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Showing posts from 2015

Black and White - Conversion VS Infrared, See the Difference.

Digital Black and white photography can be created through many techniques.  You could use the Instagram app and click a pre-made filter,  use a more advanced software program like Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop, convert it directly inside your camera body, screw on an infrared filter to the front of your lens and convert it to black and white post production, or convert a camera to only capture infrared light.  Today I'm just going to explore my two favorite methods:
1) Using an infrared converted camera.
2) Converting images in Adobe Lightroom.

So what is the difference between the two methods?

A color image that is converted to black and white allows you lots of control over each color channel.  This is handy if you want to make different colors stand out by being brightened or darkened in your final black and white image.

An image that is captured from infrared light has much less control over colors as the only colors captured are tones of red.  However, infrared images are …

A Weekend in the Dunes

Over UAE's National day we took a trip to the dunes of Oman to camp, drive, make some photos, and relax a bit.  This was an excellent way for me to recharge my batteries whilst draining my camera's!

On day one I saw the epic dune that was just screaming for me to climb, just a stones throw from camp.  It didn't take much convincing for me to get my buddy in his Jeep to tote me half way up so I could hike the rest.  It was just starting to get dark outside, and by the time I hiked the giant dune with the tripod and camera, sunset was well underway.  I knew I wanted to do a full 360 degree pano, so I did a few quick exposure tests and got to work.

This was a trickier task than I had planned for, as the crest is so steep and slippery that it become increasingly difficult to keep the tripod steady whilst I moved to turn it.  I probably chose exposures that were too long - but I really wanted to get some nice depth of field with the smallest aperture I could possibly use.  I w…

Photographing Like a Pro at Abu Dhabi's Grand Mosque

So - I thought I'd be able to use a tripod at the Grand Mosque.  Turns out you can't (or at least I was specifically told "no" by security upon entering... and then saw some other guys using them.  I guess my beefy carbon fiber Manfrotto looked more ominous than the $15 Walmart quality ones).  So, I had to figure out how to still create great images without doing anything disrespectful.  I found there are many benches around the mosque area where you can tastefully sit a camera and use live view to compose the image - then set up a multiple second exposure.  Like this one!

I prefer long exposures sometimes, even when hand held is possible, as it gives you visual opportunities that are otherwise not going to be captured.  By leaving the shutter open longer, I am able to use a smaller aperture and thus have more details throughout the depth of the image.  A second reason is that anything moving becomes a blur, or disappears.   Do you see the cleaning guy pushing his c…

5 Things to ask your Wedding Photographer

5 Things to ask your wedding photographer:

1   What is your backup plan on our wedding day?  Like... what if you are ill or injured and can't shoot our wedding?  What happens if you break a camera or lens?  Your photographer should have this answer in a split second, as it is very important.  I personally have a high level of paranoia, and fully believe in combating Murphy's Law by being as prepared as possible.  I subcontract a trusted photographer to keep wedding days free just incase I am un able to shoot the contracted event.  Yes - that means I pay another photographer to sit at home and be "on call" just incase I am in a serious bind.  If equipment is to break down I simply pull out a spare from the bag.  We keep 4 bodies, 8 lenses, and 4-8 flashes handy depending on the venue.2   What is your method for posing during the formal shots after the ceremony?  How long will that take?We come prepared with a list (which you help us put together) of whom is to be in t…

The Great Photo Hike!

Okay okay, so it wasn't really a "hike".  We drove a car.  But still, it was a hike of a drive for our little car!

We started our day off with the intention to do a "Border Run" with our daughter.  Let me back up.  In Dubai, children need to be sponsored for a visa by their father.  The process takes 2-3 months on the speedy side.  Unfortunately though, a travel visa for the child (or anyone for that matter) is good for 30 days.  In order to keep our daughter legally in Dubai we needed to leave the country and re-enter to renew her travel visa.  Hence the need for a border run.

After meeting up with some friends to guide us through the experience we ventured out to see the sights of the Al Ain area and ended up at Mt Jebel Hafeet.  It was a beautiful drive to the top... and hot!  To be honest, we got close to the top, saw a line of cars at a stand still that was over a kilometer long and decided to turn around.  But thats okay, because I wanted a shot that ha…

Nepal Relief Project

Mission: Raise $10,000 to aid in the Nepal relief effort.
Where is the $10,000 going? – We are channeling funds through Plan International USA, a global organization established in 1937 with a mission of ending poverty for children and developing solutions to ensure long-term sustainability.Plan has had members on the ground in Nepal for many years working in rural areas outside Kathmandu and is in position to effectively deliver help and relief to families in need.
How will we achieve this? We will sell fine art pieces and accept donations.Each piece sold is a member of a limited collection, where only 35 prints will ever be made.Each piece of art is hand signed and comes with a certificate of authenticity.From each sale, 100% of the net profit will be donated.
When will the funds be sent?After each sale or donation, we will immediately transfer funds to Plan.
Where can I view the art available?
How do I buy an art piece or donate?Please contact …

The #1 secret to natural smiles:

Photos are fun!

Unless someone is yelling at you to smile.  Or if you don't like having your photo taken.  Or if you are self conscious of yourself.  Or if... Or if... Or if...

There is one secret that I have for getting real smiles out of anyone.  It is so simple, yet many photographers forget about it.  It is so easy to overlook because we get tied up in all the other parts about the portrait session.  It is easy.  BUT - it takes a little time.

You want to know this magical secret right?  Of course.  Why wouldn't you want the person in front of your camera to smile beautifully, as if they were smiling with you instead of for the camera?

Oh gosh.... I just said it!   I let the secret out!

People will smile for real when they are smiling with you.  As the man with the camera, I know there are thousands of things that go into making a good image, but there is one thing that trumps all: expression.  Without expression, the best exposure & lighting techniques matched with wo…

Photo Booth Fun!

I've been toying with the idea of buying a photo booth.  The issues?  Cost.  Storage.  Maintenance.  Storage.  Transportation. Storage.  Cost. Storage.  Maintenance.  Storage.

You get the idea.

So, I got creative.  No storage necessary, just a simple setup with existing studio equipment: a giant 7' parabolic umbrella mounted to an Alien Bees 1600, triggered by Pocket Wizard flex units, and a white seamless backdrop.

Is the giant umbrella necessary?  No.  The powerful Alien Bees 1600? No.  The Pocket Wizard triggering system? No.  The white seamless backdrop? No.  The dog?  Yes.  We all need a cute dog.

You can totally do this on a budget at your studio.  Grab your speed light(s).  Buy a cheap shoot through, or reflective umbrella (our giant one has a silver reflective inside).  You can get a very decent sized Westcott umbrella for under $50 (even bigger if you go used!)  If you are using Nikon - set up the CLS so the camera triggers the strobe(s).  If you are using another bra…

What To Wear?

2 Tips for a Photogenic Wedding

2 Tips for a Photogenic Wedding
1) For your ceremony: If possible, remove anything that could be distracting from the ceremony, or that could cause awkward photos (if possible).For instance, take a look at where you plan to stand.Will there be anything strange in the background?Lets say you are having your ceremony outside in a field with a beautiful tree.The tree is an obvious focal point and you think it would make a great spot for photos.I agree!But – don’t put the alter directly in front of the tree, otherwise in your photos, you will have a tree coming out of the tops of your heads! (sure, laugh a little… but it happens all the time!) Instead, place the alter to the side of the tree, centered in between the trunk and some nice branches and walk 20-35 feet forward (away from the tree, towards where the guests will be seated).Now you will have a beautifully composed image, where the tree is in the background creating a lovely frame and you are in the foreground.By placing yourself 2…

Top 5 Things Meg Learned at Imaging USA 2015

Imaging USA was an awesome and business-changing event for the hubs and me.  We learned so much, and we really wanted to share some of our favorite lessons, in hopes that we could talk some fence-riders into attending next year.  After all, while we love to work with each other, we also love to network and learn from new people too!
***Disclaimer:  Tim is the PPA member.  Meg is totally unaffiliated with Imaging USA, and this post is not sponsored by them in any way.
So here you go, the Top 5 Things Meg Learned at Imaging USA 2015:
The hubs and I are not at the bottom of the barrel like we thought we were.  We're actually off to a good start.  This was super refreshing to find out.  It was also super nice to have validation for what we're trying to do.If you want to be in it to win it, you have to keep learning.  Even the "masters" were discussing personal/professional development books they had read and classes recently taken.  As a "lifelong learner…

The Truth About Digital Files

The topic of Digital Files in the photography industry is HOT HOT HOT!

To give the files, or to not give the files.... that is the question!

Lets take a few things into consideration.
As a photographer, it is my job to provide clients with products and services that meet and exceed their expectations.  I need to provide clients with images on a medium that respects the art, and shows off each image's best features, as that is how they should expect their images to be displayed in their homes.Printed media (when done properly) will last a lifetime.  Real, light sensitive photographic paper, such as Silver Halide, has an image stability rating of 100+ years.Printed media lives in the real world.  You walk by it as it hangs on your walls with no need to push the "on" button and wait for a hard drive and screen to fire up!Digital Files must be updated every few years in order to keep up with advancing technology. Do you really think that in 2050 your disc of images will be re…