As I’m writing a fair bit about my photography techniques, then I though one good thing to touch on for todays post is how I edit my photos. The main piece of software that I use is a program called Adobe Lightroom, I think its one of the best programs out there for editing loads of photos at once, in fact I cant really think of a different program out there that might be just as good, to me it seems like Adobe have this corner of the market locked down.
What I tend todo with my photos is import all the stills I took that day into Lightroom, literally its just a drag and drop thing and then start working my way through the photos. one thing that I have noticed with my editing is that I like to play around with the highlight tool a lot and play around with the exposure. i start by going from one extreme to the other, playing with the dials on the right hand side going up and down the dial till I get to a point where my happy with the photo. once Ive played around with the lighting, I then move onto the colour in the photo and because this is an iphone photo, the White balance is auto so I cant really play with that, but the saturation, vibrance and clarity can all be messed about with. The clarity is something I don’t really like to change to much, I find that it makes a photo too grainy or too blurry and I normally use it a lot more if a photo is out of focus, kind of like a safety net. Saturation and vibrance are something I normally like to bring down, i love taking colour of the photos and give them that faded look and if you have read some of my previous blog posts you will have read the reason why I like faded photos so I wont go into those details now, just read some of my previous post and im sure you will see why.
I hope thats helped you to quickly understand what I do to my photos and maybe if you guys want to know more I can do a more in detailed post about this.
heres my examples and also some print screens of the editing process.
This morning Ive been having a little look at my stats and all those things about my posts to see what it is that you actually read and what you guys think is terrible and after nearly 12 months of these posts it’s becoming pretty clear what kind of posts do well and what kind of ones just suck. so today my plan is to try and understand how I can keep these posts up and think of interesting techniques and ideas to keep you guys engaged.
I know that some days aren’t going to be as interesting or education than others but thats just the way of the world, each day I am trying to take good photos and keep them interesting and when I started this how 3 photos a day challenge, I never realised how important the writing aspect would become, its now more important than the photos in a way, I need to keep the writing interesting, and use it to explain my photos and my reasons behind them.
Now I could of just post three photos on instagram each day for a whole year, but that would of been easy in my eyes and would probably been so I could build instagram followers. I wanted to push myself and give myself something to dedicate my life too each day for a whole year, no days off and that is what Im pushing myself todo, learning about media management, camera management, learning to think editorially and most of all finding a photo in anything and spotting a good bit of light and just taking the best possible photo. and if you think about it, at the end of the year Im going to having something that not that many people have, and something that did cost that much money to start.
so after than little ramble of mine, how was yesterday? well, I wasn’t out and about or even travelling anywhere, I was just in a studio and then the pub. So taking photos can become generic and I could of just posted three photos of a pint but while I am having some down time, I realised that in the back of my mind I was thinking about photos and ” if that shot will work” and that made me happy, because it was the first time I had realised that my brain is now automatically thinking about photography and lighting, how cool is that!
right I need to get dressed and leave for work any minute now, so sorry to end this post really quickly but I really need to get a move on. heres my photos from yesterday, I hope you like them.
Yesterday was one of those days where you just dig deep and keep on pushing till the end, it all started at 5:45am yesterday morning when we had to move kit from the hotel to location from there it was just about staying warm outside in elements. Its days like that which really make you appreciate you sofa, a kettle and sitting at home writing these posts. After driving back from Birmingham last night and not getting home till 9:30, it was nice to walk through the door and soup to be available for me to eat, so Amy cheers for that girl!
its now Tuesday morning and im just happy to be sat at my table drinking tea and writing this post, it feels like im having one of those day where I just sit at home chilling out, I am working today but its slightly more relaxed so i dont have to go into work too early. What is mad, is the fact that Ive only got 15 days left and how crazy it is that Ive managed to make it this far, and that I still haven’t planned anything for the final post, maybe thats what I will try and plan this weekend or something. but for the next hour and a half im just going to sit on my sofa and slowly get ready for work.
my photos from yesterday were all taken in the late stages of yesterday or a few moments ago before I had eaten my toast for breakfast, I need to thank red bull and a good supply of chocolate and snacks for just getting me through the drive home, also coming home to a really comfy bed last night which gave me a solid 10 hours sleep. I know this post might just sound like a blabbering on about work and stuff but in all honestly I have no other topics to talk about at the moment. so for that fact im sorry, just appreciate the fact that Iphones are a solid piece of kit for taking photos when your up against it.
When you stay in a hotel, the reason you stay there is for the bed, and nine out of ten times the bed is all wrong. You get given some rubbish pillows that feel like they’ve been folded in half one to many times and a duvet that is more of throw for your sofa than anything else. Well the Village Hotel in Dudley, Birmingham is not that kind of place, my room had at least a 14.5 tog duvet and the pillows to match, that is something that’s rare to find in a one nighter hotel.
If Premier Inn was a 4 star work trip hotel then this place is easy a 4.5 and its simple, this place has everything you need for a good nights sleep after a long day of work, from a gym and spa area that actually has a swimming pool deep enough to dive in (not that I went swimming), you could then head back to your rooms and be pleasantly surprised that the showers they actually worked and for once didn’t give you third degree burns or worst frost bite, you are met with a constant supply of warm to hot water that actually does the job. One thing that has to be noted is the fact that they don’t have a luggage trolley, which makes my life 15 x harder. Most of the time when I stay in hotels its with a lot of camera equipment and instead of carrying 20 bags through receiption and into my room it’s nice to just put them on a trolley and push them around, even more so annoying in the morning.
After some excersise and a great shower time to head down and get some food. That’s when I found out about something that would put a smile on anyone’s face, I’m talking about game day chicken wings and beer all for something like £7. what more could you want, and what’s more suprising is the fact that this deal is in a hotel especially when they are showing all the football, so that being said I did enjoy the wings and also a few beers. So I will blame that on the bad grammer and poor spelling mistake into post. but if you couldnt tell for the past 300 words, this hotel is really good and I would definitely recommend it if you need somewhere to stay in Dudley, Birmingham.
For todays post I want to talk about something that I think it pretty important but for the first 200 days of this blog, didn’t really think too much about, I’m talking about framing and lighting. When I used to take a photo I would always think about the content and then used to take content over framing and lighting, which can work for street photography or those once in a 100 year photo opportunities, but a lot of the time Framing / lighting is just as important to not only make sure its a good photo but also to make sure you are getting the most from your camera.
To make this an even test I decided that there was only one place to go and that was to the coffee shop next door, where they don’t only take pride in supporting the local community but their knowledge of coffee and how to make the perfect cuppa is impeccable. I went for the usual a flat white, and what makes Second shot coffee shop perfect for this demo is that its not the biggest coffee shop in the world and it’s quite small. I want to show that it doesn’t really matter about the area its self, you just have to get creative with your framing.
I decided that I would take the photos on a small shelf, next to a plant near the door. The only problem was the shop was pretty packed with customers and there was also this big cardboard box underneath which meant i couldn’t get the shot I wanted too and it would have been way to embarrassing to have started moving the box around, so I had to frame it out and use the not so healthy looking plant sitting on the shelf as something to help fill for the foreground but also add colour and depth to otherwise a pretty standard shot of a coffee against a white wall.
One thing that you always need todo is think about how you can cheat a shot to make it look the best you possibly can, frame out something, shoot at a different angle or move slightly to either side. you can see from this shot of the shelf that not only did it have a plant and cardboard box below, I also had writing on the wall behind and a bunch of flyers to the right. It’s important to look at what you have around you and figure out if its helping the photo or taking something away from it and then make your chosen objects or object compliment the surroundings.
When you think about lighting, first thing I think of is shadows and reflections, when I shot this coffee cup the light was pouring in from the strong sun through the glass front of the shop, meaning that on one side of the photo theres long shadows and if you shoot with the sun behind you, theres reflections on the coffee cup, making it like a mine field of possible issue’s, so what I did here is shoot at like a 45 degree angle from the cup, meaning you lose some of the strong shadows and you also just out of the reflection zone but can still catch a lot of the light.
For this mini photoshoot I thought I was only fair that I went full automatic on my canon 5dii with the best lens money can buy the Canon 50mm f1.8 (which you can pick up for literally £100) and because I shoot in RAW mode which saves loads of information regarding each photo, so if I don’t like the exposure or lighting you can also change it in post and not worry to much about losing quality and thats also what i think a lot of instgrammers or bloggers probably do, it great for saving time but also means that you do have a lot more security especially if you have a good lens and shoot quick street style photos. but I don’t recommend shooting in manual mode with this 50mm lens and its not as smart as the better more expensive kind and does tend to get information or settings wrong. I do also normally I like to shoot in full manual mode and adjust my settings to the relevant environment but I wanted this test to be less about camera settings and what settings to use and more about framing and using your immediate environment to make your photos that little bit better and give them a bit more flare. my top tip is always shoot in RAW and then concentrate on your composition and lighting are better.
Please let me know it the comments what you think about this post and if you think any of my techniques might actually work for all. Also if you think its complete horse crap then that is also good to know. Hope your all have a good Sunday and get kick those St Patricks day hangovers, I’m currently driving up to Birmingham for a few busy days of filming.
My plan for the future is today more photography based tips and hints, so if there is anything you think I should cover let me know and Ill do my best.
So after the bad Thursday I decided that Friday wouldn’t be the same and that the only thing I could do was to smash it pants off the last working day of the week and book in for an afternoon sports massage, my thinking behind that was I needed to sort my back and arm out after a busy 6 weeks of work and instead of me trying to sort it out, just give my body to a professional and get them to work on it and to be honest, it was the best decision, I came away from the massage feeling like I had given my body a full workout but without burning any energy and just laying face down on a bed, from now on im going to try and book at least one massage every month just to keep everything ticking over properly. the masseuses did say i needed one every two weeks but unless I take out a loan or start selling stuff on the black market I don’t think that is going to happen, but if you are in london and want to get you body fixed up and working to full capacity again or even just give your muscles some lovin then definitely check out Ten Health and Fitness, they are magicians. (they are the guys that also helped me with my leg) they are literally the perfect one stop shop.
Heres a link to their website: https://www.ten.co.uk/
After that my plan was to get off at Liverpool street and walk home taking photos on the way which turned out to be a great idea, because just after Brick Lane it started to rain quite heavily but at the same time the sun was shining so i managed to photograph my first every rainbow, and in such a cool place. It was literally right over an old Church inbetween the spire and the roof, making for some pretty cool photos. after all that it is safe to say that Ive properly managed to turn this week around. Now im spending my saturday doing fun things like bills and some DIY, what else are Saturdays for. I have to admit its just nice to be sat on my sofa not moving.
today I lost, just completely lost and when you lose like that, it better to just face the fact that today you didnt win, theres only one thing you can do and thats head to the pub and drink until you forget about it. Normally I would just power through and try and gain the day back but for some reason today I just didnt have anything left in the tank and just decided to call the day quits and head out for a drink with amy and that why my photos are just of three drinks that I had throughout the night. nothing else, no attempt to take great shots of even take my camera out with me, just a photos taken on my iPhone.
Now I know what your thinking, something terrible must of happened and thats not the case, it was just a day where everything would just go wrong. from me following the shooting schedule and getting all in a muddle to me trying to catch a piece of fruit that was thrown at me and just completely missed, there wasn’t any major fails or problems just hundreds of little ones which only got more annoying as the day went on. Nothing seemed to slot into place and that really annoys me, but today is a new day and Im going to make this Friday a good day. my plan is to get up and get dressed head into work early and make sure that there aren’t any mistakes again and that all the issues I had with yesterday don’t happen again. and screw it, do you know what? Im also going to take some amazing photos and really pull this week back from the dead and then tonight I’m not going out for a drink or anything Im going to sit on my sofa and get some decent sleep because I think thats what the issue is here, for the last few weeks its been crazy and yesterday I just had a 4 hour brain fart.
Hope non of you are having a brain fart like me at the moment, heres my drinks from last night.
Thursday morning and last day of shooting for the week, I literally couldn’t be happier. For some reason this week just seems to have taken it out of me and now I’m ready to get a decent sleep and hide away from the terrible weather than seems to be on its way again.
Back when i had a life, my week day plan was always to wake up like 45 minutes earlier, grab a coffee, sit on my sofa and open up my laptop and just start that days blog post but over the past 3 months that has really changed and now its just about getting the posts done at anytime I could. Well today I have decided to do my best and sit on the sofa with a coffee and spent some time just writing these posts, its probably my favourite way of doing it, and I maybe running out of time pretty quickly but you can never rush and artist (unless you have a floor manager and production team that would kick your arse if your not at work for your call time).
to lighten the mood a bit, I want to show you guys this morning are from… Yes you guessed it the other day at the beach in Norfolk, I promise its my last day of showing photos for that walk, but taking Landscape photos of the sea one on side and these really colourful muddy cliffs on the other with overcast clouds, I think really sets the mood and almost gives them a timeless feel. like those people on the beach in the first picture could almost of been there at anytime in the past 100 years, theres nothing in shot that I can see which would give away that its 2018.
I hope everyone is having a good week, here some the last of the photos from the weekend.
So tonights Premier Inn is somewhere near a motorway around a town called Hatfeild, thats as much as I know about where Im staying to be honest and out of all the Premier Inns Ive stayed in, this one could be the best for customer service. The food was a bit slow but you cant judge a hotel off of one slight mistake, the rooms are clean and the food was actually pretty enjoyable. Today I decided to try something that has been a bit controversial and go for the fire noddles with chicken ( for an extra £2), and it was actually a pretty good choice and right now I know all those Wagamammas fans out there will be saying ” but it doesn’t have a thing on wagamammas” but thats not true.
With a place like wagamammas your standards are a lot higher but with some where like Premier inn its just about getting some sort of food inside you and today thats exactly what i got, good, kind of fresh food at a decent price. what more could you want.
I know this is going to sound like a first world problem and to be honest its not something thats a deal breaker but one thing I dont like about Premier Inn, is the length of their corridors and numbering systems. I know that they need to fit a certain number of room in but please guys add a few short cuts or something because when someone like me who travels with 10 bags and 15 peli cases needs a room we also need it to be easily accessible from the reception which 9 out of 10 times is not that case.
But for all its worth I would have to give this Premier Inn a 8/10 and a 4.5 star travel rating, its a place that does everything it says on the tin and also has a really good sized car park, which is perfect for long wheel base vans.
Hatfeild premier Inn on the M25 you have served me well.
Ahh Monday, the one day of the week where those extra 5 minutes of snoozing the alarm make all the difference, especially when you have a 7:20am call time but the good thing about a call time that early is that you get to see London empty and not full of people. this morning I got to walk through the famous Brough market and it was completely empty, not even someone selling fruit or veg, it was just me. I wish I had more time to explore and that I could of pulled out my camera and spent 5 minutes just taking photos but as I said earlier, those extra 5 minutes of snoozing that alarm aren’t something that can be given up lightly.
For my photos today, I really wanted to show you some more snaps from the beach the yesterday but as im expecting a very busy week, so Ill drip feed you guys photos over the next 5 days, I hope thats ok.
After work today the plan was to go to the gym and spend an hour working out instead of an extra hour on the sofa watching tv, I know that might sound like some kind of terrible idea but my reason behind this is simple, if I want to carry on working 12 to 15 hour days (thats including my time writing these blog posts) then I really should start looking after my body by staying in shape. One thing that has made that decision the right one was the fact that in my second week of gym Ive just managed to run 5km without having a pain in my leg from ligament tear 9 months ago. That 5km run was something I had been thinking about in the back of my head for the past two days and then today I got on that running machine and made it happen, I couldn’t be happier and now Ive done the hardest part, which is basically me telling my brain that I can do this and that I just need to take it slowly. when you have an injury like that, you kind of get these weird thoughts that you shouldnt do it and that your injury has come back. All I can say is learn to actually listen to your body and not just that part of your head that is kind of scared something will happen again.
Straight after the run which by the way took me 34 minutes to run 5km, I was thinking about that goal of running an ultra marathon and I know this is something that probably maybe shouldn’t happen for a good two years, it is something I’m going to start thinking about again. my plan is to go on Saturday and get a sports massage and then speak to the running coach about how I might be able to reach the goal of a 100 mile race. I suppose if nothing else, its something for me to work towards.