Alley in Pisa, Italy

by Lars Kotthoff

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22

One of the best books I can recommend is Michael Freeman's famous book: The Photographer's Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos This book is a rare gem, in that it does a pretty superb job of covering all the critical artistic topics of photography in a generally agnostic way. Michael Freeman is a talented photographer, and his ...


12

It is a good way to learn just how other photographers see, and a great way to get to know your gear to go out a try an make images that look like other photographers work. Many photographers do this (myself included( it's literally impossible to take the same image as someone else. Even in a group of photographers capturing the same scene, everyone will ...


11

Just do an image search with google on that url http://www.google.com/imghp and it will offer to search by image. Which results in: Best guess for this image: Saul Leiter and, following some of the results, the title "Lanesville, 1958".


10

You, my friend, are staring down the barrel of four years of art school! Not really... Though I do often recommend auditing an art history class to my own students and I've never seen a student that didn't improve as a photographer after taking one. But whether you take a formal class or not, you do need to become a student of art the same way you became a ...


8

Great question! There's a rich history of photographic images created without a camera. The best known type is the photogram which (according to a purist definition) involves placing objects in contact with unexposed film then exposing it to light to capture silhouette and/or refraction patterns. A famous practitioner of this technique was the early ...


6

Shoot the details. The entire story of the building cannot be told by a wide angle shot. You look at the whole building, and you tell a story which everyone else can understand if they stand in front of it. You see, a postcard does the same. If you have actually walked into a historical building, see every detail of it, you "experienced" the place and its ...


6

These are some quite advanced texts covering the artistic and cultural side of photography: Batchen, G (2000) Over Exposed. London: The New Press Berger, J. (1972). Ways of seeing. London: Pelican Brittain, D. (ed.) (1999) Creative Camera: 30 Years of Writing. Manchester: MUP Burgin, V (1982) Thinking Photography. Macmillan Press (see Benjamin ‘The Author ...


6

I'm going to sound like a shill for Michael Freeman. But really, I think these two books are exactly what you're looking for: The Photographer's Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos The Photographer's Mind: Creative Thinking for Better Digital Photos


6

You have to learn how to express yourself through the subjects you capture, to have a story to tell or a point of view to deliver. You have to empathize with your subjects, to overcome your rational side and trust your intuition. You have to believe that you do have something worth showing the world, and then determine if the shots you take adequately ...


5

You may also want to try the "5 Photo Composition Hints" series of web articles from ShotAddict.com: The First Element - Texture The Second Element - Color The Third Element - Subject The Fourth Element - Space The Fifth Element - Light


5

A few book recommendations: Photography and the Art of Seeing by Freeman Patterson Tao of Photography: Seeing Beyond Seeing by Philippe Gross Within the Frame: the Journey of Photographic Vision by David duChemin


5

It makes me so happy to see someone ask this question. This might sound pretty artsy-fartsy, but my answer to "what should I be thinking about" is... nothing. Don't think about your image, try to feel it. Approach your photography not as a way of recording reality, but as if you were creating a painting. Go about creating your image as if it were on ...


5

Pigeon-holing lenses is not always a worthwhile exercise. Any lens can work in virtually any setting. Long lenses can be excellent in landscape situations, for example picking out and isolating a particular feature. The long focal length also has the effect of compressing perspective. They can also be used in street photography, where the length allows you ...


4

I am a big fan of Freeman Patterson's books. I started with Photography for the Joy of it and then "Photography and the Art of Seeing" already linked to by ahockley. Then I added others of his: Photographing the World Around You by Freeman Patterson Photography of Natural Things by Freeman Patterson


4

Eventually instruction-oriented books won't be as useful to you, and you'll need to start looking at (and thinking about) photography directly. What you should pick when you get to that point will depend on your taste, but if you have even an inkling of interest in street photography or photojournalism, there are worse places to start than this: Magnum ...


4

Here is a link to a page with many links to online articles on image composition. http://photoinf.com/


4

I don't think there's a specific answer to this question because most other artistic disciplines can help your photography. Studying paintings or learning to paint yourself can allow you to see light and shadow in everyday scenes around you as well as teach you about classic composition techniques. So, I think painting is a great thing for a photographer ...


4

My favorite use of telephoto in landscape photography is compressing the scene. Matt explained this very nicely here. Actually, I really like landscape without the sky and using compression with a telephoto. Excellent examples of this here (photographs by Krzysztof Browko)


4

You may have heard this quote that is mistakenly attributed to Picasso: Good artist copy, great artists steal One way to interpret the first part of this quote is to treat it as a learning journey, that is in order to be good you must learn how other artists accomplish what they do by copying their methods. We can then expand on this by interpreting ...


3

"The Photographer's Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos" by Michael Freeman is a pretty good book : http://www.amazon.com/Photographers-Eye-Composition-Design-Digital/dp/0240809343


3

One way of photographing without camera is to put the subject on a dark surface and leave it in strong light (e.g. sunlight) to bleach the uncovered material. A similar approach bordering with tattoo art is to put the object on your skin and get a tan. You could also use a magnifying glass to focus sunrays on paper and use it to burn dots and lines, ...


3

To some extent, as others have noted, "power" and "splendor" do mean different things to different people. But to some extent, we do mean more or less the same thing by them, or we wouldn't mostly use the same words to discuss what we mean. Here are a few composition tips that can give a sense of power or splendor. (1) Physical largeness speaks to power, ...


3

The question tells the story of myself too ! I am too frustrated like you [after buying a dSLR and expecting that all the images will be superb]. When after switching to dSLR the images was still somewhat same like, I knew I have the problem with the view & it has nothing to do with the camera ! So after viewing a youtube video by Scott Kelby I try this ...


2

Power I think it is more about the context of the image. Take a look at any "most powerful images for year 20xx" and you will see the context and how it plays the part. For example, a little girl crying with the destructive path of a tornado in the background would evoke certain emotions from most people. Another example would be after the recent Haiti ...


2

A camera is essentially a light tight box with a means to let a controlled amount of light in on one end and a means to record that light on the other. A pinhole camera is nothing more than that at all, more elaborate cameras add mechanisms to exert more control over either the light and/or the recording medium. Photography without a camera has existed for ...


2

For exterior shots, especially in close quarters (tight European streets, crowds, etc) I highly recommend very wide angle lens. Your 16-35 is just barely enough, the 10-20 might be better. The trick is to get very close to an interesting object, and allow the rest of the architecture to be 'supporting cast' to the object. Interesting angles are also very ...


2

How near are the nearby buildings? With building exteriors, I've had good results with low-viewpoint wide-angle shots, with you crouching down or even laying on the ground. What's the lighting situation inside? You will likely be fighting against high contrast situations -- blown-out stained glass windows, but otherwise very dim interiors. For this, ...


2

Just for a while, try taking photos with something cheap and lo-fi, like a mobile phone or a second hand Olympus Trip 35, and experiment with black and white. You might find this liberating - you won't be thinking about technical quality, just the image content, and it'll be a chance to be more playful. I'm not suggesting you abandon all your lovely digital ...


2

I've heard of 2 exercises that sound strange, but will exercise your creative brain. The first I have done, and it sure helped me! Take a letter of something that looks like every letter of the alphabet, the only rule being it can't actually be that letter. Take a picture from as many different angles, light sources, etc, of a basketball as you can.


2

The way I see things being a "geek", "technophile" or other is not any sort of disadvantage when it comes to photography - don't let anyone tell you different or belittle you because you're from a technical background. Art and science are really two sides of the same coin and at the most fundamental level they have the same goals and maxims, they are both ...



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