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June 2019

Tip of the day! June 1st, 2019

When photographing animals, isolate them with a longer lens. A longer lens (or zoom lens) allows you to narrow in on your subject and create a clean, soft focus background. It will emphasize the subject and make it special.

Tip of the day! June 2nd, 2019

Shoot when the light is most colorful, shortly after sunrise, or right before sunset. The sun is low on the horizon and can produce a golden, warm light that is pleasing to the eye. Landscapes and portraits look great in this light.

Tip of the day! June 3rd, 2019

Use panning for a different action shot. Slow down your shutter speed and follow the subject (panning) with your camera as you take the picture. This will blur/streak the background and keeps your subject in focus. Try to shoot about 1/30 of a second as you follow the action.

Nikon Z6 & Z7 Firmware 2.0: Eye-Detection AF

Available now for the Nikon Z 6 and Z 7

Z 6 Firmware, located here:

https://downloadcenter.nikonimglib.com/en/download/fw/327.html


Z 7 Firmware, located here:

https://downloadcenter.nikonimglib.com/en/download/fw/328.html


Technical Service Advisory for Users of the Nikon Z 6 and Z 7

Tip of the day! June 4th, 2019

One of the rules of composition says that horizon lines should not be placed in the center of an image, but closer to the top or bottom of the frame. Sometimes rules are meant to be broken. When you’re photographing a subject and its reflection, its perfectly fine to place the horizon in the center of the frame.

Sony World Photography Awards

June 4, 2019, London: Submissions for the 13th edition of the internationally acclaimed Sony World Photography Awards are now open and free for all to enter at www.worldphoto.org.

Tip of the day! June 5th, 2019

Wait until the camera has finished writing the photo(s) to the memory card (green/red light is off) before turning off the camera or removing the card. You can lose pictures if you do either before the camera has had time to download the file(s) from its internal memory to the card.

Tip of the day! June 6th, 2019

Try different kinds of framing with your flower shots. Instead of centering the flower, try placing it off to the left or the right of the frame. This will allow for you to be creative with the negative space (areas without the subject). Look for the patterns of other out of focus flowers in the background.

Tip of the Day. June 7th, 2019

Check the weather before an outdoor event. Protecting your camera and lens is critical. Consider buying a rain hood for your camera. You can find them at Camera Exchange and they don’t take up much space in your camera bag. It will protect your camera and allow you to keep shooting. If you don’t have one already you can use a gallon-size plastic bag or trash bag with rubber bands to protect your gear till you can go by Camera Exchange.

Godox V1 Officially Available For Sony

The Godox V1 TTL Li-ion Round Head Camera Flash is now available for Sony.


Godox V1-S Flash for Sony, 76Ws 2.4G TTL Round Head Flash Speedlight, 1/8000 HSS, 480 Full Power Shots, 1.5 sec. Recycle Time, Interchangeable 

2600mAh Lithimu Battery, 10 Level LED Modeling Lamp

Check it out here:

Pro Baseball Shooting Experience on the 12th of June

Let’s take in a Pro Baseball ⚾️ game. Schertz Photography School and Studio is buying the tickets so all you have to do is bring your camera. The school is picking up the cost of the ticket but the photographers will have to pay for their own parking ($5) and any food during the game. We will not be shooting from the camera wells, but if you have been there before you already know there are lots of places to shoot from. This event is for current and past students of the school. But you have to call the school to get your spot.

Tip of the day! June 8th, 2019

If you’re shooting into the sun and are getting lens flare, a quick way to get rid of it is to ask a friend to place their hand above the camera, to block the flare from reaching the lens. You will be able to see if it is working. Just make sure you don’t see their hand in the frame when you take the photo.

Tip of the day! June 9th, 2019

Soft light comes from two things

(1)  The physical size of the softbox.  The bigger the softbox, the softer the light.

(2) How close the softbox is to your subject, the closer it is, the softer the light is.

Tip of the day! June 10th, 2019

Check the direction of the light. Sometimes the best light on a person, monument or scene is not the most obvious. Moving around and seeing the light from all angles will expand your vision and make a unique picture. Make it a habit to do this whenever you have time.

Tip of the day! June 11th, 2019

With external flashes (Speedlights) you can create a more pleasing look to the light by changing the angle of the flash. You can do this by aiming it at the ceiling or at a wall to the side, creating what’s called “bounce” light. This adds light more evenly to the entire scene and makes your shot look more natural.

Fujifilm Update

Fujifilm is bringing back the Neopan 100 Acros black and white film by the end of 2019

Godox G3 Updater For MacOS Released

Find out more

Tip of the day! June 12th, 2019

Capture the hustle and bustle of the city at night. Place your camera on a tripod and use a long exposure (slow shutter speed) to blur the movement of cars and people. Try shooting for about 10 seconds first, and then adjust creatively to catch the motion of the lights and the feel of the city.

Tip of day! June 13th, 2019

Be creative with your posing. Don't just line everybody up. Use the steps or the arm of a couch to experiment with some people standing and others sitting. Have kids sitting in laps or someone sitting on the floor or kneeling. Mix it up. 

Tip of the day! June 14th, 2019

5200° Kelvin is approximates a daylight balance. When shooting outdoors, set a color temperature in the 3000°-3050°K range and you'll get cool blue tones; go toward the high side, say, 7000°K, and your scene warms up.

Tip of the day! June 15th, 2019

Try shooting without color for a day. Set your camera to the B&W or monochrome setting and get used to seeing in Black & White. If your camera can capture RAW files, you can set your camera to write RAW + JPG— the JPG files will be B&W but the RAW files will be in color. Also, you will be able to view the preview images on the camera’s LCD in B&W.

Tip of the day! June 16th, 2019

When shooting food, simple compositions are always better. Zoom into the dish so you don’t capture the table, or zoom tighter so you don’t even see the plate. If you’re taking a shot of your meal at a restaurant, move some of the cutlery or glassware out of the frame for a better shot. It will only take you a moment to do so.

Sigma Recall

For customers using the SIGMA 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM | Sports and the SIGMA 70-200mm F2.8 DG OS HSM | Sports

For more info click HERE

Tip of the day! June 17th, 2019

TEN TIPS WILL INSTANTLY MAKE YOU A BETTER BIRD PHOTOGRAPHER


Pay attention to the direction of the wind and sun. If they are coming from the same direction, the conditions are perfect for photographing birds in flight.


Try and keep the sun at your back. Most published bird photos are lit through the sun or open shade.


Shoot birds in flight when the sun is low in the sky. If it’s too high, the bird’s underside will be in shadow.


Sunrise and sunset are ideal times to underexpose the subject and create a striking contrast for a beautiful silhouette.


When shooting flocks of birds, you’ll get better composition if you wait for them to separate so their wings don’t overlap. 


Photograph birds on a clean, simple background so your subject will stand out better. 


Know your subject. The more you understand the way birds behave, the better your images will be. 


Have patience. Stick with an area, and don’t give up. Eventually birds become used to your presence and will approach you. 


Birds scare easily. Keep yourself low to the ground, and don’t move too suddenly. 


Know your gear. Learn about your camera’s features and settings before you’re out in the field. 

Tip of the day! June 18th, 2019

Get yourself in the picture. Nothing is worse than a vacation with no shots of the family photographer. Get in the picture by using a tripod (or a steady surface such as a wall or a car hood) and the camera’s self-timer to make sure you're included in the family memories.

Tip of the day! June 19th, 2019

Silhouettes make for great photos and they’re easy to shoot. When photographing a silhouette of a person, position them in profile for a better image.

OM-D E-M1 Mark II and E-M1X firmware updates released.  Get it here:  https://www.getolympus.com/us/en/software

NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8 S Firmware Update, get it here:  https://downloadcenter.nikonimglib.com/en/download/fw/330.html


Info for present and past students

If you are a current student or past student you should go to the dropdown menu select student login and create your account.  You will gain access to files refenced in the classes. 

Tip of the day! June 20th, 2019

Turn your flash on during the day. Harsh shadows often show up in your portraits in the daylight. Fill in those shadows by turning on your flash, brightening up those dark areas. Just go to your flash setting and force your flash to shoot all the time. It will work even in bright light

Tip of the day! June 21st, 2019

Backlighting is shooting when the light is coming from in front of you and is behind your subject.  This is challenging because it’s easy to end up with a silhouette of your subject or an overexposed background, but if you frame your subject tightly you can make great shots. Expose for the subject and not the light behind it.

Tip of the day! June 22, 2019

When working with light, try to keep it off to the side or behind your subject. Light coming in at an angle almost always makes for a more interesting photo, creating patterns and shapes that straight-on light doesn’t.

Tip of the day! June 23, 2019

When shooting a portrait of a person, even if it's a quick shot, don’t place them against a wall, even if they place themselves there. Its natural for people to back up against a wall for a picture, but that usually isn’t the most flattering way to shoot a portrait. Unless you specifically want to shoot right against a wall for creative reasons, politely ask them to take a few steps forward or follow you to where you want to place them in a scene.

Tip of the day! June 24th, 2019

Instead of zooming in tight and isolating a subject, frame the subject of your photo with objects in the scene. For instance, when taking a portrait in a park, compose the photo so some of the trees “frame” the subject. You can also do this by shooting through a doorway or window, by showing part of the doorframe or window frame in the shot.

Tip of day! June 25th, 2019

If you’re taking really important photos that you won’t be able to recreate, bracket your exposures to ensure the photos look great. Most digital cameras have an exposure-bracketing mode that you can set. It is faster if you let the camera do the bracketing, instead of you having to snap a photo, change the exposure, snap another frame, change it again, and snap a new frame.

Tip of the day! June 26th, 2019

Tips for shooting fireworks.

The below info is a reprint from the B&H website, I hope you fine it useful for the upcoming 4th of July events.

My mission with this article is to get you set up for success. After that, the creativity and fun is up to you.


Your Kit


First, an SLR, DSLR, or mirrorless camera is likely to be the best tool for photographing fireworks. But don't rule out point-and-shoot cameras; they often have a "Fireworks" mode, and other cameras are capable of capturing great fireworks shots, too. So, don't be discouraged if you do not have the latest multi-million-pixel DSLR camera in your bag—just get out there and give it a try.


Much of what I'm about to discuss is going to apply to any camera, but some will be specific to SLRs.


Nighttime fireworks photography is night photography. Just like all night and low-light photography, there are some essential tools that are needed to ensure you get the results you want.


A tripod. Unless you are a proponent of the artistic merits of camera shake with long exposures, you will need a tripod to hold your camera steady.


A cable release. We will discuss exposure later, but a manual, electronic, or wireless cable release will also help you get the best results as, even with the heaviest, steadiest tripod and lightest touch, you will move your camera when you depress the shutter release.


A spare battery. With modern cameras, a fully charged battery should get you through the night, but long exposures drain batteries faster, so why risk being taken out of the game before the grand finale with a dead battery?


A pocketful of memory cards. Just like with batteries, it's best to always have a spare whenever you are out doing photos.


A piece of matte-black cardboard or plastic. This will come in handy if you want to capture multiple bursts of colorful fun. More on this later, as well.


A stool. If you have a tripod that extends to great heights, a stool might allow you to stand above the crowd to get a better vantage point. However, please be courteous to those behind you. Everyone wants to see the show.


A flashlight. Be ready to illuminate the dials and controls on your camera. Also, when you need to dig through your camera bag in the dark, a flashlight will help you find what you need. I have also used a flashlight beam to illuminate the legs of my tripod for those walking by, so that they do not punt my gear down a hill.


Before the Show


One key to a successful experience with your camera and fireworks is setup. Of course, you can use these tips and techniques to shoot from your tripod, but some planning should go a good ways to helping you get the image you want.


Research your vantage point and get there early. Look at photos online for different shows and find out where people were standing when they got a photo that you like. Pay attention to framing and the size of the fireworks burst. Got a favorite cityscape or landscape? Find out when and if the fireworks will fill the foreground or background. Of course, you can just follow the crowd to the show, but sometimes it pays to stay further away and incorporate some geographic or architectural elements into your images.


Also, before dark, figure out your framing. Did you see the same show the year before? Do you remember how expansive the bursts were? We will discuss lenses later, but, if your mind's eye recalls the show from years past, tailor your setup to those memories.


Also, if you are incorporating urban landscape features or other elements in the frame, remember that you need to expose properly for those elements while capturing the fireworks. Also, buildings are vertical and the horizon is horizontal. Depending on your shot, be mindful of leveling the horizon before it gets too dark, unless you are looking for an artistic angle (no pun intended).


This location scouting is going to play into your lens selection. Sometimes a wide-angle zoom and a telephoto zoom lens will be more than enough to capture the show. If you know exactly what you want to capture, a prime lens might be the choice, but a zoom will give you the flexibility to pull back to capture the entire burst, or zoom in to let the streaks leave the frame. It all depends on what kind of image you are looking to get.


Keep an eye on the weather and dress accordingly. When I lived on Whidbey Island, Washington, we used to joke that the Fourth of July was the coldest day of the year, since we would all be bundled up at the marina watching the fireworks. Speaking of marinas, floating docks and night photography do not go well together.


Tech Talk


Let's talk about how to get your camera set up. Remember, this is a guide. So, remain flexible, change settings, and experiment as much as you want. Have fun during the show. It is unlikely you will set up your camera, capture the first firework burst, check your LCD, scream, "Success!" and then pack up to go home.


Focus. Your camera's autofocus system should be able to focus on a fireworks burst. However, if you want to avoid the focus "hunting" when the action is happening, you can do a few things. You can use the autofocus to set the focus during the first few bursts and then select manual focus so that the camera's focus remains constant. Or, you can use manual focus from the outset and get your image in focus before it gets too dark to see. Make sure you verify your focus, especially if you bump the camera, zoom your lens, or if the fireworks appear closer or farther away than expected. Also, some photographers have intentionally blurred their fireworks images to get some interesting artistic results. Feel free to try it, but do not use "art" as an excuse for poor focusing.


White Balance. "Auto" should be fine. Use your LCD to gauge your results and try other settings for different effects if you want. Again, be flexible.


Noise Reduction. I suggest leaving it off. Firework photos are low-light photographs, but, in general, they will not be long enough to worry about a build-up of noise. Also, some NR systems take a second "dark" photo using the same shutter speed as your initial photo—taking you out of the action for however long your exposure was.


Flash. Leave this off as well, unless you want to illuminate a foreground object.


ISO. Set it low. Feel free to leave it at your camera's native ISO setting. You should be using a tripod, and the nature of firework explosions does not demand high shutter speeds and ISOs. Use 100 or 200.


Mode. Manual. Yep, I am the guy who wrote an article entitled Using Auto Modes is OK, but I am telling you now that, for fireworks, you want to select Manual so that you have control of your aperture and shutter speed to make needed exposure adjustments.


Aperture. Mid-range. Again, you aren't worried about super-shallow depth of field here, or opening the camera to capture a lot of light in an instant. Start at f/8 and work toward f/11 or f/16 if you need to. Or, go the other way. Stay flexible. Also, the mid-range apertures are going to give you the sharpest results.


Shutter Speed. You will want to use the Bulb setting, if your camera has it. If not, you will have to use some guesswork for the shutter-speed portion of your exposures. (For those unfamiliar with the Bulb setting—the photographer depresses and holds the shutter release or cable release until they wish to close the shutter and end the exposure by releasing the release. The term comes from when pneumatic shutter releases were used in days of yesteryear. On some cameras, the "T" mode is similar, but necessitates a second push of the release to end the exposure.)


Vibration Reduction. Off. These systems generally do not play well with tripods, so shut them off.


Show Time


Now that you are all set up with your tripod and camera ready to go and cable release in hand, the rockets are launching and the shells bursting. It's time to take photos.


What exposure should you use? Well, like I said above, Bulb is the preferred choice, so you can open the shutter when the shell bursts and then close it when the streaks have tapered off. With fireworks photos, there may be a fine line between premature closing of the shutter and leaving it open too long.


It is very easy to overexpose a fireworks photo, so, if shooting digital, keep checking your LCD to make sure the shutter isn't open for too long. If the scene is too bright, you may stop down your aperture and use a similar shutter opening period, or let the shutter close sooner. Not bright enough? Open your lens or take a longer exposure. Remember, stay flexible and adjust as needed. Each fireworks show and burst is different, so there is no magic exposure to dial in and use.


If you have incorporated elements into your composition, such as buildings, bridges, people, trees, etc., you need to keep in mind that properly exposing those elements may limit your flexibility. For example, if you have a city skyline in the image that is properly exposed at f/8 and 15 seconds, you will find that capturing 5 seconds of firework bursts may underexpose the skyline to unacceptable levels. The opposite will be true for exposures that are too long. If you need to keep that skyline exposed just right, you will have to adjust your aperture, ISO, and/or shutter speed to get the results you want, while managing the exposure for your compositional elements.

Tip of the day! June 27th, 2019

Check the direction of the light. Sometimes the best light on a person, monument or scene is not the most obvious. Moving around and seeing the light from all angles will expand your vision and make a unique picture. Make it a habit to do this whenever you have time.