The most challenging subjects stuff I have ever been asked to photograph is–oddly enough–wedding dresses. I haven’t many occasions to photograph wedding dresses, and although most of them in the setting of the wedding, in a past life I also used to do studio photography for a number of wedding dress manufacturers.
Perhaps one of my most favorite clients was Oleg Cassini, and although I was never privileged to work with the man himself, I was able to photograph his dresses on many occasions. If you’re interested in Oleg Cassini, this is his Wikipedia page:
Certain fashion designers seem to be able to capture that “Je ne sais quoi,” that other designers are incapable of capturing. Oleg Cassini has been written about many, many times, and here is a good example of site that has an interesting article about him:
He is probably not one of the more well-known designers outside of the fashion industry, I mean–everybody has heard of Ralph Lauren or Christian Dior, but I think he’s probably one of the most influential designers of the 20th and 21st century.
Obviously, that is just my personal opinion, but having experienced the opportunity to see his work up close and photograph it, I think that’s a reasonable opinion to hold. one of the main issues with photographing wedding dresses is lighting. Quite often the model will need a different light to the dress, because the dresses tend to be very light and reflective. So, it is crucial to have a large range of lights and reflectors available–and probably a few neutral density filters as well.
When I was working in this field, I was actually shooting with Hasselblad using regular film, although things have moved on since then, and most people now shoot using digital equipment. Including myself of course, because the one thing you need to do when you’re a professional photographer is move with the times. If a client asks you for digital results, you better be prepared to offer them.
I mentioned recently, but I was getting into the “art,” of photographic jewelry, and one of the issues that was faced with is the difficulty of lighting any small and shiny object like engagement rings, our other small pieces of jewelry.
In the things we did to make life easier, probably the simplest one was building a light tent, which is a damn sight easier nowadays with digital cameras that used to be the case with the old film cameras. With the old-fashioned film cameras, it was absolutely crucial to get the color of the lighting perfect, which meant using flash, but nowadays most digital cameras are capable of adjusting and coping with just about any light source. Even if you have to do it post production, it’s not the old days, where if you got the lighting, wrong you would have to scrap an entire batch of film and start again.
Having said that, photographing jewelry still presents certain challenges, not least of which is buying the jewelry to photograph in the 1st place. Of course–and I am now an expert in finding affordable places to buy jewelry. This is my current favorite place–primestyle.com –because I can usually buy the jewelry about 50% cheaper than my local jewelry store wants to charge me.
Anyway, to recap–things much easier nowadays because digital cameras are far better than the old film cameras and adjusting to different light sources, but–some things don’t change, a light tent is that almost a given, as is a decent macro lens. There are numerous digital SLR’s that will do the job of helping you to shoot good quality images of jewelry, as long as you’re not interested in producing extreme size images, such as for a billboard perhaps.
Personally, I prefer to buy equipment that allows me to use it for a variety of tasks, and it goes digital SLR such as the Canon EOS D60, will be useful for a number of other tasks as well as close-up jewelry photography. The chance of me needing a macro lens outside the studio are highly unlikely, they canon offer a wide range of lenses for almost any subject.
A friend of mine recently asked me to take some photos for her – she had been on a jewelry making course and wanted me to recprd the effort and subsequent art work she produced.
I had never been asked to shoot such small items before (I usually work with children’s portraits and the occasional wedding) so I was surprised at the challenge presented. The jewelry she made was small and shiny – so – two obstacles to overcome.
1, Getting in close enough to the pieces to be able to properly focus and 2, building a light tent in order to cut down on the reflections.
This is a similar light tent to the one I ended up making:
Although I was using flash instead of halogen lights. Eventually we got th elighting right and managed to focus close enough to see the details of the jewelry she made:
And if you are interested in taking a class in jewelry making, this is the place she went to - Lake Erie artists – click the link to see the classes they offer. I think she only paid about $35 for her class, although they offer a range of jewelry making classes for beginners up to more experienced sort of artists who are used to working with metal and gems (plus goodness knows how many other sorts of things that people make jewelry out of nowadays.
As you can see from the photo, even though I built a light tent, getting the lighting right is extremely hard because the surface of the jewelry is so reflective.
It is not unusual to be able to see the reflection of the camera or even the photographer reflected in the item if one is not careful. That is why professional jewelry photographers charge so much money for their work. It really is quite a palaver to get the lighting right.
I enjoy amateur photography, and having spent ten years or more honing my skills, I (now) like to think of myself as being a fairly competent one.
I started off with an old instant camera, back in college. I loved capturing life in the moment, ore so because it was also my way of capturing memories. I always did love posing for pictures as a kid, so I guess this was a natural progression for me. Fast forward to now and I remain as keen as ever to ‘capture the moment’, and take the best images that I can.
I generally take photographs for my own reasons, but I also ‘hire’ myself out to friends and family. I say ‘hire’ loosely – photography is my hobby and whilst I acknowledge that I possess some skill, I don’t claim to be a professional one, therefore I come free of charge
Recently I took on a little project for our local dieters club. I’d been a member there myself, along with a friend of mine. I’d spent maybe a year, week after week, going for a weigh-in, pep talks, advice and support. Basically I got to know the gang’.
They wanted to run a little campaign, so that more people in our local community knew about them, knew where they were and could join the club. They needed some photographs taken so that they could have them printed out onto flyers and booklets, which were to be handed out and posted around the town.
Having made quite a few friends whilst I was a member, and being a big fan of the weight watchers dieting plan, I was more than happy to agree. Needless to say we had a fun time capturing some of the members, with some of the images ending up being unsuitable for their intended use.
We got a little silly and started to parody what weight watchers is all about – i.e. I took a load of shots of some of the guys stuffing themselves with candy and cakes. Of course it was all in good fun, and the whole experience was a positive one.
With the increased popularity of smart phones, specifically the iPhone, a new generation of photographers has started to pop up. Nowadays, everyone has a camera on them wherever they go, allowing them to snap more pictures than ever before.
A huge reason why the photography industry is changing is because of improved technology. The cameras that come standard on most cell phones these days have been steadily improving over the years. Now there is no need to take a digital camera with you when you want to take photographs, you can simply pull out your cell phone and snap a high quality picture.
Also, the success of smart phone apps, such as Instagram, has made it possible for people to create professional looking photographs at relatively low costs. These applications allow users to make artistic changes to their photos and share them with the world via their social media accounts. Never before has the photography industry had so many useful, quality tools readily available to anyone looking to take professional quality pictures.
A big allure of iPhone photography is that it is readily available. You never know when a good photo opportunity is going to arise. In the olden days of photography, you would need to have a camera with you if you wanted to take any pictures during your day. Now, you can simply pull out your iPhone and capture life’s precious moments.
Also, being able to share your photos immediately has increased the popularity of photography. Social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter make it possible to share your photos with the world immediately after you have taken your pictures. This can add to the enjoyment of photography and encourage you to take more pictures throughout your day. It can be very entertaining to see what your friends say about the funny sign you came across or the giant plate of food you are about to eat for dinner.
Mobile devicephotography has also enhanced the shopping experience. People who need advice from friends on purchasing a gift or a luxury bed, can easily snap it on their phone and send it via SMS or email to someone who can give their opinion on wether to buy or not to buy.
As cell phone photography technology continues to improve, so will the landscape if the photography industry. More novice photographers will become interested in taking photographs and participating in the art form. The instant gratification that comes with the approval of your peers when they comment on your photos via social media outlets will only further encourage people to take more pictures to share with the world.
I’m getting married in the Fall of this year, and having finally (trust me – it’s been a BIG issue lol!) found the perfect Princess cut wedding band for the Big Day, we’re now finalising all the details with our photographer. Finding the right photographer hasn’t been quite so hard as the wedding ring hunt, but we’ve still had to think carefully about our decision.
A wedding is supposed to be a once in a lifetime kind of event and, like anyone else, we want perfection! Ok – maybe we won’t get a 100% flawless wedding day but we’re trying to get as close as we can! Between ourselves and our parents (who are contributing to the wedding costs) we’ve decided to go with a mixture of both formal and informal photography, as well as a video footage.
We’ve also chosen to have our album created by an overseas company, as we fell in love with the company after a close friend of ours used them because the bride was a native of the country that they’re based in (New Zealand). They’re utterly gorgeous, real individual albums, and though expensive, they’re worth every last penny.
All of our images will be taking with a mixture of both digital and traditional photography, though for the main we’re expecting more digital images. Our photographer has discussed all the finer details of both methods, and we feel that, for us, we want a blend of the two. We’re going to opt for traditional photography for the formal shots, and digital for the informal.
We’re also providing six small digital cameras for our guest to share and use throughout the day, as a means of capturing (we hope!) some very interesting images that our photographer may well miss! Our aim is to end up with an official wedding album, and an unofficial wedding album! Hopefully we’ll have one that we’ll be proud of forever, and one that will make us laugh and smile every time we bring it out!
Whatever happens, we can’t wait for the big day, and we’re 100% sure of one thing … no matter what we’re going to have the most wonderful day of our lives … as well as have it all in print!
A true photographer knows that technique is important, but the right subject is absolutely essential. You have to be interested in what you’re photographing in order for the passion to come through. Otherwise it just becomes a mechanical exercise where all of the fun is drained away. Whether you photograph professionally or as a hobby, it’s important to inspire yourself whenever possible. One of the most interesting subjects that doesn’t get as much attention as it should happens to be food.
Most photographers focus on people or places as and their subjects. While there’s nothing wrong with this, photographing art itself can be incredibly fun as well. After all, the human experience is intrinsic in art and there’s no better example than food. Food is an art after all because it’s an expression of love and personal creativity. Through food you see a person’s passion, interest, and history blended into one. No one prepares dishes the same way, and subtle nuances can make a tremendous amount of difference both in taste and presentation.
There are many aspects of food that can be appreciated, and obviously taste is number one. But let’s not forget that food be appreciated on a visual level as well. The way food looks and is presented plays an incredible role in the overall experience. And in essence, that’s exactly what photography is meant to capture. With food as your subject matter, you can get some great shots that affect people in so many ways. You can create excitement, hunger, desire, or trigger long-standing memories. You can also create a tremendous amount of interest in food that people have never even seen before.
One of the best things about using food as a photography subject is you can do everything yourself. You don’t have to rely on a model to show up on time or for the perfect lighting during the day. You can create your own food at any time you like, and you’ll have the perfect subject that will be there for you the whole time. So whether it’s a fresh desert prepared within ice cream maker, or a perfectly grilled burger off your barbecue, there’s no shortage of wonderful dishes you can shoot. With time and experienced you might be able to get people to see aspects of common food that they have never realized.
Often the pictures you take with your camera will reflect what interests you. Somebody can look at your photographs and will be able to tell what excites you, and captures your imagination. I believe this is one of the most important things about making photography enjoyable. Even children can take fantastic pictures if it is something that they like, such as a family pet, or favourite activity.
If you are capturing an image of something you really like, and have a passion about, it will not make too much difference whether you are taking that shot with a Fujifilm Finepix L55, or a really expensive digital camera. This is because when you are taking a photo of something you love, you know how to get the best out of it.
However photography lessons can teach you techniques that can help you. They can also give you ideas of things you may not have thought of, and introduce to aspects of photography that you did not realise there were.
It is like any other hobby that you take up, there is always something to learn, but it is important to have fun with it too. By trying different techniques you may stumble across a way of making those pictures you enjoy taking even better.
With the advent of easier and easier ways to create video, many new uses are being dreamed up by tech savvy individuals. One of the most useful new ways to implement video that I have seen is by documenting repair steps for mechanics and plant engineers. This has revolutionized repairs because the maintenance guys no longer need to lug a heavy book out to the job site or into the garage to work on the broken equipment or car.
This came to my attention last year when one of the millwrights I work with bought an iphone. Of course, as you know, the iphone can take pictures. Since I am the lead engineer I often times get asked questions by the millwrights about what a symptom means or how to do a job. Greg, the millwright, started taking pictures of anything he didn’t understand and then showing me the photo so I could explain it to him. This worked so well that I started to look for instructional videos on the internet.
When we needed to replace the floor epoxy on our factory floor I found a great site at garagefloorcoatingtips.com which gave step by step instructions that were easy to follow.
I think my experiences should help anybody who is interested in digital video technology to think of new ways to use this simple tool. We have already seen how live action video has completely changed how we learn to cook and exercises have been on video for over 25 years. But what other ideas can you come up with that would lend themselves to video?
Do you have a skill that you want to share with others? Then instead of writing a book or ebook why don’t you just make a Youtube video and spread the word that way. Most people are visual learners so it only makes sense to provide them with a visual way of learning the task instead of forcing them to try to understand the written word.
Looking for a gift for that women in your life that more or less has everything? How about art? Art is something that very few people ever think of giving as a Holiday gift, but it’s one of the most beautiful gifts you could give.
It forces you to think outside your comfort zone about what the individual would love and also speaks to how well you know them.
Think about it, if you’re buying something for your wife or significant other you don’t want to just line up at the cosmetic counter with every other husband out there for the latest wrinkle cream or buy her yet another bath robe. Put your mind to work and get her a piece of art.
Here are a few tips to help get you going
Think about her interests. Does she like to sew, knit, cook? Any of these things could be a clue as to what theme you might want to seek out for a piece of art.
Look at sites such as Etsy.com or Art.com. These sites house a massive amount of paintings, photographs and prints. For instance at Etsy you can literally just plug in a keyword of something you know their interested in and be presented with a bunch of unique gift ideas.
Start early. Don’t leave shopping for a piece of art til the last minute. You could end up having to purchase something you don’t feel 100% about, but don’t have time to continue to look around.