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If there was only one thing...

photography-tips-blog

ONLY ONE THING.....

That I wish I had used earlier, that I'd taken the time to learn.  Something that  you might think is really basic but actually when you are in the rhythm of a photoshoot you can quickly forget to use and regret it later.  But if you use it consistently it becomes part of your routine and you don’t even think about it

Something technical… snore… zzzz

Bare with me all you creatives....

But seriously though, there are some things that can really affect your photography and make you feel frustrated, this is one of them.  Remember that session you felt like you nailed and then you get home, upload your images onto lightroom and BOOM realise your focus was off……..  not creatively off, not emotionally off, but technically off.  Literally your focus wasn’t good.  Photo after beautiful photo you have to trash because they can’t be used.  

Be deliberate in your focussing and nail the shot and your framing first time.

Be deliberate in your focussing and nail the shot and your framing first time.

The answer?  I was like so many... focussing and recomposing for every shot. Every shot. 

Fixing this issue is as simple as setting the AF Points manually or “Auto Focus Points” (not to be confused with Manual Focus, very different) every single time you take a shot.  

If you are not sure what I mean watch this Youtube video (this guy is hilarious and slightly passive aggressive but totally speaks my language) he describes the issues with "focus and recompose" really well. 

It's good to refresh your memory sometimes 

It's good to refresh your memory sometimes 

When I talk about focus I don't mean crisp obvious-everything-in-focus-boring kinda focus, I mean deliberate choices even at a shallow depth of field.  See opening image, it's not crisp and all in focus (boring) thats because I deliberately focussed on her fringe knowing that it would soften the whole image leaving a really dreamy 'painterly' image.  The focal choice needs to make sense for the image to work. You're with me I can feel it.

My camera has the button on the back, I have my finger on it the whole time I am shooting my subject, when I move the subject or myself I adjust the AF point.  Simple and doesn't slow me down because I've perfected it.  Give it time and you'll feel the same.

I used to keep my focal point in the middle of the lens thinking that I could focus and then move my camera to frame the shot…..  sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.  It's like sometimes I put darks in my wash and it's fine and other times everything comes out grey.  You can leave it to luck and hope for the best or you can nail 99% of your images by learning how to work this small step into your routine.  

My advice to you you would be to dig up that manual now, sit down with a cuppa and get focussed……….  it'll be worth it trust me.

Britt x

My worst photoshoot ever....

*Insert face slap*

Worst photoshoot ever.

Worst photoshoot ever.

Why would I even write a post like this?

Well I know what its like to feel frustrated by your photography while you look at other photographers beautiful feeds with their perfect lighting and subjects.   

The truth is it's not always like that.  Some days are crap and your plans fail either because we made mistakes or it was out of our control.  Stuff happens.  #truth

The photo you see here of this AH-dorable little girl is from the worst photoshoot ever.  

This particular day we jump in the car, kids are happy, outfits are on, we start driving to the location.  We get to the M1 and we hit traffic, not the usual afternoon traffic.... accident type traffic.  

Yep.  We were stuck, not moving, sun going down.  It took us over an hour instead of 20 minutes...... because of that we arrived and the sun had already set and was getting very dark.  

What the hell.  Keep cool Britt keep cool.  Don't freak out.

Remi the radiant.

Remi the radiant.

So I set my camera to the highest ISO it will go and I just shoot what ever I see.  I was freaking out on the inside but somehow kept my cool.  The kids?  Well they were full of energy, they'd been sitting in a car for over an hour dying to get out.  Asking over and over again "are we there yet"..... waaaaah.  So I just let them go for it, spin around, dance, I didn't have time to direct them.

I managed a handful of photos, not my best but Mum loved them because their little personalities shine through.  These kids seriously are ALL personality. 

Hugo the handsome.

Hugo the handsome.

What's the point of this Blog post?  Well as a photographer and especially when you are working with children, you have to roll with the punches.  Enjoy the highs and learn from the lows.  Not every shoot will go how you want it to.  When you work on location you you also have to take into consideration the weather, there are many variables that can go wrong.  

When it comes to my clients and situations like this all I care about is that they love the images.  I will always offer another shoot to them if need be.  At the end of the day my goal is to produce beautiful images and if I wasn't able to do this for them I will reschedule no problem at all.  

Well I hope this post has reassured you that if you have a not-so-great photoshoot its not the end of the world!  It happens to the best of us.  Just do your best, fix it with your clients, learn from it...... and move on.

Thanks for reading!  I'm thinking my next post should be something technical or about building the best portfolio....is that something you'd like to know about?  Feel free to message me!! Tell me whats on your mind. 

Speak soon

Ciao

Britt x 

 

Things that inspire me

So just yesterday I made myself a “Blog” jar

My literal Blog Jar

My literal Blog Jar

like a tip jar but with no money only little pieces of paper with ideas on what to write for my next blog post.  So there you go, I got that idea from another photographer and I thought you know what thats not such a bad idea.  That way if I think of something when I'm walking the dog, can’t sleep or hubby tells me again what it is that he does at work, I can make a mental note and write it down so its not lost forever.  Is it just me or are all creatives all a bit spacey?  Maybe its just me?  But I can literally have a thought and then BAM its gone, even though at the time it was the BEST idea ever.  

So just now, literally, I stuck my hand in that little jar and pulled out “Vlog” (insert frightened face) oh in case you don’t know what this means …… Video Blog……  now you understand why I freaked out.  So i promptly threw it back in the jar and pulled out “Things that inspire me”.

Thats better.  I can handle that at 10am on a Tuesday.

Do I need inspiration?  Hell yeah im no different from anyone else.  So what does inspire me?  Glad you asked.

Im going to be real with you now, no fibs to make myself look more interesting than I actually am.  These are literally the things that help me when I have a creative block….

  1. Pinterest (private boards)
    I pin a lot!  When I have a shoot coming up I make a new board and name it "insert clients name" and start pinning ideas for our shoot.  I may or may not use it on the day, depending on how things go but at least I know I can have a quick look if I get myself all  nervous.  Its a great backup!
  2. Magazines like Kinfolk / oh comely / peppermint
    I'll tell you why I love these kinds of magazines - they aren't family portraits.  But you can still gather inspo from food photography, environmental portraits and travel.  Refresh your brain by looking at something other than what you shoot.
  3. Instagram
    Instagram is great, not my go to but it has its place.  You can save images you like and go back to them.  Kinda like Pinterest but not as good.
  4. Taking a walk
    I get so many ideas walking my dog its not funny! I just have to try and remember them by the time I get back home. Taking a break from the computer and getting fresh air is always a good idea.
  5. Meeting a kindred spirit for a coffee
    I don't do this enough but when I get the chance to chat and bounce around ideas theres nothing like it.  Do you have a friend who is creative?  Give them a call and make a date!  They might just have the inspiration you need or maybe they will confirm you are on the right track.....
  6. Free shoot - practice what you are worried about
    Now this is an awesome way to get your mojo back again.  I know we are all very busy but how will you ever grow if you don't keep shooting?  I have always felt that practising on clients is not cool so why not do it on someone who is willing to sit for you?  I try and do this every few months.
  7. If I can be bothered… art gallery
    Again, this is a good way to reset/refresh/unwind and take in creativity from another source.  I don't do this enough.  Mental note, visit art gallery.
  8. Past work - sounds weird getting inspo from your own work but seriously, when you take the time to look back on where you started and where you are now…. it's really cool.  You can see progression, no matter how small it is.  That’s something to be proud of!  Example of said progression below, hope you can work out which is old and which is new .......  (I would only do this for you)  on the plus side I can see that the outdoors has always been my "thing".
Pregnancy shoot in 2009.  What the hell?  Are they dead?  Are the so bored they fell asleep? (BTW love this family) 

Pregnancy shoot in 2009.  What the hell?  Are they dead?  Are the so bored they fell asleep? (BTW love this family) 

Pregnancy shoot in 2016.  Looking very much alive, healthy & awake.

Pregnancy shoot in 2016.  Looking very much alive, healthy & awake.

The below image is a really good example of inspiration really coming through for me at the last minute.  I was commissioned by the lovely people at Vieille Branche in Albion at their warehouse….. warehouse people.  I don’t shoot at warehouses!  So I had to really think out of the box for this one, the usual pretty backlit long grass shoot was not going to work for these flamin cool bohemian peeps.  But I knew I had to use natural light.  So I grabbed my favourite book Kinfolk and I photographed every page with my iPad that I thought they would love so that when I got there I could show them what I was thinking of doing for them.  They loved it!  We chucked a black sheet up behind them and used the natural light flooding in from the garage door to the left.  The result was spectacular.  Inspiration is key for any shoot you just have to find it - doesn’t really matter where you get it.

Jen&JC 23Oct17-114.jpg

Well I hope that this has helped you get inspired?  Or motivated you to not give up when you get into one of those low lows.  The great thing about those lows is there is usually a high following right behind it.  Trust me.

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