SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS PHOTOGRAPHIC SOCIETY
SHPS DIGITAL CONTENT LIBRARY
IMPROVING PHOTOGRAPHY THROUGH EDUCATION
ROBERT CAPA &
MASTERS OF PHOTOGRAPHY
POST PROCESSING TECHNIQUES
upcoming program activities for 2018
Before you or I ever picked up a camera, our photographic forefathers( and mothers) were out shooting, learning, and blazing new trails for us to follow. I’ve always taken great comfort in that fact. Knowing that we are part of a long line of picture takers and image makers should lend us a sense of pride. Through sheer will and determination they worked through hard times, failure, and sometimes controversy in order to give us an incredible head start for becoming better photographers.
Ironically, many of these giants of photography, like most other people of great influence, did not start out to be such at the beginning of their careers. Many simply needed a job, others needed an outlet for their artistic inclinations, and still others…well, they had failed in what they initially wanted to become.
In this edition of what I’ve come to lovingly call, The Master’s Series, we will look at two great photographers who didn’t come by their fame easily. You will learn from their hard earned wisdom some tips, that can help you to improve your own photography.
Robert Capa, who was actually born into this world under the name Endre Friedmann, was a Hungarian photographer and photojournalist. His passion was to give war photography to the masses in an up-close and personal way that had never been seen before. He was born in the October of 1913 and met his untimely end on May 25, 1954. In those 41 years Capa shot photographs in the heat of battle during five wars. His work virtually defined the image we have of World War II including the invasion of Normandy from the front lines of Omaha Beach.
In 1947, Capa was part of a group of photographers who came together in Paris to form Magnum Photos. Among the members of the group where such greats as Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger, David “Chim” Seymour, and William Vandivert. Magnum would become the first worldwide agency for freelance photographers and photojournalists.
Lessons you can learn from Robert Capa
Position yourself for the shot
Increase your chances of making better photos by putting yourself into a position to make them. When I say “better position” I mean this both figuratively as well as literally. Capa was famous for saying, “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” Capa was renowned for being fearless and would get right up in the action to make his photographs. Truly, as a general guideline, moving in close to your subject can improve not only the quality of an image but also increase its visual impact with the viewer.
That being said, putting yourself in the position to produce better work also means that you should know what photograph you are trying to capture. Come prepared to make the photograph, i.e. the right lens, tripod, permissions, etc. Lastly, be sure you know what needs to be done in order to make an exposure to the best of your potential.
Promote yourself creatively
Why did Andre Friedmann stop being Andre Friedmann and become Robert Capa? The answer is simply better marketing. If you’re of the exceptionally linguistic sort, you may have noticed that Capa is the Hungarian word for shark. When Capa was a boy, that was the nickname given to him by his friends. You see, Capa wasn’t getting very much attention under his given name, so a new persona was invented as front for his work. This new persona was that of famed but wholly fictional American photographer Robert Capa, who was supposedly touring Europe at the time. Clients loved it. Soon work was pouring in and Capa was on his way to becoming a photographic legend.
This doesn’t mean that you have to stop being you in order to be more successful as a photographer. It just means that sometimes you need to bring out a little creativity when you’re selling yourself as an artist. In a way, work to manufacture your own identity as an photographer. Cultivate your own style. Be sure to show only your best work. Tell the story of the photo instead of just showing it. Be charismatic and welcoming with your clients and don’t be afraid to speak favorably (not boastfully) of yourself and your work.
Don’t always obsess over technical perfection
This can be a very difficult task to master. It’s easy to get caught up in getting your aperture just right or making sure there’s not too much grain with that ISO. When it comes to photojournalistic imagery such as street photography, the emotions and mood of a scene or subject should command your primary attention. In the amount of time it might take to tweak that focus, the moment may pass by. The important thing is to teach yourself that a good exposure of a great moment, will almost always trump a great exposure of a mediocre scene.
This shot could have been focused better, but I might have missed the look of concentration.
Mentor those who want to learn
This is a biggie, and perhaps one of the most important things you can learn from Robert Capa to help yourself grow as a photographer. Capa recognized that photography would never advance if there were no new photographers coming along to take the place of himself and his colleagues when their time had passed. So he directed a good bit of his time to networking with, and teaching, other photographers the craft.
When you mentor or otherwise give of yourself to help a new photographer better themselves, you are perhaps unknowingly having an enormous impact on the art of photography. An appreciation for the passing on of photographic principles and techniques is possibly the single greatest contribution a photographer can make to the world.
To say this next photographer is an interesting individual is both accurate, and at the same time a resoundingly inadequate description. Born on June 11, 1934 in Detroit, Jerry Uelsmann is one of those great artists who flies just beneath the radar of the mainstream, but whose work is truly one-of-a-kind and inspiring. Like many, his rise in the photography world was slow and painstaking. He discovered photography as a teenager. By his own admission he believed that through making photos he was able to live outside of himself and reside in a world of his own creation.
He would eventually go on to obtain degrees from multiple colleges, and ultimately found himself teaching photography at the University of Florida in the early 1960’s. His career was kickstarted in 1967 when he landed a solo photography exhibition at the The Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
Jerry began his work about thirty years prior to the advent of photo editing software such as Photoshop. He rose to fame through his production of highly surreal and manipulated black and white photographs. He did everything in the darkroom – using may different negatives with up to twelve enlargers, that he then literally “layered” on top of one another to create his finished product. Many of his images combine elements of the natural world as well as humanistic representations and man-made objects.
Lessons you can learn from Jerry Uelsmann
Don’t be afraid to post-visualize
If you’re just starting out in photography then you likely have heard some key phrases mentioned over and over again. One of the most important is that of pre-visualization. Teachers and writers (myself included) love to verbalize or write poetic analogies about what it means to “see” an image before the shutter is released. What is meant by this is that you can teach yourself to mentally compose, frame, and process a photograph before it is ever made. Making photographs becomes so much more satisfying once you have managed to develop this difficult, yet essential photographic skill.
The flip-side of that coin is something that seldom gets talked about, but is nonetheless interesting and thought provoking. What we’re talking about here is the act of post-visualization. This can be thought of as the exact opposite of pre-visualizing a photograph but it’s not exactly that easy. Uelsmann is literally the original master of this process. He photographed distinct objects and scenes, with the express intention of later making a finished work that blends together elements of each. Essentially, he saw the completed photograph after he already had produced a series of otherwise unrelated images.
Try out post-visualization for yourself. Go through some of your old images and see if the passing of time helps you look at them in a new way. Look for different crops that might make the image stronger. See if an image might work well in black and white and experiment with the shadows. Tweak the white balance and completely change the mood of a photo. That’s really all post-visualization is; looking at something that already exists and seeing what else it could become.
Fulfill your vision
Stay true to your vision. That is the key phrase that you should take away from this point. Uelsmann produced images that were hard to understand by some. They weren’t readily accepted, and the techniques he used where viewed by some as nothing but trickery. Still, he produced the images that he wanted regardless of what manipulation he had to do in the darkroom.
Do whatever you need to do. Be it post-processing, filters, funky borders, weird color selection – anything. It might not be to everyone’s liking, but thats the beauty of photography. Do whatever it takes to achieve the image that you set out to make.
You will fail, but you’re not a failure.
Jerry Uelsmann is a classic case of someone who refused to give up. He kept trying despite his initial difficulties in school, and the poor acceptance of his early work. Instead of shutting the doors of his darkroom for good he decided to keep going. Making images that moved him was his goal and he didn’t let life’s friction stop him.
The very nature of his work which was at first off-putting began to be what people came to love. So if you’re stuck on a project, you have trouble with a client, or even if your camera seems to be unlearnable, just remember to keep going. Nothing worth doing was ever easy.
(Article written by Adam Welch)
Remember That Your Camera Is Better Than What History's Best Photographers Shot With
205 Things for Photographers to Think About
Photography is fun. Keep it fun.
Think thrice, Shoot Once.
Keep things simple – If you over complicate things it normally makes things worse.
If you can use a tripod, do. They will help pretty much everything.
Share your work in new places.
Use HDR carefully.
Shoot what you love.
Having a camera does not make you a photographer.
Better cameras don’t make better photographers.
Take images that show how you feel, not how you see.
Don’t work for free, but that does not mean you have to always be paid with money.
Continue reading the Other 94 Things to Think about by CLICKING HERE
Lessons from the Masters: Robert Capa and Jerry Uselsmann
Image Evaluation: Architecture
Judge: John Swainston
Presentation: A Few of the Legends
Presenter: Peter Adams
Field Trip: Sydney street day with Hamish Ta-mé
Image Evaluation: Shadows
Judge: IIona Abou-Zolof
Field Trip: Wollongong Grevilla Park
Annual General Meeting
For Complete 2018 Program Details Click Here
SHPS AWARD SUMMARY-APRIL 2018
Gianni Biasi 'Barrel Turn'
Mark Passfield 'Vintage Van'
Ian Fegent 'Khiva Dusk'
Ian Fegent 'Comparing Selfies'
Nadine Lindsay 'View Back Window'
Nadine Lindsay 'Road to Madrid'
John Roberts 'Black Swan'
John Roberts 'Fly for Lunch'
COLOR PRINTS -CREDITS
Alan Edwards 'Icarus'
Alan Edwards 'Frogmouth'
Bob Green 'Need for Speed'
David Sylvester 'Owl One'
David Sylvester 'Waratah One'
Mike Nolan 'Snow Gum'
Chris Stimson 'Defiant'
Chris Stimson 'Cradle Mountain Summer'
Gary White 'Johnathon Livingston'
Helen Leeson 'Lorikeet'
Phil Belbin 'Ah, Youth'
Gary White 'Magnolia in sepia'
Bob Green 'Receding Wave'
Ian Fegent 'Renovators Nightmare'
Gary White 'Dis-a-pier'
Barbara Seager 'Wanaka's Tree'
Barbara Seager 'Morning Stroll'
Jacqui Davey 'Approaching Storm'
Laura Knight 'Natures Contortionist'
Bill Madden 'Malachite'
Bill Madden ' Ephesus'
Barbara Seager 'Luce del Mattino'
Charles Foreman 'Choppy Sea'
Dawn Izurieta 'Oh what to Have'
Jacqui Davey 'Track Home'
Mark Passfield 'The Falls'
Pat Halpin 'Clouds Noumea'
Robert Lawton 'Commandos'
Robert Lawson 'Challenge'
John Stephens 'Hydrangea'
Robert Leso 'Bella Donna Bendigo Catheral'
John Halpin 'Kookas'
John Halpin 'Naked Lady'
John Halpin 'Gannets
The post processing world has been undergoing some pretty big changes lately. There are so many apps out there that do so many different things, yet so many things that are similar. It gets really confusing. I hear it and read it from people every day. And if there’s one thing that gets me, it’s confusion.
But first… a warning. This is a long post. It’s probably a solid 10 minute read. Just sayin’ – give yourself some time
Now, let me explain…I teach workshops from time to time. And in every workshop I teach, I see the same things over and over again. We’ll all sit down for some classroom time, and someone calls me over to their computer – and they’re just stuck. They don’t know what to do, when to do it, or in what app to do it in. I look in their plug-in list and they literally have EVERYTHING! You name it… ON1, Nik/Google, Macphun, Athentech, Topaz, Alien Skin, and the list goes on.
DISCLAIMER: I have a disclaimer before you go on. If you’re a professional photographer, that pixel peeps at 400%, and talks about bayre patterns, demosaicing, and algorithms and all of that, this is not directed at you. Please stop reading now. You’ve got an eye that looks at something most of us don’t see. This is directed toward people that have other jobs, other lives, families, kids, various travel and just love to shoot and edit their photos. And they want them to look great, enjoy doing it, and feel good about sharing them with friends and family.
HOW DID THIS PLUG-IN BLOAT HAPPEN?
How did all of these people get all of these plug-ins? Well, I think it happens in a few ways. Let’s take me for example, I won’t even shift the blame anywhere else. Years ago, I used to use Nik (before Google bought them). And in many tutorials, I’d say I used Nik Color Efex (the Tonal Contrast filter) as my stylizing plug-in and for finishing effects. So, some people that followed me probably went out and bought Nik.
But then, at some point, that same person was probably at a seminar or workshop somewhere else. And they really liked and trusted that instructor too. And that person said they use Topaz Detail to get contrast and detail in their photos. And maybe Topaz even had a booth or a representative there offering a discount. This person, not wanting to miss out on a great discount and wanting their photos to look like the instructor’s, went ahead and bought Topaz.
And then let’s say they found another tutorial by me a couple years later. Google bought Nik and I dropped them like a bad habit because I knew Nik was doomed. So I found ON1 and started using them, and talking about them in some of my tutorials. That same person may then have gone out and bought ON1 too.
And the cycle went on. Somewhere, somehow, and some way you will come across a tutorial that uses a plug-in that looks awesome. And you’re always going to find a special sale or deal on them to make them more affordable. And if you buy them all, you’re going to have a huge plug-in list like I see at so many workshops.
MORE PLUG-IN BLOAT
The other way I think the plug-in list grows is that people follow other photographers who use plug-ins. And when they watch a video, they don’t realize that the specific plug-in that may have been mentioned, was just used for that photo because it made sense. But maybe it’s not on the photographer’s “I use 100% of the time” list. But they don’t know that, so they buy it thinking it’s part of the every day workflow.
Topaz Star Effects is a great example for me. You can probably find a tutorial where I mentioned that I use star effects on some of my sun-bursts in landscape photos. But what I probably didn’t mention then, is that I do that in maybe 1 out of every 100 photos. So is it worth it to go grab yet another plug-in for something we don’t use often? Probably not.
TASTE AND STYLES DO CHANGE
One thing to keep in mind when we talk about Plug-in bloat is that styles do change. I’ll be the first to admit I go through phases. For months I’ll find myself always using a certain filter or setting. And then I get tired of it, or my taste changes and I use something else. And I don’t think I’m alone. I think this happens to everyone. I don’t think we develop a style today, and continue to use it (and the same exact settings) forever from this day on.
So the next time you see anyone demo the newest, best, and coolest filter out there – remember that most likely that person won’t be using it a year from now.
SO WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?
I really debated on writing this because I figure what’s the problem right? Nobody is really complaining to me that they’re spending too much on plug-ins. So why bother? I’m writing this because, while nobody is complaining about spending too much on plug-ins, I see too many people every day that are confused. And I think that’s what gets to me.
I want you to be successful at taking and editing your photos. And being successful means you develop a workflow that you understand. But it doesn’t stop there. In addition to you understanding your workflow, I think there’s one more piece to that puzzle… you have to be confident with it.
Put simply – I believe that if you’re not confident with your photography/editing process, it’s going to be really hard to enjoy it to its full extent. Just like if you’re out shooting and you’re frantically trying to figure out a setting while you shoot, it’s hard to really enjoy it. I think the same thing holds true for post-processing. If you’re constantly second-guessing yourself about which app to use, wondering if it’s the right one, I think you’re missing out on something.
And that’s where I see a problem. Because so many people I talk to have so many apps and plug-ins. And there’s no one place to figure it all out. You’ll NEVER find an instructor with the same app combination as you have, that can show you how to use them all. In a way, it’s forced people to be stagnant. To do nothing because they’re afraid of making the wrong decision, or using the wrong app. Or even worse. I’ve seen people use way too many apps, when just one would do.
I got a message from some one the other day. It went something like this:
“Matt, I love Lightroom and really enjoy using it, but I just bought X app, and I’m wondering if I should be using it instead”.
I guess I don’t get it. You just said you “love Lightroom”. So why would you switch? FOMO (Fear of missing out)? If it’s just because you like to tinker and fiddle around with different apps, then no problem. I know a lot of people are like that. But sometimes I think there’s more to it.
MY ANSWER TO IT ALL… A MONSTER Q&A
I’ve spent hours trying to figure out how to write this. It’s a lot of information and it’s really tough to organize. Then I realized, I have all of the information already because I’ve answered hundreds of emails on all of this stuff. Ever since I’ve made an effort to keep my contact options out there more open/findable, I’ve been getting so many emails from people asking the same questions over and over again. That’s why I had to write it. It is by far, what people ask me the most about right now. So this giant Q&A below isn’t really me asking myself the questions, but it’s a list of questions that you guys have asked me. Okay, here goes:
Q. Matt, with all of the new developing apps out there, what is your personal workflow?
A. By far the most asked question. It’s actually easy to answer because my workflow hasn’t changed at all. I’m a Lightroom/Photoshop and ON1 user. I’ve always been a Lightroom/Photoshop user on the front end, and I’ve always used ON1 Effects for my styling. So my workflow today is the same as it’s been for years.
Start, Organize and Develop in Lightroom (100% of my photos)
Jump to Photoshop for something specific that LR can’t do (60-70% of my photos)
Head over to ON1 Effects for stylization and effects that I can’t do in LR (30-40% of my photos)
READ ALL THE Q&A BY CLICKING HERE.
The State of Post Processing and Photo Editing in 2017
Travel of the Month: THAILAND
Using Reflected Light and Negative Fill to Your Advantage in Photography
Photoshop Tutorials-New Features in Photoshop CC 2018
Five Different Ways to Make Color Pop in Photoshop
How to Remove People From Complicated Images Automatically Using Photoshop
Low Light Photography
How Low can you go
How To Turn day into Night in Photshop
Surprises in the Use of Histograms
Five Tips in Lightroom to improve your Landscape Photos
Congratulations to all April award winners. I look forward to seeing the May 2018 Architectural images.
Given the significance of Anzac Day I have included in this section a link to 50 photos taken on the Western Front by an Australian Photographer -Lisa Michele Burns.
During the month of April we traveled to Vancouver BC and Vancouver island and had the opportunity to visit 'Butchart Gardens not far from Victoria BC. If any of you have Canada in your travel plans do not miss the opportunity to visit these most beautiful gardens.
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50 Photos: A photographic Journey Along the Western Front
NOTE FROM THE EDITOR