Of course, if you make any photos regardless of how much you steal from other photographers it will be your own style. Do it your own way! I say ignore all the haters, critics, and nay-sayers.
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Why do I consider copying bad? To copy another photographer-artist means to literally try to make photos exactly like how that photographer made photos, to use their exact same technique, approach, etc. For example, when I started shooting with a flash in street photography, I copied Bruce Gilden. When I was a newbie at flash, I think it was a good thing. I started to evolve from simple black and white street flash photography to color street flash photography.
Now, I use flash quite often to photograph anything and everything— whether an urban landscape, whether my food, or something else. There is only one of you on this planet. There is only one person with the same life experiences, outlook, and opinion as you. Part 1: Stealing I stole this idea.
Here’s why you should copy other photographers’ work
Cindy eye and red curtain, flash. Kyoto, This is a riff from Pablo Picasso , who also stole this saying from somewhere else. Things to steal from other photographer-artists Green leaves and black background. Kyoto, I steal a lot. Cindy eyes bottom of frame composition I stole this composition idea from my friend Charlie Kirk. Kyoto, That means, you can steal the layer composition technique of Alex Webb or Constantine Manos , but try to do it a little differently— doing it in your own way and style!
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Assuming all other factors are controlled ie. The cellphone picture would not be suitable for any kind of printed reproduction. In a pinch, an alternative to the ceiling mount and wood stage would be to use a tripod for the camera and clamps on the garage door to hang your quilt. We don't recommend this method, though, because it adds some other complications discussed a bit later on in this post.
Ceiling mount and ball head, with and without camera. To see the product listings for the lights, camera mount, and ball head we're using, click the links below. Although this is vastly over-simplifying the complexity of a camera and its lens, for the purposes of this blog post we need to focus on three main components: aperture, ISO, and shutter.
Aperture: An opening inside the camera that allows light into the camera and controls the focal length. Set aperture priority mode on your camera and adjust the aperture to f16 or greater.
This means the opening will be very small; the smaller the opening, the larger the number. ISO: The digital equivalent of the light sensitivity rating on a roll of film. Adjusting the ISO tells the camera's sensor how much light to absorb. The lower the number, the more light that's absorbed. When photographing quilts in a studio environment, it's critical to have the sensor absorb as much light as possible.
Set your camera's ISO to a maximum of For comparison, the Nikon d can have an ISO of up to 22, Shutter: A moving closure in the lens that allows light to pass through the aperture for a set period of time. When the camera is in aperture priority mode, the shutter speed will be automatic. With a small aperture, the shutter speed will be very slow. One last lens setting morth mentioning: Lens Stabilization. Make sure this is turned off. Lens stabilization is a setting usually a little switch on the side of the lens that when enabled, helps compensate for shakiness when shooting photos while holding the camera in your hands.
The problem is, when the camera is mounted and being used hands-free, the stabilization feature can react to the shutter opening and closing, and actually unfocus the photograph. It's very important to keep hands off the camera when actually taking the picture, since even the slightest vibration can cause the recorded image to go out of focus. This is especially true when using the settings recommended in this blog post, since your camera's shutter speed will be seconds.
There are two ways to take a photo without having to physically press the button on your camera. Setting the timer on your camera is the most common option. This will let your camera take its photo a few seconds after you press the button to do so. However, if you're using a newer SLR camera, there might be a far more efficient way to go.
The app that comes with my dad's Nikon d shows us what the camera "sees", lets us take a photograph, and even adjust focus, exposure, and a few other settings. I'm able to sit on the floor and move the stage as necessary while using the app to take each photograph without having to get up on a ladder to re-set the camera self-timer every time.
I'm using the Nikon app on my cellphone to take a picture of Link. Photographing artwork outside should not be the first choice of location because there are so many variables that are hard to control. For example:. Having a studio indoors gives you complete control over the lighting situation. Ideally you would have an LED shop light that throws light evenly across your picture.
However, I've used a bulb in the example diagrams below just to make it easy to understand. Your goal should be to evenly light your entire picture. If you have a set of lights like we use shown the further up the page , that's easy to do. If you only have one light, you'll run into the problem as shown in the first diagram here:. Diagram on how to balance lighting. The light from a single light source does not evenly light the entire picture.
I stole this idea.
If you do not have multiple light sources, you can use a fill card shown in the second diagram above to help reflect some light onto a different part of your picture. A fill card's only requirement is that it's very light in color. I personally recommend using white foam core.
Foam core is stiff and sturdy, so it's easy to hold or prop in place. Its surface also has a bit of shininess, so it will reflect even more light than something like a sheet of paper. Your camera should be square to your subject to avoid getting a trapezoidal image. This means it should be level and aligned to the center of the quilt, artwork, or whatever you're photographing. When using a tripod, your camera should be aligned like this:. Aligning a camera to subject when using a tripod.
In the setup we use with a ceiling mount, this part is easy. The ball head has a level on it, which makes it easy to align the camera perfectly straight. The artwork on the stage is perfectly flat and always at the same angle to the camera. In addition, set the zoom on your camera lens to at least mm. This will help keep the edges of your quilt straight. I just got through explaining how it's important to properly align your camera, but when it comes to managing glare, all of that has to go out the window.
There is a lens attachment called a polarizer that does wonders for reducing glare when shooting outside. Unfortunately, though, it's basically useless in a controlled studio environment. Our only option is to deliberately set the camera off-center.
Here is an above-view diagram:. Glare is caused when light rays bounce off a reflective surface directly into the camera. To prevent that, the camera should be moved slightly to the side, as shown in the diagram above. Move the camera as little as possible to minimize distortion. In addition, adjust the camera's f-stop aperture to maximum available on your lens to increase depth of field.