Category Archives: Background Info.

General, articles of interest, information not under other categories, information to help inform and educate people about photography, interesting reading

Expressing ourselves

Expressing ourselves is more than simply representing what is in the frame.

Expressing ourselves in photography goes beyond just rendering what is in the frame when we make an image.
View the video below :: Image is from the video.


Expressing ourselves is more than just clicking the shutter button when we see a scene we like. The point-and-shoot photographer says little to the viewer beyond blandly representing the scene before them. That is probably why the dreaded “holiday photo evening” is so acutely boring. Those images speak only to the author and family. To go beyond our close associates and reach a wider audience, the photographer has to be able to say more. We must speak to the viewers and open a dialogue with them through our images.

Expressing ourselves when the viewer knows the language of images

We photogs are communicators. As such we often forget the audience is more literate in our art than we realise. So personally, we are able to decode images with success, but think the audience can not interpret our work. As a result, we work too hard to try and say something. Perhaps we try to say too much or over-complicate the message we want to send. Taking the simple approach is what is really needed. In photography, as in all art, simplicity often has the most powerful impact. With a simple point, our images speak to the audience.

Remember, it is the thought you put into a photograph that makes it work, not the rapid capture on the spur of the moment. Think, and you will communicate. React and you will merely render. We should try to go beyond mere rendering of a scene. Our images need to have a point if they are to be a success. With every image we should seek to make a point. With every image we should speak to the viewer.

To make the meaning of a photograph clear takes some thought. Knowledge of the “Elements of Art” help us to develop the visual power in the image we can create. However, thinking about how we communicate gives us the language we need to actually create images that convey messages. That is about trying to show your viewer something. For example, if we wish to create the “Aaaahh!” experience of the fluff-ball kitten with big eyes, then focus on that. Exclude background clutter, the baby near-by, the toys on the floor. Get rid of distractions. Instead, get right in, close, and show that kitten with all its endearing qualities.

Expressing ourselves in images is a primary skill that successful photographers work on as they develop. So, think carefully about what you are trying to say before you make your image. Work with your subject to include only the elements you need to make your point. Exclude other things from the shot, so your point is clear.

Video – an insight to expressing ourselves

The video below is about expressing ourselves through visual art. The lesson is simple. We are all fluent in the language of images without knowing it.

Knowing that the viewer can decode our images helps us. With a little thought, expressing ourselves as photographers is easier than we think. Make the image simple.

In this short, hilarious video, Christoph Niemann, illustrator, opens up the language of images. He shows us how artists (and by extension photographers) can tap into human emotions and thought. This simple visual tour can help you understand how we express ourselves effectively as image makers.

You are fluent in this language (and don’t even know it)

See this video in the TED page Expressing ourselves :: You are fluent in this language (and don't even know it) | External link - opens new tab/page.

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Article Author

Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photographer and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training courses in digital photography.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.

Using tablets in photography

[Todays article comes from contributing author, Honest Blossom]

Photo of a camera taken with a tablet as a light source.

Taking shots in soft light is so easy with a soft light source. A tablet can provide just that.
{Image by Damon Guy}

Mobile devices give us new tools

Mobile photography is on the rise. Yet despite high usage of smart phones and tablets many believe nothing beats photos produced on a DSLR.

Mobile devices do have a place in the photogs bag. Many pros use mobiles Tablets in photography | External link - opens new tab/page effectively. Photographer-author Anne Hamersky used her iPhone 5 to take photos for her book, “Farm Together Now Tablets in photography: Link to Amazon | External link - opens new tab/page (jointly authored with Amy Franceschini and Daniel Tucker)”.

Apart from being used as cameras, smart phones and tablets in photography have huge potential. They can assist with simple lighting, easy viewing of images, and controlling cameras.

1. Simple Lighting

You don’t need professional lighting equipment to create a soft light. Your tablet can create shadow graduations on your subject. How? Use a bright-white image on your screen (Download white-screen image here). Point the display toward your subject. It will create soft light and shadows. You can also use your smart phone to light smaller objects. The screen illumination produces white light. It’s a source of localized soft light in your image.

Table-top studio photo showing how to use a tablet as a soft light source.

The camera image at the top of this article was taken using the table-top studio set up in this image. Simple to do and simple to set up.

Use tablets in photography to create direct light too. Devices with built-in flash can be used as a photographic light. Use a flashlight (torch) app. There are also some LED light apps. that you can use on your tablet to create coloured light sources.

2. Camera Controller

Want to control your camera functions via your tablet? Try the Chainfire app for Android devices. You can use your tablet as a Canon EOS camera controller. Here is how to do it:

  1. Install the Chainfire app Tablets in photography: Chainfire app. | External link - opens new tab/page.
  2. Connect your DSLR to the tablet via a USB OTG connector line and a mini USB cable for the camera. {Tip: It’s best to get a longer USB cable}.
  3. Turn on the camera and the app to view the subject.

Navigating through the app is easy, as it uses the controls of your camera. Photos taken using the camera can also be saved to the memory card of the tablet. I suggest downloading photos to your computer later. Photos take a lot of space and are safer on a PC.

View a guide on how to use the Chainfire app Tablets in photography: Chainfire app guide. | External link - opens new tab/page. Also read more details on the Chainfire website Tablets in photography: Chainfire website | External link - opens new tab/page.

3. Field or Preview monitor

It’s advisable to opt for a tablet with at least a 9-inch display. The main purpose of using a tablet is as an extended monitor. You will get a better preview of the subject than the small display on your DSLR. According to O2, tablets such as the Apple’s iPad Air (9.7-inch screen) and ‘Samsung Galaxy Tab S’ (10.5-inch screen) are the best preview monitors you can use on a photo shoot Tablets in photography | External link - opens new tab/page. They allow more space to view and work with the images. You are less likely to strain your eyes with decent sized screens.

Using tablets in photography to control the camera uses the same procedure as any shoot. Taking the shot is set up and released from the mobile. You will need a USB OTG connector to use the tablet as a preview monitor. Applications such as the DSLR Controller, GoPro, CamCap, Helicon Remote, and DslrDashboard are the advisable software to use.

Tablets in photography – top devices

What are the top tablets for photographers? There are various devices to choose from. They offer many features and functions. Choosing one can be quite confusing when picking the best to help your shoots.

To make it easier, consider the other reasons you’re buying the tablet. Email and editing photos or other uses are also important. This will help narrow down your list of choices, as most devices have their own strengths. It will also help to opt for a tablet that has been recommended by other photographers. Here are some examples:

  1. Apple iPad with Retina Display
  2. Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2
  3. Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet
  4. Microsoft Surface 2
  5. Lenovo Yoga Tab

Mobile devices have found their way into DSLR photography because of powerful camera lenses and relevant apps. These assist professional and amateur alike. The changes have come about because using tablets in photography helps and simplifies our work.

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Contributing author: Honest Blossom

Honest Blossom is a seasoned blogger and practising photographer from the UK. She has written various articles ranging from the latest technology and innovation, travelling spots, mobile and digital photography and more.

Buying Lenses – a quick guide…

Buying lenses

Buying lenses is not as straight forward as it seems. There is a lot to consider.

Critical features to consider when buying lenses

The key to buying lenses is knowing what you want to achieve with your purchase. It is also important to have a clear idea of your budget. However, there are a whole range of other things that have an impact too.

There are a wide range of photographic lenses to buy for most cameras. Each has their own characteristics. A lens can easily cost more than your camera. Take care with your choice. The wrong decision can leave you with a lens that is not suitable to your interest.

Getting started on buying lenses

First of all sit down and write down all the reasons you want a lens. Also, write down all the possible things against buying lenses (of any sort) at this time. Try to convince yourself you really don’t need to buy. In most cases of purchase-fever the buyer gets things they don’t want. So, when spending lots of money you should be careful. Buying lenses is a big investment. If you make the right choice then your purchase may last you through a number of camera bodies. So think carefully and make the right decision up front. That way your money will not be wasted.

I have purchased about thirty lenses over the years. Of those, five were bad purchases. Four were impulse buys – not suited to my needs. In another case, a hasty decision meant I bought a poor quality lens. From this experience I have compiled the list below to help you when buying lenses in future.

Some of the basics for buying lenses

1. Focal Length:

  • a. Measured in millimeters.
  • b. Smaller Focal lengths provide wider angles of view.
  • c. Longer focal lengths show less of the scene and tend to magnify the view.
  • d. Distortion may be found at the extremes of focal length.

2. Aperture:

  • a. Measured in f stops (eg.f2.8 [wide open] f5.6 , f16 [small aperture]).
  • b. Wide aperture lets in most light – faster shutter speeds possible (eg. F2.8).
  • c. Small aperture lets in less light – requires longer shutter opening (eg. F22).
  • d. Wide aperture provides short depth of field.
  • e. Smaller apertures gives sharpness throughout the depth of the picture.
  • f. Zooms – Aperture size gets smaller with increase in focal length.

3. Stabilisation:

  • a. Slow shutter speeds mean more chance of camera movement, which makes blur.
  • b. Stabilised lenses typically give one or two f stops smaller aperture without more blur; the stabilisation compensates for movement.
  • c. Cost is higher if the lens is stabilised.
  • d. Canon = IS (image stabilisation); Nikon = VR (vibration reduction); Sigma = OS (optical
    stabilisation); etc…
  • e. Stabilisation may be in the camera rather than the lens.
General considerations when buying lenses

1. Optical characteristics

  • a. Glass optical quality varies with the production process and ingredients.
  • b. More lens elements/groups reduces light able to pass through the lens.
  • c. High quality optical glass does not reduce light as much as cheap glass.
  • d. Each manufacturer has a specific type of glass for higher quality lenses.
  • e. Optical aberrations come from low quality optical glass.
  • f. Lens optical coatings reduce aberrations and flare.
  • g. Distortions are caused by specific groupings of lenses.

2. Motors/drives:

  • a. Used to drive the aperture control; stabilisation and auto-focus.
  • b. Sometimes noisy – not desirable for wildlife shots.
  • c. Adds a lot of weight to the lens.
  • d. Not necessary on manual-focus prime lenses.
  • e. Some cameras have them only for auto-focus.
  • f. Older lens models have slower, sometimes heavier, often noisier motors.

3. Weight:

  • a. Often forgotten attribute. If you can’t carry it, then it’s no good for you!
  • b. Weight often increases with wider apertures – fast lenses may be too heavy for you.
  • c. Weight will tend to increase the amount of hand-shake movement.
  • d. Stabilisation motors put a lot of weight on the lens too.

4. Sensor optimisation

  • a. Lens focal lengths are usually stated for full-frame cameras (quoted for 35mm sensors).
    But…
  • b. A cropped sensor will still have the same focal length lenses as a full-frame, but image size will multiply it by the crop factor. (See: crop factor).
    So,
  • c. Cropped sensors increase the lenses’ magnification. Eg. Canon APS-C lenses are optimised for the Canon cropped sensor. The crop factor is 1.6. So a 100mm lens on a Canon 450D is actually equivalent to a 160mm focal length on a canon full frame camera like the 5D.
  • d. Different crop factors apply to different manufacturers and cameras.
  • e. Some optimised lenses will not fit different sensor sized cameras – APS-C – check the fit and crop size in the specification for the lens.
More specific issues affecting you when buying lenses

1. Zoom vs. Prime

  • a. Zoom lenses give you a variable focal length; you control magnification.
  • b. Prime lenses have fixed focal length. Move nearer/further to change the angle of view.
  • c. Zooms give you focal control over the framed view.
  • d. Primes tend to be higher quality lenses, sharper, faster (wider apertures).
  • e. Primes more compositionally challenging.
  • f. Primes – colours and exposure control more realistic.

2. Why you want this lens…
Make sure you know why you are buying lenses. Consider these points below:

Fisheye lenses (8 – 18mm on cropped sensor; 14 – 18 mm on full frame)

  • Introduces central focus with peripheral distortion.
  • Highly creative focus provides extreme visual views drawing the eye to the centre.
  • Used primarily for highlighting specific subjects or attributes of the scene.
  • Ideal (according to some) for full-frame sensor work for portraits.

Zoom lenses (long focal lengths 50 to 600mm)

  • Sometimes dubious quality in some parts of the zoom.
  • Flexible for many purposes, but especially wildlife photography at longer focal lengths.
  • Ideal for getting ‘into’ the shot.
  • Creativity related to the placement of the subject in the frame; angle of view variable.
  • Extreme zooms (350 – 800mm zoom ranges)(Very long range lenses greater than 800mm available).
  • Extreme expense – (expect cost around £5,000 for the 800mm sort of focal length).
  • Excellent for specialist wildlife and long range work.
  • Angle of view very limited at extreme end.
  • Very heavy – absolutely requires tripod for longest ranges.
  • Really only supportable for specialist work (professional wildlife photographer).
  • Cheaper to hire for the odd trip.
  • Macro (from around 35mm to 200 mm) (sometimes achieved using extension tubes).
  • Used to get close-up shots of very small subjects.
  • Focal length is artificially extended to magnify for close-up work – aim to get 1:1 or larger result.
  • Can be used for longer views; tends to be at restricted apertures for non-macro work.
  • Great for magnification shots.
  • Great creativity scope.
  • Tilt and Shift.
  • Specialist – for control of where to place sharpness in the depth of field OR how to deal with
    converging parallels (lines in the road or converging verticals in buildings).

Wide angle lenses (16 – 24 mm on cropped sensor) (24 – 35 mm on full frame sensor)

  • Used for getting wide views of the subject; sweeping view across a scene.
  • Some optical distortion at the very wide end accentuates central subjects.
  • Tend to be used by landscapers; often capable of very small apertures (f22 – f36).
  • Standard zoom lenses (35mm to 200mm of varying focal lengths).
  • Provide great flexibility because can change from wide angle to magnification.
  • Quality often highly price dependent.
  • Optical quality variable with change in focal length.
  • Very long focal lengths often have high f-stops (eg. F5.6).

Standard prime lens (50mm)

  • Sees approximately what the human eye sees (full-frame sensor cameras).
  • Slightly wide angle for cropped sensors.
  • Usually good low light performance because of aperture size is usually wide.
  • Approx.. 80mm for cropped sensors – good for portraits.
  • Creativity allows for the same flexibility that the eye sees.
  • Controlled angle of view is determined by photographers position (no zoom control).
  • Standard prime lens (80mm).
Ultimately it is about image quality

When you are buying lenses consider what you are going to get. If you buy a cheap lens you will get a poor picture.

Most modern camera bodies are going to produce pretty good pictures. But if you stick a poor quality, budget lens on a camera it will give you a poor result. A top quality lens will serve you for many years. It will swap between bodies of the same manufacturer. It will produce quality pictures from your body.

On the other hand a poor quality cheap lens will degrade the ability of the camera body. Which will devalue your overall investment. It is pointless upgrading a body to a higher specifications if your lenses are not up to the same performance standard. Buying lenses is about setting your aspirations. Buying lenses of poor quality is about limiting your potential, for now and for years to come.

Buying lenses – checking the various options

The sheer number of lenses available is daunting. Try starting with a lens finder. This great Lens finder on Amazon.co.uk makes buying easier.
Note:
USA users may not be able to get the above “Lens finder on Amazon.co.uk” link. See below…
Link version for USA users: Amazon.com Lens Finder
Please report problems with these links.


If you are buying lenses enter the important factors for your lens choice. It returns a list of the lenses to suit that purpose. I find this an invaluable tool for helping to me to find a range of lenses from which to make my ideal purchase.

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Damon Guy (Netkonnexion) - Author of Buying Lenses

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photographer and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photogs.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.
By Damon Guy see his profile on Google+.

Family photography – a shared interest refreshes family life

Family photography can stimulate the family unit.

Family photography can stimulate the family unit.

Losing sight of things

Often family life can cause a couple to lose touch with each other. They settle down together and ‘life’ takes over. The interests that bought them close in the first place get side-lined. Careers, mortgages and children become the focus instead.

I see so many couples in my sessions where the focus has been lost. Ordinary life ‘things’ get in the way of fun and growth for the couple, as a couple. Now they begin to wonder why they’re together. They can also begin to question their future union.

Family photography – a new beginning

Taking up a new hobby can bring the whole family back together. A new shared interest involves everyone. Each can easily progress at a pace which suits them.

I’m a great believer in family photography to bring a new focus into the family unit. Age is not a barrier. Great digital cameras are cheap too. Everyone can become involved at their level of skill, and in any weather or season.

Trips out for other activities can be enhanced with family photography. Everyone can take part in finding interesting photos to take. There is also the added bonus that days out are captured from several stand-points. Even a walk on a dull day can be made much more exciting. Try setting mini competitions for the most unusual photo!

Education through family photography

Educational benefits for the children are huge. Their horizons expand. They learn to really look at what is around them. They stop taking their surroundings for granted. But they gain so much more than this. The children learn about harmony and contact away from the distractions of home. They soak up the importance of family time. They see how to take time over an activity. They find out how to get the best results. Later, back at home, the post-processing is another lesson where you can all learn. At the end of it they have images to show for their efforts. Family photography brings all sorts of benefits.

Family photography benefits for parents

For parents the benefits can be immense but be very subtle.

To begin with, the parents create time and space to be together. Family photography is the new focus. They also learn to use their eyes more. By doing so they begin to know each others body language better. It is accepted that 55% of communication is via the body. Expressions, gestures and posture are important. The deeper the parents understand each other the more they can grow and help each other.

Grow together

You can open your eyes to the world around you with family photography. You will become so much more adept at understanding the human beings too. And, that is a focus to knit you into a tighter family unit. In the future you will also have an enduring record of your family growing together.

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Post contributed by :: Linden Porter

Linden Porter is a professional relationship coach in Buckinghamshire, UK. She is also a keen photographer. ().

Twitter Users – Welcome to Photokonnexion

@photokonnexion :: Twitter is a medium of choice for Photokonnexion.com

Twitter is a medium of communication. It perfectly complements the power of photography.

Twitter :: A series of “now” moments

Photokonnexion is all about learning photography. Our tips, tricks and tutorials cater for all levels of skill. We try to write in easily understandable language and to explain new terms and ideas fully. If you enjoy making photographs this is the place to find out more. If you love your camera this is the place to learn more about that too.

Photokonnexion and Twitter

Because Twitter is all about small amounts of information it is easy to learn in bite sized chunks. The @Photokonnexion Twitter stream aims to be on the fun side. We tweet bite-sized chunks of learning. You will find photographic facts, quotes, philosophy and fun comments. It is all about cryptic and comic, tips and tricks, moments and motivation.

A thousand pages helping you learn

Twitter and Photokonnexion.com :: Learn photography, connect with your cameraPhotokonnexion.com has more pages than your average photography book. All of them are packed with photography facts, resources and links to more. It is a rich resource for learning. It is a fun resource to browse. These pages aim to fill the details in. Photokonnexion.com is a perfect complement to our twitter stream.

Twitter users, let us know what you think

We hope you enjoy the site and encourage you to Contact Us with ideas and questions. Help us to develop this site. The more participation and comment the better.

Not landing here from Twitter?

Well, you will find that following our Twitter stream is easy. Just press the button below…


… and sign in to your Twitter account – or sign up for a new account. It’s quick and free.

For a quick idea of what you might find in our Twitter stream check out some of our motivational quotes.

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Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photographer and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photogs.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.
By Damon Guy see his profile on Google+.

Helping you learn photography. What do you need?

Learn photography | What do you want us to write?

• Learn photography – what do you want us to write? •
Let us know what you would like to learn about – we will find a way to write it up for you…

Photography is amazing…

There is so much to learn and so much to gain. You can go on learning for life and not learn everything. Every photo is a new experience and challenge. But photography can only ever be what you want. Other people will want something different. It is a uniquely self orientated activity.

What do you need to learn photography?

So much of your photography is a personal thing. As a result We want to try and meet your needs as closely as we can. I have some great ideas and some fun tutorials for this year. But this blog needs to be about you, our readers. As a result we want you to start sending in your ideas and problems. We want to see what you would like us to write. We want to address your problems.

Tell us and we will provide!

Please write to us to say what you need to learn photography. Tell us what we can teach you. Give us your ideas. Write a little about what you would find helpful. This blog is all about the way you learn photography. And. we would like to provide what you need.

Here’s how

There are different ways you can contact us to ask for an article. Try any one of these…

In a few words, tell us what you want us to write about. We will have a go at putting it into simple language. The aim, as always, is to give you the information to help you learn photography!

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Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photographer and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photogs.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.
By Damon Guy see his profile on Google+.

Picture titles prompt your viewer

Picture titles - Quiet contemplation

• Quiet contemplation •

It’s all about communication.

It’s a great feeling when your point is understood. This is true with pictures too. When we show people our picture we want them to understand what it is about.

Sadly, pictures are often shown out of context. Then the meaning can be misinterpreted. For example, social networks and art sites show pictures. When posted with lots of other pictures the viewer sometimes needs some idea of the picture’s meaning. That is where picture titles come into their own.

Picture titles give context

A pro-photog tries to make sure their images have a point. They work to make their point from the moment they approach a scene. The final image is the result of a composition that pulls the essential elements together. It crystallises the point for the viewer.

In completing the composition the photog has a clear idea of what he wanted to achieve. It is that ‘idea’ that can be used to make picture titles. For the viewer it is the idea they need to explain the point of a picture when it is out of context on a gallery wall or where-ever.

How do you use picture titles?

The most important thing about a picture tile is brevity. To be effective you need to say it all in a few words. If the viewer has to read a long text about the point of a picture the meaning will be lost. A picture is worth a thousand words. It should express the point. The title is a sign post, a clue.

Your title will achieve two things. It will express the point of the picture. It will also give the viewer an insight into how your thinking went while making the image.

Think carefully. Leave out your brief clue to the meaning of the picture and you may leave the viewer clueless. I am sure you would not want them to miss the point of your lovely picture. Would you?

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Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photographer and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photogs.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.
By Damon Guy see his profile on Google+.