Friday, August 31, 2012

Your photographic language, part 1


Lan-guage - noun ( lan-gwij )
  1. a systematic means of communicating ideas or feelings by the use of conventionalized signs, sounds, gestures, or marks having an understood meaning
  2. the vocabulary and phraseology belonging to an art or a department of knowledge
When talking about language in photography there are two areas that have their own  vocabulary; the technical aspect of photography and the artistic side or visual language. In this article we will talk about ways in which to expand our technical vocabulary.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Press pass - A phony IDea


One of the topics I see come up every once in a while on photo blogs and forums is the use of a phony press identification card to gain access to events. The idea is simple enough and, on the surface, sounds harmless enough. It also doesn't require a lot of clever skills to create a fake press ID.

A few questions came to mind while reading some of these blogs and forums.  What are some of the most common types of identification cards? Why would you want to have a fake press ID? What are the repercussions of using that fake ID? What are the laws governing identification cards in general? Here are a few points I discovered in my search for some of these answers.

Monday, August 13, 2012

DIY online resources and how to use them


From an extension pole instructable I wrote
One of the first areas a new photographer expands into, once they have camera basics down pat, is off camera flash. Simply because it seriously enhances the look of your images and is relatively inexpensive, compared to studio flashes, and are very portable. However, speed lights alone are limiting. If we want to bend and control light to our will we need light modifiers. This is where it can get very expensive.

Fortunately for us creative types, there are tons of do-it-yourself photography projects available online. Many of them are simple and often embarrassingly obvious it begs the question, "why didn't I think of this?" Other projects can be very complex involving a master's degree in electronics or engineering. No matter what level the project there is always something to be learned.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Street photography laws and etiquette, pt2


In the previous post, Street photography laws and etiquette, pt1, we discussed the legal rights of a photographer to take pictures. The use of those pictures are a totally different story and much more limiting and this is where I think Erin got confused. You can not sell or use commercially (i.e. for profit) an image without the written consent of the person photographed.

You can display your photos on your social network, in your portfolio of work, as a wallpaper on your computer, hang it on your wall and use it in an editorial manner. That means I have full rights to post Erin's photo on this blog, in context to the event, without her permission. However, had I used Erin's photo to publicly humiliate or harass her, I would open myself up to a civil suit.

While it is illegal to sell or use commercially a photo of someone without written consent, you should be happy to learn that it is not a criminal act. You can not be arrested for it. However, you do open yourself up to a costly civil lawsuit which you have small chance of winning.

Street photography laws and etiquette, pt1


The photo that launched this conversation
Sunday we held a workshop on the Waterbury green in downtown Waterbury, CT. It was a bright day with clouds that threatened rain. The workshop was on how to properly meter harsh and mixed lighting situations, using aperture priority and modifying it with exposure compensation and exposure lock.

The workshop went well and soon I released everyone to practice what they had learned in a real-world exercise; street photography. While it was something new for most people, it afforded everyone the chance to immediately practice the lessons under the same light the workshop was presented with in an environment that afforded both room and content. However, the lesson soon changed from how to use a camera to how to defend your rights.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Crazy people, shenanigans and hot glue all par for the course


Erin, our disgruntled stalker
First I want to thank everyone who came out this Sunday for the workshop on the Waterbury green. I know it was a really hot day and I'm sure some of you would rather have been sitting indoors in a nice air conditioned space.

I also want to welcome those newest members whose first time experience with the group was this week end. As nutty as it was with our 'stalker' I can honestly state this is not how our workshops typically progress. Usually they are much milder but with as much fun. As you saw, we have a great bunch of members who are more than willing to share and who really strive to make everyone's experience a pleasant one.

Hopefully everyone walked away with a better understanding of how a camera meters a scene and how you can manipulate it to fine tune your exposure. Understanding how a camera sees light is a tough concept to grasp and not one that you will pick up in one or two workshops. However, you will notice that each time you experiment with the lessons your understanding will take hold and you will build on prior lessons until it finally 'clicks'. When it does, you will think it's the easiest most natural thing in the world and you'll wonder why you never got it before. Trust me, it is a process.

I know for some of you I took you out of your comfort zone and I don't apologize for that. That's my job and hopefully you walked away with some new knowledge. As for you newbies, I know I tossed out a lot of new jargon, some advanced theories and possibly more information than you could wrap your brain around. As I stated above, learning photography is a building process where one lesson builds on a previous one. Keep at it as eventually the puzzle pieces will start coming together.

Friday, August 3, 2012

5 tips for basic street photography


Street photography is a great activity to pursue as a photographer. It requires very little equipment, it can be done at any time on short notice, you have ready-made subjects and you can practice your technique without worry. Although you may not be a fan of street photography as a genre you shouldn't dismiss it as a learning tool.

Aside from practicing the technical aspects of photography, street shooting also helps you develop your creativity. Since the action on the streets tend to be fluid, constantly moving and spontaneous you are forced to really think on your feet. Your eye starts getting trained for composition, lighting, framing, textures, and all those other element that make for a great image.

So, here are a few tips to help you get started in the ever challenging and surprisingly rewarding field of street photography.

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