Arches shot by our student Godwin Paulose

Ornate interiors showcasing exquisite Indian architecture beautifully captured by our Student Godwin Paulose (Advanced Diploma in Professional Photography fulltime course)

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Tips to shoot Panning

We always have been surprised at photos with panning effect. The panning technique gives the viewer the feel of movement of the subject which is sharp and the background is blurred to give the feel of speed or motion.

Panning is just following a moving subject with the camera either horizontally or vertically or in any direction to get the moving subject sharp and blurring effect in the background. This is one of the ways you can establish the effect of motion in a still picture. You can try this in wildlife, wedding, sports, children and industrial photography.

1. Shoot in shutter priority or manual exposure mode. Slow shutter speeds could give great panning effect – choose shutter speeds like 1/30, 1/45, 1/60 increase the shutter speed if the subject moves really fast. – set camera

2. Use AF – Servo or AF-C autofocusing mode – set camera

3. Use continuous shooting/drive mode – set camera

4. Follow the subjects that move relatively slow – slow moving vehicles or people or anything can give an easy panning effect.

5. Follow the subject as it approaches the camera, but shoot when it is just parallel to the camera.

6. Choose to shoot subjects moving fairly closer the camera – maybe 15 to 20 feet distance would be fine

7. Try getting the full subject without cropping for an interesting composition

8. Keep your legs little apart and hold the camera steady. Move only the upper part of your body (above the waist) to follow the moving subject.

9. Choose a background with some patterns – trees, buildings, a large group of people etc. Avoid plain and flat backgrounds.
Check the exposure for the subject and the background by shooting few test shot. Use exposure compensation if needed.

 

How to use Grey Card ?

When you need an accurate white balance for your pictures, using a grey card is one of the easiest methods to get the correct white balance in your pictures. 1. Use a grey card to set the exposure right 2. Use grey card when the scene contains high contrast light 3. 18% grey and light meters 4. How to use the grey card while shooting? 5. Using the grey card for exposure and white balance controls 6. Use the grey card as a reference and colour correct the image in a post-production

Life behind the lens

 

Interview with KL.Raja Ponsing, founder and director,
AMBITIONS 4 PHOTOGRAPHY ACADEMY

How has the landscape for photographers changed in the city in the last five years?

The landscape of photography altogether has changed a lot in the recent five years on the whole and Chennai is not an exception. One can find that almost every professional photographer now owns expensive cameras and equipment. Unfortunately, many of these photographers believe that good photos come from an expensive camera or an expensive brand. Many of them tend to work very randomly and shoot 100 images to get 10 usable pictures. Turn the clock back 10-15 years, photographers use to think before every shot. But now many of them are reluctant to check even the basics. Many feel that making mistakes while shooting is accepted and is a part of the process because there is a software to repair the images later on.

At the same time, professional photography has become very expensive now, ie. people do spend big time on photography. If you look at wedding photography, photographers direct the entire wedding like a feature film. They use all kinds of gadgets whether it is really necessary or not. One can find images shot from up in the air till under the water in one wedding album. However, it’s saddening to see that the very essence of true and natural emotions, meaning of a ritual and the overall feel is lost in wedding photography as they are directed and set up shots.

Coming to commercial photography, part-time hobbyists do the jobs at a throwaway price pledging the values of photography. It has become rare to find genuine, passionate photographers who maintain the values of the profession.

What is it that students have to have in order to learn and pursue a future in photography?

The most important quality to pursue and be successful in photography is the ‘passion for the great art’. A passionate student can dedicate his/her time effectively in learning and become big and useful. They must be willing to do hard work 24X7 with a target to achieve. Though photography is a lot of fun, it should be learned and practiced seriously. Students with an artistic bent of mind and who think little out of the box have a better chance to become successful professionals. In the present scenario, they must be willing to learn throughout their life and update the technology and the trend.

Many photographers, though not all, are self-taught. What role does a school of photography play in guiding photography aspirants?

There is nothing like ‘self-taught in photography’. We pick up a lot of information from the internet, other photographers and their photos. This helps the self-taught photographers to do some trial and error basis learning. A good photography school can help the students in the following areas,

  1. A formal education from a school of photography leaves no stone unturned.
  2. The learners are given ample scope to understand all the possible technics and art through the structured curriculum.
  3. This gives a lot of self-confidence and helps them solve the problems thrown at them quickly and efficiently once they start their professional photography careers.
  4. This makes learning fast and reduces the possible mistakes that happen otherwise. For example, a photographer who has attended a formal course will be able to master the techniques, art, and business in a couple of years. Whereas, others may take years to achieve the same through a lot of trial and error and guesswork.
  5. Most importantly a good photography school can give a hands-on experience on some of the expensive and rare state of the art equipment, facilities, special skills, and real-time job experience.

These opportunities may or may not happen even after a long time for a self-taught photographer.

What are the courses in photography offered by Ambitions 4?
Ambitions4 Photography Academy offers fulltime and weekend courses.

How is the scene of photography in Chennai when compared to the other metropolitan cities in the country?

Chennai is a unique city in India which has a beautiful mix of technology and tradition. The value of photography as a business is very much influenced by the culture and tradition of the place/city. The photographers in Chennai are equally talented like other cities and some of them are even internationally renowned. A lot of big jobs in photography is being done in Chennai for a simple reason, the photographers are dedicated and disciplined to their jobs. The commercial value of a job in Chennai is relatively less, I mean; the photographers are not paid like other cities. The job opportunities are becoming good in recent years.

In what line of work can photography students explore a more lucrative future? (i.e., Other than still photography)

Moving to become commercial, advertising, fashion and big-time wedding photographers is the best option for a lucrative career. Apart from being still photographers, the students can head towards working for movies after assisting cinematographers. They can also start doing short films, corporate films, advertising films and so on. This is possible for, they have a strong foundation about the visual art and medium.  They can team up to operate as a company to do weddings and events which could turn out to be a lucrative future. Image post-processing and designing is yet another area they can explore.

Have you ever tried a Magic filter – CPL filter..?

Have you ever tried a Magic filter – CPL filter..?

The Circular Polarizing filter (CPL) is a magical filter that does wonders in photography.
1. The polarizing filter will remove/reduce the unwanted reflections created by indirect diffused light from non-metallic surfaces. It cannot remove/reduce the specular reflections created by the direct light sources.
2. CPL filter is a dark grey special optical filter fitted on to a rotatable ring mounted in front of the lens.
3. CPL lets in the polarized light without reflections to enter into the camera. The effect of polarization can be seen apparently in the viewfinder as you rotate the CPL filter. The overall subject gains better colour saturation and clarity gradually and becomes best at one point of rotation
4. CPL filter can saturate the green foliage and blue sky while shooting nature and landscapes.
5. The amount of colour saturation and clarity obtained depends on the light direction and time of the day.
6. CPL filter polarizing effect will be ultimate in ‘sidelight’ conditions and will be the least in ‘against the light’ conditions.
7. It will be better during the golden hours of photography (up to two hours from the Sunrise and two hours till Sunset).
8. CPL filter comfortably removes the reflections on the glass, tiles, shiny floors, shiny furniture, wet surfaces, water and almost anything that reflects. Useful for shooting exteriors & interiors, glass enclosures, high reflective products like automobiles etc.
9. Being dark grey, the CPL filter will absorb at least two to three stops light. This will result in using slow shutter speeds or higher ISOs or open apertures or all the three.
10. CPL filter can also be used like an ND (Neutral Density) filter for achieving shallow depth of field/ blurring effects.
11. CPL filters can also be used in the indoors with artificial lights and studio flashes.
12. Only a very ‘good quality CPL filter’ can protect the optical quality of your expensive lens – never settle for anything less.

 

How to shoot great photos?

How will you get the best of the subject in travel and street photography? Know about the thought process in photography. Believe that good photos don’t happen accidentally. Learn to anticipate, ask for more and wait patiently to make your photos meaningful and artistic. Learn how intuition helps us create great photographs.

SATHIYARUBAN

SATHYARUBAN, FROM SRILANKA, BTEC LEVEL-5

Ever since its inception in 2001 Ambitions4 Photography Academy has made a difference and change in the lives of many learners of photography. Among them, there are few, who had made it really big and achieved their qualification despite of many constrains and challenges in their personal life.

Sathyaruban

SATHIYARUBAN an immigrant from Sri Lanka. Doing a lot of odd jobs after his schooling Sathya (that is what we call him), landed in India along with his brother and mother after the civil war. Helping his brother who was working as a wedding photographer, Sathya wanted to pursue the International qualification, BTEC HND Level-5 from Ambitions4. A very hard working person, Sathya was not very much comfortable with English as a medium of instruction and he found it very challenging when comes to some writing exercises.

He was truly dedicated and always did the assignments and projects more than what is required. He has always been a lavish shooter trying a lot of alternative options in terms of concept, content, composition and techniques. As a fascinated street photographer his works on photo-journalism and editorial photography were amazing. He had set his goal to work for National Geographic.

Sathiyaruban1

Though he was very silent in the class, he could talk enough on the shoots. He was an action guy. He worked towards the results and perfection. He never asked for excuses but found a solution for every photography problem. He never took anything for granted, but asked for reasons and evidences. With a lot of extra efforts and help of his class mate and friend Sriram, Sathya had improved his writing skills in English and effectively completed all his project logs, and learning experiences.Sathiyaruban2

His endeavor to do a coffee table travel book on Mysore for the government of Karnataka as the real time professional job was something amazing that proved his dedication and commitment. A non compromising person and photographer he always wanted the best and did the best as a BTEC achiever. He was one among few learners who had assisted me in my commercial jobs and workshop sessions. Sathya is now in Switzerland doing what he has always been passionate about.

His journey as a learner in Ambitions4 is a standing example as how a learner has to take up a course in photography and make it successful.