Category Archives: Photography Types

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Time-Lapse Photography

All credits to smartphones, time-lapse photography is one of the most practiced niches these days. Besides professionals, people frequently post their time-lapse shots on social media.

If you also find this genre of photography fascinating and looking for guidance to shoot perfect timelapse, this mini-guide is for you!

What is Time-lapse photography?

It is a photography technique that captures the movement for a long time. When all the captured shots are played in sequential order rapidly, one can observe all the motion processes in one go.

Time-lapse gives the artistic illusion of high-speed movement, but in reality, it is a compilation of shots of the same frame taken at consistent intervals over a while.

Anything can be a fun subject to shoot using time-lapse. Still, classically the topics are skyscapes, landscapes, celestial movements, plants/flowers/fruits lifecycles, evolution, street photography where people are moving.

Types of Time-Lapse Photography:

The technique of time-lapse has been in use for decades. In the beginning, it was merely used to add special effects in footage for television. As time passed and digital cameras and smartphones became common among the masses, this genre of photography expanded a lot. Roughly there are 8-10 major types of time-lapse photography.

Skyscapes

Skyscapes are one reason people popularise it, especially hobbyists, and honestly, skyscapes are just beautiful!

Skyscapes also have two types:

First, Astroscapes in which the sky is shot at night to shoot stars and other celestial objects in the movement. Popular astroscapes are shooting the milky way, moon, northern lights, et cetera.

The second is daylight skyscapes, mainly to show moving clouds and sky transitioning colors.

Take a look here – Video by Pixabay from Pexels

Cityscapes

These timelapse are shot in urban settings, i.e., the transition of the frame from daylight to artificial night lights as the sun goes down and it gets dark in the city.

Elevated spots work the best for cityscape time-lapse photography.

Landscapes

These are used to shoot the wonders of nature.

Getting perfect landscapes involves thorough planning and the active involvement of the photographer. Shooting a single video can require multiple sessions as one can’t control nature. Photographers also might have to hike or plan a trip to find their perfect shooting spot.

Holy grail timelapse

These timelapse are shot during the sunset or sunlight. With changing sunlight, the camera’s exposure settings are also changed. Usually, only people good at using manual settings of camera can explore this time-lapse

Aerial Hyperlapse

These timelapse are shot using drones or from a helicopter or plane. Series of still images are shot aerially at various intervals and played back at a cinematic frame rate.

Transition timelapse

These are shot to show the growth, decay, or simply the change. These can be plant lapse showing a seed turning into a grown plant, day to night or night to day transition, fruit ripening/decay, change of form, etc.

Have a look here – Video by Pixabay from Pexels

Equipment for Time-lapse Photography:

Shooting with Smartphone

Smartphone time-lapse cannot meet the quality of digital camera time-lapse, but they have an edge in equipment.

The only gear you need is a tripod/monopod. Time-lapse involves shooting the same frame over and over continuously after intervals. That isn’t easy without a tripod.

Shooting with Digital Camera:

Camera

Any camera can do the job. Nowadays, even low-end and cheap cameras have built-in modes for time-lapse.

If you are into some specific sub-niche, which camera can work the best for you can vary. For dimly-lit situations such as shooting Astro time-lapse, cameras with higher ISO settings work the best. For landscapes, full frame or wide-angle cameras do the best job.

If you want professional-level results or invest in a dedicated camera for timelapse, invest in a mirrorless camera.

Tripod

Either shooting with a smartphone or a DSLR, using a tripod is a must. The camera needs to be perfectly still in this niche and that too for quite a while, and that isn’t easy when the camera is held in hands.

Besides time-lapse photography, investment in a good tripod always pays off. It plays a massive role in getting sharp footage.

Intervalometers

This gadget allows photographers to pre-determine how many photos the camera will take and at what time interval. Using this, one does not have to click the shutter after every interval.

Storage cards

Time-lapse shots require a lot more space than regular footage. A memory card can get full even with a single image. At least 2-3 spare memory cards are essential when you are exploring this niche.

ND Light filters

Time-lapse photography involves shooting at longer shutter speeds. ND Light filters come in handy when shooting on such settings.

Lenses

Using a camera lens is entirely optional and depends upon the time-lapse you are shooting. Commonly used lenses for this type of photography are prime, zooms, wide, or telephoto.

Tips for Time-lapse Photography:

Shoot manual

Most smartphone cameras have time-lapse as the default option now, so this tip is really for DSLR users.

If you can handle it, always go for manual shooting. Manual gives you more hold on the final look of the footage. In auto-mode, the camera itself corrects exposure and other settings.

Two images of the same frame, taken just seconds apart, can appear contrasting. Consistency cannot be achieved with this, which is the core of time-lapse photography.

Focus on “focus”

If all the settings are perfect in your frame, but the subject is slightly out of focus, it will ruin your time-lapse. This footage genre requires a reasonable amount of time and effort, so be careful about the focus.

Using manual focus is the only answer to this potential problem. Also, utilize the Live View option. Do not start shooting unless you find the subject perfectly focused.

Aspect Ratio

Always shoot time-lapse videos at 16:9. Composing these videos at still ratios, you will chop off the top and bottom of the footage.

Exposure of the image

No matter what type of genre you are practicing, exposure makes or breaks the image. When shooting time-lapse, always check exposure beforehand. Take test shots and adjust exposure on your desired settings, or you might be shooting over/underexposed images without even realizing it.

Right time interval

Time-lapse intervals are the number of frames per second (FPS) in your time-lapse video.

If there is faster movement in the scene, intervals should be short, i.e., 1-3 seconds. Slower movements should be captured at larger intervals, i.e., up to 30 seconds. The longer the interval, the more accurate time is compressed into a shorter clip. The scenes will appear to move faster in the final time-lapse video.

Never shoot fast subjects at large time intervals. Doing so, objects will start appearing missing in the final footage.

Conclusion

Everyone loves the technique of time-lapse photography. It gives life to the still moments. It allows you to know those stories right in front of us, but we never realize their existence.

Either you are already a talented creator of time-lapse footage or a beginner curious to explore this fascinating niche, we hope this article was helpful for you.

Surreal Photography

Surreal photography was born as a result of the artistic movement of surrealism. It is all about the pictorial representation of strangeness and bizarreness. Everything challenging “normal” in photography falls directly or directly in the category of surreal photography.

What is surreal photography?

Surreal photography gives life to the ideas of the subconscious and dreams. What it shows to the viewers is so far from reality that it is almost “surreal.” It embraces everything unconventional and considered out-worldly while presenting exciting challenges to the photographer’s creativity.

Surrealism came into being almost at the end of world war I and became popular after World war II. People with a different and unique perception of sanity are still keeping it alive.

The niche of surreal photography leans on the principles of surrealism. Before getting into the depth of this niche, it is essential to know about the movement of surrealism for better understanding.

What is Surrealism?

Surrealism roots go back to the trauma people had to witness or experience during World War I. It started in 1917 but gained attention among the photography community in 1924 when two rival groups claimed to be the founders and wrote their manifestos.

French writer André Breton, who published the first Surrealist Manifesto in 1924, is considered one of the prominent figures who brought the moment of surrealism under the limelight.

This manifesto was all about embracing what’s considered unconventional. He believed that “creativity had been weighed down by the drudgery of the day-to-day and sought to release the subconscious power of the dream-like state.”

The movement of surrealism was about practicing the distant realities in artwork to activate the unconscious mind. It emerged as a reaction to “normal” social and political norms.

Breton defines surrealism as a means of joining conscious and unconscious worlds. This “anti-art” platform emerged to join the everyday rational world with the unlimited world of fantasy. Soon it was being practiced in drama, literature, poetry, photography, and paintings.

Demonstrating surrealism via photography is more interesting than practicing it as a painter. When a brush is in the hand of a painter, he can draw whatever is in his mind.

But a photographer is also doing what’s in his mind, but he has to draw inspiration from the real world. He has to use regular, day-to-day stuff making the experience of surreal photography a thrilling one.

What makes an image surrealist?

If you see an image far-flung from the reasoning, giving a dream-like feeling, yet has the elements of reality, it is a surrealist photograph.

Surrealist images are easily distinguishable. These images always have elements of the real world. For example, a surreal idea where a person is floating in the air and starry light is emerging from his body and going upwards.

This image is far from reality, but elements are from the real world i.e., person, background, sky. Hence, the conjunction of consciousness and subconsciousness.

Surreal Photography and Abstract Photography are the same things?

No.

Abstract and surreal photography are often confused mainly because both are against the “normal” of photography.

These two genres emerged almost at the same time in the 20th century. There is an iota of overlapping, but both are contrasting styles.

The critical difference between the two is the idea behind them. Abstract images don’t necessarily need to represent anything, while surreal photographs must represent surrealism.

Abstract photography uses angles, patterns, shapes, contrast, and several akin things while allowing open interpretation to the viewer. There isn’t anything objective in abstract art. How a viewer perceives it depends totally upon its imagination. Abstract photographs may or may not feature any object from the real world.

Surrealist photography liberates the photographer from rationalism. His end goal is tapping into subconsciousness. Surrealist images give viewers dreamlike feelings, but they still feature elements of the natural world or day-to-day life, unlike most abstract photography.

Photographers manipulate these real-life elements using photography techniques and editing processes that these simple, realistic elements start appearing far from reality in the final image.

Surreal photography as a career/freelancing option

Many famous photographers in history pursued surreal photography as a career. Some of these are Lee Miller, Dora Maar, Claude Cahun, and Florence Henri. Their work is displayed in some of the most significant art galleries in the world.

Because this niche is not very popular, you won’t find any cutthroat experience here as a professional. But to gain recognition as a full-time professional, one has to put in a lot of hard work.

If you are interested in this niche and want to make money using it, we strongly recommend pursuing it as a freelance photographer. This way, you can generate a good stream of passive income without giving full-time to it.

You can land projects on freelancer.com, Fiverr, Upwork, or by starting your surreal photography website. You can also sell or license your images on stock photography sites, i.e., Shutterstock, Getty Images, Alamy, SmugMug Pro, Etsy, iStock Photo, Stocksy. Surreal photos are in high demand on these platforms.

Surrealism photography is also in demand in the form of wearable or usable art. You can sell this art on websites like Redbubble and Teespring. Many SMEs and other brands need such artists, i.e., for surrealism in advertising, to draw specific illustrations, for photo books, etc.

You can hunt down such businesses or relevant social media forums, or online.

Starting with Surreal Photography:

Anyone can shoot surreal images, but to make your image capable of making an impact, it is necessary to know some of the basic concepts of this genre.

Understanding surrealism

This guide could’ve started directly with the principles and techniques of surreal photography. Then why all these details about the movement of surrealism? Because understanding surrealism is the key to surreal photography.

To delve into the world of surrealism, learn about surrealism, starting from early history to recent developments. Research the work of surrealist photographers and get in touch with people who are practicing it. All this demands time but will polish your skills and give you plenty of ideas for your work.

Idea

A surreal photograph cannot come into benign randomly. It always requires an idea or theme. The idea is where a photographer’s mind envisages what a surreal picture will look like.

Before doing anything remotely relating to shooting, work on ideas thoroughly. Consider every element of the photograph in accordance with your picture. Brainstorm and draw a rough sketch so you don’t miss anything when you shoot and process it.

Clicking Image

The more time you will spend on the former step, the easier this step will be for you. Likewise, the more care and effort you put into this step, the more time you can save in the post-production/editing step.

Try to capture maximum information in your images. Surreal photography involves a lot of cutting and manipulation using the software. Complete information will eliminate the chances of reshooting because something is missing.

Because surreal photographs involve multiple objects or layers, the best strategy is to start with the background and move towards the foreground. First, shoot the location of your image as it is usually the simplest element of an image in this niche. Once the background is done, move towards finer details.

Avoid JPEG format. Shoot in RAW mode for maximum image details,

Always consider lighting. Factors associated with light, i.e., overexposure, underexposure, tone of light, angle of light, light’s color temperature (cooler/warmer), can change the total look.

Avoid using Auto modes. Manual mode gives a lot of control over the look of the image.

Just consider these essential points and enjoy shooting.

Surreal photography is forgiving in nature, as anything can be altered or corrected in the later step.

Post-production

The editing process is the soul of surreal photography. While practicing other genres is an accessory to polish the work, but in surreal photography, it is almost impossible to bring ideas to life without post-production.

Essential tools required for surreal photography

Surreal photography doesn’t require any long list of gadgets or photography equipment. One can practice by just using their smartphone only. A primary digital camera and sound editing software can do a job of professional level.

As a beginner, Lightroom or Adobe Photoshop will work just fine.

Just make sure that you take your image in the dimensions of surrealism, and you are all good.

Standard techniques of surreal photography:

Photomontage

This one is the most commonly used method in surreal photography. It is also referred to as photoshopping, images stitching, or digital image mosaic.

Using this method, multiple pictures are layered onto one another to make one single picture. Image editing software is heavily involved in this technique.

Commonly, there are three ways used to create surreal photography using photomontage. It can be by pasting together individual images or certain parts of images, successfully exposing unique photos onto a single sheet of paper, or simultaneously exposing the component images through superimposed negatives.

As a beginner photographer, the easiest way is to shoot background and foreground separately and then combine them with simple editing software such as Adobe Photoshop.

Multiple Exposures

Again, this technique can be achieved either using photoshop or a digital camera.

Modern digital cameras come with built-in options for multiple exposures. If your digital camera does not have this option, expose your same frame multiple times. This will open the camera shutter multiple times while exposing the sensor every time for different images.

The result is a single image that contains the subsequent image/s superimposed over the original.

Blurring

Blurs can ruin a perfect image in everyday photography. In surreal photography, blurs are intentionally used by photographers.

While using this technique, one has to be very careful. With too much blur, instead of conveying a message, the image can lose all the details. To get the best results, focus on the subject as much as possible. Once it is in focus, then add blur either using camera effects or in post-production.

Low aperture and low shutter speed are the best camera settings for blurring.

Sabattier Effect

The pseudo-sabattier/sabattier effect is commonly referred to as solarization.

It is done by exposing partially developed film to light. It wholly or partially reverses the tone of the image, giving a surreal effect.

Size manipulation

This technique is used to create an optical illusion. Just changing the size of the subject can make it contradictory to reality.

Move the subject very far or closer to the lens or use editing techniques, i.e., cropping an object from the actual image, increasing/decreasing its size, and pasting it on another image to create a bizarre, surreal image.

Perception manipulation

If we think about it, surreal photography is nothing but perception manipulation.

Changing how things are perceived in general is a popular technique to create surrealistic artwork.

Motion Blur

Motion blur is a very effective way to create a dream-like effect.

It can be practiced when you are shooting with a moving effect. Shutter speed plays the leading role in creating it. Faster shutter speed can freeze a moving subject, whereas slower shutter speeds can depict movement in a photograph of a moving subject leaving a trail that gives a dreamy effect.

Five Tips for Surreal Photography:

Follow work of fellow artists

Following the work of surrealist photographers is the best way to get inspiration and learn something about this niche. How one photographer perceives and represents unconsciousness will vary from the other one.

By observing the work of various photographers, you will go through so much diversity of ideas and skills that by the end, you will have your unique ideas for surrealist photography.

Go through the work of pioneers of this niche such as Man Ray, Andre Breton, Dora Maar, Hans Bellmer. With that, you can also follow the creation of modern, Instagram-famous surrealist photographers: Monica Carvalho, Bara Prasilova, Joel Robinson, Aydin Büyüktas, Lara Zankoul, Kyle Thompson, and Brooke Shaden.

Polish your editing skills

Either you are using Photoshop, Lightroom, or any other top-notch editing software, there is no way forward if you are not good at editing. Modern surreal photography relies heavily on these editing software. If you want to pursue this niche, learning editing is a must.

Practice is the answer for anyone who wants to polish their editing skills. Explore different settings and effects of these software. You will learn as you go along with this exploration. No one is born perfect, but practice is the one thing that can make anyone perfect.

Always shoot RAW

RAW images contain the most data. Surrealist photography involves a lot of cropping, cutting, layering, and picture manipulation. If the image is already in JPEG (it contains fewer image details/data) or any such format, by the end of the process, your surrealist image will have a lot fewer details resulting in a loss of picture quality.

Benefit from what your camera has to offer

This tip is specifically for people who are just looking to start with this niche.

Using a camera solely to add surrealism is sometimes referred to as easy surrealism. That’s literally because it is easy.

For example, you can change the color temperature of an image to very warm or very cool. It will give a surrealist look, use shutter speed and akin manual settings to add motion blur, reverse shadows and highlights, zoom in/out to manipulate the viewers’ perception, or use HDR for the surrealistic theme.

You don’t always have to go through complex processes if you have a clear theme in mind. Your surreal photograph can be just you messing with some of your camera’s settings.

Make it “unrealistically” real

Sloppy photoshop and lack of theme or statement in your work will instantly make your audience aware that you are not good at your job.

Give attention to all the details of an image. Retouch it again and again until you find it perfect. But most importantly, give time to the idea phase of your shooting process. Only a good idea can lead you to a good surrealist photograph.

Last but not least, when you publish your surreal image, do not get disheartened when everyone doesn’t approve of your idea. This niche isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

Conclusion

Surreal photography is a fascinating world to explore. It frees you from the rationality of this world. If you haven’t tried this niche yet, we highly recommend that you go for it. Let your unconscious run wild!

Urbex Photography – Urban Exploration Photography

Urbex photography is a legally ambiguous niche but for sure offers a lot of thrill and adventure. This genre of photography is all about exploring. For regular people, an abandoned site is just another place in the city, but for an urbex photographer, hundreds of shooting-worthy things are inviting him to explore.

Being different from commonly practiced niches of photography, not many people know about Urban Exploration photography. Unfortunately, not even many enthusiast photographers are aware of the fun and opportunities this field offers.

This Urbex photography guide is designed to introduce all such people and beginners to this unique field.

What is Urbex Photography?

Urbex is short for Urban Exploration. It is a sub-genre of Urban Photography.

Urban exploration photography is shooting at lost places, abandoned buildings, and deserted infrastructures while exploring them.

Urbex photography focuses on the decay and abandonment of artificial structures. If you are exploring and shooting in a centuries-old building, but it is still under use by humans, your exploration won’t simply fall under the category of Urbex. The architecture must be derelict and deserted to fulfill the requirement of urbex.

Because of the nature of this genre, a few issues are associated with the thrills of urbex photography, mainly of legality and safety. Both are covered in detail in upcoming sections.

Are Urbex and Urban Photography the same thing?

No, these aren’t. These two niches are mainly confused because of their pretty much similar names.

Urban photography is a broader niche compared to Urbex. It is focused on all the elements and objects of an urban environment. There are many sub-niches of this niche, i.e., architectural photography, cityscapes photography, street photography, et cetera.

Urbex photography is one such niche. It usually involves exploring the abandoned habitat in an urban setting.

All Urbex photography is part of Urban photography, but not all Urban photography is Urbex. This is the least explored genre due to the risk and thrill factor that comes with it.

Legal issues associated with Urbex photography

Exploring this niche is all about fun. Before we go into the details of this niche, it is better to understand the legality of Urbex photography.

Urbex photography is primarily conducted in abandoned buildings and places, and most of the time, it involves trespassing. Besides that, these activities might include violation of local/regional law and invasion of privacy. In unfortunate circumstances, it can lead up to fines or severe legal proceedings.

There are specific ways you can avoid getting yourself into any such situation. Instead of trespassing, try reaching out to the building owner first and asking permission to shoot on their property. Asking local communities or guards onsite and the internet is the best way to locate property owners.

These vacant buildings usually have security guards or caretakers too. If you cannot find the owner, ask them for their permission to shoot inside the building. Do not try to sneak in without consent if there are guards outside.

Getting permission is ideal, but that isn’t always the case. Sometimes it is not easy to reach owners or caretakers of the property despite all efforts. In that case, at least search and go through the local laws regarding trespassing.

This is not unlikely to happen if you are shooting without permission, and some landowner or guard will turn up. In that case, politely explain why you are here, apologize, and leave the site immediately if they ask you to do so.

Getting into an argument can turn your simple adventure into aggravated trespassing leading to police involvement. Usually, when you explain to owners you are there to take a few photographs, they are cooperative and allow you to continue your adventure. Just be respectful of their authority.

Possible Urban Exploration Photography sites:

  • Abandonments: These are the most common sites for Urbex. Depending on the area or your locality, these can be factories, power plants, amusement parks, shelters, asylums, schools, sanitariums, or hospitals.
  • Restricted area: These areas can be old but active infrastructures. Gaining access to these restricted areas can lead to severe civil prosecution, so we do not recommend you explore these areas unless you can get official permission.
  • Catacombs: These structures can be rarely found these days but have some serious stuff to offer for urbex photographers. Catacombs were declared illegal after world war II, but some still exist in Paris and Rome.
  • Sewers/storm drains: Sewers are often explored by urbex adventurers, but these are dangerous sites. There is a risk of toxic gas poisoning, getting entrapped, being washed away during rainfalls et cetera. If you want to explore this site, go through all available guidelines. You can also contact concerned authorities in your locality to know the proper procedures to carry out your adventure safely.
  • Utility Tunnels: Larger buildings usually have these tunnels for pipes of their central heating systems
  • Transit Tunnels: These sites are abandoned subways or tunnels, but because these are public properties, you will rarely find any such place which is not guarded. These sites are popular, but some have a lot of legal risks.

Starting with Urbex Photography:

When an explorer is at the site, how and when to shoot solely depends upon the photographer’s instinct. But in Urbex photography, taking care of a few things before shooting is as important as shooting itself.

If you have decided to go on your Urbex Photography venture, you need to take care of three main things: location research, measures for your safety, and preparation.

Location

The most crucial part of Urbex is perfect location hunting. This part is fun, like finding easter eggs if you like the research part, but to ensure all sorts of safety, one should be as much as possible through and careful during this step.

The easiest way to find an urbex location near you is by exploring your locality on Google earth or google maps. These satellite engines will provide you with the complete satellite view, address, and lots of other information about your desired place. You can also use Google street view for a closer look at the structures. Wikimapia, Bing Maps, Flickr are also some valuable resources.

Another simple way to find your desired location is walking/driving attentively in the area. You will be surprised to find that there are multiple adequate buildings for urbex everywhere in urban setups.

On social media, there are urbex forums where people keep posting helpful information and updates. Sign-up on such local forums, and you can find several location suggestions and related information.

There are also very nifty dedicated urbex websites. These are very active and are almost updated every day. Besides that, you can also ask for direct suggestions or tips from fellow explorers. These websites are Oblivion State, Easy Ubex, Urbex Central, Location Index – Urban Exploration Resource.

Permission to enter the location

Once you find your perfect location, the next vital thing to seek permission from the person in charge of the site, details, and possible ways about this is covered in the legality section.

Preparation

Once you have an idea in mind of what your location will be, prepare to shoot.

Keep all the gear that you are going to need for your shoot. Avoid packing any unnecessary tools. As you will be on the move and you have to carry around this stuff with you. Must keep lightning and backup batteries.

Next, prepare regarding personal safety. Prepare a complete backup with all the necessary items you might need, i.e., a first aid kit, flashlights, penknife. Keep masks, goggles, gloves, and helmets depending upon the nature of the location. Again, do not pack anything unnecessary as you will carry around this backpack all the time.

Safety

Walking out and going through stuff in abandoned buildings can lead to dangerous outcomes. Photographers must take measures before entering these sites to ensure their and photographic gear safety.

  • Silent observation through your camera lens is a lot better than unnecessary interaction on site. First, it will allow the place to decay naturally and offer other urbex photographers the same shooting opportunities as you. Secondly, it will dramatically lower the possibility of an accident.
  • Never go alone. Urbex sites are full of surprises. It’s always the best option to keep company with you. If no one is assisting you on your exploration, at least let people know where you are going.
  • Carry a backpack with a first aid kit, snacks, emergency lights, water, additional camera batteries, facemasks, penknife. Also, keep a GPS/Internet device if possible.
  • Choose footwear wisely. Wear tough but comfortable boots.
  • Tread carefully, especially on bare wooden floors, floorboards, and rafters. These can appear suitable outside but can be rotten inside.
  • Must wear a facemask/respirator all the time if there is a lot of dust or chemicals around.
  • Wear a headlight.
  • Leave the site immediately if anything feels wrong.

Equipment for Urban Exploration Photography:

Camera

Though you can shoot with any DSLR camera, those digital cameras with wide-angle lenses or support higher ISO settings work the best for urbex. Urbex sites are usually not well lit, so these two can help with getting good exposure in images.

Tripod/Monopod

Because of low exposure, urban exploration photography involves a lot of shooting in long-exposure settings. While using these settings, a photographer has to hold the camera longer than usual, which increases the risk of blurs and shakes. Using a tripod helps to get clear, shake-free images.

Other gear

For urban exploration, you must keep extra batteries and storage cards.

If you have a company with you or it is easy to carry it, keep a lightning source. For hobbyists, simple ring lights can do the job. It is also very lightweight, so moving it isn’t challenging.

Wide-angle lenses can also enhance the results.

Shooting Urbex

The more time you will spend in the preparation phase, the easier your shooting will be.

Always take more than one picture of the same scene, so you do not miss out on anything. Use a tripod while doing so.

Shoot in HDR and RAW. These formats have full image details, making it easier to experiment with pictures in post-production without losing image details and ruining image quality.

Urbex sites are usually not very well illuminated, so your shooting will involve lots and lots of higher exposure. If you are good with using manual settings, that would be a great help. Set your camera on your desired exposure using ISO, aperture, and shutter speed settings. Auto-modes can also do the job, but results aren’t always the way you want.

Use of tripod will ensure camera steadiness and offer certain other things, i.e., doing bracketing.

Post-production

No matter what niche of photography you are exploring, never shy away from post-production. It will only enhance your image. And in case if anything goes wrong, you still have the original image.

Shooting RAW will come in handy during this part of urban exploration photography. RAW format is a lot more forgiving than JPEG.

Go creative in this phase and work with different layers, contrast and tone correction, color changing. You can also perfect exposure of the image and add special effects, i.e., bokeh effect, in this phase.

Simple photo editors such as Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom will do the job for your Urban Exploration Photography’s post-production.

Conclusion

People who have experienced urbex photography know how addictive adventures of this niche can be! There are so many stories waiting to be explored in urban decay.

This guide is your fundamental insight into the world of Urban Exploration Photography. If you are an enthusiast photographer willing to take the risk, go on and explore Urbex Photography.

Social Media Photography

Social media photography is amongst the most popular niches of photography. Either as a business owner, a hobbyist, or a person looking forward to getting some nice clicks for their private profile, we all are social media photographers at one time.

With a smartphone in hand, everyone is capable of getting some excellent clicks. If you are good at it, it can also be an excellent source of income both as a freelancer and a hobbyist.

Social Media Photography

Social media networks are not merely entertainment platforms anymore. These platforms changed and are still changing the world in a very unprecedented manner.

For some people it is a necessary daily activity, some use it to spend their leisure time on it, for businesses it is an essential part of their marketing either if they are a corporation or a small business.

But most importantly, in today’s world, there are careers for millions of people just because social media exists, and prime examples are Influencers. Influencer culture introduced thousands of businesses to new heights while impacting people’s day-to-day lives with every post.

Recent figures released by Statista show that the value of influencer marketing more than doubled between 2019 and 2021, growing from 6.5 billion to 13.8 billion U.S. dollars in the three years alone.

Whether from a business perspective, a user scrolling sitting on its couch, or an influencer’s perspective, images are an integral part of social media. Some of the most critical platforms, i.e., Instagram and Pinterest, are all about visual content.

These are also reasons people find social media more engaging because naturally, humans tend more towards visual but textual content.

All this makes evident why social media photography is essential. From staying connected with the audience, using it as a driver to generate sales, sharing your talent with the world, and communicating with friends and family, social media photography holds a different level of importance in peoples’ lives.

Tips for excellent Social Media Photography:

Everyone can click a photo for their social media profile but using a few practices, you can make your work stand out.

These tips are specially targeted towards people who want to become part of the business market, businesses who want to put engaging visuals for their audience, and those looking forward to practicing this niche as freelance photographers.

Smartphone Photography

Your smartphone is the most excellent tool available at your disposal. It gives you the freedom of creating online content anytime, anywhere. You don’t need any expensive camera, gears, post-production setup to get your desired photo. Almost everything you need to get an engaging and exciting visual is already there in this tiny device.

Smartphone photography can be elevated using a variety of techniques such as:

  • Use tripods. No matter how good a phone camera or the frame is, a blur can ruin a perfect photo. Investing in a tripod always pays back. Even using a cheap tripod can enhance the quality of images.
  • Explore the world of photo editing applications. The best and free apps are Google photos, Snapseed, Pixlr, Lightroom, Afterlight, VSCO, and Adobe Photoshop Express.
  • Use timer
  • Give importance to lighting. As a hobbyist, getting a light ring can enhance your work.
  • Use different camera angles.

Lighting is essential!

Lighting makes all the difference.

Light is by far the most crucial element in all types of photography. Use the world’s most expensive camera, but the image is ruined if the shooting situation is over/underexposed.

Natural light and the outdoors have the best lighting. This is easy to deal with as a photographer is not controlling light, and most results are outstanding. It also allows variety more than studio lighting.

You will get different results from the exact location but under direct sunlight, shadow, golden hour, blue hour, etc. As a social media photographer, prefer outdoor lightning for your shoots. But beware of shooting under harsh sunlight. It overexposes the image at several stops.

For some shoots, indoors can help you get better results, i.e., close-ups in product photography. As a professional, you should have a complete lightning set-up, but at least get a light ring if you are starting. Cheaper light rings are starting for as low as $15. It will also help you if you are shooting videos indoors for youtube, insta, etc.

Learning manual settings, especially white balance, and ISO settings, are also very helpful in taking care of under and overexposure either outdoors or indoors.

Without taking care of light, your images can fail to resonate on social media.

Stay active in online communities

Everything is there in online communities, from data about your target market to the latest trends of your niche.

Being active in an online community can gain you recognition as a social media photographer, a kickstart for your career. By interacting with people, observing the works of others, you can get a lot of new inspirations for your content.

Following the news via social media, you can stay updated with recent trends and incorporate them into your work.

On Instagram and Twitter, follow relevant hashtags and pages. On Facebook, look out for groups. All you have to do is participate in all relevant content.

Unique angles

Do not shy away from exploring unusual and unique angles. This will give your work a different perspective compared to the tons of content posted online every minute.

When shooting, take pictures of subjects from every angle possible to have a variety of results. Different angles have different impacts in terms of depth, appearance, etc. Stepping out of “normal” and exploring unusual angles, you can develop a new perspective.

Such unique images are always a powerful tool to stand out and gain recognition.

Attention to details

Capturing minute details of things related to your niche can boost things up. For example, you are a sports car fan and running an Instagram page related to that. Your usual posts are sports cars photos, but you are posting a snap with just a close-up of the tire and rim of these cars.

It will be a new thing for your target audience and increase their engagement on your posts.

Shoot close-ups of specific parts of the subject. A macro lens or digital camera zoom for professional-level photography, and simple smartphone camera zoom works perfectly for this purpose.

The easiest way to highlight the features of a subject is by keeping the background clean. Cluttered frames decrease the attention span of people resulting in reduced engagement on the post. Tidy backgrounds give a professional look to the image. Investing in a plain and subtle pattern studio background can pay you back in this regard.

Keeping the background plain does not mean that your image has to be boring. Applying principles of minimalistic photography and rules of thirds can get you some fascinating results.

Don’t be random

No matter how great your content is, if you are just randomly putting content and not following any defined niche on your page, you won’t be able to grow your presence on social media.

Before starting a page to publish your photography content, decide your niche and stick to that. For example, if you are into astrophotography, post content related to that on your page. This has mainly to do with your target audience.

Posting specific content will gain you a clear sense of identity. Take the example of makeup bloggers. Their posts, even their affiliated reviews, are related to make-up; and that’s actually what their audience expects. If any of those bloggers start posting tech-related content, they will begin losing their followers.

Research your target audience and post targeted posts after scrutiny to make an impact.

Take care of resolution

Usually, when images are posted on Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat, they lose some of their resolutions. Grainy and blurry impacts in these low-resolution pictures are easily noticeable.

If you are serious about social media photography, invest in a good camera; either a smartphone camera or a digital camera. If you are shooting with a DSLR, always shoot in RAW format. If shooting with a smartphone, shoot in the highest resolution.

Avoid using Snapchat filters, Instagram filters, and akin things. These thighs are good for fun but are image quality killers.

Conclusion

There is a plethora of content posted on social media platforms every minute. A massive chunk of this content is still images. Everyone, no matter what their demography is, is coming across this content one way or another.

This presents photographers with massive platforms to establish their reputation as photographers and make good money by shooting for others’ social media pages.

As a photographer, you must utilize the opportunities social media has to offer. Anyone with any niche of interest and any place of interest can be a social media photographer.

Pet Photography

Who doesn’t love pets? People love to pamper and spoil their pets, and when it comes to their cute and naughty tantrums, what better than photograph or video record them for future nostalgia.

From candid photos of the cute, furry friend for Instagram or Facebook to the professional portraits for magazines, Pet Photography has become a widespread niche in the realm of photography.

Pet photography is about capturing the adorable moments and habits of pets. It requires more energy and skill than any other photography because pets are unbelievably fast and unpredictable.

They don’t wait for you to photograph them, and sometimes the moment is gone long before you can have a camera in your hand. So it requires a lot of patience and is a test for your photography skills.

Pet Photography as a profession

Some people earn as much as 60.000 USD annually working as freelance pet photographers.

Pet photography can bring you an excellent money stream if you are a photography hobbyist and comfortable around people’s pets.

10 Tips for Pet Photography:

1. Have fun with your pet

Animals are extremely emotional creatures. They can sense discomfort and displeasure within seconds. So the only way to capture a perfect shot of your pet is to have fun with it. Play with your pet, talk to him.

Make him comfortable around you. Recent studies have shown that stroke or heart attack chances are much lower if you have a pet to talk or play with. Playing with pets also releases stress. Relax and have fun with them. They will give you a chance to capture their perfect shot.

2. Follow the rules of lifestyle photography

Lifestyle photography is the genre in which a single image is powerful enough to tell a whole story. It captures people in real-life events showing real emotions doing real actions.

For a pet owner, the moments you will capture for them will be relived and cherish forever. Images shot on lifestyle photography themes will be a candid documentary for them. Besides, real-life images are always more precious than posed or planted ones.

3. Be prepared

Preparing for your shoot beforehand is always a good idea and professional approach, but in pet photography, you have no other option. A pet is like a family member, but the fact is they are nothing like humans. You cannot tell them on-spot how to pose or to cooperate with you. To deliver the best of your skills, be ready before shooting.

Ask the pet owner what he is looking forward to, the shooting location, and the shoot time. It is also better to visit the location a day or two before to see what gears you need.

On the shoot, keep everything ready to use, so you do not miss any moment.

4. Background setting

One of the very first rules of photography is to clear the background of your shoot of unnecessary and unwanted objects. The objects in the background are meant to enhance your images.

If they don’t serve this purpose, either remove them or move to a different location. Uncluttered and clear background makes the images more aesthetically pleasing, and they also vouch for your skills as a photographer.

Also, while cluttering the background, keep in mind that a moderate approach towards things is always better. You don’t always need to clear everything. For example, pet toys, food bowls, it’s cushioning can give a very nice and personalized touch to images.

5. Get friendly

Before shooting, first, make pets comfortable. If a pet develops a sense of familiarity with you, it will respond to you much better during the shoot. As a pet photographer, you must know that pets can get anxious and uncomfortable around new people.

A study shows that many dogs suffer from extreme fear of strangers. Just like that, aggressive behavior can be triggered in cats around unfamiliar people.

The best way to make pets comfortable is open friendliness towards them. Approach them slowly. Pat them, caress them, give them some snacks. It will take a few minutes, but the pet will open up towards you eventually.

6. Shoot when and where pets are comfortable

You get the most perfect and internet-worthy shots of pets when they are in their mood, totally oblivious of the surroundings. You can instruct when photographing people.

But when it comes to pets, their best shots are candid ones. It will be a little difficult to photograph sometimes. For example, you may have to climb to a tree with the help of a stool or a ladder if a cat is sleeping comfortably there. But that little discomfort will be worth it when you get the perfect shot of your favorite pet.

7. Flexibility

As mentioned prior, animals are nothing like human beings. You can never tell a pet what and how to do it. So it is solely on photography to be flexible, bend, and twist around the pet. The more flexible you are around pets, the higher the probability of getting rare shoots.

Always slowly crouch and lean to come close to the pet without disturbing or scaring him away. Hence a flexible body can prove to be very useful in pet photography.

8. Use Outdoors

Outdoors are always the best option for pet photography, no matter what your shoot’s nature.

Good light is of paramount importance when it comes to pet photography. It is easy to capture an animal’s facial expressions in good light. Never practice this niche in dark areas or studios, or results might turn out very disappointing.

9. Bribes are your best friend

Animals, like humans, are attracted to things they love. Like Parents bribe their child that they’ll buy him his favorite toy if he will finish his homework in time, bribe your pet with his favorite toy or food to distract him into taking photographs.

The nature of bribery will be different for different pets. It can be a small fluffy toy for cats, and it can be a bone or food for dogs. However, love and affection are common to all. Pet photography is all about finding motivations for the pet, so it doesn’t become disinterested and wanders off.

Try to make it fun for the pet, and you will be all set for the shoot.

Also, it would help if you told the pet owner first that you are planning to give the pet something to eat and what that thing is. A better option is asking them directly to provide you with food. Better safe than sorry!

10. Focus on the meaning of images

The most interesting and engaging pet photography is all about context. Show your pet in a particular context, symbolically depicting a meaning or a concept. Focus on their eyes and facial expressions. Don’t shy away from taking pets’ close-ups.

In any particular circumstance, look if the particular situation can have a meaning. For example, a cat running towards a carton of milk in a kitchen shows the pursuit of desire. A dog standing at a door waiting for his owner shows longing.

A cat’s owner wrapping his arms around the cat’s neck shows love and affection. Once you start practicing it in mind, this is your key always to get the best photographs. Images having a deeper meaning appeal more to the viewers on an emotional level.

Equipment for Pet Photography:

Camera

You must invest in a good and modern camera <- Affiliate link 🙂 to pursue this niche as a profession.

While you can also photograph pets with a smartphone, it will be easier and better with a camera. It provides the option of using other accessories, which is not possible using a smartphone.

Lenses

Lenses are essential equipment when it comes to pet photography. They can enhance the quality of your pictures within seconds. It’ll blur the background with its enhanced depth effect, and the subject of your photograph will become more and more prominent and clear.

The lens comes in various shapes and sizes, for example, telephoto, wide-angle, macro lens. Choose a lens compatible with your camera, and you’ll be all set for photography.

Besides, getting a lens for your camera is more like an investment. Lenses are gear that is used in all types of photography.

A backpack

Pet photography is conducted outdoors, so you must carry a backpack for your comfort.

As a pet photographer, you also need a good backpack to carry a first aid kit, sunscreen, water bottle, food for the pet, and other necessary things that you may need.

Conclusion

Pet photography is a fun yet very challenging niche in the photography business.

The best thing about this niche is that if you want to adopt it as a source of earning, it is approachable and doesn’t require any complex and heavy equipment; you can start it with a simple camera kit.

Long Exposure Photography

Long exposure photography is the least practiced technique by hobbyists and amateur photographers because it involves dealing with manual settings. Frequently referred to as time-exposure or slow-shutter photography too, this genre is a gateway to create masterpieces.

It does seem difficult to understand if you aren’t aware of manual settings, but in reality, mastering the art of long-exposure photography is all about understanding a few basic principles of photography.

What is Long-Exposure Photography?

Long Exposure Photography is a technique of shooting pictures by utilizing the effects of slow shutter speed. This technique blurs mobile elements in pictures such as water, clouds, or vehicles using long exposures or slow shutter speeds. It almost gives them a surreal look usually achieved in post-production.

For example, we often see pictures with cars transformed into a long red line and clouds blurred, or water in an ocean or a lake looking blurry and unreal.

Long Exposure Photography is widely used to produce amazing architectural, landscape, portrait, and street photography shots.

What is shutter speed?

At the heart of this photography style lies the magic technique of slow shutter speed. Shutter speed is the amount of time the camera’s shutter is open. It is measured in seconds or fractions of seconds.

For beginners, it can get a little tricky because a larger denominator means a quicker shutter speed. For example, shutter speed 1/1000 means the camera shutter was open for the 1000th part of the second only, whereas 1/20 means it was open for 20 parts of the second is slower and termed as lower shutter speed.

Quicker shutter speed means shutter opens for less time and less light reaches the camera sensor, and vice versa is the case with lower shutter speed. As long as the shutter is open, the camera registers everything that moves within the frame. That’s why in Long Exposure Photography, clouds look stretched across the sky, and the water looks blurred.

It is alright if your confusion persists. The best way to master long exposure and shutter speed is by practicing it yourself.

Using Long-Exposures

  1. Adjust the camera on a tripod, so it stands steady.
  2. Set the shutter speed to 1/1000 and ask someone to move within the frame of the camera.
  3. Set the shutter speed to 1/500 and repeat.
  4. Repeat the process but use even slower shutter speeds such as 1/200, 1/20, /5 and end with 1 sec.

In the beginning, you might not feel any blurry effect or difference between images shot at different but near shutter speeds. However, the images will start to get blurry when you keep slowing down the shutter speed. It means that when you lengthen your exposure time, it is not possible to capture a sharp image. The moving objects become blurry.

This technique is used in multiple other proper photography niches, i.e., landscape, street, portrait, and abstract photography, to produce perfect, aesthetic images.

Equipment for Long Exposure Photography

Originally, a DSLR camera was needed, but using more equipment can only make your results better. Besides that, all this equipment is commonly used in all types of photography, so we recommend getting them.

1. Camera with manual settings

Long exposure effects can be achieved using most digital cameras and even some smartphones. However, the only important requirement is that the camera has manual functions such as ISO, shutter speed, aperture, etc. You do not necessarily need a fancy camera. Almost all entry-level DSLR come with these features.

Also, just having this camera is not enough. You will be setting everything on your own, so you should control and use the camera manually.

2. Tripod or Monopod

Like all other genres of photography, a tripod is one of the most essential and useful tools in long exposure photography.

Long exposure photography is all about using slow shutter speeds, which often exceed seconds and sometimes minutes. This multiplies the risk of blurs and shakes; not that “artistic” blur which one wants to achieve using this technique but the blur which can ruin your image. Also, it is difficult to capture these images handheld or resting a camera on anything other than a tripod because of the long time involved.

Investing in a sturdy and solid tripod <-Affiliate link 🙂 should be your top priority if you have a perfect long exposure photography experience. Besides, tripods and monopods are gears you can use no matter which photography niche you are exploring.

3. A Remote Shutter Release

This tool connects a photographer with a camera, either wireless or via a cable, and allows to release the shutter remotely without physically touching the camera’s built-in shutter release button.

This one tool can make the process of shooting so much easier. Using a remote shutter release helps to reduce unwanted camera vibrations and helps you shoot the image at the exact moment you want.

4. Neutral Density Filters

Unlike previous gears, this one is necessary to use, but it will help you produce images with much higher quality.

Neutral Density Filters, also known as ND filters, are useful in Long Exposure Photography. Dark filters are used to reduce the amount of light reaching the shutter—the darker the filter, the slower the shutter speed required to create a well-exposed image.

These filters are usually associated with night light or astrophotography and are used at night. Still, in long exposure photography, these filters are preferably used during the daytime since it takes a very long time for the light to reach the sensors at night.

There are two types of ND light filters commonly available: screw-in and drop-in or square filters. Both come in different strengths (3-stop, 6-stop, 10-stop, etc.). This strength describes how much a photographer needs to lengthen the exposure time to maintain a well-exposed image.

Shooting long exposure photographs:

 

Check the weather and location

Choosing a location for long-exposure photography is different from any other photography because the situation can change within seconds. Its world is completely different from how you see it with your own eyes. You have to find a perfect combination of weather and location that includes moving objects.

The most appropriate time for long exposure pictures is when the light is limited, early mornings or evenings. In this way, you will be able to produce a well-crafted long exposure image.

Always Use a Tripod

A Tripod is an essential tool in long exposure photography. Mount your camera on a tripod and install all the required accessories such as shutter release and filter holder. Keep in mind that you don’t have to install the filters beforehand.

Composition of the image

Refine the composition of the image by focusing on the subject and locking the focus. Once the focus is sharp, it’s time for a test shot.

Setting the exposure

Adjust your camera to Manual or Aperture Priority mode and take a test shot. Getting the right exposure means the test is complete. You can check that through the display screen on the histogram. If the test shot is successful, write down the shutter speed for that shot. It is important to note down this shutter speed since you’ll be needing this information in a few steps.

Adding the filter

Now it’s time to add the Neutral Density (ND) filters to your camera lens. Tighten the filter properly to the lens.

Taking Long Exposure shot

Finally, it’s time to shoot your long exposure shot. Recollect the shutter speed you noted down during the test shot. But this time, you have added filters, which were not there in the test shot.

Conclusion

Long Exposure Photography is not a new technique in photography, but recently people have started recognizing it as a genre of photography. It is an essential set of other genres, i.e., sports photography, street photography, landscape shooting, etc.

It can be difficult to understand the concepts if you want to explore this field, but we guarantee you will have fun and creativity. You will need more planning than any other technique, but the results are equally very unique and wonderful. It offers learning and experimentation.

Product Photography

Product photography is so much more than just a niche of photography. Several industries wouldn’t even exist in their present-day forms without product photography. For example, the marketing industry roughly stands at 53-55 Billion USD currently.

What is Product Photography?

Product photography uses skills and techniques to showcase a product in a way that instantly grabs the attention of a potential buyer. It is one of the primary tools to make people aware of a product.

Product Photography as a profession

Anyone can become a product photographer, but not everyone knows the art of shooting in a way that makes a product sell! With increasing eCommerce, this niche is more important today than ever. While shopping online, consumers cannot physically touch and examine the product; the visuals and photos of the product entice them to make a purchase.

Professional commercial photography is amongst some of the highest-paying jobs in the world. But besides that, anyone can make a good passive income by learning a few basic tips and tricks and investing some time and effort in this photography niche. There are hundreds and thousands of jobs on freelancing platforms for amateurs to skilled photographers. In fact, you might not even find it unusual that brands are hiring freelance product photographers for their advertisement campaigns and shoots for social media pages.

We compiled some tips and tricks to polish your skills as a product photographer and how you can improve your products’ photography.

Tips for Product Photography:

1. Invest your time

Some people do not consider it a tip, but an investment of time can make all the difference. The more time you will spend learning this craft, principles of photography, and finally practicing what you are learning, the more your work has chances to stand out. And honestly, if you pay attention, the only difference between professionals and rookies is knowledge of a skill and how long they are practicing it.

Firstly, explore the manual settings of the camera. Shooting manually gives the power of customization, which auto modes can never offer. Learn to control aperture, shutter speed, and ISO (collectively called as Exposure Triangle) independently. Soon enough, you will see differences in your work yourself.

Secondly, learn about light. Most product shooting is carried out in the studio, which makes light a vital element that a product photographer should know. Just messing up with lightning a little bit can change the image’s tone, exposure, and mood. Learn about different types of light, how those lights impact, their temperatures, angles of lightning so you can control and manipulate the lightning the way you want.

Thirdly, learn about using different types of photography gears.

Fourthly, learn about post-production, at least the basics of the editing process.

Last but not least, practice, practice, and practice! You can find your signature shooting style and lots of new techniques by just practicing and exploring stuff with your DSLR.

All the time you will spend on these things will surely help you establish yourself as a product photographer, but it will also help you as a photographer in general. All this learning can be applied to all niches of photography.

2. Invest in your personal studio

Investing in your personal studio space <- Affiliate Link 🙂 is an investment that sure will bring you a lot of return.

This space can be the smallest room at your place, and you can start with absolute basic and inexpensive equipment and gradually build it up.

Product photography is a necessity for every business today, no matter what their volume is. Bigger brands happily hire expensive professionals for their advertisements campaigns, but SMEs tend to hire freelancers more as they are much cheaper options. But still, most clients prefer freelancers with their studios as providing photographers with shooting space and all akin facilities is an additional cost. Having a personal studio will make your work easy and fun and increase your hiring rate.

3. Get photography gears

As mentioned prior, most of the product photography is carried out inside the studio and to fulfill an assignment. You will need one gadget or another. Basic equipment which you should have are:

  • Camera: You need nothing crazy as a beginner. A digital camera can do a perfect job, but do not shy away from using your smartphone’s camera too. Some newer smartphone cameras are pretty powerful and with all the features of a basic DSLR.
  • Tripod: To ensure camera steadiness and boost the quality of your product’s image.
  • Lightning equipment: Start with basic lights and build up your collection with time
  • Backdrops: backdrops are the most important thing in product photography after camera. The more backdrops you have, the more variety you can bring in your work but owning at least one plain white backdrop is a must!
  • A standard folding table

4. Observe others’ work

Observe the work of fellow photographers. Study different websites, posters, and still ads that grab your attention. This will bring you a lot of inspiration and help you learn various things, i.e., unique angles, using lightning in a certain way, adding effects in post-production, ideas for a campaign, etc.

5. Offer free shots

If you are looking forward to starting product photography as a source of income, offer free photoshoots, especially in your locality. Reach out to local businesses or people you know and offer them your services free of cost. It will create a win-win situation for both parties; you will get positive word of mouth and marketing while that business will get free of cost shoot.

Ensure your contact info or at least a watermark is displayed with the photos you shot for free when used for commercial purposes.

6. Portfolio

Having a good portfolio is necessary for you if you want to pursue product photography. A photographer might not have extensive experience, but he can land big jobs to showcase his skills and capabilities with an impressive portfolio.

The idea of establishing may seem intimidating for beginners, but it is actually nothing. Just compile your best shots, and that’s your basic portfolio. Send this to your potential clients whenever you find an opportunity.

Free shots are a great option to get professional images for your portfolio, especially as a beginner.

Online portfolio

An online presence can boost up the possibility of getting a photography job up to multiple folds. Also, you can reach a lot bigger audience online without any serious cost involved. Build a simple website, upload your best work, contact details, previous clients reviews, services you offer, and digitally showcase what you are capable of.

Customized portfolios

Online people can see all of your work, but sending a customized portfolio is always a good idea if you are interested in some specific job. It will show your potential client that you are professional and keen to get the job. Select your shots from your general portfolio related to the job description. You can also shoot and send clients a sample shoot if it’s a bigger job.

Time to time updates

As you keep working, your skills will keep refining. Also, you will keep getting better photographs over time. Update your portfolio from time to time so potential clients can see the best of your work.

7. Keep it simple

As the number of products and advertisements is increasing, human attention span is decreasing. Scrolling online or while passing by an aisle when doing groceries or while going through a catalog, a consumer will merely spend a few seconds looking at the image that too only if the visual was powerful enough to grab its attention. This makes simplicity in your photographs more important than ever.

Make sure that your background is not very cluttered. Avoid adding too many elements in an image as it can distract the consumer. Always choose plain and solid or very minimalistic and subtle backgrounds. Strong backgrounds will make products go unnoticed.

Simplicity doesn’t mean a lack of creativity. You can go creative but make sure the image is not cluttered, and your subject is the center of attention.

Carry out your product photography on the rules of minimalistic photography.

8. Use macro

Use digital zoom or macro lenses to shoot photos in macro mode, especially if your photos are for a website or an online store. It will highlight more features and smaller details of the product, which most people are looking for while shopping online.

Do not solely rely on macro shots. These should be in conjunction with normal photographs of the product.

Conclusion

If you are even remotely interested in product photography, there is a wide potential market out there for you. All you require is basic photography equipment, creativity in your photos to get people’s attention, and some basic rules and tips. The former two are up to you, but this product photography guide will fulfill the latter requirement!

Minimalist Photography

Simplicity – that’s the definition of minimalist photography.

Minimalist photography is easily distinguishable from all other genres because of its extreme simplicity and directness. The only focus of the photographer is highlighting the subject using straightforward concepts and almost none to as little as possible passive information.

This niche is all about “less is more,” but its exact definition can vary from person to person. One person’s ‘least possible’ can be too much for his fellow photographer. Besides keeping things simple, there are no defined principles that everyone must follow. That’s one thing that makes minimalist photography a fun niche to explore with a wide window of creativity and visual clarity to offer.

Minimalism and minimalistic photography

If you are a boomer, generation X, or a millennial, you probably never heard about minimalistic photography before the surge of social media. Instagram and Facebook aesthetics culture raised its popularity but actually, it dates back to the 1950s. Same time when the moment of minimalism was born shortly after the end of World War II.

Minimalism is the art movement in visual art, music, and literature, characterized by simple concepts and a minimal approach to everything. Its core philosophy is “That which is less complicated is better understood.”. This movement directly inspires minimalistic photography.

Minimalist vs. Abstract photography

These two genres are often mistaken for each other. Though there are some similarities, minimalistic and abstract photography are pretty different.

Abstract photography can be a minimalist photo, but that’s not necessary. It depends upon the photographer whether he wants to keep it simple or clutter it.

Abstract photographs usually do not have an immediate association with object worlds which is rare in minimalist photography. Minimalist photographs are focused on simplifying the concept and presenting everything clearly to the viewer, whereas abstract photos are designed to conjure thoughts, ideas, and other non-physical occurrences. For example, a photographer can make a simple object totally unrecognizable and purposely complicate the theme using different techniques.

Simplicity is a must for minimalist photography, but in abstract photography, it is a choice.

Tips for Minimalist Photography:

Understand the concept of minimalism

Minimalism is the backbone of this genre of photography. Without understanding the principles of this concept, you cannot capture the true essence of minimalist photography.

First, learn what the minimalism movement was all about, its derivatives, and its object approach. Learning reductionist tendencies of this moment will help you cast aside all the unnecessary components from your minimalist photograph.

Minimalism is not a very broad or complicated process. It was just an art movement; most of the stuff you will learn about this moment is applicable and enhances your work when you will shoot.

Keep it simple

Simplicity is your goal. Make your frame the cleanest possible. Avoid using any secondary subject. There is no hard and fast rule that you cannot use secondary objects. Still, these might end up cluttering the image, diverting attention from the subject, and hence making it anything but a minimalist photograph.

The easiest way to make things as simple as possible is that whenever you are ready to shoot, look at your frame and ask yourself, “what else can I remove from this frame.” Also, look through the eye of your camera lens and observe that there is anything other than your primary object which is grabbing your attention as a viewer. If that object is removable from the frame, it is simply unnecessary in your minimalist photograph.

Draw a line between simple and boring

Simple doesn’t mean boring. In fact, simplicity is a world on its own to explore. You may have to use unorthodox ways, but still, you can add a lot of creativity to your image despite keeping it simple.

Minimalistic photography requires a careful thought process and observations to make the image appalling within the boundaries of simplicity. One way to make your work creative is by observing the work of fellow photographers of this niche. While doing this, especially look at the work which is regarded as their personal style. It will help you come across many new ideas and ways to induce creativity in your work using simple things like exposure settings, image temperature, isolation techniques, composition settings, et cetera.

While shooting, revolve your mind around achieving “appealing simplicity.”

Composition

Composition is the first element to consider after the subject.

The composition itself is made up of different elements. Changing a single element can change the look of an image. This gives photographers a wide window to make a photograph aesthetically pleasing by experimenting with composition elements. You have to do nothing by keeping your frame clean, adding as few elements as possible, and making composition your playing ground to get some.

Generally, the composition is an extensive topic. It covers the rule of thirds, rule of angles, lines, golden spiral, golden spiral, shapes, space, color, balance, harmony, movement, proximity, symmetry, etc. It is up to the photographer which elements he wants to combine for his photographer. Each element gives a unique value. As a beginner or not being a professional photographer, one cannot learn and apply all the elements, but here are some tips for better composition:

  • Learn the rule of thirds. It describes the basic compositional structure of photographs.
  • Use selective focus to highlight the subject of your minimalistic photograph. Always go for a single point of focus.
  • Understand at least the basics of how composition ratios work. It can make your work very eye-catching. Ratios divide the frame into the key areas by using lines and curves where your eye is naturally more likely to go.
  • Viewing images in thumbnail size helps to figure out if the composition of the image is balanced.
  • Use post-production techniques to enhance composition, i.e., if you are not satisfied with subject placement in the frame, a simple horizontal flip can be your answer.
  • Think of contrast which is something beyond colors to unlock creativity. Apply it in the form of big and small, old and new, alive and dead, hot and cold, fast and slow, etc.

Negative Space

Negative space is the space around the subject. Usually, it is an empty and blank area.

The ratio of negative space to the subject is an essential thing in minimalist photography. It adds the emptiness effect in photographs which directs all the focus towards the subject.

How the subject is placed, and the amount of negative space used will impact the subject directly. While it can highlight the subject and direct all focus towards it, it can also make the subject lose its prominence. For example, you want to capture a bird flying alone in the sky. You didn’t zoom in at all, and the bird appears very tiny. Your image will turn out very unappealing because the bird, the subject, appears very small, and the negative space is so dominant that it makes the subject lose its impact.

If shooting outdoors, the sky’s the best negative space. Shooting in the studio, use plain backgrounds.

Use of color

Colour is a potent tool in minimalist photography.

A little pop of color can step up the whole image without messing up with simplicity. You have often seen images like a yellow police tape with black and white background. This image format is so powerful that it instantly grabs the viewer’s attention and conveys the message. The same minimalist photograph where police tape is also in black and white is much less alluring.

Bright single colors as a subject with plain/solid backgrounds work the best. You can use all sorts of colors but neon, orange, yellow, red, and particularly more attention arresting ones.

Using shadows and highlights, extreme shadows can also bring out the color in subjects.

Use lines and shapes

The use of lines and shapes is where minimalist photography is a little overlapping with abstract photography.

Using lines, you can connect or isolate subjects or add symmetry to your images. Horizontal lines give structure to the photograph and can also direct the viewer to the photographer’s intended point of focus if used correctly. Using vertical and horizontal lines that perfectly parallel the natural edges of the photo can give a very neat/pleasant look to the photograph.

Shapes, elementary geometric shapes, are widely used in minimalist photography when photographers use abstract touch in their work. Use these shapes and build your composition around them.

Conclusion

Minimalist photography gives life to the phrase “less is more.”

Minimalist photography is visually soothing for viewers. For photographers, it also has a lot of fun and creative space. It offers openness of interpretation to both photographer and viewer despite not having any deeper meaning. This discipline has straightforward elements, but exploring this niche and practicing it can polish anyones’ skill as a photographer in general.

What is Lifestyle Photography?

Hearing the word “lifestyle photography,” generally, people assume that it is all about capturing peoples’ portraits and akin things, but this genre is so vast. In more accurate words, lifestyle photography is the art of exploring and capturing everyday life with the eye of a lens.

Lifestyle Photography

Capturing and documenting real-life events in the form of stills is called Lifestyle photography. The aim is to document natural events artistically as it happens, not to create fake sessions. Lifestyle photography tells the stories of people via images, just the way things happened at the very moment.

Though it is there from the era of Black and White photography, the inclination towards capturing natural events is embraced more than ever now. You can easily find thousands of Instagram and social media lifestyle photography influencers with millions of followers.

Difference between lifestyle photography and portrait photography

Lifestyle photography is a blend of multiple disciples of photography itself, including portrait photography. Mainly it features families or individuals portraits engaged in some activities, seemingly unaware of the camera, intending to capture real-life events. With that, it captures everyday life, people in real situations, and real-life events in candid and aesthetic manners. The main focus of lifestyle photography is to inspire and interpret the stories about people’s lives.

In portrait photography, the focus is to tell a story about a particular subject that may or may not be engaged in an activity and aware of the camera. Portraits are more like the life is paused for the subject and will resume when the camera disappears.

Plandid

If you are a beginner exploring this genre, you will often come across this term.

To capture an everyday event, the photographer sometimes has to plan a situation. A planned candid photo is known as plandid (planned+candid), where the photo has to be an ordinary situation but still visually appealing. You can often find this type of photo in wedding photoshoots, birthday shoots, couple shoots, et cetera.

The difference between lifestyle photography and candid portraits resides in the photographer’s involvement in the scene.

Tips for better Lifestyle Photography:

 

1. Authenticity

Sometimes it is much easier to work with plandids as a lifestyle photographer, but the essence of this genre is capturing the real thing as it happens. Instead of planting events, go for authenticity as much as possible for truly unique work. Keep things natural and close to reality, and the outcome will automatically become authentic.

One way to ensure authenticity understands the difference between portraits and lifestyle photography. Portraits can be posed, artificially lighted, with added props, shot in the studio, but you cannot incorporate any of these things when shooting lifestyle photography.

2. Plan Ahead

This point might sound conflicting to the last tip and some upcoming tips, but actually, it isn’t. Just like any good professional photographer, you also need to prepare for your shoot ahead of time. You can give tips or guide your subjects like places where pictures should be taken or what dress would look best. You also need to analyze the shooting location to picture how you can get the best outcomes and which gear you need.

Again, planning doesn’t mean orchestrating results. Once you start shooting, go with the flow and capture everything as it happens.

3. A little “Direct”

The comfort level of your client with you is the key to getting the best of Lifestyle photography. If you are hired for the assignment and meet the clients’ 2nd or 3rd time on the shoot, can you expect them to act all-natural around you when you are shooting them continuously? Can you indulge in your shoot when your subjects forget that you have a camera in your hand? The subject feeling awkward at first is completely natural.

To make clients comfortable, initiate conversations. Ask them about their interests, expectations from the shoot, etc., and give them confidence and “directions” to be themselves. You can also guide them about the actions casually, but these “what to do” suggestions shouldn’t be a script.

4. Welcome what you are given

Embrace everything on your shooting location. Those are the things and moments that will make your shoot look real. Things around you that can be considered a mess if you are shooting in any other niche can be the factors that will get you perfect results.

5. Shoot Continuously

Do not put down your camera! Please do not do this for a while, or you might end up missing the moment which your client could savor for his whole life.

Lifestyle photography is all about shooting life, and life is never static. Even if your client doesn’t realize this, every moment is special to shoot in lifestyle photography. Keep moving with your subjects so you can capture the best of their natural behaviors.

6. “Repeat the actions, please”

Asking your subject to repeat their action after you missed it in the first place will make it look staged, which is opposite to lifestyle photography. Never do this.

Try capturing the moment before and after the main events or when you think something will happen. You will be able to capture something unexpected.

7. Tell the tales

Lifestyle photography is not about capturing family photos. Rather it’s to capture the family’s story. Your job will end after delivering the results, but the family will live those moments repeatedly whenever they look at those photos. A family invites you to live with them. In return, they want palpable memories of those moments.

You will have to master the art of photography storytelling. Please find out how one image relates to another, then bring them together through your photography style. Make conveying emotions and feelings your top priority. Keep the whole scene and little details in your mind and your frame.

One way to capture a story is to give your shoot a narrative structure like novels but dividing the shoot into the beginning, middle, and ending.

8. It has to be unscripted but planned

Lifestyle photography is a combination of unscripted and planned events or unplanned and scripted events. It is not a shoot, but the photographer should get to know the people they are photographing. The more you make your subjects comfortable, the more natural your photoshoot will be.

Knowing what your subjects like or dislike, where they hang out for the weekend or go to their local coffee shop. The answer to such questions will make your photoshoot feel natural. Remember, you have to capture their ‘real life.

9. Bring the right equipment

Like any other niche, lightning, the steadiness of the camera plays an important role in lifestyle photography. No matter what your shooting location is, you won’t find the same lightning situation everywhere. To overcome any situation, you need to keep the right equipment with you.

Plan about your equipment. Ask your client about the time and location of the shooting and analyze the location a day or two before deciding what the right equipment is for you.

We also recommend you keep an extra camera with you. A 28-70mm lens will allow you to zoom in or go wide. For the second camera, a 35mm lens will be perfect for the second camera to capture wide shots. If you don’t want to carry a second camera, keep a zoom lens with you.

10. Go for details

Not everything is about a full-frame or wide shot. Sometimes small details speak louder than a complete picture. Natural portraits also capture a series of images about small and unnoticeable details to get the best results. A zoom lens can come in handy to zoom in to details.

Also, do not shy away from close-up shots. You can also use composition techniques in post-production to bring attention to something specific that might go unnoticed generally. Many stories can be told just by looking at details. Just be active and pay attention.

11. Make everyone comfortable

Even if a person is comfortable with a camera, it is not easy to act naturally if someone is constantly filming you. Most people find it difficult to be open in front of the camera and strangers. Being a photographer, you must make them feel easy in your presence.

Talk to your subjects about the type of photos you want to capture and how to get them. This will make them feel comfortable, and they will deliver natural scenes. This will give you your desired images without spoiling the purpose of lifestyle photography.

Conclusion

Lifestyle photography is much more than a portrait session. Lifestyle photographers will have to go beyond the obvious shots to capture required images. Clients trust them with some of the most important events of their lives. Following the tips mentioned prior, you can master the art of delivering the desired and best results to each client.

Blue Hour Photography

Blue hour is the time that begins right after or before the golden hour. This time window happens twice a day and is right before the sun rises and after the sunset. There is no sunlight during this hour, but all the landscape is visible as everything is suffused with the bluish light.

Timings of the Blue Hour

Despite being named “Blue Hour,” this time window is nothing near the full 60 minutes. On average, it just lasts 20-25 minutes. Approximately this time begins 10 minutes after sunset in the evening, and the morning blue hour ends 10 minutes before sunrise. For example, for the sunrise at 5:30 am, the blue hour is from 5:00 am to 5:20 am, and if the sun is setting at 6:30 pm, the evening blue hour is from 6:40 pm to 7:00 pm, approximately.

Though blue hour happens twice a day, all year round, but it is still special because of the special effect it casts, which is not there during any other time of the day.

This timing of blue hour is not for polar regions. In fact, these regions see one or sometimes no blue hours for several days. If you are located there and want to find out the timings of blue hour, you can download apps like Blue Hour (Solar Photography Calculator), Blautime, Blue Golden Hour, Magic Hour.

Blue Hour Photography

Ever since colored films are developed, this time frame is valued by photographers. Today with all the advancements in the world of photography, the bluish effect can be achieved using the built-in filters of a smartphone, but still, there is no effect developed yet which can truly give the tranquil mood of the blue hour to images.

Golden hour photography is the most popular niche and is widely practiced by amateurs and beginners. Still, professionals and artistic people know how worthy it is to hang on for this time. This time is perfect for cityscapes, landscapes, astrophotography, and even street photography.

There is still enough light in the sky, but streets, buildings, and car lights gradually light up. This lighting combination is perfect for all these genres.

Equipment for Blue Hour Photography:

This time frame is minimal. Also, shooting circumstances are quite unusual, so being fully ready in terms of photography gear, besides other things, is mandatory to make the best of this time.

Here is our list of photography equipment for Blue Hour Photography.

Camera

If you want to practice blue hour photography as a hobby, any camera will do the job. But if you want to pursue it professionally or want to capture images to generate some revenue, i.e., by selling them on Shutterstock, you should look out for some things in your camera.

Firstly, your camera should have a high ISO speed and higher shutter speed. There is enough light to see things with the naked eye during this time, but while shooting, images can turn out dark.

The higher the ISO number, the better a camera can perform under low illuminated situations. Also, it should support the RAW format so you can get images with maximum details and data.

If you are not shooting casually, we strongly recommend you keep a spare camera too. This time passes very quickly, so it’s better to be fully prepared for any circumstances.

Tripod

After the camera, the tripod is the most important gear in blue hour photography. It is almost impossible to take steady images without using a tripod.

Blue hour photography involves lots and lots of use of low shutter speeds. Low shutter speed means the camera’s shutter is open for more time so that more light can fall on the camera’s sensor. Depending on the shutter speed a photographer uses, he might have to hold the camera from a few seconds up to a minute.

Hand holding this camera for such a long time is difficult. Also, dealing with such manual settings, a little shake can blur the whole image. That’s where the tripod comes to the rescue.

Also, high ISO settings often cause image noise and graininess. Tripod is also useful to avoid that.

Remote shutter release

This tool ensures extra stability and makes shooting a lot easier.

The remote shutter release is a device connected to the camera either wirelessly or using a cable. Pressing the button of shutter release instantly presses the camera’s shutter without you physically touching it.

It also gives the advantage of taking more shots compared to when you are pressing the shutter button. Considering the limited time window of Blue hour, this gadget should also be part of your blue hour photography kit.

Camera Lens

We recommend keeping a lens with you because the subject cannot be properly illuminated during the blue hour, allowing more light to pass through them. It’s up to you what lens you choose but make sure it has an aperture of at least f/2.8.

Spare batteries

Shooting at long exposures and high ISO speed requires more battery than usual. You must keep spare, fully charged batteries in your photography kit, especially if you are not carrying a spare camera.

Filters

Using filters during blue hour can give a very unique and artistic touch to images.

Use natural density and polarising filters, especially if the sky is part of the images you planned.

Five tips for Blue Hour Photography:

1. Be early and prepared

Due to the nature of this time period, arriving early is critical. In fact, be at your shooting location when golden hour begins so you can benefit from both golden and blue hour. And when you are already shooting since a golden hour, you are prepared to shoot when golden hour begins without wasting a minute. It will also help you to know if all the equipment and settings are working properly.

Reach one your location beforehand and check the following things:

  • Find your desired composition.
  • Set up all the equipment. Connect the camera with shutter release, set it on a tripod on your desired position, fit filters/lenses if you plan to use any.
  • Set the camera on the settings you want to shoot on.
  • Take a few trial shots to ensure that everything is working properly.

2. Learn manual settings

You need to learn manual mode if you really want to capture the true essence of blue hour photography.

While shooting during this hour, one continuously needs to change the exposure, ISO settings et cetera. It is impossible for a person unaware of different camera settings and cannot operate it manually. Learning manual settings is not very difficult, but it will polish your skills as a photographer overall.

3. Do not stop shooting

With every passing minute, the light changes continuously during blue hour and golden hour. Shoot an image at 6:41 pm during blue and shoot another at 6:42 pm without changing anything; both will appear totally different.

Keep shooting nonstop, so you do not miss any moment.

4. Use RAW format

Images shot in RAW format are of the highest quality. That’s because, in this format, the camera captures almost all of the data reaching the camera sensor. RAW images open the world of possibilities during editing. You can edit these without losing the sharpness or details of the photograph.

These images are bigger in size. Keep a spare memory card with you.

The JPEG format will also work fine if you practice long-exposure photography and want to achieve a smooth blurry effect.

5. Experiment in post-production

Your blue hour photographs can always benefit from a little post-production processing.

Go creative during this process. Use it to alter the contrast, exposure, saturation, correct white balance, and refine other image elements.

Experimenting with new things will only add to your knowledge. And don’t worry about anything, as the original image is always there anyways.

Also, always keep in mind that experimenting does not mean adding unnecessary effects and making so many changes that the image totally loses its actual form. A subtle approach is key here. Use post-production to enhance your image instead of using it to ruin the photograph.

Conclusion

Blue hour is a perfect shooting opportunity which nature is providing you two times a day. People unaware of this niche might think that this time is too “dark” to get a good photograph. Still, professional and blue hour photography enthusiasts know that one can create masterpieces utilizing this time.

Learning about this niche will help you become a better photographer. For example, you have to learn about manual settings to practice the blue hour photography. And knowing how to operate a camera manually will help you no matter what type of photography you are practicing.

Follow this guide to blue hour photography and get ready for amazing results!