Photography

Is The Canon 6D Still Worth Buying In 2019?

The Canon 6D was released in 2012. I bought mine in 2014. When it was released it was a great camera.

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.

Canon 6D 21052018.PNG

My Canon 6D took great photos in 2013, and took great photos this 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 in my humble 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 being still worth buying in 2019 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? I have never been asked that question.

The only people who care about this are other photographers. And I am not working for other photographers!

What Is The Number 1 Most Important Thing In Photography?

The photo(s) you give to your client.

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

Everything else is irrelevant to the most important person to me in my photography business - my client.

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 I am asking the question about the relevance of an older camera in 2019.

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! I use my Canon 6D without thinking about the camera - it is instinctive to me.

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, meaning that this makes perfect sense for me. This applies to not only my architectural photography but also to my travel and landscape photography.

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 depth of 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.

I like the information that my Canon 6D records that i can work with.

I like the photos that my Canon 6D takes. 

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 works just fine for me.

If you research the autofocus of the Canon 6D you will find lots of people who say that it is not that great, especially in low-light. I have no idea what they are talking about, and I have never had a problem focussing in low light. 

A word about camera reviews and other peoples opinions

The Canon 6D has it’s critics. There always seems to be someone somewhere who has to criticise something, or always demand more, or find something better in an alternative (in this case camera) and draw on the negatives.

That is why we all have to be careful how we assess and value peoples opinions. 

I have had people say to me that the focussing on the Canon 6D is rubbish in low light. Really? I have never had a problem with this.

Someone else asked how can I work professionally as a photographer using a camera that only has one memory card slot?

I have never had a card failure. Never. I look after my memory cards incredibly carefully. I don’t want to tempt fate but this has never happened to me. 

The point was valid, but was it relevant?

You can find numerous negative reviews and comments on the Canon 6D, probably more bad press than good. But be careful with the agendas of these people - the Canon 6D is a great camera. And to be honest you are hard pressed to find a rubbish camera these days.

Ergonomics of the Canon 6D

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! To be fair I do not believe that there is such a thing as the perfect camera.

The familiarity of my Canon 6D is 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, me and my Canon 6D!

Wi-Fi - very important

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.

Did I say JPEGs???

Canon Camera RAW

Canon’s RAW format. I use this all the time - I never use Jpeg. It is so good and gives me so much. Just awesome.

GPS built-in - how did I ever manage without this?

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. Now that I have mentioned them I might as well tell you what they are.

Photos of Santorini

Paxos Travel Guide

OK - advert over. 

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.

Reliability over the years

My Canon 6D is a workhorse. It just works, day in, day out. I turn it on and it is there for me. It has never failed, never let me down.

The Canon Ecosystem

Canon have been criticised for slow technological advances. For getting into mirrorless late. And for not innovating with the technology in their DSLRs.

It seems that there is again so much negativity. Take s step back though and look at the Canon ecosystem - it is an awesome place to be with lenses for every and any occasion.

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.

As grim as this sounds this is the reality of being my age! And I am not going to get any younger!

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 on display in shops and at airports. Well every time I go to an airport, which is quite often, I always have a look at all the shiny new loveliness on display.

An EVF is an electronic viewfinder by the way.

Yes this is how I spend my time waiting for flights – trying out EVFs and wishing I had one! And then realising even in holiday mode that 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 last time I was at the airport that was absolutely remarkable.

This is the thing that has taken me down the road to mirrorless cameras – my age, my short sightedness and the blurry distance vision I can get from time to time. For travel photography that is.

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 and then at a distance. My contact lenses correct for my short sight, which I have had since the 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 cannot 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.

A small thing I know but an irritation all the same. 

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 7 Plus 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. This shades the sun and magnifies what is on the LCD screen - a really good accessory for less then £30.

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 an 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.

It has a horizontal level but not a vertical level

This is the other thing that is making me think about a new camera. When I use the electronic level I get a big bright green line that tells me the camera is level. There is not however another green line to tell me that my camera is vertical.

This is a genuine problem for me - I often cannot see the bubble on my Manfrotto tripod head. 

And getting my camera properly level is very important for me. This is an issue on every architectural photo I take.

What is the working life of a Canon 6D?

I don’t know to be honest.

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.

21,652. It was 22,422 when I first wrote this post. Clearly I have been doing some housekeeping in 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 of a camera shutter. 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 (at a Canon Autohorised repairer I should add).

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

  • Water damage

  • Splashes by the sea.

  • Being rained on (not a problem as it is weather sealed).

  • 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. But has always been carefully looked after.

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 six photos taken over the 6 years I have had my Canon 6D

2014

Twin Sails Bridge, Poole, Dorset

Twin Sails Bridge, Poole, Dorset

2015

Sandbanks Hotel and Sandbanks Beach, Poole, Dorset

Sandbanks Hotel and Sandbanks Beach, Poole, Dorset

2016

Sensory garden at Horndean College of Technology

Sensory garden at Horndean College of Technology

2017

Unloading gravel at a rail siding facility

Unloading gravel at a rail siding facility

2018

House interior photographed for an architect

House interior photographed for an architect

2019

Changing room refurbishment photographed for the architect Kendall Kingscott

Changing room refurbishment photographed for the architect Kendall Kingscott

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

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?

Digressing here but just a thought I would like to add.

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, especially for travel photography.

And for travel photography I have invested in an Olympus OM-D EM10. I sold my Canon tilt-shift lens and bought this tiny camera and lens.

This is for travel photography. I am still going to use my Canon 6D for my commercial architectural photography.

So I have changed to another camera manufacturer?

Added, not changed. The only other manufacturer I have used is Fujifilm – my first “proper” camera was a Fujifilm (film) SLR.

I liked 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. So I had a more in-depth look and went with Olympus micro four thirds.

Would I go back to film?

No. Why ever would I do that? Why do people do that? I just do not get it.

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 was very excited to get a new iPhone when my contract ran out in January 2019. I went straight for an iPhone XS.

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.

Before I finish

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 images 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!)

So I wrote the post How to choose your next camera – 31 features that I want.

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 are finding 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 dive into micro four thirds photography.

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

21 Photography Tips That Will Actually Make A Difference

In this post I will write about 21 things that I heave learned that will actually help you with your photography.

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 on, and please get in touch with any questions.

the years as a These are things that I have learned over the many years I have been intersted in and working in photography.

The 21st Photography Tip is a list of 10 points summarising everything.

These are 21 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.

For me this was in the year 2007.

I hope that you find these 20 things useful - please get back to me with any questions or comments.

These are all my own opinions, and are based on my personal experiences

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. And the way things come out of my head can be rather unusual at times!

1 – Don’t worry about the gear

This is quite a big one for me.

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.

I have less gear now than at any time since I got into photography seriously.

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.

I have been using my Canon 6D for well over 5 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? Well I say 10 year old camera….

How old is the Canon 5D? THis might shock you - it was announeced by Canon on 22nd August 2005.

2005!!!

13 years ago.

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 by a client with an interest in ) 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 day to day go to gear in my Peak Design Everyday Backpack. This is a small 20 litre bag.

It looks like this.

In it I carry the following gear

Canon 6D

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

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

IMAGE.JPG

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

Not forgetting my Neewer Loupe Viewer which fits in the middle of my bag in a small tupperware box.

And my trusty drinks bottle - here it is nestled on the other side of my bag.

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

My old Peak Design Everyday Backpack on location in Santorini

My old Peak Design Everyday Backpack on location in Santorini

Canon 6D, Canon 17-40mm lens, Platypod Pro live on location on an architectural shoot in Dorset

Canon 6D, Canon 17-40mm lens, Platypod Pro live on location on an architectural shoot in Dorset

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

My article on the Improve Photography website

My article on the Improve Photography website

2 – Second hand gear is fine

The first full frame DSLR I bought was a Canon 5D. I bought it in 2007 on EBay from a photographer who had bought the camera new, and had not had it long but had a change of heart and wanted to stay with medium format.

Yes - that is 11 years ago. And it still works just fine today.

I wonder what happened to the chap I bought the camera from all those years ago?

The camera looked new, and all the packaging was there. The only difference was that the box was not sealed, and I did not get a receipt and 12 months guarantee.

Quick piece of advice - when you buy a camera save all the packaging for when (if) you sell the camera - you might not get more money for the camera but it will be more attractive to a buyer than one without. And you migh get a higher bid you never know.

That camera worked faultlessly for me in my formative years as an amateur photographer, and I used this great camera on my first commercial photography job, and many subsequent commercial jobs.

I used my Canon 5D on this shoot, photographing the extension and new entrance to St Anns Hospital in Poole for Vinci Construction.

St Anns Hospital Poole by Construction Photographer Rick McEvoy.jpg

St Anns Hospital Poole by Construction Photographer Rick McEvoy.jpg

Acccordig to Lightroom I took 12,000 photos with that camera.

And I only upgraded after a problem caused by me. One for another time….

Let’s talk about lenses

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. Lenses are a great investment - I sold a lens five years after I bought it and got more than I paid for it.

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 - this pleases me

Classic lines in this compostion for an architect - this pleases me

Please do this. I din’t give composition enough importance.

I was too busy looking at what gear to buy next and taking photos without really thinking about composition.

What happened?

This is 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.

I will say that again - a Hasselblad master critiqued my photographic work!

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. This is a photo that could be taken 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 away these two things and these two things only this I will be very very happy.

Forget the gear.

Work on composition.

If you are happy to read on, then thank you.But if not take these two lines with you and keep them in your head.

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.

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. No images were changed. And the edits were commercial images issued to clients.

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

RICK MCEVOY ABIPP

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.

And also in this process my own individual style emerged for the first time.

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

Me on location in Santorini - loving being out there

Me on location in Santorini - loving being out there

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.

And lots of time backing up!!!!

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 with stagnation comes frustration and the risk of going off photography.

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

And do I use them? Some yes, but most no. Another waste of my money.

Sunrise on Santorini by Rick McEvoy travel photography

Sunrise on Santorini by Rick McEvoy travel photography

What is photography all about? Taking photos.

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!

Photography is a pleasure that should be enjoyed in my opinion, not a technical exercise or way of emptying my wallet.

5 – Take less photos

I know - this seems to contradict point 4.

Take less photos?

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

Get out more to take photos, but take less photos when you are out there.

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.

This is something that I have looked into - pretty much without exception the first image I have taken on any kind of shoot is the one I use.

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 month, 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 the way I take and process photos I rarely have to worry about my exposure. For me it is all about keeping things simple.

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

I hate having to choose between virtually identical images - I absolutely hate it.

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.

The higher the percentage of image captures to keepers the happier I am!

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. If I want to look at a photo of Durdle Door there are thousands of images out there.

Is another picture of Durdle Door done by me needed?

Not really…..

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. Yep - I am back to the composition.

Delph Woods, Poole - landscape photography in Dorset

Delph Woods, Poole - landscape photography in Dorset

This photo was actually taken at 4pm on New Years Eve 1 mile from my home!

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! This ounds horrendous to me.

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

I find that I am the only one at a location when I am taking photos. Just how I like it. Check out this video of me all by myself on the wonderful island of Santorini.

7 – Forget layers in Photoshop (and stick to Lightroom)

Controversial!

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 will say that again - I don’t get layers, and have not worked out why I would need them for the photography work I do? Maybe I just don’t need them.

I am quite a literal person - I struggle to understand things if I have no use for them.

I wrote about this on Improve Photography - check out These are 5 things I use Photoshop for – no layers required! which I got a bit of stick for!

I process 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

  • Content aware crop

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

I have nothing against Photoshop - I just find it hard to naviagate and use, and there are so many options it is hard narrowing it down to the things I need. I feel for any new photographer firing Photoshop up for the first time and staring at the monitor with no clue what to do next - I can remember that feeling too well.

I am happy with Lightroom thanks. I dont know how to edit images in Photoshop. And I dont care!

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 of my image editing in Lightroom, but sometimes I need to go to Photoshop to carry out some of the thnigs I listed above.

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 with the photoshop edits 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. If you work in layers in Photoshop you can (apparently) go back and undo stuff (as long as you have edited the photo and saved as a PSD file).

This is why I don’t need layers, and why it doesn’t bother me either. Any work done in Photoshop is saved to a brand new file, leaving the Lightroom edit where it was. And there is not that much to undo.

Non-destructive editing to the max!

8 – Start your photography journey with Lightroom

Adobe Lightroom Classic 7.3 on my PC

Adobe Lightroom Classic 7.3 on my PC

Lightroom is fantastic. I use it all the time.

And I suggest you should too.

I have been using Lightroom for over 10 years now and can honestly say that the latest version of Lightroom Classic is the best yet. I have been using Lightroom since version 1.0.

Get Lightroom. Learn Lightroom.

Don’t try anything else.

To begin with, once you have Lightroom, put all your photos into a single catalogue in Lightroom. Then you can 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 manage your photos.

Let’s think about this for second - once you have all your images in Lightroom why would you 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.

Get as much RAM as you can

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.

Get more RAM and get to know Lightroom and Lightroom only - you will thank me for this trust me!

If you can survive without Photoshop then happy days, but if you feel the need then I can recommend this book which I am going to get.

The Photoshop Toolbox: Essential Techniques for Mastering Layer Masks, Brushes, and Blend modes - released 28th November 2018.

The book is written by Glyn Dewis, a British photographer, and I will copy a bit of the extract from Amazon which I like

“Adobe Photoshop is one of the most powerful image-editing applications ever created, but it is also widely thought to be difficult to learn, infinite in scope, and nearly impossible to master. For these reasons, many photographers choose to stay exclusively with Lightroom for all their photography needs. But for those photographers who subscribe to the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan--which includes both Lightroom and Photoshop--to leave Photoshop unopened and unexplored is to deny yourself the ability to take your creativity and expression to a whole new level.“

9 – Learn Lightroom properly before trying anything else

Going on….

I started using Lightroom, and at the same time discovered the wonderful world of plug-ins and other photo editnig software. Well it was a whole new world to me. 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. Well I did get into the Nik Collection, mainly for black and white conversions, but that pleasure was taken away from me!

And this was at the same time as trying to learn how to use Lightroom. I mean trying as I was so distracted.

And when I got an iPad Pro I got even more stuff. Another new toy shop of 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. And this means I can access the photos I need to anyhwere on my iPad and phone.

Brilliant.

That is all I use for editing images - nothing else.

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.

So don’t ask them. Ask someone who knows what they are talking about who can be completely honest with you.

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! This is another thing that I have learned from experience - now I listen ot much less stuff and act on the good stuff that I learn that will help me take better photos.

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.

And I am proud of this fact.

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.

Like I say, nothing against the SWPP - the convention they runin London is pretty fantastic to be fair. It is just that I joined the SWPP at the time that I was all over the place.

And when I began to focus my attention

I came across the BIPP – the British Institute of Professional Photography. I applied to join the BIPP, and to get my first qualification 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.

I found this a really difficult process, as I did not really know what I was doing. Thankfully I was helped through the process.

That was then, and now I have managed to upgrade my qualifications.

I have now achieved 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.

I had a much better set of images, and had learned a lot since that first submission.

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.

BIPP qualified logo ABIPP White.jpg

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.

And I think that having the logo on my email footer, website, well everywhere gived me a more professional look - as it should!

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 what is the point of standing next to someone else taking the same photo 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?

This was really the point. I do not want in my head a preconceived set of images that I am looking to capture myself. I might as well just stay at home and look at the images on my PC.

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.

I knew about Santorini, and had always wanted to go there, but I wanted to go and choose the lcoations myself.

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 did my research with my feet, and I loved it.

And guess what - 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! My wife plans things. Like this room.

But I hope you get the point - find your own compositions without having other peoples work in your head.

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 don’t know who said this, but I can see the logic in it.

I have probably spent 10,000 hours in Lightroom – I don’t suggest you do that by the way. And I dread to think how many hours in Photoshop!

Here 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. I should know - I produced no end of rubbish when I was starting out.

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 - just don’t do them any more.

Here are 14 quotes about failure from the inspirational James Dyson, which I have extracted from the website Logo Maker. I love these - they are truly inspirational. And so true.

  • “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…..

So crack on doing things and making mistakes - just make sure you learn from them. I have always said that how people deal with mistakes and problems is what makes them different.

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 had an ever expanding list of things to do, many of which conflicted with each other, making life even more difficult and confusing.

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

Of course you have to spread the net wider to start with to find the people you want to focus in on.

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.

Wunderlist and Post It pads are the capture points - I find that once I have captured a thought it stops cluttering my already confuse dhead. Evernote is where I make sense of things. (I have invested in Evernore Premium, meangin I can access the same info on my PC and mobile devices).

Check out the book How to be a Productivity Ninja by Graham Allcott - I listened to this whilst driving around - see below - and have actioned many of the excellent ideas in that book.

15 – Listen to podcasts

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

  • Peta Pixel

  • The Togcast

  • The Grid

  • This Week in Photo

  • The No Name Photo Show

  • Six Figure Photography

  • He Shoots He Draws

  • The Business of Photography

None photography podcasts that I enjoy

  • The Solopreneur Hour

  • Ask Pat 2.0

  • The Blogging Millionaire

  • Smart Passive Income

  • Online Marketing Made Easy

  • Superfast Businesss

  • 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.

I have cut down the photography podcasts quite a lot - I think I overdid them a couple of years ago.

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 Business of Photography Podcast. 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 going back to the point about getting your photos critiqued, check out the website and blind photo critiques on The Grid - it is great to hear Scott Kelby and guests giving their honest opinions.

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.

My web traffic has not incresed as much as I had hoped, but I am still working on that, hence this long post!

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.

How often should you write? To keep it simple try 2,000 words once a week. And stick with that. Don’t do it for a couple of months then give in - stick with it and see where it takes you. I am a writer on Improve Photography - this would not have happened if I had not started my blog.

17 – Buy a tripod - seriously

Yep. Really. Buy a tripod. But not any 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. When I had to.

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

For my day to day work 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.

And I can stop and have a drink and a snack!!

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. And thinking more about my photogrpahy.

And I also use a Manfrotto Pixi - here it is on location! This is a great mini-tripod which I take on foreign trips.

FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg

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.

When I say website these days I mean websites - these are where my future is, rather than on social media.

I have two other websites which I am working on.

Paxos Travel Guide

Photos of Santorini

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, whichI will write about next month - 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.

Don’t fight for a piece of the pie, make your own pie! A quote from Sharkey James which I love.

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.

Sunrise in Altea, Spain by Rick McEvoy Travel Photographer

Sunrise in Altea, Spain by Rick McEvoy Travel Photographer

And also saw this stunning church at sunrise on another morning.

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.

One more thing

21 - And finally that list

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

  1. Choose your destiny and go for it.

  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. Look at your photos, learn, be critical, get critiques.

  10. Enjoy your photography.

And to finish

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. I photograph buildings and nice places.

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

I hae a daily photography blog, other websites and am a writer on Improve Photography.

Please get in touch with any thoughts, comments, to book me or to just say hi!

Rick McEvoy ABIPP, MCIOB – Rick McEvoy Photography – Photographer, photoblogger, writer

Architectural Photography explained - camera settings that I use

In my post on Monday I wrote about the camera settings that I use for architectural photography.

I said that I would post some example images. Here is the photo of the interior of the bar at Sopley Mill, a refurbished wedding venue that I photographed for the architect Etchingham Morris Architecture Ltd.

This is the final edited image issued to the client.

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

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

And here are the three images that I took which I spoke about in the post on Monday.

Image number 1 - the correct exposure - 0.3 seconds at F8, ISO 400

Image number 1 - the correct exposure - 0.3 seconds at F8, ISO 400

Image number 2 - two stops underexposed - 1/13th second at F8, ISO 400

Image number 2 - two stops underexposed - 1/13th second at F8, ISO 400

Image number 3 - two stops overrexposed - 1.3 seconds at F8, ISO 400

Image number 3 - two stops overrexposed - 1.3 seconds at F8, ISO 400

These are the three bracketed images. Other settings used to take these photos

  • Canon 6D

  • Canon 17-40mm lens at 17mm

  • Camera in AV Mode

  • RAW format

I focused on the face of the cabinet to the right of the bar. I also took a meter reading from there for my exposure.

Everything else as described in the post on Monday.

I used an ISO of 400 as it was very dark in this space. The first correctly exposed image shows this quite well. The highlights are only just blown in the last image, the overexposd image which adds those lighter tones to the darker tones of the second image.

Tomorrow I will post another of my architectural photography images along with the camera settings used.

Rick McEvoy ABIPP, MCIOB

7 people actually disliked this video on my YouTube Channel!

3.664 views. And 7 people have actually taken the time to dislike this! Why ever would you do that?

It is nothing serious - just me walking on a layer of ice with snow underneath. 7 dislikes and 4 likes…..

Rick McEvoy Photography - You Tube Creator (sort of)

How I find photos in Lightroom quickly using Excire Search

A dull question but hopefully an interesting answer will ensue.

I have well over 70,000 images in my Lightroom Catalogue. How do I find photos in Lightroom quickly? Using Excire Search is how. In this post I will tell you what Excire search is and how I use it to find photos in Lightroom quickly.

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What is Excire Search?

Excire Search is a Lightroom plug-in which searches the images in a Lightroom catalogue using the content of the images – that is the point – Excire Search uses the content of the images in the Lightroom Catalogue, and searches using an example image to find similar images with similar content.

Is Excire Search going to help you find images in your Lightroom Catalogue? Read on and you will find out.

By way of a spoiler the answer is yes, it will help. Quite a lot.


Before I go on, full disclosure

I was approached by Excire Search to trial this product, and I am an affiliate member, so if you click on my affiliate link here and buy Excire Search I get a commission.

Of course, I have an incentive to write good things about this plug-in. What you will find in this blog post though is my honest opinions on Lightroom and Excire, and their relative search capabilities.

This is not an advert for Excire Search, this is me writing about a tool that, now I have it, I will use regularly in my photography work.

OK now that is out of the way back to the subject in question.

What are the different versions of Lightroom?

I need to give you a bit of background to Lightroom to start with.

There are three versions of Lightroom. Lightroom CC, Lightroom Mobile and the one I use, Lightroom Classic.

What is the difference between Lightroom Classic, Lightroom CC and Lightroom Mobile?

Lightroom Classic

Lightroom Classic is the version of Lightroom where the photos are stored locally on a hard drive (of one sort or another). Lightroom Classic is the current evolution of what was Lightroom. This is what the standalone version starting with Lightroom 1.0 released in 2007 has evolved into, which is now obtained through the Creative Cloud and a monthly subscription.

Lightroom CC

Lightroom CC is the newer cloud-based version of Lightroom. Photos are stored on the cloud. This is not the full version of Lightroom but has features which you will not find in Lightroom Classic.

Lightroom CC was released in 2017

Lightroom Mobile

Lightroom Mobile is the version of Lightroom that is used on mobile devices. Photos are accessed from Lightroom through collections which are synced via the internet.

Lightroom Mobile is free but you need actual Lightroom Classic or CC to get the photos into collections.

For completeness there is also a web based Lightroom, which you can access at this link.


Which version of Lightroom do I use?

I use Lightroom Classic – the original full version now available through the Creative Cloud.

I do not use Lightroom CC as this is the cloud-based version, where your photos are stored by Adobe in the cloud.

I have no doubt that at some point in the future I will move over, as we all will.

That is why this article is about advanced searches in Lightroom Classic.

What are the search capabilities of Lightroom Classic, Lightroom CC and Lightroom Mobile?

Lightroom Classic

There are various search tools and filters in Lightroom Classic that I use all the time.

I use the following

  • Star rating

  • Picks and rejects filters

  • Other metadata in the tool bar

Having said that my images are organised in a very logical, comprehensive but simple file structure meaning that I know where most of my images are.

Lightroom Classic has face recognition technology, but to be honest I do not use this as I do not photograph people, only buildings and nice places.

Read on for the good bit.

Lightroom CC - has Adobe Sensei technology.

I don’t have Lightroom CC, so not being at all familiar with it I decided to let Adobe explain Sensei search technology. This is what Adobe say on their website on their excellent help pages

https://helpx.adobe.com/uk/lightroom-cc/using/whats-new.html

 “Start typing in the search bar, and Lightroom CC automatically offers suggestions to help you quickly find what you need. Search for cameras, locations, and other metadata with ease. Also, your enabled filters are kept neatly organized in the search box. You can even search for a filter using its name (try 'camera:').

But does Sensei analyse the content of an image?

No.

It does carry out some form of auto tagging, but it is mainly intelligent search functionality.

Why do I not have Lightroom CC?

I should explain this. I have evolved from Lightroom 1.0 – yes, I was there at the very beginning in 2007 – to the Lightroom Classic that we have now.

I have heard that there are potential conflicts if you have Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic installed.

Now I do not know if this is true, but I am not going to risk it. I don’t want Lightroom CC at the moment as I do not want to pay for cloud storage. I don’t actually want or indeed need this as I have my own arrangements in place.

So, I, like most photographers so I believe, use Lightroom Classic.

Lightroom Mobile

I nearly forgot about Lightroom Mobile. I use this on my iPad and iPhone. All the images are organised into collections, so searching for images is not something that I do – it is done before things are added to Lightroom Mobile.

I use Lightroom mobile as my mobile working folders.

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What is Excire Search then?

Excire Search is a plug-in for Lightroom Classic. It provides advanced search capabilities using a content-based image retrieval engine.

Or to put it another way it searches using the content of images in my Lightroom Catalogue.

Why is Excire Search different from the search capabilities built into Lightroom Classic?

Basically, Excire Search uses the content of an image. I know.

I thought this was just another clever piece of software with no practical use but just think about this for a second.

How does Excire Search work?

Once you have installed Excire Search you have to initialise it. This is basically the process by which the software analyses all the images in your Lightroom Catalogue.

This took two overnight sessions to analyse the more than 60,000 images in my Lightroom Catalogue.

I wondered why it took so long. But I was soon to find out.

What does Excire Search do?

The plug-in analyses the content of images. Yes, I know.

Let me jump straight into some examples which demonstrate the point wonderfully well.

 

Example 1 – The blue domed church roofs of Santorini

This is one of the things I am working on at the moment – a collection of architectural travel photography images.

I want to get a set of similar images, and my starting point is one of those famous blue domed church roofs you find on the wonderful Greek Island of Santorini.

If you want to see more of my work about my photos of Santorini check out my website called, erm Photos of Santorini.

Sorry had to get that plug in.

This is the example image that I use as the basis for the search.

Blue domed church roof, Santorini, Greece

Blue domed church roof, Santorini, Greece

And this is the results of the first 50 images that Excire found in my Lightroom Catalogue.

50 photos of blue domed cgurch roofs

50 photos of blue domed cgurch roofs

Not bad. Now the search did produce a couple of shots of the domed roof of the church in Altea, Spain, and also one house on the Greek Island of Rhodes which has part of the roof with a sort of dome, but other than that pretty good search results.

Lets try something else

Example 2 – The white buildings of Santorini

Next, I am going to use the famous white buildings of Santorini – another theme that I am working with at the moment.

This is the example image

Copy of White buildings and blue church roofs on the Greek Island of San

And this is the results of the first 50 images that Excire found in my Lightroom Catalogue

50 white buildings screenshot

50 white buildings screenshot

Example 3 – The interiors of churches and cathedrals

This is the example image

The spectacular ceiling of San Sebastian Cathedral

The spectacular ceiling of San Sebastian Cathedral

And this is the results of the first 50 images that Excire found in my Lightroom Catalogue

50 church ceilings

50 church ceilings

Example 4 – Buildings with scaffolding

This is the example image

HORNDEAN 003 230315.jpg

 And this is the results of the first 50 images that Excire found in my Lightroom Catalogue

50 scaffolding photos

50 scaffolding photos

Example 5 - Sunrise with boats

This is the example image

Copy of Poole Quay and boats at sunrise by Poole Photographer Rick McEvo

 And this is the results of the first 50 images that Excire found in my Lightroom Catalogue

50 sunrises with boats

50 sunrises with boats

That should do for now. You should get the idea. Pretty cool eh?

I know that the search results included a few oddities but that is always going to be the way. I have to say that these are typical of the searches that I will use Excire Search Pro for in my daily work.

Well I will now that I have the excellent search tool to use.

What about keywords?

This is the one that I needed to spend some time and work out. Check back to my photography blog in a few months to see how I get on with this feature.

Me and keywords

I am not a great one at keywording images. I add keywords to images when I export them anywhere outside of my hard drive. This is always the last thing I do before exporting images out of Lightroom.

I was always going to keyword images on import, but it never happened.

And now that I have over 60,000 keywords I think that ship has sailed.

Or has it?

What does Excire Search Pro do with keywords?

It adds keywords to every image during the initialisation process.

Yes – it does this based on the image content.

And that is how I keyword images prior to exporting – as well as adding some essential data I add keywords that describe the image.

This sounds to good to be true.

By the way as I am writing this, I am following a video tutorial on the Excire website and checking Lightroom to see what is going on.

Where does Excire Search Pro put the keywords?

In a separate place. They are not in the Lightroom Catalogue.

Excire Search Pro can assign up to 535 keywords to images in your Lightroom catalogue. The non-pro version 120.

I tried this quickly but need more time before committing to adding the keywords Excire Search Pro has assigned to my images.

I have spent a long time assembling my Lightroom Catalogue and this is not something to rush into.

And there are also the Dominant colours

During the initialisation process Excire Search also identifies the dominant colours in an image – this is another thing that I am definitely interested in.

 

How do I get Excire Search?

You can get Excire Search from this link here – this is my affiliate link, so if you buy the software from this link I get a commission. You don’t pay any more that going direct to the website.

You can also get a 30-day free trial here.

 

How much does Excire Search cost?

99 Euros for the Search Pro version, and 49 Euros for the Search version. I have used the Euro prices for now – we have not left yet after all!!

When I write an update post I might be showing the price in £s though.

This is a one-off purchase and the software is installed on your Mac or PC hard drive.

Oh yes, you don’t need the internet to run this software.

The price includes bug fixes and minor updates and improvements, but not version upgrades and major additions.

 

And the other features

I have not tried out all the features of Excire Search Pro. I need to look more at

  • Keywords

  • Search by dominant colour

Actually – here is a screenshot of the options available in Lightroom

Excire menu close up 20112018.PNG


Summary

I was approached by Sol at Excire Search to work with them on the promotion of their new plug-in.

At first it sounded like one of those things that was very clever but would be of little use to me, but I agreed to work with Excire, and committed to write about the plug-in on my blog and also on the Improve Photography website. I am a freelance writer for Improve Photography, producing fortnightly articles on all things photography.

Little did I know that I would find the ability to search my entire Lightroom Catalogue by an example photo so useful – this is something that I have used a lot in the two weeks since I installed Excire Search.

I am interested to see if I use Excire Search in the future once the novelty has worn off. I think I will, it has a place in my workflow for certain specific work that I do.

You can read my introduction to Excire Search on Improve Photography. I have scheduled a review article on Improve Photography for Feb/ March 2019. I will write an in-depth update on my blog in the spring where I will describe how much I am using it, what I use it for and what benefits this search tool has given me and my photography business.

Basically, if you need the things I need when searching for images in my Lightroom Catalogue then Excire Search Pro is an excellent choice. If you don’t need these search capabilities then fine – it is not for you!

Rick McEvoy ABIPP - Photographer, blogger, writer

 

Sunrise Photography Settings That Work For Me Every Time

So, you want to photograph the sunrise? I don’t blame you - this is my favourite time of day to take photos, the start of a new day.

What sunrise photography settings do I use? Typically, I use F8 or F16 aperture, ISO 100 and the shutter speed the camera chooses using AV Mode on my Canon 6D. In this post I will tell you all about the camera settings I use which will help you take great sunrise photos easily every time. I will also tell you the actual camera settings I used to take the 5 sunrise photos included in this post.

What camera gear do I use?

I have been using a Canon 6D with Canon 17-40mm lens for most of my sunrise photography. The Canon 6D is a full-frame DSLR.

I will go through the settings one by one and then describe the settings I used for the 5 photos included in this post.

I will conclude with a brief word about processing sunrise photos using Lightroom.

Before I go on - I must explain this

In this post I am explaining the camera settings that I use to photograph sunrises. They work for me and allow me to concentrate on the sunrise itself and not fiddling with my camera at all. This is not a technical article, I am explaining my sure-fire way of getting great sunrise photos every time using tried and tested camera settings.

There are those who will not agree with my approach – that is absolutely fine – this is how I do it.

The basics of taking photographs – the exposure triangle.

First things first. Every time you take a photo there are three elements that have to be set to ensure a correct exposure.

These are

  • Aperture

  • Shutter

  • ISO

These settings apply to any camera.

The settings I use are as follows

Aperture

F8/ F16. F8 is the sweet spot on my Canon 17-40mm lens, and also my Canon 24-105mm lens. This is my starting aperture every time I go out to shoot.

When do I vary from this?

When I want to change the depth of field, i.e. how much of the photo is in focus. For sunrise photography I will typically choose F16 or F22. F16 is my aperture of choice if I want the maximum depth of field without getting lens-induced errors. If I am shooting straight into the sun and I want a starburst effect on the sun then I will go the minimum aperture of my Canon 17-40mm lens, which is F22.

So, the aperture is set for the composition

Shutter speed

I use the AV mode on my Canon 6D. AV stands for Aperture Value. In AV mode I select the aperture and the camera sets the shutter speed for the correct exposure automatically.

Hold that thought for now – I will come back to this after the third element of the exposure triangle.

ISO

I use ISO100. This is the lowest native ISO on my Canon 6D. The lowest ISO produces the highest quality image with the lowest amount of noise.

I will sometimes go to ISO400 if the conditions require, which is normally if there are fast moving clouds or trees blowing around and I need faster shutter speeds.

I always use a tripod, so shutter speed is not a concern with regard to camera shake.

But I can change the ISO if I want to change the shutter speed.

Back to shutter speed

I sort of glossed over the shutter speed. As I always use a tripod I am not worried about camera shake. The only relevance here is if there is something moving in the scene, typically the sea, clouds or trees.

Now I like a bit of movement on my sea, so I don’t worry about this.

I have a range of tripods, normal Manfrotto tripods, a tiny Manfrotto Pixi and also a Platypod – basically a metal plate which I can fix my camera to and place it on the ground to get a great low viewpoint.

All the stuff above applies whichever camera you are using. Now for some stuff specific to the Canon 6D. When I say specific to the Canon 6D you can do many if not all of these things with other cameras, they are just called different things by different camera manufacturers.

I change the shutter speed by varying the ISO after I have chosen the aperture for the composition.

Summary of the basic exposure settings

Aperture, shutter speed and ISO all combine to make an exposure. I choose an aperture, then change the ISO if I need to change the shutter speed.

Metering

I use Evaluative Mode most of the time

Focus Mode

Most of the time I use AF Mode One shot

Back button focus

This is a custom function setting on the Canon 6D. Basically I focus using the AF-ON button on the back of the camera. This post is not an explanation of back-button focus - check out this excellent article on Digital Photography School to find out more.

I use a combination of Live View and the viewfinder to compose the image – it just depends.

And when it comes to focussing as a rule of thumb I focus one-third into the scene, using either Live View or the viewfinder.

Once I have focussed I can take as many photos as I like as exposure and image capture are separate from focussing.

Drive Mode

As I am auto-bracketing and using the 10 second-self timer that is sorted.

Self-timer - my secret weapon!

I use the 10-second self-timer built into my camera. I used to use a remote release, but much prefer doing this as it works a treat and means I have one less thing to carry, go wrong and get batteries for.

And using the self-timer means that all I need to do is press the shutter release button whenever I want to take a photo – I am not sat behind my camera peering through my viewfinder – I am normally sat on the floor next to it.

GPS

I always use the GPS on my Canon 6D. It drains the battery, but the locational information is invaluable to me as a travel photographer.

RAW

I only ever shoot in RAW, never in JPEG. RAW gives me the maximum data to work with in Lightroom.

White balance

As I shoot in RAW I can use Auto White Balance – I don’t need to worry about this till later. Am I being lazy? I would rather say smart – this gives me one less thing to worry about.

Auto Exposure bracketing

When I am photographing the sunrise, I use auto exposure bracketing, where I take three exposures.

The first exposure is the correct exposure – the one that the camera tells me is the correct exposure.

The second exposure is two stops under exposed (darker)

The third exposure is two stops over exposed (lighter)

As I am using AV mode the camera works this out for me by varying the shutter speed.

If the shutter speed for the correct exposure is 1/1000thsecond, the second shutter speed is two stops faster, (1/4000thsecond) letting less light in creating a darker image. The third exposure is two stops slower than the first exposure, (1/400thsecond) which is lighter.

This is what they look like in Lightroom.

Auto bracketing images viewed in Lightroom

Auto bracketing images viewed in Lightroom

I hope that makes sense?

Why do I take three photos?

I take three photos which I merge together in Lightroom later. This is called HDR photography. HDR is High Dynamic Range.

Basically, I get more of the lights and more of the darks than my Canon 6D can capture in a single image, which I can merge together in Lightroom.

My workflow and making life easy

My workflow has evolved over the years to make taking photos as easy as possible. With the settings I have described here and the techniques I use I am able to concentrate on what I am taking a photo of.

All I need to think about with the camera settings is

  • The aperture, which is normally F8 or F16

  • Where I focus

  • Everything else is set before I take a photo.

A word about HDR

HDR photography gets more information from a scene recorded by the camera. And there is another benefit – I don’t need to worry about the exposure of the image capture – I have so much built-in latitude this is no longer an issue?

Some purists might see this as being lazy – again I think this is a smart way to work, which helps me take better photos and enjoy myself much more than I would if I was fiddling around with camera settings.

And this is what I did for years until I thought about it all.

Remember that my workflow is an evolution of a lifetime of practising and learning about photography – a process that is an ongoing one – learning for me never ends!

And with that lets look at some sunrise photos that I have taken, and the settings that I used to get them.

Here are the five sunrise photos that I have taken along with the camera settings used. All five photos were taken with my Canon 6D and Canon 17-40mm, 24-105mm or 70-200mm lenses using the settings mentioned above. The only variables are the aperture, shutter and ISO which of course vary depending on the light in the scene I am photographing.

Santorini sunrise photo from the top of the caldera

I N Ayiou Mapkou church after sunrise with a spectacular view of the island of Santorini

I N Ayiou Mapkou church after sunrise with a spectacular view of the island of Santorini

This was after sunrise, but I included this photo to demonstrate the point I made about the use of the minimum aperture on my Canon 17-40mm lens – this is how I get the sun looking like this.

And using auto-bracketing I can shoot straight into the sun and not have a wildly incorrect exposure.

A word of caution here – be careful photographing straight into the sun!

Camera settings

  • Aperture F22

  • Shutter Speed 1/500th second, 1/2000th second and 1/125th second

  • ISO 400

Why ISO 400? In this scene the clouds were moving very fast so didn’t want a shutter speed slower than 1/125th second.

Sunrise in Loggos on the Greek Island of Paxos

Sunrise in Loggos on the Greek Island of Paxos

Sunrise in Loggos on the Greek Island of Paxos

Camera settings

  • Aperture F16

  • Shutter Speed 1.6 seconds, 0.4 seconds and 6 seconds

  • ISO 400

Yes – long exposures still work with auto-bracketing

Sunrise view of Navarone Bay looking towards the Acropolis of Rhodes

Sunrise in Rhodes - Travel Photography by Rick McEvoy

Sunrise in Rhodes - Travel Photography by Rick McEvoy

Camera settings

  • Aperture F16

  • Shutter Speed 1/25th second, 1/100th second, 1/6th second

  • ISO 100

Sunrise at Cap Negret Spain

Stunning sunrise colours in Altea, Spain

Stunning sunrise colours in Altea, Spain

Camera settings

  • Aperture F8

  • Shutter Speed 1/40th second, 1/160th second, 1/10th second

  • ISO 100

I used F8 as this photo was taken using my Canon 70-200mm lens!

Sunrise street scene in Altea Spain

Sunrise in Altea by travel photographer Rick McEvoy

Sunrise in Altea by travel photographer Rick McEvoy

Camera settings

  • Aperture F9, F13 and F6.3

  • Shutter Speeds 1/160th second, 1/320th second, 1/80th second

  • ISO 400

Just to disprove a point this photo was taken with my camera in Programme Mode. This was a mistake. I had been shooting video and forgot to change back to AV Mode. But you can see how the camera has still managed to capture all of the scene!

A word on processing my sunrise photos

All the photos I take are added to a single catalogue in Lightroom.

On import I add an amount of processing to each and every image – this is stuff that I used to do manually to every image I was editing.

My images start off 30% processed when I start to look at them.

HDR Merge

Once I have chosen the images that I want to edit I do a form of batch processing. I carry out an HDR merge on the first set of three images, and if all the settings re ok I select the next batch of three images and us the Lightroom keyboard shortcut Shift Control H. This starts up the HDR merge process. I then move on to the next three, and on and on. I have had Lightroom do 30 HDR merges at once – I go off and do something else and leave Lightroom to it.

This gives me all the HDR dng files to work with, which is an excellent starting point.

I will write another post about editing sunrise photos in a future blog post.

What about sunsets?

Well to be honest I don’t have as many sunsets as I do sunrises. Sunrise is my time – I get up early on my own and get out there and photograph the dawning of a new day. I do not inflict this on anyway else, and that is just fine for all of us!

But sunsets are at a much more sociable time, so I have less of them!

Summary

I hope that you have found my photography blog post “Sunrise Photography Settings That Work For Me Every Time” interesting and of use.

If you have any questions please get in touch – I always reply to anyone who takes the time to get in touch with me.

And while I am on the subject of travel photography check out my other websites Photos of Santorini and Paxos Travel Guide.

Rick McEvoy - Travel Photographer, writer, blogger, all round nice chap

Professional photographers who use micro four thirds - really?

I have read a lot of nonsense about micro four thirds cameras. So, I have entered the debate.

Are there any professional photographers who use micro four thirds? Well I have just joined the ranks with the purchase of an Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mk 2. In this post I will tell you what micro four thirds is and why I am giving it a go. And my initial thoughts from the very first trials are that I love it! I expect that after my trials that I am going to fully embrace the wonderful world of micro four thirds, and I would love it if you joined me on this journey.

A bit about me to start

BIPP qualified logo ABIPP White.jpg

If you don’t know me hello. I am Rick McEvoy ABIPP. I am a professionally qualified photographer, having an Associateship in the British Institute of Professional Photography.

I am also a Chartered Construction Manager, also having the designation MCIOB.

I specialise in architectural photography. I photograph buildings, houses, construction sites, developments, land and construction products.

I am also a travel photographer. I have two websites, Photos of Santorini and Paxos Travel Guide. These are the natural extension of my commercial architectural photography work into my other passion, travel. Buildings abroad and he environment they sit in.

And these two websites are the beginnings of something that I hope will contribute to my income in the future.

And related to these two things is my other passion, landscape photography.

I have pages on my website which each contain 12 images from each of my areas of specialism.

Architectural Photography Portfolio

Landscape Photography Portfolio

Travel Photography Portfolio

What camera gear do I use?

Up until this week I have been using a Canon 6D Mk 1 with a Canon 17-40mm lens. I also have Canon 24-105 and 70-200mm lenses.

I also have a Canon 24mm TS-E tilt shift lens. Say this quietly but I rarely use this lens. In fact, the sale of this lens will be entirely relevant to this post. And this lens is currently for sale on Ebay.

Do professional photographers use micro four thirds?

This is what I am exploring. Starting with me.

As I said, I use a Canon 6D Mark 1 full frame DSLR. This week I added a new camera to my toolbox, which I will come onto later in this post.

The point of this post is the title - Professional photographers who use micro four thirds. I was not one but am now. The question is how far am I going to go with my professional photography work?

I will get onto that later as well.

But for now, just let go of all those pre-conceptions about having to have a full frame DLSR to take “professional photos”. In the next three months I am going to explore this myth, and hopefully blow it out of the water.

I want to ascertain what, if any of my commercial photography work I can do with micro four thirds equipment. If I get to the point of proving that this can happen for all my commercial photography work then I am all in with this smaller format ecosystem, and the Canon gear is all going.

If I am not happy that I can continue with my commercial photography work using micro four thirds only then I will have another decision to make.

This is going to be a series of posts over the next three months culminating in a decision about what gear to take on my next trip, which is to Canada no less!

What is micro four thirds then?

Micro four thirds cameras are smaller mirrorless cameras with a smaller sensor than DSLRs and the other format of mirrorless camera which have APS-C sensors.

Let me try and explain this technical nonsense.

There are (principally) three sizes of camera sensors.

  • Full frame

  • APS-C

  • Micro four thirds

What does this mean?

Let’s start with full frame cameras. These have a sensor the same size as a good old 35mm film camera. They are 36mm wide x 24mm high. This is the size of a film negative.

APS-C sensors are smaller than full frame sensors, and micro four thirds sensors are smaller than APS-C sensors.

So, what does this really mean?

Chuck a “standard lens” on a full frame camera and the 50mm focal length is what you see through the viewfinder. That is the benchmark.

This equates roughly to how we see world through our eyes – hence the term standard lens.

OK? The other type of DSLR has what is called an APS-C sensor. That has a crop factor of 1.6 (on Canon cameras). If you put the same 50mm lens on an APS-C Canon camera the actual focal length is 50 x 1.6 which is 80mm.

This is going towards telephoto.

And next is the crop factor on mirrorless cameras which is 2x, which equates to 100mm on a full frame camera.

To get the same view on an APS-C camera as you get with a 50mm lens on a full frame DSLR you need a lens which is (50/1.6) which is 31.25mm

And to get the same view on a micro four thirds camera you need a lens with a focal length which is (50/2) which is 25mm.

I hope that makes sense?

Basically, micro four thirds cameras have much smaller sensors and are much smaller cameras.

And that is the point here.

Micro four thirds cameras are much smaller than DLSRs and APS-C sensor mirrorless cameras.

There is lots of info about this on the web – this post is not an explanation of sensor sizes – I am just trying to briefly explain the fundamental differences.

There are lots of other differences, I have started with the size as that was the thing that got me looking in the first place.

What micro four thirds camera have I bought?

This is it. An Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark ii.

IMAGE.JPG
Olympus OM D EM-10

Olympus OM D EM-10


Snappy name eh?

Why don’t camera manufacturers come up with more interesting names. Like Eric. It would me much

better if it was called the Olympus Eric 2.

Much better.

No, I am not going to give my camera a name – I am not that sad.

The camera I bought came with a 14-42mm lens. Which is effectively a 28-84mm lens on a full frame DSLR.

How much did the Olympus camera cost me?

£312. I bought it second hand from EBay. I am going to use it for three months. And if I love it I will get the newer version and sell this one on.

Three months is the time between now and going to Canada.

I am going to try with the one lens for now.

That is the plan.

At the time of writing though I have some stuff for sale on Ebay which will fund the next lens, and possibly the next level of camera body.

Why am I doing this?

It all started in a blog post I wrote titled How to Choose Your Next Camera.

I know that my Canon 6D will not last forever, and at some point I will be replacing it. But there was a bit more than that to this post it turns out.

I have found on recent trips that I have been using my iPhone more and only using my Canon 6D when I was on a sunrise shoot. I was getting fed up carrying my camera and lenses.

Basically, I wanted a smaller camera for travel photography.

And this is where this is going.

Am I going to get rid of my Canon 6D?

No. I asked the question Is the Canon 6d Mk 1 still a good camera? It’s a yes from me

on my blog in October.

See - I have been thinking about this stuff for some time.

I am not getting rid of my Canon 6D (YET) – I have added to it with the little Olympus camera.

So what next?

I will continue to use my Canon 6D for commercial architectural photography work. And on each shoot I will take a couple of photos with my little Olympus camera and see how it compares.

And I am going to take lots of photos of nice things while I am driving about the lovely counties of Dorset and Hampshire. I have stopped doing that recently, both in the UK and abroad.

I have stopped taking photos for pleasure of nice places and scenes – I think that the full frame DSLR paraphernalia has relegated my main camera to a commercial only tool that I choose not to use for personal stuff.

And for me personal stuff is a significant part of my photographic work.

So that is that sorted.

I now have two camera systems.

  • Canon full frame DSLR

  • Olympus micro four thirds

Do the two compare

No. That is not the point. It is not fair to put a kit costing £2000 against a second-hand camera costing just over £300.

Or is it?

That is one to see. Will my clients be able to tell the difference??

My first photo with the Olympus camera, processed using Aurora HDR 2019

 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This is it. One cold morning in Dorset.

This is the iPhone photo

IMAGE.JPG

Looking good. I did not take a photo with my Canon 6D which I really should have done, but I will take more photos in the next three months using all three devices.

A word about lenses

As I said earlier I am going to trial the second-hand camera for three months. The intention was to use this for travel photography and personal work, which are one and the same to be honest.

I am also going to try this little marvel on commercial architectural photography shoots, in addition to taking the main photos with my Canon 6D.

Problem is that the lens is 14-24mm, which equates to 28-84mm on my Canon 6D.

To make the trial meaningful I really need to buy a lens as wide as my current widest lens, which is the Canon 17-40mm F4 L lens.

Working this back with the crop factor means I need an 8.5mm focal length lens.

I am going to buy this, again from EBay, and give this a go. As with the Olympus camera I can always sell the lens if I don’t like/ want it, or if I go down a different route.

So back to EBay for me to find a really wide lens. And yesterday I put some stuff up for sale on Ebay to pay for this new addition.

By the way my Olympus camera was funded by my writing for Improve Photography, which has sadly just come to an end.

Choices of lens suppliers

In my initial looking into micro four thirds a pleasing discovery was that there is a standard lens mount that all manufacturers use – so I am really spoiled for choice. I find this quite difficult to get my head round, as I have been used to being locked into Canon mount for so long now.

I am going to enjoy this, shopping for a new lens!

And after a bit of research I am going with the Olympus 9-18mm lens.

Why?

It’s tiny with great image quality. Will it be good enough?

I have to find out.

Taking photos at the footie

IMAGE.JPG

And as an aside in my early trials photographing a variety of subjects I took my camera to the AFCB v Chelsea game, just to see how it performs in those conditions. And I loved it so much it made me want to buy a telephoto lens as well. That will be if I buy the new camera though to be honest.

Anything else I need to buy?

A spare battery is a must.

Memory cards – the SD cards I use with my Canon 6D fit into the Olympus camera so all good there.

A case. The camera came with a case, but I want the smallest case I can to make the most of the small size. And once I have got that wide-angle lens I will buy something to put that in.

Tripod. I have a Manfrotto Pixi – that will be dead handy for this little camera, but I will need something full size.

And then the idea hit me – I will use my Manfrotto 190 Go with a small ball head. I will put the geared head on my other Manfrotto tripod, the Manfrotto 055.

That is that done at no cost.

Camera bag.

I am going to stick with my Peak Design Everyday Backpack for now – I will put all the camera gear in the bottom and use the rest for general stuff, just like I do now when I am travelling.

No No No. I need to get the second lens and then but a bag just for them, with the third lens in mind, which is the 40-150. There is a plan behind this trust me.

Enough about the gear

Video

I will give the camera a go at shooting video, but to be honest I am happy with this on my iPhone with DJI Osmo Mobile at the moment.

How am I going to fund these purchases?

Simple – I am going to sell some gear that I don’t use any more, mainly

  • Canon 24mm TS-E

  • Canon 2x extender

  • And some other stuff stored in boxes in the garage

Summary

Ok – that is my intro into micro four thirds photography. The question posed at the beginning was this – professional photographers who use micro four thirds? I have to be honest now I had to go with that title as that was the most relevant thing that Google told me people were searching for, but hopefully you get the point.

And the point is this – can I do all my professional photography work using micro four thirds cameras? I think that the answer is yes, but I need to prove this before I make the jump. I have to be happy that this format of camera can deliver the same quality or better than my current Canon full-frame DSLR.

I look forward to exploring this, and to taking photos on my travels with new friend which sites nicely in a coat pocket!

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

Problem getting photos from iPhone to pc? How I sorted it

I was getting a new iPhone. That was the start of things. That was the start of the problems.

Transferring photos from an iPhone to a PC is easy right? Well. Problems getting photos from iPhone to PC? Surely not? But yes, I have. And in this post I will explain the painfully slow but effective last resort process that I went through. If all else has failed hopefully this will help you.

A bit of background to the problem

I had previously wanted to get the photos and videos from my trip to Paxos for my new website Paxos Travel Guide. I had managed to eventually do this for my other website Photos of Santorini.

But it was nowhere near as slick as it should have been.

I had tried with the Paxos photos and videos but it never worked properly so I basically deferred this along with the work on this website.

I have never found getting photos from my iPhone to my PC as easy as it should be to be honest. This is the only thing that makes moving from PC to Mac appealing.

So, basically, I have been putting this job off. Putting it off for a number of years. 6 years in total. And now I have 6 years worth of photos and videos on my iPhone/ iPad/ cloud.

This is the problem that I had to deal with.

Chuck into the mix the fact that in this 6 years I also had a works phone for my day job that was an iPhone and the cloud storage/ accounts got very confused so there was a mess there that I had to sort.

A bit about the hardware that I use.

I use a PC. A Dell PC at that.

I have an iPhone and an iPad. And they are quite full, mainly with photos. There are over 10,000 photos on my iPhone/ iPad/ cloud.

And then there are the photos in my Lightroom Catalogue. There are well over 60,000 of these. And these sit on an external 4TB hard drive, not on my PC hard drive.

And I have never put them together.

  • But now I have a number of issues.

  • My iPad is out of memory.

  • I need the Paxos photos and videos on my PC.

  • I am getting a new phone, and I do not want to pay extra money for additional memory.

I need to sort this now once and for all. If I don’t sort this now the problem will just get bigger and bigger.

But I want all my photos and videos in one place.

So that is what I decided to do.

It should be a simple task - transfer the photos from the camera roll to my PC?

Unfortunately not.

I tried using the recommended methods, using the Photos App. iTunes I have never been a fan of, and I could not find an option there.

Photos was the way I should be doing this, according to every search on Google that I did.

I have never used Photos. I do not know why there are some of my photos in there – no idea how that happened.

What was the problem with the Photos App?

The problem was that Photos could not see all the photos on my camera roll. When I say it couldn’t see all I am talking over 4000 photos/ videos that the Photos App could not see, which of course would not be imported.

I use Lightroom and Photoshop for my professional photography workflow. And to me Photos is pretty much a waste of time which I have no reason to use.

How many photos and videos do I have?

According to the camera roll on my iPad/ iPhone well over 10,000 photos and videos. I thought I would start by culling out all the photos which were definite duplicates, mainly photos from Lightroom Mobile that I had saved to publish on social media/ blog posts.

I went through all 10,000 images and deleted each and every image. That brought me down to 8935 photos. I thought it made sense to do this first, meaning less data transfer.

Although it took a while to do as I had to manually go through 10,000 photos and videos.

This was a good and logical start. But there was lots more to do.

I had a bad feeling about this, having never found this as straightforward as it should be.

And that is when the fun started. Not.

To cut a long story short this is what I tried.

  • Downloading the photos from the cloud.

This didn’t work. I set everything to make this happen automatically, but nothing happened.

And when I tried to do this by logging onto the cloud through a web browser some of the photos were there but not all of them.

I quickly gave up on the cloud – it was so incredibly slow even if all the photos were there I would probably still be downloading them now!

  • Importing using Photos - the recommended route.

I tried this numerous times

I tried all the things that I could.

  • Turn off cloud storage on my phone

  • Turn off Wi-Fi

  • Turn off Bluetooth

  • Turn off screen lock

  • Shut down all the Apps

  • Change the lead

  • Change the USB port the lead was plugged into.

  • Reboot everything.

  • Try over and over.

But none of these things made Photos see all the images. I could not fathom out what Photos was/ was not seeing. There was no logic to it.

And this is on my iPhone and iPad. I tried both numerous times.

Windows Explorer - the good old faithful solution

I went down the windows explorer route. This is the last resort, slow, laborious time consuming way of getting all your photos from your iPhone to your PC.

But Windows Explorer I know well and trust.

And it worked!

This is what I did to successfully transfer my photos and videos to my PC

1 - Start again with everything

2 - Reboot my iPhone and PC, and then open up iTunes.

My iPhone seems to work better once connected to iTunes for some reason.

3 - Connect my iPhone to my PC, then select it in Windows Explorer.

4 - Double click on the iPhone icon, and then on the DCIM folder.

What does DCIM stand for? Well I had to look this up – it is Digital Camera IMages, would you believe?

Really.

Seriously this is knowledge you only get when you have to research something that we all take for granted. I had never thought about what that might mean until now writing this.

When I double-click on this icon this is what I get.

Problems getting photos off iphone

Problems getting photos off iphone

And ever more bafflingly the folders are different on my iPad.

5 – Copy the folders

As an aside, the first time I tried this I took the images from one folder and copied them to a new folder. And then I took the images from the next folder and added them to the same folder. The theory was that all the photos would be in one folder.

Fine in theory but there was a problem.

I got a message about duplicate files, and had no idea where I was up to.

This would not work for 9,000 photos. I would have absolutely no idea if all the files had been copied over or not. No idea about duplicates, errors or completeness.

So I needed to have a rethink. And this is what I did.

I decided to break this up into small chunks.

How do you eat a large elephant? One piece at a time.

Crude analogy but the logic applies.

I created a new folder on my PC and copied over each folder one by one.

Some folders had a few images in, 1, 3, 27. And some had lots in – one had 1637 files in it.

And there did not appear to be any logic to the files in each folder.

I had already clocked this – there is going to be a problem at the end called sorting this mess out.

Thankfully I already had the answer to that one, which I will come onto.

Some of the folders copied over fine. Some kept on failing. And failing. And failing.

I ended up with one folder that would not copy over – problem is that this was the folder with the 1600 or so files in it.

I did these in chunks of 20 files to start with, getting up to 100 files once things were going ok. It turns out there was one dodgy file in the middle.

In the end I recorded each folder transfer on Evernote so I could keep a track of where I was up to. After all I was not going to sit there for several hours watching the files being copied.

I wrote down which folder was being copied, then added when this was complete. I recorded each folder, and this helped with the smooth if time-consuming transfer of circa 9,000 files.

Problems along the way

Every time the file copying failed I had to remove my iPhone and connect it again. Sometimes I had to reboot my phone as my PC would not acknowledge it.

And Photos kept popping up every time I connected my phone and then proceeded to not be able to find any of the photos.

I hate the Photos App!

It was a bit of a nightmare to be honest.

But I persisted.

The one problem folder with 1600 images took me about 6 hours to get all the files over.

Once done I decided to check all the folders one by one to make sure all the images had copied over.

And they had thankfully

What about the cloud image folders?

I decided to ignore those and stick to the ones titled Apple1 etc. I thought it best to just stick with these and just see what the outcome was – if I got 90% of the files copied over that would do.

So back to the Apple folders

Having got all the files from my phone onto my PC I had another issue to contend with. How many files did I have?

I did not know – what I needed to do was put them all in one single folder. But before I did that…….

Making a back up.

I have learnt not to just dive in before making significant changes, or moving significant numbers of files. No – I decided to make a copy before doing anything else.

Next job then was to make a backup of everything that I had transferred over, which I put on my desktop.

This folder was 135GB, which I left to copy overnight.

And in the morning it was done.

Putting all the images in one folder

This was just a mechanical process, moving files from one sub folder in effect to a single folder.

No dramas to report here, apart from the fact that I had 8953 images in this folder, and according to camera roll I should have had 7724 images.

Now that is a percentage of about 12%. I said earlier that I would accept 90% success rate (or 10% failure rate!), so I am sticking with that. There are still a few cloud folders to go to be honest.

Lightroom – my secret weapon

I decided at the beginning of this process to add all these files, photos and videos, to Lightroom. From there everything was safely stored, indexed and backed up along with everything else.

I should have done this ages ago, and was glad I was now doing this.

I knew that Lightroom would sort the files by date, and also would not import duplicate files.

Importing into Lightroom

The next job was to take all the images copied over and put them into one folder. This gave me a total of 7724 files. I then decided again to break this down into small chunks, so I created 20 new folders and added 500 files to each folder.

And then once this was done I imported the folders one by one into a single folder in Lightroom.

Again this took some considerable time, and again I recorded progress meticulously in Evernote so I knew exactly where I was up to.

Once done all I needed to do was select all the images from all the sub-folders in Lightroom (one folder per individual date when a photo/ video was taken, and then move them into a folder called All.

There were a load of files that did not move to other folders, which I added to a folder called duplicates.

Lightroom did an excellent job of all of this.

Tidying things up

Then I removed all the empty folders, several hundred of them, and that was that done. I left my computer to do a cloud back up over night, and in the morning there were all the photos from 6 years of using an iPhone all sat in my Lightroom Catalogue where I can do whatever I want with them

I deleted the back up folder with 135GB of data in.

All I have to do now is delete the photos from my camera roll, and delete the originally imported files.

And going forward I need to do this every month, putting things in Lightroom is a good thing for me.

So that is that problem sorted once and for all which is good.

A word about Apple.

I love my iPhone and iPad.

But I do not like the Macbook.

I have used a Macbook lots, and never really got on with it. I have been using Windows all my life, and am used to it now! No amount of funky styling will get me to switch to Mac from Windows.

The only reason I can envisage is to get over this very problem of files syncing.

One final final word

2 weeks on from all this I still have all the photos on the cloud, which I can access using my shiny new iPhone XS.

I haven’t got round to deleting them yet – well everything is working so why would I?

And I still have to check all my cloud folders.

But I am loving having all my images together in one place now – this is the first time ever and is making work so much more productive! Thankfully this all had a happy ending which is good.

Rick McEvoys Lightroom Catalogue

Rick McEvoys Lightroom Catalogue

I am fortunate to be a highly experienced Lightroom user, and the Library Module is a very powerful tool which I use to organise all my photos.

This is all the photos and videos in my Lightroom Catalogue after importing all the photos from my iPhone/ iPad.

Rick McEvoy ABIPP - Photographer, writer, blogger, website creator

How to commission architectural photography

I hope by now you will be aware that I am an architectural photographer, and that I specialise in photographing buildings and the built-environment.

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

These are some of the things that I try to address before being commissioned for architectural photography shoots.

This is not a sales pitch – this is genuine advice that I know will help people commission an architectural photographer, whoever that might be.

Here we go with my advice for clients who want to commission architectural photography. But first an architectural photo.

New entrance to the library at the Winchester School of Art

New entrance to the library at the Winchester School of Art

1 - What are the images for?

We have to start somewhere, and this is as good a place as any. What do you need the images for? Most frequent reasons for me photographing buildings are

  1. To record a recently constructed building at the point of practical completion

  2. For advertising/ sale/ marketing purposes

  3. For client/ designers websites

  4. For design/ construction competitions

The most important thing is to know what you want the images for.

Now whilst this might sound obvious I have had discussions with clients in the past where the full potential of the images was only realised following initial discussions which broadened out the scope of the shoot and gave the client much more than he anticipated..

2 – Prepare a brief

Before engaging a photographer it is a good idea to prepare a brief. This is the basic specification, scope of works, call it what you like. It is what the photographer is going to price against.

Well in the first instance it will be the thing that the photographer asks questions about to enable a scope to be agreed, with inclusions and exclusions.

I often receive a written brief with drawings marked up by the architect showing

  • Site location

  • Overall site plan

  • Building floor plans

  • Building elevations

  • Important features of the building/ project

  • North/ South/ East/ West orientations

  • Restrictions relating to the site.

The more thorough the brief to the photographer the better the entire process will be for both parties.

3 - Finding a photographer

If you were looking for an architect where would you look? I would enter the following in Google

“architect professional bodies”

That gives different results than just putting architect in, leading you to all sorts of sponsored websites. This gives you a list of professional architectural bodies.

Taking that logic, if I were looking for a photographer I would enter the following in Google search

“photography professional bodies”

This lists the following organisations

British Institute of Professional Photography

The Royal Photographic Society

The Guild of Photographers

Master Photographers Association

That should be fine.

Choosing a photographer is for me the same as choosing an architect.

BIPP qualified logo ABIPP White.jpg

If you enter something like “architectural photographer in Dorset” you will get some decent results, like me as search result number 2, but that is because I have done lots of work on my website to make this happen.

High Google rankings do not equate to competence!

I would seriously recommend going to any of the professional bodies to find your architectural photographer.

I am of course a member of the BIPP myself - ABIPP no less.

Obviously I am a great choice to photograph your building, being professionally qualified in photography (ABIPP) and construction (MCIOB). But in all seriousness please go through a reputable organisation, whichever one that may be.

4 - Shot list

Make a shot list. Write down the shots that you want. One thing that this will do is help you to think about this a lot more – writing this stuff down definitely focuses the mind and will help you develop a complete shot list.

And this list you give to the photographer you commission – these are your mandatory shots that are required from the shoot.

Now the photographer will take other photos that he/ she feels will be of use to you as the client, but armed with a shot list everyone knows that the mandatory bases are covered.

5 – Photographers’ style

This is an interesting consideration. I have my own style of architectural photography. You can see this style on my website on my architectural photography portfolio page.

Most people like my style, but some do not. And this is fine.

If you do not like my style of images then I am not the photographer for you. But if you do then give me a shout.

Style is a very personal thing, and every photographer has their own style, so please make sure that you like the style of images that a photographer produces.

I have been asked if I can produce different styles, and on some occasions have declined work as it is not the style imagery that I produce.

It would be disingenuous of me to take on work and commit to create a style that I myself have not perfected.

I do the same for wedding photography, family portraits, pet photos etc – i.e. I decline such enquiries.

I do what I do and am very comfortable with this. I will not take on work that I am not able to produce to the same high standard as my architectural photography work.

So - make sure that you engage a photographer whose work you like.

6 – Budget/ Cost

How much does it cost to get a building photographed? The answer as ever is it depends.

Most photographers charge on a time basis – time for image capture and image processing, along with creative and licensing fees.

I charge on a half-day or full-day rate, with a minimum amount of time on site plus expenses.

If your priority is the lowest price then I am certainly not the photographer for you. I have built up my client base, portfolio, qualifications, equipment, reputation and professional standing over years and years of hard work.

So if you are looking to pay £100 for photos of your building then I suggest you look elsewhere.

This is why I work mainly for architects and building owners.

I find that they are people who genuinely value high quality photography of their work/ property, as the photography is capturing in perpetuity their work at that moment in time.

Not everyone appreciates the amount of work that goes into a building, but architects and building owners certainly do.

And they also value the design, design intent and end product.

7 - How many images?

This ties in with the cost of getting your building photographed, and of course the scale and complexity of the project.

There is no number here. For a house or smaller project I will typically produce 20-30 images only. For larger projects sometimes more, but seldom more than 50 images.

This gives me a piece of work to do, getting the edit (of the images taken) right, but if everything else I write about in this post has been done thoroughly and to plan this is not normally a problem.

Normally I produce a set of images that satisfy the brief as I understand it, which I issue to the client fully edited.

This is the normal process.

The other approach is to issue a set of partially edited images to the client and for them to choose which images they want. This normally happens when there is a specific need, such as a specific number of images required, or when I am working for a third party representing a client.

As long as the methodology is agreed as part of the commissioning process I am happy to do whatever the client wants.

8 - Copyright/ licensing/ exclusivity/ time

Copyright normally remains with the photographer.

When I issue images to a client the client is granted the rights to use them for the purpose agreed, for a limited period of time.

There may be other restrictions on use or specific requirements of the client which are included in the quotation and terms and conditions.

Again (virtually) anything is possible as long as it is agreed by both parties.

One thing that I do state in my quotations and standard terms and conditions is that the client is not entitled to use the images until they have been paid for.

9 – Timing day/ year

A bit more complicated this one. Timing needs to be thought about. Time of day and time of year. Let me give you a couple of examples of things that can be affected

Outdoor swimming pools. There is nothing worse than photographing a spectacular garden with a lovely outdoor swimming pool with the cover on.

Bare trees. I love bare trees but who wants a spectacular new building photographing with bare foliage? If there is a substantial amount of evergreen foliage then this is not a problem.

Orientation of the sun. Where is the sun shining? Is there a primary façade?

Do you want sunlight streaming in through the windows, or warming up the significant front elevation?

Sunrise/ sunset - are either of these important to the content of a photo?

Traffic – is there a peak time for traffic/ visitors/ building occupants arriving/ departing?

And one last point on timing is planting. There is a planting season, so if a building is not completed to correspond to the planting season, which is often the case, there may be large unplanted areas which can make the building look unfinished.

10 – Weather

Oh the lovely British weather. This is the bane of my life.

No-one wants their building photographing when it is raining. Well no-one that I have met anyway! So the changing weather causes mayhem with schedules and external shoots.

The ideal conditions for me are these.

Cool, dry, blue skies with some white fluffy clouds.

I can do sky replacement in Photoshop, but that takes time and costs money, and there is the flatness that such light inevitably creates in a photo.

Internal construction product shots are the only thing that I photograph that is not (normally) weather dependent.

This really is a problem, the only positive being that the weather tends to not be quite as bad as forecast normally.

11 - Preparing the building/ location

This is a big thing, which can have a significant impact on the success of a shoot.

Preparing the building for a shoot has many benefits. From a photographers’ perspective, a building that has been prepared is easier to photograph. And the easier a building is to photograph the better the photos and the quicker a shoot can be successfully completed.

And preparing a building, and it’s grounds, means less editing time which means less cost for you as the client.

Think of this as though you are preparing the building for a viewing by a potential vendor – I don’t need the smell of fresh coffee and freshly baked bread (as nice as that would be).

When I say prepare a building, here is a list of things that I ask to be done before I arrive on site

  • Turn all the lights on inside

  • Disable PIRs/ absence detection (if photos are required with all lights on which is normally the case)

  • Light fires so they have that lovely glow

  • Straighten curtains/ blinds

  • Straighten soft furnishings/ cushions

  • Remove dog beds/ food bowls

  • Provide freshly laundered towels and bedding

  • Move vehicles/ skips/ scaffold/ piles of debris

  • Get rid of hose-pipes (which can be really hard to remove in Photoshop)

  • Cut the grass

  • Check for gravel spillage – another real time consumer

  • Sweep paths/ roads/ driveways

  • Chewing gum on paths/ playgrounds?

  • Clear work surfaces

  • Finally, a general tidy up always helps

And once everything is looking all shiny and sparkly a few additions that will finish things off nicely

  • Imagine the building how you want others to view it.

  • Publications on desks/ tables

  • Flowers

  • Colourful features

  • Branding items

I will produce a checklist and publish this in a future post. But hopefully you get the idea.

Sorry I forgot the one intangible in all of this. In my experience clients who have gone through the process of preparing their buildings have found that this has helped crystallise their shot list. It sort of started the thought process.

12 - The day of the shoot

The first question is this – do you want to attend on the day of the shoot? Some clients do, some do not. It depends on many things. If it is a house then of course there will be someone there, be it the house owner or their agent.

And for commercial buildings it just depends.

But there is one thing that I do need to warn you about in advance. If you commission me to photograph your building please remember that I am a man and I only do one thing at once.

So, when I am in the zone and taking photographs there is little point talking to me – I am not listening! I can’t – I just can’t manage this.

So up to you, with that final caveat of course.

13 – Access/ site activities

Are there specific access requirements/ permissions/ inductions that need to take place?

Is there anything happening on site that might get in the way?

Are any permits required?

Does the photographer need to wear PPE? I of course have full PPE which is suitable for most construction sites, and my camera gear is also set up so I can get around live construction sites quickly and efficiently causing minimum disruption.

Does the photographer need a CSCS card, or are alternative arrangements going to have to be made? I am a current CSCS card holder.

14 – Incomplete works

Following on from the point above I have turned up on site to photograph things to find them not complete – very frustrating. Of course, completion of a major construction project is a very busy and stressful time – me turning up right in the thick of things is rarely appreciated by contractors!

This is a common problem when I turn up to photograph completed construction projects. Practical completion has been achieved but there are still works ongoing to sometimes surprisingly significant extents!

The best time to photograph a completed construction project is once everyone has packed up and left site, but immediately before people start to use the building and make it their own.

I rarely get this small window of time.

And more often that not the external works are not completed – these typically get done once the inside of a building has been handed over.

I have often had to struggle through virtual mud baths to get to the inside of a shiny new building!

And a particular dislike of mine is the damage caused by utility companies outside the building plot – so many cuts in footpaths where the different services have been installed all using slightly different routes at different times. Luckily Photoshop can fix a lot of these problems, but this does take time.

15 – Furnished or not

This is always an issue on new build projects. If I photograph the building once completed but prior to being furnished the interior shots look like an empty building, which is not the best to be honest.

There is a time between a building being furnished and occupied which is the prime time for a building to be photographed.

And some buildings like schools do experience heavy use, and wear and tear right from occupation.

16 - People

Do you want people in the photos? Normally not, unless it is a public space or public facility such as a sports centre, where people are preferable.

And that leads to a problem I encountered once – I went to photograph a leisure centre that had just been built but there were no people there at all – it was like a ghost town.

I ended up taking photos with me in them and trying to get the odd person passing by to join in the fun and be photographed!

17 – Contingency planning

This needs talking about. There are many things that can go wrong that can only be dealt with by both parties agreeing on a plan B. I have written about many of the these things in this article, and have a little checklist list of the most frequent problems that I address on every commission.

  • Adverse weather

  • Works not complete

  • Access to areas not possible

  • Furniture not in place

  • Deliveries/ works on the day of the shoot

  • Utility companies on site

  • Decant operations

  • Ongoing site works

  • Additional photos not on shot list

  • Non-attendance of participants

At the very least a conversation needs to take place about these potential problems, and the impact of any such issues documented and the consequences costed.

18 – Image processing/ File types/ sizes

Easy one this. This is for me to deal with.

I shoot in RAW, which is the format most photographers use. RAW image capture allows us to capture the maximum amount of data in a scene. This data is then processed in Lightroom, Photoshop and other software to produce a final edit.

Once the editing is done I convert the files to Jpeg format, which is the universal format that anyone can view.

I do all image processing myself. It takes time to produce the images that you can see on my portfolio pages.

And if there is additional editing over that normally required then there may be an additional cost. I am talking here primarily about having to remove things from images using Photoshop, and replacement of the sky.

I can provide RAW files if required, but there is usually no point as you need software like Lightroom or Photoshop to view images in this format.

Like I say, not something for the client to normally have to worry about, just to be aware of.

Oh yes, nearly forgot - I issue a full resolution set of images and also a compressed set which are great for sharing, emailing and social media.

19 - Data security/ integrity

I have cloud backups of my images, which I store for period of time yet to be defined. This has been added to my standard terms and conditions – I will guarantee to hold copies of data for three years from the time of image capture.

If a client requests a copy of the images within that time period I will gladly provide, but after that time I cannot guarantee having the data. There is a problem with storing such amounts of data – I have over 75,000 photos in my Lightroom Catalogue at the time of writing, and this is growing on a weekly basis.

20 – Supply chain sharing

An interesting one. Are the photos to be shared with the supply chain? As the commissioner of the images it is important that and shared uses are agreed with the photographer as part of commissioning.

Do contractors/ sub-contractors receive copies, or is the photographer at liberty to sell the images to them as well?

As a matter of course I agree with my client that the building owner can be issued with a set of my fully edited images. Quite often this is done by the client, and I see this as a basic courtesy for someone who has helped me photograph their property.

21 – Confidentiality

I have photographed buildings for famous people. Unfortunately I am not allowed to say who these people are.

Client confidentiality is very important to me, and I take this very seriously.

This is particularly important when I am photographing peoples’ homes. I always agree with the client how I may use the images myself.

Whilst I might be the copyright holder as the photographer who has taken the images I have a professional responsibility to respect the confidentiality of my clients.

There are various confidentiality areas that require consideration

  • Commercial confidentiality

  • Client confidentiality

  • Individual/ personal confidentiality

  • Children/ vulnerable persons

  • Security

I quoted for one job where in the end the only way I could guarantee the confidentiality demanded was to destroy all the digital files once the client had been issued with the images and was happy with the edited image set.

22 - My standard terms and conditions

If you would like to receive a copy of my standard terms and conditions please get in touch by email, commenting on this post or by using the contact form – entirely up to you how you do this. Get in touch and I will send you them in a Pdf.

23 – And finally

I hope that this post is helpful to you when considering getting your building photographed.

Please get in touch if you have any questions – my response is not conditional on getting work/ money from you.

If you want to talk to me about a future collaboration then great – if not I would still be delighted to hear from you and answer any questions you may have.

I try to put helpful information on my website that people find useful and want to read and share – if this happens then my website is successful, and my readers are benefitting from the content I am creating.

Me in my happy place taking photos in Santorini IMG_8467.JPG

So we are all happy.

Thanks for reading this post, and please check back to my bog next Monday for my next post, which was going to be all about a photo I took on my trip to Paxos last year. Until I needed to get all the photos from my iPhone to my PC. The Paxos photo will have to wait a week.

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

How I created my Top 11 Travel Photos of 2018 - Part 2

I know I said top 10 but I had a rethink – it is my blog after all!!!

What makes these my top 11 travel photos of 2019? Basically, they remind me the most of being there – they bring back that feeling and are the ones that make me wish I was back there right now, not sat here in cold grey England! Travel photography for me is all about making you want to be somewhere when you look at the photo.

So here is the second part of my post in which I describe how I created my Top 11 Travel Photos of 2018. This is images 6-11, all taken on the Greek Islands of Rhodes and Paxos. I posted these photos a couple of weeks ago, and here are the words behind the pictures.

Image number 6 of my Top 10 Travel Photos of 2018 – A person sat on a rock watching the sunrise in Rhodes.

Sunrise comtemplation on the Greek Island of Rhodes

Sunrise comtemplation on the Greek Island of Rhodes

I didn’t know this person was here. I had been up on the top of the hill happily photographing the sunrise thinking I was all alone up there. I have no doubt I was chuntering away and talking to myself throughout this process.

Having captured the photos that I wanted, and by now dying in the heat (ish) I was ready to climb back down to the car when I saw this person sat on top of the rocks. How long had they been there? I of course had no idea, but they must have been there since long before sunrise.

I took a quick photo and was off.

I had the awareness to change the aperture to F22 to get that starburst effect on the sun which is good, even when fading in the blistering early morning heat with nothing left to drink!

Now I know some people think that this (the star burst) is a cliché but that was what the sun looked like to me – a big bright shiny thing in the sky looking just like that.

This is three bracketed images processed using Aurora HDR 2019.

Camera settings

  • Canon 6D

  • Canon 24-105mm F4 L lens

  • Focal length 80mm

  • Manfrotto 055 tripod

  • Aperture F8

  • Shutter speed (first image) 1/1000th second

  • ISO 100

 

Image number 7 – photo of the lights from boats in Lakka Harbour before sunrise

Boats moored overnight in Lakka on the Greek Island of Paxos

Boats moored overnight in Lakka on the Greek Island of Paxos

I love this photo of the boats moored in the harbour in Lakka on the Greek Island of Paxos. Every morning I looked at the lights on the boats and thought that they would make a great shot, so this morning that is what I did. The conditions were dead calm which would be vital when taking the image.

I managed to get this photo taken before the sun had risen giving me two photo opportunities for once.

This photo is a single image, taken using my Canon 6D and Canon 24-105mm lens. I used my Manfrotto Pixi for this image capture – pretty impressive really – a 4 second log exposure with my Canon 6D and an L series lens on such a small tripod.

It was so dark I had to use an ISO of 1600 to get the shutter speed up to 4 seconds! And the reason the calm conditions were so important? On other mornings I witnessed the boats gently bobbing about in the water, so much so that they were actually blurred in the photos I took the first time.

This was the calmest day with the least amount of bobbing going on.

Camera settings

  • Canon 6D

  • Canon 24-105mm F4 L lens

  • Focal length 24mm

  • Manfrotto Pixi tripod

  • Aperture F8

  • Shutter speed 4 seconds

  • ISO 1600

Processing of this image was done in Lightroom only, with very little needing to be done to this single image.

Yes – 4 seconds using the Manfrotto Pixi – quite remarkable for something so small, lightweight and economical. And hardly designed for work such as this.

 

8 – Picture of a table in striking morning light in the small town of Lakka on the Greek Island of Paxos

Tables at sunrise in Lakka

Tables at sunrise in Lakka

This is something a bit different for me. This is almost street photography! I was on my way back from my epic filming using my iPhone with a pile of rocks – check out the video here. I turned the corner at the back of the Akis Oyster Bar restaurant to be greeted with this scene – bright directional light casting a most excellent shadow of a table onto the paving.

I just stopped, took three photos of this scene and kept on walking to the other side of the harbour.

This is another set of three bracketed images - the reason I do this is get the maximum dynamic range I can from a scene.

These images were merged together and processed in Lightroom.

Camera settings

"             Canon 6D

"             Canon 24-105mm F4 L lens

"             Focal length 24mm

"             Handheld

"             Aperture F8

"             Shutter speed (first image) 1/800th second

"             ISO 100 

9 - Sunrise picture of the boats moored in the harbour at Loggos on the Greek Island of Paxos

Sunrise in Loggos on the Greek Island of Paxos

Sunrise in Loggos on the Greek Island of Paxos

Loving this shot – so many things that appeal to me in this scene.

Having scouted all the locations I wanted to photograph on Paxos, this was top of my list.

I walked around the harbour at Loggos and ascertained exactly where I needed to be to get this photo. I use a tool called The Photographers’ Ephemeris which is a great tool once you get your head around it.

I walk around until I find a view that I like, and then fire up the app to find out exactly where the sun will be rising or setting. It is quite remarkable how accurate and useful these tools are – how did we ever manage without them?

A bit of walking around is normally required to get the perfect location, which is where this photo was taken from.

Sometimes I will photograph the location on my phone, so I have a quick visual reference of the location. For this I did not need to do that as it was dead easy for me to remember.

The other thing that the app tells me is the time that the sun is rising, so I know exactly where I need to be and also when I need to be there.

I get to a sunrise location a good hour before sunrise as some of the magic happens before the sun rises and I would hate to miss that.

So, this was a very easy shoot – I was there as I said a good hour before sunrise, and stayed until an hour after.

Camera settings

"             Canon 6D

"             Canon 24-105mm F4 L lens

"             Focal length 24mm

"             Manfrotto Pixi

"             Aperture F22

"             Shutter speed (first image) 1/10th second

"             ISO 100

 

10 - The number one attraction on Paxos - the magnificient Tripitos Arch

Tripitos Arch on the Greek Island of Paxos

Tripitos Arch on the Greek Island of Paxos

Now this really was a stunning location. Probably my favourite tourist location on Paxos. A magnificent natural arch called the Tripitos Arch.

And to be completely honest the first time I tried to find it I failed. I missed a critical turn on the path, one without a sign. In my defence. I was close, but after a while gave up and went back to the hotel.

I looked at guidance offered on Trip Advisor and recognised where I had gone wrong. I should have taken a right turn down a path. Problem was that it was not signposted, and I had no data signal there.

A very thoughtful Trip Advisor contributor had already realised this problem and photographed the key places and added them to a review of this magnificent natural structure.

So, second time I found it just fine – I will write a dedicated post all about the number one attraction on Paxos (in my opinion) on my website Paxos Travel Guide.

I won’t lie to you – it was a hot sweaty walk from the car but well worth it. And unusually for me I had actually got two bottles of water which were safely stowed in the side pockets of my Peak Design Everyday Backpack.

I photographed the arch, and the stunning views in all directions, but this is my favourite photo.

Camera settings

"             Canon 6D

"             Canon 24-105mm F4 L lens

"             Focal length 24mm

"             Handheld

"             Aperture F8

"             Shutter speed (first image) 1/80th second

"             ISO 100

Processing of the image was done using Aurora HDR – believe it or not this was a super quick edit!

 

11 – The fantastically located Anemogiannis Monument, Gaios, Paxos

Anemogiannis Monument Gaios Paxos

Anemogiannis Monument Gaios Paxos

 OK – the last image in my set of my top 11 travel photos of 2019. This is one of my favourite monuments, and nothing to do with the Olympics or Marathons or anything like that. You will have to wait until I have completed the post on Paxos Travel Guide to find out more about the Anemogiannis Monument.

If you walk down the wonderful front of the capital town of Paxos, Gaios, you will eventually get to this monument. It is at the opposite end from the ferries that bring all the day-trippers in.

I had finished photographing the sunrise from the hills above Gaios and went into the town and a walk along the waterfront looking for things to photograph in that wonderful directional sunlight.

I grabbed a quick coffee and walked to this monument.

There was a bit of a problem. Other people. Even at 6.50am there were people around. A couple were sat at the base of the monument, who thankfully moved when they saw me with my camera obviously trying to get a photo from a certain view.

Then a chap wandered into the scene completely oblivious to me, even though he walked right in front of me.

He stood right in my way, then sat down to the left. I removed him in Photoshop – I had no option – he wasn’t going anywhere. Of course, when I drove away from Gaios he was gone, but that is the beauty of Photoshop when needed.

This is of course a very deliberate composition, with the sun sitting right on the top of the monument. I wanted the starburst effect, so used F22.

The difficulty with this shot was that I really could not see what I was looking at through the viewfinder, as the sun was so bright. I ended up using Live View to take this shot.

This is a single exposure image edited in Lightroom and then the chap removed using Photoshop.

 Camera settings

"             Canon 6D

"             Canon 24-105mm F4 L lens

"             Focal length 84mm

"             Handheld

"             Aperture F22

"             Shutter speed 1/4000th second

"             ISO 400

Not sure why I keep the ISO at 400 – 100 would have been fine. And had I been trying to bracket the exposure the second shot would have been at 1/16000th second – a bit beyond the capabilities of my Canon 6D!

My photography gear

As you will see I have not talked about much gear in these two posts. I travel light for my foreign trips, and only take the minimum gear, most of which will get used. There is no room for luxury items on my travel photography trips!

Everything has to fit in my Peak Design Everyday Backpack – if it doesn’t I don’t pack it.

You can see my full photography gear list on my photography gear page.

Summary

I hope that you have enjoyed reading a little bit about my Top 11 travel photos of 2019. I certainly enjoyed going through my travel photos and choosing 10, then 11 images to edit.

You can see more of my travel photography work on my travel photography portfolio page, and also on my new websites. Photos of Santorini is done and online to view, Paxos Travel Guide is very much work in progress.

And there will be other travel photography websites produced in 2019, as I ramp up my online presence.

Next week on my photography blog I am back to my core business of taking architectural photography images.

Rick McEvoy Photography – photographer, blogger, writer, website creator

Aurora HDR vs Lightroom - which is best - one more thing

IMG_3043.PNG

I wrote a blog post titled Aurora HDR vs Lightroom - which is best.

I forgot to say what the updates were!

Basically I had problems with blurriness on some of the images.

And that was basically my fault anot the fault of Skylum or Aurora HDR 2019.

And this reminded me - I need to produce the next post so hopefully will get this done next week and have some lovely new photos on my blog.

Please let me know what you think of Aurora HDR, and don’t forget my discount code MCEVOY which you can use with the link above.

Rick McEvoy Photography - photographer, writer, blogger, website creator

Aurora HDR vs Lightroom - which is best - update

IMG_3043.PNG

I wrote a blog post titled Aurora HDR vs Lightroom - which is best.

Today I have updated the post, pending me writing a completely new post. I have had a problem with two incompatible pieces of tech gear which I am currently battling with, putting my trials with Aurora HDR 2019 on the back burner which is disappointing.

But that tale of woe is for another time.

Check out this post and if you fancy giving Aurora HDR 2019 a go you can buy it using my affiliate link. And I can offer you a discount code which will save you circa £9-10 off your purchase - just add my surname MCEVOY.

And please let me know what you think of Aurora HDR.

Rick McEvoy Photography - photographer, writer, blogger, website creator

Making a living from photography in 2019 - this is my plan.

Blimey – 2019 is already a week old. Where did that go?? Now we are in 2019 it is time to reflect and plan. I reviewed my photography business targets for 2018 in a previous blog post.

So now it is time to focus on my plan for making a living from photography in 2019. I hope that you find my plans and ideas interesting and maybe even useful! I have a variety of things that when combined will hopefully make my business successful in 2019 - being a photographer in 2019 is not only about taking photos - it is much more than that!

I hope that by capturing and sharing my thoughts I can help all of us achieve our photographic dreams in 2019.

As I said, 2018 is done and dusted. Old and misguided targets are gone. Here are the things that I am going to be working on in 2019.

1 - Taking photos for clients

In 2018 I have been so focussed on other things that I have not been targeting my architectural photography work – my bread and butter.

In 2019 I have restored the focus on this very important work, with a plan for gaining more work which I am already working to.

I feel that I now have a more systematic and effective approach to each area of my photography marketing.

In 2019 I want to combine more considered image capture with the utilisation of new technologies – both in terms of image capture and image processing.

I want to create a new look for my architectural photography work in 2019 and have started working on this already.

And this I find very exciting I have to say.

The principles of this image capture and processing can be applied to other areas of my work of course – I might end up with a single image capture and processing workflow for all the photography work that I do.

I have added an architectural photography portfolio page to my website – this now contains 12 images that I am happy represent me and where I am at the moment.

2 - Photos of Santorini website

Photos of Santorini website

Photos of Santorini website

There was fundamental shift in my plans last year. It started when I created a new website called Photos of Santorini.

I was looking for something to do with the photos I took on the wonderful Greek Island of Santorini. And a website was what I came up with. I had been floundering around for far too long looking for what to do with these photos – a page on my website wasn’t enough.

I did not want to sell the photos through any stock sites - earning 53p selling an image on Adobe Stock put paid to that.

The answer was really staring me in the face – a website for my photos. Of course. And that is what I did. I bought the URL photosofsantorini.com, and then set about trying to create a website.

Not that easy as it turns out. To be fair to me I have never done this before, so this was a steep learning curve. My only experience of Wordpress was writing blog posts on the Improve Photography website.

Talking of which, it was Jim Harmer who provided me with my first guidance on creating websites using Wordpress. I have been writing on Improve Photography for over a year now, so have had practice with the content creation side of things.

And some months later I went all in and joined Income School, again created by Jim. And this is where I hit my first wall.

My website Photos of Santorini was not a suitable website for the model being taught on Income School.

It was too niche. Ouch.

So, I created another website, Paxos Travel Guide. I will come on to that next.

But all the time I was working on Paxos Travel Guide the Santorini website was bugging me in the background, so I had a change of plan and decided to get the Santorini website done. That was completed early November 2018.

It is a lighter version of what the Paxos Travel Guide website will end up being – the point is that it is out there on the internet, and in time it will hopefully provide me with some form of passive income.

That is the plan.

Will it work?

No idea, but the good news is that the work is done, and all I can do now is wait. The cost was not a lot, less than £100. Of course, I have invested huge amounts of time on this website, but this is all good stuff learning wise that I can apply to other stuff.

So that is website number 1 done. I will report back on this in the spring – in the meantime please check it out and let me know what you think.

And that is the beauty of this – the work is done. Hopefully for a positive return.

3 – Paxos Travel Guide website

Paxos Travel Guide - PNG (background transparency).png

As I said it turns out photos of Santorini might be a bit too niche, so I went with something a little broader.

Paxos Travel Guide is still very niche, but broadens out from photography to general travel, holidaying and travel photography.

Paxos Travel Guide will follow a specific format. I had to put this on hold as I had lots of other stuff to do, so there are only three posts on this website at the moment.

And yes I have bought a custom logo!

They are titled

Why go to Paxos?

How do I get to Paxos?

Should I drive a hire boat to Antipaxos from Paxos?

These three posts were published in September, but January and February are the months I am going to get stuck into this travel website.

Which reminds me – I need to focus on the main strands of this website

  • Travel

  • Photography

  • Being on holiday

  • What it is really like being on Paxos

I want to get the first batch of 10 posts done – I want this done by this time next week, so I can move on to the next phase.

4 – Rhodes Travel Guide

Sunrise in Rhodes by Rick McEvoy Photography 001.jpg

Sunrise in Rhodes by Rick McEvoy Photography 001.jpg

I have lots of material for this website, and lots of photos. I will be returning in May, so will create a whole heap of content for this website whilst I am there.

This will be armed with the knowledge gained from producing two travel photography/ travel websites.

And I will have the structure in place before I go, so on my return I will be able to get straight into production of this website.

So, I am going to set myself the completion date of the end of July for this website, which ties in very nicely with the next project in my pipeline.

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

The other website I am going to create will be photos only – probably called Photos of Barbados. This will be the third and final variant of my light travel photography website.

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

Ok - progress update. A lot changed in 2018,

I went from

http://www.rickmcevoyphotography.co.uk

To

Https://rickmcevoyphotography.com

Much more global, secure and shorter.

Now this did have an impact on web traffic, but time will fix that.

And this is also because I have changed my website content.

I am now focussing on the following areas

Architectural photography – commissioned work in the UK.

I have a single page on my website which has my architectural photography portfolio

Travel photography – photography and info with a global appeal

I have a travel photography portfolio page on my website now

Landscape photography – photography and info with a global appeal

And for consistency I have a landscape photography portfolio page

Photography – the global subject

I write about all things photography on my weekly blog. Not daily blog – I am over that now thankfully.

I create longer, in-depth posts on a specific photography subject which are published every Monday afternoon.

Photography, Lightroom, gear and all that good stuff are all global subjects.

I know that I am entering a super-competitive market here but there are strands within that work for me.

And that is the plan for my website and the content that I will continue to create.

I will be analysing progress on my websites formally on a monthly basis and will be writing about this on my weekly photography blog.

YouTube

I wanted to have achieved 10,000 views by the end of 2018. 10,000 views triggers more possibilities in YouTube, which I wanted to get to.

I failed on that one.

But I have a plan for 2019. Check out this video on my YouTube Channel which was the first trial of this plan.

I will be working on this in 2019 and have purchased a DJI Osmo Mobile 2 for this very purpose.

Hopefully the quality of my videos will improve over the course of the year to the point where I am able to produce videos for commercial clients that they want to buy. I know I am not there yet.

And I want a drone too! Just thought I would throw that one into the mix here.”

Social Media, Instagram and Pinterest

Hmmm. Social Media. I am not a fan. What good does it do? Well I have heard that there is an App called Tailwind that makes scheduling pins to Pinterest a breeze. So much so that I bought a year’s subscription.

I will see what this does to the traffic to my website and report back after 12 months.

But I can tell you that it makes posting much less of a bind.

I am going to try to post photos to Instagram much more often, as well as more interesting stuff about me.

Apart from that my social media output is pretty much automated these days.

7 - Affiliate marketing - Amazon, DJI, Excire, Peak Design, Skylum and Tailwind, plus lots more in the pipeline

This is a new development – check out my commercial partners page for more info.

I am an affiliate now with four companies which is most excellent – these are they and my affiliate links.

Excire Search Pro

Peak Design

Skylum

Tailwind - link coming soon

DJI

And I also have affiliate links that I create for specific products on Amazon

This is an exciting development – so far I have earned about £25 in commission but like all these things the work done now is all for the future.

8 Commercial partnerships

I am trying to form commercial partnerships with companies who’s gear I use. I have started with the affiliate stuff above which is brilliant and is to be developed.

And this has changed the way I write, what I write and who my target audience is which I am pretty sure is something that needed to happen some time ago anyway so all good and.

9 Freelance writing

I have created 33 posts on Improve Photography.

Writing for someone else’s website has transformed my writing in a very positive way, and I have to say I have enjoyed it very much.

I also enjoy getting feedback from readers of Improve Photography on my work.

I publish an article every fortnight, which has been a good discipline to have.

Apart from that I am getting more writing commissions coming out of my affiliate partnerships. This is paid work as is the writing on Improve Photography – this will not make me the money I need for early retirement, but the global exposure is excellent.

Time to refresh things and do some new stuff in different ways in 2019.

To summarise, this is my plan for making a living from photography in 2019?

  1. Taking photos for clients

  2. Photos of Santorini website

  3. Paxos Travel Guide website

  4. Rhodes Travel Guide website

  5. One more travel photography website. And then more websites…..

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

  7. Affiliate marketing - Amazon, Excire, Peak Design, Skylum and Tailwind, plus lots more in the pipeline

  8. Commercial partnerships

  9. Freelance writing

Why such a big change?

You may think that I am putting a significant amount of effort into online stuff. Well I am, as I am a firm believer that this is the best way to go for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, any work that I do on the internet is work that stays there and adds value over time – it is very much a cumulative effort which takes time, effort, consistency and commitment.

And there is an spect to this that is, well not frustrating, but an unfortunate reality. There is a time lag from creating something on the internet to it bearing fruits – this can be 6-9 months. So, I have done lots of work on my Santorini website for which I might not feel the benefits until mid 2019.

And there is of course the possibility that I have been barking up the working tree and that this website produces nothing.

But at least I have tried!

The other point is that I want to create passive incomes from my website which will hopefully get me to my ultimate dream.

Time and financial freedom.

That is what this is all about for me. This is my aim. This is what I am working so hard and obsessively to.

And I believe strongly that high quality content on the internet is the best way of achieving this dream, which will allow me to choose who I work for and when.

Time and financial freedom will also allow me to continue my travel photography work on my terms going to the places that I want to go to.

My wife and I love travel, and I love my photography. If I wasn’t creating travel photography websites I wold be going out on holidays and exploring places and taking photos – this is what I love doing.

So, making a living doing this really is my dream job!

Summary

How to make a living from photography in 2019 – not an easy thing to do, and I am trying to achieve this in a different way. Please keep with me throughout 2019 to see how I am getting on with all this stuff.

This is going to be a combination of internet-based content, targeted marketing and the production of consistently high-quality imagery.

And with a lot of the wastes of time that I identified in 2018 discarded and no longer preventing me from doing the things of importance and significance.

I hope that you find these helpful, and if you have any other great ideas then let me know please!

Rick McEvoy Photography