Episode 3 – Improve Photography Podcast

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The third episode of the Improve Photography Podcast takes on photography questions from listeners around the world–and Dustin calls his photography clients “dogs.”  You'll learn how to photograph people with glasses without getting glare, how to make your subject feel more comfortable, and all about flash brackets.

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For those who don't have a mobile device – You can always listen to the show by clicking the audio file at the top of this episode.

Guide to Episode 3

[0:48] Photo Gossip (Photography News)

Canon announced the new Canon 24-70mm f/4 lens.  Jim and Dustin joke that this lens is likely to get as much excitement from the photo community as a bunch of crickets chirping in the field.  Canon recently refreshed the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 II and also offers a Canon 24-104mm f/4 lens, so it doesn't make much sense to purchase this lens.

[3:50] In other news, Canon announced that they have redesigned their lens caps so that you can squeeze them from the middle instead of the edges.  Nikon lens caps have always been this way.

[4:50]  Listener Questions

You can submit your questions to be on the show by going to https://improvephotography.com/podcastquestion

[5:00] A listener in Florida asks what f-stop he should use to shoot lightning

Jim says that since the lightning is far away from the camera (hopefully), it doesn't matter what f-stop you use since you'll have plenty of depth-0f-field.  The caveat to this is when you want to include foreground elements, when the f-stop begins to play more of a significant role.  Jim also mentions that if you're shooting during the night, it's easier to shoot lightning because the shutter speed is open for so long that lightning can strike any time in the 30 seconds and you'll capture it.  When shooting during the day, you usually want to use a high f-stop so that the shutter speed is longer–making it easier to capture the lightning.

[9:50] A listener asks what histograms are, how to use them, and if they can be tweaked in Photoshop

Dustin answers that a histogram is a graph showing the brightness levels in the photo.  If any of the detail touches the left side of the graph, then a portion of the photo has clipped shadow.  A clipped shadow means that there is no detail in that portion of the shadow because it is entirely black.  The opposite is true with the right side of the histogram, which represents the highlights in the scene.  Jim and Dustin both mention that the histogram is a valuable tool for some types of photography, but not to get too crazy about using the histogram for each shot.

Dustin says that, in Photoshop, you can adjust minor exposure problems easily.  Jim mentions to be careful adjusting exposure issues in Photoshop too much, as it can create noise.

Jim mentions that there is A LOT of more information to learn about histograms.  He mentions that he has a video in his Online Intermediate Photography Class where he teaches about RGB histograms and how to prevent blowing out a color channel.

[17:00] A listener asks what he should charge for a family photo shoot

Dustin and Jim say they cannot suggest a price that the industry follow as it is a violation of U.S. price fixing laws.  However, they offer insight as to how they have arrived at their prices and the guidelines that many photographers follow.

Dustin suggests you look at the prices of local  full-time photographers.  Do not look at the part-time photographers because their prices are sometimes so low that they will not stand a chance at making a reasonable profit.

Jim says, if you're afraid to charge higher prices because you're still new, then offer a 100% money-back guarantee.  That way you don't have to feel bad about charging $750 for a senior portrait, because if the client doesn't like the photos, they can get their money back and won't lose a dime.

[24:00]  A listener from Colorado asks how to take photos of a person who is wearing glasses without getting glare on the lenses

Jim ran into this situation on one of his first paid gigs as a photographer, so he can empathize with the caller.  He says to move the flash side-to-side until the reflection is minimized.  Then, adjust the flash up and down until the reflection is further minimized.  Then, you can have the subject tip his or her head down slightly to further minimize the reflection.

Jim and Dustin tested yesterday to see if using a polarizer will cut out the reflection on glasses and found out that it does minimize the glare, although it is not a panacea.

[26:28] A listener asks how to follow the rule of thirds when his camera doesn't have focus points that lie on the intersection of the third lines

Dustin empathizes with the caller because Canon cameras notoriously don't have many focus points.  He suggests focusing and recomposing.

[28:10] A listener asks how to do lighting for food photography

Dustin says he likes to use one simple flash and a Rogue Flashbender placed right above the food.  Jim said his setup is to use a white shoot-through umbrella backlighting the food and then put small white reflectors around the food to light up any undesirable shadows.  Jim and Dustin agree that the best way to get started in food photography is simply to use a large window as a light source and then fill in shadows with reflectors.

[32:00]  A listener asks how to make the subject comfortable during a shoot

Dustin says clients are like dogs–they can smell fear.  If you decide to be confident in your shoot and have fun, it will do far more to help the model feel comfortable than anything else.

Jim often jumps in the place of the model and does silly poses during the shoot to give the shoot a lighter feeling so the model doesn't feel afraid.

Dustin and Jim both agree that it is very important to show photos to the subject during the shoot.  This has been key to how they work with models in the studio.

[38:00] The Improve Photography Minute

Improve Photography is doing a photography contest on their Facebook fan page beginning on Monday, November 12.  The theme is “Shallow Depth-of-Field.”  You can enter by posting your photo to the facebook wall any time after Monday.  The winner will win a Lensbaby Spark.

[39:35] Doodad of the week

Jim recommends the Microsoft Camera Codec Pack so that you can see a jpeg preview of the RAW files on your PC.  This speeds up finding an image on your hard drive dramatically.  You can download it for free.  Jim learned about this updated to the Codec Pack with new camera profiles on the TWiP Podcast.

Dustin recommends the Canon 6D, a new and relatively inexpensive full-frame camera.

[43:00]  How to win a free Online Photography Class

The winner from this last week was Heather Seldomridge.  She should email Jim and Dustin at [email protected] to redeem.

Anyone who submits a review of the podcast this week on iTunes will be entered to win an online photography class from ImprovePhotography.com.  Go to the podcast on iTunes and write a quick review in order to enter.  While Jim and Dustin really appreciate 5-star reviews, ANY review will get you entered in the contest.

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