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Do you want to learn how to use your camera better? Fed up with the photos you take? You’re in the right place, let me help you…

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  • And make your photography more fun

What can Photowalks do for your Photography

What can Photowalks do for you…?

Do you meet up with other photography friends?

Do you ever go on organised Photowalks

Well, way back in January (seems so long ago now) I went on the London Photowalk on the Southbank. It was the first time that I’d been to the Southbank and the first time I’d been on a photowalk….

London is such an iconic city.

Tate ModernI heard about it through Google+. I’ve met a lot of people through Google+, I suppose you’d call them ‘virtual friends’ so this was the first time I’d had the opportunity to meet them (some of them anyway).

I thought the Photowalk was brilliant, although I tended to chat more than I did shoot. But I didn’t mind as I’ve made some new friends and met some great people.

I realised I hadn’t been to London for about 15 years…..

So it was about time that I popped back! We started the walk at Tate Modern, whose size is fantastically vast.

Then we made our way along the river, past the Millennium Bridge and St Paul’s Cathedral, and stoppedBread Sticks for lunch at Borough Market.

This place is a complete and utter gem! There’s every kind of food under the sun, so I was in hogs heaven – I love to photograph food but more importantly I like to eat it!

After dragging myself away from Borough Market, we passed the Shard which was as impressive close up as it had been from the glimpses I had had of it along our walk.

I love the way you can walk all the way along the river taking in the sights from both sides.

City Hall and Tower BridgeAnd as I walked down towards City hall I got that fantastic view of new meets old, City Hall and Tower Bridge.

A view you can see repeated all over London and one of it’s most endearing features I think?

I couldn’t finish without sneaking a shot of the Shard in, we went over to the other side of the river for this one. And as you can see it was getting late….The Shard

Have I got you interested?

I think Photowalks are a great way to get to meet new photographers, shoot together and learn new things from each other…

If you haven’t been on a photo walk yet then it’s time you did!

It doesn’t matter what level you’re at and it doesn’t matter what camera you shoot with, from mobile to DSLR.

How to find one?

  • look on Google+
  • or Facebook for ones in your local area
  • Scott Kelby holds an annual worldwide photowalk
  • or Flickr groups hold meetups

I hope this has given you some ideas, and inspired you to try out some organised Photowalks….

Mandy

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21 Reasons Why I Love Photography

Why do I Love Photography?

I believe photographs are amazing and I believe anybody can take amazing photos!

And the reason I believe this is because I love photography, and all it has to offer. So just thought I’d jot some of them down here…

I love taking photographs

I love the way it makes me feel when I get the shot that I saw…

I love the ability to take my photos further when I use post processing techniques

I love the artistic freedom that it gives me

I love to tell a story

I love to capture that moment in time

I love to capture that moment of that persons life

I love to capture that part of my life.

I love to look back and remember.

I love the way cameras are now gadgets

I love that anybody can take photos

I love the importance of photos throughout our lives

I love teaching others how to use their camera

I love learning new things about photography

I love that it’s a journey that travels with you

I love to share my photos

I love to look at photos

I love that photography is an art form

I love that so many people share their photos

I love the emotions it evokes in people when they look at photos

I love that you can have a 100 photos of the same place and they can all be different…

And…

What else, what do you love about photography….?

Let me know in the comments below!

Mandy

 

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Happy New Year for 2014!street violinist

I’m very excited about 2014 and where my Photography could take me this year…

Do you know what you want to do with your photography in 2014, what do you want to achieve this year?

I may have said this before:) But I think photography is a journey and I think you constantly evolve and learn as a photographer, whether that’s the equipment you use or the subjects that you’re shooting…

So this year with that in mind I want to push my bounderies and try things I’ve never done before, and of course I will share them all here with you!

What have I got so far…

Shooting wise, I’m off on a London Photowalk next weekend, it’s the first one of this type that I’ve been on so I’m really looking forward to it, and the new friends that I’ll meet.

And I’ll be shooting the 5 day Giant Spectacular ‘Memories of August 1914′  in Liverpool in July, it’s part of the commemorative events for the centenary of the start of World War 1. I think it’ll be a very poignant and moving event, but one I’m really looking forward to.

And then we come to gear,

I want to totally challenge myself this year. Photographers love gear and trying out new stuff and I’m no exception. And I think at times it can be confusing for someone new to the world of ‘cameras with interchangeable lenses’ to know what they all do, more so now we have more choice than ever before. As you know I shoot with a Canon 600D at the moment otherwise known as a DSLR camera. But now there are also CSC or Mirrorless cameras.

So I’m going to look at, and explain the differences between DSLR’s and CSC – compact system cameras or Mirrorless cameras, what they do, and look at which are the best ones to buy.

And hopefully get to test out a CSC camera. Again I can’t wait to share what I find.

And that’s just for starters!

So that’s some of the reasons why I’m looking forward to 2014.

But now it’s over to you – What do you want to get out of your Photography in 2014….. let me know in the comments below!

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Taking photos with the family in tow is not always easy – even when you’re taking photos of them…

I’ve just got back off a family holiday -

Picture this…

I’m walking down a quaint street in a Cornish village with a camera bag slung over my shoulder, a rucksack on my back with kids stuff in, a beach shelter in one hand and fishing nets in the other… definately not a photography holiday I hear you say!

Beautiful scenery all around me, and loads of photo opportunities but with 2 kids and a husband in tow I’m not getting a lot of chances to stop and get my camera out?

So how do you satisfy that urge to take photos of these great opportunities on a family holiday and still have everyone talk to you?

Here’s some tips that I use (and yes everyone is still talking to me!):

1. Remember you’re on a family holiday

May be obvious, but it’s easy to get carried away! You’re not on a photography holiday, so stakeouts for sunrise and sunset and stopping every 5 minutes to jump out and take a photo are not going to happen (without blood shed!). So when you’re driving past that perfect vista and can’t stop, take a deep breath and count to ten…. No, but seriously, look at it as photography doesn’t fit into what you’re doing at that moment then you’ll get a chance another day…

2. Give everyone a camera

Cornish rowing boatsGet everyone involved.

If you can’t beat them, get them to join you! If everyone’s snapping away then they wont get bored.

I give them my old cameras, so my husbands got my old Canon 450D, and the kids have got some old point and shoots.

Even if it’s just a camera on an old mobile phone, make sure everyone has a camera then they can all join in the fun.

3. Choose your bag wisely

What I really want is Mary Poppins’ magic carpet bag that holds everything but the kitchen sink! But in reality I need my camera bag to be dual purpose when I’m on holiday, it has to carry my camera, plus accessories. But also be my handbag as well, so phone, purse, keys and anything I’m given to carry by the kids… I’ve tried a separate handbag and camera bag, but I find it’s just too much and I like to simplify things as much as possible.

4. Don’t forget the people you’re with

Although I love taking landscapes etc I don’t forget that I’m here for memories with my family, and I like to make sure I capture those moments as well – whether they want to or not!

Or just be ready to put your camera away altogether and concentrate on what you’re doing as a family (hard for photographers to do!).

5. Balance your time

I try to balance my time between family and the odd (planned) escape on my own for some more peaceful shooting. I managed to sneak away to shoot some local gig rowing, and also did some night photography one night.

6. Have a planCornish fishing

I don’t have a timetabled plan of activities or anything when I’m on holiday. But I have done some research of places we may like to go, and make sure we all get to go places we enjoy. It has to be flexible though, as lets face it everything is weather dependent (especially in the UK). And I’ll consider places I’d like to go for photography in that process, and that gives me a good idea beforehand of what will work and what will have to wait for that photography holiday!

7. Don’t forget the details

If I’ve got the chance to walk around with my camera then I’ll take it (in other words not the days we went to the beach!). Focus in on the details as you’re walking around and you’ll be surprised how much will suddenly catch your eye. And can then be captured without too much disruption to what’s going on.

8. Relax and have fun

Don’t forget you’re on holiday and you need to relax, rest and recharge your batteries…

So here’s to happy family holidays with lots of great shots.

Let me know your tips in the comments for shooting on a family holiday…

Mandy

 

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Spring and Summer offer a huge opportunity to get out there and take some great Flower Photography shots. The weather is nice (well hopefully!) and there’s lots of flower varieties to choose from. And whether it’s your own garden, a public garden, park or even by the side of the road there’s lots of places to go and practice. So here are 7 tips that I hope will help your flower photography grow…… (sorry!…. you know I had to!)

1. Why wont my camera focus?

Have you ever had that problem? You get nice and close to a lovely flower and your camera’s auto focus, well – wont focus.

There’s a minimal focusing distance on your lens and that’s why it wont focus. You’ll need to move back until the lens stops searching and focuses. If you want to get closer then you could use a zoom lens and zoom in. Or buy some extension tubes that’ll let you get closer (they fit between your lens and the camera body). Or if you fancy splashing a bit of cash then you could buy a macro lens (which can also double up as a nice portrait lens!).

2.  Use a Tripod

If you want to get tack sharp (very sharp) images then you need to use a tripod to reduce any chance of camera shake. And a cable release or the self timer reduces that even further.

A lot of tripods go really low and splay out nicely to get the ‘get down low’ flower shot.

3. Some settings to start with

Here’s some settings to give you a starting point:

ISO as low as you can get it.
Use Aperture Priority mode
Shoot RAW so you’ve got more to work with later

4. Get down low tulips

I think it’s a good idea to try lots of different compositions, above, sideways, but I particularly like shooting low. I think it gives a perspective you don’t normally see.

5. Use a reflector

A great way to reduce any shadows on the flower. And cheap. Position some white card or cloth to throw some light (reflect) back onto the flower and get rid of the shadows, even wearing a white t-shirt could help!

6. Clear the background

If the background is ugly or a bit cluttered then use a bit of card to clean it up. Or maybe a bit of twine to pull another plant out of the way just while you take the shot (obviously without hurting the plant!). Another way is to use a large aperture (small number) and send the background out of focus.

7. Secret weapon…

A white umbrella.

If it’s a very sunny day you can use it as a diffuser to soften the harsh sunlight. It’s white so it’ll work well as a reflector. And last but not least, it’ll shield the flower from any wind. You’d be amazed how much a flower can move in just a light breeze. All in all the Swiss army knife of flower photography….

Now it’s over to you, how have these tips helped your flower photography? What tricks and tips do you use?

Tell me in the comments…

Mandy

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How to Backup your Photos from your Phone?

Do you backup your photos from your phone?

I was reading an article the other day about mobile phones crashing and losing all the photos on them!

And I realised that I don’t. I had a load of photos I’ve taken on my phone and they’ll all just sat on there without another thought.

As I’ve said before the best camera is the one you have with you, and 10 times out of 10 I have my phone with me, so I take quite a lot of photos with my phone. It’s a Samsung Galaxy SIII mini by the way.

And I realised just like any other storage device it has the capacity to fail….. at any moment!!!

I backup all my DSLR/memory cards all the time, but I hadn’t even thought about my phone?

So I quickly backed them up, safe and accessible!

Here’s 3 really good ways to do it:

1. Google+

Use the instant upload feature on Google+ app, don’t worry you review them before you share them. You just need to turn on instant upload in your phones settings.

2. Flickr

There’s now a Flickr app so you can upload straight to Flickr from your phone. And they have 1 terabyte of storage for free – that’s a lot of photos!

3. Dropbox

A great online service to back up to, and you can also then access your images from your PC or tablet etc… if you download the app on them as well.

So simple and no wires…..

But these are only 3 ways to do it. Do you use another service? How do you back up your photos?

Let us know in the comments…

Mandy
PS. Windmill taken with my Galaxy SIII Mini.
Backed up via Dropbox.

 

 

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How to Choose which Camera is Best for you?

So we’ve talked about how we got into photography, and great ways to inspire ourselves, and now we’re getting around to talking cameras…. again!

I get asked this question a lot.

How do I choose which camera is best for me?

And what is my answer – always!

Drum roll……

Canon

No?

Nikon

Ok I’m joking – but it’s a really simple piece of advice that I think gets overlooked a lot!

What I always say is, it doesn’t matter if it’s a Canon or Nikon or something else? It really matters that it feels right in your hands and you like using it otherwise you’re on a non starter to begin with???

Very Simple… but very true…

Which Camera do you Own?

Not which one do you want? That’s a whoooole other post…….

I use a Canon 600d and I’m very happy with the images that I’m producing at the moment. Before I bought it I went to the shop and I picked one up and tried it out, then I tried a Nikon. But I knew straight away I liked the Canon better, it felt nicer in my hand, I liked the button positions and I liked the menu layout.

You may feel differently, camera choice is as individual as the photographer…

And I’m not saying you have to have a DSLR? I don’t necessarily think you need an all singing, all dancing camera to take really good images – see my Guess the Photo post.

I also think Micro Four Thirds camera’s and the APS-C Mirrorless systems are also very good cameras, and have all the control of an entry level DSLR. If not more in some cases…

So it’s over to you – Which Camera do you own?

Let us know in the comments:-

Mandy

 

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Are you ever hungry but don’t know what you want to eat?

I know that happens to me!

It can also happen with my photography, I want to go out shooting but I don’t know what I want to shoot, landscape, urban, close-up, family?

So when I’m in a rut like that then I tend to use one of these 3 tips to help me out of it:

1. Online Photo Sites

I’ll jump on Flickr or Pinterest and browse through their ‘explore’ or ‘what’s hot’ sections and just see what jumps off the screen at me.

I love looking at images as well as shooting them so this is an easy one for me. There’s lots of other sites besides these two and a lot of them have groups/communities you can join. Google+ has a great photography community as well…

2. The best camera is the one you have with you

I’ll always have a camera on me whenever I go out, whether I’m dropping the kids at school or going to the shops, something will catch my eye and I’ll take a quick shot.

Now don’t have visions of me walking down the street with a huge rucksack trying to go in the greengrocers? There’s nothing wrong with camera phones, in fact these days I think there’re just as good as a point and shoot, and I always have my phone on me! (killed 2 birds with 1 stone!).

3. Inspiration folder

I tend to pick things up as I go along from magazines, newspapers, postcards etc… that catch my eye, and put them altogether in a folder so I can look through them for inspiration when I’m stuck (ok, they might not be in a folder and they might be stuffed in my bookcase, but you know what I mean!).

This is also a great way of realising what kind of photography you like if you’re not sure. Look through what you’ve cut out, is there a recurring theme like a lot of animals, or landscapes, buildings, night shots, close ups etc…

Do you have other ways you get your inspirational juices flowing??? Let us know in the comments below…

Mandy

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How did you get into Photography?

If it’s because you love gadgets, or because you love to capture the image that you see, or you like recording memories, or you like the flexibility of post processing?

Whatever the reason is, I want to know – How did you get into Photography?

I’ll go first:

I got into photography in the days of film and Kodak cameras! (yes I’m that old!)

When the click of the shutter was the beginning and end of the image, and the only thing left was to wait for the photos to come back from the developers to see what I’d got…

But mainly I got into photography because I love to capture the scene in front of me, that moment in time and the memories I associate with it.

What excites me about Photography now?

What I love about photography now is that anybody can do it. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got a Pro DSLR or a camera on your phone, it is sooooo easy for anybody to take photos and share them.

Now the digital age is here, we can step beyond the click of the shutter and start imagining and creating (I love creating!) so much more….

Yes, I love gadgets, but pressing the shutter now is the start of the image not the end, and it’s that that excites me about photography now. It opens doors to new types of photography like HDR, timelapse, panoramas etc. And with post processing I can take my images to another level…

Just like the image at the top of this post, this is one of my favourite images at the moment.

Why?

Because of the where, when and the how!

So I’m thankful

That I have the opportunity to experiment and create (there I go again!) and I’m not trying to build a darkroom in the garden shed!

And because the surge in popularity for this kind of photography means that it’s no longer only for those few that can afford darkrooms or for professionals only. I think we have a very bright future with photography…

Why am I telling you this?

Because for me it’s good to remember why I got into photography and why I get excited by it, it helps to keep it fresh.

So now it’s your turn…

How did you get into photography? Tell me by sharing in the comments below….

Mandy

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It’s been a while…

I didn’t want to just start posting again and ignore my lack of activity…

Although it’s no excuse I have been very busy since last year with Google Business Photos, I’ve been through my training, certification process and I’m now a fully fledged Google Trusted Photographer (even got a t-shirt to prove it!).

Google Business Photos is a program for businesses which enables them to have a 360 virtual tour done of inside their business, using the same technology as Street View (but not the car lol!).

I think it’s great because it’s the next natural evolution of street view to me. I know if I’m checking somewhere out on Street View to go on holiday, and I find an interesting shop then it’d be cool to have a look inside before I go, yeah? Well that’s what Google Business Photos lets you do! So while your surfing the interwebs and you see something you like, look for a ‘see inside’ box (if they’ve had the photos done… hint hint) and you’re away. Maybe I’m nosey, but I think it’s a great way to find some hidden gems and that’s why I got involved with it.

Anyway, as you can see I’ve not just been slacking off, I’ve also been busy planning some good stuff for the Photographer blog and you my readers which I’m very excited about!

Here’s some of what I’ve got in store:

First off, I’m going to be posting easy to understand and use photography tips once a week on a Thursday (yes I know it’s Friday!), but at least you’ll know when to expect tips in future.

Then there’s a new design on it’s way (really soon) that’ll make it easier to find past tips and useful information.

Also a more in depth and comprehensive look at the basics of photography for beginners.

And the Photographer blog newsletter will be getting an update (subscribe so you don’t miss out if you haven’t already!)

That’s enough for now…… I’m looking forward to next week!

Mandy

 

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