Photographing Children

Photographing Children

Kids. Kids and brides used to scare the #$^% out of me. When I first got interested in photography, I did not want anything to do with either of them. No way. No how. Of course, that was before I was married and had a daughter 😉 It is funny how that has changed over the years. Weddings and family sessions can be among the most fun things to shoot (if everyone is cooperative). There are thousands of books and articles written on this subject. Everybody has their own ways to shoot and interact and, their own philosophies on how to interact and engage children. For those of you who might have kids or have photographed kids before you already know that there is nothing that you can do to make a 3-5 year old child do anything if they don’t want to. Bribery, threats, punishment, pleading none of that will work. The only thing that works is when what they want lines up with what you want. Before we shoot, I often ask parents that they set no expectation on small kids other than we are going to have fun. One of the worst things that we can do is to tell a child that he better smile good or else (or smile good and get a prize). For a good child that expectation is a stress that will end up showing in the pictures, for a not-so good kid it just creates more outbursts and trouble. I like to set up a photo-session that is mostly about play. We meet at a park, and go for a...
Choosing the right focal length

Choosing the right focal length

  Seems like an easy thing to do, just point the camera at your subject, frame your subject and if it fits; shoot. If not, zoom out or zoom in. But, there is so much more to it than that. Different focal lengths provide different looks. Wide lenses will exaggerate distances, while longer lenses will compress distances and objects. The relationship of distance between objects will be compressed with longer lenses, and exaggerated with wide lenses. Now, most people will agree that longer lenses are great portrait lenses. They compress distances, framing the face in a very flattering way. Most, would also agree that wide lenses (especially very wide lenses) are not the most flattering for portraits. They tend to exaggerate the distances from the tip of the nose to the ears, etc, etc. They also tend to make people look   *ahem*….wider. Which if you are being paid to do a portrait, probably not the way to go. Now, most will also agree that the best (and most common) choice for a lens when shooting landscapes and such would be a wide lens. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my 14mm wide lens, but it is not always the lens I grab when shooting landscapes. Many compositions can benefit from the compression that a longer lens will give to a scene. Most photographers think of lenses only in the ability to change the field of view, but there is much more to the look of a than just field of view. Early spring we went on a short hike on the Rails to Trails Conservatory trail near the...
Using a neutral density filter

Using a neutral density filter

  I was talking to an older photographer the other day. He was from the film days. The days, when everything had to be done right in camera. And, he asked me if I used filters. In film photography, filters were a very large part of the process. You used them to color balance film, or lights,  and used them for special effects and all sorts of things. Digital Photography has changed that, and, on the whole, we do not use filters very often, because we can achieve the same or similar look that filters provided. There are still a few filters that I use almost every time that I go out. One of my favorite filters is the B&W ND110. The ND110 filter is a 10 stop filter, meaning that it reduces your exposure by 10 stops. So if you are shooting a scene at 1/8000 of a second and then you add this filter you will need to change your speed to 1/8th of a second. It is a great filter any time you are shooting images of water, as the lower shutter speeds allow the water to show movement.  Here is an example:   You can see that both images are basically the same, the only thing that really changes is that the shutter is left open long enough for all the movement in the water is smoothed out and the  clouds overhead are beginning to blur. ND filters come in many flavors, you can buy them from 1 stop all the way to 20 stop. The 10 stop filter that I used on the above...
What to do with an old camera?

What to do with an old camera?

I have been a canon user for some time, and I have either been very lucky with the cameras that I purchased, or canon makes awesome cameras. The first dslr that I purchased from canon was the canon rebel. The original one. I bought one in 2003, and at the time it retailed for $899.00. The unique thing about this camera is, it was the first dslr with an interchangeable lens to be offered at less than $1000.00. It was quite a bargain in its day. Fast-forward 10 years, (consumer electronics don’t hold their value over time very well) I have used the rebel to the max. It is dented, scratched, the leather/rubber handgrip is peeling away, it shows many battle scars, but it still keeps working like the day I bought it. I thought briefly about selling it, but I would only get (maybe) a hundred bucks. That amount just didn’t seem to be worth it to me. So, instead, I sent it off to Lifepixel (www.lifepixel.com). LifePixel converts cameras to “see” in Infrared light only. For a couple hundred bucks, they installed an opaque infrared filter over the sensor of the rebel. That filter cuts out almost all the visible light to the camera so it only can “see” infrared. My camera is now sensitive to light form 850nm to around 1200nm. Before the conversion it was sensitive from about 350nm to 850nm (here is a little more info if you want to learn more about light color). Here are some samples from my infrared camera....