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

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... Read more

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

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... Read more

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

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... Read more
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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

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... Read more

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

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... Read more

Photographers On Photography

I don’t just write this blog. Obviously I have a life and a family and I take pictures, but I mean I write more blogs than this one. I also write another blog about photography that, at the risk of sounding entirely too self serving, I thought you might be interested in as well. I call it Key Words: Photographers On Photography, and I’ve been updating it for about a year. It’s a little bit amorphous, with no set schedule or agenda, but it does have one constant principle that drives it: when I read something about photography and I find it so informative or inspiring that I just have to print it out and paste it on my wall, I also paste it on my digital wall—via the Key Words blog. I include things about creativity, technique, the photo business… anything that I find particularly informative or inspiring to help me with my photography. Feel free to check it out. I hope you will find it helpful with your own photography too.

http://www.sawalich.com/keywords

I don’t just write this blog. Obviously I have a life and a family and I take pictures, but I mean I write more blogs than this one. I also write another blog about photography that, at the risk of sounding entirely too self serving, I thought you might be interested in as well. I call it Key Words: Photographers On Photography, and I’ve... Read more

The Practice Of Contemplative Photography

I’ve always enjoyed photography as much more than just a means to an end. It’s not always about the pictures as much as, on a personal level, it’s about the making of those pictures. The act of photographing can itself be a very enjoyable, even meditative, experience. To that end there’s a new book that aims to help photographers connect on a deeper level with their daily world via their photographic experiences. It’s a book about how to see as much as it is about how to take pictures. It’s called The Practice of Contemplative Photography and it’s out this month from authors Andy Karr and Michael Wood. Drawing on Buddhist traditions and insights from photographic masters, the book works to teach photographers to ìsee what’s in front of them.î Very Zen. Very apt, too, given the nature of the art of photography. This looks like a great read that I’ll be putting on my wish list.

http://www.facebook.com/the.practice.of.contemplative.photography

I’ve always enjoyed photography as much more than just a means to an end. It’s not always about the pictures as much as, on a personal level, it’s about the making of those pictures. The act of photographing can itself be a very enjoyable, even meditative, experience. To that end there’s a new book that aims to help photographers... Read more

Cave Photography

Do you remember when earlier this year James Cameron (of Titanic and Avatar fame) released a 3D movie called Sanctum? It didn’t get a lot of critical acclaim, and it wasn’t around for very long, so I don’t blame you if you missed it. One thing it did do quite well was show some beautiful cave images, and raise some interesting questions about cave diving and photography. National Geographic took the lead on setting the record straight by interviewing photographer Stephen Alvarez, a cave expert, about what it’s really like to explore—and photograph—in these treacherous locations far underground. You can watch the movie trailer and read the interesting interview at National Geographic’s Blog Central. 

http://blogs.ngm.com/blog_central/2011/02/sanctum-raises-cave-questions-nat-geo-photographer-answers-them.html

Do you remember when earlier this year James Cameron (of Titanic and Avatar fame) released a 3D movie called Sanctum? It didn’t get a lot of critical acclaim, and it wasn’t around for very long, so I don’t blame you if you missed it. One thing it did do quite well was show some beautiful cave images, and raise some interesting questions... Read more

Why You Should Shoot JPEG Instead Of RAW

I know most of you are used to hearing the advice, "Shoot RAW!" shouted over and over, but there are a few key exceptions to that generally good rule. There are actually times when you should shoot JPEG files instead of RAW. When might that be? According to a recent piece on the Digital Photography School blog, sports photographers suggest shooting JPEG files when you want to work very fast to capture fast action—as they do all the time. You should also consider JPEG files when you’re forced to conserve storage space and a RAW file would simply eat up too much of it. There are a couple of other ideal times to capture JPEG in lieu of RAW, but for that you’ll have to go check out the original article. And now you don’t have to feel bad if you too prefer to shoot JPEG—that is, as long as you’re doing it for the right reasons.

http://www.digital-photography-school.com/4-reasons-to-switch-to-jpeg

I know most of you are used to hearing the advice, "Shoot RAW!" shouted over and over, but there are a few key exceptions to that generally good rule. There are actually times when you should shoot JPEG files instead of RAW. When might that be? According to a recent piece on the Digital Photography School blog, sports photographers suggest... Read more

Reducing Digital Noise In Camera

Sensor noise has gotten a lot of press in recent years. Digital noise, particularly from high-ISO photography, has gotten considerably better with innovations in digital camera sensors and image processing algorithms. Still, though, noise is a real issue for almost every photographer, no matter what she might be shooting. Light Stalking has published a nice tutorial about noise and its causes, as well as a few great tips for reducing noise without resorting to post-production trickery. Advice centers on the common sense approaches of shooting with lower ISOs and subtle overexposure, as well as keeping the camera itself cool. Great advice for anybody who doesn’t want to take a "fix it in post" approach but still wants to make low-noise photographs.

http://www.lightstalking.com/reduce-noise

Sensor noise has gotten a lot of press in recent years. Digital noise, particularly from high-ISO photography, has gotten considerably better with innovations in digital camera sensors and image processing algorithms. Still, though, noise is a real issue for almost every photographer, no matter what she might be shooting. Light Stalking has published... Read more