Category Archives: Review

Description: review, evaluation, examination, study, analysis, audit, check, consideration, file, inspection, reassessment, reconsideration, reflection, report, rethink, retrospect, revision, scan, scrutiny, study, survey, view
May include: criticism, judgement
Notes: criticism is an evaluation or judgement of something, while critique is a somewhat elevated term for the same thing; review is used as a synonym for these but may also imply a more comprehensive study

Ten simple ideas to improve your photography (and a fun quiz)

Ten Tips

Ten Tips and 12 fun quiz questions.

Simple things help you…

We should all take a step back and think about the basics sometimes. It helps us remember essential techniques and keeps us on our toes. Here are the basics with some fun quiz questions too.

The simplest techniques in photography are often the most important ones. In this post we make sure we don’t forget them…

10 essential things to know; 12 fun quiz questions
  1. Not knowing your camera: This is really bad news. If you are hoping to improve your photography make sure you learn what every lump, bump, dial, screen, lens and twiddly bit does. Read your manual regularly. Practice with each function until you have got it right. Then practice it in the dark so you can do a night shoot.
    Quiz Question 1: How many lenses are there on a camera? Answers at the end!
  2. Poor stance: Most people when starting photography don’t realise that the way they stand and hold the camera creates all sorts of problems and poor performance. If you are a keen photographer a good stance can contribute to improved sharpness (hand-held shots), better focus, more steady hand and better shot timing. Learn to stand properly right at the start and you will save yourself lots of re-training time later.
    Quiz Question 2: At what point in the breath cycle is it best to take your shot?
  3. Not using a tripod: classic mistake. Tripods save you lots of time and give you pin sharp photographs. They give you an opportunity to set your camera up properly and ensures that your are ready for your shot.
    Quiz Question 3: A monopod has one leg, a tripod has three legs. What is, and how might you use, a bipod?
  4. Not giving the camera time to focus: When you press the shutter button halfway down it causes the auto-focus to cut in which focuses the camera. But if you punch straight through that to the shot the focus has not had time to do the full focus. This normally happens on the first focus attempt when the focus is right off. After that the lens in nearly focused and will adjust more quickly. So don’t make your first focus attempt too close to the shot or it will be blurred.
    Quiz Question 4: Why do you have two rings on a modern auto-focus/zooming photographic lens? What do you call each of them?
  5. Taking pictures against a bright light? Cameras don’t like very bright lights. Especially if there are also very dark spots nearby. Shooting indoors while looking at a window out to a bright sky will cause a strong white spot. This is very distracting and draws the eye away from the subject. Not good. There are Light and Lighting resource pages on Photokonnexion for you to learn more.
    Quiz Question 5: How many stops of light can healthy human eyes see (20:20 vision)? How many can the camera (rough generalisation) cope with?
  6. Relying on flash (especially pop-up flash): Pop up light has a very small concentrated source. It discolours faces, washes out colours, creates harsh, sharp-lined shadows and is badly placed (too close to the optical axis) creating nasty highlights on faces. Try to use natural light more. It is much more forgiving and does not produce such harsh shadows most of the time.
    Quiz Question 6: What is often the result of using pop-up flash with respect to two parts of the face?
  7. Dead centre subject: If you put the subject of your picture in the centre it will usually be boring. If you off-set your subject the eye will be looking to see why the symmetry is broken. That keeps the eye hunting around the screen. Learn about the “Rule of thirds” and other Composition principles. That will help you make the shot more compelling to the eye.
    Quiz Question 7: What type of compositional perspective would you be working with if you want to promote a three dimensional feel to your picture composition?
  8. Horizon control: Make sure your horizon is level, especially if it is a seascape. If you leave it on an angle the picture will be ruined because it will look like the sea is sliding off the page! Horizons also induce mid-picture viewer-stupor. Make a decision. Either shoot for the sky in which case place the horizon in the bottom third of the picture. Or, shoot for the ground in which case the horizon goes in the top third of the picture. An off-set horizon is more dynamic and keeps the viewers eye moving.
    Quiz Question 8: If your main choice is to shoot for the sky, where would you take your exposure from? (Where would you point your viewfinder focus point?) a. The sky? b. The ground?
    Quiz Question 9: Describe autofocus hunting and why it happens?
  9. Simplify, simplify, simplify: The most effective way to show a subject to your viewer is to de-clutter the picture. Take out of your composition everything that is nothing to do with the subject. The more you make the viewers eye go to the subject the more effective your shot will be.
    Did I mention that you should simplify your shot?
    Quiz Question 10: What is it called when you paint out something from your picture in post processing to simplify a shot?
    By the way, did I mention that you should work really hard to simplify your shots?
  10. Go manual: Auto-modes on your camera are really best guesses about what the manufacturer thinks will be suitable for the average shots most snappers will take. Buy you are a keen photographer. To get the camera to do exactly what you want, and to make discerning choices about your images you should work on improving your manual control. Your understanding of photographic principles will improve, your skill at exposure will improve and you will find yourself making informed choices about how you want your picture to come out. You will turn from a snapper into a photographer.
    Quiz Question 11: What does the ISO control do? a. Adjust the sensitivity of the digital image sensor or b. Change the aperture size?
    Quiz Question 12: Does ‘shutter speed’ or ‘aperture’ control movement blur?
Answers to quiz questions
  • Quiz Question Answer 1: I am talking about any camera that has a lens, not just DSLRs. the number of lenses is a matter of variation. If you are discussing photographic lenses then only that one will count (but read on). Some people think of each glass element in the photographic lens as an independent lens. Technically that is not true. They are optical lenses or glass elements, not photographic lenses. However, if the photographic lens (and elements if you included those) were all you counted you would be wrong. Here is a short list of Possible lenses on a camera of any sort…

    There may be others.

  • Quiz Question Answer 2: You should take a shot at the full inhale point or full exhale point before inhaling or exhaling in the next part of the cycle. You can choose which is best for you. All you do is delay the next part of the cycle while you take a shot. This is the point in the breath cycle when there is least movement of the shoulders/chest. Read more about it in Simple tips for a good stance
  • Quiz Question Answer 3: A bipod is photographically uncommon. Understandably, it has two legs. Find out more here… Definition: Bipod
  • Quiz Question Answer 4: The two rings on an auto-focussing photographic lens allow one ring to focus the image – the focus ring. The other ring is for zooming the lens. The latter changes the focal length and is called the focal length ring.
  • Quiz Question Answer 5: Human eyes can see about 18 to 20 stops of light when healthy. However, by contrast the best commercially available cameras have to operate with a dynamic range of 8 to 12 stops of light. Research is pushing the boundaries but there is still a big gap to meet the dynamic range of the human eye (in 2013).
  • Quiz Question Answer 6: Pop-up flash is very likely to cause red-eye.
  • Quiz Question Answer 7: To make things look three dimensional in your image you should be working with three point perspective. Look for lines in your image that promote cube-like structures. For example buildings, walls and other objects with lines and shapes that have a solid feel in real life. This will trick the eye into believing that there is a solid object in the picture. Read: Simple ideas about perspective in photography and: Definition: Perspective
  • Quiz Question Answer 8: If you shoot for the sky you will need to be taking your exposure from the sky as that is the brightest point. This will leave the ground darker in your exposure than you would see it with your eye. You can use one of a number of techniques to correct that later.
  • Quiz Question 9: Auto-focus hunting is when the auto-focus in the lens cannot focus and will keep going up and down the focus range trying to get a focus. This is a common problem at night, in darker conditions, low contrast conditions and clear or totally grey skies. You can read more about it in: Auto-focus ‘Hunting’ Definition: Hunting, Auto-focus

  • Quiz Question 10: when you paint out something from your picture in post processing to simplify a shot? You normally use a cloning tool. You can find out more in: Definition: Cloning; To Clone; Cloned; Clone Tool.
  • Quiz Question 11: What does the ISO control do? It adjusts the sensitivity of the digital image sensor allowing you to work in bright light (low ISO setting) or low light (high ISO setting). There is an article on ISO here: ISO.

  • Quiz Question 12: Shutter speed controls movement blur. Aperture controls blur (bokeh) created by the loss of sharpness outside the zone of acceptable sharpness. This is traditionally known as the depth of field. More reading on: Definition: Exposure and related to aperture: Definition: f number.

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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+.

How to work with your camera settings – a simple, fun lesson

CameraSim – website to try out exposure settings.

Camera settings can be confusing without guidance. This website provides camera simulations allowing you to vary settings and learn the relationships between them. It’s interactive – try it – it’s fun!

The simulation above is a fully working version from the website. You can also go to the CameraSim website and try it there. If you cannot see the simulation please comment below. Then try it on the CameraSim website instead.

Trying it out

As you can see above the controls allow two types of set up. Lets walk through an introduction.

On the left are the controls that allow you to set the lighting and the the focus controls for your distance-from-subject and focal length for your lens. The light level allows you to simulate the ambient light levels. Set the light and your distance/focal length points first.

The girl on the screen moves continuously and so does the windmill. This allows you to try out settings for capturing movement. The two different rates of movement give you a chance to try freezing one or both or allowing some movement blur. It gives you a controllable situation so you can experiment.

By selecting ‘manual control’ you give CameraSim no control over the settings – just like a real camera. Click ‘Manual’ control now. I will explain a few points.

In the centre of the viewfinder screen is a green scale and figures. If you cannot see it press the silver button to return to the viewfinder view. The ‘needle’ is centred below the scale. If you now move any of the ISO, Aperture or Shutter Speed settings you will see the needle shift to indicate the exposure setting. If it moves to the right it will be over exposing (by up to two stops of light). If you change a setting and the needle moves left you will be similarly under exposing. Also, moving a slider will change the corresponding value on the green settings shown.

Try selecting Aperture Priority (A) – slide the aperture slider. You will see the needle in the screen does not move. In ‘A’ mode exposure is controlled by the camera. If you slide either the ISO or ‘A’ setting the shutter slider is set by the camera. As they slide, the needle in the viewer window stays centred. When this happens the camera is keeping the exposure constant at an ‘ideal’ position. It keeps this position by moving the Shutter Priority (Tv) or Time Value setting to compensate. So, if you move the aperture slider to the right this makes the aperture smaller and reduces the incoming light. CameraSim moves the shutter slider to the left. This means the shutter is open longer to let in more light to compensate.

If you select the Shutter Priority slider the same situation occurs. The Aperture Slider is disabled. Now the camera controls aperture if you change the Shutter speed (Tv).

Pressing the shutter button on any setting and you can take a picture. When you do, the exposure created by the shown settings is captured. The screen then turns into a simulation of DSLR back-screen showing you the exposure. Press the silver button to return to the settings/viewfinder.

A lot of thought is needed to master settings. Practice and understanding takes time. CameraSim is a great idea – it allows you to play with settings and get a feel for them.

The picture of the girl and playground is a bit limited. However, it allows you to explore the settings with a constant view. This simple situation lets you test different scenarios without confusing variation of scenes.

No such thing as a perfect exposure

CameraSim has a few shortcomings. Cameras with Auto-mode, ‘A’ and Tv settings make it look like there is a perfect exposure – when the needle is centred. In reality the perfect exposure does not exist. There are lots of times when you want to over or under expose a scene for dramatic effect, mood or other scene-setting. Normally, to achieve these using AP or Tv, you would use “exposure compensation” which is not available in CameraSim. Of course it is possible to set under/over exposure by using the “Manual” control – that’s worth exploring.

Focus on the subject is limited only to the girl. So it is difficult to practice landscape shot-simulation. However, if you ignore the girl and move the ‘distance’ slider you can, sort of, practice the focus and control over the background. It would be quite a nice idea to have a few other types of views to try out. However, there is another version of CameraSim under DSLR Explainer  External link - opens new tab/page In this version you can see how the camera works while still tweeking the settings (only manual mode). In this simulation you can adjust the light settings (upper left of the picture). As you adjust the setting you also get a different picture view. You can go through the simulation step-by-step and it shows you how the camera works for ISO, A, and Tv. This version is not quite so easy to use and takes a little working out. It is worth trying out anyway.

Overall…

The CameraSim site is about a year old. It is still under development so we will hopefully see some great ideas in the future. It has great potential for teaching exposure and there is lots of fun to be had with personal experiments. There are some explanatory notes under the simulator on the site itself. So it is worth reading those or following the links below to the exposure information on Photokonnexion.

I like CameraSim. It is a great idea. However, I think it will be most useful for people working with an instructor or experienced friend. Some guidance and explanation is useful while you are experimenting to help you understand the exposure relationship. The author recognises this and suggests it is a great way to use the simulator. So maybe you will see it in a photography class soon. Do have a go, it helps you think about exposure in a very worthwhile way.

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+.

Can you write? Of course you can!
Write for Photokonnexion...

We would love to have your articles or tips posted on our site.
Find out more…
Write for Photokonnexion.

How safe are your photography files from file loss?

Electronic files are threatened by many dangers.

File loss comes down to one of two problems. They can be electronically lost or mechanically lost. There are simple things you can do about it. A proper backup strategy is something we should all have in place. Have you reviewed yours recently?

File loss can seriously affect your happiness – that’s important

As a keen photographer, if you lose your electronically stored photographs you lose the fruits of all your labour. If you are a keen family photographer you could lose all the memories those photos represent of good times and family togetherness. You might be losing both, or more if you have other uses for your images. Losing files, and particularly ones that impact on your family life and memories, can be quite traumatic. If your home is destroyed by fire the trauma is terrible. Imagine if you were to lose all your family photographs in that fire too! File loss can be completely devastating.

When a disaster strikes – earthquake, fire or tsunami – the disaster organisations pick up the pieces. Often they say the loss of photographs causes serious emotional problems for people recovering from trauma. Think carefully about taking action to protect your files. Don’t let file loss devastate your memories.

Protecting against file loss is easy

Being keen on taking photographs can help you to enjoy yourself. Protecting against file loss helps you to preserve your files. But it also gives you peace of mind. So it is worth investing a little time to protect your files.

Things change

You may have a great computer. It may even be new. Things change fast with technology. Before long your existing hard drive will be getting old, subject to mechanical failure. Hard drives are more reliable than they used to be. However, they are are still liable to fail. If you have all your data on one hard drive that fails you will lose everything. I used to run an Information Technology department. I know how often hard drives just suddenly give up. Believe me do not trust to luck. One day you will lose everything. A mechanical failure will occur and file loss will happen.

Of course you may suffer from some sort of software error first. I have seen hard drives that completely corrupted themselves. They were working fine. But everything on the drives was simply trashed beyond use. There are several ways this can happen. Virus or malware activity on the computer can be one cause. Damage to the file storage database is another possibility. There are other issues too.

Knowing about the reasons for file loss or damage is interesting. However, all you really need to know is that your files can be deleted, completely corrupted or otherwise damaged. This can happen at any time.

I know you are going to tell me of firewalls, anti-virus and other protection. But, even those can be overcome by hackers, virus infection or malware. Computer security is an ongoing battle. It never ends. You can protect yourself as much as you can afford. The worst can still happen – although it is less likely. And, that is the point. If you ensure you have all the right protection AND you back up your files you have the best possible cover against file loss.

Don’t panic about potential file loss

The answer is simple. Back up; back up; back up!

Notice I said that three times? Well, for safety sake that is what you should do. The principle is simple. Here is how it works:

  • Level one: Updated every time you create a new file or change a file. Most hobbyist photographers will have this storage on the hard drive of their computer. It is the working storage space. But this storage alone is vulnerable. It is a single point of failure for file loss.
  • Level two (back up): Use an external/portable hard drive. Normally these plug into your computer using a USB connector. Each time you create new files or change old files, you copy them to the back-up external drive.
  • Level three (off-site backup): This is also an external/portable hard drive. You need to keep this copy at a different site to your computer. Then, if there is a fire at your house the level two back up drive is safe at another site. Then, about once a week, you copy all new files from your level two back up to the off-site level three drive.

So, in addition to your computer hard drive, you need two external hard drives. One stays next to your computer. The other you can keep in your office, or in a shed – anywhere out of your home. Then, you need to back them up to each other regularly. That three level approach is a simple and safe system to prevent file loss.

It’s supposed to be fun

Photography is fun. We all love it. However, file loss would be a a total disaster. You will be able to relax and enjoy your hobby all the more if there is a fall-back position. You can rest easy and feel comfortable with your hobby if you know that those files are safe.

Look carefully at your potential file loss situation. Think about getting yourself a couple of hard drives and backing up all your files on them. Then you are covered.

Check out these external hard drives on Amazon:
External hard drives on Amazon  Protect against file loss. Backup to a hard drive | External link - opens new tab/page

Also check out the links below for more information on files and file protection…

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+.

Can you write? Of course you can!
Write for Photokonnexion...

We would love to have your articles or tips posted on our site.
Find out more…
Write for Photokonnexion.

Focus On Imaging NEC Birmingham 3 – 6 March 2013

Focus On Imaging 2013

Focus On Imaging 2013  External link - opens new tab/page
National Exhibition Centre Birmingham 3 – 6 March 2013

A broad range of new equipment.

It appeared from busy aisles at this years Focus On Imaging Exhibition External link - opens new tab/page that photographic business is actively fighting off the economic depression, possibly even in rude health. With around one hundred and sixty exhibitors there was plenty to see. There was a whole range of new developments as well as the old favourites.

A Key aspect of the show this year was the new ranges of cameras. Leading manufacturers were actively promoting mirrorless cameras. The gradual shift away from the point-and-shoot market also seemed to continue. The camera market appears to be changing. Heavy duty technologies from the top-of-the-range DSLRs are being used in the lower end cameras. The market seems to be shifting in favour of high resolution processing right through the full range.

The economic climate is obviously still impacting. A predominant theme on retail stands was deals and offers. There was plenty on offer too. In previous years many of the accessories available in the UK seemed to be expensive compared to current prices. Today imported goods appear to be impacting the market. Exhibitors were showing equipment which appeared robust and very competitively priced. The shift in the camera market also appears to be creating deals. There were very good prices offered on cameras in all segments of the market. Many of these deals reflect depressed prices in the market in general but the many of the stands were offering greater reductions than even shop prices.

The show organisers unfortunately failed to publish the event list this year. Show goers were left to pick up what information they could about various talks and demonstrations from stands themselves. It made choosing how to spend our time was a little difficult. However, I managed to see three interesting demonstrations. There was a lot of emphasis on lighting techniques this year. Some very good models and backdrops were shown and lots of people were taking photographs. If you are going to go to the show take your camera for some additional fun.

Aside from impressive stands by Canon and Nikon, Sigma had an impressive spread of lenses available. There were some excellent tripods on show this year on several stands. Despite the reluctance of beginners to buy them, the tripod market is both competitive and innovative. Tripod heads are getting smoother and there are some very interesting new ideas, particularly in the high-engineering end of the market. However, the top tripod head units were weighing in at around £500… not a price to be taken lightly.

Other stands of interest included the extremely active Disabled Photographers’ Society. That society fosters a wonderful camaraderie and energy among its members. The Royal Photographic Society were also at the exhibition showing continuous short events which were well attended. They also are in active recruiting mode.

My overall impression of the exhibition this year was one of great energy. There was a lot of business being transacted and show-goers were being dynamic on all the stands. It was an enjoyable day, and one that will help to keep me informed about products and trends in this business.

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+.

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+.

What Pinterest can offer photographers

Photokonnexion Pinterest Account

The Photokonnexion Pinterest Account

Viewing great images helps you make them…

Learning to read we are encouraged to read widely and develop our vocabulary. Reading classics and exploring interests helps inspire and teach us the foundations. It’s the same with photography. Great images, classic photographs – these help provide clues to the foundations of successful image-making. It helps us learn what works, what stimulates, what creates an image in the viewers mind. When learning photography our insight is improved with wide access to all the things that make images great and to the images themselves.

Developing photographic insight

In a previous post, “50 ways to improve your photography – every day”, I encouraged readers to constantly review other peoples photographs. Exposing yourself to images of all sorts help you to understand pictures better. Exposing yourself to great images helps you to improve by providing standards to aspire to in your photography.

Keen photographers may already look at lots of images a day. Unfortunately, newspapers, magazines and many websites use poor quality images or ones selected for purposes other than their aesthetic quality. In this situation it helps to have a place where you can create a haven, a place of quality images you respect, admire, aspire to, even adore. It should be a place you create where you can return regularly to cultivate your own taste in imagery with the images from your own portfolio, the best from websites you use and shared images from others with similar interests. For me that place is the website “Pinterest”.

How does Pinterest work?

Pinterest has established itself as…

…a virtual pinboard. Pinterest allows you to organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. You can browse boards created by other people to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.
http://pinterest.com/about/help/

When you open a “Pinterest” account you are helped through the process of choosing some images from the general pool of images. This gives you a learning opportunity and the chance to set up a range of “boards”. These are individual containers of images in a category you choose. You set up a “board” for each category of image you are interested in. You can change all this later too. I have one board with photography tips from this site. I also have these boards:

  • Great images;
  • Black and White
  • Works of the Greats
  • Trees and forests
  • Extraordinary Landscapes

and more. The top boards on Photokonnexion Pinterest home page  External link - opens new tab/page is shown above. Other boards line up underneath.

You can post an image to any of your boards any time in three ways. You can:

  1. Add a pin – enter a web address and select the image you want to pin.
  2. Upload a pin – select images from your computer to pin.
  3. Re-pin – select a pin from another persons board to pin.

You can also follow someone’s entire account, or you can follow a specific board from their account. You can comment on any image too. Accounts and boards you follow are accessible from your account so you can search your ‘follows’ for more images you like later. You can also search the boards of people who follow you by clicking their icons.

Each of the images are presented on one of your “boards” is in a small size. You can click through to the image in it’s largest size. If the image is presented on a web page clicking through again takes you to the page. This means you can use images a ways to get Pinterest users and your followers to visit your website too.

What Pinterest offers you

A Pinterest account provides a categorised storehouse for images you admire. These can be your images, or ones from other places or other Pinterest accounts. In short you can pick from the cream of online images and keep the image to go back to time and again. There are literally billions of images online. You will never run out of options to like, share and refer to at any time.

What Pinterest offers you, as a photographer, is a library of images that reflect your taste and interests. It is a great way to keep tabs on images you aspire to producing yourself. Your account can act as inspiration, a standard for you to work to, way to extend your photography interests; somewhere to store ideas for your future projects. It could also be a showcase of your own images for others to view and comment upon. Pinterest is a great way to make sure you see great images every day and share your interests with other people too.

What could possibly go wrong?

Every social networking site has down sides. The general interface is a bit ugly – it looks very busy on most pages. The saving grace is that the images you want to view in larger size are presented as single images so you can see them without all the other images around them.

There is an opportunity for copyright abuse since any images you post can be reposted many times. Your image will go to places you cannot control. So think carefully about images you post – as you should with any social networking site.

The comments system seems underused by the users – comments tend to be limited to explanations about images. The social networking side of the site is therefore a bit limited although as you get a following your communication with regular re-pinning-followers could develop as it would on other types of sites.

Photokonnexion on Pinterest

The idea of keeping all the images you admire in one place provides a great resource for improving your image viewing. However, if you don’t choose wisely the images you pick for your boards will not improve your vision. Of course you should choose images you like. However, when you view an image in its large size you can see how many times it has been repined. Images that are re-pinned many times provide a guide to the popularity of that image. So there is “popular guidance” of sorts. It is not expert opinion on the composition and aesthetic quality of an image of course. The best guide to what makes a good image is best learned by informed discussion with experienced photographers or other artists. Pinterest provides a place for such discussions to start, so you can make the most of the opportunities on the site with your friends.

I invite you to visit the Photokonnexion Pinterest Account. You are welcome to see how we use the account and the sort of images we like and link. If you join up be sure to surf on over and follow us. You can get our daily photography links as well as some idea of what we consider great images. Look forward to seeing you there.

Five great ways to improve your photography

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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+.