Hether Miles Blog

Everyone has a beautiful angle and a good photographer will find it!

Baryta Paper: Rich Contrasts for One-of-a-Kind Artistic Photographs

Feb 092016

Orig Post magazine.whitewall.com | Re-Post Hether Miles Photography 2/9/2016


Discovered in 1866, Baryta paper is the classic black & white photo paper. Brilliant white, the deepest black, ultra-fine tone gradation and sharp contours – when expertly processed, true Baryta prints have an incredibly intense and sophisticated elegance that other black & white photo papers just can’t equal. On top of that, Baryta paper is considered the most durable of photo papers.

The name “Baryta” is derived from the layer of barium-sulfate used as a paper brightener for the brilliant white color. This brightening process occurs before the photograph is developed, meaning the print tone of a Baryta print depends on how effectively the paper was brightened and also on what kind of barium-sulfate is used.

The traditional developing process for Baryta paper is very labor-intensive. Unlike papers with synthetic coating, there’s no polyethylene layer on Baryta paper. This means chemicals can soak into the paper and have to be washed out afterwards. That’s not the case for polyethylene papers, where the chemicals are simply rinsed off, and the photo is finished.

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14 Hottest Wedding Photography Trends

Nov 172015

Orig Post www.theknot.com | Re-Post Hether Miles Photography 11/17/2015


You want your photographer to be on the cutting edge and know the latest techniques, but you also don't want your photos to be so trendy that when you look at your shots in 20 years, all you see is something that instantly dates your wedding. Here are shots that are totally now -- but will still look current when your kids get married!

Shooting the Proposal

Some savvy grooms are hiring photographers to document their proposal so that wonderful-but-fleeting moment can be relived later by the couple and shared with friends and family. Photographer Danny Weiss says this trend is growing quickly, and he loves being a part of it. "I'll never forget one proposal I shot in Central Park in New York City, in the dead of winter. It felt like it was just me and the couple in the park, and I got really great images," he says.

Incorporating Instagram

Creating a wedding hashtag for guests to use to upload photos to Instagram and Twitter can help you experience your wedding through their eyes. Apps, like Artifact Uprising, are also allowing smartphone users to then upload those photos from Instagram and create actual printed hardcover books (not to mention calendars and postcards) of their instant artworks. "I even use their products as little preview books for clients," says photographer Corbin Gurkin of Corbin Gurkin Photography.

Brady Bunch-Style Bridal Party Photos

Some creative photographers are taking photos of the wedding party separately and then creating playful graphic grid designs in photo albums later. "It's great because those closest to you put a lot of time and money into being a part of the wedding, and it's a nice gesture to provide them with a gift portrait after the festivities are over," says photographer Mel Barlow of Mel & Co.

Stop-Motion Wedding Photo Film

This form of photography takes still photos and animates them, generally in a video set to your choice of music. "I've done a series like this for a quick set of 10 to 20 images and put them all together on a wedding album page, and the result was pretty cool!" says Caroline Winata of Milou & Olin Photography. Stop motion works especially well for a short trailer to put on your Facebook page or to send around in an email to close friends.

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Oct 272015

Orig Post quicktips.realtytimes.com | Re-Post Hether Miles Photography 10/27/2015


The style of photography is largely the factor that has an impact on the quality of any picture. It is always a safe bet to take advantage of professional photography services as they have numerous skills and techniques that can make anything look perfect. Whether you need a photographer for a family portrait, your wedding, a professional portfolio, a child’s birthday party or even for your business, you cannot go wrong with professional photography. They are aware of the concept of providing a visually pleasing and balanced photograph so you cannot go wrong. Below are some benefits that may change your mind:

- Lights

Lights are a crucial part of photography. Getting good quality pictures is impossible without proper lighting. Hiring a professional photography service is a benefit because their photographers are aware about the lights and this enables them to take perfectly natural looking pictures. The lightings can be adjusted by the photographer as per their requirements in order to get the desired impact.

- Equipment

Thanks to the advancement in technology, there is a horde of useful photography equipment available. You can benefit from the state-of-the-art equipment by hiring professional photography services as they make use of high range cameras for taking images, which have intricate and multiple functions. They can use these cameras for altering gaps, focus and shutter speed, all leading to high quality images.

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Family Portraits Dos and Don’ts

Sep 072015

Orig Post - digital-photography-school.com | Re-post Hether Miles Photography September 7, 2015


For a photographer, skills in family portraits are essential and are usually the bread and butter for up and coming photographers. Looking at the history of photography, one of the first popular uses the camera was not for abstract art, or photographing the family pet, but for photographing people and their families. Because of the expense and difficulty of each photo taken, they became masters at getting things right the first time and being able to fit in as many people as possible into the frame. In order to hone in on the small things that make a difference in this classic and often overlooked form of photography, I have come up with my five DOs and five DONTs of family portraits. I’ve also included a few examples from portrait sessions we have done.

Family Portraits DOs

     1) Do squish your groups together

Most likely, even though they are family they won’t be getting close enough. Maybe it’s an American personal space thing, but it’s always been an issue for me and having everyone in tight truly makes a difference in the tone of the picture. When families are physically close, it emits a warmth and visually shows what families should be like…close. Even if you are photographing the Adams family, when you get everyone rubbing shoulders they look like a model family and the overall composition is more finished than a typical snapshot. As a starter, try having people stand at slight angles with shoulders overlapping. Also, consider the age of your family. If grandma is present, make sure you have a chair for her. If grandma and grandpa are both there, you’ll will need two chairs.

     2) Do coordinate clothing

Before you meet with your family you should guide them in a wardrobe choice. Ultimately it is up to them and their families style to choose what they wear but simply reminding them to possibly overlap in a color scheme, avoid extreme colors, prints and logos on their clothing can make a big difference. This will give you an easier time post production, and you will have both options in color and black and white. As I said, it’s their picture and their choice, but a casual recommendation from a professional is usually appreciated.

     3) Do check the screen for blinking

Shooting and shooting is okay for one or two people, but in a larger group it can be hit and miss and you may miss that one photo where everyone has their eyes open. I used to think “Hey, it’s digital. I’ll use the rapid fire method and surely I’ll get one right.” After a few sessions of transplanting eyes from one photo to another in Photoshop, I’ve changed my method. You can get away with a weak smile but if someone looks like they are sleeping or on drugs in their first family portrait in 10 years, the customer may not be too happy. With experience you learn to quickly scan across everyone’s eyes in an instant.

     4) Try and be funny to get some genuine smiles

A few cheesy jokes work surprisingly well to break the tension. A typical photographer joke might be, “Okay, I need everyone to get in focus.” Or asking everyone to strike their best glamor pose. Another way to get a smile is to get them doing something they don’t normally do. Have them try jumping, running, making human pyramids or whatever comes to mind. If you have a one-liner you’ve used SUCCESSFULLY, or a creative and fun pose, sound off in the comments for the rest of us.

     5) Do try and blur the background

Choose the largest aperture setting you can, while still keeping everyone sharp. An aperture of f/2.8 might make the trees and shrubbery look silky smooth, but it might make Uncle Bob at the end of the line look fuzzy. This is especially a problem when everyone is standing on different focal planes. The solution is often to shoot a few clicks smaller than the lenses widest aperture, use the preview screen and zoom button on your camera to make sure everyone is looking good, then adjust and continue. If you’re really serious about this, I’ve even heard of photographers setting out cups length-wise on a picnic table to estimate the distances you start to lose focus. Seems extreme to me, just don’t forget about Uncle Bob.

Family Portraits DON’TS

     1) Don’t forget to check ALL your basic camera settings before clicking away

ISO (go as low as possible), Image Size (RAW, fine), Exposure Compensation, Metering, etc. It would be sad to get to the end of a great session and realize you didn’t change the low quality settings from the last time you used your camera shooting Garbage Pal Kids you planned on selling on Ebay. Of course indoor and outdoor settings will differ, as will naturally lit and artificially lit.

     2) Don’t let your subjects tilt their heads into each other

This is fine for your everyday Joe at the family barbecue, but not a paid photographer. Subjects tend to think they will fit into the picture better if they tilt and lower their heads. Funny thing is, I’ve even caught myself doing this when I was being photographed. Watch for it and avoid it. There is always the lovey-dovey pose where they intentionally lean heads in, but that’s not what I’m talking about.

     3) Don’t sound insecure

Don’t say things like, “This isn’t working.” Rephrase it into a positive, “Great, let’s try a few more positions.” The more you tell them the pictures are looking great the better looking the pictures will get. Think high fashion cliches like, “Love it,”, “You’re beautiful”, “What a great one.” If you act like you have never seen such great photos the energy will give you just what you’re looking for and they will show confidence in their smiles.

     4/5) These last two may seem to contradict each other so I want to put them together:
     4) Don’t let Mom run the show.
     5) Don’t be afraid to let Mom, Dad, and kids come up with ideas and posing.

First about Mom. We all remember the drill, no running, no jumping, no dirt, and pretty much no fun until after the pictures. If you do this you can get a treat on the way home. This is probably the best way to ruin family picture day for the rest of every eight year old’s life. Besides the fact that it is almost impossible to control what eight year olds do, it makes for bad portrait sessions. If you are sensing a strong arm from Mother, make sure to get the squeaky clean formals done right off the bat. They are easy and traditional. After that let mom know that you’ve got it covered, now you want to have fun with the kids. Let them be kids, let them wrestle and play and capture them at their best. Once in awhile you will find families that are more relaxed. They may have seen fun family photos of their friends and want to do some in a similar fashion. Take their suggestions without letting them think you have none of your own and work them in. Often they will turn out great and they’ll feel like they had a little more to do with the pictures than just a pretty face.

The Importance of Using Professional Photography to Represent your Business

Aug 112015

 Orig Post - ryansawyermarketing.com | Re-post August 11, 2015


Always, always use professional photography (stock photos are allowed too).

To illustrate my point, I am going to use a subject that everyone can relate to (and one of my favorite): food photography. We’ve all seen it, the menu you open up to find hundreds of poorly lit, fuzzy pictures meant to entice you, when they in fact make you question the reason you walked through the door. Or the photos taped to the window in an attempt to inform the customer of a new and exciting deal or dish, which is printed on a piece of white paper, fresh off the inkjet printer in the back office, and seems to be running out of Cyan. These are the desperate attempts of the business owner who frantically snaps a photo in the heat of the moment. Trying to save money and time or gain business as fast as possible has huge downfalls: it looks bad on you; it’s obvious that it wasn’t planned and it’s the cheapest option. Low quality photos translate to low quality ingredients. I don’t expect value from these places; therefore I don’t want to pay more than $5 for an entrée.

Take McDonald’s as a good example. Obviously it’s fast food, it’s fried, it’s unhealthy, and most of the time I regret eating it afterwards. But when I’m driving down the road and see a truck with a hot, steamy, juicy, very well lit and styled hamburger, my mouth waters. The visually stimulating, thoughtful pops of color, and every ingredient shown in a flattering way makes it acceptable to me to pay upwards of $8 for fast food, even crave it from time to time. Because I have seen a beautiful photograph, I will pay for that product. (View an informative video of McDonald’s food styling process here).

This same idea is true when it comes to your business. Whatever product or service you sell, think about how you are coming across to your customers. If you look cheap, expect people to start with letting out a sigh and asking, “how much?” If you communicate quality you will attract customers who value quality and will be willing to pay for it. After all, you’re worth it!

Am I saying that you need to pay thousands of dollars to style a hamburger? No. I am saying that a photograph can help or hurt you. Take a simple step by investing in professional quality photos. Hire a local photographer who can display your product in the best way possible, or purchase a few stock photos with a positive message. After that first wonderful impression, customers will be more intrigued to know your story, browse your products and make that purchase. You spend your precious time, money, blood, sweat and tears on your business. Show it.

How Color Affects Our Mood

Jul 132015


It you think of the way we describe certain emotions (seeing red, feeling blue, green with envy), there’s no denying that color and mood are inextricably linked. Slip on a tailored LBD and you instantly feel chic and sexy or pop open a sunny yellow umbrella on a gloomy day and some of that sunniness will undoubtedly rub off on you.

There are several reasons why colors are able to influence how we feel. "We react on multiple levels of association with colors -- there are social or culture levels as well as personal relationships with particular colors," explains Leslie Harrington, executive director of The Color Association of The United States, which forecasts color trends. "You also have an innate reaction to color. For example, when you look at red, it does increase your heart rate. It is a stimulating color. This goes back to caveman days of fire and danger and alarm."

You also have learned certain associations with color, such as red making your heart race since it’s linked with fire trucks and ambulances (in other words, alarm) or yellow having positive association simply because it was the color of your beloved grandmother’s kitchen. "As you get older, you become much more conscious of those learned reactions than the innate ones," adds Harrington.

Jeannie Mai, who hosts "How Do I Look?" on the Style Network and who recently paired up with Yoplait Light to encourage women to make simple swaps (from giving your clothes a boost of color to swapping out unhealthy eating habits), is a firm believer in the ability of clothes to boost your mood. She calls it "wearapy." "Therapists treat people with mood disorders," she says. "I use clothing and texture to enhance people’s moods and their lives.

On a bleak day it would be so easy to throw on a pair of jeans and a slouchy sweater, but I throw on something from spring -- a green mini skirt, fun fringe booties and a sweater with evening jewelry. That makes an impression on everyone around me, but it also makes me feel cute. And when you feel cute, you feel better. You can channel the different moods you want with different colors.”

Feel like changing your frame of mind for the better? Play around with these colors when picking out your clothes, makeup and accessories:

Seeing Red
Red is the hot, crazy girl of colors, evoking powerful emotions such as fear, anger and passion. "Red would be one of the most complicated colors," says Harrington. Unlike, say, yellow, which is sunny whether it’s a pale or bright version of the shade, the mood red conveys changes dramatically when you lighten it (sweet and innocent pink) or darken it (sophisticated burgundy).

Although research shows that the best way for a single gal to attract a guy’s attention is to wear red, you may be garnering attention you don’t necessarily want. "There’s a reason they call it the red light district," notes Harrington. Adds Andrew Elliot, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of Rochester: "We link red to passion because red is the color we exhibit on our skin when sexually interested -- a red flush or blush."

Rather than having your outfit scream "sex kitten" (unless that’s what you’re going for), the best way to rock this passion-producing color and get into a sexier frame of mind is by carrying a red clutch, donning a bright red polish on your nails (try Essie Well Red) or lining your lips in the right red. "Red lips can be your best accessory, especially if you’re wearing all black," says Harrington. "You have to be confident to do it and have the right shade of red for your skintone."

A Calming Case of the Blues
Need to chill out after a stressful day? Slip on something blue. "Psychologically, blue is the opposite of red -- it lowers blood pressure," says Harrington. "Red picks you up and blue takes you down, but not down to depression level." That may be because if you look to nature, such as the sky and the ocean, blue conveys tranquility. That’s also what you project when wearing the shade. "I encourage women to wear blue when they want to create a calming essence," says Mai. "Wear it on a first date -- something turquoise or a light aqua sweater with a soft texture like cashmere. It makes a great a first impression and creates relaxation."

Another beneficial time to make blue your go-to hue? If you’re going for a job interview or meeting your partner’s parents for the first time. "Blue is associated with trustworthiness, strength and dependability -- hence, the blue power suit because it projects that image of dependability and trustworthiness," says Harrington.

It’s Easy Being Green
From grass to leaves to other verdant vegetation, the color green is closely linked to the environment, which can put you in a relaxed or refreshed mood. "There is some tentative evidence emerging in the literature showing that green is relaxing because it is associated with growth and nature," says Elliot. Green also looks good on every skin type and has a wide range of shades that allow you to modify your mood -- from serious and sophisticated to fresh and bright.

"Green ranges from old traditional English libraries in a dark hunter green where you can sit down, concentrate and read to a spring-like yellow-based green, which symbolizes new birth or new growth -- the beginning of something," explains Harrington.

Anything-But-Mellow Yellow
Yellow carries both positive and negative connotations -- from sunshine, which conveys a joyous, happy mood to jaundice and sickliness, according to Harrington. In Mai’s experience, wearing the bright, fun color helped her stand out and put people at ease. "Wearing yellow creates a very open atmosphere with people," she says. "When I was a reporter on Extra, if I was going to meet a celebrity who was a bit standoffish I found that wearing yellow would bring a smile to their demeanor right away. It’s an inviting color."

That said, going overkill on yellow can leave you looking like a walking banana so Harrington recommends investing in yellow accessories instead to give you that same uplifting boost, such as a bright yellow clutch, scarf or even a pale yellow blouse under a sweater or suit. But keep in mind that not everyone can pull off this bright shade. “Skin with yellow undertones have a hard time with the color,” says Harrington, “and blue undertones can only wear certain shades of yellow so it’s hard to find the shade that looks good on, compared to navy, which anyone can wear.”

Orange You Glad You Wore It
This highly popular color marries the sunniness of yellow with red’s depth. In fact, orange is the perfect substitute if you’re not comfortable seeing red. But the color is by no means ho-hum -- orange evokes action. "Orange is much more of a casual, active color—it’s big in active wear—whereas red is much more sophisticated," explains Harrington. The perky shade is your best bet when you want to rev yourself up so you can hit the gym or channel creativity for a work project. "Orange is said to stimulate enthusiasm and creativity," says Mai. "It symbolizes vitality and endurance."

It’s also the color to choose when you want to stand out without taking a big risk. That’s because orange is considered a little edgy without be too "out there." "If you’re going to buy a pocketbook and it comes in red, orange and yellow, yellow will be the biggest statement while almost everyone has a red bag," says Harrington. "Orange is in the middle. It says, ‘have a little more fun and be a little different but not too different. Because of that, you see a lot more orange colors showing up in cosmetics."

The rich color is associated with royalty and luxury, according to Mai. "Anytime you need to feel confident and regal, such as for a job interview, wear purple," she says. If you have a young-looking face and want to appear more sophisticated, make purple your go-to color to help you look more mature, suggests Mai.

Back in Black
Having a “fat day”? Slipping into something black makes you look five pounds slimmer -- instantly improving your mood. "We all know what happens when you put on black jeans versus white jeans -- it’s slimming," says Harrington. But the darkest shade of all can affect how you feel in two other distinctly different ways: Wearing black can be a downer (think funerals) or make you feel trés chic (think Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”). Although in old movies, the villain always wore black, over the years the color has become more associated with high class -- black limousines, patent leather shoes and elegant black tie affairs, according to Harrington.

Black is clearly the go-to color when you want to look more regal and formal. "It can be very elegant"” says Mai. “Every woman needs an LBD. It plays everything else down so you stand out. It lets you shine.”