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As an amateur photographer it will be important for you to pinpoint what type or types of places, things or people you like to photograph. If you enjoy landscapes, it will be important for you to understand outdoor, natural lighting and what types of lenses with certain focal lengths, including prime lenses, might be best. And if you enjoy photographing People, understanding which lenses are best for portraits it crucial. Research aspects of photography as well as the variations within that apply, work with Professional Photographers and get one-on-one tutoring to really take your skills to the next level. Check out a local photography class at a college or art program. Knowing the tools available to you within photography will help you become better at what you do! Know that the tuition for a full semester class might be even more than working one-on-one with an experienced Photographer and I can guarantee you'll learn even more since tutoring can be fine tuned to meet you exactly... read more

I have never done a blog before, so here goes nothing. People think it is easy to be a photographer because they think you just point and shoot and then you are done. Photography is not easy. Whether it is fine art or photojournalism, it is work. When getting started you have to think about the subject at hand. You need to think about angles, light, shutter speed, ISO, and composition. Until you have mastered all areas of the camera, the best advice I can give anyone is to just keep shooting the subject until you have exausted every angle, light source, shutter speed, ISO and composition. With the age of digital it doesn't cost you any money to keep shooting. Remember even though you may take a couple hundred photos, your goal is to as least get one or two keepers. So, have fun and shoot lots.

Lately I've noticed a pattern in students that come to me for photography help. Understanding light and how your camera captures it is half the battle in photography. The other half involves you having some sort of talent to compose and create. But that crucial understanding of light can make or break any photograph and any photographer. Light can be mathematically, scientifically and visually complicated. Its not just about the temperature and color of the light, but it's intensity and its direction. Also reflecting light can interrupt or help your image, paying attention to what color the walls are, how light skin or dark someone's skin is, and a materials reflectivity, can effect your image. All these things are not to be over looked during lessons or during practicing lessons.

Understanding where your skills set lies in Photography is important to finding out what the next step is in what you need you learn. Do the apertures and shutter speeds on your camera make sense to you? Do you feel comfortable reading the light situation and knowing what settings to use for the correct exposure? How about knowing when a good time to incorporate artificial light as in flash photography for certain situations? Talking with a professionally trained photographer will help you sort out what you're at in your Photography Skills and what the next steps are to help you build a strong foundation. Feeling comfortable with the camera in your hand and knowing what it's capable of helps you to move on and focus on making your subject comfortable and relaxed so you get some great images. There are so many great photographers who are willing to share their knowledge and you can also gain knowledge through tutorials and workshops. One on one tutoring in Photography is truly worth... read more

"Why can't photography today be as simple as with film?" This is a question I get everyday from students in my class. I remind them that even in the good old days of film that photography wasn't that simple. If you only shot and drop your film at a local lab all the work was hidden in the darkroom. This included processing and someone sitting there printing your images. Most of this work nowadays is done at your computer with you sitting there and making the choices that will affect how your images look. What they may also be forgetting is in the days of yore we also had to chose which type of film to purchase (daylight or Tungsten) film speed (do I want slow or fast film) and if we out shooting under different lighting conditions how many different lens filters will I need to have in my bag. Let alone if you processed your own film then you had to decided what type of developer you wanted to use, how long do you leave the enlarger on for exposure and even paper type... read more

If you don’t see the options listed below, look in the scanner software for ‘Advanced’ or ‘Expert’ controls or tools. The ‘Basic’ or ‘Quick’ options will not give you the desired results. 1) Place the original on the scanner. TIP: Before you place the original on the scanner, clean and dry the glass thoroughly. Fingerprints and dust will ruin your scan and require re-touching. Don’t spray ammonia directly on the glass. Instead, spray glass cleaner, or monitor cleaner, on a soft, clean cloth and wipe with that. TIP: Make the original as flat as possible. You may have to lay a book on top of it, or hold it with your hand during the scan. Most scanners have a removable cover. (Don’t break the glass or force the cover.) 2) Launch the scanner software . . . a) as a stand-alone program. This makes ‘batch scanning’ easier, since the program allows you to scan many images quickly, one after the other, saving the files as you go without closing the scanner program... read more

I was really amazed to see in the latest edition of the Oxford Dictionary that Photoshop is now listed as a verb. The fact that the dictionary is listing it as a verb is not that amazing but that it took so long to do so. For years we have heard people say “Can you Photoshop this?” or “I bet that was Photoshopped” meaning that the image was changed using Adobe Photoshop. Adobe Photoshop has now been with us for twenty years and has been used to not only “fix photos” but to change how we perceive photography now. No longer do we say seeing is believing when it comes to images. Models get thinner on the page and people or things can disappear with just a few clicks. On TV they seem to work magic with blurry images from video cameras in parking garages that in real life are lucky to be able to tell the difference between daylight and night. So it is no surprise that in class my students are always looking for that one click fix or the easy button for anything they want to... read more

More people are using Photoshop every day, as well as its kid sister, Photoshop Elements. Not just photographers, designers, and artists, but also small business owners, event promoters, high school kids, and their moms and dads - they're creating postcards, comic books, newsletters, enhancing photos of their products, or sending cool pix to their friends, and using Photoshop to make all their pictures better. Because Photoshop and Photoshop Elements have SO many options, they can be incredibly frustrating to a novice. The tools are powerful, but not always intuitive, even for a professional photographer. Before you ever launch the program, you must figure out what you want to do with it. Then you can learn how to accomplish that task step-by-step. And on the way, you'll learn so much more. There are three basic purposes for using Photoshop: 1) You can enhance any photograph. That crooked vacation photo with the weird yellow tone can be made beautiful in about 20... read more

The title of this article is also the title of my recently released book. It can be found here: If you are going to graduate from college soon or have been working in the field for about 3-5 years, then this book will speak to you. It is a book about thinking and includes some of my experiences in being a self-employed visual artist. Pick up a copy and add it to your collection, I'm sure you'll find it useful. Thanks!

As I already have a blog and do not wish to repeat myself, please visit this site to read more about what I have to say: If you like what I have to say here, you may enjoy reading my new book: Thank you and do good work! Michael

Come down to Butterfield Garage Gallery, located at 137 King Street, St. Augustine, FL to check out my Featured Artist Show, Storytelling! Runs through July 31, 2009. The subject matter varies, involving everything from underwater worlds and natural environments, to celebrity portraits. Various mediums ranging from Watercolor, Acrylic, Woodcuts, Gouache, Digital Manipulation, and everything in between is featured.

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