Learning a Few Photography Tricks from Friends

photographer-friendsIt’s good to have people around you with the same hobby as you, when you have friends like these you can easily grow in your art. For example since high school my closest friends are almost all photography enthusiast, and because of this we discovered new techniques together, and shared what we individually learned. This in turn allowed us to rapidly grow our skills and knowledge as photographers and artists. As a treat, here are a few things we learned and shared with each other as  a group, use them and explore new techniques, and maybe share anything new you discover with us and your friends.

1.) Light Stencil Trick

Okay so let’s just simplify it as much as we can. Look for a shape or drawing that you would like to stencil in your photos, and glue it to a box, cut the shape or drawing’s outline in a way that light can travel through and make an impression. Choose your desired color for the shape (colored rice paper is what I use), and put a light you can turn on and off in the box.

To use the light stencil box, set to a low shutter speed (look for the perfect speed), and turn on the stencil box at the locations of where you want it to appear in the photo. Don’t forget to turn the light off as you change location though.

(Hopefully I explained it in a way you would understand)

2.) Next Level Jump Shot

Okay I call this a “levitation trick”, but technically it is just a jump shot with some props to make it look like you are flying.

Get an item that you would normally associate with flight or levitation, a balloon maybe, or an umbrella, or if you would like some props like: Jetpacks, hover board, or some well-made wings. You then hold or wear them according to how you would like it to appear (preferably in a way that the prop is influencing the flight or levitation), and jump as you take the picture (it is best to look for a location that would look perfect with your “flight/levitation”).


3.) Cheap Light Effects

All you need is a strong light source and some assorted colored plastic sheets. Cover the light source with the sheets and use it as lighting, change color and angle for desired effects.

You can also modify light stencil box (number one of this list) as a light source to project shapes of light to you model or subject.

4.) The Broken Mirror

If you don’t want to risk having seven years bad luck, try to find a broken whole body mirror at a garage sale of some sort of thrift shop, or if you don’t believe in bad luck just break one yourself.

Take pictures of your subject or model through the mirror to have a cracked image effect.


These are a few tricks we used back in the day, nowadays you can use Photoshop to add in most of the effects found here… but there’s no fun in that.

Landscape Photography and a Slim Body

photographyWhen it comes to landscape photography, you will need to do a lot of hiking and positioning yourself at the right place to get the right angle. Unfortunately when you’re a bit overweight, or in my case obese, this becomes a hurdle in your new hobby or career. Most wonderful sceneries are at remote areas where there are little to no road access, so hiking is a must, and when it comes to landscape photography, the natural lighting is extremely important, if you miss the window when the light is perfect, you will have to either camp out or come back the next day, so there is a lot of running and jogging involved.


The Fast Way 

jelly-bellyI have never been a person who did not take the easiest solution to solve my problems, and even though I knew that after a little time of continuously working like I did, along with additional workouts, I would be able to lose that jelly-belly. I decided to take an easier route to my problem, during a vacation in the U.S., I visited a friend in Utah, who knew a really good doctor to help me with my problem. The doctor explained to me the procedure and  that abdominoplasty procedure removes excess fat and skin from the abdomen, which was exactly what I needed. Though he also told me to take it easy after the following few months to avoid complication, he told me that I should be able to work.


My Experience after the Procedure 

hiking-in-the-middle-of-nowhereIt was weird at first, I felt as if I finally took off a heavy backpack, and my life was a bit easier too. Without the extra weight I was able to hike to my destinations with less effort and be able climb into positions that would have been difficult or even impossible back when I had the belly. I was even able to properly maintain the new body because of the active lifestyle a landscape photographer has. Work became even more fun than before, with a lighter body I was able to do more and experience more.


Thoughts about everything 

beautiful-landscapeHad I have been more patient I believe that after a year or two of just doing my work I would have eventually reached a point where I would have lost the weight I had lost through the procedure, though it would have affected the quality of my work, given that the whole reason I am now able to do my work properly is because I lost those extra pounds. I can pretty much recommend the procedure if you don’t have the luxury of time, like I did. But if you have enough patience and you have the time to lose weight naturally I recommend you doing that. Heads up though, if you have been fat for a good portion of your life, there is a good chance that your skin will sag and you will still need a procedure to get rid of the excess skin. If you do though, I recommend having it done in Utah if you can, they have awesome doctors.



My First DSLR Camera and Photography Contest

I’ve always been fond of cameras since childhood, my first camera was a cheap one that you had to wind up, I had a lot of fun with it but film was hard to get since I only had my allowance to buy it with. Not to mention I could only ever afford the ones with the least amount of shots, and developing? Forget about it. Later on, when digital cameras became popular, my father bought one for the family, since I was only one interested in photography I was the one who was in charge of it. I loved how you could instantly see the results on tiny screen when you take a picture, and back then the resolution was something outstanding, but looking back at the photos that I took it was a pretty bad camera. Finally I was in my late teens when I was finally able to afford a DSLR for myself. I remember it was the Nikon D40x, which at that time, was an incredible camera for those who were just getting into seriously pursuing photography.

Nikon D40x
Nikon D40x

I loved that camera, I took it with me everywhere I go, to the point that my friends and family asked why bring it with you all the time, to which I answer “If there is a moment to capture and I did not have my camera, what’s the use of owning one”. I studied everything there was about the camera, searched for photography books in the bookstore sale bin, and looked for any tips online, and what videos was available that time I watched it, which back then wasn’t much of it or at least good ones that is.

I got to use the camera and what I learned when we visited New Zealand that year, I had wanted to go and take landscape photos, but unfortunately I was the family’s designated photographer for the whole trip, so all I got was a lot of vacation photos, most of which were at cafes and inside the cities and towns we visited, which were quite beautiful so I didn’t mind. Luckily I got a lot of good shots of nature during our trip to Milford Sound, the glaciers, waterfalls and scenery were wonderful. Back then I thought the photos I took were expertly done, looking at it now I see how much of an amateur I was, unfocused and overexposed.

When we got back home I caught wind of a photo contest in our town, I registered believing how good of a photographer I was, and confident of my top of the line camera. But during the week of the contest, I came across fellow photographers who were also participating in the contest, I saw their equipment and understood that they were at a whole other level. They weren’t mean or anything though, quite the contrary, as they gave me tips and even helped me during the contest. Obviously I didn’t win, I didn’t place in the top ten, but I had a lot of fun.

Just like any firsts, your first camera and contest is one you will never forget. Today I am a bit more skilled and have a few good cameras at my disposal, but had I not invested in my first camera and courageously registered for that first camera contest I wouldn’t be where I am now.