The Exposure Triangle - How the elements fit together.

Understanding the Exposure Triangle can be frustrating at the start but after a time will become second nature. The golden principle: keep in mind that everything is a balance. It is for us as the brain of the camera, to use the creative settings to get the camera to record the image we wish to capture.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJ1kEI_-kzY[/embedyt]

As a very short & simple summary, we can think of each setting as the following:

  • Shutter Speed: Capturing Motion

  • Aperture: Detail & Depth

  • ISO: Quality / Gain

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Ln2YluJd4o[/embedyt]

If you change one setting - you have to change another to maintain the same light levels hitting the sensor. Working out why an image is too dark or too light can be the difference in making an image better or worse.

The images below are from the Shutter Speed blog - they show the difference between an image that is out of focus (below right) and an image with motion blur (below left). Being able to spot these problems and fix them is the first step to mastering the camera and the manual settings.

Increasing the aperture, lengthening the shutter and increasing the ISO all will have an effect of giving a brighter exposure. Decreasing the size of the aperture, limiting the shutter time and decreasing the ISO will have an effect that they darken the exposure. This is pretty simple to understand but the challenging aspect is working out the creative balance of which settings to change and which settings to not change.

We should always remember that, strictly speaking, ISO is NOT a part of the exposure equation but is a part of the Exposure Triangle.  The easy way to think of this is that ISO is not a creative setting.

The formal photography textbooks put it like this:

  • H=E x T
  • (H) Exposure = irradiance x time

Irradiance (E)

  • Amount of light falling on a unit area of a sensor per second (measured in lumins)
  • Controlled by the Aperture

Exposure Time (T)

  • in Seconds
  • Controlled by the Shutter

ISO only comes in to play when the result of this equation hits the sensor. The more amplified the sensor needs to be, the more static you have, which we call grain, or noise. It's just the same as the buzz you get when you turn the TV up really loud when nothing is on, that's static you can hear. It's the result of the digital sensor being pushed to max.

Keeping it simple.

The SUPER easy way to make sense of this all is to use a cheat sheet - like the one I find on the internet. It shows how each element is as important as the next, and getting around to mastering each element sometimes can take a while. This cheat card - made by Hamburger Photospots is the best and clearest way to describe what the elements of the Exposure Triangle do.

 

Each element has it's own blog post - click the image to read about how each element can be controlled and the effect it has on your final image.

Learning how to control the cameras overall exposure levels by balancing out the corners of the triangle is one of the best things to focus on when learning to use a camera, but, we do have the auto modes to think about - if we want to use them.

Auto Modes:

Pretty much all cameras that have manual mode will have some semi-auto modes too. On the Fujifilm system, you can set each one to the 'A setting' on the dial for which you want the camera to look after for you. For example, on the X-Pro2 or X100 cameras just set all the dials to 'A' and you will have a fully auto camera. Each model will have its own variation to find these settings.

If you want to learn more about these semi-auto levels and how to fully use Auto-ISO settings - check out one of the many workshops that Fujiholics put on up and down the UK each year.

Check out this video which shows how the Auto-modes are working and the difference between them and shooting fully manual.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Ln2YluJd4o[/embedyt]

Want to know my settings:

Being a photographer who uses an additive lighting style, (read more here), I regularly get asked about my camera settings for flash.

The image below looks quite complex - but in regards to the camera, it is a very simple set up.

write in your exhif data

Top tips for the studio:

  1. Keep your ISO at the lowest setting (iso 200)
  2. Stay inside your flash sync speeds (250th or lower)
  3. If you need more light - add more light - don't adjust the camera
  4. Adjust the light - not the camera - unless you have to.
  5. Tripods are super helpful.
  6. If you are using lower apertures you will need very little light or ND filters
  7. F8, ISO 200, 200th with an average power flash is a good baseline - but many factors can change.
  8. Don't drag your shutter.
  9. Lower ISO's give better colour.
  10. Have fun and get creative !!

Read this if you want to know more about lighting & Fujifilm cameras :

https://www.fujiholics.com/lighting-dave-kai-piper/

To read more - Click on the other pages linked to this blog post.

Extra reading – Marc Levoys lectures are very intense, but if you are looking for a more technical explanation of how photography works and the maths & equations behind it check out this link for a full comprehensive set of lectures. https://sites.google.com/site/marclevoylectures/

 


The Exposure Triangle : ISO

The ISO setting is the odd one out in the exposure triangle and in some ways the most outdated and less important setting. In the future, I think it will be replaced by a gain dial or some other way to better suit the needs of a photographer.

'generally, the more expensive professional cameras produce less noise at higher ISO levels.' - AP magazine

With this in mind - this blog hopes to explain what ISO means to a photographer and how to best use the dial on your camera to get the best images you can.

Film Cameras & Digital Cameras.

Iso is the only setting linked to the Exposure Triangle that changed during the move from film cameras to digital cameras.

Or to be more relevant, the ISO dial is the most effected dial on a camera during the move from analog to digital. When digital sensors replaced rolls of film, nothing else really changed regarding how cameras work. We still have aperture settings, shutter speed settings & different focal lengths to work with. In the past, we would have to change the film to increase the sensitivity, but now we have a dial.

Above: An example of an image with grain/noise

The higher the number, the more boosted the digital signal is from the sensor. Boosting the signal, just like with audio speaker or microphone - increases static or noise - in other words, increasing the sensitivity will increase the static just as much as the signal we are trying to capture. This is visually apparent as a loss of quaily in an image.

Back in the film days - the fastest film commonly available was 3200 for B&W or 1600 for a colour image. Most photographers using digital cameras today are happy to shoot up into the higher settings with no problem. It is very hard to compare film to digital. But, from my own experience, we are way past the argument that film is better in terms of quality of image when looking for detail using like for like lighting settings. This is not to say which is better - in the right hand's film cameras can give awesome results going up against the most recent cameras today.

With the advancing technology moving forward, working with higher ISO's has become less or a worry. When I first started shooting I would do everything in my power to avoid going above ISO 800 due to a total lack of image quality. The above image shows a cut away from two images - one at 200 ISO and the other boosted to 12800 iso in Camera.

Interesting - I tried a quick experiment. Knowing that the ISO adjustment is just boosting the signal/sensitivity of the sensor. I took two images. One at the base (iso 200 on the X-Pro2) and one at 12800. The image at iso 200 was dark, as expected, but then I boosted the full amount Adobe Lightroom give. This is what we mean by 'post-produced' as we are appliing effects after the camera stage.  Both images captured in RAW.

Above: ISO 12800
Below: ISO 200 - adjusted in Adobe Lightroom to match exposure

Below: the same image photographed at ISO 200.

From this very quick test, it seems very clear that the technology and processing in camera is having a better final outcome than just adjusting the RAW files after. It seems like getting your ISO right in camera is going to give you a better and cleaner final image if you are working the camera, not just using post-processing tools to rescue files.

What does Noise look like?

Shooting the lowest possible ISO is the way to go. We can make adjustments using the exposure sliders after we can take the images in post-processing but with less quality than using the camera ISO dial. Digitally boosting the images will increase the amount of 'noise' in the image, but that is a trade-off for having a faster shutter speed or aperture setting that we wish to use.

From AP magazine - 20 tips n using ISO.

The Shutter Speed dial, Aperture Speed dial, and ISO dial are used together to balance out the settings for an image/exposure.

ISO is the only setting that does not artistically control any part of an image. It only adjusts how sensitive the sensor is, letting us have more freedom to use different shutter speeds and aperture settings. However, from personal experience, I have found that as the noise increases, the colour becomes less saturated and texture becomes softer.  The unedited image below was produced at 2000 iso. Normally using flash I would never use an ISO rating this high. Due to the amount of noise, the image seems a little soft with the hair and skin looking waxy.

This image of Roseanne was taken using the same lighting style but at a much lower (ISO 200). It's clear to see the difference. Look at the sharpness in the hairlines with how well the camera copes with the skin texture.

Is ISO linked to Dynamic Range?

Shooting your LOWEST ISO is always my main thought while setting up the camera. Getting this right is the very best way to get the most out of your camera.  This sunset (below) was photographed at ISO 50 on a Hasselblad 500C. Shooting the lowest ISO will give you the best flat out the start, and as you increase the ISO you will see colours change, become less vivid and less contrast. It is said that the range its- self is not linked but, you do seem to get a different range of colours. What do you think? Try your own tests. Remember the ISO values are not constant across brands, cameras or any listed spec sheet.

Shooting this image at iso 50, I was getting the best the camera could do in terms of sharpness, colour, contrast and all-out performance.

When to Use Low ISO

I might be wrong, but I would say always use the lowest ISO you can. This sometimes might be quite high as you should always give priority to your shutter speed and aperture settings as they control what your image is going to look like. Using Tripods and adding lighting are always going to be preferable to shooting higher ISO's if I can.

If you are planning on doing any sort of post-production, shooting the lowest ISO becomes even more critical. Retouching becomes harder the less you have to work in the first instance.

  • Landscape
  • Beauty
  • Advertising
  • Commercial
  • Wide Range of colours
  • Vivid Colour
  • Smooth Tones

What ISO Should You Use?

The lowest you can without having to introduce motion blur with your shutter settings.

Auto ISO - Good or Bad?

In many cameras, you can use an Auto ISO setting. The Fujifilm cameras have a range of settings you can pick from to limit the range of auto settings that the camera will use.

When is an image to 'noisy' & When to Use High ISO

I have and do use my full range of given ISO's in the camera, then sometimes boost them, even more, using tools like Photoshop or Lightroom.
Images like this one (below: Bowling for Soup) taken at 1600 are very common these days but would of been very risky even a few years ago.

Super high ISO shots are great for when you have fast moving subjects in a very low light area. With this image of Patent Pending, they are moving about quickly in a very dark red light. Boosting the ISO and using a fast lens was the only way to be able to have a fast enough shutter speed to avoid motion blur.  This image is taken at 12800 iso but had nose reduction applied in lightroom.

Sometimes shooting high ISO's can be used to create an effect - such as with this image of Ryan, Rob & Micky. We are using all the elements of distortion and degradation given using higher iso to provide the look in the image.  ISO 2500.   

In short, we all have to set our own levels of the image we are looking to create, however, I would say that using the lowest ISO you can is always the best idea - unless you are trying to use the higher ISO to capture the noisy gain, like in the image above.

The short version.....

ISO is linked to both Shutter Speed and Aperture - using this equation.

  • H=E x T
  • (H) Exposure = irradiance x time

Irradiance (E)

  • Amount of light falling on a unit area of a sensor per second (measured in lumins)
  • Controlled by the Aperture

Exposure Time (T)

  • in Seconds
  • Controlled by the Shutter

ISO only comes in to play when the result of this equation ( you set the aperture and shutter speed ) hits the sensor.

Fun Facts via Wikipieda.

  • The ASA and DIN film speed standards have been combined into the ISO standards since 1974.
  • The ISO standard ISO 12232:2006 gives digital still camera manufacturers a choice of five different techniques for determining the exposure index rating at each sensitivity setting provided by a particular camera model.
  • Digital cameras have far surpassed film in terms of sensitivity to light, with ISO equivalent speeds of up to 4,560,000 (Canon's ME20F) with the Nikon D5 having an ISO of 3280000.
  • Some high-speed black-and-white films, such as Ilford Delta 3200 and Kodak T-MAX P3200, are marketed with film speeds in excess of their true ISO speed as determined using the ISO testing method. For example, the Ilford product is actually an ISO 1000 film, according to its data sheet. The manufacturers do not indicate that the 3200 number is an ISO rating on their packaging. Kodak and Fuji also marketed E6 films designed for pushing (hence the "P" prefix), such as Ektachrome P800/1600 and Fujichrome P1600, both with a base speed of ISO 400.

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This blog is part of the EXPOSURE TRIANGLE blogs.

Find the links to the other two by clicking the images.

Extra reading - Marc Levoys lectures are very intense, but if you are looking for a more technical explanation of how photography works and the maths & equations behind it check out this link for a full comprehensive set of lectures. https://sites.google.com/site/marclevoylectures/


The Exposure Triangle : Aperture

Aperture is all about creativity, character, clarity, contrast and above all captivating your viewer's attention. Aperture controls the depth & tone of your image. If shutter speed controls the movement, depth is the context that the movement is given.

The aperture in the photography world controls what is in focus, and what is not. The word is taken from its exact meaning - an aperture is an opening - in this case, created by a number of metal blades that are inside the lens that we can use to restrict how much light enters the lens. The bigger the aperture, the more light we have & the brighter our image is.

In addition to the amount of light changing linked with the size of the aperture, a secondary effect occurs. The area that falls into focus (called depth of field or DOF) becomes smaller, the wider the aperture used. This is demonstrated below using an X-Pro 2 with an APS-C sensor & 35mm lens. Don't worry, everything is explained and will become second nature quickly.

The more advanced reader/photographer will also notice that we took good care to note the lens and the sensor used in these examples. This is because the aperture size is not the only thing that can change the look of an image and perceived DOF*.  As will everything in the photography world, a balance of things come together to create the image. Focal length in relationship to aperture and sensor size will all have an effect on the final look and depth given at any setting. Even the number of blades in an aperture ring or such thing as special APD filters can have an effect in small parts. This is explained more in our extra reading section at the end of this blog.

 

If you are looking for a super technical look at how DOF works and the maths behind it all - this is the link for you. The rest of this article is going to be about why we would use either shallow or wide depth and how to get the most out of the effect.

Front to Back sharpness

The image below was set to a wide depth of field maybe around f22. We can tell this as, all of the image is pin sharp. People use the term - Front to Back sharpness to describe an image like this.

The Foreground, Middle and Background.

Let's use the image above as an example. The bike is up front and center, which would be the foreground in this image. The middle ground would be the winding road then the hills in the distance being the background.  This image has a deep focus, in contrast to the image below, which has a more, 'stepped' approach to the different zones.

In this image (above) we have a clear middle ground which holds focus with the background and foreground being out of focus. A shallow Depth of field is used in this image. The image below is using the same concept of using a zonal approach to creating an image using depth of field

This image of Ryan Hamilton & the Traitors (below) is another example of using a foreground to lead into an image. The aperture of this image was something we had to be mindful of. An f-stop of 2.8 was wide enough to give a soft gradual blend of sharpness to lead in to the main elements of the image.

Understanding how aperture can help tell your story can be fun & challenging to start with, but in time becomes second nature.

Photography being the art form it is, gives us unlimited scope in how we use the camera and how we create our images. Aperture is one of the most creative settings - next to Shutter Speed. The  images below are a good examples of low depth of field portraits.

Low DOF work super well for environmental portraits. These were all shot at f2.8 using the XF 16-55mm

Why are all lenses different & What is a constant aperture lens ?

Lenses, like cameras are made to a price point, as one of many other factors.  Different people have different needs and some needs cost more than others. Some people want small travel lenses that have a wide focal length and some people want pure optical quality. Some people want fast focusing lenses and some people (like me) are happy to use totally manual focus.

Speaking from a personal place, when I buy a lens, I am looking for one thing. Speed.

I love shooting wide open, to a photographer than means 'fast glass'. For me everything is about how low the aperture of a lens will go. Working out your needs for a lens will come as you shoot more and begin to work on your style and methods. A macro photographer or a landscape photographer would have totally different needs. For example I really love the XF 35mm which has an aperture range of f1.4 to f16, a different photographer may require a different range.

Some lenses are constant aperture lenses - this means the f-stop will not change as you change the focal length. Typically, lenses designed around weight saving or cash saving wont have a constant aperture. This does not mean they are not good, it just means that the focal length and apertures are linked. Check out the XF 16-55mm and the XF 18-55mm. Both amazing lenses but designed for different needs. It would be wrong to say which is better without knowing what the end user wants them for.

What is an F-Stop ?

As I was doing a bit of research, I came across this great explanation by a guy called Mark Whitaker - 

He states

  1. A shutter speed of 1/100s
  2. An aperture of f/5.6
  3. A sensitivity setting of ISO 400

We could make the photo appear twice as bright by doing any of the following:

  1. Doubling the shutter speed to 1/50s
  2. Doubling the area of the aperture by increasing it one full f-stop, to f/4
  3. Doubling the sensitivity setting to ISO 800

Any of these could be described as increasing the exposure by 1 stop.

Likewise, to make the scene appear half as bright, we can reduce the exposure by 1 stop by taking one of the opposite steps

  1. Halving the shutter speed to 1/200s
  2. Halving the aperture area by reducing it one full f-stop, to f/8
  3. Halving the sensitivity to ISO 200.

OR

1 stop will double the light, 2 stops is going to give you 4 times the light, 4 stops would be 8 times the light.

This diagram is a pretty good example of the size ratio of the given apertures.

Extra reading....

 

*Note that focal length has not been listed as influencing depth of field, contrary to popular belief. Even though telephoto lenses appear to create a much shallower depth of field, this is mainly because they are often used to magnify the subject when one is unable to get closer. If the subject occupies the same fraction of the image (constant magnification) for both a telephoto and a wide angle lens, the total depth of field is virtually* constant with focal length! (see this for more reading)

Cambridge in Colour are super good with the technical, the above edit was from there website, they have some excellent articles linking to DOF - (Link)

Want to really Geek Out about F-Stops ?
Click here..... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F-number

What is the f-stop of a human eye ?

The f-number of the human eye varies from about f/8.3 in a very brightly lit place to about f/2.1 in the dark - for more fun facts - click the link to the Wikipedia above.

What is the Hyper Focal Distance.

Stolen from Wikipedia, as they totally nailed this explanation.

The hyperfocal distance is the closest distance at which a lens can be focused while keeping objects at infinity acceptably sharp. When the lens is focused at this distance, all objects at distances from half of the hyperfocal distance out to infinity will be acceptably sharp.

What does the f stand for in F-Stops.

Fractional.

What is diffraction?

Sometimes, when using very small apertures, to get very wide depth or 'front to back' sharpness the light can strike the edges of the diaphragm blades - this can cause an unwanted scattering of light to bounce across the image. These days, lenses are very well made and this is much less of a problem than it was in the 'olden' days.

The Sunny 16 Rule ?

Using ISO 200 film, an aperture of f/16 and a shutter speed of 1/200 second - should* give you an OK image on a sunny day. But I live in the UK thus, unable to test this due to weather.  All jokes aside it's not a bad rule and the ratio is good. click here for more - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunny_16_rule

This blog is part of the EXPOSURE TRIANGLE blogs.

Find the links to the other two by clicking the images.

Extra reading - Marc Levoys lectures are very intense, but if you are looking for a more technical explanation of how photography works and the maths & equations behind it check out this link for a full comprehensive set of lectures. https://sites.google.com/site/marclevoylectures/


The Exposure Triangle : Shutter Speed

Regardless of your subject. Your shutter speed is going to have an impact on your images in a number of ways. Exposure and content will be affected. This means the amount of light coming from your image but the amount of movement that is also captured. Out of all the settings on the camera – this is the one you want to learn first, master first and most likely change the most.

(Click to download my notebook on Shutter Speeds)

The first thing to remember is that light travels fast – like, really fast, so, in order to have sharp images we need to just capture a fast slice of the moment as it passes in front of the camera. Most cameras have a range of 4000th to 30secs as the options for the shutter speed. This range can be different from camera and model but, the bit to remember is that 4000th of second is fast and 30 seconds is very slow. We can either use the camera in an auto mode or pick the shutter speed manually, but how do we know what setting to use?

The camera helps by having a range of pre-set timings we can select using a dial or a button – in this case, the X-T2 has a dial. On the dial you will see the markings for the pre-selected timings we can select including a mode called B – this is a mode called bulb mode and is the way we can select any shutter speed we like, ranging from hours to days in some cases! Looking at the dial again, we can also see an X-marked next to a number – this symbol marks the flash sync speed of the camera. (Read more about flash here). Normally we base our shutter speed on the subject matter. We must decide how much movement we want in an image, then select a shutter speed to match. The longer the shutter is open, the more movement will occur. Sometimes we need a long shutter speed to capture the something, but then we will use another part of the Exposure Triangle to balance out the brightness and create the image we are looking for.

 

Let's look at some examples and try and work out why the shutter speed is so key.

This image was taken with a very long shutter speed. So long that many waves had time to come in and merge together in the image to turn the water a different colour. A shutter speed of 320 seconds was used for this image. This sort of photography is known as Long Exposure photography. It is extremely advised to use tripods and shutter release cables when producing this sort of work. Images like this are very sensitive to movement.

GFX - North Wales - 320 second shutter time

In contrast – this image is using a high speed shutter to freeze the motion of the water falling from the bottle to the glass. The common maximum shutter speed of 8000th of a second (on a higher end camera) was used to create this image.

If we have a look at some more sample images, we can start to see how shutter speed can affect your images and we can have a look for some clues about how images are constructed.

This image of Birmingham has some interesting movement. The requirements of the image were that it should have people in the image but no recognizable faces are in view. The Exposure triangle was used to create a deep depth of field yet enough time was given to the shutter to allow enough movement to distort the faces of the people.

By the subtle movement, could you guess the shutter speed that was used?

Being able to identify the effects that shutter speed can have on your images will help to understand how we can learn to fully use this important part of the Exposure Triangle.

Above: On a first glance, it's hard to spot any immediate signs of movement in this image. The big clue is the motion of the boats and the masts in the water.
Below: Can you spot the clue to the length of the shutter in this image?

Hint: Is it a bird? Is it a ...

By the way, the cool lighting effect was achieved by using a star filter.

Settings for photographing people?

In principle - no. In photography, there are no fixed settings for anything. There are, however, rough guidelines, common practices and things that work better.

Let's look at photographing people.  Movement in an image can come from two ways. Either camera movement (camera shake) as I hold the camera or the movement of the subject. I can easily control both elements by holding the camera correctly and asking my model to remain still. At 30th of a second, with a trained hand, there is no problem getting a sharp image. Remember the lower the f-stop or the longer the focal length, the less you have in focus to start with. At super open apertures like f1.2, just breathing can move a subject way out of focus. It is also worth noting that the longer the focal length the more sensitive motion becomes.

Below is my rough guide to photographing people based on a 35mm lens. The (old school) rule I use is that the minimum shutter speed should be, at least double the focal length. For example. If you are shooting at 200mm, you would want to try and keep your minimum shutter speed at about 200th of a second.  These are rough starting guides and don't take into account tripods, subject speeds, wind, weather or things like lenses that have built-in stabilization features.

Is this why my images are blurry?

There can be many reasons why images are blurry, but the camera shake and movement in an image can be identified easily sometimes, usually with quick fixes too. If we look at these two images for example, both have a good exposure however, one is out of focus, but the other is in focus just has unwanted movement. Being able to understand why an image didn't work can be important, but also remember that there are no 'correct' settings.

Interestingly - the look of motion blur is very different to an image that is out of focus. Let's compare the images below.

The image of the left - we can see areas that are sharp and 'in focus' yet, we have areas that areas that are blurry too. This is clear sign that the shutter speed needs to be quicker to suit the movement that subject is creating. The image on the right is uniformly out of focus which indicates that shutter speed is not the cause of the blurry nature - and was in fact back focused.

The images below might help explain this a little more. A shutter speed of 160th using flash was easily fast enough to capture this handsome young pup.

You can easily with shutters speed with a household experiment. To create some example images Stephanie used a windmill, tripod, shutter release and a hairdryer. She set the camera up on the tripod set to shutter priority (camera set to automatically determine ISO and aperture) to maintain a constant exposure. An Ice Light was used to light the ideas.

We can quickly see the dramatic effect that increasing the shutter speed has.

See image references below.

What is OIS?

Some lenses have built-in electronics that help reduce the amount of movement that makes it on to the final image. These systems can only correct so much movement and are designed for dealing with camera shake, not subjects that are moving. The best way to reduce movement is getting your camera stable. Use a tripod or a monopod if can. Keep your shutter speed higher than your focal length and you should be fine - OIS is not a save all solution and only really is needed at longer focal lengths or when shooting video.  Most systems and on all XF lenses, you can find a switch to turn the system on and off. Extra battery usage, as well as a small sound, can be expected - this is normal. You will see the full effect of the system when you half-press the shutter button or when in a video mode.

How does flash effect shutter speeds?

Normally, we would say that flash controls ambient light and aperture controls ambient and flash - but this is a very ambiguous statement and while has some truth does not shape the whole story of how they balance together. Most cameras have something called a Flash Sync Speed. This is the limit of the camera being able to link to a flash system in order to work correctly. There are many ways around this sync speed - so don't worry too much.

Combining flash and long shutter speeds can be super fun and help get some very interesting effects, as you can see in this image below where we have used a longer shutter speed to capture movement and freeze parts of the motion too. This happens as the shutter is open enough time to create an exposure than from the movement, then a burst of light is put out and freezes part of the image. It looks pretty cool!

As a summery in regards to shutter speed, there are two main ways of using light to make an exposure. Using flash or ambient. Flash lights give a big burst and ambient light is less intense therefor needs a longer shutter time to capture the same amount of light - also letting us capture motion.

In the most simple terms, shutter speed helps us control the amount of light entering the camera. If you solely use ambient light you'll find that this is the most common setting you will change as a photographer. Also it can be one of the most creatively impackful settings for any photographer.

For example, say the exposure of the Photographer man in the image above has a value of 'X' we can either use flash to give a high power burst of light, meaning we can use a fast shutter to freeze the motion and ensure a sharp image, or a longer exposure of ambient light to build up to the same level, risking the chance of movement in the image.

 

Other things to think about:

Focal Length.

Due to how the optics work, longer lenses are subject to camera shake and vibration much more than wider angle lenses. The weight and balance of the lenses also have an effect on the stability of the lens. Most longer lenses have tripod mounts attached to a brace or collar that fits around the lens. This gives a better-weighed position to hold the lens and center point in which to use a tripod or monopod.

Wind and weather.

Sometimes we can get a perfect balance of shutter speed and movement in a subject - like this image of Jodi.
Wind is blowing her hair around enough to create motion but the shutter speed is fast enough to give good clear eye contact.

Some samples of Long Exposure Photography.

Click here to download my notebook on Shutter Speeds

 

This blog is part of the EXPOSURE TRIANGLE blogs.

Find the links to the other two by clicking the images.

Extra reading - Marc Levoys lectures are very intense, but if you are looking for a more technical explanation of how photography works and the maths & equations behind it check out this link for a full comprehensive set of lectures. https://sites.google.com/site/marclevoylectures/


Lighting with Dave Kai Piper

Photographing people is at the very core of what I do. The style might change, the lighting might change but the fundamental principles stay the same. The type of lighting I apply is normally about creating an image or trying highlight one.

Just like people, no two shoots are the same and nor should any two lighting setups be either - they might start the same but this is only ever a planning stage. As the shoot moves on so does the lighting. There is a quote I have used many times and I shall put it here too.

The work is primarily subject driven. All decisions from there, The photographs are made to respond to a unique subject, in particular context, at a specific moment in time. The thoughtful preparedness that defines my working methods actually facilitates spontaneity and allows me to embrace surprise. I always have a game plan but view it as merely the jumping off point.

Years ago, I saw Gregory in London and had the chance to sit and share some time - the way I looked at my lighting after that day has never been the same. The structure and rigidity of the set up increased but the shoots were more relaxed and casual. It seems like the proverb 'if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail' has some elements of truth to it.

Amersham Studios

For this blog, I wanted to share some of the setup tips & shooting tips that I have come to trust over the years.

This blog is going to cover these elements - which are more about a mental approach to photography and lighting. Photography is a unique blend of emotion and technology. We always need to understand the roles both play, then, understand we have control over both. I mean this in both a physical and mental way.

Planning Stage:

  1. Understand your subject.
  2. Where are you shooting?
  3. What is your backup plan?
  4. Capture or create?
  5. How many images are you making?

Shooting Stage:

  1. Shoot simple & Shoot quickly.
  2. Stop if it's not working.
  3. Know your basics.
  4. When to try something new.
Chloe-Jasmine for Beyond Burlesque

Planning

Understand your subject:
The most simple shots can be lost on the smallest of details. Understanding who you are photographing is a core tool and nothing to do with photography. Understanding who are photographing and how to build and maintain there trust in you is vital. Photography might be normal to you but to your subject, it can be an intimidating thing.  You might think that working pro models would get around not having to worry about a subject but this is quite the myth. Models and actors are humans too and you never know what is going through there mind or what is going on around them in a personal way. Being super aware of your subject and how to handle them is critical.

Where are you shooting?
You might have spent a lifetime in a studio but to a new person, the sounds the smells and normally the lack of temperature in a studio can be quite off-putting to a subject. Get in early, turn the lights on, make some coffee, get the heating sorted, get your prep going and make the space look lived in and used. A super clean sterile studio might make sense to you but to others might feel like a dentists surgery.  If you are on a location you have even more to worry about. As normal do a recon mission and scout out all the local things. Coffee shops, supply stores, shops and toilets.  A place to warm or get a cool drink might be needed. When on a location, your crew and model will turn to you for advice and help. Keep them happy and well looked after and your shoot will go great. Plus if something breaks or you need some supplies, you know where to get them. Be prepared for anything!

What is your backup plan?
Having a plan 'B' is about planning to fail with plan A, but letting you be more adventurous with what plan A is.  If you are on a location getting early and scouting about is vital. Maybe take a drone and see what the land looks like from above, check for interesting elements that might be around you or finding a location that would work in the wind and rain if the shoot has to happen on that day. Spare cameras, spare lenses and back up mood boards all the way to back up models and make up artists all things that people turn to the photographer to sort out when things go wrong. Have a plan in your back pocket to keep the team and subject confident that you are on top of everything.  Remember “A photographer is responsible for creating a climate in which they can do their best work.” - more wise words from Gregory.

Capture or create?
There are two different types of photographer - those like street photographer Bill Cunningham and photographers like Ben Von Wong. One creates images and the other one finds them, the rest is about how that happens and the way the final message is given to the audience. Let's look towards ourselves for a moment and ask some questions. what are we trying to say and who are we trying to say it to?  What do we want the end result to be - are we making a call to action or just trying to explain something? Are we trying to entertain or inform ? Are we making something that is historical and accurate or are we making a work of fiction using the full range of the artistic tools we call photography? Knowing who you are is only going to help you communicate whatever message it is to other people as you will be able to shape the message from a clearer standing point.

How many images are you making?
We all know problems and accidents happen when things are rushed and un-balanced - photography is the very same. Knowing what you are shooting and how many images you need in the final outcome are very important things before picking up the camera. As with life knowing the goal will only help us be focused on the job at hand. If you only have 4 images to make, you can plan your shoot according to with the amount of time you have per image. Reduce the stress and plan your time according, have clear goals and stick to them.

Ryan Hamilton & the Traitors

Shooting Stage

Shoot simple & Shoot quickly.
This sounds backward, but, the less time you have the camera in your hand the better the shoot will be. Let me explain, if you shoot confidently and have done all the right planning you should not need to shoot 1000's of frames to get one decent image. Do your prep work correctly and it will limit the time you need to shoot. Smaller bursts of images will be much easier on your subject. Be more like a sniper and less like naplam - be accurate, efficient and confident.

If it's not working, Stop!
This should be common sense, but we have all forgotten this rule from time to time. There are many reasons to why an image might not be working and some of them might not be in your control. Maybe your subject needs a rest, break or to just chill out, we should also be aware that if we have a technical problem we sort it with little fuss so that the confidence of the sitter is not affected.  This is something I have seen time and time again, especially when working with new or nervous models. If the shoot is not working perfectly, they might blame themselves - which causes a ton of other problems. Fall back to a simpler plan, take a break, fix the problem and carry on.  Taking hundreds of images you know are rubbish is only wasting your time and your sitters time.

Know your basics.
Be aware, be on task, be confident. Be a master at simple.
Practice is the key to this element. Over time you will know your settings, you will know your lights and how they will affect your subject. You will know your camera and be able to react seamlessly to a situation. Get the basics right and building a solid foundation for your photography will be the best way to build up a more styled body of work. This tip could of been called - start simple, master the basics or even know your kit. Being able to shoot cleanly and be create any of the simple three portrait lighting styles instantly is going to be your bedrock.

Learn to pre-visualise how your lighting and understand how the size of the light, the power of the light and the distance from your light to the subject will change. A good lighting tech has the skill to judge and balance all of these aspects for each light – sometimes 8 or 9 on a film or TV set.  Most photographers are only ever using 3 light max - we have it easy.

When to try something new.
Simple is good, simple is effective but sometimes we want to push things into a new way. The first thing to remember is client time is not testing time. When on a job, don't think about your portfolio or if an image would well on your Instagram - stay on task. Maybe at the end of a shoot, if there is time, ask if you can try some stuff out, but remember who is paying who.

Testing is a term we have in the photography world where in short, everyone brings some ideas to the table and people test ideas out, try stuff, meet each other and try to experiment. This is the time to play and experiment. Most of the work that is in my portfolio comes from test shoots where we have the time to really nail down a concept or idea. Sometimes it can take hours to get one look and in some cases, you can shoot for a day and get nothing but the knowledge that an idea is bad.

As I you might tell, I am a huge fan of Gregory. I have found this video that Stumptown Visuals recorded a few years ago. It is a great little video to give a short insight to see what goes through his mind pre-shoot and how to mentally get in shoot mode and make the right environment you need to get the shot you are after.

"Sometimes, mother nature just provides and all we have to do is be ready"- Dave Kai-Piper

If you want to know more about lighting and specifically portraits, beauty and fashion. Why not come along to our Fujihlics workshop?

The day will be packed with awesome tips and a hands-on guide to setting up lights, using different styles and getting used to creating the images you want to take.

As photographers, we all have a journey learning about light. This Fujiholics workshop is all about looking at creating light using speedlights, studio strobes, and other light sources. We will cover the basics of setting up lights, understanding modifiers all the way to setting up and shooting with HSS and blending ambient light with flash. After the demonstrations showing the classic portrait lighting styles, this workshop will leave you with a rounded knowledge of what you can do with light.

This is an interactive workshop featuring a female model. This is a Fujiholics event taking place at Wilkinson Cameras' Liverpool Learning Suite. Please note, tickets are sold directly by Fujiholics and you will be redirected to the Eventbrite website.

Click here to book your space - CLICK

This workshop takes place at The Liverpool Learning Suite. Tea, coffee, etc. will be provided and attendees will be given time for lunch. Lunch is not provided, but our central location means that there are many lunch options within a short walk. If you wish to bring your own packed lunch, then we do provide a fridge and guests are welcome to eat their lunch in The Learning Suite.

The workshop starts at 11.00am promptly running until 4.00pm.

Read more about Dave & see his portfolio via his website: http://www.davekaipiper.com/

 


What's your expectation as a photographer?

// 15 min read -  Personal viewpoint article about the expectations of being a photographer from the first day with a new camera to ten years later.

 

Do you remember that first real camera that you picked up and thought, photography, I might give this a go. We all remember it, for some of us it's a while ago but for others, it's a fresh memory.

My first 'proper' camera was a Nikon d200, I wanted a Canon but the cash wasn't there at that moment, so, Nikon it was. I remember picking up a second hand Sigma flash and Manfrotto Tripod. I was ready to take on the world - with my one 18-70mm lens... I had dreams of international flights, shoots in Hollywood and a garage full of fast bikes, Harleys and old Triumphs. It quickly turned out that I was drinking the wrong kool-aid and was brought back to earth with a bump. So what should my expectations be for the First Day, First Week, First Month, First Year or First Decade?

For this, I am building from the idea that this is your first 'real' camera.

First Day // Where are the buttons

Most likely, the first day has been a while coming and you will know what you want to do with your camera. You will know if you are planning a hobby or if this is a new look at a new way of earning. You will most likely know if you are headed to Uni or just going to read some blogs and watch some Youtube videos.

After doing your updates, and learning where the buttons are, read the manual and look for any fun stuff to have a play with. Maybe set the right date, WiFi settings - if it has some. Download some apps that might be worthwhile - such as the Fujifilm apps, if you have a Fujifilm camera etc.  Maybe sign up for Instagram with a new photography account or start to think about how you are going to share your journey.  Your first day is going to about learning the camera and trying to fit all your new kit in your camera bag.

“Photography is a unique blend of emotion and technology. We always need to understand the roles both play, then, understand we have control over both”
— Dave Kai Piper

First Week // What are other people doing.

This is where the fun starts - You have most likely bought a new hard drive for your new files and started looking at ways to explore the world around you. You have most likely found 500px, Behance, Flickr, a few facebook groups and some books about your chosen genre of choice. Most likely you have found a youtube channel and started to look in depth at what other people are doing. In my mind, this should be the start of the observation stage. As photographers, we have to learn to be visual. We have to learn to be in tune with our subjects and what we want to photograph, however, the reality is that we still have no clue what the settings are doing or how to change them.

Getting off auto mode is the idea for week one - just being able to take a photo is the ball game. We might spend some time looking at the internet trying to learn what the exposure triangle is, what Raw and Jpeg are or what people mean when they talk about long exposure or leading lines.  There can be lots of terms and techniques in photography, being honest, you don't have to know them all, in fact you don't even have to know half. You just have to know how to set the camera to take the image you intend to create and not what the camera says you should.

At the end of week one, knowing that you can control all the settings - even if you don't really understand them is the idea.

“Your first 1000 photographs are your worst.”
— Henri Cartier Bresson

 

First Month // Why are they doing that.

We now are looking back at the camera shops and online. Looking at all the things we think we need to be able to create the images we want. We are looking at lighting, tripods & filters. We are looking at better memory cards, shutter release cables and better camera bags and we might even be looking at the camera we bought and wondering why the images we are taking are not like the images you are seeing from other people.

I would think that some point in the first month you are looking at programs like Lightroom and Photoshop with interest and wondering if they are things you need. Most likely you have looked at free editing apps like Nik software and Snapseed. In the kindest way possible I would urge you to steer away from HDR and color popping, you will thank me in the years to come.

The main things that you might expect from your first month will result from looking at other peoples images. Exif data is the reference data that is stored along with your photo. It contains the lens info, camera setting info as well as time and dates etc. The reason that I mention this is that many people feel like they can learn more about a photograph by knowing the exif data, then trying to work out if those settings might work for them too - the reality is that exif data only ever gives you half the story. Knowing why these settings have been used is key, and you will never get that info from the exif.  Knowing how to change a setting is very different to knowing why you would change it.

Things like lenses, focal lengths and apertures are going to be on your mind - as well as quickly working out your hobby is not quite as cheap as you thought it might be. If you bought correctly at the early stage, you might have a 50mm or 35mm prime lens as your first lens. Even though you think that you need every lens there is at this stage. With a good solid 50mm or 35mm prime, there is nothing you can not do, you might feel limited right now, but trust me, that's just a mindset.

Try and remember - photography is equal parts tech and art. Photography is a unique blend of emotion and technology. We always need to understand the roles both play, then, understand we have control over both. Buying more kit won't help but learning, reading, talking and engaging with other photographers, artists and the wider world will.

“There are no bad pictures; that's just how your face looks sometimes.” 
— Abraham Lincoln

 

First Year //  Photography is easy, if you have the kit.

You're now into a groove and even getting some love for your work. People are taking an interest in what you are doing and you are happy with where you are. Your thirst for more kit is well and truly something that you have burning inside of you. Your thoughts are will 'full frame' cameras and fast primes and zooms be better, if it's not 2.8 or faster, it's not for you. Tripods are only really tripods if they are carbon fiber and your knowledge of lighting is encyclopedic. Your Instagram page is full of comments and you get 100's of likes per image you post as you have worked out that your social media profile is actually more important than your photography.

If you have been actively shooting all year you have done well, but, unless you are that 1 in a billion, next year,  you will see how wrong you were all this year and your photos are quite boring after all and that HDR does not actually look that good after all.  Self-doubt is the biggest hurdle for us all.

Time and time again, in pretty much every article I have written of the last 5 years, I have tried to mention that photography is a mental sport and the technical aspect is only one of the areas we must learn. The camera is, at times the least important element and the easiest to learn.  At the end of year one, echoes of this thought might start to ring true in your mind. Most people will think that a better camera or a better lens will prove me wrong.  Most people will blame the equipment before blaming themselves - this is totally natural, but in 9 years time you will be back to one camera and one lens, or thereabouts.

Having a visual mind takes years to develop and years more to fully understand. Some photographers take photos, some photographers create images while some photographers blend the lines and toy with what is and what is not photography. The things that separate out photographers from the rest is that real photographers have stories to explore, most of them would be doing this exploration with or without the cameras as it is inbuilt to the core and fiber of who they are. If you don't like being outside - you're never going to be a landscape photographer. If you don't like people, you are never going to be a portrait photographer. Even if you really love photography, unless you really understand the genre you are looking at, moving forward is going to be hard work for you.

Model // Chembo

“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”
— Ellitt Erwitt

 

First Decade //  This is what I did.

The Reflection

When writing this article, this was the bit I was dreading. I have tried to be brutally honest. The real-life aspects of being a 'photographer' in 2018 are really not what I thought they would be. My last 10 years have been a fucking roller coaster of ups and downs. If I could redo the last 10 years, I would do things very differently. It took me a long time to learn the things I know today and I think I could of learned them faster if I had been a little less hostile and little more humble along the way. Listening to criticism was the hardest for me & it still is. There is a fine balance we need as artists that lets us explore the world in the way we want to and being closed off from people that are trying to help.  Looking back, knowing who to trust and who to listen to was the hardest challenge. For every one person saying one thing, there was an equal number on the other side saying the other.

So, ten years in, after a decade where can you expect to be. I would assume you would have a number of publications and maybe looking at running a showcase of your work soon. You will have a website that showcases your work with personal projects that you are currently working on. You will have roughly 15 images you are really proud of and understand that adding 2 or 3 images to your main portfolio each year is a good year. The idea that photography is not a race and you will have the idea that one of the worst things you can do is become 'to close' to your work. Staying subjective and on 'message' is the most important aspect.

A potential checklist:  in a decade - things you might have done.

  • Sold a photograph
  • Being paid for a shoot
  • Worked internationally
  • Published images
  • Front cover of a magazine
  • Awards or industry recognition
  • Gallery show
  • Solo Artist Gallery show
  • Published interview
  • Developed audience
  • Personal Projects
  • Printed body of work
  • Global audience
  • Commerical Agent
  • Key-note speaker
  • Ambassadorship

This is not a list that you have to do or a list that should be done. But it is a rough idea of the levels you achieve if work is put in.

Below // Grimsby Sea Front.   

“The camera is an excuse to be someplace you otherwise don’t belong. It gives me both a point of connection and a point of separation.”
— Susan Meiselas

The positive bits

After your decade of hard work, you will have a unique outlook on life. Your photography will of opened doors, took you places and developed your own self. If you have done it right, you will have a catalog that is unique to you and your life. One of the things that I love about my life is that I have done my best, when possible to get out and explore - photography gives me that reason.

I came to the conclusion a while ago my happiness is not linked to money, it is linked to experiences and memories. If you are looking to get rich, from my knowledge of the photography world, it is that you're going to have more luck pushing the business elements than the artistic element,  but as a career that develops the soul - it's incredible.

This image is my Grandma and Grandad celebrating their 70th Wedding Anniversary. It does not matter if photography is your hobby or career, being able to record and document the world around you is a wonderful feeling. Images like the one below mean so much to me, more than any commissioned portfolio image or magazine cover.

I hope you enjoyed this blog -

It was written with the idea of dispelling some of the myths about being a photographer. From all levels I think we all find it tough, we find it rewarding too though.

During my 10 years taking photos the thing I have noticed most is how people treat us, let me explain. When I first started shooting, I found it was easy to be motivated - lots of people would comment on my work on Facebook and the different social media worlds, these days the internet is a different place. I find it very hard to get any traction at all online compared to when I first started posting images online. Is this because I am not as good or because the platforms are different. It might not seem important, but my confidence does go up and down, linked to how I think my work is received.  I have looked into this and I can not quite put my finger on it. I think I am a better photographer? My work seems more rounded and more relevant to who I am and in context with the audience, yet, I feel like my work is far less seen and less liked than ever - I am not sure if this is my perception as the buzz is gone, sometimes I feel like my flame is gone - but then I just carry on anyway and create something I know is better than I did last week.

Over the years I have slowed understood that we do better when we make images we want to make. I seem to be happiest with my work when I am making it for me - this does not always make good sense for business or does it make sense for social media. Take the image above and below for example. I know for a fact that if I was to post the one with my grandparents on Instagram I would have people unfollow me and it would get very few likes. I post the image below of Lauren and it gets a ton of love. For many new photographers coming through looking at social media and how photography is linked to it might get a distorted view.  There is a growing problem with social media - I have not quite worked it out, but I know I don't like it.  I am quite worried that the next generation of photographers will be more interested in chasing likes than making images.

You can find my website here: www.davekaipiper.com
Dave@davepiper.co.uk

 

 


Got a new camera for Christmas, awesome, what's next?

If this is your first 'camera' that does not have a phone attached, there might be something that you will want know - this article might be just for you.

Fashion & Portrait Photographer - setting up for a winter shoot on location

 

Setting up checklist:

1: Update your firmware.

Your camera might be new to you, but how has it been out the factory? It is highly likely that you will need to do an update. (click here for the Fujifilm Firmware downloads site). Don't forget about the lens firmware too. All the info can be found on the Fujifilm website. As a company Fujifilm provides a few updates a year, doing these updates will improve your camera & they are free.

2: Charge your battery.

As per the instruction manual - give your battery a good charge before you use it. Look after your batteries your camera is useless without them.

3: Set the time and date on the camera.

Your camera has an internal memory, it can save the date and time to each image. This might seem not that important, but this info lives in the digital photos meaning that years from now you can search for the images you took by date. Very handy when you want to just find that image of the cat pulling the Chrismas down each year. Your camera can save other data too such as the lens you used and the settings of the camera. This is called EXIF data. Some of the fun things you can do are change the name of the files the camera saves and the copyright data about who owns the camera.

4: Warranty & register your stuff.

If you're like me, your camera was not cheap. Remember to add it to your home insurance, fill out the Warranty card and if you use any serial number register sites - update your accounts. Keep a note of your serial numbers. The Fujifilm Professional Service is something we full think you should have a look at too. Get more info here: www.fujiholics.com/fujifilm-professional-service/

FPS service includes:

·         Maximum 15 day turnaround for X Series camera’s and lenses and a 10 day turnaround for Fujifilm GFX bodies and lenses. This is calculated between pick-up & delivery.
If the turnaround time cannot be met, for example, if parts are not available… Fujifilm will offer the customer a free loan until the customers repaired camera is returned to them.

·         Free health check and sensor clean for up to 2 products in any one year

·         Dedicated telephone line support

·         15% discount on any out-of-warranty repair

5: Get out, take photos and take over the world.

The handbook is not for show, it does have some stuff that is important. You don't have to read it cover to cover and it won't help you learn photography, but it will help you navigate around and find the buttons. Photography is not a science, nor is it pure art - it is a unique blend of two - learning the technology will help you create the photos your mind sees. There is no race, no finish line and to a large extent no wrong way to take a photograph. The only thing that will help you be a better photographer is time, patience and practice.

Jodi Lakin - Rooftop in Birmingham

At first, it may not all make sense to you but your manual will help you get past the first few steps. It will help you set up your camera and get started. I am not saying to study it and learn it word for word but later as you start to use your camera you may recall reading something that you can then go back to as a reference.

Set the time and date on the camera, check that you know, how to change some of the settings, knowing how to change core settings and what the core settings mean is the first few steps, however, the most important thing about your new camera is the understanding that it is a camera, it is tough, well built and will be able to take some knocks. Keeping it in a box on the shelf is not going to help you with your photography. Keeping the camera handy, charged and ready to go is the best idea. Building up trust and a bond with your camera is the way forward, I say this with the best intention, don't worry about a few raindrops, scratches or carrying about with you, your camera is way tougher than you think.

Every photo is not going to be a keeper, in 10 in 1000 is a really good hit rate, I have been shooting 15 years now and if I add 5 photos to my portfolio in 2018, it will be an outstanding year. Scale this down to any level and the idea is that, while learning about cameras, manual modes, shutter speeds, focal lengths the first few thousand photos are most likely not going to make a gallery show. This is normal, just as getting frustrated with blurry photos is normal. The secret is to keep it simple and keep going, don't be disheartened.

If reading manuals is not your 'thing' that's total fine,  the internet is a wonderful tool, just be aware that anyone can post anything they like, we would recommend talking to other people in communities – just like Fujiholics. There are also lots of options of workshops that Fujiholics provide to get you where you want to be. Check the website out for more information.

Getting ready for your first big outing with your new camera here are a few things you may want to consider before heading out. Have you got a camera strap, a bag, spare batteries, memory cards or maybe a tripod? What are the next few steps going to hold? What are you off to photograph?

Camera Straps.

Would you be shocked to know that not everyone thinks they are a good idea? A general rule take by most people who shoot often is that a camera should either be in your hand carefully stored away in a camera bag. I personally am not a fan of having my camera on a strap hanging around my neck. Yes, it does give you quick easy access to your camera but you also don't want all that weight dangling off your neck, not for the cameras sake but for your neck. I have seen my fair share of cameras fall off shoulders, get caught on clothing and just cause more hassle dangling on a strap. If you have anything longer than a 35mm lens it's just not going to be comfy or practical in my eyes. This being said, they do have a time and a place. If you are using multiple cameras shooting a wedding or at an event for example. Unless this is you, get a little bag and keep the camera tucked away in that to carry about – safer and more secure. If you are looking for a camera strap, either Black Rapid or Peak Design are the brands to look for.

Wrist straps, however, do make an awesome addition to your kit because it means when your camera is out the bag it's safely attached to your wrist which means if you do drop your camera it's not going to go anywhere. The system works together meaning you can switch the wrist cuff to the shoulder strap too. If you are shooting with a small system camera, belt clips can be great if you need to store your camera fast. The main worry here is the size and weight of your camera on your trousers belt. I would always go back to the idea that a photo-specialized bag is the best option unless the camera is in your hand.

Photo-specialized bag.

There are many different types and styles of camera bags available, whether you want a waist belt, backpack, shoulder bag or sling bag the one thing they will all do is help keep your camera that little bit safer when transporting your gear. If you are unsure of what bag is right for you to take your camera to the shop and try it out in a few different bags. This will help you double check that your camera will fit in the bag that you like, but will also give you an idea of how carrying that bag with your gear in it may affect you throughout the day. There is nothing worse than having the wrong bag for you and your gear resulting in back pain. Your camera bag is an important piece of kit and not something you want to cheap out on. If its uncomfortable or ugly you are more likely to leave it at home which means missed photo opportunities, it will also take a lot of abuse protecting your gear inside. You want it to be weather resistant and protect your gear from any knocks so good padding is really important. Picking the right bag is key. They range from small amounts of cash to full flight cases for hundreds of pounds and everything in the middle. We like Billingham, Peak Design, and Domke. If you're looking for some ultimate protection your looking for a Peli case - the least practical option but great for transporting and a place for your camera to live at home.

Billingham's Hadley Pro Shuolder bag

Battery power

As you start to use your camera more and more you may want to consider investing in a few spare batteries. The best batteries to buy are always those produced by your camera manufacturer, but there are other third-party brands available. A great option is to pick up a battery grip if your a heavy shooter.

The best way to ensure your battery gives you the best bang for your buck is to shoot quick, short and precise. Think about your photos and don't get carried away. Take a photo & review, if you have the shot, carry on to the next one. When using the LCD, try to remember that screen is the biggest power drain on the battery. Be confident, shoot, quick review and carry on. Do your proper reviews later on a computer – where you can see the images on a better, bigger screen.

 

Memory Cards

There are different sizes and speeds. The faster and bigger the card, the more money you will pay. There are two big brands – Lexar and San Disk, most people trust these brands in pro world. If you try and save money here, do it at your peril.

Most cameras will take SD cards, some of the cameras higher in the range have two card slots. In the settings, you can adjust how these two slots work. Most photographers have the images written to both cards so you have a back up instantly.

You might need to buy an SD card reader if your computer does not have an SD card reader. Go for something well built using a USB 3 connection. Most cameras these days support the fastest cards (SDHC II) and ensuring you have a fast reader will speed up the time it takes to move them over.

DKP's tip - Go for Class 10 Cards and SDHC cards - but check your camera can handle the cards - if you have a question - Ask the Fujiholics FB group here

If you want to learn more about SD cards - TechRader have a wonderful blog all about this - http://www.techradar.com/news/sd-memory-card-buying-guide

Tripods

You may want to consider investing in a decent tripod. In the learning stages, we really encourage getting your camera stable so that you can experiment about with settings to see what they do.

For anyone looking at landscape photography, it is an essential piece of kit. Some photographers spend thousands on a good tripod, never underestimate how important having your camera stable can be. Because it will hold your camera at exactly the right angle you want and will keep it still so that your images are full of detail and pin sharp. Your tripod is a piece of kit that you will want to invest in, don't buy cheap because it is the tool that keeps your camera absolutely still, you don't want out of focus pictures because your tripod moves every time there is a breeze or when you touch your camera. You also definitely don't want your tripod to blow over with your camera on top. When shopping for your new tripod lookout for one that extends to eye level but also allows you to shoot close to the ground as well. Personally, I am more in favor of carbon fiber tripods because they are durable but also lightweight which is great for traveling. There is a place for heavy tripods and lightweight tripods, big tripods and small ones.

We like 3 Legged Thing tripods.

Off Camera Flash.

Depending on your camera, might have a built-in flash or no flash at all. In fact, the more you have paid, the less likely you are to have a flash. Cameras like the X-T2 and X-Pro2 only have a hot shoe mount and don't have any built-in flash, nor does the GFX. Cameras like the X100f do come with a small built-in flash though.

This might not make sense at first as you would think the more you pay the more you get, this is not always the sense. The small flash you find on cameras is called the 'on-camera' flash and is not going to give you the sort of effect that moving the flash away from the camera and really working on your light is ever going to give. The pro range cameras don't have flash built in, as it's just not a feature a pro would use.

Taking control of your lighting is going to be something everyone moves on to pretty quick if you want to photograph people or be in a place to be able to create images rather than just find them.

Filters.

The best way to think of a filter is like a pair of sunglasses for your camera and about as many options too.

Companies like Lee Filters have great websites to explain all the options.  http://www.leefilters.com/

There are two main types of filter - ones that screw on to the end of the lens and the system is shown below - this is more known as a filter system. While it gives you more flexibility and options, expect to pay more for a proper system.

My first filter, like pretty much every photographer's first filter was a protective filter that screws into the lens. It does not change the optics of the lens or affect the settings but does offer some protective elements from UV and physical damage. Normally the next filters people look are Polarisers or ND filters but there are many options. Ask in the Fujiholics group for more info or head to your local dealer.

Editing.

In this digital world, most of the images we take are headed for the internet – they are going to have a digital workflow and be viewed on a digital device. Non-digital photography is alive, but very rare. These days when we talk about editing we are normally taking about software packages like Lightroom or app's like Snapseed. The import thing to know is that everyone does things differently – there is no right or wrong.

Your photography is your photography. Edit it, don't edit it – no one should tell you what is wrong or right – but, there are better ways and worse ways to approach it all. The world of digital editing is a massive ever-evolving mass of new apps, tools, processes, and techniques. In the most simple form, you can send images to an iPad or phone and use apps like Snapseed to make adjustments then post them to Instagram or Facebook direct from the camera. From this stage, the next level up would be to use a catalog & editing program like Lightroom. This is where you can start to use the full power of your camera using the RAW format – giving you extra room to edit the images compared to the standard JEPG setting. Programs like Lightroom can be very powerful programs and offer enough for all but the very progressive photographer. Beyond Lightroom programs like Photoshop are your high-end specialty editing program tools. It is worth again pointing out that you can do as little or much digital work as you like or need to tell your story with your image.

If you are using a Fujifilm camera, don't forget you have the wonderful Film Simulation modes you can access the menu or via the Q button. Many pro-photographers love the Acros Black and white setting. Learn more about the Fujifilm Simulations here :

Exporting, Sharing and online communities.

This might be an odd one to put up on this blog, but I think it's more important than we might think at first look. To kick this off, I would state that although Facebook is the most obvious place to start, there are better options if you want to showcase your work, and for many reasons too.  Looking at photography based websites and online communities is going to be a better way to move forward.

Knowing the best ways to get your images online in a good way can be tricky. There is so much to cover on this topic, that it's going to be more of a homework challenge but, I would recommend looking at these sites & looking at how to add watermarks to your images.  Online photo-based portfolio sites like SmugMug take all the hard out of getting your images online, then sites like Behance and 500px are good places to share your work and look at other photographers amazing work too.

Check this pages out for some amazing work:

www.vonwong.com
www.peterdench.com
www.joecornishgallery.co.uk
www.woland.co.uk
 www.davekaipiper.com

What's next ?

Get shooting, that is the most important element. Look up the exposure triangle, learn what the camera modes do & learn how to active them, change them and get comfy with the camera.

Once you have some image you like and are proud of, get them printed. Your local camera store will help you with that and also if you ask them they might give you some advice on getting stronger images too.

Maybe book on to a workshop where you can not only ask the questions you have but meet other people learning too.

Join an online community and participate – share what you have learned and be proud to show the images you have made. Maybe even join a local camera club? if you have a question - Ask the Fujiholics FB group here

Most importantly, don't give up and don't leave the camera at home.