Jewelry Focus – Photo Theme

J FOR JEWELRY

For letter J of the photo theme challenge, I chose jewels for obvious reasons – I love jewelry.

Adorning ourselves with jewelry and gemstones have been a part of humanity since before history was written.

The ancient people wore jewelry made of feathers, bones, shells, clay, stones, plants and other materials available to them, unlike what we have in stores today.

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We wear them as objects of fashion statement, identity, functionality,  caring for our bodies, religious reasons, status symbol, showing commitment etc.

In some places such as India, they’ve managed to develop such a connection to jewelry that it is a part of their daily life and religion.

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We all love the Bling and I believe the beauty in wearing jewelry is in the simplicity of its usage. Maintaining that balance of wearing just enough and not so much at the same time.

 

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Jewelry needs not be expensive to catch ones’ eye. They could be cheap and cheerful and pleasing all the same.

 

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After over a hundred thousand years of using jewels and decorative items and more than six thousand years of metallurgy and gem processing, we can say with certainty that jewels – in whatever form they come in – will always be a part of people and civilization.

To join the photography theme challenge for practice, check this link and you can find other photo tips here.

 





The Daily Post – Focus

I, You, We All Love Ice-Cream – Photo Theme

I, You, We All Love Ice-Cream

I am yet to meet anyone who didn’t enjoy this sweetened frozen confection taken as snack or dessert. I love ice-cream and literally have to hold myself in check from indulging far too much.

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Some of my fondest childhood memories center around the occasional treat of the frosty delight from an ice-cream truck at Polo park so, between looking for an object to isolate and indulging in a scoop or two of ice-cream as part of photo research for the letter ‘I,’ choosing ice-cream was no hardship.

 10 Fun Facts about ice-cream

  • Ice was made from ice before milk based ice creams started in the 10th century.
  • The industrial production of ice cream started in 1851 in Boston, United States.
  • The World’s largest consumption of ice cream is in the United States. Statistics show that on average one person consumes 48 pints of ice cream per year.
  • The most popular flavor of ice cream is vanilla. After that come chocolate, strawberry, cookies n’ cream, etc.
  • One of the most unusual ice cream flavors is hot dog flavored ice-cream made in Arizona, US.
  • One dairy cow can produce enough milk for 9,000 gallons of ice cream in her lifetime!
  • Most profitable day for ice cream sellers is almost always on Sunday.
  • It takes 50 licks to finish one cone of ice cream.
  • One cup of vanilla ice-cream has 273 calories.
  • Ice cream comes in many varieties: plain vanilla ice-cream, frozen custard, frozen yogurt, reduced-fat ice cream, sherbet, gelato, and much more.

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Tips for Photographing Ice Cream

I learned through several scoops and efforts that though photographing ice-creams may seem simple, in reality, ice-creams are not easy subjects to photograph. If you are not fast enough, it melts into a puddle and without proper preparation, your composition will not turn out as you want it to.

Prepare in advance. That scoop of ice cream won’t wait for you before it melts away and except your target is to take snapshots of puddles of melted sweetness prepare your equipment – camera, tripod (if needed) lenses etc – ahead of time when the ice-cream still looks great.

  • Adjust the camera to the settings you need and once you are ready, grab your ice cream, place it in the place that you want and take as many shots as you can for some minutes.

 

  • Always check your lighting ahead of time. Aim for adequate natural lighting as much as possible. Too little light will make your ice cream seem insipid, while flashes can create harshness and shadows to the texture of the ice cream. If you are not using natural light, set the white balance setting on your camera otherwise the ice cream can take on yellow or blue hues. The automatic light balance rarely gets it the way you want it.

 

  • Check your background. Some backgrounds work well with food photography such as wood texture which evokes homeliness. A white background allows the food to stand out without crowding it and it also provides a lot of background light that shows off the food better. A garden backdrop creates a sense of relaxation and contentment while a dark background is also perfect because it allows you to focus on the ice-cream without detracting from it.

 

  • You could try the trick of putting your display bowl in the freezer for at least half an hour before the shoot if you are in a convenient place to do so. This way the bowl for the ice-cream would stay cold for a while and keep the ice cream cold. This would give you extra time to make necessary adjustments before it begins to melt.

 

  • For freestyle photos on the go, have your camera ready for those blissful moments of people and their ice-creams and do remember to ask politely before pointing your camera in people’s faces.

 

  • Take a lot of photos from different angles within the few minutes that you have. This way you will end up with images that are worth your effort.

To join the photography theme challenge for practice, check this link and you can find other photo tips here.



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Hands and Their Stories – Photo Theme Challenge

H for Hands 

It is said that one’s hands can tell tales about the owner, from details of their background to character, health, relationship bliss, future and fortune. Therefore, it’s no wonder that hands are fascinating appendages of human structure that’s worth admiring and photographing.

For the H letter of the photo theme challenge, it was a tussle between doing photos for History or Hands. I love history and I am one of those who haunts museums and soaks up stories of long past history, but I settled for Hands in this case.

Close-up portraits of body parts can be magnificent. They can also have a meaning and send a strong message. Such photographic portraits imply which sex the part belongs to, the possible age of the owner, their social condition, and a lot of other things. Our body parts portraits reveal many details than one would be tempted to believe.

 

Photographing The Hands

While photographing these hands, my main interest is to tell the person’s story.  For example, the first photo is the cobbler that I pass by occasionally. His hands were always busy repairing shoes and I wanted to take shots of them whilst he worked.

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The second photo is a perfumer at work. She makes fragrance from natural ingredients and always had some henna painting on her hands. I wanted to capture her painted hands as she worked and filled the bottles.

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My focus is on my subject’s story. I wanted the character of their hands to show their reality and not glamourous images.

Tips & Recommendations for photographing hands:

  • Try to tell your subject’s story that anyone looking at the photo later can interpret the story that your image portrays.
  • Think about your lighting and use it to enhance the story.
  • Place continuous lighting on the side of your subject which will show the lines of the skin better.
  • Use a tripod when possible for best shots.
  • Use your macro lens for close-ups.
  • Have fun and be creative. Play with a variety of positions.

To join the photography theme challenge for practice, check this link and you can find other photo tips here.

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Gardens – Photo Theme and Tips

Flower gardens come in various sizes, from the smallest to the large outlay of beautiful blooms that are aesthetically pleasing.

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Your Garden

Knowing that the joys of a garden may well be short-lived, you could capture some of its’ beauty with the power of photography.

This would help you to keep those beautiful blooms and create new ways of seeing, and admiring, your garden over time.

A basic understanding of photography helps you to create fabulous photographs of your garden or the gardens that you come across.



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Things To Note

Alway bear in mind that when photographing gardens, it’s not all about the plants in the garden, but it’s about light.

Essentially, “photog­raphy” means creating with light, and finding the proper light that fits the image you want to create. The right lighting is the key to beautiful, lasting pictures.

Learn to look at your photos from your camera’s point of view. Don’t just focus on what you like, but what’s really being captured in your viewfinder before you click that button.

Are there things that you don’t want in the frame? If so, that’s the time to adjust your angle either by taking a few steps forward, backwards, left or right or by tilting your camera up or down et cetera.

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Lighting and Perspectives

Avoid bright, harsh lights. Most times, bright light is not the best lighting for your garden photos. Direct sunlight creates photos that have harsh contrasts while morning and evening light create softer and better images.

Try taking your photos from different perspectives, don’t centre the image and try to compose your photos with the rule of thirds in mind.

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To join the photography theme challenge for practice, check this link and you can find other photo tips here.

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To Catch A Cat – Photo Theme Challenge

To Catch a Cat

I don’t own a feline so it was a bit of challenge to find a cooperative cat. Taking photos of a flower is easy while catching a snobbish cat is another kettle of fish. 

I found myself running after the city strays cats for days on end and in the process, I’ve learned that not only are cats snobbish they also have cattitude.

I managed to find this fat black one in a corner. It stared back at me and sat still for a wee moment before sauntering off to go and do something important, I guess.

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After the black cat, I ran into an indolent one that had taken ownership of the park seat, basking in the warm early morning sun. I didn’t want it to run away so I was wary of getting too close.

 

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Flower Power

Flowers, however, make beautiful models. They just sit still and look pretty without an attitude.

 

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To join the photography theme challenge for practice, check this link and you can find other photo tips here.

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Compose in The Thirds – Essential Photo Tips

What is The Rule of Thirds?

The rule of thirds is possibly the most common essential photographic technique that is applied to your images to improve its composition and to create the right balance.

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 How to Use The Rule of Thirds.

The basic principle of the rule of thirds is to mentally imagine breaking your subject down into thirds in your viewfinder, horizontally and vertically, so that you have nine equal parts.

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With this breakdown in mind, think about the elements of your photo that’s most important, and try to place them at or near the lines and intersections of the grid. They mustn’t be compulsorily lined up as long as they’re close.

Rule of thirds could be used for any image because it’s versatile. The general idea is that an off-centre composition is more aesthetically balanced and pleasing to the eyes’ than one when the subject is positioned right in the middle of the frame.

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Playing or not Playing by the rules

Like most rules, the rule of thirds is not cast in stone and should never be applied blindly, particularly when it comes to creativity. In essence, this rule can equally be broken effectively and you would still end up with great images with its’ focal point in the centre of the square.

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Simply think of the rule of thirds as one of those rules of thumb and excellent starting point for creating balance in any composition. It would come naturally with practice.

To join the photography theme challenge for practice, check this link and you can find other photo tips here.

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10 Quick Tips for Budding Photographers

Quick Tips For Budding Photographers

So you’ve caught the passion for photography? As a beginner consider these tips on camera, learning, experiment, and practice below as you begin the journey of finding your foot in the huge world of image making.

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1. Resist the urge to splurge.

Yes indeed, this is a common weakness of picking up a passion especially one like photography. The urge to buy an expensive camera and many gadgets that you believe would make your images great. simply kicks in. It’s quite possible to get great shots with an inexpensive point and shoot cameras. The important thing is understanding the gadget that you are presently using and practice, practice, practice. By the time you are ready for an upgrade, you have a better idea of what you want. Going overboard to acquire gadgets sometimes leads to spending on things that we may end up not using.

2. Don’t be afraid to experiment.

Your cheap point and shoot camera might just surprise you with its output when you invest time to go through its manual and understand it. Play around and shoot with different settings and focal points as much as you can to see what you like and what works best.

3. Get a tripod or lightweight Gorillapod.

This gives your photos stability especially if your hands are not steady. Your images would turn out way better and there are lots of inexpensive tripods that you can invest in.

4. Keep your camera close to you.

Opportunities to capture unique photos present themselves unexpectedly and when you’ve got your gadget, you take advantage of such opportunities. So like the girl’s guide mantra says, ‘be prepared’

5. Don’t overlook the mundane.

Everyday ordinary things make great subjects to photograph. It all depends on your perspective as a photographer and the story you choose to tell through the image. Try looking at familiar grounds with a fresh eye and find inspiration all around you.

6. Keep a list.

Keep a list of ideas and things that you want to photograph especially when trying to recreate an image that you like. Taking special note of important details like the time of the day, lighting etc will come in handy. Create and compare.

7. Be hungry for knowledge and take advantage of free resources.

Study what professional photographers are doing. Do your research, check out websites that offer online learning resources. Some are even offered free now and again on Coursera and many websites.

8. Work outside your comfort zone.

Don’t always stick to the familiar. Be open to the things happening around you.

9. Learn the basics and practice them often to help assimilation.

Information overload could be overwhelming so stick to a bit at a time. Trying to rush the learning could lead to the opposite direction. Consistency and balance are the keys to sustaining passion.




10. Be patient and enjoy the process.

The most important aspect of learning and perfecting a craft is enjoying the learning process and patiently putting lessons learned to test.

What tips would you offer a beginner photographer?  To join the photography theme challenge for practice, check this link and you can find other photo tips here.

Ready. Steady. Say Cheese.

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Egg, You’re On! Make everyday objects interesting.




Egg You’re On

Photo theme for letter E offered Egg and Environment. The environment would have probably been an easier subject to shoot. It’s a big, wide world out there, but I chose to go a different route and explore the Egg.

I like the idea of finding everyday objects, something simple and ordinary and playing around with it to turn it into an interesting subject.

I grabbed an egg out of the crate, placed it on the floor near the window where light streamed in.

Photo Theme, Shooting an Egg

Make everyday objects interesting.

It was a bit challenging to balance on the smooth floor due to lack of friction, then I balanced it in between the floor tiles that offered a gap to hold the egg, and there you go.

Several shots from various angles later, I settled for this one which I took in a close-up and monochrome.

Well, after all the shooting of the eggy images a natural wish for some omelets gave way and the natural progression of followed.

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It’s Easter in a couple of weeks. Do create fun ways of playing with the eggs.

To join the photography theme challenge for practice, check this link and you can find other photo tips here.

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Photo Theme – Tips for Shooting the dogs.

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Dogs

No, I didn’t shoot a dog! I meant capturing their photos 😉

Photographs for letter D was not an easy choice to make, so I went with both suggestions ‘dogs and decorations.’

I love both prompts because dogs are just beautiful, intelligent pets that bring comfort and delight to their owners.

The photo theme challenge is not only for practice but to help you build a library of your own images that could be used for your blog posts, for submission to photo sites, for sale et cetera.

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Tips for taking pet photos

Taking photos of pets can sometimes be difficult because they tend not to stay still for several minutes, but with your camera settings in mind and a couple of tricks, you could capture wonderful snapshots worth thumping your chest over.

  1. Make them the center of attraction. You could make a strange sound to draw their attention to you and be ready to take the photo once you’ve got that attention.
  2. Photograph them doing their thing naturally. When you don’t have time to stage a scene, keep your camera handy and wait for your pet to express its quirky sides. You’ll find lots of moments to capture.
  3. Avoid pointing your flash directly at your subject. It gives them the creepy red-eye. If you must use a flash, use a flash diffuser that would make sure you have more natural lighting in your photos.
  4. Explore different perspectives: from the human height, getting down to their level or on the floor, or standing up high and shooting from straight down.
  5. Use your fast shutter speed settings. Knowing that your pet would move before you can whistle Jimmy – their priority is not to sit still for a photo shoot – set your camera to shutter priority and the dial in the fastest speed possible. You could also try your action mode. Increasing your ISO would guarantee a better image no matter what your Fido decides to do at that time.

Decoration

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I snuck in a celebration photo. There’s something about party decorations that just make you feel happy.

It’s the insinuation of good times and memories. So, I guess both go well together.

As against pets, balloons stay in a place, except when they are waving in the wind.

To join the photography theme challenge for practice, check this link and you can find other photo tips here.

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Shooting Tricky City scenes – Photo Theme

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Adding people to your street shot

Taking street photos is a bit tricky because busy streets are hardly devoid of people going about their business. You need to shoot your images without getting into people’s personal space or being too intrusive.

Then again, people make photos more interesting so applying a little trick would allow you to add people in your images.

When we take photos of non-human subjects, the tendency is to look at our LCD screen to see the immediate result of our shots, however, when taking photos of people in the streets looking at your screen immediately after your shot is not what you should do.

Take the shots you need but don’t move the camera immediately away from your eye. Keep your camera focused on the background around them so that even when they glance in your direction,  it appears as though your focus is more engrossed in the background than on them.

Remember that people are leery of photographers. That’s why you need to be discreet and not in their face except where you have express consent to photograph them – you could always ask when you need a specific shot.

Another way to add people to your composition is to start by aiming your camera above, below or to their sides. Take a shot or two of an image next to them and at the last moment, you move the camera so that they added to the scene.

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Clouds

I couldn’t resist sneaking in two different images for the letter ‘C’ part of the photography theme challenge.

Taking photo shots of clouds is always a pleasure. Though clouds may seem pretty mundane because they are commonplace – up there in the sky where all you have to do is to look up and see them, their value is not diminished.

They have a lot of character. They are constantly changing in form and place and always fascinating to watch.

To join the photography theme challenge for practice, check this link and you can find other photo tips here.

 


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