Why Photography’s B&W vs Color Debate Is No Debate At All

In the 1950s, early color photography was widely scorned. Now it’s the default. What happened?
Black and white, meet color. A composite made from one of the earliest, impractical color photos.

Prologue: No Space for Dreams

In 2015, Leica released a beautiful, ridiculous ad. It was for a special product in their lineup; a digital camera that only takes black-and-white photos.
The clip itself is strangely compelling. Set to hypnotizing black-and-white patterns, a calm voiceover says B&W is purer than color. The hyperrealism of color, it points out, isn’t just overly crass, it’s unnecessary. Color is an aid for people
Continue reading "Why Photography’s B&W vs Color Debate Is No Debate At All"

National Geographic Used a ‘Stock’ Image and It’s Amazing

As a kid who grew up with a shelf filled with yellow spines, I can attest to the rhythm and general predictability of a National Geographic cover. With few exceptions (most notably those holographic covers from the 1980s), cover photography from the 1970s, 80s, and 90s followed a familiar pattern of a faraway place, strange creature, or “exotic” face in saturated color. We were armchair explorers living vicariously through the eyes of those famous photographers – Indiana Joneses with a camera. In the mid-2000s, the editors started experimenting with studio photography and illustration – perhaps a tacit acknowledgment that the
Continue reading "National Geographic Used a ‘Stock’ Image and It’s Amazing"

How I Got My Photos Published from a Free Trip to Paradise

February 2017. For a midwesterner like my father, this was prime time to get away. So Jon decided to acquire two tickets aboard a cruise from San José, Costa Rica to the Panama Canal. His original plan was to treat my mother to a bit of mid-winter warmth and sunshine. When she wasn’t able to go, he offered the spare to me. I’d never been on a cruise prior to this, so when presented with the opportunity to get some all-expense paid shots of Central America, I obliged.
Yes, Jon and I packed the same shirts. No I was not
Continue reading "How I Got My Photos Published from a Free Trip to Paradise"

Ego is the Enemy: Detach Your Ego From Social Media

Growth. Real, personal, soul-fulfilling, butterflies in the belly-inducing growth. That’s the key to my happiness; my personal metric for success. It doesn’t matter what I achieve or how much of it I attained. I define myself as successful simply in the process of progress.
Abhor flatterers as you would deceivers; for both, if trusted, injure those who trust them –Isocrates
Lately, I haven’t been doing much growing. Neither in my personal career nor in my photography career. It’s made me step back and really take stock over what defines my growth and what inhibits it – the people, scenarios,
Continue reading "Ego is the Enemy: Detach Your Ego From Social Media"

Wedding Photography is Dead

Professional wedding photography is dead. Change is afoot. I see it all around me. Photographers who once charged £2,000 (~$2,700) for a wedding, now putting themselves forwards for jobs less than a grand. Award-winning photographers getting part-time jobs to supplement their income because they can no longer afford to shoot weddings full time. And it’s all a dirty little secret. In closed groups and private conversations, we talk in hushed tones about how no one has ever seen it like this. How everyone is struggling. Panic-stricken professionals who have earned a decent living in the last ten years reduced to
Continue reading "Wedding Photography is Dead"

Book Review: ‘The Street Philosophy of Garry Winogrand’

For a photographer with so many memorable quips to his name, Garry Winogrand didn’t leave much of a paper trail. The four books he made during his lifetime (five if you count the 1976 Grossmont College booklet) consist almost exclusively of pictures. Although they also include some great essays, none are by Winogrand. Nor did he write for any outside books or sources. The most he contributed to any publication was the pithy half page intro to the Grossmont catalog, insightful but abbreviated. Winogrand also wrote a brief introduction to Stock Photographs, but it was merely a perfunctory passage which
Continue reading "Book Review: ‘The Street Philosophy of Garry Winogrand’"

Top 10 Ways to Improve Flickr in 2018

Having spent thousands of hours on Flickr over the past 15 years or so, on a personal level I’ve become fairly invested in the site. To date I’ve published over 140,000 of my photographs there. I publish 40 or so new photos there every single day. It’s the primary archive of my photography work on the Internet. I’ve also been actively involved in groups over the years which have led to many personal friendships for me. I’ve favorited over 720,000 photos that I’ve browsed over the years. I blog about it. I search it for photos to map as I’m
Continue reading "Top 10 Ways to Improve Flickr in 2018"

A Message to Portrait Photographers

She came in for her senior session. Her hair was a mess of tangled waves, unruly and uncooperative. Her face was covered with freckles and dotted with acne. She wasn’t model proportions and the clothing she wore required careful adjustment to keep it from bunching up in places. She was sweet and shy, a girl not used to attention being focused on herself. But 10 minutes into her session, the shyness wore off, leaving behind a girl full of life and laughter. The session ended, she came back for her screening and the order went into production. Several weeks later,
Continue reading "A Message to Portrait Photographers"

Why I Use Getty Images to Sell My Photos

By doing a quick calculation, my photos make up 0.002% of the still images available on GettyImages.com. Which means I have 1,600 photos for sale out of about 80,000,000.

How does it all work?

By using a third party like Getty Images to sell my photos, I’m giving up all negotiating power when it comes to how much a photo sells for and to whom. I also only get 20% of that sale. Why would anyone ever want to do this? Because Getty is the largest marketplace when it comes to buying and selling stock photos. You’ve got
Continue reading "Why I Use Getty Images to Sell My Photos"

Nature Photography: Where Are the Women?

It’s an undisputed fact; there are fewer women in the arena of nature photography than there are men. But why? Do men bring something special to the arena? Or is it simply a stereotype that this is a man’s profession? There doesn’t appear to be a clear reason for the disparity between the numbers of men and women in this profession. Let’s dig a little deeper. What are the necessary traits and skills that are actually required of a nature photographer? Imagine the following advertisement:
WANTED: Nature Photographer Must have:

7 Reasons I Still Shoot Film in 2018

I’ve been shooting analog for almost four years now, and all I can say is: analog has truly changed my life and what I think about what it means produce photo imagery. My first deep contact with analog photography was during college, and back then I would never imagine I would be shooting film today, in 2018. When my old professor got us into a darkroom, I remember clearly finishing class and telling myself I would never again go into a darkroom for the rest of my life. The smell was terrible and loading film into the camera for a
Continue reading "7 Reasons I Still Shoot Film in 2018"

What’s With All the Poor Negative Film Reviews?

I don’t usually go the negative Nellie with anything photo related, sometimes it’s best to keep your mouth firmly shut. But I’m not going to take it anymore, I’m as mad as hell, and I’m going to lean right out the window and shout it to the world, enough, I’m done with rubbish samples of film technology on the Web. The samples I have in this article are not what I’d class as fine art, but I hope they demonstrate a few points along the way.

Backstory For These Pics

A few years ago I decided to take a series
Continue reading "What’s With All the Poor Negative Film Reviews?"

I’m Thinking About What Sara Said

I had the great privilege of tagging along with photographer Eric Kim for Gulf Photo Plus in Dubai back in 2014 and 2016. GPP is an annual event: the region’s biggest and only photography festival, bringing the world’s best photographers and instructors to Dubai to share their knowledge and experience with the professional and amateur photography community in the Middle East and Africa. I’ve been humbled to learn bits and pieces from an unbelievable roster of GPP teachers. Because Eric is one of the instructors and I’m his glorified help, I have had access to many of the instructors –
Continue reading "I’m Thinking About What Sara Said"

The Death of DSLRs is Near

Two decades ago, DSLRs were introduced to replace film cameras. With only a few megapixels, very short battery life, and an overall low quality, it was only natural that most photographers were very skeptical at first. It took a few generations until digital cameras were fully accepted and analog photography was left to the enthusiasts rather than the professionals. In recent years, we’ve already seen a sharp turn in the status of DSLRs. Mirrorless cameras and smartphones have become more popular for the average consumer. But even for professional photographers, there are more and more alternatives to old-school DSLRs. Why
Continue reading "The Death of DSLRs is Near"

We’re All Connected: Photography, the Internet, and the NYC Helicopter Crash

My youngest daughter and I are visiting New York City this week. After visiting the 9/11 Memorial in the late afternoon on March 11, we made our way to Battery Park to catch the sunset, view the Statue of Liberty, and take a few shots. I shot the above photo with a Nikon 28-300mm lens that evening. The next day I found out that one of these helicopters is the Eurocopter AS350 that crashed in the East River about 8 minutes after this photo was taken. After sunset, we returned to our hotel room and were alerted to the news
Continue reading "We’re All Connected: Photography, the Internet, and the NYC Helicopter Crash"

I Shot a Grim ‘Milk Bath’ Self-Portrait to Capture Water Stress in Cape Town

In drought-stricken Cape Town, we’ve been living with just 50 liters of water per person per day since the beginning of the year. That’s 13.2 gallons. It doesn’t go far when you think about how often you turn on the faucet each day for drinking, cleaning, flushing toilets, showering, washing dishes, and doing laundry. Like many households, we’ve shut off the water supply to the toilet and religiously collect our ‘grey water’ to refill the cistern instead. It’s an elaborate dance—siphoning drainage from the washing machine, scooping water out of sink basins, standing in a bucket to catch runoff
Continue reading "I Shot a Grim ‘Milk Bath’ Self-Portrait to Capture Water Stress in Cape Town"

The 5 Reasons Why I Switched Back to Canon from Sony

There are many reasons why people may like one brand of camera equipment versus another. And if you ask a room full of photographers which camera manufacturer they like the best, and why, you will often get a wide range of responses and opinions. Often the reason for choosing a particular brand or camera is based subjectively upon one’s own specific photographic needs. Other times the reasons may be purely objective. But in this article I am going to cover the 5 main reasons why I recently switched back to shooting with Canon from Sony, a mix of both subjective
Continue reading "The 5 Reasons Why I Switched Back to Canon from Sony"

How a Sigma Art Lens Messed Up My Ferrari Photo Shoot

My name is Steffen Jahn, and I’m a seasoned car photographer based in Germany. With over 20 years in the business and having worked with all the famous manufacturers like Porsche, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Mercedes and Audi, I have a basic understanding what professional car photography is all about. I recently got the chance to shoot the Ferrari 488 Pista — a 2018 Geneva Motorshow novelty — secretly at Ferrari’s headquarters in Maranello, Italy for Britain’s Top Gear magazine. The Nikon D850 was my camera of choice and I brought along the Sigma Art 24-105mm f/4 Art lens, which
Continue reading "How a Sigma Art Lens Messed Up My Ferrari Photo Shoot"

A Black and White Comparison: What Does Retouching Tell Us About Photojournalism?

This week, TIME magazine published James Nachtwey’s photo essay on the opioid crisis. Over his decades-long career, Nachtwey has carved out a reputation as a stoic and relentless documentarian of conflict and pain. His latest effort took over a year to produce, and it has all the hallmarks of great photojournalism, providing a level of intimacy and rawness that can only be captured with persistence and skill. But one of the more noticeable aspects for me was the style of retouching. There was nothing outstanding about it, and by that, I don’t mean that the retouching wasn’t good –
Continue reading "A Black and White Comparison: What Does Retouching Tell Us About Photojournalism?"

A Camera in One Hour: How CPS Saved the Day and My Photo Job

We all plan for our shoots, we pack our kits, check it twice, and always heave a sigh of relief when we get to the job and everything is there. The airline didn’t lose anything, nothing was dropped, there are no shattered lenses and those anxious few hours is over and done with. As owner and head photographer of Drag Photos Australia, I travel several times a month to cover both the National Drag Racing Series and other international automotive events. You would think the more I travel the less anxious I would get, but I always worry about
Continue reading "A Camera in One Hour: How CPS Saved the Day and My Photo Job"