Amateur Photographer Christmas Cover Competition

A while back I entered a couple of photos into the Amateur Photographer magazine competition to be on the cover of the Christmas edition.

The magazine came out this week and I didn’t make the cover, but from over 500 entries I made the shortlist of 20 runners up alongside some stunning photos of winter scenes including a few from some very talented photographers I know from Twitter.

My photo is shown in the magazine in a small mockup alongside the other shortlisted shots and you can also read the article online here.

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What Digital Camera Feature

One of my photos is featured in the December issue of What Digital Camera magazine which is out now in shops and digital format online.

This is in the ‘Things to try this month’ section where some other stunning photos are shown with tips on compositions or techniques to try out.

Not my usual landscape photography style, this shot was a chance capture that caught my eye on the walk back from a birdwatching trip so I’m really pleased that it has now been published in two national magazines.

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Shooting Landscapes in Portrait

Composition is a very subjective thing, there are lots of guidelines like the rule of thirds but as clichéd as it sounds these are all there to be broken. One thing I have found as I’ve been learning photography is that I often prefer landscapes shot in portrait orientation which might not be the most obvious or conventional approach.

I think it’s always worth trying when you’re shooting your next landscape, take a portrait version of the same scene and see the difference it makes to the photograph.

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Newborn Photography

So for those who haven’t seen from my social media accounts, I very recently became a dad. With this and a full time job my photography may take a little bit of a back seat for a while, although I will continue to post photos and get out and about with the camera when I can.

Obviously the camera is getting pointed at my beautiful daughter a lot already, I’m so grateful that I am able to capture all these moments and have really enjoyed trying my hand at a different area of photography. Normally I specialise in landscapes, so have never really studied or practised photographing people and all the aspects like posing, finding good backgrounds, lighting…it’s a whole new world that’s unknown to me!

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It’s Not All About the Gear – Photography on a Budget

A while back, before my latest trip to Scotland, I posted a picture on my Instagram showing the camera kit I was packing to take with me. One of the biggest subjects that comes up in photography blogs and magazines is gear, so I wanted to give my take on it as someone who can’t afford to spend a lot.

Obviously great gear doesn’t make for great photos, you still need to have an eye for composition and lighting as well as learning all the technical aspects of photography, but you can’t take those photos without the right equipment to back you up, so it is an important topic to cover.

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Moving on from Auto – Manually controlling your camera’s settings

One of the things that helped me most in my progress as a photographer was learning to take control of my camera, making it do what I wanted it to, rather than just letting the camera decide. Hopefully I can pass this on, with some tips on how to move away from auto settings.

The first thing you need at this point is a basic understanding of shutter speed, aperture and ISO, so you can make informed decisions on how to set up your camera. These three settings are often described as the exposure triangle, as each one contributes to the amount of light that gets into your camera. One common analogy is filling a bucket of water, the ISO is how big the bucket is (how much light you need), the aperture is how fast you pour the water in and the shutter speed is how long you’re pouring for. You always need the same amount of water (or light) to fill the bucket, but you can add it quickly or slowly. The shutter speed and aperture are often chosen for creative reasons, so I’ll explain what they all mean and why you would choose certain settings below.

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Amateur Photographer Magazine Feature

Today I picked up my copy of Amateur Photographer (dated Saturday 18th July 2015) with a two page feature showing six of my photos.

This is my first publication and I’m so proud that it’s in such a well known and respected magazine as Amateur Photographer.

Below you can see my two pages and the front cover of this issue in case you want to go and pick up your own copy!

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Birdwatching

I’m still really working on my wildlife photography so spent a little while in a hide at Shapwick Heath National Nature Reserve trying to capture some good shots.

We saw plenty of interesting birds, including bitterns, cormorants, grebes and the kingfisher pictured below – not quite close enough so unfortunately this is cropped right in, but still glad to have snapped one.

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Maternity Photography

I’ve never really been that into photographing people, I love seeing other people’s work but it’s just not something that’s ever really inspired me personally. Probably a large part of that is the interaction with the model, posing them and making sure they’re comfortable while you get the shot you’re after.

That said, I have a baby daughter on the way, and want to make sure I capture some memories of this time of life as best I can, so have recently been trying to give it a bit of a go.
My wife has a Pinterest page full of maternity and baby photos to give me some inspiration so we’ve been trying to recreate a couple so I can learn how to point my camera at something other than a landscape.

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