Month: March 2015

The Importance of Capturing Gesture and Emotion in Street Photography

Sometimes an expression can cut you like a knife.

Sometimes an expression can cut you like a knife.

One of the most fascinating things about street photography is that it can be so hard to pinpoint the reasons why one photograph works and another does not.

A good street photograph can be sharp or it can be blurry; it can be in contrasty light or in soft and even light; it can be an energetic scene with layers of people or it can be a quiet shot with nobody in it. It gets further complicated when you start to think about the ideas, moods, and feelings that your images suggest.

Despite this lack of certainty, I believe there are two things that will always improve a candid photograph, and that is a gesture in a subject’s body or an emotion captured on a subject’s face. Both of these elements have the power to be the defining reason that a photograph is great. They can be the basis for an entire image.

When I refer to emotion, I am talking about the look in a person’s face, in their eyes, in their mouth, in their eyebrows, or even in their nose. When I refer to gesture, I am talking about a movement, a stance, an elegance, or any position of a subject’s body that is suggestive in some way.

This image would not have worked without the elegant and suggestive stance in the legs.

This image would not have worked without the elegant and suggestive stance in the legs.

It can be misunderstood that doing street photography well is solely about photographing people that seem to pop out at you in some obvious someway. Maybe this is through a unique fashion or an interesting facial feature. The result is that you see images of people deemed interesting for some reason that don’t seem to be actually doing or thinking anything – they are expressionless and neutral in stride.

Instead of photographing with only the intention of capturing interesting people, try to take this idea further and locate interesting emotions and gestures in all different types of people. I don’t believe that you can differentiate who is more worthy of a photograph based solely on someone’s facial features or clothing. Your most ‘uninteresting’ person aesthetically can give you the best photograph of your life with a single powerful expression. So many compelling moments lie within these expressions and gestures.

So the next time you’re out photographing, pay attention to what you think a person is feeling and work from there out.

NY is filled with nervous people. This image tells the story of the city more than any image of a skyscraper can.

New York is made up of nervous people. To me this image tells the story of the city more than any image of a skyscraper can.

For more street photography tips try these articles:

The post The Importance of Capturing Gesture and Emotion in Street Photography by James Maher appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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Categories: Digital

5 Simple Yet Clever Ways to Impress Your Photography Clients

While a satisfied client is the fuel for further sales and word of mouth, an excited client is the jet engine for your marketing. Unfortunately, many photographers don’t know how to turn regular customers into fans.

In this article you’ll find five simple, time-proven techniques of impressing your photography clients and building a long-lasting relationship from an ordinary photo shoot.

1. Be Professional

01 be professional
Image by niekverlaan

You should portray a professional image of yourself right from the beginning. This doesn’t necessarily involve spending hundreds of dollars on premium graphic design services and printed materials. In today’s world we have to deal with poor customer service too often, so being quick with your replies to client requests is an old yet very effective way to impress people.

Another factor contributing to your professional image is your website. It’s the first thing your clients see when they find you on the Internet, so it’s critically important to keep your site accessible and up-to-date. Don’t forget to update your portfolio and copyright information and make sure your website is mobile-friendly. Update information on your site regularly along with the copyright, share some personal stuff on your blog and “about me” page to show that you’re an open and available person, share your interests to make potential clients feel closer to you even before you meet.

Also, take care of your outfits and your entire appearance. No matter what type of photo shoot you’re heading to, make sure you’re dressed appropriately as it will directly affect whether or not you’ll get future jobs from this shoot. A rule of thumb is to avoid busy and loud clothing in favor of smooth colors and neutral style. Consider your own comfort, but probably more importantly, make your clients feel comfortable with you walking around.

2. Be Helpful, Be an Authority

02 be authority

Image by tpsdave

Give your clients an additional reason to book your service by providing exclusive, helpful information. It can be a blog post on how to dress for different types of photo sessions, or you could organize a workshop for moms on how to take great snaps of their children using a smartphone or a pocket camera. The idea is to figure out your clients’ possible knowledge gaps and fill them.

Not only is this a great way to strengthen relationships with your current customers, but it can also help you establish the reputation of being an experienced, leading professional which works as a charm for attracting qualified leads.

3. Get Creative with Bonuses

Every business is interested in long-term relationships with their customers, and photographers should be no exception. Your loyal clients help you find new client, but what do they get in return? Develop a loyalty program for your customer base. An exclusive discount or a free mini-session just for using your services will definitely leave an impact.

03 give bonuses
Image by GLady

Another neat way to please your loyal audience with an unsolicited bonus is creating a personalized product for them. For instance, with Defrozo you can create custom downloadable client galleries for free. The albums look great on both desktop and mobile screens, and can be built within a couple of minutes. The developers of Defrozo also promise full-featured websites for clients available later this year as the project raises funds on Kickstarter. You could also create a sweet, short video showing some backstage moments using Magisto.

Remember that bonuses don’t have to be monetary. It’s attention and a personal approach that will impress people.

4. Be the guy/girl next door

In other words, get to know what interests you have in common and use this info to customize your approach to the needs of your clients.

Fortunately you can make use of social networks. Not all of your clients will use them or share a lot of their personal details, but you can still get to know people you work with better by simply following their social media updates.

04 be the guy next door
Image by Alejandro Escamilla

Another great way to connect with your clients on a personal level can be seen on the website of well-known wedding photographers Justin and Mary Marantz. They simply listed things they like presented as icons accompanied by funny comments on their About page. That’s the information that turns a “leading destination photographer” into a “guy/girl next door” that understands you in a way no other photographer does, and therefore, can be entrusted to photograph one of the most special days of your life. Genius, huh?

5. Follow Up

Following up is important. When done right, it helps you reinforce relationships with your current clients. Besides, it’s a sure way for you to be recommended more often.

05 follow up
Image by Ginger Quip

It’s not uncommon to send your clients a printed Thank You card, along with a photobook or image pack from their session. You could go further and send them an extra print about a month after. Break the mould of typical follow-up messages that are only sent when a business wants to sell something and only include a note that would remind your client about the fun time you had during the photo shoot. It can work great as a feedback request too.

If sending a physical gift does not fit your budget at the moment, writing a detailed blog post about a specific client’s session is a decent alternative. It won’t cost you a penny, but sincere words shared publicly won’t leave them cold, for sure.

Summary

It’s sincerity, passion for what you do, and commitment to quality that motivates people to stick around forever. Is that what you can say about your business approach? Congrats, then, you’ve got that wow-factor to impress your clients. Remember that when creating your next marketing campaign and it will work like a charm.

What’s your number-one marketing tactic you use to impress your clients? Share with the community by leaving a comment below!

The post 5 Simple Yet Clever Ways to Impress Your Photography Clients by Julia May appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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Categories: Digital

5 Tips for Doing Candid Wedding Photography

Weddings have changed drastically in the past few years. Couples want more from a wedding these days, they don’t want the traditional, normal photography anymore. They frequently ask for documentary or candid wedding photography because it captures the emotions of not only the couple, but also the guests enjoying themselves without lining them up in front of the camera.

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But, candid photography is so much more than just pointing your camera at people and shooting away to glory. You, as a photographer, need to know and understand the finer nuances involved in candid wedding photography; you need to know how to get good candid shots without people noticing you. Here are five tips to shoot a wedding in a lovely, unobtrusive and candid way which would make the entire task much easier for you.

1. Always be ready

The prime tip for candid wedding photography which I can give is, to be always ready. By that, I mean you must always keep an eye out for moments, and keep that camera ready. Your camera needs to be in your hands and ready to shoot at a moment’s notice. You must set the camera according to the light conditions (settings like the aperture, shutter speed, ISO, white balance, etc.) so that you don’t need to fiddle around with the settings while things happen in front of you. (IMG_7211)

IMG 7211

2. Know your equipment

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen photographers miss the shot while they are trying to change the camera settings. You must know the equipment that you are using, inside out. It helps to gauge the light conditions and set the camera accordingly, so that you don’t miss the events that would warrant a picture. It might very well be helpful to have a smaller camera handy, in addition to that big bulky DSLR, just incase.

IMG 6243

3. Use a telephoto zoom lens

Candid photography is all about taking pictures of the bride, groom, guests, etc., from a distance without them noticing you. Nothing will be more helpful in achieving this than a fairly long telephoto zoom lens. I regularly use lenses like a 100mm, 70-200mm or even a 100-400mm when I need to capture those emotions, those candid moments. You can, of course, use any lens you want (something like a 50mm could be helpful too!). But, since candid photography is all about being unobtrusive and capturing those emotions in a natural way, I would suggest using a zoom lens. What it essentially does is helps maintain the intimacy of the picture being taken, which is so important in wedding photography.

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4. Do not use flash

One sure-fire way of getting people to notice you is to use a flash (whether it be the onboard one, or an external flash gun). Not only this, light from a flash can be so unflattering and boring, to put it simply. If there is a dearth of light, you as a photographer need to find other ways to brighten up the scene that you are photographing, either by opening up the aperture, increasing the ISO, slowing up the shutter (to an acceptable range), etc. I understand that by increasing the ISO a little too much, you might include a fair bit of noise into the picture, but the idea is to capture the moment, and there are times when noise is actually a good thing.

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5. Foresee or plan ahead

As a candid wedding photographer, it is your job to foresee what is going to happen, or at least take your best calculated guess. If possible, I’d suggest you visit the location before the wedding so that you can scout out some good locations for taking pictures. If you are unable to go visit the location beforehand, then at least reach the venue well before the function is to start. That way you can scout out not only some great locations to take pictures from, but you can perhaps even scope out the main rooms that will be used for the wedding and the reception. A little bit of planning goes a long way in getting some great shots.

I hope these top five tips will help you the next time you are out photographing a wedding in a candid, documentary style.

The post 5 Tips for Doing Candid Wedding Photography by Bobby Roy appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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Categories: Digital

Overview of the New Affinity Photo Editing Software

In early February, software company Serif announced the free beta version of Affinity Photo, a Mac-only photo editing program said to rival the likes of other editing tools, including the standards for creative professionals, Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. In this article, I’ll walk through the public beta version of Affinity Photo and describe some pros and cons to using this new software.

Affinity Photo Basics

Affinity Photo editing software for MacAt the moment, Affinity Photo beta is available as a free online download and is compatible with Apple OSX Lion 10.7.5, and up. Some key features that move Affinity up in the ranks include support for CMYK color, RAW file processing, 16-bit editing, 64-bit Photoshop plug-in compatibility, ICC color management, and LAB color. A few other noteworthy tools include Affinity Photo’s Inpainting feature, which is essentially the equivalent of Adobe content-aware fill, and real-time editing that will apply edits instantly without the need to render a preview.

It’s uncertain when Affinity Photo’s full version will launch, but when it does it will be available for purchase in the Mac App Store for about $49.99. A Windows/PC version of the app is said to be in works, but again no solid timeline is available.

Pro: Speed and reliability

The first feature of the tool that really stood out was its speed and reliability. Affinity Photo is extremely fast and it never once crashed during the seven times I used it, which is impressive for a beta version. The tool’s speed is accredited to it being built on an entirely new and modern codebase, unlike Adobe Photoshop, which recently celebrated its 25 year anniversary and thus has been built on architecture that is also a couple decades old.

Con: Default RAW file conversion

One of the most striking differences that I immediately noticed was the default adjustment that Affinity Photo made to my RAW image when I first imported it. While these defaults could likely be adjusted to taste, I was surprised at how drastically Affinity altered my image when all I did was import it.

Affinity Photo editing software for Mac

Pro: Easy access to basic photo editing tools

The interface, and ease of use, is where Affinity Photo really shines. Despite being a longtime Photoshop user, I’ll admit that its layout can be overly complicated, presenting too many tools that are beyond the scope of basic photo edits. While Affinity’s interface definitely borrows some features from Photoshop, its basic layout is relatively straightforward and easy to understand without requiring a ton of customization. The top bar below the menu shows all of the basic details of your photo (file format, ISO, shutter speed, aperture, etc.), which is something that seemed rather hidden and hard to find in Photoshop.

Basic editing tools are presented in the right hand panel under the histogram, the tools are nicely labeled, and easy to adjust with sliders. There is also a History tab that, in the same way that Photoshop does, keeps track of every edit, making it easy to track and reverse any changes. Hardcore photo retouchers might find these editing tools to be lacking, but for beginners or photographers in need of basic edits, these tools will get the job done in a straightforward manner.

Affinity Photo editing software for Mac

As a photographer who shoots almost exclusively in RAW, I’ve grown accustomed to the seamless integration of Camera RAW with Photoshop and Lightroom’s smooth handling of RAW image conversion. The way that Affinity handles RAW editing took a bit of troubleshooting, but was straightforward when all was understood.

Initial RAW Editing Tools

When you first open a RAW file into Affinity, there are distinctly fewer editing options and adjustments to choose from. The Basic tab offers easy access to make basic adjustments to white balance, exposure, contrast, shadows and highlights, clarity, vibrance, and black points. What was curiously missing from this panel were saturation and tint control. The Lens tab offers adjustments for lens correction, chromatic aberration reduction, vignettes, and defringing. The Details tab allows for detail refinement, noise reduction, and noise addition. The Tones tab is where you can adjust curves, split toning, and black and white image conversion. In this mode, the left hand panel also has a vertical tool bar reminiscent of Photoshop’s, but when editing RAW files, it is noticeably much sparser containing just 10 tools versus the 20+ tools in Photoshop.

Unlocking the Full Editing Menu

In order to unleash Affinity Photo’s full set of editing tools, it’s essential to click the small Develop button in the upper left hand corner of the RAW image editing window. This will transform Affinity’s interface dramatically to more closely resemble that of Photoshop. If you work exclusively with JPGs, this step will automatically be done for you upon the uploading of the JPG image, but this is an extra step when working with RAW files that to me was not so intuitive.

Affinity Photo editing software for Mac

Within the full Affinity Photo interface, you no longer get the image EXIF data in the menu bar, but instead a full row of icons that offer shortcuts to quick edit features such as auto white balance, contrast, and color. There are also several icons on the right that describe different personas such as Liquify, Develop and Macro Persona. A couple of these were not yet available in thw beta version, but clicking on the Liquify Persona offered just about the same editing tools and capabilities that Photoshop’s liquify feature does. For the sake of demonstration, the below image shows off the use of Affinity’s Liquify Twirl Tool, which was intuitive and easy to use.

Affinity Photo editing software for Mac

Affinity Photo editing software for Mac

Note that the left hand tool bar is significantly longer offering; paint brushes, clone tools, dodging and burning, text overlays, and much more. The right hand editing tool panel is also laid out differently with tabs including Adjustment, Layers, Effects, and Styles. Want to add a Gaussian blur or 3D effect to your image? Just head over to the Effects tab and check the box next to the desired effect, and it is instantly applied as opposed to hunting around menus or creating an action as you would do in Photoshop.

Affinity Photo editing software for Mac

Closing Thoughts

It’s not often that a platform emerges to go head-on with Adobe, but so far Affinity Photo is setting itself up as a professional-grade app. While there are many high level features for advanced photo editing, there are also lots of basic photo editing tools that are intuitively positioned, making Affinity much more approachable for beginning or amateur photographers.

Whatever the fate of Affinity Photo, the fact that companies like Serif are working on platforms to advance the process of photo editing adds healthy competition to an industry that has long been dominated by big players like Adobe and will hopefully give photographers more options in the future.

Have you tested out Affinity beta yet? If so, what are your thoughts about what works well, and what could be improved?

The post Overview of the New Affinity Photo Editing Software by Suzi Pratt appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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Categories: Digital

How to Create a Simple Slideshow in Lightroom

Slideshow module Lightroom

If you’re over a “certain” age, you remember creating slideshows for friends or family members to see. The viewing process required a projector and a screen, plus a darkened room to enable people to see the projected slides properly.

Thankfully, things have moved on since then and it’s now much easier to show your photos to an audience. The advent of laptop computers, social media, blogs and photo sharing websites has rendered the old style of slideshow redundant.

However, there’s still a place for the new style of slideshow – one viewed on a computer monitor, rather than a white screen. Lightroom users can create slideshows from within the program itself, using the Slideshow module, greatly simplifying the process.

In this article I’ll show you how to create a simple slideshow, and point out some of the more advanced customization features you may wish to explore.

First steps in the Slideshow module

It helps greatly if you create a new Collection for the photos you want to use in your slide show. Once you have done so, switch to the Slideshow module. You will see, depending on whether you have used it before, something like this.

Slideshow module Lightroom

Click the Create Saved Slideshow button at the top of the Content window. When you do so, Lightroom creates a new Slideshow Collection which is placed (by default) inside the original Collection. From this point on, any changes you make to your slideshow are automatically saved, and you can’t lose them.

Give your slideshow a name in the Create Slideshow window, and decide where to save it using the drop-down menu under Location. If you tick the Make new virtual copies box you will be able to edit Virtual Copies in the Slideshow Collection without affecting the originals.

Slideshow module Lightroom

Identity Plates

If you have created a custom Identity Plate then you may see it displayed in the top-left corner of your slide show, as several of Lightroom’s slideshow templates incorporate Identity Plates in their layout.

You can move the Identity Plate by clicking and dragging, or enlarge it by clicking on, and dragging the white squares around the edge. Now is probably a good time to point out that there are two types of personalized Identity Plates in Lightroom – Graphical and Styled Text Identity Plates.

While Graphical Identity Plates have their uses (mainly as a picturesque alternative to Lightroom’s default Identity Plate) you can’t enlarge them beyond their native size of 400 x 57 pixels without pixelating the graphics, making them nearly useless for incorporating into slideshows. Styled Text Identity Plates are much better as Lightroom simply scales them to the required size without any pixelation.

If you don’t want to include an Identity Plate in your slide show at all, go to the Overlays panel and untick the Identity Plate box. This is the simplest option, but if you wish you can create your own Styled Text Identity Plate by going to Lightroom > Identity Plate Setup (Mac) / Edit > Identity Plate (PC).

Slideshow module Lightroom

Previewing your slideshow

Opening the Slideshow module automatically creates a slideshow (yes, it’s as simple as that) and if you’re happy with the default settings you’re already done. To see what it looks like, click the Preview Slideshow button (the play icon) in the Toolbar. For maximum effect retract the top, bottom and side panels first (keyboard shortcut: Shift+Tab).

Slideshow module Lightroom

Customizing your slideshow

Now that you have seen the default slideshow in action, it’s time to take a look at how you can customize it.

The place to start is the Template Browser, located in the left-hand panels. There are five Lightroom Templates to choose from. They are fully customizable. The easiest way to design your slideshow is to choose the template that gets you closest to where you want to be, and then make the required adjustments from there.

Slideshow module Lightroom

For my slide show I chose the Crop to Fill template, which expands (and crops) the photos in the slide show to fill the entire screen.

Slideshow module Lightroom

Most of the templates have Text Cells. If you don’t want a Text Cell to appear in your slide show, simply click on it and press the Delete (Mac) / Backspace (PC) key on the keyboard to remove it.

Alternatively, you can edit the content of the text box by clicking on the Text Cell, then going to the Custom Text menu in the Toolbar and select Edit. This opens the Text Template Editor, where you can select what will be displayed in the Text Cell.

Slideshow module Lightroom

If you want to add a new Text Cell (for example, if you are using the Crop to Fill template, which has none) you can do so by clicking the ABC button in the Toolbar. Select Edit (or one of the presets) from the Custom Text menu. If you select Edit the Text Template Editor opens and you can choose what will appear in the Text Cell.

You can drag the Text Cell around the slideshow to position it, and adjust the size of the font by making the text box larger or smaller by dragging the corner or edge handles. Go to Text Overlays in the Overlays panel to set the font type, colour and opacity of the font in the active Text Cell.

Slideshow module Lightroom

Exporting slideshows

The easiest way to show someone a slideshow is to open Lightroom, go to the Slideshow Collection you wish to view and hit the Play button.

There are also times when you may need to export the slideshow in a format that is viewable by other people, such as a movie file. To do so, click the Export Video button underneath the left-hand panels. Exported videos are saved in the .MP4 format, which is compatible with many video players including Adobe Media Player, Apple Quicktime and Windows Media Player 12. The video includes music if it has has been added to the slideshow.

Slideshow module Lightroom

Conclusion

Hopefully this article has given you a good idea of what you can achieve in Lightroom’s Slideshow module. If you like what you’ve seen so far, take some time to explore the right hand panels, where you will discover more ways to customize the appearance of your slideshow.

What uses have you found for Lightroom’s Slideshow module? Is it powerful enough for your needs or do you prefer alternative software? Please let us know in the comments.


The Mastering Lightroom Collection

Mastering Lightroom ebooksMy Mastering Lightroom ebooks will help you get the most out of Lightroom 4 and Lightroom 5. They cover every aspect of the software from the Library module through to creating beautiful images in the Develop module and making photo books and slide shows. Click the link to learn more or buy.

The post How to Create a Simple Slideshow in Lightroom by Andrew S. Gibson appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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