A powerful portfolio involves so much more than just a strong grasp of the technical aspects of photography—it’s a complex mix of style, techniques, and intriguing ideas. Many photographers struggle to achieve a high-impact portfolio, feeling that they lack the creative spark to invigorate them and move their work forward.
As primarily a landscape photographer Iam often in a situation where I am struggling to give a feeling of scale to big dramatic views. I will look for something to place close to the camera, such as a dramatic flower or rock, to capture the viewer’s attention and draw them deeper into the photo. In some cases, though, I find including a person rather than a natural element within the scene does a better job of it. Not only does the figure add scale, but it also makes viewers feel like they are standing within the scene rather than looking at a print on the wall, a kind of visual empathy.
It is probably true that a photographer, through almost single-minded devotion to a place, can help make it known, understood, and appreciated. But the converse is also true. A place can make a photographer. Its beauty, its landscape, its human dimensions, its impact on the creative spirit can mold or shape a photographer—both as artist and person. That’s been the experience of fine art photographer William Davis in his 45-year symbiotic relationship with Northern New Mexico and the small town of Taos.
Apr 07, 2014
Published: Feb 01, 2014
The idea for Phil Pantano’s photographic series, “The American Worker,” walked into his office at a local steel mill in Lackawanna, New York, where Pantano holds a day job as a computer analyst. The man who came through the door was Jay “Elvis” Borzillieri, a fourth-generation steelworker whose father died in the mill. It doesn’t matter to the story what Elvis stopped in for that day, but when Pantano looked into his face a flash went off in his mind.
Vincent van Gogh once said, “Stars are the souls of dead poets, but to become a star you have to die.” Vivian Maier (1926 - 2009) was an amateur photographer who had no desire to share her work with anyone during her life, and kept a treasure trove of over 100,000 prints, negatives, and films in five storage lockers in Chicago. By several twists of fate, they ended up in the hands of a few collectors who recognized their unique quality, and are now shown in books, documentaries, museums, and galleries throughout the world.
Mar 25, 2014
Published: Feb 01, 2014
Widely regarded as “a photographer’s photographer,” Gregory Heisler has been described as having “the mind of a scientist, the heart of a journalist, and the eye of an artist.” Known for his candor, humor, and generosity as a teacher, he is able to convey the most complex photographic concepts simply and elegantly. In the long-awaited Gregory Heisler: 50 Portraits (Amphoto Books, October 22, 2013, $40) he takes us on a guided tour of his innovative editorial images and iconic portraits, engagingly illuminated by his insightful and highly personal perspective.
As technology changes so do methods of presentation. In this article I set out to discover what type of portfolio photographers have found work best and, from the buyer’s perspective, what type or types they prefer. As I conducted the interviews among art directors, photo reps, and photographers it all began to boil down to this: how do you get your work seen by potential clients and how do you craft an effective portfolio that makes sense to them and represents your craft and passion?
You can’t simply walk into an Operating Room (OR) and insinuate yourself into the scene. There are rules, there are boundaries. Greg Shapps knows them well. Still, he manages to produce telling images that convey the client’s message without blatantly advertising any product or service. The methodology involves a complete 180 from the way he approaches his small product photography, where the message is unmistakably to buy a specific product. His healthcare imagery is nuanced, often depicting healthcare givers and receivers alike. Specific products are not necessarily the focus. It’s more about what a product, service, or institution can do for the individual.
Currently a lecturer, teacher, and writer, Sam Abell’s celebrated career includes positions as a contract and staff photographer and photographer-in-residence at National Geographic magazine. This 1959 photo of his father at the Painesville, Ohio, train station is the homepage image of his website, samabell-thephotographiclife.com.
The arctic sun was just about to make its brief dip below the mountainsto the north when I arrived at a cluster of strange monolithic rocks on the ridge. I cursed myself for not carrying my tripod on the evening hike, but I hadn’t expected to stumble on something quite so strange and photogenic. I braced myself on a tussock of soft tundra and began snapping images of the glowing rocks. I clicked the shutter, recomposed, then clicked again. As I made images, it occurred to me that I was quite possibly the first person to photograph these rocks. They weren’t marked on any map, and the nondescript ridge was just one of many in this part of the range. That, I thought to myself, is one of the great things about photography in the Brooks Range, it was unlikely that anyone had made the same composition before.
Mar 07, 2014
Published: Jan 01, 2014
I’ve seen my share, and I expect you have too, of people who basically spray the area hoping to get a keeper. I’ve also seen photographers who wait…wait…and wait some more to catch that decisive moment. I’m neither of those types. I think of what I do as mindful shooting: I know what I want the photo to look like; I preconceive and previsualize the moment; I control the situation as much as I can to get that moment; and I’m prepared to work with what I’m given and what I can’t control in order to get a good result.
Tonality does not exist in a vacuum; the tones form a visual impression in terms of both their intrinsic value and their relationship to one another. The context in which they relate is called contrast, simply the difference and relationship between the light and dark values in the scene. Contrast determines the “look” of the image, and has a profound effect upon visual effects.
Feb 21, 2014
Published: Jan 01, 2014
There I was, 20 years old behind the sideline barricade of an arena football game clutching to my now outdated Canon EOS 20D with a 200mm lens slapped on it. I raced back and forth behind the separating wall with a cluster of other photographers—feverishly snapping off images as the players sprinted up and down the field and crashed into one another and off the barriers. It was my first sporting photo assignment.
Sunstars are a great way to fill an otherwise boring, cloudless blue sky with a feeling of drama and excitement. They are often a way to add a compositional element that helps draw a viewer into a scene. Technically, any light source can create a “sunstar” as long as it is a tiny point of light and the camera is set correctly. We often see the star effect in shots of buildings with their lights twinkling at dusk, or the moon in the night sky. Most commonly we see star patterns when the sun is setting on the horizon, but in this case we only see half of the sunstar because the other half is being blocked by the horizon.
It all began back in 1990 with a shareware program called Paint Shop. Debuting the same year as Adobe PhotoShop 1.0, comparison to that legendary product has been inescapable. Paint Shop, known as PaintShop Pro X6 Ultimate in its current incarnation, has always been associated with three characteristics: extreme affordability, sufficient power for most photo enthusiasts, and Windows-only compatibility. PaintShop Pro has continued to evolve and improve, and today offers many significant enhancements, including the ability to run smoothly on Macs using a Windows emulation program.