ISSUE 90 13 July-16 Aug 2021 photographynews.co.uk
Big test: Panasonic Lumix GH5 II / The perfect stills/video hybrid?
Every day’s a school day / Book the right course for you
Prize word search / Win a Samsung 256GB microSDmemory card
A classic look for Nikon’s latest The Z fc is a brand-new 21-megapixel mirrorless, housed in a retro body, inspired by the design of an iconic film camera
THE NIKON Z fc is an APS-C format mirrorless camera with an exterior design dating back to the Nikon FM2 filmSLR, which came out in 1982. Key handling points include three large control dials to adjust ISO, shutter speed and exposure compensation, while its cosmetics feature a balance of black and silver, a round EVF eyepiece and a pentaprismprofile. Despite a retro look, the Z fc is thoroughly modern inside. The sensor is a 20.9-megapixel APS-C format (Nikon DX), working in combination with an Expeed 6 image processor to deliver low-noise, very detailed images with a realistic colour rendition.
There’s an impressively wide native ISO range, too – 100 to 51,200, with expansion up to 204,800 – and it can shoot at 11fps. Autofocus is handled by a 209-point system that covers 87% of the image area, with the usual broad selection of methods, including pinpoint, single point AF and dynamic area AF. People- and animal-detection AF are in wide-area L and auto-area AF settings. The provision of an i button and i menumeans other key settings can be easily selected and adjusted, just like any current camera. Framing versatility is helped by a three-inch, vari-angle touchmonitor
that can face forwards, so perfect for selfies and low/high viewpoint shots. The Z fc is the first camera in the Z family to feature this type of monitor. Alongside the Z fc, Nikon also announced two new lenses: the ZDX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR Silver Edition and the Z 28mm f/2.8 SE. The former is a cosmetic match for the Z fc and priced at £329. Compact and lightweight are the keywords for this newwide-angle to standard zoom, measuring just 32mmwhen retracted and weighing only 135g, making it a perfect walkabout lens. Built-in Nikon VR gives a 4.5EV benefit and autofocus is silent.
The Z 28mm f/2.8 SE is a special- edition prime, featuring amodern optical design with classic looks to match the Z fc. It gives a 42mm focal length in the 35mm format on the Z fc – and is compatible with full- frame Z cameras, too. Other features include focusing down to 19cm, a weight of only 160g, silent AF and 52mm filter size. No price details yet. Sales of these newNikon products begin 28 July. nikon.co.uk
› Z fc body £899 › Z 28mm f/2.8 SE kit £1129 › ZDX 16-50mmf/3.5-6.3kit £1039 › ZDX 16-50mmf/3.5-6.3 andZ DX50-250mmf/4.5-6.3kit £1249 › Z fcVlogger kit £1169
The shows must go on It’s all systems go for The Photography Show and The Video Show, taking place this September
People are back on the agenda It has been a tough time for people photography, but things are finally looking up DURING THE PANDEMIC, photographers enjoyed macro, tabletop and family photography, but ‘people’ in the wider sense
OVER 150 EXHIBITORS will be at The Photography Show and The Video Show, at Birmingham NEC on 18-21 September. Brands confirmed as exhibitors include Canon, Fujifilm, Nikon, Olympus and Sony – very ably supported by Epson, Hähnel, Sigma, Tamron and plenty more. With numerous significant products introduced in the past 18
months, this is the first chance for image creators to get their hands on the latest kit. If you like what you see, there’s the opportunity – stocks permitting – to buy from one of the supporting retailers at the show. New kit and retail therapy are important aspects of both events, but there’s also the chance to be inspired. We’ll have more news next issue.
were off the agenda. That’s changing. In this issue of PN , we focus on people, with techniques and kit advice for better wedding and portrait
Weddings & Portrait Special
Meanwhile, tickets can be booked now. To conform to current event booking guidelines, visitors are asked to specify which day they will be attending and a time of arrival. photographyshow.com
pictures, plus ideas on how to make the most of them with our buyers’ guide to suppliers and services. It all starts on page 14. photographynews.co.uk
2 Photography News | Issue 90
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The RF 14-35mm f/4L IS USM is Canon’s widest lens yet for its mirrorless system Canon goes very wide
THE INGENUITY AND resourcefulness of the photo industry never ceases to amaze me. You only have to look at two big stories in this issue: the Nikon Z fc ( featured on the front cover) and the Kase Double GND filter. The Nikon Z fc looks to be a fine camera, but – honestly – it’s nothing exceptional in terms of the technology packed within. The retro look, though, is fascinating. While it is thoroughly modern inside, the exterior was inspired by the Nikon FM2 – a camera that came out in 1982. I had to double- check my sums, but that’s nearly four decades ago, and I actually bought one. Makes me feel very old. It’s actually a camera I still have, because I loved it so much. It’s mechanical, therefore very reliable, and great to use because it is fully manual, so totally engaging. It was quiet for an SLR, too – until you fitted the MD-11 motor drive that is, when you got a click-whirr to beat all click-whirrs. I’ve no idea of Nikon’s roadmap, but given that it’s probably not best pleased with the current sales of its mirrorless cameras, I’d imagine it has high expectations for the Z fc. Literally, as I was writing up the Nikon story, a package came through my letterbox from Kase Filters. Inside was the Double GND 0.9S&H, which intrigued me so much, I took it out for a test straight away – read my thoughts on page 33. Spoiler alert: I think it’s a really clever idea, and it works. One filter to replace two, or – if you buy both Double GNDs – two filters instead
EDITOR’S LETTER WILLCHEUNG
of four. Of course, while that’s a saving from the photographer’s perspective, Kase is potentially depriving itself of a few sales, too, so I wonder if it’s an idea other filter brands will adapt. I’ve managed to get out a few times with the camera and just had a very busy weekend. An afternoon in a fox hide yielded 500 very average shots; then I went on an organised portrait shoot and managed another load of average pictures. Next, it was Kew Gardens and a further 500 that will probably end up gathering dust on a hard drive. Oh, I rounded off the weekend with 500-ish shots of planes. We were driving on a Heathrow perimeter road when one came right over and touched down. My partner lives in the area, so this was an everyday event to her, but I got very excited. I parked up and spent an hour racking up the shutter actuation count of my Nikon as planes approached to land. It was awesome. So, lots of average shots, but after 18 months of relative inactivity with the camera, I was delighted just to be creating again. I hope your shutter finger has also been busy – and with a better success rate. Until next month, stay safe.
COMPLETING CANON’S RF trinity of f/4 constant aperture zooms, the RF 14-35mm f/4L IS USM is the widest offering to date for its mirrorless system. Users can now cover a focal length range from 14mm up to 200mm by investing in Canon’s trio of compact and lightweight f/4 lenses. The RF 14-35mm f/4L IS USM weighs 540g, has a Nano USM motor for fast, smooth and very quiet AF, and accepts 77mm filters, like the other two f/4 zooms. Minimum focusing is just 20cm, so you can get in close for dynamic compositions. Optically, its advanced construction features three aspherical and three UD elements (one element is both) to ensure critical quality from edge to edge. Exceptional image clarity in tricky lighting is helped by Canon’s
own Subwavelength Structure Coating (SWC) and Air Sphere Coating (ASC) to avoid flare and ghosting, and maintain contrast. Autofocus is handled by Canon’s Nano USM drive
THENTHEREWERETHREE Canon’s trinity of EOS RF f/4 zooms is complete, with the arrival of the 14-35mm
for fast and very quiet focusing. Meanwhile, quality for stills and video is also assisted by the integral IS, which has a 5.5EV benefit, increasing to 7EV when used on the IBIS-equipped Canon EOS R5/R6. The RF 14-35mm f/4L IS USM is priced at £1749. canon.co.uk
What’s inside 03 News The latest announcements from the world of imaging 08 Word search Solve our puzzle, with a Samsung 256GB microSD card up for grabs, plus the chance to win a Vanguard spotting scope 10 Club news With the next season looming large, clubs have one eye on the future, while still keeping members involved in the here and now 14 Wedding & portrait special Expert tips on how to make the most of your social photography this summer, with kit advice, techniques and tricks for awesome
28 Big test: Panasonic Lumix GH5 II Panasonic’s latest Micro Four Thirds arrival is a gentle, but worthwhile refresh of its hugely popular stills/video hybrid. Discover everything you need to know about this well-built camera with enhanced video capabilities 33 First tests l RiBL Solis 20 & 100 bags l Kase Double GND 0.9S&H l Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4 ASPH Power OIS l Vanguard VEO HD 80A spotting scope l Fujifilm XF27mm f/2.8 R WR l Samyang AF 12mm f/2 E
compositions. Plus, a comprehensive buyers’ guide of essential wedding and portrait services 22 Make the Switch: Jeremy Willcocks Jeremy started exploring the world of insect photography during last year’s lockdown, but things really took off when he bought the Fujifilm XF80mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR macro lens, to pair with his X-T3 body 24 Every day is a school day The market for courses, training and photo experiences is massive, but some are better than others. Join our expert guide, Brian Lloyd Duckett, for his advice on how to avoid the pitfalls of booking the wrong course
Issue 90 | Photography News 3
Improve your imaging skills this summer In-person training
returns at The Photographic Academy
The Photographic Academy – previously the PermaJet Print Academy – offered online training during the pandemic, but is now opening up for in-house workshops. “We are so pleased to announce that The Photographic Academy can once again welcome clients back, in person, to our premises in Stratford-Upon-Avon,” says academy head, Louise Hill. “The Academy is the heart of print and photography training workshops in the UK, delivering the knowledge needed to take your images to the next level. Join us and learn about the entire process, suiting every ability.”
Get a nice freebie when you buy a Tamron lens Go with Tamron this summer and claim a free lens or binoculars
mask, have their temperature taken and sit socially distanced. Food and refreshments will be pre-packaged. Full-day courses start from this July, so check out what’s on offer by visiting the website. thephotographicacademy.co.uk
Buy a Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD or a 28- 200mm f/2.8-5.6 Di III RXD lens before 31 August 2021 from an authorised UK or Ireland Tamron
Precautions will ensure a safe learning experience. In-person courses are limited to nine clients, while everyone must wear a face Lowepro adds to its green range
dealer, and you can claim a free gift. If you are tempted by the Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD, which costs
Made from 75% recycled fabrics, the latest PhotoSport III backpacks are ideal for hikers
£1249, you can claim a Tamron 35mm f/2.8 Di III OSD M1:2 lens worth £239. And if you go for the 28-200mm f/2.8-5.6 Di III RXD, priced £799, you get a bonus pair of Bushnell H2O 8x42 binoculars worth £129. The Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD is a telezoom for full-frame Sony E-mount cameras, and its fast aperture is constant through the zoom range. The VXD motor means AF is whisper-quiet and very responsive. Speed is also a quality of the 28-200mm f/2.8-5.6 Di III RXD superzoom, the first lens of its type to have an f/2.8 aperture at the 28mm setting. The mechanics are simple, and claims are made using the online form on the Tamron promotions web page. Your free lens or binoculars will be sent directly from Tamron distributors, Transcontinenta. transcontinenta.co.uk/promotions
Bag expert Lowepro has unveiled its third generation of PhotoSport backpacks – products marking the brand’s move towards sustainability through its green line label. The lightweight, weather-resistant PhotoSport BP 15L AW III and BP 24L AW III are available in two colours, grey and blue, priced at £164.95 and £209.95, respectively. The unladen BP 15L AW III weighs 1.1kg and measures 23x18x44cm; it’s ideal for APS-C format SLR and mirrorless cameras, with extra
lenses kept in the removable GearUp inserts. For full-frame shooters, or APS-C owners with fast aperture lenses, the best option is the BP 24L AW III. It weighs 1.5kg and measures 27x22x50cm. Both bags use the ActivZone harness system for carrying comfort – adjustable shoulder straps and a wide, padded waist-belt provide even weight distribution. A dedicated hydration pocket (not included) and All Weather AW Cover protect from rain, snow and dust. lowepro.com
Photography News is published 11 times a year by Bright Publishing Ltd, Bright House, 82 High Street, Sawston, Cambridge CB22 3HJ. No part of this magazine can be used without prior written permission of Bright Publishing Ltd. Photography News is a registered trademark of Bright Publishing Ltd. The advertisements published in Photography News that have been written, designed or produced by employees of Bright Publishing Ltd remain the copyright of Bright Publishing Ltd and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. While Bright Publishing makes every effort to ensure accuracy, it can’t be guaranteed. Street pricing at the time of writing is quoted for products.
Editorial team Editorial director Roger Payne Editor Will Cheung FRPS 01223 499469 email@example.com Chief sub editor Alex Bell Sub editors Elisha Young, Matthew Winney Contributing editor Kingsley Singleton
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Hear ye, hear ye The latest PN pod awaits your listening pleasure
Colour management experts launch a line of complementary accessories Datacolor expands
New accessories to streamline use of colour management devices from Datacolor include a Spyder Tripod (price £12.99), Spyder Tripod Pro (£22.99) and Spyder Shelf (£12.99). Two new Spyder money-saving kits are here, too. The SpyderX Create Kit costs £239 and contains the
SpyderX Pro, ColorReader EZ, Spyder Tripod, Spyder Shelf and USB-C cable. For location shoots that need colour- accurate results, there’s the SpyderX Mobile Pro Kit at £209. It comprises a SpyderX Pro, Spyder Cube, Spyder Tripod Pro and USB-C cable. spyderx.datacolor.com
Episode 27 is now available, featuring special guest Chris Coe, founder of the Travel Photographer of the Year – one of the world’s most prestigious photo contests. TPOTY is now open for entries, and Chris shares a few winning tips, so check out his chat with PN editor Will Cheung. They reflect on what has been a tough year for everyone during the pandemic. Plus, the PN team advise on what kit to take on holiday, discuss flower photography and answer listener queries as well. If you have any questions of your own, please email the team on firstname.lastname@example.org. photographynews.co.uk/ podcast-library
Kingsley Singleton, Contributing Editor
Will Cheung, Editor
Roger Payne, Editorial Director
Shimoda looking for backing Bag specialist Shimoda Designs launched a Kickstarter campaign for its Explore v2
The Shimoda Explore v2 positions itself as the ultimate camera bag for travel and landscape photographers. It’s designed to handle serious alpine adventures, with the convenience of a travel backpack, but is equally practical in the city. Key features include a harness for air circulation throughout the rear panel, shoulder straps and belt, padded pockets for 100mm filters and hand baggage compatibility for all three sizes. This adds to the many existing Shimoda features – rear and side access, a height-adjustable harness and modular core unit. The Explore v2 is available in 25L, 30L and 35L. If you want to back this project, the closing date is 30 July 2021. Pledges start at $215 for an Explore v2 30L (shell only), up to $300 or more for an Explore v2 35L Large Kit. Estimated delivery dates are from this September onwards. bit.ly/3jNkqwG
Image creators using CFexpress B cards will be happy to know that Lexar’s latest card reader offers blazingly fast transfer speeds. The Lexar Professional CFexpress Type B USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 Reader is available this month, priced at £51.99, and comes with a 30cm 2-in-1 USB-C to USB-A cable and USB-C to USB-C cable. lexar.com Read it quick with Lexar
Issue 90 | Photography News 7
A Samsung memory card! WIN! Win a closer view with Vanguard
Y X C O M P O S E D Y A T R A M S H P R F S W E H I D E B J Q A X M P N E E R C S I L J A O B A C K S I D E W Y C A T T D K O I X Q K S P N S E L Z X I E S O F U U T A V M P M I D K O D A B N U I O F W B M X N M C C V U L Z G Q H I I I X R S A Q Z E X M G D U H E T N E S Y U U M A I L L G N I T L I T B G A A P V O Q L H O J H M Y X A N Q I C F A W R H B V E T C E J B O O R Y B D T N E Q U E N Capture life’s magical moments across all devices with the Samsung Evo Plus 256GB microSDXC memory card with SD adapter, offering read speeds of up to 100MB/s and write speeds of up to 90MB/s. Samsung’s latest cards are also ultra-reliable and water, temperature, X-ray and magnet proof, so shooting in the most challenging conditions isn’t an issue. We have one Samsung Evo Plus 256GB microSDXC card with SD adapter, worth £51.99, for the eagle-eyed winner. Complete the word search below, and you’ll find one word in the list that’s not in the grid. Email us at email@example.com with that word in the subject box by 15 August. The correct answer to PN 88’s word search was ‘plate’, and the Samsung Evo Plus 256GB card was won by A Alvin, St Ives. • samsung.com/uk/memory-cards
Enter this month’s free contest and you could be the proud owner of a Vanguard 15-45x spotting scope
FRESH OFF THE shelves, the Vanguard VEO HD 60A is a lightweight, but powerful spotting scope that’s fog- and waterproof. With a body made from a composite carbon material that’s lighter and stronger than aluminium, this is a super-portable scope – it weighs just 1205g. The front objective is 60mm, so it pulls in plenty of light, and its 15-45x magnification range means you get a great view of distant subjects. Full multi-coating, a retractable sunshield, and Arca Swiss tripod foot round off a list of features you can’t ignore. The VEO HD 60A has a guide price of £299.99 – and the prize package comes with the VEO PA-65, a £49.99 universal digiscoping adapter that will take smartphones up to 90mm. Bluetooth remote control is included, and the unit’s neat design makes it easy to align the camera lens to the spotting scope eyepiece.
To be in with a chance of winning this exciting Vanguard prize package, all you have to do is answer this: what is the scope’s
body made from? A) Aluminium alloy B) Carbon fibre C) Composite carbon
To enter, go to photographynews.co.uk and follow the link. The closing date for entries is 14 August 2021 – the first correct answer drawn at random after that date will take home the Vanguard VEO HD 60A spotting scope, together with the VEO PA-65 adapter. The winner of the Vanguard VEO 3T+ 264CB tripod featured in PN issue 88 was A Bridgestock. Thank you to
everyone who entered. vanguardworld.co.uk
FREE TO ENTER
Eye up Eye for the Light is a new adventure for Travel Photographer of the Year (TPOTY)
TPOTY has launched a new membership area and online magazine called Eye for the Light. With features, interviews and views from photographers, judges and travellers, Eye for the Light will be an invaluable resource for photographers and travellers alike. Three subscription levels are available – starting at £6 per month – with benefits like free entry into the TPOTY Awards, free webinars, and discounts off goodies from TPOTY partners: Fujifilm, Genesis Imaging, Lee Filters and Photo Iconic.
TPOTY founder, Chris Coe, said: “We’re so excited to be launching Eye for the Light, taking the informal community feel we have evolved over the years to a new level. It delves into the heart and soul of travel and photography, looking beyond the technical, into craft and creativity.” Chris joins editor Will Cheung on episode 27 of The PN Podcast to chat about TPOTY and its new service, and offers some winning tips. Listen now via the PN website. photographynews.co.uk tpoty.com
BACKSIDE COMPOSED DENOISE DUST
ILLUMINATED MOUNT MOUSE NORMAL
OBJECT PIXEL SCOPE SCREEN
SMART TILTING WAY WIRED
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SUCCESS + EXHIBITIONS + PERSONAL ACHIEVEMENTS + OUTINGS News Camera club
Photofolio is a competition for Midlands clubs. This year, due to the pandemic, it was limited to digital images only Naturewin for StaffordPS
THREE CLASSES MADE up this year’s Midlands Photofolio: colour, mono and nature, with 15 entries per club in each class. The big winners were Stafford PS, with its nature photographers coming first out of 44 clubs. Our congratulations go to the following members: Anna Warrington, who received a selectors’ medal for ‘Jay squabble no. 2’ (shown left), and
Joe Banton, who received the MCPF medal for ‘Grass snake on a lake’. The following were highly commended: Tessa Bramall, Steve Banner and Anna Warrington – and these members had their images accepted: Graham Argent, Noel Bennett, Brian Dicks, Barry Greasley and Tony Skidmore. The society meets at the Northfield Centre, Stafford. staffordphotosociety.org.uk
Club chairman, Martin Leech, says: “Earlier this year we had a meeting dedicated to discussing what members would like to see at the club for our next season. After a fairly long discussion and a vote, the overwhelming opinion was that we should keep holding our meetings on Zoom from September 2021 to May 2022 – this will give us another year generating a wider variety of interest in our programme. We also hope to have the opportunity for the occasional meet-up face to face. “Before our new season starts, we are continuing with fortnightly Zoom ‘get-togethers’, on Fridays, starting at 8pm.” Should you wish to join Clacton CC online, or discover more about its programme, email firstname.lastname@example.org clactoncameraclub.co.uk
Chichester CC’s annual exhibition goes online with a record-breaking 60 participating photographers. It comes in three parts, each with some 200 images covering every popular subject area. These include the exhibition judge’s choices in various genres, and examples of work from the season’s competition winners. The exhibition launches on 7 August – go to the Chichester CC website to enjoy it. chichestercameraclub.org.uk Chichester’s online show
Success for Potters Bar PS Potters Bar & District PS has won its second online photo battle during Covid-19 lockdowns. The inter-club Potters Bar Trophy The judge was Peter Prosser APAGB fromHarrow CC, and he delivered a well-observed, constructive critique, giving Potters Bar’s images nothing
(PB Trophy) for projected images took place via Zoom. Four local clubs entered the annual competition, submitting eight images each. The Zoom event was well attended by participating club members, and a wide variety of images were shown throughout the competition.
less than 17 out of a maximum 20. One picture by Graham Coldrick (shown above) achieved the maximum score. The club hopes to return to normal meetings in the Alexander Wilding Suite at Wyllyotts Centre, Darkes Lane, Potters Bar, from 13 September. pottersbarphotosoc.org.uk
Thanet CC The club’s year ended on a high, with a very successful exhibition at the York Street Gallery in Ramsgate. Forty-eight prints were displayed, showcasing a great variety of members’ work.
The next issue Send your contribution to clubnews@photography- news.co.uk with the text document and image (1500 pixels across) attached. Deadline for the next issue ISSUE 91: out from 17 August, deadline for contributions: 6 August.
The club’s newest member, Chris West, comments: “I only recently joined Thanet CC, but the group has been so friendly. The exhibition was a great experience – and just having the prints in the gallery was exciting for me. To have sold some prints is the icing on the cake, and has been a great confidence booster for my work.” isleofthanetphotographicsociety.co.uk
EYES DOWN Gallery owner, Mike Samson, and club chairman, Laura Drury, at the show
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MAKEYOUR IMAGE A CENTREPIECE WhiteWall’s HD Metal Print service creates images with unparalleled colour vibrancy and a stunning finish
Go metallic & take your images to the next level Stable, sturdy and with unrivalled colour fidelity, there’s nothing like a WhiteWall HDMetal Print
THEWHITEWALL HDMetal Print meets the highest standards. This premiumprint of your photographs on aluminium is particularly stable and sturdy, making it ideal for protected outdoor areas, but it also works well in the kitchen or bathroom. With a lightweight design, the HD Metal Print is also suitable for large formats and boasts impressively intense colour images. Thanks to ultra-modern process technology, the colours combine permanently with the coating of the aluminium, giving the image a fascinating gloss finish. The process involves printing the mirror-inverted image of the photo on to a transfer paper using fine art inkjet inks. Using heat and pressure, the ink is steamed into the special coating of 1mm-thin aluminium. This allows the materials to combine and form a durable image surface. Depending on the desired effect, you can choose between glossy and brushed aluminium. The glossy aluminium finish works particularly well with vibrant colours, while the brushed version allows the metal surface to shine through. Another special feature is the precise customisation options
PICK A SIZE, ANY SIZE Print sizes from 9x9cm to 150x100cm are available from WhiteWall’s HD Metal Print service
available –WhiteWall offers the HD Metal Print in the format of your choice, from 9x9cm up to 150x100cm. For more impact, a frame gives an optical finish to your photographs on metal. Over 100 models of frames are available fromWhiteWall’s in-house frame workshop in various styles, materials and colours, and the hanging system is already integrated into the frame for both portrait and landscape formats. HDMetal Prints also make unique pictures for outdoors. Thanks to the
HDMetal Print’s special coating, the images are protected from damage and contamination, able to be cleaned quickly and easily. This also means these durable pictures can be used in the kitchen and bathroom, creating design visual highlights in your home. It’s perfectly acceptable to be bold with colour in the kitchen, as countertops are usually kept simple. The kitchen is also a place of inspiration and getting together, meaning it’s an environment ideally suited to colourful experiments.
“The glossy aluminiumfinishworks particularlywell with vibrant colours”
Issue 90 | Photography News 13
Making the leap into charging for people photography leaves a lot to think about. This in-depth guide will illustrate how to make it work for you Face facts
T HE PANDEMIC HAS had a huge impact on social photography, but the demand for wedding and portrait photography will always be there and, as sure as day follows night, it will bounce back. This month, Photography News turns its spotlight on social photography, If you’re planning to focus on portraits, it helps to have a style that’s distinctive and you enjoy. Sticking to this will make you more attractive to clients, and while you can bend your skills to shoot stuff outside your interest, consistently doing what you like best will make it more satisfying creatively. Fortunately, you’re likely already well on the way to finding that identity. It could be a visual style you favour, like making exposures that are light and airy, or deep and dramatic. It might be the subjects you choose, like specialising in kids and families, or even pets. Or it could be a way of working, maybe shooting with a documentary- style or more formal approach. Whatever your chosen line, practise as much as possible, refine your skills, and fill your portfolio with coherent, high-quality images – that’s one of the aspects that will get you seen and hired. Work on your style Our thanks to Emma Healey, for her people images featured here. Enjoy more of her work at the following site: www. emmahealeyphotography.com
addressing all the key products and support services that image makers need to succeed in this challenging field. From core technique to vital kit, we’ll cover great accessories, marketing and output, including prints and albums. So, if you’re an aspiring wedding or portrait photographer, dive right in.
Start shooting lifestyle or environmental
These styles are growing more and more popular, with many families no longer keen on posed shots in a studio or formal location, preferring you to photograph them on a day out – like playing on the beach or walking in the woods. It’s especially fashionable for clients to take advantage of seasonal conditions, such as spring flowers or autumn colours.
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What kit do I need?
Cameras for people pictures
Any camera can shoot portraits, but certain functions on recent models have made things easier. These include subject recognition autofocus, silent shooting, and improved noise performance at high ISOs. You might think that face- and eye-detection modes aren’t vital for portraiture – people have been shooting great portraits for years without them – and you’d be right. But you’d be ignoring the benefits, too. Face and eye AF let you work more freely and frame from more interesting angles, for instance at overhead
height or waist level, knowing the camera can do its job of picking out the subject. As for silent shooting using an electronic shutter (although most do not sync with flash), this will free you up to work in more sensitive situations, like wedding ceremonies or candid moments. It also really helps when dealing with a subject who is camera shy, as they won’t contort their features quite as much. Finally, being able
Tips for traditional and formal portraits
to work at higher ISO settings and still get
We could fill a book with portrait tips, but there are general things to look out for. Formal portraits are posed and more likely to use artificial light – so consider lighting equipment, hiring studio space, and making the most of accessories, like backgrounds and other props. Again, if you can develop a distinctive look, for instance using a particular
lighting set-up, all the better. Work on lighting and posing skills, identifying the most flattering ways to set up and shoot. It’s worth considering teaming up with a makeup artist or stylist as part of a portrait package. Think about a day of sessions, offering clients one-hour shoots at a set fee, with a range of picture packages to follow.
clean, noise-free images allows you to create much more readily in low light.
Picking portrait lenses
When you’re serious about taking better portraits, it’s time to think about dedicated portrait lenses. Sure,
sensors, that changes to around 50mm to 90mm or 35mm to 70mm, respectively. These optics should not only give an undistorted view, but keep you close enough to connect with your subject. Remember that while zoom lenses allow more versatility in framing, they won’t have the very fast maximum apertures that portrait photographers often favour. That said, a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens offers great options for weddings and lifestyle. Primes, while faster, leave you stuck with specific framing – if you’re going down that route, maybe use two bodies: one with a 50mm f/1.4 lens and another with a 135mm f/1.8, for changing from loose to tight framing.
good people pictures are possible on any lens, but certain optics give a look that’s more flattering. Your lens should suit the way you shoot, but for most purposes portrait photographers need lenses with distortion-free rendering of the subject, especially when focusing up close to them. You will want a maximum aperture fast enough to blur out any distractions in the background. On full-frame bodies, portrait lenses tend to be around 70mm to 135mm in focal length, while on cameras with APS-C or Micro Four Thirds-type
Or go down the environmental route and produce more character-driven images, focusing on the subject’s work or hobbies. Here, you’re likely to be creating in their space, so try to concentrate on their tools or surroundings, as much as themselves. Either way, this more free-form approach offers lots of challenges, as well as opportunities. You’re not restricted by the confines of a studio and can use the environment more creatively, but shoots will likely be dependent on the weather and at the mercy of the light on any given day. To make it easier, find places local to you that offer reliable and picturesque backgrounds, and where you’ll be able to work without interruption. Hone your location- shooting skills and look for kit that’s more appropriate. This includes fast lenses, reflectors and location flash.
How to win at weddings
Weddings are big business, and with the world reopening and delayed nuptials piling up, there’s a lot of work around. As a keen photographer, you may have photographed loved ones’ events, but if you’re taking it on professionally, there’s plenty to consider. First, you’ll want your technique to be on point. Weddings are not a place to learn new camera skills, and though the
experience can be creative, it’s just as much about covering bases and making sure your clients get everything they want, as it is expressing yourself. The biggest challenges with wedding photography are away from day itself. Get adequate insurance and give lots of thought to marketing, visiting wedding fairs to show off your shots, and building a bespoke website.
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What else do I need?
Get serious about printing and presentation
Social portraiture as a business is as much about how you deliver the results, as it is shooting. And whether it’s portrait sessions or weddings, many pros offer scalable packages – starting with a basic rate for the shoot and a few prints, followed by the chance to buy photos in a range of formats. Albums and photo books are especially popular, and depending on your provider, you can
let the client create the book from the full range of photos – or work with them to choose images and design the layout. Large framed prints and canvases are a very popular route for clients, and the only restriction in size is the resolution of images you upload to the available gallery – so make sure you include the largest versions possible. Take a look at companies like WhiteWall.
Finding the perfect light
No matter what the style, lighting can be one of the most important aspects of portraiture. It’s the intention that really sets the tone and mood of a portrait. To light with freedom, you’ll want versatile illumination, as well as a selection of lighting modifiers that let you shape output just as you want. Matching your kit to the task at hand is important. For mobility, speedlights like Hähnel’s Modus 600RT II are still the go-to option for many pros, on or off camera, and help in really simple and effective ways – perhaps as a touch of fill light when shooting against the sun. But if you have a little more time, or want to create more complex lighting arrangements, consider lightweight location flashes like the Profoto B10.
If working on location, say for environmental portraits or informal pictures in a client’s home, it’s sometimes better to use LED lights, placing them in the scene in a way that adds to the natural light already there. What’s more, subjects become used to them, more so than flash, which can help when seeking more candid or lifestyle looks. In the studio, where portability and power are lesser issues, you want lights that offer excellent colour consistency, so that sets of images all have the same healthy-looking skin tones. If starting out, it can be a good idea to invest in a kit, like the Elinchrom ELC 125/500 To Go Set, which comes with all you need to create the best studio portraits.
An online presence
Most photographers already have a personal website, but if you’re going into business, it’s important to make a bespoke business page to give a clear message about the type of photography and services you offer. The same goes for Facebook or Instagram. Even if you have accounts already, make a new presence that’s dedicated to the services you sell, places to meet and chat to prospective clients, and sharing your love for what you do. Keep your online offering clear and direct – include your most recent work, information about yourself, and testimonials from happy customers,
not to mention plain, simple pricing.
Your website doesn’t need to offer e-commerce support – like the chance to buy prints and books straight from your online platform – but it certainly helps, and will keep you free to work, attracting new customers while fulfilment is handled by a third party. Many websites offer these built- in services. One example is Amazing Internet’s Portfolio Series, which PN readers voted their top choice for the last three years running – or Pixpa, which has a great range of packages and features to suit working photographers.
Accessories tomake your portraits sing
Away from core photographic kit like cameras, lenses and lights, it’s often the less glamorous accessories that deliver best results. For instance, when working on location, picking the right bag or carry case is important. So, for a reportage-style wedding shoot, you may only want a reporter-style shoulder bag like a Think Tank Retrospective 10 V2.0 – but for more elaborate set-ups, a roller case such as a Think Tank Airport Advantage XT can get your gear to where it needs to be without strain. Consider camera straps, too. If you are working all day, comfort is important, and upgrading from the supplied strap will pay off for the neck and shoulders. A good option is 5-in-1 reflectors – offering four different surfaces to
create fill light, plus a diffuser panel to soften direct sun – which can really take portrait lighting to the next level. Try to have one to hand, like Pixapro’s 100x150cm 5-in-1 Reflector with Grip Handles. And for studio sessions, think about both simple and textured backgrounds, like Lastolite’s collapsible models – as simple changes in colour and tone can be instrumental to success. The Gossen Digipro F2 light meter is extremely handy when working with flash, and takes so much of the guesswork out of exposure. But whether on location or in the studio, non-photographic kit makes all the difference, too. Keep clients comfortable with refreshments, or even play music to liven up the experience. These small touches matter.
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Issue 90 | Photography News 17
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Getgearedup forpeople From photo accessories to services, this useful spread is all you need to set up professional-level shoots for weddings and portraits
WhiteWall Hardcover Photo Books whitewall.com/uk
WhiteWall’s Hardcover range is the company’s bestseller, thanks to its high-quality products and wide range of options. Books can be designed using a simple online interface, or by uploading a pre-made PDF if preferred. Four papers are available: 170gsm Silk Matte;
250gsm Premium Silk Matte; 250gsm Premium Gloss; and 170gsm Premium Matte Uncoated. Books include a range of 24 to 252 pages – and are available in six formats, including A5, A4 and A3 landscape, A4 portrait and 20cm or 30cm square. Pages are glued
to the spine with elastic adhesive, and promised to remain pristine. Covers are fully customisable and come in several finishes, while a range of text is available on the cover and inside pages. To give the book a classy finish, they also include end papers.
Hähnel Modus 600RT kit
Benro Tortoise 35C tripod with GX35 ball head
Whether you’re adding light to posed portraits, or freezing dancers at a wedding party, a speedlight is vital. Hähnel’s Modus 600RT kit is a rapid, full-featured and affordable flashgun, running off a powerful Hähnel Extreme lithium- ion battery. It has a guide number of 60 (ISO 100, 200mm), a recycle time of just 1.5secs at full power, and will give up to 600 shots at its maximum output, or over 1000 at 1/2 power. The flash has a built-in 2.4GHz wireless receiver/ transmitter, and a Viper TTL trigger is included so you can fire it from up to 100m, or use it to control other flashes for more complex set-ups. It can be used manually, or via TTL metering, and has a stroboscopic mode, too. Available in Canon, Nikon, Fujifilm, Micro Four Thirds and Sony fits.
You might think tripods have got little to do with kitting yourself out for portrait and wedding clients, but you would be wrong. Tripods are all about sharpness and compositional finesse, so if you’re lining up a group shot, or framing from a dramatic angle, it makes sense to secure your camera. And there are plenty of creative portrait effects that rely on keeping the camera still, such as multiple exposures and composites. What’s more, when working all day on a shoot, it’s somewhere you can rest the camera between bursts of activity. Benro’s Tortoise 35C tripod has a carbon fibre build,
Vanguard VEO Select 33 messenger bag
keeping it light, and it packs down small – perfect if you’re on the move. Its five-section legs use ergonomic twist- lock collars to make opening and closing the
Shooting portraits at weddings and events, you need to work fast and don’t want to be weighed down, so a messenger style bag is a great choice. The Vanguard VEO Select 33 has a neat and tidy look, but still packs in a decent amount of kit and provides great protection. It will take a DSLR or large mirrorless body, as well as two or three additional lenses, and a speedlight. Alternatively, its generous 33x13x24cm internal dimensions
mean there’s enough space to fit two medium-sized camera bodies with lenses attached. With an eye on working photographers, the VEO Select 33 also has internal pockets for smaller items like a light meter, spare batteries and your all-important business cards. Light on the shoulder, it weighs only 1120g, has a non-slip padded shoulder strap, and a rain cover included in case you get caught in the elements.
legs quick and easy when you’re on the clock. It supports loads of up to 15kg – and comes with a versatile GX35 ball head.
Bob Books Lay-Flat photo books
Bob Books lay-flat photo books are made using genuine photographic paper, so they combine a traditional photographic feel with a very modern range of options, and ease of creation. Available in sizes from 19x15cm, up to 38x29cm, and in a variety of portrait, landscape and square formats, the lay-flat design means images can be
printed very large across a spread, with no worries about losing detail in the fold or gutter. There are three paper types, so choose them to suit the images you are printing. For instance, Lustre photographic has vibrant colours, while Matte photographic reflects less light for a more artistic effect. There’s also Gloss
photographic for a shiny, lively finish. The actual type of paper selected defines the maximum number of pages included, from 26 up to 178 for the larger books. Creation is via downloaded software – you can either design a photo book using the provided templates, or upload a pre-made PDF of your own.
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Think Tank Airport Advantage XT
The Airport Advantage XT is a large roller case that’s perfect for a day’s portrait or wedding shoot. Being wheeled, the kit can really be packed in and dipped into when required. It swallows all the contents you need, with internal dimensions of 33.8x45.7x19.1cm, fitting two gripped DSLRs with lenses attached, plus five to eight
additional lenses and further accessories. Modular and shaped dividers make it easy to order your equipment, and the compartment has thick protection all around. Other storage includes two zipped mesh pockets on the main compartment’s door, and a large pouch on the front – plus a small zip pocket on the top, a stretchy
side pocket and a strap for adding a tripod or light stands. The bag uses large YKK RC Fuse zips, which run very smoothly without snagging, and as you’d expect from a bag like this, the main compartment is lockable. The great build quality extends to the wheels, which
give a smooth run as you trundle it from job to job.
From £5 a month
GoPhotoBook focuses on delivering one amazing product – an ultra high-quality hard cover book, in A4 landscape format with silk-finished paper, perfect for high-resolution photos. Design is easy and fast from a PC or Mac right in the browser, so there’s no need to download any software, and there’s plenty of instructions on how to do it. Just drag images on to pages and re-order them with clear and simple tools, and you can add text for captions. Upload photos and work with them immediately, while full-resolution files upload in the background. Priced £20.50 for 20 double-sided pages, and 45p per page after that (up to a maximum of 48 sheets), these books come with free tracked delivery and can be sent as gifts. Delivery is, on average, within five to seven working days – very fast, considering the book is produced specifically for each person with their own photos.
The Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers
From £5 a month
The Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers (SWPP) is one of the world’s largest organisations for aspiring professionals and experts shooting social portraiture. Join up and receive a range of benefits to help in your career and grow your business. These include a comprehensive selection of educational seminars by inspirational speakers, who’ve mastered the industry you want to be a part of; meaningful qualifications and distinctions;
site, where prospective clients come to seek the photographer for them. Membership starts from £5 a month for a digital subscription, rising through enthusiast at £8 monthly, to professional at £10, which covers the full range of benefits. Additionally, there are retired, student, corporate and magazine-only rates. Plus, of course, there’s the SWPP annual convention, where members and the photographic trade gather. It is a popular event, with seminars, workshops and a trade show, the latest gear on view, and live demonstrations from those in the know. The next one runs from 16-19 March 2022.
If you’re serious about selling your skills, you’re going to need a great website. Pixpa is a website-building service, offering three levels of package to meet different needs. There’s the basic Personal site from £5 a month, which has plenty of useful features; Expert from £7 a month; and Business at £11 a month. The higher levels offer progressively more powerful marketing and e-commerce tools – and greater amounts of online storage, with up to 50GB in the Business model. Making a site is easy, with tons of excellent customisable templates to choose from, and results give a very professional sheen to your portfolio. Features include client galleries and an online store, where customers can choose from thousands of products – including photo books and large prints, with payment direct to your PayPal account.
a mentoring programme; competitions; roadshows; a bi-monthly magazine; trade
promotions and discounts; and having your business listed on the
From £42, excluding shipping
Storybooks by Talking Print
If you’re looking to offer clients something out of the ordinary, take a look at Storybooks by Talking Print. These products mix traditional book design with digital photos, videos, music and audio messages to form a unique, memorable package – and because they’re physical and beautifully designed, your clients can carry them around to show friends and family. Its the perfect fit for weddings, as well as family, pet and newborn shoots.
The Storybooks are completely bespoke – either fill in a form and let Talking Print do the rest, or upload stills and movies, choosing design and text via the online platform. You can even order blank books and do it all at home. The Storybooks have a seven-inch LCD screen and store up to 2GB of stills and video, so there’s plenty of scope for sharing your work. There’s a rechargeable battery with a two-hour life, and a USB lead for recharging and transferring content.
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