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Photo tips 1 for less experienced photographers

  • The photo session on Saturday and Sunday was an entirely new experience for me.  It was my first time to work in a directed photo session.  Moreover I've never done an extensive night and day time shooting.  In total I get more than 400 pictures with 2GB worth of file in just two days.  The photo session really exhaust my photography skills and from there I've learn some new tricks that might be useful for you.  I admit that my skills were far from perfect, and I'm just trying share what I've just learnt.

    • Preparing easy to print image

    • To be print on a magazine, the images need to look natural, not overly saturated.  In contrast to my personal preference of saturated image, the people on the printing company certainly won't be happy with overly saturated image.  The vast difference in colour and contrast will narrow their opportunity to do Photoshop editing.  I knew because my staff on my printing company always complaints when they got an overly saturated images.

    • Use only sRGB colour space.  According to my people at printing company, 90% of printing companies don't know how to configure colour space.  Therefore using AdobeRGB will sometimes results improper handling which make dull coloured image .

    • Reducing blurry images

    • Night time photography requires longer exposure, which mean the camera should be mounted on tripod.  However I don't have the luxury of carrying tripod.  This trick is about image stabilising.  At 1/40 sec I got 80% useable images, and I still can get good percentage at 1/15 sec.  I think this is impressive for less experienced photographer like me. 

      How do I get that?  I got it by exercising in gym and practising horse stand.  This is the philosophy, if your hands and body are strong to carry heavy loads, you will feel a camera is not heavy, then your hand will not shake when taking picture, then the chance of blurry image will be lower.  This satay man below (tukang sate) at Waroeng Semawis shows that even at 1/40 things were perfectly still, while his fan were moving quickly! 

      • satayman

    • however if you don't have time to exercise on the gym, you can always lean your body into something to reduce vibration.

    • Using fill flash for balancing light

    • Sometimes we are trapped on a dark subject with bright background.  To overcome this we will need to balance light by using fill flashes.  I learn to use fill flash to balance people's face during daylight, especially when the light were coming from background.  This will make the object brighter. 

      Moreover a balanced image will allow further and easier editing on computer.  Please see the example below, the image on the top was taken without fill flash, and on the bottom was taken with fill flash.  The fill flashed image's manages to show that the snack dealer is the one I intend to photograph.

      • noflash

      • fill flashed

    • Do not cast your own shadow!

    • A common mistake by less experienced photographer like me is by casting my own shadow over the subject.  On this photo session, I cast my shadow in more than 5 pictures!  I had a ruined image because of my shadow.  Sample picture below here I've put a red circle that shows my shadow.  As usual, click to see the full size of the image.

      • selfshadow

    • Avoiding ghosts and flares. 

    • I learn how important is a good filter is.  I use Kokaii filter, the cheapest on the street that costs me around Rp 38000 (USD 4).  The seller says that filter is not important, and at that time I don't think it is important as well. 

    • However that night shows that bad filters ruins some my images that otherwise excellent.  Ghost and flares were caused by lightning that is coming from unexpected direction.  Therefore when I see ghosts and flares, I took of the filter and the image just getting better.  Sometimes even taking filter does not help, therefore I use my hand to block the light source to work like a hood.  This trick works pretty well and sometime works on situation where ghosts and flares still exists even we use hood.

  • Waroeng Semawis

    • On Saturday night I've visited Waroeng Semawis at Jl. Gang Warung 63 Semarang to do a photo session. Waroeng Semawis is a street mall in Semarang that is open at night as an eating place. It is a bustling place where you can find a lots of good food there, which most of them are meat that I couldn't eat.

    • I took more than 100 pictures at that session.  My pictures will be published on a culinary book, therefore I could only show picture I think will not be put on the book.  I encourage for all people who love culinary and will travel to Semarang to buy the book (tell you the title later!).

    • This photo session is a real world night shooting test for EOS 400D and its kit lens.  The EOS 400D with kit lens works flawlessly well.  All the pictures is a taken at ISO 1600 with aperture wide open between 3.5-5.6 and I got decent result with good noise performance, which means beautiful girl will still be beautiful. 

    • Some of the picture might be too yellow for some viewer, but Semawis is lit by tungsten street light that is really yellow.  Therefore changing the white balance will only make people could not recognise that this is picture of the real Semawis.  In my opinion anyway, the yellow colour is the one that make the pictures stunning.

      • waroeng semawis

    • And as usual, I could not resist not to snap two sales promotion girl's picture for the bonus!  Click the picture to enjoy it at large size!  It is good to have a SLR, the girls will automatically pose for you!

      • spg

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