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From Camera to Computer: How to Make Fine Photographs Through Examples, Tips, and Techniques

From Camera to Computer: How to Make Fine Photographs Through Examples, Tips, and Techniques - George Barr Very helpful. While I am not currently using Photoshop and have no immediate plans to do so, there was so much about how to think about shooting that I gained from this book. I really like his approach.Approach to photographing the work of others (architecture, sculpture, etc.)1. Try choosing a viewpoint that is different from what the normal passerby would see.2. Consider photographing a part of sculpture or building, emphasizing very strong composition in the image. In moving in, you reduce the identification with the original sculpture. You might, in fact, move in extremely close to reveal details not normally seen. 3. Think about what's different now that the building or object is in its final position vs. the studio where it was was designed/built. This may mean making use of other buildings, water, trees, and especially lighting to "make" your image.4. Take advantage of weather and weathering which can significantly change in artwork.5. It is your interpretation of the sculpture that matters.6. If your image looks like it would make a good picture for an auction catalogue, you probably have work to do. p.68-69When photographing people:1. Consider the light and the background just as much as the expression [on the face].2. The subject has to look normal. Talk to them, interest them, amuse them, relax them.3. Few faces are charismatic enough to fill the frame by themselves. The environmental portrait is both kinder and more interesting. 4. Guide your subject as to where their hands should go. 5. Consider having your subject move about or talk with someone else. You can use a tripod and long cable release and be chatting with the subject while they converse and look at you. 6. Consider the environmental portrait in which there is sufficient space around the face to show something of what they do. Have a look at the work of Paul Strand, Arnold Newman, and Joel Myerowitz.7. Local contrast enhancement might just make someone look more rugged, but most certainly won’t flatter your female subjects. If you were to use this, consider masking so the effects don’t apply to the facial skin. p.79-80Converting to black and whiteObvious clues that an image will do better in black and white is when color interferes with the design of the image, when color is too strong or too weak, when there are too many colors, or when there are not enough colors. … Reasons you would want a black and white image is when there are sensational tones, patterns, and shapes that simply don’t need the addition of color to be powerful. P.113Fatal flaws: If you can’t fix a fatal flaw, then don’t pretend you can ignore it. Abandon the image and move on. P. 115Portfolio building: There’s nothing wrong with including two or more images of the same subject in any portfolio or submission for publication, although too much similarity does weaken the presentation. … You have to ask yourself whether the presentation gains from that second (and sometimes third and fourth) image or in fact is weakened by it. P.116Ideas for scenes to shoot: What about an entire essay on the roads of your hometown (stop signs, traffic lights, bridges, lighting, overpasses, roads in the rain, roads at night, roads in the snow). What about a group of people with a common theme? A project on all the people who serve you (barber, pharmacist, optometrist, etc). p. 118Choosing what to photograph when traveling: I quickly realized that with limited time I was not likely to be in the right position and with the perfect light for the grand landscape or dramatic sky over city scene. That mean I would be better off concentrating on details for my images. P. 156Do you know roughly how close you can keep an image sharp while maintaining infinity too? For all your usual focal lengths? You should. P. 161Photographing waterfalls: In the case of a waterfall, when you are there you can see and appreciate the whole thing. In three dimensions with its sound and majesty as well as the feel of the spray on your face. .. So the question is, how can you make an image of something like a waterfall stand on its own merits? Perhaps the easiest solution is to not even attempt to capture the whole thing and to concentrate on the details instead. p. 1721. What could a photograph do that being here couldn’t: a. Move in close.b. Show the passage of time with a long exposure.c. Put the viewer in a place they wouldn’t normally go, which probably explains why wet and cold are intimately familiar to many photographers.d. Relate the various parts of the scene through positioning and framing.2. Is there a way to capture the feeling that this situation brings to me?3. How can I replace the third dimension, sound and touch, with the visual?4. Can I tell a story with my image?5. What can I see / look for, that others untrained might not find?6. Is there a way beyond straight translation from scene to image that would enhance the above points? For example, just because a scene is bright doesn’t mean can’t print dark, or the reverse. Should I pan the camera with the falling water? How about using very shallow depth of field to isolate interesting details? P. 174“Lessons learned”1. The right light is crucial to many images and can make or break an image.2. More images are spoiled by full sun than are ever made by it. Passing clouds are a photographer’s best friend.3. Understanding the properties of longer and shorter lenses (or zooms) is important to composition.4. An image is never finished – just resting. 5. An image that is 75% good is not a good image6. If telling a story is an important part of an image, then it better do it well. 7. If you can’t choose between two good images, don’t worry. Time will either change your opinion or it won’t, and tossing a coin is cheap and fast.p. 221Problem solving. Photographing is often about problem solving. We teach our children not to give up if something proves difficult on a first try, yet we are guilty of the same thing when photographing. P. 226Value of walkabouts. When we are doing a walkabout, we are looking for stories, for the odd, the unexpected, the undiscovered, so that we may show these to our audience. We may choose to find the parts that represent the whole – that one building in the neighborhood that tells us about the rest of the area. If you are someone who takes your photography seriously and who has forgotten that it can also be fun, the walkabout is a terrific opportunity to simply react to what you see. P. 234Still life images. 1. You can usually photograph them at any time of the day.2. They don’t rely on weather, and in fact you can stay warm and dry while shooting. 3. There’s no question of things not quite lining up right.4. You can control contrast, shadows, and angle of lighting.5. You can add a fill light with a piece of cardboard. It doesn’t take a lot in the way of fancy lighting6. You can choose whatever objects you find interesting and which look like they may photograph well, whether it’s peppers or medical instruments.7. You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment – just about any flimsy tripod will do, and if your current lenses don’t focus close enough, a closeup lens or extension tube kit are not very expensive. 8. Perhaps the biggest advantage is that, if you don’t like your image, you can quickly go back, make a change and reshoot, all within five minutes.Even if the idea of still life photography isn’t all that appealing to you, it can certainly be a good exercise, as you try to make meaningful relationships between the objects, their shadows and reflections, and the edges and corners of the image. P. 259Recommends Helicon Focus (a tool for creating depth of field). Final two take-away messages:1. Working the scene is effective, practical and learnable.2. If you only make corrective adjustments in Lightroom or Photoshop, you have severely limited yourself in producing the expressive fine print .p. 272Includes a Photoshop Primer as an appendix.