Specialized Styles of Photography
Photography is an all encompassing term used for all types of image capture but there are in fact distinct variations in the manner in which photography is approached in different genres. Different genres of photography require a different style and perspective. The techniques used by photographers vary based on the subject, the situation and the end use of the image or scene.
Photography has always been considered an art and a creative process. This creativity is enhanced by the availability of camera features that make possible a wide range of ideas and styles.
Outlined below is a list of genres that call for specialized treatment in the process of creating outstanding photographs. These thematic approaches will be discussed in detail here, though there are few more categories and sub-categories in thematic photography like ad messages, corporate brochures, under-water photography and so on.
- Wildlife photography
- Landscape photography
- Sports events
- Fashion photography
- Black & White treatment
- Shooting Celebrities
Wildlife photography is often assumed to be an exciting and high adventure genre of photography. In reality it is extremely challenging and wildlife photographers find themselves at the mercy of inclement weather and sometimes even face danger. Here are some suggestions for this specialized form of photography.
Understand the life form that you plan to photograph in terms of living habits, habitat and behavior. In other words you need a perspective on ‘a day in the life of’ your wildlife subject. Books and online research will throw light on your subject. The importance of getting acquainted with the behavior of the animal is a lot more important when you have to shoot dangerous jungle animals that can attack like lions or tigers or even bears. Animals will become aware of you when you enter close to their habitat but will usually not attack if you keep your distance. But you have to be clear on the distance at which an animal will begin to feel threatened by your presence and decide to attack you.
It goes without saying that you can’t expect any kind cooperation from your subject! You have to fit yourself in, place yourself in a vantage point and have your camera set and ready and then wait for the ’right moment’ to take the shot that you are looking for.
You may have to wait many days before you can capture the right shot. Your subject could not care less if the light is diminishing or the light is at its best. You may have perfect light conditions on a particular day but your subject may not be in the right spot for you to take the shot.
You need telephoto lenses to shoot from a distance and other camera features like Center-weighted metering. The Center-weighted meter allows you to meter the wildlife subject at the center of the frame and vary the size of the sensing area based on the dimensions of the subject and its distance from you.
Taking landscape pictures within a city from atop a building or on the beach is one type of landscape photography. But if you want to get closer to nature and shoot unique pictures of nature and environment in remote locations like wild forest area or mountain ranges, then you have your task cut out for you just like a wildlife photographer. You need the spirit of adventure within you in order to travels around to different places and scour different regions for landscape opportunity.
It is tough to firstly identify the right spots, you may have to explore for days before you find an idyllic panoramic landscape to shoot. You then have to wait for the right light conditions while braving the weather and the rough living conditions. In terms of equipment, landscape photographers need to go in for a variety of wide-angle lenses since this type of lens is capable of lending depth in the photograph. A wide-angle zoom lens is useful in this type of photography because of the range of focal lengths it can provide while fine-tuning a shot. But there is also the need for telephoto lenses for certain shot though not of the high focal length required by sports photographers. Landscape photographers usually go in for telephoto lenses with focal length less than 300mm (a telephoto lens has a focal length greater than 50mm, a wide angle lens is less than 50mm, and a standard lens has a focal length of 50mm)
Those who have made a career of photographing sporting events have a different style of operation to capture the high action of dramatic moments in a game. The length of the lens, the location of the photographer taking the shot and the need to limit blurring are the three critical aspects in sports photography.
Sports photographers use a telephoto lens. This type of lens magnifies the subject. The focal length to choose from in telephoto lenses varies from 60mm to 1000 mm. A lens with a high focal length can give you a wider visual area which is a necessity when you photograph field events. Sports photographers by and large prefer 35mm cameras and use focal lengths of 300-600mm especially for field events like soccer.
The location where photographers position themselves to take different shots is directly responsible for capturing the relevant high-points in a match. It also helps if you have a good knowledge of the sport. This ensures that you identify the right moments and are alert and ready when a memorable situation occurs during the sport. You can get the right shots if you are able to move around and use the right location in different points in a game. However, quite often the areas of movement are restricted for photographers and the best way to tide over this problem is to use a lens of focal length in the region of 600mm to enable shots of the far end of a court or field. Though a good location is usually described by the angle and distance from the court or field, the other aspect of a good location is also the play of light from your vantage point. Most photographers have the task of avoiding shadows caused by the quality of light. The intensity of color in a photograph is re!
duced in dull light conditions while bright sunlight can create shadows in certain angles
To limit blurring and capture action during a special game moment, you need to have fast shutter speeds at your disposal. A 35mm camera that is generally favored in sports photography can provide the high shutter speed necessary for action shots. Besides shutter speed, the speed of the film also plays a role. Higher film speed enables higher shutter speeds. A film speed of 100 is inadequate in sports photography. You need a 400 and above speed film.
The autofocus mechanism in is also useful in sports photography especially when manual focus is difficult to achieve quickly in certain sports situations.
An interesting technique called panning is applied in capturing action shots. You have to avoid holding the camera still when you shoot action. A rule-of-thumb is to hold the camera steady but move it along with the action rather than attempting to hold still. This steady movement of the camera along the path of motion of the player; incredibly, has the effect of minimizing blur. On the other hand, you will get a blur if you hold your camera still while the action is taking place. This technique is actually based on sound scientific principles.
It should also be mentioned here that the art of sports photography actually goes beyond capturing action or high points in a game. The readers who view these photographs in newspapers and magazines want to see player expressions, the thrills, the disappointments, the concentration that players display is something that readers find captivating and it becomes a talking point. Readers also like to see crowd reactions and reactions of family members of the players in certain critical game situations. To cater to the public sentiment, a photographer has to also attempt to click these special poignant moments during a game by capturing reactions and facial expressions.
Photojournalism is a different ball game altogether. It is visual storytelling. It has a strong social and cultural context and is a visual form of reportage based on newsy and current affairs topics. Being in the right place at the right time and understanding the situation as it unfolds helps a photojournalist deliver reader interest material. The objective is to usually pick up contemporary topics and portray a visual story that creates an understanding on the pattern in which people live their lives or social changes that impact them in different walks of life. Photojournalism also lends credibility to the written word and can support a public interest story with visual proof. The visuals complement the written reportage on the story.
A visual representation of contemporary situations is a powerful way to make a point and the photographer who is into photojournalism has to be a firstly aware of the socio-political and cultural scene of a region to be able to shoot the relevant pictures. The equipment required by photojournalists varies by the type of story they pursue. If a photojournalist is picking up images of a town or if the photography is the type that portrays cultural and historical sites, or if the task is to follow the campaign trail of a political leader, each of these require a different treatment.
A fashion photographer needs to be a creative thinker with a good eye for aesthetics and the ability to use sound judgment in implementing out-of-the-box ideas. Fashion photography is meant to render an elegant, stylish effect on readers so the mundane and the run of the mill shots will not work. Each photograph is a piece of art in itself and has to be original.
Creating an impact in fashion photography requires the photographer to take a leap in imaginative thinking and to create images that are different and unusual. The treatments that have been tried over the years range from the surreal to muted black and whites, to geometric shapes to brilliant color schemes. A fashion product has to be portrayed creatively while at the same time conveying style and classiness. A fashion photographer needs a high level of visual sophistication combined with ideation skills. It also helps to try and understand the psyche of models that fashion photographers have to regularly interact with, in order to get the best out of them. Your choice of camera and accessories will vary depending on whether you shoot indoor or outdoor, light conditions, theme of the picture, etc.
-->Black and White Treatment
The black and white effect is used by artists and fashion photographers to create abstracts or classy ‘other worldly’ images. The camera equipment required in black & white is not very distinct from other types of photography but the key actually lies in the processing and printing quality. This is an important area of emphasis in black & white photographs in order to get the desired effect.
You will need an assortment of lenses for different situations – such as a combination of wide-angle lens as well as a standard lens. If you want large prints, you may need a camera with a high-resolution digital image sensor for sharpness of large format prints. The resolution should be more than 3 mega pixels.
Whether you develop your photographs in the darkroom (traditional film based camera) or process the pictures digitally (digital camera usage), when you develop the picture yourself you have the leeway to heighten or reduce the contrasts in tour picture based on the type of impression and visual impact you hope to create. You can also scan from traditionally processed negatives onto a computer and then process the images digitally.
To fine-tune the images digitally you need some basic knowledge of Photoshop software. Without manipulating the main picture in any way, you can enhance your black and white images by fine-tuning the contrasts. Photoshop assists in optimizing the images. The principles are the same as those used in a traditional darkroom. Using Photoshop you can apply various techniques like dodging (you selectively lighten a certain portion of a photo), cropping, optimizing density and fine tuning the contrasts. Fine tuning the contrasts is important in creating the right effect in black and white.
The print quality is another important factor in creating high impact black & white photographs. If you intend to print digitally processed images, you need a good printer and long lasting ink in your printer. You should also use photo quality paper to print your images.
Celebrity photography is challenging and the same time an exciting, glamorous field. When you deal with celebrities, firstly you have very little time to work within. There is always a time constraint even after you pin down a celebrity for a photo session. You have to therefore have good infrastructure and be ready with the necessary equipment. You have to plan the shot and adjust your camera, before asking your celebrity to pose.
Celebrity faces are well known so the key lies in attempting to capture something a little different, to create a different perspective. You need to build a good rapport with the celebrity and have to persevere to get the right mood to capture the real essence of the person. If you are photographing the celebrity for an ad, then the strategy behind the ad has to be considered to blend in the celebrity’s expressions and posture to suit the requirements of the ad.
To sum up, the discussion - Wildlife photography requires you to brave rough conditions and thoroughly understand the habitat and behavior of the animal. The relevant and useful tools in your camera system are the right lenses and center-weighted metering if you are into shooting wildlife. Landscape photography requires you to be a wandering explorer, constantly seeking out those spectacular scenic settings. You mainly need wide-angle lenses in your camera system to demonstrate depth and scale in your picture. Sports events need a good vantage point and if you want to freeze the high action in the game, you have to learn and hone the skill of panning. Photojournalism calls on your social and political consciousness and is the art of visually unfolding a story, while Fashion photography requires ideation and out-of-the-box thinking. The impact of Black & White treatment can be heightened during the processing phase using various techniques and, Celebrity photography is not a!
ll glamour. Capturing the right mood and the essence of the celebrity becomes the key to a good shot and you often work within time constraints.
It is apparent that different photography streams each have their own specialized approaches and style of treatment. Your mind-set and your interests should influence the path that you choose as a photographer.
About The Author
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