Getting back in the habit

If you’ve been following my Instagram account recently you will know my postings have been a little sporadic but in recent weeks I have hit the street photography trail again in an attempt to find my way again with the camera.

Aa well as the usual ‘life happening’ stuff that goes one for us all, I’ve been pretty busy working with my camera and it has left me with little time to play with it how I like to and I have been renovating a listed building to prepare a new creative art centre. Many hours are being spent editing photos and video footage, sanding, scapring and painting and all I want to do is go out there and shoot. I even missed my favourite season, Autumn but I did manage to get some shots during the recent snow.

That being said, here is a snap shot of what I was taking in the run up to Christmas with a post about the studio and my latest announcement to follow up in the coming days now that I have got my blog/vlog mojo back again.


Does gear matter?

An age old question for anyone starting out any new hobby with a view to taking it more seriously is ‘does gear matter?’ A question that is pertinent to photography and the modern craze of vlogging.

Typically the response is ‘no’ but always comes from people who have accumulated thousands of pounds worth of equipment after years of varying success and thus can sound a little ingenuous. The truth is gear is only half the story, but it helps.

I was recently asked the question on gear with regards to vlogging, something I have taken up again after several years out. My current setup is a Nikon D5300, with a gorilla pod and Rode Video Mic Pro. I call this, ‘The Neistat’, edited on a MacBook Pro with Final Cut Pro X. Not a cheap start-up by any means but then I have been doing this on and off for a number of years and my equipment as evolved as I have developed. 

Before the ‘Neistat’, I worked primarily with my smartphones. I am currently using the iPhone 6S plus but before that, I used a Samsung S4. I shied away from the DSLR when taking photos or higher end camcorders when filming, purely because I was trying to promote the idea to people that they have all the tools they need at their finger tips to be creative. Most people have a mobile phone, some sort of contract with data and most operating systems, more so today than 3 or 4 years ago, have editing software apps that they can utilise to upload straight to YouTube, Vimeo, Instagram, Flickr or wherever they post their stills or video. The key component with this set up is composition and story. Composition (with photography) and story (with videography) are golden. Focus on getting those elements right and you can create great imagery and story with just a mobile device.

The main benefit of the mobile set up is that it is mobile, you probably have one already, it requires little in investment costs and you don’t need a laptop to edit your material. The one thing you might (and probably should invest in if you are considering vlogging/filming) is an external mic for your phone. Low-quality visuals are one thing that people will forgive you for but low-quality audio will quickly see people switching off.

As soon as you start investing in better camera gear, the sooner you need to start investing in a laptop/desktop to edit the material on. You will also need to start investing in storage for your digital files. The cost starts racking up quite significantly, very quickly and all for a tiny increase in visual quality.

My advice to anyone starting out in photography/videography/filmmaking, whatever it is you want to do is to keep it simple. The less money you invest initially in gear, the more money you will have to travel to interesting and different places to capture imagery of. Learn your trade with the tools you have, learn the rules of composition, lighting and story, when to break them and you will make content people will want to see and your profile will grow.

An age old question for anyone starting out any new hobby with a view to taking it more seriously is ‘does gear matter?’ A question that is pertinent to photography and the modern craze of vlogging.

Typically the response is ‘no’ but always comes from people who have accumulated thousands of pounds worth of equipment after years of varying success and thus can sound a little ingenuous. The truth is gear is only half the story, but it helps.

I was recently asked the question on gear with regards to vlogging, something I have taken up again after several years out. My current setup is a Nikon D5300, with a gorilla pod and Rode Video Mic Pro. I call this, ‘The Neistat’, edited on a MacBook Pro with Final Cut Pro X. Not a cheap start-up by any means but then I have been doing this on and off for a number of years and my equipment as evolved as I have developed. 

Before the ‘Neistat’, I worked primarily with my smartphones. I am currently using the iPhone 6S plus but before that, I used a Samsung S4. I shied away from the DSLR when taking photos or higher end camcorders when filming, purely because I was trying to promote the idea to people that they have all the tools they need at their finger tips to be creative. Most people have a mobile phone, some sort of contract with data and most operating systems, more so today than 3 or 4 years ago, have editing software apps that they can utilise to upload straight to YouTube, Vimeo, Instagram, Flickr or wherever they post their stills or video. The key component with this set up is composition and story. Composition (with photography) and story (with videography) are golden. Focus on getting those elements right and you can create great imagery and story with just a mobile device.

The main benefit of the mobile set up is that it is mobile, you probably have one already, it requires little in investment costs and you don’t need a laptop to edit your material. The one thing you might (and probably should invest in if you are considering vlogging/filming) is an external mic for your phone. Low-quality visuals are one thing that people will forgive you for but low-quality audio will quickly see people switching off.

As soon as you start investing in better camera gear, the sooner you need to start investing in a laptop/desktop to edit the material on. You will also need to start investing in storage for your digital files. The cost starts racking up quite significantly, very quickly and all for a tiny increase in visual quality.

My advice to anyone starting out in photography/videography/filmmaking, whatever it is you want to do is to keep it simple. The less money you invest initially in gear, the more money you will have to travel to interesting and different places to capture imagery of. Learn your trade with the tools you have, learn the rules of composition, lighting and story, when to break them and you will make content people will want to see and your profile will grow.


To shoot, or not to shoot… weddings

I’ve been asked in the past if I ‘do’ weddings and if not, why I haven’t considered it. The simple answer is this; weddings are often planned months, even years in advance and I am not always sure what I am doing tomorrow! 

A lot of my projects take off within a couple of weeks of being an idea, so to commit to something over a year in advance takes an awful lot of consideration. 

That being said, I have shot two weddings this year and been a second shooter at another and thoroughly enjoyed the different challenges they provided. In some ways, wedding photography is similar to my first love, street photography. The pressure to capture fleeting moments in and around the usual sort after traditional family shots, as they happen and without being intrusive, make me feel quite at home. Wedding photography today often results in hundreds of shots for a couple to review but I believe in providing a quality of work over quantity and volume, for people to choose from.

But before all this, a number of factors have to coincide, the most important being the couple themselves.

I understand that securing someone to capture the big day is one of the most important aspects of any wedding and that takes a lot of time investment from both parties.

The right relationship is everything. There has to be a connection and understanding between us before I would consider taking on the responsibility of capturing a couple’s special day and blocking out my time. 

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