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Convention Photography 101
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Convention Photography 101



It's happened to all of us - you get home, load up your con photos, and your reaction is "meh." Fear not! The Otaku no Podcast crew will show you the tips and tricks you need to get those awesome ...

It's happened to all of us - you get home, load up your con photos, and your reaction is "meh." Fear not! The Otaku no Podcast crew will show you the tips and tricks you need to get those awesome Cosplay.com like shots.

This was the workshop I gave at Anime Expo 2010.

Be sure and check the Otaku no Podcast website for full show notes, including links to the products, books, etc. mentioned.




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Convention Photography 101 Convention Photography 101 Presentation Transcript

  • Convention Photography How To Get The Shot (and make it look easy!) Presented by the Otaku no Podcast Crew Otaku no Podcast http://otakunopodcast.com/
  • WRITE THIS DOWN!! http://otakunopodcast.com/photo/
  • Types of Digital Cameras
  • The 3 Convention Photography Situations ❖ Outdoor cosplay gathering ❖ Indoors ❖ Dealers hall ❖ Panels ❖ Hall cosplay ❖ Theater - Masquerade
  • Outdoor Photography ❖ Lots of light; casts harsh shadows ❖ Solution: Find a shady spot ❖ Under a tree, by a wall in the shade, etc. ❖ Cloudy/overcast is actually better ❖ Minimize the sky ❖ Use a reflector ❖ The back of a (white) cardboard sign works well ❖ Use fill flash
  • Indoors ❖ Bad and varied lighting ❖ Often not the best position ❖ Keep the camera steady ❖ Minimize the background ❖ Minimize your expectations ❖ Don’t be “that guy/gal” ❖ Flash may not work (and may be forbidden)
  • Making Your Subject Stand Out ❖ Avoid “busy” backgrounds ❖ Use a backdrop ❖ Blur the background
  • Blurring the Background with a (D)SLR ❖ Relatively easy ❖ Use widest aperture ❖ Stand as close as you can ❖ Make sure background elements are as far away as possible
  • Blurring the Background with a Point and Shoot ❖ Harder, but not impossible ❖ Especially hard to do in crowds ❖ Helps to have a large zoom range ❖ Stand back as far as you can ❖ Zoom all the way in
  • When You’ve Gotta Flash...
  • Get the Flash Off the Camera
  • Soften the Light
  • Use a Ring Flash
  • Look for photo shoot areas
  • Theater ❖ Really bad lighting ❖ Bright center spot, dark surroundings ❖ (Usually) poor positioning ❖ Flash is absolutely useless (and often forbidden) ❖ Very hard to do with a point and shoot ❖ Play with exposure and ISO
  • Keep It Steady ❖ Use your surroundings ❖ Posts, railings, seats, people... ❖ “The Death Grip” ❖ Tripods, monopods, etc. ❖ Tripod alternatives
  • The Death Grip
  • DIY Tripod Substitutes
  • Less ghetto tripod alternatives
  • The basics of exposure ❖ Shutter speed - Controls motion ❖ Aperture - How much is in focus ❖ ISO - Sensitivity of “film”
  • Shutter Speed ❖ Expressed as fractions of a second ❖ 1/60, 1/250, etc. ❖ Confusingly shown as a non-fraction on most cameras ❖ 60 = 1/60, 250 = 1/250, etc. ❖ Larger is shorter ❖ 1 second or greater, number followed by a mark
  • Shutter Speed ❖ Controls motion ❖ Slow shutter speed (1/60 or longer) blurs motion ❖ Fast shutter speeds (1/250 or shorter) freezes motion ❖ The slower the shutter, the more chance for camera shake ❖ Rule of thumb for eliminating camera shake: ❖ 1/(focal length) (e.g. for 50mm lens, 1/50 or shorter)
  • Aperture ❖ The “hole” that lets light into the camera ❖ Expressed as “ƒ number” (ƒ stop) ❖ Ratio of diameter to focal length ❖ ƒ/2, ƒ/1.8, etc. ❖ Smaller is bigger
  • Aperture ❖ Controls depth of field ❖ How much is blurred vs. sharply in focus ❖ Scary math ahead! ❖ Use a depth of field calculator ❖ Experiment ❖ In general ƒ/8 and above renders most things in focus
  • ISO ❖ How “sensitive” the “film” is ❖ Larger ISO number means more sensitivity ❖ Trade off is digital noise ❖ Most DSLRs can go to at least 800 ❖ Latest ones up to 3200 ot 6400 ❖ Digital noise can be corrected in software so it’s not a deal breaker (but requires extra work)
  • GEAR
  • Lenses
  • The Photojournalists’ Special
  • Straps
  • Bags/Cases
  • Memory Cards
  • Photo Storage Tanks
  • The Future
  • Renting Your Gear ❖ Good for those special occasions ❖ Also good to “try before you buy” ❖ Not as expensive as it sounds
  • Rent! Use discount code LETUS5 for 5% off! Valid through 7/31/2010
  • Cell phone cameras The camera you always have with you...
  • ❖ Steady shot apps ❖ Darkroom, Darkroom Pro - iPhone ❖ Perfect Camera, SmartCam - Android ❖ Image editors ❖ Photoshop Mobile - both platforms ❖ PhotoGene, PhotoForge - iPhone ❖ Snap FX, PicSay (Pro), Photo Enhance (Pro)- Android
  • Photography Etiquette ❖ At a convention, anything goes ❖ “Expectation of privacy” ❖ If you can see it, you can photograph it ❖ For personal use only - everything changes if you try and make money with your images ❖ Be polite - ask ❖ Or not...
  • Good ideas in general ❖ RTFM ❖ Practice ❖ Don’t forget your gear ❖ Observe no-photo areas (or be ready to face the consequences if you intentionally violate them) ❖ When in doubt, ask!
  • Good ideas in general ❖ Don’t be afraid to crop ❖ Take many pictures ❖ “The machine pistol methodology” ❖ Even many cheaper point and shoots have burst mode ❖ Location, location, location...
  • In Summary ❖ Point and shoots work well... ❖ When you’re free to walk up close to your subject ❖ Lighting is good, and you can manage shadows ❖ DSLRs work well... ❖ When lighting is low/poor ❖ The more extreme condition, the better
  • Resources
  • Doll/Model Photography
  • Bring Your Own Lighting
  • Any Questions?
  • Thanks for coming!