WP01 – WELCOME TO WOODEN PEWS @WOODENPEWS

YOOO, hows life been since the end of the 3-a-day challenge? Boring? Nothing to read about more apart from the Metro or Evening Standard and let’s be honest we can all do with a little less serious news in our life’s, well please read below.

After a few weeks break and a lot of time spent watching Netflix and junk TV in the evenings, and instead of sitting down at my computer to edit photos and write these posts, Ive sat on the sofa just looking at my camera, Its now official I’m bored. Not bored of chilling out, just kind of board of not having something other than work to keep my brain ticking over, that’s why after a few brainstorming ideas, I’ve now set out on my next kind of photography adventure. The idea is simple take photos and try to connect with as many photographers as possible, plan and simple. The plans to now focus on black and white photography, seeing if I can take on my favourite form of photos and capture moments that most people would just walk past, helping to give you guys an insight to what happens over in the depths of East London. Its not all acid attacks and knife crime, we do really good food too.

I’m by no means a pro photographer looking to shoot the next cover of vogue magazine, I’m just that guy you see out walking the streets with a camera round his neck looking like he’s on a trip for the day, yea I’m that guy. My new means of connecting with people is going to be through Instagram, probably the most used photo sharing platform out there, the thought process was should I keep with my account or should I set up a completely new account and see where it takes me. I decided to set up a new account where its just photos I’m proud of and somewhere to constantly try to push my boundaries not interfere with pictures of the previous weekend.

Now comes the part where I spend ages finding a name, loving it and then finding out its taken and im not having a name like Love_Photography_1234. No. I want a name that is completely random but still has a pretty cool meaning and as I live in East London it was time to pull out the Cockney Rhyming slang dictionary and see what pops up, Apple and Pairs? Nope, Ruby Murray? Nope, all that obvious slang was too easy. Then I thought about what I wanted my account to stand for, I kind of what to inform people about London and especially East, kind of like the news, so I looked up “the News” in Cockney Rhyming Slang, and BOOOOM Wooden Pews, that’s the name. the logo you see below is kind of the first draft and I’m kind of happy with it for now but kind of imagine that it will probably get changed in the near future, I’m just all out of ideas and wanted to get something done so I could start this idea before I throw myself into work for the next three months. So If anyone is any good at design logos, I’m open to suggestions.

Wooden Pews, has kind of got a ring too it hasn’t it? and the best part is no one on Instagram has that name. My vision for the page is that I want it to be minimalistic and at the same time full of great content that I can do what ever I like with, no rules, no restrictions, just me and my ideas, not sure how dangerous that is, but I kind of like it that way. I also don’t really know how long I’m going to do it for but I imagine it will be a year, another 365 days posting, but this time how ever many times I want just not so much writing and don’t worry if you still follow me on here, I will be checking in probably every Sunday, and will probably share photos that I post that week on Instagram, kind of do like a weekly round up. But if I do start to go awol please don’t be afraid to tell me, mum / Dad. I’m kind of looking at you there, my number one fans.

So give me a follow so I don’t look like a complete loner @woodenpews. Ive also included below some photos that you can also see on my new Instagram. Its kind of exciting, I love this feeling of not knowing what will happen and seeing something hopefully grow.

Oh and yea if it does completely fail and turn out really cringy there’s a pub called the Sun tavern on Bethnal Green road, you’ll be able to find me there.

Heres some photos enjoy!

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– the new logo, what do you think? any good?
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– the future is here people! –
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– victoria park, one of the best places in london –
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– and some of the best chicken wings in london, if youve ever in shoreditch check them out! –
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– this is the kind of shop window I like –
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– im back guys and it feels good!

B365 – I CANT BELIEVE I MADE IT!

Well, its finally here, blog post 365 and it feels a bit weird. For the 90% of my facebook friends that have had to put up with these posts each day and who are just not interested, don’t worry its over. But for those that have read these and showed a small amount of interest, this is for you.

Its over, Ive managed to post 3 photos a day for 365 days and now Im thinking back at the days all those times where I’d given up precious sleep or I’ve been rushing around writing from my phone and its all built up to this moment trying to get these post done. Now, 150,000 words later, 2TB’s of photos and countless hours walking around trying to make each day interesting and worthy are over.

It all started from a conversation with Amy on a weekend away, that turned into me basically going full steam ahead everyday for the past year and in turn has been one of the craziest years or my life, I’ve worked all around the world, including two months in America and China, completely ruined my leg and had to basically learn to walk again, now living with Amy (my girlfriend), completely done up our flat and now working on some really cool projects and productions that I’m pretty proud of.

For todays post I was trying to think of a cool way to end it, like set off loads of fireworks or fly to some amazing beach and finish with a cocktail and some sun burn, but to be honest looking back at the year, the only way to end is to really show 25 of my favourite photos from the 1200 that I’ve posted. Photos that might over wise be forgotten about and disappear into the depths of my hard drive. I’m now sat on my Lunch break at work scrolling through photos and laughing at all the stuff that’s gone on, from coming home after 18 hours a work with nothing to photograph so running down stairs and buying some fruit to cut open and photograph to seeing someone sunbath on Shoreditch high-street drinking beer in just a pair of hot pants or even that time I flew back from Victoria, Canada on a dodgy plane that had no in flight entertainment so for 15 hours I taped my iPhone to the seat in front of me and watched weird low budget films the whole way, just after I had been in the path of Hurrican Irma and witnessed what state of emergency meant in North Carolina.

This blog has been one of the best things I’ve ever done and if it wasn’t for Amy saying “you should start a photo blog” then we wouldn’t be here today and I probably wouldn’t have the confidence or even writing ability and photography skills I have today. Im by no means an expert but I like to think from where I was last year, I’m much better. So thank you Amy for putting up with the words “I gotta do my photos” to helping me figure out tough posts and just generally putting up with the daily stress of being with me.  Your alright you are and I owe you big time.

Looking back at my writing a year ago I have no idea how I even managed to send an email let alone put together an interesting paragraph, but this past year I’ve written around 150,000 words with a minimum daily count of 300 words, its not just given me confidence in my writing ability, its also helped me talk to people and just going with my gut instinct, then having the confidence to see a task through till the end. That’s something I didn’t realise I didn’t have till I’ve started thinking about my next steps and how confident I am about what I want todo next. In the words of my good friend Anders “I’m no Neurosurgeon, but Ill give it ago”.

This photo challenge might be over and the stress of posting everyday is now in the past but I promise this wont be my last post, I’ve sat down this past month and thought of ways to carry on and what direction I should move in and to be honest what I have in the pipe line is something that I’m even more excited about and can’t wait to share with you all. But right now, its time to get some sleep and just enjoy the fact that I’ve managed to see this all the way through to the end. Not even the Chinese government or countless timezones and flight delays were able to stop me.

So one last time.

Here’s my photos from today. Enjoy.

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– this is how i plan on spending the next 2 weeks, before I start putting work in on the next project. I will still blog but just not daily – 

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– doing my final walk around bethnal green taking photos for the blog this evening, it kind of felt a bit like a victory lap –

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– I will always take street photos and try to capture cool moments where ever I am –
Before you see my favourite 25, I just want to say thank you too the 13,500 readers from 119 countries that have read my daily blog, not all hero’s wear capes.

On to the next challenge and a new direction for joshfspear.com

Peace out and thank you for sticking with me through the terrible grammar and countless spelling mistakes!

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– it was at this post that the idea for the blog was created, Bleinheim Palace –

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– playing with the gopro after amy picked me up from the pub, thanks mush –

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– walking through hyde park early morning is something I wish I could do more often – 

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– london has been the perfect city for this photo challenge, thank you to all the grumpy people that dressed up as storm troopers or sun bath on highstreets, you have made this blog a million times better –

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– the day I found out my leg was ruined and I wouldnt be able to run the ultra marathon or walk for that matter –

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– moving in with this one, so happy we have done the most of our ikea shopping tick list, please no more –

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– explore italy, she has some how managed to put up with my constant photo taking –

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– its always good to see stuff like this on your way home –

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– this dog still is one of my favourite dogs ive come across –

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– in four years of living in Bethnal Green, this year I saw the most snow ive ever seen in london –

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– Norfolk sea side is one of my favourite places to photograph, the colours always come out perfect –

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– this image was the first one I had taken shooting in RAW, and my god it was worth the switch from JPEG even is the files are bigger

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– I am looking forward to the summer again and getting more colour in my photos

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– this is one of my favourite photos from the past year, right time, right place i suppose –

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-again, right place right time, the sea gull literally dived down and stole her fish and chips –

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– seeing people jamming on the guitars in St.Louis was pretty cool, hopefully Ill get to go back there soon –

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– seeing a deer walk down the street in Victoria, Canada. Luckily I had a 70-200mm lens on my camera at the time –

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– water planes on the river in Victoria, a place that I would love to explore when im not working –

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– 15 hour flight, using my phone at a TV. that was an experiance I wouldn’t do again in a hurry –

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– walking round New York, this photo was taken somewhere near the brooklyn bridge –

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– flying out of New York –

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– the view from my room in Shang hai, that place is like no where else ive been –

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– christmas on Bond street, these two were well into the christmas sprite –

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– flo doing what flo does best, cause havoc –

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– our drive to the flat in Italy, the Amalfi coast is somewhere I would love to go again –
Peace out everyone, its been fun.

Much love,

Joshfspear

 

 

B363 – THE SERIOUS BUSINESS OF EASTER EGG HUNTING

So as Easter is now kind of officially over and this is kind of the last day where eating chocolate for breakfast is acceptable, I think its now also acceptable that this post is a few hours late. The normal plan is to get this posted for 10am every morning apart from the odd Sunday where they go up at 2pm, I know this isn’t exactly a Sunday but it is a bank holiday Monday so in my eyes its fine.

Yesterday was Easter egg hunt day and even though the weather was pretty much terrible I would have to say that overall it was a success, I didn’t find any eggs but Flo and Phoebe managed to track down every egg and then they hide a few more for their selves to find again, so I think they enjoyed it.  Apart for the Easter egg hunt, it was pretty much just a normal family Sunday, with loads of food, beer and watching some children’s movie that no one wanted to watch apart from Phoebe, but I suppose that’s what this day is all about. I did manage to get some pay back for making us watch Fireman Sam the movie, when we went on the dog walk by letting her ride though a big puddle and getting her feet wet. So I suppose it was a win win for everyone.

Right now we are about to head back to London and get ready for work tomorrow, and after four days off, Im kind of looking forward to getting back to filming again and seeing out the rest of this series. Don’t get me wrong I like having four days off, it gives me time to spend with the family and then start thinking about ideas I have and want to start, this weekend has helped to put like a mini restart on my brain and help me kick it back into gear.

Heres some photos from yesterday, hope everyone had a good Easter and enjoyed the long weekend!

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– dog walk yesterday, as you can tell Mooney was really up for having her photo taken –
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– Easter egg hat making yesterday, Flo and me make a great team –
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– counting out easter eggs post hunt, not sure who the winner was but I definitely know it wasn’t me –

 

B360 – AND SO IT BEGINS

Thursday and the start of a four day weekend, what more could you want? Yesterday was a filming day so I didn’t get any chance to run off on my lunch break and take some cool photos, it was more about chasing Amy around Tesco’s trying to get some cool photos with a 28mm lens I’ve got this weekend.

For those of you that aren’t familiar with the 28mm, it’s basically a wide lens that is really good to street photography and I would say nights out, it’s a f1.8 so that basically means it’s really good in low light.

But less about the lens I will probably dedicate a whole post too over the next few days. Yesterday I met Amy in Tesco’s for fish Tacos night, which was an experiment and something that definitely needs an improvement, not sure what happened but both of us weren’t happy with the result, luckily we had a big bag of Doritos and some cheese to make cheesy nachos while we watch a movie, only 10 minutes in and Amy’s fast sleep and that meant that was the end of movie night, time to hit the pillow. You know someone’s working hard when they fall asleep at 9:45 on the first night of a bank holiday weekend.

Today though we are up early before heading to a really really really cool place this afternoon, I’ve got all my camera batteries in charge so I can take some sick photos. I would say more but I quite like leaving it a surprise and trying my best to take some cool photos. but first I need a coffee and some breakfast. I’ve also just realised that this is my last weekend before I’ve finished this 3 a day blog challenge, so I really need to start thinking some of cool way of finishing! but dont worry, Ill have a little brainstorm and come up with something.

Here’s my photos from yesterday, enjoy.

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– sometime shop fronts give you really cool lighting, but shooting with red lights is never easy –
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– taking the lift down to meet amy for movie night food –
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– after this photograph the security guard came and told me off –

B358 – MACRO PHOTOGRAPHY AND MY SHORT ATTENTION SPAN

Today on my lunch break I decided that instead of spending it on Instagram or youtube I would grab the 100mm Macro lens and have a bit of fun with it. At first I wasn’t really sure what I could take photos of and figured out the best place to start was probably outside and try to photograph something close up and looking a bit weathered, when I headed outside I found an old piece of rope and boom I had my first thing to try the lens out on.

I know that a lot of people use it when filming but I hadn’t really ever given it a go taking stills, its a great lens and one that I want to get to know better and just have a bit of fun with I think. Since I took my photos, Ive been sat on google having a look into what other people have done with it and now I know that I dramatically need to up my game, I feel that with Macro photography you need to be a perfectionist and thats something I tend not too be, my attention span isn’t that long. So tomorrow on my lunch break I might just set up an object or something and spend like an hour just trying to get the best possible shot and see what happens, maybe I need to photograph flowers or something small but with a lot of colour and detail because at the moment, im struggling with the focal length, so I think I need to think more about my set up and use the right kit to get the job done. It seems to be really REALLY shallow depth of field and that makes taking photos without a tripod hard because you hand can’t be properly steady. I might even go full on crazy and set up like a mini lighting / photo area somewhere and see how good I can actually get my macro photography and make tomorrows post my full review of the Canon 100mm Lens!

Ive seen some amazing stills online and definitely think I can match them if I can just make my attention span last longer than 15 minutes.

Heres my first round attempts, let me know what you think!

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– I can definitely get this shot more in focus –
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– to be honest Im pretty happy with this shot, its a lightbulb if you didn’t realise –
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– the old piece of rope I was talking about –

 

 

B356 – SUCH A GOOD SUNDAY

After a night out that didn’t really finish till 5am, today was all about two things, food and Sunday vibes. once we had managed to get up and get dressed we decided to head to a proper greasy spoon and eat like we haven’t eaten before. After that the plan was to do something we havent done for ages and just walk around a cool part of town and explore, the destination was Notting Hill and mainly the Portobello road market. what I think both Amy and me like about this area is the colourful houses and cool shops, its a really cool area and somewhere I wouldn’t mind living.

To be honest if you forget about the area, it was just good chilling with Amy and taking photos of the day. We both have been non stop for ages and spending the day together was nice, even though I had to leave in the afternoon and travel to a hotel in kent and now im sleeping in a single bed. but hey, least we got to spent 24 hours together not talking about work and just having fun. So amy if your reading this with your morning cuppa tea, thanks for today and I just want you to know that I am now sleeping in a bed that my legs hang out of the end.

I took quite a few photos of today but I want to show you more tomorrow, I will probably write something more informative about Notting Hill but for now I just want to get a bit of an early night. One thing I did want to mention though is my camera settings at the moment, Im shooting with a lower aperture so my photos are on the boarder of being over exposed, but I quite like the look of photos that have information missing and thats kind of the style that im liking, over exposed and faded.

Heres my photos, enjoy.

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– Notting hill, this photo kind of sums it up –
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– the typical notting hill photo –
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– I do love notting hill but I also love a greasy spoon in bethnal green –

 

B353 – A NEW VERSION OF FAST FOOD?

So yesterday night I decided that it could be a pretty fun thing if I just came home with a bunch of random vegetables and some chicken, then just see what Amy and I can come up with. The kind of veg that I had was like spring onion, leaks, ginger, aubergine, fennel, onion, Sweet potato. I did have other stuff but I cant really remember, i did have a few beers before so everything was a bit hazy. we ended up making something that was actually pretty good, we added some jerk chicken sauce, chucked everything in a pain and just gave it a good stir. We then decided to make some sweet potato fries and boom dinner is complete. Ive found that the trick with sweat potato fries is to add a little paprika to the mix and just give it that extra something, trust me it makes them so much better than if they are just plain. Give it a go. its like a new way version of fast food, I genuinely don’t think Deliveroo could of got the food to me quicker or made / found a healthier choice.

After all that I decided that instead of sitting on the sofa and writing this post, I would take the evening off and just chill out on the sofa instead, watch some tv and just not think about anything other than what to watch next. Some times its good to spend an evening off not taking photos, writing posts or going out and not getting home till like 10-11ish. so yesterday was the the perfect opportunity to get some good old sofa session time.

It then became an idea to wake up early today and head to the gym for an early morning work out, I know that a lot of people think that sounds crazy but I swear if you work out in the morning, then your instantly in a better mood for the day and as it is Friday, why wouldn’t you want to be in the best possible mood? So thats why my photos don’t really follow each other today, Ive got two photos from dinner last night and the other photo is of Amy hopping to the gym this morning.

Hope everyone has a good Friday and some good plans for the weekend!

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– Amy loves an early start and especially when its time for the gym… –
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– my choice of vegetables –
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– it was actually surprisingly good, maybe its good way to eat dinner from now on, it might not look amazing, but trust me we were both pleasantly surprised –

 

 

B352 – EDITING PHOTOS

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.

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– a less saturated photo, really wanted the smoke to blend in to the sky –
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– have a look at the setting to the right, look at where the saturation and vibrance dials are –
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– this is just a black and white photo –
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– not a big fan of high contrast street photos but thought I would show you want it looks like –
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– I tried to keep the tone settings basically the same as the saturated photo and then just change the presences settings –

B351 – ALWASY TRYING TO CREATE OR CAPTURE MOMENTS.

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.

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– leaving work and just caught the last bit of sun for the day –
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– this wall paper is really cool, I kind of what it in the spare room maybe –
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– I lost all four games of pool. –

 

B348 – MY IMPORTANT PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS.

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.

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– this was the area I had to work with, as you can see theres pretty much everything you can imagine to make this shot impossible, and yes it is slightly out of focus because I had to run back and take this shot but forgot I was in auto so it was pretty much just a really rushed shot – 
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.

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– I know you can see some reflections but thats just from the shop and doesn’t show any of me, also you do have some long shadows but theres nothing you can do about those without a reflector or even a flash gun or other photography lights – 

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– see if I shot from this side with the sun behind my back you can see my legs on the cup, if I was to shoot this properly, I would have brought with some some extra lighting and a reflector. also look at the strong shadow on top of the froth! that is something you really want to avoid! – 
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.