Category: U4D

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Recently Nikon released a new camera. It is one that many have been waiting for, the D850. It is the update for the popular 800 series and has been highly anticipated. Nikon Asia naturally wanted to promote the camera and pulled together 32 photographers from around Asia, across many different genres. Nothing really wrong with that, except there was.
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U4D: Instagram Part 3

One of the first things we all struggle with on Instagram is what to post. Not that we should all post the same things, but you should think about it. So today’s post is going to be about posting.
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U4D: Instagram Part 2

It was so good to hear how many of you enjoyed the introduction to Instagram post last week. This week I thought we could look at followers. Getting them seems to be the thing that everyone wants to do, I know it is something I’ve been trying to do for quite a while. There are ways of doing it, and ways not to, so this post will look at both.
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It has been my intention the last few weeks to do a comprehensive look at Instagram, but it is such a big topic and then I don’t find the time to write it. So I thought perhaps we could compromise and I could do a series of posts on it instead. So today I thought we could take a look at it

My profile page.

more generally. Perhaps why I love it and then I can work on some other posts about it. Look at the advantages and disadvantages. Anyway we will see how we go.
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I had all these plans to write a post for you today, but I don’t know, the time just disappeared, but it does give me a chance to redo some older posts. It is good to repost some knowing that what was said is still really relevant today. Today I thought we could take another at a post I wrote in response to people thinking that my camera does all the work. I hope you enjoy seeing it again.


Have you ever been out taking photos and someone has looked at your camera and said, “wow, that’s a great camera, it must take great photos”? I’ve had it said to me many times.  Yeah, I do have a great camera, but is that camera going to take great photos for everyone? There is an assumption by many people that it won’t matter what I do, I will get fantastic photos, like it has nothing to do with me.
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UFD: Reposting Critiquing

Time keeps going to quickly and it seems I don’t have enough time to write much at the moment, but I thought it would be good to do a repost of an older post from the old blog. Critiquing is just an important way of learning and I think it will be good to show it again.


Critiquing

This is a topic I’ve been thinking about doing for a while.  I’ve also heard other people complaining about it, so I thought I should address it and this forum seemed like the perfect place to do it. I am going to do it in two parts, asking for your images to be critiqued, then critiquing other peoples images when not invited to do so.
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Along with doing new posts here, it has been my intention to slowly move and repost many of the previous Up for Discussion posts. This is one I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, the art of observation. 

For this Up for Discussion post I thought I would do something that I have been thinking about for a long time.  It may not seem that it is important or even relevant to photography, but I hope you will hang around long enough, and read enough to realise it does.

This is a lithography, so a drawing on a special stone that is then printed, not much room for mistakes.

This is a lithography, so a drawing on a special stone that is then printed, not much room for mistakes.

We often hear people talking about “faking the real in photography”, it isn’t a concept that is new and really, when you think about it artists have been doing that for centuries.  Learning to observe the world around them is very important.  It is something that some do well and some don’t.

Drawing

I know many of you know that I can draw, well used to be able to.  I’ve shown you images of my drawing before. One thing I’ve never really talked about is my Fine Art Degree, which wasn’t in photography,  but rather in printmaking and drawing.  It happened at a time when I was not happy with photography, or rather I was frustrated, I couldn’t get the images I wanted. I thought I would need to make them myself, so draw them.

A drawing from my sketch book.

A drawing from my sketch book.

It was an interesting process, it meant lots of observing of things as I drew them. I spent a lot of time drawing.

Observation

You can’t underestimate how important it is. Of course it isn’t important if you just want to take photos and not do anything with them, then again, if you hone those observation skills then you are likely to see more and get better photos.

If you are interested in photo editing/manipulation then it is really important.

Watching how the light falls on an object, or how it falls when it is hit by another light source. Then there are the shadows, how

Studying how fabric folds, then how the light and shadows show.

Studying how fabric folds, then how the light and shadows show.

do they fall, are shadows solid?  I saw a guy online doing some compositing, and as I watched him move a person into a lane and then add a shadow I realised that he just added a solid colour, shadows are rarely solid colours.  They often have light areas and dark areas, depending on what is around them.

The same guy also made the edge of the shadow very feathered, and soft, but then again it really depends on the light source and where that light is coming from, how direct it is.  If you went and stood outside in the sun, especially in summer, you would see your shadow would have a hard edge.  However, if you went into somewhere where the light wasn’t as strong you would see a softer edged shadow.  It really does all depend on the light.  Which is why in studios the light is often controlled with soft boxes and reflectors to make it like a secondary light source, sort of.

A drawing I did of my daughter, using window light.

A drawing I did of my daughter, using window light.

When you learn to draw you learn to watch and see how things are.

Perspective

Another important aspect is perspective.  It is something you learn in drawing and painting, probably most art forms.  I didn’t do a lot of drawing where you needed to worry about perspective, but it was always something you had to consider.

I have seen the work of other photographers and one of the things you notice is how they don’t understand perspective when they are doing composites and then the work doesn’t look real.

Faking the Real

It is an important thing.  You hear writers talking about how if you don’t make your characters real then people won’t believe them, so isn’t it the same with images, if they don’t look real then people can’t relate to them.  You have to make sure that everything in your image makes sense and is believable.  It is where learning to

A shaving brush, just studying how it looks and looking at the light.

A shaving brush, just studying how it looks and looking at the light.

look and observe the world around you really helps.

If you want to get into more photo editing or manipulation, then one of the best things you can do is learn to look at what is around you.  Don’t just take photos, look at what you are taking.  You don’t have to learn how to draw, but you can always learn how to look, observe.  Watch how light hits objects, where the light comes from. How does the light affect the shadows, are the shadows solid, or do they have lots of different strengths.

I think it is an invaluable tool and one we don’t take enough notice of.  Through drawing I really began to understand light and how important it was.  I also started to understand how I could use that in my photography and become a better photographer, at least I hope it has helped.

I have been going through all my drawings, I’ve found a lot that were just exercises, where I was just trying to see how I could draw them.  There are others that are more, a couple of etchings and some lithographs.  I will try and label them so you can tell what each is.

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U4D: Photography with Friends

Everyone you talk to about this is going to have a different opinion on  the matter. Some people hate going out with others, some love it. Some people don’t really enjoy excursions on their own. Whatever the situation we have preferences and many do like to go out with friends or in groups with other people. There are pros and cons to everything  you choose. Today I though we could look at going out in groups or with friends.

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What I don’t like

I like going out with others, it is a personal thing and part of it, I suspect, is because I spend so much time on my own working at home, that I enjoy the company when I do. For that reason I am quite picky who I will go out with, and when I go if the trip wasn’t enjoyable then I won’t go with that person again.

If that person makes me stand around waiting for them for too long, then it is a waste of time for me. If I get asked too many questions and the person is basically wanting a free lesson, then I am teaching and don’t get what I want. If people wander off and I have no idea where they are all the time, then there is no point going out with them, I may as well be on my own.

These aren’t hard and fast rules, but in general I don’t want to have to do any of those. I do have some friends who are the exception, and they bring with them other qualities. For example, I have one friend who does take more time to take photos than I do, but I have found that it pushes me to look for more. She is a regular photography friend for me, so it is never really an issue. I also know if I want more time she will gladly wait for me.

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A good photography buddy is someone who . . .

  • Takes photos at the same pace as you. While you might wait for one another, it isn’t for long.
  • Considers what you want to take, and when you go out you both make sure you get what you were both after.
  • Doesn’t tell you what you should be doing or not doing.
  • Is good company and you enjoy being with.
  • Will inspire you as well.
  • Is encouraging.

They are the main points for me, but I am sure each person has there own. I have had quite a few people that I have gone out with over the years. Some of them only once, others many times.

What about you, do you have someone special you like to go out with? Do you prefer to go out on your own, and if yes why? What do think is important when you go out with someone to take photos?

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Last week on U4D we looked at social media in a general way. Today, I thought we could look at it for photographers and how you can use it. I have been trying to find lists of the top 5, but it seems everyone has a different opinion on the matter. Also many articles are quite old and social media is changing so quickly that what was relevant a year ago, is not now.  Perhaps, I will just talk about what I use and why.

downloadInstagram

This would have to be the number one platform for me right now. It is amazing, and is bringing lots of new opportunities. It has provided a good incentive to work on photos and put them up. It has been one of the best social platforms I’ve seen as far as the social side goes.

It has been around for a few years now. When it started it was for putting photos from you mobile phone up on it. It still really is only for the phone. Though some things have changed over the years, and you can view photos on the computer, you still can’t load photos, except on your phone.

The photography has come a long way as well. While there are still many people who use photos taken with their phone, there are many more putting up images taken with their cameras. It means that the variety is incredible and really inspirational.

There is a real social side to it, in that I have met so many other photographers from Melbourne through it. I’m finding out places to take photos and then meeting others as well. It really is a social platform.

download-1Blogging

While many don’t include it in social media, it shouldn’t be underestimated. Blogging platforms give you an opportunity to let people know more about you. You can say more, and show your images.

More and more people are writing and using blogs to showcase their work. There are so many out there now that it is hard to stand out. Still worth doing and finding your own niche in the world.

One aspect that really helps is the ability to use your blog as your website as well. People can find out information readily as well, especially if you are trying to run a business.

square-facebook-512Facebook

While people seem to be turning away from Facebook, it is still a fairly important platform. Though, I’m not sure for what. My experience is that it seems fairly ineffective these days, except to keep up to date with friends. It is hard to be social when you only see a fraction of what people actually post. The messenger or chat function is probably the best thing about it.

Some of the problems with Facebook are the way it is monetised now and how do you find people to follow you. The only way, it seems, to get people to look at your posts is to pay to have them boosted. I haven’t found that boosting works, but others say it does.

Most social media platforms have a way to almost advertise yourself, hey I am here. However, that doesn’t seem to be something that Facebook have. You have to let people know about your page on other platforms, or, pay for it. The second option is not something that is recommended.

download-2Google+

This is quite an under estimated platform. It is easy to forget that Google is the biggest search engine in the world and then there are Google images. You want google to find your images and show them in searches that people make. They won’t tell you how they do things, but it can’t hurt to have an account and put your images up there.

Google+ are pushing more for their collections now. They want you to create collections, which are basically galleries of your images. You will get more hits and it is shared more. It isn’t that hard to do either.

Google+ is said to be great for photographers, and it is. You get to see some wonderful work. There are also many groups and such that you can join as well. There also don’t seem to be pay to use things that Facebook have.

There are the rumours that Google are going to shut it down, but since they just created a whole new interface that does seem unlikely. Though I asked my husband about it and he said the rumours have been around for years.

download-1downloadFlickr and 500px

I’m putting these together because they seem to work the same. They both show your work beautifully and can be used as a portfolio of  your work. Though with so many other places it is hard to see how they are going.

Flickr is a more general platform and you will find people of all sorts of levels there. Those that are photographers and those that aren’t. I am not sure how effective it is anymore, but it still looks good. I tend to only put my best work up. I was told it was a great place to get work, that has never happened for me, but I’ve heard it has for others.

The platform for 500px was designed for photographers to use. I have used it and do have an account, but I don’t use it. I found the whole competitiveness aspect of it a bit of a turn off. I didn’t need that, but there are many people that think it is wonderful.

Which is for you?

Only  you can decide. The reality for many of us is that you can’t do it all, unless you don’t want to have a life. It is recommended you pick about 3 and concentrate on those. So you can see what my three are, the first three. I post on the others, but rarely. I like to see what happens from time to time, but I know that I have to work on the sites that bring me the most reward.

This is a just a brief overview and in the coming weeks I will try to do more comprehensive articles on most of them.