
Aug

Many different elements go into making up the character of a particular destination or location, whether it be a far flung exotic city or your home town. It is the travel photographer’s job to cover these elements in order to present that character to the viewer. This article looks into what goes into bringing the character of a subject to the audience.

Essential Elements

There are many separate “parts” that make a location what it is, but these generally boil down to landscape, people and culture. Let’s look at these in a little more depth.

Landscape

Every city, mountain range or coastal area has its own unique look and feel. This might be created by architecture exclusive to that part of the world, such as Gaudi’s designs that are so prominent in Barcelona. Or well known landmarks (Eiffel Tower anyone?) or rough seas and steep cliffs like those so characteristic of the northern coasts of Scotland and Ireland. What does it look like in the morning? At night? The location might take on several personalities through the day so it is essential to try to capture as many of these as you can to give a broader picture.

People

Possibly the most influential factor in the character of a location is the people who live there. The way they look and dress, the way they carry themselves, the lifestyle they live and the customs they observe. Is there a particular piece of clothing that defines them? Or maybe a certain characteristic. For example, if they are known to be happy and smiling people, show them as such. If they are known to be hardworking, try to include some shots of workers.

Culture

This can encompass subjects such as food and drink. Local dishes give an immediate insight into the way of life lived by people of that area. Freshly caught seafood may be a specialty of the area, or it may be famous for a particular dessert or drink. Culture can also be shown in the festivals and events held in the particular region. This might be an annual parade where locals dress in the traditional costumes of their ancestors, or a huge street party that captures the energy and vibrancy of a population.

Putting It Together

To put these elements in photographic terms, I like to think of the process as zooming in on a subject. Starting with the landscape element described above, you essentially form an overview, or wide angle view of the subject, capturing surroundings. Distinctive buildings and landmarks give a feel and sometimes instant recognition to the location. Zoom in to form a collective portrait of the people, their way of life and daily activities. It is a good idea to use both posed portraits and candid shots to show personalities as well as customs and way of life. Finally zooming in further to capture details such as local food and dishes and detailed studies of buildings. Text such as in shop signs shows languages spoken. Also any products that are traditional or well known in the area. For example, leather goods from Morocco, or electronics from Japan.

Travel photography is in a sense a very broad specialization. Possibly not a specialization at all. A travel photographer needs to be a landscape photographer, portrait photographer, still life photographer and nature photographer often all in the space of a single shooting session. Learn to cover all these elements within the broader subject and you are well on your way to becoming a more accomplished photographer.

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22
Aug

A new digital camera comes with a multitude of features, but one of the first things we consider is the quality and power of the lens. But how many of us really understand what can be acheived by creative use of lenses?.

The difference between a wide angle lens and a telephoto lens is about more than just magnification. To get the most out of your lenses, you also need to understand how they affect depth of field and perspective.

You already know that the telephoto lens enlarges everything in the picture. But did you also know that when you zoom in, or attach your large telephoto lens, you also reduce the depth of field around the subject? This is a great method for eliminating a distracting background from your photo. The result is twofold: the narrow field of view minimizes how much of the background we can see, and the small depth of field ensures it will be completely out of focus.

So when photographing subjects like people and animals, using your telephoto lens (or zooming in with your zoom lens) is often the best approach. The result will be a very three dimensional effect, with the subject appearing to emerge sharp and clear from the blurry background.

On the other hand, your wide-angle lens does just the opposite. It certainly does a lot more than just make everything appear smaller. The wide angle lens takes in (as the name suggests) a much wider angle of view, and it has a much stronger depth of field than a standard or telephoto lens. That means that not only will you see a lot more of the background in your photo, but it will also be much more focused.

Consequently the wide-angle lens is not so good for portrait style photos, because the background is too distracting. On the other hand, it is excellent for landscape pictures, especially when you have objects both in the foreground and background that you need to keep in focus.

The other aspect of your choice of lens is perspective, which is a lot harder to explain without pictures, but I will give it a go.

Have you ever watched a cricket match on television? (If you are from the United States substitute baseball here). You will often see a close-up of the batsman, and notice that the wicket-keeper (shortstop) appears to be standing only a few feet behind him, and that the crowd in the grandstand seems only a short distance further away. When you see a side-on view, you may be surprised to see that the wicket-keeper is standing about ten meters behind the batsman, and of course we know that the grandstand is a good 60 meters or so further back. So what’s going on?

The answer is simple. The very large telephoto lens used for the close-up shot tends to make objects at different distances seem much closer to each other than they really are. In short, it compresses the natural perspective, making people separated by some distance appear to be quite close to each other.

This principle also applies to landscape photography. Imagine a scene with a tree in the foreground and a mountain range in the distance. By standing a long way from the tree and shooting it with a telephoto lens, you will also enlarge the mountains in the background. As a result, they will appear much closer to the tree than they really are.

Now imagine taking the same scene with a wide-angle lens. By standing a lot closer to the tree, you can photograph it in such a way that it takes up the same amount of space in the composition. However, by reducing the scene to fit the tree in the frame, you also reduce the background…making it appear much further away than it really is.

In this way, the wide-angle lens does the opposite of the telephoto lens. It exaggerates the perspective, making objects at different distances appear much further apart than they really are.

Put simply, the end result of these two approaches is this; the telephoto lens adds prominence to the background, which will appear relatively large in your photos (albeit with depth of field issues in some cases). The wide-angle lens adds prominence to the foreground, making the background appear much smaller and more distant.

Thus by simply changing your choice of lenses, you can dramatically alter the impact of your photos. Imagine the creative possibilities; you have the power to control how the viewer sees not only your subject, but how it relates to the surroundings at the same time.

This is a tough subject to explain without pictures, but hey – you have a digital camera. Why not step outside right now and try out a few of these ideas. Or if you are feeling lazy, sit down and watch some sport on telly. It may actually teach you something about photography.

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21
Aug

1. Decide on a business structure:

The first thing you’ll need to do is decide how you want your business to be structured. Your choices are Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Corporation, Subchapter S Corporation and Limited Liability Company. I recommend starting as a sole proprietorship because it is the easiest and least expensive.

2. Get a DBA & Tax Resale Certificate:

You’ll need a DBA (Doing Business As) if you want to name your business something other than your name. Getting a Tax Resale Certificate allows you to charge your clients sales tax. You will also need it when purchasing products for resale to your clients.

3. Purchase equipment:

You really don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to start your business. In fact, you could very well get started with only a manual camera and nothing else. All you have to do is shoot your sessions outdoors with nature as your backdrop. A couple of other basic things that are recommended are things most people already have anyway: a computer and printer.

4. Get insurance:

You should always do everything you can to make your equipment safe for those being photographed, by using sturdy backdrop stands and instructing adults about not allowing their children to touch your lighting equipment. But as careful as you are, accidents still do happen. It is important to have insurance for your business to protect yourself in case anyone ever gets injured during one of your sessions. You will also want insurance to cover your equipment in case it gets damaged.

5. Start Marketing:

You can start with a simple display in a local business, for example displaying cards or brochures in a florist or bridal shop. To find businesses to display your information, think about where people in your target market shop. Approach the owners about setting up a display in return for a free session.

That’s really all there is to it! You’ll probably add more equipment and continue to develop your marketing plan through the years, but the important thing is to just get started and go from there.

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