What camera do you use? We get this question quite a bit. We’re always happy to answer this question and any other questions having to do with photography, travel or just about anything else. Meggan and I usually answer the camera question with a list of our gear and call it good. Today, I wanted to do something a little different. I feel that giving a list of gear implies that to make a meaningful picture requires certain items and if you don’t have them well, your out of luck. Nothing could be further from the truth. We love photography, it has become a passion of ours, but in all honesty, we’re armatures and wouldn’t feel right about giving too much advice on the subject. So why not learn from the best instead? As Sir Francis Bacon said, “Knowledge is Power” and I’d have to add “Inspiration is Power” too. There are so many amazing resources out there on photography. I’m pretty sure I’m a photo addict. Not a day goes by where I don’t find another great source of information or inspiration for photography. Really, not a day without finding something great. It’s crazy how much cool stuff is out there. You can geek out on the gear, learn techniques, study the science of light, read about strategies for composition and just plain and simple, be put in a state of awe from other people’s work. Whatever you want to know is at your finger tips. This is certainly not a comprehensive list, but here are a few sources of photography inspiration and information I’ve come across lately. Take your time, browse through these places and you’ll learn a ton and more importantly, be inspired to take more pictures.
WITHIN THE FRAME: The Journey of Photographic Vision by David duChemin – An incredible book focusing on travel photography. Full of practical information, stunning images but also the thought process behind them. David duChemin is an amazing guy, he also has a blog you should check out: Pixelated Image.
THE MOMENT IT CLICKS by Joe McNally. -The line on the back cover says it best, “The first book with one foot on the coffee table and one foot in the classroom.” Joe McNally is a legend, shooting as a staff photographer for Life and also shooting for little magazines such as National Geographic. The best part is his approachable style. Check out his blog too, JoeMcNally.com. Joe is also my favorite instructor on Kelby Training (see websites below) He has a great sense of humor and is a great teacher you can learn a lot from.
IN FOCUS: National Geographic Greatest Potraits – Incredible portraits from back in the day to 2004 from the world’s greatest photographers. This book was a gift from my friend Diana a few years ago. Looking through this book never gets old, I still flip through it regularly. For less than $20, this years worth of inspiration.
Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson – This is one of the first books on photography I ever read. The link is to the newest edition, which is supposed to have some additional current information. Reading this book gives you a great base understanding of photography. Everything starts to click after getting through this easy read. Aperture, shutter speed, depth of field, ISO, compression, composition, lighting, it’s all here.
The Camera (book 1) , The Negative (book 2) , The Print (book 3) by Ansel Adams. These are considered the most influential photography “how to” books in history… so why not give them a try? Although old school, there’s a lot to learn from the master himself. These books inspired me to find a large format view camera on ebay. More to come on this project to come.
THE BEST CAMERA IS THE ONE THAT’S WITH YOU by Chase Jarvis. This is an iPhone photo diary from Chase Jarvis, an acclaimed photographer out of Seattle. The title says it all, by having a picture taking device with you at all times, you never know when, where and what kind of image is waiting for you. Chase Jarvis also has a really great blog. He’s all about sharing information. He has a wonderful video on his entire workflow from capture all the way to back up, really informative stuff.
Okay, this list could get out of control, I’ll just share a handful (or a few handfuls), I can add more in a later post. These are in no particular order, just going through some of my bookmarks:
Notes from the Road – This is an absolutely epic travel blog. Erik Gauger is an incredible writer and photographer. Most of his images are from a large format view camera, an impressive feat considering his Toyo camera weighs about 6 pounds alone and takes only two exposures of 4X5 film at a time. This is a truly inspirational blog. Dive in, the photos are incredible, also check out his moleskin journal, which are also really cool.
Steve Huff Photo – A blog of “real world reviews” and much, much more. Steve Huff is super passionate about photography and has a approachable and honest style. There’s no crazy super technical graphs and jargon in his reviews, just real world examples. He’s way into Leica rangefinders which I’m really into, but he also covers everything from point and shoots to 4/3 format cameras. Along with reviews, he includes daily inspiration photos from readers and he also guest posts from people like Ashwin Rao who write great articles.
Alex Webb – renowned Magnum agency photographer. You just need to look through his photos. This is street photography at it’s finest. A member of Magnum Photos Also while your at it, check out:
Magnum Photos – Cutting edge photography since 1947. A photographer owned cooperative. Many of the current member photographers also have their own websites, be sure to check out this web of photographic inspiration.
Gregory Heisler – A master of the portrait from everyone from Buzz Aldrin to Shaq to the guy who invented the Segway.
Walter Iooss – Premier sports photographer.
Eddie Adams – A man that earned over 500 photography awards during his life. Amazing war reportage photos.
National Geographic Photography – This portion of the NG website features photos of the day, archives of photos and biographies on all their photographers over the years. Oh, and you can’t go wrong by ordering the National Geographic magazine, every month I look forward to tearing open the plastic covering to see what’s on the cover. My office is slowly turning yellow.
Jay Maisel – A famous photographer starting his career in the 1950’s. He’s still doing personal work from his studio in NYC.
Simon Roberts – An acclaimed young English photographer. I love this guy’s work, he specializes in large format photography. Many of his prints are massive! Be sure to check out some of his behind the scenes videos.
The Big Picture – The Boston Globe’s photo blog, it doesn’t get much better than this for inspiration. Always, always, always incredible images.
The Traveler’s Lunchbox – Great photography covering favorite subjects of ours: traveling and food!
Strobist – Absolutely everything you ever needed to know about photography lighting. If you want to learn a ton, take lighting 101 and 102, it’s free. These are simply blog post lessons that are really pretty entertaining and super helpful.
Richard Avedon – The legend, check out these powerful portraits.
Zach Zarias – Really cool music photographer out of Atlanta. I’ve seen a few of his seminars on online, he does a great job bringing it down for the rest of us to understand.
Kelby Training – A great online training resource. I can’t tell you how much I’ve learned from these lessons. From everything from simple photography techniques to the complex to Adobe photoshop and lightroom and much more. This is a great resource, easily worth $24 a month or $199 a year.
GetDPI.com Forum – A really good resource to find information. The regulars that participate in the forum pages are always incredibly helpful and friendly. Sometimes it’s intimidating to ask questions, but I promise how nice everyone is. A great place for people who love photography to congregate.
There are a bunch of great videos online too, but the following are documentaries on photography I’ve watched recently off Netflix.
Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman – Julius Shulman was the most famous photographer of modern architecture. This is a really interesting peek into his life as well as the famous work of mid century architects.
Manufactured Landscapes – A documentary of a brilliant large format photographer from Canada documenting the effects of industrialization on our world. It’s amazing how much beauty are in his photos even with this challenging of his subject matter.
Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Impassioned Eye – The master street French photographer interviewed with commentary. You know one of his photos, the one of the guy jumping over the puddle? He was pretty camera shy in this video, but it was still really interesting seeing him walk viewers through some of his prints and sketches.
Okay, I’ll let you all start with that. Let me know if you have any questions, I am happy to answer what I can or direct you to a resource that can help. Read up and keep taking photos!