Archive for May, 2009

3 Days Left: Photo Contest for May

May 29, 2009

“‘one’derfully messy toddler!”
© Copyright Fiona Lanzino

There’s only 3 days remaining until the end of the Photobird Photo Contest for May 2009 with the theme “One”. Enter the contest here. The contest is always free to enter and this month’s contest ends Sunday, May 31, 2009 at 11:59pm Pacific time.

Fiona Lanzino entered into the contest this cute photo entitled “‘one’derfully messy toddler!” and explains in the description: “My little daughter was sitting on a chair foot painting up the wall in her messy art class. She decided it would be much more fun to paint one foot!” Yes, of course! The bottom of her foot is getting paint on it, so I bet she’s thinking, “I’ll paint the top too!” Besides, I’m sure looking at the top of her unpainted foot on top of the painted wall ruins the whole painting experience and makes her lose her creative focus! The wall is painted; therefore, the foot must be too! The paint and the brush probably feel good too. Yep, she definitely knows what she’s doing. She’s got it all figured out.

The composition on this photo is very well-done: focusing on the foot, the brush, and the wall. Click the photo to see a larger version.

Photobird Photo Contest details:

The two winners for the Photobird Photo Contest for May 2009 will each receive the following cool prizes:

Read more details about the monthly contest here.

Every monthly Photobird Photo Contest has two winners. At the end of each month, we pick one winner for the Photobird Award, and we will tally your votes to determine the one winner for the People’s Choice Award.

See the previous contests and their photos at this link.

Enter the contest here. And be sure to have your family and friends vote for their favorite entries to help select the People’s Choice Award. (You can send them a quick little reminder here.)

~•~

See more great photos and photography articles in the Photobird Daily.

Sign up for the Photobird newsletter.

Visit Photobird.com, the easy way to share your photos.

~•~

Advertisements

“Blown Away” by Robert Romeno

May 28, 2009

“Blown Away”
© Copyright Robert Romero

Blown Away” is an attractive photo by Robert Romero of an unusual flower. What makes this flower unusual is that it’s not a real flower. As Robert Romero explains in the description of the photo, he noticed this pretty flower on the grass at a park, which is kind of odd to see a large pretty flower growing in the middle of the grass at a park, and then he figured out that this flower made from cloth had been blown off someone’s nearby patio onto the park grass.

I really like the vibrant colors, the clarity, and the composition of the photo. Click the photo above to see a larger version. Be sure to see more of Robert Romero’s beautiful flower photos in his “floral beauty” photo album here on Photobird.com.

Robert Romero won the Photobird Award for the Photobird Photo Contest for February 2008 with this photo, “Just Peachy“. You can see more of Robert’s photos at photobird.com/theshootest.

Photobird.com is the easy way to share your photos. You capture and share so many great photos on Photobird.com that we created the Photo of the Hour feature to give you the opportunity to share your very best with the rest of the world.

It’s really easy to submit your favorite photos to be featured on the Photobird Photo of the Hour: Simply view the photo from your photo album and click the “Submit for Photo of the Hour” checkbox. There is no limit to the number of photos you can submit and we always like to get new submissions.

In return for each photo we use on the Photo of the Hour or People Places and Things, you get more storage space for your photo album so you can store more photos. Details are here.

If you’d like to keep some of your photos private while you share your favorite photos with the world, you can read how easy it is to do that with Photobird photo albums in our Photobird Daily article entitled “Show Off Your Photos, and Keep Some Private“.

~•~

See more great photos and photography articles in the Photobird Daily.

Sign up for the Photobird newsletter.

Visit Photobird.com, the easy way to share your photos.

~•~

Simple Tips for Photographing Your Children

May 27, 2009
Kid photo
Photo © Copyright Pekka Saarinen

One of the most challenging subjects to photograph is children. You want to get memorable shots, but the resulting pictures too often fall into one of two disastrous camps: a series of out-of-focus blurs of hyperactive kids bouncing off the walls like charged electrons or, perhaps even worse, unnaturally serious kids, warned to behave and, consequently, unwilling to show anything more than a serious pout or nervous grin.

Pekka Saarinen, a professional photographer based in Helsinki, has written a wonderful essay entitled “Getting Kids on CCD: Portraits”, which we’ve linked to on the Photobird Learning Center. In the essay, Pekka details a tried-and-true process that includes steps which, when read, have the ring of truth of common sense, such as this zinger: first, get to know your subjects. Pekka advises playing with your subjects at their level and introducing the camera into their play, keeping things light by using the camera as an instrument for humor.

After your subjects have become accustomed to the camera, Pekka advises straight talk: tell them exactly what you want to do and what level of cooperation you’ll need from them in order to be successful, such as “staying very still when the photo is taken”. Pekka advises incorporating small-talk into the photography session and including the child’s toys as a way to displace their natural nervousness. If you can, get the rest of the family behind you or out of the room, shoot from the child’s height, and try to keep the background simple.

Oh, and Pekka also advises not to overdo it. Remember these are just kids we’re talking about here. You should stop after you sense the child is growing weary; otherwise, they will become less cooperative subjects the next time you want to take pictures of them.

~•~

See more great photos and photography articles in the Photobird Daily.

Sign up for the Photobird newsletter.

Visit Photobird.com, the easy way to share your photos.

~•~

Best Selling Cameras on Amazon.com – May 26

May 26, 2009

Amazon.com keeps a running tally of its best-selling digital cameras, updated hourly. Check out the Amazon.com Digital Camera Best Sellers page at this link to see the complete list of cameras.

The top 10 list for the Amazon.com Digital Camera Best Sellers page is below. This week’s list and the list from two weeks ago are shown. Click on any of the links to go to the Amazon.com page for that camera to read reviews and to obtain more details on each camera.

This week:

1. Canon PowerShot SD880 IS (Silver) – $255
2. Canon PowerShot SD890 IS – $179
3. Canon PowerShot A1000 IS – $129
4. Canon Rebel T1i – $853
5. Canon Rebel XSi – $700
6. Canon PowerShot SX10 IS – $382
7. Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5A – $225
8. Canon PowerShot SX110 IS – $240
9. Nikon D40 – $412
10. Canon PowerShot G10 – $459

Two weeks ago:

1. Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS (Blue) – $175
2. Canon PowerShot SX10 IS – $370
3. Canon PowerShot SD880 IS (Gold) – $247
4. Canon PowerShot SD890 IS – $199
5. Canon Rebel XSi – $700
6. Canon PowerShot G10 – $450
7. Canon PowerShot SD880 IS (Silver) – $282
8. Canon PowerShot SX110 IS – $225
9. Polaroid i735 – $55
10. Canon PowerShot A470 – $90

Wow, with much surprise, the Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS tiny digital camera in blue is no longer in first place, where it had been for at least the past 6 weeks. Before then, the Canon PowerShot A590 IS compact digital camera was in first place for many months. Perhaps one reason the Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS is in blue is no longer in first place is that it is no longer available from Amazon.com, only third-party sellers.

The Canon PowerShot SD880 IS in silver is now in first place. Two weeks ago it was in 7th place, with its sibling in gold in 3rd place. The Canon PowerShot SD880 IS has a lower price now, down almost $30 to $255.

Canon still holds most of the top 10 spots on the Amazon.com Digital Camera Best Sellers list. This week, Canon only holds 8 of the top 10 spots. Usually they hold at least 7. I’ve never seen them with less than 6. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5A and the Nikon D40 DSLR are the only two cameras in the top 10 list that are not Canon cameras.

Here are more observations about the recent list:

1. Four weeks ago, the Canon Rebel T1i entered the list at number 10 at $900, even though it wasn’t available for sale yet. Now it’s available to purchase for $853 and up to 4th place.

2. The 10-megapixel Canon PowerShot A1000 IS with 4x zoom is new to the list and in 3rd place. It costs a mere $129, which sounds like a great price for its capabilities. It’s received an average of 4-and-a-half stars from 114 reviews on Amazon.com.

3. The Canon PowerShot SD890 IS has decreased in price $20 down to $179 and it’s up two spots on the list to number 2.

Before you buy a Canon digital camera or anything else on Amazon.com, please click one of our links to Amazon.com on this page or anywhere on Photobird.com. For each product you buy after your click, we receive a small referral fee, at no additional cost to you. Your clicks and purchases allow us to continue to publish the Photobird Daily and the Photobird Learning Center. Thank you for your support!

~•~

See more great photos and photography articles in the Photobird Daily.

Sign up for the Photobird newsletter.

Visit Photobird.com, the easy way to share your photos.

~•~

The Importance of Foreground Composition

May 25, 2009

Photo © Copyright Jason Keefe

Composition is the most important element for great photos. I’ve written before about the importance of good composition in the Photobird Daily article “Composition Is Key” which you can find as part of Photobird’s Simple Guide to Great Photos.

In his Fine Art Photography Review of Jason Keefe’s photo which is shown above, fine art photographer and workshop instructor Alain Briot of Beautiful-Landscape.com explains how important it is to ensure the foregrounds of your photos are well composed. In Jason Keefe’s photo above of a snowy terrain overlooking the Grand Canyon, the snow and the rocks in the foreground are the main focus in the photo and therefore, as Alain Briot explains, they need a more prominent pattern to make looking at the photo a more pleasurable activity. Alain Briot also points out that in general, if the foreground in your photo is not interesting, then it’s just “there”, and the foreground won’t be as interesting as it could be. In Jason Keefe’s photo, Alain Briot shows us that in some cases, cropping might help the composition of the photo, but cropping is not ideal in this case because then the Grand Canyon looks small which is not good.

Alain Briot further explains that in order for the audience to enjoy your work and to make sense of what’s in the photo, they need to be able to clearly see everything that’s going on in the photo. If something is ambiguous in the photo and they’re not sure exactly what’s going on, your audience is going to move on to the next photo that they can understand and they’re going to forget about yours. For example, in Jason Keefe’s photo, it’s not good to leave the audience wondering what else lies beyond the photo. In this photo, parts of rocks that lie on the edge of the photo and rocks that are cut by the frame of the photo can make us wonder what else lies beyond the photo, which is not good. Instead, the borders of the photo should be nice and clean.

The lesson to be learned in this Fine Art Photography Review is that photographers need to be more aware when on location of how much of the foreground to include and exactly what objects in the foreground to include.

In his Fine Art Photography Reviews, Alain Briot analyzes your photos via free, 10-minute QuickTime movies. Alain Briot uses the audio of the QuickTime movies to explain his analysis of the photos while the video is used to show the changes he makes to the photographs as if you’re looking over his shoulder watching his computer monitor.

I enjoy watching and learning from these reviews and I think you will too. I’ve written about more of Alain Briot’s Fine Art Photography Reviews in the Photobird Daily in the articles “Color or Black and White? Which is Better?“, “The Quality of Light“, and “Reflections and Composition“.

If you like watching these reviews, you may also like Alain Briot’s workshops and DVDs. Alain Briot studied at the Academie des Beaux Arts in Paris and he conducts workshops throughout the year, which we’ve highlighted in the Photobird Daily before. Here’s a list of his 2009 workshops, which are mostly sold out. The materials he teaches in his workshops are also available on DVD which I’ve written about in this article in the Photobird Daily.

Find out more at Alain Briot’s website, Beautiful-Landscape.com.

~•~

See more great photos and photography articles in the Photobird Daily.

Sign up for the Photobird newsletter.

Visit Photobird.com, the easy way to share your photos.

~•~

1 Week Left: Photo Contest for May

May 22, 2009

“Joined as ONE”
© Copyright Ramon Prince

There is only 1 week remaining until the end of the Photobird Photo Contest for May 2009 with the theme “One”. Enter the contest here. The contest is always free to enter and this month’s contest ends Sunday, May 31, 2009 at 11:59pm Pacific time.

I like this photo shown above entitled “Joined as ONE” by Ramon Prince. Although at first glance you might say it’s just a nice sculpture, there appears to be a few significant considerations taken when the photo was shot to ensure it looked its best.

  • The hardwood surface works well as a background because (1) it fills the entire frame of the photo, (2) the wood provides a natural feeling to the photo, as opposed to something else such as metal or something synthetic such as vinyl, and (3) the color of the wood and the variation of its texture provides a great contrast from the solid white of the sculpture.
  • The sculpture appears to be lit by natural light coming through the window. Natural light is generally preferred over artificial light.
  • The curtains on the window cast a variant shadow on the sculpture and on the hardwood, adding more dynamism, texture, and depth to the sculpture and to the photo.
  • Including the entire shadow of the sculpture in the photo adds additional depth to the photo and to the sculpture.

The sculpture looks really cool too. Click the photo to see a larger version.

Photobird Photo Contest details:

The two winners for the Photobird Photo Contest for May 2009 will each receive the following cool prizes:

Read more details about the monthly contest here.

Every monthly Photobird Photo Contest has two winners. At the end of each month, we pick one winner for the Photobird Award, and we will tally your votes to determine the one winner for the People’s Choice Award.

See the previous contests and their photos at this link.

Enter the contest here. And be sure to have your family and friends vote for their favorite entries to help select the People’s Choice Award. (You can send them a quick little reminder here.)

~•~

See more great photos and photography articles in the Photobird Daily.

Sign up for the Photobird newsletter.

Visit Photobird.com, the easy way to share your photos.

~•~

“Hiking in the Bells” by Vicki Tinnon

May 21, 2009

“Hiking in the Bells”
© Copyright Vicki Tinnon

Vicki Tinnon knows where the picturesque outdoor locations are and how to turn them into beautiful photos. Almost all of her photos in her Photobird photo album are shot outside while hiking or traveling.

Her photo shown above, “Hiking in the Bells“, is one of my favorite photos of the Maroon Bells Wilderness in Colorado, and it’s been selected for the Photobird Photo of the Hour. Click the photo above to see a larger version. I especially like this photo because it shows the narrow hiking trail in the foreground. The trail twists and turns just slightly and then disappears in the lush, green groundcover. It leads our eyes and points in the direction of the mountains in the background. I like the effect and the composition.

You can see more of Vicki Tinnon’s photos of the Maroon Bells in her Colorado photo album on Photobird.com. I also wrote about a couple of her other Maroon Bells photos last year. You can see more of Vicki Tinnon’s beautiful photos in her Photobird photo album at photobird.com/vickitinnon. Vicki Tinnon won the Photobird Award for the Photobird Photo Contest for May 2008 with her photo “Moving In“.

Photobird.com is the easy way to share your photos. You capture and share so many great photos on Photobird.com that we created the Photo of the Hour feature to give you the opportunity to share your very best with the rest of the world.

It’s really easy to submit your favorite photos to be featured on the Photobird Photo of the Hour: Simply view the photo from your photo album and click the “Submit for Photo of the Hour” checkbox. There is no limit to the number of photos you can submit and we always like to get new submissions.

In return for each photo we use on the Photo of the Hour or People Places and Things, you get more storage space for your photo album so you can store more photos. Details are here.

If you’d like to keep some of your photos private while you share your favorite photos with the world, you can read how easy it is to do that with Photobird photo albums in our Photobird Daily article entitled “Show Off Your Photos, and Keep Some Private“.

~•~

See more great photos and photography articles in the Photobird Daily.

Sign up for the Photobird newsletter.

Visit Photobird.com, the easy way to share your photos.

~•~

Make Your Sunset Photos Stand Out

May 20, 2009

Photo © Copyright Matthew G. Monroe

Looking for helpful advice on how to make your sunset photos stand out? According to Matthew Monroe, the answer is simple: Don’t shoot the sunset. In an article for the Digital Photography School, Matthew advises readers to wait about fifteen or twenty minutes after the sun has dropped below the horizon before snapping pictures.

Take a look at the picture Matthew shot above of St. John’s Bridge near his hometown of Portland, Oregon. With the camera in full manual mode, autofocus off, ISO at 100, and the f-stop somewhere between f8 and f13 (with an exposure time between 15-30 seconds), he played around with his camera’s white balance until it was down to about 2800 degrees Kelvin, to increase the saturation of the blue tones. Then he kept snapping pictures.

What he was waiting for was what he describes as a one-minute window during which truly jaw-dropping images can be created. And once you’ve captured the moment, you’ll know it right away but, even then, Matthew advises to keep shooting, especially if you’re in the path of a rising full moon.

Be sure to read the complete post for more interesting photographs and further details.

~•~

See more great photos and photography articles in the Photobird Daily.

Sign up for the Photobird newsletter.

Visit Photobird.com, the easy way to share your photos.

~•~

Get Started with Photography Books

May 19, 2009

Photography books are helpful when you’re getting started with photography and need the fundamentals.

Photography books are also helpful when you want to learn more about a specific type of photography, such as portrait photography, night and low-light photography, and HDR photography.

After you’ve learned everything you can from books, you can learn even more online, such as by searching the Photobird Daily.

Here’s a chronological list of photography books that we’ve written about here in the Photobird Daily. The list of books is separated between beginner’s books and advanced books.

All of the photography books are available from Amazon.com, and if you’re one of the winners of the Photobird Photo Contest for May 2009, you can buy the books with your $50 Amazon.com gift card! The Photobird Photo Contest is free to enter. Enter here!

If you’re looking to purchase only one photography book to get started with, I recommend either Understanding Exposure or Photographer’s Exposure Handbook.

For beginners:

Photographer’s Exposure Handbook

PhoDOGraphy, by Kim Levin

Hands-On Digital Photography, by George Schaub

Understanding Exposure, by Bryan Peterson

The Art of People Photography

Beyond Portraiture, by Bryan Peterson

Baby Face

More advanced:

Fashion Photography, by Bruce Smith

Lighting and the Dramatic Portrait

Night & Low-Light Photography, by Jill Waterman

Mastering HDR Photography, by Michael Freeman

Understanding Shutter Speed

Before you buy Understanding Exposure or anything else on Amazon.com, please click one of our links to Amazon.com on this page or anywhere on Photobird.com. For each product you buy after your click, we receive a small referral fee, at no additional cost to you. Your clicks and purchases allow us to continue to publish the Photobird Daily and the Photobird Learning Center. Thank you for your support!

~•~

Share this article on Facebook, StumbleUpon, and Delicious.

Vote for this article on PhotographyVoter.

E-mail this article to family and friends.

~•~

See more great photos and photography articles in the Photobird Daily.

Sign up for the Photobird newsletter.

Visit Photobird.com, the easy way to share your photos.

~•~

Easy Tips for Photographing Food

May 18, 2009

“Easy Weekend Pancakes”
© Copyright VeganYumYum

As with most things in life, there are easy ways to do things and hard ways to do things. LIke most people, I prefer to pick the easy ways. When things seem harder to do than they should, we usually think “There must be a better way!”

We’ve written about food photography many times before in the Photobird Daily, and I list those articles at the end of this article. In many of those articles, food photography seems too complicated, with special lights, reflectors, diffusers, and all sorts of stuff we really don’t want to get into. All we want to do is take great pictures of our food. There must be a better way!

Lolo has been photographing food for over 2 years for her award-winning blog, VeganYumYum. She’s even been featured on the Martha Stewart Show for her famous Knit Night Cupcakes, so she’s definitely doing all the right things.

Lolo is not a professional photographer, but she does need to wear a lot of hats for her job as a food blogger. (My guess is that the chef hat is more fun than the dishwasher hat.) She explains in her article on her blog that it’s possible to make your own high-quality food photos at home even without professional lighting equipment and food stylists.

She says that there’s a lot that happens before and after she clicks the shutter button that contributes to the final photo. Some of her easy tips are listed below, and I highly recommend you check out her article for more details on her photography. Also check out her recipe for Easy Weekend Pancakes, shown above. Looks like there’s a better way to make pancakes too!

Dishes – The right dish really sets the overall look for the photo. Smaller dishes are better. Small dishes are easier to fill up with food, which prevents the dish from looking bare.

Plan ahead – Do as much as you can before you start cooking. Food should be photographed as soon as possible after preparing, so the countertops need to be cleared, dishes selected, camera setup, background chosen, and more — all before you start cooking.

Mise en place – Preparing and neatly organizing all of your ingredients will keep your kitchen more organized, cut down on cooking time, and help you focus. Mise en place photos make for great food photos too!

Starting out – When Lolo started photographing food for her blog, she just used a Sony point-and-shoot camera without a tripod and her photos came out fine, even with just a kitchen light. If possible, take your photos during the day with natural light so the colors will be much more true to life. She says, “Using natural light is probably the number one thing you can do to improve your photos.”

Next step – If you’re interested in improving your equipment as well as your photos, Lolo highly recommends getting a digital SLR camera and a lens or two. Entry-level digital SLR cameras don’t cost that much and they allow you to use different lenses, change your aperture and shutter speed, set your white balance, shoot RAW, and do everything you need to take your food photography to the next level.

Read Lolo’s article at VeganYumYum for more details and many more tips.

Here’s more food photography articles we’ve written about before:

~•~

Share this article on Facebook, StumbleUpon, and Delicious.

Vote for this article on PhotographyVoter.

E-mail this article to family and friends.

~•~

See more great photos and photography articles in the Photobird Daily.

Sign up for the Photobird newsletter.

Visit Photobird.com, the easy way to share your photos.

~•~