Underwater Photography Tips

Underwater photography provides all the chills and thrills of any fast paced film. Here are some tips and ideas for this photography that will help you approach this art with great finesse.

In the year 1926, the hogfish taking its daily swim through the azure waters off the Florida Keys in the Gulf of Mexico, would never have imagined that it would be captured on camera and would also be framed in the first underwater color photograph ever available. Dr. William Longley and Charles Martin (National Geographic staff photographer) used their cameras encased in waterproof materials to start a phenomenon, they could never have imagined.

Underwater photography is about unveiling a world that exists beneath the deep seas. To master this art, one would need to be an excellent swimmer and know the latest deep-sea diving techniques. It requires the use of special photography equipment and also an eye for detail. It offers numerous challenges and provides a whole new world of opportunities to the photographer. Apart from being highly skilled in swimming, an underwater photographer must also be mentally prepared to face all the challenges he/she faces in the deep waters. Unavoidable natural circumstances may occur wherein the photographer may have to rely on his instinct and attitude to squirm out of a tricky situation.

Colorful Tropical Fish

For this kind of photography, one must always remember that the medium the light travels through is not air, but water. The main thing to watch out for by an underwater photographer is to maintain the balance of color and contrast. The subjects available can vary from the marine life to coral reefs, underwater caves, and shipwrecks. Every plunge in the roaring waves will reveal new subjects and landscapes to capture.

You would also require the latest equipment. The cameras should primarily have the sea mode, land mode, and also an external flash mode. This is essential to obtain better quality pictures even in the most adverse conditions. One of the most difficult aspects of this type of photography remains the use of the flash. The photographer has to achieve the right balance between natural light and the use of flash. Modern cameras have tried to implement new techniques to simplify this process, as natural light and visibility are often limited.

Underwater digital cameras also have built in features for color correction filters and flash diffusers and they are also equipped with complete storage and image editing software. This adds to the sophistication of the camera and also makes them easy to manipulate as per the situation.

The ones available today are completely high tech and are used not only for personal reasons but also for exploring, monitoring swim areas, and fishing and also for documenting shipwrecks. Today, we also have offshore trolling cameras. These have been designed specially for the videographers and fishermen.

Underwater photography has its own limitations in terms of the conditions the photographer has to face. But the true skill of the photographer solely remains in his/her ability to overcome these problems and shoot his/her best frame ever.

Basic Tips and Ideas

When you dive into the ocean, ensure you do it sans your camera. Diving with your camera will easily flood the camera with water. Therefore always procure or pass the equipment (once you are in the water) to another person on the boat.

Do not drag your equipment once you are in the deep waters. This may cause damage to the marine life.

Use an upward angle of the camera to obtain dramatic results.

Be constantly aware of all the dive gear that may float before your lens.

Ensure you use the empty space for text or graphics that can be added on, later.

The best time to take the plunge is around midday. The sun being overhead would illuminate the subjects underwater.

The underwater world changes often at the very blink of an eye. Perhaps this is what fascinates people all over and they overlook the risk factors and dive into the depth of the oceans. The vivid colors, the dangers lurking around the corner, the peace and the tranquility, all add to the mystery and aura of the underwater life. No prizes for guessing why this remains to be one of the most popular forms of photography even today!

Editorial Photography Tips

Editorial photography is a field that is crucial for every publication no matter what medium they feature in. Before dealing with the tips, let’s understand the significance of this particular photography first.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and photography serves as the perfect medium for these words. The beauty of a photograph is the fact that it isn’t merely another piece of art or some random words put together, in fact every single photograph is a moment forever preserved in time. Photography finds its place and is very much an integral part of many an industry, right from toy makers using it to sell their products, to super luxurious car makers selling their top cars. Photography isn’t just restricted to selling a product, but can also be a very powerful tool in trying to convey a message or to add to a message.

Editorial Photography

Photography which is not aimed at selling a particular product or intended to advertise anything commercial is called editorial photography. This field is rather vast and spans across almost all topics imaginable, right from still photography aimed at adding to the appeal of any literature or poem, to medical photography which tries to explain some rather serious matters about health. These photographs could either speak entirely for themselves, or, as they are often used, may be used to better portray a subject.They could be used in print and written media or used for online and web content. Editorial photography serves as a perfect platform for ardent photography fans and budding shutterbugs, as they prepare to get into the field of commercial photography. As opposed to commercial photography, editorial photography gives you a lot more scope for showing off your creative side, and add to your portfolio.

Getting Into Editorial Photography

You could either choose to go solo and freelance in the field, or take a more traditional approach and join a photography agency. Most agencies actively look for amateur photographers in this field, and although there is no dearth of photography enthusiasts, there’s always room for more creative minds. You might want to focus on your strengths, and try to choose a line which appeals to you, rather than try your hand at everything. There are plenty of online sites as well, that promote upcoming talent in this field, and with time you might just have your own little fan base as well!

Photography Tips and Techniques

The beauty of this photography is the creative license and freedom of expression that you have. You are bound only by your imagination, and as they say, great photography is all about being at the right place at the right time. It is imperative that you do not think of only one single picture, but rather think of a sequence of pictures. Often it takes a hundred takes before you get that one perfect shot, and at times just a casual click might become the centerpiece of your entire portfolio. The key here is to be patient and click away, ‘cos you never know which one would turn out to be that perfect image. If you can manage to narrate a story of sorts through these photographs, it would greatly improve the chances of your photographs getting selected for publication. Here are some commonly known photojournalism photography tips that might seem rather obvious, but if taken care of can make all the difference between just another photograph and a breathtaking photograph.

  • Cutlines for your photographs are necessary. This refers to a brief description of the people, place, and situation captured in the photograph.
  • Obviously, the image quality of your photograph needs to be top-notch. Mediocre quality photographs have no chance of intriguing the viewer.
  • The format of the image and its size are also crucial factors. The images should not be RAW files and should be in the JPEG format. The image should also be 200 pixels per square inch.
  • It is also advisable to keep the Photoshopping of the image to a minimum.
  • The sequence to follow for the shots should be the main shot, opening shot, overall shot, detail shot, and closer shot.

Scope of Photography

The market is very competitive and overly subscribed. For a young inexperienced photographer to get into this field would require a lot of hard work and plenty of patience. Though the market for this field of photography has expanded due to the widespread revolution in printing, the number of photographers has made the competition rather intense.

In the foreseeable future, this rising trend might continue to prosper as the costs of publishing and maintaining publications have come down greatly, due to technology. This is a trend that may never occur for portrait photography or landscape photography. Tips for this type of photography though, will serve you well. So grab your camera and start snapping already!

Photography Tips to Get the Perfect Shot

perfect-shotSome, much-needed macro photography tips given here will help you take pictures just like a seasoned professional.

One of the greatest joys of photography lies in the way it can be used for different purposes by different people. While some use it as an artistic medium, by producing abstract images while others use photography to create detailed and accurate representations of real life. I am always amazed at the superbly shot wildlife photos or close up photos that appear in National Geographic or Nature magazine. These photographs never fail to fascinated me and leave me wondering how much effort and skill is needed for that one elusive shot. Recently, I happened to meet a good friend of mine who gave me the low-down about such photographs. These shots are taken by a technique known as macro photography.

What is Macro Photography?

The word macro means ‘large’, or ‘of great size’. In photographic terms, it can be called a type of close-up photography that normally tries to produce images on a 1:1 ratio. In other words it tries to create images that are of the same size as the objects or subjects they represent. These techniques are popularly used in nature photography, wherein it is often required to produce images that exhibit the true detail of a plant or animal that is being photographed. Nowadays ‘point-and-shoot’ digital cameras come equipped with in-built macro functions making it easier to photograph close-ups. However, a single lens reflex (or SLR) camera is generally considered superior for such type of photography. This photography is especially useful in forensic science, where small details at accident or crime scenes may often be substantial. Fingerprints, skid marks, or trace evidence which are vital to any crime case are easily recorded using macro photography.

Macro Photography Equipment

The following equipment is generally considered essential for macro photography techniques.

Camera

As said earlier, many point and shoot digital cameras nowadays have remarkable macro capabilities making them an obvious choice for beginners. But for best results you should opt for a single-lens reflex camera (SLR) or if your budget permits a digital single-lens reflex camera (DSLR). The latter allow you to attach special-purpose macro lenses and show you in a bright optical viewfinder that are very useful for close-up photography.

Macro Lenses

These lenses are also, confusingly, sometimes called ‘micro’ lenses by manufacturers. These are one of the most vital macro photography equipment. Macro lenses are generally fixed focal length lenses that are particularly designed to produce sharp images at a magnification of 1:1 or higher. Latest available macro lenses can even produce magnification ratios far higher than this. Generally most macro lenses are fixed, you will be required to choose the focal length that best suits your purposes. for example, a focal length in the region of 50-60 mm would be sufficient for fairly small objects, whereas 100 mm focal length would suffice for things such as insects and details of flowers.

Flash and Diffuser

Lighting is very important in any type of photography, a hand-held flash comes in handy for lighting your subjects and is powerful when used just a few inches from your subject. While sometimes a flash might give you a sharp and noticeable shadow, giving your picture a harsh, stark effect. For softer light, try to diffuse the light from the flash, by using transparent white cloth or paper for example, colored gels. If you are keen on capturing close-ups of small things then you may experiment with different lighting techniques and get amazing results.

Tripod and Other Equipment

A tripod or monopod will decrease the risk of camera shake. The movement by the subject is also an important element, as this type of photography enlarges the subject, thereby leaving a possibility for blurred photos. Tripods or monopods could prove to be useful, especially while taking photos of flowers. Though flowers, unlike animals, are usually very patient and if there is no wind they stay still. People use different techniques and ideas like, using paper clips to keep a grass leaf still while taking a photo of some insect on it. Or the use of dead flies to feed spiders or other “deadly” insects which might make a great shot. A bottle of honey to feed butterflies or some other hungry beasts out there. Be creative and think about what you may need before you go on a hunt.

Macro Photography Ideas and Tips

Here are some DSLR macro photography tips that can spell the difference between ordinary and excellent close-up photographs. Also some lighting tips are provided.

Check Focus

One of the basic necessity of any photography, let alone macro or close-up photography, is focus. While shooting at 1:1 or higher magnifications the distance in front and behind the subject of focus is extremely narrow. So, one needs to double-check if the subject is in exact focus or not. Check the image in your LCD screen, if you’re using a digital camera. Zoom into it as far as your camera can zoom, this will let you to confirm that your subject is in exact focus.

Eliminate Background and Foreground Clutter

A thumb rule in photography is that the viewer’s eye, naturally, gravitates towards the brightest spot in a photo. So, while shooting in mixed light, bear in mind about what’s in the background, change your point of view or move closer and fill the frame with your subject in order to negate the background. Another idea is to hold a sheet of plain white paper or any branch or leaf foliage behind your subject. One smart tip to control background clutter is by shooting at wider apertures. This reduces background focus, using a ring light is a nice way to eliminate the background since a ring light throws most backgrounds into darkness. While shooting through dense foliage trim away blocking branches or leaves if they are hindering you view of the subject or try to find another angle. The essence is to keep on trying till you get the perfect frame for the perfect shot.

Get the Correct Exposure

The correct exposure can make or break a near to perfect setup. One has to be especially careful about exposure, greater the distance between the film or sensor and the subject, the longer the exposure or wider the aperture. If your camera has exposure metering through the lens, then your task is much easier, somewhat. A tip for correct exposure will be to check your histogram repeatedly.

Right Lighting

One of the toughest task in photography is sufficiently and evenly lighting the subject. In extreme close-up photography it is impossible to place a light between the camera and a subject that close. Nowadays some cameras can focus on subjects so close, that they almost touch the front of the lens. Using off camera flash is the next lighting tip, as the subject will be so close that the light on your camera will fall beyond the subject, hence this flash needs to be off camera. Besides, extreme close-up work means that there is almost no natural light falling on the subject. Using a ring flash or a two-flash, lens-mounted setup can help to achieve greater depth of field and sharper focus. Sometimes overhead sun causes harsh shadows, diffuse it with a translucent white umbrella. Right lighting will enable you to exhibit greater details in your subject thereby enhancing your shot quality.

Get Real Close

Close-up shots require you to get down to the subject’s level which might mean getting dirty, but it’s worth the effort. Not only does it produce a more dramatic point of view but also adds to the area of focus. Getting your lens parallel to the subject enables more of the subject to be part of the frame reducing background and foreground clutter. Moreover, while being parallel, the subject is more in focus than if the lens were angled with you looking down. One of the best option is to use the right tripod, the one whose legs can spread out almost flat enabling you to get right down low. Another tip is to get the heaviest tripod, though it might not be fun to carry around but you’ll be rewarded with better quality photographs.

Shutter Speed and Self-timer

If you cannot shoot faster than the length of your lens then use a tripod. A general rule of thumb for hand-held macro shots, is that if your lens is 100 mm focal length, then the shutter speed should be 1/100th of a second, or faster, to achieve a sharp image or photograph. If you are shooting in a spot which has shade or indirect sunlight, use a tripod to achieve great results. An important tip is regarding the use of the camera’s self-timer. This feature is vital in limiting vibration and camera shake while pressing the shutter button. A self-timer is basically a delayed shutter release that allows jerks and vibrations to subside before the actual photo is taken. Refer to the manufacturer’s manual to see how it works on your particular brand of camera.

Be Patient

One of the most vital yet oft-ignored asset is learning to be patient. In my experience, there is no point in chasing an insect, like a mad photographer, that won’t sit still. It simply doesn’t work! You’ll be surprised to know that many insects are just as curious of you, as you are about them. Try to make good use of morning sunlight to capture details or bring out certain aspects of the subject that may not be seen otherwise. While many photographers don’t like shooting into the sun, when it comes to macro or close-up photography, I find it can often help highlight a feature or characteristic of the subject. For instance, early morning light can be used brilliantly to capture dew drops or an insect’s tiny hair. You do need to be careful not to capture lens flare though. Sometimes it doesn’t work, sometimes it does. Trying numerous angles and distances to help you find the best position and capture the best shot.

These were some of the close-up photography tips and techniques which I found extremely helpful in improving my photography skills. Enough of the theory, it’s time to have fun. Get out and keep shooting, don’t be afraid to experiment, Shoot closer, still closer and then some more. The closer you shoot, the more you will be rewarded for your patience and toil. Get clicking and enjoy exploring and photographing the tiny world that awaits you.

Photography Tips and Techniques

Timing is one of the very important elements in sports photography. Take a look at some basic tips and techniques, to help you master this art.

Sports personalities undergo months of preparation for the big moment. What you don’t know is that the preparation is almost the same for sports photographers. Beautiful snazzy photographs in sport magazines or newspapers are not clicked quite by ‘accident’. It takes a skilled professional to know the finer nuances to capture a stunning photograph.

Sports photography is a part of photojournalism. Many such talented professionals are sought after by magazines and newspapers to capture the action for these publications. Sport photographers need to know all about that particular sport. A beginner to photography needs to study sports that interest him/her to be able to judge the right moment. A sports photographer should not only be well-read, but should also develop the right instinct to be able to capture the most energetic moments on the field.

Tips and Techniques

Study the Sport and the Master the Equipment
As mentioned before, you must be aware about the details related with the sport. It could be baseball or cricket, you should be aware of the positions of the players and the basics of how the game is played. This will help you to know where you need to focus. You need to anticipate and take risks to end up with stunning visuals. Knowing the operation of the equipment will also help to gain control over the camera. Once you are confident about the various zoom settings and shutter speeds, moving the camera as per your requirement will be quite a breeze. Practice will make you perfect.

Develop Powers of Observation
Learn to study things around you. Keep your vision focused and pay attention to detail. You might need to spend hours in one place. Observe things and pick out minute details. You can never know which element may give you a beautiful photograph. You must also be prepared for the right moment. This gives you the chance of controlling the settings and clicking the particular moment on camera. After all, it is all about the moment, whether it’s a win on the baseball field, or a tumble on the ski slopes. Timing matters.

Select the Right Location
The way you position yourself is of utmost importance. This location should give you space to move around and also pick interesting angles. Concentrate on the background while selecting the location. The background should highlight the image in the foreground. This will end up giving you maximum impact.

Pre-focus on the Subject
This genre of photography would need you to develop skills that help you anticipate the moment. For this, you can even focus in advance on the subject or area. This will allow you to press the shutter exactly when you require and avoid wastage of time spent in focusing on the subject. Focusing before the actual action moment will help to capture the right moment. You need to anticipate things in advance. For example, in baseball, you must know where the ball may go after it’s hit, or you need to be aware how the bat may swing and in which direction.

Use High Shutter Speeds
A high shutter speed is very important if you want to capture the right moment. A high shutter speed will freeze the moment. For indoor shots, however, you would need to use a higher ISO due to low light problems. Burst mode will allow you to capture images through the process of continuous shooting. A telephoto lens will help you to capture long shots with great ease if you haven’t managed to get front row seats.

Don’t Always Focus your Attention on One Area
This may seem a little contradictory to what is mentioned earlier, but then photography is also about experimentation and risks. Avoid keeping your focus only on one point. Look around for different moments. You can capture the ecstatic expression on a player’s face or a player showing plenty of aggression. The options are aplenty and all you have to do is to look around.

With practice, this is one skill that should be developed if you are looking at it on a professional level. Be at the right place and at the right time. That’s what makes a truly good professional sports photographer.