Train your eYe!

Developing your photographic eye doesn’t happen overnight but there are many little habits you can implement to help kick things along. Sometimes it’s best to begin without a camera…simply look at a scene and imagine how it could be captured.

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The most important yet the least talked about!

“The part of your mind that actually helps you see the world and share it with others.”

Your eye is trained and developed over time with training!

No matter what camera you are using or even a mobile, here is my tips for you:

  • The less you have to think about settings and technical details, the better!

“Keep a camera with you as much as possible!”

  • Create images that you like!

“Don’t be afraid to fail either, learn from your mistakes and keep working!”

  • Don’t just take snapshots of what you are looking at, but use it to express you!

“Take a walk around your town (without a camera) and look for photographic opportunities. The ability to take a great photograph begins before you even pick up your camera. You need to see it first.”

  • Composition: Think about your intentions to place the subject to the left, to the right or wherever you are placing it.

“Look for the light. Practice researching the best times for your area to shoot warm afternoon light and then look for locations that soak it all up.”

  • Take a simple object like a bottle of water and photograph it on an empty table against a blank wall.

Grab a friend of family member and ask them to be your model for 30minutes.

  • Practice and practice and practice… Look at others work and try to criticise yours!
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Keep in mind!

An advice for you!

Look at your photos, then figure out what photographer you are.

One of the lessons I’ve learned is that in order to make more beautiful photos, we should seek to “make” not “take” photos!

When you are shooting, look at the edges of your frame.

Having a more megapixels is better? Well let’s make it that way: more megapixels = more problems!

Don’t see your photos as photos, but as works of art.

To make a photograph with emotion, put your soul in the photograph.

Buying a new camera or lens will NOT make you a better photographer!

To make better photos, you need to practice more!

Make photos that express who you are, and how you see the world!

Never compare yourself with others!

When you have nothing to shoot, go for self portrait!

One of the big myths in photography is that the bigger your camera, the more “professional” you are!

Ask yourself: “Why do i make photos?”

What to use when doing street photography

First, i want to thank all the good friends who wrote to me asking why i stopped blogging and asked me to continue… Simply, i was not in the mood for writing!

Today, i decided to talk a little about STREET PHOTOGRAPHY, especially for those who wanna start doing it and get confused about the perfect camera and lens selection…

Let me start by telling you that there is no “perfect” camera for street photography – every camera has its pros and cons.

Make it as compact as possible, as you will be walking and carrying it for hours… PLUS keep in mind the following:

The best camera for street photography is an extension of your eye plus your soul…

I will share with you a part of my e-book: “the vision” which you can download it for free here.

The first thing to keep in mind when practicing photography is to recognize that the skill you are growing is your ability to “SEE”.

For me, “seeing” is a complex combination of your physical “eyesight” and your mental “vision”

A good way to enhance your ability to see, and thus your vision is the act of observing your surroundings… You can do it at any moment and all what it requires is a little extra “attention”.

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What is the best lens for street photography?

In general, a 35mm on a full frame camera (or 24mm on an APSC camera) is a great street photography lens.

I prefer to shoot with prime lenses not with zoom lenses for one main very important reason: They force you to be more creative! while using a zoom lens makes you lazy 🙂

Prime lenses tend to have larger maximum apertures (f/1.2, f/1.4, f/1.8, f/2) which make them fast, make good BOKEH and are effective in low light conditions.

 

As a conclusion, i can tell you again :

There is no perfect lens for street photography.

I recommend you to experiment and try out what works for you!

 

Arab Ad Magazine Interview in September 2016

Driving the Message Home

Mohamad Seifeddine fell in love with photography out of the need to express his thoughts and feelings visually, which is quite unusual considering that he was only 10 years old. Since then, the camera has been his most trusted companion. What follows is his vision of the world.

What is the hardest part of your job?

Honestly, I do not see any hard part in my job, although it transformed over the years from a hobby to a profession. However, I still enjoy it a lot because, from the get-go, it began and continues to be my way for self-expression.

If not a photographer who you would have been?

I see photography as art and what I mean is that it is a combination of sculpture, painting, poetry and music… All these together form a photo. For that reason, I consider myself an artist rather than a photographer. It is where I belong and what I was born to be.

How would you describe your style and how did it develop?

Style develops with time and experience, a reality I continually emphasise during my photography workshops. However, I lean more toward the artistic side rather than the school of photojournalism, because I do not believe that a photographer should “capture the moment” unless he is a photojournalist… Nonetheless, an artistic photographer should “create the moment” rather than have a “snappy happy” shot. In other words, one should put his/her ideas, feelings, concepts and messages into the visual before presenting it to the audience.

Which photographers inspired you most and how did they influence your thinking, style, and career path?

Many pioneers have inspired me such as, Ansel Adams with his great black and white landscapes, Dorothea Lange and how her portraits of immigrants helped in changing all immigrants’ rules in the USA to become more humane! I also like Sebastiao Salgado and Salvador Dali the pioneer of Surrealism. These great artists inspired me to such a point they became the trigger for me to take photography as an exceptional means to convey all sorts of messages and thoughts related to social, environmental, personal or even political issues.

How do you educate yourself to take better pictures?

In photography, like in any art, the learning process is continuous. You learn something new every day that adds value to you and your work. Seeing the work of famous photographers can help any beginner to learn how to better see the techniques. But, when you reach the phase of creating your own path or style, you start to educate yourself about more profound subjects like philosophy. You suddenly find yourself delving into art movements and humanity because you feel more concerned in using these to express issues that can benefit and improve society or the environment to which you belong.

What is the influence of digital technology on your work?

Let’s face it, we are in the digital era and digital photography has brought us millions of things that boosted photography and opened up the horizon of creativity. For me, those who still criticise digital photography are the ones who were incapable of adopting new technologies. Digital photography is a part of our lives whether we like it or not. After all, who doesn’t have a camera phone today? The influence of digital technology on my photography is unlimited… I now have the opportunity to take many more photos that are not limited to the film being used and develop them without the need for a dark room. Let’s not forget the large selection of mediums we today can print on… The entire industry changed for the better, especially since we now have so many options to choose from, which are based on how creative one is.

What kind of mode do you go into when photographing a concept or idea you are passionate about?

Detached from the rest of the world… When I am working on a concept or idea I am passionate about, I live inside it.

We know that each of us has someone or something, which inspires our life and work. Can you tell us the true basis of your inspiration?

My inspiration can be a poem, a scene, a song, a situation that I am living or a state of mind… The subject here varies but the point of departure starts with the idea that links the inspiration. In my mind is where the idea starts developing after which I start the daydreaming process until it fully-matures.

What is the favourite image you recently shot?

Honestly, I do not have a favourite photo… Each one expresses something and has its own meaning and taste for me. Nonetheless, I would like to point out that initially, the idea precedes the composition and location. As for lighting and camera settings, those are also important but secondary… I emphasise this point because many photographers worry more about lighting and camera settings than the actual idea and its composition… In 2010, I participated in an international photography exhibition held in UNESCO and the photographer next to me had some a very creative and unique style. So, when I asked how she did those pieces, she laughed and took from her purse a small point and shoot camera and explained… It was a turning point for me, which taught me precedence in relation to concept.

What makes a good picture stand out?

This is the question I always ask in my photography workshops. The answer is simple. When we have the full knowledge of the theories and principles of photography, we will be able to make a photo that captures the eye and conveys the message we want to the audience.

What it is that you want to say with your photographs and how do you actually get your photos to do that?

My work carries a lot of messages that I insist on showing. My concerns are mainly related to the human condition, environment, revolutions against corruption and inequality. As such, I try to spread peace and nonviolence through photography, while highlighting the beauty of the places I visit, especially my beloved country Lebanon. That is why I sometimes use conceptual photography and surrealism techniques to convey a social message.

What has been your most memorable assignment?

My latest e-book entitled, “The Vision”. After releasing two photography books, I wanted to release one for free and in a digital copy accessible to all, which I invite you to download from my website. It reflects new thoughts in a new way.

Do you get to work with ad agencies on specific assignments?

I did a lot of commercial photography jobs that were mostly for products, shops, hotels, restaurants, real estate companies and artists. Unfortunately, I turned down some ad agency offers since they wanted to communicate ideas using small budgets, which could have jeopardised the whole work. What I am looking for is a highly creative and interesting advertising collaboration.

Do you see yourself as a photographer many years down the road?

Photography is my life’s passion. Unless I am physically debilitated, I will always see myself holding a camera.

What advice do you have for photographers just starting out?

Do not go for the expensive camera because it will never add anything to your work. Cameras are just tools, so learn to develop your eyes to “see” the world and learn the principles and theories to better understand when and where you can break them and when they are excellent to use! See the work of others but never imitate.

On the technical front…

Nikon or Canon, other? Many will not like my answer or will be surprised. Considering the mirrorless cameras coming out, Nikon and Canon are being replaced with Sony and Fujifilm.

Favourite lens? Depends if you are shooting studio or landscape, macro or street. However, I can always say that prime lenses are the best regarding quality.

Favourite photography accessory, other than your camera? Tripod, shutter release cable and ND filter.

Favourite editing accessory, other than your computer? Wacom Retouching Tablet.

What is your most used Photoshop tool, plug-in, action set etc.? Levels, curves, spot healing brush.

Are you a Mac or PC lover? Mac.

 

ARABAD – SEPTEMBER 2016 PAGE 82-83-84-85 

Stop using a camera, start making photos!!!

The tools of the photographer are his/her language and not the camera itself!!!

 

WE put on one lens instead of another to include one thing and exclude others.

WE choose one moment over another.

WE choose what we focus on, and what we blur.

The ways in which we can tell a story are endless, and each time the camera does what WE ask of it.

We begin, most of us, learning photography as the art of using a camera, figuring out the buttons and dials and learning to focus and expose.It’s a first, necessary stage.

The mechanics are the tools of craft, but the language is the tool of art.

 

Learn why the orientation and ratio of your frame helps tell your story…

Learn how to use scale and proportion…

Learn to tell stories…

Learn about colour…

I blame the poets for pushing me further, for drawing me out of my technical pursuit and into something so much richer…

 

They too master the technical stuff – the verbs, the grammar, the pens, the word processors.

Using a pen is not the point, even using it really, really well…

You might even lead workshops in pen-use, and write a blog. You could probably fill bookshelves with books about using pens. And you could do this without ever writing a poem, without ever writing a novel…

SAME FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS…

Stop obsessing about the gear and start finding excitement in finding great moments, new approaches to composition, and great light.

 

Breaking rules for the sake of breaking rules isn’t usually art; it’s just anarchy. And following rules for the sake of following rules is just mindless conformity.

 

THINK of those points mentioned above, they will make you think deeply on how you can improve your photography!

The 7 Legal Commandments of Photography

I teach these in my workshops and classes and I insist that photographers MUST know these seven points:

 

  • Anyone in a public place can take pictures of anything they want.

 

  • If you are on public property, you can take pictures of private property. If a building, for example, is visible from the sidewalk.

 

  • If you are on private property and are asked not to take pictures, you are obligated to honour that request.

 

  • Sensitive government buildings can prohibit photography.

 

  • People can be photographed if they are in public (without their consent) unless they have secluded themselves and can expect a reasonable degree of privacy. Kids swimming in a fountain? Okay. Somebody entering their PIN at the ATM? Not okay.

 

  • If you are challenged, you do not have to explain why you are taking pictures, nor do you have to disclose your identity (except in some cases when questioned by a law enforcement officer).

 

  • If someone tries to confiscate your camera, you don’t have to give it to them. If they take it by force or threaten you, they can be liable for things like theft and coercion. Even law enforcement officers need a court order.

This article is extracted from my latest E-Book: The vision, you can download it for free, just click this link: http://mido-photo.com/downloads/

 

How to choose what is best for you? RAW or JPEG?!

 

Another frequent question i get asked and the most confusing one for most of the amateurs…

Many switch to RAW without fully knowing why while others keep shooting JPEG because it’s just plain easy…

 

Now shouldn’t you know why you’re doing what you’re doing?  

 

There are lots of situations where shooting in RAW is better BUT also many situations where you should choose JPEG.

 

Which Format Is The Better Format To Use?

An argument can be made for both formats. Some photographers will feel more strongly in backing the use of one versus another, but it is ultimately an individual choice.

Personally, I shoot RAW + L (large) JPEG as it provides me greater flexibility. For photographs that I’ve exposed correctly, JPEGs allow me a faster path to share images online and selectively use for printing. For photographs that I am interested in having published or printed, I begin my post-processing from the RAW file and make alterations in lossless file formats (TIF). The end result is the production of images that I feel are of the highest quality.

 

If you shoot hundreds or thousands of images in a day shoot JPG and don’t worry!

 

SO WHICH IS BEST?

 

The Pros of RAW format:

  • RAW is a digital negative holding all of the data captured by your camera with no sacrifice of image quality.
  • RAW file software editors allow you to quickly and easily change the output of your image such as adjusting exposure, white balance, noise reduction, saturation, contrast, levels, curves, sharpness, output resolution, bits/channel, etc…

 

The Cons of RAW format:

  • RAW files take up more space…
  • RAW files require you to work with a raw editor then convert your image to an editable file type for editing, printing and/or online display.

 

The Pros of JPEG format:

  • JPEG is a file format that has been adopted as a standard and can be loaded in a variety of programs making display easy and simple.
  • JPEG files take up less space.

 

The Cons of JPEG format:

  • JPEGs are not a lossless file format. Each time the file is saved data is compressed, with some data being lost in the process. The net impact can be loss of color saturation, color range and sharpness.
  • JPEG files reflect a one-time interpretation of your subject based on the settings of your camera (white balance, exposure settings and output resolution, etc.). Altering these settings and re-outputting a new file, as you can with a RAW file, is not possible. What you capture is what you get.
  • With specific types of photographed scenes JPEG compression artifacts can appear in prints.

 

Now the decision is yours 🙂