Many have been hoping Nikon would start a rebates program on lenses alone. Unfortunately, it hasn’t happened yet, but don’t run off. If you look past it, you will notice some truly staggering rebates taking place. To start with, Nikon D610 price is down to $1600. Look closer and you will notice that the camera comes with a handful of gifts, too – worth over $140, no less. And there’s the 2% rewards program, too. Oh, and free Expedited shipping. A good time to buy a full-frame Nikon camera, then, but even better if you need a lens to go with it as some of the best Nikkor lenses are now up to $400 off the original price, whilst certain cameras coupled to kit lenses add up to savings of up to $800.
At the start of this week the LoveCases giveaway has ended and, as always, we were tasked with drawing five winners randomly. A whopping 747 of you have chosen to take part in the contest! And now that the winners have all been contacted and the packages are already shipped out, here is the list of the people to receive their new bags and accessories.
The Photography Week, our first ever event, has passed. The fact that it has ended a week ago and I am only publishing this article now is a good indication that for us, it did not go quite as planned. The reason for it is very simple – despite the huge effort from our team to deliver content, I overestimated how much spare time I would have during PPE in New York. The long flight did not help matters at all. Because of that and the busy schedule in New York, I wasn’t able to publish all the content in time. On the flip side, you’ll be seeing some more articles similar to the ones already published during the event in the coming week, and hence a nice distraction from all the great, yet more technical pieces we are working on currently.
But all of this is just me making excuses. What’s important is that I’ve learned, through trial and error, just how much effort the event requires, at least if I want to fulfill my obligation. And I do. The question is, should the even ever take place again and turn into a tradition of sorts? That, our dear readers, is up to you to decide. Let’s look through all the articles that have been published during our first ever Photography Week, and once that is done, our whole team is very curious if you’d want the event to happen again.
It has always been very hard for me to judge my own work. No matter what I do, more often than not I end up not liking it. I find flaws, things I could have done better, almost all the time. The worst sort of case is when I just feel there is something missing, something I can’t quite put my finger on. But here’s the funny bit – I am betting you feel me. Because it’s the same with most photographers. I often ask Nasim if he thinks the photographs I show with my articles are “good enough”, he does the exact same thing, too. Self-critique and uncertainty is a very important and inseparable part of being a photographer, a sort of an “engine” that drives us forward. Or stalls us.
You already know a great deal about the composition choices that I make. You know my thoughts on what matters most in photography, the rule of thirds, central composition and element placement at the edges of the frame. Whichever preference is yours, I certainly hope you’ve learned something from reading those articles. Now, I am about to share something else with you, and here is where we start: regardless of where I place the important elements in my photography, whenever I have the chance I always, always surround, enhance, bathe them in negative space.
If we see the rule of thirds as the default, “bread and butter” sort of composition guide, I can think of at least two ways to break that rule and distance your work from it. The first one is to use, against the advice of many photographers, central composition. It is a very natural, simple way of composing an image and generally results in a very “open”, peaceful, calm photograph. You could say it is classic. As I mentioned before, it is also one we instinctively learn first. The second way is completely opposite and perhaps much less “natural” to our eyes, yet one I adore at least as much as central composition. You see, if one naturally expects to find something of importance at the very center of a frame, the very edges of it might be the last place they’d look. And that sense of unexpectedness is perhaps the best part about it.
Any photographer will tell you – you do not take portraits in direct sunlight. It’s ugly. It’s much too contrasty. It wreaks havoc on automatic exposure and tests all sorts of other boring technical aspects of a camera to the limit. It’s difficult to pose in, difficult to see in; it creates dark this and blown out that everywhere and one should always, always avoid it. Look for a shade instead. Find yourself an arc, a tree, anything at all under or inside which you can hide your subject and bathe him/her in smooth, soft, brilliant light. You do not shoot portraits in direct sunlight. Nothing good ever comes out of it.
Sorry, I can’t. That’s rubbish.
After my previous, slightly unorthodox article on improving your photography, here comes another one. And, as you may have guessed from the title, I am about to say some nice things about a type of composition many consider to be downright boring. Here is what I say in return: cliché. When used well, I absolutely adore central composition, there’s nothing else quite like it.
Of course, there is a strong reason why so many photographers, when giving advice to beginners, start with the phrase “don’t put your subject in the middle”. So, in order to see central composition for what it really is, perhaps we should first understand why it’s so avoided. And the reason for it is surprisingly simple.
As with every skill, be it conscious or instinctive, your ability to choose composition for any given moment you wish to capture improves with time, practice and experience. And it’s not just composition, of course, but the sense of light, peak moment, emotion. I strongly believe our photography, from a certain point, represents us not just as artists (especially because not all photographers are inherently artists, which is in no way a bad thing), but also as personalities. Our choice of light, mood, subject and/or object, environment, color and message mirrors that which we like, do not like, how we see, how we live, how we feel. It mirrors our character, for we imprint ourselves in our work, leave a signature made not with ink or light, but with our very essence. And so it is with composition. If you are a calmer person, prefer simple, few things and like your environment tidy, it is likely these personality traits will reflect in your photography and you will seek simple, minimalistic, tidy, static, calm composition choices. If, on the other hand, you are an active, emotional person, there’s a good chance you will take a more dynamic approach to composition with more subjects and perhaps even chaotic arrangement of elements within your work.
Considering the rule of thirds is perhaps the most popular (certainly the best known) way of composing an image, but only a short while ago did it dawn on me that not everyone is familiar with this composition guide. But that’s alright. After all, the first reason why we are here is to learn. What I found slightly worrisome is that we didn’t actually have an article on the rule of thirds. It is about time we rectify the problem.