Thursday, 3 July 2014

6 Tips on How to Capture Great Fireworks Photos

6 Tips on How to Capture Great Fireworks Photos

Link to PictureCorrect Photography Tips

6 Tips on How to Capture Great Fireworks Photos

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 11:47 PM PDT

Final reminder: Only 1 day left! in the deal on: The How to Photograph Fireworks eBook

1. Use a Slow Shutter Speed

When you photograph fireworks, it is very important that you set your camera to a slow shutter speed. This includes a shutter speed that is anywhere between 1 second and 30 seconds or longer, about ISO 100. The shutter speed that is suitable varies depending on the amount of ambient light as well as the amount of fireworks in the sky.

Why use relatively long exposures to photography fireworks? This is simply because long exposures can capture the burst of fireworks, producing moving streaks against the dark sky. Using long exposures will indeed produce stunning effects.

long exposure fireworks

“Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks 2011″ captured by Joyce A

Since slow shutter speeds are necessary, you will also have to ensure good camera support. This will make sure that the pictures taken will turn out looking steady and clear.

2. Ensure Camera Stability

No doubt, one of the best ways to ensure camera stability is to use a tripod. Nonetheless, if you do not have a tripod, you can opt to brace yourself against a building or maybe a tree. Otherwise, you can have your camera placed on sturdy surface. You can also use your camera’s shutter release cable or self-timer function. Using either of these options will release the shutter without any camera shake.

3. Do Not Use Flash

Don’t use flash when photographing fireworks. Flash will not help capture fireworks at a distance. Nonetheless, flash does help light up subjects in the foreground. A perfect example of this is when photographers shoot portraits with fireworks as the background; they will often use flash to illuminate their model.

fireworks portrait

“Kyle & Laura” captured by Charles Siritho

4. Set Your Camera and Lens to Manual Mode

Fireworks photography is definitely a genre for which you will have to be brave and enter into the world of manual settings. Both your lens focus and exposure mode must be set to manual. On your lens, adjust the focus ring so that it is set to infinity focus. The symbol for infinity is similar to the number eight, except that it is turned sideways.

5. Experiment With Exposure

As mentioned earlier, you should experiment with long shutter speeds. There really isn’t any perfect shutter speed. All you need to do is to try different shutter speeds and get the sort of fireworks photography you are after.

Another thing you should do is to dial in a relatively small aperture. Anywhere between f/8 and f/16 will be good. Doing this will prevent the scene from being overexposed during the long exposures.

6. Try Using One Long BULB Exposure

fireworks photography

“Magic Kingdom – Happy Fourth of July” captured by
Jeff Krause

With one long BULB exposure, you can combine a few fireworks together into one picture when you hold the shutter open for half a minute or longer. Adjust your camera settings so that it is set to manual mode, and set the shutter speed to BULB. Check your camera manual for instructions.

As long as the shutter release is depressed, the shutter will stay open. This will allow you to photograph a few bursts of fireworks in one picture, rather than just one burst of fireworks.

While you’re at this, remember to block off the lens and sensor in between the bursts of fireworks by using a piece of paper or cloth in front of the lens. Doing this allows you to refrain from facing problems such as skies looking muddy grey in pictures.

About the Author:
This article was written by Michelle Lee Fui Jinn, tipsforphotographers dot com. It takes time to practice and improve your photography skills.

For Further Training, Deal Ending Soon:

With Independence Day celebrations quickly approaching, we have been receiving requests for more training on how to photograph fireworks. Fireworks photography is indeed one of the most daunting types of photography. This eBook explains the process from start to finish, everything from gear and camera settings to composition and post-processing to achieve great results. The publisher has kindly agreed to give PictureCorrect readers 33% off until the 4th of July.

Deal found here: How to Photograph Fireworks eBook

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Getting Started in Water Droplet Photography (Album)

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 03:14 PM PDT

Water droplet photography can seem intimidating to many photographers, yet it's actually pretty straightforward. All you really need is a camera and a way to make water drops. But if you want stellar shots like the ones in Shawn Knol‘s album, pull out a few basic lenses and a speed light, then mix in a lot of patience, and you, too, may come up with shots like these:


To begin shooting water drops you really need nothing more than a camera and a tripod, but the best results will generally include a speed light and at least one macro lens. The shots in this album were taken with the following equipment:

You will also need some way to create the water droplets: either a pipette, a plastic bag with a hole in it (for an even, measured drip), or—if you’re ready for a more serious investment—a drip kit.

water droplets on spider web

Droplets on a Spider Web, captured by Shawn Knol (Via Imgur. Click to see full size.)

3 Key Elements for Awesome Water Droplet Shots

1. Light placement

Light what the water is reflecting, not the water itself. If you’re confused about what to light, look at what you see reflected in the still water from your camera position. (Most of the time this will be your backdrop.)

2. Timing

Timing your shots is the most challenging (and hopefully fun!) part of capturing water droplets. Pressing the shutter a split second before the drop is where you want it to be will help compensate for your shutter delay.

3. Flash duration

Your flash units should be set at lower power—start with 1/16. Low power gives you a quick burst of light, and the light burst is what freezes that water droplet mid-splash. For most water droplet photography, you’ll want your speed lights to be your main source of illumination, so shoot in a (relatively) dark environment–the flash speed and your shutter speed should be pretty much the same.

blue water droplets photography

Water Droplets, captured by Shawn Knol (Via Imgur. Click to see full size.)

 Other Tips for Water Drop Photography

  • If you are having a hard time using water, you can use glycerin (which is what food and beverage photographers use) instead.
  • Use milk or food coloring for additional effects.
  • For shooting droplets on spider webs, try setting your shutter speed at 1/200 and not mixing in any natural light.
  • If you care about the orientation of the reflection, make sure to place the object being reflected upside down.

Most importantly, have fun!

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How the Pros Photograph World Cup Soccer Players (Video)

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 02:43 PM PDT

Along with the 2014 FIFA World Cup happening comes this timely behind the scenes clip of a photoshoot featuring Mexican National Team goalkeeper, Guillermo Memo Ochoa. A veteran at these types of shoots, photographer Monte Isom walks us through the process of capturing the soccer superstar:

For such an extensive commercial photoshoot for Allstate, Isom brought in quite a bit of lighting–enough to line the field and freeze the action of Ochoa leaping for the ball. He used Profoto Pro 8A power packs and a PhaseOne camera body, and multiple strobes. The strobes were triggered using Pocket Wizard Plus III’s which had more than enough range to reach the lights even when Isom was standing behind the goal net.

shooting on location

Some of Isom’s lighting setup


It took precise timing and expert lighting to freeze Ochoa’s action.

Isom also took some shots of the stadium with crowds of people, which he composited together in Photoshop to create some awesome wide angle shots of the soccer player in action with a cheering crowd serving as a backdrop.


Isom composited several shots to complete his vision.

“There’s nothing like seeing your images out in the wild.”

Go to full article: How the Pros Photograph World Cup Soccer Players (Video)

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Interesting Photo of the Day: Curious Crow

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 12:25 PM PDT

Crows have garnered a reputation as highly intelligent creatures after studies showed that the birds can remember faces, strategize, and even conspire with one another. With the brain power that matches that of a human toddler, it’s no wonder that the crow we see below was so curious about the camera he was inspecting:

bird photography

“Inquisitiveness” captured by Key GROSS (Via Imgur. Click to see full size.)

The photographer behind this gripping image is Russian-based, Key GROSS (Konstantin Smirnov), who has an inherent knack for black and white photography. For this photo, he used a SONY DSC-H2 with the following settings: 6mm focal length, 1/25 shutter speed, f/2.8 aperture, and ISO 80.

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A Brief History of the Pixel (Video)

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 11:42 AM PDT

We hear the term “pixel” used quite often—not just in reference to photography, but even in everyday life. As we move further and further into the digital age, “pixel” is becoming somewhat of a household word. But, what exactly is a pixel and where did it come from? Taran Van Hemert gives us a quick explanation in this short video:

What is a pixel?

The term pixel stems from the words picture and element. A pixel is a tiny area on an image that when combined with other pixels will form an image. Pixels are generally square or rectangle in shape, but not always. Our modern square pixels evolved from lines and triads.

what is a pixel

As technology changes, so does the way we project images.

When were pixels invented?

The history of pixels goes all the way back to 1839, when practical, commercially available photography was born. But, as Van Hemert explains in the video, pixels came around much later. When the color television was invented in the 1950s, the world moved much closer to the development of the pixel.

color tv triads

Color TV technology moved us closer to pixels.

In color TVs, electron beams hit an array of triads that created 512 horizontal lines to make up a picture. Those lines were later divided into rectangles. This made digital representation of images possible. Not long after, in 1965, the term “pixel” appeared for the first time.

“Pixels have continued to get smaller and smaller with better frame rates and better color depth.”

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Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Advantages of a Vantage Point for Street Photography

Advantages of a Vantage Point for Street Photography

Link to PictureCorrect Photography Tips

Advantages of a Vantage Point for Street Photography

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 11:14 PM PDT

If you are uncomfortable putting a camera in front of a stranger’s face yet still want candid street photography, look for a good vantage point up over the action and shoot down. You will be amazed by the sense of freedom and the results.

street photography

“Corredor Madero” captured by iivangm

The Setup

Down in the streets a light-weight, fast camera is essential, with image quality sacrificed in order to have more chance of capturing the moment at all. With a good vantage point it is possible to work with a bigger camera, a longer lens and perhaps a tripod. Since you will not be moving much the size and weight of your camera will not matter. Nor are you restricted by other items, so feel free to take along snacks and drinks sufficient for your intended stay aloft.

Your decision whether to use a tripod will depend upon the distance over which you are shooting, the available light (and your camera’s ability to deal with low light) and also the style of shots you are hoping to capture. In most cases, you should be able to rest on some form of support (the same support that stops you falling from your perch), and that will often be a good compromise between mobility and quality.

street photography camera angle

“Untitled” captured by Luis A. de Jesus

Auto focus is an option, though if you are working a particular spot, you may find it safer to keep a zone in manual focus—particularly if the light is poor or the contrast is bad for other reasons.

When Mobility is Less Important

When action is sparse it pays to be mobile and to be free to move around to more productive areas. However, if your vantage point overlooks a busy spot and you choose a suitable time of day, then there should be no shortage of subject matter. If it also has many aspects then all the better as the action may well move around you.

When the Action is Just Too Rough

Festival photography can be exciting and very rewarding. However, large crowds and lots of action can work against you. There have been some great shots from the Holi Festival in India and Songkran (water-splashing) in Thailand. At ground level, photographers can only take a risk for their art.

active street photography

“The Holi Festival” captured by onthego tours

Clever gear is available, but nothing can guarantee protection for your expensive camera and lenses against all contingencies. You might have good insurance but, still, what of the rest of your trip? The other option is to get up above the action where damage is much less likely and where you would probably at least get a warning of imminent saturation—and a chance to cover up or move out of the way.

Effective for Timelapse Photography

A bit of height creates an angle between your subject and the ground-as-background. This adds an essential dimension when capturing movement in timelapse photography and really brings the resulting slideshow to life.

Vantage Points in Practice


Photo captured by Ian Ford

The Clock Tower in Jodhpur (Rajasthan, India) has a first-floor platform which allows a 360 degree view down to the market area below. The market begins to get busy at a civilized hour, since it then stays open late at night (when other photographic opportunities arise).

In Old Delhi’s Spice Market it is possible to climb stairs up to the rooftop and capture images of the levels below. Morning time is best, before the residents head off to their respective shops or other duties.


Photo captured by Ian Ford

Wherever you go, look around for similar platforms. Access may not be for the general public but a polite request goes a long way. A flat roof is sufficient but, above all, do be careful. This applies especially in places not designed for regular access, where the lack of barriers and general clutter can make for a dangerous environment.

The Disadvantages

Shooting down from a vantage does have some drawbacks:

  • shooting down at people means that sometimes headwear or the person’s posture hides the face
  • shooting from a distance is also less satisfying if faces/personality are important to you. If you are looking for a shallow depth of field, that calls for a lot of precision with regard to focus
  • there are times when it is helpful to be able to engage your subject, and while being above the action allows you avoid the discomfort of being turned down by your subject, it also precludes engagement with your subject
  • if you are down on the street, you can share a shot with your subject—take the photo and then show the result on the screen on the camera—which can lead to additional shots

Photo captured by Ian Ford

There is no one right way to do street photography, and a different approach will simply lead to different results. Try shooting down from a vantage point and see if you like what you get. It can then be a another weapon in your arsenal for those days when other techniques are not working.

About the Author:
Ian Ford is Operations Manager for Photo Tours Abroad. He took the images above whilst representing the company at the recent Jodhpur Discovery photography workshop with guest artist Nick Rains.

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How To Quickly Watermark Your Photos in Photoshop (Video Tutorial)

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 07:13 PM PDT

Photographers have mixed opinions on whether or not you should watermark your photos. Some think they can help protect your images from digital theft, while others think they are a distraction to the image itself. Of course, it all boils down to personal opinion. If you tend to lean in favor of a watermark, check out this helpful tutorial on how to quickly watermark your photos using Photoshop:

Watermark Your Photos With a Custom Brush

The method described in the video walks you through the process of creating a custom brush from your logo, which is a handy way to access the watermark while editing any of your images in Photoshop.

  1. Make sure your logo is black on a white background.
  2. Size your logo to about 900 by 900 pixels.
  3. Now, go to Edit > Define Brush Preset.
  4. Name the watermark, and hit OK.
  5. Open the Brush Preset Manager.
  6. Drag the watermark brush to the top so it is always easily accessible.
  7. To watermark an image, create a new layer, grab the brush tool, change it to the custom brush you just created, and click anywhere on the image where you want the watermark to appear.
watermark photos

Creating a custom watermark stamp is a quick process that you only need to do once.

By creating a custom brush and simply stamping your images to apply a watermark, you are also making it easy to sample colors from the image you are working on so that your watermark is always complementary to the color tones of the photo. Don’t forget to experiment with different blending modes and opacity levels to fine tune your watermark.


Grab colors from the image and experiment with blend modes to make your watermark less intrusive.

Do you watermark your photos?

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Interesting Photo of the Day: Awesome Double Exposure Portrait

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 02:53 PM PDT

You can get pretty creative when working with multiple exposures—layering images on top of other images to get some pretty unique and interesting shots. Lately there has been increasing interest in double exposure portraits, such as this one taken by photographer Austin Greene:


Double Exposure Portrait (Via Imgur. Click to see full size.)

“No layering or blending of images or anything like that was done in Photoshop or any other editing software. The way it works is the first image is a silhouette, with your subject being mostly or entirely underexposed, then your second image fills those underexposed areas. The technique has been around since film days and is a ton of fun.” — Greene

Many modern DSLRs come equipped with a multiple exposure function that allows photographers to make these kinds of portraits right in camera. Greene took this shot with a Canon 6D. Toy cameras such as the Lomography Holga are also a popular way to create double exposures. To find out more on how to create these awesome portraits, you can check out this useful tutorial.

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Photographing Landscapes: Getting the Perfect Shot the First Time (Video)

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 01:49 PM PDT

Sure, being a travel photographer means you get to see places you never thought you would, places far off, magical, mystical, hidden, unimaginable. But, it also means that you need to be able to get the perfect shot every time; you don’t have the luxury of a second chance. Travel photographer Chris McLennan invites us on location in Namibia, where he captures gorgeous images of the desert landscape and provides some tips and techniques to get the perfect shot:

Equipment Used

Since McLennan is shooting in the morning, the sky is brighter and there is high contrast. To combat this, he uses a graduated neutral density filter, which he holds in front of the camera to give him bright balance from the sky to the red desert sand dunes. The polarizer helps deepen the shadows, enriching the color in the dunes at the same time.

landscape photography

The three lens combination, McLennan says, lets him cover pretty much everything he wants to on this shoot. For one particular shot of an amazing natural rock arch, the crew slept out on the rocks overnight and got up early in the morning to capture the perfect light. McLennan used the D800E with 14-24mm lens, set at 14mm, super wide, and f/16 to get a really nice sunburst off the rising sun.

travel photography

The arch was fully backlit so he used the Nikon CLS to fire an off-camera speedlight and put a little bit of fill on the front of the arch. This is just one of the many dramatic and beautiful images he captured of the desert landscape.

african landscape photo

“…when you’re working on-location so far from home, you don’t get a second chance to get it right.”

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Capturing Humanity: Photographing Homelessness in L.A. (Video)

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 11:03 AM PDT

Singer and photographer Guy Sebastian has spent a good chunk of his career working with many charities. His own charity, The Sebastian Foundation strives to recognize all people as equals and create a lasting change in the lives of the less fortunate. For this Canon Shine feature, Sebastian uses photography to capture the humanity behind homelessness:

Sebastian truly believes that photography can bring understanding and change our perceptions of people. He tries to capture humanity by photographing powerful images that reflect stories in people’s faces. Here, we ride with Sebastian as he spends a day on Sunset Boulevard, where he meets and photographs three people on the streets of Los Angeles.


Sebastian’s first portrait of the day.

“The toughest thing about these portraits is that I don’t want to necessarily just spell out doom and gloom, or someone who’s down and out. I want people to look at these faces and wonder; not judge but wonder. I think it’s important. I think imagery can really bring understanding, and that’s what I’m trying to achieve.”


“I look at this woman's face and a shot like that can tell you so much without even having to ask."

“People like that make my day. Just meeting different people and engaging them and talking to them, even just hearing about their stories.”

For his last shot of the day, Sebastian finds the one picture he’s been searching for, the one picture that gets him excited. He meets Gregory, and with the help of a few friends, stages a photograph that really captures the inequality and indifference found in the world today.


Sebastian staged this photo to demonstrate the inequality seen in cities.

“This is what matters to me.”

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