Archive for the ‘the golden hour’ Category

 

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.

The Setting Sun and Outdoor Family Portraits – Blue Mountains family, kids and pets portrait Photographer

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

It was a great relief to welcome the sun back last weekend after all the rain we’d had during the week.

This family portrait photo-shoot took place at one of my favourite parks in the Blue Mountains, its a great location for young families and as the evening approaches the sun sets and helps create beautiful light effects through the trees.

I like to shoot into the sun sometimes to give my subject that back-lit halo effect. I also really enjoy the way the sunlight refracts into streams of light through the leaves on the trees.

On most outdoor family portrait photo-shoots I find there is a 5-10 minute window of opportunity to achieve these back-lit shots as the sun sets, so it is rewarding to see the results in post-production.

I really like these shots, I believe they capture some of the essence of the relationship between these two young children. He was such a gentle older brother as he led his sister around the park and they nattered away to each other lost in their own conversation.

Darren Edwards Photography is a professional photographic studio based in the Blue Mountains and servicing the greater Sydney and central west region. With 20 years industry experience, outstanding products and value for money, your photographic commission is in good hands. 

Click on “Darren Edwards Photography” at the top of the page to see more images or “Contact” to make an enquiry.

Why use a Professional Photographer

Sunday, November 6th, 2011

While we may have a friend with a camera, or good old Uncle Harry or Aunty Betty with their you-beaut camera and lens package to help record our special day, there is a lot to be said for having a professional there to ensure the job is does well.

I recall seeing an advertisement for Kodak film many years ago which had a line that read something like “a great family portrait isn’t expensive, its priceless!”.

Another advertisement Kodak used had words to the effect, “capture the moment now, and enjoy it over and over.”

Photographing a wedding recently I was struck by how many of the guests had their cameras and phones out snapping away at the happy couple as the event unfolded.

I wondered how many of those images would be “up on Facebook” before the end of the reception, shared with friends across the country or across the world.

These days we all have a digital camera of some description, whether it be a digital SLR or a compact camera or even our phone. One way or another we are able to take a photograph and record a moment for posterity.

Many of these images are snapshots or happy-snaps designed to make a quick record of an event and share it with friends or family via Facebook or Flickr, while others are often more considered moments destined for an album or frame.

I recently received this feedback from a client who had commissioned a portrait with her family to give as a gift to their mother for her 60th birthday.

“Just wanted to pass on a huge THANK YOU! The photos were beautiful. My mum cried when she saw them.”

I love being a portrait photographer, sometimes it doesn’t feel like work, especially when the result has such an effect on people.

Getting back to the Kodak advertisement – what makes us cry tears of joy when we see a beautiful family portrait? Moreover what makes a beautiful family portrait, and how do you choose a photographer to create it?

The photographers I’m most influenced by have a gift for seeing a moment before it happens, they have wonderful anticipation for what is about to happen and incredible skill to capture that moment.

These are skills which take years to develop, through experience, knowledge and practice.

Having patience and anticipation helps to capture beautiful moments

I model my own work practice on these principles. I have been photographing people for 20 years and feel I have a keen sense of how people respond to being photographed.

The most difficult part of a good family portrait shoot is creating the right environment for something to happen. I like an outdoor location as I feel it helps this process by providing an open space not enclosed by walls. Out in the elements my clients feel the environment around them, they can explore and be themselves, if its cold they can cuddle into each other, its a physical event.

What follows is anticipation and patience – being ready for that moment goes a long way to producing unique and beautiful images to enjoy over and over.

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.