If you find yourself fantasizing about spring break, you’re not alone! The month of March marks the end of winter, but chilly weather still grips many of us across the country. Spring just can’t get here fast enough, but until that happens, we can still take advantage of the gifts the current climate offers. This issue includes photography tips to use on your spring break trip, how to pick quality memory cards, when to use burst mode, the latest in bounce flash techniques and what one item you need to have with you on your next vacation. Plus, for working photographers, we provide insight on how to handle difficult client conversations in a professional manner. Throw in an iPhone camera tip and this issue is wrapped up and ready for you to enjoy!
The month of March means winter will soon end. It also offers a much needed spring break holiday. Whether you’re packing your bags for a quick weekend road trip or a ten day international excursion, we’ve got a few tips to help you create some stunning images sure to make you smile long after your holiday has ended.
Keep it Light: Going on vacation with your gear doesn’t mean you have to weigh yourself down with every accessory you own. In fact, many professionals prefer a more minimalist approach when traveling. Consider what kind of photographs you intend to take and, if possible, scale down to a single multi-purpose lens, a cleaning kit, a lightweight mono/tripod and an external flash. And don’t forget your charger and extra batteries! We have a great cleaning kit here for your next trip: http://www.samys.com/c/All-Products/1/100.html?orfilterby=vendorname&orbegin=exact&orend=Purosol
Candids are King: Vacations are often the most fun when things happen spontaneously and without a rigid plan. The same can be said for photography. We sometimes have a specific vision in mind before we begin photographing, but while on holiday, consider shooting off-the-cuff instead. Candid images capture an authenticity that comes through in a way no posed image can duplicate.
Look for Landmarks: If you’re traveling someplace with recognizable landmarks, incorporating them into your travel photography is a great way to quickly highlight the familiar location. That said, don’t feel you have to shoot a standard head-on image just to include a notable building. Have fun with this process, play with your perspective and shoot from various angles and vantage points. Being able to shoot a familiar location from a fresh angle can showcase both the location and your abilities as a photographer.
Let Scenery Speak for Itself: Our instinct is to make sure our family members and friends are included in almost all of our vacation photos but remember to take in the scenery of your locale as well. As you explore and enjoy your leisure time, keep your eyes open for items in your environment that capture your attention and imagination. For example, is there a historic marker that piques your interest or a café sign that is beyond charming? Shoot close, fill the frame with these quirky and fun items and add them to your vacation album!
Keep the Memories Alive: Once your getaway has ended, make sure to keep the memories close for you to enjoy by having a favorite photo enlarged and framed – or even printed on canvas! We have so many fabulous ways for you to transform your images into keepsakes, and these keepsakes will make you smile throughout the year. Let us show you the many ways we can incorporate your favorite photos into your living space.
There are few things that can ruin an image as blatantly as harsh lighting, but fortunately, there are ways to soften your light source in such a way that it works to your advantage. Learning how to bounce your flash can combat unflattering shadows and create a softer effect overall. This technique can be used both indoors and outside and is practical in a variety of situations.
Solid Surface Shooting: When it comes to bouncing your flash, using a nearby wall or ceiling are the two most common choices for this technique. By adjusting your camera’s flash to point at a nearby light-colored surface rather than your subject, the light will bounce off the wall and reflect in a diffused capacity on your subject. The resulting lighting will be softer and far more flattering than if you were to point your light source directly at your subject.
If you’d prefer to use the ceiling, adjust your flash to point upward but angle it slightly so that is falls atop your subject rather than directly above you and the camera. The goal is to have the light fall toward the subject. If you find yourself shooting in a location with particularly high ceilings, consider shooting off a side wall instead. It may require adjusting your subject slightly, but experimentation is part of the fun! Light is a fascinating tool to manipulate and learning how to adapt it to your needs is key in photography.
How do you bounce your flash outdoors? Thinking outside the box helps. You can use a nearby white wall, a large white poster board or even someone wearing a white t-shirt (yes, people have done this with success!). The key is to be close enough to your bounce prop that it can both diffuse the light and still be useful in your composition. Again, adjust a bit here and there to strike the perfect balance.
Bouncing with a Point and Shoot:
While bouncing your flash is a technique most commonly used with DSLR cameras, you can also apply it with some point and shoot models. While the range will be more limited as the flash can’t be rotated to such an extensive degree, you can manipulate the flash by placing your finger underneath the flash and slightly nudging it upward. In many cases, it’s just enough to get the job done. Still, it requires a steady hand and a bit of finesse.
In a pinch, you can also use a tissue to cover the flash and diffuse the light from the outset. It’s another quick fix, and successful photographers know that thinking creatively to solve problems is critical in creating the effect they desire.
A camera’s different settings are akin to having different tools in a toolbox – each one can be used in specific situations to draw out the best image possible depending on lighting, environment and subject matter. We often play it safe, shooting in automatic mode, and this works just fine, but other tools are waiting to be used and explored!
Burst mode, or continuous mode, can be an important setting when photographing action such as sports or small children on the run. This feature allows you to shoot multiple frames per second and puts you in a better position to capture motion. Various cameras also handle focus differently in this mode, so you may need to experiment a bit to understand the capacity and limitations of your particular camera.
Most cameras include a limit on how many images can be shot in burst mode – it might be three, five or more depending upon the camera model. Burst mode isn’t just for DSLR cameras anymore, either – many of today’s current point and shoot models include this feature.
One thing to note is that shooting in burst mode means that your camera will need to buffer the images, which means it will hold them in memory until you are finished shooting. It will then transfer the images to the card, and this will translate into a slight delay before you can begin shooting the next image (or set of images). So, shooting in burst mode is essentially a balance of capture and pause, and knowing this will help you make the most of the time you spend behind the lens.
You may want to make sure you have extra batteries packed because burst mode can be a real battery hog! You’ll also need extra memory or a very large memory card because you’ll be shooting more images in one session. If you’re looking for a versatile and powerful camera battery charger, or additional batteries for your camera, click here: http://www.samys.com/c/Batteries--Power-Adapters/2/140.html
Shooting in burst mode can be rewarding because it allows you to better capture a story in motion as opposed to a single moment. It’s an often under-utilized tool that’s waiting to be explored. We hope you’ll do just that.
Make sure you have the stability you need on your spring break vacation by using a high quality monopod. Your photographs will benefit from the use of our quality monopod as it provides stability and protects from camera shake. Monopods are ideal for conventional or digital cameras, medium format equipment, and heavy telephoto lenses. Most have innovative design which includes sealed leg locks that resist moisture, sand and grit, ensuring a lifetime of reliable use. Get yours before your next trip here: http://www.samys.com/c/Monopods/3/167.html
Creative types are known for putting their personal passion into their work and it certainly shows in the quality of the project. However, being so emotionally invested in images created for paying clients can be a double-edged sword. The client benefits from the drive and careful consideration, but when client comments are less than completely positive, it’s easy to feel deflated and frustrated. Here are a few tips to handle those difficult conversations:
It’s Not Personal: Remembering that the client is paying you to create a vision for his/her use can help create the necessary emotional distance when criticism surfaces. While it is natural to feel defensive, it is better to respond by asking questions related to the criticism. Keeping the conversation on a professional level will demonstrate your ability to take client input and respond accordingly.
Ask for Specifics: Reassure your client that you are both on the same team by asking specific questions about his concerns and expectations. This will go a long way in demonstrating that his satisfaction is a top priority. Asking questions such as, “What specifically do you not like about the images,” “What were you expecting that is different than what you are seeing here,” and “What do you need to see to meet your vision,” will help you pinpoint what adjustments need to be made.
Mirror Back: Repeat your customer’s concerns back and propose specific suggestions toward addressing them. If he agrees with your solution, move forward and give a specific timeline for the revised set of images. If you need something additional in terms of resources or funds, now is the time to bring this to his attention. Surprising a client with additional fees without agreeing on it in advance can erode any goodwill you’ve just built.
Did you know that when taking a picture using your iPhone, the shutter doesn’t release until you take your finger off the touchscreen? Next time you’re shooting, try holding the camera in one hand and push the shutter button with your other hand’s finger (or thumb). Trying to do everything one handed introduces additional camera shake and can result in blurry photos. Also, if you have a stable surface such as a table, wall or fence to help balance your iPhone, use it as an impromptu tripod to give extra stability.
You can also use the ‘volume up’ button (+button) to take a photograph, which comes in handy in situations such as taking a self-portrait.