Tag Archive: photography

How To Create an Impressive Photography Portfolio

As a budding photographer, a very important thing you must do if you wish to make a mark in the photography industry is to build a portfolio. To put it simply, a portfolio is a collection of work, in this case, a collection of your work as a photographer regardless of your expertise where you can get to showcase your finest work.

But having an impressive showcase of photos in your portfolio is not enough.  There is a certain approach in creating a portfolio that will let you stand out as a photographer like Baby Photography Oxfordshire, something we will detail below.

What is the portfolio for?

First things first, it is important to consider what the portfolio is for. Is it for a job interview, looking to get your work exhibited at a gallery? Maybe you just want to bring your work together to present it?

Whatever the reason, it is vital that you create your portfolio with the reason in mind. A job interview might require you to display a variety of skills and techniques, whereas a collection for an exhibition would require a single unifying theme and will need to be presented with the gallery setting in mind.

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Think about your theme, if any

Once you’ve decided your intentions for your portfolio, you need to consider the audience and the theme you wish to convey in your portfolio, if any. Knowing beforehand of the intention of creating the portfolio would help you better get a good grasp of what theme would best work for your portfolio, eliciting reaction you hope to see when they see the photos.

Paper or digital?

You also need to decide what format to use which your portfolio will be presented in. In the past, everything was on paper, but technology has introduced the option of presenting your portfolio on a PDF, JPEGs or through a slideshow or other medium. The need for convenience and speedy delivery of data has made online portfolios, especially those being shared online, though some may prefer having a  physical portfolio to look at, with those beautifully printed out photos and other designs.

Portfolio style and design

The next thing to consider is the style and design of your portfolio. Would the portfolio take the form of a scrapbook or another publication of sorts.  If you will go for a printed portfolio, remember to use high quality photo paper for better results.

Choosing the photos

The most difficult part of creating a portfolio is selecting the photos to include, depending on the theme and purpose that was determined earlier. There is always this huge temptation to just select your favorites, but a photographer isn’t always the best judge of their own work as he/she take into consideration the setting, effort and editing taken to create the shot. Try to seek a second opinion from others.

Presentation

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The presentation of the photos is important, especially to help gauge the viewer’s reaction. A badly presented collection of otherwise great photographs just won’t cut it anymore. Thus, it is important to carefully consider using unique presentation techniques, or enhance it with effects or other elements.

It’s also important to consider the order of the shots, whether they are arranged chronologically or to create a particular mood. When choosing a title image, don’t just choose your favourite. Try and select something that captures the essence of the collection.

Final tip

Try not to be tempted to add more things like photos to your portfolio once it’s finished. You can always take better shots in the future, but for now, be proud of the work you have done so far not only with the photos but with the portfolio you have made as well.

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What Is HDR?

As a number of photographers like Soven Amatya have discovered, high dynamic range or HDR is a great option to make your photos look better as well as to make them more pleasing to see artistically. HDR creates images that have more stunning colors or more visually pleasing contrasts that make these photos more arresting visually.

HDR Defined

How HDR does this is by taking into account a more “dynamic range” in photographs, (hence the name) capturing up to 3 photos in different exposures, ranging from dark to bright. Using either post-processing techniques or the built-in HDR tool that some phones and cameras, HDR then creates a new image by “combining” those three images together and highlight the best parts of each photo.

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How the photo would look depend on the settings and how much you can control the settings of the device you have. Chances are, if you use the built-in HDR feature of some devices, you don’t get much leeway in adjusting HDR settings. Thus, the resulting HDR image is something that should look more like what your eyes see, rather than what your camera sees.

On the other hand, if you will be doing HDR through post-processing, you can control the settings like aperture, white balance, and others and experiment with different settings as well. The resulting HDR image in this case would be something more artistic as the colors and effects turning the photo into a work of art in itself.

Using HDR

Now that we know what HDR is and what it can do for photos, it is important for us to know the appropriate situations to use it. I recommend using HDR in these situations:

  • Landscapes: Big landscape photos usually have a lot of contrast between the sky and land, and your camera may find it very difficult to deal with such rich detail in just one photo. With HDR, you can capture the sky’s detail without making the land look too dark, and vice versa, creating a perfect mix of rich colors.
  • Photos in Sunlight: While light is without a doubt one of the most important aspects of a good photo, too much light present, like the one coming from the harsh sunlight, can cause dark shadows, bright glare, and other unflattering characteristics that would ruin a photo you would be capturing. HDR helps even out these elements to make your subject better and more defined as a result.
  • Low-Light and Backlit Scenes: The opposite of your photo being adversely affected by too much light is that your photo being adversely affected by too much darkness, something that often happens if your scene has too much backlight. HDR can help brighten up your subject foreground without washing out the well-lit portions of your photo.

When Not To Use HDR

Knowing when to use HDR also entails us knowing that this feature is not appropriate in some situations as well, which we will detail here:
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  • Photos with Movement: If there are subjects moving (or might move) in the frame you are shooting, HDR increases the chance of a blurry photo as a result. Unless you are deliberately going for that look, your final picture won’t look very good. So yes, HDR works best in still life photos.
  • High-Contrast Scenes: Some photos just look better with stark contrast between the dark and light parts of the photo, like if there is an element of a dark shadow or silhouette present that you wish to highlight. Using HDR will ruin the elements you wish to highlight as they become less intense than intended, resulting in a less interesting photo.
  • Vivid Colors: If your scene is too dark or too light, HDR can bring some of the color back. However, if you’re dealing with colors that are already very vivid, HDR can wash them out. Besides, why use HDR if the colors in your photo are already great to begin with?

Knowing HDR and when to use or not use it would help you capture better photos, enriching your photography skills in the process. Check out Stuck In Customs as well for more information about HDR.

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Using Flash in Wedding Photography

The usage of flash in photography has always been a sticky subject among wedding photographers and even non-photographers as well. In fact, there are actually some photographers who despise the idea of using flash or even light modifiers as they feel either they are “unnatural” or just not comfortable using it.

However, there will be instances when flash is necessary to use in certain situations. We shall further look at those situations here in this piece as to what would warrant them for the use of flash.

At Wedding Venues and Reception Areas

Wedding ballrooms, churches and reception areas are prone to have less than ideal light for photographers to take advantage of. Thus, the flash helps create a primary source of light that is brighter and more pleasant than the dim ambient light. It has to be noted though that in a number of cases, churches do not allow using flash during ceremonies, so you have to discuss using artificial light with the church personnel before the ceremony.

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To help diffuse the harshness of the flash, if there are white ceilings in the area that are not too high, you can mount flash on your DSLR and bounce light off the ceiling or nearby white walls. Alternately, you can use what is called a bounce card which (with the flash) will enable your image to have a much better light source than direct flash.

Photographing Details Indoors

For wedding photographers, part of the job is to photograph well the details that highlight the theme of the wedding or other interesting details. Sometimes, the light in the venue would suffice, sometimes they would not. If it is the latter case and you wish to save some time photographing details faster, a flash on top of your camera bouncing off a white card might suffice.

When subject is poorly lit outdoors

Most photographers like wedding photographer hull do not bother with flash outdoors, with natural light readily available. Unfortunately, that light is not always available, especially once the sunset arrives. Much like photographing indoors, you may need to use artificial light source, such as flash.

Fill Flash – when shooting backlit

Shooting subjects in a backlit setup can create a nice separation and bring more depth to images. But if the subject is heavily backlit (say with the sun behind), the opposite side of the subject which is facing the camera might get underexposed. Fill flash can help in this situation; single diffused light positioned away from the camera would do the job.

Overpowering the sun to avoid hot spots and intense shadow

While the sunlight can be a good friend for outdoor photography, there are times, usually in the afternoon, when the light can be too harsh on the photo as the sun is directly overhead. Setting up an umbrella or a softbox with the flash helps get around that problem and you get beautiful photos as a result.

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Avoiding environmental color casts on your subject’s skin tone

Sometimes when working with natural reflectors, you get to run into a problem where your subject will assume the color of the reflective surface. You can reduce this effect by using a reflector right next to your subject or use fill flash (umbrella, softbox or other modifier) to illuminate your subject, which will more or less isolate him/her from the rest of the background and reduce color reflections.

Final words

Flash helps provide dimension in your photography, allowing you to solve or at least get around the problems you sometimes face in photography. Just remember to leave some room for creativity to get the best results as possible in your photos.

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