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How to Faithfully Recreate Fashion Magazine Covers on a Budget

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.

The second photo Parsons chose to recreate was of Willow Smith from the cover of Garage.

“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:

Parsons did two more covers, one a cover of Harper’s Bazaar featuring Carola Remer (caution, the full shoot pictured at that link may be NSFW) and the other Zoe Kravitz for Vogue. You can see how he set up both these shots in the video above. Below are his results:

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.

For more from Andrew Parsons, you can follow him on Instagram and subscribe to his YouTube Channel.


Image credits: Photos by Andrew Parsons and used with permission. Model: Jasmyne Wildes | Makeup/Hair: Melissa Korn | Styling: Kim Brooks | Videography: Mark Malijan

How to transfer your photos to canvas and pimp them up with embroidery – Part I

I’ve been into creative and artistic hobbies ever since I can remember. About a year ago I started embroidery just out of curiosity – and I got completely hooked! Since I’ve been into photography for ages, bringing embroidery and photography together was only a matter of time. And it happened – I learned how to […]

The post How to transfer your photos to canvas and pimp them up with embroidery – Part I appeared first on DIY Photography.

Watch and learn how to photograph snowflakes at home

With big chunks of the world seeing snow right now, and not being able to get out much, it’s a great time to learn how to photograph snowflakes! This video from Jens at Another Perspective walks us through the process, which you can do with even an entry-level camera. You will also need either a […]

The post Watch and learn how to photograph snowflakes at home appeared first on DIY Photography.

How to Easily Capture High-Detail Snowflake Photos at Home

Photographing snowflakes doesn’t have to be expensive. In this short 4.5 minute video from photographer Jens Heidler on his YouTube Channel Another Perspective, he teaches you how you can replicate these larger-than-life photos with even entry-level equipment.

Heidler has recently demonstrated how to photograph frozen soap bubbles as well as a beautiful film showing melting snowflakes reforming. The latter film was made using the techniques he reveals in the video above.

While you can use extremely expensive high-end equipment to shoot super high-resolution photos of snowflakes, most people don’t have access to the ability to do that. But just because you don’t own a microscope and a medium format camera doesn’t mean you can’t make great photos.

Heidler explains that because snowflakes are so small, between 1mm and 10mm across, in order to accurately capture that entire range, you need a 5:1 macro lens. While you could buy one of these, you can also combine a 1:1 macro lens with something like the Raynox DCR-250 which can give you enough magnification to capture larger snowflakes without breaking the bank.

Using a 1:1 magnification macro lens with the Raynox adapter will work for the larger snowflakes, but if you want to capture the smallest ones (down to 1mm in size) you’ll need more magnification. To do this, you’ll need at least a 2:1 macro lens combined with the Raynox DCR-250 in order to get enough magnification.

You can also use extension tubes or even teleconverters for this, which is a process you can read about more here.

Once your optics are taken care of, you can really use any camera you like. Heidler is using the Sony a6000 series, for example, but any entry-level camera body that is compatible with the optics you choose will work great.

As for actual photo-taking techniques, Heidler recommends using a dark background so that the snowflakes stand out. What he does is place a black t-shirt in the snow and wait for flakes to fall onto it and then photographs them as he sees ones that catch his eye.

“What also works great is a glass table or a black plexiglass table,” Heidler says.

Heidler says that it can be challenging to find a snowflake using such high magnification optics once you see one with your naked eye, so another great tip that may sound simple is to have something you can use to give yourself a starting point. Heidler recommends using something like scissors, and placing it below the snowflake you want to find before you try and search for it through the lens.

Heidler mentions several other techniques such as stabilization on hand-held shots and the best way to light snowflakes, in his video above. If you’re interested in taking your snowflake photography to the next level, you can learn how to add vibrant colors to your snowflake photos here.

For more from Heidler, subscribe to his YouTube Channel, Another Perspective.


Image Credits: Photos by Jens Heidler and used with permission.

Here’s how to whiten teeth in Photoshop in only ten seconds

Whitening teeth in real life can take days, weeks, even months. But you can do it in Photoshop in much less time. In ten seconds, to be exact (yes, really!). In his latest quick tutorial, Unmesh Dinda of PiXimperfect will show you how. The method is as simple as it gets. Open the photo and […]

The post Here’s how to whiten teeth in Photoshop in only ten seconds appeared first on DIY Photography.

Watch: How to shoot and develop color photos with a camera obscura at home

British photographer Brendan Barry is well-known for his camera obscura projects. He has taken photos with a camper-camera, container-camera, and plenty more. And during the lockdown, he turned his own bedroom into a camera. In this short film, he shares behind the scenes of taking a color photo with a camera obscura, which is something […]

The post Watch: How to shoot and develop color photos with a camera obscura at home appeared first on DIY Photography.

How to shoot cinematic Hollywood crane style camera moves with your smartphone

  Some of us only shoot video with our smartphones. And while many of us prefer to use “real cameras”, we often find ourselves somewhere really cool but our smartphone is all we have with us. That doesn’t mean you have to settle for crappy and jerky handheld footage, though. Oh no! Many of the […]

The post How to shoot cinematic Hollywood crane style camera moves with your smartphone appeared first on DIY Photography.

How to use flash if you don’t like photos to look flashy

  If I lay my cards on the table, in my personal and professional work I prefer to avoid the use of flash in favour of natural light. In an ideal world, I like nothing better than working with a fleeting beam of winter sunlight that glances across a face full of character, producing the […]

The post How to use flash if you don’t like photos to look flashy appeared first on DIY Photography.

Trials of the Amateur Sports Photographer

Let me begin by saying I am in no way a professional sports photographer. I am simply a high school math teacher who loves three things: teaching, mathematics, and photography. As a serious photographer in my school, it often fell upon me to document sporting events for the benefit of the school and the students themselves.

The yearbook requires more than simple iPhone game photos, and the students love photos that they can post in their social networking world.

Over the years I have photographed many amateur events which required spending considerable time reading and studying the world of the sports photographer. Let me simply say their world is not an easy one. The following is a collection of techniques that I have used to record that critical moment of an action photo.

The life of a sports photographer is vastly different from that of other photographers. While all photographers face challenges, the sports photographer faces diametrically opposing forces. The landscape photographer must by the nature of the work, travel. As Scott Kelby says,” If you want prettier pictures, you must go to prettier places.”

The landscape photographer must therefore travel far and then also rise from bed around 4:30 in the morning. It is imperative to arrive at the specific location prior to sunrise in order to be ready for that golden hour. That is what separates the great from the mediocre. However, once there, life is relatively simple. Set up the tripod, take a trial image, check your histogram, and then have fun. The amateur sports photographer may only take about a 15-minute drive to the local school gym, but once there, the real problem solving begins.

But before we get to the school, let’s talk about finances. Everybody knows that digital photography is an expensive hobby. However, for the sports photographer, this is an understatement. For any serious photographer, it can be argued that a full sensor camera is a must. However, for the sports photographer, the bar is raised even higher.

For my amateur needs, the basic full-frame $3,000+ camera body will function, but in the pro world, it is surprisingly insufficient. In the gym or on the field the professional photographer needs the $6,000+ top-of-the-line body for one basic requirement alone. The reason is the need for that extra high-speed continuous shooting rate. These additional three to five frames per second could be critical in freezing the action at the precise “decisive moment” for that epic action pic.

Photos of Muhammad Ali – Wikipedia by John Rooney (left) and Y. A. Tittle by Morris Berman (right).

However, the photos above by John Rooney and Morris Berman are the polar opposite of the norm, yet they are perhaps my favorite. These did not freeze the exact moment when a ball hit the bat or the precise second the receiver was flying prone above the ground. These photos showed the world the emotional heart of sports. They captured the true agony and ecstasy of an athlete.

As with the photos of Muhammad Ali and Y.A. Tittle above, sometimes the role of the sports photographer is to capture the highs and lows of the game. The challenge is that to do this, photographers must take their eyes off the field in order to catch the behind-the-scenes drama. One needs to be aware of the entire arena.

The best way to begin a discussion about the challenges in the sports world is to note the obvious. Capturing photos on the field of play requires knowledge of two distinct things, light and again light.

The first light refers to the amount or brilliance of the available light. If anyone has ever witnessed their son’s or daughter’s sporting event at the local high school gym on a Friday evening, one thing becomes quickly apparent. The arenas are not that bright. Normally in photography, this would not be a major issue. Simply open the lens to a larger aperture or crank up the ISO a bit! In sports photography, these options are not that simple.

There are two uncompromising absolutes for action photos. The first is the requirement of a high shutter speed of at least 1/1000 of a second that is needed to freeze motion. The second is a long lens necessary in order to “reach” the action. In a dimly lit high school gym, besides this being a major problem, it is more importantly an expensive one.

Personally, as an amateur, I use a $3,000+ Canon 5D body, with a $2,000+ Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. This is a great body and super lens combo that is indeed sharp and fast enough. While shooting wide open at f/2.8 and at 1/1000 of a second, it quickly becomes apparent that an ISO of at least 20000 is required. These requirements are pushing my camera body and lens to the maximum.

Realize, however, that my basic $5,000+ investment may indeed be functional for many settings. However, in football, I am limited to the area of midfield to my sideline. The far side of the field is simply out of range. This limitation is something I can live with as an amateur, but for the professional, this is totally unsatisfactory. They must cover the entire field. For the professional, this requirement easily doubles the price tag of the camera and lens.

Now for the second issue related to light. This time it is not the brilliance of the light, but its actual color. The light in amateur gyms and fields is fine for the parents to watch their children play. However, it is horrible for the photographer. Obviously, it is not color balanced for outdoor shooting, but the problem goes beyond this. The issue is that the balance is not even uniform throughout the gym or field. Some overhead bulbs are new, some others are old, and some are simply vacant. The light balance on the near court is often very different than that on the far court.

This is a major difference between the worlds of the amateur and professional photographer. In the professional setting, the light balance is mostly uniform and adjusted for television coverage. At the pro level, photographers are therefore free to shoot JPGs, rather than RAW.

This advantage is again twofold. Shooting JPGs allows the professional to increase the high-speed rate for continuous shooting. A camera can function at a much faster continuous rate handling the smaller files of JPGs than those of a larger RAW file. Secondly, after shooting, the professional can now simply upload his files to a laptop, do a little cropping, and quickly send his selected images off to the publisher.

For amateur photographers, this light issue means that they must shoot RAW files. We definitely need all our available data to color balance our photos correctly. This balance also needs to be tweaked for each photo. Processing high school action photos is definitely time-consuming, but it is by any measure a labor of love. The time involved is later rewarded with the smiles on the students’ faces when they see the final product.

The next area to be discussed involves possible techniques to capture the desired image. The first point is perhaps counter-intuitive. Action photos should be tightly cropped, yet this is a function for post-processing. While shooting, try not to crop too close. Arms and legs are flying all over the place, and the players are jumping, diving, and sliding. The worst thing to have is a great capture with a missing hand or foot. Remember in the final image, two things are usually desired – the player’s eyes and the ball. However, if you clip a hand or foot, that is a flaw.

Another of the critical elements of sports photography relates to position. This is not the position of the athletes, but the position of the photographer. This is especially important when shooting action shots that involve jumping. It is always considered best for the photographer to simply take a knee. If one looks out over any pro arena, a standing photographer will never be seen. Shooting from a low vantage point tends to exaggerate the space between the ground and the athlete. Shooting action while standing has the opposite effect. It minimizes this distance which tends to flatten the action and takes away from the drama.

The final concern is where to point your camera. There is one principle that definitely holds true. Once the exciting moment happens, it is too late for the photographer to capture it. Looking at this from the other perspective, one must anticipate the grand event. The basic key to this is to study and know the sport.

Each sport is by definition different. There is nothing to compare when shooting football in contrast to baseball. Sometimes you may simply follow the ball and trust something exciting happens in its path. Other times one may center on a key player with the same hope. Finally, the photographer could concentrate on a position on the field or a base where you anticipate action. This decision-making process comes from experience and studying the game and the players. Obviously, there is always a little bit of luck involved, but the great sports photographers create their own luck.

Sports photography presents challenges and obstacles unlike those of other genres. The problems of mastering light and freezing action are in constant conflict. Adding this to the fast pace of the game allows for no time to stop and think. The photographer is constantly engaged throughout the entire game. Any break on the photographer’s part can result in that iconic missed shot. Planning occurs prior to the event, and evaluation happened at the closing buzzer.

The above photo was my first-ever outing in a professional arena. I was a young college student with my Minolta SRT 101 and a 135mm prime lens. My goal was simple – to capture on film a shot of the hero of Baltimore, Johnny Unitas. I hope today there are young people in my home city who are trying to freeze a moment in the life of their hero, Lamar Jackson.


About the author: Charles Levie is a photographer and math educator based in West Friendship, Maryland. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find more of Levie’s work on his website, Facebook, Flickr, and Instagram. This article was also published here.