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photography

Upping Your Game

Upping Your Game

It’s been a while since I wrote a blog post but quite a few things have happened recently and I figured that this would be a good time to share some of my thoughts and experiences.

The one thing that grabs the attention of all photographers is that of the prospect of new gear. Since Photokina 2018 there has been an explosion of new products and camera models, some good, some not so and some where they have completely dropped the ball… (we all know who “they” are!) While many of us will be lusting after yet another lens, body, gadget or doo-dah in the hope that it will take our photography to another level. However, in all honesty all that we’re doing is acquiring stuff to solve a problem we believe we have.

Maybe it’s time for people to start thinking about upgrading the photographer rather than new gear every year. (Stacey K – DPReview.com)

When you have a limited budget (Like I do!) you need to make certain that your purchases are going to give you the best bang for your buck so to speak. There’s no point in buying something that will only get used a few times a year! When it comes to gear what you need is a solid workhorse which is usually not particularly glamorous or shiny. I recall someone saying on a forum that a professional photographer compared his camera to a toothbrush with the statement that “it gets the job done”.

While I have recently upgraded my own gear and moved away from a Panasonic Lumix GX-80 (Micro Four Thirds) to a Nikon D800 (Full Frame) camera along with the significant increase in cost I decided that it was also time that I “upgraded” myself and invest in some training to enhance my skills and try out different shooting styles.

To that end I paid to attend several workshops in studio lighting and portraiture at Richard Bradbury’s studio. Now I’m not drinking from the Jason Lanier kool-aid in that when I hear someone say they are a “natural light” photographer I reply with “oh that’s just because they don’t know how to use flash” because if you look at the history of art, all that the artists of the day had to work with was natural light be it sunlight, moonlight or candle light. There’s always been a sun in the sky (except when it’s night!) and it seems like a good thing to use when it’s in the right position. But natural light does have its limitations… and that’s where flash comes in!

Studio lighting was something that I have wanted to learn about for probably some 30+ years but for one reason or another just never found the time to get around to it. I recently set up a small home studio using speedlights and a few modifiers to create something that looks more pleasing to the eye and where the conditions are under my control (unlike live events). I’ve had good results but even after watching countless YouTube videos on lighting I was eager to learn more in an environment where I could see the different approaches that can be taken, and for this reason photography workshops can be ideal.

In addition to workshop training I also took advantage of a recent offer on Facebook and signed up for membership of The Photographer Academy which is run by Mark Cleghorn. I’ve seen a couple of videos by Mark on introduction to studio flash as well as his promo videos for Elinchrom and he comes across as an easy going but very knowledgeable working photographer. I’m looking forward to going through the content and seeing what I can incorporate into my work. I also use Serge Ramelli‘s turorials along with CreativeLive as additional resources because you can never have enough 😉

Now I’m not saying that you shouldn’t buy new gear (providing it does what you really *need* it to) but before you spend a load of cash on some new gear consider setting aside some cash towards investing in something that will have a greater long-term effect on your photography and that is training!

photography

What I want in my next camera…

What I want in my next camera…

Since I recently sold off my Panasonic Lumix GX80 to raise essential funds for potential University accommodation fees I have been wondering what features I would like in my next camera. The decision to sell off the GX80 was quite an easy one to make as it wasn’t getting as much use as I would have liked and in the time I owned it (just over a year maybe 18 months) I discovered some operational issues that made things harder than they needed to be. Read more “What I want in my next camera…”

photography

I’m not dead… at least not yet anyways…

Well it’s been about a month since my last post and with this being Mental Health Awareness week I thought I should give you an update on how things are with me. In the last week or so my mood has lifted somewhat from the realm of despair I have been stuck in, probably has something to do with the recent spell of sunny weather we’ve been having! I’m still convinced that the problem may be more deeply rooted than that but for now this will do.

“Latte’s may come and go but photos last forever!”

While things were not great I forced myself to complete some image editing I did at my last shoot with @Ukiyoproject. I spent several nights editing with my headphones plugged in and listening to some relaxation music from Tycho which I was really enjoying. I’ll post up a mini album of some of the shots on my Facebook page.

Photography wise I haven’t picked up the camera since “that” convention. I just wasn’t “feeling it” and it did feel like I’d lost my mojo.

I spent some time reading up on other peoples experiences on this and what things they tried to recover from a slump/burnout. I’ll be honest in that for a while I was seriously considering selling up all my gear and calling it a day, and I had been wrestling with these thoughts for a while but the thing is that I still love photography! I just need to find a way to get energised about it again… Sadly at present “Real Life™” is currently getting in the way with my car being out of action and trying to save up some serious cash to help with my eldest going off to University a year later than originally planned but that’s another story! I was planning on going to Oldham Comic Con 2 but unfortunately the car had to take priority. It’s still not fixed so I’ll be under the bonnet again this weekend cursing German “engineering”.

Because of the current situation I’ve had to drastically cut my convention schedule back because it is so expensive and with little in the way of donations through Ko.fi it’s hard to justify going to conventions when all you get is a “like” or a “sick pic bro lol” comment on an album of pictures you’ve worked on for several long evenings.

Which brings me to something that’s been bugging me for a while now. Recently there has been a number of Facebook posts circulating on how to support people without buying anything. Now while giving a “like” may give you a warm misplaced fuzzy feeling, you’re not actually doing anything that has any tangible benefit for that person e.g. paying for travel, tickets, food etc. I can appreciate if you donated to every photographer who took your picture at an event you would be broke, but spare a thought to the fact that you are getting a picture that is better than any smartphone can take using gear that costs more than you could afford for free. My personal view on free photographs are that they are not “free”, there is a cost involved which the photographer has to carry on their own. You wouldn’t hesitate to spent £3 on a posh coffee at Costa or Starbucks but baulk at paying the same for a picture. Just think of it like this… “Latte’s may come and go but photos last forever!”

events

When the FUN stops STOP

When the FUN stops STOP

There is a saying that you shouldn’t do something you love as a job as you will eventually come to hate it. Now while I don’t do event photography for a living, going to events and taking pictures it’s something that I enjoy… at least it was until recently. I’m sure most of you reading this can relate to what I am on about. We’ve all had bad experiences that can completely put us off doing something we enjoy. Read more “When the FUN stops STOP”