The Problem Isn’t the Photo Contest, It’s Us


This post is by Allen Murabayashi from PetaPixel


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Eye-rolls, shrugs, and barbs greeted the $120,000 Grand Prize winner of Dubai’s HIPA Photography Prize. Malaysian photographer Edwin Ong’s photo of a partially blind Vietnamese woman carrying her baby was derided for representing yet another “poverty porn” contest winner before it was suggested that the image was staged by photographer Ab Rashid.

Ong defended his claim that the image was not staged to the Malaysian daily The Star, saying, “In this trip to Vietnam, we (the photographers) went to the rice field and there was a mother (who had her children with her) that passed by. We never told

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The Art of Seeing as a Photographer


This post is by Peter Delaney from PetaPixel


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When I look back at my journey as a wildlife photographer especially as I scroll through my images on my editing screen a few things become apparent. Firstly, most of my pictures were either action or close up portrait, and secondly, the editing was awful.

Editing is an essential skill for a photographer, and you must be equally as good as editing as you are in capturing the image. I am still learning and improving my editing skills. Action images and close up portraits in wildlife photography — why do I have a problem with those images? Well, they needed

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How I Had Over $5,000 in Camera Gear Stolen Through Fat Llama


This post is by Keith Donegan from PetaPixel


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I use Fat Llama to loan out some of my photography gear when not in use, and I’ve been very happy with the extra beer money. Well… up until last week, that is, as my camera kit was stolen!

Let’s rewind a bit and go through exactly what happened, how I was dealt with by the Fat Llama team, and my thoughts on how to better protect yourself if you use Fat Llama or something similar.

Initial contact from borrower

Two weeks ago (28th of February), I received a message through Fat Llama from a girl asking if they could

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Confessions of an Autistic Photographer


This post is by Andy Hutchinson from PetaPixel


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Photography is a broad church. It is an art form, it is a tool of the press, it is a form of recreation, it is a business. It is a social record. It is a medium for pornography and it also records family history, sometimes at one and the same time.

It was a relatively niche interest for the first 100 years of its existence and has been a world-changing global phenomenon in the last ten. It is many things to many people, but to me, it is therapy. To explain why I need to give you a bit of

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Why I Share My Contact Sheets


This post is by Simon King from PetaPixel


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One of the major shortcomings of sharing work online, especially on social media, is that it is often a highlight reel of incredible work. That’s not a bad thing if your only goal is to enjoy work, but for people looking to learn, it can offer some unrealistic expectations.

One of the reasons I think so many photographers have been able to inspire their audience on platforms like YouTube is because it allows them to share more than just their images; it allows keepers, outtakes, and their process/techniques/advice/anecdotes to flow in a way that their portfolio or Instagram may not

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Why I Ditched My Nikon Kit for Sony as a Wedding Photographer


This post is by Andy Dane from PetaPixel


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Changing camera systems is not something to be taken lightly. As a die-hard Nikon fan since I first got into photography, I didn’t think I would ever consider switching away from them. And yet, here I am, sitting with no Nikon kit in sight having just shot my first wedding entirely on Sony kit and no regrets.

My entire career as a professional photographer has been forged with a Nikon. I knew my D750 inside out, knew how it would meter differently in different lights, when I had to adjust things, without even looking. It was comfortable to use and

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Are People’s Backs Interesting in Street Photography?


This post is by Simon King from PetaPixel


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I recently shot this image while teaching a street photography workshop in London. I had been talking to my students about noticing things that were “odd” or out of place which normally makes for an engaging subject.

A few minutes later this man walked past us, heavily hunched over, and holding the top of his bag with his left hand. I liked him for his vibrant red jacket, and the odd positioning of his arm, so I took the picture and later shared it online. Within a few minutes, I received a comment that I had more or less been

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Portrait Mode: The End of Compact Cameras?


This post is by Ben Stewart from PetaPixel


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It seems like having dual cameras on your phone has become almost the norm nowadays, but many people don’t even know that they are there, let alone why. However, I believe that Portrait Mode is an incredible tool for the modern photographer to promote themselves — particularly on Instagram.

Portrait Mode is what Apple calls its artificial shallow depth of field tool in the camera app, although many other phones also have a similar feature. It uses the dual lenses on the back of the phone to approximate distance information of the subjects in the frame, and calculate how much

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Why Waveforms Beat Histograms and Why Still Cameras Should Use Them


This post is by Michael Zhang from PetaPixel


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While still cameras use histograms to show tonal distribution and clipping, many video cameras use waveforms for the same purpose. Here’s an educational 8-minute video in which DPReview‘s Chris Nichols argues why waveforms are better than histograms and why still cameras should adopt them too.

Histograms are great at showing whether there are blown highlights or crushed blacks in a photo, but it isn’t able to show how much over- or under-exposed clipped areas are. Nor is it able to show where in the frame those clipped areas are located.

Waveforms, on the other hand, are able to show

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The Compromises of Shooting Film on Assignment


This post is by Simon King from PetaPixel


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A year ago, I wrote an article over at 35mmc in which I discussed some of the jobs I had worked on using 35mm film and the way I handle a film workflow for assigned work. Since writing that piece I have taken on many more commissions for film-based work, and I thought it would be useful to take a more detailed look at some of the implications of shooting film as part of these projects.

Despite the effort from vocal members of the film community, the demand for film-based commissioned work is becoming increasingly rare. Although hobbyists, enthusiasts, and

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The Power and Problems with Photo Clichés


This post is by Michael Zhang from PetaPixel


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Filmmaker and journalist Johnny Harris made this inspiring 7-minute video about the picturesque Austrian town of Hallstatt, which sits nestled between a lake and a mountain in the Alps. Harris looks at the idea of photography clichés and breaking out of them to find unique photos and experiences.

Once known for its production of salt dating back to prehistoric times, Hallstatt is today dominated by tourism. And take a look on Instagram and elsewhere on the Web, and you’ll find an infinite stream of photos showing Hallstatt, many of which were shot from exactly the same spot.

Photo by Nick

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Three Seconds of Pleasant Geometry


This post is by TC Lin from PetaPixel


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Back in the day, a compelling photograph could be taken in a fraction of a second and considered for years, even decades. The small world of street photography was dominated by photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, who said, “Photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event.”

But today, while we may spend collectively a great deal of time taking shots, the time we take to consider their significance has been steadily whittled down, creating a vicious cycle of sorts not only in how photography is evaluated these days, but what

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The Problem with Camera Phones (That Nobody Talks About)


This post is by Olivier Duong from PetaPixel


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Once upon a time, the biggest problem with camera phones was the camera itself. One of the world’s first camera phones, the J-SH04, was released in 2000. Boy have we come a long way, right? It could shoot tiny 0.11-megapixels images. It went up from there.

The camera is a big deal in any phone nowadays, Apple has its “Shot on iPhone” campaign and bunch of other brands do the same, some even partnering up with Leica to give their phone a legs up above the competition.

Speaking of partnerships, I was recently looking at the reveal of the

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The Lesson from Costco’s Photo Lab


This post is by Missy Mwac from PetaPixel


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I received a letter from Costco that the location I frequent for my 8 pounds of ground beef and jumbo bottle of vodka is closing their photo department. Why? Because in spite of more pictures being taken now than in any time in the history of photography, people are simply not printing their snapshots and, because of this rapid decline in printing volume, it makes no financial sense to keep the photo department open.

And after reading this letter, I have one thing to say: People… WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?

Listen, I’ve tried being nice. I have. I’ve tried

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Lessons in Fearlessness from Morocco


This post is by Simon King from PetaPixel


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I’ve been feeling for a while now that something has been lacking from my street photography. I seem to have settled into a “style” or “way of seeing” that features themes of solitude and isolation, monotone color palettes, and generally bland scenes – in line with my descriptions of “New-Wave Street Photography”.

I want for my photography in general, as well as my street work, to feature a little more emotion, which to me means interesting characters, eye contact, action and interaction between two or more figures in the scene, and unique, surreal situations.

It has been very difficult to

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People Call My Photos Fake… But They’re Not


This post is by Albert Dros from PetaPixel


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The idea of this article came from a recent photo series I saw on BoredPanda about viral photos people thought were real but were fake. It reminded me of some of my photos people always call fake.

People online judge you really easily. It used to really annoy me when people called my work ‘fake’ when I spent countless hours planning and executing that particular shot. Now I don’t care as much anymore as I used to. This is the Internet, after all. And if I think about it, often I can’t blame them.

Take the last super moon for

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Photographers, Quit Bellyachin’ and Build a Raft!


This post is by Andrew Molitor from PetaPixel


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Everywhere you turn in the photographic press you see the same kinds of articles over and over.

Such-and-such a competition or service is just a rights-grab! You have to give up your rights to your images! Total party foul!

Everyone steals everyone else’s pictures which is totally illegal! Lame!

Losers with weak cameras are undercutting professionals left and right! I have a sad!

Phone cameras are terrible but everyone keeps using them! #dslrs4lyfe, yo!

Sure, fair enough. These things are all sad, and some of them are illegal. So what? You’re standing around in rising waters already hip-deep, whining that

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On Rules in Photography


This post is by Ole Henrik Skjelstad from PetaPixel


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I very often have this strong negative reaction when a newsletter arrives in my inbox or I see an online article where the heading reads: “5 rules to follow when composing an image” — or something to that effect.

I would have been far more positive if the heading read: “10 approaches to consider when composing a landscape image”.

I have plenty of personal preferences when it comes to photography. However, I try to avoid making rules or laws based on what I prefer.

In my thinking, photography is a creative way of expressing how we see things or a way of

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You Will Fail as a Photographer


This post is by Missy Mwac from PetaPixel


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In a world where everyone gets a trophy just for participating, I feel the need to point something out. You probably already know this, but l’m gonna say it anyway: You will fail.

You will fail little; you will fail big.
You will fail so spectacularly that you could sell tickets to the event.

You will fail in your business. You will fail in your relationships. You will fail at parenting. You will fail at exercise and dieting and prayer and keeping your car and house clean. You will fail at not getting tipsy drinking cocktails. (I fail at that

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5 Reasons to Stop Hating on ‘The Instagram Girl’


This post is by Victoria Yore from PetaPixel


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I’m going to start you off with a little honest story. Once upon a time I, maybe like you, only walked around in hiking pants and jeans for days on end during my travels (except if I was shooting for our photography project @followmeaway or traveling somewhere hot like Italy).

I was also in the business of trying to get my photos featured by large accounts like @dametraveler and @sheisnotlost. I was miffed that the majority of the photos on these feature accounts seemed pretty much the same. It felt like the ONLY types of women these accounts feature are

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