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Recent Blogs from Better Photography


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Plan a project for your travel photos

Palanderbukta, Svalbard.
Phase One XF 150MP, Schneider Kreuznach LS 240mm f/4.5, f4.5 @ 1/1250 second, ISO 100.

Palander Bay was a surprise. With three circumnavigations around the archipelago this year, I visited many places for the first time. Mind you, I returned to some locations three times and they were completely different - so maybe it doesn't matter about going somewhere new. Whatever! As we walked up the hill towards the snow, the angle across the ice to the glacier and cliffs behind kept getting better and better. And the colour contrast between the sandy foreground and the vibrant blues of the compressed ice work beautifully - or so I think!

I'm planning to post a few photos from recent travels. I'm also planning to be more active with my photo book projects. Planning and projects are good. They make you do things by giving you an end point - and perhaps a deadline. I'm sure Better Photography magazine wouldn't happen every quarter without a deadline!

The same approach can be taken to travel photography. Let me explain...

Read More

Enter Now - GFX Challenge Grant Program 2022

FUJIFILM Australia is calling enthusiast photographers to enter the GFX Challenge Grant Program 2022.

The GFX Challenge Grant Program, sponsored by Fujifilm, will award 15 applicants from around the world regional and global grants to help aspiring creatives bring their imaging projects to life.

Apply for 1 in15 places for a grant of up to US$10,000 and a loaned GFX camera and two GF lenses to help you conduct your project.

Prepare and submit your Project Proposal including everything Fujifilm needs to know to evaluate your idea, like details about your image and/or video project, your objective and how the grant award would be used if you are successful. Submissions close on November 30th, 2022.

This is an exciting opportunity to work with some of the world’s best mentors and GFX gear.

Join the challenge Today.

Crowd-Pleasers and Social Media

Fogbow, Well North of Svalbard
Phase One XT 150MP, Rodenstock HR Digaron-W 32mm, f11 @ 1/250 second, ISO 50

I might be making an assumption that this photo is going to be a ‘crowd-pleaser’, something that lots of people ‘like’ or ‘love’, depending on the platform’s flavour. (Of course, a few people will read this paragraph and not like or love it, merely because I have suggested it’s a crowd-pleaser.)

But does it matter?

I like pleasing crowds. I get a kick out of a photo that gets lots of attention. I figure most photographers are the same – it’s human nature! However, the rational side of my personality tells me this is irrational thinking. I have no control over what others think about my work.

Last week, a regular reader and communicator gently suggested that the reflection of clouds in my photograph couldn’t be lighter than the subject itself – because that’s what happens in nature. This popular criticism of photographs using post-production may be factual, even though my grand-father told me it is better to be socially pleasant than statistically correct! But my reviewer has made a big assumption of his own.

Why do people think that my photographs (or the photographs of many other readers) are trying to be realistic?

I’d rather think my work is based on nature, with a Hollywood filter run over the top. I’m not trying to fool anyone that my work is authentic. I operate on the belief that people are well-educated about post-production. Look at the Google smart phone being advertised on television currently with its ‘content-aware’ fill feature. Should we expect any photograph we see today to be real?

Which brings me to the fogbow above. No, it didn’t look like this. In reality, we were in a thick sea-fog and there was just a hint of the fogbow’s structure to be seen, but through the magic and mysteries of post-production (think contrast and clarity), photography can describe something that was really there, just difficult to see with the human eye.

Does this make it authentic? Don’t ask me! I’m just a photographer.

Do I like the photo? Yes, but it’s not my favourite. And I’m sure I will spend the rest of my life trying to figure out why some photos I consider ‘seconds’ are rated higher by the general population than ‘my absolute favourites’. No need to answer me, just send money to cover my psychiatry appointments!

What Are Our Workshops Like? Check Out These Videos!

Svalbard - Ten Perfect Days
Svalbard - Ten Perfect Days
Narooma NSW
Narooma NSW
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What's It Really Like In Antarctica?
What's It Like In Bhutan?
What's It Like In Bhutan?
Photos from Middlehurst Workshops
Photos from Middlehurst Workshops
Late Season Antarctica
Late Season Antarctica
Bolivia
Bolivia
Bhutan - Myth
Bhutan - Myth
Peter and Tony Talk Middlehurst
Peter and Tony Talk Middlehurst
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Svalbard - Ten Perfect Days
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Narooma NSW
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What's It Really Like In Antarctica?
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What's It Like In Bhutan?
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Photos from Middlehurst Workshops
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Late Season Antarctica
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Bolivia
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Bhutan - Myth
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Peter and Tony Talk Middlehurst
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How do you make better photographs?
How do you create photos other people admire?
Read how with our three essential ingredients.
BEFORE
BEFORE
AFTER
AFTER
Block
The Three Essentials
1
GREAT IDEAS
2
PHOTO EDITING
3
A Mentor

First, we need a source of ideas. All the equipment in the world will get us nowhere without ideas. Ideas are our energy source. Ideas make great photographs.

Second, we need to embrace photo editing. Learning selective editing is the key to creating photographs that you'll be proud of and that others respond to.

Third, we need a mentor. The most famous artists and photographers in the world all benefitted from advice. Yes, photography is an individual pursuit, but how do you know if  what you're doing is any good? Only a mentor can give you this essential feedback.

1. We're Full of Ideas!

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Better Photography Magazine and its annual Photo of the Year awards provides all this to its members - ideas, skills and feedback.

Maybe you're tired of Google and YouTube, aimlessly looking around for what you're not quite sure? Or perhaps Facebook and Instagram are leaving you confused about what makes a good photograph and how to create it?

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One of the problems with so much to choose from is knowing what to choose. That's where a quarterly magazine like Better Photography can really help because it suggests ideas and techniques you might never think of trying on your own.

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Here's How It Works!

Recently, I was reading an article by Better Photography contributor Nick Melidonis. Nick was writing about a Photoshop plugin called Shape, which at the end of your editing process can give your photographs some wonderful life and sparkle.

I might be the editor, but I'm also a magazine reader! I immediately followed the link Nick provided, purchased Shape and today it is a regular part of my workflow.

My photos look better because of it, but without the article in Better Photography magazine, without the 'idea' from Nick, I would never have found it. And I would never have searched for it on Google because it wasn't anywhere on my radar.

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Click on the menu image here to visit Shape's website if you'd like to investigate it yourself.

Now, don't get me wrong. I use Google and YouTube, but the extra value of carefully selected content in a quarterly magazine like Better Photography shouldn't be overlooked.

You only need one idea from each magazine to make the subscription worthwhile. And there are thousands of ideas tucked away in the Better Photography magazine archives, available to download for all subscribers.

Chances are you've recently bought a new camera or lens, or perhaps it's a monitor or a processing app, but what did they do for you on their own? The ONLY reason equipment and techniques are useful is because of the ideas you use as a photographer - and that's what Better Photography provides.

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IDEAS
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The secret to great photography isn't in new equipment, it's in your ideas - and you'll find tons of ideas and inspiration in a subscription to Better Photography magazine.

2. Selective Editing

Selective editing is the single most important skill a photographer can learn today. It lets you express and refine your ideas.

'Global' editing is what our cameras do. When they take a photograph, everything within the frame receives the same global settings, even if the sky ends up too light or a person's face is too dark.

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'Selective' editing let's us transform camera photos into something much, much better. Not only can we darken the sky or lighten a person's face, we can creatively interpret the image in many different ways - depending on our ideas.
BEFORE
BEFORE
AFTER
AFTER

I'm well known for embracing post-production in my work, but I am also criticised for 'changing' or 'enhancing' reality by photographers who call themselves 'purists' or 'realists'. These misguided folk are our enemies. No one is forcing them to edit their photos if they enjoy the discipline of capturing everything 'in-camera', but I don’t think it is acceptable to criticise others who wish to be more adventurous and express their creativity through photo editing.

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Photography is a language and we are all entitled to choose whether we write fiction or non-fiction.

For me, post-production is just as important as the capture. Photography is a two-step process and depending on the subject, I get to decide how much or how little post-production is best.

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Do What YOU Wanna Do!

Years ago when I started playing with Photoshop, I showed four competition entries to a couple of friends. Their response was terrible, telling me the images were horrible and that it wasn't even photography. A month later, those same four images won me the 2004 AIPP Australian Illustrative Photographer of the Year award.

Fortunately for me, the judges had a different view of photography than my friends and it's the same today: everyone is a photographer and everyone has an opinion. My objective isn't to get you to think like me, rather to share a range of ideas and inspirations to get you thinking and photographing like YOU.

And with a subscription to Better Photography magazine, the contributors and I will share with you a range of post-production techniques and approaches that will have you making great photographs.

3. Finding A Mentor

Many of the contributors to Better Photography magazine also act as mentors and lead photo workshops. We have no shortage of expertise.

However, not everyone has personal access to a mentor, so one way we thought we could help is through our annual Photo of the Year competition. Every entry receives a score and a short comment from a judge, providing valuable feedback.

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And every subscriber to Better Photography receives a free entry into the competition, which is the only photo competition judged by three AIPP Grand Masters of Photography.

Our How To Win Photo Competitions online package links in with the judging comments used for our Photo of the Year awards and you can enter extra photos as well for more comments.

So, what are you looking for?

Do you want to produce photographs of a professional standard?

Would you like to feel comfortable with post-production so you can edit any photo?

And would you like to experience the satisfaction of producing a photograph that is truly creative?

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This is where you start - with a subscription to Better Photography. Here's what you get:

Four brand new issues of Better Photography, each 100 pages and in full colour.

Access to over 50 back issues of Better Photography magazine, full of ideas and inspiration and valued at over $750.

Entry to the Better Photography Photo of the Year award, valued at $20.

Re-subscribe for just $29.80 - a saving of $20 in future years.

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We'd love to welcome you as a subscriber - why not join now and enjoy taking Better photographs with Better Photography magazine.

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