Don’t Want to See the Photographer’s Face Or Camera Reflections in Your Reflective Product Photos?

As a product photographer for more than a decade now, I have enjoyed the challenges Reflective Products offer during the photo sessions. Here I have tried my best to allow amateur photographers to better understand the various challenges and the ways to resolve those in order to get an effective photograph.

I have used examples of various products to make it easier to understand.

Stainless Steel Product is is the most difficult to photograph item. Stainless steel products require a great Balance between the soft light strobes and an open ended channel set up. This allows for a combination of soft light and direct hit daylight on the tile surfaces. The high resolution photos of these tiles need to showcase the grain of the steel. This calls for a gradient effect which can be achieved perfectly by the above combination. If you use a closed light box, the effect will be more of a Satin look than the stainless steel bright look.

Chrome Faucets– A photography challenge where reflections and glares actually help in getting the perfect look for the products. Never shoot such products in an enclosed space. Shooting them using strobe light boxes on 3 sides allowing the remaining reflections to be showcased, gives it the chrome look. Make sure the reflections are just along the length of the faucets. Makes the product photo impressive.
Compare them with the Satin Paper Dispensers. The difference is Obvious and impressive!!

Hammered Copper Mules– The hammered copper needs to be showcased as you see it holding in your hand. Shooting in a perfectly pristine environment is not a good solution. The hammered look can disappear if not enough light and reflections play the nice game. Make sure you photograph it in an optimum environment of Strobe tent lights and copper reflectors.

Stainless steel Salt and Pepper Shaker– Such shots need a balance between the Light Tent and the Strobe lights optimally placed at certain points. If shot in a light tent, the stainless steel loses the texture. It gives it a Satin Finish instead of the Stainless Steel feel.

You don’t want to see my face or the camera in your jewelry… correct? Yes this is where the challenge begins. Sterling silver, White Gold jewelry tends to be the most challenging. There is no color and hence no contrast to depend on. Here come in Lights, reflectors and the whole nine yards. Getting the correct angle with the least reflection or glare in it is a good starting point. Make sure there is diffused lights. Use the best camera setting – I prefer Manual. Have your White Balance ready and then Shoot!
TIP- Try using the Stamp/ Smudge tool gently over the surface of the jewelry and in the direction of the grain of the metal. See the picture dissolve into a shimmering slumber.

Top Five Most Important Tips For Any Photographer

There’s always room for a little improvement. This list provides five must know tips for any skill level. Even after years of photography being one of my biggest interests, these tips have become incredibly help and could help you to improve.

1.) Protect your lens; it’ll save you in the long run.

Protecting your lens regardless of what your camera is will save any annoying dirt or debris coming in contact with your lens as often as it could. Protecting your lens could also protect your glass from any accidents that can sometimes occur. Protecting your glass with a lens cap if you own a bridge type or DSLR camera is a good way to do this as when you are not using your camera, you can be sure it is safe from any irritating dirt and the worse scenario; a scratch. For smaller digital cameras, the use of a protective lens cap may not be possible and so one recommendation would be if the lens retracts into the camera, when not using the camera, turning off the camera will reduce the likes of dirt and gunk getting into your lens’ surface.

2.) Never forget the battery like I have

As a photographer myself. I have had a few red-faced moments where I have forgotten the odd thing – after all, it happens. The worst thing that can happen is to forget the camera battery and miss your shot completely. I know it’s an obvious mistake but it happens and when it does, it happens when you see the perfect shot and you can do nothing about it. An annoying one at the best of times but it is better to have and not need than need and not have.

3.) Check your settings before shooting

From a shooting perspective, I have had golden opportunities to shoot some one of a kind shots only to realise I have left the camera set to what I was previously shooting. Sometimes you’ll be lucky and get a decent shot, although as a perfectionist it leaves me annoyed all the same, mostly you’re met with an improperly set up shot leaving you feeling annoyed. Always remember to check your settings such as your ISO, exposure and aperture if these settings can be adjusted.

4.) Checking your composition would help you to improve

Checking your composition could make editing time shorter and ensure you get the exact shot you want without having to spend more time trying to perfect the shot you want. Taking a little bit of time to frame your shot before pushing the shutter will make you think more about the shot and to get the photo you want variably quicker.

5.) The best tech isn’t always the best

I’ve had my fair share of drooling over the biggest and best camera available. From my own experiences using DSLRs, I’ve felt the best isn’t always what it seems. Shooting with an idea and image of what you want out of a shoot can really help regardless of what level kit you have.

To conclude, if photography is your hobby or you’re shooting for big bucks, some of you learnt something new or were reminded of something that could help you in the future. Simple skills such as this could save you time, help you to develop and grow your photography.

5 Tips for Special Event Photography

Taking photos at a well-lit location is not hard, but when you are at a place where the lighting is not that great, you may find it hard to take photos that will come out great. Given below are a few tips that will help you get ready and do the photography a bit more easily. Read on.

#1 Dress Up
For post-production, you can put on whatever dress you like. However, for a special event, you should go for a dress that will help you blend in very well. We don’t mean you should wear a suit and tie at all times. For a really important event, men should opt for a suit coat with tie. On the other hand, women should opt for a blazer if needed.

#2 Take Pre-event Photos
It’s a good idea to take some pre-event shots. As a matter of fact, the event planner will thank you for capturing these shots before the arrival of the guests. The shots will beautify their portfolio and help them get more clients down the road. In return, they can recommend you to their clients. So, it will be a win-win deal for both of you.

#3 Don’t over shoot
If you are going to shoot photos for a special event, keep in mind that the attendees should have a great time. While it’s not a bad idea to take the photos of the attendees, make sure you don’t take photos of the same group of attendees over and over again. This will annoy them and you may end up spoiling their mood. Therefore, it’s not a good idea to keep taking photos even when you don’t need to.

#4 Be Quick
Whether you are going to be at a candids or a panel discussion, keep in mind that you will do the job yourself. So, when you are busying shooting candids, you should be all set to take photos quickly, without missing the moment or wasting the time of the attendees.

A good tip is to use the long lens when shooting an important panel discussion. While close shots taken through a wide lens will come out great, be careful and take the shots properly.

#5 Edit And Deliver Quickly
No matter how carefully you take the shots, you will end up deleting a lot of them. Usually, it’s not because the shots were bad. It’s because some photos were way similar. What you need to keep in mind is that your clients will need only the cream of the crop. Therefore, you should not be afraid of taking a lot of shots or deleting a lot of them.

As soon as you have a got a collection of the best photos, you should use your editing app and improve the photos. The great thing about business events is that you have to keep all the things consistent. Aside from this, you can process the photos in batches without any problem. Hopefully, these tips will work for you.

Digital Cameras – Thoughts on Buying a New One

If one has a look at the selection available, there are more than 1,500 different digital cameras available with a mind-boggling array of features and benefits, and in sizes to suit every hand and pocket possible. There are well-known brands, newer, developing brands, unknown brands… where does one start?

The simplest solution is to pick up an advertising leaflet from one of the major retailers promoting digital cameras, decide on your budget and just go and buy one. None of these retailers carry inferior products, so you will get a reasonable camera at a reasonable price and off you go…

You may well be delighted with your purchase and live happily ever after… snapping away and enjoying your pictures.

There is, however, a state of mind known as post-purchase trauma. We are all very familiar with this as in ‘I knew I should not have bought it… ‘ ‘This other one is much better value but I didn’t see it… ‘ ‘It really doesn’t have the features that I now realize I need… ‘ ‘I wish I had known… ‘ etc etc.

In the long run it is really best to try and avoid this as much as possible as it can have the effect of devaluing (in your own mind) your exciting new purchase which would be a real pity as it should be your key to a fascinating hobby.

For example, did you know that you can get cameras with what the Americans call “Zit Fix”? The camera automatically corrects any skin blemishes making this a wonderful product for teenagers. Or perhaps you really wanted to get the camera with ‘Smile Timer” – the camera will not take the picture until the main subject is smiling! Or the one with a “Blink Proof” function – the camera takes two pictures automatically and discards the one with the closed eyes!

Are functions such as these really important to you? Or would you prefer to have more control yourself? Do you want to take snapshots or do you want to add some of your own touches? As the saying goes “Do you want to take pictures or to make pictures?”

As the range of digital cameras is so large, and keeps growing daily, it is important that you think about your purchase in a careful, logical way to minimize the chances of making an expensive mistake and suffering from Post Purchase Trauma!

Each decision you take reduces the number of cameras available until you get down to a manageable number!

There are four basic styles of digital camera – the ubiquitous compact camera with a zoom range of around 4X; the so-called ‘bridge’ camera which is bigger and normally has a large zoom range – some go up to 24X; the Digital Single Lens Reflex camera (DSLR) with interchangeable lenses and lastly a number of what I term ‘new style’ cameras – mirror less, small bodies, big sensors and interchangeable lenses.

Your first, and perhaps, tentative decision to get started is deciding what you are going to buy. Go into a photo shop and look; pick up and feel each style. What suits you best in terms of size and convenience? You can then concentrate on cameras in your chosen section.

Should you decide on a compact style camera you may want to consider whether your cell phone camera will serve the purpose for your needs. This depends on your model of phone as cameras can vary considerably. It also depends on your answer to our next question…

Your next and crucial decision is: Do you want or need the creative tools for controlling Aperture and Speed? If you are planning to do anything much beyond basic ‘point and shoot’ photography you really need to be able to control these two manually. Don’t forget, photography is a fascinating hobby and, once you get into it, you may well regret not buying a camera with these creative tools. During my camera courses I often hear the comment ‘if only I had known I would have bought one of those… ‘ – it really is a crucial decision so think about it carefully! I put this ahead of the decision about budget as it may have an effect on your planned budget!

Having made this decision the number of cameras available is almost halved.

The next, obvious decision revolves around budget – it becomes the next defining cut off point in reducing your options. Be realistic and include everything – extra memory cards, spare battery, carry case etc. For your initial review it is a good idea to increase your budget slightly so that you can get a good feel for what is available.

The next step is to decide if brand is important to you – if it is, then the spread of choice is immediately reduced. A complicating factor is that the number of brands available is growing and some of the newer entrants offer excellent products – perhaps keep an open mind about this…

Continuing with our progress through the buying decision, we come to some more personal decisions which only you can make and, because nothing is easy, these may well have an effect on your original decision as to the style of camera you prefer!

How important is photo enhancement and manipulation to you? If it is extremely important you would want to go for a camera in the 10+ megapixel range (or even higher if your budget permits) and one which allows you to shoot pictures in RAW files as these contain far more digital information than the common JPEG files. This, once again will reduce your choice options as many cameras do not do this.

Will speed be important to you? By speed I mean the time taken for the camera to start up and recycle between shots coupled with the speed of the auto focus mechanism. Be sure to try each camera for yourself. DSLR cameras tend to excel in these two departments.

Do you want to use your new camera as a video camera as well as a still camera? This is fairly new technology which will again limit the number of cameras available to you. Ask the shop assistant about video quality as this too can vary.

Is a huge zoom factor important to you? The bigger the zoom factor in a built-in lens the bigger the trade off in stability and image quality – but they are convenient! They are also becoming more and more compact! Again only you can make this decision. Do you really need a big zoom? Try to be practical in terms of how much you will use it, compared with the convenience of a more compact camera body.

A crucial point is size and weight – a camera locked in the hotel safe is useless! A DSLR with a couple of lenses is cumbersome – remember that the camera you have with you is the best camera in the whole world!

Read camera reviews in magazines – there are a number of web sites such as http://www.dpreview.com which review cameras – sometimes in incredible detail but they are well worth visiting to compare models. Your camera dealer is crucial.

In the final analysis, however, it all comes down to how the camera feels in your hands… does it feel right? Are the knobs, buttons and dials placed where you feel comfortable?

What I term the ‘WOW’ factor (I am just so happy with my new camera!) is really important as a measurement of choice!

Remember, you are really the only person who can decide on what camera to buy. Make sure that you make an informed decision based on your own research. You should regards this research as part of the enjoyment of getting a new camera – you will also learn a lot about cameras!

Good luck and really enjoy your new camera!