Event Etiquette: Leave Your Flash At Home

It’s been a crazy month for me, shoots almost every weekend and post processing during the week has kept me from posting as much as I’d like. But busy is good, I’m not complaining. I’ve got plenty of material half done for upcoming posts, but I felt I had to sneak in this short one in the meantime.

I’ve said this before, but I feel like it needs it’s own post to really drive the point home; when in doubt, leave your flash at home. As little as 5-10 years ago it would have been unthinkable for people to start popping away with their flash at many venues, but it seems that the more proliferate digital cameras get, the more people feel they need to use them anywhere and everywhere.

I was shooting the Orleans Festival last weekend and no surprise, almost everyone attending had a camera around their neck. Good, great… amazing even! I’d love to see everyone with a camera, the more the merrier, but what really blew my mind was the complete lack of respect I was seeing in the use of those cameras. Continue reading “Event Etiquette: Leave Your Flash At Home”

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DPI: The Most Misused Abbreviation in Photography

The abbreviation DPI has become one of the most used, but least understood term in relation to digital photography today, bar none. Every time I teach a photography class I end up having to do a 15 minute spiel on what it actually stands for and why most people should try their hardest to erase it from their brain in relation to what they think it means. It’s particularly confusing because it sounds like it’s being used correctly most times. If you value your sanity and the sanity of those around you, please keep reading. Continue reading “DPI: The Most Misused Abbreviation in Photography”

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New Tricks for an Old Dog: Is Your Style a Choice or a Crutch?

For the longest time I was convinced that street photography looked better in black and white. It makes sense; Henri Cartier-Bresson, Garry Winogrand, Bruce Gilden and all the other masters all shot in black and white, and if itís good enough for them, itís good enough for me. During the course of this winter I was definitely feeling bored with my photography. I thought it might be the lack of good shooting weather and the general blah of the winter months but then I started thinking more about my self-imposed monochromatic style. I wondered if it was truly a choice or whether it was a crutch I was leaning on that was keeping me from growing as a photographer. Well a while ago, completely by accident, I re-discovered color which prompted me to go back and take another look at some of my favourite black and white images. Continue reading “New Tricks for an Old Dog: Is Your Style a Choice or a Crutch?”

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Street Photography Tutorial #6: Shooting From The Hip II

In my last tutorial, I talked about all of the photographic benefits of shooting from the hip, and while I got a lot of positive feedback about the techniques themselves, many people were concerned about the social aspects of hip shooting. They felt that theyíd love to try it, but they were worried that they would be perceived as being surreptitious, sneaky or sketchy for shooting without raising their camera. I completely understand where theyíre coming from, but in the end, the key is to remember that thereís absolutely nothing wrong with shooting from the hip; youíre not doing anything wrong or illegal. If you can convince yourself of that youíre halfway there. The other half is learning how to defuse confrontations before they start. Continue reading “Street Photography Tutorial #6: Shooting From The Hip II”

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Street Photography Tutorial #5: Shooting From The Hip

If youíve been following along with my street work, youíve probably noticed I do most of my shooting from waist height and there are a couple very good reasons why. In a previous tutorial we talked about visualizing the shot, if you havenít read it, you should give it a quick read before we continue as most of the stuff Iím going to go over this time is dependant being able to ďseeĒ what your camera sees without looking through the viewfinder. Shooting from the hip isnít exactly a new concept; photographers have been doing it since before street photography was even considered a genre. If youíre not familiar with the term, itís exactly what it sounds like, taking a picture without raising your camera to your eye, its use stemming from the hand gun technique of the same name.

The main reason many street photographers use this method is to maintain a low profile and keep people from reacting to a camera being around, trying to preserve the natural moments in life of people immersed in their environment. Iím definitely of the school that thinks street photography is best done as candid as possible; otherwise itís just an unnatural pose that happens to be on the street. Continue reading “Street Photography Tutorial #5: Shooting From The Hip”

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Street Photography Tutorial #4: All the Small Things

Photography is an expensive hobby; besides the big stuff like cameras and lenses thereís an endless hoard of little gadgets and gizmos weíre told we canít possibly live without. Iím usually a bit fan of buying local, but for some things I just canít justify the ridiculous mark up. At some point someone decided that since weíre willing to shell out a thousand dollars for a lens, we wonít shirk at the $80 price tag on an official lens hood for it (which should be included on all lenses anyways, but donít get me started on that). Take the example of the Canon ET-65B lens hood for my 70-300mm: eBay from Hong Kong is $4.23 and the price at the local photo storeÖ wait for itÖ $74.95 for what amount to three cents worth of moulded plastic! Like I said, I like to shop local and official but come on, a price difference like that is just insulting. Hereíre a few indispensible accessories you can get on the cheap on eBay that every street photographer should add to their bag.
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What’s In The Bag: Bringing a Camera is Only Part of Being Prepared

Time for another look at what’s in the bag! Last weekend I was invited along to a shoot at the Old Howard Smith Paper Mill in the outskirts of Montreal. This was my first trip to the location, so I didnít really know what to expect; itís situations like this that make my days in Boy Scouts really pay off. When youíre getting ready for a shoot, a photographerís first instinct is to think about camera gear: lights, lenses, cameras, memory cards and tripods. These are all necessary, but often not the most important things youíll bring to a shoot. In then end a camera is just a tool to record an image; if youíre too tired, cold, hungry, wet or blind to use it, no amount of camera gear is going to get you the shots you want. Most of us have sunk a small fortune into our photography bag, luckily you donít have to win the lottery or hit it big on Partypoker to put together a decent support kit with whateverís left in your wallet. If youíre heading out to shoot on location, especially an unfamiliar one thereís a few essential youíll want to bring.
Continue reading “What’s In The Bag: Bringing a Camera is Only Part of Being Prepared”

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Image Theft or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Internet

Whenever I teach any of my photography workshops, one of the most asked question is always: ďHow do I keep people from stealing my images?Ē. And my short answer is always: ďDonít put them onlineĒ. As soon as you put your images online, you open yourself up to image theft, the question you should be asking is: ďHow will this inevitable image theft impact me as a photographer and how can I minimize that impact?Ē. This question has a much longer answer and it will really depend on what you intend to achieve out of putting your images online.
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Workflow Tutorial #3: Portfolio Management

I was going through my Flickr account last week trying to pick out a half dozen images to submit to a gallery and realized that I have over two thousand images in my library. This may not seem like a lot, I know many photographers with a ton more images online than me, but I always try to be ultra-critical with myself, only uploading what I feel are my best images. Taking a closer look, a large chunk of my shots have less than twenty views, with only 10% or so making up most of my daily hits. Thatís to be expected, but what really blew my mind was that quite a few of the images that get a ton of hits are ones I would never have put money on to be popular, some I even waivered on uploading at all. So what should I take away from this data as a photographer? Is it so bad that thereíre images on my Flickr that donít get a lot of views? Itís all really going to depend on what your goal with Flickr is.

Everyoneís going to have different goals when they put images online. Assuming youíre like me, itís to have an online portfolio of your work, a way to passively or actively advertise your skills. In that case, self-editing is a very important skill to learn. A skill that is constantly evolving as tastes and markets change. Continue reading “Workflow Tutorial #3: Portfolio Management”

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2011 Round Up: 6 Things I Learned Last Year

Last year was a banner year for me; my photography business actually started turning a profit, I started teaching photography and art related courses at a couple different venues and I learned a lot about what it takes to survive as a photographer in the digital age. Iím not saying Iíve been able to implement all the things Iíve learned over the past 365 days, but at least Iíve identified a lot of the changes I need to make if I want to complete the transition from photographer to running a photography business. Hereís a brief rundown of some of the things 2011 taught me, along with some shots from the past year I just finished developing. Continue reading “2011 Round Up: 6 Things I Learned Last Year”

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