Archive for Weekly Tips – Page 2

HDR Images with HDR Efex Pro from Nik Software

I have been experimenting with Nik Software’s new HDR Efex Pro.  I am really liking the results and the ease of use in using this new software.  Nik has also incorporated the U-Point technology that is in many of their other programs, so making local adjustments instead of global adjustments is very easy.

If you are interested in purchasing the software, then head over to www.niksoftware .com and during checkout, put in the discount code of SCVPHOTOCENTER and receive a 15% discount on ALL Nik products.

Here are a few examples using the new HDR Efex Pro software:





Show your camera some love

Show your camera some love.  Always clean your camera after a shoot.  You take it out in to the world and ask it to capture some amazing images for you.  It gets exposed to the air and wind and dirt – maybe even some sea mist.  Give it some TLC afterwards by using a clean, dry cloth to wipe away the dirt and grime.  When necessary, take it in to your local camera shop for a thorough cleaning – including the sensor.  You can, of course, clean the sensor yourself, but this can be tricky business and cause major harm to your camera.  Unless you are 100% sure of what you are doing, do not attempt this at home!  Take it to a professional.  When you take care of your camera, it will take care of you!  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at the SCV Center for Photography.

Check your Settings….

Check your settings!  Make it a habit – before you go out on any type of photo adventure, check all of your settings.  You will never be plagued with images shot with the wrong exposure.  So make sure you check:

  • ISO
  • White Balance
  • Shutter Speed
  • Aperture
  • Bracketing
  • Exposure Compensation

At the end of a shoot, always restore your settings to the same each time and you will know where you stand.  It can be very easy to finish a shoot, put your camera away and then download your images – but wait!  Don’t forget to restore your settings, so you are ready for those great photo ops at a moment’s notice.

Wedding Workshop Wrap-up

On Sunday SCV Center for Photography hosted our Wedding Photography Intensive workshop with the awesome Wedding Photographer William Innes as our fearless instructor for the day.  The dedicated group started at 8am, yes, on a Sunday morning, and the entire group was early at that.  By 9am the group was shooting our totally decked out models Sarah & John, who did a fantastic job.  We were back in the studio b early afternoon for lunch and Q&A.  After lunch, it was all about workflow and editing the images from the day.  By 5pm the group was spent, but thrilled with the images and new found knowledge.  To see more on the workshop and about our totally awesome instructor, head over to

sarah garage door bw

Silhouette Photos

In looking at some photos on the web today, I noticed a lot of silhouetted photos on the beach that really made me think about how little I have seen this in our local photography.  So after doing some looking into my own images, I realized that I have done some of this, but really not enough lately, so I thought I would post some basic thoughts in creating a nice silhouette.

  • The basic idea is to place a strong subject in front of the bright light, which can be a person, tree, building, animal, whatever it is that interest you.
  • Make sure you great light behind your subject, and that light needs to be brighter than the light hitting your subject from the front, or foreground light.
  • It helps it you have a nice plain background, no clutter, nothing that could distract your viewers eye from leaving the main subject in your image.
  • Do not use any flash from your camera.  You are trying to make your subject go black in the image, although you will want some detail, but just enough so that you know what the subject is.
  • The most difficult part is the exposure.  Use spot metering, and point it at the brightest part of the image, as this will under-expose your subject.  If your subject is too bright still, either speed up the shutter speed or change the aperture.  So if your aperture is currently at f8, adjust to f11.  And then just continue to adjust to you get the image you are looking for.

Making a silhouette can lead to a great image, both in bright daylight, or even at sunrise or sunset.  So get out there and make some images, and if you need additional inspiration or assistance, check out our workshop schedule at the SCV Center for Photography via our website

Shooting Ideas…..

There are times when your photographic creative juices fail you, and you just can not come up with any ideas of what to photograph, but you want to photograph.  Here are a few ideas for you to consider:

  1. Your Yard:  You may think this is funny, but your  yard is a target rich environment.  Most of you are likely to have flowers, roses, herbs or plants.  These items always make great macro subjects.  And don’t forget the grass, which first thing in the morning with dew and sunlight can be pretty pleasing.
  2. Your House:  To be more specific, the kitchen.  Consider those hanging pots, or the many utensils you have laying around.  If you just look around, you may be surprised what you see.
  3. Park:  Most us have a park fairly close to home.  The kids play area always has some interesting objects, that might be interesting macro shots.  The kids playing, laughing and running are great photos to send the grandparents.  You may even be lucky to have a water fountain or other textures to consider.
  4. Industrial Park:  Take a drive though the local business park.  Check out the textures on the building, as they can make for some interesting abstracts.  A lot of businesses have some pretty nice landscaping, so again, flowers, plants and even water treatments can make for great photos.
  5. Farmers Market:  Most towns today have a local farmers market, and this can be an awesome place for photographs.  You should always ask the vendors if they mind having the produce photographed, but generally, most have no problems.

Hopefully these tips can you help you jump start your creative juices on those slow days.  Enjoy, and keep shooting.  If you are interested in other ideas, please log onto our website at and check out our many workshops each month at the SCV Center for Photography.

Ansel Adams photos found at Garage Sale

You have read that correctly.  A Fresno man purchased 2 small boxes 10 years ago for $45, negotiated down from $70 and now reports are coming in that they could be worth upwards of $200 million.

According to the story, 65 glass negatives created by Ansel Adams were believed to have been destroyed in a 1937 fire that had destroyed over 5,000 plates.  The plates were created sometime between 1919 and 1935 and included his iconic locations of Yosemite and San Francisco.  It is thought that Ansel had used them to teach a photography class in Pasadena and then stored them in a warehouse and never reclaimed them.  The original boxes were purchased in a warehouse sale back in the early 1940′s prior to being purchased again in a garage sale in 2000.

So if you are out garage sale hunting, you never know what treasures you may come across.

Studio Rentals

Just a reminder that the SCV Center for Photography rents our studio space for your studio projects.  We rent in 2 hour blocks.  Our rates start at $120 for the first 2 hours and the per hour rate drops as you add additional hours. This rate also includes 1 of our backgrounds.  If you don’t have lighting, we can handle that as well with our studio lighting packages.  So if you are looking for space to photography that special project, give us a call.

Our space is also available for rent for meetings, classes or corporate training events as well.  We have tables and chairs available for meeting rentals as well.

Landscape Photography Tips

With the weather turning so nice, everyone is grabbing their cameras and heading outside to photograph.  Here are a few tips to remember or consider with Landscape Photography:

  • Always include a Foreground and Background in your composition.  Give your viewers something that takes them all the way through the photograph.
  • Use a Tripod.  As your shutter speeds get long, you will need a stable tripod to capture those great images. Using a tripod will also give you a sharper image.
  • Consider using a Polarizer.  This will help in avoiding the unwanted reflections, not to mention it will deepen the blue in the sky.
  • And last, share your photos.  Don’t let your photos die on your computer or memory card.  Post them on your blog, print and share them, email to friends and family or even post on Facebook.

So get out there and photograph.  The weather is great and there are tons of images just waiting to be captured.  If you are unsure as to how to start, well then consider a workshop here at the SCV Center for Photography as our instuctors are committed to helping you capture the moments.


With the 4th of July just around the corner, here are some quick tips to get the shot:

  • First, you must use a tripod.  Shooting fireworks will require a longer exposure, so a tripod is a necessary requirement.
  • Next, set your aperture to f11, as you want a fair amount of detail due to the distance between you and the fireworks.
  • You should set your camera to manual mode.
  • Start with a shutter speed of about 3 seconds.  Check your display screen after taking a shot.  Adjust your shutter speed based on what you see.  If it is too bright, increase the time to maybe 3.5 seconds.  If you camera has bulb mode, use a remote and then you can adjust the exposure based on your own preference.

Enjoy and have a safe 4th of July weekend.