Flora: May/June 2019

I am planning to create a business using my photography, editing, layout and writing skills. It would be lovely to think that I could work on a magazine creation (possibly of my own) and make a living from it, but that would be unlikely. It won’t stop me from creating my own magazine and sharing it with anyone who wants to read it. Selling images as prints for framing or selling images for commercial use or as stock photography is definitely something a photographer can fairly easily do to earn some cash. I need to make a living from this thing I love doing but I’m struggling to see how it’s possible.

How on earth does a student photographer see their way through to selling their work for a living?

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Masters Summer Project

I have neglected to update the site for a while. Having completed our second semester of the masters degree I am undertaking, to be finished in August this year, I have spent almost exclusively all of my time capturing images and editing images, and learning and perfecting layout using Adobe InDesign, Lightroom, Illustrator and Photoshop. It has been a great experience learning to use these tools effectively and efficiently. My second semester final project was a full 96 page magazine, completed by myself using entirely my own photography and my own researched and written, scientific articles. I am very proud of the result and will post up images from the magazine in due course.

Now we are working on our final summer projects for completion of the masters, and my subject is a local National Trust estate, Calke Abbey. I am spending eight weeks taking images at the estate including some of its wildlife – invertebrates, birds, mammals, plants and trees – its old gardens and buildings and some of the internal rooms of the house itself. It is proving to be an enjoyable and rewarding project thus far. The final result will be a book to be printed and submitted for marking by August.

So far I have layout and many of the images needed, although far from all of them. Birds and mammals are proving more difficult than trees, plants and insects, for obvious reasons. Invertebrate photography is not as straightforward as it seems, as they are always on the move and it’s a fine line which aperture to use to capture as much detail of the insect as possible while maintaining nice bokeh and background.

Some of these images were taken while working on the summer project, and I will be adding more in time. They give a general idea of the images which will be included, however none of these will be included in the book, as I have many others.

Into the woods: November 2018

One of the aspects of photography I have always wanted to be more confident at trying – and really make an effort to master – is landscape photography. Maybe every photographer goes down a similar route – it is the genre of photography that we all know, and see, and it is one in which you can still make a living producing prints for sale. However, I have consistently failed at it at any decent level. Now, undertaking my masters degree, I have finally got the confidence to just go out into the woods or fields, take the tripod, stand and play with settings and try to get it right.

I did a bit of reading and watched some youtube videos to get a good idea of ideal landscape settings. I wanted to achieve sunbursts so that was a specific set of camera settings I had to nail down. Then it was a case of taking my fairly new (second-hand) wide angle lens (16-35mm Canon L) and using it on the tripod, with remote shutter, and trying longer exposures. It seems to be working, and I have of course been motivated to want to catch some colourful images due to the amazing autumnal trees out in the countryside at this time of year.

The leaves are rapidly falling, however, so it will soon be time to try to catch misty or snowy winter tree scenes instead. I’m looking forward to it.

Chasing light: September/October 2018

At the end of September I started a Masters course in Biological Photography and Imaging. This has meant a huge shift in terms of comfort levels when using my camera. My obsession with AV mode on the Canon EOS 5D Mk III has been fixed!

We have a number of assignment deadlines coming up already, but I have managed to get out and about both on the incorporated field trips and in my spare (haha) time. Here are a few images from our various trips and my own trips out.

 

Flower Dreaming

Just lately I’ve been frustrated at my attempts at photography. My complaints have revolved around not having access to amazing landscapes, not having access to much more knowledgeable photographers and their skills, not having the best camera and lenses… and then I realise that with macro and plant photography I can just step outside into my garden and shoot some flowers with a cheap 50mm lens and produce personally satisfying and fulfilling images.

The purple lilies were my birthday flowers. The others are Echinacea and Anemone. The camera was hand-held (I pondered using a tripod and may try again using it), and there was a slight breeze. Despite it being annoying as it moves the subject about thus making sharp images much more difficult, a breeze also creates some nice blurry bokeh and movement in the background. In fact, I’m falling in love with blurred, arty backgrounds achieved with extremely shallow depth of field. Would it be too much to make a collection of images of just smooth and silky backgrounds produced by using the crazy depth of field possible with a 50mm lens? I may find out.