Give Yourself Assignments

I’ve long been a believer in self-assignments. That’s when you give yourself a photo assignment rather than waiting for the phone to ring, or instead of sitting around waiting for a stroke of magical inspiration. Give yourself an assignment and make yourself follow through with it; you’re bound to make something great. I’ve even had arrangements with other photographers in the past where every week we gave ourselves and assignment. This incorporated the pressure of not letting down your partner, as well as afforded the opportunity to learn from another photographer and get feedback from a trained eye. For proof that self-assignments really do work, take a look at these amazing steel mill images from photographer Carl de Souza. He made them after giving himself the self-assignment to photograph at a factory while on another assignment in Pakistan. The images are beautiful, surreal and immensely informative all at the same time. His newspaper, The Guardian, even selected them for inclusion in as special slideshow edition. Once you see them—here featured on Rob Galbraith’s web site along with the story of their creation—you’ll understand why. And hopefully you’ll see why self-assignments can be so rewarding.

http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/content_page.asp?cid=7-11412-11418
DPMag
I’ve long been a believer in self-assignments. That’s when you give yourself a photo assignment rather than waiting for the phone to ring, or instead of sitting around waiting for a stroke of magical inspiration. Give yourself an assignment and make yourself follow through with it; you’re bound to make…

Learn Photography From The Mona Lisa

What can you learn about making great photographs by looking at a painting? A lot, frankly, if that painting is Leonardo Da Vinci’s iconic Mona Lisa and what you’re looking to learn are some insights into portraiture. In this fun post by Darren Rowse at the Digital Photography School blog you can learn about composition and posing, as well as the importance of a simplified background and a little bit of mystery. As a portrait photographer I’m always on the lookout for any insight and advantage I can find. This especially piqued my interest because really, who better to learn from than Da Vinci himself?

http://www.digital-photography-school.com/what-the-mona-lisa-can-teach-you-about-taking-great-portraits
DPMag
What can you learn about making great photographs by looking at a painting? A lot, frankly, if that painting is Leonardo Da Vinci’s iconic Mona Lisa and what you’re looking to learn are some insights into portraiture. In this fun post by Darren Rowse at the Digital Photography School blog…

Photoshop For iPad

At last month’s Photoshop World convention in Las Vegas, Adobe execs demoed an early concept for Apple’s iPad. It’s a Photoshop App, and it would allow fairly sophisticated manipulation of layered images on the touch screen of a tablet. I don’t know that I’d want to work with layers and my big fat fingers on a touch screen—I have enough trouble with layers and a mouse or pen and tablet—but I know it would be great to turn my iPad into a one-stop imaging and editing resource. Adobe Vice President John Loiacono demonstrated the app, which you can watch in the linked video from Rob Galbraith’s blog.

http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/content_page.asp?cid=7-11314-11406
DPMag
At last month’s Photoshop World convention in Las Vegas, Adobe execs demoed an early concept for Apple’s iPad. It’s a Photoshop App, and it would allow fairly sophisticated manipulation of layered images on the touch screen of a tablet. I don’t know that I’d want to work with layers and…

Improve Your Photography In Just Ten Minutes

Who wouldn’t want to become a better photographer in just a few minutes’ time? I know I would. So I took note of this exercise suggested by Mark Silber on his SilberStudios blog. It involves heeding some advice from Ansel Adams, then briefly brainstorming and writing a plan for a photograph you’d like to make. Finally, just go out and make it. It sounds simple, no? Maybe it is, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t totally effective too. I know I rely entirely too much on chance and happenstance in my photography. My best images actually come from the times I start with a plan—a specific plan—in mind. That doesn’t mean I’m afraid to change or unable to adapt and be spontaneous. It just means that I’m working in a specific, and deliberate, direction. That’s what Ansel called ìvisualization.î Check out Mark’s blog for the simple instructions and then get out there and improve your photography in the next few minutes.

http://www.silberstudios.tv/blog/2011/04/an-easy-7-step-exercise-to-improve-your-photography
DPMag
Who wouldn’t want to become a better photographer in just a few minutes’ time? I know I would. So I took note of this exercise suggested by Mark Silber on his SilberStudios blog. It involves heeding some advice from Ansel Adams, then briefly brainstorming and writing a plan for a…

Ball Of Light Painting By Night

I’m usually very taken with light painting photographs. Perhaps it’s because the images are inherently photographic in nature; after all, you can’t make them in any other way. Maybe it’s just because the only way to actually see these effects (which the naked eye could never see) is to create them by painting with light and capturing them in a camera. Or perhaps it’s just because they’re often so fun, so whimsical and so unique. This group of images—which appear to be light painting in daylight although they’re actually made at night—are also appealing because of the photographer’s story. Denis Smith was stressed out and depressed before he starting making these ìball of lightî photographs, and he says they saved his life. Check out the amazing images, read Denis’ story, and watch a documentary video about the photographer and his process at the always entertaining Brain Pickings blog. Then go see more of his work at his own web site.

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2011/04/04/denis-smith-ball-of-light
http://www.denissmith.com.au
DPMag
I’m usually very taken with light painting photographs. Perhaps it’s because the images are inherently photographic in nature; after all, you can’t make them in any other way. Maybe it’s just because the only way to actually see these effects (which the naked eye could never see) is to create…

Manage Your Batteries Better

I know, I know... Batteries. Blah. Boring. But seriously, batteries are so important to photographers! They power our cameras and our flashes and if we’re not immensely careful with them we’ll find ourselves completely unable to take any pictures at all. That’s why I’m always on the lookout for better battery advice. Sure enough, I found it at the DIY Photography blog in the form of a post with great tips on building your own battery management system. What does it do? It offers an easy to use and incredibly efficient way of storing and carrying batteries so that you know how to differentiate between which ones are fully charged and ready to go, and which ones are dead. This is a huge problem in my own life, as every time I pick up an AA battery I never know whether it will work or not. If I build one of these simple systems I’ll be all set. I recommend you do it too. Learn how at diyphotography.net.

http://www.diyphotography.net/the-ultimate-guide-to-managing-batteries-on-location
DPMag
I know, I know... Batteries. Blah. Boring. But seriously, batteries are so important to photographers! They power our cameras and our flashes and if we’re not immensely careful with them we’ll find ourselves completely unable to take any pictures at all. That’s why I’m always on the lookout for better…
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