Carry These Items To Make Sure That Your Camera Tripod Is Level

If you’re an amateur photographer but pride yourself on getting the best shots possible, you may always be on the lookout for new gear. While it can be fun to upgrade your lenses or add various filters that can change the quality of your shots, you should also think about some basic elements of good photography — such as ensuring that your tripod is perfectly level. The tripod is a valuable tool for keeping your camera steady, especially when you’re shooting in a setting where the shutter will be open for a prolonged period of time — unless the tripod is level, you’ll be somewhat disappointed with your images. Here are some tools to add to your camera bag.

Tripod-Leveling Head

A camera-leveling tripod head is a small device that you affix to the top of your camera tripod; it features a mounting screw on the top that your camera can connect to. This device is valuable because it contains a small bubble of liquid that indicates when the top of the tripod is level. It works on the same principle as a level that a carpenter or other contractor carries. The leveling head, also occasionally known as a leveling base, is user-friendly; you simply adjust the tripod until the bubble gives you a level reading, and then you attach your camera.

Small Sandbags

Three or more small sandbags or beanbags — the latter is similar in size and style to the beanbags you might have played with as a child — are ideal to help ensure that your tripod is level. While you can adjust the tripod’s feet, there are often times in which you can’t quite get everything level simply through foot adjustments. By placing a sandbag or beanbag under one or more of the tripod’s feet, you can help get the tripod level and ensure that it stays that way.

Small Pieces Of Cardboard

A handful of small pieces of cardboard can play a similar role to the small sandbags in your mission to get your tripod perfectly level. Much like leveling a table by sliding a thin piece of folded cardboard under it, you can do the same thing with a tripod. The more you shoot and use your leveling head, the quicker you’ll be able to see that your tripod is slightly off-level and slide a piece of cardboard under one of the feet so that you can begin to shoot with everything level.

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12 Things That Should Be On Your Headshot Photographer Checklist

Getting headshots is an important rite of passage for any beginning actor. It says, “Hello, world! Get ready for the next professional actor!” It’s important to go with a professional headshot photographer who knows what it takes for a headshot to get noticed. Help yourself narrow down your headshot photographer choices by making a checklist of criteria you want. Consider these 12 things when making decisions about what you want for your headshot photographer.

1 – Know where you can see samples of the headshot photographer’s past work. Most photographers now have a website that shows examples of their headshots. If not, make sure you know where you can see their body of work.

2 – Think of the types of acting roles that you ultimately want to play and also the kinds of roles that casting agents may realistically hire you to play. That will inform the types of clothes and looks you go for during the headshot session.

3 – Find out what a shoot with the photographer is really like. You can contact the photographer on the website and ask for details on what it’s like. Just be sure to check FAQ sections on websites to ensure that you don’t ask questions that are already easily answered for you.

4 – Get information on whether the photographer uses digital photography. Nearly all headshot photographers have gone digital, but there are some holdouts.

5 – Ask about how many meetings will occur between you and the photographer altogether. Some photographers meet you for the first time on the day of the shoot, while some prefer to have in-person consultations ahead of time. Since your time is precious, you may have a preference for one thing over the other.

6 – Have the photographer give you an estimate on how much time will be dedicated to your photography session. There is no hard and fast rule of how much time needs to be spent, but you generally should get total attention and a specified amount of time set aside for your shoot in case it’s needed.

7 – Find out how long it will take before you can view and access the headshots online. Some photographers prefer to edit the photos before showing any, while others will offer you a sneak peek. Get the information that’s most important to you.

8 – Ask about how the mood is set. You may be able to bring along your own music, or the photographer may have a certain way of working to help you get ready for your headshots.

9 – Discern whether hair and makeup packages are offered along with the headshot photography. If not, you can easily book your own hair and makeup appointments, and the photographer may be able to offer recommendations for high quality professional services.

10 – Find out how many wardrobe changes and looks will be included in your session. The photographer may offer different packages with various price points depending on how many looks and locales you want for your headshot photography session.

11 – Ask about the cancellation policy of a headshot photographer. If you are already trying to get auditions and obtain acting parts, you may end up booking a job at the last minute that could interfere with your photo session. Be sure that you receive a clear explanation of the cancellation policy.

12 – Get information on whether the photographer will grant you full rights to reproduce your headshot photographs to promote yourself and your career. You will need to know for sure how your photographs can be used on your website, social media pages, and promotional mailings.

Finally, keep in mind that you may want to add or subtract from this list depending on what you own unique needs and preferences are for a headshot photographer. Take the time to put a lot of thought into your list, and don’t be shy about asking your headshot photographer questions. Your photographer cares and wants you to be happy and comfortable on the day of your photo session. That’s the recipe for a great shoot!


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Five Ways To Give Your Photo An Old-Time Photo Look

If you are into genealogy or family history, you have probably noticed the differences between modern and old-time or vintage photos. You may even be looking to recreate the look in your family photos so you can display them alongside your ancestors in a vintage display. There are several ways you can make modern photos look like old-time photos.

Props: If you are taking a new picture, props can help you to give your photo an old-time feel. Visit a vintage clothing shop or look at flea markets and yard sales for clothing and items from the time period you wish to recreate. Don’t forget to include hats, purses, shoes and jewelry to enhance the effect. You can also use backdrops to help give the illusion of an old time photo. Visit the fabric store for vintage fabric to use as a backdrop.

Filters or Apps: If you already have a photo that you want to make look like an old photo, there are a wide variety of photo editing or photo manipulation software and apps you can use to create the illusion of an old photo. There are several free programs available online and many apps you can download for your phone or computer. Look for presets or filters in the program labeled as “old photo”, “vintage”, “faded photo” or other similar names. These change the look of your photo to make it look old.

Frames: Both physical frames and frames in photo editing software can help create the effect you are looking for. Look under “frames” in the photo editing software. Most have a variety of choices from weathered-and-worn to period frames. Antique picture frames found at yard sales and flea markets can also work to enhance the feel of your photo.

Vignetting: Vignetting is another effect you can apply to photos in a photo editing app or software. It fades the edges of the photo creating either a dark or light oval or circle around the image. Play with the adjustments to create the size and shape you want for you picture.

Monochrome, Sepia or Black and White: You can either take the photo with one of these settings or change a colored photo to it in a photo editing app or software. Many allow you to adjust the intensity of the effect. Play with the adjustments until you get the effect you want.

Before you begin editing your photo with software or apps, make a copy of the photo. Save the original and work on the copy. Don’t be afraid to apply multiple effects to the photo to create a unique image.  Most software and apps have an undo feature so you can try out several effects to see how they look and revert to your original if you don’t like it.

Contact a company like Four Sisters Old Time Photo for more help.

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Forget The Poster Board And Photo Albums – Show Off Your Photos In A Slideshow!

Do you have a mountain of old photographs that you would like to display at your event? Maybe you just need to add some visual pizzazz to an otherwise dry subject matter. Whatever your event, slide shows are an entertaining way to display your material. Slide shows can creatively showcase your photos for all of your traditional gatherings:

Weddings Receptions – Include pictures of both the bride and group separately and together. It can even be interesting to use old pictures going all the way back to when the happy couple were babies. This helps to create a nice sense of nostalgia.

Graduation Parties – Pictures of the graduate throughout life and including the present. You can also use notes, newspaper clippings, and pictures out of baby books and scrapbooks to highlight memorable moments in the graduate’s life.

Birthday Celebrations – Again, include pictures from all stages of the person’s life. Be sure to include pictures from previous birthday parties and especially any hospital pictures from the day they were born.

Funerals and Memorial Services – Include pictures of the deceased though all stages of life, as well as with friends and family. Be sure to include memorable events such as weddings, birthdays, graduations, and awards. If you don’t have a lot of pictures of some of these events, consider using paper documentation such as a marriage license, diploma, or other such memorabilia.

Slide shows can also make a great addition to less traditional gatherings.

Corporate Events – For business events such as holiday parties and annual gatherings, include pictures from early in the company’s history such as news articles or construction pictures. Also, be sure to include pictures from previous business parties and even candid photos of employees going about their day at work.

School Presentations – When presenting to a class as a guest teacher or speaker, slide shows can be a fantastic visual aid to keep the audience’s attention and freshen up an otherwise dry subject.

Conventions – Consider a slideshow presentation at events like college fairs, craft shows, and other events where you are vying attention. A carefully put together slide show creates eye-catching visual appeal and helps grab and keep the attention of attendees. It also helps keep visitors at your booth for longer, giving you a change to make a personal impression with more people.

There are many computer software programs available to help you develop your slideshow. However, it may be a good idea to enlist the help of a professional to design your slideshow for your event. Whether you’re new to making slideshows, you don’t have the time available to invest, or you want to make sure your presentation looks great, a professional can help you to design an amazing slideshow with tantalizing transitions, magical music, and super special effects to help you create just the right feel.

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Family Photo Ideas for a Great Christmas Card Picture

It may be a family tradition of yours to take a family photo during the holidays and include it in the cards you send out to your family and friends. You may have dressed the family in matching outfits or pajamas, which is fine, but you can also create a great photo without the matching outfits and without the family posed in front of the fireplace. See below for family photo tips and ideas for a great Christmas card picture.

Color Scheme

You don’t have to dress the family in black shirts and jeans or all in the same pajama outfit for a good picture. Here are some color scheme ideas you can utilize:

  • Red, Navy, and White. Think red plaid with navy running through it and a pair of jeans for dad. Navy and white-striped, long-sleeve shirt and khakis to match for a little boy. Chambray (jean) dress, white leggings, and a pair of tall boots for mom. Then a red long-sleeve top, white textured vest, navy skirt, and white leggings with brown boots for a little girl.
  • Black and White. Use a black-and-white color scheme, but dress it up using plaids, stripes, and different textures. Give dad a black quarter zip top with dark jeans; mom can wear a black and white plaid top with black skinny jeans; your little girl can wear a striped black and white dress with leggings and a textured scarf; and give your little boy a white shirt with a plaid tie or bow tie along with black pants.
  • Neutral and Patterned. Keep your photo neutral by wearing white, black, and tan colors, but give it a little bit of pop by adding patterns such as an Aztec print cardigan for mom, a fur vest for a little girl, a plain button-up for dad along with a plaid vest, and a plaid button-up top along with a plain cardigan for a boy.

Photo Ideas

Your photographer may have an indoor studio for you to use, but if you want to get outdoors for your family picture (weather permitting), ask your photographer about a few of the ideas below for your backdrop.

  • Covered Bridge. If you have a covered bridge in your area or any rustic-looking bridges, these make for great holiday photo backgrounds.
  • Barn. Old barns can provide great photo backgrounds by giving your photo a nice rustic look.
  • Tree Farm. Go to a local Christmas tree farm in your area, spread out a plaid picnic blanket, and have your photographer snap a few photos in the middle of some beautiful trees.

Talk to a photographer who specializes in people photography about other ideas for your holiday family photo, including what to wear and where to take your family photos. 

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How To Get A Canvas Framed

If you have a prized piece of artwork on a canvas or have chosen to stretch a favorite photograph and reproduce it as a canvas print, you are going to want to make sure that you frame it so that it is protected and matches the rest of the artwork you already have on your walls. Here are the steps that you need to follow in order to get your canvas framed.

1. Decide on Glass or No Glass

If you have small children in your home and are planning on hanging the canvas artwork or print at a level where they could easily reach, you are going to want to get a frame that has glass in the front. If you don’t have small children or are planning to hang the canvas out of their reach, then you can safely get a frame that does not have glass in the front. This is helpful because it allows anyone looking at the painting to more closely inspect the grain of the canvas and any individual brush strokes.

2. Get the Dimensions

Next, you are going to want to get the dimensions of the canvas. Take a tape measure and measure the length, the width, and the depth of the canvas. Make sure that you measure from the back so that you know that your frame will fit the back. Write these dimensions down.

3. Order the Frame

Once you have the dimensions, you can go to a store that makes frames for canvases or order a frame online. Make sure that you type in the correct dimensions.

4. Mount the Frame

If you choose to install the frame yourself because your were able to find one that you liked off the shelf, then you are going to need to place the frame so that its back is facing towards you on a clean, microfiber towel. Next, you are going to want to place the canvas into the frame so that it is face down as well. Use the clips that came with your frame or that you purchased at a hobby store to hold each of the corners and middles of each side of the canvas in place. If your canvas is slightly smaller or less deep than the frame, you can use offset clips by screwing them into the canvas and placing them between the canvas and the walls of the frame. 

For more information, talk to a company that specializes in creating canvas photo prints.

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5 Wedding Photo Ideas That You Won’t Want to Miss Out On

Your wedding day photos are going to help you remember what a wonderful day it was. They can be a little crazy, sappy, and just all-around unique. Here are a few ideas to help you capture some unique moments that you’ll want to remember forever.

1. Only Surrounded by Love

For this photo, you will need a significantly large space outside (assuming that your guests make up a pretty long list). You can do this on grass, but concrete is better since you’ll be able to pre-draw a heart for everyone to stand on. This ensures that the heart is shaped perfectly for the photo. Then, you and your groom will stand with one another inside of the heart while all of your friends, family, and loved ones gather around you in the shape of a heart. It is a shot that demonstrates that you are surrounded by love.

2. Three Generations of Women

So long as all three generations are living, this wedding photo will be of you, your mother and your maternal grandmother. All three of you will wear your wedding bands and the photo will only be of your hands, which will be linked together by pinkies and thumbs.

3. Bridesmaids’ Toast from Below

All of the photos don’t have to be about you, the bride. After all, your wedding party is just as important as you are, especially when you look back on these photos years down the road. For the bridesmaids’ toast, get all the girls together and a photographer beneath them. The photo will be a shot of the girls with their arms in, raising their champagne glasses for the toast.

4. Kidnapping the Groom

You will do everything in your power to make sure that this wedding happens, even if you have to kidnap the groom. This photo will feature you and your bridesmaids, or individuals of your choosing, stuffing your groom in the trunk of a car to ensure he gets to the chapel on time and doesn’t get cold feet. This is probably one of the crazier and funnier photos out of the bunch.

5. Cover Your Eyes, Little Ones

For this photo, you and your groom will be kissing in the background. In the front of the photo, however, the little ones will be covering their eyes with their tiny hands. It’s incredibly cute, and it is a great way to get the smaller kiddos into a fun photo.

There’s nothing wrong with being a little different when it comes to your wedding photos. In fact, this is one of the things that can set your wedding apart from others. So, when speaking to your wedding photographer, feel free to edge away from the traditional wedding day photos and consider some of the aforementioned ideas. He or she will be able to help you come with some other incredibly creative and unique ideas as well.

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Getting Married? 3 Inspirational Wedding Photo Ideas

It’s rare that a couple will decide to not hire a photographer to capture their special day. It helps you preserve a memory that you can revisit for many years, and show friends and family what your wedding day was like. Even though photos are quite a traditional part of a wedding, couples are looking for creative ways for their wedding photos to stand out compared to others they have seen. Here are three ideas that can provide some inspiration for your wedding photos.

First Look

It may be bad luck for a groom to see the bride in her wedding dress before the ceremony, but many couples are deciding to shake up this old tradition. A groom seeing his wife in her wedding dress is an emotional experience, and you may decide to have it in private before the ceremony begins.

Consider inviting your photographer along to capture this moment on film. You’ll never be able to live that experience over again, and it can be fun to capture the groom’s reaction when he finally sees his beautiful bride in her wedding dress.

For those that decide to stick to traditions, consider having the same moment with the bride’s father for a similar effect that will make for a great moment in a wedding album.

Trash The Dress

Long gone are the days where the mother passes down her wedding dress to her daughter after being preserved for years in the box the dress came in. Some brides are deciding to find a creative way to destroy their wedding dress that they will never wear again.

You may decide to go for a dip in a pond while wearing the dress, set it on fire, decide to get messy with some paint or red wine, or even play a game of paintball if that’s more your style. This can be a great way to cap off a wedding album with some unique photos because the reality is that trashing the dress is the best way to get one more use out of it.

Thank You Photos

Many couples put off making their thank you cards for months as they try to think of a creative way to make them. Since you have your wedding photographer for the day, you can stage a photo specifically for your thank you cards. It could be something as simple as holding up thank you signs while you are still in your dress and tux. It can also be something more elegant, such as a photo along the beach with thank you spelled out in the sand.

Using these inspirational ideas will help create some unique wedding photos from your big day.

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Three Ways To Ensure Your Pictures Add Clarity And Interest To Your Presentation

You’ve probably seen a presentation before in which the speaker included many pictures in his or her slideshow, but these photos didn’t really add anything to the talk because they were either never mentioned, or were too blurry to be seen clearly. Pictures truly can add a lot to a presentation at a conference or seminar, but only if you use them in the right way. Here are three tips to ensure your pictures make your presentation more vibrant and memorable, rather than just serving as superfluous filler.

Before including any picture, ask yourself, “what does this add to my talk?”

Include too many pictures in your talk, and they’ll distract your audience, stealing focus from your important words. By asking yourself the question above about each and every picture you consider including, you ensure that you only include the most important, interesting photos in your talk. A few well-placed pictures will help you hold your audience’s attention, as long as they relate well to your topic.

If possible, view your slideshow in the conference setting to ensure your pictures can be seen clearly by the audience.

You might choose the best, most relevant pictures possible, but if the audience can’t see them clearly, they won’t add anything to your talk.Try running your presentation slideshow in the room where you’ll be formally presenting, and on the same equipment, prior to the day of your talk. This gives you a chance to play with lighting and photo editing to ensure the audience can actually see your pictures. If you can’t access the presentation setting, try to at least borrow any projector and ensure your images are projected clearly.

Specifically mention and discuss each picture you include.

Don’t just let a picture sit there on the screen while you discuss a topic that you know is related to the picture. The audience may not make the connection, or they may waste time trying to figure out how the picture relates rather than listening carefully to what you are saying. When a picture comes up in your slideshow, reference it directly. Use phrases like “As you can see in this photo,” and “This picture is a good example of this phenomenon.” Don’t assume the audience will understand the relationship of your photo to the overall thesis of your presentation—tell them.

Many times, showing your audience an image helps them to better understand a point that you’re making in your presentation. By choosing the most relevant images, making sure they appear clearly, and taking the time to formally introduce or discuss each one, you maximize the benefits of including images in your slideshow.

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Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining: Ten Wedding Pictures To Take In The Rain

They say that it is a sign of good luck for there to be rain on your wedding day, but the thought of rain during your wedding portraits may cause most people to cringe. Wet hair, running makeup, and muddy outfits are enough to make many people fearful of outdoor spring weddings, but don’t despair. Here are 10 beautiful and fun wedding pictures that you can only get if it rains.

Bride and Groom Kissing Under an Umbrella-Make sure to pack an umbrella that coordinates with your wedding colors. Then, grab your beau and have a little smooch in the rain just like Jo March and Professor Bhaer at the end of Little Women.

Raindrops on the Bouquet-The tiny drops of water on the flowers make for a particularly sweet sentiment.

A Penny for Good Luck, In the Rain Boot-You may have seen pictures of the bride’s father placing a penny in her shoe for good luck. How cute would it be if those shoes were galoshes?

Hiding Under the Table-Have a picture made of the flower girl and ring bearer hiding under a table with a long white tablecloth around them to get out of the rain. 

The Wedding Party in Galoshes-Have each member of the wedding party bring their favorite pair of rain boots in order to capture the whimsy of this moment, just in case.

Cake Cutting in Front of a Rain-Covered Window or under an open shelter-When setting up for the reception, make sure that the cake cutting has a beautiful outdoor backdrop. If you are fortunate enough for the rain to happen during the cake cutting, make sure it is in the picture as well.

“Just Married” Sign Inside of the Back Window of the Get-Away Car-The wet glass will add character to the sign, and will be a picture that you will enjoy seeing for many years to come.

Puddle Jumping-Let the younger members of your wedding party take some time at the end of the photo shoot to splash in a puddle or two. Imagine the cuteness of your flower girl and ring bearer holding hands as they jump in a puddle in their formal attire and rain boots.

Wedding Rings in the Rain-Instead of taking the standard picture of the couple’s hands with their rings both showing, add a visual depiction of “for better or worse” by taking this picture in the rain.

Bride and Groom Exit Lined with Brightly Colored Umbrellas-Have you guests line up on either side of the path, holding umbrellas as they throw the birdseed. Rather than trying to pretend it is not happening, embrace the rain, and don’t be afraid to get a little wet.

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When I started taking pictures, I focused more on technique than I did on the subjects. After missing precious moments and losing a few clients, I realized that I needed to think more about the emotion of each image. I started paying attention to relationships, small details, and wonderful moments. Over time, I was able to hone in on what really mattered in each frame, which made the difference in my photography sessions. I want to teach you how to take better pictures, which is why I made this blog. You might be able to learn how to make your photography more special.

October 2016
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