Photography horror – resolve three personal issues

Photography horrors :: The pressure is on to get the images right on a wedding shoot!

The pressure is on to get the images right!
Photography horror will get you if you let it.

These three horrors can help you

“Photography horror” is not necessarily bad news. If you are truly horrified over your work, you have been given a unique gift. Learning to recognise the issues is important. It is a sign. It points at future goals. Your photography horror is a way to see a problem you can fix.

Photography horror 1: This is awful. I know I can do better

Great. You have seen your mistake. Now you will try to avoid it next time. Or, you have seen there is a mistake. You are not really sure of the problem. However, further analysis will help you improve your shots.

Both of these are really good news. Of course you are disappointed. But think about it. You either know the problem, or have a subject for research. Once you have found the problem then you can fix it.

Making images is like any other pursuit. You only get better if you put in time to improve. If you can quickly spot the mistake, kick yourself and move on. If you don’t, start to look for ways to resolve it. You might need to do some reading. Look at similar images and ask, “why are they better”? Try discussing with a friend. Consult with an artist. Join a photography club. Read a book… All of these options help you understand this photography horror.

What’s the most important thing? It’s that pit-of-the-stomach feeling you felt. This is your senses telling you that you can do better. Learn to recognise it. Your “photography horror” is a new found friend. Use it to improve.

Photography horror 2: All my work is terrible!

Wow – big statement! But, we have all been there. This photography horror just flattens our ego. It might apply to all the shots in a shoot. It could be a whole day of negative shots. Worse still, it might reflect weeks of bad outcomes. You feel like you are in trouble. And, photography horror seems to ooze out of everything you do.

What is going on? Why is this feeling so crushing? Again, this is your inner sense of “photography horror” helping you out. However, this one has the scope to stop you dead. You cannot see a way out of it. You are trapped. It is the ultimate photographers block. Recognising it is easy. You just don’t want to pick up your camera. You want to walk away from making images and forget the whole thing.

OK, do it! Yes, take a break from your image making. But, the way out of this particular photography horror is planning. Plan to take the break for a specific time. Set goals for start-date and start-activity. Work out specific things to try and get right for your return date. Then, forget the whole thing. Just sit back and take a deserved rest.

You have reached a fill-up point. Your ideas, creative juices, skills and knowledge have simply saturated you. The result is a jumble of ideas, concepts and knowledge. You need time to sort this lot out.

This feeling of photography horror is all about being over-whelmed. Given time, and a little subconscious thinking you will begin to put it all together. Plan for a week off. Or, maybe take two. But don’t take more than a month. You risk losing it all if you take too long.

While you are on your break the feeling of impending doom will lessen. Instead, you will find yourself thinking of the things you can do when you get back to your goals. Take the time. Relax. Then, when the planned date is here – get back to your task with new enthusiasm.

Photography horror 3: These images are terrible!

The chips are down. You have to produce something. A family party perhaps? Or maybe you are doing a wedding for the first time. Whatever, the pressure is on. You open the images in the editor and… Oh no! Doomed!

This photography horror strikes us all at some time. It seems like what you have done is the worst ever.

It is about fear. The unknown, coupled with pressure, gets to you. When we have to do things for other people it piles on the pressure. This is a familiar worry for wedding photographers. It’s a worry for most professional photographers at some time in their career. Amateur photogs are equally likely to suffer. It all hinges on the need for good results. When taking pictures for yourself you don’t have that pressure. When the pressure is on, worrying about it gnaws at your soul. By the time you get to the editing screen you are nearly screaming with anticipation. With that tension almost anything appears disappointing. You will hate your work. And, you will feel devastated.

The problem is gaining perspective. With this photography horror your expectations exceed the possible. It is time to be realistic.

Start processing straight away. When you begin to do something practical things get easier. You will quickly see that you can actually use the images. Work with them. Process them. Do the things you know are possible. Use all your processing skills, work with the images. Express yourself. Before long you’ll see this photography horror is about focus. Editing out the bad. Selecting the good. Working with the images to bring out the best in them.

Behind all photography horror…

More often than not, photography horror is about personal confidence. Doing practical things to move forward helps build that confidence. It gets you past the terror, the nerves and mixed up feelings. Always have a plan for improvement. Make sure you have enough free time to break the bonds of your commitment. Give yourself time to think.

You will find that your feelings of “photography horror” are really useful. They tell you when things are not right. They guide you to make improvements and move forward. They are the way to become a great photographer.

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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+.

Happy New Year 2015…

Have a Happy New Year 2015

Have a Happy New Year 2015

Make 2015 an exceptional year of photography

A happy new year 2015 to you and all our readers! This is a quick message to wish all our readers a happy, prosperous and highly photographic year.

Make this a great photography year – learn new techniques and skills. Every photog spends most of their photography time learning and developing. Photography is an art. Each shot is a creative opportunity to develop our artistic skills. And, we also need to develop our technical skills.

Happy New Year 2015… how we can help you

On Photokonnexion we help you with both creative and technical skills. There are over 1000 pages of photographic wisdom here. Each article has ideas and techniques to help you develop your photography. Make good use of them. They can help you be a learning photographer – a better photographer.

We love to post solutions to your problems. Email us from the Contact Us page. Let us know what could help you. We will be happy to find ideas to move your photography forward.

We want your Happy New Year 2015 to be a top photography year for you. So think about requesting articles too. We will be happy to write posts to help you develop. If you have a subject of interest to you and our readers, let us know. We will write something to help all our readers.

Follow us on Twitter too

Don’t forget we have an active Twitter account: @Photokonnexion. Every day we post twenty to thirty quick motivational tweets and great tips for photogs. We answer questions and provide help. With more than 16,000 followers we have an active community there. So feel free to join in the fun. Learn something too. Just click the button below.


Happy New Year 2015

We hope Photokonnexion will make a difference to your photography this year. Have a happy new year 2015.

Damon Guy
Photokonnexion Editor

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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+.

A Fun Filled Photography-Festive-Season

Festive Season Photography

Festive Season Photography.

Happy Christmas – 2014

This is the Quickest post! It is just to say, thank you to all our readers for your continued following and interest in this blog. Festive Season Photography is about enjoying yourself. Have fun doing that with your family.

We wish you, and all your family, the best and Happiest Christmas!

I look forward to 2015 with great excitement… We have several projects and some new ideas to engage you in the coming year! So, keep watching this space. We are moving forward.

Enjoy the festive season, have fun. Most of all, do lots of photography!

Festive Season Photography should be fun! Enjoy!
Damon and the staff at Photokonnexion.com

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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+.

Exposure changes the mood of your image

Exposure changes can affect many aspects of an image.

Exposure changes can affect many aspects of an image. Colour, mood, visual impact, contrast and others. The second image below show the differences.
Image better seen large. Click image to view large.

There is no such thing as a perfect exposure

The main goal of starter photographers is to control the exposure. The Exposure Triangle, or other models of balancing light, lead learners to pursue ‘perfection’. Once they grasp the concept of balancing ISO, Aperture and Shutter speed, the needle in the camera viewfinder is their guide.

In manual mode, that central needle is important. It shows that the three elements are balanced. The unwary learner is soon overwhelmed by that needle. They have learned how to keep it central. Now they are going to keep it there despite everything. They have learned that, if the exposure changes, the needle drifts off the middle position. When that happens it is no longer “perfect”.

That mid-position needle is useful. However, it is not ‘perfection’. It is just a guide. Modern camera manufacturers have made things easy for the camera user. The technology, sensors and controls on a modern camera mislead the unwary into a false position. Complex technology and controls give the user confidence that the camera must be right. They assume the central needle creates the perfect capture. That is simply not true.

The balance of light controls the quality of outcome you want. Your final image is created by that quality of light. The creative photographer uses exposure changes to to conjure up the result they want. A good photographer commands the camera to create the picture. The camera does not create the perfect exposure for the user. The user makes exposure changes to create the desired image. Deliberate under or overexposure is an important part of creating your image.

Exposure changes allow you to command the camera

In the image below we see (almost) the same picture as above…

A different quality of exposure changes the whole experience of the picture.

This second image shows same scene as above. But the different quality of exposure changes the experience of the picture. This outcome is no more correct than the top picture. However, when it was taken this one was 1 and 1/3 stops underexposed on the camera viewfinder scale. It was taken within seven seconds of the first image.
Image better seen large. Click image to view large.

Exposure changes allow the user to create the mood of the shot. This is clearly shown by the deeper contrasts, more saturated blues in the sky and reds in the Autumnal leaves. The low sunlight brings out the shadows and colours more. It all adds up. Together they create a very different view of this fountain scene. A twilight feel perhaps.

I was trying to create an Autumn evening view and the deliberate underexposure gave me the key. Yes, I deliberately underexposed to create the effect. I was commanding the camera to create my “perfect” scene for what I wanted.

Experienced photogs make exposure changes regularly

For me, the darker version was right for the reasons I needed that photograph. The control of the intensity of shadows, colours, contrasts, and so on, can be done many ways.

For example, High key shots often use exposure changes. They are created by deliberate overexposure. That brings out the intense whites in a high key image.

Many portraits are lit very brightly to the eye, but a very small aperture or fast shutter speed limits the light entering the camera. This will create an underexposure bringing out the facial features. This gives shadows a depth, without harshness, as can be seen in the next image. This use of exposure changes is a great mood enhancer.

Portrait shot in bright light but underexposed in-camera.

Portrait underexposed in-camera creates a tonally controlled result.

Create the exposure changes you want

How do you create this effect of under or overexposure? Simple. There is a control that can do it in auto or semi-auto modes. While in an auto-mode use the “exposure compensation” dial. You can add or subtract one or two stops of light. You can find out how to use the dial in your manual.

For the learner going fully manual it is even easier. That central needle position is your guide to what the camera calculates as an optimum light level for the shot. To create a manual over or underexposure simply dial the exposure-meter back or forward. Move the needle away from the central position. Shocking I know. You actually create exposure changes by deviating from the central needle position.

Exposure changes of one stop halves or doubles the light entering the camera. So be careful. Take several test shots. Dial one third of a stop or more at a time. Look at the result and check if you have created the right effect.

Create your image in mind – then make exposure changes to suit

The way you want your image is a creative decision. The camera should not be allowed to dictate the outcome.

You have two choices. If you go with the settings the camera gives you, the result is an optimum of the balance of the settings. If you can foresee what you want to achieve, then create your own result. In this case, make the balance of settings so the exposure changes to your choice. Your choice will be different to the result the camera would give you. But with care and practice it will be what you intend for your shot. You have taken control.

So next time you are taking a photo consider this. If you think your picture would be more effective as a darker or lighter representation, then make the exposure changes you need. Do it – create. Really make your images – don’t just capture what is there.

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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+.

Conservation photography – keeping nature alive in our thoughts

Conservation photography can help us to connect to nature.

If you capture colour and movement and an eye catching event you have a vibrant image. Through conservation photography, we can keep alive our connection with nature.
(Image from the video).

Wonderful world

Life itself is an awesome thing. Here, in this tiny corner of the universe we both celebrate life and destroy it. All life is self-centered. Just surviving is a feat for most forms of life. But humans also have a wider world view. At least, some humans do. Most of us go about our lives at the expense of the environment. We are oblivious to the impact we have on this wonderful world. Conservation photography can help that change.

Our connection to the world around us

Human we may be, but inside we are still animals. We still connect to the world. Every mouth full of food, every breath, we connect. But these things are not as immediate as they once were. In our man-made world we rarely struggle for breath or go short of food. The loss of those imperatives has made us forget our roots. We still need to remember our place. Conservation photography helps us connect.

Conservation photography is about…

Through our images we can help people connect with nature. Even if it is in a small way. As photographers we have a duty to help people see the world, as does any artist. We are well placed to show people the reality, the harshness, the wonder and the loss. Conservation photography is about being an advocate for nature. We should find ways to show our images so people appreciate nature and want to conserve its wonders.

Even a few pictures can have an impact. If you take images of plants, animals or landscapes you can help others connect with nature. Our images can help to keep nature alive and vibrant in people’s minds. If you can, even with a few images, try to explain to people what is right, wrong or dangerous about environmental things and events.

Motivating people to get involved is difficult. Conservation photography helps people to see what is being done. It also helps them see the tragedy of the natural world today. It can help us show people those wonders that are worth conserving. From those pictures people become aware. Awareness is the root of motivation. Any way we can help people connect is a good thing.

Wonderful nature

I was prompted to write this piece on conservation photography after seeing this video. The photographer, Frans Lanting, uses vibrant images to take us into the animal world. His lyrical, almost poetic approach is captivating. His images show a vibrant and emotive connection with nature. The video is a short piece, but the images are amazing.

Video provided by TED.com

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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+.

Family photography – a shared interest refreshes family life

Family photography can stimulate the family unit.

Family photography can stimulate the family unit.

Losing sight of things

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

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

Family photography – a new beginning

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

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

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

Education through family photography

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

Family photography benefits for parents

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

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

Grow together

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

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Post contributed by :: Linden Porter

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

Photography hacks – adapting your equipment

Seven photography hacks :: adapting your equipment

Seven photography hacks

Photography hacks- making something work differently

In most shots our standard equipment does what is required. Yet, the standard shot is not always what we want. Sometimes we want to make some special effort to provide a different effect, a new view. There are many thousands of photography hacks. Each one can give us something different. Some are more radical than others. But what it really comes down to is making our equipment fit our need to get a specific type of outcome.

Regular readers will know that creative work often involves visualisation. Seeing a hoped-for image outcome in your head helps you to have ideas. Such pre-thinking can help you plan how to use or adapt your equipment. To get the desired result you may have to do all sorts of small adaptions. Walk into any working studio and you will see, card, boards, gaffer tape, clamps, flags. They are all there to help jury-rig things into a new way of creating an effect for the shoot.

These photography hacks are the mainstay of studio work and important on location too. You can do lots of simple things to change the light, the colours, the shadows, the effects of light on your lens, and so on. All that is required is to try and think ahead about what you want to achieve. Then, find ways to change your equipment to get the effect. Familiarity with your equipment helps. As you get creative, then other ideas will come to mind. Look around for ways to change things, or to get new effects.

Photography hacks video

In the video, “7 Simple Photography Hacks” you can get an insight into some of the basic ideas. These are a good start for some examples you can develop yourself. Spend a little time thinking about things you have around you. See if some of them could be used in your own photography hacks.
Provided by COOPH Photography hacks video | External link - opens new tab/page

Messy

The “Vaseline” photography hack in the video can be a bit messy. Only do it on a filter, not the lens. And, try to keep any of the “Vaseline” off the rest of the camera. It is difficult to clean up too. So use an old filter.

Another photography hack for you to try

Here is another idea you can use. It is less messy and gives some satisfying results too…

  • Cut a section out of a fine quality pair of ladies tights (psst… make sure they are surplus first!).
  • Pull the piece tight across the end of your lens.
  • Fix it in place by securing it with elastic bands tight enough over the end of the lens to hold it taught.
  • Take your photo through the material of the tights.
  • To vary the effect, you can make a central hole in the material.
  • Try different colours, try different types of tights knit.

This one is a very old photography hack. It used to be used a lot in wedding shoots years ago. It is just as effective today. Have a go. It is fun.

Let us have some of your shots. We would love to put up a few for others to see.

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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+.