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Monday, January 07, 2013

Fw: Checklist for Your Camera After a Portrait Shoot

From: PictureCorrect Photography Tips <>
Date: Mon, 07 Jan 2013 17:39:05 +0000
To: <>
Subject: Checklist for Your Camera After a Portrait Shoot

Checklist for Your Camera After a Portrait Shoot

Link to PictureCorrect Photography Tips

Checklist for Your Camera After a Portrait Shoot

Posted: 06 Jan 2013 06:11 PM PST

Whenever I return from a shoot, I go through this process every time with each camera so that they are ready for the next time.

1. Camera bodies off. This is to remind me that I use a variety of lenses and if I remove them, I have to select an appropriate one for my next shoot.

2. Camera batteries recharged after each and every shoot – no exceptions. I have lost count of the number of times when I am in the middle of a shoot that I get a battery warning. To this extent, I even take along a spare battery for each camera.

3. Flash off. Try and get in the habit of doing this as you don’t want to scare wildlife or pets by accidentally firing off the flash.

4. Flash batteries recharged after each and every shoot – no exceptions. I am paranoid about this aspect, in fact all batteries get charged straight away. Having rechargeable batteries is a must in my opinion.

"Untitled" captured by Keenan Butcher. (Click image to see more from Keenan Butcher.)

“Untitled” captured by Keenan Butcher. (Click image to see more from Keenan Butcher.)

5. Check to make sure the memory card slot is empty and working correctly. This reminds me that I should routinely transfer my images to another storage medium like my portable hard drive. I also take spares along for each shoot.

6. Check spare memory card. I get in the habit of checking all my memory cards for damage, wear and if they can be read without problems.

7. Set quality settings to RAW/JPG. I use this setting as opposed to just RAW or just JPEG. If I want to process the images more I can, or if I am happy with the images, I don’t have to do much processing in JPEG.

8. Set ISO to 200. This is a good idea regardless of the weather or lighting conditions, i.e. sunny or cloudy. I don’t like highlights to be blown and this setting allows me some leeway in processing the images.

9. Set aperture to wide open on all lenses. This is the setting I most use for portraits etc as it blurs the background nicely while keeping the subject in sharp focus.

10. Set shutter speed to 1/125. This is a decent shutter speed for most of the lenses I use in portraits. As I usually choose a focal length of about 90mm, it helps prevent camera shake issues.

11. Set mode dial to Aperture Priority. I prefer to shoot in aperture priority as most of my portrait subjects are fairly stationary.

12. Set metering mode to spot or matrix. I find this gives me the best metering for the stable exposure conditions that I work in.

13. Set white balance to AUTO. I work with this setting the most; however, if I’m in my studio, I will normally do a preset with a grey card.

"Model Portfolio - Kat Alderidge" captured by Shaunna Marie Brunk. (Click image to see more from Shaunna Marie Brunk.)

“Model Portfolio – Kat Alderidge” captured by Shaunna Marie Brunk. (Click image to see more from Shaunna Marie Brunk.)

14. Set exposure compensation to “0.” This prevents me from over exposing or under exposing since I was out last in daylight and had to adjust the exposure compensation.

15. Reset the focus point to the centre – single point. This is my preference for most shoots.

16. Set shutter mode to single. Most of the time I don’t use continuous shot mode unless I am taking fast action sports or wild life shots.

17. Set all lenses with focus stops to focus maximum area of focus. A good habit to get into. You can always adjust accordingly.

18. Remove any and all filters. This prevents you from leaving the polarizing filter or the neutral density filter attached. It’s amazing how often this happens and it takes a while to see what the problem is.

19. Check that the camera body and any/all lenses are set to autofocus (unless you just always use manual focus – in which case disregard.) This is a great tip as you can grab the camera for a quick shot in most situations.

20. Do quick visual examination of the camera to look for damage defects. I usually check lens surfaces, the screen, and everywhere else if I’ve been out in the rain or wind when sand is blowing about.

"Now That's What I Call A Sturdy Tripod" captured by  Jeff Laitila. (Click image to see more from Jeff Laitila.)

“Now That’s What I Call A Sturdy Tripod” captured by Jeff Laitila. (Click image to see more from Jeff Laitila.)

21. Finally, reset additional gear like tripods, light stands, etc. They all go back in their individual bags and covers. It also means that I don’t leave bits lying around – my greatest concern after a shoot.

About the Author:
Geordie Parkin is a photographer based in Forest Lake, Qld ( For further information about wildlife photography, pet photography or general questions about digital photography.

For Further Training on Portrait Photography:

Professional photographer Edward Verosky has released two eBooks designed to help photographers with advanced portrait photography concepts:

These eBooks are now available through Edward Verosky's website:

They contain unique information on how to beyond the rules of conventional portraiture with creative ideas and guidelines for developing your own unique style.

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

Catch Light in Portrait Photography

Posted: 06 Jan 2013 01:18 PM PST

While most of you know what a portrait photography catch light is, bear with me. At some point, it was a new idea for you, just as I’m sure it is for some of the other readers. In the interest of being thorough, in today’s photo tip, let’s have a quick look into the catch light.

Simply put, a catch light is the reflection of the portrait lighting source in the eyes.

"Untitled" captured by Taylor Hooper. (Click image to see more from Taylor Hooper.)

“Untitled” captured by Taylor Hooper. (Click image to see more from Taylor Hooper.)

We generally just think of it as a specular highlight in the eye, but it can be (and is) a vital part of the image. Particularly in portrait photography.

While the old cliché that, “the eyes are the windows to the soul” may or may not be true… a catch light makes the eye appear brighter and more exciting. Eyes without a catch light appear dull and lifeless.

If you have catch lights in the eyes, they are generally not noticed. If you don’t have them, their lack can ruin a photo. Or not! If you want to make a person appear evil – why you’d want to I don’t know – an old cinematographer’s trick is to eliminate the catch lights!

Try it this Halloween, you may win a contest or two!

If you DON’T want your subject to appear evil, a catch light in both eyes is vital. So vital in fact that if photographers are using a lighting pattern where they are not getting a catch light, they will add a special “eye” light to their lighting setup.

Typically, an eye light will be of low intensity so it doesn’t affect the highlights and shadows of the overall lighting pattern. It just puts a little glint in the eye.

In learning how to create various lighting patterns or trying to determine what type of lighting the photographer used, it is often helpful to examine the catch lights.

The eye acts like a mirror and will reflect the light source(s). By studying the reflections, we can determine how many lights were used, what type of light (diffused or hard light) and their general location in relation to the model.

These are all good things…

"Jess Up Close" capture by Yuliya Libkina. (Click image to see more from Yuliya Libkina.)

“Jess Up Close” capture by Yuliya Libkina. (Click image to see more from Yuliya Libkina.)

A bad thing about the refection showing the type of light, is that sometimes that reflection is unattractive and takes away from the photo. Though purely a matter of opinion  if you’ve ever noticed the reflection of a “ring light”, it (to me) looks creepy and I think it is why ring lights are not more popular.

Btw, a “ring light” is an on camera flash that goes all the way around (rings) the lens.

So, bottom line, make absolutely sure you have a catch light – in both eyes – unless you have a specific and preplanned reason not to. This photo tip is one of the vital rules of portrait photography that should never be broken whether you are shooting people, pets or anything else with eyes.

About the Author:
Dan Eitreim writes for OnTargetPhotoTraining. He has been a professional photographer in Southern California for over 20 years. He philosophy is that learning photography is easy, if you know a few tried and true strategies.

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

Cross Process Film Photography Tips & Techniques

Posted: 06 Jan 2013 11:02 AM PST

With the ease, affordability, and ever-increasing clarity made possible by the development of digital photography, many people believe that film, in all its formats, has gone the way of the dodo. If you look closely, though, you’ll see that it’s gone more the way of the vinyl record – not as cheap, not as easy, and not made on a computer, but having a lasting, eternal quality that enthusiasts will forever appreciate. In this video, old-fashioned photographer Ryan Tatar discusses why he still shoots film, and how it’s not as complicated as everyone thinks (for those of you reading this by email, the video can be seen here):

In essence, film photography works the same way as digital; the same principles of light, composition, and exposure apply. Film cameras have a wider variety of designs though, from the SLR style that we’re so familiar with, to the twin-lens reflex (TLR), the rangefinder, and the iconic view camera. There are newer film cameras which have computers built into them, enabling automatic exposure and focus, along with a variety of convenient functions that we’re used to in digital photography; however, film photographers rarely become excited about these models, seeing the legwork of fully-manual cameras as integral to the experience of shooting film.

If you’re already familiar with the principles of exposure – namely, how to set up your aperture, shutter speed, and ISO to achieve a proper balance of light and shadow – then you already know how to use a film camera. The only real difference is that you have to shoot a full roll at a single ISO, and can’t change back and forth (though you can change what ISO you want to shoot any given roll at, in a process known as pushing and pulling the film). Many photographers still learn first on film, as the simpler cameras allow them to focus on the really important aspects of photography, without being diluted by all the bells and whistles of modern cameras. Because an image cannot be viewed right away, and because a roll only contains so many pictures, the experience forces the photographer to think more deeply about the picture they’re creating. Many photographers find this thoughtful and straightforward approach to be relaxing and even meditative.

film photography

Some digital-only photographers are intimidated by film, seeing it as complicated and costly, but neither could be further from the truth. As Tatar touches on in the video, high-end film cameras can now be bought for next to nothing, since everyone is abandoning ship. You can easily find a professional-quality camera for under $200, leaving you a whole ~$800 to buy and develop film before you even begin to touch on the price of a decent digital kit. You may not be able to snap off a thousand photos in an afternoon, but who really wants to do that, anyway? With film, you’ll take one photo for every ten on digital, and it will probably be more unique and beautiful than all those ten put together.

The stark, saturated look of Tatar’s images, as he mentions, comes from a technique known as cross-processing. There are many types of film (there used to be more) – black and white, color negative, and color reversal, or slide film, are among the main types. Each of these is created with a different composition, requiring different chemicals to develop properly. However, they all undergo similar enough reactions that when one type of film is processed in the wrong type of chemical, you come out with completely bizarre and unique results. This is the second most attractive and exciting aspect of film photography – unpredictability. When shooting digital, we always know what the picture will look like. Good digital photographs are, for the most part, crisp, saturated, and excessively clean; sharpness is the eternal prize of the digital photographer. While this may resemble immediate reality more closely, it does not necessarily reflect reality as seen through the eye of an artist, or as seen in a memory. The beauty of film is that it is fickle. Sometimes there are light leaks, or blurry spots, or grain, but sometimes that’s the point. Sometimes the accidents are the most perfect part of an image.

film photography

There are a million things to say about film, and this article can’t last forever, but it goes to show that film is still very much alive. It is the history of our craft, and it holds a concrete quality, a feeling of substantiveness and of slight risk, that makes the medium endure as a part of the photographic world, as well as a world all of its own, created by the unique combination of chemistry, camera, and a creative eye.

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips