Hotel Photography – 10 Practical Tips For Hotel Owners

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

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

Sandbanks Hotel by Rick McEvoy Hotel Photographer

Sandbanks Hotel by Rick McEvoy Hotel Photographer

Who am I?

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

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

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

Cap Negret Hotel, Altea. Hotel Photography by Rick McEvoy

Cap Negret Hotel, Altea. Hotel Photography by Rick McEvoy

So you want some photos taking of your hotel?

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

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

1 – Find the right photographer for you

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

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

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

2 - Finding a qualified photographer

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

BIPP qualified logo ABIPP

BIPP qualified logo ABIPP

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • BIPP – British Institute of Professional Photography

  • RPS – The Royal Photography Society

  • MPA – Master Photographers Association

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

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

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

Cap Negret Hotel Altea Spain at sunrise

Cap Negret Hotel Altea Spain at sunrise

3 - Select a photographer who photographs buildings.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nissaki Beach Hotel, Corfu, Greece

Nissaki Beach Hotel, Corfu, Greece

4 – Personal advice from me on choosing a photographer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is my style of work.

If you like my photographic style great.

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

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

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

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

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

Travelodge Hotel by Rick McEvoy

Travelodge Hotel by Rick McEvoy

5 – Agree the brief with your photographer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get the brief right though and things should flow smoothly.

The brief includes the following

  • Shot list – very important – see below

  • Number of images required – see below

  • Purpose of images/ intended use

  • Cost  - see blow

  • Inclusions – what is included

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

  • Deliverables – what will be issued to the client

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

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

Sandbanks Hotel in Poole Dorset by Rick McEvoy

Sandbanks Hotel in Poole Dorset by Rick McEvoy

6 – Shot list

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Travelodge Southampton West Quay

Travelodge Southampton West Quay

7 – How much will you pay?

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

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

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

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

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

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

8 – Work out the best time of day/ year

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

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

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

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

Travelodge Southampton West Quay

Travelodge Southampton West Quay

9 - Prepare the rooms

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

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

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

  • Rooms cleaned

  • Clean fresh bedding

  • Clean fresh towels

  • Complimentary accessories

  • Cables/ TV remotes hidden

  • Curtains clean, crease free and presented as intended

  • Windows cleaned internally and externally

  • Toiletries well presented

  • Loo rolls folded over nicely

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

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

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

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

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

  • Cars

  • Vans

  • Bins

  • Debris on paths and footpaths

  • Skips

  • Signs

  • Hosepipes

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

Travelodge Southampton West Quay

Travelodge Southampton West Quay

10 – People or not?

People or not – that is the question.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This can work, especially in circulation space.

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

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

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

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

Summary

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

Get in touch with me

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

Rick McEvoy Photography – Hotel Photographer

11 Practical Photography Business Ideas For 2020 And Beyond

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

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

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

Who am I?

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

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

What was my plan at the start of 2019?

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

1 – Taking photos for clients

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

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

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

2 – Photos of Santorini website

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

3 – Paxos Travel Guide website

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

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

And I have enjoyed this a lot.

4 – Rhodes Travel Guide website

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

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

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

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

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

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

7 – Affiliate marketing

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

8 – Commercial partnerships

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

9 – Freelance writing

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

And how is this all going?

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

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

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

1 - Niche down

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

I have placed myself firmly in the market for the following

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

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

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

And that is it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Those days are long behind me now thankfully.

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

Architectural photography by Rick McEvoy

Architectural photography by Rick McEvoy

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

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

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

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

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

Quality and not quantity.

3 – My Photography Blog

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

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

Photography Blog by Rick McEvoy

Photography Blog by Rick McEvoy

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

  2. Photography gear that I use.

  3. Photography business matters

  4. Websites and related stuff

  5. My photos

  6. Architectural photography

  7. Travel photography

  8. Landscape photography

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

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

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

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

And that takes time and hard work.

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

Again, quality over quantity.

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

4 – Google - EAT.

What am I talking about?

EAT stands for

  • Expertise

  • Authority

  • Trustworthiness

This is something that is becoming increasingly important.

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

So how do we do what Google wants us to?

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

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

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

  1. Web traffic can generate passive income through ads.

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

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

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

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

5 - Video

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

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

  • Do people want to watch and listen to me?

  • What gear do I need?

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

  • How do I create regular consistent content?

  • Where do I put this stuff?

  • Do I really have to do this?

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

What was the answer?

I have a weekly photography blog.

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

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

And I mean every week.

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

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

Basically I need to up my video creation massivley.

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

6 – Pinterest

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

Why Pinterest of all the social media platforms?

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

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

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

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

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

Check me out on Pinterest here.

7 – YouTube

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

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

This is what I am doing.

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

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

And the set-up is simple.

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

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

Simple.

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

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

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

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

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

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

8 - LinkedIn

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

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

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

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

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

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

9 – Websites

I have three websites at the moment.

Paxos Travel Guide

Paxos Travel Guide

Rick McEvoy Photography

Paxos Travel Guide

Photos of Santorini

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

Income is from advertising and affiliate marketing.

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

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

And with enough traffic another source of passive income.

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

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

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

10 – Affiliates

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

Skylum

Excire Search Pro

Peak Design

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

How do these things work?

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

If someone buys that thing I get a commission.

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

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

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

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

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

11 – Consistency and continuity

This is very important.

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

And I am sticking to this consistently.

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

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

And every week I schedule pins to Pinterest.

And every week I create an article on LinkedIn.

Is this lot working?

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

Rick McEvoy Photography Google Search Console Results

Rick McEvoy Photography Google Search Console Results

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

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

What is my end game?

Time freedom and financial freedom.

That is what this is all about.

Where is all my stuff online?

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

Websites

Rick McEvoy Photography

Paxos Travel Guide

Photos of Santorini

YouTube

Rick McEvoy Photography

Paxos Travel Guide

Pinterest

Rick McEvoy Photography

LinkedIn

Rick McEvoy Photography

Summary

Rick McEvoy

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

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

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

#photographybusinessideas #photographybusiness #photography #rickmcevoyphotography

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 – Photo Studio Tent With Lights!

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

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

Product Photography at home by Rick McEvoy

Product Photography at home by Rick McEvoy

Product Photography at home by Rick McEvoy

Product Photography at home by Rick McEvoy

IMG_2781.jpg

2 – Manfrotto Pixi tripod

public.jpeg

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

Here it is!

And the cost for this little marvel?

£17.99!

I know – ridiculous.

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

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

3 – Op Tech Wrist strap

Optech Wrist Strap - photo from Amazon website

Optech Wrist Strap - photo from Amazon website

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

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

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

And the price- £8.99!

OP/TECH 6701062 SLR Wrist Strap – Black

4 – Lastolite Grey Card

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

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

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

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

5 – Pec Pads

Pec Pad - photo from Amazon

Pec Pad - photo from Amazon

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

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

These packs last a surprisingly long time too!

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

Photographic Solutions 10x10cm Pec Pad (Pack of 100)

6 – Eclipse Lens Cleaning Solution

Eclipse Lens Cleaning Solution - photo from Amazon

Eclipse Lens Cleaning Solution - photo from Amazon

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

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

These bottles seem to last forever.

£16.98 including free delivery!!

Photographic Solutions Eclipse Lens and CCD Cleaning Fluid

And I also buy a small bottle for travel use.

7 – Head Torch

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

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

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

Less than a tenner too!!

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

8 – Micro fibre towel

Photo from Amazon

Photo from Amazon

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

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

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

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

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

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

So much for so little.

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

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

Filter wrench - photo from Amazon

Filter wrench - photo from Amazon

9 – Filter wrench

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

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

Photo from Amazon website

Photo from Amazon website

10 – Hot Shoe bubble level

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

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

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

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

11 – Filter step up/ down rings

Filter step up ring - photo from Amazon

Filter step up ring - photo from Amazon

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

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

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

£6.11 for this neat item.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How Do I Do That In Lightroom - photo from Amazon

How Do I Do That In Lightroom - photo from Amazon

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

Currently for sale on Amazon for £17.74.

How Do I Do That in Lightroom Classic?

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

14 – How Do I Do That in Photoshop?

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

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

Currently for sale on Amazon for £15.98

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

15 -  Hurricane blower

Hurricane blower.PNG

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


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



Giottos GTAA1900 Rocket Air Blower - Black




16 - Waterproof Phone Case 

iphone case.PNG

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

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

So I bought this case.

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

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

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

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

17 – Spare rear lens and body caps

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

And they also serve another purpose.

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

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

Cheap but invaluable!

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

You can get these for Canon cameras for £4.25

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

And for Olympus these cost £6.99

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

18 – Memory card holder

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

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

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

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

Each of these costs £8.99 from Amazon.

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

19 – Memory card holder

Memory card case - photo from Amazon

Memory card case - photo from Amazon

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

And this costs less than a fiver – actually £4.69

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


20 – New SD Memory card

SC card - photo from Amazon

SC card - photo from Amazon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

21 – Phone tripod holder

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

iPhone tripod holder - photo from Amazon

iPhone tripod holder - photo from Amazon

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

And it only costs £6.09!

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

22 – Haofy Tripod Umbrella Holder

Umbrella.PNG

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

£8.99

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

 

Yes - me with a brolley.

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

 

 23 - THE NORTH FACE Men's Salty Dog Beanie

Rick McEvoy

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

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

This new one goes for £18.95.

THE NORTH FACE Men's Salty Dog Beanie

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

24 - 2 month Photography Creative Cloud subscription

Adobe.PNG

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

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

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

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

Check out the Adobe website for more details.

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

25 - The Photographer's Ephemeris

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

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

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

£9.99 on the App Store

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

https://www.photoephemeris.com

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

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



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


What camera bag do I use?

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

Here is my bag in action.

Peak Design Everyday Messenger

Peak Design Everyday Messenger

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

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

Canon 6D and Manfrotto Pixi on Paxos

Canon 6D and Manfrotto Pixi on Paxos

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

That’s it.

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

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

Rick McEvoy ABIPP - Photographer, writer, website creator

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

 

How I Made My Photography Website Super-Fast for Google

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

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

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

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

Paxos Travel Guide web site speed

Paxos Travel Guide web site speed

Is website speed important?

As good a place as any to start.

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

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

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

It is important.

And think about this.

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

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

How many websites do I have?

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

Rick McEvoy Photography

Photos of Santorini

Paxos Travel Guide

What platform are my websites on?

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

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

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

How do I know how fast my websites are?

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

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

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

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

Basically

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

  • 50-89 is average and is coloured amber

  • 90-100 is green so is very good!

I like the colours – even I can understand this!

How fast were my websites they before this work?

So my scores before doing anything

Rick McEvoy Photography

  • Mobile - 30

  • Desktop - 83

Photos of Santorini

  • Mobile 63

  • Desktop 78

Paxos Travel Guide

  • Mobile 53

  • Desktop 72

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Install a stupid quick WordPress theme - Acabado

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

  • Compress all my photos

Acabado - the super-fast WordPress theme

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

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

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

It is called Acabado.

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

It is fast, and easy to set up.

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

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

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

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

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

For completeness the ones that are still active are

  • Amazon Affiliate Link Globalizer

  • Really Simple SSl

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

Make my photos smaller

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

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

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

How long did this take?

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

How fast is Photos of Santorini now?

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

  • Mobile 96 (was 63)

  • Desktop 95 (was 78)

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

Yep – this stuff really does work.

And then Paxos Travel Guide

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

Which I was.

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

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

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

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

And finally check that every link went where it should.

OK – How fast is Paxos Travel Guide?

  • Mobile 94 (was 53)

  • Desktop 97 (was 72)

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

The fantastic new mobile experience

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

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

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

  • The Blog

  • Who Am I?

  • My photos of Santorini

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

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

Has this affected search engine results pages?

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

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

And has the traffic to my websites increased?

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

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

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

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

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

3FE4296A-A72E-41F5-8D0D-75D360193DB3.JPG
5D466FA1-B37D-42CA-91CD-BB620B086162.JPG

A quick word on web traffic

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

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

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

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

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

What about my Squarespace website?

So what next for Rick McEvoy Photography?

Let’s remind ourselves of the numbers

  • Mobile - 30

  • Desktop – 83

Hmmmmmm.

Not good.

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

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

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

A word on hosting

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

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

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

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

How do I track the performance of my websites?

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

Google Analytics

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

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

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

SEO Edge

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

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

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

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

And for the future

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

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

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

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

And after that who knows?

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

Summary

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

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

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

Rick McEvoy ABIPP - Photographer, blogger, website creator

Where Are The Best Sunrise Locations In Rhodes?

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

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

First things first – who am I?

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

No if it is still then I will photograph it.

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

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

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

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

Why am I writing about Rhodes?

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

What about sunsets?

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

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

So that is why.

Where is the Greek Island of Rhodes?

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

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

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

Where is the Greek Island of Rhodes?

Where is the Greek Island of Rhodes?

Where are Pefkos and Navarone Bay?

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

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

Where is Pefkos on Rhodes?

Where is Pefkos on Rhodes?

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

How do I get there?

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

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

Where exactly are the locations?

Again I have marked an extract from Google Maps.

My best sunrise locations in Rhodes revealed!

My best sunrise locations in Rhodes revealed!

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

  2. On top of the cliffs overlooking Navarone Bay

  3. On the beach and the rocks around Navarone Bay

Are these locations easy to get to?

1 - Prophet Elias Church

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

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

Goat droppings.

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

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

And those amazing views.

2 - On top of the cliffs overlooking Navarone Bay

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

And the big drop!

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

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

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

OK – that’s you told!

3 - On the beach and the rocks around Navarone Bay

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

Ok completely silent apart from the goats.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is there parking nearby?

I think I have covered that.

What time does the sun rise?

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

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

Sunrise is such a special thing that I love experiencing.

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

Are there other people there?

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

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

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

Splendid sunrise isolation. Just me and the elements.

What camera gear do I use?

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

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

Disclosure done – best to be open about these things!

Back to my gear.

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

I am loving my new smaller gear.

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

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

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

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

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

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

My sunrise photos of Rhodes web page

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

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

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

Sunrise view from the hills above Pefkos looking towards Lindos

Sunrise view from the hills above Pefkos looking towards Lindos

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

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

2 - On top of the cliffs overlooking Navarone Bay

Tree at sunrise on Rhodes Greece

Tree at sunrise on Rhodes Greece

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

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

3 - On the beach and the rocks around Navarone Bay

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

Sunrise in Rhodes by Rick McEvoy

Sunrise in Rhodes by Rick McEvoy

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

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

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

Video time!

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

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

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

These are the links to the videos on my YouTube Channel

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

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

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

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

My YouTube Channel

And finally please may I ask for your help?

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you!

Next week on my photography blog

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

Check out my blog next week to find out.

Rick McEvoy ABIPP - Photographer, blogger, website creator

15 Really Useful Tips To Help You Take Better Photos

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

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

Architectural Photography By Rick mcEvoy

Architectural Photography By Rick mcEvoy

Who am I?

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

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

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

1 Think about the subject matter

  • What are you taking a photo of?

  • Why are you taking this photo?

  • What is the intent behind the photo?

  • What are you trying to capture?

  • Who is the image for?

  • What are you going to do with the image?

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

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

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

And do you know what – they were seldom there!

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

I choose a composition and stick with it.

Talking of which

2 Composition is king

What is the single most important thing in photography?

Composition.

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

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

But still one composition.

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

But that will be that.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3 Background, middle ground, foreground

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

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

The depth of the light.

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

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

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

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

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

4 Rules of photography

There are many rules of photography.

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

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

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

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

5 - Check the edges

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

Are there any distractions around the edges of the composition?

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

Things like

  • Bits of trees

  • Aerials

  • Bright leaves on the front edges

  • Power lines

  • Telegraph poles

You get the idea

6 – Light

  • What is the light doing?

  • What direction is the light coming from?

  • Where is the sun?

  • How does the light interact with the subject?

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

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

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

7 - Timing

This follows on nicely from the point above.

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

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

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

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

8 Exposure

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

How do I do this?

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

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

I take three images

  1. The correct exposure

  2. Two stops under exposed

  3. Two stops over exposed

I merge these images together in Lightroom later.

This is called HDR photography.

Why do I do this?

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

  • Composition

  • Changing the aperture from F8

  • The focus point

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

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

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

It works for me.

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

9 Aperture

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

Choose the aperture for the shot - simple

10 Shutter speed

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

When is shutter speed important?

When I am photographing moving water.

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

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

11 ISO

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

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

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

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

12 Use a good tripod

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And my compositions have improved since I made this change.

13 Processing

Processing of digital images is a complete separate subject.

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

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

Architectural photography processing

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

Technical correctness of

  • Horizontals

  • Verticals

  • Colours

  • Textures

  • Shapes

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

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

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

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

Landscape and travel photography processing

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

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

14 – Time

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

I was always disappointed with the results.

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

More than that I will make the time.

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

15 - Practise, practise, practise

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

Summary

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

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

A bit more about me

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

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

Me on location in Santorini

Me on location in Santorini

Photos of Santorini

Paxos Travel Guide

You can subscribe to my YouTube Channel

And follow me on Pinterest

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 - Where does the word photography come from?

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

The principle is the same either way.

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

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

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

2 – Who was Sir John Herschel?

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

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

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

3 – Who are the Royal Society?

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

4 - What do the Royal Society do?

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

Let’s leave it there.

5 - When was the first photograph taken?

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

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

6 – How was the first photo taken?

The picture was taken using a process called heliography.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8 – How do digital cameras take photos?

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

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

Images are typically saved to a removable memory card.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10 – Why is mobile phone photography so popular?

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

Hence the immediacy and huge popularity of mobile phone photography.

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

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

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

11 – Is photography still relevant today?

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

And is that a good thing?

Yes and no.

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

Rubbish.

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

But there is a downside.

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

Who has time to look at all this stuff?

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

Check out this excellent post on Mylio.

Where they write

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

And that is in 2017!

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

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

12 – What are the most important things in photography?

  • Boring but important.

  • Composition

  • Light

  • Interesting subjects

  • Technically correct image capture

  • High quality processing

  • Less rather than more

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

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

13 – How important is gear in photography?

Well we need stuff to be able to take photos.

A phone is one such thing.

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

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

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

But let me tell you a secret.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

14 – What is important for me in photography?

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

Not.

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

  1. Taking less photos, but better photos

  2. Going out taking photos more frequently

  3. Increasing the quality of my video production

  4. Refining my website

  5. Learning Aurora HDR and Luminar

  6. My web traffic

  7. Finishing my website Paxos Travel Guide

  8. Deciding on my next website

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

  10. Doing more photography for me

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

15 - What is the future of photography?

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

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

Unless you are a genius with a camera that is.

So I need to work on other things then!

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

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

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

These are my websites at the time of writing

Photos of Santorini

Paxos Travel Guide

How to keep up to date with me

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

Subscribe to my YouTube channel

Follow me on Pinterest

This is where all the good stuff is

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

Summary

Rick McEvoy

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

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

Rick McEvoy ABIPP - Photographer, writer, website creator

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

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What do you clean your camera lenses with?

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

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

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

Rick McEvoy Photography - https://rickmcevoyphotography.com

15 Practical Tips To Help You Work Faster In Lightroom Classic

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

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

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

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

What is Lightroom?

As good a place as any to start.

This is what Lightroom Classic looks like

This is what Lightroom Classic looks like

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

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

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

1 - Which version of Lightroom should I choose?

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

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

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

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

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

2 – Learn Lightroom properly

Once you have got Lightroom, learn it properly.

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

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The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic CC Book for Digital Photographers

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

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

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

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

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

3 – Set up Lightroom correctly

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

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

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

My Lightroom Settings

My Lightroom Settings

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

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

4 – Calibrate your monitor

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

This is what I use to calibrate my monitor

This is what I use to calibrate my monitor

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

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

And how will this make me work more efficiently?

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

5 – File structure

This is a biggy. Seriously.

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

This is my file structure now.

My Lightroom file structure

My Lightroom file structure


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

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

And if anyone tells you differently they are wrong.

OK?

Back to my file structure.

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

My Dorset folder in Lightroom

My Dorset folder in Lightroom


And this is my worldwide folder.

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

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

6 – Import presets

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

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Build Previews – select Embedded and Sidecar.

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

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

Don’t Import Suspected Duplicates – keep this checked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t edit everything, just the best images.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8 – Solo Mode

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

Seriously this is a great thing to do.

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

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9 – Work through the modules

There are seven modules in Lightroom Classic

  • Library

This is where all the images are stored.

  • Develop

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

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

  • Map

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

  • Book

  • Slideshow

  • Print

  • Web

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

And switch off the modules you do not use.

10 – Keyboard Shortcuts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11 – File syncing

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

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

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

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

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

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

All I ever use Photoshop for is removing stuff.

  • People

  • Loose gravel

  • Hose pipes

Annoying bits on the edges of an image

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

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

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

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

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

  • Keywords

  • Title

  • Caption

I add copyright information on import automatically by the way.

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

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

Do I need to add keywords to every image?

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

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

14 – Lightroom Mobile

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

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

And rating images is really quick too.

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

And you can edit image in Lightroom Mobile too!

15 – Don’t aim for perfection

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

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

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

Summary

Rick McEvoy

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

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

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

New Videos On My Photography YouTube Channel

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

Here are links to a couple of my recent videos.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Peak Design Unveils The Next Generation of Camera Tripods

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Peak Design

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

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

Rick McEvoy Photography

The Exposure Triangle Explained In Plain English

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

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

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

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

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

1 - What is the exposure triangle?

Exposure Triangle 08052019.png

Nice drawing eh? I did that myself!

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

2 - What is the aperture on a camera?

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

I use a Canon 24-105mm F4 lens.

The aperture range is F4 – F22.

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

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

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

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

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

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

3 - What is ISO?

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

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

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

How ISO applies in photography is however very important.

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

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

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

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

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

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

ISO is the sensitivity of camera film to light.

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

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

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

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

4 - What is the camera shutter speed?

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

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

The slower the shutter speed, the longer the time the shutter is open meaning more light is captured by the camera sensor.

5 - Next I need to explain what a stop is.

A stop is a measurement of adjustment of light. A stop can be applied to each of the three components of the exposure triangle.

An adjustment of 1 stop equates to either a doubling or halving of the amount of light that reaches the camera sensor. I will explain stops for each of the components of the exposure triangle, and how they relate to each other.

6 - Aperture and stops explained.

My Canon 24-105mm F4 L lens has a maximum aperture of F4, and a minimum aperture of F22.

The full stops are

  • F4

  • F5.6

  • F8

  • F11

  • F16

  • F22

Remember, the smaller the number the larger the aperture. And going from F4 to F5.6 is reducing the aperture by 1 full stop, which is halving the amount of light reaching the sensor.

7 - ISO and stops explained

The same principles apply to ISO. Remember that the ISO is the sensitivity of a camera sensor to light.

ISO full stops are as follows

  • ISO100

  • ISO200

  • ISO400

  • ISO800

  • ISO1600

  • ISO3200

  • ISO6400

  • ISO12800

  • ISO25600

Unlike the aperture scale ISO follows a more logical, linear progression.

Changing the ISO from ISO100 to ISO200 is making a change of one stop. This adjustment is doubling the sensitivity of the sensor to light.

This means that doubling the ISO only half the light is required to achieve the same exposure.

8 - Shutter speeds and full stops explained

Shutter speed is the time that the shutter is open exposing the senor to light.

Full stop shutter speeds are

  • 30 seconds

  • 15 seconds

  • 8 seconds

  • 4 seconds

  • 2 seconds

  • 1 second

  • ½ second

  • ¼ second

  • 1/8thsecond

  • 1/15thsecond

  • 1/30thsecond

  • 1/60thsecond

  • 1/125thsecond

  • 1/250thsecond

  • 1/500thsecond

  • 1/1000thsecond

  • 1/2000thsecond

  • 1/4000thsecond

As you can see there is again a linear progression.

If you change the shutter speed from 1/250th second to 1/500th second you have reduced the time that the shutter is exposed by one half, which is a full stop. This means that the amount of light reaching the sensor has reduced by a half.

9 - What difference does a full stop make?

A full stop adjustment either halves or doubles the amount of light reaching the camera sensor. And a full stop is the same be it ISO, aperture or shutter speed.

10 - Getting a correct exposure

The aperture, shutter speed and ISO combine to determine the brightness of an image. If everything is set correctly then the exposure will be correct. The image capture will be as close as the camera is capable of capturing in a single image of the scene being photographed.

You can find out the correct exposure using your cameras meter. Another subject for separate post.

11 - OK – how do these three relate to each other?

Let me give you an example.

The following settings are correct (according to my cameras meter) for the scene I am photographing

  • Aperture F8

  • Shutter Speed 1/250thsecond.

  • ISO 400

If I were to adjust the aperture by 1 stop to F11 I would be reducing the opening size of the aperture, halving the amount of light reaching the camera sensor.

The image would be darker than the correct exposure would be. The image would be one stop under exposed.

If I took the original settings and increased the ISO to 1600, I would be increasing the sensitivity of the camera’s sensor by 2 stops, quadrupling the brightness of the image. The image would be too bright. The image would be 2 stops overexposed.

And finally if I were to change the shutter speed from 1/250thsecond to 1/125thsecond then the time that the sensor was exposed to light would have been doubled, again making the image too bright.

11 - And for completeness

Different combinations can provide the same exposure.

  • Aperture F8

  • Shutter Speed 1/250thsecond.

  • ISO 400

Provides the same exposure as

  • Aperture F5.6 (one stop more light)

  • Shutter Speed 1/500thsecond (one stop less light).

  • ISO 400

As does

  • Aperture F5.6 (one stop more light)

  • Shutter Speed 1/250thsecond.

  • ISO 200 (one stop one stop less light)

Further reading/ viewing

In future blog posts I will be writing about aperture, shutter and ISO. You can subscribe to my weekly photography blog from my home page, and check out my other blog posts here.

There is a YouTube video which accompanies this post which you can view here - please forgive the quality but I am slowly improving!

And on my YouTube channel you will find lots of other good stuff all about photography - please subscribe so you get to see my weekly posts.

I would like to point you in the direction of a recent blog post I wrote which is proving very popular Very Quick Photography Tips - 105 Things Worth Knowing.

Talking of popular recent articles and my Canon 6D you might find this article interesting which I published recently about my favourite camera Is The Canon 6D Still Worth Buying In 2019?

Who am I?

I am a professionally qualified photographer - ABIPP - based in the south of England. I specialise in architectural, landscape and travel photography. I am a freelance writer and website creator.

Summary

Me on location in Santorini April 2017.jpg

I hope that you now understand the exposure triangle, the three elements that make up the exposure triangle, what they are and how they relate to each other. 

This is not a scientific or technical explanation of the exposure triangle – there are lots of those on the internet. The purpose of this post was to explain the exposure triangle in plain English, which I hope I have managed to do.

Rick McEvoy ABIPP - Photographer, writer, website creator

Pinterest For Photographers Explained (By A Photographer)

Pinterest is a social media platform with circa 250 million users. Pinterest is a rapidly growing social network that uses visual media as the basis for content.

In this post I will explain how I as a photographer use Pinterest. I am going to tell you how I have been using Pinterest to attract well over 375,000 unique visitors per month with minimal thought and effort. I will then tell you how to set up your Pinterest account properly, and how I am going to be using Pinterest to help grow my photography businesses in a planned systematic way.

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But first, before I go any further

Pinterest.PNG

Please follow me on Pinterest by clicking HERE. We all need to be asking others to follow us!

This is something that I have not been very good at - asking people to follow me.

Why do I use Pinterest?

Pinterest is a social media platform where pins have a much, much longer life than posts on Instagram, and Tweets on Twitter. Pinterest is different from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I do not use Facebook and put minimal effort into Twitter and Instagram.

It is a visual platform where people go to curate ideas and find stuff. I will say that again – it is a visual platform – ideal for photographers then!!!

Each and every pin has much more value now and in the future than a Tweet or Instagram post.

I see Pinterest as a long-term investment, which is consistent with the approach I am taking with the content on my websites – I am working to achieve long-term, organic, sustainable growth.

The long-term plan with Pinterest and my websites

Work done now will benefit me in the future. To give you an excellent perspective of this it takes up to 35 weeks for a post to reach its full potential with the Googles robots– work done now is very much work that will provide benefits in the future.

This has been frustrating in the past as I did not know this and thought that what I was doing was not working, so I would change things.

Now I know how long this takes, I am sticking to my plans.

And the results I have achieved to date are for work done in the past – now I am consistently adding to that excellent foundation on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.

What am I using Pinterest for?

To drive traffic to my websites. That is the brutally honest truth. I want as much sustainable traffic to my websites as I can get, with the minimal effort and expense using a variety of channels and sources.

This is what I have been working on for some time now – getting more traffic to my websites using

  • High quality, regularly posted content

  • Pinterest

  • YouTube

  • and to a lesser extent the other social media channels.

And the good news about Pinterest

Pins on Pinterest have much longer shelf lives than other social media. More on that later. But hopefully now you are interested enough in using Pinterest to promote your own photography business.

And as a visual platform it is surely great for photographers! So one of the main things that you need for Pinterest, great imagery, should not be a problem for us photographers.

The writing of this post was the beginning of me taking Pinterest much more seriously, and actually researching Pinterest properly and coming up with a structured plan going forwards.

Lets’ get into the weeds on this.

How I have I been using Pinterest so far?

I have not been using Pinterest with much thought or logic. When I started off with Pinterest it was just another social media platform that I thought I should be on, so I took it as seriously as the other social media platforms.

Which is not very seriously, just another necessary evil that I thought I had to contribute to.

I have been using a service called Tailwind to schedule my posts. I have again done this with little thought (more on Tailwind later).

This and sharing pins from the Pinterest app on my phone.

So it is a bit of surprise that at the time of starting to write this post I have 386,000 monthly unique viewers (this number changes on a daily basis).

Check out the screenshot from my iPad.

INSERT IPAD SCREENSHOT

Is that many unique monthly views good?

Well it can’t be bad, but to be honest it is not the end game here. This is very much a vanity number, but I also treat this as an indicator of the direction of travel – the bigger the number the better things are going.

So I am not getting too hung up on that number, even if the scale of it is to be completely honest rather exciting news for me.

A better number is the “Monthly Engaged” one

In the last 30 days I have 19,541 “monthly engaged” people. This is an increase of 144% - and this is a number that I do take seriously.

“Engaged” is defined by Pinterest as “people who see your Pins and people who act on your Pins”.

How many followers do I have?

161 (see later for the individual board followers)

That is not a lot.

But that is not the point.

How many re-pins have I received?

5471 in the last 30 days. And this number is trending upwards. I take this is a very good indicator.

Which are my most popular pins?

When I check Pinterest Analytics this is what I find.

My most popular pin is this pin of a photo of a waterfall

Pinterest waterfall 02052019.PNG

1.4k impressions quite quickly which is good news. I think that the vertical picture format helps with this one.

And the next most popular pin, with 1.3k impressions?

Another very recent pin, and one of my blog posts that I have shared from Rick McEvoy Photography onto Pinterest titled Very Quick Photography Tips – 105 Things Worth Knowing

I thought this one might work well, being a long post with lots of info and a title that has attracted interest.

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All these numbers come from Pinterest.

And how much traffic has my website seen?

This is the important thing to me. My web traffic has been growing significantly, so here are the numbers from Google Analytics. Actually this is a screenshot from Squarespace Analytics (which uses Google Analytics), which gets me these numbers really quickly.

Here is the screenshot from my iPad.

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As you can see I got 44 referrals from Pinterest in the last 30 days. Whilst that is not in itself a big number it does account for 88% of the social media referral traffic.

One for me to definitely keep an eye on.

Like I say not a lot of traffic, but all the work I have done not only on Pinterest but elsewhere is done now and will hopefully bear fruit in the future. And now I am adding to the work already done.

What is the Squarespace Analytics App?

My main website is on the Squarespace platform. The analytics app is excellent and gives me better live reporting than Google Analytics does which is interesting.

My other websites, Paxos Travel Guide and Photos of Santorini are built on the WordPress platform.

How many Pinterest boards do I have?

Well in starting my research for this post I had a look at my own boards, and they were a bit of a mess I have to say.

I have deleted lots of boards, leaving just the following

  • Architectural Photography

This is my core business area so there should be a board for this I guess!

  • Other people’s photography

This is literally other people’s photos that I have seen on Pinterest and just liked.

  • Paxos Travel Guide

I have a website called Paxos Travel Guide, so a board just for that website is entirely appropriate.

  • Photography

Generally photography stuff that I have found interesting.

  • Photos of Santorini

Again, I have a website called Photos of Santorini so there is a board dedicated to just this.

  • Photography Gear

Photography gear – well what did think this would be?

  • Rick McEvoy Photography

This is where my weekly blog posts get shared.

  • Travel

Pins by other people all about travel.

  • Travel Photography

The new board. When I got thinking about this I had missed one of the points of Pinterest, which is to promote my photography, so this board is a new board in which I am pinning my own travel photography work.

Should I have deleted these other boards?

NO. DO NOT DO WHAT I DID.

I should have kept them there – they were not doing any harm and might have had some gems in there but as I can’t recover them I will just have to get over this rather stupid impulsive mistake.

Do I have a Pinterest business account?

No. well I didn’t, and that was the beginning of this post and the beginning of me taking Pinterest much more seriously.

Getting a Pinterest business account was the first thing to change.

And when I checked I had already done this – I did have a Pinterest Business Account – I just did not know this!

And no this does not cost anything.

How am I going to use Pinterest going forwards?

Well this is the point. I have managed to get 386,000 monthly unique views (and this number is trending upwards), but in the same period only 44 referrals to my website.

That puts the numbers in perspective nicely.

And gives me the incentive to be a bit more systematic about this.

Before I go on, a word on Tailwind.

Tailwind is a paid service allowing you to schedule posts to Pinterest. You have to pay for this and having heard lots of good things I paid the annual subscription of circa £70.

I have used Tailwind to quickly schedule lots of re-pins and have even joined 5 tribes to share my stuff within groups of people with similar interests, namely travel, photography and travel photography.

So Tailwind has been a great tool which I will continue to use.

But there is more that I need to do.

I need to post more of my own posts.

Before I do that I need to make sure that my Pinterest account is set up properly.

When I first signed up to Pinterest I did not have a clue what I was doing, so it makes sense to go back to the beginning and check that everything is as it should be,

Convert to Pinterest business account

Sorry I had already done that!

Other things that I have needed to correct/ update/ improve

  • My profile.

I have added to this significantly – what it did say was

“Photographer, blogger, writer, website creator”

Hardly putting the effort in eh?

So this is what I came up with. There are 160 characters available, so I had to get the best value out of them!

“I am Rick, a photographer based in the UK specialising in architectural, landscape and travel photography. I am also a website creator and freelance writer.”

That should do it.

  • Confirm the website.

Doing this means that I can see what people Pin from my website. I had already done this so nothing more to do here.

One last bit of housekeeping that I did was to edit my boards. If you remember I have lots less boards than I used to have, and now they all have nice descriptions which are relevant.

  • Add the Pinterest button to my website

I had not done this would you believe!

This is another very good thing to do (that I really should have done) – add a Pinterest button so people can pin photos straight from my website. This is why Pinterest is good for photographers – it makes the visual side of my website very easily shareable, which is exactly what I want.

Now when someone hovers over any image that small Pinterest logo appears top right in the image.

I am glad that I have sorted this little lot out – my Pinterest account looks much more cared for now, rather than being a random collection of stuff.

And in researching this post I have managed to set my own Pinterest account up properly which should pay dividends for the future.

Now that all that good stuff is out of the way it is time for the most important question.

What do I need to pin? I got there in the end.

Pin in a consistent way

Ouch. I have not done this. I have randomly added pins as and when the thought came to me.

I will come back to scheduling later, but the point here is that you should pin stuff every day, and to pin at a consistent and peak time is useful.

The only problem with the peak time bit is when is that in the day? My photography website is a global .com website. And my travel photography business by its very nature has global appeal.

If you have a shop in England the timing should be easy enough to work out – it is less clear for online global needs.

What should the content contain?

Pinterest is a visual platform so visually appealing posts work well. I am a photographer, so photos are what I will be posting. My own photos, as well as other peoples’ photos that I like.

And lifestyle photos outperform product photos. A photo of someone actually using a product is more likely to sell than a product photo.

Obviously I am a photographer, so images are my main thing, so I am ok. If you are in a different area of business you will have different needs which I recommend you research before going nuts and pinning stuff!

If you are not into photography then you can use stock photos. If you sell products then product photos should be of a good enough quality to sell your products.

And on the subject of photos – very important

Vertical formats work really well, as they fill the screen on a phone. For a digital camera that is portrait format, not landscape. And in terms of image size the 3:2 aspect ratio is just fine. So 600 pixels wide x 900 pixels high is perfect. That is 2:3 aspect ratio thinking about it!

My most popular pin is a portrait format photo of a waterfall.

And significantly more people use Pinterest on their phones that on tablets and actual computers.

Significantly more. This is a biggy.

And one that I have failed to take account of.

Text on photos

Now this is news to me. I have been sharing photos without text on them. This is something that I needed to look into. Do I want text on my lovely photos?

No – I do not.

But I need to get over myself.

This is one that I will look at in more detail.

Branding

Pinterest followers do not generally search by brand, they search by thing, or source of inspiration. And the inspiration I have to offer is my photos. And of course my most excellent writing!

Content

I reshare a lot of other people’s pins. This fills up my Tailwind schedule with stuff quickly and with minimal effort.

But the posts that are my own need more work, time and care.

I am happy to have a mix of re-pins and my own stuff. A suggested good mix is 7 re-pins and 3 of your own pins per day.

I am not going to be that conscientious to be honest.

Sorry before I get into the content let’s talk about hashtags.

Stuffing a post with hash tags is not the thing to do on Pinterest. 3-20 is a suggested figure. 3-20 relevant hashtags at the end of the text in the post is all that is required.

Simple and sorted.

I will go with the lesser end of this scale, 3 – 5 hashtags.

What about the content?

Well Tailwind fills up my queue nicely, but I want something more.

So this is my systematic plan for Pinterest.

I am going to add 1 new pin of my own every day. And I am going to add these using Tailwind. By creating the pins is Tailwind I can schedule my pins, adding a months’ worth at a time, and then add the re-pins to fill up the posting schedule Tailwind has created for me.

I want to consistently produce new pins, but I also do not want too to spend a lot of time on this. And once I have added my months pins I can forget about Pinterest. Other than checking those numbers far too often that is!

So how does 1 pin per day look?

Rick McEvoy Photography Board

I post a weekly blog from my main website which is shared automatically on Pinterest. That is the core content that I want to get onto Pinterest, so it is good that this is done automatically.

And I will add the weekly videos about the content of my weekly photography blog which I have just started posting to YouTube.

That is 8/10 posts.

That’s a good start sharing content that has already been created!

So to the other boards.

My travel photography website pages.

I am going to add one photo Pin per week to each of the boards Photos of Santorini and Paxos Travel Guide.

That is another 8/10 pins.

Travel photography

I am going to pin 10 of my travel photography photos per month to this board. This is quite a commitment, but I hope that using Tailwind this will be not too much work. I do have lots of images after all that I want to get out there, and my main focus here is on travel photography, so this needs some real work!

And with each of my Pins I will write natural text with a sprinkling of hashtags at the end. The key here is natural content, not just trying to force things.

Travel Board

This is going to be re-pins of other people’s stuff.

Architectural Photography

I forgot about this board. My day job. One pin per week is a must.

Photography Gear

One pin per week of one of my gear shots plus lots of other people’s pins.

Photography

Anything goes on this one – anything that takes my interest.

Other Peoples Photography

Just re-pins of photos that I like.

And that is all my boards covered.

How many Pins have I go to?

Based on a 4-week month that is 34 pins per month.

Perfect. I will do this starting July 1st – my schedule is full up until then.

This is my formula and my plan based on everything I have learned – let’s see how this goes.

Resources/ further reading/ listening

I can recommend the Simple Pin podcast, which is a podcast about Pinterest which I have recently discovered and learnt a lot from

And also their website - Simple Pin Media.

I also learned stuff from excellent articles from on Hootsuite.

Tailwind

I have mentioned Tailwind – I am a paying customer to Tailwind and use Tailwind to manage my Pinterest activities. If you are interested in growing your Pinterest traffic I can recommend Tailwind, which is the main reason I have achieved the number of visitors that I have to date.

Finally, what are my top 5 Pinterest Photography boards

1 - Rick McEvoy Photography

At the time of writing 1.3k Pins and 141 followers.

2 - Travel Photography

At the time of writing 28 Pins and 137 followers

3 - Architectural Photography

At the time of writing 200 Pins and 138 followers

4 – Paxos Travel Guide

At the time of writing 181 Pins and 139 followers

5 – Photos of Santorini

At the time of writing 603 Pins and 148 followers

I am interested to see how these individual boards develop over the second half of 2019.

Finally finally - Please follow me

Pinterest - click here for my Pinterest page

YouTube - there is also an accompanying YouTube video for this blog post which you can view here

And of course you can subscribe to my photography blog straight from my home page.

I know - multimedia productions!

Rick McEvoy

Summary

I hope that you have found my explanation of Pinterest helpful, and that I have convinced you to at least give Pinterest a go.

I will write an update later on this year – lets give this new strategy a few months to hopefully do its magic and get lots more traffic over to my websites.

Rick McEvoy ABIPP - photographer, blogger, website creator

31 Important Features Features For Your New Camera

A few weeks ago I wrote about my old faithful Canon 6D, and asked if I was ready to replace it, and if so what with? I spent lots of time talking about the Canon 6D in that article.

So here are 31 important features features for your new camera. This based on how I have used cameras in the past, and how I am going to use cameras in the future. This is with a lifetime of photography experience. In producing this list you will learn what camera features are genuinely important to me in my work as an architectural, landscape and travel photographer. And which features are by default not important. I hope that this will help you choose your next camera.

I am going to refine this list down to the essential items that I need, which will determine what my next camera should be.

A new camera is a significant purchase in so many ways, so time spent identifying the features required will ensure that the best choice of a new camera is made.

By the way these are all features that will help me to take better photos, which is my number one priority.

Why am I writing this list now?

This list started off when I was writing a previous blog post about my Canon 6D, and brought together thoughts I have been having for some time. The starting point really was what would I do if I broke my Canon 6D – this is an entirely likely scenario as I am

  • Intrinsically clumsy, and

  • Take photos on live construction sites

  • Like putting my camera very close to the bit of land where the waves and land meet.

  • Take my camera with me absolutely everywhere

  • Seriously I am really clumsy

What has made me think about changing my camera?

So once that thought process had been initiated, the cogs started whirring slowly.

The 3 primary reasons/ concerns/ potential issues

1 – My dodgy old mince pies (like the rather too early Yuletide reference?)

Head torch 09092018.PNG

My eyesight is getting worse as I get older. Well we are all getting older of course but I have a bit of a head start when it comes to age – I am already 51.

It is my eyes that are the issue. I have been short sighted for donkeys’ years now. But in the last 5 years my near vision has got worse and worse.

Add short-sighted to losing your near vision and it is a royal pain in the X! Try seeing all those small lights and dials on a camera, and then switch your vision to distance – not easy.

2 – A different way of working

Yes – I am working in a different way now. My Canon 6D is still doing an excellent job with my architectural photography work, but there are other things that I am doing now, travel photography and vlogging. My Canon 6D is not fitting the bill as well for these areas of my work.

Photos of Santorini web page extract 19102018.PNG


3 – I just want something shiny and new

Shock confession. I want a new camera. There – I have said it now. I think that this has become one of those self-fulfilling prophecies. I started writing about not replacing my Canon 6D and find myself here writing this post with much too much enthusiasm!

To be fair to me my cameras tend to last me five years so I am due for something that will take me into the year 2024 – imagine what technology will be doing for us by then!!

Back to the subject in hand - here are the 31 features that I want in my next camera.

These 31 things are in no particular order, and are a list of the things that came to me when I sat down to capture the headings for this article. 31 just happens to be the number of things I came up with – there is no significance to this number!!

1 - Smaller and lighter than my Canon 6D with lenses attached.

I found myself using my iPhone more and more on holiday. I basically couldn’t be bothered getting my Canon 6D out all the time, and really enjoyed the ease of using an iPhone.

I know – its not Canons fault I’m lazy!

I used my Canon 6D for sunrise shots, where it was just me and the sunrise, no on else around and just me to think about. I used my Canon 6D on my travel tripod, the Manfrotto 190 Go.

I would really like something much smaller and lighter that I can take on trips and not be burdened with.

My 6D is not that big to be fair – it is just the collection of stuff together that bugs me. And I know there is smaller stuff out there.

Talking of tripods I also use a Platypod and a very small tripod called the Manfrotto Pixi. If I had a much smaller camera, I would have more options in terms of tripods and other supports which is rather exciting.

2 - In camera HDR

I am going to refer to my Canon 6D as my camera from now on. OK?

My camera has built-in HDR, but this is only to Jpeg files. I shoot in RAW only, so this feature is of no use to me.

Or is it?

Is there a different way of looking at this? Has the technology of cameras, sensors, image capture and image processing progressed to the point where there is no real difference between Jpeg and RAW?

Is there a camera that makes this differentiation irrelevant?

And is there a camera that makes HDR irrelevant as well?

Well it’s a thought.

Can a single image capture be enough?

Or a single image capture processed using something like Aurora HDR.

3 – GPS

GPS is a must for not only my travel photography, but also my commercial photography and the stuff I do on the way to and from shoots.

I have GPS on my Canon 6D which I always use, which I find incredibly useful.

I use the Map Module in Lightroom a lot, especially when I am writing about my photographs on my various websites, blog and also on the Improve Photography website.

View from Oia Lightroom Map 19102018.PNG

GPS is pretty much an essential tool for me.

4 - Wi-fi

I use Wi-Fi to remotely control my camera using the Canon Connect App. I have used this to activate my camera from the top of my painters’ pole in a couple of situations.

Me using the Wi-Fi on my Canon 6D

Me using the Wi-Fi on my Canon 6D

This photo was taken in a pretty harsh environment, a gravel loading facility next to a live rail siding. I had to photograph the gravel being unloaded by the 360 machine from the train into the gravel bays.

And when these guys are unloading from a train on a live rail network they get on with it!

No time to wait on this shoot with my Canon 6D

No time to wait on this shoot with my Canon 6D

The other example is where I want to take a photograph of a building from higher than ground level, like the photo above. Getting to first floor level, which is only circa 3m gives a completely different perspective, and also means that my camera is at first floor level, eliminating the need to correct verticals.

Architectural photography in Hampshire using a painters’ pole

Architectural photography in Hampshire using a painters’ pole

5 - Connectivity as good as an iPhone

In the year 2018 why do cameras not have the same functionality and connectivity that we all enjoy with our phones?

My Canon 6D is an older camera now granted but cameras in general seem to lack way behind phones.

Why can’t I take a photo and share it with a client immediately? I can with my phone.

6 - The functionality of an iPhone

Same point relay but rather than connectivity functionality.

7 - Connectivity to my iPhone (thinking about it)

improving that in a clever way could negate the need for the two points above.

8 - In camera image processing

What do I mean by this? I guess I am talking about Jpeg image capture with more processing, meaning I can use images straight from camera (with the connectivity mentioned above).

9 - Fully articulated screen

I put my camera on a painters’ pole. I also put my camera on the ground, on a Platypod or Manfrotto Pixi tripod. I hold my camera out of windows.

I hold my camera out in front of me to get over things.

For all of these situations a fully articulating screen would be a huge bonus to me – this would genuinely help me taking photos.

10 - A screen I can actually see in normal light and also in direct Greek sunshine

I am getting old. I am (rather tragically) over 50. And my eyes are not what they were.

The screens on my Canon 6D are an issue. The tiny numbers in the viewfinder are also an issue to me.

Photographing the sunrise on Santorini

Photographing the sunrise on Santorini

I have been getting away with these shortcomings mainly by the way I take my photos. I pre-set most of my camera settings so most of the time all I am changing is the aperture and the point of focus.

When I want to deviate from that in any way the problems begin.

And I have noticed recently that all things that I do with my Canon 6D are becoming more difficult. Not just my Canon 6D of course – all things that I do that involve close focus.

And the distance stuff isn’t that great either.

Oh the woes of getting old…….

A large bright screen will help I have no doubt. Going from my iPhone 7 Plus to my Canon 6D screen is like going from my iPhone back to one of the old Nokia phones with the little screen – remember them??

11 - Touch screen with full functionality

This ties in with points raised before, putting all these bits together to get something approaching iPhone touch screen functionality.

The thought of a touch screen that is as user friendly as that on an iPhone or iPad is rather exciting to me.

12 - Ergonomics that make it a pleasure to use

My Canon 6D works for me ergonomically. I have handled some smaller cameras and am not sure how they handle ergonomically – that is a very good reason for going to an actual camera shop and actually holding an actual camera rather then reading reviews online.

The internet will never replace a shop for the experience of actually holding something and getting that tactile experience – that is one reason why it is so important that we all go to shops and buy things, or there will be no shops and nowhere that you can go to hold an actual camera.

13 - Simple logical menu system

Not a lot more to say really – I have heard that other camera manufacturers systems are not as good as Canons, which I am used to. And to be honest I change so little, maybe because there is so little to change, that this is not currently an issue.

This may be an issue if I had a camera with more variables to play with. One to think about,

14 - 4K video with high quality audio recording

I currently do 99% of videos with my iPhone. Now I do have a DJI Osmo Mobile that I need to make better use of but I would like to do more 4K video with an actual camera – my Canon 6D does not do 4K video of course.

My videos are not the best, but on the plus side check out this lovely 6 minutes of sunrise tranqulity on the wonderful Greek Island of Paxos.

15 - Excellent Vlogging/ recording capabilities

I am finding the need to produce more videos, some for my own promotional purposes, some for clients I am working for. At the moment all I am doing is holding my iPhone up in front of me and talking into it using the built-in mic. Whilst the picture quality is adequate the sound is not good enough.

16 - Smaller cheaper lenses offering similar quality

This ties in with my desire to have smaller camera gear especially for travel photography. I have found in recent trips that I have been using my iPhone more and more for day to day shooting, using my Canon 6D for sunrises and stuff like that.

Whilst the iPhone has a remarkably capable camera it just does not compare with my Canon 6D and Canon L lenses, and nor should it to be fair.

17 – High quality sensor

I love the sensor on my Canon 6D, and love the images it captures. This is a 20 MP sensor, and I will not accept a lesser performing sensor.

Another intangible here is how the sensor on another camera will perform, and what will the look be of the images?

18 - Excellent low light performance

My Canon 6D has excellent low light performance. Well I think it does. Again performance needs to be better than that I currently enjoy.

19 - Stuff like time lapse, long exposure and other good stuff etc built in

I want some toys and things that I can play with and have some fun! And I want to be able to use the latest technological developments in my photography. I know it is all about the composition but I have worked hard on that over the last year, and will continue to do so going forwards.

I just want some fun when I am taking my photos and some new things to try out.

20 - A sensor that doesn’t need cleaning

I hate removing sensor dust spots. Hate it.

So a sensor that doesn’t need cleaning will be good. Not an essential but a nice to have.

I do not know if this is even a thing – one of the problems with mirrorless cameras is that the sensor is closer to the bit where you mount the lens as there is no mirror there. On an SLR there is a mirror in-between the rear lens mount and the sensor which must provide some protection.

21 - Interchangeable lenses

Now this is an essential. I want to be able to change lenses, I want to be able to expand the range of lenses that I have in the future as and when needed.

And I want the lenses to be of a similar quality to my current Canon L series lenses.

22 - Tilt shift capability

I have a tilt-shift lens that I rarely use. The truth is I do not like it. It is manual focus, and I have managed for so long without it that I am in two minds whether to get rid of it or not.

Canon 24mm tilit shift lens

Canon 24mm tilit shift lens


I have been planning on using my tilt-shift lens for a prolonged period of time but have never got around to this.

I think that this may be because don’t really want to – I feel like I am forcing myself (potentially) to use a piece of kit just because others say I should.

It is unlike me to do such a thing so lets just park this and say that it will never happen.

That’s tilt shift lenses done then!

23 – Ultra-wide angle lens

This might be an issue with crop factors. At the moment I have a Canon 17-40mm lens on my full frame Canon 6D. If anything I want the ability to go wider than 17mm if at all possible, but without the size and expense of the canon 11-24mm lens – an awesome lens for sure but not what I am looking for at the moment.

This could be a deal breaker for me.

24 - Bespoke programming – Custom Function that works!

I have never got on with the custom functions on my Canon 6D. I think this is my own fault, a definite display of petulance and a lack of time studying this feature.

But to be able to have pre-sets that I can switch to automatically to mix things up is very appealing to me.

25 - RAW Capture

I shoot in RAW, process in RAW and output in Jpeg. But with the new technologies out there is this still a thing? Or has the in-camera elastic trickery made this a thing of the past?

26 – EVF

I have tried various EVFs in shops, and also at Gatwick Airports’ Dixons World Duty Free. The main thing that I do with my airport downtime is look at cameras and marvel at EVFs.

I love the way that you get live exposure simulation in the EVF – such an awesome thing to be able to see.

The EVF however needs to provide the same optical experience as the viewfinder on my Canon 6D though – field of view here is a consideration together with brightness and realism.

And the size of the stuff in the EVF.

27 – Computational photography

I know very little about this, but the advances in technology must be being included in image capture?

I am sure that with the power of processing things like sensor size, mega pixels, noise and stuff like that the gap between high end and lower end cameras is closing.

28 - Focussing in the dark

My Canon 6D is pretty good at this. I have written about this on my blog and also on the Improve Photography website.

And to be honest people have been surprised that I find the Canon 6Ds low light focussing capabilities.

I am sure that newer cameras will have better low light focussing capabilities than my Canon 6D so I expect to see benefit in this area with a new camera.

29 – Weather-sealing

I need a weather-sealed camera. All my photography is done outdoors. And I don’t stop for the rain.

And I work on live construction site which are wet, dusty inhospitable and noisy places. Not that noise is relevant here.

30 - And the ability to output straight from the camera.

Straight from the camera onto the internet. This is a new business need which I will expand on in the summary.

If I could take a photograph with image processing pre-sets that I knew would give me the initial level of processing that I wanted that would be a start. There is of course the question of the metadata, filename, title and description. But I guess they could be added after the event?

I need to be able to add high quality metadata to my images – this is something I am quite fastidious about.

It is the ability to be able to get processed images out of the camera and onto my websites that I am keen to have.

31 – Shiny new loveliness

I have often written that there is too much talk about gear, which I still maintain is true. But this does not mean that I do not want some shiny new techie loveliness now!

And when I get a camera I do tend to use it for a number of years.

But there is a genuine worry here

What if I jump ship to another manufacturer and don’t like it? If I were to get a Canon EOS R, which is a strong contender, I would be staying in the Canon ecosystem. I would know what I was getting, but with lots and lots of bells and whistles in addition.

But what if I went elsewhere and just did not like it – that does worry me.

I need to narrow things down

I need to provide a bullet point list of essentials – I will do this and post it next week, along with any feedback from this post and the one that I published on Improve Photography titled.

Or do I have two camera systems?

Canon 6D

Canon 6D

I might have missed a trick here. My Canon 6D works just fine, and still captures great images. What if I got something super small for travel?

Maybe I need two shortlists – one for a replacement to my Canon 6D (and all the other related products) and one for an addition to my Canon 6D.

I think that I have just cracked this particular conundrum – to systems.

Keeping my Canon 6D for my architectural work opens up more possibilities for my other work.

Summary

There is a serious point to this. I have embarked on some new products, one of which I have recently completed.

I have written about this before on my photography blog, but it is wholly relevant here.

I am talking about my new photography website Photos of Santorini. And more significantly the websites I have planned for the future. I want to be able to work in a different way for the next websites I am producing, including having the ability to add photos direct to website pages to speed up production of these websites.

I want to publish images straight from the camera with no further processing required.

This will also allow me to produce new websites whilst out on location which will be massive for me.

Rick McEvoy

If I can add the images I can add the text using my iPad to a prepared website – now that would be really cool and transform the way I work.

So there is a serious point to this.

That and the fact that my eyes are getting old and less useful!

OK I’m done now

I hope that you have enjoyed reading this post, and please if you are able to point me in the right direction for my next camera please do so. And one last thing - check out the video that accompanies this blog there on my YouTube channel.

Rick McEvoy ABIPP – Photographer, blogger, website creator extraordinaire