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.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

My Essential Kit

I thought I would mention some of the essential items I carry with me in my kit bag everywhere I go and I mean every shoot I go to these items apart from my Canon 7D and memory cards go with me.

UPDATE - I now also use a Canon 5D mk2 but all my other kit is the same.

Camera Bag - Lowepro Fastpack 350

I get asked this question alot, well apart from which camera do I use, what camera bag do I use.

Lowepro FastPack 350

The answer is simple I use a lowepro FastPack 350,  I find it lightweight and full of features such as useful side mesh pockets, huge top pocket and of course quick access to your camera, all wrapped up in a ruck sack style bag, with enough space to happily hold two lenses and 2 flash units, along with anything else you can or wish to carry. I have found that what ever I have wanted to carry this bag has been more than big and strong enough to cope.

This bag also has space for a laptop, killing several birds with one stone, so to speak.

Battery Grip

Battery Grip

I always have a battery grip attached to my camera, and although I use a non Canon grip it has worked without fail in some very harsh environements, from rain to sand, dust to darkness.

I find not only does the extra battery power make a big difference during longs shoot, as it holds two catteries as oppossed to one, but the additional features of the grip make using the camera a whole lot easier, as the extra side grip makes holding the camera on the side easier (for portraits) added with the extra shutter button makes picture taking a whole difference experience.

I also find that the extra weight added to the camera gives it better balance.

Remote Shutter Release Cable

Remote Shutter Release Cable
One of the other things I always keep in my kit bag is a remote shutter release, and whilst I have an infrared remote for my camera, I find the cabled version a whole lot better to use. I think the fact that I know it is always ready to use, no worry about batteries, sunlight or anything else, makes it a great piece of kit to keep about me at all times.

The main reason for keeping this on me is that you never know what kind of shtos you want to take, and in my view its better to "have and not need than need and not have".

Lens Pen

Lens Pen Cleaning Tool

The Lens Pen tool is such as god send and makes lens cleaning so easy, it is basically a little brush on one end and a cleaning pad on the other, it gets rid of marks on my lens way better than any cloth and the brush means I can easily remove dust, sand, dirt or any other dry stuff from my camera without damage.


The first thing to mention is that I always have a screw on UV filter attached to my lenses, as the UV filter does not have a great deal of effect to my shots, although it does absorb some UV light, it is a great way to protect your lens from getting scratched. After all its alot cheaper to replace the UV filter than it is to replace my lens.

Cokin P Filter Holder and Ring
I always have in my bag my Cokin P filter holder, like I said before the bag is more than big enough to carry all the little extras I may need, so I keep my Cokin filter holder and adapter ring there in case I heed it. I use this type of filter as it allows me to simply buy different sized adapter rings for my different lenses, instead of buying the same filter for each lens.

Cokin P Filter - ND Filter

This is because unlike screw on filters the cokin system has a lens ring attached to your lens, then the holder simply slides onto the holder then into that you can put an array of different filters as you can see from the above pictrue, the actual filters are all the same size, the only thing that changes is the adapter ring for the thread size of your lens.  Much cheaper than buying screw on filters for all my lenses.


Multi Tool
One of the most useful thing in my camera kit bag is my multi tool, it has come in handy so many times I just don't know how I would cope without it, so I recommend to anyone out there to carry a multi-tool in there kit bag.


Flash / Strobe
Although it is not always night time I always carry a flash, I just think you never know when you might need one, even on the brightest sunny days with the sun behind your subject you will need to light then at the front with something, and other than a reflector a flash is a great way to do this.


Flash / Strobe Gels
Gels are a really cool way to add that something extra to your shots, and as they are so light to carry keeping them with my flash in my kit bag does not add anything to the weight, but can add a whole lot to my shots.

As you can see in the picture above I use velcro dots to attach my gels to my flash, simply stick one on either side of the flash and one on each end of the gel.


Although I dont carry my tripod to ever shoot I do carry it alot and my chosen tripod is a Red Snapper tripod, and although these tripods get mixed reviews online I find it to be light enought carry, yet strong enough to hold the camera firmly.

For more info on Red Snapper Tripods check out http://www.redsnapperuk.com/

Ok thanks for reading about whats in my kit bag, so what do you have in your kit bag that you could not live without? answers please in the comments section.

Friday, 28 October 2011


As every good photographer will know the word photography actually means "writing with light" and this means that one of the most important things you can get right in order to get a great photograph is the lighting.

For an excellent video guide please check out this great series of tutorials by the Better Photos Academy

Lighting comes from two main sources ambient and artificial, and being able to control your lighting is the key to your photos being great rather than good.

Ambient Light
This is very simple to understand but difficult to master, ambient light is using the light from available light sources that occur naturally in your environment, this can be light from street lighting, light from the sun, the moon or anything else that is around that you do not have direct control over.
The simple fact that your do not have direct control over ambient light means that you have to use otherways to bring some form of control to the lighting.

Multi Purpose Reflector

The most common way to control ambient light is with a reflector / diffuser, this small or large piece of kit allows you to reflect the light to exactly where you want to, and some reflectors are multi purpose and have an in built diffuser which allows you to scatter the light more evenly across your subject.

A multi purpose reflector works usually in one of the following ways
  1. Directly reflects the light to where you want it, normally done using the silver side.
  2. Reflects the light but softens its colour, normally done using the white side.
  3. Reflect the slight and adds a gold / yellow tinge to it, normally done with the gold side
  4. Diffuses the light by softening it, normally done by using the internal part
  5. Remove light from your subject by absorbing it, normally done with the black side.
Without / With Reflector
As you can see from the above portrait sample shot the image on the left is dark in the front, whilst the image on the right has a nice even lighting

Now although a reflector is the most common tool used to control ambient lighting, you can pretty much use anything you like to get the desired effect, even closing curtains is a way to control ambient light in fact you can just play around with everday objects to give you the right lighting.

In Camera
Althought this may sound obvious the best way to play around with  ambient or available light is to change the camera setting, this may mean using a smaller or larger aperture or changing the shutter speed, by adjusting in camera setting you can also control directly the ambient light entering the camera to get the desired effect.
The simple rule of thumb is
  1. Slower shutter speed will let more light in / Faster shutter speed will let less light in
  2. Smaller aperture number = wider aperture which lets more light in
  3. Higher aperture number = smaller aperture which lets less light in
  4. Hgher ISO number will give lighter photos, but also add noise to your shots.
Note when shooting at slow shutter speeds remember to put your camera on a stable platform or tripod

Changing Shutter Speed - Long Exposure
As you can see in the example above by using a slower shutter speed the ambient light can be made to look really cool. So remember that the only limit is your imagination so go nuts.

Artificial Light

When time calls for it and the ambient or available light is insufficient for your needs there are two main choices when it comes to lighting your subject, flash / strobes and continuous lighting.

Flash / Strobes
A flash / strobes is the common term for a portable unit that provides light directly in connection with your camera shutter, these come in all shapes and sizes but have common features and functions which I am going to talk about here.

Ok I will start by giving you an over view of the most common function on modern flash units, I will start at the bottom left of the diagram and work clockwise.
On / Off Switch
This switch is used to turn on or off the flash unit, when switch on the flash will normally make a high pitched sound until it is ready to fire.
Flash Ready / Test
This button has two purposes the first is it will light up when the flash unit is ready for use, the second is that when it is lit up it can be pressed in order to test fire the flash.
Flash Zoom (optional)
This button is used when the flash in in manual mode to zoom or move the flash head inside the flash, this allows the flash to cover either a narrower area or a wider area.

Note Not all flash units are zoom units and have this function, also this option will be controlled by the flash when not in manual mode.
This is used to switch the flash mode, normally used to select between ETTL (auto) and manual modes.
This button is sometime labelled power and allows you to control the output level of the flash when in manual mode, most units support anything from full power to 1/16 of full power, someother units can step down a bit further to reduce the power up to 1/32 of full power.
Note - the measurement is a percentage of the full output, 1/1 being full power.
ISO (optional)
This allow the light sensitivity of the flash to be change as needed
Alert (optional)
This allows the noise and alerts on the flash to be alerted.
Back light
This turns on and off the flash back light, this is only available on flash units with an LCD screen.
ETTL - Evaluatitive Through The Lens

This indicates that the flash is operating is full auto mode and directly in sync with the camera, this mode is only supported by the flash being connected as follows.
  1. On the camera Hot Shoe connector
  2. Tethered to the Hot Shoe connector via a cord
  3. Connected to the camera via a wireless trigger that supports ETTL.
Note - ETTL simply means that any adjustments made to the camera will be automatically done tot he flash, such as focal length, etc.
Slave / Master Switch (optional)

This changes the flash from being either the main flash unit in the set to the slave unit, simply put if your flash has this option it can be remotely fired by other flash units, there will be a infrared sensor on yoru flash either the side or front that must be in the line of sight of other units. When the other flash unit fires this unit will also fire.
The above is only a guide to the flash units, most work in the same way, but will be laid out differently, but in essence the principles are the same for all.

Ok that concludes the basic workings of your flash, the other things to look for in your flash and to know about is as follows.

Guide Number - this is the effect distance your flash can cover when your camera ISO is set to 100, normally expressed in feet ie 48 feet.

Gels - these are attached to give the flash a colour light rather than the typical white light, if you look at reflector photo above you can see it is back lit in blue, this is done using a gel.

Flash Gels

Continuous Lighting

This is the form of lighting that is always on, it can come from a variety of sources, it is something to play around with and use what ever you have around to light your subject, some of the more common continuous light sources are
  1. Purpose built continuous lights, unlike stobes these do not cycle with your camera.
  2. torch
  3. Anything else you like that gives off light.
Playing around with lighting
The shot above shows use of other forms of continuous lighting, again it is only limited by your imagination.

Most Common Photography Terms

Ok so I have given a little insight into how to mount your lens and what its buttons do, I am also going to give you an quick overview of the most common terms you will hear in connection to photography. Dont worry its not going to be too indepth or technical and definately not going to go on for ever, its just a simple guide to help you with you photography success.

And before you start go saying "what about this and what about that", this page is only meant to give the most common terms you will encounter when starting and working in advertising, fashion, editorial or commercial photography. It is not meant to be a full list of every lens type or every photography term on the planet.

The first thing to remember is the DSLR standard for Digital Single Lens Reflex, as is there is a single motion in the lens to take the shot, and its digital. This differs from how cameras in your mobile phone work, such as your iPhone, although it is still possible to take some great photos or movies on your mobile

DSLR Camera Lens Terms


This is a common term used to simply mean the lens, this comes from the simply fact that lenses contain glass and the better lens you use the better glass it has inside.

 Lens Speed

This is one of the most common terms you will hear about lenses and at first hearing you assume it must be to do with the speed a lens can take a photo. Wrong.

Lens speed is the term used to indicate how much light gets into the lens via the aperture, the larger the aperture the fast the lens. For example a 2.8 lens is faster than a 4.0 lens as it has a larger aperture opening to let more light in.

Generally lenses classed as fast are aperture values 2.8 and lower.


Thought mentioning this made sense after the lens speed thing above. When discussing the aperture we are talking about how open the lens gets and how much light is allowed to get into the camera.

This is a little confusing as we talk about higher aperture, which means a larger lens opening but in actual fact the aperture value will be less, as 2.8 is a faster more open aperture than 4.0. Simply put the lower the number the more light enters the camera and the faster the lense.

Aperture values are expressed as f numbers such as f2.8, this is because the aperture value is actually a fraction of the focal length of the lens. (not going to bore you with maths)

So just remember smaller aperture value or f number means faster lens and more light entering the camera.

Focal Length

This is normally expressed in mm such as 70-200mm lens for example and is simply how far the lens will zoom in and out.

Lens Types

Telephoto / Zoom lens

Lenses that do not have a fixed focal length, this lens can be zoomed in and out.

Prime Lens

Lenses that have a fixed focal length, typically used in portrait photography. This lens does not move and cannot be zoomed in or out.

Wide Angle Lens

A lens which can capture a wider field of view, simply it can show you more of the scene when at its widest setting typically 28mm or lower.

Tilt and Shift

This is a type of lens that can shoot a photograph with a single area in focus but the rest of the image slightly out of focus

Useful Photography Terms
F Stop

This is an expression of the amount of given light falling onto a subject, typically for each number the light is reduced by 1.

NOTE the f numbers used to describe the aperture of a lens are not the same are F Stop numbers used to describe the amount of light.

Crop Sensor

This is the terms used when a DSLR camera has a sensor size less than that of a 35mm film frame, typically expressed in terms of numbers such as 1.6 which is the crop factor compared to a full frame.

Full Frame

This is the term used when a camera has a sensor the same size of that of a 35mm film frame

Medium Format

This is a term used for a camera which is capable of taking shots that can be printed at a large size and that have a sensor larger than a standard 35mm film frame

Large Format

This is the terms used for cameras than can take photos that can be printed at 1m x 1m or large, this size is commonly used when selling your shots for use in large billboard or posters.

Something used to reflect light onto or away from your subject.


Attachments to the lens to change available light, add effects and many other things. They normally come in either screw on or holder types, filters can be used to create some great shots and add something to your shots that you would normally do in Photoshop. For an example of what you can do with and without filters I recommend this EBook series

Stock Photos / Stock Photography

This is the art of taking a photo that has a multitude of uses, and is normally sold to a Stock Agency to be resold. Images that are Stock as things like a picture of a person reading, something ona  desk or anything else that is generic in nature. For a bit for on this and how to make a living out of Stock Photo check out this great EBook by Nick Stubbs

Why Buy a DSLR?

Over the last 10 years camera have come on in leaps and bounds, first digital then more and more megapixels and now with consumer cameras which cost under £200 having more mega pixels than some professional DSLRs, alot of people are wondering why do you need to buy a professional DSLR if you get the same results with a consumer level camera.

Now there are many issues to consider when buying a camera and here are just a few of them
What is the camera going to be used for?
This one is simple to answer do you plan to use the camera for work or simply for fun. By work I mean take photos professionally, whether that be at weddings, portraits, events, PR, selling stock photographs or what ever.

If you plan to use the camera for work then you have to buy a larger DSLR rather than a smaller consumer camera, and although the photo quality will be better, the simple fact that someone is paying you to take photographs means you cant really turn up with a small camera.

Think of it this way in any professional work environment there are always the professional standard equipment, from kitchens to garages, hair salons to hotels, and photography is no different. You need to invest in your equipment in order to get the best out of your work.

Now at first glance you may think that you can buy a consumer camera with the same amount of mega pixels as DSLR, and whilst on paper this is true in reality it is not, also as you go further up the professional DSLR ranges the amount of mega pixels far exceeds anything of a consumer level, such as Hasselblads having 31 mega pixels.

Ok getting slightly off point, so back to mega pixels. The thing to remember is that the number of mega pixels is not the only factor to making a good quality photograph, and although it does play a part in the size a photo can be printed at it is not the end of the story.

Think of it this way a truck has an engine size of around 10 litres with 800 bhp, whilst a car may only have a 2 litre engine with around 200 bhp, but which is faster? yes the car but it has less bhp and litres. This is the same rule that goes into photography, the whole camera makes the picture not just the amount or size of the sensor, component type and quality (including the sensor) all go into making the final photograph.

If you look  at my post about Canon vs Nikon the sample shot on that post way taken with a 5 mega pixel camera, nothing by todays standard but it was a professional level DSLR, and I printed that shot at well over A1 size without any problems at all. How you may be asking yourself, simple all the components worked together to make the final photo a higher qaulity shot that I would get with a higher mega pixel consumer camera.
Also another issue with using mega pixels as a guide is that mega pixel is an indication of the size of the sensor, but not the amount of information it can hold, such as in a medium or large format camera.


Firstly every single photographer on the planet knows that the most important thing in taking a good photograph is the glass (lens) you use, the better glass = better picture, after all everything in your photo is made up of light which has to go through the lens before getting to the camera sensor.

Whilst there are some consumer cameras with interchangable lenses, most have a lens that cant be changed, which means you are limited to the speed and focal length of the in built lens, not to mention the quality.  This one factor alone is enough to warrant buying a DSLR the variety of lenses out there means everyone will be able to get something for the type of photography they do.

Whilst this choice is great it also allows the introduction of lenses of a more professional standard, such as Canon L series lens, you can also get lenses which are better in low light, known as faster lenses, you can buy longer range zoom lenses. Infact the world is your oyster and you are limited only by budget and your imagination.

Selection of Canon Lenses
EF or EF-S
Canon has two current types of lens fittings EF and EF-S, EF is the full sized fitting used on all professional lenses, EF-S is the longer lenses used on non professional lenses. Higher end Canon cameras will only take EF lenses whilst the prosumer and below will normally take both EF and EF-S.
This is due to the shorter mirror on prosumer models as the EF-S lenses back protrudes out more than the EF lenses.

Now although size is not everything, if you plan to do any form of medium or large format photography, that is shots that you plan to print at a very large scale something over 1m x 1m then this is impossible with consumer cameras.
Both medium and large format cameras require a sensor either larger than or to contain more information than a 35mm frame and you cant get this with consumer cameras.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Portfolio Websites

Ok so now you are in this wonderful world of photography you need to decided on what areas of photography you do and as there are so many to choose from with everything from fashion, landscape, location, editorial to name but a few, you will need somewhere to show off your work and if you are working with models, MUA's, stylists you will need somewhere to find them.

The question is where do you start, well being the nice fellow that I am, I have listed below some of the site that I use as well as split them into categories for showing your work or getting models, MUA's, etc.

Showing off and selling your work

The following sites are sites where you can show off your work, and in some cases even sell your stuff.

Ok and before everyone starts saying what about these sites, or what about that site this list is not meant to be a full list of all the photo sites on the web, its just the ones I use most often and find work for me. If you think there is one that really needs a mention please let me know and I am happy to add it to the list


The following sites I will go into a bit more detail about each one, but in general they are sites where you can network, post casting calls and generally interact a bit more than simply showing your work.
Ok before you all say "of course" I just thought I would mention FaceBook as unlike Google+ FaceBook has evolved into a decent platform to create a page about your photography, share your photos and generally show off your stuff, whilst still keeping in touch with the world.

Although in time Google+ will allow you to have business pages and when it does then use both, and being honest the photo engine on Google+ is far superior to FaceBook.

One thing that is hugely important on FaceBook is that you should create a page for your photography, whether you do it for work or play, this keeps everything in one place making sharing easier.

FaceBook Username

Without getting too bogged down in the technical stuff, remember to create your page then share it will everyone you know and when you hit the magic number of likes, currently 25 get yourself a username. Just go to http://facebook.com/username and create your username for your page, oh yeah and for yourself if you have not already done so.

Check out my FaceBook page for inspiration http://facebook.com/seanjconnollyphotography

Google +

OK you forced me to mention Google+. Although Google+ has gotten a large number of users quickly, this is solely due to the popularity of Google and not the popularity of Google+ so I would definately recommend creating a profile and using it especially as the photo engine is way better than FaceBook and actually retains photo info such as EXIF data, so its a great place to share your stuff.

You should also know that the photos added to Google+ are held in Picasa the Google online photo album site, so you get some additional web presence just for sharing your stuff on Google+.

The down side is that currently you cant have business profile on Google+ like you can have business pages on FaceBook, but in time this will come and when it does make sure you have a profile on both.

Check out my Google Profile and connect https://plus.google.com/110572555643659060460

 Casting Calls and Model Portfolios

FaceBook Casting Calls
As FaceBook is a hugely popular social networking site the ability to create applications right inside FaceBook meant that I could not resist in creating a casting call application for FaceBook.

Its simple jsut post or search casting calls to your hearts content, no fees, limits or anything just my gift to the world.

Whilst you are there dont forget to join the Photography Community The casting application can be accessed directly by going to http://apps.facebook.com/okyourhired or from the links on the left of the photography community page.

So why not go and post a casting now http://apps.facebook.com/okyourhired

Model Mayhem
Model Mayhem is a site dedicated to not only showing off your work in an online portfolio, but to also connect with other professional such as photographers, models, Make Up Artists, stylists and who ever else you may be interested in working with.

The great thing about this website is that it allows you to post casting calls as well as message and tag other users, the basic membership is also free, so you have nothing to lose in giving it a try. The free option simply restricts how many message per day you can send and how many photos you can have on your profile.

Check out my Model Mayhem profile and connect with me http://www.modelmayhem.com/1904413

Pure Storm

Pure Storm is another website that allows you to host your portfolio online, and again has both a free basic membership as well as paid membership. You can pretty much do the same things on Pure Storm as some of the other sites, post casting calls, send messages, comment, etc but the interface it not as easy to use and before you get your membership you have to have your photographs approved, unlike other sites.

Although I use Pure Storm I find that it has not brought the same feed back in both terms of response to my casting calls, picture comments, message as Model Mayhem. I also found the fact that the account needed to be approved before going live was a pain, and not really worth the hassle for the results I have had.

Check out my Pure Storm profile and connect with me http://purestorm.com/profile.aspx?id=sjcphotography

Madcow Models

Madcow Models is a reality new site on the internet, again this site allows you to post casting calls, send messages, host your portfolio online and has a free membership option.

Now I find this site very basic in both terms of design and coding, and the fact that you can only view a certain amount of casting calls as a free member is in my view just stupid, posting I can understand but viewing. The way it works is that you get a set amount of casting call views per day and each time you view one this count goes down, now here is the joke this includes looking at your own casting calls. Yes everytime you view your own casting call the count goes down.

Check out my Madcow Models profile and connect with me http://www.madcowmodels.co.uk/seanjconnollyphotography

Final Thoughts (yes just like Jerry Springer)
I have tried to list the sites I use myself and have had some level of success with, and whilst they may be other sites out there if I find any I use and like I will update this page, but for now the sites listed above are a great way to get yourself known and start your photography photo shoots on the right track.

And as you can see some look and work better than others, some cost more but the final decision is solely down to you on which one you use and why. I would love to know which sites people use and why, and don't forget to post links to your profiles in the comments, Thanks.

Camera Lens

OK there is lots that can be said about camera lenses, good bad and ugly. It is not my aim on my blog to get really techical about lenses I am simply going to help you by giving you some basic necessary information to help you out, and in most cases this info applies to both video cameras as well as DSLR.

Again the shots used are based on Canon, but all DSLR lenses work the same work, only slight differences are connected to two areas

  1. All telephoto or zoom lenses have a zoom ring, but on some makes of lense the ring turns in a different direction to others, noticably Sigma lenses turn the opposite way to Canon lenses in order to zoom.
  2. NOT all lenses have a form of Image Stabilizer on them, and on some its called something different such as VR on Tamron lenses.

DSLR Lens Controls

Canon IS Lens

Again for this I will start at the bottom left of the diagram and work clockwise.

Image Stabilzer Switch (IS) Switch

This switch is used to turn on or off the image stablizing functions of the lens, again remember this switch may be called something different on your lens but will work in the same way.

Switching this on will give you a bit of assistance when hand holding the camera, normal this is around 1 stop of light, but put simply means you can shoot in a slower shutter speed or narrower aperture than without using it, lettginy ou take more professional shots. I would highly recommend taking a look at David Petersons Book as it is full of very useful tips and tricks to get more out of your photography.

NOTE - remember when using a lens with built in stabilzation that when ever you mount the camera on a firm surface or a tripod turn off the IS in order to avoid it interferring with your shots.

Lens Mount Indicator

The is the mark that you line up with the matching mark on your camera body to mount your lens. In canon lenses it also indicates the of lens. EF lenses are RED and EF-S lenses are white.

How to attach a lens to a DSLR
In order to attach a lens to your DSLR camera simply do the following
  1. Remove the lens cover and lens cap from your lens.
  2. Line up the white or red mark at the base of your lens with the white or red mark on the lens mount on the camera.
  3. If the marks are lined up correctly the lens will just slip onto the camera, do not try to force it, if it does not just slip on you have not lined it up correctly.
  4. Now turn the lens, normally clockwise, until it clicks. Your lens is now on your camera.
How to remove a lens from a DSLR
To remove a lens from your DSLR simply do the following
  1. With one hand press the Lens release button (normally to the side / left of the lens)
  2. Now with the other hand turn the lens, normally counter clockwise, until it comes of the camera. It does not take any force to remove the lens so if it feel stuck make sure you have pressed the release button. Your lens is now off your camera

Auto / Manual Focus Switch

This is the switch you use to switch the lens between Auto and Manual Focus. Again remember that no matter what settings are on your camera it will not fiocus if this switch is set to Manual. To manually focus your lens after switching this to manual use the Focus Ring.

Focus Ring

This is used to focus your camera on yoru subject, only works after you switch the Auto / Manual Focus Switch to manual. Then simply turn the ring as you look through the view finder or at the Live View screen to focus.

Zoom Ring (only on Tele-Photo / Zoom Lenses)

This ring is used to bring your subject closer or further away. Please note that some lenses work in the opposite direction to zoom in or out.


I thought I would briefly touch on the use of filters with your lens, filters are a way to change the light entering the camera and can be used to simply add colour, or to control the light entering the camera in a variety of different ways, the most common filters for controlling light are known as an ND or neutral density filter and a polarizing filter.

Although filters are more common in landscape photos they can be used in any environment to enhance your shots.

UV Filter

My first suggestions and HUGE piece of advise which I am happy to repeat is to fit a screw on UV filter to your lenses, this will not change anything in your photographs but will protect your lens from getting scratched, and being that it is cheaper to replace a screw on UV filter than your lens this makes sense and is exactly what I do.

Filters are generally attached to the front of your lens as either a dual threaded screw on fitting which simply screws directly onto your lens front, or in filter holder arrangement such as Cokin holders, these attach to your lens by an adapter ring screwing onto your lens, on this is attached the filter holder into which you put your filters.

Cokin P Filter Holder and Adapter Rings
The Cokin filters are all the same size for the holder normally A or P size, the filters simply slide into the holder and you use the same filter for each lens, and you only need to buy different size adapter rings as per the thread size fo your lenses.

Cokin P Size ND Filter

So in short buy and keep a screw on UV filter on your lens, then buy a Cokin P filter holder and adapter ring, and simply buy cokin P filters as you need then, cokin filters are numbered so for example a P164 is a Circular Polarizing filter.

Neutral Density ND Filter

A very useful tool in your photography arsenal is a set of ND filters. An ND filter will block out light entering the lens without effecting the colours of the photograph, these are normally number and the higher the number is more light will get blocked by the filter, yet at all times retaining the colour of your photograph.

Shot taken without ND Filter
As you can see from the above shot trying to capture some scenes during strong daylight is impossible and you end up with a very over exposed shot.
Shot taken with ND Filter

Now if we look at the second shot by adding an ND filter, you can clearly see that the light in greatly reduced but the colours remain.

Circular Polarizing Filters CPL

Circular Polarizing Filters known as CPL filters reduce the amount of reflective light in your photo as they do this by removing white light from the photo they are also used to enhance the sky or to remove the reflection from a pond, glass or anything else.
Shot taken without Polarizing Filter
As you can see in the above shot, although the colours are generally ok the sky is totally washed out and we cant make out the clouds.

Shot taken with Polarizing Filter
Now if we look at the second shot the colours are less washed out and we can now make out the detail and clouds in the sky.

Remember though when using a polarizing filter it will effect your whole image and unlike ND filters they do have an effect on the colour of your shot.

NOTE - with modern DSLR cameras make sure to use a Circular Polarizing Filter CPL and NOT a Linear Polarizing Filter LPL, as the Linear filter can have an adverse effect on your cameras auto focus, although if you intend to only use manual focus you can use either filters