Tag Archives: Improvement

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.

Seven deadly photography sins

Seven Deadly Sins

Seven deadly sins of photography – it will catch up with you!

Some things you should be careful about…

Photography is full of pitfalls! You will come across them. Keep your eyes wide open. In the meantime here are some of the obvious sins that create problems for all the unwary…

Lust

Drooling over the latest release of some mega-technological update of the latest camera, lens, equipment… Then actually buying it because you think it will make you a photographer! Every photographer has suffered from equipment lust. Not one photographer, ever, has become a great photographer because they have suddenly purchased the latest and most expensive equipment. All that will happen if you succumb is that you will be the same photographer with less money in your pocket. Concentrate on getting better with what you already own. When your excellence surpasses the ability of the camera to show it, then consider moving to something new.

Pride

Carrying your equipment as a badge… If you buy equipment because it looks good, or shows off your purchasing prowess you are misguided. Successful photographers carry equipment because they need it for the shoot. Your pictures will be much better if you buy equipment only because it is necessary. Then use it until it falls apart. Your photography will improve, your pocket will thank you.

Sloth

Not using the equipment you have… If you have the equipment you are not a photographer unless you use it. If you stay in bed and don’t take photographs your photography will stagnate. Get up early, stay up late, travel to distant locations, take thousands of pictures and make lots of friends who also shoot pictures. The only way to enjoy photography is to get out there and do it. Then your photography will improve.

Envy

Being jealous of someone else’s equipment, photographs, ability, lights, job, whatever.. This is a shameful waste of your own time and ability. There is no better camera in the world than the one you own. Your own ability and skill will increase if you spend the time focussing on your photography. Share with others what you enjoy, and enjoy what you have. That way your photography will benefit directly from attention to your own improvement.

Gluttony

Buying more and more equipment, because its on sale, because its new, because it’s, well, photography equipment… Just because it is photography equipment does not make it good. Just because it is cheap does not make it worthwhile. Just because it is on sale does not mean you have to buy it. Good equipment should be well made, well designed and last a long time. Research your needs very well. Question your motives for every purchase. See if you can borrow something to try it first. Buy only what you need every day for your photography. Anything else you can probably do without.

Wrath

Hating on others because… The “Other” camera manufacturers products are not to your taste. If someone has something that is not your thing, or they shout about how good it is, then there is only one response. Celebrate the fact they are photographers. Express joy for their ownership. Rejoice with them over their successes. Getting angry about things you have no control over will do nothing for your photography. It will certainly do nothing to help you make friends. Concentrate on working with your own equipment, your own ability and take joy in your successes too. Then your focus will be on improving your photography. Stay with that.

Greed

Wanting it all now… No amount of wanting will give you what you want now. Money may buy the equipment, if you have the money. If you don’t then save up for it. There is very little money in photography. So make sure you fund the purchases you make with readily available cash. Debt will do nothing for your photography. It will reduce your ability to get to locations and take photographs. Instead, work consistently for well formulated goals. Set up a savings fund to ensure you get what you really need. Concentrate on what you need to do to improve and focus on working with what you have got. If you work and plan for your improvement what you want will come in time and with step by step positive action.

Being a better photographer…

Is really about being a better person. Great photographers have great insights. Those only come with introspection, self-improvement and concentrated, goal directed work. Oh, and you should enjoy yourself too!

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+.

Ten simple tips to help your photography…

Ten Tips about self expression. It takes time and effort to learn to communicate

Ten Tips about self expression. It takes time and effort to learn to communicate.

…but which are not about taking photographs.

It’s great to learn all about taking photos. But, sometimes you need to learn other things. Your skill is affected by things beyond photographic skills. Appreciate the whole experience. It is not just pushing the button that counts.

Photography is a form of self expression. It takes time and commitment to improve that. You need to focus on it. Think about releasing energy. Your creative energy. To improve self expression in photography, learn how to do in many ways. Not only through your pictures.

Self expression – release the inner you…
  1. If you are doing photography to be famous – try something else.
  2. Great images are only made by well prepared photographers who concentrate and attend to detail.
  3. Try the methods of other photographers. Don’t copy them. Be you. Work to be better.
  4. Make friends who also do photography. Learn from each other.
  5. Make mistakes freely – but work to improve everything.
  6. Observe yourself. Know you, know your photography.
  7. Work to improve you. Good photography will follow. Improvement is a habit. It comes out in everything you do.
  8. Improve your writing, talking, drawing, photography… all your self expression. Your passion only shows if you can freely express yourself.
  9. Always pack more warm clothes than you need. You cannot concentrate and be creative if you are cold.
  10. Openly discuss your opinions about photography. Talking helps you learn. Self expression takes practice.
Why self expression?

Study how YOU communicate. Then you will know how your self expression works. Photography is like every form of art. It is a way of talking to the world. You are talking to those who see your pictures. Expressing yourself through this medium is about learning self expression in general. That includes the way you communicate in other ways. If your general communication improves you will help your photography. Your new self-knowledge will show itself through self expression in your photography.

Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

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

One tip to keep your photography improving for ever!

We all want to improve our photography. Extending yourself, developing new skills and using new techniques are a part of the road to improvement. However, the ultimate aim is to develop the ‘photographers eye’. We want to see a scene, visualise a pleasing outcome, then produce a photograph realizing our vision. Developing that vision is something that comes with experience, practice, skill and aspirations.

Our standards define a quality image. If a picture meets our standard we would put it on the wall, proudly show it off or gladly publish it. Aspirations are how we raise our standards. If we aspire to higher levels of skill and art we are raising the bar – raising the standard of our photographic performance.

In another article I suggested you should start a 50-a-day habit of viewing photographs. In the next article I showed you some places where you could find pictures to feed your habit. Today’s tip is about your standards and aspirations.

While feeding your 50-a-day habit look out for the ‘One’the photograph that does what you want to achieve in an area of your photography. If you are interested in food photography, keep an eye out for the ‘One’ that you wish you had taken; the ‘One‘ you aspire to in your own shots. If you shoot sports, keep an eye open for the ‘One’ shot that is the champion of what you want to express. Look out for the shots you think cannot be bettered.

Collect those ‘One’ shots for all the areas of photography you are working on. These are the aspirational and inspirational shots that are your goals in photography. When you produce shots like that you will be in a new, higher place.

I put my collection in a folder I call ‘My Admiration Set’. I return to them regularly. I admire them, I aspire to their standards and I soak myself in their essence. These are the shots that I will one day be able to reproduce in my own way. I will equal them, and I will move on.

‘My Admiration Set’ is an evolving standard. I prune them, I replace them and I meet the changing aspirations I have with new ideas and images. One thing is constant. These images are the ones that indicate where my photography is going. They are my inspiration, my guide and the standard I aspire to reach.

My tip today is… set up your own ‘Admiration Set’. Keep it going, keep it growing. But, never put any picture in there that you are capable of producing now. The only pictures you can put in there are the pictures that you one-day hope to be able to produce. Then, work towards that goal.