суббота, 22 марта 2014 г.

Create a cool profile avatar.

Impress your friends with a fun self-portrait.

Self-portraits are becoming increasingly popular in the modern world. This is especially true when it comes to social networking sites, as most require you to upload a photo of yourself to be used as your profile avatar. This picture is often the first thing that people will see when browsing your networking page, so why not get creative and try capturing something that's a little bit different?

For some people, the idea of taking a self-portrait might be slightly daunting. This is usually because we're so used to being behind the camera that the idea of posing for our own shots may seem alien at first. But in practice, it's actually a lot of fun, and with yourself as the main subject of the picture, it's something that you can try out whenever you like.

One of the biggest benefits of digital photography is that it allows us to perform some digital trickery using editing software. One great example of this is creating a portrait within a portrait. This requires taking a
photograph of yourself holding a large photo frame and then using editing software to cleverly copy the image inside of the photo frame over and over again so that it resembles a never-ending tunnel of images. The result is one that's truly mesmerising and makes for an interesting profile picture on social networking sites. What's more, the great thing about this technique is that you don't need any expensive or sophisticated photo equipment either; it can be done using just about any type of camera, including a simple point-and-shoot or even a cameraphone. You will need a tripod, however, to set your camera up on, or alternatively you can rest it on a straight, flat surface.

To find out how to shoot, edit and share your own creative avatar now, just follow along with our simple step-by-step guide below and we'll show you everything you need to create your very own mind-bending picture-in-a-picture self-portrait.

Choose a location

Using a location with a chair or bench is a good idea as it will act as a marker, so you always know where in the frame to be. It’s also handy if you’re holding a heavy frame as it means you can take the weight off.

Set up your tripod

Using a tripod will allow you to take the shot and be in the photo at the same time. Once you've set your camera up on a sturdy tripod, frame the image, making sure you leave enough headroom to fit in the photo.

Select Aperture Priority

Set the camera to Aperture Priority (A or Av) and dial in an aperture of around f5.6 - this should nicely blur distractions in the background. Don't worry about the shutter speed as the camera will set this for you.

Focus the shot

Place the picture frame roughly where you'll be sitting and focus on it by half depressing the shutter button. Afterwards, switch to Manual Focus (MF) to prevent it re-focusing when you take the shot.

Use the self-timer

Activate Self-timer mode to give you enough time to get into position once the shutter button is pushed. Alternatively, you could ask someone else to push it for you or use a remote shutter release.

Take your image

Fully depress the shutter button and get into place for the photo. Review the shot on the rear screen and make any compositional changes that you need to make. Carry on taking photos until you're happy.

Edit Construct your picture-in-a-picture in Photoshop

Duplicate the layer

The first step is to create a duplicate of the image on a new layer in the Layers palette (Window>Layers). Do this by Ctrl/ right-clicking the Background layer, choosing Duplicate Layer and then clicking OK.

Resize to fit

Head up to Edit>Free Transform, then click and drag one of the corner tabs to resize the layer to roughly fit the photo frame. Holding Shift while you resize will make sure that the layer stays in proportion.

Move into position

If the layer isn’t in the right position, click and drag in the centre of the image and move it into the right place. If you need to make further size adjustments, you can also do this now.

Rotate the layer

Move your mouse to the outside edge of one of the corner tabs, then click and drag to rotate the layer until it matches the angle of the frame. Once the image roughly fits the frame, hit Enter to confirm.

Tidy up the edges

Click the eye icon next to the top layer in the Layers palette, then grab the Polygonal Lasso tool and trace the inside of the frame. Go to Select>Inverse, then press Delete before going to Select>Deselect.

Repeat until complete

Click the eye icon next to the top layer to reveal it again. Now simply repeat
steps 1 to 4 but duplicating the top layer instead of the background. Keep doing .

Share Upload your image as your Facebook profile picture

Log in to Facebook

Open up your web browser and type www.facebook.com into the web address bar. Type in your log-in details at the top and click Log In. If you don’t have an account, create one using the Sign Up section.

Go to your page

Once you’ve successfully logged in to your account, head up to the top-left of the window and locate your current profile picture. Next to it you should see your name - click on it to visit your personal profile page.

Edit your profile picture

Hover the mouse over your current profile picture in the top left-hand corner of the window and you’ll see the Edit Profile Picture option appear. Click on this and from the list of options, select Upload Photo.

Rule of thirds.

Use gridlines to help you frame your shot.

The rule of thirds is perhaps the most popular compositional technique, as it is very easy to master. It involves imagining a nine-section grid over your scene and using the lines to help you position your subject. It
is suggested that you place the main focal point over one of the intersecting points of the grid, as this is where the viewer's eye is likely to be drawn to first. If you are taking a landscape photo, then you can also use the
horizontal lines of the grid to position the horizon in either the top or bottom third. If you're struggling to picture the grid, many cameras have a gridlines display function that you can switch on and use instead.

Where should I put the horizon? Top tips for composing landscapes.

Top of the frame.

If the foreground is the most important part of the scene, position the horizon in the top third of your photo to draw attention to it and remove any expanse of dull sky.

Bottom of the frame.

If your vista has an interesting sky, position the horizon in the bottom third of your photo to show it off, but be sure not to cut out any important foreground detail.

Middle of the frame.

If the sky and foreground are equally important, position the horizon along the centre. If your scene is reflected in a lake or river, this will also help to create symmet

Easy tricks for better composition.

Discover how to capture eye-catching shots in any genre.

Composition is one of the most basic skills of photography, and yet it is often the secret to turning a good shot into a great one. It refers to what you choose to include in your photo and how you position it within the frame. A visually pleasing composition should typically be simple and engaging, showing off your subject in the best way possible. There are a few tried-and-tested rules that you can use to help you decide what to include and where to place it.

Although we call them rules, they are actually more like guidelines, as the way you frame your shots is ultimately a matter of personal opinion. However, these rules come in useful as a great starting point for when you get stuck and can also help to inspire you when you’re looking for something to shoot. Then if you decide to bend or break them, you can follow your own artistic instinct to decide what you think is best for the shot.

Unlike modes and settings, composition is a technique that can be applied no matter what camera you are using, whether it’s a DSLR or even a cameraphone. It can also be used with any photography genre, as many of the rules we will show you over the next few pages can be applied when shooting anything from landscapes to action. If you don’t get it quite right in-camera, we’ll also show you how to recompose your image using editing software.

Never miss an action shot with Dot Sight. The new Olympus SP-100EE has an innovative feature.

One of the latest cameras to be launched by Olympus has a particularly handy function for photographing wildlife and sports. The SP-100EE’s built-in Dot Sight helps you keep track of moving subjects in the frame, even when you are fully zoomed in, so that you won’t miss a great shot opportunity. The Dot Sight is featured on the camera body, rather than being an optional and bulky accessory, and automatically pops up above the viewfinder when you switch the camera on.

The camera’s 50x optical and 100x digital zoom will also help you get fantastic close-up shots of far-off subjects, while the 24-1200mm focal range is versatile enough for shooting a range of different scenes. The deep, textured grip on the front of the camera makes it very comfortable to hold for long periods of time, and the single-finger-operation control dial allows you to change your settings quickly and easily. Inside the camera is a 16MP CMOS sensor, which promises high-resolution images, and built-in image stabilisation is on hand to keep shots sharp even at full zoom.

The Olympus SP-100EE has an RRP of £350/$400. Olympus has also launched a new feature-packed CSC, the OM-D E-M10, and a super-tough compact camera, the TG-850. For details on these other new releases, head to our website, www.photoforbeginners.com.

среда, 25 декабря 2013 г.

ESSENTIAL TIPS FOR MACRO. Simple steps to capturing a stunning macro shot

The ultimate guide to capturing stunning close-up photographs of any subject

The ultimate guide to capturing stunning close-up photographs of any subject

Macro is the official term for extreme close-up photography, and the idea is to make small objects look larger than life size. It is a hugely popular shooting technique, as macro images capture fascinating details, patterns and textures that are often invisible to the naked eye. It can also help to show your subject in an entirely new way and can produce some beautifully dramatic and sometimes abstract images, all you need is a little bit of know-how beforehand.

To take a macro photo, you need to be able to focus on your subject while it is very close to the end of your lens. If you are serious about this type of photography, then it is a good idea to invest in some of the specialist kit that we mention in this feature. However, you don't have to spend a fortune to have a go, as most digital cameras now come with a dedicated Macro mode. You can even take stunning close-up shots with your cameraphone, so there really is nothing stopping you from trying your hand at this fascinating genre.

It's not difficult to find fantastic subject for your macro shots either, as there are plenty of small objects to be found around your house or garden that will look interesting up close. Then, once you have found something to shoot, it is easy to master your camera settings and lighting techniques to help you produce some stunning images. Focusing close up is often the trickiest part of macro photography, but with our few simple tricks you will have no problem taking sharp shots.

We have packed this feature full of all the essential tips you'll need to get started with macro, including some advice on choosing a subject to shoot and how to frame your shot for the best results. Follow our simple guide and then it's all down to you to experiment, practise and develop your photography skills to create a macro masterpiece.

Macro kit options All you need to capture great close-ups

Close-up filters
Close-up filters screw onto your lens and allow it to focus more closely to your subject. Hoya’s close-up filters are available in +1, +2, +3 and +4 levels of magnification and a range of different sizes.

Macro lens
A dedicated macro lens will let you focus at a short distance from your subject. This 40mm f2.8 Micro lens from Nikon has a minimum focusing distance of 163mm and a wide maximum aperture for creating a shallow depth of field.

Extension tubes
Extension tubes fit between the camera body and lens, lowering its minimum focusing distance so you can get closer to your subject. This Dorr Extension Tube Set contains three tubes of different lengths to combine together or use individually.

Macro mode
Most cameras come with a Macro mode, which is usually represented by a flower icon on your mode dial or in your camera’s menus. It will reduce the minimum focusing distance of your camera, for optimum macro settings.

TOP MACRO SUBJECTS. Interesting things to shoot up close

Beautiful plants
Go out after it has rained or add your own water droplets to create more texture.
When shooting outdoors, shield the plant from the wind to prevent blurry shots.

Intricate insects
Find a particular area that is popular with insects and wait patiently for them to arrive. Insects tend to move more sluggishly in the morning until it warms up, so shoot at this time if possible.
Move slowly when shooting insects and use a longer focal length so as not to startle them and make them run or fly away.

Everyday objects
Find objects with intricate details or unusual textures that look great close up.
Create an abstract shot by shooting a small part of a larger object up close.

Fruit and veg
Look for pieces of fruit and veg that have interesting colours, textures and patterns.
Once you have shot the outside of the fruit, cut it open and capture the inside too.

Macro lenses naturally have a shallow depth of field, so set a high f-number to keep as much detail as possible sharp. Use Burst mode to take a series of shots of moving subjects. Use a tripod and self-timer on static ones to stop blurring. If your photos are too dark, use a slower shutter speed or raise your ISO. Just look out for grainy images at high ISO values.

GET PERFECT LIGHTING. Lighting techniques to help enhance your macro photos

Soften the light
Make use of natural light either outdoors or through a window, but avoid shooting when the sun is very bright as it will create harsh shadows in your photos. For more control over your lighting, create your own using a desk lamp. Try placing some tracing paper in front of it to soften the light for more flattering results.

Keep it natural
Using your pop-up flash when shooting up close will produce very harsh light for your images and could startle your subject if you are photographing insects, so turn it off. Use a tungsten white balance setting when using a desk lamp.If the light hitting your macro subject is too bright, try blocking it with a piece of paper or card, or reposition yourself to create some shade with your body.

Compose for more impact

Knowing how to frame your shot is also a vital part of capturing a marvellous macro photo. The position of your subject and the background you use both affect the overall balance of the image, so try to experiment to find out what works best.

Fill the frame
As is the aim with macro, your subject will naturally fill the frame if you can get your camera close enough. A tight composition will also help to create a more dramatic, abstract or intimate image.
Fill the frame

Position off-centre
Use the rule of thirds to create an engaging composition. Place your subject, or the most important part of it, off-centre in your shot. Switch on your gridlines and place it where the lines intersect.

Position off-centre

FOCUS UP CLOSE. Keep your macro subjects sharp

If you are using autofocus, be sure to set the focus point over the most important part of your subject to ensure this is the sharp part of the frame. When you are close to your subject, the camera's autofocus can sometimes struggle. Taking the time to manually focus will ensure your shot is sharp.
Moving subjects
Using continuous autofocus will get your camera to track your subject as it moves and keep it in focus, even if its movements are fast and unpredictable.If you know where your subject is going to land or move to, then use manual focus to pre-focus on that spot, then fire the shutter when they come into view.
If you can't find a clean backdrop for your shot, try adding your own by placing a piece of paper or card behind your subject. Also try using coloured card or wrapping paper that complements your subject.

Produce unique or abstract images by shooting your subject from unusual angles. For example, try shooting from above or underneath and make use of your tilting LCD screen if you have one.

If the background is natural, make sure the colours complement each other and there are no distractions. It is best to include no more than three colours in your photo to prevent it from appearing too cluttered.



воскресенье, 22 декабря 2013 г.

How should I compose my portraits?

I really enjoy taking photos of my children and friends, but I’m never quite sure how to compose my shots. They often end up looking quite dull and unflattering, so have you got any tips on how I should frame my people photos?
How should I compose my portraits?

When you are taking a portrait shot, the first thing you will need to consider is how much of your subject you want to include in your photograph.
Do you want a full body shot or a close-up containing just their head and shoulders? If you are cropping in closer, then make sure you haven’t chopped off any important parts of your subject, such as their forehead or hands. Get your model to pose in different ways and experiment with different angles, making sure that the background of your shot is not distracting. You can also look for lead-in lines and natural frames to draw attention to your subject, or even try using props to add a bit more interest and personality.

Try positioning your subject to one side of the frame. This follows the rule of thirds which suggests that having your subject off-centre makes for a more interesting composition.
Flattering angle
Shooting photos at eye level or from a high angle is the most flattering position for your subject, as a low angle will often accentuate their nose and chin.

Eye contact
Get your model to look at the camera for an intimate photo, or break eye contact for a more natural, candid shot. If you are outside, shoot in the shade so that they are not squinting.

суббота, 21 декабря 2013 г.

How do I change a background?

I went to the zoo last week and took this lovely shot of a wallaby looking right at the camera. I’m really proud of the photo, but I don’t like the ugly wire fence in the background. How can I replace it?

It can be difficult to capture wildlife looking at the camera, but it does enhance animal photos. It is also hard to get a great backdrop for zoo shots, as you can’t tell your subject to move to a different place.

Luckily, it is easy to remove an unattractive background using an editing program. You just need a photo of a more pleasing one to replace it with. Let us show you how.
Photo needs rescuing?

Ugly backdrop
The wire fence in the A background is not particularly attractive and spoils an otherwise wonderful shot
Dull colours
The background colours of the shot are a little dull and uninteresting and don't help to make the photo stand out
The fence post and other elements in the background of the photo also distract away from the main subject
Open both images
Open up the image of the new background you would like to use. Go to File>Place and open your original photo, then click on the green tick to make it a new layer.
Open both images

Add a layer mask

Go to the Layers panel on the right-hand side of the screen and click on the thumbnail image of your original photo. Now click on the Add A Layer Mask icon above it.
Add a layer mask

Adjust your brush
Pick the Brush tool and set it to black by clicking the colour palette under the toolbar. Make the Opacity 100% and open the Brush Settings menu to set the Hardness to 50%.
Adjust your brush
Remove the background
Select a suitable Brush Size, then apply over the background to remove it and reveal the new one underneath. You can use a small brush to get around awkward shapes.
Remove the background