We have a little Easter treat for you!  There is no Easter without eggs and so today, we'll give you a little tutorial on how to photograph the humble egg.

In this, and a couple other tutorials following in the next few days, we'll be showing you a few differenet ways to capture THE EGG, paying attention to a number of different composition principles and style conventions. 

Today, we're giving you a few examples on how light can affect the way that your egg looks and how to achieve it without studio lights, constly props etc. 


Let's start simply: 

The minimalist egg

White egg ( mine was duck's ) on white plate, and white background. Pure simplicity. Nothing there to distract from the oval beauty of the egg. 

What I did:

I placed the egg and the other props by a window with indirect natural light coming in. That means, the sun was not directly opposite the window, so the light was gentle, rather than harsh. 

I used a white foamboard as a background placed on the table and put a simple white plate on it. Then I placed the egg on one of the edges of the plate and composed so that I could capture a fragment of the plate in such a way that the curve of the plate creates a partial frame, bringing the eye to the egg. 

All elements - the backdrop, the plate and the egg were white - allbeing in slightly different shades of white - this allowed me to create a minimalist, shades of white image that uses shapes as its main composition principle. 

I used solely natural light from the window - the gentle light created only gentle, wrap-around shadows which highlighted the eggy shape and made the egg look three dimensional rather than flat but were not too harsh at the same time. 

I experimented with reducing the shadows by bringing another foamboard to the side of the picture, but found that the added extra light didn't work out in this composition - it took too much of the shadow away and made the composition look flat. 

Important note on exposure. The images you are seeing are SOOC ( straight out of camera) = no editing beyond a gentle crop. To make sure I got the right look and the right exposure in this white on white on white image, I ended up overexposing by 2 exposure stops - otherwise the image was looking very ashen. I did that in manual, but if you're shooting in semi-auto modes, you can use the exposure compenation button. 


The drama egg

Just as our last photo relied on small and gentle shadows, this one takes full advantage of more dramatic light to highlight the egg's texture ( I just loved how freckly it was ) and shape. The shadows are deep and sharp, the backdrop inpenetrably black. The light shines and reflects of the shiny egg, giving it a bit of a sheen. 

What I did:

This is a tale of 3 black tshirts which I used to 'dress' my white foamboards. My egg was placed in virtually the same place as in the last picture, with the window by its side, slightly elevated compared to the plate I used previously. 

I then used the curtains to narrow down the beam of light coming onto the egg - I wanted the light to be coming from one direction only and since it was overcast and all I had was indirect light ( which worked so well in the previous image) - I needed a way to shape it a little. 

I dressed my whiteboards in the black Tshirts and placed one behind the egg and one on the side facing the light. By using a dark surface there, it meant that the light which would be hitting it from the window would be absorbed and not reflected back onto the egg, allowing me to shape the light more precisely. I used the third Tshirt to drape over a little box the egg was resting on. 

How is the egg staying up? Bluetac and a match placed strategically behind it. 

Composition wise, I used an approximation of the rule of thirds and allowed more space on the side the light was coming from. 

From exposure point of view, the same way as our cameras make white look ashen, they make black look a little more charcoal like. But I wanted black-black and a good contrast with the shiny part of the egg.  So I ended up underexposing by -1.7 stop to make it look just right. The image above is again unedited, straight out of camera. 


The double egg

This, to a degree is a version of the Drama egg from above. 

I used to intertwined forks to create a little seat for the egg and placed them on a shiny surface. I wanted an uninterrupted black background but to achieve it, I had to improvise. The only shiny black surface I could find in my house was the surface of the cooker. I used my black tshirts draped over my foamboards again, this time using 3 of them and creating a mini booth for the egg so that I could direct the light to come from one direction only to limit the glare on the cooker surface. 

I was careful to compose in a way that highlights the symmetry of the composition.

Exposure wise, I had to underexpose again to make sure my black background showed up as true black. 


I did perform one small edit after downloading the images from my camera. Due to the nature of my shiny surface ( - working cooker!) , I couldn't get away from the white markings ( to regulate hobs and temperature)  and they showed up in the original image. I used adjustment brush in Lightroom to get rid of them. See the photo of my set up and the  unedited image below - the white markings are showing in the bottom right part of the frame.

If you enjoyed this little round up of ways to photograph an egg, you'll be delighted to find out we have a couple more to come over the next few days! 


PHOTO COMPETITION !!!

You have a chance for to win a place on one of our online photography courses! 


All you have to do is to take a photo of an egg ( any egg - chocolate, fried, hatching)  and post it to Instagram or on our Facebook Page , tagging us in, at any time between now and end of Monday 22nd April. 


You MUST tag us in (otherwise we won't know to include it in the draw) and hashtag  #photoparentsegg

 

The winner will be picked at random on Tuesday 23rd April




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“Did you SEE that Mummy! We can go an build a snowman! And play snowballs and …”

Here are out 10 top things to do if you want your snow photos to look beautiful.  Illustrated by our very own students photos!

Before you go anywhere – take steps to protect your camera.

Snow is water and water is your camera’s enemy so make sure you don’t let it into your camera. How? While there are some dedicated camera sleeves and protectors out there, a humble thin plastic bag wrapped around it will do the job just as well. Cling film will work too! Oh and remember that batteries deplete much faster in the cold so make sure your is charged fully and ideally, have a spare somewhere warm! ( like your pockets )

Change your White Balance to ‘cloudy’ or ‘shade’

Your camera doesn’t really understand pure white ( and pure black for that matter ). Because of that, it tries to bring it down to a pale shade of grey and we all know how attractive grey snow looks. If you leave it to its own devices, the effect will be greyish, blueish photos. Changing your White Balance ( WB) – warmifies the image, making it closer to how we perceive it. Where to find it? – Look for either a button with WB on it or a setting in your camera.

Overexpose.

I know, counter-intuitive, but hear me out. This is again down to the whole not understanding white thing and trying to bring it back to grey which essentially ‘dims’ the picture. Find a button on your camera with a +/- on it ( that’s your exposure compensation button) and use the scroll wheel ( if you’re on DSLR – this might differ for bridge cameras) to push the meter towards +1. Take a few test pictures to double check and adjust as necessary but you should find them looking better than on ‘correct’ setting. Just don’t forget to bring it back to zero later!


Keep your shutter speed fast for pictures of falling snow unless you want them to look like lines.

Start from 1/250s and adjust upwards if necessary to preserve the roundness of the falling snow flakes. Go even faster for the obligatory snowball fight  of course! Just make sure your camera is nice and safe (snow = water = trouble)

Photo by Lisa Friday

Think of your background and foreground.

Want to make it clear in the picture the snow is falling around your subject? Make sure your background has something dark in it ( trees are good) so that the bright snow flakes have something to stand out against. Using a shallow depth of field will help to blur some of the snowflakes in the front creating a layer of depth.

Photo by Claire Fay

Shoot the action

Being out in the snow is all about having fun – whether it’s wild tobogan rides, building a snowman or a snowball fight – make sure you get right there with your camera. Catch the snow flying, the tobogans flipping, the cheeks rosy from frost and  eyes sparkling with laughter.

Photos by Karen Baker, Sarah Honey, Sarah Collins and Ruth Harvey

Notice the light

If you’re having one of those wonderful snowy/sunny days you’re in such luck! The sun makes the snow sparkle, shine and shimmer – it brings extra magic in and can easily take your photos from ‘meh’ to AMAZING! Let the sun backlight the icicles, highlight the flying snow, reflect from the snow. And sometimes, all you need is a little creativity as one of our students has shown with the help of a security light!

Photo by Teresa Foyster

Think of the larger picture as well

Head out to the park or a wide open space and show the beauty and calm of the snowscape. If your child is wearing contrasting colour – even better – it will make them stand out against the background and draw the eye. Take a family portrait in the middle of a winter wonderland – all it takes is being able to put your camera down no something and self timer!

Photos By Kerry Anderson, Amanda Vickers and Ruth Harvey

But don’t forget to focus on the details

The wonders of winter lie in the details too – the snowflakes landing on the eyelashes, the icicles sparkling in the sun, the state of your son’s gloves after building the snowman. Don’t forget to get in nice and close to capture those details.

Photo By Amanda Vickers

Too cold to go out?

The falling snow is beautiful to watch from the inside too! Just because you’re indoors, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it!

And above all – have fun!

 

MORE SNOW PHOTOS BY OUR STUDENTS!

No, you don’t have to be a ‘born artist’ to significantly – and I mean really by a LOT – improve your photographs. This is a topic which makes me see red so get settled for a bit of a rant.