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Issue 167


STUDIO STILL LIFE Illuminate with style for still life imagery that packs a punch

Unlock the creative potential of the city from dusk to dawn









This 4K-capable CSC with ultra-fast AF is put to the test


Learn to show character in your captures for portraiture brimming with personality


Can this new release hold its own in a fiercely competitive market?

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© Pedro Jarque Krebs


“We’re obsessed with re-creating what the eye sees in all its breathtaking splendour” Iconic though his photography may be, Ansel Adams was by no means the first to depict the drama of an atmospheric landscape – and he certainly wasn’t the last. From the Romantics and Realists to modern-day photographers, we’re obsessed with re-creating what the eye sees in all its breathtaking splendour. With this in mind, on p26 we have an in-depth guide to capturing mood in your landscapes. The golden hour may seem like the best time to shoot vistas, but embrace mist and cloud for an atmospheric twist. For a more modern take on moodscapes, turn to p44 to learn how to shoot the city at night. From dusk to dawn, discover the creative potential that urban environments have to offer, from capturing the blue hour to slowing down exposures for a sense of motion.

Elsewhere this issue, we’ve delved into the art of photographing candid, natural-looking portraits, from embracing spontaneity to finding the right angle. If you’re more interested in projects, this issue we’ve jumped into our studio to see how you can use tablets to illuminate your still life shoots on p52. Going professional and getting your name out there can be a tricky task, but this issue Nikon ambassador Kate Hopewell-Smith has shared her experiences on p68. Follow her ten nuggets of wisdom to build yourself a successful brand. We’re always delighted to see what you’ve been photographing, so remember to share your images with us on our website at, or post them on our Facebook page – you may just see your shots featured in the magazine next time. As usual, I hope you enjoy the issue! Philippa Grafton, Deputy Editor

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The publisher cannot accept responsibility for any unsolicited material lost or damaged in the post. All text and layout is the copyright of Imagine Publishing Ltd. Nothing in this magazine may be reproduced in whole or part without the written permission of the publisher. All copyrights are recognised and used specifically for the purpose of criticism and review. Although the magazine has endeavoured to ensure all information is correct at time of print, prices and availability may change. This magazine is fully independent and not affiliated in any way with the companies mentioned herein. If you submit material to Imagine Publishing via post, email, social network or any other means, you automatically grant Imagine Publishing an irrevocable, perpetual, royalty-free license to use the images across its entire portfolio, in print, online and digital, and to deliver the images to existing and future clients, including but not limited to international licensees for reproduction in international, licensed editions of Imagine products. Any material you submit is sent at your risk and, although every care is taken, neither Imagine Publishing nor its employees, agents or subcontractors shall be liable for the loss or damage.

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Our contributors

ISSN 1477-6650

After a five-year stint as a professional photographer in Australia, Features Editor Matt Bennett knows a thing or two about cameras. This issue, he’s spoken to Kate Hopewell-Smith about building a successful brand on p68, and over on p106 he dissects tilt-shift lenses and when’s appropriate to use them.


Freelance journalist and photographer Lauren has returned to us again this issue with an in-depth guide to shooting the city from dusk to dawn over on p44. She’s also shed light on making the most of inclement weather for breathtaking atmospheric landscapes on p26, with tricks for working with misty conditions.




Regular contributor Tom is a master of all things portrait. On p58 of this issue he’s explained how to use a handheld light meter to get perfect exposures every time. If you’ve got a shooting technique you want to learn about, let us know on our Facebook or Twitter pages, or email us at!


Artistic wildlife photography is almost a genre in itself, and Pedro Jarque Krebs is no stranger to the topic. Over on p20 we’ve featured a showcase of his exceptional imagery, and the photographer himself explains the tricks and techniques for creating such unique, breathtaking captures.


This issue, Jess has spoken to several pro photographers about the art of capturing candid portraits. From advice on posing naturally to composing your shots effectively, learn everything you need to perfect natural portraits over on p36. If you shoot candids, don’t forget to share them at!


Website: For some photographers, the call of the sea is impossible to resist, and professional sports photographer Andy Fox is one such shooter who succumbed to a life by the coast. Turn to p76 to see why passion is key to capturing your best-ever images, and check out his incredibly inspiring portfolio.


YOUR FREE ASSETS Turn to p112 to get hold of your bonus content

Contents Issue 167

Your Images

Our favourite reader imagery from this issue

In Focus 14 Story Behind The Still

Find out how Julien Martin’s stunning mantis image was taken

16 News

Read the latest news in the evergrowing world of photography

106 Kit focus

Learn how perspective-control lenses can be used


Shooting Skills 52 Studio still life

Give still life shoots a modern and dynamic twist in the studio

58 Learn to light meter

Master your exposures by getting to grips with light meters

Image Editing 62 Enhance imagery with Levels

Fix shots with this underrated tool

64 Use Gradients in Photoshop

© Martin Castein

Effortlessly perfect your images using Gradients

Go Pro 66 Career advice

26 Atmospheric landscapes Learn to embrace mood and mysterious weather and render your scenes in all their dramatic glory

Reviews 88 Landscape kitbags

Improve your shooting and editing skills 44 Shoot the city Learn to shoot off-the-cuff at night 36 Natural portraits

© Konstantin Kryukovskiy


Being a pro means being quick, so learn to refine your workflow

portraits that successfully capture the true personality and character of your models

Discover the latest cameras, lenses and much more

96 Canon EOS 750D

100 Panasonic Lumix G7

Which one works How good is this Is this small best for you? new release? CSC mighty?


Discover how any metropolis can be captured between the hours of dusk and dawn

110 Accessories

104 Lenses

108 Software

The latest lenses are put to the test

Our views on Some fun yet the latest editing functional tools available kitbag extras

68 Ten steps to build a successful lifestyle brand Nikon ambassador Kate Hopewell-Smith talks going pro

72 Helpdesk

Your questions on getting gig photography right answered

Portfolio 20 Animal magic

Artistic wildlife is practically a genre of its own, and Pedro Jarque Krebs is a master of it

76 Surf’s up

Sports photographer Andy Fox reveals his passion for the seas

44 26

© Erin Beck

© Erin Babnik

Atmospheric landscapes



Landscape kitbags

Shoot the city at night

Natural portraits


© Luis Llerena

©Pedro Jarque Krebs

Animal magic



Canon EOS 750D

Subscribe and save


Turn to page 60, or go online and buy direct from



EXPRESSIVE PORTRAITURE Martin Castein strives to capture the character and emotion of his subjects Lisa by the tree “This was a pretty cold sunset and I liked the idea of her finding this tree as a place to shelter. The warm-looking sunset provides the juxtaposition” All Images ©Martin Castein






“An outdoor shot using a black marble wall as a background. Taken in the winter, this image kept some of that cold feeling” Above-right

Summer days

“This image happened while we were waiting for the Sun to get a bit lower in the sky. I used a reflector to bounce light” Left

July flowers “In this image I wanted to create a soft colour palette to match the flowers, the blue in her eyes and background and the red to yellow in her hair” Right

Blurred dreams “Freelensing with a 50mm lens. Getting the lens off the camera allows you to get random light leaks and unusual focus planes” 10

Martin Castein Website address: Day job: Full-time portrait photographer What’s your long-term ambition? My goal is to be up there with the best in the industry. When did you start shooting digitally? Since 2010. Have you been interested in portrait photography for long? I started taking portraits in 2010, but for a long time I worked as a wedding photographer. I kept my portrait photography going as a side-line and picked up quite a few awards for it. It wasn’t until last year that I got back into portrait photography more seriously. What’s in your kitbag? Canon EOS 6D camera body. My lenses are 24-70mm, 70-200mm, 50mm f1.2 and 85mm f1.8 and a small reflector. What’s the most important thing to consider when shooting portraits? I think this depends on what type of portrait you are taking. Are you trying to capture the person’s real character and personality or are you trying to create a fantasy [for] your subject about how they want to look, or completely create your own vision? For me the most important consideration is the mood the image creates. This is achieved through a combination of pose, lighting, expression and colour. What advice would you give to aspiring portrait photographers? Shoot more. Don’t worry if you feel like you don’t have the best gear or the best locations. Work with what you have and that can be one camera and one lens. It’s easy to make excuses for yourself and feel you can’t compete without the latest and greatest gear, but that is not the case. You can find people to shoot and make photoshoots happen. What editing tricks do you usually use on your shots? I use dodge and burn quite a lot and I have spent a great deal of time refining my colour grading techniques. Colour is very important to me and I think my particular use of colour is probably my best trick.


Sunrise “This was taken near St Mary Axe in London. Strong low Sun behind the model and using natural reflectors to light the model. Strong reds and yellows made the look complete”

WIN! Samsung 16GB MicroSDHC PRO memory card and adapter Each issue’s reader showcase entry wins a Samsung MicroSD card plus an SD adapter, boasting transfer speeds of up to 90MB/s. For more info, visit




Ireneusz Irass Waledzik Image title: Enjoy DP Gallery address: irass Taken on a Nikon D300s at 50mm, this picture shows the mantis phyllocrania paradoxa while it eats a fruit fly. Left

Ray Akey

Image title: Melissa DP Gallery address: akeyphoto Glamour portrait of Melissa. Fashions were made in my studio in Windsor, Ontario Canada. The hair crown was created by my wife Sharon. I made the dress. Opposite

Laurent Budihardjo

Image title: La Bella DP Gallery address: laurentbudihardjo “When a woman is talking to you, listen to what she says with her eyes.” [This is a] portrait of my best friend, Caelee Webb. Her eyes are so beautiful in this picture… It makes me feel that her eyes are saying something. 12



STORY BEHIND THE STILL Photographer: Julien Martin Website: Location: South of France Type of commission: Personal work Shot details: Canon EOS 60D with EF 100mm macro f2.8 About the shot: While some photographers travel across continents to find the perfect shot, some can just as easily create magic in their own garden. Photographer Julien Martin, who lives in the south of France, went for the latter option when he captured this stunningly sharp photo of a praying mantis that roams on his land. “She lives in freedom in my garden, but I can find her easily when I want to make a picture.” The setup itself was simple, with Martin placing her on the flower, then putting her back just as quickly afterwards. He knew exactly what he was after when he started shooting, and used a flower he found so that he could control the balance in size between the plant and the insect. Following the traditional rules of composition when arranging the image, Martin “placed the praying mantis and the flower on a converging point a third of the way into the frame, [also] leaving a lot of space in front of the insect.” Although finding his subject wasn’t tricky, the photographer cites the most important thing in getting the shot to be patience, and “waiting for the right moment, to get the right light and position of the insect simultaneously.” After an hour or so however, the perfect still was recorded, using skill with a macro lens that renders the mantis’ face pin-sharp. Right


All images © Julien Martin

Prayer The 100mm lens that Martin used in this shot is a popular choice for flighty macro subjects, achieving a 1:1 reproduction



Sony launches upgraded a7S II

The new model sees improved noise control and autofocusing, but is it a substantial upgrade? Sony has announced the latest model in its line of compact, full-frame cameras in the form of the a7S II. As a direct update to the Alpha 7S, this latest iteration is a model that’s been designed with low-light shooting in mind and should appeal to videographers in particular thanks to its ability to record in 4K with no pixel binning. The a7S II retains its 12.2 megapixel sensor and like the original, a maximum ISO sensitivity of 409,600. Although the processor remains the same, an upgraded algorithm “maximises the sensor’s capabilities and improves depiction throughout the full sensitivity range with particular emphasis on the mid-to-high range,” according to the official release. In theory, this means the resulting stills and movies should be rendered in extra fine-detail. Autofocus improvements are another big draw to this new addition and there are now

169 AF points for focusing with greater speed, precision and accuracy. The company claim that when shooting video, the AF performance of the a7S II is twice as fast as its predecessor. Sony has also made a number of enhancements and alterations to the body of the a7S II to make it more user friendly. The grip and shutter buttons have been redesigned, and the lens mount has been reinforced to ensure greater resilience to the strain from longer lenses. Connectivity is a standout feature and the camera can be charged via a USB power supply even when it’s in operation. As you’d expect, the new model is Wi-Fi and NFC compatible, as well as fully functional with Sony’s PlayMemories mobile application. This camera is definitely about video footage just as much as stills and some would be surprised by the seemingly low pixel count.

Though it has fewer pixels than the a7R II and a7 II, it’s still possible to create high-quality A3 prints, and the internal 4K video recording should be enough to entice those looking for serious video quality in a compact package. The a7S II is due to hit shelves in November, with prices still to be confirmed.


Rock steady

The a7S II is equipped with a five-axis image stabilisation system, also found in the a7 II and a7R II cameras. This corrects camera shake along five axes during shooting


Looking good

The a7S II houses the world’s highest viewfinder magnification (among all full-frame digital cameras)

Other new releases BENDY SUPPORT

XSories has launches a new Bendy tripod range, designed for cameras and smartphones alike. Featuring an adjustable ball-head and non-slip feet, a quarter-inch screw thread enables the attachment of different devices. Find out more at



Canon has launched three new cameras, in the shape of two new PowerShot G compacts – the G5X and the G9X – and a new compact system camera, the EOS M10. All are additions to existing ranges and do not replace any cameras.


Adobe has released Photoshop Elements 14, with new features including a Camera Shake Compensation Function, Haze Removal tool and Quick Edit mode. Premiere Elements has also been released, adding 4K video editing.


Two new prime lens offerings from Samyang

In other news…

More snippets of photo news from around the world

Up-to-date offerings have manual focus and fixed focal lengths Korean lens manufacturer Samyang is becoming increasingly popular and is very well-known for producing quality manual-focus lenses at affordable prices. The company has recently released two new prime lenses, in the form of a 21mm f1.4 and 50mm f1.2, both of which have been designed for mirrorless cameras with APS-C sensors. The first of these two new releases, the 21mm f1.4 ED AS UMC CS (£269 / approx $411) is a moderate wide-angle lens, with an optical formula comprising of eight lens elements in seven groups, including one extra-low dispersion lens (ED). It also features an Ultra Multi Coating, which should go some way to minimising flare and ghosting. With a minimum focusing distance of only 0.28m, the 21mm could be a strong companion for a

range of genres, from landscapes to interior shots. Second of these releases, the 50mm f1.2 AS UMC CS (£299 / approx $457) is said to generate an impressive bokeh and could make a perfect portrait partner. For an extra cost, both the 21mm and 50mm lenses will be available in cine versions that are defined by declicked focus and aperture gear rings, as well as maximum apertures of t1.5 and t1.3 respectively. All four new offerings are available now in Sony E, MFT, Fujifilm X and Canon M mounts. We’ll certainly be interested in testing these lenses out firsthand in the magazine very soon, and you can find out more about these releases by visiting the Samyang Optics website at


Manual focus

Samyang’s new 50mm is a manual focus lens made especially for mirrorless cameras with an APS-C or smaller sensor


Beautiful bokeh

The 21mm’s fast f1.4 aperture and nine circular aperture blades are designed to offer subject separation and limited depth of field

Digital Photographer has teamed up with the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and specialist photo library Nature Photographers Ltd in the first Bird Photographer of the Year competition, which has been launched for 2015. Aiming to support conservation, celebrate the diversity of birds and the artistry of avian photography, this exciting new contest is now open for entries, with a top prize of £5,000. There’s no doubt that the advent of digital photography has revolutionised bird photography, but the competition is open to all ages and skill levels, with the option to submit

Leica has opened a second London-based store at The Royal Exchange in the very heart of the city. It will offer photography exhibitions and events, as well as high-end products and “the ultimate customer experience,” according to managing director Jason Heward.


Bird photo competition now open for entries

It’s the last call for entries for the International Garden Photographer of the Year Competition 9, which closes on 30 October 2015. There are nine categories and a cash prize of £7,500 for the overall winner. Find out more at

2x © Rob Read

Inaugural Bird Photographer of the Year competition is now open for entries



just one image or a whole portfolio. Alongside the overall winner, there are further prizes for each category winner, including a year’s subscription to Digital Photographer, as well as the latest kit and clothing. President of the BTO and head competition judge Chris Packham has always been passionate about photographing birds and hopes the competition will push bird photographers to new limits. “I am excited about seeing the entries and being involved in choosing the best of the best,” he explained. The closing date for entries is 9 January 2016 and you can enter your best images or find out more about the competition now at


Good cause

A percentage of the money raised from entry fees will go direct towards the BTO, to support the work they do in the field


Young talent Entry fees start at £5 for under 17 year-olds and the title of Young Bird Photographer of the Year will be awarded to the lucky winner

The British Wildlife Photography Awards has announced the 2015 winners, across 16 different categories. The overall winner was Barrie Williams for his image of Gannets On A Cliff. The winning and commended images are now touring the UK and available online at

KEEP INFORMED For more news and updates, be sure to pay a visit to our website, www. and if you’ve got a story for us, you can email us at team@dphotographer. 17



What happens when fashion comes at the cost of an animal’s life? All images © Ruth Rose


am a professional, fashion photographer who is also a vegetarian, passionate about the treatment of animals, and because of this, I’ve tried to use my photography to say something positive about animal welfare. I’ve always loved incorporating well-caredfor animals in my photographs – as on my Pastel shoot, where I used the stylist’s dog and my pet rabbit as props. For me, as well as enhancing the desirability of the clothing, the beauty of the animals enriches the images. But what happens when animals appear in the form of fur coats or glove trimmings? Over the years, the use of animal furs in the fashion industry has been a concern for me because of my research into just how such products are sourced. In the end, rather than apologising for my views, I have chosen to make them known. After meeting Ashley James on a shoot for Made In Chelsea, we’d both been surprised by friends and celebrities who labelled themselves animal lovers, yet chose to wear fur. Together, we wanted to raise awareness about the cruelty involved in the acquisition


background, the blood-red fox of furs, so we decided to shoot a dominated the image. Fellow campaign – we wanted people animal-rights campaigner Stella to look at what we did and to McCartney generously provided feel encouraged to research a dark outfit for the shoot, this issue themselves. From and a devoted creative team their own research, they could dedicated time and effort into the then make informed decisions campaign. What we ended up with about just what they were happy to PRO BIO resulted in widespread, national endorse; especially when what they Since launching her press coverage and became an wore might influence others. career, Ruth Rose has had considerable success, influential campaign for PETA. Initially, we wanted to avoid working for magazines such Since then, I have shot another anything too gruesome and to as Cosmopolitan, shooting fashion campaigns for PETA campaign to encourage focus on creating a beautiful clients like Accessorize animal adoption, showing James image of a live animal to inspire and Tresemmé, and has from The Vamps with two kittens rather than to shock. We were been televised as a guest photographer on Made in rescued from an abandoned privileged to get PETA on board Chelsea, and Austria’s Next carrier bag. This campaign is due with the shoot, giving the campaign Top Model. to be featured in We Love Pop both credibility and an audience. magazine, targeting teenagers. Against our initial intentions, we decided that It’s possible to achieve small areas of good a faux, dead fox would have more impact, by encouraging awareness and thinking on a hammering home the hard truth of fur in the topic of importance. I have been fortunate to fashion industry. work alongside industry creatives who share In order to shock people into awareness, my beliefs and who have enabled me to use I wanted all of the tones in the image to my photographic skills in a positive way. complement each other. Set on a blue-green


ANIMAL MAGIC Pedro Jarque Krebs reveals the secrets behind his creative and captivating wildlife work


ith a burgeoning online reputation for stunning, atmospheric wildlife images, Pedro Jarque Krebs is crafting his own identity in a competitive field. In this interview, he discusses his inspirations and techniques.

You’re principally known for your wildlife images. What was it that first attracted you to working in this genre? Animals are endless models. They are so different and unique from each other that they offer unlimited possibilities to work with many shapes, types of light, shadows and expressions. What’s really fascinating about working with animals is that they are so spontaneous.


The queen

“The queen of animals is powerful enough to permit herself a great and unworried yawn” All images © Pedro Jarque Krebs


What kit are you currently working with? Is there anything you plan to buy in the future? Right now I am working with Canon equipment, obviously digital, and the one I currently use is a Canon EOS 5D Mark III. There are a lot of extraordinary models on the market, but I’m so used to Canon that I will probably stick with them for my next camera. Although, if I ever won the lottery, I would love to work with a digital Hasselblad, let’s say a H5D-50.




Your images are quite stylised, how would you describe your style to someone else? Chiaroscuro! I love to work with light and shadows [with] black backgrounds to highlight the illuminated subject, which at the same time appears absorbed by the shadows. In particular, I try to work with these lights and shadows in order to give volume to the bodies, and creating a three-dimensional illusion. More than painting with light, I also like to sculpt with light. What was the inspiration behind the style of your images? Was there anyone in particular that inspired you? I have always loved the chiaroscuro style (light-dark) in classic art, as in the work of Rembrandt and Caravaggio. Without a doubt, I try to take inspiration from the wonderful mastering of light and shadows of great masters from the 16th Century and the socalled tenebrismo (tenebrism) from Spanish masters such as José de Ribera. Below

The flute master “Panda bears love bamboo and their way to manipulate it sometimes looks as though they are playing a… Flute”


What sort of reaction did you get when you first showed people your work in this style? People love animals, and shown that way [out of context], it offers a more intimate and close side of them. A lot of [the] time I’m asked the same question: how did you get that animal in your studio? To me it’s the biggest compliment ever, because this is a possibility [that] is available only rarely… So the work is [actually] done in post-production. What is your process in Photoshop? What adjustments do you like to make? Once you have chosen your photo (which is crucial because you might have overlooked the perfect photo) comes the reframing, if necessary. When your background is not absolutely dark, you’ll have to trim on your subject. This is the most important part of the job, and the trimming technique needed will depend on each image. Sometimes it will be easy, but on a lot of occasions you’ll have to use mixed techniques, like trimming through colour channels [and] pens. The latest versions of Photoshop have really improved the technique of refining the trim process. The most delicate thing in a photo will always be

Meet Pedro Jarque Krebs

Pedro Jarque Krebs is a passionate photographer, born in Lima, Peru. He studied Philosophy and Logics at the Sorbonne University in Paris, and Art History & Archeology at Paris IV. His passion for photography began at the age of ten, and in 1983 he won the First Prize of Black & White Photography awarded by the Metropolitan Municipality of Lima, Peru.

the hair. When your subject is trimmed, you should choose the background you want, whether it be full black or a degraded colour. That’s when the job of lighting and shadows comes in, with different layers and exposition adjustments. The amount of light and shadows that you modify will depend completely on your taste and sensitivity.



Mass hysteria

“A group of red flamingos arguing. Their noisy encounter accompanies their red bodies, as though they were ballet dancers” Far-left

I swear

“The impressive brown bear. His fearsome claws are in contrast with an almost kind expression in his face” Left

The candidate “Vultures do not have a very good reputation, but they are awesome birds” Below-left

Ebony and ivory “A jaguar and a black jaguar. Both of them are of the same species, but with a different trait. They seem not to care too much about it”



“I like to choose those animals in which we recognise ourselves. You must never force a situation. Sooner or later the animal will do something that we think of as human”

Creative wildlife commandments

Pedro Jarque Krebs offers his top 10 tips for artistic animal images Before you know thyself, know thy camera Your camera should become an extension of your body. Sacrifice sensitivity It’s easier to fix the noise produced by a high ISO, than to fix an out of focus shot. If your subject… Moves a lot, you will have to increase your shutter speed; and if you don’t have a lot of light you’ll have to sacrifice the sensitivity to the aperture. Be patient Working with animals requires a little bit of luck, but above everything a lot of patience and time. The best pictures are usually the last you took on a shoot. Shoot at will Unlike analog, the great difference with digital is you can take as many shots as you want… Don’t feel embarrassed to shoot too many shots. Get a great zoom lens Most of the time you won’t be able to get super close to an animal. A good zoom glass is a 70-300mm, but you’ll always regret not carrying something more powerful. Bring a monopod A camera with a full zoom lens attached is heavy. Shooting sometimes takes hours, and it can get very exhausting. A monopod will help. Learn the editing software Above all, you have to master a cutting-out technique. Get a digital tablet To be able to paint an image with different types of light and shadows, a graphic tablet with a pressure sensitive pen is essential. Be thorough You have to work in small and detailed areas. This will make sure your work doesn’t look sloppy. Don’t abuse the filters In fact, if you can, avoid them all together. It’s always wise to err on the sober side.


Do you have any particular favourite subjects to photograph? In the case of animals, I like to choose those animals in which we recognise ourselves. You must never force a situation. Sooner or later the animal will do something that we think of as human that according to our egocentrism as a species will seduce us – one look, one gesture, one apparent smile. But you don’t find this only in mammals. Sometimes you even find this in insects! What is your favourite lens to work with? When photographing animals, I like to use the Canon EF 70-300mm f4-5.6 L IS USM. It’s a really light lens for what it does, with great brightness and a very stable system that’s quite versatile. For studio portraiture, though, I would go with the Canon EF 50mm f1.4 USM, because it offers great aperture and really allows you to work with the depth of field. The Canon EF 100mm f2.8L Macro IS USM is great for really small subjects. What are your ambitions? I would like to be able [to work] more often with animals in the studio, because that would allow me to have better control of the lighting and to get the perfect set of light and shadows that I want without having to depend on external lamps. Obviously you cannot put a giraffe in a studio, but it would be possible to adapt some space to re-create a portable studio, where you can work with the animal under the best possible conditions.

What’s your shooting process? You don’t have to plan a trip to the Serengeti to photograph animals. You can go to the zoo, a park or natural reservations… You won’t always find the ideal conditions to shoot in, and a lot of [the] time you will have to go to several locations before finding the one where your animal is more accessible. In Spain for example, the Parque de Cabarceno offers a great opportunity to photograph several species living in semi-captivity… I don’t overload on equipment. This includes the outfit. Plus, whenever possible, I try to pick a day with the perfect weather… And try to avoid very sunny days since the light can be too intense. What other types of photography are you interested in and why? I really like studio portraits, as well as experimenting with lighting and different poses. I also love landscape photography, because you really get connected with the world and nature, and that’s very special. Which other photographers do you particularly admire and why? I’ve always liked Irving Penn, and how he dominates his portrait photography but, if you really want to see something neat, [search for] Martin Chambi. He’s an exceptional Peruvian photographer from the early Twentieth century. What’s the best piece of photography advice you’ve ever been given? Don’t forget a flashlight! I did once, when I was doing a landscape shot during sunset. When I was heading back after the shoot, I was completely blacked out; I couldn’t even DP see my own feet! Below

Conversation piece “A gorilla family portrait. This composite image was assembled from four individual portraits”


ATMOS PHERIC LAND SCAPES Learn to embrace mood and render your scenes in full dramatic glory


ake a quick look at any online photographic community and you’ll quickly see that atmospheric landscapes are one of the most popular and well-received styles. Artistic and painterly vistas aren’t a new way of shooting, but with the advancements of editing software and digital cameras in recent years, it’s now possible to render scenes with all the visual splendour, detail and tone previously reserved for the naked eye. The best results come from shooting during inclement weather, when it’s stormy, misty, changeable and unpredictable, and you should

be ready to welcome early starts and damp shooting conditions for the best results. If you’ve got a penchant for scenes that are full of mood, tone and feeling, follow our tips, tricks and advice over the next few pages and become a master of the moodscape. We’ll encourage your artistic vision with ideas for subjects as well as how to incorporate reflections and mist, and we’ll explain how the direction of natural light will influence your imagery. Of course, no masterpiece is complete straight out of the camera, so we’ve also got you covered in the digital darkroom with a myriad of different editing techniques.


For Jeff This jaw-dropping capture by Erin Babnik was taken while she explored some of the higher elevations of the Dolomites. “I remember us being all giddy after having seen such a wonderful display of nature” © Erin Babnik



WORKSHOPS Join landscape masters Enrico Fossati (www. and Erin Babnik on their photography workshop, Adventure in the Dolomites, running 17–23 July 2016. Find out more at www.erinbabnik. com/requestbrochure.



DELIBERATE DARKNESS Take inspiration from the painting masters and underexpose your shots for feeling The most successful atmospheric landscapes rely on heavy use of contrast, as well as deliberate yet subtle underexposure. Landscape photography is a natural progression from traditional fine-art painting, so it helps to understand some basic lighting theory used by artists like Leonardo Da Vinci. The term Chiaroscuro has been around since the days of Renaissance painting, is Italian in origin, and literally means light-dark. In paintings, it describes the tonal contrasts, which are used to model and portray the volumes of the subjects depicted. The term has recently made its way into the world of photography and describes the interplay of light across a landscape to draw attention to the three-dimensional nature of the subjects. Ansel Adams made use of the Chiaroscuro technique in active weather and some of his most famous images take advantage of the high-contrast lighting that occurs with

Ideal atmospheric shooting conditions Know what elements to look out for when planning your next trip

approaching or clearing storms. The aim is to use light and dark to amplify depth and form within the scene. First, find a location with a definite contrast between light and shaded areas. Waterfalls, white water in shaded rivers, and woodlands where crepuscular light can filter through are all good examples. Mountain ranges are an obvious example, but not always the most accessible place to start. Once you’ve found your locale, set up your camera on a sturdy tripod and set the lowest ISO your camera will allow, this will ensure the shadowed areas stay noise-free. The section of the frame with the greatest contrast will usually become the natural focal point of your image, creating a strong pull on the viewer’s eye. Focus manually on this and use Live View to ensure it’s pin-sharp. When underexposing the scene, keep an eye on the histogram to avoid clipping too much of the shadow detail.

It’s fundamentally understood that early mornings can equal magical light, but for atmospheric landscapes, this rule only applies so far. Atmosphere also means capturing mood, drama and tone, and though the genre can encompass the golden hours, it excels perhaps even further when the weather is inclement. Shoot during stormy weather when the winds are high and the conditions changeable, and you’ll find plenty of opportunities for depicting dark and ominous cloudscapes. Nothing shouts atmosphere quite like a heavy sky with rays of sunlight bursting through. Each season will offer something different; for example, during autumn, the colder nights mean a greater chance of fog, which in turn creates ethereal views of shadows and light rays. When the air is misty, atmospheric perspective, in other words, objects fading off into the distance, becomes more noticeable. There are no textbook shooting conditions, but with practice you’ll soon discover what works and what doesn’t.


Chase the light Whether you want to capture misty mountains, or vast open plains bathed in sunlight, it’s important to plan your shoot meticulously, adapting to the weather at hand

Backlight is most impressive and dramatic when the Sun is positioned nearer the horizon

© Enrico Fossati


Coastal illumination

Emphasise shape Shoot and compose your vistas to make use of backlighting


Compose the shot Consider the lighting and background carefully, then position your setup and compose the frame. A low Sun works best for backlit shots. Use Live View mode to protect your eyes.



Meter with precision Switch to Spot metering – it’s best to meter on the darker areas to maintain information in the shadowed areas, but try to avoid blowing out highlights completely.


Shield from flare Use a lens hood or shadow the lens with your hand if your aim is to avoid lens flare. If the Sun is directly in your frame, reposition yourself differently to obscure the Sun partially behind an object.


Perfect your post-processing


This genre makes the most of even the weakest light, as well as typically bad weather, often becoming most successful in gloomy conditions

Narrow apertures should generally be used to ensure that the entire image, from the foreground to the horizon line, is in perfect focus

Tweak your Chiaroscuro imagery using Lightroom


A medium telephoto lens can be useful with subjects such as woodland, but a wideangle is preferable in open environments to capture the entire vast scenery

Boost the contrast Open the image in Lightroom, go to the Develop panel and increase the Contrast to +80. Next, drag Shadows to +100 and Highlights to -50.

© Enrico Fossati



To add a sense of depth to your landscapes, re-orientate your camera so that the sunlight hits the subject from the side. This means that shadows will fall across the frame and reveal the shape and form.


Make it sharp Once you are happy with the overall brightness of the shot. Add a subtle level of sharpening with the Clarity slider, but don’t overdo the effect.


Final tweaks For more precise sharpening, use the Detail tab. Add a subtle vignette from the Lens Correction tab to darken the photo edges.


The play between light and shadow in the frame will add definition and depth to landscapes. Windy conditions are often perfect for changeable conditions


Successful landscape artists embrace dramatic skies in their imagery, using a graduated ND filter to balance the exposure between the landscape and a particularly bright sky



© Enrico Fossati


Mythical lands

Flat results

Added depth


Bad weather and gloomy conditions often create the most successful type of lighting for getting the best out of your landscape shots

The unique shape of this landscape, combined with shooting angle and weather conditions, enhance the mystic feel of the image

While the light was visually pleasing in the initial shot, the image was lacking slightly in depth and contrast

The exact amounts of editing will vary with each photo, so check carefully that your final image isn’t too dark



The emphasis on your images should be tonal, particularly if you convert images to black and white. Subtle shifts in tone will also communicate the mood


The hidden valley




© Adnan Bubalo


Head out at dawn to improve your chances of atmospheric conditions Shooting in foggy and misty conditions is a surefire way to add intrigue to imagery when exposed effectively, but getting your timing right is easier said than done. Although these conditions appear throughout the year, the density of droplets depends on the air currents and temperature being just right. Aim to head out when the temperature differences between night and day are more extreme, during the late evening or early the following morning. Try to head to a body of water such as local river or pond, or better still the coast, where cool sea air will meet warmer air on land. When you do set up, find a high vantage point to shoot from, for example a cliff top. Your choice of kit will depend entirely on the scene before you, but filters can be useful tools. A polariser will work to pull out strong

green and blue hues, but remember that it’ll also stop out light. ND grads can work to darken excessively bright sky areas, especially when shooting in thin fog. Experiment with a combination of different filters until you’re happy with the result. Likewise with lenses, taking out a range of focal lengths will enable you to adapt to the scene at hand. In foggy conditions, long range objects appear as silhouettes, while near objects retain more of their colour and sharpness, so at a basic level it’s wise to have a wide-angle, and longer telephoto such as a 70-200mm. Consider investing in a teleconverter if you feel you might need some added reach. If you do heed the call of the alarm clock and head out early, you might find that your

misty images still end up looking flat and disappointing, and this is because fog acts like a softbox, broadening the light out. Think carefully about the direction of your light source, as mist tends to look most stunning when lit from behind. If you’re in woodland, position yourself with the mist between you and the Sun, so that beams of sunlight dapple through. Though you should strive to get the best results in-camera, remember that some subtle tweaks in Photoshop afterwards will add the required punch and contrast. Above

Magic at dawn Head out at day-break to capture the magical atmosphere created by the rising Sun and morning mist create together

Shoot for depth Discover how to capture misty masterpieces with a telephoto lens


Find a spot Get into position and set up a sturdy tripod. Attach a telephoto lens, ideally with a focal length greater than 200mm; if the lens has its own collar, mount the lens onto the tripod head.



Compose the shot Tighten all the controls on the tripod head. If you’re shooting with a zoom lens, try out different focal lengths to see what works for the scene at hand. Eliminate distracting elements in the frame.


Keep it sharp Focus manually to avoid the lens focus hunting. Camera shake is exaggerated at long focal lengths, so turn on mirror lock-up and fire the shutter either with a remote release or self-timer delay.

Enhance the ATMOSPHERIC LANDSCAPES misty vapours


Make edits to your misty images for maximum impact

Shoot forest scenes with lighting in mind to generate mood and feeling Well-lit woodland scenes are a wonder to behold and when captured with the right atmosphere they become a magical place. By their nature however, they’re fairly chaotic, with dark canopy layers contrasting against bright sunlight through the trees, causing some challenges as far as exposure is concerned. Avoid strong sunlight by shooting in the early morning, when the low-angled Sun will illuminate the trunks and produce long, dramatic shadows. Backlighting works particularly well for forest scenes, and enables you to focus on the shape of the trees only, capturing the woodland as a silhouette. If the Sun does cause lens flare, reposition yourself so that it’s hidden behind a trunk. Though they might look bleak, overcast conditions are a blessing for dense woodland, yielding light that’s more evenly spread along

with richer colours. Particularly dramatic results can be achieved on misty mornings, using a telephoto lens such as a 70-200mm to isolate smaller sections of trees and compress the composition. If you opt for a wide-angle lens, include foreground interest like flowers, ferns or mosses to lead the eye into the frame. Below

Keep it hazy Even lingering mist after sunrise can add atmosphere and depth to wooded scenes


Adjust the levels Use a Levels adjustment layer in Photoshop, and set your white and black points. This is a subtle process, so edit gradually.


Seek white water Certain velocities of water make for more interesting and dynamic photography


Delicate results It’s important to maintain the fine tones of mist when editing your images


Use curves Adjust the mid-tones using a Curves adjustment layer. Anchor points near the centre of the curve to create separation in just the mid-tones.

HAZY EXPOSURES Misty conditions cause the air to become more reflective, fooling your camera’s light meter into decreasing the exposure. Dial in a positive exposure compensation to overcome this.

3 © Dariusz Duma

Sharpen and blur Enhance any obvious differences between a sharp subject and the softness of the mist using the Sharpening tool and Blurring filters. BEFORE


Subtle water features

© Pai Shih

The subdued light often found under the canopy of woodland is perfect for capturing rivers, streams and waterfalls at their most atmospheric. Be prepared to get your feet wet and compose images in the stream itself, facing the upcoming water. For the best results use a polariser to bring out the most important detail in the colours of the water, as well as cut out any unwanted glare in forest foliage.

© Enrico Fossati

Discover how natural subjects can benefit from overcast conditions




Photograph reflections for added magic Serene lakes towered by lofty mountain ranges are the epitome of shooting locations when your aim is to capture reflections in the landscape. For this technique, you’ll find again that natural light is most favourable in the early morning, when warm sunrise tones look fantastic when mirrored in cooler shades of the water. If you’re visiting an unfamiliar spot, use a phone app such as the Photographer’s Ephemeris to calculate where the Sun will rise, ideally positioning your subject in front of you and the Sun behind. Of course, it’s not always possible to get out early, and while direct light on the surface will cause glare, a polarising filter reduces this effect. As a general rule, the most tranquil spots will be smaller and more sheltered, but it’s also possible to capture creative reflections on puddles. The lower your shooting angle, the more reflection you’ll be able to see; set a sturdy tripod up at its minimum height to begin with, checking for wonky horizons and shooting from the water’s edge where possible. Reflections are darker than the main subject, and you can balance the exposure using an ND graduated filter or during the edit.

This capture by photographer Enrico Fossati is the perfect example of this technique. Alter your shooting height to incorporate less or more of the reflection

Leaving the main subject out of the frame and including only the reflection in the shot can make for a more abstract and interesting composition. This is useful if your main subject is harshly lit.

© Enrico Fossati


Dark mirror


Still and serene Tranquil water is most commonly used for reflections relying on shooting in flat, calm conditions.


© Ian Simpson

© Max and Dee Burnt

Whatever the weather Create a masterpiece even when the elements are against you

Unsettled conditions Perfect reflections are harder than they look to achieve. Any amount of wind will disrupt the water.

Edit cool LANDSCAPES ATMOSPHERIC landscapes Improve blue-toned scenes with these few simple steps



Head out in dull conditions to avoid cliché captures

Keep an eye on the front lens element when shooting in fog, and wipe away any moisture from the lens and body itself with a microfibre cloth. Invest in reusable silica gel sachets to absorb moisture.

filter to balance the image more effectively. Of course, your image making needn’t stop at the shooting stage; take multiple images of the overcast scene at hand and use Photoshop’s Photo Merge tool to blend the exposures together for a seamless final result. If the lighting’s not what you’d hoped for on a shoot, don’t be too disheartened. Remember that many subjects actually work best in overcast conditions, such as the reflections of a landscape in puddles or lakes, so experiment and take the opportunity to try something new.


Avoid saturation Add another adjustment layer, this time for the Vibrance. Drag the Vibrance slider to the left so the blue tones are more subtle.


Perfect exposure Once the hues are spot on, adjust the Levels and Exposure in your image, paying particular attention to the mid-tones. BEFORE



Deliberately darken

Recovering the blown-out details of water is difficult in post-production, so if in doubt, underexpose the scene slightly


Overshadowed The foreground detail was slightly underexposed straight from the camera, and the blue tint looked oversaturated


Balanced blues By altering the colour balance and toning down the vibrance, the final result appears much more even in both tone and lighting

© Fulvio Spada

Most typical landscape shots are bathed in the warm, golden glow of sunlight found during the golden hours, but there’s a wealth of opportunities to be had in cloudy conditions too. Heading out on a gloomy day not only makes the most of your shooting time, but also challenges you to work with the elements to your advantage. Cloud cover acts as a huge natural softbox for the Sun and means that while the light hitting your landscape is evenly dispersed, the contrast will also be lowered. If you feel there’s no life in your scenes captured in colour, change to Monochrome mode. If you pay attention to the natural colours you’re including in the composition, you’ll be able to enhance these to add tonal contrast when you get to the editing stage. In windy conditions, where the cloud cover is quickly dispersed to make way for bursts of sunshine, choose Aperture Priority mode so that you don’t have to keep manually adjusting settings. Every so often, check your histogram to make sure you aren’t clipping important shadow or highlight detail. When the sky is brightly overcast and contrasts heavily with the landscape, it can be tricky to expose the shot evenly. Rather than leaving the sky out of the frame, make use of a graduated neutral density


© Enrico Fossati

Temperature changes Cool the image further with a Color Balance adjustment layer. Tick Preserve Luminosity and drag the sliders until you’re happy.




All images © Erin Babnik

Landscape pro Erin Babnik shares her love of atmospheric settings Why do stormy conditions lend themselves so well to atmospheric landscapes? Storms bring a lot of clouds, and the precipitation that they cause can result in fog and mist forming as the moisture interacts with temperatures near the ground. Because storms tend to bring clouds at different altitudes, the potential is greater during stormy periods to have interesting layers of atmosphere. As a storm comes in or begins to clear, those conditions are likely to be scattered enough to allow some light through in dramatic episodes that are very photogenic. Crepuscular rays, rainbows, backlit mist, and beautifully sculptural clouds can all result from stormy conditions. Do you have a favourite technique that you use to add impact to your shots? Most of the impact in my photos comes from my low-volume approach to shooting, more so than from any particular technique. When I find a composition that excites me and the shooting conditions are working well for it, I will commit to that composition for the entirety of an outing. Even when I feel as though I probably have a good shot already, I will usually remain glued to a composition and will ride out the rest of what the conditions have to offer… I’m likely to end up with a lot of great moments for a single composition, but one of them will be extra special. I will process only one of those moments, meaning that I typically get no more than a single photograph from an outing. My portfolio is therefore a lot smaller than it could be, but I’m able to present some really impactful scenes working in this manner. See more at Top

Heat wave

“Above me was a shelf of beautifully sculptural cumulus clouds, with a perfect opening at the horizon for the Sun to shine through”


Over the rainbow Rainbows can appear immediately after rain on stormy days. From a compositional standpoint, use them as lead-in lines


Catching air “To me a mountain is essentially an abstract sculpture in a landscape, as is any feature that stands out from its surroundings”




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Capture images that tell a more intimate and disarming story

andid portraiture is often thought of as being mostly related to street photography, in which there is truly no interaction between the subject and the photographer. However, many of the very best planned portraits are made to appear as if they are entirely spontaneous through the skill and patience of the photographer. It may appear easy, but it demands considerable skill to stand in front of your subject and capture a portrait that appears spontaneous. Natural portrait photography is about capturing those fleeting moments of reality that make a refreshing change from the posed positions and forced smiles associated with standard portrait sessions. It’s about capturing those in-between moments where you reach into your subject’s personality and create an image that truly reflects who they are.


Connection caught on camera Capturing loving moments between parent and child can create heart-warming results. With the subjects looking away from the camera, the image feels more intimate © Erin Beck


Some portrait photographers become true masters of this approach and employ it as their signature style. The late Jane Bown was adept at capturing images that looked as if the subject was caught off-guard. Over the course of the next few pages, you’ll discover some of the techniques involved in capturing images like this, with plenty of tips to help you develop the skills required to capture portrait images with a natural, unforced feel to them. Forging a fly-on-the-wall approach certainly isn’t as straightforward as the very best photographers are able to make it appear, but this guide will set you on the right path, enabling you to move beyond restrictive posing and create portraits that have an appealing immediacy.




Keep poses natural

© Pavel Smetanin

Ensure your model is relaxed for convincing results



Posed position

Angular poses tend to make portraits feel less spontaneous, so ensure that your model is relaxed and comfortable


Laughing matter It’s not always as easy said as done, but one of the very best approaches is to make your subject laugh and start snapping before their smile fades

© Konstantin Kryukovskiy

No matter how used to being photographed your subject is or isn’t, ensuring that they are at ease with you as the photographer is vital. Communication is key, but don’t assume that it’s all about directing them on what poses to pull. Often, it’s better to start a shoot with a question rather than an instruction. Ask your subject what they’d like to do during the shoot – they might surprise you and spark an idea that you can run with and develop. Start a dialogue with your subject and see if you can illicit anything from them that reveals their character. If they are reticent, it’s possible that they’d prefer to avoid eye contact with the lens, so try asking them to look off into the distance. If you are happy to produce an upbeat portrait, making your subject laugh is an approach that can yield excellent results, It’s very hard for someone to retain a tense or awkward posture while they are truly laughing and smiling. Similarly, giving your subject something to do with their hands is a helpful way of resolving an impression of tension, while asking someone to sit down or lean, rather than stand, can also make a big difference.


Lighting and location



Give your subject something to hold or do with their hands, enabling them to feel instantly more at ease

Using a different perspective, such as looking upwards, creates a sense of detachment and thus an impression of spontaneity

Use simple props

Consider the angle


© Konstantin Kryukovskiy

soft quality of the light looks less controlled, If you want to produce portrait images that while also producing a flattering effect. This is have a truly spontaneous and natural feel, particularly true if shooting with the window your choice of location is all-important. If you to the back or side of the subject as photograph your subject in a setting the Sun comes streaming through that looks too contrived – which their hair, creating an angelic generally prohibits studio spaces AVOID glow – highlighting your – you will have even more work EYE CONTACT subject’s main features. By to do with your pose to make By getting your subject to avoid photographing next to a the results look natural. eye contact with the camera – window, you also have the A location that has a whether that’s asking them to option of using the window connection to your subject look down, away, or even past the as a framing device in some is often ideal, enabling camera at you instead – will way or asking your subject them to feel more at ease make it look like you have to lean gently against it. while also endowing the caught them off guard. Using natural light will image with context. You must, ensure your images come of course, also consider lighting across as realistic and unstaged to when choosing your environment. enhance the relaxed and spontaneous When shooting indoors, a window is positioning of your model. a perfect light source for portraits, as the

© Pavel Smetanin

Work in a suitable environment



2x © Konstantin Kryukovskiy

Top ten natural NATURAL PORTRAITS portrait tips Bring in some context Shoot in an environment that the model will feel comfortable in, which will ultimately make the portraits appear more relaxed and tell more of a story about the subject.


Candid effect

Because the subject isn’t engaging with the camera and her hand is raised to her mouth, this portrait has an appealingly candid feel to it


Posed portrait The positioning of the model centre frame, along with the direct eye contact with the camera and smile, makes this shot appear less natural


Get an angle

If your subject adopts a serious approach to the session and loosening him or her up doesn’t work, you can create a spontaneous feel by encouraging them to direct a quizzical stare towards the lens.

Framing and composition are key An important element of spontaneous portrait photography is composition. Knowing where to place your camera to capture those uncontrived moments at the right time can be the difference between a mediocre shot and a flattering shot full of character and emotion. If you spend the entire shoot photographing the model looking straight at the camera then it’s likely that your images will look unnatural and more like a formal portrait session. In some cases you want to go unnoticed and stand away in the distance so that the model can feel relaxed, but at the same time be ready with the camera to shoot when you see an opportunity. Even if the angle isn’t straight it creates the illusion of a candid portrait, shot off-the-cuff. Don’t be afraid to move around – sit on the ground looking up at the model or stand on a platform looking down. Perspective can evoke a number of connotations in candid photography. If you’re shooting above then this creates a vulnerability. On the other hand, if you’re shooting upwards this places your subject in a position of power, projecting an image of feeling proud and in control. Don’t forget that the rule of thirds is

a strong composition tool for this genre. By positioning your model to the left or right of the frame you’re not adhering to the standard headshot rule, and instead are applying a perspective, which includes some background surroundings to make the scene look more relaxed, but also draws the onlooker straight to the subject’s emotive eyes. An alternative perspective is to shoot with the model’s back towards the camera with their face looking over their shoulder. Shooting from this perspective also complements your lighting arrangement to create a candid feel that highlights their face if you are lighting to the side or at a 45 degree angle. With that in mind, experiment with the model faced away from you and then shoot when they turn around – this movement caught on camera captures that spontaneous moment. Another compositional technique to use is depth of field. Make the most of nature and position leaves or flowers in front of the model and use a shallow depth-of-field to present a candid fly-on-the-wall shot that looks as though you have captured them in a natural environment without them knowing.

Relax naturally Asking your subject to sit down, lean or even lie down will naturally make their posture and expression less awkward and tense. Asking your subject to simply stand in front of the camera won’t generally work. Give gentle direction Don’t be too pushy when directing your subject, as they may feel pressured to pose exactly the way you want, instead of being natural in their own poses. Light direction and demonstration will give them a chance to adapt in their own way. Let the models interact If working with more than one model, get them to interact with one another. By being in the same position in front of the camera will make them feel more relaxed and present more opportunities for spontaneous moments. Play music Put some music on in the background. Music is a powerful tool that transports people to a time in their life. They could bring along a playlist that means something to them, enabling you to capture those moments when they are thinking of another time. Give the model a task Get your subject to do something other than pose in front of the camera. By being preoccupied they’ll feel less tense and pressured to do something that feels unnatural. Even something like holding a cup of tea can help produce a candid shot. Talk to your subject A silent portrait session can make your subject feel tense as you’re both focusing on the task in hand. By talking with one another you can find out more about their personality, which may come through on camera. Remain relaxed Smile with your model and make them feel welcome. If you feel relaxed when photographing your subject then they will warm to you. There’s a difference between a forced smile and a candid, off-the-cuff smile. Move around Get a different perspective – whether that’s behind the subject, to the side of the subject, or simply in front – you don’t know what angle might work best for the model to capture a candid shot until you have tried every possibility. Get your subject to think of a fond memory By taking their mind away from the portrait session and to a place they are particularly fond of.



Expose for perfection Make sure your exposure is spot on

© Pavel Smetanin


Window light When shooting in a studio, spot metering from the subject’s face which has been lit from a 45- to 90-degree angle creates a low-key effect


Spot metering outdoors If your subject has been back lit by the Sun, spot metering from the camera side of your subject creates a high-key effect

© Pavel Smetanin

Capturing one-off candid moments could be wasted unless you pay close attention to your exposure. There are a number of metering options to complement challenging lighting conditions and digital cameras come armed with metering modes that will suit your requirements accurately. While evaluative or multi-matrix metering can be effective in many situations, spot metering is often a better bet for portraits using just natural light. This enables you to evaluate the light falling on the most important point of the image – which in this case is the subject’s face – and give this priority over the rest of the scene. If, for example, your subject is photographed outdoors and back lit by the Sun, spot metering from the model’s face enables you to ensure that his or her skin is correctly exposed. The same applies if you are using window light – metering from the highlight areas of your subject’s face will produce an appealing low-key result. Additionally, using your camera’s exposure compensation facility will enable you to adjust the exposure if you want more or less light entering the camera by a stop at a time. This is particularly useful in portrait photography as you can further draw attention to your subject with a negative exposure compensation if you are aiming for a low-key image, and a +1 DP exposure for a high-key image.

3x © Kate Hopewell-Smith

Candid capture Lifestyle photographer Kate Hopewell-Smith offers her advice for spontaneous portraits


Consider the light Taking candid imagery still requires the photographer to consider the lighting and make a decision about additional lighting. Outdoor summer events can be very tricky and bright sunshine needs on camera fill flash to balance ambient light.



Use the best focal length If you want to focus on human expression and interaction then a telephoto lens will help. I shoot a lot of candid [portraits] around the 200mm end of my 70–200mm f2.8… [A wide aperture] will help isolate the subject.


Continuous capture Henri CartierBresson said: “There is a creative fraction of a second when you are taking a picture.” Often taking a burst of images will deliver one fantastic shot – moving from Single Shot to Continuous [Burst mode] will enable this.







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BY NIGHT Discover how any metropolis can be captured between the hours of dusk and dawn


othing compares to the buzz and energy of a city, but between the hours of dusk and dawn it becomes an even more dynamic shooting environment, as the hustle and bustle of daily activity is vanquished by the comparative quiet of the night hours. In this feature we’ll guide you through the urban shooting experience during the night, starting the journey in late evening, when the Sun fades past the horizon and street lamps illuminate the way until the serene blue hours before the Sun rises again. Learn what kit is essential as well as how to balance natural and artificial lighting when the sky’s still glowing. As darkness falls, long exposures are key, and capturing the light from traffic in long trails is a fun technique to get started with. There are plenty of simple step-by-step

methods that’ll help you to create your own creative imagery during the night-time. If you can get out early enough, dawn is the perfect time for capturing the city at its most serene and peaceful, before the hubbub of commuters and tourists wake from their slumber. Discover insight from a professional photographer who focuses his work entirely on capturing the magic of cities at dawn, and find out firsthand why the blue hour is a photographer’s paradise. Over the next few pages, we’ll consider the best ways to shoot during twilight, when the sky turns from black, to deep blue and then starts to break open again with sunlight. Unlike their rural counterparts, most cityscapes are bathed in light all night long, and where there’s light, there are plenty of photo opportunities waiting to be discovered. Where will you start?

London city hall, sunset Between sunset and sunrise, there’s a myriad of photo opportunities waiting to be had in an urban environment. Balancing natural and ambient light is key to success, as photographer Frederic Prochasson shows (www.500px. com/frdricprochasson) © Frederic Prochasson



CHECK ACCESS © Luis Llerena

Some city locations may look public, but they may be owned by the surrounding buildings or businesses. Make sure you get permission where necessary and look for official guidelines. is a good place to start.

© Iain Tall (



Fading warmth

Before the light

As the Sun sets, aim to find a vantage point for your cityscape. The dimming ambient light in contrast with glowing artificial lights offers up the perfect city scene

Sometimes it’s more visually appealing to include office lighting in the shot, which will require you to wait in position for slightly longer

Key kit Check out our essential gear advice for night-time shooting COMPACT TRIPOD

Befree Carbon Fiber Tripod SRP: £280 / $350 A sturdy, but lightweight tripod is essential for getting sharp results in low light. Opt for models that are easy to fold away and carry when the Sun comes up, such as the travelfriendly Manfrotto Befree series.


Canon EF 16-35mm f2.8L II USM SRP: £1,350 / $1,599 A fast, ultra-wide-angle zoom lens will offer you flexible shooting for a range of urban landscapes. Canon’s EF 16-35mm f2.8L II USM lens is a weighty, but high-quality choice, that’s well suited to low-light shooting.


Ansmann Torch Agent 5 SRP: £45 / $69 Generally cities are well lit at night, but a powerful LED torch will help you set up and focus your camera. This durable Ansmann Torch Agent 5 provides a strong, consistent beam of light close up and at distance.


SHOOT AT DUSK Be inspired at sunset as the city transforms from day to night When the Sun starts to set and artificial lights from offices and streets take its place, urban areas suddenly take on a whole new feel and become full of new shooting possibilities. Aim to be in your chosen spot at least half an hour before the time of official sunset to make the most of the changing conditions, set up and get ready to start shooting at the perfect moment of illumination. For stunning evening cityscapes, it’s hard to beat shooting at nautical twilight, which is the period just after the Sun has set, but before true darkness falls. Thanks to the internet, it’s easier than you might think to discover the optimum arrival time for your shoot, as sites like provide detailed AFTER

twilight durations for any given location on Earth. At this point in the day, there should still be enough natural light to bring out plenty of detail in the scene, but the city lights will be coming on to provide that added degree of colour and interest, as well as creating a welcome sense of depth and separation within the scene. While packing lightly is important for wandering around a city, there are of course a few essential bits of kit, both high and low-tech, that you shouldn’t be without. You’ll definitely need a sturdy support when shooting in low-light to avoid camera shake. If a tripod model is too cumbersome, try out a GorillaPod, a versatile and compact support that can be bent around fences, posts and trees to enable steady shooting. A cable release or shutter remote will also come in handy during long exposures – while both are relatively inexpensive to buy, the self-timer mode built into your camera can also be used to the same effect. While accessories such as starburst filters are designed specifically for use at night to make street lamps twinkle, always use them sparingly, as they can become gimmicky. An ND filter, however, is a great kitbag staple, enabling you to stop down the light for extended exposures, and blur water and skies as well as vehicles passing through the scene. Remember to keep your kit and yourself well protected, particularly in the winter months and during inclement weather. Gloves mean you can keep shooting as the temperature drops, and a simple plastic bag or rain sleeve is useful if the heavens do decide to open. For both your own personal safety – and, of course, the security of your kit – always position your tripod well out of the way of passers-by and at a safe distance back from streams of traffic.

Balanced exposures

Learn how to mix ambient and natural light for perfect exposures


From the sky First, turn the dial to Manual. Then, select spot metering from the shooting menu and point the camera towards the sky to take a reading. It’s easier to take the camera off the tripod to do this.


Artificial light Take a spot meter reading from an area that’s lit by artificial light, such as directly under a lamppost. Selected the single-area AF mode, and position it over the part of the scene you want in focus.


Sky too bright In the first image the camera’s meter was fooled into overexposing the scene, and the sky was recorded too brightly


Balanced sky

Two readings were taken from both the sky and cathedral. Waiting until the two became balanced meant the scene was captured at its best


Be patient Wait until the sky is around one EV stop brighter than the ambient light, then start shooting using your spot metered artificial light reading.


TECHNIQUES © Patrick Foto

Shoot long exposures Watch the city lights come to life and capture moving light trails

1 Above

Timing choices


It’s important that the ambient light, such as street and building lights, don’t overpower the moving light source. Adjust the exposure until you get the balance right

Locate yourself Find and position yourself in a spot near traffic lights, or where the volume of traffic is predictable. Set up the camera on a tripod, and compose the shot using Live View. A low and wide composition can work well.

It’s likely that you’ll have to switch to manual focus when the sunlight has disappeared. Switch to Live View and use the zoom function to magnify the focus area and rotate the focus ring until your subject is pin sharp.

THE COVER OF DARKNESS Make the most of the night-time and seek more creative city imagery It’s a common saying that the city never sleeps, and during the full hours of darkness, your camera shouldn’t either. The absence of sunlight makes long exposures a must, and one of the most interesting effects to convey at night is movement, whether this is from the lights of cars and buses driving past, or your own self-generated light painting. To capture pin-sharp images at night a sturdy tripod and cable release are a must, but it’s also important to know your kit inside out, so that you can operate it quickly with minimum effort. Ensure you can fit both your remote shutter cable onto your camera, as well as your camera onto your tripod, in the dark. If your DSLR has custom modes, make use of them so that common settings are in place and ready to go ahead of time. Likewise, it’s also critical to have some knowledge of the city you’re photographing before the shoot; if you don’t already. Invest some time researching spots to visit and potential subjects to capture. Remember that


every city is different in terms of architecture and overall character, and even if you know an area well in the day, all of these elements can change drastically when night falls. If the skyline is dominated by high-rise buildings, one of the toughest challenges is to find a good vantage point, as many viewpoints are closed at night, or won’t allow you to use a tripod. Check out postcards or online forums to see where other people have taken pictures and look out for open spaces on a map, especially those that look out across a river. The composition of your cityscapes can be thought of in much the same way as a traditional landscape. For example, use the rule of thirds to position bridges in the frame, or light trails as lead-in lines to draw the eye in. Shooting at night is very much about experimentation and working creatively with the light that’s available to you. The more you practise, the more instinctive your exposure choices and compositions will become, which will enable even more creative shooting.


Choose settings Use Manual mode, select the lowest ISO possible and a shutter speed of around 10 seconds to begin with. Your aperture will vary on the scene at hand, so it’s easiest to begin shooting mid-range at around f8.


Shoot and review Fire the shutter just before the cars move off for the most dynamic effect. View your histogram, and check that the majority of tonal information is in the shadow to midtone section, even if the highlights are slightly clipped.



Use flash gels and try out light painting at night for more expressive results Using flash and gels


Start with composition Mount your DSLR onto a sturdy tripod, and the flashgun onto your camera. Frame up the shot and focus the lens manually. Illuminate particularly dark areas with a torch to aid focusing.


Attach the gel Consider the lighting effect you want and choose the colour of gel accordingly. Attach the flash gel so it covers the whole bulb. Some gels have holders, but more simple products are held using bands.



Tweak the exposure Angle the flash and start shooting, varying the settings and flash power for the scene using a manual shooting mode. Gels can reduce the flash output, so factor this into your settings.


Varying results

Flash gels can be used either creatively or correctively. Bold colours make for dramatic results, whereas certain coloured filters can be used to replicate sunset or moonlight


Illuminated archway A challenging aspect of this technique is judging the exposure time. Light the subject for longer or move the torch closer if the subject is underexposed

Light painting


Compose the frame Switch to Live View and set the camera to its highest ISO so that the scene becomes visible. Set the camera on a tripod and compose the shot, thinking about where the focal point will be.



Set up camera Set the lens to manual focus and focus on the subject that you’re going to illuminate. Set the exposure to Bulb, change the sensitivity back down to around ISO 200 and aperture to around f11.


Paint and check Fire the shutter using a cable release or remote and move the torch steadily over the subject in controlled movements for an even result. Press the shutter again to finish then check the results.



MEET THE DAWN Start shooting before the Sun and capture the first signs of life

It’s a well-known notion that natural landscapes are at their most picturesque and popular when photographed at dawn, and arguably there’s even more on offer in a city during the early hours. The absence of people should give you the perfect opportunity for capturing organic city landscapes, however the light of dawn is quick-changing, meaning you’ll need to work and adapt efficiently to get the best shots in the bag. Although sunrise may be the obvious starting point for an early morning shoot, don’t forget the unique quality of the blue hour, the very short period of time between night and sunrise, when the sky changes from dark to light. This magical twilight time requires you to get up that bit earlier, but the ethereal quality of light will perfectly complement the emptiness of the streets themselves. Aim to arrive at your spot with plenty of time to prepare, setting up your camera on a tripod and making sure the scene is well-composed. As a general rule, at sunrise, cool pre-dawn light will appear around an hour before sunrise, but online resources such as the Blue Hour Site ( are invaluable for planning shoot times at your specific location. One of the keys to effective pre-dawn photography is setting the right white balance, as many cameras will try to correct for the blue tone the light has when set to automatic white balance, resulting in a flat image. Shoot

in RAW so that you can correct this in post-production, or alternatively set a custom white balance and use Live View to preview how the scene appears at different colour temperatures. Once the light of day starts to materialise, be patient and continue to shoot gradually as the Sun rises. At the point of sunrise itself, consider what elements you can use to make the frame compelling and captivating. Bridges and monuments are good examples of foreground interest, which work effectively when captured as silhouettes against a bright sky. Bracketing exposures is another way to overcome scenes of strong contrast.

Despite the attraction of the sunrise itself, it’s also worth seeking out people when photographing at dawn. Shoot handheld if possible and up the ISO to capture moving subjects effectively. Whether you focus on street cleaners who have already started work or joggers in the park, the first signs of human activity make for intriguing subjects. DP


Stop down

In early morning light you’ll need to use an ND filter to compensate for the bright conditions. Generally, this isn’t necessary if you’re shooting in late evening light

Add motion blur Slow down busy commuters and shoot with a neutral density filter


Get into position Mount your camera onto a sturdy tripod, facing it towards a steady stream of people passing by. Manually focus the frame, then attach your ND filter of choice – we used a 10-stop Lee Big Stopper filter.



Slow it down Switch to Manual, dial in an aperture of f8 and ISO of 200, then select a slow shutter speed accordingly. Your exposure time will vary depending on the available light and your filter strength.


Test and tweak Start shooting, checking that your background is sharp and passers-by look blurred, but distinguishable. Tweak the shutter speed until you reach the optimum exposure time, varying the angle.

5x © Anthony Epes


Meet the pro REMEMBER THE WEATHER Check the weather forecasts in the same way you would before a landscape shoot, and plan accordingly. Head out just after a downpour to find the city pavements gleaming with reflected light.


Fresh shooting

“The quality of morning light is cleaner and more crisp than sunset. The light doesn’t feel as rich and warm as at the end of the day,” says Andy Epes


Pink Paris

Epes loves photographing cities at dawn because there are so many elements to work with such as graffiti, rivers, glass, roads and greenery “in the midst of all of the urban-ness”


Venice sunrise Taken in Venice, this panoramic sunrise illustrates the effect of anti-crepuscular rays. They converge towards the point on the sky opposite the Sun


Human activity It’s easier to capture people-free urban landscapes during the early morning. A long exposure has been used here to blur people walking through the shot

Photographer and author of London at dawn Anthony Epes shares his love of cities during the early hours What is it about the dawn light that makes it so magical to photograph? When I’m out walking the streets before the Sun rises there is a great sense of anticipation. There’s usually no one around, the streets are dark and empty and I’m excited about what this dawn will bring. Nature has a great way of surprising and exciting us. My favourite dawns are when there are lots of clouds, as that will bring a lot of interesting textures and colours.

What should photographers look out for when shooting in the blue hour? A sturdy tripod is essential – that way you can use a very low ISO to capture the intense colours and contrast. Even though what I do is scenic city scenes, I approach it as a landscape photographer would. Why are cities in particular so special at this time? The serenity, the stillness and the feeling that you have made the effort to go out and make images while others are still asleep. The absence of people means you’re seeing the city as it really is; just the landscape, the buildings, the sky and the light.





Studio still life

Give still life shoots a modern twist by using tablets and studio lights for a unique effect For many photographers starting out, studio lighting can often be a stumbling block, with the regular work-around being a flashgun on a hotshoe, or a flashgun triggered remotely from an IR or radio trigger. These are all great solutions, but with advances in handheld screen resolution and brightness, as well as ISO sensitivities and noise reduction in most DSLRs, combining two devices can yield some very interesting results and is actually remarkably straightforward. As a project to get you working with slow shutter speeds and unconventional light

sources, this is a great opportunity to bring a sense of creativity and experimentation to your shots. Most of all, it’s something you can achieve without only minimal kit. In this tutorial we’ll show you that all you will need in order to achieve an interestingly lit still life with a creative background is a DSLR with a timer mode, a tablet device with a background preloaded on it, a tripod and a constant light. Using a combination of Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop CS6, we will show you how to make some subtle adjustments to make your image even more striking.



Linear looks Always aim to get your best possible image in-camera. That way, the editing steps will be minimal, requiring a few tweaks

What you’ll need A prop DSLR Tripod Tablet Black card or fabric LED torch or studio light with a snoot



Shooting steps




Find a background image As your tablet will be generating the background for your photo, you should start by finding the perfect image and syncing it to your device. For this particular setup, the pattern will be a set of stripes.


Set up the backdrop Ideally the backdrop should be dark and non-reflective. Black cloth draped behind the subject will work perfectly. For the base, we will use black Perspex, but this is optional as you can use card instead. We aimed for a reflection of the background pattern on the base.




Position the camera Set your camera up on the tripod and ensure the focal point is on the subject. You’ll need a slow shutter speed, so set your camera’s timer to ten seconds and use a shutter speed of 1/20 seconds. As the detail of the pattern is important, you may want to keep the aperture high – try f8 – but it might be best to experiment.


Choose a light source To add detail to the front of the subject, you can use either torchlight to light paint the detail of the subject, or use a studio light with a snoot. Either of these is effective, but we will be using the studio light, as focused intensity will bring the shadows out sharper than the light painting.


Reduce light leak If you are using a DSLR that has an eyepiece shutter lever, it can be advantageous to use this to reduce any additional light leak during your long exposure. Obviously this is usually only needed for shooting much longer exposures, but if you have it, use it.


Create a light trail With the camera in position, release the shutter. During the exposure slowly move the tablet upwards from behind the subject, creating a light trail behind it. You will need to make sure that your movement is steady to avoid creating any distortion in the pattern.






As you will be using a slow shutter speed, shooting against a black background can reduce ambient light leak


Have options ready for lighting the front of your subject, whether that’s a torch or a studio light


Use your tablet to illuminate the background, using a design or pattern to create a unique effect


Light levels are much lower indoors than outside, so mount your DSLR on a sturdy tripod to eliminate shake and ensure optimum image quality

Strictly no flashing

Can you achieve similar results using a speedlight instead?

We have recommended using a studio head or a hand-held torch. Why not a regular flashgun? There are a few reasons for this, and the main one is that you don’t have a modelling lamp with a flashgun. This means that to execute the shot, you will have to experiment a lot in order to achieve something that could be as simply re-created with light painting, or a more directional light head fitted with a snoot. Again, with both the flashgun and the studio light you have the added disadvantage of flare, and with a highly reflective background like a tablet device, you do run the risk of reflecting that flare back into the camera.



Editing steps




Open in Camera Raw Open up your image in Adobe Camera Raw. Here you can easily edit your image without making destructive edits, and then open it up into Photoshop later for further editing.


Make a lens correction In the Lens Correction tab, use the Profile tab to adjust the image’s lens profile, then go to Color and click Remove Color Aberration. This will remove any colour fringing.


Adjust the contrast By using the sliders in the Basic Edit tab to adjust the contrast and curves of the image, you can give the image more punch. You can also adjust the sharpness of the image as well as saturation.




Reduce the colours Using discretion, edit the tone of the image to how you see fit, but most importantly you should remove any ambient blue tones cast from the tablet, so go into the HSL tab, and adjust the tabs accordingly. Below

Go faster stripes By using an everyday item and placing it in front of a tablet, you can broaden your horizons in terms of still life photography greatly




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Perfect exposures with light meters Discover how to use a light meter to gain accurate meter readings for correctly exposed images Occasionally you may find that your camera produces images that are either too bright or too dark. This is usually down to your camera’s internal light meter taking an incorrect reading of the scene, which in turn causes it to use incorrect settings that will over or underexpose the shot. In most cases your camera’s meter will do a good job and produce a reasonably accurate reading, but in some more difficult lighting situations, where there are very bright areas contrasted with very dark areas, it can be really tricky for it to obtain a correct exposure. This is where using a dedicated light meter will make all the difference to your imagery. Having the advantage of being able to take the light meter away from the camera enables you to achieve a much more accurate reading of the light that is available. This reading will then tell you exactly what shutter speed, aperture and ISO combination you should dial in to your camera in order to produce a correctly exposed capture.

If you’ve never so much as touched a light meter before then don’t worry, we’ve provided an easy to follow step-by-step guide that will show you how to successfully use a light meter in order to obtain an accurate meter reading for perfectly exposed images every time.



Set Ambient Light mode Start by turning on the light meter and then setting it to Ambient Light mode by simply pressing the Mode button a few times until the Sun icon becomes highlighted on the LCD screen.




Perfectly exposed portrait By using a hand-held light meter, it’s possible to gain an accurate reading of the ambient light in order to capture a perfectly exposed image

Adjust the ISO Next you’ll need to set the ISO value. On our light meter this can be done by holding down the ISO button on the front and using the up and down buttons on the side to adjust. We set ours to ISO 100.


Set the shutter speed Most light meters work in Shutter Priority mode, so you’ll also have to set the shutter speed you wish to use. Dial in 1/250sec, which is fast enough to shoot hand-held without fear of camera shake.


Take a meter reading To take a meter reading, place the light meter in front of your subject so that it’s facing the camera, then press the metering button – the resulting reading will be displayed on the meter’s screen.


Adjust exposure Once you’ve gathered a meter reading successfully, switch your camera over to Manual mode (M on the mode dial) and continue to dial in the corresponding Shutter Speed, ISO and Aperture settings.


Take the shot With your camera now ready to shoot, take a quick test shot of your subject and review the image on the back of the camera – the image should be perfectly exposed for the ambient light in your scene.







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Enhance images with Levels Use this powerful adjustment in Photoshop to perfect the colour and lighting in your shots There are plenty of tools in Photoshop that can help correct problematic lighting and dozens of methods to turn dull, flat shots into bright, exciting photos. Perhaps because it’s so ubiquitous, Levels is one of the most underrated tools in Photoshop’s vast toolbox. It’s incredibly powerful and many of Photoshop’s millions of users possibly do not realise just how much it can do or how best to employ it. For a lot of people using Levels, their approach is to simply hit Cmd/Ctrl+L and edit the image layer destructively. However, Levels is also available as an adjustment layer, enabling you to make more desirable nondestructive edits. You can tweak lighting and colour in a nuanced and subtle way by layering up your Levels adjustments and using each of them for different editing purposes to really get the most out of both the lighting and the colour. Follow our simple steps and discover how to enhance your imagery.



Before the Levels adjustments

The pictures that Levels adjustments work best on tend to be dull, lifeless and in need of a contrast boost


Increase subject contrast Open the image and hit the Levels icon in the Adjustment panel. Slide the Black and White stoppers to adjust the Contrast and the midpoint slider to the left to tweak Brightness.





Dull the background Now create another Levels adjustment layer. Move the Black output slider to the right to give a hazy feel to the landscape. Mask as before to bring the subject back in.


Mask the subject To apply this contrast tweak to your subject quickly, press Cmd/Ctrl+I to invert the mask and then grab a big soft white brush (B) and paint over the subject.

Add a retro colouring Adjust colour with the Levels adjustment. In the drop-down menu, move the midpoint slider left for Red, Blue and Green to make it look like this picture has had a filter applied.

With vignette, lighting and colour Levels can add a touch of brightness to your pictures, but by using masks, you can focus in on where you want this brightness to be


Tweak hair colour Using this colour trick, add another Levels layer and go to the Red channel. Move the midpoint stopper to the left to bring out the brown of the hair and mask with a soft brush.



Enhance the eyes Add a Levels adjustment and move the Black and White stoppers towards the middle to improve the contrast. Use a brush to mask the eyes to give them more colour and gloss.


Tweak opacities Before you add a final Vignette, go through the layers and turn down any opacities that are too strong. It’s easy to overdo the hair colouring or dull the background too much.


Apply a vignette Use the stoppers to turn the brightness right down. Then use a soft black brush over your subject to give the impression of the darkness only being at the corners.



Use Gradients in Photoshop

This powerful and highly customisable tool can be employed to effortlessly enhance your images There are a number of things that make the difference between successful edits that have a convincing or professional look about them and those that don’t work so well, but the application of localised rather than global adjustments is definitely one of the decisive factors. The Gradient tool in Photoshop – which is also available as an adjustment layer – is one of the most effective, quick and easy means of creating local adjustments. Used without care, however, it can lead to slightly jarring or inelegant effects that don’t look particularly impressive, so you need to understand how it works and how to use it subtly. Gradients can be used for pretty much any type of image; they’re very flexible and can be easily customised, so the sky’s the limit. In this tutorial, however, you’ll discover how three Gradient adjustment layers can transform a relatively ordinary landscape image and give it much greater impact.

This image has a distinctly autumnal look and feel to it, but the colours are slightly lacking, some enhancement is needed


Find the gradients The Gradient tool can be accessed in the Tools palette (G) or it can be used as an adjustment layer. That’s what we’ll focus on in this tutorial, so create a Gradient adjustment layer.




Use the Gradient Editor Click the preview of the Gradient to access more options. Change the top slider’s Opacity to 100%, then select the bottom two sliders and pick a different warm colour for each.




Autumnal scene

Choose a gradient The Linear Gradient is probably the most familiar, but for now select the Radial or Diamond Gradient. This enables the centre of the frame to be adjusted separately to the perimeter.

Change the blend mode and opacity Click OK to return the effect. Gradients look better when they are subtle. Head to the layers palette and set the blend mode to Soft Light and the Opacity to around 50%.


Create a Linear gradient Reset your foreground and background swatches to black and white. Add a second Gradient adjustment layer, select Linear style and tick Reverse. Adjust the angle and click the preview.



Quick enhancement After just a few minutes spent in Photoshop working with Gradients, the image has been improved enormously


Perfect the gradient When the Gradient Editor is opened up, head to the top-left slider and drag it towards the left. Doing so will adjust where the effect of the linear gradient ends on your image.


Adjust the foreground Click OK and change the blend mode and opacity in the Layers Palette. Create a third Gradient adjustment layer. Follow the previous steps to add a warm Linear gradient to the foreground.


Make final adjustments Once again, click OK and then adjust the blend mode and opacity. As you have worked with adjustment layers, you can adjust any of the previous gradients now that the effect is completed.



Career advice

Freelance photographer Lauren Scott shares some simple tips for refining and getting the most out of your workflow

Consistent shooting

All in the metadata When sending finished files to clients, there have times when I’ve wanted to add information to the image, or conversely, even remove the shot details associated with it completely. I’ve been told by a friend that I should be editing the metadata, but have no idea what this means. Can you help? Harvey Drake Metadata might sound like a complicated term, but it really just refers to the information that’s associated with a picture and embedded into the file, for example the camera settings, time and date of the shot, as well as the camera model that was used. There are many occasions you might want to tweak the metadata, even for something as simple as correcting the timestamp, but it can also be beneficial to add in more personal details and keywords that will make it easy to search for the image in your library later on. As a professional photographer it’s also useful to include your name and website URL inside the metadata of your image files, and Adobe Bridge is probably the easiest program to do this in. Add information to a single image by navigating to File>File Info in Adobe Bridge, or batch process from Tools>Create Metadata Template. It might seem like an effort to keyword images after each shoot, but it’ll definitely make your workflow smoother in the long run, and you’ll quickly notice the benefits of having easily searchable images.

Above Adding in metadata can speed up your workflow, and make it easier to search for and find photos


I’ve recently been asked to shoot some product images for a fashion company’s online catalogue. While I’m comfortable in a photography studio, I usually shoot creative portraits rather than still life, and feel as if I might need to be more precise with my workflow than usual. How can I make sure that the colour balance and style of the images is consistent with the company? Cara Warne

Above Shoot manually in a controlled environment for a consistent workflow, and set a custom white balance using a grey card or filter

Before you start shooting anything, it’s first worth asking the company if they have any style guidelines to stick to. If not, try to work as methodically as you can, and make sure the colour temperature you choose in-camera matches the lighting that you’re using by metering from a piece of white or neutral card. Of course, shooting in RAW format will mean you can easily make adjustments to the exposure and white balance afterwards. By keeping your workflow simple and using the same setup for each shot, you should find that each image is similar in terms of style, and shooting tethered is another easy way to check the shots as you go along. Before you edit the whole batch, it’s probably best to send over a few edited example shots to your client for feedback.

Manage your images Since converting to digital photography more than ten years ago, I’ve generally just organised my files on my computer manually from a memory card. I’ve now got many more commissions than I used to, and want to keep on top of shoots more efficiently. What program would you suggest I use? Martin Fisher In the digital age we’re taking more images than ever before, and as you’ve recognised, it can be easy to lose track of files and shoots if you don’t catalogue them properly. Fortunately, there are plenty of different photo management applications you can use to streamline the process of storing and editing images. If you still want to import your files manually, consider using Adobe Bridge, as you’ll be able to batch process as well as add in file characteristics and metadata. That being said, Bridge is basically a sophisticated file browser, so if you’re looking for a more complete solution then try Adobe Lightroom. After each commission, you’ll be able to import the shoot, and organise it with the

software’s Library module. It’s also possible to process images with Lightroom’s Develop module, outputting them for print and web in the final stage. If you’re used to using Photoshop for image editing then you might find the interface a little basic, so experiment with the different applications until you find a method that works for you. The majority of a photographer’s workflow can be done in Lightroom, but it really comes down to your personal preference.

Above Adobe Bridge is excellent for previewing files, whereas in Lightroom you need to import files before editing


Left Walker-Toye manually copies his images to his computer. He has a directory and file structure that’s served him well for years Opposite-bottom Print ready images are sharper than those prepared for the web, so be sure to re-size down using a smooth gradient Below The single best time saver for me are the plug-in filters for Photoshop

“It’s very instinctual for me to mentally see the final image before I’ve pressed the shutter”

Professional insight 4x © Michael Walker-Toye

Street photographer Michael Walker-Toye shares the workflow choices that work for him How do you make your workflow simple? Anyone can simplify their image-processing workflow, but the caveat is that you need to visualise the end result… It’s very instinctual for me to mentally see the final image before I’ve pressed the shutter. How do you transfer your images? Armed with an SD card reader I forage for my images in Finder and copy them manually

to my computer. I may be the last person to move over to Lightroom; my image-processing style and file management stubbornly impedes that. What steps do you take to ensure that colours remain consistent at each stage of the workflow? The principal tool I use is a Spyder screen calibration gadget. I’m using a Dell Ultrasharp monitor, which holds calibration very well, however I do still calibrate before processing images from any significant shoot.

How can the editing software’s workspace itself help speed up the workflow? Working at a cluttered desk is not productive and image-editing workspaces are no different. My [Photoshop] workspace is literally fit for purpose; I have the tool tray visible, as well as History, Actions, Histogram, Channels and Layers. I’ll open other tool windows as I need them, leaving a large space for the image to be viewed at a similar size to an actual print. Check out Michael Walker-Toye’s beautiful imagery at



10 steps to build a successful lifestyle brand Discover how to make your photography business a success with Nikon ambassador Kate Hopewell-Smith’s career secrets All images © Kate Hopewell-Smith


Position your business Often at the beginning of setting up a photography business people just want to be booked – and they don’t mind who by – but it is critical to identify who you want your target audience to be and understand how to meet their needs. It is much easier to market your business when you know who you are talking to, their lifestyle and what they would be prepared to pay for a professional photographer. It might be easier to ask yourself what supermarket you are equivalent to – when I started out I positioned myself as a Waitrose photographer although, luckily, my brand has allowed me to move up into the Harvey Nichols Food Hall space!


Tie down brand strategy Branding is the most misunderstood term in marketing and as a result, very few photographers have true brands. Instead they commission a logo to put on their websites and business cards with very little thought or, indeed, investment. Before any creative can be developed for a brand, there is a very important strategic step that must take place. This is where you establish what the business stands for (how it behaves) and what kind of personality it has (how it sounds). You also need to make a decision about naming – will you be a specific (Kate Hopewell-Smith Photography) or a generic (Sunshine Photography). When I decided to be a bespoke, niche brand and use my name, it was essential that the brand personality that I created matched mine. Clients will create an image of you in their head from your brand and it is very important that you back that up when you meet them in the flesh.


Commission a brand identity Brand identity is the creative, visual side of a business and when it is done successfully it brings the brand strategy to life. It is not just about logo design – a brand identity should give you a visual toolkit that works across


different communication channels – print, online, etc. It is very important to work with someone who understands the essence of branding – not just graphic design. Once you have a brand identity that works for your business, you need to stay loyal to it and follow the guidelines you are given by the designer with care and consistency. Every piece of communication should then be a combination of the brand strategy and the brand identity – focused, single-minded and on-message for your target audience.


Get some training Photography isn’t easy to learn from books – or at least that was my experience. I have always invested in photography training – in both the business and the technical side and, indeed, I still do. It is a huge subject to master and I view it like a jigsaw puzzle – every time you lay down a new piece of knowledge you are building the bigger picture. With knowledge comes confidence and I am at a stage now where I can walk into any scenario and deal with the light and location and produce professional-standard imagery of my clients, regardless of the challenges. You should always be striving to be better and inevitably this will take you outside your comfort zone. Live by this and you will grow as an image-maker.


Maintain a modern, attractive website As a lifestyle photographer your website is your shop window – there is no need to have a printed portfolio in this genre these days. It should be viewed as a big investment in your business despite the fact that it is very affordable to have an online presence with the sheer volume of template sites on offer. You should treat it with the same respect you would a physical high street space – is it on brand, attractive and easy to look around for clients? Does it show your work off to its best? And of course you need to ensure that you are not ignoring developing technology – does it work on all mobile platforms as well as it does


Artistic flair A creative eye is very important, but it doesn’t count for much if you are not able to develop the business side of things successfully

Meet the pro

Get to know Nikon ambassador and professional portrait photographer Kate Hopewell-Smith

Kate Hopewell-Smith (www.katehopewell has a fine art background and studied the history of art at degree level. Following graduation she worked in creative industries – TV marketing, fine art publishing and brand consultancy. Following a move out of central London to raise her children she began to study photography as a hobby with the intent of being able to successfully capture her children as they grew. The hobby quickly grew into a successful business and she has never been in any doubt about her photographic passion – and that is capturing characterful portraits of people. She believes you can only do this successfully if you enjoy making connections and building relationships. Over the last five years she has chosen to specialise in portraits, weddings and boudoir, and is also now offering filming on DSLR. Kate plays an active role in the photography industry and has a reputation as a strong and generous photography trainer and mentor. She is a panel member for the Guild of Photographers, and – for the second year running – represents the Nikon brand as one of their UK ambassadors.


KATE’S KIT.. NIKKOR 70-200MM F2.8G ED VR II “My current favourite kit combination for portraits and weddings is the D4S for stills with either AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f2.8E ED VR or the AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f2.8G ED VR II. For shooting film I love the D810 with my 70-200 VR II 2.8.”




Defining a professional brand is an important ingredient of success. Work with a professional who is able to help you in this area, as it’s not easy to do everything by yourself.


Develop relationships

Networking successfully is a vital marketing tool and enables you to build your brand based largely on word of mouth and relationships




One of the hardest things about being a portrait and lifestyle photographer is the need to be both business-like and personable, which can be a tricky juggling act

You need to be willing to work during unsocial hours if you want to be a portrait and lifestyle photographer, in order to suit your clients’ needs

Build trust

Unsocial hours


Work the light Learn how to capture top-quality results in any type of lighting and no matter the location – get training if you feel unsure how to tackle a particular scenario


Join Kate Hopewell-Smith at the Nikon School Learn how to shoot stunning imagery with Hopewell-Smith Kate Hopewell-Smith advocates mastering the ability to expose for the a wide range of lighting conditions and, on 10 November 2015, she will be at the Nikon School in London teaching how to do exactly that. Priced at £169 for the day, this classroombased session is bound to expand your knowledge and understanding.

09 online? You also need to be sensitive to the pace of modern life – once a shoot or wedding is edited, can you share your images with your clients successfully via an online proofing system rather than relying on them having the time to come and see you again?


Practice, practice, practice Henri Cartier-Bresson said, “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst”. There is no shortcut to becoming a great photographer and you need to learn by the many mistakes that you will make along the journey. Don’t throw away the bad shots – before you delete, them try to understand what went wrong. In order to consistently create images with impact you need to truly understand light and composition. And you need to master the basics of metering and exposure – your camera is a very intelligent computer, but it can’t see what you can see, and interesting, beautiful light requires you to take control. I shot in Aperture Priority mode for years and when I got braver with light I realised that it was time to move to full manual – I have never looked back and can’t recommend this enough.


Hone your portfolio One of the most common problems that I see with lifestyle photographers’ portfolios is lack of consistency. People try to appeal to the widest market possible – spread their net, if you like. You need to refer back to point number one and realise that knowing your target market and

being confident in your product and service offering is much more effective. As a portrait photographer, you need to know if you prefer to shoot in a studio setup with backdrops and lighting or whether you find inspiration in natural light on location. Once you are clear, you need to build a portfolio that demonstrates exactly what you are going to give your clients – with consistent use of light, lenses and location. At the end of the day, you will spend most of your time shooting to commission, so you need to make sure that potential clients can quickly make a decision about whether you are the right photographer for them.


Set up social media platforms Once you have a strong brand in place, a consistent portfolio and an effective web presence, it is time to start marketing on social media platforms. If your clients use social media then you must too. Any effort spent writing blogs, tweeting or publishing Facebook updates should be put against marketing spend (where the value is against time rather than monetary budget). It also helps to understand if you are a word of mouth or SEO business because this should drive the kind of content and calls to action that you use. It is essential to view any communication on social media as a marketing or brand message that should always remain positive and upbeat regardless of your actual mood or frame of mind. Some people find it easier to write a number of posts at the beginning of the week and then schedule them to publish over a few days.

Network When I was becoming established I knew that I wanted to be a word-ofmouth business – I didn’t want to have to rely on staying on top of Google algorithms. Getting to the stage where past clients provide you with future work requires years of commitment to networking and building supplier relationships. Photographers have a valuable commodity with their imagery – other sole-traders desperately rely on photography to promote themselves on their websites and social media. Be generous with your time and talent at the beginning and you will find that it will pay you back enormously over time. On every job do your best to be positive and patient and ensure that you do your best to over-deliver. Supplier networks build over years and you never know when a new client will contact you based on a networking effort from years ago.


Work hard, value your time Social photography can be hugely rewarding – both emotionally and financially – but success only comes with serious hard work. There are no shortcuts and you can never rest on your laurels. It is also essential to value your time and educate your clients to do the same. Don’t fall into the trap of pricing yourself according to perceived competitors. Instead, try to truly understand what you are worth (an effective brand will help you with this) and try to gear your pricing model around an hourly shoot rate – it should be the same whether it is for weddings, portraits or commercial work. If you tick all of the boxes (of which there are many) and work hard then you should find that the only way to manage demand is to regularly increase your hourly rate. The last piece of advice is to try your best to manage the work-life balance – sadly social photography tends to be centred round your clients’ social life, which means DP that yours can suffer!


The photo helpdesk Struggling with gig photography? Lauren Scott answers your questions on how to take show-stealing images BEFORE

Got a photography problem you can’t quite solve? Pick our brains by emailing us at team@ dphotographer.!

All images © Faisal Akram


Meter with precision I was recently lucky enough to get a press pass to photograph one of my favourite singers, but my camera really struggled to deal with the contrast between them and the stage lights. Are there any settings I could change to help with this problem? Kris Heap First, it’s great that you were able to get so close to your subject, as this is half the battle in low-light environments. When shooting concerts, more often than not you’ll find yourself in a situation where the artist is lit by a bright spotlight, but the rest of the stage is almost black. It’s likely that your camera’s internal light meter is set to evaluative by default, which means it’s metering for bright background lighting and rendering your subject as a dark silhouette.


Navigate to your camera’s metering menu and select spot metering. This means it’ll take a light reading that’s limited to a certain point in the frame, which in your case should be the artist’s face. Aim to place their face in the middle of your viewfinder, and you should get the perfect exposure for them, rather than the dazzling backdrop. It’s always easiest to shoot concerts in Aperture Priority mode, as stage lights tend to change rapidly and it’s hard to anticipate what the lights will do next. You should also turn on your histogram when reviewing images, as it’s incredibly frustrating to get home and discover that a picture that looked good on the LCD screen is badly exposed when you view it on the computer. Always shoot in RAW so that you can compensate for the exposure in your shots later on.


Use spot metering Spot metering has taken a light reading from a very small percentage of the camera viewfinder, in this case the artist


Silhouette effects When you use the camera’s evaluative mode, it will generally expose for a bright stage background


Access the menu Spot metering can usually be set in a matter of moments from your camera’s shooting menu


Light it up


I write a music blog, and love to photograph upand-coming gigs in my hometown. The venues are usually small, dark, and without grand-scale lighting setups, so I’ve been struggling to get good atmosphere shots of the crowd. Would flash be my best option lighting-wise? Gemma Atherton


In general you aren’t allowed to use flash in concert photography. However, at the time of writing there aren’t any set rules against using continuous lighting accessories, such as LED lights, so these might prove a worthy investment for you to capture more mood in the scene at hand. Manfrotto is a good brand to opt for, as it produces a range of different-sized units that are all fairly lightweight and affordable. You’ll need to attach the LED onto the flash hotshoe of your DSLR, but you might get better results by using it handheld, high above the heads in the crowd. Make use of the ball head to pivot and angle the light, and use the variable dimmer to experiment with the optimum power setting. Some LED lights produce a colour cast, so set a custom white balance if needed. Below

Merged forms Crowd photography can be difficult to make visually appealing, because of the dim conditions in most venues

Go with the grain Even when using a fast lens, I still struggle with the low light when I’m shooting at concert venues. My ISO can easily reach 1600 or more, and this obviously makes my images incredibly noisy. Is it better to reduce the noise in post-processing, or enhance it for artistic effect? Jessica Rayne Setting a high ISO value is unavoidable for this kind of low-light photography, so you’re right to crank it up to achieve a fast enough shutter speed. While gritty image noise can be perfect for capturing the atmosphere of a popular band concert, it’s not as well suited for a classical event, for example, so you should always tailor your editing choices for the genre at hand. Any noise generally looks shoddy in colour photography, whereas in monochrome it can actually add interest to an image. Your first step should be to add a Black & White adjustment layer in Photoshop, tweaking the colour channels until you’re happy with the result. We’ve darkened the Greens and Blues to make the overall scene more contrasting.



Avoiding silhouettes

Add-in accessory

The LED light can provide a barely noticeable accent when shooting groups of people

Portable LED lights used to be seen as a gimmick, but have improved vastly in quality and range

Experiment with adding noise by going to Filter>Noise>Add Noise from Photoshop’s menu. Check Monochromatic at the bottom of the dialog box, otherwise you’ll have noise with colour, which can look odd. Finally, adjust the amount of noise using the slider – less is more. Above

Monochrome fix

Though it might seem cliché, converting images to black and white is an effective way to complement digital noise


Stay subtle Photoshop gives you several options for adding in noise. Gaussian distribution tends to produce the most natural look


Less than smooth

There are times when it’s advisable to add noise, particularly when you can’t reduce it subtly




Shoot serious video

We’ve teamed up with Wex to look at what’s involved in capturing footage to a professional standard

Video shooting has seen a huge surge in popularity ever since DSLRs began to include a dedicated movie mode. There are now plenty of photographers interested in developing their skills beyond stills – indeed, in response to client demand, many professional photographers are incorporating video into their workflow. But just what kit do you need to get started? DSLRs can produce incredible results, but they are, first and foremost, designed for stills photography rather than video. If your goal is to shoot a movie rather than a sequence of stills, this can mean that there are interface, ergonomic and usability obstacles to overcome with a DSLR, for example the duration of

footage that can be captured in a single clip. range of 13 stops, which is as much as three There are also limitations to the quality of the stops more than that offered by many highfootage that’s produced, most notably in terms end DSLRs. of dynamic range. An example of this is the Blackmagic Dedicated video cameras can solve the Cinema Camera. It has a 15.81mm x 8.88mm inherent restrictions that DSLRs have 2.5K sensor that can capture 2400 for video, offering a combination x 1350 resolution RAW files, as well of usability, ease of handling and as 1920 x 1080 ProRes and DNxHD functionality that enables creative files. Viewed alongside video recorded videographers to get on with on a typical DSLR, the footage this the business of capturing camera produces is impressive, professional footage that even before it’s been graded. can, eventually, be edited The increased dynamic range together into a stunning the camera produces lends CINE LENSES film. Crucially, these a professional appearance While you can use regular lenses cameras offer a dynamic to the clips, with increased with Blackmagic’s video cameras, shadow and highlight detail. you might wish to invest in dedicated cine lenses, offering If you want an ultra-low a long focus throw, smooth initial outlay, however, the movements and Blackmagic Pocket Cinema reliable t-stops. Camera may be ideal. “The first thing I got was the Pocket [Cinema] Camera, as my first Blackmagic experience,” says wedding photographer James Jebson ( “I was totally blown away by the usability of it… everything is really straightforward. I can use my Nikon lenses on it, too.” Indeed, Jebson’s initial investment was not a burdensome one. “The Pocket Cinema Camera, the [Metabones] Speed Booster [to enable Nikon G lenses to be used] and a monopod and you’re out there shooting,” he summarises. Of course, there is much more to shooting top-quality video than just this. From planning your shoot and recording good-quality audio, to editing a film together and the use of colour correction, over the next few issues we’ll show you all you need to know, with the STURDY BUILD DIFFERENT MOUNTS help of pro photographer James Jebson and The Cinema You can go out and start cinematographer Daniel Peters. Camera is shooting using your existing

Inside Blackmagic’s Cinema Camera


This camera can produce 13 stops of dynamic range, ensuring exceptional detail in both the highlights and shadows, with 12-bit, 2400x1350 RAW files


File sizes will be considerable, so you’ll need to invest in a removable 2.5” SSD card to record your footage onto

unbelievably solid, constructed out of a machined aluminium chassis

lenses, thanks to the EF and MFT lens mounts that are on offer, making for a convenient start-up option.


Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera If you want to dip your toe in the water of video capture, you might want to try the very affordable Pocket Cinema Camera from Blackmagic Design


Metabones Speed Booster The use of this adaptor enables Nikon G lenses to be used with a Blackmagic camera, keeping start-up costs down


Blackmagic in action

Daniel Peters and James Jebson collaborate as cinematographer and director on a commerical shoot for JD Gyms



Get set up for filming


Pro videographers often favour ProRes rather than RAW because it produces much smaller and manageable file sizes


A look at file formats

Depending on the camera you are using, you may need to use a substantial tripod, but at other times a monopod will be sufficient

Get to grips with the formats you need for filming RAW

A format that’s very much the same as the RAW formats you are used to working with when shooting stills. Files are 12-bit uncompressed, capture a large amount of data and need to be processed. The file sizes are large, though.



The Blackmagic cameras feature large, easy-to-use displays with straightforward, intuitive menus

ProRes is a compressed codec but – like RAW – it’s intended as a project format, rather than as a final output format. Many videographers favour 10-bit ProRes for the smaller file sizes that it offers when compared to RAW.





Surf’s up Sports photographer Andy Fox explains why passion is key to capturing your best-ever images Left

Capture the surf Fox knew from a young age that he wanted to combine his love for the ocean and surfing with photography All images © Andy Fox




he immediacy of capturing a splitsecond during sports is something that polarises photographers – you either love it, or you hate it. For professional sports photographer Andy Fox (www.andy-fox. com), there’s nothing better than freezing the action – and there’s simply no better place than in the roaring seas.

What was your introduction to photography? Have you always taken photographs? When I was 10 years old, I frequently visited the Mediterranean with my grandparents in the summer vacations. I was passionate about jumping into the waves, diving under and bodysurfing until the break of night, and my nostrils would be stuffed with sand. My grandpa trustingly handed me over his Rolleicord medium format camera. I was proudly bouncing at the beach playing in the sand when I got suddenly pounded by a massive wave – the whole camera was immediately flushed with salt water and I scored some serious slaps! Ever since then, I’ve been keen on combining my love for the ocean with photography. What made you decide to become a professional photographer? I’ve always been keen on combining my passion for water with photography. I


was seriously injured while surfing at our stationary river wave called the Eisbach in Munich, Germany, and I found that I had so much time contemplating my future that I eventually envisioned what to do. [From there] I never had any doubts and was [totally set on building] a professional career. I’m a person that loves the state of uncertainty – it makes me feel compelled to keep pushing myself out of my comfort zone, and it makes me alter my habits!

“The crucial thing is to anticipate the athlete’s next move. That helps shooting the right frame in a fraction of a second” Do you have any experience of surfing yourself? How much does it affect the way you photograph? Yes! I’ve been travelling with my brother and a good friend of mine for almost 20 years to

the prime global surf destinations, combining assignments and leisure. I caught the surfing bug back in the Nineties when I was visiting Bali, Indonesia. I rented a big, foamy longboard and got so slammed by it that I realised there must be something more to discover by acting out this sport. When I’m in the water with my water housing, my surfing skills help a lot with visualising and anticipating the surfer’s next move. What kit do you use when shooting sports? I use my Canon EOS 5D Mark III and my Canon EOS-1D Mark IV (with a CMT water and flash housing) no matter whether I’m on land or in the water. I reduced my lenses to a few specific ones, such as a 15mm fisheye, a 16-35mm wide angle and a 200mm telephoto lens (with an optional 1.5x lens converter). What’s the most important thing to remember when photographing sport? The crucial thing is to anticipate the athlete’s next move. That helps shooting the right frame in a fraction of a second. With this in mind, it’s important for me to meet up with the athlete a day or two before and go through their approach and background. I’m definitely interested in the character of the athlete and what drives them.



Mountain bike, Germany

According to Andy Fox, being able to anticipate the athlete’s next move is the most important thing to remember in sports photography Left

Surfing in Australia Fox is able to combine his assignments with leisure and has been travelling to prime surf destinations for almost 20 years Below-left

Surfing perspective Sturdy underwater housing for his camera allows Fox to shoot surfers from unique and creative perspectives Below-right

To see more of Fox’s work, visit his Instagram and Twitter (@_andyfox), and check out his portfolio at www.500px. com/andy-fox, or visit his Facebook at www. globalstoryteller.

Dominik Metner Fox doesn’t just shoot athletes in action – this creative composition was shot during a photoshoot with mountain biker Dominik Metner



What is one of the worst things that’s gone wrong when you’ve been on a shoot? When I was assigned to shoot free-diving World Record holder Herbert Nitsch from Austria in the Greek waters of Santorini for German Fit For Fun magazine, my underwater housing leaked. Drop by drop, the salty waters made their way inside. I was five or six metres underwater and had a few more perspectives in mind for the shoot with Herbert. I signalled to him that I had to change the memory card to avoid any irritations – the last thing I wanted was to ruin the flow of the shoot! I was lucky to dry out my housing in a couple of minutes going back into the water finishing the shooting. You don’t just shoot sports photography – you’ve also shot commercial and reportage images. What made you move into these areas of photography? As human beings, there’s more than one way to express our personalities. Personally I was invited to sideline the 61st Berlin Film Festival in 2011 with an artsy multimedia project called OIL SPILL – THE HUMAN UEBERFLUSS (www., which I created together with my brother Jo Blankenburg who’s a gifted music composer living in Los Angeles (www. I always need the counter balance between sports and deeper digging themes, for example in my reportage repertoire that polarise viewers of my images. I [welcome]


audiences that don’t like my work – the kind that can express their opinion constructively. That keeps me going – doing it better, more vivaciously and emotionally more catching! Do you do any editing to your images? Yes, especially when it comes to commercials or ads I do some minor retouching on the overall picture ambience and character and face tonality. Is there one favourite thing that you find yourself photographing time and time again? What do you love about it? My great passion is being in the water with my camera, shooting surfers or water athletes. Or drifting in the waters of the river Isar in Munich photographing and filming the urban lifestyle water culture. For me it’s the pure essence of being human. Being in the water makes me feel whole with Mother Nature! Not to forget to mention the countless wipeouts in big waves I encountered, which made me humble, bringing me down to earth. What does the future hold for you and your photography? I’d love to do more sports assignments and go on reportage travels to off-the-beaten-track countries like Iran or Pakistan. Looking for places on earth where not so many people went before… I definitely want to show the DP beauty and passion of people.


Surfing action

It is clear to see the passion for water sports in Fox’s imagery through his ability to capture the action and excitement of the sport

Kit for speed Andy Fox’s top three cameras for producing exceptional sports imagery Canon EOS 5D Mark III “The best bet when it comes to shooting stills and filming in HD, I use it together with my Canon EF 50mm f1.2L USM.” Canon EOS-1D Mark IV “It’s one of the fastest DSLRs still on the market, and if you’re prone to shooting sequences, it’s definitely the [go-to camera]… It’s super lightweight and easy to handle.” Phase One XF system “Perfectly built for the highestquality portrait shots under treacherous conditions, it provides [ultimate] picture quality and it’s easy to handle.”


Bring the perfect light with you wherever you go thanks to Lastolite’s portable lighting kit worth over £500 This issue, we’re giving one reader the opportunity to win over £500 of Lastolite kit to ensure you get perfect studio-lit shots wherever you shoot. The Lumen8 Single Head Kit F400 (worth £293.95) is perfect for photographers on the move. Including a flash head, an 18.5cm reflector, light stand, softbox and sync cable, it all fits in one easy-to-carry case. If you want to re-create an outdoor environment, the Out Of Focus 1.2m x 1.5m Summer Foliage/City Lights background, worth £118.95, is ideal. Collapsible for portability and with different effects on each side, this background enables shoots to take on a totally different vibe. Designed to work with the Out Of Focus backgrounds, this giveaway wouldn’t be complete without the Magnetic Background Support Kit (£107.95). With magnetic attachments to hold the steel-rimmed backgrounds in place, the Support Kit is lightweight and easy to travel with. Head to for more information about these products and see below for how you can enter for a chance to make them part of your setup now.

How to enter Please email your best photo, your name and contact details to with the subject line ‘Issue 167 Lastolite competition’ by 19 November 2015. Terms and conditions This competition is open to residents of the United Kingdom and Ireland. Imagine Publishing has the right to substitute the prize for a similar item of equal or higher value. Employees of Imagine Publishing (including freelancers), Lastolite, their relatives or any agents 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 terms and conditions are available on request. From time to time, Imagine Publishing or its agents may send you related material or special offers. If you do not wish to receive this, please state clearly on your entry.

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Camera bags for landscape photographers We test out some versatile backpacks that can ensure you are always prepared when you’re out searching for stunning views to capture

As a landscape photographer, a sturdy camera bag is one of the most important items to own as it will help ensure that your kit is within easy reach when the perfect photo opportunity arises and that it’s suitably protected when the weather is against you. When travelling to find breathtaking vistas, you need to be able to carry your camera, tripod, lenses and other accessories in comfort, and so a backpack is often the best option. The straps will help spread the weight of your kit across both shoulders and you can rest assured that it will be securely protected when navigating difficult terrain. You first need to consider the size you will need, making sure that it is big enough to hold all of your essentials, but small and lightweight enough for you to carry long distances. Then you need to make sure it is capable of carrying


the kit you will need, with appropriately sized compartments for the camera and tripod you own, as well as other personal belongings, such as your phone, wallet, jacket and lunch, which are essential on long shoots. Many bags also feature pockets for laptops and tablets, which can be useful for backing up your shots in the field, so be sure to check that this is big enough for your device. To help you find the perfect backpack, we’ve put some of the latest models through their paces to evaluate their quality, convenience, comfort and price, plus make sure they are tough enough for even the most adventurous landscape shoots.



REVIEWS SRP: £225 / $265

Think Tank Shape Shifter Like the name suggests this bag can be transformed into a larger version of itself simply with the pull of a zip, but what other features are hidden inside?

Think Tank’s Shape Shifter bag can compress by three inches when you take out your gear, making it impressively flat for easy storage. When expanded, it can hold everything you’ll need for a day’s shooting, including a tripod, which can slot into the front pocket. Inside, the main compartment is separated with neoprene pouches, providing little opportunity to customise the space. This makes it impossible to store a camera with a long lens attached and as you can only access your gear by unzipping the front pocket, it’s not designed for quick access. However, the ability to secure a neck strap to the bag’s shoulder straps means you can comfortably keep your camera at the ready all day. The overall design is very simple, looking like a regular rucksack rather than a heavily pocketed camera bag. It feels surprisingly heavy considering the lightweight materials it is made from, but should provide adequate protection. The wide, padded straps and removable waist belt make the bag comfortable to carry and the clever back panel design allows air to flow between it and your back, keeping you cool and sweat-free. Think Tank have paid a lot of attention to detail with this backpack, providing a great gear-carrying solution.




This water-repellent nylon bag with zipped pockets is suitably weatherproof and also comes with a good-sized rain cover

GROUP TEST SRP: £280 / $191

National Geographic Earth Explorer Large Backpack

As would be expected, this supersized bag is made from environmentally friendly materials. Does it also provide photographer-friendly comfort?


Outer fastenings

The main compartments are sealed with secure zippers, but some of the outer pockets use Velcro that could wear over time

If you don’t want a camera bag that screams camera bag, then the stylish Earth Explorer from National Geographic is an attractive option. The earthy coloured canvas and brass buckles give it a sophisticated look and high quality feel, but unfortunately they are the only subtle things about it. We tested the large-sized backpack, which seems like a bit of an understatement when you witness its imposing enormity. There’s enough room for about three times the kit you will actually need on a landscape shoot, and the truly baffling number of pockets will leave you struggling to remember which one is hiding your spare battery when you need it most. However, if you are one of those people who hates to leave even a single lens at home, then you will be more than satisfied with the storage space it provides. With the large size also comes an awful lot of bulk, the bag alone weighs a hefty amount. Although the padded straps and adjustable waist belt do provide comfortable support, you are likely to struggle after carrying it for more than ten minutes if you pack it to the brim. Quickly accessing your kit could have been made easier, as you need to remove the bag from your back in order to get into the main compartment from the top or front.


REVIEWS SRP: $229 / approx £150

F-Stop Ajna Whether you’re exploring the Amazon or climbing Everest, can this adventure-ready bag ensure your camera will survive the journey? Part of F-Stop’s Mountain Series, the Ajna is built for adventurous photographers who aren’t afraid of shooting in wild weather and tough terrain. The durable design will have no problem keeping your kit safe from the wind, rain and snow, even without a rain cover, and will certainly look the part on treks through the wilderness. An array of straps and buckles are also available for bringing extra survival kit along and the bag can even help keep you hydrated on your journey, with a handy port for feeding a hydration tube through. Extra support is provided in the form of an aluminium frame built into the bag making it comfortable to carry heavy kit for long periods, but we would have liked more padding in the straps. This rigid frame also makes the bag particularly bulky, although this shouldn’t matter when exploring wide-open spaces and it can be compressed slightly by pulling the straps if you haven’t filled it to the brim. It’s very reasonably priced for a bag of this size, but you will need to purchase an additional Internal Camera Unit (ICU) if you want padded compartments to hold your gear. We tested the Ajna with the XL Pro ICU, which costs an extra $99 / approx £65, and is ideal for carrying everything you’ll need. Accessing your kit is a little tricky though, as you have to take the bag off your back to get to it through the back panel.



Colour options

If you want to be seen, the Ajna is available in bright blue and orange, but also comes in black and grey for a more subtle look

GROUP TEST SRP: £257 / $350

Lowepro Whistler BP 350 It may have been designed and tested by pros in the Canadian mountains, but can the Whistler do enough to impress in our test?


Built-in drainage

Drain holes on the bottom of the bag help remove moisture from wet gear stored in the front pocket before it can get to your camera

The compact Whistler from Lowepro is tougher than it looks, with a quality weatherproof design and lots of padding all squeezed into a relatively compact and attractive backpack. Despite its small size, it can carry a lot of gear, keeping it well protected in the rigid main compartment, which is separated from the rest of the bag by a waterproof barrier. This means that you can put your soggy coat in an external pocket and rest assured that your expensive camera will remain safe and dry. Removable dividers also mean that you can easily customise the space, or remove the unit completely to use it as a regular backpack. If you want to have quick access to your camera, then the Whistler isn’t very helpful, making you take off the bag and unzip two separate panels on the back before you can get to it. However, Lowepro has thought to hinge the first panel, meaning it only needs to be unzipped part of the way to reach the gear. Wide straps and a large waist belt provide great support when carrying the bag for long journeys, but it is still quite heavy even before you add your gear and the firm straps don’t have a lot of padding. Nevertheless, it feels exceptionally sturdy and well made, so if you want peace of mind that your camera won’t come to any harm, splashing out for this pricy bag might be worthwhile.



Think Tank Shape Shifter Weight 1730 grams External dimensions


With plenty of pockets and comfortable straps this will ensure you are well equipped

Nat Geo Earth Explorer Weight 3510 grams External dimensions

There’s a compartment for everything you’ll need, but the size does feel a little excessive

Weight 1700 grams External dimensions

510 x 320 x

600 x 350 x

597 x 330 x




Internal dimensions 480 x 305 x 40mm

Build quality

The nylon material feels a little flimsy in places, but still provides adequate protection

Materials Nylon with water-repellent coating Laptop compartment

Internal dimensions 400 x 320 x 160mm


No option to customise the space, but loading and unloading your gear is quick and easy

Water-resistant cotton canvas, nylon lining, brass Laptop compartment

There is no compromise on quality, the canvas material and brass detailing feels durable

Value for money

It’s not the toughest of bags, but the Shape Shifter has plenty to offer the typical landscape photographer in the countryside

Capacity 40 litres Materials Oxford-weave


This heavyweight bag will quickly become uncomfortable on long shoots if you pack it full

Advanta thermoplastic polyurethane film Laptop compartment

It has carrying space for everything you might need in the wilderness and superb protection


Weight 2970 grams External dimensions

Build quality

Feels like it could go the distance being carried through bad weather and tough terrain

530mm Internal dimensions 232 x 160 x 353mm


The rigid structure provides comfort, but makes it a little awkward to access your gear

Weather-resistant ripstop nylon with TUP face coating Laptop compartment

Build quality

Has the feel of a very well-made camera bag, with waterproof material and thick padding


Gear access can be tricky, but there’s lots of opportunity for customisation


Value for money

When you consider the additional price of the ICU, this bag becomes quite expensive


Plenty of compartments and consideration for adventuring essentials – all of your camera carrying needs covered


Value for money

You get a lot of bag for your money, but a smaller, cheaper bag would suit more users

This cool, luxury bag will look great on style-conscious adventurers, but could leave you with severe backache on long hikes

Lowepro Whistler BP 350

295 x 300 x

Up to 13 inches

Value for money



ripstop nylon,

Up to 17 inches

The Shape Shifter is very reasonably priced for its features, flexibility and long-lasting comfort


Build quality


Up to 17 inches



F-Stop Ajna daypack

If you want to guarantee that your kit will be protected on long treks in any weather, the Ajna could be a wise investment

Although expensive, the superb quality and features are worth it if your budget can stretch


The Lowepro Whistler is ideal for ensuring that your kit is kept safe and secure when trekking to landscapes near or far


SRP: £506 / $630

BenQ SW2700PT Monitor



BenQ’s latest product is aimed squarely at photographers, but are its features up to the task?

Though the display is lacking an anti-glare finish, it does come with a black anti-glare hood

The OSD can be navigated using the convenient remote control, which sits in the stand

The search for a monitor that offers that perfect balance of functionality, size and price can be a tireless one, especially in a market that is quickly becoming saturated with monitors that offer very similar specs. BenQ has entered this race with some very strong competitors, including the SW2700PT, which is being marketed primarily towards photographers. The 27-inch BenQ SW2700PT is impressive right out of the box. It’s easy to assemble with minimal fuss, and though its matte black casing may seem rather plain, users will find the neck’s flexibility far more intriguing. The monitor can be tilted, pivoted and rotated 90 degrees, which will switch the display into portrait mode. Its height can be adjusted up to 13 centimetres above its base profile, but if you want to position the screen exactly how you like it, you can measure your exact preferred height with the measurements handily listed on the monitor’s neck. This level of flexibility is standard fare for most modern monitors of this calibre, but few

with Windows, Mac and Linux, it proves a strong competitor to the standard iMac screen. Though the SW2700PT’s display technology by itself is enough to guarantee accurate reproduction of your photographs’ colours as captured in-camera, its colour accuracy is Delta E<2, making it prone to loss of definition over time. To achieve optimum performance, it’s worth downloading the Palette Master Element software free from BenQ’s website, which works with some colour calibrators (like the X-Rite i1 Photo Pro 2) to maintain colour accuracy.

are as sturdy as the SW2700PT. The height adjustment mechanics are spring-loaded, ensuring ease of use. When rotating the display into portrait mode, its maximum height adjustment allows for plenty of room for the monitor to clearly swing past the base of its stand, avoiding risk of scrapes. The on-screen display can be navigated using small, sharp buttons located on the underside of the monitor’s bottom panel. The lack of touch-sensitive controls is one of the few downsides and some might find them too irritating to use. Fortunately, a small remote used specifically for navigating the OSD comes packaged with the monitor – and its buttons are far more ergonomic. But where this monitor really shines is in its performance. The SW2700PT sports a maximum resolution of 2560x1440 QHD (109 pixels per inch), thus lacking in 4K support, but its outstanding display quality more than makes up for this. It boasts 10-bit colour depth, a contrast ratio of 1000:1 and a 99% coverage of the Adobe RGB colour space. Fully compatible

No anti-glare finish

Remote control

Summary Ease of use Value for money Features Quality of build

Overall Perfect colour accuracy can only be guaranteed by downloading the software, but this inconvenience is the monitor’s only notable fault




Fully equipped dial

The mode dial sports a variety of automatic features, as well as manual options


Lens swap

Pay a little extra for the 18-55mm kit lens, or choose from the vast array of EOS lenses on offer



SRP: £540 / $750 (body only)

Canon EOS 750D

One of two new additions to Canon’s entry-level DSLR range, is the EOS 750D worth the upgrade? Canon already had plenty of cameras in its beginners’ range, but the 700D has been joined by two brand new siblings: the Canon EOS 750D, which is put to the test here, and the EOS 760D. They may look pretty similar to the 700D, despite being released two years later, but there are some big changes inside. The sensor has been upgraded to 24.2 megapixels – the first time that Canon has gone beyond the 18-megapixel mark in this range of budget-friendly DSLRs – to equal that of its main competitor, the Nikon D5500. The autofocus system has also been increased, from 9 to 19 points, but this still falls shy of the 39 points offered by the Nikon model. Both the EOS 750D and the EOS 760D share these specs, but the latter offers a few extras, including a quick control dial at the rear and a secondary (monochrome) LCD screen on the top-plate. There isn’t a significant difference in price, but the EOS 750D is still worthy of your consideration if the aforementioned additions don’t suit your style of shooting. The big draw with Canon’s mid-range DSLRs is the consistently superb image quality they offer straight out of the box, and the 750D is no different in this respect. Photos are accurately exposed, thanks in part to the new metering sensor, which utilises the same technology as seen in the 7D Mark II, but with fewer zones. Dynamic range is impressive and results show an increased level of detail when compared to the EOS 700D. This is maintained across most of the sensitivity scale, which goes from ISO 100-12800, with noise only becoming noticeable at ISO 3200 and beyond. The

extension setting pushes the ISO to 25600, but we’d recommend avoiding this in all but the most crucial low-light shots, as chroma noise makes an appearance. Autofocus is quick to lock on, with Canon’s 19-point system borrowed from the muchloved EOS 70D. These can be selected automatically or manually in Zone AF mode, with five groups of points to select from, or individually in Single-point AF mode, and because they are cross-type, they perform just as well in portrait as well as landscape. When using continuous autofocus mode, the tracking point doggedly pursues the moving subject. Incidentally, the camera can rattle off five frames per second (fps) thanks to the Digic 6 processing engine. Admittedly, this isn’t the fastest on the market, but it does a good job of capturing action. Should you wish to use the touchscreen to tap the subject you want in focus, you’ll find it highly responsive. The LCD is three inches, boasts 1,040k-dots and is vari-angle, which means it can be pulled out and rotated around to frame tricky compositions. It doesn’t come with an electronic horizon level, like the 760D, however. Viewing does become an issue in bright conditions, so you’ll often find yourself


Many couldn’t live without a tilting screen; it makes shooting from high and low angles so much easier. It comes with touchscreen capability too.


Canon has incorporated a 24.2-megapixel sensor for great quality. It allows room for cropping while still producing large prints.


Autofocus performance impresses with continuous focusing available while shooting movies and still images in Live View mode.


The 750D comes with 1080p video recording at 30 fps to please the casual user. There’s a microphone input, but disappointingly no headphone jack.


The optical viewfinder is great for composing, but the magnification has been reduced to 0.82x.


It benefits from the new Digic 6 image processor that enables continuous shooting speeds of 5 frames per second for over 900 JPEG shots.


“Photos are accurately exposed, thanks to the new metering sensor” 97


ISO 100

ISO 400

ISO RESULTS The most scrutinising pair of eyes would struggle to see the difference between a shot taken at ISO 100 and ISO 800. Noise is extremely well controlled and detail is preserved all the way to ISO 3200, where you’ll see deterioration.

ISO 800

ISO 6400

“When photographing people the EOS 750D produces such flattering results that it may convince the most camera-shy”

calling upon the optical viewfinder. The 750D uses pentamirrors rather than the superior pentaprism seen in the EOS 70D, and shows a slightly disappointing 95 per cent field of view compared to the 100 per cent view offered by the Pentax K-S2 and its slightly more expensive rival, the Nikon D7200. The 750D also lacks a weather-sealed body, unlike the Nikon D7200, which might sway the avid outdoors photographer. The body looks and feels high-end though, fitting quite naturally to the shape of your hands. Physical controls provide direct access to commonly used settings – with the exception of Wi-Fi. Incidentally, the layout is very similar to the 700D, which makes this a very smooth upgrade for existing users. This camera is a pretty hefty beast to lug around all day though, especially with a larger lens attached. During this review, we used the relatively bulky 18-55mm lens that lent itself well to everyday shooting scenarios, but there is the option to invest in better pieces of glass, with around 250 lenses available in the Canon line-up. Bear in mind that the camera does not come with sensor-based image stabilisation, so you must buy lenses with optical stabilisation on board to enhance the sharpness of handheld shots, particularly with portraits. When photographing people the EOS 750D produces such flattering results that it may convince even the most camera-shy to step in front of the lens. The large sensor provides beautiful shallow depth of field, while leaving a little room for cropping later. Face detection mode comes in useful when capturing street scenes, enabling you to pay attention to framing and settings, and large apertures can be achieved thanks to the fast 1/4,000s maximum shutter speed, which will also


Improved connectivity One of the main enhancements in the EOS 750D compared to its older sibling, the EOS 700D, is the builtin wi-fi with NFC pairing. Unusually, the camera lacks a dedicated Wi-Fi button, so this feature must be accessed via the main menu where you can choose to connect to a smart device, print from a Wi-Fi printer or upload to the web. While the Wi-Fi process takes a little time to connect to the camera’s wireless hotspot and then launch the Canon Camera Connect app, the process is much simpler for NFC users. Simply tap the camera against the NFCenabled smart device or even another camera by touching the NFC logos together to transfer images. You can also shoot remotely and adjust settings using the app, which has a real-time preview screen. The only improvement we’d like to see is a more seamless integration of Wi-Fi.





benefit sports photography. The main drawback, however, is the battery life that lasts for an average of 440 shots – notably shorter than the Nikon D5500’s 820 shots. Video capture is also rather underwhelming at 1080p and restricted to 30 frames per second (fps), unlike the 60 fps offered by the Nikon D7200 or the ultrahigh definition of 4K shooting offered by the Samsung NX500 and the Panasonic G7. With no headphone port either, it seems the EOS 750D is not aimed at budding videographers. What this DSLR does extremely well is capturing everyday life with its range of shooting modes and latest imaging tech. Given the choice though, we’d be more inclined to opt for the weather-sealed, 7fps-shooting, larger viewfinder-sporting EOS 70D, but if budget doesn’t allow, the Canon EOS 750D is a solid entry-level DSLR. Above



Accurate exposures

Sharp shooter

Images appear true-to-life and show a really good amount of detail in the shadows and highlights

The lens’ image stabilisation compensates for the lack of sensor based stabilisation and produces sharp results

The Canon EOS 750D







The 1040k-dot LCD screen is touch-sensitive and can be tilted for high-angle shots

LIVE VIEW 2 Switch to Live View where you can swipe through shots and pinch to zoom in



If you’re turned off by touch controls, you can use the normal D-pad and Set button

GRIP 4 There’s a sizeable thumb grip for comfortable shooting

Megapixels 24.2 Max resolution 6000 x 4000 Sensor information 22.3 x 14.9mm CMOS Lens data By lens Shutter speed 30-1/4000 sec ISO sensitivity Auto, 100-12800 Exposure modes Auto, P, A, S, M, Creative Auto, Intelligent Auto, Scene Metering options E, P, S, CW Flash modes Auto, Fon, Foff, Manual Connectivity USB, HDMI, PAL/NTSC Weight 555g (with batteries) Dimensions 131.9 x 100.7 x 77.8 mm Batteries Lithium-ion Storage SD, SDHC, SDXC LCD 3 inches Viewfinder Electronic with 100% coverage


On top of Wi-Fi and NFC, this DSLR features a step-up in megapixels, autofocus points and burst depth

Build quality

The 750D looks and feels good quality, while the substantial grip gives users a solid purchase


The controls are intuitively laid out and fall easily within reach – some users might miss a rear control dial

Quality of results

Images are impressively detailed with excellent colour reproduction. Perfect for portraits and landscapes

Value for money

An excellent entry-level DSLR that’s competitively priced, but for just a little more you could buy the 760D


Canon continues to impress with image quality. Despite a few niggles, like a 95 per cent viewfinder, this is a great all-rounder and worthy upgrade from the 700D




The G7 has 4K video with a native resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels, which means you’re able to capture highly detailed footage. You can even extract 8-megapixel stills from a sequence and select between three 4K photo modes.

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-G7



The camera is pretty lightweight and features a pronounced grip so you get a good and secure purchase


Handles well Thanks to the touchscreen and a plethora of dials and controls, you can adjust settings quickly on a shoot


Megapixels 16MP Max resolution 4,592 X 3,448 Sensor information 17.3 X 13.0mm Live MOS Sensor Lens data By lens Focus/macro By lens Shutter speed 60-1/4,00sec ISO sensitivity A, 200-25600 (Extended ISO 100) Exposure modes Auto, P, A, S, M Metering options M, CW, S Flash modes A, RE,Fon, Foff, SS Connectivity wi-fi, USB, HDMI Weight 360g (body only) Dimensions 124.9 x 86.2 x 77.4mm Batteries Rechargeable Li-ion Storage SD, SDHC, SDXC LCD 3 inches Viewfinder OLED Live View Finder 2,360K dots


There’s plenty of appealing features for enthusiasts, including 4K video and three unique 4K photo modes

Build quality

The G7 isn’t exactly a head turner and feels plasticity in hand. That being said, it’s not likely to fall apart


With an additional touchscreen, it’s simple to adjust settings and switch between shooting modes

Quality of results

The G7’s image quality is impressive. All captures are bright, vibrant and beautifully detailed

Value for money

Reasonably priced for a mid-range CSC and offers a competitive set of features to benefit any enthusiast


The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-G7 offers a fantastic set of features at a competitive price point. It may not be the upgrade some were after, but it’s still an excellent option

PANASONIC LUMIX DMC-G7 SRP: £630 / $800 with a 14-42mm II kit lens

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-G7 We find out if new features, such as 4K video, make the latest LUMIX G7 a worthy upgrade for G6 users Panasonic recently released the LUMIX G7 as a replacement to the G6 and offers a few new features, most notably 4K video. There haven’t been any major changes however, so it’s unlikely G6 users will be swayed to upgrade just yet. In fact the G7 offers the same 16-megapixel resolution as it’s predecessor, although it does so with a slightly newer sensor. Wi-Fi is also available, but NFC, which was a key feature in the G6, is not. This decision has no doubt kept the costs down given that 4K video capture is included. In terms of design, the G7 isn’t too dissimilar to the G6. It’s reminiscent of a DSLR and although it’s not particularly eye-catching, it is functional and handles well. We found the convenient position of controls easy to navigate when adjusting settings and selecting features. In hand the G7 is lightweight and although it feels plasticky, it’s well put together. During testing we were impressed by handling in general. The camera’s OLED viewfinder came in particularly useful when we were attempting to compose captures in difficult conditions, as it gives you a suitably bright and detailed view of the scene. It also uses an automatic eye sensor, so you’re able to switch seamlessly over to the EVF from the back LCD screen. If you need a little more flexibility when shooting from awkward angles however, the three-inch LCD does come in handy. It’s a vari-angle touchscreen, so you can fold it out and even flip it up when shooting stills or video. The screen itself offers 1,040k-dot resolution and gives you a clear and crisp view. It’s also pretty responsive to touch, so you can position your focus point and adjust settings quickly on screen.

When you’re shooting in good light with Single AF mode selected, the camera will lock focus on a stationary subject at impressive speed. It does, however, hunt a little longer in low light, but that’s to be expected. The camera’s Tracking AF function will even follow a selected subject should it move within the frame. We also found Continuous AF to be pretty accurate on moving subjects. If it’s action you’re after, the G7 is well equipped. The camera can shoot full-resolution images up to 8fps in standard burst mode, or you can extract 8-megapixel images from 4K video, which is capable of capturing up to 30fps. You can also record 4K video footage. The camera’s 16-megapixel image sensor and Venus Engine 9 processor also offers a native ISO range of ISO 200-25600 with a low expansion setting of ISO 100, which is a slight improvement on the G6’s native ISO range of ISO 160-12800. We found the G7 more than capable of producing bright and clear exposures in low-light conditions, as noise was controlled well up to around ISO 6400. The camera’s Multi Metering system also proved to be a strong performer in a range of lighting situations. Highlights were well preserved and all images show a good dynamic range. The Auto White Balance setting ensured that colours appeared accurate with no noticeable colour casts. In fact, colours in all test shots are vibrant, clear and bold. There’s also plenty of detail present in the shadows and highlights. With a strong set of features, impressive image quality and a collection of compatible lenses, the G7 is a worthy investment if you’re on the look out for a well-rounded CSC.


The eye sensor detects when the camera has been held up and will automatically switch the EVF on.


As a CSC, the G7 is compatible with an extensive range of Micro Four Third lenses.


Depth From Defocus (DFD) AF technology in the G7 speeds up focusing time considerably.


Impressive sensor

Colours are bold and vibrant without being over saturated. The Auto White Balance setting also works well


Balanced exposures

The camera’s metering system ensures exposures are well balanced and aims to protect details in both the highlights and shadows


Sharing the same 16-megapixel sensor as the GX7, it’s capable of beautifully detailed images.


The three-inch vari-angle LCD has touchscreen capabilities, which means it’s easy to adjust settings.


You can add some creative flair to your stills and video by adding one of the available filters.


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SRP: £300 / $398

Panasonic LUMIX G MACRO 30mm f2.8 ASPH. MEGA O.I.S Panasonic has introduced a new macro lens for its Micro Four Thirds format cameras – Kevin Carter takes a look Short focal length macro lenses like this were originally designed for photographing or duplicating documents of cultural significance, only back then magnification was limited to half life size without the use of extension tubes. Smaller f-numbers and high resolving power was critical to discern subtleties in handwriting, with lenses of German and Japanese origin intended to resolve diacritic letters and Kanji characters. Nevertheless this lens works well, at least when stopped down to f4 and f5.6 where it has excellent resolution corner to corner. Wide open at f2.8 it’s sharp, but only in a central core, and troublesome lateral chromatic aberration and disturbing purple fringing is practically nonexistent anyway. Even if that wasn’t the case, this lens has none of the limitations of those earlier models, focusing to just 10.5cm and at 1:1 life size magnification. Focusing is internal, so there are no extending barrels and filters won’t rotate either. It’s fast and responsive and remains even when light levels begin to tumble, and the internal stepper type AF motor is both smooth and eerily quiet in operation. Cosmetically, this lens looks a lot like the Leica-branded 45mm macro and, like that model, it boasts Panasonic’s MEGA Optical Image Stabiliser technology, though they’re coy about its capabilities. Just how effective it is depends upon your own abilities, but it’s worth having for more general, everyday use – even if you might never use it as it was intended.



Contrast and definition At f8 diffraction lowers outright resolution, or micro-contrast, but so-called largestructure contrast remains high Bottom-left

Smooth gradations Despite the use of an aspherical element, the gradation of out of focus areas remains smooth and attractively delicate

Technical specs Manufacturer Model

Panasonic LUMIX G MACRO 30mm f2.8 ASPH. MEGA O.I.S

Web Elements/construction 9/9

Angle of view

40 degrees

Max aperture


Min aperture Min focus distance Mount Filter size

f22 0.105 m Micro FourThirds 46mm







Summary The 30mm is not as lust worthy as the 45mm Leica macro option, but it is a lot more affordable and rather more practical for general use by the everyday photographer looking to experiment


SRP: £319 / $399

Laowa 60mm f2.8 Macro

Does this accessibly priced macro by Laowa, capable of 2:1 magnification, produce quality close-ups? Macro lenses like this with shorter focal lengths are more suited to normal everyday shooting, but this model is rather unusual for a number of reasons. First, it’s capable of focusing from infinity down to 2:1 with a minimum focusing distance of 18.5cm or around 5cm from the front of the lens, which of course is remarkable. While that makes it difficult to light at times, it’s no different to other short macro lenses. It’s also rather sharp, even at that extreme magnification, though to be fair there’s some noticeable spherical aberration present at close distances. In practice it’s not unpleasant, lending itself to smooth out of focus areas and, unlike some models, the so-called milky look is not tinged with colour from chromatic aberration that’s impossible to clear up in software. It even maintains contrast when stopped down, though to be fair it may be different on an APS-C body, which is arguably the more attractive option for a lens like this. Before rushing out to buy one though, there are a few pitfalls that you should be aware of. The build isn’t as slick as some similar models from Japan (it is made in China) and focusing can be a little bit stiff. It also lacks any mechanical or electronic interface, so there’s no AF or even auto-aperture operation, which is tricky for more general use. Arguably more perplexing for a macro lens, though, is the lack of EXIF data, making it difficult to recall settings at a later date.


Greater than life size Aberrations are largely kept in check, particularly chromatic aberrations, which are troublesome for macros Bottom-left

Close up

Not only is it sharp and greater than life size, it also has excellent sharpness and resolution at close focus distances

Technical specs Manufacturer Model Web Elements/construction

VenVenus Optics – Laowa

60mm f2.8 Ultra Macro 2:1 9/7

Angle of view

25.3 degrees

Max aperture


Min aperture Min focus distance Mount

f22 18.5cm Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony A, Pentax K

Filter size








Summary While the build isn’t exactly great, and the completely manual operation is at odds with more general everyday use, as a macro this lens makes up for that with its versatility and image quality



Perspective-control lenses Take control of distortion and depth of field with a tilt-shift lens Perspective-control lenses, also Architectural photographers will be referred to as tilt-shift lenses, enable particularly interested in the shift functionality photographers to correct the issue of of the lens – indeed, some perspectiveconverging verticals in-camera, while offering control lenses, historically, only featured shift a range of additional benefits, for landscape as movements. The rise motion is used to shift well as architecture photographers. Software the lens upwards to include the top of the that can correct perspective problems and buildings without any distortion occurring in resolves issues with lens distortion has the vertical lines. The shift movements can become more prevalent, but the in-camera also be used for the relatively straightforward optical solution is the preferred method if creation of panoramas, enabling you to you’re looking for the optimum quality. capture three frames free from any issues of “Although you can correct parallax error that will merge easily perspective in post-processing, using stitching software in post. this isn’t ideal as it does result Of course, if you’ve never ELIMINATE in a loss of image quality,” used a lens like this before, DISTRACTIONS explains pro photographer you may need to spend Mark Bauer (www. time experimenting. An easily overlooked benefit markbauerphotography. “Familiarise yourself with of tilt-shift lenses is the ability com). “As far as landscape the movements of the lens to use the shift function to photographers are before you go out on a real eliminate irritating distractions concerned, tilt-shift lenses shoot with it,” says Bauer. from the foreground of a are probably best known “They’re not easy lenses to scene, such as a railing for their ability to generate use, especially when it comes or tree. 3 extensive depth of field without to setting the correct amount of having to stop the lens down and tilt – the tendency is to set too much thus suffer the effects of diffraction… Being – so if you’ve practised your technique able to get really extensive depth of field beforehand, you won’t get caught out in rapidly while still shooting at your lens’s sweet spot changing light and miss your shot.” of around f8 can also be really useful in some Even though there are challenges involved in situations.” The ability to match the plane using them, they do offer several key benefits of focus to the subject plane means that and high optical quality. “While I can only maximum depth of field can be achieved speak for the Canon lenses I’ve used, [tilt-shift without the need for narrow apertures. lenses] are really, really sharp – so [they are] a Conversely, the tilt facility can also be used to good choice of lens, even if you don’t intend to create the well-known miniature effect. use the movements,” says Bauer.

Tips for tilt and shift Practice makes perfect As with any unfamiliar or new bit of kit, it’s something of a risk to attempt to use a tilt-shift lens during a shoot without any experience. Use manual focus The design of a perspective-control lens means that it’s not possible to have autofocus mechanisms on board. Your best bet is to make use of Live View and check the focus carefully by zooming in. Filters may be problematic Be aware that you may not be able to easily use filters with a tilt-shift lens, because some models have a large, bulbous front element. Adaptors are available, but these restrict the range of movements. Consider hiring Tilt-shift lenses are not the cheapest optics on the market, so it might be worthwhile to consider hiring one and trying it out before you commit to buying it. Avoid polarisers If you are planning on creating a panorama by stitching several different frames together in Photoshop, polarisers are best avoided, as the resulting composite will appear uneven because of the effect produced.

Use a tilt-shift lens to enhance your imagery


It’s wise to make use of Live View mode when you’re working with a perspective control lens, as focusing must be performed manually



Perspective control lenses feature locking threads to restrict the movements when they are not required for use and to enable greater control


Many tilt-shift lenses feature front elements that extend outwards, which will make it difficult to use filters. There are adaptors available from Lee Filters, for example







With a standard lens, it’s very hard to avoid problems with converging verticals and general distortion, especially when shooting buildings

The use of a tiltshift lens enables this problem to be corrected at the point of capture, without having to resort to using software

Perspective problems


Scenic support Pro landscape photographer Mark Bauer finds that the use of a tilt-shift lens helps when photographing jetties and piers

Perspective controlled


Panoramas made easy The shift function of a perspective-control lens enables three frames to be captured for panorama creation made simple

© Mark Bauer


© Mark Bauer



SRP: £60 / $90 OS: Windows 7 and above

PaintShop Pro X8

Is the latest edition of PaintShop Pro another reliable standalone program, or has it drop the ball? PaintShop Pro has made its name from being a low-cost all-rounder in the photo-editing world. It aims to be a powerful tool for all kinds of creations, a standalone download in a world of everincreasing subscriptions, and a piece of software that feels simultaneously oldfashioned in its tools and features, yet slick and modern in its approach and design. X8 is the latest upgrade of the program and it’s one that’s once again been conceived with photographers at the very forefront of the software’s priorities. This edition features more scope than ever before for working in RAW, but one of the best things about PaintShop Pro has remained with this new version: it’s a program that can be useful to beginners, intermediates and photo-editing experts alike. The good news is that X8 still looks and feels like PaintShop Pro, with its minimalistic design and its three core tabs of Manage, Adjust and Edit. The Layers palette is now searchable,

you can collapse or expand it to make your workflow more organised, and the Batch Process function has had a few alterations to make it even easier to edit multiple shots. Perhaps the biggest change though comes from the RAW editing elements of the software. Having taken on feedback from PaintShop Pro users, the RAW lab has been completely redesigned, and now features a Before and After screen to help you keep track of the images you’re editing. The preview areas have been markedly improved, so there’s more space to edit in, and that’s not to mention the update of the new Lens Correction tool, which can correct chromatic aberration as well as distortion and accidental vignettes your images carry. Eighteen editions of PaintShop Pro in, X8 isn’t so much a rebuild, but a gentle evolution. It’s quicker to use, has better resolution, and the filters are still in tact. If you’re looking to upgrade, the new RAW lab is a sure winner.

Summary Ease of use Value for money Features Quality of results

Overall PaintShop Pro has always been great at catering to all audiences, but with this latest edition, it expands more towards photographers



The classic Adjust tab of PaintShop Pro is just the same, with fantastically precise sliders down the left-hand side of your window



PaintShop Pro makes organising your pictures even easier; use the Manage tab to sort your shots by faces or even the place you took the original picture


RAW edits Edit your photos even further with the brand new updates to the RAW lab section of the program, and make more accurate tweaks




Can these popular apps improve your mobile snaps? Change Hair Color Price: Free OS: Android 2.3

Based on a simple effect that might be a bigger job to manage with photo-editing software, Change Hair Colour does exactly what it says on the tin: it changes your hair colour. It offers dozens of colour choices, and it’s easy to use: it’s a bit of fun to brighten up your photos.

YouCam Perfect

Price: Free OS: Android 4.0 or later, iOS 7 or later

SRP: £35/ $50 OS: Mac/Windows

Acronis True Image

Take the stress of backing-up off your mind with Acronis True Image 2016

Of all the things a photographer has to consider, backing up files is not the most exciting task. If backing up your files fills you with dread, Acronis True Image 2016 is a subscription service and piece of software that aims to take the time and effort out of this tedious task. It’s a professional answer to backing up your files and offers many more organisational tools too – more than you ever thought you needed. The program is simple to navigate through. It’s not slick or stylish, but it’s not designed to be: instead, it looks like it was built to fit in with default Windows interfaces, with everything you need down the left-hand side of the window. The Backup icon at the top is perhaps the place you’ll refer to most often, where you can decide what you want to copy from where, and the second icon down, Archive, is where you can view everything that you’re backing up. Though True Image might seem boring, it has tricks up its sleeve; the Sync option helps copy files to all your devices and Parallel Access allows you to control devices through other devices. File maintenance might not be the most exciting thing you do as a photographer, but True Image makes it simple. You can use it for other files, such as music too. A necessity for maintaining a slick workflow.

Selfies are more popular than ever, meaning apps such as YouCam Perfect are more popular than ever. YouCam is an excellent portrait-fixer; it can add filters, erase blemishes and adjust skin tone, to improve any selfie in a matter of minutes.


Price: Free OS: Android 4.0 or later, iOS 7.1

or later

Instasize boasts professional finishes to your shots before you post them on social media. The filters are of good quality, the sticks less so, but the slickness of the app is impressive, as is the high resolution that you can save to.

Hyperlapse Above

Scheduling Let True Image do the hard work for you, and set your scheduling so that you needn’t back up manually

Summary Ease of use Value for money Features Quality of results

Overall True Image 2016 isn’t the flashiest photographyrelated program out there, but it’s one that you won’t believe you ever lived without. It’s efficient, saves time, and is wonderfully easy to use

Price: Free OS: iOS 7 or later

Although the iPhone comes with a time-lapse feature, Hyperlapse from the makers of Instagram claims to offer the feature too, but with an added twist. Timelapse videos taken with Hyperlapse have improved stabilisation. It’s a small detail, but a crucial one if you’re taking really long videos.








Accessories A collection of the best travel-friendly and functional accessories for photographers

Retrospective 30 Leather bag

Website: Price: £203 / $260 ACCESSORIES

With room inside for an 11-inch Macbook Air, this bag from Think Tank Photo is attractive and very practical. It’s designed to be discreet and to avoid highlighting the fact it’s packed with expensive kit. It feels beautifully made and is comfortable to carry, thanks to a generously padded shoulder strap. Aimed primarily at travel photographers and photojournalists, this bag would really suit a wide range of photographers. The interior is well designed and will comfortably fit a couple of DSLRs.

2 The British Wildlife Photography Awards Collection 6 Website: Price: £25 / approx $38


Every now and then it’s good to remind yourself of why you fell in love with photography and the British Wildlife Photography Awards books never fail to do precisely that. Somehow, coffee table books, such as this, feel so much more inspiring than simply browsing online galleries. There’s a lot on offer here, from the arty black and white of David Tipling’s Crow Country to the perfect technique on display in Neil McIntyre’s Rain-soaked Stag Shaking. Highly recommended.


Cintiq Companion 2 – 128GB, Intel Core i5

Website: Price: £1,300 / $1,600

If you are serious about your retouching, then you will very likely want to explore the possibilities offered by a tablet and pen setup. Wacom is renowned for the quality of their products and the Cintiq Companion 2 is no exception. It’s fairly weighty and requires, as you’d expect, a reasonable amount of desk space, but it’s a quality product with a screen resolution of 2560 x 1440 WQHD. There are even nine interchangeable nibs for the pen. The only potential downside is the relatively high financial outlay.


Samsung MUF-32BA USB 3.0 Drive

Website: Price: £14 / $25

Backwards compatible with USB 2.0, this highly portable 32GB flash drive is clearly intended to be attached to a keyring; indeed, it’s so small it could be easily lost. Put this in your pocket and you’d soon forget it’s there. Diminutive it may be, but it’s highly powerful nonetheless. It features transfer speeds up to 130MB/s and has been designed to offer a high degree of durability, with proofing against shock, water, extreme temperatures, magnets and X-Rays. Best of all is the very affordable price.


Vanguard VEO 235AP tripod

Website: Price: £150 / $160


Boasting a built-in pan head and Arca Swiss quick release plate, this tripod is designed to offer a quick, portable and lightweight solution. Weighing just 1.5kg, it’s certainly very easy to take with you, helped by the way that the centre column reverses to enable an ultra-compact package. The legs are in five sections, affording a good degree of flexibility, with three different locking positions. The locking button for the leg angles and the clips for the leg sections don’t have a 111 luxury feel, as such, but at this price that’s expected.




TEST SHOTS FROM THIS ISSUE’S REVIEWS YOUR BONUS RESOURCES On FileSilo this issue, free and exclusive for our readers, you’ll find plenty of fantastic resources, including… ✔ Over 65 minutes of in-depth editing video tutorials ✔ 30 free Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom Presets, courtesy of Wim van Heugten ✔ A thorough guide to mastering the Automate Processes function in Photoshop ✔ Convert to black and white ✔ Master the Lighting Effects in Photoshop ✔ Our test shots from the reviews section ✔ Image files so you can follow our tutorials





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Olympus Cameras

A new perspective. What has continued to motivate us over the years? Outstanding innovation that generates new perspectives and new possibilities. The new OM-D E-M10 Mark II features powerful 5-Axis Image Stabilisation delivering spectacularly clear and blur-free images in any situation â&#x20AC;&#x201C; which you can then share instantly thanks to built-in Wi-Fi.

Discover more:

The award winning Samsung NX1 with UHD 4K video.

· · · · · · ·

Redefine image quality with the 28MP BSI APS-C CMOS sensor Hybrid AF with 205 phase detection, 209 contrast detection and 153 cross-type sensor points Fast and precise continuous shooting up to 15fps at full resolution Capture fast-moving action with exquisite clarity at 1/8000 sec. shutter speed Breathtaking 4K UHD video recording in HEVC (H.265) format Lifelike Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) with an ultrafast response time of 0.005 seconds Highly durable dust and splash resistant magnesium alloy body

Available at

Digital photographer 167 2015