More great stuff from the Epic Edits Flickr Pool! This selection of photos is from those entered in the pool between 11/15 and 11/29.
In my opinion, portraits can be the most interesting photos and they seem to naturally draw our attention. Why? I think we’re programmed to enjoy looking at photos of other people. Every person is different and we’re naturally curious about those we see in photos. In fact, I’ve often thought that the most important element of a photo is the human element.
As a photographer, you may already know that portraits are also one of the most difficult photos to pull off. Working with people and capturing them in a way that conveys their true beauty is not as simple as pushing a button. Portraits can be created in so many different ways that it is impossible to learn it all from a short article.
The Essential Guide to Portrait Photography is a collection of stand-alone lessons on various aspects of portrait photography. This eBook (PDF format electronic book) covers everything from technical to inspirational, and the information contained is top notch and well written.
You can purchase The Essential Guide to Portrait Photography from digital Photography School. Links in this post are affiliate links to the product — It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but I get a cut of the sale.
ABOUT THE BOOK
The Essential Guide to Portrait Photography is a 78 page downloadable eBook containing 25 lessons in portrait photography. The 3 column layout is incredibly clean, easy to read, and flows naturally. Photos are scattered throughout as supporting material or examples to the lesson. Each lesson is written as a stand-alone topic typically 3 or 4 pages long.
The sections provide the essential learnings for the topic at hand. The idea is that you can read through one or two sections, soak it in, try out what you’ve learned, and go back to another section when you have time. There’s no need to read the entire book cover to cover before applying what you’ve learned — in fact, I wouldn’t even suggest doing so. There’s so much in this book that most of us wouldn’t be able to take it all in at once.
To give you an idea of what the book contains, some of the sections include: photographing children – composition, how to photograph people when travelling, environmental portraits, a fresh look at depth of field, portrait photography’s power posing, the human side of photography, 11 tips for better candid photography, shooting like a pro on a budget, and lots of other good stuff. So you can see that the topics are widely varied — some instructional, some inspirational, and some in between.
And as a bonus, the end of the book contains interviews with 6 very different professional photographers. They lay down all sorts of great insight and inspiration too. The photographers include David Duchemin, Neil Creek, Jack Hollingsworth, Kris Krug, Chase Jarvis, and Bert Stephani.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Darren Rowse is the primary author and editor of the eBook. He’s also the mastermind at the wheel of digital Photography School. Over 15 of the 25 sections of the eBook were written by Darren. The remaining articles were authored by various contributors including Natalie Norton, Christina N Dickson, Nathan Marx, Alexis Godschalk, James Pickett, and Neil Creek.
MY FINAL THOUGHTS
Truly a great resource. I don’t know how else to say it! This is definitely more than a random collection of articles or a typical book. It’s really a resource that you can learn from, explore, and go back to as needed. You may not need every single lesson today, but most of the sections contain usable information and instruction for a large percentage of photographers out there.
Whether you’re shooting informal family pictures or professional portraits, you’ll likely find new things in this eBook. The content seems to be geared mainly toward intermediate/advanced amateurs looking to step it up a notch, but the voice of the writing is accommodating to beginners too. And even professionals need to keep learning new things in order to keep up with the times — I’m sure they can find a few nuggets of wisdom in there.
Highly recommended for any photographer interested in learning more about portrait photography. You can purchase The Essential Guide to Portrait Photography for $14.95 until December 1, at which point it will return to the regular price of $19.95.
WANT A FREE COPY?
Darren is providing a copy of The Essential Guide to Portrait Photography for 2 lucky winners here on Epic Edits! Here’s how you can get yours:
1) Submit a photo and/or link to a portrait you’ve taken. The photo must be your own. Bonus points for supplemental descriptions.
2) Submit a Flickr Gallery of portraits. Curate a gallery and pop the link in the comments below. Bonus points for supplemental thoughts within the gallery and/or comment.
OK, so get your entries in soon! One entry per person. I’ll choose and announce the winners on (or near) December 2, 2009 — one winner for a personal photo, and one for a gallery. If, for some reason, we happen to have no entries from one of the categories, I’ll choose two winners from the category that has entries.
[UPDATE 12/3/2009] Contest winners have been posted.
Before reading this book, I hadn’t really thought about one of the things that separates us from all other species: we celebrate! Birth, birthday, graduation, victory, rite of passage, holiday, and many other events are celebrated by people all over the world each and every day. Some celebrations are very public gatherings, while others are private among friends and family. But whatever the reason, almost every culture celebrates something at some point.
This book is a collection of photographs from all over the Earth taken by many different photographers. This format suits the subject well because it allows for a wide display of imagery that wouldn’t be possible from a single photographer. But even with a diverse set of photos such as this, they’re all similar in the fact that they show people living, laughing, and celebrating.
See the end of this post for a chance to win a free copy of the book.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Live, Laugh, Celebrate is a hardcover book containing 304 pages and 150 photographs. The physical size of the book is moderate to slightly large, measuring in at 10″x11″ — certainly big enough to appreciate the photos.
There are three main chapters, preceded by an introduction and followed by a list of the contributing photographers. Each of the three chapters begins with a few pages of text in order to get you in the mindset for the photos that follow. Chapter one (Cycles of Life) deals mostly with family events and celebrations: birth, birthdays, losing a tooth, family gatherings, community events, Bar Mitzvahs, prom, reunions, weddings, and more. Chapter two (Around the World) explores various celebrations around the globe along with the various ways different cultures celebrate the same events: Easter, Ramadan, Shabouth, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Carnival, Kwanzaa, Christmas, New Year, and many more. And Chapter three (Life of the Party) finishes up with a collection of formal and informal parties, gatherings, and events that may not fit into the other two chapters.
The second chapter was probably my favorite because it showed just how different our cultures can be, even when it comes to the same holiday. I was also amazed at how many holidays and events are celebrated in countries other than my own. Kite festivals, fishing festivals, and a dozen other festivals that I can’t even pronounce. It’s really exciting to see this stuff all in one book.
Interestingly, most of the photographs exhibit a similar style such that the photographer seems to be nonexistent. Most of the subjects in the photos are so caught up in their activities, it’s easy to forget that a photographer was standing right in front of them with a camera. Really great work from a lot of great photographers.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The book was authored by Ferdinand Protzman, an award-winning writer, culture critic, and contributing editor to Art News magazine. He has written several book and contributed articles to the likes of The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal.
The photographs in the book come from 72 different talented photographers. Many of them belong to or contribute to publications such as National Geographic, Magnum Photos, Time, Life, Newsweek, New York Times, and countless others. A few of the photographers in this collection include Sam Abell, David Burnett, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Elliott Erwitt, Stuart Franklin, Reza, and many other talented artists and journalists.
MY FINAL THOUGHTS
A good photo book overall — quick to read and easy to get caught up in the photos. The photos themselves are basically G-rated, so the kids can browse through the images and enjoy it. Captions on the photos give just enough insight to understand what you’re looking at, but don’t drag you down with over-extended explanations.
I wouldn’t say that this book is the most revolutionary thing I’ve seen lately, but it did get me to look at people around the world in a different light. To me, the biggest eye-opener was how similar and different the cultures of the world can be. We all celebrate something, but we all do it a little different from the others.
I’d recommend Live, Laugh, Celebrate to anybody looking for a “feel-good” book that can be shared with the whole family. And with the number of brilliant photos it contains, it’s perfect for the coffee table collection.
WANT A FREE COPY?
Of course you do! And we’ve got two copies to hand out thanks again to the folks at National Geographic! Just like last time, you have two ways to nab a book for yourself.
1) Submit a photo and/or link to a photo you’ve taken of an event, festival, celebration, gathering, etc. The photo must be your own. Bonus points for supplemental descriptions.
2) Submit a Flickr Gallery of photos photos pertaining to events, festivals, celebrations, gatherings, etc. Curate a gallery and pop the link in the comments below. Bonus points for supplemental thoughts within the gallery and/or comment.
OK, so get your entries in soon! I’ll choose and announce the winners on (or near) December 1, 2009 — one winner for a personal photo, and one for a gallery. If, for some reason, we happen to have no entries from one of the categories, I’ll choose two winners from the category that has entries.
[UPDATE 12/2/2009] The winning entries can be seen here.
Last week, when I posted the review of Polar Obsession, I also mentioned that we had two copies of the book to give away. In order to win a book, you had to post a photo or a Flickr Gallery having to do with the polar regions. We had a few entries in each category, so I picked one from each to receive a copy of the book.
You’ll find the winners of the contest below with their own comments before the image and my comments after. The books are in the mail for these two, but the rest of you can still grab a copy of your own. It’s definitely one of my top recommendations this year, and the price is quite reasonable considering the size of the book and the content it holds.
Photo by João Almeida — “This one’s at Jokulrsarlon, the mythical glacier lagoon in South Iceland, and was taken in a very stormy morning when the weather cleared up a bit.”
This is a great landscape/seascape/icescape photo from João. Lovely cold blues and whites broken up by the dark patches of Earth. The mixture of ice and soil brings a new dimension to the foreground — lots of direction changes for the eye to follow, and the bands of high contrast are intriguing. The composition is broken up nicely by the water near center and the line of hills in the background.
Gallery by Andrew Ferguson — “I’ve specifically avoided using any photos involving people or animals to help enhance that feeling of being utterly, beautifully alone. The decision to use primarily blue photos, as well as the colour shift as you scroll down, were also conscious. I wanted to capture the feel of the way you sometimes notice the shifting weather on a long winter walk.”
This is an extremely eye-catching and well thought-out gallery from Andrew. Each photo stays directly on topic with his intent, and he didn’t fill it to the max of 18 photos just for the sake of filling it. Andrew wanted to convey a feeling of seclusion (which is what he titled the gallery) and did so with beautiful photos. I’m also impressed with the amount of thought and effort Andrew put into this Gallery by making comments and observations about each of his selections.
I posted an article a few hours back and I saw that it was acting funny (and not “haha” funny) — signs of spyware and/or malware causing images to not load correctly, malware warnings from Google, CSS not loading, and the page redirecting to a cruddy site (not going to post the link because it sucks, but it rhymes with “security tool now” — just Google it if you’re curious, don’t actually go there). So I’ve pulled back the post as a draft and I’m checking into a few things right now on my own computer and on the website database.
I’m really sorry if you visited the latest post and found anything you weren’t expecting. I assure you that I’m as pissed off as you are right now (actually more, but I don’t want to give the impression of superiority). I’ll be working on getting things back up to speed as soon as possible and I’m hoping that this post doesn’t freak out like the last one.
At any rate, contact me know if you see any weird stuff happening with your browser while viewing Epic Edits, and I apologize for any inconvenience it may cause you. Oh, and if you know how to fix it, that would be cool too.
Also, if you’re the one responsible for this catastrophe, I’d appreciate a “cease and desist” along with a formal apology letter. Thank you.
- A new way of exploring Flickr photos and videos
- My “Trade Secrets”
- $100,000 in 140 Seconds: Nikon Festival
- Light Painting – Tools Of The Trade
- How to Make Good Pictures pt 2
- 6 Tips for Taking Better Pictures With Your Cameraphone
- Humanizing China – Part 1 (Survival)
- Inside The Guts Of An Olympus Lens
- 10 great flickr groups for photographers
- Enhance Your Photos With These Great Photoshop Actions
- Mastering the Art of Black and White Photography
- Look Closer. The Devil is in the Details
- Explore images with Google Image Swirl, now in Labs
Official Google Blog
- Best Hand Painting Art Ever
Damn Cool Pics
- 40 Inspiring Panoramic Photographs
- How To Take Photos of People Like a Professional
- 35 Awesome Examples of Night Photography
The Photo Argus
Last week, I did a review of FotoTV and promised a few free subscriptions. And thanks to some magical randomness from the Internet, the winners are Genaro Orengo and JDUBJ! Congrats! And if either of these two can’t accept the prize for some reason, I’ll choose another to fill the spot.
For the rest of you… if you checked out the free videos and enjoyed them, consider picking up a subscription from FotoTV.
And a big thanks to the folks at FotoTV for providing us with some freebies!
In the world of artistic photography, double exposures can result in some very interesting stuff. Some can be well thought out compositions with shapes and exposures meant to compliment the other frame. Others can be happy accidents that exhibit a magic mixture of luck and randomness. In either case (and any case in between), a good double exposure catches the viewer’s attention and presents a distorted reality that would not be possible to see without a camera.
Here are a few tips to get you started with double exposures.
- Pay attention to shadows and highlights in each exposure. You’ll notice that large areas of shadow on one exposure will allow the highlights to show through from the other exposure. If you line up shadows on both exposures, you’ll get little detail due to underexposure. If you line up highlights from both exposures, you’ll get a faded looking image with low contrast.
- Try to keep at least one of the exposures rather simple. Two busy exposures will typically result in chaos and make everything harder to see (unless chaos is what you’re going for).
- To create a “ghost”, put the camera on a tripod and take the first exposure. Then remove or add objects or people and take the second exposure without moving the camera.
- If you wan to go the film route, don’t forget to underexpose by one stop for a double exposure (2 stops for 4 exposures, etc). And make sure you know how to double expose with your specific camera.
- If you want to go the digital route, one method is to underexpose as you would with film (or do so with post processing) and apply a screen layer blend (which essentially mimics the process of projecting two slides onto one screen). More details on the digital process in this article: Digital Multiple Exposure.
- And most of all, experiment and have fun with it. Over time, you’ll get a sense for how the two exposures work with each other and you can really start to form the final image to your intent.
And here are some pretty awesome multiple exposures from Flickr. Most (if not all) of these were done with film. If you have some double exposures of your own (and/or tips for double exposing), drop them in the comment section below the article.
Nature and wildlife photos are generally pleasing to the eye and viewed with great interest from the masses. The interest is even greater when the photos show remote locations and/or elusive animals that we typically don’t see in real life or in photos. Earth’s polar regions are perfect examples of such imagery.
Polar Obsession, by Paul Nicklen, is a stunning collection of photos from the northern and southern polar regions. But these are more than just pretty pictures of the landscape or some distant shots of animals through a 500mm lens — these are up close and intimate views of the animals, their behaviors, and the delicate environment they live in. Paul specializes in photographing the Arctic and Antarctica with an emphasis on underwater photography, and it would seem that no location is out of his reach.
Although the photos presented in Polar Obsession are quite beautiful on many levels, they convey a much heavier message. These fragile environments are changing rapidly, and terrible consequences to the animal inhabitants have already begun. Through his work as a photojournalist, Paul conveys the truth about the polar regions in a way that I’ve never seen before. His passion and drive are intoxicating and his message is impossible to ignore.
See the end of this post for a chance to win a free copy of the book.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Polar Obsession is a hardcover book containing 240 pages of text and photos (150 photos total). The book is quite large, measuring nearly 14 inches wide and 11 inches tall — definitely a lap book. I do like the size and shape of the book though, big enough to really make the photos come to life (and many of them are full bleed).
The book is broken into two major sections, preceded by introductory material: Arctic and Antarctica. The introduction gives you some important background information on Paul, sets the tone for the environmental message, and gives you a sampling of his portfolio. The Arctic chapters include “Ice and the Cycle of Life”, “Last of the Unicorns”, and “Svalbard: Polar Paradise”. The Antarctica chapters include “Leopard Seals: An Intimate Encounter” and “South Georgia: The Land of Kings and Elephants”. Each chapter begins with several pages of text that relate to the images.
When I get any new book the first thing I do is flip through the pages to scan the photos. Upon doing that with Polar Obsession I thought “Hey, great looking photos! I wonder what all that text is for.” Once I started reading about Paul and his many adventures on the ice and in the water, the photos completely changed in my eyes. The surface beauty melted away and I began to appreciate them on a far deeper level… what they stand for, what they say about the environment, and what they say about humans in general.
Another major part of the book is the knowledge conveyed by Paul about the various animal species he photographs. Many of them are clouded with misconceptions and myths, but Paul reveals the truth about these animals and the places they live. The views presented come from his life experience and his many close encounters with the animals.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Paul Nicklen is an interesting individual. He mostly grew up in a small Inuit community on Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic, spending his childhood observing nature, traveling the land, and learning the ways of the Inuit people. During this time, he developed a strong connection with the animals and their environment — a connection that most of us will never experience. When it came time for college, he attended the University of Victoria, British Columbia in pursuit of a degree in marine biology. It was during his final years of study that he made the decision to do something amazing with his life. Paul worked his butt off to acquire his gear and drew up a plan to share his passion of the polar regions with the world.
Paul’s dream has taken him to some of the most extreme and remote corners of the Earth, and I’m confident that he loves every minute of it. This is a man who, as a child, would get excited about blizzards because it meant he could go lay in the snow and let himself be buried by the weather. This is also a man who puts his own life at risk so he can capture images that nobody else will. Truly an extraordinary individual who cares about the life on our planet more than most people can comprehend.
I had the great pleasure to speak with Paul for about 30 minutes on various topics, and he came across as very down-to-Earth. He also came across as an extremely passionate individual when it comes to the well-being of our planet and all the life contained within. Paul is one of those people who dedicate their life to a noble cause — this stuff is his life. From his experience, the polar regions are warming 2-3 times faster than the rest of the Earth, and this means big changes in the very near future.
Some of our discussion revolved around what we can do to “right the wrongs of our past” and make a better world for tomorrow. I’m not going to quote Paul directly (mostly because I can’t write that fast while having a conversation), but he basically wishes that we (the human population) would wake up and realize what’s happening and do something about it. The actions required to make a major difference are far beyond changing our light bulbs and driving hybrid cars — we need a serious shift in our priorities. Paul believes (and I agree with him), that we need to teach our children to “get back into nature” and start caring more about our impact on this planet.
We also chatted about pure photography stuff… and as photographers, we’re all interested in such things! He put a gear list at the end of the book, and it’s freakin’ crazy! I can’t even begin to describe it. I asked him about the film vs digital thing… he’s 110% digital at this point. This makes sense when you think about changing film underwater — it doesn’t happen! I also popped the question “Do you shoot for fun?” The answer… nope. I figured this would be the case with Paul (as is the case with some other professional photographers). The camera is merely a tool that he uses to pursue his real passion. He’s obviously an expert at using that tool, but his true interest is saving the world.
I can’t remember for the life of me whether this was in the book or part of our conversation, but it was profoundly eye-opening. Paul said something along the lines of “we need to move from being consumers of the planet’s resources, to being it’s protectors.” This made a ton of sense to me — as the dominant species of Earth, we should be protecting our planet rather than destroying it. We have the technology and the ability — why aren’t we doing it?
If you want to see more of Paul’s work, visit his website at paulnicklen.com
MY FINAL THOUGHTS
I’ve only seen a small number of books that changed my way of thinking at a very basic level. This book was one of them. At a glance — beautiful photos. Upon deeper inspection — an emotional plea to the importance of our role on Earth. Definitely more than a simple coffee table book.
Honestly, I would recommend this book to anybody — it can be enjoyed by both child and adult. Not only that, the photos contained within may be some of the last of their kind. The global climate is changing fast and we’re on the brink of losing many species found in these polar regions. Paul Nicklen is a name you’ll hear again, as I’m certain he will continue to document and fight for these animals (in addition to other struggling species all around the world).
WANT A FREE COPY?
As always, the folks at National Geographic have agreed to handing out a few free copies of the book (thanks guys!). So what’s the requirement this time around? A contest, of course! We have two copies of the book to hand out, and we’ll have two methods for acquiring the books. You can do one of the following:
1) Submit a photo and/or link to a photo you’ve taken of an animal and/or landscape of a polar region. The photo must be your own, and it’s got to be pretty damn close to the Arctic or Antarctic Circle. Bonus points for supplemental descriptions.
2) Submit a Flickr Gallery of photos from the polar regions. Definitely a good option for those of us who haven’t been too far north (or south). Curate a gallery and pop the link in the comments below. Bonus points for supplemental thoughts within the gallery and/or comment.
OK, so get your entries in soon! I’ll choose and announce the winners on (or near) November 23, 2009 — one winner for a personal photo, and one for a gallery. If, for some reason, we happen to have no entries from one of the categories, I’ll choose two winners from the category that has entries.
[UPDATE 12/2/2009] You can view the winning entries here.
Oh… and be sure to say “hi” to Paul — there’s a very good chance that he’ll be reading this review and the comments. This guy is a hero, so let him know how awesome he is!!!
[UPDATE 11/16/09] Thanks John for pointing out this great video on YouTube: