Esther Beaton

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People Photography

How to carry out a geographic magazine assignment – Part 3 – Approaching people

Even when I’m in that high vibrational state, where I feel at one with  the environment and where the art of photography seems like innate intuition, it’s not. It’s like driving a car: you can cruise on auto-pilot but that’s only because you’ve put in many miles of experience behind the wheel. Photography only comes …

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How to carry out an assignment for a geographic magazine – Part 2 – Being in the moment

I started shooting the story on pearl faming in New South Wales before I’d even signed the contract with the magazine. That was because a key event was happening immediately – an event that could not be rescheduled or wait for the convenience of a photographer — seeding the oysters.  On one beautiful warm morning, …

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How to carry out a geographic magazine assignment – Part 1 – Finding a great subject

Sometimes you’re lucky enough to get a call from an editor asking you to do a photo assignment. But sometimes you have to initiate the contact yourself. If your relationship has developed over the years to one of mutual trust, then chances are high that the magazine’s editors will listen to your idea and commission …

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Making great people photos

mixed lighting opposite colours

There are so many factors that go into good “people” shots. People photos for geographic magazines are a bit different from standard portraits. Sometimes they are raw photojournalism, but usually they fall into a genre called “environmental portraiture”. I’ve done this for so long now that I’ve come to really love it. The essential elements …

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Ambient “lighting” is easy

Sometimes you don’t have to work at creating a background because you are blessed with the colours of nature. Or you’re just smart enough to go out at sunrise or sunset. Both of these pictures are pre-dawn. The colour in the sky at this time is called “afterglow” and I especially like this twilight time …

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Rembrandt artist

Rather than using colour, as in the previous post, to get rid of a busy or dull background, you can accomplish it with exposure control alone. This artist worked in her garage and the best angle of her using her jewellery press had some old storage units behind her. The easiest thing was to turn …

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Building up your lighting

While on the subject of lighting, here are a couple more examples of adding colour. Using coloured flashes is one way to overcome a drab scene – and when you’re indoors, in a clinical environment, it’s always a drab scene. I like to think of it as building my scene, a bit like adding layers …

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Take better photos with your smartphone

You can take great photos with your smartphone – as long as you remember two things: The smartphone is for internet use only. The quality is not adequate for print, unless it’s postcard size or smaller. This is due the the small format, i.e., the sensor in the iPhone is smaller than your little fingernail. …

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A quick lesson in quick lighting

What makes this family “portrait” so pleasing? No, it’s not the fact that it’s my family – my sister and nephews. It’s the lighting. My sister has taken this “selfie” while keeping in mind all the rules of a good photo: 1. Tight cropping. She’s not afraid to even chop a bit off one of …

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Preparing for a photo assignment – when you can’t

When I photograph an assignment I do lots of research and preparation beforehand. But where an event is involved,  I don’t know what the situation or locale will be like or what the opportunities will be. It’s almost impossible to prepare. So I have a specific strategy. I say to myself over and over “colour …

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