Simplifying the Rule of Thirds

In this article, contributing author and stock photographer, Rich Legg, offers some tips on using the rule of thirds. You can learn more about Rich and how to connect with him at the end of this article.

One of the first things commonly emphasized to novice photographers by those who claim to be more knowledgeable on the subject is to “Follow the Rule of Thirds”. While this is sound advice, the phrase can be confusing especially to someone who has never had it explained to him or her.  For me personally, I can still picture my high school photography teacher Mr. Cressop explaining it on the blackboard back in 1981 (wow, that’s a long time ago!). [Read more...]

Photographing with the End in Mind

In this article, contributing author and stock photographer, Rich Legg, provides a lesson on pre-visualization in photography. You can learn more about Rich and how to connect with him at the end of this article.

One of the skills I have worked to develop that has helped my photography is to take a page from the book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and “begin with the end in mind”.  How I relate this to photography is that I strive to always take time before I shoot a subject to create a mental picture of what I plan to photograph and how I will capture it.  Famed photographer Ansel Adams called this technique pre-visualization.  By taking the time to pre-think the shot, I find that I am able to create a better end result.

I make my living creating stock images that I sell through iStockphoto.  When I am planning a stock photo shoot, the first thing I do is take time to envision what I want the final images to look like.  I will generally come up with a few “signature” shots that I want to capture in the photo shoot.  Once I have the images visualized in my mind, I then make some quick notes detailing what I want.  These notes then serve as a sort-of blueprint which I use when determining what models, locations and props I will need to complete the photoshoot.

Here is an example of this pre-thinking and planning of a photograph.  This sample is one of my early stock images that began as an idea sketched out on a piece of paper late one night.

I had the idea of creating a simulated crime scene.  I was able to picture in my mind a body laying in a doorway with light streaming in through the opening behind the body and crime scene tape across the scene.  My original sketch (which I now wish I would have saved) showed a very similar scene to what was represented in the final image. [Read more...]

14 Days With a 5D Mark II

In this article, guest blogger and stock photographer, Rich Legg of LeggNet.com, provides his impressions of the first two weeks with the Canon 5D Mark II. You can learn more about Rich and how to connect with him at the end of this article.

I have been living with my 5D Mark II for two weeks now, and while I will leave the detailed reviews to the professional reviewers, I thought I’d share my thoughts so far.

I make my living as a stock photographer shooting exclusively for iStockphoto and Getty Images.  In addition, I supplement this income with freelance work.  My workhorse camera body for the past couple years has been the original 5D, and it has served me well.   When Canon introduced the new 5D Mark II in September, I jumped at the chance to upgrade my production camera to this 21 megapixel beauty.  Shooting primarily stock photography, I didn’t need all the features of the 1DS Mark III (focus points, weather sealing, etc.) but I really wanted to up the resolution of my images.  The new 5D fit my needs perfectly.

I placed my pre-order the morning of the announcement in September and waited.  Thankfully, my local dealer (Pictureline) was one of the first retailers in the US to receive stock.  With my early pre-order, I was able to walk out of the store with the camera on the morning of November 25th.

My initial thoughts on holding the camera after un-boxing was that the body felt more rugged than its predecessor.  After further inspection, I believe the main reason for this is the combination of the improved rubber gripping and the rougher finish on the magnesium body.  In a side-by-side comparison with my original 5D, the older camera is extremely smooth in contrast to the new textured surface of the Mark II.  I do wonder though if the smoothness of the original 5D has been enhanced by wear.  Otherwise, with the exception of the larger LCD and a couple new or repositioned buttons, the camera handles just like it predecessor. [Read more...]