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Free & Simple way to add Drama & Depth...

I’m always disappointed when I take my sunglasses off because the world looks more dramatic and richer with them on. So obviously I pop them in front of my lens and hey pesto, now I thought everyone did it, but based on the number of people asking me what I’m doing holding my sunglasses over my iPhone…maybe not?

Free & Simple way to add Drama & Depth- Lightism.co.uk/simple

Ok, you got me…the picture above is a cheat, I processed it differently inside the glasses to exaggerate the effect, but the pictures below are the same scene without:

Free & Simple way to add Drama & Depth- Lightism.co.uk/simple

with:

Free & Simple way to add Drama & Depth- Lightism.co.uk/simple

It really is as simple as holding the glasses over the lens and making sure you cannot see the frames…with the right glasses (mine are Oakley) you’ll be amazed at the difference.

 

 

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Visual Devices to Enhance Your Photography – Lines:

When you first see a photo, your brain tries to read it by looking for clues as to its saying. As a photographer there is a bunch of tricks you can use to help guide your viewer’s brain…and as brains are often busy, they really appreciate a hand now and then.

In this article we’re looking at the use of lines to lead the eye to the main subject.

Visual Devices to enhance your photography – Lines:

The lines can take many forms, but if used correctly they act like a path for the viewer’s eye.

Once the eye reaches your subject, you can consider providing an exit for it, or trying to trap it within the image.

In the example above the eye is taken in from the bottom left, along the line to the subject, wanders briefly and exits top right.

Corners are a powerful place to start a line and immediately grab your attention.

Visual Devices to enhance your photography – Lines:

In the example above there are two set of lines.
The rope starting bottom right and the stepping stones bottom left.

My eye follows the rope, checks out the bank and exits back over the stones…what does your eye do?

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How to bend reality with your background:

Imagine that you could have any image on your background and could change it instantly for a totally different look…well you can and it’s really simple! Using a projector and a newly released ‘background kit’ the creative world is your oyster regardless of smartphone, tablet or camera.

light-blaster-08-800

Slide projectors hold a world of creative possibilities to project images into your picture and they are available on Ebay for £20 upwards. The issue has always been: who has a selection of cool slides perfectly crafted for creative photography…well the solution was launched this week.

Creative backdrop and effects kits are now available from Spiffy Gear from as little as $17 USD.

light-blaster-07-800

They also launched a more elegant and portable solution than an old projector for strobists (that’s people with flash guns also know as strobes or speedlights these days) called the Light Blaster.

Whichever solution you go with, the possibilities really are endless…I’ve ordered mine!

light-blaster-11-800

 

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How to Shoot Dramatic Photos with any smart phone, tablet or camera...

Dramatic photographs don’t depend on what equipment you have, but your ability to think.

Opportunities for great shots are everywhere and in this article I’ll show you a few fool proof places to look and get you thinking what is possible instead of just accepting what is in front of you.

To make this applicable to a wider audience, I’ll pack my DSLR away and only shoot on my iPhone 5 and use a single app: Camera Boost.

Roundabout2-840

Bending Reality:

The magic happens when you observe something pleasing and instead of just snapping, take a moment to think…how can I make this look amazing?  What would [insert name of your favorite photographer] do?

At this point I’ll assume you’ve read my 10 free lessons and remembered to get close, change your perspective and followed my rules on composition, etc.

Personally, I like to take pictures that look better than what is in front of me, to bend reality to my whim and to get what I consider to be the best shot.

This comes from knowing what is possible and I’ve learnt this by seeing lots of amazing photographs and by trial and error, but a quick cheat is to learn with what I call live filtering.

Now, we’ve all added filters to pictures afterwards, but that’s soooo last season darling!
Apps such as Camera Boost for iOS allow you to load Live filters (which it calls presets) which immediately change the live view before you take the picture.

By spending some time playing with these in different situations you’ll soon learn what works for your particular tastes.  All the pictures in this article were shot in this way, but if you normally shoot on a DSLR it will still help you learn about what effects work best and you can apply them in post processing.

 

Sunny Spells:

Strong sun light in the form of sunny spells can provide great drama when combined with black and white or even Lith filters.

How to shoot dramatic photos with any smart phone, tablet or cam

Experiment with filters, you are looking for anything which simplifies and enhances the element with caught your eye.

 

Contra Joure:

By ignoring what you’ve been told about having the sun behind you and shooting directly into the sun you can create some great images. This works with both colour and black and white filters.

How to shoot dramatic photos with any smart phone, tablet or cam

By positioning yourself in front of the sun and experimenting with either the cameras angle in relation to the sun or by obscuring the sun with your subject you’ll start to see and control ‘Lens Flair’.  This adds atmosphere and endless creative possibility.

 

Rain on glass:

Miserable dark rainy weather can leave you feeling flat and wanting to stay at home, but even these conditions are ripe for moody and artistic shots.

How to get studio quality portraits at home on a budget @ Lighti

On a rainy day, cars provide the perfect combination of protection and portable wet glass windows to shoot through.  The wet glass obscures details and effectively adds a physical alternative to depth of field. From countryside to urban to portraits, there is a world of possibilities waiting for you.

 

If you own or do buy camera boost, then checkout this article and the amazing vintage filters you can download.

 

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How to get studio quality portraits at home on a budget.

If you want studio quality portraits on a budget or just want to take you flash / strobist photography to the next level, I’ll show you a cheap (under £44) and simple setup which packs a punch every time and you can take anywhere.

How to get studio quality portraits at home on a budget @ Lighti

What you will need:

I’m assuming you have some of this kit already, but here’s the list with a few budget bits that I used for this shot:

1)  A DSLR or compact camera with a flash hot shoe.

2)  Any simple flashgun,
I used a cheap Yongnuo YN-460* from EBay costing £29.99

3)  A sync cable £1.89 from eBay or,
I used a Yongnuo RF602* wireless flash trigger from EBay cost £18.

4)  An white shoot through umbrella with bracket from EBay cost £9.99 upwards, I used one of these.

5)   Someone to hold your umbrella or,
I used a cheap eBay light stand (Konig branded) £17.99

6)  A homemade tin foil reflector costing £2.00 (see video) or,
30” silver reflector on eBay from £5.99 (I used a LastoLite one at £17.85)

So, total cost £44 on a tight budget or for all the kit including flashgun, wireless triggers, umbrella, lighting stand an amazing £82!

 

*  These items are great starter gear and I even use them commercially for simple tasks. Nobody knows, as I put black electrical tape over the branding on all my kit anyway.

 

 

How to use them – Clam shell lighting made easy:

photo-840

The flashgun will throw out soft light from above the model and the reflector will bounce it back up and act like a second light.

This gives your pictures a sophisticated studio look with the minimal of effort, cost and fuss.

 

Step 1
Setup so you model will be 3 feet from a white (ish) wall. 

 

Step 2:
If you have a zoom set it to 70 – 100 mm, the lens will dictate where your camera will be positioned and working on a table makes this setup much easier as you will need to shoot in-between the umbrella and the reflector as above.

 

Step 3:
Setup your umbrella directly above the camera pointing down at your model at around 45 degrees.
I set mine as high as it would go and it rubbed the ceiling.

(If you’re using wireless triggers, one goes on the flash and the other on the camera.)

 

Step 4:
Your reflector will need to be at 45 degrees, but play with this for the desired effect.

You can use assistant or get the model to hold it or I find a table works well (unless they have boxing gloves on of course)

 

Step 5:
Turn on your Flashlights to manual and ¼ power, position your model and shoot.

I shoot with a zoom set to 70mm in aperture priority at f5.6 or below, with auto white balance and auto Iso…simple really.

 

Clam shell lighting made easy @ Lightism

Tips:

If your camera is selecting a shutter speed less than 1/100th of a second, then turn up the power on the flash gun or you may get blurred pictures.

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Inspirational Phone Photography from around the Globe:

If you want inspiration or just want to the amazing possibilities of what camera phones can do these days, then you should checkout the winner’s gallery of the 6th International iPhone Photography Awards announced this week…errm, I suppose I should mention that includes two of my images….* blushes *

The Hideout - iPhone Photography Awards 2007

The iPhone Photography Awards celebrate some of the best phone photography from around the world and the possibilities of this relevantly new, but rapidly developing pocket technology has to be seen to be believed.

In a few weeks, I’ll be writing a tutorial on how this shot which received an Honorable Mention in the Landscape category was taken:

Now Go Inspire - iPhone Photography Awards 2007

So, without further ado here is the 2013 Winner’s Gallery:

Inspirational Photography from around the Globe

 

 

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An Amazing Lazy way to get Better Photos:

In this article I’ll show you technology release this week which will improve the quality your photos, sort thought them, selecting the best ones, make animated pictures from any multiple shots you have and securely backs up all of your photos from you phone
…at no cost, all while you sleep!

An Amazing Lazy way to get Better Photos  - http://lightism.co.u

Sounds like the stuff of science fiction I know, but this week Google announced and launched amazing advances in imaging technology embedded into it’s social network Google+

Let me show you how to utilise this to make your photos much better at no cost and minimal effort, even if you don’t plan to use their social network (which is actually really good and well worth a look)

Here’s their very short promo video to show you what it can do

[embedplusvideo height="269" width="429" standard="http://www.youtube.com/v/PmQ-d71GdPc?fs=1" vars="ytid=PmQ-d71GdPc&width=429&height=269&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=0&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=&notes=" id="ep4346" /]

 

What you need to do:

1) Create a google+ account which is very quick especially if you have a googlemail account already at https://plus.google.com/photos

2) Download the google+ app to you iOS or Android device.

3) Start the app, login and enable auto backup of your photos (you get 15 GB of space)

4) Sit back and wait!

 

What will Happen:

Photos you take from now on will be processed and after a while will appear in the app much like the video above.

Older photos will take a while to appear, this could be because I have thousands of photos on my iPhone 5, but a day or so later the app told me it had made me a sweet little animated picture of a cub scout lighting a fire from a sequence I’d long forgotten, whilst other pictures are just automatically enhanced.

 

The Trick:

So, here’s the trick: how to download or share the photo without using google+ after it’s done all the hard work and made you look like a brilliant photographer:

[embedplusvideo height="349" width="429" standard="http://www.youtube.com/v/EXRHsMQMa1M?fs=1" vars="ytid=EXRHsMQMa1M&width=429&height=349&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=0&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=&notes=" id="ep4283" /]

 

DSLR Photographers:

If you shoot from a traditional camera, you can simply upload you photos to Google+ and still get the same benefits!

 

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Use Psychology to take Better Pictures:

By understanding how the brain works when it first sees an image, you can produce more engaging pictures regardless of which phone, tablet or camera you use.

Use Psychology to take Better Pictures @ Lightism.co.uk

As you look at a picture for the first time, you’re eyes dart around the image like a psychology-powered scanner, all the while the brain is interpreting the information and building up an understanding of  the information contained in the picture…or reading the picture if you will.

It happens in a fraction of a second, without you even realizing it, but by understanding what the brain does you’ll start to get an insight as to why some images are striking and most just don’t leap out.

 

Contain the eye:

Firstly, your eye is drawn to the brightest or most colorful part of the picture, then the eye starts to wander around to see what else there is to see.

So by controlling the light on your subject, which sometimes can be as simple as moving them a little, you can make them the focus of the picture.

Another trick is to keep corners dark or free of important details, it keeps our eyes from wandering off the edges.

 

Control the mood:

If you read English you usually start at the top left, and work our way to the bottom right.

At the very least, we read an image from left to right.

If God was a photographer - the Devine Proportion @ Lightism.co.

This makes the left of the picture the past and the right is the future, so, if your subject is looking or facing left it has a retrospective feel and right is more optimistic. Sounds crazy, but it’s true and you can use this to set the tone of the picture.

 

Questions in the shadow:

Finally our eyes look into the dark areas, though this only happens if you’re still curious enough to see what is in the shadows; if the composition is weak you might have moved onto another picture before the eyes get a chance.

 

Divine Proportions:

Artists and painters discovered that the inclusion of an s-shape or even a backward “S” is aesthetically pleasing and helps keep the viewers attention for longer (the Venus de Milo is the proud owner of an S-shaped body according to art critics).

Here is an article on this very subject:
If God was a photographer – Advanced composition

 

If God was a photographer - the Devine Proportion @ Lightism.co.

Everyone is unique and we each see the world though our own special lens so to speak, but have a look at the three images below and try to become conscious of where your eye starts, where it goes. Can you see any S or reverse S shapes, are there more than one?

 

Taking it Further:

If you want to start to develop you eye further, you’ll love these articles:

How to train your eye to take better pictures

How to realize your images full potential

 

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Develop Your Photography the Easy Way

A great way to develop both your photography and your eye is to start entering photographic competitions and as they range from a great snap of your cat though to prestigious awards, there’s something for everyone.

So, to take a good photograph, you need to know what good looks like….competitions provide a great source of amazing images and better still, the chance to get involved and win stuff!

Develop Your Photography the Easy Way

PS. There are many competitions for smart phone, tablet and compact camera users, so don’t let not having a fancy camera put you off for a second.

 

Inspiration & Stimulation:
Whatever your genre, or style, there is a photo competition out there for you and they are often free to enter.

They provide a wonderful opportunity to see what is possible and popular in your chosen niche.

Even if you don’t enter, they still provide a FREE source of inspiration which is bang on trend.

The very best source is the recently renamed PhotoContestInsider where there are currently 243 open contests just waiting for you. You can subscribe to a free weekly update of use their search facility to find suitable ones.

Once you find a competition, check out each of the previous year’s winners – try to see how the genre’s style has developed over the years and where it’s heading.

 

Develop Your Photography the Easy Way

Shooting with a Purpose:
Getting involved with a competition will give you a purpose to get out there and shoot.

Having a purpose or assignment is a great stimulus for getting creative and getting more use out of your camera.

Some competitions have a brief which is a simple set of rules defining what they are looking for, a bit like if you were shooting commercially for a client. This does make it easier for you to hit the mark.

 

Develop Your Photography the Easy Way

Take a wider look:
Why not take a look at the winners from other genres and ask yourself these questions:

1) Why does the picture work?
2) What elements can I apply to my own photos?
3) What ideas can I ‘borrow’ from this genre to set me apart from the entries in my own genre?

Develop Your Photography the Easy Way


Taking it Further:

If you want to start to develop you eye further, you may like these articles:

How to train your eye to take better pictures
If God was a photographer – Advanced composition
How to realize your images full potential

 

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DIY ‘Vintage Hollywood Glamour Lighting’ using household objects:

To celebrate the release of the blockbuster movie The Great Gatsby, we take a look at the Vintage Hollywood Glamour genre and show how you can shoot it at home with a few simple household objects including a mirror, gaffer tape and a flashlight.

 

Inspiration – Glamour of the Gods:
To get a FREE flavor and the back story of Hollywood, here’s a short video review of the recent exhibition “Glamour of the Gods” which toured London, Europe and the US.

It showcased Hollywood portraiture from the industry’s golden age, the period from 1920 to 1960. All the photographs are drawn from the extraordinary archive of the John Kobal Foundation in London.

[embedplusvideo height="283" width="454" standard="http://www.youtube.com/v/3uLP35GchlQ?fs=1" vars="ytid=3uLP35GchlQ&width=454&height=283&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=0&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=&notes=" id="ep1331" /]

If that leaves you wanting more, then the Glamour of the Gods is available for Ipad at the app store for £4.99.  It contains over 230 images and really is an amazing reference for the genre.

DIY ‘Vintage Hollywood Glamour Lighting’ using household obj

 

The Plan:
I’ll show you how to get two very different looks with two lighting setups using just a single light and a few neat tricks.

To make this relevant to as many people as possible, I’ve shot both pictures in the same small domestic room with a sofa and using simple low cost household objects, instead of studio equipment.

After that, we’ll take a look at post processing made easy to push the look further.

 

  What you’ll need:

What-You'll-need

1 x 60 watt daylight balance bulb
1 x Desk or a Lead Lamp
1 x Hand Mirror
1 x Role of Black Gaffer Tape
1 x LED Flash Light
1 x Step Ladder (optional)

 

 

Look 1 – Soft Vintage Glamour:

DIY Hollywood Vintage Glamour Lighting

This is a pretty, slightly dreamy look with additional light in the eyes to draw your attention and darkened corners to keep your eye from wandering out of the picture.

Top Tip:   I really like the plain background, but a popular trick in Hollywood is to shine a light on the background through a bamboo pot plant, this gives the background a different dimension.

This look is achieved using a single daylight balanced bulb in any sort of desk or lead lamp which throws the light in a single direction.

This is placed to camera right at a similar height to the models head; I used a step ladder to support it.

The step ladder allows you to vary the height in small stages like a lighting stand, but it’s free!

DIY ‘Vintage Hollywood Glamour Lighting’ using household obj

The light is pointing mainly at the background, but the very edge (which is where interesting light lives) is skimming her to provide dimension to her body.

The camera is mounted on a tripod, or you could rest it on a chair with a few books under it if you don’t have one. It’s in aperture priority at f5.6 (30th second) at 70 mm and using manual focus.
I’m using the self timer to free up my hands for my next trick…

The light in her eyes is coming from a hand mirror; it’s reflecting back the light from the lamp.
I’m stood holding it to the camera left…clever huh?

Top Tip:   Use black gaffer tape on the mirror you can control the shape of the pool of light, in many original pictures it was a very thin band of light just across the eyes.

 

Look 2: Dramatic Vintage Glamour

DIY Hollywood Vintage Glamour Lighting

This second look uses same setup with only a minor adjustment of the lamps position, the introduction of a dark background and a flashlight to light her face.

The important thing to do in this shot is to use spot metering to get the correct exposure on her face and under expose the rest of the picture. In my case it was 2 stops darker than the evaluative metering suggested.

Here is a very simple video to teach you this very very simple principle…it will make a HUGE difference to your photography.

[embedplusvideo height="283" width="454" standard="http://www.youtube.com/v/V2sSnP2V47I?fs=1" vars="ytid=V2sSnP2V47I&width=454&height=283&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=0&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=&notes=" id="ep8944" /]

For the background I used a piece of black velvet which I hung over the step ladder and taped to the wall. This background was positioned at an angle to the model; this was to shield the background from most of the lamp light.

The under exposure with the spot metering took care of the rest and made the background pure black.

DIY ‘Vintage Hollywood Glamour Lighting’ using household obj

I’m stood in the same location as before, but this time with a fairly bright LED flashlight with a new style CREE led which doesn’t have much color cast.

The shot is setup with the models eyes closed and she opens them wide as the self timer triggers to minimize the time looking at the flashlight.

Top Tip:   If your flashlight is stupidly bright, you can soften it by placing white material or even tissue in front of it.

 

Post Processing – Adobe Light Room:
I’ve been working on a forthcoming project with a very talented software, app and light room specialist and together we’ve created a simple 5 stage light room preset which will transform your images in just a few simple clicks.

Each stage has a couple of options; this gives you the ability to really control the look whilst it’s still as simple as child’s play.

Gastby-Before-&-After

The Hollywood Vintage Glamour Presets will retail for £9.99,
but for a limited time are available for only £1.99  (link below)

 

[cleeng_content id="799083722" description="Download our Hollywood Vintage Glamour Light Room presets for only £1.99 for a limited time only" price="1.99" t="article" referral="0.1"]Thank you so much  for supporting Lightism by purchasing our presets.

 

You will need download, unzip and install the presets into Adobe Light room, this is really simple to do:

1) Download and unzip the files.

2) Start Light Room and click on the develop module in the window drop down.

3) Make sure an image is selected from your catalog

4) Scroll down the left section until the section reads “User Presets”

5) Select ”New Folder”,  Call it ‘Vintage Hollywood Glamour’.

6) Find the new folder, right click on it, and then import, and you get the presets in a nice tidy folder

 

In the preset menu, these presets have been abbreviated to ‘HVG’ (Hollywood Vintage Glamour)

 

Here is the zip file:

Enjoy and if you have any issues or problems, please  email me directly at support@Lightism.co.uk

Thanks again  for your support,

Si

 

[/cleeng_content]

 

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