how-to

Off Topic – Studio Anywhere

Portrait of Teenager Daniel

Daniel | Porto Ferraio | 2016

With today’s post I’m venturing far away from my usual posts around Street- and Travel Photography. But vacation time is not only time for intensified photography around documenting our family trip to Italy.

Holidays means also having finally time for a lot of (photography) related reading of books, blogs and websites to get fresh doses of inspiration. And also having time to try out a few things off your usual beaten paths.

In this case I decided to do some portrait photography with my (more or less willing) family. First victim up was my son Daniel. To see more and learn how this studio-like portrait was taken without help of any flash on a 1m stretch of white wall inside our rented apartment’s bedroom continue reading after the jump.

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Finding your photographic style

Drinks before the Show

Drinks before the Show | Hamburg | 2016

In today’s world photography has become mainstream. Excellent cameras have become very affordable and smartphones are 24/7 companions that allow everyone to do serious photography on the spot.

Each second thousands of photos are uploaded to social networks (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) and image platforms (flickr, 500px). And all of us who contribute to this never-ending stream of photographic output hope that somehow our work finds some recognition.

With the growing numbers of aspiring photographers also the amount of educational and inspirational information has vastly increased. Photography magazines, how-to books, websites and blogs provide a wealth of technical knowledge and inspiration for just about every genre of photography that you can imagine. Thanks to this resources teaching yourself the technical and artistic aspects of photography (and even the business side if you want to look at that as well) is not difficult at all if you learn to differentiate the wheat from the chaff. I’m not saying that this replaces the need for a professional education (if you really want to work as a professional photographer you should have a proper one) but for all us aspiring wannabe professionals who dream about generating some cash out of our hobby one day the training material available online or what you can pick up by attending workshops is more than sufficient to get us properly started.

With affordable gear, a wealth of information and inspiration available remains the question what to shoot. I for myself feel attracted to all sorts of genres. Landscape, portrait work with available light or strobes, boudoir, street photography, macro, wildlife, fashion, travel, documentary, you name it. I have tried most of them to some degree or other. Even bought gear (ever heard of GAS – gear acquisition syndrome) to being able to properly do it, inspired by one article or another in one of my many photography magazines, books or on a blog or photography portal site.

The thing is, all of this is nice, some come with caveats that are not easy to overcome (e.g. getting yourself models for portrait/fashion shootings, getting up in the middle of the night to catch the golden hours of landscape photography) so the genres that eventually attract you will narrow down themselves. And if you really want to become good at something you need to focus. Most great artists / scientists have been or are specialists of some sorts. Sure there are exceptions. Bryan Adams is a great Rock Star and also a well-known photographer, but in music he focuses on Rock and in his photography on portraits and fashion.

So how do you focus, how do you find the style of photography that suits your aspirations, that allows you to become good enough that you yourself are satisfied with the results. And again, as long as you don’t have to make a living out of your photography your own judgement of your results is the only relevant criteria. If in addition to that your work finds whatever recognition on social media, image sharing platforms, websites or photography magazines that is just icing on the cake.

The road to discovering your individual style as a photographer is a very personal one. But there are some things can help you and that have certainly helped me. Find out more after the jump. (more…)

Little woes of a traveling photographer

Stortorget

Stortorget | Stockholm | 2016

You have been looking forward to this weekend trip to a fancy city  that you always wanted to see. Time is limited, you only have a couple of days. You are travelling with your partner who is not all that much into photography.  You don’t want to spoil the getaway by constantly logging behind, hunting for that perfect photo opportunity, that better angle, fumbling with your gear to change to the more appropriate lens.

And besides taking the marquee shots of well-known attractions (and that everybody back home expects from you)  you are looking for those special shots that you expect from yourself, because after all your are not after the tourist snap shots, for you are a photographer.

You arrive at your destination, it is great to be there, the sights and sounds are awesome, the food tastes great, you take the “must-have” shots, but photographically you just don’t get into the right groove, into your creative flow. And somehow this frustrates you because your own expectations towards yourself are otherwise and you know you won’t have a chance to get back to this city anytime soon when the photographic circumstances might be better. Sounds familiar? Continue reading after the jump. (more…)