The Truth About How to Be a Responsible Hobbyist Photographer

Long live the hobbyist photographer: here are some truths you should know.

While everyone wants to act like and shoot like a professional, most of the people who shoot images are hobbyists. They just want that flare of cool, cinematic, and suave photos. Just look at the way most people shoot carelessly. It’s wonderful and people should embrace being a hobbyist and get higher grade cameras beyond what their phone is capable of doing. So, if you’re a hobbyist here’s how to responsibly enjoy the photography world.

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A Look at the Most Under-Appreciated Genre in the Photo Industry

Real estate photography could be the most undervalued genre in the industry.

“No experience necessary as full two-week training will be given.” It’s a line I would often see when browsing photography jobs. It was never written in ads for commercial work, and it was certainly never linked to wedding gigs or portrait shoots. This line, at least it seemed, was only reserved for real estate photography. So, if a total novice can go from having no clue to being a real estate photographer in only a matter of weeks, it means it must be easy, right?

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On PhotoWalking: Why I Think Leica Is King of the Land

On Photowalking is a short-lived series where EIC Chris Gampat shares his thoughts on using various camera systems.

There is the obvious idea that someone who owns a Leica is a rich photographer (or they’re a rich person, etc.) But the less popular belief is that they’re someone who really values aesthetics. I’ll never forget the words that Reviews Editor Paul Ip conveyed to me when I told him to use my Leica M4 for a while. He said, “It’s a tactile thing.” and he’s right! You can use a Leica and approach it from the standpoint of shooting like one would with any other camera, but you’d be doing your purchase an injustice then. No other system can do what a Leica can, and that’s why I think that they’re a fantastic product for photo walks. Specifically, the Leica M series are so great because they’re designed for you to be in the moment. You enter a completely different type of zen that you wouldn’t otherwise because you’re that much more involved in the photography process.

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On Photowalking: Exploring the Sony E Mount and Its Options

On Photowalking is a short series where EIC Chris Gampat talks about his experiences with different camera systems and photowalking.

On a very personal note, I think I’ve only ever grabbed my Sony cameras a few times to go out photowalking purely for myself and not for work. I’ll admit that there is something great about them. The Sony E mount is host to both APS-C and Full-frame cameras. Both are fantastic. At the heart of the photowalking experience for the Sony E mount is the small lenses, the autofocus, and the overall small package. Well, it’s small if you choose to make it so. And it’s also lightweight if you decide to make it so. Best of all, there are super affordable options and super pricey ones too. And no matter what, you’re going to get image quality that you like. But my reservations about the Sony system are ones that I’ve heard amongst many an experienced photographer–they don’t feel like cameras.

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Matteo Verre’s Self Portraits May Raise More Questions Than Answers

All selfportraits by Matteo Verre. Used with permission.

“How do we develop our identity?” asks Matteo Verre. He adds, “how much of what we are is unique and original and how much is the result of our experiences, our education, sensitivity, culture?” Verre is a photographer that uses art to shed light on human behavior. He is keen to understand, not only who we are as humans, but who we are as individuals. Over the past three years, Verre has created a series of selfportraits to help understand his own identity. He says the series is on-going, yet he already has a body of work that is eye-catching and sparks curiosity.

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Opinion: My Biggest Complaints About Sony Cameras Are Probably Yours

The next generation of Sony Cameras really needs a massive boost.

If you’re speaking from purely a tech standpoint, Sony is ahead of the curve in many ways. That tech and marketing curve attracted many new photographers to Sony, but it also brought a lot of professionals who switched over. Over the years, they’ve worked to improve their products and have listened a lot to their audience. But there are some things that they continue to not listen to. These are arguably now part of their core beliefs. Change is necessary at times.

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Astrophotographer Jason De Freitas Enjoys Shooting with Film

All images by Jason De Freitas. Used with permission. Be sure to follow him on Instagram.

“Initially astrophotography interested me more than photography in general – the fact that such stunning images of space could be taken by amateurs from home surprised me,” says film photographer Jason De Freitas. “As an engineer the technical aspects of astrophotography attracted me towards it.” He’s an engineer during the day, but when night comes he adores the process involving film. For him, he found that shooting with film really did not only slow him down, but made him a better photographer.

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While in Mid Air, Bradley Wentzel Photographs Planes Like No Other

All images by Bradley Wentzel. Used with permission. Be sure to follow him on Instagram.

Most folks try to photograph other airplanes from the ground, but Bradley Wentzel is a special type of creative. He photographs from the air. This isn’t just a photography job, but also one of complete orchestration. “Directing aircraft in flight was the biggest learning curve,” says Brad. “With most other subject matter, you have the freedom to walk around, crouch, move forward and backwards, etc. pretty freely, but when you are in the air with another aircraft, those basic functions can become difficult. There’s no room for guess work or error when planes are just a few feet away from each other so there is a lot of planning ahead of time with all of the pilots and people involved.” If that doesn’t sound like a lot of pressure to you, then we’re not sure what does. In fact, I originally thought Bradley was piloting and photographing at the same time. But this sounds even more intense.

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Wrong Time or Bad Photos? Why These Photo Books Are Failing

Are you looking for photographic documentation of what the world has become due to COVID-19?

I’ve previously written about the importance of street photography during these unprecedented times. Having visual documentation of how communities, governments, and countries have responded to the pandemic will serve us well in our search for understanding and education. How the content is delivered is varied. It could be through websites, newspapers, and even photo books, to name just a few examples. But timing is everything. Some photographers are already trying to sell photo books covering the topic, and it begs the question: is it too soon?

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Shanyn Fiske: Why the Fashion Industry Should Heed Peter Lindbergh

All images by Shanyn Fiske. Used with Permission. Be sure to follow her on Instagram.

“I agree with Eliott Erwitt’s idea that black and white photography is interpretive,” says fashion photographer Shanyn Fiske. “I do think of photography as interpretation, and monochrome most easily lends itself to that goal, especially when I’m trying to capture an emotion or a fleeting thought.” Shanyn doesn’t describe herself as a typical fashion photographer. She’s a late bloomer. She came from the academic world and adores the study around paintings, photography and literature. What’s more, Shanyn is working to try to change the ideals of what the fashion photography world is all about. She joins the fight with many other women and POC to get the word across, and during my time supporting it, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone put it as eloquently and plainly as Shanyn does.

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The Ideas Behind Why Smaller Sensor Cameras Are Better Than We Think

Lots of folks love to hate on smaller sensors like APS-C and Four Thirds, but they’re a lot better than you may think.

Does anyone remember APS-H? It was a format primarily used by Canon in a variant of their 1D camera models. Back then, they had one full-frame camera for high megapixel shooting and one APS-H camera for sports shooting. APS-H was a 1.3x crop factor, and sports photographers loved the combination of lower megapixels, excellent high ISO performance, and most of all, the extra reach it gave their camera lenses. But then Canon did away with it and went full frame with the option of a crop factor. The truth is that photographers loved their APS-H sensors, and we just adapted to using a full-frame. And for what it’s worth, APS-H is still a great example of why smaller sensors can be better.

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He Sold This Leica for College Money, It Returned on His 30th Birthday

When he had to sell his Leica to pay for college tuition, he never would have believed it would someday come back to him.

In the year 2008, the United States of America went through a crippling economic recession that affected everyone. And one man desperately needed money to finish his classes at University. Knowing student debt would plague many Millenials his age, he chose to ensure that he didn’t have any debt. So he did well, maintained scholarships, and sold things. He lived at home with his mother who had poor health and dealt with a massive rift in his family. He commuted every day. He did over five internships before graduating. And he had a lot of writing under his belt before he donned his cap and gown. He escaped debt-free. But in order to do that, he had to sell his Leica camera. Nothing in life comes without sacrifices.

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Daniel Sackheim, Director on True Detective, Shares His Photography

All images by Daniel Sackheim. Used with permission. Please follow him on Instagram.

“The artists I have the greatest admiration for are those that never stop growing. Like the Beatles and Picasso,” says Daniel Sackheim, whose name you may be familiar with if you liked True Detective, Game of Thrones, Ozark, and The Walking Dead. “They got restless doing the same thing and as a result their art was constantly evolving. I don’t want to stay static.” Daniel’s fantastic story of how he got into image making is one many can relate to in regard to getting closer to people. From his earliest days, he’s evolved into an accomplished Director and is currently returning to the world of still photography, Daniel’s cinematic vision translates well into his photography–and I guess we could say vice versa. We had a chance to talk to him about his recent work and about who his idols are.

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This Photographer’s Custom Made Tilt Shift Lenses Look Like Sci-Fi Props

All images by Jin Kim, used with permission.

When we first laid eyes on this custom made tilt shift lens on Reddit, we thought it was a prop from a science fiction movie. Our attention was piqued and we had to learn more. It turns out they are tilt shift lenses that the Redditor’s father, photographer Jin Kim, had custom made. Tilt-shift photography is a popular genre of photography that involves manipulating depth of field and perspective. Real world objects often take on a toy like appearance in resulting tilt-shift images. Specially designed tilt-shift lenses or adapters are required to achieve this effect practically in-camera, but they can be costly and challenging to use. This has resulted in some photographers opting to simulate the effect during post-production using programs like Photoshop instead. The same principle can also be applied in reverse to magnify the depth of field, but commercially available lenses and adapters don’t cater to this kind of tilt-shifting. To tackle this challenge, Jin Kim came up with some interesting DIY solutions. Jin was kind enough to share the stories behind his custom made lenses with us.

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Are Women Street Photographers More Unsafe Than Men on the Street?

As a male street photographer, I’m eager to understand the experience on the street from a female perspective.

I recently reported on a Reddit thread that focused on one of the advantages women have over men when shooting candidly: photographing children. The piece sparked debate, and in some instances, outrage. Some suggested it wasn’t my place to comment on such topics, while others said, “What about all the privileges men have in street photography that women don’t?” It’s a fair question. And to my fault and shame, it’s not one I’ve taken enough time to think about until now.

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Do You Really Pay Attention to Image Quality Anymore?

One could argue that the image quality from any camera from the past decade will always be more than good enough.

Just how much attention do you pay to the sample images from new cameras that are posted during reviews on blogs and in YouTube videos? A big part of any camera review will always be the sample images, but a recent post from a Redditor has us wondering if we have reached a point where sensors and image quality are a moot point. Let’s talk about this after the break.

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Larissa Ramey Shares What Life Is Like on Both Sides of the Camera

All images used with permission.

“People know when you don’t care about what you do as an artist,” explains Larissa Ramey. She adds, “photography is my passion, and I want that to be front and center with my work.” Ramey falls into the category of being both a photographer and a model. Speak to most photographers and you will soon learn this isn’t as common as you may think. Both disciplines require a certain set of skills, some of which cross over. Photographing a model isn’t easy, nor is being photographed by photographer. Yet Ramey, who seamlessly takes to both art forms, has managed to create a body of work that is equal in both quality and meaning. Eager to learn about her process on both sides of the camera, we spoke to Ramey, asking her to bare all – in the creative sense, of course.

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Barbara Cole Gives Fascinating Insight Into Her Underwater Photography

All images by Barbara Cole. Used with permission.

“I don’t disclose the technical elements of my practice,” says Barbara Cole as we ask her what gear she uses to make her amazing photographs. We would usually press for more detail. However, the extra layer of mystery only adds to the intrigue of her photography. Cole is an artist whose work forces you to question. It won’t give you the answers, but instead, it encourages you to find your own. Fascinated by her underwater photographs, and determined to get to know her better, we spoke to Cole for what has to be one of our most interesting interviews to date.

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Paid Street Photography Contests Are Just a Lottery Ticket

Street photography contests can be beneficial for some, but for most, they’re nothing more than a lottery.

New street photography competitions are popping upeach year. Because the craft is so easily accessible, it’s a sure-fire way for organizations to guarantee a high amount of entries (not to mention a nice amount of money). I fail to take pay-to-enter photography competitions seriously. No matter how hard an organization tries to mask its intentions, they’re nothing more than money-spinners, and most of those who enter are buying a lottery ticket.

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Lena Weisbek: “Dreamscapes” in Minimalist, Captivating Black and White

All photos by Lena Weisbek. Used with permission.

While Munich-based Lena Weisbek has been working for decades as a designer and art director, fine art photography has been her passion for many years. Today, she does mostly art photography, taking on various projects on different themes and developing her art concepts. It’s therefore not surprising that she was drawn to a minimalist, abstract approach for photographing landscapes. If, like us, you have a keen interest in this approach, we’re sure you’ll enjoy this series as well.

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An Ode to an Almost Perfect Camera: The Original Olympus OMD EM5

The Olympus OMD EM5 was one of the most perfect cameras they ever made.

By all means, the Olympus OMD EM5 was the camera everyone wanted when it was introduced. Olympus did it right. They gave it retro ergonomics, a simple-to-use-design, and it was weather sealed. I remember putting that camera through some of the most torrential downpours I’d shot in that year. Paired with a few weather-sealed prime lenses, that camera felt the way so many modern cameras should. It felt like a classic. And I honestly miss it. I never grew fond of its successors, which I felt became all too modernized. Instead, I yearn for the classic ergonomics that Olympus sometimes delivers. Those cameras truly feel, well, like cameras.

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