Tag Archives: photography

Should You Ask Before Shooting – a Photographer's Dilemma

Jennifer is a member of our new Geeks community. She recently started a discussion about this very topic. As a photographer, she feels torn at times about her ‘rights’ to shoot pictures as she wishes, and the rights of those she’s snapping pics of. So, I put this question to people over on FriendFeed, to see what they think, as well.

I never do it without permission. Ever. – l0ckergn0me

I ask.. there are a few exceptions but if someone is the main subject of my shots, I ask. I know I don’t have to, but I do. It just feels like the right thing to do. Maybe I’ll get over it… I realize it seems old-fashioned, but I think it’s somehow connected to the old idea that photographers "take" pictures not "make" them. – Anthony Citrano

Shoot first, ask questions later? – klecu

Definitely not … you need to get people in the moment – Nick O’Neill

My problem is if I see some one I want a picture of I think I ruin the mood of the picture by going up to them and asking. – Colide81

I was out with an acquaintance who; after having his picture snapped smashed the camera "Elvis style" all over the side walk.After a few short tense moments I suggested that he reimburse the man (in exchange for him not calling the police).So, I would ask because while its unlikely some one else would react the way that shaved ape did, you never know… – J. Abdul-Qahhar

very true. – Colide81

The community seems divided on this issue, just like photographers are. What do you think? Should go up and ask a random person their permission to photograph them in all instances, or are there times it’s ok not to?

Are You an Amateur Photographer?

I love to dabble in photography. I’m not that great at it, and I know my limits. But I always like to get new tips, and learn new things. One of our chatters, DellMan94, sent in the following tips to give all of us an extra bit of a boost when practicing our photography skills.

  • Find the right camera. First, make sure when you buy your camera that you find the one that fits you. The camera should not be too small or too big, the menu should be clean and easy to use, and the camera should be comfortable. Second, when you get your camera, do not be confused about the marketing hype about megapixels. The number of megapixels just determines how big you can print your photos, not image quality. For example, a four-megapixel image will print an 8×10 while a ten-megapixel image would print at 24×36 at that same resolution. Finding the right camera can your photographic experience much more enjoyable and fun.
  • Use the rule of thirds. Imagine a tic-tac-toe grid over the photo you are about to take. Place your subject where these lines intersect and your photo will be much more visually interesting. This is because the eye scans around the image. You will notice your images will start to look much better when you apply this rule.
  • Take numerous photos. Do not be afraid to take many photos in just one day. Your odds of getting a great photo will increase if you take more pictures. One person who has 200 images is more likely to have “the shot” than a person with 80 or 100 photos is.
  • Be careful when shooting RAW. If you are taking pictures in RAW format than you have to be careful not to take too many. If you do, you can corrupt your memory card. This is because the camera calculates space available on the card based on average image size, not actual image size. RAW is a photo format that uses no compression on the photos like JPEG does. While the image quality is slightly higher than JPEG, RAW files can be very large (around 9-10 MB for a 10-megapixel image). A JPEG will delete one third or more of the data that is captured when the photo is taken. Not all cameras can take raw images. For the most part the cameras that can take RAW photos are the higher end point-and-shoots and most dSLRs. For the most part this is unnoticeable. For the most part shooting in JPEG is the way to go, unless you plan on heavily modifying your photos in your image editor.
  • Keep the original photos. Keeping the original photos is very important when you edit your images. This way, if you change your mind and decide that you do not like a change you made to a photo, you have not destroyed the original. A good option is to save all your edited photos in one specific folder. Always keeping your original photos will save a lot of time and headaches when it comes to photo editing.
  • Watch the background. Be careful that the background of you photo does not have a telephone pole, wires, etc. This is especially true during outdoor portraits. Nobody wants to see some object appearing to come out of his or her head. Make sure the background is clean, is not distracting, and does not have unwanted objects in it.
  • Take as little gear as possible when traveling. When you are doing travel photography, do not take all of your gear with you. If you do, it will become cumbersome and will only get heavier as the day goes on. This is especially true if you own a dSLR. Point and Shoot cameras are very handy here, as they are small and most can fit in your pocket. Make sure to take the least amount of gear possible when traveling.
  • Have fun! There is no point in taking up photography if it is not fun. Having fun will increase your odds of good photos and will stir up your curiosity and will cause you to learn more. There is nothing like doing something you love to do.

Is There a Free Alternative to Lightroom or Aperture?


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If you are a professional photographer, you’re either using Apple’s Aperture or Adobe’s Lightroom, I’m sure. This is for hard-core digital photo management. Both of these programs work well, but they are quite expensive. So, what can you do instead?

blueMarine is a cross-platform, open-source application that will give you a full-on digital photo workflow experience. The closest thing I could equate to this is Aperture or Lightroom. blueMarine is pretty much the same thing. You can sort by different variables, and increase or decrease the size of the results returned. It’s insanely easy to work with, and organize all of the photos in a professional manner.

As with most photo workflow apps, you have several methods of inspecting your image collection. Icons in the top left corner switch the app between filesystem tree, calendar, and tag views, and you can sift through the assorted photos in a 2-D grid, or a single “filmstrip” along the bottom of the screen.

You have full control over how much information blueMarine displays for each image, courtesy of the View -> Decorators menu. You can show file properties such as size and filename, image properties such as camera settings, and any metadata you assign to the file.

You can also assign basic one-through-five-star ratings for each image, and mark “keepers” and “trash” with simple keyboard shortcuts. Although blueMarine does not include editing functionality, the beginnings of such features are found in the image inspections tools, with which you can zoom in and out and magnify selected images.

I’m not a professional photographer, I’m just a hobbyist. If I hadn’t already paid for Aperture, I’d be using blueMarine myself on a regular basis. I’m glad I found it, and could pass it along to all of you.

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Outdoor Photography Tips

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Taking pictures outside is a different ballgame than snapping shots indoors. Everything is different, from the lighting to the backgrounds. Here are some tips to help you take beautiful shots when outdoors.

  • Digital cameras don’t like nature Pixels don’t treat all objects equally. One of the worst things to photograph with a digital camera is a tree. If your camera can capture a million pixels and your subject tree contains a few hundred thousand leaves, you’ll end up with only three or four pixels per leaf, and the whole image will smear together in a big, gummy mess.The same goes for lush lawns, bountiful gardens, distant mountains, hairy surfaces, and just about any other subject with scads of intricate details. For the best results, shoot only clearly defined subjects that have smooth, distinct outlines. People photograph well, as do cars, buildings, furniture, and most man-made objects. In short, stick to obvious foreground subjects that stand out sharply from their backgrounds.
  • Get in close Do your photos look like they were taken from a satellite in space? This can happen if you don’t properly frame the picture. With a digital camera, the distance between the subject of the shot and the camera means you end up taking about 15 pixels in the center of the image. Because pixels are precious, it’s important to devote as many as possible to the picture’s subject. When photographing a person, for example, turn on the LCD and close in until his or her image fills the screen. Don’t take the shot until you see the whites of their eyes.
  • Avoid the extremes Extreme temperatures can do a real number on your digital camera and its batteries. Don’t leave your equipment in direct sunlight for hours at a time. You can protect it by covering it with light-colored or reflective material. If you leave the camera in your car, make sure the sun won’t be moving into a position where it will cook your vehicle’s contents. In really cold weather, place your camera in a large, sealed plastic bag when you head outside. The temperature inside the bag will drop gradually, thus preventing a rapid climate change and the ill effects of condensation and frost on the inside of your equipment. Once your camera has cooled, pop it out of the bag and start shooting.
  • View to a killer shot It’s usually best to shoot with the sun behind you to make sure your subject is well lit. The problem is that an LCD screen can be very hard to see in bright sunlight. So be sure to purchase a camera that also includes viewfinder; otherwise, you may end up shooting blindly. Another benefit of not relying heavily on the LCD screen: Longer battery life.
  • Use the flash in back lit conditions In full daylight, use the built-in flash on your camera to fill in the shadows. When you photograph a person with back lighting present (a bright source of light behind the subject, such as the setting sun), the result is often just a dark silhouette against a blindingly bright background. The solution is to turn on the flash — a technique called fill-flashing. The flash illuminates the subject’s face and also helps reduce the brightness of the sky.

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My Career is Over

Or, has it only just begun?

Think Small

People are just now returning home and uploading their Gnomedex photos to the Internet (a lot of them to Flickr, and some elsewhere). However, I believe that Josh is in the lead with at least two “classic” shots. Kris Krug’s, Scott Beale’s, Steve Lacey’s, and Ted Leung’s shots should prove to be breathtaking. I’m finding several favorites from several Gnomedexers!