Friday, 27 February 2015

The Pixel Fairy is Dead

I have bad news for all photographers.

Sadly, I need to inform you there is no such thing as a Pixel Fairy.

No, the Pixel Fairy does not visit your camera overnight and add unwanted pixels. Neither does the Pixel Fairly remove pixels that you placed on the sensor. As the photographer, YOU and YOU ALONE are responsible for all 18 million pixels (or whatever your camera happens to be) each and every time you release the shutter.

Proof the Pixel Fairy is dead - how many framing problems can you spot here?
I'm talking about framing - in fact I'm talking about bad framing and the wasting of pixels.

A few years ago I had the pleasure of co-delivering a seminar with photographer extroardinaire Michael Coyne. He exhorted photographers to 'think before you shoot'.

Poor framing is lazy photography.

Look at the scene then frame through the viewfinder.
Poor framing usually means:
  • unwanted mergers like a pole growing out of someone's head
  • Overlapping bodies in travel scenes
  • Including blown out highlights in the frame (resulting in lost shadow detail)
  • Amputation of fingers, toes and hands
  • Including distracting but non-informative items - eg the tip of a tree branch 
  • Cropping to pano so your 20Mp image becomes 10Mp

Look beyond your subject. Make the elements surrounding your subject add to the story.

Join a Dale Neill workshop at UWA Extension. Click HERE for details. 

Portrait photographers, enter Western Australia's premiere photographic competition - the Fremantle International Portrait Prize. Click HERE for details.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Kick-start your Creative Fuel Tank

Boring photographers produce boring photographs!

Be different. Express yourself. Stand out!

More than 3,000,000,000 (3 billion) images were added to Facebook today. Last year more than 100 million traditional digital cameras were purchased.  We are not counting iPhones, HPCs and other androids.

There's a sea of images swimming out in the ethernet. What can you possibly do to make your image stand out. Yes, you could set you self-timer on  2 seconds and throw camera into the air. Or you could fly your drone over the South Fremantle Potato Harvest. You could even squeeze your lens into a meeting of the  Coffin Cheaters in the Cappuccino Strip. But maybe you value your camera and even your personal safety.

Here are a few ideas that will almost certainly increase your chances of your images being rated in the top 15% of one of the large competitions.

Ten techniques to kick-start your creative fuel tank

·      Worm’s eye view

+ Show Tears and Emotion
·      Use 1/4000 sec

·      Low light
·      Use atmospherics

·      Use 15 secs

·      Overexpose 4 stops
·      Selective focus (3 zones)
·      Slow synch flash – rear curtain

·      Selective speed (3 zones)

Check out my Photography Workshops at he University of Western Australia Extension. 
Click HERE for details.

Want to enter Western Australia's premiere photographic award - the Fremantle International Portrait Prize. Click HERE for details.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Ten Broken Photographs

The Big Red Ball (ho hum)

The ten photographic subjects that will NOT win major photographic competitions:

Let's be clear. There is nothing wrong with these images. They are probably very precious and much loved. They look great in the family album or on your camera club's website. They simply haven't got the grunt to win major competitions.

From many years of teaching and judging I've had the opportunity to observe professional and amateur judges at work. I've seen the images that send judges to sleep or give them indigestion.

They'e cliches; they appear with monotonous regularity and quite frankly, they're 'A' class boring images. Submit one of these, and the best you're likely to achieve is equal 17th place in the East Widgemooltha (population 8) Royal Photographic Competition.

  1. 1. The Big Red Ball in the Sky Sunset (empty foreground, background with no detail)
           2. BOS Bird on a Stick

Red Rose, dead centre, dead cert loser.
    3.  Red rose or flower slap bang in the middle of the frame

    4. Your very own beloved cat, dog, baby or grandchild

     5. Pretty girl, stiff as an Antarctic corpse, single studio light

    6. Close up ‘face ‘iconic’ old man, old lady in third world country

    7. Curbside Race Car - long lens, 1/4000s, car, BG and FG pin sharp. Car looks parked.
Undergone a Mac attack
    8. Backlit wildlife (Midday out of Africa - sleepy lions with sun behind)

     9. Images subjected to a ‘Mac attack’ (over saturated, over sharpened, overdosed)


9. The Taj Mahal and other wonders - the pyramids, Eiffel Tower, Sydney Harbour Bridge

      Enrol in my two hour workshop at SHOOT and we'll analyse these images technically and aesthetically. Plus I'll provide you with ten creative ideas from left-field that are guaranteed to make the judges sit up and notice your work. Click SHOOT WORKSHOP for details and enrolment.