photography

An A-Z of Photography Tips

Mario Calvo Bartolomé

I decided to have a little fun and make an A-Z list of camera terms. I came up with most on the spot, but a couple (looking at you X and V) I had to google and see what even fit!

  1. A – Aperture Priority (Av) Mode! This is a great mode to shoot in if you’re starting out. Nothing will compare to full manual (I promise!), but this is still a great one. You set your aperture and your camera will figure out the rest.
  2. B – Back Button Focusing! This is a game changer if you’re focusing on moving subjects, especially. You use your thumb to focus and just continue holding it to continue focusing. It takes some getting used to, but once you get it, you won’t go back!
  3. C – Cropping! Always give yourself a little wiggle room for cropping. So DO NOT crop in camera or shoot too tightly. Shoot a little wider and adjust later. It’s always good to have some room than to be too close and next thing you know, someone’s head will be getting cropped off for that 8×10.
  4. D – Distortion! Different lens focal lengths cause different levels of distortion to your subject. Always run a corrector in your editing program of choice to counter act it.
  5. E – Extras! Always have an extra battery, memory card, light stand, etc. Murphy’s law, man.
  6. F – F-stop! Pay attention to your f-stop number and make sure you’re not too shallow for the amount of people in the photos. I cheat and try to match up with however many people there are. So 2 people = f/2.8, 4 people = f/4-5.6, etc. It’s not exact, but it’s a good start!
  7. G – Grain! Good news is grain is back in fashion. Bad news is, that too much can kill a photo. Be mindful of your ISO and try not to let it get too high. Better equipment will help significantly with ISO issues. If you’re running into this a lot, it might be time for a body upgrade.
  8. H – Hot Shoe! This is that mount on the top of your camera. Most times an external flash goes here, but they make all kinds of accessories, too!
  9. I – Inkjet Printers! Ew! Please stay away from inkjet printers. They do not look even half as good as a chemical printer. That means CVS, Walgreens, Target, Walmart, and pretty much any big-box store are out! Check out a local print shop or even mpix.com for insanely better looking photos.
  10. J – Jpeg! This is the final format that your digital image will take. If you’re sending files to friends, family, or a client – this is the format you’d deliver them in.
  11. K – Kelvin! This is the scale used to measure the colour temperature. 5000 K refer to normal daylight.
  12. L – Lenses! Have a well-rounded collection of lenses that you’ll actually use. Not everyone’s bag will contain the same thing.
  13. M – Memory Cards! Get good memory cards! My preference is high-speed 32GB cards. I shop at Peoria Camera for these, because they offer a lifetime warranty on their cards. Cards WILL go bad. At least this way, I can swap out the bad one for a brand new one.
  14. N – Neutral Density Filter! These are fantastic for landscapes (especially of water or clouds) and metal objects, like cars and motorcycles. It reduces the amount of light that passes through your lens, because if it’s super bright outside, you might not be able to set your settings to get the desired effect.
  15. O – Overexposure! This is when your photo is washed out. Too much light has reached the sensor for the shooting conditions. You can increase your shutterspeed and/or aperture to try to compensate for how bright it is. Or even get a Neutral Density filter.
  16. P –  Prints and Products! Print your photos! There’s nothing like holding a print your proud of or displaying it on your wall. Make prints and products of your favorites.
  17. Q – Quiet! Most cameras have a silent shooting mode that makes your shutter click softer. This can be useful for things like ceremonies where people are very quiet.
  18. R – Reflector! These are great when you’re shooting and need to bounce a little more light onto your subjects.
  19. S – Shutter Speed! Shutter speed is what captures or freezes motion. The lower your shutter speed, the more motion blur (and camera shake) you can get. Usually, I try not to go less than 1/100th if I’m holding my camera in my hand. If you’re on a tripod, you can go as low as you want to get the desired effect.
  20. T – Tripod! A tripod can come in very useful in many situations. It allows you to up the shutter speed (see above) and focus more on your overall photo rather than making sure it’s perfectly level and composed each shot. It’s completely necessary for video, if that’s something you enjoy doing, too.
  21. U – Used Equipment! Don’t be scared to buy used from reputable sources! Good camera equipment is made to last, so get yourself something for a better price.
  22. V – Vignetting! This occurs naturally with certain lenses. You don’t really pick up on it, but it’s there. This is great and I love when this happens. What I don’t love is people adding vignetting after the effect. It’s an outdated look, just skip it!
  23. W – Wide-Angle Lens! Anything less than 50mm is actually wide, but most people think of the ultra wide angles in this case, like 10mm. Under 10mm, and it starts going fish-eye. Wide-angles are great for landscapes and shooting in tight spaces.
  24. X – X-Sync Flash! I tried really hard to find something more exciting for “X,” but this is the best I’ve got! X-sync flash is when the flash fires at the instant the shutter is fully open.
  25. Y – You! You are the most important factor in your photography. A better lens or body might help a little, but you knowing more about your equipment and how to use it will help 100x more than the latest and greatest.
  26. Z – Zoom lens! A zoom lens is actually any lens that is not one focal length. A lot of people assume a zoom lens only refers to a telephoto lens. So that 18-55mm is, in fact, a zoom lens. And of course, that 70-200mm is, as well.

Woo! All finished! That was harder than I anticipated. Do you have any that you’d do differently? I’d love to hear from you!

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Most Liked Photos on Instagram in 2015

Here are my nine most liked photos on Instagram this year – all concert photos!

My top nine featured letlive, Zella Day, Starset, Rob Zombie, OTHERWISE, Taking Back Sunday, and Maria Brinks Wonderland of In This Moment!

Thanks for following and supporting my work! Can’t wait for 2016!

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And here’s my personal IG:

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Music Monday: Zella Day – Compass

This past weekend I saw and photographed Zella Day and really enjoyed the show! She had a very bohemian-vibe that sort of reminded me of Lana Del Rey. Very easy listening. My favorite song, by far, was Compass. I also like the radio single that’s out now – Hypnotic. Check out some photos below and view the whole gallery on my website here!

So, you’re a band and you want to use a photographers photo – here’s how to go about it

It can seem tricky navigating how to make sure you’re in the “go” to use a photo of yourself / your band that you like. It’s really not too bad. It comes down to just asking the photographer beforehand. Most are cool with just tagging their account or website in the caption. Others are not. But building up that relationship with each other is awesome, so please reach out to a photographer and just say “hey, I love your photo! Is it cool if I post it on our social media?” or whatever your intention is. That’s it! Still have some questions? I tried my best to answer below.

But, it’s a picture of me, why can’t I just post it?
That’s simply not how copyright works. Unless the photographer signed a release stating the band could use the photos, then the photographer retains copyright. When you’re performing a show and given the photographer permission to photograph the show, there is no expectation to privacy while you’re up on stage performing. This is the photographers artistic take or interpretation of you, if that makes sense. Same thing happens when you go to a portrait photographer for family photos, except you usually pay them for the photos and then buy products. With concert photography, usually the band approves the photographer so they get publicity from the publication or website the photos are published on and the photographer may or may not get paid by the publication for taking the photos. This scenario doesn’t mean you have any rights to the photos, though, unless you present the photographer with a contract prior to the show.

What is copyright?
Copyright, according to Merriam-Webster, is the exclusive legal right to reproduce, publish, sell, or distribute the matter and form of something (as a literary, musical, or artistic work). Basically, it give the creator (photographers) of works of art (photographs) the sole right to reproduce, publish, and distribute them. It protects artists and was put in place to encourage artists to make and share their work. As a band, your music is protected by copyright law. It’s the exact same thing. Copyright happens the moment the work of art is created. Artists can take it a step further and register their works so they can seek damages when their work is infringed.

Currently, works of art are protected for the life of the author plus 70 years. For corporate entities, the copyright is for 120 years after creation or 95 years after publication, whichever comes first. Yes, basically 2 lifetimes for the actual person and 1.5 lifetimes for a corporate entity.

If you’d like to read more, I made a blog post a while ago on the Peoria Camera Shop blog, which you can read here.

But it was posted to social media, that means it’s fair game, right?
Nope. Whoever posted it to social media should and legally must have permission from the artist to do so. Social media is just another platform of publishing and this is a huge misconception that can and will land you in hot water and legal fees.

Wouldn’t my band reposting the photo qualify as fair use?
Nope, unless you’reusing the photo for educational purposes. Your website and all social media pages are there to promote the band and make the band money. This is using the photo for monetary gain, which means your need explicit permission from the artist. And let’s say it is fair use, you should still ask and always attribute the photographer. That’s standard practice.

What if I “share” the photo on Facebook or Retweet the photographer’s tweet on Twitter or reblog the photo on Tumblr?
Yes! This is fantastic and the proper way to share the photos with your fans on these platforms. This is completely a-okay. Instagram doesn’t have a sharing feature like this, so please ask before reposting OR use that repost-app that includes the original posters instagram account on the photo and in the caption.

I left the watermark on the photo, so that’s credit enough.
You should still ask. Some photographers will be fine with their watermark being clearly visible. Some will also want tagged or linked back in the caption. You still should ask before posting or you are technically infringing on their copyright. For the love of everything, though, DON’T crop or edit a watermark out. That’s a big no-no and shows you knew you were infringing and tried to hide it. Just don’t do it, not worth it!

I asked the photographer about posting the photo and they want paid!
This is completely within their right. Photo credit doesn’t pay the bills. If you don’t want to post the picture bad enough to pay for it, just say thanks, but no thanks. Just like a photographer can’t take one of your songs and put it on their website without paying, you can’t just use their photo. Many photographers, though, will allow their work to be reposted if they are properly tagged and linked back.

I found a really good photo that looks professional, but I can’t find who took it.
I wouldn’t recommend posting it unless you can track down the photographer first. Photographers can seek damages (sue you) for infringement and not knowing the author of the copyrighted work will not stand up in court. You will end up paying if it goes that route. So, your call on this one!

I found a photograph on the photographer’s Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Tumblr / Website/ Etc. that I want to post on a band page. What should I do?

  1. Just ask! Contact the photographer. Leave a comment, message, email. Ask and explain exactly where you’d like to post  or use the photo.
  2. Get their reply and follow that. If they said sure, but credit, always include a link to the social media platform you’re posting on. If you’re on Facebook, tag their photography fan page. If it’s Twitter, direct link to their Twitter handle. You get the idea. Linking to the website in addition to the platform you’re posting on is always great, too.
  3. If they asked for payment, decide if you want to pay for the photo’s use or not. The photographer shouldn’t be offended if you decide you don’t want to pay for it. As long as you don’t post it anyways.
  4. That’s really it. It’s as easy ask asking and not posting anything unless you know you’re okay to.

If you can think of something I missed, please comment! I’d love to hear from other photographers and bands on the matter. I’ve had the pleasure of photographing many great bands and being properly asked and credited for my photos, but I have had my copyright infringed before and it’s really discouraging. It’s disrespectful and hard not to take personally when fellow artists takes advantage of your work. Just don’t do it! We’re all on the same side here and it’s more of a “you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours” type of situation.

Want to read more? The Governments Copyright FAQ’sPetapixel. Infographic. Copyright Myths. Rohan’s FAQ. Red Jumpsuit Apparatus Debacle.

Taking Back Sunday, letlive., + The Menzingers

This past Saturday, Limelight Eventplex of Peoria, Illinois had Taking Back Sunday, letlive., and The Menzingers grace its stage. What a great show! I was super excited to photograph this one. There was no photopit, which was a first for me at my venue with this size of a crowd. I made some friends with the people up front and they were awesome about letting me get in and get my shots. And I made sure they got their front row spots back when I left. I had a great time photographing the bands. I wasn’t familiar with letlive.’s stuff beforehand, but I’m a fan now! They stole the show for me. So much fun to watch and photograph, as well as a great sound. Taking Back Sunday was quite the blast from the past for me. It was fun to hear some songs that I literally hadn’t listened to in years.

Here’s some of my favorite shots from Saturday! See more on my website or Facebook.

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Black Widow Tour

This past Saturday I photographed In This Moment’s Black Widow Tour at Limelight Eventplex in Peoria, IL. I was so excited to shoot this show (yes, it’s my 3rd time shooting ITM, but not in this size of a venue). Maria is so theatrical, it’s a photographers dream. I went through the meet and greet with my Maria-inspired outfit that was still work appropriate and she recognized my hat from my Halloween costume! I got a photo with all of them and had Maria sign my hat, then she got a photo of just us two on her phone. Then she made me even more happy by saying they don’t limit photographers to the first 3 songs. The more photos, the better! I about died.

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I got some amazing shots. I was actually a little shot happy and took way too many, but I don’t even care. There were just too many amazing moments to capture. Check out some of my favorites below and find more on Facebook or on my website.

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My Favorite iPhone Photography Apps

I’m an instagram whore and post wayyy too many photos, but what do you expect from a photographer? I’ve accumulated lots of photography apps over the years, but these are my absolute favorites.

1. VSCOcam (free + in app purchases). I use this one the most. I’ve even bought all the packs for it. I like that you can edit the photos pretty extensively (although Instagram just added a lot of these features), but the best part are the filters. I love the film look it creates on my iPhone photos.

2. Camera+ ($1.99). I used this one all the time when I was studying abroad in London. It has great settings to bring out the clarity and sharpness of your photos.

3. Adobe Photoshop Express (free). As an avid photoshop user, of course I have the app version. It’s super easy to use and I definitely recommend it since it’s free!

4. InstaPicFrames (free). Sometimes just displaying one photo in that instagram square isn’t enough. I’ve found that I like this framing app the best, especially since it’s free.

5. Whitagram. This is great for when you want to display the photo in the original aspect ratio and not a square. Simple and free.

6. Afterlight ($0.99). This app has more great filters that I love to use on my photos from time to time. I’ve been meaning to use this app more.

7. Over ($0.99). Love this app for adding text to my photos! Lots of great font options and super easy to use.

8. Pixlromatic (free). This app has, yet again, more filters, but more importantly lots of fun light leaks!

9. Lumie ($1.99). I got this app for the bokah effects! Has some neat options that can fancy up your photos.

I’m sure I’m missing out on some other amazing apps, so please let me know what your favorites are!