Creative Light - Issue 54

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2 : March | April 20232 - Issue 54 CONTENTS Gold Awards January & February 2023 Comparison is the Thief of Joy Michelle Szpak 44 How to Light your Food! Emma Dunham 30 26 14 Newborn & Family Moments Kimi Watson 38 56 64 Artistic Still Life Challenge GuruShots EDITOR’S CHOICE Nikki-Goodeve Silver Award - January 2023 British Wildlife Photography Awards Winning Images - 2023 Tech for Togs Peter Morgan Qualified Guild Wedding Photographer Dale Turner 10 72 Add Fake Smoke & Mist to your Pictures Glyn Dewis 22 New Trade Partner Superscript Insurance New Trade Partner JRNY Travel Magazine 34
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Welcome to the latest issue of Creative Light, the Guild of Photographers’ online magazine. We are excited to bring you an array of articles and features that capture the essence of photography and the creative process behind it. In this issue, we feature Kimi Watson, a talented photographer specialising in baby photography, and her photography journey with dyslexia. We also have an insightful piece by Michelle Szpak entitled

“Comparison is the Thief of Joy”. And if you’re a fan of wildlife photography, you won’t want to miss the British Wildlife Photography Award 2023 winning images which are featured in this issue - Enter Now - BWPA 2024 Competition is now open; click on the link for further details. For foodies out there, Emma Dunham shares her expertise on lighting your food for stunning results with natural and artificial Light. Plus, take Peter Morgan’s valuable insights into backups with a Synology NAS for techsavvy photographers and we have two new Guild Trade Partners, Superscript Insurance and JRNY Travel Magazine. Additionally, GuruShots are featuring their latest challenge of 100 images entitled “Artistic Still Life” - sure to inspire!

So whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting in photography, Creative Light has something for everyone in this issue - we hope you enjoy!

Front Cover - Issue 54

Superb image (one of my personal favourites of 2022) captured by Guild Photographer Magdalena Bartnicka. Magdalena was a finalist in the Guild’s Image of the Year competition 2022.

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Qualified Guild of Wedding Photographers March 2023
Dale Turner
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Newborn & Family Moments Photography

“I left school not having a clue what I wanted to do... Looking back, I don’t even think I cared. I found my passion and career around 28 years old. I was a mummy to a 4-year-old and a baby, which at the time I had PND (Post-Natal Depression), and I struggled to be apart from my youngest. This is where Memory Boutique Photography was born, and I’ve worked it every day for the past ten years; I generally love what I do and feel so lucky to say that. I’m creative with the worst paperwork skills going, but I work. I’m always busy doing something, usually learning or running around after the kids. I’ve had ups and downs, and things crop up, but I always like to find a way to move on. I like to call it the circle of life maternity, Newborn, Baby Massage, Family Moments and then the circle carries on.

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Q: How did your photography journey evolve?

I did photography at school when we only had a dark room and had no idea what the image might look like... Fast forward 5/6 years. It was after the birth of my second child I got back into photography and enrolled on a night course at the local college when Freddie was around five months old. I soon set up in my lounge, went to people’s houses, and attended local photography courses; these were very basic; my first ever Newborn training was by Karen Pfeiffer in Manchester. My first ever paid Newborn shoot, the baby cried the whole time, and I cried the whole time after thinking, what am I doing? I have learnt to soak up as much information as possible over the years, train with people I admire and keep loving what I do. My business is constantly growing and evolving in the right direction.

Q: What is your go-to camera & lens combination, and why? My current camera is a Nikon D780; I’ve always been a Nikon girl; my lens usually is a Nikon 24-120

Q: Photoshop or Lightroom for your workflow and why?

Ahh, I’m a Photoshop gal; I need to return to Lightroom, as I know I’m doing more work for myself.

Q: What is a typical working day for you?

I try and have chilled (if that’s a thing) days. A typical day starts with the kids and getting them up; well, the 10yr old he loves his sleep and isn’t a morning person; once the school run is done, I usually do an hour of cleaning. I HATE CLEANING, but working at home, I also can’t sit and see a mess like the kid’s shoes, cups left out etc. the studio gets a hoover and mop each morning too. I also tend to do shoots in the morning, as I know I’m constantly tired by late afternoon. I also teach baby development massage in the studio once a week too. I still love to watch home and away, so edit in the afternoons watching it, and yes, I’m happy Neighbours is coming back. I do the school run a few times a week, as my hubby will generally do it if he is out. A bath with lots of bubbles is in there too. I love a bath; it’s definitely my thing, and I do a lot of my social media then too... Once the kids are home, I try to focus on them.

Q: Lighting equipment, your preferred choice?

I love my big Elinchrom light. It’s all I use and easy to pack up and move, although it does take up loads of room.

Q: One piece of equipment you couldn’t do without?

My camera... I also love my Newborn Posing Bed from Baby Fox Props; it saved my back.

Q: Best photography buy for less than £50?

Ohhh, is there much you can get for under £50? I do love matching props with blankets and headbands.

Q: What’s the one job do you dislike the most in your photography business?

It’s probably editing, and that’s because I do it on my own. I crave human attention, lol, so when I’m in sessions talking away, I love it, and then when it’s just me and the laptop, I get lonely.

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Q: Who inspires you?

I am inspired and surrounded by so many incredible people; many are women with being in Mums In Business (MIB). I have so much respect for Leona Burton, the CEO of MIB. I’ve learned so much in the industry from Claire Elliott, Natasha Ince and Maggie Robinson, to name a few.

Q: What is your Photography niche? Maternity, Newborn, Family and Fairies

Q: Winning Influencer of the Year for Mums In Business is a fantastic achievement. Can you tell us more about your role in Mums in Business and your Ribble Valley Group?

When the Covid-19 Pandemic hit, and our businesses closed overnight, I found myself doing lots of training and online looking at how to keep the business ALIVE. Another photographer introduced me to MIB and told me about a role available. To start with, I was absolutely not and now, three years on, I’m head of the North West for MIB and run our local group here in the Ribble Valley. It had just 62 ladies in, and now we are 650+.

MIB stands for Mums In Business International (MIBI) and is a global community and platform providing support, resources, and networking opportunities for women who are entrepreneurs or who want to start their own businesses. I support our local women bringing them together and running monthly face-to-face events with guest speakers and lots of networking.

It was my first Award to be part of in MIB, and I was blown away by winning an award to say it’s a worldwide community with over 70 thousand women; it is a massive achievement. I cried.

Q: Are you a mobile or a studio-based photographer?

I have a gorgeous home studio that we built as part of our renovation. I asked the builder to move the footings when my husband was out to make it bigger, taking the extra space out of his ‘boys’ room’.

Q: Running your own business, how challenging has it been having a a family as well?

They say, ‘I left the 9-5 world to work on my own terms,’ but being self-employed and running your own business is always working; I never switch off, but I love it! Now my children are slightly older, 14 and 10yrs its a lot easier. My husband is selfemployed, too, so we are always on the go. We have to communicate well between us so there’s always someone around for the kids, but it just works.

Q: Apart from sheer hard work - what would you say is the secret to your success?

Consistency and dedication. I’m naturally optimistic

and always try to see the best in things. I do work hard, but I also take time for myself; this is important. I’m always learning and on some training course. I guess I keep going, moving forward and carrying on. Thinking about it, I don’t really switch off my business is just me, myself and I, so I make the cups of tea, keep all my socials up to date and do the work. MIB keeps me busy, too, as I look after the North West.

Q: Interesting facts about you?

I asked my children this question, and Freddie said ” ... an amazing Mum, in the top 100 businesswomen list, caring.” He’s well-trained.

I guess my Dyslexia is my superpower; I’m very independent. I went to Boarding School from the age of 8yrs until I was 18. I wouldn’t say I like pizza; I hate cheese and tomatoes - really weird. I find this question really hard. I think I’m me and boring!

Q: What is your career highlight to date?

You know I’m just really proud of myself. I’m Dyslexic, like really Dyslexic, which has made me who I am today and that creative flare (just don’t look at my paperwork). My business will be ten years old in May, and I’ve had so many different clients, from celebrities to footballers. I’ve won awards, but my highlight is keeping a business going and growing all the time.

Q: Advice you would give to photographers starting out in business?

Train.... find photographers you love and admire and learn from them, practise and build your style, BE YOU! Learning and developing are soooo important.

Q: Favourite food?

I love Chinese or a good roast.

Q: Three words that describe you?

Creative, Fun and Passionate.

Q: Favourite place in the world and why?

Home! I am a proper home girl. I love travelling, but I miss it so much. I’m so happy when I get back.

Q: Where next?

Every day brings something new, and I’m not a planner, so who knows, watch this space. I would love to help and support others in some way on their journeys, but right now, I’m happy in my studio creating memories.

- Thank you Kimi for sharing your photographic journey and wish you continued success in the future.

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“Comparison is the Thief of Joy”

As photographers, we delve into lighting, marketing, and photography training. But sometimes, we need to remember to pause and look at what our mindset is doing. If things aren’t working, we immediately think we aren’t good enough or that we just haven’t landed on the right marketing tool. We will often sit there blaming ourselves and our lack of knowledge. Or we grab the next idea that a photographer launches and hope this is the thing that will cause all our success.

The problem with all of this is that we don’t look at where the problem comes from—our mindset. Whether unconsciously or consciously, what we think or believe affects everything in our life. Be it in our business or our personal lives.


Our brains are wired to make sure we are shown what we believe. I am sure you have all done this… you have 100s of amazing reviews from your clients. But one day, you have this

one review, someone who isn’t happy. Do you remember the amazing reviews? Nope, you end up focusing only on the bad review—the one confirming all your beliefs that you are not good enough.

Or you could have five good sales, but one client doesn’t buy anything. Again, you focus on the one not spending. I could go on and list so many more examples.

If you are nodding away at this, it is time to work on yourself. Because that is where success starts, it starts within. It starts with you believing in yourself and your business. Let go of the negative chatter in your mind and replace it with the positive. Sounds easy, right? I wish it were (although maybe that is a belief in itself).

It isn’t so much that it isn’t easy more like we have to re-condition ourselves and our brains from the years we have spent becoming who we are today. If you imagine you say to yourself, you are useless and have done so for the last

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- Teddy Roosevelt

ten years every day at least five times a day. Your brain has heard and processed that you are useless 18,250 times! No wonder you are left believing it.

If you imagine a woodland completely overgrown, no person has been there in years. And you decide you are going to walk there daily. Walking the same route. You start cutting back the path, and each day you make the path easier to walk. After so many years, there will be a clear path through, and it will be an easy walk. In the beginning, it was hard going. Well, this is like the neural pathways in your brain that create habits and beliefs. To change them, you must start walking the new path daily to replace the old path until it becomes a habit and an easy place to go. Now, you are walking paths you have created without even realising it. These are your daily beliefs and habits. A bit like when you make a journey you do every day, and one day you think, how did I get here? You automatically followed the route with your subconscious. So, look around you; look at where your life is now. This is where your thoughts and beliefs have given to you. Are you abundant? Are you stressed? Are you loving life or worrying about how you will get everything done? Are you busy being busy but now being busy on what is important? Today take a moment to take stock of where you are; if you can, journal on it to see where you are today.

The first step to change is awareness. Awareness is key. If you want to understand and see what beliefs are holding you back, then start to notice what you are saying. I personally carry a notebook with me to make a note of what you notice. What are you thinking about when you wake up? Are you excited for the day ahead, or is your first thought lack – I need more sleep, or I will never get everything done today?

When you get to work, do you jump straight in and get your most important tasks completed? Or do you sit there being distracted and playing on social media? Do you put off your editing or contacting clients? Ask yourself why I am doing this. What is my trigger or belief? Some examples are – I am not enough. My photography isn’t good enough. Or I am not worth the money I am charging.

This is the place to start truly understanding you and what you are doing to hold you back. Once you begin with awareness and understanding, you can then bring change.

You can build new thought processes and create better habits. You deserve to be happy and successful in the way you want, and often that key is in our mindset.

Don’t be someone that ignores the foundations.

Issue 54 - Creative Light Magazine : 27 For more on Mindset follow me on social media @Photographersmindset Visit my Website - Why not come and subscribe to my Podcast: Photographers Mindset – Michelle Szpak


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Gina Soule Ian Knaggs | FEBRUARY 2022 Jodie Painter Martin Clark
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Gary Neville Steven Lambert Katie Hughes Morag Forbes Ryan Hutton Jodie Painter


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British Wildlife Photography Awards 2023

An Image of a red Fox moving through a Woodland, destroyed to make way for an industrial site, took the top prize at this prestigious award.

More than 13,000 images were submitted into this year’s competition, with amateur and professional photographers competing for the £5,000 grand prize.

28-year-old Charlie Page was chosen as this year’s grand prize winner for his powerful image taken in England.

“I knew this area was frequented by foxes, and I wanted to take an image with the industrial backdrop to show the devastation caused to this local woodland that the fox calls home,” says Page. “I hope that wildlife photographers aren’t faced with similar scenes in years to come.”

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Overall Winner - British Wildlife Photographer of the Year

The RSPB Young British Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2023 was awarded to Billy Evans-Freke for his image of a tawny owlet resting in a tree. This award is supported by the RSPB with the aim of encouraging young people to get involved with nature.

Overall Winner - RSPB Young British Wildlife Photographer of the Year

The British Wildlife Photography Awards (BWPA) is a revered showcase of nature photography in Britain and a crucial reminder of what value our woodlands, wetlands and other ecosystems still hold.

“The talented photographers in this year’s competition have given us an exceptional window into Britain’s nature,” says Will Nicholls, Director of BWPA. “It’s an important reminder of the wildlife and wild spaces that still remain in the UK, and are in need of our care and protection.”

Photographers competed in 10 different categories in the adult competition: Animal Behaviour, Animal Portraits, Botanical Britain, Black & White, British Seasons, Coast & Marine, Habitat, Hidden Britain, Urban Wildlife, and Wild Woods. There were three age groups in the young competition: 11 and Under, 12-14 years, and 15-17 years.

All awarded images are published by Bird Eye Books in a hard-back coffee-table book, which is now available online at, with a foreword by Dame Judi Dench.

The 2024 competition is now open for entries at, and invites photographers of all experience levels to submit their photos of Britain’s nature at its best.

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Black & White Winner © Matthew Turner - British Wildlife Photographer of the Year Wild Woods Winner © Philip Selby - British Wildlife Photographer of the Year Coast & Marine Winner © Henley Spiers - British Wildlife Photographer of the Year Animal Behaviour - British Wildlife Photographer Hidden Britain Winner © John Waters - British Wildlife Photographer of the Year RSPB 11 and Under Years Winner © Wilbur King - British Wildlife Photographer of the Year RSPB 12-14 Years Winner © Felix Walker-Nix Turner Year Animal Portraits Winner © Lewis Newman - British Wildlife Photographer of the Year Botanical Britain Winner © Matt Doogue - British Wildlife Photographer of the Year Habitat Winner © Neil McIntyre - British Wildlife Photographer of the Year
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Emma Dunham The Foodies Photographer

Emma is an award-winning photographer with over 16 years of experience as a Professional Photographer, specialising in food and drink products and all things people related. She loves bringing your food to life by delving into the psychology of what makes customers want your food!

She creates beautiful custom imagery that ties the emotion of your food and your team into gorgeous storytelling visuals that tie your entire business brand together.

Emma helps business owners and entrepreneurs increase their visibility through a beautiful bank of bespoke images to attract their ideal clients.


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How to Light your Food - Bring out it’s Best Side


The first question is, do you want natural or artificial light for your shot?

Natural light is easy to establish in food photography – we need the sun.

Artificial light can be through Continuous lights (light bulb but don’t flash), Studio Strobes (light bulb and do flash) and Speedlights (no light bulb but do flash)

Here are some pointers to help you decide:


1. It’s free and easy to find.

2. It’s cheap – no electricity is needed.

3. It has an even soft quality of light on your food.

4. Beautiful shapes can be achieved using shadows.

5. Time of day will create different effects.

6. Easy to learn, affordable, and can be done anywhere.


1. It’s unpredictable, and you must keep rechecking the lighting.

2. The sun can be harsh on food and needs to be managed.

3. The ‘blue hour; and the ‘golden hour’ is not great for food photography.

4. Weather can dramatically change how you work,

5. Inconsistent colour hue means more time in editing


1. It’s controlled and takes the unpredictability out of the shot

2. It’s convenient; you can take it anywhere – restaurants, hotels, and cafes.

3. It gives you more creative freedom as you are totally in control of the light

4. The quality of light is very good, so your food looks great.

5. You can photograph anytime; you are not timebound with losing light.

6. Faster Workflow and editing easier as the light doesn’t change.


1. It’s expensive.

2. You need a certain level of knowledge and experience to understand how to use the light.

3. You need a larger space to set up the equipment, which isn’t always possible in hospitality.

4. You need more time for setting up, and it’s a fast service; you start way behind.

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X Use the kitchen spotlights; they will turn your food an icky yellow.

X Shoot from the same direction as the camera; your food will look flat.

X Use on-camera flash; it will make your food look yellow AND flat!


To flatter your food more, you need to use diffused light. The bigger the light source, the softer the light.


So when shooting with artificial light, a large softbox works wonders in creating a soft image for your food with your lights.

• The shape of the softbox isn’t as important as the size.

• Think about the size of space you are generally working in and determine what size would accommodate it.

• Too small, and the light gets harsher.

• Too big, and you can’t travel with it or fit it in a room.

I use a 120cm Octabox. The 150cm would be too big for shooting in many of my client’s venues, even though I would love it.


Scrims are widely known as a purpose-made go-to for photographers who want to soften their harsh light.

They are sold in many sizes and price points - so you must consider what you need before wasting money.

SCRIM (diffuses light)

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However, as those in my world will tell you, I like to look at making photographers’ aids that are a fraction of the cost and work just as well.

So if you are struggling with harsh natural or artificial light and want a cheap solution, then try: Plain net curtain or voile

- fold it over-dependent on how harsh the sun is and how light your food is

√ White Shower Curtain

- frosted and with hook holes, it makes it very easy to hang up and shape around the food

√ Baking Parchment or Tracing Paper

- stuck to the window works wonders if you are working with a relatively small food set-up.

√ Tracing Paper and Cardboard/frame

Get a large piece of cardboard and cut a frame out to look like a picture frame. (Or use an old matt frame )In the blank middle part of the frame, cut a piece of tracing paper and Sellotape it to the frame or a piece of voile and staple it to the frame. The cheapest scrim of all, though, is the Clouds!


With food photography, you can create a stunning image with just one light source, as natural light is used a lot with food photography think of mimicking the sun’s position. There is only one sun, so we can set our light up with that in mind.


It’s not only the lights you use and how you diffuse them. The direction of your light plays an important part in Food Photography. It shapes the scene, gives texture and changes the shadow placement and feels of the shot. Flat light is not a good look with food.


Sidelight is as described - it is one light that is placed to the side of your food and brings texture and shadows to the image.

Sidelight is dramatic with areas of strong shadow, but you have to be very precise with your lighting, as minor adjustments can alter the effect of the sidelight.

You need to keep an eye on where the light and where the shadows are whilst photographing. Side light is perfect for food photography as it gives shadow under the food, bowl, dish and ingredients; therefore, it stops that floating look which can make food look artificial or heavily edited.


Backlight (you have probably guessed already) is when one light is positioned behind the food. This can be from a large window or artificial light. The light will illuminate liquids and make them glow, or you will get a beautiful subtle soft light cast over your gorgeous food. In each instance, you will have a light, bright feel to your image.

Backlight can give a vibrant colour to the image by casting light over the food and creating highlights so the food looks good enough to eat.

Backlighting is perfect for food photography. In particular, it’s instrumental in highlighting the shape of bottles or crockery and when you want a light, bright feel to your image without heavy shadows.

“ Thank you Emma for sharing an insight into the world of photographing food! “

48 : March | April 20232 - Issue 54
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Peter loves photography and gadgets. It would be safe to say he is obsessed with technology. He has worked in the computer and telecommunications industry since the age of 16. Peter is an Apple and Windows Engineer, Backup and Disaster Recovery Specialist and has been supporting individuals and businesses for over thirty years. He started a professional photography business in 2014 after selling his IT company to pursue his love of photography. Peter soon discovered that his IT skills meant that great photographers trusted him with their business technology. Often he would trade his IT repair skills for photography training to learn as much as possible about every different genre and type of photography to create his own unique and quirky style.

Like many other photographers, the global pandemic postponed Peter’s primary job as a professional photographer, so he began looking at the real problems photographers and creatives faced daily. This is when his idea for ‘Tech for Togs’ came into fruition as he was constantly being asked for help on Facebook Group with an average of 20 requests daily.

Many photographers don’t have a robust, stress-tested backup solution. As a photographer, Peter finds that having the solution, workflow, and knowledge is invaluable for the creative industry. For this issue of Creative Light Magazine, Peter has written an article on why his Synology NAS is still his best photography purchase in 2023. Enjoy!

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Peter Morgan

Why my Synology NAS is still my Best Photographic Purchase in 2023

Are you thinking of buying yet another lens? Can’t wait for a new body? (In my case, reincarnation is the only option). This article covers the main reason why my Synology DS1821+ is the best purchase I made in 2020 for my photography business.

Where Did I Start?

I, like most I suspect, started my photographic career by storing my images on old hard drives, CDs, DVDs, and memory sticks (eventually). When I finally decided to switch to being a full-time photographer (way back in 2008), the thought that I need to consolidate my images into one location meant buying a large 2 TB hard drive. It cost a fortune back then, and I thought: “this is going to take me a while to fill up.” Turns out I was wrong. It took approximately a year. Since then, backing up has gotten cheaper and more accessible with cloud storage and smaller credit cardsized hard drives of incredible speed, but the need for centrally accessible storage has never been greater.

Buying the Synology DS1821+ (We’ll just refer to this as my “NAS” going forward in this article, shall we, for the sake of my word count!) was a big decision. It was an expensive purchase for me, and I’d already had the DS1815+ for quite a few years, which had never failed. The drives inside it were replaced individually a few times, but the enclosure kept on working despite many power cuts and surges. This was one of the reasons I’ve stuck with Synology over the years (I’ve tested lots of other makes and models in my job roles). Reliability and speed trump value and looks for me, although the NAS does look sleek and sexy as hell. Can a NAS look sexy? I say yes, indeed!

Why the DS1821+? PERFORMANCE

The previous NAS had two Gigabit Ethernet ports on the back and, whilst data aggregation was available, spreading the data across the two ports meant a global throughput of 2,000 Mbps. To break it down: if multiple people are using my NAS to access files, with one cable plugged into the back Ethernet port, it would have slowed down fetch access to the content on it, but with more cables plugged in, it spreads the requests across the multiple cables, a bit like having a computer processor with more cores. The new NAS has four Gigabit ports, giving a theoretical maximum of 4,000 Mbps, with an expansion port slot for a 10- or 25-GB card should I decide to install one

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when upgrading every other step in the chain at a later date. If I decided I needed faster access, I can add in two M.2 NVMe drives which cache the recently used files to be able to deliver faster and more efficiently.


Nothing worse than running out of space on a drive when you have to archive work, right? My NAS solves this by using SHR (Synology Hybrid RAID) in place of RAID 5 and SHR-2 in place of RAID 6. A traditional RAID 5 array won’t see drives with higher capacity as their true size when installed after the initial array is created. SHR allows this with a few small caveats. Let me give you an example of how this works in your favour. I’m going to use 1 TB drive sizes as an example for ease of understanding. In a standard RAID 5 configuration 4, 1 TB drives give 3 TB of useable space, the same as SHR. Now, imagine if you will, that one of those drives fails and given RAID 5’s ability to allow you to read from the drive whilst the array is in a failed state, you replace it with a 2 TB drive (they are now just as cheap as 1 TB after all, right?). This would only still show up as 3 TB of usable space, as RAID 5 would only recognize this as a 1 TB drive. The same goes for SHR until you replace another drive with a replacement 2 TB drive. Then, SHR’s hybrid ability allows you to increase the storage and take advantage of the extra space, giving you 4 TB of usable space. There’s a RAID space calculator on the Synology website if you’d like to see what different combinations give in terms of results. My point is that as your system fills up, you can plan to increase the storage either by buying an additional drive, slotting it in the extra space and expanding the array, or by changing the drives out one by one for higher-capacity drives (bear in mind you need to give them adequate time to rebuild). This means that for a system that you buy in 2020, for instance, as long as the enclosure is working (Synology has spare parts available for purchase should a fan stop working), then the capacity can be increased over time. Even if you manage to fill this up to 108 TB, which is the maximum single volume size, you can add additional expansion units in the way of the Synology DX517, which plugs in via the E-SATA 2 ports on the back, which are then added to the array. I use the Seagate Ironwolf drives in my array now, but have previously used the WD Red which are just as good.


The previous unit, the DS1815+, was reliable. It outlasted everything else that I had technologywise, and the only real reason for upgrading was that there was newer technology that was faster and more compatible with the new DSM software version 7. The DS1815+ goes up to version 6.2,

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which still works and is great, but the newer version offers more features. Plus, thinking with my engineer head on, there’s only a certain amount of time that a piece of hardware can work, and I was pushing the limits of what I might get out of it at five years. I did give it to my friend and fellow photographer, Steve, who is still using it with no problems to this day, technically making it eight years and still going strong. The newer NAS is compatible with more UPS, has faster RAM and NVMe compatibility, and just works better.


The ways to access this thing are awesome. I can get files anywhere in the world over cellular or Wi-Fi on my mobile phone, tablet, or computer. The Synology quick connect service (free with a Synology login) is epic. I put my username in, and it’s like I’m there in front of the thing. This means if I’m in outer Mongolia (I’ve never been, but if someone is willing to fund me, I’ll go test this in real-time) and I have

an internet signal, I can get access to my files and share them with clients. There are apps for my phone I can use, and it’s just awesome for me to be able to get my stuff anywhere.


Aside from the obvious, there are a few features that make this a great purchase. The apps that are included are excellent. Cloud sync allows me to connect to many different cloud-based backup services (I use BackBlaze, but there are many others available). It allows for scheduled, incremental syncing to not take up valuable resources when I’m working from it. My kids have movies stored on there that they can watch in any room in the house. (Remember, I mentioned lots of people using the NAS at the same time. Did you think I meant my colleagues? I meant my little people!) There are four USB-3 ports on the unit as well, meaning I can plug in a drive and transfer the contents over to it in rapid time, which is great if I’m transferring wedding files to the main drive quickly too. The ability to rebuild and expand quickly is crucial for me, and with the speed of my internal network, I can edit directly from the drive if I create previews in Lightroom, with zero delays or slowdowns.

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Prints as good as it looks

The Epson SureColor SC-P700 and SC-P900 photo printers are as pleasing to the eye as the prints they produce. These professional-level, compact A3+ and A2+ printers produce sharper detail and smoother gradations using the deepest blacks and superb blue tones.

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In Conclusion

This is the piece of kit I use daily. It wasn’t cheap, but it is going to last me a long time. My father used to say: “buy cheap, buy twice,” and that’s the best piece of advice I’ve been given. I’d add to that and say plan well, save hard, and buy specifically. If you’re in the states, B&H has this at the time of writing for $999. This enclosure is a bargain, as it’s well over a grand in the UK.

Addendum: After speaking to Synology on the week of the SWPP show they have clarified that the software version 7.2 (currently available in beta for early adopters) will not only allow caching from M2 NVME drives but also allow you to use those super fast SSD’s as storage now too.

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62 : March | April 20232 - Issue 54 Professional Indemnity Public Liability Photographic & Technical Equipment Commercial Legal Expenses Personal Accident Insurance Employers' Liability O u r P h o t o g r a p h y I n s u r a n c e p o l i c i e s h a v e b e e n d e s i g n e d f o r P r o f e s s o n a l & S e m i P r o f e s s i o n a l P h o t o g r a p h e r s , V i d e o M a k e r s a n d P h o t o J o u r n a l i s t s . I f y o u a r e a n a m a t e u r p h o t o g r a p h e r t h e n w e c a n s t i l l h e l p y o u ! F o r e x p e r t a d v i c e o f a l l k i n d s o f p h o t o g r a p h y i n s u r a n c e , s p e a k t o o n e o f o u r f r i e n d l y s t a f f o n0 1 6 1 9 2 5 5 0 5 1 HIGH-CLASS INSURANCE PROTECTION FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS & VIDEOGRAPHERS @InfocusPhotographyInsurance


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Artistic Still Life Challenge

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Vuyisa ~ South Igor ~ Ukraine
United Reidar ~ Norway Sanja ~ Bosnia and Herzegovina ~ Parviz K ~ Tajikistan ~ Juris Kraulis ~ Latvia ~ Jack Zhou ~ Canada ~ John Munns ~ Australia ~ Yana Raaga ~ Latvia ~ Zsuzsa Balog ~ Hungary ~ Dapper Don ~ United States ~ Marius Forgaciu ~ Romania ~ Izabella Hamar ~ Croatia ~ Nahal Tabatabai-Chury ~ Austria Leah Montgomery ~ United States ~ TOP PHOTO WINNER TOP PHOTOGRAPHER WINNER TOP GURU’S PICK WINNER
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Vuyisa Nokwe South Africa ~ Missy Knapp ~ United States ~ Alesha Ronkin ~ Israel ~ Anne Rydland ~ Norway ~ Nalyvayko Ukraine ~ Ashley Levinson ~ United States ~ Krzysiek Maciejewski ~ Poland ~ Bryony Herrod-Taylor ~ United Kingdom ~ Alisa Hug United States ~ Tom Dallis ~ United States ~ Eugen Chibakov ~ Germany ~ Maria Soledad Beall ~ United States ~ Adrián Dr. Sulyok ~ Hungary ~ Enigma United States~ Michael Burlak ~ United States~ Stephen Day ~ United States ~ Mario Congreve ~ United States ~ Reidar Olsen Norway ~ Master Bob ~ United States ~ Lumet Ponsot ~ France ~
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Rob ~ United Cenk Aktan ~ Georgia ~ Scott Greywacz ~ United States ~ Entela Seferaj ~ Canada ~ Go Naito ~ Armenia ~ Christian Berg-Henry ~ Norway ~ Rainer Kersten ~ Netherlands ~ Barbara Schaer ~ Estonia ~ Reginald West ~ United States ~ Zennifer ~ United States ~ Mike Wagner ~ United States ~ Dan Paolo ~ United States ~ Esther Spektor ~ United States ~ Gina ~ United States ~ Victoria Kondysenko ~ Ukraine ~ Aunnie Dunlap ~ United States ~ Yasmine ~ Susana ~ United Camille ~United Gary ~ United
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Rob de Jong United States ~ Torfinn Johannessen ~ Sweden~ Karin Schotte ~ Netherlands ~ fabrizia chiappa ~ Italy ~ Pascale Ducasse ~ France ~ Igor Tsukerman ~ United States ~ Pollackz ~ Israel ~ Daniel Ros ~ Netherlands ~ Mirjana Girke ~ Croatia (Hrvtska) ~ Costina Irimia ~ Great Britain ~ Yasmine Magdy ~ Egypt ~ Susana Belenkova United States ~ Camille Lopez ~United States ~ Adventure Boy ~ New Zealand ~ Tery-Kay Kelly ~ Australia ~ Kathryn Keller-Casper ~ United States ~ Gary W Hedman United States ~ ljovanovic ~ Serbia~ Dani Winston ~ United States ~ Peter Cyprian ~ Slovakia ~
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Arantxa Martinez ~ United Judit Mikol ~ Australia ~ Amy Underwood ~ Canada Andy ~ United Kingdom Andrew ~ United Sean Halloran ~ United teodora.a ~ United States ~ KLAUDIA BEZJAK ~ Germany ~ Daggi M. ~ Germany ~ phototommie ~ United States ~ Steve Babaz ~ United States ~ Frederik L E Brugman ~ Belgium ~ Lisa Tang ~ Hong Kong ~ Philip Maryatt ~ United States ~ Angela Mitchell ~ United States ~ David Lackey ~ United States ~ Kerenkei ~ United States ~ jtinjersey ~ United Kingdrom ~ Sofia Lourenco ~ Portugal ~ Madison Palin ~ United States ~
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Martinez States ~ Joel Struble ~ United States ~ Jenn Pyles ~ United States ~ Elena Bjerre ~ Denmark ~ Viacheslav Zakharov ~ Germany ~ Magister Gault ~ United States ~ Nate Riggins ~ United States ~ Michael Widmer ~ United States ~ Kermit Wade ~ United States ~ Kelly Lepper ~ United States ~ Underwood Canada ~ Fisher Kingdom ~ Meeker States ~ Svetlana Soboleva ~ Austria ~ miroslav.sipula ~ Czechia ~ Ron Licari ~ United States ~ Halloran States ~
out more about GuruShots by visiting their website. Join the daily photo challenges, improve your photography and get rewarded.
Victorious Morhardt ~ United States ~

Peter Li is an award-winning photographer based in London. His architectural artwork received 1st place in the Architecture Category at the Epson International Pano Awards 2018 and was Commended at the Sony World Photography Awards 2018. His work has been featured in The Times, Time Out London and in various photography and art publications.

How did you get your start in photography?

I started shooting with a DSLR camera back in 2013 when my first child was born. Like many dads out there, I wanted to document my growing family. Having a wife who studied art, she has a very artistic eye and I am very lucky to have someone who would give me an honest critique. In the early days, I was independently studying/self-teaching photography every day and practising on a daily basis.

What type of photography are you shooting and what motivated you to focus on that genre?

In 2015, I met two aspiring photographers who shared their passion for architecture photography with me. Through their inspiration, I have learnt to be attentive in achieving symmetry and am mindful in my composition and line work. Living in London, we have all sorts of architecture; we often find a classic gem nestled amongst modern skyscrapers. I owe London for fuelling my passion for this genre.

What has been your biggest achievement or obstacle along the way?

One of the biggest challenges is to photograph a space completely empty, and often it’s the hardest thing to do, so to prep for the best conditions I try to plan my visits on the days that are least busy, and getting up early to be the first person there. In London, interiors can be tricky because often they would not allow the use of tripods. But on the positive side, photographing around London I had trained myself to have a steady hand for a slow shutter exposure.

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‘Megamind’ Royal Albert Hall, London. The auditorium of London’s Royal Albert Hall during lighting preparation for an upcoming show. It is fascinating to see the hall from floor to ceiling in such flying colours. The stage spotlight cast such dramatic shadows across the seating area and transforms the space into something quite otherworldly. It is a difficult scene to photograph, but challenging conditions often make great photos.

‘Chessboard’ St Paul’s Cathedral, London.

St Paul’s Cathedral is one of London’s finest Classic architecture gem, a masterpiece from Christopher Wren’s creations. My St Paul’s series has 3 parts, each section of the Cathedral has its very own style but marries seamlessly together. The chandeliers brighten the space evenly across the Nave, while the lack of deep shadows creates a minimalistic elegant scene.

Who and/or what inspires you most?

I often look for inspiration from paintings, movies and games. I started gaming from a very young age, and I think it has impacted my photography more so than any other art form.

What is your approach?

Is there anything in particular you try to achieve during a shoot (for example triggering certain feelings, etc.) or are there any specific techniques you use?

My work sits between realism and fantasy. Historical buildings such as Cathedrals or music theatres are often reminiscent of our history - they are intrinsically timeless and, in many ways, otherworldly.

With vertical panoramic photography (Vertorama), we are able to observe a three-dimensional space in its entirety, giving us a view/perspective beyond what the eye can see. It breaks us from reality, plays with our perception of shape and form and creates a sense of another world.

Through my photography, I hope to impart fragments of fantasy to the viewer and encourage them to take a momentary step out of their reality

Why is accurate color important within your workflow?

I print my work regularly, colour accuracy is very important, having a screen that could accurately render the colours will make the process much easier to manage. The subtle tonal difference of an image can convey a very different mood and message.

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How to Add Fake Smoke/ Mist to your Pictures

In this tutorial I want to take you through two different ways that you can add smoke / fog into your pictures.

Ordinarily adding in smoke would require a smoke machine and whereas they have dropped in price considerably over the past few years, it’s maybe still an expense that some wouldn’t wish to stretch to when considering how often it is likely to be used.

A great, and believable alternative way is to add in smoke / mist using Photoshop and in fact Photoshop has had a clouds filter for quite some time now. However the filter does require some extra work to help it look realistic and indeed with a little bit of practice it can be extremely convincing.

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#4 /glyndewis

Step 1: Blank Layer

Start by setting the foreground and background colours to their default of black and white by pressing the letter ‘D’ on the keyboard. Then add a new blank layer to the top of the layer stack.

Now we’ll add the beginnings of our clouds by using a filter so go to FILTER > RENDER > CLOUDS and then click OK.

Step 2: Rectangular Marquee Tool

Admittedly at the moment what we have created doesn’t closely resemble realistic smoke or mist. So, choose the Rectangular Marquee Tool from the Tool Bar and drag out a rectangular selection in the centre of layer.

Next go to LAYER > NEW > LAYER VIA COPY or use the keyboard shortcut of COMMAND/CTRL + J to create a new layer that includes the selected area and rename it ‘Smoke’.

Now delete the layer containing the original clouds filter.

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Step 3: Free Transform

With the smoke layer active go to EDIT > FREE TRANSFORM and whilst holding down the ALT/OPTION and SHIFT keys click and drag any of the corner transform handles and enlarge the selection way outside the picture boundaries.

This now stretches out the cloud filter effect and gives it a much more realistic look. Press ENTER/RETURN to lock in the transformation.

Step 4: Opacity and Layer Mask

Now that we have our fake smoke / mist we need to reveal the underlying picture of our subject. To do this simply lower the opacity of the smoke layer to taste. In this example I lowered the opacity to around the 25% mark.

Once done, click to add a layer mask and then with a soft edged black brush set to around 20% opacity paint random brush strokes over the subject to reduce the dense smoke / mist and make it look as though he is stood amongst it.

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Xplosion Brushes

Another way we can create fake smoke / mist is using brushes.

Now, ordinarily this can be quite a lengthy process to create a brush that is only part way to looking realistic but thankfully there are brushes freely available for us to make use of and one such collection is explosion brushes available from Brusheezy at this link:

Step 5: Download and Install

From the link download the free explosion brushes and then from within Photoshop choose the Brush Tool from the Tool Bar and then from the Brush Preset Picker click on the cog icon and from the drop down menu choose LOAD BRUSHES. Then simply navigate to the explosion brushes you downloaded to install them.

Step 6: New Document

With the explosion brushes now installed we need to make some adjustments to the settings so that they look even more realistic.

Choose one of the brushes from the explosion brush set and then add a new document by going FILE > NEW and from the Document Type choose the name of the file we’ve already been working on and click OK.

Choosing this give us a new document with the exact same dimensions. Then go to EDIT > FILL and choose black from the drop down menu and click OK

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Step 7: Brush Shape Dynamics

Press X to set your foreground colour to white and then choose one of the explosion brushes from the Brush Preset Picker. Go to the Brush Panel and from here we can make changes to how the explosion brush looks. In the Shape Dynamics tab increase Size Jitter to 100% and Angle Jitter to 100%

Step 8: Brush Transfer

From within the Brush Transfer tab change to the Opacity Jitter to 100% and with no other tabs active and changes made, apply a few brush strokes onto the new black document you created to see how the xplosion brush looks.

Try brush strokes at varying sizes to see how different the brush looks and if needed / wanted dive back into the Brush Panel settings to make further adjustments. Now with your explosion brush ready you can use it to add to smoke / mist already created using the first technique or use it to create smoke / mist from scratch.

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TIP | Jitter Explained

For added realism when using brushes for effects, it’s important that there is variety in each of the brush strokes and this is where Jitter comes into play.

Think of Jitter as meaning Randomize and so when we see it such as in the Brush Panel, the higher percentage we increase the Jitter, the more variance there will be each and every time you lift off and re-apply a brush stroke.

Issue 54 - Creative Light Magazine : 77 /glyndewis

Cameracraft is received exclusively by subscribers and members of The Guild of Photographers. It’s easy to get single copies or subscriptions and in addition to the printed magazine digital delivery is an eco-friendly low cost alternative which fully supports our unique magazine.

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The value of registering with the US Copyright Office - regardless of where you live

When a photographer clicks the shutter button on their camera, they instantly become the copyright owner of the image created Plainly put, owning the copyright means that the photographer has the exclusive right to reproduce, publish, or sell his or her original work (the image). An image used on or offline is, therefore, a copy of the original and requires the explicit approval of the photographer prior to use, typically through a licensing agreement or contract. To non-photographers, this concept is typically quite foreign.

Many, including businesses, wrongly assume they are able to simply reuse an image they find on Google or Instagram, or the internet As a result, image theft today is rampant across the internet, threatening the sustainability of the professional photography industry. Pixsy believes that every photographer should decide when and how their images are used, empowering photographers to protect their intellectual property rights through an AIpowered image monitoring and copyright infringement resolution service.

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Pixsy currently monitors over 100 million images and has partnered with a network of over 25 law firms worldwide to handle over 100,000 copyright infringement cases for their photographer clients. As part of the protection and resolution process, Pixsy assists its photographers to register copyright ownership with the US Copyright Office (USCO)including bulk registrations of up to 750 images per registration.

It is often believed that USCO registrations are limited to US-based photographers, however, registration is open to anyone and serves to protect photographers internationally against US-based infringements. With over 70% of the matches and infringements handled by Pixsy taking place in the United States, USCO Registrations are an integral part of any photographer’s toolkit.

Not only does registration protect your work, it also increases the legal recourse available and increases the eventual settlement value in the event of an infringement. In order to file a lawsuit in the US for example, a USCO Registration is a requirement.

In order to file a lawsuit in the US for example, a USCO Registration is a requirement. If the registration was completed in a timely fashion, that is within the first three months of an image’s publication or before the date of infringement, then a photographer may be entitled to statutory damages of up to $150,000.

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- Rachel Sloan -

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