Esther Beaton

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Australian Geographic

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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Photo Tip – Plan The Shots for Your Editorial Assignment

Here’s a tip for covering an editorial assignment. I’ve shot features for many magazines, but my favourite is the geographic assignment, so those are the sample photos I’ll use. The key to a successful feature in a magazine, geographical or otherwise, is diversity. To achieve that: Be sure to have three types of shots: long …

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The Story Behind the Green And Golden Bell Frog Image

It was the magic year of 2000. Everyone had breathed a sigh of relief that our computers and systems hadn’t gone haywire. In Sydney it was the time of the Olympics. Energy was high. Somehow the threatened Green and Golden Bell Frog became emblematic of this productive and heartfelt era. I was on assignment for Australian …

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Behind the scenes on this month’s magazine feature

Wedge-tailed eagle Raptor rehab story

This week I’m taking you behind the scenes of my current published assignment for Australian Geographic. It’s only a short feature and you can see it in the November December 2016 issue called “Raptor rehab”. Here are some notes as to how and why I shot some of the pics. I was allowed very limited access …

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Mating Madness

Male Cane toads jump on anything that moves

You’ve all heard about the rampaging Cane Toads, right? How for the first few decades after introduction they stayed in Queensland? Then suddenly, say about the year 2000, they spread. Like the plague. They even hit the Kimberley in the west and Sydney in the south. One reason they are so rampant in their reproduction …

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