A Guide to Taking Majestic Wide-Angle Tree Photos

Trees are one of the most majestic living things on our planet; capable of growing centuries old, these silent sentinels stand in one spot and watch the ages go by, capturing their grandeur is something that every nature photographer should know how to do. There are several things that one must keep in mind when capturing a tree’s photo, in order to capture them in all their glory, you need to have a wide-angle lens and you need to know how you are going to use it.

Envisioning Your Shot

The first step to taking the perfect photograph is to know what you want to capture in the photo. When it comes to taking majestic pictures of trees, there are a lot of examples that one can look at in order to figure out what they want their shot to look like. The Lord of The Rings trilogy is one of the best movies to go to when looking for tree shot ideas, the movie is abundant with forest areas and valley brimming with trees. Since the movie itself is set in a fantasy land, the trees visible in every scene are captured in a manner that makes them look incredibly grand and timeless.

Apart from the movie, you can also find great examples and ideas for tree shots in video game artwork and more, one thing that you might notice when going through photographs of trees is that in order to get that infinitely timeless and majestic feel, almost every shot is taken from a low angle.

Finding The Right Place

Once you have figured out what you want to do to make your tree shots as majestic as possible, the next step is to find a spot where you can feel the atmosphere that you want to catch, unfortunately not all of us live near to or in the middle of old forests and jungles. You should keep in mind the lighting, the shape of the tree’s branches and the background as well, the denser the tree canopy and the number of trees in the area, the more you will be able to make your photos better.

Beech trees are a great subject for practicing your tree shots on, their natural shape brings about a creepy and ominous look in them, old and towering oak trees and silver birches also look great, however you should not just restrict yourself to these trees, any tree that has an old look to it should work fine.

Search The Web For Spectacular Trees

Thanks to modern development and excessive deforestation, it is becoming harder and harder to find trees that have that centuries-old look to them, if you are having a hard time finding huge trees then it is not your fault. Fortunately, we can pretty much find anything on the internet, this includes pictures and locations of trees that are picture worthy. You can find an interactive map that pinpoints the locations of some of the best-looking trees in the world at Monumental Trees; a website that is dedicated to recognizing the everlasting beauty of nature. You can also find details about every tree that is listed on this website.

Lighting

Lighting is what makes or breaks the atmosphere in any shot. When it comes to capturing tree shots you are going to want to make the most out of the lighting in the area so that your picture becomes atmospherically rich. The best time to take tree photos is early in the morning, right when the sun begins to rise; at this time, the sun’s rays penetrate the foliage at just the right angle and reflect all the moisture in the area, creating a misty effect and (if you are lucky enough) god rays, also known as crepuscular rays.

A combination of mist in the air and god rays brings an incredibly ethereal touch to your photos, instantly transforming and augmenting the atmosphere of the shot that you are capturing.

Getting The Right Angle

To make the most out of the lighting and to signify the size of the tree that you are going to capture, you need to really get in close to the tree and get as low as possible, think of it as taking a picture from a mouse’s perspective. You need to keep in mind two things when getting your angle ready; the foreground of your picture should peak the viewer’s interest and the background should be brighter.

A helpful tip for better angling would be to get so close to the tree that you will have a hard time focusing on the ground foliage, this will make the ground plants look slightly blurry, allowing them to add to the picture’s atmosphere without taking attention away from the tree.

Setting Up Your Camera

It goes without saying that you are going to have your camera set to manual mode to get the shot that you want, you should start by setting your camera’s focus to be as sharp as possible, this can be done by setting your aperture to f/22 and point your wide-angle lens in a way that the subject comes in a third of your frame. Keep in mind that with your aperture set to f/22, you are going to have to deal with diffraction which will reduce the sharpness of your image, the best way to deal with this problem is to make use of focus stacking as well.

If you are going to use aperture priority mode then you are going to want to set your aperture to f/6.3 and then manually set your focus ring to the minimum focusing distance, now take a look at your exposure amount, keeping in mind that it should not be too bright. A darker image will mean more atmosphere, if you are trying to take a picture on a windy day then you can set your ISO to a higher number in order to capture swaying leaves better.

Also, remember that these settings are not going to be easy to set, take your time and twiddle with your camera till you find the perfect combination, every time you set your exposure you are going to want to rotate your focus ring a bit further and then repeat everything again. The number of times you are going to have to do this will depend on the focal length of your camera.

Reviewing Your Shots

Unless you have a camera with a tilting screen, you are going to find reviewing your photos to be quite painstaking, the best you can do is take multiple shots and then review them at once, the more you will practice the better you will become at getting better photos based on estimates and guesswork.

Overview

Overall, in order to master tree photography that captures trees in a majestic and ethereal manner, you need to have a wide-angle lens, other lenses can work as well but a wide-angle lens produces better results.

You will also need to get in as close as possible to get the right feeling, however, the closer you get to a subject the harder it becomes to get the right amount of focus and exposure. Through practice, you will be able to develop a “feel” for capturing photos at odd angles such as these.

Also, timing is key if you want to have the lighting on your side, trees look their best right when the sun rises.

Having a camera with a tilting screen will help, and if you are having a hard time finding the right place to capture your photos, go online for help, you are bound to find a good looking tree or two with the help of websites such as Monumental Trees.

How to Unpixelate a Picture

how to unpixelate a picture

Removing Unwanted Pixels From Your Pictures

Your computer’s screen is made up of these tiny things called pixels. What these pixels do is that they light up in certain color combinations in the background to form the images you see on your screen at any time. A lot of notable video games have pixelated graphics that give them their charm; we’re sure that Nintendo’s classic Super Mario Bros rings a bell to most of you. These pixelated graphic effects might look all cool and colorful in games, but if you’re dealing with digital images, the last thing you’d ever want to see are heavily pixelated areas.

Fortunately, some very handy tools come with Adobe Photoshop specifically to counter pixilation on images. You can use these tools to tweak the image till it’s all smooth to look at and this article will walk you through how to unpixelate a picture.

The first thing that you need to do is to launch the Photoshop program from your desktop; once that’s done, head on over to the ‘file’ tab on the top left-hand side of the screen and hit the option that says ‘Open.’ You can now find the file that you want to import into Photoshop and work with. Next, you need to turn the image into a layer, which can be done by double-clicking on the option that says image background, it will be under the ‘layers’ tab.

Now you need to blur the image by selecting the ‘blur’ tool from the left-hand side toolbar; this tool will look like a water dropper once selected. Now move to the top and adjust the size and shape of your brush according to your picture, from the panel right under the Menu bar.

Next, you’ll want to return to your trusty toolbar and find this option that looks like two overlapping box shapes; open the dialogue window for ‘foreground’ by double-clicking on the first box and then apply the blur to the color of the picture that you need to change, using the dropper tool. Once you’ve selected the color that you’re working with, you can hit ‘ok’ and head over to the next step.

Use your blur dropper tool to soften every pixelated edge you can find on your image and then head on over to the ‘filter’ option under ‘blur’ and choose the option that reads ‘Gaussian Blur’; this will immediately soften out that pixelated mess. And voila, that’s it – you did it!

How To Blur Out Someone’s Face in a Photo?

You’ve learned how you can use the blur option to smooth out harsh pixelated areas in images but that’s not all blur is good for. It’s safe to say that we all know someone who ends up being in a nice photo but doesn’t want their face to appear to strange audience on Facebook. It’s understandable which is why it’s a good idea to respect their privacy and just blur out their face from the image altogether. At other times, you might want to create that cool macro focus effect where one person’s face is the focal point on the image and the rest are blurred and out of focus in the backdrop.

The good news is that the Adobe Photoshop program lets you get creative with all kinds of effects and has many tools that can help you achieve both of these blur effects in such a way that it’s hard to tell if the image is photoshopped or just skilfully shot. Here’s what you have to do.

Open your Photoshop program and go over to file and choose your photo from the ‘open’ option again.

Navigate to the toolbar on the left-hand side of your window and select the tool that reads ‘Rectangle Marquee Too’; you can also auto-select this tool by hitting ‘M’ on your keyboard. Drag the tool over the target’s face in the photo to create a box that goes down halfway to the scruff of their neck.

Next, you want to head to ‘filter’ and then choose the option that says ‘pixelate.’ Now click on the ‘mosaic’ option to open a window that allows you to adjust the ‘cell size’; this will blur that person’s face, and you can adjust it till you find the right kind of blur. Once that’s done, and you’re happy with the results, you can click ‘ok’ and return to your picture. That’s pretty much it – oh and be sure to save the new image with a newer title, so you don’t accidentally overwrite the original image.

How to Get The Best Price From Clients

When you are approached by somebody that wants to hire you as a photographer, there are a number of different things that you need to take into account. Setting an ideal price that you would like your client to pay is quite important, but how exactly are you supposed to go about the process of setting a price in the first place?

Well, there are a few questions that you would do well to ask. These questions are all highly professional. You might feel slightly unnerved by the prospect of being this blunt with a potential client, but you need to realize that at the end of the day the only thing that really matters is finding a customer that would take you seriously.

If the client you end up working with responds to your questions as positively as possible, you can rest assured that they would be a good fit for you in the long run. After all, there is nothing worse than working for a bad client. The questions that have been provided below are a good way for you to weed out those customers who are going to be a hassle to deal with later on. Basically, if the clients that are approaching you refuse to answer these questions or give answers that you are not comfortable with, you would have a good reason to not work with them and still maintain your professional reputation.

What Are The Specific Image Requirements?

  • Shoot Style

Shoots are not all going to be easy. There are certain styles that are more complicated than others. What does your client want? Do they want a black and white photo shoot? There are a lot of different things that you have to look into for each shoot style, so make sure they answer this question.

  • Number of Photos Needed

Each photo you take is going to require some level of effort on your part. This is why you should try your best to find out in advance how many photos are necessary. You can offer discounts for multiple easy photos since they would not require as much prep time.

  • Client’s Intended Usage

This is highly vital. If your customer is taking headshots for a big company, your prices should obviously go up because your name will be attached to the pictures. Remember, once a price has been set you will have to stick with it for a long time, so setting a higher price early on will be quite beneficial for you.

  • Charge Extra For Retouching

A lot of clients are going to ask you to retouch photos after they have been taken. Ask them if this would be the case and inform them that extra charges are going to apply for such additional services.

  • Deadline

If you are going to be working on a tight deadline, you should try your best to get a better price for it. Emergency work can be quite stressful. It is up to you to make sure that you get adequate compensation for your efforts.

Other Participants in The Shoot

  • Work Ethic of Models

Nothing is worse than having to deal with the temper tantrums of unprofessional models. You as the photographer are going to be responsible for dealing with these tantrums, and they can really slow down your work process, preventing you from getting things done on time. Research the models your client has to see if they would be difficult and charge more if this is the case.

  • Other Creative Participants

Working with other creative people can be a real hassle because you would have to work around their artistic preferences as well as your own. You should be wary of things like this because clients tend to offer lower payment for projects where multiple creatives are involved.

Shoot Location

If you have to shoot photographs at a difficult location where there is a lot of wind or where you would have to deal with unpleasant climates, your price should naturally go up as well.

General Questions

  • Will Equipment Be Provided?

If the client is providing you with high-quality equipment that you can use, you can lower your price. Keep your price the same if you have to deal with lugging your own gear along.

  • Payment Timing

Be wary of clients that don’t offer to pay a slight advance. If your client says that you are going to have to wait for payment, reject them if they are not trustworthy but if they are trustworthy tell them that this would make the price go up. After all, you are going to need some kind of incentive to do a job where payment would be late.

The Art of Constructing a Plan B

One of the most important aspects of being a photographer is creating a backup plan that would ensure that one’s artistic vision has a higher chance of coming to fruition. This is because you don’t really know what could happen in the process of you taking your photographs. That being said, backup plans are often not as thorough as they need to be. Your backup plans require a great deal of forward thinking, so it is important that you have a backup plan for them to boot. This would ensure that you do not end up missing out on any opportunities while you are out making your artistic vision a reality. Basically, you need to develop the sort of personality that can think on its toes.

One great book that you can read to understand the art of making a plan B a little bit better is the 1940 text published by the philosopher Jean Paul-Sartre. This book is called “Being and Nothingness ” and it is basically a discussion of a broad range of philosophical ideas that center around the concept of “bad faith”. What this entails is the acknowledgment that what you believe is the result of societal stimuli rather than free will. In order to understand this in this context, certain ideas need to be pulled from this text. The fundamental idea that this book offers in this regard is the idea that we don’t have the ability to recover from bad situations.

As an artist, you have probably been in situations where your initial plan failed, and your plan B ended up failing as well, leaving you in a precarious position where you would have to think on your toes and develop a plan on the spot. If you are not good at improvising, this can cause you to freeze up and not quite know how to react to the situation at hand.

The Philosophy of Backup Plans

There is a way for you to develop a work process that would take into account as many different points of view and possibilities as possible. In order to understand this ideal work process, we must once again delve into the world of philosophy. It offers a multitude of ideas that apply to all areas of life, which means that your photography can benefit from it a great deal as well.

The philosopher that we are going to be discussing at this juncture is the stoic named Seneca. Seneca once wrote a letter in which he described the dangers of relying on our expectations. He explained how we define our reality in false ways, relying on perceptions that have been molded by outside influences rather than our own desires to pursue our hopes and dreams.

Basically, the ideal way for you to ensure that your plan works out for you, in the long run, is to calm down, take a breath and see how you can change the situation to bring it to your advantage. Things go wrong all the time, you need to rely on yourself rather than what society tells you that you can count on. After all, you are a capable and professional photographer, one that has the ability to do some pretty amazing things. Don’t make excuses and focus on your art at all times and things will always work out in the end.

Is Watermarking Effective And Necessary?

One of the biggest debates that occur between members of the photography community involves watermarks. You see, watermarks are an important part of the photography process because they help you maintain the rights to images you have taken, but there is a large section of the photography community that takes umbrage with the practice of using watermarks. They feel like it compromises artistic integrity and turns the art of taking photographs into a purely commercial endeavor.

If you are looking for a personal opinion, mine is that watermarks are a good idea if they are simple enough to not overshadow the image itself and not appear completely obnoxious. The reason that I feel like this is a good idea is that people steal images on the internet with alarming frequency. By adding a watermark, you can at least ensure that you would know when and where your images are being used. Artists have been adding signatures to their work for hundreds of years, this is a similar kind of signature for you.

Now, with that being said, it is important to understand that watermarks can often be incredibly obnoxious. A lot of photographers add watermarks that are very ostentatious to the point where you would get distracted from the photograph itself because the watermark obscures it in some way. All it takes is putting some thought into your watermark instead of applying one randomly.

One thing that you should keep in mind is that black and white images are particularly dangerous to add watermarks to. This is because black and white photography is all about subtlety and style, it is about using shadows to accentuate certain objects in a way that would ensure that all attention is placed on the right ideas. Nothing would destroy that kind of dynamic more than a watermark because it is by its very definition something that draws attention to itself. The most common mistake that people make here is that they add colored watermarks to their images. This is terrible because it destroys the black and white aesthetic of your art.

Basically, what you need to do is create a watermark that is visible but not overly so. A good way to ensure that your watermark is as subtle as possible is to make it fairly translucent. Opaque watermarks are the dictionary definition of tactlessness. When you have the opportunity to make things visible without ruining their overall quality, why would you do something as silly as making your watermark opaque? Besides, art has a way of getting recognition without a watermark.

How to Take Great Pictures During The Day

As a photographer, you can either love or hate the daytime. A lot of photographers tend to enjoy daytime photography quite a bit because it would allow them to take advantage of the golden hour, a time of the day when all photographs look absolutely stunning. Photographers also appreciate the fact that during the day you have potential stretches of time where you would get phenomenal lighting that you can’t reproduce unless you have ridiculously expensive equipment and the patience to wait for specific situations where you would gain access to this kind of lighting.

On the other hand, there are a lot of people that hate the idea of their photography being subject to something that is not under their control. Artists tend to be very obsessive and controlling, and during the day you usually don’t have any option apart from waiting for the right moment. There is also the fact that the clouds can make or break your picture, and you would be subject to their movements. After all, as glorious as clouds can look in a picture, it is also important to note that you might not be going for that kind of vibe.

Hence, you need to learn to adapt to the way things are. As a photographer, it is your responsibility to make the best of the situation, because paying clients are going to want results no matter what. There are several ways for you to make the most of daylight conditions, and if you practice enough you will find yourself craving daylight because you would have become so adept at manipulating it!

One example of a situation where the light might not be on your side is to take into account the model’s skin tone or the color of the clothes she is wearing. Having the model block out the sun in your shot can create some powerful images with lighter skinned models, and you can use more direct sunlight the darker the model’s skin tone is. It is important that you learn to manipulate the sunlight to your advantage. A common problem that occurs in such situations involves sun gazing shots. These shots are always in high demand, but the problem here is that the model can end up squinting which would not look very good at all. Framing the picture in such a way that the model can tilt her head without looking directly at the sun can help you overcome this problem with ease.

However, these techniques all involve golden hour photo shoots. Any photographer would know that golden hour photo shoots are not always going to be possible. There are going to be times when you would have a photo shoot scheduled at a time like noon, and this is really going to be inconvenient because noon light is quite abrasive and can saturate all of your pictures. Thankfully, there is a way for you to handle this situation with ease. All you have to do is take your model into a shaded area. This shaded area would still be fairly brightly lit due to the noon sun, but it would not be so bright as to make your contrast settings useless. If you are worried about getting adequate lighting, try to get a white wall in the background. This would provide sufficient reflection which would allow for top notch shots to be taken in spite of the daylight conditions.

A way to further improve conditions during daylight is to make the daylight work for you. Reflectors are a good place to start because they can allow you to focus the light into spots that need it more than others. The Flexfill Collapsible Reflector is excellent for such purposes. It has a gold side if you want yellow tinged, sharp light as well as a white surface if the light you need is a bit on the softer side. Further softer light can be acquired through the use of diffusion scrims. These sheets of fabric break the light apart, diffusing it in such a way that the intensity of the light is reduced without providing any actual shade, thus helping you emulate golden hour conditions without actually having to wait for that particular period of time.

There are situations where none of these techniques would work, however. On a windy day, for example, your scrims and reflectors might end up being useless because you would not be able to make them stay in place. In such situations you might be tempted to call the whole shoot off, but rather than making such a drastic decision you should consider going for something a little more practical like using strobes. Strobe lights can really change the lighting dynamic in your pictures, making them excellent tools for you to look into. The main benefit of strobes is that you can emulate studio conditions in the great outdoors. A lot of photographers prefer studio conditions after all. That being said, it is important to note that a lot of the time strobe lighting would diffuse oddly in outdoor conditions which can be quite unflattering to your model.

As a photographer, you are going to have to improve your daylight photography skills. If you love daylight photography, but only in the golden hour, you have to become a great deal more versatile if you want to succeed. Additionally, if you prefer the studio setting, you are going to have to come to terms with the fact that you won’t get that type of setting at all times. If you want to turn your photography passion into a viable career, you will have to learn how to make the daylight work for you. As can be plainly seen above, there are so many techniques available for you to use that there is absolutely no reason for you to worry about how you are going to improve your abilities as a daylight photographer.

How to Share Photographing Duties With a Videographer

Photographers occupy a unique space in the artistic community. We tend to have more paid opportunities than a lot of musicians and painters, and these paid opportunities tend to be less soul crushing than those that other creative individuals would have to put themselves through. Hence, we tend to be rather protective of our territory and are often chagrined when we have to share our duties with someone else.

Unfortunately, in the world of photography, there are going to be several instances where you would have to work alongside another person with a camera in their hands. This is because videographers are often hired separately, and you two would have to work together to handle the task at hand in the best way possible. Since we are talking about a creative clash between two highly territorial artists, things can get pretty hairy. Luckily, there are ways for you two to work together without being at each other’s throats the whole time. Read on to get some tips on how to make this cooperation as easy as possible.

Communication

Whether you like it or not, you are going to be working with the videographer for a significant period of time. If you want this period of time to be as productive as possible for the both of you, it is important that you open a line of communication.

One thing is for certain, neither of you is going to be all that eager to start introductions off. However, it is absolutely imperative that introductions actually occur, so it might as well be you that takes this all important first step.

Try to be as cordial as possible. Start off with your name, tell them you’re the photographer, mention how the two of you would be working together. Who knows, if you are friendly enough the two of you might become friends. After all, you are both in similar fields, so there is base for you to build on.

Exchange Ideas

As an artist, planning is one of the most important aspects of your creative process. Hence, while you may be unwilling to change things up for somebody else, you need to realize that the other person is just as ardent about their creative process as well. Hence, the two of you need to exchange ideas, decide on an aesthetic and then follow it. You can meet halfway and create a game plan that would be suitable for everyone involved.

Decide on Your Turfs

Just because you have to work together does not mean you have to be close to each other at all times. You can just set aside space for each other according to your needs! For example, you can take pictures of the guests on one side while the videographer focuses on the food for a little while. This way you won’t be getting in each other’s way, and each of you would be able to work according to your preferences.