Low Light Photography Class – Products Discussed

Low Light Photography Class – Products Discussed

In Part 1 of our photography class, “A Focus On Gear”, we discussed many different products and how to evaluate what will work best for your needs. As promised, here are a list of products and brands that I’ve used over the years, and some comments on each.

Part 1: A Focus On Gear

A Good Tripod (doesn’t have to be expensive)

Your class discussed the trade-offs of features-vs-price for a new tripod. You can buy a very light tripod that is very sturdy, or one that is useless. The only
way to know if a tripod will work for you is to read the specs and try the tripod out yourself. Here are several brands I have used.

  • Manfrotto – One of the tripods I currently use. Typically higher quality brand, sells complete kits or legs and head separately.
  • Slik – Many years ago, I had one similar to Slik Pro 500HD. Was very happy with it, but the kit did not come with a “ball head”. A good budget tripod if you get one of their good models, they also sell “cheap” pods too.
  • MeFoto – Fairly light, decent tripod. Folds up for travel.

A Trigger / Remote

Triggers allow you to fire the shutter w/out touching the camera and causing unwanted camera shake. Triggers can be complicated or extremely simple.

These triggers are examples for CANON. Triggers are camera-specific, make sure and get one for your specific camera manufacturer and model!

A Good Lens

In class, we talked about “fast lenses”, lenses that have extra-wide apertures to allow in more light. There are several very expensive models on the market, but
a good place to start is the 50mm Prime (in one of our other classes, the 50mm is listed as “a lens everyone should own”). Here are several options.
Note, these are Canon lenses, but all other makers have similar 50mm options.

  • Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L
    ($1,500) Canon’s best 50mm option, an “L” series professional lens.
  • Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
    ($350) This is what I use. It is preferred by many hobby and professional photographers. A workhorse lens for lowlight and wide apertures photography.
  • Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II
    ($100) A reasonable option for low light photography, however it does not feature the better glass and build quality of the other two lenses. The
    lens body is plastic, making it lighter — but also makes it prone to breaking.
Joe Lippeatt is a User Experience Engineer, Front End Specialist and Application Developer for 24Moves Consulting. He is also the organizer of HoustonPhotowalks.com Photography Club. When not working, he’s enjoying planning photography trips and helping his wife and son work in their gardens.
Photography Travel Packing List

Photography Travel Packing List

Checklists are lifesavers. Checking a list can make sure you don’t arrive in Belize with a perfectly good camera and tripod — but no tripod quick release plate.

The 24Moves Photography Travel Packing List

About once a year, I update my photography checklist just before taking a photography trip. This year, I added a few additional checklist boxes to help make sure I remember some important details. For example:

  • CLEAN – a reminder to wipe memory cards and clean lenses
  • TEST – to make sure I’m not packing any heavy gear that is impossible to use
  • FULL BATTERY – its important to pack batteries, but charging them is pretty key too
  • CHARGER – once the battery is charged, pack the charger
  • BAGGAGE – a reminder of which items I can “check” and which I should “carry on”.

It’s not just a checklist!

The checklist also has room for your equipment serial numbers. Once you are all packed and ready to go, you can include the checklist with your important documents. If anything is lost or stolen, you have a ready-made inventory — including identifying digits — to provide authorities and/or your insurance company! You won’t have to wait until you get home to find serial numbers before calling to file a police report.

Bonus! It’s free!

Just like every year, I’m happy to make my check list available for friends, family and HoustonPhotowalks.com Members — anyone that can use it! So print it out and get to cleaning, charging and packing!

If you find this useful, post a comment to say hello and let me know!!

Bon Voyage!

Download the Packing Worksheet

Joe Lippeatt is a User Experience Engineer, Front End Specialist and Application Developer for 24Moves Consulting. He is also the organizer of HoustonPhotowalks.com Photography Club. When not working, he’s enjoying planning photography trips and helping his wife and son work in their gardens.
Class: 12 MORE Ways to Improve your Photography

Class: 12 MORE Ways to Improve your Photography

In this class, we will walk through and examine 12 MORE examples of photography techniques that can bring out the “WOW” in your photographs! These workshops build on each other, so you must have taken the first class to attend this one.

Introduction

One of the coolest things about the social group photography experience is seeing how other people record their experience at the same location. We often say “wow, wish I had thought to take that perspective!” or “I didn’t see that!”.

So as humans that enjoy the creature comfort of habit, we have to break our cycle of photography techniques and try new techniques to get that next amazing shot.

About The Class

This is NOT a “what gear you should buy next” class.

All of the techniques we will discuss will be something you can use at your very next shoot or photowalk. You can make beautiful photographs with the gear you already own!!

As photographers, we have all trained ourselves to “see” and photograph a certain way, often after years of practicing specific techniques. Habits are hard to break, so we’ll focus on 12 things you can do to force yourself to make photographs that are completely different.

Some of these techniques will focus on how you handle and use your gear differently. We will also discuss composition techniques, including technical issues you may encounter. And we will discuss how to avoid common issues that plague us as photographers, like “focus” and “noise”.

All of the sections in this class are specifically design to help you get the most interesting and creative images possible.

Summary: In this class, we will walk through and examine 12 different examples of photography techniques that can bring out the “WOW” in your photographs!
One-on-One: $129.00
Group (20 ppl): $25
Instructor: Joe Lippeatt
Bring to Class: Tripod, camera, lens(es), paper & pen, enthusiasm!
Length: 1-2 Hours
Group Classes Available at: HoustonPhotowalks
Skill Level Needed: Beginner – New to DSLR Photography, shoot only in Auto Mode
Class: 12 Ways to Improve your Photography (Camera 101)

Class: 12 Ways to Improve your Photography (Camera 101)

Interested in learning how to break away from “Auto” mode, and express your creativity by mastering more advanced modes?  In this class, we will walk through and examine 12 different examples of photography techniques that can bring out the “WOW” in your photographs!

Introduction

One of the coolest things about the social group photography experience is seeing how other people record their experience at the same location. We often say “wow, wish I had thought to take that perspective!” or “I didn’t see that!”.

So as humans that enjoy the creature comfort of habit, we have to break our cycle of photography techniques and try new techniques to get that next amazing shot.

About The Class

This is NOT a “what gear you should buy next” class.

All of the techniques we will discuss will be something you can use at your very next shoot or photowalk. You can make beautiful photographs with the gear you already own!!

As photographers, we have all trained ourselves to “see” and photograph a certain way, often after years of practicing specific techniques. Habits are hard to break, so we’ll focus on 12 things you can do to force yourself to make photographs that are completely different.

Some of these techniques will focus on how you handle and use your gear differently. We will also discuss composition techniques, including technical issues you may encounter. And we will discuss how to avoid common issues that plague us as photographers, like “focus” and “noise”.

All of the sections in this class are specifically design to help you get the most interesting and creative images possible.

  • Summary:  In this class, we will walk through and examine 12 different examples of photography techniques that can bring out the “WOW” in your photographs!
  • One-on-One: $129.00
  • Group (20 ppl):  $25
  • Instructor: Joe Lippeatt
  • Bring to Class: Tripod, camera, lens(es), paper & pen, enthusiasm!
  • Length: 1-2 Hours
  • Group Classes Available at:  HoustonPhotowalks
  • Skill Level Needed: Beginner – New to DSLR Photography, shoot only in Auto Mode
Class: Photographing Textures and Patterns

Class: Photographing Textures and Patterns

This class is about photographing textures that surround us!

As we begin to focus on the “Artistic”, we will have classes on several photographic techniques that are not frequently discussed. Photographing the textures that make up our lives is a very interesting and challenging way to practice using our cameras.

About Photographing Textures

Texture images, by themselves, are sometimes not terribly interesting without some post processing. However having an arsenal of texture images, and knowing how to photograph them when you find something interesting, are very important.

Capturing texture images reinforces photography concepts you already know, such as composition and lighting. It also challenges you to learn new skills that will help you in other areas as you grow.

For example, practicing and mastering hand-holding your camera, or level-shooting on a tripod for a well-balanced texture image are skills that relate directly to landscape and portrait photography.

Using Texture Photographs

Texture images can stand alone as primary art compositions. They can also be used as backgrounds and art placement for photoshop compositions. As we build our personal library of patterns, shapes and textures, our options for creating beautiful photoshop compositing grow.

Even without photoshop compositing, photographing the beautiful textures around us is a great way to grow in your photographic career and hobby.

About The Class

We will discuss common techniques for photographing textures, finding textures in unusual places, training your mind to “look” for photographic textures, and some discussion about how to post process. We’ll discuss techniques for large texture photography (shooting a brick wall) and macro texture (the crackled leaf). Did you know you can turn a regular, every-day 50mm lens into a macro lens?

Summary: Texture images, by themselves, are sometimes not terribly interesting without some post processing. However having an arsenal of texture images, and knowing how to photograph them when you find something interesting, are very important. Capturing texture images reinforces photography concepts you already know, such as composition and lighting. It also challenges you to learn new skills that will help you in other areas as you grow.
One-on-One: $129.00
Group (20 ppl): $25
Instructor: Joe Lippeatt
Bring to Class: tripod, camera, lens(es), paper & pen, enthusiasm!
Length: 2 Hours
Group Classes Available at: HoustonPhotowalks

Sharing Images on Facebook Groups (most bang per share)

Sharing Images on Facebook Groups (most bang per share)

Get the most out of your Facebook Image Posts (and keep from getting ignored)

As a member and admin of several Facebook groups, I see a lot (a LOT) of posted images. This often includes unintentional pitfalls, missed opportunities and non-preferred behavior by members who don’t understand their options (or etiquette). Here are some suggestions to help group members get the best possible results from image posts.

BTW, this posts comes with a couple of notes.

First, regardless of the advice below, follow the instructions of your Facebook group Admin(s). If they say do something that’s different than this article suggests, they are in charge, not me.

Next, the moment I publish this, Facebook will change it’s interface and all of this will go out the window. What can I do?

Group image posts

We post for exposure and comments. Many of us work on the economy of Kudos, some of us want to market our professional services. Either way, being an active and participating member in a group can certainly help.

To understand why there is etiquette when posting images in a group, you have to know three important details:

  • Group members may have “Notifications” enabled, meaning, they receive an email every time you upload a photo. Upload 15 images, they get 15 emails. This can lead some members to
    • leave the Facebook group thinking it’s too spammy
    • turn off notifications, reducing their participation level in the Facebook group
  • Your group posts represent you and your business, its part of your marketing and branding! So if you just finished your first 15 HDR image attempts and want critiques, upload 1 or 2 of the best ones, not the entire blurry mess.
  • Image and album management for Group Admin(s) isn’t terribly easy. For example, moving images from album to album is (currently) impossible.

Photo-posting (*sharing*) methods

Members usually post to Facebook groups in one of several ways:

  • Direct upload by clicking “Add Photo / Video” on the group’s main page
  • Direct upload by clicking “Add Photos” on a group’s album
  • Uploading to your personal timeline, and then “Sharing” to the group
  • Uploading a personal album, and then “Sharing” to the group
  • Uploading to your company/fan page, then “Sharing” to the group
  • Uploading an album on your company/fan page, then “Sharing” to the group

Each of these methods has different pros and cons. Instead of providing a specific method that will be successful in all situations, here is a list of each method and the pros, cons and best times to use them.

Direct upload by clicking “Add Photo / Video” on the group’s main page

Pros:

  • Really quick. This is the equivalent of impulse shopping. You see the button, you have an image, click click click.
  • Privacy. If you post a photo of the oozing boil on your foot, but don’t want your employer to see, posting it directly to a private group keeps it off of your personal timeline.

Cons:

  • Posting multiple images results in multiple notifications.
  • If you want to share the image on your personal page or profile, you’ll have to upload it twice.
  • Its one image, clicking on it does not result in seeing your other images too.
  • Someone other than you can delete the image! A real pain after getting 50 “likes” and 40 positive comments.
  • Once the image scrolls down the timeline of the group’s conversations, your exposure is essentially over.
  • Really (really) difficult to locate the post after days/weeks/months of time have passed.

Use When:

  • Probably best used for short-run exposure, such a special notice or event announcement.

Direct upload by clicking “Add Photos” on a group’s album

Pros:

  • Allows related subject matter to be maintained in a specific location
  • Group albums can be created for specific functions (critiques, event, contest, etc)

Cons:

  • One of the more difficult-to-manage information nodes for Facebook group Admin(s).
  • Individual image posts still trigger individual notifications.
  • Member-created albums may have little or nothing to do with the group’s subject or interest.

Use When:

  • When asked to do so by an Admin of the group.
  • The image fits the album’s specific topic or event.

Don’t willy-nilly create albums, it creates several problems:

  • They are a pain for Admin(s) to manage. Just about the only thing an Admin can do is “Delete” it.
  • It appears on every single member’s Lightroom plugin drop down forever!

Uploading to your personal Facebook Timeline, and then “Sharing” to the group

This has identical Pros, Cons and Use When of uploading directly to the Group’s Timeline with one additional Con.
Cons

  • Your personal default security settings take preceidence over the Group’s security. If you upload an image to your timeline as “Friends Only” and then share to a group, everyone in the group will get notified that you posted, but won’t be able to see your image even if you can.

Uploading a personal album, and then “Sharing” the image (or album) to the group

By far, I have found this to be the best way to post an image to a group! Here’s why:

Pros:

  • You can post multiple images around a single subject, but trigger only one group-wide notification of your “share”.
  • People can view the single image, but click left-right to view other images you share.
  • People who are new to the group that might be interested in your work have quick-access to previous posts.
  • You can share one image, but all other images you shared are available by clicking back-and-forth.
  • In the case of a “situation”, you can quickly remove ALL the images by simply changing the privacy level.
  • The “description” you used on your personal posting is automatically available to the Group.
  • Your “likes” and “comments” are aggregated in one spot, not spread in two or three different uploads.
  • You control the image, someone may delete the group posting, but can never delete the image itself.

Cons:

  • People outside your personal network can comment on your photos. This could be a pro-and/or-con
  • People who posted comments may receive email replies from other people. So if your mom said “wonderful” and the next guy is a stranger that rips you a new one, your mom is going to get that in email.
  • Or your boss. Or your friends. Or the client in the photograph (oh yeah, that’s happened to me).
  • As mentioned, if your security setting for an image or album is restrictive (“Friends Only”), members of the group who are not your friends cannot view your images.
  • Thusly, you have to leave the album and image available to “the world”.

Use When:

  • When appropriate, but almost always.
  • This provides the best possible exposure, ability to link back to your other images, and combine your “Likes” and “Comments”

Uploading to your company/fan page, then “Sharing” to the group

Identical to “Uploading to your personal Facebook Timeline, and then Sharing to the group”

Uploading an album on your company/fan page, then “Sharing” to the group

Identical to “Uploading a personal album, and then “Sharing” the image (or album) to the group” except one additional plus:
Pros:

  • It points users directly to a full album of images on your company page, where they may choose to linger and “Like” what they see.

Other considerations

  • Post images in groups where it’s appropriate. Don’t post your blurry lensbaby shots in the Canon L-Series group trying to be funny. Don’t do it. Just don’t be that guy.
  • Think about the audience before tagging a person. If the audience is a brutally honest critique group, don’t tag your client. If they have shared it to their wall, all of their friends who post “you look wonderful” will get follow up replies that say “the head position accentuates the subject’s excessive double chin.”
  • A watermark will never prevent your image from being stolen. 15 minutes with photoshop can remove just about any watermark. If you watermark for branding, then keep the ‘subject’ of the photograph the most important thing on the screen; your watermark is secondary.
  • People do not buy pictures of watermarks, they buy pictures of themselves, their family, or places they think are cool.
  • Always remember that any upload or post is going to trigger notifications. So don’t post 15 individual images unless the goal is to destroy the group.
  • Careful about marketing to peers. If you’re in a group of 200 photographers, do you need to post an image with a watermark that takes up 2/3rds vertical space?
  • The height, length and cleverness of your watermark does not specify your level of professionalism. If you JUST got your first camera, and you have NEVER sold a photograph, and your are posting “what went wrong with this photo” messages to Facebook photography groups, a 3″ high watermark is completely unnecessary.
  • If you spend more time creating and placing your water mark than actually composing the image before you took it, you have priority issues that will be apparent in the quality of your photography.

Now go post, or don’t.

You now have some good suggestions on how to post, when to post, and what to post. Your photography is an important part of your brand and how you are perceived to others. Don’t blow a good opportunity by posting images in a way that annoys those around you!

  • Don’t create an “Album” in a Facebook group unless asked by an Admin.
  • “Share” images from your profile rather than posting directly to the group.
  • Stick to the subject matter.

Did I get it wrong?

Feel free to post comments and suggestions for changes to this article below.