How your composition can trick your light meter

This week I’ll show you how your composition can trick your light meter The light meter in your camera is a sophisticated bit of kit. It has a few different settings and each one has it’s own uses but most people will keep it in the multi meter mode. In this setting, sometimes your composition can trick this into producing a bad image. Basically, the light meter will look at the whole image and try to give you a good exposure. When there is a lot of dark parts in the image, the light meter will brighten it up and when there is a lot of bright areas in the image, the light meter will drop the exposure down. This is all well and good, but when the subject is darker than the surrounding parts of the image, it will tend to be under exposed. On the other hand, if the subject is surrounded by a lot of dark parts, it will tend to be over exposed. There are a few ways to counteract this, depending on what setting you are in. Generally, if you are shooting in Auto mode, everything is automatic, so you won’t be able to compensate […]

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The direction of Light

This week I’ll show you how the direction of light can affect your photographs Photography is all about light and the direction of light. If the light is coming from a complimentary direction, you image will look detailed and three dimensional. If it is straight on, for example in the same way as you’re taking the image, it tends to look flat and 2 dimensional. Neither is right or wrong, however, different situations will work better in different lighting directions. If we look in the same direction as the light is shining, basically where the light is on my back, all there details blend in to each other and textures are lost, the image looks flat. If we look into the direction of light, the image can work, but you just have to watch out for lens flare and a bleaching out of your photograph. When I look in a direction where the light is from the side or at an angle to the direction of the camera, it looks much better. Details and textures start to be visible and the image becomes more three dimensional. We are in the UAE at the moment, so there is plenty of strong […]

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Exposure Bracketing

This week I’ll show you what bracketing is and how you can use it to better your images. Bracketing is basically taking three, five or even nine different exposures of the same scene. What this then enables you to do is blend them together in your computer so you have details in both the darkest and the brightest parts of the image. Sometimes cameras cannot handle the dynamic range that you want to photograph. (The dynamic range is a measurement of the difference between the brightest and darkest parts of the image). So by taking multiple images of the same scene, you can then use the more powerful brain in your computer to blend these together to get the image you were hoping for. It takes a little preparation and you need to know where the bracketing setting is in your camera, but once you can access this setting, you can very quickly grab three or five images of a scene when you thing the dynamic range is too high. To get best results, you should have your camera on a tripod, but if the shutter speed is high enough and your hand is steady enough, you can do it […]

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Aperture, ISO and Shutter Speed – When to change what

This week I’ll be showing you when and why you’d want to change your Aperture, shutter speed or ISO. The three most important settings to get familiar with on your camera are Aperture, Shutter speed and ISO. Either will change the exposure making it brighter or darker, however, they also change the image in other ways. So when do you change what? Basically, as well as changing the exposure: Aperture will change the depth of field Shutter-speed will change how much or little motion blur you have in the image ISO will change how sensitive the sensor is, when the number is too high, it will also introduce “noise” into your image. Aperture If you want as much as possible in focus, get your f number higher, up to about f16. This will make the depth of focus deep and bring a lot into focus. If you want a small part to be in focus, drop the f number as low as possible. This will make the depth of focus small and can give you the power, as a photographer, where you want the viewer to look. People are drawn to what is in focus, so this is very useful. […]

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First step out of auto mode – Photography

  Today I’m going to show you how to take your first steps out of auto. There’s a lot of info in this one, but if you go through it step by step, you’ll learn so much about your camera and photography in general. If you have a modern camera, it will have may settings that you may or may not be aware of, from fully automatic, right through to fully manual. It may seem daunting but there are some easy ways to start hacking into these. So are you ready? Do this: Set the mode dial to A/Av or aperture priority. Set ISO to auto One of the reasons I suggest putting it into auto ISO is that, you’re just taking control of one of the parameters to start with. Once you get more used to it, you can start setting the ISO yourself.  Now, take a photograph. Congratulations, you have just taken your first photograph out of auto. Not that bad was it!!?? Aperture priority isn’t quite manual mode, but it is a step in the right direction. It’s kind of a semiautomatic mode. You set the aperture and then the camera sets the shutter speed and ISO […]

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3 Questions to ask yourself every time you take a photograph
December 14, 2017 by Mike in Hints and tips, How to 0 Comments

This week, I show you three questions to ask yourself after you’ve taken the shot If you ask yourself these three questions, and the answer is yes to all of them, then you have a good image. If you get into the habit of doing this….it’s a way of identifying problems in your photography and solving those problems. Is it clear? Is it exposed right? Do you like the composition? If yes to all three, you’ve got a good image. 01. Is it clear? Is it in focus and tack sharp? There are two ways to have a blurry image. 01. – if it isn’t focussed correctly, it’ll be blurry.   02.  – if the shutter speed isn’t high enough to cope with shooting handheld, then you’ll get motion blur. Motion blur tends to be sideways motion and focusing is a fuzzy issue.   If it is motion blur, get your shutter speed higher and then compensate with either raising your ISO or opening up your aperture…or shoot from a tripod, if the situation allows it. Now focussing is subjective but just think, is the subject in focus where I want it to be? Just make sure you have your focussing […]

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Shooting the stars
November 27, 2017 by Mike in Uncategorized 0 Comments

Shooting the stars, or astrophotography, is one of those specialist sides to photography. You don’t need to have fancy kit, but it does help. As there is very little light about, the camera needs to be good at low light capture and your lens needs to be as fast as possible….and if you’re photographing the milky way, or trying to capture shooting stars, you’ll need as wide a lens as possible. I shot my first astro shots with the canon 350d and the 10-20mm sigma, they didn’t come out that well, but I was hooked and wanted to get my image quality better and wanted to get some milky way shots. Now I shoot with the A7rii (I haven’t upgraded the firmware and I am not going to as apparently the update automatically reduces what it thinks is noise…..and it seems to think stars are noise….) This is know as the “star eater” upgrade…..The A7rii is great in low light and gets great shots of the stars. Lenses I use two different lenses, the samyang 14mm f2.8 and the Zeiss Batis 25mm f2. So With the samyang,it is a really wide lens, and surprisingly sharp for the price I paid […]

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5 Ways To Make Your Photography Life Easier
November 9, 2017 by Mike in Hints and tips, How to 0 Comments

Sometimes it’s the little things in life that matter. Those small things sometimes seem so insignificant and could be washed over or missed, but when you take notice and really dig deep, it’s these things that make you stand out form the crowd. In photography, there are things that annoy me, like ridiculously small batteries in the sony cameras, and memory cards that don’t have a little built in voice warnings saying “I am full” or “back me up idiot” or “don’t hit that format button!” But, until these things are invented, there are a few things we can do, to make our lives easier. These are my 5 tips for you. Some I use now and then, and some I do everyday! Like the elastic band trick…..this has saved me so much time!!!   01. Use lens and camera covers to hold your memory cards Need somewhere to stash your memory cards? Put them in your camera sensor cover, and then put the back lens cap on this to give you a little pouch to safely store them in.   02. Use hats to protect your lenses If you have a few lenses, they might roll around in your bag…. […]

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Scouting a Photography location
November 3, 2017 by Mike in Hints and tips, How to 0 Comments

Scouting a location When I’m shooting in a new location, or I want to find new places to photograph near home, there’s nothing better than getting out and about. I search on google maps for things that stand out, I look to see what other photographers have captured in the area to get inspiration and then we go out hiking, up in the mountains, along beaches, etc, and find the things we’ve seen on line. Step 1 When searching on google, look for things you might find interesting….you have to use your imagination a little here, but any big standout features can work. Step 2 Find out what other photographers have captured in the area. This might seem like you’re copying others, but you need to learn your craft, and what better way than to learn off others. When you learn to play an instrument, you pick your best songs, find a “how to play” video on YouTube and then learn to play it. Once you get good enough and know the principles…..and want to take it to another level….you start to write your one songs. Photography is the same, learn from the best, and then make it your own! […]

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A Bag for the Zhiyun Crane
October 25, 2017 by Mike in Hints and tips, How to, Travel 0 Comments

This is a quick post to show you my camera bag and how I set it up to hold my Zhiyun Crane, fully assembled. If you don’t want to read about it, you can check out my youtube video about it below: Now the Zhiyun Crane is an awesome gimbal, but a pain to pack away. I used to take the handle off, but this meant from taking it out of the bag to being ready to film took a minute or two and to be honest was a bit of a hassle. Now with this bag and the way I’ve set it up, the zhiyun crane version 1 squeezes in fully assembled. It also holds a second camera and a whole load of other lenses and equipment I might need during the day. I can have a camera on the gimbal at all times now, if I want to film, I can whip this sucka out and if I need to photograph, I just undo the quick release and get it on the tripod. One of the other great things about this bag is that it has an opening hatch on the top; you can stand the bag up between […]

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