Archive for the ‘Tutorials’ Category

Before You Go Out Shooting – Check Your Wife!

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

Following on from The Laddies excellent post about never missing a shot, I thought I’d share the acronym I use to make sure I don’t go out with the wrong settings in my camera – WIFE..

W = White Balance. Go into your camera’s settings menu and make sure you’re set to Auto, so you don’t end up trying to take landscape photo’s with an incandescent setting….

I = ISO. Make sure the ISO setting in your camera is nice and low, preferably at the lowest level your camera will allow, maybe 64, 100 or 200. There’s nothing worse than coming back from a shoot to find all your pics are noisy because you shot them at ISO 800.

F = Focus. I always check that my camera is in auto-focus mode, single focus (rather than continuous, which reduces battery life), and centre focus, rather than multi or area.

E = Exposure. This is all about checking how your camera “meters” the scene for light. I like to use “Multi”, and knock down the exposure by 1/3 ev using Exposure Compensation. I also make sure my camera’s in its “Fuji-Chrome” colour mode. You’ve got to check your photometry because if you’re in spot metering, you’ll find that lots of your photos will be over / under exposed and you won’t know why.

I hope this helps in your pre-shoot camera checks, and if you’d like to hear a little more about my shooting routine, check out Podcast 17 on

Cheers, Rob.

Stuck For Ideas? Simplify!

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

Sometimes it can be quite a challenge to come with ideas of new things to shoot, but a technique that I’ve started to use recently is to really simplify some of my subjects.

I try to get in close, use a longer focal length, or change my framing to come up with some almost abstract photographs.


It’s often a case of looking around for subjects that can be isolated from surrounding distractions, to remove the context and be just left with an idea.

Follow Me

Another option is to look for shapes and colours, and make them the subject of your photograph, you’ll be surprised at what you start to “see” when you forget about the “big picture” and concentrate on the details.


Old buildings are great subjects for this – I love windows, doors, brickwork and the textures and colours you can discover.


Cheers, Rob.

Laddies Guide to Never Missing A Shot

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008
Missed it!
Makes you cringe just to look at it doesn’t it! photographers worst nightmare is to just be a second off capturing a perfect shot. Wildlife photographers especially know this feeling with how unpredictable the animal kingdom can be.

I want to share a few tips for you to use when your out for a shoot.

  • Keep your camera on at all times from the start to finish of your shoot. Most cameras have a auto turn off setting which I normally avoid by zooming in and back out ever now and again to make the camera think its still in use.
  • Take two extra sets of batteries. Assuming your in a day shoot (no flash) and your out for an hour you will likely not need the spare set but you can’t be too careful. Generally though its good practice.
  • Clear memory cards. Again generally a good idea.
  • Set to Aperture priority mode so that you don’t need to fuss too much with the settings but still have a level of control (this is personal preference, you might like Shutter priority mode or even still want Full Manual mode instead).
  • Keep the camera on a strap and around your neck or in hand. Nothing worse than seeing something zoom pass and your fumbling in your camera bag.
  • Decide on your lens and keep your second choice close to hand if you want to switch.
  • If you need a tripod then remember to keep the attaching plate on the camera at all times and the tripod out of the case (maybe extended but thats again personal preference).
  • If you have continuous mode on your camera then keep it set to that. This is there you can hold the shutter release button down and you just keep taking pictures until you release the button.

Now if your going to your local store for a bag of crisps and you happen to have your camera with you then don’t worry about these tips. This is for only when you are going out for a photo walk or an actual shoot somewhere.

Then I hope that with these tips you don’t cut the head off a swan like I did.

Happy shooting ;-)

Light & Dark

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

In an effort to understand flash photography more I wanted to return to the basics with lighting and how it works in different situations.

So today I went out for my lunch brake and took some shots focusing on side light.

I set the camera to ISO 100 Shutter to about 120 and my Aperture to 3.5.

It was very badly overcast and getting solid contrasting shots of light and dark was going to be tricky.

What happens when it is overcast is the clouds diffuse the light and send it all over the place almost deleting the shadows of everything. Try it go out side in a overcast day and you will see that you have almost no shadow (or non at all). When there are little or no clouds the sun is like a spot light focusing light into one point or rather direction.

Then I came across a door at the Dom. It is 2 to 3 meters high and has made of some sort of metal. It is sculpted into several images of birds and angels. In the center there are 2 men facing each other and there expressions really speak for them selfs.

Black and White

Using the door itself as a shield to the light I was able to get the light and dark effect I wanted.

If I where to recreate this with flash it would be known as a side light. This is where the flash would be placed to one side of the subject and thus creating a stark contrast of light and dark.

I have only really seen this used in Portrait photos but I think that if it works for other things then go ahead and try it.