Thursday, 29 July 2010

Secrets of Professional Portrait Photographers'

Hi Welcome to the 8th edition of the blog.
If you want to make your portraits look like they have been shot by a seasoned pro and scream out " I have something to say" then I have some great news.
Between us we can make that happen.

This a picture of Charlie Kray the older brother of The Kray Twins notorious gangsters during the 1960's. I wanted  him to give me that intense stare and it took many frames and quite a lot of whisky to achieve it.  I knew what I wanted to say and started from there, once you have a starting point you can always return to it if you lose your way. 

As usual there is a pdf below for you to download that will explain how to make the eyes look a little more interesting. The tip is used by the likes of Terry O'Neill and I should know as I assisted for him many years ago.

Have a look in the eyes? Do you notice anything about them? Why not look again once you have read the pdf?

This weekend is Hackney Wicked a large arts festival near to the Olympic Village which is full of amazing work from artists photographers and designers. If you are in London it is well worth a visit.

"If there is a single quality that is shared by all great men, it is vanity." Yousaf Karsh

Professional Photographic Portraits -

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Stolen from Nikon 3 steps to great portraits.

Don McCullin (Taken on a Nikon)
Welcome to the 7th edition.
We all take portraits in fact it is the most popular form of photograph. I bet you have taken loads from your first few attempts at photography and will take many more in your life time.
How do we make your subjects look like Kate Moss and help you to produce work like Nick Knight.
I am going to share with you three tips that will make a difference, they have been liberated from the Nikon website and improved upon. Nikon just want you to buy their cameras not surprisingly and the tips are fairly universal.
Don McCullin's camera

I am not trying to break new ground just give you some tried and tested industry tips that will help to give your work a commercial edge. I went to the Wolfgang Tilmans show during the week and it was quite a good reflection on communication shot in his unique style. It is at the Serpentine Gallery and is worth going to see just for the Serpentine Pavillion designed by Jean Nouvel. There are many reviews on the show so you do not need another one from me.
A recent class of mine really liked Nigel Parry so you might like to have a look at his work to get you thinking about what you consider good portrait photography to be.

"Ultimately suucess or failure in photographing people depends on the photographer's ability to understand his fellow man." Edward Weston.

3 Steps to Great Portraits -

Friday, 16 July 2010

How to make a camera obscura

Welcome to the sixth edition.

What is a camera obscura and what are the benefits of you taking time out of your busy day to make one?

In simple terms it is an optical device that allows you to view the outside world projected on to a screen. They are easy to make and great fun. The link above will give you more detailed information on their history.

They are important for anyone who has an interest in photography as they teach you the basic principles of how all cameras work and you will be suprised at what you already know and how making one fills in the gaps of your knowledge.

They are great fun to make regardless of age, I made one on Monday and it was really enjoyable.

If you have limited technical skills then do not worry I have trouble doing the most basic of practical things so follow the instructions in the pdf and you will have a camera obscura in about fifteen minutes. (Mine took a little longer...)

I would like to hear from you if you have made a pin hole camera anything similar.

How to make a camera obscura -

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

How to solve Red Eye in photographs.

Camera_obscura, Science Museum London, UKImage via Wikipedia
Hi there and welcome to fifth edition.

How many of us have taken photographs of our friends at a party and they come out looking like something from a horror film? If you have then we have much in common.

The pdf below which you can download will provide the information that you need on the cause and solution.If you feel something is missing please let me know. I would like to hear your thoughts and experiences on 'Red Eye.'

I went to the Royal Observatory at Greenwich recently and had a look through their camera obscura. There fascinating so I decided to make one and I will explain the method that I used in the next entry. They are great fun easy to make and if you have kids of a certain age it may appeal to them. I have included the quote below as photography has always been a feature of our lives in much the same way the internet now is for a certain generation.

"Imagine a world without photography one could only imagine" Bernice Abbott.

How to solve Red Eye. -

Friday, 9 July 2010

How To Use The Rule of 3.

Henri Cartier-Bresson, Behind the Gare St. Laz...Image via Wikipedia

Welcome to the fourth edition of the blog.
The tutorial is on how to improve composition and give images depth and a ‘wow’ factor.
The ‘Rule of Thirds’ rule should not be over used. Your work will become boring otherwise. Composition structure is a skill worth acquiring and your work will benefit as a result but only at certain times.
I have used Henri Cartier-Bresson's image from the "Europeans" as I wanted to share this quirky image from one of the great masters. I trust that you will like it. It lends itself perfectly to the rule of 3. I bought a book by Magnum photographer Donovan Wylie called "Losing Ground." Powerful photographs of gypsies during the nineties. The book has been around for a longtime however it is the first time that I have seen it. Amazing photographs. 
"And if a day goes by without my doing something related to photography, it's as though I've neglected something essential to my existence, as though I had forgotten to wake up. I know that the accident of my being a photographer has made my life possible" said Richard Avedon


Tuesday, 6 July 2010

What are and RAW and JPEG?

Welcome to the third installment of teach yourself photography.

RAW or JPEG that is the question many a photographer asks themselves and I hope to offer a little guidance.

It depends on what you want to use the final images for and how much control you want over them.

The digital file format you choose is personal preference and mine is RAW. Why do I opt for a format that takes up more room and requires greater post production?

Simple really, I am greedy and want as much information as possible.

For a bit of extra space or a new memory card it is worth it and so is your photography.

When the moment has passed you cannot get it back or re-create it. At best it will be a memory at worst the greatest photograph you never took.

Below is a link to one of the greatest photographer of all times. Of course this is just an opinion but Cartier-Bresson took pictures that changed how I looked at the world. It is only 90 seconds long so indulge yourself

"The most difficult thing for me is a portrait. You have to try and put your camera between the skin of a person and his shirt." - Henri Cartier-Bresson.

Digital File Formats -

Saturday, 3 July 2010

what are pixels and how do they affect image quality

Classic Alfred Stieglitz photograph, The Steer...Image via Wikipedia
Most of us get into photography because it is fun and creative. We generally do not do it because we love science, there are of course exceptions and you know who you are....

Photographers have always needed some knowledge of science and I wanted to provide information on a area that confuses many new to the medium, pixels.

What are they? How many do I need?

The pdf below is intended to give you an introduction and clear up some widely held misconceptions about them.

I trust that this is of use to you and I look forward to hearing from you.

After following the crowd for a while, I'd then go 180 degrees in the exact opposite direction. It always worked for me, but then again, I'm very lucky. - Elliott Erwitt - on getting a different picture.

Mega Pixels -

Thursday, 1 July 2010

What is a good exposure?

D-Day landings, 6-6-1944.Image via Wikipedia
Welcome to the first Teach Yourself Photography blog spot.

The blogs are intended to share with you my knowledge and passion of photography. It is for those who would like to increase their skills and acquire a few tips to improve their photography. Please let me know what you think and what you might like to know about for future blogs.

It is my intention of putting a weekly posting to develop a rhythm and structure. If this is too basic for you then check in a few weeks and it might be at a level that is more suited to your needs.

Without feedback, it will not improve and as photographers, we are use to giving and receiving criticism so for maximum affect I need your input.

I will include a quote by a photographer to keep you thinking and provide ideas for improving your work.
Below is one of my favourites however it is worth noting that sadly Robert Capa was killed by a mine so while it is good to get close…

The pdf below covers apertures, shutter speeds and an over view of what they do.

“If your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough”. - Robert Capa

Please use the pdf below for the first lesson.

Have fun with your photography and I look forward to hearing from you.

Exposure -