This is a cracker of an episode because it’s about getting that extra 1% into your shots. But it’s that 1% can make all the difference.
Gina and Valerie discuss the hacks you can use to really give your photographs an edge. From how to do great leaping shots, to getting movement in clothes so you can really bring your image to life, you’ll discover techniques that can help all your shots. You’ll also learn how to use wind to bring movement to the hair of your subjects without making your shots look like a music video from a bad Eighties hair band.
Gina’s new book!
You can buy it from Digital Photography School
Hi Gina and Val,
I have a possible podcast question for you: How to shoot with a tripod effectively. I know I sound like a complete idiot, but I really struggle with it and end up shooting hand held when I really shouldn’t and therefore I’m not always getting the sharp images I want.
The only way I know how to focus is by aiming my autofocus point at the point I want sharpest (e.g. the eye closest to the camera when shooting a portrait), half pressing the shutter and holding it while I recompose the shot. I can’t do this on a tripod (though, believe me, I’ve caught myself trying) so I’m a bit lost.
Is there a ‘procedure’ to using a tripod? Do you compose or focus first? Am I missing something so insanely simple, it’s embarrassing?
Any tips you could share to help me be less awkward with a tripod would be very much appreciated. Though I do understand it is probably very basic for most of the listeners, so if it’s not appropriate for the podcast, that’s cool.
How to change focus points
Go into custom menu settings
Entry level have fewer focus points. Pro cameras have many focus points
Entry level requires going into custom menu to change to single shot AF
Pro have a dedicated switch
Rotating the dial to “C” will switch to Continuous/AF-C mode, rotating the dial to “S” will switch to Single Area Focus/AF-S mode and “M” is for switching to manual focus.
Go to custom menu
Select AF Single Shot>
>Single Shot AF
>Select your active AF point
Use the thumb wheel or joystick to move your points around and position the red square over the point you want sharp.
David Nook (QLD)
I used one speed on very small softbox light It was originally suppose to be a late afternoon/sunset shoot but the model showed up and hour late. It doesn’t look it but it was sporadically windy which blew over the lager softbox (one of my speed lights hit the ground and died ) so it had to be hand held by my daughter.
I used the white dress to contrast against the yellow car. I used a shallow depth of field to create soft twinkly lights and similar look to ‘Entourage” opening tile and a splash anti-fashion. I didn’t go too hard in light room just added contrast and basic corrections. I have others available but these were my favourites. I have also included the mood board/call out sheet that I sent to everyone (model MUA & hairdresser) including the guy who owned the car.
This is what I learnt – The model should of had “chicken fillets’ to enhance her bust line. A second speed light would great to separate the model from the background. A hair light would of been good too.
Getting Air: How to add life to your portraits
- Leaping shots of models
- Getting movement in clothes
- Getting movement in hair
1. Leaping models
When someone jumps in the air they are moving fastest when they are travelling up and dropping back down. There is a split second, when they reach the full height of the leap and before they drop down again, that motion stops.
It is in this exact moment that you need to press the shutter.
I set my camera to AF-Servo to give me the sharpest shots and started using a mini trampoline to take the stress off the model’s knees (so I could ask them to jump for longer).
You want to shoot leaping shots at your camera’s fastest shutter speed. If you’re shooting with studio flash, you need to be at a sync speed of 200 (or if you own a Nikon 250). If you’re shooting outside, in ambient light, you can go to a shutter speed of 500 or higher.
The leaping shot isn’t as easy as just asking your model to jump. You have to consider the shape you want them to make in the air. Get them to have some fun with it and experiment yourself so you have some suggestions to make.
I love getting my model to leap with a completely impassive face. It puts so much life into the portrait.
It’s important to remember that this isn’t a shot I got straight away. It took me a long time and a lot of practise but now I love doing this shot. To get some practise in, ask anyone you know to jump for you and just do it until you get it.
2. Getting movement in clothes
3. Getting movement in hair
- Great hair can really make a shot and bring a lot of “life” to an image
- Hair dryer on cold and low speed
- Target the ends only
- Wind machines at full tower can look a bit too 80s
- A sheet of cardboard and an assistant are the perfect wind technician.