Micro Four Thirds - Small Cameras For Travelling

Regular readers will know that I am investing in a new camera system.

I want to move to small cameras for travelling - and micro four thirds is my system of choice.

What is micro four thirds?

Well if I get my act together you will be able to learn all about this wonderfully compact system next week on my blog.

For now, what progress have I made?

I have bought the following gear

Olympus OM-D EM10 Mk 2

Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Pro lens

Olympus 40-150mm lens

A bag

A Three Legged Thing Universal L Bracket

Arriving today is a Three Legged Thing Corey tripod

And that is it for now. Well sort of.

I want to get an Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk 2, which I am looking at now.

And this will be my travel photography kit.

A word about the size of micro four thirds cameras

I can fit my EM10 in my pocket with my 14-42 pancake zoom lens. I bought the 12-40mm Pro lens as my go to lens. It is a great lens, but it is bigger and heavier than the tiny pancake zoom.

So not quite as small as I was hoping for….

And I have noticed walking around that the grip on the EM10 needs adding to. Sure I can buy a grip but I will do this to the EM5 when I get it.

How have I paid for this stuff?

I have sold my Canon tilt shift lens, which I have not used in years to be honest, along with lots of stuff that was sat in a drawer. This transition is funded solely by selling gear.

So, to buy the EM5 I have to sell another lens and some other bits.

I cannot tell you how good it feels to sell gear I haven’t used for ages anyway, and have the money sat in my Paypal account that I can buy stuff with guilt free!

Sell a lens, and all I am lookng for then is an EM5 on Ebay.

And in the meantime I am getting out and about actually taking photos.

This is a photo I took on a commercial shoot for an architect. I did the shoot with my Canon 6D and took shots with the EM10 for comparison.

Architectural photography using a micro four thirds Olympus camera

Architectural photography using a micro four thirds Olympus camera

Pretty good eh?

And I can hardly tell the difference between the Canon shots and the Olympus photos which is interesting.

Don’t tell anyone but I did a full set of images using the Olympus EM10 and issued them to the client and guess what - nobody noticed!!!!

I have the full set taken with my Canon 6D but this was the first time I have done a full shoot using both systems, and the first time I had issued photos from the Olympus OM-D EM10 to a client!

Summary

It is time to stop looking at gear and get out and take photos using all this lovely new stuff. Can’t wait!!

Rick McEvoy Photography - photographer, blogger, website creator

My Micro Four Thirds Travel Kit – Travelling Light In Style

I am moving into the travel photography niche more and more. And also, into micro four thirds photography.

I need to come up with what will be my micro four thirds travel kit – this will be the photography gear that I use for my travel photography work. In this post I will explain what my travel photography kit is, and how and why I have selected that particular collection of kit. Travelling light in style sounds good to me!

Yes, I know – more gear talk! Apologies for that but I am in a state of transition at the moment.

Where does travel photography fit in with my commercial work then?

Well as you might know my main specialism is architectural photography. This is my core photography business. I also love travel. And landscape photography. Put this little lot together and what do you get?

Travel photography my style. Photographing buildings and their surrounding environments in nice places.

Travel photography is the natural progression of my photography work, and the only broadening from my core business. (I still turn down photography work that is not my specialism).

What is my specialism, and what gear have I been using?

I am an architectural photographer. Architectural photography is broadened out to include anything to do with photographing buildings.

I have been using full frame Canon DSLRs and L series lenses for well over a decade now. And still am.

OK so that is the background. So why the new gear?

This is why.

Last year we were on holiday on the wonderful Greek Island of Rhodes. I took my Canon 6D and 17-40 and 70-200mm lenses. And a tripod. And all the paraphernalia that accompanies this wonderful gear.

And do you know what? I could not be bothered getting my camera out of the boot. I was fed up with all that gear. And that was when I decided that I wanted a much smaller set up for travel photography.

I found myself using my iPhone pretty much all the time, except for the sunrise shoots that I did when I had all my gear.

In fact I did not take my Canon 6D out of the room safe for the first few days, and when I did I soon got fed up filling the safe with this lump of kit. Any day that we went out I would religiously get my gear out of the safe, put it in my bag and into the boot of the car. And when we got back I would have to go back to the room to put the stuff away.

I think I have been using the same gear for so long that I have bored myself!!

Basically I was bored with my gear

And that was the start of what has ended up being my journey into micro four thirds photography.

I have written a number of posts about this on my photography blog, including

How to choose your next camera – 31 features that I want

And

Professional photographers who use micro four thirds - really?

See I have been thinking about this for some time now!

And another thing

I want a camera in the glove box of my car. Something I can just grab any time I want to take a photo of something I see.

Is there anything else I want?

One small camera body and one lens. That is the core of my travel photography set up. Well I say travel photography, my day to day photography set up. For stuff I want to do.

And it has to be able to deliver professional quality imagery. If it does not then there is no point – I might as well just stick with my iPhone.

What about my commercial photography work?

That will stay with my Canon 6D for now. I will use my new camera on commercial jobs and compare the results, but the Canon gear stays – for now. I cannot risk compromising the quality of my commercial photography work.

Back to the micro four thirds travel kit – the point of this post.

To start with – which camera body?

My first foray into micro four thirds photography was buying an Olympus OM-D EM10 Mk 2. Snappy name I know!

I am going to buy an Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk 2 soon which I like the look of very much.

But for now I am going to stick with the EM10. As I have bought it. But if I buy the EM5 before my next trip I will take that.

Here is the first photo I took with my Olympus OM-D EM10 Mark 2

Winter scene in Dorset

Winter scene in Dorset

That is not bad is it? By the way this image was created using Aurora HDR 2019.

And here is an architectural shoot where I trialled the camera with a Panasonic 7-14mm lens which I have returned due to excessive lens flare and purple noise. And no that is not the name of a Prince album!

The quality of the image is well as good as with the Canon! Here is one of the shots from that shoot.

Arnewood School Refurbishment

Arnewood School Refurbishment

Again, pretty impressive.

So that is the camera body sorted.

Lenses

14-42mm kit lens

The camera came with a kit lens, the Olympus 14-42mm lens. This is in effect 24-84mm lens on a full frame camera (micro four thirds sensors have a 2x crop factor).

The kit lens is OK but not to a high enough quality standard for me.

Panasonic 7-14mm lens

I tried the Panasonic 7-14mm lens and did not like it – massive lens flare problems and purple errors.

Olympus 7-14mm lens

Next for consideration was the Olympus 7-14mm lens, which I tried in Castle Cameras in Bournemouth. It was just too big. Too big for travel photography that is.

And it cost £929. So that lens is a no from me. For now. For travel photography.

Olympus 12-100mm lens

Next up on the line was the Olympus 12-100mm lens, which equates to a massive 24-200mm focal length in full frame terms.

I was advised that this lens was quite cumbersome on the EM10, and that a better option would be the Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Pro lens.

Olympus 8mm lens

This is an interesting lens that I will consider for my architectural photography work, but not now.

So finally I get to the Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Pro lens

That is 24-80mm in full frame terms.

I bought one of these on EBay. Being a mainstream lens the price I got was really good for a lens in pretty much new condition.

Here it is.

FullSizeRender.jpg

My lens of choice then is the Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Pro lens

This lens is not as wide as I would like, but 24mm is pretty good. When I have used my Canon 6D on trips I have often paired it with the 24-105mm lens and never had a problem.

Sure is has less at the telephoto end of the scale but I sped much more time at the wide end of things so this should work nicely.

And being a Pro lens the image quality should be excellent.

That is the main lens done then. And this is the lens that will live on my camera most of the time.

Do I need another lens?

Of course I do. I am a bloke after all!

I am going to try the 12-40 Pro lens on commercial shoots and see if the quality of this combo is a match for my Canon gear. If it is I will go for the 7-14mm lens.

That leaves the other end of the scale.

Olympus do a really good, small and not that expensive telephoto zoom – the 40-150 F4-F5.6 telephoto lens.

This is not a Pro lens but is meant to give really good image quality.

I am bidding on EBay for one of these. Update – I got the lens for less that £100 and will get this in a few days.

And that will be that.

Two lenses and I am done

12-40 and 40-150mm, giving me in full frame currency 24-300mm. Sorted!

As I said the 12-40 will be on my EM10 all the time apart from when I need the telephoto length.

And the kit lens will stay in my office, only making an appearance when I need to be able to put my camera in my pocket, which I can with this tiny lens (see later for the update on this point).

Is the kit lens any good?

To be honest I do not know. I will give this lens a go and see how it compares to the 12-40mm Pro lens.

OK – lenses done – what am I going to put them in?

What is my ideal camera bag for travel photography?

Another decision to be made. I can either use the Think Tank Mirrorless Mover, my Peak Design Everyday Backpack or my Lowe Pro bag.

The merits of each as follows.

Think Tank Mirrorless Mover

It fits my micro four thirds kit nicely. I keep all this gear in this bag which I put in my car everyday.

This bag is the perfect size for the stuff I need most days. Apart from when I have my camera in the glovebox.

Hmmmm – lets not overthink this!

Peak Design Everyday Backpack

My Canon 6D and two lenses live in my Peak Design Everyday Backpack. This is fine for car-based photography. I even get my tripod in a side pocket on this bag, so that is me sorted for a good day out.

I do need space though for other stuff which I will come on to.

Lowe Pro bag

I had forgotten about this bag. The great thing about this bag is that the camera bit is on the back of the bag in the lower half, leaving the top as an empty space for non-photo stuff.

As well as what I put my gear in there is the question of hand luggage and what I need with me for a days travel photography shooting.

More on that later.

The Peak Design Everyday Backpack is my travel bag of choice

For now, I am going to reconfigure the inside of my Peak Design Everyday Backpack to take my much size reduced micro four thirds photography gear.

One reason for this is that when I was working on my website Photos of Santorini I did not have room in this bag for other essentials, namely food, drinks and a coat.

OK – decision done. I can always change to another bag later.

And if I am not happy with any of these I have lots of other bags in the garage….

Lots of other bags.

Tripods for travel photography?

No, I am not taking a tripod. Whilst this does restrict me there are things that I can do to overcome this.

That was the start of my thought process, and then I changed my mind. I want a tripod for my new set up.

Yes – I want one! And that is the brutally honest truth – I want a new tripod for my new micro four thirds camera system. A new travel tripod.

I use a Manfrotto 055 and also a Manfrotto 190 Go tripod with a variety of tripod heads. I use these for my architectural photography.

One thing that has changed is that my new Olympus camera has horizontal and vertical indication on the LCD screen – my Canon 6D only has the horizontal level. This means that I can get away with a much smaller ball head which fits in with everything else I am trying to achieve.

That is one for me to look into further.

Or maybe I will be sensible and just get a new ball head. Or use one of the ball heads I have!

Platypod

I will still take my Playtpod, as it is dead handy and takes up very little space or weight. There are some really useful accessories for my Platypod in a neat pouch that will be part of my travel photography kit.

Ball head

I need a ball head for my Platypod.  Will a ball head from a new tripod fit the bill? I will have to think about that.

Manfrotto Pixi

I will include this in my kit as well. A dead handy lightweight piece of kit that I have used loads with my Canon 6D and lenses, so this will work a treat with the Olympus gear.

Accessories – other essential stuff

Cleaning solution

I use Eclipse Lens Cleaning Solution, and have no reason to change from this.

Pec Pads

These go hand in hand with the lens cleaning solution. Again no need to change – I have used these for years.

Hurricane blower

For blowing dust off the sensor and other stuff.

Passport colour checker

I have not used this that much, but am going to include this in my travel photography kit as I have it and should use it more.

Lastolite Grey card

This is a collapsible grey card. It is grey but not a card!

Batteries and charger

I have two spare batteries. I will get some more if needed – I have not used the camera enough yet to be fair so am not sure how much use I will get out of a battery.

Memory cards

I already have numerous SD cards – I will use the same ones in their dedicated case just as I do with my Canon 6D at the moment.

iPhone – wireless connectivity

Of course I will have this with me.

DJI Osmo Mobile

Not strictly speaking travel photography gear, but something that I have that I want to use more and more to enable me to produce better quality videos of the locations I am visiting.

And the other essential things

  • Food

  • Drinks

  • Coat, hat and gloves

Whilst I go to warmer places, they are not that warm first thing in the morning. I am talking about Santorini here, which in April 2 hours before sunrise was cold and blustery.

Stuff I buy from the airport.

Yes, I need space in my travel photography bag for the stuff that I will inevitably buy at the airport and on the plane.

There are the inevitable purchases at the airport, which I normally carry in a separate plastic carrier bag which I quite frankly hate doing. If I can manage to get all this stuff in my camera bag then that alone will make this all worthwhile.

Hand luggage

If I am going away anywhere on a plane I have two bags. One is checked into the hold, the other is my carry on luggage. That is my camera bag. This is why my bag of choice will be the Peak Design Everyday Backpack. With space for non-photography stuff.

Back to my glovebox

Once I have the EM5 this is what I am going to do. I am going to put the OM10 and 14-42 kit lens in my glove box and it will live there, leaving my EM5 and 12-40mm lens in my funky little bag.

Another thing sorted!

Conclusion

This is the conclusion that I have come to – this is my micro four thirds travel kit.

The whole point of moving to micro four thirds was to take less gear – I have to keep reminding myself of this fact.

So this is the kit for my next trip.

  • Olympus OM-D EM10/ EM5 Mk 2

  • Olympus 12-40mm lens

  • Olympus 40-150mm lens

  • Tripod and ball head

  • Peak Design Everyday Backpack

  • Battery charger and 2 spare batteries

  • 6 SD cards

  • Platypod

  • Manfrotto Pixi

  • Travel tripod and ball head

  • Cleaning stuff

  • Passport colour checker

  • Micro fibre cloth

  • DJI Osmo Mobile

And that is it. No more.

This leaves plenty of room for other stuff like food, drinks and clothing.

And Duty Free and other shopping!

One last thing

I have a gear page on my website where you can check out all the gear using my affiliate links - you can get to this page here.

One last last thing

Here is another photo taken with my Olympus OD-D EM10

Sunshine in the New Forest by Rick McEvoy

Sunshine in the New Forest by Rick McEvoy

Thanks for reading, please get in touch with any questions or comments.

Rick McEvoy Photography - Photographer, blogger, website creator

Is The Canon 6D Still Worth Buying In 2019?

The Canon 6D was released in 2012. I bought mine in 2014. When it was released it was a great camera.

7 years on from its release, I am asking the question “Is the Canon 6D still worth buying in 2019?”. And the answer? Of course it is - time does not make a camera rubbish. In this post I am going to tell you why the Canon 6D is still worth buying, giving you a great, economical route into full frame photography and great image capture capabilities.

Canon 6D 21052018.PNG

My Canon 6D took great photos in 2013, and took great photos this week.

What about progress and technological advances?

Despite all the technological advances that can be found in shiny new cameras the Canon 6D is still a great camera. And just because other cameras have advanced significantly since 2012 this does not automatically make the Canon 6D over the hill, past it’s sell by date, irrelevant or obsolete.

And in my humble opinion this applies to many cameras released in the last, well I don’t know, 15 years?

What did I have before the Canon 6D?

My first full frame camera was a Canon 5D Mk 1. This camera was first released in 2005 would you believe! And I still have this camera, which I am very fond of.

This is an image that I took with my Canon 5D which can be found in my current architectural photography portfolio.

Chideock Manor Library - architectural photography in Dorset

Chideock Manor Library - architectural photography in Dorset

Ok – before I justify my statement about the Canon 6D being still worth buying in 2019 I need to say something else.

Photography is not about gear. Photography is about recording the light. Composition and creativity.

All this technical stuff is really irrelevant.

No-one cares which camera you or I have used to capture an image. No one cares about the camera settings, if it was taken in RAW or JPEG? I have never been asked that question.

The only people who care about this are other photographers. And I am not working for other photographers!

What Is The Number 1 Most Important Thing In Photography?

The photo(s) you give to your client.

All most people care about is the photo itself. That is all. Let us not forget that.

Everything else is irrelevant to the most important person to me in my photography business - my client.

OK – so back to the gear….

I know. I complain too much about gear talk. But here I am not talking about new gear. I am talking about gear that I already have, and have learned to use inside out. And I am asking the question about the relevance of an older camera in 2019.

When I say talk I do mean write of course – it is just that I type as I would talk, as things come into/ out of my head.

Lets start at the beginning. What do I like so much about my Canon 6D?

Firstly, it just works.

Day in, day out. And having used it for so long I know how it works inside out. I can operate my camera in the dark with no problems. I can change lenses in the dark. Once I have found them that is! I use my Canon 6D without thinking about the camera - it is instinctive to me.

Ok – so now for some specific features, in no particular order.

Back button focus

I know that this is by no means a unique feature on the Canon 6D, but I still love this feature, and the way the Canon 6D does it.

Why do I use back button focus?

Simple. I compose my image, and then decide where I want to focus. Then I choose an appropriate aperture. And then I press the shutter button, which meters for the scene and starts the self-timer.

I have separated focus from exposure and image capture. I take the vast majority of my photos on a tripod, meaning that this makes perfect sense for me. This applies to not only my architectural photography but also to my travel and landscape photography.

This just works for me.

The sensor and the image quality

These to me are one and the same. I love the images that my Canon 6D produces. I love the look and feel that the RAW files give.

I like the depth of details that the sensor captures.

I like the tones.

I like the range of shadows and highlights, lights and darks. And with the way I take the photos I like the way I can take bracketed sets and put the bits together in Lightroom.

I like the information that my Canon 6D records that i can work with.

I like the photos that my Canon 6D takes. 

Focussing

Note the Canon 6D has 11 focus points. The Canon EOS R has 5655 focus points. You might want to read that again.

  • The CANON EOS R HAS 5655 FOCUS POINTS.

  • THE CANON 6D HAS 11 FOCUS POINTS

I have found 11 focus points just fine. To be honest I tend to only need to use one at a time. So what would I do with the other 5654 focus points on the Canon EOS R? I’m not quite sure (but I am looking forward to finding out!).

The way I take my photos I focus on one part of the composition, typically around 1/3rd into the scene.

And another thing about the focussing on the Canon 6D – it can focus in ridiculously low light. I don’t know how it compares to other more technologically advanced cameras, but it does focus down to ridiculously levels of light, or darkness

Do I need to be able to focus in near darkness?

Yes.

I take a lot of photos pre-sunrise and post-sunset but rarely have a problem with focussing.

I compose with Live View and focus without Live view – this works just fine for me.

If you research the autofocus of the Canon 6D you will find lots of people who say that it is not that great, especially in low-light. I have no idea what they are talking about, and I have never had a problem focussing in low light. 

A word about camera reviews and other peoples opinions

The Canon 6D has it’s critics. There always seems to be someone somewhere who has to criticise something, or always demand more, or find something better in an alternative (in this case camera) and draw on the negatives.

That is why we all have to be careful how we assess and value peoples opinions. 

I have had people say to me that the focussing on the Canon 6D is rubbish in low light. Really? I have never had a problem with this.

Someone else asked how can I work professionally as a photographer using a camera that only has one memory card slot?

I have never had a card failure. Never. I look after my memory cards incredibly carefully. I don’t want to tempt fate but this has never happened to me. 

The point was valid, but was it relevant?

You can find numerous negative reviews and comments on the Canon 6D, probably more bad press than good. But be careful with the agendas of these people - the Canon 6D is a great camera. And to be honest you are hard pressed to find a rubbish camera these days.

Ergonomics of the Canon 6D

The Canon 6D fits in my hands and the controls are all in very familiar and to me logical positions. I have never wished that things weren’t where they are. Not that the camera is perfect, it is just that we have grown close to each other over the years! To be fair I do not believe that there is such a thing as the perfect camera.

The familiarity of my Canon 6D is a bit like having a favourite pair of shoes, they mould to you over time and end up being irreplaceable.

I know – I am getting worryingly sentimental here. Having said that we have been through a lot together, me and my Canon 6D!

Wi-Fi - very important

WiFi 2 09102018.PNG

I use the Wi-Fi to take photos in unusual locations and from unusual viewpoints. This is an essential part of my work.

OK the Canon Connect App is hardly cutting edge, but most of the time it works fine and allows me to do what I need to do.

I have not used the Wi-Fi to view photos remotely – the way I work I only want to look at photos on my big calibrated monitor in my office. This is changing though, and I find that more and more I would benefit from instant access to viewing photos on my iPad Pro.

This is something that I need to look into with my Canon 6D and Canon Connect App – that and transferring Jpeg files for instant publication and sharing.

Did I say JPEGs???

Canon Camera RAW

Canon’s RAW format. I use this all the time - I never use Jpeg. It is so good and gives me so much. Just awesome.

GPS built-in - how did I ever manage without this?

Another invaluable feature. I do a lot of travel photography – much more than I ever did, and also have other websites about specific travel photography locations. Now that I have mentioned them I might as well tell you what they are.

Photos of Santorini

Paxos Travel Guide

OK - advert over. 

I need GPS, and the Canon 6D has it. I use the Map module in Lightroom a lot, which enables me to erm, tell where I took photos from.

Santorini photo locations from the Lightroom Map Module

Santorini photo locations from the Lightroom Map Module

I also have been known to stop and take photos when travelling – anytime I see something I like I stop and take a photo, and the GPS tells me where I took the shot.

So an invaluable feature that I would not be without.

And I use it on my various websites and for writing articles about my photography work.

Reliability over the years

My Canon 6D is a workhorse. It just works, day in, day out. I turn it on and it is there for me. It has never failed, never let me down.

The Canon Ecosystem

Canon have been criticised for slow technological advances. For getting into mirrorless late. And for not innovating with the technology in their DSLRs.

It seems that there is again so much negativity. Take s step back though and look at the Canon ecosystem - it is an awesome place to be with lenses for every and any occasion.

It’s not all sweetness and light - there are things that are not perfect! What do I not like about the Canon 6D?

The viewfinder and my dodgy old mince pies

I am 51 years old. I am struggling with the viewfinder I’m not going to lie to you. I have a dominant eye. And a lazy one on the other side of my head. And I am short sighted. And my near vision is much worse than it was.

As grim as this sounds this is the reality of being my age! And I am not going to get any younger!

I never know which eye to use when composing through the viewfinder.

The future of viewfinders – the EVF

I have recently been trying out EVFs on the cameras on display in shops and at airports. Well every time I go to an airport, which is quite often, I always have a look at all the shiny new loveliness on display.

An EVF is an electronic viewfinder by the way.

Yes this is how I spend my time waiting for flights – trying out EVFs and wishing I had one! And then realising even in holiday mode that the airport is not the place to buy a camera. I nearly cracked once and would have made an expensive mistake but thankfully I saw sense.

Now when I find one that is actually working I find these to be a bit of a revelation. I tried an Olympus EVF last time I was at the airport that was absolutely remarkable.

This is the thing that has taken me down the road to mirrorless cameras – my age, my short sightedness and the blurry distance vision I can get from time to time. For travel photography that is.

Yep getting old has its drawbacks, my eyes being a pretty big one.

Getting back to the point - pleaese forgive my digressions!

I struggle to focus close and then at a distance. My contact lenses correct for my short sight, which I have had since the age of about 13, and now also give me assistance with close vision.

These contact lenses need light to work properly, so at times using the Canon 6D is a struggle. Sometimes I cannot read the LCD panel on the top, even with the (faint) light turned on.

So it might be ageing that forces me to buy a new camera - I really hadn’t thought about that until writing this!

GPS woes

The GPS. If I do not manually turn off the GPS when I turn off the camera it is still running and drains the battery. Completely infuriating and there is apparently no fix for this. I actually asked Canon people at the Photography Show.

I hope that the Canon 6D Mk 2 and other newer models have had this problem sorted as it drives me up the wall. And for no reason that I can think of.

A small thing I know but an irritation all the same. 

The LCD screen

The LCD screen is quite frankly rubbish. Rubbish when compared to my iPhone 7 Plus screen that is. Having said that I can’t see my iPhone 7 Plus screen in full Greek sunlight anyway!

But no - the screen is much too small. To get round this I have had to buy a Loupe Viewer – this is what it looks like. This shades the sun and magnifies what is on the LCD screen - a really good accessory for less then £30.

IMG_9188.jpg

I had to stick a small plastic window on the LCD screen, onto which I can attach the viewer quickly whenever needed.

I use the LCD screen to compose images all the time, which would be very difficult, even impossible in some lighting situations with just the small LCD screen on the Canon 6D.

And add the problems with my ageing eyes and you will see that the screen is a serious issue to me.

So much so now that I have written about it that I might have to consider replacing my Canon 6D to get over my ageing eyes!

Custom Functions

I don’t get them sorry Canon. It seems such a convoluted way to customise my camera that I have never really used it. Sure I have set it up but find it so un-user friendly. Maybe I should give some more time to this feature and see if I get can get my head around it properly.

I did try it but when I saved the settings I was no longer shooting in AV Mode, which confused me so I gave up.

HDR Merge

There is an in-camera HDR merge feature on the Canon 6D, but rather bafflingly this only works with JPEG files?

Why can’t any camera, and not only the Canon 6D just do the HDR thing automatically in-camera? With RAW files that is. It is only a case of taking three exposures and merging them together. Why do I have to do this in Lightroom?

And why doesn’t the in-camera HDR work on RAW images?

If the Canon 6D did in-camera HDR with RAW files I would only ever need the RAW HDR file which would save me so much time.

It has a horizontal level but not a vertical level

This is the other thing that is making me think about a new camera. When I use the electronic level I get a big bright green line that tells me the camera is level. There is not however another green line to tell me that my camera is vertical.

This is a genuine problem for me - I often cannot see the bubble on my Manfrotto tripod head. 

And getting my camera properly level is very important for me. This is an issue on every architectural photo I take.

What is the working life of a Canon 6D?

I don’t know to be honest.

Shutter actuations are the key thing here. The shutter after all is the major moving part and rather critical to the workings of the camera.

The Canon 6D shutter has a shutter rating of 100,000 actuations. How many shutter actuations have I made with my Canon 6D?

No idea.

I could get some software that will give me a number but it is unlikely to be accurate.

No I will go with the number of images in my Lightroom Catalogue. Of course that will not include images that have been deleted, but I don’t think that this will be significant knowing the way I work and how few images I delete once they are in Lightroom.

This will give me a good enough idea.

21,652. It was 22,422 when I first wrote this post. Clearly I have been doing some housekeeping in Lightroom.

Not too bad and not a concern. Not as much as the state of my eyesight that is!

Lets not forget 100,000 is a number to provide an indication of the working life of a camera shutter. To me this number is only of use when I am comparing one camera to another – the number gives me an idea of the relative robustness of two cameras.

A much more relevant factor is how many times I have dropped my camera, how many times I have got it wet.

Basically how badly have I treated it?

  • Dropping it - well there was the big drop in the National Trust office at Corfe Castle – this resulted in an expensive repair (at a Canon Autohorised repairer I should add).

  • And lots of small drops. Mostly onto rocks at sunrise.

  • Water damage

  • Splashes by the sea.

  • Being rained on (not a problem as it is weather sealed).

  • A quick spray of Mythos (the Greek beer for those who don’t know!)

  • General wear and tear

My camera has been with me every day everywhere I go. Every day I put it in the boot of my car, and every night I take it out again. It has been crammed into tight spaces on planes, buses, trains and boats of various types. But has always been carefully looked after.

The working life of my Canon 6D is from now until is stops working!

Enough waffle – what about some photos taken with my Canon 6D?

Here are six photos taken over the 6 years I have had my Canon 6D

2014

Twin Sails Bridge, Poole, Dorset

Twin Sails Bridge, Poole, Dorset

2015

Sandbanks Hotel and Sandbanks Beach, Poole, Dorset

Sandbanks Hotel and Sandbanks Beach, Poole, Dorset

2016

Sensory garden at Horndean College of Technology

Sensory garden at Horndean College of Technology

2017

Unloading gravel at a rail siding facility

Unloading gravel at a rail siding facility

2018

House interior photographed for an architect

House interior photographed for an architect

2019

Changing room refurbishment photographed for the architect Kendall Kingscott

Changing room refurbishment photographed for the architect Kendall Kingscott

What lenses do I use with my Canon 6D

I just have four lenses these days.

  • Canon 24-105mm F4 L

  • Canon 17-40mm F4L

  • Canon 70-200mm F4 L IS

These are all I need to be honest. I use the 24-105 for travel photography, and the 17-40 for most of my architectural work.

What would my ideal focal lengths be?

Digressing here but just a thought I would like to add.

12-300mm is the range that I would like to cover, ideally with 2 or 3 small lenses.

What would it take for me to change to another camera?

I would like something smaller and lighter, especially for travel photography.

And for travel photography I have invested in an Olympus OM-D EM10. I sold my Canon tilt-shift lens and bought this tiny camera and lens.

This is for travel photography. I am still going to use my Canon 6D for my commercial architectural photography.

So I have changed to another camera manufacturer?

Added, not changed. The only other manufacturer I have used is Fujifilm – my first “proper” camera was a Fujifilm (film) SLR.

I liked the look of Olympus and Fujifilm’s current offerings – this is based on a pretty superficial look at them in camera shops and some stuff I have heard – nothing too scientific or exacting. So I had a more in-depth look and went with Olympus micro four thirds.

Would I go back to film?

No. Why ever would I do that? Why do people do that? I just do not get it.

Do I not want something shiny and new?

Yes of course I do, and after all that talk about how much I hate gear and the time spent talking about gear I would love to have a new camera.

I love new tech gear. I was very excited to get a new iPhone when my contract ran out in January 2019. I went straight for an iPhone XS.

And every time I use my Apple Airpods they make me smile.

But I must not forget this

I still enjoy using my Canon 6D, even after all these years.

But yes I do browse new kit at airports and in camera shops and do have those background gear lust feelings.

Before I finish

Photography hasn’t really changed – photography is after all making photos.

Lets not forget that – photography gear is just that – gear. Tools of the trade. The equipment we use to capture what we see in front of us.

If I get a new camera will I take better photos?

No.

I will have additional features that will give me better opportunities to capture better images but no, fundamentally no.

My Canon 6D won’t last forever though?

No it won’t. What would I do now if I broke or it just expired?

What would I replace my Canon 6D with if I had to replace it right now?

There are things that I would need to have in a camera to convince me to change from my good old Canon 6D.

What about the Canon 6D Mk 2?

The Mk 2 version has some very cool features. It is a general evolution of the 6D Mk 1 into a generally more advanced camera.

As well as all that the 6D Mk 1 has there are also some cool new features.

  • An articulated screen. And a touchscreen at that!

  • More resolution (but not too much) – 26 Megapixels

  • A (slightly) better sensor that the 6D Mk 1

  • Built-in time-lapse

But to be honest these things did not excite me enough to make me upgrade. My 6D Mk 1 is still working just fine thanks.

But the Canon 6D Mk 2 is a great camera. And there would be no problem with all my lenses and other bits of kit. And there is the familiarity of sticking with Canon.

I am digressing now

This is drifting into 20 features I want in a new camera. I might as well make that next weeks post! I just need a snappy Google friendly title and I am good to go.

Tell you what – head back to my photography blog next week where you can read the next post in my series, which will be called something like

20 features I need in a new camera to replace my Canon 6D (by the time I had completed this post I was quickly up to 25 things!)

So I wrote the post How to choose your next camera – 31 features that I want.

Summary

Blimey. I can go on sometimes. Still it is good to get these things out of my head and out into the wonderful world of the World Wide Web.

You may have noticed that on more than one occasion I have used the terms “it works for me”. Well that pretty well sums it up.

The Canon 6D works for me.

I hope that you are finding the new format of my photography blog, with less frequent but much longer and more in-depth posts useful and more interesting.

Next week I dive into micro four thirds photography.

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

21 Photography Tips That Will Actually Make A Difference

In this post I will write about 21 things that I heave learned that will actually help you with your photography.

I am going to give you 21 Photography Tips That Will Actually make A Difference in this post.  I am talking about things that really work and will genuinley help you. These are things that I have learned over many years as a photographer. These are not quick tips, some of these are ways of thinking about things differently.

Read on, and please get in touch with any questions.

the years as a These are things that I have learned over the many years I have been intersted in and working in photography.

The 21st Photography Tip is a list of 10 points summarising everything.

These are 21 things that I wish I had known when I started taking my photography seriously, with a view to be it being my primary source of income.

For me this was in the year 2007.

I hope that you find these 20 things useful - please get back to me with any questions or comments.

These are all my own opinions, and are based on my personal experiences

I hope you find them helpful.

A lot of these points are interrelated, and things will get a mention more than once, but at the end I will summarise with 10 key points what I have written about in this blog post.

They are in no particular order, just the way things came out of my head. And the way things come out of my head can be rather unusual at times!

1 – Don’t worry about the gear

This is quite a big one for me.

Get the best gear you can, but don’t break the bank. That is the first general point I want to get across to everyone getting started in photography.

I have less gear now than at any time since I got into photography seriously.

And to be honest this applies to all of us at all stages of our journeys. In my humble opinion there is too much talk about photography gear.

I have been using my Canon 6D for well over 5 years now, and it still produces great images. I have images in my portfolio that were taken with my 12 mega pixel Canon 5D. And do you know what – you cannot tell that they were taken with a 10-year-old camera? Well I say 10 year old camera….

How old is the Canon 5D? THis might shock you - it was announeced by Canon on 22nd August 2005.

2005!!!

13 years ago.

My clients are not interested in my gear – all they care about is the images that I produce for them. I have never been asked (other than in passing interest by a client with an interest in ) about the cameras and lenses I use.

The only time has been when I was with a client who had an interest in photography.

Don’t worry about the gear – get the best you can and use it.

Peak Design Evryday Backpack 22052018.PNG

And another point – don’t take all your gear with you wherever you go.

I have my day to day go to gear in my Peak Design Everyday Backpack. This is a small 20 litre bag.

It looks like this.

In it I carry the following gear

Canon 6D

Canon 6D 21052018.PNG
Canon 17-40 21052018.PNG
Canon 70-200 21052018.PNG

And a few other bits – memory cards, spare batteries, a Platypod and ball head, a couple of key filters, a grey card, colour card, cloths and wipes.

IMAGE.JPG

Manfrotto 190 Go tripod (which fits in a side pocket and is strapped in place) with geared head

Not forgetting my Neewer Loupe Viewer which fits in the middle of my bag in a small tupperware box.

And my trusty drinks bottle - here it is nestled on the other side of my bag.

And that is the core photogrpahy gear I use 95% of the time.

My old Peak Design Everyday Backpack on location in Santorini

My old Peak Design Everyday Backpack on location in Santorini

Canon 6D, Canon 17-40mm lens, Platypod Pro live on location on an architectural shoot in Dorset

Canon 6D, Canon 17-40mm lens, Platypod Pro live on location on an architectural shoot in Dorset

I have written an article which you can read on the Improve Photography website called Full frame DSLR photography without breaking the bank – this is how I do it

My article on the Improve Photography website

My article on the Improve Photography website

2 – Second hand gear is fine

The first full frame DSLR I bought was a Canon 5D. I bought it in 2007 on EBay from a photographer who had bought the camera new, and had not had it long but had a change of heart and wanted to stay with medium format.

Yes - that is 11 years ago. And it still works just fine today.

I wonder what happened to the chap I bought the camera from all those years ago?

The camera looked new, and all the packaging was there. The only difference was that the box was not sealed, and I did not get a receipt and 12 months guarantee.

Quick piece of advice - when you buy a camera save all the packaging for when (if) you sell the camera - you might not get more money for the camera but it will be more attractive to a buyer than one without. And you migh get a higher bid you never know.

That camera worked faultlessly for me in my formative years as an amateur photographer, and I used this great camera on my first commercial photography job, and many subsequent commercial jobs.

I used my Canon 5D on this shoot, photographing the extension and new entrance to St Anns Hospital in Poole for Vinci Construction.

St Anns Hospital Poole by Construction Photographer Rick McEvoy.jpg

St Anns Hospital Poole by Construction Photographer Rick McEvoy.jpg

Acccordig to Lightroom I took 12,000 photos with that camera.

And I only upgraded after a problem caused by me. One for another time….

Let’s talk about lenses

I have lenses that I bought new, and lenses that I bought second hand. And can I tell them apart? Not really no. Of course, I know which are which, but in practical terms they all produce great results.

And a slight aside here but an important point all the same – lenses hold their value incredibly well. Lenses are a great investment - I sold a lens five years after I bought it and got more than I paid for it.

Again, the last article I wrote on the Improve Photography website talks about this as well, and the gear that I use. I have linked to it above.

3 – Learn about composition

Classic lines in this compostion for an architect - this pleases me

Classic lines in this compostion for an architect - this pleases me

Please do this. I din’t give composition enough importance.

I was too busy looking at what gear to buy next and taking photos without really thinking about composition.

What happened?

This is what happened.

I got bored with producing average photos.

I bored myself to be honest. And this was when I started to think about my images, what I didn’t like about them, and how I might make them better.

I stopped obsessing about my gear, and instead concentrated on the pictures themselves.

I looked at the work of the best photographers, read books and took the time to critique my work. It was at this time that I submitted my first portfolio submission to the BIPP – that is the British Institute of Professional Photography.

My first submission was a complete revelation – a Hasselblad Master called Bryn Griffiths very kindly and patiently critiqued the images I sent him. I had to rethink my submission, and quite a few of the images were removed from my portfolio and replaced with images that worked better.

I will say that again - a Hasselblad master critiqued my photographic work!

This was the beginning really of my realisation of what really matters in photography.

Composition is king.

Get the composition right and you have a great photo. This is a photo that could be taken on the best DLSR, a lovely Hasselblad, an iPhone, a point and shoot – any camera.

But a rubbish composition is a rubbish composition, and probably a rubbish photo, whatever the camera.

If you take away these two things and these two things only this I will be very very happy.

Forget the gear.

Work on composition.

If you are happy to read on, then thank you.But if not take these two lines with you and keep them in your head.

To continue with the portfolio thing and the BIPP, last month I had my second portfolio assessment at the BIPP – this time for my Associateship.

Associateship is defined by the BIPP as

“A high standard of craftsmanship and creative ability”

And all those years on from the initial critique, all I was asked to change by Bryn was the white balance to some of my interior images – that was it. No images were changed. And the edits were commercial images issued to clients.

I have worked very hard on improving the quality of my images, and this is the result.

Composition on a architectural photgraphy shoot

Composition on a architectural photgraphy shoot

RICK MCEVOY ABIPP

I got my Associateship – I am now an ABIPP. And one of the points of feedback was the observation that I did not appear to crop many, if any, of the 40 images submitted. I had not thought about this, but it turns out this is the case.

I rarely crop an image. Like I say this is not a deliberate ploy, some attempt at a certain style, trying to be different.

No – this was pointed out to me and is the logical conclusion of the work I have done to date on my composition, and also taking the time and care when capturing images.

And also in this process my own individual style emerged for the first time.

I will talk about my professional qualifications later on in this post.

Me on location in Santorini - loving being out there

Me on location in Santorini - loving being out there

4 – Get off the computer and get out there

Another mistake I made. Rather than getting out there taking photos I spent too much time working on photos in Lightroom and then every worse doing nothing with them.

And lots of time backing up!!!!

Now I know we all need to practice to learn Lightroom but please give this some thought – apply some structure to your learning and you will progress in leaps and bounds.

Do not do what I did, which basically was keep on doing the same things to more and more images, or you will stagnate. and with stagnation comes frustration and the risk of going off photography.

And whilst learning Lightroom don’t but any plug-ins. I did.

And do I use them? Some yes, but most no. Another waste of my money.

Sunrise on Santorini by Rick McEvoy travel photography

Sunrise on Santorini by Rick McEvoy travel photography

What is photography all about? Taking photos.

Being out with a camera is a joy that we should all embrace more than we do.

I spend more time writing these days than I do taking photos – an occupational hazard – but when I get the opportunity there is nothing I enjoy more than sitting waiting for the sun to rise, or setting up my tripod to take a considered photo of a stunning building.

Even more of a joy when you have a lightweight backpack and are not burdened with 50kgs of back-breaking stuff!

Photography is a pleasure that should be enjoyed in my opinion, not a technical exercise or way of emptying my wallet.

5 – Take less photos

I know - this seems to contradict point 4.

Take less photos?

Let me explain. Get out more, take the shots you want, work the scene by all means. And then move on.

Get out more to take photos, but take less photos when you are out there.

It took me a while to realise that I was taking the same scene more than once. On architectural shoots I would work in a logical order around a building, and then at the end if I had time photograph as many things again from the beginning.

I think it was a lack of confidence at the time. And I never used any of the images I took again – the ones I took on the first place were without exception better.

This is something that I have looked into - pretty much without exception the first image I have taken on any kind of shoot is the one I use.

These days when I am working on an architectural shoot I aim to capture as few images as possible. I photographed a very famous persons house the other month, and on the internals I took one or two shots per room.

I took the time to get my composition bang on for the views needed and that was that.

This of course relates back to the point about composition – take the time to get the composition right and you don’t need to move three feet to the left to take the same scene from a very marginally different viewpoint.

And the way I take and process photos I rarely have to worry about my exposure. For me it is all about keeping things simple.

Take less photos and you will thank me when you are going through your photos in Lightroom, or whatever software you might be using.

I hate having to choose between virtually identical images - I absolutely hate it.

I love going through an architectural shoot and picking consecutive images as picks to edit. This tells me that I was working at my optimum.

The higher the percentage of image captures to keepers the happier I am!

6 – Take more photos in interesting places. I will qualify this at the end somewhat.

I am not saying get out and photograph the most often photographed locations. For me that would be Durdle Door, which I have photographed twice. If I want to look at a photo of Durdle Door there are thousands of images out there.

Is another picture of Durdle Door done by me needed?

Not really…..

No - get out to interesting places, not necessarily those that would feature in a “Top 10 locations to photograph in Dorset” kind of thing.

Take this shot, which was taken one New Year’s Eve afternoon at my local woods, which to my shame I had never been to before. In that one afternoon I get some really great stuff, and no-one knows or indeed cares where I took the photos.

All people care about is the photos themselves. Yep - I am back to the composition.

Delph Woods, Poole - landscape photography in Dorset

Delph Woods, Poole - landscape photography in Dorset

This photo was actually taken at 4pm on New Years Eve 1 mile from my home!

Do not restrict yourself to the headline locations. I hear tales of lines of photographers at the headline locations standing shoulder to shoulder all taking the same image! This ounds horrendous to me.

Go to places others don’t go, find things to photograph. Be original.

I find that I am the only one at a location when I am taking photos. Just how I like it. Check out this video of me all by myself on the wonderful island of Santorini.

7 – Forget layers in Photoshop (and stick to Lightroom)

Controversial!

Seriously. I don’t use layers. I have a couple of times for sky replacements, which I try to avoid doing, but apart from that I don’t get layers.

I will say that again - I don’t get layers, and have not worked out why I would need them for the photography work I do? Maybe I just don’t need them.

I am quite a literal person - I struggle to understand things if I have no use for them.

I wrote about this on Improve Photography - check out These are 5 things I use Photoshop for – no layers required! which I got a bit of stick for!

I process my images in Lightroom. I only go into Photoshop to remove things that I can’t remove in Lightroom. I have spent hours and hours trying to learn Photoshop – the problem was that I did not have a need for Photoshop, so I was trying to learn something I did not actually need.

All I use in Photoshop is the following

  • Clone stamp tool

  • Patch tool

  • Healing brush

  • Content aware crop

  • And I resize images if I need them printing at specific sizes

I have nothing against Photoshop - I just find it hard to naviagate and use, and there are so many options it is hard narrowing it down to the things I need. I feel for any new photographer firing Photoshop up for the first time and staring at the monitor with no clue what to do next - I can remember that feeling too well.

I am happy with Lightroom thanks. I dont know how to edit images in Photoshop. And I dont care!

Here is why I can get away with only doing these things in Photoshop, and why I don’t need layers.

I do as much of my image editing in Lightroom, but sometimes I need to go to Photoshop to carry out some of the thnigs I listed above.

When I need to go into Photoshop I select Edit in Photoshop, and Lightroom sends the image to Photoshop. Once I am done I hit save and the image appears next to the original image sent to Lightroom.

The new file with the photoshop edits is a brand new Tif file, the original Lightroom file is exactly as it was before being sent to Photoshop.

I therefore do not need to worry about undoing the work I have done in Photoshop, as it is so minimal I can just do it again and produce another new Tif file. If you work in layers in Photoshop you can (apparently) go back and undo stuff (as long as you have edited the photo and saved as a PSD file).

This is why I don’t need layers, and why it doesn’t bother me either. Any work done in Photoshop is saved to a brand new file, leaving the Lightroom edit where it was. And there is not that much to undo.

Non-destructive editing to the max!

8 – Start your photography journey with Lightroom

Adobe Lightroom Classic 7.3 on my PC

Adobe Lightroom Classic 7.3 on my PC

Lightroom is fantastic. I use it all the time.

And I suggest you should too.

I have been using Lightroom for over 10 years now and can honestly say that the latest version of Lightroom Classic is the best yet. I have been using Lightroom since version 1.0.

Get Lightroom. Learn Lightroom.

Don’t try anything else.

To begin with, once you have Lightroom, put all your photos into a single catalogue in Lightroom. Then you can use Lightroom to organise your photos – the Library Module is incredibly powerful, and as far as I am concerned is the best software to use to manage your photos.

Let’s think about this for second - once you have all your images in Lightroom why would you edit your photos anywhere else?

I do as much of my editing as I possibly can in Lightroom – if I can edit an image in Lightroom and not go anywhere else to do more work I am a happy person.

Get as much RAM as you can

A point of digression here – I have just upgraded the RAM in my Dell PC to 16GB from 8GB and it has made a massive difference to Lightroom. In the Lightroom Classic 7.3 upgrade performance improvements were added, but you needed 12GB or more to benefit from these improvements.

Get more RAM and get to know Lightroom and Lightroom only - you will thank me for this trust me!

If you can survive without Photoshop then happy days, but if you feel the need then I can recommend this book which I am going to get.

The Photoshop Toolbox: Essential Techniques for Mastering Layer Masks, Brushes, and Blend modes - released 28th November 2018.

The book is written by Glyn Dewis, a British photographer, and I will copy a bit of the extract from Amazon which I like

“Adobe Photoshop is one of the most powerful image-editing applications ever created, but it is also widely thought to be difficult to learn, infinite in scope, and nearly impossible to master. For these reasons, many photographers choose to stay exclusively with Lightroom for all their photography needs. But for those photographers who subscribe to the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan--which includes both Lightroom and Photoshop--to leave Photoshop unopened and unexplored is to deny yourself the ability to take your creativity and expression to a whole new level.“

9 – Learn Lightroom properly before trying anything else

Going on….

I started using Lightroom, and at the same time discovered the wonderful world of plug-ins and other photo editnig software. Well it was a whole new world to me. I bought the following

  • Photomatix Pro

  • Topaz Labs

  • On One Perfect Suite

  • Nik Collection

  • PT Gui

There are probably some others I bought which I can’t even remember.

And I played around with them, without ever mastering any of them. Well I did get into the Nik Collection, mainly for black and white conversions, but that pleasure was taken away from me!

And this was at the same time as trying to learn how to use Lightroom. I mean trying as I was so distracted.

And when I got an iPad Pro I got even more stuff. Another new toy shop of stuff.

Now I am working as a professional photographer what software do I use?

  • Lightroom

And when needed

  • Photoshop

And

  • Lightroom Mobile

Lightroom Mobile is an essential tool, which syncs with Lightroom Classic on my desktop. And this means I can access the photos I need to anyhwere on my iPad and phone.

Brilliant.

That is all I use for editing images - nothing else.

10 – Get honest critiques of your work

I mean people who know what they are looking at. I don’t think that family members are the best people to critique your work – they love you after all (well I hope that do) and will not give you an honest critique.

So don’t ask them. Ask someone who knows what they are talking about who can be completely honest with you.

Social media is a minefield, and not to be relied on for feedback on images.

You have to remember that people scrolling through endless photos are probably liking your photo in the hope that you will see this and like one of theirs. And they have liked many other photos, giving each one equal time, care and attention – a second if you are lucky.

Find someone who you can trust to critique your work. I use the BIPP for this, and I write about this elsewhere in this post.

And when you have had a critique from someone who knows what they are talking about it is very very important to act on that critique.

This is another important point – learn something, then make sure you act on it. If you don’t act on something you learn you might as well have not bothered learning it in the first place! This is another thing that I have learned from experience - now I listen ot much less stuff and act on the good stuff that I learn that will help me take better photos.

11 – Join a professional body

BIPP qualified logo ABIPP Black.jpg

I am a firm believer in professional bodies and professional qualifications. I have been a Chartered Member of the CIOB, the Chartered Institute of Building - MCIOB. This is the benchmark professional qualification for construction management professionals.

And I am proud of this fact.

I was a member of the SWPP for some time – this is the Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers. Not an obvious choice for me, but this was in the early days of my journey into professional photography.

Now I am sure there is nothing wrong with the SWPP, but I left having not got a lot out of my membership.

Like I say, nothing against the SWPP - the convention they runin London is pretty fantastic to be fair. It is just that I joined the SWPP at the time that I was all over the place.

And when I began to focus my attention

I came across the BIPP – the British Institute of Professional Photography. I applied to join the BIPP, and to get my first qualification I had to submit a portfolio which was critiqued, rejected and worked on quite a lot before it was of a standard for entry level membership, LBIPP – Licentiate of the British Institute of Professional Photography.

This qualification is described by the BIPP on the qualifications page as

“Entry level qualification, showing an established professional level of skill and competence”

It took me a while to get a set of images to this standard and was the first professional critique I had experienced.

I found this a really difficult process, as I did not really know what I was doing. Thankfully I was helped through the process.

That was then, and now I have managed to upgrade my qualifications.

I have now achieved my Associateship, ABIPP. This is defined by the BIPP as

“A high standard of craftsmanship and creative ability”

It was much easier to select the images for this submission. I tried to do this a couple of years ago, but I was not happy with the standard of my work.

I had a much better set of images, and had learned a lot since that first submission.

Not only do I get qualifications and recognition of the level of my work, the BIPP provide great information and the magazine they produce I read cover to cover every month. And I don’t read much else thinking about it.

BIPP qualified logo ABIPP White.jpg

Join a professional body – one that is relevant to you and the photography work that you want to do or are doing. Embrace that professional body and gain the qualifications available – it pushed me to a higher level of work and can do the same for anyone.

And I think that having the logo on my email footer, website, well everywhere gived me a more professional look - as it should!

12 – Don’t research a location too much before going there

Another controversial point of view.

There are many Apps you can get that will show you all the great images from a location, so you know exactly what you are going to get when you arrive at that very spot.

And if you pick a really famous spot when you get there you might be shoulder to shoulder with lots of other photographers.

This sounds like an absolute nightmare to me. So bad I have mentioned this twice in this blog post.

What is the point of going to a location and taking the same photos everyone else already has? And more to the point what is the point of standing next to someone else taking the same photo at the same time as you?

And even worse, do you want to go to a location with photos others have already taken in the back of your mind?

This was really the point. I do not want in my head a preconceived set of images that I am looking to capture myself. I might as well just stay at home and look at the images on my PC.

I do not research a location other than the headline research that tells me that there is interesting stuff there to photograph.

I will give you an example here.

Santorini

I was treated (by the wonderful Mrs. M) to a 5-day photographic trip to the wonderful Greek Island of Santorini. I had wanted to go there for years. I did no research at all.

I knew about Santorini, and had always wanted to go there, but I wanted to go and choose the lcoations myself.

The only thing I did work out was where the sun rose and set each day, and where that fitted in with the geography of the island. And what time of course.

Apart from that my research was all done out on location. I basically walked around potential locations on arrival and chose my spot for the first sunrise.

I did my research with my feet, and I loved it.

And guess what - I didn’t come across another photographer anywhere. Apart from one coach party that arrived too late for the pre-sunrise wonders that I witnessed.

Santorini by Rick McEvoy ABIPP travel photographer

Santorini by Rick McEvoy ABIPP travel photographer

The first sunset was basically us sitting on the terrace at our hotel – it was that easy. But sunrises were about getting out and about early.

Santorini sunset by Rick McEvoy ABIPP - Travel Photographer

Santorini sunset by Rick McEvoy ABIPP - Travel Photographer

OK it was not by luck that this was the view from our room! My wife plans things. Like this room.

But I hope you get the point - find your own compositions without having other peoples work in your head.

13 – Practice, practice, practice. And fail.

This is an easy one. The more you practice the better you get. This is just a fact. There is the 10,000-hour thing – that is the amount of time it takes to become proficient at something.

I don’t know who said this, but I can see the logic in it.

I have probably spent 10,000 hours in Lightroom – I don’t suggest you do that by the way. And I dread to think how many hours in Photoshop!

Here I am taking about getting out and taking photos.

And don’t be afraid of failing. Failing is one of the best ways of learning. I should know - I produced no end of rubbish when I was starting out.

Practice any type of photography that you find interesting. Don’t restrict yourself to landscapes. Try other things. If you don’t like them fine - just don’t do them any more.

Here are 14 quotes about failure from the inspirational James Dyson, which I have extracted from the website Logo Maker. I love these - they are truly inspirational. And so true.

  • “I could buy companies, tart up their products and put my name on them, but I don’t want to do that. That’s what our competitors do.”

  • “I made 5,127 prototypes of my vacuum before I got it right. There were 5,126 failures. But I learned from each one. That’s how I came up with a solution. So I don’t mind failure.”

  • “The key to success is failure… Success is made of 99 percent failure.”

  • “We’re taught to do things the right way. But if you want to discover something that other people haven’t, you need to do things the wrong way. Initiate a failure by doing something that’s very silly, unthinkable, naughty, dangerous. Watching why that fails can take you on a completely different path. It’s exciting, actually. To me, solving problems is a bit like a drug. You’re on it, and you can’t get off.”

  • “Enjoy failure and learn from it. You can never learn from success.”

  • “Anyone can become an expert at anything in six months, whether it is hydrodynamics for boats or cyclonic systems for vacuum cleaners.”

  • “You are just as likely to solve a problem by being unconventional and determined as by being brilliant.”

  • “I learned that the moment you want to slow down is the moment you should accelerate.”

  • “Everyone gets knocked back, no one rises smoothly to the top without hindrance. The ones who succeed are those who say, right, let’s give it another go.”

  • “It is said that to be an overnight success takes years of effort. So it has proved with me.”

  • “We always want to create something new out of nothing, and without research, and without long hard hours of effort. But there is no such things as a quantum leap. There is only dogged persistence—and in the end you make it look like a quantum leap.”

  • “In business you will be wrong, by and large, 50 percent of the time. The trick is to recognise when you have gone wrong and correct the damage—not to worry, at the moment of making the decision, whether it is the right one.”

  • “In order to fix [something], you need a passionate anger about something that doesn’t work well.”

  • “Risk aversion is a hapless approach for a company that’s hoping to develop new technology. It’s tempting in a downturn. But long-term research and development, expensive and often filled with failure as it is, is the only route to discovering it. By taking the cautious path, companies risk a drought of ideas.”

And look what happened to him…..

So crack on doing things and making mistakes - just make sure you learn from them. I have always said that how people deal with mistakes and problems is what makes them different.

14 – Choose the people whose advice you trust and stick with them

There are lots of people with lots of opinions and lots of advice. And they are all valid in their own ways.

Problem is that they all say slightly different things. As I said none of them are wrong necessarily, just different.

This piece of advice will hopefully help.

Listen to everyone and anyone you want to, and then choose the people who resonate with you.

I found myself jumping all over the place, picking up bits of advice here and there and trying to apply them.

And achieving nothing. I had an ever expanding list of things to do, many of which conflicted with each other, making life even more difficult and confusing.

I have now narrowed down to a small number of people whose opinions have proved sound and relevant to me over the years.

Of course you have to spread the net wider to start with to find the people you want to focus in on.

And as I said somewhere else, if you pick up a piece of advice that is useful to you please use it. That was another mistake I made over and over.

These days I act on things I learn whenever I can.

To digress slightly, I have Post It pads in my car, and always have a notebook with me. Anything that I want to remember I write down, and later add to my iPhone in an App called Wunderlist.

Later I sort all these notes and add them to Evernote.

Wunderlist and Post It pads are the capture points - I find that once I have captured a thought it stops cluttering my already confuse dhead. Evernote is where I make sense of things. (I have invested in Evernore Premium, meangin I can access the same info on my PC and mobile devices).

Check out the book How to be a Productivity Ninja by Graham Allcott - I listened to this whilst driving around - see below - and have actioned many of the excellent ideas in that book.

15 – Listen to podcasts

I recommend these. My favourites shift over time, but these are my favourites at the moment

  • Peta Pixel

  • The Togcast

  • The Grid

  • This Week in Photo

  • The No Name Photo Show

  • Six Figure Photography

  • He Shoots He Draws

  • The Business of Photography

None photography podcasts that I enjoy

  • The Solopreneur Hour

  • Ask Pat 2.0

  • The Blogging Millionaire

  • Smart Passive Income

  • Online Marketing Made Easy

  • Superfast Businesss

  • BBC Friday Night Comedy

  • The Danny Baker Show

  • Flintoff, Savage and the Ping Pong Guy

  • Test Match Special

  • Tailenders (I am a massive cricket fan)

I do a lot of driving, and rather than this being dead time I use the time to learn lots and lots and lots.

Some of these I listen to all of, some I listen to part of, some the subject is of no interest. It just depends. But if a podcast is not of interest to me I just delete it straight away and move on.

And my favourites have shifted over time – I now am listening more to podcasts on entrepreneurship, business development – that kind of thing.

I have cut down the photography podcasts quite a lot - I think I overdid them a couple of years ago.

Don’t necessarily restrict yourself to podcasts about what you are interested in – you can learn things from any good photography podcast. The example here is The Business of Photography Podcast. This is mainly about wedding and portrait photography, not my bag at all. Some episodes I don’t listen to at all, but I give them a try first as there are often little gems within them that I have found incredibly useful.

If you are new to podcasts try the ones listed above, and anything else that you find, and give them a go. You will soon find the ones that are relevant to you.

I also listen to podcasts when I am cutting the grass. Peta Pixel podcast has the best audio quality, so I save them for the lawn mowing. Sure you are delighted to hear that Sharkey!

And going back to the point about getting your photos critiqued, check out the website and blind photo critiques on The Grid - it is great to hear Scott Kelby and guests giving their honest opinions.

Talk about efficiency!

16 – Start a blog

Write about your experiences. Writing is a great way of capturing your journey, recording the good and bad, and allowing you to share your experiences not on social media but on your own part of the internet.

Be it a blog on your own website, or on a WordPress blog – just start publishing stuff on a weekly basis and you will be amazed where this takes you. I have been producing a daily blog now for nearly 2 ½ years, and many doors have opened up as a result.

My web traffic has not incresed as much as I had hoped, but I am still working on that, hence this long post!

I get asked regularly to add links from old blog posts to other articles written by other people which are relevant to what my core business is – photography of the built environment in all its shapes and sizes.

If you are going to start a blog, choose a niche and stick with that – it will pay dividends in future years.

If you have any aspirations to make money from photography start a blog right now. Go on – stop reading this and do it.

How often should you write? To keep it simple try 2,000 words once a week. And stick with that. Don’t do it for a couple of months then give in - stick with it and see where it takes you. I am a writer on Improve Photography - this would not have happened if I had not started my blog.

17 – Buy a tripod - seriously

Yep. Really. Buy a tripod. But not any tripod.

When I started off taking my photography seriously I bought a tripod, a big heavy thing with a big heavy head.

And it was heavy.

And guess what?

I left it in my car. I had so much gear in a large backpack. So much gear that the tripod was just too much.

And as a result, I only used my tripod at night. When I had to.

I have mentioned elsewhere in this post about my gear – I travel light and with my hands free.

I use my tripod for every architectural image I take. The only exception to this is when I need to use a painter’s pole to get high, or my Platypod to take a photo from the floor, or where there is just no room for my tripod, normally squeezed into a corner of a room.

Canon 6D on Platypod Ultra, Dorset

Canon 6D on Platypod Ultra, Dorset

For my day to day work I use a Manfrotto 190 Go tripod with X-Pro geared head. The tripod is lightweight, sturdy and easy to use. I have bigger tripods, but they are difficult to use when I am taking interior photographs, as I have to normally get back right into the corner of a room.

Manfrotto tripod on location on an architectectural photography shoot, Dorset

Manfrotto tripod on location on an architectectural photography shoot, Dorset

Manfrotto 190 Go tripod on location in Santorini

Manfrotto 190 Go tripod on location in Santorini

The geared head is essential for composing architectural images.

And I use exactly the same set up for landscape and travel photography. I use exactly the same gear, set up and camera settings. The only exception is when I am walking around a location grabbing shots, which is not that often.

I have found that my composition has improved significantly when I started using my tripod more. It slowed me down and made me think about each and every shot much more.

And I can stop and have a drink and a snack!!

The result of this was less images, and the ones that I took were much better than before I used the tripod.

This ties back to what I said earlier about composition and taking less photos. And thinking more about my photogrpahy.

And I also use a Manfrotto Pixi - here it is on location! This is a great mini-tripod which I take on foreign trips.

FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg

18 – Don’t worry about social media

I don’t really get social media. It has not brought me any photography work that I am aware of. And I find it quite boring.

But everyone says we all have to be on it, we all have to be seen on all the social media platforms.

Someone please tell me why?

This is what I have done to satisfy the perceived need with minimal effort.

I have automated as much of my social media output as I can. I have a daily photography blog, and I share this content automatically from Squarespace to some social media channels and do manual shares to other channels.

Instagram output is shared to other channels using the great iPhone App IFTT – If This Then That.

And I don’t respond to every comment, thumbs up, like. I just post some stuff and that is pretty much it.

I do worry about my website, the content on it, and how people find my website when putting search terms into Google. This is where I put 95% of my effort – social media platforms come and go, and we do not control them.

When I say website these days I mean websites - these are where my future is, rather than on social media.

I have two other websites which I am working on.

Paxos Travel Guide

Photos of Santorini

Don’t worry about social media too much, instead focus on your own part of the internet.

19 – Follow your own mind, dreams and ambitions

Listen to the advice of the people whose opinions you value but choose your own path. And stick with your chosen path. I have too many times deviated from a chosen course of action.

I have started doing something, and then heard or read something and found something new to do.

Now I am following a planned course of actions, based on everything I have learned to date. And I am sticking to that plan, just tweaking it when I find better ways of doing things.

I set some targets for my photography business for 2018, whichI will write about next month - since I set them things have changed, and one of the targets I am not doing at all – I have a different way of achieving what I want to but my own way.

Of course, things change over time – I was going to go all in with stock photography in January but am now going in a completely different direction with that particular thing.

But the general principle of what I am trying to do, which to be fair has taken 10 years to produce, is the plan that I am working to.

And on that point, you have to give yourself time to figure out where you want to go with your photography.

Don’t fight for a piece of the pie, make your own pie! A quote from Sharkey James which I love.

20 – Enjoy it

Enjoy your photography. Work hard at it but enjoy it.

Even if you want to be your full time paid gig it is still something to be enjoyed. I don’t take photographs anywhere near as often as I used to. I seem to spend more time writing and responding to emails than I do taking photos.

But guess what?

When I manage to get out somewhere new at sunrise it is an absolute joy. I work on my photography business all the time, but there is nothing like being out on location at sunrise.

Last month I witnessed this sunrise from the beach in Altea in Spain.

Sunrise in Altea, Spain by Rick McEvoy Travel Photographer

Sunrise in Altea, Spain by Rick McEvoy Travel Photographer

And also saw this stunning church at sunrise on another morning.

The church on the hill at sunrise, Altea, Spain

The church on the hill at sunrise, Altea, Spain

For both of these occasions there was no one else there – it was just me and the most natural thing of all, the breaking of a new day.

An event that will never happen again, and it was just me there at that time in that location.

No matter how much work I spend on my photography business that feeling never goes away – the sheer joy of watching and photographing something that will never happen again.

Enjoy your photography – it is a wonderful gift and a privilege to be a part of.

One more thing

21 - And finally that list

And these are those 10 bullet points I promised right at the beginning.

  1. Choose your destiny and go for it.

  2. Only get the gear you need.

  3. Don’t get any more gear.

  4. Have one bag you can carry comfortably.

  5. Get and use a tripod.

  6. Get out and shoot.

  7. Learn Lightroom.

  8. Practice. Fail.

  9. Look at your photos, learn, be critical, get critiques.

  10. Enjoy your photography.

And to finish

I hope you have enjoyed this post – if you have any comments or questions you can either comment on this blog post or email me at sales@rickmcevoyphotography.co.uk

E3266C17-138F-4F50-9F1D-C86A1E827EA4.JPG

I am a photographer based in Dorset. I photograph buildings and nice places.

That’s it. No weddings. No people. No animals.

I hae a daily photography blog, other websites and am a writer on Improve Photography.

Please get in touch with any thoughts, comments, to book me or to just say hi!

Rick McEvoy ABIPP, MCIOB – Rick McEvoy Photography – Photographer, photoblogger, writer

Architectural Photography explained - camera settings that I use

In my post on Monday I wrote about the camera settings that I use for architectural photography.

I said that I would post some example images. Here is the photo of the interior of the bar at Sopley Mill, a refurbished wedding venue that I photographed for the architect Etchingham Morris Architecture Ltd.

This is the final edited image issued to the client.

Interior picture of the bar at Sopley Mill by Rick McEvoy Photography

Interior picture of the bar at Sopley Mill by Rick McEvoy Photography

And here are the three images that I took which I spoke about in the post on Monday.

Image number 1 - the correct exposure - 0.3 seconds at F8, ISO 400

Image number 1 - the correct exposure - 0.3 seconds at F8, ISO 400

Image number 2 - two stops underexposed - 1/13th second at F8, ISO 400

Image number 2 - two stops underexposed - 1/13th second at F8, ISO 400

Image number 3 - two stops overrexposed - 1.3 seconds at F8, ISO 400

Image number 3 - two stops overrexposed - 1.3 seconds at F8, ISO 400

These are the three bracketed images. Other settings used to take these photos

  • Canon 6D

  • Canon 17-40mm lens at 17mm

  • Camera in AV Mode

  • RAW format

I focused on the face of the cabinet to the right of the bar. I also took a meter reading from there for my exposure.

Everything else as described in the post on Monday.

I used an ISO of 400 as it was very dark in this space. The first correctly exposed image shows this quite well. The highlights are only just blown in the last image, the overexposd image which adds those lighter tones to the darker tones of the second image.

Tomorrow I will post another of my architectural photography images along with the camera settings used.

Rick McEvoy ABIPP, MCIOB

Camera Settings For Architectural Photography – What I Do

Architectural photography is the area that I specialise in and is the photography that I enjoy the most.

In this post I will tell you what my camera settings for architectural photography are and explain each of them in detail. The main camera settings I use are

Aperture – f8 or F16

ISO 100

Shutter speed – AV Mode works this out. More on this later.

Tomorrow you will find 5 commercial architectural photos that I have taken, along with the camera settings used for each photo. After reading this post you will know how to set up up your camera to successfully take architectural photographs. Then all you need is to put yourself in front of some intreating architecture!

What about all the other settings?

There of course lots of other settings which I will go into.

But first a bit about me.

I am a commercial architectural photographer. I photograph buildings and their surrounding environments. I am professionally qualified not only in photography (ABIPP) but also on building construction management (MCIOB).

So, I know my photography and my buildings!

What cameras do I use?

I have been using full-frame Canon DSLRs for well over a decade now, and my work with my Canon 6D is what I referring to in this post.

This is the complete list of my camera settings for architectural photography

  • Aperture – f8 or F16

  • ISO 100

  • Shutter speed – determined by the camera

Here are the other things that I do and also stuff that can be changed on the Canon 6D

Camera stuff

  • Canon 6D

  • Camera mounted on a tripod

  • Canon 17-40mm lens

  • Focal Length 17mm

  • AF on lens on

  • AF – One shot

  • White Balance – Auto White Balance

  • Auto Correct Image Brightness – off

  • Custom controls – back button focus

  • Drive – 10 second self-timer

  • Metering – Evaluative

  • Auto Exposure Bracketing

  • Focussing – single focus point selected/ Live View

  • Viewfinder/ Live View both used in composition

  • Image size and quality - RAW

  • Camera level and vertical

  • I use an L Bracket so I can quickly swap from landscape to portrait orientation

  • Focus – selected for the composition

That is the summary - please read on for more details

I have summarised my camera settings for architectural photography. If you want to know more then please read on – I will explain all about each and every setting and why I use them.

But before we do anything else a word about exposure

Exposure – the three elements

There are three elements to the exposure a camera takes, which are aperture, shutter and ISO. These are known as the exposure triangle.

I won’t go into the exposure triangle here, there are lots of excellent resources that explain the exposure triangle in great detail. All I need to say is that these three elements work together to provide the correct exposure. If the light stays the same and you change the aperture to maintain the same exposure you have to change either the ISO or the shutter speed.

OK – let’s get back to the camera settings that I use

Aperture – f8 or F16

The aperture is crudely put the size of the opening in the lens that lets light through. Maximum aperture on my Canon 17-40mm lens is F4. That is called wide open, and this aperture lets the most light in.

The minimum aperture is F22, which is the smallest opening in the lens that lets the least light in.

F8 is the sharpest aperture on my Canon 17-40mm lens. It is the sweet spot on many lenses. I use this as my starting point on every shoot.

As I tend to shoot at the 17mm end of the zoom range a lot of the time I am not concerned about the depth of field, as I am shooting so wide it is not an issue.

If, however I am photographing an item in the immediate foreground and want the background in focus as well I switch to F16.

And if I want a starburst effect for that shot into the sun I will go to F22. But only for that effect.

ISO 100

ISO is the sensitivity of the camera sensor. It derives from the days of film, where you had to buy a specific ISO. Typically, ISO100 was for higher quality images in good light, and for example ISO1600 for photographing fast moving subjects or for use in low light.

With DSLRs the general principle is the lower the better. And ISO100 is the lowest ISO.

Shutter speed – determined by the camera

I use AV Mode on my Canon 6D. Remember the exposure triangle? Aperture, shutter speed and ISO are all interrelated.

And yes, as my aperture is F8 and My ISO is 100 all that is left to sort is the shutter speed.

This is why I let my camera choose the correct shutter speed to provide the correct exposure with the other two parts of the exposure triangle set.

Going back to the apertures, using the maximum aperture lets the most light onto the camera sensor. Change to the minimum aperture, the smaller opening lets less light in. Less light means a slower shutter speed.

That is exposure explained very quickly!

Here are the other things that I do and also stuff that can be changed on the Canon 6D

Camera stuff

Canon 6D mounted on a tripod

I always use a tripod. I only take architectural photographs hand held if I do not have room for a tripod or am just not able to use a tripod due to space or physical restrictions. I use a Manfrotto 055 tripod.

Tripod head

Talking of my tripod, I use an Manfrotto XPRO geared head. This allows me to make precise adjustments.

Canon 17-40mm lens

This is my go-to lens. It is very wide, small and light and produces great images. And they are not that expensive either!

Focal Length 17mm

I use this focal length for probably 95% of my architectural work. I only tend to use other focal lengths for external shots where I want a nice tight composition.

17mm is super wide but still looks natural. Sure, it is flattering to an interior space but not deceiving which is important.

AF on lens on

I have autofocus and always use it. My Canon 6D focusses much better than I do!

AF – One shot

I focus and the focus is done.

White Balance – Auto White Balance

Controversial one this. I shoot in RAW (more on that later) and process my images in Lightroom. I can change the shite balance at will in Lightroom

So why spend precious time on site doing anything other than this. Sure, there are people who will say I should get it right in camera, and they are of course correct.

But I have to get as many great compositions as I can in a very limited time. If I am changing things on my camera I am missing out on shots.

Auto Correct Image Brightness – off

To be honest I have never used this.

Custom controls – back button focus

This is an important one. Back button focus means that I do not focus using the shutter release button. I have set my camera so I use the AF-ON button on the back of my camera.

Why do I use back button focus?

I like to focus first and then take the image separately. This means that the camera will vary the shutter speed if the light changes between image captures. And focussing and exposure are separate deliberate acts.

Drive – 10 second self-timer

I used to use a remote release. And then it broke. And I realised I had just the thing built-in. I could use the Wi-Fi in my Canon 6D and connect it to my iPhone and use that to activate the shutter, and in some circumstances I have to do that.

But using the self-timer is dead simple.

And it means that the camera has 10 seconds to settle down after I have gently pressed the shutter release button.

This minimises the amount of camera shake which can cause blurry images.

Metering – Evaluative

This works for architectural photography and is seldom changed. Evaluative metering on the Canon 6D is basically the camera evaluating the brightness of a number of zones within the composition and using this data to calculate the correct exposure.

Auto Exposure Bracketing

Ah. Another one that causes an amount of controversy. This is HDR photography.

This is what I do.

I set my Canon 6D to take three exposures.

  • The first exposure is the correct exposure calculated by the metering system.

  • The second photo is 2 seconds underexposed – this is darker.

  • The third photo is two stops overexposed – this image is lighter.

  • If we go back to the exposure triangle principle this is how the shutter speed varies.

Remember that the ISO stays the same, so the only variables are the aperture and the shutter speed.

Why do I do this?

I do this so I capture more of the highlights and shadows than in a single image. And for scenes with a significant variation in the light levels this can be invaluable. I use this on all my interior shots, and also on my exterior shots so they all look the same.

Here is the final edited image – look at the difference between the first exposure and final image!

Viewfinder/ Live View both used in composition

I use both the viewfinder and the LCD screen on the back of my Canon 6D to create a composition - not sure why, it just works for me!

Focussing – single focus point selected/ Live View

I also both use Live View and the viewfinder window to decide where I am going to focus the picture.

And I focus using either as well – I will normally focus about one-third into an image unless there are specific reasons to do anything else.

Image size and quality – RAW

I only ever shoot in RAW. RAW captures the maximum amount of data in a scene that the camera can capture. I never use JPEG as this applies processing to the image which cannot be undone – it is baked in.

And with RAW I can change the white balance in Lightroom to my hearts content.

Camera level and vertical

Very important for me in my architectural photography work – getting the photos both vertically correct and level.

My Canon 6D has an electronic level which I use all the time. It does not have a vertical level for some reason, but I get by!

Talking of my camera being level – my L Bracket

I use an L Bracket so I can quickly swap from landscape to portrait orientation without losing either the composition or the correct position of the tripod head – if it the levels and verticals are correct when I swap from landscape to portrait and back again they still are correct.

This is an excellent example of camera gear that helps me work better and more efficiently which helps me take better photos.

Focus – selected for the composition

As I said this is typically 1/3rd of the way into a scene.

Why are these settings so important?

I know that the images that I take one day will be taken in the same way with the same camera settings the next day.

Quite often I photograph the same building on more than one day. Sure, the light will be different but everything else will be the same.

And this means that you cannot tell if I took the photos for shoot on the same day or not.

Apply that logic further and images taken from different locations on different days when out together look like a cohesive set of images.

Time constraints on site

Often I am photographing live construction sites, very often buildings nearing completion. I have to work fast – live construction sites are busy places and I do not have time to spare fiddling with my camera. I need to spend time on my compositions and virtually forget the technical side of things.

And that is what all these settings allow me to do.

Taking three photos and merging them together in Lightroom gives me a huge margin for error – I have a range of four stops of exposure to work with which again allows me to concentrate on what I am photographing and not how I am photographing something.

What if you don’t use a Canon 6D?

Well the exposure is relevant to any camera that has these adjustments, which is most mirrorless/ DSLRs. As is the exposure triangle.

As to the other settings each manufacturer has different names for the same thing, you just need to find them out for your camera. And if you don’t know them this is a great time to get to know them!

Not every camera will have all the features of the Canon 6D, but most will in one form or another. The Canon 6D is quite an old camera now.

Do I only use a Canon 6D?

No. I have just started using a micro four thirds camera, an Olympus OM-D EM10 Mk 2. I am using this in parallel with my Canon 6D at the moment - Once I had found bracketing and worked out the exposure I was good to go. This took me a matter of minutes to fathom out so regardless of your camera it should not take you too long.

And that is the point of this – the principles and most of the settings for taking architectural photographs that I describe in this post can be applied very quickly and easily to other makes and models of cameras.

When do I change from these settings?

I am in the main photographing things that are not moving. Buildings and the surrounding environment.

There are times though when I do have to vary things.

If it is windy and there are plants, grass and in particular trees in a photo then I will have to think about my shutter speed. If I am shooting outdoors most of the time I am shooting at F8. So, to increase the shutter speed I have to adjust the ISO. 400 is fine, well I can get away with ISO 1600 on my Canon 6D externally without too many problems.

Sometimes I will freeze clouds, but most of the time I like to get some natural movement into them.

Lightroom copes with these variations wonderfully well so don’t worry about that.

Just be aware of stuff moving in a scene and adjust what you are doing accordingly.

Travel photography

I also do lots of travel photography. For static scenes I work in exactly the same way. Obviously for stuff on the move I do not.

My tried and trusted camera settings have been applied in lots of different locations all over the world.

Tomorrow I will post 5 architectural photos that I have taken along with the settings used for each photo.

And here are links to my three online portfolios

Architectural Photography Portfolio

Landscape Photography Portfolio

Travel Photography Portfolio

Any questions?

Please get in touch with any questions by email or phone, or even using the contact form on my website.

Summary

I hope that you have found this post all about the camera settings I use for architectural photography. I will be posting images throughout the course of this week with the camera settings I used.

Thanks for reading this post.

Rick McEvoy ABIPP

Micro 4/3 Architecture Photography – is this a viable option?

I have recently purchased a micro 4/3 camera for my travel photography. I will explain why shortly.

But having tried the camera out it got me thinking – is micro 4/3 architecture photography possible? I have so far been using a full-frame Canon DSLR for my architectural photography work. Having bought and used the Olympus OM-D EM 10 though I now have options. So I am going to put my micro 4/3 camera and my full frame DSLR against each other on commercial architectural photography shoots.

I know, I should have titled this post micro 4/3 vs full frame! Too obvious!

My initial thoughts though are - why not? The combination of the amazing lenses and the technology in micro 4/3 camera bodies have opened my eyes to exciting possibilities.

I am of course talking about commercial architectural photography using micro four thirds, not just me taking nice photos of buildings just for me!

The beginning of my journey into micro four thirds architectural photography.

This is the first post about micro 4/3 architectural photography, which is very much an introduction to this exciting new world for me. Join me on my photography blog as I explore the possibilities of architecture photography using the micro 4/3 format of mirrorless camera. And the wonderful world of micro 4/3 in general.

A bit about me

I am an architectural photographer based in Dorset on the south coast of England. I have worked in construction all my life, and I am a Chartered Construction Manager, MCIOB.

I am also professionally qualified in photography, having the designation ABIPP.

Oh yes, I have over 35 years of photographic experience, first as an amateur and for over 10 years as a professional photographer.

What I specialise in

Architectural photography is my specialism. That and landscape photography. And travel photography, which is my thing that I do when I am abroad.

Travel photography has many similarities with architectural photography and landscape photography if you think about it. Well it does the way I do it. And this is a great way to slightly broaden my photographic base whilst at the same time staying with the core skills and disciplines required for my architectural work.

And then there are my photography websites

One more thing about me – I have three websites now.

And there are more websites in the planning stages.

What camera gear do I use?

I have been using Canon SLRs and now DSLRs all my life. My current working camera is the Canon 6D, which I use with three lenses

  • Canon 17-40mm F4L

  • Canon 24-105mm F4L

  • Canon 70-200mm F4L IS

I have bought and sold various other lenses including a tilt shift lens that I never used.

And this is the only gear that I use. 90% of my architectural photography work is taken with the 17-40mm lens, and 95% of that work with the focal length at 17mm.

For my travel photography I tend to use the 24-105mm lens, with the 17-40 for specific shoots like sunrises.

I find that the 24-105 lens suits most of my travel photography needs, minimising the amount of gear that I carry.

Why have I bought a micro 4/3 camera?

I was on the wonderful Greek Island of Rhodes. I took my Canon gear with me in my Peak Design Everyday Backpack.

And the bag stayed in the boot of the car a lot more than I was happy with. For day to day travel photography stuff I used my iPhone, and I only used my Canon 6D for sunrise shoots which were dedicated photography time for me.

I had basically got fed up with my Canon 6D and the size of the gear.

This was the beginning of my transition into micro 4/3 photography.

The original intention was that I was going to but a micro 4/3 camera for travel photography, and stick with my Canon 6D for my commercial architectural photography work. The size of the gear is much less of an issue when I am on a commercial shoot in the UK.

There is a view which I get that bigger cameras are actually an advantage on commercial shoots, as bigger cameras look more professional. Rightly or wrongly I can see this.

When I am travelling the size of the gear really is an issue though. Luggage allowances are never going to get bigger, and there seems to be less and less overhead locker storage.

And I have other gear that I want to take on trips that I just do not have the room or luggage allowance for.

So size and weight are important factors to me.

Sorry, back to the point

Back to my architectural photography work, I have decided that I can live with having two camera systems. If I had one that would be better though.

So, I am going to give micro 4/3 a go on my commercial architectural photography work. To start with this is in addition to my Canon 6D – I will take two shots of the same view, one with each camera. This will allow me to be able to make direct comparisons between the two, which I am really looking forward to doing.

I have to be happy that I can get the standard of photos that I want for my commercial clients using micro 4/3rds before even considering jumping ship and changing systems.

And one last point – I have to say this

I want a new camera. I have written for years about not being obsessed with gear, but I do want a new camera. I want something shiny, new and different. I think I have been using the same gear in the same way for too long.

Image quality is my number one priority

Nothing else matters. My Canon 6D has produced consistently excellent results for nearly 5 years now, and has never let me down.

I will only switch from my full frame Canon DSLR to a micro 4/3 camera if I am fully satisfied that the image quality is at the least comparable to that with my Canon 6D. And also that it is again at the least as easy to use and as reliable.

To prove this there will be a significant amount of time using both systems together.

What micro 4/3 camera have I bought?

I bought an Olympus OM-D EM10 Mk 2. Hardly a snappy title I know! I bought a second hand camera from EBay for £312. I used money I have earned from my writing on the Improve Photography website.

This camera came with the Olympus 12-42mm kit lens.

And it is tiny! And is a really nice camera in hand, which is important to me.

And it fits in the glove box in my car (now that I have cleared all my stuff out of there). I can’t physically get my Canon 6D in the glovebox with a lens on – yes I tried this.

What about the crop factor with micro 4/3?

Ah. Here is the problem. A micro 4/3 camera has a 2x crop factor. This means that my 12-42mm lens is the same as a lens on my Canon 6D with a 24-84mm lens.

So there is an issue here. Thankfully there is a fix.

How do I get the equivalent of 17mm on a micro 4/3 camera?

Simple. I have to buy a new lens. For my Canon 6D to get as wide as I want I would have to buy the enormous Canon 11-24mm lens, which costs just under £3,000. And it is enormous.

My Canon 17-40mm lens has served me well over the years, and is not an expensive lens. You can buy a new lens for less than £700.

But I have wanted a wider lens than this for some time. 14mm I have been looking for.

With ultra-wide angle lenses each extra mm makes a huge difference, much more so than at the telephoto end of things.

So what is the answer to my problem?

There are two micro 4/3 7-14mm lenses. Just what I want. That gives me the 14mm that I have been after for a long time now. And I mean a long time.

The lenses are

It is worth saying again – 95% of my architectural photography work is taken at the 17mm focal length, the widest I have.

Getting down to 14mm is very exciting for me, and more importantly will give me the extra 3mm of wide angleness that will enhance my photography work.

Is angleness an actual word? It is now!

This is a very important point to me – I only buy gear when it will help me to improve my photography.

A Panasonic lens on an Olympus camera?

I know. I cannot get my head around this. The micro 4/3 mount is universal across manufacturers. Which opens up lots of possibilities.

And is completely alien to me as a lifetime Canon user.

How much does the micro 4/3 setup cost

Olympus OM-D EM10 Mk 2 with 12-42mm lens - £312 second hand

  • Olympus 7-14mm F2.8 Pro - £929

  • The Panasonic 7-14mm F4 is going for £750 at the time of writing.

  • The Canon 11-24mm lens is going for circa £2800.

And that is a big difference. And these smaller costs apply across the board.

My initial findings of micro 4/3

I am really enjoying using my new Olympus camera. I know there is a novelty factor to this, but the smaller form factor is very appealing.

And I love the manual controls that are all immediately to hand allowing me to make the critical adjustments that I need to make.

And the fact that when I put my eye to the viewfinder the screen on the back of the camera turns off and the wonderful Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) kicks in. And when I move my eye away from the EVF the screen turns on.

Very cool and one less thing that I have to do every time I am making a composition.

What are my initial thoughts of the Olympus OM-D EM10?

So, intital thoughts are that I am loving this new camera system. I can see how the technology will help me with the day to day work of taking photos on commercial shoots.

What next?

I am going to try the Olympus and Panasonic lenses at Castle Cameras, and buy one of them. And then I am going to take photos on the next commercial shoots using my Olympus EM10 and my Canon 6D.

And then I am going to process images in exactly the same way and compare the results.

And if I am happy with the Olympus EM10 I am going to invest in an EM5, which has a very cool feature that I will love to use. Basically the camera can take 4 images and put them together, giving an 80MP image. It moves half a pixel one way from one shot to the next.

And this is meant to provide excellent resolution, which will be perfect for certainly my interior photography work

And this is another enhancement to my commercial photography work which will have tangible benefits.

Here is the first image taken with my Olympus camera OM-D EM10 Mk 2

Winter morning landscape captured using my Olympus OMD EM10 camera

Winter morning landscape captured using my Olympus OMD EM10 camera

This is the first photo that I took, processed using Aurora HDR.

And I have to say I really like it. No I absolutely love it!

What is the end point?

My potential end point is moving all in to micro 4/3. If I do that I will fund this by selling my Canon gear and replacing it with this much more compact kit.

And I will of course need a new, smaller camera bag. I will also need some other new kit that compliments my new gear.

And then I will use all the gear on my commercial work and also on my upcoming foreign trips.

The other end point is that I use my micro 4/3 stuff for travel and general use, and my Canon 6D and lenses for my architectural photography work.

Further reading

If you found this post interesting check out the post titled Professional photographers who use micro four thirds - really? for more info on micro four thirds photography.

I have also started a Micro Four Thirds Photography Portfolio page where I am uploading images taken using my Olympus micro four thirds camera.

Summary

Well this is all very exciting. Will I end up using micro 4/3 for architecture photography? At the time of writing I am not sure but I suspect that I will.

The 7-14mm lens is a complete game changer for me, allowing me to do things I cant do with my Canon 6D. I do not want the very large 11-24mm lens – that does not work for me.

Next thing then is to go shopping for a lovely new lens - and that in itself is an exciting proposition!

Rick McEvoy ABIPP, MCIOB - Photographer, writer, blogger, website creator

Architectural photography using a micro four thirds camera?

IMAGE.JPG

This afternoon on my photography blog I will be writing about architectural photoraphy using a micro four thirds camera.

Is this really a possibility? 

Check out my blog this afternoon where I explain what I am going to be doing in the future with my new Olympus OM-D EM10.

And I have created a new page on my website called Micro four thirds gallery where I will post photos taken with my new camera system.

Rick McEvoy ABIPP, MCIOB - Architectural Photographer

7 people actually disliked this video on my YouTube Channel!

3.664 views. And 7 people have actually taken the time to dislike this! Why ever would you do that?

It is nothing serious - just me walking on a layer of ice with snow underneath. 7 dislikes and 4 likes…..

Rick McEvoy Photography - You Tube Creator (sort of)

How I find photos in Lightroom quickly using Excire Search

A dull question but hopefully an interesting answer will ensue.

I have well over 70,000 images in my Lightroom Catalogue. How do I find photos in Lightroom quickly? Using Excire Search is how. In this post I will tell you what Excire search is and how I use it to find photos in Lightroom quickly.

cropped-Excire_Logo.png

What is Excire Search?

Excire Search is a Lightroom plug-in which searches the images in a Lightroom catalogue using the content of the images – that is the point – Excire Search uses the content of the images in the Lightroom Catalogue, and searches using an example image to find similar images with similar content.

Is Excire Search going to help you find images in your Lightroom Catalogue? Read on and you will find out.

By way of a spoiler the answer is yes, it will help. Quite a lot.


Before I go on, full disclosure

I was approached by Excire Search to trial this product, and I am an affiliate member, so if you click on my affiliate link here and buy Excire Search I get a commission.

Of course, I have an incentive to write good things about this plug-in. What you will find in this blog post though is my honest opinions on Lightroom and Excire, and their relative search capabilities.

This is not an advert for Excire Search, this is me writing about a tool that, now I have it, I will use regularly in my photography work.

OK now that is out of the way back to the subject in question.

What are the different versions of Lightroom?

I need to give you a bit of background to Lightroom to start with.

There are three versions of Lightroom. Lightroom CC, Lightroom Mobile and the one I use, Lightroom Classic.

What is the difference between Lightroom Classic, Lightroom CC and Lightroom Mobile?

Lightroom Classic

Lightroom Classic is the version of Lightroom where the photos are stored locally on a hard drive (of one sort or another). Lightroom Classic is the current evolution of what was Lightroom. This is what the standalone version starting with Lightroom 1.0 released in 2007 has evolved into, which is now obtained through the Creative Cloud and a monthly subscription.

Lightroom CC

Lightroom CC is the newer cloud-based version of Lightroom. Photos are stored on the cloud. This is not the full version of Lightroom but has features which you will not find in Lightroom Classic.

Lightroom CC was released in 2017

Lightroom Mobile

Lightroom Mobile is the version of Lightroom that is used on mobile devices. Photos are accessed from Lightroom through collections which are synced via the internet.

Lightroom Mobile is free but you need actual Lightroom Classic or CC to get the photos into collections.

For completeness there is also a web based Lightroom, which you can access at this link.


Which version of Lightroom do I use?

I use Lightroom Classic – the original full version now available through the Creative Cloud.

I do not use Lightroom CC as this is the cloud-based version, where your photos are stored by Adobe in the cloud.

I have no doubt that at some point in the future I will move over, as we all will.

That is why this article is about advanced searches in Lightroom Classic.

What are the search capabilities of Lightroom Classic, Lightroom CC and Lightroom Mobile?

Lightroom Classic

There are various search tools and filters in Lightroom Classic that I use all the time.

I use the following

  • Star rating

  • Picks and rejects filters

  • Other metadata in the tool bar

Having said that my images are organised in a very logical, comprehensive but simple file structure meaning that I know where most of my images are.

Lightroom Classic has face recognition technology, but to be honest I do not use this as I do not photograph people, only buildings and nice places.

Read on for the good bit.

Lightroom CC - has Adobe Sensei technology.

I don’t have Lightroom CC, so not being at all familiar with it I decided to let Adobe explain Sensei search technology. This is what Adobe say on their website on their excellent help pages

https://helpx.adobe.com/uk/lightroom-cc/using/whats-new.html

 “Start typing in the search bar, and Lightroom CC automatically offers suggestions to help you quickly find what you need. Search for cameras, locations, and other metadata with ease. Also, your enabled filters are kept neatly organized in the search box. You can even search for a filter using its name (try 'camera:').

But does Sensei analyse the content of an image?

No.

It does carry out some form of auto tagging, but it is mainly intelligent search functionality.

Why do I not have Lightroom CC?

I should explain this. I have evolved from Lightroom 1.0 – yes, I was there at the very beginning in 2007 – to the Lightroom Classic that we have now.

I have heard that there are potential conflicts if you have Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic installed.

Now I do not know if this is true, but I am not going to risk it. I don’t want Lightroom CC at the moment as I do not want to pay for cloud storage. I don’t actually want or indeed need this as I have my own arrangements in place.

So, I, like most photographers so I believe, use Lightroom Classic.

Lightroom Mobile

I nearly forgot about Lightroom Mobile. I use this on my iPad and iPhone. All the images are organised into collections, so searching for images is not something that I do – it is done before things are added to Lightroom Mobile.

I use Lightroom mobile as my mobile working folders.

cropped-Excire_Logo.png

What is Excire Search then?

Excire Search is a plug-in for Lightroom Classic. It provides advanced search capabilities using a content-based image retrieval engine.

Or to put it another way it searches using the content of images in my Lightroom Catalogue.

Why is Excire Search different from the search capabilities built into Lightroom Classic?

Basically, Excire Search uses the content of an image. I know.

I thought this was just another clever piece of software with no practical use but just think about this for a second.

How does Excire Search work?

Once you have installed Excire Search you have to initialise it. This is basically the process by which the software analyses all the images in your Lightroom Catalogue.

This took two overnight sessions to analyse the more than 60,000 images in my Lightroom Catalogue.

I wondered why it took so long. But I was soon to find out.

What does Excire Search do?

The plug-in analyses the content of images. Yes, I know.

Let me jump straight into some examples which demonstrate the point wonderfully well.

 

Example 1 – The blue domed church roofs of Santorini

This is one of the things I am working on at the moment – a collection of architectural travel photography images.

I want to get a set of similar images, and my starting point is one of those famous blue domed church roofs you find on the wonderful Greek Island of Santorini.

If you want to see more of my work about my photos of Santorini check out my website called, erm Photos of Santorini.

Sorry had to get that plug in.

This is the example image that I use as the basis for the search.

Blue domed church roof, Santorini, Greece

Blue domed church roof, Santorini, Greece

And this is the results of the first 50 images that Excire found in my Lightroom Catalogue.

50 photos of blue domed cgurch roofs

50 photos of blue domed cgurch roofs

Not bad. Now the search did produce a couple of shots of the domed roof of the church in Altea, Spain, and also one house on the Greek Island of Rhodes which has part of the roof with a sort of dome, but other than that pretty good search results.

Lets try something else

Example 2 – The white buildings of Santorini

Next, I am going to use the famous white buildings of Santorini – another theme that I am working with at the moment.

This is the example image

Copy of White buildings and blue church roofs on the Greek Island of San

And this is the results of the first 50 images that Excire found in my Lightroom Catalogue

50 white buildings screenshot

50 white buildings screenshot

Example 3 – The interiors of churches and cathedrals

This is the example image

The spectacular ceiling of San Sebastian Cathedral

The spectacular ceiling of San Sebastian Cathedral

And this is the results of the first 50 images that Excire found in my Lightroom Catalogue

50 church ceilings

50 church ceilings

Example 4 – Buildings with scaffolding

This is the example image

HORNDEAN 003 230315.jpg

 And this is the results of the first 50 images that Excire found in my Lightroom Catalogue

50 scaffolding photos

50 scaffolding photos

Example 5 - Sunrise with boats

This is the example image

Copy of Poole Quay and boats at sunrise by Poole Photographer Rick McEvo

 And this is the results of the first 50 images that Excire found in my Lightroom Catalogue

50 sunrises with boats

50 sunrises with boats

That should do for now. You should get the idea. Pretty cool eh?

I know that the search results included a few oddities but that is always going to be the way. I have to say that these are typical of the searches that I will use Excire Search Pro for in my daily work.

Well I will now that I have the excellent search tool to use.

What about keywords?

This is the one that I needed to spend some time and work out. Check back to my photography blog in a few months to see how I get on with this feature.

Me and keywords

I am not a great one at keywording images. I add keywords to images when I export them anywhere outside of my hard drive. This is always the last thing I do before exporting images out of Lightroom.

I was always going to keyword images on import, but it never happened.

And now that I have over 60,000 keywords I think that ship has sailed.

Or has it?

What does Excire Search Pro do with keywords?

It adds keywords to every image during the initialisation process.

Yes – it does this based on the image content.

And that is how I keyword images prior to exporting – as well as adding some essential data I add keywords that describe the image.

This sounds to good to be true.

By the way as I am writing this, I am following a video tutorial on the Excire website and checking Lightroom to see what is going on.

Where does Excire Search Pro put the keywords?

In a separate place. They are not in the Lightroom Catalogue.

Excire Search Pro can assign up to 535 keywords to images in your Lightroom catalogue. The non-pro version 120.

I tried this quickly but need more time before committing to adding the keywords Excire Search Pro has assigned to my images.

I have spent a long time assembling my Lightroom Catalogue and this is not something to rush into.

And there are also the Dominant colours

During the initialisation process Excire Search also identifies the dominant colours in an image – this is another thing that I am definitely interested in.

 

How do I get Excire Search?

You can get Excire Search from this link here – this is my affiliate link, so if you buy the software from this link I get a commission. You don’t pay any more that going direct to the website.

You can also get a 30-day free trial here.

 

How much does Excire Search cost?

99 Euros for the Search Pro version, and 49 Euros for the Search version. I have used the Euro prices for now – we have not left yet after all!!

When I write an update post I might be showing the price in £s though.

This is a one-off purchase and the software is installed on your Mac or PC hard drive.

Oh yes, you don’t need the internet to run this software.

The price includes bug fixes and minor updates and improvements, but not version upgrades and major additions.

 

And the other features

I have not tried out all the features of Excire Search Pro. I need to look more at

  • Keywords

  • Search by dominant colour

Actually – here is a screenshot of the options available in Lightroom

Excire menu close up 20112018.PNG


Summary

I was approached by Sol at Excire Search to work with them on the promotion of their new plug-in.

At first it sounded like one of those things that was very clever but would be of little use to me, but I agreed to work with Excire, and committed to write about the plug-in on my blog and also on the Improve Photography website. I am a freelance writer for Improve Photography, producing fortnightly articles on all things photography.

Little did I know that I would find the ability to search my entire Lightroom Catalogue by an example photo so useful – this is something that I have used a lot in the two weeks since I installed Excire Search.

I am interested to see if I use Excire Search in the future once the novelty has worn off. I think I will, it has a place in my workflow for certain specific work that I do.

You can read my introduction to Excire Search on Improve Photography. I have scheduled a review article on Improve Photography for Feb/ March 2019. I will write an in-depth update on my blog in the spring where I will describe how much I am using it, what I use it for and what benefits this search tool has given me and my photography business.

Basically, if you need the things I need when searching for images in my Lightroom Catalogue then Excire Search Pro is an excellent choice. If you don’t need these search capabilities then fine – it is not for you!

Rick McEvoy ABIPP - Photographer, blogger, writer

 

My First Travel Photography Website – Photos of Santorini

My passions are travel and photography. Well it took me a while, but I eventually got there.

I am delighted to be able to announce that my first travel photography website is now complete – it is called Photos of Santorini. It was completed when I finally got around to buying a logo for this website, which is taken from one of my photos. In this post I will tell you all about this website and my plans for future travel photography websites.

Photos of Santorini by Rick mcEvoy

Photos of Santorini by Rick mcEvoy

But first a bit about me

I am Rick McEvoy. I am a professionally qualified photographer, having the qualification of the Associateship of the British Institute of Photography – ABIPP.

I am also a Chartered Construction Manager, with the designation MCIOB.

I have a lifetime of experience working in the construction industry. And I also have a lifetime of experience in photography, with more than a decade of that as a professional photographer.

What has this got to do with travel photography?

Well my wife and I love to travel. Travel is our thing. And I love photography.

Put the two together and travel photography should be, and indeed is my dream job! Sometimes these things are that simple and obvious.

Where have I travelled to?

There is quite a long list of countries that I have visited

  • Barbados

  • Canary Islands

  • Chile

  • Egypt

  • France

  • Greece

  • Italy

  • Maldives

  • Portugal

  • Scotland

  • Slovenia

  • Spain

And then there are the wonderful Greek Islands

  • Corfu

  • Cyprus

  • Kefalonia

  • Paxos

  • Rhodes

  • Santorini

  • Zakynthos

That is quite a few places.

Why travel photography websites?

I was treated by my wife to a birthday trip to remember. A trip to Santorini to take photos.

It was just the best, having unlimited time to take photos. I have never had this luxury before, and even better that it was on the stunning Greek Island of Santorini.

When we got home I immediately imported all the photos into Lightroom and started editing them. The problem was that I did not have a purpose for them – I did not know what I wanted to do with them.

I was editing the photos without a purpose, and without a purpose how do you choose which images to edit?

My architectural photography work

As well as doing my construction consultancy work I was busy carrying out architectural photography assignments.

That and trying to publish a daily photography blog.

I was lacking direction and to be brutally honest getting nowhere.

And then I had the idea – build my own website!

I can’t remember where the idea came from now as there was so much going on. But at some point last year I had the idea to make my own website just for my Photos of Santorini, and that is what I did.

Selling one of my photos for 53p on Adobe Stock was the final insult for the stock photography market, and after that I deleted all my stock photography accounts. I was not happy with that.

And where am I up to now with all of this?

My Photos of Santorini website is completed apart from one big thing – it’s appearance. I am waiting on a new theme being produced by someone I know which I am going to use for this and all my other websites.

What is Photos of Santorini about then?

It is about my photos of Santorini primarily – hence the name. It is about me being on this wonderful Greek Island and how I took each of 20 photos that I have written separate posts for.

These are some of the posts I have made

Where are the best photo spots on Santorini?

Where are the best places to see the sunrise in Santorini

Photo of the cable car in Fira from the path to Imerovigli

There is also a 2-part post which is titled Santorini photography tips. This is a long two-part post where I describe what I have learned on this photographic trip.

And there is also a gallery which I have imaginatively called My Big Fat Greek Photo Gallery.

Why Photos of Santorini

As I said I needed a purpose for my photos of Santorini, and that is pretty much where the name came from. And I know that there are lots of websites with photos of Santorini, and lots of places where you can view photos taken on Santorini.

But the one difference with my website is me. There is only one me, probably not a bad thing. And I have added my personality to my posts, and written about my experiences photographing Santorini.

The content mix is deliberate, with decent length posts about each of the 20 main photos, and the two long posts called Santorini Photography Tips.

As I said all I am waiting on now is a new theme, which should be available to me in a couple of months hopefully, and that will be that website done.

The content of my travel photography website

As well as 20 posts, each one about a single photo, there are pages about me, how to buy my photos and other good stuff.

What is the purpose of this travel photography website?

The purpose is this. This is a niche website deliberately constructed to do the following

  1. Attract enough web traffic to earn money.

  2. Make me a popular travel photography resource

  3. Assist with the development of my other websites

  4. Make my website a helpful resource for people who want to go to Santorini

  5. Make my website a helpful resource for people who want to learn about travel photography

  6. Make my website one of the most popular websites about Santorini

What other websites do I have?

Paxos Travel Guide, which is the website I am currently working on at the time of writing this.

Here is the logo, next to the Photos of Santorini logo.

Paxos Travel Guide

Paxos Travel Guide

Photos of Santorini - PNG (background transparency).png


Do you see the similarity – yes there is the beginnings of some kind of plan formulating here. Paxos Travel Guide is going to be a bigger website than my Santorini one, which I hope to have completed soon. I was aiming for the end of the month of February, but this is looking challenging now.

I have produced half of the initial 30 posts planned for this website – the only problem is that the last 10 posts are the big, in-depth posts, which will take longest to write.

What is Paxos Travel Guide about?

On this website I am sharing my experiences of Paxos, getting there, being there and getting home again. It is a very personalised website where the advice I am offering is all my own. I have not produced the content using Google searches – it is my own knowledge having been to Paxos twice.

Here are some example of the type of stuff that I have written

How do I get to Paxos?

Paxos FAQ

When is the best time to visit Paxos?

What websites are planned for the future?

Well that is something that I am already thinking about. The Paxos website model is the one I envisage going forward, and there is a natural next website shouting out to me to be created. It will be about the Greek Island of Rhodes, which we go to every year.

Once Paxos Travel Guide is done I am going to start work on this website - next time we go there I will have a list of places that I want to go to which will add to the content that I already have. And the website will exist. I might even work on the website when I am there!

And I have a few years’ worth of photos of many places on this wonderful Greek Island.

And after that?

Well that is where I will stop for a while. OK there is one more website that I fancy doing, called Photos of Barbados, or something like that. Based on that idea.

I want to publish the photos I took on Barbados somewhere – at the moment I have a page on my website with a selection of my photos of Barbados.

Ultimately, I want to produce lots of travel photography websites, but there is a limit to what I can do. I have to make a living after all, and if these websites just sit there on the internet without earning any money I have to stick with my paying architectural photography work. Not that this is a problem.

There is a lot of work in creating websites with excellent content.

But if my travel photography websites take then who knows where this might take me?

What camera do I use for my travel photography work?

This is another recent change that I am currently in the middle of. I have been using a Canon 6D for 4 years now. And I found on my last holiday that I was leaving my camera in the boot of the car more and more and taking photos with my iPhone.

As impressive as the iPhone camera is this is not a road I want to go down.

So, I have been looking around for something else.

And this is it.

Olympus OM D EM-10 04022019.PNG

The Olympus OM-D EM10 Mk 2.

It is a tiny piece of kit, and my intention was to use this for my travel photography. Last week I was on a shoot where I was photographing some newly refurbished science labs in a school. I took some photos using the Olympus camera after taking the initial shots with my Canon 6D.I thought I would give it a go and see if anyone can tell the difference.

I am going to do the same on the other architectural photography shoots I have booked in for this week.

I am quite excited to see how the photos compare.

I need a new lens

One slight problem is that on my Canon 6D I use a 17-40mm lens, and on my micro four thirds Olympus camera the lens is a 12-24mm lens, which equates to 24-48mm on full frame.

Enough of that – this is meant to be about travel photography websites!

The reason I mention this Olympus camera is because this will feature heavily in future travel photography websites. Once I am fully familiar with the camera, and to be fair happy with the images that it produces, this will be the only camera I will take on trips.

The Olympus will be my travel photography camera and will work in tandem with my iPhone.

What content am I capturing for my travel photography websites?

Lots of reference photos of locations, lots of videos and sunsets/ sunrises. Sunrises are my favourite things to photograph, which I have no had a go at yet with my new camera.

The idea is that I can provide a personal, visual guide to a location. I even have a rig set up in my car now so I can video driving – this will be going with me on all my foreign trips and enables me to produce something a bit different.

My writing

My travel photography websites are the perfect outlet for my travel photography work and my writing. I forgot to mention my writing.

I have been a writer for a few years now, starting with my own blog. I have also done freelance writing, including on the massively popular photography website Improve Photography.

Writing, photography and travel all come together in my travel photography websites.

Summary

Travel photography is my thing. It is what I love doing. And if you think about it travel photography is a natural extension of the discipline of architectural photography, which is very much my specialism.

Instead of photographing buildings in the UK I am photographing buildings and their surroundings in other countries!

I will write another post once Paxos Travel Guide is completed, and I will also provide an update on my other website Photos of Santorini. I am not expecting anything from this website for another two months yet – lets see that April brings. Hopefully favourable statistics before my next foreign trips!

Thanks for reading this post, and please get back to me with any questions you may have not only about my travel photography websites but anything at all photography related.

Rick McEvoy - Photos of Santorini

Sunrise Photography Settings That Work For Me Every Time

So, you want to photograph the sunrise? I don’t blame you - this is my favourite time of day to take photos, the start of a new day.

What sunrise photography settings do I use? Typically, I use F8 or F16 aperture, ISO 100 and the shutter speed the camera chooses using AV Mode on my Canon 6D. In this post I will tell you all about the camera settings I use which will help you take great sunrise photos easily every time. I will also tell you the actual camera settings I used to take the 5 sunrise photos included in this post.

What camera gear do I use?

I have been using a Canon 6D with Canon 17-40mm lens for most of my sunrise photography. The Canon 6D is a full-frame DSLR.

I will go through the settings one by one and then describe the settings I used for the 5 photos included in this post.

I will conclude with a brief word about processing sunrise photos using Lightroom.

Before I go on - I must explain this

In this post I am explaining the camera settings that I use to photograph sunrises. They work for me and allow me to concentrate on the sunrise itself and not fiddling with my camera at all. This is not a technical article, I am explaining my sure-fire way of getting great sunrise photos every time using tried and tested camera settings.

There are those who will not agree with my approach – that is absolutely fine – this is how I do it.

The basics of taking photographs – the exposure triangle.

First things first. Every time you take a photo there are three elements that have to be set to ensure a correct exposure.

These are

  • Aperture

  • Shutter

  • ISO

These settings apply to any camera.

The settings I use are as follows

Aperture

F8/ F16. F8 is the sweet spot on my Canon 17-40mm lens, and also my Canon 24-105mm lens. This is my starting aperture every time I go out to shoot.

When do I vary from this?

When I want to change the depth of field, i.e. how much of the photo is in focus. For sunrise photography I will typically choose F16 or F22. F16 is my aperture of choice if I want the maximum depth of field without getting lens-induced errors. If I am shooting straight into the sun and I want a starburst effect on the sun then I will go the minimum aperture of my Canon 17-40mm lens, which is F22.

So, the aperture is set for the composition

Shutter speed

I use the AV mode on my Canon 6D. AV stands for Aperture Value. In AV mode I select the aperture and the camera sets the shutter speed for the correct exposure automatically.

Hold that thought for now – I will come back to this after the third element of the exposure triangle.

ISO

I use ISO100. This is the lowest native ISO on my Canon 6D. The lowest ISO produces the highest quality image with the lowest amount of noise.

I will sometimes go to ISO400 if the conditions require, which is normally if there are fast moving clouds or trees blowing around and I need faster shutter speeds.

I always use a tripod, so shutter speed is not a concern with regard to camera shake.

But I can change the ISO if I want to change the shutter speed.

Back to shutter speed

I sort of glossed over the shutter speed. As I always use a tripod I am not worried about camera shake. The only relevance here is if there is something moving in the scene, typically the sea, clouds or trees.

Now I like a bit of movement on my sea, so I don’t worry about this.

I have a range of tripods, normal Manfrotto tripods, a tiny Manfrotto Pixi and also a Platypod – basically a metal plate which I can fix my camera to and place it on the ground to get a great low viewpoint.

All the stuff above applies whichever camera you are using. Now for some stuff specific to the Canon 6D. When I say specific to the Canon 6D you can do many if not all of these things with other cameras, they are just called different things by different camera manufacturers.

I change the shutter speed by varying the ISO after I have chosen the aperture for the composition.

Summary of the basic exposure settings

Aperture, shutter speed and ISO all combine to make an exposure. I choose an aperture, then change the ISO if I need to change the shutter speed.

Metering

I use Evaluative Mode most of the time

Focus Mode

Most of the time I use AF Mode One shot

Back button focus

This is a custom function setting on the Canon 6D. Basically I focus using the AF-ON button on the back of the camera. This post is not an explanation of back-button focus - check out this excellent article on Digital Photography School to find out more.

I use a combination of Live View and the viewfinder to compose the image – it just depends.

And when it comes to focussing as a rule of thumb I focus one-third into the scene, using either Live View or the viewfinder.

Once I have focussed I can take as many photos as I like as exposure and image capture are separate from focussing.

Drive Mode

As I am auto-bracketing and using the 10 second-self timer that is sorted.

Self-timer - my secret weapon!

I use the 10-second self-timer built into my camera. I used to use a remote release, but much prefer doing this as it works a treat and means I have one less thing to carry, go wrong and get batteries for.

And using the self-timer means that all I need to do is press the shutter release button whenever I want to take a photo – I am not sat behind my camera peering through my viewfinder – I am normally sat on the floor next to it.

GPS

I always use the GPS on my Canon 6D. It drains the battery, but the locational information is invaluable to me as a travel photographer.

RAW

I only ever shoot in RAW, never in JPEG. RAW gives me the maximum data to work with in Lightroom.

White balance

As I shoot in RAW I can use Auto White Balance – I don’t need to worry about this till later. Am I being lazy? I would rather say smart – this gives me one less thing to worry about.

Auto Exposure bracketing

When I am photographing the sunrise, I use auto exposure bracketing, where I take three exposures.

The first exposure is the correct exposure – the one that the camera tells me is the correct exposure.

The second exposure is two stops under exposed (darker)

The third exposure is two stops over exposed (lighter)

As I am using AV mode the camera works this out for me by varying the shutter speed.

If the shutter speed for the correct exposure is 1/1000thsecond, the second shutter speed is two stops faster, (1/4000thsecond) letting less light in creating a darker image. The third exposure is two stops slower than the first exposure, (1/400thsecond) which is lighter.

This is what they look like in Lightroom.

Auto bracketing images viewed in Lightroom

Auto bracketing images viewed in Lightroom

I hope that makes sense?

Why do I take three photos?

I take three photos which I merge together in Lightroom later. This is called HDR photography. HDR is High Dynamic Range.

Basically, I get more of the lights and more of the darks than my Canon 6D can capture in a single image, which I can merge together in Lightroom.

My workflow and making life easy

My workflow has evolved over the years to make taking photos as easy as possible. With the settings I have described here and the techniques I use I am able to concentrate on what I am taking a photo of.

All I need to think about with the camera settings is

  • The aperture, which is normally F8 or F16

  • Where I focus

  • Everything else is set before I take a photo.

A word about HDR

HDR photography gets more information from a scene recorded by the camera. And there is another benefit – I don’t need to worry about the exposure of the image capture – I have so much built-in latitude this is no longer an issue?

Some purists might see this as being lazy – again I think this is a smart way to work, which helps me take better photos and enjoy myself much more than I would if I was fiddling around with camera settings.

And this is what I did for years until I thought about it all.

Remember that my workflow is an evolution of a lifetime of practising and learning about photography – a process that is an ongoing one – learning for me never ends!

And with that lets look at some sunrise photos that I have taken, and the settings that I used to get them.

Here are the five sunrise photos that I have taken along with the camera settings used. All five photos were taken with my Canon 6D and Canon 17-40mm, 24-105mm or 70-200mm lenses using the settings mentioned above. The only variables are the aperture, shutter and ISO which of course vary depending on the light in the scene I am photographing.

Santorini sunrise photo from the top of the caldera

I N Ayiou Mapkou church after sunrise with a spectacular view of the island of Santorini

I N Ayiou Mapkou church after sunrise with a spectacular view of the island of Santorini

This was after sunrise, but I included this photo to demonstrate the point I made about the use of the minimum aperture on my Canon 17-40mm lens – this is how I get the sun looking like this.

And using auto-bracketing I can shoot straight into the sun and not have a wildly incorrect exposure.

A word of caution here – be careful photographing straight into the sun!

Camera settings

  • Aperture F22

  • Shutter Speed 1/500th second, 1/2000th second and 1/125th second

  • ISO 400

Why ISO 400? In this scene the clouds were moving very fast so didn’t want a shutter speed slower than 1/125th second.

Sunrise in Loggos on the Greek Island of Paxos

Sunrise in Loggos on the Greek Island of Paxos

Sunrise in Loggos on the Greek Island of Paxos

Camera settings

  • Aperture F16

  • Shutter Speed 1.6 seconds, 0.4 seconds and 6 seconds

  • ISO 400

Yes – long exposures still work with auto-bracketing

Sunrise view of Navarone Bay looking towards the Acropolis of Rhodes

Sunrise in Rhodes - Travel Photography by Rick McEvoy

Sunrise in Rhodes - Travel Photography by Rick McEvoy

Camera settings

  • Aperture F16

  • Shutter Speed 1/25th second, 1/100th second, 1/6th second

  • ISO 100

Sunrise at Cap Negret Spain

Stunning sunrise colours in Altea, Spain

Stunning sunrise colours in Altea, Spain

Camera settings

  • Aperture F8

  • Shutter Speed 1/40th second, 1/160th second, 1/10th second

  • ISO 100

I used F8 as this photo was taken using my Canon 70-200mm lens!

Sunrise street scene in Altea Spain

Sunrise in Altea by travel photographer Rick McEvoy

Sunrise in Altea by travel photographer Rick McEvoy

Camera settings

  • Aperture F9, F13 and F6.3

  • Shutter Speeds 1/160th second, 1/320th second, 1/80th second

  • ISO 400

Just to disprove a point this photo was taken with my camera in Programme Mode. This was a mistake. I had been shooting video and forgot to change back to AV Mode. But you can see how the camera has still managed to capture all of the scene!

A word on processing my sunrise photos

All the photos I take are added to a single catalogue in Lightroom.

On import I add an amount of processing to each and every image – this is stuff that I used to do manually to every image I was editing.

My images start off 30% processed when I start to look at them.

HDR Merge

Once I have chosen the images that I want to edit I do a form of batch processing. I carry out an HDR merge on the first set of three images, and if all the settings re ok I select the next batch of three images and us the Lightroom keyboard shortcut Shift Control H. This starts up the HDR merge process. I then move on to the next three, and on and on. I have had Lightroom do 30 HDR merges at once – I go off and do something else and leave Lightroom to it.

This gives me all the HDR dng files to work with, which is an excellent starting point.

I will write another post about editing sunrise photos in a future blog post.

What about sunsets?

Well to be honest I don’t have as many sunsets as I do sunrises. Sunrise is my time – I get up early on my own and get out there and photograph the dawning of a new day. I do not inflict this on anyway else, and that is just fine for all of us!

But sunsets are at a much more sociable time, so I have less of them!

Summary

I hope that you have found my photography blog post “Sunrise Photography Settings That Work For Me Every Time” interesting and of use.

If you have any questions please get in touch – I always reply to anyone who takes the time to get in touch with me.

And while I am on the subject of travel photography check out my other websites Photos of Santorini and Paxos Travel Guide.

Rick McEvoy - Travel Photographer, writer, blogger, all round nice chap

How To Become YouTube Famous Overnight - well sort of!

For some reason this YouTube video I took of me walking on the crunchy ice in my garden has received over 2000 views - it is far and away the most successful video I have ever created.

Hence the title of this post - How To Become YouTube Famous Overnight - well sort of! Unfortunately I have absolutely no idea why this video is so popular. I wish it was something I had done!

So all I can do is promote it as much as possible while it is popular!

Here is a link to the video - https://youtu.be/l4AD8kG90Bw

Rick McEvoy Photography - YouTube Star (I know just kidding)