Photography Tips and Tricks
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CLOCKS AND WATCHES.
The first of my photography tips: when shooting clocks or watches the hands should be set at nine minutes to two or nine minutes after ten. Most clients expect this to happen as a matter of course but, while every rule is made to be broken, it takes a brave photographer to break this one. There are four reasons for the rule; the first is that the hands ca not be together because they would look like one hand, neither can they form a vertical or horizontal line to cut the face in half which would be bad composition and thirdly they must not cover the makers name. The fourth and most important reason is that the shallow v shape makes the clock look as if it’s smiling.
It is generally accepted that in a picture of a stationary car the wheels will be aligned horizontally.
Mirrors should have a highlight and shadow reflected in them so that they don’t look like a painting or a blank frame, make sure they don’t reflect an image of you and the camera. ☺
SUBJECTS WITH TEXT.
The next of my photogrphay tips is about objects that display text, such as packs and bottles with labels, should be lit from the left, since it’s easier to read into a shadow. Sometimes It’s better to light from the right when the text is in Arab or Hebrew
Professional models often use a haemorrhoid cream to reduce bags under the eyes. I told this to a friend at my golf club and the next day the skin under her eyes was very inflamed, she had used a lot of cream before going to bed and left it on all night. I forgot to tell her not to leave it on too long. Make sure the model knows what she is doing before using the cream and I take no responibility for the result.
These are absolutely indispensible to dull reflections on shiny surfaces. S W Kenyon market both a semi mat and a mat dulling spray. Some experience is needed to use them successfully. Black and white dulling spray is also available together with a 4x neutral density spray, used mainly in the film industry for darkening windows. Many photography tips come from the use of specialised equipment.
A subject such as a bottle of wine can be very difficult to separate from the background depending on the colours involved. This can be dealt with by spraying a thin line of black or white dulling spray or white deodorant down the difficult edge. The front of the subject forming the image must show a very fine line of spray that can be formed by using masking tape, which is peeled off after spraying, make sure you use a tape that peels without leaving traces.
Objects that sink wholly or partially in water can be kept afloat by heavily salting the water.
Food probably uses more tricks than any other branch of photography. The law related to advertising use seems to be interpreted as - don’t misrepresent the subject but anything else goes - condone this or not the tricks that follow do make life easier.
Steam can be created in several ways depending on the subject, for a cup of coffee, tea or soup, touch a drop of hydrochloric acid against the inside of the rim and two or three inches away a drop of ammonia, this creates a convincing steam effect. These chemicals can usually be bought from a chemist but be very careful as they are very corrosive. I except no responsibility for misues of these products.
Another method for larger subjects is to soak a piece of absorbent paper, such as kitchen roll, in water and heat to boiling in a microwave this works well when its placed behind a chicken or a leg of lamb. I have not found other ways that work as well but I do know someone who puffs a little cigarette smoke onto the subject!
MAKING LIQUIDS LOOK HOT.
Photographs of cups of liquid such as coffee, tea, soup and milk don’t look hot even though they have the steam effect, this is because the tiny detail that a freshly poured drink always has is a couple of little bubbles on the surface. Add one drop of washing up liquid to a cup of water and whisk it with a fork, then lift off two or three tiny bubbles with a teaspoon and place them on the drink, you will be amazed at the effect.
FAKE ICE CREAM.
I have won many bets with this one. A scoop of ice cream under the studio lights will melt at alarming speed. I overcome the problem by using mashed potato with emulsion paint mixed in to match the colour and texture of ice cream. A scoop of this mix does not quite reproduce the appearance of ice cream because it doesn’t look as if it’s going to melt, so mix emulsion paints to the right colour and paint on the mash with a small brush to obtain the degree of melting required.
Ice can cause a problem because it floats, whereas the good fake ones that I know of don’t. The best fake ice is made from acrylic or if you have a glassblower in your region he may be able to help with glass chunks that look great (but they sink), just like roughly broken ice, this is very good especially if you want to fill the glass with ice. If you must use real ice making it with mineral water provides more transparent cubes.
ROAST CHICKEN ???
A roast chicken never looks as good as it smells, if you look closely you will see blisters where parts of the skin have detached from the body which does not look good. To prepare a chicken for photography inject mashed potato with a large syringe between the meat and the skin from a position that will not show in the photograph, then work this evenly under the skin by massaging, half cook the chicken then paint a mixture of angostura bitters and food colour onto the outside of the skin to produce the appearance you need. Stuff the inside with wet kitchen roll heated in the microwave and serve to the camera. Neither you nor your assistant should eat it and don’t take it home for the family.
SHINE AND FRESHEN.
Glycerine painted on food makes it look shiny and fresh. Usually mix with an equal quantity of water.
ICE AND ICICLES.
When sugar is added to water in large quantities it can be made to look like flat ice or, if left to drip, turn into icicles.
CENTERING A BOILED EGG YOLK.
Many photographs show a sliced hard-boiled egg. The yolk should be centred in a ring of white to look at its best. To achieve this, the egg must be fresh and continuously rotated while it is being boiled.
STOP FRUIT TURNING BROWN
Most housewives know that a liberal coating of lemon juice on the banana and apple pieces will stop them browning and keep them looking as if they are just cut.
GRAVY AND SAUCE.
When gravy and sauces are cold they can form a skin that looks horrible. Many substitutes can be used, I find a mixture of motor oil and a little flour can often reproduce the appearance and texture needed.
MORE photography TIPS AND TRICKS WILL BE ADDED REGULARLY - IF I CAN REMEMBER THEM.