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Introduction Learning how to take great pictures could take a lifetime. After all, photography is an art form and like all art forms, it takes time, patience and practice to master. There is not one clear path to taking great pictures and a lot of it comes down to the intuition of the photographer and how it resonates with the viewer. The whole process of taking great pictures is highly subjective. That said, there are guidelines and techniques that you can adhere to that will help you along the way. While you may not be taking great pictures overnight, you can start learning how to take great pictures this very moment.

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Table of Contents Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

1

Author and Copyright Notices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Disclaimer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

7

How to Take Good Pictures of Buildings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Intro: How to Take Good Pictures of Buildings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Step 1: Shooting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

8

Step 2: Editing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

9

Related Instructables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

9

Make great long exposure photos. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Intro: Make great long exposure photos. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Step 1: Items/Tools needed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Step 2: Firstly: Find the best location for tripod . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Step 3: Setting the camera . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Step 4: Now go take photos! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Step 5: Alternatives to roads . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Related Instructables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 How to Take Amazing pictures of Lightning! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Intro: How to Take Amazing pictures of Lightning! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Step 1: Setting the Exposure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Step 2: Picture Time! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Step 3: Exposure can also be used for other fun. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Related Instructables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 How to take AWESOME night photos WITHOUT a tripod . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Intro: How to take AWESOME night photos WITHOUT a tripod . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Step 1: Get a digital camera that lets you control it's basic settings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Step 2: Experiment with these settings, and conduct principal photography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Step 3: Pick your ponies, and brag to the local photo developer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Related Instructables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 How To Take Great Close-Up Photos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Intro: How To Take Great Close-Up Photos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Step 1: Executive Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Step 2: What You Need . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Step 3: Buttons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Step 4: Lights! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Step 5: Action (Or Lack Of It) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Step 6: Setup Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Step 7: Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Related Instructables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 How To Take a Great Still Flower Picture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Intro: How To Take a Great Still Flower Picture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Step 1: Setting up for a great picture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27

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Step 2: Using Macros and Super Macros . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Step 3: Taking the Picture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Related Instructables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 How to take pictures of your dog . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Intro: How to take pictures of your dog . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Step 1: Take full advantage of lazy days. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Step 2: Don't be afraid of angles. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Step 3: Get your dog's attention. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Step 4: Take a picture with them. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Step 5: Have fun! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Related Instructables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Photography-the guide to great photos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Intro: Photography-the guide to great photos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Step 1: Step one-buy a good camera . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Step 2: Learning basic controls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Step 3: Additional gear . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Step 4: Main photo concepts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Step 5: The Rule of Thirds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Step 6: Focus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Step 7: Light . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Step 8: Get close! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 Step 9: Communicate with the subject . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 Step 10: Get creative . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 Step 11: To sum it all up . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 Related Instructables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 Create a Perfectly White Background and Wet Effects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 Intro: Create a Perfectly White Background and Wet Effects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 Related Instructables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60 Super Simple Light Tent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 Intro: Super Simple Light Tent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 Step 1: Select materials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 Step 2: Cut the box . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 Step 3: Assemble the Skeleton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 Step 4: Wrap the box . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 Step 5: Add continous background . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64 Step 6: Add light and enjoy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64 Step 7: End Result . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65 Related Instructables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66 DIY Photography Backdrop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67 Intro: DIY Photography Backdrop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67 Step 1: Go get stuff . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Take-Great-Pictures-1/


Step 2: Pipe clamps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68 Step 3: Clamp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68 Step 4: Trim (optional) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69 Step 5: Put it all together . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70 Related Instructables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71 Create a Perfectly Black Background in Photography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72 Intro: Create a Perfectly Black Background in Photography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72 Step 1: Materials for Outdoor Shots . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73 Step 2: Positioning the Outdoor Shot . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74 Step 3: Materials for Indoor Shots . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75 Step 4: Positioning for Indoor Shots . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76 Step 5: Editing in GIMP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76 Related Instructables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77 Photography Tip: Taking Beautiful Photos And Editing Them . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78 Intro: Photography Tip: Taking Beautiful Photos And Editing Them . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78 Step 1: Macro . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78 Step 2: Find Some Nature . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79 Step 3: Editing the photos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80 Step 4: Change The Color . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80 Step 5: Congratz! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81 Related Instructables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81 Photographing Fireworks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82 Intro: Photographing Fireworks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82 Step 1: Equipment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83 Step 2: Camera Setup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83 Step 3: ISO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84 Step 4: Aperture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85 Step 5: Exposure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85 Step 6: Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86 Related Instructables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86 Backyard Bird Photography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87 Intro: Backyard Bird Photography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87 Step 1: Bring The Birds To You . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87 Step 2: Feeder Placement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88 Step 3: Become one with the environment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89 Step 4: The Setup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89 Step 5: Equipment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90 Step 6: Exposure Settings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90 Step 7: Focus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91 Step 8: Burst Mode . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92 Step 9: Sit Back and Wait . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92 Step 10: Process the pictures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93

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Step 11: Expand your Backyard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93 Step 12: In Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95 Related Instructables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95 Tips for Halloween pumpkin pictures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96 Intro: Tips for Halloween pumpkin pictures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96 Step 1: Steady camera, long exposure, no flash . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96 Step 2: Tripod or tripod-like thing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96 Step 3: Background . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98 Step 4: Long exposure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98 Step 5: Place candles to avoid hot spots . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99 Step 6: Shoot from below to create more meancing images. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .100 Step 7: External light . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .101 Step 8: Happy Halloween! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .102 Related Instructables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .102 Simple Picture Merge in Photoshop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .103 Intro: Simple Picture Merge in Photoshop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .103 Step 1: Materials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .103 Step 2: Preparation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .104 Step 3: Taking the Picture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .105 Step 4: Fixing Blemishes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .106 Step 5: Advanced Editing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .107 Step 6: Putting It on the Beach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .107 Step 7: Finished! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .108 Related Instructables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .108 Build a Photography Studio: Softbox, Directional and Umbrella . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .109 Intro: Build a Photography Studio: Softbox, Directional and Umbrella . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .109 Step 1: Softbox . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .109 Step 2: "Directional" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .110 Step 3: Umbrella . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .111 Step 4: Studio Prep . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .112 Step 5: Photos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .113 Related Instructables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .114

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Author and Copyright Notices Instructable: How to Take Good Pictures of Buildings Author: jakedobkin License: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (by-nc-sa) Instructable: Make great long exposure photos. Author: neverknowingwhy License: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (by-nc-sa) Instructable: How to Take Amazing pictures of Lightning! Author: beauwalker23 License: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (by-nc-sa) Instructable: How to take AWESOME night photos WITHOUT a tripod Author: thesparine License: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (by-nc-sa) Instructable: How To Take Great Close-Up Photos Author: bloomautomatic License: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (by-nc-sa) Instructable: How To Take a Great Still Flower Picture Author: ruprecht10 License: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (by-nc-sa) Instructable: How to take pictures of your dog Author: elizmarshall License: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (by-nc-sa) Instructable: Photography-the guide to great photos Author: daniel2008 License: Attribution-NoDerivs (by-nd) Instructable: Create a Perfectly White Background and Wet Effects Author: AngryRedhead License: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (by-nc-sa) Instructable: Super Simple Light Tent Author: wdrwilson License: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (by-nc-sa) Instructable: DIY Photography Backdrop Author: randofo License: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (by-nc-sa) Instructable: Create a Perfectly Black Background in Photography Author: AngryRedhead License: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (by-nc-sa) Instructable: Photography Tip: Taking Beautiful Photos And Editing Them Author: Shadow Dragon License: None (All Rights Reserved) (c) Instructable: Photographing Fireworks Author: SaskView License: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (by-nc-sa) Instructable: Backyard Bird Photography Author: unklstuart License: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (by-nc-sa) Instructable: Tips for Halloween pumpkin pictures Author: ewilhelm License: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (by-nc-sa) Instructable: Simple Picture Merge in Photoshop Author: FrozenStar License: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (by-nc-sa) Instructable: Build a Photography Studio: Softbox, Directional and Umbrella Author: Steve Glen License: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (by-nc-sa)

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Disclaimer All do-it-yourself activities involve risk, and your safety is your own responsibility, including proper use of equipment and safety gear, and determining whether you have adequate skill and experience. Some of the resources used for these projects are dangerous unless used properly and with adequate precautions, including safety gear. Some illustrative photos do not depict safety precautions or equipment, in order to show the project steps more clearly. The projects are not intended for use by children. Many projects on Instructables are user-submitted, and appearance of a project in this format does not indicate it has been checked for safety or functionality. Use of the instructions and suggestions is at your own risk. Instructables, Inc. disclaims all responsibility for any resulting damage, injury, or expense. It is your responsibility to make sure that your activities comply with all applicable laws.

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How to Take Good Pictures of Buildings by jakedobkin on June 1, 2006

Author:jakedobkin My sites: Gothamist.com, Bluejake.com, Streetsy.com

Intro: How to Take Good Pictures of Buildings A guide to architectural photography

Step 1: Shooting The key to good architectural photography is to point the camera straight at the subject. You don't want to shoot as an angle. That's about it-- if you shoot straight, 95% of the job is done. No special lens is required. Shooting straight requires: 1. Ideal shooting position is halfway between the top and bottom of the building (or area of the building). This, of course, requires a ladder, or shooting from the building across the street. Horizontal position is obviously directly opposite the middle of the building, which is often helpfully marked with a door or window. A ladder isn't necessary if you have a Tilt/Shift lens (24mm" works well in many situations), but these lenses are expensive, and aren't available for all lines of SLRs (Canon has a good one, but it's $1100+). TS lenses straighten the converging lines effect that you get if you shoot up at the building from the sidewalk across the street-- you can do a lot of the same thing in Photoshop (see editing step.) 2. Hold the camera with the image plane (back of the camera) exactly parallel to the building. This is tricky and takes some practice. On a positive note, you don't have to hold it perfectly still, because the building is happy to sit still for you. 3. Often, a picture is a bit more exciting if someone is walking by, or if there is an object to grab the eye in front of the building. In the picture illustrating this step, the lamp-post adds a little something extra. If you're going for something in the foreground, make sure to use a smallish F-stop to keep the depth of field deep (F8 or above usually works fine from across the street). This way everything will be in focus. 4. Avoid any distracting elements-- that include: -- lampposts (almost never look good unless they are at the edges, and then only if they are distinctive) -- cars (death to most photographs because they destroy that "what year is it?" quality, and tend to block the front of buildings) -- strange things in the background or foreground, like wires or satelite dishes 5. A word on lighting: buildings always look best an hour before sunset or an hour after dawn, and generally look better on slightly cloudy days. Bright light, particularly in the afternoon, will cast harsh shadows that make buildings look bad. Avoid shooting at noon at all costs. Avoid any shot where you can see clearly delineated shadows, unless they really work.

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Step 2: Editing Once you've taken your picture, you'll need to do three things: crop, color, and sharpen. 1. Crop: A good photo of a building puts the building in a prominent spot in the image (not necessarily the center, but that's where I like it), and keeps the lines straight. Your best tool in this effort is perspective crop in Photoshop. That's the normal cropping tool, but with that little checkbox for "perspective crop" in the toolbar checked. Once you check it, you can drag the four crop lines at skewed angles. The trick is to line each line up with the right side of the building (top line with top of building, left with left side of building, etc.) You also want to maintain the basic dimensions of the picture, and you can't pull the lines too far off 90 degree angles without some major distortion. It's a bit tricky, but practice makes perfect. 1a. Re-crop-- sometimes the Perspective crop screws up the dimensions of the image. If you want to, you can recrop the image to 4.5x3, 4x3, 1x1, etc. 2. Color-- here, I like to use Photoshop's curves (slight s-curve to increase contrast, or rounded middle to brighten midtones, depending on the situation.) You can also use levels, selective color, or hue/saturation, but most pros I use stick to curves. 3. Sharpen-- best to always resize to your final dimensions before sharpening (for instance, I put up 900x600 on my website, so I resize to 900x600 before I do anything else.) Then, if you can, view actual pixels (100% magnification.) Then apply your favorite sharpening method. I use unsharp mask, or lab sharpening (you can look both of those up on photo sites.) 4. Final prep: sometimes you'll want to add a bit of hue/saturation to bump up the colors a bit more, or tool slightly with the contrast, but basically you are done. Save and go home!

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"TERMITE NEST" CITIES -the Next Generation by Thinkenstein

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Optical Illusion Falling Buildings by DoubleVision

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Make great long exposure photos. by neverknowingwhy on June 18, 2008

Intro: Make great long exposure photos. Ever wondered how photographers take cool night pictures of roads in New York with the red and white car lights. In this Instructable I will show you how to create these photos and other tricks using the same method. HOW IT WORKS: These photos are taken using long exposure settings on cameras. The car body doesn't show up in the photo as the road is exposed for a longer time, though the car lights show up as they are lights and will therefore be brighter than the lengthy exposed road.

Step 1: Items/Tools needed You will need: 1) A camera that has adjustable exposure settings. Usually 15-20 seconds is long enough. I find that digital SLRs work the best, though other cameras can be used. 2) A tripod or solid placement . This is to ensure the photo isn't blured by movement. This is esential as the long exposure will mean that any movement of the camera during the 15 or so seconds, will result in the image being blured. You will also need a busy road that isn't well lit by street lights if possible. To create the second type of photo in this Instructable (writing in the air, outlining people and objects) you will need a torch or LED light of some sort, preferably one that is not too bright, but is largely focuses the light straight forward instead of dispersing outwards.

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Step 2: Firstly: Find the best location for tripod The photo angle and tripod position is essential for getting the best photo result. Find a road that is busy at night, but isn't over lit by street lamps and surrounding buildings. Try to ensure that your photo has a key feature in it, like a roundabout or impressive building or road structure. The best results come from positions where the camera is positioned high up on a hill, bridge or building that looks down onto the location of the picture.

Step 3: Setting the camera On the Canon digital SLRs set the mode to TV, this will be different on other cameras so refer to the camera's manual and try to find the fully manual mode. Then adjust the exposure length (this is how long the camera is 'open' for taking the picture). On the Canon this is changed by turning the wheel that is located just behind the shutter button (left to increase the exposure length, right to decrease the exposure length). I find the best results between 15-25 seconds (depending on the time of year, day and level of traffic). You may also get better results by changing the ISO speed. On the Canon this is done by pressing the 'up' button then setting your speed. I find having the lowest speed gives the best contrast between the car lights and other objects in the photo, so I put my ISO speed on its lowest setting '100'. Another setting you may wish to change is the white balance setting. I find the best results on the Shade setting (Approx. 7000k).

Step 4: Now go take photos! Now go take some great photos of your town or city. Experiment with different settings and locations. You can get some great long light reflections if the area is wet (though i wouldn't advise taking these pictures in the rain). Note: If your tripod or camera placement isn't extremely sturdy, you may wish to set the camera on a timmer, so that when you press the shutter button down, it doesn't blur the image at all.

Step 5: Alternatives to roads There are many different light objects that you can photograph using long exposures to get great light photos. Fairs and rides If there's a fair on near you at night, then you could photograph it in the same way. Taking long exposures of rides when they are in motion can create some amazing effects. Fireworks Fireworks are great to take long exposure photos of, and are always set-off at dark night, so there is a good contrast in the photo. You can experiment with your own (BUT REMEMBER TO BE CAREFUL WITH FIREWORKS) or go to a public fireworks event. Light writing and graffitti Set-up in a dark room and get some glow sticks or lights. You can write things in the air, and they will show up in full on the photo. Outlining people or objects with these light trails can create some cool effects, and you can also use a flash to seal people in certain poses.

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How to Take Amazing pictures of Lightning! by beauwalker23 on July 3, 2008

Author:beauwalker23 I'm a 15 year old kid who loves to make stuff with his hands. I hate having to pay someone to fix something, that why i like to fix it myself!

Intro: How to Take Amazing pictures of Lightning! Using you digital camera, I will teach you how to take amazing pictures of lightning. All you need is a camera that you can change to exposure time. I have and love a Cannon PowerShot SD900 . Its exposure can be set to up to 15 seconds .

Step 1: Setting the Exposure In order to take photos of lightning you need to determine how long you cameras exposure can be set, or if it even has the exposure setting. An exposure setting on a camera is telling the camera shutter how long to stay open. The longer the shutter is open, the more light that can be let in. Remember: it must be dark outside to take lighting photos like this, because you are letting light in and during the day the picture will just turn out white due to alot of light being let in. Normally, when looking to find this exposure setting, you will need to change your cameras setting into Manual Mode. Then go into the menu and serch for where it says something like shutter speed or long exposure.

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Image Notes 1. shutter. 2. my camera.

Step 2: Picture Time! Okay, now that you have set up your exposure setting it is time to take some cool pictures! Here are some things you will need: -Tripod (you will need your camera to be completely still during the time the shutter is open) -Lightning Storm (Uhh...duh!) -Patience (it may take some time to get the picture, I suggest setting a custom timer and telling you camera to take 10 pictures with the exposure on) -Shelter (or something so your camera dose not get wet or damaged!)

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Step 3: Exposure can also be used for other fun. You may have seen people "draw with light" well now you know how to. All you need is a flashlight! Just simply walk in front of the camera when you are taking the picture and "draw" with the flashlight!

Image Notes 1. brother

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How to take AWESOME night photos WITHOUT a tripod by thesparine on May 28, 2007

Intro: How to take AWESOME night photos WITHOUT a tripod This instructable will teach you how to use the normal digital camera you already own to take night photos that are not blurry, and without a tripod. Don't believe me? The photos on this page were shot just last week with my digital camera without a tripod. Read and learn, grasshopper! And press the "+" sign on this instructable so I can get closer to winning that dad-gum laser carver thingee. (sample photo shot at ISO 400, 6/10 of a second, no tripod, of the downtown Omaha skyline)

Step 1: Get a digital camera that lets you control it's basic settings By basic settings, I don't mean resolution, zoom lens, or movie mode. The only settings you will need to control are ISO, exposure time (shutter speed), aperture and shooting mode. Relax, you don't have to run out and buy a new fancy-shmancy digital camera to do this. Most digital cameras that aren't the bottom-of-the-barrel or older than 3 years old will let you do this. Usually you just have to set the camera into "custom" or "manual" mode to accomplish this. If you want to know how to set up these features on your digital camera, consult your owner's manual just like I had to do. Also, while IS or VR (image stabilization or vibration reduction) can help, they are not necessary. All of the sample shots on this instructable were shot on a several-year old Canon A620 that lacks IS, and only goes up to ISO 400. If you need to update your camera, and got some dough, I would recommend buying the Canon SD800 IS. If you don't got $300, but have $200, then I would get what I got, the Canon A620. If you only have $100, go on eBay and buy a used Canon A530. All 3 will enable you to do this instructable. Here are a few guideline definitions that you can skip, but I am including them just so all the photographic "measurebators" don't have a hissy fit: ISO = how sensitive your camera is to light. ISO 200 is twice as sensitive as ISO 100. ISO 400 is twice as sensitive to ISO 200. The more sensitive (higher ISO) the shorter the exposure needs to be for a similar image. So why not jump to ISO 1600? Because in digital cameras, that will make for a very grainy photo unless you got an electronically cooled CCD like they use for photographing astronomy. Most "normal" digital cameras only go up to ISO 400, anyways. And yes, there is a bit of noise in these photos, but the end results are more than passable when printed on a high-quality printer. Exposure (shutter speed) = how long your shutter will stay open, allowing light to collect on the image sensor. 1:15 is 1/15 of a second. 1:4 is 1/4 of a second. Remember, in shutter speeds less than a second, the LARGER the bottom number, the SHORTER the exposure (provided that a 1 is the numerator) 6/10 is more than twice as long as 1/4. Also, camera shake can cause blurry photos at settings longer than 1/15. Aperture: F-stops are different settings allowing different amounts of light to enter your camera. This is different from exposure, in that the aperture is that funky iris/anus looking thing that is a series of connected sheets that either open or contract to make a hole get bigger or smaller. Think of the opening to the old James Bond movies where that aperture starts as a small dot and opens up to get bigger. If you watch the LCD on your camera and adjust the aperture, you will see which setting opens up the iris to allow more light in by watching your LCD become brighter or dimmer.

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(UPDATE: No, these definitions aren't taken from Standard Photographic Definitions 9th Edition or New England Journal of Expert Photographic Advice and Medicine. These are thumbnail definitions, and I am not an expert. I am just trying to explain what I think is correct to people that don't know any better. If you know something I don't know, I'm not surprised. Post it in a comment below and show the world how wrong I am.) (sample photo shot at ISO 200, exposure 1/5 of a second)

Step 2: Experiment with these settings, and conduct principal photography Here is the philosophy: It is true, that with exposures slower than 1/15 of a second, you will get more blurry photos. But, it is also true, that with exposures as slow as 6/10 of a second NOT ALL of your photos will be blurry. (UPDATE: and by blurry I am referring to "naked-eye" blurriness when viewing it after it has been printed and from a reasonable viewing distance. If you look at the image pixel by pixel on your computer screen it will probably look blurry.) So the philosophy I am preaching is this: take lots of photos at a few different settings, and you are DESTINED to have a few winners. Actually, many more winners than you think. And you won't have to take hundreds of photos every time you want to take a nice night picture. The following instructions are only to be used the first time you take night photos, in order to determine which setting for your camera gives you the best results. Then in the future all you have to do is set your camera to your preferred settings, and take 5-15 frames so you can be sure to have one that isn't blurry. It's a small price to pay to finally get to bury that g-d tripod and actually get to capture the cool night shots when you see them. The first thing you have to do is make sure you have a large-capacity memory card for this. With my A620's 7 megapixel full-resolution size, I like to load a 1GB card. This will be fine. Second, set your shooting mode to "continuous," meaning that as long as you are holding down the shutter button, your camera is taking pictures. Next, experiment with these settings: ISO at 200 and 400, shutter speed from 1/15 of a second to 6/10 of a second (or whatever looks good on the LCD as you adjust settings), and aperture set to whichever setting allows the LCD to appear as bright as you want the photos to be. In otherwords, set ISO first, shutter speed second, and aperture to the brightest setting. Now, start taking pictures. Hold down the shutter so you get 5-15 shots at each setting, experimenting with the variables. Take lots of pictures. Try to hold the camera as still as possible while doing this. Cheat if you have to. Lean against a parking meter, bus stop sign, railing, tree or wall. Sit on the bumper of your car or indian style on the curb. Get as still as you can, but whatever you do, don't lug a tripod with you when you take these shots. Your first night photography session after reading this instructable should easily net you 200-300 pictures. If you don't have a large enough memory card, then lower your image resolution to the smallest setting just so you can take a shitload of pics. At this point, like the old lie goes, "size doesn't matter." This is an experiment just to see which settings your particular camera loves most for hand-held night photography. Now, after taking a few hundred shots of your city's skyline at about 10pm, using continuous shutter mode at a variety of settings, go home and prepare to be amazed. (UPDATE: Upon further reflection, I have reconsidered and logic tells me it actually might work better if you set your aperture (F-stop) to the widest setting first so that the most amount of light is entering to begin with. "So is that the large F-stop number or the small F-stop number?" I have no idea. It is whichever setting makes the LCD the brightest as you adjust it. After you got the F-stop opened up, then set the ISO, then the shutter speed or exposure or whatever it is called on your digital camera.) (sample photo shot at ISO 200, at 1/4 of a second)

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Step 3: Pick your ponies, and brag to the local photo developer Load all the images into your computer, and start looking at them one at a time. If it is blurry, get rid of it. Throw it out NOW. This alone should pare your 300 photos down to about 50-100 photos. Next, go through the photos zoomed in a little (NOT zoomed in at pixel level though) and look for only "The Best" ones. In other words, if you don't say "wow!" when you look at the photo because it is still a tiny bit blurry, or it is too dark or something, then get rid of it. This second culling by saving only the best photos will further reduce your pool to probably 20-50 photos. Now, look at these remaining pictures one at a time, and pick your top few pics, throwing the others out. After you do this, then look at the "info" part on each photo and rename the pictures to the settings for ISO and shutter speed, just like I have done with all the photos for this instructable. Now, all that is left to do, is burn these pics to a disc and run around your neigborhood getting reprints made at any local photo counters and compare the results. I took my pics to a high-end camera store in my city that prints photos called Rockbrook Photo, Wal-Mart, Target and Walgreens and made 8x10s of all 4 of my favorite photos. The prices ranged from $5.99 at the fancy camera shop to $2.50 at Walgreens. Results: #1 is Walgreens, a close #2 is Wal-Mart, and nobody believed me when I told them I shot the night pictures on a digital camera without a tripod. Now because of this experiment I now know exactly what settings to use on my camera next time I see a great night shot. But REMEMBER: with these settings you still have to use continuous shutter mode and be sure to take a good 5-15 shots at this setting because most of them will be blurry, but not all of them. Now go forth tonight, take pictures of your boring-old skyline, and then make the counter people drool at your local photomats when you tell them you shot those beautiful night shots with your normal digital camera without a tripod. AND, vote for this instructable so I can win the laser-carver thingee! AND AND, post your cool night-pics as a comment to this instructable so I can justify to my family that the time I am spending making instructables is making a difference in people's lives, albeit, unknown stranger-people that are also shunning their family. (sample photo set at 400 ISO and 1/10 of a second, no tripod)

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How To Take Great Close-Up Photos by bloomautomatic on September 10, 2009

Intro: How To Take Great Close-Up Photos Taking great close-up photos is much easier than you think. Based on the multitude of blurry detail pictures I've seen on ebay and craigslist, it must be a skill many don't possess. With these skills I've become that guyat work they come to when someone needs a good picture. (This is an entry in the photo contest, so please vote if you like it!) Note (10/29/09) - Thanks to everyone who voted for this! Your participation is appreciated.

Image Notes 1. Close-up of wire rope measuring 3/32" (or 0.093" or 2.3mm)

Step 1: Executive Summary I'm going to start with the executive summary instructions for those who don't want a big explanation, then go into the how and why of it all for those who do. Set the focus to macro mode, turn off the flash, and set the timer. Set up the camera on a tripod, or on a table so it won't move. Place the object to be photographed in front of it. Press the shutter button and take your hand off the camera. That's all there is to it. If you want more of an explanation, read on, if not I hope this helps you.

Image Notes 1. High tech combination pen cap/camera shim 2. Keep the subject parallel to the lens. I used thumbtacks to hold this up. 3. Canon A560 Powershot

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Step 2: What You Need A camera with a macro setting. (I wasn't going to put this as it seems way too obvious, but if I didn't I'd probably get a comment about it.) Optional items include a small tripod and some way of holding the item you want to photograph. Modeling clay or some push pins or anything like that usually works well for holding coins or irregular shaped objects. There are a few instructables on making tripods out of tennis balls and the like. Give it a search when you're done here. Sometimes you can get away with propping the camera up on something to get the correct angle.

Image Notes 1. Keyboard Filth

Step 3: Buttons Take a look at your camera. There's probably a button with a flower on there. That's the macro button. Or maybe it just says Focus. For close-ups, the macro button is your friend. The macro setting is designed to allow the camera to focus on subjects that 18 (45cm) away. Now take another look, this time for a button with a lightning bolt on it. That's the flash button. For most close-ups, the flash is not your friend. For close up shots, the flash is much too bright and can cause a bad reflection on shiny materials. And last, you need to find the timer button. Usually it's a circle with a line from the center out to the edge. This isn't absolutely necessary, but it's very helpful to have. We'll discuss that more later. On some cameras these features will have to be accessed through one of the menus. Check your manual on how to find those. There are far too many cameras to go into specifics here.

Image Notes 1. Macro Button 2. Flash Button 3. Timer Button

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Step 4: Lights! Also you need some sort of light source. The more light the better, but you don't want it too harsh. Diffuse light is best, such as on an overcast day where there aren't many shadows. A naturally lit room is usually bright enough. Most of these pictures were taken in a room with a skylight on a day with average sun and with a 60w desk lamp above the items. Here's the thing about light. When you turn off the flash, the camera automatically compensates for it by leaving the shutter open longer. The longer the shutter stays open, the more chance there is for you to move the camera and cause motion blur. Longer shutter times can also lead to more noise or graininess to the picture. Most cameras will give you a shaky camera warning icon when the shutter time gets longer than 1/30th of a second or so. The more lighting you have, the shorter your shutter time will be and the less chance you'll get camera shake. IF you have a situation where you don't have enough light, don't fret, that's where the timer comes in. Note: I know a digital camera doesn't really have a shutter in the true sense, exposure is probably a better term, but this is what I went with. Either term gets the point across.

Step 5: Action (Or Lack Of It) Even if you have the camera on a tripod, there will probably be some movement when you press the shutter button, unless you have nerves of steel. This is where the timer setting comes in. Most cameras have a 10 second, and probably a 2 second timer. Either one will work, but the two second is better for impatient people like myself. The key here is to have the camera set up, press the shutter and move away so you are not moving the camera when it takes the picture. This will ensure there is no motion blur.

Step 6: Setup Considerations When using the macro setting, the depth of focus gets pretty tight. That means the camera is in focus for a very narrow distance. Anything closer or farther from that target area will be out of focus. In the picture of the tap taken on an angle, the tip of the tap is out of focus, the middle is in focus, and the back end is out of focus. On the picture taken from the side, the tap is in focus for its entire length. You can also see where it loses focus by looking at the specks in the gray pattern. On most cameras, if you partially depress the shutter button, a box will pop up showing you where the camera is focusing. Some settings make this the center of the frame, others use some Skynet artificial intelligence to guess what's the item of interest and focus on that. Make sure the focus box is on the item you want to have in focus.

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Image Notes 1. Out of Focus 2. In Focus 3. Out of Focus

Image Notes 1. In Focus

Step 7: Conclusion Macro pictures look cool. Most people don't know how to take them well and are easily impressed by them. Good pictures of small parts can make all the difference in an ebay auction or a craigslist posting. As a mad scientist, I often use it for taking pictures of test results and using it to see details too small to see with the naked eye. Doing a quick measurement of the tap on my screen, my 7 megapixel camera gives me about an 8x magnification when viewed on the screen at full size. For more detail, you need to get into microscopy. That instructable will be coming along soon. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a good macro picture must be worth&the one thousand and sixty-nine words here. Since the small photos here don't really do it justice, I have the full size images here: http://www.bloomautomatic.com/3546.jpg http://www.bloomautomatic.com/3547.jpg http://www.bloomautomatic.com/3549.jpg http://www.bloomautomatic.com/3550.jpg

Image Notes 1. I think this is an ancestor of Rocky...

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Image Notes 1. SD Card

Image Notes 1. 9/32" wire rope (0.093" or 2.3mm)

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How To Take a Great Still Flower Picture by ruprecht10 on September 11, 2009

Intro: How To Take a Great Still Flower Picture This instructable will take you through the steps of taking still flower shots (specifically lilies). I took a recent trip to a lily farm and took some pictures, and I am going to give you some tips to help you take some really nice pictures.

Step 1: Setting up for a great picture Ok first things first you need to set up your flower for the picture. You will need a place with good lighting and a good background. I have uploaded a picture of my set. In my set I had a whole patch of flowers so I could get some flowers in the background.

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Step 2: Using Macros and Super Macros To take my pictures I used a feature called super macros. The macros and super macros effect allow you to zoom in for a picture and it will still focus. Some cameras do not have this special feature, but some do and for those of you who have this feature I would take advantage of it. To activate the macros effect there is usually a button with a flower symbol on it. To activate the super macros effect just hold down the macros button and it should go to super macros. The macros feature allows you to take pictures like the one below.

Step 3: Taking the Picture Once you have set up the picture's scene and (if you can) have turned on macros/super macros you are ready to take the picture. Align the camera with the flower so you can see a clear nice view of the flower on the camera hold the capture button down have way and the camera should automatically focus the image. Once you are satisfied with the focus an view of the picture press the capture button the rest of the way and take the picture. Now you are ready to show your friends that you can take a fine picture of a flower.

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How to take pictures of your dog by elizmarshall on September 28, 2009

Author:elizmarshall I'm a second year at UWG. I'm Majoring in English Education, and I am still debating on a art minor. I love my life and all thats in it. I am so thankful to be so blessed!

Intro: How to take pictures of your dog Taking pictures of pets is not easy. They always seem to look away or move at the last second. Getting good pictures of man's best friend can be down right frustrating, but here are some tips to make your photo taking experience a good one with your pet! (This instructable is also in a contest, so please vote! :] Thanks!!)

Step 1: Take full advantage of lazy days. Has your pet ever had a day they just laid around all day and didn't want to play? Take this opportunity and stick a camera in their face! There is no better time than now to get those adorable pictures of you dog sleeping. Most of the time, when they're tired, they will even look straight at the camera lens giving you those pictures that your friends will swear you must have paid to get you pictures professionally done.

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Step 2: Don't be afraid of angles. Get a photo of your dog's paws or nose. If your dog's ears perk up every time they see you, get a picture. Not only are these pictures a little more artistic and fun, but they also become more sentimental.

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Step 3: Get your dog's attention. Take your pet outside to somewhere they always go (the park, your backyard, etc). This gets them in their element where they are more likely to listen to you instead of explore. Get your camera ready and say their name. Try making weird noises at them, too. They will focus their attention on the new sounds you're making and may even tilt their head for a cute picture. Holding toys and treats in your hands seems to work wonders as well.

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Step 4: Take a picture with them. Ever heard of the term "myspace pic"? It refers to the way people turn their cameras and take pictures of themselves. Do this with your dog! This gives you a chance to hold your dog and make sure they're sitting still for the picture. This is a really good idea for small dogs who tend to be hyper.

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Step 5: Have fun! If your dog sees that you are having fun with them, they will have fun! Pictures always seem to turn out better when you and your dog have enjoyed spending the day together. Your pet loves to spend time you and get all that attention, so grab your camera and be creative!

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Photography-the guide to great photos by daniel2008 on September 12, 2009

Intro: Photography-the guide to great photos Learn the skills you need to start taking photos that will draw attention. In this guide i'll take you through the stages leading up to becoming a good photographer.

Step 1: Step one-buy a good camera -This is of course if you don't already have one. If you do, you should consider whether the camera you have is good enough for the pictures youre aiming to take. This might be a hard decision and in this step i will take introduce you to the types of cameras and what each type could be used for to help you understand and choose the right kind. Key: ***** (five-star, highest) -Basic Point n' Shoot cameras- easy to use with good automatic controls that help you take a good picture. (also: compact and energy efficient) Point and shoot cameras are aimed at the general public who want a way of easily taking decent photos. These kinds of cameras are very rarely used by professional photographers as they don't have good enough manual operation modes. Good for shooting at parties. If you are a beginner and want to learn the basic scene modes and photo setups then a point and shoot camera will both be a good way to start as well as being relatively cheap. Price: ** (large range of prices- usually below 300 USD) Ease of use: ***** Photo quality: *** (depends on camera) -Semi pro Super Zoom cameras- provides the ease of use of a point and shoot and the functions and manual control of an SLR while offering extensive optical zoom. This new branch of digital photo cameras is growing popular among the general public for their ease of use yet multitude of functions. New features such as HD video recording, optical stabilization and higher resolution electronic view finders (EFV) have made these cameras worth their price. Super zoom cameras cost more, but offer very high optical zoom (as high as x24) and have decent manual operation modes with adjustable exposure and aperture. These cameras are probably the most versatile as they are compact, have an easy shoot mode as well as manual. If you are considering serious photography and have had some previous experience with point and shoot cameras i would suggest buying a super zoom camera as they still have an AUTO mode to take those difficult photos. Price: **** Ease of use: ***

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Photo Quality: **** -Professional Digital Single-Lens Reflex Camera (D.SLR)- preferred by professionals for their optical viewfinders, fast shutter speeds, large photo sensors and manual operation. The DSLR camera is most commonly used among professional photographers today. These cameras sport interchangeable lenses, powerful high-res photo sensors and a multitude of functions. But all this comes with a price. Some DSLR's exceed 5000 USD, and thats just the body. I strongly discourage beginners to get a DSLR. A DSLR is harder to use and it's not like you can be at a party or hanging out with friends and ask someone to take a picture for you, as specific knowledge is needed to take good pictures. So you'll probably be stuck doing all the photography for the evening yourself. If you have had previous experience with photography and understand how to manually control a camera then a Nikon D60 or a Canon EOS Rebel 400D would be relatively cheap and easy cameras to move on to. Price: ***** Ease of use: * Photo quality: ***** I personally own a Canon SX1 IS Super-zoom camera with which i'm very pleased. When choosing the type of camera first decide what you will be using it for and how much you are prepared to pay for good photos. (all photos in this instructable are taken by me personally- (c) Daniel Feidal 2009)

Image Notes 1. point and shoot cameras-easy to use, few and simple controls, cheap price. but not so good photo quality.

Image Notes 1. Super zoom cameras-Very high optical zoom, good photo quality, many functions, decent manual control, cost- below $1000

Image Notes 1. an SLR- complicated manual controls, good image quality, interchangeable lenses but expensive

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Image Notes 1. My Canon SX1 IS. Photo taken in a light box.

Step 2: Learning basic controls The controls of a camera vary by it's type. Point n' shoot cameras usually have very basic controls that most people know so i wont include them in this step but rather focus on teaching you the general terms used in Super Zoom and DSLR cameras. I won't go very deep as the best way for you to learn would be for you to pick up the camera and start experimenting with different settings. The main controls of my Canon super zoom are shown below with labellings. The modes are common with most cameras, including DSLRs but may vary in name or annotation. The controls of a camera are situated on the body usually on the top and on the back surrounding the LCD. Modes and settings may be changed using the buttons on the camera (usually the most important ones) or in the menus that can be browsed through on the LCD display. The best way to learn these controls will be, as i already have said, to browse through them, changing them then seeing what effect that has on the picture you then take. But some general knowledge of the annotations used for the settings is necessary so that you may understand what happens when you change them. Shutter Speed-this is the term used to discuss the exposure time or the time length the shutter is open. A slower shutter speed will let more light in on the sensor, whereby making the image brighter. A faster shutter speed will do the opposite. Aperture-this is the term used to discuss the opening through which light enters the camera. The lens aperture is usually specified by a f-number. A high f-number meaning a small opening and a low f-number a large opening. Aperture is used to regulate the amount of light falling on the image sensor and is often used in combination with shutter speed to make a good picture. Exposure value (EV) - is the notation given to the combined values of shutter speed and aperture. ISO-or film speed denotes the image sensors sensitivity to light. A high ISO value would mean a high sensitivity to light, and a low ISO the opposite. If you feel i'm missing any of the important features please feel free to comment below and i'll add them above.

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Step 3: Additional gear If you don't already have the things in the list below you might want to consider getting them. -Tripod: (will greatly reduce, if not all, vibrations causing blurriness in your photos especially if you are taking long exposure photos.) -Camera bag: (helps a lot if you get one with a few different sized pockets or compartments to store SD cards, extra batteries or other stuff you'd want to bring along.) -Protective UV filter lens: for expensive DSLR's or super zoom cameras with a lens hood/filter mount.(both because UV filters are cheap, protect the lens and reduce the fogginess created by UV light) -A lens hood: Very useful for reducing lens glare in DSLR's or super zoom cameras. -A lens cleaning kit: Most point and shoot cameras have a small lens and don't tend to get dirty easily. But this kit is essential for a DSLR, as their large lenses are easily dirtied by both fingerprints and dust. + Extra batteries and more memory than you expect to use.

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Step 4: Main photo concepts Before you start there are a few concepts that should be considered. -The rule of thirds-the rule states that if you draw two equally spaced lines both horizontally and vertically forming a grid on the image placing the most important components at the intersections creates more interest, tension and energy in the onlooker than centering the subject/components would do. -Focus-make sure you decide what you want to focus on, usually the focus would be set on the main subject of the photo. -Light-This is often one of the hardest things to get right in a photo. Refrain from using flash as much as possible, rather try to capture the natural light of the scene. If you have too use the flash because it's too dark then do so. If you are taking pictures in the dark you may want to use a tripod and use a long exposure time to get a good photo. -Get close-I you can then get as close as possible to the subject. It is not fun for people looking at you're pictures if they have to search for the reason or subject of the photo. -Communicate with the subject-don't just take random pictures of people or animals. Make sure you make contact with them, get them to look at you and smile or show some emotion-or none if thats relevant to the picture. -Get Creative - Don't just shoot from the same boring angle or stuff that other people take photos of. Try to different angles, close up or far away and in different light conditions. Make good use of exposure control and shutter speed variations.

Step 5: The Rule of Thirds The Rule of Thirds is based upon the idea of dividing the frame/image into 9 equally sized boxes by placing 4 lines across forming a grid as shown below in the first picture. It is believed by many photographers that placing the main subject on the intersections of the lines stresses the subject more whereby raising interest and excitement within the person viewing the image than a photo with the subject is merely centered. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't have any other objects situated at the other intersections not occupied by the main subject of the image, but that a good combination of distance and focus should be used (usually the main subject will be in focus and close up). To demonstrate how all this works: Photo 1- shows the grid lines as they should not be placed when taking the picture. The main subject (the kittens face) is centered and the object in the background is not rightly placed either. You should also take note of unnecessary things that might come into the field of view- in this pictures case the pine needles of a nearby tree that protrude from the right top of the image. These are bound to attract attention, and will distract the viewers attention from the main subject. Photo 2- shows the grid lines aligned rightly. The kittens face occupies two of the stress points The field of view has also been adjusted to avoid unnecessary objects (the pine needles) from being seen. Note also that the kitten is in focus whereas other objects in the stress regions are out of focus.

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Step 6: Focus Focus-i'm not going to go into the basics of what focus is and how it works as most of you would know that from middle school science lessons. (if you have no idea what it is click on the link below ) [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Focus_(optics)] Let us rather look at some examples of photos and how the different focus points affect the viewers interpretation of the photo. (see the photos with notes below) In general when you see a potential photo, you should be able to interpret the scene and decide beforehand what you are going to focus on. This is of course if there are more than one object that fall into the field of view-if you are taking a photo of a single object you would definitely focus on that one object. A photographic scene can in most cases be divided into three "focal depths" . -Close -Middle -Distant In most cases you'd want to have the main subject of attention within the Close or at least the Middle range focal depth of the photo. Photo 1-shows the most common setup for photos with a primary subject in either the close or middle ranges, and a background in the distance. Photo 2-Demonstrates this in reality -i know the background isn't very far away, but it demonstrates how , when focusing on close objects in this case the poker chips-the distance is out of focus, meaning the poker chips are more important in this image Photo 3-an example of distant range focusing-the viewers attention is drawn to the painting in the background which is in focus (yes the tray of poker chips also comes into focus as it is not so much middle range as i'd like it-limited space) Photo 4-a demonstration of a scene where almost all points of the scene are at the same focus range.

Image Notes 1. photo 1

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Image Notes 1. close range 2. middle range 3. (not so) distant range 4. photo 2


Image Notes 1. photographer wan't to draw attention to the painting/background 2. poker chip tray manages to grab some attention too, as they are incorrectly placed 3. photo 3

Image Notes 1. photo 4

Step 7: Light Light- what photography is all about-capturing it! It is one of the hardest things to get right in a photo, but mastering it gives great satisfaction. Let me start by saying avoid using a flash as much as possible!! A flash will whiteout all the color of the picture, creating a very fake, cold image if the scene. Take for example photo one and two-photo 1 may be less blurry when looked at closely, but photo 2 captures the atmosphere and temperature of the scene much better. If you're going to use flash less, that means that in low light conditions holding the camera in you're unsteady hands will not be adequate. Buy a good tripod (make sure it comes up to a comfortable height without having all of each section of the legs fully extended so as not to make it wobbly.) and carry it around with you when you know you will be taking pictures in low light. Photography of moving objects in low light may be hard as they'll become blurry without the flash to freeze them. Learn a good combination between the fastest shutter speed and ISO control which allows for the right amount of light. Make sure you're aperture is at it's largest (f-stop value is at it's lowest). In full manual control you should be able to set all these values. Sometimes low light scenes such as a street at night may be photographed using extended exposure times-low shutter speeds. This can often create the "fake" daylight effect, and create cool light trails from moving light sources such as cars as well as creating cool ghost effects from moving people. Photo 3-demonstrates light trails created by car tail-lights, make sure you don't over expose some areas of the photo-bright light sources such as street laps or lighted signs are often over exposed as they make more light than other parts of the picture. Experiment with different exposure times for different results. Photo 4-here i had to use a slower shutter speed of about 2s as the ride was moving very fast and there is a lot of direct light. People also turn out better thanks to this. Photos 5-6 other examples of low light photography. Light also has to be interpreted correctly in daytime or high light conditions. The shutter speed, ISO and aperture can of course be adjusted to fit high light conditions too. Experiment with these to find the best combinations. In most photos the general rule for sunlight/light sources is, do not take photos directly into the light. Of course waiver from this rule to create a specific effect. But it will work almost every time if you take photos of the sunny side of objects. Make sure to avoid over exposure in high light areas-if the camera has a review mode where white areas flash, this means that the area is over exposed and white= no data. You want to avoid this. Work with the histogram function(the little graph that in most cameras appears if you multiple press the display function)-a level histogram without sharp peaks means a good range of exposure. Photo 7 gives a good example of the light law being broken, as the photo is taken into the sunlight, but the effect it creates when shining through the leaves is spectacular. Photo 8 shows how light falls on the object from the left side, creating an interesting light gradient effect-be creative when using light. Photo 9 uses light to it's advantage to accentuate the bulge of the boats hull (the shadow cast). Keeping light behind the camera also helps bring out the bright colors of the boat and still keeps the deep ocean blue of the sky behind. The photo has a overall good distribution of light, the most being on the main subject-the boat, whereby attracting most of the attention to itself. (all photos in this instructable are taken by me personally- (c) Daniel Feidal 2009)

Image Notes 1. extreme concentration ;) 2. photo 1

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Image Notes 1. photo 2 2. my curious cat wouldn't sit still for long :P 3. a more realistic light effect is created like this 4. even though i didn't use a flash the blurring is not prominent when ISO, f-value and shutter speed are set correctly


Image Notes 1. could be slightly over exposed 2. photo 3 3. clouds make dramatic background

Image Notes 1. photo4

Image Notes 1. photo 6 Image Notes 1. photo5

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Image Notes 1. photo 7 2. distant focus range 3. note the middle focus range-when in macro mode even close objects fall into the middle range of focus

Image Notes 1. photo 9

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Step 8: Get close! Get close!-the name says it all. Get as close as you can without chopping pieces off the subject such as arms or legs. Nothing can express it as good as some pictures so just browse through them and have a look at the notes if there are any.

Image Notes 1. a good combination of light and closeness 2. i could have avoided this mistake though

Image Notes 1. make good use of the macro

Image Notes 1. demonstrates both focus light and how you should get close

Image Notes 1. applying the rule of thirds may be hard in most cases with people, especially if you want to take close-up's

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Image Notes 1. close up-the blurry effect is added after in photoshop

Image Notes 1. rule of thirds quite well seen here

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Image Notes 1. sometimes shadows cast by your lens just wont let you get closer


Step 9: Communicate with the subject Communication may not be that easy with inanimate subjects, but make sure you communicate with people or animals you take pictures of. Emotion is something that everyone feels and reacts to-so the viewer will feel the emotion of the person in the picture if you can take it right. Make sure the person knows you're about to take the picture and make sure to capture the emotion of the moment. Try for sincere emotions.

Image Notes 1. capturing the smile on the boys face, what fascinates me is that you can see he is smiling from his eyes

Image Notes 1. a quick whistle caught the attention of this dog in a small village in the Thai mountains

Image Notes

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1. example of genuine emotion

Image Notes 1. applying creative effects to the photo such as this focal blurring help accentuate the main subject

Step 10: Get creative And finally- Get creative! While it might be a good idea to imitate other photos when learning, it is also fun to diversify and to take lots of creative shots-plan your pictures don't just shoot randomly. Examples again are the best way to demonstrate-after all we are talking of photos here :D

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Image Notes 1. shoot from creative angles

Image Notes 1. get to a good vantage point

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Image Notes 1. shoot with different color settings-or edit the photos afterwards

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Image Notes 1. shoot people at work


Image Notes 1. shoot everyday objects-in a new way

Image Notes 1. long exposure-15s allows for painting with light using a small LED flashlight

Step 11: To sum it all up To put the full stop at the end of the story i'd like to say: Learn from experiment-learn the controls of your camera by trying them out in different conditions. Be creative-don't imitate-create! Consult the pro's- don't hesitate to ask for advice from people who have worked with photography for a long time Finally-if you have tried all the steps, experimented and tried again and your photos don't seem to amount to much-then Photography might just not be the right thing for you. It takes a good eye to see a good picture! Here are a few more pictures. Yet another reminder: (all photos in this instructable are taken by me personally- (c) Daniel Feidal 2009) Please feel free to contact me by email-dlfeidal@hotmail.com if you are interested in purchasing, or seeing more of my work.

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Image Notes 1. an HDR photo

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Related Instructables

"2" Simple Steps to Improve Exposure. by Fiter14

Better Pictures. Now. by richardmacman

Photography for Dummies! by ledzeppie

Light Painting 101 by AnalogueChick

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How to Use a Canon A1/AE-1 35mm Camera by Eren S.

Learn Photographing Photography by Fireworks by Weissensteinburg SaskView

Using Ultra-Fast Lenses on DSLR Cameras by ProfHankD


Create a Perfectly White Background and Wet Effects by AngryRedhead on May 22, 2011

Author:AngryRedhead Not-So-Angry Redhead Find more DIY projects and gardening information on my site!

Intro: Create a Perfectly White Background and Wet Effects I haven't ever had as much luck growing tomatoes as I have this year, and I'm pretty sure it's the result of double digging, adding amendments, watering regularly, and getting the dang plants in the ground at the right time. You can see more of my garden here. Now I have my first ripe tomato of the season and need to share! Produce looks better against a white background than a black background in my opinion. White looks fresh and clean, and fortunately, most produce shows up well against white. It also doesn't hurt to shine it up a bit. To create the white background: I did pretty much the exact opposite as what I did in my Instructable for creating a perfectly black background. I placed a piece of white poster board in full, harsh sunlight so that it was uniformly bright which meant angling it towards the sun against a step ladder. Then I held (or had my significant-other/upside-down-beer-glass hold) the tomato in the shade. The shade is nice and soft but still pretty bright. However, the poster board absolutely glows in comparison. The goal is to get the background uniformly brighter than the subject. You can easily get more creative with lighting and produce some better shots, but this is INCREDIBLY easy to do and requires only one light source - the sun. To create the wet effect/shine: I used olive oil. I've tried photographing shine/wet using water, and it really doesn't work well. Water evaporates very quickly, and it doesn't have the same "hold" as oil does. I first washed the tomato (picked fresh from the vine today!) and rubbed it down with olive oil, and a few of the shots are just with that shine alone. However, I wanted it to look wet, so I pipetted some extra oil around the top and let it drip as it pleased. To add context: I played with a variety of hand positions. When I held the tomato in the palm of my hand, the tomato looked bigger. When my significant other held it in the palm of his hand, it looked smaller - he was nice enough to muddy up his hands for a "fresh out of the garden, Farmer Brown" look. I also played with how my fingers were arranged, and I also propped it on an upside-down beer glass just in case the absence of hands made it a little more appealing. Minor details start to REALLY matter when the shot is minimal. Finally, when I had the shots I liked, I took a bite to see if the "fresh bite" look helped, but it didn't. All I could after that point was continue eating. End Note: This process is not limited to photographing produce. It can be used for a variety of other subjects. Bon appetit and happy photographing!

Image Notes 1. Almost the exact same hand position as in the first photo, but in this shot, the tomato is only shined with olive oil.

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Image Notes 1. For this shot, the tomato is only shined with a bit of olive oil. I like this hand position because it looks ready to eat like an apple.

Image Notes 1. The size of the models' hands and the angle of the shot certainly affect how big/small the tomato looks.

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Image Notes 1. You can see how much bigger the tomato looks here than in other shots.


Image Notes 1. In this shot, the tomato looks larger than when it rested in the palm of his hand.

Image Notes 1. Gratuitous close-up.

Image Notes 1. I didn't really like this shot as much as when the tomato was held, but it boils down to a matter of taste and the goal of the photo.

Image Notes 1. Here's the setup for the shots which were changed as the sun moved. It's hard

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to tell where the shadows fall, but you can see just how white the poster board looks.

Related Instructables

Create a Perfectly Black Background in Photography by AngryRedhead

Halloween Photo manipulation using Pixlr by DarkRubyMoon

Photographing flowers and plants by thorswolf

Making panorama photos with any digital camera by marijnkampf

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How to "ANTIQUE" Photographs Using Microsoft PhotoDraw by OCLVig

How to Photograph Halloween Costumes by noahw

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Super Simple Light Tent by wdrwilson on March 12, 2006

Author:wdrwilson www.steadywinds.com

Intro: Super Simple Light Tent I was inspired to do this project after seeing the PVC light tent posted on the MAKE blog. This light tent uses a cardboard box, and some white material (Tyvek) and allows you to take reasonable photos of products such as bottles, watches, jewlery, small objects, etc. There is lot's of room for improvement but for the sake of 15 minutes I hope you will agree it's pretty good :)

Step 1: Select materials First thing to do is find your self a usable box. The box I used is a half of a resin plastic shelf. The dimensions are roughly 16" x 15" x 15". This size has handled most things I have put in it, however I think something a little wider would be easier to use. Materials used - Masking tape or other heavy tape (Duct, packing, etc) - X-Acto knife - Ruler - Glue Stick - semi transparent white material (Tyvek, White suiting/Ripstop nylon, bed sheets, etc)

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Step 2: Cut the box 1) Lay the box flat 2) using the ruler add a 1" to 1-1/2" border to all sides of the box (top, bottom, left and right) - Essentially you want to cut a hole in all sides of the box. Tip: don't forget to add a line on either side of the center of the box as it lays flat :) 3) Cut out the four panels of the box using an x-acto knife and cutting on the lines. See the images below if the above is unclear.

Step 3: Assemble the Skeleton 1) Open up the box and close the bottom of the box 2) Tape down the exterior and interior seam. 3) The Bottom of the box will serve as the platform for placing your objects.

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Step 4: Wrap the box 1) Using the semi-transparent material you have chosen wrap it around the box so that it covers 3 of the four sides 2) I used sign printing grade Tyvek and attached it using a glue stick.

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Step 5: Add continous background This is part of the magic of the light tent, creating a continous background in your images. To do this we add a piece of bristol board cut to fit the box. 1) Use the depth of the box + the height of the box as a rough measurement. 2) Cut out a piece of bristol board that matches the dimensions above 3) This creates a nice white platform to shoot your images against. Try using other colors, Blue, Black, etc. 3) Insert the bristol board into the box so that the edge of the bristol board is placed against the front of the box and th card board is allowed to curve like a wave, halfpipe, you get the picture (I hope :) ) As usual the pictures will make it all clear. :)

Step 6: Add light and enjoy 1) Now that you have th box wrapped, and the continous background in place you are ready to take some photos. 2) I used a desk lamp, and a couple of Ott lights (13watt) for the apple shot in the beginning of this instructable. 3) for better/different results I am switching to the simple clamp style fixture used in the PVC light tent with 100 watt bulbs. 4) experiment with light location and diffusing the light that shines through the top of the box with other semi transparent material, nylon, etc. The light entering the box will be diffused and the shadows will soften or disappear... ***NOTE: At this stage (or perhaps before) you can and probably cover the inside of the box with white as well, at least the frame. Or you could switch the white material from the outstide to the inside. I bring this up because It was pointed out over at DPReview.com (http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1019&message=17593322) that there is a black reflection in the photos produced using this box. ... I hope that will fix it :)

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Step 7: End Result Here are some examples of shots taken with this light box.. I am by no means a photographer but to my untrained eye these shots look pretty good.

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DIY Photography Backdrop by randofo on July 5, 2011

Author:randofo

Randy Sarafan loves you! I am the author of the book '62 Projects to Make with a Dead Computer' and Community Manager here at Instructables. I'm always sharing tons of awesome projects. Subscribing to me = fun and excitement!

Intro: DIY Photography Backdrop This is an easy removable table-mounted photography backdrop that can be built in roughly five minutes. This came about when it was suggested that my previous ceiling mounted backdrop rig was an eyesore and an impediment to office productivity. To comply with new office-wide zoning standards, I had to create a new rig that was not ceiling mounted, contained within my workspace, and that rose no more than three feet above the surface of my workbench. My own personal guidelines was that it had to attach firmly to my workbench and that it had to be removable. This solution not only meets everyone's needs, but was quick and painless. I am also particularly fond of the pipe clamp supports, which when not in use as supports for the backdrop can double as - you guessed it - pipe clamps.

Step 1: Go get stuff You will need: (x2) 1/2" x 30" pipes (x2) Pipe clamp assemblies (x4) 2" x 2" cork pads (x2) 1" inner diameter copper L-brackets (x1) 1" diameter shower curtain rod cut to width of desk (x1) Roll of photo backdrop paper

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Step 2: Pipe clamps Put together your two pipe clamps as instructed on their packaging.

Step 3: Clamp Place a piece of cork on the top and bottom of the back corner of the desktop as padding. Clamp the pipe clamp to the back corner of the desk (pipe sticking upwards) where the cork is. Repeat on the opposite corner.

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Step 4: Trim (optional) If your roll of photo paper is longer than the length of your worktable, trim it to length using a chop saw.

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Step 5: Put it all together Place an L-bracket onto one end of the shower curtain rod. Pass the other end of the rod through the center of the roll of paper. Attach the other L bracket to the other end of the shower rod. Place the open ends of the L-brackets onto the ends of each of the pipes. Your photography background setup is now complete. You can disassemble and reassemble this at your leisure.

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Related Instructables

Fabric Photography Sweep by Carleyy

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DIY Photography Gels by Weissensteinburg Simple Tips for Great Project Photos by ChrysN

Home-Made Photography Sweep by sbrown

Simple Photography Backdrop by nickodemus


Create a Perfectly Black Background in Photography by AngryRedhead on January 5, 2011

Author:AngryRedhead Not-So-Angry Redhead Find more DIY projects and gardening information on my site!

Intro: Create a Perfectly Black Background in Photography Arranging objects, people, animals, and plants for a photograph can be quite difficult, especially if there's noise (e.g., clutter on the floor). It's much easier to photograph an individual person or thing against a solid background and then add/subtract filler items for context. In gardening photography, this is called a specimen shot where the only thing of interest is an individual plant, flower, or leaf, and this kind of photography can be its own separate category in a gardening photography competition. White backgrounds show a lot of shadows and imperfections, and something white against something white doesn't really show a lot of detail. However, something white against something black can really highlight the details that might have otherwise been missed, and it's dead easy to create a black background, too. This Instructable shows how to create a black background in a photograph quickly and inexpensively, and while the examples involve plants, this method is not exclusive to gardening photography of specimens. It can be easily used for photographing items, people, and animals. Probably the best part of this method though is that there is very little editing needed. To create a perfectly white background, please check out my latest Instructable and get tips on making subjects look shiny and wet!

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Step 1: Materials for Outdoor Shots The most inexpensive and potentially the easiest way to create a black background is to photograph outdoors. You will need a sunny day with long shadows and architectural shade (e.g., a building or a car). If you do not have a dark surface, you will probably want something black to put on the ground such as a sheet of black poster board or black fabric.

Image Notes 1. Sunny day in the morning!

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Image Notes 1. Vehicle providing architectural shade.


Image Notes 1. Black poster board on a pale cement surface.

Step 2: Positioning the Outdoor Shot Place the item you're photographing in the sun but right on the border of shade. Place any necessary black material underneath or behind the item in the shade. Angle your camera to capture the item with the black, shaded background filling the frame. This might take a few tries to get the angle and arrangement just so. Once you have the shot, skip to Step 5.

Image Notes 1. Shade. 2. Light. 3. Item in the sunlight.

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Image Notes 1. Poor setup.


Image Notes 1. Good setup and before editing.

Step 3: Materials for Indoor Shots You might not be able to take the shot outdoors for one reason or another, and in this case, you might have to setup something inside. You will need something black to hang in the background and a spotlight. Here is how I arranged the setup for my shot: I placed a chair on the table with a piece of black poster board taped to the back of the chair. I attached a work light with a daylight bulb to a "stick in a can" and hung a piece of old bubble wrap over it to diffuse the light. I kept the curtains open for extra light, and I used a tripod.

Image Notes 1. "Stick in a Can" 2. Work lamp with daylight bulb and bubble wrap. 3. Chair with black poster board hanging from the back. 4. Object to be photographed.

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Step 4: Positioning for Indoor Shots Position the lamp so that it shines on the item but not on the background. This might take a bit of fiddling to get the item and the lamp positioned just right. Angle your camera to capture the item with the black background filling the frame.

Image Notes 1. Poor lighting setup.

Image Notes 1. Good lighting setup. No color level adjustments necessary.

Step 5: Editing in GIMP Crop the image as necessary. Adjust color levels. "Pick Black Point" will more than likely take care of any adjustments you need to make. Resize if necessary. Save As. Done!

Image Notes

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Image Notes


1. Pick Black Point tool. 2. Pick the black point somewhere here.

1. Good setup and before editing.

Image Notes 1. After Edit.

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Build a Photography Studio: Softbox, Directional and Umbrella by Steve Glen

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Photography Tip: Taking Beautiful Photos And Editing Them by Shadow Dragon on April 6, 2008

Intro: Photography Tip: Taking Beautiful Photos And Editing Them This Instructable is a great photography tip for beginners. Taking beautiful photos. Most photos like these are usually nature. Such as flowers, fruit, trees, etc... Have you ever wanted to take photos like these but didn't know the basics of photography? That's why this Instructable was made. By the time you finish reading this guide, you will become a pro photographer!

Step 1: Macro Make sure that the camera is on Macro. THIS STEP IS VERY IMPORTANT!!! It is a sign that looks like a flower (Shown in the picture). You will also want a tripod to use. You are now ready to take photos.

Image Notes 1. Macro

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Step 2: Find Some Nature Find something good to take a photo of. Make sure you are using the tripod. For most of my photos, I took pictures of flowers in my house. You will want the object to be right in the center of the photo. You also want to leave some background visible. Now slightly hold down the button to take a picture so that a rectangle comes up (this means it is focusing). Most cameras have this effect. Try to get the rectangle to be focused on the center (or close to the center) of your object. Now snap the picture.

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Step 3: Editing the photos Now I will show you how to edit the image after you take it. This means changing the color, making it lighter, and making it stand out more. You will need Adobe Photoshop for this (I used Adobe Photoshop 7).

Step 4: Change The Color Now, to change the color, click on Image at the top, Adjustments, then Hue/Saturation. You can mess around with the colors now. What I did was I changed the color of the flower from orange to yellow (Hue: 22; Saturation: 16). Now press ok and save it.

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Step 5: Congratz! Congratz! You have entered the next step into photography! Have fun with your photography skills!

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Photographing Fireworks by SaskView on July 3, 2009

Author:SaskView saskview.com My name is Brett Coulthard and I'm a telecommunications tech. I like to tinker/hack/make stuff. Check out my YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/SaskView and visit my blog: http://saskview.com/

Intro: Photographing Fireworks Getting good photos of fireworks is easy. Just follow this instructable...

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Take-Great-Pictures-1/


Step 1: Equipment Camera that has manual settings Tripod

Step 2: Camera Setup Using a tripod is key, because you're going to be taking exposures that are 2 - 4 seconds long and the camera must remain completely still while the shot is taken. You'll need to be able to manually set the exposure (shutter speed), Aperture (the f-stop), and ISO. Depending on your camera and how close you are to the fireworks, you will need to adjust the f-stop to fine tune the pictures. Longer exposures will capture multiple fireworks bursts. 2 to 4 second exposures work great.

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Take-Great-Pictures-1/


Step 3: ISO ISO is the 'film' speed that the camera is using. In digital cameras the electronic pickup can capture images at various speeds. You'll want to use a low ISO value, around 80 - 200. Although most cameras can shoot at higher ISO's such as 1000, the images will have more 'noise' and look 'grainy'. I used an ISO of 125 for the photos in this instructable. Pick a low ISO and stick with that. If you find that the photo is underexposed, adjust the aperture.

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Step 4: Aperture This is the iris of the camera and the f-stop settings control the aperture. The larger the f-stop number, the smaller the iris is open. What aperture to use depends on your camera, and how close you are to the fireworks. You will most likely need to adjust this setting. Take some shots at around f-8 and if they look to be underexposed use a lower value. Overexposed then use a higher value. The photo below was at f-11 and is under-exposed. I found that f-5 worked for me.

Step 5: Exposure A 2 - 4 second exposure will get good shot. I used an exposure of 4 seconds for the pictures in this instructable. The main thing to keep in mind is when you press the shutter release, the camera has to stay completely still. If you bump it during the exposure, it will blur things. If you are using a film camera, a cable release or bulb that attaches to the shutter release can be used. It will allow you to press the button without shaking the camera, and you can hold it for any desired length of time. Lithops suggested these great tips: "if you want multiple fireworks in one shot, usually the other lit parts of the frame are badly overexposed, especially if you use longer exposures than just a couple of seconds... Just cover the lens with something like black foam rubber but just make sure that it covers enough beyond the lens. And be careful not to touch and shake the camera while doing that. Then simply take it away snappy when you see more fireworks shooting up." "And you can use the cameras self timer... " (to prevent bumping the camera when pushing the shutter release) Jeff-0 gave this great tip: "When I hear the "thump" of the firework being launched I hit the trigger, and release when the firework has burned out."

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Step 6: Conclusion Use a low ISO and adjust the f-stop to get the shots you like. Play around with the manual settings to see what effect they have on the resulting image. These same settings can be used to photograph lightning, too! Have fun, and enjoy the summer. - Brett @ SaskView PS: thanks Instructable staff for featuring this!

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Backyard Bird Photography by unklstuart on June 3, 2009

Intro: Backyard Bird Photography Assigning yourself a project is a tested method of improving your photography skills. Choose a technique and a process that will concentrate your efforts to improve a particular skill. I decided that photographing birds in flight would be great practice for stop action photography, shooting sports for instance. I figured birds are quick and random and if I can master them, I won't be struggling with the settings on a soccer field or basketball court. The birds are right in my backyard and I needn't ask them to sign a release. This project eventually became an art in itself. Please note that I will refer to technical jargon and not fully explain what they mean. There are many free resources on the web to learn these aspects of photography. Try my photography blog for a start at stuartnafey.blogspot.com. This Instructable has been entered in the Digital Days Photo Contest . Woo Hoo, I won a prize! Thank you everyone!

Step 1: Bring The Birds To You Do the birds flock to your backyard? If not, you want to start attracting these tiny flying dinosaurs and bird feeders are the key. We will talk about your camera in a minute but you want the birds to become comfortable and accustomed to your yard as a food supply. Understand which birds live in your area and which you would like to attract. This will determine the types of bird feeders and food you provide. Searching the Instructables web site for "Bird Feeder" yielded 16 pages of 'ibles" and photos to get you started. Google "Bird Watching" or "Bird Feeder" to find everything there is to know on the internet. Visit your local hardware store. They will often sell feeders and food appropriate to the wild life in your area. Ask your neighbors that have feeders what they use. You will discover an interest you did not know you shared with them. I use a Thistle Sock Feeder filled with Nyger Thistle seed. This attracts several different types of fairly colorful finch. Rodents, such as rats and squirrels do not eat this seed and are not attracted.

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Step 2: Feeder Placement Some locations in your yard may be better then others for attracting birds. A bird feeder in the middle of open ground can put small birds at risk of hawk attacks. Too close to the ground or a fence provides easy access for cats to pounce. Still, we want a suitable location for photographing our feathered friends. Think about where you will sit with your camera and then consider the following factors. First, the more light, the better. Stopping motion requires fast shutter speeds. The faster the shutter speed, the less light enters the lens. More on that later, but, unless you have very expensive low light lenses, place your feeder in good light. You want as sunny a spot as possible. Relatively low sun in the morning and evening, (still bright and rich in color) allows you to have your back to the sun and the light on the birds. The second consideration is the background. Conventional composition suggests a non-distracting background and one with contrasting colors that complement the subject. To present a natural setting, avoid absolutely straight lines. For the most part, absolute straight lines do not exist in nature and suggest man-made objects, even when blurred. A shallow depth of field will have the subject in focus while blurring a distracting background. A wide open aperture will provide that shallow depth of field. Third, place the feeder near convenient natural perches that the birds will land upon and pose for you. Iron brackets, plastic poles and store bought lumber that support your feeders detract from that natural look. Attach cut branches for perch enhancement. Change these branches often for variety in your photos.

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Step 3: Become one with the environment The closer the better is a good rule of thumb when taking action photos. But how close can you get to feeding birds? If the birds are feeding, as soon as I walk into the area, they spook and fly away. I find if I sit down even 10 feet from the feeders and remain very still, they slowly return and the feeding frenzy eventually resumes. Fast movement will scare them again, but I can get away with slow movements. They quickly become accustomed to the click of the camera. Get comfortable. Bring food and drink. Sync your favorite podcasts, book and music and fire up your ipod. Dress appropriately. Have a comfortable chair. All of these things will help you patiently wait for your models to appear. You can get very elaborate and build a duck blind. If you do, create an Instructable. I don't see one here.

Step 4: The Setup I take these pictures both hand held and with a tripod. The tripod is handy for the action shots that I anticipate near the feeder. I point the camera just to the side of the feeder attempting to time my shots as the birds approach and leave. I trigger the shutter release via remote control whenever birds are in the frame without staring throught the view finder. As the birds gather and wait their turn at the feeder, they land on the nearby trees, bushes and perches I provided. I alternately hand hold the camera and attempt to catch these perched birds. The tripod is a bit awkward to manuver. Hand holding allows the most flexability. Of course, just removing the camera from the tripod will scare the birds. Relax, sit back and wait again, they will return.

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Step 5: Equipment I use the following photographic equipment: Camera - Nikon D80 Digital SLR Lens - AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm 1:4.5-5.6 VR Remote shutter release Tripod

Step 6: Exposure Settings I use one of 3 exposure modes for all my pictures: Manual, Shutter Priority or Aperture Priority. I never use any of the automatic settings. I prefer total control in order to "push" the limits of the camera. First I consider setting the camera for "spot" exposure which narrows down the area the camera considers for the exposure settings and I apply that to the area I expect the birds to occupy. Aperture Priority should be good when shooting birds sitting still on a perch. Opening the aperture up as wide as possible (low f-stop number) will give you a shallow depth of field (blurring the background) and the fastest shutter speed (stopping small movements). The camera will be deciding on a properly programmed exposure. I prefer Shutter Priority mode when capturing flight. The wing beat frequency of these finches I photograph must be over 20 beats per second. I find that I need a shutter speed of at least 1/1000th of a second to get a minimally exceptable shot. That is a problem. With this camera and lens, I often find that the camera is telling me there is not enough light. This is where I push the envelope by settting the shutter speed 1 or 2 speeds faster then the meter in the camera recommends. ISO can help. Ideally, the ISO should be set at the lowest possible number (100 on the D80). This gives you the best quality picture. Raising that number makes the light collecting sensor more sensitive and able to collect more light faster. This also raises the temperature of the sensor and introduces digital noise to the picture. Every shoot requires me to experiment to find the exceptable balance between the available light, the shutter speed, the aperture and ISO. Better (read more expensive) equipment can help. Newer cameras are increasingly better at low noise in low light conditions. Faster lenses let in more light.

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Step 7: Focus Focus is just as important as exposure. Points for consideration here include: Auto-focus settings depth of field And the D80 has several configurable settings. I prefer to set the Auto-Focus Area mode to a single point. This is setting is found deep in the menus and narrows the area that the auto-focus mechanizm will consider. Then there are 2 focus modes available via the buttons on the camera body, Single Servo and Continuous. The Continuous mode is usually great for moving objects. If the object is moving towards or away from you, the camera will continue to refocus giving you a better chance of a sharp picture. I find that the Continuous auto-focus capability of the D80 and this particular lens do not focus fast enough to capture the finch where I want him/her. So, I use the Single Servo setting, focusing either on the feeder itself or an object temporarily placed next to the feeder. I then turn the Auto-focus off and reposition the camera to the area I expect the birds to fly into and try to capture them as they come in for a landing. Keep in mind that the faster the shutter speed you are using, the wider the aperture must be limiting the depth of field which is the area that an object will be in focus. With a very small depth of field, that bird must be in the pocket to get a sharp in-focus picture. So set your focus carefully and, if needed, aim for a smaller aperture allowing for that wider window of area that will be in focus. I know I stated that "closer is better" in step 3, but if you need a wider depth of field to get these guys in focus, then move back and zoom in. Depth of field area that is in focus is shorter the closer you are no matter what the f stop. One last thing, Nikon recommends that you turn off Vibration Reduction (makes for sharper pictures? I am not sure the reason.) when using a tripod. Remember to turn it back on when you shift to hand holding.

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Step 8: Burst Mode Most helpful is the burst mode ability of your camera, enabling you to take multiple shots while holding the shutter release down. The D80 can take 3 shots per second until the buffer is full. More expensive cameras are faster. When the birds are in a feeding frenzy, burst mode increases the chances of you getting the picture. Check your manual.

Step 9: Sit Back and Wait After setting up the camera, I: get a comfortable chair load up some photography podcasts on the iPod dress for the weather bring food and drink Keep my thumb on the remote shutter release and wait for the birds In time, they get used to you and the click of the shutter. Fast movement will scare them, but slow movement is ignored.

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Step 10: Process the pictures Download and review your pictures. Adjust colors, contrast and sharpness with your favorite photo editing software. Crop the feeder and other objects out of the picture. Upload them on Flickr and list the link here for all to see. Here is my gallery.

Step 11: Expand your Backyard Eventually, take your camera and walk down the street. Look in the trees. Head to the marsh lands. Go to the beach. Orioles made a nest in the palm tree across the street from my house. The Eucylyptus grove a block away is home to a family of Great Horned owls. Hawks fly over my house and pelicans are a 5 minute walk to the beach. The Academy of Science in San Francisco has an Amazon rainforest exhibit, filled with easily photographed exotic birds and butterflies. And the Blue Angels migrate here every year during Fleet Week.

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Step 12: In Conclusion There is so much more to discuss here. I am probably wrong about a few facts too. Feel free to ask questions, correct my mistakes and add your own tips. Patience is a huge factor here too. Keep at it until you know everything about both the birds and your camera. The skills you develop here will certainly affect all of your photography in a postive way. Thanks for reading all the way to the end!

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http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Take-Great-Pictures-1/

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Tips for Halloween pumpkin pictures by ewilhelm on October 30, 2006

Author:ewilhelm

author's website Eric J. Wilhelm is the founder of Instructables. He has a Ph.D. from MIT in Mechanical Engineering. Eric believes in making technology accessible through understanding, and strives to inspire others to learn as much as they can and share it with those around them. Read about Instructables' history: http://www.instructables.com/id/How_to_Start_a_Business_1/ and meet the others on the Instructables team [http://www.instructables.com/about/ . In addition to his doctorate, Eric earned his SB, and SM degrees in mechanical engineering from MIT, where he developed methods to print electronics and micro-electromechanical systems using nanoparticles. He co-founded Squid Labs http://www.squid-labs.com, an innovation and design partnership, and a number of Squid Labs spin-off companies including Potenco http://www.potenco.com, producing a human-powered generator for cell phones and laptops; Makani http://www.makanipower.com, an energy company seeking to harness high-altitude wind; and OptiOpia http://www.optiopia.com, developing low-cost portable vision-testing and lens-fabricating devices. Eric has been recognized as one of the top innovators under 35 years old by Technology Review :http://www.instructables.com/community/Eric_wins_TR35_Innovation_Award/, and was awarded the National Inventors Hall of Fame Collegiate Inventors Award for the development of a printing technique used to create patterns in films of nanoparticles or polymers with resolutions reaching into the 10's of nanometers. Contact him at his Instructables profile by clicking the "Private Message Me" button, or by guessing his email address @instructables.com (it's easy). You can also follow his work here by clicking the "subscribe" button, or on Twitter http://twitter.com/ericwilhelm or Facebook http://www.facebook.com/ewilhelm

Intro: Tips for Halloween pumpkin pictures Carving a Jack-O-Lantern is fun, taking loving pictures of the spooky glowing face is even more fun. Here are some techniques I use with a mid-range digital camera to get great pictures.

Step 1: Steady camera, long exposure, no flash A steady camera, long exposure times, and no flashes are the basic ingredients. I used a Canon PowerShot A70 to take all the pumpkin pictures. It has some manual settings modes were you can adjust the exposure time and F-stops. I actually used the "Tv" setting which allows me to set the exposure time and the camera automatically adjusts the F-stop. If your camera doesn't have any manual modes, turn the flash off and see if it can compensate enough. The answer is it probably isn't enough. If you're really into taking pictures of pumpkins, like me, make sure your next camera has a manual exposure mode (my other criteria was a water proof case...).

Step 2: Tripod or tripod-like thing The camera needs to be still while it's taking the photo. I used to just set the camera on some stuff, like milk crates and books, but have now moved on to a $30 tripod (a Sunpak 8001UT Tripod). It's really nice not to have to search for a book of just the right thickness, and to be able to easily adjust the angle of the camera. The mini tripods are ok and I keep one in my camera case for when I don't have my tripod. If you're just setting the camera on something, use the delayed shutter function. With it, you can press the button, take your hand off the camera, and know it'll stop wiggling before the picture is taken.

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Step 3: Background Make sure there's nothing producing light in the background. Open windows, appliance LEDs, or light from other rooms will all get caught by a long exposure shot. Here, I just have the pumpkins sitting on the dining room table. Behind them is a wall with no windows. I should have removed that flower vase as you'll see in the external lighting step.

Step 4: Long exposure These pictures were taken using 0.8 - 2.5 seconds of exposure time. The only light source was two tea candles inside the pumpkin.

Image Notes 1. 2.5 seconds exposure.

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Image Notes 1. 0.8 seconds exposure

Step 5: Place candles to avoid hot spots Move the candles inside the pumpkins so that the flame doesn't create a hot spot in the image.

Image Notes 1. Hot spot from flame.

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Image Notes 1. Hot spot persists even at shorter exposure times.


Image Notes 1. Hot spot gone removed by different candle placement. I could have done even better; you can still see the metal case of the tea candle.

Step 6: Shoot from below to create more meancing images. Shoot from below to give the impression the pumpkins are standing over you and laughing right before they do something awful.

Image Notes 1. You're on level ground. You can probably take these two pirate-pumpkins.

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Image Notes 1. Holy crap! They've got a foot on your chest and are going to cover you in seeds or pumpkin guts!


Image Notes 1. Camera below the pumpkins looking up.

Step 7: External light Place some candles around the pumpkins to show off any external features. Here, one of the pirate-pumpkins is holding a knife in its teeth. However, this feature is impossible to see without external light. It's easy to overdo the external light, and you want to be sure your pumpkin's surface is clean. With the external light, you can see I didn't clean off the sharpie marker I used to draw on the pumpkin before carving it.

Image Notes 1. Not enough light to see the knife.

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Image Notes 1. Enough light, but now there are hot spots from the candles.


Image Notes 1. Just enough light to see the knife, and the candles aren't distracting from the picture. 2. Flower vase reflecting some of the external light. I should have cleared the area behind the pumpkins of anything reflective.

Step 8: Happy Halloween! Have a blast taking pictures!

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Appl-O-Lantern (Photos) by Arbitror

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http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Take-Great-Pictures-1/

Jack O' Lantern ice sculpture by 247guy

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Simple Picture Merge in Photoshop by FrozenStar on September 7, 2009

Author:FrozenStar I enjoy writing programs, building circuits and collecting knives. I have recently begun school at McMaster University in pursuit of an engineering degree. I am an avid PC gamer, add me on steam! (xfrozenstarx) I haven't made too many instructables for a while, and probably wont for a while, so there won't be much new here.

Intro: Simple Picture Merge in Photoshop Here I have the steps detailing how to take something from one photo, and place it into another photo using basic skills in Photoshop elements 7.

Step 1: Materials You will first need to get a suitable camera for your photo. I would suggest a higher end model like a DSLR (I can't recommend one sorry) but if you are pressed for money or just don't want to spend so much I would just select a good camera 4 megapixels or more for example (the one i used is 4.1 megapixels). You will then want to choose a topic and if you will want to meld two pictures together. For my first picture I chose to use fruit and a wine bottle (painted by my Grandpa). I thought it would be good to replace the dull back wall of my cottage with a view of the lake outside. If you have chosen to go further than just taking the picture and leaving it as is you will need Photoshop Elements 7. This is what I used to do all of the editing and merging of photos but you dont need to do these things.

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Step 2: Preparation You will first need to prepare all of your materials. Since I am using fruit I polished them all so that they would look the best for the final picture. If the fruit has blemishes don't worry since you can clean those up in Photoshop if you are using it. If you don't have Photoshop make sure that you face blemishes away from the camera or remove those peticular fruits. Looking at the first picture you can see all of the fruits I have chosen. Remember that when arranging fruits you should put bigger ones, such as apples, in the back and smaller fruits, like grapes, in the front. It is also a good Idea to put some fruit off to the side to create some sort of balance (even one grape is good enough). The second picture shows that the grapes I am using are quite dirty and you probably don't want that in your picture. simply polish them with a tissue paper (third picture) and you should be fine. As you can see in the fifth picture I am using a painted wine bottle to add some height to the focus of my photo. Since it was in good condition i did not need to polish it. If you are using a wine bottle (whether painted or not) be sure to wipe off any dust and dirt so it looks much better in the photo. You should put your fruit and any other contents of your photo in front of a suitable background if you are not using Photoshop otherwise you can just take the picture anywhere. Alright now that you have finished preparing the photo's contents go on to the next step.

Image Notes 1. Oh no!

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Step 3: Taking the Picture Remember when taking your picture that you should keep your camera level. You should also choose a good angle to take the photo at since the angle (either vertical or horizontal) can change your photo drastically. For beginners you should start by taking the photo head on (0 horizontal angle) and at a slight vertical angle (15 degrees up). Before taking your picture you should consider if you are going to meld two pictures together. If you are make sure you take them both around the same time of day so that you will achieve similar lighting. Since the two pictures I used were taken around the same time of day the fruit and bottle didn't look too much out of place. (pictures 1 & 2 make picture 3) (pictures 1 & 4 make picture 5, I will be teaching you how to make picture 5)

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Step 4: Fixing Blemishes As you may or may not have noticed, the grapes i was using had some cuts on them. These are actually much easier to fix than you think. You will be using the clone stamp tool, a quite simple tool that copies the texture from one area and allows you to apply it to another. Just chose the clone stamp tool and zoom in to the grape with a cut on it. Using the tool is easy, just hold down alt and click on part of the grape that is not broken, cut, bruised, etc. Then after doing this just use it like a brush and remove the blemish with the new texture. WARNING: Do not overuse this tool it can screw up your picture if you overdo it, just use it on minor cuts and bruises only.

Image Notes 1. Oh no!

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Step 5: Advanced Editing You obviously would like to know the secret to melding photos together wouldn't you? This is how they make pictures that look so obviously fake (shark eating a helicopter?) It is very simple, all you need to do is get the magic extractor out and color what you want to keep with the foreground color and color what you want removed with the background color. For more simple images you only need to draw a few lines in the background and a few in the foreground but the more detailed the image is the more accurate your lines need to be. In the end, if you did it right, you will get quite a good amount of what you wanted gone deleted, sometimes what you wanted to keep will get damaged but that is not much of a problem. As you can see in my second picture some of the background survived but it is easily erased. I sued the third picture for the background. Just make a new layer and put it below the current layer. Making the final photo took some work but it was quite easy. Going to the "Enhance" bar at the top and scrolling down to the "Adjust Lighting" section, you can choose to adjust the brightness and contrast. I easily darkened the back layer by selecting that layer and performing my adjustments. The front layer was much harder. By using the "Quick Selection Tool" I selected the Bottle, and fruit (LEAVE THE SHADOWS OUT). I increased the contrast and brightness on the fruit to draw attention to the focus objects. The reverse was done to the counter.

Image Notes 1. Foreground color 2. Background color

Step 6: Putting It on the Beach To put your items on the beach shot remove the counter as well when you are using the magic extractor, then put the fruit and bottle on the beach. To make it look like they are truly on the beach i used the quick selection tool to select some of the rocks and sand then i used "copy to new layer" (ctrl+J) and moved those rocks to a layer above the fruit.

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Step 7: Finished! Hope you liked the concepts and i hope you have fun making your own images! Vote for me :D

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Build a Photography Studio: Softbox, Directional and Umbrella by Steve Glen on September 20, 2009

Author:Steve Glen I'm Awesome!

Intro: Build a Photography Studio: Softbox, Directional and Umbrella Photography is essentially capturing rays of light through a (short) window in time and holding it as a static, 2D image. Light captured in the photograph is controlled by 4 parameters: 1. Aperture size. This is the size of the "window" inside the camera allowing light to strike the film/photosite . Bigger windows (smaller f stop numbers) provide a sharp image at the right focal length only. Smaller windows (bigger f stop numbers) provide a greater depth of field. 2. Shutter Speed. This is the length of time that the shutter allows light to pass through to the film/image sensor. Numbers are described in fractions of one second, so higher numbers are actually shorter amount of time (1/500 second). Shorter shutter speeds create sharper images of moving objects. 3. ISO. Is an international standard of film speed declaring how sensitive the film is to light. A film speed of 400 is twice as sensitive to light as a film speed of 200. Digital cameras maintain these exposure settings for consistency. 4. External Light Source. Sunlight, artificial light, flash bulbs and lamps. Usually more is better. This Instructable's focus will be to shedd light on External Light Sources. The more control the artist has over the lighting conditions, the more control the artist has over the final image. This is why photographers use a studio with adjustable, bright lights. A bare bulb or lamp creates sharp shadows that often distort the way the 3D subject is perceived. The goal is to create a light source that can be viewed as a single source, to cast a shadow and show definition of the subject, but dispersed enough to cast soft shadows. My Instrucable will demonstrate how I made a studio with a Softbox , a Directional and an Umbrella to create the lighting conditions I want. by Steve Glen

Step 1: Softbox Materials: Floor lamp Aluminum foil Metal coat hangers Clear packing tape White tissue paper 60 W natural white compact fluorescent Tools: Pliers Exacto knife (I like the orange handle ones because they are thin and precise) 1. Twist the coat hangers with the pliers to give a frame that will incorporate a large space around the fluorescent bulb: 14-18 inches side to side with 6-10 inches front to back. The idea is to give an even light source so round the backdrop. Tape it up. 2. Apply the foil by bending the top 1-2 cm of the foil over top of the hangers. Foil without wrinkles creates an even and beautiful reflector. Secure it with tape. 3. Stretch the tissue paper across the frame to create an even screen and tape it up. 4. Install the light bulb. Pro Softboxes are completely enclosed but I left mine without a lid allowing light to bounce off the ceiling to simulate natural light. I choose the white fluorescent because it is brighter than tungsten and I don't need to correct my white balance as much as I would with tungsten.

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Step 2: "Directional" Materials: Bedside lamp Aluminum foil Metal coat hangers Clear packing tape Black electrical tape White glue White tissue paper 60 W natural white compact fluorescent Tools: Pliers Exacto knife 1. First, visualize the intended screen; then visualize the reflector. Make the reflector screen by bending the coat hangers into a symmetrical reflector frame 22-30 inches wide and 22-30 inches high. 2. Use electrical tape to secure the frame to the base of the lamp. 3. Foil the frame with clever taping skills. 4. Bend the coat hangers into the shape of your desired screen. 5. Use electrical tape to secure the frame to the base of the lamp. 6. White glue a three strips (1-2 inches wide) of tissue paper around the screen frame. This is done for two reasons: it softens the look of the screen by slightly hiding the wire, and it provides a small cushion to keep the screen from ripping as it is moved around. 7. Tape, using packing tape, the tissue paper to build the screen then cut off excess paper. 8. Install light bulb. With a much larger, flatter reflector this light provides a much softer light source than the softbox . The reflector is angled to push nearly all the light back through the screen; this photo shows the final shape of the reflector but the screen was adjusted to nearly parallel with the screen.

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Step 3: Umbrella Materials: Umbrella, large Aluminum foil Boom microphone stand Clear packing tape Black electrical tape White glue White tissue paper 3 million candle power rechargeable spotlight ($20-$35) Tools: Exacto knife Scissors 1. Trace the pie shape pieces of the cover and cut a foil template. Use the template to make (8) reflector sheets. White glue tissue paper to each of these wedge slices. 2. White glue the wedges to the open umbrella. Trim excess. 3. Build a 60 degree cone of foil and place it around the tube between the stretchers and the top cap of the umbrella. 4. Anticipating the weight of the spotlight, mount the umbrella through the microphone stand with plenty of packing tape for strength and a little electrical tape for colour. 5. Install the spotlight at the end of the umbrella. Use packing tape to secure the light on the top side of the umbrella tube with the spotlight facing towards the foil cone. Remember to keep the trigger accessible and that tape acts as heat insulator; too much around the body of the spotlight will cause it to overheat. This Umbrella becomes an incredible tool for fill flash. Spotlights will have a warmer colour then the natural lights so using this setup is an easy way to warm up your photos.

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Step 4: Studio Prep The Studio is your personal adjustment environment. Foil up those windows to block or retain light. Foil covered in tissue paper is an excellent ceiling reflector used to bounce flash off the ceiling creating more natural looking shots. Build a simple, exaggerated backdrop. Take many test photos to see what works. You would be surprised (positively and negatively) at what some backgrounds appear through a camera. Create a comfortable environment for you and your subjects. Set up a stereo, bring in some plants or whatever it is that makes you feel free to create anything you visualize. Have Fun!

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Step 5: Photos Steve Glen Created 2007

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