A family portrait, your family and your story.
artistic portraits by Nino Estrada
more at http://ninoestrada.com
A group of people giving up a day, sharing the same passion, honing their craft, a day of camaraderie and fun. Spent a day sharing what I know in photography last Saturday (August 12, 2012) with a group of great people. I can definitely say I’ve learned more from them that they did from me, from the conversations and the behind the scenes moment of the workshop. The workshop was a fast track to artistic and creative photography, from the basics of proper shooting posture, operating their cameras to exposure and composition. Applying all these knowledge in being creative in artistic in their story telling. Knowing the basics gave them the freedom to experiment and of course creatively ‘break’ the rules. To all the participants, our photographic journey continues, it’s just more fun now as we have all built good relationships sharing the same passion…taking fantastic images. Watch out for the next one and of course the next series.
The joy, the emotions…the story behind the story
more at http://ninoestrada.com/
This photo was taken at a photo assignment I did a few years back. I saw this gentleman outside a Catholic church asking passers-by for some extra change. I approached him hoping to start a conversation. He ended up sharing his story of losing everything, his livelihood, his love ones and according to him his dignity. I stood there and listened to him thinking of ways to encourage him (keeping the story of Job in mind), I decided to just listen and hear more, as a father myself I can only imagine the pain and hurt he’s been through. It would have been very easy for me to take a portrait of this gentleman in his current state, sitting right next to this picturesque building door with crowds walking past him with only him noticing me and looking straight at my lens but I have come to know the man, I have heard his story and I felt it was more satisfying to show him in a different light, a smile. To him, his smile might have lasted for a second a mere reaction to whatever I said, maybe it was because he found someone who listened to him or maybe I had something on my forehead he found amusing I wouldn’t know, for that moment he forgot the hurt he forgot the pain…he smiled. For me his smile will surely last for more than a second, the conversation etched in my mind and the image printed and framed will always remind me of the deeper meaning of the photo and the story behind it.
A deeper meaning, a story within a story… Nino E.
P-eer group, join a group having a similar interest bonded by the same passion for photography. Join a group who shares the same interest in photography as you, even having a photography buddy will help. Not only can you learn from each other but you can also encourage and push each other to learn and improve. Safety in numbers also works when shooting in an unfamiliar environment. Joining a group can also help you build a network, photography groups or clubs are usually informal and very diverse no matter your background.
One huge benefit of joining a group would be access to free information and knowledge sharing. Look for a photography group or club close to you or go online and join different photography forums. Sign-up for a photography forum, read through the other topics and you can choose to be active as well.
R-ead the manual, it would be surprising how much you can learn by just reading your camera’s user’s manual. I know it can be cumbersome but the manufacturer spent huge amount of dollars just to write the content, type set and print that booklet that comes with a brand new camera. Want to find out the different exposure settings available to you? Read the manual. What settings to use on action shots, portraits or landscape? Read the manual.
Want to know how to make the background blurry and have a nice bokeh? Read the manual. Some people would like to say this as RTFP or read the fine print. For any additional gadget, gear or equipment you buy…Read the manual
A-sk, when you don’t understand something, all you need to do is ask. Find a photography mentor or approach any photographer you admire and ask away. Yes, you might get a rejection from an ego maniac who will make you attend 5 of his workshops to get an answer to a simple question but almost all good and established photographers out there would be more than willing to answer your question, trust me I have done so in the past and not only did I get useful tips but most of them have now become more than mentors, they are now my buddies.
Also feel free to drop me a question, either send me an email or post your questions here .
C-ontrol. Be in control of your camera, your camera is your tool and you are the photographer. If your camera has a manual mode, shoot in manual mode. While your camera features can be handy, the fastest way to learn is to manually control your exposure settings. Control you shutter speed, aperture (f-stop), ISO and even the white balance, experiment and be creative with it.
Try not to always shoot in bursts and hope to get lucky, take your time, anticipate and compose your shot.
T-echnique, learn the basic techniques and try new ones. Learn the proper posture when taking photos: legs apart, shoulders square, left elbow tucked in to support the lens (right elbow if you’re right handed) and establish a good base. Learn and try different techniques such as: lighting, posing, long exposures, night photography, bracketing, panning, time lapses, monochromes, duotones, tri-tones, high key, low key, low light, infrared, using filters, composition, framing, action shots, 360°, double exposures, image stacking, image stitching, panoramas and the list just goes on.
I-nternet, having trouble understanding the techniques stated above? Search the internet. The internet is making learning, both fun and easy. Just do a search on monochromatic images and not only will you get good written content but a video tutorial too. With digital cameras, gone are the days of keeping a notebook inside your camera bag (although I still have mine, I started when I was 14) to write down different settings you’ve done in the past, you can now just do a search and see images on the internet posted with camera settings to help you achieve the same result. Want to learn basic photoshop? Search the internet.
The only thing you need is the willingness to learn and the desire to develop new skills.
C-ommit, commit to learn, shoot and try new things. Commit to continue learning, photography is easy to learn and hard to master (yes, like playing drums). Rest assured even the most experienced photographers are still cramming on books and searching the web for new things, to enhance their craft and set themselves apart. The barrier of entry into photography is small, what will set you apart from the others is to be exceptional at it, so never stop learning.
E-xperiment, never be afraid to try new things, learn new styles and develop your own. Key to improving your photography is executing a concept (more on this on my next post). With digital cameras you no longer have to count how many shots you have left in a film roll, or learn how to manually reload a spool and cut negatives, so take your camera with you all the time, look around, slow things down, compose, apply what you have learned and shoot.
Find good reasons to bring your camera and keep shooting.
Want to learn or improve your photography?
I shutter to think how many people are underexposed and lacking depth in this field.
— Rick Steves
Another reason to go on a holiday. Here’s one more reason to book a holiday soon…to practice your photography. Spending time with the people that matter most is all about building memories. Taking pictures may be an afterthought to some or to most, taken for granted with snapshots by simply documenting the event only to be reminisced long after the experience has past. Make most out of the moment by telling a story within the story. Use all the elements available to you in an image to show more about the holiday experience. Don’t be afraid to use your camera flash when you have no choice but to shoot under harsh lighting conditions, when at a beach at high noon. Make sure there’s something to look at when you compose for that shot, use your foreground, the subject and the background to convey a story, experiment with your exposure settings to show movement, drama or action and most important of all take your time. Allow some time to look around, slow things down, look for angles and absorb the view or the experience. Don’t rush it!
A holiday picture can be more than just an image of your family standing in front of a landmark or a view. You can use it to practice telling your story within a story. Parent warning: children may suffer from posing exhaustion while taking a good picture.