photography schools

Five Nature Photographers Everyone Should Know

The awesome, majestic beauty of nature has given inspiration to photographers since the very beginning of the artform, no doubt evolved from centuries of paintings and drawings that drew upon similar landscapes.

Ansel Adams public domain

Photo: Ansel Adams

Some photographers have made careers out of focusing on nature. Even if your focus is more on portraiture, fashion, or urbanscapes, there is still plenty to learn from the images of these incredibly talented nature photographers:

Gene Stratton-Porter

Born in the late 19th century, Stratton-Porter grew up in Indiana and was an active nature photographer, as well as a novelist and silent-film producer. She was a vocal and strident conservationist, passionate about protecting the vulnerable environments she so lovingly captured in her work.

Ansel Adams

Born in San Francisco, Adams had the chance to live in one of the most naturally diverse states in America, photographing desert, nature, and the ocean scenes in his unique style. Like Stratton-Porter, he was a lifelong environmentalist, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1980 for his work shooting national parks for the United States Department of the Interior.

Karen Lunney

Lunney is a Brisbane-born, contemporary photographer whose work explores transition, liminal space, and where one thing has ceased and another not yet started. She has won multiple awards for her work, many of which use stark black-and-white photography to capture animals and their migration, as well as ocean shores and the light of sunrise and sunset.

Oriana Koren

Los Angeles-based artist Oriana Koren has exhibited their work in several major publications, and is known for both photographs of food and celebrity portraits, among others; their nature photography however is some of the best in the contemporary scene. Koren uses their background in documentary photography to create embodied, attentive, and lucid imagery from around the world, making for incredible, fully-realized images of nature.

Eliot Porter

Eliot Porter is best known for his vibrant color photographs of nature, but it was birds specifically that first captured his eye as a young, amateur artist. Porter wasn’t just interested in imagery, he also delved deeply into cultural studies of many of the locations he’d capture on film. Porter traveled around the world to photograph ecologically important and culturally significant places, including Utah, Maine, Baja California, the Galápagos Islands, East Africa, Iceland, Mexico, Egypt, China, Czechoslovakia, Antarctica, and ancient Greek sites.

6 Great Online Photo Magazines 

The internet and social media have made the world of photography simultaneously a smaller and a much larger place, creating countless online communities of visual artists who may have never been able to share their work or even collaborate before the digital age.

Photography Camera

Online photo magazines have no doubt sprung up, giving the world no shortage of places to find the work of amateurs and professionals alike. Some are extremely niche; while others are content to showcase the wide spectrum of the genres the medium provides. Here are six of the best photo magazines you can find online:

F-Stop A Photography Magazine

Founded by Christy Karpinski in 2003, this bi-monthly publication features contemporary photography from established and emerging photographers from around the world, with each issue having a theme or idea that unites the work presented to create a dynamic dialogue among the artists.

Social Documentary Network

Launched in 2008, Social Documentary Network (SDN) is for documentary photographers, editors, journalists, NGOs, lovers of photography and focuses on photography that plays an important role in educating people about the world and those curious of the human condition. SDN encourages work about joy, love, happiness, and ordinary life anywhere, as well as both societal problems and their solutions, recovery, peace, reconciliation, and rebuilding–provided the work is authentic, even if that means messy, awkward, filled with contradictions, or lacking answers.

1000 Words

Founded in 2008 by Tim Clark and nominated as Photography Magazine of the Year at the Lucie Awards in 2014 and 2016, this online contemporary photography publication looks to prove the age-old maxim, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” The magazine publishes photo book reviews, essays, exhibitions, and interviews that encompass every aspect of the photography world.

Bokeh Bokeh

Bokeh Bokeh was founded by David Garnick and is named after bokeh, the aesthetic quality of the blur produced in the out-of-focus parts of an image produced by a lens that helps separate the subject from the background in photographic works. The online mag features all photographic genres, including fine art, documentary, portraiture, and street, with an emphasis on work that is original, beautiful, and startling. 

Burn

Launched in 2008, Burn is an evolving journal for emerging photographers that is curated by founder and Magnum co-operative member David Alan Harvey. This uplifting artistic magazine showcases photos full of hope, eagerness, and a desire to share in one another’s experience, publishing new stories or singles at least two times per week.

LensCulture

LensCulture has a simple, self-described mission: to discover the best of contemporary photography and share it with the largest audience possible. For over fifteen years, this magazine has been highlighting creatives and professionals in the industry, from over 160 countries, seeking to boost their exposure to the larger community through awards, exhibitions in major cities, festival screenings, and books.

Autumn Photography: 5 Tips for Capturing the Best Photos of Fall

As summer starts to wind down and we embrace the cooler months, outdoor photographers tend to gear up. Autumn is arguably the favorite season for photographers due to ever-changing scenery, vibrant colors, and moody weather.

The Photo Arts Conservatory at New York Film Academy (PAC at NYFA) instills students with a passionate focus on the technical elements of photography. Below are some tips to help you enhance your landscape photography and really capture the fall weather. 

The “Golden Hour”

“Golden Hour,” the time of day when the low position of the sun during sunrise and sunset creates a soft glow that dramatically enhances the environment and gives a vibrant “pop” to surrounding colors, occurs all year round, but can be at its most striking during the fall. Getting up early or staying up late can make for some very vibrant landscape photography.

Overcast Days

Foggy and overcast, cloudy days create lighting conditions that may help you capture some interesting shots. Focus on areas such as lakes, rivers, woods, and streams–bright colors from the leaves of trees will help create separation from their darker, foggier surroundings. 

Composition

There are different ways that you can compose your photo, including the rule of thirds and the golden ratio. Let nature guide your framing by utilizing your surroundings of branches, leaves, and other trees to emphasize your main subject. 

Use Warm White Balance

White balance is how warm or cool the overall colors look in your photograph. When taking photos outside during the fall, we recommend you ignore the white balance presets on your camera–auto-white balance can neutralize colors, so avoid using the auto setting. To really bring out the fall colors in your photos, you’ll want to use a warm white balance. Increase the white balance to a warmer Kelvin temperature–try around 6,000 degrees–but be careful not to overdo it. A high Kelvin can make the photo appear to have an unnatural looking color cast. 

Circular Polarizer

A circular polarizer–also known as CPL–is a screw-in filter that goes in front of your lens. The benefit to using a CPL is that unwanted glare and reflections are reduced when photographing wet surfaces or in direct sunlight. A CPL can also enhance your landscape photography by adding more color and contrast. You can use a slower shutter speed when photographing a river or stream when you have a CPL with your camera. Make sure that you are using a neutral CPL to help enhance your fall photography.

5 Books on Photography Everyone Should Read

While there are plenty of YouTube tutorials and other digital media on every minutiae of photography, sometimes it helps to turn to good old-fashioned books. Whether it’s on equipment, fundamentals, or specific artists, there are countless books every photographer can learn from. Here are just a few you should check out next time you’re at the library or browsing through Amazon:

Women of Vision: National Geographic Photographers on Assignment
by National Geographic Society

Women of Vision showcases the stunning work of women photographers from the first decade of the 21st century, from the Iraq War to the Jersey Shore and everything in between. The riveting results of photo assignments presented here are introduced by National Geographic editor-in-chief Chris Johns, with a foreword by journalist Ann Curry.

Vivian Maier: Street Photographer
by Vivian Maier

Many people discovered photographer Vivian Maier through the 2013 documentary Finding Vivian Maier, but this book allows you to spend as much time as you need with each of her indelible images. The street photographer with a one-of-a-kind point of view only became well-known posthumously, but her work is now immortal in the pages of this work.

Yonkeros
by Jaime Permuth

For those looking for a more specific collection of photos, look no further than Yonkeros, a series of works by New York Film Academy instructor
Jaime Permuth documenting the “Iron Triangle,” an area of New York filled with scrapyards. The photos bring to life an overlooked world where first-world trash is recycled and handled by working class people who live and work in the Iron Triangle.

The Lens: A Practical Guide for the Creative Photographer
by N.K. Guy

This simple yet informative book is a straightforward guide for all types of photographers looking for the right lens for the right image. While it may not serve as a beach read, it’s a great reference to keep on your shelf that you can turn to when planning your next shoot.

The Photographer’s Story: The Art of Visual Narrative
by Michael Freeman

Once you’ve mastered the technical fundamentals of photography, you’ll still need to learn how to present your art in a meaningful and engaging way that does your images, and your story justice. The book is a thoroughly modern one, working in how digital media, online galleries, tablets, and the trend of photo-essays all come into play when figuring out how to showcase your work in the contemporary scene.

photography tips and hacks

Keeping photography books in your library is always a good idea–but of course everything starts with a solid background in the art and craft of the medium. If you’re interested in studying photography, check out the programs New York Film Academy has to offer here

7 Tips To Make Your Food Photography Worthy of Instagram

If you’re not snapping pics of your food before eating it, chances are you know someone who does. But, unfortunately, not every food photographer is a good photographer. Here’s 7 tips on how to make your meals look truly Insta-worthy:

Rule of Thirds 

Something you’ll learn early on in photography school is the rule of thirds. This tried-and-true composition rule applies to food pics on Instagram too. Frame your food with this simple yet effective principle and it will go a very long way.

Try a different angle

Angles in photography–no matter what you’re shooting–matter. Don’t just shoot your plate from where you happen to be sitting. Get creative with your positioning. Don’t be afraid to play with angles because the possibilities are endless.

Food Photography

Fill the frame

There are many ways to compose a photo (the rule of thirds works great but shouldn’t be followed all the time) and filling the frame is one of them. A close-up of a big juicy grapefruit will certainly grab someone’s attention as they mindless scroll through their IG feed.

Use a white napkin or piece of paper

If you’re sitting next to a window, there may be a lot of natural light coming in. Natural light is important but too much can overexpose your photo and wash out your subject. Take a white napkin or a piece of paper and hold it on the far side the plate, opposite of the window. This makeshift bounce board will give your food the fashion model treatment.

Don’t use the zoom

With single-lens smartphone cameras, the quality of your photos decreases when you digitally zoom in, so don’t use it. Instead of relying on zoom, move your camera closer to the subject. Just don’t drop your phone in a bowl of soup!

Food Photography
Simplify

Keep your frame clean and uncluttered if you’re photographing your food–the table, the utensils, your friends–they may just get in the way of your image. Remember that less can be more and to let the food stand out on it’s own.

Become an expert photographer

Of course the best tip to photographing food is to learn how to photograph everything, with state-of-the-art equipment from award-winning professional instructors. You can find information on photography programs offered at New York Film Academy here.

Interested in Applying? Click Here

The Cyanotype Process: What is Cyanotype Photography?

Recently, New York Film Academy-Los Angeles (NYFA-LA) Photography Co-Chair Kean O’Brien created a Cyanotype workshop for alumni at NYFA instructor Andrew Hall’s darkroom in downtown Los Angeles.

Cyanotype is one of the oldest photographic processes we know of, and has a distinctive blue color. Cyanotypes are made by treating a surface — paper, cloth or leather — with iron salts which then react to UV light. Originally used to document botanical specimens by placing them on treated papers and exposing them to the sun, it was also an early way to create copies of drawings, especially architectural drawings – thus the name “blueprints.”

Cyanotype

O’Brien worked with NYFA Instructor Andrew Hall before the workshop to pre-coat papers with the cyanotype chemistry so it would be dry and ready to go when participants arrived. But he also demonstrated the process on a large mural print he was making for one of his art projects that is up for an award.

First, he and Hall taped O’Brien’s paper to the table using Frogtape — a green tape with little tack so it wouldn’t damage the paper — and then measured out the chemicals. Cyanotype is equal parts ferric ammonium citrate and potassium ferricyanide. Measuring each chemical separately so as not to add too much, he combined them in a glass bowl and began brushing on the mixture as evenly as possible onto the paper. Then he used a hair-dryer to dry the paper, and the rest of class went upstairs to begin laying out our cyanotypes.

Many students had followed O’Brien’s instructions from the previous week and printed black and white negatives to match the pre-coated paper size. Some used pieces of glass and cut out shapes instead, and some used a mixture of both. Once the negatives and ephemera were placed on the pre-treated sheets, they were put under glass and transferred to a large UV Light box that acted like an oven to bake our prints for 10 minutes each.

Everyone in the group were able to get several prints done each and experiment with various timings and placements. After exposing to UV light, the class went downstairs to Hall’s darkroom and washed the remaining chemistry off the prints until the water ran clear, then squeegeed the remaining water off and lay them in the drying racks to dry.

It was fun NYFA faculty to catch up with alumni and hear how everyone was doing and what they were up to. And it was great to see them interact in a mixed group of students from various cohorts.

NYFA MFA Alum Federico Imperiale stated, “It was great to see two professional photographers like Kean and Andrew working on a laboratory project. They were able to guide us through the understanding of the process, giving us a complete overview of the cyanotype technique and its expressive and aesthetic potential.”

The results of the cyanotype workshop were wonderful to behold and now students know how easy and fun it is and can do it from the comfort of their own home!

Interested in learning photography? Find out more information about the Photography programs at New York Film Academy today!

Written by Naomi White. Naomi is Co-Chair of Photography at NYFA Los Angeles.

How to Compose a Great Wide-Angle Photo

While it may be the simplest method, “Point and Shoot” photography will rarely give you the results you’re looking for when trying to capture the perfect image. The variables and options available to you with modern photography equipment and post-production software are nearly endless. Mastering these tools and techniques and knowing when to apply them is exactly why many professionals attend photography school in the first place.

Choosing the right lens is one of those options, and often times a wide-angle lens will be what you want to use. Here’s a quick primer on what you need to know when using a wide-angle lens.

Wide-Angle Lens

What is a wide-angle lens?

A wide-angle lens is any lens that has a wider field of view than what the human eye typically sees. With modern equipment, a 50mm lens is considered normal for full-frame cameras and equates to 35mm for APS-C or cropped sensors. Anything wider than 50mm is considered a wide-angle lens. Remember — the smaller the number for focal length, the wider the lens will be. If you go any wider than a 15mm lens (full frame), the lens is considered fisheye.

A wide-angle lens distorts your subject and enhances your perspective. The subject closer to the camera appears larger than objects farther away. They could be the same size in actuality, but will appear differently through your lens.

Why use a wide-angle lens?

By using a wide-angle lens, you add a sense of depth and inclusion to your photos. When used correctly, a wide-angle lens can create successful images that draw your audience in. They are also a simple way to capture as much image as possible. It’s common for photographers to use wide-angle lenses for landscapes as well as cityscapes and skylines, for example.

Mistakes to Avoid

If you are using a wide-angle lens to capture a particular subject, as opposed to a broader scene in general, you have to make sure this subject is relatively close to the lens. Shots should be taken within a few inches from your subject.

Make sure your photos have some depth — the subject should be up close, at least one other object at medium distance, and the background should be far away. These layers of depth add to your image. One mistake that some photographers make is having everything in their image an equal distance apart, giving their work a flat, uninspired look.

Wide-Angle Lens

How to Become a Travel Photographer on Instagram

Instagram isn’t just a place to show off your best selfies —  it’s also among the best social media platforms where you can enhance your photography skills. If you like to travel, Instagram is a great place to showcase your talent and maybe even make a living at the same time. However, if you are not sure on how to start, keep reading for some essential tips to help get you started:

Pick a niche style

For all the people on Instagram, a lot of the accounts really look the same. Having a particular niche style of your own helps to make your work stand out. It’s a huge advantage when people can tell the difference between your work and others’ at just a glance.

Your niche-style should reflect on the things you are interested in. Then, find ways to personalize the places you go to and make them as enjoyable as possible. This way, you will provide your audience with reasons to try and visit the same places. As a traveling photographer, you need to be persistent and exciting to ensure your niche has a professional appearance and contains your personality.

Set goals

Before you consider taking your camera and hitting the road, sit back and ask yourself a few questions. Find convincing reasons within yourself why you wish to become a travel photographer. Although this may seem like a simple step, it’s incredibly necessary. Once you are sure why you want to venture into the photography field, you can then divide your dreams into short-term and long-term goals. These goals will help to keep you focused, motivated and inspired, even when challenges are at their most extreme. If possible, write your goals in a journal and keep checking on them as often as possible.

Connect with others

In every business, having partners or people with the same goals as you helps you grow your business. From colleagues, you can learn new techniques and you can learn from their experience to understand the do’s and don’ts of the market. When you connect with other photographers, you are likely to learn trends or hashtags that will better expose your work. You can learn different techniques from others as well, and know what equipment you can upgrade to or what best suits your own style. Additionally, connecting with people from the places you travel to makes your trip much more insightful and worthwhile.

Build a portfolio

Photography is a craft as well as an artform, and it gets better with regular practice. Building a portfolio gives you the confidence of landing that big client or project. Pick your best shots and compile them together to sell your work.

While building your collection, you must also keep in mind it will represent you in the eyes of your clients as well as your followers. Therefore, you must ensure it contains your best shots, outlines your niche, and isn’t too much of the same of the look — show off your range!

Additionally, you can include services like professional essay writers from Australia to modify your portfolio. Writers will work on all your content needs to ensure you can share your skills with your audience authentically. While building your collection, you must also keep in mind it will represent you in the eyes of potential clients. Therefore, you must ensure it contains your best shots, outlines your niche, and has a balance in color.

 


Learn photography

Before you can become a travel photographer, you obviously have to learn at least the basics. Instagram will provide you with a platform with people of all generations. But the knowhow to get the right photos on that platform will take some learning.

As a travel photographer, you must know the right settings for your camera, have a mastery of basic composition and techniques, and learn a host of other skills, from basic to more advanced.

You must also have a passion for your work. You must be willing to learn various quality standards and have an eye that can capture and see the world creatively. Also, be open to learning something new and expanding both your eyes and your viewpoints.

Attending workshops or photography schools such as the programs offered at New York Film Academy is a great first step. Travel is a wide field and although it will take time before you land your biggest gig, it can be a very rewarding job or hobby. Getting followers is one thing; giving them a good reason to follow you is another!

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