A Photographerâ€™s Guide
Matthew Stebenne Meriam Salem Anna Moneymaker Design
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Table of Contents
Aperture Shutter Speed ISO
Knowing your Camera
Metering Modes White Balance Focal Length Primes
Rules How to submit photos
Blur Noise Incorrect Exposure Focus Shoot raw Selective color Snapshot vs photograph Subject photographer relationship Background
Event Etiquette Suggestions
The Basics a p • e r• t u r e Aperture decides how much light touches the sensor. This is done by blades within the lens that you (the photographer) control. With a low f stop (like f/2.8 or f/1.4), the blades on the lens open wider, causing more light to enter the camera. A low f stop will create a brighter photograph. When choosing a high f stop (like f/14 or f/22), the blades on the lens get smaller, making less light to enter the camera.
Aperture also affects your depth of field. If you’re shooting at a aperture (f/1.4), your depth of field will be more shallow. A shallow depth of field creates a more blurred background and a bokeh effect. A aperture (f/22) will allow for a deeper depth of field, so that more things in your photo will be in focus.
s h u t •t e r s p e e d If your f stop decides how much light your camera’s sensor receives, your shutter speed decides how long your sensor is able to see that light. With a fast shutter speed (like 1/400 or 1/2000 of a second), the sensor only receives light for a very short amount of time, causing less time for light to enter the camera. A fast shutter will create a darker photograph. With a slow shutter speed (like 1/20 or 3’’ seconds), the sensor receives light for a longer amount of time, causing more time for light to enter the camera. A slow shutter creates at a brighter photograph. In general, 1/30th of a second (and anything below it) is considered a slow shutter speed while 1/125th is considered fast and freezes most movement.
Figure 2 Figure 1 - This image shows what the lens looks like at different f stops, or aperture values. Figure 2 - This image shows what the image looks like at different f stops, or aperture values.
I•S•O ISO deals with the camera sensor’s sensitivity. Higher ISO (800, 1600, 2400) means the camera is more sensitive to light. Lower (100, 200) ISO means the camera is less sensitive to light. Higher ISOs allow you to shoot low light events, but at the cost of introducing noise. *Note from Kristie: Our cameras allow you to push ISO to 6400, but I typically like to stay below 3200 because I find that most pictures over that ISO are too noisy and unusable.
Knowing your Camera m e • t e r • i n g m o des Metering is important. Every time you half press the shutter of your camera, it decides on its own what the exposure of the photograph should be. Yet, your camera is nowhere as smart as you are.
tography isn’t a gamble...don’t ever use evaluative metering. Spot: This mode is a favorite among many photographers. This changes the metering point to one simple dot in the middle of your viewfinder. Wherever you put that dot, you are telling the camera you one the one specific area to be evenly exposed. It doesn’t factor in anything besides that one spot. It’s a dream for exposing photos correctly. If you find yourself in a tough lighting situation, you should switch over to this metering mode. Partial: Very similar to spot metering, but instead of one single dot it acts more as a smaller circle. This gives you a little more leeway when dealing with metering.
For example, you attempt to take a photo of a this pumpkin on a semi-manual mode like Tv or Av. If you meter for the highlight (which is the curtain), your camera thinks the entire scene is as bright as the light coming through the curtain, and your pumpkin will be dark (the left photo). When you meter for the shadow, your camera thinks the entire photo is as dark as the pumpkin, and the curtain is completely overexposed (the right).
Center-Weighted: Usually for advanced photographers, this metering technique decides the exposure of the photo based on where your metering point is mixed with the entire scene. This metering mode is harder to use.
By just setting different metering modes, you can avoid under/over-exposing your photos. Evaluative: This mode is the default setting on many cameras. When you use evaluative, the camera decides on its own how bright/ dark the photo you’re taking. Using the pumpkin photo above as an example: if you were shooting Evaluative you have a 50/50 shot of getting either the right or left photo, depending which the camera decides. Pho-
white bal•ance White Balance can make or break a photograph. It’s quite easy to master this basic concept, and when you do you’re life will become so much easier. When dealing with white balance, all you need to factor in is how blue or orange you want your photo to be. White balance is measured in kelvins. If you want a photo to be colder (or more blue), you want to lower the temperature (measured in Ks) of the photo. For example, when shooting outside with a low white balance, photos might turn out extremely blue. This is because (generally) outdoor light is colder than indoor light. You must compensate for the lack of warmth in color by boosting the White Balance to a warmer number. Indoor photos usually come out very orange, so lower the WB to maybe 4000K. Outdoor photos might need a warmer WB of 7000K. REMEMBER: You should always be shooting in .RAW (not .jpeg/ L) so you can always change the white balance in Lightroom/ Photoshop. But it is good practice to understand white balance so you have less work to do while editing.
primes Prime (or Fixed) Lenses are your best friends. These lenses are ‘fixed’ at one focal length, and do not zoom. For example, instead of having a zoom lens like the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8, you might have two primes lenses like the Canon 35mm f/2 and the Canon 85mm f/1.8. Although you might be wondering why you would want the ability to zoom, prime lenses are able to provide unmatchable sharpness and f stop values. Both of these combined will make you never want to take out a zoom lens ever again. Granted, sometimes you will cover events that require quick zooming, but by shooting with prime lenses, you’ll be able to switch quickly and effortlessly. Try them out, because you’ll love them.
Focal Length is basically how much of a scene your lens shows to the camera’s sensor. A wide focal length is something like 10mm or 20mm. This means that you can capture a lot of a scene. Yet, a wide focal length can cause distortion, making (especially with portraits) a subject unrecognizable. With a long focal length (like 85mm or 200mm), you can be much farther away from the subject and still be able to have detail in the shot. Most portraits are done with a longer focal length, because it compresses the background (blurring it out more) and separates the subject better than wide focal length lenses. Decide which would work best depending on what you need to shoot.
Look and think before opening the shutter. The heart and mind are the true lens of the camera. Yousuf Karsh
Photo Editing li g h t • r o o m Lightroom is the best. I sometimes catch myself referring to Lightroom 5 as “bae”, so be careful when you start editing because you might never want to stop. Editing will make your photos so much better, and bring you from being just another person with a DSLR to someone that can make meaningful photos. The Develop Module: After importing the photos you want to edit (by clicking COMMAND-I), you can move over to the Develop Module (which you can see in the top right). From here you have access to a lot of things. A LOT. So we’ll just include a few things you should make sure to look out for when editing photos. The BASIC panel White Balance: Shoot in .RAW, and then correct the white balance in Lightroom. Just move the sliders until things don’t look too blue or too orange. For example, you don’t want a portrait subject to look like a) a cadavre b) an oompa loompa. Exposure: Fix it. You’d be surprised how much light Lightroom can bring back to a photo. Many tend to underexpose, so correct that by bringing the slider up a little more. Vibrance: Sometimes adding a little vibrancy can make a photo “pop” much more. Do it sparingly though, because sometimes it will make the photo look worse.
Clarity / Saturation / Contrast: Don’t mess around with these that much. Really. They are very powerful, and using them with a heavy hand can cause some nice photos to look just… bad. Sometimes you might need to add some more contrast to a shot, and the best way to do this is by playing with the blacks slider, instead of the contrast. THE BEST TRICK IN THE WORLD When in the Develop Module, you can click on a photo and hit (COMMAND-C), which will bring up a screen that will let you copy and paste the setting you have for the selected photos onto any other photos. You can check as many boxes are you want (for example, I usually keep the “crop” box unchecked so that when I paste the settings to other photos, my composition doesn’t get screwed up). If you are shooting an event with the same settings in each shot, this can make editing a breeze!
blur If you review your photos after an event and most of your photos are unusable because they are blurry, here are a few things you should know. Photos are blurry typically when there isn’t enough light reaching the sensor. The quickest and easiest way to rid yourself of the blur while still maintaining a fast shutter speed is to increase your ISO. Also always remember that your shutter speed needs to be at least one stop above your focal length if you want to reduce camera shake and increase sharpness. For example, if you are using a 85mm prime lens your shutter speed should at the least be 1/85th of a second. In general, 1/30th of a second (and anything below it) is considered a slow shutter speed and will cause any movement to blur while 1/125th is considered fast and freezes most movement.
The higher your ISO settings are, the more likely you will see grainy images. The Photo Collective cameras allow you to push ISO up to 6400, but this doesn’t mean you should. If you are shooting a performance, chances are lighting will change between acts and so will the movement of the performers. It is important to be able to use your judgement and actively adjust settings accordingly. In general, most photographers try to shoot at the lowest possible ISO while still being able to adjust the shutter speed and aperture to achieve a certain effect. It is important to remember that this is circumstantial depending on the time of day and event.
in•cor•rect exposure DSLR cameras will meter for an 18% gray tone. The camera meter may be deceived by too much light in the scene (if you’re shooting something bright and white) or the absence of light in the scene (if you’re shooting something dark). This means that you may need to bracket (intentionally over or under expose) your photos and ignore what your camera meter is telling you. For example, if you’re taking pictures of a snowy landscape, you’ll most likely need to bracket your (cont)
(cont) photos a couple of stops - either by opening your aperture more or slowing down your shutter speed - so that your pictures of snow come out white and not gray. For more information on how light meters work and how to bracket, see this link.
snap•shot vs pho•to•graph
shoot raw RAW is an uncompressed file format that allows you to adjust your photos afterwards in Photoshop or Lightroom. If you shoot in JPEG, you lose the ability to accurately and effectively adjust your exposure settings.
s e • l e c • t i v e c o • lor We’re not in middle school anymore...
Good composition defines whether you take a snapshot vs. a photograph. One thing to recognize when it comes to composition is to recognize your photos and reflect on whether they meet some of the basic requirements for composition. Does your photo have a subject? Is it one subject or many subjects? Are your eyes drawn to the subject or are confused by what to look at? Those three questions already define whether your photo is well composed. Of course there are artistic exceptions and you will not always need to be confined to the rule of thirds for an interesting shot, but until you are comfortable with composing your photos in-camera, the basic rules will ensure that you deliver. Another thing to keep in mind when it comes to composition is to be aware of what your shooting. Robert Capa has once said that, “If your photos aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough,” and in many cases that is true. The difference between a snapshot and a photograph comes down to how you compose your
and in many cases that is true. The difference between a snapshot and a photograph comes down to how you compose your subjects.
sub•ject p h o • t o • g r a p h • er rel•a•tion•ship Good composition defines whether you take a snapshot vs. a photograph. One thing to recognize when it comes to composition is to recognize your photos and reflect on whether they meet some of the basic requirements for composition. Does your photo have a subject? Is it one subject or many subjects? Are your eyes drawn to the subject or are confused by what to look at? Those three questions already define whether your photo is well composed. Of course there are artistic exceptions and you will not always need to be confined to the rule of thirds for an interesting shot, but until you are comfortable with composing your photos in-camera, the basic rules will ensure that you deliver. Another thing to keep in mind when it comes to composition is to be aware of what your shooting. Robert Capa has once said that,
“If your photos aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough,”
pay at•ten•tion to the back•ground This has a lot to do with composition, but I felt the need for it to have its own category. It is important to pay attention to your background. If your subject is a living, you do not want tree branches and poles coming through their heads or bodies. No matter how well-posed your subject is, if there is a distraction near it, you have potentially lost an incredible shot. Depending on your skill level in Photoshop it is possible to get rid of such distractions, but do not cause more work for yourself if things can be fixed during a shoot. Remember to be aware of what’s around you. If you need to look at all four corners of your viewfinder before taking that shot do so until it becomes second nature. It is better to know you have a good shot from the start and have fun editing, than later noticing that you have impaled your subject.
Publishing rules Photo Turnaround Policy If you are a hired photographer for an event or have volunteered to be the photographer for a Photo Collective story, you must deliver your photographs within a specific deadline to that organization. For the Photo Collective, photographers follow a 24 hour turnaround policy.This means that within 24 hours of photographing an event, you need to upload your files to the Photo Collective photo computer or e-mail the files to Kristie Chua (auphotocollective@ gmail.com) If you are unable to get into the Photo Collective office within 24 hours of your photo assignment, let Kristie Chua know, either by phone or e-mail of when you deliver the files. When submitting photographs to photo collective via e-mail, compress photos into high resolution jpegs and attach photographs as one zip file onto the e-mail. For photo requests by other Student Media organizations, we typically follow a 24 hour turnaround policy. However, this may be different depending on the timeframe of the photo assignment. Make sure you are clear on your deadlines when you volunteer for the assignment! If you have questions about submitting photographs, call/text Kristie Chua at (303) 246-2185 or e-mail us at auphotocollective@ gmail.com
Expected Photo Contributions Photographers are expected to take at most 50 good photos per event and edit at least 20 photographs for publishing. These numbers may change if you are shooting a paid event and the client wants a specific number. Photo Rights If you shoot under the Photo Collective, you retain all rights to your photographs. However, if you are a paid photographer and the client wants to use your photos for marketing - you may lose the rights to your photographs. This will be discussed prior to agreeing to take the pictures. You will be credited as follows: Photographer Name/AU Photo Collective. If you see an organization or person using your photo without credit, contact the Director of the Photo Collective.
how to subâ€˘mit phoâ€˘tos Compress photos into high resolution jpegs and attach zip in an email attached through google drive or download on the Mac in the Photo Collective office.
Event Etiquette sug•ges•tions When Brandon Stanton, of Humans of New York, takes photographs of people, he offers this advice: “It’s not about what I say, It’s about the energy I am giving off, I try to be very calm.” When it comes to etiquette for photographers, one might say that the only etiquette a person needs is the phrase, “don’t be a jerk.” But how can we as photographers not be jerks when all we want is the perfect shot. How can we not be jerks when we have to crouch in the middle of aisles, at speeches, and take pictures of a speaker, with the sound of our shutter closing right next to a persons ears. Or how can we not be annoying when we’re wondering around parties and randomly putting our cameras into random faces? How can we be as if we are not there? This feat can only be come by with practice, but from the little experience I have had, I can offer a few pointers. Don’t look uncomfortable at events. Be friendly and approach people. Get to know the people at the organization you are photographing for. This may ease the awkwardness. You do not have to be a social butterfly, but you can be a little friendly and learn something new while you are on the job Do not be rude and stand in front of people to get pictures. Try your best to crouch, but do not hurt yourself.
In an aim to act as if you are not there, maybe dress in neutral color clothing. Also dress in comfortable clothing. Do not limit the times you click the shutter button, but also be conscious that your shutter is a distraction at speaking events or plays. Try your best to click the shutter when an audience is either laughing or applauding, but of course if the moment of a good photo presents itself, take it.
“The camera makes you forget you’re there. It’s not like you are hiding but you forget, you are just looking so much.” — Annie Leibovitz
A guide to photography basics and Photo Collective standards.