Posts tagged ‘photography tips’

September 13, 2012

Tips for Photoshooting Fifis and Fidos

Photos shot with a point-and-click Sony camera and enhanced by PhotoHand.com

I’ve been recently trying to create a photo book starring my new puppy and myself as a gift for my mom’s upcoming birthday. Having PhotoHand as a design company behind this project should have made it easy but I got stuck at step one – taking pictures of my beloved mongrel.

I have a lot of nice pictures of him sleeping but taking action pictures proved to be a difficult task. As I was falling behind my personal production schedule it suddenly hit me – I should have checked with the ultimate pro – Cesar Milan, the Dr. Spock of the canine world. And, of course, CesarWay.com had a list of simple common sense directions on how to take good pictures of dogs.

In a nutshell:

1. Dogs sense energy. Be positive.

2. If s/he won’t sit and stay, focus on what s/he DOES want to do.

3. Shoot lots of photos and sift through them later.

4. Use props – treats, toys, squeakers, balloons.

5. Late afternoon or overcast weather will give you the best lighting.

6. It’s about them – focus on their favorite places, habits, toys…

7. Lower the camera to your dog’s level.

These dog photography tips are based on the advice from Cesar Milan’s friend, photographer Seth Casteel who became famous after his photos of dogs swimming underwater went viral.

Link to the entire article »

July 8, 2011

Point-and-Click Tips: Taking the Red Eye Glow Out Of the Picture

Red eyes (red glow in pupils) in photos is a common phenomenon when taking pictures of people or animals using a flash.


Some cameras support a “red eye reduction” mode.  In that mode the camera fires the flash a few times before taking the photo. Although this helps reducing the red-eye effect, it can also result in photos of people with their eyes closed (as they blink when blinded by the pre-flash).

There are a few things that you can do to prevent red-eyes.

1. Take the pictures with sufficient light in the environment so that your subjects’ pupils decrease in size.
2. Tell them to look to the side of your camera – not straight at the camera.
3. Have someone divert babies or pets’ attention so that they look away from the camera.

Some cameras include built-in image processing software that automatically removes red-eye from the photos, or you can use Picasa or other online photo editing software. Make sure that the software only effects the eye area and doesn’t change the color of other elements in the picture that happen to have the tint typical of the red eye effect. Software trips in such cases as it works on formulas and doesn’t exercise common sense.

Another option is having it done by professional photo retouchers for as low as $3.50, especially in case you have captured a close portrait in a dark environment and now the whole eye retina is glowing red.

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July 6, 2011

Point-and-Click Tips: Avoiding Overexposure and Underexposure When Taking Pictures Outdoors

Although digital point and shoot cameras are generally automated to measure the amount of light in an environment and apply the proper settings to take a good picture, the camera often makes an exposure decision that is incorrect due to complicated scene conditions. Most of the time, when a shot is underexposed, the details in the shadows can be recovered in Photoshop, while you can’t fix a photo if the details are not there as the result of overexposure.

Overexposure: photos that are washed out, too bright, or have blown-out areas.

Direct bright light will create overexposure. To avoid it, as the first measure, make sure the sun is not shining into the lens while you are taking a picture. Sounds like the most obvious thing but you’ll be surprised how many people don’t think of it. It is recommended to put your subject in a shady area when shooting a sunny day.

Besides washing out the image, the harsh light creates a strong contrast where the highlights are too white and the shadows too black.

Uneven contract can be an eye sore. For example if the object’s face is lit from the side the object’s nose can create a strong shadow. When lt from above, the face will feature black spots in the undereye area, under the nose and on the chin. The camera can not automatically correct such effects. Use flash on the shade side to even out the exposure to light on both sides!

Underexposure: Photos that are underexposed look dark and lack details. When printed in large sizes they show pixelation instead of solid colors.

The obvious reason for underexposure is poor lighting. But it can also occur if there is a very bright light source in the photo. It can confuse the camera to believe that there is enough light in the scene for a low exposure setting. The result will be a photo that captures the bright area but darkens all the others.

To prevent underexposure you have to move closure to your subject and make sure your subject is the most well-lit element within the frame.

General: Outdoor photos can benefit greatly by overcast skies or by taking photos early in the morning or in the evening. Taking photos when the sun is at a 45 degree angle will result in richer colors.


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May 13, 2009

Primp Up Your Indie Image On a Budget

Indie is trendy. If you hear this for the first time, you’ve been out of touch for quite a while and should hurry to Etsy.com to catch up. Whether it’s shoes, clothes, cosmetics, jewelry, bags, gift items, perfume… indie companies are guaranteed to provide innovative offbeat products that will spice up your image.

Innovation is the key to indie success as small companies are faster on their feet than large brands. They also tend to be greener, organic and more conscious of waste.

PhotoHand is a strong supporter of indies and we have a lot of them among our clients. Indies do not have the promotion budgets of big brands but they must have the big brand image quality to sell.

Indie companies on a budget (and most of them are) do not have the resources to hire professional photographers at $100-150/hr to shoot their new products, especially as they introduce one-two new products at a time. Instead they buy professional or semi-professional photo cameras that are becoming cheaper and more powerful and take promotional photos at their make-shift corner studios.

This is a prudent approaching taking into account that even professionally shot photos still need to be photoshopped to bring out the best in the image.

A perfume bottle shot in a make-shift setup with a non-professional camera was color-corrected and photo-retouched by PhotoHand professionals. Complex level - $11.95/photo

A perfume bottle shot in a make-shift setup with a non-professional camera was color-corrected and photo-retouched by PhotoHand professionals. Complex level - $11.95/photo

PhotoHand has been assisting indie companies with this task for quite a while and we keep getting the same question from our clients: How to set up the photo shoot for the best results.

We did some research, consulted several photographers and came up with the basic set of rules that will set you on the right track.

How to set up lighting for a home photo shoot?

Lighting is of paramount importance in photography. Photographing with natural light will deliver natural colors but only if you shoot on an overcast day that is still bright. You can wait for such a day or imitate these conditions by using easily available elements:

1) A spotlight lamp with a white light bulb. A yellow light bulb will tint the original color of the product;
2) Frosted paper that will be used as a screen to diffuse the light shining on the product and this way prevent the “hot spots” in the photo;
3) A flowing background, preferably stiff paper that won’t crinkle;
4) A sheet of white paper to reflect the diffused light from the spotlight lamp and partially illuminate the other side or the front of the product. This is necessary to avoid sharp light/shade contrast (unless you want it for some artistic effect).

The following diagram shows how to arrange these items for the photoshoot setup at home.

This diagram shows how to arrange these items for the photoshoot setup at home.

How to set your camera for the product photo shoot?

No-Flash-No-GlareTurn off the Flash. Flash glare on objects is very hard to photo retouch because it means loss of digital information. A photo retoucher would have to fill up the blanks by using his/her imagination.

Macro-for-close-up

Set your camera to MACRO for the close-up view.

That’s it.  Happy shooting!  And remember, PhotoHand is always there for you to glam up your image.
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