Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Composition mistakes photographers make (and how to avoid them)

Do your images often look slightly off? We’ll help steer you right by avoiding these ten common composition mistakes and so you can start taking better photographs.

1. Subject too small in the frame
Our brains do a great job of zooming in on a subject and somehow excluding the surroundings, but when you look at an image they become obvious while the subject seems small and inconsequential in the frame. Before you take a shot consider whether it would look better if you took a few steps forward or zoomed in a little with your lens so the subject really fills the frame.

2. Shooting straight-on
Many novices get preoccupied with finding a subject and forget to think about how they’re going to photograph it. If you shoot a subject straight-on you will record its appearance, but you may fail to capture any context or atmosphere.

When you’re shooting a flower in a garden, for example, rather than shooting it straight-on from the edge of the bed, think about shooting it from the side so you have the rest of the flowerbed extending into the distance to give a sense of the huge number of blooms and the depth of colour.

3. Subject in the middle
Although a central subject can sometimes work it’s often better to shoot with it over to one side following the ‘rule of thirds’.  Many cameras are capable of showing a grid in the viewfinder and/or screen that can can help with this rule by splitting the scene into three equally sized columns and three equally sized rows. Your main subject should be positioned where two of the lines cross, with other image elements being located along the grid lines.

4. Nothing in the foreground
Whether you’re shooting a landscape or a still life image it pays to have something in the foreground to give the shot depth, add some scale and help draw the viewer’s eye. As well as being a waste of space, an empty foreground can act as a barrier to the eye that you feel you have to peer over.

Whether its a clump of flowers, a rock or tidemarks in the sand, most landscapes have something that can be used to inject a little interest into the foreground. When you’re constructing a still life scene it’s up to you to put something in the right place.

5. Deciding aspect ratio post capture
This point often goes hand-in-hand with an empty foreground because there’s a tendency to crop to remove the blank space and improve the composition. Post-capture cropping is fine, but you’ll usually find you make better images if you consider the aspect ratio at the shooting stage. Many cameras allow you to set aspect ratio so you can see different cropping in the viewfinder or on the main screen before taking the shot.

found at http://www.digitalcameraworld.com

Saturday, July 25, 2015

HDRI Tutorial Masterclass: 18 Free Lessons from the Pros

Need a place to get started? Just want to learn the basics of how to capture and edit an HDR image? Well look no further, here are our favorite tutorials on the internet for how to create an HDRI image.

There is a lot of advice out there on HDRI photography. We try to only take the best tips and present them in the most useful and beautiful way possible. Our HDRI tips cover everything from shooting locations, to techniques, to post processing and everything in between.


Friday, July 3, 2015

GIMP - a powerful image editing app thats FREE

Open-source image-editor that's powerful but technical, so it requires some effort

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux

What you get with GIMP is an extremely powerful program that does anything you'd expect from a powerful image editing app without costing a penny. Need to sharpen up those photos from your vacation? Perhaps you need to crop out the ex from your Facebook profile pic and turn it into black-and-white? GIMP can do all that and even more.What GIMP doesn't offer, however, is a particularly intuitive interface and it's handy to have a guide at hand in order to get the best out of it. It does help that the editing options on the left hand side are represented by icons and a description comes up when you hover over each one, giving even more information on the chosen tool. There are even more options to be had in the file menus above the image and if there's a free photo editor out there that offers more tools than GIMP we've yet to find it.


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

F stop - depth of field.

When it comes to depth of field, the most important tool you have is the f-stop, or aperture setting. The size of the aperture controls how much light enters the camera. In turn, the aperture affects how much of the image appears sharp. A higher number, like f/8 or f/16, means the camera will use a smaller aperture opening and, therefore, deliver a broader depth of field, with more of the image appearing in focus. A lower number, like f/2, gives you a larger aperture opening and a shallower depth of field, softening the background.

In order to manually adjust f-stops to affect depth of field, your digital camera needs to have an aperture priority or manual exposure mode. In aperture priority mode, you choose the aperture and the camera chooses the shutter speed [ in manual mode, you choose both ]. Keep in mind that, unlike DSLRs with a full range of aperture settings, some compact cameras have a limited range of f-stops, often topping out at f/8 or, at the higher end, f/16. No worries, both are sufficient to give you increased depth of field.

Assuming you want an increased depth of field, with more of the image appearing sharp, set your camera on aperture priority and stop down the aperture [ set the aperture to a higher number ]. At the same time, be sure to check the shutter speed the camera has chosen. If it’s too slow to hand hold, either use a tripod to steady the camera or open up the aperture until the shutter speed is faster.

by Theano Nikitas  Photo.net

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Street photographer’s rights - NSW

Copyright & moral rights, Privacy & image rights

Can I take a photograph in public that contains images of people I don’t know? Can I take a photo of a famous landmark or of the front of someone’s house and later sell it?

This information sheet aims to provide you with the answers to these and other questions that may arise when you are taking photographs in and of public spaces. It also aims to provide those you encounter with a statement of your rights to minimise the possibility of harassment or threatened legal action. So carry this in your pocket and be prepared.

Taking photographs in a public place

It is generally possible to take photographs in a public place without asking permission. This extends to taking photographs of buildings, sites and people. There are, however, some limitations.

Photographing people

There are no publicity or personality rights in Australia, and there is no right to privacy that protects a person’s image. Existing privacy laws are more concerned with storage and management of personal information and are of limited relevance to the present issue.

There is also currently no tort of invasion of privacy in Australia, but in ABC v Lenah Game Meats (2001) the High Court did not exclude the possibility that a tort of unjustified invasion of privacy may be established in the future. Based on this view, the Queensland District Court found in Grosse v Purvis (2003) that a tort of invasion of privacy had been made out on the facts and awarded the plaintiff damages. However, this case concerned a long history of harassment over many years and has limited application. As a result, taking photographs of people in public places is generally permitted.

Photographing people for a commercial purpose

If you are using your shots for a commercial purpose, such as for an advertising campaign, you should obtain a model release form signed by the subjects you are photographing to ensure you have authorisation to use their image to sell a product. See the Arts Law information sheet Unauthorised Use of Your Image for further information on defamation, passing off and trade practices law. A sample Photographer’s Model Release form is also available on the Arts Law Centre of Australia website.

Photographing people on private property

There is no restriction on taking photographs of people on private property from public property. According to Victoria Park Racing and Recreation Grounds Co Ltd v Taylor (1937) there is no freedom from view, so people who are photographed on their property from a public location have no legal claim against you if what is captured in the photograph can be seen from the street. The same applies to photographs taken from private land when you have permission to take photographs. You should be careful that you are not being a nuisance and interfering with someone’s right to use and enjoy the land (see the case of Bathurst City Council v Saban (1985)).

Can taking photos be a criminal offence?

The Summary Offences Act 1988 (NSW) outlines a number of circumstances where a person’s privacy must be respected. For example, it is an offence punishable by a fine or imprisonment to photographa person to provide sexual arousal or gratification if the person is undressed or engaged in a private act in circumstances where a reasonable person would reasonably expect to be afforded privacy, and he or she has not consented to being filmed. A private act includes using the toilet, bathing and engaging in sexual activities not ordinarily done in public. Similarly, the Surveillance Devices Act 1999 (Vic) and Surveillance Devices Act 1998 (WA) make it an offence to photograph a "private activity" without the consent of the subject.

The Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) also makes it an offence punishable with imprisonment to be in or near a building with intent to peep or pry upon another person. It is also an offence to stalk a person with the intention to cause fear of physical or mental harm. In serious cases, this may lead to an application for an apprehended violence order (AVO).

Also be aware that any photography construed as child pornography can result in criminal charges. For example, the Criminal Code 1899 (Qld) makes it an offence to take any "indecent" photograph of a child under the age of 16 without legitimate reason. You could face significant jail time, especially if the child is under 12. Similar provisions apply under the Criminal Code (NT), Criminal Code 1913 (WA), and the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 (SA).

Photography of landmarks, buildings, monuments

There are provisions in the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) that allow people to take and publish photographs of buildings, models of buildings, sculptures and other works of artistic craftsmanship without infringing copyright. See below for more detail.

However, photography is restricted in some areas by local councils or authorities. For example, the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority Regulation 2006 (NSW) prohibits a person from using a camera for a commercial purpose in a 'public area' without the Authority’s permission. This applies to any part of the foreshore area that is vested in or managed by the Authority and the public can use, including Darling Harbour, Circular Quay, the Rocks and Luna Park. Non-compliance can result in a fine. A person who causes annoyance or inconvenience to other persons in a public area must leave the area when requested by a ranger or a police officer, who may remove the person with reasonable force if they fail to do so. Provided the ranger has warned you that failure to comply with the request is an offence, you can face a fine. For more details, contact the Sydney Foreshore Authority (http://www.shfa.nsw.gov.au).

Similar provisions and penalties exist for Sydney Olympic Park, prohibiting the use for commercial purposes of a camera and causing annoyance or inconvenience to other persons (Sydney Olympic Park Regulation 2001). Furthermore, an authorised person may confiscate a camera used in contravention of the Regulation if he or she has directed you to stop using it and you continue nonetheless, although force cannot be used. If your camera is confiscated, you should be issued a receipt indicating the date and time when it was taken. It must be returned to you or delivered to a public pound within 24 hours after confiscation. If delivered to a public pound, you must be notified in writing of the address. Also keep in mind that you must abide by the admission conditions on the entry ticket to events and sports grounds, including Telstra Stadium, Sydney Showground,

Sydney SuperDome, Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre. For more details, contact the Sydney Olympic Park (http://www.sydneyolympicpark.com.au).

Other penalties and provisions may exist for other areas in other States and Territories.

Restrictions may also be imposed by Local Councils on premises under their control, such as swimming pools. Following public concern and outrage due to "incidents" involving the photography of unwilling bathers on beaches, Councils were prompted to prohibit photography in these and similar areas. For example, you need a permit to commercially photograph any outdoor, publicly-owned space in Waverley, including beaches, parks, streets and cemeteries. It is therefore advisable to check with the Local Council whether

there are restrictions on photography, however most restrictions seems to apply to commercial photography.

Government property

It is illegal to enter certain property belonging to the government such as railway yards, electrical power stations and military bases. Trespassing in these areas may lead

to arrest and prosecution. For example, under the Defence (Special Undertakings) Act 1952 (Cth) it is an offence to gain unlawful entry into a "prohibited area" (including flying over it), punishable by imprisonment. The Minister can declare any area of land or water "prohibited" if it is necessary for Commonwealth defence. The same applies for taking a photograph of the area or anything in it. Merely possessing a camera while in a "prohibited area" can also result in imprisonment. Four Christian Pacifist activists were prosecuted under this Act for trespassing on the US Pine Gap military base in Australia and taking photographs in October 2006.

It is also illegal to photograph any defence installation in Australia under the Defence Act 1903 (Cth). Your photos, camera and film can be confiscated and destroyed, and you can face potential fines or imprisonment. You can even be arrested without a warrant. Always obey any warning signs displayed at such locations as you can be penalised even if you haven’t taken any photos, but have photography equipment in your possession.

If you are in doubt about a particular location, always check.


Setting up a tripod on a busy street and thereby impeding traffic is an example of an action that may amount to public obstruction. The Summary Offences Act 1988 (NSW) provides that it is an offence to prevent in any manner the free passage of a person, vehicle or vessel in a public place without reasonable excuse. Police have powers to arrestany person obstructing a public thoroughfare, although it is more likely that you would be asked to move on, and only arrested if you disobey.  Police have powers to give a person in a public place reasonable directions if they believe on reasonable grounds that his or her behaviour or presence is obstructing another person or traffic, or constitutes harassment or intimidation of another person (Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 (NSW)). Failure to comply may be an offence punishable by a fine.

For similar provisions in other states, see Summary Offences Act 2005 (Qld), Summary Offences Act 2007 (NT), Summary Offences Act 1953 (SA), Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic) and Criminal Code Act 1924 (Tas).

Photography and the arts

Sculptures, monuments and artwork may be protected by copyright. Unless an exception applies, you need permission from the copyright owner of the work. Exceptions to this general rule are found in the Copyright Act. For example, photographing and publishing a photograph of a sculpture or work of artistic craftsmanship that is permanently situated in a public place, or in premises open to the public, does not infringe copyright (s.65). This does not apply to other public art, such as murals. If the public place is a gallery or museum, remember that your rights to photograph may be limited by the conditions of admission on your ticket. As previously discussed, you can also take pictures of buildings without infringing copyright.

Private land
In order to access a privately owned space you need permission from the landowner, and he or she has the right to impose restrictions on photography. Therefore, you may only be allowed to photograph certain objects or locations. This type or restriction is common in many museums, galleries and sporting grounds, and may occur on land owned by Councils. Even where the landowner allows you to photograph, keep in mind that he or she may not be the copyright owner in artistic works you might be photographing. In this case, you need the permission of the author of the artwork as well.

If you do not have permission to be on privately owned property, you will be liable in trespass.Trespass is committed with the slightest interference with the land (damage to

the land is not relevant). The owner may take legal action in trespass against you for taking photographs after gaining unauthorised entry (Lincoln Hunt v Willesee (1986)) or

may be able to get an injunction to stop you using whatever footage you gathered while trespassing (ABC v Lenah Game Meats (2001)). The landowner may use reasonable force to remove you from their land.

Wildlife and National Parks

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Regulations 2000 (Cth)includes provisions restricting the taking and use for commercial purposes of photographs in Commonwealth Reserves, includingKakadu National Park, Australian National Botanic Gardens, Christmas Island National Park, Norfolk Island National Park, Commonwealth Marine Parks and Reserves. To take photographs for commercial purposes in a Commonwealth Reserve, you should contact the reserve for a permit. Conditions may be imposed on the taking of the photographs. If in breach of the limitations, you may be fined and required to surrender all copies of the photographs and the camera used to take them. For further information contact the relevant Commonwealth Reserve.

Use/publication of photographs

Now that you have taken your photographs you need to be aware that their use or publication may also be illegal when carried out in a certain fashion. For example, the subject of a photograph may seek an injunction to stop the publication of photographs that are indecent, offensive or demeaning (Lincoln Hunt Australia v Willesee (1986) 4 NSWLR 456).


Defamation is the law that deals with injury to someone’s reputation. The unauthorised use of the photographs would need to lower the public’s estimation of the person portrayed, expose the person to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or cause him or her to be shunned or avoided. The unauthorised publication of the photograph in itself is not proof of defamation. Since defamation deals with reputation, the likelihood of an action in defamation will be higher the more famous the person photographed.

For a more detailed discussion, see the Arts Law information sheet Defamation.

The law of passing off and the Australian Consumer Law

Complications arise if your photographs are used for a "commercial purpose" and you don’t have consent from the persons in the photograph. "Commercial purpose" involves using the photograph to sell something other than the photograph itself. So if you have taken a photo of someone on the street for an advertising campaign and it appears that the person is endorsing the product or service (when in fact they do not), you may be liable.

For a more detailed discussion, see the Arts Law information sheet Unauthorised use of your image.

Copyright and trademarks
You may be infringing copyright if you photograph the whole or a substantial part of a literary, musical, dramatic or artistic work, if the work is still protected by copyright. For further information on copyright, see the Australian Copyright Council information sheets at www.copyright.org.au.

Photographers are often concerned about taking photographs of trade marks, for example taking a shot of a streetscape that contains advertising or company logos on the side of buildings. A registered trade mark owner has exclusive rights to use the trade mark and to authorise use of the trade mark in relation to goods/services for which the trade mark is registered. Taking a photograph of a trade mark should not involve trade mark use and is not trade mark infringement. Also consider that there may be copyright subsisting in the trade mark if it is a logo containing an artistic work.

Need more help?

The Australian Copyright Council (ACC) has a free information sheet entitled Photographers & Copyright. (www.copyright.org.au)

Part taken from the Arts Law Centre of Australia website toresd full article go to www.artslaw.com.au/info-sheets/info-sheet/street-photographers-rights/

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

AusPhotography, Australia's Premier Photography Forum

AusPhotography would have to be the most friendly forum on the net in Australia, if you are looking for somewhere to have your photos commented by others or to join in competitions with your photos, then this is the place to be.


Registration is free (unless otherwise specified), and offers an extended range of features, including:

    Posting new threads (posts)
    Replying to other peoples' threads
    Editing your posts
    Receiving email notification of replies to posts and threads you specify
    Sending personal messages to other members
    Creating albums of pictures and comment on others' pictures
    Adding events to the forum calendar
    Setting up a 'contact list' to quickly see which of your friends are online.

The bulletin board as a whole contains various categories (broad subject areas), which themselves contain forums (more specific subject areas) which contain threads (conversations on a topic) which are made up of individual posts (where a user writes something).

The board home page has a list of categories and forums, with basic statistics for each - including the number of threads and posts, and which member posted the most recent message.

If you are under the age of 13, the administrator may require that a parent or guardian provide consent before allowing you to complete the registration process. More information about this is available during the registration process.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Facebook Doesn’t Own Your Photos No Matter What That Viral E-Mail Says

An official Facebook response to the e-mail freakout currently going around the web

Right now, the web is being overrun by a story from StopStealingPhotos.com about an email from a person at Facebook that says “…once something is posted or uploaded onto

Facebook, it becomes Facebook’s property. So if the original photographer uploaded the photo first onto Facebook and then others have taken it from there and uploaded it to

their pages or profiles, this is legal and within policy.”

Yes, that is a very troubling statement indeed. You can actually read the whole thread about the interaction here. But, the story isn’t quite as simple as that, so I reached

out to Facebook to get a little clarification. Here’s a statement to us directly from Facebook HQ:

    “The information given in these emails is incorrect. Our terms are clear that you own the content you share on Facebook, including photos. When you post something, you

simply grant Facebook a license to use that content consistent with our terms, including displaying it to the audience you’ve shared it with.”

    In addition, we prohibit people from posting content that violates someone else’s intellectual property rights. If a rights owner believes that content on Facebook

violates their rights, they may report it to us. Upon notice, we stand ready to respond including by removing the content from Facebook.”

And here’s a line of copy directly from the terms of service:

    "You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings."

If you look carefully at the email in the original post, you’ll notice that the person sending the Facebook correspondence is actually a sales rep. That seems like an odd

person to even be participating in this kind of back and fourth. Facebook no doubt has a number of customer relations people on staff who are better equipped to deal with an

issue like this.

Sales reps at digital companies typically deal with advertisers and their campaigns as they pertain to the actual revenue generation on the site.

Is it troubling that someone from Facebook told a user that images uploaded to the service belong to them? Of course it is, but this seems more like a case of a mistaken

employee operating outside of her own typical duties rather than a slip up that exposes a grand copyright takeover plan to which we’re all falling victim. Intellectual

property management will forever be a monster of a task for Facebook to conquer and it will be great to see them pay it more attention and deal with issues like the troubling

one currently affecting the Stop Stealing Photos Facebook page.

Facebook is no stranger to backlash when it comes to intellectual property and in the past they have responded directly to user concerns. Of course, as photographers (and

people who create anything online) it’s smart to be extremely vigilant about our copyright. But, the amount of fear mongering and sensationalized headlines that are flying

around the web right now about this email may be doing more harm than good.

Update: I'd like to clarify the point of this article in light of some responses we have gotten. To be clear, when you upload a photo to Facebook, you're still granting them

a license to the image. The wording of that license is the subject of much debate in the photo community, a debate which is outside the scope of this post, which was written

in direct response to the current panic about Facebook taking ownership of your photos. As photographers, it is our responsibility to read and evaluate the Terms of Service

set forth by every service (not just Facebook) before trusting them with our intellectual property. We're going to be doing some more in-depth coverage of these intellectual

property concerns in the future. Be careful out there, but let's also be reasonable. - SH

By Stan Horaczek Posted May 13, 2015 /.popphoto.com