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Posts Tagged ‘camera technique’

Want to hold your camera for long exposures without having to resort to a flash or tripod? It’s not hard to do once you learn the proper way to hold your camera! The trick is as simple as putting your arms close to your body. As the photo below illustrates, doing this eliminates the “flying elbows” syndrome that is at the root of camera unsteadiness. 

I learned to shoot this way years ago from the late Eddie Adams. He showed me that by simply tucking my elbows into my sides, I could steady myself enough to consistently shoot sharp photos at slow shutter speeds. That one tip has followed me throughout my career. In fact, I can still handhold my camera at shutter speeds as slow as 1/15th of a second! Give it a try and see if it helps your available light shooting. Please post how this tip worked/didn’t work for you!

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The key to making portraits that capture the “real” person is to make that person relaxed during the portrait session. This is the reason why most candid portraits trump those taken with elaborate studio lighting setups. Candid expressions have a certain “realness” that’s hard to capture in a studio or location shoot filled with lights and assistants. You’ve gotta relax your subject in order for magic to happen.
I’ve found that the easiest and best way to do this is to mount your camera on a tripod, use a cable release or, as they’re called in the digital age, electronic camera release, and get out from behind the camera. Doing this allows you to carry on a conversation with your subject without having a camera partially blocking your face. Casually standing beside the camera with release in hand allows you to chat, joke and interact in a way that’s less strained will allowing you to fire off a shot when your subject is relaxed and has forgotten that you’ve got a camera aimed at her. This connection with the person you’re shooting makes all the difference. 
Case in point is this photo of my daughter Erin. Yeah, she’s cute. She hates having her photo taken — especially by her Dad! During past photo shoots, she would get stressed by all the gear and attention, I’d get stressed and the photos would suffer accordingly. This time I locked my camera down on a tripod and used the technique described above. The result was a much more enjoyable shoot for both of us… and this beautiful photo. 

 

Erin relaxed

Erin relaxed

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