Does your photography move you emotionally? Do other people comment on how it moves them? Is there a “wow” factor?
Experienced photographers who share their knowledge with new photographers spend a lot of time talking about composition and the “rules”. Leading lines, rule of thirds, negative space, etc. help to teach the eye what to look for when evaluating a scene. But they don’t spend a lot of time talking about why these rules matter at all.
I can only find one answer: it’s an effort to disrupt the composure of anyone who views the image. To get a reaction. Most often positively, sometimes with delight, and sometimes deliberately negatively. The “rules” provide a roadmap for the senses, and by extension, for the emotions. To be truly successful as a photographer, you have to tap into that emotion – yours and your viewers.
It seems there is a long-standing debate around photographing other people’s work. It’s a simple debate: what exactly is the photographer creating if the photograph includes an object or structure that has been created by someone else?
This debate arises mostly in relation to works that exist in public spaces. The originating works may already be labelled “works of art” or may be labelled “architecture”, “edifice”, “structures”, “building”, “hardscape”, “figure”, “carving”, “casting” or any of many names that don’t necessarily assign an aesthetic value.
And yet all of it was imagined by someone, designed by someone, built by someone and placed on display. Even if the work has another function, such as a building, there was a creative effort expended to provide that space. If a photographer takes an image of it, presents it as their own creation and maybe makes a profit from it, is that right? Disclaimer: this is not a legal review. Continue reading →
Another short presentation to my local camera club. This item was on activating, reading and responding to the histogram.
A histogram is a plot of the tonal values (dark to light) captured by the millions of photosites that make up your camera sensor in a digital camera. Just like the eye of a fly that uses thousands of tiny lenses to create one image, the digital camera uses millions of photosites to create one image. These tonal values can be plotted on a chart available in camera that photographers can use to assess the overall exposure of their images. One reason this chart is useful is that our eyes handle complex scenes so much better than our cameras. Knowing what the camera sees helps you make the right choices on settings.
Most cameras show the histogram after you take the photo and display it on the LCD screen. You can then adjust your settings for the next shot. But higher end or newer models, especially mirrorless models, include a “live” histogram that helps you pick the right settings before you ever press the shutter.
While post-processing can address some of the problems that arise from using the wrong settings, if your image is overexposed or underexposed, there will be limits on what you can do afterward. So use the histogram to give you an extra edge every time.
One of the greatest advancements in photography has been the invention of autofocus. Simply by pointing your camera at a subject and pressing the shutter halfway, the camera will not only meter the ambient light, but bring the main subject into sharp focus.
As with most things photographic, there is theory and there is practice and sometimes the two don’t mesh exactly. Here’s what I’ve learned about autofocus. Continue reading →
One of the joys of photography is simply the chance to talk to other photographers. So many topics to indulge, so many experiences to compare. And of course, best of all, the chance to admire good work.
I had the pleasure yesterday of attending a talk at our local camera club by Kas Stone, a Canadian photographer based in Nova Scotia. In addition to her work as a landscape and nature photographer, she regularly teaches, holds workshops and speaks to groups like ours about the art of photography. Continue reading →
The start of a new year. Time to consider shaping up – not only personally but maybe for your photography workflow. How can you do things better? At the very least, you’ve probably accumulated a huge amout of content this year. Are you running out of storage space? And are you safeguarding your work appropriately?
Managing and safeguarding your photographs is a personal decision with lots of options. Built-in computer hard drives are bigger and faster every year. But there’s also detachable hard drives and network hard drives and online storage. How do you choose the right combination?
I’ve used mixtures of all of the above over the years, and currently assign files to different storage options based on importance and where they are in my workflow. I also need a clean, easy way to organize my content – client files here, personal files there.
With image volumes increasing, I recently looked into just how well these options are working for me, and here’s what I discovered. One disclaimer: these options may not be right for you. It’s about what you feel comfortable with and what you are willing to spend. Continue reading →
It’s one of the ironies of photography that we spend ever increasing amounts of money to purchase better and better cameras and lenses, acquiring more and more automatic features to aid us in getting the best images possible.
And then what do we do? We turn everything off and shoot completely manually, because “that’s what pros do”. Think about that for a minute. Does that make sense to you? Give your head a shake.
I recently had a moment shooting an event where I had to do just that. Then I did a little experiment to find out just what I was missing by doing all the work myself. Read on for the results.