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Essential Gear

So, What really is the essential gear you will be needing?  Isn’t the camera really all that you need?  We have talked about different ways to nail the correct exposure by adjusting the aperture, shutter speed and ISO settings.    When you start to add gear you are able to go beyond the limits of your camera. I believe that the first essential gear you need to think about is a camera bag. They are available in many shapes and designs. Look for one that has enough storage space and has ample padding to keep things from being damaged. I currently use a camera backpack as I do most of my shoots on location. I can customize the inside for the different gear needed for each location.                                                                                         I can say this about any additional gear you may be considering to buy. There will always be something newer, more shinny that has more bells or whistles.  If you are still able to produce fantastic images with your current camera then why replace it? Sure, I get it. We all want the latest and greatest, but ask yourself “is it needed?”

Today we are talking about essential gear. The added accessories that make life easier for the photographer. Here are some essentials to consider.

External Flash: Most cameras have a small pop up flash that help to add some light. Because the light is directed directly at the person, you often will get that deer in the headlights look or red eye where your  model looks like a monster. Investing in an external flash can get you past this. You are able to aim the flash towards a wall or the ceiling.  This is called bounce flash. The wall or ceiling  will help to disperse the light and create a softer light. Here are some examples of some the different flash effects.

Flash, part of your Essential Gear
Flash Snoot          /      Flash Bender      /               Flash Diffuse                 Max  Highlights          /     Full light spread       /    Even Pattern
Flash, part of your Essential Gear
Camera Flash  /       Straight on Flash   /         Flash Card      Basic   flash            /             Deer Looking      /       Adds a “Little”light

With direct flash you will see more shadows  and possibly blown out highlights.  When you add a diffuser or reflector, it will spread the light out and soften the image.  You may have to use a higher flash output because not all of the light is getting to the subject as a result of making the light softer. What you will gain is an evenly lit subject with no harsh shadows.

Thanks for listening and don’t forget to make  some memories on your next photo shoot!

2017 National Kidney Walk, Arlington Texas

The Photo Guy was asked to be the event photographer for the Kidney Walk in Arlington, Texas. Why you may ask how does this apply to me. I want to first share my  gallery link with you, here you will find the days memories.  Here is “Why We Walk”  from the Kidney Foundation. I learned so much about kidneys and I hope that you do to.

           Kidney Walk . Arlington Texas 2017
Kidney Walk . Arlington Texas 2017

We all should be trying to improve at what we love doing. For some it is shooting baskets or maybe fishing. For me it is photography. I enjoy  sharing what I have learned so that others may benefit and either take better photos or have more fun doing it. Of course if both things happen, win / win. I have been posting about getting the right exposure and some tips on Shutter Speed, Aperture and ISO settings and how they work together.   I had a chance last Saturday  to take my own advise. The setting was an outdoor pavilion, full sun & starting at 9:00 am.

If I was listening to myself I would know to use a low ISO setting because of the bright conditions. That would leave me to play with shutter speed and aperture to get the correct exposure. I would need to position people to keep the sun out of their faces. That shot only produces squints. If the sun was behind them, I would have to use fill flash or a reflector to get some light on their faces. But if  the light comes at a 45 degree angle, you get some natural light on the subjects. You may still need something to fill in the shadows, but it is a good place to start.    I was able to go to the location a couple of day before the Kidney Walk to check the light. I was looking for prime locations that may benefit from from shade. It would provide a more even light.

Let’s see how I did.

Side light over the left shoulder, still provided an even light
One of the few places where there was nice even shade

 

 

 

 

 

Found a small bit of shade, notice how bright it is behind

I was able to work with the surroundings and find some favorable locations. You may find yourself shooting at high noon someday, but if you know what to look for, you can produce some really good memories.

Taken at the start of the walk, sun coming in from the left

The main point is to be ready.      You will be able to enjoy yourself knowing all the technical stuff is taken care of. Remember , get the correct exposure, frame the shot and you can                                Make some Memories too

 

 

Make It Your Own, ISO

Make It Your Own, ISO

I want to continue  the Make It Your Own series by talking about ISO.  We have covered Shutter Speed and Aperture as being two parts of the exposure triangle. The third part is ISO. Simply stated it is a measurement on how sensitive the camera’s image sensor is. The lower the number,  the less sensitive the sensor is. The normal range for today’s cameras is 100 – 1600 . DSLR cameras with interchangeable lenses can go 12,800 or faster.  The higher the setting, the faster the sensor is. What is the effect on the final image by changing the ISO. The main reason to use a high ISO is to be able to capture a low light image. The trade off of high settings come with a price as “noise” or “grain” is introduced into the image. The processors in today’s cameras are very good at reducing this effect, however we need to   keep this in mind as the final image will be affected.

I took two different images of my Brownie camera. The one on the left was taken at ISO 400 . The one on the right was taken at ISO 4000

ISO 400
ISO 400
ISO 4000_
ISO 4000_

 

 

 

 

 

They look pretty close, but lets enlarge them.

ISO set at 400, close up view
ISO set at 400, close up view
ISO 4000, close up
ISO set at 4000, close up view

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can see the grain in the image on the right. It is taking away from the quality of the photo, but may be the best shot to get in a low light setting.

Some General Guidelines

You would want to use a low ISO in bright situations (like sunlight) and a fast ISO in low light areas ( indoors /  night ). The range starts at 100 and each time you double or halve  the ISO, the exposure changes by one stop.  So if you double it to 200,  you would have to speed up the shutter or close down the aperture by the same one stop if you want the exposure to stay the same.

  example: ISO 200 ,  1/500 sec,  F 5.6 = ISO 400 @ 1/250 sec. , F 5.6                               ISO 800,   1/250 sec,  F 8   =  ISO 400 @ 1/250 sec ,  F 5.6

You need to take into account what you want the final image to portray. To capture action, you will want to keep the shutter speed high. As a result you will need to use a higher ISO, a wider aperture or both.  In a low light setting, you will need to slow the shutter speed while keeping the aperture wide.

“Remember to Make it Your Own”

 

Make It Your Own – Shutter Speed

Shutter Speed, part of the Exposure Triangle

In my last post, I talked about by selecting the correct aperture, you could change the depth of field by selecting the correct aperture setting. I hope that you took your camera off of the shelf and tried it out. Today I want to talk about shutter speed. It’s basically how long the camera’s shutter stays open.   To know what is the correct speed, you have to ask yourself a  question. Is my subject moving or still?   Generally if the subject is moving fast, use a fast shutter speed. If the subject is stationary, you can use a slower speed.   The important thing is to learn how changing the  speed will add action to the image.  Using a slower shutter can create blur that can help show motion.

P-51 Mustang at Dallas Air Show showing a slow shutter speed
Slowing the shutter down to capture prop motion
P-51 Mustang at Dallas Air Show showing a faster shutter speed
Using a faster shutter for the crowd pass You can see that the prop is in motion, but it is more in focus

 

 

 

 

 

Slow Shutter Speed
I wanted to blur one of the opposing solos. I did this by panning the plane on the right while keeping track of the left place and wait for the moment.
To show water in motion, use a slower shutter speed
To show water in motion, use a slower shutter speed. For this to work, you will need a tripod.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see, you can add a sense of motion to your image by changing the shutter speed.  If you speed things up, you will have to use a larger aperture or faster ISO to keep the exposure the same. If you slow things down, you will have the decrease the ISO or use a smaller aperture.                               “Remember to Make It Your Own”

Action / Event Photography at the Track

We are going to focus today on Action / Event Photography. I was privileged to shoot Ryan at a Motocross Race this past weekend. He is dusting off his boots and making some laps. Scramblecross put on a great event. They have all classes from over 60 to under 6. You can bring out cycles with two wheels or 4X4 rigs. I even saw a little moto with training wheels! Scramblecross hosts multiple venues, so north Texas is covered.

Action / Event Photography
Ready for the Action to Start
Action / Event Photography
Ryan is Ready to Go

The Photo Guy, that’s me, can help you with your event needs. You may be wearing motocross boots, cleats or riding a horse. “Making Memories on Location” and preserving moments in time is our specialty at Greg Moore Photography. You can browse our gallery HERE.   Contact us with your event needs for a consultation. We look forward to hearing from and serving you.

The Photo Guy services  DFW and surrounding communities 

 

Click HERE to register for specials

 

Senior Photography, Dallas / Fort Worth

Senior Photography Dallas Fort Worth. There are special times in our lives that we never want to forget. Things to  remember forever or share with our loved ones. The Photo Guy serves the Dallas / Fort Worth metroplex area “Making Memories on Location”.

Senior Photography on Location
Senior Portrait
Graduating College

Let us know where your special place is or we can introduce you to some of our favorites. Together we can create something memorable.

Follow our contact link, let’s make some memories together

Cap and Gown Photography

 

 

 

Make It you Own, Aperture

Aperture  This is , I believe, the most important part of the exposure triangle. Why,  you ask? It is simple. Besides being one of the factors in determining how much light reaches the image sensor, it has the most influence on how the final image will turn  out. I want to introduce you to something called” Depth of Field”. We all expect a landscape photo to be crystal sharp front to back, exposing every detail.  When you look at a portrait, the background is creamy smooth so it won’t distract from the subject in the photo.

How do you control Depth of Field?   Your camera might control this by selecting different scene modes. Look for either Landscape or Portrait modes.  If you can set controls manually, you will have greater control on the amount of depth of field in the final image. The smaller the aperture is, the more of the image will be in focus. Conversely, the larger the lens opening is, the less or shallower the depth of field is.  So, how do you measure aperture?  The aperture / lens openings  are calibrated in F stops with 1.4 wide open closing down to 22 at the small end.  Each full stop either doubles or halves the amount of light that can pass through the lens. Here are the full stops.

1.4 / 2.0 / 2.8 / 4.0 / 5.6 / 8.0 / 11.0 / 16.2 / 22.0

We were talking about the exposure triangle and how if you only adjust one of the settings, the exposure  will change unless you make another adjustment to compensate. It will either be too light or too dark depending on what you did to the aperture setting.  If you are closing down the aperture  (smaller number) to have more of the image in focus, you can either increase the shutter speed (lengthen  the time the image sensor is exposed to light)  or make the image sensor more sensitive to light ( increase ISO ) to get the same exposure. Remember to only change one setting a time. You can find yourself chasing numbers . You will eventually get the right exposure, but the moment will have passed by. Stay tuned, we will continue with            Make It Your Own, Shutter Speed

 

Make It Your Own, Exposure

Today we are going to talk about getting the right exposure.  What do you think this means?  Simplified, it means maintaining a balance between light areas and dark areas of the image. We have all seen photos that are so light you can’t make out any details or so dark that it becomes a blob.

In today’s cameras there is a sensor that reads light.  Generally, this is the light that is reflected off of the subject. This can be adjusted either manually where you tell the camera what to do or let the camera make the adjustments.  If your camera has a live display, you can see what the photo will look like before you take the shot.

If there is an exposure compensation dial, you can dial the exposure up or down until you like what you are seeing. There also may be some presets to choose from. Portrait, Landscape, Sports and Action are just a few. The camera gets it right most of the time, but when there are shots with extreme light and dark areas, the camera will average the values and you will end of with a bland photo that didn’t capture what you remember seeing.

Let me introduce you to something called the exposure triangle. Yes, there is math in photography.  The three legs are Shutter Speed, Aperture and ISO. Just like in math, when you change the value for one side of the triangle, the other two are affected.

Shutter Speed – it is how long the shutter is open. The longer it is open, the more time the light falls on the image sensor.

Aperture – how large is the opening at the back of the lens.  A larger aperture will let more light in than a smaller aperture. Apertures are measured in F Stops. F 1.8 is a wide opening and F 22 is a small opening. Continue reading “Make It Your Own, Exposure”

Make It Your Own

There are as many different types of photographers as there are cameras to take photos with.

20151215-12-15-2015 11;23;18 AM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mom taking photos of her little girls all dressed up.

little-league

Dad is at the ball field with little Joey waiting for the big hit or a catch that will make him a star.

It has been said that the best camera to use is the one that you have with you. While I would agree something is better than nothing, I would offer that  with a little effort and planning, a better solution is close by.  When sharing photos of loved ones, places we travel to or events we attend, I believe we all want to have the very best image to show off.

flying 8-1We each have our own story, our own path, something that gets us going and  when we see it, BAM!

We just have to shoot it, post it and wait for the masses to love it.

Can we improve  on the photos we take?  Would we stand a little taller  if our images have that extra POP !!  Sure !!  So what do we do, where do we start?

I believe that the best images are those that tell a story. It may be a single photo or a series of images that knit a story together. It is up to the audience to decide if it is a great image or another snapshot. Our job as an artist is to render images that  balance exposure , composition and style.

You may be asking yourself  ” How can I think about all of this while little Susie is jumping on the bed”?  I don’t want to miss the shot. Join me and explore how all this ties together in my series, Make It Your Own

 

Celebrating the 4th

DSC_0445-44This year was spent celebrating July 4th with the Fort Worth Symphony and some good friends. They have an outdoor concert featuring all of America’s favorites. Well there was one foreign composer, Tchaikovski. He is known for the 1812 Overture. It is better know for the song with the cannon shooting off. Well it makes a great firework song.

It would be great if everyone would send in their favorite 4th of July photo memories. Maybe it was this past weekend or something from years past. I know that we all save those special photos. Lets share our memories with every one. It would be great if you could include a line or two telling us about who is in the photo and where they were taken.  I have started by posting up a few of my own.

Firework 29-1I have linked them to The Photo Guy’s site where the rest of the galleries are.  You can comment to this post or send them directly to me    thephotoguy64@gmail.com

Looking forward to seeing and hearing from you