5 Mindset Shifts You Need to Be Successful in Photography

You love photography. You live it, you breathe it, and it’s all you can ever think of doing in your life. And you’re good – better than some of the other people you know who also love photography.

But despite all this you feel… stuck. You’re not booking jobs, getting clients or making money. And when you post your best work on social media all you hear are crickets.

So what’s the problem? Well, it may surprise you to hear it may not be a technical issue at all but rather an issue with your subconscious.Karthika Gupta Photography - mindset shifts to be successful in photography

Today I want to talk about how you can totally transform your life, your relationships and your work. It isn’t a course you can take or a YouTube video you can watch. It’s something that’s free, powerful, and completely within your control.

Changing your mindset.

Thinking differently can have a profound effect on your entire life. But here are five mindset shifts you need to be successful in photography.

1. Practice Makes Perfect

There really are no two ways about this. The best way to get better at something is to do it over and over again. The more you get out there and photograph, the more you’ll understand what you like, what makes you happy and what areas you need to improve in. Want to understand light and how it affects photos? Go out and photograph in different kinds of light. Want to photograph people? Set up shoots and practice photographing people. The more you do, the more you create and the better you become.

Karthika Gupta Photography - mindset shifts to be successful in photography 7

This was my client’s favorite photo from her photoshoot. It showcased her artwork in a unique way. The more you practice, the more you’ll start telling stories in your unique way.

One of the easiest ways to practice photography is to sign up for a 365 series, which is a commitment to create one photo every day for 365 days. You can use a DSLR, a point-and-shoot camera, or even a smartphone.

You can even take it a step further by joining one of the many online groups available. They’re created solely to encourage you to photograph and post a single photo every day for 365 days straight. They even provide photo prompts to help you stay on track so you’re constantly thinking of what to photograph.

Karthika Gupta Photography - mindset shifts to be successful in photography

Practice also makes you more confident. Now when I see a story play out, I’m not afraid to ask my clients or strangers to be actors in the story. A pub became a scene for some unique wedding photos for my clients.

One of my goals is to learn film photography. I have an old 35mm Canon AE-1, and I have run several rolls of film to try and get images that I love. The first time I used that camera, I didn’t even wind the film correctly. So I ended up sending a blank roll of film to be processed. That was $20 well spent.

2. Overnight Success is a Myth

This ties to the first point. You must be prepared to invest a lot of time and effort to get your work seen and acknowledged. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll be an overnight success with lots of clients and potential work  lining up. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but the probability is quite low. So instead of leaving your career to chance, why not take matters into your own hands and have a plan to do the work consistently? Learn all there is to learn about what you want to focus on in your photography and consistently put out good work.

Karthika Gupta Photography - mindset shifts to be successful in photography

It’s taken me several years and thousands of photos to train my brain to recognize light and create a story before I even click the shutter. This is one of my favorite photos that I call ‘Light and shadow: Ride and rider’. To me it shows the symbiosis between these two pairs.

3. Healthy Competition is a Good Thing

In any given industry there’s always competition. Sometimes the competition plays fair, and sometimes it doesn’t. I’m not pointing fingers at anyone or anything. I’m just stating the obvious.

Most people who picks up a camera intent on becoming a photographer do it for the money, the fame, or some combination of the two. Learn to play well with your competition. What sets you apart isn’t your skills or technique. Anyone can learn to do something if they put their mind and effort into it. What sets you apart is you. Your style, your aesthetic and the way you view something is unique. There will be clients who love what you do because of the way you do it, and there will be those who’d rather go with the other guy. That’s just part of the game. Accept it, and make friends with your competitors. It’s better to have friends in the industry you’re playing in than enemies.

Karthika Gupta Photography - mindset shifts to be successful in photography

I’d heard of double exposure before, but I never understood it until a friend and fellow photographer sat down with me and explained it step by step. Now it’s one of my favorite ways of creative photography, and my clients love it.

4. Go With the flow

I wish someone told me this when I first started my business. I was caught up in perfection – the perfect logo, the perfect website, the perfect portfolio, a printing vendor, business cards, etc. I spent so much time making sure all my ducks were in a row that I stalled the process more than I helped it along. Having a vision of what I wanted to do was getting lost in actually doing the project.

Sometimes it’s good to take a step back, figure out what the big picture is, and then keep moving along to achieving it. Perfection is a myth. Nothing is perfect, and it’s much better to get something done and accomplished than to wait until everything falls into place. Just keep moving along towards your goal.

Karthika Gupta Photography - mindset shifts to be successful in photography

Things always work out exactly how they’re meant to be in the end.

5. Have a Positive Attitude

Our life is a reflection of our attitude. Without even noticing, it’s easy to become negative and bitter towards the world and the photography industry. Why are some people more successful than us? Why do some photographers get all the jobs? Why can’t I book more clients? The questions can go on forever.

Not only does a negative attitude stop you from enjoying your life, it can also have a significant impact on your work and your craft. After all, you love this art form. That’s why you’re here, right? You want to learn, engage, and get better at it. The energy a person brings with them is contagious. We all have bad days, no matter how people portray themselves. Every time I feel angry or jealous of someone else’s success, I remind myself that just because I can see what they’ve accomplished doesn’t mean I know what they’ve gone through and sacrificed to get there. One of the best things you can do for your passion for photography is to have a positive attitude.

Karthika Gupta Photography - mindset shifts to be successful in photography

You’ll find that happy medium of working with people who really appreciate what you do and love your work. They are your ideal clients.

I hope some of these mindset shifts help you navigate the choppy photography waters. Remember, there’s no such thing as a free lunch! Success in any shape or form takes a lot of time and hard work. Roll up your sleeves, work your hardest, and you will get there.

The post 5 Mindset Shifts You Need to Be Successful in Photography appeared first on Digital Photography School.

Review of the SKOUT Handsfree Camera Carrying System by Cotton Carrier

If you want an alternative to using the regular camera strap for hiking or walking around town type of activities, then this review is just the thing for you! Read on to find out about the SKOUT Handsfree Camera Carrying System and whether it will suit your needs.

Review of the SKOUT Handsfree Camera Carrying System

A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to review the SKOUT handsfree camera carrying system by Cotton Carrier during a backcountry camping family trip in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park over a period of five days.

To say I was impressed with the performance and comfort of the SKOUT would really be an understatement. I was super impressed with the way Cotton Carrier’s handsfree system worked. It actually held up really well over 30 miles of hard terrain for the duration of the entire trip.

If you have ever been hiking in the mountains, especially the backcountry, you know that total weight and back comfort are very high on the list of priorities for any hiker. I have broken down my review of the Cotton Carrier in terms of the following factors.

Review of the SKOUT Handsfree Camera Carrying System

The first day of the hike was without the SKOUT carrier and just using the camera strap around my neck. I was uncomfortable and the strap was so annoying to hold especially after 2-3 hours of a tough incline hike.

Review of the SKOUT Handsfree Camera Carrying System

A much happier me with the SKOUT sling on a day hike. Being handsfree was the best part.

#1 – Ease of use

The SKOUT design is a one-size fit all solution for almost any camera and lens attachment. I used it with my Canon 5D MKIII and 16-35mm L lens as well as the 24-70mm L lens. The first setup with the 16-35mm lens was definitely lighter than with the 24-70mm lens. But with both lenses, the sling held up really well.

The side-strap provided the support needed and balanced the weight effectively. Since I was already carrying a heavy camping pack on both my shoulders, the side strap ensured the camera was well balanced on my back. I was really impressed with the SKOUT’s patented “Twist & Lock” mount that attaches and detaches the camera from the anodized aluminum hub with a simple twist.

I have to admit I was a little nervous the first few minutes after attaching the camera to the SKOUT, being completely handsfree. But my body and my back quickly adjusted to the freedom and I loved not having to constantly pull up the camera strap from my shoulders while walking and hiking in the rough terrain.

Hidden inside the system is an internal stash pocket that fits a phone or a few credit cards. There’s also a rain cover/ weather guard so the gear stays safe and dry in less than ideal environments. I actually ended up using this a couple of times during my hike when we got caught is a mild downpour in the moutnains.

#2 Comfort

Attaching the SKOUT was fairly simple. After wrapping it over one shoulder, there is a single strap that wraps around the torso and snaps into place on the front, securing the entire system. The shoulder strap is really padded well, so even heavier camera systems don’t put too much stress on the body.

Review of the SKOUT Handsfree Camera Carrying System

The bracket attaches right where you would attach your tripod insert.

Review of the SKOUT Handsfree Camera Carrying System

The bracket then connects to the sling body with a twist and turn and it is quite secure.

Review of the SKOUT Handsfree Camera Carrying System

The crossbody sling with the camera attached to it along with the rain cover.

The cotton fabric is very breathable. I was hiking for almost 5-6 hours every day on some pretty rough terrain. Yet the shoulder and body straps were soft and did not rub against my back. The padding on the shoulder straps is thick and really does support the camera weight across your shoulder nicely.

#3 Durability

Like I mentioned earlier, I used the SKOUT camera sling system over a span of 10 days in the mountains of Colorado. I used it on backcountry hiking days as well as day hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park.

After the first few minutes of figuring out how to attach the camera and secure the system in place, I really forgot it was even on my body. I absolutely enjoyed being handsfree and having the camera readily available to snap a photo when I saw a beautiful landscape or wildlife.

No more taking the camera out of the daypack and risking missing the moment. The straps, the clasp, and even the camera attachment held up really well to some rough use during my trip.

Here is a video of the SKOUT handsfree camera system in use during my trip.

Conclusion

All in all, I would definitely rate this product a 9/10 and highly recommend it for anyone looking to do photography on a trail or during a backcountry hiking/camping trip.

It is easy to use, comfortable to wear for extended periods of time and seems reliable even after some rough use in the outdoors.

The post Review of the SKOUT Handsfree Camera Carrying System by Cotton Carrier appeared first on Digital Photography School.

What are your greatest fears as a photographer?

In light of two big losses in the creative space – first that of Kate Spade and then that of the much loved and idolized Anthony Bourdain, there are a lot of questions being asked in the creative industry around success and personal happiness.

Why did this happen? What could have triggered these terrible tragedies? How many more are silently suffering? Is there such a thing as too much success? And alternatively what does success truly mean to us creatives?

Taj hotel Mumbai India at Sunrise - What are your biggest fears as a photographer?

Before I go any further with this article I have to make some things very clear. This article is not intended to make light of the situation(s) that lead to the demise of either Kate Spade or Anthony Bourdain. If anything, I really want us, the creative industry, to really sit up and take notice of the challenges and difficulties we all face in achieving our own levels of success.

I still use my Kate Spade wallet. In fact, it was the first wallet I gifted myself when I landed my corporate job 15 years ago. There was something about the Kate Spade brand that really resonated with me at that time – it symbolized femininity, freedom, success, and achievement.

Anthony Bourdain inspired me to dream big dreams and instilled a love of travel and people unlike anyone else I had ever seen. The fact that both of these global icons were lost in such similar situations really pushes us to ask those difficult questions around success, hustle, and challenges that go hand in hand.

So let’s start by addressing some of the most common fears that we photographers face on a day to day basis.

Fear #1 – How to make money as a photographer?

Let’s deal with the elephant in the room – I don’t think there really is a correct way to answer this question. Just as there are hundreds of genres of photography – from the super-niche to the really broad – there are hundreds of ways to make money with your photography.

Some of the most commonly explored ones are around consumer photography services, photography education, product sales, commercial photography, visual branding, etc.

I am of the opinion that diversifying your portfolio to include a few different revenue streams is a smart way to do business as a photographer. Diversification not only gives you the creative freedom to explore different genres of photography but also encourages you to learn new techniques and skills.

Additionally, earning a steady income during the off-season helps reduce the anxiety around money.

Moody Summer Florals - What are your biggest fears as a photographer?

Florals as images for digital screensavers as well as postcards and thank you cards are a nice way to sell prints and diversify your photography income.

Fear #2 – How to learn all the required technical stuff?

Photography is as much a science as it is an art form. If you don’t believe me just take a look at your camera user manual. To really get good at the art of photography you need to understand the technical terms as well as the soft skills like composition, posing, communicating, etc. There is a lot of stuff to learn and understand to really excel in this craft.

Luckily there are many online classes as well as in-person workshops that teach and train you in various aspects of photography. While you can really learn a lot from free courses, articles, and videos, there is a lot of value to be had in workshops and classes. Not only do you get to connect with professionals in the areas that you want to specialize in, you also get to meet others who are in the same boat as you.

Don’t view other photographers as your competitors. Instead, view them as your peers. These are the people who understand you and the passion you have for this field because they have it too. Focus on building your community of friends, peers, and people who you can connect with when you have difficulties and challenges.

Having a strong support system is really important especially in creative fields.

Fear #3 – That you don’t have the right gear

Let’s break this down into one simple question. What does one need to create an image? The answer is a camera!

It truly does not matter what camera you have. Just google iPhone photography and you will find some amazing artists who are creating phenomenal work with just their phones. Similarly, if you search for photographers who use entry-level DSLR cameras, you will find many great photographers who still work with a basic DSLR camera and a kit lens!

You don’t need the latest full frame or mirrorless camera and pro-grade lens to create great images. Focus more on learning and understanding the technical skills than on the gear.

When you are just starting out, experiment with different cameras and lenses to see which ones feel right. Rent or borrow gear from other photographers so you can become good at creating great images no matter the gear.

For the first two years of my business, I only had one camera and one lens. I rented the gear I needed depending on the job which helped me keep my costs low. There are many ways of being successful without going broke.

Pelican Flying over the water -

You will need different gear to photograph wildlife than you would to do food photography for a restaurant. But that does not mean you need to go buy all the gear out there for each and every genre. Use the basics first and then add on when you are ready!

Fear #4 – That your work isn’t good enough

In any field of work, the only way to produce great work is to do the work. There truly is no such thing as overnight success. You might look at someone who seems to have achieved a lot (which is really subjective by the way) and think that they have it easy.

But you don’t see the true reason for that success. You don’t see the late nights, the hustle, the constant planning and execution, the anxiety over money, the failures, the challenges and the struggles. You don’t see them because they are generally not talked about openly.

So before you question how to produce great work, go ahead and consistently do the work. Get out there and photograph even when you don’t want to. Photograph in different lighting situations to understand light. Work with different subjects so you know how to interact and communicate to get the look you want.

Reach out and connect with other creatives and collaborate on projects. Everyone who wants to make it big is willing to do the work, are you?

Sunset on the water with a cruise ship

Great work – work that you are proud of – takes practice. So get out there and practice everyday.

Fear #5 – Not getting any clients, inquiries, and bookings

You can have the best portfolio, the best website and the perfect studio space. But it all means nothing if you are not getting a steady stream of inquiries and clients.

The only way to really get clients and bookings is to actively go seek them. One way to seek new clients is to put yourself out there as a photographer/creative artist. Network with people from different industries, pitch your work to your ideal clients, market your work effectively and the inquiries will come.

Sure this will take time but if you are in this industry for the long game then take the time to make a mark with your work.

Japanese temple in San Francisco

Fear #6 – That your portfolio isn’t diverse enough

Look, we all start somewhere and there is no shame in that. I remember when I first started building my portfolio I had a ton of pictures of my kids and those of my friends and family. I would practice every opportunity I would get with people I knew.

Slowly I started getting confident about my work and made it known that I was an aspiring family photographer. I didn’t focus on the sale but instead on building a network of clients. I networked with other photographers via in-person meetings as well as online forums and learned as much as I could about the business of photography.

 Moody white flowers photos

So when you are just starting out, put yourself out there. Ask friends and family if you can practice your photography skills on them. Reach out to others and see if you can collaborate.

There is no lack of ways to build your portfolio – you just have to get comfortable with asking.

Fear #7 – Not knowing how to market yourself

We live in a very different world now more than ever. Everything is online and everyone is online. Traditional forms of marketing like print ads, radio, and TV don’t do as well as online and social media marketing.

Since social media and online presence seems to be the new status quo, make sure you have an online presence. And remember social media is all about being social! So make sure you are being social online by sharing a little bit about you and not just your work. Work on building a relationship with clients and potential clients because people will only buy from brands (and people) that they know, like and trust.

Invest in social media marketing and advertising as well as traditional forms of marketing. A lot of my work still comes from word of mouth and referrals, so make sure you are taking advantage of those channels as well.

Wedding couple against Chicago riverwalk background

Sharing and promoting your best work as part of your marketing campaigns is a great way to grow your reach and your business.

Conclusion

I hope these tips were helpful and shed light on some of the commonly expressed fears that others including myself regularly experience.

Please remember that you are not on an island without any help and nor are you the only one going through all these emotions and feeling of anxiety around your work. We all face these same issues time and time again.

The key is to objectively work through them and come out strong. If you are truly passionate about photography and want to make it a career, keep up the hard work and the fruits of your labor are bound to be as sweet as can be!

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How to Make Color Adjustments Using Tone Curves in Lightroom

In this article, you’ll learn how to use tone curves in Lightroom to make color adjustments to your images and bring your visions to life.

Color and RAW format

If you photograph in RAW file format, you know that the images straight out of the camera are often a bit flat compared to photographing in JPEG format. Most RAW images require some sort of editing to make them look close to how you envision the scene when you took the shot.

Adjusting color in an image is a very powerful component in editing and can really make an image go from okay to wow when done correctly. Of course, it goes without saying that too much color and the image will appear unreal.

Color Adjustment Bread Still Life Photo - How to Make Color Adjustments Using Tone Curves in Lightroom

Lightroom color adjustment options

Whether you photograph in RAW or JPEG, Lightroom is one of the many editing software you can use to bring out the color in your images. Even within Lightroom, there are multiple ways to edit your image based on the look you want to create.

To understand how to edit the color, you need to first understand color in an image and how it is affected. One of the main things that impacts color in an image is the quality of the exposure. Apart from the exposure, there are other factors that can be adjusted to affect the color.

Color Adjustment in Lightroom Blueberries in a bowl Still Life Photo - How to Make Color Adjustments Using Tone Curves in Lightroom

This image was straight out of the camera. You can see on the histogram that the image was slightly overexposed and the color temperature is that of a warm day.

You don’t need to adjust each and every one of these editing elements, but understanding how they work will help you figure out which one to use based on the desired outcome of your editing skills.

Color Adjustment Blueberries in a bowl photo still life image

The same image edited to my specific style and brand aesthetics – light, bright and airy – with some Tone Curve adjustments to the red and green channels applied.

I want to focus on the Color Curves Panel for the purpose of this article. I recently stumbled upon this panel and once I understood all of its capabilities, it quickly became one of my favorites in terms of experimenting with different colors to get the look and feel I wanted for my images.

Now, I am not saying that you have to use only the color panel for your images. But it is simply one of the tools you can use to edit your images.

What are Color Curves?

Color Adjustments in Lightroom Tone Curve Adjustments

Color Curves are located within the Tone Curve Panel in the Develop Module in Lightroom. The Tone Curve is one of Lightroom’s more powerful panels and it represents all the tones of your image.

The bottom of the Tone Curve is the Tone axis that represents the Shadows on the left and Highlights on the right. In the middle, you have mid-tones, which are then further split into darker mid-tones, called Darks, and brighter mid-tones, called Lights. The left axis represents the brightness or darkness of the specific tonal regions. The further up the left axis you go, the brighter the tones get.

Now within the Tone Curve, you can select RGB (all the colors) or you can select the curve for each specific color individually (Red, Green, and Blue).

When you adjust the RGB curve, you will find that your image starts to have a lot of depth. I typically adjust the RGB Curve first when I use Curves in my editing workflow.

Adjusting the Curves

To adjust the Tone Curve you can move the sliders or directly drag the line of the curve itself up or down to get the desired effect by changing the shape of the curve. To do this, you must first click the box in the lower right corner of the tone curve so that the sliders go away.

One of the most commonly used techniques for adjusting images is called an S-curve where the graph actually looks like the letter S. You can do this by dragging the lower third of the line down a bit and raising the upper third just slightly. The S-curve deepens the shadows and brightens the lighter portions (adding contrast), really helping the image pop.

Color Adjustments in Lightroom Public Transportation in Rural India Photo

Using Color Curves

The Color Curves in Lightroom can be used to fine-tune the color in specific regions of your image. For example, you can adjust the blues in your shadows or the greens in your mid-tones. You don’t have to adjust all three tone curves for every image.

When deciding what direction to adjust your Color Curve remember:

  • Red is the opposite of cyan.
  • Green is the opposite of magenta.
  • Blue is the opposite of yellow.

Reducing any one of those colors using Color Curves, increases that color’s opposite.

One of the most common reasons for using Color Curves is when correcting skin tones in images with people. Yes, you can adjust the skin tones by adjusting the White Balance. But if you want to adjust it even further if you’re not quite getting you the look you want, you can use Color Curves.

Color Adjustments in Lightroom Girl eating summer ice cream

An exaggerated example of using the Red tone curve to add a warm summer glow to an image and enhance the skin tones.

Applications

With Color Curves, you can adjust the color in a limited part of the tonal range versus the global adjustment (the whole image) you get with the temperature slider. For example, if your shadows are overly red you can reduce the red in the shadows through the Color Curve without impacting red globally.

Save your Color Curves as presets

Adjusting Color Curves can take a lot of time. So when you find a Color Curve combination that really works for you, you can save it as a preset. You can then use this as a starting point for your images and fine-tune the curve as each individual image necessitates.

To do this, click on the “+” button at the top of your Presets Panel on the left side of Lightroom. When the preset box pops up, just make sure you only check “Tone Curve” so that when you use this on other images, your preset is adjusting only the Tone Curve.

Not many people use the Tone Curve as an essential part of every edit. Most people just stick to the basics panel and make global edits to the image and call it done. I use the color panel when I want to elevate my image and/or when the basic adjustments are really not giving me the look I want for my image.

Another way to get acclimated to the tone curve is to study the tone curve adjustments for presets you already own and use. This gives you more insight into how to use the tone curve for subtle and specific changes.

Conclusion

There is no right or wrong way to edit color in an image. Each photo shoot has its own unique feel, and accordingly, will have its own unique color edit as well. There are multiple ways to achieve similar editing results in Lightroom. But what is most important is that you understand all the tools available to you within Lightroom so that you can take full creative control over the direction of your edits.

How do you use Color Curves? Please share in the comments below.

The post How to Make Color Adjustments Using Tone Curves in Lightroom appeared first on Digital Photography School.

6 Quick Tips for Doing Summer Photography

For many of us in the Northern Hemisphere, it is finally here – sunshine – the time of year most synonymous with new beginnings, transition and growth all thanks to the powerful rays of the sun. After months of dark dreary weather and perhaps a mood that matches staying indoors, we are finally ready to shed those winter blues and head outside with our gear. So in the spirit of getting you out of the house and into the outdoors, here are a few tips to help you do summer photography and revel in all its glory!

6 Quick Tips for Doing Summer Photography - purple flowers

#1 No more excuses period!

Shake off that hibernation mentality and get yourself out the door. Often times, some of the first signs of spring can be spotted right outside your front door so you maybe don’t need to go far. Or better yet, take a walk around your neighborhood and start noticing the transition as spring works its way into summer.

It is amazing how leaves, color, and budding florals can make an old place feel like new again.

white flowers - 6 Quick Tips for Doing Summer Photography

#2 Seasons and change can be a good thing

I know the whole time change thing that happens here in the US is debatable to many. But personally, I wait for spring forward. Yes, I lose an extra hour of sleep but it also means that the days start getting longer and that magical golden light at the end of the day is more within my reach.

With each and every day that passes, we are given more daylight, which provides greater opportunity to grab that camera and capture the golden hues. So head to a nearby park or even an open prairie and take in the whole scene. Use your wide angle lens to capture the big picture in your summer photography.

Karthika Gupta Photography - Memorable Jaunts DPS Article 6 ways to photograph spring-7 Karthika Gupta Photography - Memorable Jaunts DPS Article 6 ways to photograph spring-3

 

patio - 6 Quick Tips for Doing Summer Photography

#3 Embrace pattern play

As you’re taking in your surroundings, notice unique patterns and textures that are created by plants, water, and trees. Summer has this amazing ability to make everything colorful, so go ahead and use all that color to add a little punch to your photos.

Color, patterns, and textures add so much more interest in photos so use that to your advantage.

plants on shelves - 6 Quick Tips for Doing Summer Photography

flower in the garden - 6 Quick Tips for Doing Summer Photography

#4 The light and shadow dance

Mother nature really is a wonder. As winter changed into spring, the whole world seems to get lighter and transition into a new phase. You can almost sense that change in the air again.

The quality of light also changes and with that the play of light and shadows is quite spectacular.  Use this time as an opportunity to experiment with light and shadows and use these elements to create drama and interest using different subjects.

peony - 6 Quick Tips for Doing Summer Photography

#5 Capture those blooms

When the flowers and trees start blooming all around us it really feels like a breath of fresh air. Capture those blooms and see how vibrant they make everything else appear. Look for a neutral background like white siding or pastel walls to bring highlight to the florals.

Karthika Gupta Photography - Memorable Jaunts DPS Article-8

#6 Work around the weather

Rain showers and sunshine seem to go hand-in-hand with summer. I suggest you embrace all of Mother Nature’s tantrums and photograph around it. Use that rain cover to step out into the rain to photograph the scene. If you don’t have a rain cover for your gear, maybe stay indoors and photograph the outside from your window. Or even get in the car, go for a drive and photograph from the comfort of your car!

Notice how rain changes the light completely and embrace that softness for a very different look to a normally sunny scene.

I hope these tips help get you in the mood to pick up that camera more often and get back into the swing of photography if you have been suffering from the winter blues.

The post 6 Quick Tips for Doing Summer Photography appeared first on Digital Photography School.

Tips for Choosing Between RAW Versus JPEG File Format

Perhaps one of the most commonly asked questions in digital photography is around which file type to use when shooting – JPEG or RAW file format. Don’t worry if you don’t know much about these two formats or whether your camera supports them. My goal, by the end of this article, is to help you understand what these two types are and help you pick the one that is right for you.

sunset image - RAW Versus JPEG File Format

RAW Versus JPEG File Format

At the very basic level, both JPEG and RAW are types of files that the camera produces as its output. Most of the newer cameras today have both these options along with a few others like M-RAW, S-RAW, Large format JPEG, Small format JPEG, etc. – all of which determines the size of the final output file.

The easiest way to see which file formats are supported by your camera is to review your camera user manual – look for a section on file formats. Or you can go through the menu options of your camera and select Quality (for Nikon) or Image Quality (Canon) to select the file format.

Each file format has its advantages and disadvantages so choose the right option that works best for you. JPEGs are, in reality, RAW files that are processed in camera and compressed into that format. Some of the decisions the camera makes in processing the image may be difficult to change later, but the JPEG file sizes tend to be much smaller. 

Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of both these file formats in greater detail.

Advantages of shooting RAW files

  • It is easier to correct exposure mistakes with RAW files than with JPEGs and overexposed highlights can sometimes be rescued. For people like me who tend to always photograph at least 1/2 stop to 1 stop overexposed (based on my style of photography), this is really beneficial in saving many great images in post-production.
  • The higher dynamic range means better ability to preserve both highlights and shadow details in a high contrast scene when the image is being recorded.
  • White Balance corrections are easier to make.
  • Decisions about sharpening, contrast, and saturation can be deferred until the image is processed on the computer.
  • All the original image data is preserved. In fact, when RAW files are opened in post-production software like Lightroom, a virtual copy is made and used. Edits are made in a non-destructive format so the original RAW file is always available for changes at a later stage. This is very useful when you want to edit images in different ways at different times in your photographic career.
RAW Versus JPEG File Format - before and after with a raw file

Left is the RAW file straight out of the camera. On the right is the finished edited image from the same file.

The image on the left (above) was completely blown out because I was in the car and did not have any of my settings correct. But because I photographed in RAW I was able to salvage so much detail in the image. This would not have been possible with a JPG file.

RAW Versus JPEG File Format - underexposed image

An image that was not properly exposed but photographed in RAW.

RAW Versus JPEG File Format - corrected version of the dark file

The edited image that was corrected in post-processing for exposure issues.

Disadvantages of RAW files

  • RAW files tend to be much larger in size compared to JPEGs thereby requiring more storage, not just in camera but also on external storage devices or your computer hard drives.
  • RAW images take longer to write to your memory card which means shorter bursts of continuous shooting. For example, my Canon 5D MIII can write about 12 RAW files continuously and about 30+ JPEG files in the continuous (burst) shooting mode. Check your camera manual for specifics around your own camera’s burst mode (a.k.a continuous photography mode).
  • Not all programs can read RAW files. This used to be an issue, but now there are lots of great programs that can work directly with Raw files such as Adobe Lightroom, Canon’s Camera RAW, Luminar, On1 Raw, ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate, and other such programs.

Advantages of shooting JPEGs

  • JPEG files are much smaller in size compared to RAW files and hence need less storage space – both in camera memory and on your computer hard drives.
  • JPEG images write to disk more quickly which means longer bursts of continuous shooting opportunities especially during wildlife photography, fast action sports, or even dealing with little kids that are always on the move.
  • These JPEG files can be instantly viewed with many programs including common web browsers, powerpoint, and other such common applications.

Disadvantages of JPEG files

  • It is harder to fix exposure mistakes in post-production with JPEG files.
  • JPEG files tend to have a smaller dynamic range of information that is stored and this often means less ability to preserve both highlights and shadow details in the image.
  • White Balance corrections are more difficult with JPEG files.
  • Decisions about sharpness, contrast, and saturation are set in the camera itself and in most cases, these are difficult to change later in post-production without destroying the image quality.
  • Since a JPEG image is essentially a RAW image compressed in-camera, the camera’s computer makes decisions on what data to retain and which to toss out when compressing the file.
RAW Versus JPEG File Format - jpg edited file

The same image when edited as a JPEG for exposure issues becomes a lot grainier than an underexposed RAW image. You cannot pull them as far as a RAW file.

Another old-school way to think about these two file types is as slides and negatives. JPEGs are like slides or transparencies and RAW files are like negatives. With JPEGs, most of the decisions about how the image will look are made before the shutter is pressed and there are fewer options for changes later. But RAW files almost always require further processing and adjustments – just like negatives.

Which format to choose?

Now that you understand the difference between RAW and JPEG images, deciding which one to use is dependent on a few different factors.

  • Do you want to spend time in post-processing your images to your taste and photography style?
  • Are there any issues with limited space on your camera’s memory card and/or computer hard drives?
  • Do you have software and/or editing programs that will read RAW files easily?
  • Do you intend to print your images or even share images online in a professional capacity?

Some photographers are intimidated by RAW images. I was as well when I had just gotten started in photography because I did not know the true power of a RAW image. However, once I started photographing in RAW there was no going back.

Even everyday snapshots are shot in RAW now because of the great flexibility I have in correcting any mistakes that I make. One of the most common mistakes that many photographers make is around image exposure and that is relatively easy to fix with RAW files. 

RAW Versus JPEG File Format - overexposed sun or sky

I accidentally overexposed the setting sun and lost some of that golden warmth hitting the tree.

Karthika Gupta Photography - Memorable Jaunts DPS Article-Raw verses JPEG file formats -07

One of my favorite San Francisco cityscapes at sunset. I accidentally overexposed and lost the sun flare but was able to edit it and bring back that sunset warmth in post-production because it is a RAW file.

It’s getting easier to use RAW files

Traditionally the two main issues with RAW files seem to be fading every day:

  1. The cost of memory to store or backup these RAW files is getting cheaper and cheaper by the day.
  2. Software that can read RAW files is more readily available. In fact, there is even inexpensive and free software that can read these RAW files now.

There is still the issue of write speed for your camera. If you focus on fast-moving subjects like wildlife or sports photography then perhaps write speed is a key factor in deciding whether to photograph in RAW versus JPEG. So for fast moving objects and/or wildlife and birding photos, JPEG may be a better choice.

Another thing to note is that most of the newer cameras have the ability to capture both JPEG and RAW images at the same time. But this takes up even more storage space and might not be the best use of memory. You are better off just picking one option and sticking with that.

RAW Versus JPEG File Format - photo of a stream and moving water

Waterfall images using a slow shutter speed tend to blow out the background but editing a RAW image in Lightroom helps bring back some of the highlights.

Conclusion

I hope this was helpful in not only understanding the differences between RAW versus JPEG file formats but also in helping you decide which one to choose and why. So tell me, do you belong to the RAW or the JPEG camp?!

The post Tips for Choosing Between RAW Versus JPEG File Format appeared first on Digital Photography School.

How to Use Spot Coloring in Your Photos

What is spot color in an image?

Some people refer to it as selective coloring. However, these two techniques are not the same thing.

Traditionally, selective coloring is something that is done in post-production. Photographers would highlight a certain area of the image, or a certain object, and leave it as the only thing that has colored in the frame.

They would turn the rest of the image into monochrome, or on occasion increasing the color saturation of that object while lowering it in the rest of the photograph. This is to call attention or focus to that particular part of the image.

Spot coloring in photography - dried roses against a white backdrop

Do you remember the days of black and white prom dresses with red corsages? Or, do you remember a black and white image of a model with red lips? Those are classic examples of selective coloring.

Difference between spot coloring versus selective

Spot coloring uses the available colors in a scene and then composes the image so that one color stands out from the rest of the frame. Spot coloring is a technique that is used in-camera (done by the photographer). It works by placing a color against other colors that allow it to stand out in the composition.

Selective coloring is a technique where one color is prominent in the final shot whereas all the other colors have either been changed to monochrome or had their color saturation levels lowered during post-production.

Spot coloring in photography - purple flower against green trees

The key with spot coloring in camera is to look for naturally occurring examples of color pops as opposed to making changes in post-production to highlight a particular color. This purple flower pops against the green of the leaves.

Before we move forward on this subject, I have to say that I am not downplaying or downgrading selective coloring versus the spot color technique. If there is one thing that this photography journey has taught me, it is that there is a market for every style of photography.

Each style of photography has its fans and its critics – that’s just the way the industry works. You just have to decide which camp you want to be in and run with that. I use spot coloring as I compose my shots in-camera. Unfortunately, rarely do I see a good use of selective coloring in post-production.

Spot coloring in photography - woman in red sari against yellow brick house porch - 2

My lovely client, in her red sari, stood out against this historic yellow brick building. This is a perfect example of spot color. By placing the bright red clothing against the reduced color tone and vibrancy of the building, the eye is directed right toward the subject.

I don’t know about you, but being in front of the computer for an extended period of time editing my images is not the most productive use of my time. If I can get the shot as close to how I envision it to be in-camera, then post-production is just about adding the finishing touches so it becomes relatively easy.

Here is a link to another recent dPS article about tips for quick editing. For me, spot coloring is a way to achieve an effect that fits my brand, my aesthetics, and my style of photography. Also, note that a spot color in your frame doesn’t have to be bright and vibrant. Sometimes, color contrast or a change in color hue is enough to move the eyes to the subject.

Advantages of Spot Coloring In-Camera

Spot coloring in photography - two hands holding gelato cones in pleasing colors in Rome

Colorful Italian gelato against the brick façade gives the right amount of soft color pop in this “subtle” use of spot color.

Spot coloring in-camera, if done correctly, can help you in the following ways:

#1 – It provides a clear definition of your subject.

By isolating your subject by way of color, you give a clear definition of the subject and help it stand out in an otherwise busy/crowded frame.

#2 – It helps you understand the relationship between colors.

Some colors work together, and others just don’t. Understanding the relationship between complementary colors and opposing colors can go a long way to creating images that are aesthetically pleasing and on point for your brand and your portfolio.

When practicing your spot color technique, keep a copy of the color wheel with you when you are creating images or studying the images of others to see how colors work together or against each other. You can print a color wheel off of the internet or find one in your local art supply store.

Ryb-colorwheel

By No machine-readable author provided. Bwilliam assumed (based on copyright claims). [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY-SA 2.5 ], via Wikimedia Commons

#3 – Spot color makes images more impactful, images that have strong clear subjects.

These are more impactful when compared to images that are busy and cluttered and don’t give the viewer a sense of what is happening in the frame.

#4 – It slows you down to observe first and then click later.

When you observe a scene intentionally for the play of colors, patterns, and textures, you automatically slow down and learn to see first and then click the camera. Often, we are so focused on just clicking and getting something captured as opposed to photographing the right subject the right way.

If nothing else, this process will help you get away from the “spray and pray” mentality (photograph multiple frames at once and hope one of them works). Trying to use spot color can help you to slow down and analyze your scene. Ultimately, this will help you develop as a photographer instead of relying on the “spray and pray” technique.

Creative spot coloring can be done for any genre of photography: portraits, travel, and still life. Of course, some are easier than others, but this look is achievable in all these areas.

Spot Coloring in People Photography and Portraits

Spot coloring in photography - family portraits in red colored clothes against the snow

By choosing a pallet that complements the background, I was able to bring focus to my clients instead of having them blend into the frame. Here the red clothing worked really well against the white of the snow. This example is a bright, vibrant use of spot color. Note that they are not all wearing the same colors – but they do all have some common elements of the red which collectively looks well matched.

When you are photographing people (e.g. families and kids), a simple tool like a style guide can go a long way. I proactively send a style guide, or what-to-wear for your portrait tips list, to my clients where I suggest clothing options and colors – basically, pieces that I know will photograph well according to the season and location.

For example, if we will be shooting outside in a park or out in nature, I will suggest colors and outfits that will not compete with all the greenery. During the fall season when we have gorgeous colors in the trees, I will suggest colors that go well with the oranges, browns, and reds that Mother Nature shares with us. This way, when I am composing my shots and directing my clients, I will use poses that will ensure the photos are aesthetically pleasing and that do not have too many competing colors in the frame.

This is a “professional use” of spot color. I am going to coordinate the colors so that my client stands out from the background while looking pleasing at the same time.

Now, before you accuse me of manipulating the client experience, I have to point out that in all my eight years of being a family photographer, I have yet to come across a client who does not appreciate the what-to-wear tips that I send them when they book my photography services.

Most people are extremely uncomfortable being in front of the camera and get stressed out on what to wear and how to dress. Anything that can help alleviate that pain is going to be a welcome and much-appreciated thing. They have no idea that it’s actually a technical and aesthetic consideration on my part. It makes my job easier!

Spot Coloring in Travel Photography

Spot coloring in photography - roman vatican guard in costume standing guard

This colorful costume of the guards in the Vatican, Rome really stands out against the pastel colors of the building facade and the iron gate.

One of the key considerations to creating compelling travel images is to be aware of what is going on around you. Location is just as important as light. When you get to a scene, take a quick look around and do a quick mental assessment of everything that is happening around you. Colors, textures, light, and the subject all play a very important role in the final outcome of the image.

Think about how spot color could work for your shot. If you are in a location that has generally muted tones and colors, look for a subject that is a contrasting color to the rest of the scene. If framed correctly, that subject will carry the entire weight of the image, and the other colors will work in harmonizing the overall image around that subject.

On the other hand, if you were to choose a subject more or less similar in tones and colors to the background, the subject will likely blend in and the entire image may lack that oomph that you were hoping for. If you are in a busy, colorful location with lots of activity, try to isolate your subjects against a monotone background, thereby giving the subject a chance to stand out from the commotion.

Spot Coloring in Still Life Photography

Spot coloring in photography - still life flat lay with ruby red grape fruit and grapes

I love photographing food because that means I get to munch on it after as opposed to snacking on junk food! Plus, there is no better learning tool for the spot color technique!

This is one of the easiest genres of photography where you can practice spot color easily. Why? You have complete control over all of the color elements.

Remember when I said spot color is an exercise in understanding the color pallet? When you are planning your still life imagery, you can choose the colors (from opposite ends of the color wheel) to add that element of color pop to your images. You will also learn how effectively different colors work together to create a composition.

Spot color can be used with any genre of photography. However, the still life genre is a particularly useful learning experience because you have plenty of time and you control all of the colors that will be introduced into the picture!

Summing Up

I hope these examples help you to understand that just like many other techniques, spot coloring is a way to add creativity and fun to your images. Do you use spot color in your images? Share in the comments below.

The post How to Use Spot Coloring in Your Photos appeared first on Digital Photography School.

10 Tips for Photographing Street Markets

There are very few places in the world that provide the kind of visual stimulation, human interactions, and heightened sensory excitement like as street markets. No matter the size or what the market is about, there is bound to be some interesting things to photograph and experience.

I love going to street markets and farmers markets for several reasons – it seems to be the place where most locals hang out, food and shopping are quite fun and unique and it is a great place to taste local foods.

Tips for photographing street markets

Here are some tips to make the most out of photographing street markets or farmers markets.

#1 Redefine interesting

Gorgeous flowers and yummy fruit are always interesting subjects to photograph but if these are not available, don’t walk away. People interactions, fishmongers and other nicknacks are just as interesting.

Tips for photographing street markets - mushrooms

#2 Include human elements

I’ve encountered some really interesting people every time I have visited a street market – artists, artisans, creatives, as well as small-time bakers. It always helps to be friendly and ask permission before snapping a photo. Most people are really nice and willing but be respectful and ask first. And respect a “No” when you hear it and move on.

Tips for photographing street markets - shop stall

#3 Variety in your shots

Add variety to your photos to give them a sense of place, people, and activity. Remember wide angle photos can help you set the scene, but you might miss some details.

Zooming in on your subjects will give a chance to focus on the details – color, shape, and texture. To effectively tell a story make sure you have a good variety of both in your photo portfolio.

Tips for photographing street markets - street market in India

Tips for photographing street markets - fruit in cups for sale

#4 Explore and plan

Just like any photo excursion or trip, take the time to research and explore the areas prior to visiting them. Look at guidebooks, online forums or even ask your friends or people on the street – chances are that markets which the locals frequent aren’t going to be that obvious.

The best resource might actually be the people on the street. If the market is really huge, do some preliminary research to find the most interesting stalls and map out your route so you can make the most of your time there.

Tips for photographing street markets - man selling noodles

#5 Master your tools

Notice that I did not say, “master your craft”. Instead, I said, “master your tools”. In a fast paced environment like a street market, something interesting is constantly happening. Now is not the time to muddle with your camera, adjusting settings and experimenting.

Learn where all the buttons and knobs are and how to use them for what you want to create. Markets can present real challenges with lighting. You might be shooting outdoors, indoors or both within a span of a few minutes.

Tips for photographing street markets - man painting

#6 Buy something

A small purchase goes a long way toward making friends with vendors. Buy something first if possible. Establish rapport and then ask permission to take a picture. You will find your subjects more relaxed and they will to pose for you rather than doing it with an attitude of entitlement.

Tips for photographing street markets - market vendors

#7 Choose the right gear

Considering that most street markets are out on the street and typically span a few blocks, chances are that you will be walking around a fair bit. So you don’t want to be carrying around a ton of gear because it is slowly going to get heavy and cumbersome.

Additionally, if you end up buying things, you will add more to the weight factor. Personally, I prefer using a zoom lens in situations like this. Or a couple of standard prime lens like the versatile 50mm or the wide 35mm. There might not be too much opportunity to switch lenses on the fly so be deliberate with what you bring along.

Tips for photographing street markets

#8 Gear settings

When arriving at a market, one of the first things you’ll notice is that they’re usually covered or indoors. This means that you will likely be photographing in low light situations. Don’t be afraid to increase your ISO here. Photographing street markets often times is best done from a documentary approach so a little grain/noise in terms of high ISO is not going to be the end of the world.

Another thing to keep in mind is lighting. Chances are you are going to be dealing with a variety of lighting situations – sunlight, tungsten, and low light. Perhaps to make life a little easier, switch to Auto White Balance mode on your camera. That way you have one less thing to worry about and can always adjust the White Balance in post-production.

NOTE: You can also try Auto ISO. Read more about that here

Tips for photographing street markets - fruit stalls

#9 Composition

Try to photograph either wide-angle or close-ups. The reason behind this is because you want your images to look intentional and without many distractions.

Also try and get shots from different angles – high up, low down or even photographing from the hip. Changing your perspective is an easy way to really create variety in your pictures.

Tips for photographing street markets - carts

Tips for photographing street markets

#10 Be aware of your surroundings and stay safe

Street markets tend to be crowded places. A photographer with some expensive gear and a fancy backpack stands out like a sore thumb. Make sure to keep an eye on your gear at all times. Keep valuables close to your person. Wallets, smartphones, etc., should be securely packed away and not at all conspicuous.

I hope these ten tips for photographing street markets were helpful for you. If you have other tips that have worked really well for you, do share with us in the comments section below.

The post 10 Tips for Photographing Street Markets appeared first on Digital Photography School.

Tips for Quick Photo Editing in the Field

In today’s world of fast and super fast consumption of everything, perhaps photography and photographers are an anomaly in that we obsess over editing and over-editing our photos until the cows come home (figuratively speaking of course)! But there are some situations where quick photo editing and speed are our friends.

For example, say you are traveling on an adventure of a lifetime but still want to keep your followers and/or your community engaged and up to date on all your adventures by way of images. Or if you have just come back from a client photoshoot and want to send some sneak peek images so that your clients get excited about what is to come in the next few weeks.

Albert Hall Jaipur India at Sunset with pigeons - Tips for Quick Photo Editing in the Field

A quick edit of an image as I was traveling around India for 10 days.

In situations like these, having a process to edit your photos quickly yet efficiently and on-point with your photographic aesthetics is key. Luckily there are a few elements that can be adjusted to achieve a clean edited look. These sliders are universal in that they are available with almost any editing software available be it Lightroom (as seen below), Photoshop, or even smartphone editing software like Snapseed and VSCO.

Follow along with this video

In the following video, I share some quick and easy editing tips for times when you are in a crunch.

One quick tip for a fast edit in the field is to start with an image that has good bones, to begin with. Essentially what this means is that you try to get the images as close to your vision for the final outcome, straight out of the camera.

So slow down and really think through elements like exposure, composition, tonality, etc., right as you are taking the image. This will definitely help speed up your editing even more.

Golden Gate Bridge with a pink hue at sunrise before editing straight out of camera -

A clean straight out of camera shot that was almost what I wanted to achieve.

Karthika Gupta Golden Gate Bridge with a pink hue at sunrise after a quick edit

A few minor adjustments to amplify the pink/orange hues for a quick edit.

Conclusion

I hope these editing tips were useful. Keep in mind, the whole point of this exercise is to make editing in the field easy and quick.

You can always come back and re-edit those images to perfection when you have the time to spend hours on a single image (we have likely all been guilty of doing that at some point or the other – it is called the photographer’s dilemma!!).

Do you have any other quick photo editing tips you’d like to share? Please do so in the comments below.

The post Tips for Quick Photo Editing in the Field appeared first on Digital Photography School.

6 Creative Composition Techniques to Boost Your Images

I am a huge fan of the Canadian rock band Barenaked Ladies. They were very popular in the 2000s and their songs were creative, fun and edgy. They also came up with a children’s album called Snacktime and it was a blockbuster hit. Now you must be wondering what a music band has to do with photography but just bear (pun intended!) with me and keep reading on.

One of the songs on the kid’s album is called “Crazy ABC’s” and it was not the traditional alphabet song. In fact, the whole song used unique and different words that begin with the traditional letters of the alphabet. Are you still with me here? At the end of the song, the lead singer (Ed) encourages kids to think outside the box when it comes to learning. Everyones knows the typical A, B and C words like Apple, Cat, and Ball. But think outside the box and see what a wonderful world it opens up.

Thi is how that example relates to photography. We all know the basic composition techniques – the rule of thirds, center focus, fill the frame, etc. How about we change things up and look at some of the atypical composition techniques – after all, it really is such a wonderful world out there, why see it from a boring frame of reference!! Let’s get creative.

#1 Look for reflections

Reflections don’t always have to be done with water. Reflections on water are probably the easiest thing to do if you want to get creative. But following the theme of changing things up, try other surfaces as well. Actually, any reflective surface can be used to add an element of creativity to your frame.

6 Creative Composition Techniques to Boost Your Images - reflections

Nothing wrong with the typical reflection in water shot…the fact that I get to see the snow-capped Himalayas twice over was enough to get me to do the typical/traditional shot.

Karthika Gupta Photography - Memorable Jaunts DPS Article-Creative Composition Techniques-reflection 1

But pushing beyond the boundaries of typical and photographing this lovely couple’s first look on their wedding day, with an added reflection in the glass takes it to another level.

#2 Look for symmetry

Just like in point number one above, symmetry does not necessarily mean centered composition of the subject. As long as you can draw a virtual line across the frame and have two exact replicas of the image, symmetry is achieved. Try to think of creative ways to achieve symmetry.

food - 6 Creative Composition Techniques to Boost Your Images

Food is one of those subjects that lends itself to a multitude of different composition techniques. By isolating these appetizers (don’t they look absolutely delicious) in a central composition, I was able to create symmetry horizontally, vertically and maybe even diagonally! Again, think outside the box.

6 Creative Composition Techniques to Boost Your Images - symmetry

One of my favorite clients from a few years ago…here the symmetry is implied – parents on one end of the spectrum and kids on the other.

#3 Use of negative space

I love the use of negative space to add so much more to an image without any additional weight of other subjects. I am always thinking of ways to use negative space to add that extra special “oomph” factor to my images.

6 Creative Composition Techniques to Boost Your Images - negative space

This little Italian car screamed for my full attention – using negative space with a wall exactly the same color as the car was a little different but this image is all about that car and nothing else!

The Vatican - 6 Creative Composition Techniques to Boost Your Images

Negative space can be used for any genre of photography – people, things, and even places. The Vatican deserves everyone’s undivided attention, there’s no doubt about that!

negative space with a model - 6 Creative Composition Techniques to Boost Your Images

My lovely model from an editorial shoot last year. She totally owned that shoot and this image shows her strength, tenacity, and attitude – the only thing in this image is her, simplified by the use of negative space.

#4 Multiple exposures

This is by far one of my favorite ways to add a little creativity to my images. Don’t feel you need to be limited by using only two exposures in the case of multiple exposures. This works great for three or even four exposures and can be done in-camera as well as in post-processing.

6 Creative Composition Techniques to Boost Your Images - double exposure

A typical double exposure using a textured image and a human element.

6 Creative Composition Techniques to Boost Your Images - multiple exposures

But why stop at two exposures? Here I used three exposures to showcase the active, multi-faceted mind of a creative. A lot of thoughts race through our minds at any given point in time – here is a creative way of documenting that!

6 Creative Composition Techniques to Boost Your Images - multiple exposures

Another three exposure frame – an extension of being creative with your composition.

#5 Slow down your shutter speed

By having a long exposure (slowing your shutter speed) you can add some creativity to your shots. Traditionally we see this with waterfalls or flowing water shots. But try and do this with other subject matter as well. Sometimes that intentional blur can be used just as a creative expression, or to create abstract art in your images.

6 Creative Composition Techniques to Boost Your Images - intentional blur

This was actually taken from a car as we were driving along a California highway. The car was too fast for me to get any sort of sunset shot so I decided to embrace the movement and create an abstract version of what I was seeing.

6 Creative Composition Techniques to Boost Your Images - motion blur

Here motion blur or slow shutter speed was much more intentional. I was camping on the beach along the Oregon coast as the fog was just rolling in and people were walking back to their tents. By slowing the shutter, the waves took on this milky look and the people magically faded away from the shot. For this kind of shot, I used a tripod to make sure the sea stacks were sharp.

#6 Creative framing

Try and incorporate frame within a frame within a frame or any combination of that in your photos to add a fun element and lead the viewer into where you want them to focus their attention.

6 Creative Composition Techniques to Boost Your Images - framing

My lovely client backlit and framed within the doorway. The sun was too bright behind her and the rest of the room was dark – a perfect recipe for taking a step back and framing the dark against the bright.

6 Creative Composition Techniques to Boost Your Images - framing

Here the happy couple is being framed by the staircase and steps in a more subtle way. The eye is being led down and around the sides of the railing leading the viewer into the bottom of the frame where the couple is taking a moment to be with each other.

6 Creative Composition Techniques to Boost Your Images - framing

This is one of my favorite images of my kids…one of the few times that big sister is being nice to her little brother! The leaves along with the tree frame them, directing your eyes to the center of the frame where they are interacting.

Conclusion

I hope these tips encourage you to think differently when it comes to photographic composition. Sure you likely know the tried and true rules – things that you know will work when all else fails. But you know what? Embrace that failure to grow creatively.

Experiment and try some of these creative composition techniques. In fact, take a chance and maybe try a couple of them together. Who knows what might happen, but at least you will feel like you explored outside your comfort zone. And the best part is that these tips work well for almost any genre of photography. So get out there and create some magic.

The post 6 Creative Composition Techniques to Boost Your Images by Karthika Gupta appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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