Friday, February 23, 2018

A Deep Dive Into Arnold Newman’s Photography Style

7:04:00 AM

We’ve been talking quite a bit about Environmental Portraits in recent weeks, and today I want to talk exclusively about the work of Arnold Newman, one of the finest Environmental Portrait photographers ever.

I am convinced that any photographic attempt to show the complete man is nonsense. We can only show, as best we can, what the outer man reveals. The inner man is seldom revealed to anyone, sometimes not even the man himself. Arnold Newman

Viewing Newman's photographs is the best way any person can learn what this niche is all about. The artists’ portraits form the core of his personal and commissioned work (publishing and advertising). On many occasions, Newman has been considered to be the “Father of the Environmental Portrait”.

Arnold Newman was born on March 3, 1918, and is often considered to be one of the finest photographers of the 20th century. He portrayed everyone – from businessman to artists, to playwrights to presidents. He was one of the earliest photographers to incorporate different objects in the photographic canvas to support the subject, including backgrounds, props, and even graphic design elements.


Newman is considered to be the Father of Environmental Portraiture because he didn't shoot the usual portrait (the typical headshot); instead, he started including the subject’s environment in the frame. He shot his portraits of people inside their comfort zones and gave these surroundings a leading role, almost a persona.

One of the most curious things about every photographic niche is all the definitions that people craft around them. Portraiture is no exception. But when understanding Newman's imagery through the question “What is a portrait?” the answer allows a very rich array of possibilities.

The main reason why such a complex gamut of answers can flow from this scenario is simply that Newman changed the way we see ourselves.

Every image he made was the result of a deeply creative process. It can be hard to understand another’s creative process, but we definitely can speak about common elements in Newman’s work that ultimately built his style.

After a long, delightful time spent reading every image in this amazing book published by Taschen, here are some of the elements in Newman's work I’d like to talk about:

1. The Importance of Backgrounds in Arnold Newman's Portraits

Even though his style evolved, background always played a leading role in his photographs. Even if we look at non-environmental portraits like “Two Men on Front Porch, West Palm Beach, Florida, 1941” or even the still-life “Violins, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1941” we can appreciate the great care he took to consider backgrounds.

This attention to backgrounds becomes more notable when we look at some of his painters' portraits, such as “Max Ernst, Painter, New York, 1942“, “Piet Mondrian, Painter, New York, 1942“, and “Georgia O'Keeffe, Painter, Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, 1968“. Here, in just three examples from a vast photographic opus, we can see how Newman carefully chose backgrounds to fit with the style of painting these painters created.

2. The Power of Synthesis And Prolonged Social Interaction In Getting These Powerful Portraits

Most of Newman's commissioned or personal works were the result of prolonged social interaction with the subject (the development of social skills is crucial for such an intimate approach).

After getting to know the subject in a fairly broad way, the photographs began to happen. Each of these images is an example of what synthesis is all about since they summarize not only the character’s essence but also the importance of the subject’s profession to the subject.

Although in many situations we can only see a single portrait – except in particular cases like the ones of Pablo Picasso or Igor Stravinsky – of each person Newman worked with, the prose of each image is so generous that the need for more images isn't necessary for the viewer to get a clear idea of the subject's identity.

The culmination of Newman’s social relations with his subjects (even if they were imposed against his will, as in the portrait of Alfred Krupp) was a singular image that he had in mind from the beginning, which was the essence of his photographic style.

3. Graphic Design Elements That Set Arnold Newman's Portraits Apart

Graphic designers often use symbols, images, and text to render ideas and messages in a visual format. Due to his undoubted talent to summarize the essence of a human being – at least for the accomplishments they are publicly known for – Newman made excellent use of graphic design to communicate his thoughts about the subject.

A fine example of skilled graphic design in a composition is Newman’s portrait of the scientist and physician Jonas Edward Salk at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California in 1975.

But perhaps the best example of Newman’s mastery of graphic design is his famous Stravinsky portrait known as sometimes as the “b- flat” image.

Here, the bold yet minimalist composition is strongly appealing due to the way the piano lid is open, resembling a musical note. Also, the grayer part of the wall divides the image into thirds, enhancing Stravinsky's centrality, in spite the fact that the piano lid is massive. The image was taken with a large-format camera and was heavily cropped, which we'll cover shortly.

4. Symmetry As A Bold Compositional Decision

Symmetry isn't present in all of Newman’s images, but in some of them, it is. And the compositional decision improves the existing graphic design of the concept he wanted to transmit. The example we want to share with you is one in which symmetry is clear: it’s Newman’s portrait of Leonard Bernstein, the composer, pianist, and conductor.

The symmetry in this image can be read as a symbol of Bernstein's discipline towards his profession. Also, the way the empty auditorium chairs are illuminated gives us a sense of how important the Bernstein’s audience was to him. The serious and thoughtful look at Bernstein gives us a clear idea about the commitment he had to music as well.

5. Disregarding Current Prejudice – Arnold Newman's Talented Use Of Cropping

Many purist photographers disapprove of cropping after taking the shot instead of cropping in the camera. Newman, fortunately for many current photographers, totally disregards this prejudice – he and used cropping in a deliberate way.

He used to work with large-format cameras, which produced huge negatives that allowed the photographer to crop a lot. Here we can appreciate the main reason why 35mm film was initially (and pejoratively) seen as a mere postage stamp.

Being able to access the contact sheets of the great photography masters is an invaluable benefit, and in this two examples (Picasso and the aforementioned Stravinsky Portrait) we can clearly see how important cropping was for him.

Thanks to the generosity that the large format gave Newman, he was able to make insane crops in his images that still look like they were cropped in-camera.

6. How Arnold Newman's Inclusion Of Representative Elements Increases Our Connection To The Subject

Perhaps in all his environmental portraits, Newman included representative elements of the subject’s profession. We see this in his portraits of politicians and religious persons, but the portrait of Woody Allen is perhaps the best example of this practice.

In the portrait, we see Allen in the privacy of his bed, surrounded by his notebooks and sheets of paper, possibly drafts of a script.

This mood tells us about the essence of the filmmaker, who is known for his notorious absences at the Academy Awards year after year despite having been nominated several times for an Oscar (which he has won four times).

7. Inspiring Use Of Negative Space

Negative space, when used well, results in images so shocking that they can stick in our memory for a long time. Although Newman didn't use it frequently, he produced sublime work whenever he did.

Two very clear examples of this are the portraits of Martha Graham (the avant-garde choreographer and dancer) and the architect Ieoh Ming Pei (better known as I. M. Pei). In both cases, the use of negative space accentuates the nature of the characters.

The subtle location of representative elements – such as the dance bar used in the schools in the case of Graham's, or the three ceiling lights in Pei's portrait – make reference to the subject’s professions.

8. The Notorious Use And Violation Of The Rule of Thirds

Both the use and the notorious violation of the famous rule of thirds is evident in many of Newman's photographs. From his simplest images to his more highly complex portraits, we can see the care he put into the thirds. A very curious thing is that, as noted above, many of his final photographs were the result of aggressive crops, and yet the rule of thirds is still present.

Many photographers diminish this rule, and I have written about other important elements of composition. Perhaps access to the Internet and the high degree of empiricism in photography nowadays has led us all to form different prejudices around the rule of thirds.

9. Interesting Compositions and The Use of Corners

Sometimes Newman’s photographs employ a different compositional approach in which the subject is close to the corners of the frame.

Possibly this was a reflection of the great care he took to show as much as possible of the subject’s surroundings or the great importance the subjects had in the worlds in which they moved. We will never know for sure, but here are some examples to illustrate this finding.

The first is the portrait of Brooks Atkinson, the theater critic. The second is the portrait of the painter Milton Avery, and finally we have the portrait of the minimalist sculptor Donald Judd. All these, in addition to the aforementioned portrait of Stravinsky, are great examples of this unique compositional approach.

10. Experimentation with the Darkroom

Last but not least, Newman’s experimentations in the darkroom are worthy of being studied as well. Apparently, he found a quick solution to some blown images of Andy Warhol. What he did was use scissors to cut out parts of prints and then combined the cutouts with other images. And he did some other experiments as well with Henry Miller and Louise Nevelson.

From Piet Mondrian behind his easel and Igor Stravinsky on his piano, to Max Ernst smoking in his chair: the photographs of Arnold Newman (1918-2006) are classics of portraiture.

His subtle yet powerful arrangements created the basis of the “Environmental Portrait” as we know it today.

His photographs integrate both subject and environment, giving us a clear idea of the area of activity in which they performed.

The fame of Newman's portraits can be credited to his extremely careful aesthetics and his amazing social skills, which together enabled him to distill the essence of his subjects into a single powerful image.

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Six Advanced Compositional Techniques That Will Take Your Photography To The Next Level

5:08:00 AM

Composition is the backbone of a great photo. We often call them compositional rules but in reality, they are more like guidelines.

We can choose to adhere to them rigidly, use them as a template or simply ignore them completely. There are a significant number of compositional techniques that we can apply to an image, many you might know, some you might not.

Today we are going to take a look at six, more advanced techniques that you can use to enhance your images.

Negative Space

In general, things that are unbalanced jar our eyes. The same is true in photography. We might have a great subject positioned on the bottom third of the frame but we are distracted by a much smaller element perhaps in the top third.

This is where negative space comes in to play. We isolate our subject on a clean background, perhaps a sky or glass-like lake surface. We then frame the subject so that the “nothingness” in the background inherently draws our eye to the subject.


It's a tricky technique to get right. If our subject is too small in frame it gets lost. If it is too big, we lose the impact of that negative space.

Get it just right however and you will end up with an image with huge visual impact from relative simplicity.

The golden waters of the Suez Canal act as negative space to the silhouette. By Jason Row Photography

Color Contrast

We can use color in our images as a compositional tool as well as creating the mood of the photo.

By using a combination of strong primaries, we can create well defined strong compositions, a red barn on a green hillside, or redbrick houses with deep blue skies. Contrasting primary colors can focus our eyes quickly to the main subject matter within an image and give a vibrant optimistic mood to a shot.

As well as using the strong primaries we can use variations of the same color to create subtle compositional cues. For example, variations of green grass on a hillside can lead the eye to a remote farmhouse. Using similar color tones gives a subdued, pensive mood to an image

Golden Ratio

The Golden Ratio exists everywhere we look in life. It defines the size of a person’s head in relation to their body, the form of a leaf, even the movements of financial markets.

It can, however, be notoriously difficult to use as a compositional technique. The ratio is 1:1.61803398875 which in practical photographic terms means nothing. However, if you set up a shot based on this ratio, rather than the more common rule of thirds, the composition will appear more pleasing, more balanced.

This technique is called the Golden Third.

There is, however, an even more tricky but rewarding variation on the Golden Ratio, that is the Golden Spiral. For this, you need to imagine a single line spiraling out from one of the thirds of your image. Its curve increases to the ratio we mentioned above and by placing subjects at points where the spiral intersects thirds we create a complex but visually balanced image.

The Golden Spiral starts on the cruise ship and leads us through the image. By Jason Row Photography

Symmetry

Some of us love symmetry others not but as a compositional technique, it is right up their with the best. A symmetrical image is one that will have two equal elements creating a balance. They might be in the vertical plane, horizontal or even both.

The elements might be the subject or the symmetry might serve to highlight the subject. Symmetry in its most simple form could be a perfect reflection of a landscape in a lake. The lakeshore would be positioned directly on the centreline of the frame.

It could be two people a few meters apart looking at the same painting in an art gallery or two sides to a straight road disappearing into the distance.

To obtain great symmetry, we need to make sure that the positioning of our symmetrical elements is perfect. Even slightly of will degrade the composition.

The buildings create symmetry behind our subject. By Jason Row Photography

Visual Balance

Visual balance is a technique similar to negative space. Instead of using a clean background to add weight to our subject, we use a smaller contrasting element in the scene to add balance to the shot.

Visual balance can be obtained using physical subject matter, using color or light and shade. With a physical subject, we might have a small object that we wish to be the primary subject matter. We then might have a larger object in the background to contrast it.

By moving closer to the main subject and perhaps, using a wide-angle lens, we can make the larger secondary object seem less important but balanced.

Similarly, we use the same technique with color and light. Like with color contrast, we can use primary colors to balance the image visually.

Red is more visually striking than blue, so we can have a red subject matter balanced by a larger but less significant blue background.

The smaller statue has the same visual weight as the theatre it represents. By Jason Row Photography

Frames Within Frames

Frames within frames is another powerful technique to enhance your photos. It is a relatively simple technique that can be hard to achieve.

In its most simplistic form, its a pretty landscape take through an old window, but it can be much more complex. For example, a frame could be a combination of a lamppost on one side of the frame, dark clouds at the top and a person on the opposing side.

All of these individual elements will draw the eye through to the main subject beyond. The main difficulty is often in nailing the exposure. You need to have definition within the framing elements yet maintain good exposure on the subject.

The tree and plants frame the bridge. By Jason Row Photography

Composition is never as simple as following rules. The above techniques are guidelines that you can apply to your images.

Many of them will work well together in combinations to create great photos, you don’t have to adhere to just one technique at a time. Next time you are out with your camera, see if you can work one or more of these techniques into your shots.

For More On Nailing Your Composition

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23. Februar 2018

4:03:00 AM

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When to break photography rules

12:16:00 AM

In the previous article, I presented some of the tools of composition that form the fundamental grammar of the language of photography. Just like in spoken language where knowing the grammar rules is paramount to making the communication understandable. Just like in spoken language, poets, after mastering it, can deliberately choose to break its rules in order to achieve more emotional impact. Here are few ways I choose to break the photography rules.

June Lake

Fall morning at June Lake, East Sierra

The Rule of Thirds, the most well-known rule of composition, dictates how horizontal lines should be placed on a third after dividing the frame into nine quadrants. The logic behind the rule explains how, when important elements of the image are placed in the center, the resulting image looks static and “boring”.  It’s a very important guideline to follow when building up one’s internal understanding of photography and skills in visual communication.

In June Lake, I deliberately chose to break this rule. I placed the line dividing the peaceful lake from the trees in the direct center of the frame. The main character of this image is the reflection and the supporting character is the symmetry that is enhanced by the central composition.

Golden Door

Keystone rock at Pfeifer Beach in Big Sur, California

This image is of Keyhole Rock in Pfeiffer beach during a beautiful show staged once a year near the end of December. It’s another example of using central composition to aim the viewer’s attention on the main event. If I had followed the rule of third scholastically, I would have placed the hole on a third. This would include far too much of the surrounding rocks and, possibly, a portion of the sky. These elements would have added nothing to the story.

Less is more. When two rules collide, break the one that doesn’t help to tell your story.

Svan Towers

Svan towers against the Caucasus mountains in Mestia, Svaneti, Georgia

The rule of thirds would recommend placing the historical towers in Svaneti, Georgia at the intersection of the bottom horizontal third and the right vertical third. Instead, I chose to use the three towers as strong foundation pillars close to the bottom edge of the frame; this plays with the juxtaposition between the towers and the Caucasus mountains peeking through the clouds as backdrop. The compressed perspective obtained with a telephoto lens further reinforces the feeling of majesty and stability of the tallest mountain range in Europe.

Photography is the expression of your thoughts and emotions through your personal, unique style. If we were all applying the rules of composition, most images would look similar and ultimately boring. By breaking the rules while clearly expressing your intentions to make your message more impactful, you are affirming your uniqueness, your singular view of the world, and your personal artistic statement.

About Author Francesco Carucci

I'm a landscape photographer living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Outside of my (pretty cool) daily desk job, I'm spending most of my spare time chasing the Light and printing it; the rare glimpses of it I manage to capture are in my gallery.

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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Conceptual Photography – Staging Your Ideas

7:08:00 AM

Many photographs aren't taken but made. These images are deliberately constructed through a creative process where the conceptualization and intentionality of the project match the importance of technical knowledge of the photographic medium.

“The camera only facilitates the taking. The photographer must do the giving in order to transform and transcend ordinary reality.” Ernst Haas

At some point, many great photographs require a solid planning process; others happen serendipitously, as a result of the photographer's ability to react to spontaneous situations. The common factor behind all good photographs (the ones that stick in people’s memories) is that the photographer was actually prepared.

Today we are going to talk about conceptualization in photography, which is the act of forming or building something conceived in the mind that can be expressed by way of photographs.


Every photographer has their own way of doing things – and just like any photographer's workflow, there is no exact recipe for building photographs based on a concept.

Nevertheless, we can pinpoint some stages of the commonly accepted creative process. These are steps any photographer can follow to stage their ideas and build meaningful photographs.

Ideas Burst

Starting a new project is always a challenge for any photographer, regardless of their level of experience. If there is no challenge, it’s because things are not being done well. Possibly one of the fastest ways to generate ideas is through the consumption of literature, music, movies, photographs, illustrations, comics, etc.

Sudden inspiration happens, of course, but sometimes it takes a long time to do so.

One of the best-known ways to generate ideas is through brainstorming, which puts us in a forced state of “idea generation” around a certain topic or thing.

This can be done individually or collectively. Basically what happens during a brainstorming exercise is that we list everything that comes to our mind in a short period of time, without minding their congruence or logic. Therefore, it is often considered to be a purely cathartic exercise.

Selecting A Topic

Endless topics might seduce our interest when we develop a photographic concept. However, there is something we must always consider when choosing a theme: it must be able to be developed using a camera.

It is important for photographers to develop a solid concept, but it’s also important for them to work on a topic that really interests them.

By doing this, the photographer will work to flesh out the concept with deep passion, which ultimately reduces the risk of failure.

Many photographers tend to work according to pre-conceived visions of the finished work. But instead of just jumping towards the final result, it is often worthwhile to distance oneself from one’s expectations and evaluate all the possible ways to develop an idea. This will provide more room for creativity.

Shaping Your Ideas

Not all ideas are great, so you'll need to establish a system to filter all your ideas. This will leave you only with the ones worth developing. Brainstorming is a deeply subjective thing, and if you just plunge wholeheartedly into trying to develop any old random idea, you run a high chance of failure, which will lead to frustration.

Developing Ideas Through Research

After filtering down your ideas, it will be wise for you to start researching the topic you’re trying to approach. From documentary to artistic images, research is always a valuable stage in the development of any project.

If you take this for granted, your results will be pretty superficial, and you may unwittingly approach the topic in a way similar to those other photographers have taken. Research will make you more objective about the concept you are trying to capture.

One of the most accepted ways of collecting information during the research stage is through primary and secondary sources of information.

Primary sources are those from which you can extract original information from first-hand sources. Examples of primary sources of information include works of art, literary sources such as diaries or letters, and sound files. It is also possible to conduct interviews, where the information collected is also considered as primary.

Secondary sources of information refer to sources of information gathered by someone else – such as documentaries, books, articles, and the internet.

Image Realization

The image realization stage is where the images start to happen. They are a by-product of a solid concept that can be developed throughout the photographer's entire workflow. This process should be driven by the concept, but leave room for creativity while producing the images.

Storytelling

Photography is the universal language, and being able to tell stories through images is the most effective way to generate engagement with viewers.

As the author, you will have a clear idea of the story you are trying to convey, but, near the end of the process, you rearrange images to present them in a coherent storyline. Some people like having a script, others a storyboard; again, there is no exact recipe for crafting a story, and you'll be using the one that fits best your style.

We hope that these guidelines will be helpful for you as you strive to develop photographs with meaning, purpose, and concept. Only by actually working with a conceptual mindset will you be able to build a system that suits your own needs.

If you have any thoughts, questions or advice for us, please leave them in the comments section below.

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Looking For Great Landscape Opportunities? Stay Where You Are

5:03:00 AM

Ansel Adams asserted that “landscape photography is the supreme test of the photographer.”

By perusing landscape photography online and in books, I think it’s pretty easy to arrive at the conclusion that Adams probably knew what he was talking about. In the same statement, Adams suggested that landscape photography is also “often the supreme disappointment.”

Again, I’m inclined to agree. But I think there’s an additional layer — a more psychological component — to that idea, which is that our perceptions about landscape photography can also lead to disappointment.

When we view landscape photography we tend to see incredibly majestic scenes that leave some people with the impression that they can never create worthwhile landscape photos of their own because they don’t live near particularly beautiful landscapes and can’t afford to travel.


Even if both of those things are true, you still have the potential to get some pretty compelling landscape shots simply by making the most of what you have around you.

Get Local

Odds are you shop local — why not shoot local? Take a few minutes to think about the general vicinity in which you live. Think about what natural features are around you — trees, fields, hills, rock formations.

Even if you live in a city, there’s going to be something, no matter how small,that will make a good subject for landscape photography.

Now that you’ve got an idea of where some potentially interesting locations are, go out there and do some scouting to get a better feel of what you have to work with.

Get Familiar

If it’s true that familiarity breeds contempt, that may explain why you’ve overlooked certain subjects. You see the same places and features all the time and there’s nothing exotic about them, so you write them off.

But I would encourage you to take a closer look. View these subjects from various distances and angles. Revisit them under different circumstances — after it rains or snows, during each season, at different times of day, when the skies are clear and when the skies are cloudy.

All of these factors can drastically alter the look and mood of just about any scene in any location. So keep going back again and again for something new.

Get Creative

When you don’t live near the coast or in the mountains, you’ll likely have to contend with natural features being interrupted by objects constructed by humans — from houses/buildings to light posts and electricity lines to vehicles.

There are all manner of visual distractions just waiting to ruin your landscape photos. The trick is to avoid this by composing to exclude these distractions. Or, you might find a creative way to include some of those less than natural elements in your shots.

Furthermore, be willing to use non-traditional focal lengths. Wide angle lenses and landscape photography seem to go hand in hand, but if you’re confronted by a large swath of land with a minimum of interesting features, a telephoto lens will be your best friend, as you can use it to isolate the best parts.

A wide-angle lens in such in an instance will only serve to highlight the “boringness” of the scene.

Final Thoughts

Your local landscape may not be glamorous, which you may initially find disappointing. But it’s the landscape you have, so own it. Put your creativity to work and extract every bit of beauty from it. I’m willing to bet that disappointment will fade somewhat.

If you like, think of shooting local landscapes as practice for the day you finally make it to that exotic dream location. But if you never get there, don’t fret — you just might make your little patch of land famous…while also passing the supreme photography test with flying colors.

For More On Landscape Photography See These Great Articles:

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22. Februar 2018

4:01:00 AM

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How To Take Good Photos If You Wear Glasses

12:48:00 AM

Taking beautiful photos should not be a problem for those who wear eyeglasses. When you take pictures, it’s obvious that the photographer gets as close as possible to the viewfinder to get the best view as possible. However, people with eyeglasses have a problem in doing so.

picture-with-glasses-1

If you are using eyeglasses,  this problem can be solved if you follow a series of instructions.

Whether it’s photos with a reflex camera or similar, the eyeglass user has to face a difficult decision.

Do I take pictures with or without glasses?

If you take pictures with a simple camera or smartphone, there’s no problem with this, just look at the screen and press the button.

However, modern DSLR or EVIL cameras allow you to take pictures with and without glasses.

Corrective lens cameras

In a DSLR camera, the viewfinder diopter can be adjusted appropriately to the photographer’s eyesight. In this case, about 90% of all users can do very well without their glasses.

However, there are people with a higher  prescription (more than 4 diopters).

In this case, it ‘s recommended to buy a corrective lens, which will fit the viewfinder and allow the photographer to see clearly through it, without the need to use glasses.

Similarly, there are many DSLR cameras that incorporate a feature called LiveView: the camera’s LCD screen shows directly what the digital sensor sees and how the photograph will be saved when the shutter release button is pressed.

pictures-wtih-glasses-2 Image courtesy of Pixabay

However, we must ensure that the image is centered.  Only in this way can you be sure that the photo will come out perfect.

The vast majority of compact and mirrorless cameras (EVIL) have only this type of screens to focus on the object.

But this can sometimes be a big problem, for example, in bright sunlight conditions.

In this case, these screens have disadvantages compared to the viewfinder, as you may not see the details well and end up taking pictures of poor quality.

The photographer who wears glasses and uses a viewfinder will enjoy a clear, glare-free vision through the lenses.

People with presbyopia, contrary to popular belief, have a slight advantage when taking photos without glasses. With this visual defect, you can’t properly see near objects, for example you need to move your mobile phone as far away as possible to see text messages.

pictures-with-glasses-presbyopia Image courtesy of Pixabay

But when it comes to looking through a viewfinder of a camera, there is no problem because the refractive power of the viewfinder calibrates it, so that objects placed at a distance of one meter remain in focus.

The photographer will be able to see with sharpness and the quality of the photos will depend only on his/her photographic skills.

If you’re a person who prefers to take pictures with glasses, you’ll need to take your time to get used to it.

Prescription lenses can become an obstacle when it comes to looking through the viewfinder. The eye will not be able to get very close to it, so the field of view may be slightly restricted.

The central zones will appear focused, while the peripheral ones can be blurred.  In this case, you can buy a special prism available in specialized photo stores.  This prism provides a clear view, even in the peripheral area.

Users of varifocal glasses will need even more practice. The first thing will be to identify the area of the glasses through which you can see best when shooting.  At this point, it is highly advisable to go to an optician, if you buy new glasses and plan to use them often for your shooting.

You need to explain the problem and bring your camera so that the optometrist can make the necessary adjustments.

What kind of lenses and treatments?

If you often find yourself shooting with glasses, you have to bear in mind that lenses suffer when they come into contact with the viewfinder.

If the lenses are organic, it is possible that over time they may appear scratched, despite the use of hardening treatments.  That’s why there are camera manufacturers that offer eyepiece shells made of a particularly soft rubber. If you wear your glasses you should consider buying this type of protective shell and your glasses will be safer.  Even though organic lenses are improving over the years, they will continue to suffer from this type of problem.

pictures-with-glasses-portrait Image courtesy of Pixabay

If you find yourself taking a lot of photos with glasses there is another option.

You can have a second pair of mineral lenses, these are lifetime lenses that break if they fall, but they are much more scratch-resistant.

Ask your optician for more information.

For more on mirrorless cameras, check out this article.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

5 Awesome Photography Related YouTube Channels You Probably Don’t Know About

7:08:00 AM

When it comes to Photography related YouTube channels, we’ve all probably heard of the big names; Kai Wong (formerly) of Digital Rev, Ted Forbes of The Art of Photography, Jared Polin of Fro Knows Photo, and so on. These guys run very large YouTube channels that generate hundreds of thousands, if not millions of views monthly.

Some of the best photography related YouTube channels, however, are small channels with fewer than 20k subscribers – some fewer than 10k. Here is a list of 5 of them that I enjoy very much, and believe are amongst the best.

It is also very likely that you’ve never heard of them.

1. Azriel Knight.

Follow Azriel Knight on YouTube – 30 Days of Knight is particularly entertaining



At the time of writing this article, Azriel Knight’s YouTube Channel has just under 5K subscribers. That is seriously underrated in my opinion.

Being an enthusiast of analog photography myself, Azriel Knight’s work is something I enjoy very much. He is not in the ‘just discovering film’ camp – oh no. Knight is from the old school with thorough knowledge of not only analog cameras, but also the chemical processing after the fact.

Mr. Knight has a dark room, of which I am very jealous, where he develops his own film – so he has control of his photography from beginning to end. That’s another thing, he’s actually a great photographer too.

These are all different skills – understanding a camera, taking a good photo, processing the photo after the fact. Azriel Knight is great at all three.

I especially enjoy his “30 Days of Knight” series where for 30 days, he goes out and uses a different camera. He shoots with it, develops the film and shows you the photos, all within each episode.

2. Denae and Andrew


Denae's and Andrew's photo duels are particularly entertaining – see them on YouTube

This channel is run by Andrew and Denae, a husband and wife photography team.

This is easily one of my favourite photography YouTube channels for many reasons. I love watching the dynamics between the two of them especially during one of their ‘Photo Duel’ episodes.

The Photo Duel is basically what it sounds like – a competition between two photographers usually using two different tools such as cameras, lenses, etc., and then judging their photos at the end. It does get competitive, naturally, but it’s always fun to watch.

The channel is basically a vlog style channel that journals their photography journey and has a really relaxed and enjoyable vibe. They often feature their children and pets too, so it is a very family friendly channel. At times a friend or guest photographer would also be featured.

Denae and Andrew mainly shoot digital cameras, but they have also shot film several times in some episodes. Their graphics design background also shines through in the beautiful aesthetics of the video thumbnails and use of light in their videos. The channel has just over 11 thousand subscribers at the time of writing this article.

3. Analog Things


Marco from Analog Things

This channel is run by Marco and as the name suggests, it’s based on Analog Photography. The main emphases of this channel are Large Format and Instant Photography.

This is probably the newest channel of all the ones listed in this article, but already it has surpassed 5 thousand subscribers. This is not surprising at all. Marco’s knowledge of these niches of analog photography really shows.

He also seems like a very nice fellow, which makes his videos a pleasure to watch. I personally have learnt quite a lot from his videos – especially when it comes to instant photography. He shares some very useful tips and tricks that I would not have known about previously.

When he does tutorials, they are clear and concise. Film is expensive, and some are now really hard to come by, so I appreciate Marco’s demonstrations very much.

4. Decaffeinated Photography

Watch Alex and Josh and their photography adventures on YouTube

If you like humour with your photography, then Decaffeinated Photography is for you. With only just over 500 subscribers at the time of writing this, it is the smallest channel of the bunch. This wont be for long, I assure you, as people discover the eccentric humour of Josh and Alex.

The theme of the channel is “Photography without the bells and whistles”, and that is just about accurate. The channel is all about having fun with (mainly analog) photography. Josh and Alex do camera reviews, including cheap thrift-store finds and disposable cameras. They also involve digital cameras like the FujiFilm X100 series cameras, and recently the FujiFilm X-H1.

What I love the most about Decaffeinated Photography is their youthful exuberance, which is very infections. Every time I watch one of their videos, I feel like grabbing one of my cameras and going out to shoot.

5. Analog Insights

Jules and Alex run Analog Insights on YouTube

An excellent channel run by Jules and Alex, Analog Insights is another favourite of mine. Initially, it appears to be yet another analog camera gear review channel, but it’s so much more. In their own words; “Our primary focus is analog photography in the digital age”.

About a year or so ago, Jules and Alex dramatically step up the quality of their videos. As a video creator myself, I appreciate the work that goes into doing that.

Their camera reviews are so in-depth and thorough. Many channels just talk about camera specs, but Jules and Alex are photographers, so they actually go out and use the cameras and share photos with you. They also discuss their process and reasoning behind their photography too, which is great.

As a bonus, you often get a very good history lesson regarding the camera being reviewed. To date, their review of the Olympus OM-1 is the best I’ve ever seen online. At the point of writing this article, the channel is closing in on 8 thousand subscribers.

So there you have it, my 5 picks of Photography related YouTube channels you probably haven’t heard of. There is a clear analog bias on display here, but that’s because that’s my niche and naturally other analog photographers and enthusiasts interest me.

Having said that, I honestly believe any type of photographer or enthusiast would enjoy most of these channels. At the end of the day, analog or digital, these are just tools.

If you end up paying their channels a visit, please give Lightstalking a shout out so they know where you heard about them first.

If there are any other photography channels that you find insightful, useful or just plain entertaining, then please tell us in the comments

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Nine Essential Items For Your Camera Bag…Other Than Your Camera

5:03:00 AM

Camera, lenses, flashes, batteries. Check. There are some obvious essentials you need when packing for a photographic shoot. Most of these are ingrained in our memories to the point we pack them automatically.

There are however numerous other items that are worthy of space in your camera bag. They may not enhance your shooting but someday they will get you out of a situation.

Let's take a look at 9 essential items for your camera bag.

1. Spirit Level

Yes your camera probably has a horizon indicator built in, but a proper spirit level will give you an extra dimension, that dimension being the vertical plane.

This can be very important especially if taking panoramic images or perhaps architecture where you are trying to avoid converging parallels. Cheap and small they sit in the hotshoe adapter of your camera and should be a vital part of your kit.


Small, cheap and invaluable. By Yumi Kimura

2. SD Card Holder

Most camera bags have little pockets for SD cards. Nearly every one I have come across, is fiddly, only takes one or two cards and is more of a hindrance than an asset.

Fortunately, there is a simple and elegant solution SD card holders. Bought from Amazon or eBay for a few dollars these little devices allow you to store your SD cards in an easy to access holder making life just that little bit better for the busy photographer.

Simple but effective. By LAPTOP Magazine

3. Pocket Torch

The hardest thing about shooting blue hour or evening photography is seeing the controls of your camera. The small white markings might jump out of the black camera body in good light but as the light fades they become increasingly difficult to see, especially for us “older” photographers.

A small directional torch such as a Maglite can make the world of difference when trying to change settings in the dark.

4. Multi-Tool

Its a fact of life that things work loose or break. Usually, this happens at the most inconvenient time, which for a photographer is in the middle of a shoot.

A multi-tool or Swiss Army knife might be just the thing you need to make a temporary repair in the field. Knives, mini saws, even a corkscrew for the lunchtime wine, multi-tools have multi-uses for the photographer.

Essential repairs on the go. By Toshiyuki IMAI

5. Jewelers Screwdrivers

Whilst a multi-tool might be considered a blunt instrument, there is also the need for more delicate repairs. Here is where a good set of jewelers screwdrivers will come in handy.

It's not unheard of for the tiny screws on cameras and lenses to come loose. Most commonly I have found the ones that loosen are the small Phillips screws on the mounts of lenses but also the really tiny screws on camera bodies are prone to come loose.

6. Gaffer Tape

Gaffer tape is a very useful item to carry. It's great for quick repairs, taping down cables to avoid a trip hazard and even securing extra lighting poles in windy conditions. Although heavy, it's cheap and can get you out of a hole with the minimum of fuss. Be prepared for some extra time to scrape off the glue after use though.

7. Silica Gel

There is a reason our precious electronics come packed with a little packet of silica gel. It protects them from humidity. If you are a photographer working in a humid climate then its well worth packing some silica gel sachets in your camera gear. As well as the camera’s electronics, lenses are very prone to getting mold when left in a humid environment. Don’t forget, silica gel does not remain effective indefinitely so replace it regularly.

8. Mini Tripod

It might be a solid mini tripod such as the Cullman, a Gorillapod, or even something as simple as a beanbag. Any of these will give you that extra support you might need when the light fades and shutter speeds slow.

Well worth a little weight and space in your bag, especially for the photographer that prefers to travel without a full-sized tripod.

Small and light a mini tripod is a very useful addition. By Rob Pongsajapan

9. Lens Pen

We probably all carry a camera and lens cleaning kit but that can be time-consuming and should be something you do before leaving for a shoot.

In the field, it's easy to get fingerprints or other smudges on the surface of your lens. This is where lens pens come in handy. A gentle swipe over the lens element with the soft pads of a lens pen will quickly remove any blemishes without the need to resort to lens fluid and lint free cloths.

Simple elegant solution to dirty lenses. By ☰☵ Michele M. F.

None of the items above are needed to shoot pictures, however, all of them at some stage during your photography career may help you to continue shooting if something goes amiss. For that reason, they can be called essential items for your camera bag.

If there is something you can't live without in your camera bag, but we haven't covered here, let us know in the comments

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Time Trap Photography is dedicated to freezing those special moments in life that can be revisited and admired for generations to come. - Shannon Bourque

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