Photography News Issue 28 absolutephoto.com
16 for 2016 Kick-start a year of great photography with the PN team’s pick of creative ideas, new kit & photo projects…
We all start the new year wanting to learn new skills, get more creative with our photography or better organise our photographic lives, but how exactly do you do that? There are so many things you could to try that deciding howto takeyour skills forwardor improveyourworkflow can seem like an insurmountable job in itself. Do you need new gear? If so, what kind? A new camera body or lenses? A new tripod or new lighting equipment? And what about pushing yourself creatively? You’ve probably already thought of setting yourself some projects this
year, like taking a photo every day in a 365 project or following something more specific, such as sticking to a particular type of landscape or a certain style of portraits. All those things can help, and more besides – that’s why this month we’re bringing you some top ideas that will propel you into a phototastic 2016. Next to each entry you’ll find a tick box, so you can tick it off the list when you’ve done it – by the end of the year, or a fewmonths if you’re a really fast worker – we’re sure you’ll feel like a brand-new photographer.
2. Shoot like it’s 1966says WillCheung:
“Despite all the advantages that digital photography has brought us, film cameras are still hanging in there, and companies like Lomography (lomography.com) make it easy to get involved with this most retro of trends. There’s a real joy in taking the time to shoot film again, whether it comes from the thrill of viewing a set of prints for the first time, the realisation that you
have only limited chances to nail what you’re shooting, or simply the way that images shot on film can have an authenticity that digital sometimes lacks. I’ve rifled through the attic for some old cameras to play with, but have also decided to go the whole hog and picked up a ‘new-old’ model – Lomography’s Belair X 6-12 City Slicker. At just under £200, this is a medium-format body that comes with lots of customisable features and has an electronic shutter system that makes exposure much easier, but there’s also a Bulb setting for low-light and long-exposure work. Using 120 film the camera’s 6x12 framing creates striking panoramas, but it can also shoot in 6x6cm and 6x9cm formats. Its bellows system allows it to collapse into a very portable package, and it also offers interchangeable lenses with a standard 90mm and wide-angle 58mm on offer (this is medium- format remember!).”
Get published in 2016
1. Make a photo book
One of the biggest criticisms levelled at digital photography is that people just don’t print their pictures any more. That’s somewhat ironic considering printing can be achieved more easily and at a higher quality than ever before. Nowhere is this truer than in the sphere of photo books – bespoke collections of your photos that you can put together with a professional finish. In fact, until you’ve seen a book containing your work, it’s difficult to gauge how seeing it beautifully presented and bound in a collection can improve its impact. Some great photo book examples can be found at Aperture Books (aperturebooks.com). Whether you’re planning a book for a loved one, a client or even as an archival record of your own work like the culmination of a project in 2016, there’s loads to choose from. One of our favourites is the A3 Deluxe landscape coffee table book; at a basic £109, this tome is hand produced in the UK with a standard 60 easy-turning pages (you can add or subtract from that number), and it allows you to feature shots in full panoramic format across the spreads while the covers are printed on 4mm board and laminated in a matte finish. Then there’s the very cute A5 sized, softcover portrait books, starting at £45, which can hold up to 150 pages and slot right into your bookcase with a colourful perfect bound spine.
Have you ever shot portraits in a studio environment? If not, it can seem pretty scary. Not only do you have the complexities of flash lighting to master, you could be working with highly-strung models, and all of it with the spectre of the studio’s meter running. Well, 2016 is the time to explode those myths by diving into studio photography, where you’ll soon find it’s a lot easier and more enjoyable than you’d ever have expected. In reality, studio time can be very affordable; take Paul’s Studio (pauls-studio.co.uk) in Reading for example, where the hourly rate for studio hire is £25 per hour (with reductions available for longer and repeat bookings) which includes use of lights, props, backdrops, advice and ideas (there’s even free tea and coffee if you ask nicely). Studios like Paul’s can also be very helpful in picking models for you, and if you don’t want to deal with it direct you can hire regular subjects through the studio. Give it a try and you won’t look back! 3. Shoot inaproper studio
Take pro-style portraits
One of the easiest and least expensive ways to upgrade the look of your pics in 2016 is to make more use of filters. But which ones should you be investing in, and why would you even need physical filters when so many effects can now be replicated digitally? Well for one thing, there are some jobs that filters do which simply can’t be replicated digitally. For instance, there’s no substitute for a high-quality neutral density (ND) filter to block the light giving you access to slower shutter speeds or wider apertures in bright light. Just the same, the effect of a polarising filter in removing reflections from glass or water can’t be faked. And of course, there’s also the enjoyment of doing things ‘properly’ and getting things right at the moment of capture. The first step is to decide on a system, and they don’t come much better than those from Lee Filters (leefilters.com). A great place to start is the 4. Makemore use of filters
aptly named 100mm DSLR Starter kit at around £230. This includes a 100mm filter holder, a Lee ProGlass 0.6 standard ND filter, a 0.6 ND Hard Grad filter, a soft cleaning cloth and a Tri-Pouch, which holds three filters, a holder and adapter rings. All you need in addition is to pick an adapter ring to suit your lens’s filter size, and the world of filters will be ready and waiting to explore.
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