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How To Get That Perfect Autumn Shot

The fall season provides many photo opportunities- with the warm colors surrounding you, there are endless amounts of what you can capture.

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Morning light in October

In Bucks County, there are more than plenty of locations you can shoot photos at. To name a few: Tyler State Park, Peace Valley Park, Fonthill Castle, and Peddler’s Village.

In order to make the colors of fall shine, it’s best to shoot during golden hour, which is the hour before sunset. During the Golden Hour, the sunlight is soft and warm, which creates a warm effect on your image.

Abstract photography works great in fall photography. If you run across any patterns, or anything that creates a shape, take a photo of it! Besides abstract things, foliage should be your main focus when shooting. Be sure to capture the leaves at their brightest!

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Fall colors showing their beauty at noon with lots of contrast

Contrast should be inviting. For example, if you took a picture overlooking a field filled with the colors of autumn also with a white colored house, the house will standout among its surroundings. A blue sky can also give off the same effect. To deepen those color tones, use a polarizing filter on your lens.

If you’re interested in learning more about the features of your camera, how it make your backgrounds blurry on purpose, how to get sharp landscapes and more, please see our website or call Kathy for private lessons (215) – 262 – 7515.

Visit our large studio in the rear of the property with plenty of parking. We also have three acres of landscaped grounds for you to practice taking pictures. Call us today!

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July 4th Fireworks!

It’s a star-spangled time of year again, so be ready, get your batteries charged, get your tripod out, and try out our long-exposure technique on shooting fireworks!

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  1. Use a tripod.
  2. Use a cable release or wireless remote to trigger the shutter if you have one. If you do not, use your 2 sec. self-timer or your 10 sec. self-timer.
  3. Turn on Long Exposure Noise Reduction (found in your menu).
  4. Shoot the highest quality JPEG file you can but RAW is ideal.
  5. Set your camera to Manual Mode.
  6. Set the camera to a low ISO, such as 200 or 400.
  7. A good starting point for aperture is f/11.
  8. Shutter Speed… Two options: Instead of choosing a shutter speed, set the camera to Bulb (B) which allows you to keep the shutter open as long as you want. Expose for the entire fireworks burst. You can even keep the shutter open for multiple bursts. You can also try 2-10 sec. exposures.
  9. If your camera will not take a picture, it is due to the autofocus being unable to find enough contrast in the dark. Then turn off the autofocus. Manually focus your lens at infinity.
  10. Try different lenses. A wide-angle lens is best for shooting multiple bursts of fireworks. Try a zoom lens to get in tight and get some crazy, cool colors.
  11. Remember to bring your bug spray, and try to find a location where there are no streetlights or headlights around you.

Macro Photography

10 tips for powerful macro photography:

  • Set the camera to aperture priority and that will let you choose the aperture while the camera chooses the shutter speed.
  • If your camera has a Close-Up Scene Mode—which is represented by a flower icon [on the mode dial]—choose it and the camera will select the correct exposure for a macro image
  • Use a tripod to steady the camera or place the camera on a steady surface.
  • Contrast your subject and the background with colors and details.
  • Select a shallow depth of field. Ideally, set the aperture of the lens to f/2.8 or f/4.
  • When shooting outdoor macro photography subjects, like butterflies, set up a wind barrier to prevent the subject from moving or flying away while you compose.
  • Set the White Balance. AutoWB will cover a majority of lighting situations and deliver a macro photo with good colorization.
  • If you cannot get outdoors in the early morning to shoot the dew on flowers, spritz a little water from a water bottle on the petals and leaves to create a more interesting picture.
  • When photographing living subjects, like babies; pets or other animals and wildlife, remember to be patient. Those subjects tend to move around and may not always be ready to pose and cooperate.
  • For a bit of fun, and to draw more interest to your images, get in really close to your subject so that only you know what you shot—but then have your friends try to guess what it is that you photographed! 

     

    You can also purchase close-up lenses at New York Camera & Video in Southampton for $30.

Tips for Sunrise & Sunset Photos

Here’s the thing about sunrises and sunsets, they are going to happen everyday whether you are their to capture them or not. But when you do capture them it’s what you do with them that make’s an impact. In order to make the best of your opportunity remember these first;

  • The sun does not have to be the subject of the photograph.
  • The effect of the sun on the landscape is often the picture.
  • Plan or anticipate the picture you want to make.
  • Give yourself the time and the tools to make it.

Now lets create the image

  • Try to get to your location about 45 minutes before the sun rises.
  • Bring a tripod! It’s possible to shoot this hand held but the tripod will aid in achieving a better end result
  • Pay attention to the clouds and their movement.
  • Find your horizon, you wanna try to take your shot before the sun peaks over the horizon. Once the
    sun has peaked it tends to get too intense, therefore aim for that in between moment.
  • Think about the sun and how it is illuminating the objects in front of you; rocks, boats, docks, bridges, skylines, ect.
  • Choose your f/stop, majority of the time you want everything in the foreground to be sharp
  • Shutter speed, if there’s something in moving you want a higher shutter speed so it won’t result in a blurred image
  • ISO, after determining the previous two items you can determine your ISO, which can always be pushed if needed

Better Vacation Photos

Trying to get those perfect vacation photos?! Here’s some helpful tips to get you started.

  1. Make sure your batteries are fresh and fully charged
  2. Always bring extra media cards so you wont be deleting images on the fly
  3. Research, Research, Research! Know the location you are going to so you know ahead of time where you wanna go explore and get the best images.
  4. Mix things up with different angles and viewpoints
  5. Take candids when possible so you can capture everyone having fun and creating memories
  6. Stabilize your camera whenever possible, turn on VR (Vibration Reduction)
  7. Take a shot of nearby signage to recall where you have been
  8. Shoot your food! Get a great mouth-watering image by using Macro mode or zooming in tight
  9. Take a variety of photos; wide shots and also focusing on a single subject
  10. Pass the camera around. How will anyone know you were there if you stay behind the camera?!
  11. And remember rule of thirds! Try not to place your subject in the center of your image for better composition

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Photographing Fireworks

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  1. Use a tripod.
  2. Use a cable release or wireless remote to trigger the shutter if you have one.
  3. Turn on Long Exposure Noise Reduction.
  4. Shoot the highest quality file you can. NEF is ideal.
  5. Set the camera to a low ISO, such as 200.
  6. A good starting point for aperture is f/11.
  7. Instead of choosing a shutter speed, set the camera to Bulb (B) which allows you to keep the shutter open as long as you want. Expose for the entire fireworks burst. You can even keep the shutter open for multiple bursts.
  8. Turn off the autofocus, otherwise it might have difficulty locking onto focus. Manually focus your lens at infinity.

Take a better selfie with these tips…

Did you know you could take a better selfie with your built-in self timer?
Here’s how to set a self-timer in the camera app in iOS 8 on iPhone & iPad: Open the Camera app (Self-timer is available for Photo and Square mode only (not for video or Time-lapse)) Tap on the timer icon near the shutter. On the iPad, the timer icon is above the shutter, near the HDR option. Woohoo!

An easy way to fix this is to zoom in on your phone just slightly (zooming in too much will reduce detail in the shot) and hold the camera far away from your face.  Now your features look proportionate and you decluttered the background!

When taking a selfie, you generally have two options: Hold the camera with one hand or two hands. While using two hands is easier because you can hold the camera with one hand and push the shutter release button with the other, you have to be more careful not to cover up the lens.

If you use both hands and pull the camera away from your body, your arms can act as a frame.

Pose in an area with beautiful lighting –either inside near a window or outside. Gorgeous lighting = a more flattering selfie. How will you know if the lighting looks good on your face? Hold the phone in front of your face and turn the camera, so you can see yourself. Look at the lighting at that moment. Now, turn 90 degrees. Make note of the lighting. Glance at the background. Turn 90 degrees again. Note the lighting and background. Keep turning until you’re back where you started. Chances are, you will have found a spot with excellent lighting and a decent background. If not, either move to another space or try again at a different time of day. What’s the best time of day to shoot? Ideally, during the magic hour! (The magic hour is actually two hours—one hour after sunrise and one hour before sunset).

Holding your camera with one hand is more common, but a little trickier to keep it steady and take a photo. With the iPhone, you can quickly and easily take a picture by hitting either the shutter release button or one of the volume buttons.

To completely remove any double chin in your photo, and to accentuate your jaw line, extend your neck forward.  This may feel funny, but it will dramatically improve how you look in the photo.  Also, shoot from above. Raise the camera slightly above you and then look up to even further accentuate the jaw.

One way to really make your selfies stick out is to get rid of the cheesy ‘extended arm in the photo” look.  I know it seems weird to use a selfie stick at first, but there’s a reason you see them all over the place–they make the photos look really good!

There are two basic types of selfie sticks–wired and Bluetooth.  I much prefer the Bluetooth variety.  It’s really simple to connect and then you don’t have to constantly stick the cord in and out of the phone every time you want to take a picture.  Bluetooth is much faster.

If you want to get an actually GOOD selfie stick, the good news is that the price has come way down.  You can get this one from Improve Photography on Amazon for just $9.99.

Happy New Year!! Here’s a tip for the cold weather.

                                                      

Here is a tip for keeping your hands from freezing when touching your tripod.

You can buy tripod leg wraps, but they will run you $19.95 up to $54.95. You can also make some like the pictures above with foam pipe insulation for under $5.00.

I looked up the dimensions of my tripod online which was about 1.15 inches. Then I looked up which home improvement store was closest and saw that the Lowe’s near me had 1-1/4 inch foam pipe insulation. When I got there they only had 1 inch foam pipe insulation. So I got the 6 foot foam pipe insulation that was pre slit and had glue on it to seal to itself, Which was $1.94. Then I got some electrical tape, which was $1.99.

I used a little but sharp knife to cut the foam insulation tube into three 4 inch or a little bigger than my hand sections. To get the same size, I used the first foam piece that I cut when cutting the other two. Then put one around one of the tripod legs to make sure it would fit, since it was a little tight, I scored two lines down the inside of the tube and cut just a little bit of foam out. Then I wrapped the foam tube around the tripod leg and put a piece of electrical tape between the glue/ seal area and the tripod leg, so the foam tube wouldn’t stick to the leg.

You could put duct tape or hockey stick tape on the foam tube to give it a little personality, but the glue on the seal should keep it from opening.

It’s a cheap, but effective way to keep your hands from freezing when you touch your tripod during this winter.

Have fun and stay warm this winter!

DXO One camera for iPhone.

As consumers we want our cell phones to be able to do everything from making phone calls, being a calculator and a gaming system to being our social media hub and being able to take the best photographs possible. Cell phone camera have come a long way, but they still can’t compare to a Digital SLR camera.

Some manufacturers have made lenses that clamp on and connect wirelessly to your smartphone like the Sony QX30 shown below. There are also add-on lenses to optimize the cell phone camera, such as a fish eye lens, wide-angle lens and macro lens.

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DXO has made their first camera, the DXO One. It connects via lightning port to your iPhone, which swivels 60 degrees for easy maneuverability. The camera has some impressive specs, it has a 1″ sensor, 20.2 megapixels, and f/1.8 which goes down to f/11. The DXO One is equivalent to a 32 mm lens. The ISO is from ISO 100 to ISO 51200 (Hi 2) and the shutter speed is from 1/20000 to 30s, and electronic image stabilization in video. The DXO One also has many camera modes: Auto, Sports, Portrait, Landscape, Night, Program, Aperture Priority, Speed Priority, Manual, and 1080p (30 fps), 720p (120fps) and Manual 1080p (30 fps) video modes, which help make this camera like a very portable Digital SLR camera. The DXO One has 3 video modes:. Is supports .JPG, .DNG, .DXO (SuperRAW™), and .MOV (H.264) formatting, so you can format your files the way that fits you best. The DXO One has its own battery which can last about 200 pictures and is recharged via USB 2.0. It also has a micro-SD card slot for expanded memory.

For the full list of specs, please see the link to DXO’s website.

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The DXO One looks to be a very nice smartphone accessory that can turn your phone into a great camera. The screen becomes a big and beautiful viewfinder and the DXO One is the little lens that has a lot packed into it.

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The DXO One costs $599.00 plus tax, which is a good price for a good camera. One of the negatives about the DXO One is that it is only compatible with iPhones and iPads with a lightning port.

A Christmas Gift for you!

These two holiday backgrounds are fantastic for your photo projects such as collages, cards, or just layer them with your own photos. Click on each image to reveal the full size and then right-click to save to your computer. Look for a tutorial on how to use these images soon!
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25 Things to Photograph in the Fall

Dancin' Leaves4999Since Summer is almost over ( I know, can you believe it?) it’s the perfect time to start thinking about what to take pictures of in the Fall. Here is a list of some things to take pictures of.

1. Leaves. There are so many different ways to photograph leaves. On the trees, in the air, on the ground. The possibilities are endless.

2. Pumpkins. Big ones, little ones. Line them up or scatter them around. A perfect fall item to take pictures of.

3. Trees changing color. did you ever notice that there are so many different colors of leaves in Fall?

4. Halloween decorations. From whimsical to scary, capture all that October has to offer.

5. Barns. Whether it’s a landscape photo or a shot of some rustic wood, barns are an amazing fall staple.

6. Festivals. Check out the many food and fall themed Festivals in Bucks County this autumn.

7. Waterfalls or any moving water

8. Bales of Hay. They have great textures to capture.

9. Pinecones. Another fall item with great colors and designs.

10. Gourds. So many textures and colors.

11. Sunlight coming through the trees. Check out how photographers play with glare to create some really interesting photos.

12. A lonely trail or even your driveway, covered in leaves. Capture the feeling of fall.

13. A roaring bonfire. So many interesting patterns and colors for you to capture.

14. Flames from your own cozy fireplace. Watch the flames dance and move.

15. Fall leaves in puddles . There are lots of cool reflections and patterns in water.

16. Steam rising from your warm drink on a cold morning.

17. Pumpkin pies and Apple pies. Try to get a picture before they disappear!

18. Pumpkin patches and hayrides. They are the perfect place to capture the true essence of fall.

19.  Jack O Lanterns ( look for a more in-depth post on this coming in October)

20. Leaves fluttering in the wind or falling from trees. Remember to try panning your camera to get a good shot.

21. Photographs at Sunrise or Sunset. You can get some really interesting shots of the sky and the warm colored trees.

22.  Use your macro lens or get close up to take pictures of leaves, grass, and trees. Focus on textures and colors.

23. Experiment with your shadow, take pictures where you can see your shadow. Pretend you are in a haunted house or scary movie.

24. Take pictures of your pets, whether they are snuggled up inside or playing around outside

25. Take a family portrait outside with everyone in their coziest clothes like oversized sweaters or flannels.