21 Photography Tips That Will Actually Make A Difference

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

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How to commission architectural photography

In this post I am going to provide advice for clients on how to commission architectural photography. I will share my experiences as a working architectural photographer, which should help you as clients successfully appoint the right photographer for you to photograph your buildings.

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21 tips for photographers that will actually make a difference

This post was republished on Friday 8th March 2019 with a new title and introduction - 21 Photography Tips That WIll Actually Make A Difference.

Rick McEvoy Photography

11 reasons to get me to photograph your construction project

In this blog post I will describe why I am the ideal person to photograph your construction project.

I have over 30 years of experience working in the construction industry, a lifetime interest in photography and over 10 years working professionally as a photographer.

I add to this unique combination of skills a high quality, personal and professional service to give architects, contractors, developers and property owners and managers great imagery with my own style.

So, if you are looking for someone to photograph your recently completed construction project please read on and get in touch to see how I may help you.

1 – This is what I do. I photograph buildings and the surrounding environment.

I don’t do weddings, portraits, babies, families or fluffy pets. 99% of the things that I photograph are not moving,

I also photograph places, the buildings within them and their surrounding environments.

I don’t photograph anything else.

2 – To see my work check out my website – there is plenty on there.

Just click here.

And here are three of my favourite images of recently completed construction projects.

Construction photography in Hampshire by Rick McEvoy

Construction photography in Hampshire by Rick McEvoy

Photograph of a stunning private house in Poole, Dorset

Photograph of a stunning private house in Poole, Dorset

Winchester School of Art by architectural photographer Rick McEvoy

Winchester School of Art by architectural photographer Rick McEvoy

3 – I get construction, sites and the people on them – I am one of them after all!

I have worked on construction sites all my life, starting as a labourer and working up to being a senior project manager.

I have worked on new build and refurbishment construction projects in most sectors, including

  • Residential
  • Commercial
  • Industrial
  • Nuclear
  • Education
  • Higher education
  • Public sector
  • Private sector

As you can see I have extensive experience of the construction industry, so will be comfortable photographing any construction project

4 - I am a Chartered Builder – MCIOB

CIOB Logo 09082018.PNG

I have been Chartered for well over 20 years now, and am a current member of the CIOB.

I passed my HNC in building studies a long time ago, and studied for my CIOB part 1 an 2 whilst working on site, initially as a labourer for a small contractor.

When I say I know construction people I mean at all levels, as I have been in most of them.

5 - I am an Associate in the British Institute of Professional Photography – ABIPP

This qualification is defined by the BIPP as

BIPP qualified logo ABIPP Black.jpg

“A high standard of craftsmanship and creative ability”

I achieved this qualification this year, having gained my Licentiateship 3 years ago.

My portfolio consisted entirely of architectural and construction images, which you can view on my portfolio page rickmcevoyphotography.com/portfolio.

The BIPP “is an internationally recognised qualifying organisation with over 100 years of experience in supporting and networking photographers.”

That’s not bad for someone who has been working in construction for over 30 years!

And to be fair my photography is the only artistic thing about me.

This is not just about the technical side of things – this is more about the creative side of photography – image capture and composition – craftsmanship and creative ability remember!

And with my lifetime of construction experience I really do know what I am looking for, those intricate details and important features.

And lets not forget the technical side of this – technically correct and accurate images, with everything level and vertical whilst still looking natural, and all the colours as they have been added.

I pride myself on producing creative, excellently composed and technically accurate images.

I actually went to art college when I left school, as I have always wanted to be a photographer. I lasted till the April of that year before I quit and started work on site- I was 18 and wanted beer money and a car!

That was back in 18985 – that shows just how long I have been interested in photography and how long I have been working in construction.

6 – I am a current CSCS card-holder.

CSCS 09082018.PNG

I have a Professionally Qualified Person CSCS card, which is valid until June 2022 – another time saver in getting me on your site and also further reassurance that I will be perfectly safe working on your site.

I can photograph any part of the site – just give me safe access and a safe place of work. I am fine with heights, confined spaces, excavations, anywhere really.

7 – I have my own PPE

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I have my own PPE which is enough to get me onto 99% of construction sites. Of course there will be specific site requirements somewhere that I do not have all the gear for, like live railways, and off-shore installations, but for conventional constructions sites I turn up kitted up and ready to be induced.

Talking of which

8 – I have had more site inductions than I care to remember

And do you know what – every one is slightly different. They are never the same. But they are all familiar to me.

My familiarity with construction means that I can satisfy your site induction requirements as quickly as one of your preferred sub-contractors, saving you time and money and also giving you the reassurance that the photographer on your side is familiar with construction sites.

9 – I have done this before – I won't get in the way!

I know how things are on site, the time pressures that people are under, especially as you approach practical completion. I have been there many many times before, and I do get it.

The last thing people want is someone holding them up taking photos – this is where I m uniquely positioned with my experience. Yes I take all my photos on a tripod (where practicable) but I set up my gear before I go on site, find the location that I want to shoot, place my tripod, compose, take the shot and move on.

The composing is the bit that takes the time – that is the important bit after all.

The technical side of the image capture is dialled in before I get on site, so all I have to worry about is the composition and where I focus for the composition in question.

10 – My gear is lightweight, mobile and durbale

Me working in a live industrial environment!

Me working in a live industrial environment!

I currently use a full frame Canon DSLR and Canon L series lenses. When I am taking photos on site everything is in my backpack so I have hands free in case I need to climb up a scaffold or down into an excavation. I can get gear in and out of my bag without having to put my bag on the floor – this has evolved over endless shoots to the set up I have now which has all my essential safely stored in my back pack.

My bad is waterproof and all my gear is weather sealed. And if my tripod gets muddy shooting outside I can quickly clean it down before going into the shiny new interior without getting mud all over the brand new flooring!

11 – this is what I love doing – photographing buildings.

Yes I genuinely enjoy photographing buildings – so much so that I do this when I am on holiday.

That is the 11 reasons why I am the ideal person to photograph your construction project.

Not convinced? Or just enjoying reading my words you want to read more?

Buildings I have photographed

I have a large collection of photos of buildings from abroad – here are three photos taken on my travels which show the other side of my work.

Interior photo of Bordeaux Cathdral by Architectural Photographe
 Wine rack on wall in restaurant, Lucca, Italy
Modern Greek Architecture, Rhodes by Rick McEvoy Travel Photogra

I don’t only photograph construction projects – I have photographed buildings in all stages of their lifecycles, from

  • Locational photography for visualisations for concept design, consultations and planning applications.
  • Buildings undergoing refurbishment.
  • Existing properties being marketed – both public and private properties, commercial and residential.

I also photograph buildings of interest that I am just passing, like this interesting church which I drove past on the way back from a recent industrial building shoot.

Church, Portland, Dorset by Rick McEvoy Architectural Photographer

Church, Portland, Dorset by Rick McEvoy Architectural Photographer

OK - that was 11 reasons why you should choose me to photograph your completed construction site. And now a bit more info which I hope you find helpful.

How many images will I get?

That will of course be subject to agreement and confirmed in my final quotation, but I will not bombard you with lots of images. I select the image set and edit the images myself.

It is my job to make sure that I not only take but also select the images that satisfy your brief.

And as I edit the images myself I am in complete control of the editing process.

How much will it cost me?

I price each commercial photography job individually, as every client is unique and has unique requirements.

My price is based on the three elements of commercial photography work

The shoot itself

This is the time taken to get to and from the site, and the time spent on site taking photos. This can vary enormously, depending on the size of the building and the number and range of photos required.

Editing the images

I edit the images myself. If you want images that are to the standard you can see on my website then you have to appreciate that this takes time. Every image is individually edited.

The images on my portfolio page are commercial images that I have produced for architects – there has been no additional editing done for inclusion in my portfolio.

Licensing and commercial matters

Variables here are type, time period, location and area of use – this is of course very job specific.

I am not the cheapest photographer, and if all you are after is the cheapest photographer then I am not for you. The images you can see on my website are all taken and processed by me.

Do you want to know more about me?

If you do then there are hundreds of blog posts all about me and my world of photography. The more recent content is better than the older stuff, but the thing that I hope comes across in all of my blog posts is my personality. I was once told that I write the way I talk – my blog is me, my thoughts and personality in writing out there on the internet for all to see.

 

What else do I do?

Apart from photographing buildings I am a travel photographer, and am working on some new websites which will be unleashed on the internet shortly.

I am also a writer on one of the biggest photography websites on the internet, Improve Photography – check out this article which will be useful to help you prepare your building to be photographed.

19 things for a client to do before you photograph their house

I have also written a range of architectural photography articles which I will list and link so you can get straight to them if this of interest to you.

Want to be an architectural photographer? Read my guide here

10 Tips on getting work as an architectural photographer

10 tips for planning an architectural photography shoot

What gear do I use for my architectural photography? Find out here

How I take my architectural photography images – a detailed explanation

How I process my architectural photography images

What do I do next?

Please get in touch with me – I respond to everyone who gets in touch with me. You can do this by phone, email or by using my contact page. I would rather you phoned – it is much better talking and getting to know properly people I will be working with.

And with that I will thank you for reading this post, and I look forward very much to hearing from you and helping you to get some great photos of your building.

Rick McEvoy MCIOB, ABIPP – Photographer, photoblogger, writer

Photos of Santorini - how is my new website going?

Santorini home 30072018.PNG

Not too well is the answer. Time is against me. My two weeks is ticking away here....

Themes in Wordpress are proving more challenging than I expected. Time to watch some tutorials....

I thought Wordpress was meant to be easy!

I am going to lock myself away for an hour with the tutorials for the theme I have bought and work this out - I have done my page structure now which is ever so simple, which is meant to be the plan for the whole of this webiste.

A new article goes out tomorrow on Improve Photography, so I will provide an update on my new website later on this week.

Rick McEvoy ABIPP - Photos of Santorini

How to evolve and grow as a photographer - from nothing to ABIPP

How to evolve and grow as a photographer - that was the starting title.

And then I thought – can I put this in a better way?

  • My evolution as a photographer
  • How to develop as a photographer
  • How can we grow and evolve as photographers?
  • My journey from amateur to professsional photographer

Same question – so many ways of putting it.

But hopefully you get the point? I will stick with the original title.

Why am I writing this post now?

Rick McEvoy ABIPP.jpg

I am in the post portfolio reflective period having published those 40 images, 20 interiors, and 20 exteriors, on my photography blog.

Having published those 40 images, and having written about them, I found myself reflecting on where I am as a photographer now compared to where I was when I took the first image in my architectural photography portfolio.

The first image in my architectural photography portfolio was taken in 2011. 7 years ago.

How have I evolved as a photographer?

In this post I want to explore the development of my photographic work and business. Hopefully this will help you if you are seeking to progress from amateur to professional photographer.

It’s never too late to do what you want to do

One thing that this does prove is that it is ever too late to pursue your dream, whatever that may be. Of course it would have been good if I had stuck to my chosen path all those years ago, but my experiences up to now have all made me what I am now.

For those of you who don’t know me I am 50 years old…..

How have I developed as a photographer in the last 7 years?

Before I start, I need to go back a bit in time. Well quite a long way to be fair. I am after all quite old now!

Me and my photography pre 2011.

I want to quickly take you right back to the beginning of my interest in photography, which started at the age of 13 - 1980 would you believe.

Yes, I am that old. And that sounds like a long long time ago…

My Mum and Dad bought me a Fuji ST SLR camera with kit lens. I seem to think it might have been the STX-1. I had that for a while, before convincing them to treat me to a Canon AL1. This SLR camera was special as it beeped when I got the focus correct! That was the state of technology back then.

Canon AL-1 29062018.PNG

I had my own darkroom at 15, with my enlarger in the chest freezer in the utility room in our family home.

I went to Art College at 18, with the intention of studying photography. I got to April of the following year, when I left needing money to live (and spend on beer).

Bolton Institute of Technology 28062018.PNG

That was the end of my photography aspirations until 2007. I never lost my interest in photography, enjoying taking photos on holidays, but had no serious aspirations until 2007.

What happened in 2007?

I had spinal surgery and left my job.

Spine 28062018.PNG

For the first time in my life I didn’t have a job. Well that lasted until mid February when I was approached and interviewed for a job. And I got the job.

Plans scuppered.

I had two months without a job, in which time I bought and sold lots of gear and lost loads of time in Photoshop. This started the process, which I have been following ever since.

2007 – 2011

The early days/ years.

This was the beginning. I bought a Canon 5D and Canon 24-105mm lens. This opened my eyes to full frame photography with a professional L series lens. I still have that lens. And I still use that lens.

Tip number 1

Camera bodies depreciate with time – lenses hold their value really well. I have actually sold a lens three years after buying it for more than I bought it for – that is like free rental!

In these years I was out and about photographing everything, end loving it. I was completely all over the place, but slowly my photography was developing.

Learning curves

When I say learning curves I am not referring to Photoshop curves - as you will find out later I have no real idea what curves are in Photoshop!

One thing to say here – to find out what you want to do and how you are going to do it you need to go through a learning curve – we all do.

And don’t forget 10,000 hours – it has been said that it takes 10,000 hours to be come truly proficient at something. Now that is obviously a broad-brush statement, but the principle is spot on.

Finding my way

SWPP 28062018.PNG

I joined the Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers. I was chasing all sorts of work. I was quite frankly all over the place, looking into everything and everything. I went to the SWPP convention in London, which was excellent I have to say. I bought lots of stuff when I was there, and collected lots and lots of information that I never read. I joined the industrial branch of the SWPP.

I went to the convention the next year, and attended an endless number of classes.

I never wanted to be a wedding photographer – well I did at the time but that was something that I learned much later.

The odd one out

I remember sitting in a class on Photoshop at the SWPP convention, and thinking that I didn’t belong – I didn’t have a clue what they were talking about. It all felt beyond me. Worst of all I thought I might never belong.

Photoshop logo.jpg

Me and Photoshop

I spent a lot of time trying to learn Photoshop, not getting anywhere. It took me 10 years to work out why I was not getting anywhere – more on that later.

Me and Lightroom - much better

Lightroom logo 15062018.PNG

Thankfully this coincided with the introduction by Adobe of Lightroom – designed by photographers for photographers – that was the tag line with version 1 if my memory services me correctly.

I bought Lightroom 1.0, which was ordered online, with a disk being sent in the post in a nice box with a license key on the box.

That was how it was done.

Getting my first version of Lightroom was a big moment for me – I had second hand versions of Photoshop up until that point, and no structure to my image processing. Let’s be honest – my processing before Lightroom was virtually non-existent.

Lightroom gave me some structure – somewhere to put my photos so I could organise them.

My first commercial job

Fairy_290708_1339.jpg

I did my first commercial photography job. It was a celebrity chef would you believe. A bona-fide celebrity chef from off the telly.

Lesley Waters.

That was a terrifying experience.

I had more gear with me then than I ever have now. And I did not really know what I was doing.

Tip number 2

Everyone starts somewhere. So if you get a commercial job go for it. What is the worst than can happen?

You don’t get paid, and someone thinks you are rubbish.

That’s what I was afraid of, but I got paid for the job by the agency.

And my confidence grew during the shoot. Lesley and her husband even made a comment, which told me that I had convinced them that this was not my first job, and that I did this all the time!

I used Lightroom for that first job.

I got paid by cheque – I took a photo of the cheque. My first professional photography job done and paid for – most excellent!

Without Lightroom I would have been nowhere.

JESB Poole 010310 200-Edit-2-Edit.jpg

2007 to 2011 were a slow progression without much in the way of structure. Lets just call them the early days! My formative years as a photographer.

I did do quite a few commercial architectural jobs in this period.

Like the new Police Station in Poole.

So lets get to 2011

2011 – things are starting to happen

Private library in Dorset by Rick McEvoy Architectural Photographer

Private library in Dorset by Rick McEvoy Architectural Photographer

2011 was a bit of a landmark year for me, when I saw a big improvement in my photography. Well the architectural side of things. I had spent a lot of time practicing, doing the odd job here and there. And this photo was created in 2011 for the architect Andrew Stone. The commission was the photographing of an extension to a stunning country residence.

The extension was a private library, and I got lots of interesting photos from this shoot.

And this was where my interest in photographing classic English architecture grew from. I absolutely loved doing that job, even though it was really hard work.

I took too many images, but am glad that I did as this unique space has provided me with lots of different images that I still look back on 7 years on from the shoot.

And to think this was all done using a canon 5D Mk 1!

In 2011 I am still buying gear and not learning how to use it by the way.

Image capture count for 2011 - 3053

2012 - not an outstanding year

Photograph of a refurbished room in a lovely Dorset farmhouse

Photograph of a refurbished room in a lovely Dorset farmhouse

And I was still not knowing what I wanted to do so, so the focus on my architectural photography, whilst still slowly evolving, was not there.

In development terms 2012 was a year when I seemed to do a lot but not achieve much. Not the most progressive year but formative for that reason.

Lots of things that I picked up went into my head and some of them stuck there, waiting to be applied in future years.

I have not got a lot to say about 2012 – that says a lot!!

Image count for 2012 - 2291 images

2013 - the year things started to happen

Duomo in Florence by Rick McEvoy Photography

Duomo in Florence by Rick McEvoy Photography

This was the year I decided that I wanted to join a professional body that worked for me. I researched all the professional bodies in the UK, and further afield, and settled on the BIPP.

The BIPP is the British Institute of Professional Photography. Sounds good to me.

This was the year that I found my focus, and stopped trying to be all things to all people.

Breaking my Canon 5D.

Tip number three

Get your sensor cleaned for free at trade shows/ conventions.

What I have learned from this and the SWPP convention before is that you can get your camera sensor cleaned for free – you drop you camera off and some poor person sat in a small cupboard cleans sensors all day – what an unforgiveable job.

I left my Canon 5D to have the sensor cleaned, then wandered off for the day. I spent a nice day browsing around all the things that are there to be seen.

I spent an age on the Manfrotto stand, buying a new tripod and head. This is the beauty of these shows having the time to speak to an expert about their gear, get the best advice and get the gear that is right for you. I am still using that tripod and head now, since buying them they have served me so well.

Canon 6D 21052018.PNG

And I also got advice on some bits of kit that helped with other things.

And then I went back to pick up my beloved Canon 5D to be given the news that there was something on the sensor that could not be removed!

The next day I was awaiting delivery of a shiny new Canon 6D.

Tip number 4

If you are operating professionally you really need a back-up camera.

Image count for 2013 - 1658 images

2014 – my first professional portfolio

Chideock Catholic Church by Rick McEvoy

Chideock Catholic Church by Rick McEvoy

I had finally got a portfolio of a standard together, which Bryn was happy with.

I went to the Photography Show at the NEC this year for the second time. I met Bryn Griffiths for the first time, my BIPP mentor, and a lovely chap as well. We had a good chat about my portfolio.

The meeting appointment made a huge difference – I was going to a show to meet someone prominent in the industry – that made a big difference to how I felt.

I met Bryn, we talked through my portfolio, and then I went off and ate lots, drank lots of coffee, spoke to lots of people and bought some gear.

It was a good, if long day out.

Back to my portfolio.

I submitted my portfolio, along with insurances and supporting evidence, then went to BIPP HQ in Aylesbury.

That was nerve wracking I have to say, but happily I was successful. Rick McEvoy LBIPP.

The press release said this. And yes, this was the first press release ever all about me!

“Local Photographer Awarded International Qualification

Poole based photographer, Rick McEvoy LBIPP, has received recognition for his Commercial photography after being awarded a Licentiateship by the British Institute of Professional Photography (BIPP).

Rick prides himself on producing elegant and uncontrived photographs.  He is completely self taught and has developed his own highly effective and efficient work flows enabling him to provide a high quality service alongside the highest standards of imagery.  Rick still uses techniques from his days in the darkroom when processing images on his computer, combining these traditional techniques (dodging and burning inter alia) with cutting edge digital processing.

When asked how he felt about achieving his LBIPP, Rick said “I was delighted to be awarded my Licentiateship by the BIPP. This for me was the culmination of many years of hard work spent in the evenings, weekends and very early mornings, working around day jobs and family life. Being completely self-taught I am delighted to achieve this recognition, and consider this a huge stepping stone in my work to become a full time photographer.”

BIPP President, Roy Meiklejon FBIPP, stated “BIPP qualifications are among the most rigorous in the world. Qualification with the BIPP requires hard work, determination, commitment and lots of creativity”.

 As the qualifying body of professional photography in the UK, BIPP requires any photographer going for qualification to follow strict criteria and provide a substantial portfolio of commissioned work, together with supporting information about themselves as a professional.

 To see more of Rick’s work please visit www.rickmcevoyphotography.co.uk

  ##Ends##

Notes to Editors:

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

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

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

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

 • The BIPP has over 3,000 members worldwide covering all disciplines of photography.

 • Rick McEvoy LBIPP, 07772 252186, sales@rickmcevoyphotography.co.uk, www.rickmcevoyphotography.co.uk”

Blimey. Impressive or what???

Durdle Door by Rick McEvoy Dorset Photographer

Durdle Door by Rick McEvoy Dorset Photographer

2014 image count - 3600 images

2015 – learning while driving - legally that is!

The year of the podcast. And photographing Travelodge Hotels.

Travelodge Southampton West Quay 017 152108-Edit.jpg

As well as developing my architectural photography my learning exploded when I discovered podcasts. All of a sudden all the time I spent driving, and that was a lot of time, suddenly was learning time.

I went through every podcast I could find, choosing favourites which I stuck with, some being discarded along the way. And quite a few of my favourites fell by the wayside.

And the progression of my evolution towards a niche. Or two.

2015 was the year I feel like I spent working on my website. I employed an SEO company who did good things and bad things.

I was focusing on my website so much I cannot recall any other significant developments.

Which says a lot……

Image count in 2015 - 6281 images

2016 – the year I became a blogger

Winchester School of Art by Rick McEvoy Architectural Photographer.jpg

Winchester School of Art by Rick McEvoy Architectural Photographer.jpg

The year I decided to write a daily photography blog. This was a key year, as it was the start of the process of raising the bar in terms of the standard of my writing.

Like a lot of things the more you practice the better you get. The daily discipline was good for me, forcing me to produce daily output. And when you put that kind of pressure on yourself it focuses the mind.

I found that I enjoyed writing quite a lot.

And I had another surprise when I started writing regularly – writing helped me put things in order, make sense of things, plan and record my thoughts

Writing was becoming a useful tool, and that is a great thing for a photographer to have – a very valuable second string that could be used to expand out the photographs that I have created.

I had a feeling that the writing was taking me to other places, down different avenues, opening up new opportunities.

On the down side I was trying to progress my professional photography qualifications, but was struggling with my portfolio. I could not come up with a set of images that I was happy with. After making my initial enquiries to the BIPP I failed to progress my application.

Whilst my writing, as well as my commercial photography work were developing well I still had too much other stuff going on distracting me.

I had not found that focus that I needed.

iPad joys

Another new thing for me this year was my iPad Pro – a present from the wonderful Mrs M. This opened up lots of new things for me, principally

  • Lightroom Mobile (not on my phone). This was the big significant change.
  • Cloud syncing stuff to work on anywhere/ anytime
  • Processing images whilst sat on my sofa
  • And an extension of the new worked that my iPhone had opened up for me.
  • Changing how I work – there are things that are easier to do on my iPad, and things that are easier to do on my PC.

Last thing for 2016 was the introduction of my new backup strategy. A comprehensive, secure three-point back up using

  • An external hard drive containing all my images
  • Cloud back up
  • Offsite hard drive back up.

Image count in 2017 - 6342 images

2017 – Santorini opened my eyes

The wonderful island of Santorini at sunrise

The wonderful island of Santorini at sunrise

Last year. So much happened last year.

I started off the year having maintained my daily blog output. A full year of daily posts, with only the odd glitch.

I had the Associateship hangover though, sat there in the background irritating me, niggling away.

And then Santorini happened

2017 was the year I was treated by Mrs M to 5 days photographing on the stunning island of Santorini.

This has provided me with a fantastic range of over 100 images that I am proud to have captured and produced.

I spent the early mornings capturing the sunrises, the daytime exploring the towns and the evenings capturing the sunsets.

All with a pair of red shoes.

This was another new beginning for me – this gave me a taste of something else I really want to do – take photos of nice places. Why? Well we love our travel and our holidays, and going to nice places to take photos is such a joy for me.

I have written a lot of posts about my photos of Santorini, on my blog and elsewhere. It was the first time that I had a dedicated set of images from one location to work on. Processing these image took from April 2017 to June 2018 – there is a good reason for this.

I wanted to do something different with these images, something useful, of value, and something that I could use as a template for other trips.

When you get to 2018 you will find out what I have done with those photos of Santorini.

Another thing that happened ot me in 2018 was that I secured my biggest commercial commission. I was commissioned to photograph 10 sites by the architects Etchingham Morris Architecture Limited. I met with the two partners, Adrian and Mike, showed them some of the work I have done, and won the commission. My portfolio was in collections in Lightroom Mobile on my iPad Pro.

A wonderul interior photographed for the architect

A wonderul interior photographed for the architect

Interior photography by Rick McEvoy ABIPP

Interior photography by Rick McEvoy ABIPP

The 10 sites were photographed over a period of 4 months, and form a big part of my portfolio – again check 2018 for more about this.

Improve Photography writing.

I have written the following articles in Improve Photography

Want to be an architectural photographer? Read my guide here
10 Tips on getting work as an architectural photographer
5 Photography Mistakes I Keep On Making
10 ways to Improve your Photography in 2018
An Introduction to Lightroom for New Photographers
My Top 20 Photography Tips for Taking Better Photographs
10 tips for planning an architectural photography shoot
My Review of the Rode VideoMic Me
What gear do I use for my architectural photography? Find out here
10 baffling photography acronyms explained in actual English
How I take my architectural photography images – a detailed explanation
How to manage your data in Lightroom securely and efficiently
Santorini sunrise – how I captured and processed the shot
SEO for photographers websites – 10 things to think about
19 things for a client to do before you photograph their house
How I process my architectural photography images
Full frame DSLR photography without breaking the bank – this is how I do it
10 photography things I wish I’d known 10 years ago
These are 5 things I use Photoshop for – no layers required!

Most have been well received, but my article on Photoshop received a bit of criticism. Read that post and then go back to the pre 2011 and you will see what I was struggling with pre 2011, with the realization in 2018/ 2018 of why.

Writing for Improve Photography gave mean online platform of more than 1 million people, which is quite scary when you write that down.

That kind of readership gave me the credibility to ask companies to send me things to review – the first item being the

Rode Video Mic Me

Which Rode kindly sent me all the way from Australia.

This prompted me to contact other manufacturers and suppliers, and hopefully more product reviews will be forthcoming.

Last thing for 2017 was my intention to significantly improve my video production. I have to be honest and say that I have not managed to do that, although I have invested in the wonderful DJI Osmo Mobile, which I have dabbled with. This is something I need to get stuck into in 2018, although at the time of writing this has still not happened.

Image count in 2017 - 6342 images

2018 – where am I now?

I am writing this in June/ July 2018. Yes it took me a while to capture this little lot and make sense of what I am trying to say.

Things are looking very different for me in 2018. Evolution has taken me to where I am now, and to the plans I am working on now.

And it feels good doing rather than floundering.

My professional photography qualifications

Rick McEvoy ABIPP - Qualified Associate

Rick McEvoy ABIPP - Qualified Associate

I am now an ABIPP – Associate of the British Institute of Professional Photography. And I am very very happy with that. And this is why I have posted all 40 images from my portfolio – just because I can and I want to share my portfolio with the whole world.

And here is the press release for this momentous occasion.

“Issued: June 2018

For Immediate Release

Local Photographer Gains International Qualification with BIPP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

##Ends##

Notes to Editors:

  • Contact: Jack Goward, 01296 642020, jack@bipp.com
  • The British Institute of Professional Photography (BIPP) is an internationally recognised qualifying organisation with over 100 years of experience in qualifying and supporting photographers. The core aims of BIPP are to qualify and support professional photographers, through a network of meetings, awards, training and benefits.
  • The BIPP is a not for profit body, run by photographers for photographers.
  • The BIPP has been fighting for and protecting photographers’ rights since 1901. 
  • The BIPP has over 2,800 members worldwide covering all disciplines of photography.

  • Rick McEvoy ABIPP, sales@rickmcevoyphotography.co.uk , rickmcevoyphotography.com

And what next? Fellowship. Hmmmmm – will come back to that one in a couple of years. I do have some ideas of course….

Back to 2018 and my website(s)

This year I have gone from a website with the URL

Http://www.rickmcevoyphotography.co.uk/

To this

Https://rickmcevoyphotography.com

Why have I done this?

As a writer on Improve Photography I have the luxury of having direct access to the creator of that very successful website, Jim Harmer.

During an exchange of emails Jim suggested that a .com URL was more meaningful than a .co.uk URL. More meaningful to the worldwide photography community that is, which makes perfect sense.

I made the change and watched the web traffic plummet.

So I reverted back to .co.uk. And received further advice, which was this.

Tell Google Search Console about the change and wait and see – the traffic should come back after such a major change.

That is what I did – I am currently waiting for the 6-week recovery period to arrive, which I will write about in two weeks.

Web traffic plummeted. This is after a steady period of growth - a very steady period of growth.

Even worse.

But time will tell....

And now my website - photos of Santorini

Photos of Santorini by Rick McEvoy - travel photographer

Photos of Santorini by Rick McEvoy - travel photographer

And now I have my first standalone website which is being gradually populated with images. The website is called

Photos of Santorini - the URL is (imaginatively) www.photosofsantorini.com

I was not expecting to get that URL but there it was for just over £20 for two years!

Time to teach myself Wordpress I guess. This is the next job, getting the website and images onto this brand new website.

Once I have done this, and finished editing the photos of Santorini I am going to leave this and see what happens.

This is my next big evolution, and one that no doubt I will be writing about a lot in the future.

Now that this post is written it is back to my photos of Santorini until they are finished and my Photos of Santorini website is done and put to bed.

I want to continue on the paths I have embarked on in 2019, for now I am going to carry on making 2018 the best I can.

Thinking time - nearly forgot this - very important

I have heard this referred to as CEO time on some podcasts. The point is this. I have found myself bogged down with all sorts of things all over the place.

I gave myself a break and got things clear in my head and everything structured.

And documented all.

My thinking time has given me a structure where I can organise thoughts and new information without trying to keep it all in my head.

This has freed my thinking to allow me to be much much more productive and effective.

Take time out, take a step back and give yourself time to think about what you are doing.

This really helped me tremendously.

Podcast update

What am I listening to now?

  • Peta Pixel
  • No Name Photo Show
  • Solopreneur Hour
  • Ask Pat 2.0
  • Tailenders
  • BBC 4 Comedy of the week
  • Test match Special
  • The Grid
  • The Togcast
  • This Week in Photo
  • Flintoff, Savage and the Ping Pong Guy
  • Creative Marketing Show
  • Entrepreneurs on Fire
  • Smart Passive Income

I am now listening to a mix of photography news, cricket and business podcasts. Nowhere near as much photography as I used to listen to – I think I overdid it 2 year ago and am now saturated but informed!

Image count for 2018 - 1526 - well down on 2017!

And what of 2019?

Keep going with my chosen niche paths.

Summary of how I have evolved as a photographer

I would like to summarise this post by saying that we all need to try things to work out what we want to do. It is fine to try things and fail.

And you have to go through the things that are not relevant to find the things that are – that is just the learning curve we all have to go through.

Once you have a plan that is sound and takes account of what you have learnt and where you want to get follow that path consistently Of course things change over time but the main point of this is that I have made the most progress when I have spent time doing the things I have thought long and hard about doing.

What am I focusing on now?

  • Architectural photography
  • Travel photography

That is it.

I have niched down.

Lets see where this takes me in 2019!

Thank you for reading this post, which I hope you will helpful when thinking how you can evolve as a photographer in the future.

Please ask any questions either in the comments field, or by email

Rick McEvoy Photography – Photographer, writer, blogger.

Today on the Improve Photography website - These are 5 things I use Photoshop for – no layers required!

Rick McEvoy ABIPP - Photographer

Rick McEvoy ABIPP - Photographer

Controversial I know but this is a follow on from my last article titled 10 photography things I wish I’d known 10 years ago.

Now there was a bit of a reaction to my statement about not getting layers, but I did not see this as a reason to not go ahead with my thoughts.

Rick McEvoy ABIPP - Photographer

Rick McEvoy ABIPP - Photographer

I have spent a lot of time trying to learn things in Photoshop that I have never needed.

Layers is the thing that I have never understood - for me Lightroom is so good I don't need layers in Photoshop, and I want to get that message out there.

The article goes live at 5pm UK time - check it out on the Improve Photography website. Tomorrow I will provide a link to the actual published article, as well as any initial feedback I receive.

Rick McEvoy ABIPP - Photographer

​A few thoughts on the interior photos from my architectural photography portfolio

That was the 20 interior images from my architectural photography portfolio – what have I learned?

I was meant to provide a bit of a break after the 20 interior images in my architectural photography portfolio. I missed that but no matter, I will do that just now after image number 25. Lets just pretend that I did this 5 days ago…..

Why am I posting my Architectural Photography Portfolio now?

As a reminder, I submitted 40 images to the BIPP to support my application for Associateship Membership, which was successful.

My interior photography

I really enjoy photographing the interiors of buildings and have been very fortunate to photograph some very special buildings for architects and property owners.

There is something about photographing a lovely room in a classic English Country house which I just love. And processing the images is a joy too.

And my recent work gave me plenty of interior photographs to chose from.

My evolution as a photographer

I will write a full post about my evolution over the 7 years that it has taken to create the images which constitute my professional architectural photography portfolio. I will do this after I have posted and written about all the 40 images on my photography blog.

Back to the interiors

For now, I want to focus on the interior images, and give a few thoughts on some of these 20 images.

The first image in my portfolio was captured in 2011.

This was a bit of a landmark image for me. I was commissioned by the architect Andrew Stone to photograph a private library which he designed and oversaw the construction of. The library was an extension to a stunning Dorset country residence.

This shoot, and the set of images that I produced, really got me wanting to do more of this kind of photography work. This was the beginning of me starting to find my way. The beginning of starting.

And this photo was taken with my Canon 5D, still a great camera even now. Don’t forget that if you want a full frame DLSR but are on a budget.

And the wine rack

Wine rack in Lucca by Travel Photographer Rick McEvoy.jpg

We were waling down one of those lovely streets in Lucca, and I spotted this fantastic wall to wall wine rack, so I walked in, took the photo and walked out!

This was another photo taken with my Canon 5D.

And this picture was the beginning of another thought about a way I could go forward commercially with my photography.

And this is the only personal shot in this collection of 20 interior photography images – all the rest are paid commercial work.

Photo of a luxury kitchen in Sandbanks

Well when I say paid commercial work the next image should have been, but things did not work out as planned. I met the agent at this stunning waterside property in Sandbanks in Poole, took a few test shots, discussed the brief then it all went pear shaped.

Kitchen by Rick McEvoy Interior Photographer.jpg

This photo was taken in 2014, using my recently purchased Canon 6D. I replaced the 5D with the 6D after a problem caused entirely by me with the Canon 5D.

The next two images were taken for the architects Kendall Kingscott.

Interior space at the University of Southampton by interior photographer Rick McEvoy.jpg

This is a rest area at the University of Southampton. I was photographing two entirely refurbished floors of one of the University’s buildings in Southampton City Centre – this was my favourite shot. I find shots of small parts of a large space are often more interesting than the big open plan wide shots that everyone wants, and indeed needs.

And now for the brightest classroom in Poole!

A new classroom in Poole by Rick McEvoy interior photographer.jpg

And this is a photo is of a new classroom at a school in Poole, constructed for the client, the Borough of Poole.

I wanted to capture that big bright sun in a shot, which took two return visits to achieve – one of the problems of photographing recently constructed buildings which are rapidly handed back and turned into use within days of completion.

Thankfully I am used to this.

And the rest of the images in my interior set

The rest of the images in the interiors half of my photography portfolio are taken from a single commission for the architects Etchingham Morris Architecture Limited. When I first met Adrian and Mike they did not have a website, so they commissioned me to photograph 10 of their projects for them. In the end it was 11 projects – there was a late addition early in 2018.

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

Again, this commission gave me access to some fantastic, special buildings. I cannot say any more about the properties, as client confidentiality is very important to me, but the images hopefully speak for themselves.

Games room by  Rick McEvoy Interior Photographer 161017 043.jpg

I won’t include all the images in this post – there are in my daily blog posts. You can also view all the images on my portfolio page – insert link

My professional photography qualification - ABIPP

BIPP qualified logo ABIPP Black.jpg

Tomorrow I will be back to my architectural photography posts. I have said it before but I will say it again – I am tremendously proud to have achieved the designation of Associateship in the British Institute of Professional Photography – this is why I am posting my portfolio set in celebration.

I qualified as a Licentiate Member in 2014, and deferred my application for Associateship last year as I was not happy with the set of images.

Why I submitted my application to the BIPP for Associateship when I did

It was when I set the targets for my photography business for 2018 that I decided to pursue my application again. I cunningly set myself the target of achieving my ABIPP in 2018. That worked, giving me the metaphorical kick up the you know what that I clearly needed.

Well this and the fact that I had lots more images to a much higher standard that I was much happier with.

BIPP qualified logo ABIPP White.jpg

So that is what I did. Goal achieved – ABIPP. Insert logo to the right

ABIPP is defined by the BIPP as

“A high standard of craftsmanship and creative ability”

Yep – that is me now. How utterly excellent.

OK I will shut up now and tomorrow it is back to the portfolio for another 15 days.

Rick McEvoy ABIPP - A high standard of craftsmanship and creative ability

20 tips for photographers - things I wish I had known when I started my journey in photography

It took me a while to come up with this title. I wanted to encapsulate this entire subject in one line.

Alternative titles were

  • 20 things I wish I had known when I started my journey in photography

  • 20 pieces of advice for new photographers

  • 20 tips for photographers – things I wish I knew

  • 20 things I have learned which will help you grow as a photographer

I went with the title at the top, which I hope explains what I am going to write about in this post.

I wanted to write about 20 things that I wish I had known when I started taking my photography seriously, with a view to be it being my primary source of income at some point in the future. For me this was in the year 2007.

These are 20 things that I have learned along the way, which I hope will help you in your journey in photography.

These are all my own opinions, based on my experiences in the last 11 years.

I hope you find them helpful.

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

They are in no particular order, just the way things came out of my head.

These are the 20 things

  1. Don’t worry about the gear

  2. Second hand gear is fine

  3. Learn about composition

  4. Get off the computer and get out there

  5. Take less photos

  6. Take more photos in interesting places.

  7. Forget layers in Photoshop

  8. Start with Lightroom

  9. Learn Lightroom properly (before trying anything else)

  10. Get honest critiques of your work

  11. Join a professional body

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

  13. Practice, practice, practice. And fail. Fail lots.

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

  15. Listen to podcasts

  16. Start a blog

  17. Buy a tripod

  18. Don’t worry about social media

  19. Follow your own mind, dreams and ambitions

  20. Enjoy it

1 – Don’t worry about the gear

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

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

I have been using my Canon 6D for well over 4 years now, and it still produces great images. I have images in my portfolio that were taken with my 12 mega pixel Canon 5D. And do you know what – you cannot tell that they were taken with a 10-year-old camera.

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

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

Peak Design Evryday Backpack 22052018.PNG

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

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

It looks like this.

In it I carry the following

Canon 6D

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

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

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

Not forgetting my Neewer Loupe Viewer.

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

Peak Design Everyday Backpack on location in Santorini

Peak Design Everyday Backpack on location in Santorini

Canon 6D, Canon 17-40mm lens, Platypod Pro

Canon 6D, Canon 17-40mm lens, Platypod Pro

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

Read this article on Improve Photography

Read this article on Improve Photography

2 – Second hand gear is fine

The first full frame DSLR I bought was a Canon 5D. I bought it from a photographer who had not had it long but had a change of heart and decided to stay with medium format.

That camera worked faultlessly for my formative years as a photographer, and I used this great camera on many commercial jobs.

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

And a slight aside here but an important point all the same – lenses hold their value incredibly well.

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

3 – Learn about composition

Classic lines in this compostion for an architect

Classic lines in this compostion for an architect

This is the number 1 mistake I made for years and years. I was too busy looking at what gear to buy next and taking photos without really thinking about composition.

What happened?

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

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

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

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

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

Composition is king.

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

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

If you take two things from this I will be happy.

Forget the gear.

Work on composition.

If you are happy to read on, then thank you.

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

And Associateship is defined by the BIPP as

“A high standard of craftsmanship and creative ability”

And all those years on from the initial critique, all I was asked to change by Bryn was the white balance to some of my interior images – that was it.

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

Composition on a architectural photgraphy shoot

Composition on a architectural photgraphy shoot

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

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

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

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

Me on location in Santorini

Me on location in Santorini

4 – Get off the computer and get out there

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

Now I know we all need to practice to learn Lightroom but please give this some thought – apply some structure to your learning and you will progress in leaps and bounds. Do not do what I did, which basically was keep on doing the same things to more and more images, or you will stagnate.

I did.

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

Sunrise on Santorini by Rick McEvoy travel photography

Sunrise on Santorini by Rick McEvoy travel photography

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

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

5 – Take less photos

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am not saying get out and photograph the most often photographed locations. For me that would be Durdle Door, which I have photographed twice.

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

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

Delph Woods, Poole - landscape photography in Dorset

Delph Woods, Poole - landscape photography in Dorset

But do not restrict yourself to the headline locations. I hear tales of lines of photographers at the headline locations standing shoulder to shoulder all taking the same image!

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

7 – Forget layers in Photoshop

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

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

All I use in Photoshop is the following

  • Clone stamp tool

  • Patch tool

  • Healing brush

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

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

I do as much work as possible in Lightroom – when I need to go into Photoshop I select Edit in Photoshop, and Lightroom sends the image to Photoshop. Once I am done I hit save and the image appears next to the original image sent to Lightroom.

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

I therefore do not need to worry about undoing the work I have done in Photoshop, as it is so minimal I can just do it again and produce another new Tif file.

This is why I don’t need layers, and why it doesn’t bother me either.

8 – Start with Lightroom – just Lightroom

Adobe Lightroom Classic 7.3 on my PC

Adobe Lightroom Classic 7.3 on my PC

Start with Lightroom. Don’t try anything else. Use Lightroom to organise your photos – the Library Module is incredibly powerful, and as far as I am concerned is the best software to use to catalogue your photos. I have been using Lightroom for over 10 years now and can honestly say that the latest version of Lightroom Classic is the best.

And once you have done this why edit your photos anywhere else?

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

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

9 – Learn Lightroom properly before trying anything else

I started using Lightroom, and at the same time discovered the wonderful world of plug-ins. I bought the following

  • Photomatix Pro

  • Topaz Labs

  • On One Perfect Suite

  • Nik Collection

  • PT Gui

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

And I played around with them, without ever mastering any of them.

And this was at the same time as trying to learn how to use Lightroom.

And when I got an iPad Pro I got even more stuff

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

Lightroom

And when needed Photoshop

And Lightroom Mobile

Lightroom Mobile is an essential tool, which syncs with Lightroom Classic on my desktop.

10 – Get honest critiques of your work

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

Social media is a minefield, and not to be relied on for feedback on images. You have to remember that people scrolling through endless photos are probably liking your photo in the hope that you will see this and like one of theirs. And they have liked many other photos, giving each one equal time, care and attention – a second if you are lucky.

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

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

This is another important point – learn something, then make sure you act on it. If you don’t act on something you learn you might as well have not bothered learning it in the first place!

11 – Join a professional body

BIPP qualified logo ABIPP Black.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Last month I managed to gain my Associateship, ABIPP. This is defined by the BIPP as

“A high standard of craftsmanship and creative ability”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is the point of going to a location and taking the same photos everyone else already has? And more to the point are doing at the same time as you?

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

I don’t.

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

I will give you an example here.

Santorini

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

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

Apart from that my research was all done out on location. I basically walked around potential locations on arrival and chose my spot for the first sunrise.I didn’t come across another photographer anywhere. Apart from one coach party that arrived too late for the pre-sunrise wonders that I witnessed.

Santorini by Rick McEvoy ABIPP travel photographer

Santorini by Rick McEvoy ABIPP travel photographer

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

Santorini sunset by Rick McEvoy ABIPP - Travel Photographer

Santorini sunset by Rick McEvoy ABIPP - Travel Photographer

OK it was not by luck that this was the view from our room!

13 – Practice, practice, practice. And fail.

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

I have probably spent 10,000 hours in Lightroom – I don’t suggest you do that by the way.

I am taking about getting out and taking photos.

And don’t be afraid of failing. Failing is one of the best ways of learning.

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

Here are 14 quotes about failure from the inspirational James Dyson, which I have extracted from the website Logo Maker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And look what happened to him…..

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

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

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

This piece of advice will hopefully help.

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

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

And achieving nothing.

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

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

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

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

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

Check out the book How to be a Productivity Ninja by Graham Allcott

15 – Listen to podcasts

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

  • Improve Photography

  • Peta Pixel

  • The Togcast

  • The Grid

  • This Week in Photo

  • The No Name Photo Show

  • RAW Talk

  • Six Figure Photography

  • Creative Marketing Show

  • He Shoots He Draws

  • The Sprouting Photographer

None photography podcasts that I enjoy

  • Beyond Busy

  • The Solopreneur Hour

  • Voom Podcast

  • Smart Passive Income

  • BBC Friday Night Comedy

  • The Danny Baker Show

  • Flintoff, Savage and the Ping Pong Guy

  • Test Match Special

  • Tailenders (I am a massive cricket fan)

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

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

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

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

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

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

And I watch blind photo critiques on The Grid when I make it onto the cross trainer

Talk about efficiency!

16 – Start a blog

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

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

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

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

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

17 – Buy a tripod

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

And it was heavy.

And guess what?

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

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

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

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

Canon 6D on Platypod Ultra, Dorset

Canon 6D on Platypod Ultra, Dorset

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

Manfrotto tripod on location on an architectectural photography shoot, Dorset

Manfrotto tripod on location on an architectectural photography shoot, Dorset

Manfrotto 190 Go tripod on location in Santorini

Manfrotto 190 Go tripod on location in Santorini

The geared head is essential for composing architectural images.

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

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

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

This ties back to what I said earlier about composition and taking less photos.

18 – Don’t worry about social media

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

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

Someone please tell me why?

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

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

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

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

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

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

19 – Follow your own mind, dreams and ambitions

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

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

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

I set some targets for my photography business for 2018, which you can read here. And since I set them things have changed, and one of the targets I am not doing at all – I have a different way of achieving what I want to but my own way.

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

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

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

20 – Enjoy it

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

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

But guess what?

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

Last month I witnessed this sunrise from the beach in Altea in Spain. And also saw this stunning church at sunrise on another morning.

Sunrise in Altea, Spain by Rick McEvoy Travel Photographer

Sunrise in Altea, Spain by Rick McEvoy Travel Photographer

The church on the hill at sunrise, Altea, Spain

The church on the hill at sunrise, Altea, Spain

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Get the best gear you can afford.

  2. Only get the gear you need.

  3. Don’t get any more gear.

  4. Have one bag you can carry comfortably.

  5. Get and use a tripod.

  6. Get out and shoot.

  7. Learn Lightroom.

  8. Practice. Fail.

  9. Learn.

  10. Enjoy.

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

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I am a photographer based in Dorset specialising in

Architectural photography

Commercial photography

Industrial photography

Landscape Photography

Travel Photography

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

And also on being a photography blogger and all-round internet marketeer.

Rick McEvoy ABIPP, MCIOB – Rick McEvoy Photography – Photography Blogger