• Cara Cilento

Great Reads in Photography

Stuck on what to get that favorite photographer of yours for the holidays? Don’t worry, I am here with some advice and some suggestions. Don’t groan or roll your eyes but a fantastic coffee table book not only provides a nice and memorable present, but it also serves as a type of cultural ornament for guests to peruse while they are served and entertained during their holiday stay.


There was a time when receiving a book as a gift was considered unappreciative. However, the older I become, the more I appreciate the pleasures of a good book. Adding the words "coffee" and "table" to the beginning of the title, however, opens up a whole new set of aesthetic criteria for determining what makes a good book. The appropriate photographic book may not only be a wellspring of creativity and art, but the act of simply holding the book can provide a degree of tactile enjoyment that is worth repeating.


My first gift suggestion would have to be Women Street Photographers by Gulnara Samiolova. Women Street Photographers began as an ambitious concept that rapidly expanded into a comprehensive platform for showcasing the talent of female photographers as well as the tales that their photographs investigate. Male photographers' work, on the other hand, is more often than not at the forefront of the industry.

Women Street Photographers is a tribute to the women who take to the streets to photograph the private moments of love, life, pain, and happiness that strangers carry with them on a daily basis, and to the men and women who support them. It comprises the work of one hundred various street photographers from all around the world. Each photograph depicts a distinct vision and a different way of life as seen through the eyes of another person or people.


Because of the isolation and alone that has accompanied the COVID-19 epidemic, the opportunity to watch another life is a wonderful experience. It enables us to escape from our bedrooms, towns, and nations and immerse ourselves in a different way of life. In the streets, people are exchanging smokes, sunbathing, and dancing, with no sign of a mask or quarantine in site.


Not only does the content of this book engage the reader but each photographer’s sense of story and use of lighting pulls the reader into the artist’s individualized expression. Lighting is pivotal when it comes to taking street photography. Many of the pictures featured in Women Street Photographers are taken in bright light which, in my opinion, is hard to do. I usually take my street photos in black and white to give them a dramatic look. It is my favorite way of displaying emotion on the faces of onlookers. It also draws attention to the lines, shadows, and textures which are intended to take the place of the impact that color brings. The color impact is what Women Street Photographers masters.


My stomach drops when I set out to take street photography on a bright and sunny day. I can expect a lot of contrast and severe shadows in this picture. There's also a demanding white balance that needs to be adjusted on a frequent basis, as well as individuals blinking, squinting and shielding their eyes. To display detail in the shadows without blowing out the highlights is a challenging feat to do in bright light. In addition, the color seems flat and faded out. However, a plethora of picturesque events take place on the streets during this weather. And I don't want to be the one who misses out on them. In photography, this sort of light allows you to be more imaginative with your shadows.


Methods Of Photography


Some of the methods I employ while photographing people on the street during the brightest part of the day are as follows:


A lens hood, of course, but sometimes the lens hood isn't enough to protect the lens. In addition, I place a piece of card in the direction of direct sunlight reaching the lens in order to prevent lens flares. This gets cumbersome and really takes the spontaneity out of a picture so, I maintain a low ISO setting (100). I experiment with different shutter speeds and aperture settings. Of course, means I take a lot of extraneous pictures, but a low ISO speed decreases the amount of light that reaches the camera sensor.


An ND filter is used to further reduce the amount of light that reaches the camera sensor. They range from one stop to ten stops, so do some study to find out which one is best for you and your photographic style before purchasing one. Again, you lose some spontaneity when you change filters, so I find myself making adjustments to the shadows, highlights, and tones in post-production.


The same can be said about individual colors. Individual color work can be worked on in post-production. If the colors in an image are excessively washed out, you can convert it to black and white in post-production, which is usually the norm for me. When the weather is bright, consider employing a zoom lens. Concentrate on little details and scenarios where you have complete control over the lighting.


Investigate the themes that are hidden behind store front verandas or awnings. Photographs taken in alleyways and entrances, especially in the shade of huge trees or plants, are very effective. Don’t forget to look down. Shadows and textures are very compelling and provide great contrast.


The Perfect Photographer gift


Therefore, my next suggestion for a holiday gift for your photographer would be a book on lighting. (Go figure.) The best camera is the one you have with you at all times. No matter what kind of camera you're using, whether a high-tech DSLR, a consumer point-and-shoot, or even just your smartphone, there's one thing in common that will decide the visual impact of the photographs you capture: light. The ability to recognize beautiful light (or to create or adjust the light) requires years of expertise, careful observation, and a thorough understanding of the foundations of lighting design. Developing the ability to see an intended image in your mind's eye and translating that vision onto a two-dimensional plane is considerably more significant than the physical equipment used to record that image, as this book will demonstrate.


I would recommend Photographic Lighting for Everybody by Steven Begleiter. This book is for anybody who has ever stood in front of an extraordinary view and been disappointed by their photographs of it. Through examples and exercises, the Begleiter pushes the reader to be more creative, starting with the fundamentals of lighting and establishing a knowledge base that you can use to your development as a photographer at any level and with any type of equipment.

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