Everything you ever wanted to know about photography, but were afraid to ask.

Welcome to my Photography Blog

This blog is aimed at everything photography, and help you on your journey

DSLR Controls

Ever wondered what the controls on your DSLR camera do, now you can find out.

Canon or Nikon

So which should you buy Canon or Nikon, or neither?

Portfolio and Casting Call Websites

Sites to help you advance your photography.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

New Look Photography Website Launched

Hi all, huge thanks for the continued support of my photography blog.

As most of my regular readers my work as a photographer is for ever changing, one day shooting fashion the next landscape and location work. This being the case I decided to update my main photography website and in doing so incorporate my blog and website together.

What does this mean?

Simply, from today I will no longer be posting any new article on here, I will however be posting them over on my blog on my website. However Although I have integrated all the previous posts from my paint by Light blog (the one you are reading now) I have no plans of removing them from here. So if you have bookmarked them no need to change them.

New Photography Website

So now you know about my new website and blog, please go and check it out. Oh yes and don't forget to comment and share.


Thursday, 25 August 2016

How to Reduce Light Stops Entering Camera by Using F-Numbers

A few people have asked me about the correlation between the actual camera settings the F-Number on the camera and the actual available amount of light entering the camera or F-Stop, and how to know which F-Number to use to reduce the light by a certain amount of light.

So rather than try to write a description about the numbers I decide to draw up a chart.

Please feel free to download this chart for your own use, and if you do wish to share it, please credit me. Thanks

How to use the Chart

The chart is pretty simple to understand, along the top are 3 columns, starting with Full Stop, 1/2 Stop then 1/3 Stop, reading down each column you see the camera F Numbers. The gap between the F Numbers is the amount of light you are reducing or increasing into the camera.

Lets say you want to reduce the light by 1 Full Stop of light, simply look at the first column titled Full Stops and switching the F-Number on your camera between these settings will decrease or increase the amount of light accordingly. Using the second column and switching between these F-Numbers will reduce light by 1/2 Stop and finally switching between the F-Numbers in the 3rd column will reduce light by 1/3 Stop.

I hope this all makes sense, any questions just let me know in the comments.

Friday, 25 March 2016

What is the difference between TimeLapse and HyperLapse Photography?

After posting about doing some TimeLapse photography and my test shots, I had a few people ask me what is the difference between Timelapse and HyperLapse.

So I thought I would answer them in a post, so here goes.

I will start by briefly explaining what the two are in their own right, and hopefully you will be able to see the difference.

What is TimeLapse Photography?

I will start by showing you a simple example of a TimeLapse sequence

As you can see the movement in this shot is done by the lapsing of time, hence the name TimeLapse. Simply put in a TimeLapse shot the camera position is fixed and a shot is taken at set intervals, during each interval time passes, which means when the next shot is taken the scene has changed.

These shots are then stitched together into a moving format, gif, movie or similar.

What is HyperLapse Photography?

Once again I will show you an example of a HyperLapse sequence

This time rather than the camera remaining in a fixed position, the shot is taken by the camera which is then moved between each shot, hence the name HyperLapse. So simply put we get the effect by having a moving camera position and a shot taken at each position, each time the camera is moved to a new position a new shot is taken, (at each shot the camera is fixed and doesn't move) after each the camera is moved and physical distance has passed, so the next time the shot is taken the scene has changed.

Again these shots are then stitched together into a moving format, gif, movie or similar.

So what is the difference between TimeLapse and HyperLapse?

Now you should already know the difference by to put it simple the difference is

1. Time-lapse photography allows time to pass between each shot, whilst the camera remains fixed.
2. Hyper-lapse photography allows distance to pass between each shot, the camera moves between each shot, but is fixed at the time of taking the shot, after all we are not making a movie here.


TimeLapse is often also referred to as Time-lapse or Time Lapse Photography, as HyperLapse is often referred to as Hyper-lapse or Hyper Lapse Photography.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Experimenting with Steel Wool Photography

As its that time of year again, and the nights are drawing in and the clocks have changed. I thought I would have a bit of a play with something I have never tried before. Shooting with long exposure steel wool, and I think the results for my first try are not too bad.

I will play around with it a bit more and add my creative spark (lol) to it and I know its something I am going to love playing around with.

So here are my first few attempts

Not too bad for my first attempt.

But a few works of caution.

  1. Always wear clothing that covers all your body, including a hat and gloves. The sparks can get really hot.
  2. Do your shots in a large area: The sparks fly a lot further than you think, and if you get some bit of steel flying off you could have a fire on your hands
  3. Carry a fire extinguisher or have some method to tackle fires.
So I will continue to play with this and post back my shots.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Why your Mobile Phone is not as good as a Real Camera

Being the photographer that I am, I get a lot of people asking me what type of camera they should get, and more often in todays climate, why should they even buy a camera at all. Especially when their mobile phone has a camera and it has a massive? 21 mega pixels, where as a DSLR may only have 16 mega pixels.

On the face of it, you may think they are right. Surely having 21 mega pixles or 21 million pixels is better than only having 16 mega pixels or 16 million pixels!!

The answer is a very simple NO!!

The problem is with the two main elements that are the basis of photography and these are light and drawing as in the word itself.

Photo (light) graphy (drawing)

So having a good quality photograph requires that you maximise the elements involved to produce the best results.


In order to get a good photograph you need the right amount of hitting the sensor (more on the sensor in a bit). This means having a lens that allows the most light in so it can create your photo. This is where one of the mistakes people make in comparing mobile phones with actual cameras comes in and that is the F Number of the lens (check out my article about F Numbers).

In most cases in order to maximise the light into the lens you need a large aperture and a fast lens, this usually takes the form of a lens with a low F Number something like an f/2.8 on the new iPhone 6s. So you will be thinking, thats great my new iPhone has the same F Number as a more expensive camera lens, so why do I need to buy a camera.

Simple - Not all lens are the physically the same size.

As you can see from the diagram above, the F Numbers on the mobile phone cameras can be the same as those on a DSLR camera, However as you can clearly see the actual lens opening (aperture)  is different. Put simply the DSLR lens has a larger diameter and as such even set to the same F Number will allow a lot more light in and therefore a lot more lights hits the sensor.

In simple terms fully open the lens on your mobile will be a few millimetres maximum, where as fully open the lens on a DSLR will be a few centimetres. (this is also why some lens can allow more light to enter compared to a faster lens at the lower F Number)


The next important element in taking a good photograph is the drawing (graphy) or information stored during exposure.

This leads to one of the biggest mistakes in comparing mobile phone cameras and DSLR cameras, and that is mega pixels.

A mega pixels is simple an area of 1 million pixels that captures the information during exposure of a photography, so generally the more mega pixels the more details and the higher resolution the shot you will take.

This is where it gets interesting, not mega pixel is either the same quality or the same size. The sensors used in most modern mobile phones are way smaller than those used in modern DSLR cameras.

As you can see from the simple diagram above. If we take a 4 mega pixels mobile phone camera and compare it to a 4 mega pixel DSLR you can clearly see the size of each mega pixel is larger and in turn the size of the pixels inside are larger. So we get 4 million larger pixels in our DSLR as opposed to 4 million smaller ones in the mobile phone.

This means that we get more information stored and more detail in the photograph by the DSLR compared with a mobile phone.

In Closing

In modern day mobile phones and DSLR the technology has dramatically improved, this means it is possible to take decent photos on a mobile phone in low light, this is due to additional factors such as the actual sensor type and camera chips used in processing the photos. However, the same rules apply, no matter how much jiggery pokery you get from technology, the DSLR will always produce better photos.

However even the sensors in DSLR cameras are of a difference type and size, but more on that later.

Friday, 23 October 2015

What does the F Stand for in F Number and F Stop?

The F in F Number, F Ratio or F Stop stands for Focal Length. 

(it should be noted that in terms of F Stop the F can also just be Focal when viewing light not through a lens)

Focal length is simply the size of a lens or a given point on a tele-photo lens such as 50mm, 100mm, 300mm.

What are F Number / F Ratio and F Stop?

Although many people use the these to mean the same thing,  they are in fact different things all together. To put it simply they are.

F Number / F Ratio

F Number / F Ratio is simply the ratio of light entering the lens aperture to the focal length of the lens.

"The diameter of  the lens opening and the amount of light entering, expressed as a fraction of the focal length of the lens" Ansel Adams

For Example

A 300mm lens with an aperture diameter of 75mm has an F Number of  4 or f/4
Or 300mm / 75mm = 4

A 50mm lens with an aperture diameter of 25mm has an F Number of 2 of f/2
Or 50mm / 25mm = 2

So in order to gauge the F Number and the size of the aperture and available light, just divide the open aperture with the focal length of the lens.

As you can see from the diagram above, the larger the F Number the less light allowed to enter the lens and the more depth of field you get (more of the frame will be in focus and less Bokeh).

F Stop

A measurement of light, the current light level in your situation is always classed as 0, reducing the light level is known as stopping down, so if you decrease the amount of light by the same amount of light available, you have stopped the light down by 1.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Free Lightroom Presets

What are Lightroom Presets?

 As you will already know if you use photo editing software such as lightroom, getting the exact levels right to be able to make a photo look how you want can be tough, this is where presets come in. At the click a button you can make a shot more moody, more cheery, brighter, and any number of things. Here is a sample of some of the stuff you can do with presets.

the above samples show what can be done using presets, removing the guess work from how you want your shots to look.

Lightroom presets are a preset of areas which make your photo look a certain way, they can be anything from a certain exposure, certain levels, certain filters and everything in between.

Lightroom Presets let you make your photos look a certain way without all the trial and error, which in my experience can save you hours and hours, and as time is money, this is important.

Where can I get LightRoom Presets from?

There are tons of online resources for Lightroom Presets, some are paid and some are completely free. One of the best sites around, and where the above example is from, is Cole's Classroom, where you can download a set of Lightroom Presets completely free.