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This blog has been renamed to One Stop Under and moved to its own domain.

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How to Establish a Personal Photographic Style

"Personal style. This term has meant different things to me over the years. When I studied at the Beaux Arts in Paris Personal Style had the feel of something unreachable, the feel of something one sees and finds in museums, the feel of something which others – those who have "made it" and who have been recognized as the masters – possessed. Personal style had the feel of something that students – those who have not made it, those who are studying, trying and working their way up – did not possess."


Reading photographs

"Photographs are never clear by themselves. In some way or another, they are only the shattered fragments of the broken mirror of reality and, as they show us their images, we are forced to reconstruct their meaning. Hans Durrer here reflects on the question of how to read photographs."

Reading photographs


The K-1000 of Digital SLRs

While Mike Johnston's article discusses the Pentax *ist DS (quite possibly the dumbest-named camera ever), it's not so much a technical review as an experiential review. He reminisces about many older Pentax products, and has some interesting points to make about Pentax's unusual strategies through the years.

Well worth a read.

The K-1000 of Digital SLRs


Pi Media Networks Tour

Pi Media is one of the biggest US commercial studios. They shoot the whole Sears catalog, among other clients.

This article is a brief look around the Pi Media studio, and how the photographers go about their work. Interestingly, the studio has been all digital since 1998.

The studio is massive - over 200,000 square feet of studio and post-production space. They employ 400 people, including 40 photographers and all the various tradespeople and professionals required to build sets, prepare models, design page layouts and prepare work for printing.

I particularly envy the standard setup that each photographer uses - a Hasselblad H1 with Phase One digital back, tethered to a cart carrying an Apple G5, Lacie monitor and Capture One software, all connected back to the servers via gigabit ethernet. That's probably a years' salary for most people!

Pi Media Networks Tour


Selecting A Subject

An excerpt from the book On Being A Photographer, by David Hurn and Bill Jay.

One of the best ways to grow as a photographer is to take on a project of some type. Choose a subject, and produce a body of work to illustrate that subject.

Maybe the end result will be a portfolio or a gallery show, or maybe it'll end up as a small photo album or a web presentation. It doesn't matter. What matters is that you spend time with your chosen subject, get to know it, get past the cliche shots of it and really make photographs that reveal something new about your subject to other people.

Presented as a conversation between the two authors, this book excerpt is loaded with good advice about how to select a subject for your photographic project.

Selecting a Subject


Bruce Percy, Thoughts

A follow-up post from the previous one, in the same vein.

Another great benefit of not trying to keep up with the latest and greatest in camera gear is the money you can save. Many people are selling off medium format gear on eBay nowadays for a fraction of the price they originally paid for it, trying to fund their 'upgrade' to digital. You can pick that stuff up for a steal, and get out there and learn a lot more about photography than the technologists who leave their cameras on automatic.

Bruce Percy, Thoughts

Why Your Camera Does Not Matter

Ken Rockwell has written an excellent rant on why your camera doesn't affect the quality of your final image. He advocates that the less time you spend worrying about equipment, the more time you have left to worry about actually taking photographs.

Ken knows what he's talking about, too. Just have a look through his photo galleries to see some incredible images.

This philosophy is partly why I started this blog. I know it's true, yet I often still get sidetracked by the latest digital SLR announcement or start wishing I had a certain lens. Here, I try to ignore the technology and just concentrate on the creative side of photography.

Well, mostly :-). I still link to handy tools from time to time.

Why Your Camera Does Not Matter


WhiBal White Balance Reference Card

The WhiBal white balance reference card is a fantastic tool for getting your white balance right when it really matters (e.g. fashion or product photography, difficult lighting conditions, etc).

It's a little business-card-sized bunch of cards that you take a reference photo of in each lighting situation you're shooting in. One card is white, one black, and two are grey. When you get back to your computer to edit the photos, you can set the white and black point of your image to recreate the correct exposure and contrast, and use one of the grey cards to set the colour balance of your image.

This tool is not just for digital photographers - film shooters can benefit too. If you shoot negatives, you can make test prints of your reference shot to get the right colour filtration for neutral output. If you shoot slides, you can't directly modify the white balance of the slides later, but if you need to scan them you can use the reference shot to ensure you scan your good shot with the right exposure and colour corrections.

If colour accuracy is important in your photography, or if you're just sick of mucking around in Photoshop trying to get skin tones to look natural, WhiBal could help you. And it's only about USD$45 (USD$50 outside US).

WhiBal Cards


Image Cataloging Primer

This article explains how to set up, organize and maintain a database of your photographs, and integrate it into your digital imaging workflow.

It explains the two basic approaches to cataloging - event-based workflows and library-based workflows. IPTC captioning and categorization are also discussed.

Although written to promote their own DigitalPro3 image management software, this article contains a lot of useful generic information and some things to think about if you are shopping for image management or digital asset management software.



LensWork Audio Blog Commentaries by Brooks Jensen :: November :: 2004

Here's an interesting thing to try if you store your images (or information about your images) in some kind of database.

Brooks Jensen recommends adding three extra fields to your image database:

Distance to Subject: infinity, 20-50 ft, 10-20 ft, 3-10 ft, under 3ft, macro, super-macro

Colour: warm tones, cool tones, saturated colours, pastel colours, monochromatic

Composition: round, diagonal, T, L, random shape

He says it's useful for identifying what types of approaches you favour for various subject types, and can help you identify new ways to approach old subjects to help you break out of a creativity rut. I guess it can also help when you're trying to find groups of photos that will go well together, such as cool-toned macro shots.

Listen to Brooks' audio blog entry on this page:



How to Create a Portfolio of your Work

Creating a portfolio of your photographs is a very rewarding process, which can often lead you to see your work in a new light and inspire you to explore new directions.

This article by Alain Briot gives detailed guidance on how to plan and develop your portfolio. It explains what a portfolio is, helps you identify your audience and your purpose in creating a portfolio, and contains plenty of practical advice on putting your portfolio together.

If you're serious about your photography, this is an exercise you should definitely consider.