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Use Placement Art to Improve Your Photographs

Friday, March 24th, 2017

It’s not hard to become a ‘photographer’ in today’s world. DSLRs have become affordable, and consequently, ubiquitous. If you can’t afford one, there are phones you can invest in. Armed with high-performance cameras, mobile phones are helping photography enthusiasts capture DSLR-grade images quickly, easily and frequently. This explains why our Instagram feed is flooded with fresh images every time we hit the refresh button. But, do these images make good photographs? Apart from being aesthetically pleasing, do they also evoke an emotional response? It’s easy to capture a ‘beautiful’ picture, but difficult to capture a ‘unique’ one. If you want your photographs to stand out, you have to infuse your clicks with intrigue and drama. Here are a few ways to spice up your photographs using placement art.

If you’re good at sketching or doodling, take a leaf out of artist Marty Cooper’s book and use your skills to add an artistic touch to your clicks. Marty sketches cartoon characters on plastic sheets and inserts them into his surroundings.

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Image courtesy: Bored Panda

Francois Dourlen, on the other hand, makes use of technology and his imagination to come up with these creative photographs.

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Image courtesy: Bored Panda

Draw inspiration from these creative librarians who used books to create interesting images. Although their intention was to create awareness about the importance of reading, you can use their technique for a message that’s important to you.

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Image courtesy: wallstreetinsanity

Art director Brad Wash has come up with the Emojis IRL Project to show us how important emojis are in our lives.

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Image courtesy: Huffington Post

Rich McCor (Paperboyo) uses paper cut-outs and his imagination to create intriguing images.

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Tips from the Best for Budding Photographers

Friday, July 29th, 2016

First-timers always have it difficult. You feel too self-conscious, or afraid to immerse yourself completely in your hobby. If photography is what you’ve taken to, you might have a hard time getting those ‘perfect shots.’ If it hasn’t been going as planned, don’t let disappointment sink in. Here’s something to help you feel motivated again.

Sometimes, the most difficult part of taking a photograph is just that, snapping the shot.  What you’re essentially doing is freezing it time significant moments that belong to others, and this awareness, of being the outsider, can make you feel like an unwelcome, inquisitive meddler. You have to step cautiously and silently around your subjects,  careful not to destroy their moment with your intrusive camera. This can feel a lot like the stealthy journey of a stray cat, out to pilfer a carton of milk. But, when the deed is accomplished, like the cat, you do end up with a rich, refreshing prize. Diane Arbus puts this feeling in words quite aptly -

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The man who captured the haunting eyes of ‘The Afghan Girl’ tells us what motivates him to do what he does. It’s good inspiration for all those who love being behind the lens, for only by expanding our search can we come across truly interesting subjects to place in front of our lenses.

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The era of Instagram and instant-everything has boosted learning opportunities like never before. At the click of a button, we can expose ourselves to the best and worst works of people in the field. And while glancing through the gallery of an accomplished photographers does help us jot down tips for our own photography, it can also leave one feeling quite unaccomplished and ungifted. But, Cartier-Bresson puts these rookie fears to rest by telling us this-

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Very often, we roam around looking for the perfect setting, or the perfect-looking subject. But, although both these are important, what’s more important is your camera settings, and your ability to manipulate these to bring out something special in your image. The man who gave us two important photographic techniques – The Zonal System and Visualization – tells us how to get the elusive perfect shot.

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If you see her celebrity photographs featured on the cover of Vanity Fair, the question you feel like asking her is “How?” How did you dream up that image? How did you think of dunking Whoopi Goldberg in a tub of milk, or asking Demi Moore to flaunt so boldly and beautifully, her baby bump? Here’s what the lady has to say-

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Well, we hope these words from some of the best in the business help you sharpen your snapping skills.

5 Reasons why it’s Good to learn an Instrument by yourself

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

Most of us are skeptical about the idea of self-tutoring ourselves, perhaps because we know that we aren’t shining examples of diligence and perseverance. Given a chance, we would rather invest our faith and money in a professional tutor, someone who has received formal education in music and is hence, qualified to extend that learning to someone else.

However, we at the NSPA, after having met several talented artists who have learnt instruments by themselves, believe that self-teaching yourself a musical instrument is actually a wonderful thing to do. We aren’t dissing the idea of professional training in any way, but for those who haven’t the resources or time to make it to scheduled classes, we think self-tutoring is the best way to go. It is economical, enjoyable and extends a host of other benefits to the learner. Here are some key one’s you’re sure to derive from this exercise:

 

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Image courtesy: wpl.ca

  1. Set your own learning pace:

Unlike in a class, where you have to wait for the instructor to show you the next step, when you’re own, you get to decide how quickly or slowly you wish to move forward. So if you master a chord quickly, you can move to learning a new one. At the same time, if you feel unsatisfied with your learning, you can always spend more rehearsing that formation until you feel like you’ve mastered it completely.

  1. Save some dough

Let’s face it, professional coaching can be expensive, in fact, some classes have fee structures that are pointlessly exorbitant. When you self-train yourself, you can decide how much of your money you wish to invest in books, DVDs or online courses. Another great option is to learn from YouTube videos. The benefit of these online, people-contributed videos is that they are free, and they also deliver intensive training and guidance.

  1. Saves time:

This is something people staying in far-flung suburbs will love. When you self-tutor yourself, you can decide where you wish to learn your instrument. Whether in the comfort of your home or at a friend’s place or in a secluded spot under some trees, you get to decide where you wish to practice your instrument. This zeros down your travelling time and allows you to spend that extra time rehearsing.

  1. Is more enjoyable:

Our many years of schooling have taught us that not all professors are fun. Some instructors can be very rigid in their teaching methods while some might be too laidback for our liking. When you act as your own teacher, you’re sure to have a more enjoyable and relaxed time for you’ll be the best judge of your capabilities, strengths and weaknesses. So, you surely won’t have to worry about a very strict or pushy instructor here!

  1. Boosts your confidence:

Doesn’t it feel great when you accomplish something on your own? Without the proverbial mentor and hand-holder, you get a chance to tell people that you’ve mastered an instrument on your own merit. Your hard work and dedication alone has helped you get this far! This feeling alone is enough to give your confidence a big boost and motivate you to continue on your journey of discovery and learning.

Well, now that we’ve opened your eyes to the merits of self-tutoring, we hope you’ll be inspired to take up an instrument and learn how to play it. Don’t hide behind lethargy or buy into baseless myths of self-tutoring being a herculean task. With a healthy dose of patience, perseverance and focus, you’ll surely be able to play your favourite instrument like a pro!