Digital Or Film?

Digital Or Film?

The camera is only a tool in which a photographer creates an image

Having lost count of the number of people who have asked me: “have you gone digital?” I am always left wondering why it’s such a much-asked question. The camera is only a tool in which a photographer creates an image. His personal ability to create a unique image remains the same.

For many forms of photography, digital has long held obvious advantages, but for landscapes the resolution necessary to make larger prints just wasn’t available. But things have changed and digital cameras are fast becoming the tools that most pros use.

Modern digital cameras

Modern digital cameras are perfectly capably of matching the 35 mm film – the format which most landscape photographers begin with. But can they really match the large format film cameras? This is probably the greatest question that all photographers face.

Instant LCD feedback is digitals greatest gift and this enables the photographer to check exposure and composition of their image in the blink of an eye. While this is a big advantage, the hours spent in front of the computer processing the raw images have to be hindrance. A landscape photographers time is best spent behind a camera not in front of a computer.

The pros and cons of digital photography

The pros and cons of digital photography will remain an issue for some time. At the end of the day a digital camera won’t make a photographers images better. The same values we apply in our photography should remain regardless of which camera we use.

Good photography

Good photography remains as elusive and as enticing as it ever was; going digital doesn’t change this or make getting good images any easier. It brings technical advantages, and plenty of them, but the majority of photographic techniques never change. Good landscape images come from the photographer’s personal ability, not the ability of a camera. The camera helps, but the creative eye remains the same.

As a landscape photographer I am still hesitant to embrace digital photography and all the qualities that digital has brought to other professionals in different photography fields.

There are a few simple reasons that I still use a film camera

There are a few simple reasons that I still use a film camera: The authenticity of my images could be questioned if I used a digital camera. It is often assumed that great digital images have been manipulated. Too much time is spent in front of a computer. Slide film produce stronger colours than a digital camera.

There are many advantages for changing to digital but I’m going to stick with film; for the time-being that is. With time film cameras will be a thing of the past and all our images will be exchanged for the pixels. But, be wary – believing our work will be superior would be falling into a great trap. For me size matters, the larger I can print an image the better.


Outdoor Group Portraits

Outdoor Group Portraits

What makes a great picture of people?

What makes a great picture of people? Ninety percent of its quality lies in the facial expression, the rest is composition, lighting, and the natural presentation of body language. A tripod is a plus for sharp pictures and the camera should be set at the lowest ISO speed.

I want you to picture yourself and your family outside

I want you to picture yourself and your family outside on a nice afternoon. It’s Thanksgiving, a great day for a family portrait. Unless it is a cloudy day, some nice shade will produce a flattering lighting ratio for your portrait. This means that the brightest part of the picture and the darkest part are not too far apart in value for the film or hard drive card to capture. Then choose a uniform background for you portrait. A stand of dark evergreens, a barn wall, a distant lawn, or a high hedge are all excellent backgrounds. The back of the house and patio, the driveway with the parked cars, or partially sunlit woods are too busy a background for your picture.

Next find something for people to sit on

Next find something for people to sit on: a log, a small table from the patio, a picnic bench or a patio chair. The object is to have everyone’s head at a different level. Small children are, of course already low to the ground. Seat some people at chair height, others on the ground. Sitting like an Indian is not a viable pose. Try sitting the person down on the ground with their knees together, ankles crossed and to the side.

Standing and leaning against something also provides a different height for your composition. Try to place the heads so that they do not line up either vertically or horizontally. Rather than presenting a square shoulder to the camera, a slight turn to the body is preferable. Eye glasses can be held in the hands or tilted down. Be creative in you grouping – two, threes and fours in a close grouping look better than one group of seventeen evenly spaced. Remember to overlap shoulders so that heads are closer together. One shoulder is all that is necessary to see.

Arms should never hang straight down

Arms should never hang straight down. Instead, place some hands in pockets, around shoulders or holding hands. Diagonals in the composition increase the dynamic qualities of your portrait. Pay attention to the legs and feet. Natural looking positions include crossed ankles, placing the feet forty-five degrees apart (standing), and crossed knees. After the positioning everyone, stand back and squint at the effect with blurred eyes. Turn any straight on bodies and relocate any misplaced color or glaring whites for a more pleasing effect.

A broad, low light source is ideal for a flattering look to your portrait. An open sky overhead will result in dark eye shadowing. Reflecting light into the shadow areas or using fill flash will correct this situation. Take advantage of the light from a white building or a setting sun. A natural solution is to place your group under some overhanging branches.

Center your grouping in the view finder

Center your grouping in the view finder, paying close attention to the edges of the finder. Leave a little space on the ends for cropping since the format of an eight by ten or sixteen by twenty photograph will crop ten percent off the ends. At the moment of exposure, do or say something to capture the attention of the whole group in order to coordinate the eyes in one direction. You can save a big paper smiley face until the last minute. The alternative is an interactive pose where everyone looks at each other, instead of the camera. This type of composition is more difficult, since facial profiles are less desirable. In order to insure open eyes, talk through the moment of exposure and for a good selection, take lots of pictures. Above all have fun and everyone will enjoy the experience.


The Basics of Digital Photo Finishing

The Basics of Digital Photo Finishing

Owners of digital cameras

Owners of digital cameras enjoy many advantages over those with film cameras. A couple of these advantages are that they can take multiple pictures of the same thing without the fear of wasting shots and they can simply take the memory cards out of their digital cameras and put photos on a computer without worrying about storing sensitive film rolls. However, when the subject of getting digital camera photos into picture form comes up; inexperienced owners may be left scratching their heads and yearning for their old film cameras. But these digital camera owners need not fear because there is an easy solution for their problems: digital photo printing processing.

Sure the easiest solution for getting a digital camera photo

Sure the easiest solution for getting a digital camera photo into picture form is to print it straight off of the computer. This leaves people with no hassles and quality pictures, right? Well, not quite because ink and printing paper always seem to have the nasty habit of increasing in price every year and the average printer just isnít capable of producing good, presentable prints. This is why seeking out an established online company to carry out the digital photo printing and processing duties is the common sense solution.

Finding online websites to carry out theses tasks is extremely easy due to the fact that there are multiple sites throughout the Internet that specialize in digital photo printing processing. After finding a website of choice, all a person needs to do is upload the pictures saved on their computer to the companyís photo service and choose their preference of options. After payment and shipping details are complete, the pictures will be processed and printed by the company and then sent by mail.

While it would be nice to think that just about any online photo service

While it would be nice to think that just about any online photo service will fit your needs, the reality is that there is many variations among the various companies. Some companies may be higher priced but offer more quality and some may offer average prints at lower prices. Make sure to check out online reviews about whatever company that you are planning to use to make sure that your preferences will be fulfilled.


Photography education

Photography education

Does a career as a photographer sound kind of interesting?

If you love the way the world looks through the lens of a high-powered camera, then you just might love a career as a photographer.

Professional photographers enjoy an endless assortment of projects in a wide variety of different areas. The salary isn’t always great, especially for beginners, but you make a competitive salary and you get to do something you really enjoy.

If this sounds good to you, maybe the only thing standing between you and your dream job is some formal training in photography from an accredited program.

Career Opportunities

Photographers use a combination of expertise, artistic creativity, and professional equipment to communicate through visual images. The latest in digital cameras and graphics software give photo professionals an exciting array of new tools and techniques on which to build their careers.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics*, employment of professional photographers is expected to grow at a steady rate through the coming decade. In fact, employment projections place the number of new jobs in the industry at a 10% growth rate through 2018.

Opportunities will be better for those with either a complete degree or at least some formal photography school training.

Training and School Degree Options

Training starts with earning some credentials. Entry-level positions in portrait photography generally require technical proficiency gained through an apprenticeship.

Those wishing to rise to the ranks of photojournalist, industrial, or scientific visual work typically work towards a bachelor’s degree.

Many universities, junior colleges, vocational institutes, and private trade schools offer courses that can be completed on campus or through online classes. Courses range from several weeks to several months, depending upon the level of proficiency desired.


35mm Film – A Short History

35mm Film - A Short History

When it comes to photography and motion picture

When it comes to photography and motion picture it is impossible not to hear about 35 mm. film when going technical into the conversation. It is called 35 mm. film as it is 35 mm. wide and will have perforations on both edges at each 4.23 mm along it.

With a history dating back since 1889

With a history dating back since 1889, when it was first introduced by Thomas Edison, the 35 mm film is still used today with some variations in format based on what it is used for but basically its form stayed the same all these years. It was first introduced into photography in 1913 and is still very popular amongst several professional photographers.

If we are to talk about film

If we are to talk about film we have to talk about sound as well. In the beginning the idea of synchronizing sound and video was appreciated but was quite difficult to realize. Thatís when the sound started to be stored directly to film, forming the analog soundtrack that takes out of the film a small margin to the left. In the search for perfection the display ratio changed together with new methods of storing the sound.

Nowadays digital soundtracks

Nowadays digital soundtracks have been implemented. The technology break through behind this was the storage of the sound between perforations in Dolby Digital, in 2 strips along the outside part of the edges in SDDS and lately on a special compact disk synchronized thanks to a time code with the film in DTS.

With technology evolving

With technology evolving as it does at the moment new techniques and features will probably be available in the future but so far the main format of the 35 mm film has remained unchanged with just mild modifications that are better suited for the purpose it was designed for. The most common aspects of the film nowadays is considered the one that has 4 perforations, a vertical pulldown and a density of around one frame in 19 mm.

Digital Photography

Digital Photography

Do you remember the first digital cameras you saw?

Do you remember the first digital cameras you saw? Did you even stop to contemplate the photography process and the changes that would occur due to a new method? Probably not. Not until the widespread use of digital cameras has the process of digital photography been a topic of any interest. Now, we all are buying digital cameras, and must learn the ABC’s of digital photography.

Unlike traditional photography

Unlike traditional photography, the advent of digital utilizes “pixels” to control color content, clarity and the quality of the picture. Each photo is composed of hundreds of pixels. These pixels are small square pieces of color, that when put together produce the image captured on the camera. Think of pixels as pieces of a puzzle.

Each piece of the puzzle contains a small portion of the color and object, that when locked together form the much bigger whole. Digital photography offers the professional photographer a much broader scope of options than traditional methods. Adjustments can be made to just a small portion of a photo rather than having to change the entire background, subject color, or other complete coloring of an object in the photograph.

Digital photography is not new

Digital photography is not new, but it is new to the average consumer. Professionals have been reaping the benefits of digital photos for several years. It is only since the explosive growth of computers, however, that digital photography has become a realistic method of photography for just about everyone. Now, John Q. Public can use his digital camera and upload his pictures onto the computer. It is here that any real benefit of digital photography, from a personal standpoint, ends. For most of the pictures we take of our family and friends, we don’t need professional quality photos. We just like the ease and convenience of taking the picture, uploading and printing in a matter of minutes. The use of digital photography today is for the most part, a replacement of the old Polaroid of the 70s.

There is some irony here

There is some irony here. Isn’t it just par for the natural course of things? Something as beneficial and complex as digital photography is simply the everyday answer to the Polaroid. The real benefits of digital photography are lost on the general public. Digital photography allows us to dissect a picture. Much like investigators can dissect the pieces of a murder case, we can investigate the pieces of a picture. Once again, the real benefit is realized and appreciated only by the professional photographer, not your next door neighbor.

The last piece of required equipment

The last piece of required equipment when making digital photos would be the software necessary to view the pictures and make adjustments to the pixels. Usually, this software will accompany the digital camera when purchased, and quick install instructions make it possible to complete the software upload in a matter of minutes. User friendly “buttons” have eliminated the need for most of us to even understand how to break apart pixels to adjust color and contract, we simply move an arrow up or down to make the adjustment.

Digital photography is helping to revolutionize the way we view our pictures and the way we are able to capture the most breathtaking images. But, what does that really matter, if all you need is an up-to-date version of a Polaroid?


Portrait Photography

Portrait Photography

Professional photographer

Every year folks from around the world head up to ski resorts for their winter vacation. Many of them will have their photos taken by the on-mountain professional photographer at the scenic overlook at the top of the mountain. The prints that they purchase will be taken home, framed and cherished as their most valuable possessions.

One of the most important factors, is being in the right place at the right time. There are many variables to consider, such as deciding where to set up your photography shop on the mountain. Lets take a look at some.

The weather is a big factor in determining where the best zone is to photograph clients. Because the weather can change minute by minute, shooting zone flexibility is the key. If your zone becomes fogged in, MOVE, it could be that 1000′ down the mountain the view is great.

The “hot zone” on a blue sky day

The “hot zone” on a blue sky day is typically the best view from the top of the ski hill. When the weather is good you will capture the most pictures from the best scenic overlook on the mountain. Families, couples, singles and groups will ski right up and even wait in line on these picture perfect days. Harvest the hay while the sun is shining. Do a good job with your groups, squeeze as much as you can out of each one by doing your breakdowns. By breakdowns I mean a group shot, then just the kids, then mom-n-dad, then individual photos of each kid. Work it, when they go to buy their pictures, the more you shoot the more they buy.

The hot zone on a snowy day is typically the most wind protected area of the mountain. Another important factor when the weather is inclement is your backdrop, so if possibe pick a spot with beautiful trees for the background. The prettier the trees are, the better. People will definitely buy photos taken while it is snowing, especially if they have snow laden branches or are from areas like Florida where it doesn’t snow.

The time of the day may effect your zone

The time of the day may effect your zone choice too. If there is a good view from the deck where everyone meets for lunch, it’s a great opportunity to get everyone while they are altogether and not zooming around the mountain. It can be a challenge getting folks to slow down long enough for a photo shoot. Try setting up at the on-mountain lodge (if it has a good view), particularly during the busy periods, like the holidays and spring break. Try to set up in view of the outdoor eating area, so everyone sees you working, interested groups will come over to you. If it slows down, youcan go over and work the crowd.

At large ski areas where skiers only ride a particular lift once in the morning, just to get to the upper lifts. You can be busy in the morning, then really slows down when everybody’s up there skiing, so move.

Shadows and lighting

Shadows and lighting change throughout the day and some locations can become completely unshootable in the afternoon. A zone thats hot at 2pm may not be by 3pm, as it gets swallowed up by the long afternoon shadows from the tall Mountains. Move to a spot with better light, people are getting tired and now they will slow down long enough for a quick shot.

If you work for a company that assigns you a specific zone to shoot and you have to shoot it hot or not, and at the moment it’s not. Cover your zone the best you can, stay enthusiastic and energetic you will get something, and it could be the best money group of the day!

If you cover your zone, hot or not, your manager will be more likely to give you a hot zone on future assignments. Hone your photography skills and be dependable. You’ll start getting the best location.