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Holiday Habit

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X100F Iso 200 1/900 f/6.4

I have always taken quite a lot of camera gear with me on holiday and it’s become a habit that I have struggled to quit, until now.

With the Fujifilm X System the kit is so much less than DSLR gear, but it’s still quite a lot of gear once you add an extra body, a tripod, some filters etc.  I have noticed over the last few trips I don’t use it as much as I did.  You guys know me for my black and white Street work but I still love my landscape. The downside to Landscape is all the gear you tend to pack. I also am not a fan of over processed Landscape work as I like to capture the world as I see it and not chop and change things around in Photoshop so have always packed lots of filters and a tripod. This is a personal choice and there is nothing wrong with people who create amazing Landscape in PS I just prefer to keep my Landscape work as real as my Street.

The last break Jane and I had, I just put the Fujifilm X100F in my pocket and went on holiday. Crazy I know and as I drove off I nearly turned round to go get all the gear but stuck with my gut and went for it.

I had the best break and took a few shots to remind me of the break and decided from that moment on to just take one camera and one lens away with me when not working.

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Fujifilm X100F ISO400 1/1900 f/5.00I dont normally explain my images but In the image above I loved this tree and all the walls etc and the vapour trail reminded me of all the Airport Stress that people put themselves through for a trip out of the UK.

 

On our recent trip to North Yorkshire I decided to take the X100F again and this time I managed to capture a few Landscape shots and have suddenly fallen back in love with the beauty of our Landscape and the simplicity of a single camera in my pocket. It was bliss to be able to walk for miles and miles without tons of gear.

I then remembered why I changed to the Fujifilm X System, to keep things simple and to keep the weight down. You soon get caught up in having to take so much gear with you to take photos but really it is all just down to the 6″ behind the viewfinder not all the gear you have in the bag. You can create amazing Long Exposure effects without your filters and tripod etc but I have found this was holding me back from walking further and exploring all the amazing hills and mountains like I used to.

I did have a chuckle to myself half way down the track from Malham Cove when a guy passed me with a huge camera bag full of gear and massive Tripod strapped to his back with sweat pouring off his face. Jane even looked at me and said “He looks like he is having a great day!”

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X100F Iso 200 1/1500 f/8.0 

I can safely say I have just had one of the most relaxing holiday in ages and one of the reasons was not having to decide every day what camera and lens I was going to put in what bag and what tripod or filters I was going to take with me.

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X100F 1/1900 f/5

 

I really cant wait for my next trip out now,  to go and explore our amazing countryside with the X100F keeping it as simple as possible.

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X100F 1/1400 F/4

X100F v XPro2

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BRFFUK0002 FUJIFILM X PHOTOGRAPHER BADGE-H UK_MATT HART

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I get asked quite a lot “what is best the X100F or the Xpro2 ?” I always find this an interesting question because I don’t quite know why I am being asked the question !

I dont think people want to know what camera I prefer, I think they want to know what one I would recommend they buy ! To find out what would be the best camera for the other person I would need to know so much more about them and their photography. So I will answer this question as if it was directed to me.

I am not that worried about the bells and whistles that are thrown at modern cameras I just want the exposure triangle on the outside of the camera and I want to be able to use it quickly without putting too much thought in to it or digging into the menus.

I do love the rangefinder style because I am a right eye shooter, so with the rangefinder my nose is not squashed on the back of the camera and 9 times out of 10 no one knows where you are pointing a rangefinder !

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I am also not that worried about the viewfinder or the rear screen as I need glasses these days for close up work so don’t spend a lot of time using either. If I do use the viewfinder or rear screen it’s just to compose the image so it can be all blurry as long as I can see the composition.

The main difference between the X100F and the XPro2 is the fact it has interchangeable lenses and in all honesty this is the one deciding factor the rest is almost irrelevant.

But I am lucky as I have both cameras.

One thing I must point out is that for Event work I also use the Fujifilm X-T2 and the main reason is for balance  the Fujifilm 50-140mm f/2.8 and battery grip with extra battery capacity for a long day shooting is just perfect. I will still use the X100F and XPro2 on the day just to have a variety of lenses with me at all times within easy reach.

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At the moment when I am teaching Street photography I just use the X100F.

When I am out shooting in the UK on my own at the moment I use two X100F bodies, one with the fixed 23mm and one with the Fujifilm WCL-X100 Wide conversion lens.

The XPro2 stays at home, so in a way I have answered the question.

I moved away from Nikon to be able to lighten my load and enjoy my day out shooting and over the last 6 years I have only used the Fujifilm system and got to know it very well. In that time the X100 has come a long way and the X100F is now everything I need in an everyday camera for shooting Street, its got a great sensor and exposure triangle on top and the autofocus is now as fast as I need it to be. I used to Zone focus the X100 and X100s and even the X100T to get the results I needed but the X100F has such a great AF system I dont need to use Zone focus for anything anymore. I guess the only time would be in low light or awkward situations and in that case I would just switch to M and back button focus.

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When out shooting Street my only consideration now is, is it moving if so switch to C (continuous AF) is is stationary switch to S (single AF)

I like the camera to do all the work for me so I set the camera in to Auto ISO with the following settings – Default Sensitivity 200, Max.Sensitivity 6400, Min. Shutter Speed 1/250 sec.

This set up is basically the same for the X100F and the XPro2 except I alter the Min Shutter speed to suit the lens I have on the camera for the XPro2.

For me the X100F is my Desert Island camera, and this camera now goes with me everywhere I go its the first camera I pack for any trip. One great thing about a fixed lens camera is the fact there is no sensor cleaning so that is a big bonus.

I have adapted the way I shoot to suit the X100F and I think this is important, I see so many people moaning online about the fact a camera has not go this or it has not got that and the biggest moan about the X100F is the fact it does not have a tilting screen ! When it first came out I even thought thats a shame, after using the X70 and all the others with tilting screens I did wonder but now I get it. Why do we keep wanting more and more and more this is why the DSLR’s got so big ! besides the XPro2 does not have a tilting screen.

I love the freedom of the X100F and if I have to pick one camera from the Fujifilm range this would be it.

So what about the Xpro2 ? Its water resistant and it is slightly faster on  AF and it has interchangeable lenses, so it’s far better than the X100F and if I travel anywhere out of the UK it comes with me, also for assignments I use the X100F and the XPro2 with a longer lens on to give me something wide and something long to be able to capture the moment no matter where it happens.

I love my XPro2 and in the Fujifilm range it comes up as my favorite camera but it also annoys me because it gives me lens choice ! The Fujifilm lenses are all so good you then end up taking the XPro2 and 3 or 4 lenses with you and you only ever use one ! So it puts more weight in your bag is counter productive.

The XPro2 is perfect for travel and perfect for assignments and just about anything but when it comes down what one I prefer based on weight, size, portability etc the X100F wins hands down.

We all want diferent things from our cameras and Fujifilm have an amazing range of bodies and lenses now and I love to use them all but the X100F is still my desert Island Camera.

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Workshops Update

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As quite a few people know  I am changing the format of my workshops in 2018 so if anyone wants to take part in the present format, please choose one of my Street Photography Workshops from the list below.

This is the format for 2017.

The workshops will encourage debate about Street Photography and help the participants to be more critical about their work.

The workshops are suitable for professional and amateur photographers of all levels. We ask you to familiarise yourself with using your camera and learn how to change settings quickly before attending the day, this will enable you to enjoy the experience fully.

The day will start at 10.30am and conclude at 16.30pm with a break for lunch and plenty of comfort breaks throughout the day, most of the day will be out on the streets. There is a lot of walking during the day and the event may take place in inclement weather so come prepared.

You will spend the day with myself exploring the streets picking up tricks and tips on my style of Street Photography throughout the day. My Street photography workshops and courses are fun, informative and relaxed. They are both challenging and highly enjoyable and designed to stretch your imagination.

I uses the Fuji X100F and XPro2 with a 35mm or 16mm Prime lens.

You can bring any DSLR or mirrorless camera on this course; fixed lens compacts are also welcome. If you are wondering what lenses to bring 50mm is ideal for full frame and 35mm film uses. APSC size sensors 35mm is ideal or lenses around the normal focal length.

The day normally starts at 10.30am with a coffee introductions and a discussion about the day. We will touch on the ethics and law and how to deal with challenges in this area.

Next we will discuss camera set up for the day and the best set up for street photography with a practical demonstration of street camera technique.

Matt will cover what Street Photography is, and show you some of his favourite Street Photographers images. He will also show you the best way to approach his style of Street photography.

We normally spend around two hours covering these subjects then around 12.30am we head straight out on to the streets where you can watch the way Matt works and try out some of the tips and tricks that he shares with you.

We break for lunch around 1.30pm where we can find a quiet place for a snack to discuss the mornings work and share our experiences.

We then go back out on the streets to practice your new street techniques and try and find your street rhythm and look for some interesting characters or great light!

We stay out shooting until about 4pm, we then find a quiet place to sit as a group to discuss the day and this will include lessons learnt. Matt will share his processing techniques and preferred software. Matt will give you his views on Critique and show you how to review your own work.

 

I know the majority of you guys that read my blogs and attend my workshops are Fujifilm users but for all you that have other brands of camera please feel free to book on any of these workshops as all camera brands are more than welcome.

Here are the available dates left this year, please click on the dates for availability:

Edinburgh 3rd June

Manchester 9th June

Birmingham 1st July

London 7th July

London 8th July

Bristol 21st July

Liverpool 26th August

Liverpool 24th Sept

Liverpool 14th October

Manchester 25th Nov 

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These will be the last Street Photography Workshops in this format at this price.

I have some interesting ideas for Locations and Styles of Workshops for next year, these workshops will be a little more complex so require a lot more planning.

I will advertise the 2018 Workshops around about October time.

I will be leading the Fujiholics Photowalks in London, Edinburgh and Bristol this year so make sure you sign up before all the places are gone. We have over 350 people signed up for London already.

Fujiholics Bristol

Fujiholics Edinburgh

Fujiholics London

Hope to see some of you on a Free Walk or Workshop and if you are a Fujifilm shooter then our new Facebook group might be for you here.

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Watermarks

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This is my personal view, everyone has their own opinion about watermarks and at one time I used to have a little white watermark on my own images.

The reason I had a watermark was mainly because I was led to believe I needed one !

The reason given was that if my image was stolen people would know it was mine, people would know whose the image was no matter where it was posted. I was told  I needed it for copyright reasons and the reasons went on and on, so I started to watermark images.

I then had an image stolen that had been watermarked and the watermark was removed by the thief. I did an image search to see who had used it and there were 34,000+ usages around the world !

The interesting thing was it was not my watermark, it was a stock sites. I contacted the agency and they basically said we don’t have time to go after every image theft it would cost a fortune. This bugged me at first so then I looked who had taken the image and then I got the message. It had been used all over the world on thousands of sites. Just the research to see who had it took me a few hours, imagine the time it would take to try and get people to pay up.

I decided I agreed with the stock site and removed my own watermarks the very next day because I had always found it distracting. What is the point in a mark that distracts from the image, none when it can be removed in seconds in PS with content aware.

I fully understand people want people to know who their image was taken by but over time people work out your style and follow your images on  Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc

I stopped using Watermarks years ago now and in Street Photography circles Watermarks are discouraged any way.

I will never use a watermark and there is no need these days as you can Google image search any image and find out where it was posted first.  You can screen print an image and load it up and find out all about the image it’s so very simple. Just type Google image search in to Google then when the page loads choose images at the top of the page then click in the camera next to the search box and use the URL or Upload an image.

I also understand that anything you post on social media or the internet can be stolen. I find this quite funny as the thief is then helping me to share my work so saves me hours.

Someone said on Facebook last week, the bigger the watermark the worse the image ! I laughed and then took a good look around the internet and it was quite true.

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There is nothing wrong with Watermarks if you want to use them but there are some things to consider. If you have spent thousands of pounds on photographic equipment and editing software and ages composing and creating a great image, why stick a coloured www. blablablaphoto .com watermark across the middle in a rubbish font ?  Trust me as soon as I see a rubbish watermark I think lazy photographer and don’t even look at the image. Some are really bad and bright colours are even worse. If you are going to use one it needs to compliment the images and the image needs to be the first thing you see not a bright red, yellow or blue watermark.

I am one of the Admin on a very large Street Photography Group with over 70,000 members and I see hundreds of images every day and trust me lots of images are let down by really bad watermarks.

I have seen some good watermarks very discreet and very small they work very well and are normally brand specific and very well designed by a graphic designer.  There are also quite a few designs to fit with the photographers different image styles one for black and white and one for colour etc.

So if you are going to use one and personally I would not recommend it, because if you don’t want it stolen don’t put it out there to be stolen. But if you do take as much time and trouble over it as you would a CV for an interview, after all in some cases thats exactly what it is !

 

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Being Dyslexic

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Before I start this blog post it’s going to be written by me and it will not be checked by Jane. My normal process for Blog writing is to write the Blog post and then get Jane to check it. However I will be using spell check, he says as he spells check wrong.

Being Dyslexic my Struggle at school was two fold. I was not only having a daily battle with all teachers but also with my parents. Well most of the teachers only two stood out. The Physics teacher hated me because I understood physics better than he did and my Geography teacher who was a brilliant visionary but died of a brain tumour just after I left School.

The Geography teacher predicted the future as it is now and I will never forget him. When I was 14 he was telling me how we would not have cash one day it would all be plastic cards and there would be less jobs to go around and how the government would not know how to deal with the free time people had and keep them in work doing nothing all day etc

At School I was called quite a few things but Mad Professor or Nutty Professor were the common ones. I did have the best Go Kart even if I could not spell it. I was not picked on much as I decided to fight back and that was the end of that.

My parents were the biggest pain in the arse back then as they thought I was a thick stupid stubborn idiot. I was about 11 when they decided to have me tested by people that don’t have a clue and I got the Dyslexic label ! Great now I was labelled f%#}{]€ stupid ! Why did my parents treat me like an idiot ? Because I was adopted and they were academically clever ! Funny that word clever ! At 14 I could take most things apart and put them back together again and by 16 I could fault find nearly every mechanical or electrical fault there was. My parents expected a lot from me but the best thing they did was give me a Camera.

I hardly slept back then as I used to be inventing stuff in my sleep and even designed a car that ran on compressed air and electricity, I was told it would never work !!! However that was not quite true as I built a scale model later in my life from Air Tool motors and a compressor and it did work. I was told all my ideas were stupid and to stop drawing stupid things. I did stop, never picked up a pen or paintbrush again.

I have always been stubborn and wanted to do things my own way to see if there is a quicker route. People have always frustrated me because they spend all day doing something that I could simplify to do in a morning or even an hour. I have never understood why people have to be in work for 8 hours a day when they could do the days work in a few hours ! I guess it pleases someone !  Most of the jobs I have had I can see how much a waste of time and money everything is and ended up managing quite a few projects for that reason. In the early days my ideas were just stolen by my managers so I stopped telling them my ideas.

When my son could not tie his shoelaces because he was Dyslexic I got him Valero shoes, I did not make him do it for weeks on end and hit him round the head until he could do it like the old days. When he came home from School with 30 spellings to learn over the weekend I ripped up the paper and told him not to worry I could not learn them, so don’t expect him to ! But then the School labels him !

I met my real Mum when I was about 35 but before I met her we exchanged letters !!!! Her writing and spelling was worse than mine she had to be my mum !

I met an inspiring lady about this time Called Niki Stearman and she ran a Dyslexic charity called DARK and explained so much to me in changed my life. So much so she helped me to understand who I was for the first time.

My son is doing well in his job and I have also done very well. I am grateful for predictive text and spell check, even though it’s not perfect at least I don’t fall foul of the spelling Police as much as I used to. Jane has to check all my blog posts and emails and she is amazing for that. She once said do you just put full stops and comers where you think they go ? I said yes I just guess, as they dont mean anything to me. The truth is I probably pick up a big handful of punctuation marks and just throw them at the screen.

The other amazing thing about Jane is she believed in me she encouraged me to take my Photography to the next level and it paid off, I was always held back by the fact my writing and spelling would hold me back. I was also scared of standing in front of the Spelling police when I was teaching workshops etc.

Funny though every time someone pulls me up for spelling I wonder who they call on to fix their Car or teach them Photography, I also think why is it so important  ! I have got to this age very well thank you without the need be perfect in that area I wonder how many areas they lack in !

I found out that once I got in front of a group of people that I could talk to people and inspire people with my own stories and my knowledge without the need for writing and that has driven me on to this day. I now love passing on my Photography Knowledge and love the company of all the great people that have been on my workshops and to may talks.

Apart from a shit time at school life has been very exciting and good. My body language and people skills have always got me through. I was the one all my friends wanted to go out for a drink with at School as I was the one talking to all the girls and dancing the night away, so that was exciting.

I do feel I have been let down by the School system. If my Dyslexic brain had been given the room to grow and the systems and processes put in place to allow me to develop some of my ideas at an early age who knows how many of my ideas would have worked !

When you look at the long line of Dyslexic inventors and amazing people you realise the School system we have these days is useless in teaching kids that are a bit different ! I hear Richard Branson left School to get on with life. I tried to do that a few times but my Parents were having none of it.

I have always felt trapped in a box all my life and only talk about it to my close friends and family. Photography has always been my release and has kept me sane, well that was until Social Media I find it quite frustrating now because I have lots and lot of ideas but just like when I was a young lad and my managers stole my ideas, if I start a now project and post the images on Social Media now I just get copied. So I will probably end up doing some secret project from 2018 onwards.

My photography has helped me all my life to focus my creativity, I dont take millions of Photos and I like to keep it real with minimum editing. I am not keen on Photoshop but that’s because I can always see the fastest route to the end goal, so I dont want to spend 15 hours in PS when I can spend 3 min in Lightroom, seems like a waste of 15 hours to me.  I however have nothing against anyone who wants to use PS and I love some of the amazing graphic design that has been created. My brain however likes to keep things simple and real.

The most interesting thing about Dyslexia that Nikki Stearman told me was the fact the Dyslexic brain is not the same as other people’s brains and that Wernicke’s area and Broca’s area are not connected in the brain so our brains have to work in a diferent way.

I hear they are not finding this out with scans and there is some more information here.

We are not thick or stupid we are extremely intelligent and have amazing brains and this new Richard Branson backed project is inspiring. So inspiring that I have written this !

I wonder how many gifted and amazing people there are out there that have been shut in boxes over the years !!

Let’s hope this can change !

Check out Made By Dyslexia

Photowalks 2017

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Here we go again, another year of Photo Walks.  This year I will be leading four Fujiholics Photowalks. The Liverpool walk has already taken place but Bristol, Edinburgh and London are still up for grabs.

I would like everyone to know that you can bring any make of camera with you and that includes smart phones. You can also come without a camera just for a day out.  It’s all about like minded people getting together to have a great day out and to share ideas and meet new people.

The walks are free to sign up to, I only ask that if you sign up then change your mind, please follow the link from your Eventbrite confirmation email to remove yourself so other people can sign up as numbers are limited.

So far this year London is in the lead with 280 people signed up.

We would like to see more families and children on the walks and would like you all to know that kids are welcome as long as they are accompanied by an adult. Why not bring them to London and make a weekend of it.  They can use their phones or even buy them a throw away camera.

Photowalks are great, I have met friends for life on the walks and also made some amazing business contacts. They are a great way to explore our cities on foot with a great bunch of people.

A route and map is emailed out to everyone that signs up approx 1 week before the event to download to your smartphone or gps device or you can print out the map. You don’t have to keep up with the guys at the front as we tweet our location throughout the day and use a unique hashtag for the day. You can stop for refreshments along the way or even a cold beer and then catch up a bit later by taking a shortcut using the tube.

In London this year we have the Fujiholics Team and a few other Pro Photographers as well as some retailers so hope to bring you a few offers for the day. There will be quite a few Fujifilm X Photographers and Ambassadors about as well. The Fujiholics Team really do make you all feel welcome.

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I would love to see as many of you guys on one of the walks this year, the last three walks are spread out all over the UK so feel free to come and join us.

Here are the links to the walks..

Bristol

Edinburgh

London

If you want to buy cheap train tickets then here is a link to sign up to The Train Line ticket alert.

If you need to know any more details then feel free to contact us info@fujiholics.com or matt@fujiholics.com

Hope to see you sometime in 2017…

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2017 Year of Colour – so far

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Here we are four months in to my Year of Colour and I am struggling !

I always thought it would be hard thats why I chose to take it on as a project, but this has been so much harder than I thought but mainly because I have been so busy. I have hardly been able to get out and shoot any personal work so have just had to grab a few shots on my workshops and walks.

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I have found out as expected colour is complicated! I have always realised that and found it very difficult to match the colour to my mood and style. I think it was a lot easier back in the film days you chose a film for your style or job and just went out and created. Well I did, because I chose colour transparency film so did not have much say in the initial process. I guess that’s another reason I went black and white in the early days.

With digital you have so many choices from camera to software it’s just a minefield but I think I made a small breakthrough yesterday on a workshop.

I started off this project with the XPro2 and the X100F as my main cameras and now I have decided to just use the X100F for the rest of the project as best I can.

I have been going between RAW and Jpeg and then changing my mind again but now I have decided to shoot Jpeg and Raw and start playing around with the Jpeg settings in camera on the X100F. This way hopefully I will have a few choices at the editing stage, I have struggled to get a Jpeg image to look how I want it to look and prefer RAW with a very simple Lightroom conversion but I still feel I am missing a trick with Jpegs.

So it’s time to start experimenting. I can’t do that chopping and changing between cameras, the X100F is going to get some serious use this year.

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Consistency without pre sets is going to be my main bug bear as I have an amazing black and white workflow that just works. With colour it’s more dependent on the quality of light on the day and the colour temperature of the light so that has become a big issue for me. I have been falling out with colour in a big way over the last couple of months so much so that I was starting to hate it.

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But then I shot the image above and started to look at colour in a whole new way. I realised I was thinking in terms of Digital and not Film and the closer I could get to the film or Cine look the better. I think colour trends change and people do like saturated mad colours but I dont think thats me. I have always liked the way RAW files looked except they are flat and lifeless but with a few tweaks they come alive.

So I need to explore if I can get the same feel in camera with Jpegs, I am not holding up much hope but by shooting Jpeg and Raw I  have kept my options open.

Thank you Fujifim for Film Simulations, I am going to play with these over the next couple of months and see what happens. If it drives me nuts I have the RAW files to fall back on.

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This image changed it yesterday. The colour of the shop front and the guys shirt were a close match so I wanted to capture this in RAW and make some simple changes to get the image to look how I wanted in Lightroom. I then set about getting the camera set up to look like this on the rear screen or as close as I could get it.

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I then did the same with this image, it’s just a crazy experiment trying to edit a shot before you take it in camera but thought I would give it a go.

My dream is to not need to use Lightroom to edit so it’s about time I started playing around to achieve the end goal !