5 Accessories Under $30 That’ll Up Your Photography Game

Monopod
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Great for mixing up the angles and getting to those hard to reach places.  

Colour Filters 

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A brilliant way to make landscape photography more interesting and a bit of fun to use. You can use in front of the lens of flash, a great technique to try when shooting double exposures.

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Camera 

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I got this second hand Sony camera off ebay for £19.80. The viewfinder is broken but unlike my Sony A7RII I can throw this camera around and experiment without having to worry about breaking it.

Remote Shutter 
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Nowadays these come in different forms. You can get manual/digital shutters and even apps. If you’re shooting self portraits this is a great way to have more control in when and how many images you shoot. And if you’re into moving image, remote shutters provide another option to create stop motion or time lapses without having to keep your finger on the shutter.

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Mirror 

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If you enjoy shooting portraits in or out the studio a mirror can be a useful tool and make the viewer look twice. If your in a creative rut a mirror can provide a great way to start approaching your images differently.

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Barcelona Day Two: Walking my socks off

Alex, who I’m travelling with, has family on the outskirts of Barcelona so she headed off early this morning on the coach to visit them for the day.  Leaving me with a metro ticket, a map and a day to explore the more ‘touristy’ side of Barcelona.

First stop, Sagrada Familia. After trying to memorise the map in my head (don’t ask me why) the Sagrada Familia poking out about the buildings was a welcome sight. Its an incredibly impressive piece of architecture and like nothing I’ve ever seen before. I didn’t stay too long as I knew there was a lot more I wanted to see but I am really glad I visited, it’s a must see for a reason.

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According to google maps the walk between the Sagrada Familia and Park Guell, my next stop, was 32 minutes away. What it didn’t tell me, and I should’ve worked out from the geography of Barcelona, that this walk was all up a steep hill. That being said this was one of my favourite parts of the day as I explored some of the backstreets and enjoyed chatting to locals in a sweet cafe half way up the hill.

After arriving at Park Guell, slightly hot and out of breath, I spotted a queue for tickets. Being British I saw my time to shine and stood in line. But as I got to the front I was told theres a limited capacity in the park and the next available tickets were for 5pm (it was only 1pm).

But the women on the information desk was extremely helpful and told me that a large portion of the Park (around 2/3) is actually free to walk around at anytime. So I thought the best compromise was walking around the free parts rather than waiting around for 4 hours- Im glad I did. The wildlife I spotted along the beautiful paths was worth the uphill walk alone. At random parts along the paths you could get a glimpse of the Barcelona skyline. And at one view point there was an Elvis impersonator singing Take That songs- all a bit surreal.

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I spent a couple of hours in the park wandering around, buying snacks and eating snacks. By this time I had just about recovered from my earlier hike so I decided to embark on another uphill walk, this time to the Carmel Bunkers which according to many travel blogs offer the best panoramic views across the city.

From the park it was a 30 minute hike, but halfway up I started spotting graffiti sprayed by the locals. It started off as ‘go home stupid tourists’ and got progressively more aggressive the further up the hill you go. After researching, I found the locals are against the Carmel Bunkers new found popularity as tourists often drop rubbish and the prices in local cafes and shops have been hiked up.  I made the decision to carry on as it’s a weekday so it wasn’t very busy and of course took all rubbish home with me.

After a steep walk and a set of steps I reached the top. The views were stunning and only a handful of people were at the summit. I sat for about 30 minutes taking it all in as the top offers a 360 degree view. It you visit, it’s a great idea to take food and drink with you as it is a de-hydrating hike to the top, but please respect locals and take any rubbish home with you.

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The view was pretty spectacular

With Alex heading back from visiting her family I jumped on the metro back to the apartment. But before I did I checked the pedometer on my phone- I had already walked 15km!

After a (well-earned) nap we headed out for dinner which provided more great views! We headed to a shopping centre which has been built in an old bullring. And if you take the escalators to the top you get to a 360 degree balcony with restaurants based in the centre. Here we had Paella and some more tapas (of course) and watched the sun set out the window.

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The view from the restaurant

After a day of walking and eating we headed back to the apartment for an early night and to plan for tomorrow. Already we have planned to visit a castle, a photography exhibition, an art museum and ride on a cable car..

Utilising Artificial Light in Night Photography

Aside from my tasks I undertake as part of my Masters degree I like to keep up with personal projects. This week I set out to photograph low light portraits both inside and out. I have found shooting personal projects keeps me motivated.

For this set of images I was shooting on my Sony A7RII and cracked the ISO up to make up for the lack of natural light..
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I sat the model near the window so I could use the light coming in from the street

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When I was outside I was always looking for artificial like which I could utilise such as the blue lights of the ambulance, park lights and street lamps.

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Also exactly two years ago today I graduated! Its been a crazy two years with lots of photography ups and downs but just scrolling through my blog I can see how my photography has developed. It’s exciting to think about what I might be creating this time next year..

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Portraits at the Barbican

I have now been studying for my Masters in Photography for over a month- and I can’t believe how quick its gone! So I thought I’d share with you some of the work I have produced so far, starting with the very task: portraits.

I chose the Barbican as the backdrop as its one of my favourite places in the whole of London. It was an incredibly overcast day so the lack of light made it challenging.

I had to select 5 and these were my picks..

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Shooting Dungeness in Black & White

Dungeness is one of my favourite places in England. It’s not exactly what you would call a summer getaway. Its main attraction is two huge power stations but it also has a beautiful lighthouse which first opened in 1904.

It’s often referred to as Englands only Desert although technically speaking.. it’s a huge shingle beach owned by the energy company EDF.

I also knew I was going to desaturate the images during post-production, I just feel like black and white suits the atmosphere of Dungeness better..

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Lines of a City Part III

I first shot ‘lines of city’ in Canterbury and then again in a Sussex village. Looking for patterns and repetition is a great way to take in your surroundings and as I am back in  Brighton for a few months before I start my MA in London I thought it’d be a great way to look at my hometown from a new perspective.

If you’re in a creative rut or struggling to find something to photograph try this out, it’s a great excuse to get out with your camera and enjoy exploring.

Other images in this series:

Canterbury 

Sussex

Portraits: How to Utilise your Location!

To take a great portrait you don’t need the latest high-tech equipment or a studio- although this can help. All you need is a camera, a model and the time to experiment.

I took all these shots within 1km of my flat using my Pentax K1000 35mm camera (around £100/$139).

Light

When shooting outdoors always look for where the sun is in the sky- light is a vital factor in creating a striking portrait. Golden hour  is a great time to shoot photography outside but if the light is strong it creates lots of interesting options..

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With great light comes shadows, always be on the look out for unusual shadows to add some depth to the portrait

BUT if you live in England or somewhere similar, the chances are if you’re waiting for sun you’ll never take a single photo. So if the light is dull look for an interesting composition or location to detract from the lack of light.

 

Background

Think about your background wether it adds to the image or detracts the focus. Graffiti can be a great way to add some colour to your image. If you just want the subject to be in focus make sure they’re standing at least one step away from the background to allow some depth in your image.

 

 

Framing your subject

Use what have around you; trees, building, graffiti etc. For example, in the image below by looking up at the building it not only frames the image it makes the subject more imposing. Flowers are also a great way to add colour and fill the frame.

 

Have fun and experiment

Photography is all about enjoyment and learning from the mishaps. When shooting portraits on film I would always recommend shooting different angles of the same shot.

 

Thankfully I took two shots in this location, despite the frame counter telling me different, the first image just happened to be the first of the roll.