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9 Tips for Taking Great Family Portraits
Articale by Tsh

Here are some ways to make the entire family photo experience a positive one:

1. Schedule the photo shoot when kids are at their happiest. Usually, at least for little ones, this means 5 to 6 p.m. is not the best time.  You can’t always get the time you want, but if you have any control over this aspect at all, I highly recommend working your appointment around your kiddos’ routines.

2. That said – lighting is important, so you may have to be flexible.  Bright, high noon sunshine is not ideal, so oftentimes, photographers prefer to shoot outdoor photos either in the morning or just before dusk.  You might have to go with the flow and let your kids’ schedule be a bit different that day.

Read more: 9 Tips for Taking Great Family Portraits

Situate yourself at a table with a bright overhead light or gooseneck desk lamp. Set your camera so that it is in sensor cleaning mode with the sensor exposed. (Some cameras require that they be plugged into AC power for this). Using either a hand blower bulb or a CO2 blower gently blow away any lose visible dust. If you have a jewler's eye loup this can be helpful in seeing what you're doing. Don't over do it with blowing, and don't let anything touch the sensor. Never blow into the camera with your mouth.
Next, remove a swab from its sealed pouch and place a couple of drops of Eclipse fluid on the pad. Starting at one side of the sensor glass gently but firmly wipe across the glass from one side to the other. Only lift the pad once you reach the far side. If you have a full-frame sensor camera and the pad isn't wide enough to cover in one pass, turn it over, wet it again with a couple of drops of Eclipse, and do a pass over the other half of the sensor, overlapping the first part slightly.
Use the blower to clean off any stray particles that may have floated in during cleaning, and close the shutter.
Testing
The only way to tell if your cleaning efforts have been effective is to take a test shot. Place a lens on the camera, turn off autofocus, and set the aperture to f/11 or f/16. Take a shot of a white card (the back of a print will do) with the exposure set to 2 stops over the camera's reading.
Plug the card into your computer and load the file into Photoshop. Working in JPG mode makes this a faster process than working in RAW mode. Go to 100% magnification (actual pixels) and examine the image. You will likely see a scary amount of dust. Don't be discouraged. The chances are that you'll rarely see these in real-world images. Only be concerned about the really big stuff. If that's still there, try the process over again.
Try not to get too neurotic about this. My suggestion is that that you only clean the sensor when it gets really dirty. Cloning away minor dust blobs when they are visible only takes a few seconds in Photoshop. If your sensor gets really nasty consider sending it to the manufactruer's repair center for professional cleaning. Don't scrub!
Situate yourself at a table with a bright overhead light or gooseneck desk lamp. Set your camera so that it is in sensor cleaning mode with the sensor exposed. (Some cameras require that they be plugged into AC power for this). Using either a hand blower bulb or a CO2 blower gently blow away any lose visible dust. If you have a jewler's eye loup this can be helpful in seeing what you're doing. Don't over do it with blowing, and don't let anything touch the sensor. Never blow into the camera with your mouth.
Next, remove a swab from its sealed pouch and place a couple of drops of Eclipse fluid on the pad. Starting at one side of the sensor glass gently but firmly wipe across the glass from one side to the other. Only lift the pad once you reach the far side. If you have a full-frame sensor camera and the pad isn't wide enough to cover in one pass, turn it over, wet it again with a couple of drops of Eclipse, and do a pass over the other half of the sensor, overlapping the first part slightly.
Use the blower to clean off any stray particles that may have floated in during cleaning, and close the shutter.


TestingThe only way to tell if your cleaning efforts have been effective is to take a test shot. Place a lens on the camera, turn off autofocus, and set the aperture to f/11 or f/16. Take a shot of a white card (the back of a print will do) with the exposure set to 2 stops over the camera's reading.
Plug the card into your computer and load the file into Photoshop. Working in JPG mode makes this a faster process than working in RAW mode. Go to 100% magnification (actual pixels) and examine the image. You will likely see a scary amount of dust. Don't be discouraged. The chances are that you'll rarely see these in real-world images. Only be concerned about the really big stuff. If that's still there, try the process over again.
Try not to get too neurotic about this. My suggestion is that that you only clean the sensor when it gets really dirty. Cloning away minor dust blobs when they are visible only takes a few seconds in Photoshop. If your sensor gets really nasty consider sending it to the manufactruer's repair center for professional cleaning. Don't scrub!

How To Use Visual Focal Points To Enhance Your Photography

Articale by David Peterson

Visual focal points are everywhere in great photography and art. It’s impossible to produce outstanding images oneredapplewithout them. The funny thing about visual focal points is that you don’t even know they are there. They simply tie everything together and make you say “WOW.” But if you’re going to take your photography to the next level, you will want to know how to spot them and create them in your own work. Are you ready to know how?

Read more: How To Use Visual Focal Points To Enhance Your Photography

I will give a description of the package I go out with and which in my opinion are ideal. I also think I carry to much on my vehicle when setting out on a trip in an open vehicle to photograph.

Canon package.

Canon 1DMIII - This is a pro camera and gives me the shutter speed I need if the action happens.

To this I will attach my 300F 2.8 canon lens or my sigma 120-300 2.8

Canon 1DsMIII Full frame and excellent image quality. I will normally attach my 500F4 lens to this camera.

I will also normally take a 70-200 2.8 lens with as well as a 1.4 convertor and a 580ex flash with flash cord.

A canon 17-40 lens is also normally stowed in my bag for landscape shots.

 

Nikon pckage

Nikon D3 with my Nikon 200-400 lens which is very versatile. A 1.4 convertor sometimes is also attached.

Nikon D300 with a Nikon 70-200 2.8 lens

Nikon D700 with the 14-24 2.8 lens.

SB900 flash is also kept in the bag.

 

Additional items in my bag:

Small torch  - For night work

Spare CF cards

Spare batteries.