Thursday, September 19, 2013

Myth Vs Truth

Myth 1: My photographs aren’t any good.

Truth: There is no such thing as an instant success. Everything starts from something small.  We may have taken hundreds of pictures but only a few turned out well.  The road to being a pro at something may not always be smooth, and a bumpy road is to be expected when we are starting to learn a new craft.  The trick is to stick with it and keep practicing.  With practice, as time goes by, abilities and skills will improve.

Myth 2: My camera isn’t advanced enough.

Truth: An expensive and advanced camera will not produce good photographs if we do not know how to use it.  Take advantage of the cameras at your disposal first, and optimally learn of its capabilities and advance your skills using it.  The camera isn’t the major determining factor in producing a good photograph; skills trumps fancy camera features.

Myth 3: Certain brands of cameras are more superior than others.

Truth: Every brand of DSLR cameras available in today’s market has been made to meet the same standards in producing good images.  The differentiating factor is the facilities in the certain models, prices, and ultimately the personal taste of the users.

Myth 4: A formal education in photography is better than self-learning.

Truth: Though an organized form of education may help in easing the learning of photography concepts, this does not mean that a self-taught photographer is inferior to that of a college graduate photographer.  In the end, it’s up to our willingness to learn, whichever way you choose to obtain these knowledge.  As they say, where there’s a will there’s way.

Myth 5: Good lenses are those with wide apertures.

Truth:  Not all lenses with wide apertures are good quality lenses.  Wide apertures if not balanced with good quality optics will lead to fringing and images will appear soft.  The best way to test the quality of a lens is to photograph using high contrast settings under extremely bright lights and check to see if the edges of the object is sharp and fringe free.

Myth 6: With a DSLR, no matter how you shoot the photo will come out nice.

Truth: It takes a lot more time, knowledge, effort and work to produce good pictures with a DSLR.

Myth 7: All good pictures must have good bokeh (blurred or defocused background) and DSLR can help you achieve that.

Truth: I do agree that DSLR helps to achieve better bokeh, but a great photograph does not necessarily need any bokeh at all.

Myth 8: Image Stabilization works wonders. It eliminates all blurring due to shake.

Truth: Image stabilization reduces blurring due to hand shaking, but it does not completely eliminate it. Furthermore it only works to a certain extent under permissible circumstances.

Myth 9: Skin will appear smoother and physiques will turn out slimmer and more attractive if you shoot people with a DSLR.

Truth: I do not have to explain what a funny misconception this is, yet so many people will hopelessly expect their pictures to miraculously transform into models being taken with a DSLR. If somehow you could not fulfill their ridiculous fantasies and they are not happy with your pictures, they would turn OFF. Fun facts: What you see in the mirror is what you get captured on the camera.

Myth 10: Do not worry if you could not get the shot that you desire, you can make anything happen with Photoshop (or any Photo-Editing software).

Truth: I believe Photo-Editing is necessary to further improve or enhance an already good and usable shot. It should not be applied excessively which would negate the original art of photography.

There are a lot more myths to be added to the list, but I guess I should make a stop here before it goes too long ;) .

Stay Fabulous,

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Tips for Better Mobile Phone Camera Photography

As time goes by, mobile phone cameras are getting better and better. Gone are the days when your phone was only capable of taking a blurry snap at a tiny resolution. Many camera-phone makers are starting to pay more attention to sensor quality, speed, and optics, rather than just one-upping each other on megapixel specs. But as with any type of photography, the equipment is only a small part of taking a memorable image.

Follow Rules of Composition (and then Break them)
Learn some basic composition ‘rules’. (for example – the rule of thirds – ie don’t place your subject squarely in the middle of your frame but a third of the way in). Simple tips like this can bring life toyour photos.
But then also remember that the beauty of a camera phone is its ability to break all conventions – some of the best shots around break all the rules. So shoot from the hip, the floor, up high, up close – anything goes.

Picture taken with iPhone4S and edited with Photo-editing Apps. Picture Copyright Shahnaz M.

Forget the Zoom
There’s an inherent issue with trying to make phones increasingly thinner, yet also increase the quality of a camera. Trying to include a usable zoom in a very thin piece of equipment is incredibly difficult, and leads to this function being generally atrocious on most phones. You’ll find that the camera uses a digital zoom, which is best left alone at all costs — otherwise you’ll end up with a pixellated, unattractive image.

A better thing to do is to wait until you get back to your computer, and crop the image down to focus in on the important elements. This is becoming increasingly possible with regular bumps to the resolution of images taken by camera phones. The best option in most cases is to just get closer to your subject.

Picture taken with iPhone4S and edited with Photo-editing Apps. Picture Copyright Shahnaz M.

Shoot Now, Edit Later
One way that phone manufacturers try to differentiate their model is by offering an array of editing functionality in your phone. This might be useful in a few limited cases, but it’s best left alone. Resist the urge to add that sepia effect to every image, and leave the post-processing to Lightroom, Photoshop or Aperture rather than your phone’s limited processor.

The important thing to do is to keep shooting. You’ll kick yourself if you miss a beautiful composition because you’re desperately trying to figure out how to add a fake tilt-shift effect to your previous photo…

Picture taken with iPhone4S and edited with Photo-editing Apps. Picture Copyright Shahnaz M.

Lighting is Still Key
Although camera phone sensors are coming on in leaps and bounds, they still have some way to go before they’re able to rival your SLR. One of the key areas that many phones struggle is in capturing enough light. You can help with this, by ensuring that your subject is well lit before pressing the shutter. Turn on the light, open the curtains, or wait until the sun is a little higher in the sky!

If your camera has a flash function, give it a try. Although it probably won’t be powerful enough to make a huge improvement, it can be very useful when you just need a slight boost in the light conditions. Try using it outside as a fill-flash — it might just give that extra “punch” you were looking for.

Picture taken with iPhone4S and edited with Photo-editing Apps. Picture Copyright Shahnaz M.

Free Up Some Space, and Backup!
Two tips in one here… Just in the same way that packing a couple of memory cards is advisable, it’s also good sense to regularly check your phone’s memory to ensure you have plenty of space for snapping ad-hoc photos. Don’t be caught with a phone that’s so full of games, apps, and music that you don’t have any space to capture the photo of your son’s first few steps.

Equally important is to ensure that you regularly download the photos from your phone, and back them up to your computer. The nature of a phone means that it’s far easier to lose, or have stolen. It’s bad enough to lose the phone, but it would be more devastating to realise that you’d never copied any of your photos back to your computer.

Picture taken with iPhone4S and edited with Photo-editing Apps. Picture Copyright Shahnaz M.

Avoid Direct Sunlight
Another tip that applies to mobile phone photography, just as it does everywhere else, is to avoid direct sunlight. Don’t encourage your subject to stand directly facing the sun, as you’ll have harsh shadows and a poor image. Head into the brightest area of the shade to set up your composition, and you’ll be far more pleased with the result.

Picture taken with iPhone4S and edited with Photo-editing Apps. Picture Copyright Shahnaz M.

Take It Everywhere!
As the old adage goes, the best camera is the one you have with you. The beauty of your mobile phone is that it’s almost always in your pocket — there’s no need to carry around an extra point-and-shoot, or remember to charge a second device.

Although it will never be a replacement for a powerful digital SLR, the humble camera-phone has come a long, long way over the past few years. I now take more photos using my iPhone than I do any other camera, and it’s an incredibly capable piece of kit (just check out the examples at the bottom of this page if you don’t believe me).

Take it with you everywhere, follow these simple tips, and enjoy the freedom of being able to snap a beautiful image regardless of whether or not you remember to pack your photography kit!

Picture taken with iPhone4S and edited with Photo-editing Apps. Picture Copyright Shahnaz M.

Don’t Throw Away ‘mistakes’
Remember that on many phones the quality of the screen will not be as good as your computer’s. So if possible hang onto your shots until you can get them on your PC. You might just find that they come alive on a quality monitor. You’ll also find that even ‘mistakes’ and blurred shots can actually be quite usable (in an abstract kind of way)

Take loads of Shots and Experiment
The beauty of all forms of digital photography (including that of camera phones) is the ability to shoot off many shots quickly and without cost. This means you can experiment with different modes and composition and discard those that you don’t want to keep.
Camera phones are particularly good for experimenting with new angles and perspectives – shoot from down low, up high, close up etc and you’ll end up with interesting and fun shots.

Keep Your Lens Clean
One of the challenges with many camera phones is keeping them maintained and clean. Phones spend a lot of time in pockets, in bags and being used in all manner of weather and conditions. As a result they get dirty and can easily become damaged – fingerprints are a common problem on camera lenses – especially if your phone doesn’t have a lens cover. From time to time clean the lens of your camera using a soft cloth (sunglasses cleaning cloths are great).

Picture taken with iPhone4S and edited with Photo-editing Apps. Picture Copyright Shahnaz M.

Observe Camera Phone Etiquette
While there is no formal set of rules for using camera phones – it is worth considering how you use it and what impact it might have upon others. There are many cases of camera phones being abused to take sneaky or voyeuristic photos. Ask permission to photograph strangers, consider restrictions on the use of cameras in places like theaters and concerts etc.

Picture taken with iPhone4S and edited with Photo-editing Apps. Picture Copyright Shahnaz M.

Keep Still
As with all digital photography, the more steady your camera phone is when taking your shot the clearer your image will be.
This is especially important in low light situations where the camera will select longer shutter speeds to compensate for the lack of light. One trick is to lean your camera phone (or the hand holding it) against a solid object (like a tree, wall, ledge) when taking shots.
Keep in mind that many camera phones also suffer from ‘shutter lag’ (ie the time between when you press the shutter and when the camera takes the shot can be a second or so). This means you need to hold the camera still a little longer to ensure it doesn’t take a shot as you’re lowering it away from the subject.

Panorama, Macro and other Awesome Lingo
If your phone has a Panorama shooting mode (any decent phone should have it), use it for shooting landscapes and those scenic views. Panoramas are when you take a series of photos and your phone stitches them together to create a wide photo (okay, that’s too simple an explanation, but I guess it’ll do). :-)

If you have a Galaxy S2 or iPhone 4S, you can try your hand at macro photography too. Macro photography is one in which you blur a background and shoot a really neat close-up of the subject. Saw those spider webs’ photos with the background all blurry and you can even see the water droplets on the web? Yes, that’s macro for you!

Picture taken with iPhone4S and edited with Photo-editing Apps. Picture Copyright Shahnaz M.

Editing your Photos and Applications Galore!
If you have a smartphone, you can find several apps that can help you edit your images easily.

Plus, your phone may also give you some editing abilities over your photos. Word of caution: unless absolutely necessary, don’t play with the image compression. Always opt for the highest quality of images — saving a few KBs is just not worth losing the charm of your photos. You can always rely on proper compression and editing tools from the app market or on your computer.

Picture taken with iPhone4S and edited with Photo-editing Apps. Picture Copyright Shahnaz M.

Stay Fabulous,

Nifty Fifty: Quick and Forgotten Tips For 50mm Lens Users

Prime lens are fixed at one focal length (i.e. 35mm, 50mm, 55mm, etc.). They do not charge focal lengths like zoom lenses which are named after there zoom range (i.e. 17-35mm or 70-200mm) The fact that prime lenses don’t zoom, at first, might seem like a turn off. Oh, but wait. Prime lenses have much more to offer:

Relatively inexpensive
Compact and lightweight
Tack sharp image clarity
Very controllable shallow depth of field
Amazing Bokeh
Great for portraits
Fabulous in low light
Incredibly Fast Glass
Little to no lens distortion
Simple and long-lasting construction

One of the most valuable and versatile pieces of equipment a photographer has is a 50mm lens. When we first start using it, we are immediately astonished by just how much the image quality of our cameras can improve. However, we also do tend to forget lots of points that are important to know in order to ensure optimal image quality and excellent results. Here’s a list to keep in mind.

Remember To Zoom With Your Feet
Because a photographer no longer has a zoom lens on their camera, he/she must remember that zooming with your feet is essential. That means that if you want to take a picture of a building, bird, person, etc then you’ll need to get up close enough to ensure that your subject fills the entire frame.

Stop the Lens Down
Most 50mm lenses reach optimal sharpness at F4. Remember that keeping your lens wide open at F1.4 or F1.8 will not allow users to get as much in focus as needed. That said: don’t get distracted by the bokeh effect in which you just try to get images with a nice blurry background. Focus instead on what you’re actually trying to capture and capture it well. This is essential with portraits as you can sometimes get your subject’s nose in focus and not the rest of the critical features such as the eyes.

Sometimes Manual Focus is Best
50mm lenses can be plagued by autofocus problems. Because of this reason, users should learn to manually focus their lenses.

Pay Close Attention To Where It Focuses
When shooting at wider open F stops like F1.8 or F2, it is very possible for the photographer to think that they are getting everything that they want in focus. Try moving the focus ring around that intended area of focus and watch how your subject moves sharper in focus and out of focus. Stopping your lenses down also helps.

Take Off Your UV Filter
As probably the most important thing for beginners to know—your UV filter can destroy your image quality. If a salesperson tells you to buy one, then the reasons are possibly to protect your lens in case of a fall or because they merely want to make a sale. Either be careful with your camera/lenses or keep your lens cap on. Another option is getting a lens hood of some sort for your 50mm.

Stay Fabulous,

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Why do you want to choose "PHOTOGRAPHY" and "WHY" would you buy a DSLR?...

I think this is the most common question people ask with a “weird” look when you start your journey in the PHOTOGRAPHY zone....“Out of all of the other hobbies out there, why I was drawn to photography?”..and then comes this more concern question from our Family/Parents/Guardian..Why do you have to buy a DSLR?..(ummm its a pretty EXPENSIVE HOBBY indeed)

In my case i always had a fascination toward "TAKING PICTURES" all the time..even sometimes my friends get frustrated (in a funny way though)..n someone even told me "I have to ask your mom if you were born with a cam??"..Actually I "WAS" born into it.I got that tipical gene from my family i must say..I have grown up with all the shutterbugs around me (though none ever said they were into Photography..they actually LOVE/LOVED taking pictures..capturing moments..thats it..Some of the B&W Portraits of my relatives taken by my Paternal Grand-father still amazes me..his sence of lights n shades was too cool(ummm sometime I THINK that B&W gene was somehow transported to me too cos I love GRAY portraits a lot more than colorful one)..My Dad still loves taking RANDOM pictures when we travel even if that’s with a disposable camera..he just LOVES taking pictures (n YES he is the BIGGEST critic of my pictures so far..n rarely likes them..he always find some flaw in every pictures :-/)..The person in my family who started "PHOTOGRAPHY" with large format SLR was my maternal Uncle (and i was his all time model)..and i used to WISH that "SOMEDAY" i will have those BIG camera n will take pictures like him (for him that was a is for me)..So it's also kind of a personal yearning for the way things used to be and a creative way for me to recreate parts of those emotions and experiences. With time i realized that "Photography" is that creative way i can express those emotions while still being tied to some sort of present tense visual reality. To me, it take you somewhere magical. Photography is an amazing stress reliever for me..a personal experience..a creative release..and a piece of my soul..Simply "I love it"!

I know some of you (who came along reading till this part) have this question in mind "why she is writing "BIOGRAPHY"!!..she was suppose to share some TIPS & TRICKS..right?"...the reason is i want YOU to "THINK"..this is the first step (or i should say the main Tricky Tip of all)..look inside and ask your self WHY DO YOU WANT TO BE A PHOTOGRAPHER? Is it for "FAME" it for "MONEY" it a "COMPETITION" with your friends (and "ENEMIES")..Though its a little funny (with due respect) when i heard some people want to buy "DSLR" only because they love to take pictures of their own (YES doing self-portrait if ABSOLUTE FUN) will definitely find a VALID reason..and when you will get that answer within..GO FOR matter what people say or obstacle you have to go through..just do NOTE some point in your mind (this is what i believe..n my very personal believe)

1. You are doing this for the sake of CREATIVITY..throw that "SHOW OFF" part on the bin..It will CHANGE your pictures INSTANTLY..

2. With time FAME & Money will come to your way ("IF" you want to take it as a Proffesion) dont rush for it..

3. Dont get into the "RAT RACE"..there are far more better "PHOTOGRAPHERS" in the line..try to stick eith your own thoughts n creativity..

4. THINK..THINK..n THINK MORE..This will IMPROVE you as a better person..n thus a Better Photo-catcher..

Stay Fabulous,

Thursday, July 18, 2013

A "MAN" i Adore...

I guess you already know from the picture that it’s Fawad Afzal Khan!!!!!

After watching HUMSAFAR, I became a fan of him...n then a friend of mine recommended "ZINDEGI GULZAR HAI"..n ohhhh...TRUST ME..I TOTTALY FALL IN LOVE WITH HIM..So far I have seen his TV Serials Dastaan, Akbari Asghari, Kuch Pyar Ka Pagalpan Bhi Tha, and ASHK..n now the ongoing one "NUMM"..Also his AWESOME Movie KHUDA KE well as his Telefilms BEHADD, ARMAAN, AAJ KUCH NA KAHO and KAL..and i fall in LOVE with him all over and over again.

Here are Few Things You Want To Know About Fawad Afzal Khan:

  • Fawad Afzal Khan came in the list of top Pakistani stars, models and actors. Khan’s performances in Humsafar, Dastaan and Khuda K Liye were truly appreciated.
  • Fawad was born in Lahore on Nov 29, 1981. completed his A-Levels from Johar town branch of Lahore Grammar School System. One thing I did not sure about him, but according to the news that I collect he was also the head boy during A-Levels in Lahore Grammar School. Fawad did his graduation from National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences Lahore , which is the abbreviation of NUCES.  He studied in computer sciences there.
  • He spent his early childhood in Manchester. After this for some time he lived in Saudi Arabia and Greece. He returned to his home town Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan, when he was 12 years old.
  • Fawad Khan’s  first appearance in public was in a high school play. The director of this play was also his friend whose name is  Manal Butt . By watching his performance in this play the famous director of Pakistan, Shahzad Anjum was really impressed. Anjum encouraged Khan to also perform in TV and films as well.
  • By zodiacs  Fawad Khan  is Sagittarius. It is commonly known that Sagittarius persons are straight forward, honest and broad minded people. The sense of humor of these people is also good.
  • Fawad is 1.78 meter tall which is equal to 5 feet and 10 inches.
  • The color of his eyes is Hazel brown. At the early stage of his career most of his fans believes that he looks like Hollywood actor Tom Cruise.
  • His aim was to study in Law or Social Sciences. While an interview he says that, he was not enjoying while studying in computer sciences.
  • He is the patient of diabetes and I can bet most of his fans did not know about his disease.
  • Fawad Khan  says that, he proposed his wife at the age of 17, when he was totally hopeless romantic. Fawad married Sadaf on November 12, 2005. He has a 4-year old son, Ayaan Khan.
  • He and his beautiful wife is also the owner of brand named "SILK". This brand was launched on 18  August of 2012.
  • According to his point of view, the most awkward time of his life was is his teenage. 
  • Khan also knows how to play drums, bass and guitar. He learned these entire things at the age of twenty.
  • Jatt and Bond was the first drama serial in which Fawad Afzal Khan appeared. His former band member  Ahmed Ali Butt  is also appearing in this drama in 2000. The first big screen platform for him was  Khuda K Liye . This role was offered to  Ali Zafar but he refused due to his busy schedule
  • Fawad Afzal Khan  has also won the best TV actor award for his role in drama serial  DASTAAN. In this drama he played the role of  Hasan . For this role he was also nominated in Lux Style awards as well. He also won the Lux Style Best Actor award for HUMSAFAR where he played the role of Asher Hussain.
  • Khan is also appears in comedy sitcom Rubber Band. He has also appeared in a video parody song with Noman "Aijaz"  . This song was sing by string band.

Stay Fabulous,

Saturday, May 04, 2013

My life in iphone photos...

There are times when I don't want to forget the small details of life or the simple moments that can sometimes slip from memory, so I'm posting a capsule of my Life, In These Moments...

Stay Fabulous,

Monday, April 15, 2013

My life in iphone photos

And these are the moments that made the drama, stress, and "will-you-please-just-smile" worth it all. These moments when we're together, happy, and whole. These moments? Well, it's priceless.

Stay Fabulous,

Monday, April 01, 2013

Good reads : Eat Pray Love................

During my last one and more than half year JOBLESS time one common thing I have heard from my Family..friends and loved ones was YOU ARE FEELING “BAD” COS YOU ARE DOING “NOTHING”…being jobless doesn’t mean im doing NOTHING..not at all…cos so far I know that I am doing the 3 most important thing one can do…EAT…PRAY...LOVE……

Few months back when I went to the book shop to look out for something NEW to read..i come across this book luckily which I was looking for be exact from the moment I saw the trailer of the movie..YES I haven’t seen that movie yet..cos I didn’t wanted to..i wanted to READ the original book..which I always do…READ

I could write pages about this book I guess…but im not in the writing mood now...all I'm going to say about it is that it's wonderful, honest and beautiful. I won’t say that It has changed my life..Rather it changed my perception of many things and I'm so glad I've read it…

Here I want to share some of the quotes from the book with some lame pictures I have taken throughout the soulful reading session…

“We search for happiness everywhere, but we are like Tolstoy’s fabled beggar who spent his life sitting on a pot of gold, under him the whole time. Your treasure–your perfection–is within you already. But to claim it, you must leave the buy commotion of the mind and abandon the desires of the ego and enter into the silence of the heart.”

 “There is so much about my fate that I cannot control, but other things do fall under the jurisdiction. I can decide how I spend my time, whom I interact with, whom I share my body and life and money and energy with. I can select what I can read and eat and study. I can choose how I'm going to regard unfortunate circumstances in my life-whether I will see them as curses or opportunities. I can choose my words and the tone of voice in which I speak to others. And most of all, I can choose my thoughts.”

“I think I deserve something beautiful.”

“I’m here. I love you. I don’t care if you need to stay up crying all night long, I will stay with you. There’s nothing you can ever do to lose my love. I will protect you until you die, and after your death I will still protect you. I am stronger than Depression and I am braver than Loneliness and nothing will ever exhaust me.”

“There’s a crack (or cracks) in everyone…that’s how the light of God gets in.” 

 “In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it's wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.” 

Stay Fabulous,

Learning How to Photograph a Water Splash

Water splashes create some very cool pictures, but capturing them can be a lot harder than it looks. You have to ensure that your ISO is correct, that you’re set to the right shutter speed and that you are focused on the correct thing. And, that’s just part of the entire picture.

So, to help you capture amazing water splash pictures, here are some tips on how to photograph water splash.

Setting up the Scene & SHOOT..SHOOT..SHOOT...

For today's shot i used a Mandarin orange. The set-up is toooo simple. I just kept the half-cut Mandarin under the Kitchen sink tap. When i was done with all the setting (For camera n Safety precautions) i opened the tap and VoilĂ !!!! (oh i also placed a black cake tin behind the mandarin so the water splash can be seen properly).

As i was feeling too "LAZY" and my additional lights (continuous lights) cheated on me, i had to take this picture with my flash (YN565EX). but for this kind of hi-speed freezing motion shots its best to play with the shutter-speed (which with flash is not possible/or may be possible..i have to check more on FLASHES :-/)..but the bottom line was i simply HAD to take splash shoot today (hmmm i do have some snapping madness like this..some composition n ideas pops-up in my mind n I HAD TO DO IT:-/ )..Dont worry i will definitely show you some more PROPER techniques later ;-)

Avoid Getting the Camera Wet

Whatever you do, test the area to ensure that you are far enough away so that the camera doesn’t’ get wet from any high splashes. You may try tightly pulling a piece of clear plastic across the lens of the camera. Or, use a filter that can take a little bit of wear and tear.

Important things to keep in mind
  • Set your camera to a pretty high ISO setting. You can’t use flash since it will just reflect either off the bowl or the water. If a high ISO still doesn’t provide enough light, try adding additional lighting. Lamps or photography lights will work. Or, invest in a strobe that will add a lot of light for a number of seconds allowing you to take a bunch of pictures before the strobe flicks off.
  • You may even have to move around your lighting until it’s in the right position. And, try experimenting with your aperture. While you generally want to allow as much light in as possible in low-light situations, you may actually want to make a smaller aperture for water splashes since they will be reflecting a lot of the ambient lighting.
Finally, you need to take a lot of shots. Set your camera to the continuous shooting mode, and be prepared for a number of bad shots. You need a lot of practice to get this right. As you learn, however, you’ll eventually land a number of wonderful water splash pictures.

Stay Fabulous,