Top 5 Portrait Tips

One light and a reflector

It’s the perfect setup when you’re just starting out because it’s easy to understand and control. Your main light provides the illumination on one side of you subject’s face while you use a reflector to bounce light back into the shadows on the other side.

Background blur

There are three ways to get good background blur: 1) use a longer focal length, like 85mm; 2) use your widest lens aperture to give the smallest depth of field; 3) move your subject further away from the background.

Lighting modifiers

The larger your light source, the softer and more flattering the light. This is why portrait photographers use softboxes or brollies. Naked “unmodified” flash gives more power but a much harsher light, with deep, hard-edged shadows.

Continuous lighting

Flash is brighter, but continuous lighting makes it much easier to judge the lighting effect as you work. It’s weaker, but you can increase the ISO setting to make up for that, and modern sensors cope well.

Fill flash on location

A portable flash can offer great supplementary lighting for fill flash portraits on sunny days or moody “slow-sync” images in dark interiors or at night when you carefully balance the flash with the ambient light.

Top 5 Travel Tips

Brace Yourself

There’s no need to miss out on low light or night shots just because your tripod’s back at the hotel. Just brace your camera against a table, wall, or door frame and have a go at longer exposures anyway – you may be surprised how well this works.

USB charging

Do you take a portable battery pack for your phone? It’s worth checking to see if your camera is compatible with USB charging too, because this can give your camera’s battery a handy refresh during a long day out.

Start early

Tourist hotspots really start filling up in the late morning, so the best time to shoot is first thing, when the light will be better too. Do some research beforehand so that you know the opening times and the best angles and viewpoints.

Invest in cards

This is no time for scrimping and saving on memory cards. You don’t want to spend half your holiday deleting photos to make room for more, or shooting JPEGs not Raw files to save space.

Pancakes and primes

For travel you need compactness, speed and convenience just as much as optical performance and zoom power, so retractable zoom lenses and lightweight “pancake” primes really come into their own.

Top 5 Wildlife Tips

Burst Shooting

Normally we recommend shooting Raw files rather than JPEGs, but if you’re shooting in burst or continuous shooting mode, JPEGs might be best – your camera will be able to capture many more JPEGs in a burst before slowing down.

Remote Control

In macro photography, releasing the shutter by hand can jog the camera, and you may be casting a shadow over your subject. Try using a remote release or, if your camera has Wi-Fi, a camera app to fire the shutter.

Watch Your Speed

If your subjects are moving quickly you may need a higher shutter speed to freeze their movement, so switch your camera to shutter priority mode and select a shutter speed of 1/1000sec as a starting point – you may need to increase your ISO setting.

Focus On The Eyes

It’s the golden rule for human portraits and it works for animals too! Sometimes it’s not possible to get the whole face in focus, so focus on the eye nearest the camera to get the most natural looking result.

Get Down Low

Animals, insects and a whole bunch of other natural subjects look better when you get down to their level. It makes the perspective look more natural and it gives the feeling you are entering their world.

 

Top 5 Video Techniques

Keep Still

It’s a typical novice error – chasing after a moving subject with the camera bouncing around all over the place and making your viewers feel seasick. Instead, take a moment to figure out where you need to be before the action starts.

Plan Your Movie

Professional videographers don’t shoot a movie in a single “take”. It’s fine for video “snapshots”, but if your shooting a serious movie, plan a series of “clips” for editing together later in video editing software.

Focus First

How fast is your camera’s autofocus in live view video mode? It’s something reviewers make a fuss about, but it’s not as relevant as you might think – pros usually pick a manual focus point before they start filming and stick to it.

Iris Not Aperture

Video jargon can be confusing, and in video the lens aperture is called the “iris” – and it’s the principal tool for controlling exposure.  The shutter speed is usually set to twice the filming frame rate e.g. 1/60s.

Don’t Zoom While Filming

It’s difficult to do smoothly and it looks amateurish. It’s much better to film for a short time at one focal length, stop filming, change the zoom setting and start again – then “cut” from one clip to the other in software.

Top 5 Landscape Tips

Hyperfocal Distance

For any lens & lens aperture, there’s a magic distance setting where the depth of field setting stretches all the way to infinity and as close to the camera as possible. There’s a hyperfocal calculator on this web site: http://www.photopills.com/calculators/dof

How To Blur Skies & Water

Those beautiful silky effects you see in fine art landscapes are created with long exposures of many seconds. If the light is too bright, you can use a 10-stop ND filter – or just wait until dusk!

White Balance Tips

Auto white balance is good at correcting colour casts, but it’s not such a good idea for landscapes, where the colour of the light is often a big part of the picture. Instead, use a white balance preset like “Daylight” to capture the colours as they are.

Perfect Panoramas

If the scene is too wide for your lens, shoot a panorama instead. First, fix the exposure and focus settings so that they stay the same, then take a series of overlapping pictures and stitch them together in Photoshop.

Use Your Zoom

It’s tempting to shoot every landscape as a wide-angle shot, but telephotos can work well too. They flatten the perspective and although you get less in the frame you often get a stronger sense of scale.

 

 

D7500 My Menu Tip

The D7500 sees the additional of “Format card” as an option you can add to “My Menu”.

That’s useful & something you can only find on mid to higher end Nikons. I’d recommend doing that; it makes it easier to find & saves you time.

D7500 Real World Review

Jared Polin recently got his hands on a D7500 & carried out a pretty extensive real world review of the D7500.

He took the Nikon D7500 out to a World Team Tennis Match to see how well it handled shooting action in a lower light situation. 

He used not just PRO glass, but also some kit lenses, and the Tamron 18-400 MEGA ZOOM.

Watch his real world review here.

It’s very interesting; it covers some of the new video shooting features as well as photos. It shows the results of the shots, pre & post processing, & shows the ISOs he had to use to get some of the shots with kit lenses.

Excellent new Autumn/Fall photo guide

It’s officially Autumn now then folks. The leaves will be changing colour and it’s a truly excellent time to get out there and shoot. That in mind, something caught my eye a few days ago; Chris O’Donnel from CreativeRaw has just published an really excellent 31 page free guide to shooting Fall foliage. In promoting his new guide, Chris says:

“Welcome to the first day of Autumn (for those of you here in the northern hemisphere). The air is getting cooler here in Boston, and you know what that means…fall foliage season is upon us! It looks like you’ve downloaded my Autumn Field Guide in the past…it’s a list of my best fall foliage tips to help you navigate through this otherworldly season and harness your creative expression. I wanted you to be the first to know that I’ve completely overhauled the design and layout for a much more reader-friendly experience! As you know, the previous field guide was quickly thrown together last minute so you would have a handy PDF to take along with you on your photography adventures. It did the trick, but wasn’t very pretty to look at….so I redesigned the guide to reflect the same layout as my eBooks. Autumn is my absolute favorite season to photograph. For me, that first piece of foliage signals the beginning of an ethereal journey through nature as I watch it transform into vibrant hues of red, orange, and gold. Scenes that I have become used to morph into a mosaic of colors and tones, and the cooler air and unsettled weather contribute to the creation of a dreamscape playground.”

Click here to download the guide

 

And Chris has his best tips on shooting Autumn leaves here.

Moved WordPress Hosting!

Morning!

I moved my WordPress hosting recently to SiteGround after having many problems with PlusNet. I did a fair amount of research, as you’d expect, and eventually signed up for a 3 year deal with them, since that was the best discount. Their Support has been superb, every time you need help, just get on their Chat & someone answers your questions almost immediately.

The site’s response/performance has been great since the move. I had a lot of problems with PlusNet WordPress performance, the connection kept dropping & updating the site became almost impossible. Now my WordPress site is with SiteGround the response is wonderful, it’s very responsive & I have access to many new features.

If your considering changing your WordPress hosting partner, I’d highly recommend SiteGround! You won’t look back.

And, there’s a special discount till 30th September 2017.

BW

Martin

 

D7500 Workbook and BIN files released

Afternoon,

I’m pleased to announce the initial release of the workbook & BIN files for the D7500. These are currently in Beta release and will see updates over the next few weeks. They are available to purchase & anyone doing so now will receive the new versions by email as they are released.

Would you like to learn loads more about the D7500 & see undocumented settings? The Configuration Workbook will help there.

Are you bemused by all the settings on the D7500 when in PASM modes? Would you just like to load settings used by others for specific scenes, say Landscapes, Nature, Travel, Portraits & Weddings, Sports & Action or Point & Shoot? Well, you can – by loading a BIN file to your D7500 & following some basic instructions in the workbook.

These BIN files contain settings similar to those used by the likes of Mike Hagen, Thom Hogan, Ken Rockwell, the Nikonians and others. The settings are saved to BIN files for you to load to your DSLR and are detailed extensively in the Excel workbook.

More details & download