Golden hour with Renata

Posted By ammirare / May, 11, 2013 / 0 comments

 

WHAT IS THE GOLDEN HOUR?

The golden hour, sometimes called the “magic hour”, is roughly the first hour of light after sunrise, and the last hour of light before sunset, although the exact duration varies between seasons. During these times the sun is low in the sky, producing a soft, diffused light which is much more flattering than the harsh midday sun that so many of us are used to shooting in.

Photo by Ekaterina Utimisova

Photo by Ekaterina Utimisova

Photo by Ekaterina Utimisova

Photo by Ekaterina Utimisova

Photo by Ekaterina Utimisova

Photo by Ekaterina Utimisova

Welcome Spring !

Posted By ammirare / April, 11, 2013 / 0 comments

 

The Spring Season is a Wonderful Time !!!

Photo by Ekaterina Utimisova

Photo by Ekaterina Utimisova

Photo by Ekaterina Utimisova

Photo by Ekaterina Utimisova

Photo by Ekaterina Utimisova

Photo by Ekaterina Utimisova

Photo by Ekaterina Utimisova

Keeana Kee.

Posted By ammirare / March, 26, 2013 / 0 comments

 

Photo by Ekaterina Utimisova

Model: Keeana Kee

Photo by Ekaterina Utimisova

Model: Keeana Kee

Photo by Ekaterina Utimisova

Model: Keeana Kee

Photo by Ekaterina Utimisova

Model: Keeana Kee

Photo by Ekaterina Utimisova

 

Model: Keeana Kee

 

Viola and Cherry Blossom tree.

Posted By ammirare / March, 26, 2013 / 0 comments

Spring is the best season !! Wonderful day with lovely Viola !

Photo by Ekaterina Utimisova

Photo by Ekaterina Utimisova

Photo by Ekaterina Utimisova

Photo by Ekaterina Utimisova

Photo by Ekaterina Utimisova

Photo by Ekaterina Utimisova

Why Re-Visiting Your Old Photographs is a Good Idea

Posted By ammirare / October, 23, 2012 / 0 comments

In an industry like photography, it’s easy to get swept along with the notion that new is better and to forget the old. New technology, new ideas and trends in imagery are constantly urging us to look forward, which in many cases can have a positive affect in driving us to create new and exciting work. However, if you’re anything like me, then you’ve got hard drives filled with images from years gone by that likely won’t ever see the light of day again, well hopefully this article might make you change your mind and give some of those images a new life.

Why Bother?

As a photographer, one of the greatest challenges that I feel I face is the expectancy to be regularly producing new content that is better than the last set of images that I took. That challenge to be outwardly progressing with your work can be draining and it can require a lot of effort, time and money to trump your previous project.

However, for a recent portrait article, I wanted to submit a selection of portraits that I’d taken about 18 months previously. There was an inconsistency in one of the images, so I opened it up in Lightroom and started playing around. After about 10 minutes, I realised that having made a few simple changes, the image had come alive!

A shot that I had deemed perfectly decent now looked flat and boring alongside it’s re-edited brother. So I went ahead and re-edited the whole set and within an hour or so, I had a fresh set of images that I was excited about showing people.

 

Photo by Simon Bray

Forgotten Shots

Just like I experienced, you may well have shots that you didn’t necessarily deem worthy of your attention waiting to be brought back to life. It may be that the original shoot had a specific purpose that those images didn’t fit, so they were left out.

It may be that the picture editor liked a certain few, but that your favourites got left out and looking back, you can appreciate the value of those shots and see that they are worth spending time with.

Photo by Simon Bray

Generating ‘New’ Content

In the quest to keep generating images to show the wider world, it’s important that you remember that what’s old to you, may still be new to those on the outside. It’s doesn’t really matter when the image was taken, if it’s a ‘good’ image, a well composed and engaging shot, then it’s worthy of being seen.

Don’t be afraid of publishing shots that were taken a while ago, you might need to embellish your portfolio, or find another few images for your book or stock photography catalogue and have the shots waiting for your in your image library.

 

Photo by Mancosu

A New Approach

As photographers, we’re constantly engaging with imagery, that of other photographers, artists and designers that educates and informs us. Some shots we see and we engage with, others we see and disregard. This subconscious education will inform the way in which we view our own work and over time, will enable us to see our previous work in a new way.

It may be, that whilst looking through your older images, you find shots that you view and engage with differently than before. Your understanding of what’s important in a photograph allows you to appreciate the image in a way which you couldn’t see before and offers you the chance to draw new life from the shot.

 

Photo by Simon Bray

New Post-Processing Software

It may well be the case that since you took some of the shots in your image library, you’ve updated your processing software. You may well have taken the plunge to upgrade by investing in some high end editing suite or you may have just downloaded the new version of Lightroom or Photoshop. If this is the case, then you’ll now have a vast array of tools and options at your fingertips that enable you to develop your images in a way that wasn’t possible when you previously edited the images.

Photo by Simon Bray

New Editing Techniques

In a similar way, having spent more time with processing software, you will have developed a great set of skills and techniques for editing your images. Each time you edit and experiment, you are learning the ways in which best to process your shots and you’ll undoubtedly get better over time.

Your understanding of what an image requires, which areas need to be brought out and how to effectively enhance those areas will have greatly increased, so upon revisiting a shot, you’ll have a far better perception of how to edit the shot than first time around.

 

Photo by Simon Bray

 

Preserving Memories

Obviously it’s good to be taking photographs regularly and challenging yourself with new projects, but there is a lot to be said for looking back over the work from previous shoots and spending time with photographs that you may well now see in a different light.

Over time, things change. Even over what you might deem a relatively short time, physical spaces evolve, people change, fashions and habits develop and all the photographs that you took in the past were documenting those things. It’s important that these images, capturing moments in time that have passed, aren’t forgotten.

They might not seem relevant right now, but they need to be preserved for future generations. The meaning of an image will also change as the spaces and people involved change, you’ll find that some images develop significance over time that you just hadn’t anticipated.

 

Photo by Simon Bray

A Revisiting Project

You may want to start a project based upon the images that you’ve revisited. A simple idea might be revisiting the location that an image was taken. This will allow you to not only revisit the image, but also the original location in order to photograph it again and document the developments and changes. This is a notion which I would encourage photographers to undertake regularly anyway.

Returning to appreciate the evolution of a location is important for photographers to understand what it is about a location that makes it engaging for the viewer.

 

Photo by Simon Bray

 

Over to You

So now it’s your turn. Set aside an afternoon or two and have a look through some of your old photo projects. It may be that you find whole projects that you want to re-edit and publish, or you may only find a handful of shots that you want to work on, but either way, it can be an extremely exciting and interesting project to have a go at. Bringing new life to old images has brought me great joy over the years and hopefully it’ll do the same for you!

Photo by Simon Bray

Photos and information by Simon Bray

http://www.simonbray.co.uk/

 

Location Photography: How to Comprehensively Capture a City, Village or Street

Posted By ammirare / October, 23, 2012 / 0 comments

Photographing a location can be an extremely valuable exercise. It poses a large variety of challenges, working with both landscapes, portraits, large scale and small scale work consisting of subject matter that you may have never seen before in weather conditions that you can’t adjust! The outcome, however, is a strong collection of images that can prove extremely insightful.

 

 

Photo by Ekaterina Utimisova

Picking a Destination

First up, you need to select a location, anywhere, large or small, it’s up to you. Once you’ve decided, have a think about what it is that defines that place, what makes it different to any other place.

What was it about that place that made you choose it? Think about the places which you’d take your friends and family to visit to show off the best of your town. Maybe make a note of some of it’s defining features and characteristics.

 

Photo by Ekaterina Utimisova

Make a Target List

Before you even think about getting your camera out, it’s important to plan out what you want to achieve on your shoot. Make a list of potential subject matter that you feel is important to capture.

You may even want to map out a route to ensure you find your way quickly and easily between the targeted points. It may well be the case that you have a lot of ground to cover on the day, so being organised and efficient will give you the best chance of getting the shots you want.

Think concretely or abstractly. Maybe you want to capture the ice cream shop on the corner. Or maybe you want to capture “the youth” or the area.

Landmarks

Think about the major landmarks within the area. Even if it’s a relatively small place there will still be certain important buildings and features that need to be covered. It tends to be particularly old and new buildings that demand attention here.

We’re surrounded with cathedrals, churches and castles as well as the modern architecture of office blocks and public buildings such as libraries and court houses. Statues and monuments are also important to include as they portray the history and significance of the area.

 

Think Big

It’s always a nice idea to try and get some larger scale shots of the area so you can try and encapsulate the location in a single image. Do some research and find out if there’s a viewpoint where you might be able to get a good view for a landscape or panorama shot.

For some locations this just won’t be possible, so maybe try try focusing on a smaller series of landscape shots that work together to capture some of the main features of the location.

 

Think Small

As well as capturing the area on a large scale, it’s important to capture some of the smaller details as well. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to plan visiting these, so it’s a case of keeping your eyes out whilst you explore.

Engravings and plaques are worth trying to capture, as well as local signage that will help give your photo essay an identity. There’s no telling what you might find, but don’t be afraid to capture smaller objects without having to put them into context. It’s important to remember that the image will appear as part of a larger collection of images that will place it.

Photo by Ekaterina Utimisova

People

A place isn’t complete without it’s residents. They are the life of the place and so it’s essential that you remember to include them in your photo essay. Consider whether you want to photograph people in context, so at work or at home, or whether you want them out of context, in a portraiture style. It’s also worth working out whether you want them posed or would prefer to capture them going about their day in a more reportage style.

It can be daunting to approach people and ask if they’d mind having their photo taken, but it can be a rewarding experience. By simply explaining who you are and what you’re doing, most people will say yes and they may even be able to offer you some advice on some good vantage points.

 

Photo by Ekaterina Utimisova

Take Your Time

It’s crucial that you don’t rush around, snapping away worrying that you’re going to run out of time to capture everything on your list. It’s no good getting home with hundreds of quick snapshots, it’s much better to have far fewer quality images.

Take your time, especially in locations that you feel you know quite well, where the tendency can be to presume that familiarity results in good images. Allow yourself time and space to soak up the atmosphere of a place and consider how you might best capture each individual shot.

Photo by Ekaterina Utimisova

Mix It Up

When you’re out shooting, ensure that you consider a variety of angles and viewpoints for your shots. It’s important that you avoid shooting everything from eye level, otherwise you’ll end up with a series of shots that all appear roughly the same!

Consider compositional techniques such as the rule of thirds and the use of the foreground in landscape shots to ensure that each of your shots has it’s own character and engages the viewer with the focal points of the image.

 

Using Your Images

Once you’ve post-processed your images, you should have a significant collection documenting your location. This is a valuable resource that can be exploited in many different ways that will not only earn you recognition as a photographer but may even earn you some pennies along the way.

Local authorities, newspapers, local online press, advertising agencies and stock photography agencies are all on the look out for quality photographic location content to accompany articles and news pieces. Gather together the relevant contact details and get in touch with each agency asking if they’d like to see the images, many will decline, but you might get lucky!

 

Photo by Ekaterina Utimisova

Now It’s Your Turn!

Hopefully these tips give you a fairly strong guideline of how to go about photographing a specific location. It’s probably a good idea to start with somewhere that you already know, maybe your home town or where you work.

Once you’ve mastered the basics, it’s time to start looking further a field and try exploring somewhere you don’t know as well. I always find this adds a fresh perspective to my work as I genuinely don’t know what’s around the next corner, which ensures you keep your eyes out for all those great photographic opportunities.

 

Photos by Ekaterina Utimisova 

Information from Simon Bray 

http://www.simonbray.co.uk/

 

 

Identifying and Capturing Personality in Your Portraits

Posted By ammirare / September, 4, 2012 / 0 comments

The next time you shoot a portrait, think about how you can truly portray the unique personalty or a special characteristic of your subject. We need to go beyond saying to yourself things like, “I’ll have them smile and jump in the air because they have a happy-go-lucky personality.” In this tutorial, we hope to show you how to get away from these overdone strategies.

To help get ideas going, think about yourself for a minute. If you were to shoot a self portrait, what would you have yourself doing? What would you wear? If you enjoy playing tennis, you may think to photograph yourself on tennis court.

 

Photo by Ekaterina Utimisova

Model: Keeana Kee

No Need to Say “Cheese”

Getting your subjects in action, doing what they like or do best, or just candidly, is essential to capturing something unique. Not only does a natural pose create a story, it also brings magic to a still image.

A common way to shoot a family portrait is to line up everyone in front of a nice background and say “cheese!” But it’s hard to see the personality of each person if they’re all doing the same contrived pose. If you want to experiment with shooting portraits that have life to them, then shoot your subject doing something they enjoy.

For example, a family photo on the beach can have more interest if you ask the family for a fun scene. The kids building sand castles, Mom and Dad relaxing in beach chairs, the dog running around… If you think about capturing your subjects enjoying themselves, you’ll achieve a photo that has a lot more life and personality to it.

The key is just to remember that this is a portrait shoot and not simply photos with people in them. For that reason, stay close on your subject. Capture moments where the person’s expression or action stands out to whatever the background is.

 

Photo by Ekaterina Utimisova

Model: Keeana Kee

Light

Are you photographing someone who would better appear in bright, natural light or dark shadows? Personality comes out visually in the way we dress and the colors we gravitate towards. Think of lighting as an element to enhance a characteristic.

Someone who is very serious could be very minimally lit. Keeping to flat light and minimizing drama by minimizing shadows would help to portray a serious personality. On the other hand, use the sun as bright natural light to enhance your subject’s positive attitude.

 

Photo by Ekaterina Utimisova

Model: Renata Moroz

Black and White

Eliminating the color from a portrait is like taking away a thin mask of the person. The mood changes significantly and their characteristics are exposed without the distraction of color.  Try black and white for images that hold good shapes, textures, and light. Use it to add glamor or drama to a portrait.

Photo by Ekaterina Utimisova

Model: Anastacija Ipolitova

Think Technically

Cinematographer Gordon Willis was called “The Prince of Darkness” for his distinct lighting techniques for films such as The Godfather. He understood that the way a character is lit tremendously affects the portrayal of their personality in the film.

Consider technical aspects such as lighting, color, use of black & white, and background in order to tell the story of your subject.

 

Photo by Ekaterina Utimisova

Model: Keeana Kee

Color

Black and white isn’t the only way to enhance the personality of a portrait. Colors represent moods and moods are a key part of personality. When shooting portraits, pay attention to the colors your subject is wearing, the colors of the background, and how these two sources of color complement each other.

Background

Where your subject is can be just as important as what they’re doing. A lot can be said about a person by looking at the background of a portrait .

How does the background relate to the people you photograph? It could be the place where they work, do sports, or somewhere that implies what a person is going to do, much like the image below.

A Home is Where the Heart Is

A person’s home is a great location to portray their personality. It’s a common technique used by celebrity portrait photographers in order to portray the celebrity’s “real personality” and not their varying on-screen personas. This is where you’ll see them most relaxed and open to giving their personality to a photo.

A photo of someone in their own home gives you a much better picture of them than if they were in a common setting. Knickknacks on the table, the color of the walls, and the style of furniture are elements to look for when setting up a shot. These elements are unique to your subject and will better portray their personality.

Collaborate with your subject on how you can achieve an image that they couldn’t achieve on their own. Having them do something (playing music, gardening, sitting by their pool), or even holding a prized possession or trophy, will add a nice background story to the image.

Look at the Objects around Them

Things around us change the way we see the world. Music, people, travel, and, of course, photography. Well, the same idea applies to taking portraits with personality. Sometimes it isn’t the person that’s exuding a persona or mood, but rather an object or scene that surrounds them which enhances their personality.

Take the following image as an example. The leaves in the wind create movement and are swirling around the subject. Life is moving around her. Her gaze suddenly becomes a gaze with impact and meaning.

We think about what her thoughts are more so than if the chaotic movement of the leaves wasn’t there. The addition of objects creates meaning, draws analogies, and brings attention back to the person in the photo.

Think about this next photo as well. How would the personality of the portrait change if he wasn’t reaching for the branch? It wouldn’t be as strong of a image because we wouldn’t know anything about his personality.

Because the subject seems to be interested in something, whether it was candid or posed, personality is being portrayed and the portrait has more interest.

Photo by Ekaterina Utimisova

 

Photo by Ekaterina Utimisova

Mode: Anzela Utimisova

 

 

Photo by Ekaterina Utimisova

Model: Boris Utimisovs

 

Photo by Ekaterina Utimisova

Model: Keeana Kee

Photo by Ekaterina Utimisova

Model: Renata Moroz

Information from Antoinette Seaman

Photos by Ekaterina Utimisova

How To Get Your Subject To Act Naturally

Posted By ammirare / September, 4, 2012 / 0 comments

Working as a portrait photographer can sometimes feel like a real chore. If things aren’t going your way, then it can be really difficult to change the atmosphere of the shoot towards something productive and creative that will produce good results.

Having a model that looks awkward in front of the camera can make life very difficult. Some people just don’t like having a camera pointed at them, they don’t know where to look or what to do with their hands, but here are a few simple tips to help you get your subject to act natural so that you can get that all important shot.

Use a Neutral or Familiar Location

Finding a location where everyone feels comfortable will really aid you in your efforts to get natural looking shots. Try to find somewhere that is either quite neutral and will be easy to adjust to, or select a location that the subject already knows well and will feel at home in.

Obviously you need to choose your location based upon the theme and style of the shoot, but it’s certainly worth having a conversation with the clients beforehand to ensure that on the day, everyone will be comfortable and happy.

Break The Ice

It’s very unlikely that everyone will feel normal and comfortable from the off, so sometimes it’s worth doing something just to break the ice a bit, in order to level things out and put people at ease. This could be as simple as explaining a bit about what you do and asking them about what they do. Try to find some common ground by talking about something totally unrelated to the shoot, such as places you’ve traveled to, films, music or food.

Don’t be in a hurry to start the shoot straight away, it’s often worth spending half an hour or so just easing your way in, ensuring everyone is relaxed and if you feel it’s necessary, explain a bit about how the shoot will work and what you’ll require of the subject.

Set The Tone

Now this depends a lot on the style of the shoot, what it’s about and who it’s for but there may be certain requirements for the subjects to appear in a certain fashion within the shoot and there are things you can do to aid that.

For example, if the subject needs to look relaxed, then have them sit down and read for a bit with a nice cold drink whilst you set up. Alcohol can work well for loosening people up a bit, but only if you feel it’s appropriate. If your subjects need to look excited or energetic, then maybe have them do some exercise, jump around a bit, run around, just to get the blood pumping, rather than starting from cold.

Allow Plenty of Time

Now I say this knowing that on every shoot, we all probably want more time, but when it comes to portrait shoots with those who aren’t used to having their photo taken, it can be really helpful just to have that extra hour on the clock just in case things don’t go to plan.

I always find with new subjects that the better shots are taken towards the end of the shoot once they’re more relaxed, so the longer you’ve got, hopefully the better shots you’ll get as everyone gets into the swing of things.

Allow Friends To Come Along

On the more high end shoots, you may well have make up artists, hairdressers, art directions, assistants and everyone’s PA hanging around, but with the smaller shoots, it can often just be you and the subject. In some cases this is fine, but it doesn’t necessarily aid the subject in feeling natural and relaxed. It can be a good idea to have a few of their friends along. Not only will they aid the subject, but they can help you out with reflectors and carrying gear!

Poses

Think about what might feel natural for each subject, ask them whether they feel happier standing, leaning, sitting, squatting or lying down and start with that. Certainly having someone sitting as opposed to standing will help them relax and look natural. That way, they can do their own thing, rather than feeling like they have to perform for the camera.

Give Them Prompts

To start with, a subject may well not know what to do with themselves, so it’s worth offering suggestions for where they could look, into the distance, into the lens, over your shoulder or at another person. It’s also useful to tell them which way to face, so slight turns and movement suggestions can go a long way.

There’s no need to be bossy and hopefully after a few suggestions, they’ll begin to relax and work it out for themselves, which will certainly look more natural than any poses you’ve asked them to pull.

Props

If it’s appropriate or the subject is really struggling to know what to do with their posture or with their hands, then props can come in really useful. Handing a flower to a girl on a shoot may sound quite cliched, but it gives her a focus point, something to hold and look at. Often, nervousness manifests itself in twitchy hands, so having something to hold can really help.

Conversation

Again, if you feel that the subject is struggling from nerves, then offering them a distraction will really help them look natural and less tense. Even a simple conversation starter like asking, what did you have for lunch, will take their mind off the fact that they’re being photographed.

Entering into a conversation about their job or family or something you found common ground over in the chat before the shoot will engage them in a different way and hopefully allow for more natural results.

Don’t Over Do It On Gear

There are few things more intimidating for a subject than turning up to a portrait shoot and being overwhelmed by all the gear. Big lighting set ups and back sheets might help you get the neutral backdrop that you want, but it could really put off your subject from feeling relaxed. Regardless of the amount of gear you’ve got, it can be a good idea to briefly explain what you’re doing, give the subject some confidence that you know what you’re doing with your camera and that you’re going to take a lovely picture of them. I’d even show them some shots on your LCD if you feel able.

Timing Your Shot

So once you’ve got everything set up and the subject is at ease, it’s up to you to get the shot. You want to get to a point where the subject is comfortable with you and then it’s all about timing it, waiting for that natural reaction, that smile or expression and click, you’ll have your shot. You have to be patient, you can’t force it, but when it all comes together you’ll know!

Information from Simon Bray

http://www.simonbray.co.uk/

Photo by Ekaterina Uimisova