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Essential gadgets for the everyday photographer

Essential gadgets for the photographer

A look at some essential gadgets for the photog…

Today’s article comes from: Jane Grates (Bio) from Sleeklens.com.

It is essential, and fun, to keep up-to-date with the latest trends. Gadgets occupy an important niche in our world of photography. In this article I look at the essential gadgets that are must-haves for the serious photographer.

essential gadgets for the photog

Look out for those essential gadgets…

SD Card holder

First, the basics. Lots of hardware to improve your performance as a photographer is wasted if you do not have enough space to store pictures. The storage issue can become a nuisance. Beat the problem and have many SD cards in order to prevent lack of drive space. This is particularly important for photographers who travel a lot.

Essential gadgets - The SD card holder.

Essential gadgets – The SD card holder.

Buying an SD card holder is a smart solution to the space problem. You can split your work over different SD cards to create a well organized library. Not only are you placing your work in a safe place, you are creating smart categories too.

A Tripod

A classic, the tripod is vital when dealing with heavy lenses or long exposure times. Night time photography is almost impossible without a tripod. The longer exposures are needed to capture low light levels.

A quality tripod is one of those essential gadgets we should all have. Look for one that suits the needs of your photo interests and for height and transportability. Higher quality tripods tend to be heavier, but this means they are less likely to blow over or vibrate in windy conditions.

xxx

A quality tripod is one of those essential gadgets we should all have.

Think how you will use your tripod. This will determine the price range. If you do your work mainly in a studio, or you are just starting your business, you can buy a simple model. If, on the other hand, you are a skilled photographer, you will want to buy a pricier, more adaptable one to last longer and endure the diverse conditions you may come across.

Lens Filters

You can create “filter effects” with post-production ‘presets’ in editing software. But you can skip a step by using on-camera filters. This will save incredible amounts of time in processing. Filters can help you avoid burned out images from strong sun if you use Polarized filters. The camera lens will react the way your eyes do when you use polarized sunglasses.

Polorising filter - one of the more essential gadgets.

Polarising filters help you deal with strong sunlight – one of the more essential gadgets.

Remember to buy a lens filter that fits your lens size. There are companion gadgets for filters. Step-up/down rings serve to create a perfect fit on lenses with non-standard formats or sizes. The latter are commonly seen on bridge cameras.

Remote shutter release

For long exposure times, or for portrait pictures including the photographer in the scene, remote shutter devices are handy tools. Simply grab your remote shutter release, place your camera on the tripod and let the action flow.

Remote shutter release - one of the essential gadgets.

Remote shutter release – one of the essential gadgets.

You can choose a remote shutter release from wired or wireless devices. I recommend buying a wired model, at times interference can be frustrating. Although, there are some very good models on the market recently. It is worth

Another remote shutter choice is a phone app. Not all camera models are supported. Some Canon and Nikon models are compatible with this feature. The apps are cheap, or free, saving some of your money. In fairness the latest remote shutters are not really expensive. Still, having a phone app will certainly guarantee that you won’t forget your remote shutter release wherever you go!

Weather cases

A common problem, as a photographer, is the sudden appearance of bad weather. It’s not good for using your camera! Don’t risk the investment you made in quality kit. Consider carrying a weather-safe case that fits your camera model, lenses and other accessories. Not only are you going to protect your beloved camera, but you can continue your shoot regardless of the conditions.

Protect your beloved camera from bad weather - use a camera case.

Protect your beloved camera from bad weather – use a camera case.

Weather sealed cameras can benefit from this protection too. Water seals deteriorate over time. Other attached accessories are not all water proof as well. Don’t risk your device without even thinking about it.

Smart phone lenses

If you are a photographer on the go, you probably own a smartphone. Up to date models have a good camera. It can be a limitless source of creativity. However, smartphones are limited compared to modern DSLR cameras. They rarely have full and true manual controls. They lack the proper control of ISO, Aperture and Shutter speed settings.

Smartphone add-on lenses open a new dimension for the photographer on the go.

Smartphone add-on lenses open a new dimension for the photographer on the go.

A cool way to fix this issue is smartphone lenses. They come in a wide range of prices and with various features. Common base models of add-on smartphone lenses can do things that smartphone camera lenses can’t do. For example, fish-eye effect, macro or telephoto and other effects. More complex models, like the latest Sony QX-10, completely reinvents the smartphone lens concept. It boosts the smartphone with a professional quality sensor packed with manual controls. Even if it seems to be pricey, the result won’t disappoint.

Remember, the smartphone is a useful addition to the camera bag in its own right. Check out this post: Using tablets in photography.

Essential gadgets – more than just the camera… Photographer’s backpack

Like the tripod, photographers backpacks are a common classic. They provide storage for the camera, different lenses, as well as leaving room for other important items. Some are also designed to carry laptops, batteries, and much more. Avoid back packs that are not designed for photography. They can cause equipment damage. Specially designed packs let you carry equipment safely and help you pack efficiently.

Buy a good quality photographers bag to protect your equipment.

Buy a good quality photographers bag to protect your equipment.

Consider buying a weatherproof backpack regardless of price. Protecting your working equipment is a top priority. Photographic equipment is highly sensitive to poor climate conditions. Most good quality packs come with slip-over water protection.

Also, be aware of the maximum weight supported by the backpack. Don’t over load it (or you). Avoid misuse, which will shorten the life expectancy of the product. Protect it from wear, chemicals and dust.

Essential gadgets are those that suit your needs

You can find countless options for complimenting your photography and workflow. Most will depend on the kinds of photography you decide to focus on. In the end, it is up to you to find the best equipment that will enhance your day-to-day photography. Everyone has their own special “essential gadgets”… What are yours?

Feed your imagination…

Here are some more essential gadgets for photographers on Amazon.
Check out this Google search on essential gadgets for photographers!

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Artwork images – record or new art?

Artwork images are not as easy to photograph as they seem.

Artwork images are not as easy to photograph as they seem.
Image of paper art by Peter Gentenaar
More from this artist on: http://www.gentenaar-torley.nl/  Artwork images: Link to Peter Gentenaar | External link - opens new tab/page

Artwork images are sometimes questionable as art

Most photographers look at work by an artist they like and feel compelled to take a picture. Of course it serves to remind them of the art they saw. That is reasonable. The keen photographer thinks differently. They like to see the artwork. They also like to produce photographic art of their own. But more often than not the picture they take is actually a record shot.

It is often said by judges in photographic competition that a sculpture photograph is a record shot. I have said it myself when judging. A pure record is not a piece of art by the photographer. Just exactly what do we mean by that?

Artwork images: Record verses interpretation

An example of a record shot is the photo at the top of this article. This work is by the wonderful paper artist Peter Gentenaar. His work is stimulating and interesting to the eye. Photos of his work bring out the splendour of his art. That is the point. They are less about the photographers interpretation of the art. Instead, they are about repeating the work in its fullness to show the work itself. It is a record. As such, it will show off the skill of the original artist.

Record shots are a legitimate photographic form. But they are often a record of the exhibit - not new photographic artwork images in their own right.

Record shots are a legitimate photographic form. But they are a record of the exhibit – not new photographic artwork in their own right.

[Seen on www.starr-art.com/ on 30/05/2015
Sol LeWittWall Piece,
1988 Painted wood,
76 x 5 x 5 inches
Published by Edition Schellmann,
Munich and New York.]



Reproduction of artworks in a record style is a proper photographic form. For remembrance, or sales purposes, it is fine. For those seeking to make their own art there is something more needed than simply snapping someone else’s work.

That something extra is a new re-interpretation of the work. The photographer has to invest something of their own into the picture. They have to make more of the original artwork than is presented solely by the work itself. There are a number of ways to do this.

A new interpretation may not be a complete image of the work. It may include the full work, or only be a part of it. The environment of the image, how it is presented, or its framing are all important. Overall there will be something in the new artwork images that the photog makes their own.

 

How can you make new artwork images from an art piece?

Abstract from a piece of art

In this abstract of another piece by Peter Gentenaar the photographer has not shown the whole piece of work. They have taken a piece of the work that shows the wonderful lines and curves, but as a whole it creates a taste for seeing more.
See: Peter Gentenaar–Paper Magician Artwork images:  | External link - opens new tab/page.

• Abstract artwork images: One way to get something new out of a piece of art is to create an abstract of some sort. Abstract photos can be deeply satisfying to create and provide an interesting image for the viewer to consider. Most of the time abstracts are about making an image of a part of the artwork. An example is shown on the left. There can be a lot more to creating abstract photos than simply framing a bit of the total. The power of abstract is to create the essence of the total.

Abstracts require an eye for what works when the whole is not seen. For more on abstracts see our Abstracts Resources Page.

• Creating an new environment: The environment where sculptures are displayed is often important to the sculpture. Sometimes images are still record shots even if they are not on a simple white background. This link is an example of a Henry Moore sculpture record shot (Author unknown).. The author has displayed the sculpture just as it is with little enhancement. In fact it is almost devoid of its environment. The sky serves only as a backdrop.

The same could be said of this picture of an elephant sculpture (below). The artist has created a superb piece which mimics the body of an elephant defying gravity. The first shot is a pure record shot. But, the second is a superb interpretation of the sculpture in it entirety with an audience, depersonalised by movement blur. Very clever. Both images are taken by the sculptor himself, Daniel Firman. A simple but excellent reinterpretation. Such re-inventions are in themselves artistic. As such they are creating artwork images in their own right.

Gravity-Defying Elephant Sculpture

Gravity-Defying Elephant Sculpture by Daniel Firman.
Images by Daniel Firman.

Published in: Gravity-Defying Elephant Sculpture.
(Seen on WordlessTech Artwork Images: Gravity-Defying Elephant Sculpture by Daniel Firman | External link - opens new tab/page 29/05/2015).


Another Henry Moore Sculpture is shown below. This image makes as much of the environment as the sculpture. The artist has created a great panoramic picture using a letter-box crop. The length of the principle subject (the sculpture) is complemented by the almost central position. But, it is highlighted by the mundane, but important line of sheep. The latter gives the eye an excellent weighted contrast to the sculpture in the background. Clever compositional devices like this often create great great artwork images. There is no way this is a record shot.
Artwork images: The compositional devices in this image make it an interesting example.

The compositional devices in this image make it an interesting example of artwork images – definitely not a record shot.
(Seen on: Backstrap Weaving Artwork Images: Henry Moore sculpture on Backstrap Images blog. | External link - opens new tab/page.
(Click the image to see full size).

• Adding something: Another way to make something new of a piece of art is to put something new into, or onto, the piece. I leave the artwork images to your imagination here.

I have often heard judges say about record shots, of say a sculpture, “this needs your hat on it”. Alternatively they might say something like, “a cat just here would make the image something different”. What the judge is saying is, the author has created a shot that does not have anything from the photographer in the image. Whereas, with a little thought, or a little prop, or even a person – the picture could be transformed. Instead of the simple (and boring) representation, the author could have added that little extra that makes the image into a reinterpretation – something different. It would be something created uniquely by the photographer.

Works by you are artwork images

The uniqueness of a photograph is something that makes photography interesting. But, make the main subject a simple representation of somebody else’s work, then the uniqueness is lost. A simple record is created. But with simple compositional thoughts, re-frameing, or the addition of some new aspect, you create a new synthesis. One that is unique to you. One that is a real contribution to the body of artwork images. That is what makes photography so special.

The main point to take from this is simple. Think, plan and consider the composition when taking pictures of other peoples art. A subtle treatment of the art piece can transform it into an image only you could make.

Artwork images – further thinking

Which of these are record shots of Henry Moore Sculptures and which are artwork images by the author…
Henry Moore sculpture on Google Images Artwork images - further thinking | External link - opens new tab/page

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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+.

Expression in your photography is you

Expression :: Put you into your portfolio

• Expression :: Put you into your portfolio •
[Image taken from the video below].

Let go of other peoples expectations

Photographers often say about their work that they “should” be doing this or that. Or, maybe they say they would be “better” doing this instead of that with their work. Often that just adds up to a statement about their aspirations. Often these aspirations are reactions to what they think people want. They are not true expressions of who they really are.

It is all too easy for us to fall foul of fashion and social pressure in our photography. Amateur and professional alike, photogs are artists. True expression is really about what we feel. Not what we do to meet the expectations of fashion or popular interest.

Expression – understanding our inner selves

When we are truly satisfied with a photo it’s not because we think everyone else is going to think it’s great. It is because we know we have done something good. We’ve done something that really expresses how we feel about the shot we have just made. Expression is our inner artist coming out.

I met a photographer once who thought, when he got started, that it was all about glamour and glory. He tried hard for four or five years to be “be a professional photographer”. He did everything his boss told him. He took the pictures his boss said would make him successful. He worked continually to meet the goals set by the photographic fashions and the aspirations his boss had for him. He even did a part time college course and learnt all the academic and background ideas. He did as he was told, learnt the trade – and failed.

Twenty years later, when I met him, he was working as a local government officer. I asked him why he had given up photography. He told me he had not. He gave up being a pro-photographer and for a long time did not pick up a camera. Then, one day, years later he did. And, he discovered what photography was really about. It is about expression.

What he’d not seen in those heady days when learning the trade was his own inner artist. Everything he did was for others. All his pictures were motivated by external influences. Then, years later, when the pressure was off he discovered something. Actually photography is a very hands on, gritty sort of profession. There really is not much glamour. But there is a lot you can say about the world. A photographer, like any artist needs to let themselves out. The expression of what they feel about a scene is what they should be working on. Not what everyone else thinks should be said about a scene.

Expression IS photography

Make sure your pictures say something. Let people know who you are through your pictures. Tell them what you are interested in. Communicate with them through your images. Make pictures in their minds. Expression is everything in photography. It says “I love this”, or “that is important”, or “my heart was in this scene”… or whatever. Expression IS photography.

Who you are goes deeper than your portfolio

Here is a short video clip with a famous photographer, Jeremy Cowart Expression :: Jeremy Cowert | External link - opens new tab/page. It shows something many photographers forget. When your pictures reach out to someone, the influence is more profound than the talent of technical excellence. Telling people who you are and what you are thinking through your pictures is a powerful expression.
Uploaded by CreativeLive

 


 
What’s Your Mark? Every Moment Counts Expression :: Book review - What's Your Mark?: Every Moment Counts | External link - opens new tab/page | External link - opens new tab/page
In this extraordinary book Jeremy Cowen delivers amazing photography. With it he tells some equally extraordinary stories. The book breaches the boundaries of ordinary coffee-table photography books. The stories cut straight to the heart. Human interest and art do live together. This book brings that out.
What’s Your Mark? Every Moment Counts by Jeremy Cowart (Photographer) and Brad Davis (Designer), Expression :: Book review - What's Your Mark?: Every Moment Counts | External link - opens new tab/page | External link - opens new tab/page

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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+.

Images should make a point… photographic meaning

No Image Today - put photographic meaning in every image you make.

• No Image Today •
There should be a point to every image you make. An image is a communication. Without meaning it is just a picture.

What is a true image?

If your picture has succeeded it has to conjure an image in the mind of the viewer. But if your picture is just that, a picture, it will not succeed. For the genuine photographer, nice is not good enough. A picture should have a meaning, a point, something that makes it a communication. It should have something that makes it an image in the viewers mind.

Photographic meaning… the punch in the picture

Uncertainty about the validity of an image is a necessary part of creativity. Especially in the sense that you should always question, “Have I actually said anything in this picture?” Photographic meaning is an important idea. To really comprehend it, ask yourself if your picture says anything. Be sure you have really transformed it into an image.

I remember once sitting by an autumnal birch tree. It had lovely little yellow leaves and was a nice shape. I took a picture of it. But in the end that picture was simply a nice tree. It spoke to me because of the few minutes pleasure it gave me as I admired it. The picture had nothing to say to anyone else. I never showed it to anyone else, ever. It was about my feelings. It said nothing and was of no benefit to anyone else. It had no photographic meaning. It’s now lost in the obscurity of hundreds of thousands of my other images. ‘Nice’ is simply not good enough to achieve photographic meaning.

We could be picky and obtuse. “Well, it had a non-fatalistic statement to make about the environmental impact of an autumnal tree in its cardinal state, doing what birch trees do… etc.”. Actually, saying anything about it would be mere fluff on the wind. It was a non-picture. Devoid of photographic meaning, it satisfied nothing in the viewer.

You could say the picture now has a ‘raison d’etre’ following this blog. But that was not a necessary, or sufficient, reason for the picture. It’s a post hoc justification for its existence.

The Photographer’s Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos

When I first read this I wondered how useful it would be. But I learned the importance of photographic meaning. Composition in all its forms is critical to great image-making. Read this book. It is a visual treat as well as a great insight to the power of design and composition in your photography.
The Photographer’s Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos

Communication

Think of all photographs you make as a way to communicate something. That birch tree picture did not speak to an audience. I remember it now because I sat and stared at the picture for ages thinking, “What was I thinking about to take this picture?”. As an image it conjured nothing in the mind of the viewer. As a picture it failed to pass the photographic meaning test.

Nice is not good enough – images must carry photographic meaning

The ‘birch tree’ incident, not the picture, serves as a reminder. Creativity should have a point – be an actual communication. Otherwise it will have no photographic meaning and little else to commend its existence.

A dedication – Photographic Meaning

This is dedicated to my friend Alison. She struggles to understand her own significance as a communicator. Actually, her astute photo-observations convey a lot of photographic meaning.

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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+.

Looking good – the essence of the professional photographer

Looking good :: To be a pro-photog just look the part...

Looking good is obviously the main aim here!
(Image from the Video).

The important part of being a pro-photographer…

Looking good and owning the top kit is essential. Otherwise we won’t know you are a successful photographer (not!). In this hilarious spoof on professionalism the video provides a humorous insight into looking good as photographers. Maybe some see themselves that way. Maybe it’s how others see us too!

How to look like a Pro Tog


DigitalRev TV Looking good :: DigitalRev TV | External link - opens new tab/page

Creative comedy

The video takes a poke at photogs who are a bit “up themselves”. And, perhaps some are a little over the top. Creative comedy like this is needed to make us laugh at ourselves sometimes. Looking good is important as in any business. It is also something we should not do to excess.

What we should not be doing…

We are all proud to be photographers. It is a passion and a lifestyle. It is also a competitive business and an actively developing one. The video shows us something we should be careful about. Gear lust is an affliction that many beginner photographers have. They spend all their time scouring the magazines and websites for the latest and greatest equipment. Looking good and having the latest technology seems to be the aim. The truth of that is that it is not what photography is about.

What we should be doing – it’s not about “looking good”

Photography is about getting pictures. It is about making those pictures good enough so they create an unforgettable image in the mind of the viewer. It is worth remembering that…
Despite excellent technology you can

  • Still make mistakes.
  • Produce a picture that says nothing.
  • Make a picture that’s ugly and of no value.

In other words, bad pictures can come from great technology. Also, excellent images and art can be produced using non-cutting edge equipment. Just look at any number of photography websites – Instagram is one example where all sorts of art is produced without top quality DSLR equipment.

Photography is about how you take your picture and what you show in it. Our passion is a unique synthesis of art and technology. But the technology can range from a simple pin-hole box “camera” to the worlds leading-edge DSLR. Both can surpass each other if used in the right way.

The lesson in this…

Looking good with up to date equipment can be important. But don’t aspire to the most expensive and up-to-date equipment just because looking good makes you fit the part. Concentrate on getting your technique and your skills right. Learn to produce great images. Understand your art – your pictures will be much better for that focus. Give up any obsession with the new and shiny.

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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+.

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+.

Community photography

Community photography •

• Dining Out •
Community photography is as much about attracting the community as it is about telling a story of the community.
(Community event: Annual sponsored fancy dress swim on New Years Day – great photo opportunities).

Involving the local people in photography

It sounds ideal. Get the local people involved and do lots of photography. In reality it tends to happen the other way around. Photographers get involved in the local activities and events… the rest is great fun! Community photography is a two way street. Get involved in the community. Then your image work will feed back in as you develop contacts.

Just what is community photography

Actually, community photography is just about anything where the local people are involved. On the one hand we have street photography. It’s all about people out on the street doing what people do locally. The focus is rather loose and chaotic.

On the other hand we have community events and activities. These are about people getting together and sharing an event. In this case there is a single focus where everything revolves around the central interest.

Photography is a peculiar pursuit. Unlike most hobbies, it’s mostly a solitary pursuit. One person, one camera. So how do photographers get involved in community photography and develop community ties?

Getting involved

Almost certainly the first step to engaging with your community is to join a club. Failing that create a group of friends or associates. Later a club can spring out of this group. Clubs and groups are a natural consequence of community.

It’s natural to want to use the community and the local area as a photographic resource. Communities get enriched by groups like yours. Your members work to expose their interests and creations to the community. But it also brings the community into contact with your members too.

Community photography is about reaching out

In almost every community on the planet there are dozens of interest groups. Making the best of your photography is what you want as group members. To do that effectively it’s important to get some resources. You can all club together and put in some money for trips, meetings, a group projector… whatever. Ultimately, you need to become self sustaining. Having a ‘membership’ is a big step at first. But, it’s at that point that the community can help you. And, through your community photography, you can help others out in the community.

Reaching out to your community should be a major part of the activity of your group. You must engage directly with other groups and organisations to join in with them. Activities in the community happen at multiple levels. From within your group, and at a different level between groups. This relationship between groups, and the individuals within them, is what makes the community rich and interesting. Lots of photo opportunities come out of such a mix.

Start by brain-storming as a group. Find out what skills you have in your group. Also, list the contacts you all have between you. Here are some of the sorts of things you might identify…

 Group Skills  Group Contacts
 Doctor  Local medical facilities. Pharmacy. Local school. Local farmers club events secretary.
 Town official  Local groups and clubs. The town business club. CEO of the largest local company. Golf club.
 Housewife  Members of the local women’s club. School staff. Children’s group. Library staff.
 Company admin.  Member of local art club. Local sports club secretary. Chairman of the Annual Fair. Hospital nurse on the staff committee.

As the table shows, just four people from your group easily have a broad reach locally. All these contacts work within groups and companies. They have access to events, planned activities and finance. They also have contacts who have or need those resources too. Your community photography group can provide things for them too. The first stage of reaching out to the local community is establishing these contacts. Get talking to them about your group and what you can do.

Charity Swim - New Year Fancy Dress swim

• Sponsored swim •
At this annual swim event there is a whole host of local groups. They include the local Rowing Club; the Royal National Lifeboat Institute; the local Lions’ Club and the Church. Local businesses, hundreds of local people, swimmers and spectators are also involved.

What can your community photography group do?

Penetrating the local community and getting known as a group takes a little time. It also takes a little planning and talking to your contacts. It is worth doing. Before long you will find there is plenty to do. So to help your group keep on track, break up the tasks so people don’t get overloaded.

You members are sure to have a photographic resource already. Your local photos are really important. So start there. Show off your best photos in the local library (library contact). Make plans for an exhibition in the local community centre. Make contact through the town official. Organise a stall in the summer fair or pageant this year. Raise some money for a local charity. Do a portrait shoot in the main street. I am sure you can think of many ideas to extend your skills for the good of your community photography.

My camera club does a number of community photography events each year. We provide photographers to shoot a range of events including…

  • Mayors Annual Golf Tournament
  • Annual town regatta
  • Annual luncheon for local service veterans
  • Annual luncheon for senior citizens
  • The annual “Santa fun run”
  • Armistice March past.
  • Town fair
  • Annual carol singing event

…and quite a few other activities.

Armistice Day - Veterans Lunch

• Armistice Day – Veterans Lunch •

What do you get for doing your community photography?

The whole process of community photography is extremely rewarding. You want your club or group known locally. Then, as you grow and contribute you get more members, raise money and so on. Most of all you will feel fulfilled as active members in your local community. Sometimes it’s quite hard work. But it is worth it. The benefits are…

  • It is great fun!
  • Meet local people
  • Extend the community reach of your group
  • Make more contacts
  • Raise money for your club
  • Raise money for charity
  • Help other community groups
  • Get your work known locally
  • Get in the local papers
  • Get onto local websites
  • Create a photographic legacy for the town
  • Help people understand photography better
  • Joint activities with other local groups
  • Provide the community with a richer experience

Raising money for charity is great. A lot of people in need get help. There are some other rich, but less visible, benefits too.

A rich source of local history is often the local library too. Many libraries retain many thousands of photographs of the town donated by local photogs. Some go back over a century. It is a rich and important local resource. It gets your photos and club exposed in all sorts of ways. So does providing a historical archive of the area for the “Local History Club”.

Another reward is mixing with other interest groups. At fairs and events you will meet other clubs and their members. You can also get to know them by just ringing up and talking. Why would you do that? My community photography club has an annual event with other local clubs. One club night we get together with the poetry club. In advance we have swapped poems and photos. On the night we provide photos to illustrate the poems they provided. They read poetry about the photos we provided. A great evening – really illuminating. We do a similar event with the local artists club.

Publicity is key to community photography

Many a local group has died because of lack of publicity. Community photography should not go that way. If you engage with your local people you will have some brilliant photo opportunities. Each and every one provides a publicity opportunity too.

Community photography thrives on telling the stories of events in the local area. That is the stuff of blogs, newspaper articles, fund-raisers, exhibitions, displays and other types of contacts. Engaging with your community is not just about taking photos. It is also about exploiting the opportunity to get your work and the club known. If you engage with your local people… make sure they know about your group too. Shy photogs are not well known. Get out there and take photos, but make sure you engage with others.

Most of all make sure everyone knows your group took the photos. Insist that, if your clubs’ photos are used, they are acknowledged. Put photos up in the town with your community photography club name and contact attached. Get in the papers and insist the club is mentioned. Have a blog. Link to town event and activity websites. Use your photos and offer them to other websites to use too. Making the best of your community photography is about getting your name and your photos out in the community.

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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+.