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5 Photography Terms That Every Photographer Should Be Familiar with

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Photography isn’t just a job – it’s a labour of love. There’s nothing more satisfying for a photographer than finding that perfect moment in time and capturing it for all time. For anyone considering taking up photography on a full-time basis there’s certainly a lot to know. Sure, anyone these days can take a picture with their smart phone, but there’s so much more that goes into true photography. If you’re really considering photography as a profession there are some key terms you should understand so keep reading for five photography terms that every photographer should be familiar with.

1. Bracketing

If you’re new to photography the term bracketing will probably be foreign to you, but it’s actually quite a simple term. It refers to the practice of taking 3 to 5 different photographs in quick succession using different exposures. For example, with the first photo you might use the camera’s built-in automatic settings and you’ll probably get a nice picture. With the second photo you might deliberately underexpose it to get the same picture with an entirely different look and in the final photo you might overexpose it for the same reason. This practice is typically used when the subject you’re photographing is hard to judge. By using these different types of exposure you’re covering all of your bases and there’s a good chance you’ll capture the perfect image.

2. Double Exposure

One of a photographer’s greatest nightmares in years gone by was the term double exposure. Invariably this meant a photograph that went horribly wrong. In a nutshell, it refers to two separate images that have somehow been superimposed on top of each other to give a new image that includes parts of both. This isn’t something that photographers normally did on purpose – that is at least it wasn’t in the past. These days with the advent of digital photography unintentional double exposure rarely ever happens, but many photographers now experiment with it as a useful technique to produce some stunning and memorable images.

3. Advanced Focusing Modes

In the past you had to rely on your own personal judgment to focus your camera and while great photographers learned to do this expertly with time – it wasn’t something that happened overnight. These days almost all photographers use digital cameras and these come with advanced focusing modes that allow you to take a lot of the guesswork out of the process. For example, there are modes that you can choose specifically designed to capture moving objects and others that are meant for focusing at nighttime.

4. Lens Calibration

With modern digital cameras there’s a perception out there that you never need to calibrate your lenses again as they all have built-in auto focuses that make your life simple. Unfortunately, reality is often not as simple as that. It’s not uncommon for an expensive camera to arrive with its calibration off because of something that happened during shipping. You might consider returning the camera, but it’s really not necessary. Lens calibration is something that all photographers should become familiar with over time.

5. Filter Effects

The last essential photography term we want to talk about is the use of filters. One of the greatest features of modern digital cameras is that they come with many different filters for you to choose from. If you don’t know what I mean by a filter let me clarify. A filter is an effect created digitally by your camera that gets superimposed over your image to create a desired effect. Common filters include polarisers, neutral density, and UV filters. These filters are often used to make up for shortcomings, or lighting issues.

8 Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographer

There are a lot of things you may want to ask your wedding photographer, but if you don’t think about them ahead of time there’s a good chance you’ll miss something important. Here are 8 questions to ask your wedding photographer before the big day.

1. What’s Their Style?

Photographers can have very different styles and when you’re choosing a photographer for your special day you should pay close attention to what that style is. Do they rely on simplicity and the use of natural light to capture the best photographs or do they like to use photographic tricks such as perspective and depth of field to change the way a photo looks. It’s probably a good idea to ask to look at their portfolio as well as this will give you a good idea of what to expect and if you feel they’re a good fit for you.

2. How Many Times Have They Actually Done This?

I’m assuming you only plan on getting married once and you’ll want the best photographic memories possible that will capture those fleeting moments in your life that are so important to you. That means you’ll want a wedding photographer with experience in capturing the best moments of a special day. You should always ask your potential photographer how long they’ve been doing this as you probably don’t want to leave such an important task to someone who’s never done it before.

3. What’s Your Schedule like on Our Wedding Day?

Even if you’ve decided that a particular photographer is right for your event you should still ask them what type of schedule they have on your wedding day. You’ll want to be careful that there aren’t any potential conflicts as the last thing you need is a photographer that doesn’t show up.

4. Will They Provide a Contract?

It may surprise you to find out that some photographers don’t provide you with a contract, but it happens all the time. If you’re going to protect yourself it’s a good idea to ask your photographer to put something in writing that defines what services you’ve agreed upon – it will protect you and help you to avoid any misunderstandings.

5. Do They Have a Backup Plan in the Event of Illness?

Imagine a scenario in which your wedding photographer comes down with an illness on that very same day you’re supposed to get married – for you that’s a potential disaster. Don’t forget to ask your photographer if they have a backup plan. Is there more than one photographer that works at the studio and could they take over in the event of this worst-case scenario? This is a question you should definitely ask.

6. Do I Get to Choose My Photos?

It may seem obvious, but a good photographer should provide you with a lot of choice and let you choose the images that you want to keep and the ones you want to discard. You’ll certainly want to listen to their input as they are professionals, but this is your big day so make sure you have a hand in deciding which photos you’re going to keep.

7. What Happens If Things Get behind Schedule?

No matter how well an event is organized there is always the potential for delay and when it comes to your wedding day those delays can have a domino effect that will also affect your photographer. It’s a good idea to find out what happens if you do run behind schedule. Are they okay to stick around and will they charge extra for the extra demands on their time that any delay will cause. If you know these answers ahead of time you can avoid any unwanted surprises.

8. When Do You Get Your Pictures?

Don’t forget the most important question of all – when do you get your photos! You have to understand that a professional photographer has a process they go through in order to make sure they provide you with the best images possible, but they understand that you’ll be eagerly anticipating that final photo album of your wedding day. Ask them right up front how long the process normally takes and when you can expect your photos, that way there won’t be any misunderstandings and you won’t end up frustrated waiting for those photos to come in.

Key Differences between Commercial Photography and Family Photography

If you read the title of this article closely you might be wondering what I mean by family photography and that’s understandable as it’s kind of a vague term. What I mean by family photography is family portraits, childhood milestones, and of course weddings. These are events or moments in our lives that are of significant personal importance, but they are of no real commercial value. Commercial photography on the other hand does have value for a business and we’ll explore the differences in a little more detail below.

Commercial Photos Are Promotional

Commercial photography is often created with a marketing or promotional purpose in mind – it’s a much more formal process. The photographer may take the pictures, but the business he’s working with will have a lot of input into what goes into those pictures as well. In fact they may often work in conjunction with the company’s marketing team which has a specific set of goals in mind and the photoshoot is expected to help with those goals. A photographer probably has a little less freedom of choice in such circumstances, although they still retain a lot of artistic license – after all they’ve been chosen because of their professional expertise in photography.

Family Photos or Mementos

Family photos in contrast are not designed with a specific marketing or promotional purpose in mind as they’re intended to capture important moments of our lives that we want to remember forever. We normally allow the photographer to make most of the decisions as they’re the professionals and we trust their professional judgment to capture those perfect moments in time – at least that’s the way it’s supposed to work. The problem is if they don’t get things right the first time there isn’t usually a second chance unless you’re planning on getting a divorce – your wedding is a one off event so choose a photographer wisely!

Family Photos Are Not Moneymaking Ventures

Family photos really have no commercial purpose whatsoever. We don’t hire a photographer to take our wedding photos with the expectation that it’s going to make us any money in the long run. We want those photos to remember our special day and for no other reason. Commercial photos on the other hand are most definitely intended to assist a business in its long-term strategy and while they may not make any money directly the hope is that a successful promotional or marketing campaign featuring powerful still images can increase our overall business in the long-term.

Successful Commercial Photography Usually Results in Repeat Business Perhaps the biggest difference between commercial photography and family photography is that if a photographer does a good job for a commercial project it’s likely to result in consistent ongoing business – that’s not the case with family photos of any kind. That’s not to say that we won’t go back to a photographer that did a great job on our wedding photos for a family portrait, but that business is likely to be infrequent and a photographer can’t build their schedule around it. A successful commercial venture will most certainly help a photographer to fill their schedule on a regular basis.

5 Reasons That Location’s Important for the Perfect Photoshoot

If you know a photographer you may have witnessed the wonder in their eyes when they were talking about the perfect location and while you probably had a vague idea of what they meant it’s doubtful you shared their enthusiasm. For a photographer the location of the photoshoot is one of the most important aspects of their profession. Without the perfect location you can’t have the perfect photoshoot – you might say it’s where everything begins for a photographer. Here are five key reasons that location’s important for the perfect photoshoot.

It’s All about the Mood

Location can help to set the mood of the photo itself, but also of the people in it. If a photographer decides to do a photoshoot in a creepy old house because it’s Halloween the message we receive when looking at those photos is likely to be one of foreboding and perhaps a little bit of fear. The same will probably apply for any people partaking in the photoshoot as they’re likely to soak up the mood of the creepy old place – even if it’s involuntary.

There’s a Message in the Location

The location a photographer chooses can also be used to convey a message. The message a war photographer is trying to convey when taking pictures in a war-torn city is likely to be about the plight of its citizens and it’s essentially a call to action to try and convince the rest of the world to do something about it. On the other end of the spectrum might be honeymoon pictures taken at Niagara Falls which are meant to convey a message of happiness and everlasting love.

Location and Exposure

The location a photographer chooses for a photoshoot can also have a lot of bearing on the exposure of the images. For example, if a photographer is doing a photoshoot in an underground cave there’s a good chance his/her images may be underexposed if he doesn’t select the right tools for the job. There isn’t enough natural light in the cave and that means the photographer will need to depend on a flash to create enough artificial light to capture the image they’re looking for.

Make Sure You Have Permission

One thing that few people are likely to consider is that a photographer has to make sure that they have permission to shoot in a particular location. This isn’t normally a problem in any public place, but if you’re shooting on private property then you should definitely have permission. There’s a good chance you’re going to raise a lot of suspicion if you decide to conduct a photoshoot outside of a top secret nuclear facility – this may seem like an extreme example, but I think you get the point.

A Little Bit of Nostalgia

One final thing you may want to consider when looking for the perfect location for your photoshoot is nostalgia. We all have places that have special meaning to us and the chance to shoot some family portraits in that location could be ideal. Let’s say for example your family planted a tree 20 years ago in the backyard after the passing of your grandfather – that tree is likely to have special meaning for your whole family and would be a great place to shoot that family portrait.

Find That Perfect Location

If there’s one thing that’s clear after our discussion above it’s that there are many reasons for choosing a location, but as long as you choose a location with one or more of these reasons in mind it should make for some great photographs. Take your time and choose a location for the right reasons.

5 Essential Tools in Any Successful Photographer’s Toolkit

Shedding Some Light on the Situation

How a photographer takes advantage of the light available to them in any situation will have an important effect on how powerful the photographs and still images they take are. Think about some of the most impressive photos you’ve ever seen and there’s a good chance light had a lot to do with them. There’s nothing more spectacular than a photo taken as a new day rises with the sun edging over the horizon and the day’s early light starting to take control of the night. We may not be able to control the nature of the light outside, but we can definitely take advantage of what nature offers us.

Finding the Right Exposure

I’m sure we’ve all heard the term overexposure in reference to photography, but that doesn’t mean we know exactly what it’s about. There are a lot of complicated definitions of exposure out there and you may even find a formula or two, but it really comes down to a couple of simple facts. If you’ve ever seen an old color photo that seems to be washed out because of too much color in the image that photo is what you would call overexposed – it’s too bright. If on the other hand you have a photo that’s murky and dark and you can’t really make out what’s going on in the image that photos underexposed. Finding the right balance of light to achieve the effect you’re looking for is what exposure is all about.

Putting a Little Perspective on the Situation

You can take a picture of the exact same thing and make it look very different every single time. The way to do this is by using different perspectives. For example, if I take a picture of you while standing right in front of you about 10 feet away the picture will look very different than if I climb a tree and take the same photo of you because my perspective will have changed. How a photographer uses perspective to their advantage can say a lot about their professionalism.

Changing the Depth Can Reinvent a Photo

One of the most dramatic effects in any photographer’s arsenal is how they take advantage of depth of field. Some of the best photos I’ve ever seen were those taken of very small objects close up that made them appear much larger than they really were. Think about a photo of a flower with a bee crawling around inside taken at an extremely close up vantage point – the effect can be quite stunning. You could simply take a photo of the same scene at a regular distance, but you’d leave out a lot of detail and the photo wouldn’t be half as impressive.

The Importance of What Goes into the Photo

The last essential tool in our photography toolkit is the composition of the photo itself. Composition refers to the placement of items within your photo and what exactly is in them. A photograph of that favorite tree in your yard taken as winter approaches and all the leaves have fallen to the ground will look very different from the same photo used as a backdrop for your family portrait in the middle of a beautiful summer day. A photo captures a moment in time and it’s up to the photographer to decide what should be included in that photo so that it creates the most powerful lasting image possible.