When what seemed like half the photographers in the United States posted a photo to the #SolarEclipse2017 hashtag, it gave me an idea. Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook all allow for fairly organic public searching of hashtags and a lot of our Fstoppers readers are active on one, if not all of these sites. Our article featuring an Instagram hashtag guide was one of the most popular of the year. Now on a regular basis, Fstoppers readers have a chance to get their work featured based on what is produced instead of likes on a photo, or how many followers they might have. Let's do this.
Articles written by Michael B. Stuart
Los Angeles photography studio Kremer Johnson has come up with a unique idea for their latest personal project. The series features such impressive portraits you will immediately think you should know the subject. The thing is you don't; the photos are just that well done. All the models are simply people who responded to a Craigslist ad titled "Characters Wanted," agreeing to be compensated $20/hour for their time. I reached out to Neil to find out more about this brilliant idea.
In case you aren't tired of looking at photos from Monday's incredible solar eclipse, I've put together another list. This time I tried to some find photos that maybe everyone hasn't already seen. The eclipse was not only a spectacular natural event with worldwide attention, it was also one of the most covered events via the photo community itself. Browsing the popular hashtags for the solar eclipse produced results from professionals, amateurs, hobbyists, families, and a ton of everyday people armed with nothing more than a capable cell phone excited to share what they had witnessed.
If there is one type of photograph that you could call universally appreciated, I would say a properly executed cityscape ranks right up there at the top. While New York City often comes to mind when you think of skyscrapers and iconic views, Dubai in the United Arab Emirates now makes a very strong case for being the most amazing city to photograph in the world. Of all the photos coming out of Dubai on a regular basis, I'd say Daniel Cheong's are hands down the best of the best. He is ready to share his skills in an upcoming class on September 8 put on by 500px called "Shooting and Stitching Vertical Panoramas." Best of all, the class is free for 500px premium members.
When I first decided to try converting some of my photos to black and white, it seemed very hard to get good results. I would often rely on using the desaturate adjustment in Adobe Photoshop that I learned in high school 20 years ago. This makes for some very flat and gray looking images. From there I found better results by using tools like Photoshop actions and Nik Silver Efex. This method still lacks control a bit, and in my opinion anytime you have to leave Adobe Lightroom, your workflow speed is taking a hit. Once I learned to emulate the monochrome photos I was attracted to and impressed by, my work started getting better.
If you didn't realize there was a massive solar eclipse yesterday across the United States, then you probably didn't spend much time on social media. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and for all I know maybe Snapchat were buzzing about the eclipse. Photos mainly looked like a blurry tipped crescent moon on a black sky, or a photo from the inside of a viewing contraption. Some people were a bit more prepared though. Much more prepared in fact. Check out these top 10 captures from today's solar eclipse.
Leave it to a person skilled at both magic and balloon twisting to come up with an illusion so crazy it is hard to accept. This is even after testing the lines to be perfectly straight with a ruler, a level, and Adobe Photoshop about ten times. The human mind is an interesting thing. The first thing I thought of was the repetitive task of straightening horizon lines in photos and how often they don't look quite right. Now I think it is time to stop trying since my eyes and mind can be this badly fooled.
Last Friday was one for the record books. My son had his last travel soccer game for the team I assistant coach for at Fort Niagara in Youngstown, NY. The team played great and since it was our final game, we invited all the parents out on the field for a game against the kids after. Everyone there had a blast. As we began to run out of daylight I could see one heck of a sunset coming together. We actually had some of our gear with us since my wife wanted to grab a team photo. Knowing I have been itching to get out and shoot, she immediately told me to take her camera and go. Next time she may think twice.
Wedding photography is not what it used to be. I don't mean this in a good way or a bad way, it just seems like with any advancement in technology comes a new challenge. Many couples today want both still photos and video of their wedding. This makes sense since it is often the biggest day of their life. Does that mean we now have videographers to deal with in our shots? No, it's a two-way street. We, as professionals, both have to work together to deliver the best possible product to the lucky couple. Saying someone got in the way means you didn't try hard enough.
Last year Team Stuart was faced with a big storage problem. Our 9-plus terabytes of photos were a few weddings away from out growing their 10 terabytes of storage. This meant we needed to shell out a bunch of money for more hard drives to even think about storing more photos. Money that I didn't have, especially considering we'd need a whole new NAS setup. That is when I made the bold decision to forgo on-site storage and move to the cloud. In retrospect, it may have been a big waste of time.
More and more people fall in love with photography everyday. This will only increase the more approachable and affordable it becomes. There seems to be some people who think that because of this photography is somehow dead. Yeah, that really makes a ton of sense. Maybe the people saying there is no way to succeed in today's saturated market, are really just the same naysayers that have been telling musicians, athletes, entertainers, scientists, or charities for years that it can't be done. Anything can be done with enough determination. And luckily for us, determination is free.
Composites are a funny subject to people. Lead with it, and they are impressed. Tell them after and they just might feel duped. I found this out the hard way when I took a bunch of boring fireworks photos and added them to a night shot of the glorious Niagara Falls. Let's just say a major upgrade to the background.
Having a creative mind is a wonderful gift. Whatever your discipline, you love the thrill of making new things out of nothing. Sometimes when the creativity slows it can land you in a rut. When this happens to me, I like to grab the camera, and head out in the backyard for some dewy grass exploration.
The camera technology in today's phones is one of the most competitive areas of modern electronics. Every big phone release leads with the specs of the camera. This includes megapixels, low light capabilities, auto focus, and of course HD video. While the capability to capture higher quality imagery has arrived, the included storage on the phones has essentially stayed in the 16GB to 32GB range. Since that storage has to share with the phone's operating system and all the apps, it is good to have all your photos on a constant conveyor belt to the cloud.
Being young is something I hope to never let go of. There is a sense of invincibility that can't be taught or explained. You just have to live it. Sometimes a photograph can take you to a point in time, or evoke feelings beyond what your eyes are seeing. Alex Currie is a photographer and director currently living in Los Angeles, California, who knows how to tell a story with a single frame.
Back in 2015 I was pretty active on Google+ and most of my posts would get over a hundred plus ones, which are basically the same as a like on Facebook. Getting this much activity on a public post meant that more people were likely to see it. Eventually this pattern resulted in five photos being selected and featured by Google on Chromecast. While I was excited about the honor, I had no idea how many views would come with it.
Being new at something is good, and certainly not something to ever be ashamed of. It can be exciting trying to learn everything you can about photography, but it can also be intimidating. There is too much information to take in right out of the gates. You can see why people end up finding out only what they need to mildly succeed, and sticking with it. I prefer to always grow, and by sharing some tips that I've learned I will probably pick up ten more from the comments.
One of the biggest hurdles I got over in my journey as a photographer was following too many rules. There are two very different areas in photography you can spend a lot of time studying: the technical end consisting of your gear, exposure, aperture, lighting, and of course the trusty (or dreaded) histogram, and the artistic side where you focus on the look and feel you want to express. You think about the style you want to emulate or portray. Regardless of which side you focus on, you can really get lost making sure you have followed every suggestion correctly.
Everyone has what they would tell you is their favorite photo. The measure of why has changed quite a bit over the years and I think I might like the old way better. I only say this because Social Media is the main source of validation for a number of photographers today. Applying modern day metrics of likes, shares, retweets, and views creates a score of sorts that someone can use to justify why a photo might be their favorite. This score didn't used to exist. The old equivalent might have been a photo placing well in an art show or being used in a print publication.