This Weekend’s Flash Course

…was a good thing for all participants. Flash photography is a key to creative shooting.

Here’s me, and yes I need a haircut”:

One of the students outside:, using the Outdoors Recipe (1/250 sec / f8 / 100 ISO):

Charlie (who I think should be called Zoolander) and a shadow:

Learn to use flash, if you do not yet know how to do it. You will be grateful to yourself. I do private training, or you can sign up at a school, or you can read a good book (hint): but however you do it, learn this!

See. Feel. Touch… and read.

Great news. The first of my books is now available as a printed book, from Amazon. 

Go here: https://www.amazon.com/Michael-Willems/e/B01CYO8Z92 and select the paperback edition. It is large (roughly 8×11″) and easy to read – it is also the very latest edition of this, the “know your camera” book.

Perhaps finally time to learn to use that expensive camera? I suggest you’ll find this book a very welcome addition. You’ll finally learn to take it out of the auto modes, for a start – freeing your creativity.  Become the photographer you always wanted to be!

And let me know what you do with your new knowledge.

More printed books soon.

 

Group Tips

Today, a few group tips—an excerpt from my “Portrait Photography” book, whose thoird edition comes out soon.

Tips for posing the family and other groups.

  • Avoid straight lines: each head should be at a different vertical position.
  • Sit–stand–lean: Create a combination of sitting, standing and leaning to achieve this.
  • Avoid having people face the camera straight on; Place people at an angle.
  • Alternate those angles. See who fits with whom, both in terms of relationship and in terms of the “look” of the photo. For individuals, have them turn around and see what flatters them most.
  • Create little groups, by having people face each other, or stand back-to-back.
    “If it has a joint, it is meant to be bent”. Bend at the knees, elbows, wrists, whatever has a joint should be bent somehow,. This gives the photo a much more realistic look and feel.
  • If you have limited space, squeeze people in as much as you can.
  • If you are outside, have the sun in your group’s back, and light the front with flash or reflectors. Do not have your subjects face into the sun (wrinkles show, and people squint).
  • If at all possible, find an elevated position to shoot from. That way, you get a more dynamic picture and you get everyone in easily, without heads being hidden behind other heads.

See? Nothing to it!  🙂

Macro fun

Canada’s silver dollar used to carry the “Voyageur” design on the obverse side. This year, a special 150 year anniversary edition, with the same design in the centre:

The original looked like this:

Those are simple iPhone shots. But proper shots of coins are taken with a macro (or as Nikon calls it, a Micro)  lens, i.e. a close up lens.

And once I do that, I see something amusing. Look at the native person in the front of the canoe.

In the original, he is traveling nude:

In the re-issued coin, he is wearing a loincloth!

I can just imagine the meetings that must have happened on this subject at the Royal Mint of Canada. Though I do wonder about the political correctness aspect: why is nudity so bad?

In any case: it is only the macro lens, in my case the 100mm f/2.8, that allowed us to see this design change. Who knew?