In Episode 8 of the Improve Photography Podcast, Jim and Dustin answer listener questions about choosing a tripod, getting together a portfolio, model releases, and how to get inspiration for posing.
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Guide to Episode 8
Jim and Dustin both give two cheers to Saudi Arabia for being one of the top countries who listens to this podcast.
[1:10] A listener asks how to get inspiration for posing in photography
Jim recommends the listener spend some time on Pinterest.com (oh, and while you’re there, check out my pin boards!) Jim says Pinterest is the source of all good ideas
Dustin suggests printing out photos of good poses and showing the photos to the client or model as an idea of how they should stand.
[4:30] Is a paper model release just as good as a digital model release app?
Jim says that he does not provide legal advice and that you need to seek the advice of an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction in order to receive legal advice. However, Jim says he will gladly tell the listener the way he runs his business.
Jim sites an argument from Ed Greenburg (check out his book here), who says he recommends paper releases because photographers know Photoshop and could easily be accused of moving signatures or the text of a digital document around. Even if we didn’t all know Photoshop, it is more difficult to fake a physical contract with ink on the page.
[9:50] How can I take pictures in black and white and make them turn out good?
Dustin likes using the gradient map for his black and whites and then carefully adding in midtones to add much more contrast.
Jim says that he likes to process black and whites in the Channel mixer and selecting monochrome. He strongly suggests playing with the channels (particularly the red channel) to improve your black and white. Check out this article on black and white to learn more about how to properly process a black and white.
[13:00] How can you mimic black and white film with a digital photo?
Dustin admits that, in college, his professor asked him to take pictures using actual film cameras. Instead of going through the trouble of shooting film, he just shot in digital and then ran a film preset on the photo to make it look like film. Dustin hopes that his professor isn’t a listener of the podcast.
Jim says that, basically, the way to make a photo look like black and white film is to crush the blacks and add grain to the photo.
[15:40] A listener from Kentucky who lives in England asks if photographers should use matte or glossy screens for photo editing
Jim says that a matte screen will give the truest representation of a photo because it will not have so many reflections on the screen. However, glossy screens look really pretty. In the Improve Photography Studio, Jim and Dustin use matte screens.
Dustin mentions that if you get a nice screen with an IPS panel for editing your photos, it will do more for you than worrying about matte vs. glossy.
[19:10] How can you take a Christmas picture of a kid in front of the tree with only the Christmas lights illuminating the subject?
Jim says that you’re really at the end of your rope in terms of exposure if you have a low aperture and are using the fastest shutter speed you can manage given the dark situation. If that is the case, you’ll have to increase the ISO or you will need to add fill-flash. If you add fill flash, be careful not to add so much that the beautiful light of the Christmas lights is lost.
[23:00] What kind of tripod would you recommend?
Jim says he has tried just about every tripod imaginable, but he still loves the Induro brand tripods. Induro tripods offer incredible quality for unbelievably low prices. Here are Jim’s tripod recommendations.
[29:00] Zach Blackwood Photography asks about ettl/ittl
Dustin and Jim agree that ettl can be a useful technology and some people really like it. However, they explain that ettl may not be the most useful technology for the way that they work. They explain that ettl will get you to a neutral exposure, but most of the time the photographer will want to select a creatively dark or high-key exposure anyway, so it isn’t especially helpful to get to a neutral exposure at the beginning if you have to change the flash power anyway.
[32:00] Prizes for reviews!
The winner of the online photography class was 3Fizz from Canada.
If you would like to win a free online photography class, write a quick one or two sentence review of the podcast on iTunes. No matter what star rating you give (although they appreciate 5 stars), you are entered to win.
Plug of the Week
[33:00] Dustin recommends Einstein studio strobes. Read exactly what product he recommends and see a kit of suggested products for this kit at the bottom of this page.
[35:30] Jim recommends getting together a photography portfolio. He likes using an app called Portfolio for iPad, but even if you don’t have a tablet or smart phone…. just print or prepare a portfolio and have them ready to show!