BrickHouse Photo School

Tips, Tricks and Reviews for Photo Hobbyists

Posts Tagged ‘creative

Look For Different Views

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Too often, beginning photographers lock their bodies into one position and don’t move. They stand, they shoot their subjects standing and they never look for anything out of the ordinary.

That’s too bad. Some nice images can be made by shooting from different angles. Get above your subject and photograph down; get below you subject and photograph up. Move around and try different distances and various points-of-view. You’ll never know what you’ll get until you try.

Don't be afraid to 'break the rules.' Interesting images can be made by trying different angles and different points-of-view. (Photo Credit: Jeremy W. Schneider)

Don't be afraid to 'break the rules.' Interesting images can be made by trying different angles and different points-of-view. (Photo Credit: Jeremy W. Schneider)

Some Tips:

  • When photographing children at play, look for the small actions. Zoom in and focus on what they do with their hands or focus solely on their expressions.
  • Shoot tight: Don’t be afraid to zoom in and get tight on the subject.
  • Look at the eyes: Some people are just really expressive with their eyes. Zoom in and get close.
  • Legs and feet: Good action shots can be made from zooming in on the feet and legs, especially in sporting events. Play around with different shutter speeds to show more action through motion blur.
  • Break the rules: Don’t be afraid to break any rule you’ve heard about photography. Breaking the rules can lead to great images.
  • Play with ISO settings: Different ISO settings will give you different looks. The higher the ISO – 800 and above – the more grain. Try it and see if your images look different.

Remember, you can’t learn unless you make tons of mistakes. Trust me, I should have learned a lot by the number of mistakes I’ve made. It’s been said that Thomas Edison was once asked how he felt about failing so many times inventing the light bulb. Allegedly, his reply was, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Whether he said it or not, it’s a good quote to work by. You can’t fail at photography, but you sure can find many ways some techniques don’t work. That’s OK. The good thing about digital photography is you don’t “waste” film. If you don’t like it, delete it and keep trying.

Good luck and keep shooting!

Written by jeremyparce

March 10, 2009 at 10:00 am

Photo Critique 9: ‘Carlos,’ by Adriana O.

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I love critiquing photos. It’s the best way to learn and get new ideas for photo shoots. Today, we’re going to critique an image made by Adri, my friend in Venezuela.

'Carlos,' by Adriana O.

'Carlos,' by Adriana O.

General Overview:
Adri, I enjoy your portrait work. You have a great ability to make your subjects interesting and stand out. You take a simple theme and work with it to make it visually pleasing. I also like your use of colors. These colors really “pop” and help make the image even better. You present the subject in an interesting way that commands the viewer’s attention while not overpowering the viewer. You also use the subject to help with the framing. This adds another level of interest.

Good job.

There are just a few improvements I will suggest. First, I think it would look better if you framed the subject’s head a little better. The frame made with the hands and his head are a little off from one another and I think it would have looked better either perfectly centered or way off-center so it doesn’t look accidental.

Secondly, I would suggest having the subject remove his bracelet. I think it’s a little competitive with the background color and a little distracting.

Finally, the blue color popping through in the upper left-hand corner is distracting. I would either remove it in post production or would have stretched the background a little further to remove it while shooting.

I would also recommend working with the subject to determine a facial expression. Obviously you wanted to communicate a relaxed feeling but I think the facial expression is a little more tense than what the image calls for.

Adri, you have an impressive portfolio already. Keep up the good work and you’ll have many attention-worthy images.

Thanks for the submission, good luck and keep shooting!

If you would like to submit a photo for critique, e-mail us at

Written by jeremyparce

March 10, 2009 at 9:30 am

Photography.Book.Now Announces Call For Entries in Self-Published Photography Book Competition

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I will often publish media releases related to photography on this blog in order to help keep you informed. These media releases are created by the respective companies. I edit the releases for space as needed.

SAN FRANCISCO – The Photography.Book.Now International Juried Competition seeks entries for its second annual competition celebrating self-published photography books and the photographers behind them. The grand prize is $25,000 to finish – or start – a photography project of the winner’s choice. Entries will be accepted in three categories – Fine Art, Editorial, and Commercial. The grand prize and first-prize winners will receive a private portfolio review with members of the judging panel in the category in which they submitted.

Submissions will be accepted through 12:00 pm PDT on July 16, 2009, at The Photography.Book.Now International Juried Competition is presented by Blurb, the creative publishing and marketing platform that enables anyone to design, publish, share and sell bookstore-quality books.

Noted photography book expert Darius Himes will serve as lead judge for the second year. In this role, Himes will lead a panel of editors, gallery curators, publishers, and photographers who will jury the Photography.Book.Now competition. The full panel of judges will be announced shortly. Complete entry guidelines and rules are available at

“We were truly blown away by the amazing and inspiring range of work we saw in the competition’s first year,” said Himes, lead judge of the first Photography.Book.Now contest. “We expect submissions this year will be even more spectacular. Photography.Book.Now offers photographers of all backgrounds a wonderful opportunity to showcase compelling work in book form. The three categories celebrate the photography book as an experience that is more than just the sum of its parts.”

In 2008, more than 2,000 photography books were submitted for consideration to the inaugural Photography.Book.Now competition. Beth Dow, a professional photographer from Minneapolis was awarded the $25,000 grand prize for her project, “In the Garden,” a book-length presentation of a portfolio of large platinum-palladium prints that examine tensions of mass, light, and perspective in highly cultivated landscapes.

An important aspect of Photography.Book.Now is bringing together the photography community. In the Fall, there will be an awards celebration and meet-up in New York, where attendees will celebrate outstanding books and have a chance to meet some of the most influential figures in the field. Photography.Book.Now will also host similar events during the fall in San Francisco, Chicago, London, and Paris.

Written by jeremyparce

March 2, 2009 at 3:16 pm

Olympus E-620 Digital SLR Inspires Consumers To ‘Color Outside The Lines’

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I will often publish media releases related to photography on this blog in order to help keep you informed. These media releases are created by the respective companies. I edit the releases for space as needed.

CENTER VALLEY, Pa., – As children, our imaginations run wild and finger-painted artistic creations are proudly displayed on our family refrigerators. But as we grow older, we learn to color inside the lines, and have less and less time for art. We often lose touch with how satisfying it is to create something uniquely our own. Olympus delivers the new E-620 digital single lens reflex camera to bring back that free-style experimenting and the magical feeling of being inspired by our own art.

The new camera’s easy-to-use Art Filters and Multiple Exposures (built right into the camera) are fun for consumers – whether you’ve been shooting for years or picked up your first digital camera today. Enjoy capturing creative images on the go – without being tethered to a computer and editing software! Now it is possible to easily customize your images so they’re worthy of posting on the gallery wall (or at least the family fridge).

“Experimenting and creating your own unique masterpieces has never been easier or more fun,” said John Knaur, senior marketing manager, Digital SLR, Olympus Imaging America Inc. “Pop Art, Grainy Black & White, and Pin Hole are just a few creative options that can be effortlessly found on the camera’s mode dial. The access is easy, and the results are fun and limitless.”

The new camera’s freedom of expression is matched by its freedom of mobility. First, the camera travels with you to more places, thanks to its compact size and light 16.76-ounce body. Second, as the world’s smallest DSLR with in-body Image Stabilization, the E-620 adjusts when your body moves to remove blur caused by camera shake (with any lens attached). Finally, add Live View shooting with a swivel 2.7-inch HyperCrystal™ LCD that frees you to cover subjects from a range of angles, and this 12.3-megapixel DSLR seamlessly combines motions with emotions – proof that Olympus lets you capture it all.

Make Your Vision Come to Life with Art Filters
If you’re hoping to get more out of your camera than simply capturing and documenting a scene, and enjoy enhancing or customizing an image to make it your own, then you will value the camera’s Art Filters. The filters, which are built into the camera, provide incredible individual artistic control over an image, and remove the need to spend time altering images on the computer with editing software.

This camera was made for free-style shooting, experimenting and engaging with events and subjects. Enjoy the freedom of Autofocus Live View and dramatic effects to transform your day-to-day shots into compositions that you can be proud of with the following in-camera Art Filters:

  • Pop Art:  Enhances colors, making them more saturated and vivid, creating high-impact pictures that express the joyful, lighthearted feeling of the Pop Art style of the 1960s;
  • Soft Focus:  Creates an ethereal, otherworldly atmosphere that renders subjects in a heavenly light without obscuring details; Pale & Light Color:  Encloses the foreground of an image in flat gentle light and pastel colors reminiscent of a flashback scene in a movie;
  • Light Tone:  Renders shade and highlight areas softly to lend an elegant air to the subject;
  • Grainy Film:  Evokes the feeling of documentary footage shot in monochrome with grainy, high-contrast film; and
  • Pin Hole:  Reduces the peripheral brightness of an image as though it were shot through a pin hole, connecting the viewer intimately with the subject at the center of the picture.

Art Filters are easily activated with the mode dial on the right side of the camera body. The effects are viewable right on the new camera’s 100 percent accurate swivel 2.7-inch Live View HyperCrystal™ III LCD when using the E-620 in Live View mode or when reviewing the captured image.

Express Your Inner Artist’s Multiple Personalities
With the new camera’s Multiple Exposure function you are free to tell a visual story your way, whether in a portrait, a landscape or a combination of both. For instance, capture an image of the spring leaves on a new tree and then overlay an image of your child’s face into the leaves for a stunning image that expresses the newness of the season. The image capture options allow you to shoot one shot, then another, or to capture both shots separately and combine them in the camera later. Or superimpose your own portrait with a starry night sky to create a photo with the impact you desire. Let your imagination lead you to new creative discoveries.

Ready, Steady, Go with In-Body Image Stabilization
The E-620 travels with you to more places, thanks to its compact size and light 16.76-ounce body. Capture sharp images on the go with the camera’s in-body Image Stabilization, which virtually eliminates blur with any lens attached. Three IS modes handle any situation. The IS-1 mode is for general shooting and adjusts the sensor on both the horizontal and vertical planes to compensate for movement by the photographer so images stay sharp in low light even at slow shutter speeds. To capture the motion of moving subjects, the E-620 offers two specialized modes: IS-2 mode is ideal for capturing a runner or cyclist traveling by in the horizontal mode, preserving the sense of motion while panning; IS-3 mode achieves the same effect when the camera is held vertically. In either mode, the artistic effects of panning enhance the shot and render the subject in sharp detail with blurred background. Moreover, the E-620 is the world’s smallest DSLR with built-in Image Stabilization, so you’ll feel comfortable taking it on the road with you to capture the action.

Superior Image Quality
The new camera’s high-performance 12.3-megapixel Live MOS image sensor delivers excellent dynamic range, accurate color fidelity, and a state-of-the-art amplifier circuit to reduce noise and capture fine image details in both highlight and shadow areas.

Its Live MOS image sensor is complemented by Olympus’ TruePic III+ Image Processor, which produces clear and colorful photos using all the pixel information for each image to provide the best digital images possible. The new image processor is noted for accurate natural color, true-to-life flesh tones, brilliant blue skies, and precise tonal expression; it also lowers image noise in photos shot at higher ISO settings, enabling great results in low-light situations.

Written by jeremyparce

February 27, 2009 at 8:00 pm

Photo Critique 6: ‘Untitled,’ by Renier DP.

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I love critiquing photos. It’s the best way to learn and get new ideas for photo shoots. Today, we’re going to critique an image made by Renier, a former student of mine in Miami, Florida.

'Untitled,' by Renier of Miami, Florida

'Untitled,' by Renier of Miami, Florida

General Overview:
Renier, I really enjoy this image because of its simplicity and homage to documentary photography. It looks like an old photo from the days of Hunter S. Thompson and Jack Kerouac. I think your image finds great depth and beauty in an otherwise simple setting. I know a lot of your images follow in the documentary vein, as you document the lives of your friends. My one suggestion in this regards is this: start looking for a message or idea you want to express. Try some storytelling and see how that works.

Whether intentional or not, I like the contrast between the typewriter your subject is using and the computer in the background. By all accounts, the subject looks very modern: A flatscreen television, computer, etc. But here his, in his pearl-button shirt and typewriter working away. It makes us, the viewer, want to know more. Good job.

This is a very well done image.

There are a few improvements I would like to suggest. First, the light coming from the window above the subject’s left shoulder is causing over-exposure. This is because the light in the room was much less than the light in the window, causing the meter to adjust for the room light and not factoring in the window light. Knowing that you use Adobe Photoshop, I would recommend you dodging the window light a bit in an effort to reduce the overexposure.

Secondly, I would lighten the area on the subject’s face to bring in just a tiny bit more detail. Burn in the face a little more and you’ll have it quite nice.

Finally, I would suggest that you use a larger aperture setting in order to make the depth of field a bit shallower. This is because there’s a going on in the room and it’s easy for the background to distract from the foreground. According to the information recorded in the image’s metadata, you used a shutter speed of 1/13 of a second with an aperture of f/3.5. If you could use f/2.8 or f/1.8, you would get both a faster shutter speed and a shallower depth of field, both of which could help you.

One more tip: Your ISO setting was recorded at ISO 100 equivalency. I would highly recommend using a higher ISO setting for this type of image for two reasons: One is a higher ISO will allow for more grain. More grain would give the image an “old” look by replicating the black-and-white film types used in early documentary photography. Second, a higher ISO would give you the ability to use a faster shutter speed.

Renier, you always do a great job. Keep up the good work and I look forward to seeing some more images from you.

Thanks for the submission, good luck and keep shooting!

If you would like to submit a photo for critique, e-mail us at

Written by jeremyparce

February 27, 2009 at 12:23 am

‘Arkansas Catholic’ Newspaper Sponsoring Photography Contest

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From the Arkansas Catholic Newspaper

David G. Turner's photo of St. Vincent de Paul Church in Rogers was featured on the cover of the 2009 diocesan directory. (Photo Credit: David G. Turner via the 'Arkansas Catholic' Website)

David G. Turner's photo of St. Vincent de Paul Church in Rogers was featured on the cover of the 2009 diocesan directory. (Photo Credit: David G. Turner via the 'Arkansas Catholic' Website)

The Arkansas Catholic newspaper is holding a contest to choose a photo for the cover of the 2010 diocesan directory. Any professional or amateur photographer in Arkansas can enter their photo of a Catholic church or institution in the diocese. March 20, 2009, is the deadline to enter the contest.

Dave Turner of Lowell, Arkansas won last year’s photo contest with a photo of St. Vincent de Paul Church in Rogers, Arkansas. His photo was featured on the cover of the 2009 Catholic Diocese of Little Rock Directory.

Complete rules and an entry form are available on the Arkansas Catholic Website. For more information, call Emily Roberts at (501) 664-0340.

Written by jeremyparce

February 26, 2009 at 12:05 am

Leica Workshop Scheduled in Delray Beach, Florida

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A workshop with Justin Stailey, Leica’s product specialist will be held March 21 at the Palm Beach Photographic Centre in Delray Beach, Florida. The workshop is hosted by The Palm Beach Photographic Centre, 55 NE Second Ave., Delray Beach, FL.

This workshop will allow for a unique opportunity to learn how to take better pictures with a Leica Rangefiner. Stailey, joined by a Leica representative and the trained staff of The Palm Beach Photographic Centre will give workshop attendees great pointers and share their experience. Attendees will receive hands-on experience with the latest Leica rangefinders and the latest M-lenses.

This workshop is limited in size. For more information, contact The Palm Beach Photographic Centre at 561-276-9797.