Fighting Creative Dullness

Posted on February 27, 2009. Filed under: Net Spy | Tags: , , , |

As a photographer, you are obliged to keep yourself updated of what’s happening in the world of shutters and clicks. You need to keep a bag full of strategies and ideas to get a few bucks from photo contests or make a living out of it if you are a professional. Photo contests keep photographers aspiring, thus, demanding fresh and unique ideas once in a while. This makes photography much more dynamic and interesting, in fact you would even feel the striking tension in every photo competition today.

To some, the tension could give a negative feedback. Photographers who are unable to keep up with photo competitions and developing new ideas and strategies often tend to slack off. Especially those who failed to bounce back from creative blahs and haven’t been on the road for quite a time. Traveling helps a lot to cure dulled photo skills and even help people foster their unique style.

Actually, there are ways to cure creative dullness. One is by experimenting or doing photo essays. If you can’t find a new approach for a photography contest, you start by picking a particular subject or subject type and take as many shots as possible. It doesn’t have to be complicated nor something you must travel great distances to find; you could choose bald topics such as a glass, window, fruits, or even mailboxes.

Browsing on images that won previous photography contests can also help you construct fresh ideas for a new start. These photos are great references in formulating your new style and applying them on future picture contests. Another great way to cure your creative dullness is by shooting portraits at different times of the day. Have you seen photos in a landscape picture contest? Those pictures are taken either during at dawn or at dusk. The natural lightings provided by the sun can turn bland photography into something amazing. You can also add more experimentation with exposure time, ISO sensitivity, and some shots may require a tripod, but the results should be worth the trouble.

Lastly, you should also try attaching your camera to a tripod and set it to have a long exposure, perhaps a second or longer. Move the shutter down to take the photo and slowly adjust your zoom, you can either zoom in or zoom out. If done correctly, this creates a star burst effect in your photograph.

To see how John Warton, senior photo editor at Photo Laureates reviews photographs and meet, go to

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How to Improve Your Photo Skills

Posted on February 26, 2009. Filed under: Net Spy | Tags: , , , |

Photo contests could be your easiest shortcut to acquire some experience in the world of photography. Photo organizations and clubs are encouraging their members to participate in photo contests so they can have fun and improve their personal skills in the process. Winning photo competition or even manage to get a highly recognized place in the contest gives a tremendous boost in morale for any aspiring photographer. Whether you win or lose, the important thing here is knowing your strengths and weaknesses. Picture contests allow you to know the things you are good at and now the aspects of your photography that needs a little improvement.

If you need a place where you can socialize with expert photographers or spend a day reading and discovering some of the many secrets of photography, online photo communities and forums is the place where you should hang out. Photo groups are very popular in the web and they continue to grow as many photographers make a living with their camera. If you’re a newbie, I suggest that you invest on photography if you’re quite serious with it. Joining photo communities allows you to communicate with other photographers around the world. They also provides photography courses, tips and guides, new ideas and even photo competition. So, basically they have everything you need to be more effective with your photography and camera. They also conduct forums and live chats with professional photographers that greatly benefits beginners and also artist in the intermediate level.

The fun and most exciting part is the online picture contest where you can join and submit your entry in their site. The prizes offered can vary from just a certificate to a car, depending on whose running the competition. Some photographers make a handy bit of extra cash by entering photography contests on a regular basis. Though prizes are a definite draw, many just enter photography contests to test their skill against others. Aside from the great prizes, online photo sites also exhibits photos of their members so everyone can give feed backs and reviews on your entry. This way you will know how people react in the way you take photos of your subject in different points of view. It will make you more aware of the basics with a touch of your own style to personalize your photos. In fact, many professional photographers today have competitions to thank for getting them started on the road to a successful career.

Two things you should remember when entering photo contests are:

Avoid Technical Errors – Aways remember your basics, the rule of thirds, composition and lighting. Even if your a beginner you should have a solid background about the basics of photography.

Read the Rules – Quite often, entries are disallowed over the simplest of things. Reading the rules should be the first step even before starting anything else. A perfect start means a perfect ending.

To see how John Warton, senior photo editor at Photo Laureates reviews photographs and meet, go to

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Action Photo Tips That Work

Posted on February 20, 2009. Filed under: Net Spy | Tags: , , , |

Taking photos of moving subject requires good camera handling and a relatively advanced digital camera. In this scenario, I will discuss tips on how to get a clear shot with a Canon EOS 40D digital camera, a Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L IS USM Lens in a fast action sport. You can also apply these tips for action photo contests and fast moving photo competitions alike.

1. In photo contests it is always a rule to get close or move around and try to catch up to the action especially when your subject is a football game. You will be a bit under-lensed with the 70-200 as because it lacks focal length reach. But since we have to work with this particular type of lens, I suggest to keep a 25-30 meter distance to your subject. For picture contests, maintaining this distance allows your to shoot good portraits at 200mm of reach.

2. Always take photos of moving subjects at day time to utilize the Av mode and the highest aperture value of your lens – the f/4. This lens can produce crisp and sharp images for photo competitions and also provides great background blur to let your viewers focus more on the subject.

3. To get more desirable results, set the ISO value to give you at least 1/1000s shutter speed. The Canon EF 70-200mm produces very low noise levels even at ISO400 so you can switch to fast shutter speed anytime to take action photos for picture contest.

4. Also check the weather condition and set the WB settings with regards to your sky conditions. If its cloudy/overcast in your place, use the Cloudy setting, if its sunny outside, use the Daylight WB setting. If the sun is up, position yourself away from the sun. In photography contests, void shooting in the direction of the sun, as your subject front sides will be in the shadows.

5. Try to expose the faces and skin of your subject rather than anything else like their uniforms etc. In photography contests, as far as dialing in the correct exposure using Av mode, you will need to check your review image and histogram. Here you have to compensate the exposure when in Av mode by bumping up the exposure compensation function. If your player is underexposed, bump up your EC in positive 1/3 steps until you reach the proper exposure. If your player is overexposed, lower your EC in negative 1/3 steps until you reach the proper exposure.

Action photography takes long so you need to bring some extra batteries in case you ran out of it while at shoot. You also need a memory card with high capacity to store the shot you need. For shooting a boxing match, I would highly recommend saving pictures as jpegs rather than RAW. Since you are likely to take hundreds of shots during the match, your CF card will fill up quickly.

To see how John Warton, senior photo editor at Photo Laureates reviews photographs and meet, go to

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Photo Contest Ideas: City Photography

Posted on February 19, 2009. Filed under: Net Spy | Tags: , , , |

Travel and photography is a very good workout for artists who are frequently on the go. For those who have primay jobs aside photography and photo contests, make it a daily routine to bring your camera wherever you go.

If you can’t stay at home for some reason or if you really love to go to new places and take pictures of your journey, why not pack yout things for a long day of photo shoot in the city? The inner city life does provide interesting areas for every photography and they could be really fantastic subjects for photo contests. Experts call it as – Urban Landscape Photography.

Urban Landscape Photography (ULP) can be very compelling if you would be able to find the perfect photographic possibilities aroubd. What you will often encounter here are concrete, towering skyscrapers and graffiti covered decaying walls. If you’re going to use Urban Landscape Photography on photo competitions, the result will always be an abstract. Its not so pretty but its very unique.

For photo competitions, ULP may utilize a variety of lenses. So you better bring along at least two, one wide angle lens and a zoom with a fair bit of length to it. Lens with longer focal lenses works well when taking photos of street paintings, grafitti and old walls. While wide angle lenses are great for capturing the big picture for photography contests and they tend to give a bigger depth of field which can add interest and a nice feel to your shots.

Another advantage of ULP especially on big cities is the diversity of people you can find and the many great sites you can look around. These provide contrast for photography contests in two or three ways. Fist, the contrast of people around you, there personality, color, how they dress up, age etc. Second, the contrast in sites like architectural styles, building materials, colors etc. Lastly, you can mix the first two and you can actually come up with some very interesting shots.

If you want win picture contests using Urban Landscape Photography, you should also consider different kinds of portraiture. This part is tough since you will be dealing with people that you can either take them as a part of your shot or not. In ULP you can’t always avoid people to become the focal point of your potraits whether you like it or not. In picture contests, if you want to have less people on your photos you can either shoot at night or during weekends when there are not so many people walking around.

To see how John Warton, senior photo editor at Photo Laureates reviews photographs and meet, go to

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