photography

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!

How to Photograph Camera-Shy People

The advent of smartphones means more people are snapping photos every day. Whether it’s an endless supply of selfies or taking pics of friends and family, the average individual doesn’t mind stepping in front of the camera, but toss in a professional photographer and suddenly even the most photogenic of people can become uneasy. From bashful children to self-conscious adults, here are a few tips to have a successful shoot no matter how camera-shy your subject:

Do Your Part to Make Them Comfortable

It’s easy for a person to become shy if they’re not used to being photographed, or they don’t know the photographer. Since the entire shoot depends on the collaboration and relationship between you and your subject, it’s your job to make them feel relaxed enough to create the shot you are looking for. Form a connection with the person, just like you would with anyone else — by talking.

Get to know your subjects before you start shooting away in order to build a brief but important relationship, where you become more than just the guy or gal hitting the shutter button. That little bit of trust can make it much easier to direct poses, gain access, and help your subject feel at ease enough to look natural.

Pro tip: Break the ice by asking questions, finding a common interest to talk about, and communicating clearly throughout the shoot so that your subject feels relaxed, safe, and included in the process.

Keep Them Busy and Moving

For whatever reason, people being photographed are more likely to feel awkward when they’re standing still. Folks who love it in front of the camera have no trouble holding a pose for a while, but the same can’t be said for the rest of us. If your shy subject is looking stiff, keep them moving.

Since your camera shy subject is probably not a professional model, be prepared to offer suggestions, directions, and compliments throughout the shoot. You are the director as well as the photographer, and offering leadership in terms of movement and position can help an uneasy subject. Focusing on your orders will give them little time to worry about whether they look weird or not, especially if you’ve already built trust and established a rapport.

Pro tip: Though it might sound silly, asking your subject to do things like stretching and jumping can help them shake off nerves and get out of their heads.

Make Them Feel Awesome

Speaking of giving orders, make sure that’s not the only thing you’re doing — or else you’ll risk making the subject even more anxious. Offer positive feedback throughout the session so they get a boost of confidence. Even if you’re still searching for the shot, be sure to be vocal about what they’re doing that’s working.

Giving your subject complements outside of their poses and movement is also key. Again, you’re working on establishing a rapport, so finding positive ways to encourage your subject and pay them compliments — even if the compliments are not about photography.

Pro tip: Remind your camera shy subject that they are brave and bold and doing something unique and positive by stepping out of their comfort zone for your photo shoot!

Make it a Fun Experience

Even the most timid person can let loose when they’re having a genuinely good time. Having a sense of humor, staying relaxed, and keeping your sense of humor handy as the photographer works wonders when you want to create a pleasant photography environment.

Another idea that works great with both kids and adults is introducing props. Bring along some funny photo props so your subject can come out of their shell by being goofy and creative. Even camera shy people can ham it up for a photo with silly hats, masks, or costumes.

Also try playing music during the shoot, so your subjects don’t feel pressured to fill the silence. Music can also help set the mood for the shoot, so choose your playlist carefully — or invite your camera-shy subject to choose music that makes them feel comfortable!

Pro tip: If you’re not relaxed or having fun, your camera shy subject probably isn’t either. As the photographer, you can lead the way by having a good time, being considerate, and setting the mood for a professional and fun shoot.

Learn more about Photography at the New York Film Academy.

Photography Marketing 101: 4 Tips for Developing Your Unique Selling Proposition

In a time when just about everyone has a smart device with a camera, more people than ever are giving photography career options a shot. With an influx of individual photographers out there, those who really want to make money off their work must have a unique selling proposition that draws attention and makes them stand out.

To set yourself apart from the crowd and find success as a photographer, consider the following nuggets of marketing advice.

Make It All About Your Strengths

A unique selling proposition should always revolve around what makes you “better” than the competition, no matter how big or small the advantage is. If the average photographer takes X amount of time to complete a certain task and your strength is doing that same task efficiently in half the time, there’s the foundation for your unique selling proposition.

If you need an idea, consider how Domino’s Pizza got its explosive start. Instead of a crazy topping or special ingredient, their original selling proposition was promising that your pizza would arrive in 30 minutes or else it was free.

Do you have a knack for photographing pets or have time for free pre-event photo shoots? Figure out what you’re good or can offer and go with it.

Find Your Target Audience

No matter how versatile you are as a photographer, you’re more likely to find financial success if you focus on a particular area. For example, there are photographers out there who have mastered the art of capturing food and know there are plenty of websites and magazines willing to pay good money for their work. Because of their specialty, their unique selling proposition will tend to be different than someone who photographs, say, boats or lawn gnomes.

Once you narrow down who would be most likely to like your work, build a unique selling proposition around what they want and why you’re the one they need. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and ask what they’d love to hear to be convinced that you cater specifically to them and have something different when compared to the competition.

Develop An Elevator Pitch

You may be in trouble if you can’t express why your photography is worth checking out without reading off a paper or going into a lengthy, robotic monologue. You can’t have a strong selling proposition without an elevator pitch— a concise explanation of why your talent and work will make their life better and/or solve their problems. While there’s no exact length it needs to be, shoot for trying to capture a consumer’s attention in as much time as the average length of a TV commercial.

In other words, less than a minute. If this sounds like a daunting task, even if you’re confident in your work, then perhaps you need to either do more research on who your target demographic is or go back to analyzing your strengths. Having an idea of who your ideal customer is, along with a lively, condensed pitch you developed just for them, is a key part of any unique selling proposition.

Inject Your Personality

The challenge big companies have is coming up with an image that encapsulates the entire strategy. One advantage you have as an individual photographer is being able to wield your personality in order to sell your work. There’s no better way to flaunt your skills, experience, and character traits than by adding a touch of yourself.

If you’re confident in your abilities or always know how to make a good impression with humor, stamp that bit of yourself into your unique selling proposition. It’s hard for competitors to go up against a personality that resonates with people, especially when talking about fashion photography and other areas where you’rehttps://www.nyfa.edu/student-resources/5-tips-for-landing-paid-fashion-photography-work/ expected to interact with models.

Top 5 Pieces of Gear You Need for Travel Video and Photography

As a photographer or a videographer, traveling to locations outside of where you live is sometimes inevitable, so don’t leave yourself unprepared for the road! A lack of planning can lead to damaged, lost, or dirty equipment.

We’ve outlined the top five pieces of gear to use when traveling with photography and video equipment. With these essential pieces in place, you’ll be well on your way to keeping your equipment safe, and ensuring you get the best shots that you can get — no matter where you travel.

Travel Bag or Backpack

Sony Bag

Film Video Sony Bag Lens Camera Photography

A bag or backpack to carry your camera body, lenses, and other photography accessories is a must when you are traveling for work. It’s worth it to invest in a backpack that is specifically made to handle photography equipment, with specifically design compartments and special materials built to protect and encase your equipment. Don’t make the mistake in throwing your equipment in whatever bag you have available, because the chances of your gear getting damaged will be pretty high.

When selecting a backpack, there are a few components you will want to have to help keep your equipment organized. A standard photography backpack will have padded, internal dividers to hold multiple lenses, as well as the camera body. External pockets are great to hold accessories like USB cords, batteries and chargers, memory cards, and cleaning kits. Depending on your budget and needs, some backpacks can also carry mono- or tripods, tablets or laptops, and may include a rain cover.

If you need help selecting a backpack that fits your needs, read Carryology’s article, “The Best Camera Backpacks Buyer’s Guide 2017.”

Memory Cards and Memory Card Readers

Memory Cards
It’s a good idea to always keep extra memory cards on hand. Every photographer has their own preference when it comes to brand and size, but keep two or three extra handy. Nothing is more disappointing than damaging or losing the only memory card that’s with you.

Card Reader
A standard USB memory card reader is also a great tool for you to have while you are traveling. USB is a lot more common, and gives you the flexibility to use it on more devices. You can connect to any laptop or tablet no matter where you are located.

Mono and Tripods

 

Tripod

Mono and tripods are essential to capturing a great photograph in all different types of situations. Why should you use one?

If you are photographing nature or animals, you could be there for hours waiting for the right shot. If you are using a telephoto lens, they tend to get heavy. They are also difficult to steady and could lead to blurry photos. Tripods help reduce unwanted movement when you are trying to get creative with close-up shots. The list of reasons to use a tripod when photographing and traveling is endless.

If you don’t have the room to carry a tripod, you can also use a monopod, or a tabletop tripod or clamp.

Cleaning Gear  

Cleaning gear is sometimes an afterthought, but you should always keep a kit in your bag. No one wants to be on location for a shoot only to find a grease spot or a large piece of dust on the lens.

Rocket blowers and brushes are great to have because you can dislodge dust from the camera lens or from inside the camera body. There are more extensive cleaning kits that include lens pen, cleaning tissues, and microfiber wipe clothes.

Power Strips

When you are traveling, access to multiple outlets may be out of the question. If you have camera batteries or other items to charge, it can be difficult to charge everything at once. A collapsible power strip is a great solution: it is easy to carry, can fit in any camera bag, and you can plug in multiple items.

Monster Outlets to Go 4 plugs into one outlet, but allows you to charge up to four items at one time. The design allows you to wrap the cord securely around the flat power strip for easy traveling.

Whether you are staying stateside or traveling internationally, you should always be prepared. The photography gear outlined above will help you protect your equipment, keep it clean, and get the best photographs possible.

What photography or video gear do you have to have when you are traveling? Let us know below! And learn more about photography at the New York Film Academy.

Photography Backdrops You Can Find Anywhere

Photography Backdrops You Can Find Anywhere

A good photographer can find a great backdrop, no matter where they are in real time. They look at their surroundings, the type of lighting that is available, and their subject. To ensure the best photographs possible, no matter the location, we’ve highlighted some backdrops that you can find anywhere.

The best part is that some of these backdrops won’t cost you anything! Now you can have some great results without breaking the bank.

Neutral Backdrops

Nothing says simplicity like a neutral backdrop — whether it’s stark white, grey, or black. Photographers who are just starting out may be able to work on a project like professional headshots, but may not have the backdrop and mounting equipment they need. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of your surroundings. A clean wall can be sufficient.

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Neutral backdrops, like the one featured above, allow the audience to really focus on the subject. Let the subject and the details speak for itself in the photograph, don’t rely on a backdrop to add to it.

If you have the time to prepare before a shoot and you’re working on limited funds, here are some other neutral backgrounds that you can use:

  • Painters’ drop clothes
  • White paper rolls
  • Brown packing paper
  • Drawer lining paper

Textured Backdrops

Textured backdrops, like a brick wall, are a great alternative to neutral, plain backgrounds. Brick walls can be found just about anywhere you go, and are perfect for impromptu photo shoots. Red or whitewashed brick walls will add an artsy, weathered look to photos and serve as a textural counterpoint your photography subject.

If you are feeling adventurous, try out other textured backgrounds including:

  • Garage doors
  • Barn doors and walls
  • Shiplap walls
  • Metal or wood fences
  • Corrugated metal walls

Textured

Graffiti

Graffiti is one of those things that you can find no matter where you are in the world. It might come as a surprise, but graffiti can make a great photography backdrop when it’s used correctly. Place your subject in front the graffiti, focus on the subject, and blur the graffiti in the background. Or you can blur your subject in the foreground to focus on the graffiti.

For more ideas on photographing graffiti, Widewalls’ “Top 10 Street Art Photographers” examines photographers who capture street artists and their graffiti artwork.

Nature

Nature is a beautiful backdrop for photography, especially when the sun is setting and the light is just right. Just like using graffiti as a backdrop, there is so much a photographer can do with nature. It doesn’t matter if you are an amateur or professional photographer — take a chance and experiment with your subject, the lightning, and different angles. Need some inspiration for nature shots? You can use the following as a backdrop for your photography:

  • Fields
  • Parks
  • Mountains
  • Beaches
  • Lakes, rivers, or streams
  • Forests

What are you waiting for? It’s time to hop in your car or on your bike to find a backdrop that will make your photographs really stand out.

Do you have any special backdrops for photography that you can find just about anywhere you go? We would love to know below! Learn more about photography at the New York Film Academy.

NYFA Photography School Dishes on Favorite Vintage Photography

Most of us who fall in love with photography remember the moment we saw a specific image that changed the way we see the world. Whether the “Afghan girl” on the cover of National Geographic or the WWII sailor kissing the nurse in Times Square, many images have stamped their mark not only on our hearts, but on history.

In photography, the industry moves fast — but that doesn’t mean that powerful images can’t stand the test of time. In fact, vintage photographs (images more than 20 years old) are a vital part of shaping our understanding of photography as an artform, and learning to see the world a bit differently.

This week, we asked our NYFA Photography School to weigh in on their favorite classic photographers and their favorite vintage photographs. Check out what they had to say!

NYFA Photography Senior Program Coordinator John Tona:

Armed with nothing more than his 35mm camera, LIFE’s Robert Capa joined the 34,250 troops who landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day.

Although only a few images survived that day, his most iconic image of Private First Class Huston Riley gave the world a view of the dangers faced by soldiers during war:

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Image © Robert Capa Normandy France June 6th, 1944

What makes this image even more impactful for me is the perspective in which Capa made this photograph, turning his back to the Nazis to capture Riley making his way through the surf toward the enemy.

NYFA Instructor Jackie Neale:

Robert Frank would be my favorite photographer of yore.

Robert Frank’s photographs from his book, “The Americans” (1958), display 35mm vernacular photography at its best. Frank framed and captured time as if we, the viewer, happened into the remarkable split second just as the persons, the wall, the ceiling, the car, the baby, the cowboy, the bus all orchestrate themselves into lyrical narratives of space, geometry, timing, contrast, gestures, and humanly beauty.

Frank mastered timing and the abstraction of time all at once. Robert Frank is my favorite photographer and his work from over a half century is a glowing example of making the photograph into a relic and revealed object of art.

NYFA Instructor Paul Sunday:

My favorite “vintage” photography is that of Man Ray:

Copyright: © Man Ray Trust ARS-ADAGP

Copyright: © Man Ray Trust ARS-ADAGP

His enthusiastic experimentation early in the last century set the stage for the future of photography’s infinite possibilities. He was an interdisciplinary artist and, in his photography, a great adventurer — exploring every aspect of the form, from portraiture to abstraction.

NYFA Instructor Jaime Permute:

Growing up in Guatemala, we did not have access to photographic schools such as the New York Film Academy. We were all essentially self-taught. We pored over photographic books and magazines and tried to befriend more established photographers in our efforts to learn the tools of the trade. I was lucky that my father was an avid photographer himself and had a substantial library at home. This is how, even without ever meeting him personally, Manuel Alvarez Bravo became one of my great teachers. During my teenage years, his monograph “Instante y Revelación” was my constant companion.

Alvarez Bravo is Mexico’s most famous photographer. His life spans exactly 100 years and it begins and ends with the 20th century. Alvarez Bravo had a prolific and distinguished career. His circle of intimate friends include some of the most notable writers and artists of his times: Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Octavio Paz, Edward Weston, Tina Modotti, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Andre Breton, Sergei Eisenstein and many others.

Alvarez Bravo is most commonly understood in the context of surrealism. However, one might also argue that his work is essentially documentary in nature and that the reality of Mexico itself lends his photographs their mysterious and dreamlike quality. My greatest debt to Alvarez Bravo is his understanding of the poetics of image-making and how artistic intention reveals the other side of reality, the one that lies hidden and out of sight, beyond the mere surface of things.

NYFA Instructor Joan Pamboukes:

One of my favorite artists and major influences is László Moholy-Nagy.

I’ve always loved to read and learn about Moholy-Nagy’s experimentations not only in the darkroom but also with other types of media (especially his Light Space Modulators, these kooky sculptures that made colorful light patterns).

He was something of a mad scientist, an innovative thinker, and an educator at the Bauhaus. He encouraged photographers and his students, as part of the New Vision, to witness and document the world in unexpected ways, utilizing strange vantage points and abstracting reality. He also embraced technology and sought to incorporate that into his artwork.

You can find more information about his life and work from the Moholy-Nagy Foundation.

NYFA Instructor Kristina S. Varaksina:

Photography by Lewis Carroll

Photograph by Lewis Carroll


Lewis Carroll
, the famous writer, was also an incredibly talented photographer. He made a big contribution to the development of children’s portrait and fashion photography. He often worked with sets, props, and wardrobes. To this day, similar ideas can be found in many photographers’ work. His ability to capture natural emotions and the mature side of children is fascinating.

His long career as a photographer (1856-1880) coincides with the “Golden Era” of 19th century photography, which centered on the wet collodion “wet plate” negative process and the corresponding positive albumen print process.

What are your favorite vintage photos? Who are your favorite master photographers from the past? Why? Let us know in the comments below! And learn more about photography at the New York Film Academy.

A Q&A With New York Film Academy Photography Conservatory Student Tanne Willow

Photo by Tanne Willow

Photo by Tanne Willow


Known for decades as a cutting-edge leader in crafting fine light-shaping and flash tools for professional photographers, Profoto is a Swedish company that recently
featured New York Film Academy (NYFA) 2-Year Photography Conservatory student Tanne Willow and her images in their Local News section.

A true representative of NYFA’s diverse international community, Tanne original hails from Sweden and has lived in Denmark, France, and the United States. With a background in dance and an obsession for motion, her work has a truly unique energy and it’s easy to see why she was chosen by Profoto to spotlight as a “Rising Light.”

In the midst of her fourth semester at the New York Film Academy, Tanne took the time to answer some questions and to share part of her story with our student community. Read on to hear more about her pathway to NYFA, her favorite photography equipment, and how surviving a busy semester is helping her create her own professional identity as a photographer.

NYFA: You worked for many years as a dancer before deciding to go back to school for photography. Can you tell us a little bit about your experience studying in NYFA’s Photography Conservatory, as an adult continuing education student?

TW: Before I came to NYFA I had quite a few years of experience but it had been a very long time since I had last studied, and I felt there were a lot of holes in my knowledge. To be able to come here and build it up from the base even though I had preexisting knowledge was completely a revolt. It changed everything.

Today I can say with confidence that I am a photographer and know that there is a certain professionalism that comes with that word that I possess, and I can now deliver on a professional level consistent work. I know my own limits in a completely different way, and I also know my capabilities after these two years. It has really meant everything in that sense.

 

Photo by Tanne Willow

Photo by Tanne Willow

 

NYFA: Can you tell us how your featured story on Profoto came about?

TW: I sent in my images for submission, and I was chosen. There was a call from my [NYFA Los Angeles] teacher Amanda Rowan, she was the one who put me in touch with the Profoto agency.

NYFA: What is your absolute essential toolkit for a shoot? Any equipment you can’t leave the house without?

TW: It depends on what I am shooting, and for every shoot there is a different toolkit. I shoot in very many ways. I shoot digitally but also analogically on large format — 4×5, and medium format also. The only thing I can say I can’t leave my house without is my camera! That’s the essential part photography can’t happen without — and me and my eye! As long as I have my camera, I can do something.

NYFA: What’s next for you? Can you tell us about any upcoming projects you’re working on?

TW: I’m currently in my fourth semester at NYFA and working on my thesis project, “Matriarch.” It’s a study about the definition of femininity — something I am quite unclear about. Growing up as a female in this world, I have experienced different countries. Being born in Sweden, living in Holland, France and the U.S., I have seen many variations of how femininity is defined and how females and non-females are defined by femininity. I have heard myself being described as feminine and I have used the word myself, but I have a very ambivalent relationship with it — because of that fact that it is so so attached to my being somehow, yet I see the difficulties that I have myself, in the world around me, in knowing what we mean when we use this term.

What I do is I work with performance artists. I search for the physical interpretation of their ideas of what femininity is. I discuss with them what they think it is and how they define femininity, then they improvise under my direction. And I photograph them. I document them both digitally, all environmental portraits. The cameras I use in my thesis are a Canon 5D Mark III, with a 24-70mm lens, and a Toyo 4x5in View-camera, with a 90mm lens. 

NYFA: What are your goals as a photographer?

TW: My main dream is fine arts exhibitions, also shooting fitness (dance background) and have lots of experience in shooting motion-filled images. My preferred way to work is with people in motion, whether it’s fine arts or commercial photography. This is my main interest. I thoroughly enjoy the analogue part of photography and I wish I could incorporate that in my career with lab and print work.

 

Photo by Tanne Willow

Photo by Tanne Willow

The New York Film Academy would like to thank Tanne Willow for taking the time to share a part of her story with our student community.

Ready to go back to school as a continuing education student? Check out the New York Film Academy’s Photography 2-Conservatory programs!

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.

baby-2172318_960_720

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

girls-462072_960_720

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

children-1160096_960_720

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.

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: 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!

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.

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.

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!