A photograph that does not tell a story, is a lifeless picture – it’s a failure to capture the viewer and therefore, his heart. One single photograph can inspire a person if a photographer knows how to tell a good story. Because photographer Paul Choy wanted to find out the truth for himself behind media headlines, and because he wanted to tell the individual stories of each refugee, he set out for the refugees’ camps in Calais and Greece with his camera. The result is the ‘Faceless, Forgotten’ – a photo essay and a documentary about the struggles of refugees.
As I was perusing Reddit today, I came across this amazing photograph, said to be taken in 1899. The one thing that is both frustrating and beautiful about Reddit is many times, there is no additional information, which means I had to do a little research about the photograph and find out who the photographer was.
When you're shooting film, especially large format film, you have a lot of time to think. When your hands are in a bag and you're loading or unloading many sheets of film, the mind tends to wander and probably the subject that crosses my mind the most is "why?" Shooting digitally would be so much faster. I could be out having a beer somewhere! I could be editing some images in Photoshop from an editorial gig that I've been putting off. Hell, I could be practicing my juggling skills (or learning to juggle). So, why am I instead up to my elbows in this bag, enduring the necessary tedium of film life? Here are some common doubts I have and the reasons I push past them!
How do you commemorate the opening of the third tallest building in the United States and the tallest residential building in the world? With an epic photo shoot, of course. Model and Dancer VikTory took to the sky to pose for this amazing set of photos that duly capture the scope of the building.
I'll preface this by saying that I am in no way bashing the Instagram community, other photographers, or their style. I got to be curious about why these Instagram portrait photographers were gaining such popularity. If you search any of the various Instagram "superhubs," you'll see this style crowding the pages. Once deconstructed, there isn't much to the look that has exploded across social media in the last year. Though there isn't much to it, there is certainly some work involved. It's not always as simple as a few sliders in the Instagram editor.
That title might sound a little bit backwards to most of you, but it is not. I know many professionals feel you shouldn't do any photography for free, especially after you have worked your tail off to get to a point where people will pay you to make images. However, even as a full time professional photographer, I actually do a lot of free work. But I do it only on my owns terms, and do turn down many offers.
Style is one of the most important aspects of fashion photography. Having a consistent portfolio of images that reflects who you are and your creative vision is really important when it comes to clients viewing your work. Many fashion photographers, including myself, have struggled with making their work stand out from the crowd. Here are a few tips from what I have learned about finding your style and visual voice as a photographer.
A beauty dish can be extremely versatile if you learn how to control the way it modifies light. Most photographers simply use beauty dishes to light the face, but you can use it to light full length photos if you know how to position the light correctly. In this video, I’ll demonstrate three ways to use a beauty dish for beauty and fashion photography.
I have always preferred simplicity when it comes to lighting portraits. When connecting with a model or subject, especially when working without assistants, I hate having to deal with several lights or various flags, cutters, and bounce cards. This way I can work the camera and move around without having to worry about tripping over my whole setup, and my subject feels more comfortable without obtrusive equipment crowding them. Also, if the model can move around a little, I feel that I can get far more natural poses when they aren't confined by specific lighting. My favorite lighting tool to "keep it simple" with is the Westcott 7-foot Parabolic Umbrella.
Have you ever opened an old drawer and found an old picture of yourself, only to discover how funny you looked back then and how many insecurities you had? Merilee and her friend were remembering their teenage years. The conversation took them to the point where her friend wasn’t convinced that Merilee had any awkward years back then. This wasn’t true.
One of the best things a portrait photographer can do is learn how to master a single off-camera light. Most photo shoots don’t allow enough time to set up multiple lights, and when shooting on location, carrying more than one light can be too cumbersome to manage. In this video, we see a very useful way to use one off-camera flash with some simple modifiers to create a dramatic portrait.
As artists, we have all been there. The creative rut. The most fatiguing part of being an artist and perhaps the downfall of many talented individuals who could not climb out of it. Creativity comes from many places within us all. However when a photographer's passion is absorbed by the repetition of what we specialize in, the outcome of the work becomes all too grueling to look at. So how do we get back to the love of what we do? How do we fuel once more the passion that showcases our work as new and creative?
A couple of years ago, I came across a portrait of a sad owl under the rain on 500px. I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. I never knew there existed such a deep photograph of a non-human creature. I was not the only one thinking so. That picture had won an award and I discovered Shamma Esoof (Sham Jolimie), a person who advocates for animal welfare, social justice, and is passionate about nature conservation. The cherry on top was when I discovered that the author of that unforgettable owl portrait was a mutual friend on social media and was from Mauritius, a country I call my second home after Armenia.