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Digital Photographer - January 2018

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FREERETOUCHING VIDEOS
EXPERT EDITING GUIDES TO IMPROVE YOUR SKILLS
Practicaladviceforenthusiastsandpros
www.dphotographer.co.uk
EXPAND
YOUR
BUSINESS
SIGMA VS T
Whichthirdparty
optionisbest?
Issue 195
TELLA
STORYIN
PICTURES
Procareer
advice
GETMORE
FROM
THESCENE
Maximisethepotentialofa
locationwithourexpertguide
SHOOTING TUTORIAL
MAKE USE OF
DIFFRACTION
Work with this optical
effect for stunning results
CAPTURE & CREATE
ATMOSPHERIC
PORTRAITS
Mastertheartofmoodtoshootincredibleimages of people
ISSUE 195
WOODLAND SCENE
© Taya Iv
WELCOME
“Simply taking a regular portrait can result in
something that looks like little more than a snapshot”
Welcome to the latest issue of
Digital Photographer magazine.
The desire to capture images
of our family and friends is why
many of us take up photography,
but simply taking a regular
portrait can result in something
that looks like little more than
a snapshot, representing the
person literally but not artistically.
In our feature starting on p34 of the magazine,
we take a look at how to capture and create
atmospheric portraits, covering the shooting
and editing techniques that you need to master in
order to get the very best results.
Elsewhere this issue, you’ll find a guide to getting
more from a scene, exploring the various ways to
maximise the potential of a particular location. Turn to
p48 to begin reading it.
We’ve also got a guide to documentary photography,
focusing on how to tell a story in pictures. You’ll find it
on p62 of the magazine.
As always, we’ve got tutorials to inspire you, reviews
to help you select your next bit of kit and news to keep
you up to date with the latest industry developments.
Don’t forget to upload your images to
dphotographer.co.uk – we always love to see them!
Matt Bennett, Editor
matthew.bennett@futurenet.com
GET IN TOUCH Ask a question, share your thoughts or showcase your photos…
@DPhotographer Tweet
youropinionsorimages
andsee them printed
www.facebook.com/
DigitalPhotographerUK
Share your thoughts and shots
Instagram:
@dphotographermag
Another way to follow us
Email:
team@dphotographer.co.uk
Have the subject clearly marked
Website:
Share your images for free at
www.dphotographer.co.uk
3
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Senior Designer Jo Smolaga
Production Editor Rachel Terzian
Staff Writer Peter Fenech
Senior Art Editor Rebecca Shaw
Group Editor in Chief Chris George
Photographer James Sheppard
Contributors
Double Exposure Photographic, Rebecca Greig, Matthew
Richards, Angela Nicholson, Rob Read, Lauren Scott, Mark
White, Kyler Zeleny
Cover images
© Sean Archer (main image), Simon Xu, Kyler Zeleny
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© Kyler Zeleny (p62)
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Our contributors
PETER
FENECH
LAUREN
SCOTT
KYLER
ZELENY
This issue, our
Staff Writer
Peter has been
considering the
ways in which
you can get more
from the scene when it comes to
landscape photography. Turn to p48
of the magazine to begin reading his
guide. He’s also found time to review
the Canon EOS 200D – turn to p106 to
discover his findings.
Photography
journalist Lauren
has spent some
time investigating
the various skills
and techniques
that will enable you to capture
and create atmospheric portraits.
Her feature is sure to have you
shooting some of your most incredible
images of people. You’ll find it on p34
of the magazine.
Kyler Zeleny
is a Canadian
photographerresearcher and
author of Out
West (2014) and
Found Polaroids (2017). In the feature
starting on p62 of the magazine,
he takes a look at how to tell a story
in pictures, examining the genre
of documentary photography and
providing inspiration and advice.
Website:
Website:
Website:
dphotographer.co.uk
dphotographer.co.uk
kylerzeleny.com
ROB
READ
ANGELA
NICHOLSON
MATTHEW
RICHARDS
A woodland scene
can be difficult to
capture creatively,
but it can be done
with the help of the
advice of nature
photographer Rob Read. Head over to
p78 of the magazine to discover the
shooting and editing techniques that
Rob uses to perfect a unique image, as
he talks you through the steps that get
him the best results.
Freelance
photographer,
journalist and
regular contributor
to the magazine
Angela has
been taking a look at Fujifilm’s new
X-E3 mirrorless camera, testing
its capabilities with her customary
thoroughness to help you decide if it
should be making its way into your kit
bag. Head to p102 to read her review.
In this issue,
Matthew Richards
has looked at the
standard zoom
options offered
by Sigma and
Tamron, putting them head to head
and exploring the pros and cons of
each. Turn to p94 to begin reading
the results of his considered
analysis of the relevant merits of
each model.
Website:
Website:
Website:
freezeframeimages.co.uk
angelanicholson.com
matthewrichards.uk
4
Management
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Editorial Director Paul Newman
Art & Design Director Ross Andrews
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© 2017 Future Publishing Ltd
ISSN 1477-6650
Turn over to get hold
of your bonus
content
@ Jakub Koziol
YOUR FREE
ASSETS
10
The
Gallery
Contents
Your Images
Techniques
10 The Gallery
34 Capture and create
atmospheric portraits
Some of our favourite images from the
Digital Photographer website
20 Story Behind the Still
Dag Ole Nordhaug on capturing the
natural beauty of the Romsdalen valley
Check out our in-depth guide to shooting
portraits oozing with drama, emotion
and mystery, with expert tips on lighting,
posing and editing
In Focus
22 News
The latest product announcements
and industry developments
24 Interview
Hugh Rawson chats to us about
successfully capturing the bustling city
streets of the likes of London and Paris
Print & Share
76 Prepare images
for online print labs
Heed our advice on how to ensure top
image quality when printing pics online
Go Pro
86 Career Feature
Thinking about expanding your
business? Get some advice and learn
how to avoid any potential pitfalls
Discover advanced techniques to
help you take your photography to
the next level, with ways to maximise the
potential of a location and achieve the
very best possible photos
@ Robert Schmalle
48 Get more from the scene
62 Tell a story in pictures
Kyler Zeleny takes us through everything
you need to know about starting your
first documentary project, with advice on
creating an engaging narrative and how
to communicate with your subjects
Shooting Skills
78 Creative woodland
photography
Rob Read gives us a step-by-step guide
to shooting and editing an enchanting
woodland scene
84 Make use of diffraction
Learn how to turn points of light into
attractive starbursts with this step-bystep shooting tutorial
6
@ Kyler Zeleny
114 Pro column
The Double Exposure Photographic
team on capturing images on location
48
Get more
from the scene
Tips for your
first long-term
documentary project
62
@ Alexander Kuzmin
34
Capture and create
atmospheric portraits
24
Interview
@ Hugh Rawson
78
© Rob Read/Freeze Frame Images Ltd
Creative
woodland
photography
Reviews
94 Head to head
We pit the Tamron SP 24-70mm
against the Sigma 24-70mm in a battle
of the standard zooms
102 Fujifilm X-E3
Expert Angela Nicholson puts this
mirrorless system camera through its
paces in our in-depth review
106 Canon EOS 200D
Subscribe
and save
Portable but powerful, we take a look at
the Canon EOS 200D to find out how it
stacks up
108 Software
Two photo-editing options are put
under the spotlight
110 Accessories
A roundup of products from
photobooks to camera bags
94
Head to head
49%
Turn to page 32, or go online
and buy direct from
myfavouritemagazines.co.uk
Fujifilm
X-E3
102
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YOUR IMAGES
The Gallery
2x © Eithné O’Hanlon
Some of the best images from our website
Eithné O’Hanlon
DP Gallery address:
nianluain
Image title:
Ros Ean
What camera, lens and settings did you use to
capture this stunning shot?
I have a very limited kit of an old Canon EOS 5D
Mark II and a Canon 70-200mm f2.8 lens. I’m
also a bit lazy sometimes and often use Av mode
and f2.8. On this day we had a strong breeze so I
upped the ISO to 2000 to get a fast shutter speed.
How did you decide on the composition?
The flowers are in my garden so I just put Abby
in front of the hedge. It’s quite a vicious rose –
she likes to hook onto you. The clusters were
[already] in that position, I just helped a bit
during post-production.
What do you like most about the image?
Abby is just awesome – without a good model your
image will never hold a magic quality. Without that
base to begin with you’re snookered. The rest of
the processing just helps.
Did you do much post-processing?
Yes, I always do. I’m a freelance book illustrator,
so Photoshop is and will always be a part of my
photography. This image is a three-part composite
with many different layers, to get the overall
composition just right.
Upload your images to our online gallery now for your chance
to be printed in the magazine. Go to www.dphotographer.co.uk
10
WIN! SAMSUNG 32GB
MICROSDHC PRO PLUS
WITH SD ADAPTER
Every issue one reader gallery entry
wins a 32GB MicroSDHC PRO PLUS
memory card with SD adapter worth
£50.99, boasting blazing-fast read
& write speeds of up to 95MB/s &
90MB/s respectively, which is ideal
for professional shooting and 4K
UHD recording. To find out more
information visit samsung.
com/memorycards.
11
YOUR IMAGES
Audran Gosling
2x © Audran Gosling
DP Gallery
address:
ajgosling
Image title:
Spring Lambs
“The lambs caught my eye
because they were running
around together like characters
from a storybook. I wanted
to build on that and hopefully
invite the viewer into that
story. The image was created
in Photoshop by replacing the
original dull background with
a dramatic cloudy sky. I then
applied some colour filters for
a fantasy-style appearance.”
Pedro Vaz de Carvalho
2x © Pedro Vaz de Carvalho
DP Gallery address:
pedrovazCarvalho
Image title:
In Another World
“Shot on the beach of the Caloura on the
island of São Miguel in the Azores, where
you’ll find caves with a seductive and beautiful
view of the sea at sunset. This shot reminds
me of the time of the pirates – there’s a boat
in the sea and maybe treasure in this cave!”
12
James Rowland
2x © James Rowland
DP Gallery address:
apertureone
Image title:
Venice Evening
“This picture was taken from Venice’s Rialto
Bridge, looking down the famous Grand
Canal. I had waited quite a long time for the
all-important gondolas to make a pleasing
composition, and at last it all came together. I
love the way the sun lights up the buildings.”
13
YOUR IMAGES
Anastassia Volkova
2x © Anastassia Volkova
DP Gallery address:
LinkyQ
Image title:
In The Vortex
“This picture was taken in an industrial area
of Narva, Estonia. I thought the red brick
buildings would complement the picture. I
used a Nikon D5200 with a 35mm (lens) and
had an assistant, who was throwing leaves.
The wind helped a lot with shaping the picture,
which is why the image is named ‘Vortex’.”
14
Matthew McCormack
“This picture was taken at the Queen’s
House in Greenwich, near the Naval
College and Maritime Museum. What I like
about the picture is the warmth it gives off
(achieved by changing the white balance
in Lightroom). I took the picture because
myself and a work colleague have been
going around looking for spiral staircases
in and around London, which has got me
out and about discovering new places.”
Mark Landamore
DP Gallery address:
mlanda7765
Image title:
Blakeney at Low Tide
2x © Mark Landamore
2x © Matthew McCormack
DP Gallery address:
MaccaPhoto
Image title:
Yellow Tulips
“I decided this image was always going to be
monochrome and I felt that a long exposure
would give drama to the sky. I decided upon this
composition as the name Blakeney was clearly
visible, tying in with the location.”
15
YOUR IMAGES
Jakub Koziol
2x © Jakub Koziol
DP Gallery address:
QubaKpl
Image title:
Pine in the Morning
“I took this photo just after sunrise at
the most popular and beautiful pine
in Poland, located at the top peak –
Sokolica. Together with my dad, I got up
at 4am and walked a 1.5h tourist trail,
using flashlights. From the mountain
we had an amazing view of the sea of
mists, which we will remember forever.”
Damien Walmsley
2x © Damien Walmsley
DP Gallery address:
Dammo
Image title:
Steps to Grand Central
“Grand Central station, Birmingham offers superb
photo opportunities and this picture is taken at one
of the pedestrian entrances. I was preoccupied
with the strong leading line from the railings. On
reviewing the picture, I was pleasantly surprised to
see that I had timed the picture so that one person
was going up whilst the other was coming down.”
16
PHOTOCROWD COMPETITION
THE BESTOF COLOURFUL PORTRAITS
The winners of our latest contest with Photocrowd and Vanguard have been revealed
n our most recent contest in association
with Photocrowd we challenged you to
submit your best colourful portraits, and
after sifting through over 3,000 stunning
images the winners have been selected. Both
crowd-voted and expert winners will receive
a Vanguard VEO DISCOVER 41 bag (£69.99)
and VEO AM-204 monopod (£34.99).
Congratulations to all of the winners!
I
1ST PLACE WINNER
Chameleon
Photographer: Krzysztof Werema
Our comment: This image stood out by quite a
margin. We really love the colours and patterns that
are featured on the models’ bodies and particularly
like the symmetry captured. This is a very well
thought-out and executed image. Congratulations!
WIN! Prizes from Vanguard!
Enter our Cityscapes contest in association with Photocrowd and Vanguard
Landscape photography is one of the most popular and
accessible genres, but why not give your landscapes an
urban twist? Capture man-made vistas and submit your best
cityscapes that show off the architectural greatness of the city
near you. Submit your best imagery to be in with the chance
of winning great prizes from Vanguard. Both crowd voted and
expert winner will receive a DISCOVER 41 bag (£69.99) and
VEO AM-204 monopod (£34.99).The VEO DISCOVER 41 is
18
a sling backpack that fits a CSC (compact system camera),
three lenses, a flash, a nine-inch tablet and carries a VEO
tripod or monopod. A perfect complement for photographers
on the go, VEO monopods will help you capture memorable
moments from one adventure to the next. Quickly stabilise
your shot, then pack your VEO monopod away to fit easily in
your carry-on. Enter now at bit.ly/2A5nrlP. The contest close
es
on 7 January 2018.
THE BEST OF COLOURFUL PORTRAITS
2ST PLACE
Izabella-Rae
Photographer:
Michelle Chance
Our comment:
This image is
far more subtle
than the firstplace winner, but
still colourful
nonetheless. The
background has
been beautifully
lit and the model’s
headscarf helps
to pull everything
together. Her pose
and eye contact
with the camera
balance the image
really well, too.
3RD PLACE
Untitled
Photographer: skrotov
Our comment: This is a really striking shot that pulls the viewer in
instantly. We found that the solid eye contact was really hard to pull
our eyes away from, and the subtle addition of colours painted on the
subject’s face works very well.
1ST PLACE CROWD VOTED Fall Reflections
Photographer: Todd Merica
19
YOUR IMAGES
STORY
BEHIND
THESTILL
Photographer: Dag Ole Nordhaug
Website: Nordhaugphotography.com
Location: Romsdalen, Norway
Type of commission: Personal
Shot details: Hasselblad H6D-100c with HCD 28mm;
0.3 secs at f11, ISO 200
About the shot: Water plays an important role in
landscape photography, helping to add some movement
and life to an otherwise static scene. Foreground
interest is also a vital element in creating a balanced
composition with shape and depth. Dag Ole Nordhaug
combined both for his image captured in Romsdalen,
Norway and his approach proves that a scene’s beauty is
nothing without a photographer’s skill for framing.
“The mighty peaks and waterfalls of Romsdalen
have intrigued me for years,” says Dag. “[However]
this particular area usually lacks foreground interest. I
have always found it difficult to balance the impressive
peaks with a good foreground, which is actually quite
steep and narrow. After a wet period, this small waterfall
emerged – I discovered this the day before and decided
to return the following morning, in the hope of catching
an impressive sunrise behind this east-facing scene.”
In order to get the most from this perspective, Dag
decided a panoramic format was a better fit to the
shape of the landscape.“I decided to use my widest lens
(16-17mm equivalent), but as that was not sufficiently
wide, I had to do a 5-vertical image stitched panorama.
The day started totally overcast and grey, but I set up
my gear and hoped for the best. As dawn approached, a
small crack in the clouds made way for some nice light
that lasted a couple of minutes – just enough for me
to complete the panorama.” The next step for Dag was
to find the right exposure to capture the flowing water.
“I set my camera to ISO 200, as that gave an exposure
time of 0.3 seconds at f11. 0.3 seconds would give just
enough softness in the water and at the same time keep
some of the detail in it, while f11 would give me adequate
depth of field.”
After stitching the panorama segments to create a stretched
perspective of a difficult location, Dag made only minor
adjustments to brightness, contrast and colours in Lightroom
20
All images © Dag Ole Nordhaug
Right
Morning Sky, Romsdalen
21
IN FOCUS
Above
Inset
Convenience
Get connected
The G9’s design offers both
functionality and durability. A Status
LCD on the top of the G9 helps you to
see the current settings at a glance
Sharing your images has never
been more important, so the G9
has you covered with Bluetooth
and Wi-Fi compatibility
LUMIX G9 ANNOUNCED
Aflagship camera aimed at the needs of wildlife and action photographers
Panasonic has launched the LUMIX
G9, a camera designed to offer a
combination of high-speed shooting,
portability and strong image quality. The
manufacturer says that the flagship CSC will
boast outstanding mobility with high-speed
response to suit a wide range of shooters.
The new offering has evolved from the GH5’s
outstanding performance and achieves the
highest ever image quality in photo shooting
thanks to its 20.3-megapixel Digital Live MOS
sensor without low pass filter. The impressive
High Resolution mode provides stunning
80-megapixel equivalent images in both JPEG
and RAW formats and its increased resolution,
better gradation and colour reproduction
should mean that imagery will impress.
The 20.3MP sensor, when combined with
the latest Venus processing engine, should
deliver exceptional imagery with high detail,
low noise, beautiful colours and brightness.
Difficult lighting situations, like backlighting,
are said to handled with ease thanks to special
22
AR coating on the sensor to reduce ghosting
and flare, which should benefit wildlife
photographers shooting animals against
bright skies and in changeable lighting.
The high-speed, high-precision
AF with Depth from Defocus
technology achieves an AF
speed of 0.04 sec, which is
the fastest in the industry
at the time of writing. The
LUMIX G9 also boasts
the fastest-in-class 20fps
(AFC)/60fps (AFS) in
20.3-megapixel
full resolution.
The LUMIX G9 is
constructed of magnesium
alloy and is not only splash and
dustproof, but also freezeproof
down to -10 degrees centigrade. The large
LCD on the top should make shooting even
easier and more comfortable and the rear
3.0-inch free-angle LCD is very impressive.
You’ll also find intuitively placed dials and
customisable buttons to ensure the G9 works
exactly as you want it to.
If that wasn’t enough to tempt you, the
LUMIX G9 also includes Bluetooth
and Wi-Fi, which will offer the
user far more flexibility when
shooting and gives the
ability to share imagery
instantly too.
A range of accessories
designed to enhance the
G9’s usability are also
available. A Battery Grip
extends the shooting life
of the camera, as well as
making shooting in vertical
orientation more comfortable.
There’s also an Eye Cup, a quick
battery charger and a shoulder strap.
The Panasonic LUMIX G9 will be available
from January 2018 with an expected RRP of
£1,499 (body only).
NEWS
The CL provides balance
Leica has launched its latest APS-C system camera
Leica Camera AG has added to its
APS-C system with the new Leica
CL, which is promised to unite
innovative technologies, easy handling and an
iconic compact design. The state-of-the-art
technology combined with the functional and
compact design means that the CL will be the
perfect everyday companion and provide a
great solution to discreet street photography.
One of the outstanding features of the
Leica CL is its electronic viewfinder with
EyeRes technology developed by Leica
especially for this camera. Impressively, the
final image is visible in the viewfinder before
the shutter release is pressed, giving users
complete control over the composition of
their subjects.
The Leica CL houses a high-resolution,
24MP, APS-C format sensor together with a
Maestro II series processor. The impressive
new offering also boasts fast autofocus with
49 metering points that guarantee maximum
image quality in all photographic situations.
The black version of the Leica CL will be
available from the end of November 2017. To
find out more information, head to uk.leicacamera.com.
XPOSURE
Below
Modern
Innovative technologies and
easy handling combines with
compact design and balance
Sharjah’s International Photography Festival,
XPOSURE, opened its doors last month
Sharjah’s International Photography
Festival, XPOSURE, now in its second
year, opened its doors between the
22-25 November 2017 to photographers,
speakers and media from all over the world.
The festival was based at Sharjah’s Expo
Centre, and offered an interactive programme
of workshops, seminars and competitions.
Add to this the presence of internationally
acclaimed photographers willing to share their
knowledge and expertise, and it’s not one to
be missed on the show calendar.
This year the consumer trade show featured
all of the leading brands you’d expect, with a
wide range of ambassadors on hand to share
their photo stories. Stands were packed with
the latest gear, and the auditorium had a full
schedule of talks to entertain the audience.
From Sir Don McCullin and Wildlife
Photographer of the Year Brent Stirton to
the Polar Obsessions of Paul Nicklen, there
were stunning galleries of work on display
from image-makers across the globe. Head to
xposure.ae to find out what’s in-store for 2018.
KEEP INFORMED:
Below
Festival focus
“The individual human being is part of a very complex system,
which takes us to focus on photographs that capture the
environmental issues of places and living creatures”
For more news and updates, be sure to pay a visit to our website, www.dphotographer.co.uk,
and if you’ve got a story for us, you can email us at team@dphotographer.co.uk
23
INTERVIEW
24
HUGH RAWSON
STREET
WISE
The secrets behind
photographer
Hugh Rawson’s
captivating unposed
portraits of people
and places
Barbershop
Reflections
Where there is strong
colour in a scene,
Hugh will use this to
lead the eye of viewers
All images © Hugh Rawson
25
INTERVIEW
ome of the most
iconic images ever
taken have been
shot on city streets,
of ordinary people living
their lives, unaware that
their moments of private contemplation
are being observed by the photographer. It
takes a special skill to be able to find and
isolate these engaging moments in a scene
filled with the frantic activity of modern
life, especially in a metropolis such as
London or Paris. Street photography expert
Hugh Rawson explains the process behind
his eagle-like eye for composition and his
beautiful photographs.
S
What got you interested in street
photography?
Initially, I began taking photos with my phone,
particularly enjoying retro-styled apps like
Hipstamatic. A friend introduced me to a
bridge camera and we would go out shooting
anything and everything – landscapes,
cityscapes, animals – but not really people.
One day, in London, I took a photograph of a
woman bending down near a sign of a top
hat, and tried to position it so that it looked
like she was wearing the hat. It didn’t quite
work as a shot, but something clicked. I then
discovered that other photographers had
done similar things, juxtaposing scenes in
the street – Elliott Erwitt, Cartier-Bresson,
Garry Winogrand. It was as if that gave
me permission.
What do you look for when seeking out
images for your street portfolio?
Inspiration can come from almost anywhere. I
am very good at anticipating what is going to
happen – when two people will turn to catch
each other’s eyes, when someone will turn
around, when a smoker will exhale a cloud of
smoke. I’m also very drawn to hats, umbrellas,
neon and puddles. A rainy evening in the city
is perfect! I also really like the idea of people in
their own world in the middle of a crowd – lost
in their headphones, in a paper or in a phone
call, as well as eating and drinking outside.
Hungerford Bridge
Often, Hugh’s decision to make an
image monochrome is only made
at the post-processing stage
26
How does your approach differ when
shooting colour from when creating
monochrome images?
In some ways it doesn’t, in that I am still
thinking fast and just shooting. I often
don’t make the ultimate decision until the
processing stage. However, if the image is
particularly busy, removing the colour often
helps; a very graphic or abstract image often
works better in monochrome. Other times,
the image will be all about colour – neon signs
are a favourite and red is very powerful. Just
a flash of red in an image can really draw the
eye. If any of those are present then I am more
than likely thinking about a final colour version.
HUGH RAWSON
Left
Above
Below
Eskimo Kiss
Blue Cans
Metrobodies
Creative composition
and focal length choice
can convey humour
or narrative by taking
subjects out of context
Hugh demonstrates
how moving in close
to your subject
creates a connection
with the viewer
“Shoot RAW, shoot and shoot
some more,” says Hugh
Rawson – make the most of
the re-framing opportunities
digital photography offers
“If the image is particularly
busy, removing the colour
often helps; a graphic or
abstract image often works
better in monochrome”
27
INTERVIEW
Left
Au Revoir
Careful framing, using
elements within the
scene as compositional
aids, can help push a
story or theme
Left below
Heaven on
A Bun
As Hugh explains,
most people will never
realise you are taking
a photo of them, so
candid close-ups are
often possible
Opposite
Coming Second
Hugh regularly uses a
23mm f2 lens which,
on his Fujifilm X100,
recreates a classic
field of view for street
photography
28
HUGH RAWSON
What is your preferred photo gear for
street photography?
I try to keep it small and light. My Fuji X100
generally goes everywhere with me and is
small enough to fit in a large pocket. It has a
fixed 23mm f2 lens which is equivalent to the
classic 35mm street lens. Alternatively [I use]
a Fuji X-T2 with a 16mm or 56mm prime; the
56mm is more of a portrait lens, but shooting
wide open at f1.2 creates such beautiful soft
backgrounds and bokeh that if I have the
opportunity to use it on the street I will.
What are common ‘mistakes’ a new street
photographer may make?
Confidence is impossible to teach, but if you
look like you are up to something, or shouldn’t
be somewhere, then it will be obvious to all
around you. Dress to fit in and disappear into
the background. Don’t move too fast through
a scene; watch and go with the flow.
Nervousness is inevitable, especially at first,
but you have every right to be in a public place
taking photos. Nerves make you stand back
– instead, get in as close as you can; you’ll be
amazed how people don’t even notice. Don’t
just shoot everything – most street moments
are mundane and not compositionally
interesting. Street photography is not about
photographing anything like some kind of i-spy
book, where you simply tick off things you’ve
seen. You need to learn to be discerning of
what will work.
In your opinion what constitutes a
successful street photography image?
Bruce Gilden said that if you could smell
the street then it was a street photograph –
there’s a lot in that. To me, it’s about capturing
the essence of where you are. It may not even
contain people. Sometimes it will be a sign or a
reflection, a silhouette, a cigarette butt, a blast
of breath on a cold night. As in all genres of
photography, composition rules apply and so
does breaking them. Get comfortable with the
rules, then smash them with confidence!
Rising to the
challenge
Hugh describes the biggest
challenge in street photography
and how it can be overcome
Confidently and successfully
photographing people without their
consent can be difficult. Hugh has some
tips for avoiding confrontation and
simultaneously concentrating on finding
images in the busy street environment.
“Fear will always play a part when
you are photographing people on
the street, going about their lives. It
also adds to the excitement and the
adrenalin rush of working in this way. I
am rarely challenged and always offer
to delete – I’ve only once had to delete
an image. If I’m spotted, a smile and a
thumbs up work wonders. I also have
business cards with different images
on the back so I can show people what
I do and they can get in touch with
me if they want a copy – I hardly use
them! The limitations of the kit are also
a challenge. Working with one camera
with a fixed lens, there will always be
a shot that you wish you had another,
longer lens for. Of course, you can carry
one, but when working in the fast pace
of the streets, you don’t have time for
switching lenses. That’s part of the buzz
and actually, the limitation of one fixed
lens forces you to work creatively.”
29
INTERVIEW
“Nervousness is
inevitable, especially
at first, but you have
every right to be
in a public place
taking photos”
Do you have a favourite photo from the
selection you sent us?
‘Au Revoir’ was shot this summer in Paris. I
was waiting with my family for a train to take
us out of the city one evening, when I spotted
this farewell scene. I like the way the mother
is framed by the window and there is a small
hand of a sister waving. The men of the family
remain on the platform and I like how their
shoes and suits almost mirror one another. I
processed for both colour and black and white,
but feel that the monochrome version places
most of the attention on the elements which
matter – the people saying goodbye.
What advice would you give any
photographers who are just starting
out in street photography?
Spend your money on books and learn from
the masters: Elliott Erwitt, Henri CartierBresson, Robert Doisneau, Harry Gruyaert,
Ernst Haas, Saul Leiter, Harry Callahan, Alex
Webb… You absorb so much just by looking at
the work of others. Next, set your camera to
a fast shutter speed (1/250 to 1/500), Auto
ISO and go out and find your own style. Shoot
RAW, shoot and shoot some more. The beauty
of digital is that whether you take ten shots or
a thousand, it costs the same.
What’s next? What are your ambitions for
the future?
I am about to have my first show, part of a
bigger exhibition (7 Nov to 7 Dec in Farnham)
and have loved the experience of getting that
ready. It would be great to do more of those.
I would like to continue to raise awareness
of my work through my website and social
media, with the hope of one day putting a
book together. An online portfolio is great,
but nothing can beat the experience of slowly
enjoying real photographs on real paper. I
always read about having a photographic
project – I haven’t found mine yet and would
be very interested in ideas anyone might have.
Finally, as a teacher by day, I would very
much like to use those skills with my passion
for street photography, to teach others what I
have learned – leading walks for small groups
of photographers, passing on my skills
and developing their photographic eye and
camera techniques.
30
Above
Below
Opposite
Bend
Voices
Brolly
Hugh often uses monochrome where
there are strong graphic elements in a
scene, such as the lines and curves here
Hugh likes to capture people who are
lost in their own thoughts, seemingly
unaware of the world around them
Hugh is drawn to reflections in puddles, when
exploring cities after a rainstorm. The abstract
qualities of this shot encourage repeat views
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TECHNIQUES
34
ATMOSPHERIC PORTRAITS
CAPTURE & CREATE
ATMOSPHERIC
PORTRAITS
tmosphere is a term
that’s often referred
to in landscape
photography, but it
rarely gets a mention in other
genres. That being said, every
photograph has an atmosphere,
whether it’s obvious or not.
Talking about atmospheric
portraits conjures up a wealth of
visual cues – think low lighting,
soft blurry focus, dramatic
shadows and added textures.
Creating atmosphere is all about
tweaking the tone and mood
of your environment through
exposure and settings to make
your portraits more provoking.
Think about images that stay
with you, and it’s rarely just
the subject matter. Generating
atmosphere involves making
conscious creative choices that
enable the viewer to share in the
ambience of the scene. Even if
you’ve got a striking face to work
with, it’s important you know
how to make the best of your
model and your environment.
In this feature, we’ll run
through the steps needed to
create and capture faces that
make you feel. We’ll start as
you’d expect, by covering the
quality and quantity of lighting
sources both indoors and in
nature. Next, discover how
posing can add drama to your
scenes, then finish off the
journey in the digital darkroom
to tone up images. Atmosphere
refers to the pervading tone
or mood of a creative work,
but what marks the difference
between an atmospheric portrait
to a normal face-on shot? Read
on to find out.
© Taya Iv
From lighting to editing,find out how to include
a sense of drama in your people pictures
35
© Taya Iv
© Alexander Kuzmin
© Dmitriy Rogozhkin
A
TECHNIQUES
USELIGHTFORDRAMA
Learn how to utilise soft light,contrast and strong shadows
GOBO FOR FLASH
Use a light-modifying gobo (gobetween object) between your
flashgun and subject to
block, shape, diffuse or
colour the light and
add oomph.
Below left
Pay attention
Be aware of how light
falls on your subject
and their environment
Below right
Choose
the mood
High-key, bright and
airy portraits can be
just as effective as
dark, low-key ones
“Golden portraits that
feature sunrays and rim
lighting drip with atmosphere
of a more ephemeral nature”
© Dmitriy Rogozhkin
36
you’ll need to time your shoot for around 30
minutes before and after sunset. Position
the sun behind your subject, and work with
a longer focal lens such as a 70-200mm to
separate them from the backdrop. When
shooting directly into the sun, it’s best to
use a lens hood to reduce haze. Switch to
spot metering and meter for your model’s
skin tones so that you expose correctly.
Alternatively, purposely underexpose them
to create depth and shadows across the face
and a low-key look. Avoid including open sky
in the frame, as this will blow out and distract
the eye’s attention away from your subject.
Wherever you’re shooting, make sure you’re
aware of the effect that light has on sculpting
facial shapes. If you’re a familiar studio visitor,
you’ll have come across the terms short
and broad lighting. A short lighting setup
is the more dramatic and slimming of the
two, whereby the side of your subject’s face
further away from the camera is illuminated
by the key light. For example, if your subject
© Tomasz Kornas
We hear it all too often, but considered and
controlled lighting is the crux of all good
photography. Atmospheric portraits are no
different, and the key to lighting them is to
look for ways to make an impact without
overdoing things.
One simple approach is to harness the
natural beauty of window light. Larger light
sources create softer light, and windows
yield a good balance between shadows and
highlights. To add mood, have your subject
turn away from the window, so that one side
of their face is illuminated and the other is
thrown into deep shadow. The directional light
will create a more dramatic look, which can
be taken further by partially pulling across
curtains or blinds. North-facing windows are
ideal, as bright sunshine produces harsher
results. Use aperture priority mode and a
wide aperture such as f4, taking an initial
shot without any exposure compensation.
If you’re finding the lit side of your subject
is overexposed, dial in about -1.0 EV of
compensation and reshoot. Consider the
angle of the light hitting your subject, and
if the window isn’t very high, have them sit
down so the light comes from above rather
than below them.
Continuing to rely on sunlight, backlighting
subjects is another option. Golden portraits
that feature sunrays and rim lighting drip with
atmosphere of a more ephemeral nature, and
ATMOSPHERIC PORTRAITS
FILTER LOW SUN
Filtering the light through
trees or foliage will enable
you to cut back on haze
RIM LIGHTING
When the sun is
setting, low-angle
light will wrap
around the edges
of your subject
ROOM TO
BREATHE
Experiment with
a longer focal
lens such as a
70-200mm lens
© Gabriela Tulian
SHOOT THROUGH
Gabriela Tulian (www.gabrielatulian.
com) backlit this young girl, and
included lens flare for added character
Shake up your shooting environment to include street lights, mist and fog
The potential for adding atmosphere
presents itself in all conditions. In the same
way as landscape photography, dramatic
portraits can be made in mist and low light.
While overcast cloud acts as a flattering
natural softbox for your subject, bear in
mind that scenes in fog are more dimly
lit and you’ll need to adjust the exposure
accordingly. Besides heading out in bad
weather, you can add variety to your results
by altering your shoot time itself. Steer clear
of midday and embrace low-angle sun, the
glare of streetlights and the prevailing dark of
night-time.
Below left
Below right
Timed well
Mist and rain
Low-angle sun will
often create flattering
light. Here, the foliage
produces dreamy,
dappled patterns
across the face
By shooting in falling
rain and backlighting her
subject, photographer Taya
Iv (500px.com/tayaiv) has
created a beautiful mood in
this shot
2x © Taya Iv
Work with weather
37
TECHNIQUES
was looking to the left of the camera, you’d
place the light to the left of the camera.
Extreme contrast can be generated
by placing the main light directly at your
subject’s side for a split lighting effect. One
half of their face is illuminated, while the
other is thrown into darkness. A speedlight
can be used to play around with the direction
of artificial light too, so don’t limit yourself to
a studio environment.
If the light you’re presented with doesn’t
generate the right mood, modify and
reposition it to better suit your needs. This
is where creativity comes in, so research and
practise ways to control the spread of the
beam. A gobo (go-between object) is a light
modifier that goes between your light source
and your subject. It can be a stencil or shape
cut to fit into your lighting, used to block the
light, diffuse it or even colour it. For example,
you could cut long rectangles in a sheet of
card and place it in front of your flashgun
to give the illusion that the light is passing
through a blind. A gobo can be used to create
a variety of moody lighting effects, and the
principles are the same no matter what shape
your gobo is. To really step up the cinematic
effect, add in artificial fog to define the shafts
of light as they pass through the gobo.
Learning to ‘see’ light is an important part
of conveying feelings and mood. A shaft of
light or pattern across the face will conjure up
narratives and stories that visually entice the
viewer. As a very general rule, the moodiest
portraits have more shadow than not, as this
adds a level of mystery to the composition. If
in doubt, stick to one main light source and
experiment from there.
Control the light
38
“A shaft of light or pattern across the face
will conjure up narratives and stories that
visually entice the viewer”
Discover how the strength, angle, height and position of light makes all the difference
HARD LIGHTING
SOFT LIGHTING
SHORT OR BROAD
HIGH AND LOW
Harsh light (without diffusion) has little
transition between light and dark areas
of the face. It creates drama, and can be
created with midday sun and direct flash.
Light that’s diffused or textured can still
ooze with mood. Use a softbox, curtains
or blinds to soften natural light for a
shadowy, pensive portrait.
Short lighting generally creates a
narrower, more flattering portrait. To
achieve this, position the key light so that
it illuminates the narrow side of the face.
The height and angle of light dictates how
shadows fall on and shape the subject.
With a Rembrandt lighting setup, the main
light is purposely lower to create drama.
ATMOSPHERIC PORTRAITS
Go low key
Take control of the
exposure and use
spot metering to
create shadows
BE BOLD
Embrace rather than avoid
intense shadows. Here,
they’re the key element of
the composition.
TAKE POSITION
Remember, the key thing
here is to aim to light your
subject from one side of
their face.
PARTIAL READINGS
© Alexander Kuzmin
Evaluative metering mode
would have compensated
for the dark shadows and
rendered our subject too
brightly here.
Above
Shadow play
A low sun generates interesting contrasts
between light and shadow on the face
Where to shoot In a
darkened space, turn
your subject towards a large
window or lamp so that only
one side of their face is lit.
1
Camera settings
Fix the exposure In
Switch to aperture
spot metering mode,
priority mode and set a wide shoot so that the active AF
aperture of around f2.8 and point is over a lit part of the
an ISO of at least 400.
subject’s face.
2
3
LIGHT AND SHADE
The closer a subject
is to the window, the
greater the contrast of
light hitting them
FACE DIRECTION
Avoid getting
too much of the
window itself in
the composition
WINDOW LIGHT
Photographer Dmitriy Rogozhkin
(www.art-rogozhkin.com) has
used directional window light to
illuminate only one side of the face
© Dmitriy Rogozhkin
Ask your subject to
turn their face slightly
off camera towards
the window
EXCLUDE
THE WINDOW
39
4x © Tomasz Kornas
TECHNIQUES
POSEFORPRESENCE
Avoid clichés and add intensity with the way you position your subject
All photographers have a different approach
to posing subjects. While some have an
arsenal of favourite positions, others
would rather leave models to choose their
own natural stance. Friends, family or
inexperienced models can benefit from some
guidance though, particularly if you’re aiming
for unorthodox poses.
On set, playing music is a great way to
bring out the right emotions (and therefore
poses) from your model. You could ask them
beforehand what music they listen to when
they’re pensive, or angry, or choose a playlist
yourself that encapsulates the atmosphere
you want to capture.
40
For added drama, encourage your subject
to take active rather than static stances.
For example, instead of having them stood
upright in the middle of the frame, ask them
to lean against a wall or drape themselves
around a tree. Hands can be used very
expressively, so consider what these are
doing, too. Are they going to be holding
something, caressing the head or obscuring
the face? Don’t ask your model to do anything
they don’t feel comfortable with, and move on
if a pose isn’t working. Dramatic posing can
transform your portraits from the ordinary
to the affecting – think icy stares into the
distance, subtle looks over the shoulder or
direct gazes into the lens. Avoid sweet, gentle
smiles, as these do little to create narrative.
While eye contact is a compelling way to
engage the viewer, subjects don’t need to be
looking straight ahead. An off-camera gaze
combined with an expression or visual clue
also conveys strong emotional messages. As
eyes are naturally more engaged when gazing
at someone rather than something, ask your
subject to look at you, rather than at the lens.
Demonstrate any unusual poses yourself
first so that your model understands exactly
what you’re asking them to do. Remember to
address every part of your subject, including
their hair and clothing.
ATMOSPHERIC PORTRAITS
Refine the pose
TURNING TIP
Opposite (main)
Go with the flow
Improve your shots with three simple changes
to your model’s position
Make sure your
subject’s nose doesn’t
break the natural
curve of their face
Turn the shoulders By
shooting your subject
with a slightly side-on angle,
they will appear slimmer,
and more definition will
become visible in their
face, too.
1
Wedding
photographer Tomasz
Kornas always tries to
work with a model’s
natural poses (www.
tomaszkornas.com)
Lift the limbs Arms
held directly by the side
of the body look awkward
and stiff. Direct the arms
and hands into different
positions, such as up by the
face, hip or behind the head.
2
Opposite (insets)
The whole look
Consider how your
subject’s hair and
clothing falls around
them, as this can
affect the final mood
Scarlet stare
Here, an 85mm prime
has created a honed-in
perspective. By using
a wide aperture of ƒ1.8,
the photographer has
focused attention on
the subject’s eyes
Try turtling Before
you take the shot,
ask your model to bring
their chin or ears forward
slightly, as this elongates
the neck and yields a more
flattering result.
3
Below
WORK THE ANGLES
WHERE TO LOOK
When the chin is pushed
forward it works to
create a strong jawline
It’s personal preference
to choose eye contact
or an off-camera gaze
“Encourage your subject
to take active rather than
static stances”
INTERPRETATION
TAKE
PERSPECTIVE
By choosing to close
the model’s eyes, pro
Alexander Kuzmin
creates a narrative where
the audience wonders
what she’s thinking
Differentshooting
heights convey
different moods.
Kuzmin chose to
angle the camera
slightly down on
this model
2x © Alexander Kuzmin
FRAME-FILLING
Zooming in or getting
close to subjects
will make the poses
seem more intimate
SHAPE THE ARMS
The model’s
outstretched arms
here create a struggled
and expressive pose
41
TECHNIQUES
FINALISETHEFEEL
Edit your images to enhance the mood in the digital darkroom
After the effort of capturing the best light
wrapping around your subject, it makes little
sense to now leave your shots unedited.
Pastel shades, monochrome palettes and
earthy tones are all best perfected with some
post-processing.
Portrait photographer Alexander Kuzmin is
a pro at polishing his images in Photoshop or
Lightroom. “I use a slightly different approach
for each series depending on what I’m trying
to express, and to match the mood and the
theme,” he shares. “I love to experiment. I
always try to shoot in a way to minimise postprocessing, so my main modifications deal
with colour.” One of the best ways to invoke
emotion is through colour, so brush up on
your colour theory if you need to.
“Our brain is always adjusting the picture
we see with our eyes. [We] make assumptions
on the white balance, simplifications and
shortcuts, with our own mood reflecting
on how we see things, in contrast to the
camera – which produces predictable and
dull images,” Kuzmin says. “My aim is not to
be true to life, but to reflect the mood and
emotions that were there during the shoot,
or maybe came to me afterwards. Most
importantly, I tend to limit the colour palette,
shift to complementary colours and exclude
all the unnecessary detail,” he explains.
Kuzmin removes or dilutes anything that
won’t contribute to the mood or may distract
the viewer, and this simplicity is key to editing.
BEFORE
Before edit
Our original portrait was shot
just before sunset, but the
lighting was still a little flat
straight out of the camera
“My aim is not to be
true to life, but to
reflect the emotions
that were there
during the shoot”
USE
PRESETS
Post-processing presets
are a great way to save
editing time. Discover Alexander
Kuzmin’s Photoshop Actions,
Lightroom Presets and photo
effects at www.presetrain.com.
Post-processing Use these steps in isolation or combination to finalise your portrait edits
Remove blemishes Camera
Raw is the best place to start
editing. Use the Spot Removal tool if
you want to remove any dust spots
or blemishes from the face.
1
1
2
White balance Tweak the
temperature by using the
sliders. Or, select a preset from the
White Balance drop-down options.
We chose a custom value of 4,600.
2
Lower saturation Dragging the
Saturation and Vibrance sliders
to the left drains the portrait of
colour. If you convert the image to
Greyscale, this step is unnecessary.
3
Boost contrast To generate
more difference between the
shadows and lighter areas of your
portrait, take the contrast up. A
levels adjustment will work here too.
4
42
3
4
ATMOSPHERIC PORTRAITS
AFTER
THINK IT THROUGH
Understand what feelings
you’re trying to convey,
and minimise elements
that detract from that
ANALOGUE FEEL
We opted to emulate
the feeling of a black
and white photograph
5
6
MAKE IT SUBTLE
WORK THE CORNERS
Changes to the
exposure don’t have to
be drastic to be effective
A subtle vignette directs the
viewer’s eye into the image
and generally darkens the shot
Optical changes Use the Lens
Correction tab to add a vignette.
This should subtly draw the viewer’s
attention towards your model, as
the brighter part of the frame.
5
Split Toning Alter the hue and
balance of the highlights and
shadows using the Split Toning tab.
We experimented with cool blue
tones for both.
6
7
8
Strip out colour Head to the
HSL/Greyscale tab and then
convert your image to Greyscale
mode. You might find your image
needs another contrast boost at
this point.
7
Add noise From the Effects
panel, take up the amount of
Grain, Size and Roughness to suit
your own taste. Zoom in to get a
feel for the amount needed.
8
43
TECHNIQUES
TAKEANABSTRACTAPPROACH
Play with tonality and exposure in a bid to make your portraits more artistic
Atmospheric portraits by their definition
should have a certain je ne sais quoi
about them – a quality that can’t quite
be adequately described or expressed.
That being said, there are a few concrete
techniques to try out when you want
to break away from the norm.
In terms of exposure, you might pair
intentional camera movement with
extended shutter speeds and record
deliberately blurred or ghostly frames.
There’s plenty of experimentation to
be had here; in aperture priority mode,
start with an exposure of 130 sec, then
ask your model to move their head
from side to side. Alternatively, keep them in
one place and move yourself throughout the
exposure. It’s largely a game of trial and error
– pan and rotate the camera, and lengthen
and shorten the shutter, too.
Multiple exposures are another way to
introduce intrigue and blur to your frame.
Instead of something wacky such as filling
your model’s face with leaves, simply shoot
one frame, then move slightly to one side
connotation. Firstly, you’ll notice that
many atmospheric images have limited or
muted colour palettes that are drained of
saturation. This can be achieved by cooling
down the scene in-camera with a Custom
White Balance. Alternatively, you can
shoot in Auto mode then tweak the
temperature at the editing stage.
Both warm and cool colour palettes
yield mood, but they have different
outcomes. Soft, pastel shades
generated from the golden hours can
feel airy and energetic, whereas muted
or darker colours can seem reflective,
sad, or introspective. Before shooting,
decide upon the story and narrative that
you’re trying to conjure up in your scene, jot
down some descriptive words, and then work
out what tones will help you to encapsulate
that mood.
“Before shooting, decide
upon the story and narrative
that you’re trying to conjure
up in your scene”
and shoot the second. This ghostly result
is perfect when paired with a monochrome
shooting mode.
Colour palettes are also a huge mood
influencer, and every hue carries a different
WIDER APERTURE
Opt for narrower depth
of field in low-light
conditions, and focus
on the subject’s eyes
COLOUR
TEMPERATURE
Taya set a Custom
White Balance to
purposely cool the
tone of the image
TONALITY EDITS
The whites and
highlights were dialled
down in Camera Raw for
a more muted end result
44
SHOOT THROUGH
A window pane adds
an intriguing layer of
separation between
the camera and model
ATMOSPHERIC PORTRAITS
Top right
An intriguing story
Composition can play a key role in adding a
sense of intrigue and mystery to your image,
but it should also be clear in your mind what
sort of narrative you are trying to convey
Middle right
© Taya Iv
Tone
Your choice of colour, or lack thereof,
has a huge impact on the mood and
emotions portrayed in a portrait, and
needs to be considered very carefully
Bottom right
Shoot through
© Alexander Kuzmin
© Taya Iv
© Alexander Kuzmin
Partially obscuring your subject with
a shadow or ray of light creates added
mystery. Be clever about focusing the
image to ensure your subject is still visible
45
TECHNIQUES
Right
Double exposures
can be used to shoot
two similar frames,
or, as shown here,
overlay a contrasting
effect over the face
© Gabriela Tulian
In two places
See double
Create a ghostly effect by combining more than one frame in-camera
2
1
The right kit A
camera with a builtin multiple exposure
mode is ideal for this.
If your model doesn’t
have this, combine the
frames in Photoshop.
1
Camera settings
Switch to Av
mode, and select spot
metering. Try a low ISO
of around 200, and start
with a wide aperture
such as f2.8.
2
Below
Strip back colour
Black and white isn’t an essential element for this kind of portrait, but
stripping out colour saturation does give a more abstract feel to the shot
4
3
6
5
Select shooting mode
Next, find the multiple
exposure mode from your
camera’s menu, and select
the shooting mode.
3
46
Capture first image
Fill the frame with your
subject. You can focus up either
manually or in auto mode, but
they don’t have to be pin-sharp.
4
Use the screen Use Live
View as a guide when you
shoot the second image. It will
let you see the base portrait
with a preview of the overlay.
5
Take second frame Shift
position or ask your subject
to move their face slightly.
When you’re happy with the
composition, fire the shutter.
6
TECHNIQUES
GET MORE
FROM
THE SCENE
A successful image is more than just an
accurate exposure. Learn to use every ounce
of location potential for dramatic photographs
hen we start out in photography, the first
things we learn about are composition
and exposure. Regardless of the books,
websites or tutorials used to learn the
essentials, there are certain staple topics that will be
mentioned time and time again. You’ll always see the
rule of thirds and leading lines appear in composition
articles, while shutter speeds, f-stops and basic lens
types are a must on exposure-related pages. However,
as we mature as photographers, we begin to realise that
these fundamental aspects are only a framework, and if
we are to produce images that have unique personality
and atmosphere, we need to differentiate our style
and approach from those of others. There is more to
W
48
exposure than simply choosing to blur or freeze water,
leading lines are not the only influence on perspective,
and far more thought should be invested in lens choice
than purely deciding to ‘shoot wide or long’. Unlike
video, a still photograph captures a scene in a single
state – something we never see with our eyes in reality.
Therefore, in order to create an impactful representation
of that scene, it’s vital to carefully consider every
decision we make with regards to framing, perspective,
time of day, tone and post-processing. In this guide
we cover everything from the basics of composition,
all the way through to advanced exposure choices and
professional editing techniques, to help you capture the
ultimate image every time you fire the shutter.
GET MORE FROM THE SCENE
Natural beauty
The world around us is full of potentially
stunning photographs. In order to achieve
the best possible results, the full range of
colours and details must be utilised
© Simon Xu
49
TECHNIQUES
Re-think your composition
Consider creative framing and capture
images that make your viewers look twice
All digital cameras are designed to be held in
landscape format, with the rectangular-aspect
sensor positioned to create an image that is
longer than it is tall. There is a logic to this
approach – human vision has a panoramic
quality to it that means landscape orientation
feels natural to us. The only time we usually
consider turning the
camera to shoot
tall images is when
shooting portraits
or very tall, thin
subjects such as
buildings. There
are many other
occasions however
when a switch in
frame orientation can benefit composition
– the photographer simply has to be able to
recognise when this is the case. When there
is a strong foreground element, a popular
technique is to choose a low angle and use
portrait format to produce a sense of depth,
with the eye being led from the bottom of the
frame up into the middle and background.
This technique has its own set of challenges;
the camera can be placed so close to the
foreground that depth of field is severely
limited, resulting in a blurred background or
loss of fine detail through diffraction, caused
by very narrow aperture settings. This can
be overcome through careful focusing and
placement of the
foreground subjects
within the focal
plane. At the other
extreme, panoramas
allow ultra-wide
perspectives
that encompass
tremendous
expanses of detail,
and so are ideally suited to capturing wide
landscape vistas.
Meanwhile, lens choice can be a complex
business. Sometimes the widest or longest
lens is not suitable, but when using a midrange focal length, we have to be sure our
framing is not simply recreating what our
viewers see every day with their own eyes.
“Our framing should
not simply recreate
what our viewers see
every day”
Succeed in panoramic photography
1
Level the tripod A tripod is needed for
precise camera movement, but make sure
the legs are perfectly level. This will ensure
that when the setup is pivoted around the
central column, the sensor and lens track
the horizon, creating aligned segments.
2
Lock focus Pre-focus your lens, using
depth-of-field preview or a test shot
to check background sharpness. Turn off
autofocus to prevent the lens re-focusing
each time the shutter button is pressed,
preventing any stitching problems.
5
4
50
Panoramic images can have unrivalled impact.
We explain how to create them with ease
Shoot in portrait While shooting in
landscape format will cover the scene
in fewer images, portrait orientation will
produce less distortion around the areas
where each segment joins to the next,
making the stitching stage easier.
Shoot your series Take your first shot,
pivot the camera and shoot the second,
overlapping the segments by around 2030%. Add a marker, such as a finger, to a
shot before and after your series to mark
the start and end, for archiving reference.
Lock your exposure Set an aperture
of f8-16 and take an exposure reading,
metering from the highlights to prevent
clipping. Once you have found the correct
shutter speed, switch to manual mode and
enter the measured settings.
3
Stitch panorama Process the RAW files
using synchronised settings and go to
File>Automate>Photomerge in Photoshop.
Select files, choose Auto Layout and click
OK to begin stitching. Crop out peripheral
white space or use Content Aware Fill.
6
2x © Robert Schmalle
GET MORE FROM THE SCENE
Left
Above
Shoot portrait format
Shoot in landscape
Creating taller compositions can help exclude extraneous detail
around the periphery of your scene and focus attention within the
frame. Here the format produces a tight, tunnel-like composition
The native, horizontal format outputs a natural, ‘widescreen’ frame,
similar to the perspective we’d see with our own eyes. As demonstrated
here, compositional elements must lead in from the edges
BEFORE
Left
Overlapping segments
Using a focal length of between 24mm and 50mm,
most scenes should be covered in between four to ten
vertical segments. Scroll through images to ensure
the horizon remains fixed
Below
Panoramic perspective
The panoramic format suits the ‘shape’ of this
landscape, where most interest is located close to the
horizon. This shot gets more from the scene than any
single wide-angle frame
© Roberto Pavic
AFTER
51
TECHNIQUES
Find a new angle
An area in which new photographers can fail to perform
is composition. A key reason for this is that they neglect
to invest time in studying a scene to find the most
engaging perspective. As great as the lighting may
be, or as spectacular as the landscape may seem, by
simply shooting it from standing height you are never
going to capture a unique composition that stands
out from those taken by other photographers. Altering
camera height is a great way of showing a scene in a
novel fashion, as the relative proportions of the scene
elements appear different. By combining unusual angles
with varying focal lengths, it is possible to refine your
framing and capture the perfect balance of objects
within the scene. A useful technique is to leave your
tripod packed away when you first arrive on location,
instead choosing to hand-hold your camera while you
hunt for potential images. Working in this way gives you
freedom to move unrestricted while you find a suitable
viewpoint, speeding up your workflow and encouraging
creative thinking. Start by shooting at the extremes of
your lens’ focal range, zooming in to isolate your subject
and then shooting wide to show it in the context of the
environment. From there you can refine your framing to
locate the focal length with the most suitable balance of
subject and background – sometimes a few millimetres
makes a big difference.
A common issue when shooting famous locations is
that certain compositions become clichéd. Rather than
shying away from these challenging conditions, you can
use this public familiarity to your advantage. By finding
an unusual perspective, we can produce shots that
surprise viewers and inspire their imagination. Shooting
from ground level is a good place to start, providing
exaggerated perspectives and emphasised foreground
detail, which may not be visible in the ‘standard’ tourist
shot. Using a camera featuring an articulated LCD
will help with composing the shot. When constructing
images, remember that something made you want to
photograph the scene – your job is to find it and then
make it engaging.
© Robert Schmalle
Change your perspective and think
creatively for an engaging image
Below right
Above
The obvious shot
The creative shot
Look up
The centralised composition and front-on view of the church
produce a ‘standard’ image, lacking depth and interest around the
frame edges. Meanwhile, the areas of grass act as a distraction
The low angle reduces the grassy area and makes a
feature of the sky. The use of the arch and wall serves to
frame the subject, adding interest and focusing attention
An effective method of showing well-known landmarks or locations
in a different way is to get close and shoot vertically, from the ground
up, producing extreme perspectives with graphic results
2x © Dale Johnson
Below left
52
GET MORE FROM THE SCENE
Experiment with camera level
Standing height By extending the legs
to full height, the tripod will place the
camera at eye-level. This provides a natural,
but potentially uninteresting view, and
foreground detail is often lost.
1
Simply varying tripod height can reveal many new image possibilities
Tripod legs retracted This lower
perspective will draw together the
foreground and background, minimising
middleground detail and thus creating a
tighter composition.
2
Ground level Offering a ‘bug’s eye’
view of the scene by splaying the tripod
legs enables the photographer to isolate a
small detail of the scene, while showing it in
the context of the environment.
3
53
© Robert Schmalle
TECHNIQUES
Adapt to changing conditions
Make the most of each type of weather and time of day
Whenever a photographer chooses to work
outdoors, they are susceptible to whatever
conditions the ambient environment provides
them with, so must learn to be flexible in their
approach. Settings and compositions that
work for images shot at dawn are incompatible
with those taken
under the midday
sun, but also subtly
differ for sunset
lighting. Equally,
what works for
scenes bathed in
light from clear skies
will fail to extract the
potential from an
overcast landscape. Dawn and dusk images
are favoured by landscape photographers for
their warmer, directional lighting, however
the low sun angle creates problems with lens
flare and can introduce exposure challenges.
Meanwhile, noon lighting is flat but undiffused,
which makes maintaining highlight and
shadow detail difficult, while simultaneously
presenting a risk of a ‘snapshot’ atmosphere.
The best solution to all of these problems is to
carefully select which subjects you photograph
in each lighting condition. Rural landscapes
and coastlines are often best suited to ‘golden
hour’ lighting, as they contain more soft
textures such as foamy water and delicate
vegetation. In the harsher light of midday,
modern cityscapes
are an ideal focus,
due to the reflective
surfaces and
angular lines of the
architecture.
Meanwhile, it
is an essential
photographic
skill to be able to
make the most of any weather. Cloudy days
produce diffused light, which is perfect for
macro images, but tends to produce a lifeless
landscape devoid of texture and form. In these
situations, isolating one area of the scene
picks out any small points of interest and
forces the viewer to look closer. In misty or
rainy scenes, making a subject of the weather
itself and focusing solely on atmosphere is a
tried and tested professional technique.
“Isolating one area
of the scene picks
out any small points
of interest”
54
Choose your time
Each hour of the day has something to
offer photographers – use it like a pro
DAWN LIGHT
This image makes use of
the mix of cool and warm
colours found in pre-dawn
light. At this time, magentas
often dominate, with cool
hues remaining in the
shadows. Subtle saturation
works best when processing.
SUNSET COLOURS
Sunsets are often ‘warmer’
in colour than sunrises,
due to the temperature of
the atmosphere. Make the
most of golden colour and
directional light to capture
rich tones and enhanced
detail at this time of day.
HIGH NOON
Choose a subject that
benefits from high contrast,
use a polarising filter and
pick out deep colour.
Alternatively, monochrome
images can look fantastic,
where tonality and detail
are the focus.
3x © Simon Xu
GET MORE FROM THE SCENE
Below
Dark tones
Every time of day has
its own challenges
and benefits for
photographers. As
lighting and contrast
change, camera
technique must be
adapted to ensure
correct exposure and
scene atmosphere
Capture mist Mist and fog limit
visible detail, so make minimalism
a theme in your images. Find a
subject that either contrasts with or
blends into the misty surroundings
for a simple composition, pushing the
theme of emptiness or isolation.
1
© Peter Fenech
Use the weather Every condition has its own appeal, so find the best elements of each
Embrace the rain There are
many uses for rain. Head into an
urban area at night to capture wet
streets, reflecting colourful artificial
light, or shoot dramatic storm
clouds, underexposing to create deep
contrast and saturated colour.
2
Shooting snow For snow, always
use your histogram to avoid
underexposure, employing exposure
compensation to correct brightness.
Ensure you have a strong subject to
hold attention, or images can lack
interest and depth.
3
© Robert Schmalle
Weather phenomena
such as mist add
a great deal of
atmosphere, but
can create exposure
difficulties. Learn to
adapt to every weather
condition to make each
one a feature
© Simon Xu
Use what
you’re given
© Peter Fenech
Opposite
55
TECHNIQUES
Consider processing techniques
“Sometimes it is
beneficial to shoot
images with the
final processing
method in mind”
For digital photographers,only half the work is done
in the field.Vary processing to unlock creative options
longer tailoring your edits for each specific
shot, processing experimentally to find unique
styles. This approach ensures you present
each scene element at its best.
However, sometimes it is beneficial to shoot
images with the final processing method in
mind. If you intend to employ high-contrast
adjustments in software, shooting images with
lower contrast will avoid clipped highlights and
shadows in the final image. Similarly, if you are
aiming for a high-key look, shooting a brighter
image in the field will avert emphasised noise,
through increasing exposure in Photoshop.
Either way, since all digital images are likely
to be processed at some stage, placing varied
editing at the heart of your workflow will
provide the greatest experimental freedom.
“When I take the shot I will generally have
something in mind for an edit. However, the
end result is very often different from the
plan,” explains Robert. “I try to let the editing
lead the way – it’s a constant experimental
process and I try not to let my initial
conception of the shot impede another good
idea that arises during processing.”
Below
RAW file
This out-of-camera image lacks colour and contrast.
There are also some exposure issues to be rectified
in the highlights. With software, there are a variety of
different ‘looks’ with which we can experiment
BEFORE
All images on spread © Peter Fenech
One of the greatest advantages of digital
imaging is the flexibility to revisit photographs
and apply new processing styles. Several
years after taking an image and processing it
for the first time, it is possible to completely
change the tone and atmosphere by altering
colour, exposure and cropping. Transforming
files in this way opens up multiple exciting
possibilities from every shot, enabling us to
extract more from a scene than was possible
in the days of film. Pro digital photographers
such as Robert Schmalle (robertschmalle.
com) know how to take advantage of these
opportunities. “For me, processing is when
the fun begins,” says Robert. “When deciding
what processing techniques to use, I start
with Lightroom Classic, then move to
Photoshop, where I work with luminosity
masks. After that, I will work with different
plug-ins to bring out [specific] aspects of
the image.” When shooting images, you
may have a certain ‘look’ in mind, so these
preconceptions can inhibit your creativity.
In the digital darkroom, free from the time
limitations of changeable light, you can spend
COOL
1. SELECT
YOUR WHITE
BALANCE
Choose a ‘cool’
WB – this was shot in
Tungsten, but Daylight
was considered less extreme.
2. CUSTOMISE
COLOUR
A temperature between
Tungsten and Daylight
was finally selected,
while positive Tint
provided colour contrast.
56
3. TARGETED
COLOUR
ADJUSTMENTS
Remove colour bias
using Split Toning. Here
cyan was neutralised in
the shadows using blue toning.
4. LOWER THE
EXPOSURE
To create a dramatic
pre-dawn feel, darken
the image. Lower
Saturation to offset
introduced oversaturation.
GET MORE FROM THE SCENE
1. BRIGHTNESS
AND WARMTH
Increase exposure for
an airier atmosphere
and increase
Temperature and Tint to
produce warmer tones.
2. PAINT
WITH
COLOUR
3. LIGHTING EFFECTS
Choose a warm colour,
paint over a highlight
and change the
layer blend mode
to Screen.
Use Adobe
Camera Raw’s
adjustment brush
(or Photoshop brushes set to
‘Colour’) to warm the horizon.
4. COLOUR CONTINUITY
To complete this
sunrise-like effect,
be sure to
naturally warm
other highlights
in the image.
WARM
VINTAGE
2. SILVER
EFEX PRO
1. PROCESS
RAW FILES
Later processing
often adds contrast,
so treat your RAWs to
be ‘flat’, to avoid clipping.
Use this first
plug in for
monochrome
conversion. For
variety, a retro style
preset was selected.
3. COLOUR EFEX PRO
Double-processing
in a second plug-in
extracted detail,
for depth. Settings
were tweaked in
each application.
4. BLEND
THE
EFFECTS
The resulting style
layers were masked in Photoshop
to apply effects selectively, for
localised enhancement.
57
TECHNIQUES
Use filters and exposure
Work with artistic exposure techniques and creative filter effects
detail scenes, where multiple subjects may
otherwise act as distractions. Simply rotate
your lens’ zoom ring while the shutter is open,
selecting a exposure of between 1/15 sec and
1 sec for the best results. Meanwhile, software
filters provide scope for experimentation with
selective blurring
and colour effects.
While many filters
can be simulated
in Photoshop, the
effects of hardware
models such as
polarisers cannot
be so easily. The
circular polariser is
essential for removing ‘sheen’ from the surface
of rocks and vegetation, deepening colour and
contrast. Regardless of the technique or filter
you use, it is imperative that it enhances a
scene, rather than dominating it – the effect
should complement the subject and never be
the main focus of the shot.
“The circular polariser
is essential for
removing ‘sheen’ from
the surface of rocks”
58
Right
Capture
natural colour
Longer exposures
can also produce a
painterly quality to
light. Combine this
with filters, such as
polarisers, to cut
through reflections and
haze, to access punchy,
natural hues
Below
Give the
scene energy
Lengthen your
exposure to create a
view we never see –
long shutter speeds
create light trails from
traffic and paint
streaks of cloud colour
across the sky
2x © Robert Schmalle
Exposure effects are a popular route with
landscape photographers, as they often
require very little additional equipment. The
most simple effects are created by lengthening
the shutter speed, so that moving elements
within the scene are blurred. The most
obvious application
is for rivers and
waterfalls, where
we can illustrate a
contrast of softness
in the blurred water
and sharp detail of
surrounding rocks.
However, we can
also generate blur
by moving the camera or lens, relative to the
subject, during an exposure. Panning blur,
where the camera is pivoted, is useful for
photos of shorelines or other flat landscapes,
where there is more colour interest than
detail. This finds potential in an otherwise
empty landscape. Zoom blur is ideal for high-
GET MORE FROM THE SCENE
Perfect your shutter speed
Photographer Chris Zimmermann
(chriszimmermann.com) explains how to
select the ideal exposure for any scene
Too short
This composition
emphasises the effect
of exposure on the
waterflow at 1/100
sec at f11. The water
looks a bit harsh at this
speed and contradicts
the smooth snow
cover. The water and
the rocks also don’t
separate well.
1
Lacking impact Taken at 1/10 sec at f16.
The water is much smoother than at 1/100
sec, but it still has texture and feels too dynamic
for this serene winter scene. Where the water is
slower, it doesn’t separate well with the rocks.
2
The other
extreme This
image was taken at 15.0
sec at f18. The water
looks extremely silky
and loses its texture,
becoming nearly
transparent – it looks
frozen. However, there
is a good separation
between the water
and rocks.
3
AFTER
Just right
4x © Chris Zimmermann
Taken at 0.8 sec at f13, the speed of the water
in the river and the speed of the capture are a
perfect match, creating a soothing texture blend
TECHNIQUES
Create dramatic images
Simon Xu (simonxuphotography.com) explains the shooting and editing process behind his compelling landscape style
Lighting, location and time Choose to shoot
during golden hours within one hour of sunrise/
sunset and at a location that consists of both
shaded and sun-lit elements. I waited for the sun
to drop behind the rock for softer lighting, fiery
colour in the sky and no lens flare.
1
Use an ND filter The ideal
shutter speed is between
1/4 and 1/20 sec – fast enough
to freeze the wave, but slow
enough to capture the trails
of water sprays. An ND8 filter,
which darkens the scene by three
stops, can help to achieve this.
2
Right
Creative blur effects
can be produced
in-camera, using
long exposures and
camera movement
or simulated with
software filtration. Both
approaches can give
colourful scenes added
interest and life
60
© Robert Schmalle
Try something
abstract
Bracketing The contrast
of lighting and shadow is
challenging for the camera
because it usually exceeds the
dynamic range of the sensor.
Bracketed exposures solve this
– set the camera to high-speed
mode to capture the waves.
3
4x © Simon Xu
AFTER
Lightroom’s Photomerge/HDR capability does not
work well in this case, with moving subjects such as
splashing waves. So, luminosity and manual mask
techniques were used in Photoshop to manually
blend the exposures
TECHNIQUES
TELL A STORY
IN PICTURES
Embrace the many exciting possibilities
of documentary photography
one are the early remnants
of the Canadian West, but its
legacy still endures. Crown Ditch
and the Prairie Castle is a longterm project that documents the spaces
and people of the last great ‘proving out’.
G
It advocates for viewing this space as an
understudied region, with a particular
type of landscape, industry and most
importantly, people, who are a resilient
breed created by generational lessons in
fortitude and fortuned circumstance.
PRO BIO
Kyler Zeleny (1988) is a Canadian
photographer-researcher and
author of Out West (2014) and
Found Polaroids (2017). He
received his masters from
Goldsmiths College, University of
London in Photography and Urban
Cultures. He is a founding member
of the Urban Photographers
Association (UPA), a guest editor
for the Imaginations Journal of
Cross-Cultural Image Studies and
a guest publisher with The Velvet
Cell. Kyler currently lives in Toronto,
where he is a doctoral candidate
in the joint Communication and
Culture program at Ryerson and
York University.
kylerzeleny.com
Below
WesternChinese
restaurant,
Ab, 2016
Undertaking a
documentary project
is all about telling an
engaging story
Right
Real lives
A retired worker on his
daily walk, Ab, 2017
All images © Kyler Zeleny
62
TELL A STORY IN PICTURES
63
TECHNIQUES
LOCATE
YOUR TOPIC
The importance of research
and writing in making
engaging documentary work
Above
Below
Shoot a story
Grain elevator, Ab, 2015
Kyler shot this image of a man
looking for dinosaur bones in
Alberta, Canada, 2015
Always keep your project’s ‘big
picture’ in mind, and let that dictate
your choice of shots
64
Undertaking a long-term documentary
project requires a different level of
commitment than simply going out on a
Sunday afternoon and shooting images.
Long-term projects require a potent mix of
persistence and patience complemented by
a hefty dose of creative stamina. You need to
ensure that you enjoy the topic and are ready
for unexpected hurdles.
But how do you decide on your topic,
especially if it’s your first long-term project?
How do we fully invest ourselves into a
WHO,
WHAT, WHERE
multi-year project? It’s important to
come prepared; having done your
Home or away, it doesn’t
homework, you should arrive at a
matter. You don’t need to be
covering famine or a war zone to
topic that is not only timely, but
make an intriguing project, so check
that lies at the intersection of what
your backyard first before you start
is important to you, and secondly
packing a helmet and flak jacket.
what is important to others.
Be mindful not to pick a topic
The research and writing phases
that you will lose access
are important. You need to be able
to halfway through
to convey your attitude, knowledge
a project.
and sense of the project effectively. The
motto that images speak for themselves is
problematic and not always self-evident. Can
images alone tell the story? Yes. Can it be told
better with thorough research and writing?
Likely so. You need to become an expert on
the subject. Start with online research, but
don’t be afraid to visit your local public or
university library. Seek the help of a librarian
and start looking up and down the stacks.
Conducting research has more utility than
simply informing you about the project; it can
tell you if a topic has been covered before. If
the answer is no, then you have full creative
range to express it. If the answer is yes, then
you need to ask yourself, “How can I do it
differently? How can I apply a new angle?”
A common failure of photographers is
that they are unable to express themselves
through text, often failing to see the synergic
possibilities offered by the combination of
text and image. Conducting research early
can help improve your ability to execute a
project statement, a related essay, a grant
application, or your ability to interact with
your subjects.
Opposite above
Opposite below
Build a connection
A new perspective
Talk to your subjects and
learn their story, as this also
forms an important part of
the research process
If a topic has already been
explored before, try to take
a fresh, new approach to
documenting it
TELL A STORY IN PICTURES
Reach out
to others
Seekpotentialwork
partnersinthefield
Are there organisations or
other artists who have the
same agenda as you and who
you can collaborate with? Are
there artist grants you can
apply for? Doing research early
on will help you determine if
these are potential options.
65
TECHNIQUES
CONNECT WITH
YOUR
SUBJECT
MATTER
Shooting skills for undertaking a documentary project
If you’re looking to create a well-rounded
documentary project, consider including
individuals. Think about them as characters
and participants. As you undertake the
project, consider how you can learn from each
encounter, how can they enrich your process
by posing or offering you new information.
It is important to have a general focus of
what you want to learn and how you want to
interact with the project’s subject matter, but
keep in mind the importance of balancing
that with being adaptable. Be open to learning
from the process and remember to balance
your perspective with the expertise of those
around you.
Be authentic, as the more honest you are
with your intentions and the more genuine
interest you show in your topic, the more
willing people will be to opening up. This next
piece of advice is very simple but is often
overlooked: don’t simply converse with your
subjects, but enter into a dialogue with them.
Think about it as talking with them rather to
them. And remember, not all encounters must
result in a photograph or a hot tip. Sometimes
you have to spend time discussing nothing
to learn something. You might have to
discuss the weather before you can ask
serious questions. Continue to allow time
66
for an introduction and for you to become
comfortable with the subject and the subject
with you.
Put yourself into the work. The closer you
get and the more attachment you form with
the subject, the better the work will be. We
often forget that the camera can be a barrier,
a device that creates distance, so try to limit
the distance by being present in the work.
Doing this will help you remember that you’re
simply one human trying to connect to other
humans. Make this your mantra. It will help
you avoid the ‘othering’ process that can
occur when you photograph. Avoid fetishising
their position as this can lead to exploitation.
It is difficult to tell when this happens, so it’s
important to keep it in mind as you continue
your project.
Don’t become discouraged if it’s difficult
to connect with a group. Be patient and
respectful. Stick with the motto that anything
worth doing will be difficult. Often the more
difficult the process, the more rewarding it
can be. People will say no and will deny you
information or their image – that is their right,
and however important you feel the image is,
handling the encounter respectfully says a
lot about your character and may help open
doors later.
A two-way process
It’s all about respect: if you take
something, leave something
Make an effort to balance interactions –
don’t simply take images and leave them
with nothing. This can be accomplished
by something as simple as leaving a
Polaroid or a postcard. A postcard can
be a great way to communicate your
project and gives participants the ability
to communicate with you later on. It is
good practice to seek permission for a
portrait, and this can be achieved before
or after an image is taken. Ensure the
subject comprehends what you’re doing
and why. Explain to them that they have
the option of retracting their consent.
You might lose a good photo but you’ll
keep your integrity, and when working
with a community or a specific social
group this can go a long way.
Left
Below
Opposite
Man of God, Ab, 2016
Authenticity
Grocery store worker
Explaining the purpose of your
project may open up people’s
willingness to be photographed
A retired farmer having a tailgate
discussion, shot in Alberta,
Canada, 2015
Think about your subjects as
characters and consider their
place in the overall narrative
TELL A STORY IN PICTURES
KNOW
YOUR
POSITION
Be aware of your position,
gender, orientation, culture and
power you might hold over your
participants. Take steps to ensure you are
being reflexive throughout the process.
Power imbalances are common when
photographing, but they can
be minimised. As the photographer,
you should continue to re-assess
the power relations existing
in the project.
67
TECHNIQUES
CONVEY
THE STORY
Learn how to present your
narrative in innovative ways
The photographer is dead, long live the
photographer. Of recent, photo theorists have
been exploring the death of the traditional
photographer. With the proliferation
of internet access and smart phones,
everyone has become a photographer.
As censors and processors improve, and
our visual literacy through mediatisation
becomes commonplace, learning the craft
of photography is ultimately expedited and
democratised. As a result, documentary
photography is going through a renaissance.
Never has there been so many well-produced
projects. With the bar raised the question
becomes, how does one stand out?
Photo-theorist Joan Fontcuberta has
written extensively on the idea of postphotography, where the idea of photography
as a 20th century operation and practice
has been radically altered. As Fontcuberta
explores in Pandora’s Camera, “We may well
be witnessing the death of photography,
or, to pursue the biblical analogy, it
TIME
CAN BE
might be more fitting to speak of its
YOUR FRIEND
crucifixion. Because here, too, we are
Be patient when shooting; you
dealing with a painful but essential
cannot rush good work. Tell your
prerequisite of a resurrection.”
story through details but don’t forget
The idea of photography is
it must add up to the ’big picture’. Take
fundamentally different today
the viewer on a journey, teach them
than it was 100 or even 20 years
something or move them in some
ago. As Matt Black, creator of
way. As photographers, we should
the Geography of Poverty project,
constantly be thinking about the
writes, “We are not photographers
role we perform and why we
are drawn to the story
– we are no longer technicians with a
or subject.
camera – but we are authors. Our role
is to tell stories by not merely illustrating
but creating”. Black’s point is similar to
Fontcuberta’s idea that photography has
changed, and we should no longer think
of our activities as simply producing
photographic content, but as storytellers.
Adopting this epistemological position into
your practice will help your project stand out.
Photography is a key component for
effective storytelling, but it’s not the only
option. There are numerous ways to achieve
this. Look to include found imagery, archived
images, video and audio clips, emerging
recording/representational technology (VR,
360 cameras, etc.), sculpture and installation.
Collect objects, shoot them, modify them,
re-contextualise them. A number of new
projects mix these components in interesting
and effective ways, often resulting in dynamic
book publications and exhibitions.
68
Above
Small-town
demolition
derby
Have a story in
mind, but be willing
to adapt and
change direction
after evaluation
Left
Star Trek
Enterprise
replica
Be ready to
remove an image
from the final
project if it doesn’t
add to the story
Opposite
Mr. Fox
looking for a
ride, Mt, 2015
It can take time
for a subject to
feel comfortable
enough to open
up to you
TELL A STORY IN PICTURES
Embrace change
Continue to assess the direction
your project is going in
The ideas you begin with can often
be radically different from that of the
final outcome. Part of the process is
continuing to critique and evaluate your
work. Shoot often, review your work, and
share it with others. Keep shooting until
you feel you’re done, then shoot some
more. Make an effort to engage with
photographers who are doing similar
work, request their opinions and be
ready to offer yours if they request it.
69
TECHNIQUES
BRING IT
TOGETHER
Different mediums can
come together to create
a meaningful project
Keep the big picture in mind. Remember that
the whole is more important than the parts
that make it up. But what is the ‘big picture’?
This can be difficult to ascertain, especially
when it’s your first documentary project. Two
KEEP
bits of information can help guide you. At
IT SIMPLE
a bare minimum, begin the project by
In documentary photography,
drafting a concise project statement.
it’s best to avoid over-editing your
Write it as if the project has already
images. Simply maintain a consistent
been completed. Use this as your
style and stay away from gimmicks like
initial goal with a secondary goal of
HDR or automatic filters, as rarely are these
processes needed to tell a story and they
modifying it at least three times as
often come across as unprofessional. Keep
you navigate through the project.
it subtle, minimal and unnoticeable. This
The more research you do upfront,
will help keep the focus of the story on
the easier this will be to construct.
the strength of the images themselves
Research other photographers and see
and in turn help your credibility
what you like about their descriptions.
as a serious documentary
Be able to pitch the project in 30 words
photographer.
(an elevator pitch) and 250 words (the
standard length for a project description).
Thinking critically about where you would
like the final work to be displayed will
determine how it is produced and compiled.
Is the project for online use, a traditional
exhibition, will it end up as a monograph, or
will you decide to hide it from the world? Be
fluid and allow for change, but keep a general
idea of what you’re working towards and why.
Be realistic about where the work belongs;
we cannot all hang work in an esteemed
commercial or public gallery, nor should we
all want too.
Returning to the idea of the ‘big picture’,
some images, however stunning, will have to
be left out if they do not fit the narrative or
further the story. Think of these components
as building blocks. Each image, audio clip,
found object or section of text is a building
block. The difficulty in curating a project
is determining which blocks convey to the
viewer something unique, and which ones
only duplicate ideas.
Left top
Detail shots
Local foliage, fence and
camper, Ab, 2015 –
capture details in order to
complete the story
Left bottom
Farmer portrait
Farmer at a local
demolition derby, Ab –
close-up portraits such as
this are always worthwhile
70
Opposite top
Farmer’s wife,
Ab, 2016
Placing people in
the context of their
environment is important
Opposite bottom
Edge of a
small town,
Sk, 2016
Images that set the scene
are also vital elements
TELL A STORY IN PICTURES
Use other media
Theuseofothermediaforms
canhelptellyourstory
Adding more than just images (text,
audio, objects, sculpture, etc.) to your
project can make it original and dynamic,
but also difficult to successfully execute.
Keep in mind how different media
forms interact with one another as you
progress. For instance, if you’re looking
to exhibit your work in a gallery, what
possibilities exist when text is laid next to
a set of images, or audio recordings next
to a series of found objects?
71
TECHNIQUES
SHARE
THE PROJECT
Where can your project exist,
and how should it look?
It was not too long ago that sharing your work
meant having access to the gatekeepers of
the industry, being based in a cultural hub, or
putting up big dollars. With the emergence
of new media and Web 2.0, the process
and pathways for photographers to display
their work and interact with an interested
audience has been upended. This has created
a dynamic environment for the discussion
and exchange of photography. As a result,
a photographer can now live and work in
remote areas and communicate directly with
a global audience.
To use social media effectively you need
to choose the appropriate platforms. Be
selective: you likely do not need more than
three social media accounts to convey your
project. Think quality over quantity and be
consistent with your message. Posting is as
much about sharing your work as it is about
creating a brand or cohesive style for yourself.
Spend some time researching other projects
found on Instagram or Facebook. Ask yourself
simple but crucial questions: What do I like
about them? What can be improved? Will this
style fit my work? Who is my audience? Do I
need dedicated social media channels for my
project? When you do start to post content,
be selective. You want to tease your audience
as you produce the project, as sharing too
much doesn’t give them any reason to
continue to follow the project.
Depending on the project you may also
want to look at a project-dedicated website or
an app. Dedicated websites and apps can be
highly interactive and enable you to effectively
include additional media texts like audio and
video in a seamless way. Natasha Del Toro
and Joakim Eskildsen’s American Realities, as
well as Matt Black’s Geography of Poverty are
strong examples of American poverty projects
that were realised through dedicated websites
as well as being published in book form.
When choosing a model of output, whether
it’s a website, in print, a traditional exhibition
or solely on social media, it’s important
to remember that they are not mutually
exclusive and embracing numerous output
options simultaneously may help extend the
reach of the project.
Right
Small-town book seller, Sk, 2015
Post across social media in a manner that
ensures a consistency in the portrayal of
your brand and cohesion for your project
72
TELL A STORY IN PICTURES
The power of print
Showcaseyourstoryby
presentingitinphotobookform
The photobook is entertaining a period
of unprecedented growth. And in
addition to traditional publishing models,
photographers now have the ability to
crowd-source their projects, enabling
them to sell directly to an audience. The
quality of books and the content within
them has never been higher, and as a
result, competition is stiff. Ensure you do
your homework before deciding to put a
project into book form, and think about
what model works best for your work.
73
TECHNIQUES
CULTIVATE
THE RIGHT
TOOLS
In addition to your photographic
skills, if you fully embrace social media
as a platform you may need to become
an expert and learn the principles of visual
marketing. If you’re building a projectspecific website you may need to learn
web design, and if you are looking to
use audio or video then you will need
additional skills. These are skills
worth cultivating, as they
add to your ‘creative
toolbox’.
Above
White church,
Sk, 2016
Remember to ensure
that images have a
consistent, uniform
look to them if they are
to go together
Left
Checking her
phone in the
pickup, Sk
Images that have a
reportage feel can also
make good additions
to the overall story
74
PRINT & SHARE
PREPARE IMAGES FOR
ONLINE PRINT LABS
Avoid disappointment and learn to get the best quality from your prints
It is often said that we don’t print enough
of our images in the digital age and it
is certainly true that many of us simply
archive our processed files on hard drives
and leave it at that. This may be due in part
to the cost of printing materials – ink and
quality paper prices can be prohibitive for
home printing, especially for large-format
prints, sized A3 and above. Online print
labs provide an affordable solution, often
charging a fraction of these prices and
offering shipping worldwide. The downside
is that the photographer loses control over
the production of prints, and badly colour-
Download paper profiles
balanced images or those with incorrect
brightness are a common issue. Luckily the
causes of this are quite predictable and there
are some easy solutions. Follow the simple
steps in this guide to minimise the risk of
deflating results and guarantee gallery-quality
prints to be proud of.
Send multiple shots for better value
Some labs provide the paper and printer
profiles for the materials and hardware they use
in production. You’ll often find downloadable
files on their website which you can easily install
in Photoshop and apply to images for consistent
colour. Once downloaded, Mac users should
copy the ICC profile to Macintosh
HD>Library>ColorSync>
Profiles, while Windows
users can simply right
click the ICC file and
choose Install. The
profile will then be
accessible from Edit>
Convert to Profile in
Photoshop.
Once you are sure about the quality the lab
provides and are ready to send your images,
gather a collection of shots and send larger
batches for better per-print value. Most
labs offer discount for batch orders, with
price dropping as print number increases.
Send smaller
prints first
Before sending for a
large number of big
prints, test the quality
of a lab’s results by
submitting a limited
order of smaller-format
images. Try sizing some
sample photos to around
6 x 4 inches and requesting
a variety of paper types,
covering matte and glossy.
Conclusion
Using print labs is an economical method
of accessing professional-quality printed
images. While you may not have total
control, correct image preparation
removes the unknown element in the
production process.
Choose
sRGB
If specific
paper
profiles are
not provided,
many labs suggest
you convert your images to
sRGB before submitting them
for print. While sRGB does
not contain as much colour
information, it is more universal.
Follow Edit>Convert to Profile.
Turn off auto-enhancers
Most labs have online software for formatting
and submitting images. A common feature is an
automatic correction filter, which alters brightness,
contrast, saturation and sharpness. These systems are based around
average settings however, and are really intended for images uploaded
straight out of camera by users who have not processed their shots
manually. If you have used Photoshop, Lightroom or Capture first, turn off
this feature to avoid over processed images.
76
Check
your
resolution
Before clicking
submit, check
that the pixel
dimensions of your files
match the size you have requested.
It is possible to accidentally downsize images when importing RAW
files into Photoshop from Camera
Raw, so check you are using all
available pixels.
Pre-crop your images
Be sure to crop your image files to the
correct size before you upload and send
your images to the lab of your choice. If you
want to print your shot at 16 x 12 inches at 300ppi, select or
create a Crop Tool Preset in Photoshop and crop the image
to those exact dimensions and resolution specifications. This
will make sure your photo isn’t pixelated due to insufficient
resolution or warped to fit a non-compatible aspect ratio.
SHOOTING SKILLS
Creative
woodland
photography
Capture the enchantment
of woodlands with creative
camera techniques
Difficulty level: Beginner
Time taken: 3 hours
Our woodlands can be enchanting
places at any time of the year, with
each of the four seasons providing
differing perspectives on this dynamic
environment. We have all seen, admired and
perhaps replicated the classic woodland
images: the freshness of a bluebell wood
in spring, the early morning light shafts
streaming through a summer canopy, the
vibrant colours of autumn, and the ethereal
bare winter trees looming through the
mist. Photographically, woodlands can be
quite challenging; the wide contrast in light
values can make choosing the exposure
values somewhat of a dilemma, but this wide
dynamic range can be used to create some
rather interesting and high-impact images.
By experimenting with various techniques
involving long shutter speeds and lens/
camera movement, some stunning results can
be achieved. In this tutorial we will show you
the basics of some of these techniques, and
how subtle differences in the way they are
employed can change the resulting image. By
adopting these basic principles we hope to
add another dimension to your photography,
a dimension upon which you can expand and
experiment with your own creativity.
Right
Canopy vertigo
By mounting the camera on a tripod, choosing a
slow shutter speed and zooming the lens during the
exposure, this image is brought to life, portraying a
sense of vertigo, the tree canopy ‘rushing’ at the viewer
DSLR (or other camera
fitted with a zoom lens)
Wide-angle or standard
zoom lens
Tripod
Cable or remote
shutter release
Polarising filter
ND filter
78
© Rob Read/Freeze Frame Images Ltd
What you’ll need
79
SHOOTING SKILLS
Shooting
steps
1
2
Research locations Almost
all good photography is the
product of meticulous planning, so
do the ground work first. Visit likely
woodlands and take a good walk
around, noting promising spots and
paying attention to the direction
and travel of sunlight. The edge of
woodlands is a good place to start.
1
Choose your subject A wellexecuted creative technique will
not turn a weak composition into
a strong image. The subject of the
main image, this mature pollarded
small-leaved lime tree, towered
above its neighbours, affording
uninterrupted backlight and strong
compositions from many angles.
2
3
4
Frame your shot Mount the
camera on a sturdy tripod
and take time to frame a pleasing
composition. Adjust the exposure
settings with emphasis on achieving
a shutter speed of around two
seconds. A polarising filter was used
to saturate the colours and add two
stops of light to the exposure time.
3
Get experimental! Now that
the shot is framed and the
exposure is correct, it’s time to
experiment. Start with a shutter
speed of two seconds and grip the
zoom ring on the camera lens. After
you fire the shutter, zoom the lens in
or out during the exposure. Repeat
and review your results.
4
Vary your technique
Experiment with longer or
shorter shutter speeds, vary the
degree of zoom and try starting the
zoom halfway through the exposure.
The effect of these variations will
quickly become apparent and
enable the predictive use of the
techniques with practice.
5
Keep experimenting Don’t
be restricted by convention,
and keep learning. Try rotating the
camera during a long exposure to
create a ‘time-tunnel’ effect – or
why not combine with a zoom at
the same time! Remember, it’s the
photographer that is the limiting
factor to creativity, not the camera.
6
80
5
6
CREATIVE WOODLAND PHOTOGRAPHY
The setup
CAMERA
Any modern DSLR is capable of
taking a variety of different lenses
and offers the ability to control
the aperture, shutter speed
and ISO settings, crucial for
maximum control over creativity.
ZOOM LENS
Choose a good wide
angle or standard
zoom lens with a
reasonable focal range.
Shown are 16 36mm
and 24 70mm lenses.
REMOTE SHUTTER
RELEASE
Although the self timing
function can be used
to fire the shutter,
a cable or remote
shutter release is
recommended.
TRIPOD
ND FILTER
POLARISING FILTER
A neutral density filter can be used
to help reduce the light levels during
exposures, increasing potential
exposure times. During periods of
bright light, these are essential to
help obtain the long shutter speeds
that may be required.
A polarising filter can help to
saturate colours (especially
greens) and deepen blue
skies. It also cuts out around
two stops of light and helps
to lengthen shutter speeds
when light values are high.
Aperture options
A stable tripod is essential
for obtaining the best results.
This one is fitted with a ball
head an ideal combination.
Ensure top image quality by choosing the best setting
Most of the images you will be taking
using these techniques will include a
greater or lesser degree of blur and
movement, so choosing an aperture
setting to control the depth of field isn’t
really a necessary consideration. This
leaves the photographer free to select
a setting to maximise the quality of
the resulting image, choosing a value
that optimises the lens performance.
Most lenses perform best at around f11,
and an aperture value of around this
level should ensure enough flexibility
to enable longer shutter speeds to be
used, by balancing the ISO settings and
employing the use of filters if necessary.
A polarising filter and/or a two-stop
ND filter should be sufficient for most
situations, especially with the exposure
latitude afforded by shooting in RAW.
81
SHOOTING SKILLS
Edit the shot
Adjust the exposure Open the image
in Adobe Camera Raw and adjust the
Exposure slider to the desired exposure
balance. The high contrast in light values
encountered in woodlands can make accurate
exposure across the image tricky in-camera.
1
1
Recover shadow and highlight detail
Here we have used the Shadows, Blacks
and Highlights sliders to recover detail in the
shadows and highlight areas. Shooting in RAW
format will allow more latitude to achieve this.
2
2
Experiment with clarity The Clarity slider
is a lovely tool that increases or decreases
local contrast, making the image crisper or
adding a dream-like softening effect. Here
we’ve chosen to soften the image slightly.
3
Add vibrance The Vibrance slider
is another great tool that can really
add punch to colours globally without
oversaturating them. Here we have increased
the vibrance to bring out the colours of the
tree canopy and sky.
4
Use layers to add local adjustments
Create duplicate layers to add adjustments
to certain areas of the image. Here we have
made levels and curves adjustments to
the sky to add more life to the light streaks
through the canopy.
3
5
5
6
Erase unwanted adjustments Using
the Eraser tool at around 30%, brush any
areas of the adjustment layer you wish to
remove. We erased the adjustment to the tree
trunks, revealing the detail in the layer beneath.
6
Below
Exploiting colour and texture
Contrast is the key to a compelling image. Deepening
the shadows and increasing the highlights emphasises
form, texture and colour, making the image ‘pop’
BEFORE
82
AFTER
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SHOOTING SKILLS
AFTER
Eye-catching effect
After stopping the aperture
down to f16 or beyond, points
of light turn into attractive
starbursts which can contribute
to an artistic, seasonal feel
Make use of
diffraction
Use creative aperture control to introduce
some artistic flare to your images,with
this in-camera special lighting effect
Low-light shots in towns and
cities offer a multitude of creative
opportunities and exposure
challenges in equal measure. High contrast
between the dark environment and bright
artificial light can make calculating exposure
tricky. However, this contrast allows artistic
use of very defined points of light, such as
car headlights and street lamps, to produce
photographs with added interest. A popular
technique is to use the diffractive properties
of very narrow aperture settings to render
these lights as eye-catching ‘starbursts’,
which can be used to create images with a
dreamy, fairytale atmosphere. This effect is
not something we see with our own eyes, so
it easily draws and holds a viewer’s attention.
Without the proper use of f-stop, lights will
remain diffused, bright areas, devoid of form
and structure, which does not suit every
composition. By varying aperture, the extent
of the diffraction of light can be controlled,
altering the effect strength, while focal length
changes the size of the lights within your
composition. With the correct subject matter
and a subtle balance of effect strength and
environmental interest, this technique can
breathe life into otherwise flat and dull scenes.
Select aperture priority mode Set A (or
Av) mode from the main shooting mode
dial, which will enable you to control f-stop
while the camera monitors shutter speed for
exposure. Set ISO 400 as a base setting.
1
84
Inset
Wider aperture
Before stopping down, street lights appear
as ‘blobs’ of light within the image and fail
to have the creative impact we desire
BEFORE
Use a tripod Due to the need to utilise
a small aperture to create the starburst
effect and the low ambient lighting, a tripod is
recommended to keep images sharp. Try test
compositions before affixing your camera.
2
Stop down the aperture Use the control
dial to set a narrow aperture. Start at f16
to achieve the effect without compromising
quality – only go to f22 or beyond if you need
a stronger, more defined effect on your lights.
3
Adjust exposure To create good contrast
between the lights and background,
underexpose slightly using exposure
compensation to produce a darker, dramatic
atmosphere, so the diffracted lights stand out.
4
Place your subject Use Live View to
compose your image, placing your subject
within your pre-arranged background. Try
varying subject position, overlapping them
with the lights to experiment with flare effects.
5
Shoot and review The small aperture
will produce deep depth of field, so shoot
multiple images to ensure a clean background,
free of distractions. Increase the f-number
further if the effect is not yet strong enough.
6
85
GO PRO
Modern photographers need to be flexible to stay
competitive.Learn to incorporate new skills and services
unning a successful photography
business is very challenging in the
modern day. While photographic
technology has progressed at an
extraordinary rate, the widespread access to
specialist gear has come accompanied by an
influx of aspirational photographers, hoping
to build a career. All this extra competition
has taken its toll and many high-street
photographers have gone out of business,
due simply to lack of custom. To combat this
threat, the modern working photographer
has to be strategic in their business plan,
often finding it necessary to expand beyond
their usual domain and find new sources of
revenue in additional genres. Incorporating
new photographic services opens up
Opposite
People skills
Learning to interact
with people is a skill
of its own – while
professional models
may be easier to work
with, any deficit of your
experience will show
up in other shoots
Below
From the
ground up
When moving beyond
your specialisms, it’s
best to start small, as
if you are a new startup business
© Matt Magnino (mattmagnino.com)
R
possibilities through adaptability, although
there are many challenges associated with
expansion. The most obvious of these is cost,
both of photo equipment and advertising.
New genres may require new cameras or
accessories to be successful, while potential
clients need to be aware that you now offer a
service that interests them. Even experienced
photographers can feel as if they are starting
their careers from scratch when attempting
to build new client lists, as they do not
have much of a reputation in the new area
into which they are expanding. Beyond this,
there is the issue of skill and confidence – a
wedding photographer of 30 years may have
had very little experience of commercial
photography and the ‘tricks of the trade’ that
86
EXPAND YOUR BUSINESS
Do you need
a studio?
For certain genres of
photography, a full-time
photographic studio is
essential. For others, it may
simply be a financial drain
© Roger Dyson
At one time a photo studio was,
by definition, a necessity for a
high-street photographer to
maintain a strong presence. For
full-time portrait photographers
this may still be true, but with the
dawn of online businesses, you
may find that a single physical
location is simply not enough to
attract clients. For commercial or
event photography, a website and
telephone number may be a far
more efficient means of securing
assignments. You may need to
decide to reconsider retaining
your studio, or think about
whether you should invest in one
for your expanding business.
87
GO PRO
help one become established in that genre. In
this situation, it is also likely the photographer
would have a very limited portfolio of images
from which to demonstrate their ability and
garner new clients. The best solutions to
these problems have a common theme –
start small and don’t invest too much, too
early. When trying any new service, it is
good practice to treat the process as if you
are a start-up business once more, taking
small steps, engaging in small-scale shoots,
building a gradually expanding image
portfolio and constructing a new client
base. Try adapting current kit for new uses
before buying new, specialist equipment that
you may not require in another six months.
Conversely, attempt to work hired gear or
new equipment into your current genres, to
give you experience of using it in a ‘live’, onshoot setting. Many mistakes occur because
a photographer is improperly using unfamiliar
technology, which also increases stress in a
working environment. Another consideration
for gaining experience is to engage in
short-term professional partnerships,
working as a second shooter for another
photographer, who is an expert in your target
field. Small, individually run wedding and
event photography businesses often require
help with one-off shoots, where a full-time,
in-house photographer is inviable. Likewise,
inviting a specialist to join your business
on a short-term basis can bring talent and
expertise, which you can absorb and apply
yourself in the future. Regarding reputation,
it is useful to run separate websites for each
branch of your photography, which can
avoid the impression that you are too broad
in focus and lack specialist skills. Ensure
these are connected however, to direct traffic
to the other services you offer, attracting
new interest from existing customers. If
you are offering a new service because you
were approached with a proposition, a little
improvisation may be necessary, but if it is a
pre-planned expansion, base choice genres
on your present specialisms. DP
Above left
Tricks of the trade
Some genres require specialist techniques, which can only be
perfected through experience. Food photography depends on
unique lighting and shot design skills for example, which you
may not have used for other services
Below Left
Property preferences
Estate agents are very particular about the atmosphere in
property shots – you may have to adapt your shooting style to
match. Knowledge of light direction for ‘airiness’ and balanced
exposure must be learned
Opposite below
Shooting for stock
Images destined for stock image libraries must be suitable
for large-scale reproduction and multiple functions. Subject
matter must be generic, unlike other commercial photography
areas with which you may be more familiar
88
EXPAND YOUR BUSINESS
One-off shoots
Not every new service or genre has to define a
new direction for your business
Sometimes existing clients reveal context-specific shoot
requirements that don’t present an opportunity for longterm business evolution. In these cases, hiring gear is the
best option or equally, outsourcing the job to an expert
photographer can make undertaking the brief practical and
affordable, while helping maintain your ‘can-do’ reputation.
Clients don’t often like “no” as an answer, so taking on the
challenge wherever possible may be a route to recurring
work in the new genre, in future.
Above below
Niche profitability
Directing crowds
By expanding into niche areas, it is possible
to source new revenue streams of which, if
you time your market entry correctly, you
may gain exclusive access in your region
If you have little people management skills, then
you may find it difficult to direct groups of models.
Be sure you can handle the pressure of a largerscale shoot if you want to maintain professionalism
Large props, such as vehicles and use of large and expensive locations, may not be
a viable financial or administrative investment for a single shoot
All images © Roger Dyson
Above top
89
GO PRO
Pro case study
Commercial
photographer Roger
Dyson (dysonphoto.
co.uk) provides some
invaluable advice for
taking on new challenges for your
photography business
How long have you run a photography
business and what areas of
photography do you usually work in?
I began my career at Blackpool College in
1983, studying commercial photography
and video. I started my current business
in 1999 and specialise in location lighting,
working for a range of clients from estate
agents to design companies. I embrace
new technologies where I can to enhance
my work, but I like to produce results incamera, not relying too heavily on
post-production. Lighting is the thing
that I enjoy most and fortunately, as
technology has changed, lighting is still
as relevant as ever.
What are the main challenges with
incorporating a new service or genre
into a photography business?
New services always involve investment
of time and money so it’s important to
get them earning their keep as quickly as
possible. You may need to learn new skills
and invest in equipment and marketing.
With my work I aim to provide clients
with images that will help them sell their
product or service, so when I’m offering
a new service I offer it to existing clients
first to ensure that there is a need. A
new service is also a great way of gaining
new clients and introducing them to your
existing services.
What would you suggest should be the
first steps when it comes to offering a
new photography service?
Be certain that you are proficient – try
and wing it and you will lose credibility.
Marketing is crucial, but offer it to existing
clients first.
90
Above top
Roger’s tips for growing
your service repertoire
Education Know your subject and technique. Get tuition if
needed – be well practised as you need to be professional
under working conditions.
Marketing This is crucial – it’s easier than ever, but at the
same time things are more competitive. Make sure that
there is a need for the service that you are offering and that
it has a benefit to your clients. You are looking for repeat
business and to grow through word of mouth.
Payment Offer reduced rates if necessary to gain
experience but don’t feel pressured to work for free. It may
be tempting but it won’t lead to paid work.
That special light
Roger is an expert
in location lighting.
Advertising shots like
this require knowledge of
complex lighting setups
to achieve attractive
balanced exposures
Above below
Colour and depth
Roger Dyson has extensive
experience of commercial
photography, with ‘insider
knowledge’ of how to use
light and colour to sell a
product or concept
All images © Roger Dyson
How could a photographer judge if
offering a new service has benefited
or will benefit them in the business
long term?
You will need to take a long-term view as
nothing happens overnight, but a new
service needs to gain you new clients,
new business and potentially open up
new avenues to you. Everything has to be
cost effective – if it’s not, then you will
have to rethink.
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REVIEWS
THIRD PARTY
STANDARD
ZOOMS
Most of us use a standard zoom for the majority of our
shooting, but which gives you the most bang for your buck?
94
HEAD TO HEAD
Everybody loves a bargain, but that’s
something you don’t usually get with
camera manufacturers’ own-brand
lenses, and standard zooms are no exception.
The latest Canon and Nikon 24-70mm f2.8
lenses certainly don’t come cheap, with RRPs
of £2,000/$2,000 or more, and the Canon
doesn’t even feature image stabilisation.
You could argue that you don’t need
stabilisation with a relatively ‘fast’ f2.8 lens,
but we disagree. For everyday shooting that
often includes dull or interior lighting, a little
stabilisation goes a long way. After all, you’ll
often want to shoot with medium or even
narrow apertures, to extend your depth of
field without pushing your camera’s ISO
setting through the roof.
High-quality, fast standard zooms represent
a big opportunity in the marketplace for
independents like Sigma and Tamron. Indeed,
both manufacturers have new 24-70mm
f2.8 lenses on their books. The Sigma ‘Art’
class lens and Tamron G2 (Generation 2)
both represent major upgrades over previous
designs, while undercutting own-brand Canon
and Nikon lenses for price. And both lenses
have similarly impressive specifications,
features and build quality.
The previous edition of Sigma’s 24-70mm
f2.8 lens wasn’t stabilised but the new version
adds this, along with a host of other upgrades.
The original Tamron lens did include the
company’s proprietary VC (Vibration
Compensation) system, but stabilisation has
been revamped in the new lens, amongst
other notable improvements. Let’s take a
closer look at how these competing lenses
perform in practice.
95
REVIEWS
PRICE: £1,250 / $1,200
Tamron SP 24-70mm
f2.8 Di VC USD G2
Like many of Tamron’s recent lenses,
this one has a really high-quality look and feel,
with performance to match
Tamron’s new G2 (Generation 2) lens feels
sturdy, robust and very well engineered, with
a metal outer barrel. Like the Sigma, the
metal mounting plate is weather sealed,
but the Tamron also features weather seals
around its other joints and switches. The
switches for AF/MF and VC (Vibration
Compensation) on/off are rather larger,
and easier to operate when wearing gloves.
The Tamron also adds a zoom lock switch,
although we didn’t experience any problems
with zoom creep.
In our review samples, the Tamron’s zoom
ring operated a little more freely than the
Sigma’s but slightly less smoothly. The
direction of rotation for zooming is reversed,
compared with the Sigma, more akin to Nikon
rather than Canon zoom lenses. Both lenses
are available in Canon and Nikon mounting
options, while the Sigma is also available in
Sigma’s own proprietary mount. The lenses
are also compatible with the respective
manufacturer’s optional USB consoles for
applying customisation and firmware updates.
Autofocus is very quick and extremely
quiet in operation, based on a new version
of Tamron’s ring-type ultrasonic system. The
VC stabiliser is similarly impressive, delivering
a five-stop benefit in our tests beating the
Sigma’s stabiliser by a full stop.
As with the Sigma, the optical path is
complex, this time including two XR (Extra
Refractive Index), three LD (Low Dispersion),
three GM (Glass-Molded aspherical) and one
hybrid aspherical element. Nano-structure
coatings as well as conventional coatings are
applied and, in our tests, the Tamron edged
ahead of the Sigma for minimising ghosting
and flare.
96
As with the Sigma lens, the front element
has a wide diameter and the filter attachment
thread is typically large for a 24-70mm
f2.8 lens, at 82mm. Vignetting is a little
more noticeable than from the Sigma when
shooting wide open, but largely disappears
when stopping down to f4. Again, bokeh is
very soft and appealing, both wide open and
at slightly narrower apertures, with a similarly
well-rounded nine-blade diaphragm.
Another similarity to the Sigma lens is
that the aperture is electro-magnetically
controlled, in both the Canon and Nikon
mount options. An upside is that exposure
values tend to be more accurate and
consistent during sequences of rapid,
continuous shooting. Nikon was relatively
late to adopt this method, rather than a
mechanical lever, making both the Sigma and
Tamron incompatible with some older Nikon
APS-C format SLRs. However, there are no
incompatibility problems with any of Nikon’s
full-frame cameras.
Both lenses deliver excellent contrast and
impressive sharpness when shooting wide
open. The Tamron is marginally sharper in the
24-35mm section of the zoom range, whereas
the Sigma is a little sharper at 50-70mm focal
lengths. Colour fringing is even more absent
in the Tamron lens than in the Sigma, right
into the extreme corners of the image frame,
and distortions are similarly well controlled
throughout the zoom range.
When it comes to little extras, both lenses
are supplied with a petal-shaped hood,
although the Tamron’s has a release button
so that it locks in place. The Sigma comes
complete with a padded soft case, whereas
the Tamron is only supplied with a pouch.
HEAD TO HEAD
Above
Right above
Right below
Shallow and deep
Sharpness
Smooth transitions
It matches the Sigma lens for zoom
and aperture ranges, enabling
excellent control over depth of field
At 70mm, the Tamron is
sharper than the Sigma at
apertures of f8 or narrower
There’s practically no difference
between the lenses for the
smoothness of defocused areas
Left
Better by design
A far cry from the original
Tamron 24-70mm VC, the G2
is a truly professional-grade
lens with top-drawer build
quality and performance
97
REVIEWS
Left above
Left below
Above
Shooting at 70mm with apertures
between f2.8 and f5.6, the Sigma
edges ahead for sharpness
Combining the longest focal
length with an aperture of
f2.8 gives beautiful bokeh
The classic 24-70mm zoom range
goes from seriously wide angle to
short telephoto on a full-frame body
Sharp when wide
Right
Quality components
and finish
Sigma’s latest standard zoom
gets the ‘Art’ treatment, being
engineered for ‘unbeatable
expressive performance’. Smartly
turned out in a metal jacket, it
feels solid and dependable
98
Bokeh
From wide to long
HEAD TO HEAD
PRICE: £1,400 / $1,300
Sigma 24-70mm
f2.8 DG OS HSM | Art
A bigger, weightier proposition than Sigma’s
previous 24-70mm, the new ‘Art’ lens promises a
boost in build quality and all-round performance
Some 25 per cent heavier than its
predecessor, Sigma’s new Art lens weighs in
at just over a kilogram. It feels much more
solid and substantial in the hand, the outer
barrel combining a metal shell with TSC
(Thermally Stable Composite) material. As
you would expect in a premium lens, the
mounting plate is also metal, and features
a weather-seal ring, although the other
joints and switches around the lens are not
weather sealed.
Placement of the two control rings is the
same as in the Tamron lens, with a fairly
narrow focus ring at the rear and a larger
zoom ring towards the front. Both lenses
feature a focus distance scale beneath a
viewing window. Canon photographers will
feel at home with the zoom ring, which
increases the focal length when twisting
anti-clockwise (viewed from the rear). This
is opposite to Nikon zoom lenses, and the
competing Tamron.
The zoom and focus rings both operate
very smoothly and precisely, the former
having markings for 24, 28, 35, 50 and 70mm.
The Tamron omits the 28mm marking. In
both lenses, the inner barrel extends by
about 30mm as you extend from minimum to
maximum zoom setting. The Sigma doesn’t
have a zoom lock switch but didn’t suffer
from any zoom creep in our tests. Focusing is
fully internal, so the front element and filter
attachment thread doesn’t rotate.
Autofocus is fast and quiet, based on a
revamped HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor) system
that delivers a third more torque than in
Sigma’s previous lens. Even so, the Tamron’s
autofocus proved marginally quicker and
slightly quieter in our tests. As usual with
ring-type ultrasonic systems, full-time manual
override is available in Single/One Shot AF
mode, once autofocus has been achieved.
However, the Sigma has an additional MO
(Manual Override) autofocus mode, available
from a three-position AF/MO/MF switch
on the barrel. This enables manual override
before autofocus has locked onto a subject in
Single AF mode, as well as in Continuous/AI
Servo mode. It’s a feature that’s lacking in the
Tamron lens.
As with the Tamron, there’s a
straightforward on/off switch for optical
stabilisation, without a dedicated panning
mode. Throughout the zoom range, we
experienced an effectiveness equivalent to
four stops, which is an improvement over
some of Sigma’s older lenses.
We’ve found the previous Sigma 24-70mm
to be lacking in outright sharpness, especially
at its widest aperture of f2.8. The new
Art lens fares much better in this respect,
delivering very good centre sharpness when
shooting wide open, throughout the zoom
range. There’s also less falloff in sharpness
towards the edges and corners of the frame.
Meanwhile, bokeh is pleasingly smooth when
shooting wide open, and remains good when
stopping down a little, thanks in part to a wellrounded nine-blade diaphragm.
Helped by the inclusion of three SLD
(Special Low Dispersion) elements, colour
fringing is quite well controlled and, again,
it’s an area of performance in which the Art
lens beats its predecessor. Distortions are
also fairly minimal for a standard zoom, with
well-restrained barrel at 24mm, negligible
distortion around 35mm and only a little
pincushion between 50mm and 70mm.
99
REVIEWS
Tamron SP 24-70mm
f2.8 Di VC USD G2
Manufacturer
Tamron
Model
SP 24-70mm f2.8
Di VC USD G2
Web
www.tamron.com
Elements/groups
17/12
Angle of view
84-34.2 degrees
Max aperture
f2.8
Min aperture
f22
Min focus distance
0.38m
Mount
Canon, Nikon
Filter size
82mm
Length
111mm
Diameter
88mm
Weight
905g
100
Features
It lacks the Sigma’s MO
autofocus mode but the
Vibration Compensation
system is incredible
Build quality
The construction has
extensive weather seals
and a fluorine coating on
the front element
Handling
Handling is very good
overall but the zoom ring
isn’t quite as smooth as
in the Sigma
Quality of results
It’s a little sharper than
the Sigma at the wideangle end, less so at the
long end
Value for money
With build quality and
performance being so
similar, the Tamron is
slightly better value
Sigma 24-70mm
f2.8 DG OS HSM | Art
Manufacturer
Sigma
Model
24-70mm f2.8 DG
OS HSM | Art
Web
www.sigmaglobal.com
Elements/groups
19/14
Angle of view
84.1-34.3 degrees
Max aperture
f2.8
Min aperture
f22
Min focus distance
0.37m
Mount
Canon, Nikon,
Sigma
Filter size
82mm
Length
108mm
Diameter
88mm
Weight
1,020g
Features
The Manual Override
focus mode is a neat
addition and the optical
stabiliser works well
Build quality
It’s impressively built but
the rubber ring on the
mounting plate is the
only weather seal
Handling
The zoom and focus
rings are silky smooth
and have a really highprecision feel
Quality of results
Sharpness and contrast
are very good, there’s
little distortion and bokeh
is beautiful
Value for money
It’s a little more
expensive than the
Tamron lens but still
good value at the price
Overall
Overall
Fabulous image quality is delivered
by great optics, helped along by a
superb stabiliser and backed up by
super-fast and reliable autofocus.
Performance and build quality are
better than in the previous Sigma
24-70mm, closely matching the best
lenses from Canon and Nikon.
REVIEWS
Above
Flash in the box
There’s no flash built in,
but a small hot-shoe flash
is provided as standard
Opposite
Fixed screen
The three-inch screen is
fixed, which isn’t ideal for
high or low-level shooting
102
Price:
P
i
£849 / $900
$90 (body only)
Fujifilm X-E3
Fuji has updated its mini-rangefinder-style model with its
respected 24MP sensor, creating a little gem of a camera
As the last remaining Fujifilm
mirrorless system camera to have a
16MP sensor, the X-E3 didn’t really
come as a surprise when it was unveiled in
September. However, Fujifilm hasn’t just put its
24.3MP X-Trans CMOS III APS-C sensor and X
Processor Pro processing engine into the old
X-E2S body, it’s given the camera design some
thought and introduced a few changes that
make the new offering an attractive option for
a wide range of potential users.
Like the X-T2, X-Pro2, X-T20 and X100F that
also have this sensor and processing engine
combination, the X-E3 has an native sensitivity
range of ISO 200-12,800, expandable to
51,200. It’s also possible to shoot at up to
11fps for 53 JPEGs or 21 uncompressed RAW
files with continuous autofocusing.
Fuji has also updated the autofocus system
to a 325-point hybrid system that allows
points to be selected individually or in zones.
“The X-E3’s size
and shape means
it looks and feels
better balanced
with a small prime
lens mounted”
Alternatively, the camera can select a point
automatically. There are the same autofocus
customisation options found on the X-T20 that
enable you to tailor the camera’s response to
the subject and shooting conditions.
So far this might seem fairly predictable
and following the pattern set by previously
updated X-series cameras, but the X-E3 is
the first camera from Fuji to feature ‘alwayson’ Bluetooth connectivity that enables
you to transfer images automatically to a
smartphone. What might be more surprising,
though, is that Fuji has completely done away
with the navigation pad that normally features
on the back of its X-series mirrorless system
cameras. Instead, there’s a mini joystick
similar to the one on the X-Pro2 and X-T2 and
a touchscreen. What’s more, there’s a Touch
Function feature, which means you can access
key controls by swiping up, down, left or right,
and you can customise which features you
want to access via the menu.
As there are no clues on the screen, it takes
a little while to get used to which way to swipe
to access the feature you want, but overall the
system works well and can be used whether
you’re composing images on the screen or in
the viewfinder.
It’s also possible to set the AF point via the
screen when the camera is held to your eye,
and you can specify whether you want to use
the whole screen or just part of it for touch
control – that’s especially useful for left-eye
shooters who may find their nose takes
FEATURES
EXPOSURE COMPENSATION
In the unlikely event that you need to apply greater
than +/-3EV exposure compensation, turn to C and
use the front command dial to set it to up to +/-5 EV.
TRADITIONAL CONTROLS
The shutter speed dial, exposure compensation dial
and lens aperture ring give you direct control over
exposure. Selecting ‘A’ puts the camera in control.
TOUCHSCREEN
In addition to Touch Shot, Touch AF and Focus Area
Selection capabilities, Touch Function enables you
to access key features with the swipe of a finger.
AUTOMATIC SHOOTING
When the switch under the shutter speed dial is set
to Auto, the camera is in Advanced SR Auto mode
and sets the exposure settings it deems appropriate.
QUICK MENU
The Quick Menu is customisable and can provide a
fast route to up to 16 commonly used features. It can
also be operated using the touchscreen.
CUSTOMISATION
Eight controls are available for customisation and
there’s a My Menu screen that can house the
features you use most, allowing for personalisation.
TRADITIONAL CONTROLS
103
REVIEWS
control. In practice, however, it’s usually easier
to set the AF point with your thumb on the
mini-joystick controller.
The X-E3’s size and shape means it looks
and feels better balanced with a small prime
lens mounted, rather than a long telephoto
zoom, but the front grip with its effectively
textured surface and the rear thumb ridge
provide a comfortable and secure hold. In
addition, the camera’s metal body has a highquality and robust feel.
As the X-E3 has the same sensor and
processing engine as the acclaimed X-T2 and
X-Pro2, the image quality that it produces
doesn’t really come as a surprise and on the
whole the results look great.
Furthermore, the 256-zone metering system
seems to take most things in its stride and
the compensation dial is rarely called into
use. Of course with the 0.39-inch, 2,360,000dot OLED electronic viewfinder and screen
showing the impact of camera settings, it’s
not often that you’ll be surprised by the need
to use the compensation dial, as you’ll be
forewarned of any over or underexposure.
Like Fuji’s other X-series mirrorless cameras,
the X-E3’s autofocus (AF) system is nice and
snappy, responding promptly even in low light
and with low-contrast subjects. That’s useful
for street photography, which is perhaps a
more likely use of the camera than sport.
Fuji’s Film Simulation modes have proved
very popular and some pros routinely use
them to get their JPEGs looking as they want
in-camera, saving them time by avoiding RAW
file processing. It’s worth experimenting with
the options to find the ones you like best, and
trying the Highlight and Shadow Tone controls
to get the look just right. Classic Chrome is a
TALKING POINT…
Connectivity
Fujifilm has taken a leaf out of Nikon’s
book with the addition of ‘always-on’
Bluetooth to facilitate the automatic
transfer of images to a smartphone or
tablet. The initial setup is easy, just a case
of selecting Pairing Registration from the
Bluetooth Settings option in the menu.
In theory, once the camera is paired
with a phone, it should transfer the most
recent images from the memory card to
the phone every time the camera is turned
off, but we found this a little unreliable.
If the phone and camera have been out
of reach of each other for a while, it’s
necessary to use the app to remind the
camera of the connection. Subsequently
shot images will then transfer.
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104
@DPhotographer
www.facebook.com/DigitalPhotographerUK
FUJIFILM X-E3
firm favourite, but deepen the
shadows a little with the Shadow
Tone control and you get a more
edgy look.
The auto white balance system
can be relied upon in many conditions,
but the Daylight setting has a slight
edge in overcast conditions, delivering
warmer, more attractive images. Again, this
can all be assessed at the shooting stage in
the viewfinder.
Noise is controlled well throughout the
X-E3’s native sensitivity range and even the
top expansion settings don’t disgrace it.
However, the best results are produced when
the sensitivity is kept to ISO 3200 or lower.
Noise is handled very well in JPEGs, but RAW
files have a little more detail, especially at the
higher ISO settings.
100%
Inset
Looking good
The X-E3 creates attractive images with
a filmic quality and pleasant mid-tone
contrast that makes them look super-sharp
Right
Film Simulation modes
It’s worth spending time finding your
favourite Film Simulation so you can create
images that you want to share in-camera
Fujifilm X-E3
Megapixels
24.3
Max resolution
6,000 x 4,000
Sensor information
APS-C format X-Trans
CMOS III
Shutter speed
30-1/32,000 sec
ISO sensitivity
200-12,800 expandable
to 100-51,200
Exposure modes
Auto, P,A,S, M
Metering options
Multi, Spot, Average,
Centre Weighted
Flash modes
Hot-shoe mounted only
Connectivity
Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB
2.0, HDMI (Type D),
2.5mm mic, 2.5mm
remote release
Weight
337g (including battery
and card)
Dimensions
121.3 x 73.9 x 42.7mm
Batteries
NP-W126S Li-ion
battery supplied
Storage
SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-I
LCD
Touch-sensitive
3-inch LCD with
1,040,000 dots
Viewfinder
0.39-inch OLED with
2,360,000 dots
1
FEATURES
2
3
4
The X E3’s understated looks
conceal an extensive feature set
with lots of direct control
BUILD QUALITY
It may be light and doesn’t have
the weather sealing of the X-Pro2,
but this is a solid feeling camera
HANDLING
It takes a while to get familiar with
the touchscreen, but the speed of
control is excellent
QUALITY OF RESULTS
In the right Film Simulation mode
the X E3 produces delightful
images in many conditions
VALUE FOR MONEY
The price hints at the power within
this camera; it’s not your average
entry level model
Overall
Once again Fujifilm has
demonstrated its clever
thinking with the controls
and delivered a camera with
lots of personality and great
image quality. A tilting screen
would’ve topped it off nicely.
1 COMMAND DIALS
2 THUMB SPACE
3 GOOD GRIP
4 FOCUS LEVER
Front and rear command dials fall within
easy reach for adjusting settings.
This ridge provides good purchase but
you need a second hand for long lenses.
Removing the navigation pad gives more
room for your thumb on the back.
This falls conveniently under your thumb
for setting the desired AF point quickly.
105
REVIEWS
Price: £580 / $550
Canon EOS 200D (EOS Rebel SL2)
Does this DSLR manage to balance portability with powerful features?
We investigate the second-generation miniature EOS
The Canon EOS 200D is a unique
DSLR camera. Following on as a
successor to the EOS 100D of 2013,
the 200D features a miniaturised body, to
place it in direct competition with the current
crop of mirrorless compact
system cameras. Canon has
employed significant engineering
innovation to apply an almost
exact downscale of its EOS
design. The body feels noticeably
leaner than its Canon entry-level
stablemates, handling more
like a bridge camera with its contoured hand
grip, which remains reassuringly deep and
textured. When paired with the EF-S 18-55mm
f4-5.6 IS STM kit lens, the setup feels perfectly
balanced so that, despite its small size, the
camera does not seem in danger of being
dropped through loss of grip.
The EOS 200D’s 63-zone dual-layer
metering system is very capable of managing
high-contrast scenes and is not easily fooled
into blocking up shadow areas through
underexposure. Sharpness, colour and
are put to good use, resolving plenty of fine
detail, especially at around f8 and ISO 100800. This is complemented by the three-inch
Clear View II touch-sensitive LCD, which
displays a good level of contrast, without being
excessive. The touch feature is
reliable and responsive, allowing
rapid settings access and postshot zooming for review. The AF
system is excellent, offering fluid,
lightning-quick response times, in
concert with the 18-55mm lens’
STM drive. Where the 200D falls
behind the 800D is in its nine-point AF system,
which is less versatile than the 45-point array
in the latter model.
Overall, the Canon EOS 200D excels as a
take-anywhere camera, that offers advanced
features, an intuitive interface and impressive
image quality.
“Although the camera is small
in size, it is pitched higher in the
EOS range than basic entry-level”
clarity at ISO 25,600 are a good indicator
that although the camera is small in size, it is
pitched higher in the EOS range than basic
entry-level. Colour output is natural, displaying
pleasant, lifelike hues that are punchy without
being oversaturated. Even with the kit lens,
the APS-C CMOS sensor’s 24.2 megapixels
Below
EOS system compatibility
The 200D features a standard Canon
hot-shoe and EF lens mount
Above top
Compact design
The camera body is not much
larger than some CSCs
Above bottom
Q Set button
Push this button to enable settings
selection using the touchscreen
106
FEATURES
ARTICULATED SCREEN
The LCD rotates 180 degrees, making low and highlevel shooting comfortable. Touch focus increases
the usefulness of the articulation for video.
GUIDED USER INTERFACE
This acts as a hands-on reference for immediate
choice of settings to suit every scene, enabling new
photographers to learn camera skills on the go.
TOUCH SENSITIVITY
The sensitive touchscreen is excellent for pinchand-zoom image review and intuitive interaction
with camera settings and image style options.
WI-FI
The 200D can share images with and be wirelessly
controlled via a specialised app. This increases the
versatility of the camera for remote shooting.
DOF PREVIEW BUTTON
A feature now often absent from cameras, the
depth-of-field preview allows focus to be seen on
the LCD or in the viewfinder, before capture.
CREATIVE FILTERS
Art effects are available from the main dial. While
some have limited usability, the HDR Standard
option is subtle and useful for balanced exposures.
Above
Battery compartment
Unusually, the memory card slot
is located alongside the battery
ARTICULATED SCREEN
Below left
Nimble and inconspicuous
The 200D is small enough to carry anywhere
and go unnoticed when shooting on the street
Below right
True to life
Colour reproduction is very realistic with the
camera able to capture delicate hues
LIGHT AS A
FEATHER
The EOS 200D is incredibly
small and lightweight for a true
DSLR camera; the body itself
could almost fit into a large
coat pocket. Importantly
there is no trade-off in
image quality or
practicality.
Canon EOS 200D
(EOS Rebel SL2)
Megapixels
24.2
Max resolution
6,000 x 4,000
Sensor
information
22.3 x 14.9mm
CMOS
Shutter speed
30 - 1/4,000sec,
Bulb
ISO sensitivity
100 - 25,600, A
Exposure modes
Auto, P, A, S, M, CA
Metering options
CW, P, S, E
Flash modes
TTL Auto, Manual
Connectivity
USB, Wi-Fi
Weight
454g approx.
(including battery)
Dimensions
122 x 93 x 70mm
Batteries
Rechargeable
Li-ion
Storage
SD, SDHC, SDXC
LCD
3in, 1,040,000
dots
Viewfinder
Pentamirror,
0.87x
magnification,
95% coverage
FEATURES
The 200D is very much an
EOS DSLR, with a feature list as
complete as one would expect
BUILD QUALITY
The body construction feels a little
plasticky, but this is an expected
trade-off for weight
HANDLING
True DSLR handling gives the
camera a serious feel, though
button layout is a little ‘tight’
QUALITY OF RESULTS
Image quality is as good as you
could hope for from a camera at
this level: clean and sharp
VALUE FOR MONEY
Pricing is competitive for the
quality, specification and
specialist design you receive
Overall
The compatibility with
the entire range of EOS
accessories and EF lenses
makes the Canon EOS
200D a highly attractive
enthusiast’s tool.
107
REVIEWS
Above top
Basic tools
Luminar has the capability to make basic
transformations to your images, like cropping
Above below
Filters
The filters in Luminar 2018 are stacked
logically and stored in folders with
headings, so that you can find them
easier than ever before
Left
Presets
DOWNLOAD THE TEST SHOTS
www.filesilo.co.uk/digitalphotographer
Macphun Luminar 2018
Presets are what Macphun is known
for and there’s a whole collection of
great quality ones in this edition of
Luminar, which are located along
the bottom of the window
Discover the package that caters to both one-click fixes and thorough edits
SRP: £64 / $69 OS: Windows 7 or later, macOS 10.10.5 or later
Since the advent of Instagram,
photo-editing has become as simple
as a few one-touch fixes by applying
filters and quick, effortless tweaks to your
imagery. For those still seeking a thorough
and extensive shake-up there are programs
– such as Lightroom – that can completely
revolutionise your photos, but on the whole,
as photographers become busier and editing
batches of photos becomes more and more of
a chore, many of us just seek simplicity.
This is where Macphun software comes in.
The company’s Creative Kit Plus has become
an extremely popular Mac-only set of plug-ins
for all kinds of specific editing needs, from
tilt-shifts to black and white editing, with a
unanimously popular presets bar along the
bottom of the interface so that you can quickly
add effects according to your needs. Luminar
is built like Lightroom, with RAW processing,
layers and masking included, only it offers the
simplicity of the presets bar along the bottom.
108
It’s perfect both for photographers who are
looking for a quick fix, or those that wish to
get more in-depth with their edits.
Luminar 2018 is still as quick and easy to
use as much of the Creative Kit, but it’s more
extensive than any Macphun plug-in has ever
been before. The new dodge and burn tool
is a particularly interesting addition to those
wanting a little Photoshop-like control over
contrast, and the Polarizing and Sun Ray
filters are superb quality and a great inclusion
to the software. Luminar feels slicker than
before, and certainly sleeker than most of its
contemporaries, and the software is far better
organised than previous Macphun programs,
with the presets and filters now helpfully
sorted into folders.
Luminar is the most powerful Macphun
product yet, but it’s still not at the level of
Lightroom or Photoshop. It’s fast and flashy
but ultimately, it just doesn’t offer the level of
depth of an Adobe product.
For the price, Luminar is perhaps the most
complete and thorough editing program that
you can buy. As social media progresses, it’ll
probably become even easier to edit your
photos, but Luminar 2018 is the perfect
balance between the simple and the complex.
macphun.com
Summary
Ease of use
Value for money
Features
Quality of results
Overall
A powerful and easy-to-use piece of
software, Luminar is easily Macphun’s
best product yet, useful for both
beginners and professionals
SOFTWARE
Pixnub Portrait Crop
Crop a batch of portraits with ease thanks to this offering from Pixnub
SRP: $130 / £98 (approx) OS: Mac/Windows, Adobe Photoshop CC 2015.5 or later
The framing of an image is just as
important as the content; you can be
in the greatest location with the best
model and the most high-tech camera, but it
doesn’t mean a thing if you can’t contextualise
it within four sides. It’s just a shame that
batch-editing photos doesn’t leave much time
for to-ing and fro-ing with the perfect crop.
Portrait Crop from Pixnub is one plug-in
that can help you save time when it comes
to cropping your photos, and gives great
results to improve your snaps. It’s compatible
with Photoshop and can be found in the
Filters menu; simply click on it and it will
automatically find a face in your photo. From
there, the editing options are top drawer
and it’s easy to work your way around. Save
presets if you like, or just go with the default
options available.
The plug-in provides us with batch-editing
options too, and it’s a powerful feature for
tweaking multiple pictures at once. This
batch option can still find the faces in your
images with precision, whether the subjects
are wearing glasses or have hair partially
covering their face, and it’s also really simple
to choose folders.
Portrait Crop is one of the simpler additions
you can find for your editing workflow, but
it’s one that really makes your life easier,
especially if you have a vast collection of
photos that all need a quick tweak at once.
For portrait photographers, this is definitely
a piece of software worth investing in, as
it’s powerful, yet speedy to work through.
Cropping is just as important as taking the
actual shot, and Portrait Crop can give it just
the kind of refinery that it deserves.
pixnub.com
Summary
Ease of use
Value for money
Features
Quality of results
Above top
Preset window
Overall
Portrait Crop can deliver good results for
such a simple piece of software. It’s great
for any portrait photographer who wishes to
save a little bit of time while they’re editing
Use the drop-down menu at the top of the Portrait
Crop window to find a preset to apply to your image
Above below
Facial detection
Run an image through Portrait Crop and it’ll automatically
find a face to crop to, so that you don’t have to sort it yourself
App Focus
Adobe
Spark Page
Price: Free
OS: iOS 9 or later
With the continue
ed rise
of social media comes
the ability to share
e your
photos with friend
ds, and
over the last few years
Adobe has branched
into that avenue. A
couple of years ag
go
Behance launched
d
a portfoilo site,
and this autumn
n Lightroom
went cloud-based; Spark Page is somewhere
between the two. It lets you build galleries
to share via links, it’s user-friendly and
customisable, and it’s a great way to
get your work displayed and seen
by fellow bloggers.
Left
Portrait Crop interface
The plug-in’s interface is simple, sleek and
makes it easy to find everything you’d like to
109
REVIEWS
ACCESS RIES
A collection of the best fun-yet-functional products out there for photographers
LOUPEDECK
Are you dedicated enough to your
editstobuythisspecialiseddeck?
loupedeck.com
€299 (£268/$355 approx)
If you are a professional photographer that
spends a fair bit of time at the computer
processing your imagery, then the Loupedeck
should be at the top of your shopping list.
Loupedeck is a photo-editing console for
Adobe Lightroom, and it really helps to take
the stress and hard work out of editing.
The Loupedeck offers the photographer
more scope to take their edits further. The
intuitive keys and dials are well laid out and
feel very natural to use, meaning that all of
110
your focus can go into the image on the screen
in front of you instead of hunting for sliders
and menus. It’s ergonomically designed, so is
pleasant to use even on long editing sessions.
One the bottom left you’ll find five buttons
that can be used to rate your images with a
simple click, which really helped to speed up
our edits and sort our imagery with ease.
There are dials for all of the main sliders
in Lightroom, including Contrast, Clarity,
Exposure, Blacks, Whites, Shadows and
Highlights. We were really impressed with
these, however it did take us a while to
remember exactly where each dial is. But
after some practice we were able to tweak the
dials without having to look at the deck, and
so could focus completely on the image. The
other functions that we were really impressed
by were the scrolling wheels for adjusting
individual colour channels, as well as the
custom controls and the easy preset buttons.
Summary
Ease of use
Value for money
Features
Quality of results
Overall
A little pricey but for pain-free and swift edits
that feel more in depth and intuitive, this
is certainly worth the price tag. It will really
change the way you think about your edits
ACCESSORIES
GITZO 100 YEAR
ANNIVERSARY
EDITION TRIPOD
www.manfrotto.co.uk
£1,250/$1,500
Gitzo celebrated its 100-year
anniversary by launching the century
range of products. You’d probably
have to be a very avid Gitzo fan to
fork out the money for this tripod
though. For the hefty price tag you are
getting a limited edition piece of kit,
with only 1,917 pieces released – to
match the year that Gitzo came into
existence – and each tripod is marked
with the limited edition number. Any
photographers that are into collecting
exclusive kit will really love this
tripod. The black and titanium colour
combination is very attractive and the
leather carry strap adds an elegance
to the setup. Everything about this
tripod screams high quality, it is
functional as well as super attractive,
however, it still feels a little on the
gimmicky side for something priced
over £1,000.
Above top
Above below
Rating buttons
Scrolling wheels
You can sort and rate
your imagery at super
quick speed with the
handy rating buttons
The scrolling wheels for
adjusting the individual colour
channels in your imagery are
a dream come true
111
REVIEWS
1001
PHOTOGRAPHS
YOU MUST SEE
BEFORE YOU DIE
We dare you to try and put this
down once you’ve started
£20/$26 (approx)
The title of the book really explains it
all. This collection of images is truly
fascinating and is really very difficult to
put down. This is not a book you’ll want
to flick through quickly – it is something
to be savoured and studied. You could
open the book on a different page every
day and discover something new.
First of all we’d be surprised if you
don’t recognise the cover image, and
this famous shot does a really good job
of catching the viewer’s attention. The
book covers iconic artistic imagery to
groundbreaking reportage photography,
so whether you are interested in
photography from a more creative point
of view or are into photojournalism,
documentary and photography of real
life, you’ll definitely find imagery to
capture and excite your attention in this
monster of a book.
You’ll find an interesting blurb next
to each image describing a little about
the photographer and the image itself.
Each description contains the image
title, photographer’s name, location,
date and format of the original image.
The photography is ordered by date
starting in the 1820s going all the way
to the 2010s.
The foreword written by Fred
Ritchin is incredibly interesting. He
comments on the role and evolution
of photography, and he discusses
how photography has been used and
interpreted over the many years and
the changes seen in the digital age. The
introduction by Paul Lowe is equally
captivating and again discusses the
role and dominance that photography
has on the everyday. Both the foreword
and introduction are very captivating
and form a great beginning to this very
interesting book.
Summary
Ease of use
Value for money
Features
Quality of results
Overall
We’d say this is a must-have book for
all photographers. To gather inspiration
from, but also to experience the history
of iconic imagery. Really interesting
112
Above left
Above right
Striking cover
Hefty size
It’s extremely difficult not to be drawn in by the
striking cover of this book
This is a weighty book packed with stunning imagery
and interesting information to keep you busy for hours
ACCESSORIES
MANFROTTO
STREET CSC
SLING
www.manfrotto.co.uk
£60/$70
This is a very attractive and petite
bag that will serve all of your
compact camera needs. The strap
is a sling, which enables you to
swing it round and access your
camera without having to take
the bag off, which is perfect for
street photography. It has clever
removable dividers so that you
can adapt the inside to your kit
and way of working, and there is
even a protective pouch where
you can store your tablet. You’ll
be able to fit one CSC body along
with one or two lenses, and there
are even super helpful tripod
attachments meaning that you’ll
be able to carry all of your kit
hands free. Recommended, and
definitely worth the price.
GITZO
CENTURY
CAMERA
MESSENGER
www.manfrotto.co.uk
£180/$200
Gitzo is known for making
super high-quality products
that perform and last well,
and it is clear to see that a
lot of care has been put into
the manufacture of this sleek
and structured camera bag.
The overall design looks a
little dated, however it is very
smart and professional looking.
From a practical perspective,
the bag feels very sturdy so
you shouldn’t have to worry
about any accidental bumps
when carrying your kit, and it
has handy removable dividers
inside to let you arrange your
kit to suit you needs. It features
a number of very functional
pockets, including a place for
a small tripod, and the overall
finish feels very nice. We’d have
liked to have seen a better
strap for the price though.
113
PRO COLUMN
STRIKINGLOCATIONLIFESTYLE
The team at Double Exposure reveal their tips for capturing images on location
All images © Double Exposure Photographic
S
hooting people on location is no easy
task! The reality is that it often takes
meticulous planning, patience and
practice. There’s always that one lucky
shot around the corner, but to give yourself
the best chance of achieving stunning location
lifestyle images, it’s worth putting the effort in.
First off, plan your shoot – do this by
thinking about the overall concept beforehand.
Does the shot in your head sound like a good
idea, and does it excite you? An inspired
photographer will always go that extra mile.
Check things are in place for your shoot; is the
weather on your side, where will the sun be, is
the location accessible, does your subject look
right in the setting? Finally, ensure your gear is
lightweight, adaptable and appropriate.
When you’re on location, get the basics
set up, and use a high-resolution camera
with good ISO capabilities to get the most
from variable lighting conditions. Check your
speed first – is it quick enough to freeze the
114
to think about where you are,
movement, and will it sync with
and what might be a dynamic
your off-camera flash? You don’t
camera angle. If you need
want to miss a moment. Check
to get somewhere, roll those
your aperture and ISO, and make
trousers up and get stuck in – no
a call on what’s more important for
great picture was made by a
the shot: depth of field or quality?
comfortable photographer!
Don’t be afraid to sacrifice some
Always direct the model. Try
settings, a bit of noise won’t be
PRO BIO
not to forget that you have a
noticed if the shot is amazing!
Double Exposure
concept in your head, so give
Give yourself enough time at the
Photographic comprise
of Mark Scadding and
instructions to your subject to
start to get an exposure you’re
William Paltridge. They
achieve this. Good patter will
happy with – you can make
work exclusively in the
go a long way, too, and if the
changes on the fly but having a
advertising sector. Working
person(s) you’re shooting are
solid start takes the pressure off.
together since 2009, they
specialise in product
uncomfortable it will most likely
Work with the sun to give you
photography but love any
show. Finally, relax into the shoot,
some gorgeous rim light, and use
creative challenges.
and go with the moment; by now
off-camera flash or bounce to fill
www.dephotographic.com
you should have put enough
in the shadows. Choose a bright
in place to not worry! Let your subject be
portrait lens and get stuck in. We’ve waded
impulsive, and forget your kit. Look straight
into oceans, been elevated on cranes, and
through the lens, and hit the shutter button
gotten up at the crack of dawn for our best
when you see that special moment!
work over the years. With this in mind, try
9000
9001
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