Ease Stress by Practicing a Hobby

December 28, 2020

City Style and Living Magazine Winter 2020 Ease Stress by Practicing a Hobby
/ K&S Media

Chances are within the last eight months, you’ve either taken on a new hobby or reestablished an old one that you haven’t previously had the time for. It’s one of the best ways to restore your mental well being, and pass the time.

CSL spoke to photographer and content producer at Henry’s, Gajan Balan, to get the best tips on how to up your holiday photography game, one of the most popular at-home hobbies.

  1. What are your tips for portrait/ close up food photography at home, especially with regard to a Olympus 25mm f1.8 (or 50mm equivalent)?
  • Start with lighting: where are the sources? Can you move them? What is the colour of the lights?
  • Look to manipulate your light sources to get the look you desire
  • Light can be harsh, so you may even diffuse it with a soft box or even wax paper! Shine hard light sources through translucent material (stack wax paper as needed) to get a more pleasing look
  • Use your lens to the full potential: get close, go far back OR open up the aperture and then try some shots with a narrow aperture
  • Play around with your lens and look to capture unique perspectives
  • Observe the colours in your frame. Sometimes what makes a good photo great is the reduction of some colours and focusing on complimentary colours

2. What are your tips for using background for photography at home (for food, portraits etc)?

  • Adding more distance between your subject and background will help to blur it out and bring more focus on the subject
  • Decide on the look you’re going for: 
    • high-key will want super-bright and even blown out white backgrounds (window/white wall) and more powerful light source in front to illuminate the subject
    • Darker/moodier pictures will not need as much power from your light source and as implied, a darker or even textured background 
  • Shoot with intention. Does the background serve the purpose of the image or does it detract?
    • For example, if the background is a blurred out kitchen: is the kitchen clean or messy? Maybe it’s messy to show the hard work to prepare a meal or maybe it’s clean to feel more commercial. Think about the details.

3. Tips for taking photos with low light, including candles and even fireworks?

  • Find that upper limit in ISO for your camera (not the maximum, but the happy place before there is too much grain).
  • Think about the distance between the light source and your subject; half the distance, will (approximately) double illumination power.
  • Diffusion filters (lowest strength recommended) will give a more cinematic look to your images and render more halo around light sources. Can look really nice with people as it softens the skin a bit too. Be careful. Stronger diffusers will reduce sharpness as well and may counteract what you’re looking to capture.
  • Open up your aperture as wide as possible for your creative look, let your camera decide theISO, but YOU select the upper limit (ie. 100-3200). Then, try to shoot at the lowest shutter speed that you can handheld (around 1/60), or let the camera decide for you.
  • There is a lot of commotion during the holidays. Show that with lower shutter speeds and intentional motion in your photo.
  • Capture capture capture! Take photos liberally and work the scene. Don’t stay in one spot or perspective. Get high, get low, move around, etc. In some ways, shoot like you’re shooting for an editor: you want to give your editor as many unique shots and variety as possible too make their selection and editing better.
City Style and Living Magazine Winter 2020 Ease Stress by Practicing a Hobby Savage paper and olympus 25mm
/ Collage By K&S Media

Olympus Zuiko 25mm f1.8 lens in black (M-4/3); $449.99; Savage Universal backdrop (53IN X 36FT), $39.99; both available at Henry’s.

TIp : Secure unused background paper rolls with Terra Ties 100% organic and biodegradable ultra soft and durable hair ties; terraties.com

Proudly Canadian, family-owned and operated, Henry’s first opened its doors in 1909 and has evolved into the leading specialty digital imaging retailer in Canada, with the best products, expert advice and award-winning customer service in camera-related gear for photography and content creation.  For more information visit henrys.com and follow @henryscamera on social


This original article first appeared in the Winter 2020/2021 issue of City Style and Living Magazine.

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