Photography is a diverse hobby and with so many different areas, such as portrait, sports and action, macro, weddings, travel, landscape, nature and wildlife, architecture and candid amongst many others there are literally thousands of books of books available to photographers. As with all types of written media some authors are excellent and really know their stuff, whereas others are not so good. Some photography authors go in to the theory of different aspects of photography such light and exposure where they really nail the technical aspects. On the other hand other authors do no more than publish their photographs with a short title under each, which while they are nice to look at, as well as make you think “I wonder how he managed to get that?” aren’t going to improve the readers photography skill at all.
The best book on photography for one person is highly unlikely to be the best book on photography for another. Each and every photographer will be totally different and with so many genres of photography the ideal book will cover the genre of most interest to the reader, after all it is pointless reading a book about studio photography if you area of interest and passion is in sports photography, unless the reader is looking to diversify that is.
Another thing to consider when choosing a photography book is the level of photographer it is aimed at. Some books are exceptionally basic and do little more than explain the features of the camera, how a lens works, the type of accessories available etc. Whilst this basic knowledge is required to get the most out of photography, it is not going to be anything new for a seasoned photographer neither will it improve their photography skills at all. Similarly, a highly technical book going in to the theory of light and exposure full of technical terms and jargon is not going to be suitable for a total beginner as it is likely to cause a lot of confusion. When choosing a book on photography the reader should critically assess its own level of expertise and choose a book accordingly.
So, in summary the best books on photography will vary from individual to individual, however there are some things to consider and the best or “most appropriate” photography book should;
i) Cover the specific area of interest
ii) Be written in an easy to understand manner
iii) Be at the right level for the reader’s level of experience and expertise
iii) Provide useful tips and advice
iv) Be inspirational and encourage the reader to try new things
Photography is often described as painting with light and an art form, and as with all things art related, everyone will have their own ideas and opinions of what works best, the best equipment to use, the best exposures etc. etc. Because of this all photography books should be read with an open mind and the information in the books should not be taken as gospel.
Reading about photography should allow the reader to see what other photographers are doing, how they are doing it and learning from the author’s experiences by taking aspects of their work and applying it to the readers techniques if it is going to be useful. If the reader disagrees with the author, or believes there is a superior way of achieving the same kind of image then the reader should simply disregard that section of the book and move on.
One thing to remember is that a reader should never publicly slate any photographer or their work in magazines, on forums, on message boards, on social networking sites etc. etc. as there is no right or wrong in photography and it is simply a case of each to their own.
Written by yackers1
ACCA qualified accountant who thirives in the world of business and finance
Question by Silent Shadow: What’s the difference between an “anerytheristic A” and “anerytheristic B” corn snake?
I’ve heard both terms and I know that “anerytheristic” or “anery” means “non-red,” but what is the difference between A and B?
Answer by JJ
From my understanding type a has yellow pigment, type b does not
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Image by Smithsonian Institution
Description: Thomas Smillie was the Smithsonian’s first photographer and curator of photography, beginning his career at the institution in the 1870s. In 1913 he mounted an exhibition on the history of photography in the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries Building, showcasing many of the remarkable advancements made in the field that he feared had already been forgotten or disregarded.
Creator/Photographer: Thomas Smillie
Birth Date: 1843
Death Date: 1917
Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1843, Thomas William Smillie immigrated to the United States with his family when he five years old. After studying chemistry and medicine at Georgetown University, he took a job as a photographer at the Smithsonian Institution, where he stayed for nearly fifty years until his death in 1917. Smillie’s duties and accomplishments at the Smithsonian were vast: he documented important events and research trips, photographed the museum’s installations and specimens, created reproductions for use as printing illustrations, performed chemical experiments for Smithsonian scientific researchers, and later acted as the head and curator of the photography lab. Smillie’s documentation of each Smithsonian exhibition and installation resulted in an informal record of all of the institution’s art and artifacts. In 1913 Smillie mounted an exhibition on the history of photography to showcase the remarkable advancements that had been made in the field but which he feared had already been forgotten.
Repository: Smithsonian Institution Archives
Collection: Thomas Smillie Collection (Record Unit 95) – Thomas Smillie served as the first official photographer for the Smithsonian Institution from 1870 until his death in 1917. As head of the photography lab as well as its curator, he was responsible for photographing all of the exhibits, objects, and expeditions, leaving an informal record of early Smithsonian collections.
Accession number: RU95_Box76_100
You want to find someone who will take nice pictures, but how do you know what to look for? Between all of the different types of photography, cameras, films and all of the different personalities of photographers, it can often seem an impossible task. This guide will discuss styles of photography, film and how to choose a photographer that has a personality you can live with.
Selecting a style
The first point we will touch on is style of photography and pictures. There are many different styles which photographers use, and the decision rests upon your tastes. The two most popular styles used in wedding photography are “photojournalistic” and “portrait”. The two most common styles of pictures used are posed and casual.
The portrait style photographer should be able to take both posed/formal shots and casual shots. Generally, a photographer who uses this style will take more posed shots than casual because his/her experience has shown that couples’ tend to buy more of these shots. This is fine if you are such a couple, but you may run into problems if want more casual shots than posed. One way to find out if a photographer uses one type over the other is to look through his/her portfolio.
The photographer that uses a photojournalistic approach usually takes shots that are not planned, and because of this they are usually casual. Often a photographer using this style has experience in journalism (newspapers, magazines, etc.) photography. The shots taken are often spontaneous motion shots as well.
There is a third type of photographer as well. It’s harder to gauge what type of pictures will result though, for this type of photographer is not a professional, and often has no portfolio. Whether it is a friend or relative, this person is a “hobbyist” photographer who will offer to photograph the wedding for free (or very low cost). Your pictures may or may not come out as well as if you hired a professional, and the best indicator in this case is experience. Just as with any photographer, you should interview and get references.
There are two basic types of cameras that wedding photographers use, 35mm and medium format. There is some contention, even among professional photographers as to which is best. The 35mm cameras will give you a slightly grainier appearance if the photo is enlarged than the medium format will. Unless you plan on very large enlargements, the only one that will notice this graininess is your photographer.
Film-A return to Black and White?
Film comes in color or black & white. Color is the most popular choice in wedding photography, but black & white is gaining a foothold. Black & white film will give you a more artistic looking photograph no matter whether you a prefer portrait or photojournalistic style. It also lasts longer than color film. Color is the most versatile of the two. Color pictures will give you a more accurate portrayal of your wedding day. They can be made into black & white prints, but won’t last as long as black & white pictures from black & white film. Photographers who use the photojournalistic style are more apt to use black & white film. The choice is usually made according to the couple’s tastes.
Another consideration is the speed of the film. Most photographer’s will already have a standard that they use in certain situations, and the couple won’t need to worry about the film speed. When using a “hobbyist” photographer, a discussion about film speed should occur. Since most hobbyist photographers use a 35mm camera, the focus will generally be on 100, 200 or 400 speed film. 100 speed is best in strong sunlight and is the least grainiest of the three. 200 speed is the middle ground and often used for partial sun or partial shade. 400 speed works well in low light. 400 speed is the most commonly used for wedding photography (by hobbyist’s) because it can be used for indoor shots or outdoor shots.
Your Photographers Personality
Wedding photographers have a reputation for being high strung and haughty. Not all wedding photographers are this way, but some are. Most couples are looking for a photographer that takes great pictures, but is also sociable while doing so. The best time to find out what personality your photographer has is in the interview. Ask pointed questions and gauge his/her reactions. If you feel as if the photographer is putting on an act for your benefit, he/she probably is. Trust your instincts! Ask for references and then follow up on them. Make sure to ask about the photographer’s personality. If the couple feels comfortable with the photographer and vice versa, it will show in the pictures.
The Perfect Portfolio-Beware!
Finally, always look through a photographer’s portfolio. In the case of a hobbyist photographer, look
There is an important distinction between pictures taken for the benefit of the photographer and those taken for the sitter. In fact, a large proportion of portraits are made with the intention of producing not just a likeness, but a pleasing likeness, and as the criteria for judging them are substantially different, the photography itself uses different methods.
While it may not necessarily be easier to make a flattering portrait than one that probes character, it does at least provide a definite direction and an identifiable result to aim for. Moreover, while the kind of portrait photography that does not begin with pre-set objectives is not really suitable for a point-by-point analysis, with portraiture that aims to please there are a number of regular techniques that will usually help.
First of all, the photographer must be able to identify the best features in the sitter’s appearance – and also the worst features, to know what to suppress or avoid. Compare, for example, the full-face with the profile: if the eyes are relatively large and well spaced, a full-face view with the sitter looking directly at the camera is likely to make the most of them, while a well-proportioned nose or chin would favor a profile. In a specific situation, a choice like this would probably one be one of several, including the lighting, the personality of the subject, and so on. Conversely, features that seem unattractively prominent can be suppressed by choosing an angle or lighting arrangement that neither shows them in outline nor lets them cast a strong shadow. A nose, for instance, is least prominent from directly in front, and with diffused frontal lighting; large ears can seem less obvious in a three-quarter profile. Also, as a general rule, a long-focus lens will compress the perspective in a face and will produce a more attractive view than a standard or wide-angle lens.
A few problem features are sufficiently common to have standard solutions. Reflections in spectacles obscure the expression and are usually unwelcome; with a typical overhead and frontal light position, have the sitter tilt the head slightly down, and if necessary position a black card out of shot in a position where it, rather than the light, will be reflected. Skin folds and double chins can often be eliminated from the photograph by having the sitter lean forward slightly toward the camera – this stretches the front of the neck a little. Wrinkled skin can be made to seem smoother by diffusing the light, and spots can be reduced in a black-and-white photograph by shooting with a red filter.
Diffused lighting is in any case the most generally attractive, particularly from an overhead frontal direction. This is not to say that is necessarily better in any instance, but it is safe. Two subsidiary lighting effects that can flatter a subject are catch-lights, and the halo-lighting from a spot light behind the sitter.
Certain poses and demeanors are also flattering in a general sense. By and large, people appear at their best when they are either relaxed or comfortable, or when they are bright and alert.
Written by RonaldMarbles
Question by happyxmedium: How can I create a black and white photograph (pics inside)?
I like the glowy, ethereal quality that these pictures possess… What kind of lighting would you recommend, and how would you Photoshop it to give it that soft look?
Answer by pretty.odd.
photoshop can do everyting, so i’d say so
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These black and white photography tips will help you to recognize good black and white photo subjects and to be able to photograph and edit these for the best effects.
Black and white photography is an excellent way to train the eye to recognize remarkable photo composition which is why so many photography courses and schools teach black and white early on.
As amazingly beautiful as a colorful sky may be, it is the lines, shapes and curves that move the eye through the photo. With color, the vibrant tones are beautiful but with black and white the contrasting tones are more dynamic.
In spite of its attributes, after the media went full color in the 70’s and 80’s black and white photography faded. It soon became increasingly more challenging to find places that sold and processed black and white film. Now thanks to digital cameras and editing, black and white is back!
How to Recognize Stunning Black and White Photographs
Although choosing the best subjects for black and white is very subjective, many professional photographers will agree that the following types of compositions beg for black and white:
* Photos that convey strong emotion. Often times, color can be a distraction whereas black and white makes the emotion or feeling seem more strong.
* Images lacking a full spectrum of colors; for example, a city scape or Ansel Adam’s Yosemite “Moon and Half Dome.”
* Low contrast images such as photographs shot on dark overcast days.
* Any subject with the lines, contours, shadows and curves that you just know will look great in black and white. How can you tell? By getting familiar with a variety of black and white images! Search online for Ansel Adams work. Or search for “famous black and photos.”
* Look at B&W photography books at the library. There are many places to appreciate and learn this artful form of photography!
Create Black & White Photography with a Photo Editor
Once you see a subject and know it would like best in black and white, then you can always set your camera to B&W and take it. However, if you gain experience with your photo editor, you will find you can create even better B&W images by shooting in color first and then desaturating in the editor. Another benefit to this method is that you’ll never end up with a day’s worth of pictures all in black and white because you forgot to reset the camera!
Check Your Camera’s White Balance
While the easiest way to change a color to black and white is to desaturate it with your photo editor, this technique doesn’t let you control how the primary colors work together to produce a gray scale brightness. If you create a good white balance when taking the picture, then the simple desaturation method may be all you need do in the photo editor.
Make Sure to Use Your Photo Editing Software’s Color Swatches
One of the many methods for creating black and white images in a photo editor allows you to apply color swatches for your tones. Even though there are no colorful tones in black and whites, there are still tones created by colors. Color swatches work a lot like the way color lenses work on a SLR camera. For example, filters in the yellow to orange range are flattering to the skin while green creates nice tones for nature pictures.
And finally, don’t forget to show off your black and white photographs. Beautiful black and white photos deserve to be framed for all to see. You should select picture frames that showcase your image with simple clean lines rather than distract from it. Hope you enjoyed these four black and white photography tips and have fun taking your next black and white photo!
Autumn Lockwood is a writer for Your Picture Frames. Shop online and see our large selection of antique picture frames in a wide variety of styles like our old fashioned vintage picture frames and unique victorian picture frames. Shop online or call 800-780-0699.
Question by JJohn: What Is A Good Non-Digital 35mm Camera To Start Experimenting In Black & White Photography With?
I WANT TO START EXPERIMENTING IN PHOTOGRAPHY, MAINLY BLACK & WHITE ARTISTIC QUALITY PRINTS. I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHAT BRAND AND MODEL, INCLUDING MULTIPLE LENSES, I SHOULD START WITH. CANON, NIKON, PENTAX? LENSES? ALSO, IF YOU KNOW A GREAT BOOK/MANUAL TO LEARN ABOUT BLACK AND WHITE PHOTOGRAPHY OR PHOTOGRAPHY IN GENERAL PLEASE LET ME KNOW.
THANKS TO ALL THAT RESPOND.
Answer by Anti-Garbage
I could offer the brand name of an exquisite moderate-priced camera, but likely you’d lose it, as western hemisphere doesn’t like citizens to possess or make use of such quality.
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Black and White Photography
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