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Big cities with their skylines, parks, open spaces, hidden corners and untold stories always fascinate me.
You have to walk them to truly get to know them and still every time you do that you will see something new.

 

Venice, Italy

 

Cities can have so many faces; for example Philadelphia with its Mural Art Program has produced so far around 3,600 graffiti paintings and wall arts all over the city and beyond.

 

Philadelphia is the capital of murals.

 

NYC, one of my favorite cities, with its bridges, parks and energetic life, is always worth a trip.

 

NYC View from Manhattan Bridge

 

Then there is Venice, where medieval times catch up to you. The narrow alleys, canals, old buildings and sinking facades will enchant you. The history of many centuries can still be felt everywhere.

 

Venice_Canals_by_Annette_Schreiber        Grand_Canal_by_Annette_Schreiber

 

Dubai, the total opposite, with its many skylines and an amazing variety of architectural styles This city is constantly growing and changing its face.

 

Side by Side

 

Now, how could you develop a passion for urban photography?

 

1. Architecture

No matter how familiar the city is, there is always something to photograph.
Old buildings with beautiful facades, new ones with unique compositions, strange lines or just shot from an unusual angle.

 

Las Vegas, City, Urban, Architecture       Burj Khalifa and Aston Martin Building

 

2. Street Life

People in open spaces, talking, walking, creating something or just sitting around taking a break.

 

artwork_by_Annette_Schreiber

 

A look into a side alley can offer an enchanting scenery you “just have to photograph”.

 

venice_by_annette_schreiber-2

 

3. Landmarks

Every city has its landmarks.. Try to engage with its surroundings. How could you show this object like it was never seen before? Finding a way to see things with different eyes, telling stories with your photographs, will give these places a special meaning.
Bridges always fascinate me. You walk on them but you should also take a look underneath sometimes. Bridges can possess architectural beauty or stretch elegantly into landscapes in a way that might kindle your photographic creativity.

 

one_world_observation_tower_by_annette_schreiber        Manhattan Bridge        Venice_Bridge_by_Annette_Schreiber

 

4. Art

People have the unique gift to give their inner life and feelings form, sound or color. Big cities are buzzing with exciting artworks. Monuments, Graffiti, wall paintings , people who express themselves through costumes and play or artistic performances. And of course, there are musicians. Just because you can’t hear them on a photograph doesn’t mean you can’t photographically capture their energy, their passion.

 

Open Invitation        passion_by_Annette_Schreiber        glamorous_by_Annette_Schreiber

 

All these different kinds of photo categories can magnify different charms of a city.
Urban photography offers a huge variety of opportunities for photographers to follow their passion for a unique point of view im their photographs.

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I just attended the Photoshop World Conference for the second time. It is the most inspiring event for me and I can’t wait for next year to go back. People from all over the world come together to learn about the amazing possibilities you are offered to improve your photography and post processing work in Lightroom and Photoshop.

Yes, there it is! The word….Photoshop!

 

Photoshop

 

Do we really need it?

Personally, for photographers, I think it is 100% necessary if you want to compete today. Technology has changed everything. The world knows that Photoshop exists. The standards by which photography was judged, even just 10 years ago, don’t hold up against today’s standards. We expect more from a photo.

When I started out in Photography 26 years ago I worked in the good old dark room to process my photographs. Photos were manipulated there as they are today in Photoshop, just that it is so much easier, healthier and limitless.

There are many opinions out there what kind of rules apply to a good photo and what you should do. Should everything already been taken care of with the camera while taking the picture? Well, most of it should be done there but adding your personal touch and emotions to it, Photoshop is a great tool

I believe the sky is the limit if you are doing a creative job.
Photography is very creative and artistic.

In my home country, Germany, photography is still seen as a craft.It might have been one once, probably a century ago, but it has evolved.
There are tools available in today’s world that enable you to play with creativity.

Given the fact that the cameras today still can’t reach the perfection of our eye, the outcome will never be exactly how you have seen the scenery.

You are able to adjust those things in Photoshop.

 

Photoshop2

 

So where does this dislike come from?

In my opinion it comes from not knowing Photoshop.
Most of the times, when asking people who don’t like this software, it turns out, they don’t know it and don’t work with it. They might know some photoshop’ed results they don’t like but that’s just one case out of endless possibilities.

As a photographer you should know how to operate this program in a way that pleases you and your clients.
I still see many photographers shaking their head over the use of Photoshop while talking about the good old days shooting film.
I was there once and I personally never want to go back. Times have changed and with advanced techniques came the freedom to take a picture and see the result right away instead of hoping that nothing went wrong when you develop those negatives in the darkroom.
The same philosophy carries Photoshop vs darkroom. Why make it so hard when it can be so easy. It gives your creativity wings.

By the way, who created all those rules which tell you what is supposed to be right or wrong? Us humans! We are very versatile and different beings which is a good thing. That is exactly the reason why everybody should be allowed to create what he/she believes in and can identify with. Remember, you won’t please everybody but there will be always someone who will like your work!

That’s what makes it special!

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Have you ever been in the position where you are in the mood take some photos right now? You look outside and the weather is overcast and the sun is nowhere to be found. Take heart you don’t always need the sun. Here’s why.

 

rose

for more flower inspirations, click here

Many people believe that if there is no sun, then there isn’t an opportunity for good photography. So during the winter months and overcast summer or spring days they have to find another hobby, or so they think. That’s not true and I’ll show you why.

 

garden_of_the_gods in the rocky mountains

for more landscape inspirations, click here

1. Shooting outdoors on overcast days
If you have never tried it then go out and do it. You will be surprised at the photos you take. Why? Because the clouds act as one big filter resulting in a soft and even light. The harsh shadow you sometimes see in your sunny day images is just not there. There is no glare in the subject’s eyes and it can look as if the photo has been taken by a professional.

Check that your white balance is set to cloudy if you aren’t shooting on automatic. Although you get really good photos on a cloudy day, it is more suited for smaller scenes, close-ups and portraits.

 

Burano with its colorful houses

for more photos of Burano/Venice, click here

2. Sunny days
Bright sunny days are not always the best time to take good photos. Too much bright light can be a bad thing so you need to know what time of day is best. When it’s sunny you’d probably find that around midday is not the best time to shoot any images. The lighting is directly from above and very harsh.

Shadows fall below the eyes in a portrait and can result in an ugly image. Unless you are looking for very specific lighting effects for buildings and similar subjects, don’t shoot between 11AM and 1PM.

Early to mid-morning and late afternoon are the best times for shooting on sunny days. Lighting is from the side, the contrast is great and the atmosphere created by light that is more golden is amazing.

Besides shooting sunsets and sunrise virtually any type of image will look great. A key here is to use bright shadow, like under high trees, for portraits and other people shots. It gives the same effect as a cloudy day.

 

Studio shot

 

3. Shooting indoors
There is no bad time when shooting indoors as you always have control of the light when using flash or strobes. But, flash is not the greatest light to shoot by even if you do have total control. Using available natural light will always give you a great image. So what’s the best way? Find a place inside that has a large window which allows a good amount of light to enter the room.

Place your subject in the area where most of this light falls. If you find that the opposite side of the subject is too dark, use a reflector which can be a large piece of card, a white board or a sheet draped just outside the view of the camera lens. Experiment to find the best subject placement. Sometimes the darker side of the image will make the overall image really stunning.

 

Emily

 

So, there is always a time to take an image and key to this is make the best possible use of available light. You may not be able to shoot the image you have in mind but you’ll still be able to create an image that is stunning. You won’t necessarily get it right the first time but be prepared to experiment and try different placements and angles and I can assure you that you will come up with something that great.

As always, have fun and enjoy! 🙂

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One of the most important things a photographer can carry in his bag is a firm understanding of the basic elements of photography. A picture is not just a piece of photo paper but the result of thousands of tiny variables coming together all at once. Understanding these different elements and how you can use them to take better images is critical to your success as a photographer. One of the most important elements of photography is composition.

 

Venice_Lantern_by_Annette_Schreiber

 

Definition of Composition

Composition is the way in which the subjects of your photograph interact with one another. You can think of this primarily in terms of where each object in a photograph shows up in the frame. However, composition can be expanded on to reference elements such as focus, depth of field, and zoom.

Essentially, photographs with excellent composition tell a clear story, while photographs with bad composition have no real narrative and are thus less appealing. One easy way to see if a photo has poor composition is to see if it looks boring or contains nothing of interest.

 

Open Invitation       venice_by_annette_schreiber-2

 

Elements of Composition

There are a few helpful rules of composition that, once learned, have an amazing positive effect on the nature of your photographs. While these rules are by no means concrete, and in photography breaking rules is often more fun than following them, they should serve as a baseline for understanding composition’s impact on your shots.

 

The Rule of Thirds

The Rule of Thirds is based on the artistic assumption that humans are naturally inclined to look at the point of an image that falls about two-thirds up from the bottom. If you picture a photo broken up into nine equal parts, you want your subject to be as close to one of the line intersections as possible. Whenever you shoot, imagine these lines across your frame and try to line the shots up accordingly.

 

Single-Minded

 

Image Balance

While this isn’t an official “rule,” it is still a helpful thing to keep in mind when shooting. Position your subjects off-center and use the rule of thirds, but be careful about having too much unintentional space around the subject. Try to balance the important parts of an image with the less important parts like having the subject running to a destination instead of just a picture of the subject.

 

Side by Side

 

The Power of Lines

There is something about patterns of lines that naturally draws our eyes. Our minds are naturally drawn to following patterns and lines. You can use this to your photographic advantage. When lining up a shot, look for lines in the frame and ask yourself if they lead to important parts of your image. If the lines don’t do that, the viewer’s eyes will trace the lines only to be left unsatisfied that the lines lead to nowhere.

 

By the Sea       Flooded

 

The Power of Cropping

Sometimes what you leave out of your picture is as important as what you leave in. You should be cropping in your mind every time you line the camera up for a shot. Get rid of the extra stuff that distracts from the subject, and fill the frame with what you want to capture. You can fix poor cropping with software, but it is far better to develop a habit of cropping in-frame.

 

Composition is one of the elements of photography that takes years to master. Since composition is a combination of several different elements, it will present a constant challenge to even the most knowledgeable photographer.

 

Follow the basic rules until you understand how they work, then dare yourself to break them! 🙂

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There comes a point in time when you will need to decide what type of photography you like and the specific genres you want to focus on. Most of us start out as generalists, shooting anything and everything that comes in front of your camera. But at a certain point in your career you have to decide on what type of photographer you are or want to be.

 

Dubai Skyscraper

 

I worked for a long time in my career with people shooting portraits, weddings etc. I still like doing this kind of photography but my real passion is urban and landscape photography.

So I gradually bought the equipment that would help me create better landscape photographs. I began redefining myself as a photographer.

Your photographs are a very personal thing as they reflect how you see the world and what interests you. So there are a few things you need to do in order to define yourself as a photographer. We are not just talking professionals here but also ordinary people.

 

Arabien Desert, UAE

 

1.A little introspection

You need to look inside yourself and examine who you are and what you like. What pushes your buttons and what inspires you to create photos. The better you know yourself the better photographer you will become.

 

Burj Khalifa and Aston Martin Building

 

2.Shoot what you like

All of us have very clear likes and dislikes so many of us already know what things in life we like. So with this in mind identify all of your likes. Sit down with a piece of paper and write down everything that you enjoy in life. Then work through this list and see if you would enjoy shooting photos of the likes. Cross out all the ones you don’t want to shoot and there you have your list.

 

NYC's view from the Manhattan Bridge

 

3.Study the pros

This is as simple as going to a library or bookstore and looking at the type of books that interest you. If it’s wildlife photography then look at the photo books by great wildlife photographers. If it’s cars or trucks then study those books. See the angles, lighting and compositions they use and get an idea of how they have created their images. You will learn a huge amount from the pros. Don’t try to copy someone’s style. Find your own and personal way to show the audience how you see the world.

 

Colorado, Rocky Mountains

 

4.Allow yourself to dream

Visualizing what you like and what you want to photograph will help motivate and distil in your own mind the specifics you want to shoot. Vision, plan and set goals. This can be what type of images and perhaps what kind of equipment you want to own. Working towards a goal will really allow you to become what you want to and help define you as a photographer.

 

New York's Skyscraper

 

5.You can’t please everyone

The most important thing is, you should know that you can’t please everyone. There is a certain audience out there that, if you are passionate about your work and keep going – I mean really being persistent – you will be successful.

 

You may ask the question why it’s necessary to define yourself. It may not be essential for you to know this, but most photographers who are successful having an in depth understanding which is reflected in their images.

 

Be constructive, be yourself and most important, have fun creating photographs and emotions you can share.