Why Documentary Photography Needs to Fundamentally Change and Evolve

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Lead photo by Tuncay

Years ago, photojournalists were creating images that changed the world, our opinions on life, public policies, etc. The photo was powerful; and it arguably still is. But the inherent problem with the photo’s power these days has to do with a myriad of changes in society where the photo just hasn’t been able to keep up. Just think about it: years ago photography had a big part of ending the Vietnam War and exposing lots of other major issues with society. But these days, it’s not as effective. This isn’t only in the richer, more developed societies but instead all over the world. To understand why, we need to explore photography and culture’s relationship.

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How To Choose Your First Good Point and Shoot Camera

Point and Shoot cameras, once a staple of the middle-class family, has now largely been replaced with high-quality smartphone-based cameras. But there is still a good portion of the population who likes to have a standalone camera in their bag for when the smartphone doesn’t cut it, and those situations do exist. Smartphones aren’t nearly as versatile as a point and shoot camera with a zoom lens, nor do they offer the image quality or low light performance of a fixed prime lens compact point and shoot. But some of you may be asking yourselves how to choose your first good point and shoot camera? That is what we are here to answer for you today.

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How to Choose Your First Lenses for Your SmartPhone Camera

These days it’s not so much of a stretch to say that while you are our traveling or just going about your daily life the camera you have with you is likely the one built into your phone. Additionally, the image quality from these tiny devices is just getting better and better in almost every respect. The limiting factor for a lot of these phones though is they are stuck with a single lens, with your only way of changing your view being an image quality destroying digital zoom. Some newer higher end phones are now coming with two rear cameras, one with a wider lens and one a more telephoto – but even these are extremely limiting compared to what we as photographers are used to with our interchangeable lens cameras.

The solution here is accessory lens systems for your smart phone. These are the very things that many of us scoffed at in the recent past, but as mobile photography has become more popular and with more people wanting to be serious about it – the quality of these add-on lenses as grown significantly. But what should you be thinking about when you are looking to buy these accessory lenses? You know how to consider camera lenses, but phone add-on lenses?

Have no fear – We’ve got you covered.

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Please Stop Calling Yourself an Amateur Photographer

If you’re reading this, then you’re probably not really an amateur photographer–you’re probably actually a hobbyist. If you’re a professional photographer, than most of your taxable income comes from photography. If you’re a semi-pro photographer, then you make taxable income from your photography. But if you’re an amateur, the proper definition is simply doing something for pure pleasure and not in the pursuit of money. And that’s absolutely correct, but the connotation of it has more to do with your skill level. Many of you reading this have most likely been shooting for years and the majority of you probably make some sort of taxable income off of your photography. So you’ve learned step 1 about this industry: that sometimes it doesn’t have a single thing to do with your skill level.

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The Basics: How to Choose Your First Mirrorless Camera

Mirrorless cameras are not the newfangled technology they used to be. Mirrorless systems from Sony, Fujifilm, Panasonic, and Olympus have had years to build solid systems with various camera and lens options that allow them to be capable of creating stunning images just as well as any DSLR. So you may be considering your first interchangeable lens camera, or maybe you have a DSLR and you are interested in taking advantage of some of the features that mirrorless brings to the table, whatever your reason is you may be asking yourself how to choose between the various options.

In this post, we hope to be able to help you figure out what questions to ask yourself when considering these various cameras and systems. Ideally, this will allow you to pick up a mirrorless camera in a system that will fit your wants and needs as a photographer so that you can take full advantage of it.

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If You’re Not Close Enough, Then Go Telephoto in Street Photography

“I want to be the fly on the wall.” is the mantra of so many street photographers out there. For the most part, it’s possible these days. All you need to do is find a way to get close to your subject, use the silent shutter, click, and you’ve got your photo. It’s part of the old adage that if your photos aren’t good enough, then you’re not close enough. Many photographers these days tend to use wide angle lenses and go up to the 50mm field of view simply because they feel that it’s important. Gear mongering aside, let’s more address the fact that the point of getting close to a subject is to actually, you know, have some sort of connection with them.

But in most cases, there really isn’t one. So what that mantra becomes is this really, really terribly old idea that in order to get the best street photos you need to be close to your subjects, and you need to use that specific gear. But if Instagram and the iPhone have taught us anything, that’s not true at all.

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The Basics: How to Choose Your First Prime Lens

OK, so you are newer to the world of photography. Maybe you recently purchased your first DSLR or mirrorless camera and you are thinking about adding another lens to your kit outside of the one that came with your camera. You have heard about prime lenses and you are thinking that you may like to add one of them to your kit because your kit lens is a zoom lens.

If this sounds familiar you are at a disadvantage to people going through this even just 3-5 years ago. Camera stores with knowledgeable staff have been dropping like flies and it is harder than ever to be able to go into a store, ask questions, and get some help deciding on new lenses or cameras to buy. Many stores that carry photography gear just hire sales people who can push the product, and many times those people do not know much about the gear beyond the specs listed on the box.

So, we are putting together this little series to help those of you who are newer to photography, to help you figure out what questions to ask yourself about the gear you are thinking of adding to your kit. This should help you make an informed opinion about what gear to consider based on your own needs – which will lead to less money wasted on pieces of kit you would rarely use or need. Continue reading…

On Camera Flash Modifiers for Your Party Photography Kit

We have talked about cameras, lenses, and lighting so far in our recent posts about party and event photography – and today we take it another step towards you filling out your kit by talking about lighting modifiers for your on-camera flash. As much as off-camera flash is preached in the industry these days, during a dark party/event environment an on-camera flash with a good modifier is essential for quality and well-lit results.

So are you ready for some killer on camera lighting recommendations? Great, let’s jump into it… Continue reading…