Digital Camera World has interviewed some of the best and most famous photographers in its time. Martin Parr, Rankin, David Doubilet, Jill Furmanovsky, Bryan Adams (yes, that Bryan Adams)… it’s an impressive roster of talented lensmen and lenswomen.
Here, we gather together some insightful words of advice from more than 50 of our interviews. Pro photographers from a wide range of disciplines offer their top tips for better photographs and provide insight into the best practices that helped make them famous. Photographers of all tastes and abilities will be inspired to shoot better portraits, landscapes, travel and wildlife shots, and more…
Famous Photographers: 225 tips to inspire you
Born in Ponca City, Oklahoma, Joel Sartore got into photography while studying for a journalism degree. His first job was as a photographer and photo director on the Wichita Eagle newspaper. At the same time, he was submitting photos to National Geographic. In 1991 he began working permanently for National Geographic, specialising in natural history and wildlife. Sartore’s work has subsequently appeared in Time, Newsweek and Sports Illustrated.
152. Shoot in great light. Any photo will look better in it.
153. Know your equipment. There’s nothing more frustrating than not knowing how to capture something that’s right in front of you because you’re fumbling with your gear.
154. Stay organised. In the digital age, you’ll lose images if your workflow isn’t iron-clad. Also, caption your work the moment you’re done shooting.
155. Back up, back up, back up.
156. Don’t shoot junk figuring you can delete it. This wastes time. Is the picture interesting? Is it composed cleanly? Would you nudge the person next to you to take a look? A good picture is a good picture, no matter the medium.
Miss Aniela (Natalie Dybisz)
Natalie Dybisz made her name as a photographer and digital artist on the photo-sharing website, Flickr. She’s chiely famed for the cloned portraits of her alter ego, Miss Aniela, but also shoots other people. Dybisz has already exhibited in galleries and exhibitions all over the world.
157. Always shoot RAW. Convert your RAW files into the largest files appropriate (TIFF, not JPEG), in order to ensure that you have the best foundations for post-production work.
158. Always save your original (RAW) files, especially of your best images that you’ve gone on to process. Get a couple of hard drives (or a library of blank DVDs) to back them up to at least two places.
159. When you’ve spent time processing an image, compare it to the original – a lot of your (image-destructing) processing may have been unnecessary.
160. Get the balance right between confidence and modesty. Get different opinions, but don’t feel dismayed – you can’t please everyone anyway.
Roseanne Pennella first got into travel photography when on sabbatical in 1993 and travelling around Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia. “I took 27 rolls of film with a point-and-shoot camera.” She got her first SLR (a Nikon N90s) in 1994; within a year, she’d decided to quit law and become a travel photographer. By 1998 she had her first exhibitions, and by 1999 went on her first assignment. Nikon featured her on the cover of Nikon World in spring 2002.
161. Move forward – whatever distance you’re shooting from, halve it.
162. Pay attention to what falls on the four edges of the frame. Crop in camera. Make sure you’re not including (or excluding) anything you didn’t pay attention to before you click the shutter.
163. Try not to centre all your images. Consider other places in the frame to place your subject.
164. Pay attention to what’s behind your subject and make sure what’s there doesn’t detract from the image.
165. Shoot RAW rather than JPEG. When you have a RAW file you’ve got so much more information to work with and it will vastly improve your ability to make better prints of your photos.
Classic Rock Photographer
Elliott Landy was the official photographer at Woodstock. A native New Yorker, he began taking photographs in the mid-60s, originally of Hollywood stars and anti-Vietnam war demonstrations. Landy became known to the underground press, which gave him access to ’60s rock venues, such as Fillmore East. His work attracted the attention of Bob Dylan’s manager, Albert Grossman and he went on to shoot the sleeve of Dylan’s classic Nashville Skyline album.
166. Don’t worry about the results – with digital you can afford to make mistakes.
167. Be open to the flow of things on a photo shoot and be open to what life can bring to you. If you get moved on and asked to shoot in a different place, try to turn it to your advantage.
168. Get comfortable with your equipment; you have to get to know your camera so it fits you like a shoe. But don’t get hung up on the technical specifications – it’s the person shooting that matters.
169. Be happy! Don’t imitate the news, show positive things. You don’t always have to show a harsh reality – photography’s a way of sharing joy.
A native of Cambridge, Brickles became interested in photography while working as an estate agent. After turning pro and moving to London, he made his name shooting hotels, before getting work on a glossy magazine. In 1999 he moved to Brazil with his wife, working for Elle magazine and other high-profile fashion projects. In 2004 he relocated to New York. His client list includes the Financial Times, BMW and numerous magazines.
170. Know your own kit. Understanding the technical side of your camera gives you creative freedom.
171. Keep it simple: don’t ruin the flow by overcomplicating things.
172. Communicate with your models. Good communicators can get much more out of models and stylists.
173. Try to get it right in camera and not later on your computer. Photoshop’s great for experimentation but it’s no substitute for poor lighting or a lack of technical knowledge.
174. Shoot what you see and what you feel. And what you know – it doesn’t have to be models, but if you take shots of what you know and are passionate about, your work will stand out.
Fashion & Fetish Photographer
Emma Delves-Broughton is one of the UK’s most sought after photographers of fine-art nudes and erotica. Following art school and a spell working in exhibition graphics, she had her first solo photographic show in 1998. Books include Kinky Couture (Goliath, 2003) and numerous photo commissions from top magazines.
175. Always work hard to make your model feel at ease, unless you want her to look awkward.
176. Preparation really is key – know where you are shooting and check out the venue first, as it will save time on the day.
177. Take clips, pegs, tape, safety pins, scissors for cutting off labels in see through lingerie.
178. If you’re shooting on location, take food and drink with you. Just because a model is slim doesn’t mean she doesn’t eat!
179. Keep a supply of shoes, gloves and accessories. You can’t have too much!
PAGE 1: Rankin through Bob Martin
PAGE 2: Bryan Adams through Steven Tee
PAGE 3: David Noton through Brutus Ostling
PAGE 4: Clive Nichols through Steve Bloom
PAGE 5: Jonas Bendiksen through Pablo Bartholomew
PAGE 6: Joel Sartore through Emma Delves-Broughton
PAGE 7: Alex Majoli through Peter Turner
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