Tag: tips and tricks

Rim light refers to the light surrounding the  edges of the subject we shoot, much like a halo. You could achieve this with artificial light, but I always find sun ray more divine.  It’s especially nice during magic hour (in the morning or evening, when the sun at her lower point). If you take a close up portrait, the sun will shine the model’s hair at its best angle during these hours.

Turn your object/model’s backto the sun, set your DSLR metering on spot metering, and aim at the object to get the right exposure of the subject. If you’re using a compact point-and-shoot digital camera, then set to the ‘backlit scene’ mode, and focus on the subject. Position your subjects so their faces are in the shade, but the sun illuminates their hair. And you’re set. See how the hair light makes my angels even more angelic  ;D

In the same morning, see how the rim light differs, depending on the position of the subject. In the first picture, the sun is almost directly behind Kayla. Whilst on Keira in the second pic, the sun is slightly to her right.

Morning sun always seems better than evening sun because the air is cleaner, and there are less activities on the surroundings, especially on a lazy Saturday or Sunday morning. So I guess it really pays to wake up early.

You could also achieved rim light indoors, as long as there’s light source illuminate from behind the subject (i.e. Strong daylight casting thru glass windows, or opened doors, or like in this picture, from a hole on the roof.)

Even during a cloudy evening, as long as your models are backlit, you could still see a soft rim light.

In some cases you would need to turn on your flash to fill in the dark subject. But, I prefer a blown up/washed out background to keep it looking natural.  Share your tips on achieving rim light, I’m sure there are tons of variables for different conditions that one can face.

So turn off the snooze button! Pack up your gear, and start shooting…..in the early morning! :D

by ingimg
ingenious imaging

Remember those time when you were in this warmth, romantic, nicely lit restaurant, you took a picture with your camera, and what happened? The subject in the picture is washed out, and the background is dark, or in some other occasions, It’s evenly lit, but the subject is blurred. It’s frustrating, but it seems like the camera only works best during the day, outdoors. Well, here’s some tips that could help you take photos in low light condition better.

Romantic, nicely lit restaurant means darkness to your camera. And if you set your camera on auto, the built-in flash most definitely will kick in, replacing the ambient (available light) with high density light that doesn’t reach far. The results just don’t resemble the nice restaurant as you remember. So, try to avoid ‘Auto’-mode in difficult lighting condition, because only you know what is it that you’re trying to capture.

Everything other than front lit (your subject is facing the light, not against it) daylight situation, is considered difficult lighting condition. That’s why in most compact digital cameras, there is the ‘scenes’ mode (pre-set exposures) which will help you define the best exposure for whatever it is that you try to capture.

Valentine’s day dinner with my Keira, the lighting was too nice to pass. I set my camera on high ISO, resting my hand holding camera on top of the camera bag on the table to keep it steady, and use the 2 second self timer. (click on image above to enlarge)

For something like this situation (the romantic, nicely lit restaurant), you set your camera to ‘indoor’ mode (each brand differs in the naming departments, some have specific modes for indoor situation, i.e. ‘party’, ‘birthday’, ‘candle light’). And then what happened? The subject still comes out blurry, or sometimes even the whole picture is blurry. That’s because the camera decided to lower the shutter speed to get as much light as possible for the perfect exposure in those low lit conditions.

The slower the shutter speed, the more likely the image is affected by movement. When we press the shutter release button, our finger motion shakes the camera a bit. A small movement within a large fraction of a second is enough to make a blurry picture. Thus, the waving hand (no shake, please) icon appears in your display to warn you when the shutter speed is slow.

Same goes for a moving subject. If the shutter speed is fast, it stops the moving subject in the picture. But if the shutter speed is slow, you’ll get the subject in motion blur. So the key is to keep the camera as steady as possible, and ask the subject to be still during the point of shutter release.

Differ in some brands, in Lumix LX3 you can set the scene to the ‘party’ mode.

You can do reduce this shutter release shake by using the self-timer and by hand-holding the camera against a steady ground. You can lean your camera holding hand against the table, or on top of the purse that you stack on the table to lift it higher. Sometimes you can use the wall beside you, or the top part of the chair, or anything that will keep your hand steady. Try to use the 2 second self-timer, instead of the 10 seconds, because people’s smile rarely look natural when they have to hold it for 10 seconds. :) (Unless you want to be inside the picture, then 10 second self timer will give you the time to get into place)

On her 5th birthday last year, with her cousin. Had I used flash, the candle couldn’t be the focal point as I intended to here.

Some compact digital cameras already have a built-in stabilizers to counter shakes. There are two types of image stabilizer, the real, mechanical one is the optical image stabilizer which makes some part of the lenses inside react to your movement. And the cheaper version is the digital image stabilizer which only push the ISO number, or open the widest aperture possible to keep the shutter speed fast to minimize blur. If it’s within the budget, get the one with optical image stabilizer. The moments you capture are irreplaceable, you wouldn’t want many blurred mementos, would you?

Many ways to improve the quality of pictures, I’m sure you got other real-world tips on how to take better pictures in low-lit places. Please do share. :D

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ingenious imaging

… is the one that’s with you. It’s a book title from Chase Jarvis, a renowned photographer in the United States. I’ve never read the book, but I got the iPhone apps with the same name, which I use quite often for daily snaps (I’d like to show them, but I guess it’s another topic for another time). I couldn’t agree more with mr. Jarvis.  There were special moments when I wish I had a camera with me. Since I didn’t carry or didn’t have a camera at occassions , those moments just stay somewhere in my brain until I fail to recall them.

I’ve taken pictures ever since I was in highschool or even earlier (let’s see,..how many decades ago was it, ;P…). It was a pocket camera, tho back then you really need to have a huge pocket to fit one of those 35mm hand crank camera. I have a fair share of using 9 different cameras in total, excluding the ones I borrowed. Strangely the only one I couldn’t remember is,..my first camera. How weird is that? I know it was a Fuji (It’s the biggest brand in Indonesia until the digital era), but I couldn’t remember the type. After that came the Olympus Mju first generation, then my first SLR the Canon FN1000, entering the digital era with Canon Cybershot 1.3 Megapixel DSC-P30, then change to Nikon Coolpix 3700, satisfied with the coolpix, I upgraded to DSLR Nikon D200, only to downgrade to D80 a year later, sold my Nikon and crossed over to Canon 40D and finally the 7D. Mostly I love them all, except for the Sony cybershot. It was expensive at that time, and the indoor picture quality was just terrible. I believe it was released in Sony’s fifth year in the still-camera business, so it’s justifiable. And they’ve excelled ever since even though they remain the most expensive compare to other brands in each class.

Here are some pictures I took in the last decade using analog and digital cameras, and some from my phones. Sure in some of these images you could even see the pixel count, but I’m glad I took these pictures so I could relive these moments.

My nephew and robot,..the toy robot. Taken with a borrowed Canon Ixy 320 (3.2MP), remains one of my favorite shots. (click on image above to enlarge)

Mom and Dad goofed around. Good thing I had my Nokia 6111 handy at that time.

Sunset @ Stillwater, Oklahoma. Using film camera, with a color slide 35mm film, then printed and scanned without any photoshop retouching. The gradation is smooth like you wouldn’t believe.

Gazing at the sky. Same as before, using film camera, with a color slide 35mm film, then printed and scanned without any photoshop retouching.

Low resolution pic, clock wise from top left, My nephew acting like a boss (taken with Sony’s 1.3 MP camera), my chubby cheeked niece (taken with nokia 6600), Linkin Park concert 2003 (using Sony Ericsson T-630), A truck charging onto me, it was definitely on the wrong side of the road. Scary huh? (also taken with SE T630) (click on image above to enlarge)

So how would you know which camera is the best for you? Just find the right camera that you feel most likely you will carry around everywhere. If you feel the needs to upgrade from your pocket digital camera to DSLR because you feel the image quality of your current camera doesn’t cut it anymore, then go ahead pick one up. But, if you’re the type of person that finds DSLR bulkiness bothers you, don’t be tempted to get it just because everybody arounds you seems to have one nowadays. Trust me, it will collect more dust in your drawer than dust from your trip to a volcanic mountain. Other type cameras that should be seriously considered are the pro-level compact such as Canon G11 or Panasonic Lumix LX-3, and the Interchangable Lens Mirrorless Camera such as the Olympus EP2 and Sony NEX-5. Both types offer larger sensor than your average point and shoot cameras, and the creativity of the DSLR cameras without the bulkiness. If you’re the type of person who wants all features in 1 gadget with no hassle, then iPhone 4 is your thing. Sure its 5MP still images or 720p HD video is not comparable to most DSLR or even high end compacts, but it’s a phone!!! You always carry your phone with you , don’t you? Which means you’ll always have your camera ready with you. Whatever you bought, have it handy. So, any chance you see a ‘moment’, just shoot away!

by ingimg
ingenious imaging