5 Tips For Shooting Winter Landscapes

Winter brings out the toughest elements in our climate, with many people putting away their camera bags ‘till early spring. But, if you do put away your camera you are missing out on the raw beauty that this magical season brings.

Here are a few tips to make the trip more enjoyable.

  1. Wear the right clothes: It’s very important to wrap up warm when out shooting winter images. The winter season brings the toughest elements, so if you are planning to spend a few days out and about always be well prepared.
  2. Watch the weather: It’s very important to know what the weather is going to be like. You don’t want to travel for a couple of hours and then hear a weather report that tells you that: the weather is wet for the next few days. During the winter months the weather can dramatically change in a matter of hours.

It’s always advisable to let someone know where you are going and which route you’re planning to take. If you do get injured or ever caught in a storm someone may be able to help.

  1. Carry only what you need: Carry only the essentials. You don’t need to upload your camera bag with every piece of equipment you own. If you are going to be out taking pictures all day you are much better off going as light as possible. Carrying a light load will also help preserve energy. You could be climbing icy rocks or crossing snow filled hills; a warm flask would serve you a lot better than a third camera.
  2. Look for detail: Snow, ice and frost bring out texture and atmosphere in most subjects. The early frosty morning is an ideal time for close-up photography. The frosty morning also brings out patterns in our landscapes.

Take care where you place your camera: if you are taking pictures early in the morning try placing it at oblique angles to the sun – this will give your images strong shadows. This will also add mood to your landscape images. Once you have found the perfect spot pay extra attention to foreground interest as this will add depth to your image.

  1. Expose carefully: Snow and ice are extremely difficult to expose properly. Snow usually confuses your cameras metering system or your hand held light meter. When you take a light reading from snow you will automatically get an underexposed image. The meter will record the snow as grey.

Now is the time to start bracketing your shots. If you bracket your shots add 1 – 2 stops of light to compensate for your light meter reading. Using an 18% grey card, which I described in a previous article, should also give you a perfect light reading.

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8 Tips For Better Digital Photos

Whether you consider yourself an amateur photographer, or you just want to create better family photos, there are many things you can do to get better photos. Here are some easy tips to use the next time you head out with your digital camera.

Even a beginner can take professional-looking photos – suitable for framing.

Be Prepared

Keep all your photography equipment ready for use. Collect everything you’ll need into one place. A camera bag is ideal, because it keeps all your stuff together and lets you carry it all with you. Everything in its place. A good camera bag will let you organize a miniature tripod, extra battereis, memory cards, etc. – even a plastic bag or waterproof housing to protect your camera in wet weather.

Hold your Camera Steady

Blurry photos are almost always the result of camera movement. Just your own unsteadiness, causes your camera to shake enough to blur your pictures.

So steady yourself and your camera before you take the shot.

Plant your feet firmly on the ground and tuck your elbows in close to your sides. Instead of using the LCD viewer, steady your camera against your forehead and frame the shot using your camera’s viewfinder. You can also steady your upper body by leaning against a wall or a tree. Or totally eliminate any camera movement by using a tripod.

Once you’re all set, gently press the shutter release in one motion. Pressing the shutter release too hard could jerk the camera downward.

Get Closer

One difference in “snapshots” and really great photos is the composition of the shot. Unless you’re shooting an outdoor landscape, you can improve most photos just by getting closer to your subject. Depending on the situation, you can physically move closer to your subject, or use the zoom feature on your camera for the same effect. Try to get within a few feet of your subject so you eliminate most of the background. You’ll like the results.

Take more Pictures

Even professionals take loads of shots of the same subject – to get just a few that they will use. With a digital camera, you can delete the images you don’t like, and only print the winners – so don’t hesitate to take several shots of the same subject. Change the angle of the shot. Get a little closer. Adjust the lighting.

Why not fill the entire memory card with pictures of your kid at the pool, or your daughter in her cap and gown? The more pictures you take, the better the odds that you’ll get a few shots that will really thrill you.

Vary the Lighting

Using natural light will give better skin tones when photographing people, so try not to use the flash if you don’t have to. Outdoor daylight shots are easy, but you’ll have to be a little more creative when shooting indoors. Try using the light coming in from a window for warmer tones than you would get using the flash.

Experiment with natural lighting. You can get stronger shadows by moving your subject closer to a window, and turning your subject can create more dramatic shadows.

Eliminate Red-Eye

Red-eye is the result of light passing through your subject’s eye and reflecting back. You’ll get it more often when using your flash, just because the light from the flash isn’t as diffused as natural light. So the first tip for eliminating red-eye is simply to avoid using your flash when you don’t absolutely have to.

Another way to reduce red-eye is to have your subject look anywhere but at the camera. This reduces red-eye because any reflection isn’t directed back at your camera lens.

If you have to use the flash, some digital cameras have a built-in feature to automatically remove red-eye. Use it.

Go for Candid

Instead of posing two (or more) people looking directly at the camera, get a shot of them interacting with one another. Even two people having a conversation is more interesting than having them stand next to each other facing the camera. Some of the best professional portraits have the subject captured deep in thought, with their attention focused inward, rather than on the camera lens.

It makes a more interesting shot. Your portrait will look more natural – less posed.

Create a Scene

Putting your subject in the center of a photo is just boring. You’ll get a much more pleasing result if you place your subject off center when you frame the shot.

This is a truly professional technique. Place your subject so that they occupy 1/3 to 1/2 of the total composition, but NOT at the exact center of the frame. Capture an interesting background object in the rest of the frame.

Anybody can practice these techniques. They’re easy and you’ll get better, more professional photos.

Baby Portrait Photography

If you’ve never had kids and wonder why your mom-friends keep showing pictures of their babies to you every chance they get or why they are so obsessed with taking baby portrait photos, the answer is simple. Baby Portrait Photography is a very fascinating and enjoyable leisure!

Mothers and fathers have taken the art of baby portrait photography into their own hands. In fact, if you’re a new parent, I bet you have a camera tucked in your bag all the time. To capture the witnessed unexpected ‘firsts’ or simply, capturing the right moment that candidly presents itself, are sure the ultimate joys of a parent.

Poses at Specific Ages

However, there is also a challenge in taking baby photos; and that is, babies do not know how to pose. The subject is still too unaware of its surroundings or at certain ages, unpredictably active. So it would be helpful if we could be least expecting of their abilities to strike a pose. We know babies can barely hold up their heads or retain a particular position at 0-3 months that’s why we would need to hold them to pose.

Experiment on how the baby could be held but make sure that the focus of the photo would be on the baby and not on any one else. You must find a way to capture only the baby’s profile while being held by another person. There are still limited positions you can capture when you are taking photos of babies between the ages of 3-6 months. The good news is that babies can now hold their heads up so it’ll be much easier to get the face into profile. Costumes and props that are safe for these ages may also be used to liven up the photos.

Babies begin to sit around 6-9 months and this is when you can capture very odd poses from the babies. Since the babies start to become very active, this is the time when you need to master the shutter speed feature of your camera. And from ages 10 months onwards, some babies may be able to recognize that their photos are being taken and might even hold their poses a little longer. Candid photos may do very well during these ages.

10 Things to Keep in Mind about Baby Portrait Photography

  1. Make sure that your camera has film all the time and that your batteries are fully charged all the time
  2. If you are using a digital camera, it is best to have batteries ready.
  3. Familiarize yourself with the use of shutter speeds and camera flashes.
  4. Do not be afraid to take ultra-close up photos of your babies.
  5. Try shooting at distances and capturing the drama of the scene.
  6. If you are going to pose your babies, hold them securely.
  7. Your babies need not be dressed in costumes all the time, just make sure they are clean unless you intend to take photos of them wiping chocolates go on their faces which is very adorable too.
  8. Try shooting in grayscale. Black & white photos come out very classy and elegant, so if you intend to frame the photos, you will never go wrong with it.
  9. Remember that babies can easily get distracted, if you caught your baby doing something very nice, be quick in clicking the camera or you might miss the moment.
  10. Get others involved. Have your relatives of family members make coo-coo sounds to make the baby smile or simply talk to the baby to get eye contact.

There is nothing like capturing the essence of a child in a photograph. They grow up so fast so you want to really get every precious moments on film. You will learn simpler baby portrait photography techniques as you go along, and you’ll be proud each time you get a cute little smile recorded for eternity.