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The Importance of ‘Relationships’ in Photography

August 29, 2013
By Maria Slough, of Maria Slough Photography. This week, we are introducing Maria Slough, a portrait and media reportage photographer whose photos are used to gain press coverage across magazines and newspapers. Maria will be guest blogging on the topic of finding relationships in photography, thus helping us PhotoBoxers become better photographers. Over to Maria for more info on the topic… Maria: There are many different relationships in photography. By “relationship”, I mean the way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected. It begins with the unique relationship that we have with our camera or smartphone. Next consider the relationship that you form, sometimes instantly, with the subject that has inspired you to immortalise its image. Finally it involves the relationship that your photograph inspires in its viewer. Whatever genre of photography you enjoy, seek out these relationships within the potential picture and you will be rewarded with amazing results! 1. People Capturing relationships between people is a real privilege. Be ready to photograph the stolen moments which come in-between the posed shots. This is when people are momentarily relaxed and the emotions of what is normally only shared privately, is briefly revealed to us, such as in the photograph below of Times Best Selling Author, Pen Farthing and his family. The photograph of actor Martin Clunes and his horse Chester taken during a shoot for Your Horse Magazine, shows there is a playful side to their relationship. There are other more subtle relationships to look out for. The first picture below shows the relationship that the Violinist shares with her instrument, and the second is about the relationship between her image and its reflections. 2. Places When photographing locations look for the relationship between the foreground and its backdrop. Unusual perspectives always stand out so be bold and move around to get the shot. You will find relationships everywhere – between what lies above and below the horizon; between reflections and shadows; and between your subject and the main light source such as in the first picture below: In contrast the relationship between two clouds in this second picture below appears to be hostile. This cloud formation was made even more dramatic by the relationship between the dark shadows at the top and bottom of the photograph. 3. Animals Photographing animals is often a challenge but extremely rewarding. Simplify the process by deciding what relationship you want to capture. Is it the relationship between two animals; between a pet and its toy; or are you looking to make a single shot more interesting? To make your photograph stand out, look for a natural relationship of colour and contrast within the shot such as in the pictures below. The dog’s brown eyes and brown markings form a natural relationship of colour. Similarly, the grey of the gravel and the green of the grass emphasise the cat’s colouring. 4. The Lens Finally, encourage anyone you are photographing to form a relationship with your lens. Reverse the roles

Six Life-Affirming Photos that have defined the 2000s

August 19, 2013
Today, photos are such a commonplace part of our lives that we have forgotten how important this free gift to humanity is. Photos express and immortalise our prized experiences, milestones in one’s life, as well as very powerfully convey events across the world. Despite the prevalence of TV and video, the ability of photos to move and inspire remains unchanged. To celebrate the enduring importance and power of photography, 19th August has been defined as World Photography Day, an international day whose purpose is to recognise photography as a gift which is truly ‘Free to the World’. World Photography Day marks the invention of the Daguerroetype, a photographic process developed by Joseph Nicèphore Nièpce and Louis Daguerre, which was announced on 19th August 1839. Since then photography has come a long way with digital cameras and Smartphones. To acknowledge World Photography Day, we bring you six life-affirming photos that capture historical milestones since the year 2000. While we are aware that the most instantly recognisable images from the noughties revolve around civil unrest, war and conflict in general, we have assembled for you six photos that depict human achievement, technological innovation, or a sense of triumph or nostalgia that has made the last 13 years so interesting. Please don’t hesitate to share with us any other pictures that have marked the decade for you. 1. The tribute in light shines on the fifth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the Word Trade Centre in NYC. They shine both potently and hauntingly as a reminder of the presence of the absent twin towers, which were such a notable fixture on the NYC skyline. Today, the new building One World Trade Centre occupies the previous site, suggesting that symbolic rejuvenation is well underway. 2. The Concorde takes off for the last time as flight 216 on November 26, 2003 from Heathrow airport en route to Filton airport (near Bristol) where it would become part of a heritage centre. The Concorde breaks the supersonic barrier one last time at twice the speed of sound. This photo captures our sense of loss and nostalgia at the abandonment of a technological marvel. 3. In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Michel Phelps won an unprecedented medley of Gold medals, while breaking numerous World and Olympic records. This photo was taken after he won the 4x100m freestyle relay swim, and has become one of the most defining photos expressing human perseverance and sporting achievement. 4. When Iceland’s EyjaFjallajokull erupted in 2010, it caused massive air transport chaos throughout Western Europe. However, on April 22 the Northern Lights were seen above the volcano – making for a splendid photo contrasting ethereal beauty in the skies and geographic violence on Earth.  5. The Diamond Jubilee in 2012 marked the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II to the throne. This photo captures the exciting culmination of the Diamond Jubilee concert held on 4th June 2012, outside Buckingham Palace, and which was partially attended by the Queen. 6. On 19th July,

How to take great photos of your pets

August 15, 2013
Pets play a huge part in most families – but most of the time they just want to make things extremely hard when it comes to trying to get a successful photograph of them. Although some of you may have it down to a tee, some of us don’t find it easy at all. So to lend a helping hand, we have come up with some guidelines to help you get a pet photo that you can be truly proud of. Make the most of your pet’s character If your pet is very sleepy, then picture them sleeping, if they’re hyperactive and playful then capture them leaping in the air or performing their favourite trick. At the end of the day, no one knows your pet better than you do, so play to his or her strengths. Use natural light If it’s possible, then we advise that you should always use natural light when trying to take a photograph of your pet. Try to avoid the flash at all cost, as not only will it cause red eye but it will also frighten your pet, so any preparation you have already made will be lost. Try Macro Dig out that long lens and make your pet the centre of attention. Fill the frame with your pet’s face and get some stunning portraits. Catch them unaware It is probably one of the hardest tasks trying to get your pet to stay still when you actually want them to be – which is why it is a good idea to photograph them when they’re surprised. Call or whistle at them and in the few seconds that you have their attention, make sure you get that snap! Take more than one If your pet is doing something that you just have to photograph, then get down close to them and just keep taking photos one after the other. Your pet may become impatient and move around a lot, but keep persisting and you will get the most unexpected and best photos of it. Be patient Trying to get a perfect picture of your pet isn’t something that is going to come after your first try – it demands a lot of patience. Once you start taking a few snaps, your pet will eventually calm down and that will be the perfect time to try and get that one flawless shot. Be experimental If you have gone to the trouble of setting up a photo session, be sure to make the most of it. Experiment with different angles and approaches, take loads of different shots, and you’ll be sure to have one truly outstanding photo. © Jessica Keating Photography If your pet is dark-coloured It’s pretty hard getting that perfect shot when your pet has dark fur. But finding a complimentary background for your pet is one easy option to help with this – try to make it as light and bright as possible, so all the attention is drawn to your pet. Do

How to improve your summer photos with filters

August 1, 2013
You see a gorgeous summer image with your naked eyes, and wish to capture this and other summer highlights forever. However, after clicking the button, your photos come out appearing ‘washed out’, overexposed or hazy. If you encounter this problem frequently, feel safe, you are in the majority! Many casual and even pro photographers deal with this situation every summer, and the solution is simple: use camera filters. Here are some of our basic filter tips to help you: Polarising Filters These are incredibly useful for outdoor summer photos, as they make clouds stand out and ‘pop’ from the surrounding blue skies, making them that much more vivid. Your landscape photos will now feature thick, voluminous fluffy clouds. Moreover, unwanted reflections from bodies of water will be eliminated, so water becomes far more transparent. Perfect for those seaside photos! UV and Skylight Filters UV filters are colourless, while Skylight filters are pinkish. They primarily absorb UV rays, to provide a cleaner, sharper photo. If you are photographing by the seaside, river or even in mountainous regions this summer, UV filters are essential in reducing flare. In addition, they keep skin tones neutral, so you can avoid your subjects’ skin tone looking pinkish and blushed. Your kids and friends can now be presented in their best light. Plus, they protect the front element of your lens from scratches and dirt! Neutral Density Filters There is one special use for ND filters on a bright summer day – they allow you to take photos of moving bodies of water like a waterfall, in such a way that a beautiful motion blur or ‘misty’ effect is created, assuming you use a tripod. They also reduce the visibility of fast moving objects, such as people playing volleyball or running around at a beach, so that your main subject (for example your smiling son or daughter), remains at the centre of attention in the photo, if they remain relatively still. You have ‘frozen’ their joyful expressions amidst a blur of summer beach activity. Do you have any further filter tips to share? Have you tried the above filters before and did they help you at all? And most importantly, what are you doing with those pictures? They can’t be trapped/left in your camera?  

Tips for taking Group Snaps

July 22, 2013
“Everyone squeeze in!” is the familiar phrase heard whenever you’re taking or being part of a group photograph. Creating a group shot is never as easy as it first seems – so we have come up with a few pointers to help you attain that perfect group photo. Zoom in If your surroundings aren’t that great, then zoom in on your group and just get a head shot. Sometimes these can be a lot more effective, because you have a more intimate photograph with your subjects. Change perspective Try standing on a chair (or something similar), which is a really useful vantage point when taking a large group shot. Get them all to look up at the camera as you’re perched up high, ‘say CHEESE’ and there you have a great group photograph. Take your photos outside Once you get outside, your light conditions will be far improved, as long as you are not in direct sunlight! This means you have a greater variety of backdrops and space to work with, which will make your photo taking experience far easier. Take more than one The more photographs you take, the more likely you are to grab the perfect shot – and the more you take, the more comfortable the group you’re photographing will become. Timing Timing definitely is everything when you’re taking a group photograph – in just a second one of your subjects could blink, move or turn their head away. So you need to carefully observe the group, and know exactly when to push that button. And more importantly… HAVE FUN! Once you’ve found a great group shot that you’re proud of, bring it to life on a PhotoBox product and wait for the WOW factor at the next group gathering! Do you have any further tips for creating great group snaps? If you do, please share them with us at the end of this blog piece.