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5 Seascape Photography Tips from Rachel Talibart and Fotospeed

5 Seascape Photography Tips from Rachael Talibart and Fotospeed

Around 70 percent of the world is covered in water — which gives seascape photographer Rachael Talibart endless creative opportunities. Talibart, a former lawyer and now a respected professional photographer, recently shared tips and insight into her work with Fotospeed. Here are five seascape photography tips photographers can pick up from the interview.

Understand the ocean first.

The ability to predict where and when the best waves will hit is a big part of Rachael’s work. She says winds, tides and structures in the water like cliffs can all impact the look of the waves. While the unpredictability of the sea is one of the UK-based photographer’s favourite parts of her work, planning based on the tide, weather, and location is essential, she says.

Prep your gear.

The unpredictable nature of the ocean means that photographers planning to capture it should always make sure their gear is protected from its salty spray. Even with weather-sealed camera bodies and lenses, a rain cover is a good idea for the more intense storms, Talibart suggests. When working with the ocean, safety should also be the biggest priority, she added.

Look for details.

Many photographers are immediately drawn to that giant coastline and those big waves, but smaller subjects on the seaside can also make excellent subjects. Talibart encourages photographers to look for the smaller details like seashells and rocks. Once you spot the details, she suggests working to get great light or capturing both the movement of the sea and those smaller details.

Create texture with shutter speed.

Talibart’s work is often noted for her textures, from wispy smooth ethereal seascapes to the texture of a sharp sea spray. The key to this, she says, is shutter speed. “The sea is in constant motion and this means your choice of shutter speed may have a profound effect on your photograph,” she wrote. “Very fast speeds will allow you to freeze every droplet, creating a sculptural effect where the water starts to seem more like a solid. Alternatively, long exposures, often requiring filters, will smooth out texture to create a more ethereal mood.”

Never stop trying something new.

With so much time spent at sea, it’s common for strangers to assume Talibart has shot every kind of seascape. But constantly experimenting and looking for something new is essential, Talibart says. Try new techniques to avoid getting stuck in a creative rut, she suggests.

The sea makes an incredible subject for photography — but the vast size and constant changes on seascapes means taming the ocean in a photograph a challenging task. Learning from experts like Talibart gives photographers ready to try out escapes a jump start.

Learn more at the full post from Fotospeed, or learn about our wide selection of Fotospeed papers here.

5 Tips For Better Autumn Photos, From Snap to Print

5 Tips For Better Autumn Photos, From Snap to Print

Autumn is the golden season for photography — with colourful leaves nearly everywhere you look, finding a colourful subject in autumn isn’t hard to do. But capturing all those autumn colours can present its own challenges, from nabbing the exposure to getting those colours perfectly saturated in the final print. Here are five autumn photography tips to get you started.

Try filters.

One of the trickiest parts of taking an autumn photograph is getting an even exposure between the sky and those colourful leaves. Often, that perfect exposure is impossible without a filter. Filters are relatively inexpensive yet can make a dramatic impact on the final image. A circular polarising filter will make the sky appear more blue and control reflections — and those qualities also tend to help the filter make foliage pop. A graduated neutral density filter is another filter for fall — placing the darker portion of the filter over the sky can help make sure it’s not overexposed into a boring white mass.

Choose the right lens.

Often, the autumn foliage is impressive because of the expanse. If the scene inspires you because there’s colour everywhere you look, try a wide angle lens to fit it all in. Wide angle lenses allow you to shoot that impressive expanse.

You don’t need to leave a wide angle lens on your camera all autumn, however — swap lenses to fit your vision and the part of the scene that inspires you. A macro lens can capture the details of those colours up close. When shooting an autumn portrait, a mid-length telephoto can capture both the subject and the colourful background.

Experiment with backlighting.

Autumn leaves are spectacular — but add some golden sun behind it and autumn leaves look like magic. Two big things happen when you stand so that the sun is coming in from behind the leaves. First, the leaves are thin enough that the light makes them appear to glow, creating an even more vibrant colour. Second, when light hits any leaves that are out-of-focus, those leaves will create circular bokeh. Just make sure to watch the exposure and look out for lens flares when shooting with backlighting.

Try exposure bracketing to get the perfect exposure.

Getting the exposure just right for autumn pictures can be tricky.  If you are having a hard time getting the exposure just where you want it, turn on exposure bracketing. With this setting, you’ll get three images all with small exposure adjustments between them, increasing the odds that you didn’t loose too many details to over or underexposure.

Play with paper.

Once it is time to put that image on a physical print, don’t just stick with the default paper. The paper type will play a role on how the colours appear in that final image. Fotospeed says that glossy type papers will make those colours appear more saturated, while papers without that sheen give the colours a more matte feel. Try printing the image on two different types of paper to determine which paper type presents your particular shot the best.

The autumn season is often bursting with photographic inspiration — but to make sure those shots are just as colourful as in real life, make sure to try a few autumn photo tips.

4 Unexpected Ways Having an In-House Printer Boosts Photography

4 Unexpected Ways Having an In-House Printer Boosts Photography

The decision to move photo printing in-house comes with several different expectations. Costs will be lower. Speed will improve. But along with the advantages of in-house printing that spark that decision in the first place, many photographers find themselves finding unexpected advantages to have quick access to that printer. Elke Vogelsang, a pet photographer from Germany, recently shared her experience using Fotospeed papers — and the unexpected perks she’s picked up along the way.

Many clients may never print images.

If all you hand over to a client is a disk or USB drive of digital images, they may never take that final step to get those images printed, which means they never see the image as it’s meant to be seen. Vogelsang explains why she includes prints eloquently: “Your client will be gobsmacked by the prints and know the investment was worth it.”

Clients that do print the images may not understand exactly how the paper you choose and the printing company you choose plays a role in the final look and feel of an image. Many non-photographers have trouble understanding just the difference between glossy and matte, let along the different whites, textures and finishes available today.

Find the flaws faster.

An image on screen is much different than the printed image — and having access to a printer on-site can help photographers find, and fix, any flaws faster. Sometimes, it’s a missed spot in Photoshop, or a shot that’s just a touch soft.

“I used to order the prints online, but now I print them here at home on my own printer,” Vogelsang wrote. “This saves time, reveals flaws immediately and gives me the opportunity to choose the right paper for each picture.”

Find the best medium for that shot, quickly.

All paper is not created equally — different types of paper will influence the colour differently and give the image a final feel. Once Vogelsang could easily print out the same shot on different types of paper, she found the medium that worked best with her different styles (and with a test pack, it was an affordable experiment). The pet photographer found she likes the finish of the Natural Soft Textured Bright White 310 for the formal shots because of a finish that resembles a painting. For the colourful, quirky pet shots? PF Lustre or Metallic Gloss.

Stay in love with photography.

For Vogelsang, printing images isn’t just about the convenience or the ability to choose the appropriate finish. “Printing your pictures is a great way not only to improve your photography but also to stay in love with photography,” she says. “In print, pictures have more depth and life than on a screen. The difference can be astonishing.”

Gaining access to an on-site, professional-level printer, on the business side of the decision, is about saving time and money. But on the artistic side of the decision, the change offers more control, a chance to make corrections, and a way to continue to be inspired.

Need help finding the best type of paper for the job? Or ready to add that in-house printer? Chat with a specialist from Photo Direct today.

6 Things for Photographers to Tackle During the Slow Season

6 Things for Photographers to Tackle During the Slow Season

In nearly every genre of photography, there’s often a slow season — maybe because the weather has turned and none wants to shoot photos in the snow or maybe simply because that particular industry has a slow season. And while photographers should spend some of that slow season taking a much-needed break, there are other things photographers can do even when photo sessions are thinning out. Here’s six ideas to improve while in the middle of a slow season.

Update your website.

Updating the website often takes a backseat in the middle of the busy season — so use the slow time to catch up. If you’ve been good about getting new photos online quickly, you could still potentially find areas to refresh, like updating the home page or adding a page of new information clients have been asking for. Now is also a great time to integrate better SEO tactics to help more potential clients find you.

Brainstorm and plan seasonal shoots.

Get a jump start by planning ahead some of the sessions that usually happen during the not-so-slow seasons. Mark holidays that would be great for mini sessions, develop new specials for a holiday season or plan something entirely new for later in the year. Take the slower season to also slow down mentally — and open up ideas for new ways to improve when your brain isn’t so filled with all the demanding tasks of a busy season.

Clean your gear.

Hopefully, you occasionally clean off your lenses and such, but the slow season is a great time for a more thorough cleaning. Check your camera sensor for dust spots. Match each lens cap to a lens. Clean out your camera bag from the papers wrappers and other unneeded items that tend to accumulate. If you have photo gear that you’ve recently replaced or don’t need anymore, now is also a great time to clean that out and sell the used gear online.

Schedule social media posts.

Social media may be largely in the here and now — but there’s often a number of posts you can schedule ahead of time to keep your updates more consistent. Start a series about tips or other written posts. Create several #ThrowbackThursday posts. Pre-write those holiday posts wishing followers the best on the day.

Look for new places to publish.

Just because you aren’t out shooting doesn’t mean you can’t find a new spot for your pictures. Exactly what this process looks like depends on what industry you are in, but look for a new place to publish your pictures. Wedding photographers could submit to magazines, and many photographers can send shots that weren’t used to a stock photography platform, for example.

Learn something new.

As artists, there is always a way for photographers to improve. Take the slow season to learn something new. Identify what your weaknesses are whether that’s lighting or business skills and take an online class or pick up a book on the subject. Or, get out of a creative rut by experimenting with an entirely new genre or subject.

Working as a photographer often means an unequal distribution of work throughout the year — but that slow season can just be another opportunity for growth.

How to get the best black and white conversion in Lightroom

How to get the best black and white conversion in Lightroom

Black and white photography is classic. Timeless. And yet, there are so many different ways to create a black and white image. There’s the one-click options. The Instagram-like filters. While these are great for speed, there’s another option for photographers that want to get every shade of gray perfect. By using the HSL panel in Lightroom, you can control how each color converts for the most control over the final results. Here’s how to get the best black and white conversion in Lightroom Classic.

Step 1: Get the exposure right first.

First, correct any exposure errors in the basic panel by adjusting the exposure slider. Having a good exposure from the start before you’ve even converted to black and white will help you make the best decisions on how to convert each color. You can always come back and continue to fine-tune (and probably will).

Inside the basic panel, make sure the color options are untouched, with the white balance as shot and the vibrance and saturation sliders set to zero.

Step 2: Convert to black and white in the HSL panel.

There are multiple ways to convert to black and white, but the HSL offers easy, yet custom control over the way the colors convert. Scroll down to the HSL panel in the right-hand toolbar and click on B & W. Lightroom will then convert the file for you.

Step 3: Control each color channel.

Inside the B & W section of the HSL panel, you can now control how each color converts, making each channel lighter or darker in the conversion. By controlling how each color converts, you can add contrast or create a matte look, make skin tones pop or allow a certain object in the photo to stand out more (or less) from the background.

Lightroom has two different ways to control each color. First, you can use the sliders dedicated to each color, pulling to the left to darken or to the right to lighten and previewing those shots in real time.

Another option is to use the targeted tool, which tends to work better if you aren’t  sure what color channel to adjust for a specific area.. You can find the tool by clicking the circle icon in the upper left corner of the B & W sidebar. Now, you can control the conversion with your mouse instead of the slider. As you hoover over areas of the image, the corresponding color slider will be highlighted, allowing you to see what colors are in that selection. Click that area of the image and drag the mouse up to lighten or down to darken. Just like using the sliders, only that color channel (or channels in some cases) will be affected.

Adjust each color channel until you have achieved the desired look — and remember, Lightroom is non-destructive so you can go back and make changes again later.

Step 4: Finish the edits.

Editing a black and white image doesn’t have to be done only in the B & W panel. With the colors converted, you can continue editing the shot as you normally would — just avoid the controls typically associated with color like saturation and white balance. You can fine-tune the exposure, create even more contrast using curves, apply local adjustments such as a dodge and burn, or sharpen the image.

Black and white photographs are often powerful images, but in order to harness that power, you need to control the conversion. Thankfully, black and white edits are both simple and versatile inside Lightroom.

18 Ways to Improve your Photography in 2018

18 Ways to Improve your Photography in 2018

Counting down the New Year? Make better photos your goal for 2018 with these different tricks and exercises to help you improve your photography.

Take pictures every day. The more you photograph, the more you pick up on the small things that make a big difference.

Learn the art of flash photography. Many new photographers are afraid of flash photography — because they never like the results. Learn how to turn that flash down with manual flash mode and a diffuser for a whole new love for flash.

Try intentionally getting the exposure wrong. Once you’ve mastered how to make sure a photo isn’t too dark or too bright, use those same skills to intentionally break the rules. Try shooting dark, moody images or overexposing for a bright and airy feel.

Get bold with your composition. Center. Don’t center. Put the subject on the edges of the frame. Embrace empty space.

Look for color. Compose images based on complementary or opposite colors for a photo that pops.

Identify your weaknesses and pick up a book on the subject or take a class. Pick a topic a critique has mentioned before, or simply a topic you’re struggling with. Tackling weaknesses can make the biggest impact.

Try film. There’s something about having a limited number of shots and being unable to instantly preview the results that improves photography even when you are using digital.

Shoot in all types of light. Sure, a cloudy day makes it easy to get great photos with soft light, but it doesn’t do much for your photo skills. The more types of light you experiment, the more you’ll understand light and how to manipulate it.

Experiment with panning to blur the background of action shots.

Head out after the sun has set with a tripod and try long exposure night photography of cityscapes or even the stars.

Go someplace familiar and boring — shooting here will help you find the beauty anywhere.

Spend a week shooting only in black and white, with your camera set to black and white mode so you see every shot in black and white.

Take a break and try another creative art form, from painting to sketching, to avoid burnout and bring in new ideas from another creative discipline.

Follow the top photographers shooting in your favorite genre on social media to find new inspiration and pick up new tips.

Print your photos — photographers are often better at self critiquing when looking at a large print, rather than a computer screen.

Learn new photo editing skills. Try following a photo editing blog or YouTube channel as an affordable way to learn.

Shoot a dozen different photos of the same everyday object — this exercise forces you to look for lighting and perspectives you wouldn’t have thought of originally.

Set up a shoot for practice only. Take the pressure off and start with practice in mind — and you may be surprised at what you find.

5 Christmas Photography Tips For Capturing Memories of the Holidays

5 Christmas Photography Tips For Capturing Memories of the Holidays

Christmas creates magical memories, but those moments are gone in seconds — unless you freeze them with a camera. The holiday season creates many different photo opportunities, but many of the Christmas traditions are tougher to shoot because they are often indoors in limited lighting. But, with a few tricks, you can step up your Christmas photos by navigating some of the challenges that come along with them. Here are five Christmas photography tips to capture holiday memories just as magical as you remember.

Embrace the bokeh.

Christmas lights create that sparkle of magic — and they make excellent backgrounds for holiday photos. When taking photos, look for ways to incorporate lights into the background — they will blur into pleasing circles and make excellent backgrounds. To maximize that bokeh effect, use a wide aperture and if you have one, a camera with a larger sensor like a DSLR or mirrorless camera. Bringing the subject farther from lights, rather than having the subject sit directly in front of the Christmas tree, will also help.

Notice the lights look half off in some of your photos? Christmas lights actually blink at a frequency too fast for the eye to detect, but if you use a fast shutter speed, you may catch one of those blinks. If you see the lights aren’t all there, lower the shutter speed to around 1/60 or lower.

Try a tripod and low light.

Along the same lines, the holidays create a number of different great low light opportunities. When heading out to view Christmas lights or to attend a candle walk event, bring along a tripod and try shooting long exposures. You’ll get sharper shots without ruining the ambience of a scene light just by Christmas lights. The same concept applies to candlelight.

Take the shoot outdoors at a Christmas tree farm.

While tasks like baking Christmas cookies and unwrapping presents are of course best left indoors, if you want to take a family portrait for Christmas, you’ll likely get better results outdoors. Christmas tree farms make great spots for family photos and during the day, outdoor shots are much easier to light than the dimness of the indoors — especially if you head out on a cloudy day. Dress warm and head outside to get some variety to your Christmas photos.

Apply action photo tips for gift unwrapping.

Tearing open the wrapping paper is almost an athletic event — and you need to apply action photography concepts to capture the candid moments in the midst that flurry of paper. Widen your aperture and bump up the ISO so that you can use a shutter speed fast enough to freeze the action. Turn on burst mode so you can increase your chances of capturing that perfect moment.

Don’t forget the prep shots.

Much of the joy of tradition isn’t in the actual day, but all the moments leading up to it. Don’t forget to pull the camera out while baking Christmas cookies, wrapping presents or cozying up to a Christmas movies in PJs. Whatever your family’s holiday traditions are, don’t just bring the camera out in the peak moments, but the small moments that contribute to the overall holiday.

Christmas is a magical season — and using Christmas photography tips helps you capture all of that magic to remember years down the road. Merry Christmas!

The Editing Checklist: 9 Things To Check Before Printing Your Photos

The Editing Checklist: 9 Things To Check Before Printing Your Photos

With digital photography, only the best shots make it onto prints for hanging on the wall, collecting in albums and sharing with friends. But all too often, holding a print in your hands makes everything that you missed while editing the digital file all to obvious. What edits should you make before moving from digital to print? To help make sure you didn’t miss the mark on photo editing, here’s a photo editing checklist to make sure that photo pops in print.

Crop

The aspect ratio of the print may not be the exact shape of the original photo. Cropping helps make sure the printer doesn’t leave out any essential details in translation. When cropping, also look for ways to remove distractions. The straightening tool at the corner of that crop box is also a great thing to check before printing the shot too.

Exposure

Too light? Too dark? Make sure that exposure is dead on before printing. Over (or under) exposing for a mood is fine, but make sure that print has the right light before sending it off to the printers.

Contrast

While making sure the overall exposure is good, don’t forget about the individual tones. Adjust the shadows, blacks, highlights and whites to get the image to pop on paper — or to achieve that matte film look you’re going for. Adjusting individual tonal ranges is often a better approach than simply adjusting contrast all at once.

Colours

Colour can make or break an image — thankfully, adjusting colors is easy to do in Lightroom’s HSL panel, which allows you to adjust each color individually. Also watch for vibrance and saturation, but be careful not to overdo it.

White balance

With RAW photography, a perfect white balance is easy to achieve. Weather you are looking for accurate colors or creating a mood with warm or cool tones, make sure that white balance is exact before hitting that print button.

Distractions

Is there anything in the photo distracting from the subject? Before printing, check for things like power lines or telephone poles in the background. On a portrait, look for things like acne or teeth that aren’t quite white. Distractions can often be eliminated using the clone or heal tool, or sometimes, making a crop.

Sharpness

Sharpness is often something that goes unnoticed until seeing the shot in print — save on the cost of reprinting by viewing the image at 100 percent and applying any necessary sharpening adjustments.

Noise

If you took that photo in limited light, chances are, you’ll have some noise. Some amounts of noise can be removed from the image without degrading the quality — check if the noise levels could be a little better, or if you went a bit too far on the noise reduction the first time.

Industry-specific

Every type of photography has it’s own unique quirks. Before you finalize the edits, make sure the shot fits with the adjustments for that category. For example, a landscape photo is often straightened and occasionally the sky is enhanced with a digital graduated filter. Portraits, on the other hand, may have more retouching to help the person look their best.

Photo editing helps prints look their best — and making sure the edits are just right first helps save on the cost of reprinting to get those shots perfect. With each edit, make sure you don’t go too far and blur skin to plastic, over saturate colors unnaturally or over-sharpen.