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.Read More
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
Don’t worry about the gear
Second hand gear is fine
Learn about composition
Get off the computer and get out there
Take less photos
Take more photos in interesting places.
Forget layers in Photoshop
Start with Lightroom
Learn Lightroom properly (before trying anything else)
Get honest critiques of your work
Join a professional body
Don’t research a location too much before going there
Practice, practice, practice. And fail. Fail lots.
Choose the people whose advice you trust and stick with them
Listen to podcasts
Start a blog
Buy a tripod
Don’t worry about social media
Follow your own mind, dreams and ambitions
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.
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
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.
Not forgetting my Neewer Loupe Viewer.
And that is the base gear I use 95% of the time.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
And whilst learning Lightroom don’t but any plug-ins.
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.
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
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
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
On One Perfect Suite
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?
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
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 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.
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.
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.
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
This Week in Photo
The No Name Photo Show
Six Figure Photography
Creative Marketing Show
He Shoots He Draws
The Sprouting Photographer
None photography podcasts that I enjoy
The Solopreneur Hour
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.
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.
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.
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.
Get the best gear you can afford.
Only get the gear you need.
Don’t get any more gear.
Have one bag you can carry comfortably.
Get and use a tripod.
Get out and shoot.
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 email@example.com
I am a photographer based in Dorset specialising in
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
My latest article on the Improve Photography website is titled Full frame DSLR photography without breaking the bank – this is how I do it
I have been thinking about this for some time to be honest.
I have lost count of the number of architectural shoots where all I have used is the following
And some other things which all fit in my Peak Design Everyday Backpack
- Spare batteries
- Memory cards
- Cleaning stuff
- Platypod and ball head
- Grey card
- Passport colour Checker
I have two other bags which I take with me on every shoot, and a tool box.
These contain a lot of my other gear – not all of it – there is another large box in my office
And how often do I use this other stuff?
Not often. To be fair a lot of it is spares just in case something doesn’t work. And some gear that I use when needed, such as my painters pole, stepladders etc.
But to be fair to my Canon gear it has never failed me – hope I am not tempting fate here!
And this is one of the reasons that I stick with the gear I have – it works day in day out. And that is an important thing when you make a living doing this.
But more times than not I use the following
- Canon 6D
- Canon17-40mm lens
- L bracket
- Grey card
- Tripod and geared head
And that is it. None of the other stuff gets a look in. And this is where the thought came to me, along with the subject for this latest article.
And this is how I do it. I have not made this up to make myself sound quirky, a tech hating hipster. No – and this is not a marketing tool or USP.
It is just how I have evolved as a photographer,
The more I know, the better I get, the less gear I use.
I can also apply this to my processing.
I have dabbled, as I will be writing about next month’s long blog post, in all sorts of image processing software. And have never mastered anything other than Lightroom.
For my commercial photography work I import my images into Lightroom, and that is where I do most of my editing. I do final polishing of images in Photoshop, but that is removing things, cleaning things up and finishing off an image
The only tools I use in Photoshop are
- Clone stamp
- Healing brush
- Patch tool
And somethings the wonderful content aware fill – this is mainly for landscape and travel work though, which is still work.
I don’t use layers in Photoshop.
I don’t understand them, possibly because I have never found a use for them. I am quite a literal person – if I don’t need it I don’t need it and learning it is problematic for me.
And I don’t use any of the various plug-ins that I have bought over the years, nor the other software that I have bought.
And to be honest my processing in Lightroom gets less and less the more I refine my workflow, whilst at the same time maintaining a consistently higher standard of work.
I guess this all part of the evolutionary process, which is why I wrote the article I did.
This really has been an interesting article to write, along with these additional thoughts in this post – I have simplified down my gear, image capture process and digital processing workflow.
They are all refined now to repeatable, efficient workflows producing high quality work.
I guess that the one thing I need to do now is to record these three things
- Image capture
- Image processing
As I appear to be in a good place right now with all three aspects of my photography.
It was nice to be able to write about these thoughts, I find that writing helps me make sense of things.
Unfortunately, I am having to reduce my output on Improve Photography to once a month at the moment – there is just too much going on and something had to give time wise.
I am going to be producing longer posts on my photography blog, very similar to the kinds of things I have written about for Improve Photography.
I am looking forward to receiving comments from the readers of the Improve Photography website – that is the bit I really enjoy. Even the negative comments – you can’t please everyone all the time!
And there is the spike in traffic to my website, which is becoming to be honest less noticeable with the other work that I have been doing on my website and my blog.
It is interesting to see what people think of my writing, especially as I am getting comments from all around the world.
As I said I really enjoy this aspect of the writing – it is probably the first-time people have read what I have written and told me what they think. Up to this point I have been producing daily output on my photography blog that is not being read by many people, but I always knew that I had to get through that and stick with it.
Next month’s article
Next month’s article subject matter is to be decided. In the meantime, I have lots of other things to be getting on with on my website and with my images.
I have a few thoughts on what to write and have promised a summary of the comments from my series of articles about being an architectural photographer.
I fancy writing a post about being a photography blogger, but we will have to wait and see what I come up with over the next month.
Rick McEvoy Photography – Improve Photography Writer - Photography Blogger
Rick McEvoy Photography - Travel Photographer
And ever since buying it this wonderful bag has been my go to bag. I have taken it out with me everywhere I have been since I bought it. I am talking every day.
It has been on every foreign trip, taking all the camera gear I want to in a carry on sized backpack.
It is my hand luggage.
Everything else goes in my check in luggage, which to be fair isn't a lot anyway. I put my Manfrotto tripod in my hold luggage, then when off on a shoot it is storred nicely in a side pocket.
I have also used this bag on every commercial shoot I have done since - it is plenty big enough for my go to gear. I leave everything else in the car. This leaves my hands free to get around construction sites quickly and safely.
And of course I use it when I am off out in the countryside finding nice things to shoot.
I love my bag. If this sounds like an advert for Peak Design then fine - I bought the bag and use it everyday - I am not being paid to write this. I am writing this because it is the best camera bag I have ever had.
The only change I would make to this bag would be to have the 30L one, as well as the 20L one I have, for the days when I want to pack a bit more gear in my bag.
And then this happened.
Last week in Spain during a bit of downtime one cloudy morning I contacted Peak Design as a small amount of stitching had come undone. The bag was still completey usable, and I do not think my gear was at risk, but I sitll wanted the bag repairing.
I wanted to know how I could get this repaired. I contacted Peak Design, enquiring about repairs. I filled in an online form (quickly on my phone), and get on email shortly after, saying that they would send me a new bag, and asked that I get a quote to return my bag!
And when I got back from Spain there was a card waiting for me from the courier.
Outstanding service Peak Design - thank you very much.
Now I need to sort out the return, and move into my shiny new bag!
Rick McEvoy Photography
This is why Santorini is so special. Such a stunning setting with fantastic sunset views like this.
How I got the shot
- Focal length 70mm
- ISO - 400
- Aperture - F8
- Shutter speeds - 1 second, 1/4 second and 4 seconds
I took a bracketed set of three images in RAW using the AV exposure mode and the self-timer on my camera.
I focussed on the lights on the headland using back button focus.
Here are the three images that I took using the exposure bracketing feature on my Canon 6D.
I had already done a crop which you can see below. So I thought I would try something different. And this is it.
Is it just some leaves on the ground or something more?
Let me know what you think!
Saturday 25th February 2017
Now I have to say that the original composition wasn't bad, but the crop is fantastic! And had I taken this picture with my Canon 70-200mm lens on my Canon 6D I would have had more compression of the scene which would have had even more impact.
Rick McEvoy Photography
Friday 24th February 2017
I know there has been a bit more editing but let's be honest - what a transformation just by boldly cropping in on the image.
This is why I sometimes go out with just my Canon 70-200mm F4 L Lens. This makes me concentrate on the smaller things in a scene.
Rick McEvoy MCIOB, LBIPP
Thursday 23rd February 2017
I needed three more images for my portfolio.
I was browsing though images in my Lightroom catalogue. I went through some older collections and found this picture taken in Portsmouth, Hampshire. This funky building was next to a construction site I was shooting, and obviously took my eye. In fact I am going to go back to that building and see if I can get a different effect. I want this shot taken on a nice sunny day with blue sky. I particularly want to change the content of the reflections in the left had windows, and think that a different angle and some blue sky might do the job nicely.
Somerstown Central is a unique Portsmouth City Council building.
This was not a commercial image, this was taken for me as I like photographing buildings.
Hopefully you are aware of that by now.
I did not like my previous edit, which was all dark and sinister. I also cropped in for this composition, giving the image a stronger feel. I might keep the reflections as they are thinking about it.
This is a single image edited in Lightroom with a minor bit of removal work in Photoshop using my favourite Photoshop keyboard shortcuts.
After opening the image in Photoshop, press Control and 1, to zoom in. Next I press the home key, which takes me to the top left corner of the frame.
Next I press J to get the spot healing brush up, and scroll down the image using page down. I vary the brush size using the bracket keys.
There was a small panel in the bosom of the image which I simply removed by pressing L for the Lasso tool, selecting the area I wanted to clean with my house, selecting right click, fill then return. Content aware comes up by default so I let it do its thins, which in this case was fine.
In Lightroom if I pressed the page down key once I was at the bottom of the screen it would take me to the next section, but Photoshop does not do this, so I have to scroll up by pressing the space bar, which changes the mouse pointer to a hand, and you can drag your way back up the image, then manually slide along one screens worth and repeat the process.
This might sound time consuming and complicated but it really isn't with practise. And don't ferret to come back to my Blog for my weekly tips in Lightroom and Photoshop.
After you have done some work using the content removal tool you might find when you go back to the spot healing brush that nothing happens. For some reason you have to deselect everything using Control D. No idea why.
When I am done I select Control 0, which takes me back to the full image, and if a I am happy I select Control S which saves the edited image back into Lightroom as a Tif file.
No use of layers here as I am only doing minor adjustments and always have the RAW file to revisit I f I need to. Which I seldom do. Apart from today of course for this brand new image.
This image was captured on my Canon 6D using my Canon 70-200mm lens. Yes a telephoto lens in architectural photography!
Rick McEvoy Photography Blog
Friday 9th September 2016
Big Ben, London. Fantastic subject. Photographed endless times. Here is a close up of the south face. Alternative architectural photography by me. Well someone has to do something different!!
We have all seen pictures of Big Ben. So many times. A wonderful structure, but over photographed. Not that this is anyone's fault. As I say a wonderful structure and I am proud that England has such world class landmarks.
But I want to produce something interesting. The same subject but done differently.
This is an old old picture of Big Ben I took some time ago. I took this image on my Canon 5D. At a focal length of 189mm on my Canon 70-200mm lens. Handheld capture of 113th second at F8, ISO800.
I sold this lens to help pay for a Canon 100-400mm lens, but sold that and bought myself back another 70-200mm F4L IS Lens. I didn't want the F2.8 lens as it is too heavy for my liking, and F4 is fine. No point having lots of gear if it all is so heavy you leave some behind.
This picture was taken in 2008. Such a long time ago!! I still have my Canon 5D, which I keep as a spare now that I have my 6D.
Talking of gear, which I wasn't, so please excuse me. I was out with my Canon 6D and 24-105mm lens, and was shocked to realize that I bought this lens in 2007. Next year it will be 10 years old! And still performing faultlessly, and still producing sharp images.
Incredible engineering by Canon if you think about it. This is my daily lens that lives on my camera and goes everywhere with me.
Back to the photo.
The edit is an old edit. The black and white conversion is new, using the much liked by me Nik Silver Efex Pro.
This is what I did to this old image in Nik.
Preset - Full Dynamic Harsh
Again. That's all. Easy when you know how! Thanks for reading this post, and pop back to my blog tomorrow for a change in direction for the subject matter of my posts.
Rick McEvoy Photography Blog
15th August 2016
On the 18th June 2015 I wrote an article on zooming. on the 18th June 2016 I will add my thoughts and comments one year on in bold (and italics) to the content of this article. Has my photography improved?
To zoom or not to zoom. That is the question. Why? Well recently I have been posting images old and new on my new blog. In my blog posts I am trying to tell the story of each image, and the technical side of the image capture and processing that I have done to get the finished product you can see.
My lens range is as follows (all Canon, all using my Canon 6D)
Canon 8-15mm F4L lens - still got this lens but use rarely
Canon 17-40mm F4L lens - my go to lens
Canon 24-105mm F4L lens - my other go to lens
Canon 100-400mm F4L - I sold this and have replaced with the Canon 70-200mm F4L Lens
I also have a 40mm F2.8 STM lens, which I am about to sell as I have hardly used it since buying it. I am going to replace with the "nifty fifty" new Canon 50mm F1.8 for specific use reasons.
I sold the 40mm pancake lens. I didnt get the 50mm lens - in the end I didnt see the point. Sometimes I hear things on Pocasts that convince me to buy something. Now I only buy things that add to my photographic possibilities. The 50mm lens did not.
Back to the zooms, and the thing I have just noticed.
Most of the images I have worked on recently and posted about were taken at one extreme end of the zoom range.
And a year on they are less so at either end of the zoom range. I have notiecd more careful framing and composition, with the zooming being a deliberate act rather than one extreme or the other.
This is why I re-visit old posts, to see what has happened and how I have progressed. That is also the benefit of writing every day - I have lots to look back on!
the 8-15 fisheye zoom is unique in that it is in effect two lenses in one, an 8mm circular fisheye and a 15mm full frame fisheye. The bits in between 8 and 15mm are of no real use to me.
Now this is still the case. And always will be with this lens.
The other three zooms are different. I am going to do a more scientific analysis of my metadata in Lightroom (when I have time with nothing better to do!) , but I sense a trend where images are taken at either 17, 24, 40, 105 or 400mm!
Life is too short for that. What was I thinking?
This is certainly true with the images taken recently on my 17-40mm lens, which has been my main lens while my 24-105 is being repaired. Most shots are taken at 17mm. Which begs the question why don't I get rid and upgrade to the fantastic Canon 14mm F2.8. L Lens? Well forgetting the small matter of £1600!!
I have by Canon 24-105mm lens back, and that is what lives on my camera.
it is worth thinking about. The trend is zoom lenses over prime. Zoom lenses are great but primes are still faster and provide in general terms better images!!
I am Rick McEvoy, Dorset Photographer. I work mainly in Bournemouth, Poole, Sandbanks, Dorset and Hampshire.
And I was still doing the hastags!!
The conclusion of this 12 month review of one aspect of my photography is that I no longer think about the focal length I am using, I think about the composition and frame with more thought. The consequence is that I am using the correct focal length for the image, not one end of the zoom range or the other.
Intersetingly I have not really thought about this until i browsed my blog for something from a year ago.
Progress? Yes. Definitely. Composition is more important than the technical side. I am happy that I am able to reach this conclusion about the evolution and development of my photography.
I feel that my photography has improved a lot in the last 12 motnhs, and this is one of the reaons why.
Thanks for reading this post - a shiny new image tomorrow I promise!
But in the meantime tell me - how do you use your lenses?
Sunset just off the A31 at Pickets Post – striking winter sunset - more New Hampshire Photography
Driving back from a day on site I came across this evening scene. Driving down the A31 back to Dorset at 5.40pm I could see the sky ahead doing this, so I stopped at a car park in the New Forest just off the A31 by Picket Post, and got this shot which I love. I included the tree as the bareness of it contrasted with the warmth in the January sunset.
1/640th second, F8, ISO640, Canon 6D with Canon 70-200mm F4L Lens at the 70mm short end of the zoom range.
Photographers in Hampshire uk
Trees with the light catching in them - Hampshire Landscape Photography and the art of timing and patience
This Hampshire photograph is all about timing. Timing of the seasons, and timing of the light. Well timing of what is happening with the light in that location at that time on that day!
Both images were taken at the same time form the same location. The second image was taken three weeks after the first image.
The first image was one of those times I was driving somewhere and something caught my eye.
It was what the light was doing to the trees.
I drove past this scene, then having thought about what I had seen turned round and went back. There is a small parking space by the road next to the footpath entrance into the field. Very handy!
So I got my trusty Canon EOS6D out of the car, and went with my Canon 70-200mm lens, the F4L IS version. I had surveyed the scene, and knew what I wanted to capture.
And that is what you are looking at.
So what caught my eye? It was what the light was doing amongst the trees still which were not fully grown for the summer. This picture is telling the story of the light playing amongst the developing Spring trees.
I saw something and captured it and like the final image.
So to the second photo.
I was driving the same route at the same time three weeks later. I drove past the same spot and stopped.
So what did I see?
Nothing. A dull scene.
The same place, same time of day, three weeks later.
I took a shot on my iPhone to record this for this blog post.
Photography is about seeing things and capturing them. And a scene different from one day, week, month, year to the next. A great scene one day can be a nothing scene the next day.
Landscape photography is all about patience, research and timing. Great landscape photography rarely happens through luck.
I am not saying that these two pictures of Hampshire, or rather the first one, is a great landscape photography image. Far from it.
But the two images make the point!
Technical info about this shot
Canon EOS6D, 70-200mm F4 L Lens at 70mm, 1/250th second, F8, ISO200. Single exposure taken handheld using the fantastic AV mode.
Thanks for reading this post and please head over to my new Hampshire Photography page at http://www.rickmcevoyphotography.co.uk/hampshire-photographer for lots more photography stuff.
Thanks and best regards