40 Tips to Take Better Photos

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    40 Tips to Take Better Photos(http://petapixel.com/2014/01/24/40-tips-take-better-photos/)

    Invaluable advice for the beginning photographer

    Jan 24, 2014 Lisa Clarke

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  • Many years ago when I was a starry-eyed undergrad I would ask every photographer I came

    across the same question:

    How do I take better photos?

    I was extremely lucky to have many talented and generous photographers take me under their wing to show

    me the ropes. Without their valuable advice there is no way I would have become the photographer I am


    Ironically, the number one question I now get asked as an Open producer is How do I take better photos?

    So along with some tips that Ive picked up over the years, Ive recruited some outstanding snappers across

    Australia to share their own secret techniques about how they take their photos to the next level.

    1. Get in close

    It was the famous photojournalist Robert Capa (http://www.magnumphotos.com/C.aspx?

    VP3=CMS3&VF=MAGO31_10_VForm&ERID=24KL535353) who once said If your photographs arent good

    enough, youre not close enough. He was talking about getting in amongst the action. If you feel like your

    images arent popping, take a step or two closer to your subject. Fill the frame with your subject and see how

    much better your photo will look without so much wasted space. The closer you are to the subject, the better

    you can see their facial expressions too.

  • 2. Shoot every day

    The best way to hone your skills is to practice. A lot. Shoot as much as you can it doesnt really matter

    what. Spend hours and hours behind your camera. As your technical skills improve over time, your ability to

    harness them to tell stories and should too. Dont worry too much about shooting a certain way to begin with.

    Experiment. Your style your voice will emerge in time. And it will be more authentic when it does. Leah


    Leah Robertson is a super talented Melbourne based photographer and videographer, specialising in music

    and documentary photography.You can see her work here (http://leahrobertson.com/).

    3. See the light

    Before you raise your camera, see where the light is coming from, and use it to your advantage. Whether it is

    natural light coming from the sun, or an artificial source like a lamp; how can you use it to make your photos

    better? How is the light interacting with the scene and the subject? Is it highlighting an area or casting

    interesting shadows? These are all things you can utilise to make an ordinary photo extraordinary.

    4. Ask permission

    When photographing people, especially while in countries with different cultures and languages, it can be

    hard to communicate. In certain countries if you photograph someone you are not supposed to photograph,

    it can get ugly and rough very quickly if you are not careful. So out of respect you should always ask

    permission. I have started shooting a series of school children in Pakistan. These are all posed portraits and

    they are looking down the lens. My guide helps me with the language and I limit myself to smiling, shaking

    hands, giving hi-five and showing them the image on the back of my camera once it is done. You would be

    amazed how quickly people open up. Andrea Francolini

    Andrea Francolini is a well known Italian born, Sydney based sports photographer. He is also the founder of

    My First School (http://www.my-first-school.org/), as trust which has the aim to facilitate educations in

    Northern Pakistan. You can see his work here (http://www.afrancolini.com/).

    5. Use flash during the day

    You might think that you should only use flash at night time or indoors, but thats not the case at all. If it is an

    extremely bright day outside and the sun is creating harsh shadows on your subject, switch on your flash. By

    forcing extra light onto your subject, you will be able to fill in those ugly shadows and create an even


    6. ISO

    There are questions to ask yourself when deciding what ISO to use:

    What time of day are you shooting? If you are shooting outside during the middle of the day you will need to

    use a lower ISO such as 100 or 200. If you are shooting at night time without a tripod you will have to

    increase the ISO to a higher number to be able to record the light on the cameras sensor.

    Will the subject be well lit? If your subject or scene is too dark you will need to use a higher ISO such as 800

    or 1600.

  • Do you want a sharp image or an image with more movement in it? Using a high shutter speed to capture fast

    movement might mean that you need to use a high ISO to compensate. Likewise, if youre using a slow

    shutter speed to capture blur you will need a low ISO to compensate.

    Dont forget, increasing your ISO increases the grain or pixel size in your photo. So dont use an ISO of 3200

    or 6400 if you dont want a photo with a lot of digital noise.

    7. f/4

    f/4 is my go to aperture. If you use a wide aperture with a long lens (200mm-400mm) youre able to separate

    the subject from the background. This helps them stand out. Works every time. Peter Wallis

    Peter Wallis is a sports photographer extraordinaire, working for The Courier Mail in Brisbane. You can see

    his work here (http://peterwallisphoto.com/).

    8. Youve got to be joking

    A well timed joke will always yield a more natural smile, than simply saying smile Dean Bottrell

    Dean Bottrell is a Emerald based photographer who specializes in portraiture. You can see his work here


    9. Buy books, not gear

    Having expensive camera equipment doesnt always mean that youll take good photos. Ive seen some

    absolutely amazing images shot with nothing more than a smart phone. Instead of having ten different lenses,

    invest in some fantastic photography books. By looking at the work of the masters, not only do you get

    inspired, you come away with ideas to improve your own photos.

    10. Read your cameras manual

    The best way to know what to do with your camera is to actually read the manual. So many people miss this

    really important step on their photographic journey. Every camera is different, so by reading the manual youll

    get to know all the funky things its capable of.

    11. Slow down

    Take time to think about what is going on in the viewfinder before pressing the shutter. How are you going to

    compose the shot? How are you going to light it? Dont jump straight in without giving it some thought first.

    Brad Marsellos

    Brad Marsellos (https://open.abc.net.au/openregions/qld-wide-bay-71AY7Fz) is the Wide Bay ber Open

    producer. You can see his photos, videos and musings on life here (https://open.abc.net.au/openregions/qld-


    12. Stop chimping (checking the photo on the back screen)

    Its a bad habit digital photographers can develop. Time and time again I see photographers take a

    photograph and then look at the back of the screen straight away. By doing that you could miss all the

    special moments. You can look at your photos later. You can miss the shot and it affects the flow of your

    work, so just keep shooting! Marina Dot Perkins

  • The lovely Marina Dot Perkins is a news, travel and wedding photographer who worked for The Canberra

    Times and is now based in Newcastle.

    13. Framing

    This is a technique to use when you want to draw attention to something in your photograph. By framing a

    scene or a subject, say with a window or an archway, you lead the viewers eye to the primary focal point.

    14. Shape with light

    Never shoot with the sun directly behind you. It creates boring, flat light on the subject. If you shoot with the

    light source to the side or behind the subject, you are able to shape with the light, creating a more interesting

    photo. Patria Jannides

    Patria is not only a talented news photographer, she is also my long term friend, mentor, and personal cheer

    squad. She even helped me to land my first job as a paid photographer. Thanks for everything P xxx

    15. Watermarks

    This tip isnt in direct relation to TAKING photos, but it does affect the look of photos. When it comes to

    watermarks, the smaller the better. And if you can avoid using them, do.

    Chances are, unless you are a paid professional, theres not much of a chance of your photos getting nicked.

    But in reality, they wont prevent your images from getting stolen. They only distract from the fabulous image

    that youve created, because once youve slapped a watermark all over it, thats all the viewer will be looking

    at. The only way you can prevent your images from being stolen is to not publish them on the internet.

    Read Open producer Luke Wongs blog post on watermarks here (https://open.abc.net.au/openregions/nsw-


    16. Be present

    This means make eye-contact, engage and listen to your subject. With the eyes lower that camera and be

    human. Bring the camera up for a decisive shot. But remember to lower it, like youre coming up for air, to

    check in with your subject. Dont treat them like a science experiment under a microscope. Being there with

    your subject shows them respect, levels the playing field in terms of power dynamics, and calms them down.

    Youll get much more natural images this way. Heather Faulkner

    Heather Faulkner is a photographer who convenes the ePhotojournalism major at QCA, Griffith University.

    She is also the executive director of The Argus (http://theargus.net.au/), a student-run, visual journalism

    online magazine. See her personal work here (http://heatherfaulkner.com.au/).

    17. Shutter speed

    Being aware of your shutter speed means the difference between taking a blurry photo and a sharp photo. It

    all depends on what you are after. If you are shooting a sporting event or children running around in the

    backyard, you probably want your subjects to be in focus. To capture fast action you will have to use a

    shutter speed over 1/500th of a second, if not 1/1000th to 1/2000th. On the opposite end of the scale, you

    might want to capture the long streaks of a cars tail lights running through your shot. Therefore you would

    change your cameras shutter speed to a long exposure. This could be one second, ten seconds, or even


  • 18. Charge your batteries

    This seems like a simple one, but pretty much every photographer on the face of the planet has been caught

    out before. Including myself. The trick is to put the battery onto the charger as soon as you get home from

    your photo shoot. The only thing then is to make sure you remember to put it back into the camera after it

    has been recharged

    19. Focal length

    Keep it simple. I shoot with two prime lenses and one camera; A 28mm and a 35mm. For everything. I use the

    35mm lens 70% and the 28mm lens 30% of time. It takes some time to get used to it, but once you work it out,

    shooting primes is the only way to go. It means you have to work with what you have and you cant be lazy.

    Basically, this means more pictures and less fiddling around with zooming and maybe missing moments. It

    also helps for consistency. If youre working on a project or a series, keeping the same focal lengths is a

    great way to maintain a powerful sense of consistency. Justin Wilkes

    Justin Wilkes quit his job in Sydney this year to cover the political and social change in post revolution Egypt.

    He has since had his photographs published in The New York Times, TIME magazine, and The Jakata

    Globe to name but a few. You can see his amazing documentary work here


    20. Be part of a photographic community

    Like ABC Open (https://open.abc.net.au/explore)! Not only will you be able to publish your photos for the rest

    of the country to see, youll be part of an active group that offers feedback on how great you are going. You

    can learn new things to help you improve your technique, and you might even make some new photography


    21. Shoot with your mind

    Even when youre not shooting, shoot with your mind. Practice noticing expressions and light conditions.

    Work out how youd compose a picture of that scene over there that interests you, and what sort of exposure

    you might use to capture it best. Leah Robertson

    22. Return the favor

    Always remember that if you are shooting people in a different country, they are probably doing you a favor

    by posing. So the least you can do is return this favor some way or another.

    I often return to the same places year after year, so I bring along prints and look for the people I

    photographed previously. In some areas people do not have a picture of themselves. Imagine not having a

    picture of you and your family? Strange dont you think? Yet many people dont. So a $0.50 print can really

    make someone happy. It also opens doors for more photography further down the track. Andrea Francolini

    23. Have a camera on you at all times

    You cant take great photos if you dont have a camera on you, can you? DSLR, point-and-shoot or smart

    phone, it doesnt really matter. As long as you have access to a camera, youre able to capture those

    spontaneous and unique moments in life that you might have otherwise missed.

  • 24. The golden hour

    Shoot portraits and landscapes in the golden hours the light is softer and the colours are more vibrant.

    Dean Bottrell

    25. Keep it simple

    Dont try to pack too many elements into your image; it will just end up looking messy. If you just include one

    or two points of interest, your audience wont be confused at where they should be looking or what they

    should be looking at.

    26. Dont get bogged down by equipment

    Weve all seen these types of photographers out and about. They usually have three or four different

    cameras strapped around their necks with lenses long enough for an African safari. In reality, theres

    probably no need for all that equipment. One body with one or two lenses means that youll be freer in your

    movements to capture interesting angles or subjects on the move.

    27. Perspective

    Minimize the belly-button photograph. This is a reference to Moholy Nagy (http://www.moholy-nagy.com/) of

    the Bauhaus (http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/phbh/hd_phbh.htm) movement in photography (which was

    all about lines of perspective). In other words, perspectives are more engaging when we crouch down, or lie

    down, or elevate our position in reference to the subject. Look at how changing your perspective can change

    the visual language and implied power dynamics of the image. Crouching low can make your subject more

    dynamic, whereas gaining height on your subject can often minimize their presence in the image. One of my

    favorite exercises is to make my students lie down and take pictures, often in the dirt. I am a little cheeky.

    Heather Faulkner

    28. Be aware of backgrounds

    Whats in your frame? So often I see great photos and think didnt they see that garbage bin, ugly wall, sign,

    etc? Its not just the person or object in your frame, its everything else in the background that can make or

    break a great photograph. So dont be afraid to ask the person to move (or move yourself) to avoid

    something ugly in the background. Marina Dot Perkins

    29. Shade

    Shade can be your best friend. If there is no way you can make the available light work for your photo, shoot

    in the shade. Youll get a nice even exposure with no patchy highlights throughout your shot.

    30. Rule of Thirds

    This is one of the most common tips that pop up when it comes to improving your photos.

    To break it down, you cut your frame into thirds by using both horizontal and vertical lines. You then place

    your point of interest over the cross sections of the grid.

    Check out this article (http://digital-photography-school.com/rule-of-thirds) for further details about using the

    rule of thirds.

  • 31. Exposure

    Ive been shooting a lot of protests lately. Basically, theyre just a lot of people really close to one another;

    often moving. After having made many mistakes with getting my exposures right, I worked out that if the sun is

    behind me and in the face of protestors I will set exposure compensation to underexpose by a stop to bring

    out even tonal range. When the sun is behind the protestors I like to over expose just slightly to bring out the

    shadow details on their faces. This could apply to street photography when the light is in front or behind your

    subject. Justin Wilkes

    32. Dont spend too much time post-processing

    The key is to get it right in the camera first, so you dont HAVE to spend time editing. Over working a photo in

    editing software very rarely looks good, unless you are trying to achieve a super-artsy effect. If it takes you

    longer than ten minutes to alter your photo, maybe think about going back out into the field to re-shoot it.

    33. Variation

    Variation is key. I often use a recipe from Life Magazine (http://life.time.com/) picture editors for building a

    story narrative. I look for: over-all shots or scene-setters, interaction, action, portraits, details, medium shots

    and of course the signature image. Having this list in my head helps me start photographing a story that

    sometimes isnt visually apparent until you get into it. This is great when youre in a crowded or busy place.

    Heather Faulkner

    34. Become one with the camera

    Push the button regardless of the outcome so the camera becomes part of your hand. Dean Saffron

    Dean Saffron (http://www.deansaffron.com/) is a photojournalist and an ABC Open superstar. His video The

    Spokesman (https://open.abc.net.au/posts/the-spokesman-82kh4lu/in/tags/dean+saffron), has had over

    170,000 views. Woah!

    35. Hold your camera properly

    You might not know it, but there is a right way and a wrong way to hold a DSLR camera. The correct way is to

    support the lens by cupping your hand underneath it. This is usually done with the left hand, with your right

    hand gripping the body of the camera. This helps to prevent camera shake. If you are gripping your camera

    with your hands on either side of the camera body, there is nothing supporting the lens, and you might end

    up with blurry photos. To get an even stabler stance, tuck your elbows into the side of your body.

    36. Limit your palette

    When photos have too many colours spewing out from them, theyre often hard to look at. Unless its a photo

    of a rainbow or the Mardi Gras. Try to focus on having one or two colours predominately featuring in your

    photograph. It will be more pleasing to the eye and will help set the tone of the image.

    37. Get your subject to relax

    This applies mostly to portrait style photography. As a press photographer, I spend most of my time doing

    one on one portrait shoots. I think its really beneficial to take the time (if you have it) talking to your subject,

    asking questions, showing an interest in whatever it is they do. I find it really helpful in relaxing the person

    and often theyll say something and that can lead to a better photo opportunity. Marina Dot Perkins

  • Tweet


    38. Inspiration from all forms

    Take in as much photography as you can online, and in books and magazines. But not passively. Look at

    different styles. Work out what you like or dont like about them. Look at the technical elements of pictures

    and think about how they were made, and what the photographer is trying to say. The more you take in, the

    more arsenal youll have when creating your own work. Leah Robertson

    39. Be patient and persevere

    With time, patience, and perseverance, you will get better; with each and every photo you take.

    40. Break the rules

    Now that you know some of the rules, go ahead and break them! Experiment. Have fun. Learn from your

    mistakes. Make up your own tips and techniques for taking fantastic photographs. Id love to hear them.

    Go forth and shoot!

    A special thank you to all the amazing photographers who made this blog post possible.

    About the author: Lisa Clarke is a photojournalist based out of the Capricornia region of Australia.

    In the past five years Lisa has contracted dengue fever in Indonesia, broken her big toes climbing the summit

    of Mt Fuji in Japan, snapped British chef Gordon Ramsey in a Thai transsexual bar, been bed ridden with

    bacterial conjunctivitis in Burma, partied with Dennis Rodman, hung out the door of more helicopters than she

    would like to remember, thrown up violently with food poisoning in Cambodia, and was detained by the police

    in Zimbabwe for practicing journalism without accreditation during the Mugabe reign in 2007.

    You can follow her ongoing exploits on Twitter (https://twitter.com/lisaclarkephoto). This article was originally

    published on ABC Open (https://open.abc.net.au/explore/05ox3na).

    About ABC Open: ABC Open invites regional communities to produce and publish photos, stories, videos,

    and sound through the ABC.

    We all know the media is changing, with more and more people making their own videos, writing stories and

    sharing photos and ideas through social media. ABC Open is an exciting initiative which provides a focal point

    for Australian regional communities who want to get involved in sharing their experiences through the ABC via

    websites, radio and TV.

    Image credits: Kearsarge Pinnacles by Moonlight (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeffpang/6079752728/) by

    Jeff Pang (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeffpang/)

    Previous Post (http://petapixel.com/2014/01/24/truth-consequences-war-photographer/)

    Next Post (http://petapixel.com/2014/01/24/adobe-revamps-photoshop-express-android-kitkat/)



  • 63 Comments PetaPixel Login

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    Feroz Khan 9 months ago

    The link to Peter Wallis' website doesn't seem to be the right one (point 7)


    DLCade 9 months agoMod > Feroz Khan

    It is, his website is just down at the moment :)



    Feroz Khan a month ago> DLCade

    Looks like the link should be http://www.petewallisphoto.com... and not



    Poki 9 months ago

    Don't spend more than 10 minutes to post-process a photo? This does definitely not apply to all

    types of photogrpahy. I shoot landscapes for years now and spent more than 10 hours on some

    photos (for example the one attached here) to fine tune every pixel to my liking, and I wouldn't call

    the outcomes as "could be shot better by going out and shooting them again" ...

    Though all in all, that's a nice list for beginners.



    Espen 9 months ago> Poki

    I don't agree with you. 10 hours?? I don't mind your photo, but if you have to use all that

    time to be happy with it you would probably be better of with a scene that was more to

    your liking before pushing the button. I also don't mind people using a lot of time fiddling

    around with stuff for their own pleasure, but please be aware that you in that case are

    feeding your own "OCD" more than adding value to the picture for other viewers.

    If you have an idea of the outcome before shooting, or at least before going to post, you

    can save yourself a lot of time spent on trial and error wich I suspect you do.


    Poki 9 months ago> Espen

    It's not about adding value 'for other viewers', it's about being happy with what I







  • Reply

    It's not about adding value 'for other viewers', it's about being happy with what I

    produce myself. I don't shoot to satisfy others, but to be happy with me. I liked the

    scene like it was (took me a few hours to get to the shooting position), and I didn't

    add anything in post, it's just about delivering the best photo that's possible for me.

    And while I might not be a great photographer, I had fun every minute I spent on

    that, or any other photo. Isn't that what it's about for hobbyists?

    Edit: And no, no trial and error (I edit photos like this almost daily), but yes, much

    sitting and thinking while listening to music.



    Sarpent 9 months ago> Poki

    I'm with you, Poki. I am not a photojournalist. I'm trying to create art, and I'll

    spend the time necessary to make an image as good as I can. To me, the

    real fun begins when the image first hits my monitor.



    Grim 2 months ago> Poki

    The problem is at that point you are no longer a photographer. Instead you

    are an editor. Because after you spend 10 hours editing it is no longer

    about the photo and is actually about the editing. I am not saying this is

    bad, it is just different. This article is about taking better photos, not editing

    better photos. So of course it is about the taking of photos not the editing

    process. Like the commenter below Sarpent who says the real fun begins

    when the photo hits his monitor. He, and I suspect you, enjoy the editing

    process more then the taking process, which again is ok. It is Just not

    what this article is talking about. Because if you edit 10 hours whether you

    add to the photo or not it has long stopped being about the photo and

    become about the editing. So if you enjoy the editing, edit as long as you

    want, but if you want to 'Take Better Photos' like this article is talking about,

    then you need to take more photos and spend less time editing.


    Alan Klughammer 9 months ago> Espen

    There are obviously a number of approaches to photography, but I think there are

    two extremes. For want of better terms, I will call them Journalism and Art.

    For Journalism, the purpose is to record a thing or an event. The idea is to keep as

    true to life as possible. Many of the tips above lean toward this type of

    photography; minimal processing, carry your camera everywhere, etc.

    Art photography is more about creating emotion, especially with your viewers.

    Post processing becomes a big part of this. Ansel Adams and his contemporaries

    spent hours in the darkroom "manipulating" their final images. Andreas Gursky,

    who sells some of the most expensive photographs ever, does extensive post


    There is no right or wrong answer. Post process as appropriate for your style and

    approach to photography. Don't limit yourself to too little or too much manipulation.


    Chris Walker 9 months ago> Alan Klughammer





  • Reply

    Chris Walker 9 months ago> Alan Klughammer

    I agree with you entirely Alan. I feel like that is a tip that depends on the type

    of photography you are doing. I personally spend a fair amount of time in

    post-processing, I feel like it is an art-form in itself, but I do also understand

    the purist idea of wanting an untouched photo, seeing heavy editing as a

    sort of corruption.



    JH 9 months ago> Poki

    10 Hours? Really?



    Poki 9 months ago> JH

    Maybe just 6. Or 7. Don't know exactly anymore. But 10 sound better as it's the

    number used in the article.


    Cynical Bloke 9 months ago> Poki

    10 hours? Were you painting in the stars?



    Poki 9 months ago> Cynical Bloke

    Nope, stopped painting in stars myself two years ago. ;)



    Adrienne 8 months ago> Poki

    That is such a beautiful photo! I have been trying to shoot star trails and have been

    unsuccessful - I think its due too the light pollution in the area I live (near an army base)...I

    am going to keep at it....think they are breath taking photos...


    Christian DeBaun 9 months ago

    All the amateurs care about, is the equipment.

    All the pros care about, is being paid.

    All the masters care about, is the light.

    I can't remember where I read that (it was years ago), but it's fairly true. Somehow it stuck with


    GREAT article Lisa!



    Rezaul Haque 9 months ago

    Excellent list! I've been struggling with the idea of watermark for a while now. I've used a very

    subtle small one in the corner of the image, just to tell people I took the picture. Now I'm starting

    to doubt the cost of the watermark, if it distracts the viewer from fully enjoying the image.











  • Reply

    Poki 9 months ago> Rezaul Haque

    Might be just me, but I HATE watermarks. If I see a photo with a watermark, I just ignore it.

    Somehow, these little watermarks always catch my eye so I can't really concentrate on

    the photo itself ...



    kodiak xyza 9 months ago> Rezaul Haque

    work hard at coming up with one that leaves a trail of who took the photo, and a web

    search can find you,

    but minimizes its interaction with the viewer. in other words: don't dial it to "11".

    using the watermark as "theft-prevention" is shortsighted, and likely, quite ineffective.

    a better strategy may be to upload "small" (say 800 pixels),

    and use JPG compression to detract from up-sizing.

    many uses of the photos is for reblogging, and most may not remove the watermark,

    but that is also not a guarantee.

    I personally think of the watermark as a way for someone to trace it back to me,

    if they would like to use my services, and not for photo theft prevention:

    the way I see it, once in the internets I don't have control over it,

    and just let it be hence why I take prevention with the size and compression distortions.

    some people will move on at the sight of the watermark... and that is fair,

    but then, from my perspective: so what? people should do as they please,

    more so when it comes to enjoyment of a photo.



    Vin Weathermon 9 months ago> kodiak xyza

    I understand why you think that, and that's why I used to do it too. However; if you

    really care about your image, you will present it in the best way possible (online

    portfolio, gallery, etc.) Your "selling" of the artist happens THERE if you are trying

    to project the most artistic, professional work. And anything detracting from that is

    madness. Look up "world's best photographers" on google, and look at how many

    of them watermark their images....


    Vin Weathermon 9 months ago> Rezaul Haque

    I replied to the watermark comment too; HATE them. They do far more harm than good if

    it is important for the image to "look beautiful".

    kodiak xyza 9 months ago> Vin Weathermon

    @Vin Weathermon : sorry for the spamming of emails due to my posting, but the

    post keeps getting deleted, perhaps some quirk from Disqus, or settings so I

    reply here, rather than below.

    I can care about my photo in such a way... and skip the watermark for

    presentation in its true form, and in that sense, I agree with you. damned be the

    grabs by people on the internets. (I already do not care for the grabs for people's





  • Reply

    grabs by people on the internets. (I already do not care for the grabs for people's

    usage, just trying to leave a breadcrumb, if allowed.)

    however, I do not see the internet as the best/appealing way to present my photos.

    for me, the internet is a way to: 1) get the photos out and think about them**; 2)

    use them for social-currency, which is the most prevalent usage of photos in the

    internets; 3) satisfy the demand by close friends to make my work easily

    accessible to them***. in some sense, I am not trying to sell myself on the

    internets in any proactive way.

    there can be some passive activity which comes from watermarking and/or my

    sites, and adding tags that would turn up in some searches but this is not

    something that I pursue. I personally couldn't care less what the "world's best

    photographers****" are doing, regarding watermarking, because I am not trying to

    indoctrinate myself into such a circle: I do not know who these people are and I am

    not going to follow someone blindly. not really into indoctrinating myself by copying,

    and following unknown people on the internet.

    thanks for the alternate idea. cheers!


    ** my thoughts are of the internet as part of my "workflow" are on my blog

    *** this is why I prefer sites with no social passive-aggressive comments, nor

    social quid pro quo required (faves, likes, etc.)

    **** I have yet to see a collection on the internet of the "world's best


    in that their attitudes are caring about things I don't, and/or the curator of such a

    list really does a poor job of it. often, they are replications of one or two

    photographers on the list. the ones that I have seen is just a circle jerk, and hype

    inside a bubble.


    Vin Weathermon 9 months ago> kodiak xyza

    No worries (about spam..) I would prefer to never have any of my work

    compared "side to side" with thousands of other images (so I can relate to

    your comment on the best place to view them.) I guess my main point

    about saying "worlds best" was that whether you agree with those titles or

    not, their images do look better without watermarks. The reason the

    majority of very high-end photographers don't watermark is because it

    cheapens the experience. I figure if they don't do that, why should I?

    good shooting,


    kodiak xyza 9 months ago> Vin Weathermon

    I figure if they don't do that, why should I?

    yeah, I cannot think that way. it may be that I come to the same conclusion,



  • Reply

    yeah, I cannot think that way. it may be that I come to the same conclusion,

    but the internets is still a weird place for wisdom from any one group. it has

    been more informative on doing the opposite, than following suit. I am

    reminded of the snark-slogan that makes fun of the Elvis Presley album

    title, and it goes: 50,000,000 flies can't be wrong: eat caca .

    watermarks are a distraction, and they can only be minimized at best, but

    always a distraction. more so in the case of the internet-popular

    bright/sharp/saturated photos.



    kodiak xyza 9 months ago

    The key is to get it right in the camera first, so you dont HAVE to spend time editing.

    unrelated, in that editing should be about the vision/idea of how to present the photo,

    and that should take as long as it needs; spend the time required.

    getting it right in the camera can still demand a bit of editing:

    if one uses the camera as a recorder that maximizes what one wants to get,

    versus using a "Straight Out of The Camera" mantra that can limit the results.

    yes, yes, the idea is not to let sloppiness cause more editing time for that sloppiness:

    but isn't that obvious for everything one likes to do well?



    don_travis 9 months ago

    One important tip is left out. The half press. You half press the shutter button and verify you have

    the camera focusing on what you want focused, and the verify settings the camera has decided

    to use for this shot. Then very lightly squeeze down the rest of the way on the shutter button. This

    is especially important on many less expensive digital cameras that don't process their settings

    in nano-seconds and have enough of a delay between initial press and actual photo that a person

    could press and then move the camera slightly before it is done - and wonder why it is blurry.

    Hence the second step, of a slow squeeze and not a "snap" shot. Pushing it quickly does not

    make the shutter work faster, it only introduces camera motion, even if very slight.



    Felix Flatter 9 months ago

    Well, I like the list, but there is one thing that does not really come out in the first point. Yes, Capa

    said that sentence, but he actually did not mean the physical distance to your subject, but your

    emotional involvement in the action. If your images do not look like you want them to look, or they

    do not tell the viewer what you want them to tell, you need to get a closer relationship with your


    Of course, in most situations it is better to get also physically close, but sometimes you may

    need some distance.


    Vin Weathermon 9 months ago> Felix Flatter

    I think he means exactly what he says; if you are taking "human interest" photos, being





  • Reply

    I think he means exactly what he says; if you are taking "human interest" photos, being

    with humans makes them more impactful. You may do this with long lenses, etc. but you

    have to consciously move in to be a part of it. It takes guts, and practice.


    yopyop 9 months ago> Felix Flatter

    "but he actually did not mean[...]" : there is a great need of proof on this. I'm not saying

    you're wrong but it is still debated and always a question of feelings and opinions, never

    about facts. Is there anything solid to support this point of view ?


    Espen 9 months ago

    should have added the ten golden rules of lomography on the list. Sometimes overthinking a

    picture completely destroys both the picture and the fun making it.



    Norshan Nusi 9 months ago

    I have some thoughts over some of the list...

    12. Stop chimping (checking the photo on the back screen)

    Using a fast lens, I have to chimp. Had to zoom in to check the area in focus. I don't trust the

    camera LCD screen all the time, a lot of slightly blurred pictures look sharp on the camera LCD


    35. Hold your camera properly~

    Use "one-over-the-focal-length" rule to ensure sharper picture, combined with image stabilization,

    you can go a few stops lower and still get that shot in low light.



    Friedrich 9 months ago

    Yeah, a list for people who've never picked up a camera. And #32 is flat out WRONG. Post

    processing is just as important as capturing the image in the first place.



    Alan Klughammer 9 months ago> Friedrich

    There are a few of these I don't agree with.



    James 9 months ago> Friedrich

    Yeah I thought the same. Sounds like someone shoots Jpeg.

    Vin Weathermon 9 months ago> Friedrich

    The point was to not OVER PROCESS, not spend the appropriate amount of time

    rendering a raw file. If you spend more time practicing, getting the shot to be "excellent

    without post processing" then your post-processing will be minimal. I have spent way too

    much time trying to make an image into something that in the end I probably should have

    just chucked and reshot later. Mistakes take lots of post processing....and if I make fewer








  • Reply

    just chucked and reshot later. Mistakes take lots of post processing....and if I make fewer

    of them I'm having more fun in post.



    Omar Salgado 9 months ago

    "If your photographs arent good enough, youre not close enough." This is all way misunderstood.

    It is not about "filling the frame" or "[t]he closer you are to the subject, the better you can see their

    facial expressions too." No way. It is about an epistemological distance on the subject, not a

    spatial one. Indeed, it is about knowing your subject well in its inner aspects and its contextual

    aspects too. This knowledge can only be accessed by time and relationship, not by distance.

    You may get those "expressions" and even those wrinkles by filling the frame, but never ever a

    "true" representation of the subject apart from what you want, desire or need.

    The best advice I can give is: learn Art (as well as the very technical aspects of the apparatus).

    Photography will naturally improve.



    Poki 9 months ago> Omar Salgado

    Thank you for that explanation! First time I read an explanation of the famous quote that

    actually makes totally sense.



    kodiak xyza 9 months ago> Omar Salgado

    well said.

    photography-by-aphorisms, which usually are deprived from the context of what the

    famous photographer was doing, is a problem with quick-by-the-numbers articles to teach

    the masses about photography or any art/craft.

    then again, it is the responsibility of the reader to assimilate what is read, and not to go

    and make a list and check it twice.



    Omar Salgado 9 months ago> kodiak xyza

    Sometimes I think it's hard to interpret an artist's words/work for the very reason

    you mention: "usually [...] deprived from the context of what the famous

    photographer was doing." This all leads to "quick-by-the-numbers articles to teach

    the masses about photography". I couldn't have said it better. But I recognise I

    introduced myself to learning photography by those articles. I think they're great for

    newbies, but very limited in all aspects, and this last thing is what we must

    recognise; they're just a launchpad.

    yopyop 9 months ago> Omar Salgado

    "This is all way misunderstood." As I disagree with you I'd want to say that it is, maybe,

    over-intellectualized and that maybe Capa was more about a litteral meaning rather than a

    figurative one. I am still personnaly waiting for a solid source that would give me a straight

    and definitive answer about that.






  • Reply

    and definitive answer about that.


    Omar Salgado 9 months ago> yopyop

    You'll never find that "solid source" as long as you consider distance in a literal

    way; it must be a metaphorical one since what we are dealing with is art. Maybe

    for snapshots the literal reading can be applied.

    Just think about this: most of the advices you find on the web use the words of

    Capa to promote shots filling the frame and even exluding the background by the

    use of bokeh. The guideline is to flatter the subject, but that only excludes the

    whole of it; aesthetics is what we perceive by the senses in a work of art, not mere

    beauty. When you take that approach in a metaphorical way, you're not only forced

    to know your subject, but also to relate to it and to what it relates to.

    If I were to give you a "solid source", this would be this: learn and master Art. My

    "solid sources" are books by the way of art, hermeneutics, semiotics and

    philosophy. I'm not bragging on myself, it's just that I try to see things the same

    way their authors intended, and this inevitably leads one to tweak. But again, I think

    if the literal approach is useful to someone, then it may be.




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