Is there such a thing as a Lucky Break in this world ? Is there one in the Photography industry ? Personally I don’t think there is, it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to get anywhere in life these days. The kids that go on X Factor for instant fame, have to work hard at their singing or be born with a gift from the start but if they do get spotted, they then have to work twice as hard to make it work. Hundreds of hours of singing lessons and a crazy work schedule and at any time it could all be over.
I started in Photography the moment my parents gave me a camera as a small boy and from that moment onwards I wanted to be the next David Bailey! I was driven from an early age with a thirst for knowledge and the gift of Dyslexia. I was terrible at School but found my release in Photography and soon became addicted.
I was taught back then that hard work and dedication is the way you get anywhere in life. As I grew up I got into a few different sports including swimming for Kent and won quite a few Powerlifting Competitions winning the British Bench Press at 82.5 Kilo class with a 260kilo bench press. I was no stranger to hard work, I was in the gym seven days a week training with the British Power Lifting Coach Ron Reeves.
One of the most important lessons I learned from an early age was, waiting for luck will hold you back, it will eat you up and spit you out.
Luck has no effect on how successful you are or how healthy or happy you are or how you feel every day when you wake up in the morning.
You have to start taking credit for the opportunities you create for yourself and not sit around waiting for your share of luck to walk in the room, drop out of someones pocket and land in your lap or rub off on you from someone you think is being lucky.
One of the most damaging aspects of the “lucky break” mentally is that it gives credit to un unseen force. If you give credit to luck you set yourself up to fail every time.
If you going to consider your life a series of lucky or unlucky breaks that you have no influence over, you are not giving yourself the credit you deserve for your own hard work or failings.
As you work towards your goals each day, week, month and year remember it’s you in charge of your success or failures! You alone, no one else, it’s up to you to work as hard as you can to reach your goals. No one else will rescue you from the hard work that stands between you and achieving what you want.
Commit to hard work in your life, there are no shortcuts and you will always reach your end goal.
So, how did I get to work with Fujifilm UK as an X Photographer ! Was it a lucky break ?
No, it was hard work and dedication and a lot of research.
I was shooting with Nikon for over 40 years and as Mike Shore once said, “Matt had been knocking at Nikon’s door for a long time with no luck” not quite true about the luck Mike, however I was knocking on Nikon’s door along with Warren Miller. Warren and I had some friendly banter about who could be in N Photo Magazine the most. We were both Photography Addicts and managed to get our images picked for Magazine features almost monthly. I had written for a few magazines and was selling a lot of Stock Photography at the time and doing very well in-fact so good for me, it had become my main income.
I was having a few issues with my camera gear and getting fed up with the weight and faults that kept preventing me from doing my work. I was actively looking for a smaller camera system that would suit my needs and at the time there wasn’t much about. I looked at Sony they made great camera bodies but their lenses were not up to Nikon Pro glass Standard. The same time I was looking for a new camera system I started to look into the Fujifilm System. Two names kept coming up, Kevin Mullins and Zak Aries. I read a few blogs about Fujifilm Cameras and not one said anything to tempt me, so I carried on in my search. That was around 2012 when I was also frustrated with black and white digital processing and had started thinking about a project ‘A Year Of Black and White’.
I could talk about Projects all day but will come back to that at some time in the future.
I started talking on Social Media about my project and I had quite a lot of interest from Magazines who had seen my work on Instagram and Flicker. As the project evolved they showed more interest. This was also the year I noticed that my work started to stand out and people were starting to get interested in my Gig Photography and Street images. As I worked through my Black & White project I had discovered my digital black and white style and this was also getting me noticed.
Surprisingly if I bought a new bag or piece of kit people would want to know all about what I was buying and using. I was becoming an influencer without knowing it. Becoming an influencer was adding value to my brand and making me interesting to Retailers and Brands. I bought a ‘Next Canvas Bag’ and spoke about it on facebook. I turned up to a music event that weekend and so many people actually had the same bag ! Being a bit slow on the uptake I said to the first person with one “these bags are great, how long have you had yours ?” The girl replied, “I got it after you put it on facebook” ! I then realised that my Photography was getting me noticed by not just the brands and magazines but also lots of people were looking at what I was doing. It’s a very strange experience at first. I had been taking pictures all my life and now people were starting to notice my work ! I understood this had value but at the time was also a little embarrassed so from that moment decided to be very careful what I spoke about on Social Media.
I started out with a camera in 1971 and in 2012/2013 people were starting to look at my work. I didn’t really notice this happening, but now that it had it was time for me to make some decisions. You could say this is where the hard work started all over again.
I was about a quarter of the way in to my Black & white project and I had bought a Fujifilm X100 second hand from eBay and started to use it more and more. I was shooting at the time with two Nikon D3s bodies, a D200 and a set of Pro lenses. Suddenly this little X100 was becoming my daily choice.
I was researching Zak Arias and realised he was making a name for himself in America with these little cameras and in the UK apart from Kevin Mullins there were no real people of interest to me using the X Series. I studied the X Series and how Zak was working his magic and it reminded me of all the years with my Nikon FM2.
As interest in my work was growing from Magazines and Publishers, at the same time I was being asked to talk at clubs and societies about my black and white work. I had been saying No to these groups because I wanted to follow Steve McCurry’s mantra and not ever teach or talk but to just spend every day perfecting my craft as a Photographer.
I did not have the confidence or belief in my work and still don’t to an extent. I am my worst critique and always will be, it was Jane that gave me the confidence to drive forward and her alone that gave me the strength to believe in myself.
In 2012 I gave in and did my very first Photography Club talk and trust me every fear I had about it going wrong came true ! On the way there I had the worst anxiety I have ever had in my life! I pushed on and on setting up, the projector did not work and my laptop wouldn’t work with the new projector they had found! Fighting the urge to walk out, I had to make a quick new powerpoint on the spot because the show had to go on! Trust me for someone with very bad IBS this was not the best day of my life ! They loved the talk by the way. They all said they were shocked by my passion and drive and that I was the best speaker they had ever had. After that night, on the way home in the car I said never again, EVER, will I do that! I did however do many more talks and started teaching Photography soon after. This one night had just set me up for the future in more ways than one – I had got over my fear of public speaking.
I was about to shoot Liverpool International Music Festival and I was on holiday in Wales and my Nikon Gear was playing up again. I popped into Cambrian Photography in North Wales to get it all sent back to Nikon for repair. In the cabinet they had an XPro1 and the 35mm and 60mm lenses so after speaking to Sarah I decided to give them a try and after the Liverpool Music Festival I was hooked on Fujifilm Cameras!
Soon after LIMF, I took a trip to Venice with just the XPro1 and the 18-55mm, 35mm and 60mm lenses. I was so impressed with the Fujifilm glass and sensors I sold all my Nikon gear and moved over to Fujifilm.
I was shooting with Fujifilm now for all my work and loving it at the same time. I was finding more and more time for my Street Photography and my following was growing. I have always had lots of facebook groups and at one time had 29,000 people on the old MySpace because of my shooting with ‘DontStayIn.com’ back in the day of the Free Party Scene. I had quite a big Social Media following, about 1 million on Google+ and 5000 on facebook. This was all very distracting and I made the drastic decision to have a massive Cull, this was very refreshing. I wanted to focus more on my Photography and enjoyed being outside in the real world with real people so I started doing Street Photography Workshops and Photowalks as this was what I wanted to do and where my passion was.
I decided to set up a another facebook group for people who loved Fujifilm and one night came up with the name Fujiholics. This had a rocky start as some people have to be negative and can’t just be nice to each other on Social Media. The group was heavily controlled by myself and the Admin Team to prevent trouble and give real passionate people a place to share their love of the Fujifilm brand. The cull ruffled a few feathers but those people had nothing to contribute.
The Fujifilm UK Team found the group and suddenly Fujifilm Team members from around the world joined the group and had made it very exclusive. I then opened the group up to retail and trade by invitation only. The group is still exclusively Fujifilm Addicts with a slow growth and has not had any negativity or arguments for over two years. I did play around with other Fujiholics groups but mainly due to trolls they failed. Running a few Social Media groups can be exhausting and a 24/7 job, trust me it’s no walk in the park. To this day though the Fujiholics closed group is still one of the best groups on facebook and has a small but loyal following.
Around this time through Cambrian Photography I had met Richard Wan and some of the other members of the Fujifilm Team. They had noticed my Social Media presence and it was not long before I was asked to do a workshop for Fujifilm in London. I turned this down as it was shooting a model in a shop and this was not my thing.
I knew I could do Photowalks and talk about Street Photography and that was the gap in the UK market for Fujifilm. As a poor mans Zak Arias at the time I was not sure they would go for it as I was in the middle of my Windows Street project.
So when Richard asked me again about a year later to do something I said why don’t we do some photowalks and some weekend meet ups to get people outside using their cameras ? Richard agreed and I started to do more and more for Fujifilm. Eventually I was asked to talk at The Photography Show in Birmingham for Fujifilm. At that point I was so glad I had done my time in the trenches talking at the Clubs etc as it was a great grounding for TPS !
Prior to TPS I was asked if I would like to be an X Photographer and I was very happy to say yes. I had changed from Nikon to Fujifilm for the love of the brand and I also had met so many of the Fujifilm Team, I was proud to be able to represent the Fujifilm brand around the UK and the world.
I was warned at the start that this would attract some really negative people, haters and trolls. I had already picked up a few over the years as I have always been one to say it how it is, if people don’t like what I have to say then so be it.
I had spoken to quite a few of the other X Photographers and they had their fair share of haters as well so I was prepared. I have found over the years these people have an enormous amount to say behind your back but not one can ever face you in the street.
I also do feel quite sorry for quite a few as they obviously have something missing in there lives if all they have to do all day is worry about someone else ! I have noticed over the years though that on Social Media I get less and less negativity. I have changed the way I work I guess so I hardly get any new Trolls. I have now started to grow my YouTube so expect a few more.
So, no Lucky Break with Fujifilm UK it was a matter of pitching the right ideas, it was all just part of a journey. Being able to come up with great quality images to show off the X Series for Fujifilm as a brand and have the drive to stand up on stage and talk to thousands of people and be able to work harder than I have ever worked in my life. I travel all over the UK and walking up to 20 miles a day on Photowalks, talking to people for up to 12 hours a day about my passion for photography. The best part is I am doing what I love.
Being an influencer before I worked with Fujifilm helped but so did the fact I already had my work out there in magazines and books. You can’t be an influencer without a following and you have to work hard at building that following. I lost quite a few people over the years because I was brand specific, but hope to change that over the coming years.
I left Fujifilm as an X Photographer in January 2018 as many of you might know and this was part of my original plan. When I started out teaching and talking I was only ever going to do it for 5 years and then stop. I have so much more I want to do with my photography and feel I can’t do this tied to a brand. I still love the Fujifilm Brand and the whole Fujifilm Team and some have become friends for life.
I am fully aware if I talk about a product on YouTube or Social Media my viewing figures sky rocket but the future is not about that.
I want to focus on my own work, I want to talk about photography and not the gear and start making really interesting content for my YouTube videos and PodCasts. I want to work on projects that have been neglected over the last five years, work on Exhibitions and Photography Shows and put my passion back into making the image not on the gear.
There are no shortcuts in this game it’s a lifetime’s journey and you really do get out what you put in ! Wait for it to happen or get out there and make it happen you choose ….
I have been teaching Photography and Street Photography for over 6 years now and I have noticed a growing trend. The amount of people turning up on my workshops with the best top of the range kit with out a clue how to use it worries me. On one hand I understand that if you can afford it why not have the best ! But on the other hand would you take your driving test in a Ferrari ?
Photography is a life’s journey and there are no short cuts to a life of learning, but some people are convinced by having the best camera helps.
One of other issues that crops up on my workshops is when people switch from a DSLR to a mirrorless Camera they can’t work out what the Exposure Triangle is so it’s the first thing I get asked along with “what settings do I use ?”
I always remember a heated argument on Facebook from a few years ago when a professional photographer said “amateurs just ask questions, Professionals just get on with it” it caused quite a row but the statement was very true, love it or hate it he was correct. The fact is quite a few professionals don’t have a clue either and have been winging it for years or as so many say “fake it until you make it” it’s quite easy to get a DSLR out of the box and stick it on Auto, with a little bit of research you can fool quite a few people as there is a vast amount of people that don’t have a clue what a great image is. So much so that most clients don’t have a clue these days so everyone gets away with it ! Does it matter ? Well if the clients are all happy then I guess the answer is no, as far as the client is concerned.
What is that doing to the people just starting out though ? Well we have reached a critical point in the industry where the manufactures are only interested in selling the next best bit of kit to help you take that amazing image you have not taken yet and most people are falling for it.
Many of the brands have stopped supporting great photographers and now chase the bloggers and people with massive fake Instagram followings ! Why ? In the belief they will shift more cameras.
They are ignoring all the amazing photographers and this could be a big mistake, as time goes by people do slowly learn and become aware of what makes a great image and it’s not about likes or a big following. It’s hard work passion and commitment, combines with a great eye a lifetime of learning and sometimes a little luck.
So now I get more and more people turning up on workshops with the latest mirrorless cameras who are again clueless and think me telling them what settings I use will help. When I say I just use the camera in raw and shoot using the Exposure triangle they think I am being a nob. I then try and explain Photography does not work like that.
I was told as a small boy “the more time you spend with a camera in your hand the more you learn” this is the best advice I was ever given.
You can’t just set your camera up on someone’s advice and go shoot. It’s so much more complicated than that. There are far to many variables.
Photography is about Light Composition Moment Amazing Subject and Emotional Impact. First you do need to learn the technical side. This could take 6 months to two years or more but once you learn how to use your chosen camera, you need to stick to the camera you have learnt not keep chopping and changing at this stage because you think this new camera might be the answer to your prayers to great images. Even worse your friend takes better pictures with his Nikon or Canon or the shop said buy this one it’s much better !
I have loved teaching workshops and that’s because people used to come on my workshops to be inspired or learn what to go out and look for in the way of good light etc Now they just come to show me there Kit and compare it to mine. I think most of the time they are shocked when they see me with a £350 second hand Fujifilm X70 on a wrist strap when they are carrying 10k in DSLR gear !
The image at the top of this blog post was taken with an iPhone as that is all I had with my at the time. It’s one of my favourite images taken over the last few years for simplicity and using the 5 elements. I did go to get my X100 out of my bag to shoot the scene again but the guy had gone by the time I came back.
I would recommend anyone starting out to use their smart phone first then as they progress spend some money on basic camera workshops to learn how to use the camera and really get stuck in to how the camera works in different light etc
When you then decide to go for a better camera than your phone buy a camera with Manuel controls on the outside that way you can start the learning process as soon as possible. Before you decide what style of photography is for you get out there and take lots of photos and learn how to operate your new camera, stick to a fixed lens camera learn to zoom with your feet and explore your scene and subject. Explore Light Composition Moment and look for a great subject and scene. I would also say limit yourself to a 4 Gig or 8 Gig memory card for the day or even shoot film. Do this for at least 18 months to two years before you buy a Ferrari and crash it !
Would you ask a driving instructor his settings ? Or would you learn to drive ?
I will leave you to think about that for a while….
This is just to remind everyone that I am with Wex Photographic over the next 3 months and have 15 photowalks and a couple of talks around the UK branches.
These are very reasonably priced and a great way to get out in your local city with like-minded people for a few hours of Photography.
Here is the link to sign up hope to see a few of you guys there.
GNARBOX Announces ‘GNARBOX 2.0 SSD ’ Kickstarter Campaign
The leader the in field backup market announces the release of the second generation to their breakout product via Kickstarter; along with debuting key integrations with Adobe, Dropbox, and LumaFusion.
(Los Angeles, CA) – MYGNAR INC., the developer of rugged backup devices for cameras, pr oudly announces a Kickstarter campaign to support the development of the second generation of their core product GNARBOX , launching globally on April 3 2018 .
GNARBOX 2.0 SSD is a rugged backup device for content creators who prefer to travel without a laptop. Unlike other portable hard drives, GNARBOX has assembled an ecosystem of mobile applications that serve the professional workflow in the field.
“We believe in making the creative process easier for anyone with a camera. Since the launch of GNARBOX 1.0, we’ve worked with our active community of photographers and videographers to understand the goals of content creators.” said Tim Feess , co-founder and CEO of MyGnar Inc. “GNARBOX 2.0 SSD is designed for professionals who want to reliably back up their cards in the field and advance their mobile editing workflow. The goal is leave your laptop at home and streamline a process that can otherwise be a burden to creativity. With this product, you can get more work done in the field so you spend less time at home in front of your computer. you get home to your computer. It’s water, shock, and dust resistant , yet packed with the power to review RAW photos and render ProRes videos while in the field.” continued Feess.
Since shipment of its first units in Spring 2017, GNARBOX is quickly becoming the industry-standard mobile workflow platform for on-the-go content creators. The market for backup devices has expanded in early 2018 with the introduction of the Western Digital MyPassport Wireless Pro SSD and LaCie DJI CoPilot. GNARBOX 2.0 SSD will be the highest-powered, most versatile, premium option on the market. With software tools for creative independence, hands-on customer support, and the most third party integrations on the market, GNARBOX has demonstrated its clear position as the leader in this space.
New to the redesigned GNARBOX is an on-box OLED display and button array, allowing users to backup files faster than ever before. When a card is detected, the box prompts you to kick off a transfer with the single press of a button. With a second tap, you can direct the transfer to a preset folder tree for automatic organization. This new tool is designed to save creators meaningful time in the field, and add needed reliability to their creative process.
GNARBOX 2.0 SSD is proud to offer key integrations with widely-used software tools, including LumaFusion, Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe Lightroom and Dropbox:
- ● GNARBOX + LumaFusion Integration : GNARBOX integrates with LumaFusion by leveraging its processing power in support of the most powerful multi-track timeline video editor available on iOS.
- ● GNARBOX + Adobe Premiere Pro/Final Cut Pro Integration : GNARBOX integrates with Adobe Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro to create a frictionless video editing workflow that starts in the field and follows you back to your production studio.
- ● GNARBOX + Adobe Lightroom Integration : GNARBOX integrates with Adobe Lightroom CC to create a direct connection to the industry-leading photography app.
● GNARBOX + Dropbox Integration : GNARBOX can sync folders with Dropbox to create a seamless transition to your cloud storage.
GNARBOX is also launching four new mobile applications with the 2.0 product:
- ● Safekeep: The most powerful field backup experience, with tailored file/folder organization and sleek tools to manage file movement across your devices.
- ● Selects: Super-fast preview of RAW photos, making it easy to mark your selects with EXIF metadata and prepare for editing in Lightroom Classic/CC.
- ● Sequence: An accelerated rough-cut assembly app that acts as a bridge to Industry-Standard editing tools like Premiere Pro and FinalCut Pro. You can review videos, prepare bins, and send your sequences to your favorite timeline editor with the widely-used XML format.
- ● Showcase: The laptop-free way to project your photos and videos on a big screen, wherever you are.Complete Technical and Hardware Specifications of GNARBOX 2.0 SSD:
- ● Intel Quad Core, 2.40GHZ CPU
- ● 4 Core Intel HD Graphics GPU
- ● 867mbps 802.11 ac/b/g/n WiFi
- ● 2/4GB LPDDR3 RAM
- ● NVMe SSD up to 1TB
- ● SD Card Backup:75-100MB/sec write speeds
- ● USB-C Backup: 400-500MB/sec read/write speeds
- ● USB-C Computer Connect: 400-500MB/sec read/write speeds
- ● 2x USB-C, SD & microHDMI ports
- ● 4-6 hour battery life
- ● 3200mAh 7.4v removable lithium ion battery
- ● IP67 – Waterproof to 1m for 30minutes
- ● Dimension – 6.05” x 3” x 1.16” / ~1.1lbGNARBOX 2.0 SSD will offer several storage capacities in association with special pricing for Kickstarter rewards throughout the campaign, which are listed below along with MSRP:
- ● GNARBOX 2.0 SSD (128GB) – $399 USD
- ● GNARBOX 2.0 SSD (256GB) – $499 USD
- ● GNARBOX 2.0 SSD (512GB) – $599 USD
- ● GNARBOX 2.0 SSD (1TB) – $999 USDFull media kit available via the link below:CLICK HERE TO ACCESS
Each pledge for a GNARBOX 2.0 on Kickstarter will receive an extra battery along with a USB-C to C cable and custom wall plug for superfast charging.
With a Kickstarter goal of $180,000, MyGnar intends to begin manufacturing in September 2018 and shipping to backers in December 2018. International pledges are encouraged as the product will ship globally.
Three years after the first successful Kickstarter for the original GNARBOX (now aptly titled GNARBOX 1.0 ) which raised over $500,000 in 30 days, the brand has developed a strong, supportive community of experienced content creators; ranging from professional photographers, videographers, adventure/travel bloggers and even field reporters and journalists.
“GNARBOX 2.0 is a tool that we expect to be in everyone’s camera bag before long,” said Will Africano co-founder and CMO of MyGnar Inc. “We’ve heard from many of the industry’s most decorated photographers and videographers, our own community of GNARBOX users on live chat and Facebook, and the YouTube reviewers who helped share our story. We’re confident in how innovative 2.0 will be for the world of creators.”
GNARBOX prides itself on offering unparalleled customer service which includes personal one-on-one guidance and assistance from their internal teams who maintain expertise in media production workflows and troubleshooting. In addition, GNARBOX also crafts workflow-specialist-led tutorials and reviews designed to support the skills and development journey of a streamlined content creator via Youtube.
An active community of production industry experts also supports the GNARBOX Ecosystem with reviews and testimonials, including support from Chris Burkard , UnboxTherapy , Peter McKinnon and PhotoJoseph . GNARBOX Insiders , a forum-like Facebook community , gathers creative individuals dedicated to streamlining their workflows; connecting GNARBOX users and sharing their latest content and workflow tips and tricks. Insiders also provides an exclusive look at software and product releases before they are publicly announced.
In 2017, the GNARBOX Pro Team was introduced as a group of photo/video professionals who are both creators as well as educators. As Pro Team members, they actively aid in creating public conversations around GNARBOX, and provide GNARBOX-related education at workshops and industry events.
The original device is now referred to as GNARBOX 1.0 with differentiating storage versions of 128GB or 256GB. This entry-level GNARBOX will continue to be supported and will see the same software improvements from future 2.0 software releases and updates. GNARBOX 2.0 SSD will provide significant improvements to backup speeds, transcoding times and on-board functionality that are not available to GNARBOX 1.0. There are currently no plans for an upgrade or trade-in program.
With single-step backup, fast file review and culling, and integrated access to professional editing software, GNARBOX 2.0 SSD will save content creators time and make them more reliable creators.
Designed for S treamlined Content Creators w ho produce content while on-the-move, GNARBOX 2.0 SSD is a rugged backup device for content creators who prefer to travel without a laptop. Unlike other portable hard drives, GNARBOX has assembled an ecosystem of mobile applications that serve the professional workflow in the field. G NARBOX is a creative technology company based in Los Angeles. It’s backed by an active community of content creators and develops products and solutions to revolutionize the multimedia management experience.
ABOUT MYGNAR INC.:
Guided by the leadership of co-founders Tim Feess and Will Africano, MyGnar Inc. conceptualizes and produces breakthrough innovations for content creation and distribution. Their mission is to make the creative process as seamless as possible for anyone with a camera. Through creative storytelling, strategic partnerships and investments, MyGnar Inc. continues to roll-out new technologies and products that enable their core values of creativity, community support and adventure to be replicated by their valued customers at all levels of interaction and exploration.
Told By Thomas
Boom ! There it is, the start of the fourth year of my photography business ! When I was made redundant, my Area Manager was made redundant too! He said “what are you doing at the weekend ?” I said “talking at the photography show.” He just looked at me like I was winding him up. I took my redundancy money and decided to give the industry another go after a very long time out! I sold all my Nikon camera gear, went on holiday to Venice, came back and took the plunge.
It’s been really hard graft at times and very gut wrenching scary ! But all the time there has been this little voice next to me ( no not Richie!) saying just keep going. I have sat in the car next to Jane on my way to talk to a room full of 900 people feeling sick and on the verge of giving it up through anxiety but Jane was always there supporting me from the start !
She is supporting me even more now with my weight loss and she is amazing and is the only reason I can do what I do as she gives me the confidence to do it.
Not easy for a guy with Dyslexia and really bad chronic IBS !
Jane gave me the strength to drive forward against all odds at times in an ever changing industry to stop, think and change direction and find a new way to make it work, adapt and evolve.
It’s all getting more difficult, even weddings are becoming a struggle and training companies in the UK are dropping like flies.
I have had some very good contracts and clients but the plan is in four years time is to just have the time to take Photographs for myself and spend some time with Jane.
Well that’s four years away !
In the meantime something amazing and positive.
I have decided to attempt to do something very special ! I want to help my friend Alan and his team turn this industry on its head and put Photography back where it should be, on top !!
I love photography, I have been addicted to it all my life and I admire the great photographers that have gone before us, they inspire me to go out day after day to be just like them. Not for fame or glory but just to one day make one amazing image.
There is more to great photographers than the gear they use. it’s about light, composition, moment, great subject, emotional impact and passion !! Sometimes it’s luck but most of the time it’s hard graft and thousands of hours out there, searching and learning.
You need a camera that is the right tool for the job and is a perfect fit for you, but a great photographer could use any camera.
So the second half of my eight year journey is to get photography for all ages back to where it should be.
I am going to be working with Alan Raw and his Team, Claire, and Richard to bring to Hull an amazing photography show!
I have amazing artists booked but so far only three people from the trade have said yes !! Very sad and proves my point ! They don’t want to risk a new show as it costs money with hotels and stands and staff !! Also, if it’s past Birmingham everyone gets a nosebleed !
Over 8000 people went to HipFest last year on opening weekend and 100,000 over the Festival ! That’s passionate people with cameras and a love of photography !
I know all my friends will support me and make this very special.
I know Jane will be with me all the way putting up with me not sleeping and running around making notes and voice memos and being a driven (and grumpy!) I also have to finish my program of workshops for Wex etc so extra grumpy the next three months.
Even if you are not sure what Photography is all about come to Hull in October for a day out ! Marilyn Stafford is there with her Exhibition at 91 years old! Come and see her images of Einstein, Edith Piaf, Cartier Bresson and be inspired by her passion for creation. Come and have the experience of a pie and a pint in Hull !
So the next four years I will be working with as many people as I can to put Photography back at the top and help creative people have a voice.
I hope you guys will join me on this journey ! Sit down, hold on tight and let’s go….
PhotoCity Hull 5-7th October 2018
From the Hart…
Thanks Jane x
Thanks also to all my friends for all the help and advice along the way, you know who you are.
Thanks to Kevin Mullins for saying just do it what have you got to loose, and it’s easy just get up there and talk it’s your passion…
Today I made the decision to hand back my X and become an X X Photographer !
This was not an easy decision but the timing was about right for me and my business moving forward.
So what camera system will I be moving to you might all ask ! Well the truth is I am not going to be moving to any other system, I love the Fujifilm X System and the GFX and this will remain my brand of choice.
I never ever got paid by Fujifilm to say that the X System was great and always said I only said it was great because that was the way I felt about it. But there are plenty of people that did not believe me. I can honestly say now that Fujifilm have never paid me to say the X system is great and from now on I will still be using what I feel is the right system for my workflow. I loved the X100 the day it was released and I have loved all the X Series cameras that I have used. Going back to basics when I moved over from Nikon and got the first X100 and XPro1 made me slow down and think and the sensors have always blown me away. The XPro1 was and still is as much a game changer back then as the GFX is the game changer today. The fact that the exposure triangle is where you need it and the cameras just feel right in your hands will never change and the work I have produced with the X Series cameras speaks for itself. I can’t wait to see what Fujifilm bring us in the future.
Watching all the griping and moaning about the new XH1 from all the Nikon and Canon users on social media has made me laugh over the last couple of weeks. Fujifilm have come up with a camera that you all asked for ! So why all the moaning that its too big or the grip is not right or this and that ! It’s hard to read and pathetic at times. Photography is about the image and creating amazing images with the 6 inches behind the camera not the tech that goes in to it. Video is a whole new ballgame and Fujifilm are now improving in that field as well and in time I am sure will bring us an amazing camera for Video. I really do wish people would get on with creating great content with stills or video and be proud of the work they produce and get off social media moaning and running people and companies down.
I only own one camera that is not a Fujifilm camera and its a Canon 200D and this is my Vlogging camera and will remain my Vlogging camera until Fujifilm make a camera with an articulated screen that I can use to Vlog with. I would use my X-T20 all the time for Video and Vlogging but its just takes me to long to set up, even though I prefer the images out of the X-T20 I love the ease of use of the 200D. I did use my X-70 for a while but the Rode Mic would get in the way of the flip up screen. I have used the X-T20 and the 200D side by side on some workshops and can say that the X-T20 images are always better, but the 200D is just a breeze to work with when filming yourself. Fingers crossed in the future Fujifilm with bring us a decent articulated screen and all my dreams will come true.
I have been so busy over the last few years I have hardly had any time to stop and think and even worse I have not been able to give the time I need to develop Fujiholics. I sat down at the end of 2017 and decided I needed to make changes to my business plan to give more time to Fujiholics in 2018 / 2019 and also to concentrate on my own business and get back to making images I like and not images that people expect me to make.
I have three projects on the go this year and also need the time to concentrate on my own personal work. The fear has always been that I would start to hate photography because I would spend more time in the office and less time out taking photos and last year was very much 90% hard graft marketing and I hardly shot a thing. So it’s time for change. I still love the photowalks and getting out and meeting people and I really do love all the Fujiholics what a great bunch of people and the community I believe is one of the best in the industry.
I have absolutely loved all my time with the Fujifilm UK team and the Fujifilm team around the world it’s honestly been some of the best moments of my Photography career. I have never met such a passionate bunch of people in all my life, the team really do believe in the X Series as much as we the users do and that makes them very special team.
I have lots and lots of plans for Fujiholics in the future and with the help of Richard Waine and my new Business Partner who will be revealed very soon I hope to bring all the Fujiholics some great new content and a few surprises.
So thank you to all the guys at Fujifilm you all know who you are and here is to an even more exciting future.
Black and White Editing.
I like to keep my Black and White workflow as simple as possible and have refined my systems and processes over the last ten years. I use Lightroom CC and Silver Efex Pro 2 for all my black and white images. I shoot most of the time in RAW but this process is just as effective with Jpegs, you just have less latitude with the Jpeg file. SEP2 is part of the Google Nik Collection and was made free to everyone last year.
My workflow is simple and after a day out shooting I pop my memory card in to my MacBook Pro and copy the images in to Lr CC this is where I view the images and make my selections. I might shoot 40-60 images in a session or more but I normally only end up with 3-5 keepers if that. Once I have made my selections I then open each image in turn in SEP2 for conversion to black and white. After a few small slider movements I import the image back in to Lr for some final editing and then star rating this whole process takes less than 3-6 min per image.
I view each image on my 27” Eizo Monitor, the monitor is calibrated regularly even though this is a black and white process I need to see every tone between the black end of the spectrum and the white end. If you don’t have a calibrated monitor or an old monitor its best to buy a new up to date LED type monitor as these are great out of the box. You can download a test card from the internet to check your screen, if you can’t see every band in the chart you need to calibrate of upgrade your monitor.
I will take you through my very simple workflow from start to finish with this image taken of Glenfinnan Scotland, this is the RAW file out of camera converted to Jpeg.
First I import my images in to Lr and once in Lr I then view all my images and the images I want to keep I give a one * I do this in the Library module. Once I have made my keeper selection I then highlight and delete the rest of the images leaving my keepers and these are all the ones with the one* sometimes at this point I will remove a couple of the one* images if I think the others are stronger. At times, I have deleted the whole lot.
Once selected I will then import the first keeper in to SEP2 this is a simple right click open in SEP2.
Once the image opens in SEP2, I do not touch the left-hand side of the program as this is mostly pre-sets and there is no point in opening a pre-set because I will then have to spend the next 10-20 min trying to get the image back to the way I want it from the pre-set. I only ever use the sliders and the controls on the right-hand side of SEP2 and only use the main sliders and not open them up for fine control. The main sliders I use are Brightness Contrast and Structure and I make changes by eye to every single image I open. I start at the top and work down the sliders. I normally brighten most images by about 20% then contrast about 20% and then apply quite a lot of Structure to make the images pop about 60% but this is all by eye and not an exact science. On the Glenfinnan, I am going to go Brightness 22 Contrast 22 and Structure 66.
If I need to just make controlled adjustments I use the control points so as not to cause over processing of artefacts in the complete image. This is mainly with people’s faces or complicated backgrounds with out of focus areas. I don’t need to do that in this image, I am happy with the way the image looks so I then import the image back in to Lr.
Once in Lr I switch to the development module.
I again start at the top right of the sliders and work my way down sometimes a few tweaks and at others hardly anything at all, therefore I don’t use pre-sets in Lr as I would spend most of my time correcting the changes the pre-sets make.
I always keep an eye on the Histogram for clipped highlights as these look harsh in digital images and even worse printed. I ignore the clipped blacks as these looks great when printed and I do like quite dark blacks in my images.
The first thing I do to this image in Lr is add a graduated filter to the sky and use the exposure control to darken the Sky by one stop. I then use the shadows slider to just pull back the shadows from the mountains. I then make a second graduated selection and darken the top of the sky to about half a stop.
I then work my way down the sliders Contrast +24 Shadows +18 Blacks -31 Clarity +31 and finish off with a post-crop Vignette of about -7 I would also use the adjustment brush to lighten the snow areas and darken any areas using the exposure slider. This is about the same way you would dodge and burn in the Dark Room. This is all to personal taste, I prefer my whites to be white in an image so do tend to burn in the white but without over exposing them.
I would then rate my image for personal use between 3* and 5* if I felt at this stage the image was 2* or 1* I would delete it.
The image looks quite dark in WordPress but looks great printed or on my Eizo, I hope to run a Black and White editing workshop for Fujiholics later in the year so please keep an eye open on the Fujiholics website.