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Ryan Cooper
Vancouver, BC, CA

Articles written by Ryan Cooper

Four Books That Will Change the Way You Think About Photography

Four Books That Will Change the Way You Think About Photography

I've bought many books on photography over the years. Most of them I only read partially because they were largely offering the exact same thing that so many other books had already offered, most of which, frankly, was already openly available online from sites like Fstoppers for free. I keep buying them, though, not because I'm a masochist that likes wasting money, but because every once in a while, I come across a book that breaks the trend and grabs hold of me from cover to cover, giving me a completely new perspective on my art. This list aggregates some of my favorites that I think you may really enjoy.

Finding Models to Work With Before Your Portfolio Exists

Finding Models to Work With Before Your Portfolio Exists

Lately, I've seen a surge of photographers complaining that they just don't know where to begin when getting started with portraiture. Taking that first step can be a daunting feeling, especially considering that you need to convince someone to take a leap of faith and model for you, despite your complete lack of a portrait portfolio. Personally, I never had a problem finding eager models; it came quite easily for me, so I figured now is a good time to share that experience and maybe give some soon-to-be amazing portrait photographers a little extra help in jumping out of the nest.

How To Avoid Letting Toxic Comments Rob You Of Your Passion For Photography

How To Avoid Letting Toxic Comments Rob You Of Your Passion For Photography

Recently, a rather scathing article went up on Resource Mag’s website discussing the toxic behavior of a certain photographer. You can feel free to read the article. I, however, won’t mention him here other than to say that he is the sort of person who claims to be a teacher, but instead uses his fame to attack and belittle other, less experienced, photographers. He has made a hobby of robbing others of their love and passion for his own selfish delight.

Four Changes Instagram Should Make That Would Make Photographers Happier

Four Changes Instagram Should Make That Would Make Photographers Happier

This week, Instagram awed us all by rolling out one of the simplest and most obvious features that we had all been clamoring for for years. OK, maybe I wasn't awed, but boy does multiple account support make my life so much easier. I’m no longer typing in my Instagram passwords 30 times per day, which got me to thinking: as a platform, Instagram is pretty good, but its features are still notoriously primitive. Here are a few features I think they should add that would make my life much easier.

Seven Ways to Stretch More Life Out of Your Photography Gear During Tough Times

Seven Ways to Stretch More Life Out of Your Photography Gear During Tough Times

Almost everyone goes through times when the belt need to be tightened because money just isn’t abundant. During these times when income dips, we need to take care to avoid spending as much as possible. Photography, however, is an expensive vocation that seems to be an endless drain on the bank account. It becomes increasingly helpful to avoid having to replace gear you already own due to wear or damage.

Keeping That Photographic Fire Burning During The Winter Slump

Keeping That Photographic Fire Burning During The Winter Slump

We all have that time of year when lethargy seems to run rampant by pulling our desire to keep creating great photos to the ground. For Vancouver, where I live, that time is right about now. Vancouver was carved out of the middle of a rainforest, which means we have a rather aggressive rainy season. It is pretty common to go weeks without even seeing a hint of sun. During this time, the motivation to shoot seems to wash away. As photographers, we need to take this time to toss several new logs on the fire and re-ignite that passion that is threatening to slip away.

Building a Successful Career As a Generalist Photographer With Viktoria Haack

Building a Successful Career As a Generalist Photographer With Viktoria Haack

As competition in the photography industry becomes tighter and tighter, the challenge of building a successful career with the camera is ever growing. In response to this, the industry continued to fragment into an array of smaller, niche, industries where each photographer specializes in a specific area of expertise. In an vocation once filled with photographers who were focused on shooting nearly anything, the classic, generalist, photographer has become a rather rare breed. Viktoria Haack is an example of a young, rising, star who has not only chosen to buck this trend, but who has also managed to build a successful career in the process.

Use Photoshop to Make Fake Contact Lenses More Realistic

Use Photoshop to Make Fake Contact Lenses More Realistic

Fake contact lenses (also known as circle lenses) are becoming wildly popular. They seem to have first started to gain momentum in the cosplay world but have begun growing well beyond that. I've started to encounter models regularly wearing them, especially ones focusing on Asian fashion trends. Circle contacts look great at a glance, they make the pupil larger and often change its color to be more exciting. When walking around in real life or when in video the eye is constantly moving so the weakness of being obviously fake is much less apparent. However, when photographed the eye is frozen in perfect sharpness which instantly reveals how fake circle lenses can look, especially the cheaper ones.

How to Recover When Nothing Seems to Be Working During a Photoshoot

How to Recover When Nothing Seems to Be Working During a Photoshoot

Not every shoot goes according to plan; sometimes, everything goes wrong and nothing seems to fix it. Each time you look at the back of your camera, the photos just seem wrong. This isn't your work or vision. You just aren't on your game. But that doesn't change anything for your client! They still expect professional quality images that meet the standards of your portfolio. Rather than panicking and sending the entire shoot off a cliff of miasmic distress, take a moment to gather yourself and reorient the shoot so that it can still be successful, even if you don't end up delivering exactly the perfect images that you originally had in mind.

6 Things to Learn from 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' That Will Make You a Better Photographer [Spoiler Free]

6 Things to Learn from 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' That Will Make You a Better Photographer [Spoiler Free]

There is this new film out and I’m sure you’ve heard of it. It's sort of like "Star Trek" but with laser swords. "The Force Awakens" is one of the most impressive films to come along in a long time. Director JJ Abrams does an immaculate job of taking a franchise that has become so culturally embedded that it is ubiquitous and rebuilt the magic that first captivated audiences almost 40 years ago. By learning from his techniques you can translate them to your photography so that you can expand the quality of your own work.

How To Create A Realistic Lightsaber In Photoshop

How To Create A Realistic Lightsaber In Photoshop

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last year or so, you probably have noticed that the force is awakening! After a wait that has spanned a generation, Star Wars fans are finally getting a sequel to the saga that started in the seventies! With the arrival of Star Wars come hordes of its most endearing fans dressing up as their favorite Jedi or Sith heroes! Which means an awful lot of opportunity for photoshoots, but there is one problem. Those dull, plastic, toy, lightsabers just don't have the same epic feel that will do the rest of the costume justice. Luckily creating a lightstaber blade in Photoshop using visual effects is quite easy!

6 Loathsome Retouching Mistakes That Drive Editors Insane

6 Loathsome Retouching Mistakes That Drive Editors Insane

Part of building a professional looking portfolio is in learning to retouch your photos in a way that gives them an elegant, high-end polish. However, I unfortunately encounter dozens of images on a daily basis that were quite strong to begin with but ended up looking bewilderingly amateur because of one or two very easily solved retouching mistakes that drags their quality to abysmal depths.

The Motivation to Create Your Best Photos

The Motivation to Create Your Best Photos

Every photographer wants to be creating their best work each time that they touch their camera, but the reality is that inspiration ebbs and flows. No photographer can consistently create their best work every time they shoot. As photographers, our goal is often to steadily improve by continually expanding our body of work. Sometimes, however, a shoot becomes magical as creativity and motivation climax into one of those images that you know will sit proudly in your portfolio for years to come.

8 Tidbits of Photoshop Interface Wizardry That You Probably Didn’t Know Existed

8 Tidbits of Photoshop Interface Wizardry That You Probably Didn’t Know Existed

Photoshop is a veritable spell book of amazing and seemingly mystical tools that empower any digital sorcerer with the potential for creating visual magic. Adobe has done a pretty great job over the years at adding in tons of optimization and shortcutting that can make for a more pleasant workflow. Unfortunately, they often treat these workflow enhancements like Easter eggs by not making them obvious at all. In this article we will go through a few hidden spells to help you optimize your Photoshop workflow.