How to Become a Better Photographer
By Katie Yates
Wow! Photography can be an overwhelming hobby. Whether you’re new or you’ve been at it for years, there’s always new gear, tech, apps, equipment, and skills to acquire. Just that list alone can seem daunting. You’re probably wondering–with all this to consider, how can I become a better photographer? Check out our list of recommendations.
Determine your photography goals.
Ask yourself: What techniques do I want to learn–bokeh, macro, infrared? What subjects do I want to photograph–landscapes, portraits, pets, products? Am I the type of photographer who just wants to take photos of the birds in my backyard? Or do I want to be a wedding/event photographer?
Decide where this hobby will take you in the short term. Maybe you just need to learn how to use your camera, maybe you’re ready for some basic editing classes, maybe you’re ready to explore more advanced editing classes–but first, you need to decide: Who am I as a photographer?
Join a community.
Joining a community is an easy way to stay motivated, learn, ask questions, and get second-hand gear. The community can be an informal group of photographers who meet up a few times a month. The community could be on Facebook. The community could be something more formal–like our membership. These communities give you opportunities to learn, grow, and stay inspired!
How do you learn?
Are you a self-teacher? Is your preference a 1:1 learning experience? Are you more comfortable in a group setting? Do you want to learn remotely? Knowing what kind of learning environment suits you best, sets you up for success.
Take a workshop.
We offer workshops to help you advance your photography skills. Our workshops are proven to help photographers take their techniques to the next level. We now offer virtual workshops. Click here to learn more.
Give yourself a goal.
One goal you might consider is submitting your work to a juried show–such as our Members’ Juried Exhibition, or the alike. Give yourself enough time to grow your craft, set the images you love aside, and share them when you’re ready. This goal will help keep you motivated! Plus, seeing your work hanging in a museum or gallery is an exceptional feeling!
Keep in mind, composition and critique!
If you don’t know the basics of composition (or what makes an image compelling) and you’ve never had the opportunity for a critique, that is an important step to growing as a photographer. Learn more about opportunities for critiques at our FOTOfusion event.
When Does Blur in Photographs Work?
By Katie Yates
Blur creates a sense of movement, dreaminess, and abstraction to photography when used properly. Blur can be captured with the camera or it can be created later with editing softwares. Want to learn more about creating effects with your camera or in Photoshop/Lightroom? Click here.
Traditionally, photographers aim for crisp edges, hard lines, and tight focus. There’s nothing worse than seeing an image that’s just not quite right, as though you’re seeing it through the wrong pair of glasses. It’s satisfying to have a blurred background and sharply in-focus subject. That’s why Apple created the Portrait Mode effect, this elevates standard iPhone images.
But, there are instances when blurring the subject is okay–in fact, there are times when blurring the subject is more than okay! The result of tasteful, purposeful, and meaningful blurring can be the difference between an image that’s humdrum and an image that’s fantastic.
Blurring Gives A Sense of Motion
This is an easy one. In photograph below, the blurring of the runner in the foreground enhances the sense that they are in motion. It puts the viewer of the image in the scene. The person standing at the railing is in focus–they are where our eye hits first–and we can build a story around them. The eye is more likely to linger on an image that requires some deciphering.
Blurring Can Convey Emotion
In the image below, the blur doesn’t so much convey motion, but rather emotion. The subject’s head is blurred and this seems to present a sense of anxiety or confusion. A neatly focused image of the subject could also convey these emotions, but because we cannot see the subject’s face, this creates an element of unknown.
Blur Makes Images Feel Dreamy
In the subject below, the coloring, lighting, and subject create a dreamy quality, but so does the blur. If the subject was focused, the dreamy quality of the image would be lost. Without the blur, his image would simply not be as successful.
There are many more instances where blurring in an image simply “works,” but it’s important as a photographer to know when. You may have a certain emotion or sense you’re attempting to articulate with your piece, and it could be lost in the blur or enhanced by it.
Letter to Our Patrons Regarding COVID-19
September 12, 2020
We are open, but we encourage patrons to review our virtual workshop opportunities.
Click here to experience our Members’ Juried Exhibition remotely.
May 11, 2020
Our ProShop is now open to the public. Please stop in to see us! We ask that you wear a mask and remember to follow all CDC guidelines.
March 24, 2020
In response to the developing situation, we have closed our ProShop, museum, and school. Our staff continue to work from their homes.
Dear Members, Patrons, and Friends,
You often come to us to learn photography and share your passion for photographic arts with others. Whether it’s a workshop, lecture, or gallery opening, you’ve gathered together, as friends, students, and patrons. Due to the developing circumstances around the coronavirus (COVID-19), we have made some important decisions regarding our schedule of workshops and events. While the Centre, ProShop, and museum remain open, we are discontinuing the remainder of our evening lecture series, postponing some workshops, and canceling an upcoming museum opening.
We continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 situation and will follow best practices outlined by the Center for Disease Control and the Palm Beach County Department of Health. Our top priority is the health and wellness of our patrons and members, our volunteers, and our staff.
Please review this COVID-19 Resource Toolkit from the Florida Department of Health for prevention and treatment guidelines: http://bit.ly/COVID19_Toolkit
We will provide updates and details in schedule changes at the Centre.
Fatima NeJame, CEO & everyone at the Palm Beach Photographic Centre
Plan Your 2020 FOTOfusion Experience
FOTOfusion is a weeklong photography event (Feb 11-15, 2020) celebrating its 25th anniversary! Photographers, editors, photojournalists, and digital artists from all over the world congregrate to our state-of-the-art center to learn from and with some of the most talented names in the industry. It’s a chance to learn, create, socialize, and network. It’s our biggest event of the year!
Start planning your FOTOfusion experience now by reviewing the passport options. Advance Registration prices are available until January 15, 2020 for Gold and Silver passports. For registration information and to learn more about Gold and Silver passports, click here.
We have several different events available throughout the week. These events include special parties, award ceremonies, workshops, lectures, photoshoots, and more. Take a look at some of the highlights from last year’s schedule below:
100 Series Seminars
Photographers and the Unique Artist’s Book with Diane Farris
The Power of a Powerful Portfolio: Creating an Image with Angelika Hala
Special Journeys: Travel Photography with Vincent Versace
200 Series FOTOshoots
Shoot The Garden Environment at Morikami Japanese Gardens with Jill Enfield
The Beautiful Light at Sunrise with Gary Hershorn
Long Exposure Seascapes with Matt Stock
300 Series Computer Labs
Take Your Images Far in Photoshop – with Just the Basics with Laurence Gartel
All About Color–Expand Your Use of Color When Painting from Photo Reference with Jeremy Sutton
From Monitor to Print: The Black and White About Color Management with Vincent Versace
400 Series Workshops
Create unique landscapes on one of Florida’s Largest Cattle Ranches with Erika Larsen
Bird Photography at Wakodahatchee with Lewis Kemper
Seeing Sound: Capturing the Essence of Music with Jerome Brunet
Available Light Photography with the Leica System: Clematis at Night with Rob Passman & Erika Blanco
600 Series Community Events
Abandoned Vehicles of the Everglades with Matt Stock
Enhancements That Improve the Sales Potential of Your Images with Tom Grill
Postcards from OZ with Vincent Versace
Getting excited? Don’t miss out on this great experience! Visit FOTOfusion.org to learn more. And remember, Members always save. If you need a Palm Beach Photographic Centre Membership or want to renew, click here.
Love Nature Photography? Read these tips!
South Florida offers hundreds of acres of protected land with ample opportunity for photographers. Nothing beats glimpsing a rare bird, colorful plant, or wild animal. As a photographer of the natural world, you can be an ambassador for conservation! Help tell the story of Florida’s dwindling Everglades, but keep a few things in mind before enjoying the outdoors. Our friends at National Wildlife Refuges, National Parks, and the alike will thank you! For more details on wildlife photography ethics click here.
Wildlife Comes First
It’s our responsibility to remember that refuges, parks, and preserves are habitat! In that environment, the resources, plant or animal, are protected. They should go undisturbed, if possible. Overly excited photographers can sometimes forget this as they work to frame a good shot. Even this mild harassment can be stressful for wildlife. An animal that is afraid or stressed may panic. Panicking animals are more likely to injure themselves, a person, or even become prey. If an animal looks at you, stops feeding or moving, starts acting injured, or charges, you’re stressing it out!
When it comes to wildlife, distance is our friend. Wild animals don’t need our food, our water, or our help. Wild animals are unpredictable, and should always be given ample space. If an animal feels trapped, it will try to defend itself, and this sometimes results in personal injury. If you see an animal that is injured or otherwise compromised, take note of the location, and report it to the nearest staff member or call the phone number listed on their website.
Stay on Trail
Nature is unpredictable! We should never take our safety for granted while outdoors. In the manicured gardens and beaches of Southern Florida, it’s easy to forget! Stay on the trail, heed warning signs, and listen to the staff and volunteers–they’re there to help!
It’s easy with our noses in our cameras or phones to get distracted. Even on a paved trail, it’s important to stay alert. It’s easier than you think to trip, get lost, or disturb wildlife. So stay sharp! Of course, you’re after the perfect shot, but don’t forget to enjoy the moment, too.
Leave No Trace
We all try to be responsible stewards when we’re outdoors. Sometimes a scrap of paper gets away from us. Or maybe we forget our water bottle at a lookout point. Try to take out everything you took in. If you see some litter, and it’s safe and reasonable for you to do so, clean it up! Or let a staff member know.
Share the Message
Share your pictures on your social media, give the location a shout out, and consider including the message of responsible stewardship. You never know who among your followers needs to hear it!
Staff photographer Shane Srogi has traveled the United States photographing some wild places. He currently teaches a breadth of workshops at the Palm Beach Photographic Centre and can accommodate 1:1 sessions. If you’re interested in taking a walk on the wild side but need some guidance, Shane can help! Click here to see a list of upcoming workshops or call 561-253-2600 to schedule a 1:1.
Members’ Exhibition: See Your Photographs in a Museum in West Palm Beach!
by Katie Yates
Submit to our photography competition! Selected work will be displayed in our beautiful museum space in downtown West Palm Beach!
The Palm Beach Photographic Centre proudly announces the 23rd Annual Members’ Juried Exhibition. Annually, the exhibition is held in our museum space in downtown West Palm Beach. Have your art displayed in the same space as famous photographers from around the world. We have dozens of visitors a day and your work could be what they see next!
Go global! The Members’ Exhibition will also be showcased on our website.
How do you submit your work to our photography competition? It’s easy!
First step, check to see if you have any great photographs to submit to this photography competition. This exhibition is open to photographers worldwide, both amateur and professional. We invite photographers working in all mediums and styles to participate. Experimental and mixed techniques are welcome. Nude images will not be accepted.
Next, check to see your Palm Beach Photographic Centre Membership is current through through October 26th, 2019. A Palm Beach Photographic Centre Membership provides you with a lower workshop fee, more opportunities at our week long photography event (FOTOfusion), and you can submit to the Members’ Juried Exhibition. Renewing and updating your Membership is easy. You can do it by clicking here OR on the entry form when you submit your photographs for consideration!
Once you’ve decided what work you’re going to submit, visit this page to upload your work. Submissions are due by May 25th! A maximum of eight images may be entered for consideration.
Your work will be judged by a photographer, photo editor, or photojournalist. We have not announced this year’s Juror yet! Once the Juror’s selections have been made, an online gallery will be created with the accepted images, and you will be provided a link to a scrolling online slideshow.
If you find your work in the scrolling slideshow, that work was selected by our juror to hang in the Members’ Juried Exhibition! If you find any of your images in the online gallery, you will be required to submit those photographs to us by August 3rd, 2019.
Three winners of prizes will be selected of the photographs submitted. Not only could your work be hanging in our West Palm Beach museum, you could ALSO win one of these great prizes: Best of Show: $950 Cash Award, First Place: FREE Tuition for a FOTOfusion Gold Passport, Second Place: FREE Tuition for a FOTOfusion Silver Passport!
Then, plan your trip to West Palm Beach for the Opening Reception of the Members’ Juried Exhibition on Aug 23rd, 2019 from 6:00- 8:00pm. Or stop in to see us anytime between Aug 24th & Oct 26th, 2019!
Not ready to submit? Check out our complete list of photography classes and workshops in downtown West Palm Beach. Take a photography class in South Florida, go on a photoshoot, and take a photo editing workshop in our state-of-the-art computer lab! Learn Lightroom, Photoshop, and more! Don’t wait! Workshops fill up fast.
Learn Photographing on the Go and Mobile Editing with Shane Srogi’s New Photography Workshop!
Written by Katie Yates | All photographs ©Shane Srogi
An auditorium full of curious photographers and Palm Beach Photographic Centre Members watched as the lights dimmed and staff photographer Shane Srogi began his live demo. This was at our Evening Lecture Series, where our impressive list of professional photographers, editors, and photojournalists, share their expertise and stories.
From this lecture and the response from our audience, Shane developed a workshop: Breaking Away from the Desktop: Using Lightroom Classic, and Lightroom CC.
A Photographer on the Move
Shane Srogi has been photographing the American Landscape for decades. From the hazy Everglades to the vast indigo mountains of the American West, Shane uses his camera to photograph the unimaginable, the profound, the uncommon. He has developed and taught dozens of photography and editing workshops at the Palm Beach Photographic Centre.
Shane teaches it all. Shane teaches workshops on the very basics of photography, learning to use your camera, and learning how to edit in Lightroom. He also explores West Palm Beach and South Florida with his students. Together, Shane and students explore downtown West Palm Beach, the Morikami Japanese Gardens, McCarthy’s Wildlife Sanctuary, just to name a few.
He even takes students on the only iPhone Safari in South Florida.
Editing with your iPad
Shane Srogi knows that while photographers are on location, they can’t bring their entire workstation with them. In his new workshop Breaking Away from the Desktop: Using Lightroom Classic, and Lightroom CC, Shane shows how to shoot in RAW on your iPhone, edit images you just shot on your DSLR on your iPhone/iPad, travel with an iPad rather than a Laptop.
Lighten your pack for ultimate nimbleness. You’ll need that level of flexibility if you’re traveling, exploring, or just trying to get the best photograph and you’re not close to home!
Share Your Edited Images
Shane Srogi knows that sharing your edited images is part of the photographer’s experience. A photograph can’t just live on your camera, you want to share it with the world. Learn to edit on an iPad or iPhone while on the go and share it with the world. Shane can show you the nuances of sharing your edited photographs while adventuring.
Bring it all home
Sync up your workstation with your mobile devices for a final edit and printing. You don’t have to be tied to a single spot with a clunky laptop or desktop. You have powerful editing tools right in your pocket or camera bag. But, when you’re ready for the final touches or your photograph is ready to print, you’ll want to make sure everything seamlessly transitions.
The Future of Mobile Editing
Shane Srogi will discuss the ways photography editing is changing. Soon your powerful tablets and phones will be the main way photographers access their work. Will tablets and phones replace desktop and laptops in the future?
Laurence Gartel Wows with Variety of Photoshop Workshops in April
Laurence Gartel Wows with Variety of Photoshop Workshops in April by Katie Yates | All images ©Laurence Gartel
Don’t be overwhelmed! With today’s digital tools, anyone (with some help) can create beautiful works of art, usually right in their living room. Here’s your chance to learn from Laurence Gartel, the legend who taught Andy Warhol. Other celebrities such as Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake have collaborated with Gartel. Gartel is considered the “Father” of the Digital Art medium for over 34 years. He has won numerous awards and has been featured in museums across the world… and now he can be YOUR teacher!
Gartel has a variety of Photoshop workshops offered in April which will fit any interest or need. Warm up with a creative workshop and expand your skills. Or step into our state-of-the-art West Palm Beach computer lab for a unique learning experience starting from scratch. If you’re new to Photoshop and want to learn more or have been using Photoshop for years and want to explore new horizons, check out these Photoshop workshops coming in April.
Did you know? Sign up for and attend two Photoshop Creativity workshops with Laurence Gartel and get $50 off. Sign up for and attend three Photoshop Creativity workshops with Laurence Gartel and get $100 off.
Start here if you’re new, need a refresher, or are struggling! Photoshop Basics will cover many of the different tools and techniques used to enhance your images in Adobe Photoshop. In this class, you will learn the basics of how to use color correcting tools, retouching tools, selection/resizing tools, and more.
If you ever wanted a f-a-s-t overview of Photoshop, this two-day workshop will take you there. We will review the Tool Bar with its infinite array of useful tools such as Burning, Dodging, Brushes, Cloning, Filling, Gradients, Smudging, Pen, Shapes, Saturating, Type, and much more.
Photoshop “Layers, Channels and Masks” is the next step after learning the basics. This workshop will give you more powerful tools in the advancement of personal skills. We will explore the combination of images and the manipulation of layers. Working with masking, we can go further and deeper into channels. The three elements combine to produce compelling imagery.
Today with the tools of Photoshop, we can be endlessly expressive, and the potentials are endless. Whether we hand color, mix various modes of contract, hue/saturation, multiple layers of the same image, texturize our imagery there are creative possibilities. In this class we will work on our own self portraits *(or others) creating unique and different pictures worthy of gallery exhibition.
Learn Photoshop right here at the Palm Beach Photographic Centre in beautiful downtown West Palm Beach. Grab inspiration from everywhere with one of the most thrilling and decorated instructors we have teaching!
Photographers Travel to Cuba with Palm Beach Photographic Centre & Vincent Versace for Ultimate Photography Experience
Photographers Travel to Cuba with Palm Beach Photographic Centre & Vincent Versace for Ultimate Photography Experience by Katie Yates | All photographs ©Vincent Versace
Photography Students Return from Trip to Cuba
Vincent Versace once again leads a group of photographers through the colorful streets of Cuba for a unique and unrivaled experience. They explored local neighborhoods few experience. They engaged in person-to-person activities with Cubans. They saw the everyday Cuba, the National Geographic Photographer’s Cuba. Ballet dancers, domino players, cigar rollers, and children enjoying ice cream, the photographers were presented with a buffet of imagery. With Vincent Versace guiding them, the photographers were able to capture images worthy of any gallery.
Vincent Prepares for Second Photography Trip to Cuba March 23 – March 31
While exploring this historic and cloistered island, photographers on the Palm Beach Photographic Centre’s ultimate experience will meet historians, teachers, artists, musicians, naturalists, and more. They will have the opportunity to capture this rapidly-changing island as it is today—antique cars and all.
Are you interested in visiting Cuba on this photographic journey with Vincent Versace?
Your experiences will be unique and you will be fascinated by the authenticity of each and every day. A one-of-a-kind experience, with access to Schools, Artists, Musicians, Ballet figures and dance schools, Sports figures, Artisans, a cigar plantation, rum factory and much more.
- Compliance with U.S. Treasury Department regulations
- Travel on people to people license
- Cuba Entry Visa
- Legal Letter of authorization
- Pre-trip departure information
- Land transportation and local transfers in Cuba. Transportation in Havana is in beautiful classic cars
- Eight nights in high end apartments in Centro Havana
- All Meals, at “Paladares” and unique private restaurants
- Comprehensive educational exchange program, including entrance fees to places listed in itinerary
- The required Cuban Insurance (health and evacuation)
- Expert Tour Leader
- All entrance fees that are listed on the itinerary
- Full schedule of guided people-to-people activities
Travel to Cuba: The Ultimate People to People Experience
March 23 – March 31
FOTOfusion 2018 Instagram Giveaway!
Do you want a chance to win a free 100 series workshop at this year’s FOTOfusion 2018? We will be picking one lucky winner on January 16th.
1. Follow us on Instagram @Palmbeachphotocentre
2. Tell us what you love to photograph in the comments section and tag three of your friends.
It’s that easy!
P.S. Those who participate will be entered into an additional giveaway at the end of the month!
FOTOfusion 2018 is a digital photography festival running from January 23-27. In this unparalleled week of lectures, workshops, and photo shoots, students have the opportunity to learn with world-renowned photographers, editors, and photojournalists. You can see the full schedule by clicking here.
Get excited! The winner of this giveaway will have the opportunity to select one of the following FOTOfusion 100 series workshops listed below:
101 Pointing Your Camera In The Other Direction with Tim Rasmussen
102 Fine Art Infrared (IR) Photography in the Digital Era with Joseph Meehan
105 Women in Photography: Hire us! with Melissa Golden, Naomi Harris, Robin Schwartz, Daniella Zalcman, Judy Walgren, Moderator
106 Creating Photo Composites on iPhones & iPads with Seán Duggan
109 Get the Most Out of Your Portfolio Review with Mark Murmann
110 The NEW Mobile Photography Shooting and Workflow Options with Jack Davis
118 Finding your Way: Photography, Life and the Personal Project with Brendan Bannon
121 Visual Literacy in the Time of Fake News: Is Ethics Dead?
122 Tell Me More: Merging Images and Verse with Susan Currie
125 Portraits: What’s Hot? What’s Not? What’s Important?
126 Expanding Your Creativity with Time/Motion Techniques with Lewis Kemper
129 Finding Alternative Markets for Your Work
130 Exploiting the Power of the Lens with Joseph Meehan
133 The Private Conversation Between Ghosts and Cameras with Dr. Anthony Bannon
134 Warhol vs Gartel HYP POP with Laurence Gartel
137 The Personal Project
138 The Digital Short Documentary with John Reuter
141 How to Elevate Your Image Making with Mike Davis
142 Visual Storytelling and the Photobook with Daile Kaplan
145 Demystifying the Editorial Market with Kelli Grant, Timmy Huynh, Mark Murmann, Dave Weatherwax; Moderator: Santiago Lyon
146 Perception: Seeing vs Looking with J. Thomas Lopez
150 Shooting the B Roll with Kelli Grant
153 Learning from the Masters: How to Make Better Photographs with Daile Kaplan
154 Motion as an Added Dimension in Still Photography with Joseph Meehan
157 Shooting Sports for Today’s Market with Gary Hershorn, Adam Stoltman; Moderator: Steve Fine
158 Composition and Technique with George Schaub
161 How to Get Grants and Funding Your Own Projects with Brendan Bannon, Naomi Harris, Judy Walgren, Daniella Zalcman; Moderator: Mike Davis