A few years ago I went to a seminar by Andy Rouse, the award winning wildlife photographer.
I don't want to be a wildlife photographer I specialise in horticulture, so why did I go?
I went because
I photograph people so I took a course by Boo Beaumont, also an award winning portrait photographer. The opposite in character to Andy. Boo is quietly spoken. She too is passionate and inspirational.
If you want to make it in this business you need to get out there.
You may find yourself in situations that may feel difficult, or,
Photograph in less than ideal conditions.
After 15 years in the business here are my tips to keep your work fresh and get even better:
Observe. Watch the world around you.
Experiment. Get out of your comfort zone.
Read, look, research images
Enjoy yourself. Don't be tough on yourself if things don't work out
And my last thought
Never think you've made it-always aspire to better.
Here are a few I made earlier...
Whether you're an aspiring photographer, or a blogger using photography to sell your story you want to get noticed, right?
Does it seem like an impossible dream?
No it isn't.
In fact, it's easier than ever to get your images seen, and by the right people.
Here are my 10 tips
1 Show your friends
Obvious, but do it. Show your work to friends and family then it gets easier showing your work to the rest of the world.
Post regularly on Facebook it still has impressive year-on-year growth in social media referrals at 58%
[source Danny Wong Shareaholic Content Media Traffic Report October 2014.]
And you get feedback on the shots they like the best.
2 Start a Facebook business page
You can add a business account to your personal account and reach more people,
even advertise your work to your target audience for a few pounds.
I told my Facebook 'business' friends about a print that I was selling and several people
wanted to buy one.
3 Twitter is not just for chatting
I have met many people who just don't get it,
but I have a loyal following and have made money (4 figures) using Twitter
So what are my tips?
Subscribe to my mailing list and I will let you into my secrets.
(I promise I will never spam you just offer you lovely surprises and useful information).
And, follow me
4 Pinterest is no longer just the pin board of cupcake fanatics and wedding planners.
In 2014 Pinterest had the fastest growing social media referrals with 67% increase year-on-year.
[source Danny Wong Shareaholic Content Media Traffic Report October 2014.]
The UK lags behind the US but you can bet it's going to be the place to be seen, so start Pinning now.
And of course it's so full of inspiration, all at the click of a picture, bliss!
Follow my boards and see what I love!
More on how to use Pinterest for business in a future Blog!
5 Instagram the arty site
6 Google+ not rocking my visual world yet
7 Picture libraries
Google picture libraries or stock photo libraries and you will see A LOT.
It's a very competitive market as they all vie to get their material bought.
The prices you get for you images vary hugely from pennies to pounds, nickels to dollars .
Specialist libraries command better rates and consequently you get decent money for your beautiful work.
And always, always, always keep your copyright.
Once it's gone, it's gone for good. You will never make another penny for that work.
8 Magazines and books
A traditional format that is trundling into digital slowly
I'm talking from the point of view of the publishers here not punters.
It has worked for me for the last 15 years.
But, the whole publishing industry has been turned on it's head and it has been painful, costly and traditional publishers are struggling to make digital publishing profitable.
I can't see lots of traditional magazines existing outside of 2016.
There are lots. Google photography competitions
10 The Art World
Thankfully another area which is being challenged by the internet.
Now it's much easier to get your work displayed via on-line galleries and
Thanks for reading this, if you enjoyed it and want to find out more please jot your details down on my mailing list. I won't spam you, but I will offer useful advice, latest headlines and help to get you noticed.
Winter means short days and not a lot of light.
Bare earth and dying foliage.
Muddy fields and rain.
It also means crisp frosty mornings,
watery winter sunlight, and
Photography in Winter requires a special kind of commitment:
Hot tip: In very cold weather keep your spare battery (you do always carry a spare don't you?) In your trouser pocket to keep warm, that way you can swap your batteries over when they get too cold and stop working properly.
Hot tip two: Carry a hand warmer. In temperatures of -8C I thought that my automatic locking on my car had stopped working, it was actually my fingers!
Wait until conditions are right:
These are some I made earlier...
So wrap up, get out there and have some fun.
1 Stop using auto
Instead dial onto aperture priority or shutter priority and experiment.
2 Understand your lens
If you have more than one lens, choose one and go out for an hour or so, shoot 40 or more shots varying the way you use that lens. Go home, take a long hard look at the results on your computer screen and see what you can learn.
3 Photograph a willing subject
Ask a friend if they will model for you. Say you will need them for about 1 hour and then photograph them. Work out how you will pose before hand. If you are using natural light, make sure you chose somewhere that has interesting light, diffused if possible.
4 Clean your equipment
Keep your kit clean. Use a lint free cloth I like Pec*Pads. Keep your bag dust free and organised. Regularly download images from memory cards then format to erase them. Keep a cloth in your bag to wipe your camera if it gets wet. Always keep a lens hood on your camera.
5 Set up a still life
Place your subject close to a natural light source, frame and shoot. Experiment with different apertures and camera angles. Try fruit, musical instruments, bottles anything really.
6 Move (pan) the camera
While you are shooting a subject either sweep it up or to the side when you press the shutter. Alternatively, zoom the lens in when you shoot, you may need a tripod. Experiment its great fun.
7 Try light painting
In Winter, when there is more darkness than light try this. Set your camera up on a tripod. Set to bulb. Click the shutter and stand with a torch 10 feet in front of the lens. Make a picture with the torch, after say 60s. Depress the shutter again and look at the results. Keep trying adjusting the shutter speed till you get the right effect.
8 Use a tripod
Essential for longer exposures they are a bit cumbersome to begin with, but I wouldn't be without mine.
9 Use a neutral density filter
Useful to darken skies and balancing the light over a whole frame. It doesn't affect the colour.
10 Share your photos
...the list goes on and will probably get longer! Ask for feedback and give feedback to others. It is about sharing after all.
Sign up for my newsletter if you want my HOT 3 tips if you want to take great photos
Have you ever been somewhere and seen something that captured your imagination and wanted to save the memory forever, maybe framing it for you wall? Creating your own artwork?
Whether you are an aspiring pro-photographer or simply want to take better shots here is a breakdown of how I produced this photograph just for you;
I was walking in the Gothic quarter of Barcelona, it's very beautiful in a crumbling sort of way and to be fair there are lots of lovely photo opportunities. I took my small but trusty Canon G15 with me. It's pocket-sized but packs a punch with lots of fancy and useful features, you can shoot in RAW, JPEG or both.
I just wanted to capture some moments while on a long weekend break and have a bit of fun, so I set the camera to P, similar to Auto but this allowed me to adjust the exposure up or down a notch (f-stop) to create a bit more atmosphere and to regain a bit of control.
The light was gently stroking the building and lighting up the moped in the distance. I like photographs with people in them, but this empty scene spoke to me, it held a story. The light, the solitary moped, the sense of anticipation stopped me in my tracks. I quickly lifted the camera, composed the scene so that the arch framed the picture and took the shot. Then we drifted on to a lovely Tapas bar.
As we wandered I quickly shot scenes I liked, often when the light was playing beautiful games across the buildings, or casting dramatic shadows. As we passed one of the tiny roads I spotted this.
Back home, and after downloading the shots, I stopped at this one and decided to convert it to black and white. Here is my process; I used photoshop, but you can use any photo-editing software, you can even approximate it in your smartphone, if it's one of the newer models.
Open in Photoshop
Desaturate by moving the saturation slider to the left
(you find this under Image>adjustments>hue/saturation)
This leaves the image looking a bit 'thin' so time to get some atmosphere back.
Lets adjust the Levels.
CTL L opens up the dialogue box, then:
Move the left hand slider along (dark tones)
Move the middle slider to the right (mid-tones)
So from this...
I'm happy with this, there is just enough light to show some detail in the blacks.
Next I want highlight the light areas. I do with with the dodge tool. See below.
I only use 5% or less in 'highlights' for a delicate touch. Right click on the image to get your brush and wipe it over the areas you want to highlight, a bit like painting.
Next, sharpen the image. I don't want to sharpen too much-this can ruin a photo.
Go to Filter>sharpen>unsharp mask and use similar settings shown below. Play around until you get something that works for you.
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I talk to photographers a lot and I have realised that days and days on shoots give pro's a real hands on advantage in tricks and tips on how to shoot better. So here are some things I have learnt:
'There is always a photo'
There is. How often have I gone on location for a shoot and someone has said,
'There's not much to see I'm afraid.'
I have just returned from The Black Isle, in the North of Scotland to visit my elderly mum.
It's November not a month I would choose to spend in Scotland and as anticipated the
weather was dreary, cold, windy and wet.
A long drive to and from the hospital where mum was being looked after was very grey and did nothing for my spirits.
I even Tweeted this photo with the caption...
One shade of grey...
After 4 days of this with my blog post deadline looming I took my own advice, and on the way to the airport I took some photos. My theme?
I didn't have my Canon 5D mark III DSLR, so I used my Smart phone (a Samsung S5) which has an impressive camera.
On the flight home, I edited my shots with the phones software and came up with this set of pictures.
This set of photos had a little adjustment to brightness and contrast and in some the colour was desaturated but that was it on the editing front.
It proved to be an enjoyable couple of hours, despite the weather.
So, set yourself a challenge and come up with a set of shots based around a theme, and make this your mantra-
Look all around.
Part 2 of the Magic Triangle -
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