Page 1



Practical advice for enthusiasts and pros

Issue 198


CAMERA Control exposure Shoot for impact

Edit for tonal perfection Consider lighting



ASTRO Read our interview with pro photographer Chris Baker


CAPTURE MOTION IN A SCENE Produce an artistic image with our step-by-step tutorial




Take sensual images, work with male models and create group shots


LIGHTING REVIEWED Discover which kit impressed the most

© adrian borda


“Achieving accurate colour, or colour with plenty of impact, is influenced by many processes” Welcome to the latest issue of Digital Photographer magazine. Capturing colour sounds like a straightforward enough photographic concept, but there’s a reason why black and white was prevalent for so long. Achieving accurate colour, or colour with plenty of impact, is easier said than done, and is influenced by many other processes along the way. In this issue, we’ve got an in-depth guide to working with colour, which is sure to help you to improve your results and capture your best photos to date. Turn to p34 to begin reading it.

Elsewhere this issue, we’ve taken a look at the ins and outs of posing skills for portraits. The feature covers all you need to know about how to create superb images of people in-camera, whether you’re working with female or male models, or taking group shots. Turn to p48 to have a read. These days, cameras are jam-packed full of features and it’s easy to overlook a lot of what they’ve got on offer. That’s why we’ve put together a guide to getting more from your camera. You’ll find it over on p62 of the mag. Until next time, happy photography! Matt Bennett, Editor

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This issue, our Staff Writer Peter explores and provides us with handy tips on how to make the most of our camera’s many features, encouraging you to try new techniques and learn new skills. Have a read on p62. Peter has also taken a look at the world of travel photographer over on p84.

This issue our former Reviews Editor Rebecca has been investigating the importance of posing when it comes to creating flattering portraits when working with both male and female models. Read her advice and tips from the pros in her 13-page feature starting over on p48, and improve your portrait skills.

Photography journalist Lauren Scott has put together a beautifully vivid feature this issue all about the use of effective colour in your imagery. How can we capture colour that successfully conveys the story we wish to tell in our imagery? Read Lauren’s shooting and editing advice over on p34 of the magazine.







Gear expert Matthew Richards has covered flash lighting in this issue’s group test, reviewing four different offerings and offering his verdict on which he would recommend, based on their power, versatility, build quality and functionality. Turn to p92 to begin reading his thoughts and findings.

Freelance photographer and one of our magazine’s reliable reviewers, Angela Nicolson has taken the Sony a7R III out for a spin this issue, and has given her verdict on its performance over on p100. How does it fare against its competitors on the market? Read her in-depth review to see if this is a camera for you.

Lee Frost knows a thing or two about shooting creative, captivating images of the world around us. This issue, he’s given us his expert advice on how to capture motion in a scene with a bit of experimentation, in order to add atmosphere to your images. Read his step-by-step shooting and editing guide on p76.



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The Gallery

Contents 20 Story Behind the Still Fabio Antenore reveals the concept behind his amazingly atmospheric glacier cave image, and the challenges he overcame in capturing it

In Focus 22 News

The latest product announcements and industry developments

24 Interview We chat to astrophotography expert Chris Baker as we find out what it takes to shoot stunning images of the mysterious realm of deep space

Shooting Skills

76 Capture motion in a scene

A step-by-step guide to shooting and editing an artistic landscape image

82 Create a natural-light still life shot Natural light may be harder to control than studio lighting, but there’s still a way to shape the light and control where it spreads within the frame. Find out how in this shooting tutorial 6

34 Capture your best ever photos Learn how to shoot impactful images brimming with beautiful colour, from camera settings through to the edit

48 Posing for portraits Find out how to direct your female subjects into the most flattering, attractive poses for the best results in our in-depth guide

@ Angela Perez

10 The Gallery

Some of our favourite images from the Digital Photographer website


62 Get more from your camera Are you really using your DSLR or CSC to its fullest potential?

Print & Share

74 Showcase your images in a photobook Present your image portfolio in an immersive photobook with our advice on layout, sizing and image placement.

Go Pro

84 Competitive travel photography

Succeed in this challenging field

114 Pro Column Peter Franck discusses how to avoid being restricted by the rules

@ Samual Bouget

Your Images


Capture your best ever photos


Posing for portraits

@ glen espinosa


Competitive travel photography


Get more from your camera


Natural light

Reviews s 92 Group Test

We review four stud dio ash kits this issue, but which w one should you considerr for power and versatility?

100 Sony a7R III review How does the next generation g of this popular camera a perform?

104 Canon Pow werShot G1X Mark III Does this offering have what it takes to compete?

106 Lenses Kevin Carter tests tw wo more lens options this iss sue

108 Software Two photo-editing options are put under the spotliight

110 Accessorie es A roundup of products for photographers to consider onsider

Group test

@ PeterFenech


@ Leonardo Mascaro

@ Chris Baker


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The Gallery 2x © Achintha Dahanayake

Some of the best images from our website Achintha Dahanayake DP Gallery address: achinthad Image title: Soft and Wild

What camera, lens and settings did you use to capture this stunning shot? I used a Canon EOS 60D and 18-135mm lens. I used exposure blending, so had different settings for the sky and water (foreground). For the sky I used 1.6sec, f18, ISO 100 and for the foreground 25sec, f18, ISO 100. How did you decide on the composition? When I first saw this place, I was overwhelmed because there were so many beautiful subjects to capture and beautiful compositions to select. ‘Less is more’ is a fair statement because I spent hours thinking about which composition would be perfect. There was a high tide that day so I climbed onto this small rock and I was amazed by the view from there. What do you like most about the image? What I like most about this image is the colours in the sky and water. I think the purple in the sky and bluish colour on the water is a beautiful combination. Also the foreground rock and its texture is a nice element. Did you do much post-processing? Different exposures for the sky and foreground were combined. I like mixing different exposures and different times into a single image, because the perfect light in the sky and the foreground may not happen in one particular moment.

Upload your images to our online gallery now for your chance to be printed in the magazine. Go to


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 £44.99, boasting blazing-fast read & write speeds of up to 100MB/s & 90MB/s respectively, which is ideal for professional shooting and 4K UHD recording. To find out more information visit uk/memory-cards



Mark Callander

“Loch Achray is located in the heart of the Trossachs National Park, Scotland. I have visited this part of the Loch several times, but this is my favourite image. The reflections of the church, trees and the mountain Ben Venue are what I like most.”

2x © Andrew J Shearer

2x © Mark Callander

DP Gallery address: mark_callander Image title: Loch Achray

Andrew J Shearer

DP Gallery address: AndrewJShearer Image title: Loch Ness Fort Augustus

“After much exploring I stumbled across this small pier and set up my shot. As other photographers will appreciate sometimes a bit of luck is needed; for me it was the couple who appeared at the perfect moment to admire the view. I seized the opportunity to capture them appreciating the same breathtaking view.”



Potapov Mikhail

2x © Potapov Mikhail

DP Gallery address: Mikhail Potapov Image title: Face Off


“My name is Potapov Mikhail, an art photographer living in Russia. This picture is a symbol of the current problems faced by migrants in Europe. New people bring new customs – shown though the exotic colours – but the grille in front of the face of the girl symbolises prohibition.”



Augusto De Luca

2x © Gregg Cashmore

2x © Augusto De Luca

DP Gallery address: AugustoDeLuca Image title: Jane

Gregg Cashmore

DP Gallery address: Greggsy Image title: Ogwen Falls, Snowdonia

“I spent three nights this autumn around the Ogwen Valley. I’d seen fantastic shots online of these waterfalls so I decided it was going to be my base for this visit. Clambering around the rocks after a night of heavy rain wasn’t easy. I particularly liked the foreground rocks and the burnt orange autumn colours.”


“All my photographs seep emotion, through the relationship that I establish with the person or place I am portraying. Whenever I see something that captivates me, I start turning it around to find my own frame. I work on myself and on the subject at the same time.”

2x © Bibiana Ruzickova

Bibiana Ruzickova DP Gallery address: Ruzickova Image title: Red Poppy “This photo is a combination of two styles – fashion and conceptual photography. I shot it in a beautiful poppy field right before sunset, using two red smoke bombs. To create a more dramatic look, I had to combine multiple photos into one, during post-processing.”





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 black and white landscapes, and after sifting through over 3,000 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 the winners!



Photographer: Chee Keong Lim Our comment: We really love this black and white shot – the photographer has captured the dramatic landscape with absolute skill. The image has been very well timed and the beams of light streaming through the clouds really make this photo particularly special.




Photographer: Hlaing Myint Min Our comment: The abstract feel of this stunning shot really stood out for us. It isn’t instantly clear what the image is of and this helps to draw the viewer in. The three figures help to tie the image together and the high-contrast tones make it very impactful.

Photographer: Kevin Evans Our comment: This image has been composed very well. We love the angle that the photograph has been shot at and the long exposure has blurred the sky beautifully. The tones here are really nice and the viewer’s eyes are pulled straight into the centre of the image.

Three Villagers

Pier Pressure

1ST PLACE CROWD VOTED Greenlandic Fjord

Photographer: Ange



STORY BEHIND THESTILL Photographer: Fabio Antenore Website: Location: Vatnajökull glacier, Iceland Type of commission: Commercial Shot details: Nikon D850 with Sigma Art 14mm f1.8 lens, 1/8s-8min at ISO 320-640 About the shot: There are certain locations at which it seems it would be impossible to shoot a bad image. However, as incredible as these places are, it requires the photographer’s creativity to produce unique images, with lasting impact. Here Fabio Antenore wanted to take a more creative shot of a well-photographed location. “I took the image in Iceland in the Vatnajökull glacier. My goal was to take a shot in a glacier cave that didn’t look the same as the normal ones [taken by other photographers],” says Fabio. By incorporating the figure in the shot, the frame is given a sense of scale, while creating a contrast of atmosphere. “My thought process when setting up the shot was that it just has to look beautiful!” Fabio recounts. “It combined the beauty of nature with the symbol of human beauty, a bride.” By using his wide-angle lens, Fabio made the most of the environment and the unique lighting that the ice produced. It was the lighting that presented Fabio with his greatest obstacle, however. “The biggest challenge was the dynamic range and the darkness of the surroundings, in combination with the light from the hole in the cave. The shortest exposure was around 1/8s and the longest, 8min. I used luminosity masks at the post-processing stage to combine these.” To achieve the images he envisions, Fabio is not afraid to use extensive image editing. “I did a lot processing. To shoot in a cave like this you have to take more than just one exposure – it was an extra exposure for the bride, combined with multiple shots for the rest of the image, to manage the huge range of tones.”


Fabio Antenore, who runs photography workshops, managed these challenging conditions by balancing light, using flash to lift the subject’s face. Fabio was careful not to overpower the ambient natural light


All images © Fabio Antenore

The Bride




Shooting info

The model mirrors the mediumformat GFX 50S in offering a 1.28in top-plate LCD



The camera’s three-inch LCD can be tilted to a range of positions, much like on the X-T2


Top of the line

The X-H1 will sit at the helm of Fujifilm’s X series

FUJIFILM ANNOUNCES PROFESSIONAL X-H1 CAMERA New pro-level model will sit above existingX-series cameras

After months of speculation, Fujifilm has confirmed the imminent arrival of a new prooriented X-H1 camera. The new model is positioned above the current coflagship X-Pro2 and X-T2 models, and combines a handful of familiar technologies with some new additions. It inherits the same combination of an APS-C-sized 24.3MP X-Trans CMOS III sensor and X-Processor Pro engine from the X-T2, together with an updated version of its 4K video recording option, a feature that has been included in a handful of its recent cameras. 22

One notable inclusion is five-axis sensorbased image stabilisation, something that has not been designed into previous X-series models. This is said to have a maximum compensatory effect of 5.5EV stops and is effective for both stills and video. It also mirrors the systems on many other recent models in its ability to work in concert with lens-based image stabilisation technologies. The camera’s weatherresistant body makes use of magnesium alloy in its design, and Fujifilm states that being slightly larger than the X-T2 means that it better supports

heavier ‘red-badge’ lenses. As with the X-T2, an optional Vertical Power Booster battery grip will also be made available, which increases the maximum frame rate when using the mechanical shutter from 8fps to 11fps, in addition to providing more power. The X-H1’s body also incorporates a topplate LCD that appears similar to the one integrated into the GFX-50S’s top plate, plus a 3.69 million-dot electronic viewfinder and a tilting touchscreen display on the rear. The announcement comes just weeks after confirmation of a more junior member of the X-series, the X-A5. It bears a similar design and feature set to the existing X-A3 camera, although Fujifilm has equipped it with 4K UHD video capabilities, phase-detect AF and faster processing speeds. The X-H1 will go on sale in March with a body-only RRP of £1,699/$1,900.


New mirrorless and superzoom models laun he Panasonic has given its mid-range line of mirrorless cameras a boost with the introduction of the compact but powerful GX9. The GX9 comes two and a half years after the previous GX8 model, and almost two years after the GX80/GX85, although Panasonic has stated that the new arrival will not replace either camera. As with the GX8, the camera is primarily aimed at street photographers, and features the familiar combination of a 20.3MP sensor (with no low-pass filter) with a body-based image stabilisation system and 4K video recording. Other features include the partnership of a tilting EVF and an LCD that can be adjusted over 80 degrees upwards and 45 degrees downwards, as well as USB charging. The company has also announced that a new TZ200 model will sit alongside the existing TZ100 in the Lumix compact line-up. As with the TZ100, its designed around a 20.1MP one-inch-type sensor, although key advantages of the new model include a 15x zoom lens equivalent to 24360mm in 35mm terms, as well as an upgraded viewfinder and a refined hand grip. The Panasonic GX9 will start shipping from 12 March, and will be available as a body-only option for £699/$999. The TZ200, meanwhile, will go on sale in March for £729/$800.


Micro four thirds

The Panasonic GX9 makes use of a 20.3MP MFT sensor Left


Both the EVF and LCD screen can be tilted

Olympus introduces E-PL9

In other news More announcements from around the photography world

New modelincorporates4Kvideoandupgradedimagestabilisation

Olympus’s fashion-focused PEN line has gained a new member, the PEN E-PL9. Aimed towards smartphone users looking to transition easily into interchangeablelens photography, the new micro four thirds model shares the same 16.1MP sensor resolution with the E-PL8, but mops up a number of new and updated features seen in other recent releases from Olympus. These include 4K video recording and the same TruePic VIII processing engine as the flagship OM-D E-M1 Mark II model, together with the more recent 121-point contrastdetect AF system to replace the 81-point system found on the E-PL8. The camera’s image stabilisation system now operates over five axes instead of the previous three,

while Wi-Fi is now joined by Low Energy Bluetooth technology. The E-PL9 will be available in white, brown and black finishes, both as a bodyonly option and together with a M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 EZ Pancake lens, with a respective UK RRP of £580 and £650. It will be available towards the middle of March.



Choose your style

The E-PL9 will be available in brown, white and black finishes

KODAK LAUNCHES ITS OWN CRYPTOCURRENCY In a bizarre-sounding move, Kodak has announced a new cryptocurrency, dubbed KODAKCoin. Together with the KODAKOne platform, it’s designed to help photographers and agencies have better control over image rights management, but the move has left the photographic community confused.

SIGMA GOES EXTRA WIDE Sigma has unveiled the 14-24mm f2.8 DG HSM Art lens, a new ultra-wideangle optic intended for users of its own mirrorless models, in addition to Canon and Nikon DSLR owners. Pricing is yet to be confirmed.

THE PHOTOGRAPHY SHOW RETURNS The Photography Show will return to the Birmingham NEC for the fifth year, with over 250 exhibitors set to be at the event. The show will take place between 17-20 March and tickets are now available. Visit for more details.

For more news and updates, be sure to pay a visit to our website,, and if you’ve got a story for us, you can email us at 23


Into the

Expert astrophotographer Chris Baker takes us behind the scenes as he captures his magical and mysterious images of deep space 24


Rosette Nebula

This wonderfully coloured image clearly demonstrates the narrowband imaging technique, without which the full range of tones could not be captured All images Š Chris Baker




s far as photographic genres go, there aren’t many that are as specialised as astrophotography. While there are a plethora of challenges faced by photographers shooting subjects on Earth, attempting to capture quality, detailed colour images of objects several light years away raises the workload to new levels. While this field of imaging may be seen as resourcedependent and therefore prohibitively expensive to many, deep space photographer Chris Baker ( believes anyone can enjoy shooting celestial subjects. “What I do is relatively advanced, timeconsuming, a serious passion and certainly not cheap,” admits Chris. “However, please don’t think you need an observatory on a mountain in Spain, many thousands of pounds of equipment and a lot of time, to start observing the heavens or photographing deep space. Good results can be achieved with modest equipment under light-polluted skies, albeit with a little dedication.” Chris has worked in astrophotography since 2001, although this stemmed from a life-long passion for astronomy. Through the years he has become an expert in both areas, contributing to multiple major publications and media, including The Sky at Night for the BBC. After graduating with a degree in Chemistry from the University of York, Chris has used his scientific background to great effect. “I don’t photograph objects within our Solar System, so no planets for example – I image objects that are much further away. These are a few hundred light years away, to over a billion light years. They are known as deep space objects,” he explains. The focus of his images is as varied as it is fascinating. “The light has travelled through the universe, over Chris then explains the extensive process thousands or even millions of years to reach behind the creation of his deep space images. my camera. I am passionate and dedicated “There is a significant difference between in my pursuit of an outstanding photograph. conventional photography and deep space It may be nebulae which are giving birth to photography, driven by the amount of light stars like our sun, a gigantic galaxy made reaching the camera. Deep space objects up of a trillion stars, or a star spectacularly are extremely faint, so the exposure times disintegrating in vivid colour.” required are tens of hours rather than a The images Chris captures are stunning in few seconds or a fraction of a second, as both subject matter and creative execution, in conventional photography. This leads to something which he feels is important for radically different techniques and equipment inspiring an interest in space within his being employed. The first step is to plan what viewers. “Such images make the cosmos is to be photographed. Different objects are more accessible and bring these wondrous available at different times of the year and distant objects closer to home,” he explains. are visible from different parts of the world, “I am interested in investigating the cosmos so clearly the object must be available from through the language of art, as an alternative my location. Ideally, I want the object to be to the language of physics, which is baffling high in the sky and visible most of the night. to many people. I see both physics and art to I also decide which filters are to be used be simultaneous descriptions of reality, which and the exposure times. The filters govern are equally valid. Like many scientists, I was the type of colour data gathered, which is initially drawn to astronomy by a deep sense later used to create the colour image.” From of wonder and awe for the beauty, enormity Chris’ description, it is clear that one of the and mystery of the universe.” greatest investments astrophotographers 26

“Good results can be achieved with modest equipment under light-polluted skies, albeit with a little dedication” must make is one of time, as the creation of a quality image can take several days. “To get the data I need to create a good colour image I will photograph through three, four or five filters. I aim for up to 50 hours of total exposure time gained over many nights. For many reasons, it is not possible to have a single exposure of hours. Therefore, the task is cut into manageable chunks by taking what are known as ‘sub frames’. These are photographs with exposure times of minutes



The dramatic Horsehead Nebula

Due to the very small amount of light received by deep space objects, the standard photographic practices must be adapted

Top right

The Pelican Nebula

Many of Chris Baker’s astro photographs were captured over several nights, representing many hours of work, in camera and in software

Middle right

Supernova remains

The remains of a supernova star explosion. Astrophotographers utilise ‘dark frames’ as a means of manual image noise reduction

Bottom right

The stunning Soul Nebula

Although Chris uses specialised equipment, he stresses that beginners can capture images at home using lower-powered astronomy and photographic gear


INTERVIEW rather than hours. Typically, I will take sub frames of 20-25 minutes each, which are built up over many nights through each filter. Every morning I will discard those that are imperfect – imperfections can occur for a variety of reasons, perhaps poor visibility, an aircraft or satellite leaving a trail right across the image, poor focusing or a software error. l discard in the region of 30 per cent of all the sub frames. This means I need even more time to gather enough data!” To accurately capture sharp and clean image files, Chris must take three further types of image: dark frames, bias frames and flat fields. “Dark frames are images taken with the shutter closed and are required to remove the thermal and electronic noise. The same number of images is taken as the light sub frames, with the same exposure. Bias frames are extremely short exposures


“Such images make the cosmos more accessible and bring these wondrous distant objects closer to home” with the shutter closed. Not all the pixels on a CCD chip have a value of zero – bias frames apply it to dark and light sub frames, to bring all the pixels on the sensor to the same starting value. Flat fields are images taken of a dusk or dawn semi-light sky – they are required [to remove] dust or dirt on lenses, filters or the camera chip.” Once all of this work has been done, Chris’ resulting image frames can be combined in software, to produce the magical final compositions. He uses several applications to

enhance his merged files. “The first stage is to stack the individual sub frames for each filter, then to combine the red, green and blue data into the colour image. At this early point, the beauty and detail are still buried somewhere in the data and need to be teased out, extracted and carefully enhanced. I use a range of software, including Maxim DL, PixInsight and Adobe Photoshop to create the final image.” While this is an intensive process, the images shown here demonstrate the capability of modern hardware and software to capture


Right top

Colliding galaxies

Chris focuses on deep space objects for his images, which are beyond the reaches of our solar system

Right bottom

The Cocoon Nebula

By portraying deep space subjects from an artistic perspective, Chris hopes to inspire others to develop a passion for astronomy


Andromeda Galaxy

This image show the Andromeda Galaxy, which is 2.5 million light years away


INTERVIEW detail and show deep space subjects as never before. Chris’ expertise in both is what enables him to recognise what is needed to get the best possible shot. However, even in astrophotography restraint must be shown on the photographer’s part to ensure that images are accurate, whilst still being visually appealing. “Several of the nebulae images you see here have rich blue and gold colouring. These images are known as ‘narrowband’ images – astrophotographers capture these emissions using specialist filters. It is ‘false colour’ in one respect but at the same time does allow the extraction of the beautiful details. The alternative and arguably more accurate colour depiction would probably be a red blob, telling us little about the structure.” Even at this stage of the process Chris looks to further build his skills. “I am always learning new processing techniques and am excited to apply these to new data or to go back and reprocess an old image, trying to make improvements. I’m not sure I am ever completely satisfied!”


The Elephant’s Trunk Nebula

Chris Baker uses multiple coloured filters to build up the colour and luminance for each of his amazing astro images

What next? “In 2015 I launched my art collection, ‘Galaxy on Glass’. Over the last two years this business has grown and I have many customers all over the world. I work with some of the best fine art printers to produce my work in limited editions and all can be seen at galaxyonglass. com. There is a never-ending supply of beautiful objects to image, so I will continue to capture as many as I can. I am also moving on to do some science with my equipment. In the last year I recorded data of an ‘exo planet’, a planet orbiting another star way beyond our solar system. It is not possible to photograph these tiny faint objects, but it is possible to detect them. The last one I detected was the size of Jupiter, but had a year (the time taken to orbit its star) of less than three Earth days! Summer and winter pass quickly on this strange land. “Finally, in May 2018 my first book is to be published, Photographing the Deep Sky: A journey through Space and Time by White Owl Press. The book contains many beautiful deep sky photographs, as well as a more in-depth look at how these images are taken.”




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Blissful colour

Photographer Adrian Borda ( adrianborda) chose to shoot this field of flowers at sunrise, to capture deep colours and a warmer tint of light © Adrian Borda



Discover the best settings, styles and subjects for taking your most impactful shots yet


olour is one of the most dynamic compositional elements there is. It carries emotional messages, conveys mood and feelings, and helps us to tell stories. It can also be used in a practical way to draw the eye to certain parts of the frame, create contrast or a sense of harmony. Colour is everywhere in life and prevalent in all types of design, from interior decorating to cinematography. But that being said, even the best photographers can struggle to understand its importance, and how it can be shifted, edited and used with purpose to enhance creative ideas. Have you ever looked back at one of your photos where all the elements seemed right at the time, and yet the final result is disappointing? The chances are the colour needs some work. So why is colour so important? In this feature, find out how and why different camera settings suit different subjects. We’ll also be demonstrating some bright and beautiful projects for you to try your hand at. In some genres it might seem impossible to control colour, but that’s definitely not the case – even in natural landscapes, we’ll explain how your shooting location, time and even lens choice impact the final saturation. Lastly, there’s some editing tutorials on hand both for enhancing tones or even changing them completely. Ready for some high-end help on hues? Read on! 35



Find out how your camera’s exposure and settings will affect the colour in your shots

you the values for each individual channel, so you can discover any potential problems with colour saturation. Scene modes or filters are no longer a gimmick reserved just for entry-level cameras. Even high-end DSLRs, the recent Canon EOS 6D Mark II included, have modes such as Food that work to enhance certain colours and tones in an image. Picture styles are another way to change the way your camera ‘sees’ colour. The Standard picture style is an all-purpose mode that produces the colours and contrast levels for general photographic subjects. As a more specific example, the Landscape picture style changes the colours; blues should become more vivid and deep, and greens will appear more vivid and bright. Most DSLRs will enable you to set your own custom picture style, so that you can alter the saturation and contrast levels manually. Right

Picture styles Mel Sinclair ( used her DSLR’s Standard scene mode to capture this vibrant landscape. While a Standard style suits a broad array of subjects for easy editing, a Vivid picture control emphasises primary colours


White balance Here, photographer Hesham Alhumaid ( hesh4m) used Evaluative metering mode and Auto White Balance to accurately capture the three primary colours of the composition © Hesham Alhumaid

Prepping your camera is the first step in any successful shoot, so we’ll start by exploring camera settings. Firstly, make sure you’re shooting in RAW mode so that the white balance and tones can be tweaked easily later on at the editing stage. If you want to get out of Auto White Balance mode, set your camera to match the light source falling on your subject. For example, Daylight suits outdoor scenes under clear skies, whereas Tungsten is designed for indoor scenes under incandescent lighting. Setting a custom white balance using a grey card will give you readings with even greater accuracy. Exposure determines how light or dark an image appears, but also affects what and how colours are recorded. Every camera has a specific dynamic range it’s able to capture, and if a tone fall outside of this because of incorrect exposure, it’ll appear as white or black. Say for example you wanted to record the rich red of a velvet dress in a shadowed room, you’d need to increase the exposure so that the red tone was recorded accurately, rather than as a dark brown. Put simply, consider what colours are important to the scene, and alter your exposure accordingly. Check the RGB histograms of your images when reviewing them, to make sure the most important colours haven’t been clipped. The Brightness histogram combines the brightness of all three colour channels rolled into one, whereas the RGB version shows

Lens variation and colour Not all optics are made equal. How does colour vary with lenses? WIDE-ANGLE ZOOM The standard wide-angle lens used here gives the image a slightly grey tint. Colours aren’t as punchy and will need a boost and tweak in editing software.



© Mel Sinclair

TELE-ZOOM When using a telephoto zoom lens, there was little colour tint. The saturation wasn’t as vivid or punchy as the prime lens, however.

© Lauren Scott

PRIME LENS The saturation from a highquality prime lens is often higher than a zoom. Using an 85mm lens, the colours here have been rendered rich and smooth, with bias to warmer colours.




Shoot a colourful floral image

A fun, easy project to work on from the comfort of a home setup

Inject life into the frame by actively composing with vibrant contents

When you come across bold and vibrant hues in a scene, it’s likely you’ll want to make the most of them. There are a few techniques for enhancing tones and making an impact. To start with, you won’t be able to record bold hues with an incorrect exposure. Underexposures give an overcast look, whereas a shot that’s too bright will have blown out the highlights that wash out underlying colours. One method for capturing vivid colours in nature is to position your focus on a neutral green, then use exposure compensation to underexpose by around two thirds of a stop when you shoot. The eye is always drawn to the brightest coloured part of a frame, and if you have two elements of the same size, a warm one is ‘visually heavier’ than the cool one. Along with colour theory, you can use this knowledge when approaching your compositions. Complementary hues (that are opposite each other on a colour wheel) create an energetic, bold and more dynamic feel. Eye-catching pictures are much more likely when you include contrasting colours. Use a telephoto lens and long focal length to isolate specific colours in your composition, or hone in on a particular part of a scene that has a striking colour combination. Creating dramatic images is about far more than cramming the frame with hundreds of hues. Using too many colours actually creates a confusing and visually disengaging frame, so it’s a good rule to keep things simple. Decide what the key element in your scene is, then choose which surrounding details you need to keep in the frame. Once you’ve nailed your composition for maximum impact, try working with filters. A polarising filter enhances blue skies, adding contrast and richness to washed-out colours on a bright, sunny day. A graduated neutral density filter is handy when the lighting across a landscape is uneven and you only want to enhance colours in the sky. Touching on camera settings again, try manually changing the default colour saturation of images from the Picture Styles menu of your DSLR. If you boost the saturation to a higher number, you should notice the colours becoming more vibrant. 38


Simple props Gather a variety of bold flowers and some brightly coloured paper for the background. Clamps are also handy for holding subjects in position.


Add contrast Colours that are opposite on a colour wheel create an energetic and vibrant frame. This shot contains two pairs of complementary colours, from the flowers and the paper


Colour combos Hold the paper behind the flowers to see what combinations work. Keep colour theory in mind – here purple complemented the yellow flowers.


DSLR setup In aperture priority mode, set an aperture of around f8 and ISO of 100. Tweak these settings depending on the ambient light. Shoot in RAW mode.




Fill the frame Use a mid-zoom lens for speedy recomposition and aim to fill the frame with the paper. You might need a tripod to avoid camera shake in low light.

Location Shoot your subjects near a large window if possible. If you have brightly painted walls, ensure these aren’t casting a strong colour onto your subjects.

Look in nature You can find plenty of examples of complementary colours together, such as red flowers in a green field. Compose the frame to include these.


Colour your lighting

In this shot, a light-blue gel illuminated the model from the front, and a pink gel was positioned behind the subject as a rim light

Liven up portraits with the help of flashguns and coloured gels


Pick your kit Choose and attach two complementary coloured gels to two flashguns. Attach one flashgun to the hot shoe of your camera, and the second one on a stand off-camera.




Set main light The flashgun attached to the hot shoe will be the key light aimed towards the model. Start with 1/8 power and a 50mm zoom, then fire off a test shot.

Choose settings Set your DSLR to manual mode. Start with an aperture of around f8 and a 1/200sec shutter speed. Tweak the ISO to suit the available light.

Set second light Set the off-camera flash to 1/16 power. Position the stand slightly behind and to the side of your model. Fire off a few test shots and check the results. Colour in motion By panning the camera we can blend and distort colours, lights and shapes for gorgeous abstract results


Set exposure The optimum speed to use depends on the light and your panning movement. Start with 1/30sec, then play around with slower speeds.


Find focus If your scene has a clear horizon line, position the focus point there. Pre-focus, then set the lens to manual focus and turn off the Stabiliser function.

Intentional camera movement

Panning the camera strips out detail for abstract scenes


The subject Look for colourful subjects with defined lines – think city lights, sunset skies and woodlands. Use a zoom lens to help tighten the composition.




Take test shots Fire the shutter and pan the camera smoothly across the scene during the exposure. Review your test shots and tweak any settings.

Exposure mode Switch to shutter priority mode. Set a low ISO such as 100 to help you reach a longer exposure if the light levels aren’t very low.

Lengthen further To pan more slowly and blur the colour you’ll also need to reduce ambient light. Attach an ND filter to the front of the lens. 39


© Hesham Alhumaid


Whether you’re out in nature or in a studio environment, the light quality also affects hues Light and colour are intrinsically linked, and to get the results you desire it’s vital to understand how one impacts the other. In a studio or indoor environment, you can control the artificial lights and modifiers you use. When shooting natural scenes too however, you can control how colour is rendered by placing yourself in a particular lighting scenario – whether that means shooting at a particular location, in certain weather or at a specific time of year or day. In clear conditions, during the early and late golden hours when the sun is close to the horizon, sunlight bathes everything in a deep orange and creates a warm cast. Further into the golden hour, colours start to become more distinct, vivid and vibrant. After sunrise, once the sun has cleared the horizon, it has a white 40

and neutral colouration that makes it good for capturing subjects like flowers accurately. Moving to the middle of a clear day, bright sunlight has a bleaching effect that causes hues to look relatively dull. At twilight, colours are also fairly dull, but still distinct. Then, towards total darkness, colours become almost non-existent, or take on a greyish-blue tinge. After time of day, you’ll need to consider the weather conditions. On a very cloudy day or in strong shade, images take on a grey, dull tinge. On a foggy day, the further away you are from the subject and the thicker the fog, the more the original colours are lost. Artificial lighting is a tricky topic to cover, as there are a myriad of situations you might be presented with. The effect depends on the

light source’s distance, as well as its direction in relation to what you’re photographing. As a general rule, colours that are closer to a light source appear brighter and bolder, whereas those further away get duller. When your scene is lit by many different lights (all with varying temperatures), it’s best to set your white balance to Auto mode. One way to control the colour of light – both indoors and outside – is by using modifiers. For example, reflectors can come with neutral or gold coatings, or gels can be added to flash guns to introduce vibrant hues. Above

Selective colours

The bright pink hue is what draws our eye into this image. Here Hesham Alhumaid exposed this image to ensure the pink was recorded accurately



Varying lights

Colours in your scene change throughout the day with the position of the sun

GOLDEN HOURS During sunrise and sunset, the light is warm and soft. Colours will take on a warmer cast, with orange and red tones becoming more prevalent.

MIDDAY During the middle of the day, colours can appear washed out and harsh, thanks to the bright sunlight falling on them. A polarising filter will help to add punch and saturation.

DUSK Twilight occurs twice a day, at dawn and dusk. Colours are more subtle and subdued, as the Earth’s upper atmosphere scatters and reflects sunlight to illuminate the lower atmosphere.

3x © Adrian Borda

Shooting inside can give you more control over light and colour. Here, Angela Perez used a flash to illuminate the model, along with an Auto White Balance ( angieandmarko)

© Angela Perez

Pink Lemonade




Three top tutorials for tweaking or completely replacing the colours in your scenes In an ideal world, you’d capture all the right colours in-camera. In truth however, every image can benefit from a little editing in the digital darkroom, especially when it comes to boosting colours up. If you’re going to be printing your photos, it’s particularly important to make sure your laptop or computer screen is calibrated correctly before you get going, as every monitor varies slightly in terms of colour saturation and brightness. Whether you’re using Lightroom, Photoshop or Camera RAW, most programmes have a similar set of tools. If you’re adjusting image tones in Photoshop though, use adjustment layers for each new edit, so that you don’t permanently alter your original file. The first edit to make is tweaking white balance with the Temperature and Tint sliders

until you’re happy with the cast across your image. You might want to look at Split Toning too, which will enable you to selectively introduce different hues to the highlights and shadows. To adjust the exposure and contrast, alter the Levels or Curves. For making generalised colour corrections to your image, add a Colour Balance adjustment layer. Next up, one of the best ways to amp up colours is by dragging the Saturation or Vibrance sliders to the right. Be conservative at this stage, as too much Saturation will degrade the image and cause posterisation (when you’ll notice colour transitions appearing as bands rather than a smooth transition from one tone to another). Saturation and Vibrance sliders can also be found in the Basic tab of Lightroom’s Develop

panel, but what’s the difference between the two? Using clever Adobe wizardry, the Vibrance slider works on more muted tones. Ideal for portraits, it leaves skin tones and heavily saturated colours unaltered for a much more natural-looking result. On the other hand, the Saturation slider changes all hues more aggressively, affecting colours no matter how saturated they already are. Once general adjustments have been made to an image, you might want to take things further and get more creative. It’s possible to mix, match and replace colours completely in Photoshop CC. The Color Replacement tool is tucked away underneath the traditional brush in Photoshop, and can be used to replace a single colour in a photo – discover how this works in the tutorial on the next page. DP

Take control of the look

Use Lightroom tools to correct casts and enhance your RAW images


BEFORE Washed-out shot


Choose a profile Next, head down to the Camera Calibration tab. Click the Profile dropdown to apply a picture style. The Camera Landscape profile gave us a good result.

© Lauren Scott

Our RAW files contained much more colour information than a JPG would have. We were able to edit our image without any loss in quality

Set white balance In the Basic panel, select the Eyedropper tool and choose a neutral point. You can adjust the Temperature and Tint sliders to fine-tune the colour correction.


Up intensity Head to the HSL panel and alter the Saturation and Luminance of specific colours. We wanted to boost the sky and sand, so upped the levels of Blue, Yellow and Orange.



Add curves The Tone Curve panel gives precise control. Pay attention to the histogram as you edit. We took the Highlights to -40, Lights and Darks down to -25, and boosted the Shadows. 42


Get selective You can use the adjustment brush to make very targeted adjustments to colour and exposure. We used a fairly small brush and painted over the sand ridges in the dunes.


Last-minute tweaks Take a look at your image and consider whether you’re happy with the final result. We took up the Contrast and Vibrance again for a punchier finish.

Corrected colours We took a step-by-step approach to editing our image, starting with white balance and then moving on to selective adjustments


Replace the colour

Edit the backgrounds or sections of your scene with Photoshop


Open your image It’s best to choose an image that has a clearly defined outline between two different colours. Once you’ve chosen, open it in Adobe Photoshop.


Find the tool Select the Color Replacement tool from the toolbar. If it isn’t visible at first, you can access it by holding down the Brush tool.



Set the brush In the options bar, set the blend mode to Color. Then change the brush style, tweaking the size and hardness to suit your subject.


Sample modes Set the sampling mode to once. This means the software will replace the targeted colour in areas containing only the hue we first clicked.

AFTER New colour The Color Replacement tool is ideal for quickly changing large, bold areas of colour such as backgrounds. It doesn’t work as well with dark and subtle tones


Set the tolerance A low percentage will replace colours very similar to the pixels you click, whereas a higher value replaces a broader range of colours.


Paint it in Choose a foreground colour to replace the original one. Then click the target colour you wish to replace in the image and drag the brush around to replace it. 43

© Lauren Scott

Original colour The Color Replacement tool is also available in Photoshop Elements software. We chose to replace the blue background with purple


Infrared effects

Learn how to apply a surrealist infrared style in Photoshop which is perfect for landscapes

BEFORE Starting colours Our original landscape image was already vibrant, but we wanted to change the colours for a surreal ďŹ nal effect


Invert the colours Next, invert the colours of the duplicated layer, by selecting it and then clicking the Invert option in the adjustment layer panel. The image should now look like a negative.


Change blend modes Select the inverted adjustment layer, and change the blend mode to Color from the drop-down menu in the Layers panel. The main tones will now appear as orange and blue.


Copy start scene This surrealistic effect is most prominent on organic matter such as trees and plant foliage. Open up your chosen start image, then duplicate the layer by going to Image>Duplicate Layer.


Colour channels Click the Channel Mixer in the adjustment layer panel. Then, with the Output Channel set to red, move the red slider to 0 and blue slider to +100.

AFTER Vibrant magentas By tweaking the colour channels and inverting the colours, we created a wacky, vibrant effect that turned pink tones to green


More mixing Next, with the output channel set to blue, increase the red to +100 and move the blue slider to 0. On the green output, set this to +100, with red and blue at 0.


Last step Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer via the adjustment layer panel. If you feel like you need to make the colours slightly less intense, take down the saturation levels.



Five great things about

Affinity Photo The focus on photos above all else

If you want to improve your photos or combine them into a work of art, Affinity has you more than covered. In fact, there’s a much clearer focus on photos in general. Affinity Photo will always be focused on photobased activities, and that’s a good thing. It means that the team will always be focused on the things that matter to you, instead of trying to make one app do everything. This results in a smaller, much faster and more powerful app that puts the tools photographers need, and nothing more, right where you can see them.

“With Affinity Photo, the team will always be focused on the things that matter to you”

The interface

That aforementioned focus also results in a much more intuitive interface. With Affinity Photo, you’ll probably find that there’s not much need to customise the interface. Almost everything you need is right there.

No subscription

You’re only paying a one-off £48.99 for the desktop app, but you still get new features added on a regular basis with no monthly fee and no extra payment. Plus there are fast, regular bug-fix releases, just as there should be.


A must for any pro photo-editing app, here are just a few areas wh here Affinity Photo shines…


• •


Non-destru u tive editin ng Unlimited do history Liq qui y pers sona – a full-feattured UI, within n ea reach ea one mapping persona one Typography Typogra y – full control ove er spacing, tab stops, justification n, and everything else you o could possibly need Real-time previews to take a lot of the guesswork out of editing images



360-degree editing

Pan and zoom around 360-degree photos for intuitive editing


Selection refinement

Make extremely precise selections using the advanced algorithms


Tone mapping

Merge multiple exposure brackets together into a single 32-bit image

An unbelievable iPad app

It’s literally a world first – a photo-editing app for iPad that has virtually all the professional features of its desktop big brother – not a compromised ‘lite’ version. For photographers who do a lot of work on the move, this is priceless. It means you can shoot and edit on location, with access to all the tools you’d reach for when you got back to your desk. So why not try it for yourself – Affinity Photo for desktop is priced at £48.99 from the Mac App Store or for Windows from the Affinity website. Affinity Photo for iPad is priced at £19.99 from the App Store. With free trials available for the desktop versions you shouldn’t be searching for reasons to try Affinity Photo – you should be asking yourself why you haven’t already. To find out more go to or visit the Affinity Photo Live Stage at The Photography Show in March.



THE ART OF POSING FOR PORTRAITS Learn to pose both male and female models and produce captivating portraits full of emotion


he art of successful posing is absolutely vital for great portrait photography. Unless one is shooting candids, the photographer must interact with the subject and direct them in order to achieve the very best possible results, as well as understanding how to place the subject within the frame for compositional purposes. This all sounds like an instinctive

process that requires little conscious thought – and for some more experienced portrait photographers, it is – but for most it requires deliberate, considered attention. Over the next few pages, you’ll discover techniques for posing female subjects, male models and group shots, enabling you to take your portrait photography to a more professional level and create incredible images.

Aim for allure

© Oleg Gekman

Encourage your female subjects to touch their face and hair for a more sensual pose





POSEFEMALESUBJECTS Discover how to work with female models to create seductive and sensual captures The perfect pose is key for creating a good portrait, both for flattering your model and also for conveying the mood and overall feel of your image. Lighting, hair and make-up are very important too, however the pose and positioning of your subject will arguably have the biggest effect on the final image. When photographing a female subject your aim should be to enhance her natural beauty and features, so you must pay close attention to any unflattering and unforgiving angles. Having a chat with your model before the shoot is always encouraged and can help you with your setup and pose. If the model is experienced she might already know her best and most favoured side, or the most flattering angle to position her head. Asking about this first will help you to quickly understand what works best for your subject.

As always the body part closest to the camera will appear larger, so you must be aware of what that is. You should also focus on how the model’s arms are positioned, as even the thinnest of models can look larger due to a misplaced arm. Your goal should be to work to define the jawline. If your model’s jawline isn’t clearly defined then shoot from slightly above looking down, as this gives the jawline more definition and will also slim the body. It might even be a good idea to ask the subject to lean into the camera. Leaning her face towards you will elongate the subject’s neck, define the chin and should encourage her hair to fall beautifully across her shoulders. It may also help you to emphasise the size of the model’s eyes, which can be a very attractive and desired trait.

To create a more seductive image get the model to tilt her head downwards slightly, asking her to look up at you with her eyes. Ask the model to relax her jaw so that her lips part, then get her to press her tongue into the roof of her mouth. Asking her to play with her hair or touch her face will also create a more sensual and alluring image. “Poses are always chosen in accordance to the image in mind,” explains beauty fashion photographer Oleg Gekman ( heckmannoleg). “An important factor is the choice of the best angle for every model. I try to avoid hard light for women’s portraits. I create a soft lighting that enhances the beauty of the model’s skin and her make-up and hair. To achieve that I use softboxes and a beauty dish with a scrim. To soften shadows I use a deflector and white panels.”





Pose a woman When aiming for a seductive pose, don’t be afraid to position yourself as you would ask your model to pose, and feel free to ask for their input.

Lighting Use a honeycomb grid to focus the lighting either behind your model to illuminate the space behind them, or as a rim light.

Lens choice Shallow depth of field will focus the viewer’s eye onto the eyeline of the model, so why not use a prime lens with a narrow aperture.


Tilt the shoulders

© Rebecca Greig

Asking the model to tilt her shoulders slightly will help to create a more flattering shape



Hands in hair

Give the model something to do with their hands. Hands in hair helps to create a sensual image


Direct eye contact will help to engage the viewer


The model’s jawline is clearly defined, creating a flattering shot


Her lips are slightly parted, which aids in defining the jaw and creates an alluring expression

Essential kit Gather key accessories in order to shoot the best possible portraits REFLECTOR A reflector is truly key for all portraiture; use it to bounce the light back into the model’s face to fill any unflattering shadows. Reflectors can be used for both male and female models effectively.

BEAUTY DISH Similar to a reflector, a beauty dish can be used with a studio light to further illuminate a model’s face and ensure harsh shadows are lifted. They are commonly used for female portraits.

Having the model touch her face helps to create a more alluring image

GOBO You can add some extra creativity to your portraits by adding a gobo attached to a light into your setup. Use it to create some interesting shadows across the model’s face and body.

© Oleg Gekman





Enhance your portraits by including props and add context by embracing the environment the photographer themselves, and can be a way of distinguishing the photographer’s work from someone else’s. “As I mostly deal with beauty portraits my shooting props are different jewellery, clothes and other accessories,” says Gekman. “At first, I decide what kind of image I am going to create, and then I choose props for the shooting. I always come up with the theme for a photoshoot myself – I think through every detail in the image of the model and buy accessories.”

“Props will help the viewer understand the emotions and role of the subject”

© Oleg Gekman

Integrating props and the surrounding environment into your portraits is a great way of adding context and personality to your shots. It can help to tell a story and add a narrative to your imagery. Props and accessories will add atmosphere and also help the viewer to understand the personality, emotions and role of the subject. Environmental portraits can be very powerful, whether you are just making the most of nature to add interest to your imagery or are using the environment to tell a story about your character – it will help to draw the viewer in and hold their attention. Props can also add creativity and contrast to a scene. For example, adding an object that doesn’t quite fit and seems out of place can actually add a level of conflict and intrigue into an image, which will help to hold the viewer’s attention and force them to really think about what they are looking at. In addition, props can often tell us more about

Add extra interest

© Rebecca Greig

© Oleg Gekman


© Rebecca Greig

Match the pose to the props or the environment




Here the prop is a camera, so it would look odd if the prop wasn’t being used. Ask the model to actually use the object for its intended purpose.

Ask the subject to lean on something within the scene in order to incorporate it into the shot. Having something to lean on can also help a subject to look and feel less awkward.

Props don’t have to be objects, they can also be dominating clothing. Ensure that the piece of clothing is the focus in the shot and use it to tell the story or convey emotions.

© Rebecca Greig



Here the model is holding flowers that match the background colours, and this helps to tie the image together

Use the elements of the environment to create balance in a scene

Create balance


Create abstracts

Props can also be used to create more abstract and evocative imagery

© Sandra Limberg


Tie the colours together



Eye contact is a powerful tool for drawing the viewer into the image


© Oleg Gekman

Focus on a strong facial feature, like a beard or a moustache


Give the model a prop or task to make them look more comfortable


Effectively pose male models for striking imagery

The main difference between men and women is their body shape. Women are generally less angular than men, while the male body consists of defined angles and rigid shapes. For Gekman, “While creating a man’s portrait I follow the same rules as for a woman’s one. I choose poses depending on the theme of the shoot and the image I want to create. For men’s portraits I usually use harder lighting. As a rule, there are one or two sources of light, I put up a sidelight to get deeper shadows and to make the image more dramatic. To create deeper shadows I use black panels. In addition, I use one source of light to illuminate the distance shot thus separating the model from the background.” Samuel Bouget (www.portraitsbysam. com) says, “Because often the intention behind a male portrait will not be the same as the one behind a female portrait, posing will be affected. Male portraiture is not generally considered in terms of beauty or pleasing appearance, but more in terms of conveying an impression of confidence, strength, willpower or any other quality

generally associated with manhood. Helping a man pose well will be easier once you have decided which impression you want to convey to the viewer. For example, if you ask a model to convey an impression of strength and confidence, telling him that this is your intention will help him a lot. You may then ask him to close his eyes (I use this tip a lot and it works very well for me) and think of moments in the past when he was very confident – the confidence should be seen in his eyes. Asking him to lower his head just a little may increase the impression of strength and determination. With this intention in mind, a posing mistake, in my opinion, would be to tilt the head back a little, for this conveys more of an impression of haughtiness. Or, if the body was too slumped, it may prevent you from conveying confidence. “If you are following me with this notion of intention, and the fact that the posing will depend on the type of portrait you want to make, I think you will understand that I cannot give you a list of poses that work best for men. However, I think we can say that


© Sandra Limberg


some poses will probably work better for men than for women because of the impression they convey. For example, asking a man to cross his arms, to put his hand or his hands in his pockets, or do up buttons of a jacket. “The light setups I use will be the same as the ones described for female models, but I may use harder light. For instance, the age of the model may change the way I light him. If the person is quite old for example, I may try to use harder light to emphasise the wrinkles and thus the character of the model. However, hard light may also be interesting for a younger model if you intend to have a more dramatic effect.”


Strong lines

Use lighting to emphasise the texture and rigid lines on a man’s face


Pose a man Direct the model with your own pose, so that they understand how you want the shot to look and can see where they need to be in relation to the lighting.


Lighting Use a beauty dish to highlight the majority of your subject. It will give you a wider spill of light as well as hard light, aiding the shadow detail. 55


POSE TWOSUBJECTS Learn how to shoot with more than one subject

get about the same quantity of light, with nice soft shadows on their face. The bigger the family, the larger the light source will need to be. For a family you may also want to use two light sources, one above you about one metre away on your left, and one above you about one metre away on your right. “These two lighting setups will make it easier for you to have flattering shadows on the faces of every member of the family. With only one light source placed on the left or right, the person who is the furthest from the light source will get less light than the other members of the family, and will run the risk of having less flattering shadows – though of course retouching is possible afterwards. “It all depends on the story I want to tell. Do I want to put emphasis on one of the models in contrast with the other? Do I want to light them ‘equally’? If the light is hard, I may use the sun as a backlight for example. I may shoot in the shade and make the family/ model’s face where the main light source is. If the light is soft because it is cloudy, I will generally make the family/model’s face where the main light source is.”

© Samual Bouget

Having more than one person in your scene will become more of a challenge. You’ll need to consider how to light and frame each subject to ensure that each person is framed in a flattering manner. If you are shooting a couple or even close friends your aim will most likely be to show a connection, interaction and feelings between the subjects. Even in scenes where the subjects don’t necessarily have a relationship, the models should still engage with each other in order to create a level of harmony in the scene. “You definitely need more patience and a perspective view for details,” explains Sandra Limberg ( “For photos with more than two people I am always happy to have assistance with me to watch and keep an eye on the details. For group pictures it is important that the people in the group like each other. In my opinion, distances and discrepancies in photos are visible immediately. If all optical details are right, I leave them be. In groups, I’ll give a little more guidance and instructions concerning movements or who should look in which direction, but basically, let them be people. Let them be a group.” Bouget explains that, “The rules for posing with more than one person will actually be the same as posing with one person. You will have to observe the same details as the ones as I have told you to pay attention to throughout this feature. The additional thing you may be able to do will be to create an interaction between the models in terms of posing according to the story you want to tell. “For a family the first lighting setup is one large source above me (you will need an overhead boom arm). This way everybody will


From above

Approach your capture from a variety of different angles for a new approach to the image’s narrative




Symmetry also works particularly well when shooting two subjects

How you pose your models together will depend on the story you wish to tell in your image

For a more attentiongrabbing capture consider a creative lighting approach


© Rebecca Greig




Emphasise the movement with flowing material

CENTRAL ELEMENT Here the door in this shot helps to anchor the image


You can get your models to move around for a more energetic shot




Discover how to direct a group of subjects

Shooting group portraits is a great way to perfect your communication skills from behind the camera. If you don’t make your voice heard and ensure that all of the subjects listen to you and understand what you are trying to achieve, you will fail. Try to think creatively. You should always avoid trying to get all of your subjects’ heads on the same level; don’t try to perfectly align them as it will simply look unnatural and very forced. Embrace the variety and go out of your way to get everyone’s heads on a different level. Your aim should be to create a pattern of faces as well as an attractive shape. Posing your subjects on stairs is a great way of ensuring their heads will sit on different levels. The most important thing about group portraits is to make sure everyone is visible and that nobody is accidentally obscured. Consider where each subject is positioned. Obviously if it’s a corporate group picture the subjects should be positioned further apart than for an image of close friends or family, where you would want to keep things reasonably tight.

“The most important thing is to make sure nobody is obscured”



Keep your compositions tight, especially when your subjects are friends or family



Road trip

Make your group shots interesting and try shooting from some different, more unusual angles

Creating a triangle with the subjects’ faces generally works quite well. Be careful not to go too obscure and creative unless that is the goal. Fashion and beauty group shots will work with a concept and flare of creativity, but if the image is a commissioned portrait you need to ensure the full focus is on the people captured. “In a group portrait I usually want to reflect communication among models, and their attitude to each other,” explains Oleg Gekman. “If it is a family portrait, then with the help of various composition devices and lighting I try to communicate their feelings in the photo. The concept of lighting is defined by using a lot of light sources with biggerdiameter softboxes. In most cases I shoot in a studio – there are mostly classic portraits on a uniform background, I hardly ever shoot in interiors or outside.”



Create a triangle with your subjects for a more interesting composition

Try to ensure that your subjectsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; heads are at varying heights


Direct your subjects so that they all know where they should be looking



LEARNTOPOSE WITHPERFECTION Professional photographer Samual Bouget shares some top tips for posing your subjects ASYMMETRY OF THE FACE If you notice that some parts of the face are asymmetric (it can be the mouth, the nose, the eyebrows), then try to consider using light and posing to divert the look away from this asymmetry, for greater interest. In terms of posing, this can mean tilting and/or turning the head right or left to avoid facing the model. In terms of lighting, this can mean avoiding simplistic butterfly lighting.


PAY ATTENTION TO THE ALIGNMENT OF THE SHOULDERS Asking the model to put their shoulders in three quarters view will generally be an option that works for every model. It will also add depth to your pictures with the line that the shoulders will draw.



SHAPE WITH HAIR If the face is a bit round or square you may also use the hair to break this impression by asking the model to

bring a few locks of hair on the sides of their face. Of course, in this case, avoid having the hair attached. POSITION THE ARMS If you are doing a side profile picture and the model is bare armed, you may ask the model to detach their arm a little from the body and turn it slightly, as this will help the arm look less wide.

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GET THEM MOVING If you make a portrait of somebody who feels uneasy because they lack experience for example, make them move if you want them to look more natural in their posing. Movement in general is a good technique to consider if you want to convey some energy.


BE AS FLATTERING AS POSSIBLE There may be elements of a person’s body or face that you wish to either emphasise or de-emphasise. For

example, if somebody has a large forehead, you can use a longer lens and a slightly lower point of view to make it look less obvious. If a person has a double chin, you may for example take a higher point of view to make it less visible. CHOOSE A LONGER LENS With some subjects, opting for a longer lens can be the most appropriate choice. For example, if a person has a big nose and if you use a short lens, you will make it look bigger, which might not be desirable in the look you are going for.


KEEP A PORTFOLIO OF YOUR SUCCESSFUL POSES To finish, the various social networks that exist today offer you the possibility to make your own posing guide by recording the poses that you find most flattering (I mainly use Instagram and Pinterest for this purpose). Don’t forget that not every pose can be used for any situation.



You don’t always have to have eye contact with both your subjects. Here the background subject’s eye contact draws the viewer in


© Samuel Bouget


The photographer has ensured that the subjects’ faces are beautifully illuminated, making them the focal point of the shot



Discover unused potential in your digital camera and learn to capture images you may never have thought possible


e often purchase a new camera for a specific purpose and with a clear idea of how it will benefit our photography. Whether we are upgrading to a DSLR from a compact or bridge camera, or moving up to a model with a more professional specification, we will undoubtedly be excited by those features that are most obviously dedicated to our main photographic interests. While this might help us make informed decisions about which camera model is best suited to our needs, there is a notable downside. While we are focusing on utilising those tools, we often overlook the many other advanced features found on our DSLR, meaning there is potential for unique images that we fail


to exploit. Successive cameras often build on the specification of their predecessors, so that latest-generation iterations have extensive menus and custom functions. This is most often the case in enthusiastlevel cameras, which are pitched to appeal to photographers experimenting with numerous genres, and it is easy for features to get lost and underused. Aside from the obvious negative impact this has on our portfolio, it also means we are not efficiently operating our equipment – we have paid for components that we may never use. It is therefore good practice to revisit our cameras, even after several years of using it, to discover which aspects we may have been missing out on. Once you have discovered a

‘new’ feature, you can try to work it into your usual workflow, learning to use it in a novel or unconventional way. The advantages of knowing your own camera well are wide reaching. Firstly, understanding how every feature works and how these are laid out across the controls, i.e. the manufacturer’s design philosophy, will make your shooting experience feel more intuitive. You will then be better prepared for whatever challenges your shoot raises. Secondly, discovering a new tool at your disposal is a guaranteed way to ignite your creative motivation, encouraging you to try new techniques and learn new skills. Read the following guide to find out how to start using your DSLR like never before.

GET MORE FROM YOUR DSLR Take your photography further Modern digital cameras are highly advanced pieces of technology, capable of many visual effects and functions. Learning to use every feature is the best way to grow as a photographer Š Vladimir Kochkin


© Vladimir Kochkin


Diffuse your flash Light modifiers are less plentiful for built-in flashes, but there are some handy options available Diffusion domes are common for flashguns, but these can be difficult to find for pop-up variants. Try a universal internal flash ‘softbox’, which can be found inexpensively online or alternatively, craft one yourself from a piece of white plastic or semi-translucent material.

MAKE THE MOST OF INTERNAL FLASH While not the first choice for photographers requiring advanced lighting effects,built-in flash can be a valuable and versatile asset



Without any form of diffusion, the small direct flash creates hardedged light that does not flatter the delicate nature of the subject

Once the light has passed through a diffuser, the light is more evenly distributed, resulting in a better feathered flash exposure

© Peter Fenech

Undiffused flash


Softer spread

Built-in flash has somewhat of a bad reputation amongst serious photographers, who often do not feel it is flexible enough for regular professional use. It is true that external flashguns provide lighting that is easier to work with and that internal units have their limitations. The light from these flashes is known for being harsher, due mainly to their small size, which results in a limited spread of light. The softness of flash light is directly related to the size of the source, resulting in built-in flash producing a harder light ‘hotspot’. Furthermore, the majority of integral units cannot be angled in any way, instead directing the light straight at the subject. Therefore, unlike with speedlights, which can be angled to bounce flash off a wall or ceiling, it is easy to create an unflattering bleached look to skin, with patchy blown highlights. In addition, it is difficult to produce genuinely directional lighting, for which offcamera flash can be used to enhance texture or structure in the subject. There is also the

matter of limited control – speedlights usually provide full customisation of the flash power and output, to easily blend flash light with the ambient light in the scene. Since this is not possible with integral units, it can be difficult to avoid flash falloff. However, these weaknesses aside, there are benefits to be found with your DSLR’s internal flash. Firstly, internal flashes are always present and are powered by the main camera battery, meaning it is impossible to leave for a shoot without a flash or for the batteries to run out of power. Beyond this, professional speedlights are large and heavy, so there are weight-saving advantages when travelling. It is possible to adjust flash output to some degree and there are options for diffusing light from your flash, however the greatest method of expanding its usefulness is to use it as a wireless trigger for same-brand external devices. Either way, it is advantageous to know how to make the flash on your camera truly useful.


Use flash exposure compensation

Take control of the brightness of your flash for a seamless blend with ambient light While it may not be possible to adjust flash output manually in the same way as on dedicated flash units, you can ‘turn down’ the presence of flash in your shots using flash exposure compensation. If the flash light overpowers natural or ambient light, use negative compensation to reduce the flash effect, relative to overall exposure. This reduces the harsh lighting associated with internal flash and makes its use for fill flash far more practical.

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At its default setting the internal flash used here is too bright, and as such has introduced flash falloff and produced an unsightly dark background


A better balance By using a setting of -3EV flash exposure compensation, the overall exposure remains the same, but flash output has been adjusted. The light now blends smoothly with the environment

Control external units

Extend your flash shot flexibility by triggering speedlights, without investing in expensive third-party transmitters


Locate flash control menu Activate your built-in flash and then navigate to the dedicated flash settings menu on your camera LCD. At this stage, place your external flash on a light stand, or attach a flash stand to the base of the flash, then place it on a flat surface.


Set flash command mode To get your internal flash to ‘speak’ to the flash units, you’ll have to activate the command mode. From the flash control menu, set wireless command to On. You may have the option to keep fill flash functionality from the internal unit.





Choose a channel Assign a channel to your flash and ensure this corresponds with the currently selected channel on your camera. This will ensure your flash will be triggered correctly and your work won’t be disrupted by other photographers working nearby, when shooting an event for example.

Select a flash group If you are using more than one flash and would like to control them all separately, assign them to groups. This provides the flexibility to have flashes fire independently and to have different power settings for each (such as when shooting with front, rim and hair lights, for example).

Set speedlight as slave On the external flash unit, use the LCD to scroll through modes and choose Slave Mode. The on-camera flash will now act as a master, triggering the speedlight when the shutter is fired. Ensure good line of sight between the camera and flash.

Control flash output When using dedicated flashes – those made by the same manufacturer as your camera – it is almost always possible to control flash output wirelessly, directly from your camera. Select a group and adjust power to vary light produced by each of your external devices.




Use viewfinder grid lines Turn on the optional digital grid line display in your viewfinder, to make it easier to judge when the horizon is straight, even with the camera raised to your eye. This will also help you recognise when wide-angle and perspective distortions have become an image-degrading issue.

Not all features are set up perfectly by default. Revise handling for intuitive camera operation When you buy a camera, it is set up using default factory settings, since the manufacturer is making the product for a full range of photographers with differing needs. While this is useful for generalpurpose shooting, it is not conducive to creative images or operation outside of normal photographic situations. Luckily, this can be corrected with relative ease, through the customisation of control layouts and functionality. However, more difficult to address is the generalised design of most DSLRs, which is also influenced by the expected handling by the ‘average’ user. The proportions of a camera body make shooting in landscape orientation as comfortable as possible, working on the assumption that most photos will be taken in that way (since the imaging sensor is fixed in this position). When shooting at an unusual angle or in portrait format, this can be problematic, and can present a unique set of compositional challenges. Furthermore, each subject demands a tailored shooting style. In wildlife photography, for example,

different animals vary in their behaviour and therefore the photographer must adjust how they focus, meter and compose their shots. When considering these challenges, it is imperative that camera handling becomes instinctive and that the photographer can access settings and features, without having to take their eye away from the viewfinder. Any camera properties that slow the handling process will act to increase the number of missed shots. Setting up your camera to work for you, rather than the inverse, is a valuable mindset. Learn the strengths and weaknesses of your gear, so you can predict where it will introduce difficulties and devise workarounds. Make use of user-defined shooting modes, where you can save and access most-used camera settings, to speed up how you adapt to changing conditions. Don’t be afraid to experiment with preset ‘scene’ modes in rapid situations – while not as controllable, they are useful alternatives to manual shooting, where you want to concentrate less on the technical aspects of exposure and more on framing, focusing and capturing your subject.

Personalise button layout

Tailor the functionality of your camera controls to better fit your preferred shooting style Enthusiast-level cameras possess far more features than they do physical controls, meaning that the default functions of the body’s buttons and dials are essentially a suggested layout by the manufacturer. It is possible to re-assign these to operate most-used features and to reorganise handling, to be more logical to the user. This speeds up camera work in fast-paced situations, permitting fewer missed images and a more enjoyable shoot. Follow these steps to get started.


Locate custom functions On the majority of cameras, button function assignment is done from within the Custom Function menu. On this Nikon camera, there is a sub-menu which provides direct access to control layout options.



Use function buttons Many camera models feature additional buttons dedicated to the assignment of userdefined functions. Select a button in the camera menu and choose a function to which you would like one-touch access.


Choose command dial operation Decide what you would like the front and back control wheels to operate. This may be the standard aperture or shutter speed setting, or you may opt to deactivate a dial to avoid accidental alterations.

© Vladimir Kochkin

© Vladimir Kochkin




Having your camera set up so that it is aligned with your style will prevent interruptions to your creative thought process

Analyse what your main ‘complaints’ are during your shoots and see how your camera can be adapted through customisation

On-shoot freedom

Introducing improved handling in addition to extra power, battery grips represent a good investment The second battery slot provided by a battery grip extends shooting possibilities in multiple ways. Most obviously, the power advantages are a major benefit, especially when away from a power outlet for long periods. However, many portrait photographers buy them for the vertical handgrip and second shutter button that they may feature. This enables the user to rotate the camera and shoot more comfortably in portrait orientation, without having to adopt a different shooting posture.


Unfamiliar and unstable Without a grip, portrait orientation requires photographers to stretch their hand to reach the shutter button – uncomfortable on longer shoots.


Natural handling Battery grips can help to provide a method of shooting portrait-format images in the same way as when shooting in landscape, extending your shooting opportunities.

Customise AF sensitivity For photographing fast-moving subjects, continuous autofocus can be used to track it, maintaining a focus lock. However, a potential downside to using this mode is that objects within the frame can confuse the AF system into re-adjusting focus incorrectly. Use the Custom Function menu to reduce its sensitivity to novel objects entering the scene, to limit the risk of losing focus on your intended subject. This is especially applicable in low-light or low-contrast lighting conditions.

© Peter Fenech

Use a battery grip

Your free camera



Use built-in intervalometers

Photographer Neil Van Niekerk ( explains how to shoot timelapse sequences without additional accessories


Activate your interval timer Navigate to the function menu and turn the interval timer ‘On’. I keep the intervalometer setting as a shortcut in the My Menu page on my camera. With a clear idea of what we want to achieve, this intervalometer isn’t an intimidating menu.


Set interval In this example, we calculated that we would need a foursecond interval for the current shoot. You must remember to set an appropriate shutter speed, which will ideally be three seconds for fluid movement, in this case.


Select number of images Choose the number of images to shoot. If we are sure of an exact value (as dictated by the duration of the event we are shooting), then we can set it here. Otherwise, set a random number and stop the camera when necessary.


© Neil van Niekerk

Start your sequence You can choose to start the sequence immediately, or set it to start at a future date and time. Simply enter these parameters and the camera will automatically begin shooting at your preset interval and for the designated frame count.


Know your limits Sometimes you may need an external interval timer – here the number of required images exceeded the maximum possible in-camera

DISCOVER UNUSED CAMERA FEATURES Delve into your camera menu and broaden your image portfolio by putting under-utilised functions to work Although we may think we know our cameras inside and out, there are likely to be many features and functions that we simply do not use in everyday photography work. Cameras have an abundance of features we wrongly assume will not be useful for our photographic interests but which, with a little experimentation, can reveal new ways to create distinctive images and refresh our portfolio. These range from internal hardware and software tools, to effect filters and exposure modes. While the term in-camera ‘special effects’ may not seem appealing

for serious assignments, on reflection many of us strive to create similar looks at the processing stage, in Photoshop. On today’s DSLRs, there are multiple options for using built-in effect tools to shoot niche images. There are several ways these ‘new’ features can improve a photographer’s work. The most evident of these is the new styles that can be added to our repertoire, as we are encouraged to try new genres or work with new subject matter. Beyond this however, it is possible to find new ways to develop our usual work, often using a function to ease our workload


Create multiple exposures

© Leonardo Mascaro

Leonardo Mascaro ( explains how to create this popular effect in-camera, free from Photoshop


Activate multiple exposure mode Explore your camera’s function menu and locate the builtin multiple exposure mode. While there is some variation between different manufacturers, this is often found in the shooting menu on your DSLR, or in the Custom Functions tab.


Select frame count After enabling, adjust how many frames you want to combine and how they are going to be combined. The difference between effects will vary depending on the subject you’re shooting, so it’s best to try them all and see which works best for you.





Shoot your second image Choose from two options. You can shoot the second frame looking through the viewfinder, trying to imagine where and how this second image will blend with the previous one. Or, use the LCD screen to frame the second one, having the first shot still visible on the display.

Review and reshoot After the second picture, the camera will take a few seconds and you’ll be able to see the final result. Your camera won’t always create the exact image you had in mind, but a lot of times it will surprise you with something interesting, so it’s worth experimenting.

Plan your image Even in the digital world, I recommend trying to create the final image in your mind before pressing the shutter. Consider how many images you are planning to blend and what result you are trying to achieve. Check camera settings and take the first shot.

Perfect your shot Once you’ve seen the blended image, consider alternative compositions and try varying the number of frames used to make the final photograph. Don’t forget to check essential aspects like sharpness, exposure and focus in all of the component images. © Leonardo Mascaro

or capture a style in fewer shooting steps. Exploring our camera menus can reveal tools to help us cross genres, such as merging use of HD video with timelapse photography – two related, but perhaps as yet unexplored, areas. A further advantage to using our camera specification to the full is that it provides the opportunity to put underused items in our kit bag back to work, as we seek new types of images. It is also worth considering less-conspicuous devices, such as advanced in-camera image preferences. If you plan to perform post-processing in a particular editing suite, try presetting a more appropriate colour space in-camera – ProPhoto RGB for Lightroom or sRGB for online display, for example – to cut down on editing time. Time saving is a great area to concentrate on, as there are often a huge number of ways cameras can be used to speed up shooting and sorting images. If you own a high-spec DSLR, why not use the built-in microphone to automatically add audio notes to an image?

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Creative and colourful Looking beyond the usual shooting parameters of a DSLR camera can unlock enormous opportunities for artistic photography

Abstract interest By shooting multiple exposures at the camera, rather than at the computer, better control over exposure and composition is permitted, while saving time at the postprocessing stage and streamlining workflow. The technique will also be more familiar to photographers who previously worked with film



Want to start experimenting with HD DSLR video? Adapt your photographic expertise for professional results

© Mike Atkinson

The addition of HD video recording to DSLRs was a revolution that has left a lasting mark on both the photographic and film-making markets. It is unfortunate therefore that many photographers do not attempt to work the production of video into their normal shooting schedule. This is most likely because of the perceived differences between the two media and the sensation of having to re-learn the operation of our cameras. It is advisable to get comfortable with a camera model and it is reassuring to know how it will react in every circumstance, and it can therefore be unnerving when presented with a new set of rules and procedures to follow. While it is true that photographers and videographers must approach shooting conditions a little differently, both forms of imaging are now more interchangeable than ever and can add to our overall skillset as creators if we take the time to work with both. The key benefit of DSLR video shooting is that of a familiar control layout – the basic


camera operation is the same, so we can access and alter settings just as we would when shooting still images. This familiarity extends to post-production, where it is now possible to edit video clips in Photoshop and other similar applications using most of the same tools as in RAW or JPEG file manipulation. DSLR bodies are also far lighter and more portable than traditional, dedicated video cameras, meaning that it is simple to

“Photography and videography are now more interchangeable than ever and can add to our overall skillset as creators”

incorporate movie photography in our ordinary photoshoot process. There are of course challenges to be aware of, namely the way shutter speed, aperture and ISO can be used to control exposure. While these all serve the same function as in still photography, the way they can be used is subtly different. Since lighting cannot be supplemented by flash and changing shutter speed between clips is not always advisable, this can leave the videographer with an aperture that is unsuitable for creative purposes. Use of ND filters can help permit wider f-numbers for shallow depth of field, and an investment in a video LED light panel will help keep noise to a minimum.


Capture the moment

When on location, having video skills at your disposal can give you greater scope for conveying atmosphere and energy, rather than relying solely on still images


Get started with DSLR video

Extend your imaging expertise by adding HD moviemaking to your creative toolbox







Enter a shutter speed Shutter speed choice is more involved than in still photography, as it is not possible to choose any setting. Pick a shutter speed that is roughly double the frame rate – so 1/60sec for 30fps or 1/50sec for 24fps – for natural subject movement.

Choose the right lens Full HD video measures only 1,920 x 1,080 pixels – while this offers professional movie quality, it does not provide many cropping options. Ensure your lens has the required reach to correctly compose in-camera. An optic with at least an f4 maximum aperture is essential.

Pre-set your white balance While you can change colour in your video at the processing stage, you often don’t have as much freedom as when editing RAW files for still images. Take a custom white balance reading or select an appropriate WB preset before you start shooting.

Pick a frame rate The number of frames captured per second defines the look of your video. 24fps provides a more filmic appearance, while 60fps is more suitable for high-speed action (or slow-motion captures). 30fps will give a smooth video and is a popular generalpurpose choice.

Mark your focus Find focus for your subject and take note of the position of your lens’ focus ring, or use the focus distance scale for help with this. This will enable you to instantly pull focus to that position, for a smooth focus effect in your final video.

© Peter Fenech

Use a tripod Unlike when shooting still images, a video is very unforgiving of camera movement. While you can freeze this in a single frame, it is a major distraction in handheld movies. If you don’t have a dedicated camera rig, it’s recommended to invest in a sturdy tripod for most video clips.

Work with audio

A quality video needs great audio to succeed. Learn the basics of in-camera setup


Adjust microphone sensitivity Choose how acutely your built-in microphone detects and records sound. This is necessary in situations where the audio level is variable – when volume levels are high, less sensitivity is required.


Control the wind Cut wind noise for higher-quality sound recording, where the focus of your video is clearly discernible in video shot outside. This will not be activated by default, so ensure you turn this feature on when needed.


Adjust frequency response Take control over which frequencies of sound your camera records, by altering how much ambient audio is detected. On this model there are options for giving priority to voices, or to capture more environmental sound. 71



Other than the vast image-editing possibilities, the instant preview offered by the LCD on a digital camera is arguably the biggest aspect of modern photography that sets it apart from traditional film imaging. Although it may seem a relatively simple aspect of a DSLR’s anatomy, the LCD is another component that provides more features than are regularly used. This is not helped by the fact that many LCD functions are turned off when you buy your camera and must be activated manually. In difficult shooting conditions, the LCD can be used to precisely assess exposure, focus and composition. For exposure, turn on highlight warnings as soon as you start using your camera, which will rapidly display areas where there is highlight detail missing from your image. Use this in conjunction with live histograms to decide on a correct exposure with confidence. Live View is a great asset for perfecting your images before they are written to a memory card, providing 100 per cent field of view – more than many viewfinders. Use your Info button to tailor how many parameters are displayed at any given time.

© Vladimir Kochkin

The greatest asset to the digital photographer, the rear LCD, offers far more than image reviewing

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Check for clarity

Making full use of your rear LCD screen in difficult conditions will ensure you manage to capture the image you hoped for

Use your camera’s LCD screen to your advantage by adjusting these settings and using its key features


Calibrate LCD brightness It is essential that you ensure your review image is accurate by setting screen brightness precisely. Referencing the monitor used for post-processing will create continuity in your shooting and editing process. 72


Focus peaking Activate this feature to more easily visualise in-focus edges and identify the focused plane. On most cameras, sharp edges are highlighted in a solid colour, which helps when focusing.




Adjust monitor colour balance Set the base colour for your LCD in a neutral location, using the customisation menu. This is often a room that receives no direct sunlight and has neutral grey decor, so your eyes are unbiased.

Touch focus This feature is especially useful for video and allows users to quickly and silently pull focus with a single tap, rather than manually adjusting the focus ring and introducing mechanical noise.

One-touch magnify Speed up the reviewing of images by removing intermediate steps and setting your zoom button to jump automatically to 100 per cent magnification, at which you can more accurately assess sharpness and detail.

© Peter Fenech

Make your LCD work for you


SHOWCASE YOUR IMAGES IN A PHOTOBOOK Use online print services to compile and edit a physical portfolio of your images

While online galleries are a great platform for promoting your images to the wider world, nothing quite compares to seeing a photograph printed in physical form. Even better than a single print, a photobook allows you to bring together your images and display them in the context of your wider portfolio. These products

give your viewers an immersive experience, enabling them to see images in sequence and showing them more of your shooting style and creative vision. Book printing is now more affordable than ever with several online companies, like Bonusprint, offering design software through which you can customise the

Pre-edit your images

look and feel of your book. Choose the size, aspect and number of pages, select between glossy and matte paper and design the cover, all from one application. Always work with the end product in mind and choose the style of your book based on the atmosphere of your images, for maximum impact.

Choose lay-flat covers

You may find image processing tools in the book editor software you are using, along with automatic colour and brightness enhancement features. While these can be utilised to quickly correct minor exposure issues, or to compensate for darkening caused by the eventual printing process, it is often better to finalise editing in Photoshop first. Get the image looking roughly as you’d like it printed before submitting. If the printing company provides paper profiles then use these, or select sRGB or CMYK, depending on the instructions provided.

For landscape images opt for a lay-flat photobook, as this allows the viewer to fully open the book without the spine ‘interrupting’ the edges of internal images and the centre of cover pics.

Don’t make pages busy It is very easy to get carried away with the placement of images and end up arranging too many on a spread. Just as you would compose your images at the shooting stage, the layout of your book should be well considered and give each element room for appreciation. Aim to use up to a maximum of four images per spread, although fullpage photos (one on each facing page) tend to have greater impact.

Conclusion By taking control of colour and exposure before submitting images, you can easily and affordably create a high-quality coffee table book for your home or studio, or build a tangible portfolio to impress potential clients.

Group images Use a template If you are new to design, use one of the many templates often offered by photobook publishers. These will automatically populate your pages with images or image frames, which you can fill yourself with shots from your image collection.

When choosing images for your book, lay them out so that there is a direction to the viewer’s experience. Place similar images together on facing pages, and be sure that colours complement each other between shots.

Size images to fit Choose appropriate compositions When selecting your images, first visualise how each will appear on the page and make your choice based on that. For example, if you would like an image to spread across two pages, make sure that the composition won’t place the subject along the book spine.


Many photobook-building software applications provide image frames, which you can size, reshape and place on a page. When you fill this with an image, the file is often automatically resized to fill the frame, which can result in an aspect ratio mismatch and a stretched or compressed photo. Always choose the ‘size to fit’ option, to maintain the native ratio and resize the frame to remove extra space later.


Capture motion in a scene


Experiment with slow shutter speeds and use subject movement for creative effect Difficulty level: Intermediate Time taken: 30 minutes When did you last take a photograph where some, or all, of your subject was blurred? The reason we ask is because nothing divides opinion among photographers like blur. Some love it, but others hate it and will go to great lengths to make sure that every shot they take – and everything in those shots – is tack sharp, using fast lenses, sturdy tripods and high shutter speeds to freeze everything.


However, as this tutorial demonstrates, by allowing moving elements in a scene to blur, instead of always stopping them dead, you can capture a wonderful sense of motion in your images that adds atmosphere and interest. There is no single way to achieve the desired effect, so experimentation is usually required. The two main factors are how fast your subject is moving, and the shutter speed you use to photograph it – the faster the movement and the slower the shutter speed, the more motion you’ll record. Those shutter speeds will be dictated by light levels, lens aperture and ISO, and if required, neutral density filters can be used to slow the shutter speed down even more. To give you an idea of what can be achieved, we photographed a classic Venetian scene at dawn that includes both static and moving elements.


Gondolas at dawn, Venice, Italy

For the final image, an exposure of 50 seconds was used to capture lots of motion in the bobbing gondolas so they contrast well with the static elements in the scene. The water in the foreground has also been smoothed out nicely All images © Lee Frost

What you’ll need Camera Lens Tripod

Remote release Filter holder ND grad filters



Shooting steps




Set up your equipment Mount your camera on a tripod and compose the scene. Focus the lens and take a test shot to check the exposure is okay and if you need to use any filters. In this case a 0.9 ‘hard’ ND grad was needed to balance the sky and foreground.


Assess the shot The initial shot looks fine in terms of composition and exposure. The ND grad filter has balanced the bright dawn sky with the darker foreground and the image is sharp from front to back. The only problem is no motion has been recorded, so a slower shutter speed must be used.




Slow down the shutter speed To record more motion in the scene, you need a slower shutter speed. To achieve this, use a low ISO and stop the lens down to a small aperture – in this case ISO 100 and f16. If light levels are naturally low, doing this may give you the desired speed.


Motion blur Here you can see that the gondolas in the foreground are definitely blurred now because they were moving up and down during the 0.8sec exposure. For some photographers this would be enough motion, but it’s worth experimenting with even longer exposures to see if the effect can be improved.


Use a neutral density filter If your lens is stopped right down to its smallest aperture, the ISO is at its lowest setting and you’re still not recording enough motion, your next step is to use an ND filter. In this case, a 1.2 ND filter was used to reduce the exposure by four stops.


Mission accomplished By using an ND filter, the exposure was increased to 15 seconds at f22 and ISO 100. Motion in the gondolas is very pronounced now and looks really effective. Even the texture in the moving water has been reduced and the reflections of the gondolas are smoothed out.






A scene was chosen that contains both moving and static elements – without movement you can’t capture motion.


The scene was photographed at dawn when light levels were naturally low, allowing slow shutter speeds to be used to record motion.


The camera was set up close to the gondolas so they filled the foreground, and the scene was carefully composed using a 24-70mm zoom.

Take it to the max

If you want to maximise motion, use an extreme ND filter

Once you start experimenting with capturing motion, don’t be surprised if a) you get hooked on the technique and b) you want to take the effect much further. To do that, you’ll need to arm yourself with an ‘extreme’ neutral density filter. A ten-stop ND is the most popular and probably the most versatile for general use, though weaker six-stop and stronger 15-stop NDs are also available from manufacturers such as Lee Filters and Hitech. With a ten-stop ND filter exposures are increased by 1,000x, so you can leave your shutter open for several minutes in broad daylight and literally capture the passing of time. Drifting clouds record as delicate streaks, moving water turns to milk and the effect can look stunning.



Editing steps




Open the RAW file Open the original RAW file in Adobe Camera Raw in Photoshop CC 2018. Apply Lens Corrections and select the Auto option under the Basic menu. This makes a big improvement to the look and feel of the image.


Make more adjustments The shot is still a little dull and dark so while still in ACR, increase Clarity by 10%, select the Tone Curve tab and then increase the Lights and Darks sliders to brighten the image.




Level and refine Open the image in Photoshop CC 2018. The horizon is a little wonky so level it then crop. The bottom section of the image is still too dark, so select this area using the Lasso tool and adjust Levels.


Final tweaks We also need to brighten the darker areas of the sky by selecting them with the Lasso tool and adjusting Levels. Finally, enlarge the image on screen and remove sensor blemishes with the Healing Brush. Below

Creative blur If you aim to get the shot as close to finished in-camera, the RAW file will only need minimal editing to create the final image





Create a naturallight still life shot Control lighting without a studio by altering shutter speed,f-stop and ISO to produce a focused light effect

and shaded areas of the scene. Try shooting in the mid-afternoon as this will place the sun high in the sky, but with some direction in the lighting. Precise metering will ensure that no highlight detail is lost and that the subject itself does not seem underexposed – only shaded areas will be noticeably darkened.

One of the advantages of shooting in a studio is that the photographer has full control over the intensity, direction and spread of light, allowing easy management of background detail. Furthermore, in a studio setting, seamless backgrounds can be used to produce a clean, distraction-free environment, ideal for portraits or still life subjects. There are great benefits of natural light however – it is soft, directional and freely available. It therefore pays to be able to bring studio-like effects

outside. The technique discussed here is a simple method of shaping light, by controlling where it spreads within the frame. This is done by shooting in direct sunlight (slightly diffused by cloud cover where feasible) and using exposure controls to eliminate ambient light as much as possible. This generates a high-contrast, underexposed look, which approximates the appearance produced using strobe lights and a black background. Direct sunlight is best as the intensity will widen the exposure differences between the illuminated







Pick a subject First you need to select a specimen that is well lit by natural daylight. Ideally the background will be more shaded, so that there is already contrast – for example, patches of light in woodland are perfect for this style of shooting.

Switch to Manual mode Set your camera to Manual and dial in the settings calculated in step 3. This will guarantee you have full control over the brightness of your shot and that exposure won’t change unexpectedly as you compose.


Select aperture and ISO Choose an appropriate initial aperture for your subject, starting around f11. Ensure that you use the lowest ISO setting available to minimise ambient light capture, generating increased background contrast.

Increase shutter speed Next shorten your exposure by around one stop to underexpose the background and render it solid black – if your metered exposure was 1/125sec, increase this to 1/250sec etc. Leave f-stop and ISO fixed for now.


Distracting detail

In this image the background is receiving too much light, as the frame lacks contrast – it appears too ‘busy’ and detracts from the intended subject

Meter from the highlights Use Spot metering mode and place your AF point over the brightest part of your subject, to calculate exposure from the highlights. Take note of the exposure settings that any of the P, A or S modes suggest.

Customise settings Shoot and review your image. If you need a darker background, increase exposure further in halfstop increments until you have a seamless background effect or alternatively, select a higher f-number.


Fine art lighting



2x Š Peter Fenech

Mimicking the lighting found in studiobased photographs or renaissance oil paintings, the shorter exposure creates an exposure bias, darkening the distracting environment and focusing viewer attention


Learn how to stay ahead of the competition in this challenging genre


or many photographers, becoming a full-time travel shooter is somewhat of a dream job. The prospect of combining our love of capturing images with seeing more of the world through a lens is very appealing. However, making travel photography a genuinely profitable and sustainable profession is incredibly difficult. This is largely due to the vast number of other photographers attempting the same thing. With so much competition present, it can be challenging to attract enough image sales to support the lifestyle and cover costs. This is especially important and potentially problematic in this genre, as there are large and unavoidable initial outlays to be made – namely travel and accommodation – before any images can be taken. A potential solution is to


attempt to secure clients before taking a photography trip. Approach book publishers, calendar manufacturers and postcard or poster printers to promote your services, or check their respective websites for ‘want’ lists. This can give your images a more secure purpose before they are even made, adding value to your excursion and reducing the risk factor – that of investment without return. Once you arrive in the field, always shoot with a purpose or image function in mind. Make your photographs fit the needs of your intended customers, arranging compositions to allow for copy to be added, and shooting in the appropriate frame orientation and at a suitable focal length. Whether or not you are shooting for a prearranged commission, ensuring your shots have maximum appeal and selling potential

is vital for securing a competitive market share and possible repeat business. If you manage to establish a working relationship with potential users of your work, keep them informed of your travel schedule, so that they can keep you apprised of their image needs and you can present yourself as working flexibly with them in mind. It gives you a competitive edge if clients know where you will be and when. To increase file versatility, shoot scenes in both portrait and landscape orientation and take multiple versions. Having duplicate files enables you to sell on an exclusive basis, for higher fees, should a client or agency request this, while having alternative shots to sell freely. Beyond costs, another challenge is capturing images that out-compete the competition for the attention of

COMPETITIVE TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY Symmetry pays Look for symmetrical patterns in your images as these have great visual appeal, which is attractive to potential buyers looking for advertising stock (for travel brochures for example) All images Š Edwin Martinez


GO PRO clients. Major landmarks are often overphotographed, by both professionals and amateur photographers alike, so creating unique, sellable images requires fresh perspectives. Sometimes it is not easy to access a location at the best times, such as sunrise and sunset. Try pre-arranging with the administrators of a building, park or garden for an early or after-hours admission, as this will give you images that are more unusual and in-demand. An ongoing issue in many venues is heavy regulation of the use of photographic equipment. Commonly tripods are not permitted for safety reasons, while large DSLR cameras can be banned in the interests of security. Today digital photographers have the luxury of high-quality, large-sensor compact cameras and CSCs, which are more discrete but offer images suitable for commercial use. Investing in a model to take as a second camera on your travels can open up new opportunities for images in highly sought-after locations by picture editors. By planning your trips well and developing a good strategy for the capture of eye-catching images while minimising risk, your travel photography can become a lucrative venture.

Shoot your best images How to guarantee your work has exactly what potential buyers are looking for Simply shooting in exotic locations is not necessarily enough to attract image buyers, who will be looking for images that perfectly fit their commercial requirements. Make your compositions a little wide, to leave room for added design elements and provide an unobstructed subject, so that it appears clear on postcards, magazine covers or photogifts (common uses for travel stock photography). Shoot multiple angles so that you have a good mix of iconic and unique perspectives.

In addition to interesting subject matter, aligning your image with the technical requirements of potential buyers will increase your sales

“Ensure shots have maximum selling potential to secure a competitive market share”

Bottom left

Bottom centre left


Use lighting to your advantage and expose for eye-catching images. Impressions of iconic locations are commercially successful, being clear but not overly context-specific

Shooting images that show iconic locations in different lighting and weather conditions from the majority of shots by other photographers is a quick way of producing unique compositions

Aim to shoot details that other photographers may overlook, in order to capture the full flavour of a location. Focus on all elements, from lighting and colour to texture, to convey an ‘experience’

Creative exposure

© Glen Espinosa


Colour and mood



Geotagging your files When visiting many locations, it is essential to remain organised As a professional travel photographer you will likely group together photo locations into periods of several weeks, for cost and convenience. This will yield potentially thousands of images, which must be archived and prepared for submission to users. When selling images to publishers, exact locations or building names will be compulsory information, so using a hot-shoe GPS device or built-in type will make finding this easier. This is especially useful when searching your image library years after the shoot. This will enable you to add detailed image tags and file names, highlighting your work from that of competing photographers.

Top left

The photographer’s goal The aim for travel photographers is to capture images that seem less obtainable to the general public. Combining the right time of day and perspective gives the sense of having exclusive access

Top right

Exotic subjects Positioning yourself to capture dramatic images that involve careful, thorough planning will guarantee you capture shots that will be missed by competitors


Do your research To find the best shooting spots and perspectives, research your locations well in advance, so that you have an idea of what images you want to take before you arrive in the field

Bottom centre right

When to shoot

As with landscape photography, popular times to capture travel images are at dawn and dusk, due to the colour depth and texture that the lighting provides



Edwin Martinez Edwin (edwin martinezphoto. com) explains how he manages to stay competitive with his travel projects How long have you been a full-time travel photographer and how did you get started? My relationship with photography started during my film days in intermediate school. I rekindled my relationship with photography in digital back in 2006. I have been a travel photographer since 2011 and became full-time, doing tours, workshops and editorials, in 2013. What do you find are the biggest challenges of travel photography as a full-time job? Weather and climate is always the biggest hurdle in travel photography. This is one of those factors you cannot predict and cannot work with in planning. With today’s climate becoming even more unpredictable, some logistics are harder to manage. How do you manage income to ensure the trips you take are profitable? I run photography tours specifically catered to the Philippine and Asian market, bringing them to iconic locations such as Iceland, Norway and Canada. I also contribute to galleries in Canada and use the funds of the sales for personal trips. When I am back home in the Philippines, I also do commercial outdoor photography for the top real estate developers of the country. What advice would you give to new photographers hoping to make travel a career? Find inspiration – it may be in another one’s work or through music, love or family. Inspiration is the root of all masterpieces, and it comes in different forms. Channel those in order to create stunning images.

“Inspiration is the root of all masterpieces, and it comes in different forms. Channel those to create stunning images” 88

Top tips for competitive travel shooting

Know your end goal Photography is a visual medium, and it is both documentary and artistic in nature. One should always know the end product of the frame. Train your creativity Moments and scenes will not simply fall into your lap. You need to travel, walk and wander – and no matter how good you are, if the opportunity is not there, it will all be in vain. Find your own style To achieve a personal style, learn to evolve. Experiment and don’t be afraid to develop a certain style. However, don’t be content with one look – many good photographers are forgotten [this way]. Always look to improve Don’t be still. Never aim for perfection but improve yourself. No matter how many times you have encountered the same scene, find a fresher perspective and approach it with a better attitude.

WIN KIT FROM Be in with the cha ance of winning a tripo od and a camera bag g This issue we’re giving one reader the e chance to win a fantastic bundle of Manfrotto kit! The set includes the 055XPRO3 tripod complete with X-PRO 3-Way Head and d quickrelease plate and the Bumblebee-130 PL camera backpack. The 055XPRO3 with X-PRO 3-Way Head lets you easily switch the tripod from vertical to horizontal position thanks to the 90-d degree centre column mechanism, which is housed h in the upper casting for compactness an nd can be quickly extended as required. The Manfrotto Bumblebee-130 PL c camera backpack carries a DSLR body with 70200mm f2.8 lens attached plus eight lenses, The centre section can hold an unatta ached gripped DSLR body. The ‘checkpoint-ffriendly’ designated laptop-only section holds a 15-inch computer and the coated fabric allow ws for easy cleaning. Head to for further product information, and take a look at the de etails directly below for your chance to mak ke these accessories a part of your kitbag.

How to enter Please email your best photo, your name and contact details to team@dphotographer. with the subject line ‘Issue 198 Manfrotto competition’ by 05/04/20118. Terms and conditions This competition is open to residents of the Un nited Kingdom and Ireland. Future Plc has the right to t substitute the prize for a similar item of equal or higher value. Employees of Future Plc (includin ng freelancers), Manfrotto, their relatives or any agents a are not eligible to enter. The editor’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. Prizes cannot be exchanged for cash. Full term ms and conditions are available on request. From time e to time, Future Plc or its agents may send you related material or special offers. If you do not wish to receive this, please state clearly on your entr


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STUDIO FLASH KITS With prices starting at about the same as you’d pay for a high-end flashgun, complete studio flash kits give you more power and greater versatility



Twin-head studio flash kits comprise everything you need to get up and running with a home studio. They’re not limited to the home, either, as kits typically come with carrying bags and are sufficiently compact and lightweight to take pretty much anywhere. You can therefore use them at any venue where you have access to mains electrical socket. The kits we’ve selected for this group test all include a pair of fairly powerful flash heads, most with ratings of 400Ws each, and lighting stands to mount them on. They also include a pair of softboxes, or maybe the option of a single softbox and an umbrella, complete with a ‘reflector’ to direct the light. You can also expect a full set of electrical and triggering cables. However, many budget cameras don’t have a flash sync socket, so you might need to buy

a hotshoe adaptor separately. Some kits even come with an RF (Radio Frequency) wireless controller/trigger, that slots into a standard hotshoe and communicates with RF receivers built into the flash heads. Naturally, studio flash heads are bigger and bulkier than flashguns, but they’re also a lot more powerful. With softboxes or brollies, the light source also has a far greater surface area, resulting in a much softer quality of light. In many ways, studio flash setups are also easier to use than flashguns. With two or more heads, you can create more sophisticated lighting effects and built-in modelling lamps make it easier to preview the effect, as you move the lamps around and adjust the relative strength of their outputs. Let’s take a closer look at what’s on offer.




Great quality throughout

There’s a real feelgood factor in using the Elinchrom kit, with a precision-built yet robust quality to every one of the included components.

PRICE: £725 / $800

Elinchrom D-Lite RX 4/4 To Go

Smart design, impeccable build quality and clever tricks make this kit as versatile as the studio flash equivalent of a Swiss army knife

This kit is based around a pair of the latest and most powerful D-Lite RX 4 heads in the D-Lite line-up, rated at 400Ws. D-Lite RX 2 and ‘RX One’ heads are also available, with 200Ws and 100Ws ratings respectively. Build quality is excellent throughout, from the heads, stands and softboxes to the carrying cases. The control panels of the heads are wonderfully intuitive, based on smartly designed pushbuttons and a digital display. Clever tricks include customisation for the step change in power adjustment, if you don’t like the default 1/10th EV 96

setting. You can also program the optical slave mode of the heads to ignore pre-flash pulses of flashguns, if you want to trigger them that way. For easy triggering, the Elinchrom heads have built-in RF receivers and the kit comes complete with a remote controller. This enables you to assign multiple heads in groups, and to adjust their power outputs and other settings direct from the hotshoemounting controller. Utterly reliable, the Elinchrom heads maintain an extremely consistent colour

temperature throughout their entire power range, while power output is similarly consistent on a shot-to-shot basis. Autodumping is available when reducing the power setting and, if the going gets hot, auto-sensing fans helpfully kick in to dissipate the heat. The square 66cm and octagonal 56cm softboxes supplied with the kit are of particularly high quality. There’s also a deflector that you can pop into the octagonal softbox, to create a beauty dish effect if so desire.



Fast out of the F blocks You can get up and running fast with this kit. Th he pop-up softboxes quick and are especially e easy to assemble.

PRICE: £600 / $700

Interfit Honey Badger 320Ws 2-Light Kit

Interfit’s latest ‘Honey Badger’ flash head is named after the world’s most fearless creature, according to the Guinness Book of World Records

‘Fearless’ isn’t perhaps the first quality you look for in a flash head, but Interfit is keen to point out that the honey badger’s powerful physical features, speed, intelligence and general aggressive demeanour make it a ferocious little powerhouse that’s known to give even top predators a run for their money. There’s certainly no denying that despite its reasonably compact size, this 320Ws flash head packs almost as much punch as the 400Ws heads in the group. It’s

also the noisiest, as the cooling fans run continuously rather than being heat-sensing. In our tests, the Honey Badger matched the higher-rated Lastolite head for maximum output, at Gn 51. It also delivers the lowest output of Gn 7.1 at its minimum power setting, which can be useful for shooting with wide apertures. There are two kits to choose from, selling at identical prices. One has two 60cm softboxes and the other has one softbox and one brolly and reflector. The quality of

the softbox is pretty good and its pop-up design makes it very quick to erect and fold away again. Both kits come complete with a pair of heads and stands, cables, a carrying case and a universal RF remote trigger. As with the Elinchrom heads, an RF receiver is built into each Honey Badger head. Proportional and manual modelling lamp levels are available. The modelling lamp itself is based on powerful, flicker-free LEDs, and can be useful for close-range constant lighting for macro shooting or video. 97



Built like a tank

From the chunky and hefty flash heads to the towering 2.95m stands that support them, the Lastolite kit is a seriously heavyweight contender

PRICE: £590/$780

Lastolite Lumen8 400WTwin Kit Adecidedly heavy-duty,heavyweight build meets retro styling in this old-school studio flash kit.There’s nothing flimsy or newfangled here

The Lumen8 400Ws heads at the heart of this Lastolite kit are about twice the length of the Honey Badger heads and, at 3.3kg each, they’re more than twice as heavy as any competing heads on test. An upside is that heavy heatsinks enable a fanless design, so the heads remain blissfully silent, even in prolonged operation. Around the back, heavy-duty rocker switches are completely at odds with the sleek pushbutton interfaces of other heads on test, and a big 1/4-inch sync socket 98

replaces the small 3.5mm socket of other heads in the group. The stepless rotary power knob lacks fine-tuning precision, especially as there’s no digital display. For outright power output, the Lumen8 heads gave a maximum of Gn 51 in our tests, only drawing level with the Interfit heads and losing out to the 400Ws Elinchrom and Metz heads. Recycling speed is also a bit more sluggish after a full-power flash, at just under two seconds. A further slowdown is that the pair of supplied 60cm

square softboxes are very fiddly and timeconsuming to set up. On the plus side, the softboxes are certainly durable and the 2.95m lighting stands are the tallest on test. As with the Honey Badger head, there’s only a basic optical slave mode, so you can’t program the heads to ignore the pre-flash pulses of flashguns. The Lumen8 heads also lack built-in RF receivers but, if you want wireless RF triggering, the basic companion Lumen8 Radio Trigger set is available separately for around £45/$60.



Small and smart Some clever design has gone into the Metz kit, making it a compact and lightweight contender that’s nicely put together and performs well.

PRICE: £500/$600

Metz mecastudio BL-400 SB-Kit II Small yet mighty, this incredibly compact kit is no lightweight when it comes to maximum flash output Like Elinchrom, Metz is a company that has a long and illustrious history in flash. For the German outfit, it’s mostly for flashguns, with a heritage stretching back to 1952. The BL-400 flash heads aren’t much bigger than some flashguns, and the lightest of any on test, at just 1.2kg each. BL-200 (200Ws) heads are also available but this kit contains two of the 400Ws heads. Surprisingly, given their compact nature, the Metz heads gave the most powerful output of anything in the group during our tests, at Gn 72. However, recycle speed after

a full-power flash was also the slowest, at 2.4 seconds. That’s more than a second slower than for the Elinchrom and Interfit heads. As with all others on test apart from the Lumen8 heads, the BL-400 uses pushbutton controls and a digital display for its interface. It’s particularly neat and tidy, and very easy to get to grips with. As you might expect from a company with Metz’s history, these heads share the Elinchrom’s feature of an ‘intelligent slave mode’. This enables the heads to be triggered from a

flashgun, while ignoring pre-flash pulses. It’s a neat trick but built-in RF receivers and a remote controller are sadly lacking. More annoyingly, there’s no proportional setting for the modelling lamp, so you have to adjust the intensity manually. An unwelcome aspect of downsizing is that the lighting stands only extend to a maximum height of 2m. They literally come up short when shooting tall people standing up. On the plus side, the two rectangular softboxes are of good proportions, measuring 50x70cm. 99


Elinchrom D-Lite RX 4/4 To Go Head power


400Ws Everything’s included

Interfit Honey Badger 320Ws 2-Light Kit Head power


320Ws Features are well

Power range from basic functions to

Power range thought out overall and

5 stops and customisation

7 stops a good inclusion

full RF remote control


adjustment (stops)


1/10th + All components in the kit exude quality and custom class, right down to the

Modelling carrying cases lamp


Modelling EASE OF USE From controlling the lamp settings heads to assembling

Prop, full, low the softboxes, Sync socket 3.5mm jack Wireless RF trigger Yes Softboxes 1 or 2x 60cm Stands 2x 2.3m Weight per head 1.4kg Carrying weight 1 bag (11kg)

everything is intuitive

PERFORMANCE Maximum output is powerful and recycling is fast at 1.3 seconds after a full-power flash

VALUE FOR MONEY Considering the build quality, features and performance, it’s superb value


The Elinchrom is the most expensive kit in the group but it’s absolutely the best buy.


the remote controller is


adjustment (stops)


1/10th It’s pretty solid but doesn’t reach the same custom high standard as the

Modelling Elinchrom kit lamp

60W LED (300W equiv.) EASE OF USE

Assembly of the pop-up

Modelling softbox is quick and lamp settings easy but fitting it to the

Prop, full, head is a bit fiddly manual Wireless RF trigger Yes Softboxes 1 or 2x 60cm Stands 2x 2.3m Weight per head 1.4kg Carrying weight 1 bag (11kg)

PERFORMANCE There’s an impressive range of power output on tap and recycle speeds are quick

VALUE FOR MONEY It’s good value, with the inclusion of a remote controller and powerful LED modelling lamps


This is a fairly powerful and versatile kit, but the constant fan noise can be annoying.

Lastolite Lumen8 400W Twin Kit Head power


400Ws Features are relatively Power range basic, with rudimentary controls and no built-in

5 stops RF receivers Power

adjustment (stops)

BUILD QUALITY There’s something of an

Stepless industrial look and feel Modelling with a robust build and lamp fanless operation

100W Modelling lamp settings

EASE OF USE Controls are simple but

Prop, full, low power adjustments Sync socket 1/4-inch jack Wireless RF trigger No Softboxes 2x 60cm Stands 2x 2.95m Weight per head 3.3kg Carrying weight 2 bags (7kg + 5kg)

lack precision, and the softboxes are fiddly

PERFORMANCE It’s good overall but the maximum output power and recycling speed are a little underwhelming

Metz mecastudio BL400 SB-Kit II Head power


400Ws The clever heads have Power range multiple optical slave

modes, but there are no

6 stops built-in RF receivers Power

adjustment (stops)


1/10th Its lightweight, but the heads feel solid and custom robust, as do other

Modelling components in the kit lamp


Modelling EASE OF USE The control panel is lamp intuitive, but there’s no settings proportional option for

Manual (6 the modelling lamp steps) Wireless RF PERFORMANCE trigger Maximum output No beats everything Softboxes else on test, but

2x 50x70cm with the slowest Stands

recycling speed

2x 2.0m

VALUE FOR MONEY At the price, value isn’t great, with a lack of RF wireless triggering and few up-market features


The kit is quite expensive to buy and a little basic, but at least it’s virtually noiseless.

Weight per head 1.2kg Carrying weight 1 bag (11kg)

VALUE FOR MONEY It’s the least expensive kit in the group but you’ll probably want to add an RF triggering kit


There’s a lot to love about this compact kit, but there’s room for improvement in some respects.



Textured grip

The grip and thumb rest are ergonomically shaped and have a textured coating to give good purchase


Customisable controls

There are four designated Custom Buttons, but many of the other controls can also be customised to your preference



Dual memory card ports

Dual SD card ports are a welcome feature on a fast-shooting highresolution camera

Price: P i £3 £3,200 200 / $ $3,200

SonyAlpha 7R III

Could the Sony a7R III be the mirrorless competitor for the Nikon D850?Angela Nicholson puts it through its paces

Nikon is billing the 45.7MP D850 as two cameras in one, a high-resolution camera combined with a fastshooting model. The same can also be said for the Sony a7R III, as its full-frame backilluminated sensor has 42.4 million effective pixels yet it can shoot at up to 10 frames per second with continuous autofocusing and exposure metering – the D850 can hit 9fps with the optional MB-D18 battery pack or 7fps as standard. It’s worth noting, however, that when you’re shooting at 10fps (Hi+) with the a7R III, the viewfinder doesn’t show a live view and moving subjects can be hard to follow; dropping to 8fps (Hi) gives a live view image. Sony has been able to achieve that fast shooting rate by putting an LSI on the sensor, helping the enhanced Bionz X processor

“Sony has put an LSI on the sensor, helping the Bionz X processor deliver a 1.8x increase in processing speed”

deliver a 1.8x increase in processing speed over the a7R II. Like the camera it replaces, the a7R III has 399 phase-detection AF points on its imaging sensor, but the number of contrastdetection points has been boosted to 425, which means the vast majority of the imaging frame can be used for focusing. In addition, focusing speed has been roughly doubled in low light in comparison with the Mark II camera. Sony has also enhanced the Eye AF system, making it better at detecting and tracking eyes – which is highly useful for portrait and social photographers. While it’s Sony’s highest-resolution mirrorless camera, the a7R III has an impressive video specification with 4K (3,840 x 2,160) capability. In Super 35mm format, which is smaller than full-frame, the camera actually records in 5K (15MP) and then outputs in 4K to give better image quality. In addition, S-Log mode is available to capture flat footage with wide dynamic range – something that’s not possible with the Sony a9. Alternatively, it’s possible to shoot using an HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) profile to produce footage suitable for viewing on the new breed of HDR televisions. Sony has made the internal frame plus the top, front and rear covers of the a7R III from magnesium alloy, and it gives the camera a

FEATURES BATTERY The a7R II is notorious for its short battery life, but the Mark III uses Sony’s NP-FZ100 battery and has a life of 530 stills when using the viewfinder.

IMAGE STABILISATION The a7R III has a claimed compensation value of 5.5EV; that’s like hand-holding the camera at 1/10sec instead of 1/500sec.

ELECTRONIC SHUTTER Switch to Silent Shooting in the menu and the a7R III shoots completely silently, even at 10fps – useful for wedding photography or shooting sports like golf.

SLOW AND FAST MOTION In Full-HD mode the a7R III can shoot at up to 120/100fps (NTSC/PAL) for slow-motion playback or at 1fps for up to 60x speed.

TOUCH-PAD AF When Touch-Pad AF is enabled you can set the AF point with a finger on the screen while using the viewfinder, using the whole screen or just a section.

MY MENU The My Menu screen in the standard menu is helpful, allowing up to 30 of your most frequently used features to be accessed in your preferred order.






Fast and accurate

The a7R III’s autofocusing is fast and accurate, making it useful for shooting a wide range of subjects, including sport Above

Tilt to preference

The tilting screen is useful for video and when you want to shoot stills from low to the ground Left

Great tone

Though colours are generally good, keep an eye on the white balance in artificial lighting and consider a custom value

good solid feel in your hand. There’s also sealing throughout in order to keep moisture and dust at bay. Sony introduced a handy multi-selector control with the a9 that looks and works like a mini joystick, making AF point selection much easier when you’re looking in the viewfinder. Happily, this multi-selector has also appeared on the back of the Sony a7R III, and it’s just as useful. Also like the a9, the a7R III’s screen is a three-inch, 1,440,000-dot unit with White Magic technology. This provides a good, clear view in all but the brightest conditions, and its touch sensitivity enables you to set the AF point or zoom in to check focus with a tap (or double-tap) on the screen. It’s a shame that Sony hasn’t made more use of the touch sensitivity, because it would be handy to be able to navigate the menu and select settings, or swipe through images using it. Sony is responsible for supplying many of the sensors in current cameras, so it comes as no surprise that the a7R III has a highquality chip. Those 42.4 million pixels enable a high level of detail to be captured, but perhaps more impressively, the a7R III is able to keep noise under control very well. Even the results at the top expansion setting (ISO 102,400) are half-decent – not that we’d recommend using that value unless you really, really have to. In fact if you can, we suggest keeping to ISO 16,000 or lower, as this ensures that there’s lots of detail without excessive noise (or noise reduction). Sony claims the a7R III has a maximum dynamic range of 15EV, and it’s certainly


Pixel Shift Multi Shooting The a7R III has a new Pixel Shift Multi Shooting (PSMS) mode that enables you to create composite images with the same dimensions but greater fine detail and better tonal gradation. Once the shutter release is pressed with this mode activated, the camera fires the electronic shutter four times with an interval that can be set to between 1 and 30 seconds. Four RAW files are automatically recorded and tagged as PSMS images. They can be edited as normal in your preferred RAW processing software if you like, but they have to be composited in Sony’s Imaging Edge software (





This is the same 0.5 inch type 3,686,400 dot OLED viewfinder as in the Sony a9


A welcome addition to the a7 series, allowing speedy AF point selection



Pressing the Fn button reveals the customisable Function Menu


This tilting screen is useful when shooting from low or high angles




“It’s capable of capturing a wide range of tones within a single image, great news for landscape photographers”

Sony Alpha 7R III

Megapixels (effective) 42.4 Max resolution 7,952 x 5,304 Sensor information Full-frame (35.9 x 24.0mm) Exmor R CMOS Shutter speed 1/8,000-30sec, Bulb ISO sensitivity ISO 100 – 32,000 expandable to ISO 50 – 102,400 for stills Exposure modes PASM, Auto, Scene, Movie, Custom 1, 2 and 3 Metering options Multi-segment, Centre-weighted, Spot (Standard/Large), Entire Screen Average, Highlight Connectivity Flash Sync, Multi Micro USB, USB Type-C, Mic, Headphone, HDMI micro, PC remote, Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth, Multiinterface Shoe Weight 657g (with battery and card) Dimensions 126.9 x 95.6 x 73.7mm Batteries NP-FZ100 rechargeable Li-ion supplied Storage Dual SD ports, UHS-II, UHS-I LCD Tilting 3-inch TFT LCD with 1.4K dots and WhiteMagic Viewfinder 0.5-inch type OLED with 3,686,400 dots


High resolution and fast shooting plus great video credentials gives the a7R III bags of appeal


It feels solid and is comfortable to hold, but Sony is vague about the weatherproofing level


There’s a very high degree of customisation but the menu could still be better organised


Noise is controlled very well for such a high resolution camera and there’s no shortage of detail


An expensive camera, but no more so than the DSLR competition

Overall Its combination of features, fast responses, accurate AF and impressive image quality make the Sony a7R III one of the very best cameras available at the moment.

capable of capturing a wide range of tones within a single image, which is great news for landscape photographers. Furthermore, if you underexpose RAW files for any reason, you’ll find they have a lot of latitude and can be brightened by in excess of +3EV and still retain good colour and noise control, depending on the camera. In Wide, Zone AF or Lock-on Expand Flexible Spot and Continuous Autofocus mode, the a7R III does a great job of identifying a moving subject and tracking it, which makes traditionally difficult subjects relatively easy to photograph. You may notice it straying away from the subject if it’s motionless, but it usually gets it when it’s in motion. If you want more control and precision, however, the Centre and Flexible Spot options are also very good for this purpose. One area where the a7R III struggles a little is in artificial light. There are three Auto White Balance options: Standard, Ambience and White. In theory, the White option should remove any cast, and while it may, there are occasions when a Custom White Balance setting does a much better job. To be on the safe side, it’s a good idea to ensure that you’re shooting RAW files, as these are far more able to stand up to adjustment than the a7R III’s high-ISO JPEGs. 103

REVIEWS Price: £1,150 / $1,300

Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III It brings APS-C shooting to the G1 X range, but does this compact represent a genuine revolution in the line-up?

FEATURES ARTICULATED SCREEN The three-inch touchscreen can be angled to provide easy composition of images at difficult perspectives.

ZOOM LENS The 24-72mm equivalent optic has a useful range, but the max aperture is limited, due to weight limitations caused by use of the larger sensor.



In addition to the builtin flash, the camera features a standard Canon flash mount, for access to the full EOS Speedlite range.

This tactile twist control can be assigned to manual focus or manual zoom duties, adding to the DSLR-style handling experience.



This 2,360,000 OLED EVF provides a comfortable viewing experience, with sharp detail and clear camera setting information.

The G1 X Mark III retains a built-in flash, with a nine-metre range. It can be used for fill flash and features a slow-sync mode.



DSLR quality

Images from the G1 X III are comparable to those from EOS cameras like the 800D Far right

RAW control

The PowerShot compact outputs standard Canon CR2 RAW files, offering professional editing possibilities 104

Canon has a good reputation for building high-quality compact cameras, packed with enticing, advanced features. The G series has long been seen as a portable alternative for professionals and the third generation of the G1 X line builds on this heritage. The Mark III borrows its Digic 7 processing engine from high-end DSLRs such as the EOS 6D Mark II and EOS 77D, so therefore inherits similar advantages in speed and image handling. The headline feature of the G1 X Mark III is the APS-C format 24.2MP CMOS sensor which, in concert with the processor, promises image quality in line with Canon’s interchangeable lens models. In our tests, the PowerShot did not disappoint – at the base ISO settings, images were virtually free of noise and were supremely detailed. An advantage of fixed-lens cameras is that the manufacturers are able to tailor the internal design for a specific sensor-lens pairing, and in the G1 X Mark III the high-quality Canon optic makes the most of the pixels at its disposal. Centre to edge sharpness is consistent, as is colour and contrast. Colour reproduction itself is also impressive, with many tones indistinguishable from those seen with the naked eye. For a sub-full-frame camera, featuring 24MP, highlight and shadow detail is retained well in high-contrast lighting, representing a very usable dynamic range. The G1 X Mark III takes design inspiration from its EOS DSLR relatives, but retains a PowerShot range layout, so users of both

product lines should feel at home. The body is not ultra-compact, but the depth is necessary to facilitate the use of the larger sensor – an impressive feat in its own right. The size and weight are perfectly manageable and the camera can easily fit in the palm of the hand. The textured, rubberised surfaces provide a reassuring grip and the impression of ruggedness, which is completed by weather sealing. These lend the camera a professional handling experience. The exposure compensation dial and manual zoom/focus ring provide a tactile interface, as does the highly responsive touchscreen, which can be used for image scrolling and for selecting the focus point. The latter function is complemented by Canon’s Dual Pixel AF, to create an intuitive and very fast-working autofocus system. This is of particular benefit to users of the included Full HD video mode, for which it provides both smooth and silent focusing. The four-stop image stabiliser is very effective, noticeably so when shooting handheld video clips. Another useful characteristic is the eye sensor, located beside the EVF, which automatically wakes the camera from standby mode when placed up to the eye for shooting. This speeds up operation when picture opportunities arrive suddenly. The viewfinder itself is bright and very clear, although a noticeable colour difference from the rear LCD does make judging colour balance a little tricky – though this is less of a problem when shooting RAW files, which can be easily fixed in processing.

CANON POWERSHOT G1 X MARK III APS-C SENSOR By far the main selling point of the G1 X Mark III is its APS-C format sensor, which is over 3.5mm larger on the longest dimension than the unit in the Mark II. This should provide advantages in noise and depth-offield control.

Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III

“The textured, rubberised surfaces provide a reassuring grip and the impression of ruggedness, which is completed by weather sealing” Below

Wi-Fi button

Press this to quickly enter the Wi-Fi connection settings menu


Mode dial

The camera offers a range of automatic and manual controls

Megapixels 24.2 Max resolution 6,000 x 4,000 Sensor information 22.3 x 14.9mm CMOS Shutter speed 30 - 1/2,000sec, Bulb ISO sensitivity 100 - 25,600, A Exposure modes Auto, P, A, S, M Metering options CW, S, EM Flash modes Auto, Manual, Slow Sync, Off Connectivity USB, HDMI, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, NFC, remote release Weight 399g approx (with battery and card) Dimensions 115.0 x 77.9 x 51.4mm Batteries Li-ion Storage SD, SDHC, SDXC LCD 3in, 1,040,000 dots Viewfinder EVF, 100% coverage


Successfully bridging compact and CSC markets, the camera has plenty to engage enthusiasts


Considering the weight of the camera, construction is excellent. The perfect balance


For such a diminutive size, the body is comfortable in use. Buttons can be hard to press


The APS C sensor does its job well, unlocking pro quality images for large format prints


A pricey offering, but a good solution for photographers looking to travel light


It may be expensive for a compact camera, but the G1 X Mark III holds a unique appeal and Canon should be congratulated for its design innovation.



SRP: £459 / $599

Lomography x Zenit Petzval 85mm f2.2 Art Kevin Carter puts Lomography’s reimagined Petzval through its paces to see how it shapes up Named after the inventor/designer, this is a new version of an old fourelement lens that dates to 1840. The Petzval is considered to be the world’s first fast lens – fast enough for it to be used for portraits anyway, where anything available before required at least a 10-min exposure, and were thus known as landscape lenses. Made by Zenit, the bokeh meisters in Russia, this slightly faster, re-imagined version certainly looks the part. It features a heavy brass outer barrel and hood, drop-in Waterhouse aperture stops and is focused using a milled-knob and geared rack. Naturally, there are a few further concessions to 19th century lens design. There is no AF nor any data communication between lens and body. There is a black version available, however, for those that think brass isn’t appropriate on a digital camera. In use the lens has many of the appealing optical characteristics of the original. Used wide open, placing subjects close to the lens against well-lit and complex backgrounds, the swirly bokeh can be easily invoked. At times the effect can be overwhelming, but that’s likely to be more by accident than design. It also has wonderful colour rendition, particularly with warm tones. Its contrast is noticeably lower than modern designs. Although this is not a lens for the casual snapper, artisans of the craft will likely appreciate it. 106



Although not particularly sharp at wider apertures, definition improves markedly on stopping down



This lens is not all about the swirly bokeh, but if that look appeals it can be brought into play

Technical specs Manufacturer



Petzval 85mm f2.2 Art




Angle of view

24 degrees (horizontal)

Max aperture


Min aperture


Min focus distance


Mount Filter size Length

Canon EF, Nikon F 58mm 72mm (at widest)

Diameter Weight

Overall For everyday use, there are more practical options available. But if portraiture is your thing, then the Petzval 85mm lens is an intriguing option and certainly not without some merit.

71mm 680g


SRP: £2,499 / $2,199

Canon TS-E 50mm f2.8L Macro

Canon has updated its 50mm TS-E with thiss new macro version. Is it worth th that high price?

Canon was the first to introduce a small (135) format lens that could both tilt and shift back in the Seventies, and it expanded the range when the mount changed from FD to EF. This lens’ predecessor, the TS-E 45mm f2.8, is a favourite of both wedding and commercial photographers. It’s well liked for its normal perspective, not forgetting all the creative possibilities with lenses like this, but its design dates back to the days of film when expectations were lower. In terms of exterior design, this new lens follows the later 24mm and 17mm TS-E models in enabling both tilt/swing and shift in parallel or perpendicular planes to one another. It has a similarly robust exterior and the controls and markings are well placed. But these advantages are all relative. With a length of 115mm and weighing close to a kilo, this is a big and unwieldy lens compared to the earlier 45mm. Still, the long barrel means there’s room for a large focusing collar, the action of which is both smooth and heavily damped. Naturally, Canon has upgraded the optical design. Images are clear and crisp, and practically free of fringing. And the resolution is excellent, hardly changing from f4 down to f11-16. Lenses like this usually have compromises. The original had troublesome fringing and was a little soft at the edges, which became more pronounced when shifting, but that’s not the case here. It might not be as affordable as that lens, but optical quality like this doesn’t come cheap.



This new lens has Otus-like sharpness at short focus distances and delivers clean and crisp images across the frame


Chromatic aberration

Even with the profiles turned off in-camera, this lens has practically no fringing on the 30MP EOS 5D Mk IV we used for testing

Technical specs Manufacturer Model Web Elements/construction

Canon TS-E 50mm f2.8L Macro 12 / 9

Angle of view

180-175 degrees (horizontal)

Max aperture


Min aperture Min focus distance Mount Filter size

f32 0.27m Canon EF 77mm







Overall This new lens is in a different class and addresses most if not all the shortcomings of the 45mm it replaces. However, it’s not cheap, or quite as practical for occasional use. 107


Inset top

Pick your lab

Selec cting the lab you wish to use, followed by the type of o album and cover, ensures that the correct sizes and d margins are used for the album you create

Inset bottom

How many pages?

Hittin ng Auto Design after importing your images brings up u the option to specify the number of pages and im mages to include in your album. You can add more as you edit


Make the sale

The ability to see how a print will appear at different sizes in a client’s own living room can help convince them to purchase bigger prints, more than paying for the software

Fundy Designer 7 Pro Suite

Speed up album design and boost print sales with this intuitive software package SRP: $399 / £285 (approx) OS: Mac OS X 10.7+, Windows 7+ Album design can really eat up the hours, but Fundy Designer can change that with a flexible template system that enables you to move images around and change their size or aspect ratio without creating lots of extra work. What’s more, Fundy also has a partnership with labs such as Graphistudio and Loxley Colour to enable album and print ordering from within the software. There are three versions of the software suite available, Lite ($199), Album ($299) and Pro ($399). The Lite version limits the size of the albums and wall art you can create, while the Pro version allows both to be created with the sizes only limited by the lab. Album gives you just the album creation features of Pro. After opening Fundy Designer Pro, the first step is to select the module you want to use, Album, Gallery, Collage or Image Brander (for watermarking images). The Album module is the most complex, but it’s still easy to use with the first step being to select which printing lab 108

you wish to use along with the type and size of album/book you want to create. The next step is to import your edited images before starting your layout. The fastest way to create an album is to use the Auto Design option, which produces a layout in seconds. Fundy Designer can read the images’ EXIF data, including any ratings, so it knows which are your favourite images and it will automatically make those larger in the design. You can drag images in and out of your layout and it will adapt, so you don’t have to realign everything. Clicking Layouts also lets you view different arrangements for a spread to make quick changes. Helpfully, Fundy Designer can connect to an external editor like Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom, so you can make edits if necessary. Alternatively, the Pro Enhancements tools ($179 per year after a free three-month trial) enable one-click skin retouching along with online design proofing and the ability to export HD slideshows.

And finally, the Gallery module is useful for increasing your print sales by enabling clients to preview images at different sizes in their own home, even by using a photograph supplied by the client if you’re dealing with them remotely.

Summary Ease of use Value for money Features

Quality of results

Overall With album creation time typically being cut to a quarter, Fundy Designer is a great tool for wedding photographers. Social photographers will also appreciate the ability to promote larger print sales.


Corel ParticleShop

Apply brush effects with a difference, using this expansive plug-in from Corel SRP: £45 / $63 (approx) OS: Windows 7+, Mac OS X 10.9+, Photoshop CS5 +

Brushes are thought to be a weapon primarily of digital artists. They’re often employed for creating painted effects, flourishes and embellishments rather than injecting reality into your work, and it’s rarely considered they may actually be useful tools for photographers as well as painters. Corel ParticleShop promises though to be more versatile than your average painting program. Including a core pack of brushes, it’s available as a plug-in for Photoshop and Lightroom, as well as Corel programs PaintShop Pro and AfterShot Pro, but delivers photorealistic brushes, rather than your average paint splatter effects. Though ParticleShop only revolves around one specific nuance of image-editing, it’s so indepth that there’s plenty to explore. ParticleShop is really easy to use for the most part too. The brush previews are clear enough for you to actually see the effect that you would be applying to your photo, and the brushes are really high quality. ParticleShop enables you to get so much more detailed than just varying whether you have a softer or harder edge to your brush, as you can choose blendy, billowing or even grungy effects. While just about any photographer looking to add quirky or realistic effects to their

photos can use ParticleShop, it really thrives when you can apply the strokes via a graphics tablet, as you can get the best out of the brushes when they’re applied with subtlety. ParticleShop might only seem like a few added brush packs to use in Photoshop, but the plug-in itself is smoother and easier to use in places than Photoshop’s own Brush tool. This is a plug-in that you can really explore for hours, experimenting with all the brushes and downloading new ones. It’s a software package that has almost limitless possibilities for your pictures.


Inset top

Ease of use Value for money Features

Quality of results

Overall A must-have for any Photoshop brush enthusiast, ParticleShop is a useful companion for improving your pictures with subtle effects.

Responsive action

ParticleShop’s brushes are unique in the way that they spread; no two strokes are the same, making for a novel and exciting digital art experience

Inset middle

Blend tool

Blend your brush strokes with the background that you’re applying them onto, using this simple, Smudge-like tool


Extra brush packs

On the startup of the plugin, ParticleShop will show you more brush packs that you can buy for the software

App Focus Dark


e: £2.99/$2.99 iOS 5.1.1 and above

With the k Sky Fin app, you c find a clear sky a t pollution map from all over the world ore you venture ou to st taking photos. sk charts are easy understand an app is very use friendly, makin t a great comp on for anyone ho wants to t e good ph os at ni



ACCESS RIES A collection of the best fun-yet-functional products out there for photographers


Not just style


Not only does this workbook look and feel the part, it also offers the reader essential information and tips that will truly enhance their skills



Ignite your photo editing skills with this in-depth workbook £38 / $53

Become an Affinity photo pro with the help of the Affinity Photo Workbook. This sturdy book contains everything you need to know in order to take your editing skills to a whole new level. The thing that makes this workbook really stand out is the fact that industry experts have produced the content, including photo enthusiasts, professional retouchers and talented digital artists. Contributors include photographers James Ritson, Mark Ivkovic, Timothy Poulton and Steven Randolph, as well as digital artists that include Emi Haze and Neil Ladkin, who designed the stunning cover artwork. The workbook is split into five chapters, as well as a helpful welcome section. Start at chapter one with an interface tour, then move on to core skills, enthusiast projects, commercial projects then finish with creative effects and techniques. Although not everything in the workbook will be relevant to the day-to-day photographer there is plenty of advice and tips to get your teeth into. Even the more creative digital artist content will provide the photographer with more knowledge, and perhaps even spark some new creative ideas. The welcome section is great for explaining different terminology and explains how to get the most out of the workbook. In chapter one the interface tour covers everything you need to know about the program. Each tool explanation is clearly labelled with the relevant icon and is super easy to understand. The core skills section is where things really kick off for the photographers looking to enhance their skills; it covers everything from adjustments to layers, selections and masking. The imagery throughout the book is stunning, which makes learning new skills all the more interesting. The very back section has a range of shortcuts that will make your life so much easier. It really does feel like you have everything in one place with this book, there’ll be no more hunting the internet for questionable tutorials and advice – it’s all here.

Summary Ease of use Value for money Features

Quality of results

Overall For under £40 this workbook has everything you need to take your photo editing to new levels. We’d recommend you buy it now.


The Manfrotto camera cage is a new product from Manfrotto designed specifically for videographers and was developed together with the Wooden Camera company. It’s been created with independent content creators in mind to enable them to use accessories along with their DSLRs and CSCs, as well as enabling smooth camera operation. The lightweight and minimal design doesn’t add too much bulk to your kit and provides numerous mounting points on the top and the side, while conveniently

leaving you access to all of the cameras vital controls. It feels very solid and wellmade so you won’t have to worry about your camera falling out while filming, and the frame is adjustable, enabling it to fit both DSLR and CSC cameras. The comfortable wooden handle can be repositioned to suit your needs exactly, and even though it is almost £300 we feel that it will really aid and transform the way that you shoot movies with your camera. It truly feels like a functional product.


This height-adjustable baseplate attachment is used to set 15mm rods at the correct distance from the centre of the camera lens. It allows you to mount accessories such as follow focus, lens support, matte box, servo motors and more. It fits on to both the Camera Cage Small, Medium and even the Large model, which provides a dovetail clamp and rear rods.




£124 / $160

An L bracket is perfect for photographers who need the ability to change quickly and easily between landscape and portrait formats – in other words, it’s perfect for landscape photographers, enabling compositional freedom and flexibility. This Manfrotto L bracket features anti-rotational systems designed to fit around the camera to achieve the optimum stabilility when using heavy professional equipment, ensuring that

the camera’s weight is centred over the tripod and avoiding lens movement when flipping from landscape to portrait position. It looks and feels extremely durable and well-constructed, yet it’s equally very lightweight and wouldn’t present an issue if you want to carry this in your kitbag for occasional use. If you are even vaguely serious about your landscape photography, this is certainly a worthwhile investment.


£200 / $230

This is a very good-quality offering from Manfrotto. The Element Traveller tripod has an impressive carbon-fibre design which means it is sturdy as well as being very lightweight. This is the perfect choice for enthusiast photographers looking for a stylish, but easily transportable tripod that is reliable. It’s really good value and offers a great amount of versatility. It can take a total payload of 8kg, which will suit both DSLR and CSC users using zoom lenses, and the fact that it can fold down to an impressively small 41.5cm means that it will fit into or on most bags with absolute ease. It will extend up to 164cm, and the tripod has been intelligently designed with an integrated full-sized monopod. To use the monopod all you have to do is detach the padded leg and attach the centre column, adding a really impressive level of versatility to this product.




Have peace of mind with a home cloud storage device £309 / $432

The My Cloud Home storage device plugs directly into your Wi-Fi router, meaning it is super easy to save, organise and control all of your digital content in one place and then wirelessly access it all from anywhere. There is no monthly fee for storing all your data in this cloud storage device. The fact that you can set it up via your smartphone with absolutely no need for a computer is really great – all you have to do is plug it into your router, then use your smartphone to finish the process. The generous 4TB storage capacity gives you plenty of space to save all of your photos, videos and files. This device is particularly handy for photographers always on the go:

you can rest assured that your images are backed up and stored on your home cloud. The set up was so simple and painless, and data transfer is really quick. You can either use the My Cloud Home mobile app, desktop app or to upload, access and share your imagery and files as well as stream videos saved on your My Cloud Home device anywhere that you have an internet connection. One of our favourite features is that you can set it up so that your smartphone images are automatically synced to the cloud storage. You can also set up desktop folders to automatically sync with the device too, making it unbelievably easy to back up your images and files. If you are a videographer then the ability to seamlessly stream videos from the cloud to your devices is incredibly helpful. The device can be personalised to fit your needs by downloading apps like Dropbox, Google Drive and others. It does feel a little

bulky, but the idea is that it will just sit in one place at home and not be lugged around. The other thing that we were very impressed with is that the My Cloud Home Duo comes with two hard drives and is automatically set to Mirror Mode, which means that all of your photos, videos and files are stored on one drive and automatically duplicated onto the second drive, meaning that you never have to worry about losing your data.

Summary Ease of use Value for money Features

Quality of results

Overall For just over £300 this cloud device with mirroring functionality is definitely worth the price to keep your files safe and accessible.




Peter Franck explains his approach to image-making, free from photographic rules All images © Peter Franck


hen we think of an artist, we think first of a white, empty canvas. This is exactly where I started. The way I make my pictures is similar to the painting process. That’s where I come from. I first studied painting and free graphics at the Academy of Fine Arts in Stuttgart, Germany. Here I learned to think and work completely freely, and to blur genre boundaries. The roots of photographic image design lies in painting and its varieties. The rules of painting are the measuring points of any kind of images, including classic photography. These rules are firmly anchored in our cultural imprint. I do not stick to classical photography. Classical photography focuses on pure application of photographic techniques. It is oriented on these techniques, but is also limited by them. A camera is just a tool whose capabilities are far too limited to keep up with the imagination. Why restrict yourself? A primary way of avoiding the restrictions of the camera is to use direct manipulation of 114

of current times. These leaps the image. There is no difference in time should be noticeable in whether this is done in the the work. A collaboration over darkroom or using the latest more than 100 years arises, processing programs. I don’t think and tries to expand the limits digital and analogue should be of photography. Of course, played against each other. On the photographic prints can also contrary. This is where my work be directly edited by painting, comes in – I try to combine these PRO BIO tearing, folding, collaging and so two design possibilities. Peter Franck was born in on. Firstly, we collect pictures Überlingen, Germany. In 1993 he finished his studies Here I see my way for the from past times and file them at the University of Fine future. The borders of the in organised archives. They Arts, Stuttgart. Last year medium should always be form the basis and the thematic he was placed third in the expanded, always in the service foundation of our works. An Professional Competition’s of art and its task to show analogue template in digital Landscape category in the 2017 Sony World new ways and tell new stories. records and files. The quality of Photography Awards. Photography in the classical the work depends on the raw sense has not interested me, but material. These works were created 100 years ago or more, but years later, in some genres (e.g. reportage, documentary photography) I think it will still be used for a on the basis of their quality, they become a long time to come to draw objective pictures completely new way of looking at things. of our world. Photography is just one of many Digitally, with the most state-of-the-art ways to discover an invisible world. It’s the image processing programs, I am now trying beginning of something new. to create new worlds of images and tell stories