Considering The NYI Portrait Photography Course

Tballphoto

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Im curious, what are you trying to actually accomplish in this effort?

Are you trying to actually enhance your photography, or are you simply trying to spend your money on things that are not going to do anything for you? Besides help you mimic someone who needs photoshop on everything they do?

Professional means nothing, other then what the viewer sees happen. Meaning, that pretending to be a professional makes you a professional. Its that simple from what i have seen on the lomography website. They have alot of "professional photographers" with "awards" and lots of "public showings". However what they dont tell you is that....

In many of these cases, the "public gallery showings" are nothing more someone rented an unfurnished ground floor apartment or unused store front. And put a few dozen prints of their favorite photos up. Charged a few dollars for an entrance fee, and after a few weekends, closed up. Woooom, thats a public gallery showing. And winning awards? well simply pay your local community outreach program to create a little photo contest, and make sure you are friends with the judges. Or are a judge as well.
 

Tballphoto

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The only thing the NYIP course will do is let you get the PPA certification. Almost seems its mandatory fee to get the PPA cert

What is creativity to you? Is it taking a good photograph. Or is it smearing someone with mud and then taking a photo of that?

You aren,t at a skill plateau, but a THINKING plateau.

What is the difference between boudoir photography, fashion, and portrait photography? There is perhaps 20 hours worth of reading online to explain what each type is, but in reality they are the SAME thing.

Same poses, lighting tricks, same clothing, and same people. What changes is how the subject and viewer think of it. For example take three random photos and show them to strangers.

Say a photo of a plate, a bowl, and a spoon in the sink. Ask what they see or feel about it. As a mere image its nothing. Just a photo of a sink and some dishes.

But give it some made up context like, "this is a photo trying to get the abstract of hungry children in nigeria" and youll get far different responses to it.
 
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smoke665

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@Tballphoto I'm at that age where I neither care nor want anything except a continuation of knowledge on the craft. After reading more on the course, I suspect that it would do little in advancing that goal.

You are somewhat correct with the "thinking plateau" but I would call it more of a "creative thinking plateau". While teaching instruction might help clear your vision it does little to formulate the beginning vision. Once I have a vision I know how to execute, or where to find guidance if I need help, but of late the visions have been slow to appear. My primary interest is in studio, so part of that may be the side effects of the pandemic. It's hard to get excited about an idea for a shoot when you're limited on model access. DW has a highly compromised immune system so we both have to be very careful.
 

mrca

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Smoke, I think what you are saying is you have a hard time coming up with the concept of the shot. I once shot with a Nat Geo photographer ad he said when he got to a new location, Patagonia, Africa etc, it took him a day or so till he got to where he was creative. I later realized, many of us live in the left, logical part of the brain and getting to the right, creative side doesn't happen quickly. I had done some black and white work to concentrate on shadow and highlight and thought, perhaps doing pencil drawing might assist. I picked up the book drawing from the right side of the brain, and it did way more than assist with drawing. Had I read this book before. I got involved in photography, I wouldn't need a truck to haul my gear to go on a location, only a canvas and paints and brushes. I realized I could draw. But more important, were the early exercises in the book. The first one had you lay a piece of clear plexiglass over a photo you turned upside down. Then you simply tried to draw the lines. That helped teach you to disassociate from known patterns, i.e. us the sun being a circle with lines coming out of it, and forced you from left brain to right brain. We can move our fingers to draw well, our brain interferes .It actually made my head hurt. The second exercise was place a chair next to you and then draw not the chair, but the spaces within and outside it. I felt like blood was spurting out of my eyeballs. That really jammed you into the right side of the brain. Now, after years of making the transition, I can make the transition pretty quickly.
 

Tballphoto

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creativity is nothing more then the application of known skills, and using them slightly differently.

All of those courses will do nothing more then teach you how to copy. If you want to actually THINK differently, i suggest the national geographic courses on photography. There are two by sartore, and one that is a compilation of individual segments by various national geographic cover shooters that explains how they thought when they went to a particular assignment and took the photos they did.

I did not care much for the personal explanations behind some of the photos in the third dvd, but it DOES help make you see how others think.

The only problems IM having is finding a model, and getting the ambition to take a photo. I hit what some would call a "i dont see a point in doing something right now"
 
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smoke665

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The only problems IM having is finding a model, and getting the ambition to take a photo. I hit what some would call a "i dont see a point in doing something right now"

WINNER, WINNER! That's just what I said earlier. Why even think of creative projects if you can't do them. I've got enough ideas stored in a notebook to carry me for months. Fortunately, I'm doing a Senior set and an Easter set for family later this month that will scratch the itch, but nothing after that.

@mrca see above ^^
 

mrca

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Trained as a writer, "copying" had a term, plagiarism. In photography, those with no creativity call it "inspiration." When I use someones work as a starting point for my work, I credit the person. Tball, as a linguist, I don't like the term "model." It implies someone who knows how to model. Most calling themselves that haven't a clue on posing, working to the light and camera. I prefer, subject or client. I did a shoot with an amazing model out of LA and everytime the camera clicked or the flash popped, she slightly changed her pose. Never having the end of her nose passing the cheek line. always careful not to shadow her face, feeling her way into light in the shadow side eye. I got something like 400 killer shots in a few hours. If you have good, work, show it and ask people to sit for a photo. Oh, I don't like the word "sitter" either. What if they are standing, are they standers? It would make George Carlin cringe. Yes, in this era of covid, some folks are reluctant to meet others. I'm in FL, that was gone last summer but I understand how folks in shut down states encounter more resistence. And you folks in shut down states, folks from your states are down here on our beaches and in our restaurants and are more than willing to get vacation photos. Unless prohibited, when they return home, they should be willing to get photed.
 

Tballphoto

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thats contradicting post #5.

Anyways, creativity comes when you realize that the only thing that matters is exposure and composition.
 
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smoke665

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thats contradicting post #5.

Anyways, creativity comes when you realize that the only thing that matters is exposure and composition.

Not really, post 5 was almost 3 months ago, during a time when I still had some activity going.

In any case, it might be good thing, as I'm in the process of trying to buy a vacation home which will require renovations. Plenty of creative outlet there!
 
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jcdeboever

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Smoke, I would suggest you study a classic still life painter, whose work you admire. Just one painter. Go to the library and take out a book on them or buy a used one on Amazon. Read it entirely, study the images. Scan and print the images and mark them up...where is the light coming from, how did they use it, is there a color theory? How did they compose? Etc. Then take that information and translate it to your camera tool. You have the physical tool, and you have the brain tool. What will happen is you will be upgrading brain tool (vision). I have often admired your work and I think still life would energize you and your creative tool. I agree with @mrca, I studied that book at length when I was a young lad. He really made some excellent points that can benefit you.
 

mrca

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Tball "creativity comes when you realize that the only thing that matters is exposure and composition" is true if you are simply making pretty pictures or entering a competition in which only technical skills are judged. It's why I like to see a title for each image before judging. It tells you the most important element of an image, why it was taken, what it is trying to say. Not knowing that and clicking the shutter is like sitting at the keyboard to type an email and hitting random keys. Once the purpose of the shot, the inspiration or the motivation is determined, then all the controls available to the photographer, time of day if out doors, distance to subject for perspective, camera position around subject for composition and frame cleanup, lens selection, aperture, shutter, iso, camera height, if not modifying lighting. If have light modifiers like reflectors, scrims, or lights or can move the subject, then light direction, diffusion, intensity including ratio and color must also support the message. Exposure and composition are only 2 supporting characters of many for a great image. It's what is the difference between taking a picture and making a picture and is why it is easy to get a recognizable image but so difficult to get a perfect image. When I ask what is the first thing you do before taking a picture, the old folks who shot non slrs often say take off the lens cap, but the answer is knowing why you are taking the shot.
 
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smoke665

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@jcdeboever I draw a lot of inspiration from the classics, in particular Caravaggio's use of Chiaroscuro, works really well in studio, where you have a more precise control of the light. On occasion I'll drift into Sfumato, though I prefer the more blunt contrast of Chiaroscuro.

I also have certain photographers that I follow. One, is Joey L http://www.joeyl.com I'm amazed at his mastery at such a young age. Just about any of John Hedgecoe's books are great for guides on composition, and techniques as is "The Photographic Eye: Learning to See with a Camera",
Book by Michael F. O'Brien and Norman Sibley
 
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mrca

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On my coffee table is a Caravaggio book for hard, dramatic lighting. The Calling of St Matthew is my favorite with Christs hand painted posed as his contemporary, and other guy named Michelangelo. (which is why cravaggio went by the name of his town not Michelangelo, his name) had painted as God's hand reaching out to Adam on the ceiling of the Sistine chapel. But, on the flip side, there is a Vermeer with soft, gentle lighting. Great movie, Girl with Pearl earing. Look at some of the finials on his chairs, soft oof like we create that he created painting over slightly wet under coat. If you haven't seen Dave's Vermeer about the guy that wanted to prove Vermeer who we know had a camera obscura used a lens and some other gear to paint his small paintings. On my wall is Impression Sunrise, the painting that gave the name to the movement that loved examining light. With our light, we can create either extreme. Painters face the same dilemma photographers have, making a 2 dimensional image look 3 dimensional. But unlike painters, we don't work in the physical, ie paint. We are more like musicians. We work in light energy and they in sound energy and a camera is merely a light recorder.
 
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smoke665

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a camera is merely a light recorder.

And canvas is merely a surface to paint on. In both the creativity of the artist dictates what's recorded.

@jcdeboever I do still life's but they don't hold the same interest as portraits. A practice shoot I did as a study in Chiaroscuro, with a dark message about the secrets beneath a shiny exterior. It was also a learning experience on lighting and post processing, as getting the reflection in the mirror was no easy task.
2021-03-10_08-14-07.jpg
 

mrca

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Yes, chiaroscuro is a dramatic rendering often low key. Caravaggio was part of the group that did nighttime 1 candle lit paintings. It's why my candle holders are 12 " tall with as tall a candle as I can find. I didn't like the low ghoul light in those paintings. But I use the candle as looking like the light source, ie, motivation, what is actually lighting the subject is a hard light some what in line with the candle. When I shot weddings, a standard shot was bride putting on make up with her reflection in the mirror. If she is 2 feet from the mirror, the reflection is another 2 feet back in the mirror so getting both nearly in focus took a wide enough aperture and keeping the camera and flash reflection took angle management. Or focus could be on the reflection or just the bride. That looks like fun shot to do. How did you get that hole in the reflected apple? Was the light over the apple slightly to the R and close?
 

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