window-light baby portrait photos – Liam

Any parent will know that the kiddo has a distinct personality from the moment it is born. For the photographer then, the ideal is to capture some of this personality.

My own take on photographing babies, is that I want to forego all the props and accoutrements associated with baby photography you often see – the hats and such. While the toys are often necessary to keep the child’s attention, I still like to photograph just the baby.

Liam’s parents were close by, getting his attention. I prefer that if anyone calls to him, that they do it right over my shoulder, nearly breathing down my neck. Snapping fingers and pointing where the child should look, never works. If anyone is going to call the baby, and I want the baby to look more or less towards the camera, then the other person needs to be right next to me, hovering right behind me.

Learn more inside…

{ 6 comments }

photographic style – inspiration, adjusting & adapting  (model: Ulorin Vex)

Photography has a never-ending learning curve. I think this is even more true as the technology expands and accelerates. Sometimes I feel that we’re running at full speed just to remain at a stand-still. That’s just the technology that we have to acquire what we need to know about to do our work and art the best. But even with the techniques and methods we have as photographers – we should always be investigating and analyzing the work of others, learn, and then rework and adapt it in our own style. Even if we acquire new skills in minute ways – it all adds up to where we are always on an upward curve, learning and becoming better.

When I first dived into photography, I spent countless hours reading books and photography magazines. I eventually discovered heaven – the Bensusan Museum and Library of Photography, in Johannesburg. Shelves and shelves of books on photography! That was then – now we have complete overload with the work of other photographers and artists just a click away.  With that, I am constantly looking at the work of others, soaking in what others are doing.

A photographer that has really stood in the past year or so, is Craig Lamere. His style is clean and striking looking. There’s a dramatic simplicity to it, with beautiful lighting and impeccable post-processing. Check out his work.

Learn more inside…

{ 10 comments }

review: Sony Alpha a7R camera

February 21, 2014

review: Sony Alpha a7R camera

Sony is still on fire with their new camera releases. There is the delicious full-frame compact  Sony RX1 (B&H).  (Read my review of the Sony RX1).  For a relatively long while, the best compact camera on the market was the Sony RX100 (B&H) which was improved with the Sony RX100 II (B&H). The full-frame Sony A99 DSLR also received great reports.  So no doubt about it – Sony makes great cameras.

Another trend that has gained momentum in the last year or two – Mirrorless cameras. Without the bulk of the mirror and prism, the mirrorless cameras are more compact and weigh less. But instead of that direct optical view of the world around you, there’s an electronic viewfinder (EVF).  The EVFs tended to show lag – but great improvements have been made where they show nearly real-time what the scene unfolds in front of your camera. For some, it will be a huge adaptation working with these.

But I digress. Mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras have become more popular. Or at least, the photo industry has been pushing these really hard, creating a buzz about these cameras. The photo industry are obviously keen on new markets that are created.

Until now, mirrorless cameras have been crop-sensor cameras. Until now – Sony has released the 24 megapixel Sony Alpha a7 camera  (B&H) and the 36 megapixel Sony Alpha a7R camera  (B&H). The a7R is interesting in that it doesn’t have an optical low-pass filter. (Anti-aliasing filter.) This allows for greater image sharpness, at the expense of occasionally risking moiré  patterns.

I had my hands on a review copy of the Sony  a7R camera (B&H) and the Sony Sonnar T* FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA lens (B&H) for a few weeks to give the camera a test run. My verdict? I kinda like it, but there are also a few surprises …

Learn more inside…

{ 8 comments }

Tammy Hineline is a Sergeant in the US Marine Corps serving as a Combat Photographer / Videographer. And … Tammy follows the Tangents blog! She graciously responded to my request asking if she’d be interested in writing a guest article about the life as a military photographer in the Marines. It’s a fascinating glimpse into a photography career outside of what most of us would ever experience.

Since enlisting in 2008 Tammy has done two deployments and has provided photographic support to multiple training evolutions, humanitarian operations, and other military events. She recently returned from Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. In her spare time she enjoys taking pictures of people that aren’t Marines and assisting on weddings.

life as a military photographer in the U.S. Marines

a guest post by Tammy Hineline

In January of 2008, I enlisted into the United States Marine Corps. I was taking photography classes at my community college and shooting baby portraits at a Wal-Mart Portrait Studio. I wasn’t doing so hot in school and barely putting enough effort into my work to pass. I was beyond bored with everything I was doing.

One day, a Marine Corps recruiter set up shop at my school. I went home thinking, “Wow, wouldn’t it be crazy if I joined the Marine Corps?” So I did it. A break up with my loser boyfriend and some good timing on the recruiter’s part brought me to the famous yellow footprints at Parris Island.

I enlisted into the Combat Camera MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) and since then I’ve done two deployments, traveled to seven different countries, blown up a lot of stuff, eaten a lot of Meals Ready-to-Eat, sailed on a Navy ship, trained alongside foreign soldiers of various countries, once stood in line for two hours just to eat corn dogs, flown in more aircraft than I have ever wished to, and have taken a ton of photos.

The military is a beast of its own kind and a lot of people don’t really understand what we do; let alone what a photographer does in and for the military. I’m hoping today we can answer some of those questions.

The one thing to remember: We are Marines first, photographers second. We do all the things regular Marines do. We go to bootcamp, we shoot on the range once a year, get paid the same, have to meet the same physical fitness requirements, and everything else the entire Corps has to do. It’s the nature of the job.

Learn more inside…

{ 23 comments }

creating foreground bokeh effects in-camera

The closer you move to a foreground object, the more it’s shape and color and opacity will affect the image … in unpredictable ways. It’s a well-established technique then to create unusual color splashes and shapes in the image by creating flare highlights. It is often called “foreground bokeh effect”.

Ulorin Vex is an unusually photogenic model that I have photographed on a few occasions. When Ulorin visited the East Coast again recently, I jumped at the opportunity to meet up with her again and play in the studio. Her striking looks and colorful latex dresses would work perfectly with this technique – the random kaleidoscope patterns and colors wouldn’t be incongruous.

With a standard lighting setup in the studio, using a beauty dish, I also added an extra light to throw light directly towards the camera. I then held up various colored objects right in front of the lens – a colorful translucent plastic flower with colorful petals and leaves worked best. Shooting through an opening between the petals and leaves of the decorative plastic flower, all kinds of interesting random patterns appeared. It was unpredictable, and that is what made the effect interesting in part – you wouldn’t quite know what you’re going to get.

If this effect appeals to you, it would make sense to collect all kinds of objects to try out – glass elements and prisms work well too. Anything that will create a pleasant visual surprise.

Learn more inside…

{ 30 comments }

available light portraits – composition and light

Over time I noticed that my style in photographing portraits have gravitated to a specific look where everything is quite simplified – the lighting, the background and the framing of the shot. Whether I use the available light, or video light, or off-camera flash, or even on-camera bounce flash, there’s a certain uncomplicated look. I’d like to think of it as elegant unfussy simplicity.

Analyzing this, it is easy to see there’s a specific method here. It’s a method which helps especially when under pressure. Here, even allowing extra time for the crazy peak-time traffic here in New Jersey, I was still running late for the photo session with Christy. When I arrived, falling back into a familiar rhythm of shooting portraits, allowed me to get images that work, very quickly.

The essential idea is that the light has to be good, and the background has to be complimentary. Then it is a matter of posing our subject, and composing the frame. Invariably then, the starting point is finding that intersect between good light and a good background. And if  you don’t have great available light, then you need to create it with additional lighting.

Learn more inside…

{ 15 comments }

paying for Facebook likes

February 10, 2014

consider carefully before paying for Facebook likes

If you have paid for FB likes for your page, then you have to, absolutely have to watch this video clip. Watch it to the end and let it sink in. Yes, we’ve all been had.

If you have a Facebook page for your business, then you may have been tempted to pay for Facebook likes. There is then the immediate obstacle in that Facebook wants you to pay again to get to that exact same audience that you paid to accumulate. This has been a topic that has been hotly discussed on various forums. It even got a mention on the Tangents blog a year ago – Facebook’s diminishing value for page owners. There are regular articles that hit the news about this and similar topics, for example: Warning: If You Have A Facebook Fan Page, Read This

Of course, Facebook tries to spin what they are doing – trying to sweet-talk this as them giving you what you really want – e.g., an article on Mashable: FB news feed – high quality content. I don’t fall for this line of explanation, because the reason I follow certain pages on Facebook such as a favorite band, is that I want to hear more about them. But now FB is squeezing them to pay for their audience to see their posts. It’s an disingenuous game that everyone is wise to.

Learn more inside…

{ 11 comments }

wedding photography – posing and sequencing the family groups

The fourth video tutorial in conjunction with Craftsy, is an interesting one – photographing the family groups at weddings. This is one area where newer photographers have difficulty in finding traction. Suddenly under pressure and with dozens of people pulling in different directions, it is easy to come apart. With this video tutorial, we’ll cover ways of sequencing and posing the family groups.

With numerous useful tips, I cover this topic and explain how I keep everything on track during this part of the wedding day. We’ll cover the topic thoroughly, working from a diagram layout of the family groups, all the way to lighting and posing.

The links here have a $10 discount for readers of the Tangents blog.

Learn more inside…

{ 4 comments }

step-by-step guide to using a flash meter with manual flash & ambient light

A question posted on the Tangents forum was on the topic of exactly how to use a light meter to get to correct settings for manual flash. This article covers that first tentative step in what exactly you should do with this brand-new light-meter in your hand. It will help you cope with that initial “what now?” moment.

How exactly would you have used the flash meter (with the strobe in manual mode) to arrive at the correct settings to illuminate the model properly without changing your in-camera settings? Values entered into the flash meter?

It is much easier than you think, so let’s take it step-by-step:

Learn more inside…

{ 73 comments }

my book on off-camera flash photography is available again!

So here’s a crazy thing – it appears my book on Off-Camera Flash Photography, went out of print temporarily. And I suspect some retailers on Amazon have automatic price adjustment when an item goes out of print, but there’s still demand for it.

So for a few months now, some retailers via Amazon, had my book listed for anywhere up to $999.00 … yup, a thousand dollars. Now, I think the info in there is priceless, but even then, a thousand bucks seemed a little excessive. Anyway, the book is now available again at normal prices, as are my other books.

Learn more inside…

{ 3 comments }

12345...10...83