Category Archives: Technique

iPad Photography at Quora

A lit­tle while ago I opened up the iPad Pho­tog­ra­phy cat­e­go­ry on Quo­ra, and it’s received a small bit of atten­tion up to now.

As the March 11th release date of iPad2 gets near­er, I’m think­ing there’ll be a bit more activ­i­ty — espe­cial­ly as peo­ple fig­ure out new ways to take pho­tos with an 8x10 slab of glass and met­al 🙂

Here’s a brief sum­ma­ry of the cur­rent con­tent:

Head on over to Quo­ra to check out the ques­tions, or pose your own! I’ve got a ques­tion RSS feed wid­get in the side­bar to help keep it orga­nized here, but as the cat­e­go­ry grows, I’ll recon­fig­ure that into its own page.

Drawing (or blurring) the line — apps and journalism

Last month the New York Times ran this very inter­est­ing item on a pho­tog­ra­ph­er who won a prize in the pres­ti­gious Pic­tures of the Year Inter­na­tion­al com­pe­ti­tion using an iPhone and the Hip­sta­mat­ic app.

At the cen­tre of the con­tro­ver­sy was the legit­i­ma­cy of the image and the dis­cus­sion of the place for these apps in pho­to jour­nal­ism.

The pho­tog­ra­phers rebut­tal state­ment is a great read on its own — here’s one excerpt that brings home the issue as I see it:

At the heart of all of these pho­tos is a moment or a detail or an expres­sion that tells the sto­ry of these sol­diers’ day-to-day lives while on a com­bat mis­sion. Noth­ing can change that. No con­tent has been added, tak­en away, obscured or altered. These are remark­ably straight­for­ward and sim­ple images.

What has got­ten peo­ple so worked up, I believe, falls under the head­ing of aes­thet­ics. Some con­sid­er the use of the phone cam­era as a gim­mick or as a way to aes­theti­cize news pho­tos. Those are fair argu­ments, but they have noth­ing to do with the con­tent of the pho­tos.

We are being naïve if we think aes­thet­ics do not play an impor­tant role in the way pho­to­jour­nal­ists tell a sto­ry. We are not walk­ing pho­to­copiers. We are sto­ry­tellers. We observe, we chose moments, we frame lit­tle slices of our world with our viewfind­ers, we even decide how much or how lit­tle light will illu­mi­nate our sub­jects, and — yes — we choose what equip­ment to use. Through all of these deci­sions, we shape the way a sto­ry is told.

Do check out the full arti­cle. I’m in the ‘any­thing is a tool’ camp — any tool is valid, but the artis­tic and jour­nal­is­tic inte­gre­ty are para­mount in the cre­ation of the final image.

As long as the fun­da­men­tal truths depict­ed in the final image are those that were present at the time the ini­tial image was cap­tured are rep­re­sent­ed, it’s all fair game.

Learn how to make the light work for you

One thing about being into pho­tog­ra­phy; you quick­ly real­ize that there’s a lot to learn from oth­er pho­tog­ra­phers.

A sub­ject that’s always chal­lenged me has been the con­cept of mak­ing light work for me rather than forc­ing me to adapt to the demands of the light sources.

Learn­ing from oth­er pho­tog­ra­phers through their light­ing dia­grams has helped me bet­ter under­stand how a par­tic­u­lar tool (reflec­tor, barn doors, snoot, etc) should be used to get a spe­cif­ic result.

And recent­ly, I found some things that let me work through the think­ing exer­cise need­ed to cre­ate bet­ter-lit images.
Con­tin­ue read­ing Learn how to make the light work for you

Digital Images — Digital Darkroom — Part two

Ear­li­er this week I start­ed this series by look­ing at my dig­i­tal pho­tog­ra­phy work­flow as applied to image acqui­si­tion (tak­ing the pic­ture). Today I’m going to look at what I do with the image in my mobile pho­to stu­dio, my iPad Dark­room, if you will.

I’ve got the image, now what?
Tak­ing the pho­to is just the start­ing point. Once you have a neat image, you can eas­i­ly make it stronger by care­ful­ly apply­ing mod­ern dig­i­tal dark­room tech­niques.

In my case, I shoot on a Dig­i­tal SLR (Pana­son­ic Lumix FZ-30), or a Canon Pow­er­shot Point-and-shoot.

On the FZ-30, I shoot RAW+jpg, which poten­tial­ly gives me the most dig­i­tal infor­ma­tion to work with in the dig­i­tal dark­room. The Canon gives me .jpg so I have to take what I can get.

I say poten­tial­ly because cur­rent­ly, only a few apps sup­port (or are plan­ning to sup­port) RAW. Edit­ing a .jpg is ade­quate, but not opti­mal.
Con­tin­ue read­ing Dig­i­tal Images — Dig­i­tal Dark­room — Part two