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Tag Archives: understanding photography
Student photographer monthly photo critique session.
As a photo educator I feel that one of the best learning tools I can offer to my students is feedback on their results. One of the activities for photographers that I give is a critique of their photography. Every month I host a photo critique session at my studio that is open to the photographers who attend my workshops and photo tours.
Our photo review sessions are equally valuable learning experiences for myself and the photographers who take part. The group dialogue and insights shared help inform each photographer about their image making. I learn how effective my teaching has been when I see the results of those lesson shown in the student progress. They receive feedback from me and their peers and I gain valuable quality control on my photo education program. It is a win-win situation.
For more information about my monthly photo critique sessions go to the Meet-up.com event page. For more information about my photography workshops and tours contact me at email@example.com.
Image Maker Photographic Workshop now has 250 member photographers!
I am happy to announce a milestone of note. The Image Makers Photographic Workshop has just reached the 250 member mark. This is a group I have organized on Meet-Up.com for digital photographers from around New England.This meet-up group is free to join and is open to adult digital photographers of all skill levels. The goal of the group is to encourage photo enthusiasts to improve their creative talents and to build their skills as photographers. We present a program of digital photography events and workshops at the Test of Time Photography studio in Nashua NH and at locations throughout New England.
Since February 2010 we have presented over 120 events for photographers These have included photo tours to Canada, the Isle of Shoals and the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Our photo workshops are topic specific and are a mix of classroom and on location field photography sessions. The photography education program presents a range of photography interests and for all skill levels.
One of the most popular events and one of my favorite programs to host are my photo critique sessions. Once a month I get together with the photography students that attend my photo workshops and we spend a few hours going over their photography. We have a theme for each of these photography review sessions so the group can learn about a particular photo technique. As a photography educator and someone with a passion for photography, these photo critique sessions are exceptional! I can see how my photo students have taken the lessons from my photo classes and used them in their image making. It is very satisfying to see the growth in their creative photography skills and the dialogue we share is always inspiring. (Next photo critique dates are Dec. 13 and Jan. 17)
I want to express my thanks to all the photographers who have become members and I invite any other photographers to check out the group on Meet-up
Check out the photography of my 52 Photo Walk Group!
One of my goals as a photography educator is to give my photography students opportunities to practice the photography skills they learn in my workshops. The photographer tours that I present are all built around the bringing photographers to unique locations to practice different types of photography.The 52 Week Photo Walk group I have organized on Flickr is another methods I have provided to get folks out with their cameras.
We have a group of 95 photographers participating in the Photo Walk program! This group has worked hard all year and much of their beautiful image making is found on our group page.
Becoming a good photographer requires regular practice. The more you work at learning your tools, practicing your camera work the better your photography will become. Make sure you take some time to look at the photography produced by this wonderful group of photographers I hope you admire their efforts and appreciate the work they are putting into their photographic craft.
Want to learn more about becoming a better digital photographer?
Make sure you sign-up for my email list (see right sidebar for form) so you can receive notices about my photography education program and photo tips. I present photo workshops in my studio and at locations throughout New England and beyond. In 2013 I will be introducing more interactive online learning programs that you will not want to miss.
Buying a digital camera is the first step to becoming a better photographer
A common photo-rookie error is to think that once you have purchased that brand new digital camera you are going to start taking great photos. Following that same logic, many people think, the more money they spend on a camera the better their photos will be.
I got some bad news (and some good news.) Good photography is made by good photographers. No amount of deluxe camera equipment will matter if you do not have skills. Now the good news photography is a set of skills that are learnable and need to be practiced.
My mantra, that is often repeated in my photography workshops is “It is not the camera, It’s the photographer”.
Purchasing a camera is the beginning of the process, not the end for being able to create good photos. Our digital cameras are remarkable tools for personal and creative expression but they require some effort to master and use well. Invest the time and effort into learning how to make quality photos and you will be richly rewarded.
Creative photography is best produced in deliberate manner. Carefully observing your environment, finding visual opportunities is the name of the game. Knowing your camera and the tools it has for image making, is how you translate those observations. Photography, the craft of image making, requires practice and experience to master. No musician made it to Carnegie hall without practice and no photographer produced great images without the same commitment.
My point is not to discourage the new digital photographer. Rather, I want them to embrace the challenge and build their creative abilities.unities is the name of the game. Knowing your camera and the tools it has for image making, is how you translate those observations. Photography, the craft of image making, requires practice and experience to master. No musician made it to Carnegie hall without practice and no photographer produced great images without the same commitment.
The fact that photography provides an infinite learning opportunity is one of the reasons I most attracted to this profession. I vividly recall my first experience of watching a print develop before my eyes in a darkroom tray. At that moment (in 1972!) it occurred to me I would never be bored with photography, that if I did it every day for 100 years I will still have plenty to learn and practice. For me that insight was not daunting, it was inspirational.!
Thirty five years later I still work at my craft and practice new skills. That commitment to quality image making has been richly rewarded and I still have another 65 years to go before I discover if assumption was correct!
If you want to learn from my experience and get some guidance on becoming a better digital photographer attend one of my photography workshops or photo tours. Sign-up to receive my email notices about the workshops (see form on right sidebar) or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Registration is now open for the New York City Photographer Tour on President’s Day Weekend. Join Photographer Dan Splaine and NH TOURS for this 2 night , 3 day excursion from New Hampshire to New York City. Explore the city, with your camera and learn new night photography and street photo techniques. The best part is we do all the driving!
This package includes round trip bus from NH and two nights hotel in Times Square. We will spent the weekend in the heart of Manhattan , taking in the sites and making some images of the urban landscape. For complete details and registration CLICK HERE.
This photographer tour is one of a program of photography education events presented by Test of Time Photography. We offer workshops in our Nashua, NH studio and at locations throughout New England. We partner with NH TOURS for all of our travel events and destination photo workshops. For more information contact us at email@example.com or sign up for our email list (see sidebar).
RAW format is the best choice for image capture. JPEG format is the best choice for image distribution
Unsure why you should shoot RAW format images?
Don’t know how to process a RAW file on your computer?
I have the answer for you. On Thursday night (11/1) I will be presenting my RAW WORKFLOW WORKSHOP that will introduce you to the advantages for using the RAW format in your image capture. In this class we will cover the procedures and techniques you can use in your post production to use those advantages in your digital photography.
We will be primarily using Adobe Lightroom to show how to process RAW images and we will review the similar features in Adobe Bridge Camera Raw. In Lightroom we are working primarily in the Library and Develop modules and this workshop is a good introduction to this productive tool for digital photographers.
Topics include a review of digital asset management (DAM),and then will move in photo editing techniques (white balance, exposure. tonal correction, etc..). The aim is to introduce the digital photographer to a systematic approach to post-production of their RAW format captures.
RAW image conversion to the DNG format will be covered. I will explain the value of using the DNG format that has been introduced by Adobe. In my client photography I have found this a very useful option and I think it will ultimately become the industry standard for a universal RAW format. For a good explanation of the DNG format and some of the future capabilities that Lightroom will have to work in this format check out this article on CNET ” Revamped DNG format shows new Lightroom possibilities”
The RAW WORKFLOW WORKSHOP is one of a series of digital photography classes that I present. This program of photography education includes class sessions at my Nashua, NH studio and in locations throughout New England along with photography tours. The photography tours single to multi-day workshops at great locations for photography. Recent photo tours include Quebec, the Bronx Zoo, the Isle of Shoals, and the summit of Mt. Washington. On President’s Day weekend (Feb. 16-18, 2013) I will be hosting a Photography Weekend in Times Square, presented with our travel partner NH Tours. For more information on these photo workshops contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
My goal for all the people who attend one of my workshops or photo tours is to make them better photographers. They have to pick up a new skill, learn a new technique or become more confident in their creative approach in my sessions . If they don’t, I fell like I have not delivered for them with my photography education experiences.
The question then becomes how do I know my students are learning from these workshops?
The simple answer is that I have witnessed the improvements in ability during my photography critique sessions. For the last three years I have held a monthly photo critique session with the photographers who have attend my photo classes. The proof of the success of my teaching efforts is in the quality of photography they are producing .
As an educator there is genuine satisfaction in seeing how my shared knowledge is learned and embraced. Having verification of the effectiveness of my teaching methods is rewarding. What matters most is how delighted I am in seeing the growth in my photo students ability and powers of creative expression!
The photo critique sessions allow me to offer my photo students feedback on the lessons they have learned in my workshops. The value for them is that they can practice on their own and then learn by presenting those results to the group.
The dialogue and freely shared insights of the collected photographer at these monthly meetings has been a true source of inspiration and a wonderful learning experience.
For more information about these critique sessions contact me at email@example.com.
A point that I make in all of my photo workshops is about the most important photo accessory that every photographer must use. What is the “most important” photo accessory? you ask. Your feet. If you want to improve the look of your image; move!
Changing your camera position, your point of view, is the best way to improve how your photography looks. Compose your image carefully and fill your frame. Only include the essential visual elements in your frame. Determine your camera position relative to the direction of the light falling on your subject. Select a focal length the create the arrangement of distance you want to appear in your photo and then move your feet. Don’t believe me ? Here is what the iconic photojournalist had to say about the subject.
I offer a program of photography workshops and photographer tours at my studio in Nashua, NH and in locations throughout the Northeast. For more information contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
My next photographer workshop is October 13-14 in Lincoln, NH. For information about the third annual WHITE MOUNTAIN PHOTOGRAPHER WEEKEND go to the workshop website.
New Date Added for The Cog Railway – Mount Washington Observatory Photography Workshop
Test of Time Photography and Photographer Dan Splaine are happy to announce we have sold out the Sept. 10 session of this photography workshop and we will be adding a second date for this workshop on Sept. 11, 2012.
This one day photography workshop includes photography instruction, round trip passage on the historic Cog Railway to the Summit of Mount Washington with four hours for field photography. The workshop also includes a guided tour of the Mount Washington Observatory which is rare privilege. Access to this working weather station is restricted, and the tour will be one of the most unique features for this workshop.
This workshop presented in partnership with The Cog Railway and The Mount Washington Observatory with Test of Time Photography. Our goal is to give high quality photography education experiences in unique locations and the summit of Mount Washington could not be a better place for our photography event. This workshop will emphasize landscape photography techniques and we could not ask for a more dynamic location. The dramatic terrain , lively weather and lighting that we can encounter during this workshop is as unpredictable as exciting! The potential for creative image making makes this a truly one-of-a-kind photo learning and skill building experience.
Space is limited and registration is required to attend this workshop. For complete details and to register CLICK HERE
This photography workshop is one from the program of photography education events presented with photographer Dan Splaine. These include digital photography workshops and photographer tours held in locations throughout New England. In the last three years over 1200 photographers have attended on of the events presented by Test of Time Photography with professional photographer Dan Splaine.
Our next photography workshop is the WHITE MOUNTAIN PHOTOGRAPHY WEEKEND held on Oct. 13 and 14, 2012 at the Mountain Club on Loon in Lincoln NH. This is the third year we are holding this workshop at this great resort and location for photography. For details and registration CLICK HERE.
Some Tips And Info For Selecting The “correct” ISO For Your Digital Photography
ISO selection is important because it is allows the photographer to adapt to the lighting conditions found in their scene. The ISO value you select is one leg of the exposure triangle, along with aperture and shutter speed, which allows for precise exposure and creative control. Understanding ISO and how to use it is a fundamental photographer skill.
With digital cameras the ISO is a numerical value given for the level of sensitivity your camera sensor has to light. We saw the same rating system with film. Remember shooting ISO 100, 400, 800 etc… rated rolls of film? Do any of you old timers remember ASA ratings on film (pre-ISO)? With digital cameras we have the option to select a particular ISO value for every shot, which is a big advantage with digital photography.
In general the lower the ISO setting the less sensitive your sensor will be to light, the higher the ISO setting the more sensitive your sensor will be to light. This means that when you are shooting in bright conditions you can use a low ISO value and when shooting in low light conditions you select a high ISO value.
Most digital cameras offer a range of ISO values to choose from; 100 to 3200 is a common range of choices, although many models of camera go higher and lower. In general, the lower the ISO the better quality your results will be. Using a higher ISO will increase noise (digital artifacts), reduce sharpness and decrease the contrast ratio of your results. Digital cameras with larger sensors produce less of these negative effects than cameras with smaller sensors. Low ISO setting will then have less noise, more sharpness and a larger contrast ratio which will produce the higher quality images relative to high ISO settings.
In my opinion these disadvantage, the reductions in image quality have to be weighed against the benefits of having the option to shoot at a higher ISO rating. Most issues with noise, sharpness and contrast can be restored with software and I would urge you to shoot high values when conditions dictate. Being able to shoot action photos at high shutter speeds, with a telephoto lens in an indoor scene is only possible with high ISO values (1600, 3200, 6400) makes the trade-off in quality acceptable .
A variable ISO allows you to adapt your exposure settings to the scene and the creative options you want to use in your photography.
My general recommendation is to select the lowest ISO value that will allow for a proper exposure with the least noise.
ISO TIPS FOR DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHERS
Here are some of my recommendations for using different ISO values in your digital photography. This is an important photographer tool and I encourage you to explore this option for exposure control in your photography. Good images always start with good camera work and ISO is a fundamental tool for photography.
- TURN OFF your AUTO ISO – By using auto ISO you are letting the camera give a ISO value choice and you are not deciding which ISO suits your photographic intent best the scene. This is one habit you want to change if your goal is to take control of your creative results.Turn AUTO ISO off, and leave it off!
- SELECT the ISO FOR THE SCENE: When you are beginning to determine your exposure settings, one of the first steps is to select an ISO value that is right for the scene and your photographic intentions. If you are in the woods with an overhead canopy of foliage blocking your light you would select a higher value. If you are shooting portraits with plenty of window light and you want to use large apertures for shallow depth of field then a low value would be your best choice. Evaluate the lighting resources and exposure options for the image you want to create and choose the ISO according to those objectives.
- CHANGES in ISO ARE EQUAL TO “STOPS” – When we change our exposure settings (in whole stop increments) we are halving or doubling the amount of exposure. For example if you move from F 11 to F 8 you are doubling the aperture size or if you move from 1/250th of second to 1/125th of a second you are cutting the duration of your exposure in half. The same ratio holds true with ISO, when you move from 400 to 800 you are doubling the sensitivity setting or as we would say increasing it by a “stop”. Digital cameras allow for incremental changes in EV (Exposure Value = Stops) usually and half and third stop amounts. You can refine exposure equally with aperture, shutter speed or ISO in those partial stop increments.
- SHOOT RAW – RAW is the best format for image capture and will yield the best results because you are collecting the maximum amount of data when you make your photo. JPEG is great file format to distribute photos but it produces less quality for capture. RAW files can be processed with photo editing software post capture to yield the highest quality images. The negative effects of shooting with high ISO (noise, sharpness, and contrast effects) are increased when shooting JPEG compared to RAW
- PLAY with EXPOSURE COMBINATIONS – There is no exact recipe for exposure combinations. Play with a variety of exposure combinations and ISO settings and compare your results on your computer. Each variable in the exposure triangle makes a difference in how your images will ultimately look. Experimenting with combinations will produce a variety of visual results.
- USE A TRIPOD – If you are seeking low noise, high sharpness and a wide contrast ratio that low ISO settings provide use a tripod. Long lenses and long exposure times make hand held photography difficult, especially in dim light at a low ISO. Securing you camera on a tripod is the solution for this type of shooting situation.
- SHOOTING HAND HELD with TELEPHOTO LENS – Long lenses are difficult to use when shooting hand-held. By increasing your ISO setting you can then shoot at faster shutter speeds which will eliminate the blur caused by camera movement. For example an ISO of 1000 with a shutter speed of 1/1000th of a second shooting with a 500 mm lens.
- HIGH SHUTTER SPEEDS = HIGH ISO – If you want to stop subject action you need to shoot at high shutter speeds. Increasing your ISO will allow you to increase your shutter speed. This is especially useful for shooting indoor sports or performances with limited stage lighting.
- USE ARTIFICIAL LIGHT – Sometimes we run into the limits of ISO choices in particular photographic conditions. For example you are shooting a portrait in a low available light setting. Facial details and skin looks best at low ISO values (100-200) and raising the ISO to a high value will produce less than flattering results. The solution to this situation it to use flash or other artificial light sources to keep the quality you desire. More light is often a better solution than a higher ISO.
Digital cameras have very precise exposure refinement tools and a variable ISO option is one of the most important. Understanding this feature and how to deploy, and how to select ISO for your scene ,to achieve your desired photographic result is essential for good image making.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Photographer and photo educator Dan Splaine has more than thirty years experience producing photography for public relations, marketing and editorial clients. His company TEST of TIME PHOTOGRAPHY based in Nashua, NH provides commercial photography services in studio and at client locations all over the world. He presents a program of digital photography workshops and photography tours for adults throughout New England.