14 Ways To Significantly Improve Your Photography Today – Digital Photography School

A Post By: James Brandon

© James Brandon | All Rights Reserved

As photographers and artists, we all hit creative walls. We work hard to improve our skills, we learn new things and then it seems we hit a wall.

Sometimes I think we over complicate problems like this, searching for some magical trick that will give us the creative perspective we are looking for. If you are like me you know that usually doesn’t work.

Instead, here is a collection of tips you can go out and try today to improve your photography and develop your creative eye. Pay no attention to the order, they are all completely random.

1. Visit an Art Museum | Fall in Love with Art

I can’t stress enough the importance of art appreciation as a photographer. If you want to get better at photography become an admirer and student of the world of art.

Visit a museum and spend the day studying the work of great artists. Better yet, take a pen and paper with you. When a painting or work of art grabs your attention jot down why. Write down everything you love about it and the reasoning behind it. If you find something you don’t care for write that down too.

Museums are abundant in most big cities. In fact in a lot of cases they are even free. If they aren’t free, there may still be ways to get in for free. For example, if you have a debit or credit card through Bank of America, you can get in free at over 100 museums nationwide.

2. Freshen Your Perspective

Take a day and focus on perspective. Experiment with different camera angles that you may not have tried before. This tip is only limited by how far you are willing to get out of your comfort zone.

If you are shooting a portrait session, bring a ladder with you. If you don’t have a ladder, climb a tree or find a perspective above your subjects head. Not only is this different, looking up is almost always flattering to your subjects features, especially if they are prone to double chins!

If you are photographing flowers, consider shooting them from underneath. While this may get you dirty, I promise it will be rewarding. Play with the angle of the sun and capture the translucency of the flower as the sunlight pours through it.

A fresh perspective can almost always give you that creative boost you are looking for.

3. Take a Trip To Your Local Zoo

Visiting a zoo is one of my favorite things to do as a photographer – mainly because I’m doing it simply for me. There is no pressure and I don’t have a client that wants a certain type of image. I don’t feel the need to create a certain look or feel to the photos. It’s just me, my camera and hundreds of exotic animals at my fingertips! Zoos are cheap and most of them have one day a week where you can even get in for half price.

Here’s a challenge: When you go, try and conceal the fact that the animals are at the zoo. That means getting creative with the way you frame shots.

This can be challenging at times, but it’s very rewarding. If there is a fence, an obviously fake looking rock or object, or if the surroundings just don’t click, don’t take the picture. Alternatively simply change your perspective until the framing works. This mindset will get your creative juices flowing and I promise you will have a blast!

4. Minimize Your Possibilities

That’s right, minimize. While being able to shoot thousands of images is nice, it can also dull your creative thought process. With seemingly unlimited images you can just click away, firing off shots left and right all day long. With this mentality, you’re sure to get a few keepers. Right?

Consider this instead; next time you’re out taking pictures (and not for a client!) try taking the smallest memory card you have. Choose one that will only allow you a very limited number of shots – and don’t take any other cards. Alternatively, if you only have large capacity cards just set a limit in your head of only taking 50 images the entire day.

All of the sudden, there is a certain and definite brevity in the amount of images you can take. You can’t just walk around snapping pictures at everything you see. This will take you back to the limitations of film and you will have to carefully consider each shot you take. The flip side of this is that your creative juices will begin to flow and you will be more alert to what is going to make a good image.

5. Take Your Camera Everywhere

In his book Visual Poetry, Chris Orwig states that, “Even without taking pictures, carrying a camera enhances life.”

I couldn’t agree more. Carrying a camera is an instant way to put your senses on high alert. It causes you to look at the world as if your camera was always pressed to your eye. It gives you a reason to slow down, to take everything in, no matter where you are.

Commit to carrying your camera with you everywhere for a certain amount of time. Take pictures knowing full well that the world may never see them. Create photographs of everyday things, moments in time that normally wouldn’t require a photograph. The trick will be to see these subtle events in a new way and to find a way to make them interesting. Even if you just use your camera phone, this tip is a solid way to improve your creative eye.

6. Always Be a Beginner

The moment you adopt the mindset that you’re the best at something (or even the best in your circle) is the moment you become unteachable.

Great photographers like Douglas Kirkland always keep the mindset of a beginner.

I’ve met my share of people who think they know it all. You know the kind. You try and tell them something that you’ve learned and they shoot you down, saying they already knew that. Or they refuse to accept anything new because they aren’t willing to change their ways. This is a death sentence to your creativity.

Set aside your pride and be willing to learn from others, even if you feel you’re at the top of your game.

7. Pick a Color, Any Color

Pick a color and create a portfolio around that color. If you have time, do this with several colors. Go out and create images that predominately feature a single color.

If you choose blue, consider subjects where this color is evident. Focus on pictures by water, or the sky. Go out past sunset and into the realm of “nautical twilight,” when the setting sun casts shades of deep blues across the sky and earth. Find textured walls that are painted in different colors and shades of blue.

If you choose yellow, scout out a field of sunflowers. Shoot subjects straight into the sun, bathing the frame in golden sunlight. You can make the color even more obvious in post processing by applying filters of your chosen color over the image.

8. Shadow an Admired Photographer

For the most part photographers are nice, generous and giving people. Sure, there are some who won’t give the time of day to a photographer looking for a mentor, but who wants to shadow or even follow the work of someone like that?

Find a photographer that inspires you and form a relationship with them. Offer to take them out to lunch. If you’re lucky, you will be able to learn from that person and maybe even shadow them.

Ask to hold lights for them during their photo shoots, or just carry around their gear. You will learn a lot just observing how they interact with their clients. If they shoot landscapes, the same applies. Offer to carry their gear as they scour the places they photograph. Invite them out for a photo walk and offer to buy dinner or a drink afterward. Becoming a great photographer is a tough road to take by yourself, having a mentor can make the difference between success and failure.

9. Discover the Golden Ratio

Also known as the Golden Mean, Divine Proportion, the Fibonacci Rule, the Rule of Phi, etc. The Golden Ratio is a common ratio discovered by Leonardo Fibonacci and found throughout nature, architecture, and art. The ratio is believed to make things appealing to the human eye.

In nature, it is also believed to be the most energy efficient form of design among living things. There is some debate around it but it is very interesting to learn about.

The Golden Ratio is basically the “Rule of Thirds” on steroids. If you have a few minutes, visit YouTube and watch this very interesting (albeit sort of creepy) video of the Golden Ratio. Becoming knowledgeable on topics like the Golden Ratio can drastically increase your chances of creating images that attract viewers attention.

10. Find a setting and stick with it

If there is a setting on your camera you are unfamiliar with, go to your camera and dial over to that setting. Now, commit to yourself that you won’t take your camera off that setting until you are fully comfortable with it.

If you are only comfortable with automatic, I wouldn’t suggest going straight to manual but do certainly get out of the automatic settings and into the creative ones.

You should view the automatic settings on your cameras as poison to your creativity and photographic skill. These settings take away your say in how the image will look, just short of composing the frame and pressing the shutter.

Start out with either Av (Aperture Value) or Tv (Time Value) or P (Program) mode (learn about Aperture and Shutter Priority Modes here). Dedicate at least an entire day to shooting under just that one setting.

If you need help, there is always a wealth of information on this site, but the most readily available resource is your cameras manual.

Most photographers don’t realize how much they can learn by simply reading the manuals that came with their cameras. I’ve been known to even read my manual on plane rides. What better time than when you have nothing else to do? Once you get one setting down, move to the next one, and work your way up to the infamous “Manual” setting.

11. Consider the Difference Between Inspiration and Creativity

There are a number of articles on the web similar to this one that provide a list of ways to get better at photography. Almost all of those lists will tell you to go online and troll the work of other photographers for inspiration.

While this may be a good idea in moderation, I’m tempted to take the side of staying away from it.

How are you going to develop your own style by mimicking the work of others? How are you going to exercise your creative juices when you get all your ideas off the coat tails of other artists?

Owen Shifflett of Viget.com wrote an incredibly interesting (and incredibly popular) blog post called “Consumption: How Inspiration Killed, Then Ate, Creativity,” and I think any photographer or artist, new or seasoned, should read this article.

If you’re preparing for a portrait session of a family avoid hopping online to scavenge other photographers sites for posing ideas and post processing looks. Where is the uniqueness in that?

With the age of the internet, any bit of information is available at our finger tips within seconds. When we immerse ourselves in the work of other photographers, we end up ripping off our own creativity.

Instead sit down with a pencil and paper and start brainstorming. It’s going to be tough, it’s going to take some time, but what if out of all that, you came up with something completely unique? Something completely yours?

12. Find something you’re not comfortable shooting and go after it

Getting better at anything involves getting out of your comfort zone. If all you do is photograph families and seniors, go out and shoot landscapes one weekend. All of the sudden, your images are going to require completely new camera settings. No more people to pose, no more assistants to hold your flash, no more backdrops or props, no more shallow depth of field or fast shutter speed requirements. Now you have to think about your subject in a complete new way. A landscape doesn’t listen to you. You can’t tell it to move the left or right, or use a flash to reveal a bit more light in a certain area. For the most part, landscapes require deep depth of fields, slower shutter speeds, tripods and a whole new eye for composition and lighting.

If you spend time photographing things you are not used to, I promise you will come away with new ideas for what you are comfortable shooting. You’ll also develop a deeper understanding of your camera too.

13. Use a Tripod

According to a recent poll here at dPS around 70% of readers use a tripod less than 50% of the time.

Personally, I know very few photographers who carry a tripod around with them – you almost never see it with amateurs.

Something interesting happens when you attach your camera to a tripod. Suddenly, everything slows down. There’s no more snapping photos left and right – quickly filling up memory cards. When you use a tripod, you really have to take the time to compose your image. This mainly happens because you can no longer move the camera around freely. You now have to adjust the tripod to be level with the horizon. You have to move it left or right manually to adjust the position of your subject. Just by doing this, you slow down and really think about your image.

Go out and take 10 images hand held, then immediately take 10 more on a tripod. See which set comes out better. I’m willing to bet it will be the latter.

14. Join a Local Photography Club

One of the best things you can do as a photographer is network with other photographers.

Yes – networking online is a great tool and shouldn’t be overlooked, but having face to face interaction with like minded people is so much better! There are plenty of ways to seek out local photographers. You can join the local PPA division in your city, or just google photography clubs in your area. One of the best clubs I ever joined was a local photography group through Meetup.com. This group has a wealth of very talented photographers and they hold around 4-6 events every month! Whether it’s just doing a photo walk around the city, or getting a VIP pass to the local sports stadiums, these groups are a blast to be a part of!

Conclusion

There you have it, 14 ideas you can implement immediately into your photography.

Of course you can’t do all of these at once, but any time you feel you need a boost, be sure to check back here. If you have more ideas and/or tips, I’d love to here from you. If these tips have helped you in any way, I’d love to hear from you as well. Be sure to leave a comment below or send me a tweet (@jamesdbrandon) and let me know your thoughts. Be sure to suggest this page to any other photographers you may know. Thanks and happy shooting!

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Canon Fights For The Digital Camera, Production Surges Past 250 Mn.

Canon Inc. a dedicated digital camera making company for the past 19 years, has been churning out multiple variants of cameras and was quite happy to announce that the combined total of all its units surpassed 250 Million on 31st January of this year.

Unperturbed by the rising usage of Smartphones that double up as picture taking tools, Canon USA. Inc., a subsidiary of Canon Inc. has steadfastly stood by its commitment to churn out cutting edge photography equipment and this resolve has allowed the company to be the undisputed leader in the digital camera market.

Canon Inc. is celebrating its leadership which has remained un-challenged for the past 11 years. The 250 Million units consist of Canon’s EOS (Electro–Optical System) line–up which has digital cameras from the Digital SLR (Single Lens Reflex) and compact-system camera family.

The legacy of Canon’s digital cameras began with EOS DCS3, which the company made in association with Eastman Kodak. It is quite surprising that these two companies who were close partners, later on became direct competitors. While Kodak has continually lost its luster; with the advent of sophisticated cameras Canon has been able to develop newer models that appealed not only to the trigger–happy point–n–shoot demographic, but more importantly, it suited the professionals who needed to finely tune every aspect of the photograph.

Hence it isn’t a surprise that Canon also celebrated being No. 1 manufacturer in the Inter–Changeable Lens (ICL) camera category for the same period (11 years). One out of every 5 digital cameras (50 Million) that Canon produces happens to be an ICL one. ICL models have traditionally been very expensive and continue to be the preferred choice only for the professionals or deep–pocketed enthusiasts, shared Imaging-Resource.

Digital Cameras have continually evolved alongside development in the Optical Sensor technology. Commonly referred to as the CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor), it is the heart of any digital camera that absorbs the incoming light and then forwards it to the camera’s processing unit. Traditionally, Canon seems to have preferred the CMOS sensor over the CCD (Charge Coupled Device) one. Needless to say, bigger the sensor, better is the camera and Canon has been known to stuff quite large sensors within its digital cameras.

Though many other manufacturers have tried their luck in the digital camera market, almost no one had the courage to stick unwaveringly with the segment. Additionally a slightly lesser known reason for Canon’s popularity is the ability to tinker with the Operating System of the digital camera by loading a ‘custom firmware‘.

Digital Cameras have survived the onslaught of smartphones who come with quite potent camera sensors. However, as technology progresses and further miniaturization of sensors take place, will Canon’s persistence be consistently rewarded?

[Image Credit | PetaPixel]

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Will Google+ Become Another Flickr-style Feeding Ground For Photo Theft? – Digital Photography …

A Post By: Peter West Carey

Two month-old Google+ has already broken a number of records in adoption (and likely desertion) for a social networking site and is growing like no other. One of the groups most prolific on the new site are photographers. As you may have read here on DPS and other sites, photographers have found great results in regard to interaction and connection through the site.

And with good reason. Unlike individual blogs, where you connect with one photographer at a time, Google+ lumps your favorites into one place. Not only that, the size and presentation of photographs has made it a haven for those wishing to browse quality images. In the Photos tab/module/dohicky on the site, there is an endless stream of new images coming in from your circles.

For those who have spent time browsing the Photos section on Google+, you will know what a time sink it can be. Depending on who you are following and the quality of their images, it’s not uncommon to notice a half hour has flown by as you constantly scroll your mouse wheel lower and lower, heading backward in time to see more great (and some not so great) photos. For those not familiar, the service runs much like Google’s current image search on google.com, but only shows images people in your chosen circles have shared with you directly or publicly. It’s a narrower focus (pun intended) and you can fine tune it by circling or uncircling folks.

As with Flickr, the ability exists for unscrupulous people to download photos without the owner’s permission. As Google+ does not, as of yet, offer Creative Commons license abilities as Flickr does, unless a photographer specifically states the images are free to be used, all rights to copy the image, outside of use on Google+ (which is covered by the terms and conditions, as outlined in this post by Jim Goldstein) are reserved by the photographer. While it is true any image displayed on a screen can be copied via a screen capture, having the ability to simply right click and save an image makes theft easier for the casual, often ignorant, photo thief. (note: you may need to turn off the ‘normal’ ability for Picasa web album viewers to download your photos as well.)

Will Google+ become a haven for stealing photos as Flickr has become? And will that stop you from posting photos on the site (assuming you are there now)? I’d love to hear your input in the comments section below.

Find the DPS writers currently using Google+:

Darren Rowse
James Brandon
Jim Goldstein
Matt Dutile
Peter West Carey
Neil Creek
Simon Pollock
Helen Bradley
Christina Dickson
Anna Gay

Special Google+ photo note: By default Picasa Albums (which is what Google+’s albums run off of) turn on the ability to sell your photos when you create a Google+ account. If you do not want people to purchase your images, you need to turn off this ability with these instructions.

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School Of Digital Photography: Architectural Photography Tips – Necessary extras

Apart from the bare essentials like camera, lenses and tripod (extra memory and spare battery) there are some essential items that an architectural photographer should bring with him on all locations.Having these items handy during a shoot will make your work a lot more easier. This one extra bag of equipment is extremely important to take on a shoot and should certainly not be overlooked.
Architectural Photography Tips - Necessary extras
Architectural Photography Tips – Necessary extras: Photo by: Louish Pixel
Ideally a bag of extras should contain items like a roll of Gaffer’s Tape
, some paper clips and or safety pins, Cable Release
, Flash Sync Cords
, an extra Transceiver
(if using wireless triggers) Extension Cords
, double/triple socket adaptors, continental socket  adaptors (if working overseas) and spare fuses for both the flash units and the plugs, spare modelling lamps, a Flashlight
, a small knife/Multi tool
, compass (now most smart phones have it built in), a dust pan brush, Camera and Lens Cleaning Kit
, a pack of tissue paper, a Screwdriving Set
and Pliers Set
, 5-in-1 Reflector
, some black cards etc. 
Although not indispensable having a small Table-top Tripod
GorillaPod
, one or more Super Clamps
and Magic Arms
on location will prove very useful in situations which demand precise light placements. A very useful item to have on location but that wont probably fit in your bag is a light weight aluminium Step Ladder
. Same is the case with a small roll of neutral density film (which you can tape on glass windows to take out a couple of stops of light depending on the strength of the film) this you will find very useful to balance exposure between flash and ambient in situations when the details outside of the window are important.
Make sure you modify your bag to fit in your equipment, each piece of gear should have its own place in the bag, it makes matters easy if you group similar items together, arranging your bag systematically will help make sure that you have not left any thing behind.
What did we miss… if you have any suggestions to add to the list do let us know in the comments below.

Related Reading

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Better Landscape Photography Tips and Video Tutorials – Digital Photography School

A Post By: Darlene Hildebrandt

This week I’m going to turn the focus to landscape photography. Your photography challenge this week being “Flora” it’s a good time to get out and there go find some great landscapes. So I’ve actually found not one, but three, short video tutorials with some really good landscape photography tips.

#1 Top 10 pro landscape shooting tips

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As the title eludes to, this video shares 10 quick tips to help you get going. At just over four minutes you don’t have to waste any time before you get out shooting. The tips include: focal point, tripod, time of day, rule of thirds and more.

#2 Low Light Landscape Photography Tips

This one is by Stuart Low Photography and he goes over some tips for shooting when the light maybe isn’t so great like a gray gloomy day, and how to create interesting compositions. Besides, I just love his accent!

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#3 The Australian Photography Show Ep1 – Landscapes

Last but not least is a really good video by Zulu Media. They go on a location photo shoot with landscape photographer Adam Monk at the famous Australian landmark, The Pinnacles. You don’t have to live in Australia to be able to use his tips though, you can apply these to any location and use them immediately. Some really good stuff in here as the two photographers show different ways of approaching the same subject matter and talk about lenses, camera settings and composition for impact.

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I hope you enjoy these landscape photography tips. If you want more you can check out the Best landscape articles of 2013 here on dPS, or Living Landscapes, one of our most popular eBooks!

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Travel Photography Inspiration Project: Italy – Digital Photography School

A Post By: Peter West Carey

Rome. Venice. Architecture. Wine.

Italy.

It’s the stereotype we all know and so much more. And that’s why I am thankful for this installment in the DPS Travel Photography Inspiration Project because those who submitted photos have found another side of the country and reproduced it in beautiful photographs.

They have taken the time to help others find and take some of the same shots they hold dear and for that I am thankful.

Ladies and gentleman, Italy as seen through the lens of fellow DPS photographers.

Venice 01

San Giorgio Maggiore view from Palazzo Ducale in Venice, Italy by Arturo Lavin Gonzalez

I made this picture at the blue hour using a tripod. You have to set a low aperture on the lens in order to achieve the lights in star shape and also to make the exposure longer to record the motion in the gondolas and the sky.

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Primary colors… by Lila Braga

Good morning sunshine!!
In Italy everything is beautiful,bold and colorful!!…be prepared to dream about your own house in Tuscany and balcony with blue doors…I did!
To capture this image all you need is a bit of creativity when cropping…that is it!

Panarea

Panarea by Federico Smanio

Eolie Islands, Sicily. The photo was taken in the only road of the island while I was walking to the west part of Panarea. Summer 2006.

The beauty of this place is stunning. No cars are allowed on the island and the only possibility to get here is by boat, from Naples or from Sicily. It’s like staying in another dimension. I would wake up early and try to exploit the light of the early morning. The colours of the houses, plants, flowers and the sea make this place unique.

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The Duomo by Dev Wijewardane

Plan ahead and know what you want to shoot and where you want to shoot it from. I knew I wanted to photograph the Duomo so I did my research before I left on my trip and identified where I was going to shoot it from. On the day I was going to photograph the building, I got there early and waited for 4 hours to photograph the Duomo under varying light condition. Fortunately I got there early as I was able to pick the best spot. The place was crawling with photographers during the “golden hours” but because I got there early I had one of the best positions.

Italy-09

Untitled by Benjamin Clark

The location of this shot is along the waterfront in the small town of Bellagio, on Lake Como.  Bellagio is a great little town to experience the lakes region from.  The trick to a shot like this is to get down low to put the flowers in the forefront, then open your aperture wide and focus on the flowers.  This should blur the background a bit and give the viewer something to bring their attention to.

Mount Vesuvius

Mount Vesuvius by Bill Chizek

The sun setting on snow covered Mount Vesuvius with the traffic of Naples’ Tangenziale.
I was shooting HDR hoping to capture the orange of the sun as it went down.  I liked not cropping out the traffic to give the busy, restless, feeling that is Naples. 

market day in Porto Maurizio

Market day in Porto Maurizio by Harri Küünarpuu

Porto Maurizio is a very nice small Italian city on the coast of Mediterranian sea. It is probably most popular vacation place for italians. Not so many people from other parts of Europe. Do not travel there by car as we did – you cannot find a parking space very easily.

Venice 03

Grand canal view from the Rialto bridge in Venice by Arturo Lavin Gonzalez

This picture was made in the afternoon facing south from the Rialto bridge, one of the busiest places in Venice due to tourists. To get this shot I had to wait until someone move, then wait for the water buses to park or to move outside of the frame, an then hope for a gondola get in the frame.

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The City of Pillars by Lila Braga

This is how Venice is known by many; as the city of pillars.Venice is a city entirely built on cylindrical pillars which were driven into the mud. Some are from the year 7 A.D when the city was initially created on a series of low shallow islands in a lagoon of the coast of Italy. These pillars were gradually built on and added to to create the city that is now Venice! Isn’t that  simply amazing! Today the city is slowly sinking as the pillars sink into the mud and the tides carry silt and the sea floor away. Sad hum?
Another cool thing about photographing Venice is that you get many opportunities to frame you images with gorgeous old pillars, beautiful door ways and gaps between very narrow streets…The streets in venice are sooooooo narrow!…Just a fabulous place to unleash your inner artist!

Carloforte_San Pietro

Carloforte by Federico Smanio

Carloforte is the capital of San Pietro Island. This place together with the other island of St. Antioco are two remote places off the south coast of Sardinia.

This city and its island are famous for the hunting of Mediterranean tuna fish. Here I want to share the colors of this town during the village festival. I think it’s apparent from my shooting the buzz of people and the typical colours of the picturesque buildings of Carloforte. The multi color baloons add to the story the presence of kids although not depicted.

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The Mask by Dev Wijewardane

One of many colourfull masks in Venice.

Remember to focus on the smaller details. Apart from the churches, canals and palaces in Venice there are a number of smaller objects which are quintessentially Venice. amongst these Masks and glassware are famous.

Italy-07

Untitled by Benjamin Clark

This is the famous Rialto bridge in Venice.  In order to capture the shot, bring a tripod after dark and find a clear view of the bridge, and set your shutter speed to at least 1 second.  Another tip for Venice during the day is to try to get lost as a way to explore more of the city, and more of the great scenes!

Spacca Napoli

Spacca Napoli by Bill Chizek

A side street of Naples complete with laundry drying in the breeze.

I was trying to get away from the typical tourist photo ops and dig way deep in to Naples and get a shot of everyday Neapolitan life.  I chose black and white because it seems nostalgic and takes you back to what this must have looked like a century ago.

mediterranian citispace

Mediteraanian Cityspace by Harri Küünarpuu

This photo is also taken in Porto Maurizio. There is  a very nice old part in the town that climbs up into the mountain. Needs a lot of stamina to climb the old streets.

Venice 02

Gondolas at dusk in Venice by Arturo Lavin Gonzalez

I made this photo late in the afternoon walking along the Grand Canal. I exposed for the highlights and then underexposed two steps to get the gondolas shapes all in black and only have detail in the brightest part of the shot.

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The Gondola by Dev Wijewardane 

A gondola moored along a quiet canal.

The smaller canals that are away form the tourist track are a lot quieter and an absolute paradise for photographers.

For more information on how to have your shots considered for the next country, check out the original post here.

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Capturing your best shot – Photography Workshops

AWARD-WINNING photographer Lee Karen Stow is leading a series of free workshops to help participants develop their digital photography skills.

Lee Karen Stow

Lee Karen Stow

With two taking place in Beverley and one in Goole, the workshops also aim to encourage people to enter this year’s ‘Capturing the East Riding’ photography competition which opens in October 2014 and will have the theme @Work, Rest and Play.

The workshops from 10am – 3pm on each day will feature an illustrated talk by Lee on her life as a photographer, a presentation of her own images of the East Riding and a ‘hands-on’ photography session which will involve taking photographs outside (weather permitting). Participants will get practical advice and receive feedback on their photos during this interactive session.

The Workshops will take place on Saturdays 12th April and 5th July at the Treasure House in Beverley and on Saturday 4th October 2014 at Junction in Goole.

Space on these workshops is limited so advance booking is required. Places will be given on a first come, first served basis.

To register for a workshop or for more information about this year’s ‘Capturing the East Riding’ competition, please contact Annabel Hanson, leisure, tourism and culture policy officer, via email at annabel.hanson@eastriding.gov.uk or on Tel: 01482 391678.

Photography Fans might also want to check out some of the previous photographs entered into the  ’Capturing the East Riding’ competition – check the sets of photos labelled CETR on Flickr: East Riding Photos.

There’s also an opportunity for residents or visitors to Hedon to submit photos for possible inclusion in the Hedon Calendar 2015 – you need to get your photos in by 30th June 2014.

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4 Ways To Make Money As A Photographer – Digital Photography School

A Post By: John Davenport

Wouldn’t it be nice to make money doing something you love – even if it were just enough to cover the costs of that hobby?

I’m going to share with you four ways that I have personally used to try and make money as a photographer. I’ll share with you my experience with each, advice on getting started, and whether or not I was successful in my attempts. I’ve also found a few more posts on DPS that will help you find more information on a few of these topics if they peak your interest.

The Wedding Photographer

Sneak Peak-7

Wedding photography is probably one of the more profitable ventures – I know for me even having only photographed one wedding I’ve made more in that one day than the other three methods I’ve tried combined. It has a relatively low cost to entry and if you’re lucky enough to be in or know a lot of people in their early to mid 20s you have a pontential gold mine of a client base to tap.

I recently was asked to photograph my sister’s friend’s wedding and after some convicing I finally said yes. Instantly I felt the pressure of the task before me. Even though I had nearly a year to prepare before the big day it still felt like I had a mountian to climb. Now I’d suggest that if you don’t feel this pressure when you’re about to photograph your first wedding then you probably shouldn’t be photographing a wedding. It was this pressure that pushed me to get help and make sure that I did the best I possibly could with the experience that I had.

Four words of advice if you’re going to try breaking into wedding photography

  • Don’t do it for free – No matter who it is! If it’s the president of your company or some stranger off the street find a price that works for both of you and be happy with it. Wedding photography is a lot of work and a lot of responsibly. These photographs will have value to your client (even if they’re not the ones she has on her Pinterest board) because they will be the photographs that freeze this day in history.
  • Find a mentor – You’ll want to do the best that you possibility can and if you’ve never photographed a wedding let me tell you you’re not prepared. There is a million things that you need to know and the best way to learn these things is by doing. I found a great professional photographer who’s been in the business for decades and he allowed me to shadow him on two weddings prior to mine – it was the best thing I ever did!
  • Rent your gear – Odds are if you’re just starting out you won’t have top of the line gear – which at a wedding does make a difference. You’ll need something sharp and fast to get the best quality shots, but you don’t have to invest thousands of dollars in your first go. There are plenty of places that will rent you all the gear you want for a couple hundred dollars for a weekend. For example I rented a Nikon D600 and a 24-70mm f/2.8 for under $170 for 5 days for the wedding that I photographed.
  • Communicate Often – Stay in communication with your bride and groom. Find out their vision, what they expect of you, and who they want featured in their album. The better the relationship you have with your clients going into the wedding the better the photographs will be.

These are four of the most important ways to get started in wedding photography, but by no means is an exhaustive list of wedding photography tips. Here’s the first post in a great series here on DPS about wedding photography for more information.

The Real Estate Photographer

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Okay so the global economy is still pretty much in the ICU, but things are starting to look a little better right? After all the housing market is slowly starting to come back to life and as it does there’s an opportunity here for a photographer to make some money on the side photographing interior and exterior shots for real estate agents to use in order to sell the house.

I’ve only done this once and I wasn’t even really looking towards this as an option, but out of the blue a real estate agent who helped me buy my house contacted me after seeing the photographs I share on Facebook and asked if I’d be interested – I agreed to give it a shot.

Again – don’t fall for the working for experience line here if you’re serious about making money the worst thing you can do is start out giving your time away for free so come up with a price and stick with it. The going rate for real estate photography is going to change based on region so you might want to see if you can find local rates in your area.

A Couple Ideas for Pricing Your Real Estate Shoot

  • A Flat Fee – Exterior only typically will be a simple job so you’d probably charge a flat rate for this. If they want interior shots too then you might want to charge on a per room basis.
  • Fee + Commission on Sale – I’ve seen this done before too, but typically you’ll have to have more of a reputation to demand a commission on the sale of the house. That said it’s worth a shot.
  • A Variable Fee – Set your rate based on the property. If you photograph a shack that’s going for less than $50,000 dollars you’d probably have a lower rate than if you were photographing something that’s listed for $1.5 million.

The best part about this type of photography is you don’t really need too much gear. A DSLR, a wide-angle lens and a tripod will go a long way. Here’s a post with a bunch of DPS reader comments on the subject of entering the real estate photography business if you’re interested in more information.

The Stock Photographer

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I’ll be honest here and tell you that I’ve only given stock photography a very half hearted attempt. I signed up for one of the many agencies out there and submitted a handful of my photographs – they didn’t sell – and I gave up.

It’s a very hard industry to break into if you’re just starting out because the agencies typically will feature popular photographer’s work first. One point I’d like to make is that you have to keep in mind that the photographs people are looking for are ones that will help them sell a product or service to their clients and therefore you have to think about that when you take your photos.

Just because I failed at selling anything through a stock agency doesn’t mean it’s not a good source of income for you. After all there are people out there who make good money with stock photography and that’s the main reason I chose to include it in this post.

So if you’d like to know more about getting into stock photography read this article on DPS it’s much more involved than what I’ve gone over here.

The Fine Art Photographer

The Fog Rolls In2

Fine art photography is probably the most competitive and most difficult avenue to break into due to the fact that the market is saturated with photographers trying to sell their photography and the fact that wall space is limited (we all only have four walls in each room to hang photographs on and typically we want those photographs to mean something to us).

Key Points to Think About as You Get Started

  • You’ll Need a Fan Base – Typically people aren’t going to buy a photograph from someone they don’t know or recognize. The best way to start selling your photographs as art is to build a fan base – I’ve done this through sharing my photos on my Facebook page.
  • Quality is Huge – If your sunset photographs look like the ones that dad took on the last family vacation then you’re not going to sell anything. Read more about how to avoid becoming part of the sunset paparazzi here.
  • Uniqueness Will Sell – As a continuation on quality the more unique you can develop your style to be the more likely you will set yourself apart and be able to sell prints to the fan base that you’ve built and even beyond.

Ways To Sell Your Photography

Okay so now that we’ve gone over some of the basics of what you’ll need to do before you even begin to sell your photography how do you actually go about selling it?

  • Direct Sales – If you can build a very loyal and close nit community of people in your town, college, or place of work you might be able to generate sales in this manner. Also, many local coffee shops will allow you to hang your work on their walls for a commission on sales (this is how I got my first print sale). It benefits them in that they get free art to hang on their walls and you get to have a lot of eyes on your photographs. 
  • Online Sales – Smugmug and Zenfolio are the two names that come to mind when I think about online sales (read about why I chose Zenfolio here). There are some other places as well like Etsy, Fine Art America and Redbubble which don’t offer as many features and typically will take a larger percentage of your sale. Again while all of these places will allow you to host your photographs, offer shopping cart options, and even print and ship the photo to your client they won’t promote it for you so we’re back to the first point above about needing a fan base to sell to.

Are you making money with your photography? If so are you using one of the options listed above or do you do something else? Share below!

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18 Stunning Self Portraits – Digital Photography School

A Post By: Anna Gay

This post is by Anna Gay – creator of our eBook – The Art of Self Portraiture.

by Ali Uher

For thousands of years, artists have used self-portraiture as a means of perfecting their technique. From ancient cavemen, to the classical masters, to Salvador Dali in the 20th century, artists have looked to self-portraiture not only to discover new aspects of their artform, but also as a means of self-discovery.

Today, photographers world-wide are stepping out from behind the camera, and placing themselves in front of the lens. Thanks to photo-sharing websites that display thousands of beautiful and unique self-portraits, many photographers are finding that not only is self-portraiture a wonderful, exhiliarating way to practice composition and lighting – amongst many other skills which are valuable to portrait photographers – it is an honest expression of self, and a way to share their experiences with other photographers.

Each of the photographers whose work is featured in this post has their own unique way of expressing themselves in front of the camera. Some use natural light, while others use studio lighting. Some take a more natural approach to post-processing, whereas others take a more conceptual route. Whether you consider yourself an amatuer, or a full-blown artistic self-portrait photographer, these self-portraits are sure to inspire you to step in front of the lens.

by Lila Limited

by Kelly Kardos

by Brian Day

by Boy_Wonder

by Miguel da Silva

by Bunny Spice

by ICT_Photo

by Zack Ahern

by Misha

by Viva Deva

by Steve Pontbriand

by *iNiNa*

by Zee Anna!

by KatB Photography

by FaceNorth

by sparkleplenty_fotos

by Lucem

Interested in improving your Self Portrait Photography? Check out Anna Gay’s eBook – The Art of Self Portraiture.

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5 Tips To Transform Your Photography With Long Exposures – Digital Photography School

A Post By: Jim Goldstein

Employing long exposure photography techniques is a great way to create an image that makes others go “Wow!”.  If you’re unfamiliar with long exposure photography the major ingredient needed is low light conditions, which will require your camera to expose for longer periods of time. In fact it’s even possible to use filters to reduce the amount of light that comes through your lens so as to produce long exposures even during the brightest times of day.  Long exposures enable photographers to create an abstracted or surreal visual experience as opposed to reproducing a scene as we might see with our naked eye. In this regard long exposures allow you to artistically create something from a subject or scene that might otherwise seem ordinary with more standard photographic techniques.  With that in mind here are 5 tips to transform your photography with long exposures:

1. Create Atmosphere

Use long exposures to create an ethereal atmosphere. Weather conditions are often thought of as static, but in reality they shift and change slowly.  In many instances these changes occur too slowly to be held in our visual memory, but our camera can record these changes. Misty, foggy or smokey scenes can be created with moving clouds, surf, etc.

2.  Discover Hidden Movement

We are often so rushed that we seldom pause to take note of slow moving subjects. Once you start to look for slow moving subjects you quickly open a door to a new world of photo opportunities. Clouds, shadows, stars, plants and even people or animals make great long exposure subjects.

3. Create Using A Canvas of Light

While your camera shutter is open your sensor or film is in essence a canvas. Normally that canvas is open very briefly but with longer exposures the light running over your sensor acts a brush. If you let a scene unfold before you with your shutter open it is “painted” onto the sensor yielding blurs of light. If you work in an environment where there is little light you can manually paint light into a photo with strobes, flashlights, cell phones, etc. to create a unique image.

4.  Alternate Reality of Color

Back in the days of film there was a phenomenon where the color in your image could shift in long exposures from reciprocity failure. Different film types would experience reciprocity failure at different exposure times and produce varying types of color shifts. For many photographers these color shifts were seen as something to avoid, but many artist have employed this phenomenon to create very neat photographs. If you’re still shooting film this may be something you want to experiment with. If you’re shooting digital you can get color shifts by creating or using pre-made presets in Photoshop or Lightroom.

Note: This was taken with Fuji Velvia film whose reciprocity characteristic is to shift colors toward green hues.

5. Photograph the Ordinary to Make the Extraordinary

When you show someone something new that is under their nose all the time it reawakens their interest in it. Highlighting one or a combination of the visual effects previously discussed with long exposures of ordinary scenes will catch eyes. To find that eye catching photo you’ll need to experiment though as the net effect(s) of a long exposure may not be apparent until you view it.

To learn more about long exposure and slow shutter techniques check out my new eBook Photographing the 4th Dimension – Time .

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