Tag Archives: composition

Scouting before a Photography Workshop

© Jack Graham

I am a photography workshop leader. As one, I am constantly looking for new locations to bring my attendees to. I don’t conduct workshops in areas where I am not familiar, but even in familiar locations, I am always looking for new locations for my attendees. (Images below were taken yesterday). We are here scouting in Olympic National Park prior to the start of our photo workshop later this week.

Along with my good friend and able assistant Grant Longenbaugh, we set out for a location that I’ve never been to. Grant discovered this area on his map and after review, we decided to go exploring. We both agreed there was lots of potential. It ended up to be even better than we expected.  Though we had some pesky rain all afternoon (perfect conditions for photographing the rain forest) we were able to find to quite a few locations in this area that will is provide some great locations for my workshop group, starting on Thursday morning here in ONP.

Yes, it was only Monday but scouting locations prior to the beginning of a photography workshop for my attendees is absolutely necessary. , These folks, who are arriving tomorrow night are traveling long distances, taking time out of their busy lives and are spending hard earned money to come here with me.  This is the least I can do is make their time worth it. Again, I love taking folks to new exciting locations. This workshop here in Olympic National Park this week will be no different!

I am heading back there this morning after my office work is completed. I bet we find even more locations to bring folks to. I don’t mean to sound arrogant, but not all leaders do this. As well,  I don’t share these and other locations  with others leaders. This is another reason why if folks come along on a photography workshop with me, we’ll get you into these kind of areas.

Well,  now to get my email and other workshop office work completed so I can get dressed for rain, prepare my gear and get back into the rain forest…another great day of scouting.—JG.

  

 

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The Return of MACRO and MORE !

Usually when sequels to movies come out they are rarely good ones. There are some exceptions like the Godfather 2 and others.

moats-mugWell hold on to your hats! Macro and More is BACK!!! (Though for now only one day–read on)

First, let me say that I don’t like the word Macro for a few reasons. Macro photography normally means 1:1 shooting with a macro lens. I rather the term “CLOSE UP” Photography be used. I make a lot of decent images with other lenses, rather than just macro lenses …. just my $0.02. Continue reading The Return of MACRO and MORE !

WINTER in ICELAND—DAY ONE !

©Jack Graham / Jack Graham Photography LLC

All images made with FUJIFILM “X” SERIES cameras and lenses


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“Of all the things I’ve done in my career, I hold most dear the success I’ve had running workshops, and I feel  know a lot about that subject, enough to say that Jack Graham is probably the preeminent workshop provider in the field today!  His concern for his clients is amazing and he works tirelessly to see they get “more” than they paid for!  We have been friends for a long, long time.  He did his first workshop with me with the late Galen Rowell in the early nineties.  Jack was a big time professional musician playing with big names like Frank Sinatra!  He put that same effort into photography and has become one of the best out there today! Jack has become not only someone I admire, but someone I love very much, I’m thrilled we get to work together!”—Bill Fortney

I specialize in workshops with leader to attendee ratio’s that offer you the best experience in photography workshops. Please consider joining us! Please visit my website for more. …Thank you


WINTER in ICELAND…..DAY ONE

_jgx1851We began out  our 5 day workshop today. As usual winter in Iceland always provides weather that is never dull. Prior to today’s departure from Reykjavik,  I took 2 clients out for a day, venturing to some areas we are not going to during our time together starting today.

We had a day of wind, rain, sun rainbows, and dramatic light. Being patient was the order of the day. Here are a few images. We visited one of my favorite churches in Iceland and used the clouds to tell the story of drama. The black skies behind the lighthouse was from an exiting storm. We had a beam of bright sun that lasted about a minute that side-lit the lighthouse with some amazing light.

 

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DAY ONE: Day one was challenging. We had a fair amount of rain. Our group did get some great images from Skogarfoss. We made some really dramatic images of the huge crashing waves on the rocky beach in Vik, on the south coast of Iceland

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Critiquing Photography and the Importance of Style and Vision

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CRITIQUING IMAGES            ©Jack Graham
_DSF7037-Edit-EditHaving our work critiqued in order to know where we stand in terms of photographic development and how our viewers respond to our images is an integral part of developing our style and vision.

An image critique is certainly not about me or my knowledge of photography. It is about my workshop attendees, or others work. My goal is to help another photographer improve his or her work. Reviewing and critiquing images is an integral part of my teaching.

An image critique can take place in many contexts. These critiques are always part of my photography workshops, are an important part of each workshop and should be equally important to the attendee. These critiques are always meant to be constructive, not destructive. For my purposes this discussion will be based upon landscape, macro, wildlife and photo art photography as opposed to portrait and “people” based photography,  which I do not feel I am equipped to critique images.

There are two ways teachers critique images. They can make the attendee “feel good” and create a warm and “fuzzy feeling” or be honest and deliver information that will make each student gain invaluable input as well as deliver this information to the other students as well. I choose the latter.

_DSF0383-Edit-EditFirst and foremost, critiquing an image is not criticizing the image. Criticizing an image is destructive while critiquing an image is productive. When critiquing an image I look for strong points, subject, what works and what doesn’t as well as the weak points of the image. When one criticizes an image a certain amount of personal feeling is involved, which is destructive.

When critiquing an image I always take into account composition, technical aspects, the feeling that is evoked, etc. A good review covers those items along with the esthetic and artistic nuances of the image.

I always try to address the technical and artistic aspects separately. Technical aspects include exposure, focus, depth of field, sharpness, exposure, how you processed the image if applicable, cropping, and more.

Artistic aspects includes composition, how you used color or B & W, is the light good , is there some personal style in the image and more.

My review of an image is based on facts, not my personal opinions. For example I might say “This image is dark. I see you compensated minus 2/3’s of a stop. Perhaps no composition was needed here.” This is based on fact and if the photographer wanted to create a brighter, more acceptable image and didn’t, then there is something wrong with the image itself.

An example of an opinion-based critique is: ‘I don’t like the sky in this image so you might want to leave it out.” Perhaps the sky meant more to the photographer than to me, so this is a personal decision. I’ll always preface these comments with “In my opinion.” Personal taste of the photographer is important.

LAWA+PALOUSE39_120615_7924I always stress what works and what doesn’t both technically and artistically. Further I critique the work of a beginning photographer differently than that of a seasoned shooter. I take each attendee differently based on skill level. My goal is to use these critique sessions as a growth session for each attendee while offering ideas on how each person can take my input to go to the next level.

It helps if the attendees respond to criticism in a positive manner. Not all do.

Most of the time, one problem or conflict stands out more than others. I will always address that first. Most of the time there is something positive about the photograph. I always try to stress that. If not, I’ll be honest and say so. By pointing out the good parts of the image, the magnitude of the bad aspects are a bit less painful to absorb. I always try to offer constructive criticism and not discourage the photographer totally. For example, I might say ”There is a conflict with lines and too much negative space in this image, however you really nailed the sharpness, exposure and depth of field wonderfully.” These are facts. I’ll then go on to offer a solution to the problems I see in the image and how to correct them.

_DSF6961-Edit-Edita-EditOver many years of critiquing images I have found that negative comments are more powerful than positive comments and linger on much longer. Again I’ll offer solutions to the problems I see. Not all attendees take criticism the same. Some have their confidence and their self-esteem hurt. By trying to balance the positive aspects with the negative aspects I hope to provide a balance that serves everyone better. Remember, few images are totally bad.

I also offer my time at a future date to do another review either by phone or Skype. This is a good way to see if the attendee is progressing.

STYLE and VISION
LAORCST_MWPRTHTRBR16_120905_0652When reviewing images I emphasis the importance of developing your style and your vision.

Developing vision and style does not just form. It is a process that can take many years. It should not take a lifetime either. Vision and style must be apparent to your viewers, not just to you. When I hear Miles Davis play one line of music I know it’s him. This is the highest compliment one can be paid. If your viewers cannot see vision and style in your images, it is simply not there and your images are just another bunch of pretty pictures among millions of others.

BEWARE of the INTERNET. Is feedback on images you post on Facebook valuable? More often not for a lot of reasons. As a photographer you need and want to get noticed. How do you do that? Get good at what you do. Don’t worry about how many “likes” you get on Facebook. You need to be more than just another photographer in an ocean of photographers in today’s world. Work to develop a personal style and vision. Technique and processing trickery is not enough to get by on.