Photography

National Selfie Day: 3 Fun Facts About Selfies

The selfie has become more than just a contemporary phenomenon: It may go down as one of the defining features of the 21st century. We have phones specially designed for selfies, social media would not be the same without selfies, and even if we claim to hate selfies, we’ve all taken part in them. From the “I woke up like this” no-makeup selfies that make bad hair look so fashionable to “group-fies” with friends and families, the average selfie is a ubiquitous part of daily life.

As you gear up for National Selfie Day, here’s a short history of this cultural trend…

1. The Selfie Was Actually Invented in 1839

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So it’s not that recent a phenomenon after all!

American photographer Robert Cornelius took a daguerreotype of himself in 1839 and even wrote on the back ‘the first light Picture ever taken.’ (Pity, the word selfie wasn’t in use then.)

The trend of taking self-portraits with a camera became gradually more popular in the 20th century. Without the use of zoom lens or selfie sticks, it was a cumbersome process, aided with mirrors, tripods or other props.

When the instant Polaroid cameras arrived, more and more people began to experiment with photography as a hobby and a way of preserving certain life events. The habit even made its way into the movies, such as the 1991 film “Thelma & Louise,” where the two lead characters use a Polaroid camera to take what we now call a ‘selfie’ before embarking on a disastrous road trip.

2. The Word “Selfie” Was Actually Invented By A Drunk Man in 2002

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In Australia, Sept. 13, 2002, in an internet forum there appeared the following post by Nathan Hope:
Um, drunk at a mates 21st, I tripped ofer (sic) and landed lip first (with front teeth coming a very close second) on a set of steps. I had a hole about 1cm long right through my bottom lip. And sorry about the focus, it was a selfie.

Mr. Hope however denied coining the term, claiming it was a common slang. Over the years, linguists have analyzed this phenomenon and pointed out that it is a typical feature of the Australian language to shorten words and end them with “ie,” citing how “barbeque” and “postman” become “barbie” and “postie” respectively in local usage.

Soon enough there came mobile phones with front-facing cameras, and the world was never the same again.

3. “Selfie” Became The Word Of The Year In 2003

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The Oxford English Dictionary announced “selfie” as the word of the year in November, 2013, sometime after it was first included in the online edition of the dictionary.

Meanwhile, there have been specific apps and filters created for taking and editing the perfect selfie, and the Oscar selfie of 2014 became the most retweeted image ever. Now, selfie sticks may be a thing of the past with the rising popularity of selfie drones.

Whether you think it is fun and empowering or you just feel it promotes narcissism, you cannot ignore the selfie, for it looks like the selfie is here to stay for a long time.

Interested in photography? Learn more at the New York Film Academy.

Say Cheese! Tips for Photographing Children

When it comes to photographing children, traditional photography rules are put on hold. In order to successfully photograph children, you have to approach the photography session differently.

For National Photography Month, we’ve got some useful tips on how to photograph children, below.

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Exercise Patience

You know that saying, “kids can be kids”? One moment, a child could be playing with you and striking a pose, and the next moment, they shy away when you point a camera at them. If you get any type of shy behavior during a photoshoot, don’t rush anything or punish the child for their behavior. Instead, be patient and let the child warm up to you.

Photographing at Their Level

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Don’t make the mistake of photographing children from your level — it will make them appear smaller in your images. Instead, get on their level so you have more equal ground. Be prepared to get on the ground and crawl around with them if you want some good pictures.

Be Ready for Anything

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With children, anything can happen in the blink of an eye — and that’s why it’s important to be ready for anything. You need to be ready to capture the unexpected on camera. Stop reviewing your photos and keep your lens at ready. Capturing the right moment means being at the right place and the right time. You can always review your images at a later time.

Relax and Have Fun

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Don’t worry about looking “professional” when you work with children. It’s OK to relax, let loose, and have fun. Make those silly faces and weird noises: Throw everything you know out the window and enjoy the session. If you make it fun for you and the children, they’re more likely to have fun and you’ll get some really great images.

Create an Action Plan

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Sometimes, the best-laid plan doesn’t work out and you have to be flexible. But it also helps to have a plan, a backup plan, and a contingency plan. If a child is having a hard time cooperating, just remember to stay patient, and don’t yell or get upset with them: try plan B. If that doesn’t work, have another strategy or idea ready. Just go with the flow and remember it’s about having fun, and getting the best photos.

Do you have any tips on how to photograph children? Let us know below. If you have a photograph that you are proud of, share them with us! Ready to learn more about photography? Check out our many photography programs at the New York Film Academy.

 

National Photography Month: Outdoor Fashion Photography

 

Every great photographer knows that there are multiple components to a successful outdoor fashion shoot. Whether you are doing a shoot in the alleys of New York or in a field of wheat in North Dakota, nailing down your subject’s outfits will help you with your outdoor fashion photography.

Students passionate about learning the ins and outs of a fashion shoot can get hands-on training and experience at the New York Film Academy’s 4-Week Fashion Photography Workshop. We also offer two fine arts degrees in photography — bachelor’s and master’s — as well as intensive conservatory-style programs. Our students will learn practical elements, and master technical and business practices to help them achieve their professional goals.       

If you’re already in the field and need some quick tips, here are some things to consider while you are preparing for your outdoor fashion photography shoot.

Research the Location

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Don’t wait until the day of your shoot to pick out your location. If you have an idea of where you would like to shoot, scout out some spots days prior to the shoot. Make notes and plan out the frames that you want to take during the shoot.

Keep Your Model Comfortable

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Make sure you get to know your model before the shoot to ensure that they will be a good fit for your project. It helps to establish a rapport, as you will be working closely together and will likely be offering your model directions during the shoot. You can help keep your model comfortable by establishing a connection beforehand and maintaining a professional, friendly environment that will keep their poses and expressions relaxed.

Use Natural Light

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You should try to use natural light during your photo shoot, even though you can’t control the intensity of the sun and the direction of the natural light source. However, you can overcome this by placing the model correctly, which will help you achieve the amount and direction of light in a frame that you desire. If you can, avoid placing the model directly facing the sun because it will wash out the natural skin tone of your model and create deep or harsh shadows.

 

If you want to use artificial lighting, you can use a flashlight or studio lightning to underexpose the background. Using a light source directed toward the model allows you to control the direction of the light without causing spilling.

Use the Correct Lens

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You should know what type of lens you will need for fashion photography — whether it’s a wide-angle or telephoto lens. If you choose to use a telephoto lens, your depth of field will be shallower and will be more flattering to your model. Wide-angle lens will allow you to capture everything in focus.  

Experiment With Camera Angles

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Don’t be afraid to experiment with camera angles — you should never take photos at eye level for outdoor fashion photography. Try and position your camera so that the angle is high or low. This will allow you to get some out-of-the box frames with perspective while keeping focus on the model’s eyes.

For example, if you want to get a low-angle shot, have your model stand or climb up on a ladder or you can stand on the ladder to achieve a different perspective.

Do you have any tips for having a successful outdoor photographer shoot? Let us know below! And learn more about photography at the New York Film Academy!

How to Direct a Shoot for the Best Model Poses

Fashion shoots can be a lot of fun if you know what you’re doing. From different costumes and makeup to cool poses, there is plenty to work with. Regardless of your own experience, it is always good to remember a few tips to make every photo shoot you do fabulous every time! Whether you are directing professional models or first-timers, here are some tips to help you direct your photoshoots as successfully as possible:

Capture as many different expressions and poses as possible.

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There is nothing wrong with having your model(s) smile or use their go-to pose, but you do not want over a hundred photos with the same expression and position. It is important to mix it up for the best possible results. An experienced model may be able to give you many poses and moods without much direction, but if you are working with an amatuer model, you may need to give some guidance.

Do some research.

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This might seem like a beginner’s tip, but it never hurts to have a refresher. What have some of your favorite and most successful fashion photographers done? For example, hair alone could make or break a fabulous shot. Learning how to position hair on longer-haired models or styling shorter hair can add a new edge to your shots. The same goes for knowing how to pose different body parts to make the models look their best without digital manipulation.

Be a conversationalist.

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No, you don’t have to be a socialite, but talking with your models will help alleviate any awkwardness either of you may be experiencing. It will also make models much more comfortable with you. Additionally, don’t forget to give positive feedback. How will your models know if they are doing a good job? Tell them! It will make for a better experience for the both of you.

Keep taking pictures.

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Some photographers have hundreds of pictures from the same shoot. This is because photographers know the more photos they have after a shoot, the more options they have. Taking a ton of photos is worth it if you find “the one” that could define your (and your models’) portfolio(s).

What are your tips for successfully working with your models on a fashion photoshoot? Let us know in the comments below! And learn more about fashion photography at the New York Film Academy.

National Photography Month: A Q&A With NYFA Instructor Paul Sunday

May is National Photography Month, which means it’s time to take a deeper look at the visual language that inspires and evokes so much in human life. From ads to Pinterest, from high fashion editorials to high art, from photojournalism to Facebook, photography is more a part of our lives than ever before. What better way to learn more about photography and gain insight into its importance than by hearing from expert photographers? We had a chance to catch up with some of our amazing photography instructors here at NYFA to ask them about why they love photography and what a life in pictures really looks like. Read on to get a glimpse into life behind the lens:

Photos by:  Paul Sunday  @paulsundayphoto for Soma Magazine’s “I-POSE”

Hair by George Kyriakos for Stylebookings.

Makeup by Yumi Nagashima

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Photos by: Paul Sunday @paulsundayphoto for Soma Magazine’s “I-POSE” Hair by George Kyriakos for Stylebookings. Makeup by Yumi Nagashima

NYFA: Tell us a little bit about your journey in photography and your approach to your craft.

Paul Sunday: I became involved with photography through my theater work. I started documenting plays I was involved with and doing head shots for friends. I still view photography in the context of performance. When it comes to my fashion and portrait work, directing and playing off the subject as a fellow actor is the most important part of my craft.

NYFA: What first inspired you to become a photographer? How has your style evolved?

Paul Sunday: I bought a damaged book of Man Ray photographs from a sale rack on the street. The images somehow got a hold of my brain and wouldn’t let go. Within weeks I was enrolled in a basic black and white darkroom workshop.

In the beginning, my style was a bit nostalgic. It has evolved into a more contemporary, minimalistic approach.

Photos by:  Paul Sunday  @paulsundayphoto for Soma Magazine’s “I-POSE” Hair by George Kyriakos for Stylebookings. Makeup by Yumi Nagashima

Photos by: Paul Sunday @paulsundayphoto for Soma Magazine’s “I-POSE”
Hair by George Kyriakos for Stylebookings.
Makeup by Yumi Nagashima

NYFA: Are there any particular photographs or photographers that have particularly impacted you and your work?  

Paul Sunday: In addition to Man Ray, it would be Mr. Penn above all. He is the master. Beyond those two, I always look at Rodchenko, August Sander, the Bechers, Sugimoto, Atget, Judith Joy Ross, Disfarmer, Brassai, Lartigue and many, many others. I believe in tapping into diverse sources of inspiration.

NYFA: When you’re on a shoot, what is your process? Any must-do’s on a job? Any pet peeves?

Paul Sunday: For fashion and portrait, I set some of the lights the day before. In the morning I welcome everyone to my studio and feed them breakfast. Then I meet with the team. During hair and makeup, I do more light tests. I don’t allow myself any distractions during a shoot.  No phone calls, no social media, no newspaper, no internet. I focus intensely on my team and the pictures. I observe my subject and build a relationship. It’s like having someone over for tea, but we are also making images. I pay close attention to my energy level. The late afternoon and the end of the shoot are moments where one needs to call in an extra reserve of concentration. It’s all about pacing.

Regarding pet peeves, I have two: lateness and distraction.

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Photos by: Paul Sunday @paulsundayphoto for Soma Magazine’s “I-POSE” Hair by George Kyriakos for Stylebookings. Makeup by Yumi Nagashima

NYFA: Why the New York Film Academy? What drew you to teaching with us? What about the program here is unique?

Paul Sunday: I saw an online ad seeking new teachers and I had been aware of the school for awhile. I had known a few people who taught here in the acting department. I loved the swirl of creative energy. The place reminds me of my early days in New York when I studied acting.

The unique thing about the photography program is the emphasis on replicating real-world scenarios, and the quality of our infrastructure. NYFA does not scrimp on the details. Fantastic spaces, quality gear, professional collaborations and our hands-on approach, all support us in thoroughly preparing students for the industry.

NYFA: Do you have a favorite NYFA moment — with your students, on a project, etc.?

Paul Sunday: My favorite NYFA moment is the moment a student realizes that they have had a creative breakthrough. There is nothing like seeing that joy of accomplishment where a new world has opened up to an artist. I also love the thesis exhibitions. It is so exciting to see emerging photographers have that first experience of showing their work publicly. It’s a pivotal moment in their self-belief.

Brooke

Photos by: Paul Sunday @paulsundayphoto for Soma Magazine’s “I-POSE” Hair by George Kyriakos for Stylebookings. Makeup by Yumi Nagashima

NYFA: What do you feel is the most important thing for your students to understand from your classes?

Paul Sunday: I want students to leave us with rigorous self-assessment skills, professionalism, and the readiness to own their artistic choices. I try to help them develop the courage to go for it, to develop a career strategy and take the necessary steps to realize their aspirations. The most important thing is for them to understand that they can make meaning through their photography practice.

NYFA: What does photography mean to you in the age of the internet, social media, and smartphones? With technology innovations and the popularity of iPhone photography, why is it important to study photography?

Paul Sunday: Photography has become the language of contemporary society. It is more important than ever for serious photographers to study and develop their craft. It is the best way to set oneself apart and discover a voice in the photographic universe.  

Thank you Paul Sunday for sharing a bit of the story behind your passion for photography with our NYFA community! For those ready to learn more about photography, NYFA has a wide array of incredibly hands-on photography programs. Check out our photography courses.

National Photography Month: Your Guide to Nailing a Photography Internship

Internships are a necessity, no matter what you are studying. At the New York Film Academy, we encourage our photography students, whether they are in the one-year or two-year conservatory programs or earning their degree, to seek out internships to gain real world experience and skills. If you aren’t sure about how to secure an internship or you don’t know where to start, read our guide to nailing a photography internship.  

Finding an Internship for You

The best place to start looking for an internship is at NYFA. Ask one of your photography professors if they can recommend internships or offer any insights about where or how to apply. You can also look at NYFA’s career center at our Los Angeles campus to view any available internships.

If you still haven’t secured an internship after speaking with your professor(s) or checking out the career center, check online. Websites like journalismjobs.com, internmatch.com, indeed.com, and internships.com are great resources for students.

Another great resource to find internships is on the National Press Photographers Association’s website. NPPA, “the voice of visual journalists,” is a 501©3 non-profit organization that advances photojournalism through education, and awarding scholarships or fellowships to hardworking, deserving individuals.

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Why Should You do an Internship?

Most internships, especially a student’s first, are unpaid. So why should you do an unpaid photography internship? If you don’t have the skill set or portfolio to secure a paid internship, you may have to take on an unpaid internship. If finances are a concern and may prevent you from taking on an unpaid internship, look at something that is closer to home. You can contact local publications to see if they have any internship programs, which will allow you to still work in an educational environment.

Some internships you find through school may be paid or offer college credit — but usually not for both, and you will have to check with your program first to make sure they will accept credits from your internship. If you are interested in receiving school credit, talk with your advisor to make sure the internship fits the program’s requirements.

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What are Your Responsibilities as an Intern?

Being an intern doesn’t mean it’s a glamorous job — you won’t be working with the best equipment or out in the field rocking the camera on your first day. You may not even be working directly with cameras. Whether you intern for a publication or individual photography, you may be doing real grunt work, from greeting clients to getting coffee. But your responsibilities likely won’t stop there. Your boss may want you to caption and transmit photos, archive photos, fact check, and write stories to accompany photo libraries. You may also have to create an online slideshow if your publication has a digital component.  Whatever tasks you find yourself with, be aware that it’s all part of the process.

Expectations for interns are set high — which means you should be hitting the ground running on day one.

What Will You Learn During Your Internship?

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Internships, whether paid or unpaid, will give you real work experience and skills. You will be able to learn things that you wouldn’t learn in a classroom. You will learn how to work with a variety of different individuals every day and connect with strangers. Photography internships will teach you how to meet high-pressure deadlines on a daily basis.

This most important thing to remember is that you will be able to create some items under the direction of photography professionals and you will be able to build up a solid portfolio. Most employers will consider an applicant if they have completed one or two internships during college. Stay positive and continue working toward your unpaid internship.

Ready to learn more about photography? Check out NYFA’s photography programs!

 

Everything You Need to Know About Setting Up a Fashion Photoshoot

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Organization and a professional attitude are important to a successful fashion photoshoot.

First, you need to have a plan — If you are shooting for a publication, the art director may tell you what kind of feel they want. If you are shooting for your own lookbook or a personal website, the theme planning falls on your shoulders. Find a theme for the project and keep that in mind as you select locations and backdrops and communicate with the stylists and models.

Team — in addition to yourself and the model(s), your team should have: a stylist who understands tailoring and can make adjustments to the clothes so they fit the model properly; a hair stylist and makeup artist who can help you bring your vision to life; and an all-around support person who can fill in or run errands as needed.

Location — if you are shooting on location rather than in a studio, make sure you consider safety and legal issues. For example, railroad tracks are usually considered private property and it is illegal (and dangerous) to photograph on them. For other locations, you may need a permit or authorization from the owner. Do yourself a favor and check before you go.

Next, you need to set up your equipment — You may have a very simple setup or all of the latest gadgets, but along with your camera, lenses and a source of light are the bare minimum you can get away with. It goes without saying that you should know exactly how your camera works, but it’s a good idea to know other tricks and tips in case your equipment fails or some other plan goes awry. On the “nice to have” list is a way to backup the shots before you even leave the location, a system for keeping track of the shot details, water and food for the team, and a first aid kit.

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Lenses — Use the right lens for the job. While Erik Madigan Heck is able to do much of his work with a hand-me-down lens from his mother, most photographers build up a core set of lenses that they use for specific purposes. How To Geek has a good, simple overview of how lenses work and what the different types of lenses are used for.

 

Lights — You will need to decide between natural and studio light and understand how to work in either situation. Lighting your shoot properly is crucial for showing off the clothes and the model. Zhang Jina’s article on lighting tools provides a great overview of her approach to lighting and she includes example photos to show the effects of each tool.

When you get there — Once your team is assembled and the shoot is underway, stick to your schedule and set a professional tone.

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Be ready before the model arrives — If you’re in the studio, set up your lights, backdrop and props before the model arrives. If you’re going to be shooting on location, get there before the model does so you can set up your equipment.

Part of preparing is being inspired — Get to know the work of other photographers as well as the history of fashion photography. Spend time looking at magazines, websites, and photographer’s books for a better understanding of composition, color, and lighting.

Establish a rapport with the subject — When your model arrives, spend a little time talking to the person and putting them at ease. When they are relaxed, they will be much more natural in front of the camera, which will show in your final images.

Give credit to the team — Acknowledge everyone’s contribution to the success of the shoot and thank them all for their time and hard work. Your name might be on the final image, but everyone on the set contributed to the final results.

After the session — Most photographers do some touching up with software such as Adobe Photoshop, but software can’t fix poorly lit or out-of-focus images. As you adjust color balance and make adjustments, be aware that there is lively debate about where to draw the line when it comes to digital manipulation of images. Stay current on the conversations surrounding photography and the fashion world.

Meet your deadline — It is sometimes hard to stop adjusting and tweaking images; it is equally hard to pick only a limited number of shots from a day’s worth of work. Still, if someone else is waiting on those images, deliver them on time and with a professional attitude. That will help open the door for other opportunities.

Be ready to do it all over again — If your editor says none of the shots work, none of the shots work. Accept that assessment, ask for clarification on what they are looking for and go out shoot again.

Take care of business — Submit your invoices, track your receipts, and update your portfolio, website, and resume.

You can always go behind the scenes of fashion photography with one of New York Film Academy’s 4-week Fashion Photography Workshops.

 

 

3 Daily Tips to Help You Become A Better Photographer

If you’re a photography student, chances are you know how tough the competition is in your chosen field. These days, the term “photographer” can encompass anyone who knows how to take decent enough snaps on an iphone and amass thousands of followers on Instagram. But photography is more than that. And when you work with DSLRs, you know that understanding the rules, theories, and techniques also isn’t enough to guarantee successful photographs. To be a better artist, you need that extra thing — that’s your own unique style. Which is why NYFA’s photography programs encourage hands-on experience, offering our students the opportunity to practice and develop their own visual style.

But your style is not something that can be taught easily. You have to experiment, discover, and then cultivate it your voice as a visual artist. Here are some daily tips that might make the process easier.

1. Photograph WISELY Every Day

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Yes, wisely is the operative word here. Plenty of books, workshops and seminars will tell you that to be successful in any field, you need to practice every day. And to a certain extent, that’s true. But if we tell you that to improve as a photographer you simply need to photograph something every day, we’re only doing half our job. You could set a goal of taking at least three decent pictures every day, and a year later, find yourself still complaining that your style hasn’t evolved much.

Here’s the crux of the matter: For your style to evolve, you need to challenge yourself. One simple exercise to help you do this is to choose a particular word or theme and take a few pictures interpreting it every day. For instance, if the word is black, you could photograph objects that are black, and then move onto abstract stuff, like a play of shadows, the dark and somber expressions on someone’s face, and so on. By pushing yourself to intentionally investigate a subject past your first and obvious interpretation, you may discover new perspectives that can offer you inspiration and lead you to something you wish to say with your images.

2. Set Yourself Limits When Taking Photographs

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To force your style to develop, it can help to set limits and conditions on the way you photograph. As necessity is the mother of invention, constraints can force your mind to think out of the box. You can do this in a number of ways. For example, for a particular subject or topic you can set yourself a limit of not taking more than seven photos, or working only in black and white, or restricting yourself to a particular area while working, and so on. The fewer options you have, the more your brain has to work to make the best of the circumstances. In other words, it’s not all about the expensive equipment and endless options: it’s about the choices you make as a photography, and how you make do with what you have.

3. Expose Yourself to More of the Stuff You Like

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You must realize that all creative works are a two-way process: There’s always a creator and an audience, and it’s important to play both the roles. When you’re photographing very diligently for an assignment, realize that you must take time out to see other great and not-so-great photographs as well, and learn from them. You know your interests and passions, so make sure you get a decent exposure to media that reflects, feeds, or challenges your tastes.

For instance, if you’ve always had a childhood interest in fairy tales, then you can definitely spend time studying Tim Walker’s fashion photographs, or checking out some surreal paintings or even watching art house cinema that uses fantasy tropes. Not only will that make you closer to figuring out your personal style, but it will also prove to be an entertaining and enriching experience.

At the end of the day, remember that you are a unique individual, with a unique history and personality. So no matter what you do, be authentic. Yes, it’s okay to imitate when you’re practicing, but nothing beats originality. Put your heart and soul into whatever you do, and make sure you actively enjoy the process of creating and making mistakes, and not just the end results.

Ready to learn more about photography? Check out NYFA’s Photography School.

7 Fashion Blogs Aspiring Photographers Should Follow Now

The internet has created a wonderful subculture for fashionistas, sartorialists, clothes-horses, and dandies of all stripes. Websites like Pinterest allow for people to pin inspiring or cool outfits in an easy to access place so they can look at it whenever the fancy strikes them, and image searches mean there’s a plethora of fashion to be ingested at any time.

However, as an aspiring fashion photographer, your interest in fashion runs even deeper. Which is most likely why you are always on the hunt for inspiration and fashion news, seeking something a little more curated. To aid your research for your next fashion photography shoot, New York Film Academy has rounded up a list of eight fashion blogs worth bookmarking, putting in your rss feed, or following on tumblr:

1. PUT THIS ON

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Started by podcaster extraordinaire Jesse Thorn, PUT THIS ON made its name as a premier place for vintage and American classics. If you’re a man looking to start dressing better or a photographer interested in menswear, PUT THIS ON has guides on everything from thrifting to belts.

2. THE SARTORIALIST

Featuring a deep catalogue of street fashion photos for men and women, The Sartorialist has been an internet fashion mainstay since 2005. Scott Schuman’s blog has also spun off into books featuring international daily style. It’s a great resource for fresh, street-inspired ideas.

3. RUNWAY SASS

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If you’re looking great high concept runway style, Runway Sass is the place for you. Keep up to speed on the fashion world’s runway trends. All of the Fashion Week 2016 posts are in an easy to access link at the top.

4. HANA HALEY

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The first thing you http://hanahaley.tumblr.comnotice when you go to Hana Haley’s tumblr is the pink background. A NYC-based photographer/director in NYC who’s in love with “femininity and 35mm film,” Haley dominates her blog with pastels. Recently featured: a videoed trip to Cancun. It’s a nice way to juxtapose your fashion inspirations with lifestyle imagery and may give you some ideas for your next fashion photography shoot.

5. EFF YEAH INDIGENOUS FASHION

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Steadily updated, this blog is about the beauty of indigenous fashion. As stated by the site’s duo of indigenous founders: “Indigenous artists and designers are still awfully underrepresented in the fashion, art and design business today, and often get passed by in favour of appropriative knock-offs by customers looking for ‘native’ or ‘indigenous’ art to wear or use.” Find inspiration in authentically created indigenous fashion.

6. BLACK FASHION

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Processed with VSCO with a4 preset

Black Fashion is what it sounds like: pictures of black men, women, and nonbinary individuals dressed in their best. The blog even has separate sections for black fashion at prom, graduation, and with friends just hanging out.

7. HIPTIPICO

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The tumblr for ethical fashion based out of Guatemala, there’s plenty of photos of beautiful South American landscape and colorful Guatemalan designs.

Want to take your interest in fashion photography to the next level? Apply today for NYFA’s upcoming fashion photography workshops.

 

Your Photo Mojo: Photography Project Ideas to Tap Your Creativity

If you’re a NYFA photography student, you may be scrambling in your busy schedule to find inspiration and ideas to help you infuse new life and variety into your projects. You know that art directors and even gallerists are not looking for photography generalists; they are looking to hire or represent that person that has something no one else does, this is seen through a solid, concise body of work. In your quest to create a strong body of work, you may be feeling low on creative juice. So if you’re looking for new ideas on how to express yourself within your body of work, these project ideas may give you that extra spark.

To help you find additional ways to synthesize what you’re learning in class with hands-on application, we’ve come up with some fun suggestions for extra-curricular projects that can help you try new things, evolve and improve. These projects can inspire new ideas no matter what genre you enjoy shooting:

1. Sign Up For A 52 Week Challenge

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There are many ways of doing this. You can easily search for “52 week photography prompts” online, make one yourself, or mix and match to suit your needs.

Once you’ve started a challenge, you can interpret the weekly “word” or theme both literally and metaphorically. Having a particular theme to work with each week not only allows you to explore the subject from a variety of perspectives, but also proves to be an entertaining and informative experience. For instance, if the word is “vanilla,” instead of food photography you may want to photograph the “vanilla” sky or different “vanilla” moods you can think of.

2. Experiment With Light

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If you’re into abstract art photography, experimenting with light is a fun way to build a portfolio. Using different materials and lenses, try photographing refracting surfaces, light trails, light spirals, bubbles, oily refractions, disco lights, fireworks and firecrackers and even smoke. Alternatively, you can make “light” a theme for the day and try photographing the city at sunrise, at dusk, and at night. If you’re photographing the city at night, try doing a photo series on urban night life and so on.

3. Do a Self-Portrait Series

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If you’re an introvert but want to build your skill at taking amazing portrait shots, do a series of self-portraits. Think about the words and ideas that best describe who you are and try to express that in a photograph. Or think about your relationship with society, factoring in issues of race, gender, class, religious affiliations, and interests, to paint a series of pictures about your life that can also work as a social commentary.

4. Try The 100 Strangers Project

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Do you want to get over the fear of talking to random strangers and take some amazing candid shots as well? Then try the 100 Strangers Project! All you have to do is approach a random person, talk to them to discover their story, and then take a picture best representing them. Then, repeat it with 99 other people. Just remember: be safe!

5. Go on a Scavenger Hunt

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You can do this on your own, collaborate with other photographers, or do it on a road trip with friends. All you have to do is make a list of things both physical and abstract, then look for them in real life to photograph them.

For instance, your list may be: gasoline rainbow, sunlight through broken glass, and desperate love. Giving yourself a specific focus and as you search for images representing these ideas will help you discover new possibilities and juxtapositions. Not only will this hone your photography skills, but also teach you to think unconventionally and pay closer attention to your surroundings.

We know you’re working intensively to build your body of original work while studying at NYFA’s Photography School, so we hope these additional project ideas can offer you a fun and engaging way to practice what you learn on your own time. Don’t be afraid to customize a project to suit your preferences, and make sure you have lots of fun.

Do you have some project ideas that you want to share? Interested in learning more about photography at New York Film Academy? Let us know in the comments below!

Beyond Rule of Thirds: How to Master Photo Composition

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The rule of thirds is one of the first rules taught in photography classes, a principle that helps photographers create well-balanced and interesting shots. We’re here to talk about the rule of thirds, when to use it, and when you can break it (yes, there are some instances when you can get away breaking the rule of thirds!). But before you can break the rules, you have to understand them. And remember: Following photography guidelines will help you master photo composition.

What is the Rule of Thirds?

One of important rule of composition in photography is 'Third Rule'.

While you are looking at your viewfinder or LCD display on your screen, create a grid in your mind that has nine parts, made by three horizontal lines and three vertical lines. This grid will have four points in the center where the lines intersect. Those four intersections are your points of interest. These points correspond with people’s natural line of sight when they first look at an image, and utilizing these points in your work will help you capture the interest and attention of your viewers naturally and dynamically. These are your points of interest to use when framing your image.   

Why Use the Rule of Thirds?

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Your photo will be more balanced and interact with your audience most naturally when the points of interest are placed at the intersections of your grid or along the lines. When a subject is placed in either the left or right frame, or even in two thirds of the photo, it creates a movement. But when a photo is placed dead center of the photo, the audience does not experience any movement at all.

In the photo below, you can see red, intersecting lines that act as the guides. The picture is divided into three one-third panels, both horizontal and vertical. The eye naturally follows the flow of the road — starting at the bottom of the middle frame and then moving over to the right frame of the picture. Because the road spans across two thirds of the photo, it creates a natural movement for the eye.

When can you break the Rule of Thirds?

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If you have good reason to break the rule of thirds, then do it. A prime example of breaking the rule of thirds is when your subject has perfect symmetry. While the audience tends to look for movement, it is well known that human beings are attracted to others with symmetrical faces and bodies. The same idea can be applied to symmetry found in nature, like a butterfly, snowflake, or a flower.

Another time you can break the rule of thirds is when you feature a shallow depth of field in your image. Why? A shallow depth of field helps create dimension in photos and your eyes will automatically move through a scene that appears to have depth and dimension.

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Do you have any instances of when you break the rule of thirds? We would love to hear how you’ve mastered photo composition below! If you’re interested in learning more about photography, consider applying to NYFA’s Photography School today.

Names that Changed the Fashion Photography Industry Forever

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When it comes to fashion, all the attention goes to the stunning outfits and gorgeous models who wear them. But without a talented photographer there to capture it all, it’s impossible to convey the allure and excitement of the apparel.

We’ve compiled a list of people who entered the fashion industry with a desire to give us a closer, more passionate look at the beautiful clothing and accessories available. Of all the great fashion photographers that have existed in our time, the following used their creativity and talent to provide images that not only generated sales but also influenced the next generations of photographers.

Helmut Newton (October 31, 1920 — January 23, 2004)

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This award-winning fashion photographer changed Harper’s BAZAAR, Vogue, and other top fashion magazines across the globe. He pushed the envelope with his provocative black and white images that often featured nude models — a bold, controversial style in the early 20th century. Before becoming a photographer in Australia, Newton survived the Holocaust in Germany and was also imprisoned in Singapore for a time.

His greatest achievements include being awarded the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by France, the Grosses Bundesverdienstkreuz by Germany, and the Chevalier des Arts, Lettres et Science by Monaco. Newton was also given the Life Legend Award for Lifetime Achievement in Magazine Photography in 1999 by Life Magazine.

Richard Avedon (May 15, 1923 – October 1, 2004)

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Richard Avedon is considered one of the most iconic fashion photographers ever to grace the industry. Using unconventional techniques and his unique style, he shook things up by photographing models that showed emotion and were in action. For this, his obituary read: “his fashion and portrait photographs helped define America’s image of style, beauty and culture for the last half-century.”

Avedon began as a staff photographer for Harper’s BAZAAR and rose to chief photographer. He eventually moved to Vogue and became the lead photographer, shooting memorable campaign ads for Calvin Klein Jeans and other top brands. Thanks to Avedon, future fashion photographers had the courage to take risks much like he did while working.

Irving Penn (June 16, 1917 — October 7, 2009

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An American photographer whose work spanned six decades, Irving Penn is credited with revolutionizing and perhaps inventing what we think of as fashion photography. His 1950 cover of Vogue was the first black-and-white photo featured on the magazine’s cover since the advent of color photography in 1932, and boldly introduced not only a new advent in fashion, but in photographing fashion.

Moving from creating situational contexts to display fashion in the 1940s through stark, high-contrast opulence, surrealism, and focus on fine detail, Penn tirelessly pioneered shifting perspectives and aesthetics in his work. His stark black-and-white photography has attained icon status. Known as a modernist, he was also a great portrait and still live photographer, famous for capturing iconic artists at different times and in different styles as well as experimenting with ethnographic photography around the world.

Deborah Turbeville (July 6, 1932 – October 24, 2013)

If you’re into fashion photography that evokes a darker emotion, you can thank Deborah Turbeville. She is known for providing content that went against the common trends of the early 1970s, when models were always shot in well-lit and unprovocative situations. Her photographs boasted an edgy and mysterious feel that few could match at the time.

Born in Massachusetts, Turbeville got her start as a fashion editor for Harper’s Bazaar. Eventually she became a photographer who provided work for countless notable publications and fashion advertisements, including Macy’s, Bruno Magli, and Ralph Lauren. Along with her style, Turbeville was also known for avoiding gender stereotypes and choosing models who showed humanity and not just beauty.

Ellen von Unwerth (1954 — Present)

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Ellen Von Unwerth is a fashion photographer and director known for her specialty in erotic femininity. But before shooting her first professional photograph, she served as a fashion model for a decade. Her experience in front of the camera is one of the tools she used to become one of the most prominent fashion photographers today.

After gaining fame for her photographs of German supermodel Claudia Schiffer, she went on to provide work for Vogue, Interview, Vanity Fair, and more. Many of her films have received awards, and and she’s also directed music videos for notable stars like Christina Aguilera, Beyonce, and Duran Duran.

Steven Meisel (June 5, 1954 — Present)

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If there’s one person all aspiring models dream of working with today, it’s Meisel. He’s not only shot every cover of Vogue Italia since 1988 but also has the privilege of photographing Madonna for her ground-breaking 1992 book “Sex.” Meisel has shot campaigns for everything from Calvin Klein and Versace to Valentino and Louis Vuitton.

But more so than his work, Meisel has helped change fashion photography by proving that a photographer has the best eye for spotting the best models in the industry. He has proved this by turning nobodies like Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, and countless other women into some of the most recognizable models in the world.

Mario Testino (October 30, 1954 — Present)

 

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You can’t become a fashion photographer and get far without knowing the name of Mario Testino. One of the most desired photographers today, Testino has worked for Vogue, V Magazine, Vanity Fair, and other top international fashion magazines. He has created countless images for top brands like Michael Kors, Gucci, Versace, Chanel, and more.

His ability to create unforgettable work is credited to his practice of not seeing models as blank canvases, which is what other photographers prefer. Instead, Testino sees his models as people, allowing him to convey their human beauty. Testino has also helped catapult many models into stardom, including some (like Gisele Bündchen) who no one else wanted to work with.

What other fashion photographers do you look to for inspiration? Let us know in the comments below?

Gorgeous Fashion Photos and What They Teach Us

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In an ad culture dominated by beautiful images — visual representations of products meant to appeal to our desires and imaginations — it’s easy to stop paying attention to individual photos, even if they are sitting on the cover of a magazine, or displayed boldly on a billboard, or hidden in the corner of a Facebook feed. At NYFA, we are training students to create work that breaks through the noise, calms the overstimulated eyeball, and captivates the attentions of onlookers. Our new Fashion Photography workshop will teach students how to create the best images through, in part, the examination of the greatest existing fashion photographs. Here are some of the most elementary steps to creating your own gorgeous image.

Subject: Give your subject icon status.

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What would a discussion of fashion photography be if it did not acknowledge the quintessential image of Audrey Hepburn in her “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” getup? Though Hepburn’s portrayal of Holly Golightly in the film is what ultimately garnered her the most adoration and respect, the succession of promotional images of her in her black gown and pearls, holding a cigarette, gave her some serious star power. She is also known for her uncommon beauty and her expressive, bushy eyebrows.

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In choosing a subject for your image, it is not necessary that the model fit certain requirements, like having poignant features or unique looks, or adhering to traditional American beauty norms. Rather, the perspective of the photograph, and how it portrays the model, should be special. Give your model a cool hairstyle or a striking costume or a relentlessly emotive facial expression. This can be done in many ways and it is truly up to the photographer’s preferences, in combination with stylists, designers, and other artists.

Staging: Be dynamic.

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Whether the image shows many models, a focal point model with supporting models in the background, or a single model alone, the models should be positioned in a way that interacts with the rest of the image and/or the camera. They can fill the frame or they can appear to be far away. Regardless of how the image is composed, it should draw onlookers in. A person passing by the image can be surprised by its unique staging, or confused about the actual narrative of the image, or just visually delighted by the way the image has been put together.

Lighting: Play with contrast and shadow.

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In a fashion photograph, strategic uses of darkness and light are incredibly effective. By its nature, lighting draws attention to what it hits: highlighting it. Beautiful images are taken with a consciousness for the parts that are necessary, or most appealing, to highlight. Lighting can bring emotion to an image. For instance, the use of extreme shadow in Pablo Roversi’s fashion images gives them a certain ethereal quality, one for which the photographer has been recognized time and time again. Also, consider using deep contrast.

Editing: Honesty is beautiful.

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Keep in mind the real issues with fashion photography and image editing. Airbrushing and PhotoShop are criticized for making photographs fake, for positing an unattainable beauty standard that is damaging to the general public. Pose this question to yourself: How can I treat these issues without compromising the artistry of my photo? A beautiful image is often created by a great photographer, not a great editor. Our fashion photography program will teach students to build these skills, to discern what must be concealed and what must be exemplified in the composition of an image. We have already considered how a photo can do this in terms of subject, staging, lighting, and editing.

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What are the fashion images or icons that inspire your photography? Let us know in the comments below!

Fashion Photography Tips Every Budding Annie Leibovitz Needs

Fashion photography has generated some of the most inspiring, iconic, and wide-reaching images, yet it’s not without its challenges. One of the most challenging — and rewarding — experiences you can have as a photographer involves an editorial shoot. Of course, arranging a shoot that goes along smoothly and without any hiccups is a difficult feat.

Despite the challenge, photographers love these opportunities because they offer their own form of fun and creativity. No matter whether you’re completely new to the world of fashion photography or you’d simply like a refresher on the basics, we’ve rounded up some tips that can help you refocus and plan your fashion photography editorials. Especially if you’re new to fashion photography and want to prepare an editorial shoot of your own, keep this advice in mind:

Before You Start, Have An Idea

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Every good fashion shoot starts with an idea well before the scene is prepared and model is chosen. Going into the shoot there should already be an emotion or atmosphere that you’re trying to create in order to better promote the clothing, hair, etc.

The good news is you don’t have to be too specific, nor do you have to stick with the idea if inspiration arrives later. Whether you’re just going for an ‘80s vibe or want a goth look, having a general concept in mind is the best way to start.

Seek Inspiration If Necessary

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Having trouble with that last tip? Or perhaps you do have an idea but you’re not sure how to best convey it via your photo shoot? With the advent of the internet and social media platforms, finding inspiration from other people’s work is easier than ever.

Don’t worry: Finding inspiration from the great fashion photographers before you isn’t “cheating,” and even the top photographers in the world sometimes gain ideas from elsewhere. We recommend studying fashion editorials and scrolling through photo sharing platforms like Pinterest and Instagram to check out pictures that can help you hone in on your own idea.

Find The Right Model For You

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This step is arguably one of the more nerve-wrecking ones, since your model will be the face of your editorial. Fortunately, there are talented aspiring models everywhere who are looking for the opportunity you have to offer. If you’re new to the scene, you may have to pick from non-experienced models, which is a gamble. If you can, find yourself experienced models that have done this before and are serious about it.

The internet is ripe with places to find agency models that are pretty much guaranteed to show up and do a good job. It may cost you money but if you plan to submit your editorial to a respectable magazine, it’ll be worth it. They’ll also have a good selection of models for you to choose from so you find the perfect collaborator for your idea.

Assemble A Team You Can Trust

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By “a team you can trust” we mean people who have proven their talent and are responsible enough to commit to your project and follow through. While your good friend might say they’re amazing at makeup, we recommend connecting with someone who has professional-level experience. The same goes for the other two important people you’ll need to work alongside your makeup artist: a clothing wardrobe stylist and a hair stylist.

If you think you can also handle one of these tasks yourself, fantastic. In fact, this might be necessary for newcomers who don’t have enough time in the field or networking under their belt to know a lot of people in the industry.

Perhaps one of the most important qualifications when considering potential teammates is that they are excited about your project. They should be just as invested in the shoot as you are. That way, the work has a real chance to shine.

Find A Good Location

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You have your team, your idea, and your model. If you haven’t already, you’ll definitely want to start considering the best locations for your shoot. No matter how fantastic your model and clothing look, a good or bad location can make all the difference.

Outdoor shoots are usually a bit easier since most places have no restrictions — though, depending on where you are, you may still need a permit to hold a photo shoot in a public place. Most indoor places such as a church or mansion require permission, and you’ll need to shoot an email or file a permit to square away your location beforehand. You might even find a great local venue that lets you shoot there for free.

Take A Deep Breath And Shoot!

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Once the date you set for your shoot has arrived don’t worry if you’re suddenly a combination of nervous, stressed, and excited. Our advice is that you take a moment to relax yourself and remember that this is your shoot, so have some fun and remember what you know about portrait photography! Remember that many shoots don’t go exactly as planned, and that’s OK. Sometimes, the hiccups and challenges on the day can lead to new ideas and great images.

Instead of panicking, just work with what you have and try to enjoy the process. Whether everything goes as planned or you run into a bump or two, remember: It’s all about the clothes. Do what you can to keep your focus on the fashion.

Decide Where to Submit

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You probably already had a particular magazine or two in mind before you even started shooting. This is the best approach, since every magazine comes with its own style — which means they tend to select work whose aesthetic fits with theirs. Use the power of the internet to search for places that might be interested in picking up your work.

Lastly, be patient. Some photographers grow anxious when their first choice of magazines don’t agree to publish their work. The biggest mistake you can make is to give up and forget about your photos— or worse, show them off on social media. Magazines especially prefer their photos to be exclusive, put off tossing your work online and just keep sending them out until you find success. Fashion photography is full of challenges and rewards, so happy planning!

What are your favorite fashion photography tips? Let us know in the comments below!

HDR Photography Tips

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While the argument of HDR versus non-HDR remains heated, many photographers see that both technologies are useful tools for capturing precious moments, new perspectives, or the beauty of your location. The following are some tips to consider if you want your photos to share (as best you can) the feeling of being “there” in person.

Be Willing to try New Things

Ah, the joy of HDR: many times, the feeling is that nothing else compares anymore. But as you gain experience, you may be lucky enough to find new ways to experiment both with HDR, and without it. This includes scenes where lighting is even enough that one exposure is enough to capture the scene, along with highlights and shadows. It can also be worthwhile exploring alternatives to HDR when photographing moving people and objects.

Know When HDR is the Perfect Choice

On the other hand, it’s also important for aspiring photographers to learn when HDR is the ideal choice. HDR’s unmatched ability to capture detail makes it perfect for taking shots of man-made objects, architecture, and more. Pictures of gorgeous landscapes with many shapes, colors and textures also come out great with HDR, even when shot during sunrise, sunset, and any time in between.

Bring the Tripod

This may seem like an obvious tip but we feel it’s still worth mentioning. Without a tripod, it’s difficult keeping your f/stop consistent between shots. This is very important if your goal is to capture the full dynamic range of a scene.

Master the Art of Tone Mapping

This is Toronto's Yonge-Dundas Square, which reminds me of Times Square in NY. I spent a couple of hours here and was lucky to get a colorful sunset. This is an HDR of 3 shots (-2, 0, +2), tonemapped in Photomatix. In PS: - Imagenomic Noiseware twice, one stronger on the sky. For the next commands I masked the sky. - Smart sharpen  - Freaky details masking - Nik Tonal Contrast - Vibrance increase on the whole image - A bit os saturation boost on the sky - Curves - Burn the top of the sky and the edges - A bit of Nik Glamour Glow.

Or at least get familiar with a few of the many tone mapping software programs available today. Many consider tone mapping to be the heart and soul of HDR photography, but it’s also a slippery slope, as it’s easy to get carried away and create an unrealistic look to your photos — although, of course, that’s could be your goal. But if you’re aiming to capture the location as it would appear in real life, you’ll want to avoid strengthening colors too much. Although there are plenty of great free programs, the best come with a price tag.

Take More than One Exposure

A common mistake made by new HDR photographers is taking a single exposure and tone mapping it. Why doesn’t this work as well? The fewer images with different exposures you take, the less data you have to pull from in post-production. More levels of exposure data (easily boosted with multiple exposures) means superior high dynamic range for your photographs, especially with great landscape shots. This doesn’t mean you should always capture hundreds of photos with varying exposures for one image, but at least take enough so that you’ll have more to work with later.

Don’t Stick to Presets Alone

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Pretty much every post-processing program out there today has several presets for you to use. These can be great places to start, but also don’t forget to grow and experiment past the presets. You’ll want to get to a point where you know which settings to play with in order to make your photos look as desired. By experimenting with all the available settings, including reading up on tutorials, you’ll eventually know how to fine tune your program’s settings to get your shots as close to perfection as possible.

Any other great tips to offer your peers on HDR photography? Let us know in the comments below!

5 of the Best iPhone Lens Kits (2016 Edition)

iPhone lens kits may seem like an usual topic, but there are some great reasons to pay attention to these accessories.

At the New York Film Academy, our photography programs offer an in-depth investigation and exploration of the artistic and technical skills required to take your photography work to a professional level. Our programs focus on the practical elements of photography and train our students in the proficient use of the most state-of-the-art cameras and techniques in their field.

Yet, it’s very practical to acknowledge that many amateur and professional photographers these days are also using their personal mobile devices to snap pics, whether for personal or experimental use. So why not find creative ways to apply what you’re learning in photography school to every picture you take with the same passionate level of thought and care, even if you’re simply using your iPhone?

While an iPhone camera is no match for a Canon, Nikon HDSLR, or SONY mirrorless camera, we realize that personal iPhone photography is a large part of many of our lives. After all your hard work in photography school, you’re probably longing for ways to bring some of what you’ve learned into every aspect of your life. So we’ve compiled a list of some lens kit ideas to help you bring your photography school mindset to your iPhone photography.

The results of this low-fi solution are consistently surprising, so if you want to experiment with your iPhone photos, scroll on to discover seven iPhone lens kits that represent the best value for money.

1. Camera Lens Kits for iPhone 6 – The Best of the Best

All iPhone lens kits featured below are compatible with the iPhone 6/6s and Plus models, and usually fit on any model of phone. We listed Amazon prices for guide only – NYFA is neither compensated or endorsed by Amazon or any manufacturer featured.

Photojojo Iris Three Lens Set

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RRP: $69.99

Contains: Mount plus wide, fisheye and macro

A sturdy piece of kit with billeted aluminium casing, the Photojojo 3-in-1 lens package is very well thought-out. Simply affix the mount onto the phone (it’ll work with any phone, even with a case) and switch out the lenses as needed – the mount itself converts into a small carry case.

Mpow 3 in 1 Clip-On Kit

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RRP: $13.99
Contains: 180 degree fisheye, 0.67X wide angle, 10x macro

A 3-in-1 lens kit for under $15? You read that right. And not only is it easy on the wallet, it’s also ridiculously good in the quality department too, fitting beautifully close to the iPhone’s camera (and presumably Android models also, though we’ve not tested that).

The image quality is superb thanks to the high-clarity glass and that perfect fit, though the clamp system — while efficient in terms of easy removal — can get in the way a little bit.

If you’re looking for a more discrete solution, it’s time to check out:

Photojojo Magnetic Lens Kit

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RRP: $49
Contains: Fisheye, telephoto, wide/macro

Another excellent product from Photojojo, and it’s a shade cheaper than the Iris set listed above. The difference between the two is that this Cell Lens pack attaches to your phone magnetically (with or without case), and are cleverly designed to not cover your phone’s in-built flash. We’ve not seen a difference in image quality between the two sets during testing — all three lenses offer a remarkable level of fidelity and sharpness.

Downside: while the magnets are strong and won’t damage casing, they will slip or fall off completely if knocked and therefore may not be suitable for rigorous shoots. We also cannot guarantee that the magnets won’t damage other models of phones outside of iPhone/Android (some phones have their own magnets around the camera lens for image stabilization).

Olloclip 4-in-1

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RRP: $79.99
Contains: Clip plus fisheye, wide-angle, 10x and 15x macro

It’s one of the more expensive iPhone lens kits on this page, but it’s also the only one that has won awards. And rightly so.

With each lens weighing in less than an ounce, this is unparalleled image quality combined with a quick on-off action thanks to the clip (and it also covers the front lens, too). Additionally, it comes with three wearable pendants to keep the whole kit easily accessible.

A very elegant, secure design that features some really impressive optics. The only con is that this one is iPhone 6 only.

CamKix Ultimate Kit

RRP: $42.99
Contains: 8x telephoto, fisheye, macro/wide angle, tripod, phone holder, hard case, velvet soft case, cleaning cloth

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more all-encompassing lens kit at a cheaper price. Given the amount of equipment that’s thrown in, the CamKix package offers outrageous value for money (we love that telephoto lens!) but it’s not quickly deployable – you need to affix the hard case before you can add a lens, and you’ll probably want to use the tripod for telephoto stabilization. On the plus side, that does mean it’s compatible with all phone models.

There is no replacing the quality and artistry of images you can create with your Canons, Nikons, or SONYs, but we hope this has given you some ideas for your mobile pics.

Have you found creative ways to apply what you’ve learned in photography school to mobile devices or your personal image making? Let us know in the comments below!

The Value of a Photography Degree

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Interested in enrolling in a photography degree but still not sure if it’s right for you? Allow us to help by explaining several ways that a photography degree help you cross the space between pursuing a successful photography career and having a dream that never comes to fruition.

A Photography Degree Helps You Find Your Specialty

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Just because you’re amazing at shooting fashion models walking down the catwalk doesn’t mean you also have what it takes to capture wildlife out in the world. From stock photographs and wedding pics to focusing on sports or real estate, each photography career path comes with its own skills requirements for success.

At a good photography school you’ll get a taste many types of photography work to help you discover which direction is the best fit. NYFA’s photography programs offer a wide variety of courses, each designed to make you a better photographer and become effective in various areas of the profession. We also have a prestigious faculty of instructors with experience working in multiple photographic genres. Learning from working members of the industry is a powerful way to gain insight as to which specialties and types of work most appeal to you.

A Photography Degree Lets You Immerse Yourself

The average human being has a lot going on in their lives — hobbies, responsibilities, relationships, you name it. It can be difficult focusing on one or more subjects of learning at a time, especially when life is in full swing. We all know someone (maybe yourself) who said they’d master an instrument or software only to drop it after a few days. But when you’re working toward a photography degree, you take the time to immerse. You wrap your head around the craft to the point where you’re living and breathing photography every day. You’re also surrounded by fellow peers with the same passion, along with teachers who want to help you succeed by passing on their tricks and knowledge to you.

Pursuing a photography degree allows you to take the time to specialize, to grow, and to nurture your new skills in a way that is difficult to accomplish without that dedicated study. By graduation, most students can say that photography is a big part of their life … and they plan to keep it that way.

A Photography Degree Shows You Are Committed

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Is it possible to become a great photographer without a degree? Of course. But if there’s one thing companies and clients like seeing from their potential hires, it’s dedication to the craft. In other words, completing a photography degree signals to the world that you’ve spent plenty of time refining your skills and learning the latest technology in order to produce the best work possible. It also shows that you have the discipline, drive, and commitment to finish what you start.

A photography degree demonstrates all this and more. By applying to a job with an MFA or BFA in hand, you are showing that you’ve spent time studying everything there is to know about photography. More importantly, with photography more accessible and popular than ever and with every iPhone owner snapping (often great) pictures left and right, your photography degree sets you apart from the crowd.

A Photography Degree Leaves You With A Portfolio To Showcase

When on the hunt for your next gig, there’s nothing potential hirers like to see more than samples of your previous work. In fact, we’d say it’s very difficult these days to land a photography job without proof that you’ve done it before. It’s one thing to say you can capture the couple’s timeless moment and another to actually demonstrate your skills via past work.

A good photography degree program sees graduates leave with everything they’ll need to get started, including a prepared portfolio with samples of work from various student projects. Many of NYFA’s photography programs even have a Portfolio Development course to help students create and design a portfolio that best showcases their skills and experience.

A Photography Degree Gives You Access To Trained Professionals

100520-N-0775Y-012 SAN DIEGO (May 20, 2010) Chief Mass Communication Specialist Joe Kane, assigned to Fleet Combat Camera Group Pacific, helps a Montgomery High School student adjust a body armor vest during a tour at the facility. More than 20 photography students visited Combat Camera to learn about photojournalism in the Navy. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication 1st Class Carmichael Yepez/Released)

What better way to learn than by studying with experts, receiving instruction from someone who is both experienced and active in the field that you’d like to enter? Whether your dream is to take the most breathtaking fantasy photos on the planet orto become a renowned fashion photographer, there’s somebody out there already doing it who can teach you a thing or two.

At NYFA, our photography courses are taught by instructors with experience in a wide range of photographic disciplines. This allows our students to become familiar with different genres while under the care of people who have actually worked in that area professionally. Thanks to our great faculty, our photography programs prepare students for a number of careers, including: freelance, commercial, fine art, fashion, wedding, sports, photojournalist, nature, and event photography. Along with learning by doing, a photography degree gives you the opportunity to learn from the best.

How has your photography degree shaped your work and expanded your horizons? Let us know in the comments below!

How to Incorporate Flash Photography Into Your Photography Style

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Flash photography doesn’t seem to get the love it deserves. Most photographers, nothing compares to the soft, beautiful glow of natural light — and they’re probably right. Then again, many photographers fail to make an impact with their work because they don’t learn when to determine if flash is necessary, even if it doesn’t suit their photography style.

A professional photographer knows how to deliver captivating shots even when faced with the unexpected. This can include anything from low light environments to places where your subject has too much backlight. When you’re prepared to work with any challenge that comes your way, you’ll have confidence no matter what you’re asked to shoot.

To have that peace of mind, below are several situations where flash can prove the difference between poor shots and something great. Once you understand the advantages of flash photography, perhaps you’ll be able to start incorporating flash photography into your own style.

Use Flash In Dimly Lit Places

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Today’s photographer has everything they need to deal with locations that have poor lighting. However, using a cutting-edge DSLR in a poorly lit environment comes with a few drawbacks. Very low light levels mean you’ll probably end up with blurry images, thanks to motion blur and camera shake. But increasing the ISO level (your camera’s sensitivity to light) also means you run the risk of poor dynamic range, bad colors, and more noise. Once again, flash photography may be your solution.

To avoid ending up with a small number of decent shots to work with in post-processing, why not use flash instead? Whether you use a simple mount on your camera or work with an off-camera setup to add more balance, flash can help you create a primary source of light when all you have is dim ambient light.

Remember that weddings are easily the most photographed events, and sometimes the most challenging. This is because you can guarantee that the church, reception area, and ballroom you’re shooting in has terrible light. Along with flash, you can also other artificial lighting such as strobes and light modifiers to create the perfect shots.

Use Flash Photography When Photographing Details

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The best photographers know the importance of capturing more than just people. This is why event photographers also take the time to capture details that completely preserve the special moment being shot. At weddings, this includes taking shots of the wedding cake, decorations, food, flower arrangements, and more.

But like we mentioned before, sometimes the subject you want to photograph isn’t in a well-lit area. The good news is that stationary items can usually be moved or rotated so that they’re facing a light source. But when this isn’t possible, flash photography can help you get the shot you need even when the location is only semi-lit.

In this case, we recommend using a tripod along with a camera set to a slower shutter speed. This will allow the camera to use enough light and produce photos that are balanced yet vibrant. Of course, this process requires more time, which is why we only recommend it if you’re unable to set up your own light.

When Shooting Outdoors

Guadeloupe winter carnival, Pointe-à-Pitre parade. A young woman, performer wearing traditional carnival head-dress(close up outdoor portrait).

The idea of using flash outside might sound blasphemous to most photographers. We all know how amazing natural light can be, especially when using a gorgeous backdrop and some shade. However, experienced photographers know that having too much sun can be just as big a problem as having too little light.

If you’re only utilizing natural light and your shot includes a lot of the sky or water, it’s easy to overexpose and lose detail in your subjects. The opposite can happen when your subjects are heavily backlit, which sometimes you want so your shots have more depth.

But without flash, the sides of your subject opposite from where you’re standing might get underexposed. Then there’s trying to shoot the perfect picture in the middle of the day when the sun is directly above you. This usually causes weird shadows to show up on people’s faces, including the ugly ones under the eyes. With a well-placed flash and umbrella, you can make sure your subjects are exposed can come out looking fantastic.

Have you had success using flash photography in surprising ways or in your photography class work with NYFA? Let us know your flash tips in the comments below!

Sports Photography: Lessons We Learned From the Rio Olympics (That Can Apply Anywhere)

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Sports photography is a skill and an art form that is never out of season. As we move into the awesome spectacle that is the NFL’s 97th annual season, it’s time to seize the good opportunity to assess and apply some fantastic sports photography lessons that were highlighted this year by the 2016 Rio Olympic games. These are universal sports photography tidbits that can be applied towards our wider photographic efforts — whether you plan on snapping some of your favorite NFL players, or simply want to learn to approach your craft with the heart of a champion.

Today’s tips and tricks apply mainly to sports photography, but many can be used across the board. Ready?

On your marks, get set…

… Go!

Prepare Like an Athlete

Rio de Janeiro - Simone Biles, ginasta dos Estados Unidos, durante final em que levou medalha de ouro na disputa por equipes feminina nos Jogos Olímpicos Rio 2016. (Fernando Frazão/Agência Brasil)

Because you’re going to be doing your own fair share of running around!

Whether you’re shooting at a race track, high school athletics meet or the Olympics themselves, you’re going to want to shoot at a number of different locations, all with different lighting, angles and crowds to deal with. That’s sports photography 101.

Ergo, extensive pre-planning — as with any photoshoot — is key.

Make sure you can physically get between locations in the time allotted, as well as exactly where to be for the best shots. Many of these will require dramatically different gear, too, so factor this into your planning.

It’s also essential to make sure your equipment is within event regulations. For instance, the 2012 London Olympics prohibited lenses longer than 30cm or tripods — you don’t want to turn up and find half of your equipment is banned! 

Crowd In, or Out?

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The Olympics rarely suffers from a dull and unengaged crowd, but for smaller sports events (or music festivals), you probably don’t want a bunch of empty seats or people not watching the thing you’re shooting in the background.

As a sports photographer, you’ll want to find the angle that best captures the drama and suspense of your sport. If you want to exclude the crowd from the shot and focus solely on the action, you’ve got a few options open to you: get as high as possible and shoot downwards, get as close and tight to the athlete as possible with a telephoto lens, or lower the f-stop to to bring the focus forward and exclude the background.

If all else fails, move yourself to a different position and shoot from an angle that removes the problem altogether. After all, we do call it sports photography for a reason: don’t be afraid to focus on the sport!

Know Your Sport

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Obviously you’ll want to know who’s who in whatever event you’re shooting in your sports photography adventures, but getting to know the athletes themselves and their behavior can pay dividends.

The more research you do ahead of the game, the greater the chances of nabbing that perfect sports photography shot.

The sports photography guru David Black recalls the preparation he took to get a “wow” photo of Michael Phelps during the 2004 Athens games: “I had memorized Michael’s freestyle stroke pattern and knew that he would take a breath two strokes after the 50-meter mark. Knowing this, I picked an appropriate upper-level camera position so that I could shoot slightly above the splashing water and capture a single image of Michael’s face. It was his last breath before sprinting to win a gold medal.”

Convert to Black and White

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Black and white is common in a wide variety of photographic disciplines, but it’s criminally underused in sports.

Part of the reason for this is that most sports are a highly colorful affair, from the vivid greens of a pitch to the blues of a pool and the detailed uniforms of the athletes. Sometimes however this can be overwhelming, especially if there are a lot of other visual elements such as crowds and seating in the background.

If you’re about to discard a shot that suffers from this, try converting it to black and white first – you might just find that it transforms from something that’s way too busy to a sports photography photo worthy of framing.

Panning

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Working with high-speed movement? Panning with the subject is a superb technique that can really deliver the goods with a beautifully crisp subject against a blurred background (capturing that sense of motion), but it also requires a lot of practice and determination.

Your choice of shutter speed is crucial to a good pan shot, and largely depends on how fast your subject is moving, but a good starting point is around 1/20 second and adjusting from there. Move with your subject and keep them in the frame, and only then press the shutter once you’ve got a fluid and consistent motion (remembering to follow through after the shutter closes, as if you’re swinging a baseball bat).

A tripod will help massively with this, but only if the subject’s movement is going to be predictable — otherwise, handheld with a light lens is the way forward (and is good to practice regardless).

Distance from your subject is another consideration to watch out for in sports photography; it’ll be more difficult to center the shot when close up (since the subject will appear to move faster), so try to get back from the track or up in the grandstand to make life a little easier.

Lastly, unlike most other static shots, you don’t want a clean background for a pan. The entire purpose it to have a lot of things blurring in the background, and for that you’ll need a lot of things in the background!

Don’t be disheartened if everything turns out blurry nine times out of ten — it’s a technique even the pros don’t nail with any consistency. Which leads us onto our final sports photography tip (and one that works for any field of photography).

Need 10 Good Photos? Take 10,000.

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Okay, maybe the ratio isn’t quite that extreme, but more is definitely better than less.

After all, digital film is very cheap these days…

… get snapping!

The Power of Nostalgia: Why Shooting with Analog Cameras is Awesome

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There’s no denying the many benefits that come from digital photography. You don’t have to worry about film. You save cash on printing costs. You can immediately see your picture to decide if you like it or if you want to reshoot. Not only that, but digital images are also easier to share with friends and on social media pages — and digital photography is more environmentally friendly!

But just like many music lovers prefer the sound of vinyl over CD, so too do many photographers still find value in using analog cameras. In fact, it is widely recommended that all aspiring professional photographers work with an analog camera at least once in their lifetime.

Below are a few of the numerous reasons why we still love our analog cameras:

Great Colors and Dynamic Range

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Experienced photographers will admit that most digital shooters are merely trying to imitate the vibrant look that only an analog camera can produce. This is because film has an amazing color palette coupled with a dynamic range of detail in both shadows and highlights. Digital cameras also boast a strong dynamic range, but only black-and-white film theoretically has an infinite number of shades of grey.

This means that it’s very difficult to mess up your highlights; even when you over-expose you won’t get that bleach-white effect, and instead still have some shade of grey. If you do get your hands on an analog camera, take a picture with it and then do the same with a digital camera. After comparing the two you’ll see how much smoother and more natural the film image looks compared to the digital image.

With film, your images look amazing right out of the camera and rarely need photo editing tools like Photoshop. But if you do want to spice up your shot, all it takes is a trip to the darkroom. The most common practices are dodging, which decreases the exposure for areas you want to be lighter, and burning, which instead involves increasing the exposure by darkening the image.

They Can Make You a Better Photographer

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When shooting with a digital camera, there’s no consequence for snapping a ton of photos. All you have to do with the bad photos is tap the delete button to never see them again. There aren’t any costs or limits you have to worry about besides digital storage space, which means you can take several shots and hope someone in the family doesn’t have their eyes closed in one of them.

But when you using an analog camera you only have so much film to use, which means you’re forced to be much more selective when taking a shot. Every time you hit the shutter button, you’ve made sure the picture is framed to your liking and that objects and people are in place. You also do your best to get exposure just right to avoid a loss of highlight detail or muddy look.

After using an analog camera or even your average Polaroid camera, you may find yourself taking your digital pictures more carefully. This will also save you time during the editing process since you’ll have far less images to work with. And since your pictures were more planned and carefully taken, all the images you have to work with will be of higher quality.

Film Cameras are Inexpensive and Last Forever

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One of the biggest drawbacks of digital photography is the fact that your camera essentially becomes outdated every year or two. This is because a newer, better camera with more megapixels is always around the corner, ready to produce images with more detail. While it’s great that technology allows us to shoot better digital images, even with our smartphones, it’s not fun having to worry about finding the best deals just to keep up.

Analog cameras are different. Images taken on film are always full-frame and have the same image quality as other cameras, eliminating the need to upgrade. Knowing this, one would expect an analog camera to be very expensive. While this was true 20 or 30 years ago, now it’s pretty easy to find a decent 35mm camera affordably, just to get a taste of the film camera experience.

That being said, using an analog camera does require you to buy and develop film, which costs money. But when you do the math, spending cash on film ends up being less costly than upgrading a digital camera every few years.

Which analog cameras do you absolutely love to use? Let us know in the comments below!