JezzWarren.com

Copy, Paste Effects

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If you have spent a while adjusting a picture to your liking in Photos app for Mac, you can easily apply those image adjustments and edits to other pictures in Photos app as well.
This is accomplished through a handy but little-known copy & paste adjustments ability, and it’s quite easy to use.
Essentially what you’re doing is adjusting one image and then you’ll be copying those adjustments (but not the image) and applying them to another picture. Here is how it works in Photos app for macOS and Mac OS X, using the same copy and paste shortcuts you’re already familiar with.
Open Photos app on the Mac
Double-click on any picture and choose “Edit” as usual, then make adjustments to that picture as you typically would (adjustments to brightness, color, sharpness, vignette, etc)

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When satisfied with the image adjustments, go to the “Image” menu and choose “Copy Adjustments”
Now return to the primary Photos app browser and open another picture, then choose the “Edit” option again for the new picture
Go to the “Image” menu again, this time choosing “Paste Adjustments”

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The image adjustments made in the prior image edits are now applied to the picture
Repeat for additional pictures if desired
This offers a really great way to apply bulk image color corrections and other fine image adjustments to many pictures.
At the moment there is no ability in Photos app to select multiple pictures and paste adjustments across them, but perhaps a future version will enable that as well.

Light Trick

Have you ever noticed how a person’s ears sometimes glow in portraits when they are backlit?
Because ears are more transparent than the rest of our bodies, they tend to catch and diffuse any light that is shining through them, kinda like the way a softbox works. To that end, you can imagine how silly it would look if the subject of a portrait had two tiny, glowing softboxes on each side of their head. You can see why glowing ears just aren’t that desirable in portraits. If you’ve ever spent time in Photoshop trying to fix it, you will be grateful for this little tip.

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The little hack is not technically done “in camera”, but it is definitely along those lines and is an excellent tool to know about.
If you have a roll of gaffers tape laying around, you will not need to purchase any new equipment. Simply grab a little piece of the tape and stick it behind the subject’s ears before you start shooting.

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It will block out light from shining through and save you some aggravation during post production. Just be careful so you do not press it on to hard or get their hair in it for obvious reasons.
It seems like black electrical tape may also work well and not be so sticky, If the skin was a little oily, there might be some difficulty getting it to stick at all.

How To Find Your Voice

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It is not just enough to be good you have got to find your own unique voice. The question is how?

Focus on what interests you
This may seem obvious, but there are still a lot of people who go about this all the wrong way. They ask themselves, “What field of photography has the most demand right now? What area will be the most lucrative?” And then they go out and try to fit themselves into that picture.
But you will never be as successful doing this as you could be taking pictures of what interests you.
Why? Because when you are interested in something, you will enjoy it more. You will go out of your way to portray it in a good light. You will be more creative and want to try new things. This is so important and yet most people do not even think twice about it.

Ask yourself: “How could I do this in another way?”
If you are serious about photography, you should always be taking pictures of what you are most passionate about. But it is also just as beneficial to try new things and take pictures of different subjects, too. This does not necessarily mean forcing yourself to take pictures of things that you are not interested in, but finding ways of taking pictures of anything in such a way that you find it interesting. It pushes you to always stay fresh and always continue learning and growing. Reading books and taking classes is fine, but I believe that the best teacher is firsthand experience. If you are continually searching for new subjects and new ways of photographing them then you are keeping yourself on your toes, and you work will never become stale.
Passion and excitement are the fires that fuel brilliance, and in order to keep that flame stoked you will need to look for ways to keep your own interest pulsing within you.

Avoid the creativity killer
Contrary to popular belief, reading more books and taking more classes does not always make you a better photographer. Do not get me wrong; they can be incredibly helpful tools that help you learn and grow to an extent. However, there is a point that most photographers reach where studying and learning stops being helpful and becomes counterproductive. How do you know that you have reached that point?
When you find yourself critiquing and criticising your work more than you are simply enjoying it.
Photography is not supposed to be perfect. There are technical tools that we can use to improve our photographs, but they are only that: tools not rules. Just like people, photos are technically imperfect and yet that is what makes them so beautiful. Each photo is an impression of a moment in time that will never again be recaptured. And only you, from your unique viewpoint, have the ability to take that picture.

Take photos every single day
Most photographers believe that searching for the problems and imperfections is not just the best way to improve, but the only way to improve. I disagree. Although this can be helpful to an extent, it is way more beneficial to just go out and take photos.
In fact, this is the best way to get good at anything: do it. Over and over and over and over and over again. By doing it, you train yourself to see the beauty in things and intuitively find the best angles. You get to the point where you do not even have to think about it any more because it comes so naturally.
Take hundreds of photos. Do not limit yourself. Yes, you can ask yourself as you are taking the picture, “How can I make this better? How can I frame this in order to enhance the features that I want?” But in this day and age, there is no excuse not to take a photo if something catches your eye. With a digital camera, there are no negative consequences for filling up your memory card.

Do not worry if you “miss” opportunities
Photography is not how many shots you get or miss, it is about how many you take and keep taking. I have missed thousands of great shots and screwed up thousands more. I take more “bad” photos than good, and though I do feel disappointed sometimes when I really wanted to get something and it did not work out, I always shrug my shoulders and say, “hey, it was not meant to be.” Then I get out my camera, and go take some more pictures.

Take photos because you love to and for no other reason
The most important thing you can do to improve your photos and find your unique voice is to HAVE FUN!
Is it really that simple?
When you are having fun and trying new things and exploring and enjoying yourself, you are naturally more creative. Ideas will occur to you that you never thought of before. Things will naturally fall into place. Having fun is the key to being good.
Taking beautiful photographs is something that comes from the heart, not the mind. So many photographers spend all their energy researching the perfect equipment and collecting fancy lenses and filters. They strive for the technically perfect photo, and if they do not achieve it they criticise their own work and hide it away.

Get inspired!
Do those things that feed your soul eat delicious foods, read inspiring books, spend time with creative people, listen to music that transports you to a whole new world. It is often in those moments when you are simply enjoying life that the best ideas occur or you have the most wonderful photo opportunities.
Those very things that inspire you are often hints and nudges in the direction that you could take your photography to move it to the next level.

Ditch And Switch

For most of my years as a photographer I have owned a digital camera and I love it. But there are many situations that it has either been too big to carry with me or I just do not have it with me when that perfect shot came along.
As technology has changed so rapidly, owning the best camera that you can afford with the most amount of megapixels soon becomes very old and usually within the first year of owning that camera another one comes out, not necessarily bigger but technically better.
A few years ago I made the switch from PC to Mac and though it took nearly 6 months to get my portfolios just how I wanted them in both iPhoto and Aperture I still used my digital camera for photo shoots.
Aperture was great for tethering but sometimes could be hit or miss if I was using wireless over cable, however one thing it never could do, was if was out on location I would have to rely on several SD cards to store my days shoot.
On every shoot I always had my iPhone with me and it was not until the iPhone 4s came out and more recently the iPhone 5s, that the possibility of actually using my iPhone as the camera to do the shoot.
My iPhone 5s is with me wherever I go and I have made a conscious decision to ditch and switch and to now use my iPhone as my only camera.

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I did a small test with a fellow photographer who only uses his DSLR and told him one photo was taken with my digital camera and the other with the iPhone 5s and could he tell the defence between the two images.  It was really surprising how he looked at both photos and immediately said, “without a question of doubt this photo was taken with the digital camera”. I questioned him as to why? He replied “the quality of that shot could only have come from a digital camera, no phone gets it that crisp”, he was shocked when I told him that he was praising the iPhone 5s photo.
It just goes to show that my trusted iPhone, that incidentally I do upgrade regularly can keep up with my photo needs and if anything has now become a two fold purchase both for personal and now professional.
I have no question of a doubt that the iPhones camera will never be good enough to certain photographers who require lenses longer than their arms but for the type of work that I do it is perfect.  The advantages of using the iPhone camera over a digital camera when it comes to backing up work, well the iPhone wins hands down.  Now I have every photo I take not only on my camera roll but also stored almost immediately in my iCloud photo stream, it is like tethering but with Apple’s twist on it.  I now can be anywhere in the world and know all my photos are safely stored ready for when I get home to edit them or as they are stored in the cloud, nothing is stopping me pulling them back down to use them on my iPad and edit them in any one of the vast array or iOS photo editing applications.
When it comes to upgrade time then I know that selling my old iPhone will not be a problems as with making most of my money back as it seems that Apple products keep their value even when newer models come onto the market.
2014 for me brings a new era to my photography career, I dare say the only convincing that I might need to make are with new and possibly old clients and the attitudes it brings when I turn up with just my iPhone and not a bulky camera.
Here is looking in the eye of creation dead on and slapping it about a bit.

UK Copyright

In the United Kingdom, there is no copyright office for artists, writers and other creators to register your work and even watermarking your work is not always effective as work is increasingly becoming digital and with that, those who want to steal you work can use ways to remove a digital watermark. So if you want to copyright something in the UK, you do not need to fill out a registration form or pay a fee to have your work protected. According to the UK Intellectual Property Office, copyright is an automatic right that occurs as soon as you create something. The key to this automatic right is that the work you have created must be in a tangible form.
It is really easy to do and so cost effective compared to our overseas counter parts who have to pay for the same privilege and some times it involves legal fees, which we all know can really mount up.
Here is how you do it.
Put your creation in a fixed, or tangible, form. For example, if it is a poem that you want to copyright, then put it on paper. Or if it is a song, then put it on a CD. Take the fixed form of your creation and mark it with the copyright symbol, a “C” in a circle, along with your name and the year of creation. In instances, such as a CD or DVD, just write on the actual CD or DVD. Use special delivery post to send yourself a copy of the creation, which you should leave sealed. With special delivery post, there is a clear date stamp on the package. This can be useful if you have to go to court to prove ownership of the creation.
And there you have it, your work is now protected and all for only a few pounds. I find sometimes that I am wanting to copyright a whole project and you can use the same method to do just that, the only difference is to put all of your project in the same envelope and set it out as a complete project, in effect acting as one piece.

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iPhoneography Tips

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Over the years I have taken some really great photos. I have done a lot of photo editing, which often only made my photos worse. I have spent countless hours on social media sharing my work and following the work of other photographers and I have learned many things in the process. I hope that by sharing the most important lessons I have learned I can accelerate your learning and help you avoid some of the mistakes that I made. But most importantly, I hope to inspire you to become a more active iPhone photographer.

General iPhoneography tips
Getting a better camera will not make you a better photographer.
Any iPhone is good enough for creating great photography. I have seen great photos taken with iPhone 3G. You really have no excuse.
Consistent practice is the best way to improve your iPhoneography. Keep practicing even when you are out of ideas, and you will eventually create something amazing.
Treat your iPhone camera as if it was an expensive DSLR. If you only use your iPhone to create quick snapshots, you will never get anything else out of it.

Taking great photos
First learn how to take great photos. Only then it makes sense to master editing.
Become an observer of light. On a very fundamental level, photography is all about light, so the better you understand light, the better photographer you will become.
Learn to predict how the scene is going to change in the immediate future. Will that person briefly appear in the reflection after a few seconds? Be prepared when that moment comes.
The very best photos convey a strong emotion or tell a great story.
Mystery is the best way to tell a story in your photos. The best stories are already in the mind of the viewer. If you create mystery, the viewer can fill in the blanks and create a story that is uniquely theirs.
Always take a few seconds and pause before taking a shot. Is this really the best angle and the best composition, or should you try something else instead?
The easiest way to improve your photography is to work on the angle and composition.
Turn on the gridlines until you start thinking about any scene in terms of the grid.
Practice composition with simple photos that have a lot of empty space. Large open areas are perfect places to start with iPhone photography.
Always ask yourself what the main subject of your photo is, or what is the first thing that the viewer will notice. If there is no subject, is it really worth taking that shot?
Placing your subject even slightly off the center will greatly enhance your photos.
Think about photos in terms of balance. If you put your main subject in one corner of the image, you also want to have something of interest in the opposite corner to keep the composition balanced.
Turn on HDR for landscape photography and when sky takes up a large part of your photo.
Do not use HDR for photos of movement and when you need to take many photos quickly.
Never use digital zoom. Zoom with your feet or crop your photos afterwards.
Use volume buttons for a camera-like shooting experience.
Use the volume buttons on your headphones for remote shutter release or to stay discreet when taking photos in public.
You should be able to take the iPhone out of your pocket, turn it on, and open camera from the lock screen in two seconds or less. You don’t want to miss that perfect shot.
There are some great iPhoneography accessories on the market, but you don’t really need them to take great photos. Buying cool gear will not make you a better photographer.

Editing and apps
No editing can turn a bad photo into a good one.
The easiest way to ruin a good photo is to mindlessly apply strong vintage filters.
Your editing should enhance what is already great about the photo, and perhaps add a certain feel that complements the message of that photo. Everything else is unnecessary.
Learn the essential adjustments such as brightness, contrast and saturation first. Only then you should look into more advanced effects and filters.
Do not download 50 photo apps. Only get a few and make sure you know how to use them.
Don’t add text on your photos. Text is distracting and never looks good.

Photo management
Always have several backups of your entire photo library.
Despite technological advancements, external HDD is still the most practical way to back up a large photo library. Just do not keep it in the same bag as your laptop.
iCloud is great for automatically transferring your iPhone photos to iPhoto.
Keep your edited photos in a separate photo album for easy access.
Do not take multiple identical photos. Avoid the pain of deleting them later. Instead you should change the angle or composition and then shoot again.

Sharing and social networks 
Share your work on social networks to stay motivated and get feedback.
Follow other photographers whose work you admire to stay inspired and get new ideas.
It is OK to copy someone else’s style for the sake of learning. You will eventually discover your own unique style, so you do not have to worry about copying someone else initially.
Do not try to be active on 10 different photo sharing sites. It will drive you crazy. Just pick your favourite and do a good job there.
Always respond to people who took the time to comment on your photos. Simply saying “thanks” can make a huge difference.
Only share your best photos so that your feed looks great. Quality always beats quantity.

Get Inspired

If you was amazed at the photographs by Carli Davidson and wanted to try it for yourself, you might want to start on something a little less technical and attempt to first start working with animals and try your hand at some pet portraits.
Please find below some natty photographs that have inspired me to give it a try, successful or not, the best photographs sometimes are the happy accidents.

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Shake - Carli Davidson

I thought that as I am between projects and nothing yet to upload to my online portfolios it would be a good idea to give my readers some inspiration.
Some would say that high speed photography is pretty hard on the technical side of photography. Others will say that portraiture is the hardest of all. Photographer Carli Davidson combines the two by taking photographs of dogs shaking water off.

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The photos are part of a new book called Shake, and are a compilation that started at 2012. Here are some photos from the book.

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Tethered Shooting

There are many good reasons for shooting straight into your computer. You get to see your image at full size, on a large screen. This is far better than using a tiny LCD viewfinder. You can recompose shots as you go, and keep shooting until you get exactly what you want. Not all cameras work with tethering, so you may need to check the Apple website to see if yours does, but if you are lucky, this is one of the best ways to shoot. Be warned, your camera will not record anything to the card, so what is on your computer is all you have. 
Tethered shooting is ideal for small studios and close-ups, but it also works with a laptop, making it ideal for detailed landscape shots, time-lapse effects and long exposures. To start with, set up a shot close to your main computer, and once you have perfected the technique, begin to experiment.

Step 1: Set up space
In Aperture go to File>New>Project, name it, then hit OK. Set up your camera close enough to the computer so your USB cable will reach.

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Step 2: Start session
When you are ready to shoot, connect your USB cable to the camera, then the computer, and switch on your camera. Go to File>Tether>Start Session.

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Step 3: Tether Settings
In the Tether Settings there are many things that can be changed, or you can just start a session. It is wise to set Store Files to In the Aperture Library.

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Step 4: Customise name
Change Version Name to Custom Name with Index, and type a name. Add Metadata, like your name, to the empty fields. Check the Show HUD box.

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Step 5: Select camera
Click Start Session in the bottom- right, and the HUD (heads-up display) will appear. Select your camera from the Camera drop-down at the top of the HUD.

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Step 6: Capture images
Click Capture, and your camera will take a picture. Moments later it will appear in Aperture. Keep clicking Capture until you have got what you need.

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Step 7: Check as you go
Double-click an image to see it full size, and click on the Loupe to examine details close-up. Click Browser in the top-right to go back.

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Step 8: Reframing
Reframe the shot and keep pressing Capture until you get exactly what you want. Click on the Loupe to examine details in images without expanding them.

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Aperture Tutorial: Black & White Brushes

You have mastered the basics of image editing, now to get creative. Photographic editing has come on leaps and bounds as technology has evolved. Photos can be edited creatively, with effects being applied not for technical or practical improvements, but for artistic reasons. You do not need to be David Bailey to know how to do it. Sometimes, in even the most obvious of image subjects the point is missed. Using the selective Black & White tool, you can highlight the most important part of your image whether that’s a particular person, landmark, animal or event making sure it catches your audience’s eye first. Pull up a chair, get comfy, stick the kettle on and before it is even finished boiling you’ll know how to brighten up the most monochrome of images with a splash of colour but do not forget to open Aperture first.

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Step 1: Getting started
Choose a photo to adjust. The best ones to use are landscapes or those with not much activity going on. Select Photos on the left-hand side of the interface.

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Step 2: Choose your image
In the Photos Library, find the image that you want to apply the selective Black & White effect to. Click on the image it will be highlighted with a white box.

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Step 3: Open your image
Double-click on the image to open it up. It will appear in its full-size glory in the Viewer. Click on the Adjustments tab on the left-hand side of the interface.

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Step 4: Begin the transformation
Click on the Adjustments box and choose Black & White. This will transform your image to black and white in preparation to add the colour back.

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Step 5: Make adjustments
Scroll down to the Black & White box on the left-hand side of the interface. Drag the colour sliders to adjust the colour intensity until you are happy.

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Step 6: Be prepared
Click the cog icon in the Black & White box. Select Brush Black & White away from the drop-down menu. Get ready, because this is where the fun really begins!

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Step 7: Brush sizes
Use the pop-out box to adjust the size of the brush you want to use. Make sure it is the right size, otherwise you risk over-brushing the colour back in.

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Step 8: Play it smooth
For more precise results, check Detect Edges. This ensures that the brush does not go over any lines great for landscape photos or images with people.

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Step 9: Brush away
Brush the areas that you wish to be coloured, leaving the rest of the image black and white. That is it! You will have beautifully edited images in just minutes.

Focus On Life

A quote to get you focused for life.

Life is like a camera.  
Just focus on what is important and capture the good times, develop from the negative and if things do not work out, just take another shot.

Gradient In Pixelmator

Here’s a quick step-by-step guide designed to show you how to edit and apply gradients to your images to enhance your projects using Pixelmator on your Mac.
When it comes to creating your own images in Pixelmator, it’s easy to fall into the trap of making things look a little too ‘flat’. Even if a ‘flat design’ is the look you’re aiming, it’s worth noting that the best examples of this style make use of subtle gradients to give some sense of hierarchy and structure to different elements in the design itself. With that in mind, here’s a quick guide to applying and editing gradients in Pixelmator. Enjoy!

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Step 1: Prepare your layer
Gradients can be added to layers, but the selection tool can limit the application area. You can create irregular selections with polygonal lasso tool.

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Step 2: Customising
You can change the colours used by opening the Gradient menu, choosing the one you want and clicking the points on the slider at the bottom.

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Step 3: More points
Clicking this slider anywhere else will let you add more colour stops to your gradient. You can add transparent sections too, if you want a fade effect.

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Step 4: Linear, radial or angle?
There are three kinds of gradient, and each one works differently. Try them all, and see what each one can do by playing with the preset options.

The Landscape Concept

It is no longer just about taking the right photograph, it is more than where the sky and the land meet or the sea and the clouds join. To achieve a successful balance or counterbalance in your landscapes, there is a concept that once followed will make your landscape or seascape photographs truly amazing.
By telling stories with your camera, you are forced you to slow down and contemplate the details. This one factor alone could greatly improve your skills as a photographer!
Consider a few important questions.

What is it about this scene that inspires you?
What elements found in the scene have attracted your attention?
Which elements (such as theme, line, or point of view) do you wish to preserve?

As you ponder these questions, remember that the best landscapes are rarely found along side the road. If you are prepared for hiking with a map or GPS, then you will be more likely to come across some of the truly stunning scenes that will motivate you to find answers to the above questions. Then, as you seek out the most interesting locations, you will begin to create a habit of viewing the beautiful and asking how you can recreate the essence even in scenes that are more challenging.

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One simple concept that is extremely helpful in creating balance is dividing the scene into thirds, both horizontally and vertically. You can do this by using two vertical lines and two horizontal lines evenly spaced, but your horizon (or any other prominent line) should still fall on one of the two horizontal lines. Then, a general rule of symmetry would be to place your focal point on one of the four intersections created by these lines.
With balance in place, you can then leave yourself room for creativity. Portraits can even be changed into landscape shots when you feel you’ve explored all other options. Shooting a portrait in landscape is best when up close and personal, such as a head and shoulders photograph. As you try placing the main subject off centre, you create interest that can be enhanced with a few graphic elements, such as lead-in lines or interesting background.

Candid

Candid styles of photography are increasingly becoming popular both in general day to day photography but also in formal photographic situations.
Below are a number of tips to help photographers improve their ‘candid’ photography. Please note that these tips are not about taking sneaky, voyeuristic or true paparazzi shots (ie photographing people without their permission) but rather about how to add a more candid feel to the shots you take of people that you know.

Take Your Camera Everywhere
Probably the best way to take spontaneous photographs is to always be ready to do so. As I have my iPhone with me all the time then this is what I prefer to use for speed and the sheer fact that I can whip out at a moments notice to capture the many opportunities for a good photo that life presents us with. Taking your camera or phone with you everywhere also helps people to be more at ease with you taking their photo. I find that my friends and family just expect me to have my iPhone out so when I do fire it up it’s not a signal to them to pose but it’s a normal part of our interaction this means that they are relaxed and the photos are natural.

Zooming In
Obviously the further you are away from your subject the less likely they will be to know that you’re photographing them and the more natural and relaxed they’ll act. Using a telephoto lens or long zoom on your camera helps and also zooming in on your iPhone enables you to shoot from outside their personal space but keep the feeling of intimacy in the shot you’re taking.

Kill The Flash
Perhaps the most obvious way that you can signal to another person that you’re photographing them is to use a flash. There’s nothing like a blinding flash of light in the eyes to kill a moment. If possible (and it’s not always) attempt to photograph without the flash if you’re aiming for candid shots.

Shoot Lots
Shoot multiple images quickly of a person you can sometimes get some surprising and spontaneous shots that you’d have never gotten if you shot just one. Switch your camera to continuous shooting mode and shoot in bursts of images and in doing so you’ll increase your chances of that perfect shot, you can get some great applications on the app store for burst shooting or just can simple take lots of photos and if you use your iCloud account then you will have all your work stored safely for sorting the good and the bad out later, just snap away.

Position Yourself
While Candid Photography is about capturing the spontaneity of a moment and getting that perfect shot at the right split second of time I find that if you think ahead and anticipate what is about to unfold in front of you that you can greatly increase the chances of getting some great shots.
Which way will people be facing? What will they be doing? What will the light be like? Thinking through these issues will save you having to run around repositioning yourself when you should be shooting images it will also mean you take a whole heap less shots of the back of people’s heads!
But sometimes the back of the head is good as your see in this photo.

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People Doing Something
Images of people doing things tend to be much more interesting than people sitting passively doing nothing. For one your subject will be focussed upon something which adds energy to a photo (and takes their focus off you) but it also puts them in context and adds an element of story to your image. Timing is everything in Candid shots so wait until they are distracted from you and fully focussed upon what they are doing or who they are with and you’ll inject a feeling into your shots of them being unaware and that the viewer of your image is looking on unseen.

From The Hip
If your subject is aware that you are there and that you have your camera out they might tense up or act a little unnaturally as they see you raising your camera to the eye. The beauty of digital cameras is that it does not cost you anything to take lots of shots and it can be well worth shooting without raising your camera.

Perspective
The other beauty of shooting from the hip is that it gives you a slightly different perspective to take the shot from (ie shooting from 3 feet height instead of 6). This adds to the candid nature of the shots. In fact sometimes it’s the slightly crooked, slightly out of focus or poorly composed shots taken from this type of angle that ends up looking the best because they come across as quite random. Of course you can add all these new perspectives to your shots without shooting from the hip. Crouch down, get up high, frame your shots on an angle, zoom in close and then quickly zoom out to a wide angle, break the rules of composition etc and you will add a new perspective to your shots that can mean they look fresh and surprising.

With this shot I have my subject in the distance and my foreground at eye level making this shot feel very unnatural for most to look at by a real talking point.
With all the above to help you out, your candid shots can be more than just a photograph but more of a story.

Photographing The Exotic

Taking pictures of exotic animals in their own environment is one thing that can take years to master and even with all the experience on your side, you never know just how animals will react in front of your lens at any given moment in time. So I have compiled a list of handy tips to help you get the best from taking photos of the exotic or not so exotic.
Safety first! Try not to get into the position of injuring yourself when dealing with the animals. When in doubt, have the person responsible with the animals manipulate them. Photography will get a lot less practical if you lose your index finger.
If you dim the lights, but not so low than you end up with another problem of not enough light on your subject, this can make the environment as less stressful to the critter.

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Getting down to their level will give a more natural shot of your subject, or in some cases getting high enough to your subject, say a giraffe for example. This is a general guideline that also works great on kids and pets, and usually gets you crawling on your belly.
The use of a telephoto lens will help you to get a lot closer without bing in the jaws of the beast, this will also allow you to capture some of the unique and interesting features and details.
For shots of creatures that pose no harm then getting close up with the use of a macro or close-up lens could prove to be really useful.

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On the other side of the coin could be to use a wide angle lens to capture unique perspectives.
Above all, try to anticipate your subjects behaviour, this is often the key to photographing a great pose as these kinds of good shots don’t come by chance, if anything they require long stake outs as you may have seen on many a wildlife documentary.

Food Porn

Taking pictures of food is nothing new, but the growing number of diners who come to restaurants armed with cameras of all sorts has triggered photo bans all over the country.
Just look up #foodporn on any social media and you have got yourself a whopping 11,000,000+ photos to sift through. Some restaurants are more lenient than others by only restricting flash photography, but there are some that have banned food photography altogether, even if it means free advertising. A few chefs and restaurant owners have found a way to cope with today’s trends by inviting foodsnappers back to their kitchens so that they can get a better shot and a better opportunity for a more lucrative advertising opportunity.
Others are not as forgiving of iPhone food photography. After all, it is not unusual to see someone standing on their chair just to gain a better perspective of their plate, or disgruntled dining companions waiting for their photographer friend to finish documenting their dishes.
I admit that I have been guilty of keeping a food diary and posting the occasional food snaps, but I have never disrupted another diner’s experience with my photography. I would much rather take a photo from where I am seated than take a good one from on top of my chair and anyway the trend for food shots from another angle is much more pleasing than that from a direct above shot.
What about you? To what lengths do you go for food photography?

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Update

I feel like I have neglected the blog side of this site somewhat, this is due to putting my writing skills into its sister site. So I have thought long and hard to whether I should be posting not just interesting photo related blogs but now to include some great tips, inspirations and some links to some free downloadable content from third parties.
Keep focused.

Photography Contract

Protecting yourself and your work as a photographer should be at the forefront of any photographer’s mind. Yet, many of us often overlook this facet of running a business. Contacting and working with a lawyer who specialises in business law can help you protect yourself from dishonest and disagreeable clients should a problem arise. Despite which genre of photography your work happens to fall in–perhaps you are a multi-faceted photographer–having a solid contract that is suited to your specific needs will take the guess work out of a job for both you and your client. Below, you can find an assortment of pre-made contracts which are available for use, free of charge.

Portrait Photography Contract – A plain language contract suitable for use when you will be taking portraits of clients either in the studio or at an event. Includes payment, copyright, and creative license terms.

Contract for the Sale of Fine Art Photography – Covers the sellers terms involved in the sale of a piece of fine art photography including but not limited to price, insurance, framing, and a section for an in-depth description of the piece to eliminate any confusion.

Gallery Contract for Sale of Photography - This contract is useful for the consignment of photography to a professional gallery and includes sections for sale and payment procedures as well as loss of risk terms.

Model Release – A necessary document if you’re working with models and talent. Protects the photographer from potential remuneration claims made by talent.

Minor Model Release – Essential model release for working with minors. To be signed by the minors parents or guardian.

Licensing Contract to Merchandise Images – Useful for when you wish to sell your images to clients for merchandising rights.

contract

While having contracts made specifically for your business by a lawyer is ultimately the safest route to protect yourself, the contracts listed above are an excellent starting point. They can be altered to meet your needs and are available for use free of charge. Feel free to download and use the contracts as needed; however, these contracts may not be all inclusive for every type of situation, so you can adapt them to have your own personalised contract requirements.
It is that peace of mind of a well written contract that will give you piece of mind. I have been using a models release form now for several years and for me, that little additional upfront cost has saved me not only problems that I have seen arise with other fellow photographers, but also the heart ache I have seen when photographers go to sell their work, as no company in their right mind will buy work from you without the consent of those in your work and as harsh as that may sound, it is a very true reality that faces everyone who wants to sell their work, be it images or digital art work.

It's Not All Black And White

Black and white photos are unquestionably much more artistic, emotional, and timeless; its simplicity moving away the attention from the colour and enhancing the photo’s visceral aspects and design. They can be used in practically any shot from the laughter of a child, to a serene winter morn. Black and white photos are not, strictly speaking, black and white; they are photos subject to the grey scale a range of colours from the darkest black to the lightest light, and therefore everything in between. Hence, the common perception that black and white photos limit a photographer’s creativity by limiting the colour range is false; there is a wide array of grey to choose from, one of which would best suit the photographer’s needs. Looking at it, black and white photos require a surprising amount of skill and here are some tips on how to make it as perfect as possible.
It would seem ironic that to create a good monochromatic photo, one would have to take the photo itself in colour.

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However, such is the case as setting the camera in its black and white mode denies the photographer the freedom of choosing the perfect grey scale blend for the photo. Nonetheless, if your camera has a RAW format (which is only available in more upscale devices), the camera takes two photos – one in the original, coloured form and another in the automatic black and white format. This gives the photographer more creative liberty.
The double-edged sword of monochromatic photos is its lack of colour. It cannot grab the attention of a viewer from point to point with its vibrant colours. But because of this, a viewer can then focus on points of interest that is normally pushed aside in coloured pictures. Some examples are shadows, which emphasise structure and shape; textures, which enrich a photo; and patterns, where most of the eyes will be focusing on without any colour to distract.
There is always a right time for everything, even in photography. In days where the clouds block a lot of the sun, or a storm looms just above the horizon, these are days that are absolutely awful for coloured photographs but are inversely so for black and white photos. The low levels of natural light allow for a smoother contrast between shadow and subject, and if you feel that the photo needs more contrast, it can easily be added in post-production, and like the noise, is challenging when done the other way around.
Black and white photos have a way of bringing a more sensitive experience to a picture. Photographers must bear this in mind when picking the perfect subject, as viewers will be focused more on the graphic elements rather than the overall look, without the colours to shine through. The most common choice of subject is a single one; like a flower, a cloud, or a face. It allows the viewer to zoom in on a single object, which is made more intense by the grey colours. Another subject that is perfect for monochromatic photos are moving ones, which is much more difficult. However, dynamic objects allow for movement in a typically ‘dead’ black and white photo.

iPhoneography

I will be the first to admit that an iPhone does not have the features that you will have in a top end DSLR. That being said, I am also a firm believer in the old saying that the best camera is the one that you have with you. Let’s face it, as much as I would love to walk around wielding a fancy DSLR at all times, sometimes it is only me and my phone. Plus, it is just plain fun to break out the iPhone for a spontaneous shot-from-the hip photo adventure every once in while. If an iPhone is all we have to work with, then we may as well fine-tune our craft to using one.
I am finding more and more times that I use my iPhone to take my creations that step further than if I had my DSLR.
One of the beautiful things about the iPhone is all the applications that are available for it. Photography junkies everywhere will rejoice in knowing that there are 1,000′s of photography related applications in the app store, many of them being free. Of course, all those choices will also make it more difficult to decide between them.
I have found how easy it is easy to fill up your device with applications, sometimes only using that app that week of download and never again. So experimenting with new applications is good, but I am finding that I need to get into the habit to clear out the ones I do not use, the advantage to that is that it will leave you more storage space for actual photos.
I have come to change my ways in taking photos when I use my iPhone and just merely holding my iPhone and setting up the frame has changed. Holding firmly in both hands for stability is a starting point and I try to refrain from holding my arms out like a zombie and fighting to see the screen from arms length. If I just bend my elbows and bring the screen closer to my face so I can more easily see all the details. I am sometimes amazed at what a difference this makes in my composition.
One thing I do find with the iPhone, is that you do need to avoid using the zoom tool. It drains the resolution and sends any hope for a decent picture quality out the door. If at all possible I physically move closer to my subject if you need a close-up.

Work In Progress

I have been out and about from location to location using my iPhone and Hipstamatic along with Instagram and slowly working on my still life and landscape photography skills, sometimes seeing what happens and other times planning a shot.
So far all is looking good and I think next month some happy accents might come to light and produce some nice results.

Instagram Vs Hipstamic

When it comes to iPhoneography, the vintage look seems to be the fad that is not going away. Everybody is obsessed with having their iPhone photos look like old school photos from the sixties and seventies. There are a lot of applications out there that will apply filters to your shots, but there are two clear front runners when it comes to the vintage look Hipstamatic and Instagram. So which is better? The truth is these applications have quite different focusses, with a small overlap.
Hipstamatic has been around since 2009 and is extremely an extremely popular app Apple even named it app of the year for 2010. Hipstamatic is a camera application in the most traditional sense possible, when you launch the application the interface emulates a camera the creators of Hipstamatic claim it was inspired by an actual plastic camera with changeable lenses, but this may have in fact been clever marketing and completely made up.

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With Hipstamatic you cannot edit photos that were not taken using the app while some find this to be a limiting feature, I think part of the charm of the app is the integrity with which they stick to the camera metaphor. Because of the strict metaphor you take your shot and you get a result your choices are made prior to shooting, there is no post production to be done and the results are often great.
What really sets Hipstamatic apart from the myriads of lesser vintage look apps is the quality of the filters. The app has several ‘lenses’ available, each one giving a different vintage look, with some ‘films’ and ‘flashes’ also available to tweak the effects. You can see a comparison chart of all the combinations here.
I have yet to find an application with a better set of filters than Hipstamatic, and although I have a fair few photography applications at this stage, Hipstamatic remains an application I return to frequently. Hipstamatic costs £1.28 and comes with 3 lenses, 2 films and 3 flashes. You can buy more “Hipstapacks” from £0.69
You can also order great quality prints from within the app, and share your prints to FaceBook, Flickr or Tumblr.
The application is beautifully designed, but does take a little bit of getting used to and because there are plenty of features accessed through the visual metaphor of a vintage camera it can be a little fiddly to use just like the real deal. I love to use this application in a random mode so I never quite know what type of images I am going to get until I see them in my photo stream or camera role. It is so nice to just shake the iPhone to get a random, film, flash or lens.

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Instagram is a newer app, launched in October of 2010, but by December they already had over a million registered users.
Although Instagram allows you to take pictures, and apply vintage effects, if you visit the Instagram site you will see their tagline is “Fast beautiful photo sharing for your iPhone”. Instagram is primarily an application to integrate your photos with your social media presence.
Instagram is a community and photo sharing space in its own right, but currently they do not have a web profile for users your photos are viewed and accessed via the Instagram app by other iPhone users. It does look like web profiles are being developed, but the main feature of the application is that it is super easy to share photos to Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, Posterous, FaceBook and Foursquare.
The interface is clear and really easy to use, feels very zippy and is generally a pleasure to interact with.
Instagram allows you to find people to follow by looking through your friends on FaceBook or Twitter so you can very quickly have a stream of your friends photos to peruse, like and comment on.
The filters that come with Instagram are almost all vintage photo type filters, some of which are nice enough, but not nearly close to the same quality as Hipstamatic.
One thing to be aware of is that Instagram creates images that are 612pixels by 612pixels. You can pull higher res images from your camera roll into Instagram to share, but they will be converted to 612×612.
If you are using Instagram as a camera it is possible to choose to have the app save the original photo (as it would look if taken with the default camera app) as well as the Instagram 612×612 version but the photos shared via Instagram will always by 612×612.
612×612 is fine for fast sharing on the web, which is what Instagram is focussed on, but would not be great for printing. To give you a comparison Hipstamatic shots are 1536×1536.
Of course, the other big feature Instagram has on its side is that it is free.
If you are into photography on the iPhone you will want to own Hipstamatic, it gives you dependable results with a vintage feel at print quality.
Instagram is really more about social media and interaction, it gives you the ability to quickly share a moment with your online friends, but the image is screen quality only.
So there is no real verses between the two applications as in the right frame they compliment each other and I use both to get the right shot.

Caffeine

Today my work load seems to be spread right across the board, a little bit of actual photography is involved but mainly file management, so looks like I am going to be with my close friend, the coffee bean. On the up side I get to test out my array of Nespresso coffees and today may well be the decider to my favourite coffee strength and flavour.
Caffeine affects the central nervous system making people who consume it more alert and energetic. It is also known to make people feel better and improve their mood. Caffeine increases blood flow in the brain, so it is often used to help people stay awake or concentrate. A good intake of caffeine has been shown to improve your performance both in intellectual and in physical endeavours. Studies have shown that those who consume in excess of five cups of coffee in a day then start to stimulate other receptors in the brain and at this stage it is the creative side of the brain that gets the biggest kick from it.
People should stop looking at caffeine as a bad drug and realise caffeine’s benefits outweigh its downfalls. Ninety percent of people across the world have drunk caffeine for it’s stimulating effects and though tea is the highest consumed beverage, coffee however is the highest traded commodity.

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Kopi Luwak is the most expensive coffee in the world with prices reaching in excess of £50 for a single shot of the black stuff. It is frowned upon if you was thinking of adding milk or sugar to this exquisite cup of Joe. “Kopi” the Indonesian word for coffee along with “luwak” is local name of this animal which eats the raw red coffee beans. The civet digests the soft outer part of the coffee cherry, but does not digest the inner beans and excretes them.
So when it is said that coffee can give you the shits, in this case that is exactly what you are paying for.

Full Potential

For any designer, photographer or artists the tools of your trade are the next most important thing besides creativity and getting the right balance can really pull out your creativity to its full potential. I have for many years been using Adobe products and when I made the switch from PC to Mac I had the choice of sticking with that of what I had been taught to use, all be it mainly self taught or to take on a new approach. I already knew that there was a bitter battle between Adobe and Apple and installing something that might conflict with the Mac’s ethos of workflow I had my concerns. I noticed that the uniformity of Apple products stretched across all platforms and devices so it seemed right to make the transition from PC and Adobe to Mac and Apple developers. I am so glad that I took that risk as productivity has come on in leaps and bounds and the flexibility of creativity stretches from my Mac to my iPad and visa-versa.
I ditched Adobe Photoshop and replaced it with Pixelmator and the basics, layouts and principles of Pixelmator is no different to that of Photoshop, if anything Pixelmator is smoother to use and operations of certain tasks are quicker. Everything is totally customisable and after a day of fine tuning I have the pallets and docks just how I want them, PERFECT!
When I was a PC user I never saw the benefits of using Adobe Lightroom as Bridge pretty much done everything for me and having Lightroom as well was just another ploy from Adobe to get you to spend a few more bucks. On my Mac I have been using iPhoto as my light table and Aperture as my replacement to what would have been Bridge. I have barely scraped the surface of Aperture and already it has changed the way my creativity and productivity progresses, the two applications work in unison and switching from one to the other is a breeze to the point that I can browse all images of either in their built in photo browsers and as if that was the icing on the cake then the fully integration of iCloud would be the cherry on the top.

Toilet Roll

If your creativity is wild, no medium is a limitation. This fact is exceptionally true with Anastassia Elias, a french artist who collects toilet rolls and turns them into great works of unbelievable art. You read it right, toilet roll. And not only is the choice of medium odd, the way they are worked into incredible depictions of life is freakier.

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zoo

swing

rain

miners

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cowboys

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The Start

One of my biggest projects to date has been to get this website looking as slick as my technical ability would allow but at the time I was a PC user and slowly found out that not everything was so straight forward as one would expect. I have now made the full transition over to Mac and my ideas are my only boundaries as simplicity of the Mac has taken over confusion of the PC. So here it is, the start of what is to come.
I am using this space to let you know about up and coming projects, what is in the pipeline and general updates of all things creative, so please feel free to drop by and avert your gaze to this blog.