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EDITOR’S LETTER February always feels like the world “Spreads A Little Love”. I suppose that’s all because of Valentines, but shouldn’t every month be about showing people, friends and colleagues, you love them? Well that’s what The Big Photo Magazine is to us at the Academy, we want to show you how much we love photography and how much we love our members. Since we launched in 2009 we have tried as a small company to deliver big things. Every one of us at the Academy has multiple jobs to allow us to function creatively a well as effectively. This allows us to deliver a range of different interactive online photography-based services to you at a cost you can afford. Our sponsors show you love by supporting multiple projects during the year, so please give some love back to them. Our masters give their love to our industry and members, as they all help us with video content for the Academy website, articles for the Big Photo ezine and of course interactive webinars during the year. So, on behalf of all our members, Thank You to all the photographers and masters who help create content in one way or another. So, as you have now gathered this issue is about love, the love of sport. The articles demonstrate some of the essential elements to becoming a great photographer, one of which is speciality in a subject. From big lenses to super wides, you can’t run away from the fact that the lens is probably going to be the most important piece of kit and timing is the difference between getting the shot and missing it. Give some love to a photo friend today with a Free Academy membership worth £49, just use the Code LOVE. No credit card required, Click HERE to get the offer. Enjoy another great read All Our Love Mark & The Photographer Academy Team

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Ross Grieve Taken on the Welsh Riviera, along the coast of beautiful Pembrokeshire. I was out on a crisp Winters day testing a new camera. The Lumix GH5. As you may know I am a big fan of 4K Photography and being able to exploit a high frame rate such as 30 frames a second makes action shots easier. So when I had a pre production model of the GH5 which can shoot in 6K (this will give me an 18mp jpg), I was eager to put it through its paces.

I could miss that key moment, such as the surfer jumping the wave. I always track the subject when photographing surfing as you never know what is going to happen. Much like any sport.

Some shots like this require a monopod, but I chose to shoot hand held to make tracking a bit easier. Most surfing shots are straight on, but as the surf was starting to calm down I felt I had When shooting in 4K or 6K you still want to think like a photographer. So you can control all your to change my point of attack. So I got up on the settings as you would if shooting the same subject Pembrokeshire Coast Path above Manorbier Beach as a traditional still, but you get the bonus of an and hoped I’d get an image I was pleased with. With one of the last runs of the day I managed increased frame rate. All you are doing is taking advantage of that video technology to grab a still to get this shot the leading lines from corner to frame from the footage. Shooting in traditional corner. stills will only allow me to get 12 fps, which means

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1. HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START IN THE WORLD OF PHOTOGRAPHY? I was given a camera for my 21st birthday. I just fell in love with capturing my world around me. I started covering the college swim meets I was already competing in, and I also began covering some of the National Hunt / Steeplechase horse races I was riding in. I was an amateur jockey for 7 years and would bring my camera to races. 2. WHY IS PHOTOGRAPHY IMPORTANT TO YOU? CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE MOMENT WHEN YOU KNEW PHOTOGRAPHY WAS JUST SOMETHING THAT YOU HAD TO DO? I was actually at the Monaco Grand Prix as a fan, it was about 2 weeks after I was given my first DSLR camera and I spent the entire weekend

taking photos and watching how the professional photographers working the race did their jobs. It is very surreal that I now work alongside most of them, and call those same guys friends and colleagues.. 3. WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR CAREER PATH SO FAR? As I mentioned, I would cover my swim meets and horse racing events I was already riding at. It quickly transitioned to being paid to cover some of those races for wire services and for the race meet organizers for marketing materials to promote the race in the upcoming year. Somewhere along the line, I got my foot in the door with motorsport by covering low level karting and even a few lawn mower races before I went to cover my first NASCAR race in May 2011 and my first sportscar and Indycar race in August 2011.

4. HOW DID YOU COME TO SPECIALISE IN YOUR CHOSEN AREA OF PHOTOGRAPHY? I think it was mostly through a lot of luck and meeting the right people. I put in a lot of work covering low level racing series around the US and England when I lived there for a short period. I simply put in the time to learn the craft and get experience with it. 5. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO WITH YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY? WHAT MOTIVATES YOU ECONOMICALLY, POLITICALLY, INTELLECTUALLY OR EMOTIONALLY? I am very happy and lucky to be a full time professional photographer. So obviously I am motivated to continue to earn money from this as I don’t have a fall back option or something

else I could do. This is it for me. But I also LOVE what I do. I LOVE car racing. I get the biggest buzz from covering world class races and I try and share my experience with other people who enjoy racing, and try and convince those that don’t follow it, or love it, to see the beauty in it. 6. WHICH PHOTOGRAPHERS INFLUENCED YOU? HOW DID THEY INFLUENCE YOUR THINKING, PHOTOGRAPHY AND CAREER PATH? I think my biggest mentor and friend has been James Moy. He is a world class photographer and one of the busiest people I know, but also one of the most talented. He never quits and he can outshoot me on any day of the week. Ive also been honored to work with him throughout most of my recent career. It’s always fun, but hard work.





I was told by an editor at a newspaper I used to work for that it’s essential to put the camera down for a minute and use your eyes. I think we get blinded by whats down the viewfinder that you forget to see what else is there.

I think my Nikon 500mm F4. Though I am all about finding other lenses to use, modern race tracks are so big thanks to the over concern for health and safety. The fans and media are pushed so far back from the race track that you now need big glass to do my work to the level my clients expect.

8. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES YOU’VE ENCOUNTERED AND HOW HAVE YOU OVERCOME THEM? Every day is a challenge. No work is ever guaranteed in racing. Race teams come and go, so your “consistant” work is never that consistant. So it’s constantly a battle of keeping up relations with clients and finding new work that you can support yourself with if something else should fall apart.

10. CAN YOU WORK US THROUGH THE PROCESS YOU USE WHEN YOU SET UP A SHOOT? If I’m heading to a track I’ve never been to before, I will do my research on it in many different ways. I will play racing games that may have it on my XBOX which is a great way to learn a circuit and where the light might be nice, but I’ll also look at pictures fellow photographers have taken over the years to get a sense of where is nice to start shooting from. After that, it’s just using your legs and feet to get you there and see what you can find!

11. WHAT TIPS WOULD YOU GIVE TO A BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHER? I think people assume that you need credentials to make the most of going to a race and to make nice pictures, and that couldn’t be farther from the truth. I spent a large part of my day at the races mingling in the fan areas looking for something different. Just try and tell a story. Capture the race in a way thats different from other people around you.

12. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PHOTOGRAPH THAT YOU HAVE EVER TAKEN? Probably a picture I took about halfway through the Sebring 12 hour a few years ago. The Dodge Viper went off course and bouncing through the dirt, and in the process showering itself with dirt and debris. You can basically see the car’s aero working thanks to the fine dust particles. It was very lucky I had my 500mm sitting at my feet to capture that moment.



S P OR T S P HOT OG R APH Y To capture great sport photos, you need a sound understanding of the sport and your camera gear. Dynamic action is often rendered sharply with fast shutter speeds, but this is not the only choice, you can also great get imagery with slower shutter speeds.

UNDERSTAND YOUR SPORT Whichever sport you try to photograph, you will be more successful if you understand the sport. A detailed knowledge of the sport, means that you know what will be the key moments to capture, and the best places to position yourself to capture this action.

Kickboxing photographed in low light is a tough sport to capture. Specialist access was given to be on the side of the ring for this shot.


TRAIN LIKE A SPORTS PERSON, BUILD YOUR SKILLS Like the people involved in sport, you need to start off at a beginner level and work your way up to more advanced levels. Start shooting the local Sunday league football teams to build your skills and knowledge, then move up the leagues. As you shoot more, you’ll have a better understanding of the image needs of the sport, where and what action is most important to photograph. Furthermore, you will build your own photo skills, choosing the right settings instinctively, and having strategies to cope with unexpected events and conditions.

Choosing the opposite side of the road to the spectators gave a very different perspective of the cyclists.

When starting out it’s common to focus attention on a specific subject, or sportsperson. This can be great if they are the most active or important one, but you will miss other essential shots by limiting your attention to just the main player. For a lot of sports, the location, the ground, pitch and the spectators are also key components of a great picture, that give context to the story of the sport. Take motorsport for example, you might think it’s all about the long lenses and the person who wins the race, but professional sports photographers will often take fish-eye or extreme wide-angle shots in the pits to give a whole different perspective to a race. At the top level, sports photographers are photo journalists, they tell the story of the whole game, event or competition with a range of photos. Yes, they capture the key action, but they also plan for and shoot additional creative images that show more than just the peak action. Look at a major photo agencies such as Getty Images, Reuters or AFP, and see the range of pictures their photographers capture at a major event such as the recent winter Olympics.


Using shutter priority and a fast shutter speed to freeze the flying rally cars in mid-air. Familiarity with the route, indicated that the cars should be flying high at this location

If you’re just starting out, then you’ll need to move off auto, choose shutter priority mode and choose an appropriate shutter speed to freeze or blur the movement of your subjects. Remember that subjects coming directly towards the camera need a faster shutter speed to freeze them, than if they are passing across the frame. Choose the shutter speed you need, and raise the ISO as much as needed if sharp shots are the aim. A good sharp shot with a little noise is still better than a blurred one that’s a little cleaner.

Focus needs to be set to continuous tracking, or servo focus mode, so the camera will track your subject, even between individual frames in a sequence. More advanced cameras have highly capable AF systems, but they may need more input to optimise them for specific subjects or sports. With tracking focus a series of images could be captured as the quad bike rider raced up hill towards the photographer


Set the camera to continuous shooting mode so that pictures are taken quickly one after the other while you keep your finger on the shutter. It’s fine to shoot a short series of images, but rarely does a long burst of 20 or more frames yield more successful images. Depending on the sport, you might find just two or three frames in a sequence is sufficient. With sport photography, you may be asked for images right after the event, or even during. Shooting RAW might not be the most appropriate solution. Many top sports photographers shoot JPG so that they can deliver files straight from camera. Shooting JPEG has some positive effects. Most cameras have a significantly increased buffer if you shoot JPG instead of RAW or RAW + JPG. You will off course get more images on a card, which means less card changing or chance of running out of space at the peak of the action. When shooting JPG, it becomes more important that your camera settings are appropriate for the scene; pay specific attention to the white balance and exposure settings. Try to use faster memory cards, so that the camera is not locked up for long periods of time clearing the buffer of unwritten images. After the event is completed, the images are all transferred to your computer and backed up then format your cards in your camera. Formatting in camera optimises the folder structure on the card for your camera and can speed up access too. Take spare batteries and memory cards. Avoid running out of card space or battery power at the height of the action, even pre-emptively change cards or batteries before the final part of the game. If your camera has two card slots, find out if it can automatically switch to the other card when the first is full up. Even though flash was used there was a chance to shoot several frames of these downhill mountain bikers. Fast memory cards help to clear the buffer for the next rider.

SECOND CAMERA One way to show movement is with intentional blur. Hold the camera still and let the subject move, or more commonly move the camera with the subject, blurring the background behind the subject and foreground in-front of them. Selecting the right shutter speed for the speed of your subjects is key, and often comes from experience, you’ve just got to try. Panning with a marathon runner might be ok at 1/15s, but a racing car might still need 1/500s or more. As a starting point, choose a shutter speed two stops slower than what would be required to freeze the action, and then review your results. A wide angle lens allowed a different more graphic composition than would be possible with a standard telephoto zoom. Having a second camera with the wide-angle ready speeds up the rate of working


With tracking focus a series of images could be captured as the quad bike rider raced up hill towards the photographer

Due to the dynamic nature of sports photography, many photographers will be working with two or more cameras. Maybe one has a wider lens and one a longer lens. You need to prepare both so that the settings are suitable for the action you’re photographing, and it helps if both cameras are identical. This stops you searching for the controls when switching between the long and wide cameras.


LENSES FOR SPORTS Big telephoto lenses are often the mainstay of sports photographers, allowing them to capture images some distance away from the highpoint of the action. Prime or fixed focal length lenses typically have faster maximum apertures than zoom lenses. Faster aperture, not only allows faster shutter speed or lower ISO, but the AF systems in most cameras performs better if there is more light reaching the AF sensor. Lenses with f/2.8 or faster aperture are the preferred choice for many professionals. Image stabilisers help, but due to the nature of action, you might be using a fastenough shutter speed to freeze movement anyway. Remember that image stabilisation only reduces camera shake, not subject movement. With telephoto lenses, lens hoods not only help to reduce lens flare for sharper images, but also double up to prevent rain drops from getting on the lens too. Lens hoods that are left revered on the lens offer no benefit in terms of flare reduction or rain drop protection. Longer lenses are frequently used with a monopod to support the lens, yet provide a wide range of movement for capturing action. Choose a monopod that is suitable for the lens you have. Sometimes a wide-angle lens is needed for use with a remotely controlled camera. Think of how many cameras are behind the goal at a football match. You’ll also need another camera body too.

Long lenses can create different views of dynamic action sports. Here a 500mm lens was needed to isolate these two racing cars on the track and Brands Hatch.

SPORTS AND FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY Whether you can use flash or not will depend on the sport, and the event organisers. If you are going to use flash, make sure you know how to operate it. A brief burst of flash is rarely noticed by competitors unless it is directly aimed towards their face, yet it can be used to lift your images above the rest. You might have some limitation with your camera when using flash, the sync speed. Most flashes offer a high-speed sync capability to shoot with shutter speeds faster than the sync speed, however since this creates a longer duration of flash it does not freeze motion in the same way as regular flash.

With tracking focus a series of images could be captured as the quad bike rider raced up hill towards the photographer

Frozen in the heat of competition, high speed sidecar racing

TRANSMITTING IMAGES Many professional photographers are transmitting images direct from their cameras. Maybe not every picture, but a few selected ones are sent back to a server for immediate distribution and use. If your camera offers this kind of transmission capability, make sure that you know how to use it and have all the IT knowledge and settings before you start shooting.

B R IA N W O R LE Y W W W . P 4 P IC T UR E S . C O M

Brian currently has a wide range of workshops and t coming up, both independently, and with EOS train For more information or to book go to:

And don’t forget to check out Brian’s Back to Basics s on The Photographer Academy now!


talks ning.


Dedicated Sony FE mount premium quality manual focus lenses



always been and there’s no way to change that . But what you can do is change where you are in the curve, by training, practice, and instruction you can go from average Joe in the 60% to an above average Joe in the top 20% .

I got an email recently from an aspiring photographer , I’ve had this sort of question a few times and it goes something like this : “how do you get hired as an action sports photographer, or how does a photographer get their photos featured in magazines. Are there particular things they look for? And is there any advice you would have for an aspiring photographer that wants to get their images published and have photography as their career?” This is a question that I’ve had a few times and while I’ve tried to help I thought I’d do a longer response as a blog and hopefully be more helpful . The reality is that not everyone that wants to be a successful artist/ musician/photographer/poet will be ‘successful’. I say that because it also depends on how you define success. If your idea is to get some cool images for family and friends , enjoy what you do and fulfil a creative drive then thats great and no one will stop you . If you define it by monetary worth, i.e. how much will some one pay you to create that art then thats a different proposition all together and the fact is that only a very small % of artists have their work recognised financially to be able to live off the earnings. In all fields of life there is a bell curve, i.e. 60 % average, then the 20% at the top of the curve and the 20% at the bottom of the curve. It’s the way its

In the arts, and photography is an art form , its a bit trickier due to fads , fashion , style etc. Its not the same as , say a weight lifter or athlete that can train harder/ smarter and see the kind of gains they want to make. In art, there’s a combination of inherent talent/ ability, a moment in time where you offer something different which catches the imagination or the zeitgeist and then luck , for the right people to notice you at the right time . Of course it helps if you’re a decent hard working person who can get along with others , be nice but also stand your ground. This may seem harsh but generally I would say that a lot of people think they are better than what they actually are. Not nice to say but critique is one of the best tools for learning and growing as an artist. Have someone you respect critique your work , let them tell you whats good about it , what could be improved , and what doesn’t work . It’s a painful process to put yourself through and early on in my photo journey I started a little critique group with some local photographers, we’d meet in a local pub and we would each bring 3 images and then the group ( of about 4-5 people) would each get a say in what they like about the image, what’s distracting them , what they would have done differently and whether or not it connects on an emotional level. Growth is painful and as part of the human condition we are hardwired to back away from pain, but sometimes you need to move towards the pain and embrace it because pain can be your teacher . Get critique, listen to what’s said, if they only say nice things then thats not good critique and find someone else who has a better eye and understanding of images.


I still, when I finish a project will offer it up to a number of trusted artists who will critique it, I’m not looking for yes men/women but people that are honest that will say it as they see it . Of course I don’t have to listen to them if I feel strongly about something but we all have a limited perspective and view and we all have blindspots, emotionally, psychologically and artistically . If someone else can see something that I’ve missed then it gives me an opportunity to change and grow. Back to the original question of how do you get your images published and get noticed : 1. Know your market .Understand what the editor of a magazine wants and what the readership want. Follow the magazine for a while , get a feel for what sort of things they do well and what things they don’t and hopefully you can find out whether your work sits well alongside the best of what they do. Remember that editors get loads of emails everyday and loads of images so to get your images to stand out they’ll have to be above average at least. Indeed for new photographers its even harder as you’re pushing against a closed door, not an open door. Send in a selection of your best work by email , wait for a week or so and follow it up with a phone call. Don’t be down hearted if you’re brushed off, these are busy people , keep trying. 2. Play to your strengths but work on your weaknesses. When I was starting out I felt I had a reasonable compositional eye but sucked at working with flash in the outdoors so I worked and worked on my flash technique , went on workshops and tried to understand it till it became just a part of what I did and almost became part of my ‘style’ if you can call it that. 3. Have personal projects. be inspired and creative, push

yourself hard to get the very best shots you can, experiment, try new things , if they don’t work it doesn’t matter , learn from them . keep visualising the images you want to create, see them in your minds eye, imagine what the wind will feel like, how the mist will be rolling over that ridge line and how you’ll have the climber poised as if they’re climbing up out of that gap . Live, breathe and sleep images, let your mind create shapes, textures and emotions. 4. Have an emotional connection with your work. A picture has to say something, it has to draw the viewer into the shot to make them ask a question or wish they were there or somehow spark something within them that excites , inspires or moves them in some way . Thats what I look for in an image , something I can look at for more than just a few secs and keep finding elements that interest me. 5. Develop a rich inner life. meditate, do breathing exercises or yoga/Tai chi , understand what your emotions are saying , whats driving you and be comfortable with yourself and your thoughts , feelings and inner workings. Art has to connect heart to heart , the artist and the viewer, so the more open your heart is to feeling and being, the better . 6. Follow other artists work. It can be very inspiring to see what other photographers and film makers are doing, the envelope is always being pushed so keep an eye on the best of them. 7. Social media. I don’t really feel qualified to say much about this as I’m a bit of a luddite when it comes to really using social media tools but FB and Instagram are the main tools I use , as well as this blog. There are better people out there who can give much better advice on this side of things so best to search them out .




To see more from Nadir, see his film on The Photographer Academy and head over to his website and social media.


We have all had a GoPro at some point in our creative photography career whether it's for fun and family or just for good old business purposes. For me, I had a love-hate relationship with my GoPro, and it had a couple of them to date. The Hero 5 Black is a pocket-size go anywhere camera, but it has its flaws and one being its Audio. To put it bluntly the audio sucks on the Hero 5. My favourite generation was the Hero 4 silver with its small compact design and perfect audio, but the menu was a pain to navigate around with always getting confused what button to press.

With the newly announced Sony RX0, all my needs could be answered, time will tell. At first, I was sceptical about purchasing this action/camera with a price tag of ÂŁ800. The camera boasts larger sensor than the GoPro, and in fact, you can fire four GoPro sensors on top of the single Sony RXO sensor. What this means, in reality, is the RX0 is much better in low light and has a better dynamic range.

then this little gem is for you as it inherits the same features and layout of its bigger brothers.

Looking at the design of the RX0 with its compact and sleek design along with its simple button layout, the startup time of this unit is lighting fast compared to the lengthy bootup time of the GoPro.

No internal 4K recording as its 1080p internal, you can always attach an external recorder as this camera has a clean HDMI out with full 4K external recording. 4K is far too overrated in my opinion and to keep that cinematic look you are better filming in 1080p.

The significant feature for me is the menu of the camera if your a Sony user like me and have mastered your A9, A7RIII menus

Looking at the feature and menu, you will be pleased to know it's loaded with Sony Pictor Profiles, that's all the PP profiles including s-Log. I like to do all my colour profile in camera, and with this, I can match precisely the profile of my primary camera the Sony A7RIII.

One of the other problems you may come up against, but I've already found a workaround for both. • Stabilization • Filters Let's look at stabilisation first. There is no internal stabilisation at the time of covering this. There are no gimbal dedicated for the unit although after contacting Feiyutech and asking them if there a way to attach the RX0 to there G5, discover they are in the process of making a bracket (I have one being sent out to me and will update you on this).

Regarding filters, if you want to film at 150th then you will need to attach an ND filter. To do this, you will need to purchase the filter adapter, and a step up ring as the filter holder from sony is 30.5 with variable ND filters starting from 46mm. Its early days as I'm still testing the unit for battery performance and its limitations, but I can say my GoPro's are hitting eBay as I'm covering this article. For sample footage head over to my YouTube channel and take a look at my video Good Bye GoPro Hello Sony RX0

To see more great reveiws and training videos from Robert, head over to The Photographer Academy, and him across social media, and to see the video of this review head over to his Youtube








In this Film Mark is on location in sunny Fuerteventura shooting Windsurfing and kite-boarding. Mark initially talks about the location and the kit that he uses when shooting sport photography and the types of worries any photographer should and think about when working close to sand on on sand. Fuerteventura is renowned for Windsurfing, Mark also talks about shooting for clients but always thinking about shooting for commercial and stock photography.

Watch the film of this shoot live on The Photographer Academy and head over to the Apps page to check out the range of inspiration Apps available

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Space Trip

Ciro Guastamacchia When I start working on a new Still life/Commercial project, my first thought is about how to create something innovative, to make it different from the standard works that can be found around. This Project/Mood that I created for the Running Shoes was born from an idea inspired from the space intended as visual elements in space expeditions and as lighten ambience (atmosphere).

THE COMPOSITION Sometimes the attention is too much focused on the object to shoot, we limit our mind caring just about the shape and functions that the object expresses, we look for the most extreme frame, an unusual positioning of the subject in the picture, there is a lack of imagination about the concept of the shot itself, my idea is that working as a professional photographer this should be the starting point of the creative process, I try to give more attention to the abstract concept applying it to the technical side of the shot. In this specific case the mood that came to my

mind was the space, I wanted the shots to recall a lunar theme but without inserting any real visual element as the moon, the stars and the planets, it just had to be a recall for the style, the atmosphere of a lunar space staying out from representing anything related to the real enviroment. The composition in the first shoot was born after seeing a sketch of the Space Shuttle, starting from there I took a first shot in a flat light so to “freeze the composition�.

THE lighting Because of the minimal style of the objects in the composition, the choice of lighting had to be the most important part of this shot, it was supposed to not just add light to it but had to add graphic elements too so to enrich the composition glorifying all of the shoe facets, I was able to do that using 2 Flashes (Atlas 600) and 2 jellies, a red one and a blue one,

alternating them and using them one by one working with the light painting technique that fits perfect to static objects. The Light was set in a very raw way without any use of diffusers so to create very strong and straight lightening spots, the first shots was focused on the upper shoe and then on the sole.

POST-PRODUCTION I have made a selection of the necessary photos organized in two main groups, one with the shots from the upper shoe and the other using the shots from the sole, the final picture was assembled working on more levels, in this step no filters were used, I did not want to denaturalize the original shots, I just assembled the necessary parts and adjusted the curves so to increase the contrasts. The original idea was born from a vehicle that moves in space at high speed, the Space

Shuttle, so in a second step when the shoe levels were assembled I wanted to change the background because a total black one was not able to give to the picture a feeling of movement. My choice was for a gradient blur background so to recall the lights color in a soft way, with a low impact, the goal was to recreate the shading caused by the movement staying away from divert one’s attention from the main object.

The sole Once the first picture was completed I made 3 other compositions so to finish the project that was supposed to show in a clear way all of the shoe elements, the upper part, the sole and all of the details. The idea that I implemented for the sole was recalled by the foot print from the first astronaut that landed on the moon.

I kept the composition simple, the “leading actor” had to be the sole and all of its details. The lights setup was kept as the one for the first shot but at this time I didn’t worked on more levels but with a single shot with the flashes close to 90° compared to the subject so to magnify and maximize every rabbet creating very marked shadows.

The Close-up At this point I had the chance to continue the mood and take some simple close ups of the brand and other details without changing in any way the elements keeping the project harmonious, it had to be not wrong to do that but I wanted to push things further. I kept the lightening mood that was the main aesthetic theme but I added to it some pieces

from a broken mirror that in the context of a space mood had the chance to be recognized as water crystals, by this way I was able to push the composition to the limit, the shoes detail had to be seen but as if incorporated in the broken mirror with all of its defects, being at the same time the “leading actor” and “lost” in the composition’s ensemble

Sports photography is a forever changing discipline, it requires a lot of patience because getting that first shot as a working sports photographer can be the making or breaking of you. Sports photography is changing, why do you not see many sports photographers around, there is one reason the cost of the equipment would put many people off. Today photographic equipment is becoming far more accessible. It is the emergence of the mirrorless systems that are turning heads because the cost is a lot more bearable to take on. When people look to start out the first thing they need to do, is find someone who

will mentor them. You might think that you have the best image in the world but when you show that to a working pro then he would find flaws in the image. But its here that the learning process will really take you to the next level in terms of what is required when editing images for publications and also images used for your portfolio etc. One key aspect about sports photography is the ability to shoot and wire LIVE, what I mean by that is the ability to send images to the newspapers within minutes of the event taking place. The images need to be captioned, Keyworded and edited then sent, all while keeping


track of what is happening in front of you. If you are serious about shooting sport, then there is one piece of software that is a MUST! That software is called PHOTOMECHANIC and its made by a company in the US called CameraBits. If you walk into any press room in the country and see twenty laptops you would see twenty copies of Photomechanic open. This software is the key to how I get images out so quick to the news desk. The software used for editing can either be Photoshop or Lightroom or others for that matter, but that’s up to you and what your comfortable with. A point to consider, If you are looking to join an

agency, being able to use Photomechanic is sometimes one of the requirements. Another mistake when people are looking at getting into sport photography is the cost of equipment, for example the Nikon / Canon 400 mm f2.8 lenses are over a whopping ÂŁ10,000 that is a huge amount of money to fork out, So how did I do it. There are companies like Photolease who help photography business with getting leasing equipment, and at the end of the term you pay one-month extra fee and the equipment is yours to keep. The key is to stick within your budget you certainly do not want to bankrupt yourself before you start.

hen looking at what equipment to buy there are a few things that should be considered, you need a camera that has good ISO capabilities as you will at some point be shooting indoors or at night under floodlit conditions. The emergence of the Mirrorless cameras are now producing cameras that will do the job and another benefit is the cost is a lot more manageable on peoples pockets. Also be mindful that if your shooting sport it will sometime involve being outside in the not so nice weather, So make sure you have adequate weather protection not only for your gear but for you as well, If your soaked through to the skin and

freezing cold, you are going to find it harder to concentrate on the job in hand. So keeping warm and dry is also an important factor. Most agencies require photographers to have the following amount of equipment • 2 x Camera Bodies • 70-200mm f2.8 • Minimum 300mm f2.8 but would prefer a 400mm f2.8 • Laptop – With Photomechanic and editing software So you’ve got the equipment and your ok with Photomechanic and your raring to go, what next? Well getting into an agency would be

the easiest route and I would start there. If you are going to try it alone then that is a much more difficult task. Football league licences are controlled by DataCo and getting accredited is a very difficult task. You need 30 invoices from Newspaper publications of images used and paid for within a 12 month period. They make it very difficult to get a licence. The best way is to start off in the non-league as they are not as stringent with licencing. That way you can get to photograph some cracking sport and give you a chance of selling your images to news outlets etc. There is one other important rule and I think it’s the most important one. NEVER GIVE UP

To see more great stuff from Ian, you can catch his top tog webinar over on The Photographer Academy and check out his website and social media.

TOP 10

Live Critique Comments January 2018

Manuel Delaflor Loving the lighting, loving the makeup, it’s just absolutely phenomenal. Great choice of depth of field and lens choice. His expression is phenomenal; feels like it’s an actor on stage really love that. Perhaps tone down the light on the golden hair a little bit but just a touch and if possible controlling that light coming onto the nose, but still it’s very close to a craftsman image.

Alan Butcher Reminds me of Ansel Adams, you want it to be Ansel Adams on that peak. You want it to be some great landscape photographer doing their thing. I think it’s lovely, you could almost crop off everything up to the lake at the bottom and it would still be as strong. I really don’t need to see how high up he is, only that I hope he is insured and I hope the insurance will cover it. Love it, it’s certified without any trouble. I think with a little more help and drama in the post production, burning down and things we would be looking more at a craftsman’s image.

Ken Lester Absolutely love it; it’s a craftsman image without a doubt. It could even be coming up into a master craftsman. Only thing I would like done, is to darken down a couple of these fingernails here near the guys head and that thumbnail over on the left hand side otherwise cracking, very well done.

John Moors

The lighting is beautiful, good colour tone and colour mix. I would just watch with this type of client who has a Roman nose, just like me. You've got to watch it because it’s adding an emphasis to the shape to of the nose. If she was a model for a swimsuit or Athletics Company and you are using this technique, you will find there would be some liquifying going on the nose just to softening it down. Everything is right what you’re doing, she’s great as well. It’s just always in search to perfection, so keep it going and nice use of the key line as well, very well done.

Sam Orchard The biggest distraction in fact is the sofa because it’s so patterned it distracts you from the pattern of the dog. I would like to just see the pattern of the dog and it’s a real shame. I think you could have solved the problem just by really darkening it down in post production and you would have solved a lot of headaches as it were. I would like a little bit more separation just on the right hand side of the dog and the head specifically just to really separate the head and the ear away from the dark background but it still fits into the certified level.

Julian Fulton Really like the way it’s being lit from behind. It’s a good simple technique and used quite a lot these days. I would like all the shadow just to come forward a little bit more. I would have loved to see some symmetry in the highlight coming in from the right hand side but the dress is taking up so much. You can control a little bit of the dress but getting the groom with his hand at the back to just drag some of the dress towards him, so it slims out the dress and allows some of that light to come through.

Paul Swinney The street shot love it, it’s a craftsman image. I’m loving all the tone for me I’d probably just burn down that top sky just a little bit and the mid part of the building right opposite. So don’t do the glass building I think that’s great but the sky above the glass building needs the work, as well as the balconies in the midpoint of the photograph because I’m just being dragged too fast too quickly but really nice as I said craftsman image.

Dennis Durack The nude ballerina, I love all the flow and the light coming in from behind. I just feel it’s missing a light from above, a very small controlled honeycomb light or something like that. Just a little pop of light onto the face and this is the kind of thing, not so much the nude but the kind of thing we have been doing in some of our advanced lighting courses over the years. So beautiful it still fits into the high end certification but it can’t move any higher because it needs that extra little bit of work in the lighting. Plus this hand that is coming below the netting is a real distraction within the photograph which is a bit of a shame.

David Mariner I like the idea here and it’s working pretty good. I would just clean up some of the distraction of some of the water droplets just to make it just a little bit more cleaner especially around the bottom but it fits in certified without any trouble.

Alistair Wright Loving this, I think we have seen this type of photograph quite a few times now and again it’s almost there. I just feel the legs and feet are a little bit heavy, if you had photographed from lower down and shot upwards you would have elongated the legs more and still wouldn’t have taken anything away from the torso and head. But I think there are all these lovely elements going on in here. I’m not sure what it is but there is something strange going on below the foot. It just needs to be retouched fully as well as just darkening down on the toes as well. It fits just into the craftsman level.

Why not submit your own image for critique today! Watch the full critique on The Photographer Academy:

A U D R E Y K E L LY ’ S T I P S F O R S TAY I N G C R E AT I V E If you’ve taken a look at the Professional Photographers Association of Northern Ireland awards announcements over recent years you’ll have noticed one name pop-up on a frequent basis - Audrey Kelly. Based in Dungiven, Co.Derry, Audrey is a wedding, newborn and child photographer who understands the need to give her clients a relaxed, stress-free experience while producing creative images. She spoke to us about her approach and how she makes time for creativity.

‘I see my personal work as vital to my paid work because it gives me time to work through ideas, develop new styles and express myself creatively. Inevitably, some of these ideas spill over into my wedding and portrait shoots and it helps me ensure my work is constantly evolving.’ ‘It was a personal project, for instance, that enabled me to develop a cinematic look to my lighting and get more from my Profoto B2 setup.’

‘As a wedding photographer, I have to restrict most of my personal work to the winter months so I can focus on my business in the wedding season. However, I found switching to Fundy Designer for my album design work around a year ago gave me a bit more “headroom” and time to think during the business time of the year - I really wish I’d made the move sooner!’

‘In the past it took me around 1-2 days to produce an album after a wedding shoot. With Fundy Designer, this has dropped to just half a day and I’m able to replicate the look of my previous albums exactly. Work can gobble up time, but using the software has freed up time for shooting (and making money), and given me a little extra room to plan, think and relax between bookings. It means I’m focused and ready to go at the next wedding.’

easier to plough-on with my existing workflow, but I saw other photographers using it and I wanted to give it a try. In the end of the wedding season I downloaded a trial of Fundy Designer and I used it to create a test album. That first one took me about a day and half because I was learning and experimenting as I went, but at the end of it I felt completely comfortable with the software and now each album takes me about half a day.’

‘Of course the thought of switching album design software was a bit daunting, it seemed

A U D R E Y K E L LY ’ S T I P S F O R S TAY I N G C R E AT I V E ‘One of the things that I like most about Fundy Designer is that it dovetails into my workflow of using Adobe Lightroom for culling images and making the first edit. Then once I’ve imported the images into Fundy and created the album, I can quickly pop back into Lightroom to make the odd adjustment if I have to - there’s no need to export or reimport the image.’ ‘Once the design is finished, I send the album to my client via Dropbox for approval. The

majority give their approval straightaway, but if any changes are required, its easy to move an image around or change the size in Fundy Designer - it’s all so much less clunky that the software I used previously.’ ‘Another nice thing is that I can still order my albums from GF Smith like I used to as they’re one of Fundy’s print partners. I also use GraphiStudio as they’re a global direct print partner, which makes life very easy.’

To see more of Audrey work head over to his website. For more information about their Album design software go to Fundy’s website And check out Fundy’s great series of webinars all about Album design going live on The Photographer Academy now

Audrey’s Website

Fundy Designer

“Our studio success is built on Fundy Designer.” - JoAnne & Jason Marino

The Most Powerful Album Design Suite ALBUM DESIGN


IN-PERSON SALES Images © Imagine Photography




Having had a great time at The Societies Convention in January I thought I’d write a series of articles based on one of the masterclasses that I gave. I’m a great believer that knowledge is power and that if we all understand a bit about what goes on under the bonnets of our cameras we will understand why they do what they do and this will enable us to get the most out of them. So, this article is going to be about how your camera sensor works. I’ll try not to use too much technical jargon but even if you have an outline understanding it does help you with colour management and ultimately making sure that what we give our clients looks the same as it does on screen. Starting from the beginning an overview of our workflow is : • Take Photo • Download Photo to Computer • Edit Photo • Produce “finished” version for print, web etc. Camera sensors come in all different sizes. The most common that we come across are as follows : • Full Frame – 36x24mm • APS-H – 28.1 x 18.7mm (Canon’s older 1D series) • APS-C – 23.6 x 15.8mm (this does vary slightly between manufacturers) • Four Thirds – 17.3 x 13mm So, each of these different sizes contains millions of individual pixels. If you have 10 mega pixels each pixel will be larger on a full frame sensor than it will on a Four Thirds sensor. The easiest way of thinking about a pixel is to imagine it is a bucket that collects light in the same way a bucket outside in the rain would collect water. So, your camera sensor has millions of these “buckets” built in to it.

The next thing we need to look at is light. We have all heard of “visible light”, “infra-red” and “ultra-violet”. These are all part of the electromagnetic spectrum. The electromagnetic Spectrum also includes the wavelengths used for TV, Radio, Mobile phones, Radar and X-Rays etc. The difference is that we just can’t see these bits !

Our camera sensors need to filter the electromagnetic spectrum so they only record the actual visible light so we need a low pass / anti aliasing filter on top of the sensor. These are designed to limit the frequency of the light that reaches the sensor. We also need a separate filter for infra-red light (it is very close to the frequency of visible light) and this is quite often called a hot mirror. This will help prevent colour casts and some unwanted artefacts from forming. Then we come on to one of the most important filters – The Colour Filter Array. This does vary between manufacturers but it serves a very important purpose. Because each pixel is electronic it only records a single value. The problem with this is that without a colour array filter we wouldn’t actually know what colour was being recorded. The colour filter array filters the light reaching each pixel so each pixel records only red, green or blue. The camera then takes this data and then works out what colour it should be and uses it’s own algorithms to work out the colours of the intermediate pixels. This is why you get differences between manufacturers even if they use the same sensors; what they do with the data is different.

The most common pattern for a Colour Filter Array is a Bayer filter (see diagram). Under these filters you then have the microlenses. Yes, you really do have a little tiny lens on the top of each pixel. The idea of these is to help each pixel capture as much light as it can. (Think of a funnel on top of your bucket !) You then have all the electronic circuitry and then the actual pixels. You will also have black pixels around the edge of the sensor. These are shielded from light and record the level of electronic interference. This is then used to help “clean up” the image and reduce noise (Did you wonder how we can use such high ISO’s now ??) Other important things to be aware of are “gapless” sensors – These are sensors that do not have gaps between the microlenses. If there are gaps the cameras software is having to try and calculate what should be there. Without the gaps you get a far more detailed image (yes, cameras today are sharper than they were 10 years ago  ). More recent innovations include “back illuminated” sensors. In more traditional designs that photo diodes that actually record the light were below the aluminium wiring layer and thus could only record the light that came through the gaps in the wiring. With a Back-illuminated sensor the photo diodes are on top of the wiring and directly below the microlenses. This means more light gets through to them and improves the low light performance and sharpness of the resulting image. Phew ! we now know what is inside the sensor…. But what gets stored in our RAW file ? Our cameras are full of LOTS of settings for colour, sharpness, contrast etc. but most of these make no difference to the data in the RAW file.

The RAW file stores the value of light from each pixel and if it is Red, Green or Blue. It stores the Metadata ie Date, Time, Camera, Lens, Camera Settings. It also stores the white balance setting that you used although this doesn’t change the data stored form the sensor, it is applied as a “starting point” when you import the file. The RAW file also embeds a JPG preview. The JPG preview does use the settings in your camera but this may not bear any resemblance to the RAW image you see on your screen. One fun way to test this is to set your camera to monochrome. When you are shooting you can preview the files in B&W. When you import them in to Lightroom they will initially appear as B&W but then as Lightroom reads the actual RAW file they will switch back to colour ! So, this is a “quick” overview of what is in a camera sensor. Next month we will start to look at colour space, the differences between sRGB, Adobe RGB and colour management.

To see more of Lisa work, visit her website and you can watch great film content from her live on The Photographer Academy now!



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Hey, hey, hey!!! JT's getting controversial.. I'd even go as far as to say feisty.. Not really, just something that came to mind after I tripped over my tripod the other day, took evasive action to avoid knocking the whole rig flying, and narrowly missed face planting in the prop shelving. Welcome back. Have you noticed how the photography world is full of do's and don'ts? It just like most industries, but we can only give our opinion based on the experiences we have. In fact one of the first things I read, with eager anticipation, after getting many blurry shots. If you want sharp photographs you must use a tripod.. Yes, that's definitely one way but not the only way. Lets not beat around the bush any longer and get straight to the meat. Here's my 5 reasons why and where you should never, use a tripod for food photography.

Never use a tripod: One You’re invited to shoot your very first restaurant at a really cool London bistro. You turn up, a bit hot from the train journey, after carrying your heavy camera bag. The nerves are jangling and your mind is racing as you walk in, searching for where you hope to be shooting, looking for ideas. You introduce yourself to the owner and chef. He’s really happy to see you. The restaurant is new and these photos are going to help him and his team big time. He asks where you’d like to take the photos. Immediately you look back at the bench style tables at the front of the restaurant next to the windows. “We’ll shoot there if that’s ok?” He smiles and says, “Yeah, sure. But remember the restaurant is going to be open during the shoot.” You’re now setting up and shooting at the main point of customer traffic. Everyone who comes or goes is going to pass you. At this point you realise all your space will be taken up tethering to your laptop. Let’s get out the tripod. Ha!! Yeah right. Everyone coming in and out could potentially be tripping over the legs, possibly hurting themselves, ruining the pictures and upsetting the owner and his staff. Sometimes there just isn’t room for a tripod. Nobody wants you to be in the way and who wants to be remembered as a pain in the proverbial. Never use a tripod: Two The chef is hoping for you to come out with quite a few choices for him and his marketing team to use. He’s not just thinking website and social media, he’s wanting to get reviewed and have amazing write ups in top foodie

publications. They’ll need awesome photos for that. The dishes are starting to come out of the kitchen and you’re getting the first few shots under your belt. They’re looking pretty good. The light’s nice, the angle is working for these first dishes. Then the chef comes over.”How’s it going? Everything going ok? Can I see what shots you’re getting?” He takes a look and smiles big. “Yeah I like these. Can we get a few different angles?” “Absolutely” you say. You take a look at your settings. You’re at 1/30 shutter speed, because although the light is nice, it’s pretty overcast and dull today. You want to keep your ISO low to keep the files clear of noise and hold onto all the colours. You start setting up your tripod to do some top down shots. As you’re doing this the next dish arrives. Now you begin to feel the pressure. I believe you should have as little effect on a business as possible while you’re shooting. In the case of restaurants, they can push out food pretty darn quickly, even fine dining restaurants. In the most part, being locked onto a tripod can really restrict the shots you take and are able to capture in a timely fashion. You want to make the most of this stunning food and all the effort and opportunity you’ve been given. Get as many different shots as you can. It’ll give you and your client so many more choices. Also keep in mind. When you’re working in a high energy environment you should match that energy and pace as much as you can. It’ll help you feel the real vibe of the business and this will make the creative process much more compatible.

Never use a tripod: Three There’s a break in the flow of beautiful food coming from the kitchen. The restaurant is getting busy and there’s a buzz and tingling in the air as more people sit down to lunch. The chef lets you know we’re going to hold off on the photos while the kitchen gets on with the lunch push. Seems like an awesome opportunity to get some action shots of the chefs at the pass. You notice how much darker it is back here, away from the windows. Once again you’re not keen on pushing up the ISO too much, you’ve got your f4 lens wide open and the shutter speeds are needing to drop. You could get some cool motion blur of the chefs, but all over motion blur really isn’t that cool. Hand holding your camera at low shutter speeds is always going to be a challenge. You won’t get amazing or even good at it if your camera stays on the tripod plate. If you’d never use a tripod there would have been tons of practicing keeping the camera still. I’ll pop a post together about things to think about to keep you camera still when a tripod isn’t an option.

Never use a tripod: Four The excitement and energy of the bustling bistro is contagious. You want to make the most of this. So you say, screw it, and start to crank up your ISO. You rattle of a few shots and take a look at the LCD. Wow!, they actually look pretty good up at ISO 1600. Sure they do, you’ve spent a good chunk of cash on this baby. It’s designed to be pushed way further than you have to this point. You check the lens to make sure everything is set right. Then you notice the IS (Image Stabiliser) button is off, because that’s what you do when it’s on the tripod. No need for stabilising there. You switch it on and take a few more shots. Now you’re getting image blur of the chefs but, by and large, the background is in focus. How bloomin amazing do you feel now? If you always shoot on your tripod you don’t need IS or high ISO capability. But all this cool stuff comes as part of your amazing new camera gear and is supposed to help you create great shots. Whatever kit you use, I advocate using as much of it’s functionality as possible. Never use a tripod: Five You’re buzzing at this point. Really getting to grips with your gear and the restaurant

environment. So when the lunch rush dies down a little, chef tells you they’re going to continue sending you dishes to shoot. Now you’re up for anything. The tripod is put to one side and you realise you can get amazing shots without it. The first of the desserts arrives, the fireworks of any meal. Putting the camera to your eye you begin to move, fluidly around the dish, taking different crops, moving in tight, almost dancing around the plate. You grab a couple of the other dishes you’ve already shot. Looking at new ways to shoot them. You’re engaged, focused and in the zone. It’s amazing! Getting your body involved in the shoot is one of the most important things to me. The action and physical engagement makes a huge difference. I’ve written about this before in Using Your Body In Food Photography. Somehow the tripod stands in-between me and the subject, at least that’s what I find. I need to get in there, dance a little, sneak in close and then take a look from a distance. It connects me to the food or whatever the subject.

Hang on JT!! Just a minute.. Didn’t you write about how you should never use a tripod in food photography? Yep, I did. Here lies the paradox of creativity. Learn “the rules” then break’em. I’m not telling you this is all gospel and the rules must be followed, not one bit. You should do whatever works for you and the photography you’re creating. Right now though, this is why you absolutely, on every given occasion, kind of, must use a tripod for your food photography.

Always use a tripod: One

Always use a tripod: Two

It’s Sunday morning and you’ve been planning a shoot to practice your photography and styling. A beautiful breakfast is what you want to create. You nipped out early to the local artisan bakery to pick up some delicious goodies. The fresh coffee is made and piping hot. Fresh fruit is carefully sliced and ready for styling. You even picked up a fresh, crisp newspaper to add to the scene.

Your tripod is set up and you’re about to create the scene. You’ve decided you’re going to shoot vertical or portrait orientation. You may have read my post on the importance of deciding on your camera orientation before you style. Because of this you now know how to approach your styling.

As you’re about to set up your scene, the clouds roll in and it gets overcast and a bit gloomy. A couple of test shots confirm you’ll have to push your ISO pretty hard to get the exposure you had in mind. You could drag the shutter but that would take you to 1/20 of a second and you can’t get a sharp shot hand holding like that. It’ll end up a smudgy mosaic at best. There’s nothing for it but to use a tripod. Now you can wind back your ISO, drag the shutter and you’re onto a winner. You’ll be amazed at how beautiful the light can look on a dull day with a longer exposure. My tripod is also a go to when I’m shooting interiors. I may want multiple exposures to bring together later or paint the light around a scene and have the camera fixed. Not to say I haven’t had to hand hold to get interior shots, but there are techniques you can use to help that process. I’ll be writing about them another time. Sometimes there’s nothing for it but to use a tripod

You kinda lay things out the way you want but you’re not sure how it’ll look in camera. Thanks to deciding to use your tripod you can set up the camera in position. Turn on live view. Now build your scene checking back at camera to see how it all looks. What you see on the screen is fairly close to what your photo will look like. Even better if you tether to a computer and you can see the live view on a bigger screen and adjust the styling with much greater creativity and accuracy. A small disclaimer... I shoot Canon and I can use live view through Canon’s own software to see what the camera sees on my laptop as well as control the entire camera remotely . Not sure, at this very second, how you do that if you own an alternative brand of camera

Always use a tripod: Three You break out your tripod and already you’re feeling more comfortable because you know you’re in for your best chance of a nice, steady, sharp shot. Your ISO is back to it’s cleanest setting and as you take a few test shots, you see the images are a really nice quality. Lower ISO isn’t just about grain in your photos. Two other aspects are effected. Sharpness and colour rendition. Sharpness fades away with high ISO, even with a crisp sharp lens. While colour tends to shift and looses its range and vibrance as you raise the ISO. While this is true, each camera sensor and manufacturer are different. Some handle high ISO better than others. The other thing you’ll benefit from lower ISO is because the colours are full and the noise is none existent, you’re editing will be a breeze. Less time in front of the computer has to be an awesome reason to use a tripod.

Always use a tripod: Four Your excitement is building now, you’ve got all sorts of issues dealt with. There’s a beautifully styled scene in front of your lens and there’s one thing, apart from dreary, flat as a pancake, characterless light, which will kill your image. Can you guess what that is? Did anyone guess... Critical sharpness. If you can’t get a sharp image when you’re subject is still with the camera locked onto a tripod, then something is most likely amiss. The other thing you can screw up is focusing on the wrong part of the image. Missing focus on your hero ingredient or the key part of a dish, is not an option. Locking down your camera onto a tripod will give you the best scenario to achieve a tack sharp photo in your food photography. Either move your focus point and use auto focus or zoom in on live view and focus manually. Of course you may be using a lens which isn’t critically sharp or it may require some micro adjustments to better marry up with you camera body. There are plenty of You Tube videos to show you how to calibrate your lens through micro adjustments. Always use a tripod: Five Your beautiful breakfast set up is the best you’ve done so far. You should feel very pleased with yourself. So you’ve got the shot you set out to create. That’s that then, lets pack it all away and get to editing the photo...

To see more of Jonathan’s great photography head over to his website, And check more great content about taking better food photographs, live on The Photographer Academy now

Wooooooooow there, hold them horses. All morning you carefully creating this delicious scene of a breakfast banquet. You’re not just going to get one shot, surely! Time to work those angles. The light is still low so you’ll continue to use your tripod. This is where you’ll practice mastering your tripod. Being able to quickly and precisely adjust your tripod may one day be one of your asset saving moments. Practice makes improvement This is your time to put in the practice getting your camera where you need it and locking it down on a tripod for all the reasons above. When do you suck at something...? At the beginning. Practising is the only way any of us get better at anything. You certainly won’t get good at using anything if you never use it. That said, if your tripod isn’t user friendly, you won’t use it either. Find something that is well designed by a good manufacturer because all the rest of your kit will change but your trusty tripod, will be with you for years. Here’s one of the tripods I use. The Manfrotto 055 One more thing I want you to remember. When you use a tripod, make sure you turn off any lens or in body stabilisation. After all, the camera is rock solid, so there’s nothing to stabilise, but that won’t stop your camera or lens trying.


Keep and Eye on The Photography Scene in Wales AN ARTICLE BY GLENN EDWARDS

Over the past months the new photography gallery in The National Museum of Wales, Cardiff has, quite rightly, hit the headlines as it features Magnum photographer David Hurn’s ‘SWAPS ‘ exhibition running until 15th April. Then the exhibition will be ‘ swapped ‘ for SWAPS 2. More incredible work from the world’s best photographers from David’s collection, now donated to the Museum.

fight small town boredom and to bring art directly into the lives and communities who have been told that art is not for them ‘.

However there seems to be a growing abundance of independent galleries immerging all over Wales and the Borders showing all genres of photographic work from around the globe.

'Safe Place'

In the Gwent valleys, The Kick Plate Project has taken over a former barbers shop in Commercial Street, Pontypool and converted it into a small photography gallery and darkroom named 76m2. Polish born Zozia Krasnowolska and Welshman Dafydd Williams started the project to find a way to, as Zozia says, ‘

The success is in showing contemporary work, looking for new young photographers that haven’t exhibited before. ‘Art’ based photographer Alicja Crave’s , Polish born and digital photographer based in France, recently exhibited Alicja’s work of long exposures, using post production tools and mixed media gives her work a multi dimensional and surreal feel often looking at issues of identity and representation. You will not often find the traditional here. The exhibitions are well curated, researched with a simple presentation. As with all of these galleries funding can be difficult but with the help of Wales Arts Council, Torfaen Arts Department and Pontypool Community Council the

Kick Plate Gallery, Pontypool is able to run another programme through 2018 From South Wales, moving north up the A470 to picturesque Llanwrst we find Tilt and Shift. It has a similar set up of local shop turned gallery, dark room and workshop but with a more eclectic approach in what they show. Photographers such as Jack Latham, Matt Botwood, Zed Nelson, Lin Cummins, Antonia Dewhurst and that man again David Hurn have all exhibited there over the past few years and I am looking forward to showing there later in the year. Founders and photographers Eleri Griffiths, a former student of the famous Newport Documentary course, and David Paddy ( best known as Paddy ) who met as students in a darkroom at Yale College in Wrexham say the gallery came about by accident as they looked for premises for a studio/workshop and darkroom but with a street shop front they decided to use the main space to show other photographers exhibitions.


As with 76m2 in Pontypool the community is always considered. Bookbinding, cyanotype, general photography and large format workshops are often available. The difference with Ffotogalleri Y Gofeb in Machynllyth is that all the work shown here is originated from film, and this has pointed the subject matter toward the fine art landscape practitioners though the vision for the gallery is to represent the best image makers in Wales and beyond and to work with both established and new talent. Luck played a part as the new premises became available so close to the bookshop and was the perfect ‘ other ‘ venue for a gallery giving Diane and Geoff the space they required to hold larger shows.

PA david hurn eleri griffiths and david paddy

From 4th May – 31st August Anthony Stokes will be showing The Valleys Project Updated An additional decade of the Wales Stokes photographed in the early 2000’s. Fresh paint, distressed and faded affectionately recorded



Another new gallery, The Photo Space, created by Peter Jones and wife Lucy in the beautiful market border town of Ludlow will soon be showing Paul Hills landscapes and the established Kick Plate Gallery in Abertillery – no relation to the Pontypool gallery - is always striving to show exciting work and will host Roger Tiley’s new project The Gender Journey on LGBTQ from 3rd – 31st March. One of Wales most respected photographers, Tiley remarked "It’s definitely a way forward. Local people can see international exhibitions in galleries on their doorstep in a less intimidating surrounding. For the photographers it’s a way to show work to people that generally wouldn’t see it" The independent photo gallery world showing work so varied from conceptual to hard photojournalism, is keeping photography very much alive in Wales and the Borders and should be supported as best we can. An exiting collaboration between the galleries and The Eye International Photography Festival in Aberystwyth ( 5th - 7th October 2018 ) is also worth noting. Spreading the news of exhibitions and festivals can be difficult at the best of times so the galleries are coming together to preach the photography gospel and tell their followers of each other’s activities. I hope it will become an effective support network that will inform you of what is happening at all the venues. More on The Eye International Photography Festival in my next article. If you are a photo book lover then a new library is well worth a visit at Ffotogallery, Turner House in Penarth. Those familiar with the gallery will remember it as upstairs and downstairs spaces but with the restructuring of the organization, moving from Chapter, Cardiff to Penarth the ground floor is now office space and a wonderful library to cater for every photographic need. It is not a lending library so the books stay on site but if its landscape, journalism, documentary or conceptual there is plenty to chose from.

Glenn’s website

Director of The Eye Festival

Tilt and Shift

The Kick Plate

The Photo Space


HIGH-VOLUME SCHOOL AND SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY The challenging field of school and sports photography requires a lot of skill to be successful. Of course, you need to know photography, but you also need to know how to work with your subject. After all, you are capturing a special moment in someone’s life—even though your subject may not realize it. With “volumephotography”, most subjects are not trained models. They require direction and coaching. This process can take precious time. And with volume-photography, time is money! Another key ingredient to a successful school and sports photography business is a solid workflow at the point of capture.

Tether Tools can help school and sports photographers streamline their workflow, increase efficiency, get better shots and boost sales. Whether you’re looking for faster transfer speeds, a tighter set up, a mobile viewing station or more, Tether Tools has options for studio and location photographers of every style. Pictured here, photographer Matthew Kemmetmueller is on location during a major-volume school shoot. Matthew’s camera is connected digitally to his laptop using a TetherPro USB cable. His monitor is at eye level atop a Tether Table Aero, and mounted on a Tether “T” Setup, ensuring Matthew and his team get the shot, every time.



The Tether Tools Tether “T” set up bundles the Rock Solid 4-Head Tripod Cross Bar with the Rock Solid 2-Head Cross Bar Side Arm allowing for adjustments to your camera without the need to raise or lower your computer. Ideal for school shoots, simply adjust the vertical bar to the appropriate height as subjects enter and exit the frame.

Aero Clip-on Hooks attach to any flat edge of the Tether Table and are ideal for hanging lightweight items such as cables, cords, or other accessories.

RO CK SO L I D B A BY B A LL H E AD ADAPTE R The Tether “T” mounts to a male 3/8” screw and in this set up Matthew is using a stand so a Baby Ballhead Adapater is needed.

TETH ER TA B L E A E R O The Tether Table Aero provides photographers with a stable, portable tethering platform, perfect for daily studio use and the ideal out-of-studio workspace. It attaches easily to virtually any tripod or light stand and is compatible with all standard mounting hardware.

TETH ER TA B L E A E R O The Tether Table Aero provides photographers with a stable, portable tethering platform, perfect for daily studio use and the ideal out-of-studio workspace. It attaches easily to virtually any tripod or light stand and is compatible with all standard mounting hardware.

Want to learn more about Tethering, check out the great resources available from Tether Tools on their website and head over to their youtube to see more about high volume photography Or head over to The Photographer Academy where you can find a range of content looking at many ways you can use tethering.

TE THE RPRO USB C A BLE WI TH JE RKSTOPPE R CA M ER A S U P P ORT The choice of professional photographers and videographers everywhere, high-visibility orange TetherPro cables have become synonymous with tethered photography.


Can you give us a brief history of the business and your current studio? Who are you, when you started the business, how and why did this studio space come about. In a nutshell, apart from my theatrical fine art passion, I’m sure I would be classed as a GP studio/Photographer as we don’t have a specific clientele, we tend to attract a large range of people requiring images across the board. On my return from living in Dubai for the past 10 years, I just need

to find my self again as Portrait/Creative fine art photographer. So I was on a quest to acquire the right Studio space….Finally found it!

What type of studio are you? (location, main clientele, etc.) I would describe the studio as a new style studio, in that visually it’s a little like a London Loft style fashion studio, very quirky.

How is the studio space laid out and how does this work within your business? E.g. studio, viewing room, office, etc.

When designing the Studio what were the specific criteria used or decisions that you took to maximize the space?

My goal was to find an industrial space, as they are generally

Ceiling height was the most important requirement then

large and inexpensive compared to town locations.

accessibility, we have a large roller garage door which in

My current studio space is more like a curiosity shop than a studio, This hopefully reflects my character‌lol. See the photo of the studio

turn enables us to have easy access to larger items like cars / Motorbikes /furniture etc. Also when the door is open we use it as an available light studio which is amazing option to have. Space wise we have a makeup area ‌washroom/Studio shooting area/ Seating & relaxation area plus a Mezzanine/props room and a private office.

Were there any major issues or unexpected problems that you had to overcome?

make sure theres enough room.

The main one is actually finding a studio space

studio’s but in the end, it will stifle your creativity

as I wasn’t interested in paying city rent price’s other than that no major problems.

What one piece of advice would you give to someone setting up a Studio? I visit many studios and most are a compromise i.e ceiling too low rent too high and the list goes on…This will have a negative impact on your business overall images…So don’t compromise, the shooting area is where it all happens so

Don’t get me wrong many people including myself have taken great shots in phone box ... Also, don’t rush in and take the first studio you see especially if it’s not exactly right…Make sure it has height /access/daylight /toilet /plus areas you can convert and most of all a large shooting space…Quite often I will set up 3/4/5 shooting setups this saves a massive amount of time and gives you many more options to sell.

R R et o u c h i n g a p or t r a i t

M at t h i a s D en g ler I am a self-taught and published travel, adventure, lifestyle, portrait and street photographer; traveling as well as living in different countries of the world became the most important part of my life. I grew up in Germany, for 6 months I lived in Stavanger, Norway. Currently, I am based for more than 4 years in

Gdansk, Poland. Here, I work as a fulltime retoucher, while freelancing as a photographer. Traveling, engaging with different people and ranging through wild natural and urban places gives me the biggest known for expressing emotions and creative angles, capturing many different kinds of modern portraits with a signature look.

Retouching Introduction Before we actually start processing the image, I need to underline that photographers nowadays have to master both, digital photography and digital post-production. They are ultimately linked and need each other reciprocally. You can’t properly edit images that have been taken badly, meaning under or overexposed, blurry or badly composed. Neither can you just simply take a photograph without post-producing it. Post-production gives your images your final signature, look, mood and artistic expression. There are many photographers out there, who can be recognized by their digital post-production style. When it comes to retouching only, I consider it as something less artistic than mechanic. The only artistic part of digital postproduction is colour grading. Retouching is the craft of analysing images, reading its intentions and finding possibilities to remove distractions and to most importantly create a clean natural look guiding the viewer’s eye the way it should. Retouching gives you the chance, to push the image’s boundaries, pushing it to its limits and to bring them to reveal their full potential.

Retouching People Editing images of human beings is a big ethical question. For 90% of the cases, while browsing social media channels for portrait photography, I see over retouched porcelain skin, with no skin texture. There is nothing left of the original person you photographed and that you tried to pose for your image, to get the right mood. In the end, social media is mostly a puppet gallery, one girl looking like the other. That creates one big problem: it creates a big lie, a fake picture of perfect girls. Many girls try to live up to that, standing in front of the mirror being overly self-critical looking at images that surround them on social media. As a

consequence, the self-esteem decreases. That decreasing low self-esteem causes an increase of purchasing beauty and make-up products to hide even smallest imperfections. Consequently, girls spend their money for make-up! Perfect beauty advertisement! The industry wins, humanity loses. When I choose models, I pick them for their character, ability to pose nicely and express emotions in front of the camera. Sometimes even I was tricked during that process, browsing the model’s portfolio thinking of her as a natural beauty. As she stood in front of me, I saw all those layers of make-up, asked to give me certain emotions, but the face just did not change. I deeply believe that good portraits are not determined by the perfection of the skin, more by the overall mood of the scenery in combination with a model’s expression. Now you might wonder why someone should even retouch the appearance of a girl from my point of view. There is one simple reason: A photograph is a twodimensional product, although reality is three-dimensional. Looking at a picture, you do not stand in front of the person herself and a camera captures more detail than you would normally pay attention to with your human eye, which perceives reality three-dimensional. Your eye is naturally distracted to surroundings. Have you ever pointed your eye so closely to a girl, to see her pimples? I do not think so! And that is the point where retouching comes into place, to recreate reality, looking away from imperfections you normally would not see either. Retouching is the tool to make realistic changes to recreate the appearance of person as you see it in real life. When I first started as a retoucher, I over-edited the skin as well. It is a normal process that you over-process images once you get certain tools in Photoshop. Now, I am going to teach you how to keep it easy and realistic.

Raw processing - Adobe Lightroom As retouching does not compensate for big photographic mistakes, we first have to take care that the picture itself is correctly exposed. You might be surprised that the picture is very bright and flat, but as we look at the histogram – in Adobe Lightroom - we see that the image is nearly perfectly exposed, as we do not see any big shadow or highlight warnings. Only slight highlight warnings show up as a turquoise coloured triangle in the right corner of the histogram. As we click on it, it indicates the slightly overexposed areas of the picture with red outlines.

Before starting actual selective retouching in Adobe Photoshop, we need to process the image in a raw converter (camera raw or in my case Adobe Lightroom). In Lightroom, we need to take a look at the image as a whole and analyse it. As the first step of the edit, we bring down the Highlights slider to -100 to recover as many information and detail as possible. From there, we start bouncing the light and adding a hint of contrast. But be careful, we only want to add contrast, to separate the model from her surroundings. Afterwards, we start colour grading the image up to our taste to set the mood of the image. For me this process is the most interesting part of digital post-production, as it requires vision and feeling, not only mechanical and technical precision. Still, we have to pay attention to not oversaturate colours and prevent the image from flattening out again. When we are satisfied with the overall look, we apply lens corrections and remove Chromatic aberrations (if not already done in-camera). Then we export the raw file into Photoshop.


Lightroom export to Photoshop

Retouching – Adobe Photoshop After we have opened the image in Photoshop, we have to determine overall problems of the image that we want to fix. In the beginning, you probably do not see many issues and might think about “smoothening the skin”. But the longer you retouch an image the more issues you will find. In the beginning of any retouch, it is very important to plan the order of actions you are going to take. First, start with pixel layer retouching and only in the end perfectionise your colour grading. Looking at the image, I see at first the following issues:

All around her outline, we can see many fuzzes of the woollen sweater she is wearing. Furthermore, there are many fly-away hairs around her head. Looking at her sleeve we can determine some small branches, caused by walking through the bushes. At first, we can use the clone stamp tool to sample the intact parts of her sweater and copying them over the areas the branches show up at. Then, it is time to remove all fuzzes and hair around her outline. Hence, we create a selection all around her, either with the pen or the lasso tool. Please, do not get used to automated selections, such as Select and Mask, Magic Wand or Quick selection, as they create lots of scum dots on your mask, as well as uneven pixelated lines. It might be fast, but the results are bad! Practice the basic tools and you will get faster over time. You will be producing much cleaner selections way faster than using automated selections that you have to clean up later. Having created the mask around her body, we hit CMD+I to invert the mask. Then, we start sampling tone with the clone stamp tool and paint over the fuzzes and hair, while keeping the inside of the mask protected.

This step is probably the most important of the entire image. 90% of people probably run now their frequency separation action, blur the skin colour and separate the texture. While being a totally legitimate way for retouching skin, it easily gets out of control and people go overboard with it. In the following part, I will show you another technique that does not require any frequency separation. First of all, we duplicate the background layer (CMD+J). Then we simply use the patch tool to sample very small portions of the skin and the biggest imperfections, to “paint away” those distractions. While using the patch tool, make sure to feather your selection by 0.3 to 0.6px and to stay away from any edges (for example chin line, eyes, lipe) in order to keep everything clean. While using the patch tool, you need to train your eye and your strong will, to make several rounds of retouching. In the first round, focus on the biggest imperfections. In the second round, remove the smaller ones and in the last one the even smallest you can find. That way, you do not sample too big portions and keep everything very subtle and natural. Most of the times, you should reduce the opacity of the retouch layer to 80-90% to ensure a natural look by keeping some of the original imperfections. You basically strongly subdue them. This way might be more time-consuming but it keeps you away from creating any sort of blurry porcelain skin. Any proper retouch takes time. There is no such thing as a “quick and perfect” skin retouch, neither is there anything such as perfect skin – at least in 99% of the cases. So let’s keep the natural beauty of the person, take and dedicate your time to retouch faces respectfully.

One other very important (!) note: The more skin that is exposed, the more time you will have to spend on your retouch. I see many people only retouching the face, skipping the hand, arms, legs or neck, creating an age difference of 10 years between the appearance of the person’s face and the rest of her body. Also keep it mind, to use your masks for her flesh to match the flesh colour of all her other body parts to the face and to lighten up very dark limbs. Most of the time a combination of Curves and Selective Colour will do the job. Having finished with the patch tool, we are no addressing the dark shadows under her eye. Therefore, we create a new blank layer (CMD+SHIFT+N) and fill it with 50% grey- our db-layer (dodge & burn). Then we change the blend mode to soft light, making the layer “invisible”. From now on, this layer will be used for dodging and burning. For dodging, we hit O on the Keyboard and change the opacity to around 5%; then we do the same for the burn tool. To toggle between those tools hit SHIFT+O. The goal of dodging and burning is, to smoothen out transitions between very dark and very light areas. To decrease darkness, we can use e.g. the dodge tool on the brush mode “shadows”, for lighter dark areas, the brush mode “midtones”, for light areas “high-lights”. The same logic applies vice versa on the burn tool. That way, you can also darken the darks and lighten the highlights even more, if you want. Once we smoothed out these areas, we probably have to lower the opacity of the layer, to keep our changes subtle. I really do advice you to turn off and on your changes multiple times and double check if you went too far or not. If so, lower the opacity of this specific layer.

As a last step, I like to open up the addressed areas using quick masks and curves moves. And as usual, subtlety is everything, Especially, when it comes to the eyes. Make them pop out of the darkness, but keep the contrast with an S-shaped curve move. Maintain the character of the eye and don’t flatten it out. Please do not oversaturate the eyes. I know how tempting it is, but keep them natural! And one other thing, eyes are round! So you’ll have to enhance the shadows and the sides of the pupil when brightening the centre of the eye. After all those slight adjustments we can see what a huge impact it had, to take our time and do everything manually and selectively. This whole retouch takes about 30-40 minutes, if you practice I am sure you will be even faster than that. If you liked this method, be sure to share it with your colleagues, friends and other photographers. That way, we can bring back subtly and natural skin to our beloved photographs. If you have any questions and want to follow my work, please do not hesitate to send me an e-mail. Make sure to check out my website and linked social media networks. Cheers and see you around!

Mark Seymour

Capturing The Moment

he genre of documentary photography is given many different labels including; candid, reportage, editorial and photojournalistic. As a professional wedding photographer I am always looking to capture the moments and emotions that will document a couple’s special day, to give them images that will evoke lifelong memories. My style focuses on the observational aspect of documentary photography, every image works together to tell the unique story of the couple and their guests, photographed naturally. Documentary photography relies on the photographer’s ability to get into position, stay with the moment and have a sense of expectation. It is a style that wedding photographers who are more confident with a studio approach, posing their couples formally, will ask me how they can develop this approach. When I give talks to local camera clubs, lots of keen photographers find themselves being asked to do a family wedding and are inspired by my wedding photography but want to know where to start. My advice is to practise by developing their own personal projects and going out and shooting candid street photography. Documentary photography should have all the technical elements of great photography; light, composition, depth of field, colour, lines, use of pattern and texture, moment, but it will also communicate directly to the audience, even if you do not know the people in the image; it will connect on an emotional human level, pose a question or enter a conversation, it may remind you of your own personal experiences. Knowing your camera and settings are essential, however, for me, the moment trumps technical precision, and is probably the hardest element to perfect in this genre of photography.

This month’s image was taken at a wedding as guests enjoyed canapes on the patio after the ceremony. This is one of my favourite opportunities to capture the guests as they interact naturally forgetting that I am even there photographing them. I have taken this image close to the action and microcomposed what I can see through the camera. I look for the reactions as opposed to the action that preempted it, so in this image not the magician completing the trick, but the guests reaction to the trick. You are engaged by the two girls in the foreground, and their facial expressions. Capturing interaction is important, and there is a physical connection by their hands as well as their eye contact. The reaction is put in context by the second layer with the magician holding the card and gesturing with his other hand, and the other guest looking on. The background layer of the building and figures turned away from the camera create a depth without distracting from the central focus. The image is well composed using thirds to position the key elements and there is a sense of balance created by the two female figures; their hats and glasses. There is a direction of flow created be the two girls and circling round, ensuring your eye stays within the image. This imaged captured a moment, just a few seconds in time, and one important consideration when you are photographing is to keep shooting throughout, because when you come to edit your images out of perhaps twenty shots, there will be maybe one or two where all the elements combine and you have that magic moment. Don’t get into the habit of taking one photo and moving off, or checking the back of your camera, stay with the action and use your editing to identify the one image that tells the story. The next time you are at a wedding or family get together, look to capture moments as they happen and observe people’s reactions.

Workshops in 2018 are booking now at the Nikon website page and receive more information about Mark’s documentary street photography workshops by signing up for his newsletter at and download his e-book ‘Shoot the street; a photographers’ guide to travel’. Also, checkout Marks website and social media as well as his films on The Photographer Academy!

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The Big Photo Issue 14  

This issue of The Photographer Academy's E-zine is about love, the love of sport and sport photography. The articles demonstrate some of the...

The Big Photo Issue 14  

This issue of The Photographer Academy's E-zine is about love, the love of sport and sport photography. The articles demonstrate some of the...