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Sharing experience, advice, and photos to all with the shutterbug.

Posts tagged “cellphone

The new Polaroid

I have spoken of camera phones in the past, stating that they would be the death of the Photojournalism field. While this may not happen anytime real soon, I think that the availability and accessibility to the general public has greatly impacted
“Real news” brought to you by the people. However, it now seems to be affecting the fine art field as well. Photographers like Chase Jarvis and Lisa Wiseman use iPhones for fine art projects and others have even used camera phones to do professional work. This at first did not make much sense to me. Why would professional photographers advocate the use of low-resolution, slow shutter-speed cameras that any 15-year old girl would just toss in her purse? The answer is simple: Camera Phones are the next Polaroids and Holgas.

Photos by Lisa Wiseman

The low-tech-no-extras approach to photography is very refreshing. Most camera phones are in the range of 2-5 megapixels, and they don’t exactly have a large color palette or much dynamic range – but the DO produce unique, one of a kind images. And now it’s easier than ever to put those photos where people can see them on sites like Tumblr and Flickr with new technologies and smart phones.

Photo by Robert Schultze

Be sure to check out the Some-Photog-Tumblog for more camera phone photos.

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Show me your pics!

So many photographers I know take hundreds of photos, some of them great, some of them not-so-great… and nobody ever sees them. These photographers usually have a digital archive or several boxes full of negatives. And they say that nobody appreciates what they do, and nobody ever sees their work.
Well, thanks to the internet, they no longer have any excuses. Websites like flickr and Tumblr allow you to easily share photos as easy as sending a text-message or e-mail. And if you have a cellphone that has a camera, boy are you selling yourself short. Cellphone cameras used to be a gimmick, something that pros and amateurs alike scoffed at, but now with social media and the internet, photographers like Lisa Wiseman and many others are using phone-cameras to promote themselves and even do work with them. The technology is improving. More megapixels, higher resolution – Though not as customizable as a DSLR, the simplicity and availability of phone-cameras are beginning to be compared to the likes of the Holga, the Polaroid and other cult cameras. And the ability to share the photos instantly is truly changing the medium. Even websites that don’t focus exclusively on photography like Facebook or even Twitter are being used to show the world the photography of the every-day-man.
I know for awhile I was frustrated because if I wanted to take photos and share them it was a process – I had to lug my camera-bag around and upload the photos to my computer and then finally to the internet – but now it takes almost no effort. I carry around my phone-camera and snap pics whenever I want, and I feel it’s good for me as a photographer – it keeps me sharp and aware. Now go and put that phone-camera to work and show the world your photos!

And be sure to check out the Some-Photog-tumblog!


An Introduction to lighting: Source sizes

Studio lighting or lighting you control can be a beast. Some of you may already know this visually, but are unaware of the technical way of things. So this will serve as a basic introduction to the qualities of light. Todays topic: Light Source sizes.

Small

A small light source, such as a single light bulb or a high lamp post will give you very harsh and contrasty shadows. This may sound familiar to some, and they may be thinking of the noon sun. The sun is billions of miles across, so how could it be a small source?? The answer is because it’s a million miles away. You can setup any light source at a great distance to give it a “Small” light source effect.

A photo lit with a single light bulb.

A photo lit with a single light bulb.

Notice the sharp shadow that her nose makes, and how the shadow is very distinct and has hard lines.

Medium

If you are using a single light bulb, you can simply move your light source closer to your model, effectively increasing it’s size and softening the shadows… but I wouldn’t recommend this. You would have to have a lightbulb only about two to three feet away from your model, and it might make them hot or uncomfortable. If you are using a clamp lamp, the kind you can purchase at a hardware store, you can simply put the reflector dish on it, which increases it’s size.

A photo lit with a medium size light source.

A photo lit with a medium size light source.

Notice that the shadows on her nose and arms get softer at the edges. It’s very important to not simply write off what I said about moving your light source. While moving your single bulb two feet from your model is inappropriate in this situation, the distance of your light source to your subject is *ALWAYS* the key, and should be first in your checklist when you are trouble shooting.

Large

A large light source will give you shadows that are very soft on all the edges, and barely noticeable all together. A large source can be a small light source that is very far away, or a strobe with a soft box attached or a clamp lamp reflecting light off of a large flat surface.

A photo lit with bounced light from a large flat surface.

A photo lit with bounced light from a large flat surface.

If you are reflecting light, your light source will effectively take on the size of the surface you are reflecting it from, which will give you soft gorgeous light complete with soft shadows.

Painting

Something that’s a lot of fun to do is to “Paint” with a light source. Turn off your lights, set your camera to a long exposure (at least 10 seconds) and “Paint” your subject with a flashlight or other source.

A photo lit with a Cell Phone

A photo lit with a Cell Phone

Doing this will not only give you a cool looking photograph, but it actually gives you complete control over your light and shadows. While it is difficult to master, you can sculpt some very interesting light using this technique.

In closing

The important things to remember are this: A small or far away light source will give you sharp shadows and brilliant highlights. A large light source will give you soft, soft, soft everything. A medium size source is in between. Distance from your light source to your subject is always a solution. Keep your models happy.


Cameraphones: The future of Photojournalism?

Cellphones are everywhere these days. From senior citizens to five-year-old toddlers, I would say that you would be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn’t own a cellphone. And now, cellphones can do just as much as laptops – and in the case of the iPhone’s Subway Station finder, they can do more:

So the ability to take photos and capture video is no sweat and while it’s still not the primary use of cellphones, the quality of the cameras are increasing.The iPhone has a 2 megapixel sensor, LG’s KC780 has an 8 megapixel sensor, and Samsung recently released a 12 megapixel camera phone in europe.
More megapixels does not mean better pictures – you and I both know that. But how long will it be before camera phones have the same abilities as a DSLRs? There are already a number if incidences where the local news stations have shown videos or photos captured by a camera phone. More and more, the industry seems to be turning to “Citizen journalists” as a means to get on the “inside.”
I think that we’re a ways off from camera phones taking over the DSLR market. But the reality is it’s out there, everyone and their mother has a cellphone, and it’s evolving fast.