Friday, July 22, 2011

Photography Tip: How to Shoot Silhouettes

To photograph a silhouette, the light source must first be behind the subject. To actually achieve the effect:
  1. Press the shutter button halfway down to meter/expose/take a reading on the area behind the subject (here: the sky). 
  2. Recompose to place the subject properly within the frame.
  3. Press the shutter button all the way down to snap the picture.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

LA: LACMA - Urban Light

I did a shoot at LACMA tonight and photographed the outdoor gallery of antique city street lights otherwise known as "Urban Light" by Chris Burden (2008).

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Travel Photography Tip: Don't Forget Your Hotel Room

The hotel room shot is usually one of the first photos I make sure to get right away -- and I usually never actually show it to anyone. Why? Because a hotel room is usually impersonal and generic; in other words, no one really wants to see it. However, I take it anyway just to remind myself of where I've stayed. I usually prefer staying in 5-star accommodations (refer to any of my Las Vegas Hotel reviews), but I chose this rather modest one above because it happened to be directly across the street from Quebec City's Parliament building (as seen through the window). Other than that, it was your typical four-star hotel room.

If you're not staying at a cookie cutter chain hotel, then, by all means, snap away at the charming features of your quaint accommodations. Focus in on decorative knobs and bidets and whatever you fancy. Don't forget balcony/window shots. It'll all be sure to conjure up good memories down the road.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Travel Photography Tip: Food

Unless you're eating out only at McDonald's when you travel, chances are the food you're eating during your vacation is going to be exotic. Whether the ingredients are unique or the presentation itself is just uncommon, make sure to snap it BEFORE YOU START EATING (meals that are about wrapped up are not appetizing). Don't forget drinks (like ones served in coconuts) and street food! If you don't have money to buy, you can probably photograph the window display (at bakeries and such).

Monday, July 11, 2011

Travel Photography Tip: Capture the Signs

The basic rule of thumb is capture things with words: street signs, store names, billboards, bumper stickers, restaurant menus, newspapers, train tickets, etc. Pictures and diagrams themselves can be of interest as well (see the photo above). I found this funny gem while walking the streets of Prague. I can't read it and can only assume it says something along the lines of pick up after your pet, and, oh, by the way, we'll provide you with the baggie.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Travel Photography Tip: Local Wildlife at Eye Level

I think the most common wildlife photos I see are of ducks and pigeons (animals you'd normally see at a park or random tourist attraction). It's fine to take pictures of them; but rather than shooting down at them, try shooting at their eye level (like I did here). I know, I know -- I used a photo of something that was so big it just had to be at eye level with me, but, still, I waited until the hippopotamus submerged before snapping it. This technique also works wonders when photographing tall animals or creatures normally high up (because of it's rare vantage point). So be prepared to go really high or low. ;)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Travel Photography Tip: Local Vegetation

Most people often remember to take photos of flowers when they're on vacation, but other vegetation that could be of interest are local fruits and vegetables, trees (palm, eucalyptus), cacti, bushes, etc. Markets are great places to see what there is to offer in any given location.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Travel Photography Tip: Take Pictures of Souvenirs Instead

Instead of buying souvenirs, I take photos of them. That way, I can take home more souvenirs than I would ever actually buy and they all fit in my luggage! To me, a photo and a souvenir serve the same purpose: to remind me of my trip. If this isn't the same case for you, and if you're absolutely dying to buy a souvenir, by all means, ignore this travel tip.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Travel Photography Tip: Get the Expected Shots

When you travel, there are photos that you are quite simply expected to take. For example, when in Paris, you just have to take a picture of the Eiffel Tower; in Los Angeles, the Hollywood Sign is a must; and in New York, what would a trip be without a visit to the Statue of Liberty (above)? These shots have been done to death before. And, even the "unique" and "creative" ones, too. So, just suck it up, and take the darn, cliche shot. If you don't, not only will you regret not doing it, but you'll have a mutiny (from your friends) on your favorite social network as well.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Photography Tip: Intentionally Use Blur

There's a difference between having blurry photos and purposely using blur. The easiest way to tell is if the things you don't intend to blur are tack sharp. For example, in the photo above, the flag above and the man in the bottom right corner are not blurry, whereas the moving people are indeed blurs. When the entire photo is blurry, it's due to camera shake and just screams "mistake" (click here to find out how to get sharp photos). To achieve this effect, use a low shutter speed (here: 1/4th of a second) and use a tripod (or hold really still, like I did).

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Photography Tip: Dew & Rain Droplets

If you happen to like the look of dew or rain droplets on flowers, you don't necessarily have to wait till morning/after a rain to photograph it. You can fake it by using a spray bottle or just simply pouring water on top of your subject. To freeze the action (to prevent the blurring of a falling water droplet), just make sure your shutter speed is higher than 1/125th of a second.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Photography Tip: Use a Lens Hood

I am the biggest offender of this next tip. I still don't own a lens hood (I never thought I'd use the kit lens that came with my camera so much). Then again, I never got around to buying the actual lenses I wanted either. But I do know lens hoods (shades) are good for the following reasons:
  1. They prevent lens flares in your picture (see above).
  2. They protect your lens from accidental bumps/scratches.
They're fairly inexpensive (compared to your camera and lens). Make sure to buy the hood that is specifically designed for your lens; otherwise, you'll get unwanted vignetting.

The way I get around not using a lens hood is I either move to change angles or I use my hand and hold it just above the lens (keep it out of view or crop out your hand later). Unfortunately, the latter means I'm shooting and holding the camera with only one hand. So, I'm limited to circumstances that give me high shutter speeds. But it works sometimes (see below).