No purchases yet.
Your cart is empty 0 items $0.00 Go to Checkout 0 Login

Author: Taya Ivanova

I'm an admirer of nature, a photographer, and a curious reader. Writing about photography and helping others improve is a growing passion of mine. My constant wish is to inspire others to be creatively fearless and endlessly curious. "Always dream bigger is my advice to you, because you can have whatever your heart desires" - Ashley Graham

How to Take Professional Pet Photos Even If You Don’t Own a Pet

The easiest way to master a photography genre is to practice, practice, practice. But what if you can’t do that all the time because of certain limitations?

If you’re an aspiring pet or animal photographer, you have to photograph animals all the time to become a professional. The best place to start is at home with a pet. If you don’t have one, you might get nervous or find it difficult to connect with other animals during a pet photoshoot. This will all negatively affect the outcome of your shoot.

Here’s what you should do to become a professional pet photographer without owning a pet.

Take Photos in Dog Parks

french bulldog in dog park

There are hundreds of dog parks and beaches all over the world. Since the dogs there won’t be posing for you, you’ll have to be quick on your feet and comfortable with your camera. Use this busy environment to work on your action photography skills.

Dog parks are also great because of the safety they provide. Most dog-friendly places have strict rules that ensure safety, so you don’t have to worry about being attacked by rabid dogs (or their owners!)

Before you take photos of any dog, make sure you ask the owner for permission. Have a few business cards ready with you to advertise your work. This way, you’ll get to improve your skills and introduce yourself to potential clients at the same time.

For this to be successful, have a portfolio ready to give people a few examples of what you can do.

Work on a Pet Project That Involves Visiting Different People’s Homes

dog calmly posing for camera

Find a local Facebook group for pet owners or put up an ad in the newspaper. Offer free pet photography photoshoots. In return, you can take photos of someone’s pet in their home. If you’re a beginner, this is an easy way to build your portfolio, meet new people, and spread the word about your business.

You can turn this into a pet project with a specific theme. This doesn’t have to be complicated. For example, you can photograph small dogs, cats with a specific colour, rescue pets, or specific breeds.

This is an efficient way to improve your skills because it will introduce you to different kind of pets and homes. You’ll get to work with different kinds of light, environments, and personalities that will challenge and inspire you.

Take Photos of Stray Animals

stray cat wandering on a roof

Where I live, stray cats fall in love with anyone who brings them food. If the stray animals in your location are friendly, you can easily use them as your outdoor photography models.

This is a great way to improve your knowledge of animals and take care of stray animals that deserve love and attention. Make sure you give them lots of food so that they stay warm and happy for a long time!

Volunteer at Rescue Shelters

kitten sitting in a box

Many rescue shelters are in desperate need of photographers to advertise their animals and find them a new home. Use this as an opportunity to do good and familiarise yourself with different cats and dogs.

You might even return home with a new furry addition to the family. πŸ™‚

Take Photos of Pets That Belong to Your Friends and Family

kitten sleeping on a couch

This might seem like common sense, but it’s easy to overlook obvious things sometimes. Think of friends, friends of friends, and family members who might own a pet or two. You can then comfortably take photos in their home.

This is a more decent and safer alternative to collaborating with strangers.

cats relaxing outdoors in the shade

Taking photos of pets doesn’t have to be nerve-racking or tedious.

The key to amazing pet photography is practice. Take photos of other people’s pets, volunteer at rescue shelters, and befriend stray animals. This will help you bond with, and appreciate, animals of all kinds. You’ll get better at understanding their unique personalities and learn to adapt to any situation.

Once you do all these things, you’ll be very close to becoming a thoughtful and professional pet photography pro.

8 Celebrity Photographers Whose Photos Will Astound You

When we look for inspiration, we often use other people’s photos as references. Celebrity photographers are a fantastic source of inspiration for artists of all kinds.

Celebrity photographers can either be ones who take photos of celebrities or famous people who enjoy taking photos on their own.

Here are 8 famous artists who can teach you something new, give you creative ideas, and provide you with many photos to fangirl over.

#1 Cole Sprouse

Cole Sprouse is an actor who has been famous ever since his debut in The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. He now stars in the CW drama series “Riverdale.”

What some people may not know is that he’s an avid photographer who often takes photos of himself and his co-stars. Using both analogue and digital cameras, he takes surreal, candid, and thought-provoking photos.

Fans of writing will love Cole’s work even more because of the short stories he adds to every post.

You can join his 26 million followers on Instagram.

#2 Helena Christensen

View this post on Instagram

?GIGI ? @vogueczechoslovakia @gigihadid

A post shared by Helena (@helenachristensen) on

In addition to being a supermodel, Helena Christensen is a portrait photographer. When you look through her portfolio, you’ll notice certain confidence that requires true talent to work. As a supermodel, she understands her subjects and is able to create thought-provoking images as a result.

Helena’s work has been exhibited all over the world and featured in magazines like Vogue and Rika Magazine.

You can find her work on Time Management’s official page.

#3 Mert Alas

View this post on Instagram

Giorgio Armani 2008 #mertandmarcus

A post shared by Mert Alas (@mertalas) on

Mert Alas has photographed a countless amount of celebrities throughout the years. You’ve probably seen his photos on the covers of Vogue, INTERVIEW, and Love magazine.

Mert often collaborates with his business partner, Marcus Piggott. Together, they take bold and vibrant pictures. Check out their work if you’re a fan of striking fashion portraits that have no limits.

Check out his work on Art Partner.

#4 Annie Leibovitz

Annie Leibovitz is undoubtedly one of the most well-known photographers today. Her photographs are often conceptual and look like they’ve been taken out of a fairytale picture book.

The lighting, posing, and framing are perfect for those who want to get better at understanding what makes a portrait special.

She’s currently offering a photography course on Masterclass. You can check out her work on her unofficial Instagram page.

#5 Norman Reedus

View this post on Instagram

Best valentine

A post shared by norman reedus (@bigbaldhead) on

To many people, Norman Reedus is just the star of “The Walking Dead,” a gory and zombie-filled show. In reality, he’s an eclectic mix of things: motorbike enthusiast, father, and photographer.

Norman’s work is very similar to his role in the Walking Dead universe. His images are dark, moody, and high in contrast. Instead of seeking perfection, he embraces the flawed side of humanity.

You can buy prints on his website, Big Bald Head.

#6 Peggy Sirota

Peggy is the perfect example of persistence and making the most of what you have. While working at a store and worrying about her income, she was told to buy a camera and take photos of her actor friends. From there, she built her portfolio and was discovered by a photojournalist.

She’s now one of the most famous photographers in the fashion industry, with a very impressive portfolio.

I try to communicate with the people I photograph that I want images that are real. If they are feeling sad, or angry, if they are feeling happy – that’s what we want to get to.

#7 Tim Walker

Tim Walker’s photography is the real-life version of Alice in Wonderland. His concepts are something you’d see in a movie or daydream about.

Many of Tim’s scenes are real, which helps the models easily immerse themselves in his world. His work is a fantastic example of independence, styling, and surrealism. Even if you prefer taking simple photos, you’ll learn something from him.

Tim’s official website is filled with recent and archived photos that are guaranteed to impress you.

#8 Patti Smith

Patti Smith is known for her inimitable music, but she’s also a poetic photographer. She often uses a Polaroid camera to bring herself back to the present moment.

Sometimes, if I crave silence I turn to my Land 250. The experience of taking Polaroids connects me with the moment. They are souvenirs of a joyful solitude.

Even though Patti doesn’t share much of her work on Instagram, you can find some of her photos in this interview with Vogue.

I hope at least one of these photographers inspires you to pursue your passion, try out something new, or get into a new genre of photography.

Which one stood out to you the most? Let us know in the comments!

How to Take Great Family Photos of Your Own Family Members

Family is everything. You should photograph your family members for a variety of reasons:

  • You already have a deep connection to them, so you don’t need to worry about awkward introductions
  • They’ll feel more comfortable in front of your camera than anyone else’s
  • You’ll find it easier to get inspired because there’s so much you know about them
  • You probably have a lot of inside jokes that you can entertain them with throughout your photoshoot

However, it’s likely that your friends and family aren’t supermodels. They might feel shy in front of the camera, even if you’re the one holding it. Some family members feel like they’re not beautiful enough to pose. All of these reasons can make your photoshoot harder than it should be.

Fortunately, you can overcome this using a few simple tricks.

Take Photos of Yourself in Front of Them

friends smiling and laughing together

When your family members see you photographing yourself, they might want to join in.

Take a few self-portraits of yourself being silly and posing confidently. This will make photography seem more like a fun game than an intimidating project.

And Then Let Them Take Photos of You!

girl smiling and holding photographer's hand

If your models are old enough to handle a camera, let them take photos of you after your self-portrait session. Again, this will make them more comfortable with photography and might even inspire them to become photographers themselves.

Don’t give them any photography instructions during this process. Let them have fun with the camera and be in complete control.

Don’t Make Them Pose

girl lying on the grass

Unless you’re working for a client or with a professional model, I don’t recommend throwing posing tips around. The goal of your photoshoot is to have as much fun with your family as possible, so relax and let them pose as they like.

However, if they feel awkward, you can show them a few examples of beautiful poses or give them visual references. Mood boards are perfect for this.

If they still feel out of place, give them something to work on, like a mini project or a hobby that they really enjoy. This way, they’ll be so focused on their work that they won’t even notice you.

Take Photos in a Familiar Setting

mother and daughter bonding in the kitchen

The best place to take casual family photos is at home or in a location that makes everyone feel comfortable. When your subject is surrounded by things and people they love, they’ll find it easier to smile for pictures.

Make sure the lighting is decent in your location. A kitchen with a single top light will create rough shadows on your subject’s face. A living room with limited light will make it difficult for you to take sharp portraits.

Try to avoid artificial light as much as possible. Use soft natural light both indoors and outdoors, and take photos next to large windows. This will give your photos a natural look and make it easy for you to have a smooth photo shoot.

Make Sure They’re as Involved as Possible

little girl holding rake and posing

Make your subject feel special by asking them for feedback, showing them your results every few minutes, and letting them give you ideas. This way, they’ll know that you care about their opinions and aren’t just there to take simple photos of their face. This might inspire them to confidently try out different concepts and poses.

Even if their ideas aren’t groundbreaking, you’ll be able to make beautiful memories together thanks to your collaboration.

Photograph Multiple Family Members at Once

two mature women laughing on a bench

In addition to taking photos in comfortable places, take photos of several family members simultaneously. Your models will find it easier to get distracted, laugh, and enjoy themselves when they’re in good company.

This is a great opportunity to improve several photography skills: group photography, candid photography, and family photography.

 

No matter how shy your family members are, you can inspire them to confidently pose for you. All you have to do is get them involved, listen to their opinions, and surround them with the people they love.

Your hard work will provide you with lots of precious family photos that you can all appreciate for years to come.

How to Capture Authentic Emotional Images in Portrait Photography

You don’t need a photography degree or millions of dollars to take authentic emotional images of people (though both of those things would help).

The key to true authenticity is a strong friendship, a deep knowledge of lighting, and an openness to failure. Here are a few tips on how to achieve these.

Make Genuine Connections With People Who Care

girl laughing and holding flowers

Not everyone wants to express themselves freely in front of the camera, and that’s okay. To take authentic emotional images, make sure your model is comfortable with all of their emotions and isn’t afraid of looking silly.

To make sure that you’re both on the same page, get to know their intentions. The more you know about their background and interests, the easier it will be to appreciate their unique personality. In turn, they’ll realize that you care about their life and aren’t just there to take pretty pictures.

Once you have developed a friendship, you’ll both be able to express yourselves without feeling awkward during the photoshoot.

Practice in Front of the Mirror or Take Self-Portraits

boy posing with eyes closed

Another great way to understand your models is to become one. You can do this by posing and pulling faces in front of the mirror or taking photos of yourself.

You can then use these references in future photoshoots or add them to your portfolio.

The more your model just for yourself, the easier it will be to understand and accept your own emotions. This will play an important role in future photoshoots and conversations; you won’t find it hard to describe the emotions you’d like to create in your photos.

Surprise Your Model With Jokes or Sounds

surprised girl covering her mouth

This works great in children and family photography. Children can easily get bored and sulk in front of the camera. While sulking is also an emotion, too much of it will result in boring photos.

If you want your model to laugh, pull faces, or just look surprised, give them an unusual emotion.

You can purposely create an awkward silence until everyone laughs. You can also tell silly jokes (seriously, the sillier the better), or make weird sounds. Of course, don’t do this too often or your models might start to feel unnecessarily uncomfortable!

Use Atmospheric Light to Set the Mood

emotional images

Light plays an important role in emotional portrait photography. If it’s soft and bright, your images will look joyful. If it’s limited and moody, they’ll give off a melancholic feeling.

You can also experiment with different colours to intensify the mood you’re going for.

Before your photoshoot, take photos of people or objects in different lights and at different times of the day. Play around with different settings to see what you like best.

This will teach you how to manipulate different colours and tones to match your style. It will also help you find or develop a new style.

For example, in the photo above, the image is thoughtful and moody because:

  • The model’s face isn’t visible because of the limited light
  • The vibrant sunset in the background
  • The soft focus that separates him from everything else
  • The subtle light that outlines his profile

Take Candid Photos of Tender Moments

emotional images

People are their most authentic selves when they’re immersed in a moment. The more comfortable they are, the easier it is for them to open up and react in ways they usually wouldn’t.

Find moments where your model is talking to someone, hugging a loved one, or working on a personal project. You can also go out and find strangers who are completely unaware of your camera. (This will greatly improve your street photography.)

One of the best places to start is at home. Since your family members and friends know you well, they won’t always be aware of the camera, especially during family gatherings. Use this as an opportunity to take heartwarming photos of people enjoying one another’s company.

Give Your Model an Inspiring Concept to Work With

emotional images

When someone genuinely enjoys a project, they’ll find it easy to get lost in their own work. This will give you a chance to take authentic photos of their facial expressions and reactions.

Inspire your models using mood boards, creative ideas, and big projects that they can have some control over. To put it simply, make them feel important and involved. This small contribution will greatly improve your relationship.

 

No matter how new you are to photography, you can take authentic emotional images of people wherever you go.

Who do you want to photograph authentically next? Let us know in the comments!

6 Photography Poses Every Portrait Photographer Should Avoid

In portrait photography, posing can be both tricky and fun. To make your photoshoot a stress-free experience, you can download posing guides, get to know your model’s best angles, and make them mimic your own photography poses.

One of the best ways to avoid unflattering photos is to know what to avoid.

Here are 6 photography poses your model should avoid, no matter who they are.

Shooting From a Very Low Angle While Your Model Looks Down

girl looking down with cloudy background

Looking down isn’t a problem. In fact, it looks incredible in most photos because of its emotional and mysterious effect. Shooting from a low angle isn’t the problem either, because low-angle images are usually atmospheric and creative.

The problem begins when you model look straight down at the camera while you shoot from a low angle. You don’t want to create double chins where they don’t exist, but you also want to experiment with unusual points of view.

To improve this pose, ask your model to look down with their eyes without moving their head. They can tilt their head to the side, but they should avoid moving their entire head downwards.

Squeezing Your Arm Against Your Body

girl posing with her elbow stretching out

Anyone who squeezes their arm against their body will immediately look bigger. Their arm will look wide and flat against their body, and it will be difficult to take flattering pictures.

You can fix this by creating triangles. Use the image above as reference. Basically, all your model has to do is create triangular shapes with their arm. This means holding their arms out naturally or bending them a little. They can even look in the direction of their arm so that the pose looks as emotive or as natural as possible.

You can experiment with this yourself before the photoshoot or find an arm posing guide.

Standing Like a Soldier With Your Legs Together

little girl posing naturally while leaning on a wall

If you stand like a toy soldier with your hands and feet together, you’ll look awkward. You want your portraits to be as expressive and as creative as possible, and your model’s body has to clearly show that.

Ask your model to cross their legs, hold one leg in front of the other (as pictured above), or dance around like no one’s watching. These candid moments will help you take natural and funny photos.

For an extra oomph, have them lean against a wall. This will make them look relaxed and confident.

Doing Nothing With Your Hands

photography poses

It’s hard to tell a story when your body language is saying nothing.

Make sure your model feels comfortable enough to try out different hand poses. Stiff hand movements will look strange in your photos, so encourage your subject to try out different photography poses throughout the shoot.

Have them touch their face, reach out to the camera, run their hands through their hair, and so on. It sounds awkward when you read it, but it’s actually a very effective way to make someone relax and pose perfectly.

Dramatically Looking Over Your Shoulder

photography poses

If your model turns around dramatically, they’ll have a lot of rolls on their neck. This is natural, but it doesn’t always look great in pictures.

You can avoid this by hiding their neck with their hair. You can also ask them to look over their shoulder in a subtle way or not move their head around completely.

Leaning Into the Camera

Any camera lens will distort anything that’s very close to it, especially if it’s a wide-angle lens. You can use this to take humorous and creative photos of people, objects, and places.

When it comes to portrait photography, this isn’t always acceptable. Unless you want to take funny photos, avoid getting too close to your model. Make sure they’re not leaning into the camera so that their body parts don’t look bigger or smaller than others.

You can also use a zoom lens to take perfect photos of your model from a distance.

Posing doesn’t have to be intimidating and challenging. As long as you know what to avoid, you’ll be able to take appealing photos of anyone that stands in front of your camera.

How to Take Good Mirror Selfies: 5 Creative Ideas

It’s safe to say that there are probably billions of mirror selfies out there. Some are funny, some are creative, and some don’t stand out at all.

Even though mirror selfies are usually associated with vanity, you can re-define this genre through your own photos. You can do so by experimenting with interesting concepts, poses, and locations.

Here are 5 mirror selfie ideas to get you started

#1 Take a Self-Portrait Within a Self-Portrait

photographer standing in front of mirror and photographing girl

This step requires very simple Photoshop skills.

Take one photo of yourself standing next to a mirror. Make sure your camera is securely held on your tripod and that the focus doesn’t change when you take your second image. I recommend using manual focus so that your camera doesn’t independently try to focus for you.

Once you’re done, go back to your camera and take another photo that features you in the mirror.

You can then merge these images in Photoshop and get interesting results like the one above.

If you want to make it clear that the photographer and model are both the same person, wear the same clothes. If you want to create the illusion of different people, wear different outfits.

#2 Use Interesting Background Lights

diptych of girl taking a mirror selfie with background lights

Mirror selfies are often simple. To give them a creative boost, add things like interesting background lights or foregrounds.

In the photos above, I used fairy lights to fill negative space and create colorful bokeh. If you want to create bokeh in your own shots, use a large aperture (i.e. a small f-stop). Examples of this are f/2.0 and f/1.4.

You can also photograph yourself holding different props, like sparklers, flowers, or any other objects that speak to you. These details will be able to transform your simple mirror selfies into captivating stories.

If you have pets, you can also include them in your mirror portraits for a touch of cuteness!

#3 Act like the Mirror Doesn’t Exist

girl dancing in front of the mirror

The natural response to standing in front of a mirror with a camera is posing. You don’t have to do that all the time. In fact, the less you do it, the more natural your photos will look.

Instead of looking directly at your camera, look somewhere else. Dance, act silly or talk to a friend while you shoot. These moments of spontaneity, though not completely candid, will make your mirror selfies look both unusual and creative.

Don’t be afraid of mirror distortions or textures. The vertical line in the photo above, though slightly distracting, beautifully reflects the golden hour light. This small addition to the composition makes the entire image look and feel authentic.

#4 Use Different Mirrors

wing mirror selfie

The more unusual your mirror, the better. Experiment with shards of glass, wing mirrors on cars, and tiny round mirrors. Use anything that you see a reflection in.

You can take this further by taking abstract mirror selfies with cloudy or semi-reflective mirrors.

Of course, try to avoid mirrors that completely distort your face unless you want humorous results. Chris Hemsworth in Foxtel’s ‘Make It Yours’ campaign is a great example of that.

#5 Take a Few Steps Back to Capture More of Your Atmosphere

boy taking mirror selfie in a large room

Your room, possessions, and home say a lot about your personality. You can express yourself through these things by including them in your mirror selfie. All you have to do is take a few steps back.

To include as much in your composition as possible, shoot in front of a small mirror and use a small aperture. This means you’ll be working with f-stops like f/22. This will help you capture as many details as possible.

You can include your favorite items, hobbies, or pets in your frame for unique results.

Even though there are billions of mirror selfies out there, don’t be afraid of contributing creative ones of your own.

You might feel awkward at first, but before you know it, you’ll be taking funny, conceptual, and interesting self-portraits that stand out much more than an average selfie.

7 Things Every Lifestyle Photographer Should Know

Lifestyle photography means something different to every photographer.

To some people, this genre is an opportunity to focus on someone’s highlight reel. To others, it’s a chance to focus on what they love most about their friends or family. Some people take lifestyle photos for the sake of earning money through stock photo agencies.

Regardless of these reasons, every lifestyle photographer shares a common goal: taking authentic and emotive photos.

If you have a similar goal, you can quickly learn more about this world by doing these things.

Discover and Understand Your Intentions

girl holding cup

Write down all of your goals before you start practicing. This will ensure that you:

a. have a list of tasks to remind you why this genre is worth it, which is important for overcoming creative blocks

b. know exactly what you need to master lifestyle photography

Common goals include developing a specific style, getting to know new people in the same genre, changing a career, and getting opportunities to travel the world.

Make sure you have a variety of achievable and long-term goals so that you’re always motivated.

Use Natural Light

girl taking a picture

Your goal is to capture your model’s lifestyle, which might include their friends, their home, and their possessions. To capture these things effectively, you should take photos during the day.

Soft, dreamy light is perfect for capturing your model and their items in the best way possible. Golden hour and blue hour are perfect for atmospheric lifestyle photos.

If you shoot indoors, make sure you stay as close to a large light source as possible, such as big windows and open doors.

Use a Large Aperture

girl pointing at hot air balloons

That soft and blurry background you often find in photos is very easy to re-create. All you need is a lens that has a small f-number like f/3.0 or smaller. The smaller the number, the softer your background will be and the easier it will be to separate your model from their surroundings.

Soft backgrounds are visually appealing and can help prevent busy compositions.

Make sure you experiment with different apertures. Some photographers prefer to stick to one number, while others have a few favorites for different occasions.

For example, f/1.2 is perfect for simple portraits, while f/3.0 is great for capturing more of your subject and their environment.

Don’t Be Afraid of Orchestrated Moments, but Focus on Spontaneity as Much as Possible

girl laughing spontaneously

Even though lifestyle photography is supposed to be authentic, don’t be afraid of experimenting with posing sometimes.

However, try to keep your photoshoot as candid as possible. Talk to your model, give them fun things to work on, and ask their friends to join in.

Focus on the Environment as Much as You Focus on Your Model

girl walking outdoors

Lifestyle photography often focuses on the subject’s surroundings. You can use this to take atmospheric and moody photos of your models.

Once you have a few portraits that you’re proud of, take photos of the location. This will challenge you to juggle several photography styles – landscape, architecture, nature, etc – at the same time.

Make Details a Priority

closeup of items in a suitcase

If you look up lifestyle photography, you’ll find a lot of pictures of details. These are great for telling a story and making your subject’s personality stand out more.

Try to focus on them as regularly as possible.

Create Diptychs and Triptychs Using Similar Photos

diptych of girl holding mug

At the end of your photoshoot, you’ll have photos of people, places, and details. You can turn some of these photos into diptychs or triptychs, which are collages consisting of 2-3 photos.

Diptychs and triptychs are great for:

  • Improving your creativity
  • Enhancing a story
  • Highlighting the similarities and differences between a few subjects

 

Lifestyle photography can help you become an efficient, imaginative, and fearless photographer. It can also introduce you to many exciting photography genres like landscape, nature, and macro photography.

Today, take some time to figure out who you want to photograph and why you want to photograph them. This will help you take photos that are both meaningful and visually appealing.

Let us know what you come up with!

Common Cat Photography Mistakes To Avoid Today

Cats are adorable, have all kinds of personalities, and are always picture perfect. It’s not surprising that cat photography is so popular!

If you want to get better at photographing cats, there are two things you must be aware of: what to do and what to avoid. In this article, I’ll focus on the latter. Knowing common mistakes will save you a lot of time and help you quickly find your creative strengths.

Always Taking Photos from One Perspective

cat photography

While taking photos from above can result in beautiful pictures, it shouldn’t be the only perspective you use. For example, instead of taking photos from above, get down on your cat’s level to focus on its eyes, expressions, and other details. These are things you would miss if you were simply taking photos while standing above your cat.

In addition to playing with different angles, shoot through objects. If your cat is standing behind a stool, cover part of your lens with the stool and shoot through the gaps. This will create an interesting foreground, frame your picture, and emphasise your cat’s features.

Avoiding Nighttime Photography

cat photography

Nighttime or indoor photography can seem like an intimidating genre because of camera noise and the lack of natural light. Fortunately, you don’t need to worry about these things too much – your camera probably has enough tools to help you take beautiful nighttime portraits of your cat. Manual focus, ISO, and colour temperature will all help you take amazing nighttime photos.

When working in a space with a limited amount of light, use manual focus to avoid focusing on the wrong objects. Don’t be afraid of increasing your ISO number, as it will help you take sharper photos. If the lights in your location are too warm or cold, manually change your camera’s colour temperature.

Not Taking Photos of Details

cat photography

Cat photography isn’t just about classic cat portraits. Observe your cat and focus on tiny details and quirks that make it special.

Experiment with different photography techniques as you do this. Try freelensing, panning, and zooming in.

Always Using Autofocus or Manual Focus

cat photography

Some photographers avoid auto focus because it feels “lazy,” while others avoid manual focus because it doesn’t give them sharp results. Both of these standpoints are understandable, but they can really limit you on a creative level.

If you use auto focus all the time, you won’t have full creative control over your images. You might find it hard to focus on a specific detail, especially if your composition has a lot of distracting elements. If you use manual focus all the time, you might miss out on special moments. You also won’t be able to efficiently sharpen your candid photography skills.

When it comes to cats, using both focusing techniques is important. When your cat is running around, you can use auto focus to quickly capture unexpected poses and expressions. When your cat is calmly resting, you can use manual focus to capture details that appeal to you.

Not Including Other Elements or Genres in Your Pictures

cat photography

If you consider yourself a creative photographer who enjoys experimenting with unusual ideas, you can freely express yourself through cat photography. You don’t have to limit yourself by strictly taking photos of your cat and not including anything else in your compositions.

If you like taking portraits, take photos of yourself holding your cat. If you want to get better at conceptual photography, make your cat portraits surreal by editing them in Photoshop. Feel free to combine as many photography genres as you want.

cat photography

Cats are incredible little models that deserve to be photographed in all kinds of ways.

Now that you’re aware of the most common cat photography mistakes, you can take your cat snapshots to the next level. Even if you’re not going to show off your work on Instagram, you’ll have enough skills to take amazing photos of cats anywhere and at any time.

7 Posing Tips for Curvy Women That Will Boost Their Confidence

Here’s what I believe:

  • Every woman is gorgeous.
  • Every woman deserves to be photographed in the best light.
  • Every body type is different, which means poses should be experimented with.

Before you photograph a curvy woman – whether it’s yourself, a close friend, or someone you barely know – you should familiarise yourself with a variety of poses and approaches.

Make Sure She Knows That It’s Okay to Fail

Before you even pick up your camera, let your model know that the first few photos won’t look that great because that’s just how photo shoots work. A few minutes of nervous laughter, awkwardness, and mistakes are more than normal. Even professional models need to get used to new photographers to truly feel like themselves in front of the camera.

Hands on Hips

curvy woman

This is a classic pose that works for almost all body types. Have your model put her hand on her hip. A pose like this will force your model to straighten her back, which will naturally make her feel more confident.

Avoid Tension

Not a single part of your model’s body should be tense. To avoid physical tension, ask your model to take a few deep breaths before your photo shoot and whenever she feels uncomfortable.

Another way to prevent tension is to get to know your model. If she understands you and admires your work, it will be easier for her to make a real connection with you, one that will significantly reduce the impact of those first awkward minutes of your shoot.

You can get to know your model by sending her a pre-shoot questionnaire, having a quick Skype chat, or meeting her before your photo shoot in a cozy place. The key is to make your clients feel like they’re your friends, not random strangers.

Above Eye Level

curvy woman

Even a professional model will have a double chin if she takes a selfie from a low angle.

For the most flattering results, take photos above eye level. This will get rid of unflattering shadows and make your model’s face look even.

Highlight Her Best Features Using Foregrounds

Foregrounds

are objects that are very close to your lens. If your f-number is very small (e.g. f/1.8), these foregrounds will transform into elegant blurred shapes.

I often use this technique to highlight my models’ favorite facial features, such as their eyes. To do this, I cover half of my lens with a colorful object that complements my subject’s outfit or eye color. This object can be a flower, a hand, or even a branch. Once I’m happy with the foreground, I manually focus on my model and press the shutter. That’s it!

Avoid Photographing Insecurities

curvy woman

Even the most self-possessed individuals have their insecurities. Make sure you’re aware of what your model doesn’t want to see in her photographs. The last thing you want to do is go against her wishes and photograph what you assume is pretty. If you show her that you care about her opinion and want to take photos that she loves, she’ll feel more comfortable in front of your camera.

Starting conversations about insecurities can be both awkward and difficult. To avoid unwanted stress on both sides, bring up your own insecurities first. This might encourage your client to open up and find the best ways to feel comfortable in her skin.

Regularly Change Poses

Just as there’s no life without change, there’s no creativity without change. Even if you find a pose you love, don’t forget to play around with other ideas and expressions. The more diverse your photos are, the more images your client will be able to choose from, and the more beautiful your portfolio will look.

curvy woman

None of these tips are meant to sound like unbreakable rules. Use these guides as foundations for unique poses and expressions. The more you play around with these ideas, the easier it will be to find the perfect poses for your clients.

Now go out and make your models feel as amazing as they truly are!

These PS Tools Will Make Your Portraits Stand Out

Simple portraits are beautiful and worthy of being shared online, but sometimes, they can look a bit boring.

However, that doesn’t mean you need to delete every portrait that looks too dull. Knowing how to enhance simple photos will:

  • Make you a better retoucher
  • Inspire you to find beauty even in the most insignificant places
  • Encourage you to get better at mastering simple themes and compositions

Before you’re even tempted to delete that rich collection of simple portraits, try to enhance them using these incredible Photoshop tools.

Patch Tool

photoshop tools
If you look closely, you’ll notice that a few of the model’s blemishes and neck wrinkles are gone. Even though the patch tool might seem like an insignificant part of Photoshop, it will make your editing workflow easier.

This handy tool will patch up any blemishes on your model’s face. You can also use it to get rid of wrinkles, stray hairs, and facial hair. Simply draw over the area you’d like to fix and drag it to a clean patch of skin. I recommend dragging your selection horizontally, as this will create a more natural look.

I don’t recommend using this tool to fix large areas on your model’s skin. Dragging a very large selection away from its source will result in blurred, unflattering-looking skin like this:

photoshop tools

Gradient Map

If your portraits are lacking in contrast, you don’t necessarily have to use Curves or Levels. Gradient Map, a tool that’s often overlooked, will make your portraits stand out within seconds.

ps tools

Before you create a new layer, press D on your keyboard. This will set your colors to black and white.

 

photoshop tools
You can also find Gradient Map in Image > Adjustments.

When you select Gradient Map, a small window will pop up. Make sure Dither and Reverse are unticked and click Okay. Then, change your layer mode to Soft Light and lower your layer’s opacity until the results don’t look too dramatic. Even though Gradient Map can look images look intense, you can use it to add a bit of contrast to your images without wasting a lot of time.

If you want to give your photos a more nostalgic feel, change your colors to something other than black and white.

PS tools
You can either manually change your colors or choose from a few styles in the Gradient Map window. For this photo, I used a variety of tones to add both contrast and warmth to the image.

Screen Mode

Screen mode is a layer mode that’s often used to create double exposures. It can also be used to add reflections and textures to photos of all kinds.

ps tools
The extra image, combined with the aforementioned Gradient Map tool, resulted in a portrait with lots of textures and vibrant colors.

For this to work, you need to have a variety of stock photos. You can either take them yourself or download them from a website like Pixabay or Unsplash. Use photos that have a lot of light and space, but also remain open to using photos with unusual compositions.

Place your stock photo over your portrait and change your stock photo’s layer mode to Screen. This will immediately brighten your entire image. If the effect is too dramatic, use the Curves or Levels tools to edit the stock photo only.

If you’re not satisfied with the results, use another image or add multiple photos to your portrait. There’s no limit to how much you can do when it comes to these “double exposures.”

ps tools

Using these simple Photoshop tools, you’ll be able to enhance even the simplest of portraits. And the next time you’re tempted to delete that precious photo, open it in Photoshop and give it a chance to show its true potential.

 

How to Take Incredible Photos of Wild Animals, Even If You’re a Beginner

Wildlife photography is often associated with years of experience and eye-catching magazine features. While the genre is definitely filled with these glamorous things, it’s more than just an expensive hobby.

Every wildlife photographer was once a beginner with a limited amount of equipment. If you’re in a similar position, you can easily learn the art of taking stunning photos of wild animals, regardless of your experience.

Have These Essentials

wildlife photography

 

It goes without saying that advanced equipment and professional zoom lenses will take your photos to the next level. If you can’t afford them, however, you can still make the most of wildlife photography. In addition to a camera, the following items will make your shooting experience fun and relatively easy:

  • Any kind of zoom lens – you’ll be able to take cropped portraits without getting too close to your subject.
  • Any other lens – if you don’t own a zoom lens, don’t be afraid of using the lenses you do have. Even a 50mm f/1.8 lens could be used to photograph interesting compositions. You just have to be more aware of the angles and framing.
  • Lens hood – if you’re planning to take photos in open areas, you’ll be grateful for a lens hood, which is a handy piece of equipment that protects lenses from rain, snow, dust, and other particles.

Know Your Camera Settings

wildlife photography

You don’t need to know everything about your camera immediately. With time, you’ll learn which settings to use and which ones to avoid. There are a few important settings that almost every wildlife photographer needs to know, though.

Aperture determines how blurry or sharp your backgrounds are. If you want them to be sharp, your f-number should be big, such as f/4.0. If you want to create more bokeh and blur (things that will separate your subject from its background), use smaller f-numbers like f/2.0 or f/1.2.

ISO is a handy tool that’s perfect for capturing action or low-lit subjects. Most cameras nowadays can handle a lot of ISO without ruining the end results. Every camera has its own unique limits, so experiment with various numbers and figure out how much noise you’re comfortable with.

Shutter speed has a formula for capturing sharp photos: 1/your lens’s focal length or faster (thanks to Felix Bartelke for this tip!)

Photograph Domestic Animals

wildlife photography

Before you go out and photograph wild animals, practice with domestic ones. Cats, dogs, or even farm animals will teach you more about lighting, camera settings, and spontaneity. On top of that, you won’t need to worry about running out of time, not capturing the right moment, or doubting your skills.

Watch out for Busy Backgrounds

wildlife photography

Busy backgrounds are considered pests in almost every photography genre. If you want your subject to stand out, make sure they’re located in front of a simple background, be it a blue sky, a golden field, or any other neutral-colored backdrop.

The beauty of wildlife photography lies in opportunities and spontaneity, so don’t feel discouraged if your first subject isn’t standing in front of a good background. The more persistent you are, the closer you’ll get to finding the perfect compositions.

Observe Your Subject

wildlife photography

Once you’re ready to photograph wild animals, observe them. Every animal has some kind of predictable behavior that is worth knowing before a photo shoot. Being aware of these patterns will help you take interesting photos.

If you have the time, research the animals you plan to photograph. This will prepare you for certain behavioral patterns or interactions.

wildlife photography

Though knowing all the rules is important, there’s a bright side to inexperience. Make the most of this stage. Break the rules, dream as big as you like, and don’t worry too much about getting the perfect shot. You’ll thank yourself later. πŸ™‚

4 Cool Photoshop Tools That May Dramatically Improve Your Editing Workflow

Photoshop is filled with exciting features that you can’t learn immediately. Some of us discover them with time, while others invest hours into learning every single trick.

When I first got into editing, I had no idea these tools existed. Because of this, I missed out on many creative opportunities and lessons. Now, I can rely on them to inspire me, enhance my portraits, and make my editing process easier. Here they are.

Sharpen Specific Parts of Your Photo Using High Pass

The High Pass Filter is ideal for photographers who like highlighting specific parts of their images. If you’d like to add clarity to your subject’s eyes, make a small detail stand out, or simply make your photos more visually appealing, you’ll enjoy using this filter.

4 cool photoshop tricks
Duplicate your background (right-click, duplicate layer), Go to Filter > Other > High Pass and select a small number. The preview will give you an idea of how sharp your photos will look.

 

4 cool photoshop tricks
Once you’re happy with the result, change your layer mode to Soft Light. Your photo should go back to normal and look sharper than before.
4 cool photoshop tricks
Hold the Option key and click the layer mask icon at the bottom of your layer box. A black box should appear next to your duplicated layer. This will get rid of the effect and allow you to manually select the parts you’d like to highlight. Using your brush tool (make sure the colour is set to white), gently paint over any areas you want to emphasise. If your results are too strong, lower the layer opacity (located right above your duplicated layer).

Effortlessly Recreate the Tilt-Shift Effect

The tilt-shift effect became popular when tilt-shift lenses entered the photography world. This effect gracefully blurs parts of your image to create dreamy atmospheres and gorgeous bokeh. If your budget is tight, you’re in for a treat! A while ago, Photoshop decided to create a special tilt-shift tool for those who can’t invest over $1,000 into a lens. The catch? You need to have Photoshop CC or above.

 

4 cool photoshop tricks
Go to Filter > Blur Gallery > Tilt-Shift. This will open a new window.

 

4 cool photoshop tricks
In this section, you can control how blurry and distorted your photo gets. (Note: the farther apart the horizontal lines are, the more natural the blur will look.)

Quickly Change Your Brush Opacity by Pressing These Keys

If you often use the brush tool (or anything with an opacity option) you don’t have to change its opacity manually. You can save an abundance of time by simply pressing 1-0 on your keyboard, 1 representing 10% and 0 representing 100%. If you need a more specific number, such as 45, type it quickly and the opacity will automatically change. This has saved me a lot of time!

Fill Empty Spaces Using Content Aware

Content aware

can be used in a variety of ways. If there’s a detail in your photo that you don’t like, content aware will replace it for you.

Content aware can also be used to fill in empty spaces. This is ideal for stitched photos, which are sometimes filled with mistakes and empty spaces.

Unlike the patch tool, which relies on manual selections, this tool has a mind of its own. It will smartly fill in the area you select. The smaller the region, the nicer your results will look.

4 cool photoshop tricks
Select the part of your photo that you’d like to fill in. Then, go to Edit > Fill, select Content Aware, and click Ok. Depending on the size of your selection, it might take some time before you see any results.
4 cool photoshop tools
Content aware cleverly filled in the empty space by adding horizontal lines of different lengths.

I hope these tools teach you something new. If not, I hope they encourage you to embrace new knowledge and become an even more experienced Photoshop user.

When Should You Use Manual Focus and Auto Focus?

When I was younger, I associated manual focus on professionalism. Autofocus seemed like a feature made for beginners only. Shortly after, I realized that this wasn’t the case.

Both manual and autofocus can be used no matter how far you’ve come in your career. If you know which one to use at any given moment, you’ll feel less stressed during your photo shoots, take sharper photos, and be more confident in your photography skills.

Of course, the tips below aren’t rules set in stone. Some artists use manual focus only, while others rely on the accuracy of autofocus. This article will simply focus on the benefits of both.

When to Use Auto Focus

manual vs auto focus

At important events

If you get nervous during busy events like concerts, it’s likely that you’ll miss a lot of beautiful moments. Instead of wasting time, experiment with autofocus. Some photographers even shoot blindly for the sake of spontaneity. Their results are usually very unexpected but interesting.

manual vs auto focus

When taking self-portraits

Before I had a camera with autofocus features, I had to use manual focus to take photos of myself. Though this exercised my patience, it forced me to spend time on unnecessary procedures. Now that I have a better camera and a remote, I can pour all of my energy into my ideas instead.

manual vs auto focus

When your subjects aren’t posing for you

If you’re surrounded by a group of people whose interactions you want to photograph quickly, for example, use autofocus. You simply won’t have enough time to manually focus on a subject that’s moving all the time. The same applies to pet, wedding, and street photography.

manual vs auto focus

When photographing still objects

Still life photography is all about inanimate objects like buildings and vases filled with flowers. Since subjects like this don’t move, your camera will easily detect them with the help of autofocus.

When to Use Manual Focus

manual vs auto focus

During a model photoshoot

If you’re going to be working with one subject, use manual focus to get the sharpest results. This will not only improve your knowledge of various camera settings but also help you create the best possible compositions.

When you want to improve your photography skills

Even though autofocus is useful, it won’t teach you how to handle your camera. By using manual focus, you’ll be more aware of compositions, colors, and depth of field. Spend quality time with your camera so that when you do have to use manual focus in a stressful situation, you won’t feel lost.

manual vs auto focus

When your subject is standing behind a foreground

Modern autofocus features are smart, but they can be outwitted by foregrounds. If your subject is standing behind branches, window panes, or even tiny details like leaves, use manual focus. Pay extra attention to windows as your camera might accidentally focus on the dirt the windows instead of on your subject! (This happens to me often.)

manual vs auto focus

In the dark

Autofocus isn’t the best at capturing details in the dark. It’s likely that you’ll see more than your camera does in low light, so make sure you switch to manual focus when you don’t have a lot of light sources to work with.

When I discovered the power of both manual and auto focus, I was able to experiment with all kinds of photography genres and subjects. If you use manual and autofocus wisely, you’ll be able to embrace every photography challenge without feeling incompetent.

Of course, you might prefer to manually focus when you take self-portraits or use autofocus in a busy situation. Don’t treat this article as a rule book. Experiment with these tips and let them evolve as you discover your own unique taste.

Do you prefer manual or auto? Let us know in the comments!

8 Tips That Will Help You Improve Your Ski Photography Skills

Skiing is an exciting sport that’s equally exciting to document. Unlike other kinds of photography genres, however, ski photography demands a strong knowledge of safety and lots of preparation.

Fortunately, you don’t need lots of training to add impressive action shots to your portfolio. With the help of the tips below, you’ll be able to prepare for any kind of ski photo shoot, communicate efficiently with your models, and end your day with a rich collection of striking photos.

Photograph a Professional Skier

ski photography

Skiing can be dangerous, especially for the photographer. If you want to keep yourself and your equipment safe, get in touch with a professional who knows what they’re doing.

Working with a beginner might stop you from taking exciting photos because you’ll have to give out more instructions and wait for longer periods of time.

An experienced skier will not only be patient but also give you the perfect amount of tricks to photograph.

Keep Colours in Mind

ski photography

Choose an outfit that will complement both your subject and the weather. If the skier wears a bright blue costume on a sunny day, their figure will blend with the sky. If, on the other hand, they wear vibrant colors that go well with blue tones, they’ll stand out in your photos.

Before you prepare your shoot, get in touch with your model(s) and make sure they’re aware of this. Giving them a gentle heads up will help you both enjoy your photo shoot without worrying about clashing colors.

Get to Know Your Model Before the Shoot

ski photography

One of the most important things to do before any portrait session is to meet your models. Get to know the people you’ll be working with for the next few hours or days. This will make the entire team feel comfortable and give everyone a better idea of your goals and expectations.

In addition to making your creative ideas clear, find out why your subjects love what they do. Though their stories might not improve the quality of your work, they’ll definitely improve your client-photographer relationship. Knowing their habits and quirks will help you give them straightforward instructions that will make your collaboration nothing short of fun.

Use the Right Camera Equipment

ski photography

Ski photographers carry a lot of equipment with them. Here are a few tools that will keep you warm, protect your equipment, and provide you with many photo-taking opportunities:

  • Lens hood – this will protect your lens from snow.
  • Wide angle and zoom lenses – these will allow you to either take close-ups without getting hit by a skier or photograph gorgeous landscapes without having to walk long distances.
  • Lots of batteries – batteries die fairly quickly in the cold, so make sure you bring more than two to your shoot.
  • Memory cards – action photography is fast-paced, which means you’ll probably be taking hundreds of photos within a short period of time. To avoid losing precious time, make sure you have a few extra memory cards in your bag.
  • A towel – whether you need to wipe your ski goggles or your lens, a towel will always come in handy.

Keep Yourself Safe

ski photography

In ski photography, every second count. Because of this, you might end up forgetting your own needs and losing a lot of energy quickly. To avoid this without losing time, make sure you fill your backpack with these necessities:

  • A cap – no matter how cold it is, the sun has a way of making its presence very clear. A cap will keep your head from overheating.
  • Sunscreen – cover your face with sunscreen to avoid nasty sunburns.
  • Water and snacks – an energizing protein bar and water will keep you (and possibly your team) full and happy during tedious shoots.
  • Walkie-talkies – professional ski photographer Corey Rich always uses a radio to communicate with his team. If you’re planning to work with several people, having a walkie-talkie will help you keep everyone informed and prevent unwanted miscommunication.

Take Regular Breaks

ski photography

As exciting as ski photography is, it mustn’t overwhelm you. If you want to spend hours photographing your team, you need to take regular breaks. This will restore your energy, give you some time to share your results with everyone, and allow you to give out instructions without feeling stressed about time.

You can also use breaks as an opportunity to take casual photos of your subjects. These can be silly group photos, smartphone snaps, or behind-the-scenes shots that you could add to your blog later.

Avoid Direct Light

ski photography

Direct light is usually quite unflattering. Even the most perfect skiing move will look out of place if it’s lit incorrectly. Here are a few lighting alternatives that will make your photos look like they were taken by a pro:

  • Golden hour – also known as the magic hour, the golden hour appears after sunrise or before sunset. Golden hour light is softer than midday light, which means that it will look gorgeous from almost every angle.
  • Backlight – backlight is when your subject is lit from behind. This kind of light highlights flying snow, stray hair, and any other details that are lost in other lighting situations.
  • Sunrise or sunset – use this time of day to create skiing silhouettes.

Note: If your creative eye sees potential in a harshly lit place, feel free to break the rules!

Try These Popular Ski Photo Ideas

ski photography

If you’re planning to take stunning ski photos, it’s likely that you want to impress your models with diverse results. To achieve this, you can:

Take photos in a variety of places – don’t shoot in one place only. Once you’ve taken an abundance of photos in one location, move to another.

Use different lenses – wide photos, closeups, and tilt-shift photos will make your results look as diverse as they deserve to be.

Take group photos – at the beginning or end of your session, take fun photos of your team.

Give out posing instructions – it’s a given that ski photography is a spontaneous and unpredictable genre. To balance this out, take photos of your model while they’re posing for you.

Take a selfie – if you love skiing, create a self-portrait! With the help of a GoPro and a selfie stick, you’ll be able to take a unique selfie that perfectly expresses your love for your beloved hobby.

ski photography

Preparation, communication, and an open mind will keep you safe and happy during your skiing photo shoot. And remember: the more photos you take, the easier it will be to stay true to all of the tips above. Before you know it, your gallery will be filled with diverse and eye-catching ski photos that your clients will love.

Photo Shoot Ideas for Creative Cat Portraits

If you’re a fan of cats, you might be interested in going beyond casual snapshots and taking more professional pet portraits. It’s possible to do this without investing in fancy backgrounds, training your cat, or upgrading your equipment.

All you need is your camera, a list of ideas, and a sprinkle of patience.

Human Interactions

cat interacting with human

For heartwarming cat portraits, photograph your pet interacting with a human. This could be during a nap, a game, or just an everyday activity.

For example, my cat loves spending her evenings sleeping next to my family members while they watch a show. To me, this is the perfect opportunity to take sweet cat portraits.

Fun Self-Portraits

cat self-portrait

Stand in front of your camera and take a few self-portraits. Depending on your cat’s personality, you can hold it, sit next to it, or, as the creative self-portrait above suggests, put it on your head.

Before you take a self-portrait, create a comfortable environment for both yourself and your pet. Make sure you have a lot of space to move around. Once you’re happy with the location, place your camera on a tripod, stand in front of a natural light source (e.g. a window on a sunny day), and press the shutter.

If possible, use a remote. This will help you take photos from a distance, which means you won’t have to run around with your cat to check your results.

A Cropped Composition

cropped cat portrait

Which part of your cat’s features stands out the most? You can emphasize your pet’s tiny nose, big ears, or fluffy tail by cropping out other details. You can either use the crop tool in an editing program or shoot through an object to block out other parts of your cat. For example, in the photo below, the photographer used part of a window to focus on the cat’s eyes and ears.

cat portrait cropped

Classic Indoor Cat Portrait

classic cat portrait

Classic portraits are ones that look like something you’d find in an art museum. The lighting, pose, and composition is all perfect, resulting in an image that viewers simply can’t get enough of.

Cats are naturally restless and moody. Instead of making your cat pose for you, look for the poses yourself. The more comfortable your cat is, the easier it will be to take a series of professional-looking portraits.

Go to your cat’s favorite place. There, it might be calm enough to let you photograph it as much as your heart desires. You can also hold a treat above your camera to make it seem like your cat is looking straight into the lens.

On Their Level

ground level cat portrait

There are many cat photos that are taken from a bird’s eye view. You can go against this trend by taking photos on your cat’s level. This change will not only attract its attention but provide you with a refreshing perspective that most photographers don’t experience.

If you want to take photos that look like they’ve been taken by your cat, place your camera in front of your cat’s paws. (Be careful, though. You don’t want to end up with a scratched lens or camera body!)

Abstract Fur Details

fur cat portrait

Your portraits don’t have to feature your cat’s face all the time. They can be abstract works of art that look like a variety of things. The photo above, for instance, made me think of horses and landscapes at first. In reality, it’s just colorful fur!

Though a closeup or zoom lens will give you the best results, you can use any other lens to photograph details. Once your photo is ready, you can crop it in Photoshop to highlight a few details only.

Even though cats can be difficult to photograph, their ‘negative’ traits can be turned into gorgeous portraits. All you have to do is pick up your camera, treat your pet to a few rewards, and experiment with these ideas until you’re happy.

6 Tips for Photographing Older People

Old people have something that younger people don’t: years of wisdom, a rich collection of stories, and a unique way of looking at life. This combination of treasures is perfect for curious and open-minded photographers.

If you enjoy taking photos of people, you’ll love photographing the elderly. This fulfilling sub-genre is all about traditions, genuine emotions, and precious family moments.

Photographing old people requires a variety of skills including communication, creativity, and empathy. The tips below will help you strengthen them and take stunning photos of your subjects.

old people photography

Let Them Talk

As simple as this tip sounds, it will help you connect with your subject.

Oftentimes, people assume that they should stand still in front of the camera and not blink or breathe. Let them know that this isn’t the case by asking them questions and sharing your own stories. Comfortable discussions will make your time together more of a fun meeting than a formal photo shoot.

Some old people aren’t used to the poses and facial expressions that most teenagers have already mastered. Make it clear that you’re not looking for magazine-quality professionalism. Instead, gently give them instructions if necessary. Focus on letting them be themselves in your presence.

old people photography

One of the most important things you should do is ask them for feedback. Do they have any specific photo requests? Are there any photographs they like? By giving them options, you’ll let them know that you care about their voice and aren’t just there for the pictures.

Include Their Loved Ones in Your Photos

old people photography

Most people feel more comfortable in the presence of a friend or family member. If possible, photograph your subject with their partner, friend, child, or even pet. In addition to feeling supported, they’ll have more opportunities to forget that the camera is even there. Use these moments to take heartwarming candid photos.

Give Them Something to Have Fun With

old people photography

Your images don’t have to consist of sitting or standing photos only. Once you find out what your subject cares about the most, give them a chance to show off their skills in front of the camera. This could be cooking, knitting, playing with their pet, or even taking photos. Putting a spotlight on their strengths will make them feel very special, something that every client deserves to feel.

Use Natural Light

old people photography

Artificial light can be very uncomfortable to stare at. Instead of distracting your subject with unnatural light, photograph them during the day.

If you want to capture warmer tones, have a shoot during the golden hour (after sunrise or before sunset). If you want cooler tones, take photos after midday. For pleasant and even light, take photos in the shade on a bright day.

Don’t Be Afraid of Silliness

old people photography

Adolescence and childhood are usually related to fun and laughter, but they’re just as relevant in other age ranges. Even though many photos of old people are very serious and monochromatic, don’t be afraid of making yours look silly and vibrant. If your subject enjoys laughing and having fun, let them be their true selves in front of your camera!

Don’t Photograph Their Faces All the Time

old people photography

Unless you’re taking classic portraits, you don’t have to worry about facial expressions during your entire shoot.

When your subject’s back is turned, photograph them. When they’re holding something dear to them, don’t be afraid of zooming in. The more diverse your photos are, the easier it will be to capture your subject’s most precious memories, and the closer you’ll get to taking truly authentic portraits.

old people photography
Photographing people of all ages will have a significant impact on your portrait photography skills. The wisdom and stories of old people will not only help you diversify your portfolio but teach you important lessons that will make your life all the more enriching.

Are there any old people you’d love to photograph now? Let us know in the comments!

6 Simple Things You Can Use to Create Fantasy-Themed Portraits

When fantasy portraits come to mind, you might think of photo shoots that feature expensive lighting equipment, luxurious places, and unparalleled makeup/styling skills. Though many photographers’ shoots involve these things, not every fantasy-themed session has to feature items that are difficult to obtain.

Here are a few very simple items you can use to create surreal portraits that will make your portfolio stand out.

neon lights portrait

Neon Lights

Neon lights are usually limited to giving out very few colors. Since most of us are used to seeing a variety of colors in our everyday lives, a limited color palette might seem outlandish, which makes it the perfect opportunity to create fantasy-inspired photos.

Have your model stand next to a neon sign. These can be found in stores, galleries, or studios. If you’re working with only one source of light, treat it like a window; make sure your model faces the light in a way that evens out their skin tones and doesn’t highlight any roughness.

To add more oomph to your work, hold a CD or phone in front of your lens so that it reflects the neon lights. This will create an effect similar to the one in the photo above. Abstract reflections like this will add even more interesting elements to your portraits.

crown thrift store

Thrift Store Finds

Thrift stores are filled with unique gems like gowns, suitcases, crowns, and other items you wouldn’t be able to find in a normal clothing store. If your local thrift store doesn’t have items of this sort, try looking for vintage items on eBay. Even low-quality products can look stunning in photos. What one person finds boring might become the star of another person’s fantasy shoot!

Keep an eye out for different kinds of fabric (you can use this to create intricate shadows on sunny days), unusually large accessories, and antique items. The more unusual your thrift store finds are, the more fantastical your portraits will be.

smoke bomb portrait

Smoke Bombs

Smoke bombs, or smoke grenades, can be bought online for as little as $10. These handy little objects are filled with colorful smoke that can be used to enhance even the simplest portraits.

If you’re completely out of ideas, use a smoke bomb to add texture, vibrancy, and a fantasy element to your portraits.

portrait car headlights fantasy

Car Headlights

Car headlights usually give out very warm tones that are perfect for evening/nighttime shoots. As you can see in the image above, they light up the subjects from the side without making an appearance in the photos themselves.

If you can’t use a car, use a lamp, especially an antique one that will emphasize the surreal aspects of your photos. You can also use matchsticks, candles, and bonfires to create gorgeous compositions at night.

glow in the dark portrait fantasy

Glow-In-The-Dark Makeup

Glow-in-the-dark makeup is ideal for photographers who want to improve their nighttime photography skills without using artificial light. Your results will look like surreal, otherworldly works of art like the image above.

Don’t be afraid of experimenting with ISO numbers. Most modern cameras handle noise very gracefully, and most editing programs can easily remove unnecessary grain.

levitation fantasy

Chairs or Stools

You’ve probably seen a lot of cool levitation photos by now. More often than not, photographers use chairs or stools to create the illusion of floating people.

If you want to create your own levitation photo, take two photos: the first photo should feature your model balancing on a stool and the second should be a photo of the same landscape without your model or the stool. Then, using your masking tool in Photoshop, you can remove the stool from your composition. And voilà! You now have a gorgeous levitation photo.

The beauty of portrait photography is that it can improve your gallery regardless of your budget. You can create fantasy-themed portraits whenever you want to with the help of these accessible and affordable items.

5 Ways to Take Surreal Portraits Using One Source of Non-Professional Artificial Light

In my previous article, I focused on using artificial light to create classical portraits. In this article, I’ll focus on something that involves more thinking: surreal photography.

Surreal portrait photography is a genre that revolves around unusual themes that we don’t see in everyday life. These themes might require either a knowledge of advanced editing skills or just a strong imagination. Either way, diving into this genre will make your work stand out like a gripping fairytale.

The beautiful thing about this genre is that it’s limitless. There are no rules when it comes to lighting, posing, and inventing. You can be as dramatic or as subtle as you like.

If you want to challenge yourself, try out these 5 ideas that involve simple, non-professional artificial lights.

surreal portrait

 

#1 Ceiling Light and a Simple Light Diffuser

In the image above, the diffused light helped me create a melancholic atmosphere.

Light diffusers don’t have to be expensive or professional. Oftentimes, they can be found in your own home.

Explore your home or studio and find items that might help you soften a light source. Silk curtains, paper, and other see-through materials can easily help you achieve this look.

surreal portrait

 

#2 A Torch and Coloured Cellophane

Hold a sheet (or two) of colored cellophane in front of a torch. This will create soft, neon-like light.

In the photo above, there are two sources of light in front of the model. You can recreate this with the help of two torches.

If you want to take this technique to the next level, experiment with different colors, even ones that might not look appealing at first. This challenge might lead you to new discoveries that could significantly improve your work.

surreal portrait

#3 A Subject, a Foreground, and Backlight

Surreal photography often features subjects whose faces aren’t that visible. Inspired by this concept, I created the photograph above. I used the following things:

  • A kitchen cabinet door for the foreground
  • Warm kitchen light (right above the oven) for the backlight
  • An unfocused subject

Using only three items, I was able to create a mysterious self-portrait. The backlight allowed me to light up the subject’s face without making it stand out too much, and the foreground let me frame the image and add a layer of depth to it.

Photos with one light source and several layers will resemble some of the greatest fine art portraits out there.

surreal portrait

#4 Soft Toplight

Toplight can be anything, from the direct ceiling light to a lamp. In my opinion, the most practical toplight is a torch, whose intensity can be controlled with the help of DIY diffusers like paper.

Hold your source of light above your subject and voila! You’ll get a mysterious effect that’s ideal for movements, double exposures, and fine art portraits.

surreal portrait

#5 A Torch and a CD

If you don’t have a prism to create a rainbow effect, use a CD! Pointing your torch at a CD will create a very vibrant rainbow.

Make sure you experiment with all kinds of angles. What works the best for me is getting as close to the CD as possible. The farther the torch is from it, the less colorful the rainbow will be. This technique will work best in a completely dark room.

Rainbow lights are great for those who want to include more close-ups and/or minimalistic shots in their portfolio.

It’s possible to create both surreal and classical portraits with the help of one light source. The more you experiment with practical, everyday items, the easier it will be to work with professional lighting equipment in the future.

In the meantime, sharpen those observation, imagination, and lighting skills and show me your results! I’d love to see what you come up with.

When Photography Becomes Your Passion: An Interview with Kristina Bychkova

Kristina Bychkova is a portrait, event, and wedding photographer from Russia.

When I met Kristina a few years ago, I was inspired by her passion for photography. In addition to photographing me, she confidently posed in front of my camera. This combination of talents made our photo shoot an exceedingly fascinating experience.

In 2018, Kristina’s work evolved into an even more incredible work of art. Her gallery is now filled with soft portraits, joyful wedding shots, and delightful family photos. Her skills have improved tremendously thanks to her persistence, imagination, and openness to other people. Because of this, I wanted to share her advice, inspiration, and ideas with you all.

kristina bychkova

How did you get into photography?

I discovered the world of photography at the age of 12 during a trip to my homeland, Russia. In the course of the travel, I used an old compact camera to take pictures and the results surprised me a lot; they were not just simple tourist photos but I was able to tell a story through images. Only a few years later I got my personal camera: it was a Fujifilm bridge. Since then I started to approach photography more seriously, starting to study as a self-taught.

Who are your favorite artists?

There are many artists that I love and that are my source of inspiration but among the favorites, there are definitely Anastasia Volkova, Nirrimi, Murad Osmann with his wife Nataly and Taya Iv. They are also the ones I discovered first when I started to follow the photography community. Every day on Instagram and Flickr I discover new talents, but they remain my pillars.

kristina bychkova

You take lots of stunning client photos. How do you make your models feel comfortable in front of your camera?

Thank you so much. I understand the discomfort that a model could feel in front of the lens so I try to make her feel comfortable making her laugh, talking to her as we were friends and listening to her needs and ideas. I think it is important to establish a relationship of trust with the model to be able to capture her (or his) true essence.

What do you do when you run out of inspiration?

When I’m short of inspiration, I don’t research it forcibly but I try to dedicate my time to something else. I love to observe the work of other photographers and artists, I draw inspiration from their creativity. I don’t feel down when I don’t find inspiration because I know that it will come at the right time.

kristina bychkova

If you could photograph anyone in the world, who would it be?

If I could photograph anyone in the world I would probably choose Nataly Osmann. I love her personality and the fact that she always transmits good vibes.

Are there any photography genres you’d like to master?

I would like to become very good at wedding photography. For me, these types of pictures aren’t ‘trivial’ photographs. I like to capture people’s emotions, I think they are the most authentic photos that exist. I get to photograph couples during their wedding day and get excited with them.

kristina bychkova

What piece of equipment should every portrait photographer have?

This is a good question. Each photographer has a different style so even the components of their equipment are different. Despite this, I think that every photographer should have a 50mm lens in their equipment as it is a versatile lens with excellent performance under different conditions.

You also take breathtaking self-portraits. Do you have any advice for people who want to get better at photographing themselves?

Thank you so much you are very kind. The truth is that I do not like being photographed by others, I am very critical of myself and my appearance. But my self-portraits are expected as I really see myself. The advice I would like to give to those who want to learn how to make self-portraits is to try and try again, experiment and get involved.

kristina bychkova

What has been your best photography mistake so far?

I think that my best photography mistake was a wrong focus; I made a completely different picture from the one I imagined but it had a much more powerful meaning. Another time I used a broken filter that allowed me to obtain special effects with the light.

What’s something you wish every photographer knew?

Every photographer should know that what matters is not the equipment they have but how much passion they put into what they do. Being a photographer is not simply a profession, it is making art, it means telling other people what sees and feels the soul.

Follow Kristina on Facebook, Instagram, and Flickr.

kristina bychkova kristina bychkova kristina bychkova

5 Ways to Take Classical Portraits Using One Source of Non-Professional Artificial Light

Professional lighting equipment has helped many photographers take stunning photos of their subjects. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford an impressive set of tools like this.

Fortunately, you don’t need to use professional equipment to improve your studio photography skills.

As much as I admire studio photography, I’ve never worked with professional equipment myself. I live in a small town that doesn’t sell photography-related products, and I can’t afford the lights I’d like to work with. These obstacles have inspired me to use non-professional sources of artificial light. Here are a few you probably have at home:

  • A torch
  • Any kind of indoor light (ceiling light is fantastic)
  • A lamp

These objects can be used to take a rich variety of interesting classical portraits. Here are 5 ideas that will help you create gorgeous lighting that will make your photos look like paintings.

classical portrait
To take this photo, I stood in front of a window at around 6 p.m. (after the golden hour) and used ceiling light to add warmth and brightness to the background.

#1 Backlight and Natural Window Light

If it’s too gloomy outside to take naturally lit portraits, try to use the remaining outdoor light to illuminate your subject’s face. Then, highlight their hair with the help of a lamp or ceiling light. This will create a soft glow that’s perfect for dreamy portraits.

This technique can also be used to create silhouettes.

classical portrait

#2 Side Light and Textures

Direct artificial light is too harsh for most portraits. To soften its brightness, you can cover it using paper, curtains, or hair. Treat your source of light like the harsh midday sun; if you use it wisely, you’ll get to experiment with a lot of stunning shadows.

When I take close-ups using artificial light, I like to experiment with hair shadows. Hair is unpredictable and never looks the same, so it’s the perfect resource for unique portraits.

classical portrait

#3 Lamplight with a Natural Reflector

You can create softer light using a DIY reflector such as a sheet of paper or a white wall.

To take the photo above, I sat next to a lamp while its light reflected off a white wall. This made my face glow and highlighted my hair in the background. Since it was dark when I took this photo, this was the only source of light I used.

classical portrait

#4 Desaturated Ceiling Light

As uninspiring as ceiling light might seem, it can be used to take eye-catching portraits. To take the photo above, all I needed to do was lie down under the source of light and pose.

One minor disadvantage of using artificial light is the unusual color temperatures it might create. In this case, my photo looked abnormally orange. Fortunately, issues like this can be easily fixed in editing programs like Lightroom and Photoshop.

saturation

To desaturate only orange tones in Lightroom, I go to the Color panel and slide the Saturation panel under Orange to the left.

classical portrait

 

#5 A Torch, a Mirror, and Interesting Reflections

Point your torch at various glass surfaces and you’ll get interesting reflections. (If you want to create a rainbow effect, replace those surfaces with a CD.)

My favorite reflectors are mirrors, particularly those small, round ones. They can be used to create streaks of light like the one in the photo above. Even though it’s challenging to work with such details, it’s exceedingly fun to challenge yourself and get impressive results at the same time.

 

You don’t need to have a lot of money to take classical portraits. All you need is your beloved camera, a great imagination, and a few everyday tools.

Which of these ideas stands out to you the most? Comment below!

How to Take Gorgeous Portraits Using Window Blinds

I recently moved into an apartment with window blinds. I didn’t pay much attention to them until the golden hour when they cast gorgeous horizontal shadows on the table. Instantly inspired, my inner photographer forced me to take a few photos. The results pleasantly surprised me.

Though I’ve seen an abundance of window blind portraits online, I’ve never really thought of creating similar photos of my own. When the opportunity arrived, I was astounded by the plethora of creative possibilities a simple object could offer.

To take photos similar to the ones in this tutorial, all you need are window blinds, a camera, and bright sunlight. The golden hour and noon are the best times of day for photo shoots of this kind, in my opinion. I used a Canon 5D Mark II with a 50mm 1.8 lens.

Here are the many ways you can take photos using window blinds.

window blinds

Slightly Closed

Blinds that are slightly closed will give you enough light to photograph your subject’s entire face. To make this look more interesting, shoot using a wide angle lens. If, like me, you don’t have one, create a panorama instead.

The photo above was taken through a window, which added interesting textures to the image. When you shoot through a window, make sure you don’t stand directly in front of it. If you do, you and your camera will be a part of the image! (Sometimes this creates a really cool effect, though.)

window blinds

Almost Completely Closed

Closing your window blinds almost completely will create very thin horizontal lines. These are great for moody, mysterious, and delicate portraits.

What I find most difficult about the lack of light is finding the right pose. Effects like this are perfect for highlighting certain features like eyes. However, this is easier to achieve with models as you can give them instructions. When you take self-portraits, use your phone to find the right light and then take a photo with your camera.

window blinds

Almost Fully Open

Blinds that are almost open will create thin horizontal shadows. This is my least favorite technique because it’s so similar to other kinds of shadows; for example, you can create the same effect with fences. Nonetheless, if the photo above appeals to you, it’s very likely that you’ll enjoy experimenting with this look.

window blinds

Backlight

If your model stands in front of window blinds, your photos will acquire a pleasant, backlit atmosphere. This is great for creating textured silhouettes and casting shadows on hair.

window blinds

Extra Tips

  • Due to the nature of window light, it’s important to work with angles to avoid unflattering looks. Before your photo shoot, experiment with poses. When I take self-portraits, I use my phone to get a preview of how certain angles and poses complement my face.
  • You don’t have to photograph your model’s face only. Include hands, hair, and clothes in your images. Window blind light looks amazing on anything and everything!
  • If you have trouble lighting your photos, underexpose them. Overexposure is difficult to fix in editing programs. It’s significantly easier to restore shadows than it is to fix unnaturally bright areas. (This is also why you must shoot in RAW mode whenever you can.)

window blinds

The photos above were taken in a small kitchen using window blinds, golden hour light, a window, and a camera with an affordable lens. The photo shoot itself was incredibly fun and didn’t take up much of my time.

Photography isn’t always about extravagant photo shoots and expensive equipment. Sometimes, it’s all about making the most of what you have. Use this knowledge to your advantage.

Don’t limit yourself to window blinds. Look for other objects that you could use to take breathtaking portraits.

Let us know what you come up with in the comments!

Shooting on a Budget: How to Take Amazing Portrait Photos Anywhere

You’ve probably dreamed of having an unlimited amount of money that you could spend on camera equipment, professional models, and traveling. As wonderful as these dreams are, they’re not the only formula for great portrait photography.

When I started taking photos, all I had was a phone with a 2-megapixel camera. Only in a few years did I have the chance to afford a DSLR. Before that, I used a variety of small cameras. Today, I shoot with a 50mm 1.8 lens that has been my partner in crime for over 6 years.

Though having professional equipment is very handy, it doesn’t mean you can’t take amazing portrait photos with your smartphone or a small camera. The tips below will show you how to take eye-catching portraits without spending a lot of money on equipment, locations, or assistants.

shooting on a budget

Take Self-Portraits

The best way to practice without spending any money at all is to photograph yourself.

Self-portrait photography will eliminate any need for makeup artists, stylists, or assistants. It will prevent you from stressing yourself out, worrying about time, or fearing miscommunication.

It’s ideal for beginners who want to strengthen their portrait photography skills without making a lot of mistakes. It’s also a great opportunity for experts to challenge themselves by focusing solely on their own expressions and poses.

shooting on a budget

Improve Your Editing Skills

Colour correction goes a long way when it comes to portraits. Combine a well-lit photo with great editing skills and you’ll get a masterpiece.

You don’t need to watch tutorials for hours or learn techniques that you don’t even like. Just familiarise yourself with tips, tricks, and shortcuts. Here are a few articles/podcasts to get you started:

10 Lightroom Tips and Tricks

5 Photoshop Tips

Top 5 Mobile Editing Apps

Editing Mistakes Beginning Photographers Make

With this information in mind, you’ll be able to build a solid foundation for your editing knowledge.

shooting on a budget

Take Photos in Simple Locations

This might seem boring, but it’s one of the best ways to improve your resourcefulness. By limiting yourself to one location, you’ll learn how to find potential in details. By finding potential in details, you’ll open yourself up to many creative possibilities. With a mindset like that, you won’t need to go far to find breathtaking locations. You’ll naturally find beauty in every corner.

shooting on a budget
My go-to setup is a white wall and natural window light. I also like experimenting with unusual wallpapers.

Make Your Own Indoor Studio

Affordable DIY studios are becoming more and more popular. Here are a few ideas that won’t cost you a penny:

  • Use colorful bedsheets as backdrops
  • If you want a fresh look, have your model stand in front of a white wall or door
  • If it’s dark outside, light up your model’s face using artificial light (lamps or torches)
  • If it’s bright outside, use natural window light to enhance your portraits

shooting on a budget

Create Foregrounds

Foregrounds

are parts of an image that is closest to your camera. They’re ideal for framing, adding a touch of color to your portraits, and making simple photos look more interesting.

The cheapest way to make your portraits stand out is to use colorful objects as foregrounds. All you have to do is partly cover your lens with an item (e.g. a plant or fairy lights), set your aperture to a small f-number (this will create a pleasant blur), and shoot. Your results will look striking.

There’s a lot you can do with whatever camera you have, be it a DSLR or a smartphone. Shooting on a budget will strengthen your creative skills, open your mind to unique ideas, and give you a chance to appreciate every detail on this planet.

 

Do you have any interesting stories about photoshoots and tight budgets? Let us know in the comments!

Interesting Blurred Foreground Ideas for Portrait Photographers

Sometimes, our photos end up looking dull and uninspiring. We know that something’s missing, but we’re not exactly sure what it is. Sometimes all you need to do is use blurred foregrounds to enhance your simple photos.

To put it simply, foregrounds are parts of an image that is closest to the camera. If you place an object in front of your camera and set your aperture to a small f-number, like f/2.0, you’ll get a blurry effect.

This effect is great for many reasons, some of which are:

  • Framing. If you cleverly frame your lens, you’ll end up with a unique composition regardless of what you’re photographing.
  • Adding a pop of color. Oftentimes, simple photos need an extra boost of color. Vibrant foregrounds can fix that.
  • Adding depth. A blurred foreground will add more depth and shape to detailed photos.

You can use professional equipment, DIY props, or random objects to frame your photos. In this article, I’ll focus on simple and accessible objects that will enhance every photo you take.

fence landscape photography

Gates and Fences

Fences have a constant pattern that’s ideal for creative photographs. A fence with a gap, like the one in the photo above, is fantastic for framing landscape photos and portraits.

model hand foreground

Hands

If you want to include human elements in your photos, partly cover your lens with a hand.

Stretching your own hand in front of the camera can create a melancholic atmosphere or a sense of yearning.

If you’re a portrait photographer, have your model hide parts of their face with their hand, like in the photo above. You can use this technique to shape their face, highlight specific features, or simply make your portraits look more interesting.

people foreground

People

Photographing through crowds of people is a popular technique used in street photography. Indirectly using people in your compositions will create a sense of familiarity.

In the photo above, the little girl is adding even more depth to the story. Even though she’s blurry, you can’t help but wonder if she’s just a stranger or if she’s related to the couple in the distance.

flowers foreground

Flowers and Plants

If you need to make your indoor photos look more exciting, use plants. Even if you don’t have a green thumb, chances are you own a plant or two. Flowers are perfect for enhancing simple portraits and still life shots. The more colorful they are, the better!

branches foreground

Branches

For fun outdoor shoots, use branches as foregrounds. Shooting through branches will create a contrast between your subject and the foreground. Curvy branches are great for creating striking compositions, while straight ones are perfect for photographers who want to experiment with leading lines.

window foreground

Windows

One of my favorite foreground styles is the combination of windows and reflections. When you shoot through a window, you’ll get beautiful blurred reflections that will add texture to your image.

Extra tip: when you photograph through a window, don’t stand directly in front of it unless you want to be visible in the shot. Shoot from the side to avoid camera reflections.

string lights foreground

String Lights

String lights, or fairy lights, are becoming increasingly popular thanks to the creativity of photographers like Brandon Woelfel. Hold them in front of your lens and they’ll create stunning bokeh. They can be stretched out to your subject, strategically framed around your composition, or simply held by you or your model. Each of these approaches will make your photos look soft and ethereal.

Whether you’re looking to take your compositions to the next level, brighten your photos, or become more detail-oriented, blurred foregrounds will help you improve your photographs. Remember to experiment as possible; even the simplest objects have the power to make your photos stand out.

What are your favorite foreground objects?

Your Voice Matters, No Matter How Popular You Are

I’ve been taking photos for over nine years. When I first started, I had two fans: my parents. Nobody knew who I was, why I had joined the community, or what my style was. To be truthful, even I didn’t know where I was going. Like many beginners, all I knew was that I needed to let my ideas come to life.

Nine years later, I’m even more obsessed with photography than I was in the beginning. I’ve met an eclectic mix of individuals who have enriched my photography experiences and made me a better person.

What never ceases to inspire me is the occasional unexpected message from an old fan. For instance, I was recently contacted by a talented travel photographer who said that he had been silently admiring my work for years. He reached out to me because of a vulnerable post I shared on Instagram. In addition to encouraging me to continue taking photos, he lifted my spirits during a challenging time in my life.

friends

Deeply touched by his words, I started wondering how many silent followers exist on the Internet. And I don’t mean this in a creepy sense. There are so many shy individuals who are simply too afraid of complimenting other people. Others just don’t want to be seen. Whatever their preferences are, those people are everywhere, and it’s very likely that many of them are currently admiring your work.

It’s tempting to keep your work to yourself when you don’t have that many followers. I have a little over 2,000 followers on Instagram, which isn’t much in the photography community. (Don’t get me wrong, I don’t take any of them for granted.) I often wonder if anyone will respond to my captions or understand the meaning of my work. Time and time again, I’m reminded that this isn’t the case.

portrait

When you put yourself out there, people will respond. This doesn’t mean you’ll get a bunch of comments all the time, but it does mean that your words will be out there for the right people to read.

I don’t want you to feel discouraged when you don’t get a lot of feedback. You never know how many people you’re positively affecting through your work. Instead, I encourage you to post something you deeply care about, something you want the world to know, and something you believe will make someone’s day.

If you don’t like the idea of sharing your life online, don’t do it. Using your voice doesn’t necessarily mean writing things down. Sometimes, all it means is sending a message to a person you admire, posting an emotional photo, or simply sharing a quote that touches you. All of these approaches can catch someone’s attention and make them think differently about life, themselves, or their potential.

instagram

If you do want to share your life online but don’t want to expose yourself to everyone, try these methods:

  • Join a private Facebook group – there’s an abundance of Facebook groups that are made for specific kinds of photographers. Some of my favorites are Looks Like Film and Ladies Behind the Lens.
  • Introduce yourself to your captions – write a short introduction on your social platform. It doesn’t have to be too personal. Just share your interests, aspirations, and favorite things to do on a relaxing day. This will give your followers a clearer idea of who you are as both a photographer and an individual.
  • Reach out to your favorite photographers – let them know that you love their work. If you need advice, fearlessly ask for it!

photographer travel

Even if you have 50 followers on your favorite social media platform, remember that you don’t need anyone to give you a voice. You already have it.

Sooner or later, you might hear from someone whose life you changed through your passion. That, in turn, could also change your life.

30-Minute Indoor Portrait Photo Shoot Ideas: A Photographer’s Guide

As portrait photographers, we often get caught up in perfection. Our desire to take unforgettable portraits leads to creative slumps. Because of this, we don’t take as many photos as we’d like to.

This doesn’t have to be the case anymore. Whenever I want to have a shoot just for the sake of enjoying photography, I invest 30 minutes of my time in a photo shoot. Mini photo shoots of this sort can:

  • Challenge your skills
  • Show you what you can do with very little
  • Make you more aware of the details

The point of this challenge is to entertain you, teach you valuable lessons about your own work, and lead you to impulsive discoveries that might take your work to the next level. Don’t let the time limit stress you out. Instead, treat it as a creative reward for your hard work.

Keep in mind that these photo shoots can be longer than half an hour. This is just how long it takes me to set everything up and take photos for my own pleasure.

indoor photo shoot

Window Blinds on a Sunny Day

Window blinds and sunlight are perfect for detailed, textured portraits with a touch of mystery. If it’s very bright outside, use the warm daylight to create eye-catching portraits.

What I love the most about window blinds is that their shadows can be controlled. You can make them wide enough to cast shadows on your model’s face. You can also keep them barely open so that they light up only a part of your model’s face.

For an extra touch of creativity, shoot through a window. This will create beautiful textures that will overlap the shadows and enhance your composition.

indoor photo shoot
To take this self-portrait, all I needed to do was lie down, hold my hair up with one hand, and take the photo with another. It took me around 10 minutes to get this shot.

Close-ups and Shadows

This is another idea that’s perfect for sunny days. Get close to your model’s face and cast shadows using hair, hands, or textured objects. The closer you get, the harder it will be to figure out what those shadows are. Since taking close-ups of people isn’t always comfortable, try photographing yourself instead.

indoor photo shoot

Right in Front of a Window

I love natural window light. Whether it’s gloomy, sunny, or dark outside, windows will always provide enough light for soft portraits. Have your model stand right in front of a window for a glowing look. For the best results, take these photos when it’s slightly overcast.

indoor photo shoot
The light source in the background is a simple lamp.

Artificial Backlight

A backlight is created when a subject stands right in front of a light source. This creates a halo around them and softens the entire image. If the weather outside isn’t ideal for portrait photography, use a lamp or a torch to take dreamy photos. If it’s sunny outside, have your model stand with their back to a window.

A backlight can make photos look flat. If your results end up looking dull, use a reflector to add more depth to your model’s face. Reflectors are fairly affordable nowadays, but you can also make your own using a sheet of white paper or foil.

indoor photo shoot
The backdrop is a curtain that I taped to the wall.

DIY Backdrop

Backdrops are great for indoor studio photo shoots. If you don’t have professional ones around, use everyday items like curtains, bedsheets, or an intricately designed wall. If something has texture, it’s very likely that it will make your portraits stand out.

I hope these ideas inspire you to take a break from your work and experiment with something new. The more experiences you expose yourself to, the easier it will be to enjoy your photo shoots and take incredible portraits. πŸ™‚

The Most Important Thing Photography Has Taught These 10 Photographers

The most important lesson for me has been becoming comfortable with other people, and learning how to make them feel comfortable.  When I first started photography, I wasn’t shooting portraits.  I was honestly a little scared to start photographing people, because I am not a very relaxed or “cool” person. I am a bit intense and old-fashioned.  When I made the leap to photographing people, though, I found wonderful opportunities to connect with others through shared creative endeavours.

There has been a second important lesson, though.  Photography has also taught me to look for beauty and interest in all my surroundings.  Whether I am looking at a person, a building, a plant, or a pile of garbage, I still try to perceive it the same way.  It is a wonderful and fascinating thing!

TenthMusePhotography

One of the things I’ve learned from photography and photographers is that what people chose to photograph will tell you what is important to them.

Jenn

That beauty is found in all places big and small, but you have to really look for it. Expression is a form a commutative beauty, let the world around you be a part of who you are. Photography allows you to open yourself up to your own world, and the world of others.

Rae

Look at the whole frame, elements you don’t notice in life are glaring in photograph

WRZED

To be patient. The light will come in the end. Maybe not today but soon. You can’t rush nature.

Lawrence

It taught me not to worry about looking or sounding stupid in order to get a good shot. Sometimes I’ll have to stand at a really weird angle, or give a model a million directions like “turn a little to the left… a little more… a little more… now a little less…” but all of that is worth it for the amazing shot. I used to avoid doing this because of anxiety and ended up disappointed with pictures that were almost great but not quite, but now I know that even if people think I’m weird, they’ll understand when they see the final product.

Amy

Photography has taught me that there can be infinite ways of looking at one object or a thing or a situation. And that a slight change of perspective can change everything, it can turn reality upside down (or what we think of as reality).

Also, sometimes we are unable to see the beauty of a moment because we focus on what could have been or what should have been, that we forget to focus on and appreciate and be thankful for what we already have in our lens. And sometimes to make a big change a slight change of focus and perspective is enough.

Momoksha

Probably that there’s no right and wrong solutions, as long as you try hard enough there will always be people who appreciate your approach and style.

Pavel

Looking for another point of view that makes you discover beauty.

Isabella

That time flies by quickly, at it’s important to capture the little things.

Olivia

 

What’s the most important thing that photography has taught you? Let us know in the comments!

5 Useful Apps for Photographers (Android and iOS)

As photographers, we’re lucky enough to have access to hundreds of apps that promise to quicken our editing process, introduce us to new challenges, and improve our shooting experience. However, with the rise of so many innovative apps, it’s difficult to find ones that will satisfy all of our needs.

If you’re in the mood to experiment, learn new things, and put yourself out there, check out these 5 creative apps that cover a variety of interests: editing, competitions, time lapses, and planners.

Gurushots app

Gurushots

[Price: free]
[Platform: Android, iOS]

Gurushots is all about winning, gaining exposure, and meeting new people.

Almost every day, a new challenge is announced. Some challenges are exclusive to more advanced members, while others are open to everyone.

The point of the app is to submit your best work, experiment with new photography genres, and get to know other photographers. Though you can’t directly interact with other artists, you can follow them and vote for their photos.

Members receive points when they submit their work to challenges, receive votes, and get achievements. The more points and achievements you have, the higher your rank will be. Once you reach the Guru rank, you’ll be able to create challenges for other photographers.

Swaps, Autofills, and Keys are occasionally given out for free, but they can also be purchased for as little as $3. They will boost your photo’s exposure and increase your chances of winning.

You’ll love this app if you like joining a lot of contests, challenging yourself with specific themes, and winning prizes.

PhotoPills app

PhotoPills

[Price: USD 11.99]
[Platform: Android, iOS]

PhotoPills describes itself as a personal assistant in all photographic matters. It has everything a traveling photographer would want during a location scouting trip.

In addition to letting you know the location of the sun and moon at any time or place, it offers these tools:

  • Augmented reality – visualizations of the sun, moon, and milky way.
  • Awards – submit your best photos to win up to $6,600.
  • Time Lapse – this will help you figure out what exactly you need to create a stunning time-lapse.
  • Exposure guidance – exposure calculations that will help you find the right settings at any time of day.

If features like these excite you, you’ll thoroughly enjoy this app.

Huji Cam/ Kuji Cam app

Kuji Cam/Huji Cam

[Price: free]
[Platform: Android, iOS]

Kuji and Huji Cam are very similar apps that have become popular thanks to celebrities and their love for vintage filters. These apps are very fun to use, with various filters that will make your simplest smartphone photos look like psychedelic paintings with a retro twist.

The free versions will allow you to choose whether you want your photos to have date stamps, 3D effects, light leaks, or dust effects. The pro versions will give you access to hundreds of filters, remove ads, and let you edit an unlimited amount of images.

The main difference between the apps is the platforms they can be used on and their overall design. If you’re a fan of retro filters, this app will make your dreams come true.

Lapse It app

Lapse It

[Price: free]
[Platform: Android, iOS]

Lapse It is an app that will create gorgeous time-lapses for you. All you need to do is choose your settings, set up your phone, and press Capture. As soon as you begin, the screen will automatically dim to save battery life. You can stop the time lapse by simply pressing Pause or Stop.

As you can see in the screenshots above, the preview looks slightly warped. This is because the free version automatically lowers the quality of the video. The Pro version will let you make videos with a resolution of up to 1080p.

gif

If you’re an aspiring landscape photographer who enjoys experimenting with their phone, you’ll enjoy this app. I recommend buying the Pro version if you want to upload your results to YouTube and other social platforms, though.

VSCO app

VSCO

[Price: free]
[Platform: Android, iOS]

VSCO is a tremendously popular app that offers a variety of vintage filters.

This app is loved by many because of its endless features. Every filter and tool (such as grain) can be controlled with a slider. Once you create a look, you can save and apply it to other photographs.

VSCO’s premium version, VSCO X, offers exclusive tools like borders and over 130 filters.

You can go very far with mobile photography using the free version, though.

If you enjoy editing and experimenting with different looks, you’ll spend many creatively fulfilling hours on this app.

 

What do you think of these apps? Let us know in the comments!

Candid Photography: Tips for Making Clients Feel Less Awkward

Though posing is great, it’s not as heartwarming as a photo of best friends having an unexpected laughing session.

A lot of families, couples, and friends want to be photographed in the most genuine way possible. To really capture the beauty of candid photography, you have to make yourself invisible and be quick on your feet. Most importantly, you have to make your subjects feel comfortable enough to be themselves in front of your camera.

Here are ways you can make the most of your candid photography photoshoot without making anyone (including yourself) feel out of place.

family candid

First, Talk to Your Clients

Whether you’re going to photograph a child, a couple, or a professional model, always prioritize communication. Without it, your clients will feel like strangers and your photos will look stiff.

These simple but effective approaches will create mutual trust and understanding:

  • Explain why you love your work – truly passionate people give out an air of confidence. Be open about your intentions; your clients will feel much more comfortable around you when they’re aware of your creative goals.
  • Get to know your client’s story – when people open up, they feel like close friends. You can get to this stage by asking your client about their interests, biggest passions, and ambitions. If you show them that you care, they’ll relax in your presence.
  • Ask for their honest feedback – it’s likely that your clients know very little about photography themselves, but that shouldn’t stop you from asking them for constructive criticism and ideas. If you give them a chance to control your photo shoot even a little, they’ll feel heard and appreciated.

mother daughter candid

Don’t Get Too Close to Them

If you want to take truly candid photos, you should be invisible to your subjects. This means keeping a distance and letting them freely interact with one another. Getting too close to them might make them feel awkward, so try to avoid that unless they specifically ask for spontaneous closeups.

Zoom lenses are ideal for photographers who want to give their clients space without compromising their own creativity. Your subjects won’t be aware of how close your lens really is, and you won’t feel like you’re interrupting special moments.

child candid

Make Sure They Know What You’re Shooting

Before your photo shoot, let your clients know that the first few photos won’t look that great. Let them know that it’s okay to feel awkward and self-conscious at first. This information might give many of your clients the confidence to be themselves during your session.

Once the awkward stage passes, show your clients your results. Candid photography isn’t about posing, so make sure you don’t throw too many compliments around as you shoot. However, make it clear that you’re okay with showing them your photos once in a while. This will give them a better idea of your style and give them a chance to provide you with helpful feedback.

mother child candid

Let Your Confidence Shine

Confidence is contagious. When you talk to your clients, don’t be afraid of sharing your passion with them. Let them know how excited you are about your photo shoot. This might seem like a silly thing to do, but it will make them feel more relaxed. Passionate photographers have an unbeatable energy that attracts all kinds of people. The more you value your skills, the more noticeable they’ll be to others, and the more comfortable they’ll feel around you.

father daughter candid

Everyone is different. It’s not possible to get along with every single individual out there. However, in the world of photography, it’s possible to provide every client with the most beautiful photos they could ask for. You don’t need to have a specific type of personality to achieve this. All you have to do is wisely use your social skills, make your clients feel at home, and take photos that they’ll cherish forever.

Interview with Kaylee Kuter: A Journey into Photography

Kaylee Kuter is a person of many interests and talents. Her portfolio is filled with raw photos of nature, people, and details. It even has a special section for Polaroids. This exciting combination will make you want to travel, appreciate your local surroundings, meet new people, and experiment with film photography.

In this interview, Kaylee talks about creative blocks, making models feel comfortable in front of the camera, her love for traveling, and much more. I hope her passion for photography inspires you to relentlessly nurture your own.

Who/what inspired you to start taking photos?

I think it was around fourth grade when someone gave me a disposable while I was out visiting my grandparents in Arizona for spring break. I thought it was the coolest thing having my own camera being able to take photos as my family had on their wall, of the animals at the zoo, up my brother’s nose. I could take photos of whatever I wanted and they would be printed and I would be able to hold them in my hands. That’s a pretty intense thing for a kid, or it was for me at least. From that point on I always had a camera of some sort around whether it be mine or a family members. My grandpa, years later gave me my first “big kid” camera which introduced me to the beautiful world of film and darkroom photography in high school which is when I really fell in love with photography and light.

kaylee kuter

How do you make your models feel comfortable in front of the camera?

When I meet up with my models I make sure to get to spend the first 15 minutes or so of the shoot chatting with them and kinda talk through the plan and any ideas they have for the shoot. I try to be super open and bubbly and folks usually reflect that energy in themselves.

How do you deal with creative blocks?

When I get in a slump I take a day or so and go out and explore. I’ll pack my backpack with some good snacks, my notebook, and my camera, turn my phone on airplane mode and go on an adventure. Sometimes it’s just a nice walk downtown or a two-day road trip into the middle of nowhere. I clear my mind and go out to just see things, no agenda or anything, I just wonder.

kaylee kuter

What 3 tips would you give to aspiring landscape photographers?

  • Once you have the big picture, stop and look at what makes that up. I feel like a lot of people overlook the details but without them, you’d have no big picture, to begin with.
  • If you see a photo, take it. Even if you’re trying to reach that mountain peak by sunset to catch that perfect golden hour, wherever you’re at when you see that photo, is where you’re meant to be. Don’t pass up a moment because it might be your only one there.
  • Keep moving and seeing new things. The more you see, the more diverse photographs you get which keeps the spirit (and portfolio) fresh.

If you could photograph anyone in the world, who would it be?

No one specific comes to mind. I’m more of a mountain person than a people person.
kaylee kuter

What do you wish every photographer knew?

No one has to like what you do except you.

How has photography changed the way you feel about yourself?

Through photography, I’ve become more confident in myself and my artwork. My camera for a long while gave me something to hide behind and I think that was the first step in getting outside of my bubble. With a camera in hand, it kinda gives me an excuse to randomly walk up to someone and start up a conversation which I normally wouldn’t do.

kaylee kuter

What photography-related advice would you give to your younger self?

It’s alright to let it come and go, sometimes it’s not good to force it. Take a break.

If you could become experienced in any other photography genre, what would it be?

Creative portraits. I’ve been watching some folks lately that are truly inspiring in their color theory and how they photograph individuals outside of the box. I love it.
kaylee kuter

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Somewhere mind blowing with my camera in hand. I don’t have any definite plans except to keep moving, seeing new places, and making new friends, and to not settle. There’s so much to see in the world and human connections to make, foods to try, I want to keep doing it all until I die.

You can see more of Kaylee’s work on her website and on Instagram.

kaylee kuter

kaylee kuter

kaylee kuter

kaylee kuter

10 Summer Portrait Ideas Worth-Checking for Beginners

Even though autumn is slowly approaching, you still have time to make the most of its golden sunlight, appreciate its spectacular colours, and improve your photography skills.

Here are 10 portrait ideas that you can use in your photoshoot today.

summer portrait shadows

Shadow Play

Hold a summer hat, hair, or a patterned object against the sun to create beautiful shadows on your subject’s face. As you can see in the photo above, even a simple flower bush will do!

summer portrait silhouettes

Silhouettes

Summer landscapes

are nothing short of breathtaking. You can include them in your portraits by creating silhouettes. (Have your subject stand or walk in front of a brighter background and lower the exposure until you see a silhouette.)

My favourite silhouette-making times are during a sunset and on a cloudy day.

summer portrait park

Park Photoshoot

Parks are ideal for photoshoots of any kind. They’re accessible, free, and always open. This is a great opportunity to challenge yourself by limiting your resources. Try to take stunning portraits in simple locations. You’ll be surprised by how many ideas you’ll get in the most “boring” spots!

summer portrait flowers

Flower-Themed

If you have access to a botanical garden, have a flower-themed photoshoot. Flowers can be used as alluring foregrounds, detailed backgrounds, or simple props. Despite their simplicity, they’ll light up your subject’s face and add a pleasant pop of colour to your photographs.

(If you don’t have access to a botanical garden, try experimenting with flower bouquets or flower bushes.)

summer portrait ice-cream

Popular Summer Items

What words come to mind when you think of summer? Could you use a simple keyword as inspiration for your shoot? If you’re completely out of ideas, challenge yourself with 1-word themes. By limiting yourself to only one word, you’ll encourage your imagination to work hard. This might lead to a lot of surprisingly inspiring ideas.

Here are a few keywords to get you started:

  • Ice-cream
  • Picnic
  • Sand
  • Lighthouse
  • Ladybug
  • Watermelon

summer portrait fashion

Fashion Photoshoot

The warm weather is ideal for a fashionable look book. If you want to improve your fashion photography skills, now is the perfect time to do so. You don’t need to have an indoor studio or live in an exotic country to achieve this. Experiment with street fashion or have photoshoots in parks (or even in your own home). You’re bound to find inspiration wherever you go.

summer portrait golden hour

Dreamy Golden Hour on the Beach

There can never be enough golden hour photoshoots. Right after sunrise or before sunset, go to the beach and have a cozy photo session with a friend. The warm light will enhance your model’s features and create an ethereal atmosphere in every photo you take.

summer portrait couple

Couples and Sparklers

Summer nights are relatively warm and colourful, which makes them ideal for creative photo adventures. If you want to strengthen your nighttime, portrait, and couple photography skills, take photos of people in love using a limited source of light.

Some of the most affordable and efficient light sources for evening/nighttime shoots are:

  • A torch
  • Sparklers
  • A lamp

summer portrait closeup
Self-Portrait Closeups Next to a Window

If it’s too hot to go outside, take self-portraits indoors. To create well-lit portraits, photograph yourself next to a window. The soft light will give you a glow reminiscent of classic portraits. If you want to take it a step further, take closeups of yourself. Your results will look unique and might even end up in your portrait photography gallery!

summer portrait sunglasses

Glass Reflections

Sunglasses or windows reflecting summer landscapes are the perfect way to capture both nature and people simultaneously.

You don’t need to have a lot of money to take incredible photos this summer. Just use your imagination, have fun with your friends, and enjoy 2018’s wonderful summer days.

Which of these ideas stood out to you? Let us know in the comments!

5 Reasons Self-Love Will Make You a Better Photographer

What is self-love? The general definition is a regard for one’s health and happiness.

As photographers, we often beat ourselves up for not being creative, productive, or successful enough. This makes us insecure, resentful, and uninspired.

This can stop right now. Self-love means taking care of yourself, especially when you’re tired. It means being honest, open, and loving.

Respecting yourself will have a significant impact on your work. These five reasons will show you just how important it is to be kind to yourself and why your photographs will be affected because of it.

productive

#1. Proper Rest Will Lead to Productivity

Whether you take photos every day or work in an office, endless job tasks will tire you out. You won’t have time to focus on your other interests, sleep well, or spend time with your loved ones. This, in turn, will lead to an unproductive mindset. It’s a vicious cycle you don’t deserve to be in.

On the other hand, regular breaks and proper sleep will rejuvenate you, which will lead to productivity. Instead of dreading your obligations, you’ll embrace them.

Learn to be aware of what you need, be it a delicious snack or an extra hour of sleep. Here are a few simple yet impactful self-care routines that will make you feel better:

  • Reread your favorite book
  • Go on a date with your friends
  • Go for a peaceful walk in your local park
  • Listen to music without any distractions
  • Look through your favorite photographers’ work

learning new things

#2. You Won’t Have to Force Yourself to Learn New Things

Learning isn’t about forcing yourself to go to school, wasting hours of your time, or relentlessly working on pages of homework. Learning means being truly passionate about a subject and doing your best to master it.

When you respect your skills, you’ll want to work on them. This will make you naturally curious about a variety of topics, many of which will benefit you in the long run. The more you learn about photography, the more skilled you’ll become.

client relationship

#3. Your Relationship with Your Clients Will Improve

An important aspect of self-love is honesty. This means being honest about your feelings, intentions, and goals.

When you know what you want, you’ll be able to clearly translate your needs to everyone around you. This will make your photoshoots easier because it will prevent a lot of unnecessary miscommunication. It will also help you give the right directions, successfully fulfill your clients’ needs, and be open to admitting mistakes.

self-worth

#4. Negativity Won’t Shatter Your Self-Worth

Bring your own #1 fan is an incredible way to block out hate. Social media is filled with direct and indirect negativity without which life would be significantly easier. Self-love will encourage you to spend less time on social media, focus on your own interests, and not shatter when someone says something unpleasant to you.

support

#5. And You’ll Willingly Ask for Help When You Need It

Sometimes, we need support from fellow photographers. Self-love will compel you to humbly reach out to others and ask for help. There’s nothing wrong with sharing your feelings, being open about a struggle, or asking for constructive criticism.

When you receive support, you’ll feel heard, appreciated, and understood. This will encourage you to reach new heights and be a helper yourself.

self-love

If you continually beat yourself up, you won’t be as productive, kind, and inspired as you deserve to be. Self-love will improve your life and make you a better photographer.

Learn what works best for you and embrace it. Remember that not every self-care method will appeal to you. Experiment, treat yourself to a variety of goodies and be open to happiness.

Now go do something nice for yourself and tell us about it in the comments!

10 Photographers Talk About the Moment They Fell in Love with Photography

“At 7 years old, when my dad gave me my first canon film camera. I would run around with him and we would photograph things from different angles – his as a tall, towering, strong man and mine as a small, curious little girl.”
– Fine

“It was 4 years ago, while I made photos with a borrowed camera. I had never had a camera before, so I put all my savings together and got it. At the beginning I had many doubts, but I knew that would be the beginning of something very good. I was attracted to the idea of starting to create something and translate it, especially to gather many ideas and see what things could be.”
– Pedro 

“My older sister started to get into photography when I was 12 and of course I wanted to be just like her, so I really wanted to try it. I got my first digital camera shortly after and I started posting on Deviant Art because that’s what my sister did. The community I found here encouraged me to try new things and keep going. What I love about photography is the equalizing nature of it. It’s not that photography is easy, but it’s very different from other areas of art. I enjoy drawing and other art media, but the learning curve is steep and I rarely like my creations. Whereas with photography, anyone has the ability to take a good photo so long as they have a good concept.”
Jules

“I have always been fascinated and inspired by photography. I can’t even remember the first time I fell in love with it.
The way some photographers manage to capture life and beauty in a photo is highly admirable and marvelous. For me, good photography is about capturing a moment in a way that forces us to stop for a second. When you look at a good photo, you forget all your thoughts for a moment and are filled with awe. And all of these good pictures stand out because you can experience in them a special quality of relatedness, a connection between your existence and the piece of art.

I think it must have been this deep inner feeling that made me fall in love with photography and kept me drawn to it all along. I love taking photos myself but I also deeply enjoy looking at photos with this certain kind of quality.”
Patrick

“I guess I didn’t discover photography as such, it was a gradual thing as I grew up with it as a child because my Father was a keen hobbyist photographer, and, so, at the age of 18 (which was some considerable time ago now!), I was given my first camera – a Ricoh KR10 Super 35mm film camera and Pentax 50mm lens, this is where it all started for me! I’m not sure I ‘fell in love’ with photography, but I remember it was something that I was keen to do, although due to its creative nature I’ve always had something of a love/hate relationship with it. I guess anyone in the creative arts struggles with their relationship to whatever they’re doing. However, I’ve been involved with photography (as a hobbyist) now for over 30 years covering both film and digital, and I also spent 14 years professionally during the golden days of film and printing in the 80’s and 90’s as a photographic lab technician serving professional photographers, I was young then, and so it was an exciting time to be in that industry, and I got to play with some awesome and strange (a 10×8 camera that ran on rails like a train!) kit over those years. So, I guess I must like photography more than not! I’m happiest with my photography when my images are published and used commercially, that gives me the greatest and biggest thrill, as it validates what I’m producing has genuine worth, is genuinely liked, and as a hobbyist means on some occasions I can compete with the pros!”
Andy

“The first time I fell in love with photography truly was on the Christmas of 2014, where I was given my very own dslr, the 400d. With that, it didn’t leave my side all Christmas and I remember taking it for walks on the beach so I could photograph my very first sunset. From that experience, I was hooked with the photography bug!”
Elliot

“The first time I fell in love with photography was summer of 2015 while I was living in London, England. Upon being there I met a variety of fine art photographers whose style was all so different, but so moving and incredible. I struggled a lot with self-acceptance and self-expression, being around these amazing people and seeing the wonderful creations they were capable of bringing to life once they expressed themselves gave me the motivation to do it too! I realized we are all so different and that’s the beauty of not just being an artist, but being yourself! 😃 Photography is such an impactful part of my life, it has brought many opportunities and great friendships to me. It gives me the ability to express myself and show people what I see in a very touching way.”
Davi

“I discovered photography when I was in highschool. I was a big fan of street photography and nature. At first, I just love to look at awesome pictures taken by photographers. I look at them for hours and hours thinking about how they capture that moment and be in that moment. I was inspired by it! I told myself that I wanna be in the moment too. I remember the first DSLR camera I bought. The feel and the sound of the shutter when I first hit it. It’s a surreal moment and it was a wonderful feeling. I fell in love with it. I took pictures on every single moment. Mistakes are common and you’ll learn eventually. I started to ask every photographer friends I know to learn more about it. Learning never stops, that’s true with Photography. Although I’m currently in a long hiatus because of my work, I would love to get back on track very soon for the love of photography.”
Jem

“I discovered photography by accident in 2008. I still remember the year because I was doing a mini research about Paris (which I went the next year) and then stumbled upon a Parisian blogger who that time used flickr! Then, I explored the magic on flickr and saw many beautiful creations there and instantly loved photography. I discovered Nirrimi, Taya and many local photographers such as Bak & Umar Mita who motivated me to pursue the field.”
Lala

“I fell in love with photography when I discovered a collection of breathtaking self-portraits on DeviantArt. I was amazed by how much effort a single photographer could put into a photoshoot. They did everything – modelling, planning the shot, placing equipment, and editing – on their own. I admired such strong independence and decided to try it out myself.”
Taya

 

5 Tips for Taking Spectacular Candid Photos: Beginners’ Edition

Candid photography is a genre that revolves around spontaneity. It’s often associated with the family photographer because of its ability to capture real moment and expressions.

The main difference between candid and portrait photography is posing. While portrait photography usually requires a strong knowledge of flattering angles, poses, etc., candid photography relies on pure presence. Only by being in the moment will you be able to get the perfect candid shot.

Being a skilled candid photographer will give you access to loyal clients, provide you with photos that will make your portfolio look amazing, and strengthen your creativity skills. Even if it doesn’t become your main passion in life, it will leave you feeling refreshed.

Here are 5 ways you can embrace this gratifying genre and become a better candid photographer.

family photos

Take Photos Consciously

Candid photography is all about unpredictable moments. This means you can’t put your camera down unless you want to miss a great opportunity. However, make sure you don’t shoot mindlessly. Take as many photos as you can, but do it consciously. Be aware of what your clients are doing. Read their emotions. This will help you take meaningful photos.

One of the most effective ways to read someone’s emotions is to get to know them first. Before you photograph your clients, befriend them. Observe their mannerisms and listen to their stories. Though you won’t be able to read their faces perfectly, you’ll get a better idea of who they are as individuals. That’s significantly better than photographing strangers.

family photos children

Shoot in Burst Mode

Most modern DSLRs have Burst mode, a feature that quickly takes lots of photos within a few seconds. This is ideal for moments when a lot is happening at once. Use burst mode to photograph your subjects when they’re laughing, playing, and moving around quickly.

family portrait candid

Autofocus or Manual?

Manual focus is precise and requires a lot of patience. Autofocus, on the other hand, is very quick but may not give you the most precise results.

If you’re photographing a moving subject, you might focus on the wrong spot either way. It all depends on the situation and what you’re comfortable with. In my opinion, both autofocus and manual focus are great for candid photography, so experiment with both until you find a method that appeals to you.

candid animal photo

Practice by Photographing Animals

Animals

are fantastic subjects for candid photography enthusiasts. If you have a pet, take photos of it while it plays and interacts with other animals. This will allow you to improve your skills without feeling awkward, wasting time, or making your subjects feel self-conscious. Most importantly, it will help you make mistakes without discouraging your clients.

If you don’t have access to animals, take photos of friends or family member when they’re busy talking to one another. In their presence, you won’t have to worry about awkwardness or mistakes.

low light candid portrait

Use High ISO Numbers in Low Light

If you’re going to take photos in relatively low lit areas, you’ll want to increase your camera’s ISO number. A high ISO number will capture more light, which will help you take sharper portraits. Experiment with different numbers until you find one that has the perfect amount of grain. My favorite range is ISO 400 – ISO 1600 (I use a Canon 5D mark ii.)

Don’t let grainy photos intimidate you. Most modern editing programs, including Photoshop and Lightroom, have brilliant noise-reducing features.

family candid

Candid photography is a genre that will fulfill you in many ways. It will improve your photography skills, strengthen your imagination, and give your clients unforgettable memories. Practice, experiment, and go make someone’s day using your unique point of view.

August Essentials You Must Have in Your Camera Bag

In many parts of the world, it’s currently so hot that people’s cameras are threatening to melt under the scorching sun. During times like these, it’s important to protect yourself from heat, insects, and other inconveniences that naturally emerge during the summer months.

This doesn’t mean you have to invest in expensive protection gear (though that, too, would be handy). You can, however, invest in small but practical items that will make this month easier to handle. By keeping yourself and your equipment cool and protected, you’ll have more energy to take photos and less reasons to worry about discomfort.

Below, you’ll find seven handy items that you can easily carry in your backpack or camera bag.

sunscreen

Sunscreen

This one might seem obvious, but it’s one we tend to forget or ignore most of the time. (I’m guilty of this!) Fortunately, today’s sunscreens aren’t chunky or disgusting. Most of them smell wonderful, are easy to apply, and won’t make you feel like a sticky little frog. Carrying a small one in your bag will save you from a lot of painful sunburns!

An Extra T-Shirt

There’s nothing quite as uncomfortable as having to walk around in a sweaty t-shirt, especially if you’re planning to take photos of yourself or photograph other people. The best solution to this problem is to carry a light item of clothing in your bag.

summer snack

A Snack That Won’t Spoil

Chances are that walking and photographing will make you hungry. If you have nothing delicious to eat during your shoot, you’ll feel extra tired and grumpy. Grab a few snacks that are healthy, filling, and yummy. My personal favourites are small fitness bars filled with nuts, chocolate pieces, and cereal.

Travel Size Anti-Bug Spray

While some insects are simply bothersome, others are dangerous. Don’t enter a forest without applying bug repellent on your skin. This will protect you from ticks, ants, mosquitoes, and other creepy crawlies that could make your outdoor trip an inconvenience.

summer hat

A Cap or Hat

Whatever you do, make sure your head is covered when you go out. A cap will provide you with shade when you look through your photos, while a hat will make you look very fashionable. I often used summer hats to cast beautiful little shadows on my face for my self-portraits.

A Lens Cleaner

Summer means beaches, water, or even deserts, which also means that your lens will be covered in tiny particles. These particles will stand out in your photos, especially when sunlight hits them. Not pretty.

If you clean your lens with your finger or a random cloth, you might accidentally scratch it. The best tool you can use is a professional lens cleaner, which exists in the form of a cloth or pen. Both cost less than $10 on Amazon and will take up very little space in your bag.

neutral density filter

Lens Filters

It’s difficult to take appealing photos on bright days without the help of filters. With a lens filter, you’ll be able to block out unnecessary sunlight, create vibrant atmospheres, or simply keep your lens safe. Here are a few popular ones that might make your shooting experience more interesting:

  • Clear filters are very cheap and will simply add a layer of protection to your lens.
  • Circular polarizers will deepen the colours in your photographs and create more contrast.
  • Neutral density filters will perfectly expose your images (i.e. darken them).
  • Bokeh filters will change the shape of your bokeh and just give you an opportunity to have fun!

summer camera bag

The items above won’t take up much space in your bag, will keep you cool and safe, and will provide you with the best shooting experience possible. Remember to keep your skin protected, your head covered, and your lens clean.

Now go out and enjoy August!

Mistakes I’ve Made as a Freelance Portrait Photographer

Everybody makes mistakes, but that doesn’t mean we have to make the same mistakes. Sharing our experiences and learning from one another is one of the best ways to evolve quickly. When we end up in tricky situations, we’ll know what to do based on the wisdom that was passed down to us from professionals. And when we experience epic failures of our own, we’ll have the opportunity to stop others from repeating our mistakes.

Here are a few mistakes I’ve made as a freelance portrait photographer. I hope they teach you the importance of staying open-minded, imaginative, and persistent.

model posing

Giving Different Models the Same Posing Instructions

During one of my first portrait photoshoots, I remember giving my model very specific posing tips. These poses looked incredible on my other subjects, so I assumed they’d look just as flattering when my model tried them out. They didn’t, which confused me and made her feel uncomfortable. Yikes!

Fortunately, we found a solution that I still use to this day: get to know your model’s preferences and best angles before you give them any instructions. This leads to my next mistake.

meeting photoshoot

Not Meeting My Models Before a Shoot

Though many of my models are my friends, some are acquaintances whose life stories I’m completely unaware of. There have been times when I immediately started taking photos of models, which led to a lot of miscommunication. Not knowing what my subjects wanted to create a large void in my creative work.

Photographing models shouldn’t feel the same as photographing strangers. If you don’t know your subject’s favorite models, poses, expressions, and ideas, you won’t be able to create a strong photographer-model relationship with them. Get to know them before your shoot. This can be as simple as taking a walk, having coffee, or Skyping together.

Make sure you let your model express their opinions. They shouldn’t feel like inanimate objects when they’re in front of your camera. By giving them the opportunity to use their voice, you’ll be able to use your creativity more efficiently. You might also learn new things thanks to their input.

money notebook

Being Embarrassed by How Much I Charged

I was very young when I started taking photos. All of the photographers I looked up to were professionals who charged hundreds of dollars for a single photo shoot. I was afraid that the amount I charged would be criticised because of my age, experience, and equipment. Fuelled by those fears, I lowered my price significantly. This stopped me from fully enjoying my shoots.

If you believe that what you’re charging is fair, don’t be embarrassed by it. Your time is valuable. Your willingness to photograph other people’s beauty is admirable. Don’t forget that.

learning photography

Assuming It Was Too Late to Start Learning

This is a mistake that I’ve been making for many years. Once I got to a point where I felt comfortable with my skills, I stopped learning about other photography genres. I started focusing on portrait photography only. When I started to develop an interest in other genres (macro photography, for instance) I was afraid it was too late to learn anything. This prevented my work from growing as much as it deserved to.

Regardless of your experience, always consider yourself a student. Don’t be afraid of learning new things, experimenting with new genres, and just being a beginner. Everything you learn will open new doors for you.

ugh cup

Ugh, mistakes. We will make them, learn from them, and appreciate them for what they are. Instead of regretting your failures, let them help you improve as a photographer. Learn from them, learn from others, and share your knowledge with the artists around you. This way, we can all move forward together.

If you want to grow, you need to get over any fear you may have of making mistakes.”
– John C. Maxwell

Where to Take Portrait Photos on Bright and Sunny Days

September is bright, and by bright I mean harsh noon light that will make you feel physically uncomfortable and create unflattering textures on your model’s face. Nobody wants to feel uncreative and sweaty during a photo shoot, which is why we tend to avoid taking photos when August approaches.

Thankfully, there are ways you can make the most of the summer light without jeopardizing your well-deserved comfort zone. When the temperature is just too high but you still want to sharpen your photography skills, shoot in these places.

home portrait

Your Own Home

When I first moved into a small apartment, I was very discouraged by the lack of space. I couldn’t place my tripod wherever I wanted, take extremely wide shots, or move without bumping into a kitchen table or stubbing my toe. With time, I learned to appreciate these obstacles and use them in my images, especially when it was too hot to take photos outside.

No matter how uninteresting you think your home is, it can be used as a creative location for a shoot. Take the time to observe the things you usually take for granted. Could your curtains create interesting shadows? Could your plant be used as an attractive foreground? Could your chair be used as a simple yet effective prop? By noticing details, you’ll open a new world for ideas for yourself. And it will do nothing but benefit you in countless ways.

For the best results, have your model stand next to a curtained window. The window will soften the harsh August light and give your subject’s skin a soft glow.

shopping mall portrait

A Shopping Mall

(Before you take photos in a public place, make sure you have permission to do so. Uncomfortable confrontations are unnecessary. If your local mall doesn’t support photo shoots, find a smaller store that does.)

Malls are filled with shopping signs, artificial light, space, and most importantly, lots of cool air. This location is ideal for those who want to improve their indoor portrait photography skills. Neon lights will make your photos look surreal, cafe atmospheres will add a touch of warmth to your work, and harsh artificial light will serve as a brilliant backdrop for bokeh-filled silhouettes.

forest portrait

A Forest

Forests provide lots of shade, cool air, and a chance to photograph nature’s stunning summer colors. Photograph details around you to create diptychs later on. Experiment with shadows made by branches and flowers. Play around with depth of field.

If you’re planning to take self-portraits, use the forest to strengthen several photography skills. Experiment with:

Before you go out, make sure you’re protected. Apply mosquito repellent cream to any exposed areas on your skin, and wear boots that won’t expose you to dangerous insects like ticks. Bring a snack or two (cool forest air tends to make us hungry). When you get to your destination, don’t explore too much or else you’ll get lost.

under a tree portrait

Under a Tree

You might think that unlike a forest, a single tree doesn’t have much to offer. In reality, it can enhance your portraits in many ways. When it’s bright outside, a shade is a perfect location for well-lit portraits. The surrounding light will naturally brighten your subject’s face without highlighting unflattering textures. It will also create clear bokeh that will complement your model’s features and give your composition an entirely new look.

outdoor portrait

Despite their simplicity, these locations will provide you with a lot of creative opportunities. They’ll teach you to make the most of your surroundings, let you dive into new sub-genres like artificial light, and encourage you to pursue your goals regardless of the weather.

Where do you take photos when the temperature outside is unbearable? Let us know in the comments!

How to Get Photography-Related Job Opportunities Without Having Lots of Followers

In today’s world, social media platforms are highly valued. Celebrities like Kylie Jenner earn up to $1 million per Instagram post. Accounts with hundreds of thousands of followers get paid to promote eye-catching products. It’s easy to assume that only the most famous individuals can get offers that they care about.

Though having lots of followers has its perks, it’s not the only door to job opportunities. Regardless of your follower count, you can have access to collaborations and jobs that will not only fulfill your creative side but pay you for your hard work. Here are ways you can find photography-related job opportunities.

(Disclaimer: There’s no guarantee that these methods will make you rich. The least they’ll do is provide you with new connections, freelance jobs, and lots of work experience.)

portfolio

Build a Strong Portfolio

Before you get in touch with anyone, you must be confident in your portfolio. With an impressive gallery, you’ll be able to earn your clients’ trust, show them your strengths, and give them a clear idea of your general shooting style. Your portfolio will make up for the number of followers that you have. After all, most clients value high quality over popularity.

Here are a few portfolio-building tips:

  • Keep your photos diverse. Showcase your best work but include a few experimental photos so potential clients know how far you can go artistically.
  • Make sure you have a photo of yourself somewhere on your page. Friendly faces are easier to warm up to than anonymous profiles.
  • Include a few behind-the-scenes photos on a separate page. This will help companies visualize your working process and trust you more.

art print

Reach out to Small Companies

International and local companies are always on the lookout for photographers to collaborate with. While some focus on popularity, others simply want high-quality photos of their products.

Though you can reach out to bigger companies, try to focus more on smaller ones. This will increase your chances of finding an interesting client. Keep in mind that not every company will be willing to pay you for your services. Some might just want to give you their products for free. To avoid misunderstandings, make your intentions clear in your e-mail.

photography tutorial

Make Your Own Tutorials

You don’t need to be famous to teach others. Your content doesn’t need to be deeply educational, either. You can talk about photography problems, where you find inspiration or mistakes you’ve made. Alternatively, you can dive deep into the world of technical terms and help photographers improve their skills.

Photography websites are always in need of teachers. All you have to do is find the right website for your teaching style. Some photographers create video courses, which they sell to websites like Skillshare. Some write articles about photography. Others create helpful infographics. The path you choose depends on your other interests.

If you want to teach but don’t know where to start, make a list of your passions and strengths. If you love the design, you’ll enjoy making infographics. If you love writing stories, photography articles might be your ultimate passion. Don’t be afraid of reaching out to different websites, working for various clients, and growing as an online freelancer.

stock photo agency work

Sell Your Work to Stock Photo Agencies

Some stock photo agencies pay very little per photo, while others pay a significant amount for every print they sell. Exclusive stock photo agencies accept only the best photographers (this is where a strong portfolio comes in handy.) More often than not, these companies won’t care about the number of followers that you have.

Usually, there are no immediate results in the stock photo world. Some companies pay monthly, while others pay every time you sell a photograph. If you have the time and patience to upload your work to various agencies, you’ll be rewarded with money, recognition, and something as pleasant as a book cover feature!

 

Small jobs have a lot of potentials. A simple opportunity can lead to a life-changing offer, long-term clients, or stronger photography skills. Getting great photography-related job opportunities as possible. If you remain patient, persistent, and open-minded, you’ll thrive in your own special way.

 

Creative Photos Ideas for August: A Quick Guide for Summer Season

Hot, bright, and full of possibilities, August is a month every photographer deserves to enjoy. As you soak up the summer sun, challenge yourself with the help of these fun ideas.

summer activities

Photograph Local Summer Activities

What do the people in your area enjoy doing on hot days? Answer this question through your photographs. If you want to take it a step further, start a project that focuses on summer street photography.

cloud resource

Create Resources for Future Projects

Thanks to August’s bright daylight, everything looks stunning. This is the ideal time to take resources for future editing projects. A simple photo of a cloud could help you create a breathtaking double exposure. A closeup of a colorful flower could end up complementing a portrait in a diptych. Even if you don’t have any specific ideas in mind, store these summery photos in a special folder. Your future self will thank you.

countryside August

Take a Break in the Countryside

If, like me, you’re eagerly looking for ways to escape the heat, go to the countryside. You’ll get to ground yourself, photograph new locations, meet new people, and refresh your body and mind.

golden hour August

Have a Golden Hour Photoshoot with a Friend

Shortly before sunset or after sunrise, the sun creates an ethereal glow. The golden hour lasts longer in the summer; use this fact as an excuse to spend some quality time with your friends. You’ll have the chance to bond with them and sharpen your portrait photography skills.

gardening hobby August

Take up a New Hobby (And Document It)

There are lots of affordable hobbies that are perfect for hot August days. In addition to learning something new, photograph your experience. Here are a few ideas:

  •  Gardening
  •  Beach yoga
  •  Watermelon carving
  •  Fishing

summer food photography

Improve Your (Summery) Food Photography Skills

Food photography is an exclusive genre that many of us have yet to try. Fortunately, August is the ideal time to dive into this genre. Thanks to the abundance of fruit and vegetables available, you can create your own food photography challenge without spending a lot of money.

lens filter August

 

Play with Lens Filters

Fractal, haze, polarizing, neutral density. All of these things are lens filters that will help you photograph landscapes on bright days, add a surreal touch to your portraits, or enhance the colors in your photos. If you can’t afford them, make your own! There’s an abundance of incredible tutorials out there, from paper filters that will change the shape of your bokeh, to simple cling film that will make your images look dreamy.

b&w cat august

Go Against the Flow and Take B&W Photos

August is known for its bright, vibrant colors. Why not challenge this idea by photographing the summer’s colorless side? By introducing yourself to a world you’re not used to seeing on a daily basis, you’ll improve your imagination and create photos that will beautifully enhance your portfolio.

family members August

Take Photos of Your Family

Summers are often a time when family members come together and go on vacation. Use this opportunity to photograph activities that you cherish.

camping trip

Go on a Camping Trip with Your Loved Ones

Camping

will expose you to a plethora of photo opportunities: gorgeous landscapes, breathtaking details, candid portraits, and stunning night skies.

wedding August

Work as a Second Shooter at a Wedding

Weddings are usually very busy. Since there’s so much going on, it’s likely that one photographer won’t be enough to capture every special moment. Contact a local wedding photographer and offer to help them shoot. You’ll get to earn some money and improve your wedding photography skills.

writing down accomplishments August

At the End of the Month, Write down Your Accomplishments

Every challenge must have a conclusion and a reward. Write down your accomplishments, highlight your strengths, and think about the skills you’d like to improve. Most importantly, reward yourself with something you love, be it a guilt-free day of laziness, a day out with your friends, or a mouth-watering snack.

 

There’s an abundance of exciting things you can do during the month of August. These activities will not only relax you but give you an opportunity to become a more experienced photographer.

Which activities stood out to you? Let us know in the comments!

Photo Ideas for Field or Camping Trips for Artists on the Go

We still have over a month of summer left, which means there’s still time to go on exciting adventures, soak up the summer sun with your friends, and make the most of your free time. One of the best summer activities is going on a camping trip with your loved ones. This opportunity is ideal for bonding, spending quality time away from technology, and improving your photography skills.

Camping trips offer breathtaking surroundings and photogenic subjects. They’re great for photographers who want to experiment with a lot of different genres without worrying about the results. However, due to the sheer amount of things you can photograph, these trips can be a little overwhelming.

To save you from unnecessary stress, here is a list of photo ideas that will help you make the most of your travels.

camping trip wide shot

camping trip wide shot II

Wide Shots Featuring Your Surroundings – Landscape Photography

Give your future self a clear idea of where you were during your trip. Photograph your surroundings using a wide-angle lens. If you don’t have one, take several photos of one location and stitch them in an editing program; this will create a very eye-catching panorama.

Wide shots are perfect for capturing the general atmosphere of a location. They also look good in portfolios, on social media, and in art galleries. You might even end up selling your landscape photos to some very eager art appreciators. πŸ™‚

camping trip details

Details – Macro Photography/Diptychs

As appealing as details are, they’re easy to forget. This is why it’s very important that you photograph as many of them as you can. During your trip, this can be the mug you’re using, the food you’re eating, or the leaves on the tree that’s right above your sleeping bag. Every moment counts.

You might not use detailed snapshots in your portfolio, but you’ll definitely use them to go back in time to a very refreshing and fulfilling adventure. If you want to be extra creative, use these details to create two-photo collages called diptychs (pictured above).

camping trip candid portrait

camping trip campfire friends

Posed and Candid Photos – Portrait Photography

A camping trip is nothing without friends, so make sure you include them in your best shots! Make sure you take a combination of posed and candid portraits. Posed photos are great for social media and even your own portfolio. Candid photos, on the other hand, can be proudly added to family albums and cherished for years to come.

camping trip drone photography

camping trip drone photography II

Bird’s Eye View – Drone Photography

Even though drone photos are very, very popular, don’t let that stop you from appreciating your own surroundings from above. By photographing your experience from a unique angle, you’ll add to your rich collection of landscapes, details, and portraits. These visual memories are bound to make your trip unforgettable. (And if you really want to take it to the next level, film your journey!)

camping trip

camping trip

Different Times of Day

To really improve your photography skills, make sure you take photos at different times of the day. Daylight will help you take bright photos of your friends and surroundings; the golden hour will provide you with the perfect light for all kinds of photos, and the evening will give you the chance to sharpen your nighttime photography skills.

camping trip

I hope the ideas above help you make the most of your photography skills and your camping trip. I’m certain that by the time it’s over, you’ll be significantly more experienced as an artist.

Regardless of how much you love the world of photography, though, make sure you live in the moment, too. Trips are meant to be relaxing, fun, and eye-opening. As soon as you start to feel stressed, put everything down and just be there for yourself and your friends.

Now let’s go out and make some amazing memories. πŸ™‚

Interview with Christian Benetel: Fashion and Portrait Photography

Christian Benetel is a 23-year-old fashion and portrait photographer from Australia. His photos are raw, emotive, and deeply meaningful. In this interview, he talks about his early beginnings on Flickr, where he finds inspiration, how his travels have impacted him, and more.

I’ve been following Christian’s work for a few years. The amount of love and energy that he pours into his concepts is a source of motivation for many artists. If you’re looking for a new role model in the photography world, you’re in the right place!

christian benetel

1. How did you get into photography?  

I got into photography almost 10 years ago in high school when my sister had just started taking self-portraits and was uploading them to Flickr. After school, she would show me her own shots and those of the people she followed. I saw everyone’s creativity on display and knew immediately that I wanted to express myself through the medium of photography.

2. What are the key differences between who you were before you discovered photography and who you are now? 

Well, when I started photography I was around 14 and now I’m 23 so we would need about 10 more pages to list all the differences! In terms of the difference photography made, it really just gave me another outlet to express emotions that built up inside me, whether positive or negative.

christian benetel

3. Where do you go when you need to find inspiration?

If I’m ever in a creative slump, music is always the answer for me. I’ve been playing music and passionate about it since I was little, it has inspired so much of my work. You’ll never catch me editing a photo without music playing in the background.

4. Has life in London affected your photography style in any way?

As everybody knows, London is known for its dreary and cloudy weather. You’re probably thinking that this affected the lighting and tones of my shots and whilst you’re definitely right the main thing it changed was my emotional state!

Months on end of cold, miserable weather after moving out of home for the first time, to the other side of the world, completely alone put me in a tough place mentally. As a result of this, I created a lot of darker images within the first 6 months of moving. I was struggling a lot to adjust to my new life and am so thankful I had photography as an outlet during a difficult time. 

christian benetel

5. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

That’s a really tough question. I just hope that by then I’ve been able to make a career out of my photography and that I’m still creating work that’s emotive and creative. I’m starting to get into cinematography too so who knows, I may have a film under my belt by then!

6. What is your favorite photograph from your own gallery? 

I’ve never been good with favorites, each photo is special in its own way but my favorite at the moment is called ‘Spectre’ (pictured below). This was an extremely personal shot I made shortly after moving abroad. My aim with my photos is to always capture an emotion and I think this shot does that very well.

christian benetel

7. If you could take photos of anyone in the world, who would it be?

I would go back in time and take pictures of family members of mine who have passed while they were still here. It would be amazing to get photographs of them in their prime

8. What is your biggest creative strength? 

I haven’t focussed heavily on having a consistent style, vibe or ‘look’ in my photos.

christian benetel

9. What is your biggest creative weakness?

I haven’t focussed heavily on having a consistent style, vibe or ‘look’ in my photos. It’s a blessing and a curse!

10. What is something you wish every photographer knew?

I think right now especially, photographers need to remind themselves of why they take photos. I think many people are catering to whatever they believe will give them more followers, more likes and more traffic to their page. I say just create what you love and share that. People want to see genuine, heartfelt work.

Follow Christian on Flickr, Instagram, Facebook, and his website.christian benetelchristian benetelchristian benetel

How to Find Inspiration During the Summer Months

As relaxing and exciting as the summer months are, they can lead to a creative block. You might not be sure where to go, what to photograph, or how to adapt to your bright surroundings. These are all very natural obstacles that can easily be removed with the help of a few activities.

The tips below will help you find inspiration, enjoy the freedom of summer, and take joyful summery photos.

picnic photography

Have a Photography Picnic with Your Friends

Why pursue photography on your own? Plan a traditional picnic with your friends! Don’t bring your phones or any other distracting gadgets. Instead, bring delicious snacks, fascinating books, and your camera.

This opportunity will not only allow you to bond with your friends but give you a chance to document your time together. You’ll also get to sharpen your portrait and lifestyle photography skills in the process. For the best lighting results, take photos in the shade.

Bonus tip: for extra cozy summer photos, take photos of details and surroundings. You’ll be able to use these photos to create diptychs (a collage made of two photos) that will stand out in your gallery.

self-portrait summer polaroid

Take Summery Photos of Yourself

Summer is bursting with bright (and golden hour) light that is ideal for self-portraits. Here are a few tips that will help you take the most visually appealing photos of yourself:

  • If you want to take portraits with soft backgrounds, use small f-numbers like f/1.8 or f/1.4. This will separate you from the background and create a stunning blur around you. If you want to have a sharper background in your portraits, use larger f-numbers like f/3.5. (Keep in mind that not every sharp background will complement your face, so be conscious of your surroundings.)
  • When it’s too sunny and hot outside, take self-portraits indoors. For the best results, pose next to a large window and make sure your background is simple but pleasing to the eye. (A curtain will make any face stand out. Use it in at least one of your self-portraits!)
  • When the weather outside is survivable, take self-portraits in a shaded area. The surrounding light will add a sparkle to your eyes and light up the background bokeh.

beach portrait sunset

Shoot (And Rest) on the Beach

Beaches are the epitome of summer. When you’re on the beach, you can take photos of details, landscapes, people, and more. Simply put, it’s the ideal place for a wide variety of photographers. It’s also the ideal place for relaxation.

If you’re in an experimental mood, take underwater photos. There are lots of affordable gadgets, like disposable underwater cameras or underwater phone cases, that will help you take unique photos of your most idyllic summer memories.

volleyball summer

Photograph Local Events

In the summer, the streets are usually filled with more events, games, and irresistible ice-cream stands. During this time, street photographers can find their next best shot.

This is also an interesting time for sports photographers. If you’re an aspiring photographer in this genre, make the most of local activities like surfing, basketball, volleyball, etc. Meet new people, share your work, and take those photography skills to the next level!

scavenger hunt with child

Work on a Photo Scavenger Hunt

Children will love this project. All you have to do is make a list of summer-related items to photograph. These can be items that you make on your own or day-to-day objects that they can find themselves. You could look for seashells, butterflies, fruit, etc.

If your little models are old enough, let them take the photos themselves. This project will make them feel comfortable in front of the camera, encourage them to pursue their artistic dreams, and give them an opportunity to have lots of fun. What’s not to love?

watermelons on the beach summer

Summer is filled with an abundance of potential. You have lots of time to enjoy these activities and come up with your own refreshing ideas. Remember to have fun, enjoy the sunshine, and make memories that are worth photographing. πŸ™‚

Creative Hobbies That Will Improve Your Photography Skills

Think of your favorite hobbies. When was the last time you put your camera down and enjoyed them?

Spending too much time in one world can lead to boredom, uninspiring thoughts, and unoriginal ideas. To prevent this, get out of your comfort zone and experiment with something. This doesn’t mean you have to abandon your creativity altogether; there are many artistic hobbies that will not only rejuvenate you but help you improve as a photographer. Here they are.

painting

Drawing/Painting

Drawing demands a lot of patience and concentration. In order to create something appealing, you have to focus on shading to get the perfect lighting effect. As you work with shadows, highlights, and colors, you’ll become more appreciative of your subject. Even a simple leaf, which can be found anywhere, will leave you in awe of nature. By learning how to appreciate details, you’ll open your mind to refreshing perspectives.

Experiment with different subjects, but make sure you focus on genres that are similar to your photography style. If you’re a portrait photographer, try drawing a face. If you’re a macro photographer, draw a detailed closeup. You can even use your own images as references!

gardening

Gardening

Time spent in the great outdoors is time well spent. Gardening is a great opportunity to enjoy the simplicity of nature. It’s also an excuse to ground yourself.

Taking care of plants is a quick and relaxing hobby, so it’s ideal for breaks. Being close to nature will provide you with new ideas and refresh your mind. When your mind gets cluttered, take a quick walk, work on your own little garden, or simply take the time to absorb nature’s beauty. This peaceful exposure to nature will calm your mind and give you the freedom to come up with original concepts for your photographs.

floral crown - DIY photo prop

Making Photo Props

DIY props

are challenging, fun, and creative. They’re ideal for photographers who like working with their hands. Most importantly, every DIY project you work on will come in handy.

Here are a few simple DIY ideas:

  • Floral Crowns
  • Polaroid frames (made out of paper)
  • Bokeh lens covers
  • A large painted backdrop for indoor studio shoots

Since you’ll know how much hard work you put into the creation of an item, you’ll want to make the most of it. Your hard work will improve your photos (or, at least, add a creative touch to them).

writing

Writing

You don’t need to be a famous author to enjoy this hobby. Writing will make you more articulate, give a voice to your deepest feelings, or simply allow you to have fun with random thoughts.

You don’t need to be vulnerable, silly, or honest if you don’t want to. In the writing world, there’s room for all kinds of people. Here are just a few of the areas you can explore:

  • Short stories
  • Diary-like entries
  • Photography ideas/doodles
  • A general thought palace

Letting your thoughts out — be it in the form of a thought bubble or a heartfelt sentence — will refresh your mind, boost your confidence, and give you the motivation you need to become a better photographer.

playing guitar

Playing an Instrument/Singing

Listening to music can be therapeutic. Playing music can be an amazing opportunity to relax, inspire yourself, and stay in the present moment. While singing a song, you might get inspired by a lyric. While playing music, you might think of an original photo concept. Regardless of what happens, you’ll end your session feeling rejuvenated.

If you don’t play any instruments, consider investing in used ones. If you don’t like singing, find a friend who does and collaborate with them. Find music-related videos that inspire you. Make a list of songs you’d like to master on an instrument. These activities will give you the energy you need to become a better creator.

photographer

If nothing else, the hobbies above will encourage you to rest. Once you rest, your mind will naturally open itself up to new possibilities, thoughts, and goals. By opening itself up, the mind will absorb information more efficiently. When this happens, you’ll find yourself transforming into a more articulate, open-minded, and inspired individual. And in this process, you’ll become an even more incredible photographer.

20 Travel Photographers Who Will Give You Serious Wanderlust

If you want to get inspired by an eclectic mix of travel photographs, you’re in the right place. These 20 artists are guaranteed to give you serious wanderlust.

luca bravo

Luca Bravo

Luca is an Italian UX designer and front-end web developer who takes amazing photos of nature and cities. He finds beauty in mountains, concrete jungles, and simple landscapes. He also photographs architecture, products, and views from above.

simon

Simon Migaj

Simon is an adventure and travel photographer from London. His portfolio is filled with a combination of cold landscapes that will give you goosebumps and summery photos that are reminiscent of childhood. His love for traveling is very evident in this eclectic mix of images.

joshua

Joshua Cowan

Joshua is an English filmmaker who takes majestic photos of cliffs, beaches, and people from around the world. His photos will make you feel small, but they’ll also give you a feeling of homesickness as if every country he has visited actually belongs to you.

stefan

Štefan Štefančík

Štefan, who is from Czech Republic, has a portfolio that focuses on the relationship between people and nature. His images have soft tones and cozy atmospheres. He’s also a master of light, as you can see in the photo above. His work will make you wish you were the subjects in his photos.

matt

Matt Thomason

Matt is an American photographer who regularly takes photos of mountains and forests. He expertly photographs the pure beauty of nature, which needs absolutely no editing. His unique approach to travel photography will make you look at your surroundings from a fresh perspective.

felix

Felix Russell-Saw

Felix is an English filmmaker who photographs moments that, though seemingly insignificant at first sight, become our greatest travel memories. His work is vibrant, nostalgic, and memorable. The best thing about his portfolio is that it gets updated consistently, giving fans a constant flow of inspiration.

ryan

Ryan Tang

Ryan is a designer from Los Angeles. His recent photos of Thailand are filled with bright neon colours, eerie atmospheres, and the excitement that comes with city travels. His work will make you want to spend a night in the middle of a busy city.

keith

Keith Chan

Keith is a photographer from Hong Kong. His portfolio is a collection of gentle travel memories. He captures quiet moments, the kind of souvenirs that are exclusive to any given country. His work will make you want to go on a peaceful trip to an equally peaceful country.

john

John O’Nolan

In his own words, John is a professional homeless. He has been traveling for 7 years. His portfolio is rich with striking aerial, landscape, and portrait shots. In addition to having a diverse portfolio, John expertly composes his images, which results in very eye-catching photographs. His work is bound to give you a serious, serious case of wanderlust.

pablo

Pablo García Saldaña

Pablo is a cinematographer and travel photography instructor from Mexico. His professional view on travel photography helps him take very striking photos of even the simplest places. His work proves that you don’t need to live in an extravagant place to call yourself a travel photographer. Even so, his work will make you want to go out and document something unforgettable.

mahir

Mahir Uysal

Mahir is a Turkish photographer who takes moody photos of picturesque locations. Instead of simply observing nature, he becomes a part of it. By looking at his photos, you’ll that you, too, are a part of his world.

aditya

Aditya Saxena

Aditya is an Indian photographer who takes cinematic photos of details. He finds beauty in the most unexpected places. His work proves that with the right amount of curiosity, you can take incredible travel photos in your area.

ivan

Ivan Torres

Ivan is a photographer from the Philippines. His portfolio is a combination of scrumptious food photos and breathtaking travel shots. Looking through his work will reward you with a virtual travel experience you’ll never forget. Oh, and let’s not forget the intense wanderlust you’ll get!

jaanus

Jaanus Jagomägi

Jaanus is an Estonian UI/UX designer and videographer. He focuses mostly on nighttime travel photography, which is a unique sub-genre we should all experiment with more. His photos prove that you don’t always need natural light to take striking photos.

tyler

Tyler Lillico

Based in Alberta, Tyler creates cinema graphs and time lapses. His portfolio overflows with peaceful photos of nature that will inspire you to sit in silence and enjoy the present moment, no matter where you are.

liam

Liam Simpson

Liam is a designer from Australia. He likes to take photos on his hiking trips, which are as magical as the photo above. His photos often feature people enjoying their surroundings.

alif

Alif Ngoylung

Alif is a photographer from Thailand. You’ve probably seen the photo above on different websites. His work has gotten very popular for obvious reasons. The rest of the portfolio is similar to this image: it’s otherworldly, cinematic, and eye-catching.

hollie

Hollie Harmsworth

Hollie is a filmmaker from North Wales. She captures very elegant sides of nature that often feature coasts, lighthouses, and beautiful buildings. Her portfolio will make you want to enter her images and live there forever.

ludovic

Ludovic Fremondiere

Ludic is a French photographer who takes stunning aerial, landscape, and nighttime photographs. He effortlessly juggles the various sub-genres of travel photography. Because of this, he’ll inspire you to go out and experiment with every genre that exists.

kinga

Kinga Cichewicz

Kinga is a photographer based in Munich. Her dreamy portraits focus on the joyful sides of traveling. She photographs all kinds of people in all kinds of places. In addition to capturing the best sides of light, she knows how to balance travel, portraiture, and landscapes without making her portfolio look messy. Her photos are truly a work of art.

 

Which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!

5 Photography Genres and How They Can Help You Grow

The photography world is filled with genres that anyone could fall in love with. Oftentimes, it’s difficult to pick a favorite, especially if you’re a beginner. When you do find your strength, however, you might forget about all the other genres out there. In doing so, you’ll stop yourself from growing.

When you familiarise yourself with various photography genres, this will happen:

  • You’ll become a more open-minded individual
  • You’ll be more appreciative of various kinds of art and their creators
  • You’ll have a deeper understanding of diversity, which will help you have more meaningful conversations with others
  • You’ll have enriching knowledge that will help you improve your work quickly

Why not start introducing yourself to more worlds, then? To get you started, here are 5 genres that will inspire you to take more photos, give you a motivational boost, and open your mind.

self portrait outdoors

Self-Portrait Photography

Self-portraiture

is a sub-genre that revolves around independence, emotions, and self-confidence. Even though it’s often mistaken for arrogance, it continues to be a cathartic hobby for many people. Being vulnerable in front of a camera takes a lot of effort, which is why every photographer must give it a try.

Self-portrait photography will help you feel more comfortable in your skin and show you your best angles. If you’re a portrait photographer, it will help you understand your clients on a deeper level. It will also make you more aware of lighting and camera settings, which will improve your overall knowledge of photography. To put it simply, it will improve two important parts of your life: you and your love for art.

b&w typing

Black & White Photography

Seeing the world without color is something most of us can’t do naturally. A world without various shades and tones feels surreal and foreign, which is why b&w photography is the perfect genre for growth.

To really appreciate your genre, you have to try out something completely different. If you’re used to working with colors all the time, challenge yourself with a monochrome project. You’ll get access to a new perspective that will not only make you appreciate your own work but sharpen your image.

landscape photography

Landscape Photography

To really embrace landscape photography, you have to go out and appreciate your surroundings. You have to leave your home. This is refreshing for several reasons, one being that you’ll have the chance to get some fresh air and take photos simultaneously. Who says photography can’t be a healthy hobby?

Even though a lot of landscape photographers travel a lot, you don’t need to visit extravagant places to be a part of this genre. Sometimes, all you need to do is look at your area from a different perspective. Your curiosity might lead you to stunning places you didn’t even know existed!

conceptual photography

Conceptual Photography

Concepts usually require a strong knowledge of photo manipulation. To recreate your wildest ideas, you need to be familiar with layers, masks, and brushes. The better your editing skills, the more eye-catching your results will be.

Not every conceptual image requires a knowledge of Photoshop, though. Photographers like Oleg Oprisco use real-life props to create magical environments. Other artists, like Rosie Hardy, rely on their imagination and editing skills to create equally magical worlds.

Either option will inspire you to play with your imagination and come up with very exciting ideas.

nighttime portrait

Nighttime Photography

As intimidating as this genre might be, don’t let it scare you off. Nighttime photography will inspire you to work with very different settings to the ones you’re used to (e.g. high ISO numbers). It will also introduce you to artificial lighting, a side of photography that is often overlooked.

In addition to learning more about your camera’s settings and artificial light, you’ll discover that almost everything has potential. For example, you can easily take a beautifully-lit portrait of a friend with simple string lights.

camera outdoors

If you want to really take your photos to the next level, experiment with every genre you come across. Starting with the five above will give you lots of new skills and knowledge. The more genres you familiarise yourself with, the more open-minded you’ll become and the quicker you’ll grow. Learn, practice, repeat. Eventually, you’ll get there.

4 Important Questions That Photographers Should Ask Themselves Regularly

We all lead busy lives. Your days might be filled with creative ideas, the demands of a full-time job, or your children. Whatever situation you’re in, you deserve to take care of yourself, especially the part of you that finds comfort in art.

When you nurture this side of yourself, you’ll feel appreciated, confident, and strong. This will help you to both deals with everyday tasks and get better as a photographer.

How can you nurture yourself without neglecting other parts of your life? The easiest solution is self-reflection. By answering personal questions, you’ll find out something new about yourself. You’ll understand what you want and need. You’ll get closer to reaching your goals. You might even discover what those goals really are.

The questions below will help you get started. Answer them as honestly as possible. Answer them regularly. Chances are you’ll be left with a lot of enlightening information at the end of your sessions.

neon sign do something great

Do I like who I am becoming an artist?

Oftentimes, we get so lost in our ideas that we don’t realize where we’re going. We’re unaware of the impact we’re making in the community. We’re taking all kinds of photos without acknowledging our hard work. We’re forming bad habits without even wanting to.

If you can relate to this, take a step back and look at how far you’ve come. Compared to your older self, do you like who you are becoming?

journaling

Where do I want to be in 10 years?

The future is unknown, which is why a lot of people avoid talking about it. Most things don’t go as planned. Failure is inevitable. Nonetheless, have the courage to envision your future self. Don’t make any real plans; instead, think of the kind of place you’d like to be in. What will your portfolio look like in 10 years? What kind of job(s) would you like to have? These questions may not give you solid answers, but they’ll definitely show you what your heart is yearning for.

using resources to improve

What kind of resources can I use to improve my work?

No matter how (in)experienced you are, there will always be something you can improve about your work, even within a genre you’re very familiar with. For example, I’d like to get better at skin retouching. I’ve never taken the time to sit down and really get to know Photoshop’s useful tools. I can easily fix this by watching Youtube videos, asking fellow photographers for advice, or reading articles on Sleeklens. The best thing about all of these resources is that they’re free.

While there are lots of incredible premium resources out there, don’t let their price tags stop you from pursuing knowledge. If you can’t afford something, chances are that you’ll find a free alternative elsewhere. And if all else fails, just experiment.

boy laughing with French Bulldog

How do I want people to feel when they look at my photos?

When you look at your favorite artists’ work, how do you feel? Is this something you want your followers to experience, too?

Every photograph is interpreted differently by every viewer, but it also gives off universal emotions that almost every viewer will notice. A colorful portrait of a smiling child will warm your heart, while a black & white photo of a lonely figure will remind you of loneliness.

With this in mind, consider the impact you’d like to have on people. Write down a list of emotions that mean a lot to you, and see how you can include them in your future creations.

girl standing on top of a hill

Now that you’ve answered these questions, go out and try something new. In small but significant ways, improve your life.

Remember: this isn’t something you have to do once. Ask yourself these questions regularly. Checking in will show you how much you’ve changed, how much you’ve accomplished, and how close you are to your goals. With time, you’ll notice a spectacular difference in both your creative and personal life.

Which questions was your favorite? Are there any other questions that should be mentioned here? Let us know in the comments!

Tips for Teenage Photographers

When I started taking photos, I was only twelve years old. Photography was a very unfamiliar world which both excited and intimidated me. Because this experience was so new, I made a lot of mistakes, bumped into an abundance of frustrating obstacles, and compared myself to a lot of people. At the same time, I passionately took photographs, discovered my favorite genres, and befriended many fantastic artists who are still my friends today.

What I learned during my adolescent years helped me find great jobs, connect with the right people, and evolve. No matter how unprofessional my photographs were, my passion for photography helped me grow into who I am today.

Because of this, I’d like to dedicate this article to every teenage photographer out here. If you’re a teen who’s feeling lost in the world of photography, don’t worry. Below, you’ll find tips on how to overcome your personal obstacles and become the wonderful artist that you deserve to be!

teenage boy holding a camera

Experiment with Every Genre

Even if you’ve already chosen your favorite genre, don’t stop yourself from experimenting with different ones. Here are a few examples:

The experience you’ll get from this will help you a lot in the future. You’ll have more job opportunities to choose from, you’ll be able to connect with a wide variety of people, and you’ll have a lot of valuable knowledge to share with others.

girlfriends modelling on the ground

Work on Creative Projects

At the beginning of your photography journey, it’s important to gain as much experience as possible. One of the most effective ways to do this is to start creative projects. A few popular examples are:

  • 365 Project – take a photo every day for a year
  • 52-Week Project – take one photo every week for a year
  • Themed Series – take a series of photos (almost like chapters of a book) revolving around a special theme like friendship or emotions.
  • Strangers or Family Project – take photos of strangers or the people you love

Even if you fail or lose interest, don’t give up on these projects. Persist, experiment with everything that catches your eye, and evolve.

friends modelling for a photo

Take Photos with Your Friends

Turn your passion into an interest that you can share with your closest friends.

When I started my 365 projects, I often asked my friends to model for me. Though many of them felt uncomfortable in front of the camera, they gladly provided me with ideas and constructive criticism. This communication strengthened our bond and turned me into a more imaginative and open-minded person. The best thing is that it introduced photography into their lives. Some of them are photographers now, too! πŸ™‚

friends smiling

And When You Feel like Giving Up, Talk to Them.

There were many times when I felt like giving up on photography. My lack of experience often frustrated me, leading to the idea that I wasn’t good enough for my own passion. During such crucial moments, my friends were there to cheer me on.

Make sure you don’t isolate yourself from other people. To get the full artistic experience, collaborate with other people, get in touch with your favorite artists, and support others when they need help. Most importantly, ask for help. If you have great friendships, even the hardest obstacles won’t be able to bring you down.

girls modelling on the beach

Getting into photography at a young age is a blessing. Make the most of it by experimenting, connecting with all kinds of photographers, and sharing your story as authentically as possible. If you do this regularly, your future will be filled with incredible opportunities and lifelong friends. And trust me, the journey is worth it.

SaveSave

SaveSave

How to Photograph Children and Pets

Children are adorable, pets are little heart melters, and we’re more than eager to photograph them. The equation is simple:

Photography + children + pets = an explosion of indescribable cuteness.

The photo-taking process isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, though. Children and pet photo shoots require a lot of patience, technical knowledge, and determination. As intimidating as these requirements sound, they’re not impossible to satisfy.

Below, you’ll find tips on how to have successful photoshoots with children and their pets. Before you know it, you’ll be capturing the most heartwarming moments without wearing yourself out!

children with pet walking in the forest

Shoot in Continuous Mode

Continuous mode is a handy feature that quickly takes several photos while you hold the shutter. This is great for photography genres that are filled with speed or, in our case, playful children and animals.

The best times to use continuous mode are when your subjects are active. Shoot endlessly as they play, run around, and interact with their surroundings. You’ll get a lot of expressive results!

girl on the beach with her dog

Be Mindful of Your Camera Settings

During your child + pet photo shoot, sharpness and focus should be your priority. Not all camera settings will work during a time like this.

When it comes to shutter speed, shoot from 1/160 of a second. This will help you capture movements sharply. As for the aperture, you want something that will keep your subjects sharp, but not something that will make your entire image look flat. Your f-number, then, shouldn’t be too small (like f/1.8) or too large (like f/16). A good range is anywhere from f/2.5 to f/3.5.

girl holding a cat

Don’t Worry About Poses

Posing is great

. It strengthens the photographer-model bond, gives you a chance to express yourself accurately, and allows you to improve your social skills. However, it’s something you have to let go sometimes.

Unlike adults, children and pets don’t always listen to instructions. When you feel unheard, just go with the flow and embrace spontaneity. This will allow you to take natural photos of subjects that are completely lost in their own world. It will also strengthen your photography skills. Quickly capturing beautiful moments is much harder than photographing professional models, after all.

Also, be prepared to take blurry, unflattering, and badly lit photographs. Remember that even the most experienced photographers have moments of failure. Spontaneity and persistence will give you the best possible results.

girl holding cat

If You Do Want Them to Pose, Ask for Help

If a posed photoshoot is necessary, you’ll get the most successful results by asking for extra support. Without a helping hand, you’ll feel stressed, confused, and frustrated. That’s not the kind of environment you or your subjects deserve to be in.

Instead of stressing yourself out unnecessarily, you could ask the following people for help:

  • The child’s parents
  • A friend
  • A hired assistant
  • A second shooter

Someone could distract your subjects by talking to them or waving an object in the air. Someone else could take care of your equipment while you waited for the perfect moment. With this amount of support, you’d have enough space and time to take great photographs.

boy holding a French bulldog puppy

With the right amount of knowledge and help, your lively subjects will be a delight to photograph. To acquire that knowledge, all you have to do is research, practice, and learn from your mistakes.

Don’t forget to ask for support when you need it. Most importantly, enjoy documenting the unbreakable bond between children and their beloved pets. When you feel like giving up, think about this: your hard work is something that your clients will appreciate for years to come. The child you’re photographed will grow up and have a visual memory to cherish forever. *That* is worth fighting for.

SaveSave

The Perks of Being a Lifelong Photography Student

Photography is an amazing passion to have. It’s filled with never-ending inspiration, curious people, and an abundance of creative opportunities. These benefits are all particularly evident at the beginning of every photographer’s journey.

After some time, these photographers may believe that they’ve learned enough. An impressive social media following, along with a striking portfolio, might encourage them to sit back and forget the importance of learning. I know this, I’ve been there.

Learning, like photography, can be a lifelong passion. This doesn’t mean you should stay in university forever. All you have to do is go out there, expose yourself to knowledge, and never settle.

Here are the perks of being a lifelong photography student.

girl holding a photo of food

Your Portfolio Will Never Look Boring

Since there are millions of tutorials available online, free knowledge is limitless. There’s always something you can learn, be it a new Lightroom shortcut, macro photography secrets, or that tutorial you’ve been too afraid to watch. These tools are keys that will open new creative doors for you, no matter how small. In the long run, every single one will pay off.

With so much enriching knowledge, you’ll inevitably improve your own work. As a result, your photos will look different. Within a short period of time, you’ll have an exciting portfolio filled with impressive experiments, elements, and tricks. Your followers will notice this and admire your hard work.

reading an inspiring book

Your Mind Will Remain Open to Fresh Ideas

An advantage of being open-minded is the possibilities that come with every new idea. Even if an intimidating concept comes to mind, you won’t be afraid of bringing it to life. You’ll fearlessly look for answers in books, articles, and videos. Because of this openness, your mind will accept all kinds of ideas. Your work, in turn, will quickly bloom.

To become more open, observe your favorite photographers. If they have motivational videos, watch all of them. I highly recommend checking out Sue Bryce’s videos. She not only photographs beautifully but inspires her followers to love themselves. Witnessing the strength and fearlessness of others will give you the courage to reach new heights. As this happens, your mind will naturally open itself up to new information.

macro butterfly on a shoe

Life Will Be More Exciting in General

When you see potential everywhere, the world will become a universe of fascinating ideas. You’ll always have something to do, which will prevent unnecessary phases of boredom and feelings of uselessness. In short, you’ll feel more alive, both as a human being and a creator.

I used to think that the best photographers out there had access to lots of equipment and money. I thought that travel photographer were the luckiest of all. When I started challenging myself with various projects — like trying to take interesting photos in the same room — these assumptions disappeared. Before I knew it, I was finding inspiration in the most insignificant details!

If you want to improve in a similar way, challenge yourself. Commit to projects that stand out, no matter how difficult they might seem. As you experience obstacles, you’ll learn more about yourself and your passion for photography. You’ll find inspiration in more places, feel more energetic, and be more appreciative of your curiosity.

helping other people with photography

Your Knowledge Will Help Others

Once you acquire a lot of knowledge, you’ll be able to use it for the benefit of others. No matter how simple your photography tips may seem, there’s someone out there who would be grateful to know them. The same goes for any kind of knowledge, be it related to editing, self-help, or photography in general.

Imagine this: your knowledge can be used to improve someone’s creative life, make them feel better about themselves, and give them a helping hand during a hard time.

Your knowledge can also give you job opportunities. A lot of artists write tutorials, make Youtube videos, and talk at events. Their experiences become valuable lessons that not only support them financially but motivate others.

photographer rainforest

Knowledge is limitless. Don’t let your success or confidence stop you from becoming a lifelong learner. The more knowledge you acquire, the more interesting your life will be. The more knowledge you share, the more fulfilling others’ lives will be. It’s a precious circle of love and acceptance that the world needs more of.

And it can all start with you.

SaveSave

Interview with Savannah Daras: When Dreamy Meets Portraiture

Savannah Daras is a talented portrait and fine art photographer. Her photographs are dreamy, thoughtful, and beautiful color corrected.

In this interview, she talks about inspiration, her editing process, and more. Enjoy!

1. What inspired you to start taking photographs?

I’ve always loved art in all shapes and forms when I was a kid I would draw all the time, I also loved recording home movies and playing with Polaroid/disposable cameras. So the urge to create has always been there. Growing up my dad loved taking candid photos of everyone, he’d constantly have his Polaroid camera in hand. So naturally, I wanted to do the same. As I got older I got more into photography specifically. In 2005, around the time DeviantArt was popular as well as MySpace, was when I got my first digital camera and started taking self-portraits, teaching myself Photoshop, etc. Seeing everyone creating and expressing themselves on those platforms really inspired me to do the same.

savannah daras self portrait

2. If you could give your younger self some photography-related advice, what would it be?

That’s a tough question. Honestly, I’m really happy with the path that I’ve taken, and the process that I went through to learn what I did. It all felt very natural and fun, I don’t regret anything or wish I did anything differently. I suppose I would just tell my younger self not to worry about what others are doing, and to stay true to my desires and vision. I think a common plight among artists is comparing our work to others or worrying that we’re not doing the “right” thing to get to where we want to be. But I’m a firm believer that there are 1,000 ways to get to the same place, and everyone has their own path to follow.

savannah daras self portrait

3. Self-portrait photography is a very intimate and challenging genre. You’ve proven that it can also be an incredible source of creativity. What does a typical self-portrait shoot look like for you?

Absolutely, self-portraiture has a really special place in my heart. I get to express myself when I photograph others, but with self-portraiture, it’s the ultimate form of self-expression, as I get to dictate every tiny detail (which a perfectionist like me loves haha). A typical self-portrait shoot for me is actually pretty quick, I’ll decide what I want to wear and do for the shots usually at the moment. For me, when inspiration strikes I need to seize it soon or I will likely move onto something else. Then I like to find a simple yet beautiful spot that’s close by; I love shooting in flowery bushes or little nature spots that don’t look that fantastic at first glance but work as great backdrops. After that, I just set up my tripod and use a wireless remote to take my shots. I keep this part of my process pretty simple!

savannah daras portrait

4. You’re an expert at color correcting and editing. What do your editing sessions look like?

This is where the magic of my work really comes alive in my opinion. I spend a lot of time editing simply because I love perfecting every tiny detail, and making sure each photo tells its own story. I like that each photo of mine can stand on its own and it doesn’t necessarily need to be part of a larger set of images. I usually spend at least an hour on a single photo, often times 2-3 hours if it’s more elaborate. I put all of my attention into each final image I create, working on them until I feel they are exactly how I envisioned is a really special part of my personal creative process. I’ve spent 12+ years learning and growing in regards to retouching/color correcting in order to develop my own style, and I’m still learning new things all the time. It’s a never-ending journey.

savannah daras self portrait

5. What 3 things should every portrait photographer have in their camera bag?

I may not be the best person to ask this question since I’m totally not the type of photographer that carries tons of gear with them haha, I carry one body and lens with me and that’s it usually. Besides that it’s good to have some backup supplies such as hand warmers if you’re shooting when it’s cold out, bug spray if you’re venturing into the woods (I personally like apple cider vinegar mixed with water), a snack in case you get hungry, and model releases! I like to use an app on my phone instead of carrying around paper releases.

savannah daras portrait

6. Your portfolio is filled with soulful images. How do you make your models feel comfortable enough to express themselves so beautifully?

I wish I had a magic answer, but I’m a pretty reserved person so I’m definitely not an expert at pulling people out of their shells or being extroverted. But I think what has worked best for me is recognizing that I have my own unique personality and charm about me, and I don’t have to be like other people to be successful. When I was younger I used to feel bad about being “quiet” and introverted, living in a world where being extroverted is glorified has a tendency to do that. So I would read tips from other photographers that were very bubbly and extroverted, thinking that was the only way. There is of course nothing wrong with that at all, but it just wasn’t me.

I think the moment I realized that I had something special to offer in my own way was during a shoot years ago, the woman I was photographing told me that she really enjoyed how calming I was, that I gave off this very peaceful and comforting energy, and that made her feel comfortable in return. That was really special to me.

So, to answer your question, I just try my best to be myself when interacting with models. I’m of course very friendly and I talk with them, but I don’t go out of my way to be someone I’m not. I find it really helps to sit and hang out with them for a little bit before we jump into shooting, so we can get a feel for each other and connect in some way. Some are more comfortable than others in front of the camera, but they always warm up to it after a few minutes of shooting. It helps to show them shots on the back of the camera during the shoot as well, so they can see what they look like and if they need to adjust anything.

Typically if someone wants to work with me, they’ve already seen my work and have a feel for what my style is all about, so they know what to expect. The energy that I put out into the world is what I get in return, so I often attract people with similar views, which leads to us being on the same wavelength while creating.

savannah daras self portrait

7. Who are your favorite artists?

I have so many! We’re so lucky to have an abundance of talented souls on this planet. I could honestly list tons, but I’ll pick one for now. My dear friend Bella Kotak really inspires me, our styles and personalities are pretty similar, but her work is more fantasy/elaborate and it’s just so beautiful and enchanting. She’s doing amazing things and growing so much, she’s definitely my biggest inspiration when it comes to photography at the moment.

savannah daras portrait

8. If you could change one thing about the photography industry, what would it be?

I would change the common need for competition among photographers (and all creatives really). So often I see people withholding information because they don’t want to share their “secrets”, for example how they edit, or how they landed a certain job etc. To me it’s so silly, I’m an open book if someone asks me how I did something I’ll happily tell them. It’s not like I’m the only one on the planet that knows how to retouch the way I do. Sharing with others and lifting them up benefits us as well as them. It causes no harm to help someone else on their journey. Sure, there are tons of photographers striving for the same jobs, but in my opinion, we all have our own individual style and way of creating that there will always be someone out there that resonates with you. There are endless opportunities for all of us and I think it’s pointless to fight each other; I love connecting with people who want to create a community instead.

savannah daras self portrait

9. What do you wish every artist knew?

The journey that you’re on is your own, and it’s perfectly okay if it differs from someone else’s. In fact, it very likely will. Our current culture has a way of constantly shoving comparison in our faces, especially on platforms like Instagram. We see someone else’s highlight or staged moment and think “I wish my life was like that”, but chances are they’re living a pretty “normal” life outside of social media. The same goes for the art world, we see the finished product, not so much the trials and tribulations it took to get there. I think it’s perfectly fine to admire and look up to people, but it’s important to remember that every single person started from the same place, at square one. So if your journey seems longer or different from someone else’s in the same field, don’t worry about it so much. You will find the path that feels right for who you are and that’s all that matters.

savannah daras portrait

10. Last but not least, what is your biggest creative goal?

I’ve got quite a few big dreams rattling around in my head. I’d love to work with Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco, I’ve loved his music for so many years and I just really admire him as a person and artist. I think we could create some really amazing stuff together. I’d also love to photograph BTS, they always have such stunning visuals to go with their music, it would be an absolute dream to create with them. Another one is to shoot for Vogue and to have a huge team working to help bring my visions to life. I also just want to travel all around the world creating with companies and people that share the same creative passion that I do.

Savannah’s website, Facebook, and Instagram.

SaveSave

4 Reasons You Should Stop Comparing Yourself to Other Photographers

We’ve all compared ourselves to someone. We all know how paralyzing it is to feel out of place in a beloved industry.

When comparisons come into the picture, all we can think about is our lack of self-worth. Our photos lose meaning, our ideas seem dull, and our goals turn into unachievable dreams. Fortunately, these thoughts are often just illusions. You have all the tools you need to conquer them.

In this article, you’ll discover why comparisons aren’t worthy of your time. You’ll also get several tips on what to do when you fall into a pit of low self-esteem.

girl-stressed-photography-portrait

 

It’s Just Stressful

Let’s get the most straightforward reason out of the way: comparing yourself to others is time-consuming, confidence-killing, and paranoia-giving. In short, it’s one of the most effective ways to stress yourself out. That, dear reader, is something you don’t deserve.

Life is stressful enough as it is. No matter how old you are, it’s likely that you already have a bunch of issues that you’re working hard to solve. Adding photography to that pile will not only put pressure on you but make life seem purposeless.

If you find that you’re constantly comparing yourself to others, take a step back. Acknowledge the stress, accept its existence, and replace it with healthier thoughts like I’m full of potential or there’s always room to learn.

photographers-friends-boys-urban-photography

There’s Room for Everyone in the Industry

Oftentimes, the comparison is directly linked to the fear of not being worthy of a dream. For instance, you might compare yourself to other travel photographers if you want to become one yourself. You might try to find reasons you’re not talented, rich, or deserving enough.

The truth is, regardless of how many photographers enjoy your favorite genre, there’s always room for you in the art community. There will never be too many “similar” photographers in this world. In fact, the more artists there are, the more inspiration you’ll have access to.

Even if you’re looking for a photography-related job, don’t assume that you don’t have a chance just because you don’t have enough experience. The best photographers, in my opinion, have a fiery passion within them. Using that passion, they achieve their biggest dreams. You are more than capable of doing this.

inspiration-you-got-this

Competition Creates Resentment

There’s nothing wrong with trying to improve and evolve as an artist, but there’s a limit to how much you should compete with others.

If you’re trying to get a job, competition is important. If you’re aiming to do your best in school, competition is also very important. When it comes to the art community, however, it’s crucial to remember that nobody is competing with you.

If you look at your favorite photographers and see nothing but competition, you’ll feel bitter, uncomfortable, and insecure. This attitude completely ruins the very point of art: to soothe, inspire, and empower.

Your fellow photographers are in no way better than you. Many of them are willing to shower you with their support and advice. All you have to do is reach out, befriend them, and learn from them. It’s better to win with others than to win on your own, anyway.

girl-jumping-happy-photography-sunset

You Really Are Unique

No matter how similar your style is to someone else’s, your work is unique. No matter how many landscape/portrait/macro/travel photographers there are out there, you can stand out in your genre. No matter how many stories have already been told, yours will resonate with someone out there. And no matter how much you beat yourself up, the truth will remain: no one can be like you.

Instead of wasting your time on useless comparisons, find inspiration and create art. This way, you’ll be able to grow as an artist and inspire others through your portfolio.

photographer-holding-camera-outdoors

The next time you look at a fellow photographer and compare yourself to their success, take a step back. Appreciate their work, value the time they poured into it, and use that energy to create beautiful photographs of your own. If you do this, you’ll be proud of your decisions, have more friends, and receive more support. Isn’t that better than wasting your precious years on empty comparisons?

SaveSave

SaveSave

How to Protect Your Photos from Theft: A Must-Read Guide

In today’s age, it’s easy to download an image online. Websites, blogs, and social platforms are overflowing with photos belonging to other artists. Unfortunately, many of these artists aren’t credited. What’s worse is when their hard work is edited, sold, or used on disreputable websites without their knowledge.

While photography theft isn’t completely unavoidable, you can decrease the number of photos that get used without your permission. There are certain approaches that will not only keep your photographs safe but strengthen your reputation. Read on to find out more!

watermark 500px

Don’t Upload Large Versions of Your Work

This might seem straightforward, but it’s something a lot of photographers ignore. Resizing won’t guarantee that your work won’t get stolen, but it will definitely prevent an immense amount of theft.

Online users are drawn to large, high-quality images. If yours are fairly small, it will be hard to steal (or even sell!) them. Some websites can resize large photos or, like Flickr, make it impossible to download them. Make sure these features are enabled on as many websites as possible.

Create a Stunning Watermark

Not everyone is into watermarks, which is understandable. They have a bad reputation because of their unappealing qualities, some of which can completely ruin a gorgeous photograph. However, not all watermarks are unflattering.

There are lots of affordable graphic designers who transform logos into works of art. The right designers will create something that will not only complement your work but stand out very subtly. Most importantly, they will provide you with more safety.

photographer shooting outside

Disable the Right-Click Option on Your Website

If you have a website

, the best way to prevent theft is to disable the right-click option. This is the easiest way to keep your favorite photographs safe. And if you don’t want your best work to get stolen, share it exclusively on your website.

Some photography websites automatically protect all of their submissions. Some of these websites are 500px and Flickr. On 500px, every upload is automatically protected. Even shared photos have watermarks on them. On Flickr, you have to enable this option. Go to Settings > Privacy & Permissions > Global Settings > Who can download your images? > Only You.

Post Disclaimers

There are people who simply don’t know that downloading all kinds of photographs is unacceptable. All they need is a disclaimer.

A lot of photographers clearly state that their photographs shouldn’t be downloaded, reposted, or shared anywhere. Other photographers are okay with reposts as long as they get credited. Some, like Unsplash users, simply want to know where their work is used.

Your disclaimer depends on the kind of photographer you are. Which of the groups above could you relate to? To get the most accurate answer, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I want to see my photographs on other websites?
  • If I do, how do I want to be credited?
  •  If I’m okay with not getting credit, what kind of requirements should I have?

Once people are aware of what you expect, you’ll notice a significant decrease in theft.

writing an e-mail

If They Don’t Notice Your Disclaimer, Get in Touch with Them

Though many photography thieves are aware of their crimes, some are oblivious to them. If your photos have been reposted before, chances are that the thieves don’t even know your name!

Don’t confront every website that reposts your photograph without permission. Instead, write a polite message that you can use whenever someone uses your work. Mention your disclaimer and asks them to either credit you or take down the photograph. Though not everyone will respond kindly, a large percentage will respect your request and do as you say.

By expressing yourself politely, you will avoid a lot of unnecessary drama and stress.

photographer

As a hard-working photographer, you have every right to protect your work online. Fortunately, there are many ways you can do this without ruining your mood.

What can you do to keep your photographs safe right now? Let us know in the comments!

How to Take Self-Portraits That Look Spontaneous

Spontaneous portraits effortlessly capture raw human emotions. Because of this, it’s difficult to associate them with self-portraiture.

As a self-portrait photographer, you’re usually aware of the camera. As both the photographer and model, you have an idea of the emotions you want to document and the way you want to look. This awareness is the complete opposite of spontaneity. Or is it?

Spontaneous self-portraits are a genre of their own. It’s possible to take photos of yourself in which you’re genuinely unaware of the camera. It’s also possible to express yourself so naturally, that viewers won’t believe you took a photo of yourself.

With the help of music, new locations, films, and hobbies, you’ll be able to take photos that look both spontaneous and genuine. Here are tips on how you can achieve this.

outdoor self-portrait

Listen to Your Favourite Songs

We all love music. It lifts our spirits, comforts us on bad days, and gives us creative ideas. Why not let it help you during a photo shoot, too?

Create a playlist that makes you feel empowered, happy, dreamy, excited or anything else you can imagine. Your favorite songs will make your photoshoots more fun, give you more confidence, or even inspire you to dance! Make the most of this energy as you take photographs. Move, laugh, sing, and just be yourself.

Music will also give you room to experiment. You might get so carried away that you’ll forget the camera’s presence! This will result in beautiful and spontaneous self-portraits.

outdoor self-portrait in a new place

Take Photos in a New Place

New surroundings can refresh your creativity and distract you from any modeling tension you might have. The more places you explore, the easier it will be to look natural in your photographs.

To take spontaneous outdoor portraits, take the time to admire your surroundings. Look at things you like while pressing the shutter. This will create the illusion of spontaneity. It will also take your mind off poses, expressions, and angles.

movie still self-portrait

Create a Collection of Movie Stills

Actors are experts at looking natural in front of a camera, so take the time to observe them. Instead of simply watching films, take screenshots every time you come across a beautiful scene. Alternatively, you can simply research movie stills and select your favorite ones. Either way, you’ll have access to millions of helpful visual references that will teach you the art of spontaneity.

self-portrait avoid eye contact

Avoid Eye Contact

Spontaneity implies an unawareness of the camera, so don’t look into your lens all the time.

Use your visual references to get new posing ideas. Experiment with different angles, expressions, and perspectives. Look into the distance, close your eyes, talk to someone, etc. This will give you lots of room to look as genuine as possible.

self-portrait relaxing outdoors

Do Something You Love

If you can’t fake spontaneity, then embrace it by distracting yourself.

One of the easiest ways to get lost in your own world is to work on something you love. If you enjoy drawing, take photos of yourself working on a new sketch. If you enjoy spending time with your loved ones, photograph yourselves playing a game. Even though you’ll be in charge of taking the photos, you’ll enjoy yourself so much that posing won’t matter at all.

self portrait

Once you get the hang of these techniques (and trust me, you’ll master them quickly), you’ll become an expert at taking spontaneous self-portraits. You’ll also get better at feeling comfortable in your own skin, enjoying your photoshoots, and finding inspiration in the most unusual places.

Start now. Play your favorite songs, go for a walk, and watch a great film. There’s no limit to what you can do when it comes to self-portraiture, so be as fearless as you want. Before you know it, you’ll be thriving in your unique world of creativity.

SaveSave

This Is Why You Should Collaborate with Other Artists

In the world of photography, finding artists to collaborate with isn’t difficult. There are thousands of talented photo-takers who actively work on projects with other enthusiasts. Their results are nothing short of outstanding.

But why collaborate with people when you have decent photography skills yourself? Why share the credit with another artist when you could independently work on a project?

In this article, you’ll find out more about the art of patience, the value of leaving your comfort zone, and the true beauty of collaboration.

landscape photographer

You Will Appreciate Other Artists’ Styles

As an artist, you’re independent and resourceful. In your eyes, everything looks like a masterpiece. It’s no wonder, then, that you passionately value your ideas and skills. This passion can turn into a bubble that revolves exclusively around your favorite genre. In an environment like that, it can be hard to acknowledge or appreciate the beauty of other styles, genres, and ideas.

Collaborating with different kinds of artists will introduce you to worlds you’ve never explored. It will inspire and motivate you to try out something new in your own work. This, in turn, will improve the quality of your photography, editing, and thinking skills.

skateboarding

You Will Fearlessly Leave Your Comfort Zone

Any kind of collaboration demands flexibility, patience, and kindness. In addition to creating beautiful art, you have to make sure that your partner feels comfortable with your decisions.

As challenging as this is, it will make you a much more considerate person. This will not only improve your creative life but transform you into a more approachable and charming individual.

An openness to communication will also make you fearless. Working with someone else will force you out of your comfort zone, which will compel you to experiment with new things. These experiments will make you feel artistically brave, and your newfound bravery will allow you to evolve your own style.

girl and boy collaborating outdoors

Your Patience Will Strengthen

Potential collaborators might be in a different timezone to yours, so you’ll have to patiently wait for feedback before making your next decision. You’ll also have to find solutions no matter what happens. This will immensely strengthen your patience.

A great advantage of patience is improved relationships. Once you’re on the same page as your partner, you’ll develop a strong bond and gain a better understanding of how they function creatively. This will significantly improve the way you look at tedious work, obstacles, and failures.

two eyes

You’ll Make Wonderful Friends

Phew! All of that communication, patience, and openness probably sound exhausting. Don’t let the challenging aspects of collaborations fool you, though. Once you get to know your fellow artist, you’ll become his or her dear friend. All of that hard work will result in more than just a beautiful work of art; it will result in true friendship. (Or more!)

girl standing on a rock in nature

Don’t be afraid of collaborating with artists who aren’t photographers. Be open to working with brands, painters, writers, and anyone you consider a true artist. If you dare to open your eyes to someone else’s style, you’ll be rewarded with immense patience, gorgeous photographs, and a better version of yourself.

Start small. Get in touch with a creative friend, company, or individual whose style is different to yours and offer to collaborate. Here are a few ideas:

  • Photoshop experts: take a themed photograph that someone else will edit professionally
  • Clothing brands: take fashionable photos in return for a (local) company’s products
  • Models: work with beginners who want to build their modeling portfolios
  • Writers: take a series of photos inspired by someone else’s poems

Exposing yourself to a whole new world of creativity will rejuvenate your ideas and make you a better photographer.

Good luck!

SaveSave

This Is How Unsplash Will Make You a Better Photographer

I’d like to note that Unsplash didn’t ask me to write this article. This is my personal experience with a website I respect.
Unsplash is a place where you can give and receive as much as you like. It’s also home to many talented photographers who generously upload their work for the world to use. The community overflows with breathtaking photos of landscapes, people, architecture, etc., that you can download for free. Finding inspiration in such a place is significantly easier than you imagine.
The best thing about Unsplash is that you don’t need to upload hundreds of images to enjoy the community. My gallery features only seven photographs. Even this amount of content has given me an abundance of creative opportunities. It can give you just as much if you take the time to appreciate it.

This is how Unsplash can make you a better photographer.

Unsplash book

More Exposure = More Motivation

It’s not difficult to get discovered on a website that values hard work. Unsplash’s active users get featured on the front page, credited with projects that use their submissions, and receive special perks. Unsplash recently published a book featuring some of the community’s best artists. The team even sends handwritten notes and stickers to their favorite photographers. In short, the community is pleasantly welcoming.

This kind of exposure is nothing short of welcoming. Receiving good feedback will inspire you to go out and take more photos. In turn, taking more photos will provide you with more content to add to your portfolio. The more photos you take, the more practice you’ll get, and the easier it will be to evolve as an artist.

friends in a park

You’ll Make New, Inspiring Friends

Unsplash allows users to interact with the help of a messaging system. If you find someone whose work you admire, don’t be afraid of letting them know. Your interest in their photos may lead to a collaboration that will have a significant impact on your future projects.

When you find someone to collaborate with, you’ll discover a whole new world of exciting possibilities. You’ll learn how to work in a team, adjust to someone else’s style, and use your skills to create a masterpiece. The results will blow you away. This experience will help you make new friends, support fellow artists, and perfect your own style.

Unsplash photos

You’ll Have Access to More Resources

Unsplash photos are free to use and share wherever you like. You can use its high-quality resources to create double exposures, diptychs, or photo manipulations. This is especially useful for artists who want to introduce themselves to new genres.

As a portrait photographer, I usually take photos of people and their environments. I’m not as familiar with underwater, landscape, or wildlife photography. This hasn’t stopped me from appreciating them on Unsplash, where a rich variety of photos is uploaded every day. Being able to access so many interesting photographs helps me enhance my double exposures and diptychs; this is something I wouldn’t have been able to achieve by focusing on my genre only. Because of this, I’m fearless when it comes to new projects and experiments.

Unsplash photo - mountain

You’ll Have an Inspiring Home for Life

Unsplash has an abundance of inspiration to offer. If you don’t like scrolling through random photos, the Collections section will provide you with neatly organised themes. Here are a few of my personal favorites:

In addition to collections, Unsplash offers a handy search tool, an explore pages for specific tags, an informative blog, and more. All of these features will allow you to find the perfect amount of inspiration that will leave you feeling empowered. The more inspiration you find, the easier it will be to come up with fresh ideas for your own portfolio.

Unsplash screen
Because Unsplash values its users, it will cherish your submissions and help you reach your potential. Most importantly, it will make you a better photographer by giving you exposure, new friends, resources, and inspiration. All you have to do is upload a few photos, interact with other people, and be open to changing your creative life for the better.

SaveSave

5 Essentials You Must Have in Your Small Camera Bag

If you want your outdoor adventures to succeed, your camera bag should be comfortable and lightweight. The more comfort you have, the easier it will be to concentrate on photography and not on your body’s level of discomfort. The lighter your camera bag is, the less tempted you’ll be to leave it somewhere and, consequently, lose your valuable possessions.

For a camera bag to be comfortable, it has to contain essentials only, aka items you simply can’t live without on a day-to-day basis. These tools will keep you safe, inspired, and creatively satisfied. Here they are.

open notebook

A Notebook

Stationery lovers, this one’s for you!

No matter where in the world you are, you’re always close to a new opportunity. Opportunities come in the form of ideas, people, locations, or insignificant details. Since it’s easy to forget them while traveling, why not document them in a reliable little notebook?

A notebook can store contact details, places you’d like to revisit, inspiration, and anything else you find important. At the end of your trip, it will provide you with an abundance of valuable information that might lead you to even bigger adventures.

Since you’ll probably use your notebook often, make sure you buy one that has a rough cover. This will ensure that it won’t fall apart after a few quick uses.

hand holding business cards

Business Cards

Business cards reflect style, professionalism, and an eagerness to work with others. They’re also much more eye-catching than handwritten notes. After all, you never know who you might bump into outdoors; potential clients, collaborators, and friends might all be waiting for you to provide them with your contact details.

The best thing about business cards is that despite their lightweight, they can have a significant impact on your life. All you have to do is give them out wisely.

mini tripod

Mini Tripod

Mini tripods are small, light, and easy to use in any situation. They’re particularly great for nighttime, landscape, long exposure, and self-portrait photography. The best thing about them is that they can be effortlessly carried wherever you like.

There are all kinds of tripods available online, many of which are conveniently flexible. In addition to keeping your photos sharp, they’ll provide you with new challenges. You’ll get to work with different angles, settings, and perspectives.

camera next to memory card

Spare Memory Cards and Batteries

Finding the perfect location only to realize that your camera battery is about to die. Catching that ideal light only to find that you’re out of space. Not going somewhere because you can’t take more photos and you can’t store your current ones anywhere.

All of these scenarios are discouraging. They’re also avoidable.

The more batteries and memory cards you have, the less limited you’ll feel. Try to invest in as many as you can. Keep your most excited self in mind as you decide how much to purchase. Do you tend to shoot nonstop when you’re inspired, or do you take your time to pick the right shot?

I also recommend investing in battery and memory card cases. Both will keep your precious items safe.

small, clean lens

Cleaning Equipment

Dust is present everywhere. Wiping your lens with a random cloth might result in scratches. If you want to take clean-looking photos without damaging your equipment, you must have a lens cleaner in your camera bag.

Here are a few tools you can use to clean your equipment. All three are very small and easy to use:

  • Lens Pen
  • Blower
  • Microfibre cloth

photographer holding an adventure cup

These essentials will not only make your life easier but keep your body comfortable as you go on trips. They’ll also provide you with new connections, artistic challenges, and space. Most importantly, many of them will keep you happy and safe. As a professional photographer, that’s exactly what you deserve.

SaveSave

5 Family Posing Tips That Will Make Your Clients Feel Awesome

Family photoshoots can be very hectic, especially if there are small children involved. It’s challenging to pose one model, let alone a group of excited individuals.

Poses themselves often intimidate unprofessional models. People want to look like themselves in their family albums. Individuals of all kinds want to own heartwarming photographs that their children will treasure in the future, not awkward snapshots of their parents looking out of place. Similarly, couples want photographs that they can proudly share with their friends on social media.

Fortunately, poses don’t have to be awkward. They can make your subjects feel comfortable in your presence. Certain poses can actually strengthen the client-photographer bond.

By giving your client these 5 simple instructions, you’ll give them all the space and confidence they need to look (and feel) wonderful in front of your camera.

family sitting close and holding hands

Sit Close

At the beginning of your photoshoot, take simple photographs. This way, you’ll have a good variety of photos to share with your clients, and you’ll get to know what kind of posing style they’re most comfortable with. You’ll also have a chance to make them feel at home in your presence without immediately diving into complicated instructions.

If your clients sit close to one another, you’ll have lots of opportunities to take spontaneous photographs that accurately represent their relationship. Encourage them to sit somewhere picturesque and interact with one another. You’ll get lots of great photos of smiles, hugs, and silliness.

As the photo above suggests, you can take photos from any angle. If some of your clients feel shy at first, take photos of their backs. Even faceless portraits can be joyful!

mother telling daughter a secret

Tell Someone a Secret

An effective way to highlight a family’s bond is to photograph them trusting each other with secrets.

Ask your clients to tell their family members a secret, joke, or story. They don’t have to be real, but they should be entertaining. This will inevitably lead to funny reactions, great poses, and photogenic expressions.

family holding hands on the beach

Hold Hands

Photos of loved ones holding hands may be very common, but that shouldn’t stop you from experimenting with them. Hands are a great way to express bonds, friendships, and familial strength. Here are ways you can use them in your photographs:

  • Take photos of your clients walking somewhere while holding hands. This will give your photos an air of spontaneity and warmth.
  • Take photos of your clients’ hands only. This could be while they’re passing something to each other, playing a game, or simply comforting each other.
  • Ask your subjects to stand in a line or circle and hold hands. If this feels unnatural, play a game such as Holding Hands: players have to pass peanuts to each other without breaking the hand-holding chain. An activity like this will distract your clients, allow them to have fun, and give you lots of time to take great photos.

family having fun at sunset

Have Fun

This is probably the most exciting instruction your clients will get. Though having fun isn’t a pose, it’s an opportunity for many posing ideas to emerge.

Bring a few toys that your models’ children could play with. Come up with a game similar to Holding Hands that could entertain, excite, and distract your subjects. Alternatively, simply tell your models to have fun on their own. Children are experts at games; the more comfortable they are with you, the easier it will be for them to have fun together.

mother and daughter embracing

Embrace

Photos of your client’s hugging will beautifully emphasize their bond. They’ll also make for gorgeous album photos.

Since hugs are often very personal, you have to make sure your subjects want to embrace one another in front of you. Once they feel more comfortable in your presence, gently ask them for permission.

If you don’t want to ask, notice how open they are to public displays of affection. Observe them as they pose for you. Do they enjoy hugging each other, or are they more reserved?

If this doesn’t feel right to either you or your clients, don’t worry. The aforementioned poses will give you lots of interesting results.

 

Poses don’t have to be awkward or uncomfortable. They can be natural, confidence-boosting instructions that will strengthen your reputation as a photographer and improve your relationship with clients of all kinds.

SaveSave

How to Build a Strong Portfolio: A Guide for Photographers

What exactly are strong portfolios? You might value them based on numbers, quality, experience, or even testimonials. In reality, they are a combination of everything, from immense quality to proud diversity.

As intimidating as such portfolios may seem, they aren’t impossible to build. In fact, they’re more attainable than you think. All you have to do is be consistent, curious, and collaborative. Here’s how.

underwater portrait

Embrace Diversity

If you’re familiar with your favorite photography genre, you’ve already done half of the work. Whether you’re into portrait, landscape, underwater, or any other type of photography, you have thousands of exciting subgenres to choose from.

For example, portrait photography can be broken down into a few more genres:

  • Black & White
  • Conceptual
  • Faceless (e.g. silhouettes)
  • Candid

You can explore these sub-genres without straying away from your main one. As you experiment with them, you’ll learn a lot of valuable things and add diversity to your portfolio. This way, you’ll be able to build a strong portfolio, have fun, and get to know your strengths.

landscape photo person standing on rock

Value Quality

Something I can’t emphasize enough is this: be picky when it comes to your photographs. Choose your absolute favorites and proudly share them with your followers. I usually choose a maximum of 3 photos from a single shoot. This allows me to focus solely on quality and not quantity.

Don’t be afraid of being slow! Consistent photoshoots combined with great quality will result in long-term success and the most eye-catching portfolio you can imagine.

girl holding a polaroid

Store Your Outtakes

The beautiful thing about outtakes is their unlimited potential. I have thousands of photos that I often come back to when I feel like strengthening my color correcting skills, creating a double exposure, or submitting to a contest. Store your outtakes generously and don’t be afraid to use them in the future. This will keep your gallery interesting and familiar.

Another benefit of storing outtakes is the inspiration. When I look through my old work, I often bump into long-forgotten ideas, locations, or props. Remembering these things pushes me to revisit them. Revisiting them sparks my inspiration, shows me how much I’ve improved, and challenges me to look at old ideas from a fresh perspective.

friends bumping fists over table

Collaborate and Connect

A great way to build your portfolio is to collaborate with other artists. These individuals don’t have to be photographers. They can be models who strengthen your social skills, painters who give you textures to work with, poets whose writing fills you with ideas, or anyone else you can think of. The more unique, the better! Join groups, reach out to people, and let everyone know that you’re open to collaborating. You will find incredible opportunities when you do this.

Collaborating will result in real emotional connections, ones that will boost your happiness levels and creativity. As you get to know other people’s styles, you’ll evolve into a better artist yourself. Exposure to different opinions, perspectives, and ideas is a great way to become an open-minded artist.

girl taking photo of landscape

Join Photography Challenges

There are many reasons you should join photography contests:

  • They will compel you to experiment with unique themes. For example, as a portrait photographer, I might be tempted to take photos of faces all the time. A contest could inspire me to take this further and photograph faceless portraits or create a set of portraits that revolve around my models’ favorite items.
  • They will strengthen your patience. This will come in handy during the portfolio-building process, which demands a lot of time and effort.

If you consistently experiment, collaborate, value quality, and challenge yourself, you’ll build a strong portfolio within a short period of time. Before you know it, you’ll be proudly looking through your work and happily add more fantastic images to it.

Good luck! πŸ™‚

How to Face Photography Challenges Like a Professional

Has an obstacle ever made you give up on a creative project? Photography-related challenges can be discouraging because of what they seem to tell us: we don’t have enough experience or talent to work on something meaningful. This kind of thinking compels us to give up when things get too difficult.

However, to excel, a certain amount of resistance is necessary. If you never had problems, you wouldn’t have valuable problem-solving skills that would help you get through inevitable failures. Without those skills, any challenge would seem like a disaster. A lack of complications would also stop you from reaching your full potential and finding happiness in your achievements.

As you can see, problems – especially ones related to creativity – are blessings in disguise. Despite their bothersome nature, they will make you more patient, detail-oriented, and thoughtful. All you have to do is face them. Here are ways you can do that as gracefully as possible.

girl looking at photos in a gallery

Acknowledge That They Are Temporary

Like emotions

, photography challenges come and go. No matter how permanent a problem may seem, it will eventually run its course and teach you something new. Realizing this will give you all the space you need to fail, grow, and embrace new challenges.

Something you can do to strengthen this skill is to work on small projects that will encourage you to try something new. Experiment with new photography genres, collaborate with other photographers or find out more about a new editing program. These discoveries will both make you a more flexible artist and introduce you to exciting new projects.

inspirational board

Be Kind to Yourself

There are times when hours of hard work will seem useless when you’ll feel like hiding your equipment in a basement and never looking at it again. When moments like this come, remember that no matter how much you fail, you always learn something new.

Respecting your hard work is the first step to success. Regardless of what happens in your creative life, don’t beat yourself up. The project you’re struggling with right now will get easier with time. Just set it aside, learn from your mistakes, and find opportunities to strengthen your skills.

an indoor tea party

And Don’t Forget to Take Breaks

You can’t challenge yourself for long periods of time without getting exhausted. If you consistently take breaks, you’ll be able to separate yourself from a project and find new ways to approach it. This is similar to arguing with someone – if you take a step back, assess the situation, and let your emotions pass, you’ll find a solution quickly. If you simply dive into the argument, you’ll waste time on unnecessary accusations and hurt.

friends laughing in a greenhouse

Ask for Support

Something you should definitely have is a strong support system, even if it consists of one person. Don’t be afraid of asking the photography community for help, regardless of how silly you think your problems are. Join Facebook groups and forums, sign up for newsletters, and contact artists you admire. Someone out there (including me!) will be happy to help you.

If joining an online community intimidates you, come to your friends and family for help. Even if they’re not photographers, they will be able to relate to the pain of struggling with seemingly impossible tasks. Their support may not solve all of your creative problems, but it will give you precious comfort.

silhouette of man holding a camera

In the world of photography, the most valuable gifts you have are passion and persistence. Challenges can strengthen, stretch, and perfect them, but they can’t take them away from you. To face them gracefully, all you have to do is acknowledge their temporary nature, be self-compassionate, take breaks, and ask for support. Eventually, these obstacles will turn into opportunities, not enemies, and you’ll find yourself succeeding in ways you’ve never imagined.

This Is Why You Should Participate in Photography Contests

In general, contests are associated with impressive prizes. Winners receive flight tickets to exotic countries, money they can spend wherever they want, and equipment that will help them fulfill their most grandiose dreams. They often involve hundreds (if not thousands) of participants, offer unbelievable prizes, and challenge photographers with eye-catching themes. It’s not surprising, then, that they intimidate many.

What’s the point in working hard for a photography contest that may or may not see potential in you? Participation matters because contests come with multiple prizes; you don’t need to get the first prize to enjoy all the benefits of participation. Here are some of the reasons you should join a photography contest.

low vantage point - autumnal road

If You’re out of Ideas, They Will Inspire You

Most photography contests have themes that revolve around specific colors, landscapes, people, and more. The themes themselves – which, though often simple, aren’t something we’d typically come up with ourselves – can spark new ideas and provide you with an abundance of fresh inspiration.

When you search for contests, pay attention to their themes. Even if you don’t participate in a contest entitled Intriguing Silhouettes, for example, you might find the idea quite striking. This might lead to the creation of an exciting project, photograph, or collaboration.

man reading outside

If You’re Feeling Restless, They Will Strengthen Your Patience

Sometimes, losing is inevitable. Once you participate in a few contests, you’ll learn that losing isn’t a reflection of your talent; it’s simply a reason to keep going.

Persistence will get you far not only in your world of hobbies but in your personal life. Overcoming creative obstacles will shape you into a stronger photographer, which will transform you into a patient, curious, and relentless individual. Once you get to this point, no amount of failure will be able to steal your motivation.

hand holding a camera outdoors

If You Can’t Find Meaning Anywhere, The Rewards Will Motivate You

If inspiration doesn’t excite you, let the rewards motivate you. Many photography contests offer exposure, equipment, money, etc., prizes that are all worth pining for. If this kind of participation fuels you, you’ll be able to pour all of your energy into incredible photographs. As you do this, you’ll become a better artist, editor, and observer.

girl holding a lamplight

If You’re Feeling Creatively Dull, They Will Challenge You

Every contest comes with detailed guidelines. Some will encourage you to get out of your comfort zone, reconsider the value of seemingly typical objects, or work with a limited amount of equipment. This is significantly different to the freedom we usually give ourselves during photoshoots. A combination of excitement and structure is great for discipline yourself and getting better at following instructions. Most importantly, it’s a healthy source of creativity.

Time and time again, research has shown the benefits of limitation. Many people thrive when they’re given a set of tasks and a deadline. Working under pressure can force creativity to emerge out of the blue and fill our minds with an immense amount of ideas. So, if you like a good challenge, photography contests are ideal for you. If you’re not sure, just give them a try!

light bulb on a book

Participating in photography contests will help you strengthen your photography skills, connect with like-minded people, find precious inspiration, become more patient, and more. I can guarantee that you will improve in one way or another if you join at least a few contests. If you don’t win, you will have learned so much that it won’t discourage you. If you do become a winner, your prize will simply be the cherry on top. πŸ™‚

Now that you’re familiar with the benefits of photography contests, join a few! Once you do, leave a comment below telling us about your experience.

SaveSave

3 Tips for Photographing Strangers

With the rising success of communities like Humans of New York, photographers from all over the world have been motivated to go out and take photos of strangers. This motivation has led to countless of inspiring projects featuring people of all kinds. It has allowed curious viewers to embrace different cultures, find out more about the triumphs and struggles of others, and understand themselves better. All of this came into being through one genre: street photography.

stranger - girl

Regardless of its success, street photography has its cons. For understandable reasons, we often associate strangers with danger and discomfort. Like the fear of rejection, this association may stop us from approaching those we don’t know. It may encourage us to avoid this genre completely.

By avoiding interactions with the outside world, we lose creative opportunities. By losing creative opportunities, we stunt our artistic growth and prevent ourselves from thriving as photographers. We can do the opposite with the help of a few conscious decisions like accepting (and expecting) rejection, knowing why we love portraiture and learning how to control light. The tips below will help you understand -and improve in – all of these important areas of photography.

stranger laughing

Understand the Art of Rejection

To succeed, you need to develop a mindset that looks at rejection as a simple preference, not an offense. Keep these things in mind when someone refuses to model for you:

  • Most people don’t want to look bad in photographs. A lot of people don’t want to be photographed at all. Their unwillingness to stand in front of your camera isn’t a reflection of your artistic (or social) skills.
  • No matter how many rejections you get, there will be people who won’t mind modeling for you. The more you persist, the more chances you’ll get.
  • Harsh reactions may simply mean that someone has had a bad day. Don’t take other people’s moods personally, especially if they don’t know you. Instead, try to respond in a way that might lift their spirits.

stranger in a store

Give Reasons

When you meet strangers, let them know why you want to take their photo. Keep it short, sweet, and understandable. Are you working on a 100 Strangers project, or did you simply find their look inspiring? Show them your portfolio so that they have a better idea of your style. If possible, give them your business card so that they can have access to the photos you take of them. This will give them more room to trust you and your creative vision.

If you truly care about photographing people (and I know you do), it will be easy for you to appear genuine. With the help of your honesty, you’ll be able to get more yeses from strangers of all types. It’s easier to say yes to something meaningful, after all.

stranger sitting outdoors

Learn How to Work With Light

When a stranger will agree to pose for you, you’ll probably feel both exhilarated and afraid. You’ll also forget the importance of lighting and your camera settings. To avoid panic-driven situations like this, prepare yourself for acceptance. What kind of lighting will you look for when a stranger says yes to you? What kind of instructions will you give?

If you’re not good at managing light, practice with people you know (including yourself). Being able to make the most of any lighting situation will take you very far. It will also help you take fantastic photos of strangers, regardless of the time of day. If you’d like to find out more about lighting, check out these articles:

Angle, Compression, and Lighting: Becoming a More Capable Photographer

The importance of lighting and why you shouldn’t be afraid to experiment with it

 

Taking photos of people you don’t know will be uncomfortable and frightening at times. Finding the right lighting and communicating properly will be a challenge. But remember that every mistake, with the help of persistence and openness to failure, will lead to a triumph. Every fear will be conquered, one stranger at a time.

stranger outdoors

 

5 Safety Tips Every Aspiring Travel Photographer Should Know

Traveling is a gift filled with incredible creative opportunities. By getting to know other places, we open ourselves up to fresh experiences, new friendships, and more stories. It’s no surprise, then, that people attribute their success to it.

You probably know how tempting it is to get lost in vibrant surroundings. Unfortunately, getting lost in something beautiful can sometimes lead to real loss: stolen equipment. How is it possible to keep your beloved possessions safe and enjoy your adventures at the same time?

There are things you can do to significantly enhance your traveling experience without compromising your safety. If you invest your time and energy into certain precautions, you’ll feel happy and comfortable regardless of where you go.

map and travelling equipment

Travel Insurance

Your insurance company will replace stolen camera equipment, but it won’t give you a bunch of new items immediately. If something disastrous does happen, however, you won’t have to worry about spending all of your money on replacements. Whether you’re a careful traveler or a forgetful observer, travel insurance will give you the peace you need to enjoy your surroundings.

backup equipment

Backup Equipment

If you lose a valuable item, you might not be able to buy it during your trip and, as a result, not have the chance to take great photos. To avoid this problem completely, acquire as much backup equipment as possible. Like travel insurance, it will put your mind at ease.

In addition to camera bodies and lenses, here are a few things worth having more of:

    • Camera batteries
    • Battery chargers
    • Memory cards
    • Hard drives
    • Hard drive cases
    • Accessories that you simply can’t live without, like lens filters or a lens cap

photographer travelling

Make Your Equipment Look Cheap

It’s tempting to stand out in a new country. As an eager traveler, you want to meet new people, make yourself look approachable, and feel good in your own skin. Unfortunately, looking too good can attract the wrong attention. Sneaky thieves are always on the lookout for expensive-looking camera bags and brands. If they spot someone with a camera strap that screams Canon, that someone will become their target.

If you want to remain invisible, make your equipment look cheap. A lot of professional photographers replace their camera straps with ones that have no brand names on them, use simple but reliable camera bags, and tape up their equipment to make it look older than it is. While these adjustments won’t make you look super fashionable, they’ll do what’s most important to you: keep you and your passion safe.

travelling

Blend in

Looking like a tourist is another way to attract unwanted attention. Research the country you’re planning to visit. Find out about its culture, what locals wear, and where they like to go. Using this information, you’ll be able to blend in with your surroundings and look like someone who knows the area well. This will not only keep you safe but help you get to know a new country better. This, in turn, will enrich your traveling experience.

Don’t Leave Equipment Unattended

Even if you’re in a relatively safe place, don’t put your camera bag down. Don’t leave any of your equipment unattended unless you’re traveling with someone. If you’re going to be traveling alone, invest in a camera bag that’s comfortable to wear at all times, especially when you’re taking photos. If you wear comfortable equipment, you’ll be less tempted to leave it unattended.

You don’t need to have superhero powers to stay safe. With the help of a few investments and adjustments, you can be invisible, keep your valuables safe, and still be able to enjoy the beauty of traveling.

Good luck!

girl holding a globe

SaveSave

Interview with Tobias Delcroix: Cinematography, Fine Art and Fashion

Tobias Delcroix is a French photographer with a passion for cinematography, fine art, and fashion. His work has been featured on From States Away’s album cover, Vogue Italia’s photography platform, and more. He’s currently based in Scotland where he studies film, television, and photography. In this interview, you’ll find out about his photographing process, what he’d tell his 15-year-old self, why he loves cinematography, and more.

tobias delcroix self-portrait
What drew you to photography?
I started to be curious about surreal and conceptual photography when I was fourteen. I remember researching the web and ending up on a portfolio of a photographer called Tasha Palmer. Her photography really inspired me and still does. A year after, for my birthday, my parents bought me a compact Olympus camera. I have really enjoyed experimenting with it for a year. I started with taking portraits of my friends and myself but shortly after that, I felt very limited in my creations. I wanted to play around with depth of field and the camera that I had did not allow me to photograph things as I wanted. A year after, I bought my first DLSR camera – a Nikon D5100 – and I started to explore more my creativity. I learned to use a couple of free editing programs and I worked with them for a few years. I started using Photoshop three years ago and I updated my equipment step by step. Since then, I’ve been shaping my photography more into fashion and conceptual.
tobias delcroix fashion photo
You started taking photos when you were 15 years old. What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned throughout this journey?
This is a very good question. I think it is that I realized that it is okay to feel uninspired and be disappointed about my work and that the most important thing is to keep shooting and experimenting with what I have. That is how I have improved my vision and my photography without mentioning my editing skills. I have never given up on my photography and that is the thing I am the proudest of.
What is your greatest accomplishment?
I would say that my greatest accomplishment was moving to the United Kingdom, studying what I am passionate about, getting an award and building a life here, in Scotland.

tobias delcroix black and white

Your conceptual photos are detailed and meaningful. Where do you go to find inspiration for such concepts?
I use photography to express my feelings. I have always found my way creatively to reveal parts of myself. I would say that my inspiration is mostly (not to say exclusively) coming from my life. Nevertheless, I am always influenced by a good moody/surreal scene in a movie or by other artists/photographers such as Joel Robison, Jessica Kobeissi or Marta Bevacqua, but the list is not exclusive.
If you could meet your 15-year-old self, what advice would you give him?
Keep doing what you do, and don’t worry so much about everything, including your photography. You are passionate about it, and you will find a path in which you are happy. Give yourself time to experiment and try new things. There are a lot of things that need to be explored!
You take very natural photos of people. How do you make your models feel comfortable in front of your camera?
I think it is because I can easily relate to the feeling of insecurity and vulnerability they may feel in front of me. Most of the time, I know my models very well. They are either family or good friends. That said, it is not for everyone to be comfortable in front of a lens. Sometimes, I tell them stories about how much I struggled to be confident and how stuck I feel sometimes. I think everyone can relate to this. I also tell them that we need to at least try and give a chance because it might turn out very good. I give them the opportunity to tell me their stories and they have always seen it as a relief. In the end, we can’t go wrong with some laughs. After a couple photos, I show them and communicate with them about what I love in the images. I think it helps build their self-confidence and makes them more comfortable.

tobias delcroix girl in dress

You study film and photography. What do you love most about cinematography? 
What I love about cinematography is directing/composing, and I love photography for the exact same reason. Cinematographers are visual storytellers as photographers are with their skills. I get to decide how I want to tell my stories. I think that is why photography works like a therapy session for me.
Your “Doubt in Love” series gracefully focuses on the fears that come with falling in love. Could you tell us more about this project?
I made this project is inspired by a strange but lucky event that has occurred in my life. The series explores the feeling that we can have when we are scared to commit to something such as loving someone. Being myself the one having all those doubts and fears put me in a situation in which I have been able to make something creative out of it. I have considered every single shot very carefully, that is why ‘Doubt in Love’ remains my favorite body of work that I have ever done so far. I would say that the best way to describe my work on this series is to have a look at it. I have put so much into creating these images that they carry an important emotional value to me.

tobias delcroix doubt in love

How do you deal with insecurities and creative self-doubt? 
As I said previously, I use my photography as a communication medium to visually express and deal with insecurities and self-doubt. It is something I really enjoy as it challenges me not just as an artist but also as an individual that has weaknesses.
If you could interview any artist, what would you ask him/her? 
I would ask Bella Kotak if she has any advice that I could use to make a real and prosperous business out of my photography. I admire her work and her success inspires me a lot.

tobias delcroix self portrait conceptual

You can find more of Tobias’s work on his website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

SaveSave

Interview with Film Photographer, Anna Chiara Di Maio

Anna Chiara Di Maio is a talented Italian photographer who gracefully expresses herself through analog photography. I discovered her work on Instagram, where she often shares stunning photos of people and nature. The emotions and details in her work are breathtaking, which is why I was very eager to feature her.

I had the opportunity to talk to her about self-doubt, achievements, inspiration, and more. I hope her work inspires you to experiment with film photography, embrace your uniqueness, and keep taking great photos.

film photo self-portrait

Your portfolio is filled with beautiful film photos. What inspired you to get into analog photography?

Surfing the internet and seeing Tumblr and Flickr photos with that unique, aged look definitely is the thing that inspired me the most and made me curious about film photography. Also, I asked my father about analog photography. My father is the kind of man who’s really passionate about technology and photography, but everyone in my family says that he’s a total disaster at taking photos. Anyway, he had a sort of sideboard in his studio, in which a lot of old cameras where displayed. Not all of them worked, but some of them did, so I had the possibility to try analog photography. I probably could never really get into film photography if I didn’t have all of these materials.

Film photography can be very intimidating. What advice would you give to beginners?

This is my advice: do not have fear to make mistakes. Be prepared to waste money and to lose some shots, sometimes entire film rolls, because it’s unavoidable due to inexperience. Be prepared to capture the moment and to think about the composition and significance of every single frame. But then… be free. Go on an adventure. Shoot. There is no screen on which you can look at the picture, but this is in a certain way a chance to feel the sheer and pure photography experience. When you shoot on film, you finally understand what photography really means. And when you can finally watch the developed negatives… it’s priceless. Don’t be afraid! Use your instinct! And don’t be sad if you don’t like all the shots on the film roll because I think that there’s some kind of beauty in that too: not everything can be good, but surely one shot will be absolutely stunning.

film photo girl during sunset

How do you deal with creative self-doubt?

This is a difficult topic for me since I often feel so insecure about my photography. On one hand, I think that all social media in which every photographer can display his/her works are so useful, but on the other hand, watching the flawlessness of other’s shots and comparing them to yours can be very frustrating. Generally, I focus on what I feel. I think that what one feels is different from person to person; so it must be that everyone expresses him/herself in different ways. Then I focus on my progress, I think about and analyze some photos from the time when I started taking photos seriously. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Mostly it depends on how other ‘fields’ of my life are doing in that time (love, University and study, relationship with my friends/parents, also how I perceive myself – ugly, pretty, too fat, and so on).

Do you have a place/activity that gives you instant inspiration?

Yes! Absolutely. Watching a random Wes Anderson movie instantly boosts my inspiration (my favorites are Rushmore and The Darjeeling Limited). Music and reading a good novel/collection of poems is also a good inspiration. When I have to think, I furiously listen to Bill Evans (he is a jazz pianist). The more I listen to jazz music, the more it seems to match the rhythm of my thoughts. So it is pretty useful when I feel that a good idea is coming but I can’t really express it.

film photo corridor

If you were given $1 million, how would your photographs change?

Probably I would buy the most expensive and performing film scanner of them all! And I would travel a little more. To be honest, I probably would buy more photography books or attend an advanced photography course (yes… I’m thinkin’ about Annie Leibovitz. Sigh) to improve my technical knowledge and to better shape my style. The truth is I’m a bookworm and even $1 million could not change that! So… probably my photography would be a bit more “correct”, but I think that photography style isn’t really a thing that could change only with money. It also needs a “feeling change” if you know what I mean.

Is there anything you wish your younger self-knew about photography?

Probably not. I think that photography is about discovery and failure and apparently I’m the kind of person that can truly learn only from her mistakes. So, I’m behaving a little badly with my younger self, but it’s for the better! I promise.

film photo of a boy holding sunflowers

How have taking photos changed your life?

Let’s say that I see all with different eyes. Photography, analog photography especially, is like poetry. There is a certain truth —objective or subjective it doesn’t really matter — but there is a Truth. Every photographer, or every poet, “filters” that truth with his/her eyes and reads it in a different way. Big, noticeable things could mean nothing for a photographer/poet, while for another one they could be the core of their art. For what concerns me, sometimes the most trivial scenes become magical. I pretend to listen to some 60s music. I see some pink where there’s no trace of it. And I shoot. So, since I started photography I became crazy! But it’s so beautiful anyway.

You take very graceful photos of people. How do you make your subjects feel comfortable in front of the camera?

Thank you! I generally shoot people I know (university colleagues, friends, my loved one), so it’s not so difficult for me to make them feel comfortable. Much really depends on the nature of every single subject, but the key for me is talking. Probably anyone reading this interview could guess I’m a sensitive person. I’m very emotional, so my photography tries to be emotional. And the conversations I have with my models are emotional too. I learn a lot from the people I shoot by looking and talking to them, also because they confess spontaneously things if they feel that someone’s really listening. The ‘sunflower boy’ told me that, when he first met me, I seemed an unpleasant girl. Probably I was. But then he began to know me and suddenly I wasn’t unpleasant anymore. Who knows, maybe something really changed in me. Or in him. Anyway, talking is not only a perfect device to make the subject feel comfortable, but it turns out to be a beautiful way to know something more about others and ourselves.

film photo b&w boy with daisy

What has been your greatest achievement so far?

I think that my best achievement so far was learning to manage some of the endless instruments and techniques of photo-editing. It’s still a work in progress, though, but since photography is not my job, I take every little progress as a goal.

If you could meet any photographer, who would it be and what would you ask him/her?

If I had the possibility, I’d pay to have a chat with Vivian Maier! And I would ask her how to take street photographs so beautifully and naturally. Street photography is, in my opinion, a really really difficult genre. But the look of her photos is so light, so alive and, again, so natural. I would love to shoot like that, to have that playful and vivid vision of life. Dear Vivian, I’m slowly but constantly working on that.

You can find more of Anna’s work on Instagram, Flickr, and Tumblr.

film photo beach

film photo b&w girl with closed eyes

film photo hot air balloons

How to Stay Comfortable During Client Photoshoots

There are many articles that provide models with tips on how to pose, feel comfortable in front of the camera, and enjoy themselves during a photoshoot. Though these resources will teach you how to make your clients feel good in your presence, they won’t highlight the importance of your own comfortability. It’s easy to forget your own needs during a shoot and end up feeling exhausted once a session is over. You don’t deserve to feel this way.

It’s possible to meet your clients’ needs and stay balanced at the same time. All it takes is a little bit of preparation and a few handy tools!

mood tracker

Have Pre-Photoshoot Rituals

A lot of people love routines because of their consistency and reliability. Without them, life can get pretty hectic. Even if you’re not a fan of scheduling, you can still prepare things for yourself and avoid the disasters that ambiguity likes to create. Here are a few self-care tips:

  • Rely on to-do lists.
    Like any meeting, a shoot isn’t fun if it involves forgetting, rushing, and worrying. You can avoid this once and for all by preparing your equipment, outfit, and any other essentials a few days before you meet with your client. As soon as you schedule a meeting, make a to-do list filled with things you should pack. This will help you immensely on the day of the shoot.
  • Eat well before you go out.
    A healthy meal will give you energy, lift your spirits, and keep you motivated throughout your session. Make sure you don’t eat too much and that your meal is truly healthy. Your mind and body will thank you later.
  • Bring a few snacks with you.
    Boosts of energy are always a plus, and you can offer them to your clients if they get hungry.
  • Spend quality time with yourself.
    Taking care of your own needs now will help you satisfy your clients’ wishes later. To avoid feeling neglected, take some time – even an hour – to properly relax. Take a bath, read a book that makes you feel warm, call a friend, or simply take a nap.

girl being mindful in a peaceful location

Be Mindful

“Mindfulness means being awake. It means knowing what you are doing.”
– Jon Kabat-Zinn

Client photoshoots are an opportunity to connect with other people and be mindful. Being present will give you peace, inspiration, and openness. The way you move, think, and talk during a shoot will affect your clients’ behavior; the calmer you are, the easier it will be for them to be themselves in front of your camera. Compare this to a frantic photo session that’s filled with awkwardness, silence, and a lack of creativity. In a situation like that, both you and your model will feel highly uncomfortable.

If you want to be mindful, use all of your senses. Listen carefully and observe everything around you, not just what’s in front of you. This will enhance your creativity, give you more opportunities to take spectacular photos, and help you be peacefully present.

comfortable camera strap

Invest in Comfortable Camera Accessories

Equipment that is rough

, bulky, or heavy will add to your discomfort and give you unnecessary problems to worry about. Fortunately, many companies are creating more and more products that are both beautiful and comfortable. There are a plethora of accessories that will look incredible on you and make your professional life easier to manage. A few of these things are:

  • Soft camera straps that won’t hurt your neck
  • Lens cap keepers that will keep your lens cap within reach at all times
  • A memory card case to store all of your precious photos in one physical space
  • A camera bag that won’t break your back!

comfortable environment - guitar, coffee, notebook

Prepare Something You Can Look Forward To

The last thing you want is to rush back home, eat something unhealthy, and edit your photos in a stuffy room. Knowing that you have a clean living space waiting for you is not only refreshing but motivating. Before you go out, make sure your workspace is tidy. Plan something that your future self can look forward to a movie night with friends, a visit to the park, or a day off that you’ve been postponing for too long.

neon lights saying breathe

By taking care of yourself, you’ll find all the energy and inspiration you need to have a successful and comfortable shoot. Remember to cultivate mindfulness, practice self-care, and invest in helpful camera accessories. These improvements will enhance your creative experiences and make you a happier photographer. That is what you deserve.

SaveSave

What to Do When Things Go Wrong During a Portrait Photo Shoot

Failure can’t always be avoided

. Crying children, uncomfortable models, and technical issues can all stop you from having a creatively fulfilling photoshoot. Even though people and situations are unpredictable, you can have control over what happens. There are things you can do to:

Below are five scenarios featuring different people and obstacles. Each scenario comes with a few solutions that will keep you grounded and make your subjects feel at home. With these tips in mind, you won’t have to panic the next time you bump into an intimidating problem. Just take a deep breath, remember what you learned, and act like the skilled photographer that you really are.

child hiding behind hands

Take a Break When the Kids Start to Cry

It’s easy for children to lose their patience, especially in the presence of a stranger. If your little model starts to cry or run around, don’t get frustrated. Most importantly, don’t show your frustration. Patience will clear your mind, allow you to find a solution quickly, and show your clients that you’re a tolerant photographer.

If your model is restless, let the entire family take a break. Even if this adds an extra hour to your session, it will be significantly better than continuing and getting highly unflattering results. Once everyone has relaxed (talking and eating always help!) you can safely continue your shoot. If you want to be very hospitable, have a few goodies ready for when your models get tired. They’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness.

two girls covered in blankets laughing outside

When Your Model Looks Uncomfortable, Be Supportive

Feeling left out and incompetent can immediately ruin anyone’s self-confidence. To solve this problem, be open about your past experiences. Make sure your subject feels like a normal individual worthy of being photographed. Don’t let your models bring themselves down. Don’t make it seem like perfection is attainable. What you want is for them to feel their best. Once they do, everything else will fall into place.

Be kind, share funny experiences from the past, try to make them smile, and let them know that making mistakes is okay! If they get the idea that you won’t lose your temper every time they strike the wrong pose, you’ll gain their trust and boost their confidence.

photography equipment flatlay

When There’s a Technical Issue, Make Sure You Have Backup Gear

Many wedding photographers stick to this rule like their lives depend on it. Without backup gear, a full-day shoot can turn into a photographer’s worst nightmare. Here are a few things you should have (in addition to your main equipment) in case something breaks:

    • Camera body
    • Batteries
    • Lenses
    • Lens filters
    • Memory cards

If you’d like to find out more about backup gear, check out this article.

girl holding an umbrella

Prepare Lighting Equipment in Case the Weather Gets Bad

Make sure you check the weather forecast before you plan a shoot. If the weather isn’t promising and you can’t afford to postpone your shoot, bring an umbrella and a reflector to the location. An umbrella will keep you, your equipment, and your clients dry during an unexpected storm; a reflector will enhance your subjects’ faces on an overcast day.

In addition to bringing helpful equipment, make sure there’s a building nearby where you could stay during a storm. The last thing you want is to make your clients feel unsafe. Knowing what to do and where to go will save you from a lot of unnecessary misunderstandings in the future.

silhouette of girl against nightsky

Photography, like any other job, has the potential to throw you into a pit of annoying mistakes. Don’t let this trouble you. Knowing how to deal with problems will help you focus on what matters most: taking incredible photographs of incredible people. Being prepared may not completely eliminate failure, but it will definitely keep you happy, sane, and positive. That, dear reader, is how you deserve to feel.

 

Tips for Photographing Grandparents with Their Grandchildren

Grandparents are true blessings; in addition to inspiring, comforting, and nurturing their grandchildren, they give their own children a chance to relax and be grateful. The bonds between such family members are so indescribable that only photographs can capture their immense value. It’s not surprising, then, that many people want to document these relationships as accurately as possible.

Family photos, like family photoshoots, are unique. Couples, families, friends, etc., all demand different creative approaches. If you learn how to work with different types of people, you’ll attract more clients and significantly refine your portfolio. Whether you’re photographing your own parents or working with clients, the tips below will help you take authentic photos of real emotions.

grandparent laughing with grandchild

If You Don’t Know Them, Get to Know Them

Getting to know a family will help you build a strong photographer-client relationship and allow you to take photos that both you and your clients will love. Get to know what your subjects regularly do together. Be politely curious and open to sharing information about yourself. Ask them questions like:

  • Do you have any mutual hobbies or interests?
  • Where do you usually go together?
  • Do you have a favorite location, toy, or activity?
  • What makes you the happiest?

Questions like these will show your clients that you care and make them feel more comfortable in your presence. They’ll also come in handy during the photographing process, as you’ll see now.

grandparent holding grandchild

Observe

Subjects of any kind (especially children) shouldn’t have to pose throughout an entire shoot. Their true nature will show when they play, talk, and don’t pay too much attention to your camera. Instead of asking your subjects to say cheese, let them interact with each other. Ask them more questions (now that you know them better, you can have comfortable discussions), give them fun activity ideas, and most importantly, observe. The advantage of having multiple subjects is that they’ll feel more comfortable in the presence of someone familiar. Don’t take this for granted.

Observation will show you details that you overlooked in the past and give your artistic self-more room to grow. Your clients will love this spontaneity and admire your ability to document life at its purest. There’s nothing quite as special as knowing that an artist lovingly crafted a world just for your family. Be the kind of person who makes people feel this way.

two hands - one old, one young - touching a rose

Photograph Mutual Interests

Having a proper conversation with your clients before a shoot will give you valuable information about their relationship. Think about what your clients love most. Do they like to cook, read, walk, or play certain games together? Knowing this will let you take the best photos of their bond and let them have lots of fun. Photos of people enjoying one another’s company are nothing short of delightful and portfolio-enhancing.

grandparent taking a walk with grandchild

Choose a Familiar Location

Think of your favorite place. How does it make you feel? Mine is a tranquil park located on a mountain; it feels like my very own secret place with neat surroundings and few visitors. There, I have the opportunity to take joyful photographs of myself and my family. If I had a shoot in an unfamiliar environment, on the other hand, my self-awareness would be intense and my smiles would probably be forced.

If you let your subjects interact with each other in a place they love, it’ll be much easier for you to take fantastic photos of them. They’ll be too immersed in their surroundings to even notice your camera!

grandparents posing with grandchild

Your creativity and skills will freeze time in the best way possible; by photographing grandparents and their grandchildren, you’ll store precious memories that your clients will cherish forever. Most importantly, you’ll give your subjects a reason to spend even more quality time together. Imagine that: you’re a photo-taking wizard who can lift people’s spirits, store heartwarming moments, and give families a reason to smile. You are more than enough. Go out there and document valuable moments that no one will forget.

SaveSave

Where to Find Cheap Photography Props That Will Boost Your Inspiration

Photography-related products don’t always have to be expensive. Sometimes, the cheapest and most beautiful props can be found in the most unexpected places. If you take the time to look for them, you’ll find priceless gems that will boost your inspiration and make you a more creative photographer. Being able to make unusual items look graceful in photographs will give you a chance to improve as an artist. Your skills will help you make the most of any photo shoot, regardless of your budget. This will attract clients to you, give you more room to think outside the box and make you stand out as a photographer.

If you want to be a more imaginative artist, you should expose yourself to more opportunities. What every person can benefit from is the ability to find affordable items that will help him or her create a masterpiece. These items can be found almost anywhere: in thrift stores, libraries, and more. Here is a complete list of places where you can find awesome props and boost your inspiration.

girl browsing in a thrift store

Thrift Stores

Some items simply don’t look good when they reach a certain age. Others go out of fashion, are passed down to unenthusiastic family members, or lose their spark. While these possessions may not appeal to their owners, they could catch your artistic eye. Clothing items like scarves, which may not look that beautiful on a neck anymore, can be turned into props and used as elegant backdrops, foregrounds, or materials for DIY projects. There’s no limit when it comes to the potential of used items like these.

Other things you might find in thrift stores are vintage gems ideal for conceptual photo shoots, interesting items of clothing, and materials you could use to create foregrounds/backgrounds. Such props may also inspire you to embrace photo manipulation; for example, obscure items like curtains can be transformed into mighty waves or extravagant gowns in Photoshop. If you’re a fan of editing, thrift stores will open a whole new world for you!

second-hand books

Second-Hand Bookstores and Libraries

Purchasing used books will open your mind, give you creative ideas, and encourage you to experiment with something new. A fictional character’s perseverance, for instance, may become a source of empowerment for you. If you’re into fiction, look for relatable stories and characters. Finding comfort in magical realism will provide you with an unquenchable thirst for meaningful photographs.

If you prefer non-fiction, keep an eye out for coffee tables books with inspiring visual references or how-to books related to art. These guides will teach you something new about your beloved hobby or simply give you the opportunity to find pure inspiration.

flatlay - DIY materials

Online Stores

Websites like Amazon and eBay are filled with cheap props that can significantly improve your work. When you search for items, make sure you avoid products that might hurt you or damage your camera. Safe props include:

    • Backdrops
    • Wigs
    • Costumes
    • Accessories like glasses

The quirkier an item, the more striking your results will be!

children working on a diy project

At Home

Confetti garlands, giant polaroid photo frames, flower crowns, chalk drawings, dreamy photo filters, and paper masks are all things you can make on your own. (If you have children, some of these DIY projects will keep them entertained and encourage them to pose for the camera!) DIY projects can be found almost anywhere online. The ideas are unique, affordable, and fun.

If you’re interested in any of these projects, let us know and we’ll make a separate tutorial for you! πŸ™‚

thrift store

Though investing in valuable photography equipment is necessary, you don’t have to do it all the time. Find used items, turn them into works of art, and show others how wonderfully creative you are. Once you’re happy with the results, donate your props; someone might find them just as inspiring and create incredible art of their own. It’s a beautifully organic process. Why not become a part of it today?

What to Avoid When Posing Models: A Reference Guide

If you’re active on social media, you’re probably familiar with the perfect photo: a body-flattering pose, a breathtaking expression, and a look that speaks of pure confidence. It may seem like the models in such photos are naturally perfect and that nobody else can even dream of modeling the same way. The truth is that these individuals simply have a strong knowledge of posing which greatly contributes to their modeling success.

Certain angles can make even the most stunning models look unappealing. Every person has a variety of expressions and poses that can make or break an image. It’s up to you to help your subjects find these strengths. To do this, you can show them what not to do. The reason this approach works is that mistakes, unlike ideal poses, are universal; anyone can learn from them. Once your subjects know what to avoid, they’ll discover confidence-boosting poses that will not only make them look incredible in your photos but give you a chance to take your work to the next level. Let’s begin!

model posing out in nature

Don’t Make Them Uncomfortable

Awkwardness and posing don’t work too well together. An overload of compliments, criticism, or silence will make any model feel out of place. If you don’t want to try too hard and give the wrong impression, get to know your subject’s personality first. This will help you understand the kind of treatment they’d be happy with. Even a short conversation will reveal their personality and, in turn, allow you to reveal yours.

Don’t forget to talk about yourself, too. Opening up to people will make you appear relatable, charismatic, and friendly. You and your model may find mutual interests or acquaintances that will help you bond during the photoshoot. And even if you don’t perfectly click with someone, there will always be an opportunity to make them feel good in your presence.

man standing in front of wall

Don’t Ask Them to Pose Immediately

Many photographers treat posing like acting. Instead of telling their models to strike a pose, they ask them to move around, interact with their surroundings, and visualize something specific. This may not appeal to every person you work with, but there’s something important you can learn from it: giving your models room for imagination will help them pose naturally. Spontaneity, in addition to a lack of strictness, will open up many creative doors for you.

model posing outdoors

Avoid These Poses

Once your model feels comfortable in front of your camera, it’s time to let him or her know what to avoid:

  • Slouching: this is something many people do unintentionally. To avoid this, your models should straighten their backs, take a few deep breaths, and slightly turn away from the camera. This will instantly make them look relaxed and comfortable.
  • Entire body facing the camera: this will make your models look awkward and wide. Instead of facing the camera, your subjects can slightly turn their shoulders or put their hands on their hips.
  • Pressing arm against the body: this will flatten your subjects’ arms and make them look much bigger than they actually are.

model laughing in a field

Don’t Forget the Hands

Awkward-looking hand poses can make a generally beautiful image look unnatural. Make sure your models’ hands are relaxed; their fingers should be slightly spread out and placed on their shoulders, under their chins, or wherever they decide. Give them freedom when it comes to their hands, but always make sure to correct them when they start to look too tense. A proper hand pose will give your photographs an air of grace. When your models see how elegant they look in your photos, they’ll feel even more confident in your presence.

closeup of a model holding her face

Posing isn’t always a walk in the park. Even professionals need clear instructions when working with new photographers. If someone with years of experience needs direction, imagine what a struggle it is for non-models to feel comfortable in front of the camera! A small amount of patience and posing knowledge are all you need to create a healthy photographer-model relationship.

SaveSave

Why It’s Okay to Fail as a Photographer

Failure is inevitable, especially in the world of art. It may be difficult to grasp this immediately; an innumerable amount of ideas float in artists’ minds every day, making it hard to store one concept without losing another. Photographers not only want to make the most of every precious thought but work on it successfully. This state of mind can be very overwhelming, especially if hours of hard work end up amounting to nothing. At one point, these artists may start to wonder if embracing other ideas would’ve given them better results.

The truth, however, remains stable. Ideas that appear in the form of unclear yet exciting dreams can’t be perfect. They shouldn’t be. Experience, practice, and success can stop failure from occurring too often, but they won’t obliterate it completely. Whether you recently discovered photography or entered your twentieth year of photo-taking, you have every right to fail. Here is why.

neat desk with a motivational print

It Will Give You a Reason to Strengthen Your Patience

In today’s fast-moving world, it’s easy to seek instant gratification everywhere. Social media is filled with notifications, updates, and feedback that motivate people to receive answers within seconds. More often than not, scrolling through your feed is easier than finding new ways to improve. Similarly, it’s easier to bring yourself down than to pick yourself up. While social media can be very handy, it makes patience a difficult skill to obtain.

Failure won’t provide you with immediate satisfaction, but it will open a new door for your patience. Just because a concept didn’t work out doesn’t mean you should give up on it completely. Analyze the problem and try to find a solution for it. This will not only strengthen your problem-solving skills but significantly improve your patience with both art and yourself.

figure standing on a rock

It Will Show You That You’re Not Always the Problem

You’re really not always the problem

. Photographers of all kinds often bump into unpredictable obstacles. Bad moods, people, the weather, time constraints, and other external factors can have a significant impact on your work. Creative mistakes don’t make you unworthy, untalented, or undeserving of personal success. Keep this in mind when something goes wrong again.

Tip: When you feel like a failure, remember your past achievements and current strengths. If that doesn’t work, go to your friends and family for support. You can even do both at the same time. These acts of self-love will give you a small yet significant boost of confidence.

It Will Allow You to Start Over Successfully

Any creative project, regardless of its success, changes an artist. Using your new experience, you can work on the same projects with an improved mindset. Previous mistakes will come in handy and give you more room to learn and to grow. You won’t face the same problems because you’ll be an improved version of yourself.

hand holding a paper airplane

By starting over, you’ll strengthen your perseverance, a skill that’s highly valued in every workplace. The next time you bump into an unpleasant problem, treat it like an opportunity to get better at living. What you learn from your creative mistakes will help you in other areas of your life. Perseverance and patience will improve your relationships, strengthen your reputation, and increase your self-confidence.

Most Importantly, It Will Make You Brave

Failure isn’t a creativity-obliterating beast or an unstoppable negative force. It’s not a person whose goal is to spite you. It’s not even a reflection of your incompetence as a photographer. In reality, failure is the perfect excuse to get up and try again. It can be seen as a friend who willingly points out your mistakes and gives you another chance to start all over again. The sooner you realize this, the sooner you’ll find your own courage. Though this courage won’t entirely eliminate your fear of failure, it will stop you from letting mistakes bring you down.

Failure is meant to help you improve as an artist. Instead of thinking of it as the end of the world, look at it as the beginning of a new creative chapter. Failure, it turns out, is just a bunch of wonderful opportunities in disguise, so go out there and embrace them.

surreal photo of boy on a ladder painting the sky

SaveSave

How to Make Your Models Smile Naturally

The dreaded “cheese” is something that most portrait photographers tend to avoid. Fake smiles and laughter are as uncomfortable for the model as they are for the photo-taker. How can you make someone smile genuinely, though? The idea seems virtually impossible, especially if you consider strangers whose personalities and interests are unknown to you.

When all else fails, many photographers turn to reverse psychology. The tricks within this field can make even the most serious subjects burst out laughing. These tips are guaranteed to not only bring a smile to your model’s face but help you create a pleasant environment that will make anyone feel at home. Before you know it, your portfolio will be filled with beautiful smiles, genuine emotions, and cozy atmospheres.

people having coffee

Create a Comfortable Environment for Them

Before you attempt to make people smile, get to know them. What are their interests? What kind of photographers do they admire? A general knowledge of any person will enable you to create the most comfortable environment for a model. A short meet-up will allow you to introduce yourself properly and appreciate the model’s talents. If you remain confident in your own skin, you’ll make any person you speak to feel like themselves in your presence. Finding mutual interests and hobbies will take you even further, giving you an abundance of topics to discuss and mention during the photoshoot itself.

girl smiling at sunset

Give Them Room for Imagination

Thoughts have the power to dramatically change moods and comfort levels. As a photographer, you can gently guide your models’ thoughts in the right direction by giving them heartwarming topics to think or talk about. This will inevitably make them smile and give you lots of opportunities to capture their true happiness.

Make sure to ask your models about their favorite hobbies, memories, or people. As mentioned previously, you can even get to know them before a photo shoot so that you can ask them appropriate questions later on. Your questions don’t have to be too deep, for the record. A polite conversation about pleasant matters can work wonders!

girl smiling outdoors

Encourage Them

Though encouragement will make your model feel relaxed, remember to give compliments only when you truly mean them. This will show your models that you’re not simply throwing words around to distract them. Another form of encouragement is constructive criticism. If a certain pose doesn’t work, just be honest and offer an alternative. This will build mutual trust, which will help you understand what uplifts and irks your models.

black woman laughing outdoors

Surprise them with Unusual Instructions

Distractions and surprises can catch people off guard in the best way possible. If you ask your models not to smile at all, for example, you’ll compel them to smile at least once. Tricks like this may not work for everyone, but they’re certainly worth experimenting with. Here are a few more surprising things you can do:

  • Ask them to do something silly like shake their head, dance, or make a funny face. Don’t be afraid of awkwardness, as it will ease any tension and help you take great photos of even greater smiles.
  • Your models don’t have to be the only ones who feel silly. Share a funny experience with them and be open to making awkward mistakes. There’s nothing quite as charismatic as a humorous photographer.
  • If nothing works, ask them to say “money” instead of “cheese.” Though the resulting smile won’t be completely genuine, it’ll help you get at least one authentic-looking shot.

girl lying in leaves

You don’t have to be an extrovert to make others smile. You don’t even have to be a comedian to make someone giggle. All you need is to be your true self. A photographer’s authenticity, mixed with a model’s willingness to collaborate, will create natural photographs and brilliant friendships. Letting others know that you’re truly interested in their creative lives will make them feel exceedingly comfortable in your presence. Once you get to this stage, the natural smiles will immediately come to you. All you need is a little bit of patience.

And of course, don’t forget to smile. πŸ™‚

 

SaveSave

5 Tips for Taking Gorgeous Photos of Children

Children are delightful and photogenic beings; their willingness to learn and explore creates the ideal playground for creative individuals. In addition to being sweet, however, children can also be a little difficult to photograph. Not knowing how to communicate with them or their parents can result in unnecessary disappointment and stress. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do before, during, and after a photo shoot that will help children feel comfortable in your presence and give you lots of time to take incredible photos of them.

These five tips will explain the importance of authenticity, spontaneity, and continuous mode. They’ll also highlight the value of taking breaks and simply having fun. With this information in mind, you’ll be able to document precious childhood moments that your clients will cherish forever.

girl playing with water

Look for Candid Moments

Posing doesn’t appeal to children, so don’t make them do it. Instead of giving out instructions all the time, let your curious subjects enjoy their surroundings. Children are great at being themselves, so you’ll have no trouble capturing true authenticity as long as you let them do what they want. Bonus points if you get the chance to take photos of them with their parents! Being in the company of loved ones is the best way to boost one’s confidence, after all.

child smiling

Make Them Comfortable in Your Presence

When it comes to any kind of photoshoot, the most important thing photographers can do is make their subjects feel comfortable in front of the camera. In the portrait photography universe, it’s easy to get to know models by meeting them beforehand. This isn’t as easy when children are involved. Regardless of this limitation, get to know the child you’ll be photographing. Be open to asking interesting questions, being involved in games, and being silly. Befriending your young model will give you access to a world of creativity and joy.

two girls posing

Experiment with Angles

If you constantly stand while taking photos, you may intimidate your tiny subjects. Be open to getting to their level once in a while. (No one would feel comfortable in front of a giant with a camera, right?!) By taking photos from different angles, you’ll not only make a child comfortable but give yourself lots of creative freedom. Perspectives that you wouldn’t embrace during a normal portrait session will provide you with unique photographs that both you and your clients will adore.

girl in aquarium

Shoot in Continuous Mode

It’s impossible to plan the perfect shot, especially when it comes to unpredictable children. Instead of constantly worrying about the right compositions, let your fears go and shoot in continuous mode. Continuous shooting mode (also known as burst mode) is a handy tool that enables photographers to take several photos at once. In this mode, you don’t have to worry about timing. Continuous mode is ideal for capturing activities like running, swinging, and playing in general. The only job you’ll have later is deleting unwanted photographs. No regrets!

boy holding map

Know Their Limits

If you don’t want your models to have bad associations with you or your camera, don’t overwhelm them. When your subject gets restless or annoyed, it’s time to stop taking photos. If possible, give the child a chance to relax, eat, or play elsewhere. This method will help you build a friendship with him or her and show your clients that you don’t just care about taking great photos. The more your clients trust you, the easier it’ll be for you to feel comfortable and the faster you’ll build a strong portfolio.

parent walking with child

Knowing how to take photos of children will strengthen your reputation as a photographer and give you a chance to simply have fun. Once you master the art of communicating with children, you’ll be able to take gorgeous photos of them without stressing yourself (or your clients) out. All it takes is a little bit of practice, persistence, and openness!

 

SaveSave

How to Be More Confident as a Photographer

In the dictionary, confidence is defined as “a feeling of self-assurance arising from an appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.” As you can see, this is neither arrogance nor naivety. Confidence is a special world filled with unlimited potential; those who passionately look for it always find it.

You don’t have to change your personality or take risks to find your inner confidence. You certainly don’t have to become someone else. All you have to do is remain open to self-improvement and natural change. By following the tips below, you’ll find a unique path that will lead you to a naturally confident version of yourself.

family on the beach at sunset

Build a Loyal Support System

While independence is honorable, it’s important to have people you can lean on when you feel weak. Vulnerability will strengthen your relationships and make you feel better about yourself in the long run. Knowing how to ask for help and support will make you feel safe and loved. These emotions, in turn, will give you a boost on challenging days.

If you can’t find a support system, build one. It’s never too late to start making new friends. Join online groups, attend local workshops, or contact old friends. Put yourself out there and you’ll be rewarded in more ways than one; you’ll not only receive love from your community but give it to those who desperately need it.

girl reading a book next to the sea

Always Be Curious

“Knowledge is power” is mentioned so often for a reason. The more you know about your interests, the more confident you’ll feel when you work on them. With this attitude, you’ll get to nurture healthy curiosity. This will give you a chance to find creative potential everywhere, leading you to more achievements, ideas, and opportunities.

Curious individuals are interested in how people and things work. Most importantly, they’re interested in self-improvement. Find out what you want to get better at. Be curious about your creative goals and ask yourself honest questions. For example, I want to get better at landscape photography. To achieve that goal I can practice a lot, join online courses, read books, watch videos, and so on. There’s no limit when it comes to the amount of knowledge you can access and digest. The more you satisfy your curiosity, the stronger your knowledge will get, and the more your confidence will grow.

"I am bad ass" ring

Get to Know Your Strengths

If you’re always on the lookout for a new flaw to worry about, you’re not appreciating your strengths enough. Rather than worrying about your insecurities, focus on your positive traits. What makes your work unique? Why do you take photographs? What kind of people do you want to influence your work? As you go through these questions, you’ll find uplifting answers. Write them down and keep them in your heart when that negative voice tries to tear you down again.

woman meditating outdoors

Embrace Your Weaknesses

Weaknesses are opportunities to improve, not reasons to beat yourself up. Accepting every part of yourself will make you a happier and more genuine person. This is especially important in the world of art, where there’s plenty of room for unnecessary comparisons and what-ifs. Remember that weaknesses are temporary. You can turn any kind of negative energy into life-changing motivation.

woman taking photos outdoors

It’s completely natural to make mistakes, compare yourself to others, and feel untalented. Many artists are perfectionists, while others simply want to do a good job. High expectations can lead to disappointment and failure, both of which are experts at making photographers feel unwanted in the world of art. This doesn’t have to be the end of your story, though. If you surround yourself with supportive people, nurture your curiosity, and embrace every part of yourself, you’ll become a living example of true, admirable confidence.

SaveSave

When Should You Embrace B&W Photography?

When does an image deserve to be converted to black and white? This is a question you have probably asked yourself countless of times during confusing editing sessions. Some photographs simply look better in black and white, while others stand out gracefully only when their true colors are present. Others look fantastic no matter what.

To make the decision-making process easier, consider the points below. They’ll help you answer important questions about your work, ones that will give your photographs a chance to shine in the best way possible. You’ll be compelled to observe your image, spot both distracting and appealing elements, and come to a conclusion you won’t regret.

This is when you should embrace b&w photography:

cat yawning

 

When Your Photograph Is Hard to Edit

Some photographs simply don’t look appealing in color. More often than not, those same images look significantly more beautiful in black and white. If your photo has too many distracting colors, chances are that you’ll like its monochromatic version much more. I’m often surprised to see what a dramatic change a simple conversion can make!

When There Are Lots of Shadows

A person’s face partially hidden by mysterious shadows, a street filled with silhouettes on a bright day, and a mountain surrounded by intimidating rainclouds all have one thing in common: they possess photogenic shadows. Impactful black & white photographs often have a lot of contrast, so pointing it out in your own work using highlights and shadows will make it look all the more astounding.

man and train

When You Want to Get Rid of Busy Elements

In addition to color, there are many elements that can ruin a photograph’s composition. A background filled with moving objects of various colors, shapes, and sizes may distract the viewer’s eye and obliterate the entire meaning of an image. If you have photos of locations crowded with different subjects, convert your results to black & white. This will help viewers clearly see what you want them to see.

When There Are Textures Involved

Eye-catching textures have the potential to get lost in colorful compositions. Faces, houses, roads, and landscapes are all made up of elements that, when devoid of color, transform into masterpieces of their own. If your image is filled with interesting lines, patterns, and shapes then consider converting it to black & white. To really enhance the textures in your image, gently increase the clarity, contrast, and sharpness in your editing program.

comparison for b&w
Edits like this are subtle yet effective. To create a similar effect, increase your photograph’s clarity, contrast, and sharpness in Lightroom. The Tone Curve tool is also very helpful when it comes to intensifying highlights and shadows.

 

When There’s an Abundance of Negative Space

Environments are ideal for telling deeper stories, focusing on unusual subjects, and highlighting things the human eye wouldn’t notice at first glance. Unfortunately, environments are also known for their negative space, something that can prove to be a nuisance during the editing process. If you take very atmospheric and environmental photographs, black & white photography may be perfect for you. Black & white conversion will turn any extra space into an aesthetically pleasing blank canvas.

When Emotions Are Your Main Focus

This is particularly helpful for portrait photographers. Relationships between people – and human emotions in general – look very genuine and raw in black and white. Experiment with black & white if you have intimate photos of this sort, and you may get very touching results.

happy couple laughing

From now on, black & white photography will no longer be an unsolvable mystery. Whether you’re an avid portrait photographer, a curious landscape artist, or an eager photography enthusiast, a solid knowledge of black & white photography’s strengths will strengthen your own work. Once you familiarise yourself with the approaches above, you’ll know exactly what to do with every image you edit in the future.

cycling on a bridge

5 Portrait Photography Mistakes You Should Avoid

It’s true, creativity has no limits. What may look like an unforgivable mistake to one artist may be a relieving source of inspiration for another. Regardless of this fact, certain mistakes are simply worth avoiding. Photography genres have unique rules that deserve to be kept in mind during photo shoots. Landscape photography, for instance, demands a type of lighting that may not appeal to portrait photographers.

In portrait photography, unflattering lighting, uncomfortable poses, and tension all contribute to inauthentic photographs. It’s important to know how to deal with models, what not to do during the editing process, and how to approach different lighting situations. In addition to doing all of these things yourself, you can learn from the mistakes of others to boost your learning process.

In this article, you’ll not only familiarize yourself with 5 common portrait photography mistakes but learn from them. Each mistake is accompanied by a helpful solution so that the next time you bump into a creative problem, you’ll know exactly what to do.

Avoiding Conversations with Your Model

Taking photos of someone you barely know can be a tense activity, especially if you’re introverted. It’s easy to forget that the model is probably as uncomfortable as you are. Avoiding proper discussions will not only result in unnecessary awkwardness but give you a massive creative block.

Solution: If possible, have a short meeting with your client before a shoot. Once they get to know both your love for photography and the creative ideas you have in mind, they’ll feel more comfortable in your presence. In turn, you’ll get to know them. Don’t be afraid of asking questions, requesting feedback, and giving them creative space. They may have an idea that will come in handy during your shoot, so remember to stay open-minded.

conversations with coffee

Solely Depending on Poses

Posing guides are undeniably helpful, but they can get in the way. Not every individual will feel comfortable with certain poses. Your client may even end up feeling bad about poses you really like.

Solution: Don’t ditch your posing guide. Instead, give your model lots of room to be spontaneous from time to time. If they enjoy talking, have conversations with them as you take photos. Give them compliments and proper feedback. This will help you catch authentic moments. The photo below is a great example of this.

girl smiling

Beating Yourself up in Front of Your Client

…or in any other situation. Of course, self-deprecation is sometimes humorous and pleasant. When it comes to photo shoots, however, bringing yourself down will bring your others down, too. You’ll end the shoot feeling exhausted and unenthusiastic. If you don’t believe in your creative skills, no one will.

Solution: Embrace the inevitability of mistakes. If something goes wrong, don’t immediately blame yourself. Instead of discouraging both yourself and your client, find a solution. Once your client notices the confidence you have in your problem-solving abilities, they’ll feel safe in your presence.

girl taking a picture

Not Focusing on the Eyes

Experimentation is cool. It proves that you don’t limit your creative mind. Many clients, however, want a combination of simple and creative photos of themselves. Images that focus on their clothes, hair, or surroundings won’t satisfy them completely.

Solution: Manually focus on the eyes when you take simple portraits. This may take some practice, especially if you’re used to autofocus, but keep trying and you’ll get the perfect results in no time.

portrait

Shooting in Locations with Abnormal Lighting

Light is a photographer’s best friend

, but too much of it can lead to the creation of unappealing portraits. Harsh, flat, or distracting light is something portrait photographers don’t use on a daily basis. Unique lighting situations require unique approaches. If used incorrectly, they’ll highlight the wrong features and overshadow flattering elements.

Solution: Before a shoot, find the best locations where lighting won’t be a problem. For instance, a park filled with shaded areas will give you lots of room to take well-lit photos on sunny days. An open field will give you lots of lighting opportunities on gloomy days. Unless you want to create experimental portraits or experiment with portrait actions, avoid locations with lots of different lights.

girl looking through records

It’s true, creativity has no limits. It’s also true that learning from other photographers’ mistakes will benefit you greatly. Absorb this knowledge, learn from your own mistakes, and keep taking wonderful photographs of others.

SaveSave

Taking photos of the same person in different kinds of light

It’s easy to run out of ideas whilst shooting in one location, let alone in a single room. If you don’t have the chance to take photos of your client in several places throughout a shoot, there’s still a great chance for you to take interesting, eye-catching portraits that you and your client will love. All you need is a big imagination and a desire to learn.

The most important element in any photographer’s life is light. As an artist, you already know that light, when mastered (or at least, when befriended), provides creative opportunities in the most unlikely places. For instance, combined with a high ISO number, light can be documented in neglected buildings. When mixed with creativity, it becomes an amazing companion. An abundance of incredible photos can be created thanks to facial features. Understanding the value of angles in photography will lead you to incredible – and often completely unique – ideas.

To begin this challenge, take photos of the same person in different kinds of light. Use the same light source; great sources which can be used indoors are lamps, windows, and torches. Below is a collection of photographs, each accompanied by tips on how to achieve a specific effect. For this shoot, I used the same light source and the same model. I shot at an hour when golden hour was slowly beginning to fade. (If you’re a beginner, I strongly encourage you to experiment fearlessly with window light for this challenge. The more you do, the easier it’ll be not to take light for granted.)

Backlight is a dreamy photographer's best friend. To achieve the glowing rainbow effect, face your light source directly and move your camera in different directions until the halo appears. Make sure some light enters your camera lens - too much will dramatically overexpose your shot, while too little will create a strong silhouette. The more you experiment, the easier finding the halo will be. Backlight is a dreamy photographer’s best friend. To achieve the glowing rainbow effect, face your light source directly and move your camera in different directions until the halo appears. Make sure some light enters your camera lens – too much will dramatically overexpose your shot, while too little will create a strong silhouette. The more you experiment, the easier finding the halo will be. Backlight is just as stunning without the aforementioned halo. On cloudier days, backlit photographs can be just as otherworldly. If you're lacking light on a certain day, ask your model to stand in front of a light source and take photos of them against it. Don't be afraid of using a higher ISO number for this. The extra grain will allow you to take clearer shots; additionally, it'll provide you with a film-like look. :) Backlight is just as stunning without the aforementioned halo. On cloudier days, backlit photographs can be just as otherworldly. If you’re lacking light on a certain day, ask your model to stand in front of a light source and take photos of them against it. Don’t be afraid of using a higher ISO number for this. The extra grain will allow you to take clearer shots; additionally, it’ll provide you with a film-like look. πŸ™‚ Side light is ideal for creating mysterious and beautifully framed images. Unlike backlight, side light doesn't require much experimentation. All your model has to do is expose half of their face to a light source. This is particularly effective with window light during the magic hour* hour; the soft warmth of the sun will cover half of your subject's face with a photogenic shade of orange. To make sure that the unexposed part of their face is dark, don't use any other light sources in the room. (However, if you're up for a creative challenge, feel free to use as many light sources as you wish.) Side light is ideal for creating mysterious and beautifully framed images. Unlike backlight, side light doesn’t require much experimentation. All your model has to do is expose half of their face to a light source. This is particularly effective with window light during the magic hour; the soft warmth of the sun will cover half of your subject’s face with a photogenic shade of orange. To make sure that the unexposed part of their face is dark, don’t use any other light sources in the room. (However, if you’re up for a creative challenge, feel free to use as many light sources as you wish.) What if you focused on the darker side of your subject's face? This would create a portrait akin to a silhouette. The beauty of this lighting situation is the light that enters the subject's eye. Though it's subtle, it's ideal for closeups and portraits with tiny but significant details. Such portraits are reminiscent of paintings and are ideal for almost any client shoot. Like the side light, this effect requires no effort to achieve. Simply ask your model to expose half of their face to the light source, and move away from them until most of the exposed parts aren't visible. What if you focused on the darker side of your subject’s face? This would create a portrait akin to a silhouette. The beauty of this lighting situation is the light that enters the subject’s eye. Though it’s subtle, it’s ideal for closeups and portraits with tiny but significant details. Such portraits are reminiscent of paintings and are ideal for almost any client shoot. Like the side light, this effect requires no effort to achieve. Simply ask your model to expose half of their face to the light source, and move away from them until most of the exposed parts aren’t visible. Direct light, though common, can be used in a bunch of creative ways. If your light source is too harsh, photograph your subject through a material (curtains are great for this.) This will make your results soft and textured, perfect for client photos with a twist. Direct light, though common, can be used in a bunch of creative ways. If your light source is too harsh, photograph your subject through a material (curtains are great for this.) This will make your results soft and textured, perfect for client photos with a twist.

When combined with people, light has the power to help you take magical, striking, and imaginative works of art. Light is available to every individual at any point in time, so make the most of this brilliant artistic tool. The more you experiment with it, the more your portfolio will thrive.

Happy shooting!

How to take great selfies with tripods for smartphones

In a world where almost everyone owns a smartphone, taking photographs is more accessible than it has ever been. You can photograph your surroundings, other people, and yourself. Selfies are exceedingly popular at the moment – many of you might associate this term with an extended arm and a flattering pose. However, artistic self-portraiture doesn’t always have to involve your phone’s front camera. If you don’t own a DSLR or if you simply wish to experiment with phone photography, smartphone tripods are what you’re looking for.

/

Tripods for smartphones are typically much smaller than DSLR tripods. These handy little tools will safely hold your phone anywhere, allowing you to take fantastic and unique self-portraits. Tripods can be simple – replicas of the original DSLR tripods – or they can be completely original, like the flexible Gorillapod which can be wrapped around anything, even trees!

The smartphone tripod that’s perfect for you depends on your creative vision. If you just want to familiarize yourself with new equipment, a simple tripod will do. If you wish to challenge yourself, a flexible tripod will provide you with an abundance of obstacles which will strengthen your creativity and test your patience. Of course, tripods aren’t just flexible or simple; there’s a plethora of complicated equipment you can experiment with. As long as you don’t forget to be open to new ways of working, you’ll find yourself thriving with your new purchase.

Once you obtain your tripod, don’t throw the instruction paper away. Most smartphone tripods, like DSLR ones, come with a mount for your camera. This must be attached safely to your phone to avoid any accidents. If you don’t attach your phone properly, it might fall off unexpectedly. Make sure the tripod is sturdy and without any faults; upon attaching your phone to it, take a few photos of your surroundings without a timer and see how it works. If the results are satisfying, you can move on to the best part: taking self-portraits with your new tripod.

/

You’re probably quite familiar with your phone’s basic camera features, so keep this in mind as you learn new things. Though phones differ when it comes to camera settings, they follow a general pattern. If you want to control your photographs’ exposure, shutter speed, focus, etc., you need a special camera app. Chances are that your built-in camera app isn’t making the most of your phone. Fortunately, there’s an abundance of options for iPhone, Android, and other smartphone users. A few examples are VSCO (iPhone and Android) and Camera360 (Android), both of which are free. These apps will allow you to have full control over your images, letting you take impressive photographs which won’t even look like posed self-portraits!

Once you’re happy with both your tripod and your camera app, go to your desired location. If you’re an absolute beginner, experiment in a calm and safe place first. If DSLR photography is something you’re familiar with, you can be more imaginative at this stage. Make sure the place where you’re going to shoot is well-lit. If a spot looks too dark or bright, change the exposure (thanks to your camera app, such changes are possible to make.) Once you’re more confident in your tripod, you’ll be able to deal with more challenging lighting conditions. For now, a beautifully lit location will give you a chance to take stunning self-portraits and allow you to understand your smartphone’s strengths and limits.

/

A sturdy tripod, a handy camera app, and a great shooting location: if you said yes to all those, you can prepare yourself for the best stage: taking self-portraits. Make sure your phone isn’t on mute so you can be aware of when your phone starts taking photographs. Set your timer to the longest possible amount of seconds and go to your desired spot. As your smartphone counts down, consider your pose, the way light hits your face, and the feeling you want your result to give out. Do you want a faceless, lonely portrait or a more optimistic one? What’s your photograph’s story? Consider all of these questions throughout your shoot.

A note on self-portraits: if you want a conventional portrait, your camera should be at eye level. For this, flexible tripods will come in handy. If your tripod is too short, attaching it to a tall object will remove any height issues. If your tripod isn’t flexible, putting it on flat surfaces like tables and wardrobes will get rid of the problem. Again, this depends on how creative and experimental you want your self-portraits to be. Since smartphone tripods are sturdy, small, and flexible, they can be used in very original ways. Experiment with various angles and you’ll get incredibly fascinating results.

Understanding smartphone tripods will allow you to get into professional photography. Your unique results will enhance your creativity and give you more shooting opportunities. If you’re into stock photography, you might consider selling your shots, too. The more you experiment, the closer you’ll get to becoming a great self-portrait photographer.

Good luck!

/

How to take enchanting photos using cellophane

It’s a given that professional photography equipment enhances every artist’s workflow and is an absolute joy to work with. However, professional tools aren’t the only things that can help you become a better photo-taker. There are many unlikely things in our homes which have the potential to add an extra touch of creativity to our work. Some obvious things, like lamps and mirrors, are often used by creatives because of their interesting ways of either creating or reflecting light. Other things, though occasionally used by artists, aren’t as popular. One of these handy little photo instruments can be found in almost every person’s kitchen: cellophane.

You might be wondering how cellophane, a transparent sheet mostly used for the preservation of food, can be used in the world of photography. You may have noticed that despite the sheet’s transparency, it can quickly become opaque when crumpled up. This haziness is ideal for the creation of enchanting photographs of all types. Whether you’re photographing animals, people, or something entirely different, cellophane can help you experiment with textures and clarity. This experimentation will compel your mind to absorb new ways of thinking creatively. In turn, these innovative ways of thinking will allow you to become a better, more observant, and more open-minded photographer with a bountiful supply of initiative.

Cellophane can be used in limitless ways, depending on your imagination. Though the following tips will help you look at photography from a creatively peculiar point of view, don’t stop there. Let these ideas be the foundation for even more fascinating and striking ideas.

/

//

Using cellophane to take photographs with blurred edges

If you want your images to be sharp with a vignette of blurriness, cut your cellophane into a square that’s a little larger than your camera lens. Afterward, proceed to cut a hole in the center of the square – its size depends on how unclear you want the edges to be. The smaller the cut in the center, the blurrier your image will appear and the more challenging it will be to get sharp results. Once you’re happy with the results, wrap the cellophane square around your lens, making sure that the cut-out hole is placed roughly at the center of the lens.

/

Something to keep in mind is that it might be difficult to focus your lens manually due to the tightly wrapped cellophane. To make focusing easier, don’t wrap the cellophane square around your entire lens and leave some space for your fingers to change the focus. Though using tape is optional, it could prevent the cellophane from constantly falling off. Remember that it doesn’t have to be perfect or visually appealing since the effect itself is the most important part.

Using cellophane to take unclear yet dreamy photographs

To create photographs that are beautifully textured yet slightly unclear, cover your lens with cellophane in the same way as the previous method, but without the cut-out hole. Again, wrap it in such a way that will give you the opportunity to manually focus your lens. If you use auto-focus, loosely wrap the cellophane around your lens to give it enough space to find the right sharpness. The effect will make your photographs look like they were taken straight out of a dream. A certain level of sharpness will remain, though everything will be covered in a pleasant layer of cellophane fog.

/

If you want to be even more creative, combine freelensing with cellophane. This will result in unique and charming photographs. For more interesting results, crumple up the cellophane before using it. Adding textures to editing programs like Photoshop will further enhance your shots. If you use Lightroom, make sure to apply your favorite preset for even more stunning results. Using all of these tools and features will transform your images into works of art you’re proud of.

/ This portrait is a combination of cellophane, free textures, and a Lightroom preset.

The beauty of cellophane is its unpredictability. For photographers who are interested in experimenting creatively, this is an exciting chance to grow and to learn new things. No matter what genre of photography you cherish most, use cellophane during one of your shoots. The results might surprise you, teach you new things, or show you a completely new way of looking at photography. Whatever happens, you will be closer to becoming a more experimental and open-minded photographer.

Happy shooting!

//

Cyprus’ Creative Beach Opportunities for Photographers

Islands can’t help but make their visitors believe that summers are endless. This infinitely bright atmosphere can be credited to beaches, which gratefully embrace seas or oceans all year long. Even in the middle of December, a few eager tourists can be found diving into deep waters in hopes of having a brilliant and adrenaline-filled adventure. The site is fascinating and heartwarming. In general, living on a tropical island is an uplifting experience which leaves every citizen feeling occasional volcanic eruptions of butterflies in their stomach.

In this article, you’ll witness the beauty of Cyprus beaches. Cyprus is an island located in the Mediterranean Sea, a region of gentle azure skies and incredibly scrumptious food. While summers there can be overwhelming due to intense heat waves, milder seasons are a joy to be a part of. Swarmed by tourists in the summers, Cyprus’ beaches can be enjoyed a little more fully in the autumn or spring. Once the hotter months are over, the sea is still warm enough to swim in, but not luxurious enough to attract a plethora of visitors. For those who enjoy photographing nature in tranquil places, the quieter seasons will prove to be satisfying.

/

Cyprus has many, many beaches. While a great percentage of those beaches is loved by tourists, there are lots of spots that aren’t dedicated to human relaxation. These places are surrounded by cliffs, sharp rocks, and a general atmosphere that reminds visitors of medieval castles and epic music. These slightly intimidating locations are particularly ideal for either admirer of edgy landscape photography or portrait/conceptual photographers who make the most of the complicated backdrops.

Other spots are more fitting for curious travelers; these are usually home to timid little stores where you can purchase interesting props for your shoots or just a delicious snack to enjoy during a break. If you venture into the fields nearby, you’ll encounter parks, stables, and great hiking trails. Thus, in addition to taking interesting photos of the beach, you’ll have an impressive amount of diverse locations to spend time in afterward.

/

The most common beaches are, quite, fortunately, located next to apartments, stores, and markets. In Limassol (a city located in the southern part of Cyprus), a welcoming beach is never too far away. Some people live right next to the sea, the beach is their daily morning view. Upon spending time in the sea, you’ll have access to cozy restaurants, calming cafés, and delicious drinks you’ll never forget. If you’re not in the mood for swimming on a particular day, you can still enjoy the smell of the sea by walking next to it. Almost every beach is decorated with smooth paths on which you can exercise, photograph, or simply take walks.

If you’re a nighttime photography enthusiast, these paths will provide you with many opportunities. Since there aren’t many people taking walks during this time, it’s possible to set up a tripod in a safe place and try out long exposure photography. The sea is never violent, so getting a perfectly composed shot of the beach won’t be an issue. If you go out a little earlier, you’re likely to catch a magnificent sunset. Even when covered by clouds, the island’s sunsets never cease to take one’s breath away. Photographing these natural phenomenon will not only give you amazing results but also provide you with an intense and fulfilling love for nature. You’ll leave the beach feeling beyond refreshed and inspired.

/

/

The aforementioned paths come in handy at night; this is when the daytime chaos of the popular island settles down. Despite the lack of light, however, safety isn’t something you have to fear. Cyprus can serve as a refuge for those who seek endless outdoor peace. Nighttime walks are a great time for meditation, inspiration, and general relaxation. If you’ve been shooting all day, you can refresh your creative mind by watching the stars from a bench or listening to the natural music of the sea. The soothing sounds of endless waves have the power to prepare you for another wonderful shooting day. Alternatively, they can make you feel grounded, calm, and completely alive.

Cyprus is adept at providing artists with picturesque locations and rejuvenation. Thanks to its many beaches, photographers have many locations they can visit and enjoy. The island preserves its beauty through nature all day long, all year long. This makes it one of an ideal spots for creative photographers of all kinds.

/

Experiencing Belarus in the Spring: The Magic of Eastern Europe

Somewhere at the beginning of spring, a humble little country known as Belarus becomes adept at revealing the most heavenly parts of nature. Cities, towns, and villages alike come together to celebrate the beauty and value of spring’s precious gifts. These gifts can be found in both obvious and hidden places; those who find them are blessed with breathtakingly photogenic subjects. For photographers, this time of year in Belarus is pure bliss.

//

Those who enjoy peace and quiet will find tranquility in smaller towns and in friendly villages. The inhabitants of these places never mean any harm – in fact, they rarely notice passing tourists. Everybody is quietly welcome, especially artists who desire to photograph life’s endlessly uplifting sides. Though there are many things worth cherishing during a Belarusian spring, here are the top 3 things which are guaranteed to bring a smile to any photographer’s face:

Fields

Thanks to the bountiful supply of fields scattered all over the country, there isn’t a spot where photographers won’t find creative potential. Since the countryside is an exceedingly harmless place, these fields provide both privacy and inspiration, giving all kinds of artists a chance to express themselves freely. The fields are most breathtaking before the day begins; soft morning light compels flowers to glow, giving them an otherworldly look. This is absolutely ideal for portrait, family, and couple shoots. Since these fields are experts at catching the light, you’re guaranteed to get brilliant results. If you’re not a fan of trespassing, you have no reason to worry. Many of these fields are open to visitors, so don’t let the fear of getting in trouble haunt you.

In addition to being indescribably gorgeous, these fields are safe. Insect-fearing folks needn’t worry about protecting themselves from buzzing wasps or clumsy spiders. Though insects can’t help but exist in these places (there are many friendly bumblebees out there), they usually avoid attacking harmless people, especially artists who only wish to photograph their charming little homes without destroying them. πŸ™‚

//

//

The golden hour

I often mention the magic hour in my articles because I find endless potential in it. No matter how many golden hours you’ve experienced, you’ll always find something fresh to document using that incredibly soft and warm light. The spring treats golden hour like royalty, allowing it to soak the day in honey-like colors. The entire experience leaves behind warm feelings and even warmer photographs.

The magic hour is perfect for portrait, animal, and landscape photographers. Since the light during this time evenly spreads out and banishes overexposure, portraits are guaranteed to look visually appealing and portfolio-worthy. Most importantly, the spring allows the golden hour to visit almost every day. Since the days are longer, there are many opportunities to find unusual, eye-catching light for all kinds of shoots. Combined with Belarusian nature, this creates perfection.

//

//

Details

When it comes to the period of stunning florals and striking lighting conditions, it’s all in the details. Whether you’re photographing a travel buddy in a pleasant village or taking a walk with your pet on a hill, you’ll find photo-worthy details in every crevice. Exotic flowers, twisted branches, etc., can all be used in your shots. In addition to being marvelous subjects on their own, these gifts of nature can serve as useful backgrounds, foregrounds, and accessories. Something as simple as a foreground of branches sprinkled with blossoms can add mystery, beauty, and vibrancy to a composition. If you never underestimate the power of details, your photographs will improve and glow in ways you can’t even imagine!

Even if you’re not shooting for a campaign, you can still find wonderful artistic opportunities in places like parks, fields, bushes, and even in the middle of a bustling city. These minuscule yet significant joys exist everywhere, providing photographers of all kinds with sweet moments of creative happiness. Though you may not use them as individual pieces in your portfolio, they’ll inevitably come in handy when you create double exposures, photo manipulations, and more. Collecting photo resources for various art experiments will make you an observant and detail-oriented individual, something that clients value greatly.

//

//

Spring is a blissful time for photographers who enjoy working with cheerful portraits and conceptual works of art. Thanks to the seemingly endless amount of nature in Belarus, photographers can shoot almost anywhere and produce unique results. Best of all, shooting in these locations will provide artists with valuable, timeless memories worth keeping forever.

Happy shooting!

How to Fix Overexposed Photos in Lightroom

We’ve all been there: attempting to capture the heart of a photo shoot in a limited amount of time, coming home with a heart full of wild excitement, and being disappointed with the results. Maybe you shot on a sunny day, creating bright photographs that somehow managed to conceal your subject completely. Perhaps you shot during the golden hour, resulting in beautifully warm – yet unbearably bright – images.

Photographer friend, I have some good news for you: fixing these lighting errors is possible using a number of editing programs. The program we’ll be focusing on today is Lightroom. Lightroom is filled with a plethora of handy little tools like exposure, highlights, shadows, clarity, and more. These tools – which can be altered by using sliders – can fix both dramatic and minor issues. If you’re refusing to share one of your favorite shots due to overexposure, the tutorial below will help you fix your dilemma. In no time, you’ll be able to find potential in photographs that, at first glance, seem impossible to fix. This will give you more opportunities to add great photos to your portfolio and make your shots less stressful.

//

Before you begin, it’s very important to remember the power of shooting in RAW mode. The value of RAW lies in the amount of image data it collects; JPEG stores less image data, resulting in photographs whose quality isn’t the best it can be. Thus, editing RAW files enables the photographer to alter things dramatically without instantly ruining the overall quality. When it comes to images that are too bright or too dark, this is especially valuable.

Preset-loving folks, please keep this in mind: In Photoshop, it’s possible to use an action after editing your image and not lose any of the minor details you fixed. In Lightroom, however, this is possible but not easy to achieve. When presets are applied, any changes you made before the application are completely altered to fit the preset’s inbuilt adjustments. To avoid losing precious work, apply your desired preset first and then work with the sliders. This will save you a lot of time and frustration.

Now that you’re aware of these points, let’s begin!

The Basic panel contains the most important sliders – if you were to use only those during the editing process, you’d get an abundance of great images. Imagine how wonderful your work can be if you master the basics, apply stunning presets, and understand how to use Lightroom’s other panels (such as Tone Curve and Split Toning).

//

  • Exposure: dragging the slider to the left will darken your image significantly. Use this tool carefully as it will affect every part of your image. Of all the sliders, exposure is the most sensitive to changes. Keep this in mind as you experiment with it. Since the eye isn’t always sensitive to small changes, use the before & after tool as often as you can.
  • Contrast: this is as important as exposure, though playing around with it won’t result in overly exaggerated shots (especially if your photograph is very flat). Even a contrast of +100 could work! Drag the Contrast slider to the right until you’re satisfied with the results.
  • Highlights and Whites: the brightest parts of your photo can be fixed using these sliders. Blown out highlights in photos can be softened by dragging the highlights slider to the left. To help your shot reclaim its beautiful contrast, increase the whites by dragging the slider to the right. This will help maintain a balance and prevent any clipping from happening. (Clipping is the loss of image data – this is common when working with photos that require much editing.)
  • Shadows and blacks: to recover the strength of shadows in an overexposed image, drag the shadows slider to the right and the blacks slider to the left. Similarly to the previous point, this balance will get rid of unnecessary clipping and let your image naturally stand out.
  • Clarity: if you feel that your image has the potential to look even better, increase its clarity. Too much clarity will result in very unnatural looking photos, so be careful as you drag the slider to the right.

Once you’re done with the basics, feel free to experiment with other panels. Now you’re ready to make the most of any shoot, no matter how bright it may be outdoors. Be proud of yourself for learning something new!

//

Happy shooting, and don’t forget to never stop learning.

How to take visually appealing evening portraits

Since summer is currently staying with us folks in the Northern Hemisphere, we’re experiencing a pleasant bundle of longer and brighter days. This is the ideal time for photographers to take advantage of long outdoor shoots. In the summer, exploring outdoor locations at 7 p.m. is far from intimidating. Evenings become a source of inspiration even to those who dislike the dark. Whether the end of your sun-filled day is brimming with gloomy clouds or bursting with a magnificent sunset, you can take impressive evening portraits.

The time frame of evenings has been the topic of many controversial discussions; the generally agreed upon range, however, starts at 5 p.m. and ends at 8 p.m. During this time, especially in the summer, it’s possible to take fascinating portraits which are neither too bright nor too dark. In the evenings, the sky tends to absorb a calm, azure hue mixed with golden streaks of remaining light. This combination of colors is ideal for creating moody yet friendly portraits. Whether you’re a fan of sunny portraits or nighttime shots, know that evening photos are a great addition to any portrait photographer’s portfolio.

girl running away with bird

Use unintimidating ISO numbers

Taking portraits at night requires the use of relatively high ISO numbers. Summer evenings don’t demand such an overflow of grain. If you’re shooting in a location with good sources of light, an ISO number of 100 might prove to be more than enough. However, don’t be afraid of experimenting with higher numbers. Chances are that a slightly higher ISO value (such as ISO 500) will provide you with better results and an insignificant amount of grain.
(If you do end up disliking the amount of grain in your results, don’t be discouraged. Editing programs such as Photoshop, Topaz DeNoise, and Neat Image is capable of flawlessly removing photo noise.)

girl outdoors

Find the best possible source of natural light

During the day, it can be fairly easy to find perfect locations for your portraits. The Sun often provides us with amazing shooting opportunities; making the most of that is certainly worth it. But what can you do when the pleasant rays of sunshine are almost absent? Evenings are a time when artificial outdoor light isn’t yet available, so using streetlights to light your subject’s face won’t work. The solution to this is finding the best possible natural source of light.

Oftentimes, the best sources of light in the evenings are sunsets. However, these golden hours aren’t always available. Another great source is any open location, such as a field. These spots absorb as much light as possible, even on gloomy days. Finding a place that isn’t filled with trees or buildings will allow light to freely seep into your camera. You’ll be surprised to know just how much valuable light exists even on overcast days! If possible, experiment with a reflector. This will add an extra glow to your model’s face and create the illusion of a brighter day.

girl with flower crown

girl surrounded by branches

Use the mood to your advantage

If your evening is a gloomy one, use the moody atmosphere to your creative advantage. A photo of a thoughtful subject surrounded by dark clouds will create a wistful feeling reminiscent of Brooke Shaden’s photographs. A shot of a subject frozen in time whilst dancing in an open field will create feelings of freedom, openness, and joy.
No matter what the weather is like, you can transform it into something that will perfectly reflect your desired feelings and emotions. RAW photos can be perfected using Lightroom presets, Photoshop actions, and more. Treat your camera and your editing programs like brushes with which you can create, alter, and enhance any image. Don’t forget that patience and imagination will get you very, very far.

Evenings, particularly during the summer months, are ideal for experimentation. If you’re used to shooting with a satisfying amount of sunshine or with a very limited amount of light, take the time to shoot between 5-8 p.m. Find an open location, dedicate some time to using the gentle colors of sunset, or transform a dark atmosphere into a thoughtful work of art. Whatever you do, remember to remain open to all kinds of shooting methods and ideas, and you’ll find your portfolio thriving in no time.

Happy shooting!

girl holding a Scottish Fold kitten

girl with dress on a field

girl in dress indoors

The importance of lighting and why you shouldn’t be afraid to experiment with it

Light: endless, ever-changing, infinitely majestic. Light can soak a location with heartwarming golden colors or simply dance with mist in a dark room. Because of its versatility, light is often feared. Experimenting with light seems to be an intimidating idea; first attempts to master light are often met with failed results, which might discourage many artists. After all, it’s still possible to take visually stunning photos when there’s a plentiful supply of light available. Though unsuccessful shots are inevitable in any photographer’s life (regardless of their level of experience), befriending the many sides of light is highly important. Several failed shots are worth experiencing if the ultimate goal is a strong understanding of light.

Limited light

Creative potential and light go hand in hand; if there’s even a small source of light somewhere, there’s a chance you’ll be able to use it to create fascinating shots. Dark rooms with limited light, for example, can be used to take mysteriously inspiring portraits. If you prefer to decrease your ISO number as often as possible, encourage yourself to get out of your comfort zone and use a high ISO number. In most cameras nowadays, a high ISO isn’t extremely damaging to a photograph, especially if you shoot in RAW mode. A combination of RAW, a high ISO, and a sturdy tripod will allow you to take photographs that would lose their mystery if more light were available.
Limited light is also a great opportunity to take abstract photographs. Unclear portraits of people whose faces are slightly concealed often have the power to tell a deep story. Silhouettes or shadowed faces are a great example of photos that could instantly catch a viewer’s eye. If storytelling is something you’re interested in, limited light could help your stories come to life.

//

The manipulation of light

Light can be manipulated to make your photographs look like carefully crafted works of art. Find beautiful fabrics in your home (curtains are a great resource) to create intricate shadows on sunny days. If you’re a portrait photographer, this shadow play will help you take unique photos of people, photos that both you and the model will be proud to have. Interesting shadows can also be created using hands, trees, hair, grass, and more. Your imagination is the most important part of the equation, so make sure you nurture it whenever you have the chance. A big imagination will constantly give you peculiar and brilliant ideas, which will help you to continuously grow as a photographer. The more ideas you’ll acquire, the harder it’ll be to not make great progress.

//

/

Artificial light

Though natural light isn’t accessible 24/7, artificial light is always there to help you take better images. This kind of light can be altered more easily than natural outdoor light, making it possible for you to have more control over everything. Artificial light can be moved, decreased, and covered in an endless amount of ways. Even everyday objects as simple as torches, desk lamps, and phone light can be used to take stunning portraits.
You might be repelled by the unflattering colors that artificial lights tend to create – yellowish or blue hues that alter skin tones dramatically. This, however, can be fixed by altering a camera’s white balance. If your camera’s white balance doesn’t fix the issue, don’t refrain from continuing to take photographs. Editing programs such as Lightroom can decrease an image’s temperature and gracefully fix any unwanted colors.

//

Confront your fears

Any creative fear can be changed by directly confronting the fear itself. If you’ve always avoided darkness for fear of getting blurred results, learn the power of high ISO numbers and strong tripods. If you’ve never been a fan of artificial light, research the works of talented studio photographers like Sue Bryce and give artificial light another chance. If you think your home is boring, notice the way light enters your room or the way your lamp makes your table shine. If you find too much natural light distasteful, dare to experiment with shadows. Open your mind to the beauty of light, no matter where you are, and you’ll get brilliant photographs in return.

Happy shooting!

//

Using backlight to create ethereal portraits

You’ve probably come across dreamy-looking portraits, ones which possess a warm glow without appearing too harsh. It seems that the photographers behind these shots mysteriously conjured up the perfect light, creating a composition so striking that you can’t imagine recreating something equally beautiful. The secret, however, doesn’t lie in light that requires an elaborate spell – the key to taking great backlit portraits is the right kind of light and the ideal location to complement that light. Though this might sound like a tough (or vague) challenge, don’t be discouraged. If you find yourself visualizing photographs even when your camera isn’t nearby, mastering the art of backlit photography will come easily to you. Below are a few important basics to get you started:

Finding a great location

If you’d like to experiment with backlight, find a location where light roams freely. (Open spaces like fields are ideal for this.) If you live in a busy city filled with structures that block the sun, find a roof where you can safely photograph yourself or your subject. These locations will give you plenty of light to work with. (If you don’t have access to such places, shooting in front of a window on a sunny day will suffice.)
The backlight will light up not only your subject but everything surrounding your model. This is why shooting backlit portraits in a field of flowers, for example, will yield breathtaking results. If you’re shooting in a more urban location, add your own flowers and plants to enhance the composition. Challenge your imagination. When surrounded by objects which are beautifully lit, your subject will glow all the more. Furthermore, such small decorations will make the overall composition absolutely stunning.

//

//

The benefits of shooting during golden hour

Before we get into the best ways to position a camera for backlit photography, let’s focus on every portrait photographer’s favorite time of day: golden hour. The magic hour comes into being shortly after sunrise or before sunset. This is a time when the light is, as most people agree, at its best. Everything takes on a soft and warm glow during the golden hour, creating an almost nostalgic feeling wherever you look. If you’re an absolute beginner, experimenting in an open space during golden hour will inevitably provide you with the best possible lighting conditions for a successful shoot. For expert photographers, shooting in all kinds of spaces during the magic hour will add a pleasant touch of warmth to their work. If you’d like to learn more about the golden hour, read this article.

Choosing the best time to shoot

To make the most of a backlit shot, you must control the amount of light that enters your lens. Direct sunlight will ruin your shot, while completely blocking it by placing an obstacle in front of it will make your results very dark (unless you’re shooting silhouettes, this method won’t work.) For visually appealing results, make sure light enters your lens from one side. This will create a pleasant light leak which will not only brighten your composition but add a beautiful texture to it.

//

Unlike golden hour, a backlight is rarely available in limited quantities. It can be found even on overcast days when soft light is present. If you find the light is too dull on a day when the weather conditions aren’t ideal, use a reflector; this will significantly enhance any available light and make your subject’s face stand out in a flattering way. If you don’t own a professional reflector, it’s very likely that you can find one in your home: a mirror, a white sheet of paper, kitchen foil, or a Tupperware lid.

Experiment persistently

Most importantly, experiment. Break the rules: create dark silhouettes, work with overexposed shots, and photograph whatever you desire during the magical hour. Enjoy the warmth of golden hour and the softness of duller days. If portrait photography is your niche, experiment with other genres using the same methods. Try out taking photos of flowers, buildings, and objects. Broaden your creative horizons. This will be very evident in your results; additionally, it will transform you into a better photographer and observer of the world.
Whatever you do, don’t stop shooting, and you will thrive in the most surprising of ways. Just remember to embrace spontaneity, listen to your imagination (no matter how bizarre it may seem at times), and find potential in seemingly insignificant details.

Happy shooting!

//

//

Experimenting fearlessly with higher ISO settings

ISO:

When I was an inexperienced photographer, I feared that setting. To me, ISO seemed like the equivalent of unflattering, irreparable noise: the complete opposite of a great photo, especially a portrait. As I familiarized myself with different photography genres, I came to realize the appeal in the grainy shots of film photographers. I even discovered the beauty of adding grain digitally in editing programs like Lightroom. When I dared to increase the ISO number during my own shoots, I discovered that the resulting grain was far from destructive. When it came to cozy outdoor shots taken at night, I found much creativity in purposely creating grain.

//

ISO 1250

While there are photographers who prefer not to work with higher ISO numbers for understandable reasons (retouching skin in a well-lit environment may be a hassle if the grain is ever-present), experimenting with it is certainly worth a try. When I was just a beginner, I found a lot of comfort in the knowledge that I could take photos whenever I wanted and still produce interesting results. I knew that even if I shot at midnight, my little camera could capture something eye-catching thanks to a high ISO number. It’s important for all kinds of artists – especially enthusiastic, budding photographers – to find creative potential in people and places regardless of weather conditions or time. Here are some tips on how to make the most of ISO.

Consider these points before you begin

Be aware that there are several factors you must consider before you experiment:

  • If you’re shooting for the sake of printing your results later on, keep in mind that extreme ISO will be very visible. If this is the look you’re going for, your photos can be as grainy as you like.
  •  In the editing process, adding a lot of exposure to your grainy photos will highlight the grain and potentially ruin your entire shot. Thus, subtly adding exposure to your images is highly recommended.
  • In relation to the previous point, reducing grain is possible using a number of handy editing programs like Lightroom, Photoshop, and Noiseware. If you plan to edit your shots more, reduce any unnecessary grain first and then proceed to color correct and/or retouch your results.

//

ISO 4000

Understand your camera’s ISO settings

The ISO settings in cameras may vary, but the general sequence ranges from ISO 100 to ISO 6400. Thanks to improved technology, full frame cameras like the 5D Mark II are capable of capturing great photographs whilst reducing unnecessary color noise, even if the ISO is high. If you don’t own a full frame camera, don’t lose hope! Research your specific camera online and find out what users have to say about its ISO limitations. Even phone photography enthusiasts can benefit from this research. Most importantly, experiment and remember that your creativity and imagination are what matter most. When I first began shooting, I had a very old phone with a seemingly incompetent camera – this didn’t stop me from taking photographs and embracing curiosity. In the long run, persistence taught me to value photography no matter what camera I was using.

// ISO 2000

Embrace your creative side

When it comes to creativity, nothing is impossible. Keep this in mind as you experiment with your camera’s various ISO numbers. Grain can serve as a useful texture; alternatively, it can simply give your photographs a film-like atmosphere. Combining it with other kinds of textures – like dust and scratches – will make your photos stand out. The vintage photographs in the book Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs are a fantastic example of dust, grain, and other textures being used to create compelling works of art.

If you’re in a situation where using a flash isn’t acceptable (for example, in a church), or if you simply don’t wish to use one, ISO will be your greatest tool during the shooting process. Similarly, if you can’t use a tripod in a certain situation, a higher ISO will prevent you from taking unclear photographs. A photo with a slight amount of grain is far better than a blurry image. Combine this with a touch of creativity and you’ll find yourself fearlessly experimenting with ISO no matter how challenging your environment may be.
Happy shooting!

Taking portraits at night without a flash

For many of us portrait photographers, shooting in excellent lighting conditions is an absolute joy. An abundance of light prevents us from worrying about ISO, flash, and the plethora of technical issues most nighttime photographers have to consider. When the sun sets or when the weather worsens, we might be tempted to put down our cameras and wait for better shooting days. However, much beauty can be found in darkness. The artificial light coming from streetlights, torches, and windows is as valuable as sunlight. In addition to being a useful source of light, it adds a touch of mystery and uniqueness to photos, allowing their creators to pour great imagination and originality into their portfolios.

If you’re not sure where to begin then consider some, if not all, of the tips below. They cover important topics like ISO, focus, the desire to experiment, and more. Using these tips, you’ll be able to conquer your artistic fear of the dark and create eye-catching photos in the process.

//

Experiment with artificial light

Artificial light is useful for a variety of reasons:

  1. It’s always available; you can always create your own using something as simple as a torch. This gives all kinds of photography enthusiasts, regardless of their busyness, the opportunity to shoot.
  2. Its intensity, color, and position can be altered, even outdoors.
  3. It can be used to replicate sunlight.

As you take all of these points into consideration, embrace the concept of experimentation. If you don’t own expensive lighting equipment, use your phone, torch, or street lights instead. The less equipment you have, the more healthy challenges you’ll have to face. For example, if you have to shoot in complete darkness with only a single torch, you’ll be faced with questions about the light’s position and distance from your subject. Experimenting with this might lead to unexpected shooting opportunities as well as a brighter imagination. Once you do obtain better lighting equipment, you’ll be all the more prepared for challenges, creative ideas, and striking portraits.

//

Remember that a high ISO number is your friend

Oftentimes, high ISO is associated with unpleasantly grainy photographs. While this is true if your ISO is at its highest, a lower amount will create a balanced and sharp portrait. An ISO of 1600 is often more than enough to take a clear portrait without accumulating an unnecessary amount of grain.

Get the correct white balance using Kelvin

In photography, Kelvin is a unit used to measure color temperature. In situations when artificial light is too yellow or too blue, Kelvin can save the resulting photos from looking unnatural. The scale itself typically ranges from 2000K to 9000K. If the artificial light you’re working with is very warm, set your white balance to 3500K or lower. If the opposite is true, the color temperature should be anywhere from 5500K to 8500K. Though making these changes takes time, mastering them will give you more control over your photographs and save you lots of time during the editing process. With time, worrying about fixing strange colors in a portrait will cease to be an issue.

//

Use a small source of light to focus right

There are times when the camera cannot focus, even though some light is present. For example, if you want to photograph a silhouette set against a bright city, the camera may get confused and focus on the wrong thing. Even if you focus manually, it may be too dark for you to find your subject’s face. Fixing this is very simple: make your subject hold a small source of light, be it their phone or a torch, close to their face. Once your focus is ready, hold it until your subject removes the light and poses again. This will guarantee sharp results.

A few final tips

  • If your camera allows, shoot RAW; unlike JPEG, RAW doesn’t compress files or remove valuable image information. When it comes to nighttime photography, RAW files are of utmost importance because of a number of precious details they preserve.
  • Shooting in continuous (or burst) mode will allow you to take a bunch of photographs in a matter of seconds. This will guarantee at least one sharp shot. If you’re new to nighttime photography, make sure you experiment a little with this.
  • Avoid harsh, direct light. Standing directly under or too close to artificial light will create harsh portraits. Unless you’re experimenting with moody portraits, take a few steps away from direct sources of light. This, combined with the appropriate color temperature, will add softness to your portraits.

//

Using some, if not all, of the aforementioned tips, will help you become a better portrait photographer in general, even if nighttime shoots aren’t something you’re interested in. However, allow yourself to experiment with every photography genre – everything you learn will affect your main interests, forming you into a better and more open-minded artist.
Happy shooting!

Getting creative with foregrounds: How to improve your portraits

When I first started taking photographs of other people, my portraits often ended up looking very similar and much too simple. Though I yearned to have inspirational and visually stunning shots in my portfolio, I couldn’t find a way to create them using the limited amount of equipment I had. Compelling self-portraits were especially difficult to make due to the fact that I had neither a remote nor a tripod at the time. Then, during a self-portrait shoot, I held an object in front of the lens for the sake of experimentation. This created a dreamy effect which slightly concealed parts of my face and highlighted others. The difference a single little thing could make a seemingly simple portrait astounded me. If I could place almost anything in front of the lens and create an interesting photograph, what would happen if I chose my foregrounds according to a theme, an item of clothing, and more?

Even if you don’t own a professional DSLR camera, chances are that placing any item close to your lens will cause blurriness. It’s even possible to create such an effect with a tiny camera phone. This kind of blur is ideal for all kinds of photographs, but it’s especially eye-catching when portraiture is involved. Hiding part of your subject’s appearance using things like flowers, hair, and hands will allow the viewer to feel like they’re a part of the story. Like well written stories, photographs that make viewers feel included will glow with potential. Furthermore, these works of art will touch friends and strangers alike, drawing more people to your photographs. Eventually, you’ll find yourself discovering all kinds of ways to include simple things in your photos to create spectacular images. Here are a few tips on how you can get creative with foregrounds:

//

Finding foregrounds at home

Whether you live in a tiny apartment or in an extravagant mansion, you’re bound to find useful, foreground-worthy products in your home. Since foregrounds are barely distinguishable when placed very closely in front of the lens, don’t worry about experimenting with items that aren’t necessarily used in the photography world all that often. For example, reflective kitchen utensils like forks and spoons can serve as great additions to a picture, allowing for shiny-looking results that direct the viewer’s eye straight to your subject. If you’re a fan of animal photography, your pet’s toys could enhance your image’s composition; in addition to having a fun time with your pet, you’ll be able to capture a beautifully framed moment. Take some time to look at your possessions from a fresh perspective, giving everything a chance to become creatively useful.

//

Finding foregrounds in nature

If your own possessions don’t spark ideas in your mind, take a walk. No matter the season, nature is always prepared to help you with your artistic endeavors. Branches, flower, grass, etc., can all serve as brilliant foregrounds. This is especially effective in the early autumn and all throughout spring when nature’s colors are at their most vibrant. Even shooting through a cluster of branches will add vibrancy and mystery to your shot. If you photograph a person using this technique, your results will be gracefully cinematic.

//

Instant foregrounds in portraiture

There are foregrounds which require little to no effort to create. If – during one of your portrait shoots – you’re out of both props and ideas, ask your model to place his or her fingers in front of the lens. By partially covering some of your subject’s facial features, this effect will make viewers wonder what the subject is hiding. Other easy foregrounds include hair and items of clothing.

//

Adding foregrounds in the editing process

If you already have a set of images you wish to enhance, you can do so by adding artificial foregrounds to your shots in editing programs like Photoshop. The Internet has an impressive amount of free texture packs. For instance, a free light leak pack will give you access to an abundance of stunning resources which will add vibrancy and brightness to your images. It’s also very likely that you already have the resources to create eye-catching photographs; look through your old work, especially your travel photos, and experiment with anything that stands out to you. Alternatively, you can look for great content on free stock photo websites; it’s very likely that you’ll find what you need there.

Working with foregrounds will give you a chance to appreciate the beauty in everything. Additionally, it will give you a chance to reinvent your style, discover new ways of photographing and find potential in the smallest details. In general, it’ll make you a better photographer. Always stay creatively curious.

Happy shooting!

Finding spellbinding inspiration in films

Films can be thought of as the equivalent of moving photographs. Seemingly endless, these timeless images reveal an array of interesting emotions, places, and people within just a few hours. The stories they tell often touch our hearts and remain with us for a long time, teaching us more about ourselves, the world, and what it really means to be alive. It’s not surprising, then, that the basic blocks of filmmaking – millions of stunning images – have the power to provide us with inspiration. Using movies as an opportunity to take more effective and meaningful photographs will lead you to a future filled with far more creative potential than you can imagine.

But how can you be inspired by films? Any story, whether it resides in the azure skies of a painting or in the mind-boggling plot twist of your favorite TV show, can serve as a source of valuable ideas. If you feel you’ve reached a creative block, or if you simply want to explore other ways of photographing people and places, here’s a list of things to look out for when you’re enjoying your favorite film:

//

Darkness and light

Since an indescribable amount of effort is put into the making of a film, each scene is guaranteed to have hints that will allow viewers to understand the story on a deeper level. Symbolism – which can be both obvious and subtle throughout a film – can be found in the way light hits the character’s face, for instance. Films revolving around mystery often include characters who are barely lit by car headlights, or who are overshadowed by a mess of clothing in a dark room. Heartwarming scenes in movies are often accompanied by light that reflects the characters’ sunny dispositions – golden light that makes their eyes glow and their hair shine.

Even if you’re not planning to take cinematic photographs, it would greatly help to understand the importance and beauty of light. The more you look at visually stunning compositions (of which there is an abundance in films), the easier it’ll be to find similar compositions during your own shoots. With time, you’ll be so accustomed to finding both unusual and striking light that you’ll find potential everywhere, even if you live in a tiny apartment in a city that barely gets any light. Even shadows and darkness will cease to intimidate you – they, too, will become your artistic tools.

Films and shows with breathtaking visuals:
The Light Between Oceans
Carol
Riverdale
Her
An Education

//

//

Angles and movements

Characters often do much more than speaking in a film. Bits and pieces of an entire story can be found in expressions, postures, angles, and more. To create a photograph with a deeper story, pay attention to your subject’s movements during a shoot. If you want to get even more creative, come up with a story beforehand to intensify the emotional aspect of your shot. This will make the shooting process fruitful in numerous ways; you’ll get brilliantly emotive results, and you’ll find your path to becoming a more advanced storyteller. The more you practice, the incredible your results will be.

If you’d like to work with more than posed photographs, go on a trip with someone, even if it’s a short walk to the local bookstore. Photograph their movements as they observe the world around them. There will be moments of oblivion – fleeting seconds when they’ll forget there’s someone photographing them – which, if captured, will result in honest and unique portraits. If you’d like to experiment with raw emotions and poses, be spontaneous during your next shoot.

//

Details

Close-ups are common in films. They reveal parts of a character that the viewer would’ve ignored in more distant scenes. In the movie Carol, the main character’s (Therese) love interest is often shown up close to reveal exactly how much Therese admires her. As you explore locations with or without your model, find details that catch your eye. If you go out for a morning walk, notice the way light hits a leaf, for example. Find potential everywhere, and the ideas will gracefully swim to you.

So take advantage of the many brilliant films that exist today. Take notes as you observe movements, emotions, light, and details. Inspiration could be hiding in the least likely places; it’s your job to find it and use it. Using this inspiration, you’ll be able to add an abundance of light into your portfolio and improve significantly as a photographer.

Happy shooting!

//

//

The value of window light in portrait photography

The concept of light can be intimidating, especially for beginners. Even if artificial light isn’t in the picture, the natural light might seem exceedingly difficult to work with. If you look at it from another point of view, however, then you’ll see the beauty of light’s many personalities. No matter where you are, be it in the safety of your home or out in nature, you’ll encounter countless opportunities to work with unique lighting situations. Throughout a single day, it’s possible to find a plethora of photo-worthy spots where fantastic, well-lit portraits can be taken.

Window light is especially useful for beginners in the photography world. It can be very uncomfortable to openly shoot outdoors when you’re not confident in your new found interest. When I discovered photography, I didn’t dare to photograph in public for fear of being thought of as an unfit artist. Though my fears were irrational, they were also an understandable reaction to a lack of skills. If you can relate to this or any other form of shyness, anxiety, or overthinking, then you’ll find much comfort in knowing that shooting great images indoors is very possible. Once you familiarize yourself with your creative skills, your confidence will naturally increase.

//

You might think that windows are too simple. Though they may be limiting to a certain degree, working with them right at the beginning of your photography journey will help your imagination thrive rapidly. The more challenges you face as a beginner, the easier it’ll be to find ways out of seemingly impossible artistic situations. If your mind gets used to finding solutions no matter how large an obstacle is, you’ll gracefully navigate through potential future difficulties such as unsuccessful photo shoots and technical issues.

In addition to strengthening your patience, experimenting with window light will allow you to appreciate the power of limited light. Oftentimes, we seek open locations and perfectly lit spots which guarantee beautiful results. Finding comfort in a lack of light will allow for interesting compositions, which will, in turn, allow for even greater portraits when you do shoot in locations with more light.

//

If you don’t know where exactly to start, simply stand in front of a window. If you’d like to take photos of someone else, it would greatly help to have a test shoot with yourself beforehand. A test shoot will allow you to understand the way light embraces facial features from different angles. Simply take photos of yourself from different positions and angles; this will strengthen the relationship between you and your camera. When you have a shoot with a client or a friend, you won’t be overly confused about light’s interesting ways of working. Furthermore, you’ll be more familiar with self-portraiture, a wonderful genre that encourages self-reflection, vulnerability, and creativity.

//

On days when the weather isn’t at its kindest, window light can be just as useful. While harsh midday light will compel your subject to squint, milder light on overcast days will provide a mild glow. If you want to make window light stand out even more on such days, use a reflector. This will serve as an extra source of light, brighten your subject’s face, and give their eyes an extra sparkle. My favorite kind of light is one that hits half of a subject’s face, creating a portrait that is reminiscent of 18th-century paintings. Windows make this effect very easy to achieve.

If you’re shooting indoors on a particularly bright day, curtains will come in handy. In addition to softening the harsh light, curtains will cast stunningly intricate shadows on your subject’s face. This will not only give you many ideas to work with, but it will also provide you with refreshing and dreamlike decorations. In portfolios, such photographs stand out beautifully. Don’t be afraid of using other kinds of fabric for creating shadows, too.

//

Window light possesses far more potential than most people imagine. Its versatility can satisfy photographers with all kinds of preferences. Whether you’re in the mood for a soft, harsh, or dreamy light, a window will provide you with the ideal environment for your shoot. If you take advantage of this easily accessible light, you’ll be one step closer to being a more open-minded artist and thinker. If you make the most of your imagination, you’ll find yourself thriving along with your photographs in no time.

Happy shooting!

Quick and easy hairstyle ideas for shooting sessions!

Every kind of hair is photogenic, no matter its color, length, or texture. Since there are so many variations in the world, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that every portrait shoot is exceedingly unique. However, not having to worry about being monotonous as an artist shouldn’t stop you from pursuing more and more creativity. When you photograph either yourself or others, ask yourself which feature, appearance-wise, stands out most to you. More often than not, hair is going to be one of your answers because of the significant part it plays in portrait photography. Decorating it in elaborate ways will provide you with an opportunity to share more of your artistic and imaginative skills, which is something clients of all sorts favor. If you’re finding yourself short on time or feel that you’re out of ideas, try out the following hairstyles. They’re quick and easy and capable of making your images pop!

Side part

Perhaps the simplest of all hairstyles is the side part, which is especially suitable for client shoots. If you wish to have a shoot that’s simple, easy, and elegant, then this hairstyle is for you.For an exotic touch, make your subject wear a flower crown, a hat, or a single flower. The simplicity of this look will provide enough of a frame to nicely complement your subject’s facial features. Best of all, it won’t be too distracting; this is perfect for photo shoots in which striking compositions aren’t a necessity. Side parts also make great foregrounds when making closeups – if part of your subject’s face is covered by their hair, the side that is covered will be blurred, further accentuating features that are exposed.

//

Wild and free

For my own self-portrait shots, I often turn my hair into a messy combination of knots and curls. This allows me to work closely with my imagination, challenging me to make the most of a random look. The results, which are often pleasantly surprised, never fail to fill me with original ideas. Though messiness isn’t often associated with positive feedback, messy hairstyles are an exception. The textures of a messy look give images a painting-like atmosphere. It’s almost like going back in time and allowing a famous painter like John Waterhouse to capture your features on a canvas forever. This works best for medium-length (or longer) hair. Unruly hair looks incredible in black and white images; combine this with freckles and you’ll have yourself an impressive shot.

/

Top knot

Though top knots can be cliché, they have the potential to look wonderful, especially in cozy indoor settings. If you’re having a casual shoot with a friend or are simply in the mood for taking warm photographs, experiment with this look. It’s fun, easy to make, and will give your subject’s appearance a pleasant frame. For additional coziness and texture, make the top knot messy!

/

Wigs

If the aforementioned ideas don’t appeal to you, buy or rent a few wigs. These are guaranteed to give you an endless amount of creative possibilities and thoughts. If your wig looks too artificial, convert your photos to black & white (or shoot in b&w mode if your camera supports this feature). A lack of color will direct the viewer’s attention to your subject’s facial features rather than the quality of his or her wig. Wearing a hat or other hair accessories with a wig will also provide the viewer with an effective distraction.

/

Whichever style you choose, don’t forget to experiment and be creative! Sometimes, the messiest of looks end up creating the most astounding images. Add your own unique style to a commonly used hairstyle; for example, a ponytail can be combined with a small top knot, or a messy hairstyle can be accompanied by a tiny hat. Be fearless and your work will thrive because of it.

Happy shooting!

How to take great photos from unusual angles

When you take photographs of your subject, how do you usually hold your camera? Do you always photograph people or places directly, or do you dare to experiment with unusual angles? Though the beauty of a great photograph isn’t completely determined by specific angles, there are ways to enhance an image’s mystery, effect, and overall composition using unique camera positions. To do this, it’s important to embrace new ideas. Even in the world of portraiture, where flattering angles are valued, there’s space for camera angle experimentation. Here are tips on how to experiment in a way that will provide you with amazing results and valuable creative experience:

Don’t use your tripod

Instead of depending on your tripod for your camera’s stability and safety, use flat platforms in your home. Tables, couches, and books can all be great substitutes for a tripod. If there are other objects on your platform, don’t remove all of them; instead, leave a few to make your shot more interesting. Foregrounds have the potential to frame any shot beautifully. Additionally, raise your camera a little by placing something soft underneath the lens. This will provide you with an interesting angle which you can use to take photos of people, self-portraits, etc. To avoid damaging your camera, make sure that anything you place it on is completely safe. Though experimentation is wonderful, you don’t want to end up with broken equipment. This is why it’s safer to experiment without a tripod in your own home.

/

Using less equipment to take eye-catching photos will be challenging. When I first began experimenting with self-portraiture, I had neither a remote nor a tripod. As a result, I had to run back and forth with the hope that my results would be sharp. My tripods were often tables, chairs, and armchairs. When I acquired both a remote and a tripod, I was thrilled. The contrast between using a flexible tripod and a simple table was shocking, and it allowed me to greatly value my new possessions. Sometimes you have to take a step back from your professional equipment and rediscover the value of everything you own. This challenge will shape you into a better, more flexible photographer.

If you’re not fascinated by the idea of temporarily abandoning your tripod, consider using a flexible one. Tripods like the GorillaPod can be attached to almost anything, from street lights to branches, and they can give you more creative opportunities no matter what kind of photographer you are.

/

Shoot from a low angle

Out in nature, there are many plants and objects which can serve as brilliant foregrounds. Even shooting through branches will give you unique results. Combine this with a low angle and you’ll get unusual and eye-catching photographs. To achieve this effect, carefully hold your camera slightly above ground, finding interesting elements to shoot through while keeping the focus on your subject sharp. Though manual focus isn’t as easy to work with as autofocus, mastering it will save you a lot of time and frustration, especially when shooting through things like plants. Other things you can shoot through are fences, hair, and even your own hand. Don’t be afraid of being spontaneous, and make sure you give everything a chance to be a part of your work. In doing this, you’ll discover the beauty of objects that once seemed dull to you. This will stop you from taking details for granted.

/

Look up

If you live in a city filled with towering buildings, let your camera look up. It’s easy to look ahead and ignore the endless amount of photogenic things around you, especially when you’re outdoors. Change this by taking the time to find unique buildings and photograph their vastness. In addition to familiarizing yourself with architectural photography, you’ll learn how to find beauty from every position.

/

The more you experiment with angles, the more interesting your portfolio will become. You’ll find value in taking cinematic photos from low angles and in shooting everything above you. Furthermore, you’ll learn and cherish the knowledge that as a photographer, you are completely limitless. No matter where you go, be it a popular location or an abandoned village, you’ll find ways to pour your unique style into your photographs.

Happy shooting!

Interview with Josefine Hoestermann: Documenting Lifestyle

What inspired you to start taking photographs?

I started in about 2009 when I was 14 years old. I think it was mostly a way for me to document my daily life and travels that I did. I then discovered conceptual artists like Brooke Shaden and others during the time when Flickr was very active and felt very inspired by her. I would take my favorite songs and turn lyrics from those into conceptual images. I still do that sometimes, although I mostly do portraiture and travel photography today. So yeah, documenting my moments on this earth and music was what originally inspired me.

Your portraits are very graceful and eye-catching. What do you look for in a model?

I don’t really look for anything, though I seem to be more drawn to women, I am open to changing that! I am of the opinion that everyone is photogenic, most people just are not as confident in front of the camera, so they feel like they aren’t photogenic enough. But really, I love photographing anyone.

/

You’re also into cinematography. How has filmmaking influenced your photography work?

It has made me a lot more sure and confident in my style, both photography and cinematography wise. I now know a lot more about what I aim to create in both still and moving images. Also, it has made me more confident in my photography and editing skills – I am just starting out with cinematography, so I have been realizing how a lot of photography things come so natural to me now (especially in editing) that I have to completely re-learn for
when the images are moving. But it’s an exciting process and I see cinematography as an extension to my art, not a competition to my photography.

On your website, you state that it’s important to always create, even if it gets difficult. What has been the most surprisingly difficult creative obstacle in your life, and what did it teach you?

Fear. Always fear. My fear holds me back from a lot of creative work and I am still in the process of overcoming that and it’s hard. It comes in a lot of different forms – fear of rejection, fear of not liking the result, fear of your work not matter in comparison to what already has been done, fear of others being better than you and surprisingly to me also fear of what comes up to the surface emotionally when creating. A lot of my work is based on my emotions, especially my cinematography, and sometimes I need that extra push to actually start creating because I know the emotions that might surface can be painful. It always ends up being very therapeutic and I know that I need to get it all out through my art, but it takes a little something to overcome the fear every time.

/

Your images often feature both people and nature. What would be your dream location to shoot in?

Ohh that‘s a hard one. Travelling is one of my biggest hobbies next to creating and I love to combine those two. I very much love the ocean, so I would like to explore the Pacific Northwest more and also explore South-East Asia. Also Nepal. And the deserts, maybe the Sahara and Joshua Tree. Ahh, so many places, haha.

What advice, in relation to photography, would you give your younger self?

You need to do it. And don’t compare yourself. (Explanation: I took a couple of years “off” from creating as much because I felt discouraged after being rejected from art school. I have been realizing over the past year that I cannot live without a camera in my hand, though.)