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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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

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

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

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

What did you think about the new set of images on my home page?

I have had a rethink. Some of these images have to go I’m afraid. Is this image of the pipes with the green background some of my best work?

Pipes in a plant room in a new hospital building in Poole

Pipes in a plant room in a new hospital building in Poole

Of course it isn’t.

I know what I was thinking – I wanted to show a broad range of images, demonstrating my understanding all aspects of construction photography.

Few people enter into the wonderful world that is a plant room, and I suggest even fewer take photos in there.

And there is probably a reason for that.

That image has to go.

And I have to ask myself the question – what is the set of images on my home page meant to represent?

My best work at the moment.

The range of specialist photography services I offer.

My best work at the moment.

The pipe picture has to go. I am going to lose three more images, getting back down to 12. Thinking a bit more about this, I am going to reduce down to 10 images per page. 12 is a hang up from the time when I had a grid view.

OK – 10 images it is.

And as to the range of specialist photography services I offer?

Architectural photography

Construction photography

Construction product photography

Industrial photography

Interior Photography

Property photography

And that is it.

There are other things I do, but my website exists to offer those services to the clients I will write about tomorrow.

Those 16 new images have taken me down a bit of a wormhole, but a good one I have to say!

Rick McEvoy Photography

The Guided Upright tool in Lightroom CC - is it better than manual correction of verticals?

Yes.

I have just tried it on a series of architectural photography images I am working on in Lightroom. Or Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC to be complete and correct. As is often the case I will not be posting these images.

I am actually writing this post whilst I wait for the 6 final edits to appear in Lightroom Mobile on my iPad Pro.

I have just tried the Guided Upright feature again having found it too fiddly before. What I want from this tool is for it to be

  • quicker
  • as accurate
  • and easier to use

than the manual corrections tools.

And it is.

Here they are the images now so off I go.

But before I do, if you havent tried the Guided Upright Tool in the Transform Panel in Lightroom Classic give it a go. Check out this artcile for a little bit more info from the Adobe Blog.

Rick McEvoy Photography - Lightroom Quick Tips

Is Lightroom Classic quicker? And what is going on with Photoshop?

I have just completed a large architectural photography commission spanning four counties and 10 locations. The shoot was commissioned by an architect.

Everything went really well, and I really enjoyed this commission.

The only downside was that I had to endure the shortcomings of Lightroom Classic and Photoshop CC, which between them caused me endless problems, lost time, missed deadlines and huge heaps of frustration.

The question is this – where do I go from here?

If Photoshop and Lightroom were working consistently and with the new speed improvements promised by the release of Lightroom Classic I would not be considering going anywhere else.

When it works I love Lightroom. And it has worked fine since Lightroom Classic was released, but there are times when it slows down to a grinding halt. Last night at 10.30pm having slaved over 30 images for several hours over several days my PC finally and completely crashed – this was caused by Lightroom and/ or Photoshop – I know this as nothing else was open

Seriously 10.30 at night and this happened.

So I rebooted everything, started Lightroom and Photoshop and off I went again processing images as though nothing had happened.

What is going on?

What has happened to Photoshop?

The question is this -  what do I do next? Something needs to change here.

My options are as follows.

Switch to the Lightroom CC

Not an option as I wrote about earlier on this week - check out this blog post for the headline reasons why Lightroom CC is not an option for me.

Go back a version of Lightroom.

Now this is not a bad option. I of course shouldn’t have to do this, and need to remember the reason I went for the Lightroom Classic upgrade (if I can call it that) was that I was having so many problems with the previous version of Lightroom that I was desperate for a quick fix to help me do my work.

Get rid of Lightroom altogether

Failing that I get rid of Lightroom altogether and go with something else – this I really do not want to do, especially as I need Photoshop for my architectural photography work. I use it on every image.

And the small matter of having nearly 60,000 photographs in a Lightroom Catalogue with all that metadata attached to lots and lots of files.

  • Edit data
  • Keywords
  • Titles and captions
  • Ratings

I really don’t want to start again with something else.

So what am I going to do?

I am going to get in touch with Adobe and ask them. Lets see what they say?

Seems like a logical starting place before embarking on a significant change to the core and day to day management and workings of my photography business.

Rick McEvoy Photography

An update on how Lightroom Classic is performing as I work through a set of architectural photography images

I am working on a set of 45 architectural photography images in Lightroom.

Digression warning!

Sorry. This thought came to me as I was working on these images.

I might have not mentioned this before, but I do not process each image completely then move onto the next one. I work sideways though the panels.

Thinking about it I don’t know if that is normal or not - I will explain this in another post on another day.

Apologies for this aside to today’s update on Lightroom Classic following the recent major upgrade to Lightroom CC.

Basicaly Lightroom Classic is, from my experience, much much quicker than the former version of Lightroom CC.

Import is much quicker once you know about the secret update to the import process - embedded and sidecar. Image culling and sorting, and in my case stacking bracketed sets, is also much quicker. 

HDR Merge is much quicker. I managed 29 images at once - yes it took a while but that is loads better than with the older version.

So thats the good news. Now for some not so good news.

The spot removal tool is now useable. I say useable, as it was so poor I was forced to do this work in Photoshop, and having got used to the power of Photoshop I still prefer to clean up images in Photoshop. Spot removal in Lightroom is not great, and nothing like it is in Photoshop.

Which is a shame.  

And the other thing I have noticed, which I hope Adobe are aware of, is that the transform adjustments are anything but slick and smooth. Once I make an adjustment Lightroom Classic seems to have a wobble, the screen goes funny, and then it settles down again and does what I have asked it to do. 

Hopefully just a bug. 

Overall though Lightroom Classic is, in my opinion after working with it a lot over the last couple of weeks, much much better so that is excellent news.

I will post a further update next week - lots more things to do. And I must have a go at the New luminosity masking feature, which is very exciting to me. 

Rick McEvoy Photography - Quick Tips in Lightroom 

As featured on the Improve Photography website

Yep, "As featured on the Improve Photography website". Two appearances yesterday, the first in the article by Jim Harmer, the founder of Improve Photography, called “Meet the writers of ImprovePhotography.com”. The second I will write about tomorrow.

Yes - I am a writer on Improve Photography. I have started with a series of arcticles all about architectural photography, which I will write about separately.

This is an exciting opportunity for me to write about photography to a huge audience all around the world - Improve Photography has over 1 million social media followers! Slightly more than follow my blog.....

And don't be put off by the name Improve Photography - this is for photographers at all levels. I am writing a series of articles about architectural photography, but am still learning from tutorials on Improve Photography Plus such as "Master Real Estate Photography in 2 hours flat".

Now if I sound like I am writing an advert for Improve Photography then I guess I am, but the Improve Photography Podcast is one of the few photography podcasts that I still listen to since i got into podcast listening three years ago. I have listened to every available episode of this podcast.

I am delighted to be one of the contributors to this website, and have greatly enjoyed writing my first two articles, forgetting that the publicaion date for the second article was a week earlier than I thought (entirely my fault) but it was all good in the end.

Check out the website, the training and the podcasts, and defintiely check out my articles on there, which I will write a bit more about tomorrow.

Rick McEvoy Photography

So why should you choose me to photograph your building? Here are 10 reasons to start with!

I hope that you have enjoyed seeing the selection of work on my architectural photographer web page.

I will post all 12 images tomorrow – just the images, no waffle from me.

I would like to summarise the posts of the last couple of weeks, and answer the question – why should you choose me to photograph your building?

Here are 10 reasons, which I hope are enough for you to get in touch with me.

1 – I am a Chartered Builder - MCIOB

I have a lifetime of professional experience in the construction industry.

2 – I am professionally qualified in photographer – LBIPP

I am a Licentiate in the British Institute of Photographers. What does LBIPP mean? According to the BIPP website LBIPP is an

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

So that’s all good then. And that was a couple of years ago to be fair, and my photography work has developed rather a lot since then.

3 – My photography equipment

I use specialist equipment. The equipment I use for my architectural photography work has been refined over the years, giving me very specific equipment for specific subjects, locations and environments.

4 – I love photographing architecture

This is not a job I hate doing. I love buildings, architecture, interiors and indeed construction sites. So, you get a big bundle of enthusiasm when you commission me. And you know what they say about people who enjoy what they do?

5 – My creative eye

I have an eye for light, details, composition, tones and textures. And details. I view things as a photographer. And, I view things as a construction professional. A great combination for an architectural photographer!

6 – My business skills

I have worked professionally in construction for over 30 years, have two companies of my own, and I am my businesses. There is just me to deal with, and if I do not do great work that people want I don’t get paid. It really is that simple!

7 – Personal service

You deal with me. Only me. All the way through from start to finish. I take the photos and I edit the photos – there is no outsourcing anywhere.

8 - Image processing

Architectural photography is a specialised, technical discipline. Pictures of buildings must be technically correct, with straight lines and correct colours but also looking natural.

And this is my specialism.

9 – My personality

I like people. I have spent a lifetime working in the construction industry, and get on with people at all levels.

10 – My professionalism

I pride myself on providing a high quality professional service on every job. I am not cheap, and if you are after the cheapest photographer it will not be me, but I provide high quality pictures and a high-quality service.

There you have it. 10 reasons why you should choose me to photograph your building. 

You can get in touch by phone, email or via my contact page - I really don't mind - just get in touch. 

Rick McEvoy PhotographyArchitectural photographer Bournemouth, Poole, Sandbanks, London, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Hampshire, Somerset, Wiltshire

An introduction to the next new page on my website - my very important architectural photographer web page.

Yesterday I posted the same post about my interior photographer page as I did on Wednesday. I have no idea why.

Moving on, it should have been an introduction to my new architectural photographer page.

Over the next 12 days I will be writing about the new set of 12 images on this page of my website, all about architectural photography.

Whilst I was writing the text for this page I did ask myself the question – what is architectural photography?

Wikipedia is always up there in Google searches, and says

“Architectural photography is the photographing of buildings and similar structures that are both aesthetically pleasing and accurate representations of their subjects. Architectural photographers are usually skilled in the use of specialised techniques and equipment.”

This is the Wikipedia link.

This is one definition.

Thinking a bit further about this, architecture is defined in the English Oxford Living Dictionaries as  as

“The art or practice of designing and constructing buildings”.

Hmmm. Designing and constructing buildings. I like that as a definition. Not that there is anything wrong with the Wikipedia definition, it is just the point about being aesthetically pleasing. There is much more to it than that.

Architectural photography covers not only the aesthetics but also the form function, as well as the context.

I think I was going to focus on architectural details but I am going to broaden out my image set.

I will extract something from this web page – no point writing it again is there?

I wrote a list of 10 reasons why you should consider me to photograph your building for you;

“1 – I am a Chartered Builder - MCIOB

I have a lifetime of professional experience in the construction industry.

2 – I am professionally qualified in photographer – LBIPP

I am a Licentiate in the British Institute of Photographers. What does LBIPP mean? According to the BIPP website LBIPP is an

“Entry level qualification, showing an established professional level of skill and competence”. So that’s all good then. And that was a couple of years ago to be fair, and my photography work has developed rather a lot since then.

3 – My photography equipment

I use specialist equipment. The equipment I use for my architectural photography work has been refined over the years, giving me very specific equipment for specific subjects, locations and environments.

4 – I love photographing architecture

This is not a job I hate doing. I love buildings, architecture, interiors and indeed construction sites. So, you get a big bundle of enthusiasm when you commission me. And you know what they say about people who enjoy what they do?

5 – My creative eye

I have an eye for light, details, composition, tones and textures. And details. I view things as a photographer. And, I view things as a construction professional. A great combination for an architectural photographer!

6 – My business skills

I have worked professionally in construction for over 30 years, have two companies of my own, and I am my businesses. There is just me to deal with, and if I do not do great work that people want I don’t get paid. It really is that simple!

7 – Personal service

You deal with me. Only me. All the way through from start to finish. I take the photos and I edit the photos – there is no outsourcing anywhere.

8 - Image processing

Architectural photography is a specialised, technical discipline. Pictures of buildings must be technically correct, with straight lines and correct colours but also looking natural.

And this is my specialism.

9 – My personality

I like people. I have spent a lifetime working in the construction industry, and get on with people at all levels.

10 – My professionalism

I pride myself on providing a high quality professional service on every job. I am not cheap, and if you are after the cheapest photographer it will not be me, but I provide high quality pictures and a high-quality service.”

Convinced?

Time to get in touch with me?

I hope so.

I hope that that you are convinced that I am the right person to speak to about your architectural photography enquiry – if so then please get in touch with me by

Phone - 07772252186

Email - sales@rickmcevoyphotography.co.uk

Contact page

As I said over the next 12 days you will see 12 architectural photography images all taken and processed by me.

Rick McEvoy MCIOB, LBIPP

Bournemouth, Poole, Sandbanks, London, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Hampshire, Somerset, Wiltshire

How many versions of one image are enough? Lots I say – why not play around with an image and see what you come up with?

Why not indeed?

My image of the week for this week was this picture of the Battistero di San Giovanni in Pisa. A magnificent structure.

Picture of the Battistero di San Giovanni In Pisa by Rick McEvoy Architectural Photographer

Picture of the Battistero di San Giovanni In Pisa by Rick McEvoy Architectural Photographer

You know, the one that I came across when I was looking for something else.

That is the benefit of not having the perfect Lightroom Catalogue – there are always surprises in there. Seriously I wish my Lightroom Catalogue was more organised but it isn’t.

Going back to this image. Here is a different version of the image where I have increased the exposure by 2 stops.

Well why not? I fancied a break from the intense stuff I am working on at the moment.

Brighter version of the picture of the Battistero di San Giovanni In Pisa

Brighter version of the picture of the Battistero di San Giovanni In Pisa

Don’t tell anyone but I enjoy editing architectural photography images. Even more so when it is just experimenting, playing around in Photoshop and Lightroom.

When I am trying to collate a set of 12 images for my architectural photographer page that is fine, but has deadlines attached so is not as much fun.

Time to play with my photos is fun to me.

The original edit was quite dark, with deep rich colours. Next In this post is a black and white version using Snapseed (which I am using until I find a replacement for Nik Silver Efex Pro).

Black and white picture of the Battistero di San Giovanni In Pisa

Black and white picture of the Battistero di San Giovanni In Pisa

And then I did an alternative edit. I was looking at the first edit and thought about going completely the other way.

I made a virtual copy in Lightroom then I played around, adding some Dehaze, Clarity and increasing the exposure. Finally I upped the whites and went to the left with the blacks slider to give something completely different.

And then I went for a crop of the original image – a tight square crop. And this is my favourite version of this image.

Crop of the Picture of the Battistero di San Giovanni In Pisa by Rick McEvoy Architectural Photographer 

Crop of the Picture of the Battistero di San Giovanni In Pisa by Rick McEvoy Architectural Photographer 

Next was a black and white version of the last image.

Black and white architectural photography by Rick McEvoy

Black and white architectural photography by Rick McEvoy

A quick word about Snapseed. I quite like it. I open an image in it, scroll down to the black and white filter, select that, then choose between Neutral, Contrast, Bright, Dark, Film and Darken Sky options. Sure you can do more but that is enough for me., and has given me some pretty good results.

Back to the image. And the point of this post.

Experiment. 

Try new things. 

Enjoy yourself. 

I will no doubt produce some other variants on this image over the coming week, but this is food for thought for now?

Rick McEvoy MCIOB, LBIPP

Architectural photographer 

Bournemouth, Poole, Sandbanks, London. Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Hampshire, Somerset, West Sussex, Wiltshire

A general post about the commercial photography work I do and what is coming up on my photography blog – don’t worry it will make sense honest!

I appear to have been writing lots of themed posts recently. I wanted to get back to the nuts and bolts of my photography work briefly for those of you who are new to my blog.

The areas of commercial photography work I specialise in are

  • Architectural photography
  • Construction photography
  • Industrial photography
  • Interior photography
  • Landscape photography
  • Stock photography
  • Travel photography

A lot of my commercial photography work is never published for commercial reasons, so reading my blog you might think that I am just someone who writes about pictures he has taken and that I am not an actual photographer.

Hence this blog post.

So I am a photographer. I also write about photography, Lightroom and Photoshop on my daily photography blog.

Talking of which, there are going to be some changes coming up in the content of my photography blog.

I am going to write a series of posts all about my construction product photography work.

Then there will be a series of posts all about my interior photography work, and the new set of mages on my interior photography web page.

And then after that I am going to be concentrating for some time on one single photography trip I have recently had the pleasure of going on. And at the same time I am going to enter the world of luminosity masks.

I am going to start this piece of work, with the luminosity masks added in for good measure, mid June. I am going to give myself the luxury of six weeks to write about this on my blog. I am very excited to be doing this and giving myself time to completely process a photography trip.

When I say I am giving myself 6 weeks, I must clarify that this is in addition to day to day work etc.

Once I have done this I need a plan for some of my other trips. I need to spend some proper time on the images I have – I might schedule out one month per trip. Hmmm I sense another schedule coming on here. Yet another one. That is the last thing I want!

I am also trying to update my web pages, having updated the following pages

Home page

Construction Product Photographer

Dorset photographer

Hampshire photographer

Interior photographer (see above)

I am going to try to get my commercial photography pages updated, starting with the images on each web page, followed by the text.

All this while working full time – lots to do then!

Rick McEvoy Photography

Thursday 25th May 2017

​My top 10 items of photography equipment – item number one - the Neewer® Mirino Perfetto Pieghevole 3" LCD 3X Ingrandimento. Or Loupe Viewer for short.

This is number 1 as it is the most recent addition my professional photography equipment.

I am not that bothered about gear. Sure I like cameras, phones and stuff, but when it comes to my photography these days I am only really interested in things that I will use and that will help me improve my photography.

This all came about when I bought my new Canon 24mm L series tilt shift lens.

I bought the tilt shift lens as a logical development of my architectural photography work, and also for my interior photography.

One slight issue though with this Canon tilt shift lens.

It is manual focus.

I know.

Like going back a few years. Well a lot of years. Auto-focus is one of those things you don’t really think about. Until you haven’t got it that is.

So what’s the problem?

Well I suggest you turn off your autofocus and give it a go. Like I say its like going back in time.

And try focussing manually on a bright sunny day. Even more difficult.

And if you add into the mix the complexities of a tilt shift lens, what you want it to do and what you need to look at, well there is only one thing to do.

I need to find something that covers my the LCD screen on my Canon 6D, protecting it from the sun and providing magnification.

I believe it is called a Loupe.

But which one do I buy?

Well there were quite a few on Amazon, so I thought I would try 3.

The first one was the cheap one, which I opened up and, placed on my screen and put straight back in the wrapping. It did not completely cover the screen. So that was that one out of the way.

Next was the Neewer Mirino Perfetto Pieghevole 3" LCD 3X Ingrandimento, which I had to fix to my camera.

Well I had to fix the screen protector/ mounting piece to my camera. This involved a bit of delicate work and a 1kg weight on the back of my camera for 24 hours. I was a bit concerned about how well this piece would stick to the camera, and also how long it would stay on, but it has been absolutely fine.

The actual viewer clips onto the bit fixed to the camera so it can be on the camera or not.

Just what I wanted.

And it cost less than £40 to buy from Amazon

I tried this one bright sunny day using my Canon 24mm Tilt Shift lens, and it was pretty good I have to say. It was a bright sunny day and I managed to get some decent images, and also experiment with the tilt and shift movements of the lens. The 3* magnification was fine, but I found that I only used this – there was no point using the hood without the eyepiece fitted. It worked ok but even with the 3* magnification I still found myself zooming in on my Canon 6D screen to focus.

But at least I managed to focus accurately most of the time.

Finally the only brand I had heard of before, Hoodman, and the Hoodman Loupe 3.2. Not cheap, over £130 at the time of buying with the additional piece of kit to hold it in place on the camera. But I hear that these are excellent quality.

The problem I had with this Loupe was that it was not designed to be attached to the camera, and the only way to do this was with an accessory that basically wrapped around the front of the lens. This is no good with a tilt shift lens, so the Hoodman was returned.

So I am using my Neewer Loupe, and have been really happy with it. I like using the loupe viewer. It has changed the way I take photographs.

And to be honest I could not use my tilt shift lens without it.

I haven’t found anything better, and am so pleased I am going to treat my viewer to it’s own case. It is one of my essential bits of photography gear, and I use it probably 95% of the time now.

Not bad for less than £40!

The viewer has been a logical and natural evolution of how I take my pictures with my Canon 6D mounted on my Manfrotto tripod.

Rick McEvoy Photography

My top 10 pieces of photography equipment

Wednesday 17th May 2017

What is the best black and white image processing software that is fully compatible with Lightroom?

Can someone suggest some great software for making black and white images please? What software do you use to produce black and white photographs?

I want to replace Nik Silver Efex Pro before the inevitable falling over of this much-loved software which Google own but are not maintaining.

If like me you love the Nik Collection a word of warning – Google are not supporting the Nik Collection. It is unfortunately only a matter of time before something goes wrong.

The Nik Collection is the great free software from Google.

It may be that an update to Windows does the job, and when that happens I do not believe that Google will be throwing any resources at fixing the problem.

I love Nik Silver Efex Pro, but want to move to something else before Nik goes wrong.

So, what to use? I don’t know. Perhaps you good people out there can help me?

Well this is what I am looking for.

  • Black and white image processing software tha Integrates fully and seamlessly with Lightroom
  • Works on Windows 10 (and if it worked on iOS as well then that would be even better)
  • Is quick and easy to use
  • Has great presets
  • Has simple local adjustments
  • And produces great images

That puts the images back into Lightroom right where it found them.

Oh, yes and is supported.

And that is it.

I don’t ask for much – just an up to date version of the software I am already using and have liked using for some time now.

So, if anyone out there can help me and let me know what the software alternatives are that would be splendid.

I forgot to say, the black and white images I produce are principally

  • Architectural photography
  • Construction photography
  • Industrial photography
  • Interior photography
  • Landscape photography
  • Product photography
  • Travel photography

Which is pretty much most of the photography work I do.

Hopefully some kind folk will read this and get back to me with some great ideas.

Rick McEvoy Photography

Tuesday 4th April 2017