Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Monthly Archives: February 2014

Best monitor for photo editing: 4 top models tested and rated

In class, any of the classes I teach, eventually the question comes up, why do my prints not look like what I see on screen. Well there are a number of reasons but the first is that professionals use monitors designed for graphic purposes. We don’t use the default that came with the computer we bought, and often the monitor costs as much as the computer. We need to be able to calibrate our monitors so that they look like other professional outfits who use professional monitors, these should be your local high street printer, the digital book publisher you use and the bespoke lab you prefer. We usually recommend looking at Colour Confidence as a start point

What is the best monitor for photo editing? Colour-accurate monitors offer true-to-life reproduction of photographic images, but price and performance varies. Digital Camera World tested four of the top models available to see which monitor is best for photographers.

Best monitor for photo editing: 01 Eizo ColorEdge CG243W

Eizo Monitor

Price: £1,200
Buy it: http://www.eizo.co.uk
This thoughtfully laid-out monitor has a versatile swivelling screen, which makes fitting it into your workspace a doddle, even with the (included) hood in place.

The menus are sensibly laid out, with icons popping up above the buttons so you always know what to press, even in a darkened studio.

The included calibration software enables you to build an ICC profile quickly, and the 1920×1200-pixel display offers high-end reproduction, but this doesn’t come cheap and, at 24 inches, this is the smallest monitor on test.

Pros: A high-end, flexible monitor with rich, consistent colours
Cons: Only 24 inches; functional rather than stylish design; pricey

Score: 88%

See the other recommended at Digital Camera World here

32 things photographers say… and what they really mean

This is a quite funny article in Digital Camera World, showing us all up for insecure things we really are….

Here is a taste for you

When photographers say…
What are you shooting?
They actually mean…
Hello there! This is me, trying to break the ice.

When photographers say…
I work primarily with natural light.
They actually mean…
My flash exposures are awful. Seriously, they’re awful.

When photographers say…
I only carry out minimal post-processing.
They actually mean…
Photoshop confuses the heck out of me. I mean, I can shuffle the Unsharp Mask sliders left and right a bit, but I really have no idea what I’m doing.

When photographers say…
I love the way that you’ve processed your photos.
They actually mean…
I’d love to copy that look – can you tell me how you did it?

See More here


Nikon D3300 vs D3200 vs D3100: which camera should you choose?

Nikon has released a new entry level camera but still has the earlier versions in the range available, this article might help you decide which you should choose

Nikon has used the CES show in Las Vegas to launch its latest DSLR, the Nikon D3300. This is an entry-level camera designed for beginners, but boasts some important developments and additions.

But Nikon’s existing D3000-series beginners models will also continue for now. So how does the new Nikon D3300 compare vs the D3200 and D3100? In our Nikon D3300 vs D3200 vs D3100 comparison we examine 15 key specifications to see how they differ and how significant these differences are likely to be. READ MORE HERE



His Own Cocoon: Anton Corbijn

Anton Corbijn you may know because of his work with U2. For a long time he was the rock music photographer of choice. This article on the excellent Faded + Blurred is about his career and thoughts on photography

“Photography was the only thing that mattered in my life and I gave it everything.” – Anton Corbijn
Whether or not you know the photography of Anton Corbijn, you’ve undoubtedly seen his influence. As both a photographer and music video director, Corbijn helped to define the visual styles of bands like Nirvana, Joy Division and Coldplay, as well as U2 and Depeche Mode, with whom he has collaborated for more than two decades. Collaboration seems to be one of the hinge pins of Corbijn’s creative process, whether you point to his 35-year ongoing collaboration with Tom Waits, or the incredible body of work produced with Depeche Mode, which includes more than a dozen music videos, from the spaghetti-western inspired Personal Jesus to the tongue-in-cheek homage to 70s cinema, It’s No Good, in which Corbijn even cast himself in a cameo.  READ MORE




2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 41,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 15 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

10 Reasons Why You Should Be Shooting RAW

Shooting in RAW rather than jpeg is such an advantage I am not sure why everyone doesn’t use it. OK I do understand, you will spend more time in front of a computer adjusting your images, you will need more memory cards as RAW files take up more space but that is about it. You might think your problem is that you don’t know how to process the RAW images on your computer, we recommend Lightroom, it isn’t nearly as confusing as some image manipulation programs and anyway we run a course to show you how. I only ever shoot in RAW and could not think of a situation where that would change for me. So do you want to get better quality images?


This article on Photography Concentrate just about says it all

You’ve probably heard over and over that you should be shooting in RAW. But do you know why it’s so important? And what it really means for your images? Let’s sort it out!
First off, what is RAW? RAW is a file format that captures all image data recorded by the sensor when you take a photo. When shooting in a format like JPEG image information is compressed and lost. Because no information is compressed with RAW you’re able to produce higher quality images, as well as correct problem images that would be unrecoverable if shot in the JPEG format.

And happily many many cameras these days shoot RAW, including point and shoots! So even if you’re using a little camera, you might still be able to take advantage of the RAW file format (just check your camera manual to see!).

So, the benefits. Let’s list ‘em out.

Get the Highest Level of Quality, Record Greater Levels of Brightness, Easily Correct Dramatically Over/Under Exposed Images

These are some of the 10 reasons you should consider shooting in RAW, go here to read the full article


MEYER Marcel photographer


meyer_mfcn_650_479_dream_05From the same French site, hence my lack of understanding I find these, not the greatest images you have ever seen but look at them for a while, see more here


meyer_mfcn_650_479_dream_04See the rest here




No I don’t know what any of this means but the pictures are fun and need to be seen, go here for all of them




FaçadesThanks to our comrade David T


The Addiction of Photography: Rankin

Rankin is one of my favourite photographers because he tackles everything from high fashion to style magazines to charity work, all with exceptional skill, vision, wit and understanding. I have featured him before on these pages but this Spotlight on Faded + Blurred has so much more.

“There’s a time when people say your work is revolutionary, but you have to keep being revolutionary. I can’t keep shooting pop stars all my life. You have to keep changing, keep pushing yourself, looking for the new, the unusual.” – Rankin
Allowing ourselves to be inspired by the work of others is important to any artist. I am always looking to other photographers for inspiration and to help me explore different styles and techniques. There are those that I look at and think, “I could do what they do”, and then there are those whose work seems to be flawless and I think I should just take my toys and go home. Or, as Jeffery would say,”He makes me want to go work at Starbucks.” Rankin is one of those photographers.

When I first looked at Rankin’s work, I noticed several things. Of course his lighting is perfect, and his use of color is amazing, and his black and whites are stunning. But beyond the technical details , Rankin is an expert at capturing the character of the people he shoots. If I had to pick one thing that I love about his work it would be the eyes. They seem to jump out at you in almost every shot.

My favorite of the campaigns he has done for charities is the one he did for Oxfam. In 2008 he visited the Democratic Republic of Congo to highlight the forgotten conflict in the country. He took a series of portraits of people who had fled the conflict and were living in refugee camps. The expressions on some of their faces are priceless. “I went with the idea of making them human beings,” he says, “It was a liberation to do photographs that were purely about the subject. An artist of any description becomes very self-obsessed. You just do.”….READ MORE




Influence Book / WKTPR / Published By Penguin


Rimmel Advertising


Heidilicious Book / Personal / Syndication / RETROSPECTIVERead more here


A Book Of Contrasts: Bill Brandt

I began taking pictures when I was 12, at school a boy in the year ahead of me who also lived near me had seen me with my camera and befriended me. He was also interested in photography and it was he who introduced me to Bill Brandt. Up until I saw the book Shadow of Light by Brandt I had no idea photographs could almost be about anything as long as they had some meaning, atmosphere, emotion. I gave up just taking pictures of my dog or my mates mucking about and started trying to take pictures like Bill Brandt. Some 46 years later I am still trying.

Maybe this article will be me passing the baton on to someone else who is looking for a better reason to pick up a camera. From the excellent Faded & Blurred site a long and very interesting article about the great man who made me become a photographer

“It is part of the photographer’s job to see more intensely than most people do. He must have and keep in him something of the receptiveness of the child who looks at the world for the first time or of the traveler who enters a strange country.” – Bill Brandt

Heralded by many as Britain’s greatest modern photographer, Bill Brandt was a man who never took a photograph unless he had something to say. On par with Man Ray, Brassai, and Atget, Brandt accomplished what few photographers have been able to do (either before or since), which is to successfully bridge the gap between photojournalism and documentary photography all the way to the other end of the spectrum of fine art. His work is characterized by stark contrasts between black and white and strong geometrical structures, whether the images are of a miner bringing home his coal for the day or the nude form of a woman on a rocky beach….READ MORE


bill-brandt-16-620x420 bill-brandt-34-288x350