Photography News issue 28

Photography News Issue 28 absolutephoto.com

Technique 32

5. Spring clean your camera says Kingsley Singleton

“OK, it’s not the most exciting of resolutions, but if you spend as much time Hoovering black specks off your images as I do, why not start 2016 by giving your camera a well-earned service, beginning with the sensor? Dirt and dust are a big problem for many photographers, especially when shooting

landscapes – the commonplace small apertures makes any blobs a lot more obvious, especially in the sky. And while most cameras now come with a sensor cleaning system built in, it’s rare that running a clean will shake everything off. The longer you go without cleaning them the harder they can be to remove, as well. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to clean your sensor and the process is simpler than you’d initially think. I’ve been trying to get around to using an Eyelead SCK-1 sensor and lens cleaning stick (from ukhighland. co.uk) on my D800 and D700 for ages. Pressed lightly against the sensor, the SCK-1 uses an adhesive rubber head that picks up the dirt, then you simply dab it on sticky paper to remove. Apparently this is the same system as professional services use, and the stick works on Canon, Nikon, Panasonic, Pentax, Olympus, Leica, Fujifilm and Samsung cameras – though Sony users require a different version.“

Say goodbye to sensor dirt

6. Take a trip

7. Let there be light!

Adding artificial light can improve almost any shot. Portraits, still lifes, architectural shots, interiors… even landscapes can benefit from a spot of well-placed illumination, particularly when you’re shooting in low light. The thing is, it’s not something that you’ll realise unless you actually try it and see the extra dimension and polish the lighting can bring. So why not make 2016 the year of learning to light? You can get started and produce amazing results with just an accessory flashgun, like the Metz 44 AF-1 at around £120. Used manually or with TTL metering on or off the camera, the benefits will be immediately obvious. If you need something more powerful for studio use, how about treating yourself to the Bowens Gemini 500R twin-head kit? At £960, it’s a top-quality package and comes with all you need to improve your portraiture; two Gemini 500R heads, a radio trigger and receiver, a 90cm umbrella, a 60x80cm softbox, two lighting stands, a trolley case and more. You can also get some amazing effects with continuous LED lighting. These clusters of bright lights can be used to add some kick to regular shots or moved around during long exposures to literally paint the subject light, and are also especially useful for video work. A great LED to try is the Rotolight Neo, at around £300. Easily fitted to lighting stands, used in your camera’s hotshoe or freehand, the Neo’s powerful LEDs are highly adjustable, both in terms of brightness and colour, and thanks to the removable front cover, diffusers and coloured filters are easily fitted.

and make the most of your time with your camera. That really is the best way to get the shots that you want. But if you want the added bonus of a guide who’ll show you the best spots to shoot and pass on valuable tuition at the same time, consider booking a trip with a photo tour company. From UK-based excursions to trips overseas, and the heat of African safaris to ice-clad landscape trips, there are packages out there to sort all tastes and budgets.

New Year is often a time for planning holidays, and while a change of scene is always inspiring, trips with the family can lead to frustration; commitments mean you won’t have all the time you want or need for shooting. But there is a better way – why not take yourself on a dedicated photo holiday this year? Of course, this is something you can organise on your own, so if there’s a beauty spot or a city you’ve been longing to photograph, treat yourself to a few days away

8. Get your pictures online

Build a better website in 2016

There’s no doubt that the way we consume photography has changed – these days the main place we see images is online, whether it’s via mobile devices like phones and tablets, a desktop PC or Internet TV. So if your pictures aren’t on the web, you stand very little chance of people seeing them. Therefore, why not make 2016 the year you get your pictures online by building a new website (or refreshing the one you already have)? Although the process can seem complicated, there are many websites that make building your site easy; you don’t need to know a thing about coding. Zenfolio.com, which specialises in websites for photographers and won TIPA’s Best Photo Service in 2015, offers a simple Theme Designer allowing you to slot pictures into a ready made format or customise the layout yourself. Storage is unlimited so you don’t have to worry about how many pictures you’re putting online, and perhaps best of all, your Zenfolio site can be easily formatted to fit on phone and tablet screens. Social media links and easy to use blogging tools are included, too.

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