Saturday, July 14, 2012

Photographing people in Rome

There are many wonderful photo opportunities possible while walking around Rome. I look for relationships between people and the environment. If I see something or someone that looks like it would make an extraordinary photo I ask myself first what are the conditions of light, contrast, color and potential composition. If a certain criteria is met I make all the necessary manual adjustments on my camera, approach the subject, often with discretion, and shoot it. 99% of every photo I take is done mentally before I shoot it mechanically.

In the above image I combined the gesture of a statue with the action of a person playing guitar. The location is Ponte Saint Angelo, a bridge that crosses the Tiber River. I visually recognized a connection between the statue of the angel and the guitarist, thus framed them as a visual pair. I especially saw the relationship between the hands of each figure and the 'repetition of form' they exemplified. The light and contrast were perfect for black and white photography. The soft hues of dusk filter evenly over the subjects and the background adds just enough information to give a 'sense of place' to the overall composition.

William Shepley - Master Photographer in Rome

Saturday, July 7, 2012

2 Days, 2 Photos, 2 Churches in Paris

Though the summer has been slow to grow, early July has produced some hot days already and the heat  almost always pushes me to church. Any church will do on a hot day in Paris. In off peak times (no mass), and little tourist traffic the cool quiet air is the perfect atmosphere in which to breathe and to recover some semblance of sanity from the crazy outside world.

I do not go into churches with the intention of photography but sometimes as they say in the zen of creativity the photograph arrives.

Which brings to mind Sir John Berry's (1635-1690) quote "the bird of paradise alights only upon the hand that does not grasp".

The two photographs you see here were presented to me in two separate churches on two different days. And you could say I saw the light. Which I did.
I only had to meter and compose and press the shutter to capture these two simple images.  I quote many great photographers when I reiterate, "simple photographs are best, or the best photographs are simple. Whatever way you want to say it, it's true.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Photographing the Colosseum

On any given day from May to September the Colosseum, the most dominating and enduring icon of Rome, will be packed with visitors. Tens of thousands of photos are taken of the Flavian Amphitheater and therefore many millions of images are shot every year. It has been photographed from every angle and at all times of day and night and every photographer from the amateur tourist to the hard core professional will shoot it. 

Originality aside, I suggest shooting a time exposure at dusk or at night when the amphitheater is accentuated with recessed lighting in the arches. You will need a tripod for an exposure ranging from 10 seconds to perhaps 30 seconds depending on your ISO rating. The ISO rating determines the sensitivity of your digital sensor. The lower numbers like ISO 100 allow for longer exposures and also a sharper image. The streaking lights of the automobiles and buses during a time exposure will add motion and action to an otherwise stationary form. I suggest shooting from the high ground along a road on the north eastern side above the metro station. Another possibility is to shoot very early in the morning just before sunrise when there are no visitors and you can have the Colosseum all to yourself. 

by William Shepley -Master Photographer in Rome

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Joy of Photography in Paris

Paris, France! I often forget to remember how wonderful it is to walk around Paris with friends, acquaintances and clients who then become friends as the result of a shared interest. Photography in Paris is like a sensory overload for this photographer, like the proverbial "kid in a candy store"!

Some of my "colleagues" in my photographic fraternity turn their noses up at what I do, because for them it's not "art".  I consider sharing my knowledge and talent with interested and eager visitors to Paris as a privilige and most often a great pleasure and source of inspiration. You could say I'm going thru an attitude of gratitude. Thanks Larry! Larry is my boss by the way! A very passionate photographer with a great eye for making the usual look unusual, which in turn makes fine art images. And this is what my clients enjoy about my style also. It's taking everyday things and changing how we see them, or if you like our point of view. Which can be from laying on the sidewalk or leaning over a bridge, it does pay to move around, plus I get tired walking after about three hours so laying down is good.

In Paris the Parisians love to debate. Which reminds me, I recently had a dinner with some french friends whom I asked over dinner how to conjugate a verb. The explanation lasted three hours.

Be careful what you ask for. Living in Paris is like living with a woman, some days you can't get enough of her the next you want to get out and run away. As a photographer I love it more often than want to run away from it. The adventures thru the lens tours are something I have come to enjoy and appreciate more and more, because no matter at what level my clients are at I always end up with some new knowledge or inspiration. Thanks again Larry! On these tours I have started to include more and more info on portraits and on finding the "right" light and backgrounds for beautiful portraits. I include dogs too because Parisians love their canine treasures. I found this fella below sleeping  on a nice sofa behind one of those ancient wooden Paris doors.

The last thing I say to clients is "keep taking photos, know your camera, and your photographic IQ will grow and grow"! I like to think mine has!

Kevin - Paris Adventure thru the Lens

Monday, April 9, 2012

Getting The Details Through Cropping

Photography is not only cropping, cleaning and auto balancing your image to make that great shot.  However, I understand that in commercial, portrait, and creative photography, cropping, resetting, and altering the images is the norm.  Who wants to look at an advertisement for beauty cream with the face all blotchy and full of pimples? Have you ever seen a real live person that looks a perfect as they do in the magazine?

The secret for taking beautiful images lies in your aspiration, passion and admiration of the subject, if it be landscape, people, buildings or food.  For some reason, when you are attracted to the subject it shows in your images and they reflect your passion. Using techniques such as composition, angles, and light can help you to create a wonderful image that can only be tools to help enhance your images.  Using light can draw your focus onto your subject; the angle use can change the representation of your subject from short to tall for example.  Perspective is important while deciding on what angle to use, what light is best to set up your shot.  Rule of thumb, take your time and never be in a hurry before taking a shot.  Imagine in your mind that instead of using your digital camera that allows you to trash the images you do not like, you are using film.  That precious film that costs so much to develop each roll and each shot depends on your angles, perspective, and lighting.  This way, you can learn to be careful and think before snapping and shooting your image.


Don’t just walk up to something that you want to take a picture of and snap a shot!  Don’t only look at the subject from eye level!  Walk around your subject, if you can, or take a one -meter step to your left, to your right, up and down while looking through your viewer.  Do you see anything that stands out to you?  Which position reflects what you want to show in your image?  Take a series of shots from different angles.  I saw a new stature in front of the Pitti Palace in Florence, Italy and walked around it. Like This!

You can see the difference with the various perspectives, just by walking around the statue and taking my time to look at what I am seeing.! Which one do you like best?

Susan Robens – Adventures Thru The Lens Florence Photographer, Guide, and Muse