Canon 5D Mark II

A Week of Storytelling: Day 6 – Lose the Background

Photograph © Rick Sammon. All rights reserved.
Canon 5D Mark II. Canon 24-105mm lens.

It’s Day 6 of Storytelling Week here on my blog. Each day, I’ll share a photography tip illustrated with one of my favorite photographs that I took this past April at the Sister’s Meal Festival in the province of Guizhou southwest China.

The idea of this weeklong project: When you go to an event, on the other side of the world or the other side of town, try to “tell the whole story” with your pictures.

Today’s tip: Lose the background.

As illustrated in the first post in this series of posts on storytelling, events can be packed with people – subjects that can ruin a picture be creating a distracting background.

One way to lose a distracting background is to get down low and shot upward, as I did here.

When shooting upward, you may need a flash, especially if your background is the sky.

Another technique to blur the background is to use a telephoto lens set at a wide aperture.

Yet another technique is to blur the background. One method is to use Bokeh from Alien Skin. Check out this way-cool plug-in. Click here.

Want more travel photo info? My current app, 24/7 Photo Buffet, offers dozens of photo tips for photographers on the go – even HDR photographers.

Explore the light,
Rick

P.S. Shoot me an email if you are interested in joining my 2011 China workshops. I will have some guest pros leading some workshops, too. Email me: Rick Sammon at mac.com

A Week of Storytelling: Day 4 – Use Daylight Fill-in Flash

Photograph © Rick Sammon. All rights reserved.
Canon 5D Mark II. Canon 24-105mm lens.

It’s Day 4 of Storytelling Week here on my blog. Each day, I’ll share a photography tip illustrated with one of my favorite photographs that I took this past April at the Sister’s Meal Festival in the province of Guizhou in southwest China.

The idea of this weeklong project: When you go to an event, on the other side of the world or the other side of town, try to “tell the whole story” with your pictures.

Today’s tip: Use daylight fill-in flash.


When the subject’s face is shaded, either by a beautiful headdress or a banged-up football helmet, you’ll need to use a flash to illuminate the subject’s face. In some cases, you can get a good exposure if you turn on your flash and set your camera to one of the automatic modes: P, Av or Tv.

However, you will have more control if you set your camera to the manual mode and use an accessory flash, as I did here for this photograph of a Miao woman.

For precise flash control, you’ll need an accessory flash with variable flash output, which let’s you add more or less light (from your flash) than when set to the automatic mode.

Click here for an in-depth article I wrote on fill flash.

Want more travel photo info? My current app, 24/7 Photo Buffet, offers dozens of photo tips for photographers on the go – even HDR photographers.

Shoot me an email if you are interested in joining my 2011 China workshops. I will have some guest pros leading some workshops, too. Email me: Rick Sammon at mac.com

Explore the Light,
Rick

Behind the Scenes at the Sister's Meal Festival: Where's Rick?

I hope you have enjoyed my Storytelling posts this week. More to come.

One of my workshop participants, Kate Faust, just sent this behind-the-scenes picture of me photographing at the Sister's Meal Festival.

Can you find me? Hints: blue shirt, black hat and holding my camera/flash above the crowd to get a shot.

I am sharing this image with you so you can see just how challenging it was to get a clean shot.

Explore the light,
Rick

A Week of Storytelling: Day 2 – Make the Background a Part of Your Picture

Photograph © Rick Sammon. All rights reserved.
Canon 5D Mark II. Canon 24-105mm lens.

It’s Day 2 of Storytelling Week here on my blog. Each day, I’ll share a photography tip illustrated with one of my favorite photographs that I took this past April at the Sister’s Meal Festival in the province of Guizhou in southwest China.

The idea of this weeklong project: When you go to an event, on the other side of the world or on the other side of town, try to “tell the whole story” with your pictures.

Today’s tip: Make the background a part of your picture.

Those of you who have been on my workshops and who have attended my seminars know one of my favorite expressions: The name of the game is to fill the frame.

Filling the frame does not always mean that you need to fill the frame with the main subject.

In this picture, the woman working on a silver ornament is the main subject. I have a full-frame shot of her, but I prefer this that shows her co-workers in the background because it tells more of a story.

To get everything in the scene like this in focus, use a wide-angle lens, small aperture, and focus 1/3 into the scene.

Want more travel photo info? My current app, 24/7 Photo Buffet, offers a wealth of photo tips for photographers on the go – even HDR photographers.

Rick

P.S. Shoot me an email if you are interested in joining my 2011 China workshops. I will have some guest pros leading some workshops, too. Email me: Rick Sammon at mac.com

A Week of Storytelling: Day 1 – Shoot Wide

Photograph © Rick Sammon. All rights reserved.
Canon 5D Mark II. Canon 15mm lens.

It’s Day 1 of Storytelling Week here on my blog. Each day, I’ll share a photography tip illustrated with one of my favorite photographs that I took this past April at the Sister’s Meal Festival in the province of Ghizhou in southwest China.

The idea of this week long project: When you go to an event, on the other side of the world or on the other side of town, try to “tell the whole story” with your pictures.

Today’s tip: Capture the wide view.

You need at least one wide-angle shot to tell the story of an event. Here I used my 15mm full-frame fish-eye lens to capture an extremely wide view of the festival. When using a fish-eye lens, run your eyes around the edges of your frame to check your composition. You don’t want your shoes in the picture – in most cases.

When composing your picture, include a foreground element in the scene to add a sense of depth to your image. Use a small f-stop to get the entire scene in focus.

Watch the background, which can make or break the scene. Here, I composed the picture carefully so that the hill in the background filled the top of the frame.

For this shot, I held the camera above my head and tilted it downward. When using this technique, the Live View feature really helps with composition.

Want more travel photo info? My current app, 24/7 Photo Buffet, offers dozens of photo tips for photographers on the go – even HDR photographers.

Explore the light,
Rick

P.S. Shoot me an email if you are interested in joining my 2011 China workshops. I will have some guest pros leading some workshops, too. Email me: Rick Sammon at mac.com