15 Really Useful Tips To Help You Take Better Photos

One of my favourite things is taking photos. I have been doing this for over 30 years now, still love it, and have leant a lot along the way.

So here are 15 really useful tips to help you to take better photos. These are practical things that you and I can do every time we take a picture. Just stopping and thinking will help to make our photos better. These are some of the things that I have learned with over 30 years of experience as a photographer.

Architectural Photography By Rick mcEvoy

Architectural Photography By Rick mcEvoy

Who am I?

I am Rick McEvoy ABIPP. I am a professionally qualified photographer, freelance photography writer and website creator. I write about photography stuff on my weekly blog, which you are on now.

So hi from me and thank you for joining me here.

You will find a little more about me at the end of this post, but let’s get into those 11 tips right now

1 Think about the subject matter

  • What are you taking a photo of?

  • Why are you taking this photo?

  • What is the intent behind the photo?

  • What are you trying to capture?

  • Who is the image for?

  • What are you going to do with the image?

Now this might all sound a bit high level and artsy, but this is wholly relevant when taking a photo.

I find it helps to ask these questions. It gets me more quickly to have my camera pointing where I want it to. I hate taking photos for the sake of it hoping that when I get back to my office I have a great shot in the bag!

And I had been doing that for years by the way. Many years, getting back, looking at the hundreds of photos that I have taken looking for that gem.

And do you know what – they were seldom there!

These days I can go out on a sunrise shoot and only take three different photos, one a before the sunrise shot, one of the sunrise itself and one after the sunrise.

I choose a composition and stick with it.

Talking of which

2 Composition is king

What is the single most important thing in photography?

Composition.

What you include in a photo and how you include it. And also what you do not include.

As I said above on a sunrise shoot I will choose a composition for the sunrise. Sure I will take more than one photo, but they will be from the same composition. I might take 30 photos of the sunrise, recording the rising of the sun, but my composition will be fixed. These 30 photos will record the rising of the sun and give me options with the one thing that I cannot control – the light and how it is interacting with the scene.

But still one composition.

When I am photographing a sunrise I will decide what my composition will be and that is that. I will take a test shot to make sure I am happy with my composition and change it if I am not.

But that will be that.

My aim is to get the best composition I can, and if I get one shot from a shoot that is worthy of going in my portfolio I am happy.

One composition, one shot. That is all I aim for.

I take photos before and after as there is still great light to be had, but as I said sometimes there will be just three separate images.

On an architectural shoot I only get one chance for each shot. I know that I will probably be shooting at 17mm for interior shots and know what I want to include in a scene, from not only the client brief but also my experience and knowledge of what works and what does not work.

Once I have assessed a scene and worked out what I want to photograph I place my camera, on a tripod where I think I will get the best shot.

I use both the live view LCD screen and the optical viewfinder to come up with my composition, going from one to the other until I am happy.

I take time doing this and will check the first couple of images to make sure I am nailing the shots. Once I am in the groove I don’t bother checking the image captures to be honest – I know that they will be ok.

I judge the success of an architectural shoot by checking how many images I took against how many I issue to the client.

My aim is 20 photos, 20 client shots – 100% success rate with composition and everything else.

Take your time with the composition – I have never got back from a shoot wishing I had spent less time coming up the compositions that I did!

3 Background, middle ground, foreground

These are three elements that, if used thoughtfully, can add depth to an image and make it more compelling.

Whilst you might think that I am talking here about the components of an image, which of course I am, there is also another thing to consider.

The depth of the light.

Yes there is nothing better than lovely gradations in the light from front to rear adding further depth to an image.

The convention is to have a foreground element, the main subject in the mid ground and a complimentary background.

Nothing wrong with that but always make sure that these three elements are correctly arranged to complement each other and naturally give depth to the composition.

And check the background. Much time can be saved in Photoshop by a quick check of the background and a quick change of composition.

When people say get it right in camera they are of course correct.

4 Rules of photography

There are many rules of photography.

My favourite is the rule of thirds. Once I have taken a photo using the rule of thirds I might take another photo breaking the same rule to see what I get. Not every shot but the ones where there are possibilities.

I need consistency of composition as well as image capture and processing, which I will talk about later.

I use the rule of thirds a lot as it works for architectural photography – it puts the elements into a logical and structured place within an image, which helps my clients as they get sets of images that are consistent and fit together.

For my personal work I will use the rules then break them as much as I can to see what I can come up with.

5 - Check the edges

Very important. Don’t rely on Photoshop for this.

Are there any distractions around the edges of the composition?

If there are things that I will have to remove in Photoshop I will try to eliminate them by slightly changing my composition.

Things like

  • Bits of trees

  • Aerials

  • Bright leaves on the front edges

  • Power lines

  • Telegraph poles

You get the idea

6 – Light

  • What is the light doing?

  • What direction is the light coming from?

  • Where is the sun?

  • How does the light interact with the subject?

  • Do you need to add light, or indeed remove light from a scene?

Light is what we are recording, so look at it, study it and understand how it adds to the composition.

And let’s not forget the first thing a person sees in a photo is the brightest part – make sure that the brightest element is the one that you want to be the most prominent and seen first.

7 - Timing

This follows on nicely from the point above.

Work out when the best time is to take a photo of a particular scene. For a sunrise and sunset this will be a known time. But do not forget the time before and after these events.

If I am going to photograph a sunrise I will always try to be there at least an hour before actual sunrise. The light before sunrise can be spectacular.

Check what the light is doing, and when. I use the Photographers Ephemeris to do this – it is a great app that gives me lines on a map showing all the relevant events of a day.

On architectural shoots I will ask my client to send me a plan of the building being photographed with a north arrow on it so I can work out when is the best time of day to photograph each part of the building, both internal and external.

8 Exposure

Exposure has to be nailed. There really is no excuse to not do.

How do I do this?

Well the purists will tell me that my technique should not be promoted, I am not doing things how they should be done.

I take three photos. I auto-bracket my image capture.

I take three images

  1. The correct exposure

  2. Two stops under exposed

  3. Two stops over exposed

I merge these images together in Lightroom later.

This is called HDR photography.

Why do I do this?

At the start of a shoot I set up my camera so the only things I need to think about are

  • Composition

  • Changing the aperture from F8

  • The focus point

Apart from that I do not give my camera settings a second thought. Everything else stays as it is.

This leaves me to concentrate on taking photos. For my commercial work I only have one chance to get each photo – once I have left a site there is no opportunity to return.

So I have to cover all the angles, and not worry about camera settings.

It works for me.

Check out my blog post explaining the exposure triangle for more info on this subject - The exposure triangle explained in plain English.

9 Aperture

Choose the correct aperture for the image. I typically use F8 for exterior architectural photography shots, and typically F16 for interior shots. I only vary from these when there is a specific need to.

Choose the aperture for the shot - simple

10 Shutter speed

For most of my photography work the shutter speed is irrelevant. This is why I shoot in AV mode.

When is shutter speed important?

When I am photographing moving water.

When I am shooting externally and the wind is moving clouds, trees, vegetation etc.

Apart from that I do not need to worry about the shutter speed too much, but you might depending on what you are photographing.

11 ISO

In general terms the lower the ISO the higher the quality of image capture. I use ISO 100 most of the time, only changing it when I need to.

But remember this – choose the ISO that will allow you to get a sharp image capture. Higher ISOs introduce the chance of more noise.

The general public do not know what noise is though. But they do know what a blurry photo is.

Given the choice go for tack sharp and take noise as a necessary evil of getting the tack sharp image.

12 Use a good tripod

It might sound a bit odd but when I use a tripod I take better photos.

On an architectural shoot I will only take photos hand-held when

I cannot physically take a photo using my tripod due to space constraints, which are normally me having to get as far back into a corner as I can to get the composition I want. That or I am hanging over a scaffold handrail, on a roof or being suspended from a crane!

The other time is when I need a very high or very low viewpoint. High means holding my camera above my head or stuck on the end of my painters’ pole. Low means on the floor, using either my Platypod or Manfrotto Pixi tripod.

I think that the deliberate act of composing using a tripod makes my compositions more considered.

And possibly even more surprising is that I have gone back to a bigger tripod and even bigger, older Manfrotto tripod head. This is for my commercial architectural photography work.

This kind of work tends not to be in a single location, with not too much moving around. I like the feeling of the heavier tripod ensuring I get tack sharp photos.

For travel photography I use lighter gear but still use a tripod a lot of the time.

Obviously there are times when a tripod is not appropriate but my default these days is to use my tripod.

I use ball heads and geared heads depending on where I am and what I am photographing.

And my compositions have improved since I made this change.

13 Processing

Processing of digital images is a complete separate subject.

Here I am going to talk about my architectural photography work and my travel photography and landscape work.

There are some similarities in these two different workflows, but different needs and priorities.

Architectural photography processing

For my commercial architectural work there are things that are critical to me

Technical correctness of

  • Horizontals

  • Verticals

  • Colours

  • Textures

  • Shapes

I have to reproduce these accurately. This makes this photographic work technically challenging, especially when I am photographing in mixed light.

The starting point is technical correctness - only once this is achieved can I look at the more creative side of things from this very firm base.

Processing of my architectural photography images has to also be consistent – I do multiple shoots for clients on different locations, in different conditions on different days.

They all have to look similar, have that same look and feel. I can do this.

Landscape and travel photography processing

For my landscape and travel photography I start with technical correctness but allow myself more freedom on the creative side of image processing.

I only process images in Lightroom, using Photoshop to remove bits that I do not want in images.

14 – Time

Allow yourself the time you need to get the images you want. I used to stop and take a photo quickly and then carry on where I was going.

I was always disappointed with the results.

I still do this but the act of having to get my tripod out makes me stop and think. The very fact that I have to get my tripod out has stopped from taking images of subjects which were not that great as it turns out. If I see something that I have to photograph I will take the time.

More than that I will make the time.

And if I can’t make the time to take the photo properly I will take a photo with my iPhone, so I have the location recorded and make a note of the location for another time.

15 - Practise, practise, practise

The number one tip for taking better photos is to practise!

Summary

I hope that you have found these 15 practical tips helpful, which I use on a daily basis to help me to take the best photos that I can. There is an accompanying video to this post which you can view on my You Tube channel.

And that is what photography is all about – taking the best photos that we can. Thanks for reading this, and before I go

A bit more about me

I am a photographer based in lovely Dorset on the south coast of England. I specialise in architectural, landscape and travel photography.

I am also a freelance writer, and have two other websites

Me on location in Santorini

Me on location in Santorini

Photos of Santorini

Paxos Travel Guide

You can subscribe to my YouTube Channel

And follow me on Pinterest

Last thing for now, if you have enjoyed this post please subscribe to my blog by filling in the box on my home page.

Rick McEvoy ABIPP – Photographer, writer, website creator, YouTube star (ok not star - not yet anyway!)

What Is Photography? 15 Fundamental Questions Answered - Sort Of!

I have written about a variety of subjects recently on my photography blog.

But now it is time to get right down to the basics. What is photography? Photography is a word made from two Greek words, photos which means light, and graphé which is drawing. Photography is drawing with light. And in this post I will answer 15 fundamental questions about what photography is.

I know. I started off writing about the origins of the word photography and found my head bursting with things I just needed to write about, so join me on this random, irreverent and light-hearted journey through a wide-ranging variety of photographic subjects!

1 - Where does the word photography come from?

As I wrote earlier, photography is drawing with light. Or writing with light. Depends how you interpret the translation.

The principle is the same either way.

Who put these two words together then to form the single word to describe the wonderful thing that we call photography?

It was Sir John Herschel who came up with this word in 1839.

Yes, 1839. 180 years ago. Just think how much the world has changed since then! Quite scary really.

2 – Who was Sir John Herschel?

Sir John Herschel was an all-round genius of his time. This incredible Englishmen was born in 1792 and left our planet in 1871.

He was, amongst other things, a photographer, mathematician, astronomer and inventor. He was also the first person to use the term negative in photographic terms.

The Royal Society read his ground-breaking work on photography in 1839 and 1840.

3 – Who are the Royal Society?

The Royal Society, founded in 1662, are to this day “the independent scientific academy of the UK and Commonwealth, dedicated to promoting excellence in science” – quote from their website.

4 - What do the Royal Society do?

Well I don’t want to digress too much from the point of this post – they are dedicated to promoting excellence in science.

Let’s leave it there.

5 - When was the first photograph taken?

The first photograph taken with a camera (or the oldest surviving photograph taken with a camera) was created by a French chap called Joseph Nicéphore Niépce in 1826.

Check out this PetaPixel post all about the first 20 photos taken. I am not sure who owns the copyright to the first photo ever taken with a camera so you will have to view it using this link!!

6 – How was the first photo taken?

The picture was taken using a process called heliography.

Check out the link above to Peta Pixel - this is beyond my comprehension and intelligence clearly! I am neither a scientist, chemist nor come to that that intelligent.

The oldest photo on our planet was taken using heliography – let’s move on!

7 – Moving to current times, how are photos taken these days?

Photographs are taken these days using an amazing array of kit, principally mobile phones and digital cameras.

Thankfully things have moved on somewhat since 1839. I dread to think what gear Sir John needed to capture this photo! And what he would think of photography these days!

Now it is much easier. Phones take photos digitally, with a camera sensor built-into these ever so clever devices.

Cameras are predominantly digital these days, although there are still film cameras in use. I stopped using film cameras over a decade ago.

I am not sure why in this digital age people choose to take photos with film cameras, but that is up to them. I did it back in the day and do not miss this at all.

8 – How do digital cameras take photos?

Digital cameras have what is called an image sensor built into them. If you are old enough to remember camera film the sensor is the digital version of the camera film.

The camera has a lens through which the image is transmitted onto the camera sensor.

Images are typically saved to a removable memory card.

And how do film cameras take photos? I don’t really care. Like I said I am not a scientist. Nor am I a chemist. Nor a film photographer!

If you think I sound bad check out Sharkey James on the Peta Pixel Photography Podcast – listen to that to find out what CFG means!!

I know how to turn my TV on and watch stuff, and even how to change channels, but I do not have a clue how my TV actually works. And that will never change.

9 – How do I do something with my digital photos?

Photos aren’t much use if they are stuck in your camera. You need to get them out of there and do something with them.

So images are generally imported into a computer where they can be edited using a variety of software programmes. Or Apps as they are called these days.

Lightroom and Photoshop are popular image editing software programmes. I use Lightroom. Photoshop baffles me and I only use it to remove stuff.

Once photos have been edited they can be saved as JPEG files and shared via the internet or email.

10 – Why is mobile phone photography so popular?

Mobile phones are so clever these days you can take photos, edit them and share them all using your handheld device. No PC required.

Hence the immediacy and huge popularity of mobile phone photography.

And this is one of the contributing factors to the current generation who it would appear cannot survive for more than a nano-second without checking their phones.

We are growing a generation of people who do not have the ability to walk looking forwards, just down at their devices.

And the popularity of mobile photography has close links to the explosion of social media and constant online sharing of stuff that no-one has the time to look at.

11 – Is photography still relevant today?

Yes of course it is. Millions and millions of photographs are taken and shared each and every day.

And is that a good thing?

Yes and no.

I think it is great that so many people are into photography these days. And I do not like the photography world snobbery which says that real photos have to be taken with a real camera.

Rubbish.

Photos taken with a phone are to me just as valid as those taken with a “proper camera”.

But there is a downside.

It might just be my age, but what is the point of all these photos being constantly shared on these ever-growing social media channels?

Who has time to look at all this stuff?

And while I am on this subject let me tell you something that bothers me. Where does all this stuff go? The number of photos being published on a daily basis is massive.

Check out this excellent post on Mylio.

Where they write

“How many digital photos will be taken in 2017? It’s predicted there will be 7.5 billion people in the world in 2017, and about 5 billion of them will have a mobile phone. Let’s say roughly 80% of those phones have a built-in camera: around 4 billion people. And let’s say they take 10 photos per day – that’s 3,650 photos per year, per person. That adds up to more than 14 trillion photos annually (14,600,000,000,000).”

And that is in 2017!

No-one is deleting this stuff as they go are they?

Imagine how much hard drive space is filled with endless photos that no one has looked at for years.

12 – What are the most important things in photography?

  • Boring but important.

  • Composition

  • Light

  • Interesting subjects

  • Technically correct image capture

  • High quality processing

  • Less rather than more

Now this is a post all in itself (I will add this to my post schedule – a great subject for me to write about in a free style off the top of my head kind of way).

These things stand now and in my opinion will always stand.

13 – How important is gear in photography?

Well we need stuff to be able to take photos.

A phone is one such thing.

But in my opinion gear is not as important as gear manufacturers would have you believe. I am using an Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk 2 (snappy name I know) – a micro four thirds camera that I bought on eBay. I used this on one commercial shoot. This was in addition to doing the shoot with my Canon 6D I hasten to add!

And I issued the photos taken with the Olympus to my client and they did not notice that they were taken with a different camera than on the last shoot I did for them.

There is lots of talk about gear, and I am guilty of contributing in this arena myself.

But let me tell you a secret.

The gear is not what makes a great photo? It is what you point your camera at and how you take the photo.

  • You can take a rubbish photo with a great camera.

  • And you can take a great photo with a rubbish camera.

Gear is of course important but is not the be all and end all. Buying great gear will not guarantee you great photos.

But you should get the best gear that you need/ can afford. And use it.

I only ever buy gear when it will help me to take better photos. Or to replace something that has died.

OK I have made the odd unnecessary shiny new gear purchase, but I am human after all!

At least I do this knowing that this will not improve my photos. It will just make me happy.

Only practise will do that – make my photography better that is.

14 – What is important for me in photography?

Likes, shares follows, re-pins, tweets, thumbs-up, inanely brief comments like “great shot” - this is what photography is all about.

Not.

There are a few things that are important to me as I write this.

  1. Taking less photos, but better photos

  2. Going out taking photos more frequently

  3. Increasing the quality of my video production

  4. Refining my website

  5. Learning Aurora HDR and Luminar

  6. My web traffic

  7. Finishing my website Paxos Travel Guide

  8. Deciding on my next website

  9. Using my Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk 2 more

  10. Doing more photography for me

I think that this little lot is going to get wrapped up into a future blog post. These are the things that are important to me right now, and the only reference to gear is my recently purchased micro four thirds camera, which I have bought for my travel photography.

15 - What is the future of photography?

On the consumer side of things it is going to get easier to create better photos. Artificial intelligence is coming into not only camera technology but also image processing – this will have a massive impact on the future of photography.

On the commercial side, high quality imagery will always be required, but for photographers to survive in the future I fear that still images on their own will not be enough.

Unless you are a genius with a camera that is.

So I need to work on other things then!

Video is becoming more and more prominent. My video capabilities are quite frankly rubbish, which is why I am working on this right now. Check out my YouTube channel for my weekly video posts. Multimedia capabilities are going to be expected more and more in the future, and with the technology available this is becoming easier.

High quality content will always be in demand – I am working on that as well.

And I believe that the future is the internet – that is why I am working so hard on my websites.

These are my websites at the time of writing

Photos of Santorini

Paxos Travel Guide

How to keep up to date with me

Subscribe to my blog - there is a box where you can do this on my home page

Subscribe to my YouTube channel

Follow me on Pinterest

This is where all the good stuff is

You can also follow me on Instagram, but that is very hit and miss content creation

Summary

Rick McEvoy

I hope that you have enjoyed this rather random post, starting off defining photography and ending up with me describing what is important to me photography wise.

This was quite a therapeutic process which I certainly enjoyed. Check out this video on my YouTube channel that accompanies this post which will add to my words here.

Rick McEvoy ABIPP - Photographer, writer, website creator

Photography Quick Tip – What Do You Use To Clean Your Camera Lenses?

IMG_1539.PNG

What do you clean your camera lenses with?

I have used Pec Pads for years. Pec Pads with a cleaning solution which I will find the link to shortly.

I always have a couple of packs in my camera bag, car, spare camera bag, camera tool box etc etc etc.

£10.99 for 100 from Amazon at this link buy Pec Pads here

Rick McEvoy Photography - https://rickmcevoyphotography.com

15 Practical Tips To Help You Work Faster In Lightroom Classic

Lightroom is software that you can use to organise and edit photos.

In this post I am going to give you 15 practical tips to help you work faster in Lightroom Classic. I have used Lightroom since the very first version was released in 2007, so have 12 years experience working with Lightroom on a daily basis. And I have applied all this knowledge and experience to this post where I will give the best 15 tips that I wish I knew all those years ago!

A couple of points before I go on. I am based in England and am using a windows PC. The images I work on are all captured using my Canon 6D, and more recently my Olympus micro four thirds cameras. I take photographs in RAW, not Jpeg.

The photographs I take are architectural, landscape and travel images.

What is Lightroom?

As good a place as any to start.

This is what Lightroom Classic looks like

This is what Lightroom Classic looks like

Lightroom is an application for importing, managing, editing and exporting digital photographs.

Lightroom has a number of different modules for organising, developing, printing and sharing your photos.

I import all my photos into Lightroom, where they are organised in a single catalogue. I edit all my photos in Lightroom using the very powerful processing tools, only using Photoshop when I have to. Hold that thought – I only use Photoshop to do things I cannot do in Lightroom. If I do not need to use Photoshop I do not use it.

1 - Which version of Lightroom should I choose?

I use Lightroom Classic. The other version is called Lightroom CC. These names are not particularly helpful.

Lightroom Classic refers to the old version which has evolved from Lightroom 1. Lightroom CC is the newer, cloud-based version.

The main difference is that in Lightroom Classic you store the photos on your own hard drive/ media, but with Lightroom CC your photos are stored on the cloud.

I have over 70,000 images in my Lightroom Catalogue and store them on an external hard drive. I do not want all my stuff in the cloud (not yet anyway), and do not want to pay the additional cost, for the additional cloud-based storage.

Now I know that this will not make you work faster in Lightroom, but this knowledge will save you time if you are not sure which version of Lightroom to choose.

2 – Learn Lightroom properly

Once you have got Lightroom, learn it properly.

There is some really good training on Lightroom available. So much that it can appear daunting. If I were to recommend one product it would be this book

IMAGE.JPG

The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic CC Book for Digital Photographers

This is an Amazon Affiliate link – if you buy this book from this link I do get a small commission. But here is a photo of my bookshelf, showing the books I have written by Scott Kelby.

I am not a big user of books, but these have been all been invaluable. So I am recommending a book that I bought an earlier version of myself which I used a lot, and still refer to every now and then.

Scott Kelby has sold the most books in Lightroom and Photoshop on the planet, and the books are very well written.

And I have never bought any other Lightroom tutorials. Well I have, but never used them.

If you do buy this book, or any book on Lightroom, work through that book. And most importantly, stick with this one book and you will be just fine. I bought about three books at the same time thinking I was doing the right thing and got nowhere!

3 – Set up Lightroom correctly

This is a big-time saver, and something that will help you work faster every time you use Lightroom.

I will explain about import presets in a bit, but these are other things that you can do.

These are the settings I use to make Lightroom work for me.

My Lightroom Settings

My Lightroom Settings

Oh yes, and a side tip here – computer memory. I have 16GB of RAM in my PC. One recent major update to Lightroom advised that you need 12GB of RAM to make best use of the new version.

Ever since I doubled by RAM from 8GB to 16GB I have noticed significant speed improvements.

4 – Calibrate your monitor

Calibrate your monitor and keep it regularly calibrated. This is more for PC users than Mac users – apparently Mac screens are very similar to each other and need less calibrating. Don’t quote me on that as I am a PC user.

This is what I use to calibrate my monitor

This is what I use to calibrate my monitor

I calibrate my monitor regularly using a device called the Eye One Match 3. This cost me less than £100 about five years ago and works just fine. I have never felt the need to upgrade to the latest greatest device, even though bigger and better things are being released all the time.

At the end of the day what worked five years ago works now.

And how will this make me work more efficiently?

Having a correctly calibrated monitor helps me to make quick and accurate decisions about white balance. Correcting the white balance is (normally) the first thing I do when editing images. If my screen was not showing the correct colours I would not know if the image I was editing had the correct colours or not.

5 – File structure

This is a biggy. Seriously.

If you are starting out you can leave Lightroom to do this stuff for you. I did my own thing and got in a real old mess.

This is my file structure now.

My Lightroom file structure

My Lightroom file structure


First point. All my images are in one Lightroom Catalogue. According to Adobe there is no limit on the number of images that a single catalogue can contain.

Use one catalogue and one catalogue only. Everything in one place.

And if anyone tells you differently they are wrong.

OK?

Back to my file structure.

It is sub-divided. This is the Dorset folder, broken down by location. Add when I take more photos I just add to this folder.

My Dorset folder in Lightroom

My Dorset folder in Lightroom


And this is my worldwide folder.

These things do not need to be complicated – just think of how you organise photos in Lightroom like you would folders on your PC, documents and the like. It really is no different

And this file structure has served me well for 3 years now without me having to change anything.

6 – Import presets

There are some very important bits on the right when you import images into Lightroom.

Embedded and sidecar 13052019.PNG


Build Previews – select Embedded and Sidecar.

Don’t worry too much what they mean – all we need to know here is that if you select this option choosing and working with images will be a lot quicker.

Build Smart Previews – I always do this at the time of import.

Don’t Import Suspected Duplicates – keep this checked.

Make a second copy to – I make a second copy on import to my PC hard drive.

Add to collection – because of the way I work I do not check this box but suggest that you do if you are starting out in Lightroom. You can add a new collection, which means that the newly imported images will be available to view and edit in Lightroom Mobile, as long as you sync them. To do this right click on the collection you have created and select “Sync with Lightroom Mobile”.

There are also Develop presets that I add at the time of import. Here they are.

Import preset 1.PNG
Import preset 2.PNG
Import preset 3.PNG
Import preset 4.PNG

These are saved in a develop preset and are applied to every image on import.

7 – Choose the images that you want to work with.

Don’t edit everything, just the best images.

I narrow down the images from a shoot massively. I try to take one shot of a scene and move on, but obviously take more images than that over the course of a shoot/ trip.

For an architectural shoot for one regular client I never produce more than 10 images. For new clients I am working for I state on my quotes that I will be providing no more than 30 images, which puts a limit on expectations.

Sometimes I produce much less than 30 images which has never been a problem.

I spend a lot of time choosing the images I want to process. Processing can take time after all, and I only process the best of the best from a shoot or a trip.

From my dedicated photography trip to Santorini I edited 99 images – that is all from 5 days of shooting. You can view these at my website Photos Of Santorini.

I select the images I want to edit in Lightroom using the Library Module.

I go through the images and use the keyboard shortcut P (for Pick). Any outright rejects are selected with the key X (reject). After the first pass I use a filter to show the Picks only, and I go through them again.

I keep repeating this until I am down to a good selection. I then create a new sub-folder called Picks, and these are the photos I will work on. I delete all the rejects straight away.

And one more thing that I am going to do having written this post. Every month I am going to go through a folder and delete all the stuff I do not want. I will report back on how many images I manage to get rid of doing this, and how much hard drive space I am saving.

8 – Solo Mode

A really quick tip. At some point you will get fed up scrolling up and down the modules with them all open. Solo mode means when you select a module it closes the one that you were working in.

Seriously this is a great thing to do.

Just right click on the panel list and check the box – this is it here.

IMAGE.JPG

9 – Work through the modules

There are seven modules in Lightroom Classic

  • Library

This is where all the images are stored.

  • Develop

This is where the fun stuff is – this is where you edit images.

I use these two all the time. On every shoot.

  • Map

Where the photos were taken using the GPS built into my Canon 6D.

  • Book

  • Slideshow

  • Print

  • Web

I don’t use these last four modules at all.

And switch off the modules you do not use.

10 – Keyboard Shortcuts

Here are the keyboard shortcuts that I use all the time. I listed these out for another blog post without having Lightroom in front of me, that is how much I must use them!

E – brings up the loupe view (full size image)

D – takes me to the develop module from where I am.

Control G – adds images into a stack – I use this all the time

G – takes me straight to the grid view from wherever I am

R – brings up the crop dialogue box, which is the first thing I do when I am editing an image

O – this neat shortcut cycles through the overlays in the crop module which I find very helpful with my composition

P – P for Pick adds a white flag to an image to provide a positive selection

X – X for reject – ok does not work as well as the previous one but is the other shortcut I use to reject images I do not want to keep

Shift Tab – I use this to quickly hide all the side panels giving me a lovely big image that fills my screen

N – N intuitively stands for survey mode, where I can compare similar photos and select the one image of choice out of that selection

The post was called Very Quick Photography Tips - 105 Things Worth Knowing – this is the YouTube video for this post.

11 – File syncing

Another quick tip. In the develop module you can edit one image then apply those adjustments to all the other images.

Select the image you have edited, hit copy and choose what you want to add to the other images, then select all the other images and hit paste. Voila – instant editing!

And a great tip for metadata - select all the images and the keywords are added to all the images at the same time! This is great for the generic keywords such as location that I add to every image (see below).

You can copy and paste the same as you can with edit data.

12 – Stick with it until you know Lightroom inside out - don’t worry about Photoshop just yet

Learn Lightroom inside out. And you will get to a point where you need Photoshop.

All I ever use Photoshop for is removing stuff.

  • People

  • Loose gravel

  • Hose pipes

Annoying bits on the edges of an image

That is it. I do not understand layers, and only use Photoshop if I have to remove something.

That is how good Lightroom is – it really is all you need, certainly in the beginning.

I spent far too long trying to learn Lightroom, Photoshop and other editing software all at the same time, with the end result being that I learned none of them properly.

13 – Add metadata to images when you are doing something with them.

Adding all the metadata that you need to takes time. There are three fields into which you can add lots of good stuff.

  • Keywords

  • Title

  • Caption

I add copyright information on import automatically by the way.

Keywords was something that bothered my and I have numerous attempts at sorting out this issue.

That was until I had the realisation – the light bulb moment.

Do I need to add keywords to every image?

No. I need to add keywords to the images that I am going to be doing something with. For the images that never leave my computer there is absolutely no point.

So that is what I do. I add metadata just before exporting images out of Lightroom for issue to a client, publishing or sharing.

14 – Lightroom Mobile

Lightroom Mobile is great. It is a free App that I use on my iPhone and iPad. To do this you need to add images from Lightroom Classic into what are called collections. Sync them with Lightroom Mobile and boom there they are on your other devices.

I use Lightroom Mobile to go through sets of images and make my picks. It can be a more enjoyable experience to do this whilst reclining on a sofa!

And rating images is really quick too.

And I also use Lightroom Mobile to add images from Lightroom to my iPhone/ iPad camera roll – this gives me quicker access to images to add to social media.

And you can edit image in Lightroom Mobile too!

15 – Don’t aim for perfection

If you do you will fail. Do the best you can sure, but do not strive for perfection. Get the job done and move on.

I used to spend endless amounts of time tweaking this and that – there comes a point pretty quickly where further editing is not only unnecessary but is actually detrimental to an image.

I use the 80/20 rule – 80 percent now is better than 100% never. And rarely does that last 20% make much of a difference.

Summary

Rick McEvoy

I hope that you have enjoyed my post where I give you 15 ideas for ways to help you work faster in Lightroom Classic. Please get back to me with any comments.

And also please check out the video for this post which you can find on my YouTube Channel. If you like this video please subscribe to my channel to be notified of my weekly videos.

Rick McEvoy ABIPP – Photographer, writer, blogger, website creator

New Videos On My Photography YouTube Channel

There are weekly videos now appearing on my photography YouTube Channel for which I am getting some really nice feedback.

Here are links to a couple of my recent videos.

10 Travel Photography Blog Tips Helping Make My Blogs Better - And check out my funky shirt!!

10 Travel Photography Blog Tips Helping Make My Blogs Better - And check out my funky shirt!!

Very Quick Photography Tips - 105 Things Worth Knowing - One Line Photography Tips

Very Quick Photography Tips - 105 Things Worth Knowing - One Line Photography Tips

JPEG Explained In Plain English - The video that goes with my blog post

JPEG Explained In Plain English - The video that goes with my blog post

JPEG Explained In Plain English - The video that goes with my blog post

I am now producing videos to accmpnay my weekly photography blog posts. Coming up in the next couple of weeks are the following.

  • 15 Practical Tips To Help You Work Faster In Lightroom Classic - 12 Years Of Knowledge in 1 video

  • What Is Photography? 15 Fundamental Questions Answered - Sort Of!

  • 15 Really Useful Tips To Help You Take Better Photos - Now This Is Good Stuff!!

I hope that you find these videos interesting and helpful - if you do please subscribe to my YouTube Channel.

Rick McEvoy Photography - photographer, writer, website creator and now video producer!!

Is This The Best Travel Tripod Ever? What Do You Think?

This is the Peak Design press release for their new travel tripod.  This is my affiliate link to the Kickstarter page.

Is this the best travel tripod ever? To be honest I do not know, but I am looking forward to trying ths cool piece of kit out. They have addressed my number one irritation with travel tripods - the space they take. Will I invest in the Kickstarter campaign? Possibly - I am thinking about that now. Until then read the press release below and decide if you want to join this new venture.

“Peak Design Unveils The Next Generation of Camera Tripods

New Travel Tripod Promises to Redefine Product Category for Years to Come

IMG_1537.JPG

San Francisco, CA (May, 2019) – After multiple award-winning bag releases, Peak Design, the worldwide leader in crowdfunding and everyday carry solutions, is proud to disrupt yet another product category—the camera tripod.

More than four years in the making, Peak Design’s newest release, Travel Tripod, is a ground-up reexamination of camera tripod design to produce the world’s most portable, packable, and easy-to-setup tripod for professionals and first-time tripod owners alike.

Peak Design directly addressed their biggest rub about traditional tripods: spatial inefficiency and unnecessary bulk.

Peak Design’s goal was to eliminate the dead space within a tripod, an ever-present inefficiency that often doubles or triples the effective diameter of a packed tripod. Peak Design engineers reworked Travel Tripod’s legs and center column to nest perfectly together in order to achieve a total packed diameter of just 3.25 inches—roughly the diameter of a water bottle. The result is a tripod that deploys to 60 inches tall while taking up less than half the volume of its competitors.

“During my travels in 2008 I began wondering why on Earth my tripod was so big. The thing was full of negative space and knobs, and I felt like something designed for portability could do much better,” commented Peak Design CEO, Peter Dering. “I quickly realized that anything short of a complete design overhaul would fail to meet my criteria of the perfect travel tripod. It took years of development but the outcome is a camera tripod that seamlessly integrates into all aspects of travel and adventure.”

Travel Tripod is among the quickest-to-deploy and most intuitive to use tripods on the market. Peak Design developed a system of non-inverted legs that rapidly deploy along an aligned system of locking cam levers. With three swift hand movements, the legs can be fully extended and ready for action.

Peak Design also optimized the Travel Tripod ball head to operate more fluidly than traditional tripod heads while still prioritizing spatial efficiency. Travel Tripod eliminates bulky and confusing knobs with a single adjustment ring for simple and smooth 360-degree adjustment. Peak Design’s proprietary quick-release plate technology facilitates lightning-fast camera attachment—easily accommodating a full frame DSLR with telephoto lens—and is compatible with Peak Design carrying equipment and with Arca Swiss tripod dimensions. Furthermore, Travel Tripod’s ball head measures just 3.25 inches in diameter, keeping it aligned with the packed profile of the tripod’s legs for exceptionally compact carry.

In addition to a thorough rethinking of a tripod's architecture and user interface, carefully considered material choices and construction techniques provide the stability and vibration dampening demanded by avid photographers. A built-in universal phone mount, bubble-level, hook for counterweights, and included soft case round out a packed feature list that fans of Peak Design have come to expect.

Available both in carbon fiber and aluminum legs (MSRP: $599.95 // $349.95) the Travel Tripod will launch on Kickstarter (peakdesign.com/ks) for a pre-sale discount beginning May 21, 2019. The tripod will then be available for purchase online at peakdesign.com and through major retailers in time for the 2019 holiday season.

About Peak Design

Since 2010, Peak Design has been building innovative carry solutions with a simple overarching design directive: make the best things. The idea for our first product was born on a motorcycle trip through Southeast Asia and has since expanded to include a cross-functional ecosystem of bags, pouches, slings, straps, and clips. We’ve won applause along the way, but we’re most proud of the fact that we’re 100% crowdfunded and 100% employee-owned. We’ve raised $20.2 Million through 8 Kickstarter campaigns, allowing Peak Design to stay investor-free and focused on the things that matter most: designing great products, fostering happy employees, and taking care of our customers and the natural environment. Learn more at peakdesign.com.”

Back this exciting new tripod on Kickstarter - remember this is not a store!

Rick McEvoy Photography

The Exposure Triangle Explained In Plain English

Exposure is an important part of taking a photograph correctly. The exposure triangle is key to obtaining the correct exposure for every image.

In this post, The Exposure triangle explained in plain English, I will explain what the exposure triangle is, what the three components of the exposure triangle, aperture, shutter speed and ISO are, and how they relate to each other in the exposure triangle.

No graphs or charts, just a good old fashioned plain English explanation.

You can also check out the accompanying video on my YouTube Channel where I talk through this subject in a bit more detail.

After reading this post you will understand the exposure triangle, the three elements of the exposure triangle and why this is important to us all as photographers.

1 - What is the exposure triangle?

Exposure Triangle 08052019.png

Nice drawing eh? I did that myself!

The exposure triangle is the combination of the three main camera settings, aperture, shutter and ISO, that tell the camera sensor how to record the composition viewed through the camera lens.

2 - What is the aperture on a camera?

The aperture on a camera is a multi-bladed device that changes the size of the opening in the camera lens through which light is travelling.

I use a Canon 24-105mm F4 lens.

The aperture range is F4 – F22.

The maximum aperture is F4. At F4 the aperture is not visible, meaning that the lens is fully open, and the maximum amount of light can pass through the camera lens to the sensor.

The minimum aperture is F22. When I select F22 the aperture closes down, reducing the opening through which light travels to the sensor to its smallest size, hence the name minimum aperture.

On a DSLR the aperture closes to the selected aperture only when the shutter release button is pressed, and the image is captured.

You can on most DSLRs use what is called the depth of field preview button to manually close down the aperture. This allows you to assess the depth of field through the viewfinder by activating the selected aperture. You can also see the aperture blades doing this.

  • Maximum aperture = maximum amount of light transmission to the sensor.

  • Minimum aperture = minimum amount of light transmission to the sensor.

3 - What is ISO?

ISO stands for International Standards Organisation. Back in the days of film you could buy films with various ISOs. There was also ASA and DIN.

Confused? Well the International Standard for Organisations came up with their own way measuring camera film sensitivity, and this was the one that stuck.

But please don’t worry about this, as far as we are concerned the origin of the term ISO is not important.

How ISO applies in photography is however very important.

So ISO is a standardised way of measuring camera film sensitivity to light. The standard camera film had an ISO of 100. ISO 400 film was for cloudy days, and ISO 1600 for low light and sports photography. And then there was the ultra-fast ISO3200 film.

There were other ISOs, but these were the main ones, and I am quoting these to explain what ISO means.

Which is this. A camera film with an ISO of 400 is more sensitive to light than a camera film with an ISO of 100.

  • The higher the ISO number, the higher the sensitivity to light.

  • The lower the ISO number, the lower the sensitivity to light.

  • The lower the ISO number, the higher the quality if image capture possible.

ISO is the sensitivity of camera film to light.

And moving to the current day, the ISO is the sensitivity of the camera sensor to light.

And on a digital camera the ISO can best anywhere from ISO100 to ISO25,600. This is the ISO range of my Canon 6D.

In general terms the lower the ISO the higher the quality of image capture. But that is for another post.

I am going to stick to the exposure triangle only in this post.

4 - What is the camera shutter speed?

The shutter speed is the amount of time that the camera shutter is opened to allow light to be recorded by the camera sensor.

The faster the shutter speed, the shorter the time the shutter is open meaning less light is captured by the camera sensor.

The slower the shutter speed, the longer the time the shutter is open meaning more light is captured by the camera sensor.

5 - Next I need to explain what a stop is.

A stop is a measurement of adjustment of light. A stop can be applied to each of the three components of the exposure triangle.

An adjustment of 1 stop equates to either a doubling or halving of the amount of light that reaches the camera sensor. I will explain stops for each of the components of the exposure triangle, and how they relate to each other.

6 - Aperture and stops explained.

My Canon 24-105mm F4 L lens has a maximum aperture of F4, and a minimum aperture of F22.

The full stops are

  • F4

  • F5.6

  • F8

  • F11

  • F16

  • F22

Remember, the smaller the number the larger the aperture. And going from F4 to F5.6 is reducing the aperture by 1 full stop, which is halving the amount of light reaching the sensor.

7 - ISO and stops explained

The same principles apply to ISO. Remember that the ISO is the sensitivity of a camera sensor to light.

ISO full stops are as follows

  • ISO100

  • ISO200

  • ISO400

  • ISO800

  • ISO1600

  • ISO3200

  • ISO6400

  • ISO12800

  • ISO25600

Unlike the aperture scale ISO follows a more logical, linear progression.

Changing the ISO from ISO100 to ISO200 is making a change of one stop. This adjustment is doubling the sensitivity of the sensor to light.

This means that doubling the ISO only half the light is required to achieve the same exposure.

8 - Shutter speeds and full stops explained

Shutter speed is the time that the shutter is open exposing the senor to light.

Full stop shutter speeds are

  • 30 seconds

  • 15 seconds

  • 8 seconds

  • 4 seconds

  • 2 seconds

  • 1 second

  • ½ second

  • ¼ second

  • 1/8thsecond

  • 1/15thsecond

  • 1/30thsecond

  • 1/60thsecond

  • 1/125thsecond

  • 1/250thsecond

  • 1/500thsecond

  • 1/1000thsecond

  • 1/2000thsecond

  • 1/4000thsecond

As you can see there is again a linear progression.

If you change the shutter speed from 1/250th second to 1/500th second you have reduced the time that the shutter is exposed by one half, which is a full stop. This means that the amount of light reaching the sensor has reduced by a half.

9 - What difference does a full stop make?

A full stop adjustment either halves or doubles the amount of light reaching the camera sensor. And a full stop is the same be it ISO, aperture or shutter speed.

10 - Getting a correct exposure

The aperture, shutter speed and ISO combine to determine the brightness of an image. If everything is set correctly then the exposure will be correct. The image capture will be as close as the camera is capable of capturing in a single image of the scene being photographed.

You can find out the correct exposure using your cameras meter. Another subject for separate post.

11 - OK – how do these three relate to each other?

Let me give you an example.

The following settings are correct (according to my cameras meter) for the scene I am photographing

  • Aperture F8

  • Shutter Speed 1/250thsecond.

  • ISO 400

If I were to adjust the aperture by 1 stop to F11 I would be reducing the opening size of the aperture, halving the amount of light reaching the camera sensor.

The image would be darker than the correct exposure would be. The image would be one stop under exposed.

If I took the original settings and increased the ISO to 1600, I would be increasing the sensitivity of the camera’s sensor by 2 stops, quadrupling the brightness of the image. The image would be too bright. The image would be 2 stops overexposed.

And finally if I were to change the shutter speed from 1/250thsecond to 1/125thsecond then the time that the sensor was exposed to light would have been doubled, again making the image too bright.

11 - And for completeness

Different combinations can provide the same exposure.

  • Aperture F8

  • Shutter Speed 1/250thsecond.

  • ISO 400

Provides the same exposure as

  • Aperture F5.6 (one stop more light)

  • Shutter Speed 1/500thsecond (one stop less light).

  • ISO 400

As does

  • Aperture F5.6 (one stop more light)

  • Shutter Speed 1/250thsecond.

  • ISO 200 (one stop one stop less light)

Further reading/ viewing

In future blog posts I will be writing about aperture, shutter and ISO. You can subscribe to my weekly photography blog from my home page, and check out my other blog posts here.

There is a YouTube video which accompanies this post which you can view here - please forgive the quality but I am slowly improving!

And on my YouTube channel you will find lots of other good stuff all about photography - please subscribe so you get to see my weekly posts.

I would like to point you in the direction of a recent blog post I wrote which is proving very popular Very Quick Photography Tips - 105 Things Worth Knowing.

Talking of popular recent articles and my Canon 6D you might find this article interesting which I published recently about my favourite camera Is The Canon 6D Still Worth Buying In 2019?

Who am I?

I am a professionally qualified photographer - ABIPP - based in the south of England. I specialise in architectural, landscape and travel photography. I am a freelance writer and website creator.

Summary

Me on location in Santorini April 2017.jpg

I hope that you now understand the exposure triangle, the three elements that make up the exposure triangle, what they are and how they relate to each other. 

This is not a scientific or technical explanation of the exposure triangle – there are lots of those on the internet. The purpose of this post was to explain the exposure triangle in plain English, which I hope I have managed to do.

Rick McEvoy ABIPP - Photographer, writer, website creator

Pinterest For Photographers Explained (By A Photographer)

Pinterest is a social media platform with circa 250 million users. Pinterest is a rapidly growing social network that uses visual media as the basis for content.

In this post I will explain how I as a photographer use Pinterest. I am going to tell you how I have been using Pinterest to attract well over 375,000 unique visitors per month with minimal thought and effort. I will then tell you how to set up your Pinterest account properly, and how I am going to be using Pinterest to help grow my photography businesses in a planned systematic way.

IMG_1525.PNG

But first, before I go any further

Pinterest.PNG

Please follow me on Pinterest by clicking HERE. We all need to be asking others to follow us!

This is something that I have not been very good at - asking people to follow me.

Why do I use Pinterest?

Pinterest is a social media platform where pins have a much, much longer life than posts on Instagram, and Tweets on Twitter. Pinterest is different from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I do not use Facebook and put minimal effort into Twitter and Instagram.

It is a visual platform where people go to curate ideas and find stuff. I will say that again – it is a visual platform – ideal for photographers then!!!

Each and every pin has much more value now and in the future than a Tweet or Instagram post.

I see Pinterest as a long-term investment, which is consistent with the approach I am taking with the content on my websites – I am working to achieve long-term, organic, sustainable growth.

The long-term plan with Pinterest and my websites

Work done now will benefit me in the future. To give you an excellent perspective of this it takes up to 35 weeks for a post to reach its full potential with the Googles robots– work done now is very much work that will provide benefits in the future.

This has been frustrating in the past as I did not know this and thought that what I was doing was not working, so I would change things.

Now I know how long this takes, I am sticking to my plans.

And the results I have achieved to date are for work done in the past – now I am consistently adding to that excellent foundation on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.

What am I using Pinterest for?

To drive traffic to my websites. That is the brutally honest truth. I want as much sustainable traffic to my websites as I can get, with the minimal effort and expense using a variety of channels and sources.

This is what I have been working on for some time now – getting more traffic to my websites using

  • High quality, regularly posted content

  • Pinterest

  • YouTube

  • and to a lesser extent the other social media channels.

And the good news about Pinterest

Pins on Pinterest have much longer shelf lives than other social media. More on that later. But hopefully now you are interested enough in using Pinterest to promote your own photography business.

And as a visual platform it is surely great for photographers! So one of the main things that you need for Pinterest, great imagery, should not be a problem for us photographers.

The writing of this post was the beginning of me taking Pinterest much more seriously, and actually researching Pinterest properly and coming up with a structured plan going forwards.

Lets’ get into the weeds on this.

How I have I been using Pinterest so far?

I have not been using Pinterest with much thought or logic. When I started off with Pinterest it was just another social media platform that I thought I should be on, so I took it as seriously as the other social media platforms.

Which is not very seriously, just another necessary evil that I thought I had to contribute to.

I have been using a service called Tailwind to schedule my posts. I have again done this with little thought (more on Tailwind later).

This and sharing pins from the Pinterest app on my phone.

So it is a bit of surprise that at the time of starting to write this post I have 386,000 monthly unique viewers (this number changes on a daily basis).

Check out the screenshot from my iPad.

INSERT IPAD SCREENSHOT

Is that many unique monthly views good?

Well it can’t be bad, but to be honest it is not the end game here. This is very much a vanity number, but I also treat this as an indicator of the direction of travel – the bigger the number the better things are going.

So I am not getting too hung up on that number, even if the scale of it is to be completely honest rather exciting news for me.

A better number is the “Monthly Engaged” one

In the last 30 days I have 19,541 “monthly engaged” people. This is an increase of 144% - and this is a number that I do take seriously.

“Engaged” is defined by Pinterest as “people who see your Pins and people who act on your Pins”.

How many followers do I have?

161 (see later for the individual board followers)

That is not a lot.

But that is not the point.

How many re-pins have I received?

5471 in the last 30 days. And this number is trending upwards. I take this is a very good indicator.

Which are my most popular pins?

When I check Pinterest Analytics this is what I find.

My most popular pin is this pin of a photo of a waterfall

Pinterest waterfall 02052019.PNG

1.4k impressions quite quickly which is good news. I think that the vertical picture format helps with this one.

And the next most popular pin, with 1.3k impressions?

Another very recent pin, and one of my blog posts that I have shared from Rick McEvoy Photography onto Pinterest titled Very Quick Photography Tips – 105 Things Worth Knowing

I thought this one might work well, being a long post with lots of info and a title that has attracted interest.

Pinterest 105 things 02052019.PNG


All these numbers come from Pinterest.

And how much traffic has my website seen?

This is the important thing to me. My web traffic has been growing significantly, so here are the numbers from Google Analytics. Actually this is a screenshot from Squarespace Analytics (which uses Google Analytics), which gets me these numbers really quickly.

Here is the screenshot from my iPad.

IMG_1524.PNG

As you can see I got 44 referrals from Pinterest in the last 30 days. Whilst that is not in itself a big number it does account for 88% of the social media referral traffic.

One for me to definitely keep an eye on.

Like I say not a lot of traffic, but all the work I have done not only on Pinterest but elsewhere is done now and will hopefully bear fruit in the future. And now I am adding to the work already done.

What is the Squarespace Analytics App?

My main website is on the Squarespace platform. The analytics app is excellent and gives me better live reporting than Google Analytics does which is interesting.

My other websites, Paxos Travel Guide and Photos of Santorini are built on the WordPress platform.

How many Pinterest boards do I have?

Well in starting my research for this post I had a look at my own boards, and they were a bit of a mess I have to say.

I have deleted lots of boards, leaving just the following

  • Architectural Photography

This is my core business area so there should be a board for this I guess!

  • Other people’s photography

This is literally other people’s photos that I have seen on Pinterest and just liked.

  • Paxos Travel Guide

I have a website called Paxos Travel Guide, so a board just for that website is entirely appropriate.

  • Photography

Generally photography stuff that I have found interesting.

  • Photos of Santorini

Again, I have a website called Photos of Santorini so there is a board dedicated to just this.

  • Photography Gear

Photography gear – well what did think this would be?

  • Rick McEvoy Photography

This is where my weekly blog posts get shared.

  • Travel

Pins by other people all about travel.

  • Travel Photography

The new board. When I got thinking about this I had missed one of the points of Pinterest, which is to promote my photography, so this board is a new board in which I am pinning my own travel photography work.

Should I have deleted these other boards?

NO. DO NOT DO WHAT I DID.

I should have kept them there – they were not doing any harm and might have had some gems in there but as I can’t recover them I will just have to get over this rather stupid impulsive mistake.

Do I have a Pinterest business account?

No. well I didn’t, and that was the beginning of this post and the beginning of me taking Pinterest much more seriously.

Getting a Pinterest business account was the first thing to change.

And when I checked I had already done this – I did have a Pinterest Business Account – I just did not know this!

And no this does not cost anything.

How am I going to use Pinterest going forwards?

Well this is the point. I have managed to get 386,000 monthly unique views (and this number is trending upwards), but in the same period only 44 referrals to my website.

That puts the numbers in perspective nicely.

And gives me the incentive to be a bit more systematic about this.

Before I go on, a word on Tailwind.

Tailwind is a paid service allowing you to schedule posts to Pinterest. You have to pay for this and having heard lots of good things I paid the annual subscription of circa £70.

I have used Tailwind to quickly schedule lots of re-pins and have even joined 5 tribes to share my stuff within groups of people with similar interests, namely travel, photography and travel photography.

So Tailwind has been a great tool which I will continue to use.

But there is more that I need to do.

I need to post more of my own posts.

Before I do that I need to make sure that my Pinterest account is set up properly.

When I first signed up to Pinterest I did not have a clue what I was doing, so it makes sense to go back to the beginning and check that everything is as it should be,

Convert to Pinterest business account

Sorry I had already done that!

Other things that I have needed to correct/ update/ improve

  • My profile.

I have added to this significantly – what it did say was

“Photographer, blogger, writer, website creator”

Hardly putting the effort in eh?

So this is what I came up with. There are 160 characters available, so I had to get the best value out of them!

“I am Rick, a photographer based in the UK specialising in architectural, landscape and travel photography. I am also a website creator and freelance writer.”

That should do it.

  • Confirm the website.

Doing this means that I can see what people Pin from my website. I had already done this so nothing more to do here.

One last bit of housekeeping that I did was to edit my boards. If you remember I have lots less boards than I used to have, and now they all have nice descriptions which are relevant.

  • Add the Pinterest button to my website

I had not done this would you believe!

This is another very good thing to do (that I really should have done) – add a Pinterest button so people can pin photos straight from my website. This is why Pinterest is good for photographers – it makes the visual side of my website very easily shareable, which is exactly what I want.

Now when someone hovers over any image that small Pinterest logo appears top right in the image.

I am glad that I have sorted this little lot out – my Pinterest account looks much more cared for now, rather than being a random collection of stuff.

And in researching this post I have managed to set my own Pinterest account up properly which should pay dividends for the future.

Now that all that good stuff is out of the way it is time for the most important question.

What do I need to pin? I got there in the end.

Pin in a consistent way

Ouch. I have not done this. I have randomly added pins as and when the thought came to me.

I will come back to scheduling later, but the point here is that you should pin stuff every day, and to pin at a consistent and peak time is useful.

The only problem with the peak time bit is when is that in the day? My photography website is a global .com website. And my travel photography business by its very nature has global appeal.

If you have a shop in England the timing should be easy enough to work out – it is less clear for online global needs.

What should the content contain?

Pinterest is a visual platform so visually appealing posts work well. I am a photographer, so photos are what I will be posting. My own photos, as well as other peoples’ photos that I like.

And lifestyle photos outperform product photos. A photo of someone actually using a product is more likely to sell than a product photo.

Obviously I am a photographer, so images are my main thing, so I am ok. If you are in a different area of business you will have different needs which I recommend you research before going nuts and pinning stuff!

If you are not into photography then you can use stock photos. If you sell products then product photos should be of a good enough quality to sell your products.

And on the subject of photos – very important

Vertical formats work really well, as they fill the screen on a phone. For a digital camera that is portrait format, not landscape. And in terms of image size the 3:2 aspect ratio is just fine. So 600 pixels wide x 900 pixels high is perfect. That is 2:3 aspect ratio thinking about it!

My most popular pin is a portrait format photo of a waterfall.

And significantly more people use Pinterest on their phones that on tablets and actual computers.

Significantly more. This is a biggy.

And one that I have failed to take account of.

Text on photos

Now this is news to me. I have been sharing photos without text on them. This is something that I needed to look into. Do I want text on my lovely photos?

No – I do not.

But I need to get over myself.

This is one that I will look at in more detail.

Branding

Pinterest followers do not generally search by brand, they search by thing, or source of inspiration. And the inspiration I have to offer is my photos. And of course my most excellent writing!

Content

I reshare a lot of other people’s pins. This fills up my Tailwind schedule with stuff quickly and with minimal effort.

But the posts that are my own need more work, time and care.

I am happy to have a mix of re-pins and my own stuff. A suggested good mix is 7 re-pins and 3 of your own pins per day.

I am not going to be that conscientious to be honest.

Sorry before I get into the content let’s talk about hashtags.

Stuffing a post with hash tags is not the thing to do on Pinterest. 3-20 is a suggested figure. 3-20 relevant hashtags at the end of the text in the post is all that is required.

Simple and sorted.

I will go with the lesser end of this scale, 3 – 5 hashtags.

What about the content?

Well Tailwind fills up my queue nicely, but I want something more.

So this is my systematic plan for Pinterest.

I am going to add 1 new pin of my own every day. And I am going to add these using Tailwind. By creating the pins is Tailwind I can schedule my pins, adding a months’ worth at a time, and then add the re-pins to fill up the posting schedule Tailwind has created for me.

I want to consistently produce new pins, but I also do not want too to spend a lot of time on this. And once I have added my months pins I can forget about Pinterest. Other than checking those numbers far too often that is!

So how does 1 pin per day look?

Rick McEvoy Photography Board

I post a weekly blog from my main website which is shared automatically on Pinterest. That is the core content that I want to get onto Pinterest, so it is good that this is done automatically.

And I will add the weekly videos about the content of my weekly photography blog which I have just started posting to YouTube.

That is 8/10 posts.

That’s a good start sharing content that has already been created!

So to the other boards.

My travel photography website pages.

I am going to add one photo Pin per week to each of the boards Photos of Santorini and Paxos Travel Guide.

That is another 8/10 pins.

Travel photography

I am going to pin 10 of my travel photography photos per month to this board. This is quite a commitment, but I hope that using Tailwind this will be not too much work. I do have lots of images after all that I want to get out there, and my main focus here is on travel photography, so this needs some real work!

And with each of my Pins I will write natural text with a sprinkling of hashtags at the end. The key here is natural content, not just trying to force things.

Travel Board

This is going to be re-pins of other people’s stuff.

Architectural Photography

I forgot about this board. My day job. One pin per week is a must.

Photography Gear

One pin per week of one of my gear shots plus lots of other people’s pins.

Photography

Anything goes on this one – anything that takes my interest.

Other Peoples Photography

Just re-pins of photos that I like.

And that is all my boards covered.

How many Pins have I go to?

Based on a 4-week month that is 34 pins per month.

Perfect. I will do this starting July 1st – my schedule is full up until then.

This is my formula and my plan based on everything I have learned – let’s see how this goes.

Resources/ further reading/ listening

I can recommend the Simple Pin podcast, which is a podcast about Pinterest which I have recently discovered and learnt a lot from

And also their website - Simple Pin Media.

I also learned stuff from excellent articles from on Hootsuite.

Tailwind

I have mentioned Tailwind – I am a paying customer to Tailwind and use Tailwind to manage my Pinterest activities. If you are interested in growing your Pinterest traffic I can recommend Tailwind, which is the main reason I have achieved the number of visitors that I have to date.

Finally, what are my top 5 Pinterest Photography boards

1 - Rick McEvoy Photography

At the time of writing 1.3k Pins and 141 followers.

2 - Travel Photography

At the time of writing 28 Pins and 137 followers

3 - Architectural Photography

At the time of writing 200 Pins and 138 followers

4 – Paxos Travel Guide

At the time of writing 181 Pins and 139 followers

5 – Photos of Santorini

At the time of writing 603 Pins and 148 followers

I am interested to see how these individual boards develop over the second half of 2019.

Finally finally - Please follow me

Pinterest - click here for my Pinterest page

YouTube - there is also an accompanying YouTube video for this blog post which you can view here

And of course you can subscribe to my photography blog straight from my home page.

I know - multimedia productions!

Rick McEvoy

Summary

I hope that you have found my explanation of Pinterest helpful, and that I have convinced you to at least give Pinterest a go.

I will write an update later on this year – lets give this new strategy a few months to hopefully do its magic and get lots more traffic over to my websites.

Rick McEvoy ABIPP - photographer, blogger, website creator

31 Important Features Features For Your New Camera

A few weeks ago I wrote about my old faithful Canon 6D, and asked if I was ready to replace it, and if so what with? I spent lots of time talking about the Canon 6D in that article.

So here are 31 important features features for your new camera. This based on how I have used cameras in the past, and how I am going to use cameras in the future. This is with a lifetime of photography experience. In producing this list you will learn what camera features are genuinely important to me in my work as an architectural, landscape and travel photographer. And which features are by default not important. I hope that this will help you choose your next camera.

I am going to refine this list down to the essential items that I need, which will determine what my next camera should be.

A new camera is a significant purchase in so many ways, so time spent identifying the features required will ensure that the best choice of a new camera is made.

By the way these are all features that will help me to take better photos, which is my number one priority.

Why am I writing this list now?

This list started off when I was writing a previous blog post about my Canon 6D, and brought together thoughts I have been having for some time. The starting point really was what would I do if I broke my Canon 6D – this is an entirely likely scenario as I am

  • Intrinsically clumsy, and

  • Take photos on live construction sites

  • Like putting my camera very close to the bit of land where the waves and land meet.

  • Take my camera with me absolutely everywhere

  • Seriously I am really clumsy

What has made me think about changing my camera?

So once that thought process had been initiated, the cogs started whirring slowly.

The 3 primary reasons/ concerns/ potential issues

1 – My dodgy old mince pies (like the rather too early Yuletide reference?)

Head torch 09092018.PNG

My eyesight is getting worse as I get older. Well we are all getting older of course but I have a bit of a head start when it comes to age – I am already 51.

It is my eyes that are the issue. I have been short sighted for donkeys’ years now. But in the last 5 years my near vision has got worse and worse.

Add short-sighted to losing your near vision and it is a royal pain in the X! Try seeing all those small lights and dials on a camera, and then switch your vision to distance – not easy.

2 – A different way of working

Yes – I am working in a different way now. My Canon 6D is still doing an excellent job with my architectural photography work, but there are other things that I am doing now, travel photography and vlogging. My Canon 6D is not fitting the bill as well for these areas of my work.

Photos of Santorini web page extract 19102018.PNG


3 – I just want something shiny and new

Shock confession. I want a new camera. There – I have said it now. I think that this has become one of those self-fulfilling prophecies. I started writing about not replacing my Canon 6D and find myself here writing this post with much too much enthusiasm!

To be fair to me my cameras tend to last me five years so I am due for something that will take me into the year 2024 – imagine what technology will be doing for us by then!!

Back to the subject in hand - here are the 31 features that I want in my next camera.

These 31 things are in no particular order, and are a list of the things that came to me when I sat down to capture the headings for this article. 31 just happens to be the number of things I came up with – there is no significance to this number!!

1 - Smaller and lighter than my Canon 6D with lenses attached.

I found myself using my iPhone more and more on holiday. I basically couldn’t be bothered getting my Canon 6D out all the time, and really enjoyed the ease of using an iPhone.

I know – its not Canons fault I’m lazy!

I used my Canon 6D for sunrise shots, where it was just me and the sunrise, no on else around and just me to think about. I used my Canon 6D on my travel tripod, the Manfrotto 190 Go.

I would really like something much smaller and lighter that I can take on trips and not be burdened with.

My 6D is not that big to be fair – it is just the collection of stuff together that bugs me. And I know there is smaller stuff out there.

Talking of tripods I also use a Platypod and a very small tripod called the Manfrotto Pixi. If I had a much smaller camera, I would have more options in terms of tripods and other supports which is rather exciting.

2 - In camera HDR

I am going to refer to my Canon 6D as my camera from now on. OK?

My camera has built-in HDR, but this is only to Jpeg files. I shoot in RAW only, so this feature is of no use to me.

Or is it?

Is there a different way of looking at this? Has the technology of cameras, sensors, image capture and image processing progressed to the point where there is no real difference between Jpeg and RAW?

Is there a camera that makes this differentiation irrelevant?

And is there a camera that makes HDR irrelevant as well?

Well it’s a thought.

Can a single image capture be enough?

Or a single image capture processed using something like Aurora HDR.

3 – GPS

GPS is a must for not only my travel photography, but also my commercial photography and the stuff I do on the way to and from shoots.

I have GPS on my Canon 6D which I always use, which I find incredibly useful.

I use the Map Module in Lightroom a lot, especially when I am writing about my photographs on my various websites, blog and also on the Improve Photography website.

View from Oia Lightroom Map 19102018.PNG

GPS is pretty much an essential tool for me.

4 - Wi-fi

I use Wi-Fi to remotely control my camera using the Canon Connect App. I have used this to activate my camera from the top of my painters’ pole in a couple of situations.

Me using the Wi-Fi on my Canon 6D

Me using the Wi-Fi on my Canon 6D

This photo was taken in a pretty harsh environment, a gravel loading facility next to a live rail siding. I had to photograph the gravel being unloaded by the 360 machine from the train into the gravel bays.

And when these guys are unloading from a train on a live rail network they get on with it!

No time to wait on this shoot with my Canon 6D

No time to wait on this shoot with my Canon 6D

The other example is where I want to take a photograph of a building from higher than ground level, like the photo above. Getting to first floor level, which is only circa 3m gives a completely different perspective, and also means that my camera is at first floor level, eliminating the need to correct verticals.

Architectural photography in Hampshire using a painters’ pole

Architectural photography in Hampshire using a painters’ pole

5 - Connectivity as good as an iPhone

In the year 2018 why do cameras not have the same functionality and connectivity that we all enjoy with our phones?

My Canon 6D is an older camera now granted but cameras in general seem to lack way behind phones.

Why can’t I take a photo and share it with a client immediately? I can with my phone.

6 - The functionality of an iPhone

Same point relay but rather than connectivity functionality.

7 - Connectivity to my iPhone (thinking about it)

improving that in a clever way could negate the need for the two points above.

8 - In camera image processing

What do I mean by this? I guess I am talking about Jpeg image capture with more processing, meaning I can use images straight from camera (with the connectivity mentioned above).

9 - Fully articulated screen

I put my camera on a painters’ pole. I also put my camera on the ground, on a Platypod or Manfrotto Pixi tripod. I hold my camera out of windows.

I hold my camera out in front of me to get over things.

For all of these situations a fully articulating screen would be a huge bonus to me – this would genuinely help me taking photos.

10 - A screen I can actually see in normal light and also in direct Greek sunshine

I am getting old. I am (rather tragically) over 50. And my eyes are not what they were.

The screens on my Canon 6D are an issue. The tiny numbers in the viewfinder are also an issue to me.

Photographing the sunrise on Santorini

Photographing the sunrise on Santorini

I have been getting away with these shortcomings mainly by the way I take my photos. I pre-set most of my camera settings so most of the time all I am changing is the aperture and the point of focus.

When I want to deviate from that in any way the problems begin.

And I have noticed recently that all things that I do with my Canon 6D are becoming more difficult. Not just my Canon 6D of course – all things that I do that involve close focus.

And the distance stuff isn’t that great either.

Oh the woes of getting old…….

A large bright screen will help I have no doubt. Going from my iPhone 7 Plus to my Canon 6D screen is like going from my iPhone back to one of the old Nokia phones with the little screen – remember them??

11 - Touch screen with full functionality

This ties in with points raised before, putting all these bits together to get something approaching iPhone touch screen functionality.

The thought of a touch screen that is as user friendly as that on an iPhone or iPad is rather exciting to me.

12 - Ergonomics that make it a pleasure to use

My Canon 6D works for me ergonomically. I have handled some smaller cameras and am not sure how they handle ergonomically – that is a very good reason for going to an actual camera shop and actually holding an actual camera rather then reading reviews online.

The internet will never replace a shop for the experience of actually holding something and getting that tactile experience – that is one reason why it is so important that we all go to shops and buy things, or there will be no shops and nowhere that you can go to hold an actual camera.

13 - Simple logical menu system

Not a lot more to say really – I have heard that other camera manufacturers systems are not as good as Canons, which I am used to. And to be honest I change so little, maybe because there is so little to change, that this is not currently an issue.

This may be an issue if I had a camera with more variables to play with. One to think about,

14 - 4K video with high quality audio recording

I currently do 99% of videos with my iPhone. Now I do have a DJI Osmo Mobile that I need to make better use of but I would like to do more 4K video with an actual camera – my Canon 6D does not do 4K video of course.

My videos are not the best, but on the plus side check out this lovely 6 minutes of sunrise tranqulity on the wonderful Greek Island of Paxos.

15 - Excellent Vlogging/ recording capabilities

I am finding the need to produce more videos, some for my own promotional purposes, some for clients I am working for. At the moment all I am doing is holding my iPhone up in front of me and talking into it using the built-in mic. Whilst the picture quality is adequate the sound is not good enough.

16 - Smaller cheaper lenses offering similar quality

This ties in with my desire to have smaller camera gear especially for travel photography. I have found in recent trips that I have been using my iPhone more and more for day to day shooting, using my Canon 6D for sunrises and stuff like that.

Whilst the iPhone has a remarkably capable camera it just does not compare with my Canon 6D and Canon L lenses, and nor should it to be fair.

17 – High quality sensor

I love the sensor on my Canon 6D, and love the images it captures. This is a 20 MP sensor, and I will not accept a lesser performing sensor.

Another intangible here is how the sensor on another camera will perform, and what will the look be of the images?

18 - Excellent low light performance

My Canon 6D has excellent low light performance. Well I think it does. Again performance needs to be better than that I currently enjoy.

19 - Stuff like time lapse, long exposure and other good stuff etc built in

I want some toys and things that I can play with and have some fun! And I want to be able to use the latest technological developments in my photography. I know it is all about the composition but I have worked hard on that over the last year, and will continue to do so going forwards.

I just want some fun when I am taking my photos and some new things to try out.

20 - A sensor that doesn’t need cleaning

I hate removing sensor dust spots. Hate it.

So a sensor that doesn’t need cleaning will be good. Not an essential but a nice to have.

I do not know if this is even a thing – one of the problems with mirrorless cameras is that the sensor is closer to the bit where you mount the lens as there is no mirror there. On an SLR there is a mirror in-between the rear lens mount and the sensor which must provide some protection.

21 - Interchangeable lenses

Now this is an essential. I want to be able to change lenses, I want to be able to expand the range of lenses that I have in the future as and when needed.

And I want the lenses to be of a similar quality to my current Canon L series lenses.

22 - Tilt shift capability

I have a tilt-shift lens that I rarely use. The truth is I do not like it. It is manual focus, and I have managed for so long without it that I am in two minds whether to get rid of it or not.

Canon 24mm tilit shift lens

Canon 24mm tilit shift lens


I have been planning on using my tilt-shift lens for a prolonged period of time but have never got around to this.

I think that this may be because don’t really want to – I feel like I am forcing myself (potentially) to use a piece of kit just because others say I should.

It is unlike me to do such a thing so lets just park this and say that it will never happen.

That’s tilt shift lenses done then!

23 – Ultra-wide angle lens

This might be an issue with crop factors. At the moment I have a Canon 17-40mm lens on my full frame Canon 6D. If anything I want the ability to go wider than 17mm if at all possible, but without the size and expense of the canon 11-24mm lens – an awesome lens for sure but not what I am looking for at the moment.

This could be a deal breaker for me.

24 - Bespoke programming – Custom Function that works!

I have never got on with the custom functions on my Canon 6D. I think this is my own fault, a definite display of petulance and a lack of time studying this feature.

But to be able to have pre-sets that I can switch to automatically to mix things up is very appealing to me.

25 - RAW Capture

I shoot in RAW, process in RAW and output in Jpeg. But with the new technologies out there is this still a thing? Or has the in-camera elastic trickery made this a thing of the past?

26 – EVF

I have tried various EVFs in shops, and also at Gatwick Airports’ Dixons World Duty Free. The main thing that I do with my airport downtime is look at cameras and marvel at EVFs.

I love the way that you get live exposure simulation in the EVF – such an awesome thing to be able to see.

The EVF however needs to provide the same optical experience as the viewfinder on my Canon 6D though – field of view here is a consideration together with brightness and realism.

And the size of the stuff in the EVF.

27 – Computational photography

I know very little about this, but the advances in technology must be being included in image capture?

I am sure that with the power of processing things like sensor size, mega pixels, noise and stuff like that the gap between high end and lower end cameras is closing.

28 - Focussing in the dark

My Canon 6D is pretty good at this. I have written about this on my blog and also on the Improve Photography website.

And to be honest people have been surprised that I find the Canon 6Ds low light focussing capabilities.

I am sure that newer cameras will have better low light focussing capabilities than my Canon 6D so I expect to see benefit in this area with a new camera.

29 – Weather-sealing

I need a weather-sealed camera. All my photography is done outdoors. And I don’t stop for the rain.

And I work on live construction site which are wet, dusty inhospitable and noisy places. Not that noise is relevant here.

30 - And the ability to output straight from the camera.

Straight from the camera onto the internet. This is a new business need which I will expand on in the summary.

If I could take a photograph with image processing pre-sets that I knew would give me the initial level of processing that I wanted that would be a start. There is of course the question of the metadata, filename, title and description. But I guess they could be added after the event?

I need to be able to add high quality metadata to my images – this is something I am quite fastidious about.

It is the ability to be able to get processed images out of the camera and onto my websites that I am keen to have.

31 – Shiny new loveliness

I have often written that there is too much talk about gear, which I still maintain is true. But this does not mean that I do not want some shiny new techie loveliness now!

And when I get a camera I do tend to use it for a number of years.

But there is a genuine worry here

What if I jump ship to another manufacturer and don’t like it? If I were to get a Canon EOS R, which is a strong contender, I would be staying in the Canon ecosystem. I would know what I was getting, but with lots and lots of bells and whistles in addition.

But what if I went elsewhere and just did not like it – that does worry me.

I need to narrow things down

I need to provide a bullet point list of essentials – I will do this and post it next week, along with any feedback from this post and the one that I published on Improve Photography titled.

Or do I have two camera systems?

Canon 6D

Canon 6D

I might have missed a trick here. My Canon 6D works just fine, and still captures great images. What if I got something super small for travel?

Maybe I need two shortlists – one for a replacement to my Canon 6D (and all the other related products) and one for an addition to my Canon 6D.

I think that I have just cracked this particular conundrum – to systems.

Keeping my Canon 6D for my architectural work opens up more possibilities for my other work.

Summary

There is a serious point to this. I have embarked on some new products, one of which I have recently completed.

I have written about this before on my photography blog, but it is wholly relevant here.

I am talking about my new photography website Photos of Santorini. And more significantly the websites I have planned for the future. I want to be able to work in a different way for the next websites I am producing, including having the ability to add photos direct to website pages to speed up production of these websites.

I want to publish images straight from the camera with no further processing required.

This will also allow me to produce new websites whilst out on location which will be massive for me.

Rick McEvoy

If I can add the images I can add the text using my iPad to a prepared website – now that would be really cool and transform the way I work.

So there is a serious point to this.

That and the fact that my eyes are getting old and less useful!

OK I’m done now

I hope that you have enjoyed reading this post, and please if you are able to point me in the right direction for my next camera please do so. And one last thing - check out the video that accompanies this blog there on my YouTube channel.

Rick McEvoy ABIPP – Photographer, blogger, website creator extraordinaire

Minimalist Travel Photography Gear – This Is What I Use

Regular readers will know that I have been moving towards smaller camera gear.

Well having got back from Canada how was my minimalist travel photography gear? It was pretty good to be honest. In this post I will tell you all about my much-reduced amount of gear for travel photography, the good, the bad, the annoying and the not needed!

I hope that this post inspires you to take less gear out with you and concentrate on taking photos – this has certainly worked for me!!

First, here is the stuff I took for a weeklong trip to Canada.

FullSizeRender.jpg

Yep, this is all I took for a week long break to British Columbia in Canada, visiting Vancouver, Whistler, Pemberton and all places in-between!

It might look a lot when laid out like this, but this is the least amount of gear that I have taken. And there is some more work to do to get to the minimalist set up I am after. But I am getting there.

Why am I writing about this?

Well this all started last year when I went on a two-week trip to Rhodes, and apart from photographing sunrises I did not get my Canon 6D out of the boot of the car at all. I was basically fed up with the bulk of my gear. Now this is not solely down to the size of my Canon gear, although that is part of it. It is also because I take too much stuff that I do not need.

Is mirrorless micro four thirds gear the travel photography answer?

In part yes. Sure the gear is smaller, but it is not that small that on its own this is the answer. When I stick my 12-40mm F2.8 Pro lens on the front of an Olympus micro four thirds body it is quite a chunk of glass.

Sure if I used the 12-42mm pancake lens I good could get my Olympus EM10 Mk 2 in my pocket, but that is not my lens of choice.

Basically less gear is the other part

I always pack too much gear. For this trip I packed much less gear, and some of it I did not use. I will get onto that later but let’s start with the good stuff.

What did I like about my minimalist travel photography gear?

Well I liked the Olympus OM-D EM10 Mk 2. And the 12-40mm F2.8 Pro lens.

I didn’t use the 40-150mm lens – to be fair other than to make sure that it works I have not needed this lens yet.

What did I like about the Olympus OM-D EM10 Mk 2?

Well it is quite new to me, so there is still the novelty factor, shiny new syndrome. A quick word about the camera and the main things I liked, and I will get on with the rest of the gear.

The size of the camera

As I said before the lens is quite a lumpy thing but that is my choice to use a Pro lens, but the camera is still smaller than my Canon 6D – smaller to make a difference.

The amount of space in my camera bag for other stuff.

I managed to get my camera and lenses in the bottom section of my Peak Design Everyday Backpack, leaving loads of space for other stuff.

I actually had a half empty bag for the flights to and from Canada which was different. And my bag was much lighter and did not have bulging sides.

The Electronic Viewfinder (EVF)

I love the EVF on my Olympus camera. This is the first time I have owned a camera with an EVF, having spent a lifetime taking photos with SLRs and then DSLRs, all of which have an optical viewfinder. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Changing the focus point on the touch screen

I did not know how much I would take to the touchscreen, but it has been brilliant. And I mean brilliant in helping me to take photos. One of the main uses I have found for the touch screen is to change the focus point just by touching the screen where I want the camera to focus.

I do not want technology just for the sake of it – I want technology that helps me take photos.

The tilting touchscreen

Another thing that I really like and will be even better when I get the EM5 with the rotating/ tilting screen.

I like to take photos from unusual angles, high and low, and the tilting screen helped me with that.

The clarity of the screen

Yes the screen is brighter and easier to see. I have not tested it in Greek sunshine yet, but things are looking promising. And next month I will be trialling this little gem of a camera in Greece which I cannot wait to do.

One handed operation

I was able to walk around the Granville Island market in Vancouver and quickly raise my camera, focus and shoot with one hand, which was actually easier than doing this with my iPhone which was brilliant.

This is as close as I get to street photography!

The levels on the camera

Yes the Olympus EM10 has horizontal and vertical indicators in the viewfinder which I absolutely love.

Another word on packing gear.

I took a rear lens and body cap meaning that I could separate the camera and lens meaning they took up even less room in my camera bag.

And what about the other gear?

I also liked the Peak Design cuff – this was a big improvement on the strap that I was using, and this clever wrist strap tightens nicely around my wrist but is easy to remove – another great product from Peak Design!

And my favourite travel tripod

Yes, my good old Manfrotto Pixi is even more at home with my Olympus EM10 on it – I set it up on the top of the Whistler Gondola and recorded the skiers flying by down below – I did this whilst drinking a lovely hot coffee at the summit.

This is the scene, and here is one of the videos. I forgot to photograph my iPhone on the tripod but here it is rested on the window cill before I rememberd that I had my mini tripod to hand!!

Taking videos with my iPhone

Here is the video

What did I not like?

It is not all sweetness and light - there were things that I was not happy with that need sorting.

There always are……

The way the camera sits in my camera bag.

This is something I need to look into. The camera is so small there is no logical place for it to be secured on the top section of my Peak Design Everyday Backpack, which is where I like to have my cameras. My Canon 6D sat nicely in the top section of my bag – well it filled it to be fair!

No GPS

This is something that I really miss – the GPS on my Canon 6D was an invaluable tool, and my Olympus EM10 does not have this. I am going to have to look at how I can sort this when I get the EM5.

There is a work round for now – take photos on my iPhone and I can copy and paste the GPS data into the metadata of the photos taken with the Olympus camera, but this is a faff I can do without to be honest.

This is the main sticking point at the moment that needs to be sorted.

The fact that the widest I could go was in full frame equivalent 24mm – I want wider than that.

I use a 17-40mm lens in addition to my 24-105mm lens. And when I use the 17-40mm lens most of the photos I take are taken at the 17mm end.

So the question is this – do I get the 7-14mm lens? This will give me a super wide 14mm focal length. One for the future methinks.

The grip on the camera

The grip on the OM10 is too small for me – I am used to the big chunky grip on the Canon 6D to be fair. When I get the EM5 I will buy the grip that will sort this issue out.

The way that the tripod sits in my camera bag.

An unexpected annoyance was the way that my new travel tripod, the Peak Design Corey, sat in my camera bag. This needs looking at – I ended up with the tripod head either pointing up above the top of the bag or face down getting damaged.

Has this camera changed the way I take travel photographs?

Yes, In a number of ways,

I use it more and noticed that I have less photos on my iPhone. Not good for immediate use but as this is not really a priority to me definitely a good thing.

HDR

I have done more single image captures. This is in part down to having the wonderful EVF. Talking of which.

EVF and live in viewfinder exposure compensation

I used AV mode and exposure compensation pretty much the same way I did with the Canon 6D, but enjoyed it more, especially the instant feedback in the EVF of the image capture.

And what about things that have not changed?

Yep there are things that have not changed which is a good thing - this is not an exercise in binning everything I have been doing in the past after all!

Go to focal length

I still start wide and zoom in when required. So 12mm is my default focal length, as was 17mm with my Canon 6D.

I am going to analyse the focal lengths that I use – after all if I only ever use 12mm I might as well get the 7-14mm Pro lens and give myself room to play in the ultra wide arena.

What gear did I use?

  • Olympus OM-D EM10 and 12-40mm Pro lens

  • Pec Pads and Eclipse lens cleaning solution

  • Spare batteries and charger

  • Spare memory cards

  • Manfrotto Pixi for videoing skiers on the mountain

  • And what gear did I not use?

  • My brand new shiny three-legged thing tripod

  • My Platypod

  • My 40-150mm lens

Did I miss my Canon 6D?

No, not really. I was quite happy as I was.

And I have noticed since I got back from Canada that I am missing some of the features of my Olympus camera which my Canon 6 does not have, especially the EVF and touchscreen.

I know that newer Canon cameras have these features – it is just new to me with the gear that I have.

And some of things have very quickly become instinctive to me. I have started touching the LCD screen on my Canon 6D to change the focus points, but this is not a touchscreen, so nothing happens!

What about my ageing mince pies – sorry eyes?

I have adjusted to the smaller camera just fine, as the screen is much bigger than the one on my Canon 6D, and the EVF is much clearer and easier for me to read.

I should write an article titled “Cameras for the over 50s!” – actually that is not a bad idea.

I was concerned that I would struggle to read the dials and screens on a smaller camera, but this has not been a problem at all, which is a pleasant surprise.

A word about my Canon gear

My Canon gear still works wonderfully well and is still what I use for my commercial architectural photography work. This post is not a mirrorless is amazing/ DLSRs are so last year post. Nor is it an Olympus is better than Canon post.

No – my Olympus micro four thirds camera gives me options which are always good. And having some shiny new (albeit second hand) photography gear does help.

I am not knocking DLSRs or Canon – there is still a big place for both.

Lessons learned for the future

I think that the EM5 Mk 2 with grip will work even better.

Do I need to get a wider lens? I am going to stick as I am for now, and for my next trip I will take the other body with these two lenses.

I did not miss the longer focal lengths, meaning that my choice to buy the 12-40mm lens instead of the 12-100mm lens was the right thing for me.

I will hold the thought that the 7-14mm lens might be my go-to lens,

The one thing that I need to work out is a camera bag. I have contacted Peak Design and asked for their advice – lets see what they come up with.

Update – the good folks at Peak Design have got back to me and advise that I use the lower sections of the camera bag, which is not great as I want the camera to be sat on top of my camera bag so I can access it – one for me to work on.

I do have an idea.

My camera and my iPhone

The other thing which I mentioned earlier - I used my camera more than my iPhone to take photos. This is a good thing – the reason that I started looking for other gear was because I found myself not using my Canon 6D on a trip last year – it sat in the boot most of the time.

Now this is not good for the immediate access to images that my iPhone gives me – this is of course one of the brilliant things that an iPhone does.

But this is not the biggest thing for me, so I can live with it. I am more concerned about capturing the images I want whilst I am away which I can work on when I am back in my office.

Summary

This post is all about the minimalist travel photography gear that I used on a trip to Canada – there is a bit of refinement, but I am on the right road to having just the gear I need with me.

Rick McEvoy

I will write an update in June after my next trip and see how I got on using my new gear photographing a Greek Island with lots of sunrises!

Please check out my post next week which is all about Pinterest, the social media platform which is actually useful.

Rick McEvoy – travel photographer, writer, blogger

RAW vs JPEG - Why I Shoot In RAW and Share In JPEG

Last week I explained what the term JPEG meant. This week I will explain what RAW is, and why you should use it to take photos.

RAW vs JPEG – Why I Shoot in RAW and Share in JPEG. I capture all my images in RAW to get the maximum amount of data, and to give me the maximum image processing capabilities. And I convert to JPEG for sharing to benefit from the file size reduction and universal readability of the JPEG format.

This post is not a technical post about the intricacies of RAW and JPEG files – it is an explanation of RAW and JPEG file formats for photographers.

I only ever shoot in RAW and share in JPEG - let me tell you why.

What does JPEG mean?

Check out my blog post last week cunningly titled JPEG Explained In Plain English to find out all about JPEG.

I like this extract about the Joint Photographic Experts Group, which is a collection of technical people who came up with this standard format. I have copied this directly from Wikipedia as I think this sums up the subject nicely.

“JPEG ( /ˈdʒeɪpɛɡ/  JAY-peg) [1] is a commonly used method of  lossy compression for  digital images, particularly for those images produced by  digital photography. The degree of compression can be adjusted, allowing a selectable trade off between storage size and  image quality. JPEG typically achieves 10:1 compression with little perceptible loss in image quality.”

Ok – now it is time to concentrate on RAW files in this post.

What is the RAW in photography terms?

I say in photography terms as raw has obvious meanings in other contexts, one of which I will come onto later in this post.

RAW is an image format where the camera sensor captures all the data in a scene without applying any processing to the image. When I say no processing it is actually more accurate to say minimal image processing, as there has to be some processing to convert what is being captured into useable data.

This is in contrast to image capture using the JPEG file format, where there is an amount of processing carried out in the creation of the JPEG file. This editing cannot be undone.

This is the fundamental difference between RAW and JPEG files.

A RAW file is generally a higher quality image capture than a JPEG image capture. No “lossy” processing has been applied.

Are RAW files the modern equivalent of film negatives?

Pretty much yes they are. They are the digital medium from which images can be created. So I guess they are.

Are there different types of RAW files?

Yes. There are lots of RAW formats, pretty much one per camera manufacturer. Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Fuji, Sony, Panasonic, Hasselblad and Phase One all have their own RAW formats.

Most RAW files are actually based on the Tiff file format, but that is levels of detail that I am not going to go into because, to be completely honest, I do not understand them. And do not need to understand them!

Let’s move on.

Why is there no standard for RAW files?

That is a very good question. Adobe had a go with the introduction of the Dng file format, which is meant to be a universally compatible RAW file format, but this has not really taken off I have never converted files into Dng.

Why two file formats?

Well the perception is that RAW is for higher end and professional photography, and JPEG is for everyone else. That is to be fair probably a reasonable distinction. People who do not know what RAW is are probably happy with JPEG. There will be a significant proportion of the broader photographic community that just want to take and share photos without all that is involved in editing RAW files.

And pro photographers/ advanced amateurs will be using RAW unless they have made the conscious decision to do something else.

I said this before, but it is worth repeating – a RAW photo is generally a higher quality image than a JPEG photo.

What can I do with a RAW file that I cannot do with a JPEG file?

The first thing is the white balance. I use auto white balance, as I am fundamentally lazy. I can change the white balance in Lightroom to any of the white balance presets that I can select using my Canon 6D. They are

  • As shot

  • Daylight

  • Cloudy

  • Shade

  • Tungsten

  • Fluorescent

  • Flash

  • Custom

I know that the purists will say that I should select the appropriate white balance for the conditions I am taking photos in, and they are right of course, but I do not see the need to complicate my image capture.

I shoot in RAW and can select the white balance after the event in Lightroom.

With a JPEG file your choices are

  • Auto

  • As shot

  • Custom

The same applies to pretty much everything else that I might do when processing an image. The RAW file is a blank canvas for me to work on. A JPEG file is not.

The fundamental difference between RAW and JPEG files is this.

JPEG files have an amount on processing “baked-in” to the file which cannot be undone. Stuff like

  • White balance

  • Colours

  • Tones

  • Detail

  • Contrast

A RAW file has none of this – hence the name RAW!

A food analogy to help explain

I like the “baked-in” term for JPEG – this is a rare food analogy. A JPEG file is a baked cake – once a cake is baked it is baked.

A RAW file is the RAW ingredients, not mixed together or baked, from which any amount of variations can be thrown together to create something like, erm a different cake?

I don’t like cake by the way. Enough cake talk.

Do I need specialist software to access RAW files?

Yes you do. I use specialist photo editing software to work on my RAW files, principally Lightroom. I also use Lightroom and Photoshop.

And if you do not have Lightroom or Photoshop there is software provided by each camera manufacturer with which you can access the proprietary RAW files. I don’t know anyone who does this to be honest.

I installed the Canon software when I bought my first Canon DSLR, but never used it as I had Lightroom.

Lightroom and Photoshop can read RAW and JPEG files with equal ease.

Do I need specialist software to access JPEG files?

No. If you have a computer chances are you can read JPEG files. And this applies to phones, tablets etc.

OK so we know how to access the files – how do I take images using the RAW file format?

This is how I work with RAW files

Canon 6D RAW settings

Canon 6D RAW settings

  1. Set my camera to RAW image capture only (there are three different qualities, but I use the best quality one)

  2. Take photos in RAW only

  3. Import RAW files into Lightroom

  4. Process images in RAW format using Lightroom, Photoshop and other software such as Luminar and Aurora HDR

  5. Export images out of Lightroom as JPEG files

And that is it. I never vary from this.

What happens when files are exported out of Lightroom as JPEGs?

The RAW edited file stays just where it is. When I export a photo out of Lightroom a new file is created, leaving the original file right where it is in Lightroom.

Using Lightroom I can export a RAW file as either a JEPG, TIFF, PSD, DNG or RAW file. When I am exporting an image out of Lightroom I only ever export photos as JPEG files so they can be opened by anyone.

When I am exporting RAW files I can change

  1. The actual image size (physical pixel size)

  2. The quality (as a percentage of the original quality)

  3. The colour space

  4. The file size

These will vary depending on the purpose of the images, and who they are going to. For commercial work the files are full size, for the web they are much smaller.

What about file sizes?

Talking of file sizes, this RAW file is 21.1MB

Sunrise in Lakka - unprocessed RAW file

Sunrise in Lakka - unprocessed RAW file

And this is the JPEG taken at the same time. Yes I know I only take RAW photos but on this trip to Paxos I ended up shooting JPEG and RAW.

Sunrise in Lakka - JPEG file

Sunrise in Lakka - JPEG file

Photos courtesy of Paxos Travel Guide

The JPEG file size is 4MB.

Here I am talking about the unprocessed, uncompressed images sat in my Lightroom Catalogue.

The images included in this post, having been exported out of Lightroom, are both JPEG files. For completeness, the actual file sizes of the two images you can see are

  • RAW – 43.9KB

  • JPEG – 46.7KB

This is after exporting them out of Lightroom for inclusion in this post only.

Do RAW and JPEG images look different.

Well you can clearly see that the JPEG image above is a better image, being brighter, more vibrant and more colourful It is also sharper than the RAW file.

Does Lightroom do any processing at all to RAW images?

There is one thing. Lightroom applies sharpening to the value of 40 to all RAW files on import into Lightroom. I normally increase this to 60-80 when I am processing images.

What cameras use RAW?

I have a Canon 6D and an Olympus OM-D EM10 that both shoot JPEG and RAW. And my iPhone can do that with an App.

The higher the quality of the camera, and the more expensive it is the more likely that it will be able to take photos in RAW.

What about the iPhone?

Well this is an interesting one. And a complicated one, but don’t worry. My iPhone is set to take photos and videos using the HEIF/ HEVC formats, but when I email a photo straight from the camera roll it arrives as a .jpg file.

So let’s not worry about HEIF/ HEVC here – a subject for another time.

There are many photography Apps out there you can get that will allow you to take images in RAW – I use the Lightroom Mobile App camera as this puts the photos straight into Lightroom Mobile, so they appear in my Lightroom Catalogue.

Talking of Lightroom Mobile – where does that fit in to RAW image capture?

I take RAW photos using the camera built into Lightroom. And viewing/ processing images using Lightroom Mobile is the same as with the desktop version of Lightroom.

Non-destructive editing of RAW files

As I use Lightroom Classic on my PC image editing of RAW files is non-destructive. This means that any edits to the RAW files, and indeed to JPEG files can be undone. This is non-destructive editing.

There is a clarification to be made here though. The editing applied to a JPEG file on image capture cannot be undone, whereas the RAW file has no image processing applied (other than that to create the file that is the digital image that is).

Any edits in Lightroom can be undone. When an image is exported out of Lightroom though the editing in the exported image cannot be undone. But this is fine as the RAW file sits there in Lightroom – the exported JPEG file is a new, additional file.

I export images out of my Lightroom Catalogue into separate folders so there is no confusion.

Summary

I hope that you now understand why I shoot in RAW and share in JPEG, and also that you now understand the difference between the RAW and JPEG image formats.

Rick McEvoy

Please get back to me with any comments or questions, and don’t forget that article about JPEG JPEG Explained In Plain English which gives you the backround to the main alternative to RAW.

Next wee on my photography blog I write about my minimalist travel photography gear.

Rick McEvoy ABIPP - photographer, blogger, writer, website creator

JPEG Explained In Plain English

There are lots of acronyms in the photography world. And I am not a fan of them. But this is a universally used acronym, and an important one for us photographers to understand.

JPEG explained in plain English. Simple. JPEG is a digital image file format, and a method of compressing files to make them smaller and also readable by anyone. JPEG files have an amount of processing applied at the time of image capture that cannot be removed.

JPEG stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group, but that is not important to us here!

What is important is JPEG files and their relevance for us photographers, and that is what I will explain here, along with telling you how I use the JPEG file format in all my photographic work.

Before I begin, what do I mean by a file format?

When I say file format I mean the type of file that is created by a digital camera when an image is taken. Cameras take photos in JPEG, and more sophisticated cameras also offer the option of a different format called RAW in addition to JPEG.

There are other formats, but I will stick to the two most common formats in this post.

So JPEG refers to the type of file that your digital camera produces, or to the file type that you save an edited image as that other people can look at. Don’t worry – I will explain.

What file formats are there other than JPEG?

The most common formats digital images are taken in are JPEG and RAW.

Do I need to know about JPEG?

It is important to know the difference between JPEG and RAW file formats. The selection of either the JPEG or RAW format before taking a digital photograph will have a direct impact on the data captured by the camera. This will impact on the processing and the finished image, and some of these things cannot be undone.

So yes, this is important.

What is the difference between JPEG and RAW files?

There is a fundamental point here. A JPEG file is compressed by the camera, with an amount of processing “baked in” to the file that cannot be undone.

A RAW file has no processing added by the camera, it is the bare RAW image capture with no processing applied at all.

This is the main difference.

When you are taking photos with a digital camera JPEG is one file format that you can use. RAW is an alternative file format that you can use to take photos with.

With my Canon 6D I can take photos in both JPEG and RAW at the same time, which I rarely do to be honest.

What is the actual difference between JEPG and RAW files?

A JEPG file looks much better than a RAW file, as there has been some processing done to the image on capture. A JPEG image looks more finished, because it is!

Here are two images taken using my Canon 6D using the RAW + JEPG camera setting. No further processing has been applied.

The RAW file taken with my Canon 6D

The RAW file taken with my Canon 6D

The JPEG file taken with my Canon 6D

The JPEG file taken with my Canon 6D

Photos courtesy of Paxos Travel Guide.

A JPEG file looks more like a finished image. Well it does when compared to a RAW file, which is dull, flat and lacking in colour, detail, vibrance sharpness and brightness.

Dull and flat basically!

Are JPEG and RAW file sizes different?

Yes. JPEG files are much smaller than RAW files. Taking the two photos above as an example, these are the respective file sizes of the two images after import unedited into my Lightroom Catalogue.

JPEG file – 8MB

RAW file – 25MB

I know that the JPEG file is still quite large but the image that you are seeing on the screen was compressed on export from Lightroom and is actually 222KBs.

What am I looking at on my cameras LCD screen?

On a DLSR/ mirrorless camera, if you are shooting in RAW, after you have taken a photo you are actually looking at a JPEG version of the RAW file on your LCD screen.

I know this sounds a bit bizarre but this is what actually happens.

Do I use RAW or JPEG?

I always shoot in RAW on my cameras. This is to maximise the amount of data in the image capture process, and also gives me the maximum flexibility when processing images in Lightroom and Photoshop.

This is the part of my workflow that is relevant to this post.

  1. Set my camera to RAW image capture only

  2. Take images in RAW format

  3. Import RAW files into Lightroom

  4. Process RAW files in Lightroom and Photoshop

  5. Export images in JPEG format out of Lightroom for client issue, sharing or publishing.

It is only when I need to send an image somewhere that I convert the RAW file to JPEG. Normally this is done to an image or set of images when I export them out of Lightroom.

This is a simple task to do using Lightroom. At the time of exporting the images I also compress the files, the amount depending on the intended use of the images.

Why do I not shoot in JPEG?

I process every commercial image using Lightroom and Photoshop. I do not want processing to be done by the camera at the time of image capture. I want to do all the processing myself. And I want to capture as much information as possible.

Are there other file formats apart from JPEG?

As well as JPEG and RAW there are various other file formats, including

  • PSD

  • Tiff

  • Dng

  • Gif

  • Pdf

What is a RAW file then?

If you want to to know any more about RAW files check out the post next week on my photography blog which will be about this and this only.

One thing to mention here though is that to be able to open and view a RAW file you need software such as Lightroom or Photoshop. JPEG files can be opened by any PC or device (I am sure there are exceptions to this but exceptions is what they are).

Who are the Joint Photographic Experts Group?

Well I am not aware of them other than in relation to the creation of the acronym JPEG. And to be honest that is not important here!

Are there any other formats of JPEG?

JPEG is JPEG. There are variations in the level of compression of JPEG files, but the file format itself is universal.

Can anyone read a JPEG file?

Pretty much anyone with a conventional PC, Mac, iPhone or Android device should be able to open a JPEG file and view it.

How do I create JPEG files?

Over simplifying things a bit, if your camera is set to record images in JPEG then you don’t need to do anything else. If however your camera is set to record images in RAW format you need to either change the format in your camera or convert to JPEG using software such as Lightroom or Photoshop.

You can shoot in JPEG and RAW at the same time on some cameras, giving you the best of both worlds, but duplicate files.

How do I compress a JPEG file?

There is lots of proprietary software for compressing JPEG files. I do this in Lightroom, where I can change the level of compression at the point at which I am exporting a RAW file out of Lightroom. I can also change the physical size of the image, depending on what I am going to be using it for.

Do I lose image quality when I compress a JPEG file?

Yes you do. It has been said that the optimum level of compression is 92%. At this rate of compression the loss of image quality is virtually impossible to see, and the file size reduction is significant.

If you compress a JPEG file once, and then compress the file again, you get further loss of image quality.

A word on non-destructive editing

The editing I do to RAW files in Lightroom is non-destructive. This means that anything that I have done to an image I can undo. Once I export an image out of Lightroom, converting it to a JEPG fie, the changes cannot be undone to the JPEG file.

The RAW file is always there in Lightroom though so don’t worry!

JPEG vs JPG

These are one and the same so no need to worry about these.

Further reading

Next week I will explain all the advantages of shooting in RAW and exporting images out of Lightroom in JPEG format – pop back to my blog next week for this post.

Summary

I hope that having read this post you are now comfortable with what a JPEG file is, and when you should use this particular file format.

To sum up, I shoot in RAW and export images out of Lightroom into JPEG. It really is that simple.

Rick McEvoy Photography – photographer, writer, website creator