Secrets Of Great Portrait Photography

Tremendously talented portrait photographer Brian Smith has a new book is out this week, and it should be on the top of pretty much every photographer's wish list. The book, Secrets of Great Portrait Photography, breaks down decades of insights and advice from Smith--a true master portraitist--into reliable, relatable and increadibly invaluable information for photographers striving to make better pictures of people. Including behind-the-scenes stories of the making of many of his most iconic portraits, it's really a great book that works on two levels: not only is it a beautiful coffee table book of photography, it serves as an instruction manual for up-and-coming portrait photographers. It might just be a must-read.

http://briansmith.com/secrets-of-great-portrait-photography-brian-smith
DPMag
Tremendously talented portrait photographer Brian Smith has a new book is out this week, and it should be on the top of pretty much every photographer's wish list. The book, Secrets of Great Portrait Photography, breaks down decades of insights and advice from Smith--a true master portraitist--into reliable, relatable and…

Down And Out In The South

This is a tremendous portrait project with a poignant social message. So often, homeless people are treated as less than human, ignored both in theory and in reality by society as a whole. So when Dutch photographer Jan Banning took a residency at the 701 Center for Creative Art in Columbia, South Carolina, the socially minded photographer decided to set up a makeshift studio in a housing facility for aid of the homeless, and he made beautiful, dignified portraits of these people without preying on them. It's certainly a well covered subject, but Banning's approach is definitely unique. The result is a lesson not only in beautiful portraiture, but also a lesson in how to treat subjects with dignity and photograph to serve a greater purpose.

http://cnnphotos.blogs.cnn.com/2012/10/03/down-and-out-in-the-south
DPMag
This is a tremendous portrait project with a poignant social message. So often, homeless people are treated as less than human, ignored both in theory and in reality by society as a whole. So when Dutch photographer Jan Banning took a residency at the 701 Center for Creative Art in…

The Last Pictures

Last month, NASA sent the Echostar XVI satellite into orbit. Onboard was a ultra-archival golden disk. Technically it's a silicon disc nano-etched with data, encased in an aluminum shell that is coated with gold, itself etched with pictogram references to our planet. A rudimentary map of our local part of the cosmos, if you will. But what's most interesting is the data that was nano-etched onto that silicon disk. NASA commissioned a public arts organization to select 100 images of value to future scientists and explorers who will someday--maybe even millennia from now--find this disk and get a glimpse of our earth and the people who inhabited it. Which 100 pictures would you send aloft to represent our entire civilization? They are, thankfully, collected in the book The Last Pictures, which would be a tremendous group of photographs even if they weren't designated to be the literal last pictures of our planet, designed to long outlast the planet itself. 

http://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520275003
DPMag
Last month, NASA sent the Echostar XVI satellite into orbit. Onboard was a ultra-archival golden disk. Technically it's a silicon disc nano-etched with data, encased in an aluminum shell that is coated with gold, itself etched with pictogram references to our planet. A rudimentary map of our local part of…

Lenskirt

Have you ever tried to take pictures through glass? It could be that you're indoors trying to shoot out a window, or maybe you're at the zoo trying to photograph through a glass wall, or perhaps you'd simply like to make nice pictures of the fish in your fish tank. The trick for shooting through glass is to ensure that you're shooting from the darker side of the glass. Think of it like a window at night: if it's light inside and dark outside, you can't see out very well but your neighbors can sure see in. So to up your odds for shooting through glass--to eliminate the mirror-like reflections that interfere with the success of your shot--you need to block all light coming from behind you and keep it from hitting the glass that you're shooting through. A good approach is to wear a black t-shirt and try to get your lens right up to the glass, positioning your body so as to create a shadow through which you may shoot. Or, you could just get a Lenskirt. I'd never heard of this genius little device until I read about it in an ASMP blog. "Oh, it's brilliant!" That's what I literally said out loud the moment I first saw the thing. It's a pretty handy device if you ever find yourself struggling to shoot through glass. Check it out at www.lenskirt.com
DPMag
Have you ever tried to take pictures through glass? It could be that you're indoors trying to shoot out a window, or maybe you're at the zoo trying to photograph through a glass wall, or perhaps you'd simply like to make nice pictures of the fish in your fish tank.…

The Autographer Camera

I'm no science guy, but in my own simple-minded way I think this story's pretty cool. A company called OMG Life has created a wearable camera that automatically senses changes to its environment to trigger photos. It's an automatic camera, called the Autographer, and while it might seem a bit gimmicky, the science behind it certainly appears solid. Check it out at DP Review and keep an eye out for the thing in the real world. (Can you imagine a device that combines this level of automation with the Lytro's post-capture selectable focus? We'd all shoot perfect pictures all the time. Wouldn't we?)

http://www.dpreview.com/news/2012/09/24/omg-life-creates-autographer-wearable-automatic-camera
DPMag
I'm no science guy, but in my own simple-minded way I think this story's pretty cool. A company called OMG Life has created a wearable camera that automatically senses changes to its environment to trigger photos. It's an automatic camera, called the Autographer, and while it might seem a bit…

The Truth About DOF

One of the fundamental tenets of the physics of photography is the fact that longer lenses (more telephoto, I mean) produce a shallower depth of field. But this "fact" is, in fact, not accurate. I know, I've written about this principle, as has every other photography writer who has ever put pen to paper. But the fact is the physics just don't hold up. What is true is that the APPEARANCE of depth of field shrinks in telephoto pictures, because of the compression of a scene. If in fact you simply use a telephoto lens to "zoom in" to a particular part of a scene, and keep the elements in the scene the same relative size, then the physical measurements of the depth of field will not change. That's right: you can produce the same depth of field with a 19mm lens as you can with a 200mm lens. If you want to understand how, Peter West Carey from DPS has pointed out a great little article about this phenomenon, written by Matt Brandon of The Digital Trekker. Sure, you can still strap on a long lens and create the EFFECT of shallower depth of field in most cases, but for a complete understanding of the physics, have a look at this link. 

http://digital-photography-school.com/understanding-a-consistent-depth-of-field-with-varying-focal-lengths
DPMag
One of the fundamental tenets of the physics of photography is the fact that longer lenses (more telephoto, I mean) produce a shallower depth of field. But this "fact" is, in fact, not accurate. I know, I've written about this principle, as has every other photography writer who has ever…
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