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Archive 2012 · Photography Tutorials
  
 
Camperjim
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Photography Tutorials


A few years ago I had the opportunity to visit BH and attend one of their "Event Space" lectures. A small number of these lectures are recorded and available as streaming videos. Many are excellent and many are from world famous photographers. We have had a number of discussions about composition on this forum so I thought some of you might be interested in one of the newest videos. It is called Bridging the Gap and discusses some elements of composition in relation to more formal training in classical art. This video is at a very basic level and very simplistic but it still might be helpful if you are like I am with a technical background and without any visual art training.

Even if you do not like this video, I recommend you review the offerings at BH. Look under Event Space - Event Videos. I believe there are currently about 500 videos available but many are short and about gear. There are maybe 100 or so hour-long photography tutorials. There are recent videos from Scott Kelby, Moose Peterson and John Paul Caponigro, Rick Sammon, etc.

Edited on Dec 29, 2012 at 01:25 PM · View previous versions



Dec 28, 2012 at 10:25 PM
sbeme
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Photography Tutorials


Thanks Jim. I just realized that bhphoto had tutorials. Should be some helpful stuff.

Scott



Dec 29, 2012 at 03:29 AM
Greg Campbell
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Photography Tutorials


Let me throw in an enthusiastic shout for Ted Forbes.
His Art of Photography series, comprising over 100 videos, is simply superb.

Here are some YT videos that hit a search for 'composition.'
http://www.youtube.com/user/theartofphotography/videos?query=composition

His 'Home Base' is http://theartofphotography.tv/



Dec 29, 2012 at 07:16 AM
Camperjim
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Photography Tutorials


Greg, thanks for adding your recommendation. I think I am going to learn a lot from the Ted Forbes videos.

I changed the name of this thread from Composition Tutorials to Photography Tutorials and would like to encourage others to post links to great educational websites.



Dec 29, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Bob Jarman
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Photography Tutorials


Lots of interesting formation for harvesting here - thanks for the links folks

Bob



Dec 29, 2012 at 02:27 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Photography Tutorials


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Edited on Dec 31, 2012 at 04:52 PM · View previous versions



Dec 29, 2012 at 05:47 PM
Camperjim
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Photography Tutorials


Ben, I have not seen a single video which tries to teach what people "like". The video I mentioned is a rarity in that it was from someone with an art background and related photography to more classical visual art. Even this video is not about "likes" but is about trying to understand how to use visual art techniques to create images. The vast majority of BH videos are from technicians and include gear, flash, photoshop skills, etc, etc. I do learn a lot from these technical videos but it seems sad that there is almost nothing else. This would be analogous to artists being fixated on brushes and pigments and having virtually no concern about what they are trying to create.


Dec 29, 2012 at 09:22 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Photography Tutorials


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Edited on Dec 31, 2012 at 04:53 PM · View previous versions



Dec 29, 2012 at 09:28 PM
Camperjim
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Photography Tutorials


I am not sure I understand the limits you are making. We all need to learn "how to do stuff" which would cover 99% of the subject matter of the BH videos. I do not understand the aversion you have to "composition". I think composition is much different than just what to include and how to please others. Currently out of several hundred videos only a couple deal with the subjects of composition and design and they are at a basic level. The other videos occasionally touch on the issues of composition with the usual mention of the rule of thirds and quickly followed by the statement that rules are meant to be broken. To me this statement merely illustrates that the author has little or no understanding of the subject.


Dec 29, 2012 at 09:47 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Photography Tutorials


ben egbert wrote:
The point I am trying to make is that we don't need any instructions about what to include unless its for the purpose of pleasing others.



I totally disagree.

But, I would agree that much of what is taught in the realm of photography is not the teachings of "art", but rather some "do this, do that" in lieu of actually teaching the "art" of image making, typically in the vein of what is currently "en vogue".

Imo, if you want to learn about "art" ... study "art", but don't expect to learn much at all about "art" from the plethora of "pitch men" in the photographic industry.

As to the purpose of "pleasing others" ... here again, I totally disagree. Understanding the tenets of "art" are to understand how to proceed to convey your message. Just like when you choose which words to write, or speak ... how to punctuate your delivery and what tone you decide to use ... it is your message that you are aspiring to deliver.

When we make an image ... we are choosing our tenets of "art" the same as we choose our words. Understanding how our message is impacted by tonal values, sharp/blur warm/cool hues, scale, symmetry, rhythm, proportion, emphasis, subordination, balance, unity, variety, line, contour, outline, direction, movement, shape, mass, implied lines, implied shapes, color theory, texture, pattern, space, perspective, time, motion ... is what determines how we choose to utilize them to help us craft our image's visual message, the same as we would craft our verbal message with words and punctuation. Whether you are a painter of oils, watercolors or a photographer ... you are a visual image maker and those tenets are important to understand how you choose to incorporate them.

The study and understanding of such tenets isn't nearly as simple as saying things like use "Rule of Thirds" or "Selective Focus" or other such things we get told how to do things in photography. But, the more you understand the visual imagery creation and how that impacts your viewers ability to receive you message, the more control you'll have in delivering YOUR message.

Those telling us how to "compose" our images is a gross oversimplification of the tenets of visual image making. Composition is the collection of all those tenets that are available to us to use ... not unlike a musical composition is the collection of notes, time, volume, tone, etc. to produce a completed work. Rule of Thirds, etc. ... is much like playing a song on a guitar that only uses three chords. It works fine enough ... but there is so much more that can be put into a composition.

From
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/art
skill acquired by experience, study, or observation <the art of making friends>

our "art" isn't making "art" for the sake of being "art ... our "art" is the skill of making visual images for conveying the message we desire to send to our viewers (whoever that may be). Studying & learning the skillful use of the tenets of making visual images (paintings, photographs, etc.) is "art" (i.e. skill) learning. There is an "art" to cooking, martial "arts", salesmanship, music, conflict resolution, etc. Anything that we do, can be done "artfully" as we increase the skill and deftness at which we apply those skills.

In that regard, teaching "art" is a far different thing than teaching how to take photographs. Learning "art" is something that photographers (far too often) fail to put forth much effort toward. I understand that a person may already know what they like ... but if you are desiring to be able to convey your visual message to others, it is good to know how to use the tenets of visual imagery to craft them as you so choose.



Dec 29, 2012 at 10:25 PM
 

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Camperjim
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Photography Tutorials


Kent, very well stated! I am curious: do you have a background in art or did you develop these ideas with experience?

I have met lots of photographers in the field and also in camera clubs. A very high percentage of us seem to have been attracted to photography because we are technical, gearhead types. I think that is part of why it can be really difficult to learn the art of photography rather than just the technical aspects.

When a technical person tries to use and explain the more artistic aspects of photography it is often a disaster. The rule of thirds always comes to my mind. Many technical photographers seem to try to use it as if it were equivalent to the 1st law of thermodynamics. For a while they shoot everything composed in thirds and then they realize other approaches can work well for different images so they give up and talk about breaking rules as if they had somehow outgrown the rules. Unfortunately that is where their knowledge of composition begins and ends. Of course, they also do a bad job when they try to teach what they do not understand and when they don't even have the vocabulary needed to explain important concepts.

Anyway, great post. Thanks for chiming me.



Dec 30, 2012 at 12:33 AM
ben egbert
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Photography Tutorials


I have said too much. I get grouchy this time of year. Sorry.


Dec 30, 2012 at 12:40 AM
Bob Jarman
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Photography Tutorials


Kent,

One of the most thoughtful posts around here in some time. Well stated!

Bob



Dec 30, 2012 at 01:37 AM
Camperjim
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Photography Tutorials


ben egbert wrote:
I have said too much. I get grouchy this time of year. Sorry.

Grouchy or not, a different opinion is always helpful. It seems that you have a narrow scope of interests in photography, but this is a hobby afterall and you should do what you enjoy.



Dec 30, 2012 at 03:25 AM
Camperjim
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Photography Tutorials


Kent, AKA RustyBug wrote: "I understand that a person may already know what they like ... but if you are desiring to be able to convey your visual message to others, it is good to know how to use the tenets of visual imagery to craft them as you so choose."

I have also found that when I learn more about a subject, my likes tend to change. Years ago my daughter started down the music conservatory path towards becoming a classical musician. As I learned more about classical music I found not only did I gain additional appreciation but my tastes changed. I know my tastes in photography have changed a lot and are continuing to change. At one time I would look at a picture of a colorful sunset and really think that sort of image was great. Now I still find myself attracted to the red color but after a few seconds I am often bored and looking for something more.



Dec 30, 2012 at 03:40 AM
Bob Jarman
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Photography Tutorials


Camperjim wrote:
... I know my tastes in photography have changed a lot and are continuing to change. At one time I would look at a picture of a colorful sunset and really think that sort of image was great. Now I still find myself attracted to the red color but after a few seconds I am often bored and looking for something more.


I believe your observation about growing and evolving in your photography and interests applies to many of us who have been around here for a length of time. I know it does to me and I know for a fact some others also.

Also, that growth is reflected by the ebb and flow of posts. In my case (and I offer this with the best of intention) I grow weary of repetitiveness in particular genre and find, after a quick glimpse, little of interest. Time to take a break to refresh which raises a broader question of how does the forum best serve those new to photography and/or FM and still sustain the interest of the more experienced (do not conclude this translates into better images/photographers)?

Myself? I choose to ignore particular threads since (1) I do not have the time and (2) have no interest in repeatedly re-visiting the past without seeing evidence of any progress. Instead, I will offer images from whatever my 'interest' happens to be at that time in hopes of receiving helpful feedback, both positive and negative, and on occasion will jump into the re-work mode if I feel there is something I can offer to be helpful. Those not inclined to instruct rightfully have chosen to move on to their specific area of interest; I am certain the veterans can each name several.

In a nutshell - I participate to learn, help others, and expand my vision with the help of others. If I wanted a "social network", I would join Facebook.

Anyway, my world-view of FM participation today. By tomorrow it will have changed slightly

Regards,

Bob



Dec 30, 2012 at 03:05 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Photography Tutorials


ben egbert wrote:
I have said too much. I get grouchy this time of year. Sorry.


No worries ... no blood, no foul.

Jim & Bob bring up good points as well regarding our Darwinian (I just "chose that word" to try and sound smart ) growth ... it is evolutionary in nature.

Also, if you ask a structural engineer, an architect, a carpenter and a construction worker how to build a house ... well, the degree of practical information at how to hammer a nail will differ from the vector forces associated with load bearing walls, which will be different from the working aesthetics of movement through the floor plan or the fine joinery of the cabinets and doors .... depending on which of them you ask.

Who's asking has as much bearing on the appropriateness of an answer as it does relative to who's answering. And, interestingly enough ... while the responses from the structural engineer, architect, carpenter and construction worker can be as far apart as the points on a compass ... they can still all be correct. While each may give an answer from their perspective, and it may be perfectly correct ... it can appear to be opposing or errant to those who are not cognizant of why it is correct.

Learning to expertly and efficiently drive a nail is a task that might be well learned from a seasoned practitioner of that task who has taken nail driving to an "art form" that is seemingly effortless and fluid. Learning how to layout a kitchen floor plan that will please a chef (or your better half) might be better served by the architect who knows how to facilitate those who desire to create works of culinary art.

The movement between hammer & nail or between chopping block and stove top are as integral to the crafts of construction and cooking as the movement of our (viewers) eyes throughout the images we make. Knowing how to "draw the eye" of our viewers through movement (see tenets above) is so much more than simply "do this" or "do that" ... but for those who do it very well, they make it look incredibly simple (i.e. like driving a nail or chopping an onion) and often state it as though it is so simple, when in fact it is a skill that they have developed through their diligent efforts to do so.

When starting out with a given craft, such as music ... we frequently get taught (initially) to only play the scale ... avoiding the flats & sharps as though they were somehow wrong. But for those who progress to the levels that would be considered "artful", they have come to understand how to not only use the flats & sharps, but to incorporate them in ways that they were never even taught.

Bob's recent Hitchcock / Adam's "tilt-a-church" kinda comes to mind for me. It goes against the grain/rules/guidelines in ways that many would strive to correct based on rudimentary perspective ... yet the relationship of those flats & sharps bring a harmony to it that is unusually delightful for some.

I've long espoused the philosophy of perspective (i.e. "What's the point?" or "What's the message that you are trying to convey to your viewer?") as begin a driving force for our practical application pursuits in our image making. Continuing to learn the plethora of ways to utilize the sounds (and rests) of music for auditory reception is as worthy as continuing on in the pursuit of visual image making.

Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.
First we learn to emulate, then we learn to create.
Iron sharpens iron.


Camperjim wrote:
I am curious: do you have a background in art or did you develop these ideas with experience?.


Well, I think I studied art once in Kindergarten ... and then once again in college.

Largely, it has been my own "gap analysis" of what constitutes the difference between "art" and "photography". Fundamentally, a visual image is a visual image ... irrespective of the medium. What makes the Mona Lisa or Starry Night "artful" in a compare/contrast with Moon Over Hernandez or Monolith? Is it the recording of the subject itself or is it something more. I've seen some museum "pen & ink" drawings that would just stop you dead in your tracks in utter amazement. Personally, I can't draw a stick man with a ruler ... so, I use a camera.




Edited on Dec 30, 2012 at 05:28 PM · View previous versions



Dec 30, 2012 at 04:58 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Photography Tutorials


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Edited on Dec 31, 2012 at 04:53 PM · View previous versions



Dec 30, 2012 at 05:13 PM
RustyBug
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ben egbert wrote:
However, I note that when you have some drop dead gorgeous sunset, all the rules are ignored and the image works.


The power of color is one of the tenets to be understood & utilized. The stereotypical sunset isn't necessarily ignoring things ... but rather are overpowering the others. The average ones don't bother to skillfully incorporate other tenets beyond the "pretty colors", while the more outstanding ones include more than just the "pretty colors" as part of the composition ... melody & harmony vs. melody alone.



Dec 30, 2012 at 05:21 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Photography Tutorials


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Edited on Dec 31, 2012 at 04:53 PM · View previous versions



Dec 30, 2012 at 05:27 PM
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