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April 2014 Issue 85


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Beautiful boudoir How to take glamorous portraits in the bedroom

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D n We’re the only magazine in the newsagent that’s 100% dedicated to Canon D-SLRs – making us 100% relevant to your needs. n We’re 100% independent. We don’t answer to Canon and don’t rely on them for advertising – if Canon brings out a new camera or lens and it’s rubbish, we’ll say so! n We’re all Canon D-SLR enthusiasts and between us we’ve got 200 years of photography experience. We’re excited about passing on what we’ve learned – even from our mistakes! n We don’t assume you’re a millionaire. We focus on the Canon D-SLRs most people buy, and feature software and accessories within the average person’s budget. n Our Video Disc has an unrivalled collection of D-SLR technique and Photoshop videos – which can be viewed via our digital editions too! n We are proud to feature some of the best writers and photographers in the business. Turn to page six to meet them all now!

o you remember your first Canon D-SLR? You’re unlikely to forget! It’s an exciting and daunting time in your life when you make the step up to ‘proper’ photography. For me, it was a lovely EOS 20D. It’s been ten years now, but I still remember learning to use the menus, dials and settings, and my first adventures experimenting with wide apertures and shallow depth of field! Nowadays, Canon offers a wider range of user-friendly EOS D-SLRs for all levels, the newest of which is the EOS 1200D. Has there ever been a better budget D-SLR for beginners? See what we think in our preview on page 86. Also this month, we’ll help you master your Canon camera and learn all the essentials in just one weekend (page 30), our Apprentice learns how to take beautiful boudoir portraits (page 8), and we have projects on how to use a polariser, how to take candid portraits, how to create a mono montage, and how to take close-ups of water droplets (page 41), complete with videos. In your free guide (page 55), we explain all you need to know about HDR, from shooting Raw images to using Photoshop, while in Workshop we delve into the in-camera HDR mode (page 72). In our Gear section (page 85) we pit the new Sigma 24-105mm against Canon’s 24-105mm L-series lens, test eight great macro lenses, and try five home studio lighting kits, prices starting from £259. I hope you enjoy the issue!

Peter Travers Editor

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PhotoPlus April 2014 | 3

Issue #85 April 2014

Beautiful boudoir! The Apprentice................. 8

Canon pro Andrea Denniss shows our reader how take stunning boudoir portrait photos

Our keen Apprentice learns how to capture intimate and atmospheric boudoir portraits

Your Letters.................... 18 The latest from the PhotoPlus mailbag

Subs Club!........................20 Exclusive stuff for digital edition readers!

Inspirations.....................22 Brilliant Canon shots from the International Garden Photographer of the Year contest

Master Your Canon..........30 Take control of your D-SLR in just 48 hours!

PhotoPlus Skills................ 41

Improve your skills with our tutorials and videos

The Power of HDR............55 Create hyper-detailed images with our eight-page guide and accompanying videos

Page 8

PhotoPlus Workshop......72 Canon’s in-camera HDR mode explained

Dream Team................... 76 Our experts tackle your Canon queries

Your Photos....................80 Get your favourite images critiqued and enhanced by our team and a top Canon pro

NEW! 1200D preview....86

Canon’s new budget-busting beginner D-SLR

Lens head-to-head.........90

How does Sigma’s new 24-105mm f/4 lens stack up against Canon’s L-series equivalent?

Help Me Buy...................92 We help a reader choose a studio lighting kit

Super Test ......................98

Get closer with eight macro lenses from £365

Next issue..................... 113 See what’s in store next issue!

My Favourite Shot....... 114

Drew Buckley’s spectacular birds of prey shot 4 | PhotoPlus April 2014


Page 55

your Questions answered…

Help me buy a... home Studio kit Page 92

Which metering mode is best? p76

Are you a subscriber? See Subs Club for exclusive offers! Page 20

Canon skills weekend

master your slr in 48 hrs! Improve your Canon skills in a weekend from setup to exposure and focusing Page 30


Hands-on preview Canon eos 1200D

Improve your Canon D-SLR skills and images with our photo projects!

Page 86 Page 68

Turn to page 41 now for our Skills section


SUPER TEST! macro lenses

Page 98

Online video To view our videos, click on the ‘Watch the Video’ badges that appear alongside the tutorials. Click on the badge to the right to see what videos are in store this issue…

How do I shoot the Northern Lights? p78

Is Auto WB best? p78

Enhance your shots with our easy-to-follow Photoshop tutorials

watch watch the video the video

Why is my shutter speed dropping? p79 PhotoPlus April 2014 | 5

Meet the team

Meet the Who we are, what we do, and our reaction to the new Canon EOS 1200D… Peter Travers Editor • EOS 5D Mk III

Adam Waring Operations editor • EOS 7D

“Canon has launched the new entry-level 1200D. Is it just an updated 1100D with 18Mp sensor and 3in LCD, or is there more to it? Find out in our hands-on preview on page 86...”

“The specs may seem underwhelming to those of us with more advanced D-SLRs, but its improved power-forthe-price over the 1100D will bring new starters to our Canon’s club…”

Angela Nicholson Head of testing • EOS 5D Mk III

Matt Richards Technical writer • EOS 70D

“The 1200D is a good, solid introduction to the world of Canon D-SLR photography and will be a great choice for novices, especially with the EOS Companion app.”

“It’s looking like we may never see a 7D Mk II, with full-frame bodies taking over the top end of the enthusiast market. It would be a shame – APS-C-format D-SLRs still have lots of plus points.”

Hollie Latham Staff writer • EOS 60D

Martin Parfitt Art editor • EOS 600D

“With an 18Mp sensor and HD video, it’s pretty much a 550D crammed into an 1100D body – for a ‘beginner’ camera, you’re getting some pretty decent tech for your money!”

“One of the fiddliest aspects of the 1100D was its pokey low-res screen. With twice the number of dots and a bigger LCD, reviewing images on the 1200D is much nicer.”

PhotoPlus, Future Publishing 30 Monmouth Street, Bath BA1 2BW Editorial +44 (0)1225 442244 Subscriptions and back issues 0844 848 2852 Or go to The PhotoPlus team Peter Travers Editor Adam Waring Operations editor Hollie Latham Staff writer Martin Parfitt Art editor Angela Nicholson Head of testing Matt Richards Technical writer Guy Edwardes Cover photo Our contributors Drew Buckley, George Cairns, Amy Davies, Adam Gasson, Marcus Hawkins, Richard Hood, James Looker, David Maitland, Mike McNally, Jeff Morgan, James Paterson Without whom… Dan Burden, Luissa Burton, Andrea Denniss, Angie Kremer, Alun Pughe, Dan Read, Charlotte Roest-Ellis, Glen Smith, Derryn Vranch Advertising Sasha McGregor Advertising sales manager – photography 01225 788186 Matt Bailey Senior sales executive 01225 732345 Clare Coleman-Straw Sales director Management Nial Ferguson Managing director – tech, film & games Matthew Pierce Head of photography group Paul Newman Senior editor Steve Gotobed Group art editor Circulation and marketing Samantha Book Marketing manager Dan Foley Trade marketing manager James Ryan Direct marketing executive Mark Constance Production manager Roberta Lealand Production controller Regina Erak Licensing & syndication director

This issue’s contributors…

Andrea Denniss

James Paterson

David Maitland

Drew Buckley

This issue our Apprentice learns how to take intimate and atmospheric boudoir portraits under the expert guidance of pro Canon photographer Andrea (p8).

James takes over this issue’s Masterclass spot, and shows you how to take stunning macro water drop shots, then give your image oomph in Photoshop (p66).

Wildlife and macro expert David supplies a thought-provoking critique of a reader’s extreme close-up shot of a hover fly for Your Photos (p80).

Landscape and wildlife photographer Drew tells us about the moment a rainbow provided the magical backdrop for his birds of prey shoot (p114).

Meet our Subscriber of the Month! Tony McCann Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mk II Lives: Newcastle-upon-Tyne

“I bought my first D-SLR, an EOS 10D, about ten years ago, mainly to take photos of family holidays. About two years ago I started taking an interest in portraiture, which really helped me develop my skills. This led to learning about flash, and I’m currently doing a course on studio lighting at a local college. I read PhotoPlus from cover to cover. My favourite article is the Apprentice, and I also value the kit reviews, and the critiques of readers’ shots. I’m doing a couple of ‘52-week’ projects, and Deconstructed Burger was for one of these. The theme for the week was Colourful Food, and I came up with the idea of he ‘ultimate burger’. This image is made up of eight separate shots.”

JOIN OUR SUBS CLUB NOW! Subscribe to PhotoPlus and you’ll also get membership to our Subs Club – packed with exclusive offers and competitions every month. See page 20 for more details.

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Printed in the UK by William Gibbons and Sons Ltd, on behalf of Future. Distributed by Seymour Distribution Ltd, 2 East Poultry Avenue, London EC1A 9PT. Tel: 020 7429 4000. Printed in England. All information contained in this magazine is for informational purposes only and is, to the best of our knowledge, correct at the time of going to press. Future Publishing Limited cannot accept any responsibility for errors or inaccuracies that occur. Readers are advised to contact manufacturers and retailers direct with regard to pricing.

PhotoPlus is an independent publication and is not in any way authorised, affiliated, nor sponsored by Canon. All the opinions expressed herein are those of the magazine and not that of Canon. ‘EOS’ and all associated trademarks are the property of Canon. All submissions to PhotoPlus magazine are made on the basis of a licence to publish the submission in PhotoPlus magazine, its licensed editions worldwide and photography-related websites. Any material submitted is sent at the owner’s risk and, although every care is taken, neither Future Publishing Limited nor its agents shall be liable for loss or damage. © Future Publishing Limited 2014. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be used or reproduced without the written permission of the publisher.

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The PhotoPlus Apprentice

THE PRO... Name: Andrea Denniss Camera: Canon EOS-1D Mk IV Andrea, 44, is a professional portrait and boudoir photographer based in York. She’s been a keen photographer since she was a teenager, but three years ago she booked a boudoir shoot for herself for a confidence booster; it clearly worked, as she immediately invested in a pro Canon camera and lenses and has been photographing boudoir professionally, as well as weddings and portraits, ever since! You can see Andrea’s portfolio at www., and she also works with Aspire Photography Training – visit

8 | PhotoPlus April 2014

Your chance to shoot with a pro

THE APPRENTICE… Name: Derryn Vranch Camera: Canon EOS 6D Derryn, 38, has been into photography for the past eight years. Based in Bath, he’s now a promising semi-pro portrait photographer ( who’s looking to learn how to shoot like the pros. He recently switched from Nikon to Canon, at the same time stepping up to full-frame by investing in an EOS 6D. Derryn wants to improve his D-SLR skills in general, and learn how to capture atmospheric boudoir portraits.


Boudoir” Learn how to take tastefully titillating boudoir photos as Canon portrait pro Andrea Denniss reveals her secrets to our Apprentice… Apprentice Words: Peter Travers Location pictures: Adam Gasson

PhotoPlus April 2014 | 9

The PhotoPlus Apprentice


If you’re shooting day-in, day-out you’ll need a camera that can withstand heavy use, and that means a pro Canon body. Interestingly, Andrea uses the ‘sports/wildlife’ 1D Mk IV. “I shoot tons of portraits, but I also photograph lots of dogs, so the 1D Mk IV, with its great image quality and 10fps continuous shooting rate, is perfect for my needs,” she says. “It also focuses very rapidly, and its 1.3x crop factor is a happy medium for me between full-frame and 1.6x crop cameras.”


Hair and make-up

“It may seem an extravagance, but a good hair and makeup artist will not only transform your model so they look and feel great, they’ll also save you hours retouching your portraits, as you’ll find that with good makeup applied people’s faces will need next to no polishing,” Andrea says. Websites such as Model Mayhem ( can supply both models and hair and makeup artists who charge affordable rates, or who will work in exchange for photos for their portfolios.

10 | PhotoPlus April 2014



Canon pro tips ANDREA’s tip

Derryn’s comment

Pre-shoot plans

“Check with your subject what outfits and lingerie they have, and suggest they bring three or four different sets, including stockings, and high heels to improve body shape and posture,” says Andrea. “Choose lingerie that suit your model’s look and the location; this could be your or your subject’s house.” PhotoPlus rented a big suite in a posh local hotel, which was a reasonable £100 for the day, and a fraction of the overnight B&B costs.

“Using my full-frame 6D with a 50mm lens meant that I could easily compose a shot to include all of our model Charlotte in the frame, and even in this wider shot, an aperture of f/2.8 has knocked the background subtly out of focus. I was tempted to brighten the image in Photoshop, but Andrea pointed out that boudoir shots need to keep their ‘bedroom’ feel, so should be slightly darker that normal portraits.”

Lens: Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Exposure: 1/125 sec at f/2.8; ISO800

PhotoPlus Technique assessment

Is Derryn ready to shoot boudoir? Andrea helped Derryn to get to grips with his new EOS 6D, and set up his camera to capture sharp and well-exposed portraits

M is for Master

“Derryn sometimes relied too much on Aperture Priority (Av) mode, which means exposures can be inconsistent,” Andrea says. “I got him to use Manual (M) mode instead. In low indoor lighting you want a wide-ish aperture, around f/2.8, to focus on the model, and a shutter speed over 1/100 sec for sharp shots with an 85mm lens. You can then adjust your ISO for a good exposure – we mostly shot at ISO800.”

Autofocus points

“Focusing correctly is something that amateurs often struggle with,” says Andrea. “I pointed out to Derryn that his 6D has 11 AF (autofocus) points, so why not use them? By selecting a single AF point he can ensure that he’s focusing either on our model’s eyes, or her head for a wider shot. AF points also assist with composition, as they’re laid out so that you can use the rule of thirds to position your focal points.”

PhotoPlus April 2014 | 11

The PhotoPlus Apprentice

Lens: Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Exposure: 1/125 sec at f/2.8; ISO800

Derryn’s comment

“Although I used the same 50mm lens and exposure as for Hot Shot #1, Andrea explained that by moving closer, for a more tightly framed crop, the f/2.8 aperture blurs more of the foreground and background to help Charlotte stand out more. I love the sultry look of this shot, and how her hair frames her face. We removed the phone from the bedside table in the background, as it was ugly and distracting.”

ANDREA’s tip

Posing people

“I’ve learned a few tricks of the trade, and here’s a favourite: when people are posing you need to make sure they look as attractive as possible – and that means no big bums, no double

Cheek squashed

chins, and no squashed cheeks! When they’re lying on a bed, don’t let them put all their weight on their cheeks, as they’ll look grumpy or half-asleep; get them to lightly rest their face on their hands for a more flattering pose.”

Cheek posed

KILLER KIT OF THE PROS #2 Fast standard prime lens

Andrea uses the top-of-the-range and highly desirable Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L USM prime lens. “I’d marry it if it asked me!” she laughs. “I adore this lens and I use it for the majority of my boudoir work, as I’m shooting in low light and its fast apertures, from f/1.2, mean I can shoot handheld and without faffing with lights. Autofocus is fast and accurate, which is what you want for portraiture, and it also captures beautiful colours and contrast.” This professional L-series quality comes at a cost – £1,750 – but the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM is a more affordable alternative at around £310.

12 | PhotoPlus April 2014

ANDREA’s Canon Kit

Andrea uses the following pro Canon kit for her boudoir shoots: Canon EOS-1D Mk IV main body Canon EOS 5D back-up body Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM

Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L USM Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM

Can85 sampler  
Can85 sampler