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Tip: Starting to Work with Models

October 11th, 2012 No comments

Experience Builder ClassHave you ever wanted to work with a model for a fashion or art concept and weren’t sure where to start? Thanks to the internet and social networking, finding people to hire or collaborate with has never been easier. This week we’ll cover some of the main ways photographers and models meet to work on projects.

Finding Models the Old Fashioned Way
Before the internet the way a photographer would contact a model was through an agency or simply by meeting them in everyday life. While technology offers us more options, these are still solid ways to network. If you contact an agency be prepared to discuss the concept you have in detail and also make sure to ask them what if any terms the agency may impose.

Finding Models Via Social Networking
There are a few sites out there that are geared mainly towards amateur models and amateur photographers to connect and collaborate. Most of these models and photographers have regular day jobs and do fashion and art projects on the side. That does not mean that some of them are doing professional quality work however.

One the of the most popular networking sites is Model Mayhem. Model Mayhem is mostly comprised of amateurs and tends to lean towards some of the more edgy styles of photography (you may not want to check out the site at work). It does cover the full gamut of genre’s however and can be a useful resource for people just starting out. Another site that is popular is One Model Place which is also a mix of mostly amateurs and some professionals.

Model Release Form
Before you agree to shoot with a model you should discuss your concept and how you plan to use the images before you shoot. There is no one way to do things that it is up you and the model to define the nature of the agreement. Once you have you should have the model sign a Model Release Form that covers the details you discussed (e.g. how the images will be used, how many images you will provide, whether you will retouch images or not, etc…).

Hopefully this tip will help you make that fashion or art concept you’ve had kicking around a reality!

Written by Trevor Warren

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Tip: An Alternative Way to Increase Contrast

September 26th, 2012 No comments

Taking photographs on a cloudy day can be challenging. Colors tend to be dull and contrast in images is difficult to attain. Simply increasing the Contrast with software is a bit of a fat-fingered approach. If you use image editing software there is a different way to get more Contrast in your images.

To accomplish this you need to be shooting in Raw mode. If you own Adobe Photoshop or Photoshop Elements you’ll be performing these changes in Camera Raw (included with both programs). If you use Lightroom these adjustments are built right in.

imageThe adjustments we’re going to make are going to be done using the Luminance tool. This tool allows you to darken or lighten a specific color in an image. If you were to take pictures of a corn field on a cloudy day you may try darkening the greens and brightening the yellows in an image resulting in more contrast.

In the below example I wanted to bring out more detail in the grass, specifically the flowers. From experience I know that grass isn’t just green, it’s a combination of green, yellow and sometimes orange. By brightening the yellows and oranges and darkening the greens a lot more detail and contrast was revealed in the grass.

Before

DSC_8401

After

DSC_8401-2

If you’d like to learn more ways to improve your images with software sign up for one of our introductory editing classes:

Written by Trevor Warren

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Kids Summer Photography Camp

September 19th, 2012 No comments

Raise your hand if you think teaching photography techniques to 15 or more 6 – 12 year olds sounds like fun…We don’t see anyone raising their hands out there! Well, it sounded like fun to us (Maria Delon and Danielle Thompson), so we spent two weeks this summer running 5-day Indy Photo Coach photography camps for the Fishers YMCA. We braved the craziness of summer camp as well as 100+ degree weather the first week of camp and rain storms, and campers that were itching to get back to school the final week of camp.

We had 3 groups of campers – those that already knew they loved photography, those that thought it sounded kind of fun, and those whose parents gave them 2 choices; photography camp or sports camp and they hate sports! Most of the kids had simple point and shoot cameras, some of which were purchased over the weekend prior to camp so they didn’t even know how to turn them on!

We did have one camper come up to me on the 2nd day and casually ask, “Will you be reviewing f-stops in this class?” I had to pause for a second… “Did a 10 year old just ask me that?” She was obviously one of the campers that already knew she loved photography and had been exposed to various concepts from her aunt who was a professional photographer.

Although we didn’t cover aperture and f-stops, we did cover beginner’s concepts like:

  • How to operate your camera
  • Subjects and perspective (worms eye view, birds eye view, Zoomed in/out)
  • Freezing action, blurring action, and panning
  • Basics of composition
  • Portrait photography
    After teaching them a few of these concepts everyday, we saw some amazing images come from those little cameras. And because it was summer camp, we couldn’t leave out fun activities like Camera Tag, Mystery Photo Contest, Sidewalk Chalk, and our very own Photobooth!

At the end of the week, we were exhausted, but pleased. We didn’t lose any campers during our outside photo activities, no one lost or broke their camera, and they all told us thank you and let us know how much fun they had during the week. We accomplished what we set out to do….Teach them a few techniques and have some fun! I’m sure we’ll see some of these budding photographers in our higher level classes as they get into their teen years.

Check out a collage of our images below:

CDMT.1 A.1
I 1 Nathan
Sophia Zeke

Written by Danielle Thompson

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Creating a Preset in Adobe Lightroom

September 12th, 2012 No comments

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom was designed from the ground up to make working with large numbers of files quick and easy. If you need to convert a hundred images to black and white, Lightroom can do this with a few clicks. Lightroom comes with many built-in “presets” that you can use to make changes to images like converting to black and white, brightening images, enhancing colors, etc… You can also create your own custom presets in Lightroom that make giving your images a unique look quick and easy. Read below to find out how.

Creating a Custom Preset in Lightroom:

1) Go to the “Develop” panel and make adjustments to an image.

image

2) On the left click the plus symbol next to the “Presets” panel.

image

3) Name your custom Preset and click “Create.”

image

4) Now your preset appears in the Presets panel. When you click that Preset and Lightroom will instantaneously make all of those adjustments to any other image.

Video Example:

If you would like to learn more cool ways to use Adobe Lightroom sign up for one of our seminars!

Written by Trevor Warren

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Tip: Dealing With a Photography Rut

September 6th, 2012 No comments

2/52: Strobe.Photography ruts happen to everyone. After a while your initial enthusiasm wanes, you simply have run out of ideas or both. Some people never come out of them but for most people who truly love photography they pass. I get into one of these every few months. In fact, I’m in one now. Below are some of the ways I handle this and get back on track.

Do Nothing
If you do a lot of nature photography go out in nature and leave your camera at home. There’s a good chance you’ll get out there and see something that makes you wish you had your camera, and if so you’re out of your rut! Maybe it takes longer and that’s okay too.

Do Something Different
If you take pictures of people take pictures of flowers. If you take pictures of flowers take pictures of buildings. Imagine if you could only see movies starring the same actors. Going to the movies would start to lose it’s appeal. It’s the same with photography. Changing it up can really help you break out of a rut.

Look at Someone Else’s Photographs
There are few completely original ideas left to be had in this world. Almost every piece of art has someone else’s influence tied to it. There’s nothing wrong with drawing inspiration from the work of others and making it your own.

Learn Something New
If you normally shoot everything in color try making B&W photographs (or vice versa). If you don’t know how to use software to improve your photos take a class. If you always shoot outdoors take some time to experiment with artificial lighting.

Inspiration can be found in the most unexpected places. Hopefully these tips will help you next time you’re in a photographic rut.

Written by Trevor Warren
Photo by: Craig Johnston

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State Fair Contest Results

August 22nd, 2012 5 comments

Even though the State Fair Social Shoot was cut short by a pretty scary thunderstorm, Indy Photo Coach students submitted some really creative work this year. It was great to see familiar faces and to meet new students, some who were just starting out with IPC. We hope that students enjoyed meeting instructors who you had not been introduced to yet, and that you got some time to connect with other IPC students.

We always enjoy seeing what you come up with during social shoots, especially at a place as visually diverse as the State Fair. A little background on this event for those of you not familiar with it:

  • The IPC Student “Social Shoots” are a perk of being an IPC student current or past. Put simply, we get together and photograph something interesting (an event, location, project, etc.). An instructor is usually available for questions and advice. Students learn from each other and pick up techniques by observing their peers. Past events have included the Indy Cultural Trail, several parks, Mass Ave, Race For The Cure, and many more.
  • The IPC State Fair Social Shoot took place on August 9th. It was a 24-hour competition. Participants were introduced to the competition specifics and categories around 6:30pm. The deadline for their photo submissions was 8pm August 10th… just over 24 hours later. The event was designed to mirror an actual photography assignment with a strict deadline (ie: a client with a contract). Prizes are awarded for 1st place in each category, along with one “Best of Show”… a total value of over $350 in prizes.

Without further delay, here are the judging results from this year’s event:

Best of Show: Ryan Shaffer

2-018

Prize: $150.00 cash and an Indy Photo Coach Private Lesson


Category #1 – Faces of the Fair

1st Place – Nathan Rhoades
1-022 (Custom)

Honorable Mention – Ryan Shaffer
1-018 (Custom)


Category #2 – Midway Between Here and There

1st Place – Ryan Shaffer
2-018 (Custom)

Honorable Mention – Geoffrey Chen
2-017 (Custom)


Category #3 – I Like to Moo-ve It, Moo-ve It

1st Place – Shelby Thompson
3-007 (Custom)

Honorable Mention – Tim Biddle
3-001 (Custom)


Category #4 – Got Milk?

1st Place – Geoffrey Chen
4-017 (Custom)

Honorable Mention – Michael Mays
4-006 (Custom)


Click Links Below to View All Submissions:

Congratulations to the winners and thanks to all of the entrants! You did great work!

Full Results

Entries were scored by 5 judges, based on:

  • Artistic Merit & Composition (1-10 points)
  • Technical Quality (1-10 points)
  • Originality (1-10 points)
  • Level of photographic challenge (1-10 points)
  • 10 = Perfect, 5 = Average, 1 = Below Average
  • Total: 40 possible points per judge, 200 points total
  • Total scores: 200=Perfect, Above 100 = Above average, Below 100 = Below average

2012 State Fair Social Shoot Scorecard

2012 State Fair Social Shoot Scorecard

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Tip: Food Photography

August 16th, 2012 2 comments

One HalfFood photography is one of the most difficult types of photography. By looking at a good food image, viewers easily visualize how the food would taste; they taste with their eyes. Due to the short amount of working time before the food is no longer visually appealing, everything must be set-up beforehand to maximize the shooting time.

  • DSLR mounted on a tripod and pointing down at about a 45 degree angle to the food.
  • DSLR set to Aperture Priority (Av).
  • Aperture set to f4.
  • Shutter release set to Self-timer
  • White balance set to match the light (Daylight, Cloudy or Incandescent).

You can also experiment using some props, such as a tablecloth, and silverware. With a small depth-of-field, the viewer’s eyes will go to the food which is in focus and will not be distracted by the blurred background.

With props already in place, your DSLR mounted on a tripod and your camera set to the bullets above, make up a simple dish!

To learn more about these skills sign up for one of our Fundamentals of Photography classes!

Written by Ron Kness
Photo by: Almost August

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Tip: Rent Before You Buy

August 8th, 2012 1 comment

imageNew photographers can be a little hasty when it comes to buying equipment. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard variations of "I’m going to start getting serious about my photography so I’m going to buy X lens for $2,000." As if somehow the universe, upon seeing this purchase, will magically begin sending high paying jobs. Sadly, I often see this scenario result in a lot of credit card debt more than anything else. You have other options though.

Say you want to take portraits and you want an exceptional portrait lens. The Canon 85mm f/1.2L II is a staggeringly beautiful lens but comes with a price tag of around $2,000. You could fork over the money before you get your first gig or you could simply rent the lens from your local camera store for a tiny fraction of the overall cost (e.g. $30/day at Roberts Camera in Indianapolis). The one catch is that the deposit for a rental is often the full cost of the lens, but assuming you do not lose or break it you get that money back.

For a lot of new photographers this may be a more sensible way to “get serious” as you go. These rental prices can easily be built into the cost of your services and then when you get to the point where it’s cheaper to own than rent, that’s a good problem to have!

Written by Trevor Warren

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Tip: Get That Flash Off Your Camera

July 25th, 2012 2 comments

One might conclude given that almost every camera comes with a flash right on top of it that such placement is a good thing but it isn’t. Even a separate flash gun mounts right on top of your camera.

This configuration at best creates boring lighting and at worst harsh lighting that makes everyone look sickly and possessed by demons (aka “red eye”). Generally this is a bad thing. The way to use your flash more effectively is by getting it off of the camera and there are many products out there that allow you to do this.

*Note: some camera manufactures have this functionality built into their flash guns. My Sony A200 for example allows me to trigger my Sony flash gun with no additional equipment. Check with your camera manufacturer to see if you have this functionality.

What you need is a wireless flash trigger and receiver like the ones pictured above. These can range significantly in price but a decent set can be found for between $50 – $100. Sets with more advanced functionality can range from $200 – $400. How these work is you attach the transmitter to your cameras hot shoe and then the receiver to your flash. Range on different models vary but generally any set will be able to trigger a flash within 25 feet. This opens an infinite number of lighting possibilities beyond the simple camera mounted look. You can light from above, below, the side, etc… If you have more than one flash gun you can even by extra receivers to trigger multiple flashes at the same time!

This simple accessory can give you a lot of creative freedom. If you’d like to learn more about creative lighting with flash sign up for one of our Beyond the Fundamentals or Speedlighting classes!

Written by Trevor Warren
Images from Roberts Camera

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Tip: Put the Horizon Where it Belongs

July 18th, 2012 No comments

Shadows of FunIn landscape photography, one important aspect is horizon placement. Proper horizon placement makes it easy for viewers to orient themselves to the subject. Before you position a horizon, ask yourself “What is my subject?” Once you have identified your subject, horizon placement is easy.

  • If the subject is above the horizon, place the horizon low in the viewfinder.
  • If the subject is below the horizon, place the horizon high in the viewfinder.

For example, if a snow-capped mountain reflected in a still pond is your subject, horizon placement would be high in your image. On the other hand, if a beautiful cloud formation in the sky caught your eye and made you want to stop and photograph the landscape, then place the horizon low in the image. The general rule is 1/3rd – 2/3rds. The area having the subject gets 2/3rd of the frame while the area without the subject gets the remaining 1/3rd. The mistake many photographers make is positioning the horizon in the middle of the image making it difficult to identify the subject.

Optional Assignment:

This assignment involves choosing a bright sunny day with big puffy white clouds in a blue sky. While looking through the viewfinder of your DSLR, select an interesting cloud formation. Concentrate on positioning the horizon in the lower 1/3rd of the frame. Shoot the image. Next take that same cloud formation, but this time place the horizon in the upper 1/3rd of the frame. Shoot this image also. Compare the two images and you will quickly see how the first one is visually much better than the second one.

Written by Ron Kness

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