keskiviikko 20. syyskuuta 2017

How to be Better Prepared for Your Next Photo Shoot

Greater success with your event, street, travel or any other genre of photography can depend a lot on how prepared you are before you leave the house and how observant you are at the location you are making pictures. Here are some tips to help you be better prepared for your next photo shoot.

senior Thai woman taking part in a street parade holding a painted parasol - How to be Better Prepared for Your Next Photo Shoot

A participant in the annual Chiang Mai Flower Parade enjoys having her photo taken.

I’ve based this article on street and event photography so I can use my photos to illustrate specific situations.


Planning your photography session in advance can make it a much more rewarding experience. You don’t necessarily need to start making spreadsheets and contingency preparations if you’re going out to photograph a local farmers market or craft fair. But a little groundwork can make times you are out with your camera significantly more enjoyable.

Having some prior knowledge of your subject, the location, and the type of activity that happens there (if any) will increase the opportunities you have to capture better photos. Even the way you dress and the footwear you choose can potentially have an influence on your photos. Certainly, the amount and type of camera equipment you choose to carry will have an effect on the outcome of your photography excursion.

Women in traditional Thai costume prior to the start of the Flower Parade in Chiang Mai, Thailand - How to be Better Prepared for Your Next Photo Shoot

Girls talking before a parade starts.

For example

Performers rest prior to the start of a Chinese New Year parade in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Performers rest prior to the start of a Chinese New Year parade.

Before heading out to photograph the Chinese New Year Parade I checked so I knew the starting time, location, and the route it would take. I arrived at least an hour early for some behind the scenes moments when the morning light was rich.

Some prior knowledge of the type of subjects and activity I would encounter enabled me to anticipate the flow of action. So I was able to capture the dragon as it moved through the streets and received cash gifts from locals in its mouth.

A woman places money in the mouth of a Chinese New Year dragon during a street parade in Chiang Mai, Thailand. - How to be Better Prepared for Your Next Photo Shoot

A woman places money in the mouth of a Chinese New Year dragon during a street parade in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Prepare yourself too

I was wearing a good pair of sports shoes as I knew I would need to run at times to keep ahead of the parade. With many parades and festivals in south east Asia, there are often few restrictions for photographers assertive and considerate enough to just go with the flow of things.

I traveled light, without an abundance of camera gear. There’s always a choice between carrying more and having it weigh you down and making your movements more difficult and not having the right lens with you. I typically prefer to take two lenses so I have one on the camera and the other in a small belt bag. This way I am free to move and can often get closer to the action than if I was weighted down with a shoulder bag or backpack full of gear.

Chinese New Year parade and photographers - How to be Better Prepared for Your Next Photo Shoot

Photographing the dragon during a Chinese New Year parade.

Researching is easy these days. So planning and being prepared before you head out with your camera takes very little effort but can make a huge difference to the photos you’ll make and how much you enjoy your experience.


Once you’re on location it pays to take a little time to observe and anticipate how you can obtain the best photos.

  • Walking around, watching people, and considering what you think will be the best spots to take photos from is an important first step. Think about lighting and composition.
  • How many places will you be able to clearly see your subject?
  • What will the background be like?
  • Will the lighting work for the style of photo you want to make?
  • Are there any vantage points that allow you to get above your subject?
  • Is there some place safe to get down and lie on the ground for a low perspective?
Chinese New Year parade with a ceremonial dragon - How to be Better Prepared for Your Next Photo Shoot

Try to position yourself where there will be a good background.

Find a good vantage point

Once you’ve found a good location it can often pay to stay there for some time. Consider the flow of the action and if you can get a good variety of photos from your position, don’t rush off. This is particularly relevant when you have a pleasing combination of good lighting and a background you can incorporate into strong compositions.

If you are constantly changing locations you may find that you have to adjust your exposure frequently and your background is different which will require more attention to your framing.

Sometimes moving around is necessary to follow your subject. It’s good to be aware of your surroundings and considerate of who else is around you, especially if you are on the move a lot. At events with a lot of spectators, you don’t want to block their view but you also want to make sure you and your equipment are safe.

How to be Better Prepared for Your Next Photo Shoot

Watching dancers practice prior to the start of a parade I observed the pattern of their movement and positioned myself so the background and light were best, and then made a series of photos. The image on the left illustrates reasonably well what’s happening. But because I had paid attention to the dance I knew the girl would arch her back and I would be able to photograph her face and a more interesting pose.

Get out of the flow of traffic

Putting yourself in position a little away from the traffic flow, when there is one, will allow you to work more freely also. I made this series of photos of cheese vendors at Istanbul’s spice market by standing in between two of the stalls where there were no other people. I got the nod from the men selling the cheese nearby that I was okay to be there and was even offered a slice of very tasty cheese to try.

Vendor selling cheese at the Istanbul spice market - How to be Better Prepared for Your Next Photo Shoot

It’s good to get out of the traffic flow so you can take photos without being bumped or disrupting business.

As I savored the flavor of the cheese I observed the action of the vendors offering cheese to passers by and got a feel for the rhythm of activity.

close up of cheese being sold in a Turkish street market - How to be Better Prepared for Your Next Photo Shoot

Once you find a good location make a series of photos.

Being out of the flow of foot traffic (which was very busy) allowed me to take my time without being bumped and jostled. I made a series of photos that illustrate this part of the market better than I could have with a single image taken as I was just passing by. This series of photos were made with my 50mm prime lens.

Istanbul spice market cheese - How to be Better Prepared for Your Next Photo Shoot

A few tips for taking the photos

  • Concentrate. Don’t hesitate or be distracted from your task. Stay focused and single-minded about getting the photos that you have come to make.
  • Don’t worry about making mistake. These will help you learn. Keep all your photos on your card so you can compare them once you have them loaded to your computer.
  • Choose your moments carefully. Machine gunning your subject will result in an overwhelming number of bad photos which can be discouraging.
  • Use a narrow aperture and a fast enough shutter speed to avoid blur. You might need to raise your ISO even if you are working in bright conditions.
  • Use manual focus and zone focus to ensure greater success.

Kebab Seller, Istanbul, Turkey - How to be Better Prepared for Your Next Photo Shoot


With a little research and planning, you’ll be better equipped mentally to approach your chosen subject with confidence. Observing your surroundings and the flow of activity once you’re on location will help you find the optimal spots in which to position yourself to obtain the best photos. Then, employ some solid photographic technique to ensure you make some great photographs.

The post How to be Better Prepared for Your Next Photo Shoot by Kevin Landwer-Johan appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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How to do High-Speed Photography – the Fundamentals

What is high-speed photography?

High-speed photography is capturing the moments that happen in a fraction of time which you can’t see with the naked eye, like a bursting balloon or a splash of water. This photography is different from other kinds because it requires almost 1/20,000th of a second exposure time to freeze these moments. Most DSLR cameras don’t have such a high shutter speed, so how can you take these kinds of shots? In this article I will explain how to do high-speed photography.

Dancing Colors - Fundamentals of High-Speed Photography

What camera and lens do you need?

Let’s talk about the gear you need for high-speed photography first. Of course, you need a DSLR camera and the good news is that any DSLR will work. If you have any other camera that has manual controls, it will also work fine. Next is the lens and just like the camera, any will work. I use a 100mm macro lens for close-up shots like liquid sculptures and a 24-70mm zoom for balloon shots.

The only lens requirement is that the focal length should be long enough so that you have sufficient distance between your camera and the subject, to keep your gear safe from colors and water splashes. I found that 100mm macro is the best lens as it has 1:1 magnification so you can fill the frame with your subject. Because of the 100mm focal length, your camera will also be far enough from the subject.

Punch - Fundamentals of High-Speed Photography

Other equipment needed

Next, you need flashes and you need a lot of them. In some shots, I’ve even used four flashes together. The next requirement is a tripod because you need to do lots of work simultaneously, so it’s better that camera is fixed on the tripod. You also need a shutter release cable or remote to release the shutter.

Have patience

The most important requirement for this kind of photography is practice and lots of patience. Sometimes you’ll take hundreds of shots and none of them will be good, and you may think that it’s not your cup of tea. But don’t give up, as with practice and patience you can get desired results easily.

When I was trying to take following water drop shot, it took me almost 3 months and over 3,000 shots to get my first accurate shot. Eventually, I discovered a trick that made everything easy for me. I’ll share that trick later in this article so keep reading.

Fundamentals of High-Speed Photography

Get a helper as well

You may also need an assistant as you have to do lots of tasks all at the same time, and you can’t do everything on your own. Also, there will be a lot of mess after your shoot and it’s very boring to clean it up all alone. Last but not least, you need to find some creative hacks. For example, for “Dancing Colors” shots I made this setup using a soap dish, a plastic pipe, a black swim cap, some Velcro and fixed this in the air vent of the subwoofer of my computer speakers.

Fundamentals of High-Speed Photography

Along those lines, one day I also discovered that it’s much easier to fire flashes instead of releasing the shutter to capture an accurate moment. So I used some wire and a push button switch to make a switch to fire the flash manually.

Camera settings

Before we talk about camera settings, I am going to reveal a shocking truth. Are you ready for this? Okay, the reality is that camera shutter speed doesn’t matter in high-speed photography. In fact, in this image, my shutter speed was 1/10th of a second.

Fundamentals of High-Speed Photography

What, have I lost my mind? I just wrote that you need 1/20,000th of a second to freeze the moment and now I am saying that shutter speed doesn’t matter. Relax, I’ll explain everything.

In such photography, we usually shoot in a dark room with a narrow aperture and using bulb mode. We open the shutter and fire the flash at the right time to expose the image. So, regardless of whether the camera shutter speed is 1/10th or 1/250th, the exposure time is only when the flashes fire (for the duration of the flash).

Color Injected in Water Fundamentals of High-Speed Photography

Color injected into water.

Hence, these are the camera settings required:

  • Camera mode: Bulb
  • Aperture: f/11 – f/16
  • ISO: 100 – 400
  • Focus: Manual
  • Flashes with the lowest power setting possible.

Why do you need to use your flashes on the lowest power setting? Because that will give you the shortest flash duration. If you fire a flash on full power the flash duration is around 1/1,000th of a second. But at 1/128th power, it comes down to almost 1/35,000th of a second, which will freeze the subject completely.

Color Injected in Water Fundamentals of High-Speed Photography

Color injected into water.

Work flow

Set your camera on a tripod with a shutter release cable. Set the lowest possible ISO, go for 100 and increase it only if you don’t have enough flash power. Then, set the aperture between f/11-f/16, focus manually, and leave the camera. Now you need to train someone to press the shutter release button on your mark and release it as soon as the flash has been fired.

Your job is to do the action using one hand (like bursting the balloon, playing the beats or releasing the water drop) and fire the flashes using a switch at the perfect moment. You’ll need some practice but eventually, you will do it accurately.

Fundamentals of High-Speed Photography

Points to remember

Shoot in dark room: You should always shoot in a dark room as you are using bulb mode and sometimes your shutter speed will come down to 1/10th or 1/5th. So, if the light in the room is bright, it’ll affect the shot. The room should only have a small (low) light source so that you can see everything.

Small Aperture: Always shoot between f/11 – f/16 so you can get deep depth of field and everything comes into focus. Also, with a narrow aperture, the ambient light won’t affect the shot as much.

Made For Each Other - Fundamentals of High-Speed Photography

Manually Focus: Manual focus is a must as a camera can’t focus in the dark and you may miss the action if the camera keeps attempting to focus.

Flashes: Use the lowest power and slave mode on your flashes so you don’t need to attach all the flashes using wires. With slave mode, you need to fire only one master flash and the others will fire automatically.

The secret trick

Liquid Sculpture Fundamentals of High-Speed Photography

Now sit back and relax, because I am going to reveal a super easy way that you can shoot high-speed photography and get such pictures without much effort. Your chances of getting an accurate shot will increase tenfold. Are you ready?

The secret is to use burst mode on your camera. Set your camera to high-speed burst mode. You also need to change the camera mode to manual and the shutter speed to 1/125. Plus, you need to attach your master flash to the camera so that it’ll fire with the camera simultaneously.

Now when you press shutter release button, the camera will start taking photos and keep clicking until you release the button. Depending on your camera model, it will click between four to 10 shots per second.

Water Galaxy - Fundamentals of High-Speed Photography

With one hand, press the shutter release button and with your other hand do the action. Once the action is finished, release the button. By using this trick, you can get your first perfect shot in just 5-6 trials.


High-speed photography is a lot of fun. It can be tricky to get right. But don’t give up, keep trying until you get the desired results and share your photos in the comments below.

Refraction Fundamentals of High-Speed Photography


The post How to do High-Speed Photography – the Fundamentals by Ramakant Sharda appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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Social Media Explorer: 3 Digital Marketing Techniques to Get Brand Exposure

Every brand develops in its own unique way. However, successful businesses share common marketing elements. If our blog has taught you anything, you know social media advertising is a must-do for small and large companies alike. But the buck doesn’t stop there. Strategizing social and growing your professional network requires more than just content promotion.

Dan Gingiss has helped market several businesses throughout his career, including Humana and McDonald’s. With each new project, he looks to improve brand communication using both traditional and cutting edge tactics. Gingiss discusses past and present brand-growing strategies on the Renegade Thinkers Unite podcast. If you’d like to listen to the episode, you can do so here:

These three digital techniques Gingiss describes can bring your brand greater exposure:

1. Start a Podcast

Podcasts are great ways to meet new people and potentially get exposure on their platforms. You’ll not only get a new medium for sharing your business, but you’ll also have the chance to provide target audiences with valuable information. Find a topic that’s relevant to your brand, and craft a fun, educational show around it.

Podcasts are mutually beneficial. If you have any connections who are in your niche, odds are some of them would be happy to appear as guests on your show. This is a tremendous way to create relationships and find new avenues to get found.

Gingiss boosted his podcast marketing success with help from guests. After connecting with Social Media Today to conduct interviews for the show, he managed to use their channels to push out the podcast. He says, “I was using Social Media Today’s platform, which turned out to be a great boon because I got on the front page of their site every time we had a new episode and they tweeted it out a whole bunch of times and that really helped us grow an audience.” Once you grow an audience, the last thing you’ll need to do is tie the podcast back to your brand. If you can manage to keep your podcast audience consistent with your brand audience, you’ll develop a whole new batch of prospects.

2. Involve Employees on Social Media

Employees should be brand ambassadors. Word can get out quickly when they share positive things about their companies on social media. Encourage coworkers to promote some aspect your business—what makes it a great company, why they enjoy working there, why people should take an interest in the brand, etc. As Gingiss notes, employees should be glad to speak about their company. “Your employees are often your biggest advocates,” he says. “That’s why they work there. There’s something about the brand that they really like and it isn’t just the paycheck.”

Sadly, perplexing social media policies may discourage workers from spreading brand love. Gingiss explains, “A lot of times, companies inadvertently scare employees into not wanting to say anything ever about their company on social media because they get handed this social media policy that’s usually written by lawyers.” As a result, those employees often decide to play it safe and not post anything about the company at all. If your employees have something great to say, inspire them to say it. Gingiss continues, “It’s important to empower employees and to let them know what it is they can do, what the guardrails are.” If your company has a social media policy, take the time to explain it to your employees. Their publicity can get your brand image in front of more people.

3. Connect with Customers on Social

Social media is a vast frontier, which you can use to engage with your audience and get users to share your content. Keep the conversation going, and don’t be afraid to test out new techniques. Gingiss believes marketers should maintain a forward-looking social media philosophy. “Social is a great place to demonstrate future thinking,” he says. “One of the ways that I think companies can do that is to work with the platforms themselves. And if you’re a big company, you generally can get into some of the beta tests and that sort of thing. But even if you’re not, when new functionality comes out, try it.” You’ll never know how successful you can be with social media until you tap into it.

It’s also wise to stay on top of customer queries and concerns. Allow clients and prospects to ask questions on social, and answer them as quickly and thoroughly as possible. When Gingiss worked at Humana, his team managed to get the average employee response time from 25 hours down to 20 minutes. This plan resulted in a better customer service rapport, as the Humana team managed to deliver fast, detailed answers. Gingiss explains, “A lot of times people would tweet [at Humana]. You almost could tell from the text that they didn’t expect us to respond. And so I do think that was successful in changing perceptions in that way.”

Happy customers will be happy to share their experiences. When you provide excellent service and feedback, your brand message has a better chance to get around to more people.

The post 3 Digital Marketing Techniques to Get Brand Exposure appeared first on Social Media Explorer.

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3 Tools That Increase Your Instagram Bio Links

Want to get more out of your Instagram bio link? Do you wish you could share multiple links via Instagram? In this article, you’ll discover three tools that let you serve links to people who click on your Instagram bio. #1: Promote 5 Links for a Single Instagram Account Linktree is an easy-to-implement solution to [...]

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- Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle


tiistai 19. syyskuuta 2017

Review: Nikon D7500 with 18-140mm Kit Lens

The 7000 series of cameras from Nikon have been very popular since they were first introduced in 2010. It is a mid-range camera in their lineup but sits at the top end of the amateur level cameras. As with many of these cameras the new one in this series, the Nikon D7500 can also be purchased with a kit lens, this one came with the 18-140mm lens.

Review: Nikon D7500 with 18-140mm Kit Lens

The Nikon D7500 with the 18-140mm kit lens. Image courtesy Nikon Australia.

The new D7500 is in the DX format or crop sensor camera. It has a 20.9 megapixel CMOS sensor and is said to be “equipped with a high-performance EXPEED 5 image-processing engine.” Nikon also claims that it is a good camera for video and that it supports 4K UHD. For more technical information please go to the Nikon website.

Nikon D7500 out of the box

When you first get the camera out you’ll notice it’s surprisingly light. I use a D800, so most cameras are light compared to that. However, the D7500 is a good size and feels nice in the hands. There is some weight to it, but it’s comfortable. When you have the camera, with the kit lens attached, hanging around your neck the weight doesn’t hurt you.

They have made the grip deeper so it is easier to hold onto, and also more comfortable to hold. With some models, it feels like you are digging your nails into the camera, but that hasn’t happened with this one.

Review: Nikon D7500 with 18-140mm Kit Lens

Holding the Nikon D7500. Image courtesy Nikon Australia.

Easy to use

When it comes down to it, what you really want from a camera is one that is easy to understand and use. There is no doubt that you will find both of those with the Nikon D7500. In previous models you had to go into the menu to change some settings, a lot of them are now buttons on the camera. ISO is changed with one up near the shutter button. You can change aperture with the scroll wheel at the front and the shutter with the one at the back. It is easy for your fingers to find everything you need.


It has a high range and will go up to 51200 and the slowest speed is 100. It has enough of a range that would suit most people who want to take photos in both low light and on sunny days.

With images taken at 12800 during a night show at Sovereign Hill you can see noise in the images, which is to be expected, but the amount isn’t that bad that the images are not useable. When compared with what older cameras did at ISO 3200, this camera takes a good image at the higher ISOs with much less noise as on other models. It fits in with many of Nikon’s cameras for using in low light.


The Winter Wonderland at Sovereign Hill was dark and to get images the ISO was put up to 12800.


Nikon has worked on the autofocus features with the D7500 and it is fast. You can track subjects and get fast focusing to get sharp images of whatever you are trying to capture. It doesn’t take long to get any subject in focus. It means you can work quickly, especially if you like doing street photography or something else where fast autofocus is needed.

Touch screen

Like most new cameras it does come with a touch screen which makes accessing sections in the menu easier and faster. You can just click on what you need. You can also use your fingers to scroll through the images you have taken. It turns the menu into a series of buttons, so you can move around it much faster and find what you need to make any necessary adjustments.

Review: Nikon D7500 with 18-140mm Kit Lens

Another night image that was hand held and taken with ISO 128000.

LCD screen

The screen at the back is tiltable (it’s not full articulating) so you can change it when you want to use Live View. This is especially good for places where you have strange camera angle, for example, when you are photographing something that is close to the ground. You can put the camera in Live View mode, and then tilt the screen so you can see what you are shooting without having to get down on the ground as well.

Live View is really good, though you always need to be careful with how quickly it can drain the battery. Without a doubt, you will use the battery faster if you use this mode all the time. If you use the viewfinder instead the battery will last a lot longer and you will get plenty of photos.

Review: Nikon D7500 with 18-140mm Kit Lens

This image was taken at Abbotsford Convent.

DoF preview button

It has been pointed out that the current model, the D7500, does not have a depth of field preview button (shows you what your image will look like with your selected aperture). Though it seems that many cameras are now removing this feature. It is not something that I either use or have looked for in a camera, but if it is an important aspect in your photography then it may be a problem for you.

Long exposure photography

You can use any DSLR camera for long exposures, and this one is no different. The images come out very sharp and you get the great effects that you would normally expect. One part that was surprising to me was using Live View with an ND filter on the camera, I could still see the scene. Many Nikon cameras do not do that. When the filter is on you can’t see anything, and you need to remove it to refocus and recompose. This is a great added advantage and makes taking long exposure images that much easier.

Review: Nikon D7500 with 18-140mm Kit Lens

Long exposure taken at Banyule Flats using the D7500 and the 18-140mm kit lens.


The camera has wifi, Bluetooth and Snapbridge. You can now connect your camera to your phone and get photos to instantly publish on social media. In other cameras the Snapbridge hasn’t worked well with Android phones, but with the D7500 I had no trouble getting my phone to find it and download images. It worked really well, and so far the best experience I’ve had with this app.

The 18-140mm kit lens

This is an interesting lens to include in a kit and many people would be really interested in it. The usual 18-55mm has been replaced with this one. It is a good choice for most people who are starting out with photography.

It has an aperture of f/3.5 at 18mm and when you zoom to 140mm the aperture range starts at f/5.6. It is much the same as other lenses of this type. For most photography, you are not going to want to go wider than those. It is a kit lens and you aren’t going to get something really amazing. If you want higher quality you need to buy the body separately and then get a lens separately.

Review: Nikon D7500 with 18-140mm Kit Lens

The kit lens takes pretty good images of flowers up close. Not quite as close a macro lens, but fairly good.

Most lenses for cropped sensors are of a similar quality. The images from this lens appear sharp and the quality is good. While testing this camera and lens the combination was used for night photography, long exposures, walking around, and some macro. It performed well in all circumstances.

The lens does have Nikon’s Vibration Reduction or VR, which a lot of users now want. Though you can choose to turn it off, which you should do if you are using the camera on a tripod. You also don’t have to use this function.

I tend to turn VR off on my lenses so I don’t leave it turned on when using my tripod. I haven’t found it a problem, but if find that your images have some movement, or you have trouble holding the camera very still then you may find it easier to keep it turned on.

Review: Nikon D7500 with 18-140mm Kit Lens

This image was taken as walking around the city.

Who would buy this camera and lens?

The Nikon D7500 is the top level amateur or non-professional camera that Nikon makes. It is for serious amateurs who want to get the best out of their photography, but can’t quite justify the extra expense of a full frame camera.

It would suit someone looking for a second camera after learning how to take photos with one of the entry level Nikon cameras, like one of the D3000 series models. It is a good step up and there are many features that the D7500 is capable of that the others aren’t.

There is no reason why someone who is new to photography shouldn’t purchase it either. It would be an ideal camera to learn and experiment with as you grow into the camera. The kit lens will also give you a lot of room to advance as well.

Review: Nikon D7500 with 18-140mm Kit Lens

Another long exposure that was taken with the D7500 and the 18-140mm lens


Amazon has the Nikon D7500 body listed at $1246.95, and if you want to buy the kit with the 18-140mm you can get it for $1546.95.


Overall, the Nikon D7500 would suit someone who is fairly serious about their photography and wants to get the most out of their camera. Someone who wants to take a lot of photos and also wants a model that is capable of doing many different types of photography. It is a camera that will do everything you want it to and you won’t be disappointed.

The post Review: Nikon D7500 with 18-140mm Kit Lens by Leanne Cole appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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