Monthly Archives: March 2013

A Brief Overview on Time-lapse

What is Time-lapse Photography?

Time-lapse photography is a cinematography technique whereby the frequency at which film frames are captured is much lower than that which will be used to play the sequence back. Objects and events that would normally take several minutes, days, or even months can be viewed to completion in seconds having been sped up by factors of tens to millions.

The gear needed:


The Basics of Shooting Time-lapse:





Creating the Time-lapse:




Read more about Time-lapse:

A couple of  time-lapse tutorials:

Some time-lapse videos:

– S. Selby




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How to Photograph the Moon

ImageMost everybody has tried to take a picture of the moon, and most of the time it never works. The picture is too dark, the moon the is too far away, or the moon is even red or organge looking, basically not the way you want it to look. Here are some tips on how to get great looking pictures of the moon:

Tripod. A secure base and workstation for your camera is  essential to capturing the moon and avoiding camera shake.  While you may  be able to get away with hand holding your camera, your best results will  without a doubt come from mounting your camera upon a tripod.

Long zoom lens. In order to help fill the frame and properly  show off the moon, the longer your zoom lens the better.  You don’t  necessarily need the fastest lens, because you’ll be on a tripod, but it’s best  to use anything 300mm or longer.

A wireless remote. If it’s an  option for your camera model.  This is not an essential piece, but it’s  nice to have and helps avoid camera shake.  If you don’t have one you can  cheat and use the self timer function on your camera.

Camera. While almost any camera will work, point and shoots  rarely produce decent photos, mostly due to the small size of the sensor and it  over-heating during longer exposures resulting in digital noise.  A DSLR is  preferred here, or film SLR, again with a long lens on it.

No preset or auto function of your camera will be able to properly meter the  moon, so you are best off shooting in full manual mode.  Also, your  geographical location and current phase of the moon will have an effect on what  your settings will be and you will need to adjust for the season of year and  clarity of the sky.

ISO.  Digital cameras should be set to 100 or lower,  film shooters should shoot film of 100 ISO or slower to eliminate noise and  grain.

Aperture. Because you’re after crisp, clean shots shooting  at f/11 to f/16, depending on your lens, will be the best place to start.

Shutter speed. This will be the point at which you will need  to adjust on a number of shots.  The variables are many and include those  mentioned earlier, such as the phase the moon is in, geographical location and  desired shot, but on a clear night starting at about 1/60th should be a great  middle ground.

A word about where you choose to shoot.  Picking a spot to shoot the  moon is one of the most important factors in achieving a quality shot.   Ideally, if you want to showcase the moon itself you want to avoid any other  ambient light, including street lights and traffic.  This may require you  to go off on a remote road or into a public park after hours – your backyard may  not be the best location for these types of shots.  On the contrary, if you  are trying to include a city skyline under your moon shot, you’ll need to find a  lookout that allows for the twinkling lights below and do further test shots to  nail the exposure properly.

Post processing your photos is really straight forward and in most cases an  auto white balance will do you just fine, however photographs of the moon also  make stunning black and white images.


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– S. Selby

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Family Portrait Do’s & Don’ts

For a photographer, skills in family portraits are are essential and are usually  the bread and butter for up and coming photographers. Looking at the history of  photography, one of the first popular uses the camera was not for abstract art,  or photographing the family pet, but for photographing people and their  families.

Family Portrait Do’s:

1. Do squish groups together- When families are physically close, it emits a warmth and visually shows what  families should be like…close.

2. Do coordinate clothing- Ultimately it is up to them and their families style to choose what they wear  but simply reminding them to possibly overlap in a color scheme, avoid extreme  colors, prints and logos on their clothing can make a big difference.

3. Do check the screen for blinking- Shooting and shooting is OK for one or two people, but in a larger group it can  be hit and miss and you may miss that one photo where everyone has their eyes  open.

4. Do try to be funny & get some genuine smiles- A few cheesy jokes work surprisingly well to break the tension.

5. Do try & blur the background- Choose the largest aperture setting you can, while still keeping everyone sharp.

Family Portrait Don’ts:

1. Don’t forget to check all your basic camera settings before clicking away- It would be sad to get to the end of a great session and realize you didn’t  change the low quality settings from the last time you used your camera shooting  Garbage Pal Kids you planned on selling on Ebay

2. Don’t let your subjects tilt their heads into each other- Subjects tend to think they will fit into the picture better if they tilt and  lower their heads. Funny thing is, I’ve even caught myself doing this when I was  being photographed. Watch for it and avoid it.

3. Don’t sound insecure- Don’t say things like “This isn’t working.” Rephrase it into a positive, “Great,  lets try a few more positions.” The more you tell them the pictures are looking  great the better looking the pictures will get.

4. Don’t let Mom run the show- If you are sensing a strong arm from Mother, make sure to get the squeaky clean  formals done right off the bat. They are easy and traditional. After that let  mom know that you’ve got it covered and now you want to have fun with the kids.

5. Don’t be afraid to let Mom, Dad, & the kids come up with ideas and posing- They may have seen fun family photos of their friends and want do do some in a  similar fashion. Take their suggestions without letting them think you have none  of your own and work them in. Often they will turn out great and they’ll feel  like they had a little more to do with the pictures than just a pretty face.

I think family portraits are awesome! It is a way to bring everyone together and create a stillshot of that moment. Some families even bring their pets along for the shot because they too are part of the family. When you get a family together taking photographs, their true personalities tend to come out. Capturing those moments are special. Even if the kids are wrestling, Mom and Dad are laughing, or Grandma is giving kisses to her poodle “Fifi”, those are the photographs that people love the most. When those special moments are captured, the family is happy, which makes you a happy photographer.

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Food Photography Tips

If you want to take really good photographs of food, you have to take a number of things into consideration. Here are 10 tips to help you master food photography:

1. Learn as much as you can about your camera- This is the more technical aspect of the process and can easily be learned. You can find everything you need online. Just keep looking, reading and learning. Read your camera manual. Shoot in manual mode if you are not already, as this is the only way you will learn about setting up your exposure and having control over your shot.

2. Understand light- Start developing an understanding of light and the relationship it has on your subject. Play around trying to find the best light you can in the place where you shoot. Often this may require taking away some light which can easily be achieved with scrim, sheets, or net fabric. Consider how much shadow you want in your shot, it can often give a lovely 3 dimensional feel to your image. You can achieve excellent results using artificial light and can set it up so that it mimics natural light. It can also be more convenient If you are not able to shoot in the day. Never use a build in flash (unless perhaps you filter it or deflect it).

3. The mood of the shot- Decide what your overall style and mood is that you want to create and work towards composing that. Do you want it to be casual or formal? Do you want it to be dark or light? The seasons and the type of food will often dictate how you present it. So for example if its winter and you are shooting bowl of thick comforting soup, you may prefer to set it up so that it looks warm and cozy vs. in a very white and ‘cool’ environment. If its summer and you are shooting fruit and ice cream, you may want to show it looking light and refreshing.

4. Subject placement- Decide what the focus area of the shot is and place your subject in it. Use the rule of thirds as a guide. You can either have it centered or it can look more interesting off centre. Don’t pull the eye away form the subject through props that are bold and stand out, have a clear focus area and ensure that your food is always the primary focus. Decide where you want the viewers eyes to go, and direct them to that area. So if the best part of the food is the topping, make sure when you shoot it, that the topping is the focus area. If you want the inside of a dish to be the focus, ensure that you make that part the focus area of the shot.

5. Depth of field- This is the amount of subject matter that retains focus. A photograph with a shallow depth of field has a small part of the subject in focus and the background out of focus. This creates a lovely mood and can work really well with food photography. Medium depth of field has more of the subject in focus. A deep depth of field has everything in focus. Think about the food you are shooting and what sort of depth would suit it.

6. Choose your perspective & angle- How close up do you want to go in on the food? Do you want show a whole scene or just a specific part? A lot of this will depend on the type of food what you want to show. Some food can look very good close up, and other food looks better shot from a bigger distance. You can add a lot of interest by adjusting your angle too. Think of which shows off the food the best :

  1. Overhead angle
  2. 45 degree or 3/4 angle (varying degrees of this)

For example a pizza looks best shot from above and food with intricate layers will always look better shot side on to see these.

7. Plan your props & garnishes- Think of the recipe and ingredients in it and use these elements as garnish to make the picture more interesting and tell a story about the food. Choose the right colour props to match the food – contrasting colours work well. Build your shot, move things around, compose and add to it. Use very fresh herbs as garnish or small leaves, whole spice etc. Keep food looking fresh with a spritz of water or a drizzle of oil. Think of ways to make the picture more interesting to look at and choose props that are linked in to the style of dish you are presenting. Ensure the props do not dominate the food – just like make up on a fashion model, they are there to enhance. You could start with a basic selection and white crockery which always looks good for food. Colour does add vibrance and life. Vintage cutlery, crockery and textured backgrounds make the image more interesting to look at and helps make it richer to look at vs just white linen.

8. Colour- The colour wheel shows which colours work together and which are opposite to each other. Sometimes contrasting colours work really well to make food pop out. Play around and explore what colours look good next to each other. Look at food photographs that you like and notice the colours that are used.

9. Create texture in your food- At the end of the day the food is the most important part of the food shot so you need to make sure it looks delicious and has big appetite appeal. Using herbs as garnish – from ingredients in the recipe is an easy way to lift the look of a dish and add colour. It is important that the food does not look flat and lifeless. Smaller plates allow it to look fuller. Give the food height if it needs it and add some texture. Salt, pepper, other spices sprinkled on / around the food works really well to achieve this. This can be added on at the end, like croutons on the soup, a generous dollop of cream, or a dusting of cocoa or sugar on a dessert.

10. Practice- The only way to become better at anything is to practice and then practice some more. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, its through the mistakes that we learn the most.

There are many different factors put into taking photographs of food. Most people would assume you can just take a quick picture of it and be done. However, there is actually a great deal of work that goes into it if you want an awesome photo. There is a lot of thought and time to make these photographs look appealing. If the food tastes great, you want the photograph to sell that to consumers so that they go out and try it. The pictures of the food items below have so much texture and detail. They are truly pieces of art and make me hungry by just looking at them. Therefore, the photographer did their job.

wp1 wp2 wp7 wp6 Peppered beef burger with chips cwheel wp4 wp3


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Infrared photography

Infrared, or “IR” photography, offers photographers of all abilities and budgets the opportunity to explore a new world – the world of the unseen.

Human eyes  cannot see IR light, as it lies just beyond what is classified as the “visible” spectrum – that which human eyesight can detect. Colors, textures, leaves and plants, human skin, and all other manner of objects can reflect IR light in unique and interesting ways, ones that cannot be mimicked with tools like Photoshop.

One of the IR photography options is 35mm IR film available for as little as $11 for roll of 36 prints.

Another alternative is a circular IR filter (similar to a UV or circular polarizing filter) that attaches to the front of your camera lens. The IR filter prevents visible light from passing through while only allowing IR light to strike your camera’s sensor. These filters will vary in price depending on the size of the filter and the specific portion of the IR spectrum they address. The main difference between the filters is how colors are rendered. Spending more money on a filter that focuses on a different part of the IR spectrum doesn’t necessarily guarantee that you will like the results more than an IR filter costing much less.



While I was looking for photography techniques I came across infrared photography and I thought my classmates would enjoy it as well. When i looked at the photos for the first time they looked like the effect was created in post production and I was surprised to find out that it wasn’t.

Infrared photography seems like a fun technique, opening a whole new dimension for the photographer. It’s a different way of looking at what is around us.

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Amazing photos taken with cellphones

From iPhones, to Samsung and Droids, every day, our cellphone cameras get more and more capable.

I found this website that started a shooting challenge, where people shoot and edit the photos with their cellphone of choice.

The challenge was to photograph something fantastic on your cellphone. Use whatever software/filters/editing tools you like, so long as they’re on your phone.

I thought it was an interesting approach since we always have our cellphone with us and because smartphone cameras are improving at such fast rate.

To see the rules go to

 Ian Oliphanttaken with iPhone 5

Ian Oliphant
taken with iPhone 5


Diego Jimeneztaken with iPhone

Diego Jimenez
taken with iPhone


 David Freidtaken with iPhone 5

David Freid
taken with iPhone 5 and Istagram

Ben Schwartzbachtaken with iPhone 4s

Ben Schwartzbach
taken with iPhone 4s

Taken with a Nokia 920 at 1/4 second, f/2, ISO 800. Processed in the free Windows Phone app Overexpose.

Taken with a Nokia 920 at 1/4 second, f/2, ISO 800. Processed in the free Windows Phone app Overexpose.


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What to do When There is Nothing to Shoot

I have been looking for ideas when it comes time to shoot pictures for our open assignment at the end of the semester. I saw some of these tips while I was on Pinterest and wanted to share them. Hopefully it will help you out some!


1. Go to the Zoo


A shot from my local zoo

The key here is to get out of your house and go somewhere where there will be something to shoot. This could be a zoo, a park, or even a local market. What you need to do is to decide a place and give yourself an assignment to help you to focus. In a park it could be that you focus on shooting abstract images of swings and slides or try some outdoor macro shots of insects and flowers.
In a local market you could shoot images of the produce as if you were shooting for a local newspaper food section. I recently took a trip to a zoo and set myself the task of photographing the animals so they didn’t look like they were in a zoo. This helped me to consider how best to shoot them. You will also often have a few restrictions to overcome, which can help you to develop your problem-solving skills. For example, when I was shooting the elephants the compound was surrounded by a fence which consisted of thick metal ropes; as a result I had to shoot between the gaps which limited what I could do. As a result I decided to use a long zoom and shoot the elephants a lot more close up, which resulted in some interesting images.
2. Eat a Biscuit


Don’t be afraid to experiment

Food photography can often be a lot of fun and is very easy to do in your house. It’s not even necessary to photograph a whole meal; you can photograph some ingredients, or even something as simple as a biscuit or a strawberry. Don’t be afraid to experiment – play around with lighting, angles, distance and even focal lengths. Here is an example using a strawberry – I started off by shooting it in a traditional way, but then started messing around with my flash.
3. Pick up some Paperclips


Be creative and shoot something different

We are used to seeing macro images of insects and flowers, but if you have a macro lens why not try and shoot something else; something as simple as a group of paperclips can make an interesting image, so be creative and don’t be afraid to shoot more unusual or even mundane things.
4. Hit the Streets


Street photography is not just about people

Street photography is a great thing to do if you like to shoot people; it will also help you to build confidence. When I first started shooting street it was a nerve-wracking experience, but after the first couple of times I began to develop more confidence. It also helps you to improve your photographer’s eye as you begin to look for stronger images. I took literally 100′s of pictures of people using their mobile phones when I started because it was easy, but eventually I realised that it doesn’t make for strong images. After that my eye really developed.
5. Go see a Friend


A portrait of a friend

Friends can be a great source of photography practice. Either invite a friend around or go to their house with your camera and shoot their portrait. Friends will generally be supportive, and will also be happy if they can get a nice picture to use on things like social media. I always used it as a chance to catch up with them and have a beer too. Photographing my friends was basically how I got into portrait photography, and I still do it now to practice new styles or lighting when I need to.
6. Shoot Yourself


If your friend can’t make it then you always have one model that you can rely on – yourself. Self portraits can be fun and interesting. Again don’t be afraid to experiment, it’s good to try something new. Play around with lighting, focal lengths, angles, even locations. Remember as well that a self portrait doesn’t have to be your face; you can focus in on a part of your body, such as your eyes, hands or feet.

7. Grab a Beer


As much fun after the shoot as during it!

Product photography is a good way to develop creativity. Just look around your house and you’ll see lots of products. Choose one and shoot it. Play around especially with different angles and lighting if you can. You could even imagine that you have a brief from a company to shoot for a particular magazine, so that you have to shoot in a style that will appeal to the readers. Shooting beer was always one of my favourites…for obvious reasons!
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