How To Take Pictures Without A Shadow Indoors, Outdoors, and of Products

If you are wondering how to take a photo without a shadow, then you have come to the right place. Yes, natural light is a vital part of photography, but not in all cases. Sometimes you may find yourself doing a photoshoot where you need to avoid shadows.

In this guide, we’ll share some tips and techniques on how you can take pictures without shadows for indoor photography, outdoor photography, and product photography.

How To Take A Picture Without Shadows

How To Take A Picture Without Shadow – Indoor Photography

Indoor photography is probably one of the most difficult things for a photographer to learn. When you have natural and artificial light blending together with the light reflecting through the windows and off walls it often results in unattractive photos.

Read on to find out how you can avoid shadows with indoor photography.

Use A Slower Shutter Speed

The first thing you should do is go to your camera settings and set your camera to shutter priority mode. Your camera will select the aperture and ISO.

A slower shutter speed is important because it increases the amount of light that reaches your camera. The speed you require depends on the lighting conditions.

Slow speeds are 1/30th and 1/60th of a second. But we advise you not to set the shutter speed to anything lower than 1/60th and higher than 1/200, as this range avoids artificial light interference and captures sharp images with no motion blur.

Use A Reflector

A reflector is a handy piece of equipment for any photographer. It’s also pretty an affordable tool, but if you don’t want to buy one you can always make one yourself.

A reflector offers great coverage for the lighting of indoor and outdoor photography. The white paper gives the photo a professional look by providing a soft fill for shadows that are cast onto the subject.

Use a Tripod

A tripod can prove to be very useful in most situations. Whether you are photographing landscapes, shooting sunsets, or capturing action shots, this gadget is a must.

It provides your camera with stability to capture sharp images with no motion blur at any shutter speed or long exposure.

Tripods allow you to capture fixed subjects in low light indoor photography by using a long exposure setup to increase the light sources and balance the shadow-light proportion.

Use Natural Light

The natural light that falls on a window or comes through a room door, gives the subject good, soft lighting. A north-facing window produces softer light than an east or west-facing window.

This helps the shadows make the image appear with a shallow depth of field and good white balance. This form of lighting is much more effective and even brighter than a flash.

Avoid using direct sunlight, because you need diffused light.

Avoid the Shadowed Wall Effect

One of the most common issues with indoor portrait photography is when the shadow of the subject is cast onto the wall. The problem with this shadow is that it is very distracting and immediately takes away the focus from the subject.

This is known as the shadowed wall effect.

The shadow is generally caused because the subject is very close to the wall where the light is directed at.

To prevent this you first need to move the subject away from the wall, and secondly add a reflector or another light source in the background.

Then you need to adjust the lighting position to lower the shadows and decrease the shadow that appears on the wall.

Set the White Balance

Make sure to set the white balance when you are capturing images in JPEG format. This will reduce color cast and help you deliver more realistic colors for your subject.

Avoid using the Auto White Balance and rather choose the specific light source you are shooting under like tungsten, fluorescent, daylight, etc.

How To Take A Picture Without Shadow – Outdoor Photography

Light is one of the most important aspects of photography. Outdoor photography and natural light photos are best taken in the early morning sunlight or during the golden hues of the setting sun.

But unfortunately, when dealing with clients this is not always the practical choice.

Read on to find out some tips you can use when photographing outdoors to avoid the harsh effects of the midday sun.

Face Subject’s Back To The Sun- Backlighting

If you are shooting in full sunlight with absolutely no shade in sight, then your best option is to place your subject with their back facing the sun.

This will help reduce the amount of direct light falling on their face and prevent them from squinting. As a result, the subject’s face will be evenly shaded with no harsh light spots. This technique is known as backlighting.

If you would like to maintain a detailed background or capture the sky in a backlighting technique then you require additional equipment like a reflector. This will help to bounce back some light onto the subject’s face.

Use Shaded Area

The most effective way to prevent distracting facial shadows from midday sunlight is to photograph your subjects in a shaded area. This could be under a big tree or an awning. Basically, anything that casts a large enough shadow to cover your subject.

Shade is important because it creates even lighting where there is no direct sunlight hitting your subject’s face or body. The trick is to seat your subject at the very edge of the shade so that they remain evenly lit, but there is still enough light to illuminate them.

Avoid using patchy shade with a portrait shot as it casts dappled light on your subject which results in harsh light spots on their face and body.

Put Camera Flash On

A strong flash can even overpower midday sun until it looks as if you took the image against a black background. This is a useful tip especially if you have an unattractive or cluttered background.

On most occasions when you are taking pictures you’ll use your flash as a fill light. This means that it will fill in the hard shadows that appear under your nose and chin as a result of the direct sunlight.

Use a Circular Polarizer

A key accessory for outdoor photography is having a circular polarizer. They cut through haze, add contrast to the sky, and reduce reflections on the water.

A polarizing filter is great for midday photos because it creates white light and reduces the glare and reflections on foliage, enhancing the greenery of forests and giving autumn colors more depth.

Use a Diffuser

If you have no choice but to place your subject in full sunlight then try using a diffuser. This is the translucent panel of your reflector. You could even use a translucent white fabric like a white sheet as a diffuser.

The diffuser absorbs the harsh sunlight and evenly spreads it across your subject. It also casts a shadow on your subject which prevents them from squinting.

Wait For The Clouds

If you are lucky enough to be taking portraits on a bright, sunny day with plenty of puffy white clouds then all you have to do is be patient to capture the perfect shot.

Wait for a cloud to float across the sun, then click away! At that exact moment, you will have the perfect lighting for outdoor photography.

However be careful of dark, cloudy days as these bring poor lighting.

How To Take A Picture Without Shadow – Product Photography

Whether you are taking pictures of products from home or a studio, lighting plays a crucial role in the quality of your photo. The last thing you want is to have shadows pop up and draw away all the attention from your product.

Read on to find out how to eliminate shadows for product photography.

Use a Lightbox

A lightbox is a five-sided box with bright white on all five sides. The sixth side is the opening which is where you will take photos from.

They come in a variety of sizes and a large one acts as a soft light source.

The combination of light and brightness of the white inside the box creates a diffusion of light and provides a clean white background for your photos.

Using Soft Light

Light sources that are larger than the product and are in close proximity, will create soft light. This type of lighting wraps around the product and reduces the shadow.

The best source of soft light is natural lighting. The combination of the sun and the clouds, which spread the light over a greater surface area, create the perfect frame for your shot.

Another source of soft light is studio lights.

Avoid Hard Light

Hard light, as the name suggests, is the exact opposite of soft light. It is a bright source of light that is smaller than the object.

This type of lighting should be avoided if you want to eliminate shadows. The shadows and light created are very harsh and defined.

When you use hard to light your product will cast a distinct, hard shadow, and we want to avoid hard shadows.

No Flash

Your camera’s flash is a source of hard light, casting shadows and creating photos different from what you actually see.

The flash is difficult to control unless you are a pro. To reduce shadows in product photography, if hard light is coming from your direction it means that the shadow will fall on the opposite side of the product.

Use a Light Tent and Pop-up Light Tent

A light tent is a great alternative to a lightbox. They are available in a variety of shapes and sizes and provide a soft light source that reflects back from the tent to the central product.

You can even use a white poster board, but you need to adjust it till you get the right angle. To remove shadows you need to place the poster on the opposite side of the product across from the light source to bounce the light back.

Use a Translucent Acrylic Flexible Surface with Lighting from below

This is a different kind of technique that requires you to place the product on a glass table with a light underneath, shining upwards.

The next step is to surround the product with a sheet of Translucent Acrylic Flexible Surface. This will help bounce the light around when the light is at the correct angle.

Reducing the Light

When you are avoiding shadows, dulling the light is another option. If you use studio lights, you will know that they have three brightness settings.

By simply reducing the brightness, it can help eliminate the shadows. You can also try moving the studio lights further away from the product to reduce shadows.

How To Take Picture Without Shadow – Our Verdict

Taking photos on your camera without shadows just requires a little bit of tips and tricks. Always remember that lighting is super important in photography, it either makes or breaks your shot.

There are so many different techniques we covered in this article that you can use in outdoor, indoor, and product photography to help you avoid shadows in your frame.

Can Taking Pictures of the Sun Damage a Camera?

Can taking pictures of the Sun damage a camera? Looking directly at the sun definitely damages the eyes, so it’s reasonable for someone to wonder if taking pictures of the sun can damage a camera.

Every profession has their main tool for operation. For photographers, it’s their cameras, and they are their heart and soul, and God forbid if something were to happen to the camera or the camera lens, I’m sure it would create quite the havoc, and we wouldn’t want that now, would we?

The skills of a photographer combined with the best camera helps capture the perfect image, and that perfect image then tends to become a door to millions of memories. Making sure that their memory-making camera remains in good condition is a photographer’s responsibility.

There are many ways a camera could get damaged; some are obvious while some aren’t. Here is one of them – “can your camera be damaged by taking pictures of the sun?”

Can you damage your camera by taking pictures of the sun?

photography of sun

Photographers wouldn’t want their equipment to spoil and being impaired by the rays of sun does seem a bit far-fetched, but not entirely impossible. So before getting into technicalities, let’s answer this question in a much simpler way. Taking pictures of the sun cannot damage a camera’s lens, but it is possible that exposure of your camera lens towards the direction of the sun for long hours can cause damage. So probably avoid that during day time photo shoots!

Furthermore, there can be instances where the image sensor could get damaged by the harmful UV rays, even after a short exposure; depending on the model of your camera.

It really all depends on the shutter speed of the camera. If the shutter is open long enough then the sun might be able to do some damage.

However, if your camera setting is set on automatic, you risk less damage, as your camera will pick a faster shutter speed, probably hundredths of a second; which isn’t enough time to damage anything.

Sunrises and sunsets don’t count as the sun’s rays aren’t as harmful during this time around. Maybe the afternoon sun is the one you need to be on the lookout for.

The chances of this kind of damage in SLR and DSLR models is less in comparison to the point and shoot models. This is because the point and shoot models tend to keep their shutter open the entire time you’re using the device, and since there is no mirror to redirect the sunlight from the image sensor, there are higher chances of damage.

The SLR and DSLR models have a mirror to reflect off sunlight so that it causes less damage to the lens.

However, if your camera has a UV coat over the sensor, then you’re probably safe. This is something that should be taken care of while purchasing a camera.

If you don’t know for sure whether your camera sensor has been damaged or not, a purple blotch at any side of your image might be the first clue that your camera needs to be checked.

To make sure we don’t leave any questions unattended; sunlight exposure can damage your phone’s camera as well.

How to prevent unnecessary damage to your camera by the Sun

Since we know that not all camera models are safe from damage, you need to get creative in ways that you can protect it from the sun, especially necessary if you are planning a big outdoor daytime shoot. Here are some tips that may protect your camera lens from getting fried.

  1. Make sure that the lens cap is on when you are not using the camera anymore.
  2. After taking pictures of the sun, put the camera back into the camera bag. This will allow the camera to recover from the heat.
  3. If you don’t have a camera bag, you can wrap your camera in a towel or any soft material that would protect the camera and its lens from any more direct or indirect sunlight.
  4. If you have a big photo shoot and you cannot attach and detach the camera lens, then maybe arrange some umbrellas for some extra shade, to give your camera protection during the shoot.

Conclusion

In conclusion, just remember this little thumb rule, It’s exactly how your eyes function – direct exposure for a long period of time towards the sun will damage your eyes, now apply the same, for your camera lens.

As long as you remember and follow this, your camera is safe from damage! Remember, the photos are only going to be one of a kind if the camera has been taken care of in the way intended with no impairment to the camera lens or the image sensor.

Camera Settings for Portraits – Shoot Portraits Like a Pro

Portrait photography is an incredible discipline. With enough patience, practice, and the right equipment, you can produce some truly breathtaking shots. If you’re first starting out, camera settings for portraits can be difficult to figure out on your own. That’s where we come in!

We’ve scoured the internet to find the most up-to-date advice. From shutter speed to outdoor portraits, we’ve got you covered.

Also be sure to check out our equipment and general tips guide a bit further down this page. It’s designed to help you put your best foot forward when first starting out. Before you know it, you’ll be taking stunning portraits every time!

Best Camera Settings for Portrait Photography

We cover all the camera settings you’ll have to worry about in this section of the guide. We’ll also explain the advantages of manual mode and how to know which settings mode is best when shooting portraits.

Scratching your head wondering about shutter speed? Overwhelmed by how much there is to learn? Don’t worry. The bottom line here is that the more you practice, the easier all this will become. You’ll develop a kind of ‘sixth sense’ for portrait photography settings and you’ll instinctively know what will work for a given situation.

To get to this stage, though, you have to practice!

portrait o

Which Mode Should I Use?

So, which settings mode should you use when shooting? In general, we recommend getting to grips with the manual mode of your camera. This can certainly feel like a steeper learning curve at first but it’s worth it – trust us.

Once you’re familiar with tweaking your portrait photography settings manually, the level of control you’ll have at your fingertips will be impossible to achieve with an auto mode alone.

This isn’t to say that leaning on some automatic modes can’t be helpful, though. Some cameras come with a built-in portrait mode that could prove useful, at least when first starting out.

Also, automatic features such as aperture priority mode are worth using even if you’re an experienced photographer. We discuss these in more detail further down this page.

ISO For Portrait Photography

The hard and fast rule here is to set your ISO as low as you can without affecting your image quality. The aim is to avoid as much image noise and distortion as possible. The specific number you choose will be determined by your lighting conditions, lens, and camera body.

Try starting at an ISO of 400 and adjust up or down until you like the look of your test shots.

Best Shutter Speed for Portrait Photography

If you don’t know already, your shutter speed setting determines how long the shutter element of your camera stays open before taking a photo. This influences the amount of light that is let into your lens and the level of image noise you’ll have to account for.

In general, a faster shutter speed lets in less light but makes it much easier to keep things sharply in focus. In contrast, a slower shutter speed can be great for long exposure shots like astrophotography, but can cause too much blur for your portraits if you’re not careful.

When deciding your portrait photography camera settings, you’ll want a fast enough shutter speed to keep things in focus, but will need to keep the setting slow enough to get the right light for your shot.

When using the manual mode on your camera, you should see a built-in light meter that’s designed to help you choose the right shutter speed. After taking stock of your available lighting and setting your ISO, adjust your shutter until you see a comfortable middle reading on your meter.

Take a couple of test shots to make sure you’re happy with the result and you should be good to go!

Aperture Settings for Portrait Photography

It’s not quite as simple as learning the best aperture setting and sticking to that one figure. Instead, it’s best to approach this with your desired outcome in mind. Looking for a classic blurred background? Want to use an in-focus background element to frame your model?

Both of these would require a different aperture setting to get the results you’re looking for.

If you’re going for the ‘stereotypical’ blurred background, try starting with a nice wide aperture of around f/1.4 and adjust from there. For a sharper background, you’ll have to narrow things to somewhere around f/6.

Use your best judgement here. Take plenty of test shots while working to find the best camera settings for your environment. Be sure not to over do things with your depth of field, either. You still want sharp focus for your models!

Aperture Priority Mode

Aperture priority mode can be super useful for portrait work. It acts as a kind ‘halfway point’ between manual mode and auto mode. It lets you manually set the aperture setting you want. Your camera will then automatically choose an appropriate shutter speed that will properly expose the photos you take.

Aperture priority can free up some much-needed thinking space. Having one less setting to think about can be a real bonus when working on the fly.

White Balance Settings for Portraits

White balance determines the color temperature of your images. The goal here is to do your portrait subject justice and create an image that’s as ‘true to life’ as possible. So, how do you find the correct white balance setting for your portraits?

This is one area where you can lean on the preset, auto white balance settings of your camera. Play around with the white balance presets that came with your device. Try to match your chosen preset to the current lighting conditions of your scene.

Choose the option that stands out the most to you when taking test shots.

Focus Settings

Once you’ve pinned down your minimum shutter speed and accounted for things like camera shake and your available lighting, it’s time to decide which focus settings to use. Using manual mode can really help you fine-tune things here but to be honest, a huge proportion of portrait photographers stick to auto.

There are a couple of things to mention about this though:

  • Make sure you’re using a camera/ lens with a solid auto mode
  • Don’t use ‘tracking focus mode’ – this is best for fast-moving subjects

Should You Use Flash for Portrait Images?

That depends, where are you shooting? Flash photography has earned something of a ‘bad rap’ in recent years. If you’re shooting outdoors or by a window with plenty of natural, diffused light, a flash is probably unnecessary.

If you’re in an artificially lit studio, however, flash photography might be the right way to go. You’ll want to play around with your strobe’s power setting to make sure you’re properly exposing your images.

Also, using an umbrella diffuser like this one with an external studio flash can help you overcome some of the harsher tones that flash can introduce. Use your best judgement and pick the option that works best for you!

Which Format Should I Us?

Where possible, shooting in a RAW format is the right way to go in our opinion. Portrait photography usually involves a fair bit of photo editing to get the results you’re looking for. The RAW format maintains a mountain of image data that can be lost if you shoot in JPEG.

With the right editing software, you’ll have all this data at your fingertips and will be able to tweak your images to your heart’s content. This can also help you do a much better job of maintaining final image quality and getting an accurate color temperature.

Our Portrait Photography Tips

So, you’ve got your shutter speed and other settings tuned to perfection. Now what? Camera settings are only half the battle here. You’ll also need to make sure you’re making the most of your environment on the day.

Check out our tips below to get you started!

Take Advantage of Your Available Light

Any photographer worth their salt understands that lighting will make or break a photo shoot. Before you start adjusting settings or doing anything else, take stock of the light you have available. If shooting outdoors or exclusively with natural lighting, pay attention to the position of the sun and where best to place your model to flatter their face.

You’ll want plenty of soft, diffused, natural light that will help to capture your portrait subject in all their glory. If working with studio lights, pay attention to your model’s appearance and position your gear to flatter the natural features of their face.

Check out our in-depth guide to lighting and photography here.

Try Shooting Outdoors

While we’re on the subject of natural light, shooting outdoors can be a fantastic way to get the results you’re looking for. The lighting, foliage, and colors can all make for sensational images that make a lasting impression.

Looking for photoshoot ideas? Click here. ambient light outdoor portraits.

Use the Right Lens for Portrait Photography

There’s no one-size-fits all approach here. The best lens for your portrait work will come down to your style as a photographer and the environment you’re shooting in. That said, many people like to use some of the following options:

  • A short telephoto lens with strong autofocus features
  • A ‘nifty fifty’ prime lens
  • A relatively fast macro lens for very detailed portrait work (careful, sometimes a macro-level of detail can be unflattering!)

Using a Sony camera? Check out our guide here.

Keep Things Steady With a Tripod

Truth is, not everyone uses a tripod when shooting portraits, but it can really pay off if you use one properly. Problems like camera shake and motion blur can quickly lead to blurry photos if you’re not careful.

With the right tripod, however, you’ll have one less thing to think about!

Looking for recommendations? Check out our guide!

Consider Softboxes and Reflectors

Using reflectors like these and softbox kits like this one can help take your portrait work to the next level. If you’re choosing one or the other, we say opt for the cheaper reflectors over the softboxes. Reflector kits can help you squeeze every last drop of light out of your shooting environment.

Sometimes the difference between a boring image and a breathtaking shot is just a bit of light repositioned to the right spot! Having an assistant on-hand can be really helpful here. They’ll be able to hold your reflector and reposition your natural light while you setup the rest of your gear.

Consider an IR Remote

As we’ve mentioned earlier on this page, the less you have to worry about on the day, the easier it will be to produce incredible shots. With this in mind, it might be worth picking up an IR remote like this one.

To be clear, these things can be super annoying to set up when you first get them. Once you’ve paired it with your camera and have set up your tripod, however, they can be an absolute Godsend. The ability to trigger your camera button without physically holding your camera can let you focus on what really matters – your model and image composition.

Our Last Tip – Practice!

The phrase ‘practice makes perfect’ is a cliche for a reason – it’s true! Any genre of photography can feel super overwhelming when you’re first starting out. However, if you stick with it and find as many opportunities as possible to practice, you may surprise yourself at how quickly you pick things up.

Problems like choosing the right shutter speed or exposing an image properly can quickly become second nature to solve! The more you can force yourself to take photos, the better you’ll become!

Final Thoughts

We hope you’ve found the tips on this page helpful! Portraiture is one of the richest genres of photography out there. With just a little practice and the right know-how, you’ll be taking incredible shots before you know it.

For all your photography questions and gear needs, check out the rest of our site!

Outdoor Photo Shoot Ideas for Models

Human beings are perhaps the best photography subject in the world. Nowhere else will you find such a rich diversity of faces, body shapes, colors, and intrigue. Shooting outdoors with your models can be a fantastic way to do your subject justice.

Trouble is, it doesn’t take long before the well of inspiration starts to run dry. On this page, we’ll explore some outdoor photo shoot ideas for models. They’re designed to spark your creativity and get you taking photos with impact!

We’ll discuss setting, ideas for props, and some general tips that will help elevate your results.

Outdoor Photoshoots – What to Consider

Many of these tips also apply to other areas of photography, but they’re especially salient for portrait work. If you nail the elements we discuss below, you’ll be well on your way to success.

Lighting is Everything

Good lighting is the bedrock of practically all photography. When shooting outdoors with models, you’ll have to rely almost exclusively on natural light. Take advantage of reflectors that can help you direct sunlight to where you need it to be.

The time of day you choose for shooting is also pretty important. If you haven’t heard of the ‘golden hour’ in photography before, it’s worth looking into. It’s the time in the day that provides the most warm, soft sunlight for easy shooting.

Read up on the different types of photography lighting here.

Check the Forecast!

Yes, it sounds obvious, but trust us – it’s easy to overlook. The last thing you want to do is invite your models to a shoot when it’s pouring it down! It’s a good idea to check the forecast for your chosen shoot a week in advance, then the night before, and then the morning of.

Better safe than sorry!

Match Your Season

Once you’ve got an idea of the type of weather you’ll be working with, it’s time to plan accordingly. Are your models going to be comfortable? Will there be snow, crisp fall leaves, or other seasonal elements that you can incorporate into your shoot?

Working with your circumstances can yield much better results than working against them.

Bring the Right Gear

A bad worker blames their tools, but good photos need the right gear! Make sure you’ve got a decent tripod for outdoor shooting and a reasonable camera and lens kit too.

Make the most of your existing gear.

Outdoor Photoshoot Ideas for Models – The Location

Enough talk – let’s get into it! The ideas in this section are all about the location you choose for your shoots. The people you’re working with should always pull focus in portraiture, but the surroundings you choose for them can make all the difference!

Landmarks

woman standing in front of a telephone box and smiling

Are you near iconic landmarks in your city? Are you within driving distance of a skyline that’s instantly recognizable? Cityscapes can lend some much-needed flair to your shoots. Well-known landmarks also provide familiarity for your work.

It’s worth taking the time to consider your city’s shooting environments in detail. Try to identify shapes, spaces, and colors that inspire you. How can you frame your model using the landmarks in your city? Can you direct the viewer’s gaze by instructing your model to look at key focal point in your scene?

Pick outfits and poses for your models that fit the character of your chosen city.

Rooftops

couple on a rooftop

Take your city backdrops to the next level – literally. If you have access to a rooftop for your shoots, it’s definitely worth using the views as a backdrop. This can be a great opportunity to experiment with bokeh and focusing tricks too.

Think about how much of your rooftop view you’d like to have in focus in your final pics. If you have an extending tripod and a wide enough lens, you can get really creative here. Images that include your model, your rooftop, and a glorious city skyline are tough to beat!

Open Fields

woman in a field

Looking for less hustle and bustle? An open field can provide a soothing, eye-catching canvas for portrait work. This is especially true through the spring and summer months when foliage and natural light will be abundant.

Make sure you have the land owner’s permission before accidentally trespassing where you shouldn’t be. Certain crops can be a great framing device for your models. Experiment with your available foliage and pay attention to what draws focus to the person you’re shooting.

Botanical Gardens

gardens

If plant life and nature are more your style, botanical gardens can be a great option. Many locations even offer free admission at certain days of the week. As with any other shoot, take the time to find the right spots for your models to work in.

You may find that different areas work best for different people. It’s worth finding at least 2 or 3 spots in advance so you’ve got the option to switch things up on the day. Choose outfits for your models that fit the color palette of the gardens you’ve chosen.

City Hustle and Bustle

hustle and bustle in a city

Let’s hop back to cities for a moment. If you’re looking for a great portrait photography challenge that can really pay off if you get it right, try isolating your model against a sea of passers-by. If you’ve got a lens that can handle a blurred background like this, try it out next time you’re working in a busy city.

Remember that you’ll probably have to experiment with settings like shutter speed and ISO to get things just right. With a bit of patience, though, it’s worth it in our opinion.

Brutalist Structures

hard edged structure

When it comes to framing your models with harsh lines and imposing shapes, brutalist architecture is your best friend. Some well-known examples include the Barbican Centre in London or 33 Thomas Street in New York.

This kind of architecture is great for shoots where you want to lean into the urban, concrete aesthetic that some cities can force on you.

Graffiti

​​ man in front of graffiti

Speaking of embracing the city aesthetic, why not find some awesome graffiti to use for your next outdoor photo shoot? There’s a ton of variety on offer here if you know where to look. If you’re lucky, you can find color palettes and designs that really elevate your work.

Just make sure the artwork doesn’t outshine the people you’re shooting! Play around with the color temperature and framing of your photos to get things just right.

Outdoor Photoshoot Ideas – the Model and Props

Your shooting environment is just half the story – the people you’re working with are just as important. This section is for those times where you’re feeling uninspired by your usual portrait routine. We’ve included a ton of tips and ideas for how to spice things up with your models.

We’re talking props, poses, and more. The more time you have to experiment with ideas like these, the better. Breaking from your usual routine can slow you down at first, but it can breathe creativity into your work in wonderful ways! Read on to learn more.

Mirrors

man standing in front of a mirror

https://www.pexels.com/photo/stylish-man-model-standing-on-sandy-coast-near-sea-6169695/

Struggling to fit your outdoor scene into frame? Looking to try something different for your portraits? A well-placed mirror might be exactly what you’re looking for. Remember that certain angles might put you in the shot!

Play around with mirror placement and you’ll find some incredible shots in no time.

Bike

man in front of a bike

A bike is an excellent prop to give your models for outdoor shoots. There’s a real sense of exploration and adventure that comes with a choice like this if you execute it well. A bike will be especially appropriate in fields and similar scenes with attractive, meandering paths.

If you want to go the extra mile, try to source a bike that matches or stands out from the rest of your scene. Think bright colors or complimentary paint styles.

A Book

woman with a book

A big part of good portrait photography is storytelling. Props like an iconic book can influence the way that viewers understand your final photos. If your chosen scene works with this kind of prop, try it out next time you’re shooting.

Experiment with different poses and actions for your models here too. Are they lying back and holding the book up to read? Quietly leaning against a tree? Think about the kind of story you’d like to tell and choose poses that match.

Dancing, Handstands, Etc

man doing a handstand on a skateboard

If your models have extra talents, don’t be afraid to use them! Some of the most memorable portraits involve models in spectacular poses. Ballerinas can be particularly valuable for this kind of shoot. While you’re outside, see if you can take advantage of what’s available?

Braver models could climb or hang from trees, for example.

Flowers as Accessories

girl with flowers in her hair

This next one should be done with care and respect for the environment. If you’re in a space with plenty of flowers and pretty foliage, why not make use of it for your shoot? Plants can be carefully attached to existing headdresses or other pieces of clothing.

If you’re feeling extra cautious, your models could gently lie down in a sunny field to surround themselves with beautiful petals.

Cast Shadows on Your Model

Shadows are a great way to add intrigue to an otherwise flat or uninspired shoot. While working outdoors, look for natural elements you can use to your advantage. The shadows of a tree branch across the face of your model, for example, could be exactly what your image needs.

Remember that every model is different and should be given equal attention when setting up your shoot. Some shadowy environments might be perfect for one person and too distracting for others. Approach the work on a case by case basis.

Don’t Lose the Sky When Working

One of the amazing things about doing photo shoots outdoors is the number of gorgeous scene elements you’ll have at your disposal. The sweeping, natural sky is just one of these tools you’ll have available. Experiment with how much of the sky you include in your photos.

Don’t be afraid to try out crazy angles when working. This kind of approach can prove especially valuable during sunrises and sunsets. The rich, vibrant colors that come with this time of day can elevate your work from passable to stunning.

Working With Models – Quick Tips

We hope you’ve found the suggestions above helpful. If you’re brand-new to taking photos of other people, you might find the tips below helpful. Working with models can be rewarding work, but it’s important to get things right.

Face Shape

One of the most amazing things about working with human faces is how much variety you’re likely to encounter. Keep in mind, however, that this diversity can be something of a double-edged sword.

Don’t assume that one lighting environment or framing that works for your first model will be just as effective with someone else. You’ll probably have to tweak your approach to best suit the specific person you’re working with each time.

Learn about 3/4 view here

Clothing

This one will of course depend on your budget, but try to find wardrobe choices that work well with your shooting environments. This is where checking the weather and season before shooting can come in handy.

Think warm fall colors during November, bright pastels in summer, and so on. You’ll soon learn what works best for your approach as you gain more experience over time.

Comfort

This is a big one that many newcomers overlook and is especially relevant when working outdoors. The comfort of your models is super important and can quickly impact your work if you’re not careful.

Make sure you’ve got a way for people to warm themselves up during colder months or get ready in between shoots. The happier your models are, the easier it will be to create incredible photos with them.

Outdoor Photo Shoots – Final Thoughts

We hope you’ve found the suggestions on this page helpful. Remember that they’re designed as jumping-off points. Feel free to get creative and see what new approaches you can discover!

How to be more photogenic: 8 tips to look good in photos

Have you ever looked at a photo of yourself and thought “Oh god, I look terrible in this photo!” You’re not alone! Even though it seems some people are naturally photogenic, the key(s) for how to be more photogenic is not that complicated.

In fact, with a little practice and a few little hacks, you can start looking a lot better in photos. You are already beautiful in real life, after all 😉

What makes someone photogenic?

A good selfie or portrait is a photograph that naturally brings out your best features and naturally masks your sub-optimal features.

I’m not a big fan of excessive photoshopping. Sometimes, when I’m just trying to clear my head, I somehow end up on r/instagramreality and some of the photos are quite…interesting.

Fortunately you don’t need much software to look good in a photo. It doesn’t matter if you’re skinny, chubby, tall, short, or whatever. Everyone is beautiful in their own way(whether they believe it or not).

Interestingly enough, an artist named Scott Chasserot did a study where he took portraits of volunteers and used AI to modify the portraits to what the subjects felt they “wanted” to look like. Some of the before/after photos were nearly the same, but some were quite different!

The first secret to being photogenic is to be natural and confident! And arguably the first part of being confident is smiling naturally. A smile will completely change your face!

Related

How can I smile better in photos?

Did you know that you don’t just smile with your mouth, but you smile with your eyes too?

When you smile, you use a total of 12 muscles – 4 of those muscles pull up the corners of your mouth into the smiling shape, and 2 muscles called the orbicularis oculi are used to make the eyes crinkle.

A genuine, natural smile is usually done with both the mouth and the eyes. If you don’t believe, go to a mirror or pull out your selfie camera and give it a try!

First, try smiling with just your mouth – what is commonly known as a fake smile.

Next, thing about something that genuinely makes you happy and smile with your eyes and your mouth. You’ll be amazed at how much of a difference there is.

Often when there are other people around, you tend to get a little conscious of yourself and you won’t be able to command a “good” smile on demand, but with a little bit of practice, you can train yourself to have your fake smile use both your mouth and your eyes.

Additionally, some folks find that their open mouth smile looks a little weird when they’re not doing it naturally, so in that case, a closed-mouth look will be just as good as long as you are using your eyes.

How can I make my face look thinner in pictures?

Here’s a dirty little trick: Whatever is closest to the camera will look bigger, so make sure that anything you want to emphasize is closer to the camera and anything you want to minify is further away.

That’s one of the reasons you’ll see so many people sharing photos on the ‘Gram from high up. That way, their faces are accentuated and more obvious, and the rest of their body look slimmer since it’s further away.

The opposite is also true if you take a photo of yourself from the bottom of your face to upwards, where your chin will look huge and your head will look tiny.

You can utilize this same tip to make your face look thinner, too. By adjusting the way you hold the camera, you’ll be able to change how wide or narrow your face looks.

Related

Another thing you can try is to have your head next to a bigger object. That way the larger object will kind of hog the spotlight and make your face look smaller. Just pick something slightly larger than your head/torso. If you stand next to a building or something it won’t make much of a difference!

More tips on how to look good in a photo

While smiling and holding the camera above your head will do wonders, there are a few more things you can try.

Know your “good side”

Very few people have perfectly proportional faces. Some folks know what their “good” side and “bad” side is. For example, you may find that your face looks a bit funny when you’re looking to the right, but you look normal when you are looking to the left.

It will be different for everybody and the way to find out is just to take some selfies from either side and compare!

Next time you are being photographed(or taking a selfie), just remember to show your good side.

Experiment with angles

Experimenting with angles is an extension of holding the camera high and and showing your good side(kind of like a 3/4 view portrait)

By changing up the angles, you can really blend yourself into a background or really make yourself pop out. Personally, I am not a big fan of straight-into-the-camera headshots because I end up looking like an angry deer caught in headlights.

Turn your face a little, position the camera a bit in a different direction.

There’s no limitation for how many photos you can take thanks to digital memory, so snap away!

Utilize lighting

Take a look at the video clip above. It’s the same lady, but the lighting changes, and those changes almost make it look like a new person every single time.

That’s how important lighting is!

In some cases, you want lighting to be flat, where the whole subject is evenly lit and the camera captures an overall bright image.

In other cases, you want to highlight shadows, especially on your face and around your eyes. This gives an effect of extra depth to your body and makes the picture look better overall.

Sit down or hold on to something

This is something I have noticed in myself, too, so it really hits right at home. In photos (especially where I am standing up) with my arms loose on my side, I look like a mess because my head is in one position and my arms don’t look neat at all.

If you’ve experienced something similar, here’s the trick:

Sitting down in your photos will hide the lanky/messy arms because you’ll have to put your hands on your lap or lock them together. That will give your hands something to do and will keep them from being a mess.

Additionally, you can grab on to something like a coffee cup, a phone, or any odd object.

Think of why Bane stands the way he does in The Dark Night Rises.

This will also help give your whole body and physique a nice, flattering form in the photo.

Use the chicken wing

An extension of holding on to something is using the chicken wing posture. The chicken wing will not work too well if you’re a guy, but should do wonders if you are a girl.

There’s nothing sexist here, just that the chicken wing position helps accentuate your curves! And I suppose not all guys would be too keen on accentuating too many curves.

Still, there’s no harm in giving it a try: maybe you can pull it off 🙂

Experiment with Photofeeler

Photofeeler is a really interesting app that lets you upload a picture of yourself and it will process it using an algorithm to tell you how good the picture is overall.

Take the scores with a grain of salt, since it is an app after all, but if taking photos of yourself is something you’re passionate about or if it is an important part of your work, it’s definitely worth experimenting with to know what the algorithm thinks.

After all, the algorithm is probably based on data provided by real people.

Even if you are just practicing using the tips in this post, give Photofeeler a shot. Maybe you can learn something interesting about using your camera!

Conclusion

I hope you found these tips on how to look good in photos useful. You don’t have to be naturally photogenic – with a little bit of practice and knowing more about your body, you can learn to look good in any picture!

Learn Digital Photography: The Ultimate Guide for Beginners

The world of digital photography is a vast, rewarding place. While learning how to take photos properly can seem daunting at first, it’s important to realize that this hobby is remarkably easy to pick up.

It takes some time to master, but even a complete novice can take stunning shots with a little knowhow. This guide is designed to get you started.

Why Pick Up Digital Photography?

Photography can help you cultivate a profound appreciation for the world around us. Taking good photos means developing an eye for beauty, precision and intrigue. A photographer really does see the world differently.

The beauty of digital photography lies in how endless your shooting opportunities are. The world is your oyster! If it exists, you can capture it in a photograph forever. This is a hobby with a deep, rewarding path to mastery.

Below are just some of the genres of photography you’ll be able to explore. It’s important to note that these examples are the tip of the iceberg. Remember that while some of these might seem complicated, they’re well within your reach.

Macro Photography

macro-photography

Macro photography gets up close and personal with the intricate details of the world. Digital photography like this can uncover parts of life you’d never even considered before. Flowers, insects, and all of life’s intricacies become subjects for you to capture.

For an in-depth look at macro photography and how to approach it, check out our macro photography guide.

Landscape Photography

landscape-photographyA gorgeous way to capture the vast expanse of the world, landscape photography is one of the best categories for newbies to sink their teeth into. Capturing a massive snapshot from your trip is a wonderful way to remember it years later.

Nature Photography

nature-photography

Digital photography can get you back in touch with the natural world. Nature is packed full of exciting challenges for new photographers and will earn you some stunning photos if you’re patient. For a more detailed look at taking wildlife photos, check out our nature photography guide.

Portrait Photography

portrait-photography

Taking photos of other human beings is one of the most rewarding parts of becoming a photographer. Encountering other people and learning what makes them beautiful is something you can look forward to if you decide to pick up digital photography as a hobby.

The Absolute Fundamentals of Digital Photography

Becoming a master photographer takes a whole lot of patience. Picking up the hobby, however, is refreshingly simple if you understand the fundamentals. This section of our guide will run you through the basic principles that are worth wrapping your head around.

fundamentals-of-photography

Lighting

Lighting is perhaps the most important element of photography to understand if you’re a beginner. Mastering your lighting setup will do a lot of the heavy lifting for you when it comes to getting a good photograph.

Below are the basic types of lighting and how to use them. We will discuss camera settings and some equipment here that are explored in detail later in this guide.

Natural Light

Natural light is, you guessed it, natural. Sunlight, and less typically moonlight, is sometimes all you need to get the right shot. The type of natural light you’re working with will depend on the time of day and the conditions of your environment.

The primary reason that photographers like to shoot with natural light, or at least incorporate some of it into their shoots, is that it makes it easy to capture subjects in a way where they look the same as they do in real life. Natural lighting often leads to natural-looking photographs.

Things to Consider With Natural Lighting

When working with sunlight, it’s important to remember that you’re at the whim of the elements. It’s best to work with the sun rather than against it. Realize that you only have a certain amount of time before your light source moves and plan accordingly.

Position yourself and your subject in a way that takes advantage of the current position of the sun. Take stock of which parts of your subject are highlighted well with the natural light you have available. Use your situation to your advantage.

Important Camera Settings for Natural Light

Relying on the automatic settings of your camera can often be enough, but knowing what to tweak is a hallmark of a good photographer. When shooting in natural light, you’ll often need to adjust your aperture and shutter speed settings.

Aperture refers to the amount of light you’re letting into your camera lens. Adjusting your aperture means changing the size of the hole that lets light into your camera. Experiment with this setting and learn how it affects your final image.

Shutter speed determines how long the shutter stays open when capturing an image. Faster speeds mean crisper, blur-free shots. Slower shutter speeds can add artful blurr to your photographs. Play around with your shutter speed when using natural light.

The Golden Hour

In photography, the golden hour is a time of day with particularly favorable lighting conditions. It is the last hour in the day before the sun starts to set. For filmmakers and photographers alike this short period can produce some jaw dropping images and videos.

Use this Android app or this iPhone app to plan for the golden hour in your area.

Artificial Light

Artificial lighting is how photographers can create the ideal environment for their shoots. We discuss the equipment and accessories used later in this guide. For now, all you need to understand is that artificial light is a powerful, versatile means to get the photos you want.

With artificial lighting, everything from the intensity, to the unique qualities, of your lighting can be tweaked to your heart’s content. We explore the different characteristics that light can have below; artificial lighting can help you achieve all of them.

Soft/ Diffused Light

Diffused light is a wonderful way to capture flattering photos of people. Sunlight passing through clouds is a great example of soft, diffused lighting. The clouds spread the light out evenly, providing an indirect light source that allows for beautiful photos.

In general, soft and diffused light:

  • Casts small, hard-to-notice shadows
  • Is used for a lot of commercial and modelling photography
  • Can be very flattering when taking photos of people
  • Is considered quite “natural-looking”

Notice how the shadows in this image aren’t harsh or overbearing. The warmth and characteristics of this image were achieved with soft, indirect light.

soft-light

Hard Lighting

Hard lighting is direct, bright light that usually comes from a single source. It produces dramatic images with harsh, long shadows. Maybe you want to highlight a particular element of your subject. Perhaps you’re going for a moody shot with tons of drama. Hard lighting can help you achieve this.

hard-lighting

Front Light

Front lighting refers to the direction of your light in relation to your subject. When your subject is facing the light source you’re using, that’s front lighting. This approach is the most common setup you’re likely to encounter when getting started with digital photography.

At its most basic, you point your light source at your subject and are ready to start shooting. Front lighting is used in lots of portrait photography as it’s often the best way to bring out someone’s features.

Backlighting

A challenging approach to lighting that many new photographers are scared of. With a little knowledge and practice though, backlighting need not be so intimidating. This type of lighting is the opposite of front lighting. Your subject is positioned with your light source directly behind it.

When shooting backlit photographs, you’ll want to switch to manual mode and tweak the aperture and shutter speed settings on your camera.

In general, a wider aperture and a shutter speed of between 1/100 and 1/600 is what you’ll need. This will allow you to over expose your image to where it needs to be. If you’re scratching your head wondering what on earth we’re talking about, we explain camera settings later in this guide.

When to Use Flash

A common question for many beginner photographers is “when should I use flash?”. While it might seem appropriate to use your flash whenever it becomes dark, this isn’t always the best approach.

Using Flash Indoors

Indoor lighting environments can often be far from ideal for quick photos. A well-used flash can improve your situation significantly. If you want to avoid the harsh, overbearing lighting that can come from using flash, it’s best to bounce the light from your flash off a flat surface.

If you’re able to, direct your flash towards a wall or ceiling to diffuse the light for a softer effect.

Using Flash Outdoors

It’s important to remember that your distance from your subject will determine how effective using flash will be. Taking photos of the sky, for example, is unlikely to be made easier by using flash.

If you’re relatively close to your subject and the available light is quite low, using flash may help you. Remember that pointing your flash directly at your subject can result in a hard image with lots of shadows.

Remove Unwanted Shadows

If you notice shadows in your image that you want to eliminate, a well-timed flash can help you remove them. Direct your flash towards the light source that is casting the shadows you want to eliminate. It may take some trial and error, but this should do the trick.

Lens Size

lens-size

Many digital cameras allow you to mix and match the type of lens you use. The size of lens you take photos with will determine the images you create and the way you should approach your photography.

Focal Length

Focal length is most typically described using millimeters. In basic terms, the focal length of your length determines how close, or far away, you should be from your subject. The focal length of your setup will influence the type of photos you’re able to take effectively.

So, what’s a normal focal length? The important thing to emphasize at this point in our guide is that “normal” is relative. The type of photography you’re doing will change the “normal” range of focal length you should expect.

That said, for most everyday photography that tackles a variety of straightforward scenarios, a focal length of around 50mm is usually enough. For more specific tasks, however, your focal length can vary wildly.

Macro lenses, for example, typically use a focal length of 90 – 105mm in order to maintain sharp focus for close-up shots.

Your Gear

Your knowledge and skill will go a long way in the world of photography. At the same time, it’s worth making sure you have the right kit for the job! This section will explore the different types of camera available to help you make an informed decision about the gear you use.

Cameras

The pièce de résistance of any photographer’s gear, the camera you use will influence the type of work you’re able to achieve. There’s tons of choice when it comes to the specific camera you buy.

In general, it’s worth considering the following:

  • A good camera is future-proof. Buying a camera that can grow with you is a good way to go. A cheap camera today can become expensive if it needs to be replaced every year. A good camera with an interchangeable lens system can expand with your hobby.
  • Numbers like megapixels are only one small part of the picture. Bigger numbers on paper don’t always lead to a better camera experience. It’s best to read up on the experiences of others and the real-world performance of a camera.
  • The “best” camera is different for everyone. Your specific photography requirements will heavily influence the best camera for you.

With this in mind, let’s explore the different types of camera available.

DSLRs

dslr

DSLR cameras are a powerful, versatile option used by photographers around the world. They use an interchangeable lens system which means they can adapt to a wide variety of scenarios. Need to capture a landscape? Pop on your wide angle lens. Want to capture the intricate details of a flower? Time to use your macro lens. The list goes on!

A good DSLR can set you back $1-2K, but will serve you well as a powerful photography tool. Some general things to bear in mind about DSLRs:

  • They’re comparatively bulky and heavy
  • DSLR is a mature format which means there’s a plethora of choice available
  • Budget options exist, but they’re generally quite expensive

Mirrorless

mirrorlessMirrorless cameras are something of a modern-day answer to the DSLR. They forego a mirrored system in favor of an entirely digital approach. The immediate advantage of this setup is that mirrorless products tend to be much lighter and more compact.

Like DSLRs, these cameras can accommodate a wide variety of different lenses. While the mirrorless format is comparatively young, multiple brands compete fiercely for the top spot; you won’t struggle to find a good mirrorless camera these days.

Some general thoughts on mirrorless cameras:

  • They’re much lighter and compact than DSLRs while still packing a lot of power and versatility
  • They’re usually a very expensive option
  • The format is comparatively new

Point-and-Shoots

The term “point-and-shoot” can sometimes feel synonymous with “cheap” or “poor quality”. This definitely isn’t always the case.

Part of the reason for this reputation is due to the fact that the point-and-shoot category is very broad. Anything from an $80 kid’s camera all the way up to an $800 all-in-one can be rightly described as a “point-and-shoot”. In general, these cameras:

  • Use a single, fixed lens designed to tackle most scenarios reasonably well
  • Are a cheaper option for those who don’t need loads of versatility
  • Use smaller sensors, onboard processing and lenses

Lenses

The lenses you use can be just as important as your camera. They bring a wealth of versatility to your gear. As a new photographer, it’s important to make smart decisions when building your first setup.

Most mid to high-end cameras come with a standard kit lens. A “kit” lens is designed to tackle most photography jobs reasonably well, but might not be enough in more nuanced scenarios. We’ll run through the major lens types below and then discuss how to choose the right one.

Macro

Macro lenses are designed to handle ultra-close-up shots of intricate subjects. The unique focal lengths of these lenses allow them to maintain focus at a distance that wider lenses just can’t handle. Use a macro lens for detailed shots of smaller objects.

Our macro photography guide will give you the lowdown on everything macro in the world of digital photography.

Wide Angle

Wide angle lenses are great for landscape photography and for larger images. Any photo that needs more space on the horizontal can benefit from a wide angle lens. They usually use focal lengths between 24 and 35mm and are a formidable tool in the photographer’s arsenal.

Zoom

Zoom lenses offer an excellent level of flexibility when it comes to the distance you need to be from your subject. These lenses have much broader ranges for focal length to accommodate a variety of different focusing distances. A zoom lens can be a great option if your photography involves scenarios spanning multiple distances.

Fisheye

fisheye-effect

Fisheye lenses use focal lengths between 4 and 14mm and are used for more creative images with an ultra-wide viewing angle. Their namesake comes from the wide image a fish sees in the water to keep watch for predators.

Photos taken with these lenses have a unique, abstract effect and can fit tons into your composition. The distortion caused when using this kind of accessory can be used to create fascinating lines and shapes in your image.

The list of existing lens types is far longer than those featured above. Within the scope of this beginner’s guide, though, they’re the most common types that you’re likely to encounter.

Choosing the Right Lens for You

When you’re first starting out in the world of digital photography, learning about lens types and camera options can feel pretty overwhelming. As a general rule, it’s better to choose a more standard lens and specialize when you have a specific need for something else.

It might also help to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is there a specific kind of subject or scenario that interests me as a photographer?
    • Do these subjects involve the photographer typically standing a certain distance away?
    • Are these subjects particularly large or small?
    • Are these subjects typically static?
  • How often will I be in extreme lighting conditions?
    • Are these conditions especially bright or especially dark?
    • Will I be using my own lighting equipment or relying on natural light?
  • Will I be taking photos of moving subjects?
  • Do I like photos that are color-accurate, or do I prefer a warmer, more saturated image?
  • Do I care about post production and detailed editing?

The questions above are far from exhaustive, but they’re designed to get you thinking about the kind of lens you might need once you start to ‘specialize’ as a photographer. Use your answers to these questions to make an informed decision about which lens might be best.

Tripods

tripod

 

Tripods are an oft-overlooked accessory by beginners, but they can prove incredibly useful. They’re one of the best ways to guarantee a steady, blur-free shot. Follow these general rules when using a tripod:

  1. Switch off image stabilization
    1. Onboard image stabilization can actually cause blur and noise if you’ve attached your camera to a tripod. While you know your camera will be stable, switch off this feature.
  2. Consider using an IR remote with your tripod.
    1. We discuss remote accessories later in this guide. In short, they free up your hands and can make you much more productive.
  3. Only extend the legs when you actually need the height.
    1. The further your tripod legs are extended, the less stable your base will become. Only extend when the height will actually help your shot.

Lights

Adding a few studio lights to your setup can elevate your photography and dramatically improve your versatility as a photographer. With the right lights, you’ll be able to optimize your lighting environment every time you shoot.

The list of lighting accessories is staggeringly long, but many are used in pretty niche scenarios. We’ll explore the basics here.

Softboxes

Softboxes are a phenomenal way to add more soft, diffused light to your environment. They achieve this with a single bulb that scatters light through a white covering filter.

They’re one of the first lighting accessories that many professional photographers buy, as diffused light tends to be far more forgiving in portrait and product photography.

Strip Boxes

Strip boxes are a specific type of softbox with a narrower, more accurate frame. They can be used to great effect when lighting your subject from behind or the side. The smaller beam of light they produce is easier to manipulate in the studio.

Strobes

Strobes are dedicated flash accessories that emit a targeted burst of light when taking an image. Unlike softboxes, strobes don’t run continuously and can therefore be less predictable when used by a beginner.

Diffused/ Umbrella Flash

If you ever had your picture taken at school, the photographer was probably using an umbrella flash. These accessories direct a flash device at a reflective umbrella that bounces the resulting light strategically throughout the room.

These tools can make portrait photography much simpler and are well worth the investment if you’re interested in this line of work.

Basic Lighting Terms

When you first start to experiment with lighting your setup, there are a few terms to keep in mind.

Ambient Lighting

A good photographer will take stock of their ambient light first. This is any light that is already present in your environment before you start setting up. Ambient light can be used to produce stunning, natural-looking images.

Key Light

This is the main light to consider. It’s usually the brightest and most powerful light used and defines the bulk of your composition. Decide the key element(s) that you want to highlight in your image. Use the key light to draw focus here.

Fill Light

Fill light is used to reduce unwanted darkness and shadows in your environment. Softboxes can be a great option for this.

Background Light

The background of your subject is tackled with this kind of lighting. Consider your desired outcome and plan your approach accordingly.

Reflectors

Reflectors are used to give your lighting that extra push when needed. They’re used to reflect and reposition the light in your environment to where you’d like it to be. They typically come in the form of collapsable discs that are white, gold or silver.

For ambient light in particular, a well-positioned reflector can be a godsend.

IR Remote

An IR remote isn’t essential, but you might be surprised how much it can improve your workflow. They connect to your camera wirelessly and can be used to trigger your shutter. This allows for seamless, hands-free shooting.

In certain contexts, this can give you the flexibility you need to hold reflectors, reposition lights, or simply redouble your focus on the subject at hand. Double-check that your specific camera has built-in IR functionality. You’ll need this if you’re going to use a universal remote.

Understanding the modes on your DSLR or Mirrorless Camera

Most beginners tend to lean on the automatic settings of their camera in the beginning. There’s absolutely no shame in this, and some of the more premium cameras on the market can be uncannily intelligent when it comes to autofocus and lighting adjustments.

However, there’s an endless list of scenarios where automatic mode just won’t cut it. In these cases, you’ll need to at least understand what the different settings on your camera do.

Auto

If you use a camera in auto mode, you’re letting it do the bulk of the thinking for you. Simply point your lens at your subject, press the trigger, and your camera does the rest. Adjustments for ISO, focus, color and everything in between are handled by the sensor and chip on your device.

More expensive cameras use dizzying numbers of autofocus points and AI features that make them staggeringly smart.

Areas where auto modes can falter include:

  • High contrast images
  • Low contrast images
  • Moving subjects
  • Backlighting
  • Low-light or bright environments

It’s worth noting that this is far from an exhaustive list.

Aperture Priority

The aperture priority setting is a great way to manually optimize your setup while saving quite a bit of time. In short, it allows you to manually choose your aperture setting while allowing your camera to automatically choose a shutter speed that matches.

As mentioned earlier in this guide, aperture refers to the amount of light you’re letting into your camera lens and therefore the portion of your image that is in focus.

When changing the depth of field for your image (the distance between the farthest and closest objects in focus for your scene) you’ll need to tweak your aperture setting.

Check out this video on aperture priority from photographer James Lavish.

Shutter Priority

This is essentially the reverse of aperture priority mode. It allows you to manually select your shutter speed while letting your camera automatically choose an aperture that matches. Shutter priority is a great mode to use when aiming for sharp images of moving subjects.

The folks over at Photo Genius have some great tips on shutter priority here.

Program

This mode is sometimes referred to as “programmed automatic”. It’s basically a compromise somewhere halfway between full manual and automatic settings. Using program mode allows your camera to handle exposure but gives you control of some key elements.

These are ISO speed, white balance and flash. This is a great mode to use if you want to improve your understanding of manual settings.

Your camera will tell you the aperture and shutter speed values it has automatically chosen, allowing you to get to grips with which figures work for which scenarios. Practice taking shots for a while using ‘P’ mode and take note of the values your camera chooses.

For a great introduction to ‘P’ mode, watch this video from photographer Mike Smith.

Manual

Once you’ve got a little more experience, manual mode will give you complete control of your camera. Full manual mode allows you to tweak to your heart’s content, changing each and every aspect of your shot.

Once you’ve worked in ‘P’ mode for a while, the next logical step is to practice in full manual mode.

When you’re ready to try manual mode, Hyun Ralph Jeong has a great introduction on YouTube.

ISO

Your ISO setting determines your camera’s sensitivity to light. The higher your ISO number, the brighter your image will become. Darker shots are achieved with a lower ISO. Tweaking your ISO setting will allow you to adapt to different lighting environments.

If you need to brighten your shot, try tweaking the aperture and shutter speed first. Increasing the ISO can increase the noise in your photo.

This YouTube video from Saurav Sinha offers a great ISO tutorial.

White Balance

The human eye is fantastic at identifying colors immediately. Digital cameras have to use complex programming to figure it out. White balance refers to the color-accuracy and temperature of your shot.

Good white balancing produces photos where white objects in particular appear true to life. Automatic white balance settings can struggle on some cameras and can over or under compensate, resulting in images with a blue or orange tint.

If you want to get to grips with manual white balance settings, Radhakrishnan Chakyat from Pixel Village does a great job of outlining the fundamentals.

Composition Guide

Reading is a great way to improve your intellectual understanding of a subject, but it’s important to practice in the real world too. This is a vocational, physical hobby so it’s important to shoot as often as you can!

This section will run you through the absolute basics of getting started for your first shoot. The more you get out there and practice in the real world, the easier this will all become.

Shot Framing

The way you position your subject is fundamental in how your final composition is received by others. Consider the following:

  • Which feature(s) of my subject(s) do I want to draw attention to?
  • Are there particular shapes and lines that could add intrigue to my shot?
  • Do I want my background in or out of focus?
  • Are their colors in my scene that should be drawn out and highlighted?
  • How do the foreground and background of my scene relate to each other?

These questions are designed to get you thinking about how to frame your shot. Once you have general answers for them, it’s time to use either the rule of thirds or the phi grid.

Rule of Thirds and the Phi Grid

composition

 

Two common composition tools used by photographers are the rule of thirds and the phi grid. They differ slightly, but are both similar in application.

Both grids consist of four intersecting lines that create 9 rectangular spaces of equal size. The theory behind these tools is that it’s best to position your subject(s) within these 9 spaces to achieve great aesthetic results.

Most modern cameras have overlay settings that can digitally place a rule of thirds grid over your viewfinder. Experiment with using this feature while setting up your shot. Try to position your subject(s) in the areas of the grid that will draw the most attention.

This rule of thirds extension is a great way for beginners to visualize its effects on images. We also go into the phi grid, the rule of thirds and their applications in far more detail here.

Quick Steps to Taking a Photo

The vast depth of digital photography means that your approach should change quite dramatically from environment to environment. The list below is designed to be a general introduction to taking a photo effectively.

Choose Your Subject

Take stock of your scene and identify one or two elements that you would like to highlight. These are what you should focus on moving forward.

Decide How to Frame and Light Your Subject

Now it’s time to pay attention to the subject you’ve chosen. Use your knowledge of the rule of thirds to make decisions on how you’d like to frame it. At this point, you should also decide how to light your scene.

Which particular elements of your subject do you want to celebrate in your image? Use these elements to determine where to position your key light and other lights.

Experiment With Your Settings and Shoot

Play around with the settings on your camera and take a few test shots. Take a look and see if there’s anything you’d like to change at this stage. Once you’re happy, it’s time to get shooting!

Photography Challenges for Beginners

understanding-modes

As we mentioned earlier in this guide, practice really is everything when it comes to photography. The suggestions below are designed to challenge beginners to expand their knowledge and experience.

Portraits

portraits

Get some loved ones together and practice taking pictures of them. The human face is a fantastically varied subject that will force you to adapt quickly to the features of each model. Different people will require vastly different lighting setups and camera settings.

Things like skin tone, bone structure, hair and myriad other factors will keep you on your toes.

Macro Subjects

The world of macro photography is really quite something. Working with tiny subjects can feel like something of a gear change, which is great for your photography practice. You’ll want to use a dedicated macro lens, or at least an extension tube, when shooting.

Backlighting

backlightingTaking photos of subjects that are lit from behind will force you to get familiar with changing the exposure of your image. Your first few shots won’t come out as planned, but that’s why you’re practicing!

Bokeh Experiments

bokeh-experiment

Bokeh describes the aesthetically-pleasing effect in images where the background is soft and out of focus. Aiming for this effect when shooting means increasing your grasp of things like depth of field, focus and aperture.

The Perfect Beginner’s Kit

In an ideal world, we’d all have the money to splash out on a $4000 camera kit when starting out. Unfortunately, most of us don’t have that kind of money and need to think practically. Everyone’s ideal kit will vary quite significantly. We outline some key elements to consider below.

Start With “Jack of All Trades” Then Expand

Even a state-of-the-art fisheye lens will prove useless in certain contexts.

When you’re first learning how to take good photographs, it’s best to use gear that can adapt and hold its own in a variety of different circumstances. Start with a decent kit lens and a reasonably powerful camera with an interchangeable lens system.

This way, you’ll learn so much more about capturing great images and will have a much better chance of knowing which specialist lenses might actually be useful later on. Once you have a clearer picture of the more niche pockets of photography you enjoy, it’s time to buy a secondary lens.

Versatility is Key

If you want to make photography your hobby, it’s probably best to consider either a DSLR or mirrorless camera with an interchangeable lens system. This way, your setup will come with built-in versatility and expandability.

You’ll be able to adapt and grow your kit over the years. Buying a decent point-and-shoot is great in the short term, but these cameras can show their age quite quickly.

Spend Within Your Means

Be clear with yourself about how much money you can afford to dedicate to your new hobby. For a good entry-level camera, $300-$600 should be enough. Remember that lighting and knowhow are a huge part of what takes a great photograph.

Final Thoughts

The two words you should keep with you when learning are: patience and practice. Make them a part of your daily photography routine and you’ll be a pro in no time!

What is a 75-300mm Lens Good For?

Even a complete photography novice understands that different lenses serve different purposes. The thing is, though, the specifics can get confusing for the uninitiated. You don’t have to spend long searching online before things get confusing. So what is a 75-300mm lens good for anyway?

On this page, we’ll explore the basics of 75-300mm lenses. We’ll run through focal lengths, the uses for this kind of lens, and a great example lens if you’re looking to buy. Read on to learn more.

Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras

So What’s a 75-300mm Lens a good for?

If you see this measurement, or similar figures, when shopping for lenses online, you’re likely looking at a telephoto lens. In short, telephoto lenses are designed to deliver a significant amount of reach to photographers.

Taking photos of subjects far away? You’ll want to consider a telephoto product. They come in two main variants – primes and zooms.

Prime Telephoto Lenses

So what makes a prime lens a ‘prime’ anyway? With this kind of lens, you’ll be working with a fixed focal length. This means you won’t be able to zoom in or out when taking photos. As a general rule, prime lenses offer higher levels of sharpness and image quality.

Where they can fall short, however, is flexibility – if you want to ‘zoom in’ to your subject, you’ll have to physically move yourself closer to it. Not always a dealbreaker, but sometimes an issue depending on your circumstances.

Zoom Telephoto Lenses

A zoom telephoto lens offers a lower level of optical performance, at least on paper, but will give many photographers the versatility they’re looking for. Keep in mind that by ‘lower performance,’ we don’t mean that these lenses can’t take gorgeous shots.

It’s just that the nature of zoom technology means that some resolution sacrifices have to be made when producing zoom lenses. A 70-300mm lens will most often be described as a zoom telephoto lens.

These products can prove immensely useful for a broad variety of potential use cases. We explore a few examples below. Check them out.

What is a 75-300mm Lens Good For?

This section will explore some of the most common uses for this kind of telephoto lens. Take a look through them to see if it might be worth adding one to your photography kit. We’ll run through the standard variations of telephoto lenses and what they’re best used for.

Astrophotography and Wildlife Shoots – Super Telephoto Lenses

If you see a product that goes significantly beyond 300mm you’re dealing with a super telephoto lens. With common prices comfortably over $1500, they’re typically reserved for professionals with more demanding use cases.

Two common applications of this kind of lens include wildlife shoots and astrophotography. A skilled photographer can get super close-up images of more skittish animals without disturbing them. Capturing the details of the night sky becomes much easier when you’ve got the reach of a telephoto lens like this.

Action and Dynamic Shooting – Medium Telephoto Lenses

These are products that advertise ranges somewhere around 130-300mm. This is one of the most popular form factors for this kind of lens and, as a result, there’s a ton of choice out there when shopping online. The broad range of different price points means that more people are able to afford this kind of lens.

They’re excellent tools for photographers who shoot sports or other dynamic scenarios. They make it possible to zoom in on the action from a distance while maintaining a respectable level of focus and image quality.

If you’re hoping to improve the results of your sports photos, consider a medium telephoto lens.

Wedding Photos and Portraiture – Short Telephoto Lenses

With a range of roughly 80-130mm, short lenses are popular among wedding and portrait photographers. Good lenses in this category offer excellent image quality and the flexibility needed to zoom in to an appropriate distance.

Wedding photographers often have to move around to find good shooting spots throughout the day. The ability to adjust zooming distance on the fly can prove instrumental to a great final result.

How Much Should a Telephoto Lens Cost?

That depends on what you’re looking for. Decent budget options can be picked up for around $500 but more premium lenses can easily run you much more. Professional-grade lenses regularly reach more than $1500.

If you’re just getting started in the world of photography, we recommend picking up a well-reviewed budget option first. Once you start earning money through your photos, it’s time to consider a heftier upgrade.

Focal Length – An Introduction

To understand what 75-300mm lenses are used for, it’s necessary to briefly explore focal length in relation to lenses. This is one of those topics that seems super complicated upon first glance but is actually fairly straight forward.

We won’t bore you with an in-depth, scientific exploration here. This is just an overview.

In short, focal length is the most basic description of a camera’s lens. It tells you the viewing angle you’re going to be working with, how much of your subject will be in frame, and how large it will appear in the final image.

The following is good to know when it comes to focal length:

  • A longer focal length results in a narrower field of view (FOV) and higher level of magnification (things look bigger)
  • A shorter focal length results in a wider field of view (FOV) and a lower level of magnification (things look smaller)

This basic information serves as the foundation of shopping for lenses. Focal length is pretty much always described in mm. You can occasionally find measurements in cm or inches but this is increasingly rare.

When shopping for lenses, a higher mm number usually means that a particular lens will be good for distant subjects and offer a narrow FOV. The inverse is usually true of lower mm lenses. This is why macro lenses hover between focal lengths of 20-100mm.

What’s the Best 75-300mm Telephoto Lens?

It’s worth mentioning that the best lens for the job will depend on your individual requirements. Your specific needs as a photographer will determine the product that’s right for you. There’s no point spending thousands on a shiny new piece of kit if you could get away with buying a cheaper model.

You might like to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I usually take one kind of photo or do I need a lens that can cover multiple bases?
  • Am I willing to spend more than $500 on a lens? How about $1000+?
  • Will I be editing in post or am I happy to let my camera process things for me?
  • Which mount does my camera use?
  • Are my needs professional in nature or are they more casual?

Use your answers to these questions to start narrowing down your search. The clearer you are about the kind of photography you need a lens to handle, the easier it will be to make the right decision.

If you’re looking for a specific recommendation, check out our Canon EF 75-300mm f456 iii Telephoto Zoom Lens review below.

Canon EF 75-300mm f456 iii Telephoto Zoom Lens Review

If you’re after a specific recommendation, this 75-300mm Canon lens gets a lot of things right. We run through what we love about it in our review below.

This 75-300mm telephoto lens is a compact, lightweight, and competent piece of kit. Whether you’re capturing sporting events or zooming in on majestic wildlife subjects, it’s unlikely to let you down.

It’s powered by Canon’s innovative micro ultrasonic motor. In practice, this means it offers an autofocusing system that is leagues ahead of cheaper lenses with unrivalled levels of speed, accuracy and reliability – this lens is remarkably sharp and accurate.

In certain applications, this technology can prove invaluable. Its whisper-quiet operation helps photographers stay out of earshot from skittish wildlife. For filming certain sporting events, too, this quiet lens will definitely come in handy.

One thing we love about Canon products is the company’s formidable lineup of accessories and other gear. When you buy a Canon lens, you’re gaining access to a wealth of other potential upgrades and tweaks.

Looking for filters, focus tubes, or adapters? There’s probably an option out there for you if you’re using a Canon product. This lens comes with Canon’s industry standard 1-year limited warranty. While we would have liked to see more coverage, it will provide some peace of mind to new owners.

Pros:

  • Killer autofocus system
  • Excellent sharpness
  • Vivid colors and details
  • Great reach

Cons:

  • The warranty is a little limited
  • A touch expensive

Telephoto Lenses – Final Thoughts

Terms like ‘telephoto’ and ‘focal length’ can be super overwhelming to new photographers. The reality is, however, that they’re far less complicated than you might think. We hope this page has helped to clear up any confusion.

Be sure to check out our other reviews and recommendations on this site to upgrade your photography gear!

Gravity Backdrops review: Are they worth it?

Good photography requires top-notch creativity. A photographer will go out of his or her way to provide outstanding services. One way to achieve tremendous results is by using high-quality equipment. Apart from using top-gear in your photo shooting sessions, you can opt to use photography backdrops like the ones from Gravity Backdrops.

Backdrops create a beautiful, memorable background for the main subject of the photo. Backdrops can help a photographer to produce sharp and unique images without struggling. These backdrops come in different shapes and sizes from different brands.

Not only do they come in different colors but also various forms. Some are freestanding while others require stands. Also, photography backdrops could have a solid color, hand painted, or air brushed design.

In this review, we’ll be telling you all you’d like to know about Gravity Backdrops. We explain what Gravity backdrops are, available forms and sizes, where and how to buy them, among other things.

What is Gravity Backdrops?

Gravity is a backdrop manufacturing company based in Europe specializing in the production of backdrops suitable for photographers and theatre productions. These guys in the creative industry use quality cotton canvas in their production and have a wide range of collections in their custody.

When dealing with them, you’re not just limited to what they already have – if you need something customizable and more personal, they’ll still deliver.

Interestingly, Gravity is open to both simple and complex projects. What’s more, they offer hand painted backdrops at competitive prices.

Nothing beats their pricing as you’ll be surprised to acquire your contexts at a price less than what you’d pay to rent them. We explain their pricing in the following paragraph.

Related

Single and double-sided backdrops

These drops are available from standard sizes to extra large sizes. Their prices are as follows for single-sided backdrops:

  • standard backdrop 1.6×2.5m – €300
  • mid backdrop 1.9×2.8m – €350
  • large backdrop 2.1×2.8m – €400
  • large + backdrop 2.8x3m – €600
  • and extra-large backdrop 2.8x4m – €800

Double-sided backdrops, on the other hand, cost as follows:

  • standard backdrop 1.6×2.5m – €450
  • mid backdrop 1.9×2.8m – €500
  • large backdrop 2.1×2.8m – €600
  • extra-large backdrop 2.8x3m – €1000

Apart from their standard pricing, they also have promo backdrops packages that come with free backdrops and shipping. They’re as follows:

  • Gravity start 4 XS for €800
  • basic 3x standard size for €700
  • advance M 3x mid-size for €800
  • advance L 2x large size + 1 free standard size for €800
  • professional L 4x large size for €1200
  • gold 2L 2x large + 1 free mid-size for €850
  • platinum 2L 2x large plus size + 1 free mid-size for €1200
  • Gravity ultimate 2 XL 2x extra-large size for €1600

All the promo packages come with free shipping.

Materials

Before we can let you know how and where to get your backdrops when you need them, let’s dig a little deeper into other details that we think you should know about gravity backdrops. Well, the purpose of this review is to help you gather as much information as possible.

Backdrops from Gravity are not canvas or muslin; instead, they’re custom hand-painted on a thick drop cloth. The build quality is pretty excellent and looks durable and sturdy when compared with a seamless paper. When it comes to using the backdrops, everything is straightforward.

First, Gravity Backdrops arrive in a hard-plastic tube, with the ends protected by a layer of plastic, canvas, and another layer of vinyl. Gravity backdrops all rolled up together, and nothing separates them. If you plan not to use your products immediately or any time soon, always store them horizontally and not in a vertical manner.

Each backdrop has its color written on the back. Understand that these products do not come with stands and because they’re heavy as you’d expect for a canvas covered with paint – you’ll need a strong position to use.

A savage stand can be a good bet. Also, these gravity backdrops do not have any mounting tool on them, so you’re going to do some improvisation, maybe clamp them up, or whatever will work for you.

Any photographer without their studio needs to understand that these backdrops are quite large, and transporting them to different places can be a challenge. It can also be a challenge even for those with their studios. But the exciting part is they are rollable.

Quality

When we talk about image quality, there’s no doubt that a hand painted backdrop always produces incredible results. As much as we tend to concentrate on the primary object of a photo, the background plays a significant role in creating the scenery. You understand that the mood and the atmosphere of any photo speaks volumes – that’s what you achieve with a Gravity backdrop.

A few things to mention, though, you might receive your backdrops with some minor imperfection – that should not worry you as some of them happen during shipping.

A common flaw is when your drop won’t lay perfectly smoothly the first time you take it out. Some times the edges of your backdrops might arrive damaged a little bit – that’s minor and normal things that would happen and should not raise much concern.

Ordering online

They have a website that lists all the products they have. If you browse through their site, you’ll see them all. But when it comes to making an order, you’ll have to contact them via Facebook. You can send them an email, but at the end of the day, you’ll have to go back to Facebook. There’s no way you can order directly from the site for reasons not clear to us.

You’ll see their products listed on their Facebook page in various sizes. Again, there’s no way to make a direct purchase, so, you must message them.

They’ll respond promptly to your query, whether it’s a price you’re confirming or placing an order. The whole process might feel awkward – some of the customers who have purchased their products say they felt at one point like they’ll never receive their packages.

Interestingly, their gravity backdrops were shipped to them and arrived earlier than expected. One thing for sure is that they have a good response time. Nothing can beat the professionalism in the hand painted backdrop – it brings some classic touch in your studio.

It’s like the magic of the invisible, and your clients will love your portraits even more. There’s a unique look that comes with a hand-painted canvas. Let us look at the benefits and shortcomings of Gravity backdrops.

Pros

  • Painted backdrops give your images a classic background similar to those you see on covers of fashion magazines
  • Gravity backdrops are durable and sturdy. The heavy material makes them withstand any harsh conditions. You can let your clients walk over them without worrying they’ll get destroyed. They’re way better than seamless paper in every aspect.
  • Gravity backdrops are all uniquely hand-painted, and none takes after the other. Meaning you’ll have many options of shooting unique studio portraits.
  • There’s no doubt that these guys have the best prices you’ll ever get. The price that you pay and the product that you receive might make you feel like you just got away with something.
  • Finally, there’s excellent customer service to expect—something very critical when it comes to online shopping and not necessarily related to hand painted backdrops

Cons

  • Some of these things are just bulky and can give you a hard time while in the studio. But that’s not a dealbreaker as you can always find a way to go about it.

We believe this review has helped you understand everything you’d like to know. Whether you’re a photographer with your studio or aspiring to get one, any backdrop would change your game.

Grayscale vs Black and White vs Monochromatic: Explained

If you’re new to photography, you’ve probably heard the terms “black and white”, “monochrome” and “grayscale” thrown around while wondering what they all meant. Is there actually a difference? If so, does it matter?

This page will run through each term and clear up any confusion you might have about grayscale images, black and white images and everything in between. We’ll also discuss setting up the perfect black and white shot.

The difference between grayscale vs black and white

When photography was a new, exclusively film-based technology, color wasn’t an option yet for images. As the artform progressed, color photography emerged and the term “black and white” was coined, referring to images that didn’t use color.

These days, “black and white” is a catch-all phrase used to describe colorless images. If we’re getting technical, though, black and white images aren’t black and white at all: they’re grayscale.

What Does Grayscale Mean?

The color spectrum for black and white images is composed of varying shades of gray.

Take this image, for example. While it’s perfectly true that this is a black and white image, what we’re really looking at here is an image made up of different shades of gray, hence – “grayscale”.

Practically speaking, there’s no real-world difference when it comes to black and white or grayscale images if you’re a layperson. It’s just that “grayscale” as a term more accurately describes the spectrum of color these images use.

Now you know what’s being discussed when you read “grayscale photography”. Understanding terms like this is the first step in taking a stunning black and white image.

grayscale-example

What About Monochromatic?

A black and white, or grayscale, image is also monochromatic. A mono (one) chromatic (color) image is composed exclusively of shades of one color. As a grayscale image uses only shades of gray, it can also be described as monochromatic.

It’s worth noting, though, that monochromatic images aren’t exclusively black and white.

Take this image, for example. The bear and landscape above are all different shades of pink, but the image is still monochromatic.

monochromatic-exampl

How to Shoot Black and White Photos

If you’re reading this article, you’re probably fairly interested in photography. Understanding how to take stunning monochrome or black and white images is a hallmark of a good photographer. It’s important to get to grips with the fact that there’s more than one way to produce great grayscale photography.

Black and White Image Method – Post Editing

Taking a high-resolution image in color and saving it in a RAW format is a great way of producing a gorgeous grayscale photo. The reason for this is that it gives you more flexibility when editing later.

Retaining things like color data, lighting, contrast and resolution make it much easier to produce the effect you want later on. Using apps like Lightroom can really up your game and take your images to the next level. This is only made easier by a higher quality initial image.

Grayscale Images – In-Camera Method

Most modern digital cameras include options to shoot an image “directly” in black and white. The specific functionality varies wildly from camera to camera, but in general this in-camera method involves the following:

  1. The camera captures a color photo
  2. The camera’s onboard processor does its best to remove unwanted color from the photo
  3. The image is compressed down into a low-resolution format like JPEG

While this method can work very well if you need a black and white photo now, it sacrifices a fair bit of flexibility for post processing.

Monochrome and Shooting in RAW

If you have a camera that allows you to shoot monochrome images in a RAW format, this is probably the best way to go. The RAW format retains a ton of information, including color data.

The image you shoot will look black and white on your camera’s LCD, but you’ll have the flexibility to edit colors and tweak the black and white image to your heart’s content. In short, monochrome settings that allow users to save in RAW provide the best of both worlds.

Black and White Subject Ideas

So you’ve been dazzled by images with a million shades of grey, but you’re not sure where to start for yourself. This section will outline some subjects that work really well for grayscale images.

Trees

black-and-white-tree

A black and white image piles emphasis on dark, formidable shapes. Nature in general is packed full of unique patterns, lines and shapes. Trees embody these elements perfectly. Experiment with shooting one tree like this, and then try wider shots that contain a whole forest.

Grayscale photography works excellently with long, unique shadows. Look for interesting shadows that come through the trees for a stunning end result.

Weather

While it can be useful to fight against the form, it’s important to remember the symbolism that black and white photography brings with it. Grayscale images have become synonymous with emotional, heavy or dramatic subjects.

Extreme weather, crashing waves and desolate scenes all lend themselves very well to this genre of digital photography.

Embrace Your Subject’s Color Palette

If the dominant colors in your chosen scene are black and white anyway, why not embrace the situation and shoot in single color grayscale? Zebras, pianos, Dalmatians, soccer balls, the list goes on. Good photography is about clearing any unnecessary distractions from your scene.

Sometimes, these distractions are color. This same approach also works for other kinds of monochrome photography. Photos dominated by varying shades of one color can make a lasting impression when done correctly.

More photography guides

Final Thoughts

The transition from film photography into the world of color left overlapping terms that continue to confuse new photographers to this day. We hope this page has helped to clear things up.

To conclude, “black and white” photography produces images that exclusively use shades of gray. “Grayscale photography” is a more accurate term that refers to this same process.

Monochrome (one color) images consist of varying shades of any one color. This includes grayscale images but refers to any other colors on the spectrum too.

For more photography insights, check out the other posts on this page.

Complete Instructions for Monopod Selfie Stick Photography

Selfies are a great way to take videos and photos on your camera or mobile device to capture your memories.

THE BEST PART is you can do it all ON YOUR OWN once you’ve read through these instructions.

We’ll tell you everything you need to know in this step-by-step guide to monopod selfie stick photography!

How to Use Selfie Sticks

Step 1: Unbox and Charge Your Bluetooth Selfie Stick

Of course, this only applies to those using a wireless monopod. That’s because the wired kind does not require any charging time.

So now that your Bluetooth selfie stick has finally arrived, it’s time to unbox and recharge it. Generally, you’ll find the following things inside:

  • The selfie stick
  • Micro USB cable for charging
  • Remote (if any)

Once you’ve finished unboxing, do the following:

  • Get the cable and plug the micro USB side into the monopod.
  • Now take the other side (USB-A) and plug that onto your adapter or computer.
  • Allow it to FULLY CHARGE. This can take 1 to 2 hours, depending on the model you have.

Step 2: Turn on Your Selfie Stick

Locate the power switch on your monopod. This is typically on the side or at the bottom. Now turn it on.

You’ll typically see a blue LED light turn on if you’ve successfully done this and your Bluetooth selfie stick is sufficiently charged.

Some selfie stick monopod models will keep that blue light blinking until you’ve successfully connected it to your mobile phone.

Step 3: It’s Pairing Time!

Now it’s time for the tricky part: how to pair/connect your device with the Bluetooth selfie stick.

Whether you’re an Android, Windows, or Apple OS user, the steps to connect will be the same.

  • Go to your settings.
  • Go to Bluetooth and turn it on.
  • If it’s your first time to connect to your selfie stick monopod, tap on “search for new device” (on Android). This will bring you to Pairing Mode. There’s NO NEED to do this on the iPhone because it will automatically search the area for devices it can pair with.
  • Look for the name of your selfie stick on the list of devices showing on your screen. Then, tap it. It should automatically connect to your device.

You’ll know you’ve made a successful Bluetooth connection if the light on your Bluetooth selfie stick has stopped blinking and your device says it’s connected to the monopod.

If any problems with connecting occur, you may need to redo this step.

For Android users, you can skip steps 3 and 4 if you’ve already successfully connected to the Bluetooth selfie stick before.

Step 4: Mounting the Mobile Phone or Camera on Monopods

Before you start taking camera photos, you need to connect your camera or device to your choice of monopods.

Depending on what you’re using to take the photos, the way you mount it under this step will be different.

When Using A Camera

The majority of the monopods you’ll find have a screw-like thing on top of the pole. For best results, we recommend getting a selfie stick that is specially made for camera use like this one [R].

However, if yours came with the phone holder attached, try removing this by rotating it counter-clockwise to locate the screw. This is where you attach the camera.

When using a selfie stick that comes with a holder, there are 2 things you need to watch out for:

  • If you’ve tried to gently but firmly remove the holder and it still won’t come off, there’s a chance that your selfie stick might not be made for camera use.
  • Check if the screw is compatible with your camera. Some screws will ONLY FIT the camera holder the selfie stick came with.

Attach your camera firmly and securely on the selfie stick. DON’T FORCE IT, though!

REMEMBER: It’s cheaper and easier to buy a new selfie stick than a new camera if that accidentally falls and breaks!

When Using Your Phone

Make sure your selfie stick has a holder. If you want the flexibility of using both a camera AND a mobile phone, get a monopod that’s made for that.

  • Take your holder and pull the 2 clips apart. It should do this easily because of the spring inside it.
  • Then, just fit your phone securely onto the holder. It’s best to position it so that the holder is holding onto the MIDDLE of your device.
  • If your holder has a padded clip, the steps are the same, except that instead of sandwiching your device in the middle of the 2 spring-loaded clips, you’ll be using the padded clip to secure it on the selfie stick.
  • Either way, let go of the clips only when you’re sure your mobile phone is tight and securely attached.
  • Try to wiggle it around while it’s in the clip to test the placement and adjust the angle. It should be tight enough that it won’t fall on its own, but NOT SO MUCH that you’ll have trouble when turning it or when you slide it out after taking your photos.
  • Once you’re happy with it, TIGHTEN the screw to lock your device in place.
  • If you’re using a wired selfie stick, this is when you attach it to the headphone jack.

WARNING: If you have a big phone like a big Samsung Galaxy Plus Android phone, some selfie sticks may not work for you due to the following reasons.

  • The bracket may be TOO SMALL.
  • The stick may be UNABLE TO CARRY the device’s weight.

So before buying a selfie stick, check whether it can fit the Android or iPhone you’re planning to use as a camera for your videos or selfies.

Step 5: Extend and Adjust for the Perfect Photo

Whether you want to take a selfie, a group photo, or maybe even a video, you’ll need to extend the selfie stick to frame your photo subjects properly. This is easy enough.

Just keep one hand on the bottom of the holder and the other on top. Gently pull so that the monopod can easily slide to extend or contract as you need.

Step 6: Take Those Selfies!

Test the connection by taking a few practice shots with your camera and remote or selfie stick. Once everything’s working, you’re ready to start taking those selfies.

PRO TIP: If the remote doesn’t work, try downloading a camera app so you can set a camera timer manually.

Different Types of Selfie Sticks

There are two kinds of selfie sticks available on the market. The exact steps on how to use it will depend on what type you have. Let us break it down for you.

Wired Selfie Stick

The wired selfie stick works by attaching the stick to the headphone jack of your phone. The good side? It’s basically foolproof. You don’t need to worry about Bluetooth or pairing. Why so?

  • It requires ZERO charging.
  • It’s compatible with any device, as long as it has a headphone jack.

Wireless Selfie Stick

Unlike the wired kind, the wireless version doesn’t require a headphone jack.

It uses Bluetooth to connect to your device. This does require charging, but the wireless type can generally last for a couple of days once fully charged before you’ll need to plug them in again.

The biggest downside to these wireless sticks is that the Bluetooth connection can be finicky. Plus, some have an iPhone vs. Android issue, where it works with Android devices but not Apple ones.

In this case, it’s best to look at the reviews of the selfie stick you’re planning to buy to check if it’s compatible with your Bluetooth device first.

Conclusion

Hopefully, these instructions for using your Bluetooth selfie stick monopod will help you take amazing selfies!

After all, these aren’t just shots. More importantly, they’re memories you’ll hold onto FOR LIFE!