Oxford School of Photography

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Tag Archives: Portrait

Family Photography – tips on getting the best family portraits

By over at Lightstalking

“Family portraits that may be hanging in your grandparents house probably don’t look very fun, but you still enjoy them because they are photos of your loved ones.  It seems that having a formal family photo taken every year or every few years comes into vogue as soon as it goes out and right now the trend is on the uprising.  Shooting family photos don’t have to be so static and boring, like what you have seen in old albums or on the walls of your relatives homes.  Here’s some tips to ensure you don’t make catastrophic mistakes shooting families.”..…MORE

Photo by: morgan.cauch

5 Tips On How To Shoot Killer Portrait Photography by Jim Jordan

This really excellent article on Photoshelter is full of advice and help in how to get great portrait images, even if some of the examples are outside most of our opportunities. Photoshelter is a great blog and one worth bookmarking and following

Jim Jordan is a widely sought-after fashion, celebrity, lifestyle, and kids photographer based out of Los Angeles and New York City. Some of his notable clients include Vogue, Elle, J.Crew, and Mercedes Benz. He’s also taken portraits for major celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio, Drew Berrymore, and Charlize Theron.

We wanted to learn more about Jim’s creative process from start to finish – so I picked Jim’s brain and walked away with his top 5 tips on how to shoot killer portrait photography.”

3rd Edition of The Julia Margaret Cameron Award

The Julia Margaret Cameron Award will be given to 12 women photographers which will be invited to exhibit (and sell) their work in a very selective collective exhibition in Paris during 2013, honoring one hundredth year of the birth of Robert Capa, co-founder of Magnum Photos and famous war photojournalist. WPGA will take care of the framing and matting, as well as all gallery expenses. Exhibitors will receive 40% of the sales, 20% will be reserved for the gallery/organizers, and 40% will be donated to a charitable organization selected by the awardees.A catalog will be printed, and all 12 awardees will receive one free copy.

As in the two previous editions, WPGA invites women photographers working in all mediums, styles and schools of thought. Traditional, contemporary, avant-garde, creative and experimental works that include old and new processes, mixed techniques, and challenging personal, emotional or political statements will be welcome.As Mary Ellen wrote in her statement after jurying the first edition of this award, we will like to see, in a time when we’re inundated with imagery and media that is commercially-driven, images representing purity in photography that is inspiring and hopeful.

Open to professional and non professional women photographers from all countries. On this occasion there will be only one section: pro and non-pro will be juried together.


Landscapes and Seascapes
Street Photography and Cityscapes
Fine Art
Nude and Figure
Documentary and Editorial

Only Single images will be accepted; no portfolios in this edition. Closing Date December 31th, 2011, at 11:59pm PST

Charles Darwin JMC

Beatrice JMC

Dina Bova (Israel) , awarded photographer in the 2nd edition of the JMCA, and juror of this edition

Portrait Photography Basic Tips

We run a Portrait Photography course the next one starts on March 1st. Our course covers all you need to understand about natural light portraits, we cover finding the right light, modifying it to suit your purposes, camera settings, subject preparation and posing, environmental portraits, candid portraits and all the other bits you need. If you can’t wait until the 1st March for our course to start this on line tutorial will give you some basics to consider

Are you looking for portrait photography tips so that you can improve your picture taking skills?

At first thought, portrait photography would seem easy, yet the results are often disappointing.

Many of our pictures often include people, and whether you are photographing a model, taking a family photo, or capturing some candid shots while on vacation, you have probably discovered that great photography is a little more than just pointing a camera and pushing a button.

In fact, a really good photo should convey the subject’s character and personality, and communicate something distinct or identifiable about who they are as a person. Following a few key tips will help you learn how to take great portraits so you will never be disappointed again.”….MORE

©Keith Barnes

Pictures of the week from The Denver Post

Another set of magnificent images from The Denver Post, as I keep saying book mark their website and get a daily feed of breathtaking images....see all the images here

Mist and fog rolls across agricultural fields as the sun rises over the Somerset Levels on January 13, 2012 in Glastonbury, England. After unseasonably mild weather, many parts of the UK were waking up to the first frost of the year. Weather forecasters have warned that there will be more hard frosts and freezing fog this weekend and temperatures will plunge across the country. Although the cold spell is only expected to last until Tuesday, the Met Office is also warning of a ‘risk of colder conditions’ at the beginning of February. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

This Jan. 17, 2012 satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe shows the luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia, which ran aground on Friday, Jan. 13, lying on its starboard side just off the tiny Tuscan island of Isola del Giglio, Italy. As the ship keeps shifting on its rocky ledge, many have raised the prospect of a possible environmental disaster if the 2,300 tonnes of fuel on the half-submerged cruise ship leaks. Satellites are used to monitor the area while authorities are preparing to remove the fuel from inside the vessel. (AP Photo/DigitalGlobe)

A model showcases designs on the runway by Qi Gang during the ‘Hong Kong Fashion Extravaganza’ show on day one of Hong Kong Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2012 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center on January 16, 2012 in Hong Kong, Hong Kong. (Photo by Victor Fraile/Getty Images)

British artist David Hockney takes a picture of press photographers with his mobile phone as he poses in front of his painting entitled “The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire 2011 (twenty-eleven)” at the opening of his exhibition David Hockney RA: A Bigger Picture in the Royal Academy of Arts on January 16, 2012 in London, England. The exhibition is the first major showcase of David Hockney’s landscape work to be held in the UK. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

Hindu devotee holds an oil lamp and offers prayers to the Sun god at the Sangam, the confluence of the rivers Ganges, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati, on Makar Sankranti festival, that falls during the annual traditional fair of Magh Mela, in Allahabad, India, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012. Hundreds of thousands of devout Hindus take a bath at the confluence during the astronomically auspicious period of over 45 days celebrated as “Magh Mela” to rid themselves of their sins and attain prosperity. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

See the rest here


Photography Courses Jan/Feb/March 2012

We have recently released dates for our next series of courses. These start in January with the ever popular Understanding your DSLR on the 11th, this is a 4 session evening class but we also have a one day version in January, this is on Sunday 22nd January, so 2 courses to help all of you who receive brand new cameras at Christmas.  A little later in the term we start the Introduction to Photoshop, Composition – Seeing Pictures, Portrait, Black and White Digital, Understanding Your Compact Camera, Intermediate Photography and more Understanding Your DSLR courses spread throughout the term.

Here is a full list of all the courses and dates

Understanding Your Digital SLR:start dates:11.1.12; 30.1.12; 3.3.12; 7.3.12; (Saturday morning)Understanding Your Digital Compact Camera – starts: 27.2.12

Introduction to Photoshop and Photoshop Elements – starts 22.2.12 6 sessions,

Composition In Photography – Seeing Pictures – starts 2.2.12

Portrait Photography: – starts: 1.3.12

Intermediate Photography starts: 24.1.12

Black and White Digital Photography – starts 6.3.12

Travel Photography starts spring term

One Day Understanding Your DSLR – 22.1.12; 19.2.12; 25.3.12; 29.4.12

Most courses are 4 sessions one per week, (Photoshop and Intermediate Photography are 6 sessions) all run on consecutive weeks from start dates. 1 Day DSLR is a one day course, there are 4 dates this term

To book a place please send us an email with the course title and start date you wish to attend

Weekly Round-Up of Photography Blogs, tutorials and links

Those busy lads at Toad Hollow have done it again, a massive list of the best links, tutorials and blogs all brought together into one place and as always brought to you from the excellent pages of Lightstalking. These guys, separated by half the planet are the business. Here is the link you know you want

Here are some tasters for you


Tips on Shooting Manually: Part II – this second installment of tips from O’Brien Photo discusses in layman’s terms how to use and the resulting effect of your aperture.  Easy to understand terminology serves to give the reader a concise understanding of how and why adjusting this parameter in photography can result in dramatic differences in image production.

Boudoir Part 7: Use of Props – another installment in the running series from the studio of Erik Kerstenbeck discusses props and lighting for model shoots.    Erik shares a few tips and tricks in the proper staging of these sorts of shots, sure to leave everyone with a deeper understanding of how to go about performing this style of photography.

Pro Tip: Calculating Unknown Star Trail Exposure Times – Jim Goldstein consistently delivers both incredible and renowned photography, and he also shares many great tips, tricks and techniques with the community at large.  This tip is presented like a tutorial, and shares what has to be a not widely known trick to use to calculate exposure times for those images that don’t have embedded EXIF information.

Dark Passage– another masterpiece from the studio of Scott Frederick, this time taken inside an abandoned castle in upstate NY.  Incredible composition and framing merge with jaw-droppingly awesome post-processing to create a picture that is full of raw emotion and drama.  Absolutely incredible, to say the very least.A Boat for Dad – New Brunswick – a continuation of Anne McKinnells latest series, this post highlights local fishing boats on the east coast of Canada.  Employing a rather inventive method to avoid tipping over in low tide, this series of photographs is absolutely compelling and utterly enjoyable.

Thanks! And Hope… – an absolutely incredible sunrise is punctuated with very dramatic clouds in this beautiful HDR landscape photo.  Rob Hanson photographs a stunning scene from Cobscook Bay State Park in northern coastal Maine, producing something truly special.

Clouds Roll In – a simply beautiful landscape photograph from the studio of Rachel Cohen showcases the evening shoreline of Lake Michigan.  The natural treeline serves to add a wonderful element of further interest with a truly captivating silhouette.

Inspirational Coincidence – a wonderful, wonderful waterfall photo is shared by Jerry Denham.  Accented by the accompanying story that truly proves what a small world we live in, this picture forms the foundation for a truly profound experience.

Duke Kahanamoku’s surfboard – a fabulous black and white photograph of a classic surfboard.  A truly incredible image from Joni Sternbach finds further interest in the accompanying storyline that goes with it.  Well worth the time to visit, for sure.

DSC_5955s by savillent, on Flickr


The Lonely Castle – a photographic story complete with an old castle, great stonework, empty rooms and tons of interesting natural weathering.  This story is absolutely guaranteed to delight and amaze everyone who takes it in.  The story itself is very well written, and the jaw-droppingly awesome photography that accompanies it adds so much depth.

10 easy tips to make you a better photographer – Edin Chavez shares a short but important set of tips and tricks on how to improve your photography.  Some points may be obvious, but I do believe they all warrant being mentioned to help everyone become the photographer they wish to be.

Stirring the Fire: Women’s Stories Around the World – a profound set of images is punctuated by a profound blog post here, sure to inspire and motivate everyone who takes the time to visit.  This is definitely one of the most profound pieces we’ve encountered this week, and we encourage everyone to read this post.

Launching My First eBook – one of my favorite local photographers has just released a new eBook and has it offered for download on her site.  Anne McKinnell produces some truly incredible photography and any book written by her is sure to share some insight into the craft of photography with folks of all skill levels.  This initial offering from her is free, yes you saw that correctly, we’re talking free here…  head on over and download your copy today!

Inland Sailor – An HDR Collaboration Project – another great collaboration project graces our monitors this week, done by a group of some of the most talented photographers I have ever met.  This landscape photo would be stunning to take in under normal circumstances, but here we have the chance to see the same image as processed by the hands of a plethora of talented artists.  The results are amazing, to say the least.

9 Tips for a Perfect Portrait Background

From one of our favourite sites Photo-Tuts comes this tutorial on better portrait photography by managing the backgrounds. We teach this is our ever popular Portrait Photography course but you may not live near Oxford

Flatter your portrait subject with the perfect background, even if you don’t have professional backdrops or lighting. A little exposure and composition know-how can get you a long way toward a beautiful portrait background.

 This tutorial is a grab-bag of helpful ideas for photographers of any level. I’ve written them with the idea that once you master them all, you will have a bag of tricks at your disposal. Pull out one or combine several, and you’ll be able to quickly adapt to all kinds of lighting and subject situations and walk away with a wonderful portrait. Many of the techniques, however, work best with just one or two subjects. As a group becomes larger, you’ll find your available options becoming fewer. Such is the life of a portrait photographer”.…more

Katia Vastiau

Low-Key Photography for Beginners – Enter the Dark Side

Low Key portraits are full of drama, not the thing you might do when photographing your gran but certainly your grand dad. But you can use low key lighting in a number of waus to add that special atmosphere and drama to your images. This article By has a  good range of example but also is a technique rich tutorial

“Low-key photography is a terrific challenge for both the novice and the experienced. It is a very simple technique that brings instant drama to an image but could take a lifetime to master. Like most other forms of photography, it is all about illumination and elimination.”

(Hand Print by qwikrex on Flickr)

10 Simple Tips for Better Portrait Shoots

“Where you choose to shoot depends entirely on the style you want to use, the time of the year and what you want to achieve artistically. But starting inside is usually a great way to get everyone, particularly children, accustomed to your camera. If you start your shoot in a field, for instance, you may struggle to keep the kids in a single place.” By on Lightstalking …….More