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Monthly Archives: November 2018

  • 7 Things I’ve Learnt About Photography From Pablo Picasso

    1-7 Things I've Learnt About Photography From Pablo Picasso

    One of my favorite photographers, Ernst Haas, said we should seek inspiration from anywhere and everywhere. Listening to music, looking at paintings and sculptures, and reading books feeds your imagination more profoundly than just looking at the work of other photographers.

    I think this is true. Exploring the work of a painter I love is as enriching to me as exploring a new city at sunrise. Similarly, wandering through a forest and photographing the sunlight filtering through the trees.

    Our minds are hungry beasts. We think around 60-70,000 thoughts every day, with the majority of them being the same thoughts we had yesterday (and the day before). That’s scary. You can see how easy it would be to live life on autopilot.

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    We can choose to think the same thoughts as yesterday, or we can feed our minds with new ideas – be they visual, sensory, words or music.

    One artist who has inspired me with his work and ideas is Pablo Picasso. When he spoke about the artistic process, he articulated many of my core beliefs about taking photos.

    He reminded me of the most exciting and essential elements of living a creative life. In the busy-ness of life, I so often forget.

    Today I’d like to share some of Picasso’s ideas that are incredibly inspiring and impactful on any photographic journey.

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    1. “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” – Pablo Picasso

    This quote of Picasso’s sums up why I dedicated my life to photography. Why I let it be almost everything that I am.

    There is something about photography that deeply stirs my soul. I feel more alive while taking photos than I do with most other things.

    Playing with my kids or talking to my teenage son deep into the night about challenges he faces, brings a similar feeling of purpose. However, very little else matches the feeling I get in the act of creation.

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    Photography is a life-affirming pursuit. It makes me feel I am not just skating on the surface of life – rushing to and fro, writing emails and filling in forms.

    Of course, there is nothing wrong with either of those activities, but do they really make you feel alive?

    We all have to live and do necessary mundane tasks. But, we can also commit to making a vast amount of space in our lives for things that create deeper satisfaction in ourselves.

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    2. “Inspiration does exist, but it must find you working.” – Pablo Picasso

    This quote of Picasso’s is a testament to say: take photos even when you’re not in the mood, even when you’re only getting rubbish images. The only way to get that fantastic image is to keep going.

    You never know when the light may dramatically change, making the scene before you look eerily beautiful. Alternatively, an intriguing stranger might walk past doing something peculiar!

    Even though I am a professional photographer, I sometimes suffer from procrastination as much as the next person. I intend to go out shooting but get distracted by my kids or get too tired after a heavy meal.

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    I realize if I’m not out there, I’ll never know what experiences, and then what photos, I’m missing. That seems like an insane waste of life.

    Keep going. Continue searching for that great scene, interesting person, or a beautiful landscape. Whatever it is that floats your boat, go and find it.

    3. “Art is the elimination of the unnecessary.” Pablo Picasso

    I look at thousands of photos on my workshops. One thing I see regularly is people making images too complicated. When your images are too complex, you are not defining your subject correctly.

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    There’s a myriad of compositional ideas you can use to help define your subject. For example, Rule of Thirds, creating clean backgrounds for your portraits and breaking the world down into elements.

    The overarching concept in all of these ideas about composition is to eliminate all that is unnecessary.

    Photography is a process of choosing what to put in the frame, and what to take away. It is wise to make your composition, then look and think. What isn’t working here? What do I need to remove?

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    For example – one common mistake many photographers make is not checking their corners. It’s amazing how often people spend so much time composing their subject, but not checking all around the frame, especially the corners, to see that everything within it should be there.

    Therefore, creating images is not just – ‘what do I put in the frame?’ But also – ‘what do I take away?’

    4. Creating Feeling Within Your Images

    “There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who, with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun.” – Pablo Picasso

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    The same is true for photographers. You can photograph any number of things, and it looks entirely real. However, what does it feel like when you look at your photograph?

    It is all too easy to just document, without creating any sense of what it feels like to be in that hot and humid city, to look at that face, to feel the textures of the buildings you are capturing.

    Photographing a cold winter’s morning is simple. Nevertheless, to translate the feeling of what it would feel like to stand in a misty field, with cold biting your face and a deep feeling of eeriness as fog rolls in across the land – that is another skill entirely.

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    Ultimately, the success of any photo is whether it creates an impact for your viewer. The only question you need to ask is, ‘does this image invoke a feeling?’

    It’s not just what we see that creates an impact, but the feeling that is created within our bodies when we see something that we love, dislike, or invokes joy, or sadness.

    Feelings are what we remember. Images have no sense of feeling are instantly forgettable.

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    5. “I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” – Pablo Picasso

    One of the things that surprised me about being a parent is how quickly young children latch on to the idea, ‘I can’t do this now, so I’ll never be able to do it.’

    Once you have allowed that thought into your mind, it can quickly mushroom until you are utterly convinced that you can’t do something. Never, ever.

    I see it in my children, and I see it in 70-year-old clients who come to my workshops. I have to say that, ‘I can’t do this, so I’ll never be able to it,’ is one of the most destructive ideas for your photography.

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    Of course, the technophobe might never become the most skilled camera person alive. In contrast, they can overcome their self-perception and become competent and confident with their cameras. I see proof of this regularly.

    One of the most exciting ideas I have noticed coming out of the science community in recent years is the idea of Neuroplasticity.

    Instead of the old belief that our brains become ‘fixed’ and unchangeable as we enter into adulthood, we now understand that brains are completely changeable.

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    In fact, at any point in life, one is able to totally rewire thoughts and beliefs we hold about ourselves.

    “The man who thinks he can and the man who thinks he can’t are both right.” – Confucius

    Think of all the things you believe you can’t do with your photography, and go out and challenge those beliefs.

    If you believe you can’t do street photography, but would secretly love to try it, do it!

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    If you think you’ll never master manual mode, read up on it. Go out as often as you can. Make a ton of mistakes. You’ll get it eventually.

    If like me, you think, ‘I’m not a nature photographer, but I’d love to try it,’ go and spend time in nature. Experiment, play and try new things.

    As long as you approach the world with the attitude of ‘I can,’ you probably will.

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    6. The World is Rich With Ideas

    “A piece of space-dust falls on your head once every day… With every breath, we inhale a bit of the story of our universe, our planet’s past and future, the smells and stories of the world around us, even the seeds of life.” – Pablo Picasso

    Of course, photography starts as a technical exercise. You need to use a machine, often with a little computer in it. Fully get to know the machine you are using. At least to the place where you are comfortable.

    Photography is a union of the technical and the creative. The creative part of photography comes from an ethereal place within you that is unique.

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    Your creative vision flows from everything that has made you who you are – your experiences, your life, what you love and what you detest.

    It also comes from the world around us; from the feeling of history we experience when we walk through old city streets; from the awe of looking at a majestic five hundred-year-old tree.

    The world isn’t a flat surface. Everywhere we look we see the ‘moment;’ the weather; the time of day. We also know that in a few hours everything we are currently seeing can change.

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    Most people are so locked in their minds and focused on themselves that they don’t open themselves up to the mysteries of the world.

    There are stories and ideas all around us that can inspire us in our photography, can provoke new ideas and adventures for us.

    All we have to do is pay attention and commit to the awesome power of photography.

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    7. “Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.” – Pablo Picasso

    The older I get, the more I feel like I need to demand of myself. That by the end of each day I want to be profoundly and truly satisfied. Not just to be content, or to have my to-do list full of check marks.

    I want to have created something. Something that is entirely my own. A creation that no one else could have, because they are not me.

    Photography gives us that, and I love that it does. It can give us opportunities to see, feel and experience more of the world.

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    Without photography, life would not be anywhere near as rich and meaningful as it is.

    When faced with either sleep or the chance to catch an amazing sunrise – I get up to photograph the sunrise.

    Our lives are speeding along and, although we are aware of this, we become complacent. In a subconscious part of ourselves, we truly believe we live forever. The possibility of not existing doesn’t seem right.

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    Our time on this planet is finite. If we acknowledge that we are organic beings, it can motivate us to demand more of what we truly want from our lives.

    For me, it’s exploring and taking photos. It’s creating art and sharing it with others or showing people what beautiful things I see all around me.

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    Of course, your photography journey is different from mine.

    You may record the breathtaking journey of your children from babies into adulthood or documenting the joyous color of flowers.

    Alternatively, you may be climbing snowy mountains and showing the world the awe-inspiring landscapes you witness. You may be documenting the strange and humorous things we humans do when out in the world, inhabiting our little bubbles as we move around the streets, unaware of the world watching us.

    There are so many ways to be a photographer. So many things to document, explore and see. Follow your own path.

    Just be open, and inquisitive. Look around you and open your mind to everything you don’t usually notice.

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    By showing yourself and others what you see in this world, you open up other people’s perspective of the world around them. You take them out of their hectic bubble – full of the 24/7 news, the list of things to do, the emails and daily demands of daily life.

    You give them a gift of seeing — a gift of taking a moment to stop and stare in awe at what the world has laid out before us.

    It’s a pretty exciting, amazing and incredibly life-enhancing pursuit taking photos.

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    Have these ideas fed your creative soul? If they have helped you demand more from your photography, and to take more time out of your life to commit to this fantastic pursuit, let me know below. It’s always great to hear from you.

    The post 7 Things I’ve Learnt About Photography From Pablo Picasso appeared first on Digital Photography School.

    Source: DP School

  • Photographer takes you behind the scenes of this dreamy conceptual image

    Swedish photographer Erik Johansson is known for his dreamy and surreal images. This time, he decided to depict the change between day and night. As always, the artist of great imagination took a lot of time and effort to turn his idea into a photo, and in this video, he takes you behind the scenes […]

    The post Photographer takes you behind the scenes of this dreamy conceptual image appeared first on DIY Photography.

    Source: Diyphotographynet

  • 3 Critical People Skills Portrait Photographers Need

    Photo by: Greg Gelsinger

    How do you ensure failure as a portrait photographer? That’s easy; treat your subjects or clients poorly. From start to finish, make the entire experience unforgettably miserable for them!

    So, what does it take for an amateur or professional photographer to create a wonderful experience for their subject? Three things: generosity, empathy, and assertiveness.

    Let me show you how these three qualities, combined with your photography skills, create a wonderful experience for your subjects and clients.

    Treat your subjects and clients as you would your friends.

    1. Begin With Generosity

    When you bring a generous spirit to your work, your clients are delighted with the experience. You may be one of the few people who has treated them well. You can show your generosity with:

    • your time
    • gifts
    • yourself

    When I photographed college and university students for their graduation portraits, I often gave up my lunch breaks to spend extra time with them. Maybe they were self-conscious, and I had to work extra hard to capture portraits they would love. Perhaps I wanted to take extra time to work out some creative ideas.

    Don’t treat time as if it’s your you own, treat your time as if it’s theirs.

    I wouldn’t normally travel so far, but this couple told me they had a really unique place for their photo session. From the highway to back roads to small trail roads, it took an hour and a half to get there. But the scenery was much different than I could have found close to home.

    What does generosity look like for street photographers? Think about carrying a small printer with you so that you can print a portrait when you photograph somebody. Perhaps offer to send them one digitally.

    Wedding photographers can show up a little bit early or stay a little later to capture candid photos. When I photograph weddings, couples are always so thankful that I didn’t rush to leave – especially when they are behind schedule.

    You’ll take many photos as a travel photographer and discover unique places in small towns and villages. Share the love by promoting those places through Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

    Personality, friendship and time are among the most valuable things you can share with a person.

    Over the years, some of my closest friendships began as photography clients.

    Will people take advantage of your generosity? Absolutely! However, you tend to fear the worst case scenario. There aren’t very many people who take advantage of your generosity. When they do, you won’t care – because you’re generous!

    For photographers in business, being generous doesn’t mean that you give everything away for free. It just means that you build generosity into your business model.

    2. Empathy

    Empathy is a superpower.

    It is a superpower because it allows you to understand your subject or client. Empathy allows you to care for them deeply, see it their way, and serve them as a unique person instead of a fast food process.

    Empathy provokes understanding and opens people up. They’ll discover something new about themselves, and you’ll discover something new about yourself.

    Also, empathy means not treating people on streets as if they are mannequins on display. Ask permission to photograph people and understand when they say “no.” If you aren’t willing to spend a few minutes with them as a person, why photograph them at all?

    Their ultrasound appointment revealed that they would be having a baby boy. But the doctor kept it a secret, allowing their friend to create a paint war between the couple! Once they started squirting the paint, they found out they were having a boy.

    Having empathy helps you understand the exhausted parents of newborns. It helps you to understand the toddler who is tired of posing for your photos. Empathy helps you to understand the middle-aged headshot client who is self-conscious about wrinkles and their double chin. You may even have compassion toward bridezillas!

    Moreover, empathy leads you to ask, “how would I want to be treated if I was getting photographed?”

    When generosity is the foundation of your workflow, it is easy to be empathetic.

    3. Be Assertive, But Not Bossy

    Assertiveness is a critical skill for portrait photographers. Most people have no idea what to do in front of the camera (photographers included). You have to tell them!

    They haven’t just come to you for a photo, they’ve come to you to get guided through the process.

    You’ve tuned into your subject with empathy, so you already know they feel awkward in front of the camera. Assertiveness allows you to give your subjects direction so that they can relax and lose their self-consciousness. The first thing people used to say to me was, “tell me what to do.” They don’t ask me that anymore because I guide them from the start.

    Of course, it’s possible to be overly assertive. You’ve gone too far when you’re impolite and bossy. Nobody enjoys getting photographed by a photographer who is rude.

    If you’re a kind and assertive photographer, you’ll enjoy directing your subjects through your creative vision. Moreover, your subject could love you for it too.

    Strength and Weakness

    There is a pretty good chance that you’re stronger in one of these three and weaker in another.

    Maybe you’re very empathetic but not very assertive. Alternatively, quite assertive and not very generous.

    Determine where your strong points and play on those strengths. However, also observe where you are weak and work toward improving it. I can tell you from experience that even timid people can become assertive with practice.

    You know how to handle a camera and work the light. When you’re equally good with people, your photography life is rewarding and fulfilling.

    “If the photographer is interested in the people in front of his lens, and if he is compassionate, it’s already a lot. The instrument is not the camera but the photographer.” — Eve Arnold

    If you have any other tips or experiences, please share with us in the comments below.

    The post 3 Critical People Skills Portrait Photographers Need appeared first on Digital Photography School.

    Source: DP School

  • How centered compositions can improve your photography

    The Rule of Thirds is the first composition rule most of us have learned when we started doing photography. There are times when it works, of course – but sometimes, centering your subject is a much better choice, yet many photographers tend to avoid it. In this video, Haze Kware of Hk Visuals discusses when centering […]

    The post How centered compositions can improve your photography appeared first on DIY Photography.

    Source: Diyphotographynet

  • New Preset Converter lets you use your Lightroom presets in Capture One

    One of the big draws of Lightroom for many users is its ability to use presets. And there are a million of them out there. Free and paid Lightroom preset packs are everywhere you look these days. But there are very few available for Capture One. It’s those purchased presets that put a lot of photographers […]

    The post New Preset Converter lets you use your Lightroom presets in Capture One appeared first on DIY Photography.

    Source: Diyphotographynet

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