Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Monthly Archives: December 2011

16 Digital Photography Tips for Christmas

by Darren Rowse at Digital Phot School

It’s just a few days until Christmas so I thought a quick tutorial on the topic of Christmas Photography might be appropriate. Hopefully this will give you some good Christmas photo ideas.

Here are 16 Christmas Photography tips and ideas to try that come to mind for digital camera owners wanting to capture the big day:”….MORE

Personal Photography Projects

I have always worked to projects or themes, this is a way of always having something to shoot. When I travel I decide what I might like to work with before I go or sometimes the theme occurs to me after I have started my travels. I have projects that have lasted decades, I don’t go looking for these images, I am just so attuned to the elements that make up the theme that when I see them I shoot. My most long standing project has been about light. It is called Eternal Light, nothing religious just the recognition that light is the most important thing a photographer uses, more important than the type of camera, lens or technique: understanding light, seeing it and having the certainty that it will be back in the same place at the same time next year and for eternity; Eternal Light. We teach this as the foundation of our Intermediate Photography course, the next is scheduled to start in February

This article by Peter West Carey on Digital Photo School addresses much of what I consider important about shooting a project or theme.

Personal photography projects are the spice of life between the humdrum of every day life and shooting. As a professional, there are subjects I shoot because I’m paid to (portraits, weddings, products, etc…) and there are subjects that interest me personally (mountains, goofy road signs, milk jugs, etc…). I’ve learned to mix the two and let work assignments pay for personal projects by keeping a list of what I want to shoot as I travel internationally as well as around my town.

You may not have thought of starting a long term project. Most of us don’t because our photographic interests change over time, more quickly as we start to dabble in photography and learn new techniques. We are all familiar with the Project 365, where the idea is to take a photo a day for a year. Think of this as a Project 365, but spread out of 5, 10, 40 years. Your goal is not to shoot regularly, but to shoot your given subject over and over and over, then compile the images tell a story.”.…MORE

all images ©Keith Barnes

Links for Photography Addicts

Another mix of tutorials, links and great images from Toad Hollow Photography via Lightstalking

“Another fabulous week in the world of photography passes us by, and Toad Hollow Photography has been busy compiling this weeks list of tutorials, photography and interesting blogs to share with everyone.  This comprehensive list contains some truly wonderful works by some talented artists and photographers, and the Toad hopes you enjoy checking these out as much as he did in bringing them to you.”…..MORE

Here’s a taste


Quick Tip: Auto Align Layers – a brief but absolutely useful article on aligning frames in Photoshop, particularly invaluable for HDR processing techniques.

Pregnant Photography Ideas and Tips – this is a great tutorial that truly delivers some fabulous tip and tricks to performing this style of photography.  Absolutely well worth the time to visit and read.

Working With Problem Exposures In Adobe Camera Raw – a brief but highly informative tutorial piece discussing how to work with problem exposures in post-processing.

How to Shoot Product Photography – Part 1 – this is the first part of a two part series that describes in great detail how to go about performing this style of image creation.  A comprehensive piece, complete with a shot of a setup to really help the reader fully take in the lesson that is shared.

Black & White Photography Must Know’s – a great series of tips and tricks on how to go about doing great black and white photography by Edin Chavez.  Well worth the time to visit and read, this is a really great post.

by sgmillionxu2000, on Flickr

Holiday Gift Guide for Photographers

Whether you are buying for a photographer or you are one trying to think of something you would like this from Photo.net might help Items from a few pounds to thousands

Although a US bias most products available there are available here so if there is something you like, working on a very rough $1.5>£1 ($15 + £10) just copy and paste the name of the item into your UK Amazon site and get going. Here is that link again

This is a shot I made for a software company in Oxford, the model is our very own Ander McIntyre an ever present (sorry) at the Photographers Workshop

What makes a good picture – Steve McCurry

“The debate over what makes a great photo has been raging for years and as new forms of photography and seemingly more cataclysmic world events occur it looks set to rage for a good many yet.

Undoubtedly a good photo needs compositional order, colour, shape and contrast – and it generally holds that if it doesn’t work as a thumbnail it probably won’t work as a blown up image. A good photo often has a punchline – the thing you see after you’ve looked around it. Cameras now do all the technical stuff if you let them so to the real novice that’s less of an issue than ever. So what is the X Factor a great picture must have?”.…more

Steve McCurry’s One-Minute Masterclasses

“Magnum photographer Steve McCurry’s advice is gold dust – both to aspiring photographers and those among us who just want to understand how one of the biggest names in the photography world goes about capturing the images that are recognised and celebrated across the globe. 

His eight One-Minute Masterclasses to-date have so far stressed the importance of engaging with your subject as a fellow human being, explained the best way to go about picking an unusual vantage point and revealed that maintaining a sense of humour when you’re photographing in extraordinary situtations goes a very long way.” There are 9 one minute masterclasses this link takes you to all of them

Steve McCurry, Nomad woman in yak-hair tent, Kham Province, Tibet (1999)

Basic Equipment for Professional Photographers

This is a well written article outlining the bare minimum level and type of equipment you will need if you are considering becoming a professional photographer It doesn’t tell you what to buy in terms of brands but gives a good explanation of what you will need in the different types of professional photography you might want to undertake.

“Unfortunately, most of us work with a limited budget when it comes to purchasing photography gear. Once we consider taking our photography to the next level and going pro, having the right gear becomes even more important. Not only is it important to have the right gear to capture the shots, it is also important to have the right gear to present a professional appearance to our clients.

Let’s say you have what you consider to be the minimum amount of gear to begin your adventures into professional photography – a good camera, a couple of quality lenses, and good working knowledge of post-processing. From there, your wish list has grown to epic proportions and includes everything from a back-up camera body to studio lighting and lenses galore. So how do you know what you really need, and in what order do you prioritize your purchases?”Written by: ………more

2011 Best Photos of the Year Part 1

So it is that time of the year when different organisations choose their best photos of the year. Depending on the reason for the organisation the choice will often be skewed to reflect it’s purpose. The Denver Post has some of the very best photo galleries on the web, every week they show wonderful, inspiring, inventive and eyecatching images so any roundup of the year they produce will be one worth looking at in detail. This year the DP Captured pblog has a best of in 3 parts and this is part one, share this gallery with your friends on facebook or elsewhere, get more people interested in fantastic photography. See all of this gallery here

A Guastavino Company spiral staircase at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York, on Jan. 25, 2011. The Guastavino Company was founded by the Catalonian architect Rafael Guastavino y Moreno, who arrived in New York 130 years ago. The domes and arches built by the Guastavino Company are everywhere in New York, but you have to look for them. (Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times)

An anti-government protester reacts before Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was to make a statement February 10, 2011 in Cairo, Egypt. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak made a statement in which he refused to step down, defying expectations that he was preparing to resign. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

Ball kids dry the court with towels after rain stopped play during the match between Samantha Stosur of Australia and Flavia Pennetta of Italy during day one of the Federation Cup tie between Australia and Italy at Domain Tennis Centre on February 5, 2011 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Murray and Kelly James look at their destroyed house in central Christchurch, New Zealand, Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011. A magnitude-6.3 temblor collapsed buildings, caused extensive other damage and killed dozens of people in the city. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

An injured anti-government protestor rests in a house in Tahrir Square after clashes with supporters of President Hosni Mubarak on February 3, 2011 in Cairo, Egypt. The Army positioned tanks between protesters who had been battling with supporters of President Hosni Mubarak for the second day in and around Tahrir Square in Cairo. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

See all of this gallery here

Photography Courses Jan/Feb/March 2012

We have recently released dates for our next series of courses. These start in January with the ever popular Understanding your DSLR on the 11th, this is a 4 session evening class but we also have a one day version in January, this is on Sunday 22nd January, so 2 courses to help all of you who receive brand new cameras at Christmas.  A little later in the term we start the Introduction to Photoshop, Composition – Seeing Pictures, Portrait, Black and White Digital, Understanding Your Compact Camera, Intermediate Photography and more Understanding Your DSLR courses spread throughout the term.

Here is a full list of all the courses and dates

Understanding Your Digital SLR:start dates:11.1.12; 30.1.12; 3.3.12; 7.3.12; (Saturday morning)Understanding Your Digital Compact Camera – starts: 27.2.12

Introduction to Photoshop and Photoshop Elements – starts 22.2.12 6 sessions,

Composition In Photography – Seeing Pictures – starts 2.2.12

Portrait Photography: – starts: 1.3.12

Intermediate Photography starts: 24.1.12

Black and White Digital Photography – starts 6.3.12

Travel Photography starts spring term

One Day Understanding Your DSLR – 22.1.12; 19.2.12; 25.3.12; 29.4.12

Most courses are 4 sessions one per week, (Photoshop and Intermediate Photography are 6 sessions) all run on consecutive weeks from start dates. 1 Day DSLR is a one day course, there are 4 dates this term

To book a place please send us an email with the course title and start date you wish to attend

Choosing a photobook supplier

I always make books, since photobooks became possible I saw them as the perfect way to present my images. I use them for trips away, days in the country, friends and family get togethers, I work on a basis of £1 a page and as I can sometime have 4 or more pictures per page this is not expensive. There are many options of who to use, I have tried, the Mac options with both iphoto and Aperture and Blurb and Photobox.

This article on Presets Heaven has additional views

“For each long trip to another country, I make a photo book containing most of the photos I’ve taken. I’ve tried multiple services for this purpose. Some of them are better than the other.  A while back ago I used Snapfish to process my photo books. They were the best alternative for me at that point. I was working on a stationary PC and Snapfish had special client for PC-users to take advantage of. Today, more and more services are available and with even more options to chose from (paper quality, number of pages, hard vs. soft cover etc.).”.…more