Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Monthly Archives: April 2011

Wedding – Photography Stories

That kiss, that dress! We are collecting wedding photographs and stories from around the world and through the decades for an online public gallery.

Share family photos across the generations. Pair up with someone older or younger than you and pass on the story behind the image.

What photo will you choose, and what story will you tell? Upload your photo and story to our website, and see them featured in the online gallery which goes live on Friday 6 May. A collaboration between the Photographers Gallery and Photonet.org

“Jim – the best man”

I took this picture some years ago, I had met Jim, the best man, in the pub before the wedding started and he was a joker, no nerves at his role. As the wedding car left the church I saw Jim pick up his skirt (kilt) and run, I was unsure what he would do but I knew it would be memorable. Keith Barnes

Visual Skill Building Techniques- Training your eye for photography

Here are some exercises I learned a long time ago when I was first learning photography in my photojournalism class……..these lessons in this tutorial are similar to the practical skills we teach in our Intermediate Photography course which starts next week  If you can’t attend our class have a look at this article

Lightroom – Magic Hour Look Preset

Those good people at Pre-set heaven have come up with another downloadable preset that helps to create that ‘magic hour look’ If you use LR you should also use pre-sets as it adds so much to your productivity, here is that link you need

Photography Courses with places starting next week in Oxford

Next week we start some of the courses for this new term and we have places on these:

Seeing Pictures – Composition in Photography

A course for those who would like to understand more about composition. Great volumes have been written about composition, often relating to the works of the masters of art since the dawn of painting, we aim to simplify this information and make it digestible for today’s photographers. Referencing the masters of photography using slide presentations and demonstrations we will help you to understand the basics of creating beautiful photographs, photographs with meaning and impact. We will introduce you to the craft of composing pictures: the shapes, lines, colours and juxtaposition of elements, framing and the rule of thirds. This course is much less about subject matter and much more about how you approach your preferred subjects. Starts Thursday 5th May £80

Introduction To Photoshop

This course is for those who have decided that digital photography means doing their own image manipulations on their computers and have chosen Photoshop as their software. Photoshop is a huge programme but we concentrate on the areas that are of direct interest to photographers, the course looks at the full programme and Photoshop Elements. The course is taught by demonstration using a digital projector and by practise in class using the computers in the computer suite. Starts Wednesday 3rd May £97


All of us want to take good portraits, it is something that eludes and frustrates, this course helps to unlock the mysteries of good portraiture. It gives sound practical advice through demonstration, slide presentation and review of assignments. Covering camera types, lens choice, depth of field, posing, props, shooting by available light and a brief introduction to using flash and studio lighting. This course will enable you to make fine portraits of your family and friends. Starts Monday 9th May £80

1 Day DSLR

You will learn about the controls you really need to know, We will show you how to get the very best results by understanding how your camera works, showing which settings you need to understand and how to use them. In class, with a slide show, we will explain what you need to do and then, weather permitting, we will take our cameras out for practical sessions to put those lessons learned in class to good use. The day is broken down into classroom and practical sessions, the former explaining by lecture and slideshows, the latter by hands on practise with a tutor there to help you understand what you need to do. Class sizes are no more than 10 students so there is lots of opportunity for 121 help when you need. Saturday 7th May £90 (only 2 places left on this)

Docklands – geometric images

Lots more here

Pictures by Tom Blachford

We cover the use of lines and colour in our Composition – Seeing Pictures course that starts 5th May

Flirting with film

Ed Verosky at About Photography has a gentle tilt towards shooting film, here he describes the experience in a reflective way

“It’s not uncommon to hear photographers talk about digital as something they really appreciate for its efficiencies.  But when you bring film into the conversation, sometimes it’s like mentioning an old flame to someone stuck in a marriage of convenience.  Some photographers just love film, even though they know they have to spend most of their lives with digital now.

Compared to digital photography, film can take on the allure of novelty, the tactile senses, and authenticity”.……..more

I am less convinced by the need to return to film, I spent 40 years of my life shooting, developing and printing film, black and white and colour, and everything in-between, yes there is an in-between. I think the appeal of film is the reduced number of decisions you have to make by comparison with digital and the need not to learn more stuff. But I love learning new stuff, digital saved me from a life of having been there, seen it, done it. I also love not smelling of fixer and having stained clothes. When I speak to young photography students and am told that their tutors insist they start off by learning about black and white film I wonder if the tutors are just too lazy to fully engage with digital, in the end for me the image is everything getting there is a journey and digital offers more opportunities to leave the highway and to explore. Having said all of that the majority of the best pictures ever taken were shot on black and white film, here are some

Irving Penn

Alfred Steiglitz

Richard Avedon

We run a Black and White Digital course starting 13th June, details are here

The big picture: Henri Cartier-Bresson in 1950s Moscow

Henri Cartier-Bresson visited Moscow in 1954 to document daily life under communism. Cartier-Bresson sought to capture with his camera what he called decisive moments, coincidentally graceful arrangements of people or objects that other observers would have overlooked. He wandered through foreign cities like a libertine on the prowl, poised to take advantage of any opportunity for visual seduction. The taller soldier here, whose lips curl into a raffish smirk as he strides towards a possible conquest, might be a mirror-image of the invisible photographer. You can feel the frisson of sensual anticipation that accompanied the click of the shutter.…more

If you want to see more go to this rather excellent site, here are some pictures from there

US photographer, Bruce Davidson, seeks British girl he captured on film in 1960

The great American documentary photographer Bruce Davidson is in the UK this week to receive a major award, and has spoken of his hopes of trying to find out what happened to the subject of one of his favourite photographs……well is this you?

10 Things I Learned Shooting Corporate Events

“I’ll never forget the day I shot my first corporate event. I rented a Nikon D2h and an 80-200 2.8 lens.  An hour into the shoot my neck was already killing me and the client had already told me to stand in the back because my camera was “making too much noise.”  It was there, at some Economist Conferences Event, that my life as an event photographer began.” Brian Friedman

This interesting and useful article appears on the Picatge site, which in itself is worth a visit, here are Brian’s 10 tips

Tim Hetherington

Tim Hetherington, the British photojournalist, who was killed with his colleague Chris Hondros in a mortar blast in Misurata, Libya, on April 20 aged 40, specialised in bringing the viewer close to the terrible truths of battle; last year he won an Oscar nomination for best documentary for the Afghanistan war film Restrepo. Through still photographs, films, videos and internet downloads, Hetherington, who did much work with Human Rights Watch, sought to bridge the gap between the chaos of conflict regions around the world and the comfortable living rooms of his Western audience. As he covered wars in Liberia, Afghanistan, Darfur, Chad and Sri Lanka as well as Libya, his photography was characterised by a remarkable human sensitivity and an eye for the beautiful and strange.

Read the rest of this obituary from The Telegraph

See Tim Hetherington’s work here

Tim Hetherington: A Vanity Fair Portfolio