Christmas. Balls.

I love teaching. And I feel generous—read this post until the end and see why, and see how you can benefit!

First, though, here’s a few snaps from Sunday’s Get Out And Shoot. Starting with a Christmas ball…:

This walk was in downtown Oakville:

So why am I happy?

One of my Sheridan College students just sent me an unsolicited student testimonial:

“Thank you for your wonderful teaching style. I have learned a lot from you as a photographer and have taught me many things and you have always responded to every question I had with knowledge. You make the class like Christmas day.”

I am honoured by this; it is exactly why I teach.

Incidentally, I also teach privately or in small groups. And for all my students, there’s now a 30% discount for any orders (for training or anything else) paid by Dec 31, 2018. To benefit from this, all you need to do is to use discount code Student2018 on http://learning.photography. Happy festive season!

And another event

Sunday I shot an event: a baby shower. In a back yard and inside, and in a tent. Portraits, with two strobes (one with umbrella, one with small softbox), as well as event pics.

The portraits, with or without props, looked like this—and you will see it is all about the light. Hence the strobes, and the subjects in the shade as much as possible. I used a 24-70 for this, as well as the 85mm f/1.2 lens.

Some spontaneous, like this – don’t forget to look for those spontaneity moments…:

Indoors shots were like this, shot with thew 24-70 f/2.8 lens and using a bounced flash—here too, look for people interacting or “doing things”:

And outdoors with a flash aimed directly at the subject, which gets us the subject as the “bright pixels” and saturated colours. And when there’s something happening, look for the right moment. either to get the right pose:

And if you pay attention you can often get “the decisive moment“, in this case the piñata falling to the ground in pieces.

Photos were, as far as I can tell, universally liked, and I bet those who did not have their picture taken regretted it in the end.

Oh and the human species will probably survive, judging by the number of pregnant women present. Like half of them, it almost seemed.

 

iPhoning

Even when using an iPhone, you need to know stuff in order to take the best photos.

Like this one here (click to see it large):

Here’s Five Tips for this type of iPhone photo.

  1. Focus, if needed, by tapping the screen on the object you want to focus on.
  2. Adjust exposure as needed by dragging up or down on the screen at that point.
  3. For a macro shot like this, actually back off a little and crop the photo later. This is a key point.
  4. And most importantly, add plenty of light. This needs to be non-direct light. I prefer outside, but out of direct sunlight.
  5. Finally, adjust your crop and white balance, and anything else needed, afterward, by clicking on EDIT.

Enjoy!


Want to shoot like a pro? Scroll to the previous post to read about the one-week-only Spring Madness Discounts!

Focus Tip: AF-C/AI-Servo and back button focus

I am often asked “can I not leave my camera on AI-Servo (AF-C if you are a Nikon etc)?

The answer is: not a great idea normally. Because you cannot recompose. The moment you try that, taking your focus spot(s) away from your subject, the camera focuses on whatever is behind the subject!

But there is a trick, and I used it today to photograph these amazing insects:

Namely this:

  1. Set your autofocus mode to AI Servo/AF-C.
  2. Select “back button focus” in your camera’s menu (i.e. focus when you press a button on the back of the camera, not whenever you half-press the shutter button).

Now you focus as follows:

  1. Follow the insect, or hockey player, or whatever you are shooting.
  2. While doing this, keep the back button focus pressed, so your camera adjusts to follow the subject’s distance.
  3. But when the butterfly sits and you want to recompose, let go of the back buttoin focus. You can now move the camera to recompose, yet when you shoot, the camera will not adjust its focus.

Done and done!

A quick note about that amazing insect. Nature knows what many beginning photographers do not: you need a catch light in the eye to make it look real and alive. The butterfly’s owl eye has that catch light (the white circle part ion the “pupil”)! Amazing, eh? So learn from nature and always include a catchlight in your portraits.

 

Ajax

That was a good meeting, yesterday in Ajax. I presented “Developing your photographic style”, an all-new presentation, to the Ajax Photography Club, my favourite club.

I shall publish some excerpts here, in the next little while. First, though, one more trip to Europe tomorrow. I apologize for the tardy blogging in the mean time, but that will change.