Tag Archive: Tips

Top 11 Tips To Bring Up Your Drone Game

Drone photography has become one of the most exciting and popular new destinations for amateurs and professional photographers alike. And why would it not be, it offers such an incredible view of the world that is inaccessible through any other means, at least at this point of time.

With cheap drones flooding the market now, it has become very easy for any one to pick up one of these great little toys and have a go at it. Consumer drones such as dji spark is now making such major ripples in the drones market.

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Here are 11 incredible tips for you to up your drone game:

We really like the idea of shooting when the Sun is low. The long shadows makes for such an interesting view. Which idea did you like the most?

How To Get Beautiful Background Blur With Any Camera

The Raging Question:

Today I want to answer the question that I probably get asked the most.

How to get the perfect background blur?

background blur

There are many scenarios where you can use background blur for interesting results. You can use it while taking portraits, so that the subject is well isolated from the background and any unwanted element like a tree or a pillar can be easily avoided. Background blur also sometimes give rise to bokeh!! Use it well in images or videos any you can get stunning results.

background blur

But the big question still remain….how do we get that beautiful blurring? Lets answer it now…

Well there are many ways to get the perfect background blur in your photographs. Photos with blurred out backgrounds looks very artistic and professional. Many people think that it can only be achieved by plonking down huge amounts of money on camera gear and accessories; but that is NOT the truth, it is very very simple to create.

Here is how…

Dial down to your lowest aperture number:

If you have a point and shoot, look in the menu where it would allow you to dial down the aperture number to the lowest value (remember, lower aperture number represents a larger aperture and vice- versa).

Nowadays there are many third party apps too that would work with your android and IOS devices to help you input the camera aperture number manually. Try and keep it to f/1.8 or f/2.

mode dial

If you have a DSLR use the mode dial to select the aperture priority mode (‘A’ in Nikon and ‘AV’ in Canon) and dial down the aperture number as low as possible. Generally on a kit lens the minimum aperture number would be f/3.5. Again to drive home the point; as you are using the lowest aperture number on your lens you are choosing the largest aperture the lens has.

Increase the distance between the subject and the background:

Many times what we tend to do in our day to day photography is place our subjects right in front of a wall or a sign post and click away. This would not help at all if you are trying to get a good background blur.

background blur

Try and increase the distance between the subject and the background. If you are shooting in a room try to move the subject towards the camera as much as possible; so that the distance between the subject and the back wall is maximized. If you are out in the open; position your subjects such that the background is not an immediate wall or structure.

background blur

Blur gets stronger and stronger as it gets away from the focus point. So, even when you are using a low f-number, say f/1.2, a wall right behind the subject will not appear blurred out at all whereas a distant horizon will appear blurred out even when you are using a larger aperture number say f/5.6. Keep this in mind.

Take some time to place your subjects well. Move around and hunt for the right angles so that you achieve this  before your start to shoot.

Decrease the distance between the camera and the subjects:

Now decrease the distance between the subject and the camera. Fill up the frame only with the amount of the subject that is absolutely needed to tell the story. If you try and include everything you would invariably have to increase the distance between the camera and the subject this would affect the background blur you are after in a bad way. Typically while shooting portraits, head-shots have way more background blur than a full body shot because of the reason I just discussed; increased camera to subject distance.

Busting some myths now:

Now to help out people who think that it is impossible to get good background blur with kit lenses like the 18-55mm or 18-105mm. Have no fear, I am here to help you out with just that. There is  just a little trick to it, follow it now and you will amaze yourself.

The trick is pretty simple, the first two “rules” above still applies, i.e. try and move the subject away from the background as much as possible and move in close to the subject with your camera. Now comes the tricky part, move away from the subject a little and then zoom back in all the way. You will now be on f/5.6 (generally most kit lens have f/5.6 as the maximum aperture value), not too bad for a good background blur, if you know how to use it to your advantage.

Take a picture like this and have a look, it should have a lovely background blur to it.

Try Out a New Lens:

You may want to try out a new lens as well for better background blur. Prime lenses are very cheap these days and they usually have low f-numbers like 1.8 and 1.4. Some very popular choices are:

Nikon:   Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G & Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G.

Canon:  Canon EF 35mm f/2 & Canon EF 50MM F/1.8 STM Lens.

Canon_EF_50mm_18_II

These prime lenses are absolute legends. They are not only great for background blur

  1. They are exceptionally fast in auto focusing.
  2. The images they produce are very sharp and crisp.
  3. They are extremely light and easy to carry and as they have such a large aperture (low aperture numbers of 1.8, 1.4, 1.2) that makes them brilliant in low light conditions.
  4. They allow so much light in through the lens that now you can shoot in much lower ISO, reducing noise and also with much faster shutter which would in turn help with the accidental camera shake, if at all.

All the same reasons are valid for videos too!

Nikkor 50mm 1.8G

I got my first Nikon 50mm f/1.8G many years ago and it is still my go to lens. Well one important reason is that I am a street photographer and using a big zoom lens is a cardinal sin here. But even then I have used my Nikon nifty fifty for many project that were not even near street photography and I was glad with the images that came at the end of it.

And when you have mastered the art of photography, you can always try these f/1.4 and f/1.2 lenses for some serious background blur and bokeh. They are a little pricey but they are worth every rupee you spend on them. Here are a few of my favorites.

Nikon:

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G Prime Lens for Nikon DSLR Camera

Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens for Nikon DSLR Cameras

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens for Nikon DSLR Cameras

 

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG

Canon:

Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens for Canon DSLR Cameras.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L USM Prime Lens for Canon DSLR Camera

Canon_7D_with_50mm_f1.2

Lastly a thing to remember is even when you are trying to get the background blur as much as possible; DO NOT think that you can put anything in there and get away with it. Many things like a graphic, a brightly colored or oddly shaped object may still look bad in your photographs; even when they are blurred. If it is possible to remove them from your shot when you are shooting by simply changing the angle, just do so. Always try to opt for a background which is plain (like a bush) or repetitive in pattern, this will look so much better than ugly sign boards and light poles.

Let me know how you used these quick tips and how your photographs came out. Don’t forget to share with me your experiences.

Happy ClickinG!

Top Seven Ways To Keep Your Prints Awesome Forever.

Do You Have a Lot Of Prints? Here Are A Few Ways That You Can Use To Preserve Them Forever.

Photographs are more than just images printed on paper, they are a reminder of a special moment that silently exists even today. Taking care of these photographs are taking care of those moments that you cared about.

I think of photographs as a piece of our lived life that we managed to freeze in time, forever. These moments are priceless and so the reason to safeguard these printed images is paramount. Because ‘the images do not change, even if people in them change’. Here are a few ways you can take care of all those amazing images that you have.

printed photo

Back them up:

Most of the photographs that are taken today are through a digital mediums; digital cameras, cell phones, etc. Hence backing these up is a good start. Preserving them in at least in two places is a good idea. You may write them up on a good quality DVD and keep another copy on your computer’s hard disk or an external hard disk.

photographs backup

If you have any old images already printed on paper then keep them in a safe place away from direct sunlight or moisture. Scan and keep a digital copy of the photographs as I said before. Digital images are a lot easier to preserve than printed images. Make multiple copies of the printed images and give them out to friends and relatives to keep; so that the photographs get stored at different location, just in case.

photographs negative

Preserve old negative too like the photographs, they may come in handy if the original image is damaged later on for any reason.

Opt for good quality paper while printing images:

Most people while taking deliveries of their photos do not look carefully at the back to figure out the type of paper on which the images have been printed. There are various kinds of paper that studios generally use to print photos. Make sure you ask about it before you place an order for your photographs. Ask for archival-quality paper. This will ensure long life of your photographs as they are very durable and long lasting.

photographs paper

Keep Them In A Photo Friendly Place:

Direct Sunlight (yes, sunlight falling directly on the image you have on the wall, that too!), high humidity or moisture, insects, dust, substantial fluctuations in temperature may all prematurely damage your printed images and cause them to fade away.

photographs wall

If possible keep your photos in a wooden box (since wood is a good insulator) or even an old shoe box and place a few silica gel packets inside. This will contain the humidity well. You may find silica gel in new shoe boxes or you may buy some from a drugstore. You can also create a larger storage space, if you have many photographs, made of wood and place a low-powered light bulb inside to contain the humidity.

wood box photographs

Handle with care:

Prints are very susceptible to oils and other dirt on our hands. Try not to touch the surface of the print. Hold them along the edges and never with dirty hands. These are photographs remember, you just cannot go out and buy another set, so treat them with respect.

photographs edge

Maintain Them:

Find time and revisit your photographs once in a while. Look for any sign of wear and tear and treat them as soon as you can. If you do not nip the problems in the bud, they will only grow overtime. Protect your photos against fungus by cleaning them occasionally with some cotton and alcohol. Never glue your photos into the albums. The glue will only damage the photographs if kept in contact for long periods of time.

Be Organized:

Catalog your prints in such a manner so that it is easy for you to remember and find out where is what. Use labels if needed. Do not keep a bunch of loose photos together. In due course of time, they will either get lost or get stuck together, something that you really don’t want. If you use an album, always use acid-free version of it.

organize

Framed and Laminated Photographs:

Framed and laminated images also need some love and care. Please do not think that just because you have got them laminated you can leave them to take abuse from the environment. Make sure that the wall on which these photos are on are not subjected to direct sunlight. Clean them regularly with water or mild chemical cleaners so that they remain in pristine condition.

clean

Your photographs are like little windows into your past. Only they have the capability to take you right to the moment when something amazing happened. They offer you something invaluable and priceless. So love them a little, they will always remind you of something beautiful.