Erik Almas’s 10 Steps to Become a Photographer

Although there is no guaranteed, or certain, or even defined way to becoming a professional photographer, there is a bunch of advice floating around the web. Some of the tips are hackneyed, salted and just plain dumb. Others are vague and abstract, almost treatise-like and no closer to the truth than a dream’s epiphany. But, then once in a while, out of the dark reaches of the interwebs, out of the dense flow of info roaring through the youtubes, some sound and possibly reliable advice comes forth.

This video from famed advertising/fine art photographer Erik Almas is one of those good–though not totally groundbreaking– videos. In it, Almas gives his 10 steps to becoming a photographer, and they’re not too bad. My personal favorite is the fifth, “Connect…with the place or person you are photographing. Find an emotional as well as visual perspective”.

Satoki Nagata Interview: Why Each Photograph Must Communicate Ordinary Life’s Complexity

Satoki Nagata

Japanese street/documentarian photographer Satoki Nagata has only recently taken up photography as a means of expressing himself. Although he has been interested in the visual form since an early age, it was in 2009, on the streets of Chicago, that Satoki Nagata realized his work could be seen as street photography.

Alongside his photography,Satoki Nagata is also working on a documentary expanding upon the three years spent working on the series Satoki Nagata made “Cabrini-Green: Frances Cabrini Rowhouses” and will have exhibition of his work at the Harold Washington Library Center, Chicago IL from June 28-August 23, 2013.

In this interview, Satoki Nagata talks about how Zen Buddhism influences his work, how black & white photography delves into visual symbolism, and how every photographer must find their visual voice.

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Luke Schneider Interview: How a College Boy Shoots High-End Commercial Campaigns

Luke Schneider

Luke Schneider was told to buy a camera for his birthday in high school. A few short years later (in college), Schneider is on his way as a commercial and fashion photographer. Inspired by high-end commercial work, think DKNY’s Peter Lindbergh, or Mario Testino for Michael Kors, the work of Schneider is clean and definitely well thought out.

Schneider is based out of both Chicago and Minneapolis, has been featured on FStoppers, and has completed a campaign with OMG! handbags. Schneider is a kid with ambitions accompanied by hard work, making him hard to beat.

In this interview, Schneider talks about finding his passion in high school, his influences, and his thoughts on how best to gain experience as a photographer.

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Top 5 Ways to Improve Your Photoshop Skills

This is a guest post by photographer/blogger Sarah Hewitt. Photos by Kevin Tang.

Allison Abbott Kevin Tang

Photoshop is an incredible tool for anyone interested in design, art or image manipulation.  It allows you to make the most ordinary image into something spectacular with a bit of imagination and know-how.  Whether you use Photoshop for work or for pleasure, the possibilities are quite literally endless.  Photoshop has a massive array of flexible image manipulation tools and effects, even professionals that use Photoshop every day are constantly learning new techniques, tips and tricks to create unique and stunning images. Photoshop skills are endless.

Here are our top 5 ways of staying on top of new Photoshop skills and learning tips and tricks to improve your Photoshop editing techniques no matter whether you’re a novice or an expert.

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Remember Your Leading Lines and Always f22, says Bryan Peterson

Commercial photographer (and awesome voiced man’s man) Bryan Peterson gives this simple but useful lesson in this video from Adorama TV. In it, Peterson reminds us that leading lines are helpful tools for improving your composition.

Peterson also argues –wholeheartedly — that all full-frame photographers should be using f22 for any wide-angled landscape work. Combining this two things, he says, should make a dull photo better.

Judging from the evidence,  I would say it definitely won’t hurt.

Thinking Beyond the Rule of Thirds & Unleashing the Power of Composition

It’s easy to worry about shutter speed, f-stops, and your ISO, but what about composition? How you arrange the frame and play with sightlines, lead lines, and foreground/background space is just as important as anything else.

Of course, you can crop in post-processing, but you can only fix so much. B&H Photo released this very informative tutorial, guiding us through the history and tricks about composition. Although it’s long, the video is worthwhile for anyone–from the absolute beginners to the wise pros.

Looking to Buy a Second Hand Lens? Keep This Cheat Sheet Handy

I was looking through Digital Camera World’s tutorials when I came across this sweet cheat sheet. It’s a quick run down of the basics to buying a second-hand lens.

Besides stating the obvious — like looking for scratches and checking the internal elements for dust — it also provides some helpful buying tips that every photographer should keep in mind (dealers should always give a money-back guarantee and make sure its writing).

Save the image and keep it handy.

second hand lens How_to_buy_second_hand_DSLR_lenses_cheat_sheet

DIY Mirror Prism: Lindsay Adler’s Cool In-Camera Effect

One of the famous Fashion photographers Lindsay Adler, who has been featured on Sublime and teaches some workshops with B&H, released this video about a cool idea to use for fashion shoots.

famous fashion photographers

Instead of manipulating after the fact with photoshop, or trying some crazy/expensive set design or costume, Lindsay simply took three mirrors, glued them together, and had herself a DIY mirror prism. The prism gave her a neat in-camera effect, centering her models in surreal and jaged kaleidoscope-like cityscape.

Definitely a cheap and awesome idea to try.

“Prismatic” fashion editorial behind the scenes with Lindsay Adler from Lindsay Adler on Vimeo.

Do You Shoot RAW? A Quick and Funny Video Tutorial

I was told awhile back that shooting RAW is a whole lot better than Jpeg. That it’s much easier to fix white balance (which I’m always adjusting) and exposure issues with the RAW format. It took some time, and some mediation, to understand, but now I agree.

raw image processing - 1

This recent video tutorial from Phlearn could help others like me. It makes the post-processing editing with RAW easy to understand. And what’s better, I like this guy’s personality. He seems like a good buddy to have around.

Enjoy raw image processing video!

Google Street Photography? Doug Rickard Uses the Google Image Archive for A New American Picture

Google Street View Photography

Street photography has always skirted the line between privacy and art, between the notion of keeping someone’s moment private and the photographer’s wish to share, and between exploitation and documentation.

google street view

In this video, photographer Doug Rickard talks about why he decided to utilize Google Street View cameras to document areas of America that have been forgotten, ignored, or left alone and how this process dealt with street photography’s inherent tension between privacy and art.

And perhaps at the same time, using new technology, Rickard may have invented an altogether new genre of photography.

Doug Rickard from Pier 24 Photography on Vimeo.

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