April 27, 2009

What's In The Bag?

For some people who frequent my blog, you’ll notice I refer to a few different sites often, and I have a list of my favorite personal blogs that I check out regularly (on the left hand side of this page) and I also reference some of the equipment that I use personally. Every photographer will find the equipment that suits him or her best. Some times I’ll find a piece of equipment that “I can’t live without” while out shooting with friends in the field.
I personally have my own little set-up that covers just about everything I might need while out shooting. I’ve hinted around that I shoot with Canon gear, but that doesn’t mean I have anything against the other brands, its just what I use personally. Every manufacturer has its strong points. I got into Canon totally by accident after joining a camera class, but that’s a story for another blog post.
In my camera bag I have the “stuff” I use regularly. Here is a list of the gear I carry in my bag most of the time. My main camera bodies and four main lenses:
  • Canon  5D Mk II
  • Canon  17 - 40mm   f / 4
  • Canon  24 - 105mm   f / 4
  • Canon  70 - 200mm  f / 2.8
  • Canon 40D
  • Tamron 17-50mm  f/2.8
For each of these lenses I always have a clear UV filter on the end, for safety reasons mostly. I’ve seen expensive lenses get scratched or broken too often, and having one of these on your lens could possibly save you in the case of an accident.

I also have Polarizing filters for each of these lenses as well. These are definitely my most used filters. They are great for reducing reflections (like on water or glass) and for greatly enhancing your colors especially in skies, making your blues deeper and richer.

Another great piece of gear is my Graduated Neutral Density filter set-up. There are a number of different manufacturers that make them, I find that Cokin has the best set-up for me. They are great when shooting landscapes with the sky in the frame. The filter goes from dark at the top to clear at the bottom so you can compensate for the difference in the light. If you’ve ever taken a photo of a beautiful landscape and have either gotten blown out skies or the background had no details, you know what I mean. They can range from one to three stops usually. Here is more info on that: Graduated Neutral Density filters

Sometimes I like to shoot some “poor mans Macro” so I carry a set of extension tubes for that. They help to get really close up details of plants, insects, coins or any tiny objects by allowing you to focus closer. They fit between the camera body and the lens and are made by several manufacturers.

I also carry at least one external flash with a off-camera shoe cord with me. Being a Canon shooter, my main flash is a 580EX II speedlight. These are really useful to help you to take better photos by getting your flash off the camera. On my favorite websites on my blog list is the Strobist, and I check that out regularly. It was created by a man named David Hobby and it is all about shooting with off-camera flash, check it out.

Another few things you should always carry are a small air-blower and a bottle of lens cleaner solution and a micro-fiber lens cloth for cleaning the ends of your lenses and filters without scratching them. I watch people all to often use their shirt or a napkin to clean these and they can actually ruin your expensive gear!

Last but not least is my trusty Hoodman Loupe. These are great for checking out my LCD on the back of my camera. They come in handy when you really need to make sure you got the shot. Often when shooting outside on a sunny day you really can’t see your LCD without one. They are a little rectangular piece of gear that you put up to your eye and then put over your LCD to get complete glare free viewing. They even have a cord to hang around your neck which is very handy. Check them out here: Hoodman Loupe .

Well, that is just a little tour inside my camera bag, hopefully you got some good ideas out of it. Remember it really helps to think smart and travel light. You don’t want to be lugging around a ton of gear with you all the time. A little planning can go a long way.
These are just a few little tips and I hope you find them helpful.
Oh yeah, and last but not least, have some fun!

April 20, 2009

Tips On Planning A Photo Outing

Having been around and involved in photography for many years, sometimes we get complacent and kind of dry up on new ideas. Sometimes we can get so busy, that when we do get some free time at the last minute and want to grab the camera and shoot something, we just don’t know what? Does this happen to you? With a little planning and forethought you can avoid this.

Fortunately I belong to a photo-club and we exchange ideas for new shoots. It’s usually a lot of fun getting together with other photographers for a day of shooting, especially when we have some location all planned out. If you don’t belong to a photo-club I would definitely recommend it. Not only will it help you to improve your shooting techniques, but it can be a lot fun to hang out with other photographers. Plus you never know when you’ll pick up a few good shooting tips or get some new creative ideas. Being out with other photographers you can compare shots either by ‘chimping’ on the spot (looking at your LCD screen) or by emailing shots afterwards. Comparing photos can always open you up to new ideas and helps to get the creative juices flowing. Perhaps you happen to live in a scenic area anyway, that can always be helpful. Even when shooting solo, with a little planning you can usually come up with some pretty good locations to shoot.

Over a period of time, every photographer will usually find his niche, something he loves to take photographs of. I’m a big fan of lighthouses and I enjoy just about anything to do with water. Fortunately I live on the New England coastline and there are tons of photo opportunities available.
If you’ve been shooting awhile, you already know that the best light is around daybreak or in the late afternoon and early evening hours. These times of the day the light is awesome and your photos will almost automatically improve just by shooting at those times. This is where planning really comes in handy because most of these little road-trips will take a little forethought. With a little effort you can make your day much more enjoyable.

Most of the time when you’re shooting something or someplace new, you’ll need directions. This is where maps (or your trusty GPS if you have one) can come in handy. Sometimes you might get the opportunity to scout out the location beforehand or go with someone who’s been there before, so that you’re better prepared. For photo shoots it’s a good idea to carry a comfortable backpack with a sturdy tripod strapped that to that. Most of the time it’s nice to have a small cooler or thermos with you also. Depending on how long you’ll be there, it might be a good idea to carry a snack or a lite lunch. It’s always nice to have a flashlight handy also. Learn to carry one in your bag all the time and you won’t regret it. They come in handy for checking trails or paths, or for just viewing your camera settings when it’s dark. Just make sure the batteries are charged. It’s a good idea to charge everything the night before your shoot, and get in the habit of using a checklist just to make sure you remember everything.

These are just a few little tips and I hope you find them helpful. Oh yeah, and last but not least, have some fun!

April 15, 2009

New To Photography? Where Do You Start?

A lot of us were shooting 35mm or 110 films before digital photography took hold, so we had to develop a whole new set of techniques when digital started taking over. I remember I kept reading new articles about digital, and how it had its pro's and con's. Most people thought it was just a passing fad because the prices of digital cameras were astronomical and the quality was not that good. But low and behold, that's all changed and now its here and almost everything is shot digitally.
In the early days of digital you were limited to putting your photos on a CD and then handing it to the clerk for developing which was only available at certain places. Now, you can have your digital photos printed just about anywhere, and even do it without leaving your home.
Basically there are three ways of getting images printed:
  • First, through photo centers or mini-labs (kiosks) at local stores;
  • Second, through online printing services; and
  • Third, by printing them up yourself at home.
The first option is the most popular. It's somewhat similar to the film days where you visit the store to drop off your "film" then come back to pick up your developed photos. Some have do-it-yourself digital kiosks that let you develop your digital photos through ATM-like machines. You can add borders or crop or a variety of other options.

The second way is online, just type in photo printing and you'll find dozens of sites to print them for you. Depending what you want to do with the photos, some companies let you upload your JPEG images and you set certain specifics like size and quantity while others require you download a version of ROES, which is like a online kiosk that lets you order your prints in a variety of templates and printing options. You can choose various papers, postcards, mugs, and calendars or matted prints and the list goes on.

The third way is getting more popular all the time, home printing. All digital cameras come with some photo editing software to 'tweak' your images, and they all have a learning curve. Secondly you'll need a decent printer. Printer prices have come down drastically and the print quality has gotten better and better. 

Most of the free software programs that come with cameras are pretty good, and then there are some aftermarket programs that can range from inexpensive to quite costly. All of them require practice and some can feel overwhelming. Luckily there are literally hundreds of tutorials and tons of information online to help you learn the techniques. Do a little homework and take your time. It can be lots of fun and the printing possibilities are endless.

April 10, 2009

Canon Digital Camera Accessories - Looking For Ideas?

If you just bought a Canon camera, you will be happy to know that there are tons of Canon digital camera accessories that you can purchase to go along with your camera. When it comes to additions, Canon has certainly thought of everything. In fact, that's one of the best reasons to purchase a Canon camera - this is one camera that isn't a bore!

While some other cameras only come with a lens and a body, this isn't part of Canon's philosophy. Instead, you will find that the many add-ons listed below are more than enough to keep you occupied. When it comes to Canon digital camera accessories, you can choose from the following items: battery charger (very useful), soft case (practical for traveling), various accessory kits, any lens that you can think of, power adaptors, battery packs, various cables that attach to nearly anything, a new flash, and even a clever underwater housing wrapper.

Whether you plan to shoot on land or at sea, this is one camera that can really go with you anywhere. If you love to accessorize, you might want to consider one of the kits that Canon sells. These kits can contain anything from lenses to battery packs. You can find lots of Canon digital camera accessories and Canon kits online or in nearly any electronics store that you may come across. In fact, Canon often participates in various promotions that include cleverly put-together kits, which may interest you. Check on the Canon website in order to view current promotions - you'll find that nearly every season brings a different kind of Canon kit for you to choose from.

Purchasing a Canon camera is a great idea for those that enjoy different gadgets and accessories. No matter what kind of accessory you are searching for, Canon is sure to make it. Do you have a Canon camera? If so, make sure to purchase lots of Canon digital camera accessories. Part of the fun of owning a great camera is playing around with lenses, battery packs, and various cables that you can purchase. I like to shop online to find the best possible prices out there, and don't forget to check out those Canon kits sometimes you'll find fantastic deals!

As you begin to research the possibilities, you'll also find out a lot about different lenses and other items that you can add to your camera. In this manner, you'll quickly become incredibly knowledgeable about the many ins and outs of digital cameras.
Find out more by reading the full article which explains what you need to know about camera accessories. Thinking about getting camera accessories? Be sure to visit the author's website for more FREE Information as well as discounted camera accessories. Visit: Camera Accessories.

Copyright info: This article can be reproduced and duplicated only in its exact state with our website link attached.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Chris_Smitts

April 6, 2009

How To Start Your Own Photo Retouching Business

Adobe Photoshop and other image editing software are a necessary part of any photographer’s arsenal. Some photographers even supplement their income with a photo retouch business for competitors. Why would they do something like that? Because there is money to be made!
Retouching photos is a very time intensive task for most people. So, a person with talent in that area of expertise can charge a considerable amount of money for doing something they enjoy. Most photographers are just that... photographers. They want to be in the field as much as possible shooting images and not be stuck behind a desk editing their pictures. A savvy person can capitalize on this by advertising on a few basic sites and providing samples of their work.The needed resources to start a photo retouch business are:

· A computer with photo editing software
· Software proficiency
· Internet access and email able to receive large files (or use something similar to yousendit.com)
· A good work ethic.

Most of the time, a set fee is paid for certain services. This fee can be negotiated or be simply a flat per-image type of fee. Some common services would include:

· Levels adjustment
· Skin smoothing
· Sharpening and contrast boost
· Scaling for print

Take consideration when quoting time. Figure out how long it takes to adjust certain types of images and make a note of your most common edits, this way you will be able to advertise your specialties.
Once you've prepared yourself for the workload, simply post classified ads on free sites such as craigslist.org and photo forums and message boards. All of your work should be able to be done remotely from anywhere in the world via email. Enjoy!
Remember, as always, keep shooting and have some fun!

April 1, 2009

Basic Photography Tips - Take Better Pictures Today

We all want to take better pictures. Modern digital cameras are incredibly complex devices and are more than capable of producing excellent images. All too often we are quick to blame our cameras for our poor photographs and instantly feel that when others show us their wonderful pictures that 'they must have a better camera than me'. This article will provide some basic tips that will help you improve your photography today. If you follow the advice offered here you are sure to improve the quality of pictures you take.
Focus on Composition
When you are out with the family and want to take a picture it can be all too easy to pull out the camera and take the snap before the moment disappears. Instead try to plan your shots a bit better. Rather than just looking at your kids smiling faces take a few moments to look ar the background. Is there a garbage bin next to them? Can you find a better back drop near by? If not then consider zooming in just for a head shot. The point is to pay attention not just to the subjects in your pictures but also to their surroundings.
Pay attention to light
Any professional photographer will tell you that light is their best friend. Pay attention to it and try to take most of your pictures when it is favorable. Sunset and sunrise generally provide the best times to photograph outside and the sun produces a warm bright light. In addition if you can avoid using the flash as it tends to make people look washed out and pale.
Shoot More
Do something enough times and you will get better. Get into the habit of taking more pictures. Try to always take your camera with you when you leave the house and shoot all day. The more you do this the better your eye will get at spotting potential for good photographs.
Now follow this link to learn more free basic photography tips.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=James_McKerr
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