Larger Than Life: Macro Photography

mac·ro·pho·tog·ra·phy
ˌmakrōfəˈtäɡrəfē/
noun

photography producing photographs of small items larger than life size.

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Macro photography is the art of taking close-up pictures that reveal details which can’t be seen with the naked eye. It captures detail in such a way that it makes the spectator feel like “Alice in Wonderland”.

The beauty about macro photography is that you have a limitless amount of subjects. All you need is a keen eye, and a bit of practice.

Here are my tips to create great macro images:

  • Magnify When an object is projected at life-size onto the sensor, it is at 1:1 magnification; 1:1 magnification is the ratio of macro photography using a full-frame DSLR camera.
  • Lens Macro lenses usually range from 50mm to 200mm, depending on subject to lens distance. For general macro work, a 50mm – 60 mm will work. But if you’re looking for a greater distance to subject, you may consider using a 100mm, all the way to a 200mm lens.
  • Focal Lengths Shorter focal lengths are good for hand holding shots; long focal lengths will create a shallower depth of field.
  • Aperture Use the smallest lens aperture to gain optimum image sharpness and depth of field. The dept[h] of field draws the eye to the subject and creates an enticing background effect.
  • Lighting Because you may find yourself close to your subject most of the time, try to avoid using flash. It will over expose your shot. Instead, try adjusting your ISO accordingly (the lower the ISO, the less sensitive the sensor is to light).

Other quick tips

  • LCD Screen To help avoid parallax error, use your LCD screen.
  • Tripods I sometimes get hit with the photographers curse…shaky hands. When that happens, I rely on my handy dandy tripod. It helps create a clearer photo.
  • Reflectors Use a small reflector to even out the lighting. You can also use a white board, or a piece of foil.

IMG_4402As with many techniques in photography, there are many technical terms for macro photography.  The most crucial is the concept of magnification. Once you understand the differences between life-sized images and 1:4 images, you will know the most crucial macro-specific terminology
that you’ll come across.

I like to think that the best images are taken when they’re shot naturally. When you feel the moment is right, and you shoot. So don’t forget to listen to your inner voice when you’re out shooting.

As always, I would love to see what you create. Please leave a comment with the link where I can follow your work.

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“Life should be larger than life. Size is important to escape normalization” – Karl Lagerfeld

Just Shoot -Become a Spontaneous Photographer

spon·ta·ne·ous

spänˈtānēəs/

adjective

Performed or occurring as a result of a sudden inner impulse or inclination and without premeditation or external stimulus.

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What is a spontaneous photographer? Besides being an impulsive shooter (most great photographers shoot on impulse, and create beautiful images), it also means to improvise when needed. Thinking on your feet, and do not second guess your self when wanting to shoot – with anything! 

Sadly, I have missed many opportunities for great shots. As a photographer, I find beauty in every raw moment, and I have lost the chance to shoot that moment because I second guess my self. As a result, I’ve had to teach myself to become a spontaneous photographer.

 This week, I want to share with you what I did to become a spontaneous photographer (I still use this list everyday):

Feels like the first time We all had that gah gah moment with photography; the “in love” stage; the “I’ll do anything for you, and I don’t care what people think” stage. Remember? Well, go back to that moment when you felt that way and fall in love with photography again.  Don’t just remember though. You have to feel it, deep in your gut. Then, take your camera, and shoot what so ever catches your eye.

Just the two of us When you do go out and shoot, don’t take extra equipment. Just take one lens. Again, let’s go back to when you fell in love with photography. I personally didn’t have anything but one lens and body. No fancy lights, or external flash. No extra lenses. Just my good ol’ trusty camera body and lens. I would focus more on what I wanted to shoot vs. thinking what lens would work better to take that shot with. It also helps you be more creative.

Don’t you forget about me Take your camera everywhere. Always. Opportunities are everywhere, and as a photographer you have the tendency to always think “this would make a great shot”. What better than to be prepared to take that shot?

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In your eyes Every photographer sees things differently. Don’t be afraid or intimidated to go out there and shoot random object, places, or people. Chances are you’ll capture a great shot, and you’ll be able to show others your personal vision.

Although it may be an easy task for some, being (or becoming) a spontaneous photographer doesn’t come easy. But if you’re up for the task, practice every day, by photographing what your gut inspires you to capture, without fear or intimidation.

As always, I would love to see what you create. Please leave a comment with the link where I can follow your work.

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“An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail.” – Edwin Land

Reina en Rojo Pt3: Color Tones

tone

tōn/
verb
  • harmonize with (something) in terms of color.

noun

  • the general character or attitude of a place, piece of writing, situation, etc.
    informal
    an atmosphere of respectability or class.
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“Your images should have a message.” Every photographer has heard this line at least once. And it’s very true – your photos should have a message, and setting the tone is a very fun tactic you’ll learn in photography.

You can have a harsh tone, or you can have a soft tone. It all depends on the color temperature you’re using.

Remember when I said that “Color and tone emanates the mood and character of photography” in Complementing Colors? Well, this also applies in the color temperature of the light you use.

Welcome to the wonderful world of Kelvin temperature. Let me start by sharing this graph with you:

colortemp

Color temperatures set different tones. For example, red is a strong color often associated with energy, war, danger, as well as passion, desire, and love. Where as blue, the opposite end of the color temperature chart, is associated with depth and stability. It symbolizes trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, and truth.

In this photo series, my message was strength of a women in power, hence “Queen in Red”. So I used a red temperature light bulb to set that strong tone. I also used a blue bulb to create split lighting. Usually, split lighting is created by using gel color filters, but as I’ve mentioned before, I love hard light – and I enjoy experimenting.

I also used an incandescent 2800° K light in one soft box (please make sure you know how many watts and volts your soft box can handle if you want experiment to avoid blowing a fuse). On the other side I used the 3500° K CFL light (most soft boxes come with these lights). For this particular series, I didn’t use a back light. 3-point-lighting
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2800°K is hitting model on her back to add a glow to the portrait

Playing with different lights and temperature is a great skill to learn in photography. You’ll have fun playing with tones. And as you master this craft, I recommend you try using different color temperature bulbs, as well as different color gels.

Don’t forget to be creative and free! As always, I would love to see what you create. Please leave a comment with the link where I can follow your work.

“Tone has the living soul.” – Shinichi Suziki

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Reina En Rojo Pt 2: Crown Fit for a Queen

crown

kroun/
noun
 /a circular ornamental headdress worn by a monarch as a symbol of authority, usually made of or decorated with precious metals and jewels.

One of my favorite things to do  is create props for my photo shoots – ESPECIALLY flower crowns! It adds a certain charm and elegance to the images, and [the] girls absolutely love wearing them.

 

These flower crowns were so much fun (and inexpensive!) to make, that I decided to share my little DIY (Do It Yourself) project with you.

For these particular crowns, I used:

  • 2 headbands for each crown (Purchased from my local Dollar Tree store).
  • 4 bunches of artificial roses (Purchased at the Dollar Tree).
  • Lace Roll Netting Fabric (Purchased at Amazon: http://a.co/gFanyRS)

  • Floral wire (Purchased at Dollar Tree)
  • Glue gun (Purchased at Amazon: http://a.co/aWa5myz)
  • Wire cutter (Purchased at Amazon: http://a.co/etOh0BJ)
  • Black spray paint (Purchased at Amazon: http://a.co/g5l1ml6)
  • Piece of card board (Big enough to paint spray your roses on).

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Steps:

    1. Using the wire cutter, cut the stems of the artificial roses, leaving two inches (or just enough to curl onto the headband).
    1. Grab about eight roses (I only used six, but I like to have extras, just in case). Place the roses on the cardboard, and spray paint the roses standing about a feet away from the card board so that you don’t spray too much, making sure to keep some of the red to accent the roses. Let the roses dry, and go on to the next step.
  1. Grab the remaining red roses, and curl the stems around the headband, bunching them on the top mid-section. Once you place all of the roses on the headband, grab a 10img_3845-2 inch piece of floral wire and slid through the curled portion of the stems, then grab the ends and twirl over the headband, securing the roses on to the headband.
  2. For the red laced crown – Cut six 5 inch pieces of lace (WARNING: If you are using the lace roll on the link, there will be a LOT of red glitter falling off of the lace). Pinch the bottom of the lace , leaving a tiny piece below your pinched fingers, and dab one drop of glue on the remaining piece of lace (PLEASE be CAREFUL – the glue is HOT and will burn you). Using your other hand (you’re still pinching the bottom part of the lace), carefully pinch the lace so that the glue sticks the bottom portion of the strand together. Once you’ve done this to all the the strands, place the glued part of the lace in between the roses (I used the wire and the headband to help secure the lace). Feather out the lace accordingly.
  3. For the black rose crown – After following steps 2 and 3, I used the floral wire to create a high crown design. I grabbed four 6 inch pieces of wire, twirled one end on the headband, twirled the ends together, and bent the wire (did this on 9 bunches) – but you can create your very own design however you like.

 

Hope you enjoyed this step by step DIY tutorial. Please feel free to comment any questions. Enjoy your flower crowns!

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Also used in wardrobe:

Reina en Rojo (Queen in Red)

red

adjective
Of a color at the end of the spectrum next to orange and opposite violet, as of blood, fire, or rubies.
According to Color Wheel Pro, “Red is the color of fire and blood, so it is associated with energy, war, danger, strength, power, determination as well as passion, desire, and love.”
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I feel the Color Wheel Pro’s definition of red is also a great definition of a Queen. Which is exactly the message that I wanted to translate through the images of this series: The strength of a queen; the strength of a woman.
With the spirit of Valentine’s Day still lingering, I choose to launch this blog because I find it to be the perfect time to express love, passion, and strength. Whether you are single, or you have your partner, I personally think these are three traits that a woman (or man), shouldn’t live with out. Every day of the year.
This project was created by four strong women. One of them was the lovely Glam By Kat. We will start this 3 part series blog by explaining the make up she used to create the elegant look on the beautiful Andrea:
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Kat: “Lucky for me,  my muse wanted to update and overhaul her hair color. Perfect timing right before this red queen inspired look. I used her candy heart lavender haircolor and the head pieces Dani made as makeup inspo. I took my time on her eyes as I brainstormed on how i was going to do her hair. I had a pretty chaotic weekend and completely forgot my hair kit at the salon. I didn’t have a single bobby pin..not even a comb on me!!! Thank goodness Dani had a pack of pins. I worked with what I had and honestly, its all that I needed.
Since we started with the darker flower crown, I started with a black to red ombre lip using Cinema Secrets paints for easy blending and removal since we were going to be switching between looks.
I was LIVING for the way the Diamond Crusher from Limecrime looked in her inner corner. I’ve actually been playing with Diamond Crushers while working shoots a lot lately. I like that it has a wand applicator and dries to a silky powder-like feeling. The iridescence is incredible. Leaving a glow even in the darkest of lights.
I was warmed up from the first look so I went in on the extra for the second look. I exaggerated her lips, added more blush, more contour, more glitter..the more of everything, the merrier at this point. My brushes kept packing on more as my mind said ‘yyyaaaaassssss girllll!!!’
I dusted on a little highlight powder on her collar bone img_3832-2and shoulder for a pop of glow too.Despite not having my hair kit with me, the shoot went smoothly. Thank goodness Andrea had lived in hair, previously curled, so it held its form with pins. (Thank you Dani!)
Team work makes the dream work, so happy we were able to join our creative forces to bring a beautiful vision alive”.

To see more of Kat’s beautiful glam creations, please visit her website: Glam By Kat

You can also follow her on social media:

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Smoky Daze: Tips on Photographing Smoke

smoke
smōk/
noun 

A visible suspension of carbon or other particles in air, typically one emitted from a burning substance.

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There’s something about watching smoke that is mesmerizing, and captivates attention; Photographing smoke is no different. 

With the right amount of lighting, a good black backdrop, an incense stick, and a lighter, you’ll be able to capture beautiful stills.

 

You can also get tech-y, and use an external flash, a reflector, and a tripod – In this blog, I will teach you how to do without. I am sure we’ll revisit the subject in the near future. When we do, I promise to include more of my equipment.

 

For this series, I used the following equipment:

Setting Up:

  1. Set your back drop – I taped a 2′ x 2′ piece of the matte foil on my wall, and I let the bottom part lay over my desk.
  2. Place the LED tube facing the backdrop right on top of where the backdrop curves and connects to your table surface. If you’re using a lamp, position it so that the light is pointed directly at the tip of the incense – don’t worry, the lamp wont show in the pictures. (Tip#1: Place the light behind the smoke to make the smoke pop)
  3. Place your incense  in the incense holder in front of the black backdrop – make sure to have about .5′ to 1′ of space between the incense and the backdrop. Don’t light it just yet.
  4. Make sure all fans are off, and all windows are closed.
  5. Turn off any extra lights in the room, and close your blinds (Tip#2: I like to leave a light in the next room on to help guide me)
  6. Set your camera settings. I included the settings I used on each photo on the image description (Tip#3: For brighter smoke, lower the aperture by 1 stop; Tip#4: To reduce noise, lower  the ISO)
  7. Light up your incense, and start shooting – enjoy!

One last tip: If the smoke starts to dull out, all you have to do is just blow at it just a tad bit.

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(see specs on camera settings and filters in description)

 

I am also including some portraits I took using vapor. Also a lot of fun to shoot. You’ll be able to use more light since the vapor clouds are thicker than incense smoke, and your back drop can be any color. However, bold colors give the smoke more character.

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As I always, I would love to see what you create. Please leave a comment with the link where I can follow your work.

 

“The picture that you took with your camera is the imagination you want to create with reality.”
— Scott Lorenzo

 

 

Today’s Overcast; Nature’s Reflector

re·flec·tor:

rəˈflektər/
noun
A piece of glass, metal, or other material for reflecting light in a required direction
In Photography – a reflector is an improvised or specialized reflective surface used to redirect light toward a given subject or scene.
Overcast days are my personal favorite to shoot. The sky has a captivating character that adds so much definition to your photos.
Clouds are known to be “nature’s reflector” or “nature’s soft box”, and they make a great backdrop when shooting portraits. They diffuse bright light, creating a soft light that flatters your subject and creates beautiful highlight tones.
For those who enjoy shooting silhouettes, place your subject in front of the sun during the golden hour (sunset). You’ll see stunning reds, yellows, oranges, purples and/or blues in overcast skies that help create drama, and mystery.wm005
Tips for Shooting on an Overcast Day:
ISO – Start by setting your ISO to about 400. Remember that not all overcast settings are the same. Rule of thumb – the darker the room, the higher the ISO level.
Shutter Speed – Light overcast = f/11; Totally overcast = f/8; Be careful not to let your shutter speed drop too much to the point where you can’t easily freeze the scene when trying to take a sharp picture.
Add color to wardrobe, props, and/or background –  If you’re not shooting during the golden hour, you run the risk of capturing white or gray dull skies. Add vibrant colors to your wardrobe, props, and/or background to make your subject(s) pop.

Elliot Erwitt said “Photography is an art of observation. It has little to do with things you see, and everything to do with the way you see them”.

As I always mention, these are only tips and recommendations for how I create my photos. My eyes may not see what your eyes do. If it feels right, then shoot it – and share it with me. I would love to see what you create, so please leave a comment with the link where I can follow your work.

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