Monthly Archives: February 2012

On Assignment: Liam & Elaine

I recently got the two-for… the double-whammy… the buy one, get one free scenario…

I’ve shot both of these little gems before, but this time I got them both at once… double the smiles and twice the cute factor!!

We tried out a new location for this shoot, and headed off to Faust Park to hang out in the Butterfly House… Which, FYI, is a pretty awesome spot.

See – he liked it!!

Oh, and did I mention there was a FREAKING CAROUSEL there???

Yeah. Carousel.

Awesome.

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Ambassadors of Jay 2012

 

Hey you! Yeah – YOU! Do you know a High School student graduating 2013?? Do they need awesome Senior pictures?? Do they want them for free?? (Yeah, you heard me, FREE!) Do they also want the opportunity to make money (real, hard, spend it anywhere you like $$?) Then this post might be useful…

 

Pictures By Jay is looking for High School students due to graduate in 2013 to take part in an ambassador program… not only will the participants get a free (there’s that word again!) two hour Senior Session with us, but with a little dedication and schmoozing of the crowds, they also get a shot at a sweet $150 bonus…

That’s right people – cash. Cold hard moola. Greenbacks. As B.I.G. himself said: it’s all about the benjamins, and we’re GIVING THEM AWAY! OMG! (See, I’m down with the kids…)

 

Got your attention yet?? No… well then why are you still reading?? HA! LOGIC TRAP!

Anyway… Here’s the Pictures By Jay Senior Ambassadors breakdown…

I want you (yes, YOU) to spread the word about me and my awesome Senior Sessions… (which are totally awesome… ask anyone…) and in return I’m willing to give you a free photo-shoot (that’s free: nothing down, no payments, no sitting fee, nada, zero, zilch – not a sausage to be paid, traded, bartered or haggled…) AND a chance to earn $150 to spend frivolously, or squirrel away for that inevitable College tuition bill… the choice is yours.

All you need to do is recommend and promote Pictures By Jay to your friends and family. What does that mean?? Well I’ll tell ya…

  • You agree to use a watermarked promotional image of yourself, as either your facebook profile picture, facebook timeline cover photo or both. This image will be one of the shots taken during your free session (or a composite of several if you use the timeline cover photo) and will be watermarked with my logo & information. It will also announce to everyone who knows you that YOU are an ambassador for Pictures By Jay and they should contact you for special promo codes or information…
  • You do solemnly swear that you are up to no good you will show friends, family and random people on the street the fliers I supply – Again, these will be composites of the images taken on your shoot, and will detail what the friend/family member/random dude needs to do to get similarly awesome shots  for themselves.
  • You must write a short blurb about how amazing I am and how awesome it was to have your pictures taken by me… Obviously all of this will come naturally because I am awesome and you will have an amazing time on your FREE (did I mention the shoot’s free?) Senior Session. This will be posted to my blog and website as part of the promotion.
  • You agree to allow me to use your images for promotional purposes on my website, facebook page, twitter account… pretty much anywhere I need to!

Simple enough, right??

 

“But Jay… what about the cash..? How do I get the free money???”

Okay… okay… I hooked ya with the promise of free money and now I have to deliver… It’s easy really…

It’s a rewards system… you scratch my back, I pay you. (Not literally, that might be illegal in some countries…)

As an ambassador I want you to actively promote me and my sessions… as a little encouraging factor, I’m willing to throw some bonuses into the deal for ya…

Get ten (10) people to sign up and pay for ANY session (Seniors, engagements, portraits, families… hell, even corporate headshots) and I’ll give you a free album of your photoshoot. You select the images, we design the album, you get to keep it forever!

That’s nice, right??

And how about this: Get fifteen (15) people to sign up and pay for any session, and you’ll get the big enchilada – $150. Cold, hard cash. Yours to do with as you please!

Interested?? Awesome… just a few things to bear in mind…

  • You free shoot will be scheduled in spring 2012, so that you’ll have your awesomely amazing pictures to show to all of your friends before the summer…
  •  You MUST have your parent’s permission… Sorry, but that’s just the way it is…

So, if you’re interested and wanna know more, drop me an email or a shout-out on my facebook page.

 

C’mon… get involved… what have you got to lose???

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Photography 101 – Exposure, Pt. 1

The Exposure Triangle. Learn to love it.

 

Meet your new best friend, loyal readers: The Exposure Triangle!

Seriously, if you are using a camera and have yet to gain an understanding of, or at least a passing familiarity with, the elements of exposure you’re missing a huge chunk of what you could be doing (It’s like going to a steak restaurant and ordering only a side salad… You’re missing the best bit!!)

I’m gonna try to keep this as non-technical as possible, but be prepared for a little jargon… I’m also assuming that you don’t believe that every time you hit the shutter button a little pictsy paints a quick picture for you (© Terry Pratchett) but understand the basic mechanics of HOW a camera captures an image…

Okay – so any given exposure value is a combination of three settings: ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. When you shoot in ‘Auto’ (WHY??? WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT???) the camera’s internal thinkage looks through the lens and decides what exposure value it needs, and how best to achieve that. In order to be a better photographer, and take better pictures, and not get punched in the nose by me, you need to stop using the ‘AUTO’ function and actually make those decisions yourself!

So, what do they do, I hear you ask… Well, here ya go…

Shutter Speed

Shutter speed makes you the master of time itself… Or, at least, let’s you decide how long the shutter stays open after you press the shutter button. The settings will usually range from around 1/4000 of a second to about 30 seconds (or longer depending on the Bulb setting). Each ‘stop’ of shutter speed is a halving or doubling of the time the shutter is open – so, for example, changing your shutter speed form 1/2 of a second to 1/4 of a second means you’ve gone one whole stop faster… similarly, changing from 1/4000 of a second to 1/2000 of a second means you’ve dropped one whole stop. This ability to freeze motion or capture movement in your shots is, obviously, very useful. Observe:

 

See that silky smooth waterfall?? See how shiny and awesome that looks?? That’s because I made it look like that. By choice. (See how awesome things are when you don’t use Auto??) By slowing that shutter speed way down… As you leave the shutter open for longer, any motion is captured in your image. This can make water silky smooth, or create interesting light patterns in the dark, like so:

 

 

 

Obviously, as the shutter stays open longer you either need a very steady hand or a tripod (or indeed any solid surface where you can rest your camera – the above fairground shot was taken using a judiciously placed trash can!) to remove the shakiness and get a sharp image.

Now let’s look at the other end of the scale:

The ‘faster’ shutter speeds are useful for when you want to ‘freeze’ time – capture a millisecond (or at least, 1/4000 of a second). This is particularly useful for things like sports – as you can see in the above shot, using a fast shutter I was able to capture the moment this line out was thrown, while the players were still lifting the receiver… (If you have no idea what’s going on in this shot – watch more Rugby!)

So – a slow shutter speed creates motion blur and can be used artistically, a fast shutter speed catches action in a single frame. Simple, right?

 

Aperture

Ok – now you can control time. Awesome. Just two more steps and you’re on your way to mastering exposure. Sadly, aperture was, for me, one of the trickiest aspects of photography to understand. When I first started out, I knew the mechanics behind it, the theory, but not the application. Hopefully you will have no problem with it, and make me look like a bumbling idiot. So – here’s the theory:

The aperture value is a measurement of how wide the shutter blades open when  you press the shutter button.The bigger the number, the smaller the opening. Apertures are measured in “F-Stops’ and can be found ranging from around f/1.4 to around f/22 or f/32. This time around however, the ‘stops’ of light are a little trickier – Increasing your aperture setting from f/2 to f/4 is actually TWO stops… one stop would be a change from f/2 to f/2.8… Told ya this one gets tricky…

So, aside form the obvious ‘light-related’ nonsense, what does aperture do?? How does it affect our images?? Well, one big thing to bear in mind is that aperture is one of the major factors effecting your depth of field (DOF). Without going into too much detail (I’ll save that for another time!) Your DOF is how much of your image is ‘acceptably sharp’ or, in layman’s terms, in focus. Observe:

In the above image, you can (hopefully) see that while the pint glass (and all of its glorious contents) is sharp and in focus, the background (and all of its beautiful contents) is distinctly blurred. THIS is your depth of field, and shots like this are easily achieved with large apertures (f/1.4 or f/1.8). The ‘blurry background’ look is very popular with portrait photographers, who use it to isolate their subjects from the background and make them ‘pop’ out of the frame – like so:

 

I’m going to leave off there, and continue our adventures in exposure in the next post in this series – I’ll be tying all these things together and also rounding off the last aspect to the triangle – ISO.

 

Until then, play around with what you’ve learned so far… all modern DSLR’s have ‘Aperture Priority’ and ‘Shutter Priority’ settings (Don’t know how to find them?? I refer you to rule # 10 here) so take that first tentative step away from the comfy, wrapped-in-a-blanket world of ‘Auto’ and out into the big wide world of excitement… Next time you use your camera, switch to aperture or shutter priority, and play around with those settings… see what happens… have fun with it… And I’ll be back with more guidance and insanity soon…

 

J

 
:)

 

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