Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Monthly Archives: November 2012

Best Photography Ebooks

I love photography books, I have many, mostly monographs by specific photographers but I also have a few ‘how to do it’ books. The trouble with the latter is that once you have mastered what is on offer the book is a bit redundant. The cost is part of this concern but also that any book published this week was probably written 2 years ago and in the days of digital everything moves more quickly than that.

I have bought ebooks since they were first available, I really like take instruction in this way, I find the quality of reproduction a joy and if you manage to hit upon a series or writer you like and trust then even buying a number of books costs next to nothing.

I am a great advocate of the Craft & Vision ebooks, these cover technical and visual matters in clear and well presented publications and cost only about £3.25, at that price I feel it is worth taking a chance but I have to say I have never been disappointed by a Craft & Vision ebook. Have a look at what they have here

Here are some of their ebooks


Making the Print  Printing Techniques For the Digital Photographer (A Masterclass) Martin Bailey


Beyond Thirds A Photographer’s Introduction to Creative Composition Andrew S. Gibson


Up Close A Guide to Macro & Up Close Photography Andrew S. Gibson


Close To Home Finding Great Photographs in Your Own Backyard Stuart Sipahigil


Vision is Better Free the Mind, Free the Camera David duChemin

See the full catalogue of ebooks here, remember they are only £3.25 each or cheaper if you buy 5 or more

How to Photograph Senior Portraits That Will Take Pride of Place on the Mantlepiece

Over here in the UK we think of seniors as being people over 65, elsewhere the term ‘senior’ refers to late teens, odd huh?

We have a great friend and former student called Harriet Chen who is fantastic at this sort of work, have a look at her pictures here

©Harriet ChenScreen shot 2012-11-30 at 16.07.42Screen shot 2012-11-30 at 16.08.13All photos ©Harriet Chen

. over at Lightstalking has written an article about shooting seniors (somehow that sounds so wrong!) have a look at it here

Bravo! You’ve got that nice camera and a great lens, why not put it to good use? You can have some fun, and perhaps, maybe even save a few bucks along the way. However, here is a secret you may not know. It’s not as easy as it looks. It doesn’t take a whole trunk-load of gear to get great results. What it does take is a little time, a small investment in materials, a good sense of humor, and a willingness to work with your subject.

Here’s a checklist to get you started.

  1. You need a location.
  2. Clothing and perhaps props.
  3. A camera and lens. A DSLR with a selection of lenses would be nice but it’s not mandatory. You can also do this with a point-and-shoot camera as well.
  4. Simple lighting and light modification gear.
  5. A few extra human bodies will come in handy.

Want more……Click Here: How to Photograph Senior Portraits That Will Take Pride of Place on the Mantlepiece

Photography Courses starting January 2013

We have now released our most recent schedule of courses for next term, we have places on all the courses listed and full details can be found on the Oxford School of Photography website

Here are the dates, I will post more details later, if you are interested in taking a course please send me an email

Understanding Your Digital SLR Evening Classes:start dates 23.01.13; 7.03.13

Understanding Your Digital SLR Saturday Morning Classes start date 02.03.13

Understanding Your Digital Compact Camera – starts: 24.01.13

Introduction to Photoshop and Photoshop Elements starts 20.02.13

Composition In Photography – Seeing Pictures – starts 06.03.13

Understanding Flash Photography starts 05.03.13

Portrait Photography: starts: 04.02.13

Intermediate Photography – starts: 21.02.13

Black and White Digital Photography – starts 04.03.13

Travel Photography starts 04.03.13

One Day Understanding Your DSLR – 27.01.13; 17.02.13; 24.03.13

What is photography?

Well in this instance it is Phil Coomes of the BBC talking about the use by photo-journalists of Instagram as a way of increasing the awareness of a more serious set of pictures about a subject.

Yet what is photography if not something that shapes the world? It captures a moment in time and renders it in two dimensions; it’s down to the skill and authority of the photographer to select the right moment and view that will ensure the tones and shapes in the frame lead the viewer to want to know more about the subject. writes Coomes

Mendel released a number of pictures via the photography app, Instagram….This has created something of a split among photographers and editors as to whether such an approach is acceptable.

So what do you think, read Phil Coomes on the BBC website here, see if you agree

Drowning world by Gideon Mendel

The debate about what is photography was one we had during the most recent Intermediate Photography course, new dates are now available for the next term, you can see those dates here

Awesome photography links

Here is your weekly dose of fantastic photography links and tutorials, collated by Toad Hollow Photography and brought to you via Lightstalking

It’s been a very exciting week in the wide world of photography and Toad Hollow Photography has been very busy checking out all sorts of places and sources for the very best links to tutorials, great photography and interesting blogs to share with everyone.  This week’s list is full of great images and blog posts from some very talented artists and photographers, representing the very best of the craft today.  We really hope you enjoy checking out this week’s list as much as the Toad did in bringing it to you.

Here is a taste of the tutorials and links for the full Monty go here


Learn Studio Tabletop Photography step by step: a Droid shot – master product photographer and teacher Alex Koloskov takes us on an in-depth, behind-the-scenes tour during the creation of a great photograph for a customer.  By showing us how he configures and places his lighting, we all get the benefit of learning some of his advanced techniques.  Even if you don’t work in this specific field in photography, the information provided is pretty much guaranteed to teach everyone a little something about lighting.

Photographing Architecture | How to Tips and Tricks – this is a short article that gets right to the heart of the matter, discussing tips and techniques for capturing great architectural photography.  Lighting, angles and crops are all examined, producing a concise guide that is sure to expand almost everyone’s concepts on this genre of imagery.

How To Fix Extreme Wide Angle Shots – Blake Rudis delivers a video tutorial taking the reader through the process of fixing issues in extreme wide angle photography.  Natural distortion produced by the lens and composition is a non-trivial issue to solve, and Blake’s great video tutorials always show us the best and most straight-forward method.


Photos: The Ruins of Detroit – this is a poignant and profound piece that photographically details some of the key ruins found in the Detroit area after it’s financial struggles.  This collection portrays a sad and forlorn city, but finds strange beauty in the weathering and decay.  This series comprises a selection of shots that Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre have included in their book recently published featuring these incredible structures and their history and story.

Hammersmith Riverside – the incredible power behind the capturing and delivery of blue hour images is displayed in this breathtaking photograph from the studio of Chris Maskell.  The Hammersmith bridge sits in the far distance with it’s lights illuminating a pathway across that forms a great natural leading line in the frame.  The soft reflections from the lights in the river add further to the shot which really finds its star-power in the rich blue hues and tones prevalent throughout the picture.

Click Here: Don’t Miss This Incredible Collection of Recent Photography Links

Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2012 Jordi Ruiz Cirera wins

Spanish photographer Jordi Ruiz Cirera has won the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize worth £12,000. He speaks to Olivier Laurent in the BJP here

Margarita Teichroeb © Jordi Ruiz Cirera, courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery.
Yeah I don’t get it either
You can see all of the shortlisted and other entries on the NPG site here
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Read more: http://www.bjp-online.com/british-journal-of-photography/news/2222557/jordi-ruiz-cirera-wins-taylor-wessing-photographic-portrait-prize-2012#ixzz2D3AFWGr8
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Proposed UK copyright changes spark worldwide protests

There have been a lot of concerns over the way the British government planned to ease copyright restrictions. This is a difficult problem to solve as most of the world thinks it is ok to grab images and use them because they were ‘on the web’. However there is no doubt that many photographers are happy for their images to be used as long as they get a credit on the basis that any publicity must help, there are also many that want to guard their copyright at every turn. Read the full article by Olivier Laurent in the BJP here

US organisations representing photographers and photo agencies have written to the UK government to oppose proposed changes to the country’s copyright laws that would make it legal to use “foreign works without the knowledge and permission of the copyright owners”

Photography Books we recommend

It is that time of year, either you are looking for a book as a present for a photographer or you are constantly pressured by those who love you to come up with some ideas for what you would like as a Christmas present, so here are just a few suggestions. In no order or genre, just books we like

Tom Ang How to Photograph Absolutely Everything

This book does what it says, aimed at a more compact camera user with it’s technical advice but the ideas advice is excellent and everyone could learn from Tom.


Freeman Patterson Photography and the Art of Seeing

This is an excellent book for anyone who is interested in photography, not just taking snaps but those who really want to understand composition and the way it effects our images. This really is an excellent book that I have returned to regularly for ideas and understanding and inspiration

Almost any book featuring the work of Henri Cartier Bresson would be welcomed as a gift, I have a particular affection for this one

Henri Cartier Bresson Europeans

The book that started me off as a photographer when I was about 13 was by Bill Brandt, it was so inspiring that more than 40 years on I still return to it and marvel at this quiet man’s work

Bill Brandt Shadow of Light

At this time I can only see hardback copies from book dealers but even so it is worth the time and trouble finding one. An alternative is the book simply titled Brandt this has more pictures covering the widest areas of Brandt’s interest with a forward by David Hockney and a commentary by Bill Jay







This next book is not a photography book but in terms of visual ideas it is essential for any thinking person, it is large and stupidly cheap, I can’t recommend this book strongly enough The Art of Looking Sideways

Street Photography Now

This is a really excellent book and as Martin Parr says “it will become the new defining guide to street photography” Witty and full of ideas and inspiration, masses of pictures and features on specific photographers. A must if you are interested in street photography

I will post later about some other books I would like to find at the end of my bed on Christmas day.

Nikon D5200 new camera

With only a few weeks of the year left Nikon have decided to release a new camera, the D5200. From the BJP we learn:

The Nikon D5200 is an upper entry-level DSLR that improves on the D5100 by offering a 24MP CMOS sensor, 1080i60 movie capability, a side-articulated 921K dot 3.0″ tilt/swivel LCD and new processing filters. Interestingly, the D5200 is equipped with a significantly upgraded AF system, based around the same Multi-Cam 4800DX AF sensor that is used in the D7000, and the same 2016-pixel RGB metering sensor.

Less than two years after the launch of the D5100, Nikon has unveiled its successor – the D5200. But, in a press presentation held yesterday in central London, Simon Iddon, product manager for DX products at Nikon UK, says that D5100 will continue to be sold alongside the D5200.

“The D5200’s target audience is for the real hobbyist,” adds Iddon. “It’s skewed towards the male [user], in the age range of 25 to 50 years old, with a very big interest in photography. The focus for this audience is on creative expression rather than recording moments. It’s all about the artistry of the shot. They want to focus on special moments rather than everyday snapshots.”
The D5200 weighs 505g and will retail from £720 (body only) or £820 with a 18-55mm VR lens. The camera will be available in time for Christmas, however, Nikon has yet to communicate an exact release date.
Surely any camera allows for “artistry” it is the user that creates, if Nikon have been making dslr cameras that eschew this as an intention we have to consider why and how they see themselves in the market place. For me this press release just sounds like marketing bollocks but I do think Nikon should feel a bit ashamed at marketing a camera at a male audience and one that claims to get back to artistry as a reason for taking photographs, what have they been making cameras for otherwise.
There is the usual excellent preview and review at dpreview.com        You can buy it here

Lomography releases bellows film camera

As if by magic, one story about the Lomo comes along and then there is another. I had said that Lomo had invented and produced a number of funky odd cameras but they also have made some which are a bit more serious and this is clearly one from that stable. The article, by Ariane Osman in the BJP gives the information you are probably not completely interested in but also think it might be fun to engage with film either again or for the first time.

The Belair X 6-12 is a new 120 film camera that gives users the ability to switch between normal automatic shutter speed and long exposure. The camera can also shoot pictures in three formats – regular 6×9, square 6×6 or panoramic 6×12.
The new model is an interchangeable lens system that allows the attachment of a 90mm standard lens or a 58mm wide-angle lens. Lomography is said to be developing more lenses for the Belair X 6-12 in a bid to create an entire medium-format platform.
The camera is available in three models: the City Slicker Edition for £249; the Jetsetter Edition for £299; and the Globetrotter Edition for £244.

The Belair X 6-12 will be available in December. For more details, visit www.lomography.com.

Here are a selection of the Lomo cameras available from lomography.com there is the fish eye, the spinner, the multishot, the plastic, the gold, from humble beginnings there is now an empire, prices start from about £40, the shop sells cameras, accessories, film everything you need and the galleries have lashings of inspiration

Read more: http://www.bjp-online.com/british-journal-of-photography/news/2219240/lomography-releases-bellows-film-camera#ixzz2D2fyQoLB
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