OVER 300 ACTIONS & PRESETS ENHANCE YOUR EDITS WITH OUR EASY TO USE RESOURCES Practical advice for enthusiasts and pros
LEARN TO CREATE
BEAUTIFUL BOKEH Key steps for outdoor portraits
CANON EOS 5D MARK IV VS NIKON D810 Which model triumphs in the field?
PAGE SPECIAL FEATURE
SET CAREER GOALS SIGMA SD QUATTRO RATED SHARPEN YOUR PORTRAITS IN LIGHTROOM
DISCOVER HOW TO
Take incredible images indoors
SHOOT THESE SHOTSâ€¦
12 experts reveal their secrets to help you take striking photos
© Jonathan Chritchley
“If you’re looking for a new area of photography to explore, our pro skills feature is sure to inspire you” Anyone engaged in any kind of creative endeavour gets a bit jaded with their art form from time to time. It’s inevitable that, sooner or later, you will want to discover something new or reboot whatever it is that you do in some way. In this issue, we’ve asked 12 experts in their different fields to take us behind the scenes and reveal some of their shooting, lighting and editing secrets, and we’ve put together a special 20-page guide based on their insights. If you’re looking for a new area of photography to explore, our pro skills feature is sure to inspire you. Turn to p28 to begin reading it.
Elsewhere in the magazine, we’ve taken a look at the essential techniques required to capture events successfully, covering all the ins and outs of dealing with the challenging lighting conditions often found indoors. You’ll find it on p48 of the magazine. We’ve also got reviews of the latest cameras, lenses and accessories on the market to help you make better decisions about your next purchase, starting with a head-to-head test of the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and the Nikon D810 on p88. As always, we’d love to see your images on dphotographer.co.uk, so please head over there to upload your work. See you next issue. Matt Bennett, Deputy Editor
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Our contributors REBECCA GREIG
Rebecca looks after the kit reviews in the magazine, which keeps her very busy, but she’s found the time this issue to put together a guide to photographing indoor events. You’ll find it on p48 of the magazine. On p62 of the magazine, she’s taken a look at the techniques for creating beautiful background bokeh.
Freelance travel and editorial photographer Gavin Gough has answered our questions about how he creates compelling images of Asia, Africa and the Indian sub-continent – and reveals the one lens that he would take away with him to a desert island. Turn to p22 to read his interview.
If you’re looking to succeed as a photographer on a professional or semi-professional basis, you need to get the very best advice. In this issue, Angela Nicholson has taken a look at how to ensure you meet a brief in our career feature on p74, and answered your questions on setting goals on p78.
Matt Golowczynski is a camera kit guru. In this issue, he’s pitted two highly desirable full-frame DSLRs – the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and Nikon D810 – against each other to see which performs best. Turn to p88 to read his review. On p96, meanwhile, he’s put the Sigma sd Quattro through its paces.
MARC VAN BEEK
fotofluvius.nl Stroboscopic or repeating flash enables photographers to capture an image that depicts the individual stages of a continuous piece of motion. In this issue, Marc van Beek – an expert on this topic – reveals the steps he takes in order to capture creative images using this technique. Head to p56.
CHRIS FORSYTH Website:
chrismforsyth.com Chris Forsyth’s elegantly bold images from his Metro Project have already graced the pages of Digital Photographer magazine, but in this issue’s pro column he looks at the importance of getting feedback on your work and being self-critical. Turn to p114 to read his thoughts.
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Contents Your Images
10 The Gallery
28 Unlock stunning pro skills
Our favourite reader imagery from the Digital Photographer website
In Focus 18 Story Behind The Still
Ben Cherry discusses his fascinating image of ants at work
12 experts reveal their secrets
48 Capture events
Discover how to take incredible images indoors
Shooting skills 56 Stroboscopic flash
A look at the latest kit announcements and industry developments
Learn to capture movement creatively using this speedlight effect
62 Background bokeh
Gavin Gough reveals his travel photography philosophy
Capture beautiful portraits with our step-by-step guide
106 Kit focus
Edit & Share
We consider the importance of an intervalometer
Go Pro 74 Meet the brief
A detailed look at how to ensure you give your clients what they want
78 Career advice
Your questions on goal setting answered by our expert
114 Pro Column
Chris Forsyth considers the role of feedback and self-criticism
66 Sharpen portraits using Lightroom Create crisper images
68 Work with Selective Color in Photoshop Learn to use this overlooked tool
70 Adapt colour and tone with Nik Viveza Add impact to your photos
72 Prepare to print
Follow our steps to ensure you produce better results on paper
Unlock stunning pro skills
Meet the brief
Sigma sd Quattro
Reviews 88 Head to head
The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and Nikon D810 are compared
96 Sigma sd Quattro
Should you be considering this camera? We find out
100 Sony RX10 III
A bridge camera with a huge zoom range, but is it any good?
108 Reflectors tested
We discover which model delivers the best results
Our views on the latest editing tools available for photos
Some fun-yet-functional kitbag extras under review
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The Gallery 2x © Max Starr
Some of the best images from our website Max Starr DP Gallery address: MaxMazurenko Image title: The Gentle Look How did you decide on the composition? My core idea for my portraits is to have something interesting in the background apart from the main subject. In this particular case I was trying to find a background that blends with the main subject and doesn’t overpower it. Since I wanted to show what was behind the model, it made sense to move her to the left and expose what was to the right of her.
WIN! SAMSUNG 32GB PRO PLUS SDHC MEMORY CARD
Every issue’s reader showcase entry wins a Samsung 32GB Pro Plus SDHC memory card worth £50.99, boasting write speeds of up to 90MB/s – perfect for DSLRs and 4K camcorders. To find out more information, visit samsung.com/memorycards. For your chance to win, share your photos with us online at dphotographer.co.uk!
What do you like most about the image? The majority of my images are shot with natural light, so for me personally the way that the light hits the model makes the image for me. That’s what I look for when I shoot portraits. Can you explain a bit more about the techniques you used to capture it? When it comes to shooting portraits the first thing I look for is where the light is coming from, based on the direction of the light I scout for a location. I usually take a burst of four images from underexposed -2 to overexposed +2, making sure that the focusing point is always on the eyes. The rest is post-processing done in Lightroom and Photoshop.
2x © Eddie Cloud
2x © Jo Vittorio
DP Gallery address: jovittorio Image title: Orthodox Parish
A photograph in black and white of this small Orthodox parish in the heart of the city of Catania, near Piazza Santo Spirito.
DP Gallery address: wLorbiecki Image title: Sunset over Carding Mill Valley
Carding Mill Valley is a scenic location in Shropshire, which is only a few miles away from the place where I live. It’s one of my local photography playgrounds for spontaneous shoots if the weather is right. This photograph was taken at the beginning of March when the cold, windy breeze and furious clouds meet at the time of the setting Sun. Shot with Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Samyang f2.8 14mm lens.
2x © Naf Selmani
2x © Akhlaq Ahmed
DP Gallery address: Mystifier Image title: Low Light Asian Bridal Shoot
This was taken using one silver beauty dish [positioned by the] top right of the subject’s head with the Canon 600EXRT flashgun attached. This was set at the lowest power of 1/64 for lowest light with a black backdrop.
DP Gallery address: iandthecamera Image title: The Undercroft
The much-loved Southbank skatepark, or Undercroft, is a treasured space, revered as the birthplace of British skateboarding and has been home to skateboarders, BMX riders and graffiti artists for the last five decades. This makes the Southbank Undercroft the oldest recognised and still existing skateboarding space in the world. 13
2x ÂŠ Paul Nash
DP Gallery address: pbnash1964 Image title: Gorilla Contemplating
A magnificent animal shown contemplating and thinking in very low light. This was shot in a captive environment and processed to create this stunning black and white image on a black background. paulbnashphotography.com
THE BEST OF
PHOTOCROWD Take a look at some of our past Photocrowd winners and find out how to enter our latest contest
ver the last few months we have run our contests in association with Photocrowd online and the response has been brilliant! We received over 1,400 entries in our black and white portrait contest, and after a hard task of narrowing it down, we selected Adrian Dewey as our expert winner and a stunning image by Elena Paraskeva was voted as the crowd winner. In the national cuisine competition we were impressed by the variety of food that was captured and our expert selected winner was Daniel Zeng with the crowd voting for Marta Quintavalle. Our most recent contest was landscapes by night and we were thrilled to see over 850 submissions captured after dark. We selected Karen Tillett as our expert winner for the stunning colours captured and Marco Dâ€™abbruzzi was voted as crowd favourite. Have a look at a selection of our top picks from the last few contests.
EXPERT 1ST PLACE LANDSCAPES BY NIGHT Photographer: Karen Tillett
EXPERT 1ST PLACE NATIONAL CUISINE Photographer: Daniel Zeng
THE BEST OF PHOTOCROWD
EXPERT 1ST PLACE BLACK AND WHITE PORTRAITS Photographer: Adrian Dewey
CROWD VOTED 1ST PLACE NATIONAL CUISINE Photographer: Marta Quintavalle
CROWD VOTED 1ST PLACE LANDSCAPES BY NIGHT Photographer: Marco D’abbruzzi
CROWD VOTED 1ST PLACE BLACK AND WHITE PORTRAITS Photographer: Elena Paraskeva
WIN! Think Tank bag
Enter our black and white street photography contest in association with Photocrowd and Think Tank Photo Submit your best monochrome street shots for a chance to win a Think Tank Photo Retrospective Leather 30 bag worth £230 and get printed in Digital Photographer magazine. Street photography is a challenging genre but candid
portraits captured in mono can be extremely alluring. Head to photocrowd.com/contests/797black-and-white-street-photography to submit your images and find out more about the prizes. The contest closes on 5 February 2017.
STORY BEHIND THE STILL Photographer: Ben Cherry Website: www.bencherryphotos.com Location: Tiskita Nature Reserve, Costa Rica Type of commission: Personal work Shot details: Fujifilm X-T1, XF 56mm f1.2, two extension tubes, wirelessly triggered flash. 1/160sec at f16, ISO 1600 About the shot: Environmental photojournalist Ben Cherry captured this stunning image while based in Costa Rica for six months as a scarlet macaw researcher. “I really wanted to try and capture these amazing creatures, having walked through the rainforest for a month I needed to figure out how to do them justice,” explains Cherry. “Smaller ants often hitchhike on the cut leaves… so I thought up a simple plan to backlight the ants as they marched down a tree with their prize.” Cherry used a high ISO in order to “help obtain some ambient light in the dark rainforest as well as allowing a lower flash output for a faster recycle time. I had to find the ‘sweet spot’ for the flash to be hidden behind the tree so it wasn’t affecting the bark or blowing out the leaf too much… The depth of field [made it difficult, and] it took some persistence to wait for an ant to march through the in-focus piece of the bark and trigger the camera in time! “Ants are tiny creatures, but earn a lot of respect, particularly in the tropics! Vast troops are vital in the general running of rainforests, recycling plant and animal matter into nutrients to continue replenishing the fertile soils. The strength to body size ratio is absolutely extraordinary when you think about it, so I wanted to try and create a picture that highlights both of those points.”
Hear from Ben Cherry and a whole host of other professional photographers at The Photography Show between 18 and 21 March 2017 at the NEC, Birmingham. The experts will take to the stage at the Behind The Lens Theatre to share their tips and tricks across a wide range of photography topics. Get your tickets now at www.photographyshow.com.
All images © Ben Cherry
Leaf Cutter Ant “I wanted the ant to stand out from the background, so a simple backlight was the obvious option”
Entry-level GX800 announced
A new addition to the GX line-up and more from Panasonic
Joining bigger brothers GX8 and GX80, the new GX800 is an entry-level model that effectively replaces the GF series of cameras. It has a 16MP sensor without a low-pass filter, 4K 30/25p video and a screen that flips up 180 degrees. It will be priced under £500 and is due at the end of January. Also announced is the FZ82 for £329, out in March. This is a bridge camera with an f2.8-5.9 60x zoom lens that reaches from a wide 20mm to 1,200mm, 4K video and 4K Photo, an 18.1MP sensor and a new touchscreen. The new 12-60mm f2.8-4 Leica lens is also now unveiled to be due in mid February. It is splash, dust and freeze-proof, matte black, and can also come bundled with the GH5 as a kit option.
Hands on with the
Panasonic Lumix GH5
The magnesium alloy body is a sturdy exterior with a premium feel
A release date arrives for the much-anticipated 4K CSC, and we get to take a first look The GH4 was, and continues to be, a popular lightweight option for videographers, so its much-awaited bigger brother the GH5 comes with much expectation. Teased at Photokina, the GH5 now has a release date of 20 March 2017, with a body only price of £1,699 (US price TBC), and we were able to get our hands on one recently. Panasonic says the GH5 will not replace the GH4, as their specs offer different things for different needs. “The GH5 has many major upgrades when compared to the GH4, which we are really excited about,” says Barney Sykes, Panasonic’s Head of Imaging Marketing. “These upgrades have come through extensive research amongst the video community, where we have been conducting lots of interviews to establish what they would like to see in the next GH camera.” The new release comes with
a brand-new 20.3MP sensor compared to the GH4’s 16.05MP one, and this time it comes without a low-pass filter for extra detail. It is capable of 4K60p, a world first for a mirrorless camera, and 4:2:2 10-bit at 4K30/25/24p. This recording is unlimited like with the GH4R and it has full pixel readout, as well as the option of MOV or MP4 files. It has 6K Photo, meaning you can extract 18MP stills at 30fps, or 4K Photo which gives you 8MP stills at 60fps. Also, for the first time in a Lumix camera, it has Bluetooth as well as Wi-Fi. During our hands-on time with the GH5 it was clearly comfortable to hold, maintaining
the GH4’s deep grip, but this time it’s a little smaller and lighter. The splash, dust and freeze-proof body feels robust and the new OLED viewfinder is bright and clear (it now has 3,860K dots, an upgrade from the GH4’s 2,359K dots). The screen has also been increased to a 3.2-inch free-angle option and it has a Dual SD Card slot. Alongside those design improvements, it claims Panasonic’s fastest ever AF speed of 0.05sec, and it certainly seemed super-quick to focus during our hands-on time. We are looking forward to putting the camera’s focusing, along with its other features, fully to the test in our upcoming review.
In other news…
More snippets of photo news from around the world
Fujifilm adds to the X Series
NEW NANGUANG RING LIGHTS
The compact, stylishly retro mirrorless X-A10 has been announced Billed to be the ideal beginner interchangeable camera, Fujifilm says that the X-A10 will deliver the premium image quality synonymous with the X Series. The compact mirrorless camera houses a 16.3MP APS-C sensor with primary colour filter and features an articulating LCD screen that can be tilted 180 degrees. Rotating the tilting LCD upwards by 180 degrees will activate the Eye Detection AF to automatically adjust the focus on the subject’s eyes. The X-A10 has two command dials, which should mean you only need a thumb to quickly adjust aperture, shutter speed and exposure settings. White balance, continuous shooting and the self-timer can be assigned to standalone function buttons, which should eliminate the need to go through the Menu screens to change settings. The new ergonomic
grip is shaped to accommodate both normal shooting as well as self-portraits, and the design was put through prototype testing involving hundreds of photographers. We are excited to see how this feedback has been applied to the camera and if handling really is improved. The included wireless function enables remote shooting from smartphones and tablets, and the new design has extended the battery life to approximately 410 frames per charge. On first glance the X-A10 looks extremely similar to the recently released X-A3, with both cameras sporting a retro design as well as a 180-degree tilting LCD. We are looking forward to testing and comparing both cameras to find out what really sets them apart from each other. The Fujifilm X-A10 with XC16-50mm f3.55.6 OIS II kit is available now with a SRP of £499 / $500.
Kenro Ltd has introduced two new NanGuang LED ring lights. The CNR480C LED ring light is promised to produce soft, diffused, well-balanced continuous lighting ideal for portraits and fine product photography, and at just 45.6cm it is also perfect for macro and product photography. The new CNR640 LED ring light has a 59cm diameter head for projects with larger requirements.
The X-A10 has a stylish retro and compact design similar to that of the X-A3
Tilting screen The screen tilts upwards to 180 degrees for taking selfies and shooting at awkward angles
Sigma launches the sd Quattro H
Macphun has announced plans to update Luminar every couple of months in order to consistently improve and advance the software for customers. The first of these updates included Touch Bar support, an update to batch processing, two new filters as well as an enhanced colour temperature filter.
The launch of the first camera to feature an APS-H size image sensor The sd Quattro H features the newly developed 26.7 x 17.9mm APS-H size sensor with 25.5 megapixels in its top layer for an equivalent total of approximately 51 megapixels. Due to its unique structure, the Foveon X3 Quattro direct image sensor is promised to generate up to twice the resolution data using a Bayer filter. It houses two TRUE III imaging processing engines, which should mean that the camera will be able to process data from the sensor extremely quickly. Sigma has also said that the larger sensor will take the image quality to the next level, delivering more detailed images than before. The sd Quattro H features a new algorithm that is meant to enhance the precision of the auto white balance and has a total of 12 white balance modes, including three custom modes. We are interested to test the auto white balance in an environment with multiple light sources to
AFFINITY PHOTO UPDATED
Affinity Photo is now available for Windows users and the launch coincides with the release of Affinity Photo 1.5, which is the biggest single update to the app since it was launched over a year ago. The update takes its renowned power, speed and accuracy to a new level with an array of features, including a new way to edit 360-degree images.
see how it adapts. The new camera is compatible with all of the Sigma Global Vision lenses in the Contemporary, Art and Sports lines and is available now for £1,500 / $1,880 (approx).
The sd Quattro H houses a newly developed 26.7 x 17.9mm APS-H size sensor
STAY INFORMED For more news and updates, be sure to pay a visit to our website, www. dphotographer.co.uk, and if you’ve got a story for us, you can email us at team@dphotographer. co.uk. 21
CAPTURE THE CULTURE Professional travel and editorial photographer Gavin Gough discusses his photographic success and key techniques
avin Gough (gavin gough.com) is a freelance travel and editorial photographer and has been published by the likes of The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, National
Geographic Traveller, Lonely Planet and many more. He has taught photography workshops all over the world and his work has won several awards including the Vanishing and Emerging Cultures portfolio category in the 2013 Travel Photographer of the Year competition.
Pushkar Camel Fair, India Graszi, a nomadic musician, playing a traditional tanpura musical instrument at Pushkar Camel Fair All images ÂŠ Gavin Gough
Have you always been interested in photography? Our family had a 126 Instamatic camera when I was young. It came out for holidays, birthdays and at Christmas. I was certainly captivated by the results and the growing collection of family photo albums have become treasured family heirlooms. There was something magical about being able to capture fleeting moments and no doubt that was where my fascination with photography began.
guidebooks you’ve read or travelogues you’ve seen, nothing can prepare you for the reality of a new destination. I still feel like a child in a sweet shop when I’m documenting a new place. Everything seems photogenic. I particularly like searching for the best light, returning to a location when I think the light will be most favourable. It’s like a game, in some ways. Perhaps it’s a replacement for the hunter-gatherer instinct. Hunting out the best light, gathering the best perspectives…
How did you get started? In my former incarnation, I was a systems analyst. I took a one-year sabbatical, bought an around-the-world ticket and set off, equipped with a Canon EOS-1 and a couple of lenses. I shot as much as I could, hoping to build a portfolio that would be of interest to the big stock agencies. Looking back, the results weren’t that impressive, but having that time and freedom was invaluable as it allowed me to build the skills I would need to become a professional photographer.
What’s in your kit bag? The contents of my camera bag are dictated by the nature of the assignment. For NGO and most editorial work, I carry two Canon EOS 5D Mark IIIs with a selection of lenses including 16-35mm, 24-70mm, 70-200mm, 50mm, 85mm, 24mm TS-E, Speedlite 580EX II and remote trigger plus all the paraphernalia that goes with that. I don’t have any lenses slower than f2.8 because I often need to work in low light and want that narrow depth of field. I’m most often working with lenses wide open. For stock photography and personal projects I use a combination of a Leica M-P and Sony a7R II, but use Leica lenses on both bodies. Again, wide apertures are essential for me and I like the fact that manual focus slows me down, forcing me to compose carefully and think more.
What got you interested in travel and editorial photography? I think my first interest is in travel, the photography is a consequence of that. I always enjoyed exploring and visiting new places. Photography offered me a way to open doors and, importantly, a means of earning a living while doing something that I really enjoyed – and still do. What do you find most exciting about travel photography? Why? I’ve yet to find anything that can beat the anticipation of arriving in a new location with a camera in hand. No matter how many
Do you have a favourite go-to lens? I do have a special fondness for the Canon EF 85mm f1.2. It can be hard to use and the depth of field is so shallow that it’s easy to lose critical focus. However, when it’s sharp, it produces the most wonderful bokeh and makes portraits really special. Those extra stops from the wide aperture really make a
Workflow on location Gough shares his top tips for managing images post capture while on the road
Be consistent Whether importing, storing, file naming, processing or exporting, consistency is the key and once you’ve established a workflow, try to maintain it.
Back up. Back up. Back up There’s no reason not to create multiple backups of files. Storage is cheap and relatively light. You can never have too many backups, but if you discover that you have too few, it’s probably too late to do anything about it.
Every computer disk or drive will fail eventually Carry out a little risk analysis exercise and ask yourself what would happen if (when) your computer crashes, or if you lose this drive or that drive. Could you recover it completely, quickly and easily? If not, it’s time to rethink and establish a more robust disaster-recovery plan.
huge difference in low light too, so if I had a ‘desert island’ lens, it would be the 85mm.
with how the light works in different locations at different times of day.
Do you have a favourite place to photograph? Genuinely, wherever I am at the time is my favourite place to be. It would be a challenge to do my job if you weren’t fascinated by each and every place. I don’t suppose there’s a place on Earth that doesn’t have something to offer. However, I’m especially fond of Asia, where people tend to live their lives on the street much more than in Europe and North America. I relocated to Bangkok in 2008 because Southeast Asia has so much photographic potential. Photographers can find engaging subjects literally every time we step onto the street in that part of the world. I’m running a photo workshop in Nepal in March next year and I’m really looking forward to introducing the group to some of my favourite places. I’ve been visiting Nepal regularly for 15 years so I’m becoming familiar
A lot of your images are very engaging. How do you go about achieving this? Thank you. I don’t think there’s a secret. If a photographer is engaged with their subject, the results will show evidence of that. That’s true for portrait, landscape, fashion or any other photographic genre. I know that my best images have been made when I’ve been most fully engaged with my subject. If you’re not interested in something, why bother photographing it? That would just be a chore. Is there a trick to approaching people that you wish to photograph? Not a trick as such, but my mantra is ‘tea first, photography second’. What I mean by that is that I tend to chat with people first. I’ll buy something in a market and chat with the stallholder. Often, I’ll find a place where locals are drinking tea, something that happens all
Keep an off-site backup Even those of us who make regular data backups sometimes overlook the risk of having all our data in one place. If there’s a fire or flood or some other catastrophic event, you don’t want to add to the misery by discovering that all your hard work has been lost. Swap backup drives with a friend and keep them separate.
Duplicate data When travelling, keep one set of data in your hand luggage and a complete copy in your checked luggage. Never travel with only one set. Bags get lost or stolen and returning from a trip to discover that your files have been lost would be a nightmare. If travelling with an assistant or companion, get them to carry one set of back-up drives. My complete workflow process is available in an e-book guide on my website at www.gavingough.com.
Patan Durbar Square
Jote, Shibrampur, India
A group of men sitting and relaxing on a bench in Patan Durbar Square, India
A girl posing behind decorative bars beside the front door to her family home
day every day in the streets in Asia. Once some rapport has been established, photography will naturally flow from that. I like making the photography a collaborative effort, with me and my subject working together. People are much more interested when they feel a part of the process. I love to share prints from an instant camera or, at the very least, share images from my camera’s LCD screen. Also, I don’t shoot and run, which I think is the temptation for photographers who are nervous about photographing people. I work slowly and deliberately and often take 12 to 15 photos of one person, giving them time to find a position, pose and expression where they feel most comfortable. I never give money for photographs – that sets an awkward precedent – but I will buy goods from shop owners and market traders or find some other way of balancing the equation. For you, what makes a good travel shot? I think the best travel shots reveal something about the photographer as much as they show a person or place. That might sound a bit abstract, but photographers are not robots. We have a reaction to a place and to people we meet. Showing some evidence of that, whether it’s joy, fascination, intrigue or even hesitation or fear, is what makes a travel photograph stand out from something that a robot with a camera could have taken. Do you enjoy shooting any other genres? Frankly, I don’t really see photography in terms of genres. I might shoot landscapes or cityscapes, portraits, street photographs, macro, abstract… it all blends into one thing. They’re my images, my interpretation of the world and I hope that they defy pigeonholing. Do you have any projects coming up? Always! I have a number of NGO and editorial assignments coming up. I’ll be shooting more stock photography in Europe next year. I have ongoing personal projects, including documenting the story of how tea is cultivated and processed. I’m writing a book, and about a thousand other things. I never run out of inspiration, only time. What tips would you give to aspiring travel and editorial photographers? Keep it simple.... Great images can be made in your street with a point-and-shoot camera if you’re willing to wait patiently for the best light, work to find the most compelling perspectives and engage with your subject, whatever it might be. Also, don’t underestimate the benefits of becoming really familiar with a location. Revisiting allows us to see how light changes through the day and through the seasons. There’s a lot to be said for really knowing your subject as DP intimately as possible. 26
Radha Rani Temple, India
Two young Indian women sitting outside a shop at Radha Rani Temple, Barsana, India
Angkor Wat, Cambodia Two Buddhist monks sitting inside the temple complex, Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia
O Sra Lav, Cambodia Working at the brick kiln, beside the Bamboo Train line, O Sra Lav, Battambang, Cambodia
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experts reveal their secrets to help you take striking photos
he internet is a fantastic place for photographers to get new ideas and seek inspiration, but it can sometimes prove a frustrating experience. You see a great photo, but there’s often little to no explanation of how it was created, or what the photographer’s approach was in framing, exposing and editing the shot. Across the next few pages of the magazine, you’ll discover how 12 internationally admired photographers work, covering some of the most sought-after genres and effects. Perhaps, for instance, you could consider focusing on one particular skill or technique each month, and attempt to master the look and feel of the images explored here. Or you might want to see how you could apply some of the many ideas you’ll learn across these pages to the type of photography you’re already doing, whatever that might be. You’ll find portraits with gels, moody minimalist mono, creative wedding photography and much, much more on these pages, with each topic presented by a master of their chosen craft. From Peter Eastway talking about how he prepares for the eventual edit through carefully considered shooting, through to Adam Woodworth discussing his approach to astro photography, there’s something for everyone in our special guide, no matter your specialism. With kit bags, annos and step-by-step tutorials, you’ll discover how to unlock stunning pro skills.
© Sean Archer
FROM THE FIELD TO PHOTOSHOP Use your histogram Be sure to refer to the histogram on the back of your camera. While the LCD image can look light or dark depending on the ambient light, the histogram never lies.
Manual focus If you’re going to add a strong neutral-density filter, I find it useful to set the focus manually. I may autofocus first, but then switch to manual focus before adding the filter.
Process RAW files in Capture One Pro I have processed the base photo shown here so the sky has the correct exposure. In addition, I processed the long exposure twice, once with the foreground correctly exposed, and a second time a little darker as a transition between the other two. I ended up with three 16-bit TIFF files.
Layer the images I opened the files in Photoshop, using the correctly exposed sky as the base image. I copied and pasted the other images on top, resulting in three layers. The lightest image is on top. I added a mask to the top two layers and used a black brush to reveal the darker (correct) exposures below in the sky and mountains.
Correct overall exposure At this stage, I have a rather flat image with even tonality – but there is tonality everywhere. I have my ‘correct’ exposure and now I can interpret it. Using seven separate Curves adjustment layers, I darken down the sky and areas in the foreground to concentrate the viewer’s attention on the bridge and tower.
Highlight bridge tower It is important for me that the bridge tower is easily seen. In real life, the bright sky directly behind the tower was distracting. To emphasise the tower in the photograph, I used more Curves adjustment layers to lighten up the stone work and darken down the river bank below and behind it.
Colour and flags To highlight the bridge, next I used a Curves adjustment layer with a mask, lightening up each of the prayer flags one at a time and then increasing the colour saturation. In the background, I changed the yellow in the mountainside to a slightly more orange hue using a Hue/ Saturation adjustment layer.
Add the ‘sunlight’ Well, it’s not really sunlight… However, I have used a Curves adjustment layer with a mask and a very large, soft brush to lighten up the middle of the image. I have also added in some orange reflections in the water to match the background. The final image comprises 26 layers.
SHOOT TO EDIT Peter Eastway discusses his high-end approach When I’m out in the field, I think of myself as collecting good-quality pixels, which allows me to create the best-quality photograph in post-production. The biggest challenge photographing subjects like the Tachogang Lhakhang Bridge in Bhutan is the exposure. The subject is in shade, but behind are sunlit hills and, even more difficult, a very bright sky. Experts rarely agree, but most cameras can capture an 8 to 12 EV tonal range, so if your deep shadows and pearly highlights are further apart than this, you either have to compromise with your exposure, or take two (or more) exposures and merge them together. In this case, my ‘normal’ exposure setting gave a good result for the foreground, but the sky was overexposed – ‘burnt out’ or ‘clipped’. I’m not a big fan of HDR techniques because the tonal merging happens across the entire image, whereas often I only want the extra dynamic range in select areas. Here, I only needed to retain detail in the sky. Using the histogram on the back of the camera, I could see that the recommended exposure was ‘clipping’ the sky... the brightest parts of the sky would be recorded as pure white and aesthetically, I prefer to keep some tone in all areas. The solution was to take a series of exposures, until the bright sky was no longer clipping (i.e. the histogram was no longer touching the right of the graph). It is best to tripod mount the camera when bracketing your exposures so they are correctly aligned in post-production. At this stage, I added a NiSi IR ND1000 ten-stop filter and took a further exposure of 30 seconds, resulting in blurred water. The sky was overexposed, but this didn’t matter because I would only use the bottom half of this image in the final composite. If there were some interesting clouds in the sky, I may have taken a secondlong exposure and exposed for the clouds.
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Peter Eastway’s kit essentials Peter Eastway petereastway.com
All images © Peter Eastway
NiSi ND filter 180mm NiSi IR ND1000 ten-stop filter with a well-designed filter holder for ultra-wide angles. This allows long exposures to be captured.
Peter Eastway is a two-times winner of the Australian Professional Photographer of the Year and an AIPP Grand Master of Photography. Eastway recently featured in the Tales By Light photography series (available on Netflix) on a shoot to Antarctica. He is well known for his landscapes and postproduction skills, and has worked closely with Canon, Phase One and Adobe in the development of their products. He has been writing for photography magazines for over 30 years and leads photography workshops and tours around the world. You can see his work at www. petereastway.com.
Canon EF 11-24mm f4L USM Canon EOS 5DS R In Bhutan, Solid tripod support I put This is one of Canon’s best the photography is as much an Arca-Swiss Cube on top of lenses ever – supremely sharp about culture as it is the landscape, a Really Right Stuff carbon tripod at 24mm and ultra-wide at 11mm, so a DSLR was the best choice – as it also has to hold my Phase enabling sweeping compositions. of camera. One cameras.
2 Jake Hicks
All images © Jake Hicks
jakehicksphotography.com I am a fashion and beauty photographer based in London who also enjoys working for clients in our industry like Bowens, Lensbaby and LEE Filters. My work is known for its bright and bold use of coloured gels and distinctive lighting techniques that are in demand the world over. As well as my commercial work I also run regular lighting workshops both here and abroad, where I teach everything there is to know about my gelled lighting techniques and my post-production workflow.
ADD DRAMA WITH GELS AND FLARE
Jake Hicks reveals his techniques for creative portraits
environment like in this shoot, however, When I used to shoot a lot of ‘white light’ we can limit the amount of soft focus and portraits I was always left feeling that the just utilise the flaring effect it produces by top corners of an image either side of the shining lights directly into it. On top of that subject’s head were empty and devoid of we can also add some coloured gels to the interest. I wanted to try and find a way to fill shot like I did here – this is a great way to that empty space with something visually add some interest to those top corners engaging, and adding flare from my and most importantly it’s a great hair lights behind the subject was way to make a simple portrait a perfect way to do so. QUICK really stand out. With modern lenses DODGE AND It’s crucial that you bear being so well made now, BURN some fundamental colour getting flare to appear in Duplicate your image (Cmd+J), theory in mind as well. your shots is becoming convert that layer to black and There are certain colours harder and harder. Luckily, white (Cmd+Shift+U) and go to that will always work well I decided to improve Filter>Other>High Pass. Here you in portraits, like blues and the odds by using a can apply the desired amount, hit OK and then change oranges, but you need to be filter in front of my lens the layer style to mindful of what colours are to boost the amount flare Soft Light. already present in the frame that appeared. I found that before you start adding your own. a diffusion filter was perfect at Think about what the model is wearing, achieving this and you simply place the colour of the model’s hair and even the it over your lens to diffuse the light as it colours present in the background behind enters. Diffusion filters were used extensively the subject. All of these things should play a in the Seventies and Eighties for that softcrucial part in the colours you decide to use focus look and more recently by landscape in your shot. It’s always been my advice to shooters to reduce contrast in strong start off by adding a single colour to the mix. shadows. When used in a controlled lighting
The key light Position a 22-inch silver beauty dish with a diffusion sock just above the model’s eye level, and at arms length away angled down at 45 degrees.
Add a fill light I always use a small 60cm square softbox as a fill light but a reflector could be used instead. I angled the softbox up towards the model to slightly lift the shadows created by the beauty dish.
Add hair lights I use gridded reflectors to reduce stray light. I placed the two lights at either side behind my model, angled towards my camera for more flare.
Add colour I used two blue gels and simply taped them over the two grids behind my model. You can use any colours you like, but keep the overall colour palette in mind.
Black background If you don’t have access to a studio black backdrop then a large, inexpensive sheet of black velvet will be a perfect substitute like I used here.
Create flare I dramatically increased the coloured flare in the shot by holding a diffusion filter in front of my lens. The one I used here was a LEE ‘Soft’ filter.
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Look for potential There is little foreground interest on this shingle beach, but the bay curves nicely and the waves are breaking in patterns on the foreshore.
CREATE FOREGROUND INTEREST Pro landscape photographer Mark Bauer discusses the art of producing leading lines Using foreground interest to show depth and scale is a well-established compositional technique in landscape photography. The careful use of lines in the foreground can also lead the eye into the composition and highlight the main subject. Unfortunately, not all scenes are blessed with interesting features in the foreground. This can be especially true on the coast; sandy and shingle beaches often have completely empty foregrounds, while on rocky shores you often find that all there is to fill your foreground is a huge expanse of dark, featureless rock. In these situations, one thing you can do is to find a way to use the movement of the water to generate your own foreground interest. Except on the calmest days, waves will wash up onto the shore and create patterns in the sand and shingle, or run through channels in between rocks. Timing is important and in most cases, the best results are gained by shooting the backwash as a wave draws back out to sea. The patterns created are not always
particularly predictable, but on sandy or shingle beaches you often get trails in the foreground, which will lead the eye into the frame. On rocky shorelines, the effect created will usually be one of distinct lines running through the foreground, as the water rushes through channels. This offers different compositional possibilities – lines pulling in from the corners, or strong, dynamic diagonals running across the frame. Alternatively, you can utilise the shoreline, using a breaking wave to highlight its course. Varying shutter speeds creates different effects. Depending on the size and speed of the waves, between half a second and two seconds will help to retain texture in the water. Between five and ten seconds can work well on rocky shores, creating smooth, white lines that contrast with dark rocks. Longer shutters speeds – 30 seconds and above – render the water as a smooth surface, providing the opportunity for taking a lower viewpoint and using reflections as your foreground interest.
All images © Mark Bauer
Mark Bauer is one of the UK’s leading landscape photographers and the author of five books. Mark’s work has appeared in publications around the world and he has won numerous awards in major photographic competitions. He has
been a full-time professional photographer for over a decade, supplying images to stock agencies, corporate clients and magazines and is a regular contributor to the UK photographic press. Mark also leads landscape photography workshops throughout the UK and worldwide.
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Set up Choose a spot close to where the waves are breaking. A low viewpoint puts emphasis on the foreground for more drama. Compose, focus, meter and fit any filters.
Vary shutter speeds Experiment with different timing (wave coming in, wave receding) and shutter speeds. This 15-second exposure has smoothed the water too much.
Final image A shorter shutter speed of 1.5 seconds works much better for this composition, with the wave retaining its texture and creating leading lines out to sea.
Water trails (left) There is little interest in the black sand in front of the iceberg. Waiting for a wave to break and then shooting the backwash with a one-second exposure creates dynamic leading lines.
Textured foreground A two-second exposure as a wave draws back out to sea creates interesting texture in an otherwise empty foreground on a shingle beach, and the eye follows the wave to the main subject.
Break up the rocks Water running back through the channels in this rocky ledge break up the dark mass in the foreground, providing tonal contrast and creating lines that lead the eye into the picture.
4 Sean Archer
All images © Sean Archer
seanarcher.500px.com Four years ago I bought my first camera and started to work at my own home with natural light only, without any expensive gear. In my first year, I went from an absolute beginner to internationally published professional photographer. I still work at home with window light, and I love it.
CAPTURE SIMPLE PORTRAITS
Sean Archer’s images of female subjects are created without flash, using natural light only I live in Yekaterinburg, Russia and, unfortunately, it’s not the sunniest place on Earth. I started shooting in winter and it’s pretty cold out there. So, indoors was a natural choice for me. I just started to use what I had – light from the window, my wall as a background. When you shoot people, the people are important in the end, not your interior – and this kind of light is free, so all you need is a camera. It’s perfect for a beginner who doesn’t want to spend a lot of money on a hobby. I don’t do any preparation. It’s always improvisation... I shoot a lot of people I’ve never seen before and it’s always comfortable. Before a photoshoot I always ask the model to show me what photos
she likes, what’s comfortable for her, what she wants. Before I take out the camera I already know what we want to get. It works perfectly; I never have any problems or misunderstanding. Of course, my portfolio helps a lot. Models know what to expect, and are ready to cooperate. In the beginning I knew nothing about working with a camera, and all I know now is from my own experience. Thousands of shots, learning the light, camera modes, processing methods. Working in broadcast design helped a lot, as I know graphic software, and I started to work with my photos like I used to as a graphic designer. I know what I want to highlight... Natural light isn’t perfect; you have to make it perfect in post.
NO EYE CONTACT
I did a lot of shots and chose this one, where the model doesn’t look at me, but to the window. It’s more interesting.
This shot was made with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II. Usually I shoot portraits with a 45mm lens, but here it was with a 12-40mm.
I created a backlight behind the model in post to highlight her head. Window light was not enough.
Another important thing is the colour of the model’s bodysuit. I found this one perfect.
USE THE SKY
I generally incorporate a lot of sky within my seascapes, often as much as four fifths of the frame. This of course instantly lets the subject matter breathe, giving a sense of isolation and fragility.
BREAK THE RULES
Reducing background detail to either light or dark tones can also add to the minimalist feel, drawing attention to the subject.
I am not at all adverse to putting a horizon right in the middle of a minimalist composition, but will often put the subject on a third, giving space to one side of it.
Often on location I am confronted by a scene that looks beautiful but may be too busy or confusing for one single photograph, so I tend to split the location into simpler, one-subject compositions.
All images © Jonathan Chritchley
Jonathan Chritchley is one of the foremost fine art photographers in the world. His work is seen in exhibitions, galleries, magazines, books and fine art collections internationally. His book, SILVER, was published in 2014 and in 2016 he was made a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (FRGS).
MASTER MINIMALIST MONO
Jonathan Chritchley on his approach to the coast I have always been fascinated by space and simplicity within a photograph, and try to convey that in my own work. The very fact that I fundamentally work in monochrome already helps me ‘declutter’ a photograph, as colour, lovely as it is, can sometimes be distracting. It is no secret that I am completely obsessed with water, and this too can give a minimalist feel, especially if one uses neutral-density filters to smooth the water. I have always loved the coast of Cornwall, and although I am lucky enough to travel around the world shooting coastlines and oceans, I will come to Cornwall once every couple of years to get my fix, as it really is one of the most beautiful places I have visited. This particular photograph happened on a cold, windy morning in early spring on
top of the rather exposed cliffs at Land’s End. Due to the wind, I had to crouch down beside some rocks, paying attention in my composition to the relationship between the tip of the highest rock and the horizon. After several failed attempts due to the high winds moving the tripod and camera, I managed to get an exposure that seemed sharp and a composition that made sense to me. I used a ten-stop LEE Big Stopper to give me an exposure time of 40 seconds, opening the Zeiss Distagon 21mm lens up to f8 to keep the shutter speed from being too long in the rather extreme conditions. When processing I decided to keep the whole print rather low key, using the white water of the breaking waves to contrast against the dark tones of the rocks and sea.
All images © Phoo Chan
Phoo Chan’s passion is capturing images of raptors in aerial action. His work has been published in various publications including National Geographic magazine and the latest National Geographic Complete Birds of North America (2nd edition) book cover page. His pictures of a crow riding on a bald eagle in Seabeck, Washington went viral internationally back in July 2015. The images were sensational enough to put him through an overnight joyride of fame.
PHOTOGRAPH BIRDS IN FLIGHT
Phoo Chan discusses the essential skills required With the price of super-telephoto lenses – especially from third-party brands – becoming not only more affordable but advanced at the same time, more photographers are opting for wildlife, especially birds, as their genre of choice. With the increased number of photographers, getting a better shot has become a much more challenging task. Everyone wants to get a ‘wow’ from their viewers, or greater selfgratification for the small number of those that don’t usually share their work in public. A simple shot of a stationary bird perched on a branch with a creamy background is no longer eye-catching compared to one with some action or at least in flight. In other words, the bar has been raised higher. Birds in flight photography is not just simply capturing a tack-sharp, in-focus shot of a flying bird. Just like taking stationery birds on a perch, there are many elements in the picture, especially the subject itself, that makes your shot pop or stand out from the bunch.
Before going into the specifics, let’s start with one general yet important rule: take more pictures than you really have to. This is so true for actions or in this case in-flight photography where all you need is just that one shot, but to get ‘that’ one shot, your chances increase if you have a bigger pool of shots to choose from. In-flight sequences usually happens so fast, and the golden moment typically flashes at a blink of your eyes, that you don’t even realize you have captured such a unique shot until you look at them. After all it doesn’t cost you any extra to shoot more, unlike the old days with films to develop, although on the downside you do end up with more pictures to browse through. At the same time try to refrain from deleting shots in the field unless you find yourself running out of memory space, which theoretically should not happen if you’re a wildlife photographer. Be careful not to accidentally delete one of the critical shots from a crucial action sequence, as it may not look good when viewed on the LCD.
Phoo Chan’s kit bag Telephoto lens and camera body A minimum of 300mm focal length is essential. A back-up camera body is also recommended in the event of malfunctions in the field. Teleconverters Always have them handy whenever you need the extra reach. The latest versions of both
Six essential tips
Canon and Nikon brands offer not only faster focusing but excellent image quality.
the field to transfer images from memory cards.
Tripod/monopod A tripod or monopod works best in the anticipation of birds taking off.
Hoodman eyecup This shields the light, giving you a clear view through the eyepiece so you can have the other eye on the lookout for any side actions while shooting the main subject.
Extra batteries and memory A back-up device such as the Sanho UDMA 3 works well in
Follow Chan’s advice for photographing birds in flight
Flying direction Capture when the bird is flying towards you or at least sideways. In other words, it’s best to have the bird incoming into the frame. When the bird is already in its outgoing direction (flying away from you) the shot is no longer as attractive or desirable.
Eye contact The bird has to look at the camera when you start hammering on the shutter to ensure you maintain good eye contact. Usually this is achieved when Step 1 is met (i.e. the bird is flying towards you). It would definitely be a big bonus if the bird is doing something else in addition to just flying. A bird flying with a prey or perhaps two birds fighting for a prey would definitely raise the bar a notch or two.
Background, background, background Despite the fact that this is usually not within your control, with proper planning, you can maximise your chance. Even when the bird is shot against just a bunch of trees in the distance, it stands out much better than against the blue sky. Check your surroundings for positioning, especially so you can anticipate the birds’ flight as they start to take off.
Exposure When shooting an adult bald eagle for instance, it is quite a challenge not to overexpose its white head while getting a good exposure of its body. This can be very frustrating… the Sun gets blocked by patches of cloud [and] you’re shooting a flying subject that changes the lighting conditions wherever it flies into or against, in terms of the background. Use the custom settings on your camera to allow on-the-fly settings changes, such as the Register/Recall shooting function assigned to the ‘*’ button, to allow exposure compensation when the bird flies from against a dark background into the sky.
Maintain a higher shutter speed For example, at least 1/1250sec on a Canon EF 600mm with its aperture at maximum, if lighting permits. A higher shutter speed is preferable for shooting handheld, although you may want to show some sense of motion at the tip of the bird’s wings, so setting too high of a speed will freeze all the movements. For handheld shooting, try to maintain your shutter speed at two times the focal length used in bad lighting. If shooting with a 600mm + 1.4X TC (840mm), use 1/1600sec.
Establish a routine workflow Maintain a good and consistent workflow at postprocessing to ensure the subject always pops out from the background. There is no single fixed workflow that one needs to follow, partly because of the many different post-processing software and third-party plug-ins that are out there. Applying the rule of thirds composition during cropping always makes an image more pleasing to look at.
7 MAGNIFY YOUR SUBJECT
Thomas Shahan on capturing macro magic
This Ommatius sp. female robber fly caught my eye one miserably hot day several summers back... I proceeded to spend the next hour watching her hunt... leaping from her perch constantly, only to reappear at the exact same perch seconds later – each time with a new pierced captive... Learning arthropod behaviour is invaluable when shooting macros of this kind! Carefully grasping the stick with my left hand (hoping I wouldn’t disturb her!), and gently resting my lens on the meaty portion of my palm below my thumb, I could subtly push the lens back and forth from the subject in order to take a series of images of varying focal points to later combine as a focus stack. By having my camera resting on my left hand – which was also gripping the plant the fly was on – it was easier to keep the subject in the frame, avoid shaking and achieve the composition and focus I wanted. The image is a crop from a focus stack (done manually in Photoshop) of about six images taken with an old Pentax 50mm reversed on a set of extension tubes. Lighting was taken with a homemade softbox created from cardboard, tinfoil and paper towel.
All images © Thomas Shahan
I’m a 28 year-old macro photographer from Tulsa, with a passion for entomology (specifically spiders). I am interested in sharing the wonderful diversity and beauty of arthropod life with others. Insects are often grossly misunderstood and feared… so I hope to turn repulsion to reverence.
3 key tips for macro Learn your subject Whatever your subject, background knowledge is invaluable. For me, having field experience with a variety of arthropods helps me know how best to approach shooting them. Some bugs are easy to shoot and some aren’t!
Learn to stack Focus stacking is easily one of the most beneficial techniques to learn for macro photography. There’s a lot of great software and rails are not necessary for small stacks. Just make sure your images are well aligned!
Use a flash At least for my field macro photography, a flash is almost a necessity. The brief duration of a speedlight can freeze the action of moving bugs, shaky hands, and ensure a sharp photo. A homemade softbox was also used here.
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8 Jerry Ghionis
All images © Jerry Ghionis
jerryghionisphotography.com In 2013, Ghionis was named as a United States Nikon Ambassador. He was the first Australian named in the first-ever list of Top Ten Wedding Photographers in the World by American Photo magazine. Jerry was also named as the Australian Wedding Photographer of the Year by the AIPP. He has won the WPPI Wedding Album of the Year for a record eight times and WPPI included Jerry in their Top Five Wedding Photographers in the World.
BE CREATIVE WITH REFLECTIONS Wedding photographer Jerry Ghionis is an expert when it comes to seeing the shots others overlook
In an industry where most artistry is achieved after the photo has been taken, there is nothing I love more than a photo that is simple but striking and achieved in-camera. I certainly use Photoshop to enhance my images but I prefer what I call ‘invisible’ Photoshop – as in, what was done in post-production is not evident. In this way, the result is far more timeless and devoid of distracting elements that will almost certainly date. This photo, however, was created in-camera. I walked past the bride’s house and noticed a simple reflection of the white, overcast sky against a silhouette of the groom who was walking next to me. I noticed that I could see through the silhouette of the groom and into the house. I thought, “How cool would it be to have the bride’s face montaged and merged into the groom’s face!” I asked the groom to stand in front of the window as I squatted down to see if I could get his clean silhouette against the overcast
sky. The trees behind us were in my frame but I wanted to remove the distraction. Once you remove context from a shot, you enhance the mystery. The groom needed to be higher off the ground, so we found a little stepladder for him to stand on. All I needed to do was direct the bride who was inside the house and position her within the groom’s profile. Without a beautiful expression from the bride the result would simply be a clever shot, but I needed something more. I asked the bride to say ‘I love you’ to the groom with her eyes. Her expression was perfect. You clearly see the love and respect that Sara has for Steve. Here is the result… I love the way the shoulder of the groom could be mistaken for the bride’s shoulder. The groom’s hair could almost be mistaken for the bride’s hair. She is perfectly placed within the groom’s profile to complete the metaphor of when two souls become one.
9 Dan Kennedy
All images © Dan Kennedy
Dan Kennedy is a Londonbased fashion and celebrity photographer. He has worked with Angelina Jolie, Madonna, David Beckham, Kate Winslet, Naomi Campbell and Jessica Ennis. Clients include Marks and Spencer, Nikon, Lacoste, ITV and T-Mobile; and he’s been published in The Times Magazine, The Sunday Times, The Guardian, Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, Hello!, You, Glamour and Observer Magazine.
SHOOT ONE-LIGHT HEADSHOTS
Celebrity and fashion photographer Dan Kennedy explains how a simple setup delivers quality portraits There’s a sweet spot with lighting [for a headshot]… often, the closer you get things in, the more a bit of magic starts to happen. One of my favourite, go-to lighting attachments for doing that is the Profoto Beauty Dish with a grid in it. It’s got quite a specific sweet spot… if you have it four or five feet away from the subject, [the light] looks really average, but once you get it in a foot and a half away it looks lovely and you can really play around with the angles, depending on how young or old your subject might be. If you go in as close as a foot you’ve sort of lost it then, and it will go a bit horrible – it’s just finding that sweet spot. Sometimes I’ll go very ‘toppy’ with it, having it a lot higher up and angling it down – you can add some real drama to it, and I will often pull the subject between half a metre to a metre away from the background. This way you can get a beautiful kind of graduated
effect on the background, which really brings drama to the subject. One thing I nearly always do is to boom the light over the top – I love having it square on over the top of me, and then I poke my lens just underneath the light. If you start to add in more lights, sometimes it starts to flatten it off… with one light, you can get that drama. If I need to flatten it off a little bit, I often use the silver umbrella as a fill light beneath the lens on a much lower stand, just lighting under the chin and under the nose. Sometimes we will have two lighting setups in the same place, using PocketWizards… you could have two strip lights lighting the whole body as a full length in Channel 1 [on the PocketWizards], and then in Channel 2 you flip to the beauty dish... the strip lights are then off, and you’re just lighting with the one light.
THE STUDIO SETUP
SPOTLIGHT CAMERA PAPER ROLL TAPED DOWN
MODEL LIGHT POINTING AT BACK WALL FOR CONTRAST CONTROL
All images ÂŠ Damien Lovegrove
Damien Lovegrove is a world-renowned portrait photographer and Fujifilm UK ambassador. He has been a TV cameraman, a commercial photographer, a wedding and portrait photographer and now he is a writer, columnist, teacher, motivator and artist. Damien joined the BBC at the age of 19 and trained for three years to become a cameraman, going on to train as a lighting director and leaving the BBC in 1998 to become a full-time photographer. He now specialises in making women look fabulous.
CREATE ELEGANT RIM LIGHT
Damien Lovegrove takes us behind the scenes to reveal how he captured this striking mono portrait What looks to be a fairly simple picture at first glance, using one or perhaps two studio flash heads, is actually a four-light setup that required quite a lot of tweaking. The easiest way to understand how I create my images is to build the setups one light at a time. I used what I call three-quarter back lighting for this shot. I had one light high, to the left and beyond Jojo with a standard 21cm reflector and a tight honeycomb grid. I then mirrored this light with my second flash head. Again I used a 21cm reflector with a tight honeycomb grid attachment. With these two lights rigged I matched their positions until Jojo was rim lit all the way around her perimeter. The third light was rigged just to the left of Jojo out of shot pointing at the background, and again it had a tight honeycomb grid. I bought the grids on eBay because the ones you get in sets are all different. This lighting works best with the tight (smallest hole) grids. I adjusted the power of the spot so that it just visible
and gave a nice contrast to the tulle tutu skirt. The last light is my contrast control light, which is fitted with a spill kill and points towards the back of the studio behind the camera position. It lights the whole of that end of the studio and the reflected light that reaches Jojo is enough to lift the shadow detail out of the blacks. Believe it or not there are no black pixels in this image. Any old flash head of 400W or so pointing at the back wall of the studio can deliver the contrast control you need. Donâ€™t ask for eye contact. The success of a picture like this relies on the calmness of the pose. Work your lighting so that dark tones in your subject are set against light tones in the background and that light tones in your subject are set against dark tones in the background. This is where the magic is made.
CAPTURE SPLIT-SECOND ACTION
Markus Reugels discusses water collisions Such images can be created with a medicine dropper and lots of patience. To create more complex shapes, it’s necessary to work with a timing device to give you full control of every parameter – you create the drops with solenoid valves and trigger the flashes/ camera at the [optimum] point. To create a basic ‘drop on drop’ image, you need two falling drops that fall into a tray of water. The first drop creates a ‘crown’, and then an upcoming ‘spout’. On this spout, the second drop must collide and form the shape. You must control the delay between the drops. When you use a drop rate of about seven drops per second, the two drops will create a bell-like shape. When you go up to 11 drops per second, the shape looks more like a mushroom. To create a ‘flying disc’, you must increase the drop rate up to 16 drops per second. The next stage of water drop photography is ‘XXL splashes’... the spout jumps very high, and it’s possible to create taller and bigger shapes. For the jumping spouts, two drops are required [just] for the spout itself. The height of the basic ‘drop on drop’ splashes is about 3-5cm; the XXL splashes are higher than 10cm and can reach up to 20cm. Now it’s possible to create more than one shape on the spout.
Markus Reugels All images © Markus Reugels
I started taking pictures in 2008. First I wanted to make better images for the family album. In 2009 I found a simple water drop image and this was the start for my passion. I always search for new things and everything I know in photography is self-taught.
UNLOCK STUNNING PRO SKILLS
THICKEN THE WATER
Photographers who capture water drop collisions typically thicken the water using guar gum or a similar agent. You will need to experiment with different ratios, but a single teaspoon of the thickening agent for each litre of water is a good starting point.
How water collides Markus Reugels demonstrates the dynamics 1
1 2 3 4 5
The first drop creates a ‘crown’ – the first shape in water drop photography. The crown collapses and a spout goes upward. A second drop is about to hit the spout. This is an example of the ‘bell’ shape, taken at around seven drops per second. This is a mushroom shape with around 11 drops per second.
When the spout reaches the highest stage, a single drop is released from the spout… you can place a falling drop to create a flying disc.
Create a big splash With this image I want to show how tall the XXL spouts can jump. They can go higher than in this example, but it would be harder to hit the spout with the next drops
Below & inset
Behind the scenes The setup for waterdrop collisions involves a lot of precision. Reugels uses up to three different valves to create multiple coloured splashes
I’ve shot this lighthouse on the coast of Maine numerous times at night, and on this particular night I was teaching a workshop and standing out of the way so the students could move around as they needed. I set up and just shot for fun, continuing to play with and test out the Nikon D5 at different exposure settings at night and helping the students as needed. I didn’t think I’d come away with something interesting that I hadn’t captured before here, but a small patch of clouds passed overhead and ending up making for a nice atmospheric touch to the scene.
SHOOT SHARP STARS
Adam Woodworth on techniques for astro shutter speed and ISO to see what works for your gear. Optionally you can take another exposure at a lower ISO and longer shutter speed (and possibly using a different focus point) to capture detail in the foreground, and then blend your foreground shots with your sky shot in software to end up with a result that is in focus, has low noise and high detail from the foreground to the stars. For white balance try shooting around a manual white balance of 3800 to 4000 and correct it later in post to what you want or what is more accurate. Remember, when shooting RAW the white balance is only metadata and you can change it in software without any loss of quality. If you’re feeling up to the challenge you can try star stacking, a technique where you take multiple shots of the sky at a very high ISO and short shutter speed to capture completely pinpoint stars, then align and blend those images in software to create a very low-noise sky with pinpoint stars. The program Starry Landscape Stacker, available from the Mac App Store, makes this very easy, but it can also be done manually in Photoshop. I use this technique most of the time, although for the image featured here I used a single shot for the sky on a Nikon D5, and a separate shot for DP the foreground.
Switch to manual focus Put the camera and/or lens into manual focus mode so that you don’t accidentally trigger the autofocus after focusing for the stars.
Infinity Don’t rely on your lens’ infinity mark. Focus for the stars by using Live View. First put your lens at or very near the infinity mark.
Nikon D5, Nikon 14-24mm f2.8 lens at 14mm. One shot for the sky at ISO 3200, f2.8, 20 seconds, and one shot for the lighthouse at ISO 1600, f5.6, four minutes. Following my usual workflow, the images were prepped in Lightroom, and then blended and finished with creative edits in Photoshop.
Adam Woodworth adamwoodworth.com
All images © Adam Woodworth
Capturing Milky Way images like this is a great way to enjoy our view of the universe, and with today’s modern digital cameras it is incredibly easy to capture such images. All you need is a crop sized or better sensor (full frame will get you the most detail), a super-wide angle lens to capture a large portion of the Milky Way, a tripod and optionally a remote timer. Ultimately you’ll want the sharpest and fastest (lowest f-stop) wide-angle lens you can get, but even a kit 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 lens will work with a modern DSLR used at 18mm and f3.5. The gold standard of ultra-wide fast lenses is the Nikon 14-24mm f2.8 lens, but the Rokinon 14mm f2.8 lens is an amazing full-frame lens for the price, and is available as a 12mm f2.8 lens for crop cameras. In order to capture pinpoint stars you need to use a low enough shutter speed to freeze the movement of the stars but long enough to capture enough light to see any detail, and it will vary based on your focal length. The shorter your focal length, the larger the field of view, and the longer you can expose and still get near-pinpoint stars. For example, shooting at 14mm on a fullframe camera, you would keep the lens wide open at f2.8, use a shutter speed of around 20 seconds, and an ISO between 3200 to 12800 depending on the camera. Vary the
Adam Woodworth is a landscape photographer, award-winning filmmaker and software engineer. He has had a love of photography for most of his life, and one of his main focuses is landscape astrophotography. His earliest memory of gazing up in awe at the night sky was as a child in a canoe on a lake in Maine.
Focus In Live View mode, point your camera at a very bright star and centre it in the frame. Turn the focus ring slowly until the star is sharp and small. Check with a test shot.
UNLOCK STUNNING PRO SKILLS
Normally I use the ‘star stacking’ technique of shooting a bunch of exposures at a short enough shutter speed to capture pinpoint stars, usually 10 seconds x 10 exposures, and then stack & blend them in Starry Landscape Stacker (available for Mac) to get both pinpoint stars and low noise. But in this case I ended up using a single 20second exposure, because I liked the look of the clouds in the 20-second exposure vs the effective 100 seconds that 10 x 10 gave me, where the clouds streaked out very smoothly and lost their texture.
RAYS OF LIGHT
The light rays coming out of the lighthouse are real, the light (as in many lighthouses) is so directional and bright that you can see this wagon-wheel type effect with your naked eye looking up at the lighthouse when it blinks.
The lighthouse is not blowing out the scene completely because it is a blinking light, blinking twice every eight or nine seconds. A constant light would have been much more difficult to work with.
Noise Reduction Long exposures at high ISOs are prone to hot pixels. Long Exposure Noise Reduction will take a second exposure after each shot.
Use an appropriate shutter speed Ignore the ‘500 rule’ of dividing your 35mm equivalent focal length into 500 to get a shutter speed – just test to see what works.
Take the shot Composing in the dark is hard, but take test shots to check your framing, move the camera and try again. Make sure you aren’t blowing out the stars to white.
One of the main challenges you’ll face indoors is the need to deal with mixed light sources © Mint Images/Getty Images
DISCOVER HOW TO CAPTURE INDOOR EVENTS The essential techniques you need to take incredible images
vent photography might not seem like the most enticing jobs on first glance, but the skills required for producing top-quality images at an event requires a number of skills and techniques that can be taken from and applied to many other genres. Your indoor event could be anything from a wedding, party or corporate gathering, however, the approach will remain the same. As an event or wedding photographer it is inevitable that you will, more often than not, be faced with the prospect of an indoor location, especially when it comes to battling with the ever-changing and unpredictable weather. When shooting outdoors, you only have to battle with one other light source – the Sun – however indoors you will be faced with a number of lighting challenges. From the natural light mixing with the artificial fixed lighting in the venue, the varying types and strengths
of fixed lighting and continuously changing light, to managing white balance and perfecting your exposures while creatively framing your shots – the challenges are seemingly endless. Before you think about your kit, lenses and setups, you need to know exactly what your client is looking for. Do they want candid shots? Posed group images? Are there key people you need to take a shot of? Don’t overshoot, but don’t undershoot either. Make a list of the essential shots prior to the event and, if you can, shoot them as a priority – that means everything else you capture is a bonus. Over the next few pages we will explore the skills needed to shoot the perfect indoor event imagery, and will cover everything from choosing the correct lenses and metering modes to incorporating flash, getting exposures correct and embracing the existing lighting.
CONSIDER YOUR KIT
Think about the lenses and camera modes that will deliver the best results indoors
Select a shooting mode
Choose between these options for indoor events
Aperture Priority (Av) This can be a good choice, as it will enable you to control depth of field while leaving the camera to balance the shutter speed accordingly. You need to ensure your images don’t exhibit camera shake, though.
Shutter Priority (Tv) If your main concern is the length of the exposure rather than depth of field, consider opting for this mode. This is the best choice if you want to ensure all your images are sufficiently sharp.
Manual (M) It requires a little bit more confidence and consideration, but this mode enables you to balance the aperture and shutter speed yourself, with no involvement from the camera’s exposure algorithms.
no flash. We were approached afterwards by a panicking grandfather saying, ‘Did you know that your flash wasn’t working?’ If your hand is not so steady, invest in a good monopod, as this can also be useful if you are having to zoom from the back of a large venue.” Below
Make a list Ensure that you have a rough list of the essential shots that you need to get and capture all of the key moments before getting too carried away with creative images All images © Lina and Tom Orsino-Allen
If you can, ask to have a look at the venue the fairly lights around at a wedding or Christmas day before the event, or at the very least arrive party for example. Specifically we use Canon early before any guests do. This will allow you lenses including an 85mm f1.2 and f1.8, 50mm to not only assess the lighting in the venue, but f1.8 and a 35mm f1.4. We do keep a couple of it will also give you time to take some prezooms in the kit bag, but they rarely come out party shots of the setup. These before shots these days, inside or out.” are particularly important for weddings, as Graham Lee (gleephotography.co.uk) agrees the couple will have most likely spent hours and says that using a fast lens will help you to choosing everything meticulously, and they’ll get the most out of your indoor event. “A fast want it to be documented. Take some f2.8 lens opens the aperture right up, shots of the whole venue as well letting in the maximum amount of as some close-up detail shots of light, which enables you to use FULFIL table decorations and party a fast shutter speed. I tend THE BRIEF favours. Doing these initial to shoot in full Manual as FIRST pictures will also give you the camera doesn’t always Be careful that you don’t lose a feel for the settings that know what I am trying to track and take too many arty you’ll need later. achieve,” explains Lee. The and creative shots. Remember The lenses you choose quality of light is likely to that you have a job to do – will obviously determine the affect your camera setup the people and the quality of your captures and and while Manual mode will event itself are choosing well will have a huge give you the most control, your priority. impact on how you handle low Aperture Priority and Shutter and changeable light. “The key thing Priority have their uses too. to consider first is the lighting available If you are shooting an event at night to you,” explains professional photographers you won’t be able to use any natural light Lina and Tom (linaandtom.com). “We try to coming through the windows, so it is important shoot as much of the event using the natural that you are equipped to shoot in low light. light available if possible, even in winter, but Lina and Tom say that having a good lens on some occasions using flash is inevitable. combined with a steady hand is important Either way, we tend to shoot only using prime here. “Prime lenses that go down to at least lenses, which in darker spaces can give you f1.8 are essential and the 85mm f1.2 is a great atmosphere. A nice shallow depth of field dream in dark spaces. It allowed us to shoot can give great bokeh, especially if there are candlelit speeches at 8:30pm in March, with
DISCOVER HOW TO CAPTURE INDOOR EVENTS
Pick the right lenses
Find out which optics to have in your kit bag
Wide-angle prime Using a wide-angle prime, like a 24mm lens, will enable you to capture the whole venue and add context to your shots. These typically boast wide apertures, such as f1.4, providing potential for creative and dramatic images.
Standard prime A standard 50mm lens will let you capture a wide variety of shots, with minimum distortion and wide maximum apertures. They are also fairly affordable and are an absolute must for indoor event photography.
Telephoto zoom Some shots are only possible when the subjects aren’t aware they’re being photographed, so it’s wise to have a 70200mm f2.8 or f4 zoom with you to enable candid captures.
© Eilidh Robertson
SHOOT IN RAW
TAKE CONTROL OF THE LIGHT
Although processing time will take longer if you shoot in RAW, it will give you a bit of a safety net. If you misjudge an exposure or have trouble with the white balance, you should be able to rescue the image if you have used RAW.
Perfect your exposures and learn to add flash for more creativity
Perfecting your exposures and ensuring be a great way to retain the atmosphere and that the white balance of your captures is make sure nothing is overexposed.” correct are both important considerations White balance is a constant issue when it for capturing good event images. “You need comes to shooting an indoor event, particularly to understand light and how it affects your in venues that mix the colours of their bulbs. photographs and be aware of the limitations “It’s best to pick your focus for the shot and of your equipment – for example, know what work with it – we regularly bring in warm settings you are happy to push your camera brushes during post-processing to warm up to before introducing flash and at least have a a side of the room by a window for example,” basic understanding of how to use on-camera explains Lina and Tom. “In some venues it will flash,” explains professional photographer be impossible to get it completely right, so Eilidh Robertson (eilidhrobertson.co.uk). some work in post needs to be expected.” Lina and Tom advise that you “keep an To add a little creativity to your captures and eye on your natural light sources and bear in to take control of your imagery you should mind where the blue daylight is coming from, consider adding in some off-camera flash. “We because in a very orange lit room this can send use off-camera flash most of the time, using your white balance skewed. Many venues don’t wirelessly triggered flashes around the room,” consider the uniformity of their light bulbs, so says Lina and Tom. “Lighting a group portrait having different levels of daylight to orange will differ from lighting a dance floor, so in one room is common. Make your choice think about your area. With the former, many on what you want to expose for – skin tone is photographers choose to just light up the usually the best bet, but if you are on a shoot people involved, with the ambient light very low with more creative freedom, such as a wedding, – this can give a very stark look, which is not and you are in a room with large shafts of light very flattering. You can still use flash to create pouring in, then exposing for the highlights can a soft light, essential at a warm and cosy winter
wedding or event, so we would use two flashes either side of the photographer with umbrellas. If you must use on-camera flash, avoid using it pointing directly at your subject. We’ve seen many images taken with on-camera flash, particularly at winter weddings, which have just illuminated the subject and stripped the shot of any atmosphere of the day.” It is also important to consider when in the event is appropriate to use any flash. If you are in any doubt ask your client. “I will only introduce flash if I absolutely have to as it can be a little distracting, especially during a wedding ceremony,” says Robertson. “For winter weddings I usually have to introduce flash while photographing the drinks reception, family formals and evening reception due to a lack of natural light.” Above
Create an atmosphere
“An unusual setup for me: shooting with two flashes either side of the camera in the corners, cross lighting the room from the balcony. Flashes manually controlled and zoomed in to 70mm,” explains Robertson
DISCOVER HOW TO CAPTURE INDOOR EVENTS
Essential exposure advice Ensure your shots maintain the atmosphere of the event
© Graham Lee
It is important to understand the effect that flash will have on your scene. Robertson says that once the basics have been mastered, learning how to use different creative effects like off-camera flash can give photographs more impact and variety. You shouldn’t use off-camera flash just to replace light that might be missing, as this can often strip the whole scene of any atmosphere. Instead you should use it to enhance and add something extra to the existing lighting. For example, incorporating a few off-camera flashes with the disco lighting can be a subtle way to creatively light the dance floor. “Dancing is the only time we really go all out on flash, to freeze action on the dance floor. Shooting without on-camera flash also makes your subject less aware of you, which is essential if you are looking to document the event in a less formal way,” explains Lina and Tom.
© Eilidh Robertson
Multiple flashes “For the dance floor, we place multiple flashes in the corners of the room, on tall light stands going above the heads of the guests. [These are] triggered wirelessly and in groups, to allow for creativity and control. We also gel the flashes for creativity with colour, particularly when there are not many disco lights available,” explains Lina and Tom.
Backlight your subjects “Off-camera flash can also be used to backlight a subject, creating a lovely halo around a couple during the first dance,” explains Lee.
© Eilidh Robertson
Discover how the pros add their own light at events to subtly enhance the atmosphere
© Lina and Tom Orsino-Allen
Get more from off-camera flash
© Lina and Tom Orsino-Allen
Expose for the highlights This will ensure Exposure compensation In low light your nothing is overexposed, especially if you are camera will often overexpose the shadows, photographing a bride to help ensure you don’t so in this instance you should use a negative overexpose her white dress. exposure compensation.
© Lina and Tom Orsino-Allen
Spot metering In harsh lighting, low light or if there are multiple light sources in the scene, it is best to use Spot metering and expose for your subject’s skin.
Starburst and lens flare “I set up two offcamera flashes at either side of the dance floor, which I shoot into for a starburst effect. For this setup I’ll use a 24-70mm lens or 35mm. Alternatively, I will put one off-camera flash by the band and shoot into this with my 85mm lens at f2.0 to create a soft image with a little bit of lens flare,” says Robertson.
USE THE EXISTING LIGHTS
Make effective use of the lighting already present at your indoor location
© Lina and Tom Orsino-Allen
© Lina and Tom Orsino-Allen
Often you might be required to shoot only with the existing and natural light available and will not be allowed to use any flash, so it is extremely important not to become reliant on your flash. The lighting will be different from location to location and might even be unique to the event itself – this means that embracing only the existing light will enable you to shoot images unique to the event and won’t look like the artificial setup that you take to every event. Harnessing the power of the lights already in the room will create more atmosphere and force you to compose your shots around the light, ultimately making you approach scenes in a far more creative way. “Unfortunately there are many venues that don’t seem to place much thought on lighting; it’s fairly common to see very orange bulbs, or a mix of daylight and orange bulbs in one room,” explains Lina and Tom. “In this case it’s almost impossible to do everything, so pick a look and run with it; we’ll usually expect to correct some lighting in post-editing. If we’re shooting morning preparations at a wedding for example, and there are awful orange bulbs, we’ll try to lose the lights altogether to get a much more workable white balance. We will always look for the best way to enhance the light available rather than stick a flash on, and windows are your best friend here. “Fluorescent tubes are common especially in conference venues – if you have ever seen pink and green bands across your shots this is where they have come from. The bulbs flicker too fast for the eye to notice, but if your shutter speed is over a certain speed the camera will pick this up. Some bulbs are worse than others. Shooting at under 1/60s will sort it, but again you need that steady hand and a monopod will come in handy. We hardly ever use a tripod; we like the flexibility of the monopod as we hate being weighed down by kit. Also, many venues are bringing in LED lights now, many of which strobe more than the fluorescents, so you may see a completely black band across your shot. We shot in one venue where over a certain shutter speed the shots were completely black. Again, make sure your DP shutter speed is slow.”
Keep it simple
Some venues will have been thoughtfully set up with creative lighting that will add to your images. Here a 23mm lens at f3.5 has been used to beautifully capture the light
Here using a prime lens at f1.2 has allowed a lot of light into the camera, which combined with the natural window light and the fairy lights has created a bright, naturallooking image
Available light “Taken using only available light, camera settings 1/200sec, f2, ISO 2500. Blair Castle is beautiful, but a high, dark, wood roof makes using flash very challenging,” says Robertson
DISCOVER HOW TO CAPTURE INDOOR EVENTS
© Eilidh Robertson
It is a good idea to select a quiet shutter mode for some events – particularly if you plan to shoot during the speeches or wedding ceremony.
Dancer in motion Capture motion in an artistic still photograph by shooting in darkness and making clever use of flashguns
Shoot with stroboscopic flash Capture movement in a completely creative way with this effect
Stroboscopic flash means a burst of repeating flashes, which means that you can light your subject more than once during a single exposure. Not very interesting when your subject is in a fixed position, but much more so when it is quickly moving. Because the individual flashes are very short, you are able to freeze your subject in different locations in the same shot. You will find stroboscopic functionality on most of the more powerful flashguns, like the Canon 600EX-RT, Nikon SB-910 and others. Smaller flashguns just don’t have the stamina to flash so often with a significant light output over a short period of time, and therefore don’t
have this function built in. If your flashgun has a stroboscopic or repeating flash function, you are ready for some creative photos. To set up your flash, first choose your desired frequency. Set it to five hertz for five flashes per second. For a series of ten flashes, set the number to ten. In this example the combination of ten flashes and five hertz results in a two-second burst of flashes. Note that the power is set per individual light flash. Although your flashgun is fully able to produce a single flash at full power, it will not be able to do this more than a few times in a burst. Dial the output power down to produce the number of flashes you need at the required frequency.
What you’ll need A dark room with a black background At least four flashguns A flash trigger with a stroboscopic flash function DSLR and a standard lens, like 18-55mm or 24-70mm Light stands, superclamps and a tripod Fresh and spare batteries Post processing, such as Lightroom
Get the kit There are many systems and ways to trigger the flashes from your camera. For our setup here we used four Yongnuo YN-560 flashguns (type III and IV) in order to light our subject. As a trigger we used the Yongnuo radio transmitter YN560-TX.
Flashgun setup Both the radio trigger and the receiving flashguns are set to group A and the stroboscope function is enabled. We timed the dancer and she needs about two to three seconds to dance from start to end position. We experimented with 2Hz and 3Hz to find the most attractive result.
Studio requirements A black backdrop in a room or studio with the lowest amount of ambient light does the trick here. This prevents the backdrop from showing through your subject on a spot where she was just a moment ago. Cover all windows with black plastic to turn the studio into complete darkness.
Subject and movement Your choice of subject can be diverse. A dancer definitively gives an attractive result. It’s important that she moves sufficiently during the exposures to prevent her being ‘flashed’ twice on the same spot. A double-exposed face must especially be avoided. Try different outfits, too.
Camera settings Because of the unpredictability of the exact timing of the dancer, work in Bulb mode and use a wired remote shutter release as long as the dancer is on her way to the end point. Choose ISO 100 or 200 for a lownoise result, and a small aperture of f10 for sufficient depth of field.
Take the shot Use superclamps and coldshoes to mount at least four flashguns on a horizontal bar of a backdrop kit. Reduce light spill by pointing them downwards. The dancer goes to her starting point and counts down for you to press and hold the remote shutter release while she dances to the end of the sequence.
SHOOT WITH STROBOSCOPIC FLASH
The setup BLACK BACKGROUND
This works well for this sort of image, coupled with a studio environment with minimal ambient light.
YN-560 speedlights were used as the lighting for this image, positioned in front of where the subject will be and angled down slightly.
The camera was placed on a tripod for maximum stability, and fitted with a trigger in order to fire the speedlights.
It’s important to ensure that your subject has enough room to move and travel for this type of photography, and a relatively wide-angle lens is required.
Discover how to get the best results from your lighting when shooting stroboscopic images If you don’t have a radio trigger, an alternative solution is a setup with a single stroboscope flashgun as a master, while the guns lighting your subject are set as optical slaves. To prevent the backdrop being lit by the master flash, turn down the power to its lowest setting. If you need more light on your subject and your flashguns can’t produce any more, add more flashguns or decrease the space in which your subject moves. Place the camera at floor level for full body photos, to decrease the light build up on the floor when it is included in the final image. Or even better, work with a stage or elevate the floor with pallets and floorboards.
Editing steps 1
Select and crop Import your photos, selecting an image with an attractive movement and a good contrast between the subject and the background. Fill the frame by cropping the image.
Adjust exposure The imageâ€™s background has likely become grey due to the flash light and long exposure. Press J to highlight the overexposed and underexposed parts and then darken the background areas by dialing the Blacks and Shadows slider down.
Use the brush tool Take a brush (K) and set Exposure to -3.0 and flow to 20%. Paint the nearly black parts pure black. Press O to toggle between the red overlay where you have painted, and the areas that are pure black.
Work on the subject Increase the lightness of the dancer by boosting the Whites slider. Take a new brush (K), set Exposure to +3.0 and flow to 20%, then paint over parts of your subject that still need to be lighter. After this step you probably need to add some Noise Reduction. To make your images pop, add Clarity (20), Vibrance (20) and Sharpening (50).
Enhance the effect Itâ€™s highly likely that there will be some improvements necessary to the crop and the exposure when shooting stroboscopic flash images
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Learn to create beautiful bokeh
Add character to your portraits with this effect A good portrait depends in part on the quality of the background. Distracting backgrounds will detract from the subject, but an attractive bokeh effect can lift a portrait captured in an otherwise everyday setting, such as a town or city centre. The lens that you choose will determine the quality and extent of the background blur that you will be able to create. A fast, bright lens is necessary here â€“ the ideal lens would be an 85mm prime lens with a wide maximum aperture of around f1.8. However, we opted for
a 70-200mm f2.8 telephoto, because it allowed us to extend beyond 85mm to around 130mm in order to narrow the angle of view. This meant that we could eliminate and control the background elements even more. It was quite a bright day, so f2.8 was actually wide enough for the effect we wanted, without having to struggle with extremely fast shutter speeds. Follow our six simple steps to shooting a natural portrait with a beautifully blurred background that will ensure all of the focus is on the subject.
Find a background Select a background that will blur in an aesthetically pleasing way. Colourful backgrounds will create the most interesting bokeh. Any scene with an arrangement of lights will also work well.
Pose your model Describe to your model the image you are trying to achieve and talk them through the pose that you have in mind. Making sure the model is relaxed will help to ensure your image looks natural.
Perfect elements When a wide aperture is used and bright background lights are present, attractive bokeh effects can be achieved that really enhance a portrait such as this
Select a lens It is important that you choose a fast telephoto lens with a wide maximum aperture. We choose 70-200mm f2.8, because the narrow angle of view will help to limit distracting background elements.
LEARN TO CREATE BEAUTIFUL BOKEH
Choose your settings Set your camera to Manual, and select Spot metering so that you can expose the model’s face perfectly. In order to achieve a pleasing background bokeh, set your aperture to around f2.8.
Position a reflector If there isn’t enough light reaching the model’s face, then you can reflect some extra light with a reflector without having to add an artificial light source into your setup.
Take the shot Once you have positioned your model and are happy with your settings and exposure, take the shot. You might have to experiment with settings, composition and the pose in order to get the perfect shot.
Nikon on location
Nikon ambassador Richard Peters discusses the benefits his kit offers at his favourite shooting spot Just a short, 15-minute boat ride from Martin’s Haven, Skomer Island is a magical location found just off the coastline of Pembrokeshire. Despite the close proximity to the mainland, Skomer provides a true sense of being cut off from the rest of the world, offering stunning 360-degree views, clifftops and pathways with which to explore. The main attraction comes in the form of the island’s wildlife with a variety of species including little owls, short-eared owls, rabbits, Manx shearwater and various other seabirds. It goes without saying however that the island is most famous for its puffin colonies, and more specifically, The Wick.
One of the main advantages to Skomer Island is that you are able to photograph the colony at The Wick with quite literally any lens in your bag. I have taken a range of lenses onto the island on different visits, from the 18-35G to the 200mm f2 and the mighty 600mm. Each one of them has been usable and useful, making Skomer a unique location for wildlife photographers of all abilities with any level of kit. While it’s entirely possible to visit the island on a day trip, the real experience comes from staying overnight, whereby you can have the entire location to yourself, save for a maximum of 15 other guests. This allows you to be out until last light and up for first light, before the crowds of day trippers arrive later in the day.
Skomer Island is within a kilometre of the western coast of Wales, and boasts a large colony of Atlantic Puffins
All images © Richard Peters
SKOMER ISLAND, PEMBROKESHIRE, WALES
Six top tips for better wildlife images Richard Peters reveals his pro advice
Take framefilling portraits Using lenses such as the 600mm will enable you to crop tightly in on your subjects to capture breathtaking close-up detail and achieve exceptional subject isolation.
Take in the surroundings The Wick is such a picturesque location. A wide-angle prime such as the 24mm f1.8 can allow you to experiment with both large and shallow depth-offield landscapes.
Balance light sources When the ambient light levels drop, try introducing a defused off-camera flash. The latest, like the SB-5000, allow for wireless TTL metering for easier control and adjustment.
Shoot in highcontrast light The D810 offers exceptional dynamic range, allowing you to experiment with lighting conditions of extreme light and shadow, to give your photos a real punch of drama.
Perfect your focus tracking Cameras such as the D500 offer incredible focus tracking. Enhance this further by prefocusing and waiting for the puffins to fly into this area before engaging autofocus.
Handhold to react faster and keep mobile Smaller telephotos such as the 300mm f4 PF allow you to be mobile, while the 4.5 stops of VR will help keep your photos sharp if the shutter speed falls.
IN ASSOCIATION WITH
AF-S NIKKOR 600MM F4G ED VR This extreme lens is perfect for wildlife photography and has assisted Peters at Skomer.
Improve your skills Discover the pro secrets you need to capture images like this The Nikon School offers a wide range of courses to help you get the very best from your camera, unlocking the settings and controls that will enable you to achieve incredible images. On 4 August 2017, the Nikon School will be leading a safari workshop at the Chobe River in Northern Botswana. For more information and to book, please visit their website at nikon.co.uk/training.
EDIT & SHARE AFTER
Intensify detail Sharpening a portrait is relatively quick, and will accentuate skin and fabric texture
Sharpen portraits in Lightroom Master the essential editing techniques that lead to crisper portraits Lenses vary considerably in their ability to produce sharp pixels. Optical lens performance can come at a cost, so upgrading your kit is not always a viable solution. Fortunately, programs such as Lightroom come with a good number of options to sharpen up pixels for added definition; ideal if you plan on printing your images further down the line. In these steps below, we’ll look at various options inside of Lightroom’s Develop module for making detail stand out. Controlling adjustments for Masking and Noise Reduction are essential in reducing pixel degradation, and even using Adjustment Brushes will give the freedom to apply sharpening to a specific area in need of extra clarity. Although sharpening can be applied to
compressed JPEG images, the results are more effective on RAW files, as those finer details will still be in place.
A closer view Head into the Detail section of Lightroom’s Develop module to find the Sharpening and Noise Reduction options. Zoom into your image using 1:1 magnification in the Navigator panel (top left).
Control radius Increasing the Radius slider will help reduce softness of pixels around edges. A setting of 1.5 to 2 works well for most images, but for high-res images a larger setting may be required.
© Pixabay.com (1166066)
Detail in portraits Portraits like this contain a bounty of rich detail and texture that’s just waiting to be enhanced
Increase Sharpening Start by boosting the Amount slider for Sharpening. From 0 to 50 gives a subtle level of sharpening, and 50 to 150 gives a stronger level. For crisp detail, set Amount to 100.
Micro details The Detail slider will boost micro details in the portrait, and will be most noticeable on skin and clothing. Increase the Detail slider up gradually to 70, or until you start to see significant changes occur.
Apply masking To reduce the appearance of noise from over-sharpening, increase the Masking slider up to 60 or more. In some cases, this can soften the image and reduce the effects of sharpening.
SHARPEN PORTRAITS IN LIGHTROOM
Tackle noise To further help reduce noise, under the Noise Reduction section increase Luminance to 30 and the Detail slider to 70. This combination works nicely to reduce any noise created from sharpening.
Selective sharpening To apply selective sharpening to areas such as the eyes, click on the Adjustment Brush icon at the top right of the Develop module. Reduce all sliders to 0 and set Sharpness to 45.
Sharper facial features Apply the Adjustment Brush to your image over areas such as eyes or lips, to boost the detail in those areas selectively. You may need to boost Sharpness if no changes are noticeable.
EDIT & SHARE
Work with Selective Color in Photoshop Discover one of the most powerful – and frequently forgotten – adjustments The Selective Color adjustment often goes under the radar when we talk about colour and toning in Photoshop. Other adjustments by the likes of Color Balance and Gradient Map usually come out first, but we’re about to demonstrate just how effective the Selective Color adjustment can be at controlling tone. The adjustment is capable of not only changing how strong a colour appears in your image, but also the overall colour contrast and white balance too, all controlled from a single adjustment layer. The adjustment is split into primary and secondary colours, and there are controls for adjusting the percentage of cyan, magenta, yellow and black amounts.
Load adjustment Load the Selective Color adjustment into your Layers palette by going to either the Layer menu and down to New Adjustment Layer, or from the bottom of the Layers palette. The Properties panel will open.
Balance colour To balance skin tones, select the Neutrals option from Colors. Making changes to the Cyan, Magenta and Yellow sliders will affect colour balance. In most cases, only a few percent either way is required.
Adjust skin tones To single out the skin in a portrait, go into the Masks section of the adjustment’s properties, select the layer mask, then click Invert to switch the mask from white to black.
Adjust highlight tone Add another Selective Color adjustment layer. Choose Whites from Colors and add more blue by decreasing the Yellow slider. Adjusting Black alters brightness of highlights on white objects.
Get creative Selective Color is also useful for creating Lomo-style effects. Select Blacks from the Colors drop-down list and decrease one of the colour sliders to tint the shadow regions.
Pick a colour Control the impact of a colour, for example red lips in a portrait, by picking the relevant option from the Colors list. Reduce the Cyan slider and increase Magenta to increase the impact of red tones.
Brush over mask Use a soft brush set to White at 100% opacity to brush over the areas of skin to reveal the adjustment. Lower the opacity of the layer if required and not the opacity of the brush.
Tinted neutral tones Select Neutrals from the list of Colors and adjust either the Cyan, Magenta or Yellow sliders to see a slight twist of colour. Doing so will also increase the impact of one colour in an image.
WORK WITH SELECTIVE COLOR IN PHOTOSHOP XXXXX
Colour tints The Selective Color adjustment works well to tint the image and adjust skin tones separately with masking
Â© Pixabay.com (377662)
This is a standard outdoor shot where natural lighting creates a balanced exposure
EDIT & SHARE
Adapt colour and tone with Viveza Learn to utilise Control Points in Nik Collection’s free software Viveza by Nik Collection is a free plug-in to use in either Photoshop or Lightroom. It’s quick to install and comes packed with helpful features for editing the contrast, tonality and colour of your images. The interface has been designed for ease of use and efficiency. For example, tweaking specific parts of an image without the need for masking is as simple as placing a Control Point and altering sliders. Edits can be applied globally or locally, making it easy to balance out an image’s exposure, add in more colour or warm up an image in no time at all.
Detail and contrast
A good capture with lots of detail in the feathers – it just needs a touch more colour and contrast
Locate adjustments Press E to expand the sliders under Global. Increase Saturation and Warmth to add colour, as well as Structure and Contrast to add impact to the exposure.
Control Points Insert Control Points using the Add Control Point icon. Each Control Point has an area that’s resizable by adjusting the top slider within the Point.
© Pixabay.com (1072696)
Duplicate Points Copy a Point by holding the Opt/Alt key and clicking and dragging to a new position. This will retain the exact settings applied to the first Point.
Re-edit globally Use the Levels and Curves adjustment to alter brightness and contrast. Select Brush to apply Viveza as a new layer with a mask into Photoshop.
Plug-in power Viveza makes light work of adapting this image’s exposure and tone, with the end result a dramatic improvement
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All images © Tom Mason
EDIT & SHARE
PREPARE TO PRINT
ADOBE LIGHTROOM CC
Carefully consider this checklist if you want to ensure good quality results every time
The image For the best prints you need to start with a perfect image. The image should be well exposed, with a preference towards the right of the histogram. Sharpness is essential, with camera shake being kept to a minimum through the use of a fast shutter over solid tripod or support.
File type To get the most from your processing you’ll want to shoot in RAW. This will allow you to draw out the full dynamic range of your camera’s sensor. In post-production you will need to lift the highlights and drop the darks to give you a natural tonal range.
Colour balance Natural colour balance is important for printing. Correcting colour cast is a simple process when working with the Temperature and Tint sliders. One way
to work is move the Saturation to 100%, use the sliders to balance colour and cast, before reducing the Saturation back for a natural look.
Sharpening For the highest quality, adding a little sharpening can really get the best from an image. Be sure not to overdo it, as oversharpened images tend to look unsightly. When applying sharpening keep the Amount below 50. Radial sharpening affects edges, while Detail is more general. In this instance, less is more.
DPI It’s important to always consider resolution when printing. Most modern cameras have ample megapixels for an A3 print, but be sure to set your DPI to a higher value to maximise on quality. Often around 300 is used, but for printing it should never be below 150.
Excellent for producing prints, Lightroom allows you to follow a simple workflow through different modules, allowing organisation, editing, soft proofing and print setup. A one-stop shop for all your image processing and printing needs.
Soft proofing your prints Soft proofing, a feature found in many higher-tier editing packages, is excellent for creating prints. The software renders the image as a digital representation of what will be printed, allowing for finer adjustments to be made. Setting it up with your favourite paper types – we often use Fotospeed’s Smooth Cotton or Bright White – soft proofing allows you to adjust the colour to best suit the look of different papers.
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2x Â© Ross Grieve
Meet the brief
Understanding exactly what your customers want and ensuring that you deliver it is essential to the future of your business
ost commercial photography jobs me that of all the photographers she originally the brief isn’t usually a photographer and they involve some form of brief from emailed, I was the only one who picked up the may not understand the complexity of some of the client. This can vary from a phone to speak to her to discuss the job and their requests. Rather than wing it at the shoot simple verbal request to snap a few arrange a meeting. She liked that and it was it’s best to tackle the issue early to manage pictures of something, to an extensive dossier part of what won me the first contract.” their expectations and get a more realistic that details everything from the stylist, location, When Grieve meets with a client he asks brief. Be enthusiastic and constructive; saying dates and shot list. It might even include lots of questions to get a feel for what they “that’s a great idea, how about we try this…” example images or a mood board to set the are looking for from the images and how they generally goes down a lot better than “that tone of the shoot. Whatever form it takes, it’s will be used. He also looks at images that won’t work”. Bounce off the client’s ideas and essential that you get a proper understanding they’ve used in the past and tests the water help create a brief that works for everyone. of what the client expects so that you deliver with suggestions. “I usually come up with a Lots of clients initially contact Grieve what they want. Only then can you be sure of few different options to help the client decide because they like his past work. They often see return business or a good reference. what they want. Even if there’s no clear brief something on his website that they like and Ross Grieve (rossgrieve.com) is a at the outset, we arrive at one with good they want something similar for their brand. commercial and portrait photographer based communication – that’s the key.” However, as the image that drew them in may in Pembrokeshire with an international client Even when there is a formal brief, things be for a competitor, they don’t want a straight base. His key to understanding his clients’ change and sometimes the goalposts get copy. They want a similar style or feel. Good, requirements is communication, preferably moved during a shoot. As Grieve explains, open communication is critical here to help face to face. He explains, “After I receive “It’s quite normal that things will be changed, you work out how to evolve your work to suit an enquiry from a potential client I always especially when you’re working with big clients the new client. It’s important to discover what call them to get a few details, and then try because there are lots of people involved and it is about your work that they like, so you can to arrange a meeting with them so we can they all have some input, so the brief evolves. incorporate that into your proposal for them. have a face-to-face conversation. If that’s not I’m there to deliver what they want, but I’m Opposite Exceed expectations feasible for some reason my next resort is also the expert on what can be done and most The brief here was to produce a CD cover, but it Skype, something that lets me connect more clients welcome some input. However, if you was so flexible that Grieve ended up providing with them than a standard phone call or email. have an opinion, be prepared to back it up three covers to give the client more choice It’s too easy to lose meaning or misinterpret with an explanation or demonstration. It can Below something in an email. When you’re sitting also be helpful to lead the client so that your Award-winning opposite someone the conversation flows suggestions seem like their idea.” This image went on to win Grieve the title of UK Pet more freely and you can read their body When you’re dealing with a client it’s Photographer of the Year, but it was originally shot language. It makes it far easier to tell if they’re important to remember that the person setting for a client wanting dynamic images of their puppy enthusiastic or not about an idea or image. You can also convey your own enthusiasm and ideas much more successfully. I find I cover a lot more ground in a conversation than I do in an email trail, as email can be very stifling.” Of course, travelling to meet a client before a deal is struck could be risky, but Grieve usually finds the investment is worthwhile. “There’s no guarantee that I’ll get the job, but travelling to see potential clients has always paid off for me so far, so I’d certainly travel anywhere within the UK and sometimes further. Sitting with a potential client helps you develop a relationship with them and that can see you in good stead in the future. Over the years I’ve done a lot of work for Waldorf Astoria. I first worked for them in the UK and I built a great relationship with them. My contact has now moved abroad and my work for the company has also spread further afield with her. She told
What to find out
Use our checklist to ensure you’ve got all the information you need to fulfil the brief What is the purpose of the shoot? Is it to produce images for marketing material such as leaflets or a website, or it is to produce prints for the boardroom etc? Is there a particular message or vibe that the images should convey?
How many images are needed and what size will the images be used at? You should also ask if the clients want you to produce images with a particular aspect ratio and how the images should be supplied. Is there a specific subject or location for the shoot? If necessary, ask about transport and accommodation and if you are responsible for booking it. If models are involved, does the client already have some in mind or are your responsible for finding and hiring them? Is there a specific shoot date and how long do you have at the venue or with the subjects? What is the deadline for supplying the images? Are there any examples of images that the client particularly likes or dislikes? How long will the images be used for?
Above Although they set the brief, clients need to understand what you can realistically achieve within the timeframe and available budget
3x © Amber Northfield
Who is involved in the shoot? You need to know who you will be talking to and if there’s a stylist involved.
MEET THE BRIEF
Again bear in mind that you may be dealing with people who don’t routinely work with images or understand photographic terms. Amber Northfield of Studio Boo (studioboo. co.uk) is used to this. She photographs newborn babies and young children and naturally their parents are far more comfortable with terms like “soft and blurred backgrounds or warm and cosy” than they are with discussions about apertures, depth of field and white balance. Although portraiture and social photography clients don’t normally have a formal brief, there’s usually something specific that they want from a shoot or a particular reason why they want to make a booking. It’s part of the photographer’s role to draw the purpose out of them so that they go away satisfied customers. Some clients may want an album of photographs to send the grandparents, for example, while others are looking for wall art. The two require very different sets of images, so ask about how the images will be used at the beginning. Many of Northfield’s clients approach her after seeing her work on her Facebook page or website. In some respects the images on these sites are her brief, and therefore it’s vital to her that she gives a fair representation of what she can shoot. “I have images that I’ve shot in workshops with fantastic facilities or in wonderful locations on the Cornish coast, but I can’t replicate that in the vicinity of my studio in Glasgow, so I never put those images on my website or Facebook page. If a client would like a shoot in a particular location I am happy to accommodate, but I wouldn’t usually put those shots on my website either.” Like Grieve, Northfield’s first instinct upon receiving an enquiry is to pick up the phone,
and she explains, “The first thing I want to be sure of is that they understand my style and it’s what they want. I’m happy to be flexible, but there are some things I won’t do. Cake smash photography is quite popular with some people, but I really don’t want the hassle of cleaning up my studio afterwards. If a prospective client really wants cake smash photos I’ll recommend a couple of local photographers I know who are happy to do it.” Northfield continues,“If I can I’ll see the clients in person before the shoot. I take them through some of my work and ask if they can create a mood board that shows the type of feel that they want from the images. I often direct them to Pinterest” There are also specifics that she needs to understand about the prospective clients’ requirements. She explains, “Babies and young children always dictate what you can do; if they get upset halfway through the shoot or refuse to play ball you have to stop. So I always check what the clients’ priorities are and aim to shoot those first. I also ask if there’s a particular prop that the parents would like to include. Sometimes it’s a favourite outfit or toy, but there have been a few more interesting props that I’ve managed to work into the set. I shot a baby in a trombone bell once because the father was a trombone player. It took a lot of work, but the parents loved it because the image was special to them, and they DP bought lots of prints so it paid off.” Opposite-top
Achieving eye contact between a baby and the camera isn’t easy, but it’s something that Northfield’s clients are often keen for her to achieve
Getting shots of a baby with its siblings is often a priority with Northfield’s clients, so she aims to get these first while everyone is fresh
Know your client
A little research can pay big dividends, especially with large clients to know the tone that they tend to employ and type of imagery that they use. Speak to your contact and find out if the work you’re doing is intended to fit in
© Ross Grieve
When you’re thinking through how you’ll meet a brief from a company, it’s worth studying the brand to discover their style and core values, as it may be important to incorporate this into your work. Also find out about all the strands of their business, as this could have a bearing on what you do. It’s important to get the mood of your work right and that it’s appropriate to the company. Take a look at the company’s website and any published literature, get
with or follow the existing style, or if they are looking for something different – they could be going through a rebranding process.
Left Jobs may start small, but if you deliver what the client wants and develop a relationship, they often come back
Photography journalist Angela Nicholson answers your questions, revealing how to set clear goals and build the success that you seek
Check your figures
Find a balance
I’ve been shooting landscapes and fineart images for a couple of years, selling images and prints online and in local shops and events. It’s ticking along quite nicely, but the business hasn’t grown much recently and I want to take things up a notch. I’m not sure where to start. Sara Wardle
Over the last few years I’ve developed a successful business shooting weddings, and while I love it, I’m flat out. I spend most weekends shooting and my whole week is tied up with processing images, creating albums, ordering prints or meeting clients. I’d like to have a little free time to spend with my family and to do some portrait work, but I can’t work out how! Jason Brown
I suggest starting with some analysis. Take a look at your sales and find out which images have sold and where. Does one shop sell more of one image than another? Do people seem to prefer smaller or larger prints? Also look at the events you attended; how much did each cost you and how much did you make? You should be able to identify which images, shops and events work best for you. These are your priorities. Over the next few months you should test the impact of putting more images in the key retail areas, and look for other sales outlets that are similar. Monitor sales carefully and compare them with previous months so you can see if your work is having an impact. Before you sign up for any new events, work out what your break-even sales figure is and set yourself an ambitious sales target.
It’s only natural when you first start out to focus on getting lots of clients to bring in the cash, but if you’re good at it you can become overwhelmed with work after a while. The solution is relatively simple: you need to make the same amount of money (or more) doing less work, so you need to put your prices up. It’s a common goal and it needs a little thought to be put into practice. The first thing you need to work out is how many weddings you want to shoot. If you’re shooting on Saturday and Sunday, maybe you just want to shoot on one day a week? Once you’ve worked that out you can adjust your fees to compensate for the reduction in work.
Expand your range I recently shot some portraits for a business client and they really like my work, so they’ve asked me to shoot an event for them. I’d like to expand my business in that area, but I’ll need to invest in a couple of new lenses and shoot in a different way. How do I make such a big commitment pay off? Cathy James
Top-right Your prices play a role in how busy you are and if you increase them you may need to up your game
Right Taking creative images after you’ve fulfilled a brief can win you more work
All images © Baxter Bradford
Above Sales analysis can be the key to developing new goals and driving work
If you haven’t shot an event like this before, find something similar to shoot to get in a bit of practice and iron out any issues in advance. It will also give you the opportunity to assess what new kit you need. If you have any friends who are photographers, perhaps they will be willing to let you borrow what you need for the trial runs? Alternatively, why not hire the lenses you require; it’s a lot cheaper than buying and some companies will give you the hire fee off the purchase price if you later invest. Make sure that you have a stack of business cards or leaflets to give out at the event, as this can be a great way of attracting business. Once the event is over you’ll have some images you can use to attract more business in that line. Rather than just posting a few extra images on your website, take a look at how the website is structured and see if it needs any work to reflect your new business strand.
Challenge yourself All images © Baxter Bradford
Landscape, event and product photographer Baxter Bradford explains how he sets and meets his goals I’m mainly known for my landscape photography, but I shoot a wide range of subjects. It’s important to grow your skill set and be proactive with learning so it’s something I prioritise. I regularly analyse my business, looking for potential development areas. For example, I’m into kitesurfing and I bought a carbon fibre hydrofoil that has compound curves and is very reflective. It struck me that it would be a superb, if tricky, subject to photograph using twin off-camera flashguns, so I set myself the challenge of getting some product shots of it. Doing that helped me enormously for a client who needed shots of glass bottles. When I’m on a client shoot I usually have an idea about what I want to get. Once I’ve got those shots to meet the brief, I look at what else I can do to produce a more creative image. It’s better to do it there and then rather than come back another time and it extends my portfolio and experience. I’ve got an engineering background and I’m used to thinking about critical path networks to help me to work efficiently to do more in less time and meet goals or deadlines. All businesses have financial goals; I use Light Blue, an accounting software package that’s specifically designed for photographers, to help me keep track of mine. I find it to be very useful.
Above “When I arrive at a location I start by identifying the ‘stock shots’ and actively avoid taking them” Left “One of my goals is to increase local contacts so I display my work in local businesses where it will attract attention” 79
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Canon EOS 5D Mark IV vs Nikon D810 Two acclaimed full-frame DSLRs battle it out against each other – is one the clear victor?
Canon and Nikon have long been sparring partners in many sectors, but to many, the compact full-frame DSLR is perhaps the area of greatest interest. While models that fall under this definition are far from cheap, it’s these that are most viewed with an aspirational eye by enthusiasts and relied upon by professional photographers who don’t require pricier flagship alternatives. Nikon refreshed its offering here in 2014 with the D810, a model that combined the benefits of the previous D800 and D800E and added a handful of additional sweeteners. Meanwhile, Canon’s update to its acclaimed
HEAD GROUP TO HEAD TEST EOS 5D line, the EOS 5D Mark IV, arrived just a few months ago, bringing with it a number of features to the line for the first time. The gap between the release dates of the two understandably gives the latter a few technological advantages, although the Nikon D810 was so well specified upon its launch that there are still many reasons to consider it. Both models are designed with rugged, weather-sealed bodies and are equipped with full-frame sensors that have a moderately high pixel count. Their focus is more on offering detailed, true-to-life images with low noise rather than for action, so we’ll be investigating how each camera fares here and how well the metering and white balance systems respond in different situations. Both also offer high-quality video recording, so we’ll be taking a closer look at what users can expect here. Furthermore, with advanced autofocus systems at the heart of each, we’ll see whether performance is matched or whether there are any weaknesses one needs to be aware of.
Classic 5D style With a streamlined body, rounded edges and plenty of physical controls falling to hand, this very much adheres to the classic EOS 5D style
HEAD TO HEAD
SRP: £3,630 / $3,499 (body only)
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Canon’s fourth EOS 5D offering arrives with a new sensor, 4K video and a clever Dual Pixel RAW option heading the spec sheet Canon’s latest full-frame powerhouse features a brandnew 30.4MP sensor together with 7fps burst shooting and 4K video recording. This is joined by a refreshed version of the previously seen 61-point AF system, which sees its points now spread a little wider to cover more of the scene. In poor light, the camera’s AF system is able to find focus in roughly the same time as the D810, although the camera lacks an AF assist light, which places it at a disadvantage in particularly dark conditions. When selecting focus through the touchscreen, however – a feature not previously seen on the EOS 5D series – the camera responds without delay and adheres to subjects impressively as they move. In the absence of a tilting screen, this also makes it much easier to focus on particular subjects when the camera is used at ground level. The camera’s grip is fairly substantial, and this makes it better suited to a range of different hand sizes. The body is relatively lightweight on its own but still
manages to feel solid in the hands, although the buttons on the whole are a little more recessed into the body compared with the D810’s. One ace card, however, is the rear control wheel, which lets you scroll through many images at once with speed and precision. This also makes you appreciate just how responsive the camera is when you need it to be, although it’s somewhat easy to knock this wheel and inadvertently change exposure compensation. The LCD screen shows off images very well, with good contrast and plenty of details. Likewise, the viewfinder is generally clear and easy to view, although some of the Intelligent Viewfinder display icons can be difficult to see at times as their position inside the framing area makes their visibility dependent on what’s in the scene. The camera’s metering system delivers well-balanced results at default settings, with just the odd bias here and there. Colours are generally true to life too, although a slightly cool performance from the Auto White Balance system in some conditions means that some scenes benefit from a slight boost in vibrancy to help images look usable straight from the camera. Despite the increase in sensor resolution, the camera does an excellent job to deliver more detailed images than its predecessor while still keeping image noise low. Indeed, identical images compared side by side with the D810’s show it to deliver cleaner files at higher sensitivities. The new Dual Pixel RAW mode that lets you slightly adjust the point of best sharpness in an image after capture also works well, although you do have to use Canon’s Digital Photo Professional program and set this option prior to capture, which makes it less convenient. As on some other recent cameras, there’s a crop factor to take into account when recording 4K footage, and this makes it harder to gain a wide-angle framing. Still, video quality itself is excellent, with footage characterised by plenty of detail and the Dual Pixel CMOS AF system ensuring discreet focus.
Low noise Images retain good integrity at higher sensitivities, with noise well controlled throughout much of the range
Camera controls The cameraâ€™s front, back and top plates are loaded with physical controls, all clearly marked and clicking positively when pressed
HEAD TO HEAD
SRP: £2,399 / $3,000 (body only)
Nikon D810 With a tried-and-tested AF system and no low-pass filter in front of its sensor, the D810 appears set to capture subjects with utmost accuracy Despite its age, the Nikon D810’s 36.3MP FX-format sensor and a tried-and-tested 51-point AF system have meant that it’s stayed attractive against newer alternatives. The absence of a low-pass filter has further heightened its appeal, as this theoretically allows for finer details to be recorded. With 15 cross-type AF points the camera’s AF system is a fine performer, and is capable of acquiring focus at breakneck speed, particularly in fine conditions when the focusing point has been predetermined. In low light it continues to do well, ably supported by its AF assist light, although a comparison of its corner-oriented points shows them to be slightly more hesitant and less sensitive to details than those on the EOS 5D Mark IV. It doesn’t fare too badly when focusing in Live View too, although there’s a little more back-and-forth hesitation here than with Canon’s system. The LCD screen resolves a high level of detail; despite its slightly lower resolution – 1.23 million dots vs 1.62 million on the Canon – the difference between the two
screens is not noticeable. In fact, its viewing angle and ability to counter reflections appear superior. The body feels robust and is laden with physical controls, with the more even distribution of these across the top plate making better use of both hands while shooting. The way in which certain controls are accessed also make more sense, such as the top-plate LCD lamp around the shutter-release button, although the grip is slightly narrower towards the bottom than Canon’s, which isn’t ideal for a camera likely to be used in conjunction with heavier optics. Although the camera’s burst rate is two frames per second behind the EOS 5D Mark IV’s, its burst depth is deeper, which means you can carry on shooting for longer. When capturing the same number of images, however, it takes a little longer to clear this away to the card on the D810. The metering system appears very consistent, needing little intervention to help keep scenes balanced, and it’s possible to regain a strong level of highlight detail from overexposed areas. The camera’s Auto White Balance system isn’t quite without fault, but it appears to accurately retain the slight casts present in scenes that the EOS 5D Mark IV’s system renders neutral. A overall slightly warmer performance here also translates to slightly punchier images at default. Analysing images at 100% shows that the camera is capable of capturing a superb level of detail, particularly at lower sensitivities and with good glass. This high resolution does mean that the camera is prone to slight blurring, especially when shooting relatively close to certain subjects, so sometimes a faster shutter speed is required to help keep things sharp here. While videos aren’t quite recorded to the same 4K quality as the EOS 5D Mark IV, if you don’t need this resolution you’re likely to be pleased with what the camera outputs. Detail is very good and artefacts are low, and the camera responds to changes in illumination fluidly. Left
Colour and white balance A slightly warmer AWB performance than the Canon ensures richer colours straight out of the camera
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Megapixels 30.4 Max resolution 6,720 x 4,480 Sensor Full-frame CMOS Shutter speed 30-1/8000sec ISO sensitivity 50-102400 Exposure modes P, A, S, M, Auto+, Custom (x3) Metering options E, CW, P, S Flash modes ETTL, M, Multi Connectivity USB 3.0, HDMI Weight 800g (body only) Dimensions 150.7 x 116.4 x 75.9mm Batteries Li-ion Storage CompactFlash, SD/ SDHC/SDXC (inc. UHS-I) LCD 3.2in, 1.62-million dots Viewfinder 0.71x magnification, 100% coverage
A strong spec sheet with a variety of welcome improvements, but a few small omissions means it loses a mark
Nothing to fault here; this is a solid yet reasonably lightweight body that should easily withstand years of use
While the buttons could travel further, Canon has been perfecting its EOS formula for some time, and it shows
Quality of results
Sound metering, accurate colours and low noise, together with cracking 4K footage
Value for money
Unless you desperately need 4K video, many EOS 5D Mark III users will no doubt wait until its lofty asking price falls
It’s not cheap, but there’s no denying that the EOS 5D Mark IV is a superb all-rounder that’s capable of lovely results.
CANON EOS 5D MARK IV
Nikon D810 Megapixels Features 36.3 No 4K video nor a Max resolution touchscreen, but the 7,360 x 4,912 spec sheet holds up well for a two-and-halfSensor year-old model Full-frame CMOS Shutter speed 30-1/8000sec Build quality ISO sensitivity Nothing to fault and 32-51200 no areas that appear Exposure modes to be any cause for P, A, S, M concern – this is a Metering options solid piece of kit E, CW, S, Highlightweighted Flash modes Handling FC, RC, SS, RE, A narrower grip than the Canon, but decked RE+SS out with logically Connectivity positioned buttons that USB 3.0, HDMI offer good travel Weight 880g (body only) Dimensions Quality 146 x 123 x 81.5mm of results Batteries While you have to keep Li-ion an eye on blur-inducing Storage factors, image quality is CompactFlash, reassuringly high SD/SDHC/SDXC LCD Value for money 3.2in, 1.23-million It may not be as dots well specified as the Viewfinder Canon, but it delivers 0.70x plenty for much, magnification, much less 100% coverage
Excellent build, great images and a reasonable price tag; if you don’t mind the absence of 4K video, the D810 will reward you handsomely.
While the EOS 5D Mark IV may do things the D810 can’t, the D810’s excellent price-to-performance ratio makes it our pick here.
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The minimal body only has a handful of physical controls around its back and top plates
Compatible with the same lenses as Sigmaâ€™s DSLRs, the camera has a necessarily large footprint
SRP: £699 / $799 (body only)
Sigma sd Quattro
Sigma’s CSC marries unconventional design with its Foveon X3 sensor technology, but is the combination a winning one? Sigma has never been as prolific with its camera releases as its rivals, but the company has always had a foot in the compact and DSLR markets. And now, with the sd Quattro, it’s decided to crash the mirrorless party too. The new arrival follows its dp Quattro compact cousins in employing the same APS-C-sized Foveon X3 Quattro direct image sensor, which features a three-layered stacked construction of red, green and blue filters. This is encased in a dust- and splash-proof magnesium alloy body, although rather than release a new lens series alongside, Sigma has designed the camera to be compatible with its existing DSLR lenses. Despite its unusual design, the camera fits very well in the hand, with plenty of soft rubber around the grip and the grip’s shortness allowing the little finger to curl underneath it for security and comfort. Part of the reason for its fine handling, however, is its generous proportions; this is not a small camera at all, and the off-centre lens mount – and size and weight of most Sigma lenses – means the centre of gravity makes one-handed shooting somewhat awkward. Still, thanks to the use of magnesium alloy panels, the camera is built to a superb standard, with clearly marked buttons and control dials that rotate with ease. The viewfinder’s deep protrusion gives your thumb extra breathing space too, although it’s a shame the menu pad buttons aren’t more salient as their surrounding panel makes operation more awkward. The side-accessed card slot, however, is a great help for those
using the camera in conjunction with a tripod. Although the electronic viewfinder has a peermatching 2.36 million-dot resolution, this is only something you appreciate when reviewing images or when browsing the menus. When composing images, its clarity appears to be far behind the competition, with artefects compromising details. It’s still usable and its dynamic range is particularly good, although the LCD is far better option where composition is concerned. Not only does this three-inch, 1,62 milliondot LCD show its details more clearly, but Sigma has also complemented this with a smaller secondary display to its right-hand side, one which displays basic shooting information. Physical controls to the right of this panel are married to the various displayed settings, which makes changing things like exposure compensation, ISO and metering effortless. The camera slips with responsiveness here a little, although there is no slowdown whatsoever when navigating the very clear and logically ordered menus on the main display. The sd Quattro employs a hybrid phase- and contrast-detect AF system, with nine points in
“Part of the reason for its fine handling is its generous proportions; this is not a small camera”
FEATURES SUPER-FINE DETAIL MODE
Setting the camera to this option captures seven images, which can be blended together for “noiseless images with an extensive dynamic range”.
The sd Quattro also features focus peaking. Here, you can select the highlights applied to highcontrast edges to show in black, yellow, white or red.
You can develop RAW files into JPEGs in the camera, with control over colour, white balance, image size and exposure compensation.
The camera offers the user a selection of colour options, from Standard, Neutral and Vivid settings to more niche Cinema and Forest Green options.
You can set the camera to shoot images at regular intervals to make time-lapse footage, though you have to stitch the results together yourself.
USB 3.0 INTERFACE
The side of the camera features a USB 3.0 port, which allows you to transfer images quickly to a computer – a welcome addition.
SUPER-FINE DETAIL MODE
ISO RESULTS Even at the base sensitivity of ISO 100, noise can be visible in all but ideal conditions. Colours are maintained reasonably well until ISO 800, although after this point noise reduction kicks in and mars details.
total and the option of moving a single point around the frame. Thanks to a dedicated control on the back plate selecting a focusing point is simple, as is adjustment over the size of each box to better identify the subjects in the scene. Autofocus speed, however, is far less impressive, with a marked hesitation even in good light. Sluggishness is also apparent as images are written to the card, although the camera remains relatively operational as this happens. One positive point is the camera’s RAW processing options, as an alternative to the supplied Sigma Pro Photo 6 software. While certain controls, such as noise reduction, are nowhere to be found, all changes are helpfully previewed as they are made to facilitate appropriate processing. The camera can be set to a Super Fine Detail mode to extend dynamic range and reduce noise in images, a process that works by capturing seven images at different exposures and blending them together. A comparison with images captured conventionally shows this to indeed be effective at balancing exposure so that shadows and highlights retain detail, so it’s potentially very useful for landscapes and other scenes with a naturally broad dynamic range. You do, however, need to use a tripod to keep the camera absolutely steady between the seven exposures, and any slight subject movement between frames does compromise results. As such, its ideal application is perhaps indoors for high-contrast, still-life work, although many will no doubt want to use it outdoors where they may be very minor movement from clouds, water and so on. Colours appear faithful on the camera’s default Standard colour option, although the
Foveon X3 Direct Image Sensor It’s impossible to talk about Sigma’s cameras without focusing on the sensor, as the Foveon technology on which this is based is very different to that of conventional cameras. In fact, it’s more like a layered film emulsion, in that the sensor is designed with three layers of silicon, corresponding to red, green and blue, with colour information determined by the wavelengths that permeates the different layers. Here, the top blue layer captures 19.6MP of detail and colour information while the remaining two capture 5MP each. This creates a total of 29.6MP, although Sigma claims images from the model are comparable in resolution to those from a 39MP sensor designed with a standard Bayer RGBG colour filter array.
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SIGMA SD QUATTRO
camera is capable of capturing rich and vibrant colours and very pleasing black-and-white images when the other options are explored. A generally sound performance from the camera’s Auto White Balance also helps to keep things accurate, with neutral areas staying neutral. The 30mm lens that’s offered as a kit option with the camera is capable of very strong detail when stopped down and produces acceptable results when used at its widest apertures. Its size and weight also strike a very good balance on the sd Quattro body, although control over chromatic aberration is poorer than expected. Ultimately, the Sigma sd Quattro is a very capable camera that can produce truly superb results in ideal conditions, but its sluggishness and various idiosyncrasies makes it decidedly less flexible elsewhere. Above-inset
With good light and a quality lens in place, detail is excellent in images. This is certainly a capable sensor
With the 30mm f1.4 DC Art kit lens, axial chromatic aberrations are frequently noticeable at wider apertures
Sigma SD Quattro Megapixels 29.5 Max resolution 5440×3616 Sensor information Foveon X3 Direct Image Sensor, APS-C Shutter speed 30-1/4,000sec, B ISO sensitivity 100-6400 Exposure modes P, A, S, M Metering options E, CW, S Flash modes RE, RC, FP, SS Connectivity USB 3.0, HDMI Weight 625g (without battery and card) Dimensions 147 × 95.1 × 90.8mm Batteries Rechargeable lithium-ion pack Storage SD, SDHC, SDXC (inc. UHS-I) LCD 3in LCD, 1,62million dots Viewfinder Electronic, 2.36million dots and approx. 100% coverage
The lack of video and Wi-Fi are sore points, but it does redeem itself with focus peaking and RAW edits
A great build, with a pleasing matte finish to the solid metal panelling and plenty of rubber as required
Larger-handed users are likely to be pleased by the beefy grip, but many will find the camera cumbersome
Quality of results
Superb detail at lower sensitivities and pleasing colours, but poor noise control sorely lets it down
Value for money
When you consider its build and capability, you appreciate just how much you get for the money
It’s a shame that the sd Quattro’s bulk, sluggish AF and poor noise control make it hard to recommend, as it’s a well constructed camera capable of superb images
The 3in LCD screen lacks touch functionality but has a high resolution of 1.62million dots
VIEWFINDER 3 The electronic viewfinder displays near 100% of the scene with a 2.36million-dot panel
FINDER/LCD SWITCH 2 You can manually activate the
viewfinder or LCD screen, or just leave it on Auto
REAR 4 ADUAL-SCREEN secondary display next to the
main LCD shows shots remaining, battery life, aperture and more
SRP: £1,550 / $1,600
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 III This bridge camera is focusing its 600mm lens on replacing your DSLR
Get in close
Zoom in on far-away subjects with the 600mm zoom that lends itself to an array of subjects
Bright and vivid
Images exhibit a great dynamic range and true-to-life colours, thanks to the large sensor and fast f2.4 aperture
Aim big – that appears to be Sony’s motto. The RX10 III trebles the zoom range of its predecessor and you can certainly feel the weight of this decision. Bigger and bulkier, these factors alone may be enough to put off some users, but the good news is that the 200mm RX10 II is not being replaced by this bold newcomer. With such flexibility, this camera would suit outdoor photographers who prefer to ditch the kit bag and leave the spare lenses at home. It’s a premium bridge model that goes from a wide-angle 24mm to a far-reaching 600mm. The transition to telephoto is swift and quiet, and images are sharp at full magnification thanks to the in-built stabilisation that does an excellent job of compensating for camera shake. The larger lens accommodates multiple rings, offering control over aperture, manual focus and focal length. The latter can also be adjusted using the switch around the shutter release button that, incidentally, is threaded to accept a screw-in cable release. On the subject of handling, traditionalists will enjoy the plethora of controls that cover the rear and top of the camera, with a couple of customisable buttons thrown in. The layout is very similar to the RX10 II, as are the majority of features, and unfortunately that means this model inherits the disorganised menu that’s in need of an overhaul. Useful features include an electronic level and focus peaking. If the forecast is sunny, there is the option to boost the screen’s brightness or switch to the high-quality
electronic viewfinder, and if it’s raining, the weather-proof sealing means you can stay outdoors – no emergency plastic bags required. Great news for landscape enthusiasts, but it’s a shame that this model omits the built-in ND filter that featured on the RX10 II. Autofocus is fast and accurate when the lighting is favourable; however, the camera has a tendency to hunt in low light, especially at the telephoto end. Image quality is on a par with some DSLRs, as you would expect for the price tag. Its 20.1-megapixel, one-inch CMOS sensor is capable of producing some very detailed shots that exhibit great dynamic range, and chromatic aberration is well controlled in high-contrast scenarios. It’s just disappointing that aperture cannot be changed via the body of the camera, as well as on the lens. The camera also comes with scene modes and auto-stitched panorama modes, but Sony isn’t just focusing on stills. Moviemakers will enjoy the 4K recording capabilities, and like the RX10 II, it includes a mic input socket for an external microphone and a headphone jack. It’s also possible to capture footage at a frame rate of up to 960fps and play it back in slow motion, and there’s the option of extracting eight-megapixel stills from recoded footage. A hotshoe rounds out this feature-set, opening up opportunities to use external accessories. So is the third in the trilogy of RX cameras the best one yet? Yes and no. At such a steep asking price, it’s difficult to justify for a fixed lens camera, no matter how superb the features and image quality are.
FEATURES FAR-REACHING ZOOM
The 24-600mm lens makes this an ideal choice for anyone after an all-in-one lens solution.
In Movie mode, the camera captures high-quality footage with coverage up to 600mm.
The high-quality EVF with an eye sensor helps when composing photos in bright sunlight.
Optical SteadyShot is equivalent to 4.5-steps-faster shutter, compensating for camera shake.
Sony claims the Fast Intelligent AF offers high-speed, accurate detection in 0.09 seconds.
The 20.1-megapixel one-inch stacked CMOS sensor creates images with great dynamic range.
SONY CYBER-SHOT DSC-RX10 III
SUPERSIZED LENS The RX10 III may seem similar to its predecessor, but line them up and you’ll notice just how much the lens has grown. Its reach has been expanded from 200mm to 600mm, but this adds a lot of weight and bulk to the camera.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 III Megapixels 20.1 Max resolution 5472 x 3648 Sensor information 13.2 x 8.8 mm BSI-CMOS Lens data f2.4 – 4 (24-600mm) Focus/macro 3cm-inf Shutter speed 30-1/32,000sec ISO sensitivity 64 -12800 Exposure modes Auto, P, A, S, M Metering options CW, S, M Flash modes A, Foff, SS, RS, FF Connectivity USB, HDMI Weight 1051g with batteries Dimensions 133 x 94 x 127 mm Batteries Li-ion Storage SD, SDHC, SDXC, Memory Stick Duo, Pro Duo, Pro-HG Duo LCD 3” Viewfinder EVF, 2,359,296 dots
A long focal length, one-inch sensor, 4K video and high-quality viewfinder make for an impressive feature set
Despite the plastic, the camera feels incredibly sturdy. The weathersealed chassis is a plus, too
Traditionalists will like the number of controls and customisable buttons, but the menu system needs refining
Quality of results
The large one-inch sensor and fast lens combine to create beautiful images at all focal lengths
Value for money
This is where the camera really stumbles, as the asking price is staggering for a bridge camera
Sony has delivered a rugged, weather-sealed bridge camera that captures superb stills and video. For those that don’t want to carry lenses, this is the ideal solution.
An enormous 600mm lens dominates the front of the camera
Waterproofing The body is weathersealed against the elements
DOWNLOAD THE TEST SHOTS www.filesilo.co.uk/digitalphotographer
SRP: £1,199 / $1,199
Sigma 85mm f1.4 DG HSM A
Sigma’s Art series finally gains a full-frame 85mm, but is it worth the wait? Let’s be real here – this isn’t Sigma’s first high speed full-frame 85mm lens. When the company launched the 35mm f1.4 Art series, they already had the pretty sensational 85mm f1.4 EX DG HSM in their line-up, and, if size is anything to go by, this new model should be spectacular. And it is big. With an 86mm filter diameter and a length that reaches 125mm, it’s much bigger than some 135mm f2.0 models. It’s also rather heavy at 1.13 kilos, which is around 56 per cent heavier than its predecessor. It’s all relative though. This new Art-series lens is not as ungainly as you might expect, even though it has a large petal-shaped hood. It balances well on big bodies and the extra length provides plenty of space for a decent-sized focus ring. A long focus throw means manual operation isn’t a chore like it is with other larger lenses, and the focus snaps in and out on our test camera. Autofocus is generally very good, but it’s still not quite as polished as the equivalent offering from Canon. On the plus side, the sonic-type motor is surprisingly quick given the size of the group that it’s moving, but the motor is a little noisy and it continues to struggle against you when adjusting focus in continuous AF mode. Optically, however, this is a lens that challenges the very best for the top ranking. With no visible chromatic aberration to speak of, resulting images have excellent clarity and are amazingly high resolution.
Maximum aperture Wide open, this lens is difficult to fault. There’s some slight vignetting, but like most modern designs it’s virtually free of spherical and chromatic aberration Bottom-left
Definition Detail in this image is high and the lens is sharp right across the frame from the initial aperture
Technical specs Manufacturer Model Web Elements/construction
Sigma 85mm f1.4 DG HSM A www.sigma-imaging-uk.com 14 / 12
Angle of view
23.9 degrees (horizontal)
Min aperture Min focus distance Mount Filter size Length Diameter Weight
f 16 0.85m Canon EF, Nikon F, Sigma SA 86mm 126.2mm (minimum) 94.7mm 1,130g
Summary Full-time manual focus isn’t as polished as it could be, and a list price of close to £1,200 – twice that of the lens it replaces – is steep. Still, optical quality this good is hard to come by
SRP: £1,349 / $1,400
Tamron SP 150-600mm f5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 Tamron has refreshed its full-frame 150-600mm Telephoto lenses like this are hugely popular, and given the price of the offerings from the likes of Canon or Nikon, it’s hardly surprising. While improvements are mainly external, this is the update to a model that wasn’t particularly lacking in the first place. Still, Tamron is revamping the appearance of its SP series lenses, replacing plastics with a mix of matte metal and glossy finishes. The barrel remains rigid when extended, which should help maintain optical performance. Another nice touch is the redesigned tripod collar, which is not only solid, but also includes a built-in ArcaSwiss compatible plate. There’s a new zoom locking mechanism, as well. It has a push-pull action so that you can lock it at any focal length, though its appeal is probably limited. Autofocus is another area that has seen some improvement. It is smooth, quiet and fast – surprisingly so, especially with the focus limiter engaged at longer focal lengths. Backbutton AF users will appreciate the location of the focus collar and smooth manual focus adjustment with the camera in continuous AF. There’s no faulting the optical quality either. Though like most telephoto zooms, images are sharper and more contrasty at 150mm than at 600mm. Nevertheless, it remains usefully sharp in the centre at 600mm. Zoomed out, there’s no chromatic aberration, but it becomes apparent the closer you look.
Maximum aperture This lens has good ergonomics, fast focusing and useful VC feature, given the lens speed Bottom-left
Maximum focal length The 150-600mm performs best at shorter focal lengths, but even at its longest it remains sharp and detailed
Technical specs Manufacturer Model Web Elements/construction Angle of view
Tamron SP 150-600mm f5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 www.tamron.eu/uk 21 / 13 9.1- 2.3 degrees (horizontal)
Min focus distance Mount Filter size
2.2m Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony A 95mm
Summary While this zoom doesn’t have the same lustworthy pull of one of those big, white lenses, given the price, this is one is rather more practical. It’s a good performer to boot
SRP: £1139.99 / $1433.48
Rotolight ANOVA pro Harness the power of diverse lighting from Rotolight’s pro level, continuous LED lamp The Rotolight Anova Pro LED lamp is, in short, beautiful. It is incredibly compact with its circular lamp design and optional set of six barn doors for angling the light flow, which makes it the perfect onlocation lamp. On top of that, as an LED light you can feel confident that touching any of the front plate or metal work after a long shoot won’t result in any accidental burns, as the bulb itself doesn’t get particularly hot. With the Anova, not only do you get a continuous light source that has the option for additional peripherals like the barn doors, honeycomb grids, diffusers and light toning photos filters, but there’s plenty already built in. It has the option of being either mains powered or battery operated. Having no bulb or capacitor to power up as such, there is no recycle time for the unit, meaning that the inclusion of a HSS socket will allow you the chance to trigger a strobe continuously. The main feature for videographers is the CineSFX mode that will replicate the flickers of fire or the flash and strobe of lightening, which is really exciting. On first glance there is a small menu screen with two push and twist dials that will enable you to alter the colour temperature of the unit as well as the brightness. It’s worth mentioning that the Pro model comes with the Bi-Colour option, which operates at a range of 6300K-3150K, whereas the fixed
temperature unit creates 5600K only. The opportunity to directly change the colour of the light opens you up to a lot of creative and cinematic options when filming or shooting stills, especially if you are looking to counter the result with in camera white balancing. Also, with the light utilising AccuColour, the reproduction of the colour created from your lamp will be spot on, as the CRI rating of the lamp is +96, meaning that you are basically operating at a 96 per cent accuracy for colour. When you take into account the lamp is using approximately 94per cent less energy than a traditional tungsten rated bulb, it’s exceptional. Top
Menus and dials
Smooth, natural light
The dials with which you set the power of the light and colour are built into the unit
The Anova’s ability to deliver continuous lighting allows you to see the result before you press the shutter
Summary Ease of use Value for money Features Quality of results
Overall Ideal for videographers and photographers alike, it’s straightforward enough for a novice but designed to adapt to your needs
WIN KIT FROM MANFROTTO Be in with the chance of winning a backpack, carbon fibre tripod, and portable LED light This issue we’re giving you the chance to win Manfrotto kit worth over £500! The set includes a Pro Light 3N1-26 camera backpack (£149.95), a Befree carbon fibre tripod with ball head (£279.95) and the Lumimuse 8 LED light (£99.95). Designed with professional photographers in mind, the backpack is compact, but has enough space to fit two DSLR bodies plus up to five lenses as well as a ten-inch tablet. It’s a versatile bag with three carry options, which include backpack, sling bag and cross backpack, while the interchangeable dividers allow you to customise the interior around your gear. Next, the Befree carbon fibre tripod with ball head has 100 per cent carbon fibre legs that guarantee lightness and stability. The portable tripod even comes with a dedicated padded shoulder bag, meaning taking it out on a shoot won’t be a strain. Take your on-location imagery to the next level with the ultra-portable Lumimuse 8 LED light. Eight bright LED lights will provide you with high colour rendition and the four-step dimming control lets you regulate light intensity with ease. Head to www.manfrotto.co.uk for further product information and take a look at the details directly below for your chance to make these accessories a part of your kitbag.
How to enter Please email your best photo, your name and contact details to rebecca.greig@futurenet. com with the subject line ‘Issue 183 Manfrotto competition’ by 09/02/17. Terms and conditions This competition is open to residents of the United Kingdom and Ireland. Future Plc has the right to substitute the prize for a similar item of equal or higher value. Employees of Future Plc (including freelancers), Manfrotto, their relatives or any agents are not eligible to enter. The editor’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. Prizes cannot be exchanged for cash. Full terms and conditions are available on request. From time to time, Future Plc or its agents may send you related material or special offers. If you do not wish to receive this, please state clearly on your entry.
£500 of kit to be won!
Use an intervalometer
All images© Mattia Bicchi
Discover how to get the most out of these devices for controlling the shutter An intervalometer is an essential tool for photographers wanting to shoot time-lapse sequences. Although more and more cameras come with an in-built intervalometer, there are many advantages to using an off-camera device. It will enable you to trigger the shutter without touching the camera to avoid camera shake, which is especially important if you are shooting a long exposure. Another great feature of an off-camera intervalometer is its trigger delay function. Your camera will often have a trigger delay of around two to ten seconds, but an intervalometer will give you the option to delay it to whenever you want – from minutes to hours and sometimes even days. If, for example, you know when the Sun will begin to rise, you can set the intervalometer to begin shooting in time with this. Professional time-lapse photographer Mattia Bicchi (www.mattiabicchiphotography.com) explains, “An intervalometer is one of the best ways to capture a time-lapse – it sets the interval between shots and the number
of frames you want to capture.” If you want to shoot a sequence of images in order to create a time-lapse video or a composited image, then you need to choose the number of shots that you want to take as well as the time between each shot. There will usually be a limit to the number of shots that can be taken in a sequence, however if you set it to zero, the number will become infinite. “Built-in intervalometers [often] have a limit to 99 frames, so in that case you need to set it to infinite and calculate the time of the shoot. In my experience, though, an external intervalometer is easier to use,” Bicchi states. Your setup will change depending on the kind of time-lapse you are shooting. “For a sunset or sunrise, I set the interval between seven and 15 seconds, and the total number of frames between 250 and 750 – this is dependant on how long you want to film it and how fast you want to see the Sun set or rise,” says Bicchi. “For astro time-lapses I set the interval to 35 to 45 seconds, so I can make a 20-second exposure and have 15 to 25 seconds of buffer,
so the camera has time to store the image. During the day the interval is much shorter – to film people, the interval is about two to three seconds and [I’d choose] 250 frames – that gives you a ten-second clip if you export the video at 25fps.” When setting your timings, you will need to make sure that the exposure time does not exceed the interval time. Whether you choose to use an external intervalometer or a built-in one might depend on the type of time-lapse that you are shooting. “For a short time-lapse, the external intervalometer is the best one to use because it has its own battery,” explains Bicchi. “[An external intervalometer] allows me to change the camera settings if needed during sunset or sunrise. I also have more control over the time that I will spend on the shoot, [as] it is easier to predict how many frames or how long the final video will be.” Often if you are using a camera’s internal intervalometer you can’t make any changes to the settings during the sequence, and this can be a huge problem, especially if you are shooting during changing light.
USE AN INTERVALOMETER
Discover what the Canon TC-80N3 Cable Remote Control can do
SELF-TIMER This function can be used to delay the start of an exposure for a specific length of time – from one second to around 99 hours START/STOP BUTTON The start/stop button is used to start and stop a sequence of exposures and the screen will show time countdowns CABLE LENGTH The long cable enables you to take a step back from the camera and reduce the risk of nudging it during an exposure
INTERVAL TIMER The interval timer enables pictures to be captured in a sequence with the set amount of delay between them – from one second to 99. The interval timer is essential for time-lapse photography
NUMBER OF SHOTS This is also needed for time-lapse photography. You can set this number up to 99, or to 00 if you want it to be infinite
Top intervalometer tips Mattia Bicchi shares his advice for shooting with an intervalometer Beware of shutter speed When shooting a sunset be aware that the shutter speed will increase with the change of light, so you need to set an interval long enough to not skip frames and allow the camera to transfer the file to the SD card as it gets darker. Secure it While using the intervalometer make sure it is secure from the wind and it is not sticking out. This will lower the chance of small vibrations to the camera in windy conditions and also means that you don’t risk unplugging it from the camera while you’re shooting. Carry a spare battery Always have a spare battery in the bag, as you never know when the battery will run out. Choose an interchangeable cable Buy an intervalometer with an interchangeable cable, as there is less worry about breaking it while it is stored in the bag and you can use the same intervalometer with different brands. Opposite
This transition has been created with a longer sequence of images from sunset to the dark of night
This stunning image of the Dorset coast was captured as part of Bicchi’s Jurassic coast project
The colours in this shot are beautiful and the transition from sunset to night is subtle
Portable reflectors Balance the light on location with these compact and versatile models Rogue 2-in-1 SRP: £30 / $30
The super-soft silver side is less harsh and creates far more pleasing results compared to others on test, while the white side creates a bright and natural light. This reflector doesn’t feature handles like other offerings, which means it is slighty more difficult to grip, but at just £30 we’d say the soft silver reflected light makes it the best on test.
Overall Phottix 5-in-1 Collapsible SRP: £32 / $28
The Phottix option comes in the second smallest bag of all, yet the reflector itself has five different uses. When initially folded out the reflector has a very shiny silver panel with true black on the other side. A zip reveals additional panels – a gold side, white and transparent. For sheer flexibility, we’d say that this collapsible reflector is a must have.
Profoto Sunsilver/White SRP: £70 / $81
This reflector is a rounded square shape with two handles. The SunSilver side creates a warmer glow on your subject and is far subtler than the effect created by the gold side on the Phottix. The handles aren’t as comfortable to hold as the one on the Manfrotto reflector and as the most expensive reflector on test, we’re not convinced that it is worth it.
Manfrotto TriFill SRP: £60 / $76
The Manfrotto reflector stands out from the rest on test because of its unusual triangular shape. It features a sturdy handle, which means hand holding it is easy, and it also has two Velcro straps. It has a matte white side as well as a strong shiny silver side – it doesn’t create quite as striking effects as the Profoto, but results are still good.
Reve al t h e n e x t s tep i n your p hotogra p hy j o urn e y
B oo k Ti ck et s TO D A Y
S up por ted bY
Qu ote D PHT PS 1 7 f o r a s pe cia l d is co unt Super Stage line-up now announced, check the website for full details and tickets Discount applies to standard adult entry tickets only. Members of trade and pro photographers may apply for free trade passes subject to validation criteria.
p h otogra p h ys h ow.c om
Macphun are well known for their noise removal software, and Luminar comes with a tool for removing noise itself; zoom in and slide the middle bar to see before and after
Process your photos, including RAW files, using Macphun’s latest software package Luminar
SRP: £52 / $69 OS: Mac Macphun is known for creating individual apps that are focused on editing tasks for all photos. Noiseless, for example, is capable of smoothing over your photos with pinpoint precision, Tonality fixes tone in your pictures and Aurora HDR is a tool for adding cinematic drama to your shots. The advantage of all of these separate apps is that they’re each refined enough to edit specific parts of your photo with meticulous accuracy, and there are plenty of presets too. Macphun’s latest software offering, Luminar, however, comes with a broader appeal; it functions as a general photo editor than focussed in one area. While it has the minimalistic feel of one of Macphun’s Creative Kit apps, it also has presets and sliders for taking your edits even further. First impressions of Luminar are good. It’s laid out in a similar way to other Macphun apps and feels sleek and full of options for your
photos. The presets are fantastic in quality and there’s the option to create your own, though these ones are available to share with other Luminar users. One of the features that sets Luminar apart from other photo editors is the Workspaces section. Described as personalised darkrooms, it enables you to streamline the tool depending on what kind of photo you’re editing. Different filters in Workspaces include Street, Portrait and Black & White, meaning that you can edit all kinds of photos with the tools specific to what you’re actually editing. As well as the Workspaces feature, the sliders are precise and easy to use, the Retouching, Brushing and Masking tools are high in quality and very responsive, and the RAW support is good too. You may be used to combining a number of Macphun products to edit the one photo, but the great thing about Luminar is that it enables you to do everything in just one place.
While many packages offer similar tools, what sets apart this package is how adaptable it is. The interface can be tweaked, and the Workspaces feature is built for individuality. Top-left
Choose a one-click fix for your photo using the presets listed along the bottom of the program. You can either stick with this or edit further with the sliders
Summary Ease of use Value for money Features Quality of results
Overall An easy-to-use and adaptable program for all kinds of photographers, Luminar has all the traits of a Macphun app, but it is the most complete yet
DxO Viewpoint 3
DxO’s latest tool promises to shift perspective and correct distortion, but do you need it for your photos? SRP: £59 / £74 OS: Windows/Mac, Photoshop compatible Perspective is one of the most important aspects to bear in mind when shooting, even more so when you’re using a wide-angle lens. Distortion is an issue that crops up a lot in photography, particularly when shooting architecture, but with DxO’s Viewpoint software, it needn’t be something you settle with. Viewpoint 3 is the most refined version of the program yet, with even more tools for you to fix horizons, straighten your pictures and correct distortion. Many of the tools work automatically, applying effects to your photos with ease, such as the Horizon Correction and Perspective Correction. Viewpoint feels sleek and cool as an interface, too – it’s easy to use, and with all the tools down the right-hand side of the program, it’s easy to scroll through the available options, making edits to your pictures to perfect not just perspective, but the general composition of your shots.
One of the newest features is the Miniature Effect, which mimics a tilt-shift lens for a toy camera effect. This is particularly good for long-distance shots, and gives premium results. Viewpoint really feels this powerful across the board and while it is obviously extremely useful for landscape shots, Viewpoint isn’t limited to just this genre. Portraits, groups of people and architectural shots are easy to correct with the software.
Summary Ease of use Value for money Features Quality of results
Overall A simple package that’s useful to landscape photographers or those who shoot architecture, this is a handy tool, and comes as a plug-in
Vertical perspective Correct the perspective in your photos using the Intensity slider, along with the addition ones to correct up/down, left/ right and horizontal/vertical ratios Above
Miniature effect Choose a blur shape and apply the tilt shift to your photo to focus on specific areas while the background remains blurry
App Focus Enlight
Price: £2.99 / $3.99 OS: iOS 8.1 and above
More of a photomanipulation app than a photo-editing app in some ways, Enlight is a powerful tool for anyone wanting to get deeper with design, as well as edit their shots. As well as drawing tools and options to make your pictures more painterly, you can create double exposures, liquify pictures or even just tweak perspective. The effects are high quality and it’s a fun app to play with. It’s easy to share via social media, as well.
Tideway by Matthew Joseph
Website: www.matthewjoseph.co.uk Price: £35 / $44 (approx)
Tideway is a stunning photography book by professional commercial and advertising photographer Matthew Joseph. The design of the book cover is beautifully minimal with a simple line that represents the River Thames. The paper quality feels great and the book is split into three projects all relating to the Thames, with interesting text explaining the story behind each image. We think that the River People portraits are particularly striking and provide a lovely insight into the subjects’ lives.
Accessories A collection of the best fun-yet-functional products out there for photographers
Punks Travis Magnesium Alloy Tripod System with AirHed Neo
Website: www.3leggedthing.com Price: £150 / $180
This is an impressive tripod from 3 Legged Thing that feels well-built and solid. It has been designed with everyday use in mind and the four-section legs combined with the AirHed Neo ballhead make it a hugely functional product. It has a huge maximum load capacity of 18kg, which makes it the perfect choice for almost any genre and kit set. It even comes with a multifunctional tool that includes a hex key, coin key, key ring, carabiner and bottle opener.
Manfrotto Lumimuse 8 LED Light
Website: www.manfrotto.co.uk Price: £100 / $120
This versatile LED light is conveniently small and portable for adding light to your imagery on the go. It will easily fit in most jacket pockets and comes with an attachment that will enable you to affix it to a tripod or your camera’s hotshoe for on-camera illumination. In the pack you also get a full CT orange gel, a quarter CT orange gel and a medium diffuser to enable you to play with colour temperature. The handy LED light is charged via USB so you don’t have to worry about batteries. The price does feel a little steep, however.
Rogue White Grid Inserts
Website: www.rogueflash.com Price: £18 / $20
This product from Rogue requires the Rogue 3-in-1 flash grid stacking system, which is sold separately, in order to be of any use. Unlike the regular grid inserts, these are white in order to create a halo around the centre spot of light to deliver a slightly wider spread of light compared the black grids. The kit contains a grid bezel, 25-degree honeycomb grid insert and a 45-degree grid insert. If you already have the grid stacking system, we think this is a worthwhile purchase.
National Geographic Large Tote Bag
Website: www.manfrotto.co.uk Price: £170 / $211 (approx)
This is the ideal weekend bag for photographers looking to minimise luggage. It isn’t suited as a dayto-day photography bag, but has plenty of space to carry clothing for a weekend away. It features a removable padded sleeve for a 15.4-inch laptop or tablet and a padded compartment that will comfortably fit a DSLR with a lens. There isn’t really enough protection to carry more that one camera or lens, so it is definitely more suited to a casual shooter rather than a pro with lots of kit.
TAKE A STEP BACK
Chris Forsyth discusses the skills that it takes to step back and critique your own work, while accepting the opinions of others All images © Chris Forsyth
hat makes photographs so amazing are the attachments that we make with them. We love our photos not only for how and what they show, but also what they mean to us. They bring back memories of people, places and moments, both good or bad. Once you’ve spent time with your images though, it can be hard to let them go. How do you select what work you want to represent you when each photograph carries so much weight? I’ve been working on a personal project for the past few years photographing metro stations around the world. My images and the memories I associate with them have come to mean everything to me. Now, I’m faced with the challenge of narrowing down years of work to only 14 prints. Stepping back and gaining perspective on my images has been difficult, but it’s crucial in allowing my work to grow. The best advice I’ve been given in this situation has been to find an advisor –
someone who can be critical of your work and help you make sense of it all, someone who understands your goals and can give you advice to work towards them. They have to be comfortable telling you that some of your images just aren’t as strong and be able to explain why. That’s the most important part; they have to be honest and critical about your photos. Fortunately, I’m surrounded by experienced mentors, as well as friends who share similar goals. If that’s not your case however, asking for feedback online can work just as well. You just have to start by putting your photos out there. Getting feedback is crucial, but seeking out too many opinions can
also be a problem. Even with the strongest images, if too many opinions sway the photo in multiple directions, it can be difficult to decide which criticisms to take and which to politely decline. Ultimately they’re your images, so if the PRO BIO feedback you receive doesn’t Chris Forsyth is an awardwinning photographer align with the way you see your based out of Montreal, work, it’s okay to disagree, so long Canada. Fascinated by as you don’t simply dismiss the design and spaces, his current photo series opinion without consideration. entitled The Metro What it all comes down to is Project has taken Forsyth underground to some of being able to step back from the most beautiful metro your images and see them as stations around the world. a whole. Getting feedback to chrismforsyth.com help you understand how others see your work is very important in helping it grow. Finding someone whose opinion I trust has been the biggest help in navigating my own photographs.
© Andreas Lundberg
Always up to speed Profoto D2 A photographer faces many different challenges every day. It’s with that in mind we created the Profoto D2. It’s a breakthrough, because it’s the world’s fastest monolight with TTL. So for the first time, no matter what the assignment, speed is always on your side. You can freeze action with absolute sharpness, shoot in super quick bursts, sync with the fastest camera shutter speeds available, and shoot fast and easy with HSS and TTL. So whether you’re shooting sports, food or fashion: with the D2 you’re always up to speed. Learn more: profoto.com/d2