There are so many ways to become a better photographer. Taking photographs and shooting more and more is great. Reading various articles online is always helpful. But in the end photographers may feel at an impasse and must look deep inside to get better. Formal Classes help, but time consuming and often require time to assimilate the information offered.
One of the simplest and best way to become a stronger and more intelligent photographer is to use the available tools offered by many book publishing companies. Being able to produce a photography was even in recent years an expensive project. Beside this an editor would have to be hired. Today a photographer can create photo books easily and at a fairly low cost.
Great photographers are always great editors. They can always find the perfect shots in their edit. They understand why a photograph works and/or if they don't, thye usually just feel the power the shot has. Apple Aperture, from its early stages, included the option to publish. Other companies such as Lulu.com and others followed. Lightroom in its current version (V.4) offers the option to create books using Blurb.com which has acquired an excellent reputation for its fine printing.
The Importance of Self-publiishing is that today you can create a book, design it, edit it, include text and there you are, you photos are in a book format. It has a beginning an end and tells your visual story. So why is it so important? Well just as a writer having to tell a story, with all the elements needed to make it interesting, a photographer, once engaged in creating a book, must make choices as to which photos to use and why. which is the better photograph, which one to use at the beginning and at the end etc. All these choices will make the book a success or failure.
In this video Bruno Debas discusses his recent project "Unknown" a self published book. Using various tools to lay out the book in a pleasant and interesting manner that will sustain the viewer's attention, Bruno explain each photos and why he decided to use them in such a way.
He shares below some of the ideas he uses to lay each pages looking at double page spread to see how each photo works with each other.
Bruno: "..The toughest part is selecting the photographs, usually a "rough Edit" is my first step and usually includes many photos that I may be on the fence with but sill like. The next step is to figure which image is going to be at the beginning and start laying image one after the other...To combine photographs I use their color relation to make sure that the 2 pages will look nice when the book is opened. I use subject matter to support the idea I try to convey, I pay attention to their impact on each other, whether they support each other, fight each other etc".
Listen to this lesson and hear Bruno shares his ideas on self-publishing.
For the last few months I have been bothered by a simple fact that is and has been a pain to me and each and everyone of my students. Every day that I stand by a photographer in the shooting studios and notice the same problem over and over with camera shutters. Beside the problem I will describe below I have been wondering why do we need a shutter?
Whether you own the newest Nikon D800, Canon 5D Mark III or others (not tested Canon 1Dx or Nikon D3x or D4), when shooting at or over 1/200sec in the vertical position (Portrait) the shutter is caught and appears in the frame, that is, of course, when shot with studio flash. Now it's weird because every manufacturers states that these cameras have a 1/250sec sync speed, which means you should be able to shoot with flash at that speed. Unless I am misreading their tech Specs. Of course cameras do sync at 1/250sec but only when your camera is in the the horizontal format (Landscape). Weird isn't it? I wish I was making this up. but I often look at an image shot at 1/200sec or 1/250sec in the vertical position and you can see a darkening edge, almost like a gradient where the shutter is slightly caught. No it is not like a third of your image is black but in that area you can surely notice the effect of the shutter. So what do you do to fix it? Shoot at 1/160sec. Every time I offered this solution to my students, it fixed the problem. The reason why this happens? I could not tell you but you can be sure that manufacturers know of this issue. I mean how could they not know? I should disclose, to be fair with the manufacturers, that this happens with the material we use; Profoto Acute2/ 2400 Generator. Not the top of the line but surely a power pack of professional quality. Cameras used? Every single past and current cameras except for the ones listed above (Not tested).
Test your camera and let us know if you have the same problem, we would like to hear from you and maybe bring this to the attention of the camera manufacturers.
Now came the question as to why we have camera shutters? I did find some articles that I am sharing below. Still it was really hard for me to comprehend why we need a shutter moving up and down to capture light on a sensor?
Also when you take a look at various cameras you realize your shutter has a fairly limited lifespan. Nikon D4, for example is an amazing camera, expensive but worth every pennies spent on it. This camera at roughly $6000 gives you a 400,000 cycles (Lifespan), after which time you may have failures. That is a big number but for a pro who shoot 1000 images a day that's 2 years, assuming that pro shoots 200 days a year he/she would have to change shutter. Now for sure that's a lot of photos but why is it that we need this shutter?
Tp me it an old technology used in a new and more advanced package. Would it be better to just re0invent the wheel and just move on? Yes probably for the consumer it is. But for the manufacturers it would probably mean they would have to close the book on whatever they have done previously and create everything new. That's scary but in the end it's probably what will have to happen.
Click to view Movie.
Well I would love to hear what you have to say I am including below a few links for you to review.
Since the definition of Artist is "A person who practices any of the various creative arts, such as a sculptor, novelist, poet, or filmmaker." we, as photographers, are artists. To most photographers making a living of their trade or Art in the commercial area the definition of Artist maybe be a far reach. People who shoot every day are commercial photographers supplying clients with a solution to a problem. It often requires very little creativity and nothing more than great technical skills. I prefer the definition offered by Daniel Grant in the Huffington Post, in which he states some interesting points: "An artist is someone who makes Art".
So it is with this question in mind that i must review the current Mario Testino exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston (MFA); What is an artist. Mario Testino's exhibit is very good. I love the large prints, the bold Color, the impeccable presentation. Mr. Testino's show provides entertainment, some nudity, a sense of intimacy created by the dark room and the feeling of looking though a window But Art? Out of all the photographers in the world that create incredible photographs the MFA could not find an Artist? Some would say that Mr. Testino. according to the definition is one. But sadly I would not agree.
Mr. Testino is, without a doubt, an awesome commercial photographer, with a specialization in fashion and celebrity, not the greatest of our time, by far. David La Chapelle, Steven Klein, Annie Leibovitz, the young Kamilla Akrans, and many others, actually too many to list before we get to Mr. Testino, an incredible photographer, but at the MFA, really? Does the simple definition that a person practicing a creative art is automatically an artist enough for a museum to simply open its door for such a show. There are a few "Commercial" Photographers that cross over to art when they shoot, La Chapelle is surely one, Nadav Kander is probably the person that everyone would agree is a true artist. To me an artist should have a "Vision". a "Message", a "Style" that is represented throughout the work the career. Helmut Newton is a photographer that had all this, someone whose work was distinctive. personal, unique.
While looking at the work on the walls of the MFA, I searched for the "Style" and someone else's appeared, Newton her, La Chapelle there, Avedon other places. I looked for a "Vision" and found no consistent vision. I looked for a message and found none. In the end I found the work a rare individual whose career granted him access to special people and places in exchange for delivering high quality images in various styles. I have no problem with Mr. Testino's photographs and respect his work for what it is, I have a problem with a serious Museum, the MFA, failing in its duty to show Artist, real ones. Yes Mr. Testino brings money, corporate support, glamor, but does not fulfill the responsibility a museum has to its audience. II thought the Museum did a great job when showing Yousuf Karsh, a master of the 20th century, Avedon. But in the case of Mr. Testino it lacked the courage to say: " Your wok is gorgeous Mr. Testino but it's commercial work, this is a Fine Art Museum".
All the Photographs are the copyright of Mario Testino and photoInstitute.net.
It takes courage to stop and acknowledge that a problem exist and do whatever it takes to present it so others would know, especially when the person or entity informing us is a business whose primary goal is to make money and entertain. So to HBO, thank you! Thank you for entertaining me with the many shows you produce. But today I want to thank you for “Witness”, the four-part documentary Series that follows 4 combat photographers. We have a problem, actually many, and HBO had the courage and commitment to create this amazing series! As a photographer and photography teacher, I am always fascinated by the various ways people use photography. I have been a commercial photographer for years but have many friends in various field and I love the different work I see, the Photojournalism work from my friend Kuni Takahashi, The work of of Food Photographer Jim Scherer, Charles Grogg and many others.
Once a year during Portfolio Review at the school where I teach, I always can feel the commitment that the Photojournalist Majors have and I love to meet these students. Not that other students do not have the same commitment but these students are about to show us the world they see, knowing money will not be the reward, that a sense of responsibility to present to us what they see, what stories they feel needs to be told, the photographs will be their payment.
I also do feel that sometimes students have not experience reality, and I do not mean our simple day to day life, this reality they have lived. I am talking about the reality presented to us by photographer Eros Hoagland in “Witness:Rio”. The death, the unbearable stories of violence, torture and pain. Or in “Witness: Libya” featuring Michael Christopher Brown, whose work presents Libya in post-Kaddafi era, shot during a period when two well known photojournalists, Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros were killed. His friends, colleagues, killed! That is the reality HBO’s “Witness” offers the viewers, offers the young photographers hoping to enter this field.
As a viewer, I was deeply touched by the power of the words of the many residents interviewed. “The Criminalization of Poverty. The supposed criminality of the poor justifies the State’s actions....There is an industry of Fear in Rio”. These words resonate as I wonder if they could be applied to most Countries I know. Whether in the poor suburbs of Paris or the ones in the United States?
Finally, Hoagland speaks honestly about his work and says; “ Sometimes when I finish a project and I look back at all the things I had to do to get the pictures, I think how did i find the will to keep pushing, to make things open up.... it really is an exercise in digging, digging into yourself, digging into the story, digging into everything and sometimes the hole starts filling itself before you can get out and you lose perspective and then you start doing stupid shit, doing anything to get the picture... no matter who suffers for it.”
I love this quote, its power but most of all I like the fact that Mr. Hoagland knows what the boundaries are, when to say, my actions may endanger someone others than me and I realize he knows than one must always watch him/herself to protect others. To the young photojournalist, one of the last quote is the most powerful: “The wars you have seen are different from ours. Our reality is different from yours”
So thank you HBO for a great series with a serious and powerful message.I love the various series you have produced; from Game of Thrones, Curb, Bored to Death and Boardwalk Empire. But this was awesome, absolutely!
The power of CGI has been felt in all areas of media. Why is it important? Because young photographers should embrace the technology and include it in their 5-10 plan.I sat with a student a few weeks ago who was wondering about her skills with Photoshop and the chances she would have getting hired as a Digital Artist/ retoucher. Hoping to avoid going back to school as she had just finished a photo program, she was only wondering what option she had. i thought about telling her to move to CGI but felt it was not appropriate. Students should be outstanding with photoshop, but also, if they are really technically interested in the digital part of photography, start learning CGI and the applications used in the discipline; Maya, StudioMax, Soft Image and the free Blender, a good start)
Once upon a time Car Photography was an extremely difficult but financially very rewarding trade. This specialty was broken down into 2 styles: Studio and Lifestyle. Studio Shoot would be product oriented, Life Style would be targeted to Advertising. The idea of shooting a car is surely a challenging one. A large reflective subject with multiple angles.Very technical subject, very difficult. I assisted man years ago in the studios of Citroén, a French car Company and can tell you that these were major projects. Huge studios, huge cameras (8"x10").
The principal reason why CGI is taking more and more of the market. is that Car Companies do not have to create a costly prototype, hide it from its competitors, and resort to all sorts of tricks to keep it hidden. Now using CGI they can create a 3D rendering of any object, and create a photograph like image. Car photographers who still are working and shooting products will slowly see the job they manage either going to full CGI houses or partially losing some of the work or having to manage the CGI Artist.
Recently CGI has replaced cameras and photographers that specialized in Car Photography are left to reinvent themselves. Actually most everything can be created using CGI. From products to Landscapes, it can be done.CGI, Computer Graphic Imaging, is constantly making progress and spreading into various areas, including movies, advertising, etc.
Currently CGI is moving in all kinds of areas certainly the movies. but also product, animation, advertising, TV art etc. its impact is enormous and slowly changing the way we see things. The example of the Hummer Below by CGi/3 D Artist, Djordje Jovanovic is a pretty good one.
©Djordje Jovanovic, 3D designer
It is a good example of what can actually be done with CGI. Check out the interview and the work of this talented artist in the interview he gace CGAdvertising.com. (Click link below)
In a recent project Tim Tadder, an American photographer teamed up with CGI/Digitial artist, Mike Campau to create a series of photographs called; “Future Sports Project”. The CGI involved creating these amazing backgrounds. They do look surreal but at the same time extremely real. Amazing work
Also check out the work of CGI Artist Mike Campau his work is amazing.
So to us photographers currently working the future is here. But to the younger photographers starting their career it is an absolute must. It is a field that will need to be explored, learned and used to the best of its capabilities, a new tool. I believe it is extremely critical for young photographers to be at the forefront of technology and its development there is still opportunities to be gained but time is ticking.
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