By Jim Heid | Friday, September 18, 2015
You’ve heard the cliché: You have to crawl before you can walk.
In the non-pediatric world, the phrase means you need to master some basics before you can try something advanced.
It’s true in most fields: A pianist can’t play a Bach sonata without first learning scales and fingering technique, nor would a pilot take a Cessna for a solo flight without some ground instruction.
But does it apply to photography?
By Jim Heid | Wednesday, July 1, 2015
This is the time of year when every website in the U.S. runs an article on how to photograph fireworks.
I’m happy to say that this not one of those articles.
But it is an article about photographing Fourth-of-July festivities—not just fireworks (although I’ll get to them), but also the festivities that precede them: food, family, friends, and summery community fun.
By Jim Heid | Saturday, June 21, 2014
Frank Lloyd Wright used to say there are two kinds of people: nesters and perchers. Nesters like to be tucked among woods; perchers prefer being high atop hills.
I’m a percher, especially when I’m on the road. In hotels, I always try to score an upper-floor room with a view. It’s great for cityscape photography and for one of my new photographic interests: time-lapse photography.
Inspired by Richard Harrington’s courses on time-lapse photography and on the GoPro HERO cameras, I’ve begun taking my GoPro camera and its suction-cup mount with me when I travel. When I check in to a room with a view, I know there’s a time-lapse movie in my future.
On a recent trip to Boston, my wife and I scored a room on the 36th floor of a hotel in the city’s historic Back Bay neighborhood. With views of Copley Square, the Hancock Tower, and some of downtown Boston’s busiest streets, it was a perfect perch for shooting this time-lapse video.
By Jim Heid | Thursday, February 13, 2014
Sometimes shapes tell a better story than details. When you photograph a subject in silhouette, you emphasize body language instead of facial expressions. A silhouette can be a powerful way to tell a story or convey a scene in an abstract way.
By Jim Heid | Thursday, February 6, 2014
A couple of months ago on The Practicing Photographer, fashion and portrait photographer Troy Word joined Ben Long for a discussion of the joys of instant photography—specifically, using a Polaroid camera along with beautiful black-and-white film manufactured by Fuji.
Fuji’s film works in what are called “pack-film” Polaroids. After you shoot a photo with these cameras, you pull the exposed film out, wait a specified amount of time, and then peel the print away from its backing. It’s that process that earns this format its other name: peel-apart.
And it’s that peel that holds such appeal to Ben Long in this week’s The Practicing Photographer. When you separate a sheet of peel-apart film, you end up with your photo (obviously) and a negative.
By Jim Heid | Thursday, January 30, 2014
Blur. We buy tripods and motion-stabilized lenses to avoid it, and we use Photoshop filters to try and fix it when it creeps into our shots.
But blur can also be a powerful tool for conveying a sense of motion in a static medium. A speeding car or motorcycle, a galloping horse or bounding dog, a cyclist on a track, a kid on a sled—subjects like these are natural candidates for some motion blur.
Blur is the subject of this week’s installment of The Practicing Photographer. Ben Long and his motorcycle are joined by lynda.com videographer Josh Figatner, and the two explore various techniques for capturing motion blur as Ben rides down a deserted highway.
By Jim Heid | Thursday, January 23, 2014
No athlete would take to the field, and no musician would take to the stage, without first warming up. But what about photographers? Do you really need to do stretching exercises before pressing the shutter button?
In this week’s installment of his series, The Practicing Photographer, Ben Long discusses the importance of warming up your photographer’s eye when you go out to shoot.
By Jim Heid | Thursday, January 16, 2014
Last week, we published a new course called Photographing Clothes and Textiles. The fourth course from photographer Konrad Eek, it’s a detailed look at styling, lighting, and photographing everything from garments to beach towels.
Top-notch textile photography—indeed, top-notch product photography of all kinds—greatly benefits from dedicated lighting gear such as studio strobes or compact flash units. But what if you simply want to take an attractive product shot for an online auction or a webpage?
That’s the topic Ben Long explores in this week’s installment of The Practicing Photographer. Ben joins Konrad Eek for a look at some simple, inexpensive techniques for taking great-looking product shots without any external lighting gear.
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