Oxford School of Photography

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Tag Archives: Portrait photography

Natural Light Portraits

We run a course on Portrait photography that teaches how to use natural light rather than having to rely upon flash. This is a popular course because most people would like to take better portraits of their family and friends but find the process daunting. We approach every aspect of this, first the technical, how to manage light, how to use the camera and what accessories you might need to get the best results. Then we look at what you must do as a photographer to get the best out of your subjects. Some of this is covered in this article on Lightstalking

For some photos, nothing beats the natural beauty of ambient light. When used correctly natural light can create soft portraits that bring out great looking skin tones and display a seemingly perfect balance between shadows and highlights. As limiting as it may initially seem, shooting with natural light can offer a pretty diverse range of lighting styles.

How to Find The Perfect Window Lighting

There can be a learning curve to using natural light effectively, especially when shooting indoors where your options may be more limited in regards to finding usable light. It goes without saying you should locate a room in your indoor space that is home to a window…..MORE

Here are a couple of images from our current course.

Portraits-Tony-3©Tony Haupt

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© Anna Indrzejczyk

 

A Portrait Photographer’s Guide To Coaching Clients

Lightstalking is a site that offers lots of advice and ideas for photographers. Often we find that what their contributors writes about directly echoes what we teach in our classes so we feel we are in touch with what Lightstalking has to say. This article by Tiffany Mueller, a professional music and fine art photographer, she blogs at Life Is Unabridged,  is about helping clients to pose better when they are having their portrait taken.

In our Portrait Photography course starting on June 6th we spend quite a bit of time explaining how important this is, we give tutorials on how to pose people and how to show people how to pose, that sounds the same thing but it isn’t. You might not be lucky enough to live in Oxford and so have the chance to attend one of our courses so this article by Tiffany will be of help.

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©Keith Barnes   Portrait of John Duggan

Click Here: A Portrait Photographer’s Guide To Coaching Clients

Nadav Kander awarded First Prize in Staged Portraits Singles

One of our favourite photographers over here at OSP towers is Nadav Kander, it is good to see he has won 1st prize in the World Press Awards for a staged portrait.

nadav-kander-daniel-kaluuya

Nadav Kander’s portrait of English actor Daniel Kaluuya has won him a World Press Photo prize.

Lauren Heinz at the BJP speaks to him here

7 Detailed Tutorials that will Improve Your Indoor Portrait Photography Today

Over on Lightstalking Amber Ketchum  has collected together 7 tutorials that will help with indoor portraiture. Amber is a professional photographer from Ohio. You can visit her on her website.

Indoor portrait photography can be a bit challenging, especially in regards to lighting choices. When it comes right down to it, lighting in photography is a science. One little tweak in the position or type of lighting can change the entire tone of a photograph, for better or for worse. Below is a list of some of the best online tutorials I was able to locate, based on indoor portrait photography. Each one has something unique to offer, but what I was really focusing on was finding articles that complimented one another and collectively became one large and useful tutorial. You will likely find something for yourself here, whether you are a beginner or a seasoned photographer.

Here is a link to the article

If you live near Oxford I would recommend our Portrait Photography course that specialises in natural light portraiture and will definitely help you make fantastic portraits, here is a link to our course details, new dates will be available shortly

71D6Q65J4HL._SL500_AA300_Bill Brandt was a master of natural light portraits

Click Here: 7 Detailed Tutorials that will Improve Your Indoor Portrait Photography Today

Photographers, Know Your Rights!

Every so often we hear stories about a photographer who has had their rights violated by the police or some jobsworth. The law in the UK is relatively simple, you can take any pictures you want as long as you are in a public space, the law does vary around the world. This article on Lightstalking by Jason D. Little explains some of the complexities of being a photographer and how you might resolve rights issues

We have previously posted about this subject here

https://oxfordschoolofphotography.wordpress.com/2010/12/02/the-ten-legal-commandments-of-photography/

https://oxfordschoolofphotography.wordpress.com/2011/08/24/six-photographers-test-their-right-to-shoot-in-london/

https://oxfordschoolofphotography.wordpress.com/2011/07/04/photographing-in-public-when-the-police-gets-it-wrong/

https://oxfordschoolofphotography.wordpress.com/2011/06/16/street-photography-for-the-novice/

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Lytro the camera you can focus after taking the picture

Last night in our Portrait class a student was concerned that using his 85mm f1.2 meant he sometimes focussed in the wrong place, I suggested that f1.2 might be just too shallow for a portrait photograph that captures a face and this started a discussion as to where one should focus. I maintained that the eyes are the most important in a portrait but, rightly, others said sometimes there are other aspects of a face, or in fact the portrait,  that one might want to highlight. I said there is now a camera that you can focus after having taken the picture. This brought amazement and scepticism. The sceptical aspects were surely a photographer should know where they want to focus before pressing the shutter, personally I agree with this thought, and that how can a camera do this. I promised to find information on this. I have posted on the Lytro before here and here but this time I found a new article,  that explains how the Lytro is going to allow manual settings, seems weird when everything else is automatic, but what is really interesting on this site is that it allows you to re-focus images on the site itself so you can see how the process works. Go and have a play.

Do I care about this stuff, no not one bit, this is not photography as I have known it for decades, the making of decisions at the point of capture is fundamental to me but then I am old, how about you, not are you old, but what do you think about the making of images. Can everything be Instagramed to make it interesting afterwards, perhaps I should put interesting in quote marks. If I see another ‘creative’ filter applied to a crap picture to make it ‘interesting’ I might explode, now that would be worth photographing

Shortlist announced – Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2012

The Taylor Wessing prize for portrait photography is now firmly established as one of the defining awards given to photographers. It would not be unkind to say that it often generates heated debate and bafflement as well as admiration. This year the four shortlisted photographers are : Spencer Murphy, Jennifer Pattison, Jordi Ruiz Cirera and Alma Haser.

This is from TW website:

The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize presents the very best in contemporary portrait photography, showcasing the work of talented young photographers and gifted amateurs alongside that of established professionals and photography students.

Through editorial, advertising and fine art images, entrants have explored a range of themes, styles and approaches to the contemporary photographic portrait, from formal commissioned portraits to more spontaneous and intimate moments capturing friends and family.

This year the competition attracted 5,340 submissions by over 2,350 photographers from around the world. The selected sixty works for the exhibition, many of which are on display for the first time, include the four shortlisted images and the winner of the first John Kobal New Work Award. This is the best place to see the shortlisted artists as well as the others selected for exhibition

The Ventriloquists: two of Alma Haser’s friends from south London ©Alma Haser

Maria Teichroeb, by Jordi Ruiz Cirera: Maria is a member of a community of Mennonites in Bolivia ©Jordi Ruiz Cirera

Lynne Brighton, shot by Jennifer Pattison in the bedroom of a derelict house ©Jennifer Pattison

Mark Rylance, by Spencer Murphy ©Spencer Murphy

There are more images from the exhibition in The Guardian here

And also in The Guardian an interesting article by the excellent about being asked to be a judge having been anything but complimentary about last years competition. Last November, I wrote a not altogether positive review of the 2011 Taylor Wessing photographic portrait prize headlined Another animal, another girl with red hair. It described my bafflement at the judging process and the general “dullness of the selection”. It was a surprise, then, to be asked to be one of this year’s judges. I jumped at the chance. I think Sean echoed many peoples’ views on the Taylor Wessing Awards. He goes on Last year, I was critical of the Taylor Wessing photographic portrait prize. This year I helped judge it – and now realise how tough it is to pick a winner. Read what he has to say about judging this year here

The winner will be announced on 5 November, ahead of an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, which organised the prize, from 8 November-17 February.

So what do you think, dull lifeless, blank stares, odd looking people or vibrant cutting edge creative photography?

 

 

Depth of Field

At this point in our term we find ourselves talking about depth of field a lot to our students on our Understanding Your Digital SLR Camera Course and on our Understanding Your Compact Camera Course and on the Portrait Photography course it will also get an honourable mention on the Composition course. Depth of field is something everyone recognises but often ignores because it is not catered for in the fully auto settings many beginners choose to use. We think it is one of the most creative tools available to any photographer who photographs things that are reasonable static, which let’s face it is most of us. So I thought a little round up of past posts on the subject would be useful and make it easier for you to find these things on our blog.

©Keith Barnes Laos 2011

https://oxfordschoolofphotography.wordpress.com/2011/11/26/depth-of-field-a-photographers-guide-a-light-stalking-guide/

https://oxfordschoolofphotography.wordpress.com/2011/05/16/understanding-depth-of-field-and-showing-some-self-control/

https://oxfordschoolofphotography.wordpress.com/2011/08/04/8-effects-every-photographer-should-know-about/

https://oxfordschoolofphotography.wordpress.com/2011/12/27/cambridge-in-colour-tutorials-intermediate/

Masterful portraits by a master of photography

Understanding Flash Course

Thanks to the repeated requests from our students we have written a new course on flash photography. This course will look at the use of on camera, off camera and studio flash. We aim to explain how flash works and why and when you might use it. We are also interested in the creative possibilities of using flash both at night but more so during the day. We have investigated the various equipment options and will advise on what you might need to buy to become a serious and considered user of flash.

This course starts on Monday 12th November and runs for 3 x 2 hour sessions, full details can be found on our website here

We have a new schedule of courses for this coming term with dates for most of the courses we teach, if only there were more days in the week!

Here is a list of the dates for this term, currently the Intermediate and Photoshop courses are half full.
 

Understanding Your Digital SLR Evening Classes:start dates 17.9.12 (now full) ; 7.11.12  This is always a very popular course and very well received, if you don’t use your camera properly give this one a try.

Understanding Your Digital SLR Saturday Morning Classes start date 3.11.12 as above really…

Understanding Your Digital Compact Camera – starts: 26.9.12  After we revamped this course to include the chance to do some assignments

Introduction to Photoshop and Photoshop Elements starts 25.10.12 not  a must for everyone but if you intend to use Photoshop or already do then this course is ideal in understanding the basics

Composition In Photography – Seeing Pictures – starts 15.10.12 This course is one of our most popular and really successful in changing the way our students see the world and take photographs

Understanding Flash Photography starts 12.11.12 A new course that we know hits the parts others don’t. If you intend using flash this will get you where you want to be

Portrait Photography: starts: 25.9.12 Most photographers want to take better portraits but shy away from the idea because people are difficult aren’t they. well no they aren’t if you know what you are doing

Intermediate Photography – starts: 23.10.12 This is our most advanced course and is not about cameras but about how we see and react to our world. It is a serious course for those who already understand their cameras and really want to be interested in photography as a subject. This is a great course.

Black and White Digital Photography – starts 27.9.12 Specialist in nature in that making b/w images is not difficult but this course is designed to stretch the way you look at a monochrome world and make images that reflect the works of the great photographers from the past

One Day Understanding Your DSLR – 23.9.12; 21.10.12; 18.11.12;  This is an ideal start point for those who have a  DSLR camera and want to use it rather than being led by it’s automatic functions. It suits many people who just cannot commit to the 4 session version of the course but still want the basics.