Our Photography Courses Blog

Selection of pictures from the Photography Mentoring Service for January – the theme was Ablaze

Posted in Mentoring Service on February 4th, 2015 by Phil – Comments Off

With a theme like “Ablaze” I thought we would see a lot of fire pictures, surprisingly there weren’t that many – just as many pictures of illuminated retail outlets as fire, shows how much we know!

This striking picture was taken by Toby at the 2012 Olympics – he has cunningly increased his ISO to enable a deeper depth of field so that the figures in the background don’t become a blur.

Nikon D3 with 70-200mm 2.8 lens (we wish!) at f5.6, 1/800 and 720ISO. Using matrix metering has made the camera more forgiving (in fairness the metering on D3 is awesome anyway in any mode) and Toby has used shutter priority here to enable him to fine-tune the way the flame looks, something we always recommend. You have to remember that what we see and what the camera sees are very different with flames, so it takes a bit of work to make it look natural. White balance can be an issue too – adjust it to get the colours to look the way you want – don’t rely on auto for this, it’s too weird for your camera!

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Selection of pictures from the Photography Mentoring Service for December – the theme was Quiet

Posted in Mentoring Service on January 14th, 2015 by Phil – Comments Off

A slightly muted response this month with the usual great range of subjects, and locations from the Malvern Hills to the Vercours.

This picture warrants a little exploration – this was taken by Maureen, and I have included the mentoring I sent:

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Settings were Canon 650D, 74mm equiv, 1/8th, f4.5, 3200 ISO
Here’s what I said to Maureen on this picture:

What a groovy object! You need to bear in mind that the camera does all its metering and measuring in black-and-white, and tends to see red as darker than we do. As a result, it often over exposes red things because it thinks they are dark. I would have immediately thought here that this was going to be tricky – and been under exposing slightly, and possibly even centre or spot metering on the red man. I think it’s critical that he is sharp and exposed properly, and the background is much less important.
In these dark conditions, the camera has given you a shutter speed that is almost 10 times longer than the average person can hold still. If you had used a bit more negative exposure compensation this would have given you a dark picture which you could reclaim later, and you could even use more ISO as well and hope that your noise reduction in light room could deal with any artefacts. As it is, it’s just a little blurry which is a real shame.
If you had a 50 mm f1.8 it would have been very similar in zoom, but the aperture would have been literally 10 times as big and you would have been able to hold it still really easily. Looking back at your previous pictures I can’t see any evidence of one of these – they’re brilliant lenses and only about £73 on Amazon – well worth getting if you do lots of low light shots and all these are!!

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Selection of pictures from the Photography Mentoring Service for November – the theme was Out of the Gloom

Posted in Mentoring Service on December 15th, 2014 by Phil – Comments Off

Some of the best stuff we’ve ever had on the mentoring service this month – obviously this theme struck a bit of a chord.  Some great ideas and technical skills on show here.

As always, a real mix of experience and cameras, from compacts to a mighty Nikon D3, and people with years of experience alongside people just getting started.

The picture of the little girl is here with the permission of her Dad Dave, who took the shot.  We don’t normally post people pictures, especially children, but we thought this time a gloomy kid fit the theme really well.

Next month will be the first month of Photography Mentoring Service v2.0, taking on-board most of the suggestions that have come from our customers.  Wait and see – it’s gonna be good, and it’s the same price as before, just better organised!!

 

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We think it’s unfair to have favourites, but people have asked us to pick out pics and critique them here – we really like the way that Jane has balanced the gloom and the brightness in this shot from all the way over in Clifton, here in Bristol. Nikon D5300, kit lens(!) 18-55mm zoomed in to 55, f11, 1/100th and 640ISO. We did a little minor tweakery in lowly Picasa to up the contrast by increasing shadows and highlights. Even in her hurry to get the shot she’s thinking about the composition – well done Jane!!

Here’s the original unedited picture from Jane – slightly less direct framing and someone in the background but still a nice atmospheric shot.

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Selection of pictures from the Photography Mentoring Service for October – the theme was Connected

Posted in Mentoring Service on November 5th, 2014 by Phil – Comments Off

This month we have an even wider range of subjects and concepts than usual. I’ve picked out 20 of the best pictures – there are also a fair few on our Facebook page. I really am constantly amazed by the ingenuity and creativity that people show in taking these pictures. Don’t forget that most of the people here are fairly new to photography, and most of them have fairly old cameras!

We are always keen to get more people involved with  Photography Mentoring Service, and we have now made it easier to sign up for a fixed period, which also enables you to give a few months mentoring as a gift –  Christmas is coming!  If this sounds like a good idea, go here to sign up.

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