Street Photography Workshop in Brighton

The next Street Photography course on Saturday 17th January 2015 has sold out, but I have another on 7th March 2015 (would make a great Christmas present). I’ve created a voucher that can be given as a gift.

I’ve been taking pictures on the streets of Brighton for years. People are my thing, whether candid or street portraits, although sometimes just colours, lines or strong compositions are enough to catch my eye. I have a reputation for coming back with something a bit different whatever the event and I’ll be talking about that.

I take inspiration from many photographers, some contemporary street photographers like Matt Stewart and David Gibson, some photographers who just take simply stunning black and white images like Alain Laboile. I also have my old favorites like Elliott ErwittSergio Larraín and Bruce Gilden. The list is too long to mention here, I’ll leave that for another post.

Bournemouth Oceanarium

Bournemouth Oceanarium – click to purchase image

The day will begin at Silicon Beach Training just minutes from Brighton railway station, where we’ll look at some images, and discuss what makes them great. I’ll talk about the kinds of things to look for. Great images are everywhere. We’ll start thinking about the relationships between people. things and the environment around them. Tricks for creating dynamic compositions and interesting viewpoints. I’ll keep it brief and to the point, I want to inspire you but having been in the training business for 15 years, and been on so many workshops I’ve lost count, I know that the best way to learn is by doing, so not too long, we have all day to chat, I want you to feel energised and to have fun.

We’ll have lunch together in Brighton, it’ll be somewhere nice but simple (you will need to pay for your own lunch but I’ll book the tables and see if I can negotiate a good rate).

If you need advice of where to stay we know all the best places.

Arles Photo Booth

Arles Photo Booth – click to buy image


More shooting after lunch and then back to Silicon Beach Training to review your work. We have enough computers here for everyone with Photoshop and Lightroom, although I almost exclusively use Lightroom for my images now. If you have a laptop and wish to download your images on that ready to take home that’s OK too. I will show you all some of my killer black and white conversion techniques to get really punchy images, as well as some colour tricks I’ve picked up. The rooms are secure so you can leave any kit you don’t want to carry around with you.

Exhibition at the Archbishop's Palace les rencontres des arles

Exhibition at the Archbishop’s Palace les rencontres des arles – click to purchase image

I‘m only going to take on a maximum of 8 people, because I want time to talk to you all during the day. I’ve only just mentioned this workshop on social media so far and have taken bookings in the first few hours, so if you are really interested get back to me quickly. I will, though, be running more of these in the future.

So fill out the contact form if you would like to book and I’ll send you more details, the day is £125.

The workshop is suitable for all abilities and ages. I won’t cover how to use the settings on your camera in the morning brief because many of you will already know. However I will be available to answer any question all day. Any camera will do, I get some of my best shots on my compact. I still go on workshops for fun and I’ve been taking images for decades!


Winning Photography Competitions

I know Iv’e been tweeting, facebooking and google plussing like a trojan about my recent win. My apologies but I do have another reason other than being chuffed to bits.

Entering competitions, and winning them is great for your profile as a photographer.  It gets your images seen by new people, not just your followers and friends. It gives you something to talk about on your blog and social networks. It gets you talked about, shared and mentioned. It gives buyers the confidence that you are good at what you do.

So yes, I’m going to mention it again, sorry, but it’s relevant:)


RHS Photographer of the year

foxgloves and bee RHS Photographer of the year 2014

foxgloves and bee RHS Photographer of the year 2014  – click to purchase image


One month when searching for photography competitions that were ending soon this one came up. Now and again I search for “Photography Competition (put month) 2014” to find current competitions. At first I didn’t think I had anything good enough or appropriate for the theme. It’s important to choose something that really fits the theme, don’t try and squeeze an ambiguous square peg into  a round hole. Then I remembered the foxgloves image. It ticked all the boxes to be a contender, it was a good quality image and it would stand out, few garden images are taken this way, most being macro and few use flash.

It was important to make a reasonably objective decision as to wether your image a chance when there is an entry fee. I only pay to enter after careful consideration otherwise it could become an expensive hobby rather than a means to get exposure, kit or cash.

How can you tell which are the best images to enter?

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Social Media Engagement and Influence for Photographers

More musings to share about marketing for photographers as I write more chapters of the book Marketing for Photographers (a work in progress).

“Social Media marketing is all about engagement”

You’ll hear these words over and over until you’re blue in the face. It’s obvious isn’t it? The clue is in the phrase “SOCIAL media”. Many articles are written on the subject as if it’s a revelation, without really giving any practical advice on how to become more engaged online, or how to find out what content attracts the most engagement from others.

To start with, before I get all conversational and start telling stories, here’s a brief list of useful tips. Some of these you have probably read somewhere, and hopefully, some new ideas. They form sound, practical advice, and if nothing else, will act as a reminder for those who are already ahead in the social media engagement arena.

Preparing for Brighton Pride

Preparing for Brighton Pride – click to purchase image

  1. Pick vibrant and relevant communities to join on Google+, Facebook, and LinkedIn and contribute your own material as well as joining in the conversations posted by others in the group.
  2. Stay focused on your niche or profession, people will want to follow and engage with you because you are an expert in a particular area.
  3. Monitor your brand or your name; there are various tools that will do this for you. If someone mentions you, try and respond.
  4. Regularly respond to comments on your own pages, you don’t have to be tied to your computer, just drop by and respond when you can.
  5. If someone comments on your work or shares your work then thank them regularly. This can be tricky if you get popular.
    Depending on how many followers you have, you may not be able to do this for every share or comment. Even a quick like of a Google+ or Facebook comment is better than nothing, it acknowledges the people who respond to your work. (I know there are many people who regularly like and comment on my work and don’t get a response, I’m sorry, I’m working on it, sometimes I make a mental note of the regulars and give them an occasional personal thank you in the comments)
  6. Ask lots of questions when you are sharing your own content and when you find interesting content or comments from others.
  7. Do seek out the influencers that inspire you and try and strike up conversations. You can do this by saying something thoughtful on their posts or asking them intelligent questions.

A great way to get someone’s attention is to read all you can about them, find out what makes them tick, then write your own spin on the subject inviting them to comment or asking them for a quote before you publish. The more you find out the better, remember you are trying to establish real relationships, the more you have in common the better, the more personal your approach the better. We are not talking bunny boiler here, but if someone has just posted about an amazing holiday, you could bring that into the conversation. If they have a grievance about something that you share, it can provide a good way to connect.

You can connect with me on Google+ Facebook Instagram Twitter Flickr and LinkedIn


Story from Marketeer Extraordinaire Dave Trott

Here’s a story that I love. I heard it from creative marketer Dave Trott famous for many memorable TV ad campaigns over the last few decades. My older UK friends might remember  “‘Ello Tosh, got a Toshiba?” or “Ariston and on and on” or “Lipsmackin’ thirstquenchin’ acetastin’ motivatin’ goodbuzzin’ cooltalkin’ highwalkin’ fastlivin’ evergivin’ coolfizzin’ Pepsi”. Younger readers might wonder what the hell I’m on about. Anyway here is one of the stories he told when I heard him speak. It has stuck in my mind and at the time I thought about how relevant it was to social and digital marketing today.

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Photography, the Internet, Writing, Social Media and Me

Life was simpler before the Internet. Exchanges made and relationships built depended on whom you met, phoned or wrote to. Research was done in a library, travelling, talking and experimenting. You bought in shops or catalogues.

Photographers marketed themselves in print, the yellow pages, and word of mouth. Photo libraries consisted of slides and negatives. There were fewer photographers then.

The affordable digital SLR changed everything. Semi Pro’s rose up and outnumbered the elite. The digital image is now reproducible, cheap and in abundance. The problem that faces photographers is how to get noticed; the problem for image buyers is finding the greatest images in a disorganised and growing mass of choices. There is still ‘an elite’; it’s just even harder to become one amidst all the noise.

Of course price matters, to both the buyer and the seller. Well established photographers, who’s names are well known, can still command a good commission for a job. If your name is big enough, you are a recognised artist; you can command a high price for your artwork. Unless you are famous though, nobody is going to pay a high price for your work if they can get it elsewhere for much less. There are many photographers for whom publication itself is reward enough.

Eric Kessels 24 hours of photos

Eric Kessels’ installation at 2013 Rencontres d’Arles photo festival. 24HRS of Photos. A room drowning in photographs. The cascade of 35mm prints is representative of all the photos uploaded to social media sites during 24 hours

News and documentary photographers have probably been hardest hit by the digital transition.  It’s about being in the right place at the right time, getting a shot that will convey emotion as well as recording an event. The technical quality of the image and the experience of the photographer however has become less relevant, and the strongest images can come from anyone with a mobile phone, it’s not necessarily about talent or experience, sometimes it’s luck. Those who have dedicated their lives to seeing and catching the perfect frame that encapsulates an emotion or the environment are loosing their revenue to the lucky shot brigade.

Mobile photography is becoming an industry in itself. Not only that, but because people are taking billions of images and seeing so many (a video on YouTube suggests there are 348 524 706 340 and these figures are already over a year old) people who are becoming better photographers. Photography has reached the masses and people are devouring it.

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SEO for Images using Robin on Ivy

This post started as a little experiment in SEO for images, it’s ended up more of a post about illegal image use, but you’ll understand the purpose of it by the end, I think!. Using this image of a robin in my garden, as it’s nearly Christmas), I have optimised the title, filename and content of the post  to include the words Robin on Ivy in an attempt to get it ranked high in Google search results for the query “Robin on Ivy”.  For the purpose of this exercise you will need to search including the speach marks otherwise you’ll end up with images about batman rather then garden birds!

robin on ivy

Click this image to buy prints or downloads, cards are available on redbubble

I started by searching for the search term “Robin on Ivy” and noticed some rather alarming things.

This is an image that I uploaded to istock images some years ago whilst dabbling in stock images. I only sold a few and my credits were not enough to get paid when they switched systems, so I lost all my credit!

Since then Getty bought iStock and has also changed the way they do business with third party suppliers. To my surprise, the second highest position for my image is from a site called (the first being my image on redbubble where I have sold a few cards) .

So now, simply from uploading to iStock, the image is now being sold by Getty and I’m not sure I’m happy about that, so after this experiment is over I will delete my iStock account and will update you on how long it takes to get my image down form the other sites.

There is no simple way to delete an iStock account so be wary, I’ve just emailed them using their form, agin I’ll probably write about this later. Even deactivating images is a struggle, I cannot find the answers on the web so if anyone knows how to do this please let me know in the comments.

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Google Plus and Photography – Chasing your themes

Some people don’t get on with Google+. They don’t see the point of it and find it harder to engage with people than when using Facebook or Twitter.

Google+ is more about communities than friends, there are many strong communities and very influential individuals that you could use to your advantage in marketing.

The trick with google+ is to post only your very best images on a regular basis and share them with communities that have an interest in your style of work. Finally, try and make some influential connections, so when you have something important to say you are more likely to get your message spread quickly.

Of course it is a global audience, if your business is local only it may be of less interest. Even so, if you have a photography business listed in Google Local (formerly Google Places) and it is associated with a strong Google+ profile, you will be much more visible in the search engine results.

I find Google + the easiest social network to use as a photographer. It’s not perfect, organising your photos could be a lot simpler, but the look and feel of the interface is far smoother and less cluttered than Facebook. It’s a magnet for photographers of all levels from around the world.

It’s no coincidence that Photographers Trey Ratcliff, Thomas Hanks and Tom Anderson hold positions 6, 7, and 8 of the most followed people on Google+ .

I know technically Tom Anderson is best known as the founder of MySpace but  photography is now his passion – look at his profile to see. If you haven’t already got a Google Plus account it’s daunting to begin with,  you have Trey with just under 5 million followers to compete with!

Of course it’s doubtful that anyone starting now will be able to compete with the universal follower magnets, but there is a space somewhere in the middle, for us mere mortals to build an audience for our work. I’d like to share with you a simple way to speed up the process to find friends and influence people 🙂

Museum Rome, Italy

Posted up today for themes #WomenWednesday, #hqspmonochrome, #hqspnonnaturephotos , #allthingsmonochrome , #streetphotography and #rawstreetphotography

I’ve watched people successfully gain influence and gather followers using circle sharing, competitions, themes and hashtags.

Here I’m going to focus on themes. Themes often have the added bonus that the curators (very influential people) will choose their favourites and reshare the images on the theme page itself, then you attract many more followers interested in your work. Also, as you are connecting to the groups who share your interests as a photographer, you will probably find that the quality of the comments you receive will improve.

The Hub of a theme is usually a Google+ Page or a Community.  To post photographs to most themes you need to tag an image with:

  1. A link to The Google+ Theme Page or Community
  2. The curators of the Theme
  3. The Theme hashtag
*NOTE: Remember to put all of the pages and curators into your circles – I have a circle called Themes and a circle called curators to keep them tidy.

There is a brilliant resource available that lists most of the popular themes and provides you with statistics, information and cut and paste code for your posts including all the essential tags and links.

I have used some of my favourite themes as examples but I suggest you make your own list using the themes listed on the resource I have linked to above.

The really annoying thing on Google+ is that when you cut and paste these tags from one Google+ post to another the links all disappear.  However if you cut and paste the Google+ unique ID number for each page or person, and paste it into a post, the link will be created.

That is why the theme listing site above is so useful, and why creating your own popular cut and paste tags according to your photographic style will save your hours in the long run.

*NOTE: Remember do not cut and paste from one post to another in Google+ as all of your people and page tags will disappear. Cut and paste from your own list like the one I have made below.

If you really want to build your follower numbers up fast, consider putting yourself forward as a curator. I imagine it is quite time consuming, which is why I haven’t done it myself, however I’m sure it’s a great way to get followers. The resource link I provided above gives details of theme pages that are looking for curators.

Here’s the list, and if you want more top tips and you like my images you can circle me here.

Daily Google+ Themes

One sure way to attract attention is to post your very best images regularly. The daily themes are a good way to keep a steady flow of images appearing on your page. They are popular so you can pick up quite a few views using the hashtag.

Monday Themes

Monochorome Monday
For +100721197069868019681 curated by +117470753717431753548 +110041558267751969861 +116985892549750076024 +102171842495058318978 +107343380917808930971 +100730482429607730997 #MonochromeMonday

Shoes Monday
For +103408014527622914546 curated by +106132563999059898886 +104361409217313730040 #ShoesMonday

Leading Lines Monday
For +106738248584813417297 curated by +108127039931400009413 +104355888553035365377 +108092188319505624535 +114830458019096176470 +113111857754202208081 +100784425740559013107 #leadinglinesmonday


Tuesday Themes

My Town Tuesday
For +100503825046812729376 curated by +114127684466692817416 +116042504805817667580 #mytowntuesday

Portrait Tuesday
For +110121585149280412897 curated by +100081010984768669358 +116678377243407600427 #PortraitTuesday

Cuban Woman in Paris

One for #PortraitTuesday

Transport Tuesday
For +108674867211728423383 curated by +111112809838472063992 +113635217936692280136 +108258998494605140446 +116843025732061565320 #TransportTuesday


Wednesday Themes

Wide Angle Wednesday
For +113413820629101434595 curated by +107916932044263516432 #WideAngleWednesday

Weather Wednesday
For +112404978094795040756 curated by +111940817266286694912 #WeatherWednesday

Wet Wednesday
For +105837174297260653678 curated by +104100048721044197927 #WetWednesday


Thursday Themes

Urban Thursday
For +100677528159245643709 curated by +105477838837461147904 #urbanthursday

Coastal Thursday
For +111400732361417799841 curated by +102444210972227492079 +101810868794261263831 #CoastalThursday

In Motion Thursday
For +106417709946558982641 curated by +103776299476527190352 #InMotionThursdays


Friday themes

Feet Friday
For +108574845125888832419 curated by +107926371512942521555 #FeetFriday

Colours on Friday
For +101895570915665777018 curated by +110027747567778716234 +101697458106330852210 #ColorsOnFriday

Fido Friday
For +111700522129731539879 curated by +105852782594022510198 +104962347070667053810 +100275369366064591159 +114839663135720829360 #FidoFriday


Saturday themes

For +109065685588567617650 curated by +109134942366253016489 #SilhouetteSaturday

Street Life Saturdays
 For +106162924928341362126 curated by +101006001190131292549

Sunday themes

My City Sunday
For +110904442002274084798 curated by +116905863525318361853 +111029390442511467115 MyCitySunday

For +108038105692242016215 curated by +108838388628190977623 +112941758576332332211 #ShadowsOnSunday


Black and White Themes

I love Monochrome, these themes are really popular on Google+

10000 Photographers BW Monochrome
For +118354348104191320538 curated by +117000139571713536948 +105549797352796189905 #10000photographersBWmonochrome

All Things Monochrome
For +104488912244914098950 curated by +103236949470535942612 +102630587810059958311
+103905243558297332495, +116009988727944699627 #allthingsblackandwhite #allthingsmonochrome

HQSP Monochrome
For +104112931232906076951 curated by +111892763335178073075 +110336976038750891860 #hqspmonochrome

Monochrome Arty Club
For +100063075762256579052 curated by +108019662279165160680 +115665147773049983469 +105101694711744871391 +103197072119870191855 +102550939011914482302 #monochromeartyclub

Street Photography Themes

For +117667139809211458332  #StreetPics

For +113332593582232559763 curated by +111395336413321899601 +103729298155391133062 #streetphotography

RAW Street Photography
For +115761369087241460953 #rawstreetphotography

Urban Snap
For +114855977826297290745 curated by +103650703836816496431 +109208819976630988946 #UrbanSnap


Really Popular General Themes

Pixel World
For +111030772181610401482 curated by  +118301062646383652931 #pixelworld

For +113338852684140641535 curated by +102921966230520584004 #creativephotos

10000 Photographers around the World
For +110538600381916983600 curated by +117000139571713536948 #10000photographersaroundtheworld

HQSP Urban & Street Photos
For +102873089149603762163 curated by +101997782486428462734 +105869820195207598778 +116560541114804305108 #hqspurbanstreetphotos

100 Strangers Project
+111291841020596011976  curated by  +107213813872748015663 +117939436980939541352 +109895985415340120002 #100Strangers

HQSP Portraits
+11645570634503681853 curated by  +114654114514872937512 #hqspportraits

Other Themes I Like

Low Angle Photography
For +118304888464001365482 curated by +114441204367012264249

Magic of Light
For #MagicOfLight #themagicoflight +105228416043631582555 by +115924865466302265389 +106901350204433474063 +103745203309160971155

HQSP Landscape
For #HQSP Landscape  +100379827397924071303 by +109079753818826549254 +116160296886796853429 +111507734943250706775 +117724447617982506837 +112898717782421875814 +110441510987025503659 +112055620905339459149  +115530531530181491807 +106625389810654522392

Stunning Moment
#StunningMoment +106314743058506488325 by +101159726845862944750 +108102879464925551155

#BTPLandscapePro +116416755205215746848 +116501742697641301903 +113408942588672463601 +110473080845421674567

Photographers Guide to Pinterest

It took me a while to get used to Pinterest. As with all social networks, we discover  how we wish to interact with it and with others by playing and using. We learn by seeing what works and what doesn’t, whether our end goals are social, commercial, creative or all three.


I have an “about life” board on pinterest. I update it often. If you like the images above click the image and follow the board. Main image here by Kasia Krynska from left to right 1/ Stanley Kubrick, 2/ Stanley Kubrick, 3/ Joel Meyerowitz, 4/ Me


Whilst I’m sure there is a lot yet to learn and discover, I’m sharing with you what I consider to be the best advice. Please feel free to share any genius tips you may have tucked up your sleeves in the comments section.

Pinterest for Photographers

  1. Keep things tidy.
  2. Build your boards/categories and their titles carefully. Make sue your board title actually describes what you share on the board.
  3. Choose who you follow carefully, don’t just randomly follow the interests that Pinterest offer you when you sign up, you’ll be forever un-following the stuff you are not interested in seeing.
  4. Be on the look out for other great curators. If you like 90% of what they post then follow them or selected boards of theirs.
  5. Likewise if images that are just not your thing keep appearing in your stream, trace them back to origin and unfollow the person or board.
  6. The sooner you get your stream finely tuned, the easier and more pleasurable it becomes just scrolling through a creative feast and sharing the best morsels.
  7. Update often but not all at once!
  8. Post only the best of others
  9. Post the VERY best of your images, be selective.
  10. Establish yourself as curator extraordinaire, in the webby mess of imagery, people will love you if you have an eye for a killer image and do their sifting for them. Unlike Google, you are not a machine; it is your personality, humor and style that count.
  11. Use Pinterest as a clippings library for articles that you find really interesting as well as your own articles and create boards with well organised themes.
  12. Make sure your blog has a clearly findable Pinterest share buttons. (Unlike mine, I’m working on it but it effects other third party share widgets, annoying)
  13. Link up your other accounts to allow Pinterest to share your pins on them, you can choose which pins to share on accounts like twitter or Facebook.
  14. When your board is looking particularly good share a link to it from other networks.
  15. When you accept an invitation to post on someone’s board, think carefully, their board will appear on you page, does it really represent you?
  16. If you find a board with multiple curators that does fit  your idea of a good board than ask if you could be a curator.
  17. Use Pinterest to publicise your other social pages, pin from you blog, from Flickr, Redbubble, Instagram etc. Note that some networks do not allow pinning (tip: from flickr click ‘view all sizes’ and pin from there).
  18. Remember Pinterest is about curating and sharing. As a photographer you are your brand, if you constantly only promote your own brand (images) people will get bored.
  19. After a while you will see some of the same images doing the rounds, when you see something extraordinary on the web, then pin it, don’t just rely on repins, you want to be original. Do check that the original photographer is linked to and credited, and does not prohibit it.
  20. Don’t forget you can comment on other peoples posts, respond to comments on your  posts and you can message someone with the usual @ symbol

Taking pictures of Lewes Bonfire Night

I recently resurrected a post on Lewes bonfire night photography. One of my photo friends pointed out that the Lightroom info was out of date. When I reread the post I realised that my hit rate for nights such as these has improved since then! So I’m updating this post to include extra bits and pieces that you may find useful on the night. Of course using a tripod is the usual advice for night time low light conditions, but sometimes this just isn’t possible. On top of that your subjects are usually moving which makes it even harder to get a reasonable sharp shot. I think you need to accept a little softness and focus on capturing the light and drama of the night.

Lewes Bonfire Night Photograph

It is one of the most challenging of lighting conditions. There is very little light, except in small areas of the torches where it is burning bright, your camera simply cannot record detail in all of the areas of the image, it will burn out the fire and/or block in areas of dark. So what can you do?

First up the ISO

When you up the ISO (choose the biggest ISO numbers on your camera) there is a loss of quality, your image will become noisy. The extent of the noise at  a high ISO will depend on your camera. The latest high end SLRs do a great job of minimising noise, cheaper cameras will struggle. Either end of the scale you need to edit the noise out later using Photoshop or Lightroom.

The sliders in Lightroom are really easy to use (find them in the ‘Detail’ drop-down of the development menu) and you can experiment with colour and luminance sliders and the detail and contrast sliders until you think you have an acceptable amount of noise and an acceptable amount of detail. The clarity slider can help too, found in the ‘Basic’ drop-down to balance the softening effect that reducing noise can have.

When I am converting to Black and White, sometimes I reduce noise only a fraction and add grain. It can give the effect of a film grained silver print and the little grain disguises the noise.

Lewes Bonfire Night

What Aperture should I use?

In low light most photographers recommend a really fast lens. That means a lens that allows you to use the widest of apertures 1.8 for example. On bonfire night, when everything is moving I find it impossible to get the right bit in focus with an aperture this wide. If you manage to get someone standing still, waiting or preparing for something, and you have enough light to focus of the eyes of a person, you would probably get a great shot. On the whole though I find this aperture gives me such a small plane of focus in the image that most of my images end up not sharp in the right place. F4 is easier to handle, though you are loosing a lot of light and this will effect your shutter speed (making it slower and creating more motion blur). Another trick to help you here is to set your camera to underexpose, again the better the camera the more detail you will be able to recover in photoshop or lightroom later, and the less noise in your dark areas. It’s also worth noting that bonfire night images look better on the darker side, it’s dark and you are capturing the way the street and the people are catching the light so don’t be afraid to underexpose a little.

It’s a balancing act, you cant have the ideal ISO, aperture and shutter speed for the best quality image in these lighting conditions, there are going to have to be sacrifices.

Lewes Bonfire Night

What shutter speed should I use?

Your shutter is going to need to be open for longer to record the limited light here. With a super wide angle lens I can get away with 30th second sometimes, but I need to be close with a wide angle and this can be tricky as the crowds are quite thick and fierce. Try and find yourself on the outskirts of the action at times, sometimes, early on,  you can catch people preparing to march, an ideal opportunity to get in close and try shooting with a shutter speed of 60th or even 30th of a second.  With a longer lens you will probably need a faster speed of at least 60th of a sec and usually  more. If your camera or lens has image stabilisation, turn it on.

Lewes Bonfire Night

Bonfire night tips and tricks

  • Use RAW. Make sure you have your camera set to RAW before you go. With detail being lost because of the extremem lighting condition you need the best quality image your camera is capable of getting. It’s going to help when you are trying to recover detail later.
  • As mentioned before the outskirts of the action can provide better opportunities for people dressed up. It can be really difficult to get near enough for good people shots on the night.
  • Remember it’s light that we are short of here, so give yourself an advantage and choose a spot under a bright street lamp, or brightly lit shop window.
  • Try some shots from the ground if you can using the road or pavement to steady your camera, or find a street sign or bin or bollard to stabilise your camera.
  • When taking pictures of people on the move so try motor drive and shoot the movement. It is a bit hit and miss but you might come out with an ace.
  • You are unlikely to be able to retain the detail of the flames in every shot and get a reasonable enough exposure on the face, expose for the face and worry about the highlights later. You could fake a little fire detail later using a piece of fire from another frame, and place it on a layer above the burned out flame, reduce the opacity so that it’s barely there, nobody will notice!
  • Notice moments when a torch is lighting up a face, watch out for people lighting flares, chase the light and notice when a face is catching it, these will become the most effective portraits with the best detail and focus on the face.
  • Learn where all the buttons are on your camera that I’ve talked about above then practise adjusting them with your eyes closed. You’ll soo be able to play your camera in the dark. Alternatively take a little torch!

Marketing for photography in a social revolution

Everything changes. Technology advances at lightning speed changing the way we live and communicate. The art of photography has been irrevocably changed. There are the obvious changes in the way we capture and process images, and then there are the ways in which we view and share images.

When I was a darkroom photographer, I would dodge and burn and print. The only way that I could get my images seen was to hang them on the wall or get them published in magazines. It was really hard to get noticed, to get exposure. Now I have Flickr, Google+, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn and my own photography blog and website. I can get my images viewed by thousands in a very short space of time. I also have some control over how my images are indexed by the search engines, driving traffic to each of these accounts.

marketing for photographers

It’s time to look at the Photography industry in a different way

Photographers who cling onto the past, expecting to be able to earn large sums of money for one negative or slide are sadly disengaged from today’s market. Documentary and press photographers have been hard hit. Papers today can get cheap, and even free images, from members of the public for most news worthy events. It is true that the quality of images often suffers as a consequence and that many talented photographers are finding it harder and harder to make a living.

Then there is the stock image industry. Millions of people are uploading billions of images down-loadable, sometimes, for less than the cost of a cup of coffee. Does this mean the death of the photographic industry, not at all; it means a transformation of the industry. People can speculate about whether it’s good or bad, but that is not going to help photographers get ahead. The first online digital image sharing services, introducing the concept of micro-pricing, were developed by entrepreneurs who recognised that the boundaries between creators and users have disappeared.

The stock image game is still there to be played but it is tougher than ever before. You need some dedication, persistence and hard work to make any money out of it and even then that is often not enough.

Successful photographers need to understand and use different tools and platforms for marketing, and either sell more images for less money, or be so good at photography, social marketing and search engine optimisation that both their images and their services as a photographer get noticed.

Whilst traditional photographers may get satisfaction playing the blame game, calling the stock image industry to task about their unscrupulous licensing model. They may heave and sigh that amateurs call themselves professionals because they have bought themselves a great piece of kit and can click a shutter, but all of this is a waste of time. To survive as a photographer now means refocusing on what works right now. To get noticed as a photographer you will still need to be great at what you do to make any money out of your art. However, being good is no longer enough; you will need to learn new marketing skills, social media marketing, SEO (search engine optimisation) and content marketing.

Over the next few weeks and months I’ll be writing a series of articles on the subject. Sharing what I have learned from over a decade of digital marketing for Silicon Beach Training in Brighton. So keep coming back and follow me on  Facebook,  TwitterGoogle+Pinterest, and LinkedIn for more instalments.

What Digital Camera – My Camera – Micro Four-Thirds

I was asked if I would like to have my images published in “What Digital Camera” magazine. I told them I have a 1DS, and two micro four thirds camera the Panasonic  GF1 and GH2. They responded by saying that the micro four thirds models were probably of more interest to their readers. Oh dear I thought, I only use my micro for days out, family, walking the dog and short breaks. All of my ‘serious photography’ is done on the 1DS. Then there is the fact that, try though they might, micro four thirds cameras still do not produce the same quality as a mid to high range SLR. It was a challenge at first but being able to view by camera type in Lightroom made the task relatively easy, selecting the best from the GF1 and GH2.

I use Photoshop and Lightroom for editing. If you need to learn more about Photoshop then take a look at the Photoshop Training courses at Silicon Beach Training.

They chose to publish four of the images, one of my mum and one of my dog! It made me think of how easy it is to make images worth keeping from everyday situations, the ones when I have my small camera with me.

Here is the short-list of the images they picked from those I sent them. Below you will find the full editorial.

Andy and Filby - Newhaven Beach

Andy and Filby – Newhaven Beach


I have had a Canon 1Ds for five years now. I love the clarity and sharpness I get from it and it is still my weapon of choice when I’m going out for a serious shoot. With one additional lens and a flash unit, however, it’s like carrying a backpack full of concrete. A year and a half ago I invested in a little micro four-thirds camera the Panasonic GF1.

Children of the Desert - India

Children of the Desert – India

I have used it a lot, I’ve taken it with me for days out, dog walks, anytime really when I don’t want to be lumbered and weighed down. I have an ultra wide lens; I’ve always liked to shoot wide. It’s a 7-14mm which acts as a 14-28mm and I use this most of the time.

Filby on Mount Caburn - Ringmer

Filby on Mount Caburn – Ringmer

I’ve since upgraded to the GH2 mainly because the back screen broke almost as soon as I started using the GF1 and got progressively worse. The GH2 has a flip back screen, so I can keep it safely tucked away when I’m not using it.

old railway land lewes

Lewes River Ouse

Sometimes I miss the extra detail I get from my pro camera, and I miss the ability to crop hard. With a smaller sensor than the larger pro cameras it can lack detail in the highlights and shadows. Also the distortion of using such a wide lens is more pronounced than when using the wide angle for my pro camera. Having been spoiled with a pro camera I find the noise levels can be quite noticeable in low light. On the other hand I’ve got loads of images that I would have missed, just because I’ve had a camera on me, and with a bit of tweaking in Lightroom and sometimes Photoshop some missed detail can be recovered or sorted with a little cheating!

My Mum

My Mum

I love street photography and I often look at the work of Eric Kim who uses an Olympus Pen. I see blown out highlights and blocked in shadows but they just don’t seem to matter, the images have impact because they are real, because they have impact,  not because they have registered the most detail. Sometime I think that pro cameras have become so sophisticated that we get bogged down with perfectionism, just because it’s possible.

old railway land lewes

old railway land Lewes

My husband and I run Silicon Beach Training in Brighton and I use both the GH2 and the GF1 creating video for work. I must say the video quality is brilliant and, because they use facial recognition, they are in fact much superior to the Canon 5D.

Swanky Bar - City of London

Swanky Bar – City of London

If you need a little help with processing your images in Photoshop we provide brilliant Photoshop Courses for beginners and advanced, as well as SEO Training and Social Media Courses.

What Digital Camera - Left

What Digital Camera – Left



What Digital Camera - Right

What Digital Camera – Right