BrickHouse Photo School

Tips, Tricks and Reviews for Photo Hobbyists

Posts Tagged ‘creative

Great Ads Use Great Photography Part II

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I love advertising/commercial photography. It’s one of the most creative forms of photography there is and in today’s marketplace, advertising photographers have to be in fifth-gear all the time.

While you may not be an ad shooter and may not even aspire to be, you can get some great ideas looking at the work. Here’s a look at some of my favorites.


docwithoutborder
Client: Doctors Without Borders
Advertising Agency: Lowe Pirella Fronzoni, Milan, Italy
Photographer: Francesco Bozza
Published: November 2008
Tagline: We cannot wave the white flag. We need that, too.

stephensbrothers
Product: Stephens Brothers, London
Advertising Agency: ideas@work, Mumbai, India
Photographer: Tejal Patni
Tagline: Let’s just say, Prince William would approve … Impeccably English.

nikons60
Product: Nikon S60
Advertising Agency: Euro RSCG
Photographer: Jeremy Wong
Tagline: The Nikon S60. Detects up to 12 faces

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Jonathan Singer Photographs Flowers With a Heavenly Touch

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Jonathan Singer’s flower images have been called a marriage of art and science. Dr. Singer is a botanical photographic artist whose images of plant life is awe inspiring.

Jonathan Singer in front of his photograph of a Hippeastrum ‘Toscana,’ a new hybrid amaryllis. (Photo Credit: Howard Schatz via the artist’s Website)

Jonathan Singer in front of his photograph of a Hippeastrum ‘Toscana,’ a new hybrid amaryllis. (Photo Credit: Howard Schatz via the artist’s Website)

His credits include being named a consulting photographer to both the U.S. National Arboretum and the U.S. Botanical Gardens; a guest lecturer in photography at the NYU Tisch School of the Arts; and the first American photographer/artist to speak and have a handmade book accepted in the Swedish Royal Academy of Science.

Click here to view an interview with Singer offered by CBS News.

Written by jeremyparce

April 21, 2009 at 6:27 am

Enjoy the Everyday with Photography

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For all of you wandering about your home looking for photographic subjects take note: Trying photographing the everyday things in your life in a new way. Photographic subjects are everywhere. It just takes a little time and a lot of imagination to cull them out and make them shine.

Here are a few tips to help you out when there’s “nothing to shoot:”

  • Look to the Lawn: If you have a lawn, especially a landscaped one, then you may not have to go any further than your own property. Since spring has sprung in many places, now is a great opportunity to get outside and shoot. Flowers, insects, and decorative lawn ornaments make for nice subjects. Try different things, too. Trying getting close or shooting from different levels. Try arranging small compositions. Be creative!

    Try photographing flowers in black-and-white so you can focus on texture. (Photo Credit: Jeremy W. Schneider)

    Try photographing flowers in black-and-white so you can focus on texture. (Photo Credit: Jeremy W. Schneider)

  • Four-legged Friends: Pets always make good subjects. Sometimes they can be a little difficult but if you just sit down, eventually they will lose interest in you and your camera and go back to doing what they do best.

    Newton, my into everything Schnoodle, stops for a quick pose before destroying a tulip. (Photo Credit: Jeremy W. Schneider)

    Newton, my into everything Schnoodle, stops for a quick pose before destroying a tulip. (Photo Credit: Jeremy W. Schneider)

  • Clothing: Clothes? Sure. Why not? There are plenty of people who make a GOOD living photographing clothes and fashion so why not practice fashion photography yourself? If you have a willing model, it’s even better but you can still photograph clothing without a person. Try playing with lights and colors.

    Try photographing all types of clothes and accesories. Another tip: Hats make interesting subjects. (Photo Credit: Jeremy W. Schneider)

    Try photographing all types of clothes and accesories. Another tip: Hats make interesting subjects. (Photo Credit: Jeremy W. Schneider)

  • Musical Instruments: Have a piano or guitar around the house? If so, get creative and photograph someone playing. Better yet, make the instrument the subject and try to arrange it in creative ways.
  • Figurines: Still life images of figurines is especially interesting if you own a macro lens. Get close and make little portraits out of your little collectibles.

    Focus on the small things ... a figurine makes for an interesting photo. (Photo Credit: Jeremy W. Schneider)

    Focus on the small things ... a figurine makes for an interesting photo. (Photo Credit: Jeremy W. Schneider)

  • In the Kitchen: Look for items laying around in the kitchen. Try food photography or product photography. Try arranging little scenes and see what happens.

No matter what you may thing, there’s always an opportunity to hone your photographic skills and make images. It just takes a little creativity and some time. You never know … you might have some wall art just waiting.

Good luck and keep shooting!

Great Ads Use Great Photography

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I love advertising/commercial photography. It’s one of the most creative forms of photography there is and in today’s marketplace, advertising photographers have to be in fifth-gear all the time.

While you may not be an ad shooter and may not even aspire to be, you can get some great ideas looking at the work. Here’s a look at some of my favorites.

tylenolad
Product: Tylenol
Advertising Agency: Vale Euro RSCG, México DF, México
Photographer: Juan Salvarredy
Published: December 2008
Tagline: There are some questions that are such a headache.

dramaminead
Product: Dramamine
Advertising Agency: JWT, Venezuela
Photographer: Claudio Napolitano
Tagline: Go around the world without the world moving you around.

sonyad

Product: Sony Alpha900 DSLR
Advertising Agency: Sparkfury Creative Consultants, Singapore
Photographer: TEO Studio
Published: August 2008
Tagline: Capture the truth with a 24.6 megapixel Alpha900

Sports Photography Isn’t Always About the Action

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Sports photography seems to be one of the more frequent topics I am asked about and for good reason. Many parents have children who participate in athletics and being active parents, they want to capture their child’s activities in photographs.

While lacking much action, this photo would be acceptable to hang on any wall or e-mail to relatives. Without the proper gear, sports photography - especially capturing action - is tough. So, work within the limits of your gear. (Photo Credit: Jeremy W. Schneider)

While lacking much action, this photo would be acceptable to hang on any wall or e-mail to relatives. Without the proper gear, sports photography - especially capturing action - is tough. So, work within the limits of your gear. (Photo Credit: Jeremy W. Schneider)

Unfortunately, these parents lack the photographic equipment (a basic sports photography setup for pros would set you back more than $10,000 not to mention the experience and training it takes to make good sports images) so these parent/photographers become discouraged because the images they have are not the Sports Illustrated-quality images they envisioned.

Sometimes the quiet moments of sports helps express emotion without the action. This photo was taken at a track & field event in Mesa, Arizona. (Photo Credit: Jeremy W. Schneider)

Sometimes the quiet moments of sports helps express emotion without the action. This photo was taken at a track & field event in Mesa, Arizona. (Photo Credit: Jeremy W. Schneider)

There are some options. First, I guess you could buy the equipment, enroll in some classes and start working hard to become good at sports photography. The second option is to hire a photographer to photograph your child’s sporting events – it’s not cheap, but you should get some high-quality results or, finally, you can do yourself but within the limits of your current gear.

If you lack a telephoto lens and a camera that will capture images at a high frames-per-second rate (above 5 fps would be best) there are still things you can do to help capture images worthy of hanging on the walls or e-mailing relatives.

Predicting Action
First, you can attempt to predict the action. If you know where the subject is going to be you can prefocus on that area and make an image when the player/subject enters the frame. It takes a lot of trial-and-error but it is possible. If you’re using a DSLR or an extremely high-end point-and-shoot camera, this may be a good technique to try.

Waiting for Breaks in the Action
You can make good images during breaks in the action. For instance, when the coach is talking to players, during a water break or when there’s a timeout. Let me advise this, however. If a player is injured, it’s common courtesy among photographers to put down the camera.

Good luck and keep shooting!

Why You Need A Shoe-Mount Flash

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The majority of people who visit this Website are amateur photographers, photo hobbyists and students interested in pursuing photography as a future career. With that audience in mind, I try to bring articles with general appeal.

One of the main questions I get asked is about flash photography or using artificial light sources to make images. For lack of a better word, those who write me are “afraid” to use artificial – or flash – lighting because they don’t understand it and they often have taken photos with flash and had bad results. With that in mind, I am going to begin a section on flash lighting. Look for more posts to come in the near future.

With an external flash, you can direct where you want the light to go - or where you don't want it to go. Hard lighting from the side gives this image a unique look. (Photo Credit: Jeremy Schneider)

With an external flash, you can direct where you want the light to go - or where you don't want it to go. Hard lighting from the side gives this image a unique look. (Photo Credit: Jeremy Schneider)

External flash units are beneficial for numerous reasons. First and probably the most important, they allow you to become more creative in lighting. You can play around with the light and get more interesting – and more professional looking – results. Secondly, they allow you to shoot in low-light conditions. Finally, they reduce the limits on your photography. You’re no longer a slave to the sun. No lighting? No problem, you’ve got a flash.

One problem you may be having is simple: you’re using the built-in flash on your camera. You probably have a popup flash on your DSLR and have used it as your main source of strobe lighting. That’s a mistake. While good for fill light, a popup flash is often too narrow. Many times, you’ll see washed out colors in close up subjects or huge cast shadows, which are equally unappealing.
If your camera has a hot shoe mount on top, which if you’re using a DSLR, it does, you are able to attach what’s called a shoe-mount flash.

Although there are great third-party flash units (Metz comes to mind), I recommend purchasing a brand-specific flash because it syncs with all the features the manufacturer has developed.

For Nikon users, I recommend starting out with the SB-600 AF Speelight unit. It’s a great flash to begin with. Canon users should start with the Speedlite 430EX II and for Olympus users, the FL-50R is the right choice.

In future postings, we will discuss various techniques you can use with your shoe-mount flash that will help your photos look better.

Good luck and keep shooting!

Tips & Tricks: Overexposure

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Digital cameras are technically-advanced and extremely user-friendly. So much so, it’s easy to get accustomed to letting the camera do all the thinking and only take photos in the automatic mode. But why limit yourself? A digital camera is a great tool for exploring your creative side.

For this little exercise in digital photography, we’re going to look at using your camera’s shutter priority function.

Most of the time, shutter priority mode is marked as “Tv” or “S” on the dial. This function allows you to input the shutter speed and the camera sets the appropriate aperture value. Let’s assume you don’t know anything about shutter speeds. That’s fine. You can learn as we go along.

Understanding Shutter Speed
Shutter speed is the time value measurement of the camera. It’s the amount of time light is allowed to strike the image sensor. If the scene you’re photographing is relatively dark, then a slower shutter speed is required because it takes more time for enough light to strike the image sensor to make an image. Alternately, a bright scene would require a faster shutter speed because too much light will make the image too bright – or what’s called overexposed.

Overexposure
For the purpose of this discussion, let’s discuss three levels of light were going to be concerned with: highlights, which are the brightest areas; mid-tones, which are the “middle” or “normal” light levels; and lowlights or shadows.
A “properly” exposed image has a balance between highlights, mid-tones and shadows. If an image is underexposed, it is too dark and details are lost in the shadows. If an image is overexposed, it is too bright and the image looses details in the highlight area.

Hard, directional light from the right side of the image was used for lighting. The shutter speed was set so the image would be overexposed giving it a unique look. (Photo Credit: Jeremy W. Schneider)

Hard, directional light from the right side of the image was used for lighting. The shutter speed was set so the image would be overexposed giving it a unique look. (Photo Credit: Jeremy W. Schneider)

If Overexposure is ‘Wrong,’ Why Use It?
Sometimes it’s OK to break the rules.  Overexposure can add a sense of drama. It can also help give a new way to look at something that’s been photographed many, many times. Furthermore, slight overexposure can really help in portraits where your subject has slight facial blemishes such as acne.
Photography is one of those fields that once you know the rules, it’s perfectly OK to bend or break them. Experimenting with different looks and different techniques is a great way to unleash your own creative potential.

OK, You’ve Convinced Me. Now What?
Overexposure is easy, especially with a digital camera since you get instant feedback. Back in the “old days” when I studied photography, I kept a little notebook with me and recorded shutter speed, aperture and other values of all the pictures I took on film. That way, when I developed the images, I could see what process and what values I liked best. I also bracketed the image, which means I shot each image underexposed, properly exposed and overexposed. That way, I could pick and choose what I liked best for the particular image.
With a digital camera, you can leave the notebook at home. Not only can you instantly see the results, the shutter speed and aperture values are recorded for each image.

Step-by-Step
First, find a good subject. Since you’ll be experimenting with many different exposure values, it’s best to find something inanimate since people get cranky and pets get bored or vice versa. Flowers work really well, especially big, colorful flowers.
Next, take your subject outside on a bright day. Place your subject in a location where the background isn’t too distracting.
Now, put your camera on the “Tv” or “S” setting. Then you need to look at the shutter speed value, which will probably be displayed on your LCD view screen. Consult your owner’s manual to find out how to increase or decrease the shutter speed value. There will be a bar, usually at the bottom of your camera, that tells you if you’re underexposed, correctly exposed or overexposed.
Look at the light meter display on your LCD view screen and take a picture at the “normal” or “proper” exposure level. Then, decrease your shutter speed value and take another picture. Keep this up until you can no longer see the subject on the LCD screen. After you’re finished, look at your images on the computer. If you have image editing software, open the images in the software and start applying minor adjustments to your best images until you get the results you want.

While using overexposure gives you a new tool to use in your photography, it won’t work for every subject every time but don’t be afraid to experiment. Try new techniques whenever you get a chance because you might find a new spin on an old subject.

Good luck and keep shooting!

Written by jeremyparce

March 16, 2009 at 2:44 pm