Saturday, 29 June 2013

How stress affects your creativity

Can a photographer with enormous creative potential still be creative when stressed to the max?
Some photographers excel when the pressure is on, with deadlines to meet and budgets tighter than  a Botero girdle. They're the high octane brigade.

Over 20 years of photography teaching and tour leading I've noticed photographers seriously stressed with work, family or relationship issues struggle to produce artistic images.

Photography is usually a major interest. Their day job is in middle or senior management; long hours, pressures and low job satisfaction. 

They often join a tour with a head cold or extreme  tiredness. 
On tour, they spend the first week sleeping and recharging; week two they are back to shooting and by week three they are back to  creating and enjoying life.

Everyone, including photographers, need sufficient time to think, dream, create and play. 

Photography is more than buying an expensive camera. Its more than pushing a button or playing Photoshop. Photography is a love affair with life. 

For your chance to win AU$10,000 in cash and prizes enter the Fremantle International Portrait Prize. Last entries 8 July 2013.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

FORMAT - manipulation within the camera

There''s a whole breed of Gen Xs and Gen Ys who believe photographic manipulation started with the introduction of Photoshop in 1990.

Landscape mode makes an environmental portrait
I have news for Xs and Ys - Photographic manipulation started 187 years ago when Joseph Nicephore Niepce made the world's first photograph.

Portrait mode
Changing the camera height or angle alter the image. Change the lens and you alter the image again; swap the type of emulsion (film) you are using and the appearance changes dramatically. After the image was taken, if you changed developer strengths, chemistry, temperature and time you produced a wondrous array of results. We've have been manipulating images a long, long time.

'Russian' tilt for vitality
One of the simplest ways to change an image is to alter the format you are using. That is the length and breadth. It may seem too simple but it has a dramatic effect on the perception the viewer has of the subject.
3:2 standard 35mm film aspect ratio
4:3 TV format
2:1 Panorama
3:1 Super Pano
1:1 Square or Hasselblad format

 Panorama is preferred by many landscape aficionados. While the 1:1 is often the choice of high end portrait photographers.

Square format for universality and class
When you take a photograph of a person holding the camera vertically (portrait format) you are recording a typical head and shoulders portrait (like your passport). But, tip the camera on its side, and low and behold you now have an environmental portrait where the background is part of the narrative; a story telling mode!

Landscape photographers traditionally prefer landscape format and wide-angle lenses but using a vertical (portrait) format may suit the subject better and may also break the predictability of your shots. (less boring!)

Then, there's the 'Russian' tilt. This is where you tilt the portrait format 10-15 degrees to give the person some oomph! I tend to use it with teenagers and young business people but we could all do with a dose of oomph once in a while.
3:1 Panorama for classic landscapes

If you have a great portrait and would like to be in with a chance to win $10,000 in cash and prizes enter the prestigious Fremantle International Portrait Award. Entries close on 8 July 2013.

Or, if you would like three days of pleasurable torture in my Portraits - Memories Forever Workshop at the University of Western Australia Extension commencing 6 July, click HERE.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Another boring tip - Never change your angle!

A really good formula for taking consistently boring images is to use the same camera height, same aspect ratio and same camera angle that you always use.

So stand up straight, raise your camera to a height of 1.67 metres, use landscape format and keep your camera perfectly horizontal.

Nikon D700 24-70mm lens, 1/8s @ f4 3200ISO
If you have a portrait that is not deadly boring, consider emtering it into teh Fremantle International Portrait Prize 2013. With more than AU$10,000 in cash and prizes you could make it worthwhile. Click HERE for details. Entries close 8 July 2013.