Jump to content

Photo Examples of Good Rule or Technique Application, Help for the New Contributor


Recommended Posts

On 2/1/2019 at 5:00 PM, Phil Lowe said:

Yep.  Getting the flash off the camera is one of the quickest ways to improve someone's flash photography.  All you need is a light stand, flash (can be had pretty cheap on Amazon), remote flash trigger, and a relatively inexpensive flash modifier, like a diffuser, umbrella, or beauty dish.  In fact, it's easy and fun to try to create your own modifiers and it's cheaper, too.

This flower was shot using an off-camera flash shooting through a translucent umbrella.  I lined the umbrella on stand up with the sun to block out most of the sun's light and used the flash as the scene's primary light source, giving me more control over the light hitting the subject.  The light coming through the umbrella was soft and diffuse, creating soft shadows and highlights.  Here are two images I shot of dahlias in a public park in Tacoma, Washington.

dahlia-blooming-late-summer-pacific-450wdahlia-blooming-late-summer-pacific-450w

This lighting technique can be used for people, too.  Here's a picture of my youngest daughter from January of 2018.  She was sitting in my recliner in an otherwise very ordinary living room.  I set my flash up on a stand with a beauty dish modifier, and got this image with my Nikon D500 and Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 lens.  The flash on the subject sufficiently darkened the rest of the room to take this shot out of an ordinary living room and focus the attention on her.

765261499_20180113-PHI_2165-Edit-2-Editcopy.thumb.jpg.11ab1461758fd4fa8e62025ac5ad0125.jpg

As I wrote in another post, aside from 3D photography, all other photography is a 2D medium.  A 2D image has width and height, but no depth.  It's the photographer's job to recreate that sense of depth - the missing dimension from photography - using light, shadow, and focus.  You do that, in part, by getting the flash off the camera.

Hope this helps.

Thanks Phil, very impressive!

When you used Nikon D500 camera and Nikkor 50 mm f/1.8 lens in portrait photography. What was empirically optimal distance to model?

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 409
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

After 13 pages, I have no idea if it came up already or not, but just to be sure, sometimes it is good to ignore typical composition rules and leave some space for the buyer for copy or  cropping.

Most of us that have been here a while have done our share of critiquing the portfolios of our many newcomers, often a bit more harshly than we intended or possibly should have.  While I realize

My apologies to those of you who are getting tired of seeing this thread but in reviewing my portfolio images I noticed how often I have used an "S" curve in the composition of my images.  While I lik

Posted Images

1 hour ago, Alexander Moskovskiy said:

Thanks Phil, very impressive!

When you used Nikon D500 camera and Nikkor 50 mm f/1.8 lens in portrait photography. What was empirically optimal distance to model?

 

I don't know what you mean by "empirically optimal" distance, but for this shot I was about 5 feet away from her.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/9/2019 at 11:49 AM, Steve Bower said:

Ron, 

It sounds like you're a Flash photography expert.  We definitely haven't touched much on that so far (I took a stab at it and failed).  I know what you are talking about and can apply the principal when shooting portraits and studio shoots but I'm not going to try and explain it. 

Why don't you and HodagMedia take it from here and run with it.  Thanks!

Not me, I just want to point out, all of your ideas, all of mine, or those from others... and some we haven't addressed, then make the shot, using what applies best for the situation.

We don't want to force a style, perspective, technique or method, into an image, where it doesn't apply. There is a natural direction and feel of a subject that leads to the best way to make a photograph. And even with that, I'm not going to say there's only one right way. That's why we are inspired, as individuals, and why we see the same things in different ways.

What fits best for the shot is most important, instead of shooting a style or adding a filter that's inappropriate, just to do that method. The subject and situation are often what will determine how to handle, exposure, lens, or express ones personal impression of the capture.

The subject usually dictates the style and composition. If someone wants to shoot a particular style, then they need the right subjects.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

Well said HM.  In the interest of keeping the thread alive and to that point you've made, I've a couple examples I think:  Both macro shots of water droplets, one (the berries) where I tried to get the droplets to reflect different images from the surrounding area and the other (the remnants of a spider's web) where I tried to get the droplets to all reflect the same scene, in this case the rising sun over a hill top.

An image of green unripened berries in the early morning sun covered in droplets of dew each reflecting a different scene from the surrounding area.

An image of a spider web heavy with early morning dew reflecting the sunrise over a hilltop and shining like the jewels of a necklace.

The second is a little tougher to see, wish we had better zoom functions here on SS but, oh well, is what it is.

Both more easily scene here:

https://www.behance.net/gallery/59442107/How-Do-You-Dew

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ron, 

I appreciate your interest in keeping this thread alive.  Thanks to a point that Phil made in a recent portfolio review he did, I thought I would expand on the points he made in his review.

Photographying Sunrises and Sunsets

We all seen (and probably taken a few) of those sunrise sunset shots with nothing in them but the sun before it hits the horizon.  Due to the extreme light source (the sun), the image is extremely underexposed with a big white or yellow spot in the middle.  It doesn't look natural and has little (if any) commercial value or use.  As Phil suggested "put some people in your shot".  I whole hardily agree, it creates interest and increases it's sales potential.  However, I might suggest a few other ways to capture that sunset.

1.  Wait for clouds, in fact I would suggest if there aren't any clouds, don't even bother shooting the sunset.  Not every type of cloud is conducive to a great sunset but IMO they are necessary to make that money shot.  With experience you'll learn which clouds create the best image

2.  Shoot multiple shots, starting before the sun sets below the horizon and continue until all the light is gone.  I'm usually the last one to leave and it often pays off with the best images.

3.  Use a tripod.  It won't be necessary early in your shoot but as the sun settles below the horizon your shutter speed will get longer and longer.

4.  As you shoot, experiment.  Change your exposure, aperture even your white balance.  I often find Auto WB does not give the most flattering colors or even the most realistic color.

5.  Turn around, check the sky opposite the sun.  It often is just as colorful as the setting sun, maybe even better.  

6.  If you have a subject (person, etc.) nearby, consider using a flash to illuminate "it", while maintaining the proper exposure for the sunset.  Your camera may have a setting for this type of shot but most often the best images are produced by manually controlling the ambient and flash exposures.  Sorry, the heron shot is not a very good flash example (due to background merge and different color temperature of the light from the flash). Consider using a gel on your flash to match the flash color  temp. to the sunset light .   

z   Lake Superior Area 38.jpg

z   PC281268  adj  heron.jpg

z   IMG_7112.jpg

z   IMG_0964.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

I think that all of the examples shown and the narratives written in this thread were nothing more than the Building Blocks to do this one thing .  .  .

Create an image that is easily recognized (you can tell what the subject is) when the buyer is looking at the small thumbnail image  

Your image must stand out from all the others and in my opinion the first step (and the best) is to make the subject easily recognized.

1.  Determine exactly what you want the image subject to be.  Then visualize how you want your image to look and apply the various Photographic rules and techniques to create that image. Eliminate (in camera) everything that conflicts with your subject and your "vison"  

2.  Look for good lighting on your subject.  If it's "not there", consider the possibility of using a flash to help illuminate your subject.  Maybe a flash will be the only way you can capture your subject.  If a flash won't help, consider a different angle or maybe even a different time of day if it's a static subject.

3.  Determine the proper exposure.  Do you need to overexpose due to backlighting or does the image need to be underexposed due to the dark subject matter?  Under exposed images usually are ill advised as the subject is difficult to see, especially in a small thumbnail image.

4.  Eliminate subject merges with any foreground or background items.  This is best done in camera by moving to a better angle.  If this isn't possible, consider "gardening" or eliminate the distracting merges in post.  Make your subject stand out from the background.

5.  Related to #4. Look for an angle that will provide either a blurred or accenting background.  The first choice is to use the largest lens aperture that will provide the necessary depth of field for your image.  The second would be to find a evenly lit distant background.  The third would be to create that background through post processing. A challenge in most situations.

6.  Get Closer to your subject, either physically or use a longer mm lens.  The most "direct" way to make the subject of your image more obvious is to make it "Bigger".   This also eliminates more of the distractions that take your eye away from the subject.

7.  Place your subject at one of the "Rule of Thirds" intersecting points.  

8.  Use "Leading Lines" to direct the eye toward the subject of your image.

The water drop shot was accomplished through the use of high speed flash, the most effective way to capture this micro second in time.   The dead tree in the second image was my subject and I moved around until the rock beside it no longer merged with the tree.  I obviously got as close to the Frog as I could (in my third image) making it the obvious subject.  I was fortunate to place the Flying Heron at one of the "Rule of Thirds" intersection points in the beach shot. The trail in the fifth image (through leading lines), helps to lead your eye into the image and the mountains in the background.  In the final Image, I was able to line up the spider with the light spot in the background which highlights the spider and required me to increase the exposure due to the image backlighting.

Hope these photo examples help illustrate the point.   Make the subject as recognizable as possible.  

z   Water droplet Splash, Tall Pink & Blue   #1.jpg

 

z   Dead Horse SP  UT 064.jpg

z   _MG_9263.jpg

z   Clouds Ocean & Heron  flattened.jpg

z   IMG_4494.jpg

z   FS Spider ulta close  small.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Steve Bower said:

I think that all of the examples shown and the narratives written in this thread were nothing more than the Building Blocks to do this one thing .  .  .

Create an image that is easily recognized (you can tell what the subject is) when the buyer is looking at the small thumbnail image  

Your image must stand out from all the others and in my opinion the first step (and the best) is to make the subject easily recognized.

1.  Determine exactly what you want the image subject to be.  Then visualize how you want your image to look and apply the various Photographic rules and techniques to create that image. Eliminate (in camera) everything that conflicts with your subject and your "vison"  

2.  Look for good lighting on your subject.  If it's "not there", consider the possibility of using a flash to help illuminate your subject.  Maybe a flash will be the only way you can capture your subject.  If a flash won't help, consider a different angle or maybe even a different time of day if it's a static subject.

3.  Determine the proper exposure.  Do you need to overexpose due to backlighting or does the image need to be underexposed due to the dark subject matter?  Under exposed images usually are ill advised as the subject is difficult to see, especially in a small thumbnail image.

4.  Eliminate subject merges with any foreground or background items.  This is best done in camera by moving to a better angle.  If this isn't possible, consider "gardening" or eliminate the distracting merges in post.  Make your subject should stand out from the background.

5.  Related to #4. Look for an angle that will provide either a blurred or accenting background.  The first choice is to use the largest lens aperture that will provide the necessary depth of field for your image.  The second would be to find a evenly lit distant background.  The third would be to create that background through post processing. A challenge in most situations.

6.  Get Closer to your subject, either physically or use a longer mm lens.  The most "direct" way to make the subject of your image more obvious is to make it "Bigger".   This also eliminates more of the distractions that take your eye away from the subject.

7.  Place your subject at one of the "Rule of Thirds" intersecting points.  

8.  Use "Leading Lines" to direct the eye toward the subject of your image.

The water drop shot was accomplished through the use of high speed flash, the most effective way to capture this micro second in time.   The dead tree in the second image was my subject and I moved around until the rock beside it no longer merged with the tree.  I obviously got as close to the Frog as I could (in my third image) making it the obvious subject.  I was fortunate to place the Flying Heron at one of the "Rule of Thirds" intersection points in the beach shot. The trail in the fifth image (through leading lines) helps to lead your eye into the image and the mountains in the background.  In the final Image, I was able to line up the spider with the light spot in the background which require me to increase the exposure due to the image backlighting.

Hope these photo examples help illustrate the point.     

z   Water droplet Splash, Tall Pink & Blue   #1.jpg

 

z   Dead Horse SP  UT 064.jpg

z   _MG_9263.jpg

z   Clouds Ocean & Heron  flattened.jpg

z   IMG_4494.jpg

z   FS Spider ulta close  small.jpg

All good points and examples Steve.  

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

While this is not a Rule, It definitely qualifies as a technique that will increase your chance of getting a SHARP TELEPHOTO IMAGE IN LOW LIGHT.

We've all been in situations where we are trying to get a Long telephoto shot in low light conditions, without a tripod.  You've cranked up the IOS as far as you can go and still get a "low noise" image but your shutter speed is far below the focal length of your lens (i.e. 400mm lens and a shutter speed slower than 1/400th).  Your Camera stabilization will help but you have little hope it will be enough. 

1.  First look for some way to steady your camera (I,e, a wall, a tree or some kind of prop). 

2.  You might try getting on the ground or even stoop low for better support but if you find you can only get the shot standing, I suggest you do #3 any time (when camera movement might diminish the sharpness of an image), even in conjunction with a prop or a tripod.

3.  Set your camera for continuous shootings (i.e. 8 frames per second, etc.).  Focus on your subject, and lightly push the shutter taking multiple images (minimum of 5) of your subject and lightly release the shutter.  While it may seem counterintuitive, often times one of those images will be much sharper than the others, in spite of the low shutter speed.

The first shot of the eagle was taken with a 400mm lens at 1/20th of a second (inside at a Animal Shelter in Alaska).  The ISO was 1600 and accepted by all of the agencies to which  I submit.

The second image of the snake (while not really stock material), was taken at the same focal length (400mm) but at 1/6th of a second. 

While I shoot Olympus which has one of the best IBIS in the industry, each image was also taken at 800mm (35mm equivalent) due to the sensor size of the camera.  My hand holding technique is nothing to brag about but somewhere in the multiple images I actually didn't move, resulting in a sharp image.  Try it, It really works!       

    

 

z   _9211952  isolated.jpg

z   _5031938.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 months later...

Sorry to resurrect this thread, but after reviewing a lot of similar images in the "Relevant" search I was struck by the fact (to me at least) that the most appealing image was consistently those images where the subject was "completely" lit without any harsh shadows.  There are obviously exceptions to this (i.e. Backlit or dramatic lighting) but it seems that eliminating dark shadows on your subjects should be a consistent goal as you consider various angles, lighting and or time of day when taking your photos.  This may require a flash (preferably off camera), moving around a lot or just coming back at a different time of day or lighting conditions and or Post Processing but IMO, this should be one of the first things you look for when looking through your camera's viewfinder (subject shadows, "look for a way to minimize them"). 

I'm not suggesting that you always seek out frontal lighting, just make sure that your subject is not obscured by dark shadows which lessen the buyers ability to easily recognize your subject.  Without "good" lighting that "kodak moment" probably will languish undisturbed in your portfolio.  Look for shadows, train your eye, visualize what your image should look like.   

Admittedly, this could just be my personal preference but this is stock photography not "Art Photography" and I think ease of subject recognition is high on a buyer's wish list.

I considered posting photo examples (good and bad) but given the apparent forum intolerance of this, I will forgo . . .   However, if someone wishes to do so, please feel free, as I'm sure examples will better illustrate this than my few words of description.  

     

Link to post
Share on other sites

D O-P Photography,

You only quoted my last sentence but I assume the useful part of my post was, "eliminate shadows on your subject", correct?  If that is a correct assumption, I would suggest you use a flash when taking your bee images.  That should eliminate the shadows and it might even assist in "freezing their movement (depending on your ambient and flash, light balance).

If you want an example of Bees taken with flash, you might want to check the first page of my portfolio "relevant".  About 2/3rds of the way down I have six individual images of honey bees together in one images.  You may not like the "Look" as flash (if used as the main or "key" light) tends to fall off dramatically leaving a black background.  If you reduce the intensity of the flash (or use TTL fill flash) you can still reduce the shadows but it isn't as effective at freezing action. 

Sorry, if I've assumed too much.  I tend to ramble.    

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Just to put it up front, I don't claim to be some sort of photography expert but at times even I get a shot that I know is a good one and could be better with a little or maybe a lot of work (preparation and or post processing).  When you get that unique shot or opportunity to shoot that big seller, don't shy away from making it better.  Do what ever it takes to make it "all it can be".  Being lazy and not making the effort, could make a big difference, and I'm talking hundreds even a thousand dollars or more in sales.

Again I make no claim on any expert status, if fact my post processing skills are very rudimentary, but if I see the potential in a shot I will apply what I do know about photography and Photoshop to make the image what I envision.  True, it doesn't always pay off but when it does, it more than makes up for the time spent on "failures".

Attached are two images (the 1st two) the original panorama image (the bad) and the resulting Composite Panorama (the Good) with the replaced sky. The sky exchange was simple, but it first required that I accumulate what amounts to be a huge collection of "sky" images to include panoramic images.  While this "sky" might not be perfect it seemed to approximate the light direction of the "landscape shot" and it's replacement has resulted in some good sales when, as you can imagine, the original panorama image would have sat in my portfolio without a sale to it's name.

The second pair of images was produced with two flash (yes, the snake was cooperative).  While I loved the snake in the image, I found all the clutter of the leaves very distracting.  I choose to clone out the leaves and make the background completely black.  The resulting image has sold well over a hundred times which is pretty good for a simple common "snake shot".  The fifteen minutes it took to process the image, was well worth it.

The third pair of images include the original image showing my attempt to isolate the automobile engine with white poster board and the resulting isolated image which took quite a bit of time to complete in Photoshop.  Admittedly, it's not often you get a chance to photograph a 427 being installed by your neighbor in his kit car, so when the opportunity arose I wanted to make the most of it.  I don't know if I did but that image alone (I have many others of the engine) has sold more than a thousand times here on Shutterstock, and many more times on the three other sites to which I upload.

If you can get past the fact that I was so brazen as to post some of my images as examples, my point is:   Take the time to make your images the best you can make them, whether it be just moving around to get the best angle or working the image in Photoshop. It's bound to pay off and if nothing else, you might just learn something in the process.  That alone might make it worth your time.  IMO.  Your mileage may vary.

  

Isle of Capri Pano  2.jpg

Isle ofCapri and Clouds Pano flattened.jpg

_MG_7720.jpg

_MG_7720.jpg isolated Black  sharpened.jpg

_MG_4879.jpg

_MG_4879  complete.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

oleschwander,

Thanks for the "congrats" but it wasn't necessary.   I was going through some old images and noticed I had both the "before" and "after" pictures (in one place) and thought posting them might be of some assistance to the new contributor.  I also thought they would help make my point ("be willing to put in some work to make your images stand out") especially given the sales that resulted.

I could tell you how I smooth the transition between the sky and landscape but to be frank, I'm sure their are better ways to do it (I'm no expert).  If you are still interested, PM me and I'll be more than happy to tell you "my way".  It's a fairly time consuming but then I'm retired.

Thanks for your participation in this thread.

      

Link to post
Share on other sites

Starsphinx,

Hey, buddy.  Thanks for dropping in!  You pretty much hit it on the head.  However in my case it's more like, "use it or lose it", given my advanced age.  I don't know how much I "push" post processing but I'm willing to use what I do know if it will improve the image.  "Practice make perfect".  Sorry, old adage.

Link to post
Share on other sites

oleschwander,

Sorry about that!  We had a bad thunderstorm yesterday and my modem got fried.  Just bought a new one and installed it.  Let me get everything squared away and get a few things done around the house and I'll send you "my way" of cleaning up the transition between the landscape and cloud replacement.  

FYI, I am using Photoshop CS4 so some of my process may have to be adapted to your PS version.  I'm not much of a techy so my instructions may insult your intelligence as I always try to downgrade them to something that even I could follow.  I hope that will be acceptable? 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/12/2019 at 2:01 PM, Steve Bower said:

oleschwander,

Thanks for the "congrats" but it wasn't necessary.   I was going through some old images and noticed I had both the "before" and "after" pictures (in one place) and thought posting them might be of some assistance to the new contributor.  I also thought they would help make my point ("be willing to put in some work to make your images stand out") especially given the sales that resulted.

I could tell you how I smooth the transition between the sky and landscape but to be frank, I'm sure their are better ways to do it (I'm no expert).  If you are still interested, PM me and I'll be more than happy to tell you "my way".  It's a fairly time consuming but then I'm retired.

Thanks for your participation in this thread.

     Thanks for sharing, it does help a lot to get some of your questions answered. 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Fercast,

You quoted my response to oleschwander, so I'm a little confused but it appears you are just thanking me for the information in the thread.  If so, "you're welcome". 

It was a joint effort as a lot of different contributor participated and brought a lot of different points of view and expertise to the thread.  If, by chance, you were asking me to send "My Way" to smooth the transition between sky and landscape, please clarify.  I will help, if I can.   

Link to post
Share on other sites

I recently read Wilm Ihlenfeld excellent post to Evelyn de Waard's Thread (My Best Isn't Good Enough), regarding diagonal lines and weighting within an image and It got me thinking.

While I tend to use diagonal lines a lot in my images, I never really understood why I was attracted to them and what it was that prompted me to use them.  Wilm post encouraged me to look up what the "real experts" say about diagonal lines.  The following is "my paraphrase" of their thoughts on the subject. 

1. Their first point was to contrast diagonals to both horizontal and vertical lines.  These lines (H & V) must be parallel or perpendicular to the "frame" or the edge of the image.  If they aren't, they appear to be a mistake.  Horizonal Lines create a sense of "timelessness" or lack of change, while vertical lines "project a mood of stability and strength".

2. In contrast, diagonal lines are not "compared" to the "frame" of the image in the same way as horizontal and vertical lines.  Diagonal lines can be moved around the image and pointed at what ever angle you wish.  This makes them the most useful "line" within a picture or photograph.

3.  Diagonal Lines imply motion and create "tension" and "dynamics" within an image.  They are most effective when they lead the eye in a certain direction or to the focal point of the image.  

4.  Diagonal Lines feel "most natural" when they move from left to right (more specifically) bottom left to top right (unless you are Jewish, which I understand read from right to left).

5.  Diagonal Lines leading in a different direction (not left to right, bottom to top) add a sense of "action" and grab the attention of the viewer.

6.  The more diagonal lines used, the greater the effect of tension or action within the image.

7.  Diagonal lines, when created by your viewpoint, gives a sense of depth and perspective (i.e. railroad track).

While this may sound like a lot of scholarly language written by the "experts" to impress us, try looking at your next "great" image and see if some of the above doesn't describe "what you like about that image.

While not great images, the attached may help to illustrate some of the above points.  Maybe, just maybe the above may prompt you to include some "diagonal lines"  as you "frame up" your next big seller.

Thanks Wilm and Rudy for your discussion and inspiration.     

 

 

   

IMG_5043.jpg

PA181789.jpg

_MG_4282.jpg

PA182820.jpg

_MG_2038.jpg

P9291113  adj.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...