The Photography Series: Photography FAQ

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

What camera/s do you use?

My main camera is a Nikon D750.  I bought it last year and it's the first DSLR I've bought new. It's an absolute dream and worth every single penny. I also have a Canon 600D this is really handy for just popping in my bag if I want to take some photographs for Instagram or I don't want to lug around all of my equipment. I also own a Nkion D200 that has been retired but I can't part with my first DSLR. I also own a Fujifilm Instax Wide.

And what about lens?

My go to lens for my D750 is a Sigma 1.4 35mm art lens. It's so beautiful, again worth every penny. The Canon 600D has a 1.8 50mm. I also own a 1.8 50mm for Nikon, a 18-55mm kit lens and an 18 - 70mm kit lens too.

What DSLR should I buy to start out with?

This is a question I get asked a lot but it's dependent on so many things. Your budget and what you want to use it for being the main ones. I would recommend while you're starting out to get a second hand camera. Most are well looked after and will be perfect for starting out. I started out with a Nikon D200 which cost me £400 second hand back in 2010. It's still a great camera and would be perfect for a beginner. Once you've learnt the basics and can shoot on manual because you really need to be and you've got your head around RAW then you can look at a full frame camera which will cost you a bit more but they are worth it for the quality and detail they can pick up. Do your research and to begin with stick to Canon or Nikon. 

How do you edit your photographs? 

You can read all about that here. For blog photographs I do exactly the same thing other than open them in VSCO. 

Do you ever just snap a photo for IG or do you always stage your shot?

I don't stage every shot. If I'm out for the day and see something pretty then I go ahead a snap away but I'm careful about how I want things to look. I'm not going to share photographs online that I'm not proud off. I have millions of photographs that are blurred or just a snapshot of Edith but they're for me. I would say 60% of my Instagram grid is staged.

How do you find your own unique look/ theme for photos?

This question came from my Phone Photography Course and I thought it was a great one to include. In all honesty I think it's trial and error. I look back at some of the photographs I took a couple of years ago and wonder what I was thinking. I've learnt how to take better photographs and naturally I've improved. You just need to find what works for you and practice. I remember my sixth form photography teacher telling me that painters have sketchbook full of skies and clouds so they can perfect them for their main drawings. Photographers need to do the same. We need to practice, learn from our mistakes and improve our work.

How do you light your photographs?

I'm all about natural light. And even on the greyest of days you can find a pocket of light. I hate artificial light with a passion and I would rather wait until another day to take my photographs than use artificial light.

Your Instagram is very styled with regards to filter and colour palette. Do you find this restrictive?

Yeah I guess sometimes I do, but I like to keep my colour palette similar for a consistent look. I still like to have big skies and negative space in location photographs, which living in East Anglia is easy to find big open skies. And plain backgrounds and negative space are what I like to see in flatlays and still life too. In all honesty I think it's just how I'm drawn to taking photos.

How did you start out as a professional photographer?

I didn't want to go back after maternity leave to a job I didn't enjoy anymore. So I just made the jump. I had a Facebook page but that was more of a hobby to begin with. In the end I pushed forward with it and put my energy into it. Sometimes I don't think it's real and I have to pinch myself that this is my job. My best advice would be to just go for it. Make the jump!

If you have any other questions please pop them below and I'll either answer them in the comments or write another blog post.

I hope you're enjoying my Photography Series.

You can now get your hands on my Phone Photography Course as a self paced workbook. Head over to my Etsy shop for more details.

Photographs from my Springtime Stock Collection.
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The Photography Series: How I Edit My Photographs For Instagram.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

If you follow me on Twitter, which you definitely should. You will have seen my tweet about starting a photography series on my blog. It's been a long time coming, especially after my Phone Photography course. I often get a DM's asking me about things to do with photography so I thought it was about time that I put all the answers on my blog. I'm going to go over how I edit photographs, how I take photographs, questions about equipment and anything else that springs up along the way. Let me know in the comments if there is anything else you would like me to cover.

Today's blog post is all about how I edit my photographs for Instagram. I take half of my IG photographs on my iPhone SE and the rest is either on my Nikon D750 or my Canon 600D.

More recently my editing style has changed slightly and I now send my photographs over to my computer and then load them into Lightroom, which you can get for around £8 a month. I use the tools on this to brighten shadows and then I apply a Rooke & Rover preset. This helps me to keep a consistent look to my photographs. I then send it back to my phone and begin editing on my phone.

First of all open VSCO and import the photograph you want to edit. You do this by clicking on the +. Select the image and then touch the ✓. Select your image, this will place a box around the image. You'll then need to click on the sliders symbol at the bottom. The second symbol in. It will then bring up all of the filters. Now I have one go to filter. HB1. I use it on every image. I love how it brings out the white tones and the effect it has but you need to pick your own filter. Work your way through them and decide what works best for you.

Once I've picked my filter I then alter the strength. You do this by clicking the filter button again. Most of the time I have the strength between 8 and 9. Once I'm happy with the filter I do the rest of the editing in Instagram. However if you click the ▴ at the bottom and click the slider symbol you can make image adjustments on here too.  Exposure, highlights, shadows, warmth etc. I definitely recommend having a play around with these. Dedicate a spare 30 minutes on really getting to grips with these features.

 Once you are happy you then need to save your image. You do this by clicking the ▴ again and then click the white tick. Then click the 3 dots at the bottom of the page. Click save to camera roll and then Actual Size (----x----) this then saves your image to the camera roll which you can then open in Instagram. Of course if you don't plan to upload it to Instagram you can just leave it at that.  
Once in Instagram I got to upload my photo by clicking the box with the cross in the middle. I then click library and the first image will be the photo I've just saved from VSCO. I then select that image and start editing. 

I personally do not use any filters from Instagram and I'd advise you not too. They can't be pretty harsh and take the focus anyway from the image. Instead I click on edit.  

First of all I change the warmth of the image. I like to have a cool tone to my images so I take the warmth down to around -20. Of course if my image already looks cold I may add a little warmth in but I like to keep my images cool toned. I then head to brightness. Depending on the lighting I normally up brightness to around 25. I then head to highlights and up that by 10. And finally to lux. The sunshine at the top. I take that to around 15/20. 

And that's my image ready to go.

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9 Facts On What It's Like Having A Teacher In The Family.

Monday, July 17, 2017

This is a post I've been saying to my husband I should write for a while now. And I'm sure over time as he's been teaching longer I'll need to update this post but I thought I'd let you in to the life of a teacher's family especially with the end of term coming up this week. 

1. 12 Weeks Holiday A Year. 

While this does have to be a huge plus of teaching it's also meet with the fact you can only take holidays during term time. Which means a family holiday to Center Parcs costs five times as much. However being able to spend time together over the Summer, Christmas and Easter is pretty lovely. 

2. It's Not A 9-3 Job.

As much as I joke to my husband that teachers clock off at 3, in reality their days are a lot longer. My husband leaves for work at 7:15am and normally returns at 5:15pm. That's of course if there's not long staff meetings, parents evenings or school discos. Then you can add a few extra hours on too. 

3. Teacher Gifts.

A lovely perk of the job and I love the end of the year when my husband comes home with chocolates and sweets. You get parents who make something thoughtful and then you get parents who buy "Best Teacher" mugs. While my husband is really grateful for the generosity, I think my mug cupboard might fall down if there's anymore. If you're wondering what to get a teacher, chocolate that his wife can eat is always the way to go! 

4. Stealing.

I once saw a post that said teaching is the only job where you steal things from home to take to work. This is so true. The things I have had to find or have been to school on a day trip. My cacti, my clothes and even toys. 

5. Invested In The Class.

I sometimes take Edith up to the school my husband teaches at and all of the class adore her. All of the children know your name, probably because your husband named a horse in his story after you, and they know what happened at the weekend (Monday morning re-counts). It's almost like they become one huge extended family.

6. Mr Wood. Mr Wood.

Oh yes. You can not go anywhere without hearing that. Everywhere you go there's a child calling his name. Which leads me onto my next point.

7. He's Never Really Off The Clock.

Other than inside our house, because you could bump into a pupil at any time. 

8. Tough Days.

It's not just glorified baby sitting. Days can be tough. Whether it's the stress from Government pressures or confidential things that he can't talk to me about. Some days he just needs a greasy takeaway to feel better. 

9. Dress Up Days.

It's not just parents who get short notice for dress up days. Quite often I'm searching through my wardrobe or the cupboards for something suitable for that days event. 

In all honesty though taking in all the good and bad it's so lovely to see my husband enjoy and excel at what he does. It's like photography and blogging for me. It's what makes him happy. 

Roll on the summer holidays!

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