I’ve just concluded some market research and one of the things that I was interested in was the use of online social networks for dating prospects. I’ve done it myself with some misery and some success along the way – in fact it’s how Thom and I first got talking to each other.
It turns out that the vast majority of people I surveyed and who use social networks or dating sites to find potential dates rate profile photos and accompanying pictures as important or very important. Oddly enough most people think that their own photos could be improved.
If you’re like the many people out there who are using social networks for dating and the photos that you have are only ‘okay’ but worry that a photography session would be awkward or embarrassing – don’t panic.
My job is to help you to relax and enjoy yourself, a photography session with me is fun and you won’t be embarrassed – in fact we’re aiming for natural so there won’t be any odd set-ups to draw attention to you whilst you’re being photographed. And, as it turns out, natural photographs is what people are most attracted to when they’re looking at social profiles, but don’t take my word for it – watch this from Channel 4′s ‘Science of Attraction’ web-series:
If you’d like to find out more about using photography in social profiles and to receive the details of the current special offer I would be happy to share this with you, just enter your email address (which I will never share) and I’ll be in touch shortly.
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It turns out that one of the reasons that you may not like photographs of yourself is that you may not have seen yourself very often. Oh, but what tosh is this you say, I see myself in the mirror pretty much every day! Yup, and that is where the problem lies.
I’ve just been watching The Science of Attraction on the Channel 4 website and genius Derren Brown is involved and they ran a little test to judge the ‘Mere Exposure Hypothesis‘ which basically suggests that the more you see something the more you like it, ie your face in the mirror. They took a few couples and told them they were taking two photos of them individually and then they were asked to choose which of the two they preferred. What they actually did was flip one photo into a mirrored image and 60% of the people they asked chose the most familiar – the mirrored one that they’ve grown up with. The other ones, they said, made them look chubby, or had wonky smiles or just weren’t right. They were 100% the same and actually showed what they do look like to everyone else except themselves. When the partners were asked to pick a favourite, guess what, 90% picked the non-mirrored image.
but this is what you see of sean
So, what does this suggest for you when looking at photographs of yourself? First of all, think about bringing someone with you to view the pictures and get their opinion too. It may surprise you to learn that you’re not the best judge of what you look like. Second, next time you see an ‘awful’ photo of yourself pop it in front of the mirror and see if it improves!
If you’d like to know more about the science of attraction you can view these cool videos on the Channel 4 website.
I’ve had brides, and grooms, tell me that wedding photographers are rude, ignorant and difficult to understand. That photographers use jargon, don’t have any pricing information upfront and what they do have isn’t clear.
I’ve written a free guide for anyone who is looking to hire a photographer for their wedding and who may be intimidated about where or how to start.
The guide includes:
Understanding the jargon and technical terms
What to look for in a photographer
Why photography is ‘expensive’
Tips on how to negotiate with a photographer of your choice
When we were in San Francisco we visited Alcatraz Island and I was determined to get a picture of the Golden Gate bridge from one of the cells, with a bit of perseverence I came across this view and couldn’t have asked for better!
Posted by what sean saw on Dec 26, 2010 in Tutorials
So you have a new digital camera and you’re looking to use it. Or, you have been using it and it’s ‘rubbish’. Except you suspect that’s not quite the case but you’ve got no idea how to use all the accompanying bells and whistles?
This is the first in a series of posts that will help you get to grips with your new camera and also serve as a useful introduction to photography. I’m going to assume that if you’ve stepped beyond the user manual – or bypassed it entirely – and arrived here that you have a pro-sumer point-and-click or an entry level digital SLR; that is a ‘normal’ camera (point-and-click) or a ‘proper’ camera (SLR). I’ll be using a Canon S90 as my guide to show you around a camera because it has the settings of a point-and-click with many of the settings of an entry-level SLR too. It doesn’t have interchangeable lenses but for those of you who have cameras that do I’ll explain that much later on in a separate post how/what to do.
You can start with the camera on/off it doesn’t make a lot of difference at this stage as I’ll be explaining what the symbols on the casing and dials refer to.
this is the symbol for the flash, depending on your camera this may turn it on or set it to automatically flash if the conditions are right; so if you come in from shooting outdoors at night to indoors to take more photos the flash won’t fire if the lighting indoors is good enough.
this is the timer, you can probably determine how many seconds between pressing it and the photo being taken and many of the newest camera have built in ‘facial recognition’ so they won’t begin the countdown until a face can be seen
this is the delete button, normally you’ll press this once to bring up the delete option and you’ll normally be asked to press it again or another button to confirm deletion. This will help you avoid deleting by mistake
if you have a symbol of a key or possibly a padlock this will protect the file from being deleted until it is unlocked
+ and – : this is the exposure compensation, without getting too technical at this stage this will help you fine tune the amount of light shown in your image. If you’re using the automatic settings you won’t need to use this and if you’re going manual I’ll cover this again in detail in the future
you’ll find this next to/part of your zoom function – the camera defaults to this position of widest viewpoint whenever you turn it on, to zoom in closer
move the zoom control – a slider or a switch to the single tree – and the camera will begin to zoom in. Stop when you’re at the point you want. In most cameras once you get to the ‘maximum’ a digital zoom will then kick in which lets you get even closer
this lets you zoom into a picture when you’re viewing it
this will show you the photos you’ve taken and normally starts with the most recent image taken
this is for taking close-up or macro photographs for particular detail or photos of something small
DISP or MENU – if you have both the menu will bring up a suite of menu options and disp is short for ‘display’ this may reveal a grid if you’re composing a photo and if you’re viewing a photo that you’ve taken it will bring up settings relating to that photo – such as the light meter reading – for more basic cameras this might be limited to the date on which the photo was taken
AUTO – this is the fully automated setting, turn on the camera and start snapping, it will do everything for you. As your skill increased and your confidence grows you can feel comfortable moving on from this setting and into some of the other controls (if you have them)
SCN – this is an abbreviation of ‘scene’ and contains a list of your special automated settings. They will follow the principles of the automoatic settings but from here you can have a little fun and settings are likely to include
this is portrait setting, good for taking photos of people standing or sitting the camera knows to focus attention on the foreground
this is for the oppostive of portrait – focusing attention on the background
this is a low-light setting – any time that the lights are down to low and particuarly if you don’t want flash you can use this automatic settings
for action; kids and pets; sports day – this setting should capture them with ease
Different cameras have additonal settings with varying logos and descriptions but are likely to include:
party – limited light, everyone sat around watching a birthday cake have its candles blown out – this is the setting you want, also good for inside clubs where light is limited but you don’t want the flash to wash everything out
sunset – for taking photos of or at sunset – warms the tones a little
beach – Direct sunlight causes horrible shadows to fall across the face and the beach setting will attempt to compensate for this
fireworks – this will try and take photos of fireworks which are notoriously difficult because from where you’re standing they’re letting off very, very little light. You may get some success, more than on automatic, but don’t expect perfect New Year’s photos of a firework display
Snow – another common setting compensates for all of the bright white snow that might otherwise lead to overexposure and photos that are bright white with no detail or texture
Black and white and/or negative and/or sepia tone to have fun with the colours
Panoramic – you’ll probably be taking two or three photos and this is designed to ‘stitch’ them together to create a wide panorama
Underwater – if you’ve bought an expensive water-resistant casing for your camera this will reduce the heavy tones when shooting underwater. Please make sure that you have the right casing for your camera before using this for real!
Aquarium – This is a bit confusing a better description would be ‘windows and glass’ – designed for taking photos of things behind glass this setting attempts to reduce the mirror-like reflection on glass so that you don’t end up reflected in the photo of what’s behind the glass.
Foliage – for taking photos of leaves, grass and other things which are very colourful – also good for anything that has bright and/or strong colours
Finally we move on to the manual settings, that in and of themselves give priority to various aspects of the camera’s controls.
If you don’t have these settings do not worry – yours is a regular ‘point and click’ camera and you can skip this section. You’ll still be able to use and enjoy this and other posts about photography though so don’t think that this is the end of the guide for you.
I’m going to describe each of the settings here and then give you the symbols as a lot of manufacturers use their own acronyms
A (Nikon) or Av (Canon) – Aperture priority – this will control the size of the aperture in the lens of your camera. If you think of the lens as your eye the aperture is the eye lid. If you see or read about f/1.8 they’re talking about the size of the aperture. The smaller the number the wider the aperture and the more light gets into the camera. The aperture also control the depth of field, with a low-setting/wide aperture you’ll notice that the details up close are sharp and the background is blurry – a lot of people love this image but if you don’t go for a high-setting/narrow aperture and the background will be in focus too. Bear in mind that this will make the overall image appear darker; in an automatic setting the camera will then set the shutter speed for you to try and reduce the darkness…
S (Nikon) or Tv (Canon) Shutter speed priority – Another way to control the amount of light is the shutter speed, this would be the speed at which you blink your eyes! The main aim of shutter priority is to limit or capture movement. Slow shutter speeds allow you to take photographs of static life in low light and things that move – animals, water or people will appear blurry. To get the most out of this you’ll need to place the camera on a stable surface or a tripod. If you want to freeze fast action you’ll need the opposite – fast shutter speed – this will give you a pin-sharp image of fast moving action. In this mode the aperture will be controlled automatically
M -(Nikon or Canon) Full manual control – this gives you control over shutter speed and aperture size for maximum adaptability
C (Canon only) – Custom – this allows you to set various functions in the camera and then save them to use again and again without having to re-set them in manual each time
Now that you know what the settings are and what all the different symbols mean have a go with your camera – that’s the very best advice and will be a common theme of these new camera tutorials – play with your camera, have fun with it, experiement, fail, succeed, try again and don’t stop.
In the next tutorial we’ll talk through the basics of how to use your camera in common scenarios such as parties, portrait photos and low light conditions.
The British Information Commissioner has announced that contrary to popular belief you are allowed to take photos of your kids at their Nativity play:
“Having a child perform at a school play or a festive concert is a very proud moment for parents and is understandably a memory that many want to capture on camera. It is disappointing to hear that the myth that such photos are forbidden by the Data Protection Act still prevails in some schools.”
Hurrah and hooray!
The information commissioner’s office has even issued guidance for local education authorities.
I always thought that the Golden Gate Bridge was red but it’s not, it is ‘International Orange’. It turns out that I love International Orange, can’t get enough of it. It was chosen to better blend in with the surrounding rocks in the Golden Gate Bay area. Quite cute that anyone believed that painting a 746ft high bridge bright orange would help it to blend in!
I’m re-launching what sean saw with gusto in the new year and as part of that I’m undertaking a bit of market research. The responses are completely confidential and anonymous and it’ll only take you a few minutes to complete. Prior photography or photography-customer experience is not required! If you can spare a few minutes, please visit the survey site.