BrickHouse Photo School

Tips, Tricks and Reviews for Photo Hobbyists

Posts Tagged ‘tips

Nikon and Carson Kressley Helps People ‘Look Good in Pictures’

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Carson Kressley is known for many things: Fashion designer, noted equestrian, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy fashion maven and a style expert helping regular folks “Look Good in Pictures.”
Last fall, Kressley teamed with Nikon USA to help provide tips to help people overcome the anxiety they feel when they see their own pictures. C’mon, we’ve all said it, “THAT’S what I look like?” when we see ourselves in a snapshot. No fear. Kressley is here to help.
Here’s a sample tip from the Q&A section of the Website entitled “Ask Carson:”

Patrick asks…How do you hide a double chin?
Aside from joining the witness relocation program, which just happens to be REALLY inconvenient, there are other ways to hide the dreaded double chin. It’s really important to know your best angle. Some people look better if they are shot a little bit below, some people straight on, and some people from above. For a double chin, I would recommend getting your picture taken with the camera angled downward as it will hide that pesky double chin. Make sure to keep your head titled slightly up when the camera is shooting straight-on.

Great advice and a fairly common question.

Recently, photographer Susan Stripling was interviewed by Nikon podcast host Mark Ellwood about her appearance on the show. To listen to the podcast, click here.

Protect Your Gear with Camera Armor

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I can be terribly abusive to my photography equipment. Although I try to be gentle with my gear, I guess I’m just a klutz.

But now, I can worry a little less thanks to Camera Armor. Camera Armor is just what it sounds like … a silicone-based system that protects the camera and lens from bumps, scratches, dirt and drops. Although not fully waterproof, the system also does well protecting against moisture. Think of it as the bulletproof vest for your camera.

Camera Armor system for the Canon EOS 1D/1Ds Mark III.

Camera Armor system for the Canon EOS 1D/1Ds Mark III.

The system comes with 4 parts: the Body Armor, the Lens Armor, which fits a 49mm-84mm physical diameter lens, the LCD Shield and a Lens Cap Leash. Although it completely covers the camera, all controls are accessible.

The system is designed specifically for certain camera models. For Canon, there are Camera Armor systems for the following bodies: Canon XTi, XSi, 40D, 30D, 20D, 5D, 1D Mark II and the 1D Mark III. For Nikon, there are systems for the: D40, D40x, D60, D70, D80, D2x, D200 and D300. There are also systems for the Fuji S5, Sony A100, Pentax K10D, Pentax K20D, and the Olympus E-410.

Books for Your Library: ‘The Sadness of Men’

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Photo books are a great addition to any library. As photographers, we are constantly searching for new ideas and are always interested in seeing concepts-done-well. Here’s a suggestion to add to your library …

The Sadness of Men is a 50-year retrospective by accomplished photographer Philip Perkis. Perkis, a noted photography educator, began photography in 1957 while serving in the U.S. Air Force as a tail-gunner. His formal training began when he started studies at the San Francisco Art Institute. He studied with famed photographers Ansel Adams and Dorothea Lange. In addition to his photographic work, he has taught at numerous schools, including the graduate faculty at the School of Visual Arts at NYU and is a professor emeritus at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.
The book is his first published collection. Each image in the book builds upon the previous, guiding the viewer along the world through Perkis’ eyes. The images are a subtle look at the everyday; its sadness and the rhythm of the world.

The book is available at

Written by jeremyparce

April 7, 2009 at 8:00 am

Photo Critique 10: ‘Waiting for the Magic Bus,’ by Carla B.

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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 Carla, my friend in Miami, Florida.

"Waiting for the Magic Bus," Carla B., Miami, Florida

"Waiting for the Magic Bus," Carla B., Miami, Florida

General Overview:
Carla, although you do great portrait work, I really like when you leave your “comfort zone” and try something different. The concept for this image is great … it’s an image that really makes the viewer create a story. You give great visual clues and set a nice tone with the image. I think you have a great eye for visual storytelling.

It’s important to give your viewer the ability to let their minds go off the beaten path and dream up a story behind an image. I believe you’re well on your way to doing that with this image.

Good job.

Here are a few improvements I will suggest: First, remove the lights that are popping through in the background. I think it’s a little too distracting.

A quick edit removing the lights in the background and playing with the color. (Edit by Jeremy Schneider, photo credit: Carla B., Miami, Florida)

A quick edit removing the lights in the background and playing with the color. (Edit by Jeremy Schneider, photo credit: Carla B., Miami, Florida)

Secondly, I would add a little more light to the subject. An off-camera flash placed to the viewer’s right and directed at the subject would have helped a little.

Finally, I think I would have toned the colors a little more to mute them, with the exception of the red. It might look a little better if all the colors were muted and the red bus station frame popped.

Carla, keep up the good work and keep pushing yourself OUT of your comfort zone and try new things.

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

April 5, 2009 at 5:04 pm

Tips and Tricks: Getting Good Candid Photos

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Good candid photos (photos that aren’t posed) are easy to get if you have a little patience. Here are a few tips:

Watch and wait for your subject to do something that shows emotion or personality (Photo Credit: Andres U., Miami, Florida)

Watch and wait for your subject to do something that shows emotion or personality (Photo Credit: Andres U., Miami, Florida)

  • Watch and Wait: Keep your camera ready to shoot then wait for the right moment so when it comes, you’ll be ready.
  • Use Zoom: By using your zoom, you can stay further away from the subject, which allows the subject to be more relaxed and natural acting.
  • Take Plenty of Photos: You never know when something is going to happen so keep clicking away. You’re not using film so there’s no “waste.” Just delete the less-interesting photos and keep going.
  • Look for Moments: Wait for those moments that really express the subject’s character. Try to reveal something about your subject to your viewers by showing personality traits.

Written by jeremyparce

March 22, 2009 at 9:00 am

Unleash Your Creative Potential

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Digital photography can be a fun way to help you unleash your creative potential and learn about art at the same time.

A digital camera is a great tool for a productive, creative and meaningful hobby. A digital camera provides instant feedback and instant gratification. Plus, photography is a hobby that can last a lifetime or even to lead to a career.

The hard part is over – you already own a digital camera! Don’t let your digital camera collect dust while you wait for an “event” to photograph. Create your own special event and spend some time photographing your kids, grandkids, family and friends while learning about digital photography.

Organize a Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunts are fun and even more so with a digital camera. It’s a great event for a lazy day because it will not only get you out of the house for a few hours but it will require you to walk around in the fresh air and actually look at the world in which we live.

Short on scavenger hunt ideas? No problem. Try a few of these:

  • Letters of the Alphabet: This is a great exercise in creativity I use with my own students because it requires them to focus less on the camera and more on the subject. Plus, it’s extremely simple to do. First, participants go out and photograph objects that make letters of the alphabet. For example, a fork in a tree might make a nice letter “Y” or a curve in the sidewalk my make the letter “C.” The ground rules are simple though: No letters on signs or billboards and no arranging objects to make it look like a letter. Only naturally existing “letters” are allowed.
  • Color Wheel: This is another simple and fun project that will not only make you focus on the subject, but will also teach an important lesson about color theory. The color wheel will be the primary tool you’re going to use for this exercise. Using the colors wheel, participants have to find objects in nature that are yellow, red and blue. Be creative! Look past bananas, apples and blueberries and find some really unique items. Once the primary colors have been photographed, go after photos of the Secondary Colors (orange, green and purple) and Tertiary Colors (yellow-orange, red-orange, red-purple, blue-purple, blue-green, and yellow-green). Once completed, have the participants print the photos and make a montage so they can create their own photographic color wheel.

    Color Wheel from the Website

    Color Wheel from the Website

  • What Is It?: This very simple guessing game is easy to do and produces some really interesting results. Have the participants pick any object they choose and take two different photos of the same object: one very close up and one that’s at full view. Print the images and show the close up first and have fun guessing what was photographed.

Good luck and keep shooting!

Written by jeremyparce

March 21, 2009 at 1:07 pm

Posted in Photo Ideas

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Visions of Rock

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What do John Mayer, Bryan Adams, Lenny Kravitz and Patti Smith have in common besides being talented musicians? They are also talented photographers.
American PHOTO magazine, Nikon with additional support from Epson, sponsor Visions of Rock, a Website and exhibition that highlights photography by some of the world’s most well-known musicians.

Visit Visions of Rock to see the works by these and other top musicians.

Written by jeremyparce

March 16, 2009 at 7:08 pm