Author: James Pinder

In our last blog feature, we looked at how to encourage your children to take an interest in the ‘magic’ of image making. We gave Wilki’s top tips on keeping them interested, encouraging their creativity and also looked at some great cameras, and printing ideas to getting started.

Following on from this, we spoke to several of your favourite pro photographers – to find out exactly how they share their knowledge and passion for photography – while keeping it fun, relaxed and creative:

 

Kevin Mullins:  Following in Dad’s footsteps

Wedding photographer Kevin Mullins (@kevinmullinsphotography)  is a big fan of sharing the knowledge in a free flowing, fun way: I gave Rosa (aged 9) my Fujifilm X30 and she loves it. She sees me shooting all the time and tries to emulate it. I leave the X30 in the kitchen so it’s easy for her to just grab it if we are going out. She see’s things in a very different way to me – her perspective is much more innocent I think. ‘Sure, I give her advice. I talk to her about using light and also composition but I’m conscious of over complicating it for her. I want it to be fun, not a chore.’

 

Budding BAFTA nominees….

Fine Art Landscape Photographer & Mindfulness workshop host Paul sanders (facebook.com/paulsandersphotography) , has also been helping his son enjoy photography – or rather using a traditional DSLR camera to create stop motion animations:

 

 

‘My son Noah (who was just 7 at the time of filming!) really enjoys taking pictures but his real passion is for making stop motion animation films using his Lego figures.

‘He’s been a film buff for a number of years and enjoys writing so when he asked if he could make a movie I gave him a few pointers. After a few failed attempts with his phone, my iPad and a compact camera he ended up using my old Canon 5D Mark III with a macro lens, with some torches for lighting.

‘He was totally absorbed in it for an entire day, it was quite something to see and I secretly enjoyed it as much as he did!’

 

Baxter Bradford:  A family holiday ‘with photography’

 

‘Last year we went to Iceland on a family holiday ‘with photography’.  Both children (now 18 & 20) have shown an interest in photography over the years – digital technology has been a massive big enabler. With features such as the electronic viewfinder the kids can see exactly what they are going to get and check basic exposures etc.

This means they can get off ‘auto’ when they need to – and start to explore a bit of the technical side – without pressure – and it also cuts down on post processing.  Both gained a lot of creative inspiration from features such as the panoramic and double exposure modes – resulting in some lovely ‘alternative’ images.

 

In Iceland we all shot on Fujifilm – I had an X-T2 and Max & Josie X-T1’s.  This was really useful as we could then all share lenses. At viewpoints we often headed in different directions – each reacting to the landscape in our own individual way.

Each evening we reviewed our images and started to select the best pictures – looking at what worked and what didn’t.  After the trip we combined all of our images to produce a Photobook of our trip, which is a great way to look back and enjoy the trip over and over again.

Visit facebook.com/BaxterBradfordPhotography to see Baxter Bradford’s work.

 

Looking for something a bit different?

Load up the bird feeder and enjoy and afternoon of ‘wildlife’ spotting in the garden or at the park with some trendy binoculars. Get the camo gear out, hunker down in the long grass and pretend you’re in the Serengeti.  Face paint and hat with corks for the mozzies is an optional extra for the adults!

Kit Suggestion:

 

The sky’s the limit!

And if you fancy a night sat around the campfire toasting marshmallows and sharing tall stories, then why not consider a telescope for some family stargazing.  There are some great free Apps available to help you work out what’s what – and on a dark night you might even see the Milky Way.

Wrap up warm and watch for shooting stars – make a wish.

Kit Suggestion:

Bushnell Voyager Telescope

For these are the moments in time, which we all remember fondly – and when your little people have little people of their own – these will be the tales they can share around their own campfire.  These will be the stories that take them right back to those early adventures, or make us all smile every time we see our pictures on the wall.

It’s easy to do and doesn’t have to be expensive – so get out there, have some fun and start putting together YOUR little treasure chest of memories.

 

Wilkinson Cameras offers a huge range of printing options – in store in each of its 9 stores, plus a full online service for those further afield.  We have a great selection of prints, wall art, photobooks and gift ideas – so take a look now.
For more information:
www.wilkinson.co.uk
Facebook: Wilkinson Cameras
Twitter: @wilkicameras
Instagram: @wilkinsoncameras

 

Keeping the kids occupied during the holidays can be a challenge, often competing with the TV, the X-Box or the ‘dreaded’ smart phone (although see how you can put it to good use further down the article!) with social media addiction.

SO… why not venture out this holiday and explore a ‘treasure’ hunt of your own –creating memories that will last forever?

 

More images than ever are being captured every single day – whether that be on phones, tablets or cameras.   We post more images on social media than ever before – we shoot what we’ve had for breakfast, ‘selfies’ with our friends, the weather, you name it.  And then what…very little!

So how do we get our ‘little people’ to engage in photography in order preserve those precious adventures and experiences for years to come?  How do we make photography exciting? Encourage creative freedom? Capture their attention and imagination?

Print & Preserve

At the same time we are shooting more pictures, we are printing less – and there is a real danger that the ‘family archive’ could be lost for generations to follow.  Billions of images are being taken worldwide every single day, but only a tiny, tiny, fraction of those ever make it to print.

Come on, everyone loves to open a tin of old photos that you’ve found in the attic, sit and look though and old family album, or for a more modern twist drink your coffee out of a cup with your favourite ‘mug’ shot!

So plaster those walls with fabulous adventures and enjoy that warm fuzzy feeling every time you walk by and smile at those special memories.   It’s time to act before images are lost forever!

 

Fresh Air & Photos

Getting the kids interested and involved in photography has so many benefits.  From getting them (and you!) off the sofa and out into the fresh air, to visiting new places, seeing new things, sharing new experiences – noticing and enjoying the detail as well as the ‘big picture’ on mini adventures.

You don’t have to go on an exotic holiday – a mini adventure could be in the back garden or local park – or a plan a ‘micro-adventure’ to somewhere new.

 

Rough & Tumble

These days, there are plenty of ‘tough’ cameras out there so you don’t have to hand over your own precious camera.  There are some great cameras specifically designed for our younger folk – which look super fun, are easy to use – and are pretty indestructible too!

It’s also important to remember that even images taken on mobile devices are generally now of such good quality they can be printed, framed, or made into a variety of groovy gift ideas.

 

The Wilki Team, together with some of our pro photographer friends, have put together a few tips for finding the budding ‘Rankin’ within:

  1. Visit somewhere that the kids are really interested in. A farm park for the wildlife, the seaside for rock pools, people watching in town, or get the waterproofs on (it is the UK after all) and head for the hills.

Kit suggestion:  Take a look at the Nikon W100 which is packed with child friendly features – aside from being droppable and waterproof, it can even quack or woof when a picture is taken! It has customisable backgrounds, noises and fun picture modes – guaranteed giggles as well as photos.

Available in Blue and Yellow, the Nikon W100 – With worry-free durability it’s the perfect camera for all round family fun

  1. Keep it simple – and quick – the little ones’ attention span is often short. Think about setting them a mini challenge, but keep it fun. We may not be ready for a lecture on white balance or RAW files just yet – think colours, or eye spy. With digital, comes instant results – don’t hamper their flow – but perhaps do a mini review when you get home and choose the best pictures to print.

Kit suggestions:  Keep it simple, keep it fast with these nifty instant prints from both Polaroid (it’ll take the older ones back in time!) and the super fun Fuji Instax printers.

Fujifilm Instax Mini Instant Film Camera in white, yellow, pink , blue and black

3. The best camera for you is often the one that you have with you. Even a lot of kids have smartphones these days; but if not, Mum and Dad certainly do. The KiiPix is an instant photo printer designed to work with smartphones and Fujifilm Instax film so you can print off real photographs taken on your mobile. It’s a great combination of digital photography and hands-on fun that children will love. Most importantly, at just £39.99, it won’t be breaking the (piggy) bank either!

For lager instant printing at home from a camera, tablet or smartphone, you can also consider the Canon Selphy Printer.

Tomy KiiPix Instant Printer for smartphones using Fujifilm Instax polaroid film

Marvel with the kids as their images ‘develop’ before their eyes like magic! For these are the moments in time, which we all remember fondly – and when your little people have little people of their own – these will be the tales they can share around their own campfire.  These will be the stories that take them right back to those early adventures, or make us all smile every time we see our pictures on the wall.

It’s easy to do and doesn’t have to be expensive – so get out there, have some fun and start putting together YOUR little treasure chest of memories.

 

Enjoyed this blog? Then keep an eye out for Part 2 – where we interview some of your favourite pro’s, to find out how they engage their own children in photography, video and film-making.

We also look at some extra ideas to keep the little ones engaged with the magic of image making.
Wilkinson Cameras offers a huge range of printing options – in store in each of its 9 stores, plus a full online service for those further afield.  We have a great selection of prints, wall art, photobooks and gift ideas – so take a look now.
For more information:
www.wilkinson.co.uk
Facebook: Wilkinson Cameras
Twitter: @wilkicameras
Instagram: @wilkinsoncameras

Continuing our ‘Year of Print’ theme, this month we invited Wilki customer and photographer Andrew Wilson, to take over the blog and share his printing journey. 

Andrew shares with us his printing experiences, advice and journey behind bringing his images to life…

 

Printing has become one of my favourite parts of photography. For me it feels like it completes the process of creating a photograph; shoot, process then print. Seeing and feeling your photo in a physical form gives you a tactile experience back to the moment you pressed the shutter.

It still feels like early days with my inkjet printer but I’ve been enjoying the learning process. Here it is so far.

 

Background

Although I bought my first inkjet printer (an Epson R240) back in 2007, I don’t feel like my experience with printing my own photos really started until about 2012 when I decided to explore the magic of darkroom printing. Seeing my photos come to life in a tray of developer chemical was a special experience that I have fond memories of. I stopped doing it for various reasons, but needless to say it was a great learning experience.

 

Over the years since then I’ve exhibited my photos and given some as gifts. For this I needed to source good printing companies for different needs, and because of this I’ve built up knowledge about different materials, papers and finishes.

 

Then at the end of last year I bought my current printer. At Digital Splash ’16 I saw the quality produced by current inkjet printers had come a long way since my first. I was seriously impressed and knew straight away that I wanted one, I just had to wait patiently until the end of last year when I had space.

 

My choice of printer

After some “umm”-ing , “ahhh”-ing and some serious chin-stroking, the printer I ended up getting was an Epson SureColour P800. When I was looking at features that gave me the most options at a price I was willing to pay, this was the one.

A few things made up my mind, the first thing being that the SureColour series of printers have a roll feed attachment. This gives you the option to print panoramic photos or to print A2 photos in a cost-effective way. It’s certainly something to think about when looking around at different brands.

Initially I looked at the P600 model but the main long-term drawback for me was that it prints up to a maximum size of A3+, whereas the P800 can go up to A2. It’s a big difference in size, and although the P800 is roughly twice the cost of the P600, in my mind it was worth spending extra to have the option to print larger.

Finally, the last thing that clinched it for me was the many great reviews they have received.

 

Additional equipment

For printing I have been using a range of papers by Fotospeed and Permajet. Both companies produce a wide range of great papers (photo and fine art) as well as canvas and I’ve been very pleased with the results.

I process my photos in Adobe Lightroom and use the ‘Print’ module to send my photos to my printer from my PC. It took me a bit of time to get my head around the layout, but once I did I found it surprisingly efficient and flexible for my needs.

A handy bit of kit that I didn’t expect to buy is a Rotatrim cutter. I don’t use it often, but when I do it’s so much quicker, neater and efficient than using a knife and ruler to trim my prints.

I also have a 27” Dell IPS monitor, ideal for processing photos, which I calibrated recently with an X-rite i1 tool. The monitor has done me proud for over five years.

 

What I enjoy about printing my own work

All this technical talk is important for getting good results, but what really matters is enjoying the experience of seeing your work in print. It’s a tactile experience that gives you a different appreciation for your photography. For me the difference is that when I look at my photos on a screen I feel happy with a photo I have taken, but with a print I feel happy with a photo I have created.

I also think that seeing my work in print makes my photography better. I’m not sure why but seeing it in this form gives me some distance from it; I can be a bit less attached and see the photo more for what it is. When I see a photo printed out I sometimes see a way to improve it that never occurred to me when I looked at it on a screen.

One of the great things about having my own printer is the immediacy in being able to create a print whenever I feel like. Every so often I like to make an A4 print or a few just to see how certain photos look when printed. I never did this when I had to order prints because the wait and cost for one or two prints at a time didn’t make sense.

This immediacy also gave me the idea to do print giveaways for my blogs and I’ve given the odd one as a gift or ‘thank-you’ to friends, family and people who have helped me out. It’s so easy to get used to seeing your own photos and take them for granted, but when someone tells me that receiving one of my prints has made their day it’s a great feeling.

 

What I have learnt – so far!

One of the first things I realised is that there’s a lot of choice of paper, and to someone completely new to printing photos it might come as a bit of a surprise. There’s three basic types of paper finish; glossy, lustre and matt. I use paper with lustre or matt finishes as I like the look and feel of these when compared to the reflective surface you get with gloss paper, but it’s certainly down to personal preference.

My favourite type of paper is probably a baryta paper like Fotospeed’s Platinum Baryta 300, which looks like a lustre finish but is described as having an unglazed gloss surface. It’s a fibre-based fine art paper with a satisfying weighty feel, subtle textured finish and depth of colour.

 

For something a little different I enjoyed seeing the results of a few photos on Permajet’s Titanium Lustre 280 paper, as the subtle metallic lustre finish really gave the colours a unique sheen to suit the subject’s metallic nature.

In addition to the more expensive papers, I’ve found it handy to have a box of A4 lustre photo paper (like Fotospeed’s PF Lustre 275) for when I just want to see how a photo looks on good photo paper. I can then save my best paper for another time.

 

When I started printing I decided to buy test packs by Fotospeed and Permajet. With these packs you get a handy cross section of different types of paper which is a smart way to try them out compared to buying whole boxes of single types of paper. You might even want to try printing the same photo across different papers to compare how the paper type changes the look of photos, for example some paper might be more textured than others or have a warmer tint to it. I use two photos from a trip to Oslo – one colour that has a range of bold colours and one black & white that features smooth gradients in tone, crisp lines and subtle textures. It’s a great way to get an idea of what you like best and get an idea for the wealth of options.

 

What’s next?

I’m always learning and keen to fine tune my skills, so here are the next few things on my printing ‘to do’ list!

  • Send off test charts to Fotospeed/Permajet to get customised profiles for different papers tailored to my printer. This will help me to achieve the most accurate colours from screen to print. It might also save me some ink which would be a bonus!
  • Try out different papers like Fotospeed’s recently released Cotton Etching 305 paper and explore more of PermaJet’s papers. I also want to branch out and try paper by the likes of Hahnemühle and Canson to expand my knowledge and possibly find some new favourite papers.
  • Make a photobook! I love photobooks and notice that themes, series or a collection of photos work best. I have some small series of macro photos in mind and also have fond memories and photos from holidays. My girlfriend is talented at making books, so hopefully she can teach me some skills!

 

Many thanks to Andrew for sharing his journey with us all – if you’d like to find out more about Andrew’s work you can find him here:

www.awilsonphotography.com

www.instagram.com/andrew_wilson_photo

www.facebook.com/andrewwilsonphoto/

www.twitter.com/and_rew_wilson

 

Learn with Wilki

We run a range of printing related courses for all experience levels–from getting started with home printing, right through to courses with our pro partners including Epson, Aspect2i and coming soon, photographer Mark Wood. Join us on social media for all the latest training news–or click here, to take a look at our Learning section on our website.

 

A Historical & Contemporary Perspective from the Royal Photographic Society

Continuing on our mission to inspire more people to think about printing photographs, we wanted to explore a more historical view, so spoke with Dr Michael Pritchard, Chief Executive at the Royal Photographic Society.

As well as being Chief Executive of The RPS, Michael is a photographic historian with a particular interest in British photographers, photographic manufacturing and retailing up to the present day. He’s also a keen landscape photographer.

The RPS has also been working hard over recent years to highlight the importance of printing images, with Michael doing many online and radio interviews to promote the topic–past, present and future.

The dark room may be long gone for many (and a part of history for some of the purely digital generations), but we look back through how paper and chemistry has played such a key role in the development of photography as we know it–and equally how important it is to continue to print our own images today, at home or in store.

Paper: The Negative & Positive

For most of photography’s history paper has been intrinsic to it. Although the first commercial photographic process, the daguerreotype (1839), made use of a silvered-metal plate this was rather a technical dead-end. It was Talbo’s photogenic drawing (c1835) and then Calotype processes (1841) which laid the basis for modern photography producing a negative from which multiple positive prints could be made. Paper was used to produce both the negative and positive. Its drawback was that it was the paper fibres which took up the chemicals to produce a slightly soft, but arguably more artistic result than the daguerreotype–a positive only – with its sharply defined subject. The Calotype was used to best effect by Talbot, Hill and Adamson and a small group of photographers, particularly in France.

 

With the introduction of the wet-collodion process by Scott Archer in 1851 glass was used for the negative and the light-sensitive emulsion was coated on to its surface, producing an image unaffected by its support. For positive prints, salted paper was initially used but albumen paper which had been introduced in 1847 quickly won out. The emulsion was coated on to the surface of the paper rather than forming an image within it. Although albumen was overtaken by gelatine papers towards the end of the nineteenth century and there were other printing processes and techniques such as Platinum and Printing Out, with a very few exceptions such as Opalotype and ferrotype/tintype, they all relied on paper. For the negative glass was joined by celluloid.

 

The period from the late 1890s through to the 1930s was perhaps the heyday of photographic printing paper. Gelatine was usually the medium used to take up the silver salts which was coated on the paper and there were many tens of paper weights, tones, and finishes from matt to high gloss being offered for sale by a large number of manufacturers. These were initially hand coated using the apocryphal teapot, but from the later 1880s mechanisation was introduced to provide standardisation, consistency, quality control and the ability to mass-produce papers to meet the demand from a burgeoning amateur and professional market.

 

After the second world war the number of papers reduced as some became uneconomic to produce. The traditional ‘fibre-based’ papers were increasingly supplemented by resin-coated papers for a lot of commercial photography offering faster drying times and crisper images, particularly for press and industrial photography. The number of paper surfaces and paper weights declined as they, too, become uneconomic to manufacture. By the 1980s, Kodak, Ilford, Agfa and a number of smaller, specialist firms such as Kentmere, Seagull and others, supplied most of the market.

During the nineteenth century up to the 1880s, the largest market was from commercial studios but from the 1880s there was a rapid growth in amateur photographers making their own prints as a hobby and participating in camera club competitions and salons.

 

Digital Decline & Advances

The advent of digital photography further exacerbated the decline in traditional photographic papers from the early 2000s as photographers migrated from film to digital and the smartphone became the camera of choice for youngsters and the snapshotter. Instead of every photograph on a roll of film being printed by the photographer or through a D&P outlet the majority of today’s digital images remain on a memory card or shared via social media and remain only in a digital form, rarely printed.

However, for the professional photographer, commercial lab and amateur doing their own printing, digital has brought a renaissance in printing papers. Not traditional light-sensitive photographic paper, but papers suitable for printing through inkjet and other ink-based printers from digital files. Papers range from watercolour-style to more specialist papers such as a Japanese tissue, archival and rag papers, and others with particular characteristics, in a range of weights, sizes, tones, densities and surfaces, much as they did one hundred years ago. In fact, there are probably more papers available to the photographic printer than there ever has been, offering new creative possibilities and opportunities for experimentation.

The Great Paper Chase Made Simple

With such a wealth of papers and economical printers available there is now no excuse to leave images just as digital files. Instead, choose and select your best and have them printed, either commercially or print your own–choosing from the huge range of high quality printers now available.

 

Wilkinson Cameras top 6 Paper Recommendations:

Best for… Testing

This sample pack is only £10 for 20 sheets of Permajet’s 6 most popular papers. It’s a great way to try out some different papers without committing to a full pack. Better yet, you can claim the price of your first Sample Pack back when you buy any full pack of Permajet Paper!

Best for… Every Day

This is a great quality, yet affordable, gloss paper suited for a vareity of uses. A mirror-like, high gloss finish on a heavyweight base of 280gsm with a slightly warm base tint. A Wilki favourite used across all our stores for in-house printing.

Another high quality, affordable choice. A luxurious pearl finish on a 280gsm base with a warm base tint – designed to emulate the finish and texture of the old Ilford Galerie Smooth Pearl.

Best for… Fine Art

This smooth textured 100% cotton paper adds depth and dimension to your fine art images. It is ideal for both colour and monochrome high contrast images and is ideally suited to landscapes and portraiture. No wonder is is a favourite of Trevor and Faye Yerbury!

A textured, matte, cotton rag paper suited to both colour and monochrome prints. This paper has a velvet-like texture which adds to the fine art finish and feel.

Best for… Black and White

A photo paper truly resembling the look, feel and print quality of a metallic surface with its high silver pigment content. Good for colour too, but try this on your monochrome images and you will be seriously impressed! The tonal highlights and greys are incredible.

A true barium sulphate layer has been meticulousy applied to the traditional fibre base, resulting in intense, rich blacks and creamy whites. Perfect for monochrome and particularly suited to portraiture.

 

 

Dr Michael Pritchard, concluded: “Photography’s first 160 years has provided a wonderful historical record. It’s equally important that everyone taking pictures today prints at least some to ensure that future generations of historians have a visual record of today’s people and society.”

Dr Michael Pritchard FRPS

Chief Executive

The Royal Photographic Society

www.rps.org

www.facebook.com/royalphotographicsociety

 

Learn with Wilki

We run a range of printing related courses for all experience levels–from getting started with home printing, right through to courses with our pro partners including Epson, Aspect2i and coming soon, photographer Mark Wood. Join us on social media for all the latest training news–or click here, to take a look at our Learning section on our website

 

 

To my mind and I am sure many others, spring is full of hope and rebirth and our spring photography should attempt to convey these sentiments.

The still image has no music or dialogue to accompany it and its role to awaken in the viewer a sense of the ‘joys of spring’ is not necessarily straightforward.

As landscape photographers, we know only too well that simply pointing our perhaps very sophisticated cameras at a spring landscape that appears to us to be beautiful, does not by any means return to us an image that evokes the human emotional response that we had when we stood there savoring and relishing the full-on spring experience.

 

When it comes to the business of photographing, it often pays to treat the photograph as more of a production.  The photograph will have many elements within it that will hopefully integrate together to become a hugely pleasing and cohesive and whole. There is a great deal to be said for a good thorough recce of a scene where a little pre-visualisation will pay good dividends.  Noticing absolutely everything is a good start. After all in the very first instance, surely photography is about perception.

Many of the first leaves of spring will be quite yellow and will have a great amount of moisture in them. They are not the deep low light reflecting leaves that one may see in August. There is nothing quite like a grove of silver birch a few days after their leaves first emerge and with a little oblique sunshine, those leaves will sizzle and sparkle and will hopefully convey a glorious spring feel.

As with all landscape photography, light and the quality of that light will dictate mood and a host of other things. Attend to the way in which certain surfaces reflect and absorb light. Perhaps estimate the effect that a polarizer will prior to putting it on the camera by gently rotating the filter in front of you. A polarizing filter will have a marked effect on sky and landscape. Those sparkling new leaves on the silver birch tree may become very less sparkly by using a polarizing filter. After all one of their functions is to reduce white light reflection from an assortment of reflective surfaces and every surface reflects light to a greater or lesser extent, even the highest quality black velvet.

 

Perhaps image of spring needs to carry with it a sense of the dawn of time. Mist may facilitate the feeling.

Unless fully intended, consider making a photograph without menace and theatrical drama to it. Think light and perhaps not brooding skies full of rain unless to contrast with the magical emergence of spring.

In traditional landscape painting, one third of the sky is devoted to the sky. In my observation, this ratio prevails in much landscape photography. It is very easy to see the sky almost as an afterthought and accept the sky that prevails at the time. Look up, as with a good wind above, there may be a sky on its way that may have a far better relationship to the land beneath than the sky you first saw. Sometimes the clouds that are not contained within your image can play a more significant role than the ones that are.

 

Spring is about hope and the photograph you make of it should instill a sense of optimism, hope and joy in the mind of the viewer. Of course, the main signal that heralds spring is surely the flower and in the UK, the daffodil and the snowdrop must be the most popular.

Technique is entirely dependent on the numerous considerations that prevail at the time. Total fluency with the cameras functionality is crucial.

Then there is the poppy, which of course is not always associated with spring, but bear in mind the colour red is the most obstinate of all colours to comply with what you feel you saw yet often fails to appear on the monitor or indeed the transparency. Folk will talk of gamut and red is often discussed within photography printing circles sometimes as the demon red. When photographing poppies, try to prevent them forming into one huge red blob with little or no separation.

 

If you are in that wonderful evolving stage of  photography (we are always evolving creatively of course) then do look at other photographers work either on their sites or in magazines, post cards et. There will be much to respond to when you have a moment to do so. Think about why you like a particular image and perhaps why you may not warm to it. Influence is not a crime; we are all subconsciously or consciously influenced but every conceivable visual image and this will always be the way it is. Look at great photographers work with flowers like Sue Bishop and explore what it is within the image and its construction that makes you respond favorably.

To my mind, I urge all landscape photographers to relish the months of April and May. The issue is that they are too short.

 

Words & pictures by Charlie Waite.

 

About Charlie Waite

Established as one of the world’s leading Landscape photographers, Charlie Waite is an English landscape photographer noted for his ‘painterly approach’ towards his work. Photographing across the globe, Waite also likes to dedicate his time inspiring and improving the photography of others, lecturing throughout the UK, Europe and the US. He has held numerous one-man exhibitions all over the world, including London, Tokyo, Sydney, Brisbane, Melborne, Bielsko-Biała, New York and California. Waite has given and continues to give tuition to amateur, professional and aspiring photographers of all ages from the UK, Australia, Europe and the US through Light and Land Workshops, of which he is owner and founder. To see more of Charlie Waite’s work visit www.charliewaite.com

 

 

 

 

When it comes to spectacular winter photography few photographers spring to mind faster than our friend and Aspect2i founder, Paul Gallagher.  His ‘Digital Darkroom’ talks at Splash, were an inspiration for many.

For the first in our series of Guest blog spots this year, we caught up with Paul to explore a snow-packed winter trip with a difference – Japan! 

Not the first location associated with snowy images, but as Paul explains, Hokkaido ticked all the boxes, delivered an exquisite collection of images and has become one of his favourite workshop locations.

 

‘I love winter photography and in good snow conditions it explores the simplistic and minimalist nature of a landscape in the depths of the winter. The landscape is transformed and essentially simplified by the deep snow leaving a very elemental canvas with which to work. This provides both advantages and challenges. The extreme cold temperatures can be challenging but the rewards are immeasurable. I had been to many countries during the winter including Iceland, Norway and Scotland, but ‘true’ snow conditions were never really guaranteed so I had to travel further afield.

‘One location that I knew ticked all of the boxes was the island of Hokkaido in Japan and in February 2017 I headed out there for the first time. I had intended to travel here for many years because of the perfect winter snow and I decided to one day run a photography workshop – this was to be the research trip.

‘The best way to make efficient use of my time was to employ local guide/ driver who knew all the best locations and how to get there. This proved to be an excellent decision. The main challenges were the temperatures – and keeping your kit dry during blizzards. The cold temperatures did not hinder the kit at all but your fingers gradually stop working when it reaches minus 18 degrees! It goes without saying that snow boots and a down jacket are essential in conditions like this.

‘A body of work is normally built up over a period of time and often takes several visits to a location to achieve. Hokkaido on the other hand was entirely different. During my ten days, there I had every conceivable type of winter condition, blizzards, snow with no wind, sunlight and black storm skies, it was perfect. I worked flat out and seized every opportunity I could and could hardly believe how lucky I was!

 

Winter Exposures

‘As with all landscape photography, you must check to see if your exposure right. Don’t forget that shooting in snow will fool your camera exposure meter to underexpose and I normally over expose by 1.5 to 2 stops.

‘I had seen photographs from Hokkaido and other deep winter landscapes from all over the world so I pretty much knew what I wanted to get when I was out there. The problem with other locations I had been to, was that the conditions I was hoping for, sometimes did not materialise. Simplicity and negative space was my aim and I was surrounded by this every day.

 

‘In most landscapes, the photographer is trying to distil the composition to make the photograph less cluttered and confusing. In Hokkaido, the snow did this for me. As excited as you may get the tip is to take your time. It is all too easy to get excited and carried away and before you know it you have a series of images were the exposure is wrong or you have had a rain spot on your lens which has ruined a lot of your files. Also, take the time to inspect every exposure on the back of your camera. I use a Hoodman Loupe which I place on the back screen of the camera. It cuts out all of the peripheral light and magnifies the camera screen. This enables me to take a closer look at my focus and also my histogram. This only takes a few seconds but ensures that when I get back to my computer, I am not going to be disappointed.’

 

Winter Photography:  What’s In the Bag

‘The kit I used for the trip was a Nikon D800e with the 24-70mm and 24mm PC-E tilt and shift lens, 16-53mm.  But the real workhorse was my new 80-400mm! ‘The quality of the files from the D800e is exceptional (I now use the D850 and they are even better!), but the 80-400mm lens almost never left the camera.

 

‘Given the depth of the snow, it was incredibly difficult to walk across the landscape without being waist deep in it. The long focal length of the 80-400mm lens enabled me in many situations to get tight into the subject. Whilst using this lens I cannot stress the importance of a sturdy tripod – at the 400mm extension any movement will be magnified and will soften your image, particularly if there is wind about. Also, if you have tripod spikes, fit them! Rubber feet on frozen ground do not work and I have actually seen photographers delving into their bags whilst their tripod graciously slides down the slope! My current tripod of choice is the Gitzo GT3543XLS with long spikes and Manfrotto 405 geared head.

 

‘The solitude and pristine nature of the landscape and fresh snow every day made this trip a winter landscape photographers dream. During my time there I was hardly ever stuck for subjects to photograph, in fact, the challenge was moving on to new locations during the day!’

 

For more information:

www.aspect2i.co.uk

www.paulgallagher.co.uk

 

 

 

As photographers, when we walk through our local communities we’re often scouting the landscape around us for good picture opportunities… but how often do we ever look up? Buildings can be great subjects for striking images, and at this time of year when the sun is getting lower in the sky you have a great opportunity to capture the shape and form of architecture and present it in a way most people might not have seen.

 

1. When to shoot architecture

Buildings often look their best just after sunset, when their lights have come on and the sky is a rich, deep blue. Likewise, photographing just before sunset you’ll find that the lower light levels will bring out textures, detail and shadows that you won’t find at any other time of day.

Head out in late afternoon as the day is turning into evening and look for a west-facing building. The best subjects are those with crisp, clean lines that will provide clearly defined shapes in your images.

You want something that really makes the most of the low evening light. Cathedrals and other historical buildings always make for great subjects, but these are also oft-photographed subjects. A nice way to create an architectural image with impact is to look for a more modern building that meets the above criteria and think about how you can give it an abstract treatment.

It doesn’t need to be an important building, and you don’t need to travel to London to find it. Often a simple car park or high-rise block of flats will have that futuristic look that you can really hone in on with your camera.

Now that we know what we’re looking for, let’s think about how we can pick out a building’s abstract architectural details and then frame and focus a shot.

 

2. Set a narrow aperture

Like when shooting landscapes, nine times out of ten when shooting architecture you want everything in the frame to be sharp. So to this end you’ll want to use a narrow aperture (high f number). Typically an aperture of f/13 or f/16 will be a good starting point. You’ll find at these apertures a nice compromise between image quality and depth of field.

Architects love detail. And to ensure you capture these, along with a building’s strong lines and shape, you’ll want an aperture that widens your zone of sharpness.

 

3. Look for interesting shapes and detail

Of course, to maximise the effect of those details you need to find them first! Buildings are tall, wide structures and can be overwhelming when you first look at them. Knowing where to focus on takes some investigation.

A good way to train your eye is to look for any areas where there are repetitive shapes or details. These almost always make for interesting subjects when you zoom in to isolate them.

Likewise, strong diagonal lines can add impact to a composition. You can also try tilting your camera to make an image even more abstract. When going for this kind of treatment, make sure you exclude from your composition any elements that may give away the context of the environment.

Sometimes it is admittedly hard to identify these areas of a building or simply know if a composition will work when you’re composing through your viewfinder. That’s why it’s often worth using your live view screen and even taking a few test shots first to judge a composition.

A good exercise is to use your viewfinder to frame.

 

4. Don’t always use a tripod

Most architectural photos are shot with a tripod, particularly if you’re shooting just before or after sunset. But sometimes, if there’s enough light, you can come away with more dynamic images when you take the camera into your own hands.

Shooting handheld gives you the freedom to move around and try out different angles. There are ways you can still keep camera shake at bay even when the light levels are low. For starters, if your camera or lens has image stabilisation, turn it on.

You can also secure the camera better by adopting a wide stance and tucking your arms in to support your camera. Then, as you press the shutter button, take a deep breath to steady yourself; this will help cut down on any body movements during the exposure.

 

5. Use a circular polarising filter

If you only buy one filter for your camera, make sure it’s a circular polariser. When shooting architecture you’re often pointing your camera up, and a good circular polarising filter will deepen the blues in a sky and brighten the whites in clouds.

To get the best results with a circular polariser, shoot with the sun behind or in front of you. In other words, a circular polariser will produce more dramatic effects when you shoot at right angles to the sun.

 

6. Be patient and wait

Unlike skittish wildlife or distracted children, a building doesn’t move. This means you have time to hone your composition and wait for the light to change, or let some clouds blow into your scene. Being patient and carefully crafting your scene will make for a stronger image in the end.

 

7. Be sensible… and carry some ID!

Most architecture you shoot will be in public places, and with the world being what it is now it’s highly likely that someone in a uniform will come question you about what you’re doing.

Nine times out of 10, they’ll say OK and walk away or even take an interest in what you’re shooting. They just want reassurance, so be polite, explain what you’re doing and make sure you have some ID on hand to prove who you really are.

 

Feeling Inspired?

Camera Jabber is the home of digital photography, with in-depth camera reviews, buying guides, news and photography tips to help you master your camera. For more great content on everything photography, click through to Camera Jabber’s website, here.

And to read more of our blog posts, click here.

Looking to take your architectural photography even further? Check out our wide range of tilt-shift lenses available on our website, here.

 

Food is perhaps one of the most versatile still life photography subjects you can shoot thanks to its varying colours, sizes, shapes and textures. But in recent years the popular Pinterest-style straight-above shots have made this exciting genre seem a bit predictable.

While these types of shots can be beautiful and do serve a purpose, there is so much imagination to employ when you play with your food. Making your food stand out and look appetizing should be the overarching goal of your food photography.

If you’re in need of inspiration, something we like to do is crack open a recipe book. These images in these books are typically well composed, with strong colour combinations and subject presentation.

So with that in mind, here’s Camera Jabber’s best advice for capturing food images that really pop.

 

01 Use Aperture Priority mode

Some cameras may come equipped with a Food scene mode, but even so it’s still usually best to stick with your camera’s Aperture Priority mode. Wider apertures, such as f/5.6, f/4.0 or larger, typically produce the most pleasing results when shooting food photography

This is because the wider aperture will soften the background, as well as blurring the foreground, emphasising the food that’s the point of focus in the frame. This makes your food stand out and clearly defines it as the subject.

Even though your background will be blurred with a wide aperture, there are still compositional considerations here, too. You’ll want a crisp, clean background or something that’s connected with the food.

 

02 Even lighting

You’ll want to make sure you that whatever light you are using for your scene hits the food evenly. This will help avoid any deep shadows or harsh highlights.

As a general rule, the narrower the source of light, the more contrast you fill find. So a broader light source that illuminates a wider area with soft light will be the ideal option.

 

03 Custom white balance

Your Auto White Balance option is great in most situations, but if you are shooting food photography in artificial or mixed light you might run into some unwanted colour casts. Setting a Custom white balance will help keep this at bay.

To set a Manual or Custom white balance setting, you will usually – it varies slightly by camera – select the correct mode, photograph a white object (such as a piece of paper) in the same light where you will be shooting your subject. Your camera will then use this as its standard to determine what’s white within your scene.

 

04 Focus manually

Food photography is a good opportunity to step out of your AF comfort zone and switch to manual focusing. Because your subjects are static, you’ll have plenty of time to focus and readjust, getting your shot just right.

Many modern cameras also have what’s called Focus Peaking, to help you nail down that precision focus. With Focus Peaking enables, as you twist the focus ring you’ll notice points illuminate within the frame. These points indicate what is in focus, and as you twist you can see the zone of sharpness travel through the frame. When they surround your subject, you’ll know it is sharp.

Because so much food photography uses a shallow depth of field, pin-sharp focus on your subject is critical. That’s why it’s better to take control in these situations so you can set it exactly where you want, rather than the camera.

05 Best lenses

A 100mm macro lens, if you have one, will be a workhorse for your food photography. Just like the flowers and insects you may use it to shoot, a solid 100mm macro will enable you to get right up close to your subject to capture bags of detail. Macro lenses also have what’s called ‘flat field’ optics, which ensure that the edge of your frame is just as sharp as the centre.

A standard zoom is also really useful in food photography, and is more likely to be in your kit bag than a macro lens. A standard zoom will let you shoot relatively close up and still fit everything in the frame. However, be warned that shooting at the wider end of the focal range can make subjects look a little distorted and unnatural. Standard zooms really shine when used for those overhead shots we mentioned at the beginning.

 

Feeling Inspired?

This blog post was wrote by our friends over at Camera Jabber. Camera jabber is the home of digital photography, with in-depth camera reviews, buying guides, news and photography tips to help you master your camera. For more great content on everything photography, click through to Camera Jabber’s website, here.

 

And to read more of our blog posts, click here.

Why not take a look at our wide range of macro lenses available on our website, here.

The Team Behind Wilki: Liz Jeary, talks us through her unique Fine Art & Experimental approach to photography. Liz Jeary, joined the Wilkinson Cameras team almost two years ago and is a part time sales adviser at Wilki’s city centre store in the heart of Liverpool. We couldn’t wait to catch up with Liz and find out more about her intriguing and experimental photography…

 

You describe yourself as Fine Art & Experimental – how would you explain that to someone who’s not yet seen your photography?

 

I like to play with texture and the surface of images, be it digitally or physically. In recent years, this has been in the form of Photobroderie, which is printing photographs and embroidering through the surface. I have also experimented with printing on different surfaces, such as textured wallpaper – which my partner cites as being his initial reason for being attracted to me. Some people may read it as conceptual, which is true for some of the series, but there is also a lot of more organic projects which are the result of spontaneous experiments rather than planned outcomes.

 

Your work is supremely individual – what are you influences? You mention Kate Bush!

 

Kate Bush is a major influence! She was the first singer I was aware of as a child and her voice and music has stayed with me since. Six-year-old me didn’t understand the complexity of her lyrics, so my imagination always visualised them in a very literal way. This still translates into my images, such as the Suspended in Gaffa series. My vivid imagination also inspires a creative outlet, sometimes with great humour, sometimes with a sadder outlook, which probably describes me as an individual too. People and shapes are also a big influence – I love unusual faces and seeing them in print inspires me to creatively react, also pulling in references from artists using geometric form, such as Piet Mondrian. During research for one of my degree (in Photography) modules I discovered some of his early work and was amazed to find more traditional, detailed paintings. Seeing his progress from these to the lines and colour blocks he is most widely known for, made me see the impact of being more simplified, which I now apply to my work.

 

You seem to have stayed true to your own creative dreams despite encouragement to go more mainstream?

 

There is a stubbornness within me that will not let me deviate from producing work that reflects me as a person. I can be mainstream but there’s a different perspective within and this comes out in my creativity. I also have strong support and encouragement from my partner and mother, they understand that my creativity is a part of me (and also a form of therapy) and reinforce that its OK to do what makes me happy. When I’m not at Wilki, I still work as a self-employed photographer and some jobs are very commercial, but I keep this very separate from my artistic work.

 

You’ve had several very successful exhibitions – how have the public reacted to your work?

 

With intrigue, amusement and confusion! I was invigilating a solo exhibition a couple of years ago and overheard a couple of passers-by. From a distance, one stated look at these stunning pictures, the other responded with its just Photoshop, this probably sums up initial reactions quite well. Although response has always been positive, I think my work should be seen up-close to appreciate what is involved. I have sold a lot of work through exhibitions, and also received various commissions, so it seems to go down quite well overall, although some people find the quirkier images (such as Wednesdays Child – a series of collaged self-portraits) a little hard to digest.

 

Projects in the pipeline? Whats next?

 

I’m currently working on supersizing some work. I usually start off with small prints (6×4) to experiment with and if these turn out well, I will often leave them alone. With a few exhibition opportunities coming up, I’ve decided to go bigger (A4 & A3) to see how it changes the embroidery and the overall effect. Its mostly working out well but is definitely more challenging, in a physical sense. I’m working up the courage to go even bigger – and wishing I had longer arms! Photographically there are always ideas running around my brain, and I like to keep them there until I’ve worked out the logistics of carrying them out.

 

If you could have coffee with any one photographer or artist who would it be and why?

 

Sandy Skoglund, definitely. To me she is the epitome of converting imagination into a creative reality. I love the way in which she uses colour, shape, and form. Her images are very bold and unapologetic and this immediately transports me into her world. I admire her patience too and only wish I had more of this myself. I also enjoy conversing with artists that have unusual methods or concepts – sometimes the attraction is the process and not necessarily the outcome.

 

What would be your dream commission or project, given an open cheque book?

 

Well I’ve always been drawn to fashion – as an art form, not necessarily as a way of dressing – and one of my favourite designers is Qui Hao. Creating images using his designs would be a dream commission, and an open cheque book would allow me to shoot in any location, with a view to being inspired by new experiences, culture and most importantly, textures. If a time-machine was also on offer, Id like to go back to 18th century Japan.

 

What camera kit do you use and whats your one must have accessory?

 

I currently use a Canon EOS 5D Mark III and various lenses. One of the perks of working at Wilkinsons is getting to try out new gear, which also has a downside of my wish list forever expanding! My one must have accessory is a homemade awl –its a Prosecco bottle cork with a needle in it which I use to make holes in my prints for the embroidery.

 

 

To find out more about Liz’s work, visit www.lizjeary.co.uk or you can find her in-store at Wilkinson Cameras, Liverpool.

 

Spring is well in motion, and later this month it will officially be summer. It’s one of the best times of year to be a photographer. The days are growing longer, the sun is shining brighter, the flowers are in bloom, and for those interested in wildlife, the birds are chirping, breeding, flying around and generally at their most active stage of the year.

There is no better time than now in 2017 to photograph birds, but it can also be quite a challenge. Below, our friends over at Camera Jabber share some of their best advice for capturing close-up portraits of birds. They’ll explain some simple techniques for setting up your camera, as well as some must-have kit that can give you every advantage when trying to capture our feathered friends.

 

How to frame head-and-shoulders shots of birds

When you shoot a close-up shot of a bird, it’s best to concentrate on nothing but the bird’s face. Cut out anything unnecessary in the frame and focus on the head, neck and top of the wings.

A head-and-shoulders portrait of a bird typically works best in portrait format, but this isn’t always true. Some species, such as owls, might look best in landscape format. It’s worth experimenting with both to see which looks right.

It’s also worth thinking about whether the bird looks best in profile or staring directly at your camera. Does one angle reveal more plumage or more striking markings?

 

Setting your focus points for bird portraits

As with humans, pin-sharp focus is critical to the success of a bird portrait, so make sure you are focusing on the bird’s eyes. It’s likely that this point – the eyes – will be off-centre in your frame, so you’ll want to choose your AF point wisely.

You’ll want to choose an autofocusing point that helps you maintain your composition without having to move the camera to focus. Then, dial in a mid-range aperture of about f/8. This will help to increase depth of field and ensure that you capture the bird’s whole head in focus while blurring the background just enough to tone it down and make the bird stand out.

 

Shoot in Aperture Priority mode

Your camera’s Aperture Priority exposure mode allows you to set that f/8 aperture we talked about above as your desired aperture, and then it will determine the shutter speed required to achieve that.

Sometimes if the light isn’t strong enough you’ll get a warning – often a flashing display – that a shutter speed at that aperture value isn’t possible. One way around this is to simply increase your ISO setting to a higher value. This does introduce noise to your images, but modern cameras are very good at keeping this at bay, even at sensitivities as high as ISO 6400.

 

Think about your background

When approaching a bird, try to position yourself so that you can line up the bird with a background that will contrast with the bird to help them stand out.

Background colours play a big part in how well an image will work. The key to a good background is that it shouldn’t compete with the bird for your viewer’s attention.

 

Continuous Shooting mode

Most cameras offer a Continuous shooting, or burst, mode, which allows you to take a series of frames in sequence. Whether your camera shoots 3fps (frames per second) or 8fps, this faster drive mode can really help increase your hit rate. A rapid-fire succession of images can increase your chances of capturing a fleeting moment of perfection.

 

Pre-focus on perches

If you’ve set up a perch in your garden to photograph birds as they eat, use this to your advantage. Anytime you know where a bird will land, whether a perch or a branch or some reeds, pre-focus your camera on this spot and then simply wait for them to land and press the shutter.

A good way to do this is to pre-focus with your AF and then lock to manual focus on your lens.

 

Use spot metering

Many times when photographing birds you’ll find that your subject is small and bright against a large dark background, or the opposite if up high: dark against a bright sky.

This can be tricky for your camera to get a meter reading from. Using your default centreweighted metering, for instance, your camera will read all of that dark background and produce an exposure that washes out your subject.

Your spot metering mode allows you to take a meter reading from a small, select area of your frame to ensure that your subject is exposed correctly. Typically the ‘spot’ is assigned to your camera’s active AF point.

Use a telephoto lens

A fast 300mm telephoto, such as the more affordable f/4 or pro-level f/2.8 lenses, gives you a huge advantage to not only get close to your subject but blur out your background to make the bird stand out.

Using these lenses at their widest aperture will also give you a faster shutter speed, which means you can likely avoid having to increase your ISO setting.

 

Feeling Inspired?

Camera Jabber is the home of digital photography, with in-depth camera reviews, buying guides, news and photography tips to help you master your camera. For more great content on everything photography, click through to Camera Jabber’s website, here.

And to read more of our blog posts, click here.

Looking to take your wildlife and bird photography even further? Check out our wide range of telephoto lenses available on our website, here.

 

A photo book is a blank canvas, a place to bring your best ideas to life. When designing your book, the only limit is your imagination.

With nine different book sizes to choose from in the CEWE PHOTOBOOK range, plus a variety of paper options, there’s a book to suit every occasion, every project and every idea.

Here are five of our favourite ways to get creative with a CEWE PHOTOBOOK.

 

Travel journal

Tell the story of a special trip in your very own travel journal. Combine photos from your journey with diary entries of your experiences to create a book that instantly transports you back to that magical place.

Include recommendations of things to see and do in your favourite destination, and if any friends or family want to follow in your footsteps, they can use your book as a handy guide.

You can add as much text as you like to your photo book, including to the front and back cover, on the inside pages, and on top of photos. Type directly into the text box, or copy and paste from a document or web page. You can also change the font, size and colour of your text to complement the style of your book.

 

Family tree

Create a keepsake for every generation to treasure by designing a book of your family tree. However big your family, you can add extra pages to make sure every branch of your tree fits in.

You can include old family photos by scanning or photographing them, and you could even add copies of newspaper cuttings, birth certificates and more using the same method.

Once your family tree book is complete, order extra copies so every member of the family can have their own version. Perfect for sharing with loved ones who live far away, or to give as a unique gift for a special birthday.

 

Portfolio

Artist, photographer, designer: whatever your trade, showcase your best work in a portfolio book. Whether you’re an amateur or a pro, designing a CEWE PHOTOBOOK is the perfect way to show off your handiwork in style.

Choose a clean, simple layout to let your artwork, photos or designs speak for themselves, or add text captions to each piece for reference.

To give your portfolio the look and feel of a professional book, we recommend True Matte paper. Its smooth, shine-free finish is perfect for artwork or black and white photography, and it will add a real touch of luxury to your photo book.

 

Hobby book

From scrapbooking to sewing, hiking to horse riding, whatever your hobby, bring it to life in a photo book. Include photos of you in action practising your favourite pursuit, or use images of your crafty creations to fill the pages.

It’s not just photographs you can add to your book though – you can also include video clips of you enjoying your hobby. Simply upload a clip and a QR code and video still will be generated. Position these anywhere on the page, and when you receive your book, simply scan the code with a QR reader on your phone or tablet to relive those fun moments.

 

Yearbook

Turn the best bits of your year into a book you can look back on and enjoy for many years to come. Whatever you got up to in the last 12 months, from holidays and birthday celebrations, to fun days out and cosy nights in, capture every special moment in a yearbook.

Organise your book by month or season, and customise the pages with themed clip art to match each time of year. Alternatively, give each member of the family their own section of the book so they can share their own favourite photos and memories from the year.

 

Whichever book you choose to make, the Creator Software is designed to make it simple and straightforward to bring your ideas to life. It‘s free to download and compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux. Download it today and start creating a CEWE PHOTOBOOK to be proud of.

 

To start designing your CEWE PHOTOBOOK or to find out more, click here.

 

And to read more of our blog posts, click here.

Do you enjoy hitting the city streets with your camera, but struggle to take images with real impact? There are all sorts of things that can spoil your street photography, from background distractions and unwanted blur to your subject simply being too small within the frame.

Gaining the confidence to take photos of strangers is something you’ll have to find within yourself, but in this tutorial you will find the best camera settings to give you every advantage you need when you’re out on the city streets.

Below, the team at Camera Jabber shows you how to set up your camera for street photography so that you can not only avoid those nagging technical issues that can spoil a great shot, but also give yourself the flexibility to respond to fast-moving situations.

 

#1 Use Program AE mode 

Perhaps the fundamental advantage every street photographer needs is speed. You need to be ready to capture your moment when it happens. Because decisive moments are fleeting, you don’t want to waste this time by fiddling with your camera settings.

So we suggest shooting with your camera’s exposure mode set to Program AE. With your Program AE mode you’ll fine a good balance of shutter speed and aperture, and you can make quick and simple adjustments by rotating the main dial.

In Program mode, your camera sets both the shutter speed and aperture values its thinks are best for the scene. It means you can let your camera do the maths here and allow yourself to focus solely on composition and finding the right moment.

Many DSLRs and  mirrorless cameras support something called Program Shift, which gives you a little control in these situations. This lets you override the camera’s suggested settings, usually by turning a dial and selecting different shutter speed or aperture. As you adjust one parameter, the other changes automatically. You might use this, for instance, if shooting a candid street portrait and want a slightly faster shutter speed to ensure you freeze any movement.

 

#2 Continuous AF

Very few subjects on the street are perfectly static, so unless you’re very lucky or have lightning-quick reflexes, you’re probably going to have to focus and re-compose your subjects several times.

Setting your camera to its continuous focusing mode will allow you to capture moving subjects more quickly.

Likewise, if your camera has a multi-point AF setting, this will also save time and make you less noticeable.

 

#3 Use a shutter speed1/125sec or faster 

Unless you are doing something creative like blurring the movement of a crowd, in most instances you’ll probably want to freeze motion in your street photography.

To this end, you probably want a minimum shutter speed of 1/125sec to ensure that your images are crisp and as sharp as possible.

However, as we all know it’s not always possible to get the minimum shutter speed you want. So in these situations…

 

#4 Dont be afraid to use a high ISO

In the early days of digital photography you wouldn’t want to shoot beyond a sensitivity setting of around ISO 800 – ISO 640, even, on some cameras – for fear of image noise or smudging of colours spoiling an image. But it was probably from around the Nikon D3 that this all started to change.

Cameras these days are now amazingly good at controlling noise at higher sensitivity settings, even those with smaller sensors.

If it’s a dull day and you’re struggling to get a shutter speed fast enough to shoot your scene, a higher ISO might be just what you need to get that extra bit of speed to ensure a crisp image with having to dial in a larger aperture. A word of caution, however, we’d recommend staying within your camera’s standard sensitivity range and not going into the upper expansion range.

 

#5 Use an aperture of around f/5.6

Portrait photographers often shoot at large apertures of f/2.8 in order to blur the background and create a shallow depth of field that isolates focus on their subject.

With street photography, though, it’s a bit trickier. While you want to emphasise your subject within the scene, you also want to retain enough of that scene in focus to give context. You want to tell a story with your street photography, and a background that is completely blurred will detract from that.

So using an aperture of around f/5.6 will soften your background enough to draw our attention to your subject, but still leave signs and shapes recognisable to let us know where this is all taking place.

 

#6 Use Auto White Balance

Like sensitivity settings, white balance is another feature that has only got better over time, and the Auto White Balance setting on modern cameras does a fantastic job at ascertaining the conditions and delivering the correct tones.

Let it do its job! Street photography requires careful attention to everything going on around you. Allowing your AWB to do its job enables you to do yours.

 

Feeling Inspired?

May 2017’s Digital Splash Awards Photography Competition theme is Street – Find out what you could win and how to enter on the Digital Splash website or by clicking here.
Please note: The Digital Splash Awards run from February until October every year with a different theme each month. This year’s Sport theme runs from May 1st 2017 until May 31st 2017.

 

For more great content on everything photography, click through to Camera Jabber’s website, here.

And to read more of our blog posts, click here.

Looking to take your street photography even further? Why not consider one of Wilkinson Camera’s Shoot the City Photowalks with David Newton. Find out more by clicking here.

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