Yes, we’re talking about the big ‘C’ word and for once, we don’t mean Covid! Christmas is not that far away so now’s the perfect time to start thinking about gifts for friends, family, loved ones and don’t forget yourself!
Did you know that the majority of photographers are inspired to get into photography by receiving a camera as a gift? No, we didn’t either but if you want to nudge someone in the direction of a photography hobby then Christmas might be the ideal time to do it. However, a problem many come across is the price of a camera/lens as they can be rather expensive and as a result, turn into a rather extravagant gift. In fact, research suggests that 66% of people believe the cost of kit is the primary barrier for people who want to get into photography but MPB want to bring down the barriers by encouraging consumers to buy second-hand.
“MPB wants to encourage consumers to give a present that is good for the planet as well as the wallet, and gift used this year,” MPB.
Photography as a hobby doesn’t have to cost a fortune or the earth and MPB offers used cameras and lenses in perfect working condition for as little as £34.
Whether you’re buying for a student looking for something more professional or a loved one who loves family photography – MPB has thousands of products for all skill levels.
Here are MPB’s top gifting recommendations for both professionals and beginners this Christmas:
If you have more cash to spend then a kit pairing such as the Nikon D750 with the Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G IF-ED could be the ideal present for the photographer in your like. Ideal setup for an advanced photographer who wants to cover most needs in terms of focal length and performance. The Nikon D750 Digital SLR Camera sets a benchmark for DSLR technology. The impressive mix of technology and performance makes it an agile camera ready for any scenario. Paired with Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G IF-ED – its versatility makes it a hit with all professionals, and a vital tool for any photographer’s kit.
To shop more products, visit the MPB website where you can also trade in your own kit.
Here are 10 top tutorials where ‘light’ is mentioned somewhere in the title so you have access to top tips on flash, natural light, low light, winter light and everything in between in one handy place.
Working with just one light, or indeed natural light at dusk, is a great way to create moody portraits that can be full of character. It’s a perfect technique for shooting subjects who are a little older as low light can really exaggerate lines and wrinkles but don’t let this put you off photographing low light portraits of younger members of your family.
Daylight is free and it is wonderful for portrait work as not only is it flattering and photogenic but it’s really easy to work with so it’s a good place for beginners to start. You don’t need a fancy studio, either, as you can pick a location outdoors or simply set-up next to a window in your own home.
With just 1 studio light, the COOPH team demonstrate how you can create different/unique portraits by manipulating how the light falls to enhance portraits and, as a result, greatly improve your overall results.
If you’ve ever taken photographs with the sun in front of you, you’re likely to have experience flare, which probably spoilt your photograph. However, there are several things you can do to remove it or if you’re feeling creative, you can use it in your shots to add a little romanticism, mystery and warmth to your work.
Im not sure how many blogs I have written since the start of the pandemic, but I suspect at around 400. And looking for signs that normality might be returning, Im particularly pleased that I shall be writing full-size articles for EPZ again. You can see the first one HERE.
So my output of blogs will be reducing, though as Ive promised a few people, I will be continuing to write them from time to time. As Ive said more or less from the start, I welcome ideas that people would like explored in this format. After my initial run through of the photographic alphabet, its often been a struggle to find something to write about. But a morning walk has often inspired me.
Thats all for today, but there will be more blogs to come!
Tried going round St Michaels Mount on my SUP😁 Fine on the outward trip with wind and tide helping BUT when I tried to get back the two miles to the beach I really struggled and couldnt understand why the board wasnt tracking properly 😡 When I finally made it back to the beach I was absolutely shattered like I have never been before 😩 I discovered Id lost my big back fin off the board which drastically altered the steering My wife was very worried as she couldnt see me and was about to phone the coastguard. She was mad but relieved and could see how exhausted I was😉 Time for a Cornish Cream Tea👍
Ah yes, I have known and loved them all. I was wondering though if the camera influences our images? It probably does in the simplistic sense that, say, it’s difficult to go shooting motor sports with a twin lens Rolleiflex. On the other hand, I can sense Indignant from Wigan putting fingers to keyboard already to explain that’s the only way to shoot motor sport, it gets you really close to the action. I do think though that the camera does become part of the process, no matter how much we believe that it’s the photographer that does all the creative input. Just as it affects our style if we shoot monochrome as opoosed to colour. That can change the sort of subject matter we look for.
Here’s some pictures and I’ll identify what the camera was. The we can decide whether the camera type made any difference.
Mamiya 6, 6x6cm rangefinder.
Pentax 645/75mm lens. 645 format film SLR.
Pentax MX/SMC Pentax 24mm f/2.8 lens. 35mm film SLR.
Pentax *istDS/SMC Pentax-DA 18-55mm lens. Digital SLR.
Fujifilm S7000. Digital bridge camera.
Are you my mummy? Pentax MX film SLR. Kodachrome film.
Pentax Optio 750Z Digital compact.
I’m not sure it does make any difference, apart from some cameras being more suited to some subjects. So we naturally use the camera to suit the situation, avoiding subjects that are clearly outside the scope. I am thinking this conclusion is some support for the notion that it is the photographer after all.
Forgive me for the mis-quote from a long running TV science fiction programme, but as we know by now I have been delving back in time to the golden days of the 1930s, via a treasure trove of old negatives. Some of these are now showing me things that I can decipher some of the past from. For example, when I used to do the gardening as a teenager I discovered cobbles under the lawn. I found out that this was an old entry way that separated the house from some small long demolished cottages. The ground had been bought and incorporated into our house’s garden, Now this picture seems to show my Granny sitting in the back gate opening, viewed from the other side of that entry way. The cottages would be behind us. When I was gardening only part of the wall on the left had been allowed to stay, the rest was taken down to open up the garden.
These two images, separated by two decades, might amuse. The first shows two people in the garden of the house, with the old garage over the road clearly visible. This would be the late 1930s. The second shows a young and dashing me astride my very cool Triang wheels, which would be the mid 1950s. The point of view is virtually the same and shows the area where the cottages would have been.
Nobody did much development of that garden between 1936 and 1956 did they?
Yesterday was demolition day, when our rather sadly decaying Wendy House and even more sadly decaying Shed were dismantled (demolished) and laid to rest in a capacious 6 Yard Skip. The weather was good, the team were enthusiastic, snacks and drinks were provided and all went extremely well.
Our cast of characters in this event:
Photographers: John & Sue Riley Demolition personnel: Diane Scollon, Mike Riley, Lizzie Riley, Sue Riley and John Riley Site clearance aided by Georgia Riley Flower arrangements by Amelia & Georgia Riley Camera: Pentax MX-1 compact
The event ended with a selection of pizzas and kebabs from Manhattan, very promptly delivered and even more promptly consumed.
The plan had been to replace the outbuildings with a summerhouse, but we’re re-thinking that as we quite like the extra open space. Here’s the photos:
It’s coming up to that time of year when many families start to think about jetting off to warmer climates or simply heading to the Britsh coast to escape reality for a while. An accessory that’s guaranteed to be packed is a camera but instead of just capturing shots of family members in pools and on the beach, why not turn your attention to food photography and capture some mouth-watering images of the plates you’re served and stalls you pass on trips.
1. Where Will You Be Taking Your Photos?
Where you’re working can sometimes determine what equipment you can use. If you’re in a busy restaurant there’s probably not room for a tripod so you’ll have to work hand-held or use a smaller support that can fit on the table. But if you’re out in the street photographing food stalls and the people who run them, they’ll be more room to use a tripod, although if you plan on moving around a lot, you’ll probably better taking a monopod with you as they’re easier to walk with and take up less room.
2. Think About Presentation
Restaurants want to impress you so food is, generally, presented and displayed well already which means you don’t have to play the role of the designer. Do look out for attractive produce though, particularly if you’re at a hotel where you can serve yourself. Make sure fruit isn’t bruised and colours are vibrant. If you’re photographing meat make sure it’s not overcooked and lookout for herbs and pepper grinders as a sprinkling of pepper or a few green leaves can make your photograph looking more appetising. Also, look out for crumbs and sauce that may be sat on the side of the plate as this can distract the viewer.
3. Consider Using Repetition
If you can pick your own food, repetition works well and three items on a plate will often look better than two. Don’t think you always have to centre your subject and if you’re working with tall items such as ice creams and coffees in glasses, switch your orientation to portrait.
4. Backgrounds Shouldn’t Distract
Try and keep your background uncluttered but if you’re in a busy restaurant where this isn’t possible, just use a wide aperture to throw the background out of focus or you could try placing a plain jacket/cloth over a chair and positioning so it sits in the background of your shot. If the chairs are too low use the back of a menu, so long as it’s plain, as your background, placing it behind your plate. If it’s coloured make sure there’s no colour cast on your food/plate, particularly if the crockery is white and a shallow depth of field will help keep all attention on the food in the foreground of your shot.
Don’t forget to take some wider shots of the serving area too. In hotels particularly you’ll find several buffet carts, chefs preparing food and guests deciding what to eat which can make interesting shots.
5. Stick To Natural Light
Use natural light where possible so if you can pick where you sit, choose a window seat or better still, sit outside. You need to avoid using direct flash as your food won’t look very appetising so make sure you’ve switched it off, particularly in low light situations where some flashes will automatically fire.
6. Get Out On The Street
Away from restaurants, you can find small stalls, especially in markets, that make and sell food. If you want to snap a few shots of the stallholder it can help if you actually show some interest in the food they are producing. It’s not always advised to eat the food they’re cooking but you can ask them questions and spend some time actually appreciating their skill. If you’re working close up never shoot without asking permission first and if they say no, just move on to another stall instead of arguing with them. For those who do agree, fill the frame with their face as you’ll find they’ll create plenty of interesting expressions when concentrating on getting their creation perfect.
If your subject is working under a canopy your camera can get confused by the brighter space that surrounds them and your shot can end up a little dark. If this is the case, just lock your exposure and recompose the shot.
If the weather’s not playing ball or you’re on a street that’s shaded from the sun don’t be tempted to use your flash as this can destroy the feeling/atmosphere you’re trying to create. Just try using a wider aperture or a higher ISO and if you find the higher ISOs make your shot a little grainy, try turning the shot black and white as it can work rather well.
Another option is to use a tripod and slower shutter speeds which will blur the movement of anyone who passes through your shot, however, if you’re focusing on someone who is moving between a chopping board and a stove, the blur can emphasise the speed they’re working at. The slower shutter speeds can also be used to capture a few closer shots of flames, just make sure you don’t burn yourself and don’t catch any hot plates and pans by mistake.
Pixum is giving ePHOTOzine members the chance to save 20% when purchasing a personalised photo calendar which can begin in any month up to March 2022.
You can use the free Pixum Photo World software to design your calendar which can feature pre-designed layouts with up to 6 photos per page and come in a variety of styles, shapes and sizes.
Pixum Photo Calendar Features:
13 pages printed with your favourite photos
flexible starting month
a great variety of sizes: wall calendar, desk calendar and planner
available from £4.99
Calendars range from classic wall calendars in portrait or landscape layouts to kitchen-style and desk calendars for your home office. Various paper options are available along with an optional wood hanger to cover the spiral binding.
An exclusive offer for ePHOTOzine members: To save 20%, enter the code NEH2YA38JUMY73 at the checkout. Offer valid until 31 May 2021.
As everyone with a camera knows, the key to a good photo is getting it right in-camera. However, all the techniques in the world are simply building blocks and getting the most out of your shots is where editing can help. Affinity Photo is not only one of the most powerful editing suites available, it’s also the best pound-for-pound editing software on the market and is guaranteed to take your photography to the next level – especially with our 50% off offer! The full range of options available to you make it ideal for advanced users, while the intuitive interface is easy to pick up for beginners and enthusiasts alike.
Whatever your genre of choice, be it landscapes, portraits, macro or anything else, Affinity not only has an unbeatable set of tools to help you, but it’s also laid out in an intuitive way that is ideal for newcomers and those switching from other software alike. There are a series of modules, called Personas, that bring you dedicated interfaces, such as Tone Mapping, RAW Developing and even a powerful liquify interface that makes complex reshaping a breeze! Even better, you can take the full functionality of the desktop app on the road, thanks to the iPad version, which is the most powerful mobile editing solution available. With so much on offer for so little, it’s time that you incorporated Affinity Photo into your workflow and moved your photography to the next step. To get you started, we’re going to give you some great tips to get the most from this brilliant software and get you well on the way to creating your own masterpieces.
1 – Develop RAW Files Like A Pro
The first milestone in any photographer’s journey is unquestionably learning to shoot RAW. This image format captures even more data than JPEG and can be tweaked to create the perfect image or a solid base for further editing. To take advantage, all you need to do is open up your RAW file of choice into Affinity Photo and the Develop Persona will load up automatically. From here you can apply exposure adjustments, recover highlights and shadows and even craft a split toning effect. There’s a Curves adjustment for precision tweaks, a savvy noise reduction component and a lens correction module to combat distortion. It has everything you need for that all-important first step to brilliance.
2 – Professional Skin Retouching At The Click Of A Button
If you shoot portraits, you’ll doubtless know about the power of frequency separation. This technique is favoured by many pros to get that glossy high-end look that screams professional. While it may sound complicated, in Affinity Photo it’s as simple as going to the Photo Persona and clicking on Filters>Frequency Separation. Once you’ve done this, you can set your Gaussian Blur amount in real-time, click Apply and the software will split your shot into two layers, one with the colour and one with the detail. From here, you can remove blemishes, add your own dodge and burn and tidy up colours – a game changer!
3 – Ramp Up Your Dynamic Range With Tone Mapping
Amazingly, Affinity Photo has its very own Tone Mapping Persona with a full suite of tools to get your well on the way to high dynamic range images, whether you have a series of bracketed shots – identical photos taken at different exposures – or a single shot as we’ve used. Opening this Persona brings up a toolbar on the right-hand side with the usual exposure and enhancement tools, though also gives you access to Tone Compression, Local Contrast and detail sliders. There’s even a series of presets to get you started. Like most of Affinity, the effects can be seen in real-time and are completely reversible, meaning there’s no such thing as a permanent mistake. What we love most about the Tone Mapping Persona is the subtlety compared to others on offer, meaning you’re able to keep your shots looking natural while still getting the most from your work!
4 – Adjustments Are Plentiful And Powerful
Adjustments refer to a series of functional layers that apply specific effects to your shots. These can be as simple as Exposure, Vibrance or Brightness and Contrast, which do what they say on the tin, all the way up to more powerful options like Gradient Maps, Channel Mixers and Colour Balance for creative effects and colour corrections. Because they’re layers, they can be altered at any time in your editing process and moved around as you see fit. They affect any layers below them in the Layer palette but can be set to cast an effect on only a single-pixel layer by using the brilliant Mask to Below feature. You can also stack as many Adjustments as you wish, giving you a huge amount of flexibility to fine-tune your work in any way possible.
5 – Layers Offer You The Ultimate Creative Freedom
An editing software that doesn’t allow Layers will really set back your creative choices. Happily, Affinity Photo gives you full control over its layer system. This means that you can bring in additional elements into your scene. You can then take advantage of Affinity’s hugely powerful selection engine to select the parts you wish to cut out or scroll through the full list of Blending Modes for a more refined and creative look. To add the birds to our shot, we took one landscape and added in a shot of birds taken against a white sky. From here, it’s as easy as setting the Blending Mode to Multiply and voila, the white sky has gone. Of course, there’s no need to stop there, and you can find yourself creating in-depth composites that are truly only limited by your imagination – set yourself free!
Get 50% Off Affinity Photo Today!
Now that you’ve seen just five of the amazing features on offer, it’s time to jump in and explore the rest, including amazing real-time Live Filters, one-click Macro presets and so much more. To buy Affinity Photo with an ePHOTOzine exclusive 50% off, click here.
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