After working as a self-proclaimed ‘computer geek’ for most of his life, Alex Braverman realized his untapped eye for photography. After receiving a digital camera as a New Year’s gift from his wife, he’s gone on to win countless worldwide photography competitions, including the 2015 B&W Magazine Portfolio Award for Dance Photography. We recently caught up with Alex to chat about the industry, his time at NYIP, and his eccentrically refreshing outlook on creativity.
1. What career field were you working in before you decided to study photography on a more professional level?
I was a computer geek all my life, but had no involvement in photography at all!
2. When did you make the shift to study photography instead? What made you realize your passion for taking photos?
The INS prohibited me from working for a couple of years until my residence status in the USA was sorted out- but I’m a hyperactive person and cannot be idle.
So for the New Year in 2004, I got a present from my wife: the just released Canon Digital Rebel. There was no turning back. The very first photo I submitted to a regional contest
If you typically find yourself attempting fewer projects during the winter, it might not be due to a lack of inspiration as much as it’s due to an avoidance of the cold. If that’s the case, here are 3 simple adjustments you can make to feel more focused, and less freezing.
1. Charge your batteries– cold weather can be hard on your equipment, and your batteries will die faster if they’re exposed to harsh elements. Avoid having to cut your shoot unnecessarily short by ensuring you’re fully charged before you head out.
2. Accessorize properly– Consider purchasing yourself a pair of warm fingerless gloves. That way, your hands can be partially covered without hindering you from handling small buttons and adjustments.
3. Pack a lens cleaner– Otherwise, you might find yourself frustrated as your equipment develops a moist film as a result of transitioning from warm interiors to the cold outdoors.
Want to learn more? NYIP offers accredited photography courses that can help you improve your hobby or start a new career. Request your free course catalog today!
Offering wedding photography services in your area can be a great full time venture, or even a freelance specialty used to expand your portfolio and supplement your income.
If you’ve ever considered trying your hand at the art of wedding photography, here are four things to keep in mind:
1. Get to know the couple– This is especially important when working with a more eccentric group who have unique interests worth capturing in your photos. If the groom mentions, for example, that he’s planning to wear his lucky socks to the wedding reception, a photo of those on the big day might be worth adding to the gallery. If you don’t sit down and talk to the family before the big day, these are intimate, fun details you might otherwise miss out on.
2. Explore the venue– If you can, stop by before the wedding day to explore the entire location- outdoors, indoors, hallways, entryways- anything you might discover and may be able to suggest to the couple as unique locational options may be greatly appreciated. Wouldn’t it be a shame for you to discover a beautiful, winding staircase at
Errant pixels and blurry regions in a photo, whether digital or scanned, are the bane of photographers everywhere. Moreover, in vision processing research degraded photos are common and require restoration to a high-quality undegraded state. Research published in the International Journal of Signal and Imaging Systems Engineering could provide new insights.
There are countless examples of image editors and photo cleanup software that have built-in tools designed to remove noise and sharpen up edges. Some of these are very powerful others less so. Any “cleanup” process that works by changing individual pixels leads to overall degradation of the image and loss of information. However, a delicate touch with the most subtle tools can produce acceptable quality results.
Now, S. Uma of the Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering, at Coimbatore Institute of Technology, and S. Annadurai of the Government College of Technology, Coimbatore, India, have turned to neural networks to help them clean up their image. The approach could significantly reduce information loss while reversing blurring caused by lens aberrations and faults and reducing noise that distorts the appearance of an image. The team suggests that distortions in an image due to atmospheric disturbances between camera and distant subjects
An artificial intelligence programme to improve Tinder suggestions has been developed by Harm de Vries, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Montreal who was sick of swiping left. Signing up for an account was one of the first things he did upon arriving in the city in August 2014, but he was disappointed with the results. “Tinder kept offering me photos of women with lots of tattoos and piercings, even though I’d never chosen a single one. I don’t want to offend anyone, they’re simply not my type,” he explained. Noting that the app failed to take note of his user history in order to better target the women he might like, he developed new software, the details of which he published onArxiv. His work is supervised by professors Aaron Courville and Roland Memisevic who are with Yoshua Bengio’s lab in the Department of Computer Science and Operations Research.
For those of us who are unfamiliar with Tinder, it’s a mobile application that works by looking at the user’s location: it finds users close to where you are and displays their photos. You can then either swipe right with your finger to indicate that you are interested,
Researchers from the School of Interactive Computing and the Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines developed a new method that teaches computers to “see” and understand what humans do in a typical day.
The technique gathered more than 40,000 pictures taken every 30 to 60 seconds, over a 6 month period, by a wearable camera and predicted with 83 percent accuracy what activity that person was doing. Researchers taught the computer to categorize images across 19 activity classes. The test subject wearing the camera could review and annotate the photos at the end of each day (deleting any necessary for privacy) to ensure that they were correctly categorized.
“It was surprising how the method’s ability to correctly classify images could be generalized to another person after just two more days of annotation,” said Steven Hickson, a Ph.D. candidate in Computer Science and a lead researcher on the project.
“This work is about developing a better way to understand people’s activities, and build systems that can recognize people’s activities at a finely-grained level of detail,” said Edison Thomaz, co-author and graduate research assistant in the School of Interactive Computing. “Activity tracking devices like the Fitbit can tell how many steps you
Using computer-automated, time‐lapse photography of embryos in the laboratory during in-vitro fertilization may improve embryo selection, potentially increasing the chances of pregnancy among women undergoing the procedure, according to new research from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and five other fertility centers. Results of the study were presented this week at the 30th annual European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) meeting in Munich, Germany.
The researchers at Penn and their collaborators used the Early Embryo Viability Assessment imaging device (or Eeva, developed and manufactured by Auxogyn, Inc.), which records images of developing embryos during the first three days of laboratory culture, to evaluate embryos transferred into the uterine cavity of 177 patients. The testing process involved fitting the devices into a standard incubator and using dark field imaging to capture high resolution, single-plane pictures of embryos housed in a petri dish, at five-minute intervals. The images were then fed into a software program that uses several measures to assess the embryo’s developmental potential — rating them high, medium, or low for their capacity to reach the blastocyst stage by the fifth or sixth day of culture. Embryos normally implant at the
1. When did you realize that photography was the field you wanted to pursue?
I started taking interest in photography many years ago out of pure pleasure. After reading a book about how an SLR camera works and what you can achieve with all the different functions, I was completely hooked. A very good friend of mine, also an excellent photographer, Dimitris Lagkalis, guided my first steps and boosted my passion for the photographic art.
2. When did you enroll at NYIP?
I enrolled at NYIP in 2012. Although I already had some previous knowledge gained by reading books and talking to other photographers, I felt that there was so much more out there to learn. It occurred to me that professional guidance from an experienced teacher was exactly what I would need. Since my regular job requires a lot of travelling and I’m also a father of twin baby boys, the online course option was the best solution. I did my research, found NYIP, and never regretted it!
3. What was your coursework like?
The course work was very well orientated and organized.
4. Was your mentor helpful during the process?
Walter Carling was my mentor. He was very helpful and gave
If you’re an amateur photographer looking to gain further exposure in your area, shooting family holiday cards can be an excellent starting project.
Try advertising with willing local vendors, by word of mouth with family and friends, and on your Facebook or Twitter. Once you make contact with some interested families and begin to iron out the logistics, a great way to demonstrate your creative vision and usefulness is to suggest a few unique location options to clients who may be lacking inspiration of their own. Here are 5 fun ideas to get you started:
1. Christmas Tree Farm If you’re working with a family that celebrates Christmas and plans to buy a tree, ask to meet them at the tree farm. In addition to the characteristic posed compositions you’ll likely take of the group, you can also capture great candids of the afternoon that they may be interested in purchasing as well.
2. Fireplace Fireplace shots are classic and simple. If you’re working with a more traditional family, they may be less excited to get creative and more interested in a customary, indoor setting.
3. Decorate Outdoor Trees For a fun twist on the typical shot taken in front of
For many people, driving around the neighborhood to enjoy holiday decorations is a much-anticipated December tradition. If you’re planning to photograph the lights this year, here are 3 things to consider:
1. Be mindful of your exposure– If you overexpose, the composition might lose that enchanted nighttime effect and give off more of a midday vibe.
2. Adjust your aperture– Consider adjusting to a more narrow setting if you’re hoping to achieve an individual twinkle effect for every light on a strand.
3. Regulate your white balance– Again, if you keep your white balance in automatic mode, it could result in a more yellowish daytime appearance. Experiment with different settings until you achieve a level of darkness you’re comfortable with.
As amateur photographers eager to get a foot in the door as professionals, many artists are understandably enthusiastic when initially speaking with potential clients. However, in a response to a recent report of scams, it’s important for us to remind our students and all aspiring photographers not to allow said eagerness to distract from logical caution.
Check out this screen shot shared by MCP Actions photography studio. Do you see any immediate red flags? Maybe not, but here’s what they shared about the typical scamming routine:
Apparently, scammers often use credit card transactions to overpay photographers for their work. To make up for this supposed error, they then ask the artist to wire transfer the difference to a separate account- sometimes even offering to pay extra for the inconvenience.
However, if the credit card they originally paid with is fraudulent, the issuing card company would subsequently invalidate that original payment to you, but often not until you had already wired that surplus money to an unrecoverable account.
To avoid being swindled, it’s important to be reasonably hesitant when booking initial shoots. Be wary of clients who urge credit card payment and mention credit transactions early on. Additionally, it can also be settling for you
1. When did you realize that photography was the field you wanted to pursue?
When I was a kid my dad had an old, leather-cased SLR and I thought there was almost something mythical about it. But it felt so unaccessible to me.
In my early twenties, I was working on custom fashion design for clients- unique pieces. Since I didn’t always have inventory on hand, I started hiring models and photographers to make a catalogue of my designs before they were delivered. The exposures were correct but there was something that always felt slightly off about the shots. So instead of hiring a photographer, one time I decided to buy a camera and shoot the stuff myself. The quality of the first images may have been far lower than the ones I hired photographers for, but the feeling was there- so really my style and skills were first developed as a consumer myself that had that need.
2. When (and why) did you enroll at NYIP?
It was my Christmas present last year. I had been looking at different photography courses because my business really started picking up, but it was becoming a routine of doing the same type of portraits
Not too long ago, the path to choosing one’s gear was very clear- if you wanted to take professional quality images, the DSLR reigned supreme.
Yet the landscape of available camera gear is constantly evolving, and today there are more options than ever before. Instead of just one or two dominant companies, you now have outstanding options from no less than seven manufacturers. Mirrorless cameras have matured from a niche product to a complete solution, while DSLRs have been further refined.
It is indeed a great time to be in the market for a new camera. The system you decide on will certainly have a big impact on your work, so do thorough research and choose wisely. Remember, the ideal selection should not be based on what everyone else is doing, but what will allow you to realize your unique vision. This can only be decided by you, not a salesperson or some forum chatter. Above all, your next camera should be one that inspires you to pick it up and use it more often.
When photography becomes a part of your daily routine, you quickly find yourself viewing the world through a more imaginative lens- overgrown tree branches seem more like unique landscape frames and random passersby suddenly look like potential subjects for that portraiture series you’ve been meaning to start.
But when you begin to see things more artistically, there’s nothing more frustrating than stumbling upon an extraordinary scene at a moment when you don’t have your gear with you. To prepare for this, it’s important to work comfortably with any available tools- and sometimes, that means subbing in the cell phone. So before writing it off as illegitimate, consider exploring the offerings of your iPhone. Here are 3 fun features you might not be aware of:
- Burst mode– As we discussed in last week’s article on pet photography, an extremely practical way to capture fleeting candid moments is to work with a burst feature. If you’re caught without a camera during compositional gems like lightning storms, consider breaking out the burst mode in order to make sure the moment isn’t missed.
- Grid– Familiar with the rule of thirds? If you typically struggle with this technique, the iPhone actually offers a setting that splits your
Here is today’s tip:
It can be difficult to capture the spirit of the holidays in one sweeping shot.
Family togetherness, excited anticipation, festive coziness- these are all things we’d love to remember about such a special season. So rather than trying to force a bunch of different feelings and moments in one perfect image, it might be more effective to create a photo series – a collection of meaningful photographs that showcase what the holidays feel like in your home.
Décor can be an easy place to begin. The subjects are inanimate and can be worked with and photographed in silence and privacy as a fun personal project to get started with. For many people, candlelight is a comforting symbol of festivity and holiday decoration. If you’re interested in including some glowing flames in your photo series, here are some things to remember:
- Try using a higher ISO– you’d be surprised at your camera’s advanced ability to adapt to that increased setting without adding any significant noise. Experiment with a little increase until you find a balance you’re satisfied with.
- Add some extra light– Unless the room you’re photographing is flooded with a ton of candles, you might not want to shoot
Here is today’s tip:
If you’re struggling to capture a portrait for a self-conscious client who hates how they look in most pictures, here are 3 simple ways you can pose them more flatteringly.
1. Photograph the left side of their face.
New research suggests that the left side of the human face is usually more attractive to others than the right side. The adjustment is simple enough and worth trying with picky clients.
2. Use logical perspective.
If there are substantial props in your composition (a tree, a piece of furniture, other people), don’t position your self-conscious client closest to the lens. Posing them in front of other items will give the viewer a skewed perspective in which that closest subject looks the largest- something an insecure client will likely be unhappy with.
3. Get a little higher.
If you’re taking a seated portrait of your client, shoot from slightly higher up and ask them to tilt their head up a little- it’ll elongate their facial structure, which most people typically consider a more flattering look.
It’s been said that “the eyes are the windows to the soul.” In a portrait then, it’s essential that your focus is on the subject’s eyes. This will ensure that they are the sharpest part of the face, and therefore what will attract the viewer’s attention.
If your camera has face detection mode, this is a nice shortcut to achieve this level of sharpness. Otherwise, you can move your active focus point right over one of your subject’s eyes, preferably the one closest to you. This will keep both sharp even with a shallow depth of field.
With your subject at ease, you can ask them a question, let their expressions come out naturally and capture the moment in a relaxed manner. As Oscar Wilde said, “Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter.” The same is true with a photographic portrait. Connect with your subject through the lens and watch the magic unfold.
Here is today’s tip:
When it comes to pet photography, the unpredictability of the subject is what makes the shoot both challenging and rewarding. Capturing a vibrant, sharp shot of an animal in action makes for an extremely compelling composition- but it can be very difficult to achieve.
If your camera offers a burst mode feature, breaking it out during pet playtime might be a logical move. Many times, photographers find themselves interfering with natural behavior in an attempt to capture the perfect shot of a pet. But if your kitten is playing with a strand of yarn and you frantically start goading it to stay still or continue with the picturesque behavior, the opposite is likely to occur instead- it’ll become confused by your pleading and stop.
Instead, bring out some cat toys, let kitty play unhindered, and simply capture the behavior in large bursts. You’ll then have to sort out the boring blurry shots from the sharp, effective ones- but at least the moment won’t be missed.
Photography is about waking up long before sunrise, having a first cup of coffee, and hitting the road in the dark.
If the park gates aren’t open yet, you wait with excited anticipation. When the sun comes over the horizon, you know the chances for something spectacular are probable. In fairness, the conditions may never be perfect, and the timing is rarely right. Yet we must learn to take whatever nature gives us and work with it to the best of our ability.
There’s always the chance you’ll go home without a picture. It’s this sobering reality however, that makes actually getting the shot that much more rewarding. The only way it will happen of course, is if you pick up the camera each day, and search for truth and beauty in the world around you.