The Joy of Photographing People

(The following is excerpted from The New Joy of Digital Photography, a new book by Black Star Rising contributor Jeff Wignall.)

The great photographer Edward Steichen once said that photography’s job was, “to explain man to man and each man to himself.” And each time we photograph another person, whether we are aware of it or not, we are fulfilling Steichen’s credo.

How Can Photographers Escape Copyright Thieves? Michelangelo Had the Right Idea

In the 16th century, Michelangelo worked on commission. Without his many patrons, there would be no Sistine Chapel ceiling, no Pietà, no David.

Maybe it is time for photographers to return to the Renaissance model for financing their efforts. Because for many creative professionals, the current way of doing business seems doomed.

Photographers, Be Sure to Watch Out for Online Scams

Photographers marketing their images online should be alert to e-mail scams that seem to be growing in frequency. This is particularly true for those selling fine art prints.

The scam usually works like this:

Five Relationship-Building Tips for Wedding Photographers

Editor’s note: Natalie Bradley is a consultant who helps wedding photographers and other wedding professionals attract new business. In this video, she shares five tips for earning referrals from vendors and brides.

Composition for Landscape Photography, Part 2: Perspective and Balance

The following is adapted from Creative Landscape Photography, an e-book by Guy Tal.

A visual composition is the arrangement of elements within a frame. In yesterday’s post, we discussed framing, one of three interrelated considerations in landscape photography composition. Today, we’ll look at the other two: perspective and balance.

Composition for Landscape Photography, Part 1: Framing

The following is adapted from Creative Landscape Photography, an e-book by Guy Tal.

A visual composition is the arrangement of elements within a frame. In this post we’ll cover some essential guidelines and “rules” of composition that may help guide your thinking and provide you with options to consider in your landscape photography.

Five Tips for Better Event Photography

When I left the news business and began shooting weddings, I quickly realized I had a built-in advantage over photographers whose background was mostly in portraiture.

Specifically, I knew how to cover fast-moving events without panicking or getting flustered.

Eye on Image-Making: Photographers and the Law, Part 3

One of the legal issues that can snare an unwary photographer is defamation, which means harming the reputation of another person. Defamation when printed or broadcast is called libel, whereas spoken defamation is slander.

Stanley’s Photo Tutorial: Using Natural Light for Outdoor Portraits

Last time, we discussed using auxiliary lighting outdoors. In this video, we look at identifying locations where you can use natural light for an outdoor portrait without relying on a flash or other light source.

Visualization in Landscape Photography, Part 2: Creative Visualization

The following is adapted from Creative Landscape Photography, an e-book by Guy Tal.

Visualization is one of the most useful and powerful skills a creative photographer can possess. It is also one that takes time and practice to master.

Visualization in Landscape Photography, Part 1: Practical Visualization

The following is adapted from Creative Landscape Photography, an e-book by Guy Tal.

Visualization is widely discussed in Ansel Adams’ famous trilogy The Camera, The Negative, and The Print, where he defines it succinctly as “the ability to anticipate a finished image before making the exposure.”

Ask the Photo Business Coach: Should I Stay in the Business or Get Out?

In this installment of “Ask the Photo Business Coach,” I address a question I come across every day in photography blogs and forums, in one form or another: “Should I stay in the photography business, or is it time for me to get out?”

Someone Ripped Off My Photos Three Years Ago. Can I Still Sue?

A Black Star Rising reader sent us the following question:

I recently found a photo of mine on the blog of a small business. The blog post that included my photo was published in 2007. Is there any “statute of limitations” on copyright violators, or can I pursue this issue whenever I come across one of my photos?

Boudoir Photography: Breaking Into the Market

The popularity of boudoir photography has exploded over the past few years. It’s not only become a fashionable wedding gift for brides to present to their grooms on their Big Day (or the night before), but it also makes a great anniversary, Valentine’s Day, and “just because” gift. Along with the tremendous increase in demand, there’s also been a huge increase in the number of photographers offering boudoir as part of their services. Some are even specializing in it. If you’ve been thinking about breaking into this lucrative market, here are some things to consider.

For Photographers, There’s Always Another Layer of Learning

After studying Tai Chi for the past 25 years, I’ve learned a few things about form, about discipline — and also about learning itself.

Specifically, I’ve learned that there is always more to learn. And I’ve learned that the deeper I go, the more subtle my learnings become.

Want to Be a Wedding Photographer? First, Take a Hard Look at the Numbers

In 2009, more than 2.1 million weddings were celebrated in the United States. Wedding photography and videography are a $3.77 billion business.

Sounds promising — particularly for newspaper and stock shooters who have seen their livelihoods wither. But is shooting weddings the right business for you?

Photographers, This Is No Time to Self-Immolate

Earlier this month, the threatened burning of a Koran by Florida preacher Terry Jones garnered an obscene amount of world attention and media coverage.

Now, a French photographer, Jean-Baptiste Avril, wants other photographers to join him in burning their negatives as part of a rally protesting the harsh financial conditions facing the profession.

Eye on Image-Making: Photographers and the Law, Part 2

Photographers and videographers sometimes come into conflict with law enforcement and other government officials who try to stop them from making images in perfectly lawful places. The officials may believe they are protecting property or privacy rights, or they may simply be trying to exert their authority and control.

In Both the Craft and Business of Photography, Practice Makes Perfect

I come across so many photographers who seem to think good things should just happen to them — and if they don’t, it’s their “bad luck.”

To that, I counter with one of my favorite sayings, by the Roman philosopher Seneca: “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

Photographers, Stop Leaving Money on the Table

If you want to stir up a hornet’s nest online, start a debate between pro and amateur/aspiring/prosumer photographers about charging a reasonable price for your work.

Whenever I take the “pro” side in this debate, I usually get responses like this one (from the comments on my “12 Excuses for Shooting Photos for Free – and Why They’re Bogus” post):

After the Newspaper Layoff: The Next Five Things You Should Do

Second of two parts.

As we discussed in yesterday’s post, journalism jobs are disappearing at an unprecedented and alarming rate. The wave of newspaper layoffs has shocked an entire industry of writers, editors and photographers who’ve dedicated their careers to keeping their communities informed, and are now wondering if there’s any future in their life’s work.

After the Newspaper Layoff: The First Six Things You Should Do

First of two parts.

Regaining your career footing after being laid off from a newspaper job as a writer, editor or photographer is a particularly daunting challenge today, for two reasons.

First, in most cases, there is only one major newspaper in a geographic market, meaning that if you want to find a staff position at a different employer, you will probably have to relocate. Second, of course, is the overall decline in jobs in the newspaper industry, which has seen editorial staffing fall to its lowest levels since the 1950s.

Stanley’s Photo Tutorial: Using a Secondary Light Source

Editors’s note: We are pleased to introduce a new series of photography tutorials from veteran Black Star photographer Stanley Leary.  In this video, Stanley offers advice on using auxiliary light sources outdoors, including a flash, a reflector and a constant light source (e.g., an LED).

Build a Diverse Client Base to Increase Your Bargaining Power

Write this down and post it near your phone, or print it as a label and put it on your cell phone where you can see it before you answer any incoming call:


Project Management for Photographers: Documenting Inspiration

Third in a series.

Every project has a starting point, which can come from a variety of sources: a fully developed brief detailing what a client wants; a scrap of paper with a couple of words on it; a verbal conversation with someone; or, quite often for photographers, an observation of some visual element in our environment.