Author Archive: Steve Burns

Gone Home Indie Game Review

Anyhoooo, since the house was eerily too quiet. I started turning all the lights on as I go from room to room, not caring for the electric bills since I am not the one paying, but I ended up turning them off again because I felt too guilty. Yes I know it is an online game, but like I said, I live in an asian household. We are trained well (tears). I must say however, I was enjoying myself trying to find out what the hell is going on in that creepy big house. Although, after about 20 minutes into the game, I already had an inkling on what is going on but I kept going to see if it is right and things started to feel a bit laborious which I will explain why later on, on the review.

This is you in the game

Visual

I honestly do not understand why I saw many people bashing the graphics of this game. it is not bad at all! Especially on max setting. Sure it is not as blindingly godly as something like bioshock infinite’s graphics but I found Gone Homes visually quaint look to be refreshing. The graphics itself is 3D, but if we are talking about the game’s visual theme, it is a blast to the past since the game was set to be in 1997 (the year I first got my playstation! and it is by my birthday too. June Babies Unite!). As you scavenge through the game, if you are a 90s and below baby, you will see so many nostalgic items like the one below. I really appreciated the trip down memory lane.

You guys remember this eh? eh? I used to have a polar bear, a cat, and a unicorn <3 For those of you youngins who have not seen this marvelous artstyle. it is by Lisa Frank. Back in the day they were everywhere! Stickers, binders, lunch box, bags, etc. Her rainbow animals became iconic I believe.

Beginning Photography Tips

As a new digital SLR photographer, you are looking for beginning photography tips on what camera to get and how to use it.

You’ll soon find that you’ll be overwhelmed by a lot of information too fast.

Relax!                      

Slow down and ask yourself a few questions.

Ask yourself why you want to take photos, why you want to own a dSLR camera and what you intend to do with it.

Next, read on for a few of the tips that I would suggest you take to heart.

  • Buy a camera you’ll use often
  • Keep that camera on you all the time
  • Take many photos
  • Review those photos
  • Experiment with your camera settings

These are beginning photography tips that I would suggest to new and enthusiastic digital SLR photographers.

Buy A Camera You’ll Use Often

As a photographer, I am usually asked for advice about cameras and the like. Most of the questions start out like this…

I want to buy a camera and I want to know what is the best camera I should buy…?”

I want to buy a camera and I want to know what is the best camera I should buy…?”

There is no particular answer to this but if pressed, I will recommend the cheapest digital SLR body and a general purpose lens with a large range.

The best camera anyone can buy is the camera that they will use most often! Why? Because great pictures aren’t the result of an expensive camera but the result of a creative photographer!

Keep The Camera On You All The Time

You’re a photographer now and you’ve got to prove it to yourself. Whenever you leave the house, make sure you’ve got the camera on you. Yes, it’ll be a pain, especially if it is a dSLR camera but having the camera on your person all the time will cause you to make use of it more often.

Photos don’t create themselves. You, as the photographer, are the integral role of the creation of a photograph. The more photos you take, the more refined your photos will be.

When you carry the camera on your person all the time, there are one of two results that will be experienced. You will either get sick and tired of carrying that camera or you will make use of it.

Keep in mind, however, that photo opportunities come unexpectedly and when you have your camera at the ready, you will be more inclined to take photos.

And…

Take Many Photos

… Take many photos! The more photos you take, the more experience you’ll gain. The more experience you gain, the greater the chance of your creating more of those “perfect” shots.

As you get more comfortable with the act of taking photos, you’ll be inclined to take many more.

More photos will always mean more practice. And more practice will keep your “photographic eye” open for more photographic opportunities.

If possible, try to photograph something everyday. It doesn’t matter what it is. If you search the internet, you’ll find many resources for a “PAD” or photo-a-day assignments as part of your arsenal of beginning photography tips.

Undertaking these assignments is a big responsibility but you’ll be proud of yourself for starting and finishing these assignments.

Start slowly. Take a photo a day for a week. If you like it, extend it for another week. If you don’t, stop. Take a break and then when you feel ready, start again.

Review Those Photos

Our beginning photography tips suggest that you take many photos on your way to becoming the photographer that you desire to be. In today’s world, memory and storage are cheap so you are bound to have hundreds and thousands of photos.

As an aside, I have already taken over 25,000 shots on my one year old dSLR body for my clients! That means 25,000 photos that I have to review!

I don’t suggest you take as many as these photos because you’ll be exhausted before you even start! But please do take the time to go over your photos and make notes.

You want to ensure that you are always consistent in your photography. If you read other beginning photography tips, you’ll find similar advice: taking photos is only one part of the equation. The other half of the equation is understanding and reviewing those photos!

Experiement WIth Your Camera Settings

And finally, please do experiment with your camera settings. Don’t be tempted to leave your camera on “Auto” mode and you be the camera’s shutter release finger!

You paid good money for that brand new digital SLR camera and by leaving your camera on “Auto” you are trusting “advanced digital technology” to do your creative thinking for you.

Yes, I admit that it may appear to be a daunting task to understand ALL of your camera settings but the point of learning is to take it in bite-sized chunks.

For one week, leave your camera on “Auto”. The following week, leave it on “Aperture” and take photos. And so on.

You’ll be surprised at the results.

Remember, these 5 beginning photography tips are to help you get started on being the creative photographer you’ve always wanted to be.

Love your camera. Love yourself. Love your photos.

Digital vs Film Wedding Photography

Which medium should a wedding photographer use when it comes to digital vs film photography for weddings?

It’s an argument that’s fading, gasping its last breath as the use of camera film dies a slow, quiet death.

It’s something I’m asked about less frequently these days but for some brides and their photographers, it’s still a valid debate. For old-school photographers, Kodak or Fujifilm is still a viable option to offer couples searching for that “certain look” that emulsion can have. But for the newbies in the photographic industry, digital is the only way to go. Films aren’t their speciality even if they’re trained in it at all.

What really matters is that a couple like their photographer’s style, not what format they used to capture the images. And, when you get right down to it, the differences between the two mediums aren’t really visible to the untrained eye. That’s right, you heard me — if the lighting is right, there is no debate between the two. It looks the same.

When the lighting conditions start to deteriorate, that’s when the an images’ texture and pattern can look ‘grainier’, which, occasionally, is the evocative look a bride wants. Both can offer these characteristics but with the advent of high quality digitized cameras with wider ISO settings, this aspect it is easier to control. With both media, post production editing makes it possible to achieve virtually any effect you desire.

If that’s the case, then why consider roll-film photography at all? There are a few reasons a photographer might offer film as an option to a couple.

  1. Some photographers truly believe that it gives a higher quality print.
  2. At the end of an event, the photographer is done. The photo lab takes care of color balance adjustments and retouching; the photographer doesn’t have to worry about correcting computer files.
  3. Technically speaking, film has a wider dynamic range than digital for high-contrast scenes.
  4. Film photography is a creative and funny entertainment for couple and their guests.

But for every positive argument for film, the micro-chip comes roaring back with its own strong suit.

  1. Many photographers consider themselves artists, and with that, they don’t want the photo lab to be in control of the final product.
  2. Shooting digitally, a photographer is able to shoot many more frames, meaning the couple probably will have a more complete coverage of their event.
  3. There’s less risk for poor quality photos because the photographer can immediately review and correct an image that didn’t quite turn out the way it was planned.

Despite the advantages for each medium, they’re all moot points if the bride or groom doesn’t like the photographer’s portfolio in the first place!

As with anything else, there’s going to be good photographers and not-so-good photographers, and it doesn’t really make much of a difference which medium the not-so-good photographers shoot in.

Select a photographer who will give you the best images you could hope for, and the media argument doesn’t really matter.

If you want my advice – choose today’s technology – you’ll get a wider coverage of your day! 

Black and White Pictures – Timeless!

There is something timeless and evocative about black and white pictures. I just love them!

Does your photographer offer both types of photography? If so, you might have paused to consider which one is better for your wedding, and really, why does it matter? What does b&w; photography offer that colored images can’t?

Both have their advantages. B&W; can be best for documenting emotional moments — there are no colors to distract your eye from the subject of the photo. The subtlety of the tones within the image reveal the full range of blacks through grey to whites that can make an otherwise dull colored image far more exciting. Images without coloring convey sentiment and classic looks that somehow, colored images just can’t express.

Colorless images can be great when there are facial features that you DON’T want to focus on, such as skin imperfections.

Naturally there are plenty of images at your wedding that you DO want to focus on. For the cheerful, joyful moments of a wedding, colored photography is more appropriate. It should also be used when documenting the details of the nuptials — the bright pink flower in the bride’s bouquet against her white dress, the subtle hues in the centerpieces and the clear blue sky that the bridal party is posing under.

Digital technology these days mean that photographers don’t have to use a special film for b&w; photos. Instead, photographers typically shoot entirely in digital and then convert specific images later during in the editing process.

It’s likely your photographer will give you a mix of images because both have a place in your wedding album. Unless you have a particular photo in mind that should be one or the other, trust your photographer’s artistic eye. You’ll end up with the emotional, stunning photos that will best display that particular moment in your wedding day. 

Use Digital Photography Courses To Build Your Knowledge

Digital photography courses are able to take the unpracticed amateur to the same level as the trained professional, as long as that amateur is prepared to go through the intense training which is necessary to achieve that standard. There are many amateurs who do not have the desire to reach that exalted level, but just a desire to get the best results from their camera without expending too much time. This can also be achieved, as there are both online and offline courses aimed at every level of photographer.

The first important principle you will learn on a digital photography course is that there are few fundamental differences between the techniques used in new photography and those used in the past. The way in which the camera operates at the most basic level is little changed, as the shutter still allows light into the mechanism which has been designed to capture it. It is the manipulation which is possible with digital photographs which sets them apart, and the best results will be achieved from this manipulation when the initial photograph has been taken in the most effective way. The techniques of taking effective photographs are never to be overlooked, even if you have powerful software.

You will also need to learn how to effectively manage a portfolio of your own photographs, and this does require very different techniques from managing and storing analog photographs. A digital photograph, just like any other file, needs to be cataloged with a numbering system, or file management system, to allow you to find it easily again whenever you need to. If you are taking photographs on many different subjects, the best system will be one which starts with these categories. You will also need to learn the vitally important skill of backing up your files.

The major focus of digital photography courses will be the manipulation of the images which have been taken, as it is this which separates digital technology from the previous film based era. There is now the potential for photographers to correct common errors such as red eye, which can completely ruin photographs which can never be taken again. The tool which is used for these repairs is known as Adobe Photoshop, and it is certainly not cheap software at over $500. It will, however, allow you to get the best possible results from your endeavors, as long as you can spare the time to learn to use it properly.

It is possible to use free software to carry out some limited enhancements to digital photographs, and this free software can even open Photoshop files if it has the right plug in attached. You will not have the same range of options that you would get with the paid version, but you may not need them if you are only going to be carrying out limited edits. It may also be useful to learn what you can do with the free software before taking the step of investing in anything better, because then you will have a greater understanding of how effective the paid software will be.

There are many digital photography courses to be found online, and many of these can be sampled for free. They will not be as comprehensive as the paid materials, and they will certainly not show you the techniques in as great a detail as you would get from a paid offline course. They can be especially useful for absolute beginners who want to give themselves something of an edge when they go to take on more comprehensive digital photography courses.

How Digital Photography Lessons Can Benefit The Student

Digital photography lessons are available in many different forms, both through online learning and through offline resources such as college courses. The right course for you will largely depend on your own ambitions in the photography field, and whether or not they include any ambitions to become a professional. Some photography jobs demand a high standard of formal education, and are virtually impossible to enter without the right college course, while others can be entered by anyone who has the necessary skills.

If the lessons are to be comprehensive enough to allow the complete beginner to achieve a high standard, they will need to start with the fundamentals of how a photograph needs to be taken in the first place. This is not as simple as it sounds, and there is little fundamental different between the front end of a digital camera and one which has been made in the previous era of film cameras. The shutter still operates in the same way, to pull light into the mechanism which processes the photograph. Any tradition wisdom you have from previous experiences with film cameras will still be perfectly valid. There are many useful tips which can reduce the need to rely on modern software.

The lessons which you take should give you the confidence to shoot in different lighting conditions, and to take photographs whenever the opportunity presents itself. Photographers who specialize in still subjects are able to choose the optimum conditions for the photograph to be taken, but those who are seeking to take action shots do not have that luxury. The are still ways to create an image which is more easily edited, and the great advantage of digital photography is that this editing is easily possible. Editing is still more effective if you can produce a quality photograph to work with at the start.

Taking digital photography lessons will allow you to understand and use the complex industry standard software which manipulates digital images, and which can create virtually any effect that the photographer chooses. This is Adobe Photoshop, and it is not cheap or easy to use. You will need to be prepared to spend upwards of $500 on this complete state of the art solution, but it will be the only photograph manipulation program you will ever need. You will have the ability to correct obvious errors, as well as to enhance the result with effects.

It is not absolutely necessary to own this software, or to know how to use it, if you are only seeking to take photographs for your own purposes. There are other free software programs which can give you some of the functionality of Photoshop, including Paint.NET, which will allow you to open Photoshop files, as long as you have a certain plug in to go with it. Amateur photographers can still produce reasonable results without having to go to the extreme of buying software which will probably be more expensive than the camera itself.

Although digital photography lessons should be complete by themselves, there is never any harm in giving yourself an advantage by reading up on the subject in advance. There are many resources online which can give you graphic illustrations of what is possible with modern digital photography, and in some cases you can even attempt to manipulate photographs yourself through an online interface. Don’t try to learn too much too soon, but do give yourself the best possible chance by laying a foundation for the courses to come. You can them hit the ground running and gain the greatest advantage from your digital photography lessons.

Find The Right Online Digital Photography Classes

Online digital photography classes have the potential to take any beginning photographer to any level they would choose, including the status of professional photographer if that is desired.

There are many excellent tutorials which can get a beginner quickly up to the level where they are taking effective shots, and then to the level where they have an effective understanding of the individual settings on a camera. There are also classes which can take the user beyond that level to the stage where they are taking professional standard photographs.

For a beginner, it can be important to just get into the game as quickly as possible and to begin taking some useful photographs. This is possible with entry level cameras, because they offer the function of being able to set their settings to automatic, eliminating any possible error which the user may make. Using these automatic settings, anyone should be able to take photographs of a reasonable standard. They will not be of the same quality as the photographs an experienced camera user would take with well defined manual settings, but the development of these skills needs to unfold over time.

It makes sense to take a large percentage of your initial photographs in the open air, and to photograph objects which are going to remain constant. This way, you can return to the same object many times to try out different settings. You can take photographs early in the morning, when the sunlight will be casting extreme shadows in one direction, and then in the evening when the shadows will be in completely the opposite direction. You can also take photographs from different distances, and from a slightly different angle. All of this will be valuable experience, and will help you progress quickly with online classes.

The higher levels of online digital photography classes will also concentrate on the ability of the digital photographer to manipulate the image once it has been downloaded to a computer. This is the major ability which separates the modern photographer from their predecessor using film. Anyone can perform basic editing using free software, although these free programs are often not well documented and come with a steep learning curve. If you want to take it further, you can always learn to use the industry standard Adobe Photoshop software, which is well documented, and which has all of the features a professional standard photographer needs.

Online classes can take you to the level where you can derive genuine satisfaction from amateur photography, and they can even help you reach the level of a professional photographer should that be something you would want to do. Many photographers, such as wedding and portrait photographers, are self employed and need no qualifications or licensing to be able to operate. In other industries such as journalism, a formal degree is definitely needed. You can now achieve this degree standard education without the need to spend several years at a college campus, through the new online learning platforms.

There are a great many online digital photography classes catering to photographers of all standards, so it is important to find the right one for your current level and the level you eventually want to achieve. Take your time to study the different courses on offer, and to read any independent reviews. If you are new, it will be best to start with one of the free basic courses to keep risk to a minimum, and then when you have a basic understanding of how the camera works, you can progress to paid online digital photography classes.