Meggie Velasco Photography


Recent Questions
November 6, 2007, 3:49 am
Filed under: photoshop tips, Tips

I wanted to share with you faithful readers out there some questions that I’ve gotten recently. These are questions that many of you photographers out there that are just starting out might have. Just so you all know, I’m not by any means a vast well of knowledge. There are still so many things I don’t understand and need help on. However, in the spirit of all of those that have been so kind to help me, I want to in turn help others. In case you’re wondering and are afraid to ask….

(Q) How do you get the picture with the bride and groom perfectly still but everyone else on the dance floor in motion?
(A) There are a couple of ways you can do this. The first thing you need to do is find out how steady your hand is. How slow of a shutter speed can you hold and still get pretty clear pictures? I know that I’m pretty safe at about 1/50 or 1/60 of a second. The next thing you can do is tell your bride and groom to remain perfectly still and then have a group of people dance really fast around them. Of course, you can always use a tripod and go slower than that. If you do that though, any motion that the bride and groom make will make them look a tad on the fuzzy side. When your shutter is left open, things in motion with create a drag line. Think about night shots when there are cars involved and all you can see are lines where the headlights are. It’s the same principal. So in theory, while your bride and groom are still, they will remain in focus, and then your dancers will then be in motion and therefor blurry. Another thing you can do is drop you shutter speed down even more and use a flash to spotlight whoever. The instant that your flash hits the subject, it freezes. If you hang around 1/20th of a second, you’ll see this. Don’t just use a flash straight on though. Get a cord and move your flash around to have the light coming from different angles. Try to use it as a spotlight. Once you’re in post, try using a motion action. I like Kevin Kubota’s edge blur. It runs in a layer that you can control to make as strong or as subtle as you want. You can even erase out things that you want to be still and things you want to be blurred.

(Q) Why is it when I go to print an 8×10, parts of the picture get cut off?
(A) I don’t know who’s bright idea it was to make 5×7, 8×10, 11×14, and 11×16 the most popular sizes. I should probably try and look it up in my history of photography text books from college. I think, please don’t hold me to this, that it has to do with the ratio of large format cameras. You know, the kind that you see people looking at with a sheet over their heads. All of that to say, having to crop some of the picture off isn’t a new development with the digital age. It’s been like this since 35mm film was begin used. 5×7, 8×10, etc.. are not full frame sizes. The only perfect sizes are in a 2×3 ratio. So 2×3, 4×6, 6×9, 8×12, 12×16, etc.. are the only sizes that will print the entire image without cropping anything off. So if you ever order an 8×10 from me and you get an 8×12 instead, that means that I’m not taking responsibility of what gets cropped off. I would rather have you make that decision than cutting off the wrong family member. REMINDER: When I was at the Chattanooga PUG, Nathan Holritz was great in giving us some reminders for when we’re shooting. He brought up that when taking “formal” pictures, we should always leave cropping space around the group shots because we all know that grandma’s going to want an 8×10 and we want to make sure that Aunt Sue from Idaho and little Timmy don’t get cropped. Thanks Nathan! It’s always good to be reminded of basics that we loose during the crazy wedding day.

Please don’t be afraid to ask. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a question that I thought was stupid and it turned out that a lot of people didn’t know the answer and were afraid to ask. You’ll never know unless you ask. I’m going to start posting questions that I’m asked in hopes to help you guys out.

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