My 10 Best Travel photos Taken With The Olympus OM-D EM10 Mk2

Yes here are my best 10 travel photos taken with my Olympus OM-D EM10 Mk 2

Rural mountain scene, Pemberton, British Columbia

Rural mountain scene, Pemberton, British Columbia

Mountain Forest, British Columbia, Canada
Spring colours in the Van Dusen Botanical Gardens
Lake at dusk

Lake at dusk

Market Stall, Vancouver

Market Stall, Vancouver

Shannon Falls, British Columbia, Canada

Shannon Falls, British Columbia, Canada

Spring sunshine in the mountains

Spring sunshine in the mountains

Stunning Light In The Forest

Stunning Light In The Forest

Vancouver Skyline

Vancouver Skyline

Sculpture in the Van Dusen Botanical Gardens

Sculpture in the Van Dusen Botanical Gardens

I was meant to be writing about these images but do you know what, I am tired! So instead please just head over to my YouTube channel tomorrow here you will find a short video where I talk about these images.

I will write about the images as promised next week on my photography blog.

About the Olympus OM-D EM10 Mk2

I was looking for a new camera, and decided to try the Olympus OM-D EM10 Mk2. Not expensive, well I managed to pick one up on eBay for less than £300 just to see what this micro four thirds thing is all about.

You can get this Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II Compact System Camera - 14-42 EZ Lens, Silver on Amazon for £430 at the time of writing.

Micro four thirds photography

I have written a few other posts about micro four thirds photography, which are these.

Micro Four Thirds Explained – A Beginners Guide

Micro Four Thirds - Small Cameras For Travelling

My Micro Four Thirds Travel Kit – Travelling Light In Style

Professional photographers who use micro four thirds - really?

And the video for this blog post will be published tomorrow on my YouTube Channel.

How to follow me

If you want to keep up with everything I am doing you can do the following

Subscribe to my blog from the box on my home page

Subscribe to my YouTube channels

Rick McEvoy Photography

Paxos Travel Guide

And also follow me on Pinterest

These are the main outlets for my online content at the moment.

I will write more about the photos next week I promise!

Rick McEvoy Photography

10 Best Micro Four Thirds Travel Photos By Me Rick!

Travel photography and micro four thirds cameras – a perfect combination

What are the 10 best micro four thirds travel photography photos taken by me? In this post I will share these 10 images with you and tell you where I took the photos, the camera settings I used, the gear I used and also what I was thinking when I took the photos. These really are 10 of my best travel photography images which I am rather proud of (even if I do say so myself).

Who am I?

For those of you who don’t know me I am Rick McEvoy, a photographer and travel website creator based in the south of England. I specialise in architectural, landscape and travel photography.

I have been using Canon DSLRs for years, but this year took the plunge and invested in a micro four thirds camera.

What is a micro four thirds camera?

Micro four thirds cameras are smaller than DSLRs. The sensor is smaller too, but they pack a real punch with their image quality.

What micro four thirds camera do I own?

I started off with an Olympus OM-D EM10 Mk 2 which I took to instantly. So much so that I bought its big brother, the Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk 2, which is now my go to camera for travel photography.

Why not a DSLR?

I noticed last year in Greece that I was leaving my camera in the hotel, or in the boot of the car, and taking more photos with my iPhone than usual.

Basically I was getting fed up with my DSLR.

So when I got back from that trip I started looking into alternatives. I spent a long time looking into this and ended up with the Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk 2. I will add links to the posts about all of this at the end of this blog post – I want to get into the 10 photos right now.

Where were these photos taken?

On one of my favourite Greek Islands, Rhodes. They were all taken on this trip earlier on this year, the first time I had got to use the camera properly.

A quick word on the camera settings

All the photos were taken with my Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk 2 and Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Pro lens.

All the photos were taken using the auto bracketing feature on the camera, where three images are taken at the same time (with different exposures) which I merged together in Lightroom to create a master image which I edited.

So when I say shutter speed in the descriptions below I am referring to the first shot.

I had not learnt how to use the camera properly to be completely honest, so I used Auto ISO for the first time ever, and put the camera into my go to mode, Aperture Priority. I set the aperture and the camera sets the shutter speed.

All the photos were taken on a tripod, so this works just fine for me.

OK – let’s get onto the 10 photos

Photo 1 - Scooter at sunrise in Lindos on the Greek Island of Rhodes

Scooter at sunrise in Lindos on the Greek Island of Rhodes

Scooter at sunrise in Lindos on the Greek Island of Rhodes

Location

About 5 minutes from the main beach in Lindos.

Something interesting about the photo

I was walking along the back path after a not so stunning sunrise slightly spoiled by clouds when I came across this scooter parked by a building.

Everything clicked into place and I got this shot which I absolutely love.

It just goes to prove the point that you should just get out there and take photos – do not wait for perfect conditions as you never know what you will find.

Camera settings

  • Focal length 17mm

  • Aperture F8

  • Shutter 1/4000th second

  • ISO 200


Photo 2 - Tree at sunrise on Rhodes Greece by Rick McEvoy

Tree at sunrise on Rhodes Greece

Tree at sunrise on Rhodes Greece

Location

On the top of the hills above Navarone Bay on the outskirts of Pefkos.

Something interesting about the photo

This is what greeted me when I got over the brow of the hill from the place where I had parked my car. I couldn’t risk going any further up the rough gravel road leaving me a bit of a walk!

So hot and sweaty before I had even got my camera out, and late as the sun was just about to appear, I stumbled upon this scene which I had to stop and photograph!

Camera settings

  • Focal length 17mm

  • Aperture F8

  • Shutter 1/60th second

  • ISO 500

 

Photo 3 - Sun and tree at sunrise on Rhodes

Sun and tree at sunrise on Rhodes

Sun and tree at sunrise on Rhodes

Location

The hills above Navarone Bay – the same location as the previous photo but this is in portrait format for Pinterest.

Something interesting about the photo

I wanted to get a portrait version which works better for Pinterest, so having taken the first shot I moved and adjusted the focal length to get this shot.

No this is not just a crop of the previous image – I really do thing about this stuff!

And one more thing here – I used an aperture of F22 to get the starburst effect in the photo which is exactly what I was after.

And I love the effect even though I had not tried this before with this camera and lens combo.

Camera settings

  • Focal length 32mm

  • Aperture F22

  • Shutter 1/1600th second

  • ISO 200

 

Photo 4 - The Acropolis of Rhodes at sunrise

The Acropolis of Rhodes at sunrise

The Acropolis of Rhodes at sunrise

Location

The top of the hills above Navarone Bay looking towards the Acropolis of Rhodes.

Something interesting about the photo

This was the first photo taken with the 40-150mm lens. Not bad is it? I had done with the sunrise, so decided to have a play with this telephoto lens and see what I could get.

And I got this which I really like.

It is very unusual for me to actually use a telephoto lens, so this makes a very welcome change.

And as for the sharpness and image quality? Looks fine to me!

Camera settings

  • Focal length 89mm

  • Aperture F8

  • Shutter 1/100th second

  • ISO 200

 

Photo 5 - Sunrise from Prophet Elias Church Pefkos

Sunrise from Prophet Elias Church Pefkos

Sunrise from Prophet Elias Church Pefkos

Location

Taken from the Prophet Elias Church on top of the hill above Pefkos.

Something interesting about the photo

This is one of my favourite sunrise locations. And in this shot I wanted to convey the height and depth of the scene, which I think I have done pretty well. I know I have cropped off the top of the sun but hey I am only human!

Camera settings

  • Focal length 26mm

  • Aperture F11

  • Shutter 1/200th second

  • ISO 200

 

Photo 6 - Rock pools at sunrise on Navarone Bay

Rock pools at sunrise on Navarone Bay

Rock pools at sunrise on Navarone Bay

Location

The beach at Navarone Bay.

Something interesting about the photo

I was walking back from my sunrise shoot and started looking at reflections in rock pools.

And this is when I took full advantage of the fully articulated screen and held the camera just above the rock pool to get this ultra-low angle view. Using the touch screen I could focus and take the image.

And I could actually see the screen even in this super bright and contrasty scene – quite incredible really.

Yes I love the touchscreen on this little wonder.

Camera settings

  • Focal length 12mm

  • Aperture F13

  • Shutter 1/160th second

  • ISO 200

 

Photo 7 - Tree 2 at sunrise on Rhodes Greece

Tree 2 at sunrise on Rhodes Greece

Tree 2 at sunrise on Rhodes Greece

Location

Back on top of the hill overlooking Navarone Bay

Something interesting about the photo

This is the tree that you can see as you drive from Lindos to Lardos on top of the hill. I have looked at that tree many many times, and finally got to meet it personally.

And yes after that morning every time I made my favourite drive on Rhodes I looked up at that very tree and smiled to myself.

Camera settings

  • Focal length 21mm

  • Aperture F16

  • Shutter 1/320th second

  • ISO 200

 

Photo 8 - Boat at sunrise, Lindos, Rhodes

Boat at sunrise, Lindos, Rhodes

Boat at sunrise, Lindos, Rhodes

Location

The main beach in Lindos. At the far end there is a small jetty which is used for daytrips to various places.

And for me to take photos from.

Something interesting about the photo

This morning the sunrise was not great, as there was a band of low cloud on the horizon, so I had to find something different to photograph.

So I walked around the beach and thought about my favourite jetty. And there was a boat there which was most excellent – there aren’t always boats moored on this particular jetty, so I had my focal point for this image, with a couple of ropes too!

Camera settings

  • Focal length 12mm

  • Aperture F22

  • Shutter 1/640th second

  • ISO 200

 

Photo 9 - Windswept Tree At Sunrise Rhodes Greece

Windswept Tree At Sunrise Rhodes Greece

Windswept Tree At Sunrise Rhodes Greece

Location

On top of the cliffs overlooking Navarone Bay

Something interesting about the photo

This was the photo I took on the way back to the car. I was hanging out by now, having drunk all my water. I liked trees that have been sculpted and formed by the weather like this tree.

I left the lens flare in this photo as it seems to balance out the image nicely, and we all know that the sun causes these things to happen so why not?

I again used F22 to get that wonderful effect on the sun – I was not sure how the 7-14mm lens would be doing this, but I am loving the effect I get.

Camera settings

  • Focal length 18mm

  • Aperture F22

  • Shutter 1/640th second

  • ISO 200

 

Photo 10 - Greek Flag At Sunrise

Greek Flag At Sunrise

Greek Flag At Sunrise

Location

Back at the site of the Prophet Elias Church on top of the hill in Pefkos

Something interesting about the photo

I love this shot. I thought I would save the best till last for once.

This is the Greek flag and the photo of the landscape just before the sun illuminates a new day on the wonderful Greek Island of Rhodes.

I have taken a video of this scene which you can view on my YouTube channel.

This photo tells the story of sunrise in Greece – I love to be able to tell a story in a single image.

Camera settings

  • Focal length 12mm

  • Aperture F8

  • Shutter 1/100th second

  • ISO 200

A word on my Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk 2.

I wrote a post last week which tells you a lot about my new camera and what I think of it. You can read the post here Is The Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 The Best Travel Photography Camera?

Do you want one of these cameras?

And if you are interested in buying one of these little wonders here are Amazon affiliate links – if you buy anything having used one of theses links I get a small commission.

Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2

Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Pro lens

And the two together

Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 and Olympus 12-40mm F 2.8 Pro Lens

Further reading

I have written a few other posts about micro four thirds photography, which are these.

Micro Four Thirds Explained – A Beginners Guide

Micro Four Thirds - Small Cameras For Travelling

My Micro Four Thirds Travel Kit – Travelling Light In Style

Professional photographers who use micro four thirds - really?

And the video for this blog post will be published tomorrow on my YouTube Channel.

How to follow me

If you want to keep up with everything I am doing you can do the following

Subscribe to my blog from the box on my home page

Subscribe to my YouTube channels

Rick McEvoy Photography

Paxos Travel Guide

And also follow me on Pinterest

These are the main outlets for my online content at the moment.

Rick McEvoy

Summary

I hope that you found this post interesting, and next week I will continue the theme by writing about my best travel photos taken with the Olympus OM-D EM10 Mk 2! Well why not? There is some good stuff in there.

And then after that I might treat myself to an on-location post and video.

Rick McEvoy ABIPP – Photographer, writer, website creator

#microfourthirdstravelphotography #rickmcevoyphotography #olympusem5 #olympuscamera #microfourthirds

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A summer message from those nice folk at Excire

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And the same from me Rick

Rick McEvoy Photography

Is The Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 The Best Travel Photography Camera?

Last week I wrote a post about how to choose a camera, having chosen a new travel photography camera for myself, the Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2.

So is the Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 the best travel photography camera? I think that it is, and this post I will tell you why I think so and what I like about the the EM5 Mk 2. I will also tell you about the post “how to choose a camera”, and how I applied this thought process to buying the EM5 Mk 2. And I will share some of the photos taken of this wonderful little bundle of photographic cleverness.

The Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 is my travel photography camera of choice.

More on the photos taken with the Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 later in this post.

Whats in this blog post?

In this post I will tell you who I am, what the 31 things were that I wanted in a new camera, if I got them in the Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 or not, and my views on my new camera. And I will answer the question at the end as well. Ok I did so at the beginning, but this will be a fuller answer!

Sorry – I nearly forgot – I will include a sprinkling of photos of my Olympus camera - more on the images I have taken later.

Here it is.

Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 on location in Rhodes Greece

Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 on location in Rhodes Greece

OK – are you with me? Let’s get to it!

Who am I?

If you don’t know me hi, I’m Rick McEvoy, an architectural, landscape and travel photographer. I am a professionally qualified photographer, being an Associate of the British Institute of Professional Photography (ABIPP).

I have been using full frame Canon DSLRs for years now, but have recently dived into micro four thirds photography Olympus cameras and lenses.

I have three websites, this one, Paxos Travel Guide and Photos of Santorini.

So you will see how important travel photography is to me!

Check out my work on my main website Rick McEvoy Photography – I have three portfolio pages, all of the images on these pages have been taken using my Canon DSLRs.

This will change next time I update the pages, as I use the Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 more and more for my travel photography work, and the odd commercial architectural commission.

Which leads me nicely back to the subject.

Is The Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 The Best Travel Photography Camera?

That is the question I will answer, but first, lets go back to the blog post last week.

Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 on location in Rhodes Greece

Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 on location in Rhodes Greece

How To Choose A Camera

Last week I wrote a blog post titled “How to choose a camera – 31 practical things for you to consider”.

This was based on an older post, and formed the basis of the thought process that led me to buy the Olympus camera.

Here are the 31 things that were important to me on my new camera – did I get them with the Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2?

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

The camera body is certainly smaller and lighter, even more so with the 12-42mm pancake lens. But throw on the lovely but not so small 7-14mm lens and it becomes more of a lump.

A smaller lump granted but hardly pocket-sized!

2 – In-camera HDR

Well it turns out that it does have in-camera HDR. The camera takes four photos at different exposures and creates a single RAW file.

I did not know this until I was researching some of the finer points of this post.

I am very excited by this, so much so that I can forgive the lack of GPS. Almost.

3 – GPS

No GPS. And this does not please me. So the workaround is that I take a photo on my iPhone and add the locational data in Lightroom. I know I can do this, I have just not had time to do this yet.

And to be fair on every shoot I take photos and videos with my iPhone.

4 – Wi-Fi

Yes. Built in Wi-Fi with the Olympus Image Share app on my iPhone. All I have done is connect this, but I will give this a go on my next trip.

5 – Connectivity as good as an iPhone

Time will tell once I have given the app a go.

6 – The functionality of an iPhone

Erm no. To be honest no. The menus are fine and as logical as the ones on my Canon cameras but no revolution here.

7 – Connectivity to my iPhone

I will see about this.

8 – In camera image processing

Not like I was thinking no. But that might just be me! Lets forget that one.

9 – Fully articulated screen

Yes. For the first time ever and I love it.  I need to get used to moving with the screen at a jaunty angle – I think I have some personal co-ordination issues to get over!!

As with all these things practise will make perfect.

But yes and this makes me so happy.

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

On my trip to Rhodes the screen was much clearer so yes to this. It is a small screen but much brighter and clearer.

11 – Touch screen with full functionality

Touch screen with some functionality yes. I will work on this and let you know how I get on in my next update, but the one thing that I did want was to be able to touch the screen and focus and take a photo, which happily I can do with this camera.

12 – Ergonomics that make it a pleasure to use

OK. I have to be honest here. Not really. The camera is so small how could it be?

My Canon 6D is bigger with an excellent grip, plus the fact I have been using it exclusively for years make it virtually an extension of my hand!

This needs a lot of time but might get there.

And a grip might help.

13 – Simple logical menu system

The menu system is just fine.

14 - 4K video with high quality audio recording

Yes. And with 5 axis image stabilisation movie recording greatness is surely only a matter of time!!

There is a high bit rate of 77Mbps too. Whatever that means?

Can anyone tell me?

This is another thing I am excited to try out.

15 – Excellent Vlogging/ recording capabilities

See above – the combination of the video capture with the fully articulating touchscreen make this look like an excellent prospect.

With one exception.

I like to record me taking photos with my camera - I will either have to stick with doing this on my iPhone or buy another EM5!

And I need to sort out a microphone.

16 – Smaller cheaper lenses offering the similar image quality

Yes. I think so anyway. I tend to use the 7-14mm lens which is hardly cheap or small. I  have also used the 40-150mm lens which is just that and the 12-42mm pancake lens which is tiny.

I need to get a couple more small lenses and see how these perform.

17 – High quality sensor

Yep image quality is excellent. I used the EM5 on an architectural shoot alongside my Canon 6D to see how it performed. I issued the photos taken with the EM5 to my client (a regular client as well) who did not notice any difference.

18 – Excellent low light performance

Looks pretty good to me but looking forward to much more testing once I know how to use it properly (ie not use Auto ISO which I am loving too by the way)..

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

Yes! How exciting.

I have not used this yet but the EM5 (which is what I will call it from now on) does have a 40M high res feature – the camera captures 8 shots and merges them into one.

And even better news – this feature can create a RAW file.

The high res bit is interesting, and now the camera comes with focus stacking, which I cannot wait to try out. I was going to buy a piece of kit just for this so happy with this.

And it also has a bleach bypass filter, which “adds a warm, mysterious atmosphere to every kind of scene. At the same time it highlights the metallic surfaces of cars, machines and more.”

OK – lets give this a go as well.

This is what I was after – stuff to play around with.

Happy again, and the fact that focus stacking and bleach bypass are new features provided through firmware updates is even better. Now that is so good and something I have never had with Canon.

20 – A sensor that does not need cleaning

No. Does such a thing exist? I do not think so.

21 – Interchangeable lenses

Yes. Of course.

22 – Tilt Shift capability

No. Am I bothered? Not any more, as I sold my tilt shift lens some time ago as I never used it. This paid for the camera!

23 – Ultra-wide angle lenses

There is a 7-14mm lens which I am currently lusting after/ trying to blag. That would give me 14mm full frame equivalent. I am excited to try this lens.

This is wider than any lens I have ever had before which is an exciting prospect.

Watch out eBay sellers!

24 – Bespoke programming

I have not found this yet. But there are function buttons that look like they are programmable.

25 – RAW Capture

Yes. I would not have bought the EM5 if it did not have this.

26 – EVF

Sorry. EVF = electronic viewfinder.

Yes. I tried this out on every trip to the airport and love it. And I love the fact that I can look at the images that I have taken in the viewfinder. Although I have to say that I am still finding this confusing!

The only problem now is that I have nothing to do when I am at the airport shopping. Will probably end up buying flip flops on my next trip.

27 – Computational photography

Yep there is some good stuff in this camera.

  • High res

  • Bleach bypass

  • Focus stacking

  • HDR

28 – Focussing in the dark

I have not properly tested this yet.

29 – Weather sealing

Yes to both the EM5 and the 12-40mm lens. Which is good considering where I take my photos.

30 – And the ability to output straight from the camera

Erm not sure yet but  think that I might be able to do that with the app.

31 – Shiny new loveliness

Yes. Of course. And it is shiny and lovely.

I bought the black body – should I have got the shiny silver metal one?

That was the list I created some time ago.

Not bad going Olympus – I have managed to get all the things I needed apart from GPS.

What are my thoughts on my new camera?

Well I love it. I really enjoy carrying it around with me.

Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 on location in Rhodes Greece

Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 on location in Rhodes Greece

This is what I specifically like about my Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2

1 - Image quality

I was worried about this. Would I be happy with the image quality after all those years using full frame Canon DSLRs and Canon L series lenses.

I needn’t have worried – the image quality is excellent.

2 - Taking photos with the camera

I enjoy taking personal and travel photos again. Some of this is because it is novel, shiny and new.

But it is also because this camera is a pleasure to use.

3 - The fully articulated touchscreen

I really like and value this. This is a game changer for me, something that I will use all the time. I take photos from unusual angles on every shoot, and this screen will help me with this.

And I will also be able to use the EM5 for videos of myself. I just need to look into the audio.

Absolutely loving it!

4 - The 12-40mm lens

This is a solid chunk of a lens. It has a lovely feel to it. And the image quality is excellent.

I really like this lens.

5 - The 40-150mm lens

A very light lens, which takes some getting used to. And considering its effective focal length of 80-300mm very small and light indeed.

I do worry about the durability of these lenses, which feel rather fragile.

Lets see how they get on with me!

6 - The 12-42mm pancake lens

Tiny tiny lens that I got this photo with.

public.jpeg

I have not used this lens that much but it really is tiny. It is currently attached to my EM10 which is stored in the glove box of my car when I am out and about,

7 - The size of the camera

It is smaller than a DSLR, and is easier to hold in one hand. Add the 7-14mm lens though and it is not that small a combo but still smaller and lighter.

8 - The price of new lenses

A lot cheaper than Canon lenses, the 12-40mm F2.8 Pro is available at the time of writing for £899.00 from Wex Photo and Video. That is not too bad a price for such a lens with a maximum aperture of F2.8.

9 - The fact I can fit it in my glove box if I want to

And I do. Well my EM10 which I bought first with the 12-42mm lens.

10 – I can take photos using the touchscreen

I love this. I can touch the screen and the camera will focus where I touch the screen and take the photo. I assume it meters there as well.

I know – I need to look into this a bit more.

11 – New features

It is wonderful that that new features are being added in firmware updates. That is like getting a new camera, and is very encouraging for the future.

12 – The 5 axis image stabilisation.

I know that the camera has this – I just need to play with this and see just how good it is.

I could have titled this post 10 (ok 12, and if you read on actually 13) reasons why I love my micro four thirds Olympus camera.

But that sounds a bit click baity.

But a post for another time.

What do I not like about the EM5?

No GPS

This is a shame for me. As I said I have a workround but this is an additional process that I did not want to have to add to my workflow.

Not as much computational stuff – or is there?

Yes there is more than I thought which is excellent news. I found that out in the writing of this post so no negatives here.

The hand grip is a bit small

So basically I need to buy a grip, but not one that is going to make it too bulky. The last thing that I want to do is chuck a load of accessories onto the camera and make it big and bulky – sort of defeats the point of it.

What about my architectural photography?

Well. As you will have realised I have just found out about some features that I did not know about.

RAW HDR image capture, HIGH res RAW image capture – things that I will can for commercial work. Of course for now I will try these things alongside my Canon 6D but exciting propositions these are!

I have kept my Canon 6D and essential lenses for now, which will remain my commercial photography workhorses, although for how long I am not sure now.

The more I learn the more I want to make the jump fully to micro four thirds.

What gear am I going to get for my new camera?

I have to have the 7-14mm lens.

This will make the 12-40mm lens sort of redundant. I do not need the F2.8 for the photography I do, all that has done is make the lens bigger and heavier.

I am going to get some small, cheaper lenses and give them a go

And a grip to help with my clumsy hands.

And I have a universal L bracket with Arca Swiss plate for my new travel tripod, the 3 Legged Thing Corey.

And there is my Olympus OMD EM10 Mk2

I nearly forgot about this even smaller camera. Now this does live in my glove box, with the pancake lens fitted.

I used this combo to take one of my favourite winter photos in a long time, which you can see above.

OK – so Is The Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 The Best Travel Photography Camera?

Yes. I think it is. It has lots of exciting features that I am looking forward to learning properly.

The image quality is excellent, it the camera is small, lightweight and a pleasure to use. And it is packed with excellent features that will help me to take better photos. If features do not do that they are unnecessary distractions to me.

At the end of the day all that matters to me is the photos that I create. OK if the camera is a pleasure to use as well then that is a bonus.

Which the Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk 2 is.

Check out my website where you will find 12 photos taken on my trip to Rhodes Greece. This was the first foreign trip I have been on without my Canon DSLR and lenses ever.

And I did not miss them to be honest.

And also check out the video that accompanies this post on my YouTube channel.

Do you want to buy the camera or the lens?

If you fancy buying either the camera body and/ or lens here are Amazon links to both - these are affiliate links so if you buy either/ both item(s) using these links I get a small commission - you do not pay extra, it just comes off Amazon’s profits (which I am sure they can afford!).

Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2

Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Pro lens

And the two together

Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 and Olympus 12-40mm F 2.8 Pro Lens

Further reading

I have written a few posts about my journey into micro four thirds photography – here they are

Micro Four Thirds Explained – A Beginners Guide

Micro Four Thirds - Small Cameras For Travelling

My Micro Four Thirds Travel Kit – Travelling Light In Style

Professional photographers who use micro four thirds - really?

Talking of further reading I am going to read this book.

Mastering the Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk II

and get to know my camera properly. I recommend that you do the same with your camera, whatever it is.

Rick McEvoy

Summary

That is enough gear talk for now. Next week I am going to write about my 5 favourite micro four thirds travel photography images.

And I will come back to my micro four thirds Olympus camera later on this year.

I know this photo of me is with a Canon camera - I don’t have a picture of me yet with my Olympus camera but as soon as I do I will replace it I promise!

Rick McEvoy - Travel Photographer

#travelphotographer #travelphotography #microfourthirds #olympusem5

How To Choose A Camera – 31 Practical Things For You to Consider

In this post I am going to answer the question - How to choose your next camera? I start off by listing the features that I want in a new camera – I managed to come up with 31 things! I describe each feature in detail, and conclude with what my new camera is. Yes there is an end to this post which is good!

Read More

Hotel Photography – 10 Practical Tips For Hotel Owners

OK – so you are a hotel owner and you need some photographs taking.  Great – I can help you with this.

In this post, Hotel Photography – 10 Practical Tips For Hotel Owners I will give 10 actionable things that you can do to get the best photographs of your hotel. Great quality images are vital for a hotel as the vast majority of bookings are made online, and photos displayed on your own and affiliate booking websites play a big part in the selection of a hotel.

Sandbanks Hotel by Rick McEvoy Hotel Photographer

Sandbanks Hotel by Rick McEvoy Hotel Photographer

Who am I?

I am Rick McEvoy. I am a photographer and I specialise in architectural and interior photography. I photograph buildings, nice places and buildings in nice places. And also spend lots of time in hotels.

I am professionally qualified in both photography and construction, so photographing buildings is a logical combination of my two professions. And add to that my travel photography work and hotel photography is absolutely my niche! I cannot claim to be solely a hotel photographer, but certainly an architectural photographer.

This is not an advert for me though – I just wanted to show you that this is something that I know about and am able to offer excellent advice on.

Cap Negret Hotel, Altea. Hotel Photography by Rick McEvoy

Cap Negret Hotel, Altea. Hotel Photography by Rick McEvoy

So you want some photos taking of your hotel?

The starting point here is that you know what you want the photos for, and what you want photos taking of. OK – so where do you start?

As you will gather reading this post finding the right photographer is crucial so I will spend some time on this before moving on.

1 – Find the right photographer for you

How do you find a suitable photographer? And the right photographer for you?

Well I would advise that you appoint a professionally qualified photographer, one belonging to a recognised organisation.

After all, you wouldn’t appoint an unqualified architect to design a new hotel for you would you?

2 - Finding a qualified photographer

Well speaking for the BIPP, which I am an Associate Member of, I can tell you that I have had my work critiqued by high-level photographers. I am talking prominent photographers in the UK, one being a Hasselblad Master no less!

BIPP qualified logo ABIPP

BIPP qualified logo ABIPP

I had to submit a portfolio of my own commercial work, and was then interviewed by board/ senior members of the BIPP.

You can see some of my architectural photography portfolio work on this web page imaginatively called Architectural Photography Portfolio.

So using a BIPP qualified photographer you will know that you are using a photographer who has produced high quality photographic work that has been scrutinised by industry experts.

And BIPP members have to prove that they are properly insured so you don’t need to worry about that either.

I am sure that the other bodies that I am about to mention operate in similar ways.

There are a number of professional bodies in the photography space – these are reputable institutions that I know of that are relevant to hotel photography in the UK.

  • BIPP – British Institute of Professional Photography

  • RPS – The Royal Photography Society

  • MPA – Master Photographers Association

There are of course other professional photography bodies, but I do not have personal experience of any of these so it would be wrong for me to recommend them.

And I am not too familiar with professional photography bodies abroad.

As I said, I am proud to have the qualification an ABIPP and to be an Associate of the British Institute of Professional Photography.

Cap Negret Hotel Altea Spain at sunrise

Cap Negret Hotel Altea Spain at sunrise

3 - Select a photographer who photographs buildings.

You want your hotel photographing. Now you wouldn’t hire a wedding photographer to do this would you?

Nothing against wedding photographers of course but taking me as an example I get approached from time to time to photograph peoples weddings, and also to do portrait work.

I always politely decline such approaches. If I was looking for a photographer to photograph my wedding I would not choose me! I would choose a wedding photographer of course. Which is exactly what I did.

In my opinion you should be looking for a photographer who specialises in photographing buildings. And no I don’t necessarily mean me, just someone who does this stuff all the time.

If you go the BIPP website you can search for photographers by type of photography.

Architectural/ building is the relevant category on the BIPP website.

That is what you are after – an architectural photographer, sometimes known as a building photographer.

Nissaki Beach Hotel, Corfu, Greece

Nissaki Beach Hotel, Corfu, Greece

4 – Personal advice from me on choosing a photographer

I would strongly advise that you meet the photographer that you are going to use if at all possible. The process will be much smoother if you get on with the photographer. It can be a long day spent with some grumpy git who hates what he is doing and arrives just wanting to get away.

Or if you engage a photographer and have a big time personality clash – that can make for a long and difficult day.

If this is not possible then the next best thing is to give the photographer a call and chat by phone.

And if that is not possible there is the modern way of doing this. If the photographer you are thinking of has a YouTube channel you can find out what they are like there. I have a YouTube channel (of course I do) where I waffle on about the content of my weekly photography blog.

Yes by the time you have read this my video should be up on YouTube for all to see!

And this will give you a better insight into someone, especially someone as unskilled in filming himself as me! But you get to see the real me!

Another thing to consider is a photographer’s style. If you check out my architectural photography portfolio you will see 12 commercial images which I have taken for architects.

This is my style of work.

If you like my photographic style great.

And if you do not like my style of work no problem – I am not the photographer for you.

Style is a very subjective and personal thing – we all have different preferences – if we all liked the same things it would be a dull world now wouldn’t it?

So find a photographer that you like, whose work you like and you should be just fine.

Once you have chosen a photographer they will be able to help you through the rest of the process.

But please read on – there is lots more good stuff honest!

Travelodge Hotel by Rick McEvoy

Travelodge Hotel by Rick McEvoy

5 – Agree the brief with your photographer

I have been told by clients that the hardest part of the process is getting a photographer on board.

I do this all the time so once I am appointed I am able to help my clients through the rest of the process.

This is what I am here for – to help clients get the photographs they want.

After all if I wanted some electrical work doing I would appoint a competent electrician, and once the price was agreed I would be guided by him/ her about the best way to get the work done.

Once you have a photographer on board the next thing to do is to agree the brief.

Choose the right photographer and he/ she will be able to help you, as you are using a photographer experienced in that line work now aren’t you?

The brief is very very important by the way – get this wrong and problems will arise.

Get the brief right though and things should flow smoothly.

The brief includes the following

  • Shot list – very important – see below

  • Number of images required – see below

  • Purpose of images/ intended use

  • Cost  - see blow

  • Inclusions – what is included

  • Exclusions – what is not included (such as sky replacement for which there will be an additional charge)

  • Deliverables – what will be issued to the client

  • Timings – when photos will be taken and when images will be issued.

I confirm all these things to my client to make sure that I have got everything covered and that I fully understand the brief.

Sandbanks Hotel in Poole Dorset by Rick McEvoy

Sandbanks Hotel in Poole Dorset by Rick McEvoy

6 – Shot list

This is the list of photos that have to be taken. Producing this list will help you as the client focus (no pun intended) on the photos that you actually need.

For a hotel you will want each different room type photographing from a variety of angles.

Each room will need photographing, and the intention is that in say 5 images a visitor to your website can see enough about a room to make further enquiries or just book the room.

People are always in a hurry these days it seems, and those headline images will help someone to quickly decide if they are interested in a hotel or not!

As well as the interiors of the various room types there are other essential photos which need to quickly tell the story of the hotel from arrival to departure.

Whilst this all sounds rather daunting the good news is that a quick photographic walkthrough is all that suffices these days.

The shot list is the cornerstone to the shoot – this can make the shoot or break it.

And of course whilst there are mandatory photos to be taken I try to find different angles and views go give something a bit different – this is of course in addition to the mandatory shots.

The shot list will also tease out how many images are required to be taken – the last thing you need is hundreds of photos to plough through, so I give you what you ask for plus a few extras and that is that.

Travelodge Southampton West Quay

Travelodge Southampton West Quay

7 – How much will you pay?

I price each job individually as every client has their own very specific wants and needs.

I am not cheap – if you want your hotel photographing for £100 then I am not going to be working with you I’m afraid.

Hotels are quite large undertakings to photograph as they have a range of rooms that all need photographing.

Everything in a photo has to be right, with realistic, technically accurate and correct images with the colours all as seen by the human eye.

There is also the matter of timing, which I will come onto later in this post.

So decide on your budget, accepting that it will be more than £100, and do a deal with a photographer!

8 – Work out the best time of day/ year

Timing is an issue, especially in the UK with our variable weather. This is less of a problem with interiors of course, as even on a drab day I can give the windows naturally looking light.

Exteriors are a problem though – no-one wants their hotel photographing in the rain!

That is why sometimes the interior photos can be taken at a different time to the exteriors.

Another timing issue is guests, especially in bars, restaurants and communal areas. Exteriors are fine, as these are in effect public spaces.

Travelodge Southampton West Quay

Travelodge Southampton West Quay

9 - Prepare the rooms

It might sound obvious, but the rooms should be prepared before being photographed. Hotel rooms need to be presented to their best, but this has to be realistic.

Don’t have pink flamingos in the bathrooms if that is not what guests actually get.

The following can help to get the best photos of a room

  • Rooms cleaned

  • Clean fresh bedding

  • Clean fresh towels

  • Complimentary accessories

  • Cables/ TV remotes hidden

  • Curtains clean, crease free and presented as intended

  • Windows cleaned internally and externally

  • Toiletries well presented

  • Loo rolls folded over nicely

  • Fresh flowers/ bowls of fruit etc (if normally provided)

Last but by no means least – make sure all the lightbulbs work, and that the lightbulbs are the same colour and brightness!

I will photograph your hotel rooms with the lights on as this gives a nice homely feel which is what we want to convey after all.

The same principle applies to the other communal and external areas.

Moving on to the outside, things that can detract from the external appearance of a hotel include

  • Cars

  • Vans

  • Bins

  • Debris on paths and footpaths

  • Skips

  • Signs

  • Hosepipes

Basically get rid of everything that you do not want in a photo – it is much quicker and cheaper to move stuff than to get me to remove it in Photoshop (and there are limits to what I can do in Photoshop).

Travelodge Southampton West Quay

Travelodge Southampton West Quay

10 – People or not?

People or not – that is the question.

Rooms are fine without people in them communal areas, bars etc sometimes look soul less if empty though. Though the shot above looks fine to me.

This is an issue that I am constantly facing with my architectural photography work – I photograph lots of buildings immediately after they have been built or refurbished, and they never have people in them.

This is fine for architects but for hotel owners this might be an issue.

Thankfully there are a few ways of dealing with this, depending on the budget available amongst other things.

The ultimate solution is to hire in models, but this never happens to be honest.

Next best thing is to get the staff involved as paid (as they are in work) models.

The other way is to put signs up all over the place advising guests that they will be in photos at a certain time on a certain day in a certain place, and that if they do not want to be in the photos please can they go somewhere else.

This can work, especially in circulation space.

I hide in clear sight with my high vis on and my camera mounted on a tripod, so no-one can ever say that they did not know that I was taking photos!

Technically, for what constitutes a public space such as a hotel bar or lobby, consent is not needed to photograph people, so lots of notification normally is all that is needed.

A combination of guests in public spaces and staff for closer shots should be fine in most circumstances.

But some hotel owners insist on no people in shots which is absolutely fine.

Summary

I hope that you have found my Hotel Photography – 10 Practical Tips For Hotel Owners post helpful, and that this helps you choose a photographer to photograph your hotel for you.

You can watch the accompanying video to this post on my YouTube channel.

Get in touch with me

Rick McEvoy

If you would like to speak to me about photographing your hotel then please get in touch, preferably by giving me a call so we can have a chat to kick things off.

This is me taking photos on Santorini by the way!

Rick McEvoy Photography – Hotel Photographer

11 Practical Photography Business Ideas For 2020 And Beyond

I wrote a blog post in the first week of January titled “How to make money from photography – my 2019 business plan”. This is the update on that post.

Things have moved on, and in this post I give you 11 practical photography business ideas for 2020 and beyond. Things that I am going to do that you can do as well. These address the fundamental need for a successful photography business to have a range of products and services - taking photos is just not enough in my opinion. And these have to be things which can be done by me as there is no-one else!

Read on to find out how I am growing my photography business and creating a range of products and services.

Who am I?

I am Rick McEvoy, a professionally qualified photographer and also Chartered Construction Manager. I also like travel. I photograph buildings, nice places and buildings in nice places.

And I write lots of stuff about photography and travel on this and my other websites, Paxos Travel Guide and Photos of Santorini.

What was my plan at the start of 2019?

At the start of 2019 I set out my business plan for the year. These are the key points.

1 – Taking photos for clients

My core business, and one that I had been distracted from with other things. Now I am producing consistently high-quality information and attracting higher level clients. All good.

And I have changed my pricing (upwards) to get the clients that I want.

I have regular targeted posts on my blog which have been very successful.

2 – Photos of Santorini website

Since January 2019 all I have done to this website is make it super-fast. It is something that I need to come back to once the next item is completed.

3 – Paxos Travel Guide website

At the time of writing this is nearly complete. It has taken a long time, but only because I have very limited time available to work on this website.

The web traffic growth has been remarkable though, especially recently.

And I have enjoyed this a lot.

4 – Rhodes Travel Guide website

I have deferred this – I want to properly complete Paxos Travel Guide and Photos of Santorini first.

5 - One more travel photography website. And then more websites?

Well having deferred the next website that meant not continuing with other stuff.

The bottom line is this – Paxos Travel Guide needs to make money before I do anything else!

6 – My main website, with increased traffic from social media, YouTube and my new blog format.

I go into this in more detail in his post, but these things continue in a more systematic way than before.

7 – Affiliate marketing

Another one that I am working on more and more and will come back to.

8 – Commercial partnerships

This has not really gone anywhere since January and will be a consequence of other things that I am working on.

9 – Freelance writing

I am writing on my own websites and that is it! I do not have the time or the spare brain capacity for any other writing at the moment!

And how is this all going?

It is good to see that the newer stuff I wrote about in January of this year is stuff that I have been working on and is stuff for the future – I am happy with that.

I have refined and improved my thoughts since January to where I am now, so let’s get straight into this.

Here are my 11 essential photography business tips for 2020 and beyond.

1 - Niche down

I have sort of already done this, but I am taking this a step further.

I have placed myself firmly in the market for the following

These are the areas of photography that I specialise in. I do not do weddings, portraits, christenings, pets, corporate events etc. I have excluded people and animals from my photographic work unless they are related in some way to construction.

So I photograph buildings, nice places and buildings in nice places.

That should be my tag line – I like that! Actually I have just added that to my home page!

And that is it.

I do not pretend to do anything else, and everything I create is in these three genres.

I have worked on further separating my architectural, landscape and travel photography work which I will come on to.

But this is something that I need to do more work on – I need to make sense of the two distinct areas, architectural and travel photography. Either that or find a way for them to sit comfortably together.

At the moment I am thinking of separation which has a logical next step.

I take all my travel stuff and put this on a separate website leaving my website as an architectural photography website.

Or do I create a separate architectural photography website? I like the idea of that – I have masses of material that I can use for this niche.

Post writing this blog post note – the idea of a separate website just for architectural photography is very appealing but is something that I am going to put in my list of future projects.

Sorry I went off on one a bit there, but the principle of niching down is I believe very important in 2019.

I need to stay on track for now though and stick to my plan.

2 – Price, Quality and my place in the market.

When I was starting out one of my first commercial photography jobs was photographing damaged cars for insurance companies. I got paid £15 per job. I did this for a while and then progressed onto photographing houses and creating floorplans. That job paid me £50 per property.

Those days are long behind me now thankfully.

I work mainly for architects and have some new and very specific new client areas to target in the future.

Architectural photography by Rick McEvoy

Architectural photography by Rick McEvoy

I am targeting people who value architecture and design, and for whom excellent photography of their buildings is an essential marketing tool.

More on this in the future – let’s see how I get on with my plan!

I am also declining smaller photographic jobs and small budget jobs. I now have a minimum price level which is consistent with the very high standard of the architectural photography work that I create these days.

This is after many years of practise not only on taking photographs, but also studying composition, other peoples work and refining my digital image processing.

The quality of my work has increased significantly in recent years, and I have positioned myself where the market demands such high-quality imagery.

Quality and not quantity.

3 – My Photography Blog

I used to publish a daily photography blog. I stopped this late last year, and now produce a weekly blog post like this one. And to be honest with you I have no idea why I was publishing things of virtually no value daily!

These new posts are long, in-depth posts. I write about the following subjects.

Photography Blog by Rick McEvoy

Photography Blog by Rick McEvoy

  1. General photography – I am writing information for the global photography market so that is just fine.

  2. Photography gear that I use.

  3. Photography business matters

  4. Websites and related stuff

  5. My photos

  6. Architectural photography

  7. Travel photography

  8. Landscape photography

And that is it. This is a very deliberate plan to continue the niche down that I talked about with my photography work into not only my blog but all my online content.

I do not want to be a general practitioner - I want to specialise. And I believe very much that specialising is the future in a very crowded market.

There is an endless supply of photographers who will photograph anything for virtually no money – do you want to compete with them? I don’t – I have made that mistake before.

I want to be the photographer people think about when they want their building photographing – that is what I want to be known for.

And that takes time and hard work.

The travel stuff is an aside that sits somewhere else now which I will come on to later in this post.

Again, quality over quantity.

And is this working? Well I am getting more visitors to my website than ever before, so yes this is working incredibly well.

4 – Google - EAT.

What am I talking about?

EAT stands for

  • Expertise

  • Authority

  • Trustworthiness

This is something that is becoming increasingly important.

Google is using these factors to rank websites. This is fact by the way.

So how do we do what Google wants us to?

Well, by writing all my own stuff on these narrow subject areas I believe I stand a better chance of being recognised as an expert. This is a natural continuation of what I am doing.

In business terms, this ties in well with the niche principle, so this is what I will continue to do, write about my areas of expertise.

The end point of this work is to get more visitors to my website – this is for two main reasons.

  1. Web traffic can generate passive income through ads.

  2. I want to get more people to contact me about taking photos for them – but I want them to the right people.

I take what Google says very seriously, and every post and piece of online content contributes to the Google EAT!

If you remember one thing from this post remember Google EAT.

And remember this as well - it is all about improving the quality of our websites using the guidance that Google has given us.

5 - Video

Video is the future. This is a very popular belief, and one that made me cringe. Video? Really?

  • How do I create videos that people will find interesting?

  • Do people want to watch and listen to me?

  • What gear do I need?

  • Or do I film stuff while I am out and about?

  • How do I create regular consistent content?

  • Where do I put this stuff?

  • Do I really have to do this?

Well it turns out the answer to the what question was staring me in the face. The rest of it was me facing the grim reality that I had to just get on with this.

What was the answer?

I have a weekly photography blog.

I have fresh new content created by me about my niches – this is the source of my video content.

So every week I publish a video on YouTube where I talk about the content of my weekly photography blog post.

And I mean every week.

And yes, there will be a video about this post.

Other than this I want to get into creating videos of nice places, but that is one for the future. I know that I should be working on this, and have tried a few things.

Basically I need to up my video creation massivley.

For now (until I finish other things( I will settle with me talking to the camera. It is getting easier over time; you never know I might get good at this!

6 – Pinterest

I wrote a post titled Pinterest for Photographers – check it out by clicking the link.

Why Pinterest of all the social media platforms?

Simple. Pinterest pins have a longer searchable life and are more searchable than posts on any other social media platform.

Tweets are gone on minutes, Instagram posts in hours and Facebook posts who knows?

And will all the complicated algorithms each platform is sending you the stuff they want you to see.

Now I know that Pinterest will be doing the same – the main difference for me is that posts stay searchable and visible for months, not hours.

Again, at the moment Pinterest is free so it is just a time commitment. I look at Pinterest as an extension of the work on my website planting seeds for the future.

Check me out on Pinterest here.

7 – YouTube

YouTube is the second biggest search engine on the internet. That says it all really.

I mentioned videos before. I won’t bore you with this again. It is one thing recording videos, but you need to do something with them.

This is what I am doing.

I have a couple of YouTube channels. On Rick McEvoy Photography I publish the videos of me talking to my phone about that week’s blog post.

I found this a scary prospect to be completely honest, but now I am into the swing of it I am getting on with it just fine. It is almost natural to me now.

And the set-up is simple.

I put my iPhone on my tripod, point it at me with my computer monitor in the background with the post I am talking about on the screen.

Videos should be a minimum of 6 minutes long by the way.

Simple.

I have created 18 videos so far, and this will be video number 19. And the watch time is slowly increasing.

And I am also doing the same with my Paxos Travel Guide website – check this out here.

If you are not on YouTube get on there and just talk naturally to the camera about your niche – I promise you it is not as bad as it sounds.

And don’t worry about the quality – that will come with time. Worry about getting regular, relevant decent content onto the second biggest search engine on the planet.

It is free after all and does not take that long to do!

And every time I create a video I create a shorter one circa one-minute long which I publish on Pinterest – video is going to be a big thing on Pinterest and for once I am in there early.

8 - LinkedIn

I used to hate LinkedIn. I had a business profile for my construction day job. And then I had an idea and created a LinkedIn profile for my photography business.

And I pretty much left it there for a few years, just auto-sharing blog posts and not doing much more than that.

But now I am doing more. I am republishing one of my weekly blog posts related to my architectural photography work.

This is another niching down exercise – there are no sunrise shots here – just architectural and interior photography photos and articles.

I have just started doing this, and have to mention a chap called Jeff Brown, who is a photography mentor helping photographers increase their LinkedIn profiles. See – he has niched down to this. You can find him on LinkedIn and on his website Focus On Marketing.

And one thing that I did not know about LinkedIn – Microsoft bought LinkedIn for $26.2billion!!!! So there must be something going to happen!

9 – Websites

I have three websites at the moment.

Paxos Travel Guide

Paxos Travel Guide

Rick McEvoy Photography

Paxos Travel Guide

Photos of Santorini

Why three websites? Well the Paxos website has been created solely to generate passive income. I have used a structure which I have learned through Income School. If this works I will create more websites.

Income is from advertising and affiliate marketing.

The Santorini website needs revisiting but will in time also be a website designed to generate a passive income.

And my main website is my shop window, my online portfolio, the place where people find me.

And with enough traffic another source of passive income.

And there is an important thing here – the Paxos and Santorini websites might be seasonal, but at different times to my photography website. I hope to have good traffic levels all year round.

My aim is to have 5 website each generating a modest income which will allow me to do only the work that I want to do.

Having a passive, regular income in the background is very appealing to me – the internet is definitely the future!

10 – Affiliates

I have affiliate arrangements with a number of companies. And yes these links are affiliate links.

Skylum

Excire Search Pro

Peak Design

And of course Amazon (this is not an affiliate link)

How do these things work?

Well starting with Amazon I write about stuff that I use on my blog. I link to products on Amazon, adding my affiliate code to the product link.

If someone buys that thing I get a commission.

How much have I earned? Less than a tenner so for, but this is early days.

And as for the others, I have arrangements with each company I mentioned above – if someone buys one of their products using my affiliate link I get a commission.

This is another new thing, but I am seeing income very slowly increase, getting £30 last month and the same this month (even though we are only halfway through).

If I can get a decent return on these affiliate links I will go into more arrangements with companies whose products I use or would like to use.

I have added affiliate links to the list of photography gear that I use which you can find on my gear page.

11 – Consistency and continuity

This is very important.

I have been jumping around all over the place up until the middle of last year that is. I have pretty much stuck to my plans since then, and what you are reading now is the refinement of that plan.

And I am sticking to this consistently.

Every week I publish a blog post. They are long, in-depth blog posts about a specific thing. Like this one.

And every week I create a YouTube video about the blog post. And a shorter video which is published on Pinterest and LinkedIn.

And every week I schedule pins to Pinterest.

And every week I create an article on LinkedIn.

Is this lot working?

I am seeing web traffic growth to all my websites. My photography website is receiving more web traffic than ever, significantly more. And this is all happening organically.

Rick McEvoy Photography Google Search Console Results

Rick McEvoy Photography Google Search Console Results

I see this all as me building strong internet-based foundations for the future in my very specific areas of work.

And I am going to continue with this for the rest of the year and moving into 2020. Sure there will be refinement and tweaks along the way, but the fundamentals are set.

What is my end game?

Time freedom and financial freedom.

That is what this is all about.

Where is all my stuff online?

Here are links to all the things that I have written about

Websites

Rick McEvoy Photography

Paxos Travel Guide

Photos of Santorini

YouTube

Rick McEvoy Photography

Paxos Travel Guide

Pinterest

Rick McEvoy Photography

LinkedIn

Rick McEvoy Photography

Summary

Rick McEvoy

I hope that you have found my thoughts and plans interesting, and that something that I have said has sparked an idea that you can action to help improve your photography business.

And after writing this I feel the need to get out and take some photos just for me - this is the one thing that I need to more of!

And there is a video to accompany this blog post which you can get to on my YouTube channel.

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

#photographybusinessideas #photographybusiness #photography #rickmcevoyphotography

25 Really useful Photography Accessories Costing Less Than £20/ $25/ €22.32

Photography can be an expensive business. But it does not have to be all the time!

Here are 25 really useful photography accessories costing less than £20. See, photography accessories do not have to be expensive, and in this little lot are some absolute gems of bits of cheap kit that I use to help me create my images, videos and online content. And some stuff that I am going to buy.

Before I go on, I need to tell you something.

I have added a link to the Amazon page where you can buy all these bits of kit. These links are all Amazon Affiliate Links – if you buy any of these products using one of these links I get a small commission, but you do not pay any more - Amazon just makes a little bit less which seems fair to me!

And one further thing - the product descriptions are taken from the particular product pages on Amazon.

Now that is out of the way let’s get straight into the list.

1 – Photo Studio Tent With Lights!

Yes I bought a photo studio tent for a product photography shoot. I had to photograph coloured corner caps for a customisable table for a client. I had never done this before so having made two bad goes at it I bit the bullet and bought this little gem of a piece of kit. It cost me £19.99, but at the time of writing is going for the amazing price of £8.99!

Here are a couple of photos that I took using this tent.

Product Photography at home by Rick McEvoy

Product Photography at home by Rick McEvoy

Product Photography at home by Rick McEvoy

Product Photography at home by Rick McEvoy

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2 – Manfrotto Pixi tripod

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I use one of these for my travel photography. I have been on foreign trips and only taken this as my tripod. I have used it to take long exposure images using my Canon 6D and Canon 17-40mm lens which were perfectly sharp. And it is even better with my mirrorless cameras, the Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk 2 and EM10Mk 2.

Here it is!

And the cost for this little marvel?

£17.99!

I know – ridiculous.

Manfrotto PIXI Mini Tripod with Handgrip for Compact System Cameras, Black

I did not know or think that this could also be used as a hand-grip until I saw the full description writing this post.

3 – Op Tech Wrist strap

Optech Wrist Strap - photo from Amazon website

Optech Wrist Strap - photo from Amazon website

I hate camera neck straps. I used one for years until I realised that there is another way, wrist straps. There are other clever things too that slide and do all sorts, but less is more for me. And less means less bulk filling up my bag.

I like having my camera in my right hand with the security of a wrist strap just in case I lose my grip.

I use wrist straps on my Canon 6D and also my Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk 2 and Olympus EM10 Mk 2 mirrorless cameras.

And the price- £8.99!

OP/TECH 6701062 SLR Wrist Strap – Black

4 – Lastolite Grey Card

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Why do I need a grey card? Simple – to get a good white balance. In difficult lighting conditions all I do is plonk this in the scene in a logical place. Then I take another photo without it and when I get back to my office to edit the photos I use this as my grey point for custom white balance.

Works a treat in Lightroom and I can copy and paste the correct white balance to as many photos as I want to.

All for £19 and very little space in my camera bag.

Lastolite by Manfrotto LL LR1250 Ezybalance Grey Card - 30 cm, Grey/White

5 – Pec Pads

Pec Pad - photo from Amazon

Pec Pad - photo from Amazon

These excellent disposable cleaning cloths are what I use to clean my lenses and anything else that needs a delicate clean.

Used with the next item this is 50% of my day-to-day photography gear cleaning stuff.

These packs last a surprisingly long time too!

You get 100 of these for £17.99 – an absolute bargain!

Photographic Solutions 10x10cm Pec Pad (Pack of 100)

6 – Eclipse Lens Cleaning Solution

Eclipse Lens Cleaning Solution - photo from Amazon

Eclipse Lens Cleaning Solution - photo from Amazon

The other half of my day-to-day camera cleaning kit is this stuff. Two drops on a Pec Pad and off you go cleaning stuff for fun, in particular the most delicate front and rear lens elements.

You can use this stuff to clean your camera sensor, which I have not done since I had a bit of a problem many years ago.

These bottles seem to last forever.

£16.98 including free delivery!!

Photographic Solutions Eclipse Lens and CCD Cleaning Fluid

And I also buy a small bottle for travel use.

7 – Head Torch

Yep this is me wearing my head torch. Dead handy to have in my camera bag for a few essential uses.

First one is getting to where I want to be for sunrise if it is super dark out there.

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And once I am there, whilst I can use my camera with my eyes closed I do need help changing my camera lenses – not only that but also finding them in my bag.

Less than a tenner too!!

Xiancai USB Rechargeable LED Head Torch, Super Bright LED Headlamps, White & Red LED, 5 Modes, Best Head Lights for Camping, Hiking, Jogging, Running Fishing, Kids

8 – Micro fibre towel

Photo from Amazon

Photo from Amazon

Micro fibre towels are so useful. What do I use them for?

Protecting my camera in light rain is one use, not that there is that much rain in Greece!

I also use them to clean down my camera body and lens, removing sea salt and general coastal debris.

They are also useful providing extra grip if my hands are particularly sweaty.

And I have used one as an improvised hat on a particularly sunny day.

And finally they act as padding in my camera bag when I am travelling.

So much for so little.

£6.46 for a pack of 10 400mm x 400mm cloths. Another bargain.

Lint Free Microfibre Exel Super Magic Cleaning Cloths For Polishing, Washing, Waxing And Dusting. Cleaning Accessories, Blue (Pack of 10)

Filter wrench - photo from Amazon

Filter wrench - photo from Amazon

9 – Filter wrench

A handy thing to have just in case a filter gets stuck. This has happened to me in the past, I once could not get a filter off as it was so hot I just could not grip the filter to remove it. Of course the cloth above would help, but for an investment of £2.47 (for two) I always have one of these in my bag just in case.

Doradus 48-58mm/62-82mm Kood Filter Wrench Spanner Camera Lens Filter Removal Tool Black

Photo from Amazon website

Photo from Amazon website

10 – Hot Shoe bubble level

My cameras have spirit levels built into them. That is all well and good. But there is a problem. Sometime I cannot see the LCD screen, especially when I have placed my camera down low and cannot get down to it.

I know that the accuracy might not be 100%, but I do know that it gets me close enough that I only have to make minor adjustments after.

And for less than £3 it is more useful than a coffee.

TRIXES Professional Camera Spirit Level Flashbulb Flashlight Hot Shoe Cover for DSLR

11 – Filter step up/ down rings

Filter step up ring - photo from Amazon

Filter step up ring - photo from Amazon

I have a 77mm circular polarising filter. It cost me £100. It fits my Canon 24-105mm lens, and also my Canon 17-40mm lens.

My new Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Pro lens has a filter thread of 62mm.

So what I need is a step up ring from 62mm to 77mm. And how much will this cost me?

£6.11 for this neat item.

Ares Photography 62mm to 77mm Step-Up Lens Adapter Ring for Filters, Made of CNC Machined Metal with Matte Black Electroplated Finish

Taking this a step further. My Lee Big Stopper filter and holder cost me nearly £200. It comes with a 77mm ring. I can use the adaptor above to add this filter to my Olympus lens.

Sweet. I said gear does not have to cost a fortune – this adaptor costing less then £7 has saved me hundreds of pounds.

12 – Vertical grip for my Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk 2

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I am used to a Canon 6D, which has an excellent hand grip which I use all the time. When I bought my smaller Olympus camera I struggled with the smaller grip to be honest, so wanted something that I could grip more easily.

And this is the first thing that I tried, and it worked a treat.

This is the most expensive item in this post, costing a princely £19.99! And as a bonus it is also an L Bracket, with Arca Swiss compatible plates on the bottom and the side, which I use all the time.

What is not to love for less than £20??

QR Vertical Shoot L Bracket Plate With Hand Grip For Olympus OM-D E-M5 EM5 Mark II

13 – How Do I Do That in Lightroom Classic? Book by Scott Kelby.

How Do I Do That In Lightroom - photo from Amazon

How Do I Do That In Lightroom - photo from Amazon

This is a book I can recommend from the biggest selling author of books on Lightroom and Photoshop - Scott Kelby. I do not have this book, as I have been using Lightroom since it first came out, and am happy with my knowledge of Lightroom.

Currently for sale on Amazon for £17.74.

How Do I Do That in Lightroom Classic?

But having said that, Photoshop is a struggle for me. So I do have this book.

14 – How Do I Do That in Photoshop?

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Here it is on my bookshelf. And yes there are quite a few other books written by Scott Kelby on there.

This book is great, as it explains one thing on a page, telling you how to do it. Nice and simple and has helped me many times work out quickly how to do something in Photoshop.

Currently for sale on Amazon for £15.98

How Do I Do That in Photoshop?: The Quickest Ways to Do the Things You Want to Do, Right Now!

15 -  Hurricane blower

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What do I use this for? Blowing the dust off my sensors. I don’t clean my sensors myself, but I do get rid of the big bits using one of these things. And I use it to blow stuff from the lens mounts and anywhere else on my camera.


I have the Giottos one that costs £13.47 at the time of writing. There are other cheaper ones available though that do the same thing.



Giottos GTAA1900 Rocket Air Blower - Black




16 - Waterproof Phone Case 

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I have an iPhone XS. It is water resistant to a depth of 2 metres for 30 minutes. But is has never seen water.

I want to do underwater videos using my iPhone, and also take those cool photos half under the water and half above the water.

So I bought this case.

I used it once, to protect my phone on the beach, but I have not been brave enough yet to actually use it underwater with my phone in it.

 I have however tested it in the bath and it was fine!

How much? £5.99. I know. And how much is an iPhone? £949!

Waterproof Phone Case YOSH IPX8 Watertight Sealed Underwater Waterproof Phone Cases Pouch Bag Dry Bag with Lanyard for iPhone X XR XS 8 7 6s Plus Samsung S10 S9 S8 Huawei P30 P20 Mate20 Pro up to 6.1

17 – Spare rear lens and body caps

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These are must have accessories. If you lose one of these spares are needed. They are small, weigh nothing, cheap and protect two of the most important parts of a camera, the exposed rear lens element and the camera sensor.

And they also serve another purpose.

When I travel I separate my lens and camera body – this means they take up less room.

And to do this I need these two bits of plastic.

Cheap but invaluable!

And don’t worry if they are made by your camera manufacturer – they all fit just fine and after all are only pieces of plastic!

You can get these for Canon cameras for £4.25

JJC L-R1 Rear Lens and Camera Body Cap Cover for Canon EOS & EF/EF-S Lens – Black

And for Olympus these cost £6.99

Fotover Micro 4/3 Body Cap and Lens Rear Cap Cover Replacement Set for Olympus/Panasonic M4/3 Cameras and Lens,2 Sets

18 – Memory card holder

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I take one of these with me in my camera bag wherever I go.

Actually I have two of these which I take with me. One is yellow, and holds my empty memory cards, and the other is red, and holds memory cards with photos on. On a trip I keep the red case in the room safe, and at the end of every day I put that days memory card n the red case. I put a new card in the camera for the next day.

This means that if I drop my bag off the side of a cliff all I will have lost is that days photos. And as my gear is all insured I am covered.

I am very fussy about how I look after my memory cards, which are very important to me.

Each of these costs £8.99 from Amazon.

Beeway® Tough Water Shock Resistant Protector Memory Card Carrying Case Holder 24 Slots for SD SDHC SDXC and Micro SD TF with Storage Bag & Carabiner

19 – Memory card holder

Memory card case - photo from Amazon

Memory card case - photo from Amazon

Yes, I have another card holder. When I get back from my trip, or indeed from a days shoot, I store used memory cards in this soft wallet which lives in my desk drawer. I import the images into Lightroom, and then put the card in this wallet until I have completed a physical back up of my hard drive to my off-site hard drive, which I do every month.

And this costs less than a fiver – actually £4.69

Memory Card Carrying Case - Suitable for SDHC and SD Cards - 8 Pages and 22 Slots - ECO-FUSED Microfiber Cleaning Cloth Included (Black)


20 – New SD Memory card

SC card - photo from Amazon

SC card - photo from Amazon

I have a lot of memory cards. As you will see above I only use one card per day, so for a two-week trip I could need 14 cards. Ok on a two week trip I will probably use a card for a couple of days, but I still need a lot of cards.

And I do not use emormous cards that hold thousands of photos.

No, I like to use smaller cards and change them every day/ couple of days.

This reduces the chances of a card failure, and also of losing images as I explained before.

I also rotate my memory cards, and replace them every couple of years.

So I am about to buy a few of these and bin the older cards that I have.

These are £18.99 each, and plenty big enough for my needs.

SanDisk Extreme 64GB SDXC Memory Card up to 150MB/s, Class 10, U3, V30

21 – Phone tripod holder

This is currently living on one of my tripods in my office, as I am recording weekly videos for my YouTube channel using my iPhone. A very simple piece of kit, simple but very useful.

iPhone tripod holder - photo from Amazon

iPhone tripod holder - photo from Amazon

There is not a lot more to say about this – it screws into my tripod head and can be mounted in landscape or portrait mode.

And it only costs £6.09!

Universal Smartphone Holder Mount Monopod Tripod Adapter of Selfie Stick with Double Screw Head for iPhone 6Plus 6, iPhone 7Plus 7 Samsung Galaxy (Screw Mount)

22 – Haofy Tripod Umbrella Holder

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I do not have one of these, but this seems like a great accessory for me. When it is raining I just attach a brolley to this device fixed on my tripod and I am sorted! Time to get one ordered.

£8.99

Haofy Tripod Umbrella Holder, Outdoor Camera Tripod Umbrella Holder Clip Bracket Stand Clamp Photography Accessory

 

Yes - me with a brolley.

Well it had to happen at some point in my life!

 

 23 - THE NORTH FACE Men's Salty Dog Beanie

Rick McEvoy

This photo of me I took on the top of the caldera on the wonderful Greek Island of Santorini. As featured on my website Photos of Santorini.

Yes I have a red hat. The red North Face Hat featured in my profile photo is a tad old now, so this is the one that I am replacing it with.

This new one goes for £18.95.

THE NORTH FACE Men's Salty Dog Beanie

Now for two items that are not available from Amazon – yes there are things that you have to buy from other places!!

24 - 2 month Photography Creative Cloud subscription

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I know that this is a 12-month subscription, but I reckon that if you sign up for the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan currently £9.98 including VAT per month you will be happy that you did. You get Lightroom and Photoshop for less than a tenner per month.

This is the plan that I use – it gives me all that I need.

And you can trial all the Adobe stuff for free for 30 days, so for less than £20 you can have 3 months of Lightroom and Photoshop.

And having had these two simply amazing photo editing packages for three months I reckon that you will stick with this just like the rest of us!

Check out the Adobe website for more details.

https://www.adobe.com/uk/creativecloud/plans.html?promoid=6NCS7DGT&mv=other

25 - The Photographer's Ephemeris

This is a great App. This is the only App that I use on my iPhone to help me plan my sunrise photo shoots.

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It tells me where the sun rises and sets, and lots in-between. I use this whenever I get to a location, find the composition I want and then I can drop a pin just in case I forget where the perfect location for a shoot was.

As I usually do this the day before I can normally manage to remember but it is great to be able to record the fact!

£9.99 on the App Store

And you can find out more about this wonderful tool at the Photographer’s Ephermis website

https://www.photoephemeris.com

It is a bit fiddly to use at first, but a bit of practise and you will be up and running and loving it just like I do.

This is a screenshot taken on the wonderful Greek Island of Rhodes. While I am on the subject of Rhodes why not check out the page all about my photos of Rhodes.



OK - that is the 25 things done - a few more bits before I finish.


What camera bag do I use?

I use a Peak Design Everyday Backpack. This costs more than £20, but I wanted to mention this as this is the bag that I put all of this good stuff in.

Here is my bag in action.

Peak Design Everyday Messenger

Peak Design Everyday Messenger

Currently available on Amazon for £258.99. That is the 20 litre bag. The 30 litre bag, which I am about to invest in, is £259!

And to finish off here is a photo of my Canon 6D on the Manfrotto Pixi.

Canon 6D and Manfrotto Pixi on Paxos

Canon 6D and Manfrotto Pixi on Paxos

This photo was taken on a morning shoot working for my website Paxos Travel Guide.

That’s it.

Yes its me!

Yes its me!

I hope that you found this post informative, and that you are inspired to get some new gear costing less than twenty quid!

You can check out the rest of my photography gear on my page called gear!

And you can now watch the accompanying video on my YouTube channel.

Rick McEvoy ABIPP - Photographer, writer, website creator

#photographyaccessories #rickmcevoyphotography #canon6d #olympusem5 #photographyaccessoriescostinglessthan£20

 

How I Made My Photography Website Super-Fast for Google

I spend a lot of time working on my own travel and photography websites.

And in this post I will tell how I made my photography website super-fast for Google by using a new theme, getting rid of plug-ins I did not need and making my photo files smaller. And yes I do mean super-fast, getting scores in the 90-100 range according to Google for both desktop and mobile sites. I did this quickly and at no cost to myself!

And you can do the same, apart from the fact that you will have to pay for the theme I use.

And speed is a very important factor to Google, so is very important to all of us.

Paxos Travel Guide web site speed

Paxos Travel Guide web site speed

Is website speed important?

As good a place as any to start.

Yes website speed is important. It is one of the many ranking factors that Google uses to assess where your website appears in a search query.

In July 2018 Google announced that “People want to be able to find answers to their questions as fast as possible — studies show that people really care about the speed of a page. Although speed has been used in ranking for some time, that signal was focused on desktop searches. Today we’re announcing that starting in July 2018, page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches.”

And as Googles number one aim is to give people what they want then that is that.

It is important.

And think about this.

If you visit a website and it takes an age to load what do you do?

Move on very quickly. It is a harsh world out there, and people do not have time to wait for slow websites to load, so this is important to me, as I know that I would move on quite quickly if I came across a slow website.

How many websites do I have?

At the time of writing this blog post I have three websites.

Rick McEvoy Photography

Photos of Santorini

Paxos Travel Guide

What platform are my websites on?

Rick McEvoy Photography is on the Squarespace platform, the other two are on WordPress.

The reason for this is that I created Rick McEvoy Photography first, and I am quite frankly rubbish at this stuff. Squarespace is a template website which is easy for people like to me to use to build a lovely looking website.

I got into WordPress when I was writing for Improve Photography, which is built on the WordPress platform. I have learnt how to use WordPress and future websites will all be on this platform.

How do I know how fast my websites are?

Simple. Go to Page Speed Insights, https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

This is a Google page with the heading “Make your web pages fast on all devices”. That is a subtle hint if ever!

Just type in your URL and Google will tell how fast, or slow, your website is.

Google Page Speed Index gives you two scores, Mobile and Desktop.

Basically

  • 0-49 is rubbish, and is coloured red.

  • 50-89 is average and is coloured amber

  • 90-100 is green so is very good!

I like the colours – even I can understand this!

How fast were my websites they before this work?

So my scores before doing anything

Rick McEvoy Photography

  • Mobile - 30

  • Desktop - 83

Photos of Santorini

  • Mobile 63

  • Desktop 78

Paxos Travel Guide

  • Mobile 53

  • Desktop 72

Now I have to say that the desktop score for my photography website is (sort of) ok, as my target market is very much desktop users, people in offices basically.

Not that I am going to ignore the very poor mobile speed of course, which is quite frankly shocking!

But for the other two sites I must target mobile as this is where I expect the majority of my traffic will be coming from.

Knowing all that what am I going to do to make my websites quicker?

I am fortunate to have what is pretty much an experimental website, Photos of Santorini. There is more work to do on this website, meaning that I can use it to test things.

These are the three things that I did to my website to make it a lot quicker.

  • Install a stupid quick WordPress theme - Acabado

  • Get rid of plug-ins that I do not need

  • Compress all my photos

Acabado - the super-fast WordPress theme

I am a subscriber to Income School, and the Project 24 way of creating niche websites.

They have just released a new WordPress theme all of their own with speed a big priority. Speed and simplicity of set up and use. If you are not a Project 24 member you will be able to but the theme once it is out of beta.

If you check out Photos of Santorini now you will see the basic version of this theme.

It is called Acabado.

Now I am not a fan of the name, mainly because I keep forgetting it! But that really is not important here.

It is fast, and easy to set up.

Once the theme was set up, which was easy even for an incompetent like me, there were two other things to do.

Turn off the plug-ins that I did not need.

Yep, plug-ins are the nemesis of page speed. Well they can be. So all bar three plug-ins were turned off.

The theme has all the stuff to help SEO etc built-in, so all that other stuff is not needed.

This is one of the reasons I like this theme so much – there is very little that I need to do.

For completeness the ones that are still active are

  • Amazon Affiliate Link Globalizer

  • Really Simple SSl

  • Short Pixel Optimizer. Which leads me nicely to the next point.

Make my photos smaller

My websites are photo heavy, well I am a photographer after all. So compressing the photos has a big impact on how fast my websites are.

I use Short Pixel Optimizer to compress my photos. It is dead easy and quick to use.

And this is the nuts and blots of what I did.

How long did this take?

For Photos of Santorini, I spent an hour doing the things above, and then no more than another hour tweaking bits around.

How fast is Photos of Santorini now?

This is the good bit – does this stuff really work?

  • Mobile 96 (was 63)

  • Desktop 95 (was 78)

Wow. That is right up there in the green. Amazing.

Yep – this stuff really does work.

And then Paxos Travel Guide

I repeated the process a few days later, happy that the theme was stable and produced what I wanted, and that I was confident in making the changes to my nearly completed travel website.

Which I was.

It took more time to get this website right, possibly because of the way it was structured. I would say a couple of hours more, which is nothing in the grand scheme of things.

And this website is important to me, so needed to work.

So I had to check all the links and make sure everything was logical as the Acabado theme is set up differently.

I had to add all my blog posts to a new page called Paxos Blog as the posts weren’t appearing correctly. And it also gave me the opportunity to do some housekeeping and make some logical structural and content updates to my website.

And finally check that every link went where it should.

OK – How fast is Paxos Travel Guide?

  • Mobile 94 (was 53)

  • Desktop 97 (was 72)

Amazing. Super-fast (as I said at the beginning – I don’t make this stuff up you know!

The fantastic new mobile experience

If you check out the websites on your phone then you will understand what I am about to say.

There are three tiles on the home page of each website. I am going to add a fourth.

These link to, well in the case of Photos of Santorini,

  • The Blog

  • Who Am I?

  • My photos of Santorini

On mobile the tiles work wonderfully well – I did not appreciate just how powerful these things can be.

So the new mobile experience on both of my websites is now fantastic. Super quick and really easy to navigate – I am absolutely delighted.

Has this affected search engine results pages?

This is going to be difficult to assess – there are so many factors that affect the rankings, but I will keep an eye on this.

But on a quick initial check they are certainly no worse!

And has the traffic to my websites increased?

Paxos Travel Guide is enjoying rapid growth at the moment, so I might never know. But I do know how long people are spending on my site, what pages they look at etc, so I will keep an eye on this as well.

Photos of Santorini is not finished yet as I said earlier, and the web traffic has been bumbling along at the same level, which is entirely what I expect. And then this week the traffic experienced a little nudge up. Of 80% more visitors.

Check out the Google Analytics screenshot here for Photos of Santorini.

FAF516AF-5ED6-4541-A19B-2D30C95E06A6.JPG

And here are the screenshots for my other websites for the same period.

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5D466FA1-B37D-42CA-91CD-BB620B086162.JPG

A quick word on web traffic

I am working incredibly hard to increase the organic traffic to my websites. This is a long-term investment in time and effort. One week is irrelevant in the scheme of things, but it was a noticeable discrepancy.

Don’t you have to be a Wordpress expert to do stuff like this?

I am rubbish at WordPress. Seriously rubbish. I bought a theme a year ago and did not have a clue what to do. I eventually got my money back. And then I bought another theme which I could not fathom out, which basically cost me about £80 for nothing.

So the fact that I was able complete Paxos Travel Guide in I would say 4 hours is truly remarkable. When I say complete I mean fully complete to the point where all I need to do now is create more blog posts.

Changing theme was a big job that I was dreading doing but I am sat here now so happy that this is done, and that I am loving the new layout and performance,

What about my Squarespace website?

So what next for Rick McEvoy Photography?

Let’s remind ourselves of the numbers

  • Mobile - 30

  • Desktop – 83

Hmmmmmm.

Not good.

The problem is that there is a lot more work to get this website first onto WordPress from Squarespace, and then to apply the theme and make sure everything works.

I am going to do it – I just need to plan this and make sure that I have time available to do this properly.

There is a lot of content and this website is my business after all, so time spent now on planning is absolutely essential.

A word on hosting

I use Bluehost for my hosting. I have registered with another company who provide the fastest web service.

I won’t say who they are, as they have done nothing wrong, but I am staying with Bluehost.

Bluehost provide fantastic customer support through online chat, which is the only way I want to get help on my websites as this all the work is done at my PC.

I have become an affiliate for Bluehost – if you want to use them for your hosting and you click here then you will be taken to their website via my affiliate link and I will get a commission if you buy anything.

How do I track the performance of my websites?

The last thing I want to cover in this post is how I track progress with my websites.

Google Analytics

This is the thing that I use the most and is the base data that is used for anything and everything – this is the actual data recorded by Google so if you do not have Google Analytics installed so this right now!

I use the web-based version and also the App on my iPhone – both are fantastic in their own ways.

A word of warning though – Google Analytics can be highly addictive. Especially the real time reporting of how many visitors are on your website at that immediate moment in time!

SEO Edge

And to see how a keyword is doing I add it to an iPhone App called SEO Edge which is excellent. I have one keyword in a blog post title, and when I publish that post I add the keyword to the App and check on it weekly.

I also use YouTube Studio on my iPhone and iPad, which is Google Analytics for YouTube.

It is well worth using these excellent free tools from Google, as they are the people that we are trying to please with our online content, so people find what we are writing and talking about.

If you study these Google tools you will see what Google is recording, and what is important which is of course of interest.

And for the future

Getting Rick McEvoy Photography onto WordPress and onto the superfast Acabado theme is the next job.

Once I have done that I will provide an update on my photography blog.

I have a couple more posts to do for Paxos Travel Guide, and once they are done all I have left to do now is edit and upload all the photos to make this website complete. And then sit back and wait.

While I am waiting I have more work to do on photos of Santorini to get it to the same state as Paxos Travel Guide.

And after that who knows?

I will continue to add regular content to all my websites including weekly posts to my photography blog. And there will be more websites in the future no doubt.

Summary

Apologies for the change from what I said I would be writing about. This was such a significant thing that I have done to two of my websites that I wanted to tell everyone all about it as it was happening.

Oh yes before I forget the video will be published tomorrow that accompanies this post, which you can view on my YouTube Channel.

Please subscribe to my blog which should be back more to photography next week, although you never know what is going to happen between now and then!

Rick McEvoy ABIPP - Photographer, blogger, website creator

Where Are The Best Sunrise Locations In Rhodes?

I have an ongoing love of the wonderful Greek Islands. And of photography of course. And sunrise is my most favourite thing.

So where are the best sunrise locations in Rhodes? My favourite location to photograph the sunrise in Rhodes is the area between Pefkos and Navarone Bay 5 minutes south of Lindos, half-way down the east coast of the island. In this post I will tell you all about the three places to go to and show you some of the photos I have taken from this wonderful location.

First things first – who am I?

I am Rick McEvoy. I am a professionally qualified photographer based in the south of England. I specialise in architectural, landscape and travel photography. Basically anything that does not move or breathe! No animals, people and definitely not weddings!

No if it is still then I will photograph it.

I have this website that you have found, Rick McEvoy Photography, and two other websites, Paxos Travel Guide (which is nearly finished at the time of writing this) and Photos of Santorini (which is not finished at the time of writing this!).

Yes I really am a huge fan of the Greek Islands!

If you want to know more about me, and why wouldn’t you, please check out my about me page and my blog where there is lots of good stuff to read.

Back to the subject, sunrise locations on the wonderful Greek Island of Rhodes.

Why am I writing about Rhodes?

Simple. It is one of the Greek Islands that I know the best. Rhodes is the Greek Island that I have visited the most. And out of all the places on this wonderful Greek Island I have narrowed down my sunrise photography to the places I will talk about in this post.

What about sunsets?

I take the odd sunset photo, but not that many. Sunset I find is a more sociable hour, sunrise is early, and I love getting up early to witness the start of a new day. No-one else does, it is just me!

And on a good day I can be back at the hotel and get a bit more sleep and get up with everyone else.

So that is why.

Where is the Greek Island of Rhodes?

I thought I might as well start with a bit of background to the locations I am talking about, starting with where the island actually is!

Rhodes is the largest of the Dodecanese Islands, and is a circa 4/ 4 ½ hour flight from the south of England away. The flight distance is just over 1700 miles from London Gatwick to the airport in Rhodes Town.

Here it is on a map, using the Greek spelling.

Where is the Greek Island of Rhodes?

Where is the Greek Island of Rhodes?

Where are Pefkos and Navarone Bay?

Once you get to Rhodes it is a drive of less than an hour from the airport to Pefkos, which you get to after driving past Lindos and the spectacular Acropolis.

And here it is zoomed in on a map, courtesy as ever of Google Maps.

Where is Pefkos on Rhodes?

Where is Pefkos on Rhodes?

I have to say that the stretch of road from Lardos, the next village after Pefkos travelling south, to Lindos is one of my favourite stretches of road. I can happily drive along there any time enjoying the very special views.

How do I get there?

You need to either be staying locally in Pefkos or have a car to get there for the sunrise. I had a hire car so the drive from the hotel in Lardos was a quick 5 minutes to the base of the hill where the church is, a few more minutes on to the beach at Navarone Bay but much longer to the tops of the cliffs.

When I say much longer it takes an extra 10 minutes to get around the headland and on to the tops.

Where exactly are the locations?

Again I have marked an extract from Google Maps.

My best sunrise locations in Rhodes revealed!

My best sunrise locations in Rhodes revealed!

  1. On top of the hill at the where you will find the Prophet Elias Church

  2. On top of the cliffs overlooking Navarone Bay

  3. On the beach and the rocks around Navarone Bay

Are these locations easy to get to?

1 - Prophet Elias Church

Prepare to give your lungs and your legs a good workout. There is a car park at the foot of the steps up to the church. All you need to do is follow the 200 plus steps all the way to the church and the cross at the top of the hill.

The steps are excellent, having been recently rebuilt, and there are handrails to help you up the steep bits. I have done the climb wearing flip flops no problem, but there is one word of warning I will give you.

Goat droppings.

These can be many in quantity, and all over the path, so flip flops are not the best thing to be completely honest.

Once you get to the top there is a level paved area with a very low perimeter wall, a church, a Greek flag and a large cross.

And those amazing views.

2 - On top of the cliffs overlooking Navarone Bay

You have to drive around the headland and drive as far up the gravel path as you dare. You can see this just below the cross and the number 2. I stopped a good way short of the actual location, giving myself a good 10-minute walk up the hill, over the top and then a scramble down to the plateau immediately above the main cliffs.

And the big drop!

Do not wear flip flops for this. I wore actual walking boots, some lovely lightweight ones that grip the rocks wonderfully well.

The path is very lumpy and bumpy, and once you are on the tops you need good quality walking shoes, or it will be a slow, painful, miserable experience. And you will be putting yourself at risk if you go the cliff edge.

These are serious cliffs so be careful – you would not survive the drop.

OK – that’s you told!

3 - On the beach and the rocks around Navarone Bay

To get to this location you have to drive to the Lindos Memories Resort & Spa. There is a car park there that I park at. I know I am not a guest but at the time I am there it is very quiet.

Ok completely silent apart from the goats.

Anyway as a thank you to this lovely hotel for letting me park there here is a link to the hotel.

Park at the car park and walk down the path to the beach by the side of the hotel immediately off the car park. On the way back you will notice the smells of the spa which is nice.

Walk down to the beach and turn right. I go all the way to the end of the beach then navigate the rocks to get to the point where I want to take my photos from.

Which is basically at the very bottom of that massive rock face.

This is obviously up to you, but I have shown you on the map one of my preferred locations.

Again, flip flops are not recommended. You are not going to kill yourself falling off the edge here, but the rocks are very sharp, and I always manage to get some impressive cuts and scratches on my legs.

If you are happy staying on the beach then that is just fine – you will still have an amazing sunrise experience.

Is there parking nearby?

I think I have covered that.

What time does the sun rise?

Well this varies of course on the time of year and if there is a band of cloud on the horizon. According to my camera metadata the sun started to appear about 5:50am. There is of course the time before the sun rises which is amazing, so ideally if the sun were to rise at 5.50am I would like to be in position and ready to take photos and videos by 5am.

But I like being nice and early so I can sit down and just enjoy being there.

Sunrise is such a special thing that I love experiencing.

And I would stay for a good hour afterwards as well to make the best of that fantastic post-sunrise directional light.

Are there other people there?

At the church on the hill it is very common to find people there witnessing the stunning sunrise on the hill. You can after all park at the bottom of the steps and walk up there in normal shoes.

I have never seen anyone else on the rocks or the beach in Navarone Bay though. And as to the top of the cliffs overlooking Navarone Bay? Only goats. I have never seen another person up there.

So yes and no. And you can guess which I prefer?

Splendid sunrise isolation. Just me and the elements.

What camera gear do I use?

Time to talk photography briefly. Don’t worry I won’t go on too much I promise.

And by the way, the links I have added to these items are Amazon Affiliate links – if you buy them or anything else within 24 hours of visiting Amazon via that link then I get a small commission.

Disclosure done – best to be open about these things!

Back to my gear.

I have been using a Canon 6D for a few years now, but this year I have changed my travel photography gear. I am now using an Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk 2 with Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Pro lens, and also the excellent Olympus 40-150mm lens.

I am loving my new smaller gear.

Which is slightly smaller and not that much lighter even it has to be said,

I use a Peak Design Everyday Backpack to carry my gear to these places that I find myself in – a backpack is an essential for me as I need both hands free to get to where I want to be.

My tripod of choice is the 3 Legged Thing Punks Corey, which sits nicely in my camera bag. And I am loving the Arca Swiss plate.

I have bought an L bracket with grip for my Olympus camera, the QR Vertical Shoot L Bracket Plate With Hand Grip, which cost me £19.99 from Amazon which worked quite well.

That was the main gear that I used. Sorry there was my iPhone which I used to take videos.

Gear done – on to the photos taken at the three locations.

My sunrise photos of Rhodes web page

I have created a gallery page on my website where I have added 12 sunrise photos taken in these three locations in June 2019. This is called Rhodes. I know – where do I get these names from?

I will talk about one photo from each of the locations, which will hopefully give you an idea of the view from each location.

1 – The photo from the top of the hill near the Prophet Elias Church

Sunrise view from the hills above Pefkos looking towards Lindos

Sunrise view from the hills above Pefkos looking towards Lindos

This photo shows you the scale of the scene, photographed from the edge of the rocks. Immediately below the sun is the Acropolis of Rhodes, too far away to be clear. And to the right you can see part of Navarone Bay.

This is a magnificent sunrise view, which I have loved every time I have made the effort to climb up those steps in the dark to be there for this special time of the day.

2 - On top of the cliffs overlooking Navarone Bay

Tree at sunrise on Rhodes Greece

Tree at sunrise on Rhodes Greece

This is the tree on top of the cliffs. You can see this tree from miles away. Every time I drove along the road from Lindos to Pefkos I would look up at this tree and smile to myself.

Again, a stunningly gorgeous location to witness the sunrise from.

3 - On the beach and the rocks around Navarone Bay

OK -this photo does not appear on the web page I mentioned earlier. I love this photo, such a simple composition, such lovely warming colours.

Sunrise in Rhodes by Rick McEvoy

Sunrise in Rhodes by Rick McEvoy

So relaxing and peaceful. Which is exactly what the sunrise is like.

As I said before, you can see more of my photos of the sunrise on Rhodes on the Rhodes page of my website.

And there is only one thing better than a stunning sunrise photo, and that is a nice, relaxing video showing the sun rising.

Video time!

I wanted to video the sun rising. There were a few problems with this.

On the first try my alarm went off stopping the video which was infuriating. Next time I ran out of memory. Equally annoying but entirely my own fault.

But I did manage to get a 30-minute video of the flag flying at the church, and 30 minutes as the sun rises from the cliffs above Navarone Bay.

These are the links to the videos on my YouTube Channel

1 – The Greek Flag Flying Proudly As The Sun Rises Over Lindos

2 – Stunning 30 minute Sunrise Video From The Cliffs Above Navarone Bay Looking Towards Lindos, Rhodes

I got there in the end, and to be honest I have not done this before, well not recording 30-minute videos. This meant that I had to take photos handheld, which was a joy with the Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk 2, which has in-built image stabilisation.

So a change in the way I work, but a good change at that so after these morning shoots I had developed, and all was good in my photographic world.

My YouTube Channel

And finally please may I ask for your help?

I hope that you found this post interesting. Please subscribe to my photography blog to get notified when a new post is published.

If you have enjoyed reading this post please check out my YouTube channel, where there is an accompanying video for this blog post.

If you could subscribe to my YouTube channel that would be great and most helpful to me.

And one last request – please follow me on Pinterest where I have boards all about photography and travel.

None of this costs you any money, and I will not inundate you with rubbish – it just helps me and gives me a warm cosy glow knowing that people are reading and watching my stuff.

Thank you!

Next week on my photography blog

Next week on my photography blog I am going to continue my series of posts about the exposure triangle. This will be a follow up to the post The exposure triangle explained in plain English. But will it be aperture, shutter or ISO?

Check out my blog next week to find out.

Rick McEvoy ABIPP - Photographer, blogger, website creator

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 learnt 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.

When I say take better photos I think I should have said create better photos. Oh well you live and learn!

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 right now.

So hi from me and thank you for joining me here. Very nice to meet you.

You will find a little more about me at the end of this post, but let’s get into those 15 tips right now

Tip Number 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?

Sun and tree at sunrise on Rhodes

Sun and tree at sunrise on Rhodes

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

For the photo above I wanted the tree and the sun - a very deliberate composition.

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!

Take less photos but better photos

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.

OK I am not that brave, I do take more than three photos but often they are of one or two compositions. I worked on that a lot.

I choose a composition and stick with it.

Talking of which

Tip Number 2 - Composition is king

What is the single most important thing in photography? It is the photograph you create. And also what determines what is in the photo?

Operating Theatre, University Hospital Southampton

Operating Theatre, University Hospital Southampton

This composition shows enough of the operating theatre whilst at the same time excluding things that confused the image. The central canopy with all that complicated stuff around is the subject of this photo.

The composition.

It is all about composition. What you include in a photo and how you include it. And also what you do not include. What you do not include is as important, sometimes more important.

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.

And where the sun is in that scene. And at what point in the sunrise is the light the best.

After all, I have got up at stupid’o’clock in the morning so it would be stupid to not capture the whote, wonderful dawning of a new day.

See I really do like this stuff!!!

But whilst there might be 30 photos taken there is 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.

And of course if a boat appears I have to get that in!

Photo of sunrise in Gaios on the Greek Island of Paxos

Photo of sunrise in Gaios on the Greek Island of Paxos

For this photo of the sunrise in Gaios, Paxos, I took a sequence of about 30 photos, but chose this one with the sun just above the mainland of Greece. And the boat. You can find out more about Paxos on my website Paxos Travel Guide.

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.

And for my architectural photography work?

Interior photography by Rick McEvoy

Interior photography by Rick McEvoy

On an architectural shoot I often 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.

How I compose an architectural photography 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 only took one photo of the shot above. Only one was needed - everything was where I wanted it.

Less is more

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!

Composition is king and should be treated accordingly.

Sorry one more thing. The first thing that us humans tend to see in a photo is the brightest thing in the photo – this is worth remembering all the way through the image capture process, composition, image capture and post-processing.

Tip Number 3 - Background, middle ground, foreground

Photos of Santorini by Rick McEvoy

Photos of Santorini by Rick McEvoy

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 rocks above are the foreground interest. They are illuminated by the rising sun but the ground behind is not yet. But the background is.

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.

And remember the point I made above – we tend to notice the brightest part of an image first, so think about that with the light.

Back to the three physical elements in a photo, the background, mid-ground and foreground.

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. If you can arrange these elements within your photo you can lead the eye where you want to within the image.

Get this wrong and people can find themselves looking all over the place, or more likely moving on quickly to the next image in the online feed they are looking at.

Check the background.

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

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

If I can come up with a composition meaning that there is no need for me to go to Photoshop then I am very happy – I only use Photoshop to remove things.

So if I go into Photoshop I have captured something I did not want in the scene. Sure this sometimes cannot be avoided but I try to minimise the post-processing required.

Tip Number 4 - Learn the rules of photography

There are many rules of photography.

Photos of Santorini by Rick McEvoy

Photos of Santorini by Rick McEvoy

The rule of thirds

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.

The composition above benefits from the rule of thirds nicely.

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.

Learn the rules then break them

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.

There is a lot of snobbery about the rules of photography and why you should not follow them.

This is what I say.

There is nothing wrong with the rules of photography, they have evolved over the years and have been instrumental in the creation of many wonderful photos.

And the same can be said of not following the rules of photography.

So learn the rules of photography, practise them, bring them intuitively into your workflow.

And then consciously break them.

Photography is meant to be creative - be that!

Most importantly, do what you want to do. As long as you think about what you are doing and learn from what you have done it is up to you.

Don’t be afraid of the big bad rules of photography! Nor anyone who tells you that you should be.

Be creative.

Tip Number 5 - Check the edges

I mentioned checking the background in the composition.

I want to specifically add this point to that – check the edges when you take a photo.

Don’t rely on Photoshop for this.

Get rid of distractions

Are there any distractions around the edges of the composition? Things appearing on the edge that detract from the image?

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

  • Pylons

  • Anything bright that draws the eye

You get the idea.

But this is not always possible. So check before you take a photo, and check after when you are finishing off your processing.

What do I use Photoshop for?

I only use Photoshop to remove stuff I do not want in images, and I always check the edges as part of the process.

I mentioned this earlier, but it is worth repeating – we are trying to get people to look into the photo. If there are distractions on the edges they will negatively impact on the viewing experience.

Yes I said viewing experience!

Tip Number 6 – Watch the light

Lovely diffused light through the trees at Vyne

Lovely diffused light through the trees at Vyne

  • 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.

What is photography if not drawing with light?

Photography is drawing with light. Literally. Light is the thing that can make a photo, or indeed break a photo. Check out my post What Is Photography for more on this.

Now I know that the light is the best before, during and after sunrise. That wonderful directional light giving depth, warmth and vibrance to images.

The reality of being a working photographer

The reality is that when I am working on an architectural photography shoot I do not have the luxury of magnificent sunrise/ sunset light. I tend to get the stuff between 10am and 4pm, which is not the best light.

But that is what I have to work with, and what I have to get the best out of.

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.

Tip Number 7 - Timing

This follows on nicely from the point above.

Durdle Door and a spectacular sunset on the Jurassic Coast

Durdle Door and a spectacular sunset on the Jurassic Coast

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.

And I stay a good hour after.

And of course I do the same with sunsets.

How do I know when the sun will rise/ set?

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.

And yes I paid for it!

Timing and architectural photography shoots

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.

I have never had a client agree to me photographing a building at sunrise. I have managed to get the odd sunset shot, which gave me an acceptable image on a difficult shoot, which you can see below.

Tip Number 8 - Get the exposure right

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, that 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.

I am capturing more data – more of the highlights and more of the shadows. This gives me more to work with later, and also to be honest gives me a margin for error!

This is called HDR photography.

And there is nothing wrong with this technique in my opinion – I am using the technology available to get the maximum data in a scene that I can.

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.

If you are taking a single exposure, which I know I should be doing really, then you need to ensure that you capture all the shadows and all the highlights without losing any data.

The way to do this is to expose as brightly as you can so you get all the highlights without losing any of them – this is called exposing to the right.

Or you do what I do which works just fine!

Tip Number 9 - Choose the right aperture for the photo

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.

For travel photography I tend to stick with the same, using a maximum aperture if I want to blur the background, and using F22 when I am shooting straight into the sun for that starburst effect.

What does the aperture do?

The aperture determines the sharpness of the image and what is and what is not in focus. Use the maximum aperture and you will have less in focus in a shot, use the minimum aperture and you will have more of the scene in focus.

The point is to choose the aperture for each and every shot – simple.

Well I say simple, it also helps to find out what the optimum aperture is for each lens that you own. Each lens has its own quirks and characteristics. The rule of thumb here is that the sharpest aperture, also known as the sweet spot of a lens, is 2 -3 stops from the widest aperture. So on my Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 lens this is F5.6 – F8, and for my Canon 17-40 F4 L lens this is F8 – F11.

So F8 then!!

Tip Number 10 - Now pick a 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 to me?

  • 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.

Shutter speed and hand held photography

A couple of points here – if you are shooting handheld, the shutter speed should be faster than the reciprocal of the focal length.

What?

Putting it another way, if you are taking a photo at 200mm you should have a shutter speed selected which is faster than 1/200th second, aka 1/250th second.

If you are using a focal length of 50mm then you should have a shutter speed selected which is faster than 1/50th second, aka 1/60th second.

I am sure you get the point.

The right shutter speed for the photo

Choose the shutter speed for the photo you are creating. Fast enough to freeze things, and slow enough to allow movement to blur – it just depends what you are trying to do.

Get creative with your shutter speed and see what results you get – photography is all about being creative and trying new things.

Change the shutter speed with an ND filter

If you have never tried this get a neutral density filter. A neutral density filter lets you use a slower shutter speed by reducing the amount of light that passes through the camera lens onto the sensor.

A 1 stop ND filter reduces the shutter speed by 1 stop – it 1/60th second is reduced to 1/30th second.

A 2 stop ND filter will take the shutter speed down to 1/15th second.

And this is how it goes on.

  • 3 stops – 1/8th second

  • 4 stops – ¼ second

  • 5 stops – ½ second

  • 6 stops – 1 second

  • 7 stops – 2 seconds

  • 8 stops – 4 seconds

  • 9 stops – 8 seconds

  • 10 stops - 16 seconds

So in broad daylight you can take a photo with a shutter speed of 16 seconds using a 10 stop ND filter.

I do this and love it.

Jetty, Nissaki Beach, Corfu by travel photographer Rick McEvoy.jpg

Jetty, Nissaki Beach, Corfu by travel photographer Rick McEvoy.jpg

If you are experimenting don’t spend a lot on an ND filter – give it a try and see if you like it.

I have a Lee Big Stopper 10 Stop ND filter by the way. It is not cheap.

Tip Number - 11 - The third part of the exposure triangle - 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.

Or use a tripod.

Talking of which.

Tip Number - 12 Use a tripod

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

Taking a photo from Skaros Rock on the Greek Island of Santorini IMG_8354.JPG

Taking a photo from Skaros Rock on the Greek Island of Santorini IMG_8354.JPG

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.

The deliberate act of composing using a tripod makes my compositions more considered.

And less of the lightweight gear!

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.

I now use a Manfrotto 055 tripod and Manfrotto 229 head. Now this head is a lump and a half alright, but gives me a very solid base for my Canon 6D.

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.

And for travel photography?

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.

And I use a tripod to do all the recordings on my YouTube Channel, with a £5 phone holder screwed into the ball head.

Tip Number 13 - A word on image 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.

University of Southampton B1 Refurbishment by Rick McEvoy Photography

University of Southampton B1 Refurbishment by Rick McEvoy Photography

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.

Kirkstone Pass viewed from the hills above as the sun sets.jpg

Kirkstone Pass viewed from the hills above as the sun sets.jpg

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

But for every image I create it has to look natural. Every image.

Tip Number 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.

Tip Number 15 - Practise, practise, practise

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

The more you practise the better your photos will get.

I am still practising and improving after over 30 years of doing this stuff!

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

Please 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

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