Some Common Sense Advice on Photographing People in Informal Settings

Photographing people comes with some additional complications not present when photographing still life.  An obvious statement, you say.  One such complication is the question of permission when photographing people informally.

Last week, I had dinner with acquaintances who insisted that photographers own all their images from the moment they are shot.  Permission to use them is not required.  I was also out shooting with others who believe that documents get in the way of artistic freedom, particularly in informal settings.  I wanted to know more.

The-Fine-PrintFirst, a disclaimer:  this post is NOT legal advice.  Every jurisdiction is different – it’s up to you to understand the laws that apply to you and how best to protect yourself.  You should always follow any copyright and privacy laws, particularly if you hope to profit financially from your work.

And this post is not about formal portraits or events for hire (weddings, family milestones, freelance event photography, etc.), which typically include negotiations and signed contracts; it’s about the more spontaneous form of people photography known as “street” photography.

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Tools That Make Macro Photography Easier – Helicon Focus Pro and CamRanger

Spring has sprung.  New life all around us, providing a wealth of photographic subjects.  Perfect for macro photography.  Macro photography reveals the smallest of these subjects, from tiny lichens to the wing details of insects to the inner sculpture of a summer bloom.

Canon Macro LensMacro photography requires only one unique piece of equipment:  a lens that can focus within a tiny distance of the subject, resulting in an image that is the same size on the camera sensor as the subject is in real life.  But macro lenses have an amazingly small depth of field, almost guaranteeing that some part of the image will be out of focus.   What’s a photographer to do? Continue reading

Photography as Art

ScotiabankApril and May are the traditional kickoff months for photography festivals in this area.  Many photographers, themes and collections are on display.  So many, in fact, that viewing all of their work is impossible, and isolating favourities can be challenging.

In a recent excursion, I participated in a discussion of photography as art.  The premise was that in order to be noticed, you can’t just be a photographer – you need to be an artist.  You need to give your photographs a distinctive look, a distinctive emotional connection to the viewer.  This means going beyond just documenting a subject – it means creating a work of art.  And this isn’t new – all successful photographers have realized and operated on this basis since the days of pinhole cameras.

This leaves me wondering.  If photography must be art to be successful, is there a point where a photograph is no longer a photograph?  And where is that line?  The answer isn’t obvious.  Here’s why…

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Is Nature Ever Natural?

In two weeks, my local photography club, the Oshawa Camera Club, will be holding a discussion and vote.  The subject:  how natural should nature photography be?  Club competition rules for the nature category are currently strict, limiting almost all evidence of “hand of man” and requiring that the image be a documentary of the subject in their natural environment.  But today’s sophisticated software opens the door to edits that are routinely applied in other categories, so why not here?  Here’s the debate… Continue reading

To Print or Not to Print, That is the Question

We didn’t learn about printing photographs during my training in digital photography.  Some of you might say “What did you expect, it was a DIGITAL photography course?”

Good point.  But I always felt there was something missing in my training and I recently attended a two day course on printing photographs.  It opened my eyes to the value of a hardcopy print.  Here’s why. Continue reading

Tools That Make My Photography Easier – Luminar

For as long as I can remember, Adobe Photoshop has been the king of image editing software.  It is used by professionals in the photographic and graphic industries to work wonders with any form of image, even allowing you to create an image without using any camera at all.

But the consumer revolution left Adobe a bit behind, with savvy semi-pro and enthusiast photographers looking for image editing options that were reasonably priced and didn’t require a college degree.  To Adobe’s credit, they saw that demand and Adobe Lightroom was born.  But recent moves to subscription services and releases of updates users didn’t want have set them back a bit.  Room for others to step in?  Now we have a new player in this arena – MacPhun’s Luminar.
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Light Painting with Patrick Rochon

I had the pleasure yesterday of attending a presentation by Patrick Rochon, also known as Patrick the Light Painter.  There are many ways to express one’s creativity in photography and Patrick has chosen light as the medium for his expression.  You might wonder what’s unique about that, since every photographer uses light.  It’s how he uses it that sets him apart. Continue reading