A Simple Explanation of the Metering and AE-Lock Features in Your DSLR

Want a better understanding of how the metering and AE-lock features in your DSLR camera work? YouTube photography tutorial channel PhotoUniverse made this simple explanation that explains the concepts using a whiteboard. He quickly steps through evaluative (which uses a database of many “known” photos) and center-weighted metering before spending a good amount of time explaining spot metering and how you can use it in conjunction with AE-Lock to properly expose photographs.

If you’re already adept at handling your DSLR, you probably won’t learn anything new, but this video is great for anyone that’s just starting to dip their toes into more serious photography.

P.S. He also shares a common trick used by many photographers for metering on a sunny day: green grass can often work nicely as an 18% gray card.

(via Petapixel)

The Secret Life of Wedding Photographers

What do Wedding Photographers Really Do?

Usually when I’m standing in the buffet line for dinner, or when there’s a slow time during the day when I’m not taking pictures.

“So you’re the photographer?”
“Yessir, I am, and I absolutely love it.”
“Well I don’t doubt it. You’re doing a great job out there. It must be great to work only one day a week!”

There seems to be a lot of misconceptions regarding what wedding photographers actually do all week. It’s perfectly understandable, after all, the only time most people see us working is at the wedding. You can find an interesting survey answered by wedding photographers and discover what they really do besides take pictures every weekend. Hopefully it will help clear up some misconceptions and give some insight into what goes on behind the scenes after we leave the reception.

Some interesting quotes:

“From start to finish, our company invests 90 man hours in each bride.
I always laugh when people ask me what it’s like to only to work one day a week. I wish! :)”

“On a day to day basis, marketing, networking and other business activities take such a big chunk of time that I consider weddings my day off!
I get to relax and do what I love. And on Monday, it’s back to business.”

“A wedding photographer wears all the business hats: CEO, advertising exec, HR person, teacher, accountant, IT guy, vision-caster, investor, designer, researcher, client meeter, negotiator, webmaster, marketer and office cleaner.”

“Going into my 4th year of business, I find myself constantly analyzing my marketing and looking at competition. With an ever changing industry, it’s almost a full time job just to stay current and know what’s going on in the world of wedding photography.”

“As a photographer, you spend a huge amount of time in front of a computer. The changes in advertising methods and social media have also required more computer time. So we should not be called photographers, but photographers/graphic artists/web designers/accountants/receptionists/bloggers!”

I totally agree with them.
Editing the photos and doing all the post-processing is usually completed not before 2 months after the wedding.

Tips to Grow Your Instagram Followers

For readers who are new to Instagram. It is a photo sharing application for Android and iPhone which allows you to take pictures from within the app or choose a picture from your photo library, apply an effect filter to this photo and upload it to the Instagram server. During the upload process, you can choose to share the photo and the accompanying comments on Facebook, Twitter, Email, Foursquare and many other social media platforms.

1. Only Post Your Best Photos!

If you are starting out on a brand new Instagram account, dedicate time to put together 10 to 20 photos that you are really pleased with as your base portfolio. These photos should catch the attention of instagrammers and set you on your path with some decent followers.

2. Stop Spamming Us!

Even if you have selected 10 – 20 photos that you will like to start your portfolio with, you should not post it up as a chunk. Spread them over a few days so as not to spam users who are already following you with tons of images.

3. Spread Your Love Out

Once you have picked your 2 – 4 photos for the day, do not post them out all at once during your lunch break.

Remember the Instagram community is a global community so the busiest time of day for American followers will certainly not be the busiest time of day for Asian users.

So try to spread your postings out by at least 2 hours apart. After staggering your postings for sometime, you will begin to know your followers Instagram habits.

4. Don’t Post When Followers Are Sleeping…

If you post during the most active times of day, you are more likely to get a lot of likes & comments in a short amount of time. That appears to be what it takes to push your photo onto the popular page – a lot of “likes” in a short period of time!

5. Be a Tag Whore

Tagging your photo with a hashtag will have it placed with other photos with the same tag. That will help instagrammers to find related photos easily.

There are a lot of popular tags that will help you get noticed. The more tags you place on your photo, the more places it gets to appear in. I have consolidated a convenient list of tags for you to use on almost any photo:

#jj #instagramhub #instagrammers #iphoneonly #iphoneartists #instagood #bestoftheday #instamood #picoftheday #cute #igdaily #instadaily #art #webstagram #beautiful #pretty #statigram #instago #inkstagram #instafamous

6. Geo – Tag Your Photos

Instagram offers users the opportunity to geo-tag where the photo was taken.

When you tag a location, other instagrammers who are close geographically or visited the same location at a later date will be able to view your photos. Chances are they will want to keep updated with what you’re doing hence resulting in a follow.

7. Sell Your Account

The fastest & easiest way to get more followers is to communicate your Instagram Account to your existing social media base.

Post, tweet or blog about your Instagram so that followers can check out your photos and start following you.

I personally use Instapress to showcase my latest Instagram photos on my blog.

[instapress userid=”unusualfocus” piccount=”3″ size=”” effect=”fancybox” title=”1″]

8. Start Following People!

Following other people is one of the best ways to get followers. The people you follow will start noticing you and check you out.

I tend to only follow people who have really good images or who have taken the time to interact with me & my followers through meaningful comments.

9. Leave Meaningful Feedback and Comments.

Comments like ‘Nice’, ‘Cute’ or ‘Cool!’ are always welcomed but they are not going to help you get noticed.

Instead leave comments that requires replies like ‘Loved the scenery, where did you snap that?’ or ‘Stunning, which effect filter did you use to achieve that?’. Most instagrammers will take the time to answer and it is likely that they will visit your portfolio. If your images are good, chances of them becoming your followers are high.

10. Be Active to the Right Audience!

Avoid spending too much time at the Popular page. If they have made it to the popular page they are probably well established and are less likely to check out your portfolio or follow you.

There are many “micro communities” within Instagram. One of the most popular one is the @joshjohnson #JJ community. It comprises of other people just like you, eager to find new followers and folks to follow. Tag all your photos with #JJ hastag and follow @joshjohnson’s “123 rule” which is: For every 1 photo you post, comment on 2 others, and like 3 more.

You should also stay connected with your existing followers. Watch your feed, ‘Like’ photos from those you are following, leave meaningful feedback and thank people who have left comments on your photos.

By the way, follow me @unusualfocus on Instagram too! 😉

5 Tips for the Budding Travel Photographer

Let’s have a look at these five key points provided by Richard I’Anson author of Lonely Planet’s Guide to Travel Photography.

1. Get your hands on a digital SLR.
Digital SLRs will help you take high quality images with a high level of creative control and you’ll have access to a range of lenses. Previously prohibitively expensive, there are now a number of lower-cost options that will give you nearly all of the flexibility of a pricier SLR.

2. Plan ahead and research.
Before you shoot, scout out key vantage points in a city or landscape and try to pre-visualize what you want to achieve in your images. A list of what you want to capture is good; a list of how you want to capture them is even better.

3. Simple, bold compositions work best.
Move in closer to fill the frame or try placing your subject off center for a more interesting image. Avoid multiple subjects pulling the eye in different directions, and try not to clutter your shot with extraneous objects that will detract from your main subject. You might be able to ignore power lines, parking lots and garbage cans in person, but they stand out in photos.

4. Use light creatively.
Try photographing in the earlier or later parts of the day when the sun is lower and less harsh, shadows are longer, and the sky takes on interesting colors. Shooting into the light can also create interesting lighting effects and silhouettes when used properly.

5. Incorporate people into the shoot.
Be it classic portraiture, candid snaps, or cityscapes, people will liven up your travel images. In urban settings people are essential to convey the energy and story of the city. Even in rural areas, a landscape can be lovely, but a person in a landscape tells a story.