How to Shoot a Reflection Successfully

Reflection is always beautiful. Shooting a reflection with amazing effects will win lots of compliment. But it’s never easy to achieve. More practice is needed to control the light. Therefore, I google the Internet and find some tips for you.

Capture equal parts subject and reflection of subject.

Attempt to hit the reflection head on – being far to the left or right of the subject will result in a lot of distortion in water – although that is a creative effect you could use.

Make sure that limbs of your subject (i.e. arms and feet) are present in the reflection if they are present in the “real” subject.

Play with light – reflection is all about light so seeing the reflection of the light source in your photo can be a great thing if the subject is lit naturally. But if you’re lighting with a spot light you want to make sure it isn’t in the reflection of your shot. You’d be surprised how many magazines have seen this on their pages.  

Watch for the unintentional reflection.

Try turning your subject so that their back is to the light source –having people face the light works particularly well with reflections. The lower the natural light source, the better it will be. So shooting a reflection of the trees in a lake is done at dawn and dusk. Full sunlight at 2pm won’t produce the reflection you’re looking for.

Portrait Professional vs Portrait+ Which Portrait Retouching Software Will You Choose?

Usually I use Portrait Professional to enhance my photos since it provides the highest quality of portraits. But I recently tried Portrait+, another portrait retouching software to deal with my photos from my trip to Germany. This software shares some similarities with Portrait Professional but still remains unique with its own features. So which one should you choose? I'd like to make a comparison between their main features to help you decide.

The following is a table of feature comparison:
Portrait Professional
batch import

face touchup
face detection in one photo
with the help of manual location
auto detection with up to 20 faces
style templates
can be customized and saved more
adjust feature points
manul fine-tuning controls
photo effects
natural & glamorous
batch export

speed & convenience in  workflow
target users
both professional & amateur photographers
professional photo studios, portrait studios and photo labs.

Personally, I think Portrait Professional is a better choice when retouching a few photos while Portrait+ is better for enhancing larger numbers of photos.


Tricks for Portrait Professional

Portrait Professional from Anthropics technology aims at retouching portraits quickly and easily. Excellent airbrushing technology helps to satisfy a great number of customers. Now, let’s find out why Portrait Professional is so popular.

How it works?
After opening an image, select a gender and pinpoint the facial features. After locating 5 key facial points manually, it can automatically detect your face. It is easy to apply different styles to a single photo. 

Sculpt your face

After simply pointing out the key features, the application will automatically enhance the photos. If necessary, you can adjust the key points. But modifying the control too much may lead to a change of identity. A slight enhancement is recommended to make desirable results.

Customize your ideal styles
We provide more than 30 preset styles. All the templates are able to be customized and saved. Next time, those templates can be applied directly.

Apply Restore Brush
After retouching, you may find that the accessories are blurred. Use the restore brush to correct any loss of definition.

Use master fade slider for quick enhancement
For beginners, it is recommended to use the master fade slider for enhancement. For a quick adjustment it is better to adjust the master fade slider to quickly retouch photos.

It can’t be denied that Portrait Professional is an expert in enhancement. But, it can’t deal with many photos at once or detect all the faces in one photo. For professional photographers, it is indeed time-consuming. If Portrait Professional had the function of batch-processing like Portrait+, it would be much more appreciated.

Goodbye Summer, Goodbye Hot Weather Photography

It’s the end of August. The long and hot summer has almost passed.

During the past 2 months, all the televisions and radios have kept broadcasting to us, IT IS THE HOTTEST SUMMER EVER! Have you been shocked and locked yourself at home or anywhere with air-conditioning? If so, I must say that you have missed to take the most interesting hot weather photography.

But it is not too late to capture the tail of summer. The weather is still hotter than autumn. And the shops on the each side of streets go on selling ice-creams. If you decide to hang out at the 2 PM., you may find something interesting and fabulous. Like Gabriella Corrado, she captures her final day of summer with sweetness and silence. It seems that she is kissing goodbye with summer. The lightning and composition are quite amazing. If you are interested in her work, search her name on Flickr to find more.

Final days of summer
I shot this the last day I was in Italy. Basically everything went wrong during this shoot and I wish I had something better to show for it. I find this kinda cliche, but it symbolizes the last days that our left of summer. In a week, the best summer of my life will end and I am not ready. Its going to be such a long year


Pencil vs Camera: Which One is Your Favorite?

When I hang round in the Flickr, I find this interesting project ‘Pencil vs Camera’, carried out by Ben Heine since 2010. It mixes drawing and photography, imagination and reality. It’s a new visual concept invented and initiated by Ben Heine with a combination of magic, illusion, poetry and surrealism.

Ben usually integrates an inventive handmade drawing in front of a realistic background. His hand is always clearly visible; it represents the close connection between the viewer, the artist and the artwork. The drawing is either in black and white on white paper or in color on black paper, while the photo is often very colorful. This amplifies the contrast between the two mediums.

The main themes approached in "Pencil Vs Camera" are: Love, Freedom, After Life, Friendship and Nature. Ben says: "I just make art for people. I want them to dream and forget their daily troubles. I used to write poems many years ago, I want to convey a poetic and philosophical meaning into my pictures. Each new creation should tell a story and generate an intense emotion, like a poem, like a melody".

Photos are quoted from digital photography school and search Ben Heine on Flickr.


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Why Photography Matters in Our Life

We keep shooting all the time, especially when the mobile begin to possess the powerful function of digital camera. Interesting events, beautiful scenery can easily attract our attention. And we will take out mobile phones or digital camera to shoot them involuntarily. But, have you ever thought about the reason why photography is so important in your life?

Of course, photography distils our most precious moments into images. Photographs are our personal story, a timeline of our lives filled with faces and places that we love. They are our story, which we can share with others.

Besides, photographs are part of our legacy. They freeze moments of our lives which pass unremarkably and which seem to have little importance to us at the time. They can be small pieces of a jigsaw that complete the larger picture of our lives.

Third, photography shapes us into artists. It allows us to express ourselves through an art form.

Fourth, every kind of human emotion can find a place in photography. Photography is a special language. It allows us to tell our story and show others our framing of the world around us.

Last but not least, photography has the power to move us. It can grab our attention and speak directly to our emotions. 


Back to School: The Most Awkward Moment in Your Life

After I graduated from university, I begin to envy those people who still have time enjoy their school life. Although it just has been 2 months, I feel like my school life has ended 2 years ago. I miss my classmates very much. And sometimes, I will recall my memory and regret for wasting time. I’m always a docile girl and seldom try out exciting things or travel by myself. How wonderful it will be if I could experience more when I was free.

Looking back to your school life, what’s your most awkward moment? I have to say that a full wardrobe of red clothes impresses me most. When I was in primary school, all of my clothes are red. I feel I’m a red ball rolling in the street. Therefore, once looking at those previous photos, I will burst into laughter and feel sorry for my bad taste.

I believe that everyone has his awkward time and some must be recorded by camera. You may get annoyed by others’ laughter and even bury yourself into deep self-accusation. I still remember the first lesson in my university. A freshman fell down in the canteen and got depressed for her spectacle for several days. But one day, she saw a handsome boy fell down either but he just stood up and laugh with others. That day, she finally figured out that no one will remember your foolishness and never let those embarrass things trouble you.

For all the students who may get embarrass before, laugh at your awkward past and enjoy your colorful future.
(all photos are quoted from buzzfeed.com)


Back to School:Helpful Tricks for Up Close

We often use micropixel camera to shoot the tiny world like insect on woods or dewdrop on petals. To enlarge those beautiful little things is an interesting work that you may enjoy their colorful appearance. Sometime, applying up close to shoot a giant may also be filled with fun.

How about photograph children with up close? Zoom in close and do a few portraits to remember the features of their face at this age. They may get annoyed for keeping shooting their face while you can grab some of other funny moment. Remember to make pictures from head to toe. Some of the moment may be so fabulous to record.

Besides, there are some tricks for up close
Put on some makeup and try to take hundreds of photos with different settings. You will find out which one is perfect for you.

Protect your lens carefully keep it clean. It‘s not cheap to purchase another one. Change your battery; photos will be more clearly with full power.

Change your locations and take photos in another room. Photos will look quite different with kinds of lightning. Learn to adjust the color balance. After getting familiar with your camera, you will find there is no need to use image-processing software everywhere.
(photos are quoted from iheartfaces) 


Back to School: Think Outside of Box

After getting prepared, you may say farewell to your children. The first day is destined for memories. Whether taking school bus or walking to school, it is important to record their “goodbye” figures. You may find it is a great thing to remember their first independence in their lives.

Smile is the most beautiful expression in the world. To shoot kid’s smile can always make a wonderful picture. But it’s such an ordinary composition skill that all the photo albums are crowded with these photos. You might want something a little out of the ordinary. Try to photograph kids from behind. You will find it is quite cheerful to freeze frame their excited figures stepping towards schools.

Take photos of their new clothes, shoes and bags. Even without faces, they look alive with colorful decoration. Insert them into your photo album, you will find it is quite interesting to contrast before and after.

And once they are home from the first day, do you have an annual family tradition? Homemade cookies and milk, ice cream cones etc, whatever the tradition, be sure to include your camera.
(photos are quoted from iheartfaces)


Back to School: Capturing the Shopping Extravaganza

It’s that time of year again.

2-month summer holiday has slipped away with no awareness. And the smell of Back to School has spread in the air. Some kids are to be brought to kindergarten while some youth are going to travel to the remote university. My brother will be no exception. He will fly a far way to another province and take his first year as freshman. Same as others, my mothers are busy with his package and there are many things need purchasing.

The day before Back to School is quite busy but you mustn’t want to miss it. Whether you like it or not, shopping for back to school clothes, shoes, and school supplies is an annual tradition that deserves memory. There are some tips to facilitate you to capture the best photos during the shopping extravaganza.

1. Turn this arduous task for your kids as a photo assignment and encourage them to take pictures of each other's best and worst shopping moments. It will become a great experience.

2. Photograph them before you leave with their worn out summer sandals, unruly pool hair, and faded summer tank tops. All of them will be contrasted with the first day of school in your back to school scrapbook page.

3. By giving the camera to your kids for part of this day you might even end up with a funny photo of yourself frazzled from a day of shopping.
( photos quoted from iheartfaces)

The Skim Shot: Tip for Food Photography

I am a huge fan of food program for it always presents the most attractive aspect of food. Certainly, some of the photos have been retouched by image-processing software to create false appearance of delicious food. But for audiences sitting before TV and computer, a feast for the eyes is more appealing.

Luckily, when I search pictures of appetizing food on the Internet, I find a good tip to make a better photo. The skim shot, as the author called it, is achieved when the camera is pretty much at the level of the food, and when the food is shot, you get a sense of the background of the room.


     The regular shot                                    the skim shot

Compared those two photos below, it is not hard to find that the right one is much more colorful and appetizing. When shooting food – especially still photography – it is best to block out everything but the food and focus on it.

Please enjoy more photos applying the skim shot. (photos are quoted from The pioneer woman)



How to Shoot BLACK & WHITE with Digital Cameras

In our eyes, the world around us is so colorful. Green grass, blue sky and red sun, all of them devote to beautify our life. But if we see the world through different angle of black& white, we may find the surroundings have a dramatic impact. Therefore, the day before yesterday, I recommended you to shoot black& white photos to examine your ability of composition skill. And now, I’d like to share some tips found on the Internet to help you make an excellent photo.  

photo by TeryKats

1. Shoot in RAW
Of course shooting in JPEG doesn’t stop you shooting in black and white – but if it’s an option, give RAW a go, you might be surprised by what it offers you in post production.

2. Shoot in Color
If your camera doesn’t allow you to shoot in RAW – shoot in color and do your conversion to black & white later on your computer that you will have more control over results.

3. Low ISO
Shoot with the lowest possible ISO possible. It is particularly important when it comes to black& white where noise created by ISO can become even more obvious.
4. When to Shoot
Many digital photographers actually prefer to shoot images for Black& White in low contrast situations. So a dark or overcast day can be a great time to shoot out door shots.

5. Composition
You need to train yourself to look at shapes, tones and textures in your frame as points of interest. Pay particularly attention to shadows and highlights which will become a feature of your shot.

 (quoted from digital photography school)

How to Photograph a Child’s Birthday Party

Photo by Johnny Blood

Birthday Parties present us with a lot of emotion, interaction, color and energy in a child’s party. And it is never easy to photograph children. Although it is quite interesting to shoot children’s funny expression and action; but for parents, a huge challenge is waiting for them. Therefore, to record the most beautiful smile on the world, I google the Internet and find some tips for you.

1. Designate a Party Photographer
Give someone the job and release that person from other party duties to just take photos. In this way, you’re guaranteed to get some shots and will have something to remember the day with.

2. Get a Child’s perspective
Get down low when taking photos of children. The majority of your photos should be taken at eye level of the subjects you’re shooting.

3. Look for the Party Details
It’s good to get close to cake, balloons and other decorations, filling the frame with them. You’ll find that these types of shots look great through an album between shots of people.

photo by cupcakequeen
photo by igorms

4. Shoot out of Relationship
The best shots come as the children warm up to you and their surrounds. So make an effort to meet the children as they come into the party and to be friendly and fun.

5. Take Before and After Shots of the Party
Take shots before the party actually starts and also take a few shots at the end of the party – they could make a humorous comparison series.

6. Shoot in Burst Mode
One of the most effective ways to capture parties is to learn how to shoot in continuous shooting (or burst) mode when your camera fires a series of shots in quick succession. This is particularly useful when shooting children as they rarely sit still.

7. Include Adults in your Photos
The focus of children’s parties is generally the children – but the adults attending the party can actually present you with some fascinating shots as they watch on.


A Simple Exercise to Improve Your Portrait Photography

Photography is a gear based pastime, and because of this, it’s easy to overcomplicate a shoot by taking more equipment than you actually need. To shoot simply, you may benefits a lot. When I surf on the Internet, I find some interesting tips which may facilitate you to make a perfect portrait photos.

Simple portrait exercise
The idea is to shoot in black and white, with just one camera and one lens, in natural light. The aim is to keep your approach simple so that you can concentrate on your rapport with your model and posing and composition. Using black and white will test your composition skills.
Here are a few ideas to help your shoot run smoothly:
Build rapport with your model. This is really important, for fairly obvious reasons, especially if you don’t know them well. If you show a genuine interest in your model he or she will respond to your ideas and become involved in your shoot. They are more likely to be willing to help you out with future shoots. You might even make a good friend.

Communicate your ideas. You can do this by showing your model any sample photos you have prepared, and also by showing the images on the camera’s screen at intervals during the shoot. The more your model buys into your vision of what you want to achieve with the harder they will work to help you achieve it.

Pay attention to what’s happening behind your model. Keep the composition simple and try to avoid messy or bright backgrounds.

Relax. Have fun. Enjoy yourself.
(pictures&tips below are quoted from Andrew S Gibson's blog)


Dear Photograph: the Memories Echo in the Past

When I was young, my parents were fond of making photos with me. But I was not so much interesting in being shot. Therefore, a large number of photos were shot with my mouth pouting. I was so upset at that time. But now, I am so thankful for those memories being kept. Photos brings me hints of my childish life, my cheerful youth. And it is time to farewell the carefree past and bravely accept the challenge in the future.

But before that, I have to recommend a book to you. Dear Photograph, a photography book contains many people’s memories. No matter sadness or happiness, everything becomes so lovely when looking back. Don’t waste your precious time, for youth, once spent, will never come again.

(Below are quoted from Dear Photograph)

Dear Photograph,

We were two years old when we became best friends. Now that we are eighteen, I hope we’ll ride through whatever life brings our way, together, best friends…. just like always.

Dear Photograph,
So much life has flourished and grown up here in my parent’s house. Our tree seems to be the best reminder of just how many years have passed since I took all my favorite friends for a walk. I hope one day to establish such deep roots for my own family…

Dear Photograph,
You’ve shown me how I’ve been embraced in the circle of your love from the very beginning. Thirty nine years have passed, and still I feel that same love now, just like I did back then. Even when we lose someone so unexpectedly, like our brother John, and miss him each and everyday, it does my soul good to know love really is never ending… 
                                               Mary Kate


Celine Steen: Have Cake, Will Travel.

Morning, the beautiful world! After 2-day typhoon, it is quite happy to embrace the sun. It is 18 o’clock in China and I have been working for 8 hours. But for many countries, it is high time to count the sheep. After a sound sleep, you may have to work or study. Don’t forget to take a breakfast that will facilitate you to have an energetic day.

Therefore, I’d like to introduce a food photographer & writer to you, Celine Steen. Her photos are quite simple but full of warmness. As she said, simple styling, elegant rusticity and a cozy feel all make for pictures that make her happy. I’m a person who enjoys cooking and eating. And sometimes, I will take a shoot for my dishes and share with my friends. To prove that I am better cooker than my friends feels quite awesome.

This colorful one is Celine’s favorite. It is easy to find both background and subject are quite simple and ordinary while the results extremely appetizing. Have you got hungry? I must admit that muffin mixed with strawberries make my mouth water. Compared with other hearty breakfast, this one may be less delicious but it feels at home.

At last, I will recommend a tips for taking photos, that is, focusing. There is no need to highlight every subject in the center of photos. Focus on the subject and remove your camera a little bit. You will find it will be quite interesting to take a less normal photo.
(All these photos are taken from Andre S Gibson Blog)