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5 Easy Ways To Make Shots More Interesting

5 Easy Ways To Make Shots More Interesting

It’s very easy to slip into a shooting pattern where not much thought is given to framing and composition so you end up with shots which are OK but are rather mundane and ordinary. However, with a few little, simple changes, shots can be turned into something much more interesting.

Summer

Summer by Peter Bargh.

 

Evaluate

If you’re shooting a scene, particularly if you’re not familiar with your shooting location, it’s easy to become flustered so you just shoot anything and everything you see. However, if you take the time to study the scene so you can find out what / who should be your main focus point you’ll be able to frame your shot(s) around them, giving your work focus rather than shooting anything and everything.

 

Angle

Digital photography really opens the doors on experimentation as there’s almost no limit on the number of shots you can take. As a result, don’t be afraid to shoot the same subject/scene from a variety of angles. Get down low, climb up high, go wider, get closer…there are plenty of options to have a go at, you just have to find what works for you.

 

Portraits

Those who are new to photography tend to put people in the centre of the frame when photographing them, however applying ‘the rule of thirds’ can give you a shot that’s much more creative and appealing to the eye. For those who don’t know what ‘the rule of thirds’ is, imagine a grid that divides your shot into nine equal sections by a set of vertical and horizontal lines. With the imaginary frame in place, you should place the most important element(s) in your shot on one of the lines or where the lines meet. So with a person, instead of putting them in the centre, simply move them more to the left or right thirds of the frame.

One problem with following this rule is that it can leave you with a strong focus point on one side of your shot and a big empty space on the other so, to improve this, see how you can add a secondary point of interest that’s less important to balance your shot.

Whitby Goth

Whitby Goth by Peter Bargh.

 

Backgrounds

For portraits, you can use backgrounds to add an extra level of interest to your shot, however don’t let it become the star of the show. Don’t pick a scene with colours or light that’ll outshine your subject(s) and make sure you balance the shot so background interest doesn’t turn into a cluttered mess that just spoils the photo.

Lighting

What time of day you shoot, the weather and if you’re working indoors or out can make a big difference to how your final image will look. For example, early morning or later afternoon/evening light isn’t as harsh as mid-day and evening low, light shots in cities tend to look better when there’s still a little light in the sky as this adds more interest to the shot. The light at sunset/sunrise changes rapidly and you may even find the best colours/light appear just as the sun dips behind the horizon.

For outdoor portraits, you may need to find some shade so the light on your subject’s face is more balanced. It’ll also make them ‘pop’ from the scene as the background tends to be a little brighter than where they are stood. Can’t find shade? Use a reflector to bounce light up onto their face to fill in shadows under their nose and eyes.

If you’re working with a scene where there’s a big difference in the dynamic range (the shadows and highlights) you may want to consider shooting some HDR. In a nutshell, this is where you layer several shots together that have been taken at different exposures (you’ll need a tripod as every shot has to line up exactly). For more information on HDR, take a look at this article: HDR Landscapes

These are just a few of the many examples out there on how light and other aspects can change the appearance/feel of a photograph. For more tips, check out our technique section.

Support this site by making a Donation, purchasing Plus Membership, or shopping with one of our affiliates:
Amazon UK,
Amazon US,
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How To Make Sure Your Subject Is The Main Point Of Interest

How To Make Sure Your Subject Is The Main Point Of Interest

Owl

 

Most of the time, when you’re out taking photographs, even if it’s a quick snap, make sure your shot has a strong point of interest as if it doesn’t, you’ll find anyone who looks at your image will look at the image, their eyes won’t find anything to settle on and they’ll simply move on to look at another shot. Without a focal point, there’s nothing to draw them into the photograph so they’ll simply lose interest with it. Of course, the more interesting the focal point is, the better your shot will be but there are a few other things you can do to make sure your focal point draws the viewer’s attention.

 

1. One Main Focus Point

Images can have various points of interest but don’t let them pull the attention from the main subject as your shot will just become confusing and the viewer will be unsure what to look at. Less attention-grabbing points of interest can be used on lines to draw the eye to a final resting point.

 

2. Lead In Lines

As mentioned above, by placing minor points of interest along a line you can guide the eye to your main point of interest. Straight lines such as fences or paths work well but other shapes, as talked about in our beginner’s composition guide, can work equally as well. The spiral of a staircase will guide the eye up or down while positioning items along an S curve with the main point of focus at the end will lead the eye through the image. There’s also the triangle where key features appear along the sides and points of the shape and when it’s used correctly, you can create balance in your shot and also guide the eye through the photograph. Repetitive or symmetrical objects such as lamp posts lining either side of a street, a line of palm trees, statues or a series of arches can also be used to guide the eye to a single point.

 

3. What’s In Focus

By using a larger aperture if you’re working manually or by selecting Portrait Mode or Macro Mode if you’re working close-up, which lets the camera know you want to use a larger aperture, you’ll be able to throw the background out of focus, leaving all the attention on your main subject which will be sharp. By putting more distance between your subject and the background you’ll be able to make the effect more prominent too. If you’re a DSLR user, switching to a longer lens (zoom or prime) with wider maximum apertures will make it easier to get the blurry backgrounds you’re looking for.

 

How To Make Sure Your Subject Is The Main Point Of Interest 1

Photo by Joshua Waller 

 

4. Blur

When your main subject is moving, be it a pet, a person running, a car or bike, try using a slower shutter speed and pan with them, blurring the background into streaks but leaving them sharp. This will mean all focus falls on your main subject and the sense of speed is increased thanks to the horizontal streaks the background now has.

 

5. Size

A more obvious way to make sure you have one main point of focus is to fill the frame with it. This works particularly well when photographing flowers but can be applied to portraits too.

How To Make Sure Your Subject Is The Main Point Of Interest 2

Photo by Joshua Waller 

6. Colour And Pop

Use contrasting colours or take it one step further and have a go at colour-popping, where you leave your main point of focus in colour and turn the rest of the image black & white. If you’re shooting portraits, positioning your subject against a dark background will really make them ‘pop’ from the image.

 

7. Frame

By adding a frame you guide the eye to one main focal point in the scene that you want highlighting. You can also hide other objects you don’t want to be in the shot behind your frame and it does have the added effect of just making your image more interesting generally.

 

8. Crop

If you have images on your computer that seem a little busy try cropping it to see if removing some of the elements makes it less busy and as a result, you get a main point of focus.
 

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10 Simple DIY Photography Christmas Gifts You Can Make At Home

10 Simple DIY Photography Christmas Gifts You Can Make At Home

Here are 10 fun and easy DIY photography gifts that are perfect for Christmas so you can give loved-ones unique presents.

| 
DIY Tips

 

It’s the season of giving and if you’re a photographer, why not use your skills and a little bit of DIY creativity to make your own Christmas gifts for friends and family?

To help you out, COOPH has come up with 10 fun and easy DIY photography gifts you can make at home.

On their gift list are:

  1. Photo Cubes
  2. Hanging Photos In Frames
  3. Candle Holders
  4. Rustic Photo Holder 
  5. Infinity Photos
  6. Bookmarks
  7. Photo Frames
  8. Picture Ladders
  9. Fridge Magnets
  10. A Photo Wheel

All you need to do is watch the tutorial, grab your favourite photos and get creative!

We also have a tutorial on how you can make Christmas cards from your own photos and a technique for getting beautiful bokeh from Christmas lights. 

Support this site by making a Donation, purchasing Plus Membership, or shopping with one of our affiliates:
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Amazon US,
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How To Make A Christmas Card In Photoshop

How To Make A Christmas Card In Photoshop

It’s the season for sending and receiving Christmas cards and as you’re a photographer, this gives you the perfect opportunity to use one of your own shots on the front of a card you’ve personally crafted in Photoshop.

Just follow the below steps and you’ll soon have a Christmas card that you can send to loved ones that they definitely won’t find on a shop shelf. 

If you’re going to be posting your homemade cards, here are the recommended posting dates for Christmas 2020:

  • Friday 18 December 2nd Class and 2nd Class Signed For
  • Monday 21 December 1st Class and 1st Class Signed For and Royal Mail Tracked 48
  • Tuesday 22 December Royal Mail Tracked 24
  • Wednesday 23 December Special Delivery Guaranteed

International Standard (airmail) and International tracking signature services range in date depending on where you’re sending your cards to. Visit the Royal Mail website for full details. 

 

Christmas images

Pick A Suitable Image 

There are loads of themes you could go for, including snowy landscapes, a family portrait and gifts under a tree but we’ve gone for a simple and clean Christmas decoration design we can easily add text to. 

You can capture your own photos of Christmas tree baubles quite easily at home using your camera’s close-up mode. Nature lovers may have taken a close-up shot of a robin in a garden covered in snow or how about a night street view when the Christmas decorations are illuminated? Those wanting a fun option could dig out the Christmas stocking and get a small pet to pop it’s head out of the top or go one better and dress them up in a Christmas jumper and antlers.

Basically, providing you have a suitable photo to-hand, any type of card theme can be replicated.

 

Create A New Document In Photoshop 

Go to File>New (Ctrl+N) and for a landscape card, in the dialogue box set the A4 paper size in the width and height boxes. From the drop-down choose cm and in the width box key in 29.7cm and in the height 21cm. If you’re creating a portrait card you’ll need to reverse these figures. Set the resolution to 240 pixel/inch (ppi). Make sure the background colour is white and rename your new file ‘Card’. Colour mode should be set to RGB and 8-bit. Click okay and you will have a blank canvas with these measurements.

New document in Photoshop

 

Create a new layer, we do this so this layer can be deleted when all the elements are in place. To make folding the card easier select the Rectangular Marquee tool (M, Shift + M to tab between the options) and in the menu option across the top of the page set ‘style’ to Fixed Size and key 148.5mm into the width box and 105mm into the height box. On the canvas, click in the top left corner and a rectangular selection one-quarter of the size of the canvas will appear in the top left.

 

Marquee tool

 

Add A Line To The Selection 

Go to Edit>Stroke and set 1px width, the colour to Black and Location to Centre and click OK. This will create a narrow border around the selection which will appear as a thin line on your canvas. Repeat the last two steps in the bottom right corner and you’ll have a rough, but very useful, guide.

 

Draw lines

 

Use The Magic Wand Tool 

Select the Magic Wand tool and click inside the bottom right quarter. This will make a selection inside the quarter.

 

Make a selection

 

Open The Image That Will Feature On Your Card

Open the image you want to use on your card and Select>All (Ctrl+A), Edit>Copy (Ctrl+C) and then with the new canvas selected again choose Edit>Paste Into (Shift+Ctrl+V). This will make your image appear inside the selection you made with the Magic Wand Tool. If some of your image is hidden you can use the move tool (V) to put it into place or if you need more accurate control go to Edit>Free Transform and drag the corner handles to resize the photo so it fits better inside the selection. If you hold down the Shift key as you resize, the image will stay in proportion. When the image is sized and positioned correctly double click in the centre to make the change permanent.

 

Open the card image

 

Add Your Message

You now need to select the Text tool so you can add a message to your card. This tool is a ‘T’ shape and can be found in the tools palette. To add text, click in the top left part of the card. You can edit the font style, size and colour from the options in the top toolbar. 

 

You can also add text to the front of the card following the same steps but this time you want to position the cursor where you want the text to appear above the image, not in the top left. You also don’t need to do the next step for the text that’s on the front of the card as it’ll appear the wrong way around.  

 

Add text

You can also add text to the front of the card

 

Rotate The Text

Remember the text inside the card needs to be upside down so when the paper is folded the text appears the right way up inside the card. To do this, go to Edit>Transform>Rotate 180 degrees. Then make sure the Move Tool is selected and position the text where you want it.

 

Rotate the text

 

Rotate the text

 

Flatten & Print Your Image 

Click on the layer that you created the guide in and delete it. You can hit the delete key on the keyboard or drag it to the waste bin. Finally, go to Layer>Layer Flatten then print your card out.

You may get a message saying that the image is too big for the paper do you wish to proceed. Click no and go to Print with Preview so you can change your printer settings. You need to select borderless printing (if the option is available) or Scale to fit Media and trim off the border when it’s printed.

 

 

Fold Your Card

When printed, fold over carefully using the left and top edges of the photo as the folding points. Use a ruler or clean finger to score across the crease and make a sharp fold. The card will then stand up on its own and, depending on the paper used, will be a really smart alternative to the typical cards in the shops.

 

 

Card front

 

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Amazon UK,
Amazon US,
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It doesn’t cost you anything extra when you use these links, but it does support the site, helping keep ePHOTOzine free to use, thank you.

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5 Easy Ways To Make Shots More Interesting

5 Easy Ways To Make Shots More Interesting

It’s very easy to slip into a shooting pattern where not much thought is given to framing and composition so you end up with shots which are OK but are rather mundane and ordinary. However, with a few little, simple changes, shots can be turned into something much more interesting.

Summer

Summer by Peter Bargh.

 

Evaluate

If you’re shooting a scene, particularly if you’re not familiar with your shooting location, it’s easy to become flustered so you just shoot anything and everything you see. However, if you take the time to study the scene so you can find out what / who should be your main focus point you’ll be able to frame your shot(s) around them, giving your work focus rather than shooting anything and everything.

 

Angle

Digital photography really opens the doors on experimentation as there’s almost no limit on the number of shots you can take. As a result, don’t be afraid to shoot the same subject/scene from a variety of angles. Get down low, climb up high, go wider, get closer…there are plenty of options to have a go at, you just have to find what works for you.

 

Portraits

Those who are new to photography tend to put people in the centre of the frame when photographing them, however applying ‘the rule of thirds‘ can give you a shot that’s much more creative and appealing to the eye. For those who don’t know what ‘the rule of thirds’ is, imagine a grid that divides your shot into nine equal sections by a set of vertical and horizontal lines. With the imaginary frame in place, you should place the most important element(s) in your shot on one of the lines or where the lines meet. So with a person, instead of putting them in the centre, simply move them more to the left or right thirds of the frame.

One problem with following this rule is that it can leave you with a strong focus point on one side of your shot and a big empty space on the other so, to improve this, see how you can add a secondary point of interest that’s less important to balance your shot.

Whitby Goth

Whitby Goth by Peter Bargh.

 

Backgrounds

For portraits, you can use backgrounds to add an extra level of interest to your shot, however don’t let it become the star of the show. Don’t pick a scene with colours or light that’ll outshine your subject(s) and make sure you balance the shot so background interest doesn’t turn into a cluttered mess that just spoils the photo.

Lighting

What time of day you shoot, the weather and if you’re working indoors or out can make a big difference to how your final image will look. For example, early morning or later afternoon/evening light isn’t as harsh as mid-day and evening low, light shots in cities tend to look better when there’s still a little light in the sky as this adds more interest to the shot. The light at sunset/sunrise changes rapidly and you may even find the best colours/light appear just as the sun dips behind the horizon.

For outdoor portraits, you may need to find some shade so the light on your subject’s face is more balanced. It’ll also make them ‘pop’ from the scene as the background tends to be a little brighter than where they are stood. Can’t find shade? Use a reflector to bounce light up onto their face to fill in shadows under their nose and eyes.

If you’re working with a scene where there’s a big difference in the dynamic range (the shadows and highlights) you may want to consider shooting some HDR. In a nutshell, this is where you layer several shots together that have been taken at different exposures (you’ll need a tripod as every shot has to line up exactly). For more information on HDR, take a look at this article: HDR Landscapes

These are just a few of the many examples out there on how light and other aspects can change the appearance/feel of a photograph. For more tips, check out our technique section.

Support this site by making a Donation, purchasing Plus Membership, or shopping with one of our affiliates:
Amazon UK,
Amazon US,
Amazon CA,
ebay UK

It doesn’t cost you anything extra when you use these links, but it does support the site, helping keep ePHOTOzine free to use, thank you.

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dudler’s latest blog : be kind and make plans

dudler's latest blog : mirrorless - and why they?re (arguably) better

Be kind and make plans

5 Nov 2020 10:44AM  
Views : 74
Unique : 65

11864_1604573026.jpg

This blog’s addressed to a very small part of the photographic community, and while I hope that it will spark one or two ideas for other people, I’d better specify my target audience. It’s retired photographers who photograph models regularly: people who have a thoroughly stable (and often quite good) income, and who are used to working with a group who, generally, depend on working every week to pay their bills.

One or two of them (the models) were offering deals during the first lockdown: pay now, in whole or in part for a future shoot, and receive a discount. This was entirely separate from the smallish proportion of professional posers who routinely require a deposit before accepting a booking. Yes, there’s a risk to paying a deposit to an individual: I can only say that I find models to be generally thoroughly trustworthy: if they aren’t, they rapidly acquire poor references.

With a second lockdown in England which is due to last at least a month (and may well need to be extended, whatever our esteemed Prime Minister is saying this week), this is an idea that may, as they say, have legs, though not necessarily as shapely as the models.

So here’s the thing: if you know a model who you want to work with, contact her and ask about paying a deposit against a shoot to be arranged when it is both legal and safe to do so. The latter condition is important: along with having a decent and stable income, many photographers are in or close to being a vulnerable group, and definitely shouldn’t be pushing the envelope of what’s legal.

If you’re a member of Purpleport, you may have seen one or two casting calls: but interest in the idea isn’t confined to models who have actively pursued it. This is an opportunity to help someone out a little bit, with the prospect of both spreading the load of paying for shoots, and getting full value from doing so. Please, though, don’t ask for a discount if the model doesn’t offer it!

You then have plenty of time to do storyboards, research makeup and different lighting, and all kinds of other interesting things to make sure that the session runs like clockwork.

And finally, if this is an area that you’ve thought of exploring, but haven’t set foot in yet, why not spend some time on setting up an account on a modelling website? If you need advice on this, please contact me – maybe there’s scope for a further article on the subject?

It’s a chance to make someone head over heels happy, like Aimee_is_Weirdd in the picture below.

11864_1604573049.jpg

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5 Great Features That Make Affinity Photo Your Next Editing Software

5 Great Features That Make Affinity Photo Your Next Editing Software

-Partner Content-

 

As everyone with a camera knows, the key to a good photo is getting it right in-camera. However, all the techniques in the world are simply building blocks and getting the most out of your shots is where editing can help. Affinity Photo is not only one of the most powerful editing suites available, it’s also the best pound-for-pound editing software on the market and is guaranteed to take your photography to the next level – especially with our 50% off offer! The full range of options available to you make it ideal for advanced users, while the intuitive interface is easy to pick up for beginners and enthusiasts alike.

Whatever your genre of choice, be it landscapes, portraits, macro or anything else, Affinity not only has an unbeatable set of tools to help you, but it’s also laid out in an intuitive way that is ideal for newcomers and those switching from other software alike. There are a series of modules, called Personas, that bring you dedicated interfaces, such as Tone Mapping, RAW Developing and even a powerful liquify interface that makes complex reshaping a breeze! Even better, you can take the full functionality of the desktop app on the road, thanks to the iPad version, which is the most powerful mobile editing solution available. With so much on offer for so little, it’s time that you incorporated Affinity Photo into your workflow and moved your photography to the next step. To get you started, we’re going to give you some great tips to get the most from this brilliant software and get you well on the way to creating your own masterpieces.

 

1 – Develop RAW Files Like A Pro

Five great features that make Affinity Photo your next editing software

 

The first milestone in any photographer’s journey is unquestionably learning to shoot RAW. This image format captures even more data than JPEG and can be tweaked to create the perfect image or a solid base for further editing. To take advantage, all you need to do is open up your RAW file of choice into Affinity Photo and the Develop Persona will load up automatically. From here you can apply exposure adjustments, recover highlights and shadows and even craft a split toning effect. There’s a Curves adjustment for precision tweaks, a savvy noise reduction component and a lens correction module to combat distortion. It has everything you need for that all-important first step to brilliance.

 

2 – Professional Skin Retouching At The Click Of A Button

Five great features that make Affinity Photo your next editing software

 

If you shoot portraits, you’ll doubtless know about the power of frequency separation. This technique is favoured by many pros to get that glossy high-end look that screams professional. While it may sound complicated, in Affinity Photo it’s as simple as going to the Photo Persona and clicking on Filters>Frequency Separation. Once you’ve done this, you can set your Gaussian Blur amount in real-time, click Apply and the software will split your shot into two layers, one with the colour and one with the detail. From here, you can remove blemishes, add your own dodge and burn and tidy up colours – a game changer!

 

3 – Ramp Up Your Dynamic Range With Tone Mapping

Five great features that make Affinity Photo your next editing software

 

Amazingly, Affinity Photo has its very own Tone Mapping Persona with a full suite of tools to get your well on the way to high dynamic range images, whether you have a series of bracketed shots – identical photos taken at different exposures – or a single shot as we’ve used. Opening this Persona brings up a toolbar on the right-hand side with the usual exposure and enhancement tools, though also gives you access to Tone Compression, Local Contrast and detail sliders. There’s even a series of presets to get you started. Like most of Affinity, the effects can be seen in real-time and are completely reversible, meaning there’s no such thing as a permanent mistake. What we love most about the Tone Mapping Persona is the subtlety compared to others on offer, meaning you’re able to keep your shots looking natural while still getting the most from your work!

 

4 – Adjustments Are Plentiful And Powerful

Five great features that make Affinity Photo your next editing software

 

Adjustments refer to a series of functional layers that apply specific effects to your shots. These can be as simple as Exposure, Vibrance or Brightness and Contrast, which do what they say on the tin, all the way up to more powerful options like Gradient Maps, Channel Mixers and Colour Balance for creative effects and colour corrections. Because they’re layers, they can be altered at any time in your editing process and moved around as you see fit. They affect any layers below them in the Layer palette but can be set to cast an effect on only a single-pixel layer by using the brilliant Mask to Below feature. You can also stack as many Adjustments as you wish, giving you a huge amount of flexibility to fine-tune your work in any way possible.

 

5 – Layers Offer You The Ultimate Creative Freedom

Five great features that make Affinity Photo your next editing software

 

An editing software that doesn’t allow Layers will really set back your creative choices. Happily, Affinity Photo gives you full control over its layer system. This means that you can bring in additional elements into your scene. You can then take advantage of Affinity’s hugely powerful selection engine to select the parts you wish to cut out or scroll through the full list of Blending Modes for a more refined and creative look. To add the birds to our shot, we took one landscape and added in a shot of birds taken against a white sky. From here, it’s as easy as setting the Blending Mode to Multiply and voila, the white sky has gone. Of course, there’s no need to stop there, and you can find yourself creating in-depth composites that are truly only limited by your imagination – set yourself free!
 

Get 50% Off Affinity Photo Today!

Now that you’ve seen just five of the amazing features on offer, it’s time to jump in and explore the rest, including amazing real-time Live Filters, one-click Macro presets and so much more. To buy Affinity Photo with an ePHOTOzine exclusive 50% off, click here.

Support this site by making a Donation, purchasing Plus Membership, or shopping with one of our affiliates:
Amazon UK,
Amazon US,
Amazon CA,
ebay UK,
WEX

It doesn’t cost you anything extra when you use these links, but it does support the site, helping keep ePHOTOzine free to use, thank you.

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