Archive for the ‘available light’ Category

 

Blue Mountains Photography Workshops

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

I recently had the pleasure of running a photography workshop at Wentworth Falls and Leura with a great couple, keen to advance their skills with the camera.

Julie booked the session as a Christmas present for her husband Mark. They take travel and family photos for their website www.havewheelchairwilltravel.net

Mark wanted to improve his landscape images and understand how to avoid the common issue of over or under-exposed images.

We talked about using the Rule of Thirds to help compose your shot. We also looked at using naturally occurring lines in the landscape to help draw the viewers eye into the shot.

Blue Mountains Photography  workshop at Flat Rock Wentworth Falls. How to shoot landscapes.

Blue Mountains Photography workshop at Flat Rock Wentworth Falls. This example uses the naturally occurring lines of the landscape to draw the viewer into the shot from foreground to background.

Another tip I gave Mark to help achieve correct exposure is to look for the brightest area of his (usually the clouds), expose for them and then ‘open up’ 2-3 stops from there. This method allowed him to use the inherent brightness range of his camera (5 stops) and keep his exposure within those limits.

Blue Mountains Photography  workshop at Flat Rock Wentworth Falls. How to shoot landscapes.

Blue Mountains Photography workshop at Flat Rock Wentworth Falls. Creative editing is another great tool for creating interesting landscapes using the Rule of Thirds principle.

Here is Mark, dwarfed by the amazing Blue Mountains vista.

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Mark enjoying the view.

I run regular group workshops and individual tutoring by appointment. If you or somebody you know would like to improve their photography skills and further enjoy your camera, get in touch by phone or email.

The Secret to Print Sizes for Your Wall

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

How to Size Your Family Portrait Photographs

Have you ever wondered what size you should print your enlargements?

It depends on a number of factors such as;

– resolution of your camera

– which room in the house you want to hang the image (living room, bedroom etc)

– how far away you will be from the image

Did you know that the viewing distance of an enlargement is best determined by the resolution of the image and the diagonal width of the print? Billboards usually have a resolution as low as 22ppi (pixels per inch) because they are viewed from such a vast distance.

Some photographers use the formula of 1.5 to 2 times the diagonal width to determine the viewing distance.

I was pleased to deliver this image last week. Shot at one of my favourite Blue Mountains locations, this order was a 48” framed print of this family from Epping standing at Flat Rock, Wentworth Falls. At 48” x 25” and 300ppi it has a diagonal distance of 54” meaning it would be best viewed at 2-2.7m away.

Think of that next time you are buying a new 80” tv. You would need to have your lounge at least 4 meters away from the screen to see it correctly!

Another formula for the resolution of the image is 3438 divided by the viewing distance.

So, to view this image from 3m (120″) away, I would divide 3438 by 120 to find the minimum resolution of the print as 29ppi. This is obviously very low res but as long as I wasn’t standing inside 3m from the image it would appear to be quite sharp and detailed.

What this all means is that your small mega-pixel camera need not prevent you from creating big enlargements, as long as the minimum viewing distance is not exceeded they will look sharp and detailed.

I’m not sure how practical that is but its worth giving some thought to I reckon.

family at Flat Rock, Wentworth Falls

Here is a link to a good discussion on print resolution and viewing distance.

Wedding Photography is a Seasonal Thing in the Blue Mountains

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

Spring time in Sydney is ideal for getting married, and with the warm days and long afternoons its no wonder.

This is by far the most popular time for shooting weddings and the busiest time of the year for me. Over the last 6 weeks I have photographed some lovely and memorable weddings in Leura, Emu Plains and the beautiful Yarramundi House on the grounds of UWS Hawkesbury.

Each of these weddings was unique of course and I’d like to share some of my favourite images from each.

The first wedding was at Leura and the location was Leuralla open-air amphitheatre. This location is brilliant because of the stunning valley backdrop.

Leura amphitheatre makes a brilliant backdrop.

The happy couple arriving together.

Another shot of that valley just for the sake of it!

The reception venue was walking distance from the ceremony and shared the same valley view.

The second wedding was at the quaint little Uniting Church at Emu Plains. The service was very much a family affair with the grooms siblings performing the music, a friend delivering the vows and both parents joining the couple for a prayer at the end.

Here comes the bride. I love this shot!

The newlyweds leaving the church.

Don’t they look happy together!

Talk about upstaging the bride!

Speeches and toasting the couple.

Finally to the wedding of an old school friend of mine on his 40th birthday at the beautiful Yarramundi House at UWS Hawkesbury.

Congratulations Jason and Christina!

The girls preparing to walk down the red carpet.

A happy couple is easy to photograph.

Their daughters were flower girls and they did a great job.

The great location meant we were spoilt for choice when it came to backdrops.

 

Tips for Better Photos

Saturday, October 15th, 2011

I like to use outdoor locations for my portrait shoots as I believe it helps create a better working environment and therefore better images.

However it is not as simple as just going down to the local park with your camera and your kids and snapping away. I thought I’d share some tips on how to go about planning a successful photo-shoot.

The right time of day

Choosing the right time of day is a big consideration. This can depend on who you are photographing – whether it be your toddlers or your teenagers or even your partner or pet. Most toddlers “perform” best earlier in the day so might benefit from an early morning shoot.

The “golden hour” is just before sunset when the light conditions are generally considered best for producing wonderful atmosphere. While we would all like to have our photo-shoots at this time one needs to be a little flexible when it comes to youngsters.

Background

When I’m teaching others to use their camera one of the most important elements of composition I like to stress is background – background, background, background! There it is stressed.

Look for clean backgrounds for your shots. This can mean moving yourself or your subject to eliminate that tree branch poking up behind their head, or that telegraph pole or whatever element is going to distract the viewer from enjoying your composition.

Use foliage to frame or border your subject. Sometimes you can use a leafy branch or a tree trunk to create a frame around your subject. Branches and leaves can also make points of interest for your subject to look at or reach for.

If you are using the shade of a leafy tree you might bring your subject out the edge of the foliage and give yourself a nice deep, dark background by exposing for the subjects face and therefore under-exposing the shade under the tree.

Use foliage to frame your subject

Light

Be aware of dappled light falling through leaves on trees. Turning your subject to face away from the sun will prevent them having dappled spots of light and shade on their faces.

As the sun sets you can use the soft light much like a lamp or strobe light by positioning your subject relative to the light and giving them that golden glow from the sunset. Remember to look at where shadows are falling on the face to keep it sympathetic.

Advanced users might think about using a reflector or diffuser to further control the light outdoors.

Dress 

One of the most common questions I’m asked is what should we wear? Dress for the season is my best advice. Out in the park you can all wear jeans and a smart collared shirt. Toddlers look great in jeans and button-up shirts for the boys and long floral dresses for the girls. Most of all remember to wear something warm if the season dictates it. There is nothing worse than having your subject all hunched up and shivering because they haven’t worn warm clothes.

Camera settings

Set a shallow depth of field with a low aperture to help isolate your subject from the background. Not only does this create a blurry background it can help “clean-up” that background. Remember how important background is?

Keep your shutter speed high enough to stop the action. Kids like to wriggle and run around so you’ll need a fast enough shutter speed to capture that movement without your shot looking blurry or out of focus.

Shallow depth of field can isolate your subject from the background

Make an event of it

Take a picnic with you! Try to make the visit to the park about having fun with your family not just about having some photos taken. If you put too much emphasis on the event and the photos this can often lead to disappointment when you struggle to get “that shot” you have in mind.

Your photography should be about enjoying your craft or hobby, so if you don’t get the shot you want today, you can always come back next week and when you do come back you’ll be armed with all the knowledge you earned the first time.

Wedding – Rebecca and Daniel

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

Weddings make me nervous!

I’ve photographed a lot of weddings and I still get nervous about it. I call it game—day nerves, the sort of nerves players in a Grand Final might get before they run out on the field.

I’ve gotten used to it now and kind of think it helps get me prepared to do the best job I can — its positive energy I guess.

I travelled down to Wollongong in August to photograph the wedding of Rebecca and Daniel. I had met both of them a year ago when I had the good fortune of photographing them along with Daniel’s family at Martin’s Lookout, Springwood. I was very proud to be asked to photograph their wedding.

Quite often I meet some truly beautiful people and occasionally have the opportunity to help them celebrate important times in their lives.

The wedding was outdoors by the beach, Rebecca’s father gave her away and Daniel’s father delivered the service. Their mothers witnessed the certificate and their brothers and sisters were included in the wedding party. Daniel’s Pop delivered a memorable speech encouraging them to never go to bed angry at each other.

There wasn’t a dry eye to be found when they kissed and danced their way back down the aisle with rose petals raining down on them.

Off to the beach for our photo—shoot, the light was perfect, late in the day and the shoot was a dream with Daniel and Rebecca really enjoying themselves which shows in the shots.

Off to the reception and I was aware of my nerves having left me, replaced with a strong sense of achievement — I knew we had captured some beautiful moments!

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