Categories
Photography

Fashion runway photography tips

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Taking pictures at a fashion runway is challenging: light changes, models swift by very fast in front of you, and if you don’t have a press pass or similar to be lucky enough to be in the photographer’s press area, it is hard to get good shots.

Runway events are a great opportunity to get some experience in fashion photography. If you’re just starting with photography they are a great chance to take pictures of beautiful and professional models without costing you anything or having to reach out for them.

Get in

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The first thing you need is to get an invitation or know about these events. If you don’t know anyone in the field or close contact within the industry there is still hope. Follow fashion bloggers in your area, clothes stores or mall’s twitter accounts. They will eventually post something about an upcoming event. Many are free, some by invitation, but you can then contact them through their social media accounts and ask for an invite.

If you’re lucky to get a press pass, you’re golden. The press area is strategically placed for photographers to get the best and constant illumination and angle, right at the end of the catwalk where models stop and pose for you. If not, then you’ll be seating at the sides of the catwalk, and you have a few seconds and a weird angle to get your shot right before the model passes you by.

Use a monopod

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Tripods are bulky and take too much space to set up, monopods are better in this case. What you need here is a place to rest the camera, assuming you’re using a DSLR camera, that thing is heavy to hold after a while.

Set to Auto ISO and Aperture priority

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Then let’s go over the camera settings. After a few trial and error, what works best for me is to set ISO to Auto. This way you will have the fastest shutter speed available. Use Aperture priority mode and set to the lowest F-stop possible. An F-2.8 or F-4 is a nice setting to get some depth of field and stand out the model in the image.

Auto focus

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On Nikon cameras, use the 3D Focus setting. With this focus setting you select a point of focus, and once locked, the autofocus will follow whatever is on that focus point as long as you keep your shutter button half-way pressed. This will save you from having blurry images. I don’t know if there’s an equivalent setting on Canon cameras.

Take verticals

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Sometimes a wide photo on the runway will reveal too much of the area, instead of focusing on the model, who’s our main subject. There are some mounts for the monopod that will allow you to take verticals instead of the standard horizontals. If you don’t have one, then get used to your camera weight because it’s going to be tough. Also, try to keep your elbows as close as possible to your body. There’s people sitting right next to you that also want to see the runway and you can annoy them with your elbows.

Use a fast lens

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Models are coming and going very fast and there’s little time to frame and focus your shot. A fast lens can be very helpful.

Hope this tips are of help. I had to learn this the hard way having lots of blurry pictures.

Do you have any other tips to share about fashion photography at runways? Please share on the comments below.

Categories
Photography

Tampico downtown photowalk in the rain

Started the year with a nice calm photo walk on a rainy day at my hometown, Tampico, Mexico. My friend Luis Perez picked me up and we went to have the traditional breakfast from Tampico: Torta de la Barda, at the place where the exquisite dish started. I wanted to say legendary, but it’s not that well known across Mexico. But the people who’ve tried it have always loved it.

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There is a more well known dish from Tampico, it’s called the Tampiqueña, which is a strip of salted steak (cecina) with enchiladas, black beans and fresh cheese, grilled onions and guacamole, but that’s a dinner dish.

Tampiqueña

The torta de la barda is typically what you would have after a party very late at night…or early morning. The hot spicy green sauce and the mix of all its ingredients make a great meal to set your stomach after some heavy drinking. Some say that spicy food helps removing your drunkness. I don’t have the science to back that up, but by my experience it does make you more alert.

Anyway, last night we didn’t had any drinks at all, since we’ve both been living out of our hometown we only missed our traditional local food.

After our first stop, we decided to walk around downtown and into the market. It was a gray rainy day but that didn’t stopped us from enjoying Tampico’s downtown.

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The variety of fish and seafood in the market are great, you can find anything there. And best of all, is that almost all of it is fresh from that same morning.

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So we decided to get some fresh oysters to snack later in the day.

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After we got everything we needed for our oyster snack, we walked out of the market and into the two plazas: Plaza Libertad and Plaza de Armas.

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At Plaza de Armas we visited “El Globito” an old and now traditional lunch place where you can enjoy a good refreshing drink.

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This place brings me back memories of my childhood. My father used to take me to “El Globito” to have a drink called Crema de coco (coconut cream) which is coconut mix with milk and some cinammon on top. It is a very refreshing drink on a hot, sweaty summer day.

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We wanted to end our downtown local tour with some Churros, but we were stuffed from the several things we tried around the market after our breakfast, and that coconut cream besides fresh is heavy too, so we were stuffed.

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You can see more photos of this photowalk at my Tampico Market Flickr set.
It was nice to enjoy my hometown again. I missed shooting some photos of other places in Tampico, but I’ll be back some other time to do that. It’s good to go back to where you came from, get back some memories by visiting places, and see how things have changed since you left. The rain added a bit of melancholy to the whole scenery. A nice way to start a year by going back and reviewing where you come from, where you’ve been and where you want to be in the future.

Categories
News Photography

Snapseed for Android vs Instagram

Snapseed

After Google bought Nik Software, makers of the then iOS-only app Snapseed, today they have released it for Android and for free! Snapseed is a very easy to use photo app to edit and enhance your shots.

Editing photos with Snapseed is very easy and the results are good. But let me compare it with the most popular photo sharing app right now: Instagram.

Filters

They both apply filters to photos. On Instagram you select the desired filter and see the preview instantly. You can’t select more than one filter on a photo. On Snapseed, not only you can apply several filters to a photo, but you can also tweak the settings of each filter.

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snapseed filters

You have complete control over each effect you apply and that opens the posiblities to produce very interesting things. Snapseed not only applies filters to a photo, it can also straighten it, sharpen it and apply color correction on it.

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snapseed easy to use

Cropping

On Instagram all photos need to be square, and thus, you have to crop your images if you’re using the standard camera app on your device. Unless you use the Instagram camera app that takes only squared pictures, you will need to leave out something on your image when you crop it. Snapseed works with the full image, no matter the size. This includes panoramic and even the new photo sphere in Android 4.2.

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snapseed with panoramic photo

Social

The community is what is lacking in Snapseed, since it’s only a photo editing application, not a social network. But that is why Google has integrated it with Google+ and the photography community there is amazing. On Instagram you have a nice huge community but most of the pictures are not high quality material and since you can’t tweak the filters, you get the same feeling across multiple images and users. But even then, I love browsing the photos from my Twitter contacts that have accounts there, and double tapping to love their posts and explore new users to follow from what my peers have “loved” too.

With Snapseed you can stamp your own unique style to your shots and share them with the huge Google+ photography community. Over there, there’s more than just mobile photos of mirror self shots or coffee and food pictures. It’s a community with great professional and amateur photographers and good quality images. Also, it’s hard to browse and explore the Instagram social network from the browser. There’s been some improvements lately but still, it was not designed to be a web experience but a mobile one. Google+ is a very nice web and mobile experience and lets you post more than just your mobile photos.

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Google plus post via snapseed

Quality

One of my biggest rants about using Instagram is the quality of the images it produces. Since it was designed specifically for mobile devices and mobile sharing, the files are very compressed and with a very low quality. Here’s a sample of the same image before and after Instagram. You can see the difference in quality from miles away. For me, Instagram destroys your images and the only place they look good is on a mobile device (try printing your pictures!). Snapseed doesn’t compress the final image that much, so the result is a lot more enjoyable in any media.

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Instagram quality

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Snapseed quality

Conclusion

I only use Instagram for it’s sharing capabilities. I can multi-post from one app to several social networks with one click. That part I do like. For the rest, I think that Snapseed covers most of my photo editing needs and it’s very good at that. Snapseed will give you all your photo editing needs on a full size image without completely destroying your image quality. They made it easy to share on Google+, naturally, but you can also send it to any other app with the standard “Share” button functionality, but it won’t be one click.

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google plus post via snapseed

With all these competition for mobile photography, I wonder when will Flickr wake up and what will they do if they ever update and improve their poor and slow app.

Categories
Photography

Some photos of Puerto Vallarta

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I did a photo walk in downtown Puerto Vallarta on my last day at the Festival de Software Libre.

Before having lunch, my friend Gozner the magician performed some amazing card tricks.

Gozner and his magic cards Gozner doing a magic trick

Then after a some relaxing time and chat with friends by the hotel pool, we went downtown.

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The Dia de Muertos celebrations were still going on during those days so there was a lot of skulls and traditional mexican things related to that in the street markets.

Calaveritas

After any good day there must be a nice cold beer. This michelada made my day, very refreshing and with shrimps on it, a great way to end the day.

Michelada con camarones

And in some occasions, enjoying a good cigar with that cold beer is a great combination for total relaxation.

Lit up cigar

You can find more of the photos taken during that day at my Vallarta photowalk set at Flickr.

Categories
Events GNU/Linux Free Software & Open Source Photography

Festival Software Libre Vallarta 2012

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The first days of november I spent them at the Festival Software Libre 2012, in Puerto Vallarta. Like last year, this is an event where most of the free software minds in Mexico and other nearby countries gather to exchange and promote technology ideas and projects. The location as always is great, and it was very nice to see all the people I only get to see once or twice a year at these type of events.

Basilio Briceño & Gabriel Orozco Gabriel Saldaña and John Maddog Hall Gozner the magician & Sandino Araico img_0137 Octavio Mendez img_0169

This time I had the privilege to give three talks:

  • Free Network Services: where I talk about having freedom in a world of “the cloud” where everything is getting centralized again. I talk about federated services like open microblogging, and invite people to participate in projects like Mediagoblin and Statusnet or create new alternatives to known popular SaaS (software as a service) platforms. You can find the slides (in spanish) here.
  • Semantic web and SEO tips: starting with some history on search engines to provide context, I talk about how search engines work and how they rank content. I explain what semantic web is and how it can help us in search engine optimization of the sites we create. It was the first time I give this talk and I was happy to have a full audience room. You can download the slides for this talk (in spanish) here.
  • PHP code quality tools: another talk I gave for the first time. Here I talk about some common mistakes I’ve found over the years working on different PHP projects and companies, and recommend some tools that are available to address some of them. Here are the slides for the PHP code quality tool talk.

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Aside of being a very good technical event, I also had a good time.

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I saw how some baby sea turtles were liberated and later that night I got to liberate some others that were found at the beach. It was a great experience.

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If you have the opportunity next year, I highly recommend you go to this event. It’s a great mix of technology, networking, relaxation, good scenery and good times. You don’t get all that in one package very often. Keep an eye on www.fslvallarta.org for next event dates and news.

I took a bunch of photos. If you want to see more, you can find them at my Flickr set.

Categories
Photography

La Gran Plaza Fashion Show Guadalajara Fall 2012

I love fashion shows. They are the perfect opportunity to go out and take pictures of awesome models. Sometimes you have to deal with bad lighting or not having a good spot to shoot.

Anyway, here are some of the photos I took at the Gran Plaza Fashion Mall Show for Fall 2012. This event was held by La Gran Plaza mall in Guadalajara, it was simple but nicely done and at the end they had the final day of an amateur modeling contest.

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Judges picked the winners and they gave cash prizes as well as the first place gets to be the spokesperson of the mall for 2013.

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Much more photos can be found at my Flickr set, where I posted 153 pictures of the event.