So not exactly the new year, but still fairly close. Time to take a look at what I’ve been doing and what’s coming up.
Just recently I’ve been playing with different editing software to see what it is like. With all the talk of what Adobe are doing with their subscription use of programs a lot of people are unsure of jumping aboard, while still others are worried about what happens if they keep putting the price up and up so that we can no longer afford it. The problem with the subscription idea is that once you stop paying you no longer have any access to it at all. It is like paying rent on a house, I guess.
Those of you that follow me on Instagram know that I recently went away and was finding it difficult to work on photos without my Wacom Intuos Pro tablet. I have one at home, but it is a bit big for carrying around and I didn’t want to damage it. I can’t be without it for my day to day processing of my photos. The pen that comes with it means I can do fine detail work.
Whether you are a weekend photographer or someone who wants to be more serious, learning photography is a great thing to do. We have all been there, and we have all taken photos that we now look at and cringe, it is a natural part of learning, but you can help yourself by taking some steps to make it easier.
Here are 7 tips for what you can do, or things not to do, when you first start out in photography.
- Which camera to pick
It is not the camera that does the work, it is you. So, someone with a phone, could, potentially take just as good an image as someone with a high end DSLR. Of course, it depends on the conditions, but the point is just having an expensive one does not make you a photographer.
Think about the type of photography you want to do and then decide what will be the right camera. Having the wrong one could mean you don’t take many images and could put you off photography. If you love taking photos, for instance, with your phone, then do it. Whichever one you get learn how to use it. Study it and experiment.
- Getting off Auto
If you buy a camera that you can use aperture, shutter speed, and pick your ISO, but you continue to put your camera on Auto, then ask yourself why did you buy a camera like that. While you might get some great photos with it, there will be missed opportunities because it doesn’t cut it. Learn how your camera works and taking it off auto, is something you will never regret doing.
Find a class or photographer who can teach you how to use your camera which will enable to use it to its full potential.
- Copying other photographers
This is a great way to learn. Find photographers whose work you like and try to emulate it. There is nothing wrong with copying, but only if you do it in the process of learning and never pass it off as your work. It is probably best not to put it up on social media as well. Use it to teach yourself, then get on with your own work.
- Study what others do
Like the comment above, you should also be looking at what other photographers are doing. See what they are photographing, and what you can learn from them. Study the compositions, how they use light and even what their subjects are.
Especially look at photographers who do work that you aspire to, who you find inspiration from. It is like that saying, if you want to get better at writing, then read the material that is like what you want to write. Photography is the same, if you want to do some photos of a particular thing or style, then look at images of them a lot.
- Do courses from respected people
Learning what you are doing can never be underestimated and is valuable. You can learn by yourself, but there are always going to be aspects you miss out on and you lose lots of time trying to figure out some stuff. It is great to have someone to ask questions, especially when you get stuck.
You don’t have to spend a fortune, but make sure that whatever course you choose will teach you everything you want to learn.
- Learn basic editing
Whether you want to do it or not, you do have to learn some editing. It is like using the darkroom. Photos straight out of the camera might be nice, but they never seem to have that polished look that photos that have been edited have. If you look at some of the great landscape photographers and see how they edit, they often don’t do a lot.
You don’t have to learn how to use everything, or even learn Photoshop, but Lightroom by Adobe is a great editing platform and easy to use. It is a great place to start and for many it will always be enough. There are some other editing platforms you could try as well, such as On 1 or Zoner Photo Studio X which is one I’ve been trying out.
Getting people to critique your work can be invaluable, but it can also be very destructive and can kill your creativity. Don’t put photos up on sites and ask everyone to give you their opinion, because they will and you might not like what they have to say. If the image is bad, you will get lots of advice, however, if the image is good, then you might get some bitchy comments.
You need to find someone you trust, who you know will give you honest feedback, but isn’t there to bring you down, or make you feel like crap. Paying someone can be good too, as they, you would hope, wouldn’t be horrible to you. I know when I critique work I try and be gentle and encouraging. I want people who pay me to come back and get more work critiqued.
If you love photography learning how to do it is not something you will ever regret doing. It will always be money well spent. It could be the start of an amazing adventure and there are so many places to share your work. It is also a very social thing and people love going out with others to take photos. Good luck.
Last week I did this post and I’m not sure many saw it, so I am going to repeat some of it, I hope that is okay. It has been a slow week really. I moved my desk into the room vacated by my daughter and I have spent a lot of time this week setting it up. It is nice to be in a separate room and one that will make it much easier to Skype from.
I had my book launch last night. It wasn’t a big affair, but very glad to have it done. The book is still for sale and now i have to market it, not sure how I am going to do that, but will see what happens.
I had to give a speech, which is something I always dreaded, me speaking in public. However, this was the second speech I’ve had to do recently and I have to say, I almost enjoyed it. I wasn’t nervous at all. I just got up and said what I had to say. I think the teaching has helped a lot with it. Gives me confidence for something new I want to try out.
Dynamic Range Magazine
The magazine is still available for you to purchase, and you can buy it by following this link.
As I said last week, looking at sales for the current issue, the next issue will be the last. It is, of course, disappointing that the magazine hasn’t worked out, but I am happy to put it behind me and move onto some new things. I have enjoyed doing it and I’ve learned a lot. I have done things I didn’t think I would be capable of, especially in dealing with other people. It hasn’t all been good, but that is how it goes I suppose.
One thing I’ve learned is that I do really enjoy writing, and it is something I definitely want to continue. I am on the look out for more places that I can write for.
Article for Digital Photography School
My latest article for dPS is now available to read, follow the link:
I’ve been toying around with the idea of doing some sort of course about editing. The truth is, I want to do something, but I don’t want to add to the millions of tutorials that are out there already. My thinking is that I should work on my strengths. I’m told constantly that my work is unique so perhaps that is the angle I need to come from. The artist that uses photography.
To start with I’m going to do some podcasts or short videos on being an artist. They will start soon. I want to start sharing things about being an artist and hopefully people will find them interesting.
Now that I have one book done, I’m looking forward to doing some more. I’m planning on one with a friend next year. There is another one I’m thinking about, but will have to think about that one more.
I suppose it is the constant search to find something that will be successful and make me more successful. I don’t know what it is about me. It is weird, but people don’t seem to take me seriously. I have friends who will pay others to teach them, but not me. It is weird, not sure what I can do about it, but there you have it. Anyway enough of that.
Today I am taking us back to 2014 and a trip I did into the Docklands one weekend. Sounds like it was a big trip, but it was just for a day. Back when I was trying to do the Social Snapper outings, no more to say about that. Docklands can be an interesting place to take photos, just have to look really. I will be back there this weekend, I wonder how it will look then.
For those of you who have been editing your photos for some time now should be aware of these terms. However, they are often unknown or confusing to people who are new. So what is destructive and non destructive editing? Let’s see if I can explain it in this mini tutorial.
Destructive – as you work on your photos you do things in a way that makes it impossible to go back and change anything. If you make a mistake, then you have to start again.
Non Destructive – everything you do on your images can be undone. Nothing is permanent, so if you do make a mistake you can go back and change it.
It is very easy in Photoshop to work in a destructive way. If you avoid using layers, or continue to flatten your images you start to make it so you can’t undo a previous mistake or process. There are those that think this is fine, and I see people others this way, but it should be avoided.
All the processing is done in the one layer. While you can go back into your history to undo things, there is only so far you can go back. If you save the image with the idea of working on it again later, you will have lost all the history. While you continue the work and if you find you missed something in the earlier session it may be impossible to change it. The only option could be starting over again.
Working Non Destructively
There is a way to work so that you can protect or change anything you have done, which is to do your images in a non destructive way. In Photoshop this means working in layers and every adjustment you do is done in a different layer.
While not much editing has been done to the image you can see what was done by looking at the layers. You can turn them on and off to see if they work. If you realise you have forgotten to do something you can go back to it the later and fix the problem.
This program by Adobe is by nature a non destructive editing platform. Everything that is done in it can be undone. It is a great program in this respect.
There you have it, a quick description for what these terms mean. If you have other terms you would like explained, let me know and I will do my best to give you an explanation.
The weeks are flying by and before we know it Christmas will be here. I have a lot going on and a lot I want to do. I am trying hard to be productive, but I can get distracted quite easily at times, especially when it comes to going out and taking photos. Let’s take a look at my news.
Dynamic Range Magazine
As I’ve stated previously, if things don’t get better with it, meaning sales, then I am going to shut up shop with it. The people who have supported it have been amazing and I truly thank you for that. However, we do sell very few copies and the money made certainly doesn’t cover my time, let alone anyone else’s who works on it. We are not giving up just yet, but the writing is on the wall.
To try and improve things for the next issue, which will be out in a couple of weeks, we are taking away the Photography by Women. I don’t know if that makes a difference, but there is this idea that if it is meant for women then it must be pink and frilly. If you knew me you would know that is not me at all. I never wear pink and am far more comfortable in black.
Another thing that I’ve noticed is how many people are surprised when they get it. Surprised at how good it looks and how professional the articles are. So it seems the pink and frilly thing continues, and people are expecting that and finding that it is really nice inside. So to combat this, we have decided to give away a previous Issue so you can see how good it looks. We have decided on Issue 3 to give away.
Here is the link that will let you download it for free,
That should work. We were really finding our feet with this issue and if you were to ask me, was probably the first one that we got right.
The Six Seasons of My Backyard
Sales for the book have been interesting. I’ve sold almost none overseas, albeit a few, and sold a few here. I suppose I knew that people would be more interested in the book here, but I had thought I would sell more overseas. I guess you just never know.
I’m now getting ready for the book launch. It is going to be on the 24th of November, if you are in Melbourne and interested in going let me know and I can give you the details.
This Blog and Website
I have been talking about changes on this blog for a while and I think it is time I got more serious about it. I want to start being more professional with how I run it. I am figuring out that my writing is okay, certainly better than what it was, and that is where I should concentrate my efforts.
I’ve spoken about doing reviews here, but I also want to start doing some editing posts as well. I’m not keen to show people what I do, I think if I was earning a lot of money from it, yeah, I would be happy to. I just know that if I start sharing what I do then someone who is better at marketing than me will make a lot more money from it, and I don’t think that is fair.
However, what I am prepared to do is share my knowledge of Photoshop and Lightroom, and maybe introduce you to other software editing platforms. I have been given a couple to play with, and I know at least one of them seems quite good and not very expensive, but more on that later.
That is about all for now, but start expecting some changes soon, maybe even next week. I would also be interested in hearing what you thought and if there are posts and such that you would like to see me do.
Today I thought I would show you more photos from my day at Rippon Lea in 2013. This time I have all the photos from the garden there. They are magnificent and if you go on a lovely day the photos can look stunning. I must go back with my Lensbaby gear.
It is almost a year since I got serious about Instagram and in that time I have gone from about 340 followers to 10.3 thousand. I like to think that is a great achievement, though I don’t know if it is. Mind you it has taken a lot of work to get that many and I’ve worked really hard. I haven’t really seen any benefits from it, but I do love Instagram and the images you see from others are awe inspiring. I get so much inspiration from looking at what is there. I’ve found new places I want to go and photograph.
One thing that I have found, is that I know, I don’t want to be a landscape photographer. Instagram is flooded with images of waterfalls and mountains with lakes in front of them. It has always been my thing to try to be different. It is so easy to fall into the trap of being the same as everyone else. Play the popularity contest.
I believe you have to be true to yourself and do what makes you feel good. I want my work to stand out from the crowd, and I know that often means an image won’t get so many likes, but it has to be about more than that.
I am an artist first, always. I don’t like to think of myself as a photographer, because I’m not, not really. Yes, I take photos, but I do so much more as well. I’m an artist and my medium is photography, and maybe Photoshop is also my medium. I love seeing what I can do on the computer and I will work on an image for hours, over a whole day sometimes. This is what I do.
I am going to start talking about this a lot more, I hope you won’t mind.
Here are my photos from the last week on Instagram. If you want to find out more about the images, take a look at my Instagram feed, there are descriptions and tips there.
When I did one of these a while back many of you seemed to like it, so I thought I might do another evolution of an image, this time looking at an image I did of the Seafarers Bridge here in Melbourne. I have photographed this bridge so many times over the last year or two, so it was good to try it again to see if I could get something different.
The image was taken last summer, and I wanted to see what my Nikon 14-24mm lens could do with the bridge. The very wide angle means you can fit so much into it. I love the lens, but wish I had ND Filters for it, I think I would be able to get some amazing shots with it.
Only a little processing has been done to it here, using Adobe Camera Raw.
One of the things that I really didn’t like was the blue sky. I’m not a fan of all blue in the sky. I prefer clouds, not necessarily all clouds, but I like how they give the image drama and mood. The first thing I wanted to do was replace it. I went to my sky folder and found one I thought would work. The latest version of Photoshop has a great application for masking the sky so you can replace it. It made it so much easier.
The new sky was darker, well once I was finished with it, so had to change some other things. I cropped the image as well. I wanted more focus on the bridge, though it wasn’t cropped much. I changed the colouring some too.
I think the worked image shows off the bridge more and it stands out. Though I did it a week or so back and wasn’t quite sure I wanted to show it at all. I put it up on Instagram today and it’s done okay.
So really, it was all about the sky in the end.