It's that time of the year, when - if you were thinking about upgrading your camera - you are starting browsing the stores offerings and wondering if now is the time to take the plunge. 

But also, if you want a new camera or lens - which one? 

We have researched and tested and thought about some key considerations for you. All accurate as of Nov 2019

SO WHAT’S THE BEST CAMERA FOR ME?

If we had a penny for each time we get asked: “What’s the best camera to buy?” And I really wish I could just say – THAT one. But I can’t. Even if we take the cost out of the equation, there are still a lot of reasons that make one camera the right fit for someone and a terrible for another.

So how do you know? Here are a few questions that may be of help.

What’s your skills level?

If you’re just starting up, you certainly don’t need the £3,000 piece of gear. Instead, go for a camera that will not be too complicated to handle when you don’t know much, but at the same time, one that you won’t want to replace as soon as you’ve learned a little.

That’s why we tend to recommend cameras that are one shelf above the absolute starter camera – if possible. The production cycle of cameras these days is approx 18 months and sometimes the technical differences between the newest model and its predecessor are really insignificant ( like for example having or not having built-in wifi) so in some cases it’s better to choose a slightly older model from a shelf up ( which had gone down in price since the newest version came out) than the brand new shiny model from the bottom shelf.

If you're upgrading your camera, you already know a bit about what's important to you and you know the degree to which you tend to use it. If you find it lacking - I'd recommend going for a model that's 1-2 levels above what you currently have, so you can get some longevity out of it. 

 

Weight and size – are those important to you?

 

Does the size and weight of your camera matter to you? If you have a few small people swarming around you, perhaps carting a larger piece of equipment is not really for you. Getting a heavy camera, however great it might be, won’t be of any use to you if its weight and bulk will make you reluctant to bring it with you frequently. The saying goes – the best camera is the one you have on you – and we certainly subscribe to this view. If you don’t use it, what’s the point of spending lots of money on it?

So if weight and size is a key consideration, you want something small and light ( that includes smaller lenses) which means you’re looking either at the smaller end of DSLRs or going mirrorless.

What's a Mirrorless? 

Do not confuse mirrorless cameras with ‘bridge cameras’. Bridge cameras are essentially upgrades to point-and-shoot cameras which include the capability to shoot in manual modes and to manipulate a few other settings. More often than not, bridge cameras have one fixed lens which is not interchangeable with any others. We don’t tend to recommend these for one reason – even if they boast most of the features of an entry-level DSLR, they are usually designed with an Auto user in mind – not someone planning on using them in semi-manual and manual modes. The key settings tend to be hidden deep in the menus and not easily or ergonomically accessible.

But mirrorless cameras – that’s a whole different story. They are essentially designed to be the new DSLRs. They make away with some of the mechanical elements from the DSLR design ( the mirror which sends the image from the lens to the viewfinder – which does not actually take part in the photo creation, just pre-viewing the image) ) and often pack some great features and advanced settings. The quality they give you is as good or better than DSLRs. As of the last few years, they even come in professional-grade, full-frame varieties and we’re seeing more and more photographers switch away from bulkier pro DSLRs to the much smaller and lighter Mirrorless.

The future is Mirrorless

More importantly, camera manufacturers are definitely putting their money that way with Nikon for instance announcing they will not be further developing and updating their entry level DSLR ranges, and instead offering entry level Mirrorless in the coming years. So if you're thinking long term, mirrorless maybe the way to go. 

The pros of mirrorless cameras are certainly the size. The downsides – well, they are on the pricier side, there are still fewer lenses available for them and they tend to be more expensive too and they can be more fragile. In some cases, depending on how you will be using them, the lenses can be almost as large as the ones for DSLRs ( though there are quite a few small and light ones so that’s certainly not a rule)

 

What will you be using the camera for?

 

Do you plan to use it as your family camera or perhaps thinking of working towards becoming a pro? If you have such ambitions, you will need a camera that’s reliable and precise above all. Those – and lenses that come with them – tend to be a lot heavier and bulkier so worth considering whether it’s a now or future purchase.

If you’re planning for it to remain a family-focused hobby ( for now at least) don’t worry about going full-frame and go instead for a good, small and compact camera that will be easy to take with you everywhere. It doesn’t need to be a mirrorless, there are some lovely small DSLRs out there that aren’t that much bigger.

Don’t forget that when you buy a camera, you are also buying into the lens and accessories ecosystem linked to that particular brand. So your canon camera will only work with Canon lenses ( or made-for-canon third party lenses – like Sigma or Tamron), and also that you will need different lenses for your starter DSLR, full-frame DSLR, and a mirrorless – even if it’s the same brand

 

And finally – budget

 

Let’s not beat about the bush. Photography is not a cheap hobby. The gear can be very expensive, but you don’t always need all that. We don’t all need to drive a Lexus if all we do is pop down the shops from time to time. All the more reason to shop with care and buy the kind of camera that’s actually well suited to what you need. It might also mean buying a camera body and lens separately to maximize your money.

Used is not a dirty word

 

There is a thriving second-hand market for photography gear. Specialized sellers like mpb.com and wexphotovideo.com or camerajungle.co.uk will service all their second-hand gear before selling it on and then offer between 6 months to a 1-year warranty on it ( depending on the seller). This means you’re getting quality gear which you can rely on for a lot less than buying it new.

Sometimes the differences between the older models and their new version can be almost purely cosmetic - in recent years there were a few cases where literally the only things that change from an older to the newer model were the addition of wifi and touch screen - and all the actual photo taking bits remained exactly the same.

 If money is a serious concern but you want to get more than just the entry-level gear, I would recommend considering second hand. 

So with all that being said, what do we actually recommend?

 


A BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHER

A beginner photographer does not need a £3000 camera. She does need a solid camera that is designed to allow her a bit of growth beyond the most basic features, that she’ll be able to build up on.


DSLR range:

 


Nikon cameras:

Nikon's entry-level cameras date from last year, as Nikon is moving onto mirrorless and have not released, now will release updates to the current entry-level range, but they're still great choices to start with, and more affordable than ever. 

  • If you’re on a budget and she’s just starting up: Nikon d3500 ( from £299 on Amazon with a standard kit lens),

  • if you can push the money a little further NIkon d5600 ( from £485 on Amazon at the moment).

  • Alternatively, you could opt for the slightly older d5500 – Nikon d5600 is newer and more expensive than d5500, but beyond adding a few Bluetooth and wireless connectivity features they are practically the same camera). D5500 can now be bought quite easily second hand from around £300)

Canon cameras :

In the past couple of years, Canon released a few lines of entry-level DSLRs: Canon d4000 being the most basic, followed by 2000d - still entry-level, but a rung above, and then an update the 100 range - Canon 250d. All three can be good choices for a beginner photographer, but for different reasons. 

Canon d4000 has the lowest resolution of all 3 - at 17Megapixels it lags behind the standard at that level compared to 24MP for the d2000 and d250. For that reason, and comparatively little difference in price, I would recommend jumping up to the Canon d2000 if it's no-frills, good, entry-level camera in a small and light package - from around £318 currently on sale on Amazon

But, if you can stretch the cash a little further, Canon d250 would be a better choice - it is smaller, performs much better in low light, shoots better video and has an improved focusing system - currently from £489 including a lens on Amazon sale. 

 

There are other camera systems out there as far as DSLR is concerned - most notably Pentax and also Sony, but given the widest choice of lenses and accessories, we tend to recommend to sticking to these two brands. 

 

 

Mirrorless range:

If it’s a mirrorless camera you want to get, we have a few favorites from the entry-level range :

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III

Currently on sale for around £428 on Amazon including a standard kit lens.

Great looking, very capable camera with a lot going for it. With very good performance on the move and a great focus mechanism, it definitely packs a lot of features in. Bonus – it uses a micro 4/3 lenses which means the pool of lenses available for this camera is wider than some of its competitors as you can use both Olympus, Panasonic, and a few other third party lenses. The slight downside is that the smaller sensor which results in a smaller resolution - of 16MP. However that really only matters if you plan on printing your images in large format, which most people don't tend to do often.  A big bonus is 5 axis image stabilization which makes shooting sharp images in low light MUCH easier. 

Fujifilm X-T100 or X-T20

New, entry-level kid on the block for the Fuji stable  ( around £535 incl lens from various retailers)- this one is aimed at a beginner user and while simpler than the higher up and flagship Fuji models, it still offers a small, compact, yet versatile and stylish package. What we like a lot about this model is that unlike the more budget end of Fuji mirrorless end, it does have a viewfinder and does not rely on the back screen only ( a non-negotiable feature for a camera in our books). 

But, If you can stretch a little further, we would still recommend going for the moderately older, but equipped with a better sensor and faster focusing mechanism Fujifilm X-T20 ( currently around £620 including a kit lens) - it's essentially a slightly simplified version of the photographers beloved X-T2 model and packs a serious punch both in style and substance.

Canon EOS M-50

Canon is expanding its mirrorless range and this little baby is their entry-level mirrorless. M-50 is not the cheapest of the range ( from £465 including lens)  but beats the lower level camera by improved features and an integrated viewfinder. It has good resolution, a good sensor, good focusing system - all of which translate into a good little contender. 

Sony A6000 ( or A6400)

We love the sony Full-frame range (a7 and a9 ) but the crop sensor models are great and full of features too. Sony d6000 ( around £400 incl lens) or the newer version – Sony d6400 ( on sale for around £749 incl lens) are both great cameras in little packages, capable of great things. Sony has been at the mirrorless game for a little while now so the range of lenses available is getting bigger with some third party lenses available as well.

 


ENTHUSIAST PHOTOGRAPHER

She knows her way around her current camera. She wants the better low light handling, higher resolution, better focus options and other more advanced features that her current camera doesn’t give her. Or maybe her current model is just a little too old now to handle it all as well. Either way, you want to be looking at the mid-high range.

DSLR range:

 

Nikon Cameras:

Nikon d7500 ( approx £760 at John Lewis right now) is a great choice up from entry level – a lot of the features trickled down from the the higher end, full frame models and for once, it is a significant update to Nikon d7200 ( approx £700) which already was a great camera.

If money can stretch further – all the way to full frame, pro grade – Nikon d750 ( from £999 right now) is one of the best entry full frame models – relatively small and light but with lots of features from the higher end models. Just be aware that with a switch to a full frame body, you will need full frame lenses. And those do not come cheap.

Canon Cameras:

Canon 80d ( from £965 at the moment) is one of the Canon cameras for enthusiasts which is receiving great reviews. Without having to go for a full frame camera, you get lots of the advanced features without the price tag and having to change your lenses to full frame.

If you’re ready to make a switch to full frame, 6d mark II received a significant update to the sensor and focusing system from the already excellent 6D. It's a direct competitor to Nikon's d750 and boasts similar range of features. Whether you choose one or the other is often a choice between which of the two you prefer in handling, colour rendering, or which system you may already have lenses for. Both will make a great first step into full frame systems, and be cameras you won;t be in a rush to replace soon.


Mirrorless cameras:

There has been an explosion of higher-end mirrorless cameras in recent years - from enthusiast to full pro level. The choice is now greater than ever with many manufacturers 

Sony a7 iii or Sony a7 ii

Sony a7 iii is up there as one of the best cameras for pro photographers - it has amazing focus ability, fantastic low light performance, exceptional resolution, dual memory card slot - there is lots and lots to love about it, even if Sony has since produced a newer Sony a7R iv. The only weak point is common with most other mirrorless at this moment and that's weak battery life. It isn't cheap - the camera body alone will set you back in the region of £1,700.  However, if you still want great performance and don’t need some of the more sophisticated functions, the older a7 ii could be a fantastic choice. It's around half the price too if you shop around. 

Fuji X-T3 or X-T30

Fuji X-T3 replaces the XT -2 which has long been a darling of photographers. We love it for the cool design (let’s not pretend it’s without importance) but above all, for the beautiful richness of colours, great focus and a good selection of small and light lenses. Unlike the Sony a7 range, Fujis are still crop sensors rather than full-frame, but beyond that, both are brilliant The X-T3 itself has been joined by a more budget-friendly  XT-30 alternative, one that includes a lot of the same specs but in a slightly less pro-design body and surprisingly with one bonus over the XT-3 which is a built-in pop up flash. XT-3 retails at around £1,200 while the XT-30 at around £850 if you shop around 

Nikon Z6 or Z50

Nikon Z6 - Nikon was comparatively late to the full-frame mirrorless game but it more than made up for it with this beauty. It packs in a pro-spec - great resolution, superb focusing, great handling, brilliant low light performance, plus, often bundled in with the camera body, a converter which makes it possible to use all your old DSLR fit Nikon lenses. It has also struck deals with third-party manufacturers such as Sigma to bring more lenses into the market, so it could definitely be one to jump on to if a pro level is what you need.  If you don’t want all the pro-spec, go for a more junior option - Nikon Z50 - it will mean stepping from full-frame to crop sensor and there are a few compromises on the side of build and resolution, it is a great package with the same lens mont as its older brother and the same lens mount converter. If you are en existing Nikon user and loathe to part with your lens, collection, this may be a great choice for you. Nikon Z6 is selling for around £1,400, while Nikon Z50 will set you back in the region of £850 - comparable to Fuji XT-30 - also a crop sensor.

Panasonic Lumix G9

Panasonic Lumix G9 - I've not mentioned Panasonic mirrorless in the entry-level section and that's partly because as far as its more junior models go, other brands take the edge on the quality vs cost comparison. But G9, aimed at an Enthusiast level is a different story. It's a very capable camera that excels in several areas such as fast focus, great low light handling - it has built-in 5 axis stabilization, great video performance, and all-round great handling. It's also splash and dustproof, which is a great feature when you cart it around kids that - like mine, love to roll in mud and splash in puddles. Like some of its competitors, it also offers face/eye detection. To get your hands on one, you are looking to spend in the region of £900 at the moment

Canon EOS RP

Canon EOS RP - yes, there is the Canon R - the highest resolution mirrorless you can get, with all the tricks and trimmings. BUT, it retails at around £3300 which makes it out of reach for most non-strictly-pros. But, then there is EOS RP - with a slightly lower resolution of 26MP ( which is still above most of its competitors), full-frame sensor, smaller body but still a brilliant spec. It has a great focus performance, great low light capability, touch screen, and a very fast processor. It falls short of its competitors in the image stabilization area which is reliant on lens stabilization only.  It also comes in with a handy lens mount converter often bundled in, which allows you to make use out of your existing Canon lenses in the same way, Nikon does with its mirrorless range. 

Whatever camera you choose, remember it’s just an instrument. A great photographer will capture an amazing image with the simplest camera. It really doesn’t matter all that much if yours is a Nikon, Canon or anything else – noone has ever looked at a photos and went – oooh, yes, I can see what that canon did here…. It’s the person behind the camera that matters most.

Let me leave you with a quote by a magnificent photographer, Ernst Haas

‘The camera doesn’t make a bit of difference. All of them can record what you are seeing. But,you have to SEE’! ~ Ernst Haas


Are you a parent? Do you have a camera? Will you be taking photos of your kids this summer? Then you've got to join our Summer Photo Project and our Summer Photo Bingo! 

Ice cream faces, muddy knees, sprinkler high jumps, beach days, park days, flower fields, paddling pools,  bike races, picknics in the park - SUMMER is all about fun for the little ones! Join in the fun with the camera and capture their summer beautifully!

We're here to help!

 

Join our FREE Summer Photo Project

and get clicking


✔️ weekly lessons with a wealth of tips and inspiration for photographing your family in summer

✔️ tips and techniques of how to capture these moments best ( how to use composition and your camera settings for the best impact )

✔️ brilliant Facebook group to keep you going through the summer

✔️ weekly Summer Photo Bingo challenge to help you focus and grow your photography

✔️ LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS of photo inspiration for any camera, level and ability!



Wait, did you say BINGO?

Yup, a printable weekly sheet full of photo prompts for you or your kids to tick off to GUARANTEE a summer's worth of varied, fun, exciting images at the end of August. 

Parents love it, because it gives you something to focus on. Kids love it because - well - it's a bit like a game! 

'It's like a Mummy's treasure trail!'

If you join us, you  could be capturing photos like these: 


3 more reasons to join us: 


1. HANDS ON LEARNING

Because NOBODY learns just by watching. The format of the Summer project is very much about having a go - whether you're a complete beginner or further along in your photo journey. Every week will come with a specific photo challenge so you'll know exactly what to focus on - and have some fabulous photos to cherish at the end. 

2. PLENTY OF SUPPORT

You will be joining our dedicated FB group where you'll be able to share your photos, get advice, ask for help and get inspired by your fellow bootcampers.

3. IT'S FREE!

Free, no charge, gratis, no tie-ins, nothing. Just click on and join the fun! 

How to join us:

1. Click on one of the buttons below to be redirected to a registration page

2. Complete the registration  - if you are an existing or past student, you need to enter the email you already have registered with us. If you're new to us, you'll need to set up a learning profile on our site - don;t worry - it's free 🙂 

3. You'll be redirected to our learning pages instantly - jump right in ( and don't forget to join our Facebook group as well - there will be additional resources added there!) 

This category includes our current and past students on paying online courses as well as past bootcamp participants - in short those who already have an account registered on our Learning site.

It does NOT include those who just downloaded our freebies or took our self-paced email based courses.

If you're never attended any of our courses ( even if you joined our free email based course) this is a category for you. As part of the registration we will be creating you a brand new account on our learning pages which you'll need to access the material.

lets have some fun!


Fake smiles - be gone!

Awkward poses - no more! 

Boring photos - never again!

We're bringing the FUN back to photography!

THE BEST childhood photos are those that make you smile. The ones that want to brurst out of the frame for all the joy and happiness they spark. The ones that show TRUE emotions!

You know what I mean - belly laughs, not stilted half smiles,  armes spread with joy, little feet leaping off the ground, imagination and creativity at their best.

If 'Smile for Mummy!' is not working for you, we've got something else - a mini online photo course that's all about fun


✔️ we'll give you ideas for capturing genuine moments of fun and joy  (and ideas for fun things to try with different kids ages!) 

✔️ we'll give you tips and techniques of how to capture these moments best ( how to use composition and your camera settings for the best impact

✔️ we'll show you how to use body language, colour, props and storytelling to create photos that SCREAM fun

✔️ we'll talk to you about how to be in the moment and notice the loud and quiet joys in your children's lives

✔️ we'll encourage you to get in on the action and get into the photos yourself

 


photographing joy

starts Monday 27th May

AND IT'S FREE!

  • 5 daily lessons covering different ways of capturing the joy of childhood - from colour, movement, body language, light to storytelling, and more! 
  • Support Facebook group so you're never left to your own devices with unanswered questions
  • A CHANCE TO WIN our full flagship online Photography course! JUST for taking part!


Is this for you?

Are you a parent? Do you have a camera? Then the answer is YES

While our full paying courses cover both the technical and more compositional elements, our bootcamps are for anybody, of any ability! 

Because what you could be doing, is capturing photos like these: 


5 more reasons to join us: 


1. HANDS ON LEARNING

Because NOBODY learns just by watching. The format of the bootcamp is very much about having a go - whether you're a complete beginner or further along in your photo journey. Every day will come with a specific photo challenge so you'll know exactly what to focus on - and have some JOYFUL photos to cherish at the end. 

2. PLENTY OF SUPPORT

You will be joining our dedicated FB group where you'll be able to share your photos, get advice, ask for help and get inspired by your fellow bootcampers.

3. BABIES AND BEYOND

Maybe you have a baby, maybe your kids are at school - their smiles, their cuddles still melt your heart - you'll get to photograph both in our bootcamp

4. IT'S FREE!

Free, no charge, gratis, no tie-ins, nothing. We make no mystery of doing this bootcamp to show you how much fun you could have in our 'full' courses but there is absolutely no pressure to sign up! A tasty taster.

5. WIN OUR FLAGSHIP ONLINE COURSE!

Yes, you can win our Flagship online Photography course ( value £229) JUST for taking part. AT the end of the course we will draw a lucky winner who will get their pick of our online courses. It's that simple. 

How to join us:

1. Click on one of the buttons below to be redirected to a registration page

2. Complete the registration  - if you are an existing or past student, you need to enter the email you already have registered with us. If you're new to us, you'll need to set up a learning profile on our site - don;t worry - it's free 🙂 

3. Await confirmation email and get your camera ready for the course start! 

This category includes our current and past students on paying online courses as well as past bootcamp participants - in short those who already have an account registered on our Learning site.

It does NOT include those who just downloaded our freebies or took our self-paced email based courses.

If you're never attended any of our courses ( even if you joined our free email based course) this is a category for you. As part of the registration we will be creating you a brand new account on our learning pages which you'll need to access the material.

lets have some fun!

  • Long, warm days - ✔️
  • Beautiful sunshine and great light -  ✔️
  • Stunning colours and textures all around you -  ✔️
  • Plenty of fabulous photo opportunities -  ✔️✔️✔️

There is literally NO BETTER TIME to get your camera ourt and get clicking. 

With summer just around the corner, now is the time to get properly acquainted with your camera and learn how to take your photos from a forgetable snap to a keepsake that captures your child and who they are beautifully. 

We know what it takes and have the recipe for taking your photo skills from 'Mamarazzi' to 'your family's photographer' - and beyond if you wish! 

Our recipe : 

  • one part camera know how, 
  • one part understanding photographic composition
  • one part seeing and working with the light,
  • and one part inspiration, encouragement, personal, specific feedback and peer support.  

You get a really holistic approach to learning how to photograoh your children - one that marries the technical with the creative and shows you exactly how to approach your photography.  You get a supportive peer group that goes through the course with you. And you learn through doing - with home assignmemts, practice exercises, challenges - on which you get individual feedback so you can see how far you got. PLUS we have a very active, encouraging and helpful student and alumni community which stays with you long after the courses end. 

Our students tend to agree: 

Michelle Footer : 'If you’re thinking about taking one of these courses.....do it!
I’ve had my camera for a long time and despite having taken an adult education course to learn how to use it I never really figured it out! However after having done level 1 with Photography for Parents I not only know how the camera works I can also take photos which I am proud of.'

Shannon Molloy : These courses are just brilliant!
I recently completed the Level 1 course and have joined 3 boot camps. Ania has a beautifully clear way of explaining everything - ranging from the technical to artistic. The detailed feedback provided on each homework assignment is constructive and helpful, and I feel so much happier with my photography as a result of my learning with PfP. Additionally, the alumni group is lovely community and a fantastic way to keep supported and motivated between courses. Thanks Ania and PfP!

Dalia Seaborne : This is both the best baby class I took and the most enjoyable online course I ever done. The course is very well presented in easily to digest chunks, with a lot of short exercises along the way. There are plenty of opportunities to ask questions both in online group and webinars, and time to catch up if you fall behind (as we all know how unpredictable life is with the little ones), and, very importantly, you get an individual feedback on your homework photos.
I cannot recommend this course highly enough, and I am so grateful for Ania for creating this amazing course and community, teaching busy parents how to document their family storied beautifully!


Wait, did you say SALE?

YES! From today till the end of Monday, 5th May you can get yourself a deal and book our course ( or courses!) with a lovely discount. We have 3 courses starting shortly and they're ALL discounted.

PLUS a bonus for those who are ready to book - if you book by Saturday - rather than, you know, sitting there with your finger hovering over the button and then buying at the last possible moment (you know who you are) - you get an extra £5 off with a code EARLY5

This is the course for you

  • If you're new or relatively new to photography and / or your camera
  • If you're using your your camera mainly on auto and are frigtened if its buttons and dials
  • If you want help on how to start composing your images with care

Level 1 - Fundamentals:

  • starts 10th June 2019
  • 6 week course
  • £189 ( instead of £229) if booked by Monday
  • learn more about it

This is the course for you

  • If you're already relatively comfortable with your camera
  • If you're shooting in priority modes or started trying our full manual
  • If you want to be pushed and stretched on the creative side

Level 2 - Advanced:

  • starts 20th May 2019
  • 6 week course
  • £189 ( instead of £229) if booked by Monday
  • learn more about it

And after you've taken the photos...

BUt we don't just teach you what to do in camera. We can teach you what to do after too! Our super popular Photo Editing course ( based on Adobe Lightroom) is startng soon too! 

We take you through the process of photo editing, with step by step instructions and applications, live weekly class and an instructor led support group. 

Photo Editing - in Adobe Lightroom

  • starts 13th May 2019
  • 4 week course
  • £115 ( instead of £139) if booked by Monday
  • learn more about it



And in case you were wondering : yes, everyone improves!

We have a little Easter treat for you!  There is no Easter without eggs and so today, we'll give you a little tutorial on how to photograph the humble egg.

In this, and a couple other tutorials following in the next few days, we'll be showing you a few differenet ways to capture THE EGG, paying attention to a number of different composition principles and style conventions. 

Today, we're giving you a few examples on how light can affect the way that your egg looks and how to achieve it without studio lights, constly props etc. 


Let's start simply: 

The minimalist egg

White egg ( mine was duck's ) on white plate, and white background. Pure simplicity. Nothing there to distract from the oval beauty of the egg. 

What I did:

I placed the egg and the other props by a window with indirect natural light coming in. That means, the sun was not directly opposite the window, so the light was gentle, rather than harsh. 

I used a white foamboard as a background placed on the table and put a simple white plate on it. Then I placed the egg on one of the edges of the plate and composed so that I could capture a fragment of the plate in such a way that the curve of the plate creates a partial frame, bringing the eye to the egg. 

All elements - the backdrop, the plate and the egg were white - allbeing in slightly different shades of white - this allowed me to create a minimalist, shades of white image that uses shapes as its main composition principle. 

I used solely natural light from the window - the gentle light created only gentle, wrap-around shadows which highlighted the eggy shape and made the egg look three dimensional rather than flat but were not too harsh at the same time. 

I experimented with reducing the shadows by bringing another foamboard to the side of the picture, but found that the added extra light didn't work out in this composition - it took too much of the shadow away and made the composition look flat. 

Important note on exposure. The images you are seeing are SOOC ( straight out of camera) = no editing beyond a gentle crop. To make sure I got the right look and the right exposure in this white on white on white image, I ended up overexposing by 2 exposure stops - otherwise the image was looking very ashen. I did that in manual, but if you're shooting in semi-auto modes, you can use the exposure compenation button. 


The drama egg

Just as our last photo relied on small and gentle shadows, this one takes full advantage of more dramatic light to highlight the egg's texture ( I just loved how freckly it was ) and shape. The shadows are deep and sharp, the backdrop inpenetrably black. The light shines and reflects of the shiny egg, giving it a bit of a sheen. 

What I did:

This is a tale of 3 black tshirts which I used to 'dress' my white foamboards. My egg was placed in virtually the same place as in the last picture, with the window by its side, slightly elevated compared to the plate I used previously. 

I then used the curtains to narrow down the beam of light coming onto the egg - I wanted the light to be coming from one direction only and since it was overcast and all I had was indirect light ( which worked so well in the previous image) - I needed a way to shape it a little. 

I dressed my whiteboards in the black Tshirts and placed one behind the egg and one on the side facing the light. By using a dark surface there, it meant that the light which would be hitting it from the window would be absorbed and not reflected back onto the egg, allowing me to shape the light more precisely. I used the third Tshirt to drape over a little box the egg was resting on. 

How is the egg staying up? Bluetac and a match placed strategically behind it. 

Composition wise, I used an approximation of the rule of thirds and allowed more space on the side the light was coming from. 

From exposure point of view, the same way as our cameras make white look ashen, they make black look a little more charcoal like. But I wanted black-black and a good contrast with the shiny part of the egg.  So I ended up underexposing by -1.7 stop to make it look just right. The image above is again unedited, straight out of camera. 


The double egg

This, to a degree is a version of the Drama egg from above. 

I used to intertwined forks to create a little seat for the egg and placed them on a shiny surface. I wanted an uninterrupted black background but to achieve it, I had to improvise. The only shiny black surface I could find in my house was the surface of the cooker. I used my black tshirts draped over my foamboards again, this time using 3 of them and creating a mini booth for the egg so that I could direct the light to come from one direction only to limit the glare on the cooker surface. 

I was careful to compose in a way that highlights the symmetry of the composition.

Exposure wise, I had to underexpose again to make sure my black background showed up as true black. 


I did perform one small edit after downloading the images from my camera. Due to the nature of my shiny surface ( - working cooker!) , I couldn't get away from the white markings ( to regulate hobs and temperature)  and they showed up in the original image. I used adjustment brush in Lightroom to get rid of them. See the photo of my set up and the  unedited image below - the white markings are showing in the bottom right part of the frame.

If you enjoyed this little round up of ways to photograph an egg, you'll be delighted to find out we have a couple more to come over the next few days! 


PHOTO COMPETITION !!!

You have a chance for to win a place on one of our online photography courses! 


All you have to do is to take a photo of an egg ( any egg - chocolate, fried, hatching)  and post it to Instagram or on our Facebook Page , tagging us in, at any time between now and end of Monday 22nd April. 


You MUST tag us in (otherwise we won't know to include it in the draw) and hashtag  #photoparentsegg

 

The winner will be picked at random on Tuesday 23rd April




If you’re not editing your photos, you’re missing out. It’s an ESSENTIAL skill for any photographer – from newbies to advanced enthusiasts – it’s not just for pros!

Nobody starts out a photographic genius. But we can get better and better. Check out the before and after images of our own students. You will be amazed how much things can change!

By popular demand, following the success of our last Lightroom Live – we’re bringing it BACK baby! Join us to learn how to get the best out of your images, how to fix and enhance and get creative with your photos!

“Did you SEE that Mummy! We can go an build a snowman! And play snowballs and …”

Here are out 10 top things to do if you want your snow photos to look beautiful.  Illustrated by our very own students photos!

Before you go anywhere – take steps to protect your camera.

Snow is water and water is your camera’s enemy so make sure you don’t let it into your camera. How? While there are some dedicated camera sleeves and protectors out there, a humble thin plastic bag wrapped around it will do the job just as well. Cling film will work too! Oh and remember that batteries deplete much faster in the cold so make sure your is charged fully and ideally, have a spare somewhere warm! ( like your pockets )

Change your White Balance to ‘cloudy’ or ‘shade’

Your camera doesn’t really understand pure white ( and pure black for that matter ). Because of that, it tries to bring it down to a pale shade of grey and we all know how attractive grey snow looks. If you leave it to its own devices, the effect will be greyish, blueish photos. Changing your White Balance ( WB) – warmifies the image, making it closer to how we perceive it. Where to find it? – Look for either a button with WB on it or a setting in your camera.

Overexpose.

I know, counter-intuitive, but hear me out. This is again down to the whole not understanding white thing and trying to bring it back to grey which essentially ‘dims’ the picture. Find a button on your camera with a +/- on it ( that’s your exposure compensation button) and use the scroll wheel ( if you’re on DSLR – this might differ for bridge cameras) to push the meter towards +1. Take a few test pictures to double check and adjust as necessary but you should find them looking better than on ‘correct’ setting. Just don’t forget to bring it back to zero later!


Keep your shutter speed fast for pictures of falling snow unless you want them to look like lines.

Start from 1/250s and adjust upwards if necessary to preserve the roundness of the falling snow flakes. Go even faster for the obligatory snowball fight  of course! Just make sure your camera is nice and safe (snow = water = trouble)

Photo by Lisa Friday

Think of your background and foreground.

Want to make it clear in the picture the snow is falling around your subject? Make sure your background has something dark in it ( trees are good) so that the bright snow flakes have something to stand out against. Using a shallow depth of field will help to blur some of the snowflakes in the front creating a layer of depth.

Photo by Claire Fay

Shoot the action

Being out in the snow is all about having fun – whether it’s wild tobogan rides, building a snowman or a snowball fight – make sure you get right there with your camera. Catch the snow flying, the tobogans flipping, the cheeks rosy from frost and  eyes sparkling with laughter.

Photos by Karen Baker, Sarah Honey, Sarah Collins and Ruth Harvey

Notice the light

If you’re having one of those wonderful snowy/sunny days you’re in such luck! The sun makes the snow sparkle, shine and shimmer – it brings extra magic in and can easily take your photos from ‘meh’ to AMAZING! Let the sun backlight the icicles, highlight the flying snow, reflect from the snow. And sometimes, all you need is a little creativity as one of our students has shown with the help of a security light!

Photo by Teresa Foyster

Think of the larger picture as well

Head out to the park or a wide open space and show the beauty and calm of the snowscape. If your child is wearing contrasting colour – even better – it will make them stand out against the background and draw the eye. Take a family portrait in the middle of a winter wonderland – all it takes is being able to put your camera down no something and self timer!

Photos By Kerry Anderson, Amanda Vickers and Ruth Harvey

But don’t forget to focus on the details

The wonders of winter lie in the details too – the snowflakes landing on the eyelashes, the icicles sparkling in the sun, the state of your son’s gloves after building the snowman. Don’t forget to get in nice and close to capture those details.

Photo By Amanda Vickers

Too cold to go out?

The falling snow is beautiful to watch from the inside too! Just because you’re indoors, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it!

And above all – have fun!

 

MORE SNOW PHOTOS BY OUR STUDENTS!

No, you don’t have to be a ‘born artist’ to significantly – and I mean really by a LOT – improve your photographs. This is a topic which makes me see red so get settled for a bit of a rant.