Ask a photog – get in the game

Sports, Camera, Action!

Tip #1

Sage advice … arrive early and stake out your spot. Look for good angles, overviews and sidelines of the game. It’s a great idea to stay at the corner of race tracks, or slightly above the basket/goal, to get interesting perspectives.

Tip #2

Check your camera settings. You’ll want to up your ISO (so you can catch the action). Keep your shutter speed as fast as you can (so you can catch the action). Don’t shoot in raw, these files take a long time to register. (again … so you can catch the action)

I had a professor once who photographed a greyhound race with a low shutter speed. After developing her film, she realized she had 36 beautiful pictures of the race track. The pups were faster than her shutter speed … so they were invisible!

Tip #3

Anticipate! Follow your  player and keep your eyes on the ball. A good photojournalist will get the ball (or a face) in every shot. Anticipate shutter lag if you have a more basic digital camera. Keep your shutter half activated so your camera is always ready-to-go.

Tip #4

Take a ton of photos. If you are shooting digitally you have no excuse. The more photographs you take, the better your chances of getting a great one.

Tip #5

Don’t forget the sidelines, bench, scoreboard or the fans. A reaction shot can be a safety net if you aren’t shooting what you like from the game.

Tip #6

If you are inside a gymnasium, and are close to the action, you may be able to use your flash. You’ll probably need a professional DSLR and decent flash to get this to work. There are two important flash rules to remember: always make certain you are allowed to use your flash, and never distract the players (this can be very important in games like golf).

Tip #7

Get in the mindset of a player; practice, practice, practice.

Waiting for Ian

Alicia & Brian are waiting for someone … any day now.

Here are just a few shots from our full session this week. Love them!

George

This is my favorite capture of George – from a recent mini-session.

Do you need a Professional Headshot for your website or business? Can you only spare a handful of minutes?

Contact me at heidi@maiaphotostudo.com to schedule a custom, quick & professional portrait!

Ask a photog – blink

How to take photos of someone who blinks … every time.

Blink 1 2 3 (No, not the band)

Attempt #1

Get comfortable with your subject. If the person who you are photographing is enjoying themselves and not feeling self-conscious about the picture taking, they’ll relax and give you a better photo.

Attempt #2

We hate to say it … but count “1, 2 … 3” Always take the picture at “2”, before they get a chance to resist! (Counting isn’t a move a “pro” should ever make on the job – but, if it works …)

Attempt #3

Have your subject close their eyes. Tell them to open their eyes when THEY are ready. This implies, YOU are ready  too. If you count before the subject opens their eyes you run the risk of  awkwardly open “surprised” eyes. This tactic is tricky.

Attempt #4

This should always work. Hold your camera steady in one hand. Engage your subject. Take your free hand and wiggle your fingers over your lens, or take two vertical fingers and wave them to your lens. A moving eye doesn’t blink.

Tim

Tim met me this week for a mini-session for a new Professional Head Shot.

We squeezed in a few shots in between finishing his Doctorate, and having a newborn. Sheesh! What a hard worker.

Ask a photog – getting a digital camera

It seems these days that buying a new car is easier than buying a new digital camera!  For one thing, it feels like there is more choice in cameras then cars. And for another, a camera is a serious decision!

Don’t suffer from buyer’s remorse!

Buying a Digital Camera

1. Figure out what you really need … and how much you are willing to spend.

Point-and-shoot cameras are great: they make photographing easy and are idiot-proof. (I like that) But you do lose some control. However, if you want to step up your game, have money, and are a bit of a techno-geek a DSLR might be for you. Weigh your options.  Check out websites like www.kenrockwell.com or articles like this one and do your homework.

2. Try them out!

Once you’ve got a good idea about what size and type of camera you are looking for, head to your nearest store and browse. If you don’t feel comfortable holding the camera in your hands, or if the camera menu doesn’t make sense to you in a few minutes; move on.  Consider the weight & size of the camera too. If it is too heavy or cumbersome for you, you’ll end up leaving it at home. Trust. Me.

3.  Don’t buy more megapixels then you need.

Most point-and-shoot cameras start at 12 MPs now-a-days, which will produce a great 11×14 print, and a decent 16×20. If you want bigger prints, get a “bigger”camera. Remember though, more MPs does not mean more quality; optics and sensor quality count too. It is good to note that most cell phone cameras start around 2-3 MPs {8×10 print}, that may even be all you need! My iPhone 4s has 8 megapixels, and it’s great!

4. Don’t fall for “digital” options.

Digital zoom or image stabilization negatively affect the quality and size of your image. Always buy OPTICAL.

5. Consider the batteries.

Rechargeable batteries are best; save the planet, save some cash. Consider cameras that use rechargeable AA batteries. They are cheaper and easier to find. If you run out of charge on the road {or say in the middle of the souk in Egypt – like this girl!} you can easily find a replacement. If you buy a camera with an indigenous battery, consider buying a spare – or two – or in my case, five.

6. Consider a viewfinder.

I recommend finding a camera that has an optical viewfinder. LCD screens are battery suckers and can be very difficult to see in bright lighting conditions. You also reduce camera shake by holding the camera to your eye, versus at arms length.

7. Beware of online “Deep Discount” warehouses.

If the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Many of these places will call you after your purchase to up-sell you on camera options: things you thought you already purchased like batteries, chargers and cords. Also, much of the equipment they sell is Grey Market – cameras that are intended for sale in other countries. This voids the warranty, and you won’t know until you try to have your camera repaired.

What do I carry in my camera bag?

I absolutely love my full frame Nikon D700, and I keep a D200 as my back up. Don’t get me started on lenses!

My favorite point-and-shoot camera is a Canon Powershot S90 … it gives me complete manual control, and it has some pretty nifty auto settings too. {There is also a fully functional underwater case for the S90 available, that’s affordable, and durable!}.

However – I am looking to buy a new camera body with in the next year. So, my heart may change favor. 😉

Good luck! *heidi

Flashback

Well, it sure is cold out here in Madison. I’ve been stuck inside all day – and I’ve taken to looking at some of my favorite portfolio images from the last few years.

These are a few of my favorites from a series called “Atlanta”. Atlanta, NY is a hamlet in upstate NY. I took over the church basement and photographed, what had to be, almost half the town. 🙂

Susana

Phew! I’m finally updating this blog – after some technical difficulties with word press! 🙂 oh well.

Meet Susana!

Earlier this month, we explored the capital building inside and out. It was probably the coldest day in November – but she rallied.                      I love the shots under the ginkgo tree. Beautiful!