We all want to get better at what we do in our work, that's a given, right? Studying, reading, taking classes or doing workshops, watching videos on YouTube, and of course tireless practicing, are a few of the many ways we strive to better ourselves in our photography. The time will come however, without fail, when nearly every single one of us will post a photo to a photography group on social media or a forum, and ask for "CC" or "c&c" or simply "Any thoughts?" and await the comment storm that's coming. And usually that's when the problems start.
Articles written by Nino Batista
I am hardly the first person in the industry to prattle on and on about why you should print your photos, but I think it is worth mentioning, here today, some things you may not have considered about your digital files. After all, either by intent or just circumstance, we've all been led to believe that our digital files are "safe forever", especially if we've gone to great lengths to back them up on secure drives or on cloud servers and such. But, are they really all that safe?
Recently, I sang the blues about being a careless photographer on Facebook, Twitter, etc, and that culminated in the article Don't Be An Annoying, Whiny Photographer on Social Media. While I stand behind the points I covered in it, I've heard tons of feedback already. "Ok, wiseguy, what should a photographer do on social media then?" is the general message I've been seeing. I might have likened these behaviors to that of young children, and that might have not set well some shooters out there.
It's time to mention the huge elephant in the room, and shed some light on some catastrophic social media blunders made by photographers everyday on Facebook, Twitter, and other networks. Time to decide to either take the high road of professionalism and maturity or drown in the sea of misguided, no name whiners who act like children. At least my children have an excuse.
I don't know how I ran into this here on the eve of 2015, but I am glad I did. Product photography has never been particularly easy to do well, and I love being reminded of the fact that it used to all be done without extensive use of Adobe Photoshop CC14. These images, shot by Kim David McNeill Simmons for toymaker Kenner between 1977 and 1985, showcase basically my childhood: Star Wars toys.
If there is one thing I get asked, and that has been answered online time and again, it's "How do I get my photos to look like I want them to look on Facebook?" followed immediately by "Why does Facebook ruin my photos anyway?" and finally "I just want my photos to look awesome on Facebook." The bottom line is, Facebook does give us options, loopholes if you like, and we just need to adhere to them and our images will look stellar. But, what are these magical settings? I decided I was going to fuse my two careers together into one article, and explain it all as best I can.
Let's face it, it is about to be 2015. As in, 15 years after the change to the new millennium. We are firmly in what we used to call "the future" when I was a kid, and technology is overwhelming us with brutal amazingness every couple of weeks. The youth of today have no idea what life is like sans smartphones (read: access to almost every piece of information in the world at any time in your pocket) or social media platforms. To them, life is one big pile of over shared, overseen and overly celebrated schlock mixed in with useful bits of knowledge, and it is all taken for granted. The digital world isn't coming, it is here, and has been. So who in the right mind gives a crap about a printed photograph anymore?
I adore a good landscape image. And it goes without saying that few things can take your breath away quite like an incredible image of mountains, valleys, spires, oceans, even castles and cities. After all, what is larger than life, or at least larger than us, can be far more awe inspiring than most portraits. However, the craft of landscape photography is hardly a matter of planning a vacation and bringing a tripod, which is about where my landscape "skills" end.
Cosplay is a photography subgenre and lifestyle that I have yet to ever attempt, but something I truly enjoying viewing when it is done well. In the case of this mashup project by photographer Sacha Goldberger, fusing the Renaissance era with modern superheroes, "done well" is understatement. You need to seriously check these out.
The most common request I get via email and social media is "How do you shoot exotic cars with glamour models?". I have actually held two classes on this very subject, both in Houston in 2012 and 2013, but have yet to ever discuss it online anywhere. So, in lieu of a full online class on the subject, I've recently documented how I went about my most recent project in Houston with Chicago model Amanda Paris and a trio of European exotics at Potresse Automotive, and I will discuss a few past projects as well.
It's actually something my wife and I have had spats about, and something I think all of us have experienced in, at the very least, the past 5 years. Often I accuse my wife of spending too much time on her smartphone while we're at dinner, at home watching TV together, or wherever, only to realize I am doing the same thing, albeit in slightly different scenarios. No one is immune.
It is easily one of the most vilified and stigma'd genres in photography, and the one genre that provokes the most ire from its critics. Difficult to define and even harder to describe to someone accurately, one could also argue that it's the one photography category with the most people, mostly men, who are involved "for all the wrong reasons". In short, some people loathe glamour photography. But, is the reputation deserved? And what the heck is this glamour photography thing anyway?
This is something that I am proud to hear being said, and I genuinely hope it continues to be said. When I saw this article making the rounds online, I knew I had to help spread its message, not just because it is important in my industry, but also in my personal life. Sexual harassment of any kind is unacceptable, and I will always fight against it. Awareness is step one, speaking out is step two.
At the end of the day, a photographer's work takes just seconds to capture your attention. Usually, it is very obvious why you like a photographer's work, and other times, it is a bit of a mystery to you. This was the case when I first experienced photographer Cary Fagan's work recently. The fact is, based on what I like, what I shoot, and what I tend to gravitate to, I shouldn't like his work. But, I do.
Social commentary showing up in the photography medium is hardly a new concept. But when photographer and retoucher Joel Parés set out to make a statement with his latest portrait series, he knew he wanted to showcase the images in a unique way. The shots, therefore, ended up being simple, two frame GIF animations, allowing you to absorb the initial impact first, and then its correspending follow up message for each image. And you know what? It works very well.
If there is one medium that has been subject to the most censorship in society for well over a century, it's photography. Further, if there is one medium that has been responsible for the most heated debates about censorship, it's photography. For the most part, photographers decry and loathe censorship, whether it's because they capture nude figures, or create images with fictionalized depictions of violence, or perhaps - arguably the most important - they capture vital, photojournalistic visuals of the world around us which, let's face it, it's sometimes just plain scary. But consider this: Mainstream censorshop is not only necessary in photography, but it helps photography overall. No, really.
I bought the original Canon 7D in 2011, and spent 3 years with it until literally last week. It was time to buy a new body, and eventually deliberations led me to the 6D, which arrived just last week in time for a magazine shoot. During said deliberations, however, the curiosity of whether or not the blasted 7D Mark II rumors were ever going to come to fruition delayed my purchase of the 6D for weeks. Well, as it turns out, not only is the 7D Mark II a reality now, but I also made the right decision in getting the 6D. But still, the 7D Mark II sounds pretty good in it's own right.
Back in August, while preparing for my latest trip - Seattle on this particular weekend - I found myself casually scrolling through Instagram to kill some time while taking a short break. After just a couple of minutes of this, something I had known quite well for years suddenly became clearer than ever: photographer's images are routinely modified by their clients, with the various filters and image manipulation tools Instagram offers, before they post them. I decided I was going to do what little I could do to speak out against it that afternoon because, by golly, I was all self righteous at that moment, and I was going to be heard. Well, at least on my Facebook anyway.
One of the most common things I get asked at my photography classes is, "What is depth of field?" or often a variation of: "I think I get depth of field, but can you explain it?" Explaining it without a visual wasn't always easy, but I made it work during the class and for the most part, I managed to convey the concept and people understood. After a while I sought out other DOF visualizations online to try to show my classes, finding examples that, to me, made perfect sense. However, one day on the back porch at home, it occured to me that perhaps simplifying a visual could help those still puzzled by DOF.