How to: Creating Light Painting

You might have seen it a few times already, but probably not under its correct name… We are talking about light painting, or also called light drawing. Most of us are familiar with the term and photo technique ‘long exposure’ (longer exposure time). Light painting is a form of long exposure, but brings it to the next level whilst creating an art piece that looks like it has been drawn even though it was taken with a camera.

Terry Hall with FUJIFILM X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR – F18, ISO 200, 10.0 sec

Light Painting

We all have seen those stunning images of streets where streetlights or headlights on cars become trails and melt together, creating something special without seeing the actual vehicle. This unique effect in cityscape images can be created while shooting at night or in low light with longer exposure times. Of course, this is nothing new, but creating and sketching scenes and photographs specifically to use the unique effect of long exposure to create something similar to a painting is referred to as “light painting”. Photographers are specifically looking for a moving light source such as a candle, flashlight, LED lights or another light source, aiming to alter an image while using long exposure. Thus, light-painters not only take the picture as-is instead add another element by highlighting a subject, creating trails of light, flashes, and other special elements like these.

How to: Capture Better Travel Portraits

Walking through the streets of Paris, Barcelona, Rome or just taking a stroll along the promenade of Dubrovnik, Croatia. Traveling through different countries, cities, and cultures is probably something we all love. Slowly our lives are turning back to a more routine and less restrictive daily life. Thus also travel becomes possible again. Spring season is in full swing too and many people are ready to travel to different locations and countries again to admire and capture special sceneries. To get pleasing results, we have some helpful tips to make your memories unforgettable.

People are the heart of any culture, so when you journey to other countries or cities, you will find travel gold in their faces and the way they live. Street portraits and candids are two different types to capture those moments. While shooting a candid, your subject is likely to be unaware, or at least unconcerned, of your presence. Portraits are more likely to be posed, and will perhaps include eye contact, with the subject fully aware they’re being photographed. Consequently, some tricks are important to keep in mind…

How to: Spotlight a City Trip

London, Paris, Rome, New York. City trips offer you a unique opportunity to explore the culture and culinary delicacies of a country. In addition to the magnificent sights, the parks and cafés, it is the charm and the characteristics of a city that make a trip like this so interesting. Of course, the camera cannot be missing to capture and share the flair and vibrancy of the city. Here are our tips to make your pictures stand out from all the others.

The ‘Blue Hour’

After a stunning sunset, the sky will appear in a deep blue color and enters the ‘Blue Hour’. Historic monuments which are diffusely illuminated, buildings or the city in general will be lit up with all different kinds of lights with different color temperatures, creating a magical scenery. Unfortunately, due to different seasons, the Blue Hour can differ from season to season. Therefore, planning is key! Find out about suitable sights in advance and put yourself in a good place to get the most out of the Blue Hour.

Change Perspectives

The Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Tower Bridge in London or the TV Tower in Berlin there are hundreds of images from all three sights. All look basically the same because they are usually captured from similar angles. Now it is time to mix it up a bit. Have a more detailed look at known monuments and think about interesting details you may see or objects surrounding the main motif which might support the visual appearance. Having a look at pictures online and getting inspired to develop these photographic ideas further can help to explore new perspectives as well.

Skillfully Avoid Mistakes

© Omar Alnahdi

Taking a picture of a tower which looks like falling behind on the actual image or similar. So called ‘falling lines’ is the unpleasant effect when the camera is not aligned parallelly with the motif and the object has parallel edges. The slight inclination causes ‘falling lines’ which can be bothersome. Consequently, it is important to choose the angle carefully to avoid this mistake. If that is not possible, finding a suitable location and then using the falling lines creatively is essential. For example, photographing a skyscraper steep from below, which will emphasize the high of the building. This makes your photo more dynamic and transforms it into an eye-catcher.

Blur People

Visiting sights in different cities always leads to crowds of people standing in front of one building or statue, which makes taking great shots almost impossible. In order to still have the motif playing the main role, there are two options to do so. Either visiting a sight early in the morning or late at night, or reach into the bag of tricks. With an exposure time of 1/15s or longer, motion blurs are created. This blurs the masses of tourists and puts the building back in the foreground. Very important: Use a tripod.

Capture The Skyline

© Elia Locardi

Let’s be real. We all LOVE it. A city’s skyline can be magical for most of us. From an elevated viewing point, it is possible to experience a breathtaking sea of lights, which account for a photo that is rich in contrast. Depending on the location, there are some things to think about. When photographing the skyline through a window, it is important to stand as close as possible to the window to avoid mirroring reflections. Using the flash in that occasion can cause a white dot on the window and should be turned off. Making use of a tripod helps to take sharp photos.

Now you are prepared for the next city trip and awesome memories captured through your camera.

Header Image © Daniel Malikyar

How to: Photos in Bad Weather

Dreary clouds, rain, fog and wind are definitely not ideal for an outdoor shooting. But especially bad weather offers many interesting and new sceneries for photo motives.

Match Colors

Rain is a great scenery to capture, but the colors are often not emphasized enough in normal settings. Consequently, the picture looks dull and dreary. Therefore, +Correction helps the colors regain their luster. The adjustment slightly overexposes the subject and lifts the color mood. These corrections can be made in aperture or time mode, as well as in full automatic mode. If the colors still look dull, image processing can help them out.

Capture Raindrops

Raindrops are excellent design elements. Deciding whether to photograph rain drops or threads is the first decision to make. If you want to “freeze” drops, a shutter speed of 1/250 is recommended. For thread rain that runs through the entire image, you need slower shutter speeds. Of course, you can bring out interesting details again. For example, capturing a drop at the moment it hits a water surface. To capture this magical moment with a camera, it is necessary to shoot as close to the ground as possible. This will make the jumping raindrops look even more expressive. Leaves where the rain bounces off also make a fantastic subject.

Explore different motives

Raindrops are one of the go to’s, but there is so much more to discover. Thunderclouds, for example, bring more dynamics into the picture. Light reflections on wet streets or puddles that reflect the skyline can also be skillfully used for image composition. Moreover, the wind is also photogenic. It gives the image more tension and creates that certain something. To capture these elements, it is important to work with motion blur. This will give the image more dynamics.

Photos in fog

Fog creates the mystic atmosphere in a photo. Especially when sunlight hits the fog, fantastic color effects are created. The fog then shimmers in a light yellow-golden or even in a delicate bluish tone. This is not only interesting, it is also the perfect backdrop for captivating photos. Missing out on the classic in fog photography is not an option for any photographer: Rays of light making their way through the fog have a fascinating effect. Here the position is crucial! Standing in such a way that it is possible to work with the backlight. This brings out the light rays particularly well.

However, the autofocus of many cameras can fail with foggy subjects. The reason for this is the often low contrast. Therefore, focusing manually or using the hyperfocal distance is the way to go. In addition, the exposure needs to be readjusted manually as well.

Header Image © Pawel Kosicki

How to: Tips for Photo Editing

Raw Format without Loss

Nowadays most cameras, especially professional ones, include a RAW-function which allows saving images in a raw data format. This setup is perfect in order to rework pictures without a loss thanks to its large dynamic range. Unfortunately, there is no standard of RAW data yet, causing differences between camera manufacturers and models. Nonetheless, the internet offers a wide range of converter tools, helping to easily edit raw image data. For example, the Adobe-DNG-Converter transforms your data in a uniform format. Afterwards, the pictures can be adjusted with common photo editing tools. All RAW data not only have marginal differences, they also share two substantial characteristics. Firstly, the original image quality remains, including all details captured by the image sensor. Subsequently, the pictures always need to be edited. Secondly, the storage requirement increases.

Lightroom to edit image raw material

Not all shots are always 100% perfect. Honestly, they probably are never immaculate at first. Consequently, many photographers rework their data with editing tools such as the professional image editing software Adobe Lightroom. Lightroom was designed specifically for RAW formats. Beneficial is that this tool does not work destructive, meaning it is always possible to undo all changes made. The finished results can be synchronized with the original images on the user’s own computer. This gives Apple users an advantage for the time being, but an APP for Android devices is already planned.

LightZone 4.0 as free RAW converter

A free substitute for Lightroom is LightZone which is an open source project since its 4th version. Thus, it is a freeware under BSD licence for Windows, macOS, and Linux. LightZone is not only suitable for converting and processing RAW files, but also for JPEG or TIFF. Additionally, it offers similar tools for editing individual image areas as Photoshop.

JPEG decreases Image Quality

Joint Photographic Expert Group (JPEG), representing a cooperation of experts who developed this format. It is the most common used imaging formation, but has one major downside, the loss of picture information. Even though most camera models enable to choose the compression ratio, but it does not prevent a loss of details on photographic prints. In addition, there are some limits occurring while editing JPEG photos because the internal software of the camera already performs some editing processes. Especially, once changes have been made, they can only be edited afterwards to a limited extent. Overall, JPEG uses less storage capacity, but therefore provides fewer possibilities to enhance and edit the image professionally.

Image Optimization through FUJIFILM Ordering Software

The automatic image enhancement of myFUJIFILM is perfect for everyone who has not the possibility to optimize an image template for photo prints themselves. This is particularly suitable for unprocessed image files that need to be brightened. Please deactivate the automatic image enhancement in the ordering software or on our Internet platform for all images that have already been edited.

Why is image resolution so important?

Digital images are converted into small dots when printed (so-called dots per inch – dpi). The more dots per inch there are, the less individual dots the human eye can perceive. This means that the dots blur into an overall image and the photo looks razor sharp. Therefore, it is important that the image has a resolution of 300dpi. Moreover, it is decisive to consider the fact that the subject might look perfect on the computer, but the print can still be blurred later.

The reason: most monitors have a resolution of 72 or 96 dpi. This corresponds to about one third of the image format. To ensure a flawless print resolution, you should therefore rather determine the actual dpi number with the following formula: dpi = (horizontal pixel count of the photo x 2.54) / width of the photo

For example, a picture width of 15 cm and a horizontal pixel count of 1600 will have 271 dpi. Of course, calculating the value for each photo is not necessary at this point. Our software (ordering software / internet platform) shows via a warning triangle if the image quality is sufficient or insufficient for the selected format. If the image does not meet the requirements for a photo print in the desired size, there is the option of selecting a smaller image format via the selection menu. The formula is still very practical, as it helps to check shots at random. This makes it easy to calculate the right image format in advance.

Once the image processing and a quality check is completed, the next step is to order the prints. Fujifilm’s photo labs expose digital images on smudge-proof FUJIFILM photo papers. The images that are developed in this way are always of high quality. Digital photos that are printed out on your PC at home will therefore never meet this standard.

Header Image © Jerred Zegelis

5 Ingenious Photo Tips For Your Christmas Celebration

Christmas is right around the corner and most of us want to capture the sparkle in the children’s eyes when unpacking their presents, baking cookies together and a delicious Christmas feast or simply to capture the great Christmas spirit. Thereby, Christmas lights and darkness are making it difficult to take the perfect shots. Here are 5 tips to catch the festive highlights in perfect quality.

1. Plan Your Photo Equipment

The better prepared you are, the more fun and successful your Christmas shoot will be. Before your family and friends arrive, or you leave to visit them, check if you have enough memory cards. Are the batteries charged? Do you need a tripod or a remote control for the self-timer? If everything is packed and prepared, you are ready to go!

2. Timing Is Everything

To be sure that every facial expression is captured when unpacking the presents, the serial image setting in combination with the sports mode for moving pictures will be the perfect solution. Simply hold down the shutter button to snap as many pictures as your card will hold.

3. Avoid Direct Flashlight

We recommend: Do not use the flashlight! Many of us believe that the flashlight function makes pictures in the cosy, dark light turns out brighter. Unfortunately, most of the time this is not the case. Instead, opt for the night setting together with a slower shutter speed, which will ensure that enough ambient light is captured and create a warm Christmas atmosphere.

4. Magical Christmas Photos With The Bokeh Effect

Christmas decoration creates many opportunities for you to experiment and work with interesting effects. The bokeh-effect is one of our favourites. The term bokeh comes from Japanese and means blurred or out of focus. In photography, it is intentionally blurred parts of a photo that are created by the lens. If you want to isolate a Christmas tree bauble from the background, use a large aperture (e.g., f/1.8). This creates bright circles or other shapes that create wonderful Christmas magic over your pictures.

5. Shooting On Christmas Markets

For most of us, taking a stroll on one of the local Christmas markets creates the perfect pre-Christmas feeling. Of course, it is also perfect scenery to take a nice picture. However, Christmas markets are usually packed. Therefore, ensure that the autofocus is switched off, otherwise the camera will not find a reference point for focusing. Pictures taken in RAW mode will give you the possibility to adjust the white balance afterwards with certain image editing programmes.

Now you are perfectly prepared to capture this year’s Christmas. Try things out and have fun taking images of your special moments!