Oxford School of Photography

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Daily Archives: March 13, 2012

Forget Mugshots, Make Stronger Portraits

David DuChemin over at the Pixelated Image blog has another book out, you can download this for a paltry $4 if you use the discount code on offer.

Forget Mugshots won’t make the process of making portraits less scary, but it will help you make stronger people photographs. It’s available today as a PDF for only $4 for the first five days. See below for details. And if you’re a member of the Craft & Vision Community, listen for the next podcast, because Matt Brandon and I are planning to spend it telling stories and talking about this very topic, including more tips and tricks.

Special Offer on PDFs
For the next five days only, use the promotional code MUGSHOTS4 when you checkout so you can have the PDF version of Forget Mugshots for only $4 OR use the code MUGSHOTS20 to get 20% off when you buy 5+ PDF eBooks from the Craft & Vision collection. These codes expire at 11:59pm PST March 17, 2012.

“Forget Mugshots, 10 Steps To Better Portraits, is a 35-spread course in improving your people photography. I always laugh when the odd review comes back with sage comments like, “there’s nothing new here.” No, there isn’t. Of course there isn’t. And anyone who pretends to teach “new secrets” is just after your buck. I’m not telling you which aperture to use, or letting you in on some new technique that no one else knows and will rock your world. It’s sound teaching about the priorities, thoughts, and techniques I’ve used to create portraits of people at home and around the world. It’s the “if I could teach you only ten things to focus on when making portraits and people photographs, what would those be?” book.”


Art of Arrangement – still life photography

An exhibition, currently in Bath about still life photography.

“The National Media Museum has wanted to make an exhibition on still lifes for a long time,” says Brian Liddy, the museum’s curator of collections access. “It’s a classic genre but it hasn’t been addressed for a while. I think people have forgotten how interesting it is – old-fashioned photographs of food and flowers shot against a flat background might sound boring, but the roots of the genre are in 17th century Dutch painting and are all about death, mortality, and the transitory nature of earthly pleasures. Still lifes may take seemingly simple subjects, but they deal with some of the great questions of art.”

Art of Arrangement: Photography and the Still Life Tradition is on show at The Holburne Museum in Bath until 07 May.

Still life with ivory tankard and fruit, about 1860. Roger Fenton.
The Royal Photographic Society Collection at the National Media Museum.

Art of Arrangement

11/2/12 – 7/5/12

Art of Arrangement: Photography and the Still Life Tradition
11 February to 7 May 2012
Admission £6.50 / Concessions

Art of Arrangement: Photography and the Still Life Tradition is a visually arresting exhibition organised in partnership with the National Media Museum, it surveys the many ways in which photographers have explored still life.

FULL DETAILS FROM The  Holbourne Museum

There is a review of the exhibition in the Independent by Adrian Hamilton

Photography and painting have always looked over their shoulder at the other. There is barely a show of a modern artist – viz David Hockney, Lucian Freud and Gerhard Richter – which hasn’t a description of how the artist has set out to prove that painting can reach the parts that photography does not dare to go.

But then photographers have, since the beginning a century and a half ago, just as consciously sought to set themselves up to challenge and to surpass traditional painting. It’s a theme currently explored by the Holburne Museum in Bath in an intriguing show of photographic still life. Right at the start, Henry Fox Talbot, the founder of the new medium numbered it as a genre where photography could and should show its worth. It’s still going strong.”.…MORE

Family Photography – tips on getting the best family portraits

By over at Lightstalking

“Family portraits that may be hanging in your grandparents house probably don’t look very fun, but you still enjoy them because they are photos of your loved ones.  It seems that having a formal family photo taken every year or every few years comes into vogue as soon as it goes out and right now the trend is on the uprising.  Shooting family photos don’t have to be so static and boring, like what you have seen in old albums or on the walls of your relatives homes.  Here’s some tips to ensure you don’t make catastrophic mistakes shooting families.”..…MORE

Photo by: morgan.cauch

Advice for portrait photographers and their subjects

On a link back to our site I found this advice, aimed at potential photographic portrait subjects but good advice to photographers on how to help their subjects do better. From Inside Photography

  • Wear solid coloured clothing (patterns can be distracting or photograph poorly).
  • V-neck tops or shirts with collars accentuate the neck (men with long, slim necks should wear crew neck or collared shirts that can be buttoned up).
  • Don’t wear turtle-necks unless you know that’s the look you want. You could end up looking like a floating face.
  • Take a couple of shirt options if you’re unsure (one black, one white or light colour – different collar styles).
  • Choose colours that compliment your skin tone.
  • Long sleeves tend to be better than short sleeves or tank tops, unless you have killer, sexy arms.
  • Your jacket, if you wear one, should contrast with your shirt.
  • Ties should also contrast with shirts.
  • Avoid ties with bold or loud patterns, unless, of course, that’s the look you want.
  • Don’t over-do makeup or jewelry. The more subtle, the better.
  • Wear make-up and jewelry that make you feel good. If you don’t usually wear make-up, or it makes you feel awkward, don’t wear it for your shoot.
  • Avoid logos of any kind. This is a photo of you, not an ad for that company.
  • Drink lots of water the day before and day of your shoot, eat a healthy, light meal before your shoot (this will help you look content and refreshed).
  • Bring water with you to the shoot, especially if having your picture taken makes you nervous.
  • If you’re getting your hair cut, do it a week before your shoot so it has time to “settle.”
  • If you’re getting a perm, do it two weeks before the shoot so it has time to relax.
  • Bring a little make-up with you (if you wear it) for touch ups before/during the shoot.
  • Think about what you want your photos to look like. Surf the web for portraits or head shots to get an idea of what’s out there. Your photographer probably has their own ideas, but should be happy to hear yours as well.
  • If you are nervous about having your photo taken, tell the photographer. They may have techniques to help you feel more comfortable.
  • If you are nervous or don’t like having your photo taken, feel free to bring a friend who can chat with you during the shoot. Not all photographers encourage this, but it can be a great way to stay relaxed.
  • Don’t be afraid to speak up if you aren’t happy with how things are going. Feel free to make suggestions and ask questions.
  • Show up prepared to relax and have fun. Even if the shoot is for a more subdued or serious commercial head shot, your sense of calm and happiness will make your photos more attractive.

Full article here©Mario Testino – Kate Moss