• Guides

    Weather Challenges

    It seems like all us Brits do, is talk about the weather, but it is an element that all photographers have to account for when using their equipment outside. Sometimes it is expected (like rain in London) but other times it can take you completely by surprise. We will discuss some aspects of the weather that can be utilised to change your image or making the most of your image when the weather isn’t behaving! Rain Typically we get a lot of rain in London/UK so I am constantly having to consider the effect of moving water (active rain) and still water (the puddles left behind) on subject matter. Focus…

  • Guides

    White Balance

    White balance is the white tone of your image which is affected by the light in which you are shooting. The idea is to make the colours as true to life as possible. You know when white turns out a bit orange or blue in your image… that can be solved by white balance. Normally our eyes adjust for white balance naturally, but our cameras aren’t quite that clever (yet!) Most of us haven’t even looked at the white balance options in our camera and shoot in Auto which will hopefully change the settings as necessary. Sometimes though we need to change things ourself. Here are your options: Auto –…

  • Guides

    Chasing the Sun

    Photographing in direct sunlight can be quite a challenge but sometimes to get the subject and aesthetic you are after, it cannot be helped. Here are some tips to get the image you want. With some subjects you’ll be able to move them into the shade. This is particularly relevant with portraits where your subject is highly portable. If your subject is not movable you can try to create your own shade. Use your own shadow, the shadow of someone else or bring an object with you (like an umbrella, a reflector or large sheet of card) to block out the sun. When moving your subject isn’t possible, don’t forget that…

  • Guides

    Photography Projects & Challenges

    As we bring in the new year, a lot of casual photographers make a New Year’s Resolution to get out there and take more photos. Some ways that photographers do this is by selecting a ‘photography project’ to focus and motivate them, while giving them new ideas on subjects and techniques. This can be quite a good idea but with so many out there, it can be quite a challenge to find the one that is the best fit. Project 365 Project 365 is probably the photography project that you have heard and seen most about, with the hashtag #project365. There is no other prerequisite, just to take a new…

  • Guides

    Wildlife Photography – Aquarium

    Photographing wildlife is something I really enjoy and watching nature documentaries (especially ones by Sir David Attenborough) I always wish that I had the opportunities to travel the world exploring nature. Sadly in London the extent we have are urban foxes and manky pigeons. (There is more to offer in London that this, however this is generally what I see!) Wildlife can still be captured indoors and for improving your skills it is not a bad place to start. I recently went to the National Sea Life Centre in Birmingham and took my camera with. The added bonus of going to the aquarium versus outdoor is that I didn’t have…

  • Guides

    Metering and Histograms

    Knowing how your meter measures light allows you to manipulate and interpret the results and know when you need to change something. Your histogram is one of the most valuable tools in explaining the tonal values of a scene.  The far left represents pure black and the far right represents pure white. The horizontal axis is 0-255 and the vertical axis shows how many pixels are in each position of each tone. The optimal histogram should not be too heavily bunched at either end of the horizontal axis, as this can cause the detail to be lost in the pure white or pure black. Ideally the histogram should look a bit…

  • Guides

    Savvy Shutter Speed

    The final element in our photography triangle is shutter speed. Shutter speed controls the amount of time that the sensor is exposed to light The longer the shutter is open, the more light that hits the sensor and the shorter the shutter is open, the less light hits the sensor. The shutter speed is either listed as a fraction of a second (1/60) or in whole seconds (1′, 2′). Some camera even allow for whole minutes, or an infinite amount of time (bulb). Shutter speed is a bit easier to understand than aperture, where the fraction 1/60 is literally one sixtieth of a second that the shutter is open. Depending…

  • Guides

    Depth and Aperture

    Another component of the photography triangle is aperture. Aperture regulates the amount of light permitted through the lens to the sensor. The larger the opening the more light passes through, and the smaller the opening the less light passes through. To complicate matters, the f-stop which refers to the size of the aperture is a large number for a small opening and the smaller the number the larger the opening. By changing the aperture you can change the exposure of the image, but also change the depth of field. Depth of field is the manipulation of the focal plane, its the aesthetic of having the subject in front of a…

  • Guides

    ISO and Noise

    Part of the photography triangle is ISO. ISO is International Standards Organisation and measures the sensitivity of the image sensor. The lower the number the less sensitive your camera is to light and the finer the grain. In bright light, a low ISO number (about 100 or 200) can be used to get a clean image at most apertures and shutter speeds. However, in dim light, you may need to increase the ISO number to capture the image you are after (as it will allow changes in the aperture and shutter speed). There is a cost of a high ISO though… the image will appear more grainy (which is the appearance…

  • Guides

    Exposing Exposure

    Exposure is one of the key elements in photography that is often overlooked by the automatic settings on your camera. In this introduction, I will try to explain what exposure is and how it can be manipulated to alter your images. As with most aspects of photography, practice is key in finding what works for you, your camera and your finished image. Although there are ‘guidelines’ in photography, any rules that govern ‘how to take the perfect image’ should be broken (repeatedly!) So what is meant by exposure… In simplest terms, exposure in how much light is hitting the photosensitive material (film or digital sensor). Generally you are trying to…

  • Guides

    Beautiful Bokeh

    Bokeh is the soft out of focus effect you get in part of an image. Bokeh comes from the Japanese for blur or haze and can add another element to your image. Bokeh is not too difficult to capture if you have a lens with a big or fast aperture. With a lens with a 1/2.8 stop (which is what I use), you have a shallow depth of field, allowing the further background to become distorted or out of focus. The further away the background is, the more Bokeh effect is possible. If you do not have a lens with a large aperture, if you move very close to the…

  • Guides

    Flare for Fireworks Photography

    Fireworks night is coming up soon, and I always love to get my camera out this time of year. Capturing fireworks can be a bit of a challenge and something that I always try to improve on. Firstly, you are going to need a tripod! Due to the limited light source (as it is generally dark when you shoot fireworks) you will need to have longer shutter speed and to keep that camera as steady as possible. To keep your camera as still as possible you can also use a remote release, but I do not have one, so I don’t bother. Top Tip: Always check that the venue is ok…

  • Guides

    Abandoned Monochrome

    Dungeness is located on the south coast of England, about 30 mins from Folkestone. I have heard that it is a bit of a haven for photographers, with its slightly dystopian feel. A nuclear power station overshadows derelict fisherman huts and boats on the biggest shingle beach in Europe. The hamlet is home to mainly old wooden houses, many built around old railway coaches, are owned and occupied by fishermen, whose boats lie on the beach. Dungeness is a large nature reserve, given the uniqueness of the habitat, home to many rare birds and vegetation. One-third of all plants found in the UK are seen at Dungeness. Given the aesthetic…

  • Guides

    Capturing Autumnal Colours

    Autumn is perhaps the most photogenic of the seasons with all of the colours, those stunning warm gold and copper tones. Can also get those misty and dewy mornings, but I am not so much of an early bird for photography! Me and two friends heading to Greenwich at the weekend to capture the foliage for Autumn. Greenwich Park is a fantastic location, not just for the trees but the people in the royal park as well. Our response to colour is sophisticated and used well it can be the most powerful element in a photograph. The sensation of colour is multilevel, evoking a mixture of physical, physiological and psychological…