Why I loved my trip to Kars

For the last 2 years, I wanted to join a special trip to Kars & I couldn’t. No money for year 1, a surgery for year 2. 

On year 3, I was on my 2 feet & I could afford to join (thank you again Dad & my sister Camille for your participation!). 

 
At the top of the Kars Castle

At the top of the Kars Castle

Being stuck in the snow with Murat (middle) & Levent (left)

Being stuck in the snow with Murat (middle) & Levent (left)

 

Why did I want so bad to join that trip? 

Because it was an organized trip focused on photography in a unique region of Turkey.  

Organized? Those who know me would be surprised I’d join an organized tour. Yes, it’s true, I usually don’t like organized tours as I feel I don’t have the freedom to go & see what I want & to spend enough time in the places I really like.... to photograph them. 

But when it comes to an organized photo tour, it becomes perfect!  

Why perfect?

Because….
- We went to the greatest places in Kars & its surroundings, in a very efficient way (we had a minibus just for us).
- We spent all the time we needed to photograph the places we went to.
- We know we’re all taking pictures so we just don’t put ourselves in front of each other.
- We had workshop every evening to have our 6 selected images reviewed by Murat Düzyol, Turkish photographer working for National Geographic Turkey & organiser of photo safaris. 
And then, icing on the cake, we were lucky to be an energetic group, with a fun & positive ambiance, always constructive critics, exchanging tips helping each other.

The group in front of Kars castle

The group in front of Kars castle

When photographers have lunch, there's always a "camera" table 😆📸

When photographers have lunch, there's always a "camera" table 😆📸

What did I love about that trip?

This trip was not a holiday: we were there to photograph & that’s what we did. I loved that. Not that I don’t love holidays but there is a time for everything & I loved to be able to both be away from home & to focus on photography.

Staying in Kars & its surrounding means being outside & breathing fresh air. We were also driving through vast lands covered by heavy snow. It was refreshing for both the body & the mind.

I of course loved discovering unique places & new activities:
- I had never seen any Çirit game before going to the Kekeç village.
To be honest, I had no idea of what this game was. It was intense & impressive to see horses running on the snow in the middle of nowhere with their riders trying to touch others with a stick by throwing it.

- I had never seen someone fishing through ice before going to Çıldır lake.
I admit I’ve never thought about the fishes under 25cm of ice during winter! When I saw the fisherman taking the net out of the ice-cold water with bear hands, I had another proof county life is not easy.

- I had never seen an archeological site of Armenian ruins before going to Ani (45km away from Kars).
I just never heard about this huge site & I loved it as I could imagine its faded beauty.

- I had never seen Caucasian danses before going to the Puskin restaurant.
The rhythm of the music, the costumes, the physic performances (when they stay on their toes) were very impressive. I was lucky to be able to go & see a show in Istanbul, as I loved this so much!


Next steps

Discovering new places & new ways of doing things are the reasons why I’ll go & visit new places as soon as I can. I’m planning on visiting Mardin, Hatay, Gaziantep, in the south east of Turkey. I’d love to visit Konya too. And Rize, in the Black sea area. And Çanakkale. And Diyarbakir. Well, the list is long :)!

If you have any questions about this trip, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me, I’ll be able to share details (hotels & restaurants for ex) with you.

For the moment, here is a selection of my images of my trip to Kars.
If you fall in love with my image(s) & want offer yourself such a gift, let me know!

That’s all folks'!

Moving away this summer?

When I left France back in 2013, I felt an urge to bring memories of my family, my friends, even the cities I lived in, in my suitcases. Thanks to pictures, I was able to take little pieces of my past (& its limitless value) with me to Istanbul.

Will you leave Istanbul (replace by the city you live in now) this summer?

If so, you might not want to think about it now & get the best out of your last months in your beloved city. 
Of course, living in various countries is a great luck. But it is not easy to move every 3 to 5 years, to re-adapt to a new culture & to re-create your social life every single time.
And it is hard to leave a place you love, your friends & take a new step to the unknown.

A family photo session brings your family together in the places you love in Istanbul.
The images I created for my clients are everlasting memories of their happy moments here, as well as a part of the family history. Family portraits are for you & your partner as much as for your kids. And they are great gifts to your families living in your “home country” too.

Family photo session in Istanbul
Family photo session in Istanbul
Family photo session in Istanbul
Family photo session in Istanbul
Family photo session in Istanbul

For the past years, I photographed a lot of "about-to-leave-Istanbul" families. So, based on my experience, I'd like to give you one main advice:

-- Book now a spring or early summer photo session --

By booking a spring or early summer photo session, you'll avoid many things that'd make the photo session not so fun or even impossible to happen.

Here are some examples of things that might occur:
- You'll be all too busy to even think about a photo session so it won't happen. 
- The one who's working might need to leave Istanbul earlier than the rest of the family. Without your partner, the photo session won’t happen.
- A few weeks before you’ll leave, you might need to go for a few days to your “new city” to find a new home & a new school for your kids. It will be a stressful time.
- During a "last-minute" photo session, you might think "this is the last time I see this place I love" everywhere we go & it won't help to have a positive state of mind. 

And some info from the photographer’s side:
- Make sure your favorite photographer 😉😎 is available as soon as possible.
- All photographers get very busy at that time of the year, to book now a spring session is to be 100% sure your spot is secured. 
- The photographer will have the time to edit & process your images & to deliver them to you before you leave.


And if you’re still not sure a family photo session is important, especially before moving away:
- It’s a way of celebrating all the happiness you had while living here.
- Every member of your family will be on the pictures.
- Your years in Istanbul are & will be forever a part of your life. You & your family deserve to be captured in the city that was such an amazing environment during these years.
- These images will have a unique & very high value. They will be worth being printed out, framed & hang on your wall in your new home, thanks to all the memories they will represent.
- It’s about creating the visual patrimony of your family. Your kids will be thankful to have these images. And their kids too!


☀️☀️ Once the session is booked & organized,

all you have to do is to join me & have 2 or 3 hours of happy moments

with your family in beautiful places in Istanbul. ☀️☀️


Don’t hesitate to send me a message, just click here or go to the “Contact” tab of my website. I’m looking forward to reading you!

And if you’d like to subscribe to my monthly newsletters, it’s right there

Noemie DeveauxComment
How Istanbul winks at me & makes me feel at home

As many, I love Istanbul & I feel connected to this extraordinary city. For the past 5 years, Istanbul winked at me a couple of time & I always saw this as little signs I’m in the right place.

If you’re like me, you get curious about the whole world.... and forget to discover your own neighborhood! So Kurtuluş remained for long as the area in Istanbul I knew the least. Just because when I go out of my house, I to discover other places….. without realizing there is a lot to discover here too.

First, let me tell you how I ended up living in the Kurtuluş area, as it is quite a story. 

In summer 2013, I was still in France, with a one-way flight already booked to go & live in Istanbul in October. During my previous short stays in Istanbul, I connected with quite a lot of foreigners to build up my network. So I was not surprised to receive in July an email from a girl about to leave her room in a shared flat & looking for a substitute.  

She told me about the flat, its location & her roommate. She eventually gave me her flatmate’s name.... & her last name. It sounded oddly familiar. Quite an unusual last name, borne by some family members of MY family 😳. 

I checked with my grandpa, who’s into genealogy & it turned out the lady who might become my new flatmate was the daughter of the brother of one of my grandpa’s sister’s husband. Still here? To make it easier, we were (not blood related) cousins 🥂.  I thought it was quite a positive sign & I decided to go for this flat.  

So since I arrived in Istanbul, I live in Kurtuluş & the more I live here, the more I love it

An old Armenian neighborhood, neither traditional nor trendy. Just a normal neighborhood, full of markets, small restaurants & shops, with some old houses. I love the normality of this area, a Turkish normality of course so it still feels quite exotic for me. To have one of the oldest Turkish basketball clubs is one more thing that makes Kurtulus unique! Of course, cats are everywhere, most of them fed by locals 😻.

Old house in Kurtulus, Osmanbey, Istanbul

Old house in Kurtulus, Osmanbey, Istanbul

Kurtulus basketball club

Kurtulus basketball club

Tuana caterer, Kurtulus, Osmanbey, Istanbul

Tuana caterer, Kurtulus, Osmanbey, Istanbul

Kittens in the Despina restaurant

Kittens in the Despina restaurant

People from different backgrounds are all living together, and everything is just fine. Armenians, Greeks, Philippin nannies, African watches sellers or businessmen, foreigners working as English teacher, belly-dancer or photographer, travestis, Jehovah witnesses are part of this very eclectic area. 

When I decided to move out the shared flat to live by myself, I just wanted to stay in this area & I was lucky to find a small flat just a few minutes further than the previous one.  

But I didn’t  know much about the history of Kurtuluş before I went on a tour with Mustafa Kemal Dönmez, Turkish French-speaking professional guide. We visited a place I always wanted to go to: the Latin Katolik Kabristanı in Pangaltı (Roman Catholic Cemetery). 

Levantine families, mainly French & Italian, were buried there. The Feriköy area even got its name after the French Pierre Ferry (According to legend, the 3rd Sultan Ahmet Ahmet falls from his horse falling from his horse. Pierre Ferry, who lives nearby, takes his home without knowing that he is the Sultan and makes his first treatment. The sultan of the sentient gives the name “Feriköy”). But you can’t imagine how surprised I was to discover, thanks to the French writer Gisèle Durero Köseoğlu, a gothic vault on which was written “Famille Deveaux”

 
A gothic vault in the Roman Catholic Cemetery of Feriköy

A gothic vault in the Roman Catholic Cemetery of Feriköy

 


I already knew people bearing the same last name as mine used to live in Istanbul. When you’re walking on Istiklal street, coming from Taksim square, look up at the Demirören building, you can see this 😎 (It seems I’m not blood-related with the family who used to own this building but it’s quite fun to see my last name up there when I’m walking on Istiklal street!)

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Deveaux_Demirören
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One more wink in August 2018!

I discovered a cousin of mine is living in Istanbul too! Incredible, isn’t it? Our great grandmothers were sisters! I love the fact that life managed to connect us, thanks to great-uncles having diner together. We’ve met a couple of times already & I really hope we’ll create many occasions to meet again.

As I’m in love with Istanbul & the way this city makes me feel, I am SO happy everything I see a wink 😉🥰!

If you ever visited or even lived in Istanbul, you know what I’m talking about. Do you also feel Istanbul is winking at you once in a while? I’d love to read your story so please tell me about it in the comment part below!
And if you don’t know this city yet, I can only advice you to come & visit! Maybe you will find out you have some cousins here too 🥳!

PS: For French-speakers, here is the best blog about Istanbul: Le Blog d’lstanbul,
For English-Speakers, here is one that will fit your needs: Yabangee

All the best 🤩.

Noemie DeveauxComment
6 reasons to go on photo tours

A photo tour is a walk to a special area, picked by the organizer, in order to take pictures of what makes the location interesting. Most of the time, the organizer knows the area & is able to tell you about it.

I’m a big fan of photo tours as they get me out my photography routine. If you wonder how a photo tour can be good for you, here are 6 reasons to help you.

  1. To be understood
    You know that feeling when you want to get the best shot of a detail on a monument & your family or friends are looking at you like you’re crazy & ask you to hurry up?
    Well, with fellow photographers, nobody will judge you :) because they know what it’s like to photograph & they love the same thing you do: Photography!

  2. To make new friends
    Photography is a hobby for so many people, there is a good chance to meet people you’ll get along well. Especially during a photo tour, as this means you already have a lot in common!

  3. To try something new
    There are lot of new things to be discovered during a photo tour: an unknown location, a special light, some unique kind of workers…So many reasons to go out of your comfort zone.
    And when you’ll see someone trying this or that setting, it’s a great occasion to ask them about it & to learn!

  4. To develop your own vision
    No pressure, no stress, nothing to prove, no judgments. During a photo walk, freedom & peace of mind will help you to develop your eyes, to identify what you love to photograph & your style will become more asserted.

  5. To go out!
    Let’s admit it, sometimes, it is hard to pick up your camera, go out & take pictures. Photo walks are a great occasion to finally do so. You made a commitment to the organizer so you just have to go :)!

  6. To practice
    Once you’re out there, as it is the point of the photo tour, you’ll practice photography. For 2 (or more) hours straight. You will get the best out of this special time.

    Thanks to all the reasons above, you’ll get better, you’ll understand new things & you’ll in a great atmosphere.

    Here are images I took during a guided visit of the Yenikapi & Kumkapi areas, in Istanbul. The guide was Mustafa Kemal Dönmez, french speaking professional guide in Istanbul.

Noemie DeveauxComment
How to choose the camera that fits your needs?

When it comes to buy a camera, the possibilities seem endless.
In this article, I won’t talk about the new models coming up or even specific brands. I won’t tell you this camera is better, as it all depends on your needs (& financial capacity).
I want to help the owners-to-be to project themselves as photographers, as purchasing a “not-so-suitable-for-me” camera might keep you away from photographing & all the fun which goes with it.
I keep this article simple in purpose. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask them in the comments section.


“The best digital camera is the one you have with you & use.”


There are different types of digital cameras:
- DSLR (digital single lens reflex) (full control over settings, with interchangeable lenses)
- Mirrorless or Four Thirds (lighter than DSLR; with interchangeable lenses)
- Compact (Point & Shoot) - (small & light without much -if any- control over exposure settings; lens is not interchangeable)
- Smartphone (you may already have one of these, so I won’t go any further)

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Now, I’d like you to think about yourself: what you want & can invest (time & money) now … & what you’re willing to do later:
- Your money investment range (camera + lens + accessories)
- Your skill level
- The weight you’re ok to carry around (maybe for hours)
- Your time & money investments to learn how to use your gear
- Your need of videos too
- Your desire to change your lens
- Your will to edit & process your images


And the things you might like to photograph:
- Close-ups (flowers, details, insects) - DSLR
- Portraits (kids, family) - DSLR or Mirrorless
- Sports - DSLR or Mirrorless
- Street photography - Mirrorless or Compact
- Travel photography - Mirrorless or Compact
- Nature or landscapes - DSLR or Mirrorless
- Wildlife - DSLR or Mirrorless

So, here are the steps I advise you to follow:
- Define what kind of photographs you want to take
- Rank the things which are the most important to you (video or interchangeable lens for example)
- Define what is a no-go (weight or budget)
Now that you have this in your mind, you’re ready to discover the 3 main types of cameras available in the market.

Let me tell you more about the different types of cameras, with their + & -


Compacts
+
They have the great advantage to be light & small. You’ll always find a place for yours in your backpack or handbag. They weigh about 200-300g, are about 10x6x4cm (the size of a wallet) and their costs vary between 300 & 700€ (for the “expert” versions).
They are very easy to use: “point & shoot” is all you need to do.
There won’t be much to learn about it (expect for the expert models) as they don’t often offer setting controls.
They would be good for street & travel photography.
Nowadays, they often offer 4K video.
If they offer Raw format, you’ll be able to fully edit & process your images.

- They can’t be upgraded as the lens is built-in.
They might not be good at sport (not fast enough) or wildlife (the zoom would reach its limits).
In low-light situations, they might not give you nice results (noise).
They are quite small so if you have large hands, check in a shop if you can access the buttons comfortably.

Here is a link to more info about the compact cameras available in the market in 2018.

Mirrorless
+ Smaller & lighter than DSLR.
They weigh between 400 & 700g (without the lens)
The variation of the sensor size creates a large price range: from 500€ up to 2000€, & in most of the case the sensor will be larger than compacts’.
The lens is interchangeable & you can have full control over the exposure settings.
You can buy a kit camera in specialized shops with a basic lens (18-55mm) or just the body & choose the lens that fits your needs.
Some brands choose an old-fashion esthetic.
Some of them have 2 SD card slots.
They offer Raw format so you can fully edit your images.
They have 4K video.

- The expert mirrorless cameras will be quite expensive.
The no-expert have cropped sensors (not sure it’s really a “-”!)
The lens offer is not always very wide for every brand.
Some of them have short battery life.
The viewfinder is digital so it uses energy
They are not that big so if you have large hands, you might want to make sure you still can access every button & wheel you need.
Beginners would need to invest on photo lessons.

Here is a link to more info about the mirrorless cameras available in the market in 2018.


DSLR
+ The largest offer for camera bodies & lenses.
They are a real long-term investment (from 1300€ up to 4000€).
The lens is interchangeable.
You can buy a kit camera in specialized shops with a basic lens (18-55mm) or just the body & choose the lens that fits your needs.
Some of them have 2 SD card slots.
They always offer Raw format so you can fully edit your images.
They have 4K video.

- The heaviest & largest cameras (from 800g up to 1,3kg without the lens).
Suitable accessories are a must, to carry & protect the camera & lenses.
They have large menus & a lot of things to set up. Help might be necessary.
They can be seen as a great target to malicious people.
Beginners would need to invest on photo lessons.

Here is a link to more info about the DSLR cameras available in the market in 2018.

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When you have the control over the exposure settings, and if you bought this kind of camera for this specific aspect, I advise you to find the best way for you to understand how things work. A lot of great tutorials are available on Youtube & on specialized websites.
If you know you need a face-to-face learning method (and you live in or travel to Istanbul), I’d be more than happy to organize private photo lessons for you.

Don’t hesitate to leave comments, ask questions & to share this article!

”A bit about myself”
My cameras: For my 30th birthday, I was offered my 1st DSLR camera: a Nikon D40 with a 18-55mm. I enjoyed it very much for many years. I bought a telezoom lens a few years later, to have a larger range of possibilities (it then became quite heavy!).
Then turning into professional, I upgraded to a Nikon D600, a full frame DSLR, with a 24-70mm, a 50mm & a 35mm.
And 2 years ago, because of some shoulder pain, I switched to Fuji XT-2, a cropped-sensor mirrorless camera, with a 16-55mm (equivalent of a full-frame 24-70mm) and a 23mm (equivalent of a 35mm).


Noemie DeveauxComment
How to evoke genuine emotions & feelings

Even though I think I’m nice & fun to work with, it is not always easy for all my clients to look at their partner’s eyes & show all their love when they’re outdoor, wearing a gown/suit & with a camera pointing on them… Anyone can be overwhelmed by the situation itself. Love, affection & tenderness for the other are here but might be hidden by stress or discomfort.

Last August, a lovely lady came up to me as she wanted posed images of her & her husband H. to celebrate their 1st wedding anniversary.

Posed images are something I almost don’t do, except for business portraits (one-to-one photo sessions). I mainly photograph people in action, walking in Istanbul, having interactions within the family, having fun.

How would I manage to evoke genuine emotions, to get them visible when my clients are just posing?

This is a challenge I always wanted to work on & that the reason why I invested on unique tips to create genuine happy & emotional moments during a photo session

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I want to capture their eyes saying “I’M SO IN LOVE WITH YOU!” & offer this memory to my clients”
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The 1st part of the secret ingredient is a unique type of preparation. A classic one leads to find the right place, the right time, the right outfits, the route during the photo session.

This special preparation is unique as the couple has to find, for example, objects that make them think about their other half or a song that reminds you of a lovely moment in their relationship.

This preparation has a hidden advantage: my clients arrive at the photo session excited about revealing to their partner what they prepared, just like kids!

When revealing their beforehand prepared interactions, I can see the magic gaze in their eyes & the body language begins to be more spontaneous. The couple feel highly connected & create lovely & intense moments. Just perfect moments for me to photograph, with emotions, loving states of mind, extra connections in front of the camera.

It’s really about them, their story, their anecdotes, their words, their love.
A very special thank you to Mrs & Mr LOVE 😍!

Scroll down to discover their live feedbacks & of course their photos!

How to prepare for a "Smash the Cake" photo session

The “Smash the Cake” sessions come from the USA & get trendy: so fun, so colorful & an amazing occasion to capture candide moments of the baby!

Such a photo session can be done when the baby is about 1-year-old: he needs to be able to sit without falling head over feet & to have the capacity to reach things. Still, it’s better when the baby is not much able to stand up or walk, so he won’t escape the scenery!

What about the cake?
The cake needs to be colorful to attract the baby’s attention. Avoid red & brown colors as they’re to close to natural “fluids” 😬. The cake also needs to be soft & creamy so it'll be messy and this is the fun part of it!
As the baby will be sitting with his legs around the cake set up in a low cake-stand, a 2-tiered cake will allow him to reach the top of the cake & then dig in. A higher cake would only work if it stays on the floor. It depends if you want the “fallen cake” image! The only thing we don’t want is the baby’s face being hidden by the cake.
Be generous with the food coloring for the frosting (to go natural, here are great tips!).
I know it’s not great for health but a sugary frosting will help the baby getting back at it.

What about the scenery? As it will get messy, I’d advice to set up the decoration behind the baby with washable items (rather than disposable ones). Be aware that there will be some food left on the ground so if you’re doing this outdoor & you’d prefer to avoid ants & insects to be attracted to the area, put a large cloth underneath the baby & the cake.

Which colors to choose? You can pick up a theme & coordinate the baby’s outfit & the decoration. Bright colors will create a dynamic & fun atmosphere.

Help is necessary as 1 person will take pictures when the other one will interact with the baby. To motivate the baby to touch & dig in the cake, don’t hesitate to show him that he can do it. Have also noisy & colorful toys to be shook around to get the baby look towards the camera.
I advice to be only 2 persons around the baby as the idea is to keep him focus in the cake or looking at the camera if possible. Too many distractions won’t help.
Keep siblings away too.

When is the time to have this session? Take into account the nap times & the lunch break. The baby needs to be fully awake & not completely full otherwise he might not be interested into the cake. Avoid having the photo session done before or after the birthday party, as it is tiring for everybody.

To the parents: during the session, with or without a professional photographer, you will - yes, it’s an affirmation 😂 - get messy too. Just because it’s fun, because their baby is having fun, it’s hard to resist not to go & help the baby picking the cake, helping him to smash it. So get dressed accordingly. You can also prepare a large cloth to roll the baby up in the way to the shower if it’s reachable. Or prepare a big bag to put away the messy clothes & have clean extra clothes. Baby wipes & kitchen paper rolls will be very helpful too.

Hidden workshops in the Grand Bazaar

A few weeks ago, I joined a guided visit of the Grand Bazaar.

'“Again?” you might tell me :). Yes, again.

I never get bored of the backstreets & hidden places in & around the Grand Bazaar. And even though most of the guides know the same “secret” spots, from one day to another, we never end up seeing the same things.

This time, I was very pleased to be able to photograph some “usta” (craftsmen, crafts-masters) working. Outdoor or in a dark small room, they work hard to create unique pieces. And always surrounded by cats, of course.

From the huge ornament meant to reach the very top of a cupola to the tiny tiny handles of sugar bowls, the tools & the processes are different but the dedication & patience are the same.

These “usta” might be the last ones to master these crafts.

If you want to offer yourself one of these photography, get in touch with me!

Noemie DeveauxComment
Teaching photography teaches me so much!

Last August, I was very lucky to meet a very nice & kind man called BT. He lives in Singapore, loves to travel & owns a Leica Q. An inspiring man with an amazing gear. Or the other way around, as you prefer :). 

He got in touch with me to organize photo lessons during his one-week holiday in Istanbul. I'm used to teach photograph to foreigners living here, one lesson every week or every other week. 7 days with 3-hour photo lessons per day was quite a challenge for me. And I loved it! We loved it! 

On day 1, we met to get to know each other & to go through the basics. Then, I organized 6 walking tours in different places in Istanbul, at different times of the day so we'll have to face quite a large range of situations & photography challenges. 

BT is a mindful, curious & hard-working student. He faced, like everybody, difficulties & mistakes but his will to achieve what he wanted to achieve was strong. It was great to witness him spreading his wings into the photography world. I could see he was not seeing things anymore, he was looking at them & looking for something different to capture.

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Albert Einstein, one of the men who worked on the most complicated themes, said that "if you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
So every time I struggle to explain a technic point, I know I have to study more, to understand more, to find new ways of looking at the situation. And then I study until it becomes simple & spontaneous for me to explain.

 

If I may, I'd add that you need to be able to explain it in different simple ways, so everyone, with different knowledge & backgrounds, can understand it.  
That's another trick about lessons: the teacher needs to discover the way the student thinks, understands & memorizes, in order to explain things in the most suitable way
So I ask questions, not related to photography, to find how to explain things to my student: I draw, I show a video, I give an example with the camera, I ask the student to do the same & to explain it to me. 

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The 3rd point is to give confidence to the learner by supporting them on their journey. Step by step, through hesitations & mistakes, that's how we learnt how to walk & that's how we learn everything. 
I'm always supportive & I listen to the doubts, fears, issues of my students. And I am very curious about the kind of photography they love & what kind of images they want to achieve. 

 

Learning photography takes time, efforts, commitment but it is simple. Not easy but simple. 

Since I gave photo lessons, I discovered myself much more patient than I thought & I learnt how to become a better listener and a good & positive critic

I feel very lucky & blessed to give photo lessons and to be part of someone's photography journey. 
To receive more info about my lessons, get in touch with me here

Here is the feedback from BT. THANK YOU so much for your trust & kindness! 

Noemie Deveaux
How a lens changed my photography

Nowadays, most of the people still think size matters to get sensational results.

When we spot a guy with such big & heavy camera, with a huge & long lens, we think "oh, that guy must a such a great photographer". 

The truth is that a "big lens" is not equal to great images. Neither so-called professional gears don't make someone with no knowledge turn into an award-winner. As I won't win any F1 race because I'd be driving a Ferrari. 

My first lens was the classic "kit lens" 18-55mm on my Nikon D40.
Then I wanted something bigger. I invested into a 28-300mm
Then, as I switched to the full-fram Nikon D600, I invested into a 24-70mm, a 50mm & later a 35mm
As I left Nikon to Fuji xt-2 (cropped sensor), I used a 16-55mm & a 23mm

But let's speak about first things first, here is a reminder of the major roles lenses play: 

  • Inside the lens, there is the diaphragm, which is the mechanism that makes a variable aperture to control the intensity of light that passes through the lens.

  • Along with shutter speed, this is what controls the exposure received by the film or image sensor.

  • A lens can be "zoom" or "prime". If there are 2 numbers to define the lens (16-55m for ex), you'll be able to zoom. If there is only one focal length, you'll have to walk :D!

  • The aperture & the zoom settings will have consequences on the depth of field.

  • The focus is made through the lens, either automatically or manually.

  • The lens might have an integrated stabilisation system to avoid motion blur.

 

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It took me quite a long time to find the lenses I love & which are part of my photography life now. 
I don't regret any choice I made, every step was an occasion to learn what I like, dislike & need. 

My photography changed when I began to use the 50mm (for full-frame - so for a cropped sensor, it'd be globally 35mm).
I had to walk. I had to move. I actually learn to go & get what I want. Walking makes me discover new places, meet new people & enjoy even more my photography experience. 

And I found out that I was putting much more intention into what I was photographing & at the same time, I was letting myself explore much more too. I just loved every aspect of using a 50mm lens. 

And I had to push a bit further composition & framing. To be honest, I think I actually learnt how to compose & frame. Using the grid on the screen, I worked in the rule of third or symmetry. I used the environment to frame my images. I just liked my work more & more, as I think my images were getting stronger.  

The great things about the 50mm lens:
- It's (quite) cheap, light & small
- It shows you the world without much distortion
- It very often has a very wide aperture, which makes it a luminous lens. 

Click here to read a great article about amazing photographers using specific lenses (and most of them are prime lenses). 

And here is a short guide about the purposes of lenses: 
8mm - 24mm: Ultra wide angle (fisheye): Wide panoramas & skyscapes, artistic
24mm - 35mm: Wide angle, Interiors, architecture, landscapes
35mm - 85mm (50mm common): Standard, General purpose
85mm - 135mm: Short telephoto, Portraits, candid
135mm - 300mm: Medium telephoto, Close sports, action
300mm+: Super telephoto, Far sports, wildlife, nature, astronomy

And here are the results of shooting the same subject with a wide range of lenses. See how the focal length has a huge impact! 

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Noemie DeveauxComment
Retouching images? Yes I do.

A few days ago, I was asked if I worked on my images before delivering them to my clients.

Because it shows curiosity & interest into my work & photography in general, I was pleased to receive this question. 

Here are other important reasons: 

  • I think my clients deserve to know how the images they receive are created (if they want to!).

  • In my opinion, post-production (or edition) is part of the creative process as actually taking the photo.

  • Most of the people don't really know what to be a photographer nowadays can include.

  • Many people misjudge & look down on post-production, as it'd be not real or unfair.

  • Some people think retouching only came along with digital photography.

No baker will ever deliver an uncooked or even an undecorated cake. Neither a photographer will deliver raw images to his-her customers. They are just not finished, not ready & sometimes not even readable on a computer without a specific software. Giving raw images is at least as irrelevant as giving a undeveloped film. 

Behind the camera, I do my best to choose the right settings to create the image I want. This is part of my creativity: how I see a scene, how I decide to shoot it, the different angles I try, the different settings. All this leads me to create a unique image.

And it's only the beginning of the creative process.

On the computer, I finish the process, by adjusting the exposure, the contrast, the colors etc. We can say that I actually "develop" the image, with a software, called Lightroom. 

During this post-production, I will correct & beautify the images. Because depending on my own taste & style and what I want to enhance, I will either choose to edit the images to be as close as possible to reality, or in the opposite, to create for example a more dramatic or romantic atmosphere. Some also choose to remove disturbing objects, some won't. Some will choose to strengthen the colors, some will fade them. It's all about the style: from how we take the image to how we post-produce it. And that's actually one of the most important reason why one will choose this or that photographer: style! 

This "back-office" part of the job takes time. A lot of time. And a lot of knowledge & experience. Actually, for 1 hour taking pictures, photographers work 4-5 hours in the images, sometimes more. Some people don't understand the photography prices (seen as expensive), they only see the visible part of the work, just when we're actually taking pictures. 

Others would look down on post-production as they might think it denatures the real images. But when my clients pay for my services, they are paying for the best experience & the best images possible. And if the natural lights, for example, is not as good as we need, I'll correct it. And after all, what does "real images" mean? Real question as the camera doesn't always give me the exact copy of the reality as I see it. 

Last and not least info: photo edition existed before digital photography! Here are a few examples of Pablo Inirio, the master darkroom printer who works at Magnum Photos New York headquarters (and here is the link to the full article about him & his work).

 

For my part, I decided to show you a few "before-after" images of Istanbul. 

I hope you enjoy reading this article and I'll be happy to read your comments & answer your questions! Don't hesitate to share this article on social medias. 

To discover my work called "Istanbul through my eyes"

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Have a lovely day! 

 

Noemie DeveauxComment