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Showing posts from 2012

Difference between snapping and composing

What is the difference between a random snap and a careful photographic composition?
The answer may not appear obvious at a glance. Uncovering the joy of photography that has been crafted requires a measure of effort and engagement from the viewer. Sadly too often in our hyper-speed online and social media world images are clicked past in a split second.

The carefully crafted image looses out but so does the viewer, missing the joyful discoveries that can be made by someone who takes the time to really read an image. Today image consumption is akin to flying over the grand canyon in a jet at the speed of sound. If you really want to enjoy the view you've got to sit on the canyon rim for an hour and watch the sun going down.

Using my own humble example above I'll try to illustrate why 81 Bo Kaap is not a random snap. The first reason is something the viewer will not know. The photographer, me in this case, pre-visualised the image. I didn't just lift the camera and press th…

Photographic myths #1

There are a number of myths that the majority of photographers seem to believe without question. Occasionally someone will come along like the little boy in the story of the Emperor's New Clothes, and point out the truth, but that does not appear to affect photographer's behaviour and desire to acquire all that is shiny and new.

Meet Jack. He is a keen photographer and a marketer's dream. When a new camera comes out, especially one with a faster burst rate, more options, focus points and more mega pixels, he wants it. He's been photographing using a digital DSLR with a crop factor, but now he realises that he really needs to go full frame. Several lenses he has are not going to work on a full frame but the manufacturers have brought out new lenses with special coatings, so his problem is solved.

Jack is camera manufacturer's marketing dream.

The reality is that the latest cameras available today, 27 October 2012, make it far easier to take pictures that are techni…

Joe McNally shares 25 years experience shooting for National Geographic

Joe McNally shares stories and layouts from 25 plus years of shooting for the world’s premier picture magazine. Anecdotes from the field, discussion of editing, layout and how pictures have to succeed emotionally, pictorially, and informationally to grace the pages of National Geographic.

At the start there's a minor glitch where Joe's photos do not appear full screen but that gets soon sorted out, so just persevere.

This is a fascinating account and the interviewer opens the floor for questions from the audience during the last 30 minutes.

Joe is one of my favourite photographers and it is fabulous to hear how he thinks about creating the images that tell the stories in National Geographic.

Enjoy.

Till soon,
Paul
www.indigo2photography.co.uk (this is the hub of my photographic world with links to all my social media homes, exhibitions, info and portfolios)

PS. My thanks to Manfrotto School of Excellence (my favourite tripods) for producing this excellent video

How to criticize photographs

How do you criticise photographs and what does a good critical comment look like?

Social media enables amateurs, enthusiasts and professional photographers to publish their work to a wide audience, who can then openly comment and criticize the images. I would hazard a guess that 99% of the comments are fairly superficial positive expressions of appreciation like, "good shot", "nice work", "great composition" etc. Social media is not really a good forum to give and receive criticism on your photographs.

When I upload an image I don't expect to get an in-depth critique nor do I give them very often. This does not mean that I don't look at images critically, and as with many photographers I am most critical of my own work.

Do you look at images critically? What approach do you use when analysing how good an image is?

For me the most important element is to try to understand what the photographer's intention was when they took the image. The unive…

Carnival: preparations and the big day

New reportage. View in HD with the volume turned up!


In 2012 the Leeds West Indian Carnival celebrated its 45th year. The festival is one of the largest of its kind in the UK, second only to London's Notting Hill Carnival.

For a number of years I photographed the carnival and in 2010 we photographed the people behind the scenes. They put in a tremendous amount of hard work to make those fabulous costumes.  This slide show follows the process through from the preparations to Carnival day itself.

Carnival founder, Arthur France, is enormously pleased with the on-going success of the event and says the Leeds carnival continues to improve year on year. "What distinguishes the local event", says Arthur, "is the fact that it remains traditional in terms of the costumes and music which are central to the spirit and character of the carnival."

My thanks to all involved in the Leeds Carnival and particularly those that organised access and the friendly people at the Lee…

Legendary photographer Jay Maisel

Legendary photographer Jay Maisel, shares insights in this extract from the Big Picture's Emmy award winning documentary about him.

Jay is an inspiration to so many photographers and someone I greatly admire. His focus on three core elements: colour, light and gesture, underpin his teachings and famous workshops.

I hope you enjoy this wonderful peek into Jay's world.

Till soon,
Paul
And to see my work head over to:www.indigo2photography.co.uk
Thanks


Close Up Photographers at Work; Steve McCurry

This is a lovely insight into people photography featuring Steve McCurry, with opinions also being expressed by a number of other photographers including Bruce Davidson, Susan Meiselas, Jay Maisel and Brigitte Lacombe.

Hope you enjoy this insight as much as I have.

While you're here take a look around. Loads of articles ranging from ethics to inspiration, technique and insights into what it takes to produce great photography.

Thanks,
Paul
www.indigo2photography.co.uk (updated with new content yesterday)

Wimbledon behind the scenes

I was fortunate enough to photograph some of the things that visitors do not get to see when they go to the Championships in Wimbledon.

Hope you enjoy the mini-tour.

Till soon,
Paul
www.indigo2photography.co.uk

The Travelers photo story

The settled public often view Travelers as a community living on the margins of society. They are generally misunderstood and feared. The reality is that this friendly group of Travelers were only too happy to welcome strangers to share a rest stop along the road.
Hope you enjoy these 'life on the road' images.
Thanks, Paul www.indigo2photography.co.uk

Steve McCurry's One-Minute Masterclass 'What Makes A Great Photograph'

Steve says it like it is as usual. For me great photography comes down to making images that change people's view of the world. This can range from a subtle increase in awareness, to altering someone's opinion, through to causing a change in behaviour.

The 7 steps on the journey for the viewer of a great photograph are:

seeing the imageexperiencing a sensationwhich turns into an emotionthat evokes a cognitive processleading to a shift in understandingand a change in attitudethat motivates the viewer to take action.
I'm not a psychologist or a philosopher. This is just my observation based on experience.

Till soon,
Paul
Visit the hub of my online world: www.indigo2photography.co.uk

Steve McCurry's One-Minute Masterclass 'Don't forget to say hello'

I think this is excellent advice from a great photographer. It's exactly what I feel too.

Thanks for watching.

Till soon,
Paul

Spirit of nature multi-media experience

My new multi-media piece (2 minutes). Really enjoyed doing this one and I think it works. Take a look and let me know what you think. Hope you enjoy the experience.

Watch full screen in HD with the sound turned up and enjoy the experience :-). Please Fav and share if you like this video.

This is multi-media piece based on a series of images created in collaboration with a Butoh dancer. Many interpretations are possible. Each viewer will have their own.

To me the key concepts are inner energy, nature, internalising the external world, the similarities in structures of nature (arteries and tree branches) and meditation.

No digital manipulation was used to create these images. These pictures were all shot on Fujichrome film and scanned.

For more of my work please visit www.indigo2photography.co.uk

Thank you,Paul

Photographing Honfleur

Honfleur is a beautiful harbour town in France, located 5km from Le Havre. We spent a few days there photographing it both during the day and in the evening. Fortunately the light was good. I hope my images capture a sense of the place, the marina, the architecture and shops filled with local produce.

If you would like to find out more visit my photo-story page.

Connect with me on social media:
Google+: Paul Indigo Twitter: paul_indigo Facebook: Paul Indigo Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/paul.indigo Flickr: paulindigo

Thanks,
Paul
www.indigo2photography.co.uk

Tips on shooting tourist attractions

The Alhambra in Granada is one of the must see tourist attractions of Spain. A selection of the images I shot there are in my You Tube video in full HD and you can view the still images at your leisure in my places portfolio. Here are a few tips on photographing the Alhambra which can be applied to other popular tourist attractions.

The Alhambra limits visitors to between 5,000 and 6,600 per day and it frequently sells out of tickets for the main attractions. So book well in advance if you want to gain access to the Palacios Nazar√≠es.

Think carefully about what equipment you really need. The place is packed with tourists and in the palace the security guards ask you to carry your bag in front of you. So if you've got a big camera rucksack you're going to have to walk around like a pregnant lady for the afternoon. Being bumped and bumping into other people is not a pleasant experience, so it's best to travel light.

When you have to book in advance and work with ambient lig…

The Expressive Moment

To me the expressive moment is simply the moment captured through the lens by the photographer when there is a clear expression of mood, emotion and feeling. It is different to Henri Cartier Bresson's 'decisive moment' which revolves around a visual harmony and balance in the frame rather than being about emotion and expression.

The ideal is to achieve both the perfect visual balance across the frame, the decisive moment, and capture the expressive moment. Of the two I would choose the expressive moment as the most important because the essence of photography is to communicate an idea or emotion to your audience. Of course the aesthetic elements of an image play a vital role, but they support the message rather than being the message - just as in architecture, form should follow function. This is the realm of photojournalism, editorial photography, advertising, street and fashion photography.

Here we use the expressive moment to get the audience to:

really seefeelthink and…

Flamenco story video

See and hear the Flamenco photo story action. And turn up the volume!

In my previous post I described the photographic technique I used and how we came to shoot this story on a world famous Flamenco dance school. There was a lot of interest in the blog post so, using Magda's Indigo's behind the scenes video footage I made this short film (3.45minutes).

You'll get a much better understanding of the lighting conditions and circumstances we were working in, and we have have included some of the still images from the story so you can see how I interpreted the scene and the results.

In all the whole shoot lasted about 60 minutes. We used minimal equipment (see previous blog post).

Hope you enjoy our film. Please let me know what you think of the images too. If you'd like to see the higher resolution versions you can view them on my portfolio of Flamenco photographs.

Till soon,
Paul
www.indigo2photography.co.uk

Shooting the Flamenco photo story

When these dancers tap out there vibrant rhythms the floor shakes. As you watch your heart beats faster, your temperature rises and energy courses through your veins. The dancers work incredibly hard. You'll see that in the images.

We were fortunate enough to photograph an advanced dance class at one of the world's best Flamenco schools. Please take a moment to view the selected images from my photo-story. When the image opens you can click the i to see the accompanying text. Here are most of the same images on Flickr too.

For those interested in the technical side, I used one flash, bounced on the white walls and 'dragged' the shutter to achieve a balance with the ambient light (which was mainly terrible overhead florescent). It was a real challenge. For the most part I used a 50mm lens. The wider shots were done with the 17-40mm on my Canon 5D. I did not use burst mode. It's too random and you miss vital moments - far better to anticipate and capture the perfect…

The making of a photograph

It strikes me that photo enthusiasts are often more interested in the equipment used to take a photograph and the settings as if somehow that knowledge will help them create images like the ones they admire.

On the other hand art critics look at images as the starting point for an interpretation. They often give images a meaning far beyond what was in the photographers mind at the time of making the image.

Professional photographers on the other hand look at images and think about how they would have tackled the same situation to get the shot. They are less concerned with the equipment or the interpretation and more interested in the practical decision making involved and the point of view, both physical and interpretive, of the photographer.

Over the years the image above has become quite symbolic to me. Each man carries a burden through life and sometimes everyone needs a little help to take the next step. My understanding of the image I shot on that day has evolved. Here's how…