Archive for July, 2019

The Ultimate Guide to Photographing People for the Shy Photographer

31 Jul

The post The Ultimate Guide to Photographing People for the Shy Photographer appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kevin Landwer-Johan.

Avoiding photographing people

My dad had a lovely Zeiss camera. The kind with bellows that folded up into a compact unit. It took 120 roll film. I used this camera to photograph my brother’s band, playing an outdoor gig when I was 17. These 12 exposures filled my first roll of film.

Photography became my passion. Having a camera in my hand excited me and taught me to view the world around me in new ways. I would visualize and compose photos in my imagination even when I didn’t have my camera with me.

I photographed old rusty things, beaches, skies, mountains, and flowers, among other subjects – but never people.

rusty wheel DPS Ultimate Guide to Photographing People for Shy Photographers

Cira. 1983 Scanned from slide film © Kevin Landwer-Johan

People were well outside of my comfort zone – especially strangers.

Dealing with that uncomfortable feeling

“I don’t want to impose on others.”

This is the most common reason I hear from photographers about why they don’t photograph people.

Overcoming the fear of imposing, and settling the butterflies in your stomach is possible. Focused effort is required, but the results are well worth it.

The purpose of this Ultimate Guide is to teach you practical methods for photographing people, no matter how shy you are.

Photography is so much more than choosing the best lens and camera settings. Connecting with your subject is vital, particularly when you’re photographing people. If this is challenging for you, digging deep is essential – deep into your feelings of fear that invade your mind when you want to make a portrait.

Concentrate on the positive. Focus in on what’s attracted you. Why do you want to make that person’s portrait? Before you even approach someone or put your camera to your eye, clear your mind of doubt. Settle your thoughts and have a positive attitude towards what you are doing. Training your mind to think like this you will in time be able to control the feelings of self-doubt and fear of imposing.

Learn to recognize your negative thoughts that disrupt your intentions. Jump on them fast. The more consistently you can do this, the more successful you will be.

Only entertain your positive thoughts. As you do, your actions become automatic and relaxed. You will find it’s not stressful to approach people and to photograph them.

The more you do anything, the easier it becomes.

Practice training your mind to replace the fear of imposing with positive thoughts. Think about having a pleasant interaction with your subject. Reinforce your initial ideas of why you’ve chosen to photograph them. Let your mind fill with the intent to succeed.

Make yourself concentrate on the photo you are planning to make. Zone in on your composition, lighting, exposure, and timing. When you do this, the rest of the world disappears for a while. Be in your own creative space in your head and heart, and nothing else will matter.

This may sound a little abstract and not what you’re used to reading in a photography article, but I assure you, as you focus your mind and practice these techniques, you will become a better photographer.

DPS Ultimate Guide to Photographing People for Shy Photographers Woman Meditating on a red sofa

Focus your mind. © Kevin Landwer-Johan

Start with your camera

Knowing how to use your camera with confidence is your first step. If you’re not comfortable using your camera you’re not likely to enjoy photographing people.

Use your camera every day. Make a habit of taking at least one or two photos a day. You’ll find it’s addictive in the very best ways. Having a creative release is good for your soul. Your creative imagination will develop as you use it. The more you practice, the more your artistic style will begin to emerge.

Frequent contact is key. Have your camera in your hands at least once a day. You will become intimate with it. Your fingers and thumbs will feel the shapes of the dials and buttons. You will develop your subconscious memory of where each control is. As you learned fast enough where the on/off switch is, you’ll be able to find all the essential camera controls before long.

Pick a time each day to use your camera. I am sure if you think about it you will fit in ten or twenty minutes to be creative. Perhaps when you commute to work or school, during your lunch break or before dinner. Making it the same time each day helps you to form this good habit. Routine, especially at first, is helpful. I know if you work at this, by the end of the first month you will have a good foundation to build on. You will have developed a positive new habit. Moreover, you will see the quality of your photography improve.

The subject matter is not as relevant at first. Don’t even think about photographing people. Your goal in taking photos every day is to learn to love your camera and use it with confidence.

Experiment. Imagine. Express what you see. This will become a natural time of learning and growth. Sometimes you may feel frustrated at not being able to create the image that’s in your head. This is the time to learn more about controlling your camera so you can make it do what you want it to. Use various lens focal lengths. Choose different angles and composition techniques.

Combining some photography study often will result in more rapid growth. There are so many books, magazines, websites, and courses you can learn from. Find a way of learning that you’re comfortable with and set to study a little and often.

DPS Ultimate Guide to Photographing People for Shy Photographers Asian woman photographer

Experiment. Imagine. Express what you see. © Kevin Landwer-Johan

Now focus on your subject

Building proficiency using your camera will often prepare you to photograph people. You need to be comfortable and confident you have the settings right.

Concentrating on your camera more than your subject is a common mistake. It’s easy to be distracted by your camera, especially for shy people. Not engaging with someone when you want to make their portrait leads to a disconnect. This is often noticeable in the resulting portrait.

You don’t want to leave the person looking at the top of your head as you peer down at your camera as you make adjustments.

Set your camera as much as possible before you engage with your subject. Then you will be giving them your attention without distraction. Don’t make your camera an excuse not to communicate. It’s not there to shield you from the world. Use it as a bridge to help you connect with your subjects.

DPS Ultimate Guide to Photographing People for Shy Photographers Asian woman photographer

Be comfortable and confident. © Kevin Landwer-Johan

How to overcome your insecurities

“One of the easiest ways to overcome shyness is to become a photographer.” – David Hurn, photographer

Years ago, I heard an interview with a photographer saying they thought shy people make the best portrait photographers. This was because the resulting photo will be more about the subject than about the photographer. As a shy person who liked photography, this interested me. It challenged me.

British photographer, David Hurn, talks about being shy in this interview with Huck magazine.

“I’m incredibly shy. Photography is the best thing for shy people because you have something to hide behind. The problem with shy people is that you don’t want to be rejected. So your safeguard is that you go into yourself. But with a camera, you have an excuse to be somewhere. So when you’re walking down the street and looking in a doorway at a whole load of people, being tattooed or something, with a camera, you can walk in and suddenly say, ‘Do you mind if I shoot some pictures?’ And if you show a genuine interest in what people are doing, I have never known anyone to say no. People love you being interested in them. The camera gives you that excuse to be there. It breaks through that barrier.”

Dear young photographer: ‘Shoot a lot of pictures. Be a doer, not a chatter.’

Why do you think David Hurn never had anyone say no to him? I believe it’s because of his approach. He has determination and a gentle manner.

He knows what he wants to achieve and the photos he wants to capture. Concentrating on his goal, he uses the camera as his reason to step into people’s situations, and into their lives. He is sure about what he wants, and he works with focused confidence to do it.

Having purpose will push you further, faster, in anything you want to achieve in life. It is no different for photography. If you have a well-defined purpose for what you want to accomplish, it can become a reality. If you drift about without direction, it takes a long time to achieve anything.

Photographer and Model DPS Ultimate Guide to Photographing People for Shy Photographers

Photography is the best thing for shy people. © Pansa Landwer-Johan

Take your time

Taking your time is not a bad thing. If you’re worried you will miss the photo, it means you haven’t started your preparation soon enough. Every genre of photography requires patience and anticipation. The better you know your camera, the faster you’ll have it set and ready in any circumstance. Take time to learn manual mode. This will not only give you more control of your exposures, but it will also help you see life at a different pace.

It is true that automatic settings on your camera can help you take photos faster. You may be able to capture the action, but not the mood. Slow down and take notice of more than your camera settings. This is how you will learn to capture atmosphere.

Don’t think you always have to be fast with your camera. Doing so can be a distraction from truly experiencing photography.

Some of the best street photography appears to have happened in a snap, but this is rarely so. Planning and preparation. Choice of light and location. Waiting. These qualities factor into more great street photos than sheer speed. Those fleeting moments when all the elements align in the viewfinder are anticipated.

Fishermen on a bridge DPS Ultimate Guide to Photographing People for Shy Photographers

Take your time. © Kevin Landwer-Johan

Your camera will help overcome your reluctance

Your camera is your bridge to the other side of shyness. It allows you to traverse the distance between your intention to photograph someone and the actual portrait. It not only makes the picture, but it connects you with your subject.

Speaking to a stranger for no particular reason is very difficult for many people. Having a camera in your hands is a wonderful reason to speak with someone. Your camera is the solution to your problem of not wanting to approach people. When you come to realize this and learn to use your camera as a bridge, you will cross over into a whole new world of wonderful, creative experience.

Photographing people when your mind is focused on them, and not on your camera, transforms the experience.

My camera gets me to the other side, away from my insecure thoughts and into a conversation with the person. It is a reason for me to be where I am and to start conversations.

Use your camera as a means to introduce yourself and begin an interesting discussion. Don’t hide behind your camera fiddling with its controls. Be prepared and bold with it. Your camera will fulfill your purpose.

Express your intention to take a photograph with an appropriate amount of confidence. Doing this will open the way for you. Focus on your subject and their response to you.

When you approach someone in a self-assured way, it will be evident. If you appear to be unsure of yourself, your subject will often reflect this behavior back to you.

Self-assured communication with your subjects is important. It is as necessary as being confident with the technical aspects of photography.

DPS Ultimate Guide to Photographing People for Shy Photographers street market photographer interacting with a vendor

Your camera is your bridge to the other side of shyness. © Pansa Landwer-Johan

Choose who you want to photograph based on how receptive they will be

Stepping into the street to photograph strangers for the first time is a daunting prospect.  It is not something many people find particularly easy. Don’t start there. Begin photographing someone you know and who appreciates what you are doing.

Friends or family members can be your best option. Someone you know and who enjoys having their photograph taken. People who like seeing their image are always the easiest to make portraits of. They are relaxed in front of the camera and are more likely to give you expressive feedback on your photos.

Finding someone you can photograph on a number of different occasions will help you learn. You will connect with them more each time you meet for a photo session. As you grow in confidence using your camera, you will find it becomes more natural to connect with people.

Take your camera to social gatherings – birthdays and other celebrations. Weddings, graduations, parties, church barbecues or the pub. Whatever social activities you engage in. Over time, you will begin to get more of a feel for the people who are easy to photograph.

Take your time. Make a start. Remain determined and practice as often as you can. Repetition will build your camera and your communication skills.

As you practice, be aware of how you are connecting, and the types of response people give you. Learn to read and understand the social dynamic having your camera in hand creates. Naturally, people will respond to you differently than if you are only having a conversation. Developing your perception of people’s reactions to your camera will help you when you come to photograph strangers.

Kevin Landwer-Johan Showing Akha people their photos DPS Ultimate Guide to Photographing People for Shy Photographers

Repetition will build your camera and your communication skills. © Kevin Landwer-Johan

Communicate well

Communicating your desire to photograph someone in an apt manner is imperative. This is a point of failure for many people. I cringe when I hear photographers speak inappropriately to the people they are photographing. Your portrait depends so much on the relationship you have with your subject. Even if that relationship only lasts a minute or two.

Being pleasant is vital to becoming a good people photographer – particularly if you want to become a wedding and portrait photographer. The way you communicate, your manner, and even your body language are important. Your clients notice these things. If they are comfortable with you, they respond well. Their body language and facial expressions will reflect this back to you.

Your manner of communication depends on your state of mind. When you are worried about camera settings and the lighting, you are not so likely to communicate best. Put the technical thoughts aside before you start to engage with the people you want to photograph.

People love it when you show an interest in who they are and what they love to do. Genuine curiosity is natural in photographers, and you are best to develop this as much as you can. Make this aspect of your shyness work for you. Being keen, but yet a little reserved will endear you to people much more than being too bold will.

Photographer and Model in the Studio DPS Ultimate Guide to Photographing People for Shy Photographers

Show an interest in who people are. © Kevin Landwer-Johan

Develop your camera skills with a project

Once you commit to a photography project, you have a theme or concept to work on. Sticking to your chosen topic and building a body of photographs allows you to track your development. Choosing to photograph a people project helps you build your confidence too.

Working on a long term project, you will experiment more with your camera and photography techniques. Push the boundaries and explore camera settings you don’t often use. This will allow you to produce a more diverse and interesting series of photographs.

As you build up a collection of images, you’ll be able to review and compare them. This will identify the skills you need to work on. It will also encourage you to see the areas where you are improving.

Over time, you will build up a significant collection of photos, both good and bad. Mostly bad. Don’t beat yourself up about this. It happens to every photographer. The more bad photos you take, the more good ones you will also create. Scrutinizing your photos over an extended period allows you to chart your progress.

Keep everything. Do not delete images in camera. The key is being organized. If you dump them all in a folder on your computer, this will not help. You’ll not be able to discern the nature of your progress.

Each time you work on your project, load the photos onto your computer and separate the top 10%-20% of the photos – the ones you are most happy with. Then separate into another folder, the ones you recognize as having potential and that you’d like to work on. Making notes for yourself during this process will help keep you on track and make it more beneficial.

Reviewing and comparing your photos like this can be challenging. You need to acknowledge the areas of weakness. Your photos will show you this. Having a more experienced photographer, someone who can mentor you through this process will be a huge advantage. They will be able to point out to you aspects of your work you may not be able to see so clearly.

Woman at the market with motion blur behind her DPS Ultimate Guide to Photographing People for Shy Photographers

Develop Your Camera Skills with a Project. © Kevin Landwer-Johan

Develop your relational skills

As you spend time with the same people, the relationship develops. Committing to a photography project involving the same people, you will build a closer relationship. This is true if you are photographing a family member or people at your local market.

Building relationships takes time. With a photography project, you will have to make time for it to be effective. Returning to photograph the same people and/or the same location a familiarity will develop.

On the street

Stand on the same busy street corner and photograph people enough, and you will begin to build some form of relationship. You’ll become familiar with the feel of the place.

Learn to anticipate what’s happening and see the rhythm. Picking the same time of day when the light is right, you will start to see the same people passing by during their daily routines. They may start to notice you. If they see you often enough, they will not likely pay you any attention, unless you want it.

All it takes, when you catch someone’s eye who has become a little familiar to you, is to smile. They will probably return one to you. Next time they see you, they may show interest and inquire what you are doing.

Connecting with people on the streets becomes more natural when they see you with your camera often. Some won’t show interest, but many will. The locals, the regulars, people who frequent the same location, are the most obvious ones to connect with.

These are the ones you can begin building a relationship with. Tell them you’re working on a photography project documenting your local neighborhood (or whatever your theme is). This will endear them because people like to feel included. We are designed to communicate with one another.

Even if you are a shy person, you can learn to use your camera as a bridge to achieve your purpose.

DPS Ultimate Guide to Photographing People for Shy Photographers Kebab Chef in Istanbul

Connect with people. © Kevin Landwer-Johan

With a friend or family member

Photographing a friend or family member as a project, you will also develop your relationship with them. However they respond to you first, and how you relate to each other will change subtly each time you get together.

Show them some of your photos on your phone. They will be more confident when they can see the photos you’ve already taken. Don’t talk too long about what you’re doing; you want the attention to be on them.

You are best to have set your camera as much as possible before you meet with the person. If that’s not possible, ask them to give you a few minutes to set up. Doing this gives you space to scope out good light and background and to make the necessary camera tweaks.

Once you are happy with the light, background and your camera settings, it’s time to give most of your attention to your subject. Straighten their clothes a little, or get them to fix their hair, (unless it’s already perfect). Giving them this attention will help them feel better about themselves and build their confidence in you.

If it’s someone you don’t know well, ask them open-ended questions about themselves. Get to know them a little more. Make sure you start them talking.

If they are extroverts, they will love talking about themselves.

If they are introverts, you can help them get started, and they will feel more comfortable.

Attractive Young Woman DPS Ultimate Guide to Photographing People for Shy Photographers

Get to know the people you are photographing a little more. © Kevin Landwer-Johan

Focus on asking questions that a simple yes or no won’t answer. Pay attention to what they are telling you. Do not be looking down at your camera. Focus on their story. Show them you’re interested.

Compliment what they are wearing or something else about the way they look. Aim to build up a positive atmosphere, especially if you sense they are feeling uneasy. Many people do not feel self-assured when being photographed. It’s an important part of your job to help them relax. The better they feel the more attractive they will look in the photos you take.

Initially, they may be shy also and feel awkward in front of your camera. Don’t worry about this. Make a bunch of photos and concentrate on relating to them. If you screw up and don’t get any decent images, use this as a lesson. Show them. Let them see what you are doing right and wrong.

Include them in your project, make it a team effort. The more they feel part of what you are doing the better photos you’ll end up taking. If you’ve messed up your settings, show them the photos and explain a little about what happened. Then make the same series of photos again.

Learning to communicate in such a manner that you help people enjoy the process of being photographed will benefit you and your subjects. Everybody enjoys seeing themselves looking good. Their feeling must precede their looks in your photos. If they don’t feel good about themselves, it’s likely they will not appreciate the photos you make of them.

At times your subject will be too uncomfortable. You won’t manage to make a flattering photo of them because of their tension. Show them the photos. Explain that the tension shows on their face and if they relax, they will like the photos you make of them.

People don’t usually look nervous when they view themselves in the bathroom mirror each morning. So when they see photos of themselves looking tense, it’s very unnatural to them. They do not perceive the image as a good likeness of who they are.

Working like this and showing off less than your best photos may be challenging, but it will help you grow.

DPS Ultimate Guide to Photographing People for Shy Photographers Smiling woman wearing a straw hat

Everybody enjoys seeing themselves looking good. © Kevin Landwer-Johan

Photograph at social gatherings

Take your camera along to birthday parties, drinks after work, your kid’s sports events, or any place where people socialize. Doing so provides wonderful opportunities for people photography. When you can mix with the same people regularly, they will become accustomed to you being there with your camera.

For many people, this may seem a huge challenge. Think positively about it. Approach the situation and the people with a constructive attitude and with reasonable expectations. You will most likely find people will enjoy what you are doing, particularly when you start sharing your photos with them.

Be determined to work through your feelings of discomfort. Your first experience taking photos at a social gathering might be very difficult. Most of your uneasiness will be in your mind. If you give up after your first attempt, you will not know success. The more often you are present with your camera, the more confident you will become and the better photographs you will make.

DPS Ultimate Guide to Photographing People for Shy Photographers

Be determined to work through your feelings of discomfort. © Kevin Landwer-Johan

Become a volunteer photographer

Do you go to church, a temple or a mosque? Are you or your kids a member of a sports club? Do you help out at a local animal shelter or participate in community events? All of these provide a fabulous opportunity to offer your services as a photographer.

Every group or organization loves to have good photographs. Putting yourself forward as a volunteer photographer can be a great experience. Here your camera really is your bridge.

Providing photos for a group or organization can be one of the best ways to build your confidence. Your commitment is greater because other people are relying on you.

Making it clear you are still learning is important. So long as they know this then you have the opportunity to improve over time. In the future, you will be producing wonderful photographs for the community you are volunteering for.

Ballet Dancing DPS Ultimate Guide to Photographing People for Shy Photographers

Offer your services as a photographer. © Kevin Landwer-Johan

Travel portrait projects

I teach many people who mainly take photographs when they travel. They join our workshops, and many are too timid to photograph people. Or they prefer to stand well back and take candid pictures with a long lens.

Don’t be concerned if you can’t speak the language. Often this can be to your advantage. Use your camera as a bridge. When people see the smile on your face and even a slight gesture with your camera, they will know your intention. Hopefully, they will return your smile. This is permission to photograph them.

Non-verbal communication like this requires that you watch facial expression and body language. Some cultures may smile and mean ‘no.’ So long as you are observant and polite, you will be okay.

Myanmar Market Vendor DPS Ultimate Guide to Photographing People for Shy Photographers

Use your camera as a bridge. © Kevin Landwer-Johan

The candid option

Certain situations are best photographed without communicating with a person. Candid photography definitely has its place.

Choosing to stand back with a long lens attached to your camera and making candid images is okay when the circumstances are right. The photos you create using this technique will usually be void of subject/photographer connection.

Disturbing people who are engrossed in a conversation or their work breaks the natural flow of life. A candid photo will be more suitable than interrupting.

Artists and craftspeople at work are subjects best left to their creative endeavors. They are focused and passionate about what they are doing. A quick recognition and acknowledgment from them that they are comfortable with you photographing are best. A nod and a smile from you and their smile in return will not break their workflow or concentration. So long as you are not disrupting them, you will be able to capture intriguing portraits of them.

Choosing to work candidly should be a conscious decision because it’s going to produce the best photographs. Opting to capture images of people stealthily because you are too shy to communicate is never the best option.

Poi Sang Long Festival DPS Ultimate Guide to Photographing People for Shy Photographers

Candid photography definitely has its place. © Kevin Landwer-Johan

Those not really candid photographs

At times you’ll find yourself in situations where you want candid photographs, but it’s just not possible. When people know you are there with your camera, truly-candid cannot happen. Capturing natural-looking photos of people in these circumstances is challenging, but not impossible.

When you are ‘the’ photographer

Weddings, portrait sessions, and similar situations do not allow for real candid photos. You have to be able to communicate well and arrange candid-looking images.

Most people like natural-looking photos. The skill is in controlling the circumstances so you get the results you want. This means you must know what you want and be able to relate your ideas clearly to the people you are photographing.

With couples, it’s easy. Just get them talking to each other. Encourage them to forget you’re there and then offer them a conversation starter. Ask them to recall the first time they met, or when they proposed to each other. If you want to lighten the mood and capture some laughter and smiles, ask them something fun.

Once you have them talking, don’t hold back on the photos. You are going to need to take a lot of pictures. What’s happening is more unpredictable, so you need the quantity to get enough quality photos.

DPS Ultimate Guide to Photographing People for Shy Photographers Asian Buness Woman Phone Call

Aim to capture natural expression. © Kevin Landwer-Johan

You will throw most of them out, but the ones you keep will be relaxed, natural, and vibrant. I used this technique whenever I photographed weddings. It helped produce the most interesting, un-posed photos.

I would use a longer lens, often my 180mm, so I could stay at a bit of a distance, but not too far away. That way, I could still talk with the couple but be far enough back so as not to be in their personal space.

Another wedding technique I used for semi-candid portraits was to get the groom to stand behind me and off to one side. While photographing the bride, I would get them to look at each other and have a conversation. If the groom was somehow stuck for things to say I would make suggestions, often a little rude. This worked well for getting fun, relaxed facial expressions. Then I would swap the bride and groom, and photograph him while they continued their conversation.

Photographing individual portraits is more challenging as you can’t draw attention away from yourself so easily. If you have someone else with you, an assistant or friend, you can prime them to be the distraction. Before you begin, let them know they will have a role to play when you want some more candid-looking photos. Coach them a little so that they will be prepared. When you’re ready, direct your subject’s attention and conversation to your helper.

Working alone is when your communication skills are the most important. Your ability to converse and take photos at the same time will be put to the test. You have to give full concentration to both your subject and what you are doing with your camera.

The practice is again the key in learning how to build your communication skill so you can get candid-looking portraits. It takes time and effort. As you try certain techniques and figure out what works and what doesn’t, you will develop your communication skill set. You will become more confident and effective.

Sad Young Asian Woman DPS Ultimate Guide to Photographing People for Shy Photographers

Develop your communication skill set. © Kevin Landwer-Johan

Semi-candid street photography

Semi-candid street photos can be made successfully with a short lens and the right technique. You don’t need to keep your distance and remain in the shadows. Get close, be observant, relaxed, and normal.

People at our local markets know me now. They sell me vegetables, and many of them know I will take their photo some days. They might shy away, or they might pose.

I like to create a mixture of candid and posed photos when I am doing street photography. However, being conspicuous means, I have to employ certain techniques so that I am not the center of attention. Often there are not many other foreigners at the markets, so I stand out.

Often I will engage with someone I want to photograph. Generally, they will stop what they are doing, smile, and pose. This is what they perceive I want. I will take their picture anyway. I’ll make sure it’s well exposed, sharp and flattering. Then I will show them on my camera monitor. Most often they are happy, and we’ll chat a little before I move on.

Once I have moved on, I will wait a short time and then head back near to where they are. They will think my focus is elsewhere because I already have their photo.

Hopefully, they will not pay any attention to me. This is when I get the photos I really want.

Over the years, I have listened to and read of many photojournalists who aspire to be as invisible as possible. It can be a valuable skill to develop. You can learn to do it without actually having to hide your camera or stay a long way back from the action.

DPS Ultimate Guide to Photographing People for Shy Photographers

Create a mixture of candid and posed photos. © Kevin Landwer-Johan

Giving back

Remember, your camera is the solution, not the problem. With your camera in hand, you have a purpose for being where you are and a reason to communicate with people.

You are not only taking a photograph but giving an interesting experience. If you are able to share your photos, then you are truly giving something of value to your subject.

Presenting prints to the people you photograph helps shape the way they see you. A set of small-sized prints is inexpensive and will be appreciated by most. If you capture a photo that’s worthy of enlarging this will have even more of an impact. The cost of an enlargement is insignificant compared to the joy it will bring your subject.

Collecting someone’s email or social media connection will also allow you to give back in a meaningful way. Some people may value this even more than prints because they can share a digital file.

Market porter with a photo of himself DPS Ultimate Guide to Photographing People for Shy Photographers

Your camera is the solution, not the problem. © Kevin Landwer-Johan

Smile and say ‘hello’

I often walk the same way at the markets when teaching our photography workshops. I’d been noticing this one older man. His face was interesting, but he seemed shy and would not make eye contact with me. He had a small stand selling traditional northern Thai sticky rice. I decided I would smile and say hello to him each time I passed with the hope he would become familiar with me.

I did this for a while, and one day when my wife was helping me teach a workshop, I told her what I had been doing. As we approached him, she smiled and asked if we could make his portrait. She had the charm! He placed his hands on the big bowl of sticky rice, pushed his shoulders back, and smiled warmly for us. We made some lovely portraits of him.

Not long after this, I had another lovely encounter with a woman who was selling sticky rice at the same stall. Each time we visited the markets, we’d have a lovely conversation with this woman. She was friendly and relaxed, quite happy to be photographed. Having not seen the man at the stall for a few months, one day I asked her about him.

Her face dropped, and her eyes looked so sad. I wanted the ground to swallow me up. I felt so terrible. The man was her husband. She told me that he’d passed away suddenly. Then a glimmer of hope appeared in her eyes, and she asked me if I’d made his portrait. I assured her I had and would bring her a print.

Normally when we print photos to give out, we get regular size prints. For this lady, we had an enlargement made and had it framed. She was very grateful. The next time I passed by she told me she had hung the portrait of her husband above her bed.

The moral of the story is, you never know how much you might bless someone by being bold enough to make their portrait. Think of what you do in a positive light. Sure, you will come across some people who do not want their photograph taken. As you practice building your confidence, your success rate will increase.

DPS Ultimate Guide to Photographing People for Shy Photographers Sticky rice vendor

You never know how much you might bless someone. © Kevin Landwer-Johan

The post The Ultimate Guide to Photographing People for the Shy Photographer appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kevin Landwer-Johan.

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31 Jul

The post How Poetry and Photography are Alike and How it Can Impact Your Photography appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Megan Kennedy.

On the surface, poetry and photography may seem like completely different mediums. One deals with the written word, whereas the other creates images. But as two forms of artistic expression, poetry and photo-making have more in common than one might think. For example, both writing and photography rely on narrative and visual language to operate. Light and space are illuminating factors in both mediums too. Investigating these shared attributes (and many more) can affect our photographic practice. Let’s look at a few ways in which poetry and photography are alike and how the poetic word can impact your approach to image-making.

Image: An empty page is much like the blank canvas or camera sensor in that it holds unlimited artis...

An empty page is much like the blank canvas or camera sensor in that it holds unlimited artistic potential.

A poem without words

The idea that written language conveys something more than just meaningless scribbles dates back to at least 3500 B.C. However, it was an ancient Roman poet by the name of Quintus Horatius Flaccus (known as Horace) who said that “a picture is a poem without words”.

Poets deconstruct images to form cohesive perspectives. As viewers, we read an image as we would written language, piecing information together to determine a picture as a whole. Through the elements and principals of composition and design, a photographer works in verse, weaving impressions and notions that awaken under the eye of the viewer.

With the careful cultivation of detail, both photographers and poets gain a better appreciation for qualities like color, pattern, texture, shape and form. By being deliberately attentive to aspects like light, rhythm, narrative, and emotion, (aspects that are of great importance to both poetry and photography), we can actualize Horace’s observation with deeper, more metered imagery made up of layers of meaning and emotional range.

Image: Though devoid of written language, photography conveys an image that holds meaning – a...

Though devoid of written language, photography conveys an image that holds meaning – a poem without words

Creating a little picture

While he is best known for his novels The Dharma Bums and On The Road, Jack Kerouac was also an avid writer of westernized haiku. The haiku, a style of poetry originating in Japan, is a small poem traditionally based around images of the natural world.

Kerouac stated that Western haiku “must be very simple and free of all poetic trickery and make a little picture…”.  His statement likens the haiku to that of the photograph, encapsulating a moment in time.

Some examples of Kerouac’s haiku include;

The taste
of rain –
Why kneel?

Morning sun –
The purple petals,
Four have fallen

April mist –
Under the pine
At midnight

As a poem limited to three lines, only the most necessary information may be included in a successful haiku. This approach is not dissimilar to minimalist photography, where select aspects of a photograph are emphasized by the minimization or eradication of others.

Kerouac’s comparison between the haiku and a picture paints the photographer as a sculptor of imagery. By sacrificing superfluous details and conveying a very specific idea, both photographers and poets appeal to an audience with an efficacy that leaves the lasting impression of well-executed artwork.

How Poetry and Photography are Alike and How it Can Impact Your Photography

A change in perspective

Both the poet and the photographer study a subject through many lenses. As an example, here are two poems of Wallace Steven’s Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird;

Among twenty snowy mountains
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird

When the blackbird flew out of sight
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles

These two ways of seeing reflect how perspective is malleable, shaped by individual experience and thought. The gaze of the photographer and that of the poet are both analytical, yet individual. And just as there are many ways to approach single subject poetically, there are as many ways to approach the same subject photographically.

Researching other photography can be useful in gaining insight into how to attempt a subject. Interestingly, having a look at a poetic perspective can prove to be a useful insight in the same way. Studying the observations of poets can help draw out unique approaches to an environment or scenario, revealing useful opportunities and perspectives.

How Poetry and Photography are Alike and How it Can Impact Your Photography


Both poetry and photography have the ability to zoom in and isolate, re-framing a subject and transforming it into something of significance or beauty. Take this excerpt from The Wasteland by T.S. Eliot;

Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song.
The river bears no empty bottles, sandwich papers,
Silk handkerchiefs, cardboard boxes, cigarette ends
Or other testimony of summer nights.

T.S. Eliot paints a story through the listing of refuse that is often found in rivers. By focusing his literary lens on inanimate objects that hinge on human intervention, T.S. Eliot forges strong images in the mind, relating to the reader through simple and concise language. The more the writer lists, the clearer the picture of the water becomes. Yet at the same time, in a separate image, the viewer forms impressions of pollution and waste, an alternative landscape to that which the poet describes.

Poetry gives seemingly mundane subject matter a new significance. This same phenomenon occurs in photography. Under the scrutiny of the camera, a subject takes on a transformation. Through the act of photography, a subject is separated and elevated from the day-to-day, isolating a moment in time.

How Poetry and Photography are Alike and How it Can Impact Your Photography


The fact is that neither poetry nor photography is a complete reality. No art form is. Yet just as a photograph is a painting of light, the poem is a painting of words, and the experiences of both the photographer and the poet are entwined in their intention to express a version of reality that is both shared and unique.




The post How Poetry and Photography are Alike and How it Can Impact Your Photography appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Megan Kennedy.

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Do’s and Don’ts of Putting Together a Photography Portfolio

30 Jul

The post Do’s and Don’ts of Putting Together a Photography Portfolio appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Ana Mireles.

Are you having trouble landing a job? Do you keep showing your work but are not getting any clients? Maybe it’s time to review your photography portfolio. Whether you’re doing a digital or printed portfolio, here are some do’s and don’ts to improve the way you present your photography.

Travel photography example portfolio

Putting together a portfolio

It doesn’t matter what kind of photographer you are, a good portfolio is the most important tool you have to secure a job. The first thing to understand is that putting together a bunch of nice pictures isn’t enough. Your photography portfolio should be a sample of your work that showcases your technical abilities as well as your personal style.

Flower and nature portfolio

DON’T put watermarks

Let’s face it, if someone wants to steal your photograph, they will find a way to do so. A watermark can be cropped or deleted. Instead, it will make it more difficult for the viewer to appreciate your image. Also, watermarks give an amateurish look to your portfolio as a whole. See at the difference:


Watermarks can ruin a photo and don’t really protect your rights

To legally protect your images, you can have them copyrighted. To get familiar with this concept, read ImageRights – Finding and Pursuing Copyright Infringement. Another safety measure is to never publish or hand out high-resolution images. For this, I recommend my previous article on How to Understand Pixels, Resolution, and Resize your Images in Photoshop Correctly.

DON’T stick to one portfolio

Another big mistake is to collect all of your best photos and display them in one portfolio. You may think this shows quality, as they are a “best-of,” but it can make you look like a master of none. It is also a waste of time for your client. They want to see relevant examples that show how you would do their job, not how good you may be at other things.

You can specialize in different kind of photography

Take these two photos, for example – they don’t even look good together. And let’s face it, someone who needs a food photographer, doesn’t really care about how I can photograph a street fair and vice-versa. If you’re not convinced about limiting your practice, have a look at these 5 Things to Consider Before Deciding to Specialize or Not in Your Photography.

DO feature what you’re selling

I was talking before about the importance of having different portfolios. This means that each one should display a different specialty that you offer. It’s always important to be coherent and properly organize your work. For example, a portrait portfolio shouldn’t just include any kind of photography that features people. Let me illustrate this:

Different kinds of photography. Photography specialization

Take the two photos above, the one on the left comes from a photo-shoot I did for the press kit of a theater play. The one on the right is a behind-the-scenes job I was doing for a short movie. If I’m preparing a portfolio for a movie or theater producer I can include both. If I’m preparing a portrait portfolio then I shouldn’t include the one on the right.

DO ask for help

It’s always helpful to ask for opinions once you’ve shortlisted the images you want to use. If you can reach out to a colleague or an expert it would be great, but if you don’t, at least ask a friend. Often we have an emotional attachment to a photo we took that is actually not great. An external point of view can help you sort out your best images.


Try putting two similar images from the same subject and asking them which one they prefer. A friend can also help you decide if you are putting too many or too few images in your portfolio. Keep in mind that you should never include something that is not good enough just to reach a certain number. Also, don’t overdo it – editors are busy people and have many portfolios to review.


To sum up, there is no specific formula for putting together a photography portfolio that is great, but I hope you found these tips useful and time-saving. DO remember that the most important thing is for you to have a strong body of work.

If you still need to work on that, here are some great readings to help you out:

  • How To Build A Portfolio Without Clients.
  • 6 Easy Photography Techniques to Diversify Your Portfolio.
  • How to Use a Photography Project to Build Your Portfolio.



The post Do’s and Don’ts of Putting Together a Photography Portfolio appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Ana Mireles.

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How to Take Better Beach Portraits at Anytime of the Day

30 Jul

The post How to Take Better Beach Portraits at Anytime of the Day appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jackie Lamas.

Golden hour is famous for being the most ideal lighting for portraits, especially at a beach location. Unfortunately, sometimes, the golden hour isn’t an option. Therefore, it’s essential to know how to photograph portraits at any time of the day. That way, you can always create beautiful photos for clients.

Know where the sun is at all times

First, you’ll need to know where the sun is at all times. The easiest way to do this is to use an ephemeris (I personally use this one). This is a tool that can help you see where the sun will be at any time during the day.

Here you can see where the sun will rise from, set, and the times when these will be happening during the day.

Before, or even while you’re scheduling your session, you can quickly check this tool to see the sunrise, midday, and sunset times.

An ephemeris can give you the details on the direction the light is coming from at a particular point in the world. Simply plug in the location of your session, and you can see all of the important details.

Here we can see where the sun will be on this particular day at the same time on the opposite coast in Mexico from the previous photos.

This is really helpful since no beach is alike and the direction of light differs from one side of the world to another. For example, in California, the sun sets behind the beach. Whereas on the east coast, the sun sets in the opposite direction.

Here we can see where the sun will be on this particular day at the same time on the opposite coast in Mexico from the previous photos.

Also, different beaches may face differently and therefore it’s good to know where the sun will be during your session.

Morning light

Morning light on a beach is magical. It has a whole different color temperature than that of the golden hour and can provide a nice soft glow if you have your session early enough.

The light is a little bluer, and depending on the beach where your session is taking place, the sun can rise overlooking the ocean or peaking through the trees. For example, a beach on the east coast like Cancun can mean during your session in the morning you’ll catch the sunrise behind the beach.

Alternatively, on a beach in California, you’ll catch the sun hitting the water from the land side. This will give you that beautiful yellowish-blue glow if your session is before 9 o’clock in the morning.

On the left we see the sun rising behind the bay and at right is after the sun is nearing midday.

Use a simple reflector to bounce light back onto your subject if you feel the sunrise light causes shadows. This is especially useful if sunrise is behind the water at the beach.

Midday light

Midday light at a beach is pretty harsh and therefore it’s good to have some kind of additional lighting equipment to help with shadows. You can use an external flash, popup flash, or a reflector.

Seeing the shadows in front of your clients means the sun is behind them. This family is lit with an external flash mounted on-camera pointed directly at them.

You can also go without an additional light source. However, it’s good to underexpose your photos a bit so you can bring up the shadows in your editing software. Otherwise, you’ll end up with really blown out skies. Of course, this all depends on your style of photography.

Using the sand as a natural reflector helps to bounce light back onto your clients as we can see in both of these photos.

When the sun is at it’s highest point during the day, it might be a good time to take your clients under the shade of some trees nearby or opt to have more playful photos of the family. Have your client’s walk, run, splash in the water, build sandcastles, or just have a bit of fun together.

The sun is at it’s highest at different times around the world, so make sure to check the ephemeris for your exact location to know the time.

Same session, same beach, one photo with flash and one photo without.

Once the sun passes the highest point, it will be at a bit of an angle as it starts to go down for sunset. This is the sweet spot of photographing during midday sun at the beach!

Flash was used to correctly expose the photo and fill in shadows caused by the sun.

When the sun is at a bit of an angle, you can pose your clients with the sun behind them to alleviate having the sun in their eyes. This means you’ll be in the sun, but it’s better than having your clients facing the sun. This avoids causing shadows, uneven lighting, and squinting. The sand can also work as a natural reflector, bouncing light back into their faces.

After midday light

After midday light can be different in the winter than in the summer given that daylight savings can change the amount of light you have left. Either way, the sun sits lower to be at an angle behind your clients. All while still hitting the sand to reflect some light into your client’s faces.

During this time, depending on the angle of light, you can get some really interesting light. It gets more golden by the hour as you approach sunset.

Still, if you find yourself at a beach where the light is still harsh during this time, try and angle your clients away from the sun. You can also try and use your external lighting to help fill in some light.

Golden Hour (Sunset)

Actual sunset only lasts about 5-10 minutes. However, golden hour is just that – about an hour before the sun dips behind the horizon, which means the angle of the light is pretty low and directional. It can mean flooding your photos with lots of that pretty golden light. However, it also makes it difficult to capture your clients evenly lit against the background.

This is especially troublesome if the sun sets behind the water. It can be difficult capturing the beautiful colors of the sunset while also lighting your clients.

Using a flash or external light source pointed directly at your clients can help light them while capturing the sunset behind. You can also underexpose your photo a bit to bring up the shadows later without compromising the sunset.

Try silhouetting your clients behind with the sunset light to offer a different look to the final images.

Golden hour is also a perfect time to turn your clients toward the setting sun to get that beautiful golden color cast on their skin tones and in the overall look of the photo.

Blue hour (After sunset)

Blue hour is the 20-30 minutes (sometimes less time) after the sun has completely gone from view. Blue hour is nice to photograph in because of the beautiful sunset colors like blue, orange, pink, and purples that come out after sunset. The lighting is a bit darker, so you might need a tripod.

During the blue hour, you can get some additional light on your clients by facing them where the sun has set.

During this time you can attempt some slow shutter speed photos while your clients hold still. Getting the movement in water can create a more fine art approach to beach photos!

During any time of day try these ideas:

Cloudy days are perfect for photographing at any time during the day. However, you might not get the sunset as bright as on a clear day.

It doesn’t matter the time of day, it’s good to get variety in your portraits during beach sessions. For that try some of these ideas:

  • Rock formations/caves as backgrounds and also shelter from harsh light.
  • Trees can provide shade as well if the light is harsh and the day is particularly hot.
  • Around town can also serve as a nice background for photos while you’re waiting for the midday sun to angle a bit.
  • Up high can also serve as a nice way to keep clients out of harsh sunlight. For example, a balcony in their hotel room, a higher terrace with some shade that overlooks the ocean, etc.
  • Photographing more lifestyle-type photos with the family playing, getting in the water, and just having a “beach day”.

If you are waiting for the sun to go down a bit, you can take some portraits near trees that aren’t directly on the beach. This also adds variety to the final images.


Photographing at the beach during golden hour isn’t the only time that you can create one-of-a-kind and amazingly beautiful images for your clients.

Taking cover in caves or using rock formations as backgrounds can also help keep your client out of direct sunlight.

It is incredibly beneficial to learn to photograph at the beach at any time of the day. Moreover, it can mean the difference between a client choosing you and another photographer.



The post How to Take Better Beach Portraits at Anytime of the Day appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jackie Lamas.

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Should You Purchase Lightroom Presets?

29 Jul

The post Should You Purchase Lightroom Presets? appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Charlie Moss.

The discussion of using presets or not comes up time and time again on various photography groups and websites. Some people are for them and others are against. Just like camera brands, it seems there is no clear answer, and everyone believes that their way is correct! For or against, it’s undeniable that presets are here and they’re not going anywhere. Many people find them useful in their workflow and so they will keep using them. So, should you purchase Lightroom presets?

The case for buying presets

A quick search online will give you hundreds of places you can buy presets and they will all have varying quality. Before you make your purchase, be sure to read some reviews to see if others are happy with their purchase. Remember that your style of images will heavily affect the way presets look when applied, so expect some trial and error!

But why would you buy presets rather than make them yourself from scratch? Here are some reasons to help you decide if buying presets is for you.

It will save you time

There’s no doubt about it, buying presets will save you time in your workflow. You won’t have to spend time coming up with looks that you like. Instead, someone else has completed the initial hard work for you.


In reality, using presets in this way is no different from choosing what film stock and developer you’d like to use if you’re shooting analog. You’re using someone else’s color toning ideas to achieve the images you want to produce.

Being able to quickly apply lots of different looks to your photo can help you quickly make decisions about how it will look. And then you can set about refining it and doing the fun part of processing.

It gets you away from the computer

Not everyone loves the digital darkroom. During the summer, I’d rather be taking advantage of the good weather than sitting at my computer developing images. Having a set of presets available to me that someone else has created means each shot takes less time to process. That way, I’m spending more time doing the things I love.


I can share stylish images that I’m proud of within minutes of loading my images into Lightroom thanks to my preset library. That’s a big draw for me, and that’s why I love having a bank of presets ready for me to choose from.

You can borrow the best of other peoples ideas

Everybody sees the world differently. You might never have thought to put a pop of pink in the shadows or add just enough grain to make your black and white conversion look like it was shot on fast film.

By purchasing a library of presets, you can see how other people might have chosen to process your images. And that might give you a few ideas for a new direction that you want to head in. Purchasing Lightroom presets really can boost your creativity and help you see new possibilities for your images.


Some people would say this is ‘cheating’ somehow, but I think of it as gathering inspiration. It’s like an artist going to her friend’s studio, finding the most beautiful custom blue paint and then asking if she can have the recipe to use the color in her own work. The two artists won’t be producing the same artwork even if they use the same color paint!

Your photos will still have your own touch and your own style even if you use other peoples ideas to help you shoot or post-process your images.

Some people are just better at post-processing and color grading than you

Face it – you can’t be amazing at everything. Even the best photographers often employ other people to help create their vision. Buying presets is like a real cheap version of having your own digital tech assistant available for your shoots. If you have a vision of light and airy photos but your post-processing skills aren’t quite up to it, then presets can help you get there – just like a digital tech assistant would on a high-end shoot.

Over time, you can learn more about this side of photography. But you can start getting great results now by taking advantage of other peoples knowledge and creativity.

The case for making presets yourself

Of course, if you love working in the digital darkroom, then the idea of buying presets to save time or get ideas might seem completely alien to you. Moreover, if you like spending the time to make your own presets, then that’s great! You should absolutely continue to do what makes you happy.

There are other reasons too that you might want to make your own presets. The most obvious one is that presets available to purchase may not be exactly what you’re looking for. When you make your own, you can have exactly what you want rather than just getting close.

You might have other considerations too. For instance, some camera clubs do not allow you to enter images into competitions where you have used purchased presets in their post-processing. Or you may feel that ethically a picture cannot be truly called your own unless you created every single part of the image.

Perhaps try a combination?

Personally, I use a combination of both. I have a large library of presets that I’ve purchased. I use this library to quickly see what images could look like with different color grading applied to them.

When I’ve found a look that I love, I tweak it slightly to suit the mood of my images even more. If I think I’ll use the preset again, I then save my new custom preset in a folder with the others that I’ve tweaked to suit my style!


I like this way of working because I enjoy getting inspiration from other peoples presets, and then finishing the images off to achieve something that is genuinely my own.

What do you think about buying presets? Should you purchase Lightroom presets? Perhaps you have a library of your own that you’ve already purchased? Or do you prefer to make all of yours from scratch? Maybe you don’t use presets at all, instead preferring to start each time with a blank slate when it comes to post-processing images?



The post Should You Purchase Lightroom Presets? appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Charlie Moss.

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Canon and Nikon Will Release DSLRs With In-Body Image Stabilization

29 Jul

The post Canon and Nikon Will Release DSLRs With In-Body Image Stabilization appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.


In-body image stabilization (IBIS) has long been resisted by the two DSLR giants, Nikon and Canon.

But recent rumors indicate that both Canon and Nikon will be breaking into new territory, with IBIS technology added to upcoming DSLRs for both brands.

Up until now, in-body image stabilization has been confined to Nikon’s mirrorless lineup. And while reports indicate that the followup to the (mirrorless) Canon EOS R will include IBIS, there was no definitive information about DSLR in-body stabilization.

Then, in April, rumors indicated that Nikon would be introducing in-body image stabilization to the D6, Nikon’s future flagship DSLR (with a possible release date in the first half of 2020). This was followed by further reports that the D6 was delayed due to the decision to add in-body image stabilization.

And just last week, Canon Rumors reported that “Canon will ‘definitely’ bring IBIS to ‘select’ DSLRs in the near future.”

Canon Rumors was uncertain “which camera(s) would be getting IBIS,” but explained that “the EOS 90D, which is coming in the next couple of months,” is a strong possibility.

Sources have also discussed the possibility that the Canon 1DX Mark III will have in-body image stabilization, so it can go toe-to-toe with the upcoming Nikon D6. Both the Canon 1DX bodies and the Nikon D6 bodies are direct competitors, catering to professional photographers who require high frame rates and exceptional durability.

Now, Nikon and Canon have always maintained that lens stabilization is superior to in-body image stabilization, due to increased flexibility in the lens as compared to the camera body. This may well be true, but many phenomenal Canon and Nikon lenses don’t include image stabilization. So photographers of all levels will undoubtedly appreciate this move to in-body stabilization.

It will certainly be a boon to those who tend to shoot handheld in low light.

So let me ask you:

Are you excited about the possibility of IBIS in new Canon and Nikon DSLRs?

And would you like to see IBIS in the upcoming Canon 90D?

Let me know in the comments!

The post Canon and Nikon Will Release DSLRs With In-Body Image Stabilization appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.

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Fujifilm GFX100 Camera Review [video]

27 Jul

The post Fujifilm GFX100 Camera Review appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Caz Nowaczyk.

In this video by Georges CamerasTV, Andrew reviews the Fujifilm GFX100 camera.


Overview of the Fujifilm GFX100

This camera is Fujifilm’s large format size camera, designed for studio, landscape, architecture and any other form of photography to be printed in large format.

On top of the camera:

  • Large 5.76million dot EVF
  • Drive mode dial
  • Three modes on the top dial: Still, Multi and Movie Modes.
  • Top Settings LCD – Back-illuminated and graphical. Easy to use at night.

On the back:

  • A large LCD flip screen. Very well illuminated so that it can be seen well in bright daylight sun.
  • Bottom Settings LCD Screen to see your settings so you can see your settings if the camera is mounted upon a tripod.
  • Has one small joystick to let you navigate through the menu.
  • A feature that the camera is missing is a 4-way joystick that many cameras have, which some photographers may take some getting used to.
  • Has a touch screen for navigation.

Battery Grip:

  • Inbuilt battery grip house two batteries with a total of 800 shots.
  • It has a secondary shutter button so you can use the camera in portrait mode.
  • There is access to a second joystick to navigate through your focus points and your quick menu so you can change your white balance and any other settings.
  • There is no rubberized grip when using it in the portrait mode, so it isn’t as comfortable to hold and may slip out of your hands if your hands are sweaty.

Body Size

  • Quite large – comparable to a Canon 5D Mk IV but feels quite lightweight because of its magnesium alloy construction.
  • Fully weather sealed and gives operating temperatures from -10 degrees to 40 degrees celsius.
  • On the left side of the camera, there are two SD slots and a remote port.
  • The right-hand side has all your video recording inputs and outputs including a 3.5-millimeter audio jack and a 3.5-millimeter headphone jack.
  • Below that is a USB-C port for tethering and an HDMI port for output and a 15-volt direct power supply.

Inside the camera

  • Large Format 102MP sensor backed up with an X processor
  • ISO range from 100 to 12,800 or an expandable range of 50 to 102, 400.
  • Shoot continuously up to 5fps
  • 3.76million dot face detection autofocus system which gives you autofocusing capabilities as low a -3EV

Video specifications

  • 4k DCI up to 30fps or full HD up to 60fps
  • Films with a 10-bit color depth
  • If recording to an external device via HDMI, you can get a 10-bit 422 color depth.
  • Shoots in F-log giving you a nice flat color profile to later color grade in post.
  • If filming handheld, the GFX100 has 5-axis in-body image stabilization which is not in the other GFX models. This is also beneficial if shooting with longer telephoto lenses or for general handheld photography.
  • It has wifi and Bluetooth, allowing you to connect straight to your smartphone or smart device to use it as a camera remote or to transfer your photos across to your smart device.


  • Because it is lightweight, the Fujifilm GFX100 doesn’t feel like you are holding a large-format camera.
  • The speed of the autofocus is ridiculously fast – identical to the XT3, if not slightly slower.
    The continuous autofocus works really well.
  • It feels like you are shooting with a standard mirrorless camera or digital SLR because the focus is accurate and lightning quick.


  • Voice memo feature allows you to record a voice memo when you take a picture, and you can download that to your computer when downloading the photos. This is a great reference point for how you took the photo, where, settings etc.

User Experience

  • Andrew predominately uses Panasonic and Nikon cameras and found the transition to be quite easy.
  • Navigating through the menu system feels familiar and easy. Similar to the XT3 and the XT30.
  • If you are a passionate Fuji user, you will notice some things missing from the GFX100.
  • There no shutter speed dial, exposure compensation dial or ISO dial.
  • For exposure compensation, there is a button you can access and press or you can program any function button. It’s the same with your ISO as well.
  • To change your shutter, you have to roll your dial to change that.

Image quality

  • The sample images were shot using the Fujifilm GFX100 with the 110mm and 45mm lenses.
  • The images out of the GFX100 are superb. The detail out of the 102MP sensor is full of color, depth, and detail.
  • The dynamic range on the camera is amazing, and Andrew was able to recover blown-out highlights and shadows without losing detail.
  • The crop value on the photos is excellent. It handled all cropping and post-processing well.
  • All images were edited in Lightroom and not Capture One, which may or may not give better results.

Video Mode

  • In video mode, Andrew found that the GF prime lenses weren’t the best lenses to use in manual focus due to its focus by wire construction. However, they were told that there are a range of senior lenses to come in the future that should improve that experience.
  • The continuous autofocus in video mode is great. One thing to note, however, the IBIS does blip out when panning a bit rough, so keep the camera steady.
  • The image quality and actual video result and flexibility are amazing. All the footage was shot on the Eterna Film Simulation Mode, which gives more room to work within post.
  • They wished it could shoot in 4k in 50fps or give more flexibility in slow motion; however, as far as large-format goes, it is incredible.
  • The Fujifilm GFX100 could be a viable option for cinema users down the track.


The GFX100 is super-impressive in both photo and video mode. It won’t be for everyone because it is quite expensive at $ 10,000 USD. (They have a cheaper alternative in the Fujifilm GFX50S at $ 5000 USD with a 51.4MP sensor.)

However, in comparison to other large-format cameras, the Fujifilm GFX100 is well-priced, particularly for the autofocus features, the sensor size, and the potential for it to be a game-changer for cinema users in the future.

It would suit people shooting advertising, cinema or an enthusiast wanting to get large format landscapes without paying for a medium format camera.


Would you like to own this camera?  I know I would! Share with me in the comments below.

You may also like:

  • The Best Fujifilm X-Series Kits for Travel Photography
  • Fujifilm X-T3 versus Fujifilm X-H1: The Best Mirrorless Camera for You?
  • Thoughts and Field Test of the Fujifilm X-H1 Camera
  • Camera Comparison – The Fujifilm X-H1 Versus the Sony a7R III
  • Mamiya Announces New Medium Format DSLRs

The post Fujifilm GFX100 Camera Review appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Caz Nowaczyk.

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Weekly Photography Challenge – Water

27 Jul

The post Weekly Photography Challenge – Water appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Caz Nowaczyk.

This week’s photography challenge topic is WATER!

Photo by Rick Ohnsman

Go out and capture absolutely anything that includes water. It could be waterfalls, seascapes, puddles, water splashes, people playing in water, etc. They can be color, black and white, moody or bright. Just so long as they include water! You get the picture! Have fun, and I look forward to seeing what you come up with!

Photo by Simon Bond

Photo by Jeremy Flint ©


Check out some of the articles below that give you tips on this week’s challenge.

Tips for Shooting WATER

8 Ways to Use Water in Photography to Add Impact

Making the Shot: Your Guide to Creating Stunning High-Speed Splash Photos Without Flash

How to Create Silky Smooth Water Effects

How to Photograph Water Droplets on Glass

5 Fun Tips for Photographing Water

How to Create Colorful Artistic Images Using Oil and Water


Weekly Photography Challenge – WATER

Simply upload your shot into the comment field (look for the little camera icon in the Disqus comments section) and they’ll get embedded for us all to see or if you’d prefer, upload them to your favorite photo-sharing site and leave the link to them. Show me your best images in this week’s challenge.

Share in the dPS Facebook Group

You can also share your images in the dPS Facebook group as the challenge is posted there each week as well.

If you tag your photos on Flickr, Instagram, Twitter or other sites – tag them as #DPSwater to help others find them. Linking back to this page might also help others know what you’re doing so that they can share in the fun.

The post Weekly Photography Challenge – Water appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Caz Nowaczyk.

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Canon to Announce the 90D or the EOS M5 Mark II Next Month

27 Jul

The post Canon to Announce the 90D or the EOS M5 Mark II Next Month appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.


August is bound to be an exciting month for Canon fans.

Rumors indicate that either the Canon 90D or the Canon EOS M5 Mark II will be announced next month, though it is also possible that we’ll get an announcement for both.

The Canon 90D would likely be the replacement for the Canon 80D, a mid-level Canon DSLR aimed at enthusiasts. The Canon EOS M5 Mark II, meanwhile, replaces the Canon EOS M5, an APS-C mirrorless camera.

The Canon 80D debuted back in February of 2016, and a lot has changed since then in the camera world. For one, the 80D lacks 4K video, and Canon fans expect to see this featured in a new 90D. Recent speculation suggests that the 90D may also be the first Canon DSLR to contain in-body image stabilization (IBIS).

Here are several rumored Canon 90D specifications:

  • A 31.2 (or a 32.5) megapixel APS-C sensor
  • 10 frames-per-second continuous shooting
  • 4K video
  • Dual card slots
  • Bluetooth
  • Wi-Fi
  • An articulating 3.2-inch LCD
  • 45 autofocus points
  • $ 1399 USD price

Note the 30+ megapixel sensor, which will take Canon APS-C cameras to a new level. And the dual card slots point to this being a slightly higher-end body than the Canon 80D.

The Canon 90D may not be replacing only the Canon 80D, however. Canon 7D Mark II fans have long awaited a 7D Mark III, but may have to settle with a Canon 80D/Canon 7D Mark II replacement hybrid, which will combine both APS-C camera lines into one.

The Canon M5 Mark II, on the other hand, would be an upgraded APS-C mirrorless body. It’s rumored to have an electronic viewfinder like the Canon RP, and enhanced video capabilities, including 4K and high frame-rate slow motion.

Note that the Canon EOS M6, another Canon APS-C mirrorless body, may also see a replacement announced sometime late next month.

Now I’d like to ask you:

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll.

Let me know why in the comments!

The post Canon to Announce the 90D or the EOS M5 Mark II Next Month appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.

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How to Achieve Great Black and White Photos in Editing

26 Jul

The post How to Achieve Great Black and White Photos in Editing appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Nisha Ramroop.


While every image has the potential to convert to black and white, it is no secret that some translate better. Whether you shoot in color (and convert) or shoot monochromatic, black and white photography is an art form from capture to post-processing. If you see black and white/monochromatic photography as a creative choice though, here are a few tips to consider to achieve great black and white photos.

Before delving into some of the simpler ways to edit black and white images, three things to consider when capturing (and processing) are contrast, texture, and composition.

Note: While the terms “black and white” and “monochrome” are used interchangeably they are not identical. Monochrome means a single color, so may contain a tint (of one color). True black and white imagery have no coloring at all, thus is essentially black, white and gray.

1. Contrast

Thinking with the end result of black and white in mind means thinking in contrasts. Thus look out for high contrast scenes when capturing your image. The interrelation between the light and dark areas allows you to create and emphasize shapes, edges, and forms. These include strong or interesting shadows and extremes between areas of brightness and shadow within your frame.

2. Texture

When you choose monochrome, texture is that element that takes your image to the next level. It gives your image added dimension by providing a variance in the tonal range. Texture lends more realistic detail to your frame when it evokes a sense of touch. Some textures that work well in black and white images include dirt, stone, metals, and wood. Trees, water and aged skin also translate well.

3. Composition

Oftentimes you may find it difficult to pre-visualize your scene without color. Your camera (DSLR or DSLM) most likely allows you the option of shooting both RAW and JPEG images simultaneously. By choosing the setting on your camera for black and white (also called monochrome), the images on your camera’s LCD will appear black and white, so you can revise your composition while shooting. In this scenario, you still maintain your color RAW file for processing later on, but can “see” what you will be working with.

As you work more with black and white imagery, you start to see differently. When color is absent, the other compositional elements of the image become more important. Some of these include lines, shapes, framing, and perspective.


The river as a leading line

One of the strongest compositional elements is leading lines that pull your eyes into the frame. Any line or elements that make up a line, that recedes towards the horizon is called a leading line. There are numerous examples of these and they include rivers, streets, coastlines, railway tracks, and even buildings.

Sometimes when you convert an image to black and white, this compositional element becomes even stronger, which makes you reconsider your final crop or presentation of the image.

Black and white editing

When shooting color images to later convert to black and white, you have many options. The simplest is desaturating all the color and ending up with varying shades of gray. This is sometimes the ending point for high contrasts scenes as it may need nothing more.

Do not be so quick to desaturate everything though! Depending on what you want to achieve, these captured color ranges can be used to your advantage.

A high contrast rainy day image is a good candidate for a black & white

HSL (Hue, Saturation, Luminosity)

The HSL Panel can be found in Adobe Lightroom and Camera Raw and comparable to using a Black and White Adjustment layer in Photoshop. It is widely used and thus highly probable to find these three adjustments in other editing software as well. These adjustments are worth learning and are not as daunting as they first appear.

The first step in ACR is to check the Convert to Grayscale box

As the name implies, HSL adjusts the hue, saturation, and luminosity of the color in your image. There are individual color sliders for red, orange, yellow, green, cyan, blue and magenta. So why exactly is this a factor when the topic is black and white processing?

With the HSL panel, when you convert to black and white, you still have access to the color information of the image. You are now able to adjust these using the sliders and can end up with a drastically different image. You can control how light or dark each color is and achieve greater separation in your tones.

Using the color sliders, and pushing the blue on the HSL panel

Tonal contrast

Where complementary and analogous colors bring the image to life in a color photo; in a black and white photo, tonal contrast can take that image to the next level.

Unlike color photography, black and white has traditionally been a “contrasty” medium. Contrast is the difference between the light and dark areas in your image. Tonal contrast is the difference in the brightness (light intensity) among the various elements in an image. Thus in a black and white image, it is the difference in the range of white to gray to black.


Tonal contrast is one of the main benefits of shooting black and white HDR (high dynamic range) images. HDR refers to the difference between the brightest and darkest areas of your image, thus it is only fitting that it will translate well as a black and white image.

You can easily take control of your contrast though using the various tools available in your editing software. There are a number of sliders and tools to adjust contrast available in the more popular ones like Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. In Lightroom, these include the contrast slider, which adjusts the global contrast of the image. There are also black and white specific sliders and the HSL panel above. In Photoshop, you can use either the Levels or Curves tool.


The thought process of what will help you achieve great black and white photos, to capture and processing them is a great journey to take. Look for contrast and texture and try to visualize your end result. If you captured your image in color, you can maximize the color range for your black and white post-processing.

Feel free to share some of your monochromatic takes below.



The post How to Achieve Great Black and White Photos in Editing appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Nisha Ramroop.

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