Category Archives: Books

Ten ways to develop confidence in your photography

To develop confidence in photography you’ve got to be doing it.

There is a difference between a photographer and an occasional snapper. It is about attitude. Determined to improve your skills? Actively seeking new knowledge? Practising the things you are learning? An answer of ‘yes’ to these questions confirm you a photographer. Once you start learning photography you will go on doing so for life. It’s in the spirit of photography to keep learning and experimenting. Here are ten ideas to help you Develop confidence.

1. Keep it simple

• Party person • <br /> Take a simple approach to your photography.

• Party person •
Take a simple approach to your photography.
Example: In portraiture, working for simplicity helps you see the person and concentrate on the technique. Cut out unnecessary distractions.

Leonardo da Vinci was a Renaissance painter, inventor and genius. He made many insightful observations. One of the things he said was, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”. This insight suggests that we should show only what is needed to make the point.

Do not allow anything to creep into your picture that is not absolutely necessary. Your viewer wants to see the main subject. Don’t spoil that view by including other things that are not relevant. They will distract the viewer. Make sure what you are photographing is simple.

This makes your job easier too. Don’t think big – think simple. Simple photographs are easier to do. Get in close to your subject. Make sure what you photograph is bold. Show the subject. Remove or reduce any other distraction or things of secondary or no interest. Taking the simple approach makes the photography easier and will develop confidence.

2. Shoot every day

There is no better way to develop confidence. If you always carry a camera you will always have an excuse to use it! So get out and take the shots.

Just shooting is not good enough. If you want to build your confidence you will need to be doing two things when shooting every day…

  1. Ensure you can see an improvement from day to day. Challenge yourself a little each time you shoot. Try hard to move on from where you were.
  2. Make sure you do things that will help that improvement happen (read an article, discuss a technique, try an experiment etc).
3. Repetition is a great way to develop confidence

Having a go at something new just once is rarely good enough. When you try out a new technique, learn it before moving on. To learn it well do it a lot – repeat it in different situations. Experiment and play. Focus on its good points. Identify its bad points. Each time you use this technique make sure you challenge yourself a little more. Your confidence will develop as you see you can do it in almost any situation.

4. Learn about light

There is a time honoured truism about photographers in general. It is…
Amateurs worry about equipment. Professionals worry about time. Masters worry about light.

It is not altogether clear why amateurs suffer from equipment lust but they do. Actually, an effective strategy for improvement would be to spend most of your time learning about light. It will shorten your journey to competence. Light is the centre of the art of photography. Learning about light will teach you to see great photos and help you to understand more about your equipment. Studying light will develop confidence because you will learn about the most important thing in photography.

5. Creativity (This point By Ann LeFevre)

Don’t look at limitations as obstacles. Use them to encourage your creativity. Every photographer has a good set of eyes. They also have the creativity to photograph what he/she sees with the camera in their hand.

Explore and discover the strengths of the camera you own. Develop your artistry with what you can accomplish with it. You do not need an endless supply of cash to feed your photographic appetite or a lust for equipment.

The best camera in the world is the one you have got. Make the best of that. Enjoy the creative outcome. As you get creative you will develop confidence.

6. Read up on photography

There are some wonderful resources on the Internet. This website is a great start. There are literally billions of photos to look at and take lessons from across the Internet. There are also some great video resources available. Offline there are some absolutely wonderful books to read too.

There is nothing better to develop confidence than learning more. For the new photographer it can all be a little daunting, despite all the resources online. At Photokonnexion we try to make it simple to learn about making great images. However, sometimes your learning style might lead you to a short course or to work with a book. Which ever learning style you choose, keep working on improvement. The work you do to learn more will help you become more confident.

               
       
Scott Kelby :: Digital Photography Boxed Set. Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4, Updated Ed. Amazon.com :: Scott Kelby :: Digital Photography Boxed Set | External link - opens new tab/pageThere are more than 800 professional photographic “tricks of the trade” in this set. These four volumes make up Scott Kelby’s best-selling series. It is an excellent resource for any one who wants to improve their photography and make sharp, colourful and professional photos.

 

7. Find photo-friends – develop confidence together

If you can get excited about photography with someone else it really helps you be more enthusiastic. Join a club, chat with a friend online about your pictures, do what it takes. But try to share. You and your friend will gain a great deal. You will both learn off each other. You will develop confidence through shared friendly feedback. Try things out together. You will have encouragement from each other. Go on then, phone your friend now!

365Project - A friendly project to develop confidence in your photography

365Project  Amazon.com :: Scott Kelby :: Digital Photography Boxed Set | External link - opens new tab/page
A friendly site where people help each other to develop confidence and improve their photography.

8. Join a supportive online community

The Internet is full of great sites to display your photography. And, there are lots of people there who will help you. They love to get feedback for their own pictures. So they will be prepared to give yours a good look over too. I have a been a member of 365Project  Develop confidence on 365Project.org | External link - opens new tab/page for a number of years. What a great site. I have made a lot of friends over there. There is lots to do. Some fun games and lots of ideas and sharing. People swap techniques and help each other. Some groups meet up regularly too. If you need to develop confidence and take a shot every day then that is the place. Give it a go. Great fun!

9. Dump the naysayers

Don’t waste time on people who speak negatively. Nothing can destroy confidence quicker than negative comments. Sometimes the most effective thing you can say is nothing! Ignore them and they will probably go away. Victory is yours! It is always better to surround yourself with positive people, and have positive attitudes and thoughts. This will help you develop confidence. It’ll help your skills to bloom, and your photographic eye begin seeing anew.

10. Celebrate the victories

Nothing better than a good celebration. When you get something right take a little time to show your family and friends. Enjoy it and make sure you keep it safe. It is one of the milestones mapping your progress to being a better photographer. Have fun!

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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+.

Get some new ideas for your photography – a quick tip!

Get some new ideas for developing your photography

Here is a great book External link - opens new tab/page you can learn some new ideas about photography without paying…

New ideas to develop your photography…

Here is an interesting and easy way to find some new ideas. At the same time you can do some reading at no cost. A great way to grow your knowledge and find out more about photography.

How to get new ideas

I am sure you know Amazon, that great book-shop on the web. It is not all about book sales (and more). It is also a source of actual reading too. There are ways to use the website for new ideas and information. More to the point it’s free.

Let’s take an example to see how you can get these new ideas. The Collins Complete Photography Course External link - opens new tab/page is an excellent book. Well produced and researched. It’s a top seller and well reviewed. When you go to the Amazon page for it the book also has a readable section. That’s right. While on Amazon you can read several chapters. If the book has a “click to read” tag, like the picture above, you can read some of the text. The chapters you can read in this book are…

  • The story of photography
  • Camera types
  • Getting to grips with your DSLR camera
  • About various exposure modes

…and at the back of the book you can read a great little glossary of terms used in the book.

OK, so maybe you are not going to learn the whole of photography with this method. But, it is one way to pick up some new ideas and information. Other books are of interest too. This extends to books about art and composition ideas as well as other information. You could find yourself in a world of new ideas, facts and know-how.

One more new idea

If you are looking for projects or new ideas for a photograph try this. Go to the index at the back, or sometimes the contents at the front. Both of these areas of a book are packed with concepts. If you are in a book about art or composition in photography, these can start you thinking. Inspiration is all about the idea right? Use this resource just to get the new ideas flowing. Then follow your thoughts…

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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+.

Dictionary of photography – know the correct terms

We all love a good book.

Despite other reading technologies, books are still popular. For photographers we rely a lot on the Internet. But, there are great books for us. One such book is “The Visual Dictionary of Photography”.

A love of dictionaries

I am an unashamed collector of dictionaries. With over a hundred of them there is always a good definition around. Despite being so well served, I have never found a good dictionary of photography. An author for one needs to be a passionate photographer, a technician, an artist and a writer too. They have to be nerdy about the details. And, at the same time, they must be passionate communicators. David Präkel fulfils the above.

The dictionary of photography

I love this book. There are great diagrams and pictures. It is no surprise that there is one on nearly every page. In fact, to help keep us visually interested, the fonts themselves are also varied. It is refreshing to have a book that is NOT standardised. Dictionaries are usually very consistent. They are very uniformly laid out. They are SOooo… visually boring. This one is not. It has coloured pages. It has different fonts. There are pages of capitals. There are different styles of diagrams. There is LOTS of variety. It is an exciting book to browse. This book is about a visual view – as well as the photography.

But is this book any good? I think so. I love the impact filled text. It is on message and precise. Here is an example from the definition of texture…

Lighting that falls across any textured surface will highlight each protruding part of the material and cast a deep shadow behind. This micro contrast is what we see as texture.
The Visual Dictionary of Photography – David Präkel

That is the essence of ‘texture’ in photography. There is more explanation. There is also a great picture. But really that says it all.

Does size matter?

There are nearly 300 pages. There is a definition per page. So there is plenty of content. It is a small sized book. However, it punches over its weight in what it achieves. The explanations, the content and the visual presentation all make it a full featured visual dictionary of photography. It covers all the important things you need to know to learn photography… size does not matter.

A great present

With Christmas coming this book could make a great present. It would be a cool gift to yourself, or for a keen photographer in your life. Packed to the brim with information it’s fun and great value. It is definitely worth considering. It will be a useful addition to your essential photographic kit.

The Visual Dictionary of Photography is available on Amazon. There is a selection of pages for you to review. So you can make up your mind about it. Have a look now and see what you think. The Visual Dictionary of Photography.

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Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is managing editor of Photokonnexion.com with professional experience in photography, writing, image libraries, and computing. He is also an experienced, webmaster and a trained teacher. Damon runs regular training for digital photographers who are just starting out.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’
By Damon Guy :: Profile on Google+

Tripod myths – why are amateurs tripod shy?

Me and my tripod - reflected in paintwork - tripod myths

• Me and my tripod – reflected in paintwork – tripod myths •
I use a tripod most days in some pretty tight situations. They are
quick, effective and give great results!
[Image by Damon Guy • Click to view large]

Tripods improve your results – fact!

Tripod myths can be heard regularly. Actually they make life a lot easier and faster. So, why are amateurs tripod shy? Why buy cheap? Why is simplicity apparently so difficult for tripod starters? Read on…

What are the tripod myths?

Over the years I have heard all the excuses. Here are some things I have heard…

  • I’ll miss the moment!
  • Tripods are too much bother.
  • I can shoot great shots hand-held.
  • It slows me up.
  • I like to walk the scene…
  • They are cumbersome, get in the way and heavy.
  • It’s not possible or easy to use it all the time.

I am sure there are other issues. But let’s look at these in detail.

Tripod myths: Missing the moment?

Every photographer gets lucky sometimes. They happen to point the camera pointing right and, snap, they got it.

Let’s be honest. How many times does that lucky capture happen? “Journalists?”, I hear you say? Actually, they rarely get lucky either. Photo-journalists train in preparation, planning and investigation. Being there and aware when the event happens is not an accident. They get the story time and time again.

If you plan for your tripod you will get the shot too. You won’t miss the shot getting your DSLR out either.

Forethought and planning are good photographic habits. Cultivate and develop these skills. You get the shot, and it’ll be sharper. If you are going to shoot, do it properly. Have both camera and tripod ready. Don’t be a victim of tripod myths, be in control of your photography.

Too much bother? One of the tripod myths that is just silly

What can be too much bother about getting a sharp, properly framed image? Loading a tripod is no more trouble than putting your camera in the car. It takes only 15 seconds to set up. The tripod will also give you time and scope to take a great shot. It holds your camera for lens changes and while scouting the next shot. Bother? Not really.

Bothered people think tripods are hard work. Do they realise how much the picture is improved? Attention to detail over your shots is what makes excellent images. Taking a quick snap may be no bother. Its unlikely to yield a great image either. This is one of the tripod myths that does not stand up!

Tripod myths: Great hand held shots

There are lots of situations where great light and a steady hand can get a sharp result. Congratulations. The time and effort you put into your photography is paying off. However, of all the situations I take pictures in, only about a third can be hand held. High ISO might help. More likely digital Noise would spoil the image. Better to take a longer exposure and use, say, ISO100. Quality is important.

Tripod myths will limit you to one third of your potential as a photog. It makes you a limited photographer. Tripods extend your shooting time, flexibility and quality of image.

Tripod myths: It slows me up

Yes, finally, a fact! Tripods make you think about your photograph. Perhaps not one of the tripod myths, more of a tripod mistake.

Since digital cameras became common I see a lot of machine-gun photography. A keen photog arrives, sprays off a hundred shots… Then, off they go. Wow.

Spend the first few minutes considering options. Proceed with a plan and with care. Cover all the shots you need. Sometimes you will get new ideas. Great, get more shots.

Once, at an aircraft museum with a keen photographer I was alone in minutes. My friend shot out of sight. We met up later. He had over 1000 pictures. He was elated. I had less than seventy shots. “Ah!”, he said. “You should’ve left the tripod at home!”

Later that week things turned around. He had eleven fair shots and one really good one. He had spent hours and hours in post-processing and missed lots of sleep. My more careful approach paid off. I had more than 40 quality images. As he looked at them he kept saying, “I took a picture of that too, but it didn’t come out”. And, “How did you get that one to look so good?”. My care, quality and composition paid off. The tripod helped me think about my photography and take care. I only spent about two hours in post-processing too. Most on simple tweaks. I had plenty of time for other shoots that week.

One question… Who was really slowed up here?

Tripod myths: Working the scene

One of my regular jobs involves 15 – 20 finished pictures of a scene. Picture order and camera height is important. We often work in low light. Space is restricted at many sites. We are not allowed to do any post-processing.

This is fast work. In 15 minutes I make up to 35 shots at a high enough standard to meet the needs of a court case.

Does a tripod hold me up or prevent me working the scene? Does it prevent my shots? On the contrary. I could not do the job without it. I would have to take many more shots. My shots would be less flexible. I would not achieve court-ready sharpness and detail. Without a tripod I could not work the scene properly.

Tripod myths: Cumbersome, heavy, intrusive?

Sometimes. A tripod can be badly adapted for what you are doing. So, if you are going to do something a lot, buy the right tripod. Travel a lot? Get a light one. Work on beaches a lot? Choose sealed feet to keep the sand out. Working special scenes? Get a special tripod. General photography? Buy general.

If you have the wrong equipment you can rightly claim it’s no good! So, buy the right equipment for the job. Make sure you get a quality piece of equipment. You spend thousands on your camera and lenses, so there is little point in spending only ten on your tripod. Quality workmanship and materials are important to producing quality images. You would not accept less with your camera so why with your tripod? This is one of the tripod myths that does stand up – if you have the wrong equipment. Get it right and you have a friend for life.

Sometimes ya gotta go with the flow…

I am not saying tripods are everything. In fact there are many situations where they are not suitable or you can’t use them. Also, we all enjoy the freedom and creativity of hand-held shots sometimes. If we fall prey to tripod myths we will never get past auto settings and bright daylight shots.

All I am saying is, don’t limit yourself. Get past the tripod myths. Buy a tripod and make sure you know how to use it. Your photography will improve if you use it a lot. Use it only a little and you’ll pay a penalty.

Why not look at some of the options now…

General tripods for DSLRs  External link - opens new tab/page
Manfrotto – Quality tripods for committed photographers  External link - opens new tab/page.

Also check out this post and recommendation…
Buy a good tripod – nothing beats it
Manfrotto 055XPROB Tripod Legs Only – Black External link - opens new tab/page

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Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is managing editor of Photokonnexion.com with professional experience in photography, writing, image libraries, and computing. He is also an experienced, webmaster and a trained teacher. Damon runs regular training for digital photographers who are just starting out.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’
By Damon Guy :: Profile on Google+

Visual toolbox for photographers

Sharpen up your creative photography…

It’s easy when starting photography to over emphasis the importance of gear. In fact it’s ‘photographers eye’ that really makes the difference. Your vision and insight into a scene are critical to producing a wonderful image.

Sage advice from a world master

The Visual Tool Box by David duChemin is all about the skills of composition. He goes into depth around the background ideas which help you look at a scene. The ultimate success in photography is to make your image a pleasure to view. Aesthetics rule – it’s as simple as that. This book is dedicated to teaching you the tools you need to develop the ‘eye’.

David duChemin says,

These are the lessons I wish I’d learned when I was starting out.
The Visual Tool Box by David duChemin

This is my kind of book. He writes superbly, in simple, readable form. His examples are excellent and the pictures are just amazing. But most of all the book is organised for learners to extend their knowledge in easy, well structured steps. This book is all about putting new tools in your photographic tool box and it achieves that with an ease that any beginner will find a joy.

Composition

The book is packed with examples of the sort of compositional ideas that really work – for anyone. Just look at some of the topics covered…

  • Manual
  • Optimize Your Exposures
  • Master the Triangle
  • Slower Shutter Speed
  • Learn to Pan
  • Use Intentional Camera Movement
  • Use Wide Lenses to Create a Sense of Inclusion
  • Learn to Isolate
  • Use Tighter Apertures to Deepen Focus
  • Use Bokeh to Abstract
  • Consider Your Colour Palette
  • Lines: Use Diagonals to Create Energy
  • Lines: Patterns, Lead my Eye, Horizons
  • See the Direction of Light
  • Light: Front Light, Side Light, and Back Light
  • Quality of Light: Further Consideration
  • White Balance for Mood
  • Light: Reflections, Shadow, Silhouettes, Lens Flare
  • People
  • Experiment with Balance and Tension
  • Use Your Negative Space
  • Juxtapositions: Find Conceptual Contrasts
  • Orientation of Frame
  • Choose Your Aspect Ratio
  • Use Scale
  • Simplify
  • Shoot from the Heart
  • Listen to Other Voices (Very Carefully)

And there is plenty more content to complement and extends these ideas. What’s not shown in a list is the excellent and sage advice throughout the book. I will let David duChemin have the last word…

Pace your-self. Anyone can master a camera; that just comes with time. It’s the other stuff — learning to think like a photographer — that takes so much work and allows this craft to become the means by which you create art.
The Visual Tool Box by David duChemin

And it is thinking like a photographer that you will quickly learn from reading this book.

How to buy this great book

This book was originally published as an ebook. However, it is no longer available in that form. The book has moved into the real world. It will be available on Amazon as a Paperback From 31 Mar 2015.
The Visual Toolbox: 60 Lessons for Stronger Photographs (Voices That Matter)You can per-order the book from Amazon.

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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+.

Zen in the art of photography archery

Combination of mind and camera can create more than a picture.
“Zen in the art of archery” is not about photography. But it has such strong parallels to the learning of photography that its meaning is unmistakable. Professor Eugen Herrigel explains how he took the path to Zen (a balance between the body and the mind) through the medium of traditional Japanese archery. His beautifully written book explains his personal journey, in a very-easy-to-read way.

In Zen in the Art of Archery: Training the Mind and Body to Become One (Arkana) the professor simply explains his experiences and the physical and spiritual lessons that he learned. His vision is clear and his insight instructive. The reader learns that the way of Zen is not learned through archery and the book is not a guide to learning the art. Instead his book shows us that the journey to Zen is about enlightenment, inner selflessness and clarity of thought.

For photographers the book shows us that there is more to taking a picture than the physics of holding the camera, pointing and pushing the button. Technique and thought become one and the art in the moment becomes a part of the of the shot. For beginners that may seem bizarre. For the experienced photographer it is a self evident truth.

The mere picture is the result of a harsh capture of the scene using point-and-shoot technique.

The making of an image is more than that. Creating an image in the viewers mind is the essence of communication. It flows from the photographers interpretation of the scene through the photographic process to the published medium. In its pictorial form it serves to conjure in the mind of the viewer an image that inflames feelings and passions, creating a lasting mental experience. A great image flows from interpretation, capture and creation through a work flow that is a smooth and practised extension of the photographers commitment to the communication. The creation of a great image in the viewers mind is as final and precise as the arrow hitting the dead centre of the target.

“Zen in the Art of Archery” shows us that in the physical process there is something deeper than is visible. Something that is a selfless act of complete focus. It is an act that is both totally committing and yet subconscious.

Zen in the Art of Archery: Training the Mind and Body to Become One (Arkana) is a short, beautifully written book. Its beauty lies in its simplicity.

Details:

Title: Zen in the Art of Archery: Training the Mind and Body to Become One (Arkana)
Available: Amazon
Paperback: 112 pages; Publisher: Penguin; Language: English;

By Damon Guy (author and Photokonnexion editor)

Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photog 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+.

Five great ways to improve your photography

I heart Photokonnexion

The top five posts from 2012

In our first year as a website we learned a lot about our readers and worked hard to provide great content for you. We did some research and identified the most read posts of the year.

Number five

Light is the most important component of our work as photographers…
Six things to know about light.
[Also check out other Light and Lighting resources].

Number four

Composition was an important theme through the year. Simple ideas are the best. This post captured a consistent readership…
The Rule of Odds – Uneven Composition

Number three

This is a great post from my friend Steve Maidwell (imageinnation.com). As a contributing author he made a hit with our readers. He’s promised another post soon…
Creating a Fake Smoke Effect

Number two

I made a personal recommendation for two ideal Christmas presents. They really went down well. These would make great gifts to yourself too…
Two great Christmas gift ideas for photographers

And the top post of the year:

Number one

Street photography has been a consistent success on Photokonnexion. The most viewed post in 2012…
Forty six quick street photography tips

By Damon Guy (author and Photokonnexion editor)

Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photog 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+.