Matthew Hart

So you think you are a Photographer ! Part 2

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When I wrote part one I was interested to have a good look around Social media to see what the response was, and to be honest it was as expected.

Some thought it was great and very true and most of these were people whose work I found on Social Media are Professional or very good photographers in general with some interesting bodies of work.

There were some that thought it was a shouty ranty post that was a load of crap ! Looking at most these peoples work available on Social media it’s technically fine and some of the people even work in Photography for a living but their work has no personality or soul and it’s more for the viewer than the photographer. Some thought I was arrogant and an arse !

Everyone is entitled to think what they like and the fact I am now writing this blog to help people learn to see and move forward I know what I have to say won’t be to everyone’s taste but hopefully the few that do take a few hints and tips on board will be able to lift their work to the next level. I have helped a few people to really achieve great things in their work and sometimes you have to be honest and help them find their way.

Even though I say I have only helped a handful achieve Exhibitions and Books I have probably inspired 1000’s to more forward with their work.

The most interesting thing I noticed was the amount of times people said “who is he to tell us we can’t call ourselves Photographers” Interesting how my blog post was interpreted because that’s not what I said.

Even more interesting was the the fact people were saying ” who is he to tell us we can’t call ourselves Photographers, we are entitled to call ourselves whatever we want”  I did laugh at this and then did some more research.

A teacher friend of mine told me that in modern teaching kids are being told they can be anything they want to be and are Entitled to call themselves anything they like.

I think that’s great and as a young boy my Parents encouraged me to play sport and learn to play instruments etc in the hope that I would find something that would interest me  they also wanted me to join a choir ! But I was cluless with Music and apart from getting off my face during the Rave Scene and being mad about Psytrance and House Music I was never going to learn an instrument.

I did however Swim for Kent win the British Bench Press in 82.5 Kilo class and competed in the World Powerlifting Championships at 82.5 Kilo class and trust me I trained day 7 days a week to Swim and to lift weights. I don’t think I would have dared to walk in a Gym and said I am a Powerlifter if I was not. I also played in the British Roller Hockey Team in Goal against Spain. I spent hundreds of hours training in all these sports so that I could overachieve.

So if this is the modern world and people are entitled to call themselves anything they want then I am a Chef a Singer and Film Star ! But my advice is don’t buy and of my food buy some ear defenders and dont watch any of my films.

I do think this is sad because what is wrong with learning a craft and waiting a few years before you start calling yourself anything ?

Its quite funny how the Photography industry has been devalued buy all the people that call themselves Photographers ! Imagine people calling themselves Plumbers and Mechanics being let loose in your home or on your car !

My original blog was about just that, you don’t need to call yourself a Photographer, you can of course and you are Entitled to ! But personally I would get a body of work together and get some years under my belt before I called myself anything.

Some people need to take a long good look at their own work and dig deep and consider their own path and development.

I will continue my blog and try and help the people that want to read it to improve their work it’s amazing how most of the Haters do not have a body of work or many images to show for themselves and have the loudest voices ! Do you think this is because they don’t like the idea that anyone is better than them ?

All my blog posts are open to debate and discussion and one thing I do like about WordPress is its relatively  Troll Free because most of them cant be arsed to read more than a couple of paragraphs on Twitter or watch a youtube channel.

Photography has always been a hotbed of jealousy and Trolling so I will only answer and debate with people that are genuine.

Have a great week.

 

What do you really need to take a photograph ?

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What do you really need to take a photograph ?

Let’s get the gear bit out of the way first before I move on to the future of my Blog and YouTube.

A few years back I would have recommended a film camera but with the spiralling costs of film and paper it’s probably not the answer unless you can afford it.

So I will base this on Digital.

I guess first off it depends what type of photography you are in to, as will define the gear or amount of gear you need. The word NEED is the issue. What you need at what you buy and collect are hardly connected and most people quickly fall into the GAS ( Gear Acquisition Syndrome ) section.

I fully understand there is a huge difference between what you need for Sports Photography or Landscape or even Studio work.    

Because of the years I have shot just about everything I have been through the (GAS) just as everyone has. I wish someone had told me at the start that chasing the TEC and buying tons of Kit is a mugs game ! No wait they did ! I ignored them.

There is nothing wrong with buying tons of kit and people with Expendable incomes can buy what the hell they like.

I had a friend who asked me what he needed for his new camper van a few weeks back and I told him ” you will keep buying more and more gear you think you need and filling your van up with stuff, then in two years time you will leave most of it at home and just take what you need and start to enjoy your van”

But everyone must understand the gear  won’t make you a better photographer, I really do believe struggling with cheap hard to use kit and slow lenses is part of the learning process.

Let’s face it if you are going to shoot something slow moving or standing still only a few feet from you or even a Landscape and you are only going to view it on Instagram you might at well just use your Smartphone.

At the other end of the scale if you are a full time Pro shooting billboard size images for an advertising company you might need a 100mp Medium Format Camera. Likewise if you are going to do large prints all the time the Medium Format might be the way to go.

But remember the more megapixels you have the more detail you will see in the images the more dust and imperfections you with have to deal with in the final edit. Also your computer system will need to cope with the huge file size. You will also have to deal with Dust on that Sensor.

The biggest problem is once people get bogged down in cameras and lenses they hardly use what they have and they struggle to decide what to take when they leave the house ! Some take 30-40 kilos of kit every time they go out ! It’s madness no one cares what you have on your back or what you have in your hands only you ! The people who walk round camera shows with all there kit ! Who are those people ?

I guess we all have to learn the hard way. The secret to buying cameras is to only buy what you really need and to invest in glass as body’s will be updated with the new best thing in 12-24 Months  ! That’s what I was told years ago and it’s somewhat true but buying that new body is great if you are a Pro and need to have a reliable camera under warranty in your hand at all times but for the average person it really is a mugs game.

You really only need what you are going to use. If you are a Pro that’s shoots everything from Sport to Studio work then of course you are going to need a large amount of kit. That way you can pick up the right bag for the Job and run out of the house to shoot the job and get paid. Most Pros these days have lots of kit but also Hire in for specific jobs. Most of the Pro’s I know off load kit all the time. I do it as well, I look in Lightroom to see what lenses I have been using and what cameras and focal lengths them make changes accordingly. Sell bodies I don’t use and get lenses that make more sense.

I can’t tell you what you all need because I don’t know the way you Shoot or what you Shoot so it would be impossible for me to be able to advise lots of people all in one blog post.

I do know if you are a Pro then you need kit that can handle daily use, with a big bright viewfinder because you are going to spend a lot of your day looking through that viewfinder !

If you are not a Pro don’t waste your money on Pro gear just because you can afford it.

Not many people take their driving test in a Formula 1 Car ! Sounds like a mad analogy but it’s not far off.

I learnt photography with a film camera my Dad gave me and the first camera I saved up for was a Zenit E.  I made all my own Studio lights and reflectors and only had two lenses ! I learnt so much using that camera and a light meter. I also learnt all about light and composition because I had to.

These days it’s easy to buy any modern point and shoot and it will take infocus images with correct exposure on auto without you having to think too much.

You can also get round most technical issues in post processing depending on the sensor.

So if you are starting out and really want to learn Photography buy the most basic Manual camera around and teach yourself the basics of photography. You probably won’t use it on Manual once you understand it you will probably shoot in Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority or in some cases like weddings and Sport full Auto. But getting the basics right first gives you the grounding you need to move on and understand why your camera reacts to light and speed the way it does.

You don’t need a GFX or a Nikon D7 to start your journey even if you can afford it.

I was watching a film last night looking at the lighting and composition as well as all the noise in the dark areas ! I also noticed it was not always sharp or in focus. These things really don’t matter as much as you think ! People are obsessed with Sharpness.

You really don’t need to have all the latest gear and lenses to take great photos trust me.

I know I know if you are going to shoot wildlife sport or birds you need slightly better kit but let’s face it Wildlife Sport and Birds have been photographed before all the latest kit came out ! So sometimes it worth looking back instead of forwards for inspiration.

Remember that Camera that was the newest best thing a year ago ? Well it not much different a year later ! I know Press Photographers still using the Nikon D3s over newer models because the camera is better in many areas and the file sizes are much more manageable.

So what do you need to take a photo if you are just starting out ? It all depends on what you are going to shoot and your budget so I can’t answer that for everyone but what I can say is. Don’t buy a Bentley before you have learnt to drive. Because once you have learnt you will realise a Bentley is a great big fat lump of a car that costs fortune to insure does not fit in to a parking space can’t be left anywhere because it might get keyed and is great for showing off in but the wife’s Audi A6 is better all round so you end up leaving the Bentley at home and just taking the point and shoot !

Don’t do all the the research online go in to real shops and pick up there cameras and feel them try out the lenses and get a feel for them once you have decided keep going back to the same camera store over and over again and build up a relationship with the staff that way you can get better discounts and find out about second hand gear when it comes in. Ever time there is a new model out all last years models end up back in the shops so keep your eyes out for a bargain.

You don’t need a Full Frame DSLR you really don’t …

Think about what you shoot now what you will shoot in the future and research that, pick a shop like Wex or Park Camera or Wilkinson Cameras or some of the Old Favorites like Ffords of Greys of Westminster find a camera shop with Camera Enthusiasts not retail sales assistants on commission.

MPB.com is also a great way to buy Second hand I use MPB and Wex used all the time the mint cameras and OB cameras are good as new at a fraction of the new cost.

Steer clear of the internet you might think it’s cheap until you find out its fake or has no warranty in the UK !

 

One you have your kit the journey really starts…

 

 

 

Out Out !

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It’s been a difficult year so far, apart from a couple of days work at Peoples Ford Liverpool I have hardly been out with a camera and this bank holiday weekend was the first real chance to be out with my camera this year. I thank my good friends Rich and Elaine for the opportunity to get out and get some fresh air.

Not going in to many details but waiting for my Gallbladder to be removed and daily pain has taken its toll. Not only am I now in daily pain but every now and again when a stone decides to move in to a bile duct I have around 15 hours of intense pain and this can be at any time of day or night at at the most random and annoying times. Lucky for me I had a weekend with minimal issues and was able to get out with my camera, even thought I probably drove my friends mad moaning about my Health !

I have driven past the Marble Church for about 10 years and about 5 years ago I decided I would like to try and photography it. However it’s one of those places on a journey so you very rarely can be bothered to stop. I had a vision in my head of what I would like but as soon as we got there it started to rain. Great for cloud formation but a pain in the arse for rain on the lens !!  I also had a vision of what I wanted to shoot and to be honest the first walk around the Church I realized I was to close and needed to be further away I also had to deal with too much distortion up close and did not have a tilt shift lens.

After taking a few reference shots I decided to move back towards the road where I had seen this Church from and the closer I got to the road the vision I have had for so long started to fall in to place. The rain stopped and a little light hit the church and lit up the graveyard. So I quickly framed the church between the bushes  and grabbed a couple of frames. I was using one of my Fujifilm XT3 bodies and the amazing 10-24mm lens, I normally use this camera just for commercial work and only ever take out my X100F on most trips but decided I wanted something a little wider today and this used to be my default Landscape Lens.

I am quite happy with the shot and I guess it just goes to show all good things come to those that wait ! I think if I had stopped and tried to shoot this Church 5 years ago it would not have been the same !

After the Church we went to the woods, the weather forecast was supposed to be over cast all day but over the last few years I think these little showers have been quite hard to predict so the cover of the tree canopy in the woods was a good choice.

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I think you can tell my mood from my images and I have always noticed this. It’s been a crazy year this year and at times as now, my mood has been quite dark. The irony of going to the woods to shoot bluebells was not lost on me being a black and white shooter  ! I just loved this path and the darkness of the woods so wanted to capture the way the woods made me feel at the time and I think this image did just that.

The next image says a lot to me, I fell out of love with Landscape images because for me there was always something missing ! Without a human element or something living I found it quite hard to connect with some scenes. When I was composing this shot I loved the way the light was hitting the ferns in the foreground and lighting up the bluebells but really did struggle with the empty space on the left ! It was at that point Jake walked in to the scene a couple of frames later I had an image I was happy with.

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I had almost fallen out with Photography this year, but it’s surprising how a day out with great company and some fresh air can bring back the urge to make and create images again… I need to go OUT OUT more often !!!

You can find these images on my Instagram account @matt6t6

 

Colour ! Its a Van Thing !

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Fujifilm XT3 10-24mm Lee Filters 0.9 Soft Grad

As  most of you know I am a 99% black and white Photographer it’s always been my preference. I have never really liked Colour as I have always found it distracting and a very hard medium to grasp and as for trying to tell a story out on the street !

I also struggled with Colour in the early days of digital as the slightest noise really did mess with the colours on most DSLRs.

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Fujifilm XT3 16-55mm Lee Filters 0.9 Soft Grad

These days nearly the only time I shoot colour is for Client work and I really do forget just how amazing the modern Fujifilm Cameras are with such great Colours.

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Fujifilm XT3 16-55mm mm Lee Filters 0.9 Soft Grad

I have been shooting Vans and Trucks a while now and just love working with Peoples Ford Van Centre Liverpool. The team there are amazing and they have some amazing return customers who just love their Vans. I also have a Camper Van based on the Ford Transit Custom and built by Wellhouse so I am in love with the backbone of the UK.

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Fujifilm XT3 10-24mm Lee Filters 0.9 Soft Grad

Ford have been producing some amazing colours over the last few years as well as some stunning Vans. It’s through my involvement  with Peoples Ford that I have started to love shooting Vans in Colour ! I am not sure how long my love of Colour will last !!!

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Fujifilm XT3 10-24mm Lee Filters 0.9 Soft Grad

I guess it all depends on what Ford have up their sleeves !

One thing’s for sure I love the creative freedom I get working with these guys and I can’t wait to share with you all some of the images I have planned for the Future !

Until then here are a couple from this week’s shoot.

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Fujifilm XT3 10-24mm Lee Filters 0.9 Soft Grad
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Fujifilm XT3 10-24mm Lee Filters 0.9 Soft Grad

XT-3 Swap Over Complete

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Well it’s done after a few months of just not having time to swap over my Office Vlog set up, I decided today to make the Change !  I have been using the Canon 200D with the Rode Video Micro after my Rode Videomic Pro broke( The jack plug broke inside its case and I threw it away before I realised it had a 10 year warranty ! silly me)  So was using the Video Micro for quite a while, but I now have the amazing Video Mic Pro + and its ability to turn on when you turn the camera on is a real bonus over the Video Mic Pro, I can’t even tell you how many times I forgot to turn that mic on !

 

 

So this is my new set up its the amazing Fujifilm XT-3 with battery grip in a Smallrig Cage with added smallrig accessories to hold the Video Mic Pro + and the Atomos Ninja Blade.

I am using the Ninja Blade for forward facing monitor and also it doubles up for when I want to record the Camera Screen.

I am using the 16-55mm f/2.8 Fujifilm lens as its perfect for the.  The Rig does look a bit like frankenstein’s monster but it does a great job. I now have a Pair of Fujifilm XT-3’s and the are growing on me more and more every day.

The face and eye detect is really good and one of the only reasons I stuck to the Canon system for Video was the amazing Autofocus but I really did miss the lovely Fujifilm colours. Now I have the best of both Worlds the XT-3 really does deliver on Autofocus all they have to do now is sort the screen out and make one that flips round. For now I will use my Ninja Blade lets home in the Future the XT-4 will have a decent screen.

I can strip this rig down and use this camera in the field when needed but for now it’s going to live in the office to save me time on my YouTube videos.

So looking forward to making some amazing content in 2019.

I won’t write a complete list of parts but if you want to know more please ask.

 

 

Project Struggles !

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My main 2019 Project is People and Litter and so far I have not even got out with my Camera. I have a house to finish and get on the market so have been struggling for free time and this drives me nuts. But in a way it’s a good thing because it makes me think about the project more so that when I go out I will have more considered shots I hope !

I never expected it to be easy and I also want to try and Document the project on Youtube as well so and that’s a lot more difficult than I thought. It’s quite easy to sit behind your desk and make a short Vlog About your project but its its a whole new ballgame going out on the streets and trying to shoot video and stills and vlog without help.

If I was to do a Landscape project it’s not as bad you can plan your day and just keep setting your video camera up on a tripod and walking past it or stopping to do a piece to camera ! In a city by the time you set it up and walked away it might be gone !

I have given this lots of thought and even though I have quite a lot of gear My Gopro Hero 4 Silver and Black were not quite up to the Street challenge for speed of use and smooth footage and getting a GoPro Gimbal would have given me another great big piece of kit to carry about.  I also need to get some friends to help me so I need kit that is easy to use and smooth to pass to friends so I have just invested in a DJI Osmo pocket ! It’s a great bit of kit simple to use and hopefully will solve a few problems. My first impression is the video Quality is great sound as expected is not great but good enough to sync to so all good but it is really small. I hope to give it a test soon on a job and then out on the street to see how it performs.

This will be the first year I have ever tried to shoot a project and make a series of YouTube vlogs about it ! It’s a steep learning curve but hopefully I will get there. I have hopefully got the kit I need now so all I need is free time !

I think we all go through the same struggles and it makes us who we are as Jane always says its character building !

 

Youtube Video for this blog. 

 

 

 

 

 

Projects Group

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Hi Guys and welcome to 2019 Happy New Year to you all, this year I am going to spend more time blogging and more time on YouTube it’s going to be a great big learning curve and my video editing skills leave a lot to be desired but I will do my best and lear as I go.

My first new venture is Project Sunday and this is on YouTube and Flickr please feel free to subscribe to my youtube and request to join the Flickr Group some people have struggled with the Flickr group request but you request to join then send a message to admin to let you in its invite only but we can invite you if you have not messaged us.

It’s basically a series of weekly challenges and you post you images in Flickr and your links under my youtube videos it came about from my Learning to see workshops where people wanted a little more to motivate them throughout the year. Its for fun and sharing but who knows where it will end up.

Hopefully with a meet up at some point.

We are up to week 3 and if you join this week you might be in time for week 3 if not start week 4 on Saturday coming.

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Week one Shoot an Egg 
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Week 2 shoot someone in great light.
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Week 3 Self Portrait.

I was shocked at the 70 people that have signed up so far and the amount of people who take part every week, its a great little group on Flickr and I can’t wait to see what they all come up with over the next 12 months. Really impressed by the effort some of the people have put in.