Digital Photo Academy

Learn How To Use Your Digital Camera

The Photo You Imagine vs. The Photo You See vs. The Photo You Record

Digital Photo Academy and LivinginHD present a free monthly series of photography webinars on Your host, John Bentham answers many questions live during the webinars. Additional questions, answers and tips are posted here on where you can also view the archived webinars.


Photo by Frank Siteman, DPA Instructor Boston

Depicting, or photographing anything demands a certain and specific way of seeing. Scholars and academics ponder, thrash out, and write lengthy books about this very subject. With any graphical representation or artistic rendering such as drawing, painting or lithography, there is always a division, a separation between the initial sketch and the finished art work. A conundrum exists where the sketch is often better than the finished piece. This dilemma has frustrated photographers since the early 1800s and painters for many centuries before this. With exemplary artists of genius talent, think Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, there is a much more streamlined process. The sketches and working drawings, of which there were many, were produced to work out every possible finite detail prior to producing their great works. 7_2.jpg

Photo by Frank Siteman, DPA Instructor Boston

Prior to digital photography the same issue existed for photographers when shooting film. The delay between photographing something prevented immediate feedback to the photographer. A certain amount of interpretation, talent and technical expertise was required to even correctly expose the film. This followed by at minimum a time span of approximately at hour, more often longer depending on logistics and location before the images were viewable. Magnum photographer Steve McCurry, perhaps most famous for his photo of The Afghan Girl that appeared on the cover of National Geographic described this predicament.

I remember in the past, I would get my pictures back thinking they were going to be great. And they′re not that great because you have one idea in your brain but the camera saw it differently. The more experience you have, the more you can close that gap between what you see and what the camera sees. – Steve McCurry

As photographers started embracing digital technology, and as the quality of the cameras and devices became better, the artists ability to capture the image one actually sees moved within our grasp. By adjusting camera settings on-site while photographing, coupled with a certain level of experience, the photographer now has the capability to record, interpret and influence his or her images to the point very they are very close to reality. Or more importantly closer to the reality they as an artist wish to convey. From this point one can influence the viewer, or in some cases the outcome .. perhaps of world events, public opinion, human out-cry or response.

One of the most influential photographers who ever lived, Henri Cartier-Bresson put it another way:
Shooting a picture is recognizing an event and at the very instant and within a fraction of a second rigorously organizing the forms you see to express and give meaning to that event. It is a matter of putting your brain, your eye and your heart in the same line of sight. It is a way of life. – Henri Cartier-Bresson, New York Times, 2003


Photo by John Bentham, DPA Instructor New York. This image shows the Spyder Cube hanging from the dog’s color. We did the entire shoot this way and simply retouched out the Cube from the select images in post production.

Spyder Datacolor products are used to control, correct and standardize color calibration with using digital devices. Datacolor makes products to calibrate computer monitors, laptop computers, digital projectors, digital inkjet printers, Flat panel TVs and camera/lens combinations. Utilizing proper color calibration is very useful in getting your message out there. It’s also very helpful considering the high number of people who have some type of color deficiency. I was surprised to find the numbers so high – Purportedly 1 in 12 for men, and 1 in 250 for women.


One of the most important tools in digital photography is color. For decades Black and White photography was the standard for news and documentary magazines and other image venues. Now with universal access to digital technology the internet is a major forum for displaying photography and color is king.


Photo by John Bentham, DPA Instructor New York.

With specific and proprietary colors (think Panasonic blue, Coca-Cola red), correct color is extremely important. The model in the photo above has very intense bright blue eyes. By utilizing the color calibration tools John was able to record them as such and just as important reproduce them accurately.

Webinar Submission Specs:
All DPA students can submit photographs for inclusion in the Digital Photo Academy, LiHD Webinar, Online Photo Class Series. If you would like to submit your photographs for an upcoming webinar, read the following. Each webinar has a specific theme or topic. You can see the date and topic of the next webinar at, Tip of the Day, Online Photo Class. Note that webinars are edited and formatted days in advance, thus please submit your photos at least a week in advance of the webinar, late submissions can not be added. Photographs are chosen, and edited, for their applicability to the webinar theme, artistic and technical merit, and content length. If your photograph is NOT chosen, it will be archived and may appear in a more appropriate future webinar.

Submit your photographs to

By submitting your photographs for consideration, you grant and authorize, The Digital Photo Academy, and Panasonic, the following rights: The right to use your photographs in the content and promotion of the webinar series, and for use on each company’s respective website. You further authorize your photographs may be archived online and/or in a database, and allow unrestricted internet availability of any webinars containing your photographs. You further authorize the use of your photographs in any future webinars. By voluntarily submitting your photographs for consideration you agree to the aforementioned without any legal claims, or claims for remuneration, whatsoever. You, as the photographer, retain the copyright © of any submitted photographs. The aforementioned companies will make best possible efforts to apply proper photo credit and acknowledgement with your photograph whenever possible and practical.


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