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.

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.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

How to do Timelapse (Time Lapse) Photography and what is an Intervalometer?

You may have heard about Timelapse Photography or you may not have. So I will start by telling you what it is.

What is Timelapse Photography?

Timelapse Photography is a similar technique to HDR photography, expect that rather than changing the exposure setting for each shot you change the time, and take a series of images over a set period of time with a fixed interval in between them. All shots have the same exposure settings, and the only changes are the physical changes to the subject in the shot over a period of time.

Simply put, you taken a set of shots, something like 20 shots and in between each shot you have a set gap anything from less than a second to several seconds. You then end up with a set of shots that depict a section in time for your given subject. This can traffic, streets, clouds or anything else you would like to shoot.

Why use Timelapse and Not Video?

The main difference between shooting video and doing a timelapse sequence is in the name, the lapse in time. As when you shoot using video you get a realtime view of the world, so to show the sunset you have to shoot the whole thing, so you may need to shoot a video which is anything from several minutes to several hours long. By using a timelapse technique you skip parts of the time, and only show an interval of the real thing.

This allows you condense something into a few minutes or seconds, when in realtime it happened over several minutes or even hours.

Timelapse can be done using either video techniques or photography techniques, but both end up with the same effect a video showing time elapsed (timelapsed) in a particular scene.

What do I need to do Timelapse Photography

  • The first thing you need is your camera, but you knew that already.
  • A Tripod or steady place to put your camera.
  • The next thing you need is a remote shutter release with an intervalometer or timer.
  • Or a camera with a built in intervalometer. (more on this in another post)

What is an Intervalometer?

An intervalometer is a timer device or built in camera function which takes a fixed set of shots with a given interval in between. For example 20 shots taken at 1 second intervals.
How do I take my first Timelapse?

After you have found a interesting subject to shoot, such as a road, town centre or similar. Ideally for your first timelapse you want something that is fast moving such as people walking in town or cars on a road, as this will let you take a few shots with a small interval between them. For example if shooting a town centre you dont need anymore than 1-3 seconds between your shots.

My advice for your first timelapse is to set the camera to auto focus and let it focus on your chosen subject, once its in focus switch it to manual focus, recheck the focus to make sure its all still in focus. As by setting the focus to manual the camera will not readjust the focus between shots.

Then simply set your timer for the amount of shots you want to take and the interval between then and set the shutter. Remember that a smooth movie is normally shot at 24 frames per second, so for every 24 shots you take, you are in reality only going to get 1 second of timelapse. But give it a try and see how it works.

  • Find a good subject for your timelapse, town centre, road etc (a fasting moving subject is best for your first one)
  • After setting the exposure, set your camera to AutoFocus. Once its found focus on your chosen subject, switch it to Manual focus, recheck the focus and leave it.
  • Set your interval timer to between 1-3 seconds, try 3 seconds to start with if you are shooting town and about 1 second if you are shooting cars. remember a smooth movie is 24 frame per second (24fps) for every 24 shots you get 1 second of timelapse.
  • Set the shutter and sit back and wait.
How do I create my Timelapse movie?

You can create your timelapse movie simply by using either a third party piece of software or import your shots into Photoshop and create a movie (more on this in another post)

Happy Shooting.