Sunday, August 30, 2009

Personal Relationships: How they affect your photography.

People are constantly entering our lives. Occasionally there are those that make a tremendous impact on our lives, work, careers, our way of thinking, and possibly our ways of seeing and viewing the world around us. When a person can enter your life and give you a new perspective on your photography or open your eyes to something you have been looking at, but have not completely seen, then you have met a person that has truly impacted your photography. Having someone in your life that makes this much of a difference can be the greatest relationship you have outside your image making.

Personal relationships can not be confused with professional relationships and or the relationships with employees or colleagues. Personal relationships are the close ones we have with girlfriends, wives, boyfriends, husbands, family, and the close friends we keep. How do these relationships really affect your photography? Well in a number of ways. Families are always a big fan of your photography. There is that obligation to admire your photography even if they do not understand it. They will always be the ones to say something is nice, even if they don't know why it exists.

Girlfriends, wives, husbands etc fall into a slightly different category. They are the ones that we are the closest with. The people that we discuss our work with the most out side the professionals, employees, and contacts we keep that are connect to our photography. Having the right person that falls into this category is what I am referring to.

Here is my example: This past summer, someone entered my life and made an impact on my photography, the way I view my own images, and made me look inward and challenge a few of my beliefs and some of the ways I had been thinking about my photography. This is the first time any one person had ever made such a difference in my life and my photography. I have made some invaluable contacts that have given me some great resources to further my photography, however, this was not the case this time around. This summer I presented my photographs, a large collection of my images, to this person. It was the first time that I sat down and explained every image to someone that wasn’t a photographer. This challenged me in many ways. I had to clearly explain not only the reasons as to why these photographs existed, but how they were constructed. From composition to what I was seeing, thinking, and feeling when I made them. In the end what really took place was a self critique and concise explanation of my photographs. What was simply amazing was how my explanation made this person understand what they were looking at and was able to understand why these images exist.

Over the course of the next few days, I continued to think about how explaining all my photographs to someone who isnt a photographer and have them understand what I was thinking, seeing, and feeling when I made them, gave this person a total and complete understanding of the images. I started to think about how more photographers should be doing this. Finding someone who is so interested in our photographs and can question their existence, yet at the same time understand visually and intellectually the aesthetics and even appreciate the images, is an exercise we as photographers and artists should be doing more often. The point of this exercise is to be able to clearly defend our photographs and image making and give an inquisitive mind answers to questions they may have formed. If someone is truly interested in what they are seeing, they will question you. It also makes a world of a difference if this particular person you are conversing with, or involved in a personal relationship with, is intellectual and educated. The most questions that will be asked ,would come from someone who understands what they are seeing and can form their own opinions yet interpret the images.

As photographers, sometimes the best way for people to truly get to know us sometimes, is through our images, photographs, and the way we visually interrupt the world around us. Taking the time to understand our photographs, way of seeing, and thinking,  is giving someone insight into who we are as photographers, artists and who we are as a person/people. When a relationship of this caliber exists and these elements fall into the right place, then this personal relationship can and should impact our photographs, work, and how we see things. Like I said, for me this situation forced me to look inwards and challenge what I was already thinking and seeing. This is how a personal relationship can affect the quality of photographs, work, career, and even allow us the see ourselves in a new way.

For the first time, I was able to grow as a photographer and person due to a personal relationship that met all of these qualities. Some times these relationships come to an end, or these people may not exist in our lives any more, but does this mean they are really gone? or do not exist if they aren't physically there? No, because looking inwards and being able to see something that you didn't realize was there, even though you see it every day, means that this person has made an impact on your life and photographs. This immortalizes the person that is able to make this happen. They may be gone or not there at the moment, but they are still there because of the possible changes that took place.

Personal relationships can truly out weight some of the other relationships we may keep. How we choose to allow these people in our lives is up to us. But when someone enters our lives without warning and graciously changes our views, seeing, and thoughts, then this is a person worth keeping in our lives, and some times it isn’t up to us to be able to control this. But in the end it is worth having in our lives.

These two photographs are a prime example of  what viewing something we see every day, in a newer way, really means.



Copy Right: Jeffrey Byrnes

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Update: Technical Issues

This past week has been filled with technical problems as well as a few photographic issues that have come up. Mixed with all that and then some. Lenshare has seen its share of dilemmas in providing a consistent article daily. This is going to be coming to an end. The piece about work flow and integrating new software and new processes into a studio or even personal work flow is still in the works. That, as well as another great piece featuring the affects of personal relationships and the side affects they can cause when it comes to making photographs is also in the works. The premise for this article has been a few months in the making. This piece may give you a chance to reflect on your life, your photography, and the people that directly affect your work, and possiblely enhnace the quality of your photography. These pieces plus a few helpful tips and suggestions about photography are what is instore for this week.

Stay tuned...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Un-Scheduled Vacation

It has been a few days since the last post was made. This past week has been beyond hectic. It was basically a vacation, but not really. This coming week there will be a few posts made about Adobe Lightroom 2. Lightroom 2 is a great work flow program that I have been working with and testing for our business. Over the past week or so we have been trying to set up the fastest workflow we possibly can. Lightroom plays a huge factor in getting our work to our clients faster than ever. This is just one topic that I will discuss about the features Lightroom has to offer.

This past Friday night/Saturday morning, we had quite the adventure. We made photographs in Turners Falls, MA. Turners Falls is home to the Hallmark Institute of Photography. A photo school that gears students to enter a career in photography. A school that I do not have the strongest feelings towards. For reasons left un-said at the moment. During the time we spent making photographs around the town. Roughly an hour and a half. We encountered some very entertaining people. One intoxicated individual,  stumbled towards us uttering the following,  “Fucking Hallmark students”. It was a bit annoying to have this man verbally assault us as we were in the middle of making some intense photographs. In fact, he was one of three people who made the poor assumption that an individual with a camera should automatically be stereotyped and labeled a Hallmark student. Over the past few years living in the area that I have, this is a stereotype that I have subjected to a few times. Each time it is just as bothersome as the last. Moving forward an hour. As the drive back was about an hour, we arrived in Holyoke Ma. The city in which our business/studio resides. Entering Dwight st, we immediately caught wind of a fire. We knew exactly what was happening, plus the blatantly obvious orange glow that took over the sky in section of the city we are familiar with. Over the next two hours, we made photographs of the fire. We responded before any other form of News Media showed up. The local news papers didnt even make it out during the actual blaze. Here are a few of the images they missed out on.

DSC_0549 DSC_0219 DSC_0227 DSC_0243 DSC_0251 DSC_0257 DSC_0261 DSC_0265 DSC_0267 DSC_0273 DSC_0282 DSC_0288 DSC_0294 DSC_0314 DSC_0318 DSC_0330 DSC_0336 DSC_0376 DSC_0399 DSC_0416 DSC_0458 DSC_0465 DSC_0471 DSC_0529

These are just a few of the 900 combined images we have. Me Tim Lastwoski, Co-owner spent a great deal of time ensuring the images we were making would be different than any other photograph that was being shot. Which even lead us to taking over a roof top adjacent from the fire. When I say adjacent from the fire, I mean we were so close we were getting soaked from the water being sprayed onto the flaming building.

During the day today, I discovered that the third floor of the building had a bomb strapped to an electrical box. The fire was ruled out an arson. The bomb is being investigated. There was a very rude individual that also took it upon himself to verbally assault anyone who was covering the fire for the purpose of the news and or media. He screamed and yelled at me, my friend, and my business partner. It was an uncalled for display of idiocy on his part. All and all, it was an adrenaline rush to be as close to the action as we were. We were so close, we felt like we were a part of it…

This week has a lot in store for lenshare and its readers. A new site will be launched too. So please be on the look out for that. It is a site that will reduce the amount of images I post here and give more free space for other photography related content enriched posts.

Stay tuned!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Featuring: Barry Chignell from

Barry Chignell, founder of has been doing a phenomenal job with his site since I have been following it. I can not remember how I managed to find his site just after he began posting on it, however I am glad that I did. And for a number of reasons to. Lately, I have noticed that Barry has been doing a little bit of HDR processing with his photography. In fact, the level of work that he has been putting out made me stop and think, he may have a few good points that the Lenshare readers might find interesting. I contacted Barry and asked him a few questions about HDR photography. Below is his response as well an image that he wanted to share on Lenshare. I am very pleased to be able to have Barry as a contributor and guest on Lenshare.

“I think that HDR is playing a positive part in photography as it offers a completely different technique and style that photographers can try.  It has also caused the production of software such as PhotoMatix and features to be added to photo editing software like Photoshop.  Until the introduction of software like Photoshop and Photomatix the photo equipment and software available was of a lower dynamic range than we see with our own eyes.  With these tools we can now truly portray the scene.
HDR's debated in most photography forums on the net.  Some people love it, some hate it with a passion, because it's one of those techniques that has a fine line between 'wow, that’s amazing' and 'you've butchered that photo'.  What a lot of these people don’t realize is that it is not the technique that they love or hate but the person that has created the photo and applied the effect. The great thing is that HDR is being discussed, I am not sure if any other photography technique causes so much conversation?
I became interested in HDR photography after seeing photos by the likes of Trey Ratcliff and Dave Hill. I love the way in which the technique allows you to capture every detail within a scene.  For some shots I apply a very subtle HDR 'effect' just to bring out highlights, lowlights or mid-tones and give the sky a bit more definition.  For other shots I may go for a stronger effect (such as the St Peter's Church shots) where the process compliments the colours and textures

Lilly pad HDR
The photo that I have chosen as one of my favourites and something I wanted to share is the LillyPad, I love this shot for it's simplicity, for this reason I was very careful with the processing and I am very happy with the result.”

"A great HDR shot is one that is balanced and sympathetic to the scene that it is capturing"

HDR photography is a topic that I tend to discuss quite a bit of on Lenshare. Even though the process has been around for a little while, it is still a big topic for discussion. Especially considering the photographers that Barry has mentioned have been constantly evolving and working progressively in new directions. We are still in the beginning stages of HDR photography. It is a process that can give a dramatic feel to an image and or scene.

Below are a few examples of HDR that I have made. Each photograph is a combination of 3-7 bracketed exposures. Each photograph has its own level of tone-mapping to enhance and bring out the brilliant-saturated colors that are visible.

Hdr images (27) Hdr images (29) 295 high in HDR resized

1 toned

The next few images represent how composing an image for HDR is a very selective process. Not everything will look good using the principals and processes of HDR. This is where you (the photographer) has to choose a composition that will look outstanding in HDR. It is very important that the choice of colors and composition are a major contributor in making your HDR images. Here is an example of a poor choice in making an HDR image.


This image is very muted in the colors or lack of color that is present. It takes on a semi-monotone quality while still retaining the full range of highlights, mid-tones, and shadows (the elements that make up an HDR image) This is a prime example of choice of colors and composition play a vital role in the end result.

The image below is what the composition looks as a single image. It is nearly a perfect exposure for a single non-HDR photograph. Here you can see the color/temperature of the light and how it affects the end result of the processed HDR image. It is also not just about the color of the lights and or temperature, time of day makes a difference. For example, if this photograph was shot at a different time of the day where the lights were not on and natural light filled the composition, the colors would be more vivid and brilliant. Factors like these are what you should be considering when you’re thinking about making HDR images.


HDR is best known for producing  brilliant, very illuminated, sometimes over saturated, and vibrant colors. The best HDR images sometimes take on a surreal and almost painterly affect. As you can well see, the colors and temperature do not give this feel at all. HDR photography is still trying to make a name for itself. As Barry mentioned, it is a subject that generates a lot of discussions. Some positive, and some not so positive. Here at Lenshare we are supportive and feel that HDR is a very positive aspect of digital photography. It is something that we do not shoot or produce exclusively, as we find ourselves consumed by many different aspects of photography. In conclusion, HDR photography is a process and technique that requires a more conscious awareness when it comes to achieving the end result. Get out and shoot some HDR images and have fun. Email us here at lenshare if you would like your HDR images featured in an article.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Black and White Photography Plus Photographers Worth Mentioning.

What can be said about black and white photographs and black and white photography that hasn’t already been said? Well quite a bit actually. The advancements in the photographic medium over the years have allowed for new ways to convert images into black and white photographs. With the new ability to convert images to black and white, big strides have been made in the printing aspects of digital photography. This is something that I am not going to go into to much depth about. My focus with this article is to discuss photographers that work in solely black and white. But just let me say, the latest printers that are being sold now allow for smoother tonality, better gradation, and produce a finer detail in the final prints. Paper manufactures have also developed specific papers just for black and white printing. If you are not yet currently printing your own images, this is something to keep in mind when deciding to move forward with your photography and buy a printer. Shooting black and white is still a great deal of fun.

Sitting next to me is a half dozen publications, (photography magazines) that each contain something discussing black and white photographs. Each magazine also contains a good number of black and white images. One of the publications, Digital Photo Pro even has a Black and white special. This article that I found on the site is not part of issue in print that I have, but it is able to defend my thoughts on black and white photography still being a huge aspect in photography. What was in the issue that I have thumbed through numerous times is an article about Michael Creagh The article discusses his use of black and white in his fashion photographs. I found it to be a very inspiring piece that talks about his dedication to working some projects solely in black and white. He developed a style and a reputation for his black and white photographs. It is hard to work in a market and industry these days and focus on just black and white. One look at his website will show you that he does use color in his images. I find that being able to work in both areas makes you a more rounded photographer.

Having been classically educated in black and white and color photography, I feel that I have more of rounded education than a student currently enrolled in a program that focuses specifically digital photography. I find myself doing about a 50/50 spilt when it comes to color and black and white photography. My interests with black and white do out weight color sometimes. This is the reason behind searching all my magazines to find the best possible articles that discuss black and white photography. When it comes to making black and white photographs, you have to think and see images in black and white. There is more of a thought process when it comes to making photographs black and white. Black and white offers a timeless quality to images that color otherwise can not.

Below are two images that show the contrast of color vs. black and white. On the left is the color image. Not a very appealing image because of the color of the available light. Converted to black and white this images takes on a quality that the color image doesn’t portray. When me and a fellow photographer were standing in this location, we were discussing how we much rather be using 50 speed  black and white film. Why 50 speed? Well, 50 speed would give us almost zero grain and allow us to make large prints. 40”x60” is around the size we were thinking.

DSC_0113  CSC_0114

Now on to some amazing photographers. This is just a small list of photographers who’s use of black and white images have helped make a name for them.  These photographers may not be familiar to you, but it is worth it to know who they are.

Rodney Smith is well educated and amazingly talented photographer. Portfolio His masterful images offer a somewhat surreal quality to the viewer.

Elliott Erwitt is another Master of black and white photography.


Garry Winogrand was a street photographer known for his portrayal of America. “Winogrand was known for his portrayal of American life in the early 1960s, Many of his photographs depict the social issues of his time day and in the role of media in shaping attitudes. He roamed the streets of New York with his 35mm Leica camera rapidly taking photographs using a prefocused wide angle lens. His pictures frequently appeared as if they were driven by the energy of the events he was witnessing. While the style has been much imitated, Winogrand's eye, his visual style, and his wit, are unique.”

Sally Mann is a very controversially talked about photographer.