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

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

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11 Practical Photography Business Ideas For 2020 And Beyond

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

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

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

Who am I?

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

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

What was my plan at the start of 2019?

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

1 – Taking photos for clients

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

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

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

2 – Photos of Santorini website

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

3 – Paxos Travel Guide website

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

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

And I have enjoyed this a lot.

4 – Rhodes Travel Guide website

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

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

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

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

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

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

7 – Affiliate marketing

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

8 – Commercial partnerships

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

9 – Freelance writing

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

And how is this all going?

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

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

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

1 - Niche down

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

I have placed myself firmly in the market for the following

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

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

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

And that is it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Those days are long behind me now thankfully.

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

Architectural photography by Rick McEvoy

Architectural photography by Rick McEvoy

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

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

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

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

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

Quality and not quantity.

3 – My Photography Blog

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

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

Photography Blog by Rick McEvoy

Photography Blog by Rick McEvoy

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

  2. Photography gear that I use.

  3. Photography business matters

  4. Websites and related stuff

  5. My photos

  6. Architectural photography

  7. Travel photography

  8. Landscape photography

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

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

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

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

And that takes time and hard work.

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

Again, quality over quantity.

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

4 – Google - EAT.

What am I talking about?

EAT stands for

  • Expertise

  • Authority

  • Trustworthiness

This is something that is becoming increasingly important.

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

So how do we do what Google wants us to?

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

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

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

  1. Web traffic can generate passive income through ads.

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

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

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

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

5 - Video

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

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

  • Do people want to watch and listen to me?

  • What gear do I need?

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

  • How do I create regular consistent content?

  • Where do I put this stuff?

  • Do I really have to do this?

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

What was the answer?

I have a weekly photography blog.

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

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

And I mean every week.

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

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

Basically I need to up my video creation massivley.

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

6 – Pinterest

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

Why Pinterest of all the social media platforms?

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

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

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

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

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

Check me out on Pinterest here.

7 – YouTube

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

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

This is what I am doing.

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

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

And the set-up is simple.

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

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

Simple.

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

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

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

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

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

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

8 - LinkedIn

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

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

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

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

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

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

9 – Websites

I have three websites at the moment.

Paxos Travel Guide

Paxos Travel Guide

Rick McEvoy Photography

Paxos Travel Guide

Photos of Santorini

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

Income is from advertising and affiliate marketing.

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

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

And with enough traffic another source of passive income.

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

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

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

10 – Affiliates

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

Skylum

Excire Search Pro

Peak Design

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

How do these things work?

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

If someone buys that thing I get a commission.

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

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

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

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

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

11 – Consistency and continuity

This is very important.

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

And I am sticking to this consistently.

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

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

And every week I schedule pins to Pinterest.

And every week I create an article on LinkedIn.

Is this lot working?

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

Rick McEvoy Photography Google Search Console Results

Rick McEvoy Photography Google Search Console Results

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

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

What is my end game?

Time freedom and financial freedom.

That is what this is all about.

Where is all my stuff online?

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

Websites

Rick McEvoy Photography

Paxos Travel Guide

Photos of Santorini

YouTube

Rick McEvoy Photography

Paxos Travel Guide

Pinterest

Rick McEvoy Photography

LinkedIn

Rick McEvoy Photography

Summary

Rick McEvoy

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

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

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

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

#photographybusinessideas #photographybusiness #photography #rickmcevoyphotography

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 – Photo Studio Tent With Lights!

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

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

Product Photography at home by Rick McEvoy

Product Photography at home by Rick McEvoy

Product Photography at home by Rick McEvoy

Product Photography at home by Rick McEvoy

IMG_2781.jpg

2 – Manfrotto Pixi tripod

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

Here it is!

And the cost for this little marvel?

£17.99!

I know – ridiculous.

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

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

3 – Op Tech Wrist strap

Optech Wrist Strap - photo from Amazon website

Optech Wrist Strap - photo from Amazon website

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

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

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

And the price- £8.99!

OP/TECH 6701062 SLR Wrist Strap – Black

4 – Lastolite Grey Card

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

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

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

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

5 – Pec Pads

Pec Pad - photo from Amazon

Pec Pad - photo from Amazon

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

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

These packs last a surprisingly long time too!

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

Photographic Solutions 10x10cm Pec Pad (Pack of 100)

6 – Eclipse Lens Cleaning Solution

Eclipse Lens Cleaning Solution - photo from Amazon

Eclipse Lens Cleaning Solution - photo from Amazon

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

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

These bottles seem to last forever.

£16.98 including free delivery!!

Photographic Solutions Eclipse Lens and CCD Cleaning Fluid

And I also buy a small bottle for travel use.

7 – Head Torch

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

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

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

Less than a tenner too!!

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

8 – Micro fibre towel

Photo from Amazon

Photo from Amazon

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

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

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

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

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

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

So much for so little.

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

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

Filter wrench - photo from Amazon

Filter wrench - photo from Amazon

9 – Filter wrench

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

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

Photo from Amazon website

Photo from Amazon website

10 – Hot Shoe bubble level

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

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

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

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

11 – Filter step up/ down rings

Filter step up ring - photo from Amazon

Filter step up ring - photo from Amazon

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

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

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

£6.11 for this neat item.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How Do I Do That In Lightroom - photo from Amazon

How Do I Do That In Lightroom - photo from Amazon

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

Currently for sale on Amazon for £17.74.

How Do I Do That in Lightroom Classic?

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

14 – How Do I Do That in Photoshop?

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

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

Currently for sale on Amazon for £15.98

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

15 -  Hurricane blower

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

public.jpeg

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.

public.jpeg

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

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

£9.99 on the App Store

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

https://www.photoephemeris.com

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

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



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


What camera bag do I use?

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

Here is my bag in action.

Peak Design Everyday Messenger

Peak Design Everyday Messenger

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

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

Canon 6D and Manfrotto Pixi on Paxos

Canon 6D and Manfrotto Pixi on Paxos

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

That’s it.

Yes its me!

Yes its me!

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

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

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

Rick McEvoy ABIPP - Photographer, writer, website creator

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

 

Where Are The Best Sunrise Locations In Rhodes?

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

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

First things first – who am I?

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

No if it is still then I will photograph it.

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

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

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

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

Why am I writing about Rhodes?

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

What about sunsets?

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

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

So that is why.

Where is the Greek Island of Rhodes?

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

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

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

Where is the Greek Island of Rhodes?

Where is the Greek Island of Rhodes?

Where are Pefkos and Navarone Bay?

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

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

Where is Pefkos on Rhodes?

Where is Pefkos on Rhodes?

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

How do I get there?

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

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

Where exactly are the locations?

Again I have marked an extract from Google Maps.

My best sunrise locations in Rhodes revealed!

My best sunrise locations in Rhodes revealed!

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

  2. On top of the cliffs overlooking Navarone Bay

  3. On the beach and the rocks around Navarone Bay

Are these locations easy to get to?

1 - Prophet Elias Church

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

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

Goat droppings.

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

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

And those amazing views.

2 - On top of the cliffs overlooking Navarone Bay

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

And the big drop!

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

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

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

OK – that’s you told!

3 - On the beach and the rocks around Navarone Bay

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

Ok completely silent apart from the goats.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is there parking nearby?

I think I have covered that.

What time does the sun rise?

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

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

Sunrise is such a special thing that I love experiencing.

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

Are there other people there?

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

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

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

Splendid sunrise isolation. Just me and the elements.

What camera gear do I use?

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

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

Disclosure done – best to be open about these things!

Back to my gear.

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

I am loving my new smaller gear.

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

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

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

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

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

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

My sunrise photos of Rhodes web page

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

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

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

Sunrise view from the hills above Pefkos looking towards Lindos

Sunrise view from the hills above Pefkos looking towards Lindos

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

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

2 - On top of the cliffs overlooking Navarone Bay

Tree at sunrise on Rhodes Greece

Tree at sunrise on Rhodes Greece

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

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

3 - On the beach and the rocks around Navarone Bay

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

Sunrise in Rhodes by Rick McEvoy

Sunrise in Rhodes by Rick McEvoy

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

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

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

Video time!

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

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

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

These are the links to the videos on my YouTube Channel

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

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

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

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

My YouTube Channel

And finally please may I ask for your help?

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you!

Next week on my photography blog

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

Check out my blog next week to find out.

Rick McEvoy ABIPP - Photographer, blogger, website creator

15 Really Useful Tips To Help You Take Better Photos

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

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

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

Architectural Photography By Rick mcEvoy

Architectural Photography By Rick mcEvoy

Who am I?

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

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

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

Tip Number 1 - Think about the subject matter

  • What are you taking a photo of?

  • Why are you taking this photo?

  • What is the intent behind the photo?

  • What are you trying to capture?

  • Who is the image for?

  • What are you going to do with the image?

Sun and tree at sunrise on Rhodes

Sun and tree at sunrise on Rhodes

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

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

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

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

And do you know what – they were seldom there!

Take less photos but better photos

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

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

I choose a composition and stick with it.

Talking of which

Tip Number 2 - Composition is king

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

Operating Theatre, University Hospital Southampton

Operating Theatre, University Hospital Southampton

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

The composition.

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

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

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

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

See I really do like this stuff!!!

But whilst there might be 30 photos taken there is still one composition.

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

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

Photo of sunrise in Gaios on the Greek Island of Paxos

Photo of sunrise in Gaios on the Greek Island of Paxos

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

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

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

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

And for my architectural photography work?

Interior photography by Rick McEvoy

Interior photography by Rick McEvoy

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

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

How I compose an architectural photography shot

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

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

I only took one photo of the shot above. Only one was needed - everything was where I wanted it.

Less is more

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

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

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

Composition is king and should be treated accordingly.

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

Tip Number 3 - Background, middle ground, foreground

Photos of Santorini by Rick McEvoy

Photos of Santorini by Rick McEvoy

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

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

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

The depth of the light.

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

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

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

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

Nothing wrong with that but always make sure that these three elements are correctly arranged to complement each other and naturally give depth to the composition. If you can arrange these elements within your photo you can lead the eye where you want to within the image.

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

Check the background.

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

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

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

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

Tip Number 4 - Learn the rules of photography

There are many rules of photography.

Photos of Santorini by Rick McEvoy

Photos of Santorini by Rick McEvoy

The rule of thirds

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

The composition above benefits from the rule of thirds nicely.

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

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

Learn the rules then break them

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

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

This is what I say.

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

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

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

And then consciously break them.

Photography is meant to be creative - be that!

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

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

Be creative.

Tip Number 5 - Check the edges

I mentioned checking the background in the composition.

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

Don’t rely on Photoshop for this.

Get rid of distractions

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

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

Things like

  • Bits of trees

  • Aerials

  • Bright leaves on the front edges

  • Power lines

  • Telegraph poles

  • Pylons

  • Anything bright that draws the eye

You get the idea.

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

What do I use Photoshop for?

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

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

Yes I said viewing experience!

Tip Number 6 – Watch the light

Lovely diffused light through the trees at Vyne

Lovely diffused light through the trees at Vyne

  • What is the light doing?

  • What direction is the light coming from?

  • Where is the sun?

  • How does the light interact with the subject?

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

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

What is photography if not drawing with light?

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

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

The reality of being a working photographer

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

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

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

Tip Number 7 - Timing

This follows on nicely from the point above.

Durdle Door and a spectacular sunset on the Jurassic Coast

Durdle Door and a spectacular sunset on the Jurassic Coast

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

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

And I stay a good hour after.

And of course I do the same with sunsets.

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

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

And yes I paid for it!

Timing and architectural photography shoots

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

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

Tip Number 8 - Get the exposure right

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

How do I do this?

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

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

I take three images

  1. The correct exposure

  2. Two stops under exposed

  3. Two stops over exposed

I merge these images together in Lightroom later.

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

This is called HDR photography.

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

Why do I do this?

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

  • Composition

  • Changing the aperture from F8

  • The focus point

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

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

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

It works for me.

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

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

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

Or you do what I do which works just fine!

Tip Number 9 - Choose the right aperture for the photo

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

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

What does the aperture do?

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

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

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

So F8 then!!

Tip Number 10 - Now pick a shutter speed

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

  • When is shutter speed important to me?

  • When I am photographing moving water.

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

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

Shutter speed and hand held photography

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

What?

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

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

I am sure you get the point.

The right shutter speed for the photo

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

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

Change the shutter speed with an ND filter

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

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

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

And this is how it goes on.

  • 3 stops – 1/8th second

  • 4 stops – ¼ second

  • 5 stops – ½ second

  • 6 stops – 1 second

  • 7 stops – 2 seconds

  • 8 stops – 4 seconds

  • 9 stops – 8 seconds

  • 10 stops - 16 seconds

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

I do this and love it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Or use a tripod.

Talking of which.

Tip Number - 12 Use a tripod

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

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

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

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

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

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

And less of the lightweight gear!

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

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

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

And for travel photography?

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

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

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

And my compositions have improved since I made this change.

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

Tip Number 13 - A word on image processing

Processing of digital images is a complete separate subject.

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

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

Architectural photography processing

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

Technical correctness of

  • Horizontals

  • Verticals

  • Colours

  • Textures

  • Shapes

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

University of Southampton B1 Refurbishment by Rick McEvoy Photography

University of Southampton B1 Refurbishment by Rick McEvoy Photography

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

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

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

Landscape and travel photography processing

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

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

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

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

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

Tip Number 14 – Time

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

I was always disappointed with the results.

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

More than that I will make the time.

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

Tip Number 15 - Practise, practise, practise

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

The more you practise the better your photos will get.

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

Summary

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

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

A bit more about me

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

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

Me on location in Santorini

Me on location in Santorini

Photos of Santorini

Paxos Travel Guide

Please subscribe to my YouTube Channel

And follow me on Pinterest

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

Rick McEvoy ABIPP – Photographer, writer, website creator

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

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

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

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

1 - Where does the word photography come from?

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

The principle is the same either way.

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

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

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

2 – Who was Sir John Herschel?

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

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

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

3 – Who are the Royal Society?

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

4 - What do the Royal Society do?

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

Let’s leave it there.

5 - When was the first photograph taken?

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

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

6 – How was the first photo taken?

The picture was taken using a process called heliography.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8 – How do digital cameras take photos?

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

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

Images are typically saved to a removable memory card.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10 – Why is mobile phone photography so popular?

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

Hence the immediacy and huge popularity of mobile phone photography.

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

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

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

11 – Is photography still relevant today?

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

And is that a good thing?

Yes and no.

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

Rubbish.

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

But there is a downside.

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

Who has time to look at all this stuff?

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

Check out this excellent post on Mylio.

Where they write

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

And that is in 2017!

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

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

12 – What are the most important things in photography?

  • Boring but important.

  • Composition

  • Light

  • Interesting subjects

  • Technically correct image capture

  • High quality processing

  • Less rather than more

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

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

13 – How important is gear in photography?

Well we need stuff to be able to take photos.

A phone is one such thing.

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

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

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

But let me tell you a secret.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

14 – What is important for me in photography?

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

Not.

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

  1. Taking less photos, but better photos

  2. Going out taking photos more frequently

  3. Increasing the quality of my video production

  4. Refining my website

  5. Learning Aurora HDR and Luminar

  6. My web traffic

  7. Finishing my website Paxos Travel Guide

  8. Deciding on my next website

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

  10. Doing more photography for me

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

15 - What is the future of photography?

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

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

Unless you are a genius with a camera that is.

So I need to work on other things then!

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

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

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

These are my websites at the time of writing

Photos of Santorini

Paxos Travel Guide

How to keep up to date with me

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

Subscribe to my YouTube channel

Follow me on Pinterest

This is where all the good stuff is

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

Summary

Rick McEvoy

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

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

Rick McEvoy ABIPP - Photographer, writer, website creator

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

IMG_1539.PNG

What do you clean your camera lenses with?

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

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

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

Rick McEvoy Photography - https://rickmcevoyphotography.com

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

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

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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

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

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

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

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

Pinterest 105 things 02052019.PNG


All these numbers come from Pinterest.

And how much traffic has my website seen?

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

Here is the screenshot from my iPad.

IMG_1524.PNG

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

One for me to definitely keep an eye on.

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

What is the Squarespace Analytics App?

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

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

How many Pinterest boards do I have?

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

I have deleted lots of boards, leaving just the following

  • Architectural Photography

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

  • Other people’s photography

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

  • Paxos Travel Guide

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

  • Photography

Generally photography stuff that I have found interesting.

  • Photos of Santorini

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

  • Photography Gear

Photography gear – well what did think this would be?

  • Rick McEvoy Photography

This is where my weekly blog posts get shared.

  • Travel

Pins by other people all about travel.

  • Travel Photography

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

Should I have deleted these other boards?

NO. DO NOT DO WHAT I DID.

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

Do I have a Pinterest business account?

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

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

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

And no this does not cost anything.

How am I going to use Pinterest going forwards?

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

That puts the numbers in perspective nicely.

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

Before I go on, a word on Tailwind.

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

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

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

But there is more that I need to do.

I need to post more of my own posts.

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

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

Convert to Pinterest business account

Sorry I had already done that!

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

  • My profile.

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

“Photographer, blogger, writer, website creator”

Hardly putting the effort in eh?

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

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

That should do it.

  • Confirm the website.

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

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

  • Add the Pinterest button to my website

I had not done this would you believe!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pin in a consistent way

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

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

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

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

What should the content contain?

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

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

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

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

And on the subject of photos – very important

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

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

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

Significantly more. This is a biggy.

And one that I have failed to take account of.

Text on photos

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

No – I do not.

But I need to get over myself.

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

Branding

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

Content

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

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

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

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

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

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

Simple and sorted.

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

What about the content?

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

So this is my systematic plan for Pinterest.

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

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

So how does 1 pin per day look?

Rick McEvoy Photography Board

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

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

That is 8/10 posts.

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

So to the other boards.

My travel photography website pages.

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

That is another 8/10 pins.

Travel photography

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

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

Travel Board

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

Architectural Photography

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

Photography Gear

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

Photography

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

Other Peoples Photography

Just re-pins of photos that I like.

And that is all my boards covered.

How many Pins have I go to?

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

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

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

Resources/ further reading/ listening

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

And also their website - Simple Pin Media.

I also learned stuff from excellent articles from on Hootsuite.

Tailwind

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

Finally, what are my top 5 Pinterest Photography boards

1 - Rick McEvoy Photography

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

2 - Travel Photography

At the time of writing 28 Pins and 137 followers

3 - Architectural Photography

At the time of writing 200 Pins and 138 followers

4 – Paxos Travel Guide

At the time of writing 181 Pins and 139 followers

5 – Photos of Santorini

At the time of writing 603 Pins and 148 followers

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

Finally finally - Please follow me

Pinterest - click here for my Pinterest page

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

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

I know - multimedia productions!

Rick McEvoy

Summary

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

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

Rick McEvoy ABIPP - photographer, blogger, website creator

31 Important Features Features For Your New Camera

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

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

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

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

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

Why am I writing this list now?

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

  • Intrinsically clumsy, and

  • Take photos on live construction sites

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

  • Take my camera with me absolutely everywhere

  • Seriously I am really clumsy

What has made me think about changing my camera?

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

The 3 primary reasons/ concerns/ potential issues

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

Head torch 09092018.PNG

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

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

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

2 – A different way of working

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

Photos of Santorini web page extract 19102018.PNG


3 – I just want something shiny and new

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 - In camera HDR

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

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

Or is it?

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

Is there a camera that makes this differentiation irrelevant?

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

Well it’s a thought.

Can a single image capture be enough?

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

3 – GPS

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

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

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

View from Oia Lightroom Map 19102018.PNG

GPS is pretty much an essential tool for me.

4 - Wi-fi

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

Me using the Wi-Fi on my Canon 6D

Me using the Wi-Fi on my Canon 6D

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

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

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

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

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

Architectural photography in Hampshire using a painters’ pole

Architectural photography in Hampshire using a painters’ pole

5 - Connectivity as good as an iPhone

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

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

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

6 - The functionality of an iPhone

Same point relay but rather than connectivity functionality.

7 - Connectivity to my iPhone (thinking about it)

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

8 - In camera image processing

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

9 - Fully articulated screen

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photographing the sunrise on Santorini

Photographing the sunrise on Santorini

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

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

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

And the distance stuff isn’t that great either.

Oh the woes of getting old…….

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

11 - Touch screen with full functionality

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

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

12 - Ergonomics that make it a pleasure to use

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

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

13 - Simple logical menu system

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

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

14 - 4K video with high quality audio recording

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

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

15 - Excellent Vlogging/ recording capabilities

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

16 - Smaller cheaper lenses offering similar quality

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

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

17 – High quality sensor

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

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

18 - Excellent low light performance

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

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

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

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

20 - A sensor that doesn’t need cleaning

I hate removing sensor dust spots. Hate it.

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

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

21 - Interchangeable lenses

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

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

22 - Tilt shift capability

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

Canon 24mm tilit shift lens

Canon 24mm tilit shift lens


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

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

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

That’s tilt shift lenses done then!

23 – Ultra-wide angle lens

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

This could be a deal breaker for me.

24 - Bespoke programming – Custom Function that works!

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

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

25 - RAW Capture

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

26 – EVF

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

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

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

And the size of the stuff in the EVF.

27 – Computational photography

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

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

28 - Focussing in the dark

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

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

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

29 – Weather-sealing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

31 – Shiny new loveliness

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

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

But there is a genuine worry here

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

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

I need to narrow things down

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

Or do I have two camera systems?

Canon 6D

Canon 6D

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

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

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

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

Summary

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

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

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

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

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

Rick McEvoy

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

So there is a serious point to this.

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

OK I’m done now

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

Rick McEvoy ABIPP – Photographer, blogger, website creator extraordinaire

Minimalist Travel Photography Gear – This Is What I Use

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why am I writing about this?

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

Is mirrorless micro four thirds gear the travel photography answer?

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

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

Basically less gear is the other part

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

What did I like about my minimalist travel photography gear?

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

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

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

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

The size of the camera

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

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

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

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

The Electronic Viewfinder (EVF)

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

Changing the focus point on the touch screen

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

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

The tilting touchscreen

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

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

The clarity of the screen

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

One handed operation

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

This is as close as I get to street photography!

The levels on the camera

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

Another word on packing gear.

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

And what about the other gear?

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

And my favourite travel tripod

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

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

Taking videos with my iPhone

Here is the video

What did I not like?

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

There always are……

The way the camera sits in my camera bag.

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

No GPS

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

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

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

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

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

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

The grip on the camera

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

The way that the tripod sits in my camera bag.

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

Has this camera changed the way I take travel photographs?

Yes, In a number of ways,

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

HDR

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

EVF and live in viewfinder exposure compensation

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

And what about things that have not changed?

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

Go to focal length

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

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

What gear did I use?

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

  • Pec Pads and Eclipse lens cleaning solution

  • Spare batteries and charger

  • Spare memory cards

  • Manfrotto Pixi for videoing skiers on the mountain

  • And what gear did I not use?

  • My brand new shiny three-legged thing tripod

  • My Platypod

  • My 40-150mm lens

Did I miss my Canon 6D?

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

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

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

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

What about my ageing mince pies – sorry eyes?

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

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

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

A word about my Canon gear

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

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

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

Lessons learned for the future

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

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

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

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

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

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

I do have an idea.

My camera and my iPhone

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

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

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

Summary

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

Rick McEvoy

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

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

Rick McEvoy – travel photographer, writer, blogger

JPEG Explained In Plain English

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What file formats are there other than JPEG?

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

Do I need to know about JPEG?

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

So yes, this is important.

What is the difference between JPEG and RAW files?

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

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

This is the main difference.

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

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

What is the actual difference between JEPG and RAW files?

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

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

The RAW file taken with my Canon 6D

The RAW file taken with my Canon 6D

The JPEG file taken with my Canon 6D

The JPEG file taken with my Canon 6D

Photos courtesy of Paxos Travel Guide.

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

Dull and flat basically!

Are JPEG and RAW file sizes different?

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

JPEG file – 8MB

RAW file – 25MB

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

What am I looking at on my cameras LCD screen?

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

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

Do I use RAW or JPEG?

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

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

  1. Set my camera to RAW image capture only

  2. Take images in RAW format

  3. Import RAW files into Lightroom

  4. Process RAW files in Lightroom and Photoshop

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

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

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

Why do I not shoot in JPEG?

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

Are there other file formats apart from JPEG?

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

  • PSD

  • Tiff

  • Dng

  • Gif

  • Pdf

What is a RAW file then?

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

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

Who are the Joint Photographic Experts Group?

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

Are there any other formats of JPEG?

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

Can anyone read a JPEG file?

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

How do I create JPEG files?

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

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

How do I compress a JPEG file?

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

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

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

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

A word on non-destructive editing

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

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

JPEG vs JPG

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

Further reading

Next week I will explain all the advantages of shooting in RAW and exporting images out of Lightroom in JPEG format – pop back to my blog next week for this post.

Summary

I hope that having read this post you are now comfortable with what a JPEG file is, and when you should use this particular file format.

To sum up, I shoot in RAW and export images out of Lightroom into JPEG. It really is that simple.

Rick McEvoy Photography – photographer, writer, website creator

Product Photography At Home Using This £10 Amazon Accessory

I photograph buildings and places - I am not a product photographer, but needed to be rather quickly. Blimey| How do I do this?

Product photography at home was my only option. In this post I will explain to you how I used my existing camera gear and the Photo Studio Tent from Amazon to create, in three hours at home, the photos which you can see in this post.

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My New Travel Photography Blog – 10 Tips For Success

I write travel photography blogs these days. And that gave me a thought for this blog post.

What would my top 10 travel photography blog tips be? How I can help people create better blogs? It was good to think about this and the work that I have done to date. So in this post I am going to share the 10 tips that will help you and I create better travel photography blogs, and hopefully more engaging, interesting and popular travel photography blog content.

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