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How to Pause and Learn to Make Fewer and Better Photos

The question I always impress on my students that they should ask themselves is Why? Why are you taking this picture, interrogate the reasons that made you stop and look and raise your camera. If you can understand why that will help you to point the camera at the right bit of your subject but also tell you how to set the camera. I ask my students to employ a simple technique which I describe as close, closer, still closer. By looking harder, pausing and thinking about why, taking a picture, then getting closer and doing the same you learn how to understand what about the subject moves you

Launceston Gorge Tas Au © Keith Barnes

Launceston Gorge Tas Au © Keith Barnes

This article on Digital Photo School A Post By: Kim Manley Ort explains this in a different way but I totally agree with the ideas here. If you want your pictures to improve read this and learn what it is that makes a photographer.

At the end of each year do you find yourself with thousands of photos and wonder what to do with them all? Or wondering if you should even keep them? This is a lament that I often hear in my photography workshops and have experienced the same problem myself. Sometimes, this is a result of being too quick to click. You see something that excites you photographically and proceed to snap away, hoping that you’ll cover all the bases and that at least one shot will be a keeper. Sometimes this works and you do get one that you like, but often you find yourself disappointed because there isn’t even one that truly reflects your experience.

Luna Park, Sydney,Aus ©Keith Barnes

Luna Park, Sydney,Aus ©Keith Barnes

Kim Manley Ort says But what if you could take a different approach to your photography? One where you make fewer and also perhaps better photos? I’ve found that the simple practice of pausing before clicking the shutter can make a huge difference in the quantity and quality of your photographic output and enjoyment…..read more here

Peacock tail ©Keith Barnes

Peacock tail ©Keith Barnes

Pausing is the practice of checking in with oneself. When something stops you and you want to make a photograph, take a moment to notice what’s happening and ask yourself a few questions.

  • What do I see, smell, and hear?
  • What stopped me?
  • Was it a colour, shape, or texture?
  • What am I feeling? What do I like about it and why?
  • Does it mirror something going on in my life at this moment?

If this sounds like navel-gazing to you, believe me, it’s not. Many photographers over the years have said that a photograph says something about the creator. Your choice of subject matter reveals a lot about you. By becoming more aware of why you photograph what you do, you will gradually uncover your photographic vision…..read on

 

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The Ultimate Guide to Street Photography

In this extensive article from Digital Photo School, it will help you understand more about street photography, how to do it, and all the things you need to think about including equipment, ethics, and even legalities. This is the ultimate guide to street photography to help get you started in this genre of photography.

Lao Cai market

Lao Cai market

OUTLINE

  1. What is street photography?
  2. Ethics and overcoming your fear.
  3. The law and street photography.
  4. A few of the most important tips to get you started.
  5. Equipment.
  6. Camera settings.
  7. Composition and light.
  8. Advanced tips.
  9. Content and concepts of street photography.
  10. Editing.
  11. Master street photographer research.

1. WHAT IS STREET PHOTOGRAPHY?

Street photography is an inherently clunky term, and because of this, there are many street photographers that dislike it. They consider themselves photographers, plain and simple.

The first image that typically comes to mind for the term street photography, is an image of a stranger just walking down the street in a city like New York, London, or Tokyo. This is a huge part of street photography of course, but it is only one part, and it can cause confusion over the true meaning of what street photography really is all about, and how it can be done.

Street photography is candid photography of life and human nature. It is a way for us to show our surroundings, and how we as photographers relate to them. We are filtering what we see, to find the moments that intrigue us, and to then share them with others. It’s like daydreaming with a camera.

READ the full article here

Adding an Off-Camera Flash to Create a Winning Image

Found on DPS an in depth tutorial on how to use off camera flash for stunning results A Post By: Bruce Wunderlich

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This image, titled “Star Gazers”, won Grand Prizes at the 2015 Shoot the Hills photo competition. Held in the Hocking Hills region near Logan, Ohio, this competition takes place the 3rd weekend every April. 160 photographers from several states participated this year.

I initially came up with the idea for this shot over a year earlier, but my first attempt at the image failed miserably. (see below)

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What mistakes did I make?

If I would have checked the histogram I would have seen that all of the image was extremely under-exposed with all the data pushed up against the left side of the histogram.

  1. The image was under-exposed, because I failed to check the histogram. In the dark the image looked great on the LCD on the back of the camera!
  2. With the long exposure (30 seconds) there was no way for the subjects in the image to remain still enough to avoid blurring.

The Solutions

  1. The solution for the exposure was simple. First I turned down the brightness of the camera’s LCD screen. Then I used the histogram to determine my exposure.
  2. The length of exposure time was the main problem I had with this first attempt at capturing the image I had planned. It is nearly impossible for a live model to stand still for 30 seconds to prevent blurring. An off-camera flash was added behind the models to create the rim lighting in order to freeze their movement. Adding this flash was the major difference-maker from my earlier attempt of this image.

 

Want to read the rest of this article? Go Here

We teach about this on our flash course, 

12 Steps to Becoming a better Photographer

This came winging to me from DPS in Oz

The true key to growing as a photographer is to dedicate and immerse yourself in it on a consistent basis. Passion and enjoyment are key to becoming great at your craft.

That beings said, there are many things to consider in order to progress through this journey as effectively as possible. If I were to start all over again, these are the stepping stones that I would have preferred to have taken, beginning with the technical and ending with the conceptual.

Have to say number one is top of my list too, and then number two is second on my list, I think I agree with the author James Maher

1. Look at Light

When you start out in photography, it seems obvious to say that learning to use your camera is the logical first step. However, thinking this way can actually confuse you. The camera is just a tool that has the ability to record light.

When you walk out the door to photograph, the first thing you should think about is light, and not the camera. What time of day is it? How strong is the light and what direction is it coming from? Is it sunny or cloudy? Is the light soft or contrasty? Is the sun in front of, or behind you? Where are the artificial light sources and what colors do they give off?

This is the first thing that a seasoned photographer will look for every time they begin to shoot, and constantly be aware of while they are shooting. They do this for a reason. The light will affect how they shoot and the settings that they use. Even a slight change in direction to your light source can completely change how an image will look. You can’t learn how to use your camera correctly if you do not first understand the light.

2. Learn Your Camera Settings…….read the rest here

You could also be taught this on one of our excellent courses

Here is a big fish

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The Natural Light Cycle for Photographers

From  Jim Hamel at DPS were find this article that clearly explains the effect of daylight as we move through the day from sunrise to sunset, very interesting

Natural light is what landscape photography is made of. Other forms of photography rely heavily on flash, but most landscapes rely entirely on the sun’s rays as their light source. That natural light from the sun is changing every second of the day. A picture taken at 9:00 a.m. will look fundamentally different than picture taken at 7:00 a.m., even if it is a picture of the exact same subject, from the exact same angle, using the exact same camera settings and focal length. Therefore, understanding these changes that occur throughout the day is critical to improving your landscape photography. By understanding these differing lighting conditions, you will know how and when to be set up and ready to take your landscape photos.

These changes in natural light don’t just affect the overall lighting and exposure level of your photos, but also things like color and contrast. Different lighting will lend itself to different camera effects. So in this article we will take a quick walk through the times of day for the landscape photographer, focusing on the unique advantages and challenges of each.

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read the full article here

10 Ways to Improve Your Travel Photography

This  Post By: Gavin Hardcastle on Digital Photo School covers some of the basics all of which I teach on our very successful Travel Photography Course

Get the most out of your travel photography and capture the moment with these 10 simple tips. Most of these tips are pretty basic and some of them are useful for traveling in general.

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see the rest of the article here

 

Shoot for the Light – Improve Your Composition

When I started reading this Post By: Etienne Bossot on Digital Photography School I thought he must have been on one of my courses and heard me say, as I do all the time, “look for the light and wait for a subject”. It seems so obvious to me, photography is about light, so concentrating on that is truly doing photography. I am sure you will find this article interesting and worth your time. Last night I was teaching our new Travel Photography course and I spent as much time talking about this as I did explaining how not to get ripped off by local scams which itself is very important too! I very much agree with his line “No, believe me, as someone living in Vietnam: one old lady with a pointy hat looks the same as another old lady with a pointy hat.” I was lucky enough to have a brilliant time in Vietnam in 2013 and he is right, what seems so exotic at first becomes commonplace very quickly

Here is one of my most valuable tips. The one I will offer to someone who comes to me, complaining that after 20 years of taking photos they can’t get out of their usual compositions, and want to get into a new level of creativity.

It may sound like something you have heard before. Yes, photography is all about light, and if there is a good light then there is a good photo…….Instead of that, try and focus your entire attention on the light around you. Not the beautiful sunset light in the whole sky, but the little spots of golden light right there, on the floor next to you. Yes, can you see them? Well, there is your next photo my friend.

Etienne Bossot has some excellent images to populate this article and I would recommend you spend a little time looking at them as you read his sage words. Read the full post here

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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.

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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.

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Read the rest of the article here

7 Tips for Photographing Groups

I found this Post By: Karen Quist on Digital Photo School and thought it might be helpful to you if you plan to photograph your family or friends in the lead up to Christmas

Whether you’re an amateur or professional photographer, whether you usually photograph people, products, landscapes or insects, the time will come when you will be asked to photograph a large group of people.

Image H smaller family group

Of course large is a relative term. If you are used to photographing couples or taking individual portraits, large could mean a group of five people. In general, I consider large to be a group of seven or more.

The festive season is fast approaching, and this is the time of year when you are most likely to be asked to photograph large groups. During this season, families tend to congregate in one place, some travelling far and wide for the privilege of togetherness. Sports teams, dance clubs and social groups start winding down for the holiday season, and love to have an annual or seasonal record of their group.

Wedding and school photographers are the true experts in group photography. I am neither of those; I’m a family and children’s photographer, and I don’t mind admitting that I’m a one-trick pony.

However, over the past few months and for one reason or another, I have been asked to photograph an increasing number of large groups. Sometimes the lessons we need to learn find us, and it has been said that we best teach what we most need to learn. With that in mind, I’d like to share some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way, both through my own trial and error, and through tips for photographing large groups, passed on to me from other photographers.