Photography Blog: Knowledge & Inspiration For Photographers

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Photography Brief #4 – Earphones Product Shoot

For our fourth ‘Working to a brief’ assignment, members have been tasked with creating a product shot of a pair of earphones*. All the details you need to complete the brief can be found here, as well as in the accompanying live show.

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How to use flash triggers to photograph moving objects

Capturing movement photography can be a time consuming and frustrating process, and freezing that perfect moment often requires split second timing. So how do we capture those decisive moments accurately and precisely? I’m going to share my top tips for photographing motion and explore what wireless flash triggers we can use to get the perfect timing for our shots.

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Are LED photography lights better than traditional studio flash lights?

LED lighting has come a long way in recent years and grown in popularity, so why do most professional photographers, including myself, still prefer studio flash (strobe) lighting? To help you understand the two kinds of lighting systems and, more importantly, which is better I’m going to explain the differences between them, the pros and cons of each, and where each is best applied.

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December 2020 ‘Interior Spaces’ Competition Winners

After working through all of the entries for our final competition of the year, we have finally decided the winner of the Loupedeck CT! The theme for this month’s competition ‘Interior Spaces’ was quite fitting, considering the year we’ve had, and there were a handful of images that clearly stood out. However, there can only be one winner…

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7 Food photography mistakes you should avoid

If you’re looking to improve your food photography, you’ve probably seen the same old advice repeated in every article out there. So rather than re-explaining what you should be doing, I’m going to explain what not to do if you want to get more professional results. To help you take better food photographs, I’ve summarised the key points to keep in mind when photographing food so that you can avoid these common problems.

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Photography hack: Macro photography with extension tubes

If you truly want to enter the magnified world of macro photography, you’ve probably been told you need a dedicated macro lens. But these specialist lenses can cost a fair bit, and if macro photography is something you do just for the enjoyment, you probably don’t want to be paying hundreds of dollars for a lens you’ll only use occasionally. The good news is that there is a cheaper alternative: extension tubes.

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How Photoshop could be making you a less creative photographer

It can be easy, when creating an image, to think “I’ll just fix it in Photoshop afterwards”, but that type of mindset may actually be having a negative impact on your photography. I’m not saying I don’t use or don’t approve of Photoshop. I simply prefer to solve problems throughout the shoot, and there are multiple advantages to this approach.

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How to create a plain black background for any type of photography

Black backgrounds can look very effective in photography, and they’re a popular choice for everything from portrait photography to products. Although a plain black background may look easy to achieve, there are actually quite a few things to consider if you want to get the best results, so I’ve put together a guide to help you, including tips for what background to use, what lighting is best, and where to position your subject.

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Pro tips to avoid the most common mistakes in product photography

I’ve been doing professional product photography for around 20 years now, and as an educator I’m familiar with many of the most common mistakes photographers make when photographing products. I’m going to share my top product photography tips to help you avoid these common mistakes and achieve high-end professional results.

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Understanding metering & which metering modes to use when

Metering refers to the process where the camera evaluates the amount of reflected light in a scene and calculates what it thinks to be the correct exposure. Different camera makes and models have different metering modes, so I’ve explained the most common ones, how they work and when to use them.

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Parabolic softbox vs octabox lighting comparison

Photography can be an expensive hobby, and the last thing you want is to waste your money on something that’s little more than a marketing gimmick. One of the greatest marketing gimmicks with see at the moment is parabolic softboxes, and in a recent Youtube video I did a side-by-side comparison with a popular portrait lighting modifier — a large octabox — to test the results for myself. Read on to discover…

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How to photograph fireworks like a pro

Bonfire night, the Fourth of July, New Year’s Eve — there’s always a few nights a year when we have a chance to photograph these impressive pyrotechnic displays. But photographing fireworks can be somewhat tricky. What shutter speed do you use? Where, and how, do you focus in the dark? And what equipment do you need? I answer all of this below, as well as share my top tips to help you learn how to photograph fireworks like a pro.

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Case study: Speedlite product photography

Shooting professional product photography using speedlites isn’t necessarily the easiest way to go about it but it can be done, as I showed in a recent Youtube video where I photographed a clear glass bottle using just three speedlites.

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The value of hiring a photography assistant

What many don’t realise is that the benefit of hiring a photographer’s assistant can far outweigh the costs. If you’re serious about improving your work and growing your photography business, hiring an assistant is one of the smartest investments you can make, and I’m going to explain why.

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Members’ Picture Critique – Food Photography

Food photography will be the focus for this live critique show, as Karl will be reviewing food images created by members. These constructive sessions offer an opportunity to explore what works in an image and what doesn’t, and see how attention to detail and simple fixes can really enhance the final result. The deadline for submissions is Friday 20th November at 13:00 GMT.

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September 2020 ‘Balance’ Competition Winners

The theme for our September 2020 competition – ‘Balance’ – meant it was fairly open to interpretation, which resulted in a wide variety of images being submitted, from portraits to landscapes, still life images to product shots. The winning images displayed a combination of…

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A guide to creating white backgrounds for product photography

Creating a plain white background for a product shot or e-commerce shoot sounds simple, and when you know how it is! Whether you’re shooting packshot photography for an e-commerce website or are looking to refine your technique for commercial photography projects, I’m going to explain the important considerations and necessary equipment…

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Hasselblad Webinar – Interview With Karl Taylor

Karl will be interviewed by Hasselblad in live webinar on Wednesday 16th September. He will be talking about his career and inspirations and sharing some of his favourite images. The event is free to join and you can sign up on Hasselblad’s website.

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Photography Brief #3 – Blueberry Muffins

For our third ‘Working to a brief’ challenge, members have been tasked with creating a breakfast scene image of an arrangement of blueberry muffins. All the details you need to complete the brief can be found here, as well as in the accompanying live show.

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Case study: Natural light product photography

When you apply the knowledge of light, you can achieve professional photography results with little to no equipment. In this article I explain how I managed to create a close replica of a previous wine bottle studio shot using nothing more than natural light from a window, some diffusion material, a reflector, and two iPhones.

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Why image quality is not just about megapixels

When it comes to image quality, there is a big misconception that if you want better quality, you need more megapixels. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) it isn’t that straightforward. To better understand image quality, considering the number of megapixels alone isn’t enough. You also need to look at the size and type of sensor, understand how images are formed, how light is focused onto the sensor, the impact of lens choice and quality, and consider the pixel size to get the full picture.

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Mistakes to avoid when using studio lighting

I’ve been a photography educator for more than 12 years now, so I’ve seen pretty much everything when it comes to common mistakes relating to first-time studio lighting users. From relying on a light meter to shying away from understanding the physics of light, here are nine mistakes you should try to avoid when using studio flash or strobe lighting.

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How to light & photograph cars

Car photography is notoriously difficult and often requires some high-level professional equipment. I’ve photographed plenty of motorbikes before, but car photos require much more space and specialist equipment. Because space isn’t an issue in my studio, I’ve been wanting to fit a proper floating panel for car photography for a couple of years now…

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What you need to know about working to a photography brief

For many professional photographers, working to a brief is nothing new. But for those just starting their professional journey, the concept of working to a brief might seem a little overwhelming and intimidating. What is a brief? What should you expect when receiving a brief? How do you plan and do you need to pre-shoot and test? All of these are important considerations…

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10 Photography ideas you can do with one light

You don’t always need a lot of equipment to get creative when it comes to photography. Even if you’re stuck at home (as many of us are at the moment), there are plenty of things you can do to test your skills and develop your creativity using just one light. I’ve put together a list of 10 of our most popular photography classes that you can try yourself at home.

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Why a lack of photography equipment shouldn’t be an excuse

I hear a lot of negativity from photographers claiming not to have enough equipment to get good results. This is particularly relevant to product photography, but it is not necessarily true. With the right knowledge, you can get top-end, professional-quality results using just one light. Yes, you might be able to get even better results with two, three, or even four lights, but what you have to understand, and what I repeatedly find myself having to explain, is that it’s not about what equipment you have, but rather how you use that equipment.

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Common portrait photography mistakes to avoid

When it comes to photography, knowing what you should be doing is great, but knowing what to avoid can be incredibly useful too. To help you quickly improve your photography, I’ve summarised the key points to keep in mind when shooting portraits and explained how to avoid the most common problems.

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A detailed guide to creative still life photography

Abstract images of fruit; colourful collections of books; styled sets of stationery… If you’re looking to get creative with your photography and make the ordinary seem extraordinary, then still life photography is probably for you. One of the best things about still life photography is that you can get creative and test your photography skills using almost anything you have laying around the studio or your house. You also don’t need very much equipment. And if that’s not enough to persuade you, still life images can also be a great way to make money.

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Everything you need to know about umbrella lighting

In any photography studio — amateur and professional alike — you’ll probably find at least one or two umbrellas. These lightweight and affordable modifiers can be used to achieve a number of different results, which is part of the reason they’re so widely used.

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How to photograph flying food images

Levitating burgers, suspended salads and exploding tea — the craze of flying food images is taking over the food photography market. But how are these exciting images created? As with most studio shoots, these images can be divided into four distinct stages: pre-visualisation, preparation, lighting and shooting. Each of these stages is crucial if you’re to get the best result possible.