Stephen Carroll, a freelance photographer from Reston, Virginia, specializes in artwork for book covers, with more than 400 (mostly novels) to his credit. They’re not just any book covers, though. His genius lies in creating film noir-like scenes, complete with desperate lovers, soaked T-shirts, smoking […]
10 Easy Steps To Advanced Photography Skills
1. Think About The Brain
I’ve always thought about photography differently. I grew up seeing out of only one eye, thanks to several botched surgeries in the 1970s using refurbished archaeological tools of the Australopithecus medicine men.
When you see out of one eye your whole life and then start using a camera in your mid-30s, something happens to you! You come to realize that a camera works nothing like the eye. Forget 3D; I’m talking about the way the brain stores images and scenes.
Upon birth, you have legs, but it takes a few years for your legs to get along with your brain well enough to actually walk you around the savanna a bit. The eyes are the same. They get wired faster than the legs, but the neural pathways from the optic nerve to the parts of the brain that matter take a while to find their chemical trails. You start to sense light levels, then shapes, then edges, then relative positions and the like. And then, around the age 2 or 3, you finally come up with a tagging system that allows you to know generally what a “barn” looks like. Your brain has been working nonstop over that time to give you the visual and memory infrastructure to enable this watershed event.
Now, let’s fast forward to today. You’re older, your brain is more or less fully formed, and you happen upon a barn in a field. But it’s not just any barn: it’s the barn you’ve been wanting to see your entire life. And in the distance, a storm is brewing as a gentle sun sets. It’s beautiful; you lock it into memory. The way you lock it into memory is nothing like the way a camera records the image on film (or a CCD). This is what I quickly came to realize as I sat there, looking at a photo I took with a fabulously expensive Nikon and showing it to a friend. “Well, you really had to be there.” I’m sure you’ve all said that!
Now, this first step is a big step: it’s a philosophical re-assessment of how the camera works in contrast to how the memory maps a scene, the latter being a process of layering visual reality with the emotions and memories linked to that scene. You see, you are not just remembering that barn but are remembering every barn; you are not just remembering that storm but are remembering every storm. A beautiful photo must tell the epic tale of the memory, linked with the other emotions that fold into a whole.
Step 1: OMG HDR is the Best. Thing. Ever. I remember this stage well. HDR is revolutionary to new photographers and those who need something fresh to awaken their senses again. It’s a way to set your images apart from the rest. To create something […]
Twice a month we revisit some of our reader favorite posts from throughout the history of Phototuts+. This tutorial was first published in October, 2009. The most common complaints I hear from most photographers of any experience level is “my images aren’t sharp”, and “I […]
In our ongoing Shoot Like A Pro series we teamed up with our sister title, the Nikon magazine N-Photo, to explore the many different ways you can sell photos online, in print, and elsewhere in ways you might not have considered before. This week we […]
After many years as a keen amateur photographer, I decided to start a small landscape photography business called Lakescenes which I ran alongside my main job as an IT Manager. As business increased, I found myself working long, but rewarding, hours just to keep up […]
Rob Sheppard is a naturalist, nature photographer and videographer who says his favorite location is the one he is in at any time. He is the author/photographer of over 40 books, as well as a well-known speaker and workshop leader, and a Fellow with the […]
Gary Hart has photographed California’s natural beauty for over 30 years. Gary’s photos and writing have appeared in many publications, most recently Outdoor Photographer and Sierra Heritage magazines. You’ll also find his images in greeting cards, postcards, calendars, and many galleries and private collections throughout the world.
Originally from Poland, based in London UK, Jaroslav has background in Fine Arts, degree in Architecture, and wide array of experience. Being an Architect taught him how to be resourceful and to solve complex problems with simple, yet innovative solutions. Constant passion for graphic & […]
Tom Mangelsen has photographed wildlife from hummingbirds to elephants, but he has a special soft spot for bears. And he’s particularly fond of the grizzlies that roam Grand Teton National Park near his home in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. “The more I see bears, the more […]
I’m in a mild state of shock today. I’ve recently read Watching the English by Kate Fox and discovered things about myself that I was better off not knowing. If you’ve not read the book it can be neatly summarised by the following: in terms […]