Choosing A Subject In Photography

How do you know what photos you will take? Are you going to a family reunion? Are you going out for a hike and hope to see some wildlife? There are many questions when it comes to photography. You will want to have a basis of photography techniques to provide the best photograph and once you learn those techniques the subject will be up to you. Most photographers whether they are professional or amateurs like you will have a medium they work with. It is the same with other artists; you have painters, sculptors, sketch artists, and much more. Photography is art and therefore requires an eye for the right photograph.

How do you know what subject you will shoot? This is where your interests lie. If you wish only to take pictures of wildlife then you will have to wait for the subject to come into view. Obviously you can go to a wildlife park such as the Rocky Mountain National Park and hope to find subjects. Most often it will depend on the time of year. Elk and Deer are more prominent when they come down the mountains to mate and eat. Birds will always be available, but the type of birds will vary. If you are in Alaska chances are you will have several chances of shooting a Bald Eagle, while in Florida you may find heron or cranes.

When you are practicing techniques you will have to choose your subject accordingly. A lot of us are regulated to the area around us. Landscape photography requires the use of the land you have around you, unless you are going on vacation to some place new. This is another important fact to choosing a subject. You are either limited or you have the whole world at your feet. It will depend on your traveling abilities. For now we will stick close to home.

Once you choose your medium you will then go in search of subjects. The subject that speaks to you is what you should choose to shoot. If a tree and the knots it’s formed interest you, you will want to check the lighting of the area. Deciding which angle to shoot from will also make the decision on the subject. The lighting may not be right for the subject you have chosen and the other side of the subject may not yield the best picture.

To choose a subject you will need a good eye for detail and observation. Often the best subject is not the one you can see with a plain eye. Have you ever looked at a tree and found a spider web hiding in the leaves? If you look closer you might even find a spider. A spider web can make a great picture not only because of the technique required to have the web show up in your photo with the silky threads, but also the pattern of a spider web. We are fascinated with an organism that can create a symmetrical pattern.

Again your eye is the best tool for finding a subject. How you choose the subject will depend on what is available, the angle and the light. Moving slowly through an area such as landscape will help you determine the subject. Looking under leaves or rocks is often beneficial to finding something new and different. You never know where you will find a picture just waiting for you to click a picture. Some people and animals do things that will never again happen and this is when you want to have camera available. Most people interested in photography carry a camera with them everywhere they go. If this sounds like a habit, a real habit turns into a hobby and a possible income if you become good at taking the right pictures. As you get better at taking the pictures, you can then start displaying your pictures for others to see and possibly buy.

Choosing A Photography School

There are many places you can learn photography, but what is the right place for you? Sure there are online schools and courses, but they won’t give you the hands on information you need. You need other students and the teacher’s eye to become a better photographer. The online classes do have their uses for instance giving you the basic information to study. It can be difficult to choose the right school. Some require recommendation while others are apart of colleges.

The information you wish to glean from a photography class will make part of the decision for you. For instance in a college setting that does not specialize in photography will offer the basic levels, but may not offer you an internship with a professional photographer in your field. If you are looking for photography as a hobby these basic level classes will often give you the information you need to produce pictures you can be proud of.

Specialized schools as with any others will allow for more information on a specific topic. Most specialized schools will allow you to work with a professional to learn the specifics of your profession as well as expand your knowledge. This helps you learn quicker and learn more about the techniques used in photography while having hands on experience.

The best way to choose a photography school is to decide what you want from your photography. Once you have decided that you can move on to finding out how to apply. Some photography schools are part of a studio and allow for anyone to sign up for a class. Other schools require you to attend a college or university first for basic photography and intern before you go on to the specialized school.

Searching online will lead you to the schools available in your area and across the country. You will be able to find the application as well as descriptions of every class they offer. The sites will also list the qualifications you have to attend the school and what classes you will need to take to become a photographer. Although the experience you receive from a classroom is better, online classes teach you what you need to know.

Some classes that you will need to will be in lighting, composition, and other basics. Depending on your field you will then need to branch out in studying ways to capture the subject. Like portrait photography you will need to understand angles, light, balances, and how to elicit the reactions you need from the subject. Digital photography is the new way to take photographs and there are a few different techniques to learn from the older manual cameras.

Photography schools can help you become more adapt at taking photographs. You may decide you need a little help to step up from being the point and shoot type to a more complicated camera or you might decide there is a career for you. There are many types of schools for you and online sources will help you find it. Online photography classes can be helpful for you learning techniques, but you will still want other people to help you find your eye for art. If you have worked with manual cameras in the past chances are you will want to take a digital photography course when you switch.

To touch on one more type of school we need to delve into underwater photography. Most colleges and other photography schools associated with studios do not specialize in underwater photography. It is often best to seek out a dive school for a basic course. You might decide to delve further and find an underwater photography school. Underwater photography has always been a unique and interesting hobby or profession. Seeing the results of your work is like nothing else one can imagine. When you look at the color and the amazing views, you will understand underwater photography more.

Candid Photography, Taking Pictures Of Your Friend Without Their Attention

Candid photography is by definition taking pictures of people when they are unaware. Part of the fun in photography is catching your human subject’s off guard so that your pictures have more emotion. Photographers who work for magazines, like Time Life, have been able to get candid shots of their subjects. I think most of us can remember the black and white photographs of Africans and others giving rise to more emotion from the viewer. Taking candid shots may appear easy although there are few techniques in the photography world that will make the candid shot worth more than just a snap shot of friends.

First and of course most important is to keep the subject in view while they are not paying attention. The next step is training your eye to catch the moment. You have to be able to move fast, but with design. You need to have your camera set for the picture before you are even aware you will take the photograph. The best way to do this if you have a digital or automatic camera is to keep it on the proper setting. Manual cameras take moments to focus and can loose the candid shot if your subject becomes aware of you.

Candid photography relies on the light; however, you may not always get to choose the angle. The angle could be where you are standing at the time. As a photographer of candid photography, you know the importance of choosing the best angle at the right moment that is possible.

The entire point of candid photography is to gain the unguarded moments of a person’s emotions, whether it is tears, happiness, love, or other emotions. While it is true, you need to have light, angle, and a good camera to catch the shot it is more important to observe. Most photographers are trained observers. Their eyes will wander over the crowds, landscape, or other setting searching for the perfect shot. They will always have a camera ready. It can be extremely hard when you are taking photographs of your friends because they tend to be more involved in the conversations or activity.

The key to taking candid photographs of your friends is to draw them away from the fact that you carry a camera. If they forget you carry the tool, they are more likely going to act natural. Some friends tend to pose in front of the camera while others will shy away turning their backs when you get ready to take a photograph. Knowing your friends will help you find the best way to take candid shots without their knowledge.

Observing, having the camera ready, and understanding the basics of photography will yield you better results when you try for a candid shot. Posing or turning away from the camera will take away from the shot you hoped to attain so hanging to the side or a little ahead can get you the shot you may need. Profiles make great candid shots because the person will not realize you are taking a photograph until you have already clicked the button. Candid photography can be one of the most rewarding arts of photography, but also vexing when the subject is aware of the camera. Always remember the camera when going out with friends.

Adobe Photoshop

In the history of photography, there has never been a time that we can achieve such phenomenal results in editing as has happened in the digital age. And while there are a myriad of tools that the computer and internet have made available to us to enhance and change the images that come from a photo shoot, none can top the popularity and power of Adobe Photoshop. The program has become so synonymous with editing and creating effects that the term, “to Photoshop” has become a verb that means to enhance or alter an image.

We can “Photoshop in” new outfits, accessories or even people to a shot where it was just not possible before. So if you want a picture of you shaking hands with the president, you don’t have to go to Washington to get it, just “Photoshop” your image into the image of the president and it will look as real as if you had been there.

Similarly, we can “Photoshop” out things from a picture we don’t want to see there anymore. So if you have a physical flaw, that can be removed. You can even remove a distracting person from the background of the shot. The program is so sophisticated that these images are possible and you really cannot tell the alteration has been made.

Photoshop has become such a de facto standard for photo processing that if you are setting up a photography studio or business, a copy of the software is as necessary as Microsoft word or PowerPoint. The good thing about this software is that it is readily accessible and a lot of people know how to use it. So if you feel insecure about learning yet another computer application, you can probably find a college student, someone at the high school or maybe the junior high that knows Photoshop in and out and can help you jump start your use of the software as well.

But Photoshop has not always dominated this genre. The program was created in 1989 by two brothers, John Knoll and Thomas Knoll. While the brothers developed Photoshop for custom uses they had at the time, it wasn’t long before the market potential of this software became evident. So, being smart entrepreneurs, John and Thomas founded a little company called Adobe and began operations in 1990.

Adobe has been a shining example of how to achieve success in the age of the internet. Today few of us who use the internet are not aware of Adobe. You probably cannot find a personal computer that uses the internet that does not have a free copy of the Adobe reader on it to read PDF files. The PDF format is yet another example of how this little company has created and then taken over a particular market of online business.

To really become skilled at using Photoshop, the first thing to do is probably find a copy to play with. Like most computer applications, you can probably find a copy on a friend’s computer just to tinker with it and get a feel for the controls. Then if your friend is a wizard at Photoshop, let him or her show you some of the real “wiz-bang” things they can do with Photoshop using the same menus you were just tinkering with. This little Saturday afternoon experiment could turn you into a Photoshop addict forever.

After that, you would do well to download a copy for yourself. You can get an evaluation version that will give you most of the features. But you really only need that if you are not sure if you are going to buy a copy. Since Photoshop dominates this market, you almost certainly will buy a copy so you might save some frustration and purchase a licensed copy right away. Now, you will probably find yourself playing with the software for long hours just having fun and that’s great. But don’t overlook the value of taking some organized classes in photo editing using Adobe Photoshop. These classes can show you the shortcuts and how to get the most out of the software.

From there on out, your imagination is the only limit to how you will use this tool to make your photographs better for your customers. And you will be able to respond enthusiastically when someone says, “that’s ok, you can just Photoshop that and fix it right up.”

A Career In Fashion Photography

We see them everywhere, in Magazines, on the Run Way, in advertisements on TV. They are the slender women strutting their stuff or extra ordinary Beauties with their sultry looks flashing their pearly whites while wearing the newest Styles from the hottest Designers. We are talking about the fashion models of today, yesterday and tomorrow. They are everywhere we look, but who brings them to us? Their images are captures with care and precision, patience and that special look for style, color and lighting composition. I am talking about the fashion photographers.

In the fashion circles famous names like Mario Testino (easily one of the hottest names out there) and Eva Mueller (photographer for Fashion Magazine Allure) are just as sought out if not more then those men and women sauntering their way into our conscious.

High Paychecks and glamour’s Lifestyle of hob nobbing it with the rich and famous might be the dream of many young shutterbug, however it is not easy to reach the golden Staircases of the well-known fashion houses and magazines. For every one talented photographer, hundreds are left panting at the sidewalk, only dreaming about the moment that their photo will be chosen.

Here are a few tips for the novice and dreamer of dreams in getting started in fashion photography. Study your subject. You can never learn enough. Read and look at any fashion Magazine you can get your hand on. There are fantastic books on Fashion and fashion photography available. has a true treasure trove available.
You need one or two good cameras, tripod and a lighting system. Always make sure that you have plenty of film and batteries available. SLR and digital cameras take different photos, so make sure you find the best for your field.

When submitting your work, hopefully to give a chance you have to have a portfolio on hand, just in case the editor of the fashion magazine wants to see samples of your work. I assure you if they consider working with you that is going to be a fact.
The sharp, bright images of a 4X5” transparency show of your work to its best effort. If you have already had a publication, no matter if, it was a small neighborhood magazine/paper or a contest a tear sheet (literally a sheet you tore out of the magazine) works well. If neither is at hand a good high quality 8 X 10 “is acceptable as well. You want to make sure that you have a minimum of 20 photos in your portfolio and preferably different styles. You want to show your expertise in full figure or just partial body parts.

Remember, fashion includes jewelry and accessories. Sometimes a watch from a famous maker on the slender wrist of a beautiful woman is a good fashion shoot. If you are applying for the job, be prepared to leave your Portfolio behind for an extended period of time, sometimes as much as a couple of weeks. I would advice you to make copies and have several on hand. This comes in handy when showing your work to many different people for consideration for fashion work.

In the time of modern technology, it is good to display your talent as a fashion photographer online as well. Set up a website; submit your photos to contests. Submit them to an online fashion gallery. This helps with getting your work seen and people can see what type of work you actually do and can do for them.

Most editors are looking for your personality in the photos you take. Each fashion photographer captures the soul of the fashion and its model differently. There are a couple of very good “how to get started” websites on the net. You might wish to start out with or Most importantly, if this is your dream, don’t give up. Keep trying and I hope to see your images on the cover of my next hot fashion magazine.