mer cr ƒ t C NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017 • £8.25
PLACES AND PEOPLE RECORDED IN PRINT BY JIM MORTRAM ALLAN WRIGHT LOUIS BERK
WEDDING WISDOM DOM & LIAM WALSH NIK PEKRIDIS KEDA Z FENG GRAPHISTUDIO DIGITALAB
CHERYL WALSH SECRETS OF HER WATER WORLD
CANON EOS 6D MkII OLYMPUS TOUGH TG-5 SIGMA ART 24-70mm ƒ2.8 IS HSM NEW INKJET PAPERS DIY PHOTO BOOKS PORTRAITPRO 17 IN ASSOCIATION WITH
Cameracraft November/December 2017 1 COVER PHOTOGRAPH BY CHERYL WALSH
S ee Fi pa rst ge Re s vi 38 ew & 39
F2112 2 November/December 2017 Cameracraft
mer cr ƒt C VOLUME 3 No 1 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017
Edited and Published by DAVID & SHIRLEY KILPATRICK Icon Publications Ltd Maxwell Place, Maxwell Lane Kelso, Scotland TD5 7BB email@example.com +44(0)1573 226032 News & Tests Editor RICHARD KILPATRICK RTK Media, The Grange Pincet Lane, North Kilworth Leicestershire LE17 6NE firstname.lastname@example.org +44(0)1858 882105
Incorporating Master Photography &
TEST: CANON 6D MkII and 24-105mm ƒ3.5-5.6 IS STM lens David Kilpatrick looks at the merits of the ‘kit’ lens being packaged with the new 26 megapixel full frame midweight Canon – and the camera itself.
Associate Editor, USA GARY FRIEDMAN Huntington Beach, CA 92646 email@example.com
TEST: SIGMA DG OS 24-70mm ƒ2.8 HSM ART lens Stabilisation has yet to come to fast 24-70mm lenses from the big camera makers, but now Sigma joins Tamron in showing them how it’s done.
Associate Editor, Ireland STEPHEN POWER firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising & Promotion DIANE E. HENDERSON dianehenderson@ iconpublications.com +44(0)1573 223508 Cameracraft is published six times a year May/June, May/June, July/ August, September/October, November/December, January/ February. On sale in the month before first month of cover date.
ISSN 2514-0167 This issue: Cameracraft #19, f2 #91
Subscriptions cost £49.50 for six issues. Cheques to the publisher’s address made payable to ‘Icon Publications Ltd’ or subscribe at www.iconpublications.com Subscribe with The Guild of Photographers membership: www.photoguild.co.uk Icon Publications Ltd can accept no responsibility for loss of or damage to photographs and manuscripts submitted, however caused. Responsibility for insurance and return carriage of equipment submitted for review or test rests with the owner. Views expressed in this magazine are those of the individual contributors and do not necessarily represent the views and policies of Icon Publications Ltd or its advertisers. All technical data and pricing information contained in news and feature articles is printed in good faith. While all advertising copy is accepted in good faith, Icon Publications Ltd can not accept any legal responsibility for claims made or the quality of goods and services arising from advertising in this publication. All contents including advertising artwork created by Icon Publications Ltd are copyright of the publishers or the creators of the works, and must not be reproduced by any means without prior permission. ©2017 Icon Publications Ltd. E&OE.
ƒ2 Freelance Photographer
By Cheryl Walsh.
NEWS, FUJFILM X-E3 LAUNCH
AWARDS Panikos Hajistilly’s MPA Photographer of the Year 2017/18 photo set, and Anthony Barlan’s optical illusion to puzzle judges.
WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY 1: A NEW SKIN The street-photo inspired wedding work of Dom and Liam Walsh, and a full report on their approach as presented in a Digitalab hosted masterclass.
WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY 2: KINGS OF THE CASTLE Supported by Graphistudio, Keda Z Feng, Nik Pekridis and Johnson Wee brought inspiration to dreich Scotland in their ‘Fantastic 3’ tour.
SOFTWARE: PORTRAITPRO 17 The automatic masking allows you to drop in new backgrounds even without true green/blue screen – and it retains all the strrengths and subtleties of its main retouching function.
LENS TEST: CANON 40mm ƒ2.8 EF STM ‘PANCAKE’ Stephen Power is not the first to find out that this inexpensive little semi-wide is a very sharp weapon.
PORTFOLIO: CHERYL WALSH OK, we nearly entitled this superb photo set Wet Dreams. Both words surely apply! Gary Friedman visited Cheryl’s ‘backyard’ swimming pool studio for an interview.
BOOK MAKERS Three revealing interviews by Stephen Power bring you the publishing story of photographers
in hard and sotback print: J. R. (Jim) Mortram, Allan Wright, and Louis Berk.
MAKING BOOKS Fotospeed and Permajet springloaded spine print books, and an HD printed album from 2M Photo.
INKJET TESTS Permajet Portrait Rag 285 Fotospeed Platinum Gloss ArtFibre 300.
TEST: OLYMPUS TOUGH TG-5 Underwater expert Lawson Wood has found a compact camera which dives deep, shoots raw, and is almost a ‘mini Nikonos’ in system accessories.
REARVIEW GALLERY We make our selection from Bronze winners of the Guild of Photographers’ recent monthly competition rounds.
PHOTOHUBS November Event An update as places at workshops sell out – but the open talks and demonstrations, and trade show, have no restrictions on numbers.
GUILD OF PHOTOGRAPHERS About the competition, annual awards, and membership benefits.
The editor signs off our largest ever issue with a plea to keep photography real.
Cameracraft November/December 2017 3
send your news releases & events to email@example.com Samyang 35mm ƒ1.4 Sony FE autofocus
Voigtlander Nokton 40mm ƒ2 for Nikon
‘ABSOLUTE resolution across the entire image field’ is the claim made for the new Samyang AF 35mm ƒ1.4 FE, which features two aspherical and two high-refractive lenses in its 11 element design. Ultra Multi Coating cuts flare which can be a problem with fast lenses of this type. A quiet autofocus performance is claimed to be action-capable, suiting fast shutter speeds and shallow depth of field. Available from November 2017 the lens will carry a suggested retail price of £599.00 inc VAT. For full details please visit www.intro2020.co.uk
THE THIRD 40mm ƒ2 from Voigtlander is the second SLR lens with the 'II-S' title, joining the 58mm ƒ1.4. a chassis change has been undertaken. Available in black or silver the 40mm f2.0 Ultron SL II-S Aspherical Lens from Voigtlander is an full frame manual focus lens for use on Nikon full frame DSLRs and SLRs. It features aspherical, multi-coated optics and despite the retro look with the ‘bunny ears’ aperture coupling for original F-series SLRs, it does incorporate a CPU which provides aperture transmission, focus confirmation and EXIF data to newer generations of Nikon DSLRs. For Sony FE mount, with electrical contacts, comes their new 40mm ƒ1.2 Nokton, in the usual solid metal barral with manual auto-magnified focusing down to 35cm and the aperture set in onethird clicks. We hope to test both in due course www.flaghead.co.uk
November 15th-16th 2017 Photohubs Seminars Coventry – see page 78. For discounted tickets, use the code 'CameraCraft20' which will give you a 20% discount from either single Day passes or the Two-Day pass. This brings a Day pass down to £60.00 from £75.00, and a full Two-Day pass down to £112.00 from £140. December 18th-Jan. 5th 2017/18 England and Wales Schools Christmas break Dec. 22nd-Jan. 7th 2017/18 Scotland Schools Christmas Break January 10th-14th 2018 The Societies Convention London See page 9 for full details January 12th-14th 2018 The Societies Trade Show Industry exhibition London See page 9 for full details January 29thFebruary 5th 2018 Photo Training Overseas Madeira See pto-uk.com February 3rd 2018 The Guild of Photographers Annual Awards Cheshire February 24th-28th 2018 WPPI Conference Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas See wppiexpo.com February 26th-28th 2018 WPPI Expo Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas See wppiexpo.com March 17th-20th 2018 The Photography Show National Exhibition Centre Coventry-Birmingham See photographyshow,com
Wrap your images on to walls LANDOR PHOTOTEX is a unique paste free wallcovering fabric which allows you to transform any non-porous surface into a tailored image feature. It can be printed using any inkjet printer or any ink technology, from small sheets to large rolls. Landor Phototex is easy to use, allowing removal and repositioning without causing damage to the wall or adhesive. You can obtain a sample test for yourself by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
www.landoruk.com 4 November/December 2017 Cameracraft
Zeiss Milvus 25mm ƒ1.4
SINCE WE tested the Zeiss Milvus Canon EF mount manual focus 15mm, 25mm and 135mm lenses last year more of the gaps in the line-up (based on the former Zeiss ZE/ZF manual lenses) have been filled in but no-one expected a 25mm ƒ1.4. The lens has a metal housing and the focus throw is 172° to help with the precision needed. It is claimed to have almost apochromatic correction as well as the expected dramatic bokeh effect with differential focus wide open. This lens means Zeiss now have a ciné friendly 25-35-50-85 set all ƒ1.4. The Canon version uses electronic aperture, but the Nikon model has a declickable manually set control. Both give a round aperture. The filter size is 82mm and the lens weighs just over one kilo. The 25mm ƒ1.4 Distagon T* lens will sell for a recommended £1,999 including VAT. www.zeiss.co.uk
Replacement flash tubes for Bowens kit
Bowens accessory to Elinchrom head ring
SINCE BOWENS confirmed in August that the 94-years old firm was to be wound up many photographers have asked for info on spare parts (service is available through WEX Photo Visual and many other trade/retail channels). For direct replacement spares, Phoxene (formerly Lumix) can supply replacement flashtubes for Creo, QuadX, Gemini and Esprit heads. You can find an online catalogue at: www.phoxene.com or email for information – email@example.com
IF YOU are switching from the now-discontinued Bowens system to use Elinchrom EL fit heads, this small adaptor from The Flash Centre is all you need to convert a head to take all your Bowens light-shapers. It’s just £10 from TFC, WEX and other stockists.
SAVE £1200 WHEN YOU PURCHASE THE FUJIFILM GFX 50S WITH ANY GF LENS
WWW.FUJIFILMX.COM/GFX Terms and Conditions apply. Ask in store for more details.
Cameracraft November/December 2017 5
send your news releases & events to firstname.lastname@example.org Canon G1X Mark III APS-C Instax Square goes compact is claimed to be analogue the best ever G1 ONCE AGAIN launched
WITH A similar 24 megapixel sensor to the EOS 80D – an ISO range of 100 to 25,600 for both still and video capture – the new APS-C Powershot G1X MkIII includes Auto Lighting Optimiser and Diffraction Correction derived from the EOS-1D X Mark II. The 24-72 mm (equivalent) zoom focuses down to 10 cm, with ƒ2.85.6 maximum aperture. It is custom matched to the sensor and has a 9-blade aperture for circular ‘bokeh’. The camera also sees the first Dual Pixel CMOS AF (0.09 seconds) in a Canon compact, plus 4-stop IS,
7fps sequence capture and a fastest shutter speed of 1/2000s. The central, built-in EVF is high-res at 2.36 million dots. Touch and Drag Auto Focus (AF) on the rear articulated 1.04 million dot touch screen lets you move the AF point as wanted. At 399 grams, the PowerShot G1 X Mark III is 14.8 mm thinner and significantly smaller than the Mark II. It has weather sealing against dust and moisture. It is Canon’s only digital camera with an APS-C sensor that has its own underwater casing available, good for 40 m (130 feet) depth.
Profoto A1 Air-TTL – the first camera top compact studio grade flash from the brand leader THE FIRST battery-operated ‘speedlight’ sized model from the Swedish maker, the Profoto A1 is designed for use on or off camera with dedicated shoe fittings initially for Canon and Nikon at a price of £849 including VAT. The circular reflector and zoom fresnel diffuser delivers light which is more even in coverage and also more natural in effect than a typical rectangular camera flashgun, with a soft and smooth penumbral fall-off. A magnetic mount allows light-shaping tools and modifiers to be clicked on and off with ease. AirTTL functionality from its builtin Air Remote allows all the Profoto AirTTL trigger/controllers modules to use the A1 as a remote flash, so owners of Sony, Olympus, and Fujifilm X will be able to benefit from it regardless of the camera fitting chosen for the flash itself. The AirTTL operates up to 1000ft distance in manual, 330ft distanc e with TTL. The energy range is nine f-stops AirTTL and HSS permits almost unlimited power reduction
Above ground it is dust and water sealed. Full HD 60p movies are saved as ready-to-roll MP4 files with 5-axis Advanced Dynamic IS and Dual Pixel CMOS AF. There is a time-lapse movie mode and a panoramic multishot function thanks to the EOS-level Digic7 processor. Battery life is improved by around 25% and functions include Wi-Fi and Dynamic NFC, live preview and triggering from smart devices. The PowerShot G1 X Mark III will be available from November 2017 with an SRP of £1149/€1399. www.canon.co.uk
via Kickstarter, though almost certain to hit mainstream production soon after, Lomography have responded to the introduction of Instax Square media with a convertible model of their Instant range. Fuji’s own SQ10 is a curious hybrid camera reminiscent of Zinkbased offerings from a few years ago – with an Instax Share-style integrated digital printer that produces an 800 x 800 pixel image on the analogue integral film. It hits consumer demands well, with retention and sharing, plus printing images from MicroSD card, but the lovely photographic quality of the large film area and lenses must surely be lost, as it has a 1/4” *(3.2 x 2.7mm) sensor at 1920 x 1920 pixels resolution. Lomo’Instant Square is now a multi-format instant camera. With the Lomo’Instant Square, users can now shoot both Instax Square and Instax Mini film. The Instant Mini back was launched at $15. £169 www.lomography.com
WEX and Calumet merger complete
for very wide aperture work. The rechargeable Li-ion battery provides up to 350 full-power flashes, and this with a recycling time of only 1.2s. Five dedicated A1 Light Shaping tools are available initially. These are the Bounce Card, Dome Diffuser, Wide Lens, Gel Kit and Soft Bounce (a much larger scooped shape). As we have come to expect from Profoto, the A1 has been tested before release by a team of ambassadors shooting in interesting light and locations worldwide, with help of portable flash guided by a useful modelling LED. Look for their demonstration videos. www.profoto.com
6 November/December 2017 Cameracraft
THE MERGER between WEX (Warehouse Express) of Norwich and Calumet, the UK division of the international brand, was completed last month with the rebranding of the stores soon to be trading under the name WEX Photo Visual. The company states they will offer “an improved experience and wider range of products to photographers across the UK and Northern Ireland”. This has resulted in the closure of the Calumet Photographic UK website, and all traffic is being automatically e re-directed to Wex. All Calumet stores in the UK will remain open as usual, trading under the Calumet name until refitted over the coming months. The company also intends to open a new flagship store in London. We look forward to seeing what happens with Calumet product lines.
COVER IMAGE INFORMATION: this was omitted from our article on Cheryl Walsh in this issue – Model & Dressmaker Rachel Day; Corset and crown by Fiori Couture; Wig, PishPosh Wigs.
Print in photo courtesy of Sian Lewis Photography
Folio & Print Boxes Now Available
: wn x11 o 4 h t S od 1 USB c u o od W ith Pr ium x w bo 7 Cameracraft November/December em 2017 Pr olio F
FUJIFILM X-E3 Richard Kilpatrick with hands on the new Fujifilm compact APS-C mirrorless system camera IN SEPTEMBER, we were invited to have a hands-on look at the new Fujifilm X-E3 mirrorless body, along with some lenses and a brief chance to try out the new 23mm extra wide angle for the medium format GFX system â€“ though not for more than a couple of shots, as itâ€™s a popular product at press events.
The X-E3 is the smallest of the X-series interchangeable lens cameras, but itâ€™s also probably the most logical entry point to the system; the X-E has the rangefinder-style body that defined that first X-Pro1, and retains an EVF, but loses the optical finder to great advantage in size and weight terms. With the X-E3, Fuji have brought all the advances made in the X-T20, X-T2 and X-Pro2 into an ÂŁ849 body weighing just 337g with battery and memory card. If thatâ€™s not compelling enough, the interchangeable X-E3 paired with the excellent XF 23mm Ć’2.0 lens is only ÂŁ1,149; it undercuts the X100F by enough to get another lens and have a vastly more versatile setup. It does lose the articulated screen of other models in the range, but a lot of that is alleviated by the faster, lower-power Bluetooth link and updated Fuji Remote Control app for smartphones. In designing the X-E3, Fuji have stripped a lot back for efficiency, rather than an enforced cost/product placement goal. Spartan on the back plate, the D-pad is gone, leaving a wide, secure thumb grip that
is particularly pleasant to use - the EVF is perfectly placed for right-eye shooters wanting to keep engagement with their subject, positioned on the far left corner of the body just like a classic rangefinder compact. The layout is really comfortable to use despite the compact dimensions of the camera â€“ thereâ€™s no situation where your hand, face and eye are battling for the same area of real estate. To compensate for this minimalism, the joystick control now found on most Fuji X bodies has been supplemented with an enhanced touch screen. Menus and features can be accessed via gestures, and the screen is extremely responsive. This method of interacting with things is becoming so widespread â€“ from the early implementations on iPhone and so forth, to modern car climate control panels and radios, that I attempted to pinch-zoom a picture in Car magazine last month! Itâ€™s more intuitive than some existing menu structures and function modes, and once you accept the camera is going to behave that way proves very effective.
The vital hardware controls remain, of course â€“ the joystick allows selection of AF point while shooting with EVF (you can use the touch screen when not). Naturally the XF lenses feature aperture rings, and thereâ€™s a shutter speed dial along with thumbwheel controllers for assignable functions and exposure compensation. Like most of the consumer-targeted models thereâ€™s also a quick â€œAutoâ€? lever, which is worth remembering even if youâ€™re a professional who favours manual everything and caught out in a sudden change of scenarioâ€Ś Weâ€™ve focused on the price and looks here, because inside itâ€™s the same recipe as the most recent X-series models. 24.3Mp X-Trans III sensor, with on-chip phase
A quick test shot with the 35mm Ć’2 at ISO 1000 and Ć’2.5 â€“ with 300dpi detail.
detection, pseudo-random colour filter array and 4K video recording. Professionals will still favour the X-Pro2 and X-T2 for their dual card slots, fast continuous modes and additional battery capability in the T2, but beyond that the X-E3 has given no ground to higher-end models in terms of image quality and performance. It even features metal controls, and optional metal hand grip, to enhance the feeling of quality build - as a second body it has huge potential as the lack of articulated screen makes it inherently robust, and almost pocketable with the right lenses â€“ definitely so, as a spare body with a cap on. Alongside the X-E3 we got a first look at the XF 80mm F2.0 LM WR OIS Macro â€“ Fujiâ€™s first 1:1 Macro for the X-system. Paired with a 1.4x or 2.0 teleconverter, the early models for test looked extremely promising, with fast, stable focus and incredible image quality. The X-system range now looks incredibly complete, with third-party flash adding HSS support and a broad range of prices with actually, surprisingly little difference in image quality whether youâ€™re on a budget or a fully-equipped professional. That, and the kind of mentality that sees free firmware announced to add 4K video to existing X-Pro2 models, is why Fuji are continuing to gain ground adRocket in the digital mirrorless market. Ă www.fujifilm.co.uk
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PUT THE DATES IN YOUR DIARY NOW! Full Convention 10–14 January 2018 FREE* Trade Show 12–14 January 2018 Hilton London Metropole Hotel
Europe’s Largest ‘All-Welcome’ Photographic Convention
TAKE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY TO THE NEXT LEVEL
Attend The Societies 2018 London Photographic Trade Show for free* All the latest photographic equipment, products and services will be on show, and attendees will be able to watch demonstrations from leading manufacturers on their products. All the major players in the industry will be exhibiting, so it’s a good opportunity to meet the key personnel behind the latest photography equipment. Many of the 150+ exhibitors will also be offering special deals on their products and services, exclusive to the show with Cameraworld and Park Cameras the main supporting dealers.
REGISTER TODAY FOR YOUR FREE TRADE SHOW TICKETS.*
OVER 40 HOURS OF FREE SEMINARS AND DEMOS.
Register today to secure your FREE tickets to the 2018 Trade Show. “As an amateur, it is good to be able to see work and facilities at the professional level. It’s great for developing my own ideas and aspirations.” – Brian Cable
What’s on • • • • • • • • •
FREE* to enter Trade Show 4 day of Masterclasses Hands-on Superclasses Business School Location Seminars Qualification Assessments 20x16” Print Comp Judging Awards Dinner Welcome Party
Masterclasses Don’t miss out on the chance to start off the year with inspiration from some of YOU CAN the world’s best photographers. ATTEND THE FULL 4 DAY 200 hours of Masterclasses MASTERCLASS confirmed … 92 Speakers. PROGRAMME Masterclass Tickets: FROM JUST £150. Day Pass from £50 4 Day Full Pass from £150
REGISTER FOR FREE TICKETS BEFORE JAN 5 swpp.co.uk/convention/
*Pre-register before 5 JanuaryCameracraft 2018 to avoid £10 entry fee to Trade November/December 2017 Show. 9
Fujifilm sponsors 20x16 Print Competition THIS YEAR The Societies’ Rhyl-based HQ expects anything up to 1500 20x16 prints to drop on its mat. Entries to the now world-renowned Annual Print Competition (judged each January at The Societies’ London-based Convention) are at an all-time high… and now Fujifilm, having recently launched its innovative ‘Fujifilm Original Photo Paper’ campaign, has just signed up as a major sponsor. But why is this competition so successful? The organisation’s Terrie Jones explains: “Our Annual 20x16 Print Competition was born over a decade ago following a decision to turn the monthly competition into an online contest. We really wanted to keep a print element going alongside the new online option – and subsequently each year the entries have grown. Now it has gone crazy with more and more photographers entering more and more images. An average photographer entry is now around five prints but we have had some people enter up to forty. “The kudos of being crowned ‘Photographer of the Year’ in this competition is truly immense. We have a large number of wellknown international names who also enter – so if an aspirational photographer wins a category that the likes of Jerry Ghionis, David Edmonson and Johnson Wee have entered, they know they really have arrived!” But she notes: “We completely understand how daunting it can be for new photographers to enter a key competition like this so our Nouveau category is only open to firsttime entrants. No ‘big-name’ photographer can win in that category.” The 20x16 competition categories include: Wedding; Portrait; Documentary; Illustrative; The Natural World; Monochrome; Open and Nouveau. Every category and sub-category winner (e.g. avant-garde weddings) receives a prize and a trophy – and every merited image (those awarded a minimum of 80 points by judges) is displayed on exhibition at The Societies’ annual Convention at The Hilton London Metropole Hotel. The overall winner this year picks up more than prestige. He or she will also win a valuable camera and lens, a trip to the WPPI Convention and a marketing ‘makeover’ pack.
Judgement Day The Societies (including The SWPP) enjoy a close working relationship with the WPPI (the US-based Wedding and Portrait Photographers International organisation) with a number of UK Print Competition entries being sent to Las Vegas to also be judged in the WPPI competition. Says Terrie: “Both organisations employ a rigorous and highly professional judging procedure – which is always held in public. The Societies has a ‘bank’ of over 30 world-class judges from across the globe that form our 10 November/December 2017 Cameracraft
‘The Societies are on a mission to constantly improve the quality of photography and this year we are witnessing unprecedented interest and growth in our 20x16 print competition’ – Terrie Jones Why 20x16 Competition prints really are worth the paper they are printed on Says Terrie: “This is a print competition so we are really seeking true print quality. It’s such a shame to see images that could have done so much better if only they had been printed on the most appropriate paper. It’s very frustrating for judges to see a beautifully composed image that has all the elements in perfect harmony but fails on print quality.” She adds: “Now we are delighted to have Fujifilm on board as a key sponsor. Fujifilm produce world-class papers that photographers know they can always trust.” Peter Wigington, Fujifilm UK’s marketing manager Photo Imaging Group adds: “We are delighted to become sponsors of this prestigious print competition. Our Fujifilm Original Photo Paper campaign is all about highlighting the real advantages of photographers using highest quality silver halide papers with matchless longevity assurances”. Check out the full range of Fujifilm Original Photo Papers at:
panels. And they sit in judgement in three rooms for two full days at The Convention in January each year.” The first thing judges seek in an image is impact. They make an initial assessment as to whether the print is worth a Merit score (80 or above). All Merit winning prints will go into the exhibition. Any entrant scoring less than 70 is deemed to be below competition standard. 70-74 is deemed average. 75-70 is above average. Above the merit category images are ranked ‘excellent’, ‘outstanding’ or ‘exceptional’. Explains Terrie: “It is vital that photographers can come and see for themselves how their work is judged. Thus, they can note the skill sets it takes to gain merit status and above. They can sit through judgings and listen to the critiques and comments on all the elements that judges look for in a compelling image; including composition, colour balance, posing etc. The images are judged, including the mount and border….and entrants can clearly see what they must do to push their own boundaries. This competition really sets the standard now and every single picture is treated with ‘white glove’ care from the moment it drops on our mat in Wales.” Open to members and non members. Entry deadline December 22 2017. Judging dates and times at The Convention: January 10-11, 2018: 9am-5pm. For T&Cs and entry details see: http://swpp.co.uk/convention/20x16.htm Send your prints to 20x16 Print Competition, The Societies of Photographers, 6 Bath Street, Rhyl, Denbighshire LL18 3EB
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PANIKOS WINS MPA’S BIG TITLE Variety and quality wins out for North London portrait and wedding all-rounder
anikos Hajistilly, with a successful studio in Winchmore Hill, has long been held in high regard by photographic colleagues before gaining his AMPA in 2016. Now his recognition is capped off with the title of Master Photographer of the Year 2017/18, won with these five images – the highest scoring aggregate in the MPA’s annual awards held in October.
www.panikosphoto.com 12 November/December 2017 Cameracraft
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2016 BEST Cameracraft November/December 2017 13 PROCESSING LAB
THE PERFECT ILLUSION
Anthony Barlan’s award-winner has judges asking ‘is it photography or Photoshop art?’
ore than one international judging panel has asked Anthony Barlan to explain this photograph. He’s a meticulous worker, planning and executed previsualised images with relatively modest facilities and a small circle of creatives he calls on to help. He’s an artist who could easily create work which was not pure photography. This, however, is. It won the MPA Overseas Commercial and Creative Photographer of the Year award last month. As the ‘behind the scenes’ stills show, this is a simple white background study lit with a large octa. Anthony has said he’d not really need anything more than a small studio and a 50mm lens to produce his work. The effect is all down to the photographer creating the ‘hair’ prop using garden wire, white body and face paint, and the careful application of the red and black. The flat lighting fools the eye into thinking this is a sketch with an ink scribble for hair. No more Photoshop adjustment or retouching was used than for any normal picture – it was ‘got right in the camera’ in the best way.
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The documentary, street-photography inspired approach to wedding coverage brings emotions and incidents into focus. It’s this emphasis on the personality of the wedding which Dom and Liam Shaw’s clients value – even if they may be caught off-guard.
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A NEW SKIN Eyes sharpened by street photography, Dom and Liam Shaw find wedding clients who don’t want flash, don’t want fake and value a photojournalistic full coverage. We went along to observe their documentary wedding masterclass at Digitalab in Newcastle.
efore encountering Dominique and Liam Shaw at their documentary wedding masterclass held in Newcastle in September we had seen their most recent venture – a return to shooting analogue Fujicolour film. Behind this there proved to be a wealth of digital street and wedding photography embodying the best qualities of traditional film-based approaches. One of the difficulties we face when reporting a seminar or masterclass is that a direct account of what’s said is almost an infringement of intellectual property rights. The one-day class, paid-for training but effectively subsidised by the venue Digitalab and sponsors Fujifilm, revealed many business insights alongside valuable concepts to change anyone’s approach to photography itself. So, I’ll limit the number of these to repeat in print… the way to learn all of them is to make sure you remember the name York Place Studios (of Scarborough) and the team of sister and brother Dom and Liam with their ‘all family’ crew of four extending a solid documentary photographic offering to include skilled video coverage by Matt Thompson (Dom’s husband) and Alex Shaw (their younger brother). This is, I think, the first lesson. Many photographers work solo and there’s a limit to how thinly you can spread your talents. Creating a partnership with or without family ties does more than double your offering. Putting together a larger team expands social reach and client contact.
Above, Dom and Liam in action, photographed by team member Matt (married to Dom). Below, discussing a wedding album from the Tony Sarlo collection printed on Hahnemühle fine art paper, offered by Digitalab. Bottom, the airy lecture area links the lab’s traditional darkroom and digital finishing work floors (©DK).
“In times of change learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped for a world which no longer exists” – Eric Hoffer, quoted in Dominique and Liam’s well-produced presentation
One of the key insights Dom and Liam gave was about the way you present blogs and web pages. Rather than pushing the usual (and suspect) stuff about search engine optimisation, they emphasise the need for critical content to load first and to ‘work’ even if the pipeline breaks and a page only half-loads or does it so slowly it sends visitors off to click something else. “The first image must count”, said Liam. “The top half of the image, part-loaded, must work. The image and text must match your brand. It must not conflict with your main offering. If you are promoting documentary wedding photography, do not allow a portrait to load first.” This makes total sense and you could almost feel it register with the group of photographers glued to the words and images and writing in their notebooks (paper, not key tapping). “Pick images which you love, not because they have won awards or got likes on social media. Likes are of no value without bookings.” They emphasised the need for change, and to accept risk, in a market where the subject (weddings) is bound to be repetitive. Storytelling is at the heart of their own approach, and there was an interesting discussion about the place of ‘second shooters’. Many readers of this magazine will not be booking weddings themselves but may do regular gigs as second shooter for busy full-time wedding photographers. Often, this means doing more of the storytelling than the principal photographer ends up with – catching the great candid moments, the photographic
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Street photography can inform wedding photography, and if the right work is shown to prospective clients, there should not be any problem with elements of incongruity or humour in the wedding results. Here are some examples, all from weddings, which look most like observational photojournalism. Above, the intrusive foreground suits the gesture well, but Dom and Liam were lucky in the relationship between the ‘actors’ in this scene (husband and wife). It turned out to say the right things about the individuals so they liked it. Top of the facing page, see the story – from the same wedding guests. It’s an old saying expressed in an image and did not offend. Below, an image which photographers at the masterclass felt could easily have been from Dom and Liam’s Cuba reportage series but were actually a UK wedding. The slightly run-down state of the rooms provided for getting ready added to the enigmatic ambience!
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asides, which give professional wedding coverage value. So, might the second shooter end up with the best pictures while the ‘expert’ main shooter uses time-honed skills to ensure perfect large groups and formals? Should the main photographer really be doing the Cartier-Bresson stuff and hire a second shooter to tackle the groups and the ‘list ticks’ of relatives? Dom and Liam, working as a team, don’t have that issue. Both now work with two Fujifilm X-Pro2 bodies and the best wide aperture prime lenses such as 16mm and 23mm ƒ1.4, 56mm ƒ1.2 and 90mm ƒ2. Video is shot by Matt and Alex on X-T2 bodies. Their images will mix and match. They often use a fixed high ISO even if the light is good, and a mid-range aperture preset as they are not looking for bokeh effects. Normally the depth of the shot needs to be sharp and any unfocused foregrounds still remain recognisable. Wider apertures help at night and indoors, with dance shots needing a fast enough shutter speed to avoid unwanted motion blur (example, right). From the prints and projected work seen, everything looks more film-like than the typical output
from industry standard DSLRs. It would be necessary to convert to black and white, or use custom image profiles, to mix this picture look with typical wedding images. But it’s not just down to the rangefinder-style cameras and lightweight unobtrusive working style. “Use street photography to practice between weddings” is their advice, along with the need to get out from behind the computer and get behind the camera
as much as possible. Getting to know how people may react through street photography can help to understand their reactions during a wedding. The basic street photography technique of spotting a background ‘stage’ and waiting for figures to create a moment to capture (being a ‘fisher’) may not work at weddings where moving around with the camera spotting interactions can be better (being a ‘hunter’). But it can!
A good example shown was the picture above – a baby buggy at the left upper end of the horizontal composition where the eye enters, a path with space in the middle, and an anonymous gravestone in the lower right where the eye comes to rest. Into this setting an older guest on a mobility scooter arrives travelling left to right, caught in the space. Who, in a wedding album, wants a visual reference to ‘from the cradle to
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A recurring theme in Dom and Liam’s street and wedding photography alike is the use of images on posters, paintings and television screens within the photograph. Getting TV screens to render correctly is not easy and they explained how to avoid scan lines if a screen appears in shot. Often, the image on the screen or in a painting can echo or contrast with the people in the shot. Above, a street photograph (Cuban series) – below, a wedding photograph. In both cases the secondary image included in the frame makes the shot. Would your wedding clients appreciate the picture below as part of a bride or bridesmaid prep coverage? On this question, Dom and Liam are clear. They have already shown the prospective clients images of this type, and know that they are ‘safe’. The documentary wedding style has to be a collaboration between the clients and the photographer/s.
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Two street scenes here show one point which Liam made with emphasis – solid silhouette shadows, as a foreground, can be effective. We didn’t find any wedding examples to match the strength of these images, which also prove that mid-day sunshine is not a no-go area even in the tropics. Note the angle of the sun from the shadow of the man with bike above. There are many other points to note, like the common direction of the two cyclists above and the contrast of shadow against a lit background, and a lit subject against a shadowed wall. Below, the division of the image into two haves with elements of symmetry combines with a distinct ‘layered’ story of the foreground silhouetted kids and background man in the doorway. The three scales of figure and the stage-set two dimensional quality of the background make a visually intriguing composition.
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Street versus wedding, example one – above and below. We have picked these two from Dom and Liam’s portfolios to show how life imitates art. Superficially, the similarity lies in the uniforms and the informal groups, but it goes beyond this. Note, in both cases, the divergence of gaze from the subjects in the pictures. This can be a key to creating repeated viewer engagement with the image. As various figures within the image have their attention focused on different locations within or outside the frame, the viewer will tend to look for the objects of their attention. In most cases these just don’t appear in the picture so the imagination has to take over. This has the effect of adding space outside the framing of the image, which the mind’s eye knows must be there, but has no data for. The photograph thus becomes more than what’s actually visible.
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Two more examples here of street photography, top, and wedding photography, below. These show just how well the same motifs can work – the car carrying the foreground scene across a background which is unrelated yet watches over what is happening. In both pictures the photographer is observing something happening near the camera, but recording a scene beyond this subject, where observation is taking place from the other side. This is a situation which draws the viewer in, and makes the eye look repeatedly at the foreground subject and what’s happening beyond. In some of Dom and Liam’s photographs, additional ‘layers’ of action draw the viewer’s gaze in turn, and on the next page, we show the one street picture which they discussed in most depth during the masterclass because of the complex interaction of layers and directions within the scene.
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From Cuba, this proved to be a favourite image – and one which,using the ‘fishing’ method of finding a setting and waiting for figures to enter it, took several minutes and produced a few near-miss versions which Dom and Liam showed. Choosing a street junction, with the roads at 45° to the camera, the wide-angle lens allowed people to walk close without thinking they were in shot. The X-Pro2 silent shutter mode helps too. Had the figure behind the silhouetted man not been effectively covered, having any part of a face visible beyond another would have spoiled the shot. They do not retouch images, even though it would be easy to eliminate the grey next to the man’s back. Left hand page, colour really comes to life in many of the street shots. We liked the juxtaposition of the yellow and blue in these two, and the ‘driver’ silhouettes.
the grave’? Well, that depends on the client, and Liam emphasised that their wedding clients pick York Studios specifically because of the approach, ‘oddities in reality’ included. They are sometimes engaged to cover other photographers’ weddings – clients who can read images as well as anyone! Their favourite times at weddings include the twenty minutes or so when everyone is leaving the ceremony, milling around, saying hello because they arrived late and there are friends and relatives to greet. They don’t try to organise this chaos too much, preferring casual groups which form naturally, children running round, and gentle direction at the most. They accept that the clients may ask for some group pictures which need intervention, but many can be taken candidly. The after-ceremony melée is like a street situation in the kind of streets they prefer (junctions and crossroads are good because people can arrive from all directions!). Their latest exhibition,
shown at Digitalab in the summer and due to find other venues as we go to press, resulted from a trip to Cuba using the X-Pro2 kit. Images from this series were used to explain the concept of layered compositions (nothing to do with Layers in post-processing). You can call a Breughel village scene or a Tony Ray-Jones glimpse of 1960s English society ‘layered’ in their sense. Things happen at different distances or in parts of the composition. Typically, a foreground element will create one layer (rather than the traditional idea of foreground providing a frame) through or beyond which the main action of the image will be seen. Beyond this, the setting or background may include other visible action or incidents. Some of the Shaws’ street photographs have more than three identifiable layers of action. Very often, the foreground layer falls into shadow, creating silhouettes against the brightly lit scene beyond. These multiple stories in a single frame also work at weddings,
showing the character of the ‘actors’ in the scene, and they can be more interesting to people unconnected with the wedding. To secure them, Dom and Liam advise staying all day. They may take only 20 minutes out to make posed portraits if the clients say it’s essential to keep family members happy, but prefer not to do this at all. They do not use flash and do not use lights, and aim instead to catch the mood. The EVF has already confirmed the shot so no time is wasted ‘chimping’, keep shooting! They also do not post images on social media the next day – the edit takes time and this adds perceived value. When it comes to assembling images to show to prospective wedding clients, another insight emerges. “Don’t show examples like the ‘spinning dress’ shot even if taken spontaneously”, Liam says. “A couple may demand it is replicated. Don’t offer to repeat pictures or fake them.” They are careful to show sample images from all conditions, and
if a wedding is in January, they don’t show off spring, summer or autumn successes. Instead, they try to show typical results from previous winter weddings. Finally, a word from Liam which is no doubt passed down from past greats – “There’s always you in the frame. You are the invisible person.” This was an excellent full-day masterclass, with photographers travelling hundreds of miles and staying overnight to attend. Sample pictures had been submitted in advance and these were carefully analysed and discussed with participation. Digitalab’s lecture area was an ideal space, and a tour of the lab’s facilities followed. Thank you, all concerned, for letting me sit in and report on this without revealing too many of the countless further key points and insights given by Dominique and Liam. – David Kilpatrick
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The art of the candid group If enough pictures are taken to show all the guests as they would wish to be seen, there is scope to catch off-hand moments especially at time when guests gather informally after the service or before the reception. These two examples donâ€™t replace the formal groups most couples will ask for. They do add humour and warmth to the wedding story when added to an album. Part of the knack to capturing moments like the complex interaction below comes from practicing street photography. All photographs ÂŠ Domjnique and Liam Show/York Place Studios except where otherwise credited.
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NEWCASTLE’S TARDIS PHOTO LAB: BIG IMAGES FROM DIGITALAB’S SMALL FOOTPRINT A look at the analogue foundations of a digital processing specialist
own a narrow street which seems to have been lifted from the last century with gaps waiting to be filled by contrasting brand new buildings, Digitalab hides away in Newcastle-upon-Tyne’s Ouseburn. Traffic passes high above unaware of the student-friendly, arts orientated business community down below with its own urban farm and riding stables. Horses walk past the lab’s reception windows as the stables are right opposite. People head down the hill for craft ales and interesting lunch breaks, or in the evening for good music. Nearby there’s Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children’s Books, just up the road – more than a library, a creative workshop and focus for teaching the love of words and also the pictures that go with them. It’s creative mileu. The lab is three generations old, it used to be MPS and now Jill Roe runs the firm her grandfather founded. Brought up with analogue photography, she has maintained the darkrooms where C41 and black and white are still processed. The throughput for E6 has fallen too low for the chemicals to be maintained at the right replenishment rate, so that has to be sent out. Two Noritsu QSS-3701HD digital printers using 30.5cm paper can produce prints up to 12 x 36" in old money, and do it at 640dpi instead of being turned down to half-resolution, which consumer photo services do to increase productivity. This is so fine it’s nearly as good as a true optical colour print. But the perfect blend of digital and analogue comes with not one but TWO Cymbolic Sciences Lightjet printers. These were and still are revolutionary, British technology using laser-tuned RGB light beams to image directly on to photographic papers whether reversal or C-type. There are labs with a single Lightjet earning a good living from that investment
Jill Roe discusses production at the lab with delegates on the York Studios masterclass. A multi-image wall print of newborn photography can be seen waiting to be mounted into a CNC-cut mount overlay.
Alex Ingram slips finished fine art prints from attendees at the masterclass, mounted with a single matte overlay, into acetate presentation sleeves.
The room which takes up most space, and keeps the Dyson busy, is always the finishing room in any lab. At Digitalab it’s more a floor than a room, in a building which is a Tardis-like blend of old and new. Photographs: David Kilpatrick.
in London, making it the main marketing ‘USP’. Here up in Newcastle, Digitalab have two entire rooms (each printer needs a controlled environment room of its own) and two machines capable of 8 x 4ft prints using 50" Fujifilm materials.
Given their digital facilities which include a stockroom of Hahnemühle fine art inkjet papers, Canon Pro 4000 and Epson 9800 large format printers many labs would consider the analogue systems not worth the considerable effort of compliance with
environmental regulations. But this is Digitalab's strength, which Jill and her business development manager Alex Ingram have turned into a brand attracting business whenever the very best silver-based printing is needed. The lab has the usual finishing with hot-roller lamination for maximum clarity and longevity, a wall-mounted frame moulding and board chopper, and a CNC programmable mount and matte overlay cutter. Everyone is doing float box frames now (where the image is held above the back mount but behind the glass in a deep frame). Digitalab have Hahnemühle art paper with a deckle edge ragged trim in this popular presentation – and they continue like all labs to source new materials and ideas for finished products. The Hahnemühle connection has led to working with Italian album makers Tony Sarlo, who use exactly the same Canon calibrated printer, software and profile to create a range of handmade books. Digitalab are now sole agents for the Sarlo albums, with the associated design and order creation software. They can add to the albums matching archive and wall-art prints on identical materials with a close guarantee of identical colour. This is a key point for customer satisfaction when changing colours of clothing or skin tones are a common reason for rejection or disputes. The delegates on the York Studios masterclass day were shown round and could relate to the scale of the business, which operates in an enclave of like-minded creative industries. For Cameracraft, it was fascinating to discover Ouseburn and renew acquaintance with a part of Newcastle’s photographic eminence. – DK
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KINGS OF THE CASTLE Whatever draws Graphistudio and their worldwide ambassadors to castles, it works. Keda Z Feng, Nik Pekridis and Johnson Wee came to a Scottish ancestral pile to inspire photographers and explain their approaches to weddings.
few years ago Graphistudio invested in the purchase and effective rescue of a real castle in the air – Castello Ceconi, a baronial fantasy up in the mountains, well suited to its new user as a training centre. Not everyone can go to Italy, so in October they supported three top wedding photographers at a castle in Ayr instead, the unpronounceable Blairquhan seat of the Hunter Blair family at Maybole. The trio of Nik Pekridis (Athens), Keda Z Feng and Johnson Wee (Singapore) was joined by Graphistudio’s Jeremy Price and Martin Baynes for an open day with afternoon talks by the visiting photographers. After this came the real workshop, small group hands-on tuition over the next two days. We went along for the open day partly to catch up with the phenomenal rate of product innovation from Graphistudio. Unless you are one of their customers – and only professional photographers can be – there’s really no way of grasping how much things have changed in the last three years.
The Graphistudio story Graphistudio started life in the 1980s with a patent for lay-flat wedding albums. Unlike this magazine, or any regular book, the lay-flat spine opens two pages to form an almost continuous spread with no ‘gutter’. It is now a familiar idea but it was revolutionary, allowing panoramic group shots and imaginative layouts. At the turn of millennium, with scanning of negatives almost essential for routine printing and digital photography clearly about to take over, their traditional photographic printing was augmented by a digital offset press (the Indigo) using liquid toner. From 2002 on, every Wedding Book produced for photographers has
Blairquhan Castle as your editor found it, above, and as Nik Pekridis used it during the ‘Fantastic 3’ group workshop – in more typically Scottish weather, below.
Photographers at the Ayrshire open day and following workshop were amongst the first to see new Graphistudio products. The .mov is a box for Graphistudio books which has a custom-built touchscreen, lith-ion powered video screen with SSD storage in the lid. It adds wedding movie or slide shows in an affordable package. The new Graphibook (below, by Keda Z Feng) is an HD printed option with a semi-flat spine binding, allowing magazine style page weight without the perfect-bind gutter found in regular books (and Cameracraft).
been archived by Graphistudio. This unique free back up has enabled studios to replace albums lost in fire or flood and is one of the dividends of the digital era. Meanwhile, as Jeremy Price said, the “products which were once the province of the professional photographer are now available everywhere” – that is, most regular wedding albums, print services and even access to album design software. Graphistudio’s services, in contrast, have remained exclusive to the trade buyer. No bride or parent goes directly to them and the final product remains as a result under the control of photographers. This is one reason why their training programme, open days and the Italian seminar centre of Castle Ceconi are so important. The quality of Graphistudio products worldwide is a mutual venture, an unwritten deal between the photographers and their supplier to keep up a certain standard which clients will associate with the brand. From having the first lay-flat album binding to the first digital offset album printing, Graphistudio progressed to become the first using printing industry on-press finishing techniques like high build gloss spot varnish, white ink underprinting on dark coloured papers, and metallic bases and inks. Embossing, debossing, digital matt and in due course computer-cut physical matt overlays arrived along with the new Canon DreamLabo HD printing. This is an ultra-high resolution extended gamut inkjet printer using a full width print head that does not need to travel across the paper. Each machine on the printworks floor near Venice can output one album page per second, allowing the company to service thousands of photographers all round the world. The Graphistudio UK was the first and most successful
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satellite and has played a pivotal role in the development of the products. Recently, starting with the concept of ‘ennoblement’ using special finishing processes on pages and covers, the pace of new product introduction has been hard to keep up with. At the Blairquhan Castle meeting, the first samples of the .mov box were seen, watched and listened to. This is an album box with a dedicated, custom-built touch screen movie module in its lid. Lith-ion rechargeable battery, USB loadable SSD storage and circuitry designed and made in Italy set this apart from earlier attempts to build OEM ‘photo movie frames’ into album covers or boxes. This came hard on the heels of two years of development of the Young Book (modern, minimal wedding album with style appeal), Baby Book (the name says it all) and Go Book (which mounts in an acrylic-window stand to turn the album into a framed print). A design programme from US photographer Sue Bryce now sees the transformation of presentation Image boxes and Design boxes into Reveal boxes, to contain the proof view of a session as mounted prints, and now the Legacy Box with magnetic cover and space to add mementos like ribbons or baby’s hospital tag. Even after we returned from the Maybole event, Graphistudio announced more progress – finally, they had mastered printing on to prepared real leather, bringing a new range of album and box cover choices. With the lay-flat album design specifications allowing up to 100 pages, from palmsize books to 40 x 50cm, and options creating a possible three million unique combinations of features, no two Graphistudio albums need ever be similar. The Primo Book with more magazine-like pages and binding allows up to 350 pages and new binding methods are being developed right now. It is in the binding system that Graphistudio’s use of the Canon DreamLabo differs from other labs – as with their original albums, they have built their own machinery to handle this. Italy still educates engineers.
Top, an audience with Graphistudio. Centre, the swatch box. Below left, Jeremy Price with a Reveal Box; right, Martin Baynes with the .mov video album box innovation.
“Claims to be making albums exactly like ours are unlikely to be justified”, said Martin Baynes. “We have delicate Fine Art paper, robust Deep Matt paper, and HD metallic is coming. Our printers are re-calibrated every 30 minutes and the HD books are so affordable you do not need to offer anyone just USB files. Offer them a free book, it’s not just about that couple, it is about the future of your business with all the people they will show it to.”
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Of prints and albums A short humorous video from Jeremy had a ‘bride’ overjoyed to be handed a USB stick… and made a very good point. Martin talked about the ‘digital black hole’ images are disappearing into, with his own son apparently managing to put 25,000 pictures on social media in a year. Having a book, an album, actually allows pictures to be shared in real social situations rather than just on our popular but relatively anti-social media. “On your website”, Martin continued, “don’t just have photos coming up. You are not
really selling the photos, you are selling the printed work. The first picture which appears if you are a wedding photographer should be a photograph of your albums.” Emphasising the value of controlling the finished product, Martin repeated the story which Scott Johnson, a well-known and awarded wedding photographer, told earlier this year. Scott had agreed to deliver a wedding entirely as digital files and was very happy with the set of photographs taken. Then, unexpectedly and in a damaging way, the bride took to social media to complain about the quality of his work. Instead of fighting a legal battle, Scott immediately designed and had printed a relatively lowcost Graphistudio Young Book album and delivered it to the bride. The effect was dramatic – apologies, effusive retractions on the same social media, praise for the quality of the images which she could not believe were the same. It turns out that viewing files from a USB stick on a TV or an uncalibrated home computer, and getting them printed by a supermarket service, had given this customer a completely false idea of what the pictures looked like and their potential to be printed well. The Graphistudio Young Book turned the negative situation round completely for Scott. With small books costing so little, no USB should ever need to be handed over without a printed version of its contents. The Baby Book with its box starts at £49 for 20 pages. The ideal sale would be a Print Box with album and USB (a £120 cost package as shown on the day). While introducing so many new products and concepts, Jeremy and Martin kept throwing key points of advice about marketing and profitable use of their range to the photographers present. Jeremy really launched into the mainstream wedding magazine publishers for encouraging lowbudget solutions and explained how they were now working with these same magazines to eliminate that blogging-style approach and encourage support for professional services and products. Martin explained the benefits of selling
wedding photography freed from the usual product-related price levels – instead, giving all clients whatever choice they wanted for the album size and cover, and charging by the image or the page instead. The figures quoted per page for additional leaves in Graphistudio albums certainly supported this – and the potential to earn a four-figure sum above and beyond basic pricing when the couple finds it hard to reject so many great photographs!
The Fantastic 2 of 3 For the day we visited the event, traffic conspired to prevent Johnson Wee from making it to the venue on time. Nik Pekridis and Keda Z Feng gave talks with an extended Q&A. Nik, from Athens, first realised the benefits of working with other photographers to develop style and ideas when he attended a Yervant seminar in Venice, 2007. “Joining societies, going to workshops and entering competitions make you better – that’s what I believe”, he said. He’s also a great believer in print awards. “If you do not print, then your pictures have no value – if you can not touch it, feel it, even smell it then it’s not complete. “You know, that’s why people making a toast chink their glasses together – to bring all five senses into it. Sight, smell, touch, taste and the missing one, the sound. For photographers sight is not enough, we need to bring in all the senses.” Nik believes that the physical album with its cover materials and weight, its look and feel and indeed even the smell (though maybe not the taste!) enhance the experience of photography for the client. So he does not deliver digital-only. The new .mov video player box from Graphistudio will bring stereo sound along with movie vision, but it’s the book and the prints which make the sale. He does only 20 weddings a year, preferring to concentrate on higher value worldwide venues and to spend time on the album design. When shooting, he will often look for repeated colours or other themes at the wedding,
Above – this great use of the dining room at Blairquhan for a group shot of the delegates was set up by Keda Feng (seen giving his talk, left) using a single location flash – in the fireplace… bare bulb is an ideal backlight giving rim accent to the all the ‘sitters’.
and take detail or incidental shots which mirror this. For example, if the bride has something yellow there might be a creative opening to use something as ordinary as the yellow lines on the road, or yellow flowers, or yellow used in the venue decor. When the matching colours are designed into an album spread, it all comes together. Keda Z Feng introduced the photographers in detail to the Chinese trend of pre-wedding photography, often involving travel and a holiday for the couple. Although he does photograph the actual wedding, he prefers the pre-wedding shoot. “I feel more in control of my creativity”, he explained. “Most of my wedding day coverage is documentary, but I love to create images – and I love to see the work printed. “The album is the most exciting part for me. I can touch a computer screen, but I can not feel the photo. The digital image
is too cold, it is just a light box. Prints can separate us out as professionals, not just amateurs doing this for a hobby. It is easy to make a photo look good in low resolution, but it is not easy to make a print which looks good in an album or on the wall. “If you go to a museum, they do not show you paintings on a screen. They show you the real thing. It is unique too. I make limited editions of 100 prints from my art photography, but for client commissions I can do something special, a single print – and this increases the value of the work.” Keda will meet the couple to discuss pre-wedding shoots, work out the storyline and posing, maybe over a meal in a good restaurant. He has a network of location scouts, friends and students all over the world but also uses Google Earth and street view to find great photo settings. Apps help him learn the best time of year and day for iconic sunrise
and sunset views as he works morning and evening giving the couple a chance for a mid-day rest. Being up early for make-up, hair and dressing and a shoot all before breakfast takes its toll. After a sunset session, they all have dinner together. Keda travels light, using Profoto B1 battery location flash and recently the Godox AD200 which is gaining such a following. But he doesn’t pack his camera gear now, with so many flight restrictions, and relies on his network plus industry contacts and hire services. Despite the risks of borrowed kit, he ‘gets it right in the camera’ using exposure and lighting and his team back at base needs only very simple post-processing to produce his signature look from raw Canon files. Here at Cameracraft, we have followed Keda’s work for years, and his Singapore contemporary Johnson Wee, who in turn has worked with Nik Pekridis as a cohost of workshops in the Far East, also supported by Graphistudio. Is it a different world? With “eighty percent of brides buying a second dress for the pre-wedding shoot” and couples spending $8-10,000 on this, perhaps it is… but there’s still a huge amount to be learned from photographers working in this high-value, high creative market. – David Kilpatrick
See: www.thefantastic3.com www.graphistudio.com
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CANON 6D MkII+24-105mm STM
hen very few new features or upgrades arrive in a new model of a camera, you can be pretty sure the earlier model has proved its worth and sold well. This must be the case with the Canon EOS 6D MkII, as many 6D owners don’t believe it is necessary to upgrade. The 26 megapixel sensor is not so much more than the original 20 megapixels, and 6.5fps over 4.5fps is worthwhile but doesn’t lift it into a higher category. The HD1080p may be improved but it’s not 4K – that is only possible using an intelligent, easily programmed time lapse which auto-merges 4K frames to create a movie clip. However, this isn’t the real point. The sensor is not about megapixels whether 4K or 26MP, it’s all about on-sensor Dual Pixel AF which transforms video follow focus especially when new STM lenses are used, combined with a rotate and flip rear touch screen able to focus and trigger. Many of the functions which made the first Panasonic touch-screen enabled mirrorless models popular are now to be found in a full frame DSLR, and that’s why the 6D MkII is major upgrade for anyone shooting movies. It is also good for tripod work with action happening in a static frame, such as stage performances. You can just touch the intended subject in a scene and the camera will focus and capture instantly. The PDAF module is completely upgraded with an array of 45 cross-type points in place of 11 with a single central cross-type, and once again the new generation of lenses including the ‘budget’ 24-105mm ƒ3.5-5.6 IS STM sold with the camera kit can make good use of them. However, as my test of the excellent Sigma 24-70mm ƒ2.8 IS USM showed, back or front focus errors can always be encountered with phase-detect AF DSLR design. You can get a lens and body precisely matched by Jon Mullins’ camerafocussupportservices.co.uk (when registering domains it’s a very good idea to make them as
It’s Canon’s budget price full frame DSLR and it even comes as a consumer-style kit with the new 24-105mm ƒ3.5-5.6 STM IS lens. David Kilpatrick discovered that lower cost does not mean lower performance.
Top: the 6D body size is unchanged, and the new 24-105mm ƒ3.5-5.6 STM is well-balanced. Above, the rear screen in traditional position shows minor changes from the familiar layout of controls. Flipped to the side and rotated, it’s useful for self-filmed video, and when reversed it can be protected against the camera back. Negative points – only a mic input, no headphones… and single SD card slot.
short as possible). But if you use on-sensor Dual Pixel AF there won’t be any focus error, and you will also get AF points over more of the sensor not just the APS-Clike zone covered by the PDAF’s three 15-point zones. With the supplied 24-105mm, despite its modest aperture at 105mm, focus was very fast and positive and also accurate for
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literally every shot as intended. My initial thought was ‘why has Canon sent out a cheap kit lens?’ but that was quickly put aside after using the lens. It’s smaller, lighter and may even be better than the L 24-105mms. I have used all the L versions and they’ve had issues with focus field flatness alongside a slightly complex distortion at 24mm.
The 24-105mm STM is very sharp in a variable but minimally curved focus plane across the field. Where it falls down is that this is paid for by allowing strong barrel distortion at 24mm and moderate pincushion at the long end. The barrelling is so strong that JPEGs corrected in camera show a big jump in what’s included at the corners relative to an uncorrected raw – and if you don’t correct, you get a lens with a gently curved horizon but probably more like a 22 or 23mm view than a 24mm, which is the focal length after software correction. When testing this lens the sun was low in the sky and bright. With the other 24-105mm or similar lenses I had to hand (Sony 16-70mm ƒ4 E, Olympus 12-40mm ƒ2.8, Sigma 24-70mm) the flare when shooting into this bright sun just outside the frame was destructive, and inside the frame pretty strong. Yet this new Canon lens resists flare better than most prime lenses. It is possible to shoot into almost any light and get a clean image. Just as well, as it came in typical Canon fashion without a lens hood (always remember to factor this in when comparing costs). Bear in mind that this lens is faster at 24mm than the ƒ4 L. I may be proved right or wrong by measurement-based tests but my sample was also as sharp as any 24-105mm L I’ve used, version 1 or 2. It gave quiet AF ideally suited to video. As for the camera – which should be the main focus of this report – it is exactly what I would want. I have always liked the articulated screen design found on some APS-C Canon models, and also on Nikon’s 5000 series and Sony’s A77/99. This is the first Canon to have it, and the first location I stopped I spotted a photographer with a large DSLR kneeling down with difficulty to compose a ground level autumn leaves view. With the 6D MkII the rotated and twisted vertical view position allowed an easy low level without wet knees – and on
finding an old industrial building being demolished, raising the camera at arm’s length above my head allowed a couple of record shots over a wall. The MkII has both WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, Canon Connect App as well as HDMI output, USB and remote control with the Canon’s custom connector interface. The result is that almost every tethered or remote viewing and shooting method is covered. Live View still shooting allows on-sensor and conventional PDAF focusing which causes only a slight delay, Video naturally uses only on-sensor. If there’s one thing a future DSLR of this class could add, it would be an EVF. That might not seem to make sense – after all, it has a screen and an optical finder – but EVF modules are very small and one could easily reside alongside the OVF eyepiece. The pentaprism OVF itself has a new LCD overlay layer, which provides grid lines and a horizon level through the finder. The rear screen horizon level is much larger and easier to use on a tripod. One downside of the information overlay in the finder is a slightly reduction in brightness, but in practice it’s an excellent finder, 0.71X scale and 98% view. The eyepiece is also very comfortable with an easily adjustable dioptre correction, necessary as the design needs precise matching to eyesight. Where the dynamic range of the original 6D was criticised by some, I found that at low ISO settings the 20MP sensor offered good shadow recovery. Most Canon sensors have been weak in highlight recovery, tending to produce odd posterisation in sunsets and bright clouds. The 6D MkII raw files have better highlight range, and just as good shadow recovery. It’s very hard to make comparisons, as the release of Photoshop CC 2018 showed – another update to the basic Adobe Camera Raw process (now Version 4, not 2003/10/12) has brought with it further improvement to all aspects of processing except perhaps the colour which still doesn’t look like the best Canon JPEGs.
AF was tested on the usual random movement of ducks and swans with more success than on previous models such as the EOS 7D, but this was a test of dynamic range – the bright sun patch needed -2.3 raw exposure compensation to hit 254-254-254 and no colour clipping was evident. Below, the tilt-swivel rear screen allowed this 24mm ƒ13 low level view without wet knees.
With the new Adobe Camera Raw I’d be happy shooting almost anything at ISO 12,800 including weddings, portraits and even groups as the level of detail is not degraded by setting NR Luminance to 50, and this eliminates noise even in midtones and the sky. The normal upper limit of auto ISO is best set to 25,600 and if you do hit this, it’s not going to ruin your image. If you once used to set cameras like the Canon 40D to allow up to ISO 1600, the 6DMkII could be set to range all the way to 51,200 and perform just as well. The camera only has a single SD card slot (which will not suit those who need backup recording on two cards for security). It has wifi which can transfer images as you shoot, but this really only is practical with JPEGs and not when you are taking hundreds of image quickly. We were pleased to see the 6DMkII has retained and improved on the GPS function of the original, but not so happy when the GPS refused to lock on and record anything at all, in many locations with every effort to make it active. Obviously, it had a fault, but suddenly it started working ten days after the first images were taken – and proved extremely accurate, and able to get a fix even inside buildings. The body and the 24-105mm STM are both weather-sealed, and the general heft and feel is substantial even though it’s considered a semi-pro model. As a long-term mirrorless user (seven years now) the DSLR shape and weight seems like a pointless burden to me, but that’s not how a client might view things. The 6DMkII looks like a ‘professional’ camera where the little Sony A6500 (which can pretty much match its practical results) looks like a hobby camera as it is not even disguised to resemble a Leica or a traditional film DSLR. For the enthusiast or professional, the Canon EOS 6D MkII is simply the right tool for the job at the right price point. The 24-105mm STM is a surprise in the best way too!
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SIGMA ART 24-70mm ƒ2.8 DG OS HSM
Canon’s fast IS 24-70 is on the way… but Sigma’s is available right now. And it’s good.
ery soon, you will be able to buy a stabilised Canon 2470mm ƒ2.8. For a long time it has been suggested that this simply is not a possible lens, the size of the aperture and range of zoom makes IS difficult to achieve with good centring and optical performance. The last updates to the 24-70mm standard have been the USM II L version, and the IS ƒ4. In the meantime Tamron has gone ahead with a VC (stabilised) 24-70mm ƒ2.8 at a surprisingly affordable £750-ish level, showing that it’s not technical barrier even though neither Canon nor Nikon has made this advance yet. Now Sigma has an ART series 24-70mm ƒ2.8 HSM with OS, the Sigma version of optical stabilisation. It’s also a much more expensive lens, at around £1,300£1,400 street price. However, it is designed with a solid metal barrel and generous acreage of glass, with Sigma’s Made in Japan label something you rarely see on any lens these days even from the big camera makers. With the benefit of new design and quality control methods, the Sigma ART series has earned an unchallenged reputation which changed the status of independent lenses. With advanced options for fine-tuning the AF and even the possibility to have the entire mount changed if you switch from Canon to Nikon or back, any professional users who have doubts about lenses like this are probably remembering a past era. It has 19 elements in 14 groups, but resists flare well enough. Any sun-star from small apertures tends to be less clean than with simpler lenses, but still attractive. The 82mm filter thread is a little larger than we expect, with 77mm almost the standard on 24-70mm ƒ2.8 designs, but it is becoming more common as designers aim for much higher resolution and freedom from distortion or vignetting. The Sigma does display both, not to an excessive degree, but enough to make me ask whether
70mm, ƒ2.8, minimum distance and smooth differential focus.
Kenneth makes decorative art and clocks from smashed stringed instruments (rescued from repair) in his workshop at Traquair House. Focused at ƒ2.8 at 24mm, the detail is super-fine.
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Full-time manual focus over-ride has its own switch position
an Adobe lens profile was on the way – it is, but was not included in the CC 2018 mid-October update. On the Canon 6D MkII with multi-zone intelligent focus enabled, the HSM ultrasonic whipped into place silently but tended to prefer foreground targets every time. The lens is sharp enough across its field, and fast enough, to make all the focus points compete. In Live View mode with off-sensor Dual Pixel focus it was dead accurate. To trust it in regular viewfinder mode, the centre focus spot plus recompose seemed the best solution and showed that the ‘front focusing’ was not a calibration issue. Locked on this way, the focus was precise but with landscapes the full focus array inevitably wanted to make the foreground the focus point. As for bokeh, the reason so many want fast zooms like this, it’s hard to fault and the lens shows less colour fringing than many primes, as well as no ‘colour bokeh’ shift effects. The 37cm close focus makes it much better for close work than, say, a typical 85mm ƒ1.8 which can only manage half the subject size. Downside? It’s big'n'heavy. It worked perfectly on a Canon adaptor on Sony A7RII, but it almost demands a pro DSLR body to balance and feel right. A unique lens, for the moment, for both Canon and Nikon users. – DK
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NEW – PORTRAIT PROFESSIONAL 17 Tested using the Studio Max full version, with the latest Adobe Photoshop CC 2018 running the plugin, the major addition to PortraitPro is a background replacement auto masking process similar to the sky replacement function of Anthropics’ Landscape Pro. For working photographers, the sheer speed and hassle-free accuracy of the masking could save hours especially if you use green or blue screen. David Kilpatrick shows the process.
he portrait on this page was taken a while back at a trade event which, although organised by a late lamented professional trade supplier, featured some very much alive names. The lighting was a simple Elinchrom set-up with two lights much as you might use for event or ‘mass’ portraits, with a different sitter every couple of minutes. The blue cloudy background drop is a common choice for easy working. The camera was Fujifilm’s S3 Pro with its unique rendering of skin tones. The lens was Sigma’s 150mm ƒ2.8 HSM Macro, which remains a good choice but not exactly forgiving for portraiture with its detail sharpness. The processed result on the facing page took under seven minutes to produce including the subtle beauty retouching process and the background drop-in. You may say, since when was PortraitPro known for subtlety? Well, if you think that way, it has been your loss and others’ gain. Some early comparison examples used far too much retouching, face shape refining and skin smoothing included, just to make sure the functions of the software were visible. In fact, you can open your portrait in PortraitPro with reliable new auto-recognition of eye, nose, mouth and face contours and it will show you an ‘After’ version which looks less retouched or manipulated than most of the Photoshop portrait retouching you’ll encounter from specialist services, or your own skills. Over the years since the British intelligent software developer Anthropics used scientific findings about how we perceive faces and what characteristics we tend to prefer, the program has changed beyong recognition. Instead of blindly smoothing over rough skin, it analyses the skin
The file as opened
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Top: the original portrait was taken during a trade show with studio for test shots. Above: the auto masking for Background replacement is a one-click process. Left: a small selection of stock backgrounds is provided – they are really for testing and learning, as here. You should shoot your own and put JPEGs in the Backgrounds folder.
colour and type right down to the structure of the pores and facial hair If your sitter has plastered on concealer, filled every pore and glued the fine hairs down in the paintwork, it may actually restore some texture during processing and make the skin look more natural. The same goes for eyebrow enhancement, which is intended to improve natural brows. HD eyebrows positioned where no natural brow belongs may confuse it. So don’t use it on clowns. Re-lighting (which I have not used here) is another function introduced in the last major upgrade and it can transform flatly lit portraits. Even old bounce flash shots from family archives, taken in the dark ages before photographers had today’s wide range of off-camera flash and light shapers, can be made to look good. For me, the most useful controls are those which improve the shading and wrinkles round the eyes and to a lesser extent the mouth. Very subtle whitening of teeth and eye whites, tweaks to lip and iris colour and general enhancement of skin tones happen with the default settings (for an adult female – the program recognises and allows alternative startpoints for children and adult males). You can go beyond this with quick commands to do things like removing pupil reflections or even moving them, or if absent, adding and adjusting ‘catchlights’. Some judges believe the eye should never show reflections from two light sources (which this does) and in the bad old days prints used to be retouched with dyes to remove the offending extra reflection. These days, we accept that we live in environments with multiple light sources and no-one really thinks that more than a single catchlight looks wrong. But PortraitPro can fix that if you want it fixing.
The result in less than 7 minutes
Left: comprehensive controls when dropping in the new background, from its size and degree of blur or depth of field effect, to colour matching. The result above took very little time to achieve as everything runs fast, no delays.
The main new function of PortraitPro 17 is the background replacement. Of course it helps to start with a simple studio background, like the blue one here. Clicking on the Background menu option, it was pretty amazing to see a pixel-perfect mask created instantly – no spinning ‘wait while we think’ drags on the CPU load. This is of course the
64-bit enabled top end version for Mac OSX, stand-alone, Photoshop plug-in and batch process features included. My late 2013 27" iMac was running Sierra, with 32GB RAM. PortraitPro StudioMax used under 1GB of memory with a 26 megapixel image open over Photoshop. Being lazy, I opted to use one of small number of supplied Background library shots. The adjustments are comprehensive, and to avoid a mismatch of subject and background scale, the horizontal image was reduced in size and dragged to position. You would normally shoot your own backgrounds and learn how to get the scale of things like cherry blossom correct for a typical portrait. But this was not the only vital bit of control – the black point was completely different, with the tree having purple-pink tinted shadows and the studio shot dead neutral. Both were fine tuned using black point, brightness, contrast, colour temperature, and tint sliders until there was a good match; then the background shot was blurred a touch. My screen shot timestamps show that all this took under three minutes of a six+ minute process between opening the image and Photoshop and saving the new version. Examined, on this 6 megapixel test there was a slight over-sharp boundary to the subject’s right shoulder and hair and two stray hairs at the parting top – though the loose hair on her left was very smoothly masked. No further retouching was done. What was a rather functional head shot, not very flattering, has been turned into a portrait which is very acceptable and shows no more distortion of facial characteristics than a change of lens and subject distance would have done (and far less than the average selfie perspective – which portrait customers are now used to). PortraitPro 17 and Landscape Pro v2 make a great British success story, selling worldwide. You may say ‘I’d never use that!’ but your competitors do. It’s time to get wise. Á
www.portraitprofessional.com Use code: F2112T to save 10% Versions from under £30
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CANON PANCAKE 40mm ƒ2.8 STM
Associate Editor Stephen Power finds that small and simple can also mean sharp
ome time ago, a friend said she had waved to me at an agricultural show, but I had been too busy to notice her as I was, in her words, “laden down with two big cameras”. I didn’t mention that had she tried to contact me a day or two after the event, I would also have been incommunicado, as I was “laid up, with a stiff shoulder”. I’m something of a photographic dinosaur, in that I still haven’t made the move from heavyweight DSLR bodies to something more comfortable to carry on a long day’s assignment, such as a mirrorless camera. I managed to compound the problem recently, when I bought myself a zoom lens that seems to weigh the equivalent of all the other lenses in my kit bag; many of which are also hefty. For those of us struggling to convey an aura of expertise in this age of ‘professional’ smartphone photography, there’s something reassuring about a heavy camera body and a substantial lens. They help to (quite literally) convey a sense of ‘gravitas’. Let’s face it, anyone lugging around half their own bodyweight in camera gear, must really know what they are doing, right? So, it was with some trepidation that I was invited to sample the delights of Canon’s 40mm EF ƒ2.8 STM lens. Known as a ‘pancake’ due to its wide and flat design, it is the shortest and (along with the ƒ1.4 50mm) lightest prime lens currently in Canon’s full-frame, err, canon. It’s also one of the least expensive Canon lenses available, but that is not to say it’s cheap. There is a feeling of quality about this lens. It has a metal mount, rigid plastic barrel and feels and operates like a lens that should cost more. The ultra-compact design is a mere 22cm thick. It has a closest focusing distance of 0.3m, which provides 0.18x magnification. It has six lens elements in four groups, with one aspherical element. The 40mm focal length
Mark Fitzgerald, Chimney Sweep from Waterville, County Kerry, Ireland. Photos taken in low evening light while attending author’s house to fix a bird cap to his chimney. Canon 5D III. 40mm STM, ISO 400, 1/50s @ ƒ8.
gives an angle of view of 56.8° on a full frame sensor and 37.1° on an APS-C sensor (equal to 64mm). Focusing is AF via a Linear Stepper Motor (STM) with full manual over-ride. The STM focusing action is virtually silent; one reason that this lens is popular with videographers and street photographers; if they remember to disable the focusing ‘beep’ before engaging the AF.
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Tests elsewhere, have found around two stops of vignetting in the corners of images of full frame with the lens wide open. This is said to reduce to half the amount at ƒ4, with around 0.7 stops of vignetting remaining throughout the rest of the aperture range. APS-C users should not notice any vignetting at all. My own tests on the full-frame 5D III body are not comprehensive enough as my apertures have usually been smaller than ƒ5.6 but no vignetting is visible on any of my images. The lens construction does not allow for a bayonet-fitting hood; only a screw-in type. Also, it’s not included in the price. Canon offer their ES-52 metal hood, but I bought a relatively inexpensive one online. The catch was that the Canon lens cap would not snap into place on it. The filter thread size (52mm) is also smaller than many other DSLR lenses and I needed to purchase a UV filter. This was no hardship, because this lens is ultra-sharp, and I want to protect it. I need to apply around 25% less post-processing sharpening (from zero sharpening in the camera) via Lightroom, to produce images that appear as sharpened as those from my Canon 24-105mm ƒ4 L series zoom lens. To say it’s ‘tack sharp around ƒ8’ would not be an exaggeration, and I’m keen to try it across the aperture range. With this lens, I feel that I have found a new shooting freedom. My camera bodies are still cumbersome, but now lighter than. Half-length portraits are distortion free, the slightly wider than ‘normal’ angle-of-view is great for some interiors and the quiet motor is perfect when taking candid shots. Why I had ignored the Canon ƒ2.8 40mm ‘pancake’ lens for so long is anyone’s guess. But, I can assure you, I won’t be tossing this one back into the bag for a long time yet.
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©Robert Rodriguez Jr - ”Cape Breton Is”
Laurent Grévill by Ian Patrick ©
©Marius Zabinski - ”Waiting”
Innovation, Quality and Character
Digital Fine Art & Photo For free ICC profiles, further help and information, please visit: www.cansoninfinity.com 42 November/December 2017 Cameracraft
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heryl Walsh describes her work as ‘Fantastical Underwater Portraits’. In the depths of her backyard swimming pool in Southern California, she works with the quiet currents that slow down time, bring vibrancy to colors, and leave her subjects virtually weightless. Her vision, coupled with her masterful printing technique, has won her an array of accolades, including over 60 WPPI print and image competition awards. What got her started doing this kind of photography? “I had seen it done by someone else, and I thought I could do it for a better reason. What I saw was an image of a younger girl in a bikini, and by a guy who was like ‘Ha ha I’m a guy with a camera and I can get this girl underwater’ (rolls her eyes). In the context of that particular situation it really bugged me. Because I shoot high school seniors, and that time of their lives deserves the utmost respect, not this kind of exploitation. So I decided ‘I’m going to do this right, for the right reasons, and I’ll do it better. “So I used my little Canon G9 and an underwater housing and after the first time I was hooked. I like the atmosphere and feeling of being underwater. It’s really very calming. I find the lack of distractions refreshing. “Underwater portrait photography is both a science and an art. If you don’t respect 100% of the science of it then you can’t even get to the art part”, she says. “There’s a lot of science that you have to know to make this. Once I got all the science dialed in then I was able to concentrate on the art. The science includes the color temperature, water temperature, water clarity, the body’s buoyancy, how light reacts underwater… and that’s just the basics”. She enjoyed it so much she decided to push herself further. Already owning a successful and original Senior Portrait photography business (AltSenior.com) in Southern California, and volunteering at Orange County School for the Arts, she managed to find time to be more daring with the details, and to push herself to
Cheryl Walsh - A Water World
Above: Model Arlondriah Lenyéa. Facing page: models Ophelia Overdose and Vanessa Walton; mermaid tails by Finfolk Productions; mermaid top with shells and skirt by Rachel Day; mermaid top pink by Jessica Dru Johnson. Pink/white skirt by Sew Trendy Accessories; crowns /cuffs, Fiori Couture; wigs, Epic Cosplay Wigs.
enter (and win) several image and print competitions. “Print competition has done more to make me a better photographer than any other form of education I’ve received. “My underwater work is a creative outlet that is fully about, and for, me. I want for someone to walk up to one of my pictures, and just go ‘ahhhh’ – just relax and be happy, even if just for a few moments of escape. And to be pulled into my pictures, and wonder, ‘Huh? Are they underwater?’ and not know right away. The reflection on water’s surface is one of the give-aways as to where they are. Plus, going a bit deeper, the reflection represents the duality of life – the pretty and the not-so-pretty”. So why would someone want an underwater portrait? “Lots of different reasons. One repeat client is a model. She’s looking for
something different for her portfolio. And what I do is different. I do some maternity shoots and high school seniors. I get fashion designers, headpiece creators, makeup artists, and even people who make swords. They all want to have their art photographed in a unique way. It’s also about me wanting to make old-world painting-like art pieces that tell stories”. She points to a six-foot tall print entitled ‘Queen Catrina, The Day of the Dead’ which shows off a makeup artist’s Dia de los Muertos work.
Underwater shooting “So here’s what I tell my subjects: I go under first, you go under when you’re ready, and you come up when you’re ready. Don’t wait for me. It puts my subjects at ease knowing they’re in control. I try to get my heart rate as low
as possible (so I can hold my breath and stay under longer). And I go down to the bottom of the pool and enjoy what I’m seeing – it’s very beautiful. I don’t use scuba gear since I find it stress-inducing”. Using a Canon 5D IV (30 MP) and an Ewa-Marin underwater housing, she wears 50 pounds of dive weights to make sure she doesn’t float up at all. Being still for focus and composition is critical. Each photo shoot lasts anywhere from 45 minutes to 5 hours for multiple models. Subjects hold their breath between 20 seconds to 1 minute for each take. Much depends upon the subject’s ability – for example, she points to one portrait of two women who were experienced free divers in real life. “They didn’t want to use weights to keep them from floating. So they emptied their lungs instead. Even with empty lungs, they could hold their breath for a minute. And STILL wrangle their costumes, and look graceful, and be aware of their fingers and their shoulders and the neck and…” Fully impressed, she switches gear – “I’m all about the little tiny details.” By all accounts, that’s an understatement. “I try to get everything as perfect in the camera as I can – the focusing must be so good that I can see air bubbles on their nose hairs. A shoot will vary between carefully composed single images to quick motion that requires a ‘spray and pray’ mode, resulting in about 2,000 shots from a typical session. If the water is cloudy at all, then I’m losing contrast in the shadows under fabrics, between their toes, behind their knees, any dark areas, and it makes me unhappy. I’d rather do the shoots I really want to do and be very happy with the results than just do a whole bunch and have them be average. Ultimately I’m creating painterly images where I let go of a lot of that focus and detail but I feel best knowing it’s there when I want it”. Cheryl goes to great lengths to keep her pool water crystal clear and practically chlorine fee as to not irritate the model’s eyes
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Model Reilena Kimono and gown Rachel Day Make up Kelton Ching Crowns - Los tesoros de la Ayalga Wig - Epic Cosplay Wigs
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Model Corey Aries Stylist Mimi Jeng
Models Jessica Dru Johnson and Brandon Myles White Top and cape by Jessica Dru Mermaid tail by Finfolk Productions Wig Pish Posh Wigs Headpiece Doyenne Discordia by Frederike Koring
Models Vanessa Walton and Hudson White Gown Creature of Habit Toga Jessica Dru Johnson Belt, Crown and Cuff Fiori Couture All photographs © Cheryl Walsh
‘Pták Ohnivák’ Photo: Cheryl Walsh Makeup Alta DeKoven Model and Firebird robe/styling: Mather Louth for CADAVER COUTURE
or destroy clothing. Cloudy water, it turns out, is one of the biggest problems an underwater shooter can combat. You can’t heat the water too much because it makes it cloudy. You can’t shoot more than twice a week otherwise it gets too cloudy and requires more chlorine. Water even gets unacceptably cloudy when the temperature of the ground surrounding the pool is too much colder than the temperature of the water. This happens because the more-active molecules of the warm water will “attach” to particles like dust and cloud the water. Many of her models are dancers with minimal body fat to protect them from the colder water. So, for practical reasons, a shooting season is limited to between June and about November. Lighting, believe it or not, is almost completely modified natural light. Sometimes Cheryl will augment with video lights as it gets later in the season. “I use three Rotolight NEO video lights in Ewa-Marin underwater housings mounted on a PVC pipe structure, so the light can come from above or below – if the subject’s head is facing down, it makes sense to light from below. Sometimes I’ll use them for ‘fantasy’ lighting like where they have the light in their hands and it is radiating on them. I used to use hair lights, but I found that I didn’t really like the effect and they blow out too easily in the water.” Why video lights instead of flashes? “I don’t use flashes because, and people
forget this, there’s 10,000 volts in a flash, and if an underwater housing for a flash leaks it can kill everyone in the pool. My work is all about calmness and flow, not capturing 1/250 of a second and waiting for recycle time that the flash entails”. Cheryl goes through all of the costumes, wigs, crowns, and swords that are strewn across the living room, the sign of a busy studio. She picks up a wig. “Real hair doesn’t flow well underwater. A synthetic wig works best. My favorite is from a company called Epic Cosplay. They have the best buoyancy, and yet you can brush them out after a shoot. Some of the cheap plastic-y ones that you see for Halloween will get so knotted up that you just have to throw them away.” Backdrops are the inexpensive plain polyester variety from BackdropOutlet.com. For dresses, synthetics like polyesters, chiffons, and stretch laces work well. “Tulle is not my favorite, as it’s a little too transparent. Some materials we don’t use are silk and dupioni, a silk that has a shine to it, but when wet the shine is ruined. I don’t like to ruin outfits – it’s such a waste”.
Nightmare of printing… “This is a horrific print!” she said, holding up an old sample. “The whites are blown out and the matte paper doesn’t take blacks very well. Composition, cropping… it’s terrible. Wrong paper, wrong color profile… no details in blacks, it looks mucky. But it looked great on my monitor!”. This is just a small indication of the frustrations she had to endure as she learned the secrets of good printing the hard way. Cheryl recently shared her story with a room full of photographers at the Canon Learning Center facility in Costa Mesa, California. She explained how she was able to hold two Kickstarter campaigns to raise the funds to purchase her Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-4000 printer, and figure out how to get the best prints possible using pigment-based inks on her favorite medium, Canson Inifinty Platine fiber rag.
“There’s nothing worse than making a beautiful piece of art and having the print come out awful, and then doing it over and over again, before you start to feel like ‘Oh, I suck! I’m awful! I can’t make art!’. I was printing on average twelve images to get one good one. I would print test strips of the part of the image that didn’t print right. And then I’d just keep tweaking it in Photoshop… it was horrible! I wasted so many boxes of paper and really expensive ink. It was heartbreaking”. The answer to her frustration was hiring a print master, Eric Joseph, from Freestyle Photographic Supplies, a darkroom company that also does a lot of business consulting with print labs and graphics houses to help them get the right output. Eric explained that the ICC profiles you get from printer and paper manufacturers are less than optimal. Custom ICC profiles for the monitor, printer, and paper combination are the ONLY way to go. Eric creating a custom profile is akin to having an eye doctor create a custom prescription for your eyeglasses. Using something like a ColorMunki device you can buy is like getting magnifying reader glasses off the shelf. They aren’t made specifically for your situation. Cheryl says the $100 she paid for each paper profile was the best investment she ever made. “Now I just push ‘Print’ and it comes out perfectly on the first try every single time!”.
Print Competitions Entering contests can be a frustrating experience. But in an intentional effort to push herself to be a better artist, she continued to make submissions and learn from the negative feedback from the judges and keep working at her craft. “They take off points for finger placement. Little things that I wouldn’t have noticed on my own. But it’s what makes a picture better and I’m such a better artist for learning from the feedback”. And that she has, winning over 60 awards over the last four or five years. In the process she’s learned to scrutinize her work in new ways, including looking at
Underwater Maternity Fine Art Portrait: model Jennifer, make up by Alta DeKoven
a piece upside down, and then reverse left and right – “You can see the ugliness when you turn things upside down, in a way you wouldn’t notice it otherwise”. So now that she’s established herself in this field, how can she continue to push herself? “I’m doing that, and it’s really hard. What I’m doing now is to try to let go of the rules of print competition. Picasso said ‘Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist’. My highest score was a 99, probably the highest I’ll ever get. I’m very happy with that. So although I always push myself to be better every year, I don’t think that striving for 100 should ever be the point. The point was to do the best I could with images that I’m happy with. The images I’ve done the best with, by far, are the ones that I put in at the last minute thinking I don’t think they’re going to like this, but this is me”. She points to an image of a goddess and two mermaids, ‘The Ascension of Salacia’, as a prime example. “The reason this one didn’t get 100 is because one of the judges
didn’t like the angle of her neck. I wouldn’t change that angle of her neck and it’s ok that that one judge didn’t understand it. But the angle of her neck is very purposeful so I accomplished my goal of doing the best I could do. “The ones I thought they were going to like – the ones where I followed every rule and the formula for what they were looking for – those are good solid Silver awards. But pushing oneself farther is how we achieve Gold. So now I’m trying to go beyond the rules, and create what feels good to me, with my knowledge as a professional and the heart of an artist. It’s harder to do than I thought it would be”. What rules does she think are safe to ignore? “I don’t know. My goal is to get to Grand Master status because that can only be accomplished by having the very highest standards of professional criteria and artistic expression. That entails always taking risks – and entering an image that could fail miserably”. – Gary Friedman
Cheryl Walsh’s website can be found at http://CherylWalsh.art Video links: https://www.facebook.com/pg/JessicaDruArt/videos https://www.facebook.com/pg/ReilenaCosplay/videos Cameracraft November/December 2017 53
BOOK MAKERS BEATING THE ODDS J
im Mortram lives in Dereham, a small town in Norfolk and for the last seven years, he has been photographing the lives of people in his community who, through physical and mental problems and a failing social security system, face isolation and loneliness in their daily lives. His work covers difficult subjects such as disability, addiction and self-harm, but is always created with hope and dignity, focusing upon the strength and resilience of the people he photographs. His capacity for empathy, which allows him to be trusted by vulnerable people, often living in difficult and challenging circumstances is quite remarkable and has resulted in the powerful and challenging book Small Town Inertia. While Jim was studying Fine Arts in Norwich, in 1994, his mother became gravely ill and he made the decision to leave college and a part-time job to come
Stephen Power learns the background stories behind three photographers and their books with a sense of place and time
1: Jim Mortram, Dereham
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Small Town Inertia
home and become her full-time, principal carer – and he has been in that role ever since. “At first, I thought that I would be able to sort the situation out and find a way to make it better”, Jim says. “But what really transpired, over the next 15 years, was my actual education. I was taught how to emphasise and how to shut up and listen to someone. The principal function of a carer is to listen to the person you want to help; you can do nothing if you’re the one talking. I learned how to listen to what was needed and to someone else’s pain and suffering, through them explaining it to me; and to understand how to alleviate it in the only way that was possible. “Being my mother’s carer, over the last 20 years, is the most rewarding thing I have ever done”, says Jim. “There are still people who want to praise me for it, but I find that hard to understand. I
wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for my parents. It’s never felt like a chore and I certainly have no regrets about choosing to do that.” One aspect that Jim did not expect, however, was the level of isolation that would be involved with the role. He quickly went from being an outgoing person with an active social life to someone who felt, as he puts it “stuck in a loop”. He describes it as not unlike Groundhog Day. What he describes as the “drip, drip, drip effect” had a negative consequence on him leading to bouts of depression and anxiety.
“At its worst, I didn’t say a word aloud to another person for a year. I didn’t really need to; it is difficult to communicate with my mother and the chores were simple and straightforward. I reached a point of stasis, where I stopped being me. I had forgotten all of my youthful aspirations and life was just this kind of Groundhog Day loop.” Things changed for Jim, to some extent, in 2007, when an old friend loaned him a camera. “I was never going to be a landscape photographer”, he says, “but I had long held an interest
in journalism and the idea that art could be used as a tool and a conduit for people’s stories. I was also quite a political animal; a nice gift from my parents.” The timing of the loan of the camera coincided with a photography season on BBC 4 and Jim feels that some of the programmes changed his life. “One was a documentary about James Ravilious who photographed his village in Devon, another was The Genius of Photography, a photography history lesson in four episodes… and a great play by Stephen Poliakoff called Shooting the Past, which
demonstrated why photographs that hold narrative are important”. With an interest in documentary and narrative photography rising within him, Jim found himself out on one of his regular night-time walks when, one night, he saw an elderly neighbour who was also awake in the early hours of the morning. “This was at the time when I was rarely speaking to anyone. I had the camera, but had no idea how to use it. The neighbour invited me in, and I just sat down and listening to him to talk me. I looked at him, looked at the camera, he smiled and I just started taking photographs.” The visits became more regular, and Jim continued to take photographs while the neighbour, who had not spoken to anyone since his wife died over 20 years before, told Jim his life story, while he was being photographed. “It was a digital camera, so I was able to work out apertures and shutter speed and exposure settings quite quickly”, explains Jim. “I got some prints made and
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took them to him, which he loved. street portraits of them. This people with a lot to say but with people I have done this with cared He sadly passed away from cancer quickly evolved into Jim being no real way of getting it out into about me as much as I cared shortly afterwards”. invited into those people’s homes, the world. It’s not about giving a about them. The pressing of the However, the whole experience and Jim realised, despite still exvoice to the voiceless, I just think shutter is only a few seconds out left Jim with what he describes as periencing some symptoms of so- of myself as a conduit; a link in of years of contact with them, callthe perfect blueprint for what he cial anxiety, that he had found an the chain. The person to the left of ing them on the phone or visiting would do with the rest of his life. environment that he could work me has something to say and the them and not taking photographs “I realised I had been given the in comfortably as a photographer. person to the right of me, if the – or doing fund-raising events, gifts of being privy to the testimo Although he had no idea how work is strong enough, should be such as selling prints for Mental nial of that gentleman’s life and to write a blog, using a barereceptive to that information”. health funding raising.” his trust. When he passed away, I ly-working computer Jim set about It is a credit to this selfless, One of the abiding themes in realised that not only was I the last learning how to use software and committed photographer (if a conversation with this talented person to make his photograph, I social media. Things began to he accepts the epithet or not, it and yet profoundly modest phowas also the last person to really happen fairly quickly for him at fits very well) that he has been tographer is his reluctance to step listen to him and take any interest that point. Rather than having to allowed to get close enough to into the spotlight and, perhaps in him.” approach people in the street, to people experiencing extremely more importantly his determi Jim feels that, for him, it is im- ask if he could photograph them, difficult and challenging times nation to tell the stories of his portant to combine that personal he found himself being introduced in their lives, to record this in a friends, through his photography. experience with the beginning of a be those whose lives he had previ- way that is compassionate and “The only thing that matters period of Conservative Austerity in ously documented on camera. engaging for the viewer. about these images is that they do Britain. “I was seeing a different Jim’s blog images were picked “I’ve had amateur photogratheir job”, Jim stresses. “They narrative appear in the news up by another, more widely phers contact me asking to ‘come are intended to stop people and about people with disability and circulated blog and eventually along and see my subjects’. I tell make them read the stories, allow people on benefits. The bedroom seen by publisher Colin Wilkinson them that these people are not them to experience the context in tax was being introduced, benefit at Bluecoat Press in Liverpool – my subjects, they are friends. This which they were taken and to read sanctions, food banks; all of this so Small Town Inertia was born. what a lot of photographers get the testimony. If they do that, they stuff was happening exactly at “I never planned for a book, or wrong. They think that carrying have been successful; if they don’t, the same as I get my hands on a anything at all. I didn’t want to be a camera will allow them to get I’ve failed.” camera”. a photographer and I still don’t close to people and get that sort Jim; they’ve been successful. At a time in his life – his know if I am a photographer. All I of intimacy in their images. That Your ‘Inertia’ has moved people. Á mid-thirties – when he was feeling know about, and all I really care has nothing to do with having a ostracised and marginalised from about, is that there are a lot of camera. It happens because the society, Jim began to meet people Small Town Inertia Blog: http://smalltowninertia.co.uk/ he felt were in a similar position Small Town Inertia a Bluecoat Press: http://bluecoatpress.co.uk/other-titles/small-town-inertia/ and began to make photographic 56 November/December 2017 Cameracraft
In the book, every picture has a least a short caption and many have several paragraphs explaining the image. The same individuals also appear in pictures over time, so the captions form a story in some cases. Jim records conversations and uses these for many of the captions. To understand the pictures you need to get the book – it is a work of some importance, and to do it justice we’d need to reprint it. All 191 pages. On this page, Carl (top left), Helena (tr), Si (bl) and Jimmy (br). Facing page, Helena ‘Back at home after her suicide attempt’. Previous spread, left, Kirsty and Si. Right, David, who is blind, and says he feels ‘like an outlaw’, missing the respect of society. Cameracraft November/December 2017 57
llan Wright, from Galloway, enjoys capturing “fleeting and lyrical qualities presented by the many rich forms inherent in the Scottish landscape” yet has a special passion for cityscapes. He is known as a leading self-publisher of calendars and postcards, and for his series of photography books on various parts of Scotland. He started out with a manual Nikkormat camera travelling abroad in the 1980s and quickly became hooked. “Something shifted and I realised the difference between snapping and making a picture”, says Allan. “I realised that ‘seeing’ was the name of the game and I developed technical skill from necessity.” At that time, Allan travelling and working in Libya and SouthEast Asia, in particular Vietnam, as an oilfield engineer. He later returned to the North Sea and divided his time between engineering and landscape photography – “I shot oil rig life from the inside and this culminated in my first book On The Rigs co-authored with Caithness poet and playwright George Gunn”. In 2010, Allan’s successful postcard and calendar publishing business Cauldron Press – trading as ‘Lyrical Scotland’ - was acquired by a larger gift stationary company. “I grew it from scratch over 20 years and it reached a point where it had three or four staff and a turnover over around £250, 000”, he explains. When the business changed hands, it was agreed that Allan would be contracted to produce an annual collection of 15 calendars and 40 postcard images, plus he retained the rights to produce six landscape books on various areas of Scotland. “This was quite a change for me, as I relinquished responsibility for publishing and distribution, which was a lot of work. I became entirely freelance, although I have a significant contract with the new owners of the business”, Allan explains. “I have just put to bed twenty calendars with Scottish titles for 2019. It sounds like I’m way ahead, but the calendar publishing business works well in advance of publication dates.
2: Allan Wright – Now Glasgow
Above, details of the book which is a beautifully produced volume using a section stitched binding allowing the pages to open as panoramas. Below, avoiding the obvious (the mural of the girl with the magnifying glass is designed to be used for selfies or fun photographs). Right, top: Raymond with his stall in the Barras (the old market once known for traders with barrows, now more known for antiques and the Barrowland concert venue). Bottom, Tennent’s brewery with murals on an old wall – the smell of Glasgow.
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Around three years ago, despite contributing to stock images libraries and running his own gallery for his landscape work, Allan concluded that the market for digital imagery was stagnant. Prices for images were falling dramatically and the marketplace was overcrowded. Therefore, he felt it was essential to try to find another outlet for his work. “I decided that people would be turning away from the mass consumption of images online and returning to the printed page; a tangible object that allowed you to enjoy images not just ‘in the moment’ on screen, but on a coffee table”, he explains. “It was pointed out to me that Waterstones were seeing a significant upturn in their sales, having had a tough few years. So, thought if there was going to be a good time to get back into print publishing, this is probably it”. Allan felt that he had grown as a photographer, which allowed him to choose a theme which he could thoroughly explore, with the additional time available to him, following the sale of his postcard business. It wasn’t difficult for him to make the decision to self-publish, rather than find a publisher. Doing all the work himself, including marketing the book, would result in more income
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longer-term as opposed to an advance and a small percentage of the sales that a publisher might offer. He is also concerned that by contracting with a publisher, a photographer might relinquish full editorial control over the book; something that Allan is not willing to sacrifice. “Photographers just getting into self-publishing might want to consider digital production”, he suggests. “You pay a slightly higher unit cost, but prices are getting more competitive. The advantage is that it’s possible to print a smaller number of copies than with traditional printing. There is no significant loss in quality, and it’s a way of getting into the game without the financial risk that comes with having to produce many hundreds of copies of a book. If you feel that there is a market for 200 or 300 copies of book, as opposed to the 600 or 800 that would make a traditional print option viable, then digital printing is worth considering”. The first book Allan self-published, was of images taken on the Isle of Skye, which he started
The life of Sauchiehall Street and Buchanan Street – and many other busy spots – gave Allan plenty of human interest and humour, with cameras not unexpected.
in 2014 and took around twenty weeks to complete. This was followed by Galloway, a book of landscapes taken where he lives. At the beginning of 2016, he embarked on Now Glasgow a lavish, large-format coffee-table book packed with over 230 full-colour images and text, in the form of humorous one-line commentary and short poems by Scottish author and Glasgow native, Des Dillon. “Having got stuck into the shooting and realising that I was getting good material, I knew
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that it needed text, but I’m not a writer”, says Allan. “I was introduced to Des, and we got on very well immediately. We have the same humour, same language, same interest in where Glasgow is ‘at’ – an inclusive, multi-cultural, multi-faith, no-nonsense, forward-moving city. I would come back from a shoot and send Des a PDF with some images and he would make notes on what he saw, and gradually started to add the captions. It was a really enjoyable collaboration”.
Living in Galloway and shooting in Glasgow, over ninety minutes’ drive away, over a period of eighteen months, could have caused some logistical headaches, but Allan’s personal contacts and experience of landscape and travel photography stood him in good stead. “My sister lives in Glasgow, so I was able to stay with her overnight and I also have a 4x4 vehicle that I slept in, on occasion”, he explains. “My car is one of the most useful tools in the bag. I don’t mess about with bed and breakfast; sometimes you’re up at five in the morning. I work in a very lean and mean way and often the photographs were being taken early in the morning at night, so it made sense to grab a few hours’ sleep between shoots. I was just sleeping to keep myself going and working when I could, to get the job done”. Allan claims not to be highly technical nor equipment-oriented, although he has learned that he needs to have “decent gear”. He had used a Nikon D7100 for much of his photography but
‘People make Glasgow’ reads the sign, and the message in the modern city is that diversity is as welcome as it always has been. Allan wanted to portray the city as ‘inclusive, multi-cultural, multifaith, no-nonsense, forward-moving’. Right, the tradition of the Orange lodges and their marches is accepted alongside all others – so Allan has recorded it.
when he started to get seriously into the Now Glasgow work, he was introduced to the Nikon D500. “I took it out on a night shoot and was cranking the ISO up really high – 32,000 and 51,000 – just experimenting. I was amazed about how good it was, and found I was getting useable pictures after a bit of post-process tweaking. I found that I could go to places I would never have imagined I could go before, with a camera and get results. It was a revelation. Everything I saw that was interesting, I could get it, and that was a significant difference for me.” Allan says that street photography became a “really exciting obsession” for him towards the end of the Now Glasgow shoot. “I hadn’t really done it before and it was quite hard to get it right. It became like a drug. I just got carried away; it was amazing”.
One important learning curve for Allan, was to become aware of when not to take a photograph. “There were times when I lifted the camera and I instinctively knew that people didn’t want me to take their photograph and you have to acknowledge that and move on”, he says. “I could have been downhearted having seen
an opportunity for a picture, that didn’t materialise. But, I learned that’s part of the nature of street photography. You just have to know that someone around the corner will be up for it. I took the refusals in my stride, in the end, and it wasn’t a problem; just an interesting experience”. One important insight that
Allan Wright: http://www.allanwrightphoto.com/ Des Dillon: http://www.desdillon.com/
Allan gained from shooting on the streets of Glasgow was that his body language made big difference to getting the shot. “If I was open and empathic, and kind and happy, that came through in my actions – and I got better results.” It would be difficult to imagine an occasion where this amiable, enthusiastic and energetic photographer would not be able to get the shot.
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ouis Berk is a photographer with a passion for urban landscapes and for challenging perceptions of the inner-City. His photography has appeared on book covers and in publications including The Financial Times and The Big Issue and he has exhibited at the Mall Galleries and the Cotton Centre in London. Over the past 12 years, Louis has earned a reputation as a fine art and documentary photographer, largely concentrating on the East End of London. “I generally only work in colour and I particularly aim to produce vivid captures which have impact”, says Louis. In 2008 he published Walk to Work, a four-year photographic study of the London districts of Spitalfields, Shoreditch and Whitechapel. This was followed, in 2010, by School Work: One Day in the Life of an Outstanding Secondary School, which is a pictorial investigation into the operation of a modern secondary school in Whitechapel where Louis worked for many years and, in 2012, Ampthill: A Picture
3: Louis Berk – documenting London
Book to Remember Her By, which is Louis’ personal architectural perspective on the unusual colour-coded tower blocks at Mornington Crescent, in London. His latest book, Whitechapel in 50 Buildings, was created with historian, author, and prize-winning Blue Badge Guide, Rachel Kolsky. Their collaboration came about because of what Rachel describes as a serendipitous meeting at Brady Street cemetery, in Whitechapel, while Louis was photographing for his Walk to Work
Religious buildings are landmarks – like the Synagogue of the Congregation of Jacob, and St George in the East, right 62 November/December 2017 Cameracraft
book and Rachel was delving into the social history of the same area of London. “My philosophy in life”, says Louis, “is that you don’t have to get on a plane take photographs, shoot what is near you”. While he was working on a self-published project shooting one of the oldest Jewish cemeteries in London, next door to his school, the cemetery owners introduced Louis to Amberley Publishing, with have a publications list including the ‘In 50 Buildings’ series and another series on ‘Secret’ locations. “I explained that I had already been photographing in the area and knew it well and told them about Rachel’s expertise as an architectural historian”, explains Louis. The exciting consequence was that
the duo signed contracts for three books with Amberley, the second of which, Secret Whitechapel, will be published in November 2017. The co-authors state that one aim for the Whitechapel in 50 Buildings book was to map the journey of the various immigrant communities who have lived and contributed to the area, from the Huguenot weavers in the eighteenth century, the large Jewish community of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries up to the recent growth of the Bangladeshi community, as evidenced by the changing face of Brick Lane. The book is laid out so that the buildings are listed in chronological order by date of construction. Most of the images show exterior
architecture, and each building has at least one photograph, with a few being depicted from alternative angles, in two or three images. Most of the photography was completed in around five months, between March and July 2016. Louis used some images that he had accumulated “pounding the streets”, over the previous 13 years, although this was a limited number as he “wanted the images to be contemporary”. How the specific fifty buildings were chosen was, Louis explains, very simple. “Rachel and I just compiled two lists of buildings and when we sat down to compare them, we found that they were very similar, with only about half-a-dozen differences. The plan was then to go around and take the best possible photographs of each building.” This proved more difficult with some buildings than others – as with Spitalfields Market and the old Godfrey Philips Ltd cigarette factory. “I went back there about four times, on Sunday mornings, to get the road completely free of cars and to make sure that I got the sunlight in the right place” Louis explains. “One of the things I like about London is how surprisingly empty it can be on Sunday mornings. I mean really empty. Here is this bustling metropolis, and there is no one at all around.” Louis has found that many of his images which have received very positive feedback are often those which were shot early in the morning. One exception is an image of the Whitechapel Art Gallery, which was captured in the middle of the day. However, as Louis explains, “the traffic pattern was such that there were quite long absences between cars. I can’t remember why I took it in the middle of the day, perhaps I’d been shooting an interior and walked back that way. The traffic just cleared for a moment and it was like, wow, I’m going to take that photograph.” The weather is a crucial consideration for Louis. “I’m looking at the weather all the time. My wife gets annoyed with me because I have this weather app, and
The commercial history of the area shows in its buildings – the Bell Foundry (above) closed while the book was being prepared. Below, Co-Operative magnificence.
I can tell her precisely what it’s going to be like at any hour of the day”, he says. Louis feels that his choice of camera gear, for buildings photography, might surprise many
photographers. “It surprises me, too”, he explains. “I had a period when I wasn’t using digital cameras at all. When I was working on the East End Cemeteries project, for example, I was shooting
everything on medium format film stock, with a Hasselblad. “However, because I also have an amateur interest in bird photography the Micro Four Thirds system appealed to me, because of the 2X sensor crop factor. Panasonic announced a 100-400mm zoom, which sounded like great birding lens, and I bought it along with a Panasonic GX8 which came with a 12-35mm ƒ2.8 zoom lens. I took it with me to Whitechapel one day and found it just so easy to use. The controls seemed to be in the right place, the menus made sense and the image quality was pretty damn good. The lens that I use the most with the GX8 is the Olympus 17-14mm ƒ2.8 Pro. It’s beautifully built and amazingly sharp. Most of the new photographs in the book are taken with the GX8 and the Olympus lens and some with the Panasonic 12-35mm.” Louis feels that not everyone will agree with his views on equipment – his personal philosophy is that the camera is immaterial; it is the content of the image that is important. But there was a time only a few years ago when it seemed almost every photographer pointing a serious-looking camera at a building in London was being accosted by security officials and being told not to take photographs. Louis has had this experience, albeit only a small number of times. This may be because of campaigns such as PHNAT – I’m a Photographer; Not a Terrorist – and an increased level of enlightenment among security officials. Louis is also cognisant of the ‘rules’ regarding photography in public places and of how to act with them in mind, to avoid
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Image © Tom Barnes
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Pub or palace? The Blind Beggar
running up against potential problems. “There is nothing to stop me from photographing buildings from the street. It’s when you enter property that you can run into problems, and I never do that, to take photographs. I can always state that I was on the other side of the street, or certainly not on the property when I took the photograph. If I do need to enter property, such as for the images of church interiors, I will always seek permission and only photograph if I get it.” So, what might this experienced buildings photographer want to change about his working experience? “I have two main bugbears around photographing in London”, Louis says. “One is that many of our lovely buildings can’t be fully appreciated because of street parking: cars just get in the way. I could not get a good photograph of Hanbury Hall without having parked cars in front of it, which is very frustrating. “The other issue I have is street furniture. I don’t know what town planners must be thinking, sometimes. I was photographing outside The People’s Palace for Secret Whitechapel and there
was a great big bus shelter right in front of an architecturally significant frieze on the wall. Didn’t somebody think it might be possible to put the shelter twenty yards further away? It wouldn’t make that much difference. “I see a lot of things that are incredibly incongruous in terms of protecting the view of our architectural heritage. When I look at something architecturally significant I might suddenly realise that there is a rubbish bin, or a stop sign or a pole with parking restrictions stuck in front of it.” Louis’ passion for photographing his corner of London shines through in his photographs and it is reflected in the success of his work. Whitechapel in 50 Buildings has been reprinted twice since its publication and sales are growing internationally. Louis Berk is, quite literally, a photographer streets ahead of his rivals.
Whitechapel in 50 Buildings, Amberley, ISBN 978-1445661902 Louis Berk: http://www.louisberk.com Rachel Kolsky Go London Tours: http://www.golondontours.com/
BINDING PRINTS IN BOOK COVERS
David Kilpatrick looks at spine album covers for interchangeable print contents A set of prints from the 1970s was easily re-bound in a Fotospeed Easy Book with window cover
A vintage 1972 solution – still surviving
he red ring-binder cover above with rather curling double weight real silver photo prints dates from 45 years ago. It’s made of a kind of heavy wax card with a mini two ring mechanism and probably came from a stationery shop. The darkroom prints, a set by Shirley Kilpatrick taken from 1970 to 1972, were made for a meeting of Co-Optic to discuss the Real Britain postcard project. Each 8 x 8 inch print was hole punched and the holes reinforced with the little adhesive washers sold at the time to strengthen documents bound this way. While it’s crude presentation, and the waxed card cover of a similar black binder I used for my own work left marks on the top print, having prints in ‘books’ like this means they have survived together as a set, intact, undamaged. Today you can obtain binders which are much more like proper book covers, which hold the prints without needing any punched holes or glue, and allow prints to be removed and replaced. Marrutt, Fotospeed and PermaJet all offer this type of binder and PermaJet’s name ‘SnapSshut’ perfectly describes the spring-loaded hinge spine action. They are all different products (not just the same under different names). We also found when looking for old albums a set of prints from 1975 showing our son’s first year (most of which appeared in newspapers and magazines at the time!). These we had hand-
bound between covers made from Ademco board mounts. They were on resin-coated paper, and unlike Shirley’s DW fibre-based volume, thin enough to fit the spine of a Fotospeed 8 x 8 Easy Book with a square cover aperture. The Fotospeed book, with a black fabric cover, looks very contemporary and grips the print swatch firmly. A quick scan and print on their Platinum Gloss created a version of one print to fit the 85mm square cover window. However, the fabric really picked up dust when working and had to be cleaned using adhesive tape, and handled with clean hands. You can get fabric books in Taupe as well as black, and this would be more forgiving. Now safely put away for the future, it took only a few minutes to bind these prints perfectly. Fotospeed Easy Books come in sizes from 6 x 4" to A3 including 8 and 2 inch square. The A4 size is also made with leather covering and in portrait as well as landscape. The spine is a fixed size and opens to about 7mm to admit the prints; it works well with even just a few sheets of paper inserted. PermaJet SnapShut Folios offer a choice of leather-grained or smooth cream or black covers – the leather-look stands up particularly well to handling. The spine also has a larger capacity choice of either 15mm or 25mm, with a rounded profile, but needs to have a decent number of prints to grip firmly, especially the 25mm size which will take 50 sheets of photo inkjet paper, 100 of plain.
The Fotospeed Easy Book has a slim gripper opening with a capacity of around 7mm and a flat backed spine. My choice had a window cover.
The SnapShut spine is rounded, in either 15 or 25mm
Permajet SnapShut Folios are ideal for frequent handling
As for pricing, it’s easiest to compare A4 landscape in leather look – £19 for Easy Book, £24.95 for either spine size higher capacity SnapShut. The costs are broadly comparable. Marrutt’s Pro Photo Books (‘real leather’ covers) in A4 or A3 hold around 25 sheets of photo paper and cost less at
around £15 (all inc. VAT). These are all useful portfolio and storage solutions, suitable for corporate presentation or showing proofs – if not as a finished album.
www.fotospeed.com www.permajet.com wwww.marrutt.com
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2M PROFESSIONAL HD GALLERY ALBUM Diane Henderson tried out the service from the Norwich lab
s a complete novice at designing wedding albums, but having recently had the pleasure of my eldest son getting married, I was the obvious choice to review the process of ordering an album from 2M Professional, using my son’s wedding and images kindly provided by professional photographer Rob Gray. Rob is a friend and past contributor to this magazine, normally he wouldn’t let the ‘client’ design the album but this was an exception, to test a new service using Canon DreamLabo HD printing in the UK. I was also able to add some photographs I had taken which could have been a poor match with Rob’s supplied JPEGs. Without re-editing the images, or asking for the raw files, I was able to get a commercially acceptable match using the image controls provided in the 2M software. On first visit to the 2Mprofessional.com website I registered as a client and proceeded to look through the various albums they offered. The site is clear, colourful and easy to navigate. I chose the A4 Landscape HD Gallery Album. This is their premier hand-finished album with mounted pages that lay completely flat when opened. In order to start the process you have to first download the necessary software, then follow easy on-line guidance with several designs for each page to choose from and the addition of adding extra photos in various shapes and sizes to enhance the look. At the back of the album I decided make up a collage using all the photos I had not selected for the main pages. Wedding couples are often unhappy that some of the hundreds (or thousands) of pictures taken by their professional don’t make the final edit. I particularly liked this function and the result. You are also able to add a background image, for this I used photos of the bride’s bouquet and played with
The 2M Professional HD Gallery album has a lay-flat spine, right, and opens to an impressive double A4 panorama. The image collage page function (above) is ideal for ‘spare’ frames. The packaging and presentation, below, is simple and classic, and a good ‘unwrapping’ experience.
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the opacity function until I got the look I wanted. This is just one of many image controls which, as noted, can allow better matching on pictures used together. Having seen the finished album, I should have made these a little less opaque so they stood out more, but this was my lack of experience rather than any fault on the print side. It took me two days to finalise the project, which was easily saved and retrieved for further work. When the project is finished you go to your shopping cart and type in your shipping and payment details, then the album is uploaded to the website for you to review. I got slightly confused at this point, because on reviewing the upload there is a button that clearly says ‘buy now’ – so I pressed it and it took me back to filling out my details. I did this and it wasn’t until the two albums arrived in the post that I realised I’d replicated the order, which could have been a costly mistake and perhaps needs one further stage of order confirmation in any future revision of the process. Delivery is estimated at nine days by courier, but my album came within four days (and we’re satisfied that this was not some special effort). I can understand now why photographers find an efficient album design and ordering process so important. My son and daughter-in-law were delighted with it. It had a first class print quality, the HD printing bringing out the difficult purples and blues of guests’ outfits, and was well packaged and presented. I would have no hesitation in recommending 2M Professional’s HD printing as a service to try. Details: A4 Landscape HD Gallery Album Cover – Luxury Printed Hardback Cover (Matt Laminated) Paper – HD Lustre Paper Packaging – Free Luxury Packing( Gallery Books Only) Total Price – £123.94 inc. VAT
For further information see: www.2mprofessional.com
PERMAJET PORTRAIT RAG 285
A medium heavy paper with a deep matt finish and natural base tint
ne of the issues when testing any paper is whether or not it will have the right information and ICC profile available off the shelf to let work start. This can also affect working photographers if a specific paper type is needed, or new stock must be bought in to ensure a set of prints match. I have a workroom full of hundreds, possibly thousands, of sheets of inkjet paper but rarely more than a single box of any one type. When I produced an exhibition of 48 prints in 2012, in addition to buying in a set of matching frames I had to buy paper. I opted for something which I knew worked effortlessly, Epson’s own Professional Lustre Photo Paper, and needed 200 sheets of A3 to complete the prints and have a choices to set aside. This was a mistake. In the mounts, the lustre photo paper doesn’t lie dead flat so its thickness (thin) and type (a resin-coated regular photo paper) become only too obvious under the gallery lights. Prints did sell, of course, but not to anyone who was concerned about the fine art status, archival quality or craftsmanship involved in the printing. They do not look like art editions, even if some were unique, and a few years later I’m tempted to remove them all from the frames and make new prints on a completely different kind of paper. Black and white also proved far more saleable than colour. Today I wouldn’t think hard about converting ALL images to pure monochrome or a tint, even with a vintage look added using an action or preset. The few which had that treatment were preferred by visitors. A paper which is just as easy to print on but looks more like a hand-pulled lithograph, Permajet Portrait Rag 285 was mentioned in our last issue by Carmen Norman as the paper she used for her ‘100 Years of Portrait’ exhibition. I was very impressed by the way the paper gave black and white
Permajet Portrait Rag 285 is well suited to high key images with a range from deep blacks to pure whites. A portrait which has clear faults in colour, above, makes a good high key print (using NIK SilverFX 2 ‘Fine Art High Key’ and PortraitPro 17).
an extremely deep maximum black, without needing to be a gloss finish. In the past this kind of intense black was hard to achieve on matt or semi-matt photo papers (darkroom variety). The French Lumière Velvet finish and Kodak’s Royal Bromesko Velvet looked as their name indicated, but the deepest tones were a warm black.
Portrait Rag, in contrast, can print any black you specify including the purest multi-ink blacks like those from the Epson K4 set (matt, light light, light and medium black). It has an unusually high d-Max which just seems to suck in light. Permajet’s advertising mentions High Key Portraiture which some might find surprising given this quality,
but actually, it’s correct. The best high key work does not have weak blacks, it relies on a small percentage of intense black to emphasise the bright skin tones. Portrait Rag 285 would also be suitable for gritty high contrast work (like the picture with the beard on the packaging). It gives the print a look of photogravure or etching, and if it was given a debossed ‘plate’ area for the image to resemble a hand-pulled edition the illusion would be complete. The paper base itself calipers at 0.42mm, it’s fairly rigid, but at least in my Epson P3800 can not be fed in the front hopper as this prevents the correct paper type being set. So it’s a single sheet feed printing session (other printers will vary). Permajet provides comprehensive info in the paper box on printer settings for all papers, and for this recommends setting Velvet Fine Art as the Epson paper type. The downloadable generic profile is coded to indicate you should set Watercolor Paper Radiant White but this can be ignored, custom profiles use VFA – which was also better with the generic profile. With almost no texture, Portrait Rag can also be used for fine art proofing. It is a clean 100% cotton rag white paper with a hint of warmth and no UV brightener, good archival qualities and a surface which should resist ink migration to any folder or book it’s stored in. If you produce predominantly dark prints, with heavy background tones in what is perceived as a fine art mode, you will use so much ink that print costs will be several times the manufacturer’s average figures, no matter what printer is used. Develop a high key pencil outline sketch process and you’ll win on consumables. With a paper like this, you’ll also be able to price the artwork above a standard photo print. – David Kilpatrick
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Surfaces and reflections For whatever reason, the water with reflections always looks best on a glossy paper, not matt. The prints of the Tunisian shop-keeper pose a special difficulty as the shadow detail inside the shop is present, but very dark. The Permajet Portrait Rag 285 print (left) has rich black but probably too much contrast; the Fotospeed Platinum Gloss ArtFibre 300 print has more shadow detail visible. The surface of the ArtFibre print reflects the studio lighting, where the Portrait Rag does not.
Print profiles and calibration When I test papers, I pick a selection of images I keep on file because they are difficult to print. In the red dress/blue-green door shot the dress loses detail with some papers and profiles (the top print on the right) and changes colour with others (the middle print is most accurate). The wall has neutral grey patches which create a break between full colour and black/grey ink replacement. For the tests in this issue I used stock Permajet and Fotospeed profiles and also created new profiles using X-Rite’s ColorMunki Photo. The ‘official’ profiles were accurate, the time spent making custom profiles in-house introduced errors.
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FOTOSPEED PLATINUM GLOSS ARTFIBRE 300 With a heavy base and coating to use gloss black ink it’s ideal for exhibition work
he Platinum Gloss range from Fotospeed is one of the standards many photographers use as the coatings seem to work well with all makes of printer. The regular PF (Pigment Friendly) Gloss 270 which looks and feels like a resin-coated colour photo paper is one of our routine choices for checking that the Epson 3800 is still running well despite being past its recommended working life. However, for the ultimate colour gamut and discrimination it’s worth trying the fibre-based papers which do not really look a ‘traditional’ – resin-coated or PE – C41 print. Most people use papers like Fotospeed Platinum Gloss Baryta to emulate black and white darkroom printing, as they look and handle like a double-weight Ilfobrom even if the surfaces are subtly different, looking more air-dried than air-dried really was. Toby Herlinger of Fotospeed says that John Swannell persuaded him the baryta paper was actually one of the best around for colour reproduction. I would agree. One particular image (the red T-shirt dress and Algarve fisherman’s cottage with old painted walls) consistently flags up gamut warning in the red. Using the still-functional Apple Aperture program which has very fine control of recovery to prevent ‘all reds equal one saturated red’ I was able to pull in distinctions of tone clearly visible on a freshly calibrated screen – the new Fotospeed Platinum Gloss ArtFibre 300 proved well able to reproduce them. With the X-Rite ColorMunki Photo kit still fully supported after almost a decade, the screen calibration is on a level my regular i1 Display doesn’t aim for, taking many minutes (and telling me that my carefully lit workroom is 122 lux to match the ideal target of 120 for my screen). But DIY printer profiling for the new paper didn’t work as well. I use Marrutt inks, and finished prints look fine. They just don’t agree all that well with
The paper calipers at 0.47mm, a substantial thickness giving the prints a good feel. Excellent shadow detail and tonal separation will make it a perfect match to this year’s winter night shots – with or without snow (by David Kilpatrick, Sony RX1 handheld at ƒ2).
the ColorMunki target print-out as the gloss black is heavy. This is not apparent in the prints once calibrated, but I think it leads to an over-corrrection, and produces rather more open shadows and less d-Max than expected. On request, Fotospeed emailed a generic profile for the P3800 and this new paper as we had no time to get a custom profile made (though it does only take two days). I re-tested with this and it’s much better than any profile I could create myself, even with
the right gear and experience. The download list of profiles has been updated to include this. Fotospeed’s profile using the Professional Semi-Gloss paper setting gave me the clear distinction of creases in the red fabric which the gamut of this paper and the Epson 4K pigment ink set can achieve. It’s all down to the density, the paper simply accepts more ink without ink-lay and can show more textural detail in areas which might look like solid flat colour on a lab photo print.
As for the archival fibre base, I’ll have wait a couple of hundred years to report, but it’s up there with the best. The white is just a touch warmer than a bright inkjet paper and slightly whiter than the paper stock we have printed recent issues of Cameracraft on (this issue is from a new printer, and different paper). The fibre paper base itself is UV brightened, rather than a coating, as I found when checking back and front against non-UV brightened stock of a similar visual whiteness. As for ink-lay, there are tones which will produce a slight differential reflectivity if held at an angle to a light source, but no trace of bronzing. If you detect any posterisation or tone-breaks, it’s the inkjet needing a nozzle clean, not the paper. In terms of drying-down, ten minutes should be enough to make first assessment of prints and stack them aside, but an hour or even overnight will be better if the work is going to be mounted or handled. This paper can feed from either front or rear on the P3800 but should not be stacked as two sheets are likely to be drawn into feed. It’s thick enough to tack-mount behind a matt overlay window and still look flat. I measured the paper at 0.47mm, for those who fine-tune enough to make platen height adjustments. Professional printers may also want to increase drying time between passes. As for cost, it’s £31 for 25 A4 (inc VAT) or just £1.01 more expensive than FS Platinum Baryta Signature 300 with its slightly stiffer base and more emulsionlike glossy unglazed surface. ArtFibre 300 has a slightly mossy, velvet look which the ink brings out, making the image distinct from the border. It has a rich, deep quality without blocked up shadows, and certainly deserves a trial for your colour work as well as the usual monochrome. – David Kilpatrick
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70 November/December 2017 Cameracraft
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OLYMPUS TOUGH TG-5
was sent recently a new compact camera by Olympus to test on home ground – as opposed to taking it away to perfectly warm, perfectly clear, overseas destinations. Considering that most new compact cameras are aimed at a local market, it made sense to try this one out at home in the cold waters of south-east Scotland. This new little compact is the Olympus Tough TG-5. This review is NOT a scientific test, nor is it a blow-by-blow account of how every setting works, it is a user review based on taking the camera into the water for the first time and exploring its capabilities on a dive. Maybe it is just me, but when I first get my hands on a new camera, I kind of explore it before I even look at an instruction manual (and you need the BIG and expanded downloadable manual free to get the most out of this amazing little device): http://bit.ly/2l0IijJ So, checking out the dials on the back, there are a couple of new settings. Undoubtedly this is the king of the macro compact cameras as there is not only an “Underwater” setting (more of that later) there is also a Microscope mode with three settings, offering by far the greatest magnification ratio of any compact camera in the market today. I was able to zoom in to a small cowrie and even smaller nudibranchs. I needed the camera to be able to see the subjects! This hand-held compact has a 12MP CMOS back-illuminated sensor using the same technology as in the Olympus OM-D E-M1. This makes for large sharp images, high speed writing to the memory card and a maximum sequence rates of 20fps. The raw buffer is just 14 frames, but in only JPEG mode it is almost like a slow motion movie. For actual movies, the Olympus TG-5 is able to shoot at 4K/60p and at 1080/120p which can be slowed down in
With its full range of sub-aqua accessories, this action camera sinks or swims on its own merits – and as Lawson Wood found out, it swims!
The Tough TG-5 has Pro Capture mode, raw 12MP and 4K video, underwater capability out of the box, GPS and wifi – plus a system of accessories and lenses to lift it out of the ‘compact’ class.
post- production to only 30p for some amazing slow motion shots. Image stabilization ensures your video and stills are always sharp. There is a dedicated movie button for the full 4K: you can recording in any other modes including the microscope setting at 60p. The 12MP image sensor gives the best image quality with increased image detail and much less noise than anything else out there of this size and style of camera. The TruePic VIII image processor offers an improved image processing algorithm which delivers higher resolution in low-contrast areas especially when shooting at low ISO. High ISO can go to 12,800. The zoom is equivalent of to a 25-100mm in full frame terms. With an ƒ2 maximum aperture, it is perfect for low-light shots. For underwater photographers there are special modes. And for all us fans of
macro, the TG‑5 has an advanced, four‑mode variable Macro system, with Microscope, Microscope Control, Focus Bracketing and Focus Stacking Mode. The camera’s internal flash is easily accessible through the rear control wheel, allowing you to change settings to suit the subject and situation, whether you want it at full power, fill-in only or off. Similarly you can adjust the resolution of the photograph the same way. The Underwater modes on the camera can also be changed as you go, with Underwater Snapshot adding a compensation filter added when close to the surface (perfect for snorkelling); Underwater Wide; Underwater Macro and Underwater HDR where the camera takes a series of images and combines them in camera. What else is exciting is the Pro Capture Mode, another feature carried down from the Olympus
flagship OM-D E-M1 MkII. This is basically the camera storing images as you start to focus on your action photograph of a subject. When you finally take the photograph you are after, all of the pre-stored images from the moment up to release will be reviewable, allowing you to choose the optimum photograph of that crucial action moment. Clearly the 15m (50ft) depth rating is a massive plus and the camera has a built-in depth sensor. At around 12m (40ft) a small banner is illuminated across the screen warning you of the depth. At 15m (50ft) this warning is a much more obvious with a large red triangle and depth warning. I am sure that if it could make noises, it would! Should you wish to extend your depth range there is an underwater housing also made by Olympus. All the camera’s functions are accessible and this case is waterproof depth rated to 45m (150ft). There is a fibre-optic connector for an external flash such as the UFL-3. This is in effect operated as a slave flash by the firing of the camera’s internal flash when taking a photograph. The housing is also neutrally buoyant underwater. The one item that I really love with this camera is the flash diffuser, the FD-1. As we all know, using the integral flash with a compact camera is often a challenge, particularly in macro as the flash is located in the top left portion of the camera with a light output that may be cut off by the position of the lens in relation to the flash, particularly in macro or close focus/wide angle shots. Olympus have made the flash diffuser to fit directly around the lens, creating a ring flash, something which many underwater photographers would love to use for macro and extreme close up photography. This allows for an even output of light to illuminate a subject. The diffuser even incorporates a lever for adjusting the strength of the flash. By controlling the exposure
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of the subject in the foreground, you can darken the background and make the subject stand out – to spectacular effect. Although you can not use this flash diffuser with the Fisheye Converter, this wide angle lens can be connected or removed whilst underwater and you can then fit the flash diffuser, to greatly expand your versatility. Unlike other compact cameras of this type, you can attach waterproof converters and 45mm lens filters using the conversion lens adapter. This fisheye lens allows for full wide angle shooting without sacrificing the brightness of the TG-5’s ƒ2 lens. The angle of coverage is 130° with an equivlent focal length of 19mm (fisheye). Last but not least is the Tele Converter lens which is able to extend your effective focal length from 100 to 170mm and with its incredible super-resolution zoom it will reach a maximum of 13.6 x magnification – still at ƒ2. Olympus do have their own flash and this recycles at 2 seconds, has a respectable guide number of 22 and is depth rated to 75m, but the camera will of course accept any proprietary flash which is fired by slave through an optical lead. More interesting points include the GPS geolocation with compass, and of course wifi to allow you to send instant photographs anywhere on your smart phone.
Maintenance and cleaning There are two waterproofed compartments. One underneath holds the battery and memory SD card, the other is on the left hand side for your charging ports (USB & HDMI). Both have a double lock mechanism, so you must make sure that there are no hairs or dust anywhere near the silicone gasket before closing the camera. After a dive, remove any attachments and place all of the bits into warm water for ten minutes or so to allow any salt particles to dissipate. Allow the camera and accessories to dry naturally and wipe with a dry lintfree cloth. Then you are ready to go again! 72 November/December 2017 Cameracraft
Do not be fooled by unfamiliarity with the scale of some of Lawson’s underwater targets! The top photograph shows a juvenile Great Scallop, Pecten maximus, off the Isle of May (Firth of Forth, Berwickshire coast). The centre picture is a Dahlia anemone, Telia felina, in the waters of the St Abbs and Eyemouth Marine Reserve. This is also where the smallest subject of all, the bottom image of a European cowrie (Trivia moncha) was taken. Lawson says the camera screen and macro or microscope mode was often the best way to study very small sealife.
Is it a good buy? So, the questions are: Am I impressed? Yes, absolutely! Small, lightweight, interchangeable lenses underwater, waterproof to 15m and the best macro and micro facility of any waterproof underwater camera on the market. Does it do what it says on the box? Much more that that! I was totally blown away by how versatile the camera is and how easily adaptable it is for changing lenses underwater without any loss of clarity or quality of photograph. The ring-flash gizmo is superb! How does it handle underwater? It is quite small and compact, but that is the nature of the beast. It would be nigh on impossible to operate the camera with thick neoprene gloves on, but for adventure sports, any wet or muddy work it’s fine. Even an hour underwater off the St Abbs and Eyemouth Marine Reserve in Scotland’s North Sea did not leave me undeterred. I use a small movie light by LumeCube which I fix on to the handle of a bracket via the accessory screw on the bottom of the camera. Working in microclose-up, the variable output from this little light negated the effect of needing flash and the camera responded extremely well for ‘natural’ light, even in wide-angle mode. It would handle this light on the ‘Automatic’ setting allowing the camera to do the thinking for you and it worked amazingly well. Would I own one? Certainly! This would be an easy add on to my other Olympus equipment as I currently use the OM-D EM-1. The price for many can be prohibitive, particularly if you want all of the ‘musthaves’, but overall I feel that the innovations are well worth the price tag. Would I recommend the camera and accessories to others? Much more difficult to answer, as I have also to think of what their uses would be. You should never just look at a camera as a single entity; rather it is the start of a comprehensive and versatile
system. The Olympus Tough TG-5 fits that bill admirably, as the supplementary lenses and flash diffuser raise this little waterproof camera to a much greater level of status. It is also one of the few new compact cameras to offer a raw capture and GPS for general travel photography out of water. Overall, I have no hesitation in recommending this BIG little camera for everyone. I am constantly amazed at how the technology is advancing. I look forward to the next generation of underwater cameras which are becoming more and more like the old Nikonos film cameras, these new digital compact cameras just need a better depth rating and we will have moved full circle. The Olympus Tough TG-5 is a joy to use and I am learning more about its excellent capabilities every time I enter the water with it.
In and out of water, the TG-5 is versatile camera. The two photographs above are of grey seals in the waters round the Isle of May, while the one below taken ‘on land’ is at Eyemouth Harbour, where most visitors are most likely to encounter them at less close quarters. The flash of the camera aids the action photographs, and there is also the Pro Capture mode which buffers many frames while you use the live view screen to compose the shot, and saves a series of these along with your final shutter press.
Olympus TG-5: £399.00 in red or black colours Underwater Case PT-058: £259.00 External Flash UFL-3: £319.00 Flash Diffuser FD-1: £ 49.99 Wide angle Fisheye Converter FCON-T01: £120.00 Tele Converter TCON-T01: £129.99 Conversion Lens Adapter CLA-T01: £ 20.00 Silicone Protective Cover TG-5: £29.99 Additional arms, brackets, connecting shoes, optical lead etc will cost extra, but all are made by a variety of companies and all are a standard fit and design. Lawson Wood is Founder and Chairman of the St Abbs & Eyemouth Voluntary Marine Reserve and has authored and co-authored over 50 books. He is a founding member of the Marine Conservation Society and made photographic history by gaining Fellowships with both the Royal Photographic Society and British Institute of Professional Photographers solely for Underwater Photography.
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Images which win a Bronze bar in the Guild of Photographers monthly competition don’t go through to the annual awards. This means we can choose some collectible Bronzes – not the kind which get stolen from war memorials – and publish them here without the risk of finding they win a major award in 2018. We don’t like to print pictures twice! Not even a lovely winter-friendly reflection like this one by Iain Poole. 74 November/December 2017 Cameracraft
Two more recent Bronze mudlarking successes â€“ from Stephen Halsey, above And found by Joanna Banks, below
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Left hand column â€“ from the top: Tracey Lund Michaela Young Katrina Wilson
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ONE OF the impressive things about the Guild’s monthly contest which runs from January to October is the great variety of genres. With the entry fees never more than £2.60 per image (see page 81) it attracts around 10,000 images a year. They cover all types of photography, from high end studio advertising to amateur wildlife and travel. The Bronze winners have made it past a certain judging level (below which pictures are referred to as ‘Classified’). For an editor, it’s never just the individual image which counts, it’s how well they work in print. And who can resist a completely loopy Bassett hound in full flight?
This page: Top: by Harry Lessman Below left: Sharon Lewis Below right: Rebecca Flutter
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PHOTOHUBS COVENTRY is an amazing two-day event packed with inspirational speakers and educational workshops delivered by nine of the most well-known contemporary names in the photographic industry. Ana Brandt from California, Paul Callaghan from Ireland and the ‘Big Dog’ Damian McGillicuddy from the UK to name just three! You have the option of joining us for one or both days by simply purchasing either a one-day or two-day pass which gives full access to main stage in the Grace Auditorium where five inspirational, thought provoking and varied seminars are scheduled each day. Trade Partners will be present there too… and lunch is included! There are also options to reserve a place on longer private speakers’ workshops or outdoor shoots in the heart of Coventry. These last three hours and have limited places* PLUS if you book a ‘workshop’, the Day Pass access to the main stage for the rest of the day is included, along with your lunch. There will also be a great social element to the two days though the pre-Christmas party night is now sold out. So are some of the workshops*. For discounted tickets, use the code CameraCraft20 which will give you a 20% discount from either single Day passes or the Two-Day pass. This brings a Day pass down to £60.00 from £75.00, and a full Two-Day pass down to £112.00 from £140. * Sold-out workshops (flagged up here in red) may still have last-minute places in the event of cancellations. For full details of the exciting speakers, the seminars and workshops follow visit the PhotoHubs website – www.photohubs.co.uk If you are a member of the Guild of Photographers you can save up to 25% off the listed prices, potentially saving more than your membership costs. Contact the Guild’s office to find out more: email email@example.com
MEET THE SPEAKERS AND THEIR PROGRAMME
2 DAYS 9 SPEAKERS 10 WORKSHOPS The Welcome Centre, Parkside, Coventry CV1 2HG 9.00am to 5.00pm each day
SUPER SEMINAR EVENT
COVENTRY NOVEMBER 15/16
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NEW OLD S BORNOUT ANA BRANDT
Ana Brandt is a California-based award winning photographer, who needs no introduction, being a globally sought-after speaker. With over 18 years specialising in pregnancy and newborn images, Ana photographs families all over the USA and further afield. She has her own studio and is a very successful businesswoman, author, teacher and mother of three. A keen educator, she teaches on-line and in person. She changed the ‘bump’ market as the first to design a line of maternity gowns for photo sessions. Ana will be on the public stage on the morning of the 15th and afternoon of the 16th. She will host private workshops ‘Stunning Maternity Photography’ (1.00pm, 15th) and ‘Creative Newborn Photography’ (9.00am, 16th). www.anabrandt.com Twitter:anabrandt @anabrandt
Photohubs in Coventry features a great support cast from the trade – 18 exhibitors signed up as we go to press.
Paul’s list of accolades speak for themselves. As a winner of over 400 Gold Awards, an international speaker and both a judge and mentor to the photography industry, Paul has a lot to offer, in a manner that everybody warms to straight away! He is a Master Craftsman with the Guild of Professional Photographers. Paul will be on the public stage in the morning, then holding a Private Workshop at 1.00pm, on Thursday 16th. www.paulcallaghan.com
Andrew runs a comprehensive program of photography courses all over the UK, across Europe and in South Africa. Andrew has embraced many changes that continue to influence photography but maintains that the key concepts of light and composition are the two constants. He ran his first photography workshop in October 2010 and since then he has booked in over 2,500 places. Now is the time to learn from his success! 2017 has witnessed another exciting dimension to his training courses: video production. The emphasis here is on teaching photographers who are ready to take advantage of the video capabilities of the modern stills camera. With workshops suitable for all levels of experience and competence, he believes that the holistic approach is the best – ‘teaching someone to take a photograph is no substitute for teaching them to become a real photographer’. Andrew is a regular photographic judge and a panel member with the Guild of Professional Photographers. His workshop How & Why You Need to Shoot Video on Your DSLR or Mirrorless Camera is at 9.00am, Wednesday 15th, with a public talk in the afternoon. Cameracraft was able to check out Andrew’s video skills by watching his presentation at Photovision in Dublin. This was one of the best-produced promotional videos we have ever seen and the best possible advertisement for his message about the value of video. We also see more advertisers using video shorts, and more corporate clients wanting moving images in addition to stills. This is a workshop not to miss. appletonphototraining.com See video about the event: https://vimeo.com/225072669 Twitter: @Applephoto
A working commercial and portrait photographer for over 30 years, Damian has amassed over 670 international awards, 12 photographer of the year titles, 10 fellowships and a double Grand Masters, and a Grand Master with Double Bar. Damian’s training has resulted in photographers achieving many national and international awards including sixteen photographer of the year titles, and many photographers gaining qualifications ranging from licentiate to fellowship. Damian will be on the public stage November 15th afternoon, November 16th morning and will hold private workshops ‘Easy and Effective Location Lighting’ 9.00am 15th, ‘Beautiful Portraits from Simple Tools’ 1.00pm 16th. damianmcgillicuddy.photography twitter.com/mcgillicuddy1
Linda is a pets and animals specialist based near Brighton, East Sussex. She has a deep love of animals, especially dogs, and has three large Rhodesian Ridgebacks of her own. Linda has an understanding of dogs’ nature and body language which helps to capture their unique characters. A Qualified member of the Guild of Professional Photographers, Linda is also in demand for her excellent workshops. At the Coventry event, she hosts ‘Capturing Canines’ with a real live dog – a private workshop on Thursday 16th at 1.00pm – after appearing on the public stage during the morning. lindajohnstonephotography.co.uk
Gavin creates images with a narrative – to ‘give my viewers reasons to ask questions’. Brought up with black and white film, he has a passion for the medium and the way it concentrates focus on the subject of the image. Gavin has lived on the East Coast of Yorkshire all his life, and has spent years capturing the beauty of this environment – landscapes, beach-scapes, people, local landmarks, events. His private workshop ‘Inside the Black and White World of Gavin Prest’ is at 9.00am on Thursday 16th, with public stage appearance in the afertnoon. gavinprestphotography.co.uk twitter.com/gavinprest
Twice nominated for Portrait Photographer of the year with a leading photographic association, Gary shoots weddings, portraits, events, catalogues, brochures, books and websites, fashion and commercial packages. He also runs the Just Pose workshops and training days with Cass Davies, intensive courses for photographers looking to up their game in their chosen field, covering Newborn Posing, Lighting, Business, Boudoir & Maternity. Gary hosts a private workshop ‘Lighting Set-ups that Really Work’ 9.00am Thursday 16th, and takes part in the public stage in the afternoon. www.justposetraining.co.uk
Well-known for his imagination and fast-moving workshops, Dave has over 45 major awards to his name. He teaches Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom and imparts photographic expertises round the globe. He is noted for his creative retouching and for teaching essential retouching skills for working photographers. With training sessions for photographic associations, Fujifilm, Sigma, Manchester City FC, Panasonic and many others his work – and humour! – stand out from the crowd. He holds a private workshop ‘Skin… from Zero to Hero!’ at 1.00pm on Thursday 16th, appearing on the public stage in the morning. www.davewallphoto.co.uk
A former brand and marketing manager, Nina has established herself as one of the UK’s top family and child photographers. She loves shooting outdoors and uses the ‘colours of the UK’ as her portrait backdrops. She has recently been names as one of the top three photographic trainers in the UK. Her work has featured in child photography competitions and international publications including Vogue; she has named ‘Top Children’s Photographer of the Year’ by the Guild of Professional Photographers. Her private workshop ‘Get Children’s Photography Right’ is at 9.00am on Wednesday 15th, and she is on the public stage pm. ninamacephotography.com Twitter: @ninamacephoto
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Photovision Trade Shows Seminars & Live Demos
EDINBURGH EDINBURGH April 2018
2017 Hit the ground running in 2016/17 2016 and learn new skills from our top name speakers covering the the latest subjects
Studio Area Live
7th Nov 2017
Try the latest studio equipment
• Cameras & Equipment • Used Equipment Fair • Camera Cleaning • Workshops • Leading Trade Suppliers • Equipment Demos • Discount Vouchers Drones
FREE Trade Show Entry • FREE Parking • FREE Seminars • Tradeshow 11am To 4pm
Book your place now www.forwardevents.co.uk
Free to read online… Creative Light bi-monthly e-magazine http://tinyurl.com/guildCL 80 November/December 2017 Cameracraft
f you are a member, or considering joining the Guild of Photographers, the next big Guild event falls soon after this magazine is published – Photohubs with two days of seminars, bookable as single days, on November 15th and 16th in Coventry (see previous spread for details). The next big date is the Guild Awards in February 2018. The Guild’s Image of the Month competition forms the basis for annual awards, unlike the approach taken by most associations which ask for a restricted number of entries by a set date. The Guild had an entry of over 10,000 images spread over ten entry months in 2016. There are ten on-line entry windows closing with the last minute of the month from January to October, and the results from each one are shown on-line. The entry is closed now for 2017, start planning to enter in 2018! Those achieving Silver Bar or higher count towards the Annual awards total. There are many categories, and a good way to learn about the process is to look at the 2016 results: https://photoguild.co.uk/2016-awards There is an overall judging in December, with 8-10 images as the best entries in every category chosen to be printed for final scoring. For the entrants, many images will have brief notes from the judges (even reasons for failure) and awarded examples get an expert commentary. During the year entrants can fine-tune their skills and see the standard they are competing with, and judged against. The entry cost of £1.75-£2.60 plus VAT per image (depending on quantity) is a bargain compared to other awards fees and even more so compared to paid assessment and critiques or distance learning. You can also book a one-to-one, direct phone/ Skype critique of three entries for £11.40 inc VAT. The annual Guild Awards Night dinner for 2018 will be held on February 3rd at Crewe Hall, a Grade 1 listed Jacobean mansion in Cheshire (CW1 6UZ), 6.45pm. See the Guild website/Facebook for updated information.
Cmercrƒt is received by all members of
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STANDARD MEMBER £10.00 a month, £27.50 quarterly or £ 90.00 annually. Includes: • Access to qualification and on-line mentoring programmes • Specially discounted insurance cover and other great discounts (including up to 12% off at the Apple Store) UK only • Priority data recovery service • Guild private members’ network and personal support • Monthly competitions • Bi-monthly Creative Light online magazine, Cameracraft bi-monthly, and regular email newsletters • Use of Guild logos • Free downloads (e.g. contracts) PROFESSIONAL MEMBER £12.50 a month, £35.00 quarterly £120.00 annually Includes all standard features plus the following great business-class additions: • Debt recovery service • Contract dispute and mediation cover • Loss of earnings protection • Tax Investigation protection (worth £150) • Personal access to a confidential Legal Advice helpline available 24/7 • Personal access to a confidential Tax Advice helpline • ‘Crisis cover’ – 24/7 access to PR expert advice with up to £10,000 to tackle negative publicity or media attention • Compliance and Regulation (including Data Protection) cover • Employment Protection • Free access to a Business legal services website with over 100 documents to assist you with day-to-day business • Up to £10,000 worth of PR support if the PR helpline feels the situation needs it • Plus much more, including legal costs and expenses cover in the case of identity theft, and legal defence against any motoring prosecutions Some of these features are also available to members outside the UK – the Guild office will be happy to advise. All for just £2.50 a month extra! Á
Cameracraft November/December 2017 81
Cmercrƒt Be real while you can: the honest truth
You owe it to the future to use photography well, to show the world and humanity as it they are and not as we imagine them to be… even if means losing out to illusions.
your pictures. Well, that may apply to street photography and to the best documentary social coverage. I’m not sure it holds true for much current portraiture and especially for baby and newborn. Here, the unseen person is the photographer’s teacher or mentor. Often there’s no real evidence of original creative input although the images are all about a look or style. In fashion photography this veneer of modified reality is expected. A catwalk show doesn’t try to look like the school run: an
was reading a column by a Dutch journalist in which he castigated the English for an ability to accept lies and lying. The Dutch, he suggested, were naturally honest to the point of being blunt and seeming rude because a Calvinist ethic of ‘being true to oneself’ was deeply ingrained. I guess that in the deep background my own influences of mostly nonconformist family heritage from England, Wales and Scotland have made me a bad liar. You could say ‘undiplomatic’, but certainly not cut out to be a politician in today’s world of evasion and spin. Perhaps this gives me a natural preference for unmanipulated, honest photography and an aversion to much of the work – both amateur and professional – I see today. You might ask why I chose to use Carola Kayen-Mouthaan’s photographic pastiches of Northern Renaissance paintings in the last issue. The answer is that these were honest, even down to having an element of humour. They were clearly a photographer creating mock paintings. What I do not like as much is the trend for photographers to impose a socalled Fine Art look on otherwise regular portraits, leaving a false record of the individuals and of the times they live in, the fashions worn and even the haircut. Why dress a child in fake Victorian clothes and stick a top hat on them, light them against a background vaguely in Victorian studio mode, then desaturate the colour while selecting an expression of utter mournfulness? Why add to this, as I have now seen from one set of such portraits, the artificial enlargement of eyes or exaggeration of red hair and freckled skin? You can blame the Taylor Wessing portrait prize if you want, or the desire of parents and their chosen photographer to have normal and pleasant children look like something from the cast of Les Miserables, or a model for The Little Match Girl. Photographers do bow to popular taste, and sometimes this taste leads to a legacy of portraiture which will one day be considered dated and kitsch. You
would not, after all, want every image of a wedding couple to look like a Jack Vettriano painting or every golden wedding portrait to mirror American Gothic. It may be fun to do this once or twice, on request, but sometimes now we see the trademark style of a photographer being as unrealistic as a Bamforth of Holmfirth photo-scene postcard. I guess what most nags me when looking at work from some influential trend-setters is the depressingly miserable look of so many sitters – even when the photographer has not hired a make-up artist and post-processing to match. In October I visited the exhibition Out of Sight, Out of Mind in Edinburgh – artworks ‘in relation to experiences of mental health issues’. We were there to hear a talk by Oto Kano, who has created both strikingly dark and
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hauntingly beautiful work during her cycles of bipolar depression and mania. Not a single painting or work in the exhibition (by dozens of artists) had the stereotyped look of what passes for ‘art’ portraiture in photographic circles today. Every individual artist had a distinct style. Brilliant colour was as common in the exhibition as muted tone, strong lines and graphic intensity as well represented as subtle understatement. One thing was clear, artists working with paint media (and also with photography) displayed far more individuality than photographers tend to today. And their works were honest. They were not mentored, or moderated, to conform to a standard. Elsewhere in this magazine, you’ll find a reference to the unseen person in every photograph being the photographer. You can not help being ‘in’ all
editorial may tell a fantasy story. Fashion is not intended to be true. The same goes for hair and beauty photographs. In both fields, unexpected innovation is acclaimed (think of how Rankin started out). In social photography, High Street portraiture, the client expects a picture which resembles the samples already seen. If these samples in turn just replicate the style of other photographers, and impose costumes and a mood far removed from the subject’s true appearance and personality, what real worth do they have as portraits? So, be true to your own vision, and be true to the subject. Don’t join the zombie march to feast on awards using cloned concepts! Give the future an honest view of the life which surrounds you. – David Kilpatrick
Photo: Girona, before the referendum
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The world’s smallest studio light Profoto A1 The A1 is every inch a Profoto light – just smaller. Its round head delivers light that’s both natural and beautiful. And it’s incredibly easy and to use, with superfast recycling and a long-lasting battery, so you’ll never miss a shot. On the move, shooting on-camera or off, this is light shaping excellence everywhere. Discover more at profoto.com 84 November/December 2017 Cameracraft
With a superb portfolio, cover and interview showing the underwater (swimming pool) fashion-portrait work of Cheryl Walsh, this issue also h...
Published on Dec 12, 2017
With a superb portfolio, cover and interview showing the underwater (swimming pool) fashion-portrait work of Cheryl Walsh, this issue also h...