Tag Archives: learn photography

Light Painting

Photo by Linda KnasellightPaint_Linda Knasel_6542

 

VotoArt recently ran a workshop for photographers that gave them an opportunity to try some light painting. Light painting is a great way to create interesting photos that can be entered into our abstract photo contests. If you want to win cash in the VotoArt photo contests, light painting is a great tool to have in your tool box. At our recent photo light painting workshop, many of the questions asked, were about how to get the correct settings for shutter-speed, aperture and ISO. For this reason we thought we would provide a little information about these settings so our members, who could not attend the workshop, could still jump in and have some fun experimenting with the art of light painting. We would love to see the photos you create be in our next abstract cash contest.

Shutter Speed is how long your camera aperture will stay open. If it is open for a long period of time, say 2 sec to 30 sec, it will  allow you to paint with different types of lights such as a flash light, LED, camera flash or even a spark as was done in the above photo. Where to set your aperture is determined by how long you need to “paint” in order to create the effect you are looking for.  The above photo had a speed of 30 seconds. This aloud enough time for a whisk full of  burning steel wool to be spun on a rope and throw off lots of sparks. The light streaks from the sparks were created by the long shutter speed.

Setting the Aperture

The aperture setting determines how wide the hole in your lens will be. The smaller the hole the greater the depth of field, so to help insure your subject is in focus you will want to have a higher number f stop. Remember the higher the number of the f stop, the smaller the aperture, and  the more in focus your photo will be. In short a f 22 will allow in less light and provide more depth of field than a F1.4.   The trade off of a higher f stop with a bigger depth of field is that  less light is allowed to reach the sensor due to a smaller opening. You will need to experiment to find the exact exposure and focus you need.

Setting the ISO

The ISO  determines how sensitive your camera’s sensor is to light. The higher the ISO number, the brighter your image will be. The lower the ISO number, the darker your image will be. The trade off is a higher ISO tends to introduce noise to your photo. You want the ISO to be as low as possible and still be able to expose the light source you are using to paint. Brighter lights will help you have a lower ISO.

Summary

In order to produce the exact results you want for your photo, you will need to experiment with the three settings. Because each of them will impact the other, you will want to look at the trade offs for the adjustment you make. While making those adjustments keep in mind  the following

Speed – The longer the exposure the more time you will have to paint, but the risk is exposing elements in your photo that you do not want to see, such as people doing the painting

Aperture – The larger the number of your f stop the more depth of field you will have to work with to keep your subject in focus.  The trade off is less light for exposure. You can compensate for less light with Higher ISO or longer exposures.

ISO – A higher ISO produces more exposure by making your sensor more sensitive to light but it  also introduce noise to your  photo.

Some samples from the VotoArt Contests

Photo by Justin Nichols

Justins bridge photo

Photo by Dhoni S

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Photo by Dika Photos

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Photo by Arie Azdhana

31328b24-ecc5-11e3-bc57-003048cab8f4Kai Leeke

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Photo by Dean Bennett

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What Makes a Good Photo?

Ganjar Rahayu Winter sanaata

Photo by Ganjar Rahayu

People often ask – What makes a good photo? Most of the answers I have heard to this question, seem to focus on the technical aspects of photography such as the rule of thirds. I,  however, believe the question people  really want to ask is – How can I take photos that others want to see and share?  The fundamental difference in the two questions is that the first question can be answered by you from a technical standpoint while the second question can only be answered by your audience. This is why the feedback you can get from the VotoArt Community is invaluable to you as a photographer.

Is it a Good Photo?

If I enter a photo that I really like into a VotoArt WonUP contest, but the site users  do not vote for it , is that a good photo?  The votes say no but there is good news. Here is the  good news. A photo that does not win still has value, because it provides valuable feedback from your audience.  For example, on VotoArt  I can view the voting history and learn what technical aspects my audience did or did not like. This is invaluable for me as a photographer. I can see if my photo had a good general impression, what voters thought of the color and lighting and how they evaluated the  composition and focus.

You can use the feedback from the VotoArt community in understanding the impact of technical elements  on the viewers and why they may not be connecting with a photo. For example, shooting a puppy from a lower angle will cause the viewer to see that puppy as powerful rather than cute.   So shooting a cute puppy from a low angle may have caused a disconnect with my audience which will show up in the voting.  By understanding the impact that angles, color, lighting, focus and other technical aspects have on your viewers, you can be more effective in connecting with them on an emotional level.

It is important for you to define your success.

What if your photo is deemed a technical zero by a photography expert but it goes viral on the Internet, is that a good photo? Some people will say yes and some people will say no. So the question becomes- how do you define your success? Will you measure your success  by the opinion of a proclaimed expert, by the response of the masses, by your own inner passion or perhaps some other form of measurement? Defining success  comes down to your own purpose for taking photos.No matter how you decide to define your success VotoArt provides a way for you to measure that success. If you want to see if your photos can actually make money VotoArt provides Weekly Cash Contests and Business Sponsorships. If you are selling your prints you can gain exposure and network with others by linking to your own URL and sharing photos and awards  on your social media channels.  If you want lots of feedback from your audience the Pro Account allows you to view the entire voting history of a photo.

No matter how you have defined your own success the key to that success is to get your audience  to emotionally connect with your photo.

Would you like to see the photos that thousands of people have voted for Current Winners

If you would to read what some Top Photographers have to say about this topic here is an article you will want to read. Answers from top Photographers