Before the pandemic last year, Shainblum had the opportunity to visit Yosemite just after a snowfall which gave him the opportunity to shoot snow-dappled images of one of the most photogenic National Parks in the United States. After revisiting that shoot recently, he realized that he went the entire day shooting almost exclusively on a Sigma 100-400mm zoom lens.
Part of his goal in these images was to capture the look of being there — that is to say, the atmospheric conditions.
“The way the fog has moved every few minutes, the scene changes, and new compositions get revealed,” he says. “There is just some beautiful atmosphere.”
In the several images Shainblum discusses, the lighting he captures and isolates thanks to framing is only made possible thanks to the extended zooms he has at his disposal.
“I think it’s easy to get into the mindset of ‘well this place has been heavily photographed, is there anything else I can say about the place?’” Shainblum says. “There are tons of images that exist of Yosemite National Park. It’s one of the most famous places for landscape photography. It’s easy to take a look at that and say ‘I just want to go somewhere that hasn’t really been photographed or that isn’t very popular so I’ll be able to take images that are more unique and more interesting.’ And while I do enjoy exploring new places, I don’t think you always have to do that to create interesting and unique photographs.”
Part of what makes using a zoom lens so beneficial for landscape photography is that it forces you to see environments in ways others have not. Wide-angle landscape photography is much more common, so detail shots like the ones Shainblum shares here are wildly compelling because of how unique they are.
“Try not to have those preconceived ideas of what a place is supposed to be about,” Shainblum says while discussing how photographers might come to a location thinking that all the photos that could be taken of a place, have been. “Create your own experience with the place, and I think you’ll be able to tell better stories.”
Photographer Andrew Parsons has shared a 6.5-minute video where he shows how he replicated the looks of four distinct fashion magazine covers. With clearly less budget and space, Parsons explains how the looks can be pretty faithfully recreated with a little know-how.
If you want to see visuals on Parsons’s lighting arrangements, make sure you watch the video above.
The first look Parsons decided to tackle was an attempt to recreate a photo of Zendaya from the cover of Elle magazine. For this shot, Parsons said that the hardest part about the photo was getting the posing to look correct.
“We altered the pose to fit our set since we didn’t have as much orange fabric to use or a platform for Jasmyne (the model) to sit on,” Parsons says. “What I love about this project is that you can make something out of nothing. The dress was made out of tinsel, and we got the fabric from a craft store. I jury-rigged Jasmyne’s platform by putting together two stools.”
Parsons says this project should demonstrate how you don’t need a huge space or huge budget to make something beautiful.
As mentioned, Parsons has a different crop and pose to this photo because of space constraints, but the photo certainly pays successful homage to the original.
“What initially stood out to me were the strong shadows framing Willow’s face,” Parsons says. “I knew that I could try to get that look by using a small light source with more light falloff and by bringing in two black v-flats super close on either side for Jasmyne to enhance the shadows.”
This image only used one light overhead pointed at his model with and a reflector below her to bounce in some fill lighting. Parsons admits he probably could have used a smaller light modifier and that a grid also would likely have helped. Below is his result:
A lot of the work required to make these photos look very similar to the originals was done in post, but a significant amount of the effort also required the images to be captured correctly straight out of camera — especially the lighting. Parsons says that he and his team had a blast with this project and were all very happy with the results.
The purpose of this article is to help explain some of the possibilities beyond just the instant print itself and in the following content, I will go over the simple process involved in extracting a scannable or printable negative from Fujifilm’s discontinued FP-100C peel-apart instant film.
Step 1: Peel Apart the Photo
Firstly you will obviously need to take your shot as you normally would. After the allotted time has passed proceed to peel apart the film from its backing. Be sure to place your print somewhere safe as it’s still wet from the processing chemicals. You should also place the piece that you would normally throw away somewhere safe as this section is what we extract the negative from. It is worth noting that this piece is extremely wet at this stage so be mindful not to place it chemical side down on anything porous, doing so may result in damaging the surface.
One question I have been asked several times is how long after the picture has been taken can you, or should you, extract the negative? As far as I am aware there is no minimum time and you can extract the negative straight after taking the picture if you so wish. If, however, you wanted to extract a negative from an older chemical sheet then expect there to be some slight degradation over time. I have gotten great negatives from them after a few weeks and I have even made negatives from the chemical sheets a year after taking the original shot. You may even find that you like the effect produced from leaving it for an extended period.
Step 2: Peel Apart Other Materials
Now that we have our non-print section we should go about peeling apart all of the borders and additional materials. You should end up just a single piece of very dark material. For the process, I use it is important to ensure all the borders are removed as I stick this to a piece of glass so a clean bond is essential.
Step 3: Attach to New Surface
Take a sheet of glass, any glass will do and anything from frame glass or even a mirror will be fine. The reason for this is to create a very clean bond to the chosen surface and glass ensures this. Place your future negative face down (the previously sticky side) with the black side facing up onto the glass. I usually wet the glass a little first to ensure a clean bond. Then I gently wash the whole thing in water to ensure the sheet is sealed all the way around.
Step 4: Bleach to Expose the Negative
Once that’s sealed to the glass, it’s time to add the active ingredient that actually removes the backing and exposes the negative. You’ll be pleased to hear that ingredient is simply household bleach and is readily available anywhere. One thing to note is that it does need to be regular bleach, the cheap stuff. Similar gels and other potent cleaning products don’t actually have the active ingredient of bleach so they will not work.
Step 5: Spread and Wait
Liberally spread the bleach over the back of the sheet making sure it is entirely covered. Once it has been applied you just need to leave it for several minutes to do its thing. Depending on ambient temperature, around five minutes should be about fine.
Step 6: Remove the Gunk
When you return you should now see that the bleach is doing its job and black gunk should now be forming on top of the sheet. Carefully at first, proceed to remove this gunk from the negative. You can wear gloves for this part as bleach is a strong chemical that some people can find very irritating to their skin. Continue removing the gunk until you can feel that it has been entirely removed from the negative. Below the surface should be very smooth and any remaining black gunk should be easy to feel. Add a little water to wash away some of it to check and then continue until you are certain it has all been removed.
Step 7: Remove the Negative
Once you’re happy there is no more black emulsion on that side it is now time to remove the negative from the glass and flip it over. We now have to remove the gunk from this side as well. This is the side that the original print was attached to — the chemicals are more exposed on this side, and as result, we do NOT need to use bleach on this side. Doing so would be extremely damaging and would strip the image from the negative. On this side, all we need is warm water and some gentle rubbing. After a little bit, you should feel that it has all been removed and any little pieces of border left over from before should also be removed.
Step 8: Leave it to Dry
That’s it, you’re done. I would recommend leaving this negative to dry naturally at room temperature and I would also recommend drying them standing up and leaning against something. If you lay them flat you will run the risk of the negative sticking to the surface but you will also create drying marks and streaks.
Step 9: Scan to Digitize
Once they are dried you can now scan them in and add additional effects or just go with some of the more natural effects this process produces. Have fun.
A Video Step-by-Step Tutorial
Included below is a video of the whole process from start to finish.
About the author: Jake Hicks is an editorial and fashion photographer based in Reading, UK. He specializes in keeping the skill in the camera and not just on the screen. If you’d like to learn more about his incredibly popular gelled lighting and post-pro techniques, visit this link for more info. You can find more of his work and writing on his website, Facebook, 500px, Instagram, Twitter, and Flickr. This article was also published here.
Though there are multiple off-the-shelf solutions for over-head camera angles, DIY-er Jay Doscher decided that there was a better way. By combining a VESA mount monitor arm with a few “universal” parts along with some 3D printed pieces, he made his own.
Initially, Doscher wanted to build his own overhead camera mount so that he would have an easy way to show a top-down angle whatever project he was working on. On YouTube, it’s pretty common to find nicely-framed top-down camera angles for unboxing or maker videos (Doscher specifically references Adafruit’s Show and Tell videos). Especially on a webcam, it can be near impossible to show others what you are working on without a secondary overhead camera angle or the awkward shuffling of your main camera, handheld above your desk.
“For those of us creating video content at home, webcams or full-fledged cameras are the norm. Getting your face on camera is pretty easy,” Doscher writes. “For those of us that create objects we want to share, getting those on camera can be much harder.”
While photographers are used to tripods with overhead angle capabilities, small home office spaces aren’t really the most conducive to a tripod setup and are especially hard to keep tidy if you don’t want to constantly be setting up and tearing down camera rigs. Outside of tripods, other overhead camera rigs can get expensive or even more impractical, which is a significant barrier for the average person.
“I’ve seen all kinds of clever camera stands that look down on the entire desk,” Doscher says. “But they take over your desk pretty quickly- so unless you’re a full-time YouTube person that’s not really great.”
Doscher’s much more elegant desk-ready solution uses a VESA mount monitor arm at its core.
“The idea is pretty simple- a 3D printed mount that attaches to a heavy-duty PC monitor arm. My design supports a full-size Sony mirrorless camera, but you could easily design your own to do the same thing. Given how many different cameras there are I could only design for what I have, so you will need to either invest in the same gear I did, or simply make your own design.”
Below is Doscher’s full parts list for this setup:
If you don’t own a 3D printer, you could theoretically build these parts from wood as well.
The 3D printed parts that Doscher designed fit right into both the camera cage and the VESA monitor arm, so once all the parts have been compiled, putting together the finished product is pretty straightforward.
“The files are specific to this camera frame and camera, but the bolt pattern for the VESA mount is the same,” Doscher writes. “I hope this inspires you to design your own!”
For more from Doscher, you can see more of his projects on his website.
Adobe recently gave Photoshop the ability to instantly colorize photos using Adobe Sensei AI technology. Here’s a new 1.5-minute video tutorial by Adobe showing how you can now breathe color into a black-and-white photo with just a few clicks.
After loading up your photo, go to Filter->Neural Fliters to open up the new Neural Filters panel.
In the beta filters section (the Erlenmeyer flask icon), you’ll see a Colorize option. Click the toggle to turn it on.
Voila! Photoshop will use its image recognition technology to colorize the elements of your photos in the way it thinks best.
If certain areas of the photo are slightly off, you can make custom adjustments in the Colorize panel as well. The result is added on top of your photo layer as a Smarter Filter on a Smart Object.
To get started with the Colorize Neural Filter, make sure you’ve updated to the latest version of Photoshop CC. You’ll also need around 130MB of disk space to install the Colorize filter itself.
One of the many fascinating effects of cross-polarization is called “birefringence”, which is responsible for the psychedelic gradients in the seen here.
This article is part two of a two-part series explaining cross-polarization and birefringence. The first part can be read here.
What does “Cross Polarization” mean?
While we delve deeper into this issue here, let’s recap: Cross polarization is a technique that allows us to virtually eliminate specular highlights from images by using polarized light, but it also holds a lot of creative potential as it can be used to bring out eye-catching rainbow gradients in subjects such as plastics, ice, and certain crystals.
In some industries, this technique is used to locate areas of stress in plastic, but it also holds a lot of potential for interesting macro images:
The image illustrates the molecular structure of some thin ice. Which colors these structures take on depends on the orientation of the polarizer in front of your lens. The photo was created by freezing water on a polarizing filter, which I then placed on a flat and even light source (in this case a repurposed notebook).
The two polarizing filters in the set-up above are oriented in opposing directions. This would cancel out all light as the CPL filter under the ice polarizes the entering light.
As the light enters the ice it gets doubly refracted which causes the original light ray to split into two rays that travel in different directions according to the refractive index. Both rays are still polarized. As one wave gets retarded with respect to the other, interference occurs between the waves as they pass through the second polarizer.
This phenomenon is called birefringence and it is responsible for the gradients of color in the images above.
Which colors these gradients take on depends on the orientation of the polarizers in relation to each other:
Also noteworthy: the best results will be achieved with linear polarizers.
Using only one Polarizer
To experiment with this without having to purchase an additional polarizer you can simply use your computer screen instead. Due to the way that LCD displays work, they emit polarized light so all you need to do is to load an empty word document or a white wallpaper and you can start exploring the effects of birefringence at home.
Just try to hold a CPL filter in front of your computer screen and you will see how it’s blocking out varying amounts of light, depending on the angle of the filter:
You can start exploring the effects of birefringence by using a computer screen for your light source and just a single CPL on your camera lens.
Experiment with different sets and subjects
But not only translucent subjects such as plastics, ice, or crystals are capable of producing fascinating colors under cross-polarization: even the human iris will create interesting gradients of color when illuminated with polarized light and viewed with a second polarizer.
To have a look at my set-up that I used to capture the iris image above, please have a look here:
I had previously noticed some rainbow-colored highlights in my own (brown) eyes, but not really quite enough to leave me just as stumped or fascinated as I was upon discovering such colorful gradients on my camera screen:
A bit more research and some further testing with two sets of brown and two sets of blue eyes revealed that this effect related to the color of blue eyes. Brown eyes have an additional layer of melanin which sits on top of the iris. The darker the color of the iris, the more of the pigment is present. This additional layer is the reason why such gradients won’t show up in brown eyes.
Even though I have a basic idea as to the reason for this phenomenon, I am admittedly not quite certain of the physical process that causes these colors to show, so if you can explain the science please share your knowledge!
About the author: Maximilian Simson is a photographer and artist based in London, Ontario. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find more of Simson’s work on his website and Facebook. This article is a combination of two stories also published here and here.
In this video and article, we’re going to work through some of the nuances of maternity portraits in regards to lighting and posing. If you’re interested in learning more about how to capture maternity portraits, be sure to check out the full workshop over at SLR Lounge.
Before you pick up your camera or reach for your flashes, check out our C.A.M.P. framework and simplify your lighting process.
Composition: What do we want our scene to look like? Where do we want the camera to be? What’s the angle? What do we want our subjects to be doing?
Ambient Light Exposure: Choose the intention of the scene. Do we want a dramatic image (darkening the ambient light and using more flash) or do we want a softer image (brightening the ambient light and using a more natural power of flash)?
Modify/Add Light: Are your subjects visible in the frame or do they need to be chiseled out? Do you need to add an additional light source?
Pose & Photograph: Take your shot!
Step 1: Compose the Shot
We’re lucky enough to have a large open studio space with big windows and a clean backdrop, which is great for shots like these. Taking advantage of that opportunity, I chose to shoot most of these images vertically and I left plenty of space around my subject.
Step 2: Dial In Ambient Exposure
Think about the mood you want to set when determining your lighting. Most people associate a bright and airy look with natural light photos, but you can use natural light to capture dramatic images as well, as you can see in the example images throughout this article.
This lighting setup is simple and can be used anywhere, including at home, in wedding venues, and so on. All you need is a simple backdrop and a window with both sheer and regular curtains, if possible, which we’ll use to make a strip box. For this shoot, we also added a V-flat to bounce more light from the window back onto our subject.
Step 3: Modify the Light Source
Because we’re using natural light through the window, the modification really comes from a few places. First, we’re using sheer curtains to soften the light coming through the window, and we’re using dark curtains as flags to keep the light from spilling in unwanted areas across the studio. We also used a V-Flat to kick light back onto the subject and minimize shadows.
The last modification has more to do with posing, but I’ll mention it here. The direction that the subject is facing will make a difference in terms of revealing curves. Both examples shown above accentuate the curves of the subject’s belly and body but to different effect. The image on the right, for example, has an edgier, more dramatic look to it. Make sure to look closely at details like these and then find which look works best for you.
Step 4: Pose Your Subject
I started with a straight-ahead, baseline shot to illustrate what a difference a few key adjustments can make when posing, especially for a maternity session.
Here’s a breakdown of how I refined the pose to transform from a not-so-good portrait to a deliverable image (see the images above).
1. In the first pose, the subject stood with her feet shoulder-width apart and directly faced the camera. I consider this is a what-not-to-do pose for a maternity session.
2. I then asked the subject to hold her hands behind her body in order to accentuate her hips.
3. From there, I asked the subject to kick her hips to one side (which side doesn’t matter – whatever is most comfortable for the subject); however, it’s important to make sure the subject isn’t leaning with her hips away from the camera. This can de-emphasize the hips and
4. Once the hips are kicked to one side, the subject’s feet should come together with one knee drawn in to hang over the other knee and create a tapered point in the dress.
5. Next, ensure that the subject is standing up straight and check for details to make sure the dress is laid out nicely.
Pay Attention to Body Type
One thing I’d like to note in this posing guide is that we’re working with a very fit mother. She works out and exercises regularly. The actual hip direction and placement have less to do with the form and figure of mom, and more to do with body type. For some people, leaning toward the camera may look better, even if it doesn’t work for others. Try both directions to make sure that you’re putting your subject into a flattering pose.
Use Hand Placement to Draw Attention
For the images above, we’ve stuck to keeping the subject’s hands behind her back. We can also bring those hands forward to direct our viewers’ eyes to our intended focus point. Here are a couple of different examples.
Conclusion: Maternity Posing Tips
We hope you enjoyed this article/video on posing for maternity portraits. Here’s a quick recap of things to look out for when capturing maternity portraits:
Decide on your composition
Set the mood and your intentions by dialing in and modifying (if necessary) your exposure
Work from the bottom up with posing: (1) Feet position and (2) Bring the toe in with the knee across
Change angle from away to towards the light source to see which you prefer
Shift hips towards or away from the camera to see which is most flattering
Straighten the spine
Once you’ve worked your way through the C.A.M.P framework and checked off the items recapped above, all that’s left is to finish the look in post, ideally using presets for a consistent look. Again, if you want to dive deeper into maternity photography, don’t miss our full workshop.
P.S. Be sure to catch our next episode of Mastering Your Craft on Adorama’s YouTube channel next week! If you want to catch up on all the episodes, make sure you check out our playlist!
About the author: Pye Jirsa is a wedding photographer based in Southern California and the co-founder of SLR Lounge. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find more of Jirsa’s work here. This article was also published here.
The Polaroid instant camera may conjure images from the 90s, but photographer Jason D. Page breathes new life into the system using the newer OneStep+ camera and mixing it with modern light painting techniques with fabulous results.
The Polaroid has always been a popular – albeit perhaps hipster – choice for casual photography, but Page proves that it can also be used to create some really compelling art. In the video above, Page shows the multiple modern light painting techniques he uses and how he mixes those with the long exposures that are possible with the Onestep+ camera thanks to its Bluetooth connectivity.
“Two things that I love are Light Painting and Polaroid Pictures,” he says. “If you love film or just love to see what kinds of images you can create straight out of the camera there is no better way to do that than shooting with a Polaroid camera. With a polaroid camera, there is one true original image – You can’t get any more straight out of camera than a polaroid picture.”
Page’s technique involves placing the Polaroid on a tripod and firing it remotely using the camera’s app on his smartphone. Thanks to the bulb setting available via that app, Page can set a long exposure and then use different light painting tools to create dazzling effects.
“Creating a light painting and then having the physical print coming out of the camera and into your hand has always been a special feeling for me. I have been a fan of Polaroid for a really long time and the OneStep+ camera paired with the Polaroid app works great and it is so much fun,” Page says.
It’s important to note that while the camera is responsible for producing the vintage-looking final images, Page’s light painting technique is what makes them so compelling. While he glosses over the fine movements in his tutorial, it’s important to watch his wrist closely as well as the speed he moves the different light painting tools. If you want to successfully recreate some of these looks, getting a firm grasp on the nuances of Page’s movements will be critical.
Photographer Alper Yesiltas has shared a detailed breakdown of how he came up with and executed a photo idea that embodied the idea of both “to read” and “to write.” While “to read” came to him quickly, “to write” took considerably more time and effort.
His first image titled “To Read,” Yesiltas interpreted the idea through a burning newspaper, and the “facial expression behind burning lines” of words.
To complete his project of dual images though, Yesiltas next needed to put the idea of writing into an image.
“Reading is one of the simplest actions because you always read what others wrote,” he said. “I wanted to interpret ‘Writing,’ but it wasn’t that easy.”
Yesiltas decided that making this second image would be a lot more complicated. “In order to explain how to write, I decided that I had to create some mechanisms and use them.”
He decided that the photo he envisioned would require both light and darkness.
“In order to emphasize the illumination of writers to its surroundings in historical scale is the most important initiative in the process that leads people from darkness to light, I thought of placing black and white, that is dark and light, as a main symbol to the photograph,” he said.
To do this, Yesiltas used a friend’s studio. This photo is the first test images he shot to see if the space would work for his idea:
To convey the “writing” aspect of the image, Yesiltas decided that he would need a table, a typewriter, and a large number of books.
“The problem was that in order to capture the image in my mind, the frame of the photograph had to be kept a little wide, so the table had to be preferably larger than the size of the frame,” Yesiltas said.
“The outside of the frame in the photograph I was going to shoot would be as busy as the interior. I was fortunate to find a proper piece wood that I could use as a tabletop in the clutter of a carpenter in the same street.”
The next step was to acquire an iron pip frame setup that would have the most important role in the image he was creating, which Yesiltas cut and put together in a workshop.
“The task of the giant iron setup was to create a ceiling with a depth that could be used to hang a lot of books in several places, so they could be suspended in the air,” he explained.
“The photograph would be the depiction of an abstract moment in the author’s mind.”
To create this illusion, Yesiltas used a mixture of fishing line, safety pins, and buttons to hang the books from the iron and mesh frame down over the table. The final photo also hung an exploded view of the typewriter on the right side of the frame, also suspended from the frame. The final result, titled “To Write,” was certainly worth the work: