3 Photography Tips for Better Backgrounds

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Raw image of model in front of white wall

Raw image of model in front of white wall

Raw image of model in front of white wall

Raw image of model in front of white wall

In Los Angeles, locations and studios can get expensive. If you’re a new photographer or a seasoned one it can get discouraging trying to find places to shoot. Especially when the clients don’t understand the value. I know that you get tired of going outside, but when it’s all you have, it’s better to shoot than not at all. We did a shoot with the Sony A7III with the Sony FE 24mm 1.4 G Master lens and used all free outside locations to capture images. All the photos in this post are raw images.

Here are the top tips in getting better backgrounds for your photos:

Textures 

When looking for a place to shoot your model pay attention to colors and textures. See how it flows with the model’s wardrobe. Often you can find cool textures on walls and garage doors. What you’ll find is, you get a background that looks more stylized and less like you took a photo in front of a blank wall. For our shoot, we decided to add a bit of texture by placing a sheet on a couple of light stands. This brought a whimsical aesthetic to the images. When we moved it around it created a texture. You can do this with any fabric. 

When walking around outside, don’t be afraid of ugly corners or the appearance of rust, wood, or concrete. If you play around with these areas you can often get cool photos. I always say, take the shot and if it doesn’t work move on. But sometimes these places will surprise you.

Raw image of model in front of sheet

Raw image of model in front of sheet

Raw image of model in front of sheet

Raw image of model in front of sheet

Lighting 

When working with your model think about lighting. As we’ve mentioned before you don’t always get the luxury of a golden hour or studio. When working outside watch how the light hits trees, walls, lamp posts. You can use shade to create cool angles in your shot. Slivers of light through trees can create cool shadows around your model. All photographers will shoot in harsh light sometimes. You can find soft light by placing models under a tree or in the shaded spot of a building. Pay attention to shadows to create composition and artistic choices for backgrounds. 

Raw Image of model in a field next to bush.

Raw Image of model in a field next to bush.

Raw Image of model in nature sitting on tree stoop.

Raw Image of model in nature sitting on tree stoop.

Interactive Backgrounds

Give your models something to do. This will allow them to move with purpose and tell a story. For our shoot, we had the model play around with the sheet we placed on light stands. This added a flirty vibe to the photos, like a perfume ad. Likewise, when shooting outside we had the model interact with the plant and flowers around her as a prop. We found a stump that was perfect for the model to sit on and pose. I’ve seen photographers take awesome photos using shopping carts, food, sunglasses, etc.

If you’re working with an amateur model using props will make them get comfortable. Look for stairwells, plants, rails and places the model can lean against or touch work great.

Watch the Video Photography Tips for Better Backgrounds:

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LIVE ART LOVE TEAM

P.S. If you’re interested to see what equipment we shoot with head to our Gear page.

Batis 25mm Review [AND $100 B&H GIVEAWAY]

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Batis 25mm Review Photography 9.jpg
Batis 25mm Review Photography 10.jpg

The Batis 25mm lens is another stellar lens for Sony cameras. This wide angle lens is perfect for landscapes, street photography, events, or travel. I found myself grabbing this lens for quick day trips and outings. Due to the fact that it’s lightweight, wide enough for most situations. But also versatile enough to shoot pictures of people and their surroundings. Don’t forget to join our giveaway at the bottom of this post!

THE DESIGN

Once again the lens body is amazing coming from Zeiss. This lens feels like quality in your hands. From the moment you take it out of its foam and fancy packaging. You know you’re holding something amazing. Plus the Oled display that comes with the lens makes you want to show it off to your fellow photography geeks.

Batis 25mm Review Photography 7.jpg
Batis 25mm Review Photography 6.jpg

IMAGE QUALITY

The image quality of the Batis 25mm is beautiful. Something about the look of Batis lenses leaves me impressed. I understand that Sony’s G Master lineup is the top of the line. Yet, I find that Batis lenses have comparable image quality. The color and the contrast of this lens helps it stand out amongst other lenses on the market. This lens is tack sharp, which for me isn’t a big selling point. As I like my images to look more cinematic and less digital. The easiest way to make it less sharp is to use a Black Pro Mist Filter to soften it up. But it's better to have a lens that handles sharpness well. Then adjust later as needed in post editing.

FOCUS

This lens has a close focusing distance that you wouldn’t expect from a wide angle lens. Making this lens perfect for Marco images and video. It won’t replace a dedicated macro lens. But it’s great to have a feature like this when shooting in a pinch.

Another thing I love about the Batis 25mm is how it handles backlight and lens flare. The flares that come from the lens are gorgeous. The way it retains detail when shooting in bright situations is a plus for my type of shooting.

Batis 25mm Review Photography 2.jpg
Batis 25mm Review Photography 4.jpg

CONCLUSION

The Batis 25mm is one of my favorite lenses I’ve used on my Sony A7III. My plan was to buy this lens and be done with it. However, I preordered the Tamron 17-28mm F/2.8 and I’m super excited for that lens to come out. If it’s anything like my Tamron 28-75mm F/2.8, it will be exactly what I need as a hybrid shooter. Once I get my hands on that lens I’ll be able to decide if I want to keep the Batis 25mm or not. Regardless look out for a lens review of the Tamron once it is released.

Batis 25mm Review Photography 1.jpg

GIVEAWAY

We’re excited that we officially hit 1,500 subscribers on our YouTube Channel. This is a huge milestone for us that we want to celebrate. We’re doing a giveaway for a $100 gift card to B&H. To help a lucky winner add to their own photo or video equipment. This giveaway is open worldwide. Enter below for your chance to win!

Watch the Video: Batis 25mm Review [$100 Giftcard Giveaway!]

We hope to do more of these in the future!

Thanks for reading!

LIVE ART LOVE TEAM

 

Wide Angle Portraits? [Sony 24mm G Master Review]

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Photo: Model in White - Wide Angle lens Portrait

Photo: Model in White - Wide Angle lens Portrait

Photo: Model in White - Wide Angle lens Portrait

Photo: Model in White - Wide Angle lens Portrait

Recently shot with the Sony FE 24mm 1.4 G Master lens for an agency model shoot. First impressions of this lens are that I’m impressed by its quality. I wanted to test the question -  Can you shoot portrait photography with a wide angle lens? I decided to have some fun and use this Sony FE with on A7III to shoot some portrait photos of the model. The general rule, when shooting portraits, is to use a telephoto or medium telephoto lens. The most popular focal length for portraits being the 85mm lens. 

Why are telephoto lenses the best for shooting portraits? Telephoto lenses compress features on people. Creating a slimmer and flattering appearance. This is the main reason It’s not recommended to shoot portraits with wide angle lenses. In fact, it’s a major no-no among professional photographers. Yet, being creative means being adventurous in your decisions. Learn the best techniques and then do whatever feels right. Some of the best art  has disregard or no knowledge of “the rules.”

I’m going to give you my review on the main features of the Sony FE 24mm 1.4 G Master lens when shooting wide angle portraits:

Photo: Model Wide Angle lens Portrait

Photo: Model Wide Angle lens Portrait

Photo: Model Wide Angle lens Portrait

Photo: Model Wide Angle lens Portrait

Distortion

The main issue you will find when shooting wide angle is distortion. There are two types to look out for barrel distortion and perspective distortion. Perspective distortion for me is the one you have to be careful to avoid. It can make people look bigger than they are. Which is fine if that’s the style you’re looking for. The best way to avoid this is by having the model further away from the lens. For our shoot, I didn’t want to worry about limitations and I shot what I felt was right. What was great was with the Sony 24mm GM Master I felt it handles distortion very well. Making it easier to pull off wide angle portraits.

Image Quality

The image quality of the Sony 24mm is amazing. G Master has a reputation for high-quality lenses so this doesn’t disappoint. I like to have cinematic images. So I enjoyed how this lens handles sharpness without being "too sharp." Since too much sharpness look can throw off an image. Comparing this lens to the Sigma Art Series of lenses are too sharp. I found the Sony 24mm GM was at a perfect medium.

Photo: Model Wide Angle lens Portrait

Photo: Model Wide Angle lens Portrait

Photo: Model Wide Angle lens Portrait

Photo: Model Wide Angle lens Portrait

Autofocus

One of my main issues with the Sony G Master lenses is price. The Sony 24mm is $1,400. Most G Master lenses are pricey. One of the main benefits that make this price tag worth it is autofocus. The handle autofocus better than third party lenses. The autofocus on the Sony 24mm was fast and responsive. Making it hard for me, as a hybrid shooter, to justify buying a cheaper lens with slower autofocus. If autofocus isn’t a deal breaker for you then there’s a lot of cheaper options out there.

The Sony 24mm f/1.4 G Master is an impressive lens. The build quality is nice, the image is beautiful and it handles autofocus well. It can be a great addition to your kit if you’re looking for a good wide angle prime. I plan on testing out the Zeiss 25mm f/2 next to see if it's any better than the G Master. Keep you posted when I finally compare the two.

Watch the Video: Wide Angle Portraits? [Sony 24mm GM Review]

Thanks for reading!

LIVE ART LOVE TEAM

 

iPhone vs DSLR

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iPhone Image - Model Posing

iPhone Image - Model Posing

DSLR Image - Model Posing

DSLR Image - Model Posing

As a beginner photographer, you feel required to invest in DSLR cameras and equipment. Before you make a big investment start with your smartphone. If you have an iPhone you can begin taking photos and practicing the basics of photography. We did a fashion shoot using our Sony A7III DSLR and iPhone X to compare them. Continue reading to get tips on shooting professional fashion photos with your iPhone.

iPhone Image - Model posing near car

iPhone Image - Model posing near car

DSLR Image - Model posing near car

DSLR Image - Model posing near car

1. Optimal Settings

Every smartphone has settings within the camera function. You don’t know they’re there unless you play around with it. When checking your phone’s camera make sure settings are set for the best quality. With the iPhone X go into the camera settings and make sure you have these boxes checked:

  • Smart HDR on the main settings menu.

  • Most compatible in the Formats section.

The reason for this is the iPhone tends to try to compress images to save space on your phone. So when you check these boxes the files will be bigger but higher quality. If you begin using your iPhone to capture high-quality photography. Make it a habit to clear storage up by deleting photos often.

iPhone Image - Model posing

iPhone Image - Model posing

DSLR Image - Model posing

DSLR Image - Model posing

2. Feed it Light

Lighting is a recurring theme for photography. It will separate your photos from being amateur to being high caliber. You’re using the iPhone so you will need to feed it light. The camera on this phone has a small sensor so you have to shoot at the right time of day. This will help avoid low light shots. I find that when shooting in low light the iPhone image breaks apart in detail. We used natural light for our shoot. When showing it to friends they couldn't tell which images were iPhone and DSLR.

iPhone Image - Model posing

iPhone Image - Model posing

DSLR Image - Model posing

DSLR Image - Model posing

3. Learn Composition

As a beginner shooting with an iPhone can be a great way to learn about composition. The iPhone has its shining components. It has Smart HDR to read a scene and adjust exposure. A feature that's not available to DSLR’s without post-production. This gives the iPhone the impression of more dynamic range than a DSLR. Even as a professional photographer, limitations can be a great way to spice up your photography. Next time you’re shooting. Capture a few photos on your iPhone or smartphone and see the results you get. Challenge yourself to get stellar photos regardless of equipment.

Watch The Full Video on the iPhone vs DSLR:

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LIVE ART LOVE TEAM

Fuji Vs Sony

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Model shot with a Fuji X100F

Model shot with a Fuji X100F

Model shot with Sony A7 III

Model shot with Sony A7 III

Fuji vs Sony. There is a lot of buzz around the Fuji cameras lately. Which is funny because everyone is acting as though the Fuji brand has always been a favorite. Let’s be real when you think of Fuji you remember the film you put in a camera. You don’t think about the brand identifying with the physical cameras. I’m going to compare the Fuji X100F to the Sony A7III.

What I liked about the Fuji X100F?

We recently got our hands on the Fuji X100F to see if the hype lives up to the camera. For specs, this camera has a good blend. The 24 megapixels mixed with the Fuji color science give a great crisp image. The body of the camera is lightweight and has an old-school throwback design.

This camera is a good choice for street photography. It’s a fun camera that you’re going to want to take with you since it feels like you’re shooting on film. Even though it’s digital. There are manual shutter speed, ISO and aperture dial. This camera wants you to take your time in getting the shot. Which helps in strengthening your skills. This camera will force you to check the composition and your settings to get a killer shot.

The camera image quality in comparison with my Sony A7III is pretty nice. Both have good image quality. The Fuji X100F produces a more “film like” style of photography. It has a film emulation that uses Fuji film colors. One of my favorites to use was the classic chrome. You should play around with this function if you get your hands on this camera.

The dynamic range on the Fuji X100F surprised me. When I was editing in post-production it was holding up well when I pushed into the image. But, if you want a sharp image you want to stick with the Sony A7III or similar DSLR. Since the Fuji is attempting to emulate film, your image will be softer.

Model shot with Fuji X100F

Model shot with Fuji X100F

Model shot with Sony A7 III

Model shot with Sony A7 III

What I disliked about the Fuji X100F?

A few things I’m not a fan of when it comes to the Fuji 100XF. My number one issue is the fixed lens on the camera. The lens is a 35mm equivalent which is a functional all around lens. Yet, I wish I could have switched lenses a few times. I loved the image I was getting but felt limited with only one lens.

Another point I didn’t love was that this wasn’t a high-quality hybrid camera. There are not any video functions that are competitive with other cameras. It does shoot video, but only 1080p and issued 60p. The autofocus is also lacking - for video and photography. When the autofocus does lock on a subject it’s a bit slow. Which isn’t a deal breaker.

Model shot with Sony A7 III

Model shot with Sony A7 III

Model shot with Fuji X100F

Model shot with Fuji X100F

Should you buy the Fuji X100F?

To be honest, there's a lot of better cameras out there for the same price point. The Fuji X100F is about $1,200 the Sony A7 III is about $2,000. In addition the new Fuji XT3 which camera out at the end of last year is a way better all around photography and videography camera that cost $1,400. For the limitations, the Fuji X100F has you're better off spending a little more to get the Sony A7III or Fuji XT3.

Watch The Full Video on :

What are your thoughts on the Fuji X100F?

Thanks for reading!

LIVE ART LOVE TEAM