Creating A Children Photography Studio On A Budget

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Let’s face it: the thought of taking an existing space and converting it into a studio can be daunting to say the least! As a newborn photographer, a studio is an absolute necessity. But creating the studio without spending a fortune (I’m talking gagillions of dollars here…gagillions) led me on a path that had very little instruction, so I had to blaze my own trail, getting creative along the way!

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How To Build A 22 Gallon High Speed Photography Studio

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High speed photography has a tendency to be messy (broken glass, water and other flying debris) and potentially dangerous (guns, and that flying debris again). However it’s the need for darkness which can prove to be the biggest problem. Having built a high-speed laser trigger, I needed a way of actually using it to take some photos. This presented me with a puzzle, as I work in an open plan office and have small children at home. Neither lend themselves to blacked-out rooms, flying shards of glass and small arms. The solution I came up with manages to solve all of these problems and more, and is I think worth trying even by those who are lucky enough to have access to real studios.

My inspiration was the film changing bag, which is simply a light-proof bag with elasticated holes for arms. This is great for times when you need complete darkness but don’t have a darkroom, such as when you’re loading a film into a developing tank. Clearly a bag would be no use here, but perhaps a box would do. I looked at the large, black recycling boxes that we have around here and thought they may be on the right track. A quick search on Amazon for the largest black plastic box I could find turned up this 84 litre (22 gallon) beauty, complete with lid for £21 ($37). It sits comfortably on my desk, and is easily stored underneath it.

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How an Old School Photographer is Kicking Your Butt on Instagram

jim-richardson-03Social media is supposed to be the realm of the young, and in this realm, Instagram reigns as visual king. It’s easy to imagine skinny jean-wearing hipsters snapping filtered squares of their perfect lunches and summer skinny dipping soirees. So it might surprise you to find that an old school National Geographic photographer has unlocked the keys for Insta-success.

Jim Richardson (@JimRichardsonNG) is a contributing photographer to National Geographic and has shot over 25 stories in a storied 30-year career. Although he continues to work for the magazine and pursue personal topics of interest like light pollution, Richardson has also amassed an Instagram following of over 80,000 people – outpacing the majority of his contemporaries, as well as online photo “celebrities.” The ever-cerebral photographer and I have been discussing Instagram and its meaning and implications for over a year now, and we recently traded some notes on the topic.

PS: What compelled you to create an Instagram account?

JR: At first I thought Instagram was totally frivolous. But then I started seeing that photographers were using it to make real statements. And then National Geographic started the @natgeo feed, and early on I could see that there was broad interest. It was gaining an audience. So I jumped in — not the first of the National Geographic photographers to do so, but pretty early on. I just figured that I didn’t know how this thing was going to work, but I needed be in the middle of things, trying to figure it out.

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5 Reasons DSLR’s Are Obsolete In Today’s World By Martin Gillman

Mirrorless camera gear by Martin Gillman on InMyBag.net

OK, sure that’s a bold statement, and for me it just may be true. I believe that the mirrorless camera is and will continue push the DSLR as we know it aside. Its progress and its coming. If you do not agree you may just have to accept it, even the greats in Glass like Carl Zeiss are making lenses for the mirrorless systems, they see where photography is going too. So, let me tell you why I think so. [Read more...]

Posing, Light And Selective Composition – Getting The Best Out Of A “Nowhere” Location

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Today we are hosting a tip from Neil van Niekerk who also runs the excellent tangents blog.

Framing very selectively in-camera, you can very often pull out quite a surprising image out of “nowhere”.

With Julia and Luis’ wedding, I roamed around the reception venue – a bed & breakfast on the Jersey shore, for interesting spots. There were interesting nooks and crannies that would work for the romantic portrait session. But I also like adding variety, especially unexpected variety.

I went through a back-gate, and into a parking lot behind the venue. This gate was the delivery entrance for the venue’s kitchen, and the parking lot was, well, just a parking lot.

But, I loved the texture of tye wooden fence and gate, and the late afternoon sun really brought out the texture. I hurried back inside and asked Julia and Luis to join me – I think I may have a great idea! I shot it using the following settings: 1/250 @ f/5.6 @ 200 ISO – available light only Nikon D4: Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8. [Read more...]

7 Keys to Epic Travel Photography

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In the 20-plus years since I discovered the joy of photography, I’ve been fortunate to travel all over the world, capturing everything from Italian cathedrals to the bamboo forests of Kyoto. Along the way, I’ve learned some tricks for making the most of photo opportunities wherever I find myself.

Whether you’re heading to the Amazon, the Alps or anywhere in between this summer, a little advance planning and a thoughtful approach can make all the difference when it comes to taking great travel photos. Following are some of my best tips for shooting amazing photos, no matter where your travels take you. [Read more...]

Build Your Own Inexpensive Transport Equipment Cases

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Basic tools and carpentry techniques can save you a lot of cash when protecting your valuable hardware! Like a lot of video producers on a budget I’m always looking for ways to save cash while moving forward with the realistic hardware needs of various projects. The recent purchase of a pair of vintage Colortran 2K Fresnel lights nudged me to seek some type of protective storage and transport case option that wasn’t insanely priced. These are big fixtures and they call for big cases. [Read more...]

The Comprehensive And Contemplative Guide On Creating Magical Smoke Composites

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There is an old song that says that no good story ever started with the words “No Good Story Ever Starts With Drinking Tea [Watch this link, it has some pretty explicit music]. Anyhow,  I am not really sure if this is 100% accurate, but it definitely applies for my story today. I once drank a nice shot of Whiskey. Drinking Whiskey and smoking cigar. I kinda threw my head back and relaxed while enjoying the smoke swirling upwards. Ahhh…. What a nice swirl…… It was actually dancing its way up. I know that this is what incepted this ballerina photograph: [Read more...]

How To Do A 2.5D Parallax Animated Photo Effect Using Only Free Software

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I had been fiddling with creating these 2.5D parallax animated photos for quite a few years now, but there had recently been a neat post by Joe Fellows that brought it into the light again.

The reason I had originally played with the idea is part of a long, sad story involving my wedding and an out-of-focus camcorder that resulted in my not having any usable video of my wedding (in 2008). I did have all of the photographs, though. So as a present to my wife, I was going to re-create the wedding with these animated photos (I’m 99% sure she doesn’t ever read my blog – so if anyone knows her don’t say anything! I can still make it a surprise!). [Read more...]