Monthly Archives: June 2016

Tips to Set Up a Photo Booth

Tips to Set Up a Photo Booth

Photo booth are becoming very popular at parties. They can be seen at the wedding and birthday parties. Photo booth are unique and form great ideas at a party and a quite simple one to do. You can set up a photo booth within an hour if you have the right equipment. Having a photo booth will add up to the entertainment of the party, and also let the guests take away their photos with them as memories. You can set one up at home just for fun, or for a special occasion like Halloween. Setting up a photo booth at home, before going to the party venue will allow you to test it beforehand. So, without further ado here are tips on building your own photo booth

Simple Photo Booth
For a super basic photo booth, you will need just a laptop and a printer. But, make sure the laptop has an embedded camera in it which has a decent enough resolution to take passport size photographs. So, in a corner of the room, that is well-lit, keep a stool for people to sit while their picture is being shot. Then set up the laptop at a height which allows to take straight shot of the subject. Connect the laptop with a printer. And install a software which takes three or more photos in one go.

You can use Automator workflow for Mac interface or go with DSLR Remote Pro version for Windows. Once you have installed it, check by making somebody pose for you and then take the shot and print it. Set up the software to take three shots with one click. This was a simple way to set up a photo studio. If you want, you can keep a Shoji screen to make two sides of the wall, and the one side of the wall and the open side can be used to enter the photo booth. If you want you can invest in a professional light to lit the subject properly.

Photo Booth with Basic Equipment
The most basic equipment you need to set up a decent photo booth at home is a basic DSLR camera. These days they are available for real low prices, so you can consider investing in one. Also, you will need other photography equipment like light, umbrella, stands, etc. You will need a light, which can be flash from your DSLR or you can consider buying a special light. You will also need a good quality and sturdy stand to keep the light on. Invest in a tripod stand for your DSLR too.

You can also use an umbrella to bounce the light. If you are using a special flash lit then fix it in an umbrella, so that it bounces off the light from the umbrella surface. This will help bounce soft light on the subject. Another important equipment you need to set up a photo booth is a backdrop. For this, the best idea is to buy a background stand and a seamless paper. You can also hang a big fabric to create a background. If you want to merge the subject with a different background, then consider using a chroma screen which comes in mostly bright green or bright blue color. Then set up all your equipment, ask the subject to pose, compose your shot and click, to take a great shot. You can also rent a photo booth, if you feel setting it up is not your cup of tea.

These were some practical tips on setting up a photo booth at home. So, what are you waiting for? Gather all the equipment you need to set the photo booth and get started on this fun project. Enjoy shooting!

Cold Weather Photography Tips

Cold Weather Photography Tips

25-digital-camera-frost-snow-bad-weatherPhotography in the winter can produce dramatic and beautiful images of snow-capped mountains, forests draped in crystal sheets of ice, or birds huddling beneath a rooftop out of the driving sleet. But photography in cold weather is much more challenging for photographers and equipment than warm weather shooting.

Protect Yourself
Everyone knows to wear a coat or sweater if you’re going to be outside for any length of time in cold weather. The face and hands are the most endangered body parts in cold weather photography. But photographers can’t completely muffle their faces or hands or they won’t be able to handle their camera and other equipment successfully. To keep most of your face warm while shooting, try wearing a ski mask to reduce the amount of skin exposed to cold wind and wintry weather. A ski mask will not only keep your face warm, it will help reduce the amount of hot air you breathe onto your camera, which conflicts with the ambient temperature to cause condensation.

Keeping your hands warm is particularly problematic for photographers in the winter. Gloves keep your hands warm between shots, but often you’ll have to remove your gloves to handle the camera or equipment more easily and accurately. Bare hands expose your fingers to cold and wind, which can cause numb fingers and frostbite. Depending on how cold the weather is, you may even risk having your fingers freeze to the metal on the camera, which can damage your skin and the equipment.

To solve cold-finger problems, try wearing gloves in layers. Wear silk or fine mesh gloves first, or use glove liners. Over these thin gloves add a pair of fingerless crafters gloves for more warmth on your palms, which will cut down on hand fatigue. Hunters’ gloves have a removable fingertip section, which can add still another layer that leaves your fingers free. Finally, top all the layers with regular cold-weather heavy gloves. Because you will have to remove these while shooting, be sure to bring a cord to hang them around your neck to prevent losing them.

Your fingers will still get cold while you’re shooting, but the extra protection will stave off damage to your joints and skin until you put your heavy gloves back on. In bitterly cold or windy weather, try keeping a chemical heat pack in your coat pocket to quickly reheat your hands between sessions.

Pay extra attention to your feet when shooting outside in cold weather. Even when you wear well insulated boots, your feet can become damp if you walk in snow higher than the tops of your boots. Wet skin is a major cause of damage from cold weather, and damp socks inside cold shoes are a recipe for disaster when you get home and take your boots off. Keep extra socks with you at all times in case you have to change them while you’re out shooting. Another good thing to keep on hand is a couple of kitchen dish towels or hand towels so you can dry off your feet before changing your socks.

A common cause of injuries during winter shooting is photographers not paying enough attention to their surroundings while focusing on a subject. And in cold conditions, almost any surface can be covered in ice, which is often completely invisible. Be sure to pay attention to where you are about to step, and wear shoes or boots that have heavy soles with good traction, in order to avoid a nasty fall that could injure you or ruin your equipment.

Protect Your Equipment

Batteries lose their charge more quickly in cold weather. So be sure to carry spare batteries for all of your equipment. Lithium batteries carry a charge better than older style batteries. You can keep spare batteries in your coat pocket, your camera bag, or other relatively warm spot out of the extremely cold temperatures. But be sure not to keep batteries in a too warm spot, or they could cause condensation when you place them inside cold equipment.

Condensation is a particularly troublesome problem for photographers. Just like your rear view mirror fogs up when you get inside your car because of your body heat and breathing, condensation can fog up your camera lens and the inside of your camera when temperatures change rapidly. Condensation is water forming on surfaces that are significantly colder or warmer than the surrounding air. So if you are outside shooting in cold weather and take your camera into an area where the air is warm, condensation will form if the camera is colder than the dew point. By the same token, if you take your camera out of a warm room or car into cold weather, condensation can form.

The best way to avoid condensation is to bring your camera through extreme temperature changes gradually by sealing it inside a bag containing the same temperature the camera is already acclimated to. By doing this, any condensation that accumulates forms on the bag instead of the camera, as the air inside the bag gradually equalizes to the new environment. You may get cold waiting for the camera to cool off before you can begin shooting, but the wait is worth it to protect your equipment.

Another source of condensation is actually you. If you breathe warm air onto your camera, you risk fogging it. Also, the warmth emanating from your eye can cause problems in the viewfinder. These types of condensation are more of an annoyance than a risk to the camera, but they are issues to keep in mind while shooting. Don’t hold the camera to your face continually for a long length of time, to keep the warmth of your eye from fogging the viewfinder. Try to remember to exhale away from the camera, or even hold your breath or breathe shallowly while shooting. Be sure not to put your camera in a pocket or inside your coat temporarily, because even a small change in temperature for a short amount of time can raise the temperature of the camera and lens enough to cause a problem.

Remember that condensation can form inside the camera where you will not be able to see it. The moisture inside can cause problems with the electronic workings of the camera while you’re shooting, but worse, it could freeze in very cold conditions and completely ruin the camera.

By taking a few precautions before you begin taking a few pictures, you can ensure that your winter photography exploits result in beautiful photographs rather than expensive repairs or serious injuries.

Tips Starting a Photography Business

Tips Starting a Photography Business

Many people with an eye for beauty, judgment of light, and ability to capture the moment undertake photography business. Those who have made a name for themselves in this field are earning extremely well today. This is because there are three things which matter the most for the success of this business: right composition of elements in the photograph, right opportunity, and right networking.

Undertake Professional Courses
Even if people say you are a ‘pro’ at photography, it is highly advisable that you undertake professional courses to hone your talent. Getting a certification in photography or attending courses will give your work a professional perspective. Needless to say, your work will be taken more seriously on competitive platforms. It will also teach you to work with many photography software, the knowledge of which has become indispensable today.

Mentor
Is there a photographer whose work you look up to or appreciate? You may be in awe of how he has carved a niche for himself in the field of photography. You may even be a pure admirer of his art. Meet that person and speak to him about your aspirations. Request him to teach you ‘tricks of this trade’ and guide you in your work. Having a mentor can not only help ameliorate your work, but it can also get you good business contacts.

Hands-on Experience
Merely spending a few hours in photography classes is not going to make you an ace photographer. Apart from continuously clicking photos of various objects, models, monuments, nature, etc., you will have to do an internship with an able photographer. This will actually help get a preview of how your business will operate. Learn as much as you can about camera, equipment, posing, makeup, models, objects, light, etc. Even if you earn only a few dollars for this work, take it, as you will learn a lot.

Be an Expert
In the initial days, you can try your hand at different kinds of photography. However, it is advisable that you specialize in a particular field later, like wedding photography, fashion photography, industrial photography, travel photography, object photography, wildlife photography, food photography, portraits, etc. This will help in establishing yourself as a capable and creative photographer.

Build a Portfolio
Build a creative portfolio of your photographs which will help showcase your talent in front of clients. They will get an idea about your work and give you more business. They may even refer you to their family and friends. Having a good e-portfolio will enable you to send your work to prospective clients in a matter of minutes.

Finances and Taxes
During the inception stage of your business, you may not have the necessary funds. Hence, it advisable to take a loan for the same. You can get an SBA loan easily, without much hassles. It is recommended that you carry your portfolio with you when you go to your lender to make a favorable impression. Also, hire professional services to look after your financial records and taxes. Maintain a record of all paperwork as it will be useful later on.

Source Equipment
Sourcing the right equipment is essential for your business. The quality of your photos will be highly dependent on the quality of camera and allied instruments you use. Hence, do not compromise on it. You will require a variety of instruments like camera, lenses, flash, flash cards, tripod, etc.
Speak to a senior photographer before going ahead and buying these things. Try to utilize online deals to get them at best bargains. However, buying secondhand equipment is not advisable, as they will cause you to spend a lot on repairs.

Hire a Studio
In the initial days, when you might have cost constraints, you may choose to shoot at locations decided by the client which may include their houses, lawns, convention halls, parks, etc. Some even create a temporary studio space in their home. However, renting a studio is also an option, if you have some extra money to spare. You may need to allot a place for a professional lab in your studio. Slowly, as your business will pick up, you can go ahead and buy a studio of your own.

Hire Help
As your business will expand, you will find it difficult to keep up with its growing demands on your own. Hence, it is advisable that you hire photography enthusiasts or students as interns to assist you with your work. This way, you will be able to get employees at a very lesser cost. In turn, the interns will also get hands-on experience.

Network
The right kind of networking is essential for being successful in this business. Attend photography conventions and visit galleries to meet other photographers. Mingle with other photographers so that you may get opportunities through their contacts.

Promote Your Work
It is important that you promote your work on a large scale. Start with having a website which will feature your work along with the price list. It’s great to have your (business) presence on all the social media forums. Print calendars with your photos and send them to your clients as New Year gifts.
Try to put your branding on your cards, envelopes, invoices, and album covers. You can even put stickers on your car. Enroll your entries in photography contests, and try to get your work printed in a magazine. This will help bring recognition and more business.

Formalities
You
may have to register your business as ‘doing business as.’ Apart from this, you will need the necessary licenses and permits from your local and state authorities to start your business.
You may also need to avail the Employee Identification Number. Understand the prevalent copyright issues, and don’t do anything that will cause a legal offense. You may have to get a ‘model release’. This is a liability waiver which is signed by the subject of the photograph allowing the photographer to legally release the photo. It is also advisable that you get a Professional Photographers of America (PPA) membership.

Use Social Media
Nothing works well for promotion of photography business quite like social media. It is perhaps the best word-of-mouth source. You can blog about your work and communicate about it to the world. Utilize social media platforms, like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Flickr, etc., for marketing your work. You will be surprised to find so many people connecting with you through these platforms.

Keep Up with the Industry
Professional photography is perhaps one of the most dynamic of all the creative industries. You should also keep an eye on the developments in the photo editing software industry. There is a technological innovation after every few days, and clients will expect you to be abreast with it. Hence, you should take some time out for training and brushing up your talent.

Undertake Insurance
Undertaking insurance for the safety of your premises and equipment is a must. The last thing you would want is something to damage your costly camera. Accidents can happen anywhere, so insurance coverage is a must. For more information about insurance coverage, you can log on to the PPA website.

Offer various discounts and promotional schemes to your loyal customers so that they will spread the word about your services. Try to create a favorable reputation in the market by clicking stunning images. Do not leave a single opportunity to promote your work.

Recommended Equipment for Wedding Photography

Recommended Equipment for Wedding Photography

Unlike still life photography, wedding photography is an uphill task. You not only have to pay attention to the minute details, but also have to appease the bride and groom with satisfactory pictures. After all, the wedding pictures are not something everyone takes lightly. Besides, wedding photographs are the only means for a couple to reminisce their wedding day long after the actual day has passed. All this just points us in one direction―of getting the perfect shots during a wedding photo shoot. For this, you need not just a camera but a lot of other equipment as well.

Given below are the essential equipment that every photographer, a wedding photographer in particular, must have in his/her photography kit.

camera

One of the most essential equipment for wedding photography is a good full-frame DSLR camera. Wedding photography demands superior definition, detailing, and sharpness for which you need to possess a full-frame 5D camera. For obvious reasons, it is always better to carry an extra camera body with you at all times, especially for weddings. After all, you wouldn’t want to run out on business or customers because your primary camera decided to give way in between a photo shoot.

» Cameras like Canon EOS 5D, Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Nikon D800, Sony a99, Nikon D600 among others can be your companion for photo shoots.

Camera Lenses

Owning a camera is not sufficient to call you a professional. You also need a variety of lenses to go with the main body of the camera. Candid photographs taken during receptions require long-bodied lenses that will be able to zoom into the subject without actually intruding. You will need wide-aperture lenses that will allow you to shoot at lower ISOs in low light settings. You could place your bet on a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens and a 70-200mm f/2.8, for delivering perfect intimate details of shots taken both indoors and outdoors. You will also need macro and fisheye lenses for a couple of shots during the event.

» Popular choices are the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens, Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II USM Lens, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Lens, and the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art Lens.

Flash Units

Wedding photography calls for working with natural light settings; however, one cannot rely on natural and ambient light to click photographs. As a photographer, it is always recommended that you carry your own light source. You could breathe life into those pretty wedding portraits set in low light with an additional source of light. Use of digital flash or slave flashes along with your camera flash should effectively bounce the light and produce soft directional light. Besides, flashlights can effectively light up nooks and crannies that your inbuilt camera flash won’t reach, and effectively provide you with a side light for enhanced photographs. Shoe-mount flashes can rotate to any angle, thus, giving you the variation you need to get the best light. Slave flashes, on the other hand, can be connected to the camera using a cable extension. Needless to say, it is always better to have an extra flash unit in hand during wedding ceremonies.

» When choosing a speedlight, rely on a SB-800/900 or 580EX II; however, even a SB-600 or 430EX II will do the trick. Canon 600EX-RT, Nikon SB-910, Sony HVL-F60M, Vivitar 285HV, Canon 580EX, Nikon SB-700 are some of the best flash units you can lay your hands on.

Flash Diffusers

Using flash units will allow you to take great pictures; however, the pictures could also include harsh shadows cast behind the subject and overexposed or unnaturally lit subjects. You could use different flash bouncing techniques and even control the flash output from the camera, but the easiest way to eliminate harsh lights is by using flash diffusers. Using a flash diffuser allows you to attain more natural-looking pictures by canceling out harsh lights and shadows that become a part of the picture when using flash. Depending on your needs, you could use flash reflectors, umbrella reflectors, and flip-up flash diffusers.

Battery and Charger

Attaching a flash unit to the camera is sure to drain out your camera battery faster. When shooting for grand ceremonies, it is always advisable to carry along extra batteries as well as a battery charger to immediately replenish the used up batteries.

Photo Filters

Photo filters alter the way your camera lens views the light. They can reduce glare, alter the hue, block out haziness, change the appearance of reflections, and will also protect the camera lens from scratches. You can sharpen those black and white wedding portraits and enhance the hues of colored photographs with colored filters. In short, filters will help you as a wedding photographer to add dimension to the photographs.

Memory Cards

Wedding photography employs taking loads of pictures for which you need to have a good storage capacity. It is imperative that you should have additional memory cards with you just so that you do not restrict yourself from taking great pictures. Remember, the more you experiment and go about taking natural pictures, the happier your clients will be.

If you are going to be experimenting with vintage cameras, it is imperative that you keep a couple of film rolls in hand. This will ensure that you do not run out on rolls and extra storage space at all times.

Do not forget to put in a tripod or monopod stand, as well as an additional battery grip into your kit. You would need a couple of super clamps to hold the slave flashlights in place. That about covers the essentials you need as a wedding photographer.