Sunday, 31 May 2015

Guest Post by Philip // Colour in Photography

Today, I’m going to touch on the aspect of colour in photos, and in particular the way one colour contrasts or compliments another and the effect this makes.

Colour wasn't always a part of photography. Originally, photos were only black and white. The world of colour was out of reach.

However, as technology developed, people figured out how to record colour. Today, colour is a vital part of photography. While black and white photos still exist and play their part, colour photos are predominant.

So, how can we utilise this colour in the world around us in our photography? This post has some theory and tips concerning utilising colour in photography. Enjoy.

Colour can be utilised in many ways to add beauty or contrast to a photo. Warm colours (such as reds, yellows, light produce a warm, happy, cozy feeling while cool colours (primarily blue and green) portray a more calm or sad sense.
browns, etcetera)
On the other hand, dark colours produce a dramatic, rich, contemplative feeling while lighter colours a more happy, extroverted, airy one.
The orange-y colour of the lion and the background create a warm feeling to this photo.

When a colour relates to another colour in a photo, photographers call this ‘juxtaposition’. It is true that the term ‘juxtaposition’ can refer to other relationships in the photo that are not colour, but for the purpose of this post, ‘juxtaposition’ refers to the relationships of colours in a photo.

One colour set against a very different colour tends to highlight the other. Green and red are often used together, as in Christmas decorations, because of their contrast. That’s juxtaposition. In this post, I’ll touch on several relationships between colours.

I’m sure you all know about the RYB (red, yellow and blue) primary colours and have seen a colour wheel at some point in your life. Certain relationships between colours are called ‘colour schemes’. These can be easily illustrated with a colour wheel.

Photos that utilise colours which are on opposite sides of the colour wheel are said to have a complimentary colour scheme. Think the red and green of Christmas. Other complimentary colours are yellow and purple; blue and orange. Given that they are so unlike one another, complimentary colours create a lot of tension and contrast in an image, but at the same time highlight (or ‘compliment’) each other.

In this photo, the blue of the sky compliments the orange created in the sunset. In addition, the dark colours help to create a dramatic, rich, contemplative feeling as I was talking about earlier.

When you select a scheme of colours that are next to each other in the colour wheel, this is called an analogous colour scheme. An analogous colour scheme tends to create a sense of unity in the image as the colours are somewhat ‘similar’.

Here the blue of the sky, the yellow of the sun and the green of the wind break create an analogous colour scheme.
Three different colours that are an equal distance from each other make a triad of colour. The primary triad is made up of blue, yellow and red while the secondary triad incorporates green, orange and purple.
A triad made up of the pure colours (or ‘hues’) of a triad create a sense of boldness or confidence. As these colours fade from their pure hues, this sense of boldness lessens, but the relationship is still there.

In this photo, the blue plate, the orange/red leaves and yellow leaves create a primary triad of colours.

Colour can be juxtaposed without sticking to one of these colour schemes. Any colours that are both different from one another and relate to each other create juxtaposition.

Here the white flowers are juxtaposed against the surrounding purple flowers and green background.

Colour can also be utilised without a colour scheme. One dominant colour can be used to create an effect. The green of grass could give a feeling of vibrance and life, or the red of this book one of reflection or comfort.

On the flip side of the coin, photos saturated with different colours can be juxtaposed to create a vibrant effect, as in these autumn leaves.

When I go out to take photos, I don’t usually ‘set things up’ to get a great colour scheme. Occasionally I do this to some extend, but usually I just look for what colours are around and use them. If I see a colour that will contrast the subject of my photo in a way that will enhance the image, I’ll add it in.

So my advice is to be aware of colour schemes and how various colours ‘fit together’ and then, when you’re out taking photos, try to include some sort of colour scheme. Can you see a triad of colours? Is there an analogous colour scheme at work in your photo? Is there a dominant colour or is it scattered with many different ones? Is there any way that you can utilise these colours better? It takes practice to see and use colour, but the outcome can be some pretty nice photos.

Autumn is a great time to take photos strewn with colour as leaves turn all shades of red, orange, yellow and brown. This can be juxtaposed against the blue sky, the yellow sun or any remaining green leaves to create images full of colour.

Flowers also have a great diversity of colours, some which are analogous to one another, but others that contrast or compliment their neighbor. Whenever flowers are in full bloom is a good time to find triads of colours in nature. I always make it my goal to do a photoshoot of flowers around my family property when they’re in bloom.

In winter, the diversity of colours is not so great as the plants are ‘asleep’ but one can create contrast between the white of any snow that falls and any other colour that is around like the green of evergreens, or the bricks/outside cladding of your house.

However, one does not need to look in nature alone for photos to take. Shop fronts, parking lots, playgrounds, house appliances, clothes and many other man-made things are strewn with colour waiting to be captured. I tend to take more photos of nature because I live out in the beautiful middle of nowhere and thus it’s easier to do so, but colour abounds almost everywhere.

Finally, if you’ve looked everywhere else and you just can’t find any contrasting or similar colours around, look at the diversity of colours in vegetables. Go to Subway, choose all the fillings, and photograph your meal. Not only will you get a photo full of colour, you’ll also get a healthy meal, a pat on the back from Bonnie, and have the power to make your friends’ mouths water. What more could you want?

This was the only Subway photo of my own that I had. Given I detest tomato the photo is lacking red, but if that was there the green of the cucumber, lettuce, etcetera would contrast against it. Yet even without tomato, the photo still has a lot of colour.

Bibliographical Note: For help with technicalities in this post I revisited the course I took to learn photography, Learn and Master Photography by Vince Wallace. I recommend the course to all.

Philip Sampson is a Christian homeschooled teenager from a large family of ten who lives in New Zealand (hence ‘colour’ spelt as it is). He enjoys studying the Bible, theology, ministry, family and languages as well as writing and photography when he gets the time (which is not all that often). He is currently studying Koine Greek at Laidlaw College while he finishes off several homeschooling subjects as (hopefully) the beginning of a Batchelor of Theology. He thinks that he’ll end up somewhere in the realms of ministry and business management but isn't quite sure exactly what yet.

Friday, 29 May 2015

Guest Post by Maria // Photographing Animals

This has to be my favorite subject when it comes to photography.

The thing about taking photos of animals, is that no matter how much you plan how you want your photo to look, there is a very good chance that the animal you are taking photos of will have a different idea of how its going to turn out. This is what I like most about it because more often than not the animal is going to help you end up with a better photo that what you originally planed.

For an example when I was taking photos for my school photography panel I had a image planned that I wanted to get with my rabbit, and then she just made it ten times better.
This is the first photo (the one that I had planned in my head, the one thing I did need to have in the final image was selective colour, which in the end worked better with the final image anyway).

This is the unedited photo, I had planned to change the inside of the frame to black and white and leave the outside in colour, but then I got the image below, which is far more interesting and also worked much better with using selective colour.

And then below is the final edited image.

What do you reckon? It looks pretty cool I think, way better than my original idea would have.

Anyway, the point that I am trying to make is that when you are taking photos of animals, it is important to allow them to be themselves not just do what you want them to, and if you do let them be themselves, you will most likely be rewarded with some pretty epic shots.

Below I have a few tips that are very important and helpful when taking photos of animals.

1. Make sure the animal you are taking photos of is comfortable and used to the place you will be taking photos in. Either use the animals normal house, or somewhere it has been before and is used to. It is very important that it does not feel nervous or scared. Not only is this unpleasant for the animal, but also it will come though in your photos and no one likes to see a photo of an upset animal!

2. Do start out with at least some ideas of what you want the photos to turn out like.
 It helps if you already have an idea, then just wait and see what the animal will do to improve them.

3. Find something your animal likes.
For a dog this could be a favorite toy or some food. For a cat this could be a feather or something that it likes to chase, I found that rabbits like a ribbon with an interesting smell on it (like one that another rabbit has touched). This part is however completely up to you and your animal, it just needs to be something that will make your animal look at it, it could even just be a sound or another animal in the photo normally works really well. Whatever it is, animals always look happier and more alert when they have just looked at something that has caught their attention.

4. Always take as many photos as you can.
Now days we use digital cameras which means that we can take pretty much endless photos and then go though them later and find the ones that actually worked and the ones that didn't. So just keep clicking. You can go back later and delete most of them but you will be rewarded with some really cool photos you didn't even know you had taken.

5. Keep sessions short.
Animals get sick of things very easily, and it is very important to remember this. If you take too long you will not only get frustrated with the animal, but they will also be less likely to want to act for you next time. Sometimes when things are not working it's best just to give it an hour or two before trying again. In my personal experience with taking photos of animals, the best photos are taken about ten minutes after you have started, when the animal is used to everything and then something will happen you will know they are just over it, I generally try to keep taking photos to no more that thirty minutes, before giving me and the animal a nice long break.

I hope these tips have been helpful, feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions!

Hi guys!  My name is Maria Higley, I am an ex homeschooler (I admit it, I also went to school) and am now currently working at a cake factory :) However as much as I love cake, next year I plan to go to uni to study design and photography with the dream of becoming a photography teacher. 
Feel free to have a look at my facebook page for more of my photos
Thanks for reading :)

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Guest Post by Eve // Photographing Children

Hey everyone! I'm Eve from the blog Eve of Womanhood. Bonnie recently asked me if I would like to guest post for her and of course I said yes!

So today I'll be doing a little tutorial for you guys. I'm going to share a few tips and secrets for taking photos of kids. Whether you're taking photos as a hobby or as a job, these tricks will definitely help you capture the beauty of childhood.

1. Make Them Feel Comfortable
If you have a photography business it can be really hard to make a child feel comfortable in front of the camera (or around a photographer they don't know). When you first meet the child tell him/her who you are and what you're going to be doing. 

ex. "Hey, Chloe! I'm Eve, and I'm going to be taking a few pictures of you today." 
During the photo shoot you can make a little small talk like, "How has your summer been?" or "Oh, you have such a beautiful smile!"
After you have some good photos of the child, show him/her the pictures on your camera to get the child excited for more photo-taking.

A very important thing to remember is that if you are not comfortable and nervous then most likely it will make the child feel the same way. Try to hide any nervousness you have with confidence and show them how fun a photo session can be.

If you are taking pictures of shy sibling or cousins this is also a helpful tip for making them feel more comfortable around the camera. 

2. Try Different Perspectives
Don't just stick with the normal poses and straight forward angles. Try to capture childhood from a different perspective. 

Try taking pictures of the little details that they have. For example when I take pictures of babies, I always try to take pictures of their feet, hands, and their sleeping eyes. That way when they grow older, their parents will still have the pictures to look back on.

3. Be Silly
Being silly will really help you take beautiful pictures of toddlers and babies. As you may know little kids and infants are very easily distracted. When I got the chance to photograph a baby boy I was so afraid that I may not be able to make him smile.

When the day of the photo session arrived it would be a major understatement to say that I was nervous. He and his parents came over and I got started with the photo shoot. Before I even took a picture I tried directing his attention toward me.

I would say in a major "baby talk" voice, "Hey, buddy! Whattcha doin'? Heyy, honey! Can you look over here? Aww, good job! Whatcha doin'? You're a good boy, aren't you?"

At first I felt ridiculous as I spoke in a high pitched baby voice and made silly faces all the while. But when I saw him smiling and letting his personality shine through I enjoyed myself just as much as he was! 

4. Let Them Be Kids
Children are unpredictable. They'll either..
A. smile and look like perfect angels
B. make silly faces, laugh, cry or run around.
B is what happens most of the time. When you first start taking pictures of them get a few of them smiling and looking at the camera but then let them have a little fun. Ask them where they want to take the pictures next. 
e.g. "Which place do you want to take pictures first? By the tree, on the bench, or by the fountain?" 

Kids don't like to be told what to do so this is a simple way to let them think "they're" in control.

5. Get the "Mommy Look"
Ahhh. The "mommy look". If you are taking pictures of a toddler or baby you should totally try this. It's so precious. All you do is have the baby's mom with you while you take the pictures. Then encourage her to say his/her name or talk to him/her. 

When it gets the baby's attention he/she looks over at her/his momma and does a sweet little smile. I've tried this with two children I've photographed and the results were pure adorableness.<3

6.Have Fun

The most important tip for photographing kids is simply have fun. If your having fun with them then most likely they're having fun with you. If the child is restless and tired, have a few suckers on hand to reward them after the photo shoot. That will give them something to look forward to. :)

Thanks for reading! <3

Monday, 25 May 2015

Happy birthday, Mummy!

Dear Mummy,
Happy birthday!
I wanted to do a post saying happy birthday. Don't worry, I won't embarrass you by publicly declaring how old you are turning. :)
This is my wonderful Mummy with a couple-of-days-old Jana.

Mum, you are incredible.
Not only do you somehow manage to find time to homeschool my younger siblings, you keep up with the cooking, cleaning and washing. You manage our house. You are also a wonderful wife to Dad. You are such a brilliant example.

Mummy, if I am ever half  the wife and mother you are, when I am older and have a home of my own, I will feel very proud of myself!

I hope you have a wonderful birthday.

I feel extremely blessed to be able to call you my Mummy. Thank you for all you do.
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Saturday, 23 May 2015

Exciting announcement

Good morning, friends!!

Well, I'm super excited... because of something very extremely awesome that I get to share with you... yay!!!

So it's my birthday this week, and I decided that I wanted to give myself a birthday present (I never normally do, but I thought it might be quite fun). So what I did is I asked a few bloggy friends and a few non-bloggy friends if they would mind writing guest posts for me.

Long story short, I have five very wonderful people who are all doing guest posts!! Yay!!!! (sorry... I'm really rather excited! :D )

They are all writing posts on photography, and are all coming at it from various angles ('scuse the pun) so it should be pretty awesome. I can't wait!

Not only do I get a blogging break for a whole ten days (what a great birthday present!!!!), but you guys get five very awesome posts, and I don't have to do anything! Now can you see why I'm excited?!

The first of these guest posts will be posted on the 27th of May, and then the rest will follow at two-day intervals.
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Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Reaching God Through Reason

I'm doing a devotion journal ("Following God: The Book of Ephesians" by Eddie Rasnake - it's amazing! Highly recommended) at the moment. The following excerpt is from the devotion I read this morning. I thought it was so excellent I wanted to share it with you. :) Enjoy!

The philosopher Immanuel Kant is perhaps most famous for his treatise, A Critique of Pure Reason. In this book, Kant attempts to define the limits of what mankind can know with confidence. Although I don't agree with all of his conclusions, I think he brings out some interesting points about mankind. One of his main points is that we human beings are phenomenal creatures- we understand and interpret the world around us via phenomena that we can grasp through our five senses. Therefore, Kant argues, we can only really know what we can experience with the five senses; sight, smell, taste touch, and hearing. Kant calls the realm of mankind the "phenomenal realm." In the phenomenal realm, according to Kant, things can be revealed to us only as they appear to our five senses. Kant teaches in his treatise that mankind cannot reach beyond this realm because he believed that our senses- the link to how things appear - form the boundary of our ability to reason. Thus Kant concludes that it is impossible for man to really know that God exists. God by His very nature, the philosopher argues, is a part of a higher realm than man. He is part of what Kant calls the "noumenal realm," a dimension where things appear as they actually are - ultimate reality. To Kant, the "noumenal realm" is a level to which we human beings cannot transcend. It is too high for us. It exceeds the limits of our ability to reason only through the senses.

While I don't agree with Immanuel Kant's conclusion that it is impossible for mankind to know that God exists, there are some things that I really like about his logic. First, he ascribes to the concept of God, and he ascribes to God a very high and noble place. He doesn't attempt to bring God down to the level of man. A true God whom man could fully grasp and understand with his mind through reason would be no greater than man himself. Second, I think Kant is correct in recognizing the limits of what man can grasp on his own via the confines of his faculties. Man indeed is a creature whose mind is mostly restricted to the phenomena he can grasp with the five senses.

There is only one problem with Kant's conclusion. He leaves out one all-important possibility. What if God reaches down from the "noumenal realm" and reveals Himself to man in "phenomenal" ways? Man may not be able to reach God through reason, but God can reach man through revelation. That is, in fact, what God has done. He knows the limits of what man's mind can grasp. Therefore, God became a man so that mankind could understand Him. John 1:18 tells us, "No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him." Literally, Jesus has "exegeted" God, or He has revealed God in ways mankind could understand. You see, God is knowable, but only because He chooses to make Himself known.

Do you do a devotional journal or some sort of study tool for your quiet time?
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Monday, 18 May 2015

Hair Tutorial - the Rolled Flower Bun

The last hair tutorial I did was wildly popular (check it out here) so I thought it might be fun to do another one. This time, I'm showing you how to do a rolled flower bun, using the lovely Sophie as my model.

I wasn't sure what to call this, because I'm not entirely confident that it looks like a flower (especially since I only make it with four 'petals' - if you did it with five it would look like a flower) so if you can think of a better name for it, let me know, and I'll rename it. ;)

The idea for this bun originally came from here, but I have modified it quite drastically. I love this bun because it's so pretty and elegant, suitable for all occasions, and when you get sick of it in your hair, you can take it out and poof, your hair is massively curly!

Let's get started, shall we?

Skills required
This can be quite hard to get your head and fingers around to start with. However, it isn't too bad once you have the hang of it. If you like doing hair or are keen to learn more, this is going to be great for you.

Materials required
See photo above. One hairbrush, some water (I like using a spray bottle just because it's easy, but if you don't have one you can just grab a container, fill it with water and dip your fingers into it when you need to), one hairband, a nice thick pencil (I like using a thick pencil because it works for me, but you might find something else works better for you... for instance, you could try using a chopstick) and TONS of bobby pins.
Brush the hair well and spray it with a little bit of water to help control the flyaways.

Scoop the hair into a ponytail. I like to position the ponytail right in the center of the back of the head because then the bun will sit in the center. But you could do it a wee bit lower, or even right on top of the head if you want. 

Take a section from the ponytail that is about one quarter of the size of the ponytail. This will be your first roll. Wet it a little and brush the water into it so the flyaways don't go crazy.

Take the pencil and place it on the end of the section.

Start rolling the hair over the pencil. I always roll it on the top of the section. You could also roll it the other way, under, if you so desired.

Keep rolling right along the section. As you go, bits of the section ahead that haven't yet been rolled might balloon out slightly. Just sort of tuck them in neatly-ish as you go (if you can). Don't worry if you can't, you can fix it all up in the end with bobby pins. 

When you get right to the end of the section, position the roll where you like it. Then, ever so gently, slide the pencil out. Warning: Do NOT slide the pencil out left to right, over the eraser end. The eraser is slightly bigger than the pencil and the hair will get caught and your lovely roll will have to be redone. Instead, slide the pencil out over the lead end, because that end is pointy and it will slide out ever so beautifully.

The roll might go all weird and out of shape without the pencil in it to hold it. Don't worry, just as quickly as you can shove a bunch of bobby pins in it to hold it. Slide the bobby pins in over the bottom layer of the roll, if that makes sense... Put heaps of pins in until it's really secure and isn't going anywhere.

If all goes according to plan, it should (hopefully) end up looking somewhat like this.

Now divide the remaining hanging-down bit into three sections, and take one of the sections. Wet it down, brush it, position the pencil at the end, and start rolling. 

Remove the pencil, pin the section and admire your efforts as before.

Repeat above steps for the third section.

And repeat all again for the fourth, and final section.

Note that the fourth section is slightly wonky. It's off more to the right than the left. Of course, I am not a perfect hair artist and I make mistakes. If I was to do this again the right section would be lower, the bottom section would be more to the left and the left section would be slightly higher. :) If you do it perfectly, good on you, it's quite hard to have it all symmetrical!!

When you've got it (mostly) how you like it, shove a bunch more bobby pins in there to tidy and neaten everything up as much as you can. 

And you're pretty much done! See - that wasn't that hard, was it?

Want to change it up a bit? Some ideas:
- Go for five rolls, or more. The more rolls you do, the more awesome it will look! I like four usually because it's quicker and it looks nice and symmetrical. If you do less than four you'll have a harder time getting the hair to stay put.
- Experiment with the positioning of the bun on the head. Try it higher or lower. You may not be able to have it too low because you have to have hair under the roll for the bobby pin to grab onto, and there's not much hair on the nape of the neck!!
- If you wear this bun because you want curly hair, you'll need to leave it in for quite a few hours. When you take it out the hair is usually super curly. This is because it was wetted, rolled really tightly, pinned, then allowed to dry. Don't make the mistake of taking it out too soon, however. Leave it in all day if you want curls.

Special thanks to Sophie for being my model. :)

What do you think? Have you tried this technique before?
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