On Fear, Part 2: Looking At “Subway” by Bruce Davidson

This influential photographer confronted his fears in a powerful series of photographs about the New York City subway system
In my previous post, we explored the three main causes of fear—insecurity, inspiration and danger—and how to act on them. In this post, we’ll look closely at Magnum photographer Bruce Davidson and how he handled his fears as he photographed people in the New York City subway in the 1980s. Davidson was initially inspired to photograph this urban... Read more

On Fear, Part 1: Using Fear In A Positive Way

How to constructively deal with fear in your photography and your life
As photographers, we are often encouraged to “swallow our fears.” But the phrase suggests we ignore our fears in order to simply move on with our lives. But when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt famously said, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” he acknowledged not just how crippling fear can be, but also implied that it could... Read more

It’s OK To Shoot The Same Thing A Thousand Times

It’s not just about the photo. It’s about what you had to do to get it.
It's OK To Shoot The Same Thing A Thousand Times
Depending on how much mental fortitude you have, thinking about how to photograph something that has already been photographed a thousand times in a unique way could prove to be…daunting. And, to a degree, that’s rightfully an appropriate reaction. In these instances, I find that it helps to think about this endeavor the same way many adventurers... Read more

Builder Levy’s “Humanity in the Streets” Exhibition at the Brooklyn Historical Society

The photographer in this museum show combines aspects of social documentary, fine art and street photography in a seamless way
“Kingfish, Dekalb Avenue, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn,” 1965, by Builder Levy. Builder Levy is one of those rare photographers whose work is at once social documentary, fine art and street photography, and his seamless approach across these genres is as evident as ever in “Humanity in the Streets” currently exhibiting at the Brooklyn Historical... Read more

On Sequence, Part 2: W. Eugene Smith’s “The Country Doctor”

Looking back at a famous photo story by W. Eugene Smith from the 1940s can be a powerful way to learn how to sequence your own images
The way photographs register in the minds of viewers is unique to each viewer, but by controlling the order of the images, a compelling series can still guide viewers down a specific path. A celebrated photo essay that is very effective at doing this is “The Country Doctor”, a sequence captured by acclaimed photographer W. Eugene Smith, who shot... Read more

On Sequence, Part 1: Developing the Fundamentals

Arranging your images in the correct sequence can make a world of difference in how you experience your photography
One of my (many) favorite things about photography is the depth and complexity it can achieve in a series format. Photographs portraying myriad people, places and things can be put next to one another, and suddenly a story emerges that wasn’t apparent until you arranged them in a specific order. There is point and counterpoint, narration and narrative,... Read more

Anatomy Of A Photo: The Fish-Eye Lens

It's one of my most indispensable pieces of glass
Anatomy Of A Photo: The Fish-Eye Lens
Canon EOS 5D Mark II | Canon EF 15mm f/2.8 fish-eye lens HDR at f/11; ISO 100 March 11, 2009 Staten Island, NY One of my favorite lenses to use whenever I see distinct lines in a composition is the fish-eye lens. They’re possibly the most underrated lenses on the market when it comes to creative opportunities for photos. While my fish-eye lens... Read more

Rencontres d’Arles Photography Festival Celebrates 50 Years

A renowned annual festival turns 50 this summer
“Immediately captivated by the warm, luminous light of southern France,” says Amy Touchette, “I made this picture within minutes of arriving.” Without a doubt, the festival that’s always had the best reputation in the photo industry is Rencontres d’Arles. I attended in 2017 and it unequivocally lived up to its reputation.... Read more

How To Find Your Best Images

Use these six tips to discover your most compelling photos
One of the distinguishing aspects of photography is that we have to wade through a lot of bad photographs in order to unearth the few good ones. What other medium requires such nonsense? It’s a mind trip. It’s why so many photographers struggle with editing their own work. By the time you stumble upon a compelling photograph, it’s hard to recognize. But... Read more

Geotagging With Your Phone, Part II

Learn to apply the geotagged data to each photo that you took with your phone's camera
Recently, I shared a walkthrough of how I use my iPhone to geotag the location of every photo I take in the field. There are many reasons why geotagging can be useful; however, I’d be remiss if I didn’t bring up the implications of sharing those locations on social media. In recent years, some of our most beautiful natural landscapes have been significantly... Read more

Becoming a Confident Street Photographer

How to overcome insecurities when shooting out in the streets
When you photograph on the street, nothing affects your output as much as your own mindset. Understanding this is essential to becoming a confident street photographer. If you feel insecure about what you’re doing, if you have doubts about the morality of photographing strangers or feel timid about approaching strangers, it’s going to be challenging—at... Read more

Get That Dreamy Look Using Adobe Photoshop CC

Tips for applying the Orton effect to your images for that soft focus look
Get That Dreamy Look Using Adobe Photoshop CC
The funny thing about adding the popular Orton effect to your photos is that it’s so easy to overdo. Odds are, if you’ve ever seen a landscape photo with that ethereal, dreamy quality to it—almost as if it has the tiniest bit of soft focus—it has had some form of the Orton effect applied to it. Some photographers call it a Soft Focus Look or... Read more