Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Monthly Archives: January 2015

21 Settings, Techniques and Rules All New Camera Owners Should Know

From those very nice people at DPS we have a number of bits of advice that will help you if you are new to a DSLR. We run courses that cover all of these so if you prefer the personal touch have a look at our courses, here is a link We have a course this Sunday with places if you are keen to get started.

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Some are very basic while others go a little deeper – but all have been selected from our archives specifically for beginners and new camera owners. Enjoy.

1. Digital Camera Modes Explained

2. Aperture and Shutter Priority Mode

3. Introduction to White Balance

6. How to Hold a Digital Camera

8. How to Use Focal Lock

See the full article with all 21 tips here

Goa’s first photography festival

Are you off to India anytime in the very near future, going to Goa? There is a photography festival being held there for the first time, Goaphoto runs from 25 February to 7 March. I found information about the festival on the Guardian website , unfortunately the website for the festival is still partly under construction and there isn’t very much to see there but from the Guardian and  we get some information and pictures, here you go

India through a lens: the nation embraces photography as art: For a country so rich in imagery, India has been slow to embrace photography as art. The nation’s first photography festival was held only four years ago, in New Delhi, and since then other cities have followed with their own exhibitions. Goa, although better known for its cheap beach holidays, soft drugs and hippie lifestyle, is due to hold its first festival next month in Ucassaim, Bardez Goa, showcasing more than 75 photographers from India and beyond…..


The Emergence, 2012: a young slum dweller caught in an accidental, glamorous shaft of light. Photograph: Prateek Dubey

Some photographs bear witness to disappearing traditions, from Mumbai’s trademark Fiat Padmini taxis, which have plied the streets for a century, to the endangered Buddhist tribe of Phaneng, in the easternmost corner of India’s Assam state. Yet the most memorable, perhaps, are those images that capture the extraordinary humour, irony and tenderness of everyday life – not least Mahesh Shantaram’s photo of a group of identically dressed political functionaries in Trivandrum, feverishly campaigning on their mobile phones.


The Nehruvian Dream: feverish ­campaigning on ­mobile phones during the 2014 national elections. Photograph: Mahesh Shantaram


Polaroid Composite – India Portrayed. Photograph: Manoj Jadhav


From the series Goodbye Padmini. Photograph: Aparna Jayakumar

See more here

4 Things You Must do BEFORE Becoming a Professional Photographer

Thinking of being poor but enjoying your work, you must be thinking about becoming a professional photographer. These 4 tips By: Suzi Pratt on DPS will be something to consider.


Are you considering making the leap from being an amateur photographer to a professional? Join the club!

There are many pro photographers today making a living off of the craft, but of course there are a fair number of challenges that come with the job. I’ve been a successful full-time professional photographer for two years now, and like most others, I have my share of things I wish I had done to prepare for the lifestyle. Here are four basic things that every aspiring professional photographer should do before they make the leap.

Here is number 1

1. Determine what kind of professional photographer you want to be

The most important thing you should carefully detail is what type of photographer you strive to be, and who is your ideal client. Do you want to shoot weddings and families, corporate events and head shots, or creative portraiture for editorial or advertising use? The answer to this question is crucial to help you identify if the market segment you choose is profitable, and if so, who is your target audience and how best to appeal to them to hire you. You wouldn’t market wedding photography services in the same way that you would sell corporate headshot services because your ideal client is different.

Once you determine the photography skills you want to market, the next step is to make sure that you have demonstrated skill in that area. Do you and the current clients you’ve worked with feel that your photography work to date demonstrates commercial viability (in other words, would enough other people pay for it)? If so, then it’s time to build an online portfolio of images demonstrating your creativity and skill. Make sure your portfolio not only contains a fair number of unique images, but also some words that introduce yourself and establish the qualities that set you apart from your competition. Don’t skimp on the words – remember that some people connect better with words over images.

Read the other tips here

Telling a Story in a Single Image – Tips from a Photojournalist

From DPS By: Felipe Passolas we get an insight as to how a photo-journalist works to capture a picture that tells more than is apparent at first glance

Photography is visual communication medium. You can follow and use some rules, through composition and technique – but photojournalism takes it a step farther and states facts and gives information that is true and real. You need to follow two basic pillars to be an ethical photojournalist. Those principles are: you do not manipulate your scene, and the information you are photographing must be real.

The best recipe you can use for getting a good photo that tells a story is by combining good composition, action, and emotions. If you are able to engage with your subject mixing those three elements you will be able to get a good photograph.

As photojournalist you can display facts and affairs but you will level up your work if you are able to evolve those facts in something emotional and touching. Then is when you photo stars to tell a story.


Read the rest of the article here

Instagram: The ‘homeless’ chief executive

I have said in the past how I find the excuse of ‘art’ or worse ‘arty’ Instagram pictures pointless and irritating. The application of filters to a dull image does not make it art. However if it encourages people to take more pictures and to do that with purpose and seriously then I have to concede it is a positive thing. This story found on the BBC and written by Phil Coomes is interesting in that the protagonist uses his Instagram daily posts to ensure he gets out and looks.

Cillin Perera travels a lot. As the chief executive of a couple of companies, he is constantly moving from one place to another and, like many others, has turned to photography to record his journeys and keep in touch with family and friends.

He began taking pictures on his phone and rediscovered his love of photography, something he had not done since his days at Harvard in the late 1990s.

Soon he was using an iPod to shoot, with the results being uploaded to Instagram under the name @homelessCEO – his username reflecting his nomadic existence.




see the rest here


40 Movies about photography every photographer should watch

I know that lists are things people are supposed to enjoy in blogs, personally I just get irritated by them because of the inclusions and exclusions. Me contrary? Photography has featured in a number of movies (should we really still call them movies, a bit like ‘flat screen’ tvs) anyway this article lists 40 and has missed the  Which Way is the Front Line from Here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington and Restrpo both of which I would highly recommend. What about the excellent Finding Vivian Maier  or  The Bang Bang Club A drama based on the true-life experiences of four combat photographers capturing the final days of apartheid in South Africa.

Anyway resourcemagonline has come up with it’s 40, here are just a few in no order whatsoever


City of God (2002)

This chilling portrayal of life growing up in the favelas and streets of Brazil shows two boys coming of age, one of them growing up to become a photographer. Not only considered as the best film about photography, it is also one of the best films to come out in recent years.


Blow-Up (1966)

a 60’s film with a cult following status, this film follows Thomas a fashion photographer played by David Hemmings, who discovers he accidentally captured a murder on film in the background of one of the images while he’s developing it in the darkroom.


Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus (2006)

Nicole Kidman stars in this biopic about the legendary American photographer Diane “Fur” Arbus. The film shows how a lonely and shy housewife in New York set out a journey into the world of photography shooting images of people that stand outside the confines of society.


One Hour Photo (2002)

A dark thriller featuring an inspired Robin Williams playing a Walmart one-hour photo clerk who ended up stalking a family whose pictures he regularly takes and develops.


Under Fire (1983)

Three journalists in a romantic triangle are involved in political intrigue during the last days of the corrupt Somozoa regime in Nicaragua before it falls to a popular revolution in 1979. Under Fire is a  technically sound cinematic characterization of a wartime photojournalist played by  Nick Nolte.

See the other 35 here 


Dorothy Bohm: Photographic memories

As Dorothy Bohm approaches her 90th birthday, the photographer reflects on a life that has encompassed the tragedy of war and separation from her family, and recalls the greats she has known, from Cartier-Bresson to Beaton


This interview found in the photography pages of the Telegraph

England was her salvation. ‘It’s the best country, I can tell you that – and I’ve lived in a number of them… Why? Because of the people’ Dorothy Bohm watches the clouds scud over London’s skyline. Looking out from the roof terrace of her Hampstead home, she tells me that she has photographed these cumulus forms for more than half a century. Since she arrived in Britain on the eve of the Second World War, Bohm’s career has focused on such ephemeral wonders: on clouds and childhood, curious characters and lost corners of the world (her books include photographic surveys of Egypt and 1960s London). She has exhibited in Paris, Berlin and Milan, and has befriended many of the great photographers from the past century, including Bill Brandt, André Kertész and Martin Parr.

Bohm is turning 90 and reappraising her life and work, both of which have been shaped by serendipity and tragedy, by the war, a good marriage and Britain. ‘It has been extraordinary,’ she says. ‘By some happening I became a photographer.’

‘Let’s say it’s my profession but it’s also a love,’ she continues as we sit down to tea and lemon cake. Bohm has a youthful easy smile and a rolling wave of silver hair – she might well have been preserved in her own fixer. Around us, the walls are peppered with her photographs: Provençal seascapes, a serene Irish lake, a still life of fruit……Interested in more?


read more here

How I shot an abandoned asylum – An interview with an Urbex Photographer

I found this on the photography pages of The Telegraph,

Urban explorers (Urbex) and their photographs have become extremely popular over the last few years, each post we make about the subject becomes one of our most popular at that time. It is hard to know why such images of desolation and decay are so riveting but they have great currency, at the end of this post I will list our other Urbex posts for you to follow if you wish

Fabiano Parisi talks to Lowenna Waters about photographing crumbling and deserted locations.


Born in Rome in 1977, Fabiano Parisi began photographing abandoned mental asylums as part of his Psychology degree. It triggered a love affair with deserted locations that has taken him to the United States, Belgium, Germany, the United Kingdom, Eastern Europe and Russia. He’s snapped everything from a disused swimming pool in Woodridge, Illinois, to a derelict church in Żeliszów, Poland.

Vegetable Peelings: Revealing the Creative Process

This is a interesting and accessible article and one that addresses question often raised in our more advanced courses like Intermediate photography, here is a link to that http://www.oxfordschoolofphotography.co.uk/intermediate.html

the literate lens

TwoBooks8When a photograph becomes acclaimed, whether as journalism or art, questions can swirl around it. What’s the story—did the photographer capture the image in a moment of serendipity or as the result of patient labor? Were elements arranged to create more visual drama? If it features human subjects, were they willing participants or unwitting victims?

These kinds of questions have caused controversies to rage over all kinds of photographs. While perhaps the image to come in for the most sustained interrogation is Robert Capa’s The Falling Soldier(originally titled Loyalist Militiaman at the Moment of Death), which has been debated endlessly, heavy scrutiny has also been directed at some famous Depression-era images, at almost every image by Diane Arbus, at Thomas Hoepker’s notorious image shot on 9/11, and, most recently, at images shot through neighbors’ windows and presented as art.

TwoBooks5So it’s interesting to see photographers’…

View original post 1,162 more words

A beginner’s guide to garden photography

I found this useful article in The Telegraph

The International Garden Photographer of the Year competition is now open for entries. What could make your picture a winner?

Britain is seeing a surge in amateur garden photography. Over the past decade, the hobby has flourished and now has a cult-like following.

The growing talent and quality of photographs means garden photography competitions are inundated with exceptional entries. One leading competition is the International Garden Photographer of the Year (IGPOTY), which receives more than 20,000 entries.

“We’re looking for images that are absolutely special,” says Clive Nichols, one of the founders of the competition and a judge. “Not just technically, but also in terms of what they show. To win it, you really have to have a standout image.”

Philip Smith, managing director of the competition, has some practical advice (see overleaf) if you are looking to improve your garden photography. His favourite IGPOTY winners from previous years are shown here.


How do you plan a shoot?

What is the best light to shoot in?

Which colours work best together?

How do you compose a shot?

What is the ideal time of day to shoot your garden?

These are basic questions answered here follow the link for further advice on becoming a better plant and garden photographer