Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Monthly Archives: June 2011

Giving a good photo critique How to help your friends become a better photographer

Giving feed-back on something is really easy. Giving useful feedback on a subjective matter — such as photography — is, in fact, extremely difficult. That’s why I’ve created sort of a check-list with some tips as to how I like to do critiques….more By Haje Jan Kamps

This is an excellent article on the Pixq site, which is somewhere I look at on a regular basis and would recommend you do the same. We use critique processes on many of our courses and find the process very useful in helping students understand images. The reasons for this can be found in Haje first paragraph

“The first question you have to consider is this: “Why are you doing a photo critique?”. After all, by the time you’re doing the critique, the photo has been taken. It might be hours, days, even months or years since the photo was taken. Perhaps it was taken abroad, or in a situation where the photographer will never be again. In other words, it is important to remember that a photo critique isn’t about a single photo: it’s about how a photographer can develop as a snapper, both technically and artistically.”

Photos show another side of Andy Warhol

Photographs of Andy Warhol in ladies’ wigs and full make-up have gone on display in the UK for the first time. His friend and collaborator Christopher Makos, who took the photos, talks about working with the patriarch of pop art.  By Ian Youngs Arts reporter, BBC News...more

Christopher Makos is an unusual photographer and his website is worth a visit

Warhol and the Diva is at The Lowry in Salford until 25 September. Christopher Makos’ new book Tyrants and Lederhosen, a collaboration with Paul Solberg under the name The Hilton Brothers, will be published in October.

More Flexible Lightroom to Photoshop Editing

If you work in Lightroom, at some stage you’ll probably want to take an image to Photoshop for some additional processing. How you send it to Photoshop will have an impact on the options available to you. One option in Lightroom is to take an image to Photoshop as a Smart Object and that has some advantages. Here’s how to do it and why you might consider using this feature....more

This tutorial is by Helen Bradley  a Lifestyle journalist who divides her time between the real and digital worlds, picking the best from both. You can view her site at helenbradley.com. She writes and produces video instruction for Photoshop and digital photography for magazines and online providers world wide. She has also written four books on photo crafts and blogs at Projectwoman.com. This tutorial is on Digital-Photo-School.com

Critique your pictures – see more clearly -make better images

One of the skills we try to teach on our courses is how to read a picture and how to critique, this means looking critically at an image and determining what it is about, how it is formed and how it could be better. We feel at OSP that this is a vital part of becoming a better photographer and on many of our courses we set up blog sites where the students upload work and discuss each others images. Sounds a bit scary but it is so valuable and everyone benefits. We call it learning to see.

Christina N Dickson writes about this process in this interesting article on The Digital Photo School site,

“There comes a point in your photographic development when all of your images seem “pretty good”. Whether you are a professional or an amateur, this is the place where you like what you create, and even if there are a few little things that you would change, you’re ok with the results.

There is no better feeling for an artist than to love and enjoy the art you create. This is a wonderful place to be – so long as it doesn’t keep you from progressing in your craft.

Art is something that is developed over time. It is grown. It is reborn. As you are deliberate in the art you create, your craft will go to new heights.

So how do you work on your skills as a photographer? How do you “evaluate” what you need to change? What techniques you need to work on? How do you learn see new artistic possibilities?”...more

This is a nice picture from the article but Christina finds ways of improving it, have a look and try to work out what you might have done differently and then read what she says


How Image Stabilisation works

Have you ever wondered how your image stabilised lens manages to help you get sharp images in low shutter speed situations, well I have. This video actually shows the process in action viewing the inside of a lens as the is works, fascinating, here is a link to the video

How to Tell a Story with Your Photographs

Chase Guttman explains and gives a few pointers how to make your images do more than just represent a moment, more that they tell a story. This is a fundamental part of our Intermediate Course which will run again in the autumn. Here is what Chase has to say ”

We all strive to sculpt a lasting image – a shot so powerful that it entrances viewers forcing them to have a close affinity with the photograph.  But what makes a lasting photograph? What makes a photograph truly stand out?  Is it merely a group of elements shot with skilled techniques?

No, a lasting image is holistic, it sends a strong message when it tells a thought-provoking, emotional story.  So how do you do that?  Next time you go out to shoot, consider incorporating some of the tips below into your photographic routine.”...more

One of my personal favourites in creating a story, or at least a narrative that is open to your interpretation is the magnificent Gregory Crewdson, here are a couple of his images

Sharpening Your Image: High-Pass Filter vs. Unsharp Mask

In the world of photo editing, sharpening is the tool that you love to hate. It can easily turn your beautiful photo into a harsh, unattractive image if you’re not careful how you approach this. For something so simple, there are many avenues to pursue – but which is best?….more  This article is written by Christopher O’Donnell who makes a lot of sense and has a very nice website

Digital photography – what happens next? The future is here

The digital camera continues to revolutionise our photographic lives. The complicated and expensive days of film are now long gone. But recent years have seen camera technology begin to stagnate. Have we hit a megapixel plateau? Is facial recognition as far as the point and shoot can go? Or is there an exciting future in store for the camera?...more

Everything in focus

Meet the Lytro light-field camera. While still in the early stages of development, hence the lack of images of the camera hardware itself, it is shaping up to change photography in a big way. The new technology allows you to create a one-stop shop photograph that can be selectively focused after the picture has been taken....more on Geeko blog

Auto airbrush

One thing the Lytro can’t fix though is an unforgiving portrait or awkward family photo. There are however some compact cameras currently on the market that say otherwise. Enter the make-up applying point and shoot, which intelligently airbrushes shots to make the subject look better....more

360 degree shooting

Digital cameras are also set to change the way we approach and view photos altogether. Traditionally in order to take a snap you need to have the lens pointed at the subject. Only the widest of wide-angles can pack in about 180 degrees of what you see in front of you. Imagine a camera that can snap absolutely everything around, creating a single snapshot of a scene in its entirety...more

All-purpose bridge

So what direction should camera design be taking? The traditional viewfinder approach to things still seems to be the best way to take photographs. Ergonomics have barely changed since the advent of the SLR and rangefinder years ago. There is, however, one concept from Canon which could drastically change the way we approach a camera. The idea is the ultimate bridge camera with all encompassing wide angle to 500mm zoom. This means the end of heavy camera bags, switching lenses and expensive camera kits.…more


How many of these ideas will get beyond concept is something only time will reveal

New photographic portrait of The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh

A new portrait photograph of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, the first to be commissioned of the two together, has been released by the National Portrait Gallery in London, as part of an exhibition to mark next year’s Diamond Jubilee called The Queen: Art and Image.the exhibition information is

National Portrait Gallery

17 May – 21 October 2012

Porter Gallery


Queen Elizabeth II, by Dorothy Wilding, hand-coloured by Beatrice Johnson, 1952 - NPG x125105 - © William Hustler and Georgina Hustler / National Portrait Gallery, London

Queen Elizabeth II
by Dorothy Wilding, hand-coloured by Beatrice Johnson
NPG x125105


  • National Gallery Complex, Edinburgh
    25 June–18 September 2011 
  • National Museums Northern Ireland
    14 October 2011–15 January 2012 
  • National Museum Cardiff
    4 February – 29 April 2012

The new portrait by Thomas Struth can be seen on the BBC website and there is a recording of Struth talking about the image

Thomas Struth (born 1954) is a German photographer whose wide-ranging work includes depictions of detailed cityscapes, Asian jungles and family portraits. He is one of Germany’s most widely exhibited and collected fine art photographers. Struth currently lives and works in Berlin…more about Struth
If you want to see more of Struth’s work here is a link to his website

The Most Famous Photograph in the World

The Story of the Che Guevara Portrait

“Forget the camera, forget the lens, forget all of that. With any four-dollar camera, you can capture the best picture.” Alberto Korda

The picture of the Argentine born Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara is the most famous, most reproduced image in the world. You see it on tee-shirts, bedspreads and baseball caps and as Richard Castle of the Brisbane Times wryly observed “strolling down Brunswick Street or Chapel Street, it could be easy to think Che Guevara was the only man under 40 never to have worn a Che Guevara T-shirt”.