This article aims to look at how we as photographers ‘understand’ light. It may seem obvious to many of you, but to a vast majority of us, it’s simply not quite that easy. But what does it truly mean to understand light? Do we really need to understand light to take great photos? The simple answer is no…. but I guarantee it will help.
With such a varied world around us, it’s quite straightforward to find new and interesting subjects to shoot. But is this really pushing our abilities as photographers? Is it the subject that makes our new images interesting or how we photograph them? Getting a decent photograph of an interesting subject is easy, but what about a boring subject?
That’s the challenge posed in this video from the folks at COOPH. To photograph a rather boring and mundane object – in this case, an avocado – in as many different ways as possible to try to make some interesting images. Are you up to the challenge?
We need to have a chat. There is a lot of nonsense going on in the workshop world, and it needs to stop. Taking someone’s money and promising that you can help their business, is no joke, and it needs to be taken seriously!
Every week we hear a story of yet another workshop filled with damaging business advice, dishonest marketing, or physical safety issues, and with each new story we hear, we start to feel a personal responsibility to say something. To use our voice, our platform, and our community to try and help put an end to bad workshops, and to encourage the photography industry to demand higher standards and better workshop experiences.
It’s been said that in 2017 everyone is a photographer, and from the unrelenting firehose of pictures that fill every inch of digital real estate and social media these days I can see why folks would think that. Of course just taking a picture doesn’t make you a photographer any more than microwaving a bag of popcorn makes you a chef. So while everyone can (and does) take pictures, actual photographers are a rarer breed.
In my time I have made a good living as a photographer, and no matter what my job is currently, shooting photos is still what I’m best at. That’s not to say I want to go back into the world of photography being my sole source of income. Imagine a world where every bag of microwaved popcorn was a good enough meal for 90% of people. Noooo thank you. But it occurred to me the other day that being a professional photographer instils one with a unique set of skills and traits that are perfectly suited for modern careers.
Now that you know more about your mechanics and attributes of your kit lens, the time has come to look at the creative use of the wee plastic beasty and we’ll start with macro first, this is by far the longest of the three Kit Lens Masterclass articles so grab a cold drink and some snacks.
In Part 1 we looked at the potential issues and problems relating to kit lenses, now tis the time to turn our attention to the terrific upsides of owning and using the cheap as chips but under-rated kit lens, this section will be the shortest not because there are problems I want to skirt around but because there positives are easily explained.
So your kit lens is rubbish, you know this for a certainty because numerous photo blogs and camera test sites have told you so. It’s been confirmed repeatedly by a wide array of couch based photo experts on all the forums of great repute and finally the first shots you have taken with it seem to be less than fully impressive. Besides that, there was this nice guy in the camera shop told you that you’d really need a better more expensive lens if you were going to get even half serious about your photography.
Don’t worry most kit lenses are not brilliant when measured or assessed in any empirical way, but realistically your kit lens was almost a freebie so what have you got to moan about. In any case, without meaning to insult anyone, most kit lenses are capable of better results than most photographers are capable of delivering.
Every great photograph consists of three key elements. First and foremost composition, lighting and of course the moment. Look at any great image and you’ll notice these elements. What part of the image caught your attention? More often than not, it will be the compositional structure that sets the scene. A poorly composed photo can make a fantastic subject dull, but a well-executed composition has the potential to turn an ordinary situation into something extraordinary. This is why composition is critical and should be paramount for every shot you take.
I want to discuss composition and how photographer’s can improve their work by thoughtfully constructing images that make sense. There a few imperative things to understand when discussing the various principles and importance of composition. Let’s face it; people will not be drawn to our photos if there is nothing of interest to grab their attention. To properly grasp composition and capture powerful, and meaningful photographs, we should understand how the human mind works.
When it comes to the list of digital imaging pioneers, Marc Levoy is one of those names that belongs right near the top. His work has led to many of the technical advances that we see in use today with computer generated imagery. So, it’s no wonder that he jumped into digital photography. From 2009 until 2014, Levoy taught digital photography at Stanford.
In 2016, he revised the course and taught it again at Google in Spring. Now, the entire revised course is available online completely free. The course assumes no prior knowledge of photography whatsoever. It covers pretty much everything you’d ever want to know about photography. Covering a multitude of technical aspects from the basics to extremely in-depth.
When taking a photography workshop, it’s important to perform some due diligence to ensure you’re investing your money wisely.
Whether you’re a brand new or seasoned photographer, one things holds true — if you belong to any website, photography Facebook group, or have photographer friends, you are likely to get bombarded on a weekly, maybe even daily, basis with educational opportunities and workshops.