Hi from an Aussie photography student

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Chyna

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Hi everyone,

My dad (APUG user gerardf) told me of your great site to get some experience, views and opinions about art and photography.

I'm a high school student from Melbourne Australia and would like to study photography full time with aview to becoming a photo-journalist.

From reading dad's books and the internet generally, I can see that I need to ask lots of questions.

I have an assignment:- "Codes of Practice - Working Practices and Systems in Photography"

within:- "Weddings, portraiture, scientific, illustrative, photojournalism"

I'm not asking for anyone to do this for me but I would really appreciate some feedback/opinions/experience with your working practices, experiences, anecdotes, working systems with the above fields. I figured that the best way to write this assignment was to ASK those with experience (I'm 17yo!)

Hope this is OK with you guys...

Chyna
 

Nige

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Hi from.. Melbourne :smile:

as a hobbiest, can't help you with your question though
 

Grace Cox

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Chyna,

Welcome to APUG! Glad your here. Go for it! Study photography, become a photojournalist, and don't let anyone dissuade you.

What I am about to write is only my opinion and you should take it as that: just someone's opinion. First, I work professionally for a wedding photography studio in Chicago. Codes of practice for photographers with in it are this:

1. Whatever the bride wants she gets.
2. When people put on formal wear their brains fly out the window. For some reason, fancy dresses and tuxedos make people forget how to listen, concentrate, and smile.
3. There's no reasoning with a drunk person.
4. Brides and grooms say they want NO posed pictures (called photojournalistic style), BUT they are LYING. If you take no posed picture, they will complain guaranteed. At their consultation, point out that they do want some posed pictures and they usually agree.
5. Here's the typical set up for backdrops and alter shots. Two umbrellas 45 degree angle, blast with light, and no shadows. If there's a shadow, they'll complain.
6. Every photo must have the person looking right at the camera and smiling or its no good.
7. Weddings are static photography: stand there, look at the camera, say cheese, and smile. Not artistic, but there's alot of money to be made as a wedding photographer.

Second, I have been doing portraiture since I first picked up a camera. What I want to say is this: don't follow anyone's standards for how or how not to shoot portraits. Learn the technical (how to use lights/strobes, f stops, etc.) but never, ever let anyone make you believe that you have to follow a dictated method or style for portraits. Break all the "rules" and laugh at how the big time portrait photographers make their images look the same. Before you make an image, think "What can I do to make this better?" An idea of the moment as we say.

Third, I don't know anything about scientific or illustrative or photojournalism for magazines or papers. I do have an opinion about photojournalism for papers and magazines. That is, be careful. Photography is not reality. Let me repeat that, photography is not reality (that's a fact not opinion). It's a fraction of a second in time that's manipulated by the photographer (composition, angle, light). You can take a picture one second and the next take another picture that contradicts the one you just took. Keep that in mind when you see picutres of war, politicians, beauty contests, parades, etc. They're just a fraction of a second in time and don't tell you anything about the real situation, movtives, or further actions of people or things.

So much for making this short, but welcome!
 

roteague

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Chyna,

Welcome from Hawaii. I look forward to seeing you develop as a photographer; make sure you post some of the images from your assignment.
 

Cheryl Jacobs

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Welcome, Chyna.

As for weddings, I agree with Grace's 1,2,3,and 4. I disagree with Grace's 5, 6, and 7. Except that there I agree there's a lot of money to be made in wedding photography, if you can develop a liking for it. :wink:

As for portraits, work unapologetically in the way you feel moved. Build your style, reputation, and business on that, and you will be a happy photographer. Working to someone else ideal and in anyone else's style will leave you feeling empty and discontent over time. I'm a firm believer that people respond to sincerity in portraiture and in general, and that approach has worked well for me.

Good luck with the project.

- CJ
 

Leon

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G'day chyna me old cobber - sorry, couldnt resist it.

I suppose I shoudl be saying "me old china" (you know, cockney rhyming slang - china plate = mate)

anyway - good to have you here
 

sparx

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Don't worry Cheryl. There are people in the deepest east-end of London, slurping on their jellied eels and singing knees up mother brown (maver Braaan) who didn't understand Leon.:wink:

I will now whole-heartedly apolgise for my disgaceful and sweeping steroetyping of cockneys everywhere. I'll get me coat.
 
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SuzanneR

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It's very difficult to break into magazine photography, but as a former photo editor, I can say that you need to master your craft, and demonstrate it with a strong portfolio. If you can get that first assignment, and come through with a good photograph you'll be called again. When you meet with a photo editor or art director, they want to know that you are interested in making good photographs, not just gettting your travel subsidized! You'll have to do a lot of 'business man/woman behind a desk' shots, and if you can do that well, you'll be worth your weight in gold. Grace makes a very good point about photojournalism... photographs often don't provide context, so you'll need to be a good reporter too. Get complete caption information, and make sure to get everyone's name spelled right. I good place to start is to string for small local papers...

Good luck, and welcome!
-Suzanne
 

John McCallum

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Hiya Chyna,
Welcome from a Kiwi. As you see, there's plenty of helpful people at APUG.
Most photographers really love their work. And consequently, many have strong opinions. Without wanting to be tooooo presumptious - may I suggest, the most important thing at your stage is to realise that people prioritise aspects of picture taking according to their style own of photography. I think it's good to listen to the opinions offered and thenthink consciously about whether these fit with you. If they do, then take them on board and run with it.
It's a great way to find out what you really enjoy in your photography (which is absolutely critical)!
Good luck! See you 'round....
best John.
 
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Chyna

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thank you everyone heaps for replying. everyone is so friendly. i'd really love to hear more about the photojournalism part of photography - are there any rules? liability?
 

GerardF

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Chyna said:
thank you everyone heaps for replying. everyone is so friendly. i'd really love to hear more about the photojournalism part of photography - are there any rules? liability?

What do you mean about 'liability'? Legal, ethical?
 
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Chyna

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photojournalism

thank you to everyone who replied!!! i'd just like to know a bit more about photojournalism. Are there any rules or regulations? Liability? i'd really appreciate anything you have to say.
 

rbarker

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Welcome, Chyna, and have a wonderful time on your life-long adventure in photography.

Allow me to take a slightly different tack than previous responses to your question. IMHO, photography can be approached either as an art (do your own thing with style) or a craft (generally follow traditional guidelines). People with pens in their hand, ready to scribble on things called checks, usually expect a lot of craft, but are often delighted to consider a bit of art within that craft. In other words, it's often wise to produce what the client (the person with the checkbook) expects, but don't be afraid to show them alternatives that take a fresh creative approach. Assignments are generated to achieve an objective. The better you understand the objective, the better you'll be able to fulfill or exceed the expectations.

Each sub-category of photography has standards - professional practices that are often unwritten, but to which conformance is absolutely expected. These professional standards vary a bit between the sub-categories, but generally have to do with honesty and ethics. A good source of information on these are the professional photographic associations (e.g. PPA, ASMP, etc.), most of which have a published codes of ethics.

The variations between sub-categories can be striking. A photojournalist, for example, is expected to be absolutely "truthful" in their photographs (e.g. no retouching allowed). In contrast, a portrait photographer who doesn't master retouching will not be very successful. Similarly advertising photographers are allowed great creative latitude. Note that all of these restrictions relate back to the underlying objective for the photograph.

Additionally, there are a few laws of which photographers need to be aware. These generally deal with privacy (when, where, and under what circumstances you can photograph a person), what use you can make of the photographs (see discussions on model releases - www.pdnonline.com is a good resource - look for the "Business Resources" link on the left), and copyright (copyright laws vary between countries).
 

BWGirl

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Welcome Chyna!

I can't help you one little bit since the only people who even like my photos are my family! :D But I did want to welcome you here!

Relax, learn & enjoy! (Did you understand anything Leon said????)
 
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