Review of my 2018 photography business goals and objectives

In this post I will be reviewing what has happened with my photography business in 2018. It is important to review what worked and what did not work, what I did and did not like. What went well and what went not so well.

Following the review of my 2018 photography business goals and objectives I will be in a position to set new goals and objectives for 2019, learning lessons from the year just gone.

I like setting business goals and objectives – they give me structure and focus. And more importantly they give me things that I can look back on to see how they went, and also allow me to change and adapt to the constantly evolving and changing world that we find ourselves in.

About Rick McEvoy Photography

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For those of you who don’t know me where have you been?

Seriously, I am a freelance photographer, writer, blogger and website creator. This nicely describes the range of photography work that I do.

I am based in Dorset on the south coast of England, and I specialise in photographing buildings and nice places.

No people, kids, animals or other things that are either alive or move, just buildings and their surrounding environments.

I also provide construction project management consultancy services as an aside.

But basically my businesses are just me. I know I shouldn’t start a sentence with the word but, but I am not writing a book here – I am just capturing what is in my head.

So it is just me.

And this is why it is so important that I review my business activities on a regular basis – with it just being me it is very easy to go down a route that is not working for me as there is no one else to point things out to me!

And where will this review of my photography business goals and objectives take me?

To the plan for 2019 of course! This is scheduled to be published on my photography blog on Monday 7th January – back at work and back in business.

What am I going to write about for the rest of the year?

Not much. I am going to publish my top 10 images of 2018 over the next two weeks – this gives me a chance to have a good old look at the photos I have taken over the year, and pick my 10 personal favourite photos of 2018 which I can edit at my leisure.

I am after all a photographer, and my photos are what define me. My photos and how I see the world. Thankfully there is only one me!

Of course we all see the world in our own unique ways, so this is not a big grand statement when I say that my photos are unique - they are unique to me.

And when you add my writing I hope that I stand out in a crowded marketplace.

What were my 10 photography business goals for 2018?

I will go through these one by one, commenting on each one and seeing what happened, and what did not happen!

I first published my 2018 photography business targets on 3rd February 2018. I know – a late start!!!!

I have already written most of my photography business goals and objectives for 2019, I just need to refine these and the blog post in which I will publish them on 7th January 2019.

These are already being worked to, which is clearly already a big improvement on 2018.

This is also a clear demonstration that I am viewing things differently, and that I am working in more focussed commercial areas, continuing with the good stuff that I have been working on and ditching the things that are not of use to me.

Reviews over the course of the year

My plan was to publish quarterly reviews of my photography business goals and objectives. All that happened was that they were published in February 2018, and I wrote one review in August 2018 on my photography blog, which you can read here.

OK – without any more waffle here are my 10 photography business goals and objectives for 2018.

Objective number 1 – “Stock photography”

“The average UK salary is £27,600, which equates to £2,300 per month. I want my stock photography to achieve 50% of this monthly level of income by the end of 2018, and 100% by the end of 2019.

Is this achievable?

I’m not sure, but there is one thing I can guarantee – I will not achieve this if I don’t try.

I made about £2 through Adobe Stock in 2017! And cannot tell you how great it was to get an email saying I had sold an image, even if it was for 53p!!

That is very ambitious aim number one.”

OK – that was target number one.

But not any more. I have binned this target completely. Earning 53p for an image was the final nail in the coffin for this target.

I have removed myself from all the stock sites I am on.

The only thing that I am going to stick with in 2019 is uploading 4K videos to Adobe Stock, which can earn decent money.

Apart from that stock photography is dead to me!

No there must be a better way to make money from photography, and I believe this is niche websites.

I will talk about this more in my post on 7th January 2019, but this is what I have done to date.

My first niche website – Photos of Santorini. This is complete and on the web and sat there hopefully getting Google’s’ attention.

This is a light version of the next website I am now working on which is titled Paxos Travel Guide.

As I said more of the future works and business targets on 7th January 2019.

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Stock photography - it is with regret that you are fired – it is just me and my own websites from now on.

I know - I managed to sneak in a Lord (Alan) Sugar quote from The Apprentice there! 

I do not want to sell images for a pittance. In fact I will go further than that - I will not sell images for a pittance. I am worth more than that. 

Lord Sugar would agree I’m sure. 

And funnily enough I am getting more enquiries via my website from people wanting to buy prints from me, that and take photos to order which is good.

Objective number 2 – “ Commercial sponsorship”
“I want to have one commercial sponsor by the end of 2018. One company, a manufacturer of a product I use and value, whom I can work with promoting their products and at the same time my use of their products.

Another challenging target!”

This is another target that has evolved over the year. I have made contact with a number of suppliers, and have formed four commercial partnerships in the last three months.

I am an affiliate with the following companies

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Peak Design

I am a user of their bags, and have featured them in quite a few articles on Improve Photography and also lots of my own blog posts. I have photographed my Peak Design Everyday Backpack in numerous locations around the world, and look forward to taking my camera bag to new and exciting places in 2019.

Here it is with a bottle of Prosecco leaned against one of those wonderful white buildings of Santorini.

You can buy any Peak Design product through my affiliate link and I will get a small commission.

Peak Design Affiliate Link

Skylum

I am also an affiliate with Skylum. Skylum made contact with me after reading one of my articles on Improve Photography, and then gave me one to one tuition over the Internet on not only Aurora HDR but also Luminar. I now have an affiliate link that you can use to buy any of their products and I get a small commission.

 Editing Photos of Barbados with Aurora HDR by Skylum

Editing Photos of Barbados with Aurora HDR by Skylum

Even better add the code MCEVOY at checkout and you get up to £10 of your purchase, depending what it is.

This was my first personalised discount code and very cool at that.

Skylum Affiliate Link

Excire Search Pro for Lightroom

Excire Search Pro for Lightroom

Excire Search contacted me about writing and reviewing their Lightroom plugin Excire Search Pro. And this is what I did. I wrote about this software on Improve Photography, and also a few posts on my own photography blog.

Again, if you by Excire Search or Excire search Pro using my affiliate link I get a small commission.

Excire Search Affiliate Link

Tailwind 

Tailwind is an App that schedules posts to Pinterest. I paid for a years subscription, and have ended up making contact and am writing a review about my experiences with Tailwind which will be published on Improve Photography. I will also write about Tailwind on my photography blog.

The affiliate thing is going through whilst I write this.

Amazon Associates

I also have affiliate links on Amazon to the products that I use, which you can find on my gear page. To date I have earned 54p from Amazon! Which is still more that I got from Adobe Stock for the sale of that most excellent photo!

About these links.

If you buy products from any of these suppliers using my affiliate links I get a commission. You do not pay any more by using these links.

Summary

I am waiting on responses from a number of companies, and late in 2018 secured the four commercial partnerships that I wrote about above.

This was very exciting news for me, and has helped change my direction into a more commercial one with an emphasis on commercial partners and new products.

And also this has resulted in a change in my mindset and how I write – all good stuff I have to say.

And one final word - this work that I have done now is all work that will bear fruits in the future. 

Objective number 3 – “Freelance writing”

"I already have one freelance writing contract, on the excellent Improve Photography website. I really enjoy this work, as well of course as the massive exposure. Writing for Improve Photography has made me change how I write, and what I write about.

Both in a positive way.

I want one more freelance writing commitment in 2018. Just one."

Other things have taken over.

My photography blog now consists of a weekly post, a much longer and more in-depth post that will hopefully add significant value to readers and also help me develop the traffic to my website.

I have also managed to maintain my fortnightly article production on Improve Photography throughout the year, which has been good.

And with the other things planned for 2019 there is no spare time for any more writing in 2019 other than that associated with the commercial partners mentioned above. These partnerships have already produced more writing commitments about the products which is so great.

Objective number 4 - “Website”

I have spent a lot of time and effort on my website in 2016 and 2017. In 2018 I am going to do very little to my website other than the following.

Image refresh – 2 pages per month.

Home page – an update on the text and images.

Travel photographer page – this needs to be produced in February 2018. You will find one image on there at the moment – a photo of Santorini.

And there is the outcome of all this work. By the end of 2018 I want to achieve 1000 visitors per month to my website. I was averaging just over 300 visitors per month before I started my writing on the Improve Photography website in late October 2017.”

Well my whole Internet world has changed since this target was set!

My URL

First thing that has happened is my URL has changed from

http://www.rickmcevoyphotography.co.uk

To

https://rickmcevoyphotography.com

Much more global, secure and shorter.

This has had a short-term negative impact on my web traffic, but I hope that the long-term benefits make this worthwhile. Photography is after all a global thing.

My photography blog

My photography blog has changed from daily posts just because I thought that I needed to do this to weekly posts, which are much longer with more specific and deliberate content.

These two things combined will not have an impact until sometime in 2019, so patience is the key. All the work done to date as investment in my photography business future.

As to web traffic, I am less bothered about that right now for the reasons stated above. I am watching my Google rankings for keywords returning to where they were some time ago.

So my Google target of 1000 visitors per month by the end of the year is put back to some time in 2019. But in 2019 I am aiming for much more than 1000 visitors per month.

Changes in my website content

I have significantly changed the content of my website, making it simpler and more logical to navigate, with less pages, and also smaller images.

My other websites

I now have three websites, with a fourth planned for 2019

Photos of Santorini is now a thing – a completed website bedding in with Google and hopefully producing positive results by May 2019.

Paxos Travel Guide is the website that I hope to complete by the end of February 2019, which will sit there until August/ September before I see any tangible growth and result.

Rhodes Travel Guide needs to be created and content produced. Completion of this website is planned for June 2019.

And that is websites for now. I am going to wait and see what comes of these websites before embarking n any more new websites.

Apart from Photos of Barbados – a very recent addition with the exact name to be decided once I have worked this out, which will have 25 images processed using automated image processing in Aurora HDR along with minimal additional content.

Like this.

 Absolut Watering Hole, St Lawrence Gap, Barbados.jpg

Absolut Watering Hole, St Lawrence Gap, Barbados.jpg

This website will be a trial website that I can learn things on without losing lots of hours of work.

Objective number 5 “Website”

I want one source of income achieved solely from my website. This will of course be directly related to the number of visitors to my website, to the value my website has on the World Wide Web.”

See 4 above again!

Objective number 6 – “YouTube”

“I want to have achieved 10,000 views by the end of 2018. 10,000 views triggers more possibilities in YouTube, which I want to get to. And hopefully the quality of my videos will improve over the course of the year to the point where I am able to produce videos for commercial clients that they want to buy.”

Slow going. I have not been consistent enough with this, manly due to time constraints.

But this target remains, and I will try to work on this on a monthly basis in 2019.

At the time of writing this post I have managed to get 3081 views.

Objective number 7 – “Portfolio”

“I want a high quality printed portfolio of 30 prints for

    • Architectural photography

    • Landscape photography

    • Travel photography

Interchangeable in a lovely high quality folio holder.

Actual high quality prints that I can present at meetings.”

My last update was this

“Done. Sort of. I have a set of 40 architectural photography prints in a very expensive box.

I did not get the landscape and travel folios done, and will not be getting them done.

This target will drop off now.

Not much more to say on this one. I can’t see what I would do with a travel photography printed portfolio – a travel photography website makes much more sense.

Objective number 8 “Qualifications”

“I want to achieve my ABIPP in 2018. I never submitted my portfolio in 2016 as I was not happy with it, even though my BIPP mentor was happy with it. There is a lesson there in just going for things that I have definitely learnt.”

Done. I will include an extract from the June 2018 press release again

“Local Photographer Gains International Qualification with BIPP

Rick McEvoy ABIPP is a specialist architectural, construction and industrial photographer based in Dorset, who has recently achieved his Associateship (ABIPP) in Commercial Photography.

Rick joined the BIPP in 2013, gaining his Licentiateship in Commercial Photography in 2014.  As well as commercial work, Rick is an independent writer on the Improve Photography website, has a daily photography blog, and has been published in a variety of publications in the UK and further afield. He also produces fine art prints that are for sale on his website.

Rick is a keen travel photographer, with examples of his work featuring on his website, with lots of new plans being worked on for 2018.

His portfolio submission consisted of 40 architectural photography images, 20 interior images and 20 exterior images.  All bar one of the images were from commercial commissions carried out for architects and property owners.

You can view Rick’s complete portfolio at www.rickmcevoyphotography.co.uk/portfolio

When we asked Rick how he felt about achieving his Associateship, he said: “I feel honoured, proud and I don't mind saying relieved that I was successful in achieving my Associateship. It has taken me a couple of years to get together a portfolio that I was happy with. I am pretty much self-taught.”

To see more of Rick’s work please visit – rickmcevoyphotography.com"

##Ends##

"Notes to Editors:

Contact: Jack Goward, 01296 642020, jack@bipp.com

The British Institute of Professional Photography (BIPP) is an internationally recognised qualifying organisation with over 100 years of experience in qualifying and supporting photographers. The core aims of BIPP are to qualify and support professional photographers, through a network of meetings, awards, training and benefits.

The BIPP is a not for profit body, run by photographers for photographers.

The BIPP has been fighting for and protecting photographers’ rights since 1901.

The BIPP has over 2,800 members worldwide covering all disciplines of photography.
Rick McEvoy ABIPP, sales@rickmcevoyphotography.co.uk , rickmcevoyphotography.com"

Enough said! All done. And I am still smiling about this all this time later!

Target achieved. And no plans for any more qualifications in 2019.

Rick McEvoy ABIPP

What I do need to remember to do though is update all the references to LBIPP to ABIPP everywhere, and update the BIPP logos.

Objective number 9 – “Travel photography work”

“I want to achieve one commercial photography booking overseas in 2018.”

It is interesting that the travel photography thing was growing in my mind 12 months ago and has now evolved into something I had not even thought of.

This is another target that has changed and will not be going into my 2019 photography business targets – I have other plans, which I have already mentioned.

It would of course have been nice to have been commissioned to travel somewhere abroad to take some photos, but I am finding myself working less on commissions and more on creating content for my various websites.

Objective number 10 – “One shop to sell my photos”

“Last one. I want my work in an actual shop being sold to actual people. I will get my portfolios done and get out there and see who wants to sell my work.”

Not done. And I am not going to progress this one. Another target bites the dust!

Summary

A lot has changed over the course of 2018. And changed in quite a dramatic way.

The main things to change were

Websites

I am so glad I decided to do Photos of Santorini. This is a model for future travel photography websites. Deciding to get on and do it was one of the best things I did in 2018. It is there now and in creating this website I learned lots.

Paxos Travel Guide is a bit of a bigger animal, and a model for a more in depth and more commercially viable website.

And a website that needs a lot of time and effort to create – this is why I decided to just get the Santorini website done and published.

Photography Blog

I changed to weekly posts from daily posts in October. 3 months in and I am glad that I did this. I have produced much higher quality, and much more informative blog posts. And I have escaped the clutches of that nasty perceived need for daily blog posts, which did not in the end get me anywhere.

Commercial partners

Four affiliate partnerships is great news for me, and a sign that I am heading in the right direction.

And what about 2019?

Check out my blog post on 7th January 2019 which will be titled “How to make money from photography – my goals and objectives”

I am hoping that 2019 will be my breakthrough year where things that I have been working hard on come to fruition and give me the things I am looking for. I have an ultimate end point here, which I will conclude my 7th January post with.

Any questions?

If you have any questions please get in touch and I will gladly answer them. I hope that you found this post interesting, and that you might get some inspiration for ways to make money from your photography in 2019.

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

Check out the Photolemur Christmas Sale

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There is an excellent Christmas offer for Photolemur which you can get here.

What is Photolemur?

Artificial intelligence in photo editing - seriously it is well worth checking out. And if you don’t like it there is a 30 day money back guarantee!

So you really have nothing to lose!

Rick McEvoy Photography

Paxos Travel Guide – the creation of my new travel website

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After a break of a couple of months it is back to my second travel photography website Paxos Travel Guide.

Photos of Santorini was all about taking photos on this wonderful Greek Island. Paxos Travel Guide is more of a travel website. On this website I tell you everything that you need to know before you go to Paxos. And there are lots of lovely photos of course.

In this blog post I will explain what this website is all about, what I have done, what I need to and also why I am creating another website.

Why all these websites?

I want to work in a different way, and use my unique talents to make money in the way I want to.

What are my unique talents then?

My photography

I am comfortable saying that I am pretty good at photography. Now granted I am not the best photographer in the world, I am not even the best photographer in my family, but I can get by making money doing my photography.

My personality

Not sure if this is a talent but my personality is certainly unique to me!

My writing

In the last couple of years my writing has progressed really well. This is in part due to the practise and intent with which I have worked on my writing day in day out.

My love of travel

My wife and I love to travel – that is our thing. Going to new places together.

So put all these things together and travel photography websites sound like a great idea to me.

But how will I make any money?

Basically I need to get visitors to my website in large enough volumes to make my website commercially attractive to advertisers.

I also need the content on my website to be good enough to rank highly on Google, and for people to want to read all the content and then share it.

Not much pressure then!

Photos of Santorini

This website is now complete – well as complete as it is going to be. This is a light version of what Paxos Travel Guide will become. I am considering this website to be a trial of a format that I can use to quickly produce other such websites – I have plenty of photos after all.

Wordpress Themes

I have struggled with this. I have tried numerous themes without success. I bought one and found it completely unworkable and baffling to use – so much so that I fought hard for a refund.

I had settled on the Divi Themes, which I bought on Black Friday at a discounted price. I did plenty of research to make sure I was happy with the themes, and then waited for the Black Friday sale.

And this is how I do Black Friday – I wait to buy things I was going to buy anyway and get them on the day at a discounted price.

My plan was to use Divi for 12 months on all my websites, which would be great for me as I have three websites now and more in plan and I only want to have to learn one Wordpress Theme.

My first go did not go too well, and I had to get Bluehost to restore my Photos of Santorini website from a backup.

For now I have decided to stick with the free theme and create a brand new website which will be my Divi theme playground.

I think in the IT world they call these things sandpits.

Trial website number 2

I have not decided what this URL will be, but this is something I will think about and research between now and Christmas, when I will get some down time to play with themes.

It will be based around the Rhodes Travel Guide subject though.

That will give me the time to come up with a layout of my own that I am happy with, that I can play with as and when I have the time, without of course deleting a major part of the content live!

My trial web site for content

It turns out Photos of Santorini has become a trial site for lots of things, which has been really good as I am in a better place to progress Paxos Travel Guide, and now have some template type stuff that I can use on other websites going forwards.

I am even thinking of moving my main website to Wordpress now, which should help with SEO. I have put that on hold after the first go with Divi though.

I have a spread sheet and Evernote list where I have recorded what I did to the Photos of Santorini website which I will follow for the rest of the creation of content for the Paxos website.

What have I done on the website so far?

Created the website with the URL https://paxostravelguide.com

Bought a logo for the website

Written three blog posts

Why go to Paxos?

How do I get to Paxos?

Should I drive a hire boat to Antipaxos from Paxos?

 

What do I need to do to complete my new website?

  • First I need the titles of the remaining posts sorting

  • Then I need to produce the planned 30 posts and static pages.

  • Choose and edit the images for the pages and image galleries

  • Add all the images

  • Come up with an image gallery

  • And then do the back of house boring stuff, metadata, links etc.

What is the back of house stuff?

  • Remove the dates from the blog post URLs (looking at the URLs above).

  • Sort Google search console

  • Sort www. or not www.

  • Add internal links

  • Add titles and descriptions/ snippets

Once all that is done promote the website

 And then

Wait 5 months and see what happens.

Yes 5 months. 

What is the most important job?

The single most important job is to come up with great titles, with great keywords. I need these posts all to rank at number 1 (if possible) on Google for that search term.

And the key to this is the keywords in the title and how I write about them. That is the thing I am going to spend time on. Everything follows on from this.

How do I know what I need to do?

Well I have signed up to Project 24, which you can find on the Income School website. The idea of Project 24 is to replace your income with a passive income from niche websites within 24 months.

Now if you are thinking that this is just another online get rich quick thing then I have to tell you something.

This is the brainchild of Jim Harmer, the creator of Improve Photography. I am a writer on Improve Photography, and have now produced over 30 articles for that website.

I know Jim, and trust his opinions and advice.

It was Jim who suggested I get a .com web URL, which makes perfect sense for what I am trying to achieve.

So this is where I am getting my info and advice. Project 24 and the community of good folk there.

And this is why I am rather vague about some of the stuff I am doing with my websites – we are after all paying for the guidance and tuition.

It would be wrong for me to publish everything I have learned as we as members of Project 24 have paid for this info, and it is part of the income to the website for Jim and his business partner Ricky.

I will write about the stuff that is published on my website and available for all to see, but there is stuff that I will not be writing about.

OK – back to my next website.

When will it be done?

I am hoping the end of December 2018, but realistically think it will be the end of January 2019. I just don’t see myself getting that volume of work produced in December, which we are already in.

Why I am doing this?

Why am I putting myself through all this pain? As I said above, to hopefully create a passive income that replaces the need to earn money from my photography and consultancy work.

That is the plan. My ultimate dream is time freedom and money freedom.

Do I like doing this stuff?

Sure I do. I am really enjoying watching the search rankings for the keywords on photosofsantorini.com developing.

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I have created this website all by myself, with all my own words and photos. 

And I love travel and if I could find some way of travel photography and travel websites providing my income I will be very very happy.

What else do I have to do?

I have to juggle my time with the production of my weekly blog posts and fortnightly articles on Improve Photography.

This is in addition to earning a living.

So I better shut up and get back to work on Paxos Travel Guide

What next after Paxos Travel Guide?

Rhodes Travel Guide. That is one that I am going to work on in May, when we return there.

Between the end of January and then I am going to focus on other stuff. I need to give the various websites time to bed in with Google and hopefully perform well enough to earn me some money.

And then I should really stop and see what happens with these websites.

Although I did have an idea the other day…

Enough about all that – what about Paxos?

I need to remember that my website Paxos Travel Guide is just that – a travel guide to help people planning on going to the wonderful Greek Island of Paxos.

It is not a photography website.

It is a travel website with photographs taken by me – that is the edge that I hope will help with the success of my website. My writing combined with my photos.

 Boats in the night moored at Lakka on the Greek Island of Paxos

Boats in the night moored at Lakka on the Greek Island of Paxos

I need to convey what it is like to experience going on a holiday to Paxos.

I want visitors to my website to be able to make an informed decision about going to Paxos or not.

What will I write about?

  • Getting to Paxos and getting home again

  • Eating and drinking in Paxos

  • Places to go in Paxos

  • Things to do

  • The weather

  • Being in Paxos

  • What it is really like holidaying in Paxos

  • My holiday journal

On our last holiday to Paxos I wrote a daily journal. I sat on my iPad on the balcony in our room, or at a table by the pool at Hotel Bastas and wrote over 20,000 words, which are to be form, a large part of the content.

What other material do I have for this website?

Well over a thousand videos and photos, captured using both my Canon 6D and iPhone 7 Plus.

And I have the locations of everywhere I went and photographed.

I will have to keep reminding myself that this is a travel website with photos!

Back to the Greek Island of Paxos

Paxos is a wonderful Greek Island. It is very small, very picturesque. Paxos is very popular with British and Italian tourists, and is also frequented by Greeks from elsewhere in this vast country.

I have been to and photographed most of Paxos, and the neighbouring island of Antipaxos.

All I need to do now is do justice in my new website to the Greek Island of Paxos, and hopefully make it good enough to be of interest and help to people, and of course to the search engines at Google.

Summary

That is enough talking about this website, although it is good to revisit what I have done, what I have learned from the creation of Photos of Santorini and how I plan the production of the rest of this website to best serve me in the future.

Off to work I go.

2 months to get this website done, and the clock has started ticking.

Pop back to my blog for frequent updates, and of course please checkout the website which will be updated live as and when there is new content.

Rick McEvoy Photography – Paxos Travel Guide

How to find images in Lightroom Classic - Excire Search Pro

A dull question but hopefully an interesting answer will ensue.

We all have lots of images in our Lightroom Catalogues. I have other 60,000 images in mine. And I often am faced with the challenge of how to find images in Lightroom Classic – now I have a new plug-in called Excire Search Pro which helps me with this.

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What is Excire Search?

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

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

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


Before I go on, full disclosure

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

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

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

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

What are the different versions of Lightroom?

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

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

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

Lightroom Classic

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

Lightroom CC

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

Lightroom CC was released in 2017

Lightroom Mobile

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

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

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


Which version of Lightroom do I use?

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

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

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

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

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

Lightroom Classic

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

I use the following

  • Star rating

  • Picks and rejects filters

  • Other metadata in the tool bar

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

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

Read on for the good bit.

Lightroom CC - has Adobe Sensei technology.

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

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

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

But does Sensei analyse the content of an image?

No.

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

Why do I not have Lightroom CC?

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

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

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

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

Lightroom Mobile

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

I use Lightroom mobile as my mobile working folders.

cropped-Excire_Logo.png

What is Excire Search then?

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

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

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

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

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

How does Excire Search work?

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

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

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

What does Excire Search do?

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

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

 

Example 1 – The blue domed church roofs of Santorini

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

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

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

Sorry had to get that plug in.

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

 Blue domed church roof, Santorini, Greece

Blue domed church roof, Santorini, Greece

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

 50 photos of blue domed cgurch roofs

50 photos of blue domed cgurch roofs

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

Lets try something else

Example 2 – The white buildings of Santorini

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

This is the example image

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

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

 50 white buildings screenshot

50 white buildings screenshot

Example 3 – The interiors of churches and cathedrals

This is the example image

 The spectacular ceiling of San Sebastian Cathedral

The spectacular ceiling of San Sebastian Cathedral

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

 50 church ceilings

50 church ceilings

Example 4 – Buildings with scaffolding

This is the example image

HORNDEAN 003 230315.jpg

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

 50 scaffolding photos

50 scaffolding photos

Example 5 - Sunrise with boats

This is the example image

Poole Quay and boats at sunrise by Poole Photographer Rick McEvo

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

 50 sunrises with boats

50 sunrises with boats

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

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

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

What about keywords?

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

Me and keywords

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

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

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

Or has it?

What does Excire Search Pro do with keywords?

It adds keywords to every image during the initialisation process.

Yes – it does this based on the image content.

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

This sounds to good to be true.

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

Where does Excire Search Pro put the keywords?

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

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

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

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

And there are also the Dominant colours

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

 

How do I get Excire Search?

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

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

 

How much does Excire Search cost?

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

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

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

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

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

 

And the other features

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

  • Keywords

  • Search by dominant colour

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

Excire menu close up 20112018.PNG


Summary

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rick McEvoy ABIPP - Photographer, blogger, writer

 

Excire Search Pro – a great Black Friday deal for Lightroom users

Excire Search Pro Black Friday special offer

Yes it’s Black Friday. Don’t worry it will soon be over.

Are you a Lightroom user?

Fed up not being able to find images in your Lightroom Catalogue?

Excire Search Pro Black Friday special offer

Are you looking for advanced search capabilites in Lightroom?

Then you are in the right place. Today you can get Excire Search Pro at a discounted price of €55. Excire Search is €33 today.

Normal prices are €99 and €49.

If you want to read more about Excire Search pro check out my article on Improve Photography.

And yes I use this excellent Lightoom plug-in to find things like this in my Lightroom Catalogue!

Excire blue domed roof results 20112018.PNG

Rick McEvoy Photography - Photographer, writer, blogger

Advanced searching in Lightroom Classic with Excire Search

cropped-Excire_Logo.png

Yesterday on Improve Photography I wrote an article titled Advanced searching in Lightroom Classic with Excire Search.

This article introduces a new Lightroom Classic plug-in called Excire Search, which I have juust started using.

I used this very clever plug-in to search for photos with a blue dome, by adding an example photo.

 Blue domed roof in Santorini by Rick McEvoy.jpg

Blue domed roof in Santorini by Rick McEvoy.jpg

Next I asked Excire Search to search my Lightroom Catalogue using this image as the example image.

 Excire blue domed roof example photo 20112018.PNG

Excire blue domed roof example photo 20112018.PNG

And this is what Excire Search came up with.

 Excire Search results

Excire Search results

Not bad. And all in less than 10 seconds.

I know.

That is quick!!

More on this next week.

Rick McEvoy ABIPP

How to take great product photos at home on a budget

I photograph buildings and places. I specialise in architectural, landscape and travel photography. Sometime I am asked to photograph other things.

 Product photography by Rick McEvoy

Product photography by Rick McEvoy

I have already photographed a table for a client. The other week I had to photograph some different coloured corner caps for this table. How do I take great product photos at home on a budget? With a fantastic piece of kit that I bought for £10 on Amazon (delivered courtesy of Prime two days after order).

That is how. Read on to find out all about how I got shots like this one at home spending £10.

Here is one of the photos

Product photography by Rick Mcevoy

Want to know more? Then read on.

What was the job?

I have photographed this table previously for Mike Fabb – here is a link to his website.

FABB TABLE 2 001 VERSION 2 290717-Edit.jpg

This is a new enterprise that Mike is working on with a new website which has recently been created.

The job was to provide photos of the 10 different coloured corner caps which you can get with the table to suit the décor of the room intended to house this lovely piece of modern bespoke furniture.

What equipment did I use?

My usual camera gear - List all with Amazon Affiliate links

Canon 6D

Canon 24-105mm F4 L lens

Manfrotto 190 Go tripod

Manfrotto XPRO geared head

2 cups of coffee (Alta Rica)

Blu Tack (don’t worry I will explain)

And this bit of kit, which was the studio and lighting

Photo Studio Tent. Or to give it it’s full title from Amazon

Photo Studio Tent, Mini Foldable Photography Studio Portable Light Box Kit with LED Light, LED Light Tent (22.6cmx23x24cm)+ Two Backgrounds (White and Black), Shoot Amazing Pictures Like a Pro

What photos did I need to produce?

There were 10 different coloured caps, so that is 10 photos which were identical bar the colour of the actual corner cap itself – same composition, lighting, brightness, colour etc etc.

That was the brief.

So that what was I set off doing.

How did I take the shots?

First thing was to assemble the Photo Studio Tent, which took me a couple of minutes. It comes with LED lights built-in which is pretty cool.

Once assembled and the lights plugged in and working nicely I put together my camera gear and placed one of the caps inside the tent.

IMAGE.JPG

First thing was to change from my Canon 17-40mm lens to my Canon 24-105mm lens – I needed the longer focal length as I wanted to zoom in as much as I could, but keep all of the cap in focus.

It took a lot of fiddling around to get everything set up, and then I took the first set of photos.

IMAGE.JPG

 I imported this first set of images into Lightroom, and noticed straight away that the brightness varied considerably. I took the first set using AV Mode on my Canon 6D.

And I also needed to adjust the view to be a bit higher for the effect I was after.

I went back to do the same thing with my camera in manual mode, and metered for an average brightness cap.

One problem was getting all the caps into exactly the same place – to do this I made a sort of frame that I could push the caps back into using Blu Tac.

This was a bit hit and miss, but I persisted.

I made another set of images, and imported these into Lightroom.

They weren’t all aligned properly, so I had to do a third take.

This time I had an idea. The way the caps appeared in the viewfinder of my Canon 6D I could locate each cap using the focus points – this worked a treat.

That was the composition of the 10 images sorted, so I took those photos and then played around with stacks and combinations.

This is how I actually took the shots

  1. Place corner cap within the tent.

  2. Move the cap so the four corners of the caps coincided with four of the 11 focus points of my Canon 6D.

  3. Tilt my camera forward using the geared mechanism on my tripod so the front corner was in the main focussing point.

  4. Focus on this point using back button focus

  5. Tilt the camera back up to the original position

  6. Take the photo using the self-timer.

  7. Change caps and repeat

The exposure was already set in manual mode so I did not have to worry about that.

Product photography by Rick Mcevoy

I took another five images, making 15 in total. Some of these additional images were taken with my camera lower down, at the same level as the products themselves.


Product photography by Rick Mcevoy

What camera settings did I use to take the photos?

Once I had got everything sorted these are the settings I went with.

  • Manual Mode.

  • Back button focus

  • F16

  • 1/15th second

  • ISO400

  • Lighting via the tent

  • 10-second self-timer

Lens choice

I used the Canon 24-105mm lens – this worked a treat and is my favourite lens.

Aperture

F16 is the smallest aperture I am happy to use for this kind of photography – it gives me the largest depth of field without any of the problems F22 can bring.

Manual Mode

Using AV Mode was a mistake. That is what I use all the time, but taking the test shots and reviewing them on my screen told me that and meant I could fix the issue.

Blu Tack

I tried using Blu Tack to make a former to place the caps in, but the Blu Tac did not stick properly. I found a way round this – sometimes it is all about trying things and seeing what works.

Focussing points to frame

This was one of those happy coincidences – the four corners lined up perfectly with four of the 11 focussing points on my Canon 6D.

Tripod and head

I used my architectural photography tripod and head, as I get precise movements with the geared head, which I find essential for such close-up detail work.

Curtains closed

Sounds obvious but easy to forget – one light source is all you want and indeed need for work like this.

What about processing?

I started off importing the photos into Lightroom, using my usual import pre-sets

I needed to get accurate colours. The colours were obviously key to this.

This could be simple or complicated – time will tell.

I used the Passport Colour Checker for this. The first photo I took was the colour checker placed exactly where I was going to take the photos.

 Passport Colour Checker

Passport Colour Checker


Now granted I haven’t installed the software to do this properly. Instead I tried using custom white balance in Lightroom. If that worked I could park the software installation to another time.

I know - I need to do this.

So all I did was select the eyedropper tool from the white balance bit of the Basic panel in Lightroom, and clicked on one of the grey squares. The numbers were all the same, so I was good to go.

I know I need to install the software, this is a job for over the Christmas Holidays I think.

Just saying….

Having got the white balance bang on, I copied this from the colour checker photo and pasted it to all the other photos.

Next thing was to sort out the image, which was a bit flat.

These are the develop settings that I used.

Lightroom settings 16112018.PNG


Once I had one image sorted I pasted the settings to all the other photos – an excellent feature of Lightroom.

I had to tweak the brightness of some of the images, and also the whites and blacks, but that was processing done.

Finishing off in Photoshop

IMG_2724.jpg


There was some stuff that needed to be tidied up, which was straightforward to do in Photoshop. The corners of the tent which were visible, and some large dust sensor spots. All removed using spot healing, clone stamp and patch tools.

And there were numerous marks and scratches on the caps themselves.

How long did this take?

I tried doing colour swapping using Photoshop but this did not work too well. I could not replicate the textures of the caps by changing the colours.

That was an hour of fiddling about taking photos of the coloured caps and Photoshop.

We agreed that this did not work so it was on to plan B.

3 hours start to finish.

That includes setting up, unwrapping all the corner caps, taking the photos, importing them into Lightroom on my PC, editing and dispatch via electronic transfer.

3 hours start to finish is not too bad.

That to be fair is three constant non-stop hours working.

Which was four chargeable hours in total.

And here is a selection of the images that I took.

First the bright green cap

Product photography by Rick Mcevoy

Next the red cap

Product photography by Rick Mcevoy


And here is one of the shots of all the coloured caps

Product photography by Rick Mcevoy


And I have to say that I love the finished photos – I think they look excellent. So good they look like someone else took them.

Imposter syndrome

Seriously, when I looked at these photos my first thought was – did I really take them? They look like a real photographer took them!

Seriously that is what I thought.

I no longer think like this about photos of buildings or of my travel photography work, I have got over that.

But it did take a long old time.

No these photos are not something I normally photograph. And I have never taken photos in a tent like this one, with built-in LED lights.

So there was a steep learning curve.

Well sort of.

I have technical image capture sorted, so this was all about applying what I know in a different situation, photographing a different thing.

The basic principles of image capture and processing are the same for most situations, they just need tweaking to the particular thing you are photographing.

And what has photographing something different done for me?

I seriously love these images – they are of coloured corner caps for a table. But I genuinely love these images.

And I enjoyed taking photographs of something different. It was good to challenge myself photographing something completely different.

A quick word about lighting

I do not use flash, or any other artificial lighting. The extent of my use of lighting is to turn the lights on in a room to make it feel more homely.

So using these lights was a complete revelation for me, and has inspired me to do more with lights in 2019.

Lets get back to the point of this post - How to take great product photos at home on a budget

I have proved here that you do not have to spend a lot of money to be able to do work such as product photography in your home.

I have of course completely ignored the fact that I am using circa £3000 worth of gear that I already own, and focussing on the £10 bit of kit from Amazon.

This is though a fair assumption – anyone taking photos for money must have a base level of kit that can deliver professional results.

The point of this post was about that £10 tent which I bought from Amazon, which did an excellent job, and is there for the next time.

And the other point I would like to reiterate here is that it is good to try new things out. I spend my life photographing buildings and nice places, and this is the work that I market.

This does not however exclude me from other genres of photography – there are basic competencies that can be applied across most genres of photography.

Problem solving

Photography is all about problem solving. Some of the things we have to do just have to be worked out, and experience helps here enormously.

Summary

It is nice to take some different photos, and also nice to write abut such a positive and pleasurable experience.

Product photography is a photographic specialism. But there is one significant difference about product photography that has just come to me.

Buy a folding tent like the one I bought. And guess what  - you can practice at home to your hearts content using whatever you want to photograph.

Now this makes this kind of product photography unique – the only cost is getting really good at this discipline is £10 for the tent – the rest is just time investment to provide another string to your photographic bow.

Rick McEvoy Photography - product photographer in Dorset

Installing Excire Search plugin for Lightroom

I am currently initialising the Excire Search plugin for Lightroom.

Excire search for Lightroom 13112018.PNG

Whilst I am excited to try out this cool looking software I have to wait for the software to get acquainted with all the images in my Lightroom Catalogue.

As there are over 60,00 images this may take some time. Which is fair enough.

Excire initialisation screen 13112018.PNG

When you get Excire please remember that after the slick installation there is a process called initialisation that you have to go through, as I am now.

Rick McEvoy Photography - Photographer, blogger, writer, website creator

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

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.

And I got to thinking about things that I would like in a new camera. My Canon 6D is a few years old now, and whilst it performs fantastically well as my working camera a lot has changed since it was released. So - how to choose your next camera? To answer this, I have listed down 31 features that I want in a new camera. This is the nice to haves and the esssentials which I have listed as the start of the process to choose my 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 many ways, so time spent identifying the features required will ensure that the correct choice of 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.

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.

Rick McEvoy ABIPP – Photographer, blogger, website creator extraordinaire