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Monthly Archives: July 2015

27 
Jul

My mate can take better photos than you

Written by Martin Neeves – Commercial Photographer Leicestershire

better photosDuring my long working life as a professional photographer I have been availed of much worldly wisdom from various people that has amused me.  Some belittles the photographic profession as being “dead easy cos all you need is an expensive camera mate”, others talking without thinking.  When you look at these statements of “fact and wisdom”, it is apparent that many people do not know what a photographer really does.

Well let’s take the main statement – My mate can take better photos than you.  OK so why isn’t he/she here now? Or usually more to the point why are they not running a photography business?  So many people are dabbling at being photographers and digital photography has enabled people with less talent to “get away with it”, but most still produce pretty mundane photos (even if the technology has helped them to correct their mistakes).  It’s not for me to say, as others will judge my photos on their own merits, but I have been a full-time professional photographer for 28 years, so I do have quite a lot of experience under my belt.

Anyone with an expensive camera can take a great picture.  This has a similar statement as well: All you need to get a good photograph is to have a good camera. Well yes, having a decent camera helps you get to grips with some of the technical aspects of photography.  However, if you just point a camera at a subject and press the shutter release, it usually won’t take a great picture.  It is definitely the photographer who composes the photograph, decides on the way to photograph the subject, and decides on framing the scene – etc.

Photography is easy.  Hmmmm yes so it is.  After all I do not have to visualise how an image should look before taking the photograph.  And what about framing and composing the picture to make it tell a story.  Oh and I forgot about getting the exposure right, choosing the right Martin Neeves -  better than your mateshutter speed, using the right ISO, picking the correct aperture, focussing the image, choosing the right lens.  Nope all that is automatic – I wish.  Taking boring photos on a point-and-shoot camera is very easy, but taking original photos, knowing the effect of altering each variable and taking a photograph at the decisive moment takes a lot more skill and experience.

Why do you watermark your photographs on your website?  It ruins them.  To stop unscrupulous “photographers” from stealing my work and passing it off as their own.  Unfortunately, this dishonest practice is very common these days.

Why do photographers make the background blurred?  Is it because you are not good at focusing the camera?  No, sorry to disillusion you, it is because we ARE good at focussing the camera (and choosing a suitably large aperture), by blurring the background it makes the Deputy-Prime-Minister-Nick-Clegg-makes-a-speech-on-the-Made-by-Apprentices-stand-at-The-skills-Show-at-the-NEC-in-Birmingham.-Photography-by-Martin-Neeves-Photography-Film-www.martinneeves.com-07973-638-591important object stand out in the final photograph.  If you are looking at an image of a bride or a company executive, do you really want to see the detail of the hedge or office in the background?

Do you shoot with a UV filter on; will it keep the prints from fading?   You can use all the filters and gizmos on the camera you like, it will not stop an image from fading etc.  Once the light has passed through the filter and lens then that equipment has done its job and it can have no effect on what has been recorded.  It is all about the storage or print medium used to record the image.  For the record, UV filters are mainly used to protect the front element of the lens, but they also cut out unwanted UV light too.

I see you have a DSLR camera; what film do you use in it?  Well I will tell you a secret, there Martin Neeves Professional Photographeris no film in it – it’s magic.  It stores the image digitally on a memory card – the “D” in DSLR stands for DIGITAL.

You are a bit of a fraud; after all you just set the “p” for professional mode to get all your photos! At this stage I usually almost wet myself laughing because I realise that they have no idea of what they are talking about.  In case you wondered “P” mode means Programmed Automatic which allows the camera to decide on which shutter speed and aperture to use, so the photographer has no say in it at all.  I NEVER shoot in P mode.  I use the manual mode for the vast majority of my work, but occasionally I will use aperture or shutter priority automatic if I am in a situation where the light level will change within a short space of time.

So if you want someone who can take better photos than your mate, why not contact Martin Neeves on 01455 271849 or on 07973 638591 or use my contact form to get in touch now

Readmore..

Published Date: 27th July 2015
Category: General
Tags: , ,


 

27 
Jul

My mate can take better photos than you

Written by Martin Neeves – Commercial Photographer Leicestershire

better photosDuring my long working life as a professional photographer I have been availed of much worldly wisdom from various people that has amused me.  Some belittles the photographic profession as being “dead easy cos all you need is an expensive camera mate”, others talking without thinking.  When you look at these statements of “fact and wisdom”, it is apparent that many people do not know what a photographer really does.

Well let’s take the main statement – My mate can take better photos than you.  OK so why isn’t he/she here now? Or usually more to the point why are they not running a photography business?  So many people are dabbling at being photographers and digital photography has enabled people with less talent to “get away with it”, but most still produce pretty mundane photos (even if the technology has helped them to correct their mistakes).  It’s not for me to say, as others will judge my photos on their own merits, but I have been a full-time professional photographer for 28 years, so I do have quite a lot of experience under my belt.

Anyone with an expensive camera can take a great picture.  This has a similar statement as well: All you need to get a good photograph is to have a good camera. Well yes, having a decent camera helps you get to grips with some of the technical aspects of photography.  However, if you just point a camera at a subject and press the shutter release, it usually won’t take a great picture.  It is definitely the photographer who composes the photograph, decides on the way to photograph the subject, and decides on framing the scene – etc.

Photography is easy.  Hmmmm yes so it is.  After all I do not have to visualise how an image should look before taking the photograph.  And what about framing and composing the picture to make it tell a story.  Oh and I forgot about getting the exposure right, choosing the right Martin Neeves -  better than your mateshutter speed, using the right ISO, picking the correct aperture, focussing the image, choosing the right lens.  Nope all that is automatic – I wish.  Taking boring photos on a point-and-shoot camera is very easy, but taking original photos, knowing the effect of altering each variable and taking a photograph at the decisive moment takes a lot more skill and experience.

Why do you watermark your photographs on your website?  It ruins them.  To stop unscrupulous “photographers” from stealing my work and passing it off as their own.  Unfortunately, this dishonest practice is very common these days.

Why do photographers make the background blurred?  Is it because you are not good at focusing the camera?  No, sorry to disillusion you, it is because we ARE good at focussing the camera (and choosing a suitably large aperture), by blurring the background it makes the Deputy-Prime-Minister-Nick-Clegg-makes-a-speech-on-the-Made-by-Apprentices-stand-at-The-skills-Show-at-the-NEC-in-Birmingham.-Photography-by-Martin-Neeves-Photography-Film-www.martinneeves.com-07973-638-591important object stand out in the final photograph.  If you are looking at an image of a bride or a company executive, do you really want to see the detail of the hedge or office in the background?

Do you shoot with a UV filter on; will it keep the prints from fading?   You can use all the filters and gizmos on the camera you like, it will not stop an image from fading etc.  Once the light has passed through the filter and lens then that equipment has done its job and it can have no effect on what has been recorded.  It is all about the storage or print medium used to record the image.  For the record, UV filters are mainly used to protect the front element of the lens, but they also cut out unwanted UV light too.

I see you have a DSLR camera; what film do you use in it?  Well I will tell you a secret, there Martin Neeves Professional Photographeris no film in it – it’s magic.  It stores the image digitally on a memory card – the “D” in DSLR stands for DIGITAL.

You are a bit of a fraud; after all you just set the “p” for professional mode to get all your photos! At this stage I usually almost wet myself laughing because I realise that they have no idea of what they are talking about.  In case you wondered “P” mode means Programmed Automatic which allows the camera to decide on which shutter speed and aperture to use, so the photographer has no say in it at all.  I NEVER shoot in P mode.  I use the manual mode for the vast majority of my work, but occasionally I will use aperture or shutter priority automatic if I am in a situation where the light level will change within a short space of time.

So if you want someone who can take better photos than your mate, why not contact Martin Neeves on 01455 271849 or on 07973 638591 or use my contact form to get in touch now

Readmore..

Published Date: 27th July 2015
Category: General
Tags: , ,


 

07 
Jul

Why use a commercial photographer for your food photography?

Written by Martin Neeves – Commercial Food Photographer Leicester

Cake
Definitely how not to do it!

I have a wry smile when I see many of the websites of businesses that sell food, be it cooked or fresh.  Too often it is obvious that the business owner has chosen to “save a bit of money” by taking their photographs themselves because it is dead easy using a digital camera, or worse still their mobile phone.  After all there are so many great guides on “taking photographs on the Iphone” for instance – just Google it to see.  But I would restate a point I have made before, it is not the equipment that takes a photograph is it the photographer.

A good commercial photographer will have the skills to take great appetising photographs of food that sell it at its best.  How do you take images of ice when it naturally wants to melt?  How do you make a burger look great?  How often have you seen photographs of hamburgers and beef burgers on restaurant menus that look just so perfect and entice you to buy them?  However, when they arrive on a plate on your table, they do not quite look the same?  Now why is that?  Well, good food photography is a definite art form.  It requires setting up correctly, styling and posing.  Quite often more time is spent on these stages than actually taking the photographs.

So what would you do to make it look great?

Commercial Food Photographer LeicesterPreparing the food.  Well there are many tricks to do this.  At the top end of the marketplace, there are even professional food stylists who just specialise in setting the food up for a photographer to take the photos.  Many have a culinary background and will spend a great deal of purchasing the best specimens of food, cooking it to perfection and arranging the food in the most appetising way.  Sometimes they will cook several versions of the same food to give different impressions.

But it looks almost too good to eat!  Do you know quite often that is actually the case?  It will have been handled, manipulated, sprayed and treated with odd materials that will make it unsafe for human consumption.

Styling the food.  To get the food to look its very best, the photographers and stylist will use various methods to make it appear as scrumptious as possible. Many will just use real and fresh food, but others may stop to some incredible tricks that really do work, for instance:

  • Commercial Food Photographer LeicesterBread for sandwiches may have been very carefully cut with scissors to give a perfect edge.
  • When made into sandwiches various things like cocktail sticks, tooth picks or even pins may be used to hold the sandwich in perfect symmetry.
  • Burgers are a real issue to keep them stable and in an even shape.
  • Food may be sprayed with a fine mist to keep it looking fresh
  • Vegetables may not be fully cooked, but just blanched so that they retain the colour and solidity
  • Steam makes a food look hot, but it might not be steam, it might be a nebulizer that releases a steady stream of smoke!
  • Ice cream is difficult to keep frozen, especially under studio lights.  So often substitutes are used to maintain “the look” – like flour, corn syrup and many other materials.
  • Ice cubes might actually be acrylic cubes.
  • Sometimes wood stain can be used to give barbecued meats the right colour and texture.  And those perfect grill marks might have been put there with…….. eyeliner!
  • It is not unknown for nuts and similar items to be held in place with super glue.
  • And, berries that have been “touched up” using lipstick.

Lighting and atmosphere.  To create mouth-watering looking food will require a lot of very careful lighting.  Normal “restaurant lighting” will not be good enough.  Once the food is ready it has to be photographed quite quickly to maintain the “lovely look”. Using on-camera flash can “flatten” the image and will get rid of any delicate shadows that make the food more intriguing.   This means that the photographer is often working under time pressure to get a good shot before the food is dried under lights.

Also used are some articles that are more at home in the bedroom than the kitchen.  Spray deodorant and hair spray can be used to enhance the look of food. Cotton wool balls can be used to provide steam behind or in food.  Just soak the cotton wool, microwave it and voila instant steam!  Now it is a well-known fact that motor oil can often look better than syrups, I wouldn’t eat it though. Glycerine can be used to give solid looking water drops on salad and other foods that look fresher if they have “dew” on them.

Next the table and plate setting can help establish the “atmosphere”. The atmosphere that the food is served in will say a lot to the consumer about how and when the food can be eaten.  A barbecue table will send a different message to a fully set out formal dinner table.  If the surrounding colours are too overpowering then the food will fade into the background.  One colour that I have seen used that does not work is light green because it seems to make the food less appetising.  A white table cloth will make the dish stand out, but it can also hide a white plate if the food is plated.  So the contrast between the plate, the food and the table cloth has to be thought through very carefully.  It has to be remembered that the food is everything and all the rest is there to enhance the look of the food.

Good use of depth of field can make the food stand out prominently, whilst giving that “atmospheric look”.

Summary.  Good photography of food can make it more appetising and help to sell it more effectively.  A good commercial photographer will be able to ensure that your food products look their best and are more likely to attract customers to buy and eat them.  Many of the techniques and skills needed to get great food photographs can be provided by a good commercial photographer.

If you are looking for a good Commercial Food Photographer Leicester then call Martin Neeves on 01455 271849 or on 07973 638591 or use my contact form to get in touch now.

Readmore..

Published Date: 7th July 2015
Category: General