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Returning to a Location

If you frequently return to the same location for photography, how do your photos change over time? Do you gain a better understanding of the scene in front of you? These questions have been on my mind recently as I return to old locations for various reasons.

To me, revisiting a location is one of the most powerful tools in the photographer’s toolbox. One reason is that it forces you to look beyond the obvious shot. In 2015, I first visited a popular overlook of Mt Sneffels in Colorado. The sky was bare, most of the aspens hadn’t changed color, and I didn’t really like the shot I took.

2015 Mt Sneffels Overlook Attempt
2015

Still, I loved the location and wanted to refine the image. I returned to the spot a few times and took different compositions under different lighting conditions, finally getting the image I wanted in 2018. That year had good colors on the aspen trees, and I visited during a sunrise with some beautiful pastel light that complemented the subject.

2018 Mt Sneffels Overlook Fall Colors
2018

It’s a nice refinement of my first attempt, and there’s not much I’d change about the light or conditions. Although I’m happy about that, it leads to a tricky question: What next?

This is a place that I visit all the time because of our workshops. It’s a beautiful overlook, and I love being there at sunrise. But because I had taken a “classic” shot I was happy with, I (mistakenly) found myself less enchanted with the idea of returning here and thought all I’d be able to take in the future would be minor variations of the image.

The following year, when I went back during our workshop, I experimented with neutral density filters, long exposure, and black-and-white processing with high contrast. My goal was to branch out and avoid putting the same image in my portfolio. But even though it’s different from the previous year’s image, it’s a superficial difference, and it’s not a better shot. The intense post-processing doesn’t suit my impression of the subject. Not to mention that I hardly branched out anyway. Aside from minor differences in clouds and snow, they could have been taken minutes apart from each other and you’d never know.

2019 Long Exposure Monochrome Variation of Sneffels
2019

When I found myself back at the same location a couple weeks ago, I no longer felt any excitement for the scene or that particular shot. I was almost relieved when a cloud covered the mountain and gave me an excuse not to take the picture. But something surprising happened. For the first time at this location in at least few years, I felt a sudden inspiration to take pictures.

It wasn’t of the obvious subject, which was still covered by clouds, but instead in the exact opposite direction with a 240mm telephoto lens. My tripod stood in the same spot as previous years, but my composition gave no indication that it was the same place at all. The image I took is one of my favorites of this year’s workshop.

2021 Aspen Details from Sneffels Overlook
2021

Is it better than the 2018 image? Maybe not. But I like it more. It’s the first time in years that I’ve taken a “new” photo at that location rather than re-using an old composition. It feels deliberate, emotional, and meaningful to me. This image opened up a mental block I had, and next year, I can’t wait to go back to this location and try out some new compositions. I haven’t exhausted this location at all, not by a long shot.

Revisiting a location doesn’t make it boring – actually the opposite. This experience showed me that a particular photo might get boring to you if you’ve already captured it a dozen times. But after it does, next time, you’ll instinctively look for unique compositions at that location beyond the obvious shot. You’ll exercise your creative muscles almost without thinking, and your photography will grow because of it.

On similar lines, some of my all-time favorite locations for photography are places like forests and sand dunes that offer nearly limitless opportunities for different, intimate landscape compositions. I think I could take abstract photos of sand dunes every day for the rest of my life and not get tired. In locations like these, you won’t feel pressure to take the obvious photo ten years in a row, because there may not be an obvious photo. Each composition must be figured out anew.

The images below are a good example of what I mean. All of them are monochromatic, semi-abstract pictures taken at the same sand dunes in Colorado over a span of five years. It’s a location I revisit all the time, not just because it’s reasonably close to where I live, but because I find something interesting there each time I go. It’s filled with opportunities.

2016 Black and White Sand Dunes
2016
2017 Sand Dunes Abstract
2017
2018 Great Sand Dunes Black and White
2018
2019 Great Sand Dunes Black and White
2019
Sand Dune Soft Focus B&W Abstract
2021
Great Sand Dunes Abstract
2021

I’m not showing the photos above as a progression from worst to best (I don’t have much of a preference among them) but to show how much there is to explore when you revisit a location. Even limiting myself to black and white, and keeping all the compositions abstract, I think each photo “says” something different. Some of the dunes above are inviting, and others aren’t. Some remind me of the ocean.

When you revisit a location, you start to learn how it really works. You notice the things that change and the things that stay the same. You figure out the weather conditions in different seasons; you figure out different vantage points and what subjects draw your eye the best. This knowledge helps you take better photos there.

It doesn’t need to be a landscape. For years, the location I revisited was my backyard for macro photography. I began to understand which months brought out the most interesting bugs, what plants they liked, and where to stand for the most colorful backgrounds. I learned things about that particular yard which don’t apply anywhere else, like the best puddle for photographing toads, and it improved the quality of my images.

Photography isn’t just about showing up somewhere, pulling out your camera, and taking a photo with a good composition. It’s also about having familiarity with your subject. Over the years, the scene changes. You change too. Those changes show up in your photos.

That’s why I encourage you to find a location that you can revisit, even if it’s as simple as a local park or your backyard. You’ll gradually refine the obvious shot, and then you’ll start looking beyond it. You’ll discover that the location is filled with opportunities, some of which are obvious while others are hidden. And you’ll learn more than you ever expected to know about that place’s unique qualities.

Much of what makes a good photo is conveying emotion. As you revisit a particular place or subject, its emotions become more clear. Maybe the photos won’t get better over the years, per se, but they’ll get more personal. A location you revisit is a location you understand at a deeper level.

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How To Get the Most Out of a Landscape Photography Location

How To Get the Most Out of a Landscape Photography Location

It is always fun to just grab your camera and head out for a walk, but landscape photography is a genre that really benefits from careful knowledge and planning if you want to get the best photos possible. There is a lot you can do to ensure better images before you ever leave your house, and this excellent video tutorial will show you what you need to know. 

Coming to you from Nigel Danson, this awesome video tutorial will show you how to truly prepare for a landscape shoot. One thing that is crucially important for becoming a competent landscape photographer is having a basic working knowledge of the weather. This does not mean you need to spend months studying meteorology books, but knowing how to interpret charts and more advanced forecasts can do a ton to help you decide when to go out and how to plan your shots, particularly since we are at the mercy of the elements, and they determine both the light and often, a huge part of the content of the frame. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Danson. 

And if you really want to dive into landscape photography, check out “Photographing The World 1: Landscape Photography and Post-Processing with Elia Locardi.” 

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topsyrm’s latest blog : 52 for 2021 wk 40 aborted shoot and a new location

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52 for 2021 Wk 40 Aborted shoot and a new location

10 Oct 2021 9:41AM  
Views : 43
Unique : 32

This week once again I was alone, I went to Venford Falls to see if I could get some Autumn colour but due to the amount of rain we have had in the last few days the shoot was almost impossible and there was no Autumn colour anyway. After finally getting to the falls and aborting my intended Fujifilm GFX 50S Medium Format shoot I went back to the car for lunch before heading off to nearby Bench Tor to try to salvage the day.

Bench Tor Lone Tree.

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Venford Falls, I would normally be stood in the river towards the left edge of the shot but this day the water was too fierce.

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I had originally gone my normal route down the main track to a crossing point I have used several times, however, when I got there this time there was no way I could cross. Having scouted upriver trying to find a safe crossing point I went all the way back to the slacks where the river comes out of the treatment works fence where it was crossable with care.

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I then set off down the “track” on the North bank headed for the falls.

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The “track” was not the easiest of tracks and sometimes it descended into the river.

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The river was running deep and fast this shot is looking back the way I had just come.

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I had my concerns when I got to the falls, the “Twin Falls” had become Triplets. I would normally be down there with my GFX on a tripod trying to get the shot.

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I went down anyway but decided to shoot a couple of handhelds with my Fujifilm X-T2 as the falls were heavy with spray and there was no way to safely be in the river trying to set up a tripod.

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With all the dampness and high volume of water the brook had a Jurassic Park feel to it. This shot looks downstream from the falls.

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I decided to head back upstream to the car for some lunch.

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After lunch I changed from wellies to walking boots and set off for Bench Tor.

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The path was clear and it wasn’t long before I was on the high ground fighting the winds, the earlier rain showers had passed giving some clouds and sunshine.

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Although not a big Tor Bench Tor has some interesting rock formations.

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Also a lone tree, I’ve lost count of the number of Tors I’ve been up with a lone tree, still can’t resist photographing them though.

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There are good views from the top of Bench Tor, across over to Yar Tor, Sharp Tor, Corndon Down and Mel Tor in this instance.

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And across to Combshead Tor.

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The Dart Valley can be seen here as a deep Gorge running under the Tor.

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Looking back South West I could see the weather closing in so set off back to the car.

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That’s all for this week folks, sorry no Ponies again, I’ll try harder next week. As always, comments welcome.

Tags:
Devon
Dartmoor
Landscape and travel
Bench tor
Venford Falls

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How a Photographer Shot This Levitating Model on Location

How a Photographer Shot This Levitating Model on Location

The levitating portrait is something of a classic and for good reason: it’s effective at catching the eye and holding the viewer. In this video, watch a full breakdown, including behind-the-scenes footage, of how the shot was achieved, from start to finish.

I had always rather liked the levitating shot, even if it wasn’t particularly original. It was on my to-shoot list for a while, and then a friend of mine came to me with an enquiry for an album cover for her upcoming release. From time to time this happens, and I couldn’t be more appreciative when it does, but I knew exactly what I was going to do as soon as she told me the title, “Eye of the Storm”.

I wanted to have the model in the middle of a storm, levitating, and that’s exactly what I did. My methods were slightly different from Karl Taylor’s in this video, and the image was to be part of a composite, but the premise was similar. With having my subject levitating, I did not more cheating than Taylor. I took a shot of the scene, a shot of my model balancing on a stool, and then another shot with the model balancing on the opposite leg. I then used the first two shots to have my model levitating, but used the third to attach a pointed foot rather than the half-flat one that had been on the stool. If you have a large trampoline available, that sounds good too though!

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How to use flash on location

How to use flash on location

Ian Pack shows how to get the most out of your portable battery flash outdoors


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Your Guide: Ian Pack

Ian is a seasoned photographer based in Sussex. He works across a number of industries and runs a creative studio. To see his work, visit www.winephotos.uk or Instagram @packs.hacks.


Since the invention of the electronic flash tube in the 1930s by Harold Eugene Edgerton, photographers have largely been dependent on working with flash where there’s an AC mains supply.

Portable battery flashes or strobes have been around for many years, with Quantum and Norman leading the field. Working with flash outdoors and on location was popularised by US-based newspaper photographer David Hobby when he began blogging about his photographs, creating lighting diagrams and talking about how the images were created on his Strobist blog. This inspired many photographers to light outdoors and on location.

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The sun light was visually weak, so I used an Elinchrom battery flash with an 18cm reflector and a LEE Filters 775 Soft Amber Key 2 warming gel with combined frost diffusion to simulate the setting sun, which had been flagged from the model with a Sunbounce Pro 6x4ft reflector pane

High-speed sync and lithium-ion battery technology have revolutionised portable flash and there is a wide choice of outdoor battery flashes available, with the power of the units ranging from 100Ws of energy up to 1200Ws. Portable battery flashes come in two forms: the mono bloc where the flash, electronics, battery, and receiver are contained in one unit; or the head and power pack where a separate flash head receives power from a separate pack which contains the receiver, battery, and electronics.

Prices vary from around £250 for a 200Ws TTL system flash to over £10,000 for high-end kits! Some online retailers offer a ‘try before you buy’ facility and there are many camera shops you can visit to handle gear before buying.

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A Sunbounce Pro 6x4ft reflector panel was used to flag the model from the sun

Flash triggers
Portable flashes are triggered by radio transmitters which ‘talk’ to the camera exposure system. Each camera manufacturer has their own proprietary system for TTL (Through The Lens) flash exposure calculation so it’s essential that you buy the correct trigger for your camera system. Most battery flash systems intended for outdoor use enable the photographer to calculate flash exposure relative to the ambient light automatically. Once the exposure has been calculated, many systems now allow you to lock the flash exposure to manual mode. Manual flash provides constant output not influenced by the tonal values in a frame as TTL auto exposure flash does.

High-speed sync
High-speed sync first appeared with the launch of the Nikon SB-25 on-camera hot shoe flash in 1992. The SB-25 was the first portable flash to synchronise with the camera shutter over the native flash sync speed without a black band appearing across the frame.

Flash sync is the electronically controlled feature which controls the camera shutter and flash, ensuring they fire together or synchronised. Most DSLR and mirrorless cameras have a native sync speed between 1/100sec and 1/320sec. This is limiting creatively when faster shutter speeds are desired, such as working with a wide aperture in bright sunny light conditions.

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Conventional flashes fire a single pulse during the exposure sequence. With shutter speeds higher than the camera flash sync speed, the flash pulses throughout the shutter sequence ensuring the whole frame is exposed

For example, you may want to create a portrait outdoors with an out-of-focus background. Typically, when using your camera’s native flash sync shutter speed of 1/125sec, the recommended aperture could be f/11. If you want to use an aperture of f/2.8 you’ll need a shutter speed of 1/2000sec, a five-stop difference. To do this you set your flash to HSS – High Speed Sync. In the simplest form, instead of the flash firing once the sensor is fully exposed by the shutter curtains, the flash fires during the full travel of the shutter curtains across the sensor.

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Why it works
Shallow depth of field (DoF) draws the eye to the subject and reduces background distractions. This portrait was shot in a relatively short time with a Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 prime lens on a Canon EOS 5D Mark II.

I set the aperture to f/3.2, shutter speed to 1/1000sec and a low ISO of 160, with daylight white balance. As time was short I set the camera to aperture priority mode and the flash to TTL. The flash was a Pixapro PIKA200 with 48cm beauty dish octa modifier triggered with an ST-III trigger. To darken the busy garden background I dialled in minus 1.66 stops of camera exposure compensation, with no power increase or reduction on the flash.

Using a relatively shallow aperture gave depth of field from the tip of the subject’s nose, throwing his ears and background out of focus. By positioning the battery flash about one metre away and 40cm or so above and to camera right, 45º down has given sufficient shadow for definition and eliminated any specular reflection from the gentleman’s spectacles. The modifier was centred on the subject for optimum illumination.

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The raw image was processed in Adobe Photoshop and graded using LUT. I then used black & white adjustment layers to reduce saturation. A garden building to the right of the frame was removed by painting into a new adjustment layer.

All the gear used for this image was carried in the Think Tank Photo Urban Disguise 40 shoulder bag, which then provided stability at the base of the light stand.


Kit List

Elinchrom ELB 500 TTL
The ELB 500 TTL compact and lightweight head with 18cm Q-mount reflector and Manfrotto Multiclips to hold lighting gels in place. Perfect with a carbon fibre light stand.

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Namgrip LS-255C carbon fibre light stand
Weighing in at 550g and a shade under 500mm long, this will cope with lightweight battery flash kit, especially those with a remote pack for ballast.

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LEE Filters Master Location gel kit 300x250mm
As lighting accessories go, this relatively inexpensive gel kit has all the essential colour correction, diffusion, and colour effects gels in one convenient pouch.

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Pixapro CITI600 TTL and ST-IV trigger
600Ws enables photographers to work in bright sun with wider lens apertures. The ST-IV trigger has a facility to lock TTL exposure to Manual.

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Peli 1535 Air Case
The airline carry-on sized Peli 1535 Air Case is ideal for protecting and transporting precious camera and battery lighting gear. It offers protection from the elements and the rigours of location photography.

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Ian’s top tips for location lighting

Underexpose background
When shooting my initial exposure checks I will slightly underexpose the background. The amount of underexposure will depend on the tonality or brightness of the scene. With a darker background, the foreground will pop and add depth to the photo.

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Buy a dummy
I am an advocate of testing light modifiers/shapers, practising ideas and techniques whenever possible. Willing models are not always available, so I use Fred. Fred gives consistency, enabling me to see the quality, quantity and colour of light.

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Go unplugged
Working on location with battery flash is liberating. Here I worked in a winery cellar with little space and no mains electricity. A flash with beauty dish and shower cap diffuser on a carbon fibre light stand enabled me to position the battery flash with ease.

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Drag the shutter
Using a shutter speed longer than 1/60sec is known as ‘dragging the shutter’. Combining a slow shutter speed with flash in a dark environment allows movement to be recorded as a blur. For this image I set the exposure to 1/5sec at f/6.3, ISO 250.

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Freeze action
A more powerful battery flash enables you to freeze action with a short flash duration. The 600Ws flash (used at a safe distance) for this photo was aimed from below the subject to light his face under the helmet. Exposure was set to 1/1000sec at f/7.1, ISO 100.

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Brighten a dull day
Even a dull day can be made brighter by using a battery flash. The colours in this shot without flash and reflected light were dull and lacked impact. I decided to lift the image by using a 65cm 16-sided soft box as it brightens and saturates the colours.

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Outdoor flash TTL workflow

Most battery flash systems now have TTL metering linked to the camera, enabling the photographer to judge exposure using the camera display or histogram.

If you’re methodical, judging exposure suited to the image is relatively straightforward if you follow these steps. Assuming the camera and flash are set up, the trigger is attached to the camera hot shoe, and all switched on:

1. With the camera set to Aperture Priority TTL with no exposure compensation, fire a frame. Check the resulting frame. Does it look fine, too dark or too light? Remember that TTL metering relies on reflected light which can be affected by the tones in a scene. You may want to make the frame lighter or darker using either exposure compensation or switching to manual mode.

2. Switch on the flash and fire a frame with the flash in TTL mode. In bright light a higher shutter speed than the camera flash sync speed, depending on the chosen aperture, may be required. Some flash TTL triggers need to be set to HSS, others detect the camera shutter speed automatically. Is the flash part of the image fine, too dark or too light? Use the flash power compensation on the flash trigger to increase or decrease the output.

3. Fire another frame; if all is good, most flash triggers have a button where you can lock the flash power to manual. Doing this gives consistency of exposure not affected by the tones in the frame.

4. You are now ready to shoot. Throughout the shoot monitor the images on the camera display. On bright days it’s worth using a shaded viewing loupe such as the Hoodman Hoodloupe to view the display or histogram.

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This is Dr Gregory Dunn, head of wine division, Plumpton College. We wanted a portrait with a difference to introduce Gregory. The TTL exposure using the sun as a back light left his face in deep shadow.

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I used a Pixapro CITI600 TTL with a silver 60cm collapsible beauty dish as a key light on his face, maintaining exposure balance with the background

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Plenty of practice and understanding your gear are the key to successful outdoor and location flash photography. I use a polystyrene dummy head for testing ideas and light modifiers or shapers. By building your confidence and understanding, you’ll find tools and solutions which will make working outdoors and on location a pleasure. It’s possible to get a camera and lighting kit into an average camera backpack or airline carry-on sized case.


Further reading

DIY home-lighting solutions

Get amazing images with simple lighting

Best cheap lighting accessories

Save money and get great lighting effects with these easy DIY hacks

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How to Make the Best of a Bad Location

How to Make the Best of a Bad Location

A location can make or break a photograph, so don’t get caught in a bad spot. Fortunately, you don’t need to go heading out for hours on end to learn how to do this. In this article, I’ve put together five of the most powerful techniques you can use to make the best of a bad location.

Finding a good location is one thing, but finding good framing is much more difficult. It takes time and experience to know how a scene would best be composed in the viewfinder in order to make the most of the shot. The inexperienced photographer might rush into the shoot and snap away before planning things out first. There are multiple things you can do to transform those dull spaces into incredible photographs, below are my top five.

Look for the Light

Photography is all about the capture of light, so it’s no surprise that this is first up on the list. Great subjects can fall flat with poor lighting, whereas something drab and uninteresting can stand out with some incredible lighting. So, what makes good light? It all depends on what you’re shooting and how you want to portray it. Let’s say you want to capture the moon displaying all its craters: would you take your shot when it’s a new moon? No, you’d wait until the moon is in a phase where it’s either at least half-lit or fully lit. To do this, you might check online for a moon phase calculator or look up one night and see which phase it’s currently in.

You may also want to get a completely clear shot showing the moon against a jet-black sky, in which case you’ll need to wait for clear skies. Or if you’d prefer to capture a small corona around the moon (a little rainbow look), then a thin layer of Stratus cloud might be better. Whether you want to shoot the moon or not, the important takeaway from this is that light changes when particles are placed in front of it. Light can bend (refract), reflect (bounce off), and absorb when it meets different media.

Think of the front cover of Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” album, and you’ll see a depiction of light refracting through a prism (big up to Isaac Newton, who discovered this). This behavior is important to bear in mind when shooting water, windows, or anything else that is semi- or fully transparent. For example, if you’re shooting a tired old building and the light shining from the windows is too harsh or perhaps there’s a lake teeming with life but looks drab because of this high reflectance, then pop on a polarizing filter to remove the glare and peer through the surface.

Angle

The positioning of light can play a big part in what your photo looks like. Side-light (lighting that passes the subject almost parallel to it) will highlight textures and cast long shadows. To picture this, simply turn on your smartphone torch and place it parallel with the ground. Take a look at how the shadows lengthen the closer the torch is to the ground, and how they shorten again when you raise it up (by the way, this is a brilliant technique for finding small dropped objects on the floor).

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Light that hits your subject straight on from the perspective of the camera will cause no shadows at all and tends to create what’s known as a “flat” look. This effect can be used stylistically, but for beginners, it’s usually an unintentional side-effect of using the pop-up flash. Portraits might benefit from a 3/4 placement of light that sits just higher than a subject’s head. This is known as Rembrandt lighting due to the consistent use by painter Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn in his work. Look for a little triangle of light on the cheek closest to the light source or a small triangular shadow to the side and slightly down from the nose.

Focal Length

If your location is cluttered, you may want to think about throwing on a longer lens. That’s because anything that isn’t in your frame doesn’t exist. One way to remove the clutter is to go longer with your focal length (upwards of 50mm is often a good bet). Not only will this more tightly cropped framing help to aid composition and limit the amount of clutter you see in the frame, but it has another benefit: reducing the depth of field.

Longer focal lengths give perceived shallower depth of field. In a previous post, I compared wide angle and telephoto lenses for portraits, but essentially, the longer the focal length, the shallower that depth of field. That means backgrounds become more blurred while keeping your subject nice and sharp, which is useful for eliminating distracting environments.

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In the before and after above, you can see the different focal length really makes the subjects and scenes. The first image was taken at 24mm and the second at 122mm. Notice how the background, while still clear enough to make out plants and the wall, is now much more out of focus, lending isolation to the main subject. This technique can even lend itself to shooting through distracting elements. Just look at the chair on the right of the first picture. I decided to shoot through the chair with a wide aperture in order to create a diffused but interesting foreground texture to the shot.

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Time of Day

Say you’re heading around the center of town and want to get that wonderful building set out on its own, but there are far too many people milling around to capture it clearly. Now, you could do some long exposure photography to have the pedestrians blurred enough to get a perceptibly clear shot, or take multiple photos and remove the people in image-editing software. But it’s probably just easier to head there at a different time of day. Early mornings are quite good because people haven’t yet risen to go to work or to the store. Late evenings don’t tend to work as well because people are already up and about, walking in the spots you want to shoot.

Zoom in on details

When you first rock up on the location, you may see the scene as potentially viable for a shot, but the longer you look, there’s a noticeable lack of something. That wow factor just isn’t there. The lighting is good, your camera position is spot on, but you just can’t seem to make the shot work. The reason for this might be that there is an element (or elements) within the scene that stand out to you but don’t work as part of the bigger environment.

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In order to capitalize on those elements that work, it might pay you to either zoom in with a telephoto lens and isolate these smaller sections of the subject or physically move closer to them if you don’t have a longer zoom lens. By doing this, you’re focusing only on the most interesting parts in the frame instead of diluting it with extraneous detail. Macro lenses are also a great way to honing in on smaller details in scenes, such as flowers and insects.

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How Do You Approach an Unfamiliar Location?

How Do You Approach an Unfamiliar Location?

New locations can be challenging for all of us. How you approach them can make the difference between a successful image or a frustrating day. This excellent video tutorial features a photographer discussing his approach to working at a new location.

Coming to you from Chris Sale, this great video tutorial discusses how to approach shooting in an unfamiliar location. Even though it can be tough to tackle a new location, the creative challenge is well worth it. One thing that is important to remember, however, is that you do not have to only visit a location once. In fact, a lot of landscape photographers will revisit a specific location many times, whether it is because they are trying to get a specific image or because they want to work the area and explore different compositions, techniques, and more. Do not feel pressured to get every possible shot the first time you visit a location; you will likely end up taking better images the second or third time you visit it. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Sale. 

And if you really want to dive into landscape photography, check out “Photographing The World 1: Landscape Photography and Post-Processing with Elia Locardi.” 

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How to Remove Location Data From Your iPhone Photos in iOS 13

How to Remove Location Data From Your iPhone Photos in iOS 13

When you snap a photo on your iPhone or iPad, iOS automatically uses GPS to record the exact location of the shot. This is an enormous convenience, as it allows you to catalog your many images according to exact location (as well as occasion). It assists in sorting out photo shoots and helps keep track of family and friends over the years.

Most of the time, photo location metadata is welcome. Sometimes, though, it’s not.

When you share a photo with geolocation coordinates tagged in a photo’s EXIF data, viewers can use their Photos app to figure out where the shot was taken. When you’re posting photos to social media, especially on Twitter, you probably don’t want to post a photo that’s too close to home — or in your home — without a way to remove that information and protect your privacy. Even with Facebook, which is famous for tracking you all over the internet, you may not be comfortable posting an image that carries so much precious data.

Removing geolocation data from images in iOS 13

With iOS 13, Apple redoubles its commitment to security and anti-tracking technologies by providing a new way to remove photo location information from any shot before sharing it with someone, or on social media. Now you can remove the location from photos, videos, or multiple images and movies you want to send via Mail, Messages, Facebook, Twitter, Messenger, or any other app. That way, you don’t have to worry about a stranger finding out your location from your iPhone shots. Here’s how to do that.

  • Shoot your photo or video as you normally do with the Camera app.
  • Find the photo in your albums.
  • If you’re just sharing a single image or video, open it, and tap the Share button.
  • To share multiple photos and videos, tap Select in the album or section view, tap on all the files you’re sending, and tap the Share button.
  • When you’re about to share in the Photos app, observe a new Options button in iOS 13.
  • Tap on Options and in the next pane, toggle off Location.
  • Then send your photo via any conduit you like. There will now be no way for the viewer to decipher the location where it was shot. Note that the toggle is not historical, but must be reset after each send.

You can only remove the location within the iPhone Photos app, so be sure to share your shots directly from the app. This handy iOS 13 privacy feature is designed only for the photos and videos you share with others. The photos residing on your device retain all their location information — it’s only the ones sent via text, email, or social media that will strip out the location data. The rest of the metadata associated with your image — time, device type, shutter speed, and aperture, remains with your shot.How to Remove Location Data From Your iPhone Photos in iOS 13 30You can see that location data was actually removed in iOS 13. To view where a photo or video was taken, swipe up in the Photos app. If location was enabled when you shot it, a map appears pinpointing it in Places. Turning off the Location using the new iOS 13 feature means that when you share it, that image does not carry the location metadata with it.

Removing Geolocation from photos in iOS 12

Even if you have not yet installed iOS 13, you can still hide your geolocation from images you post to the public. In iOS 12, there are a few ways to strip geotags from photos and videos, but it takes some extra steps and is not as flexible as iOS 13. Here’s how to do it.

Disable Location Services

  • Choose Settings from your device’s Home screen.
  • Scroll down to find the Privacy selection and tap.
  • Tap Location Services.
  • Tap Camera.
  • Tap Never.

This action prevents the Camera app from recording location information in your shot, so you can’t share what you don’t have. But that method can be inconvenient if you’d like to preserve that metadata for personal use, even if you don’t want to share it.

Using a third-party app

There are a variety of third-party apps that you can use to remove iPhone Camera metadata. Here are a couple of our favorites.

Metapho: Metapho works as an extension option to select any time you choose to share photos. It will show you metadata on the picture including things like the file size or name, location, and even phone model. Additionally, Metapho offers a function called Safe Share, which will automatically delete location data or other personal information. This feature is wise to use if you plan to share photos with anyone other than yourself or export them over any kind of public network. You can also access the EXIF data on your photos and alter it. You may want to change location information, date and time, etc. With this extension, you can also make changes to multiple metadata simultaneously, save a copy of your file, or replace it with a reversible version all without leaving the app. 

Exify: Exify ($2) pulls various data from your photos, depending on what you want to see. You can get everything from elevation to location to local time or UTC. You can also add watermarks to your photos, enter GPS information, or delete location data. 

ViewExif: ViewExif ($1) is an app extension that can essentially share your photos without sharing any data that might breach your privacy. You can see and alter location data and the EXIF and IPTC data and delete any metadata you wish to. You can also tag photos with keywords for better search options and add ratings.

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Outdoor On Location Photography Shoots

Outdoor On Location Photography Shoots

Enjoy the fresh air and photograph some people outdoors.

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Portraits and People

For some people the only way they think they can have a professional portrait taken is to stand in a studio in front of a big set of lights but lifestyle shoots just might change their mind. Having the great outdoors as your studio will give you so many more creative opportunities with backgrounds, colours, shapes and textures, as well as being able to shoot a story. 

Portrait close-up

Lens choices

A 70-200mm lens is a good choice for DSLR shooters. Shooting around the 135mm mark at f/4 can give great perspective and enough depth of field to throw the background out of focus without leaving it too shallow. A wider lens, such as a 14-24mm is great for environmental portraits, while a 55mm macro lens is great for detail. If you want a good all-rounder lens, a 24-70mm would be a good choice, too. It’s also a good idea, if you have them, to pack the speedlights, continuous lights, ringflash and reflectors. 
 

Plan ahead

Organisation is key so make sure you have a plan in advance. Having a few locations that you are familiar with will give you plenty of scope, and it also means you’ll know particular spots that’ll work well for your shots. Local beauty spots, good urban routes with interesting architecture or a park with lots of interest such as water features are just some of the locations you could work with. The other place you need in reserve is somewhere dry in case of bad weather. 

Portrait

Make sure your model’s comfortable

It’s important to discuss clothing, makeup and meeting points then on the day of the shoot, meet for a coffee and spend 30 minutes or so having a pre-shoot chat as this will help break the ice. You could even take a book or folder of a few favourite photos along to show your model/client as they’ll welcome the opportunity to see your ideas and help. Come up with a few ideas and even adjectives of the mood/feel you’re trying to create. For example, Autumnal shoots could be about warm clothing and crisp golden colours. By doing so you will be able to portray a theme to your clients/model who should be able to quite naturally slip into an informal pose to convey this without really having to try or feel self-conscious. 

When it comes to the shoot, let people be natural and remember it’s your job to make them feel comfortable even if you do know the person/people you are photographing. Shoot intuitively and creatively. Even if you’ve shot in a place many times, try setting yourself a target to come up with several new shots. This time of year’s a good time to experiment with natural frames as the autumnal shades add warmth to the image. Just make sure you focus on your subject so the leaves blur just enough so you can still see what they are but don’t distract.   

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Learn How to Recreate These Three Different Portraits All Shot in One Location

Learn How to Recreate These Three Different Portraits All Shot in One Location

The beauty of artificial lighting is that you can create shots in just about any situation no matter the ambient light, and you can create a wide variety of looks in one location simply by varying parameters like the position of the light or its distance to the subject. This excellent video shows a photographer discussing how he got three different shots in one location with the help of artificial lighting. 

Coming to you from Francisco Hernandez of FJH Photography, this great video will show you how Hernandez got three different shots in one location with the help of artificial lighting, along with lots of helpful discussion on how he chose different poses and the like. In this case, Hernandez is using a Godox AD300pro to light his subject and sometimes, natural light to supplement and balance the image. It is a fantastic illustration of just how versatile artificial lighting can be. You can use it as the sole source for your subject, or as you can see in the video, you can use it to balance the exposure of your subject against the backdrop, creating fantastically dramatic images. Check out the video above for the full rundown. 

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