On this day in 1839, the French Government announced the invention of photography as a "free gift to the world." The daguerreotype marked the beginning of the history of our craft. Today, we'll celebrate World Photography Day with a look at our favorite photographers, tips, tricks, gear and images!
In today's article, you'll get the rare chance to hear from a wide sampling of our authors. They were asked to share their favorite photographer, technique, piece of gear and personal image. This action-packed sampling should give you a lot of food for thought.
World Photography Day is being celebrated at over at Envato Notes as well!
Andrew Childress got the camera bug when he became my high school yearbook editor. His mom is an artist and dad is an accountant, so his brain has always been confused about what it's supposed to do.
Zack Arias is my favorite photographer because he's a great shooter and an even better educator.
I've always been a sucker for long exposures. We always think of photographs as capturing a split second of time, but long exposures break all of the rules of that.
The Canon 5D
After all of these years, I'm still amazed by the Canon 5D Classic. These days, it's a $500 full frame camera.
Diana Elizabeth and named after Princess Diana and Queen Elizabeth. She is on a quest to becoming more domestic, yet refuses to bake a homemade pie, so she's not sure how that's going to work out.
My favorite photographer is Ryan Ray, which is why I flew him out from Dallas to capture my own wedding. His posing and composition in images move me.
I enjoy creating angles in the body that are more flattering for the body and face. I use my past experience as a model to help my clients look and feel comfortable to get the look I want.
The 70-200mm f/2.8 needs more credit than it's typecast use of only being used during the ceremony for wedding photographers. I love using it during portrait sessions.
Power of Light
Rob Taylor has had a camera in his hand since he was in single digits, although he decided to get my degree in physics for his own gratification rather than any kind of vocational calling. He's been shooting nature and landscape for a decade because he's not a people person, but rivers and mountains don't pay like portraits. So he's changing direction to people.
Ansel was the master of HDR, lord of the retouch. He made epic landscapes look as majestic in print as they actually are. And that's a hard thing to do. My love for black and white and desaturation, of dodge and burn, of tonal macro-contrast, of making subjects pop off the page? That's all Ansel. I can probably thank Joel Grimes and Ridley Scott for the rest of my aesthetic.
Dodge and Burn
My favourite technique is, honestly, the oldest and simplest. Dodge and burn. Pop that sucker, make it hit the viewer in the face. Overwhelm them with beauty, with majesty, with attitude, with whatever your subject has. Take your vision, and curate it with a shovel.
Speedlights, v-flats, boom arms and variable ND filters almost make the grade, but I think my favourite piece of gear is a fast, constant aperture lens. Mine is a Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 EX DC Macro, which gives me a versatile zoom range, nice bokeh, and a VERY close focusing distance. It focuses so close I can't even use it with extension tubes. I use it for virtually everything, natural or lit. I want to add a 70-200mm f/2.8 to round out my range.
Pop Your Collar
This is from an early shoot in my new direction with people. I wanted some commercial/music style attitude in this image, which is effectively a senior portrait. I got the beauty-dish-style lighting by zooming a speedlight into a shoot-through umbrella.
Grace Salzer loves yoga, but is also scared of sharks. She wonders if she loves yoga because it helps her not think about sharks. Living in Hawaii requires a lot of time in the water. She finds snorkeling just a tiny bit stressful.
John Rankin Waddell, aka Rankin, is who I look up to the most right now. I particularly like his use of light. He knows light and exactly what he needs from it. He is a portrait photographer.
Engage Your Subject
My favourite tip also comes from Rankin and is something I definitely struggle with. It's the fact we as photographers need to engage with people. We have to like people to do this job well. Or at least pretend to like people, but that can sometimes be quite exhausting.
I'm so basic with my gear it's a bit sad actually. One day I'd like to explore film a lot more deeply. Right now I am happy with the Canon 6D and my 50mm f/1.4!
Peter Carey says he reads very few photography blogs. He loves the craft, but admittedly doesn't read as much as he should. He's more interested in seeing new things than in the minutia of new camera models.
2) I'll go with Galen Rowell. Galen showed me what was possible when I started with photography and saw his images in magazines. I knew they weren't highly edited and that they weren't always made with high end cameras as he preferred to travel light. He made me not only want to be a better photographer, but to explore the earth more.
I've been on a blurring kick lately and it's my current favorite technique. I go through phases, like a lot of photographers and this one has been sticking around longer than most. I like to see what comes from longer shutter speeds and motion.
I love my Canon 28-300mm L lens, now that it is back from the shop after getting the crud pounded out of it from traveling these past three years. It's versatile and leaves me to create what I want 80% of the time. That other 20% is spent with a wide angle lens.
Spinning Colors, Paro, Bhutan
Ben Lucas was born and raised in the Seattle area. Even though he did photography at the University of Washington, he taught himself everything he knows by reading books, attending workshops, and practice, practice, practice. Why did he need a degree when the internet knows more than all his professors put together?
My favorite historical photographer is Henri Cartier-Bresson for his legendary "decisive moment." So many people get caught up in tech specs and lighting diagrams and forget to find the right moment.
Got Your Nose
My favorite technique for posing people is to say "got your nose." You hold up your hand and can move your fingers and position their head exactly the way you want it without having to say "tilt to the left, no, your other left, now that's too far." It will also usually catch them off guard and you get a laugh and a genuine smile.
Pocket Wizard Radio Triggers
My favorite piece of gear is my set of PocketWizard radio triggers. I've used cheap optical triggers (that now collect dust in my bag), branded speedlite master/commander set-ups, and off-brand radio triggers. When you're on a paid shoot, nothing has compared with the reliability of PocketWizards. They are relatively cheap, and if you use off-camera flash, there really isn't a reason not to make the investment.
Simon Bray started taking photos when he moved to Manchester to study music about seven years ago. Having a camera in his hand helped him to understand and appreciate his new surroundings. Never one to be happy with just one job, he now shares his time between managing bands, photography and his wife Sarah.
Martin Parr and Don McCullin
I find it very difficult to pick out a favourite, but I admire Martin Parr for the way he portrays his sense of humour within his images and also Don McCullin for his courage to bring war and conflict into the consciousness of so many through his images and his resulting grounded wisdom.
I really enjoy working as a reportage photographer, blending in and operating unnoticed in order to capture natural shots of people portraying emotions through expressions, something that Martin Parr is a master of.
Pentax Super ME
My favorite piece of gear is my old Pentax Super ME, my first SLR camera that I load with Ilford HP5 B&W film. It taught me about light and to be patient when taking photographs.
Simple, True Beauty
Daniel Soñé has been a photographer for nearly half his life. He really enjoys visual storytelling and uses it to tell the stories that surround him. He says he owes a lot to his family's support and the hard work he put into photography as it was that combination that dug him out of the pits of the recession and into the life he has now.
Aside from photography, the other art he's dedicated himself to is Judo, where he holds a black belt rank. Whenever he's not behind a camera or on the mat, he enjoys every moment with his lovely wife, Jeannette.
Henri Cartier-Bresson and James Nachtwey
Picking a favorite photographer is tough, but it would have to be Henri Cartier-Bresson. Considered one of the fathers of photojournalism, he had a knack for making the mundane daily life extraordinary. In a close second place is James Nachtwey. His images are just powerful.
Between Their Shirt and Their Skin
My favorite technique is a Bresson-style portrait: where you find that place between the person's skin and their shirt.
My 70-200mm f/2.8 lens is my favorite piece of gear. It's the fastest-focusing lens I have, letting me capture moments as fast as I can notice them. But for portraits, I prefer the classic 50mm range.
I shot only B&W film for seven years and hated digital when it started phasing-out film. It wasn't until I started shooting RAW, almost a year into owning a Canon EOS 30D, that I started loving it. I love a good B&W photo.
Cameron Knight is a photojournalist based in Cincinnati, Ohio. He loves photo essays and multimedia story telling. He balances his love for technology with a passion for tradition, producing videos one day and then prints in his own darkroom the next.
W. Eugene Smith
One of my favorite photographers is W. Eugene Smith. He's the Jack Kerouac of photography and perfected the photo story. If you haven't seen his essays on the Country Doctor or Nurse Midwife, then you haven't experienced photography.
My favorite technique is simple. Get very close. As Robert Capa said, "if your photos aren't good enough, you're not close enough." Moment, emotion and humanity can't be felt from miles away. This dictates my gear choices and where I start all my shoots.
I very often find my 24mm lens hanging off the front of my Nikon D700. If you up close and personal, it's the perfect focal length to capture what you need. The 50mm f/1.8 is also a great lens. Stick with fast primes for everything but telephoto work and you'll find yourself making better images.