An age-old question is whether you’re an early bird or a night owl. Well even if you fall into the latter category there are compelling reasons why you should get up earlier than the crack of dawn! Those reasons are of course photographic! Early morning photography can result in stunning images. Is there any other reason for getting up at 5 am?
Whether you’re in your local area or somewhere on a trip, there is always a morning photography opportunity that will benefit from you waking up early. Those can be sunrises, or perhaps the chance to see local life at the market. So let’s see why you should be up at the crack of dawn.
1 – The morning atmosphere
Why wake up early in the morning when you can get just the same light in the evening? There will still be a blue hour, a golden hour, and you can sleep in!
While it’s true there will be similar light at dusk, the atmosphere in the morning is very different. Waking up in the morning gives you the chance to photograph the morning mist, this can add a lot to your photo. This morning mist can really transform a scene, moving it on from good to great.
2 – Golden light
There are of course two golden hours per day, if you’re an early bird you’ll have enjoyed the morning one before. Of course, a lot of people will want to photograph the sunrise sky directly. Turn around though and you’ll get all those warm colors flooding over the landscape in front of you.
This opens up a new variety of photos that you could take. Perhaps instead of photographing a landscape at sunset, you could get all those golden colors on it from sunrise.
3 – You’ll have the place to yourself
As discussed in a previous article, there are benefits to photographing alone. When you wake up early in the morning this is much more likely to be the case. Now photographing a popular landmark without having to deal with hordes of other people in front of you will be easier.
The early bird catches the worm as they say, and the early morning photographer has the uncrowded streets to themselves.
4 – Morning photography is more unique
The most dedicated of photographers will, of course, wake up for their morning photography. That means there will be photographs showcasing the best of the early conditions.
The chance that your photograph hasn’t been taken a million times before will be much higher, it will only have been taken thousands of times before. Okay, so to get a truly unique photo may require the use of some more creative photography techniques, but you increase your odds by getting up early.
5 – The angle for specific photos only works at sunrise
Whether you’re photographing at sunrise or for the golden light, certain photos need the angle of sun which is only found early in the morning. You can figure out what angle the sun will have at various times of the year by using suncalc or an app like PhotoPills.
As with all photography, plan ahead of time. Often planning months ahead of time is what it takes to get great photos. Getting the right light for your morning photography takes effort, but it’s almost always worth it.
6 – In hot countries the morning temperature is nice
You may not live in a hot country, but if you do you’ll know that the best time of the day is morning. It’s hard work walking around much past ten o’clock. Carrying around a camera bag, and putting in the legwork you need for your photos is far easier when the temperature is kinder.
Add in some humidity as well, and you may quickly give up on doing any photography in favor of that air-conditioned coffee shop. This heat will also affect your clarity of thought, especially when you get dehydrated, and you need to think clearly to get the best photos.
7 – You’ll catch more local life first thing
You may not see crowded streets first thing, but you will see more local life. That may take the form of a local market, or fishermen getting ready for work. There is a lot of activity that goes on at the crack of dawn, all waiting for you to capture with your camera.
It’s an amazing time to be a street photographer, but there will also be opportunities for landscape photographers. What can really bring a scene to life better than a farmer tending his field first thing in the morning?
Time to wake up early for your morning photography!
So whether this article is preaching to the converted, or you’re already a born-again early bird – there are good reasons to get up at dawn.
Have you photographed early in the morning before, what was your experience? Did you enjoy it, and get some great photos? We’d love to see your photography from early morning expeditions in the comments section. So go to bed early, wake up fresh as a daisy, and get some amazing morning photographs!
7 Great Reasons to do Early Morning Photographyhttps://digital-photography-school.com/?p=145492
An age-old question is whether you’re an early bird or a night owl. Well even if you fall into the latter category there are compelling reasons why you should get up earlier than the crack of dawn! Those reasons are of course photographic! Early morning photography can result in stunning images. Is there any other […]
Sat, 26 May 2018 19:00:00 +0000
We live in a digital age, a time when a post-processing workflow is an increasingly essential aspect of our photography. Cameras produce images with the expectation that they will be altered later, will be corrected, sharpened, tinted, etc.
What this means is that post-processing isn’t something that can be easily bypassed, especially if you shoot in RAW, which I recommend.
That isn’t to say that every photographer today has to love post-processing. Some photographers, I consider myself to be among them, greatly prefer working in the field to working on the computer. But while it’s possible to shorten one’s post-processing workflow, a minimum amount of editing is necessary to keep up with today’s artistic and technological standards.
In this article, I will discuss that minimum and explain the six essential steps in any post-processing workflow. My examples are done in Lightroom, but this applies to all photographers, no matter what software you use.
Once you’ve gone through these steps, you may declare your images complete, and that’s okay. Or you may choose to work on them further, which is okay, too. The point here is only to suggest the six core elements that all post-processing workflows should include—after that, the choice is yours.
1. Crop (and straighten)
The first thing that I do as soon as I have opened my images in Lightroom is to crop and straighten them.
While it’s best to compose properly in camera, sometimes you see a slightly better composition when your image comes up on the screen. However, it isn’t good to rely on this too heavily. Cropping heavily reduces image resolution while also magnifying image imperfections.
Furthermore, when hand-holding your camera, it’s easy to take a slightly crooked image. This isn’t a problem, as long as you remember to straighten it out later.
A word of warning: especially if you are a wildlife or bird photographer, you will be tempted to use cropping to compensate for a distant subject. Resist this temptation and focus on your stalking skills instead. If you find yourself consistently cropping a significant amount, recognize that you should probably make some changes while you’re in the field (get closer or use a longer lens).
2. Check the White Balance
I shoot in RAW. Thus, when I’m in the field, I leave my camera’s White Balance on Auto. Because the RAW file format allows for you to change the image temperature without any image degradation, this is perfectly acceptable (though it does mean slightly more time behind the computer).
Sometimes the goal is to reproduce the color temperature that you saw in the field. Other times, you might be trying to achieve an artistic look. Higher temperatures (high degrees K) make for a warmer image and counteract colder light, whereas lower temperatures (low K) make for a cooler image and balance out a warmer color cast.
3. Check the exposure
After adjusting the White Balance, I generally turn to the exposure. This is an aspect of a post-processing workflow that is often forgotten. Yet you should scrutinize your image carefully before moving on. Is it too bright? Too dark? Just right?
This is where the histogram is your friend. It’s to your benefit to learn to read it. Look for blown out highlights or crushed blacks as peaks pressing up against either end of the graph, as well as gaps that indicate a lack of darker or lighter tones in your image.
While it is ideal to expose perfectly while in the field, post-processing allows for a bit of leeway here. For instance, you can use the general Exposure slider in Lightroom to correct small exposure mistakes. And if you want to take this further, you can also work with the more narrowly focused Highlights, Shadows, Whites and Blacks sliders.
4. Check the Vibrance and Saturation
Saturation allows you to increase the intensity of all colors in the image, and Vibrance allows you to increase the intensity of the less saturated colors only. In most photo-editing programs, these are easy to change.
Saturation and Vibrance can provide a slight punch to your images when done subtly. These are also quite easy to overdo, so be careful. You don’t want to slam the viewer with so much saturation that they are forced to look away!
5. Check for noise
Next, be sure to check the noise levels in your image. This is especially important if you’re working with a long exposure or an image that was shot at a high ISO. Increasing the exposure in post-processing may also introduce unintended noise.
If you find unpleasant levels of noise, you can generally use noise reduction software to remove it. Removing noise does decrease the overall image sharpness (if removing luminance noise) and saturation (if removing color noise). So, once again, this is a correction that should be used minimally.
6. Check the sharpness
Finally, I like to end my basic post-processing workflow by considering the complement of noise – sharpness. If working with a program such as Lightroom, this often needs little adjustment. With a good lens and good camera technique, your images will be rendered sharp simply by the photo-conversion presets.
For example, I rarely alter Lightroom’s Amount: 25 Sharpening preset. If your image is slightly soft, you may want to work with overall sharpness. You might also consider a second round of carefully applied sharpening in order to enhance specific features like the faces of birds, the center of flowers, etc.
However, even once you’ve sharpened for your original image, the sharpening work isn’t over. Before you export for printing or web viewing, you will likely need to sharpen again. Otherwise, you’ll find that your new image is slightly soft.
Lightroom has a neat little way of completing this post-processing step. Upon exporting files, you have the option to choose a level of sharpening. I generally choose Low or Standard.
These tips should give you an idea of what a very minimalist post-processing workflow looks like. If you follow this guide closely—even if you do nothing else to your images—you’ll find that your images reach a higher standard.
What is your post-processing workflow like? Please feel free to share in the comments area below.
6 Essential Steps in any Post-Processing Workflowhttps://digital-photography-school.com/?p=146358
We live in a digital age, a time when a post-processing workflow is an increasingly essential aspect of our photography. Cameras produce images with the expectation that they will be altered later, will be corrected, sharpened, tinted, etc. What this means is that post-processing isn’t something that can be easily bypassed, especially if you shoot […]
Sat, 26 May 2018 14:53:30 +0000
Who doesn’t love a good sunset? It’s colorful and makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, right?
Think you can take a great sunset photo? It’s not as easy as just pointing your camera at the sun. In this week’s photography challenge it’s time to get out and shoot some sunsets and share your images with us.
Need some tips? Try these dPS articles:
- 5 Reasons Why Your Sunrise or Sunset Photos Don’t Look So Stunning
- How to Take Better Sunset Photos
- How to Plan and Take Killer Sunset Photos on Your Next Vacation
- How to Shoot Stunning Photos at Sunrise and Sunset
- Tips for Location Scouting to Get the Perfect Sunset Photograph
- Tips for Doing More Spectacular Sunset Photography
Weekly Photography Challenge – Sunsets
Simply upload your shot into the comment field (look for the little camera icon in the Disqus comments section) and they’ll get embedded for us all to see or if you’d prefer, upload them to your favorite photo-sharing site and leave the link to them. Show me your best images in this week’s challenge. Sometimes it takes a while for an image to appear so be patient and try not to post the same image twice.
Share in the dPS Facebook Group
You can also share your images in the dPS Facebook group as the challenge is posted there each week as well.
Win Prizes from ViewBug
We’re excited to introduce a sponsor and prizes for this week’s challenge. ViewBug is the World’s biggest photo contest community with over 70 contests always open for submissions. Win prizes, exposure, and the bragging rights. It’s FREE to join! This week, ViewBug will be awarding three winners prizes!
One Challenge winner will receive 1 year of ViewBug PRO ($139 value) plus a free photography logo bundle ($59 value). Two Runners Up will receive a 1 year of ViewBug Premium ($59 value) plus a free photography logo bundle ($59 value).
Participate in the challenge as you normally would (as described above) by posting your photo. To be considered for a prize you just need to complete the entry form below (or via this link) and submit your photo.
The Contest is open continuously from 05:00 am Australian Eastern Standard Time (“AEST”) on May 26, 2018 (03:00 pm United States Eastern Daylight Time (“EDT”) on May 25, 2018), through June 2nd 2018, 04:59am AEST (June 1st, 2018, 02:59pm EDT) (the “Contest Promotion Period”).
Full Terms and Conditions Digital Photography School Weekly Challenge Sunset – ViewBug T&C
Winners are announced on the Weekly Challenge Winners page on 9th of June.
The post Weekly Photography Challenge: Sunsets – With Prizes from ViewBug appeared first on Digital Photography School.
Weekly Photography Challenge: Sunsets – With Prizes from ViewBughttps://digital-photography-school.com/?p=146959
Who doesn’t love a good sunset? It’s colorful and makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, right? Think you can take a great sunset photo? It’s not as easy as just pointing your camera at the sun. In this week’s photography challenge it’s time to get out and shoot some sunsets and share your […]
The post Weekly Photography Challenge: Sunsets – With Prizes from ViewBug appeared first on Digital Photography School.
Fri, 25 May 2018 19:00:00 +0000
Flash is a challenging subject and can be confusing if you’ve never used it. These two videos will give you an overview of some flash basics you need to know, and how to take the next step when using flash – bouncing it for better lighting.
On-Camera Flash Basics
In this video, Chris from The Camera Store gives you a crash course in some on-camera flash basics. He covers what you need to know to get your flash photos looking better and more natural so you don’t have subjects with deer in the headlights looks or black cavernous backgrounds with no light.
Flash for new users
Next, this video from Mark Goodin of RealWorld will walk you through understanding some of the settings on your flash and how to use it to make better light on your subject. He even gives a couple tips for diffusing your on-camera flash (the built-in one that pops up) so it isn’t so harsh.
If you want more flash photography tips, try these dPS articles:
- A Quick Guide to Using Bounce Flash for More Natural-Looking Photos
- How to use Off-Camera Flash to Create Dramatic Images with Cross Lighting
- What is a Flash Bracket and Why Do You Need One?
- How to Understand the Difference Between TTL Versus Manual Flash Modes
- Flash Shopping Guide – 5 Things to Consider When Buying a Speedlight
- Tips for Using Speedlights to Create the Right Lighting for Outdoor Portraits
Tips for Using On-Camera Flash for Beginnershttps://digital-photography-school.com/?p=146958
Flash is a challenging subject and can be confusing if you’ve never used it. These two videos will give you an overview of some flash basics you need to know, and how to take the next step when using flash – bouncing it for better lighting. On-Camera Flash Basics In this video, Chris from The […]
Fri, 25 May 2018 14:00:00 +0000
You know the feeling; shyness around strangers, dreading new situations, sleepless nights worrying, completely self-conscious in a crowd, thinking that everyone is judging you. In short, a fear of people.
Your fear and inhibition are like having “stage fright” in everyday life. All of this leads to you suppressing your personality, your creativity, and any chance to share your gift of photography with your culture and the world. All of this fear is dangerous because it blocks your creativity, making you become miserable and anxious.
But there is hope for you because many folks have overcome their fear of people and gone on to thrive as photographers. Below are five exercises that will help you to conquer your fear of people too.
How to Overcome Self-Consciousness and Fear
“If you want to conquer fear, don’t sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” – Dale Carnegie
The way to overcome self-consciousness, fear, and shyness is to practice the healthy opposite.
What is the healthy opposite of fear and inhibition? Having a healthy confidence, the ability to enjoy other people, and the courage to try your best and accept constructive criticism. Here’s how you can work toward that.
1. Begin with a Healthy Goal
Without healthy goals to aspire to, your life will be stagnant. You need a goal or you have nothing to move toward. Here’s a good goal for you if you’re a fearful photographer. Aim to become a creative photographer who is comfortable and confident with people.
Setting a goal doesn’t help you much unless you’ve got some steps to achieve it. Let’s see how to practice the healthy opposite of fear so that you can become “a creative photographer who is comfortable and confident with people.”
Begin with the smallest steps possible, and gradually improve from there.
2. Use Your Voice
If you’re afraid of people, you probably don’t speak much. You’re likely afraid of having your ideas rejected, giving damaging advice, or being locked in a heated debate. But as long as you’re a kind and thoughtful person, these things aren’t likely to happen often.
The worst part about speaking up is the nervousness you feel just before saying something. Ignore that “stage fright.” Overcome it by saying something small. Don’t go big, just practice by making small talk.
Perhaps you’re interested in street photography, but you’re so afraid of people that you could never ask for a portrait of them. You could practice getting comfortable by making small talk with strangers. Don’t even bring your camera along, that’s too much pressure. Just practice small talk.
Once you get over that initial discomfort of striking up a little conversation, asking strangers to take their picture won’t be as scary.
On the Job Training
Another way to become comfortable working with people is to get a job working at a department store portrait studio. If you work during the Christmas rush you’ll have the opportunity to photograph hundreds of families.
Because it’s your job, you’ll be forced to talk with them. This repetition will help you get over your fear of talking with people. Remember, you’re not there for the photography itself. You’re there to practice talking with people so that you can get over your fear and move toward your goal of being a creative photographer who is comfortable and confident with people.
3. Offer Compliments
If you’re not sure how to start a conversation, start by noticing something that you can sincerely compliment a person about. Self-consciousness and fear paralyze you by keeping you focused on yourself in negative ways. If you’re always self-conscious, then you need to just take the spotlight off yourself by focusing on other people instead.
When you focus on offering people compliments two things will likely happen. First your attention is turned away from yourself and on to them. Second, your mind is turned away from negative thoughts (about yourself) and toward positive thoughts (about them) instead.
When I was a senior portrait photographer I would always find some little thing to compliment students about. If it was obvious that they spent a lot of time on their hair, that’s the compliment I gave. Maybe they had a great smile, or were funny, or we had something in common.
Focusing on the other person and having something nice to say will build bridges and help you to overcome your fear and discomfort around people.
4. Visualize Criticism
You may quickly get over the fear of talking to people or the anxiety you feel over negative thoughts about yourself. But how about receiving criticism of your photographs? This is one of the worst things imaginable for some photographers.
If you panic or become consumed with anxiety and want to “just give up” over the slightest criticism of your photos, then you need to learn to take criticism better. It’s not comfortable at first, but it can be done.
Here are some steps
First, admit that you are not perfect and that you should always focus on improvement. Be humble and admit that some healthy criticism could actually help you.
Second, seek it out. That’s right, go looking for critiques! Look for people who are better than you who can show you how to improve. You want to grow as a person and a photographer don’t you? Ask successful people how you can be better.
Third, visualize criticism. You can practice receiving the image critique comfortably before actually receiving it. Close your eyes and imagine someone saying, “These photos are terrible” or “That’s not your best work.” Just imagine hearing those words. Get over the shock and uncomfortable feelings. How could you respond to their harshness in a positive way?
Do you think it seems weird to use your imagination this way? Yes, it may seem strange at first. But it’s exactly how you’re already using your imagination.
Your self-conscious fear is leading you to imagine what people are thinking and saying about you. Your imagination is causing you to fear criticism and be paralyzed instead of receiving it graciously, improving, and moving forward toward your goal of being a creative photographer who is confident and comfortable with people.
Consider who you are receiving the criticism or critique from. If you post photos online, you’re eventually going to receive harsh criticism from someone, solicited or not. The internet is an easy place for people to be mean and remain anonymous.
Please feel free to ignore people who are harsh and cruel. But always listen to the constructive criticism by other photographers who actually care about you and want to help. Their insights can be very valuable, making you a better photographer.
5. Open up, be vulnerable, and make friends
Your fear and shyness of people may come from your honest desire not to bother anyone. You avoid saying or doing the wrong thing. But are you also avoiding friendship and positive interaction too?
Begin with small talk and offer compliments. Become comfortable with conversation and criticism. Once you’ve done this then opening up and going deeper with people won’t be so hard.
Do you know what you might discover? You’re not alone in your fears. Other people (and especially photographers) are afraid too. And they’ll be thankful that you spoke up, and shared your ideas and your creativity. Courage is contagious.
Go Forward Toward Your Goals
I used to be terrible with people, especially with kids. But I used all of the ideas above to break out of my shyness and conquer my fear of people. I still feel uncomfortable at times. But now I run my own photography business specializing in people! Whether it’s families or individual portraits, I’m able to connect with people and help them to feel comfortable in front of the camera.
If your goal is to become a creative photographer who is comfortable and confident with people, follow the steps above. It’ll take time, but start small and soon you’ll be thriving among people.
How Conquer Your Fear of People as a Photographerhttps://digital-photography-school.com/?p=146530
You know the feeling; shyness around strangers, dreading new situations, sleepless nights worrying, completely self-conscious in a crowd, thinking that everyone is judging you. In short, a fear of people. Your fear and inhibition are like having “stage fright” in everyday life. All of this leads to you suppressing your personality, your creativity, and any […]
Thu, 24 May 2018 19:00:00 +0000
Taking great portraits is a great genre of photography to master. Some of the most famous photographs in the world and even paintings are simple head and shoulder portraits. They can tell us so much about the person being photographed. Think of arguably the most famous painting of all time and most people would probably say the Mona Lisa. But taking portraits also seems to be a difficult thing for newbie photographers to do. Fear not, here are 7 quick tips to help you capture better portraits.
1. Start with a conversation
It might seem daunting taking someone’s portrait, even in a studio. But it will get so much easier if you build a rapport with the person first. Whether it’s in the studio or in the street, start the shoot with a conversation and get to know who they are. Find out what they do, what they like, and even what their personality is like.
If you can, make them laugh with a joke. Not only will all of this help build a picture of who they are which can influence the photo, but it will also mean that they are much more comfortable working with you.
This, in turn, will mean that they will be more relaxed and also more be accommodating to you taking their photo. Clearly, sometimes that will be difficult in travel photography, for example, when you might not speak the same language. But even then it’s amazing what a few hand gestures, a few local phrases, and a smile can achieve.
2. Frame carefully
While it might seem obvious, it’s amazing how often I’ve seen a portrait taken where it hasn’t been framed properly. When you are taking an environmental portrait, you need to capture some of the person’s surroundings to be able to tell a story. But when you’re doing a normal head and shoulders portrait, the sole focus should be the person standing in front of you. Their face is where the focus should be, so if there are distracting elements near them or in the background try to crop those out.
Often the reason that photographers end up with too many distractions in the photo is that they are too far away from their subject. So, if you find that you are not able to focus primarily on the subject’s face when taking a portrait, get closer.
3. Think about the background
Another key element of framing your portrait properly is to ensure that the background isn’t too overpowering. Ideally, a muted or plain surface such as a wall works best as the viewer isn’t distracted by anything else. They can focus solely on the person’s face. If you find that your subject is standing somewhere that doesn’t work best for the portrait, ask them if you can move them and position them somewhere better. Even if you don’t speak their language, usually pointing to where you want them to go does the trick.
If you find that you have to take the photo with too much stuff happening in the background, set a wide aperture so that you will get the background blurred. This will help make your subject stand out from the busy background and not get lost in the photo.
Most of the time the advice that you are given is to try and light your portrait using natural light, photograph your model from the front, and get close enough to eliminate any distractions. Sound familiar? For example, being outside on an overcast day is ideal for taking portraits as the soft even light means you don’t get harsh shadows on the person’s face.
But while these are great bits of advice that you should follow, it is also worth sometimes pushing the boundaries. So experiment with harsh lighting or even a more creative shots such as in the example below. I took a step back to let people pass and was immediately struck with the dynamism that having someone walk across the image brought to it. It’s still a portrait, but it’s a little more interesting than if there was no one else in the shot.
The key is to not be afraid to go against convention and try something different, you might be surprised by the results.
5. Keep the eyes sharp
If there is just one rule that you need to follow when it comes to taking better portraits, it is to ensure that the subject’s eyes are sharp and in focus. If the eyes are not in sharp focus, the whole image looks soft and unappealing. So, take extra care that you are focusing correctly and that you are keeping the eyes sharp.
When taking portraits outside, the majority of the time you can get away with using a fairly wide aperture. So as long as there is decent light your shutter speed should remain fast enough to avoid camera shake. If you are unable to keep a fast enough shutter speed, raise your ISO accordingly.
6. Take multiple shots
You often have a relatively short window when taking portraits as your subject will usually want to get on with their day. But that should still give you plenty of time to take multiple photos. Try taking photos in burst mode so that you can capture the exact moment when your model has their eyes open or has an expression on their face that works for the photo.
You can also try a few different compositions and even angles to give your photos variety. The great thing about digital photography is that it won’t cost you anything to take multiple photos as long as you have enough memory space.
7. Just relax
Sometimes the real key to taking any great photo is just relaxing and letting it happen naturally. So rather than rushing around and clicking away frantically, just slow down and take your time.
Start talking to people without the burden of knowing that you want to photograph them and if the situation lends itself to a photo just enjoy the process and have fun. Show the person the photos you’ve taken, keep everything casual and you will find that your photos become much better and more intimate.
Taking a great portrait takes great skill, but when done well it can have incredible results. You will find that not only will you have amazing photos that will look great anywhere, but also memories that you will cherish. Just follow these 7 quick tips to help you capture better portraits and you’ll be on your way to capturing great photos of people.
Please show us your portraits and share your tips advice below.
7 Quick Tips To Help You Capture Better Portraitshttps://digital-photography-school.com/?p=146296
Taking great portraits is a great genre of photography to master. Some of the most famous photographs in the world and even paintings are simple head and shoulder portraits. They can tell us so much about the person being photographed. Think of arguably the most famous painting of all time and most people would probably […]
Thu, 24 May 2018 14:00:00 +0000
Surrounding yourself with inspiration is one of the best ways to jump-start your creativity. By viewing the works of others, we connect with our own photographic practice. One of my favorite things to do in a creative lull is to trawl YouTube. I could spend hours looking for interesting photography documentaries to watch and study.
I always feel myself rearing to get photographing by the time the credits roll. So here are a few of the favorites that I like to revisit from time to time. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
#1 – The Many Lives of William Klein
Note: there is a warning of strong language in this video so if you find that offensive you might want to go to the next one.
William Klein is known for his gritty street photography as well as his fashion work with Vogue. As a creator of some of the most iconic imagery of the 20th century, the American-born French photographer originally trained as a painter. Despite having no formal training as a photographer, Klein won the Prix Nadar in 1957 for New York, a book of photographs he compiled in 1954. Since then, Klein’s work has been praised as uncompromising and revolutionary in both his approach and execution.
The Many Lives of William Klein takes a peek into Klein’s world as he prepares his retrospective exhibition. Smart and sarcastic, Klein recounts memoirs of his photographic past and shares insights into his process and passion for photography.
#2 – The Colourful Mr. Eggleston
Produced by BBC for its “Imagine” TV series, The Colourful Mr. Eggleston provides a rare look into the life and work of one of photography’s most influential proponents. William Eggleston was born in 1939 in Memphis, Tennessee to a family of plantation owners. He grew up in Sumner, Mississippi and spent six years studying at various art schools, never receiving a degree. When he received his first camera in 1957, a Canon rangefinder, he was hooked. As one of the first art photographers to use color film, he began visually recording the world around him, capturing everyday moments in life in compressed color and light.
Eggleston’s idols, Robert Frank, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Walker Evans roamed the world for photographic subject matter. But Eggleston remained rooted in Memphis. His wife, Rosa, tells the story that one day Eggleston told a friend that there was nothing to photograph because everything in the city was ugly. The friend told him to “photograph the ugly stuff” which set him on a path photographing a contemporary landscape made up of vending machines, light bulbs, power poles, wires, signs, urban decay and occasionally human subjects.
The Colorful Mr. Eggleston follows his photographic process in and around Memphis as he isolates the facets of everyday life that make up the dense, atmospheric imagery of his work.
#3 – The Genius of Photography
The Genius of Photography is a series originally featured on BBC Four that investigates the rich history of photography. Over the six-part series, the documentary explores an aspect of the photographic medium. It covers the earliest incarnations of photography through to modern digital practice.
From art to commercial photography, the series includes interviews and encounters with some of the world’s best including William Klein, Sally Mann, Jeff Wall and many more.
#4 – Lomography: Shoot from the Hip
The Lomo Camera: Shoot from the Hip is a colorful insight into the history and momentum of the Lomography movement. The philosophy behind Lomography is “Don’t Think, Just Shoot”, encouraging spur-of-the-moment photography not dissimilar to Cartier-Bresson’s decisive moment. The movement is also accompanied by 10 golden rules encouraging spontaneous, active photography with less concern for formal photographic technique.
While Lomography itself can be a bit hit-and-miss, the documentary conveys a world of unfocused color and spontaneity. But the Lomo ethos isn’t reserved only for photographers with plastic cameras; much of the Lomographic practice can still appeal to those with more hi-tech photographic equipment. With rules like “Take your camera everywhere you go” and “Lomography is not an interference in your life, but part of it.”
The Lomo Camera: Shoot from the Hip inspires a fun and creative approach that can be applied across the board photographically.
#5 – The Photographers
Working for National Geographic is a job that many photographers dream of, but few attain. With some assignments lasting for months, National Geographic’s camera staff aren’t just journalists, they’re artists, braving a myriad of hardships. As one Nat Geo photographer featured on the Photographers, Michael (Nick) Nichols explains, “The toughest part of [the] job often times is not taking photographs but surviving an environment”.
Seeking out “memorable images, unusual subjects, and unexpected moments” in some of the most unique and sometimes inhospitable of locations. The Photographers follows several Nat Geo photographers as they capture iconic shots the magazine has become known for, delivering beautiful and unique imagery and delving into what it is that makes up our world.
Photography documentaries are great because they give us a behind-the-scenes look at someone else’s photographic world. Every photographer works differently. So when we view another photographer’s practice, it’s as if they are passing their own inspiration on to us.
These are only a few of the wide selection of photographic documentaries to find on YouTube. So go ahead, start your own list of favorites and get inspired! Share your list in the comments below as well.
Editor’s list: here are a few others I recommend if you can find them:
- War Photographer – James Nachtwey. I can’t find the whole documentary on YouTube but you can watch his TED talk here.
- The Big Bang Club is about news photographers in South Africa during the fall of the Apartheid. This one you might have to pay to watch but it’s really worth it.
- Double Exposure is about the life of photographer Margaret Bourke-White, one of the earliest women photojournalists. I can’t find it on YouTube but look around maybe you can find a copy somewhere.
My Top 5 Photography Documentaries on YouTubehttps://digital-photography-school.com/?p=146514
Surrounding yourself with inspiration is one of the best ways to jump-start your creativity. By viewing the works of others, we connect with our own photographic practice. One of my favorite things to do in a creative lull is to trawl YouTube. I could spend hours looking for interesting photography documentaries to watch and study. […]
Wed, 23 May 2018 19:00:00 +0000
Everyone is a photographer. We all love to use our phones, tablets, or cameras to take photos. What’s more, we all share them and publish them for the world to see. This phenomenon has changed photography and photographers.
Not so long ago you needed to have a camera to be able to take a photo, there was no other way. Before the explosion of social media sites hit the internet is was decidedly more difficult to get your pictures published.
Go Beyond Social Media Norms
With the rise of Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and the proliferation of other media sharing websites, we are seeing and sharing more and more photographs every day. Standing out in such an enormous global crowd is not easy.
So how do you create a unique photography style which does not look the same as most of what’s already out there? Because, let’s face it, so much of it is so similar (and dull.) There are tons of pictures of pets, sunsets, selfies, kids and food, food, food.
Most successful photographers concentrate on one style. This can take years to develop. Dedication and experimentation are keys to attaining a photographic look and feel that is uniquely yours and will be recognized as such. Mastering any form of creative expression does not happen easily or without a lot of practice.
Step Outside Your Comfort Zone, Get Into a New Zone
You need to be willing to step outside your comfort zone. Don’t just keep photographing the same things, in the same way, that you are comfortable with already. Push yourself to do things with your camera that you’ve not experimented with before. Step out and photograph subjects you’ve wanted to but not have been bold enough to do so. You never know what you will discover by trying something different.
Don’t give up easily either. Giving up will not get you anywhere if you haven’t first shown some commitment to producing some photographs you are content with.
As a young man, I was painfully shy. I loved photography, but could never bring myself to photograph people. My sister encouraged me. She told me my photos were excellent, but really lacked the inclusion of people.
She was not so happy when she became my subject. I also started photographing friends as we hung out together and became somewhat comfortable photographing people that I knew.
Shortly after I landed a job in the photography department of a daily newspaper, I quickly realized that if I wanted to keep my job I would have to overcome my fear (yes, it was a real fear) of photographing strangers. Everything in me wanted to keep the job at the paper and to succeed as a photographer, so I pressed on and challenged myself to break through.
Now my main love in photography is taking pictures of people. Often they are people I do not know.
Most people will not face the same test to develop their photography abilities as I was confronted with. But I hope my story can inspire you to press on trying new things with your photography and to persevere in going beyond your comfort zone.
Experience and Experiment
As you experiment, keep in mind that your worldview is unique. No one else sees or experiences the world quite the same way you do.
Think about how you can express this through your photography. What do you see that someone else might not? Why do you feel a certain way about the subjects you are photographing? No one else will feel just the same.
Connect with your subject, whether it’s a person, a pet, a landscape or your lunch, and photograph it with feeling. More often than not you will create a strong, more unique image than if you just take a quick snapshot.
Go Beyond Your Gear
As you seek to develop your own unique personal photography style try not to concentrate too much on your equipment. Pouring all your attention into what you’re doing with your camera will not help you connect with your subject and you will produce less dynamic photographs. No matter how technically correct your images are, they will often be rather dull if you are not connecting with your subject.
However, the more comfortable you are with your camera, and the more proficient in knowing what it’s capable of and the best settings to use will help you immensely.
Loving your camera and knowing it well, so you can use it as an integral part of your creative process, will assist you in developing your photography style. The more focused you are on trying to figure out which lens to attach and what shutter speed will be needed, the more likely you are to disconnect with your subject. The more familiar and comfortable you are with your camera the better.
Have Precise Control
Anyone who’s read my articles watched my videos or taken my workshops or online courses will know I always encourage the use of a camera in Manual Mode. Being in precise control of the equipment you are using will definitely facilitate your unique creative growth.
Using settings which give your camera control of the exposure (auto modes) will give you results like everyone else who relies on these settings. In Manual Mode you have the choice to expose your photos as you like, not always as your camera dictates.
You are Unique – Create Unique Photographs
Experiment! Take time and work with a purpose and a goal in mind. Be inspired to step beyond creating just another snapshot for your social media posts and make a point of producing strong photographs expressing your unique perspective of the world you live in.
It’s not easy to do. But press on and don’t give up. Make a start with your first ideas and keep at it. Be flexible and adapt as you develop.
At first, you might love the topic or photography style you’re working on and later find you are drawn to a something a bit different. Go with the flow, so long as you are continuing to produce photographs you are happy with and you can see a progression in what you are doing.
To learn the story behind some of these photographs please check out this video:
I’d love to know how you are developing your photography style, whether you are inspired by this article and just starting out, or if you’ve been working on your own particular style for some time. Please share your thoughts and photos in the comments section below.
The post Why You Should Find Your Own Photography Style and Not Conform to Social Media Trends appeared first on Digital Photography School.
Why You Should Find Your Own Photography Style and Not Conform to Social Media Trendshttps://digital-photography-school.com/?p=146229
Everyone is a photographer. We all love to use our phones, tablets, or cameras to take photos. What’s more, we all share them and publish them for the world to see. This phenomenon has changed photography and photographers. Not so long ago you needed to have a camera to be able to take a photo, […]
The post Why You Should Find Your Own Photography Style and Not Conform to Social Media Trends appeared first on Digital Photography School.
Wed, 23 May 2018 14:00:00 +0000
Two of the hottest mirrorless cameras you can get your hands on right now are the Sony a7R III and the Fujifilm X-H1. My husband owns one and I have the other. In the past few months, we’ve been experimenting with our new cameras and have noticed quite a few similarities and differences. This is by no means a comprehensive camera comparison, but some of the main differences will be highlighted below.
My husband and I are both photographers who have always been in opposite brand camps. We were Nikon versus Canon during the height of the DSLR. Now in the mirrorless world, we are Fujifilm versus Sony. I’m a full-time photographer specializing mainly in food and architecture photography, while my husband is a part-time assistant photographer.
Our differing photo needs and styles have partially dictated our camera brand loyalty. I prefer Sony for its higher megapixel count for architecture photos and also its more flexible lens selection. Meanwhile, my husband loves Fujifilm for their rangefinder design and film simulations.
One thing we can agree on is that we both have an interest in making more videos. That is why we specifically choose the Sony a7R III and Fujifilm X-H1 as our new cameras. Note that at the time, the Sony a7R III was the newest camera on the market–there wasn’t yet a Sony A7III or a Sony a7S III, both of which are arguably better cameras for video.
Before we talk about differences, the Sony a7R III and Fujifilm X-H1 do have many features in common. First, both cameras have enhanced, on-par video recording capabilities. They shoot in 4K and 120 fps slow motion video, and both cameras offer in-camera image stabilization (IBIS). Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are available on both cameras to facilitate quick transfers to cell phones or tablets.
Physically, both cameras have dual SD card slots for more storage flexibility. There’s also focus peaking to help highlight areas that are in focus, which is especially helpful when using manual-focus lenses. Finally, there are tiltable touchscreens on both cameras. However, touchscreen capabilities are quite limited and you can’t perform full camera operation with them.
Here is the same scene, shot with both cameras for comparison.
In terms of things that neither camera offer, the list isn’t terribly long. But ideally, both cameras would offer a more flexible tilt and swivel screen. Built-in GPS for geotagging photos is also missing.
Finally, both cameras come with hot-shoe mounts for attaching an external flash. However, neither camera comes with a built-in flash.
Sony a7R III Benefits
Larger Sensor, More Megapixels
The biggest difference exists in the cameras’ sensors. There’s a full-frame, 42.4-megapixel sensor on the Sony, while the Fujifilm has an APS-C 24.3-megapixel sensor. Currently, Fujifilm does not make any full-frame mirrorless cameras, although that will change when the X-T3 comes out in late 2018.
Depending on your photography style, more megapixels is a generally a good thing. Although, it does require using SD cards and hard drives with significantly more storage space for those large file sizes.
Super High-Resolution Composite (Pixel Shift)
Speaking of resolution, there’s a new feature on the Sony a7R III called Pixel Shift. In short, this increases image resolution by 4 times. You still have to shoot individual images and stitch them together in post-production using the included software. The result is a super high-res image that’s great for shooting landscapes or buildings.
Longer Battery Life
Mirrorless cameras have long been criticized for having poor battery life. Luckily, Sony responded positively by putting a new Z-battery in the a7R III. This battery isn’t cheap, but it offers a much longer battery life than the X-H1 at 650 shots versus 310 shots.
Hyperlapse Filming Mode
One thing many Sony shooters miss from the a7R II is the PlayMemories App that added built-in features such as time-lapse shooting. However, time-lapse can still be taken on the a7R III if you use the S&Q setting.
This allows for shooting slow motion or fast (hyper-lapse). If you do the latter, this is essentially a hyper-lapse that is taken in camera. Just be sure to adjust the settings in the camera, as S&Q can be set to shoot slow motion or hyper-lapse videos.
Since recording accurate sound is a big part of video-making, it’s essential to have a headphone jack. This is present on the Sony a7R III but is oddly missing from the Fuji X-H1.
Bigger Buffer for JPGs
The X-H1 is a faster camera when it comes to shutter speed and frames per second (more on that below). But the Sony has a leg up when it comes to JPG buffering, or how many more JPGs you can shoot before waiting in burst mode. It’s 82 shots on the Sony a7R III compared to 40 shots on the Fuji X-H1.
Sony – The Sony a7R III has a native ISO sensitivity range of 100 to 51,200. When extended, the Sony can reach ISO 50 to 204,800 for stills, or 102,400 for video.
Fuji – Meanwhile, the X-H1 has a slightly smaller range of ISO 200 to 12,800 or an extended ISO range of 100 to 51,200 for stills or 25,600 for video.
Bigger Lens Selection
When it comes to lenses, Sony has a wider array of choices compared to Fujifilm. If you need traditional focal lengths such as the 16-35mm, 24-70mm, or 70-200mm, you’ll want to go with Sony.
Fujifilm X-H1 Benefits
Top LCD Display
The X-H1 takes on the look of a DSLR camera, departing a bit from Fujifilm’s more classic rangefinder design. Part of the DSLR look includes a top LCD display where you can easily see your camera settings. In practice, that may or may not be helpful since the pop-out LCD can also show your camera settings.
Faster JPG and RAW Shooting
Interestingly, the Fujifilm X-H1 is quite a bit faster than the Sony a7R III. The X-H1’s shutter is faster at 1/32,000th versus 1/8000th when shooting wide open in bright light. Also, the X-H1 has faster RAW and JPG shooting in burst mode (14 FPS for the Fuji as compared to 9 FPS on the Sony).
Despite being a crop sensor camera, the X-H1 is set up better for taking night photos. It has a long exposure of up to 900 seconds (15 minutes – in M and S shooting modes), compared to 30 seconds on the Sony a7R III.
Built-In Film Simulations
Fujifilm has been mastering color profiles long before digital cameras even existed. Many color profiles from film days have been added into digital cameras in the form of built-in film simulations. Six have existed until the X-H1 which saw the addition of the brand new Eterna film simulation. If you’re a fan of Fujifilm colors, this could be a big selling point.
Here is a video comparison going over some of these things as well:
Both the Fujifilm X-H1 and Sony a7R III are fantastic digital photography tools that offer lots of features for those looking to up their photo or video game. Which is best for you depends largely on your photography style. What do you like to shoot, and what are the basic tools of the trade that you need to make that happen?
As a commercial architecture, food, and event photographer, I need the extra megapixels, ISO range, and lens choices offered by Sony. However, these features aren’t as critical to my husband, an editorial photographer who values the physical aesthetic and experience of shooting with a Fujifilm camera as much as the image quality.
Here are some more images of the same scene for comparison:
The post Camera Comparison – The Fujifilm X-H1 Versus the Sony a7R III appeared first on Digital Photography School.
Camera Comparison – The Fujifilm X-H1 Versus the Sony a7R IIIhttps://digital-photography-school.com/?p=146634
Two of the hottest mirrorless cameras you can get your hands on right now are the Sony a7R III and the Fujifilm X-H1. My husband owns one and I have the other. In the past few months, we’ve been experimenting with our new cameras and have noticed quite a few similarities and differences. This is […]
The post Camera Comparison – The Fujifilm X-H1 Versus the Sony a7R III appeared first on Digital Photography School.
Tue, 22 May 2018 19:00:00 +0000
Lightroom’s suite of editing tools is not as comprehensive as its big brother Photoshop But the program does offer a host of options for fixing photos that cover most of the corrections you are likely to need on a daily basis. You can, of course, use Lightroom for basic operations like adjusting white balance, changing exposure, and converting images to black and white. But there are much more advanced features as well, such as the Spot Removal Tool.
This tool is a quick and easy way to remove blemishes and imperfections. It doesn’t have the same level of depth and customization as similar options in Photoshop, but with a little practice, it should suffice for most situations in which you are likely to need it.
To access the Spot Removal tool, first, click on the Develop module and then press the Q button (the keyboard shortcut). Or you can click on the circle icon with a small arrow pointing to the right just below the histogram at the top of the panel on the right-hand side.
Once you are in the Spot Removal panel it might be tempting to start clicking away at every spot and blemish on your images. But understanding some of the options available to you will help you use the tool more effectively and result in better edits.
The Spot Removal tool has two main options, Clone and Heal. Each of these has three sliders that you can change: Size, Feather, and Opacity. Before getting into the differences between cloning and healing, let’s take a look at the three options they have in common.
This changes, as you might have guessed, how big the edit is going to be. Larger sizes are suited for bigger edits, while pinpoint accuracy can be obtained by making the tool as small as you need it to be.
You might be tempted to slide left and right to change these values, and that certainly works just fine. But you can also type precise numbers between 0-100 or just scroll up and down using the mouse wheel to see the brush automatically grow and shrink until you get it to where you want. You can also use the square brackets [ and ] on the keyboard to adjust the brush size.
This slider lets you control how gradually the Clone or Heal edits are implemented. Sliding all the way to 100 means your edits will gradually fade out near the edge of the tool. A value of zero indicates that there will be no feathering whatsoever.
This will result in a harsh edge around your edits that will be easy to spot so I don’t usually recommend it. Instead, try for a value of around 50 and adjust it to your taste. Similar to the Size parameter you can adjust this with the mouse by holding [shift] and scrolling up and down, which I find much easier to use than the slider.
The opacity is a way for you to specify how transparent your edits will be. A setting of 100 is totally opaque and nothing will show through, whereas lower values will lessen the overall impact of the tool.
There might be instances in which you don’t want to completely remove a spot or blemish but mask over or fade it just a little, and in that case, set an opacity of 25 or 50 (this works well for portrait retouching, lightening circles under eyes and wrinkles without completely removing them).
Hearkening back to the earlier days of Photoshop, the Clone tool is one of the most often-utilized features for beginning or even more advanced photographers who want to tidy up their pictures. The basic function is pretty straightforward since all it does at a fundamental level is copy, or clone, one part of a picture and put it on top of another part. This is great for situations with textures, patterns, or colors that are highly similar or where duplicating one portion would not be easy to detect.
Using the Clone Tool
This picture of a squirrel (below) has a stick on the right-hand side that I would like to remove. The Clone tool is a good way to do it. To fix something like this you can either shrink the tool so it’s small and brush it over the imperfection or increase the size to be much larger and click just once.
Each situation is going to call for a different type of edit but in general, I like to use a larger brush and click once because it usually results in edits that aren’t as visible in the final result.
Lightroom tries its best to get your initial clone edit just right by taking what it thinks is a sample of a similar portion of your image. But as you can see below it doesn’t always work.
Adjusting cloning results
You don’t have to be content with the initial results though, as Lightroom lets you refine and tweak the cloning options until you’re satisfied.
There is an Overlay setting for the Clone tool. It is a white circle indicating the location from which the Clone Tool is selecting to copy. As well there is another circle showing you where it is being pasted. In the lower-left portion of the Develop module is a tiny little option picker that says “Tool Overlay” with four choices: Auto, Always, Selected, and Never. My personal preference is to go with “Never” and use the “H” key to show and hide the Tool Overlay as I need it.
As you use the Spot Healing tool you will see little gray circles pop up all over your image, which shows you the places where you have edited your image. If you don’t see these tiny pins press “H” to show them, and then click on one to show the white circles showing you where the edits are being taken from and applied. You can see an example of this in the image below.
Once you see where Lightroom is grabbing the part of your image that it’s using to fix a blemish, it’s easy to fine-tune it to get the results you are looking for. Use your cursor to drag the bright circle around the image until you find a spot that would be better-suited for filling in the blemish. You can also adjust the sliders while you have your editing point selected to see in real-time what happens when you change things like size, feather, and opacity.
One issue that you might encounter when using the Spot Removal Tool is that it’s not always easy to see where the spots in your picture are actually located. Fortunately, Lightroom has an option that can help you in this regard.
If you click the “Visualize Spots” button in the lower-left corner of the Develop module (make sure the Spot Removal tool is selected), you will see a black-and-white version of your image with areas of high contrast highlighted. If you do not see this option, activate your toolbar by pressing T on the keyboard.
You can also simply press the A key to activate the Visualize Spots view. Use the slider to fine-tune the amount of contrast visible, and doing so will show you where some of the imperfections are located that you might have missed.
Some of the spots on the above image are easy to see, but others are visible only upon closer inspection. Snuffing out all the blemishes, which are really dust on the front of my camera lens, would be a time-consuming process without the Visualize Spots option enabled. Doing so makes it easy to see every mote and speck that I need to fix with the Spot Healing tool.
The finished image, after some clicking and editing, is much improved. I even decided to leave in the streak of lens flare on the left side because I liked the effect, you could remove it if you wanted to by using the same tools.
While similar to the Clone tool, the Healing brush operates in a slightly different way. It takes textures and tones from a source portion of your image and blends it with the area you want to fix. It’s not a direct 1:1 copy of the source, like the Clone tool, and as such it creates results that are often a little more refined and effective in terms of removing problems and blemishes.
The Heal tool has the same options as the Clone tool (Size, Feather, and Opacity) but because the nature of the tool is somewhat different. The Opacity doesn’t function in exactly the way you might expect. It still adjusts how much of the source spot is stamped onto the blemish you want to remove but because it’s blending textures, colors, and patterns even a 100 value of Opacity means that you won’t see quite the same results as the Clone tool.
To fix a picture using the Heal tool, click on any spot you want to remove (or click and drag if it’s more than just a single spot) and Lightroom takes care of the rest. If the spot is not fixed to your liking, press H to show the Tool Overlays and edit as you see fit by dragging the source that is being copied and adjusting the Size, Feather, and Opacity.
Note: One other thing you can do with the Lightroom Spot Removal tool is to draw a line or shape. Your cloning area is not just limited to a circle anymore as it once was in LR.
The picture below shows the result of using the Heal tool to remove about a dozen blemishes and imperfections on a photo of some mushrooms. All this was done in under five minutes using only the Heal tool, and it illustrates how simple and effective this type of editing can be.
The Photoshop Solution
I often use the Lightroom Spot Removal Tool to fix little things in my images, but for real in-depth editing, you might want to turn to Photoshop. There you can really dig in with layers and the advanced editing tools that program offers.
For most photographers, whether professional or casual, the options in Lightroom will usually suffice. That’s what I find myself using almost every time I need to tweak a picture. Give it a try and you might be surprised at what it can do for you too.
The post Fixing Your Photos with the Lightroom Spot Removal Tool appeared first on Digital Photography School.
Fixing Your Photos with the Lightroom Spot Removal Toolhttps://digital-photography-school.com/?p=146300
Lightroom’s suite of editing tools is not as comprehensive as its big brother Photoshop But the program does offer a host of options for fixing photos that cover most of the corrections you are likely to need on a daily basis. You can, of course, use Lightroom for basic operations like adjusting white balance, changing […]
The post Fixing Your Photos with the Lightroom Spot Removal Tool appeared first on Digital Photography School.
Tue, 22 May 2018 14:00:00 +0000