Category: Tutorials

Simple Photo Hacks that Photographers should know:

You can never be too informed when it comes to photography and finding new ways to working around your a photo.

Here are some simple tricks that although are easy, can go a long way in achieving a happy end product.

  1. First tip is involves tricking the appearance of a night time photograph that was actually taken during the Day. This is usually a question that arises when one has no choice but to shoot in daylight, due to time or other issues. But if one wants to achieve the illusion of night time, how can one go about this?

Something that photographers often underuse or forget is white balance. This is the function of the camera that focuses on correcting the colours so that everything is properly colour corrected on site. So firstly, turn off the ‘auto’ white balance on your camera because if you want to be in control of the colour tone, like in this situation, you wont want an automatic fix. So during the day, lock your white balance to whats known as Tungsten White Balance. This is because Tungsten is the setting in which is set when shooting indoors or at night.

The main purpose is that its balanced to a cool temperature due to the Tungsten light itself being very warm. So if you think of what would happen when you apply this to a daylight setting (a cool light) you will get an even coloured scene. To add to the effect, you can underexpose the scene a little more and use an ND filter to achieve more of a night time appearance.

Now that you know how to trick photos with a the use of colour balance, we will move onto Tip #2.. This being one that is useful to strobist photographers. This is just a simple tip to help accentuate photos in portrait photography. When shooting a portrait you want the subjects face as best lit as possible of course. Although this tip isn’t one to follow when shooting in natural help, it is still useful in studio photography.

2.When doing studio photographer, you have whatever lighting situation you prefer. In portrait photographer, 3-point lighting is most popular. So when having your 3 point lighting set up and your subject – its best to have you subject facing the key light source. The reason you want this is because of few things. 1) Makes the light appear softer 2)Makes the lighting look more flattering 3) Takes away shadow on their face and other aspects of the photo that may appear unflattering and lastly, gives them a more flattering spotlight. When facing the light source they are illuminated to a certain point but not as harsh as an actual spotlight.

Tip Number #3: How to achieve the best depth of field by maxing out you aperture. Most of the time, best photographs have depth of field and this creates a focus in the photograph. One of the best ways to achieve this is to use a big aperture (small f-number) to blur the background or foreground. This helps to call more attention to the subject you are shooting. The second tip for having your subject pop would be to make sure you have a well rounded contrast between shades and colours. If your image lacks contrast, it tends to appear flat and without layer. Even in black and white photography, contrast in colour is still very important. Lastly, is simply making sure that your lights are positioned properly. This can mean deduction of a light (when creating too much shadow) or can mean the opposite, adding in another light or possibly a flash of some sort. This can help to add nice hair light or create a nice rimming affect on the photo.

There are numerous ways of achieving specific desired looks for a photo, so its important to know all your options so that you can always achieve what you originally wanted to create.

Rotating LED PAR-Kit

The Rotating LED PAR-Kit was made to be an easy way for anyone to add interest to there party or event with a simple set up and we did just that. The first items in the kit are 2 Rotating LED PARs . These small lights have an out put of 56W giving punchy colours in low light venues. Also included are a  6′ and a 25′ power cable giving more freedom with the placement of your lights, as it allows you more length to move from your power source. In addition we added a  32′ DMX cable witch will allow you to separate the lights up to 32′ apart but have the lights in synch.  Now all of this may sound complicated or out of your skill set but its NOT!

With this short video we will show you step-by-step to putting together this kit so you can be confident and stress free for your event or party.

 

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Which Ring Light is Right for You?

Are you thinking of buying a ring light, but you don’t know which one to buy?

Well, at Big City Lights, we have a variety of different ring lights to choose from. So we have made a video explaining the different types of ring lights we have, and their purpose and features. This video talks about 5 different lights, a 12″ Fluorescent, 18″ Fluorescent, 18″ Dimmable Fluorescent, 18″ LED Dimmable, and the 18″ ULTIMATE. Basically, the 12″ ring light is a fluorescent light, that is only recommended for close up shots only (head / shoulders) Next, the 18″ Fluorescent is just like the 12″, but more for a wider shot instead of closeups. Next, the 18″ Dimmable Fluorescent, this light is very similar to the regular 18″, but it also has a dimmer which allows you to turn down the brightness of the light. Next, the 18″ LED Dimmable, this is very similar to the previous 18″ model, but it uses LED technology. This means you don’t have to replace the bulb because it will last you a very long time, as it is also more durable. Finally, the 18″ ULTIMATE Diva, this ring light has the most features out of them all, it comes with a cellphone holder and a mirror. Also, the light has a dimmer and it is bi-colour, which means you can change the colour of the light to a cool white (5600K) to warm white (3200K) or anywhere in between.

To see a more in-depth explanation of each light, and to see them in action, watch the video above.

Current Ring Light Pricing (with stand, all prices in Canadian dollars):

ring light comparison

 

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Camera Modes Tutorial Canada Toronto Edmonton Calgary Montreal Vancouver USA Blog Tutorial

Different Modes of Your Camera

Using a camera for the first time can be a little bit tricky. Especially if you’re using a DSLR (Digital Single-Lens Reflect) with a numerous amount of buttons.

Let’s start with the basics:

 

This is the dial of most cameras, here you can find the different modes you can set your camera to.

 

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First, we have “AUTO” which stands for Automatic. For this mode, the camera works like a point and shoot, where all it’s settings automatically change themselves for the scenario that it is currently in. For example: when it’s too dark, the flash will come up, or the ISO might change, as well as the focus of the camera. Automatic mode is one of the simplest modes you can use, because it gets your camera ready for you. (however, if you desire to change these settings for your own liking, take better looking photos and use your camera to it’s full potential, you might want to consider the different Manual modes which are the modes represented with the other letters).

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Second, we have the “P” which stands for Program Mode / Programmable Mode. For this mode, the camera works similar to Automatic mode, where the Aperture and Shutter are on automatic, but you have more control over the other settings such as: ISO and Auto Focus (things that the automatic mode wouldn’t allow you to do)

 

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Third, we have the “S” which stands for Shutter Priority. For this mode, you have control over the Shutter speed. The Shutter speed is how long the shutter will stay open, which allows you to take a variety of pictures at certain speeds. For example: at a slow shutter speed(1/15); a spinning wheel will look blurry with a lot of movement. At a high shutter speed (1/1000); the spinning wheel will look like a still.
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Fourth, we have the “A” which stands for Aperture Priority. For this mode, you will have control over the how large the Aperture will be. The Aperture will control how much light will enter the camera and how blurry or sharp the background will be. The lower (wider) the aperture is (ƒ 1,4) , the more light will enter, and the more blurry the background will be. The higher (smaller) the aperture is (ƒ 32) the less light will enter, and the more clear the background will be.

 

 

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Lastly, but certainly not the least, we have the “M” which stands for Manual mode. For this mode, the camera will be on full manual which means you have total control over your camera’s settings. This mode is what we’d recommend you to start practicing on, because from that, you can learn from your mistakes. On Manual mode, you have complete control over the ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture (which we have touched upon earlier, but I will explain much more now). ISO is the sensitivity of your camera towards light, which means you would normally want to have your ISO at the lowest possible setting, because the higher the ISO, the more grainy your image will look. There will be cases where you would also have to increase it, depending on the conditions of where your shooting. Typically, when you’re indoors and there is not much natural light, or if you’re shooting with low light conditions, raising your ISO would be beneficial towards your image. ISO would usually start at 100 – 200, and would double. So from 200, the next will be 400, then 800, then 1,600 then, 3,200. These numbers mean how sensitive the sensor is to light, the higher the number the more sensitive it is. Next, we have Shutter Speed, the Shutter Speed is how long the shutter of your camera will stay open and let in light, this helps when taking images that have a lot of motion, with a high Shutter speed (1/1000) the shutter will not be open for too long, and a moving car would look still. With a slow Shutter speed (1/15) the shutter will stay open longer, and will make the moving car look blurry, as it is moving. Also what people use this feature for is light drawing. Have you seen those photos of people in the dark writing their names with light? Well a slow shutter speed is how that works. Next, we have Aperture, the Aperture is the how much light will enter your lens, thus creating various effects. Aperture is measured by ƒ stop. So having a low aperture ( ƒ 2 ) will give you a large opening, and let in more light, but will have a less depth of field, and will make the background of your photo more blurry. Having a high aperture ( ƒ 22 ) will give you a small opening, which gives you less light, but will have a greater depth of field, and will make the background more sharp.

 

Next, we have the different Automatic modes that are most commonly found on consumer level cameras:

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First, we have Portrait mode, which on the dial would look like a person with a hat. This mode is meant for photos with one main subject, because of this, the camera will mainly focus on that one subject, and usually make the background out of focus.

 

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Second, we have Macro mode, which on the dial would look like a flower. This mode is usually used for close up photos of flowers, insects, or anything that you’d want to look closely at. (But, depending on your lens, you might not have Macro capabilities, check your lens for this feature.)

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Third, we have Landscape mode, which on the dial would look like a mountain. This mode is used for landscape images; meaning mountains, rivers, trees, etc. (Wide angled images, a wide angled lens is preferred here, but not necessary.)

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Fourth, we have Action mode, which on the dial looks like a person running. This mode is used for fast paced images, for example: a marathon, a race, anything where there is a lot of movement and you want to take a still image of what is happening.

 

– Carlos Jochico, Big City

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Big City Lighting Tips Video #2 – Lighting on a White or Black Background

Ever had trouble lighting a model in various backgrounds? No need to fear, Big City is here! In our latest video we will show you how to light your subject for a white or a black background. It may seem like a simple thing to do but, if you want professional quality photo or video, you will learn the right way to do so with this instructional video. We will talk about lighting angles, metering and even, the butterfly effect. We’ve seen failures time and time again, from photographers trying to achieve crisp whites or variable blacks but, they’re just not doing it right. It’s funny how these small tips and tricks can make such a dramatic difference in the end product, whether it be a photo or a video. You can view the video below.

 

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Free resource to help teach yourself how to use green screen.

Green screen is one of the most difficult things to learn to do right and if you don’t have any test footage to help you learn it can be either more time consuming than it all ready is, or costly to shoot your own test footage.  Well the folks at HollywoodCamerawork have just published a series of test footage you can download and use for FREE!  Now you can have some great resources to teach yourself the basics of tracking, matchmoving and rotoscoping on.  They also include elements to build your scene as well, so if you want to add your subject flying in a F15 in the clouds and over the ocean you can!  I was also impressed they include footage of what NOT to do as well, as there are so many mistakes you can make when doing this kind of work.  Anyone who considers themselves a teacher or student of VFX or editing should bookmark this link now!  Green screen originals resource

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Green screen free resource footage

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Make your own home dolly

Don’t have thousands of dollars for a pro dolly, the following video from Peter Bak show you in this video how to make a cool home made dolly from roller-skate wheels and basic hardware. Probably not quite as good as the professional ones, but for the home filmmaker or indie filmmaker a cool and fun tool for under $50 and a few hours of work to build.