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I sat down penning after a long time. I thought-” this time, I will write something legendary”. But, self realisation struck me really hard, wasn’t I trying to make my blog legendary, last time too. I failed miserably. I found so many glitches in my previous posts. One doesn’t make something great by will but it is the interplay of destiny and will. So, am I set to write a legendary blog this time, I would like to believe so. So I decided not to bother about the result. But then the thought of creating a masterpiece doesn’t really die off, it lingered on and made me ponder deep, but with no success.
Then I had a brainwave, why not write about silhouettes? As some of my best shot are silhouettes. Silhouette is the easiest way to get an amazing photograph. Rather, I would advice every beginner to start with silhouettes. They are charecterized by a dark foreground or midground and bright background. They lend a surreal effect to every photograph and boy! they are always breathtaking!
How to take a Silhouette:
2: Decide your subject and try to focus at one third of the frame so that you could focus at hyperfocal distance. This doesnt ensure you will be focussing at hyperfocal distance but you might get lucky.
In the photograph below image has been shot by focussing at hyperfocal distance to get maximum depth of field. I took this from the terrace of the institute building of my college Bits Pilani on a rainy day.
3: Always meter for the bright region in the background and underexpose it by one or two stop. This will make ur midground object dark and bring in more details in the background.
4: The best time to shoot Silhouettes is sunset, sunrise,dawn and twilight hours.
5: To add an element in the foreground you can use flash as demonstrated in one photograph. In the photograph below i use the ttl flash of my dslr.
6: Click in RAW mode so that you have more control in editing.Also look for leading lines which add value to the photograph and would visually appealing. The shimmering wall leads towards the clock tower
7: Keep your horizon at one third from the top or bottom in the frame. If the sky is very dramtic and you want to take more of sky then horizon should be placed at one third distance from the bottom and vice versa.
8: Look for reflection of the objects in the wet ground or water body. Try to take them by taking care of exposure and focus. In the following photograph I sat down on the wet ground wetting my pants to take the reflection on the wet surface of the terrace.
9: Don’t always look for inaminate object to silhouette them. Try out silhouettes with living beings. for eg :
“Fashion Photography , I want to do fashion Photography”, said a boy in the brainstorming session of Photography Club and suddenly he grabbed the attention of the crowd, roaring with chaos. A deep silence bathed the whole room, all faces turned towards him, some were stumped, some had an expression of ridicule and some were just blank. The guy weighed down the implication of his statement.What possibly could have been wrong with his idea??? It didnt take long for the crowd to burst into action again. He said again but this time more emphatically “I am serious. I want to do Glamour Photogrpahy”.The crowd then adressesed the guy directly and what happened then is a story(though i wish to say a legend 🙂 )……… We will cut this story in the middle because I dont intend to tell you a story I wish to sing you to the experiments that i have promised .
Glamour Photography, what is so mystical about it which led to such a reaction as if some forbidden realm has been ventured? Possibly because when glamour photography is mentioned, spectre of nude women strikes mind or possibly getting models in a desert like Pilani seems impossible. But what people forget is- it is not just about glamourous women but capturing the true beauty of a women which lies in her demeanour and her expression of her form . No woman represents the quintessential aspects of womanhood better than an Indian woman. Its not just her form but the grace with which she conducts herself . Her blush and the depth & beauty in her eyes all sets her apart from the rest. There is a surreal quality to them seen in none. I am not a racist there is something magical about Indian woman and if God is a woman it has to be an Indian woman. ‘”Flash “‘ sorry for the digression into praise of Indian woman. In our experiments we tried to capture this very beauty of Indian woman. I couldnt upload my best collection because the females didn’t consent to it.
Despite Pilani being a desert, Bits Pilani can be regarded as its oasis and it is this place where the sidewalkers got their models . Sidewalker is a group of young but passionate photographers who dared to to do fashion photography as a project for their cultural festival Oasis. All they had was 2 DSLRs and determination .
HOW TO DO Fashion Photography WITH MINIMUM RESOURCES:
The first step, if you are new to fashion phtography, is to see a lot of photographs by the great masters of this genre and then try to understand how possibly they could have been shot. For this you can go through a lot of magazines and surf on the web.Try to visit personal site of many renowed fashion photographers.
These two steps are for your motivtion.
After motivation you need to conceptualise and visulaize of different ways in which you would like to shape your photographs. One must have a specific ideas for particular model being in mind. Discuss your ideas with your teammates, if you have any. Once brainstorming is done and you are full of ideas , figure out what background , clothes, lighting conditions -morning ,evening, cloudy,clear sky,indoor , outdoor etc is best for your photographs . It is very important that you discuss your ideas with your model so that you can know her comfort level and at times they come up with beautiful sugesstions opening new doors of creativity. Sharing ideas makes the model comfortable because the doubt and fear in her mind vanishes .
Fashion photography can be done both indoors and outdoors. Where indoor gives you the ability to photograph close shots with complete focus on the model ,outdoor shoots magnify the beauty by complementing model’s beauty with nature . Working indoors empowers you with the ability to regulate the intensity and direction of light highlighting specific focus areas but at the cost of expensive light equipment , a luxury ,unfortunaltely most amateurs dont have.But great wonders can be worked with outdoor lighting by controlling and redirecting them with the use of diffusers ,reflectors and screens .
Some Ideas to Try Out:
1: Place your model in front of a textured wall which contrasts with her colour this will bring out her features better.
2: Choosee a white wall and then have your model in white dress in front of the wall and and overexpose the shot. Over exposing the shot will bring the white better because the camera meter meters the grey area in photograph so it always white a bit underexposed giving it a dull appearance. Overexposing will burn most of the features in the wall giving it a slick appearance.
3: Collect dry leaves in buckets and have them sprinkled from the top over the model with her bathing in the leaf shower. You could also click her while playing with the water sprinkler or rushing out of a pipe with a beautiful smile to give it surreal quality.
4: You can have a setup on the terrace during twilight hours and have her relaxing on the bike with spotlights on her. Couple up with reflectors to bring the shine on the metal surface of the bike.
5: Click her with an Ice Candy. Boy I need not tell you anymore. This is the classic shot, treat to even the blue eyed boy. 🙂
6: have your model in a white dress in mid of a mustard field and take a wide angle shot in the evening with dramatic sky in the background. Preferably kneel down to get a lower vantage point.
Reflectors: Reflectors can be thermocols .There are two kind of reflectors hard and soft.Hard refelctors are used to reflect greater intensity of light compared to the soft reflectors . For making hard reflectors just paste checkered silver and golden paper on the thermocol.For soft reflector just use the thermocol. One side of the thermocol can be coverred with golden paper and other silver in order to reflect golden( tungsten) and silver(halogen bulb) light using the same thermocol or use one side as hard and other as soft .Reflect light where you want to highlight features.For example : if the sun is behind the subject then in order to expose both the subject and the background properly reflectors from the front to reflect light on the face.
Cutters: Again thermocols can be used to block light from where you dont want it to fall. For instance if you want ot avoid the sunglare you can use it a little above your lens.
Diffuser: A piece of cloth can be used as a diffuser. A diffuser reduces the intensity of light and as a genral rule soft light is good for photography than harsh light because latter burns the feature.
Why is it so hard to define what Street Photography is about? Why do all attempts to describe this genre remain so oddly diffuse? Why is there no 25-pages-manual, something you can read and (hopefully) understand and off you go? You may be master of your gear, you may have done amazing macros, table-tops, architecture-shots and even portraits, and yet you may not have a frigging clue afterwards, what Street Photography is about. Because it is something very personal. Because you have to leave your shell. Because you have to – in some cases – expose yourself. Because you have to love people. Street Photography is about empathy, not hate. It is about community, even if it pictures solitude. It can be ironic, but never offending. When you are taking street shots you are commenting, much like a journalist. And this gives you a good deal of responsibility.
Street Photography is easy. And it is difficult. It is easy because you find your subjects virtually everywhere. You don’t need to go for the extraordinary. Far from it. The ordinary, everyday-thing is our matter of interest. It is difficult because the line to taking snapshots and photogrpahs is very thin. Snap-shooters produce pictures, but don’t take photos. Snapshooters just direct their camera to whatever comes in sight and press the button.
Street Photographers work differently. Their photo has been created in their mind – long (seconds or milliseconds) before they release the shutter. Street Photography is – “about seeing and reacting”. “Seeing” is the important part. Light, lines, fore- and background, movement, things and people that happen to interact for a second. If you don’t see these moments, feel them, live in them, all the time, with or without camera, then Street Photography is probably not for you. The “reacting” part is indispensable.
Although photography is magic, you can train your photographic view.It takes extraordinary creativity or lot of practice and self training to develop a photographic eye for everything you click.Its only then you are a true photographer.But don’t try to be someone else. Idols are fine. Learn from them. But don’t imitate them . Be yourself. When you go out hunting on the street, it is you, with all that you know and feel. You react to people, people react to you. This is what makes the really special photos special.
If you don’t feel well in public places, if you happen be the autistic type of guy, Street Photography is probably not for you. If you think that using a 300mm makes you a Street Photographer then you are dreaming. Get close and be part of the scenery, visible or unnoticed, but don’t behave like an intruder.
If you still carry the manual of your camera with you in your bag, come back when you are able to operate it blindfolded or from your hip. But if you feel that your camera is an organic part of your body and the lens your third eye, go out and play.
Great photographer once said : “Photographers are like butterflies. They flutter from photo to photo.” Be a butterfly. Street photography, the term seems explanatory but Its not just about clicking on the street but also capturing the activities in its immediate surroundings. So it could be children playing around, beggars begging around and dogs lurking around or it can just be the warmth of the relationship streaming around(eg a father teaching his toddler to walk )….
Our world is filled with an untold amount of images waiting to be captured. A street photographers challenge is not finding the shot.. but missing it. Bottom line, street photography is a tradition. The art has been carried down by those who cannot take another step before capturing that moment. This tradition of capturing the world around us, for the sole purpose of retaining the unique situations that make life charming and exciting, is what separates street photography from the rest.
For almost a century photographers have been fascinated by this genre of photography as there is no dearth of good subjects .Street offers plethora of opportunities to both professionals and amateurs to hone their skills in photography and that is why it is challenging . Street photography can also be challenging and exciting. Be it a spy shot or a photo right in front of the (human) subject… both give an adrenaline rush. the finger itches and the heart beats … then we decide to take the photo, no matter what will happen. As long as you stay unnoticed, it works wonderfully.
There are people on the streets, shops, crowd, animals, monuments, skyscrappers etc .Where ever your eye leads you will witness the ecstasies of life and celebration of human relationships .The subject can vary from a portrait of a kid on the streets to tall structures meeting the sky.
Street photography requires right mix of sensitivity, agility and sense of timing . Normal activities like people playing cards ,couples sitting in park or bench by the lake, a boy riding a bicycle etc need a photographic eye to bring out the subtle beauty of these moments. Street photography is essentially done in black and white but this is not a rule. Black and white reduce the clutter due to excessive colours in the surrounding and brings out the character of the photograph to the viewer.
The best you can do is taking a photo without having any influence on the scene at all, then you have a real street shot and therefore you need the right gear as well. An analogue slr is the best for this purpose. I use Nikon FM 10 .A dslr works just fine but the feeling of slr is better only disadvantage being not able to see the pics at the same time.Something I enjoy about street shots are when the person (be it in main focus or someone else in the frame) is looking at you or at the camera. Ilike these photos when you don’t see that the person realizes the camera but just looks in your direction. That happens when you’re so quick that you take the facial expression and look of the eyes before the person realizes that you take a photo. It’s a question of seconds or even milliseconds… You can capture with your mind or with your heart. Sometimes with both.. but mainly street photography and analogue is with heart and displays feelings. Other forms are a challenge to mind but for the heart,
the heart is street photography and when I write this, I realize it more and more.
Just go out on the sides and start experimenting .The more you will practice it the better you become.Track down the fairs and carnivals in your city because these are the best places to shoot variety of people in different attires, moods, and one gets to see the peculiarities of people. Capture groups of women ( in the frame ) and kids brimming with joy and enthusiasm. Keep your photograph simple and don’t clutter them with unwanted elements which make the photograph visually jarring. Photograph the children playing in mud and freeze the moments which showcase their innocence as these subjects appease to every human. There are plethora of interesting subjects in a fair viz women in traditional dresses, shopkeepers and hawkers at their daily work. When people take break and stretch out to yawn ,don’t miss the opportunity to release your shutter. At this moment i would have shown you a photograph of my friend sleeping with his mouth open but thanks to another friend of mine she spoilt the shot 😦 .
While shooting portraits use low f stop for shallow depth of field so the subject is separated from the background and so that eyes can comfortably concentrate on the main subject. Lookout for bright and contrasting colors. .Observe interesting forms and patterns that can be clicked taking a close shot . Look for symmetry and rhythm in places and objects . While focusing at near by objects use manual focus .Compostion and proper framing is the key to a good photograph . Often an unexciting inanimate object makes a great photograph due to effective composition .Make use of Composition rules but don’t follow them blindly . Break them at occasions to create your own masterpiece. Remember there are no rules in photography only guidelines. look for color combinations which contrast each other . To take blue toned images set white balance to tungsten . Dawn and dusk are best time to shoot blue .Green in combination with different shades of yellow blue and red is very soothing to eyes but if too many colours are there it can make snap look clumsy. Lighter shades of same colour can add depth to pics .
When on street you find enough subjects to make your eyes flashing around and don’t try to contain them. Explore every opportunity because however good photographer you are the luck factor is always there. But shooting blatantly will increase your post session workload and you might miss that wonderful snap which could add to your assorted collection. So put some thought behind photograph. Try to associate a story to each photograph cause world likes stories.
Great tips for street photography :
1: sometimes when people are not aware of the camera that makes for interesting capture .
2 learn to see patterns : look for a group of reoccurring elements ,like rows of chairs or the handlebars of bus .Once you figure out the pattern figure the best place to shoot from .Experiment using shallow depth of fields and interesting diagonals .
3 Children make great subjects. Capture the manner in which the child interacts with his immediate surroundings .
4 Have a sense of humour : wrongly spelt signboards , ubiquitous horn ok please ,graffiti etc
5 Shoot animals on the street . Get the story behind the picture … talk the to the person u clicked . 2 minutes of interaction makes the difference between an outsiders and insiders perspective…
6 Know your equipment .Master it that applies to all forms of photography . You cant miss on events ..
7 Use warmer tones use cloudy or shade settings ..
8 Don’t include too many things in the frame keep it clean …
9 Deviate from usual .Don,t just always click the obvious …
10 If people stare at u , wait .Let them get accustomed or bored of looking at you and capture the event in its usual skin without people being too conscious of the camera .
11 Don’t shoot more but think more…
12 Don’t dress up extravagantly .Be simple and try to camouflage in the crowd so that u don’t attract attention to the camera and make people conscious because then you will miss the natural expressions of the people.
13 Most importantly bind your thoughts to definitions and rules let your creativity explore all the bounds.
Personal advice : Never leave sadhus and weird looking people unclicked .While taking portraits you needn’t click them in the centre of the frame and include their whole body . Try to capture the expression in the photos Many great creation are born when the artist is grim and dejected and In photography many great shots are taken while showing the grief,poverty,dearth and negativities of life.
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This blog is dedicated to pursuit of a goal. A goal to reach out to the world and showcase our skills in photography.We believe the road ahead can be walked down. But we want to run. And we cant run alone for long .We require your support. Let us make this run a phenomena.This is precisely what Photomaniacs aims …
Photomaniacs is an initiative by a budding group of young photographers who are exploring this exciting and marvellous world and documenting it with their skills in Photography. If you want to be a part of this journey, mail us your comments , pics on, and if possibles your articles about ,any possible genre of photography. We would love to welcome you to our family.
Cheers to Photomaniacs!!!