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Entering the World of Portraits

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There are a few precautions to be taken whenever you use a telephoto or telephoto zoom lens. At very high focal lengths, like 200mm, your pictures become more and more susceptible to camera shake. Some telephoto lenses have a vibration reduction mechanism that helps, but it doesn’t do the entire job. If you suspect your photo won’t turn out right because of camera shake, simply bring a tripod with your whenever you take pictures with your telephoto lens. There are many possible designs for zoom lenses, the most complex ones having upwards of thirty individual lens elements and multiple moving parts. Most, however, follow the same basic design. Generally they consist of a number of individual lenses that may be either fixed, or slide axially along the body of the lens. While the magnification of a zoom lens changes, it is necessary to compensate for any movement of the focal plane to keep the focused image sharp. This compensation may be done by mechanical means (moving the complete lens assembly while the magnification of the lens changes), or optically (arranging the position of the focal plane to vary as little as possible while the lens is zoomed). There are other zoom lenses to cover focal lengths under 50mm. These are considered “wide angle zooms.” Imagine looking at something with your own eyes and being able to zoom out further without walking backwards. It’s a pretty strange thought, isn’t it? Wide-angle zoom lenses do just that! At any focal length under 50mm, the lens starts to take extra light in from the sides, bringing more of the surroundings into the frame. Hence the wide-angle name.

Over the years I have never seen a comprehensive article in any photographic magazine about color theory. A thorough search of the web has also come up short.  Since most landscape, nature and wildlife photographers work early in the mornign it is important we understand the underpinnings of our art. Red is intense. This is particularly so when placed against a dark background. Red is a universal warning colour and is therefore hard to ignore. A little Red goes a long way. The appropriate use of color in any photography adds a dynamic element to your images that is very pleasing to the eye. So the correct use of it will allow you to create photographs to be proud of. Bold colors and bright composition in your photos result in images that sell. So use color to your advantage.

Most of the time we only think of portraits as being of the face, but other parts of the body, especially the hands, can tell just as much of a story, if not more, than a face can. Especially hands at work or play. For young hands use some toys as props, and for old weathered hands, use tools or some other object that also looks weathered, like an antique object. Don’t just think hands though, because even bare callused feet that look like they have never worn a shoe can work. No matter what you shoot, or where you shoot it, you will most often need to think about adding some light to the subject in one way or the other. The easiest way to do that if you are outdoors, is to just use some white item, such as a paper plate, as a reflector, and paper plates can just be thrown away when you are done with them. The shinier the surface, the more light that it will put on the subject. You can find pro type reflectors in most photo stores, but get one that folds into a smaller size for carrying and storage. They also come in shades like silver, and a gold one will warm up your images at the same time. Probably one of the best types of portraits are the ones that deal with the subjects’ own personal interests, such as hobbies. These can be done at their home if you know the person, or if you should both have the same interests they can use the items you work with at your home. Any subject of interest can be used even if you just make one up. All that is needed is that the model looks like they are engaged in doing something of interest. Even a person sitting in a state of meditation can make a great image in the right environment.

Attention to zoom and color details can certainly make using your Nikon D4 or Nikon D7100 camera much easier! Check out how you can navigate easily through your menu system.

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