Sunday, June 26, 2011

Rule of Thirds

Most photographers use a size of 18 X 12 to compose photographs. DSLR cameras mostly shoot for this format also, with a few exceptions. The basic rule of thirds indicates that the focal point of the photo should be one third in from the side edge, and one third in from the upper or lower edge of the photo. In the case of a human subject, the focal point of the photo is usually their leading eye. Ideally, this rule works very well for most photos, but it's not cast in stone.

The main focal points for a photo can be found in the image above. Draw a line from the upper corner to the lower diagonal corner to bisect the image. Now from each OPPOSITE corner, drop a line that meets the original line perpendiculy. These are the "ideal" natural focal points of an image. Strangely enough, they comply with the rule of thirds.

Isn't this photography stuff simple???

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Why not be NICE???

There are a lot of photographers, amateur, semi-professional, professional, good, fair, terrible, gifted, or any other description you can come up with. The arrival of digital photography opened the doors for a veritable flood of "photographers". Nowadays, anybody who can push a button at the same time as looking through a viewfinder or into an LCD screen can be a photographer. I welcome this, because I love photography. I remember the old days when I used to stumble around in a darkroom, knocking things over and reeling in the smell of the chemicals. Printing photos under red lights, like a character from an old Frankenstein movie, hoping that at least ONE of the photos on my roll of 36 would turn out half decently. From the crushing disappointment of finding 36 crap photos to the elation of finding three or four terrific pics on a roll, photography was a heady, roller coaster ride of all sorts of emotions. I loved it.

Then came the digital age. My trusty darkroom was consigned to the dark ages. Fixers, developers, enlargers, all were disposed of. My darkroom became a store room. My much loved Canon A1 was wrapped in a good soft cloth (read tea towel stolen from my wife), and placed into a bottom drawer where it still resides, hopefully not crusty, dusty, or rusty.

First item on my shopping list was a Fujifilm DSLR. 8 MILLION pixels of the latest technology. My old desktop was taken to a computer whizzkid who installed PhotoShop on it. A CF card and a card reader were purchased. I was ready to enter the digital age.

So off I went, hired a model, took some shots - lingerie if I remember correctly. I followed the digital trend and posted some of the pics on a networking site. Big mistake! It was my first experience of the "keyboard warrior"...

Now I welcome OBJECTIVE criticism as much as anybody else. It can be a very useful learning tool. But the barrage of insults, cheap comments, and abuse that I received shocked me. And to this day I'm sometimes shocked by this apparent lack of respect for a person's efforts over the internet.

I've adopted a different stance nowadays. I used to fight back, but fighting an online clique can be a dead end alley. Unless a person specifically asks for feedback or critique, I only say nice things about photos that I like. If I like a photo, I'll say WHY I like it. If I don't like a photo, I'll say absolutely nothing about it.

One mistake that I made in the early years was taking the comments of the nasty idiots personally. And I gave as good as I got. This only brought me down to their level. I don't do that anymore. Now I ignore them.

I found that being NICE was a good way to make friends on the net. Friends who will support me when I need it, and friends who will offer only genuine and helpful critique. Friends that you can actually meet in person and enjoy a pint of beer with. And learn from.

The lesson that I learned - the HARD way - was to be NICE.

It's so much easier and satisfying than causing grief, and in return receiving grief. And the negative people? I simply ignore them. Have nothing more to do with them...

So, why not be nice?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Couples Shoots.

If you're reading this you're most likely a couple who have expressed an interest in posing for one of my "couples" shoots. I thought it would be best to show some examples here so that, if you decide that you'd like to try it, you'll know exactly what you're letting yourselves in for...

My shoots are actually explicit, and you, the models, would be having real, actual sex during the shoot. These are not simulated, they are real...

Although my couples shoots are explicit, I try my best to shoot them as artistically as possible.

Typically, a shoot such as this one would take between 60 to 90 minutes to complete...

I only ever shoot with REAL couples, as I want to portray genuine passion and emotion...

It would be easier on me if I simply booked "porn stars" to shoot with, as they are well used to "performing" in front of others, but the fact is that they are merely "performing". I shoot to portray emotion, passion, love, and purity of a couple's relationship. Porn stars cannot bring these ingredients to my shoots, and therefore I prefer to shoot genuine couples who have not tried this style of shoot before.

I never use the model's real names, and I am VERY selective who sees my work. Discretion is therefore assured to the models, who remain anonymous. Similiarly, I expect full discretion from my models. As a photographer from a small town in Ireland, I prefer that this side of my photographic career is kept as low key as possible.

I fully appreciate that this style of photography is not to everybody's taste, and therefore will understand that many couples are unwilling to pose in this manner. If that is the case, I hope that I have not offended you by offering you this shoot. However, if you ARE interested in this project, I can tell you that the couple shown here (who have given permission to be shown as examples of this type of shoot) thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and are keen to do more shoots with me in this genre. The girl shown here is a semi professional "art nude" model who had never before posed for an explicit shoot, and still maintains her limits to most other photographers at an art nude, non explicit level. Even though this shoot has been published internationally, nobody has recognised her and her anonimity is assured. Her husband had never posed for a photoshoot prior to this.

I have done a great number of these shoots, and am delighted to say that ALL the models that took part in this project to date have been thrilled with the experience and are very happy with the results. They have ALL asked for (and been given) copies of the photographs, and many have had the photos printed into "bedside" books as memories of their passion. ALL of the couples involved have expressed a desire to work with me again, and have remarked on how the experience had been very positive for their love lives, enriching their confidence and strengthening their bonds as couples.

I hope that this example will answer most of your questions, but if you have any questions or queries that remain unanswered, please feel free to contact me and I will answer as best I can. Please note that this particular shoot was carried out in my studio in a "low key" style, but I also carry out couples shoots in hotels, in couples homes, and in many different styles.