- Photo Editing is No Substitute for Photography Technique
- Interesting Photo of the Day: Rocket Launch Photographed by Airline Pilot
- Replicating a Prominent Portrait Photograph
- Have Camera, Will Travel: Full-Time Travel Photography
Posted: 01 Aug 2013 04:12 PM PDT
Photography has entered a whole new world, with remarkable changes in technology in just a few short years. One thing has not changed, however; the camera – not the computer – is still the most important tool of a good photographer.
In recent times I have spoken to a few very disgruntled beginners, who had signed up and paid good money to attend a course in ‘digital photography.’ On arrival at the first class, they were told to put their cameras away – they would not be needing them. This was not actually a course in photography; it was a course in photo editing. So instead of being taught how to take better photos, they were being taught how to fix up their mistakes.
I would have asked for my money back, for this course was not delivering what it promised.
Was this a case of blatant false advertising? From the customer’s point of view, it certainly was. But believe it or not, the teacher may not have seen it that way. It is an alarming truth that some people see software, not the camera, as the cornerstone of photography.
When the digital photography revolution began, it excited two groups of people. First there were the traditional photographers, who embraced the cost savings and convenience offered by digital photography. For them, it was a chance to do what they had always done, but to do it in a format more suited to the modern age.
Then there were the computer types, who perhaps didn’t know much about photography and weren’t very good at it. For these people, photography had entered their world in a big way. They may not have known much about art or technology, but they sure knew plenty about software. In this world, they were way ahead of traditional photographers who had grown up with SLR cameras, film and the darkroom.
So, does being good with software make you a good photographer? Of course not.
With software, you can achieve amazing things. You can do everything from tweaking the contrast in an image to moving objects around and making your photo look like it was a painting. But there are also plenty of things – essential things – that you can’t do. You can’t make an out-of-focus subject in focus. You can’t un-blur a moving subject that was blurred because the photographer used the wrong shutter speed.
Technical issues aside, there it also the great sense of honest satisfaction a photographer feels when they are able to capture a perfect image ‘in camera.’
I met a man who told me about his visit to Sea World. He took a bunch of photos of his wife, but he wasn’t happy with them because the skies were grey and there were lots of tourists around. So he set to work on a computer, and over three days he transformed the sky in every photo to blue, and removed all those pesky tourists. He had successfully manufactured a ‘memory’ of a day that never actually happened.
To each his own, I guess. To me it was just creepy.
In some industries, like advertising, the only thing that matters is the image; how you do it is irrelevant, as long as you produce the result. But for the ‘average Joe’, photography is about capturing memories, to revisit and share with others.
I am not suggesting software has no place in photography. In fact, even devoted digital fans recognize that most images need a little tweaking of saturation and contrast to bring them up to print quality.
The point is, software is no substitute for camera skills. It is great, perhaps even essential, to know how to work on a photo after the event. But that cannot take the place of learning how to use a camera, how to appreciate light and how to compose a great image.
Beginners beware; there are people out there who will hold you back by telling you that notions of aperture, shutter speed and ISO are outdated relics of film photography. In fact, by learning these photography essentials, you will develop skills that will reduce your reliance on computers to fix your mistakes.
The benefits? Well, first there is the satisfaction of knowing your picture was captured with your own skill and is a true reflection of the moment as it happened.
Need something more practical? Think about this. To produce a good image from a poorly taken photo can take hours sitting in front of a computer. How long does it take to get it right in the first place? About 1/500th sec.
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Go to full article: Photo Editing is No Substitute for Photography Technique
Posted: 01 Aug 2013 02:55 PM PDT
The novelty of seeing the world from high up never wears off. From the countless sunsets to the deep blue of the ocean, there's no doubt that we're in for an extraordinary view no matter how much cloud cover there may be. Perhaps the only thing better than looking out an airplane window is looking out the cockpit windshield.
This photo in particular is not of an event that one comes across very often. It is of the launch of the MUOS-2 satellite.
Go to full article: Interesting Photo of the Day: Rocket Launch Photographed by Airline Pilot
Posted: 01 Aug 2013 01:09 PM PDT
If you’ve never challenged yourself to recreate another photographer’s photo, you’re missing out on a priceless learning opportunity. The exercise forces you to dissect all elements of a photograph to figure out how it was made.
In this humorous video, the DRTV team attempts to replicate Chase Jarvis’s Twitter profile picture, which was taken by Mitch Moquin (for those reading this by email, the video can be seen here):
As the crew in the video bumbles through setting up the shot, there are mishaps with stubborn spray paint cans, creased wallpaper, and inadequate background size. But the team is light-hearted and carries on with the task at hand.
After a close look at the original photo, the team started the trial and error process. Based on the lighting in the Jarvis portrait, they placed the main light at a 45 degree angle to the right of the subject and pointed it down. The copycat photographers used an Olympus PEN mounted on a tripod and a FUQ 690 flash shot through a white umbrella on a tall light stand. The subject stood in front of a backdrop made out of cheap silver wallpaper. To enhance the shadow on the subject’s face, a black card was placed to the model’s left.
In the end, the crew in this video relied on Photoshop to get their final image looking more like the original photo. But their work paid off, and the shot ended up looking similar to the original:
Just as with the photographers in the video, your recreated images might not always come out how you’d like. But some careful planning and attention to detail can get you on the right track. To replicate a photo, you must first take time to study the original. Pay attention to these details:
With these specifics in mind, you can start experimenting until you get just the look you want.
Watching other photographers attempt the feat of copycatting the style of a prominent portrait will remind you that mistakes are part of the learning process. Challenging yourself to mimic an image gives you newfound appreciation for the photographers behind professional images.
Posted: 01 Aug 2013 11:13 AM PDT
Quitting your day job, slinging a camera around your neck, and jetting off to travel the world and take beautiful pictures seems like the stuff bestselling memoirs and National Geographic documentaries are made of. But for Raf Horemans, that’s just everyday life. A little less than a year ago, Horemans left behind his life in Belgium to begin a series of international adventures. So far, he has traveled to Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and Laos, documenting his journey with his own unique photographic perspective (for those of you reading this by email, the album can be seen here):
Horemans apparently plans to travel indefinitely, picking up odd jobs here and there while abroad. He maintains a travel photography blog called Homebound Blues, where photos from these and other locations can be viewed.
Go to full article: Have Camera, Will Travel: Full-Time Travel Photography
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