Is The Canon 6D Still Worth Buying In 2019?

7 years on from its release, I am asking the question “Is the Canon 6D still worth buying in 2019?”. And the answer? Of course it is - time does not make a camera rubbish. In this post I am going to tell you why the Canon 6D is still worth buying, giving you a great, economical route into full frame photography and great image capture capabilities.

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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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Is the Canon 6d Mk 1 still a good camera? It’s a yes from me

Canon 6D 21052018.PNG

The Canon 6D was released in 2012. I bought mine in 2014. When it was released it was a great camera. When I bought my Canon 6D it was a great camera.
So at the back end of 2018 is the Canon 6D still a good camera? Yes of course it is. In fact no it is not still a good camera – it is still a great camera. My Canon 6D took great photos in 2013, and took great photos last week.

What about progress and technological advances?

Despite all the technological advances that can be found in shiny new cameras the Canon 6D is still a great camera. And just because other cameras have advanced significantly since 2012 this does not automatically make the Canon 6D over the hill, past it’s sell by date, irrelevant or obsolete.

And to broaden this out further

In my opinion this applies to many cameras released in the last, well I don’t know, 15 years?

What did I have before the Canon 6D?

My first full frame camera was a Canon 5D Mk 1. This camera was first released in 2005 would you believe! And I still have this camera, which I am very fond of.

This is an image that I took with my Canon 5D which can be found in my current architectural photography portfolio.

Chideock Manor Library - architectural photography in Dorset

Chideock Manor Library - architectural photography in Dorset

Ok – before I justify my statement about the Canon 6D still being a great camera in 2018 I need to say something else.

Photography is not about gear. Photography is about recording the light. Composition and creativity.

All this technical stuff is really irrelevant.

No one cares which camera you or I have used to capture an image. No one cares about the camera settings, if it was taken in RAW or JPEG?

No one apart from other photographers that is.

All people care about is the photo itself. That is all. Let us not forget that.

OK – so back to the gear….

I know. I complain too much about gear talk. But here I am not talking about new gear. I am talking about gear that I already have, and have learned to use inside out.

And when I say talk I do mean write of course – it is just that I type as I would talk, as things come into/ out of my head.

Lets start at the beginning. What do I like so much about my Canon 6D?

Firstly, it just works.

Day in, day out. And having used it for so long I know how it works inside out. I can operate my camera in the dark with no problems. I can change lenses in the dark. Once I have found them that is!

Ok – so now for some specific features, in no particular order.

Back button focus

I know that this is by no means a unique feature on the Canon 6D, but I still love this feature, and the way the Canon 6D does it.

Why do I use back button focus?

Simple. I compose my image, and then decide where I want to focus. Then I choose an appropriate aperture. And then I press the shutter button, which meters for the scene and starts the self-timer.

I have separated focus from exposure and image capture. I take the vast majority of my photos on a tripod.

This just works for me.

The sensor and the image quality

These to me are one and the same. I love the images that my Canon 6D produces. I love the look and feel that the RAW files give.

I like the details that the sensor captures.

I like the tones.

I like the range of shadows and highlights, lights and darks. And with the way I take the photos I like the way I can take bracketed sets and put the bits together in Lightroom.

Focussing

Note the Canon 6D has 11 focus points. The Canon EOS R has 5655 focus points. You might want to read that again.

  • The CANON EOS R HAS 5655 FOCUS POINTS.

  • THE CANON 6D HAS 11 FOCUS POINTS

I have found 11 focus points just fine. To be honest I tend to only need to use one at a time. So what would I do with the other 5654 focus points on the Canon EOS R? I’m not quite sure (but I am looking forward to finding out!).

The way I take my photos I focus on one part of the composition, typically around 1/3rd into the scene.

And another thing about the focussing on the Canon 6D – it can focus in ridiculously low light. I don’t know how it compares to other more technologically advanced cameras, but it does focus down to ridiculously levels of light, or darkness

Do I need to be able to focus in near darkness?

Yes.

I take a lot of photos pre-sunrise and post-sunset but rarely have a problem with focussing.

I compose with Live View and focus without Live view – this woks just fine for me.

How it feels in my hands – Ergonomics

The Canon 6D fits in my hands and the controls are all in very familiar and to me logical positions. I have never wished that things weren’t where they are. Not that the camera is perfect, it is just that we have grown close to each other over the years!

It’s a bit like having a favourite pair of shoes, they mould to you over time and end up being irreplaceable.

I know – I am getting worryingly sentimental here. Having said that we have been through a lot together.

Wi-Fi

WiFi 2 09102018.PNG

I use the Wi-Fi to take photos in unusual locations and from unusual viewpoints. This is an essential part of my work.

OK the Canon Connect App is hardly cutting edge, but most of the time it works fine and allows me to do what I need to do.

I have not used the Wi-Fi to view photos remotely – the way I work I only want to look at photos on my big calibrated monitor in my office. This is changing though, and I find that more and more I would benefit from instant access to viewing photos on my iPad Pro.

This is something that I need to look into with my Canon 6D and Canon Connect App – that and transferring Jpeg files for instant publication and sharing.

GPS

Another invaluable feature. I do a lot of travel photography – much more than I ever did, and also have other websites about specific travel photography locations.

I need GPS, and the Canon 6D has it. I use the Map module in Lightroom a lot, which enables me to erm, tell where I took photos from.

Santorini photo locations from the Lightroom Map Module

Santorini photo locations from the Lightroom Map Module

I also have been known to stop and take photos when travelling – anytime I see something I like I stop and take a photo, and the GPS tells me where I took the shot.

So an invaluable feature that I would not be without.

And I use it on my various websites and for writing articles about my photography work.

It’s not all sweetness and light - there are things that are not perfect! What do I not like about the Canon 6D?

The viewfinder and my dodgy old mince pies

I am 51 years old. I am struggling with the viewfinder I’m not going to lie to you. I have a dominant eye. And a lazy one on the other side of my head. And I am short sighted. And my near vision is much worse than it was.

I never know which eye to use when composing through the viewfinder.

The future of viewfinders – the EVF

I have recently been trying out EVFs on the cameras in display in shops and at airports.

An EVF is an electronic viewfinder by the way.

That is how I spend my time waiting for flights – trying out EVFs and wishing I had one! And then realising even in holiday mode the airport is not the place to buy a camera. I nearly cracked once and would have made an expensive mistake but thankfully I saw sense.

Now when I find one that is actually working I find these to be a bit of a revelation. I tried an Olympus EVF the other day that was absolutely remarkable.

This might be the thing that takes me down the road to mirrorless cameras – my age, my short sightedness and the blurry distance vision I can get from time to time.

Yep getting old has its drawbacks, my eyes being a pretty big one.

Getting back to the point - pleaese forgive my digressions!

I struggle to focus close then distance. My contact lenses correct for my short sight, which I have had since he age of about 13, and now also give me assistance with close vision.

These contact lenses need light to work properly, so at times using the Canon 6D is a struggle. Sometimes I cant read the LCD panel on the top, even with the (faint) light turned on.

So it might be ageing that forces me to buy a new camera - I really hadn’t thought about that until writing this!

GPS woes

The GPS. If I do not manually turn off the GPS when I turn off the camera it is still running and drains the battery. Completely infuriating and there is apparently no fix for this. I actually asked Canon people at the Photography Show.

I hope that the Canon 6D Mk 2 and other newer models have had this problem sorted as it drives me up the wall. And for no reason that I can think of.

The LCD screen

The LCD screen is quite frankly rubbish. Rubbish when compared to my iPhone 7 Plus screen that is. Having said that I can’t see my iPhone screen in full Greek sunlight anyway!

But no the screen is much too small. To get round this I have had to buy a Loupe Viewer – this is what it looks like.

IMG_9188.jpg

I had to stick a small plastic window on the LCD screen, onto which I can attach the viewer quickly whenever needed.

I use the LCD screen to compose images all the time, which would be very difficult, even impossible in some lighting situations with just the small LCD screen on the Canon 6D.

And add the problems with my ageing eyes and you will see that the screen is a serious issue to me.

So much so now that I have written about it that I might have to consider replacing my Canon 6D to get over my ageing eyes!

Custom Functions

I don’t get them sorry Canon. It seems such a convoluted way to customise my camera that I have never really used it. Sure I have set it up but find it so un-user friendly. Maybe I should give some more time to this feature and see if I get can get my head around it properly.

I did try it but when I saved the settings I was no longer shooting in AV Mode, which confused me so I gave up.

HDR Merge

There is in-camera HDR merge feature on the Canon 6D, but rather bafflingly this only works with JPEG files?

Why can’t any camera, and not only the Canon 6D just do the HDR thing automatically in-camera? With RAW files that is. It is only a case of taking three exposures and merging them together. Why do I have to do this in Lightroom?

And why doesn’t the in-camera HDR work on RAW images?

If the Canon 6D did in-camera HDR with RAW files I would only ever need the RAW HDR file which would save me so much time.

What is the working life of a Canon 6D?

Shutter actuations are the key thing here. The shutter after all is the major moving part and rather critical to the workings of the camera.

The Canon 6D shutter has a shutter rating of 100,000 actuations. How many shutter actuations have I made with my Canon 6D?

No idea.

I could get some software that will give me a number but it is unlikely to be accurate.

No I will go with the number of images in my Lightroom Catalogue. Of course that will not include images that have been deleted, but I don’t think that this will be significant knowing the way I work and how few images I delete once they are in Lightroom.

This will give me a good enough idea.

22,422 is the number from Lightroom. Not too bad and not a concern. Not as much as the state of my eyesight that is!

Lets not forget 100,000 is a number to provide an indication of the working life. To me this number is only of use when I am comparing one camera to another – the number gives me an idea of the relative robustness of two cameras.

A much more relevant factor is how many times I have dropped my camera, how many times I have got it wet.

Basically how badly have I treated it?

  • Dropping it

  • Well there was the big drop in the National Trust office at Corfe Castle – this resulted in an expensive repair.

  • And lots of small drops. Mostly onto rocks at sunrise.

  • Water damage

  • Splashes by the sea.

  • Letting the camera roll down in rock into a shallow puddle.

  • Being rained on.

  • A quick spray of Mythos (the Greek beer for those who don’t know!)

  • General wear and tear

My camera has been with me every day everywhere I go. Every day I put it in the boot of my car, and every night I take it out again. It has been crammed into tight spaces on planes, buses, trains and boats of various types.

The working life of my Canon 6D is from now until is stops working!

Enough waffle – what about some photos taken with my Canon 6D?

Here are five photos taken over the 5 years I have had my Canon 6D

2014

Twin Sails Bridge by Rick McEvoy Construction Photographer in Po

2015

Sandbanks Hotel by Rick McEvoy Architectural Photographer in San

2016

IMG_9088-HDR-Edit.jpg

2017

Gravel being unloaded at a live rail facility

2018

Pictures of Gussage House, Gussage All Saints, Dorset

What lenses do I use with my Canon 6D

I just have four lenses these days.

  • Canon 24-105mm F4 L

  • Canon 17-40mm F4L

  • Canon 70-200mm F4 L IS

  • Canon 24mm Tilt shift lens

These are all I need to be honest. I use the 24-105 for travel photography, and the 17-40 for most of my architectural work.

What would my ideal focal lengths be?

12-300mm is the range that I would like to cover, ideally with 2 or 3 small lenses.

What would it take for me to change to another camera?

I would like something smaller and lighter.

That would mean the Canon EOS R and one of the new, smaller lenses. Yes I find that quite exciting.

I am on the press waiting list for a body and lens to review on the Improve Photography website.

Will getting my hands on a Canon EOS R change my views on newer gear?

I don’t know. There is the stubborn grumpy old get taking pride and satisfaction from using an old camera to take photos. But there is also the bloke who has shiny new thing syndrome.

I think once I get my hands on the new Canon EOS R I will want one.

Would I change to another camera manufacturer?

Yes. And no. I have used Canon cameras for years and years now. The only other manufacturer I have used is Fujifilm – my first “proper” camera was a Fujifilm (film) SLR.

I don’t want to go to a new manufacturer, but would necessarily not rule it out. I have an open mind on other camera systems. I like the look of Olympus and Fujifilm’s current offerings – this is based on a pretty superficial look at them in camera shops and some stuff I have heard – nothing too scientific or exacting.

Would I go back to film?

No. Why ever would I do that? Why do people do that?

Do I not want something shiny and new?

Yes of course I do, and after all that talk about how much I hate gear and the time spent talking about gear I would love to have a new camera.

I love new tech gear. I am very excited to get a new iPhone when my contract allows (January 2019).

And every time I use my Apple Airpods they make me smile.

But I must not forget this

I still enjoy using my Canon 6D, even after all these years.

But yes I do browse new kit at airports and in camera shops and do have those background gear lust feelings.

So what about all the gear talk?

It just feels that there is too much talk about gear and not enough talk about photography.

Photography hasn’t really changed – photography is after all making photos.

Lets not forget that – photography gear is just that – gear. Tools of the trade. The equipment we use to capture what we see in front of us.

If I get a new camera will I take better photos?

No.

I will have additional features that will give me better opportunities to capture better image but no, fundamentally no.

My Canon 6D won’t last forever though?

No it won’t. What would I do now if I broke or it just expired?

What would I replace my Canon 6D with if I had to replace it right now?

There are things that I would need to have in a camera to convince me to change from my good old Canon 6D.

What about the Canon 6D Mk 2?

The Mk 2 version has some very cool features. It is a general evolution of the 6D Mk 1 into a generally more advanced camera.

As well as all that the 6D Mk 1 has there are also some cool new features.

  • An articulated screen. And a touchscreen at that!

  • More resolution (but not too much) – 26 Megapixels

  • A (slightly) better sensor that the 6D Mk 1

  • Built-in time-lapse

But to be honest these things did not excite me enough to make me upgrade. My 6D Mk 1 is still working just fine thanks.

But the Canon 6D Mk 2 is a great camera. And there would be no problem with all my lenses and other bits of kit. And there is the familiarity of sticking with Canon.

I am digressing now

This is drifting into 20 features I want in a new camera. I might as well make that next weeks post! I just need a snappy Google friendly title and I am good to go.

Tell you what – head back to my photography blog next week where you can read the next post in my series, which will be called something like

20 features I need in a new camera to replace my Canon 6D (by the time I had completed this post I was quickly up to 25 things!)

Summary

Blimey. I can go on sometimes. Still it is good to get these things out of my head and out into the wonderful world of the World Wide Web.

You may have noticed that on more than one occasion I have used the terms “it works for me”. Well that pretty well sums it up.

The Canon 6D works for me.

I hope that you have found the new format of my photography blog, with less frequent but much longer and more in-depth posts useful and more interesting.

Next week I will expand on the things I want in a new camera should I need to get something to replace my Canon 6D.

Rick McEvoy ABIPP – Photographer, photo blogger, writer

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

​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

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

The new Canon 6D Mark 2 is on the way - not a bad time to get a Canon 6D Mark 1 if you are ready to go full frame?

So the new Canon 6D Mark 2 is on its way in a few months. You can read about the reported brand new sensor on the Peta Pixel website, along with other news about what is thought to be the specification of this new camera.

According to Canon Rumours the new camera will be announced in July, and will start shipping in August 2017.

If you have not made the leap into the full frame DSLR world yet, now might be a great time to think about doing just that with the Canon 6D Mark 1 - this is the camera I have been using since its release.

And I have to say I have been using it day in, day out. Faultlessly.

Check out the Canon 6D here on Amazon where the price, on 17th June 2017, was £1149. This is a great  price for a brand new, full frame DSLR.

And I recommend you keep checking the price of the Canon 6D and also bundles with lenses - there will be some great deals as Canon tries to sell the current version before the new one is released.

And don't worry that you are not getting the latest kit. If you can afford the new Canon 6D Mark 2 then great, but if you can't, or are not sure, then the current version will still be a great camera when the Mark 2 version is released.

Just because a camera has been replaced by a newer version doesn't make the previous version any less valid.

I use a Canon 6D. It is a great camera. And when the new version comes out it will still be a great camera.

I am looking forward to getting the new Canon 6D Mark 2, and my current 6D will be relegated to being my backup camera, and for use in less than favourable environments.

That will leave me with my Canon 5D Mark 1, which will be spare. EBay time perhaps. I don't want to sell my 5D as it was my first full frame DSLR, and it still takes great images. 

 

Rick McEvoy Photography

Canon Photographer

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