Beauty of Nature Photography

What is Nature Photography?

So what do we mean when we say nature photography? Well, it may seem obvious but let’s go ahead and explain. Nature is our natural environment. It is those things that exist in our world without human intervention; such as trees, grass, flowers, a forest, a river, and animals in their natural environment.

Nature photography is the photography of these things. There is a wide spectrum that is included in nature photography. Pictures of sunsets, sunrises and ocean waves lapping at the shore are all nature photography. So are the trees in the forest and beautiful flowers growing in an open field.

But nature photography can go even deeper than that, showing us parts of the world that we may not be able to see otherwise. If you live in the south, you may not see snow-capped mountains if it wasn’t for nature photography. You may not be able to see a deep canyon, a volcano, or a beautiful beach if it were not for photographs of these places.

The photographers that bring us pictures of these places give us an image of something we may never see. It’s truly an amazing gift to give.

Nature Photographers

But what if you are one of the people taking these pictures? What if you are the nature loving photographer that gives this fantastic gift to someone else? You are giving a gift to other people. But you are also doing something you love. Nature photography can only be achieved by someone who has a love for nature and sees its beauty and can capture it in a photograph so others can view it and have a touch of the same experience.

So how do you take great nature photography? The first step is to have an eye for these beautiful images. The second step is to have a camera. That’s really all it takes. But as you grow as a photographer, you will learn how to take the best pictures and capture the image in a way that others can view it as the amazing sight that you saw. You will learn about lighting and backgrounds and focus and you will take better pictures.

Nature photography is a rewarding experience for the photographer and also for the people who get to view the results. You have taken a piece of nature that may otherwise go unnoticed such as a rainbow, and you capture it permanently in an image that you can look at any time you choose. This is a pleasing and rewarding part of photography. In nature photography, you are able to take two things that you love and combine them in a beautiful and artistic way.

Landscape Photography

Landscape photography is a great field of photography, especially if you love nature and if you love to travel. You can travel the world taking pictures of beautiful scenes across many countries. Of course, this is landscape photography on a big scale. Not many people are lucky enough to start off traveling the world.

But you can find beautiful landscapes right where you live. That’s the great thing about nature, it’s everywhere, and landscapes are everywhere. And that same sunset behind the mountain that you’ve seen everyday since you were a kid may look pretty amazing to someone who has never been to the mountains. Seeing the sun rise up out of the oceanfront may be absolutely astonishing to someone who has never been to the beach. It’s all relative.

What you may see every day is someone else’s treasure. If you can open your eyes to the beauty and see it, then other people can see it in your photography. It can be simple and everyday or it can be vast and amazing. It’s all about the great pictures you take. You may see a night city skyline, a series of lightening bolts or an interesting cloud; it’s how you take the picture that makes it beautiful to someone else.

If you are serious about landscape photography, you should take a course. You may have already had a course in photography but you will want to take one specifically for landscape photography so you can learn how to get the best pictures possible. You will want to learn what film to use and how to work with the sunlight or other natural light. You will also learn about achieving a sense of balance and scale, how to photograph running water and similar issues that a landscape photographer might face.

If you can’t find any appropriate classes in your area, you can find them on the internet. You can also find many groups and message boards designed for landscape photographers to meet, share photos and tips and ideas. You can get tips and advice for your questions if you join these groups. You can also view the work of others, some that may be much more experienced than you. You can learn from them and their photos.

If you are considering landscape photography as a career (even part time), the first thing you are going to want to do is learn as much about it as possible; read books, take classes, visit websites. Then you are going to want to practice, and build a portfolio. Your portfolio should be updated often and only include your absolute best work. You may want to send some of your best photos to photo contests or magazines. These are good ways of breaking into the world of professional photography when you have no experience.

Underwater Photography

Underwater photography is as the name implies photos that are taken under water. This is pretty interesting since early cameras could not function if wet. But as people started discovering the wonders under the sea, they wanted to be able to share that with others or even just to prove what they actually saw. So we began creating cameras that could work under water.

It is no surprise that underwater photography is a favorite pastime for scuba divers. The idea could have come from those few people that were able to experience the joys and beauty of underwater life and a desire to share that beauty with others.

There are many different occasions where people use underwater photography. As we mentioned earlier, underwater photography is used in Hollywood for movies. You have probably also seen it used on documentaries and national geographic type programs about underwater life.

But it is still most commonly used by divers. There are many websites dedicated to all the ins and outs of underwater photography; which cameras and lenses are best, which film to use, and much more can be found on these sites.

Equipment is an important factor in taking great underwater photography. Of course you will need an underwater camera but there is more than just that.

You can take some amazing pictures using underwater photography. There are now even disposable use underwater cameras and you can take them on vacation with you and get that great underwater look. Even an amateur can do it. Disposable underwater cameras can typically be developed at your local Wal-Mart or other film developing center. You can also purchase underwater cameras for more of a price but they last whenever you need one. Some people find this more economical than disposables, especially if they want to take these pictures often.

Just like other venues of photography, you will probably start off with a cheaper and less advanced camera and work your way up if you continue underwater photography for a long time. There are two basics kinds of cameras; the underwater or waterproof camera and the encased camera which is inside a housing that protects it.

When taking pictures, you are going to need to be familiar with:

  • Your camera
  • Your lens
  • Your film
  • Your flash

There are different things in your environment that will affect the quality of your underwater photography. Such as:

  • Depth of water and transparency of water
  • Light
  • The angle of the sunlight on the top of the water
  • The backscatter
  • Water has a magnifying effect

Photography Portfolio

There are many reasons why having a portfolio of your work available for others to view. If you are seeking employment as a photographer, then the need for a portfolio is obvious. If you are not seeking a photography job, there are still good reasons to have a portfolio. For one, you love photography and you take a lot a pride in your work. They are important to you. Most likely, some of them are very good. Why not create a portfolio that showcases your best work so you can show it to others (even if it’s just friends or family that comes over for a visit)?

Building a Photography Portfolio

Before we get into what goes into your portfolio, let’s discuss the portfolio itself. What should it be made of? How big should it be? You may have seen portfolios with covers made of all types of materials such as plastic, leather and even stainless steel. These fancy covers are usually much more expensive and may not be practical for a beginner. If you are competing for high-price jobs and want to stand out from the crowd, these expensive covers may be a nice touch. But for most people, a regular black plastic cover will work just fine. It’s what’s inside the portfolio that is most important, right?

So, you are probably best to stick with a plain black plastic cover and work hard on beefing up what’s inside. Don’t decorate your portfolio with cutesy stickers and such; this will look amateurish and unprofessional. It’s not a scrapbook; it’s supposed to represent your high-quality work.

Now, as for size, this is going to depend on the size of your largest pictures. An 8 X 10 is probably going to be your largest. If your pictures are not this big, you don’t need a portfolio this big. Your biggest will most likely be an 11 X 14 and it could be as small as a 4 X 7.

The most important thing for you to remember is convenience – both for you and for the person who will be looking at your portfolio. You want to keep it professional and easy to hold, carry and look over.

Using a Photography Portfolio

So now that you know what a portfolio is and what type to get, how do you actually use it? Well, we mentioned you are going to fill it with your best work. This means you want a portfolio that can easily be changed. You may want to pull out old ones and add in new ones. You don’t want to go for a job carrying along every picture you’ve ever taken. You’re going to want to have 15-20 of your best work. You are also going to want to be sure your pictures are relevant to the job. If you are trying out for different types of assignments, you may want to create portfolios that work for each of the types of work you are doing.

Of course, you only want to show your best work but you want to give the impression that you can handle any type of assignment given to you ad not that you are “stuck” in only one type of photography.

You want to showcase your best work; this is best technically as well. You may have a photo that is really important to you because of the image it represents or the memory it brings but if it is not technically perfect, it doesn’t belong in a business portfolio. Save that one for your coffee table.

Take Great Photos of Your Pet

  • Don’t wake your pet out of deep sleep and attempt to coerce him into performing for the camera. It won’t happen. Try to take photos of your pet during their routine playtime.
  • If there is enough daylight to take photos then turn the flash off. My cat has learned to close his eyes just before the flash goes off. He learned that little trick quick too! Many times a camera flash is just too bright for them, that’s why they point away from you when they know that you’re taking photos.
  • Don’t try to get them looking into the camera. If there is someone around who can play with your pet just get a shot of them playing with someone else. You can have the photo with the person and the pet or get close to crop the person out of the shot.
  • If your pet always runs away from you every time you pull the camera out try leaving the camera sit out where it can be seen. Take photos of other things in the home and try turning the flash off.
  • Be prepared to grab your camera and take photos when your pet is ready, read “doing something cute.” I’ve been able to get some of the best photos of my cat when he’s just doing something on his own.

Remember don’t put pressure on your animal to perform for the camera. Think more on the lines of catch them in their natural habitat. Our pets want to make us happy and you can easily confuse them by pressuring them to look good for the camera. Also be prepared to take a whole lot of bad photos for that one really good one.

Photographing Corporate Events

  • Have the right equipment: Corporate event photography doesn’t need lots of fancy equipment. Instead, it needs a perfect blend of the right gears. Usually, an external power flash with reflector or diffuser, full frame DSLR with a moderate range zoom, memory cards and spare batteries are good for the job. However, there are other details that need to be taken care of. If the event takes place in a large hall, a telephoto lens is a must. If it’s a compact venue, then a wide is essential. A second body camera is usually suggested for more serious event photography to avoid switching lenses regularly.
  • Study the location: Analyzing the lighting conditions and scouting the location play crucial roles in ensuring good event coverage. Before the event, visit the venue to get a clue if you’ll be dealing with minimal light indoors or plenty of light. In case you can’t visit the venue before the event, ensure to gather adequate information about the venue and lighting conditions from other sources.
  • Grab the best shots: When it comes to corporate event coverage, moments pass quickly. If you fail to adjust quickly, you’ll fail to have the shot. Remember to take care of the minute details and capture compelling shots. For instance, a wide aperture with fast shutter speed for the key speakers, or keeping the aperture small enough for group shots to keep everyone in focus can help.
  • Focus on shots for marketing: While it’s crucial to get shots of people having fun, it’s also crucial to have shots that can be used for marketing purposes. In this age of social media, businesses often share images of their corporate event coverage immediately. While focusing on the faces of attendees is positive and powerful, it’s also important to focus on abstract shots that can be used for branding and marketing purposes.
  • Quick edit, fast delivery: In today’s fast-paced life, businesses want a quick turnaround time. Once a couple of days are gone, the images become a little stale. And people move to the next events and lose interest in yesterday’s news. You should make sure that once the event is over, you edit the images taken and deliver them fast.

 

Photography Poses

“Good Planning” Advice for Photography Poses

  1. Prepare For The Event. Prepare for the event by thinking about every photograph you want to take and what kind of photography pose or poses you would like to capture. Consider who, where, how, and the type of environment.
  2. Take Multiple Photographs. Take multiple shots of each pose (remember, digital memory is reusable, a.k.a. “free”). Regardless of what you say or do, people will blink. And don’t count on spotting small problems on the tiny camera LCD screen (even on full magnification); which leads to…
  3. Check LCD Screen. Check the digital camera’s LCD screen for general framing of the picture, any movement, visibility of faces, and the histogram. Note that you can think up a fantastic photography pose; arrange everyone perfectly; and, have the photograph “frozen” (no blinking, and no shaking of the camera)…but, when you check it out in the LCD, you see 2 drunks fighting in the background! And, my favorite…
  4. Funny Phrases. Have some funny phrases handy to use just before you take the photo. Don’t use it when setting up for the shot. And, don’t use the same phrase all the time. Throw in funny anecdotes, phrases, names, words that you know your family will find more amusing than “cheese.” A natural smile looks four times better than a fake one. The second category is…

“Location” Advice for Photography Poses

Taking indoor family photography, is very different than outdoor family photograph (duh!). For INDOOR pictures…

  1. Wide Angle. You will tend to use the wide angle more often than your telephoto setting. Pay particular attention to your “end people” (those farthest to the right and the left in your viewfinder), and verify there is enough space in picture, so that if cropping is required, the end people don’t have to lose a limb.
  2. The Flash. Flash considerations are critical. Do not be outside your “flash range.” For example, if at ISO 100, your flash can properly illuminate 12 feet, don’t attempt any photography pose that requires anyone to stand at 14 feet (unless, of course, it’s evil cousin Ira who you want to appear in darkness).
  3. Plan “B”. If you need to be further away than your flash allows, here are 2 things you can try…First, increase the ISO setting (but not so much as to produce to much noise), or second, move to a significantly brighter location.
  4. Watch Your Background. If there are distracting features, change your settings to blur the background (see the Techniques page). The best photography pose in the world won’t look right with a distracting background. And finally…
  5. Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall. If there are mirrors or reflective surfaces in the background and you can’t find a different location, only take the picture in such a way that the flash is not perpendicularto the surface, but at an angle (unless you want a nice photo of your flash). Outdoor family photography has completely different issues. For OUTDOOR photography…
  6. The Sun. Avoid photographing in direct sunlight, or in mixed light and shade, especially faces. Optimal lighting results from a slightly overcast sky.
  7. Shade. When photographing in shade, use fill-flash (see terms) when necessary. And, really finally…

Printing Great Photos at Home

  1. It’ll seem like a lot of money at first but spend the money to get a good printer. Six color at least. Ink jets are wonderful for printing snapshots. You won’t need more than that. Also look around at the computer brands that sell computer packages for digital printing, the printer that they recommend is perfect for printing photos at home.
  2. Buy some photo editing software. There are lots of brands out there many of them for pros but you can easily find software under one hundred dollars that will have lots more options than you will ever use. Look for software that has automatic settings so that the computer can automatically color correct, auto focus, brighten, or darken, etc. At least until you learn number 3.
  3. Learn your equipment. Take the time play with the settings. Don’t try to print perfect photos right away. Most people with a little time and practice can learn to do basic photo special effects. Give yourself the time to learn.
  4. There is one place that you are going to have to spend some money and it’s on paper. You can have a great image but unfortunately you cannot skimp on paper. Get the nice thick glossy paper, it’s worth it. I’ve tried the cheaper paper, which is good for test prints, but you need the high quality stuff for good prints.
  5. DPI, dots per inch. Depending on your printer and your software you may be able to print up to 1200 dpi which is probably unnecessary for what you’re doing. For up to a 4 by 6 inch print you only need about 300 dpi. Most people cannot see the difference between a 300 dpi an a 600 dpi at 4 by 6 inches. For 5 by 7 or 8 by 10 you can go up to 600 dpi.

These steps will help you on your way to printing great digital photos at home. Remember though make sure that you have fun printing all those memories.

Digital Zoom vs Optical Zoom

Before making a comparison it is important to discuss the significance of the subject matter, in this case the zoom. Well a zoom lens has more than a few portable glass components inside it. By adjusting these components, the focal length of the lens can be altered. Modifying the focal length alters the view distance as well as reduces the field of view, thereby making the projected image to appear larger.

It must me noted that both the optical zoom and the digital zoom are components that are used to magnify an image, but they work in fundamentally different principles and acquiesces drastically different results. In general, optical zooms always produce a far finer and advanced image than digital zoom.

Looking at the functions of these zooms, in digital cameras that offer optical zooms function the same way similar to a zoom lens of a conventional analog camera. A conventional lens works by accumulating light rays that are projected over a portion of a film, and in this case of a digital camera optical sensor. The distance of the lens from the focus point where all of the light rays converge is known as the focal length of the lens. Unlike the optical zoom, the digital zoom works by ranging the pixels in the ultimate image after the image has been captured. The fact remains that the same number of pixels are collected when the photograph is magnified. The only thing that alters is the light rays that are projected over the optical sensors to figure out those pixels.

It is a common intuition that optical lenses are far better than the digital zooms. The reason is that the digital camera zooms are more prone towards computer applications in them rather than mostly human interactions and expertise. Yet, it also remains a fact that beginner photographers find it more useful to handle a digital zoom and also its computer friendly nature. There the computer does the intricate tasks of finding some levelheaded approximation of colors that pixel might take up as it had captured the images or photographs. Many algorithms are existent in this area, but perhaps the most abundantly used algorithm involves looking at the pixels that are quite nearly like neighbors and come up with a kind of an average. Anyways the process remains too complicated and its end result is what the digital zoom users are interested in.

Thus the ultimate truth remains that it is useless to compare digital zooms with optical zooms. Perhaps it is more logical to compare optical zoom with optical zoom and digital zoom with digital zoom. Both these two types of zooms, the optical as well as the digital, have some good and bad qualities. Both of them have some extra features and preferences over the other. And thus it is not wise to compare them, even though a comparison may exist. The efforts would then perhaps look like comparing oranges with apples!

Digital Camera Works

Looking a bit more in details about the working of the fantastic device, the digital camera. As a continuation of the above lines, it can be further investigated that the sensor array is basically a microchip about 10 mm across. Every image sensor is a charged-couple device (CCD) converting light into electric charges, and is essentially a silicon chip used to measure light. These charges are stored as analog data that are then converted to digital via a device called an analog to digital converter (ADC). Over the chip are present a collection of very small light-sensitive diodes, named photosites, or pixels that convert light (or more scientifically, photons) into electrical charges called electrons. The pixels are very much light sensitive, therefore with brighter light striking them, produces greater build up of electrical charges. Each 1000 array receptor creates 1 pixel, and every pixel corresponds to some information stored. The light enters the digital camera via the lens, which is the same mechanism as the conventional analog camera. And this light hits the CCD when the photographer presses the shutter button. The shutter opens and thereby illuminates every pixel, however with various intensities.

Taking a look apart, it can be observed that quite a few digital cameras use CMOS (meaning complementary metal oxide semiconductor, a technology of manufacturing these microchips) technology based microchips as image sensors. The basic advantage is that the CMOS sensors are appreciably cheaper and simpler to fabricate than CCDs. Another great advantage from CMOS sensors is that these take very less power compared to other technology, which adds up to the fact as to their extensive use, and can thus even support the implementation of additional circuitry on the same chip like ADC, some control units etc. Thus it can be stated that CMOS technology based cameras are small, light, cheap and also energy efficient, yet at the cost of some amount of image quality.

However the common trend remains that all cameras of the mega pixel range and higher up use CCD chips instead of CMOS. This is because of the fact of picture quality only, leaving aside the price differences.