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A Year Of Photo Project Ideas

Continuing with my theme of photographic self-improvement from yesterday, today I've got a link to a blog with some practical help to get your creative juices flowing. As I've said many times right here on this blog, I am just no good at photo-a-day projects. So while I may not be the perfect guy to emulate when it comes to this stuff, at least I know who to point you to when you want to model good behavior! The Pixiq blog is a great place to look for insight and inspiration in general, but today especially because of a great post by Haje Jan Kamps that can help you develop some great photo projects for yourself in 2012. And don't get me wrong: these don't all require the commitment of "photo-a-day" projects. Some of them are simple projects that you can do for a month, or over the course of a weekend, or even just in a single day. The point is, giving yourself photo assignments really is invaluable. It will make you a better photographer, hands down. So if you don't know where to look, start here at Pixiq and pick a project that sounds like fun. Or, at the risk of sounding entirely too self-serving, check out a recent Tip of the Week article I wrote here at the Digital Photo web site. It's all about setting some photographic goals for the new year in order to improve your photography over the long run. Whereever you start, it all comes down to some really tremendous, really simple advice: Just do it.

http://www.pixiq.com/article/ten-cool-photography-projects
http://www.dpmag.com/how-to/tip-of-the-week/five-new-years-photo-resolutions-you-can-keep-01-02-12.html
DPMag
Continuing with my theme of photographic self-improvement from yesterday, today I've got a link to a blog with some practical help to get your creative juices flowing. As I've said many times right here on this blog, I am just no good at photo-a-day projects. So while I may not…

Self-Portraits Done Right

I've never been much for self-portraits. I remember an assignment once in college in which where we were charged with recreating a famous portrait but in self-portrait form. I chose a Bruce Weber brooding black and white portrait of actor Girard Depardieu. It worked, but not nearly as well as Mr. Weber's. Maybe because I'm not as pretty as Gerard. But I'm digressing, because the point isn't that I'm not much of a self-portrait photographer, it's that when I see great examples of them I'm insanely envious of those who can do them well. This is the same feeling I have about "picture a day" projects; I appreciate them, but I just can't seem to bring myself to invest in the commitment of taking a picture every day. Silly, I know. Anyway, the point is that I just discovered an awesome combination of the two. There's no better self-portrait project, and no better picture-a-day project, than Jeff Harris' ongoing adventure. He's up to 4,748 pictures in his "self-portrait every day" project (there they are, all laid out side by side in the picture above), which means he hasn't missed a day in nearly 15 years. You might think these images wouldn't be particularly interesting (how engaging can self-portraits be?) but it turns out they can be downright awesome, and Mr. Harris is clearly quite a talented photographer with a great sense of color and composition. Check out a fun video at the A Photo Editor blog for a glimpse into the portraits that made me a believer, then head over to Mr. Harris' own web site at www.jeffharris.org to see more. As he told A Photo Editor, Mr. Harris is just being pragmatic: "I see no reason to not make a self-portrait each day. I'm always around and always free. It's kind of like going to the gym—it flexes your muscles and keeps you in shape."

http://www.aphotoeditor.com/2012/01/09/jeff-harris-4748-self-portraits-and-counting
DPMag
I've never been much for self-portraits. I remember an assignment once in college in which where we were charged with recreating a famous portrait but in self-portrait form. I chose a Bruce Weber brooding black and white portrait of actor Girard Depardieu. It worked, but not nearly as well as…

The Inner Workings Of A Memory Card

Rob Galbraith's blog is a must-read if you're at all interested in keeping up with the newest photo gear and great links of interest to photographers. He's got a neat video up on his site right now, courtesy of Lexmark. It's an animated look inside the workings of a memory card, and it's not only entertaining, it's actually pretty darn interesting too. After all, how does a memory card work? I always assumed it was some form of magic or witchcraft. Turns out I was only half right. Okay fine, it's not magic at all—but it might as well be! It's pretty great to finally get a bit of an idea how this mysterious little device works to be such an integral part of every digital workflow.

http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/content_page.asp?cid=7-11673-12244
DPMag
Rob Galbraith's blog is a must-read if you're at all interested in keeping up with the newest photo gear and great links of interest to photographers. He's got a neat video up on his site right now, courtesy of Lexmark. It's an animated look inside the workings of a memory…

How To Design A Good-Looking Photo Book

I recently invested a fair chunk of my time into assembling and printing more than a half dozen photo books. I learned a lot about print quality, the importance of a helpful publisher with good software, and most of all the importance of good design for the layout of a book—whether it's a portfolio, a wedding album or a coffee table keepsake. So when this morning I read a piece at Digital Photography School about how to design a good photo book layout, it really piqued my interest. I was a bit skeptical, I admit, because the one thing I found in the many book templates I tried is that those templates don't often reflect good design. But these tips were written by the young lady behind the "Photo Book Girl" web site and she knows whereof she speaks. (Her site, btw, looks to be a great resource for all sorts of how-to tips, deals and information about making great photo books. Check it out at http://www.photobookgirl.html.) Her first bit of advice is to keep the layout simple, so you know right there she's off to a good start—and bound to help you overcome some of the cluttered, cumbersome and downright goofy templates that exist out there in photo book world. So check out the tips at http://www.digital-photography-school.com/5-top-tips-for-designing-good-photo-book-layouts and then read about my experiences with a handful of publishers at the Digital Photo Pro web site, http://www.digitalphotopro.com/technique/software-technique/photo-books-101.html.
DPMag
I recently invested a fair chunk of my time into assembling and printing more than a half dozen photo books. I learned a lot about print quality, the importance of a helpful publisher with good software, and most of all the importance of good design for the layout of a…

To D4 Or Not To D4. Is It Even A Question?

The Nikon D4 was announced last week to much fanfare. I have to admit, the flagship D-SLR in the Nikon pro lineup seriously pulled on my irrational "I need to buy this camera" heart-strings. Maybe it's nostalgia for my most beloved camera ever, the perfect tank of film SLR, the F4. Maybe it's that on paper the D4 doesn't reinvent the wheel—which makes me think that the company has created a really good camera that delivers really good pictures. It appears that Nikon has focused on improving usability and picture quality, rather than simply filling the thing with specs that make it look great on paper. But that's really neither here nor there, because there's plenty to read on this site and elsewhere about the new D4. What prompted me to write today was reading The Strobist's take on it. A Nikon guy himself, David Hobby says he won't be buying this great new camera, which is surprising in and of itself. More surprising is that it's because he recently unloaded his arsenal of Nikon equipment and made the switch—not to a Canon D-SLR, but to a medium format digital system. Given the trend of 35mm-film-format D-SLRs getting better by leaps and bounds on an almost yearly basis and rivaling medium format, it's quite a surprising take—made even more surprising since The Strobist is all about using hand-held strobes to take D-SLR photography to the next level. It's a fascinating read, whether or not you agree with David's rationale. But it's one that certainly made me think, and made me extremely envious that I don't have $6,000 or $10,000 to consider investing in new camera equipment at the moment.

http://strobist.blogspot.com/2012/01/bailing-on-nikon-d4.html
DPMag
The Nikon D4 was announced last week to much fanfare. I have to admit, the flagship D-SLR in the Nikon pro lineup seriously pulled on my irrational "I need to buy this camera" heart-strings. Maybe it's nostalgia for my most beloved camera ever, the perfect tank of film SLR, the…

The King Of Decay Photography

I recently read about a hobbyist photographer who has turned his passion for exploring run-down places into a stunning photographic portfolio. Henk van Rensbergen is his name, and he's an airline pilot by day, explorer by night. (Well, actually, most of his photography is done by day as well, but those must be his off days.) I'm usually not much of a fan of "ruin porn" as it's become derisively known, but Henk's work is different. First, it's the knowledge that he started his work simply to document the places he enjoyed exploring. His photography stems from a passion, first and foremost, for examining and cataloging these abandoned places. It doesn't seem predatory or exploitative like some urban decay photography. In fact, it's clear that he's paying homage to the places he photographs—and he's doing them wonderful justice. My favorite thing about exploring Henk's web site(s) is to see just how much his photography evolved over the decades he's been making pictures. So first check out his eponymous site at www.henkvanrensbergen.com for his newest work, then head over to www.abandoned-places.com to browse through the back catalog of amazing places he's visited since 1988.

DPMag
I recently read about a hobbyist photographer who has turned his passion for exploring run-down places into a stunning photographic portfolio. Henk van Rensbergen is his name, and he's an airline pilot by day, explorer by night. (Well, actually, most of his photography is done by day as well, but…
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