Tag: Tips

Why Every Photographer Should Have Mud Boots in Their Car

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Photographers all carry the same basic items with them. Camera, tripod, flash, memory cards/ film, lens cloths. But there is always that one item an individual keeps with them at all times. And it always becomes a habit the same way. A photographer thinks “Man, I wish I had my ___”. And so then on their next outing, the helpful item is situated happily amongst the other essentials. And that’s where it stays. We have all been there. Soon a person will begin to show it off,  proudly announcing “I’ll never leave home without it.”

Mud boots. I never leave home without them. That’s not really an obvious one unless it’s pouring outside. But it has practical applications in both the business and hobbyist realms f photography.  

For example I was hired to photograph a house on two low-lying acres. After a hard rain the yard was like soup. And I was dressed in my professional flats. And I didn’t have mud boots with me. Shooting the yard would have been much simpler with them, but I had to make do with slipping off my shoes,  rolling up my dress slacks and wading around the yard… Barefoot.

On another occasion I was hired to photograph a house, property and a pond.  The pond was was a key selling point, but the property hadn’t been maintained. The only way to get a good a image was to push through the brush and set up my tripod in the shallow water at the edge of the pond. But on this occasion I was prepared. I changed shoes before I shot the exterior. I was spared the annoyance of squishy, swampy shoes.

Sometimes, and I’m sure we have all been here, a photo will just jump out at me. I will be headed somewhere in my casual duds and a pair of flip-flops (that I wear all year long). Then I will spot a photograph in a construction site or other flip-flop hazardous area. For a split second I will weigh my options. Foot safety, or awesome, unexpected photo opportunity… In that situation, my foot safety will always lose. But if I have mud boots in my car I don’t have to choose.

So, I recommend getting a pair and keeping them in your car. For professional reasons and as a personal preference I have simple, utilitarian black boots. But please, express yourself. Girls, you can find some pretty stinkin’ cute patterns out there on boots these days. And guys don’t feel left out. They have boots with everything from monster trucks to sharks available. Even in size 13 men’s.

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4 Things to Remember When Shooting Mobile Photography

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Not here to debate whether or not mobile photography is or is not a kind of photography today. That’s another post here. Today we are just going to go over a few things that I think make my mobile photos better. These ideas aren’t necessarily original to me. But they work and I try to apply them whenever I can.

I wanted the figure in shadow so there would a bit of mystery. I had to try a couple of times since the phone wanted to lighten the shadows.

 

  1. Hoof It! – The zoom feature is horrible on camera phone. ANY CAMERA PHONE. INLCUDING YOURS. It doesn’t actually zoom. It crops the image to make your subject appear larger. So like any overly cropped image, the final result will appear pixelated. So use your feet and get
    Photo with high dynamic range. I exposed for the sunset, and brought the shadows up just a bit in Photoshop Express.

    closer. Think of it like a prime lens on your super expensive DSLR.

  2. Keep the lens clean!- Smudges and crud will gunk up any lens, including your phone’s. You might not notice a little bit of gunk best to keep things tidy because a lot of dirt or gunk will ruin your photos. Even if you can’t see any dirt particle in your photos, dust and and other things can create a layer that will mute colors and make it harder to expose properly. When you think about it, just wipe the lens off with a lens cloth or if you are in a pinch use a your shirt if its soft. That way your phone is always ready to go.
  3. Watch the Highlights!- The camera on your phone will allow you to adjust the exposure manually. Expose for the sky. Especially if you are shooting at sunrise or sunset. If you shoot the images and your highlights are blown out, then the details there are just gone. A lot like with a regular camera. It is easier to bring up the shadows when editing then to lower the highlights and recreate the colors that were lost. Granted this can be done with a laptop and a good ‘ol raw file but, who the heck is going to do that on their phone?
  4. Download the Photoshop Express App!- Its free! Of course there are features that have to be purchased to unlock, but in my experience, I have never needed to make that purchase. This app gives the option to apply filters (gross) or manually adjust clarity, exposure, highlights, shadows, whites, blacks, temperature, vibrance and saturation. There are others but the ones I listed are the ones I always double check when I use my phone. This app will let you bring back some details in your highlights that might have been lost and raise your shadows a bit. You can crop and straighten here as well. Crop unrestrained or to specifications for popular social media feeds.  

    Because of the wide angle of the phone lens, I am practically in the weeds shooting. Zooming would have caused significant pixelation.
  5. BONUS!- You can set a watermark in your Photoshop app, so there will be no doubt about who took that fantastic photo everyone has been sharing on Facebook.

This will get you started. It’s nowhere near a comprehensive look at mobile photography. If it was you’d forget 90% of it anyway. I know I would. I did actually….