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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Spending 3 Days on Brighton Pier

For my latest masters assignments I had to pick one place to photograph. The aim was to capture the feel of the place. I chose Brighton Pier spending 3 days trying to capture the atmosphere. I went into the shoot knowing I wanted to photograph the rides, people and landscape.

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Shooting on Monsoon 35mm Film

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This week I shot a roll of Monsoon 35mm film. The aim of this film is to create saturated blue tones replicating the feel of post-monsoon rain…

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Overall i’m not sure how I feel about this 35mm film, I really like the blue tones but the images look really soft which is not normally the effect I go for. But I think it’s only fair to try it out in a different environment so next week I’m going to head to the seven sisters to photograph landscapes.

Vienna Street Photography

During the summer I got explore the stunning city of Vienna. The streets were filled with well-dressed men and women against the backdrop of beautiful buildings. Here are my favourite street shots I took during my time there:

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48 Hours in Vienna: Day Two

I was extremely excited to wake up in the hotel knowing I have another full day in Vienna. I feel like we only saw a glimpse of what the city has to offer yesterday.

The Prater is a famous fairground featuring the huge ferris wheel. I love both rides and heights so it ticked all the boxes for me. It was an absolutely baking hot day so after a ride on the wheel we headed to the log flume. The funfair was free to get in and all the rides were extremely affordable. And best of all unlike theme parks I’ve been too, the longest queuing time was 5 minutes!

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View from the top of the wheel

After all this excitement we headed for the considerably calmer setting of St.Stephens Cathedral.  Although not religious myself, the architecture of the huge building built back in 1160! Entry was free of charge and there was plenty of seats for visitors to sit and reflect although it was so busy it would’ve been hard to zone out.

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As we were taking in the stunning interior of the church a huge thunderstorm hit. So we decided to take cover in the best place possible- the shops. After a few new outfits (and lunch) was bought we planned our next move- walking through the bustling streets back to the free film festival where the opera Carmen was being shown. With Ice cream in hand and the stars shining above we enjoyed our last night in the city.

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Hiding from the rain in H&M

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Locals and tourists mixing at the Music Film Festival

Overall I really enjoyed Vienna, two days is nowhere enough time to see everything with the sheer number of galleries and museums almost overwhelming. I really want to return to see more and experience the famous opera (currently on a summer break). The  atmosphere of the city feels older than close cities such as Budapest which has a much younger feel. But if you want a mixture of culture, a good climate and kind locals then Vienna is well worth a visit.

 

Snapshots of a Robot Camera

For me, having fun with photography is what it’s all about, and this robot camera provides it in bucket loads.

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It’s super light, fits in your pocket and has 3 lenses. The viewfinder is non-existent as is the ability to frame a shot. But this camera is more about capturing moments with the hope that one of the 3 images is usable.

I got given this camera as a birthday present a couple of years ago. As I’m often working on commercial or personal projects this camera isn’t a viable option. But after so long collecting dust on my camera shelf surrounded by my beloved Olympus MJU II and Pentax 1000 I decided to take it with me everywhere I went for a week…

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Mixing up Your Portraits

It’s bound to happen, no matter how much you love photography you’ll hit a creative wall, a stumbling block, a rut. Sometimes the best way is to get out of it is to take break from photography- this can feel counterintuitive but it can work. OR the alternative is to keep photographing but you’ve got to mix it up and experiment.

Here, using the same model, I’ll give you a few tips and tricks I like to use when shooting portraits on location:

1.Use Depth

You should give the same amount of thought to the subjects location as much as their pose. Adding depth is a great way to make an image more interesting. My favourite way to do this is either leaving a gap between the subject and the background or by using  varied depth of field.

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2.Take a Step Back

Close up portraits can be a great way of capturing your subjects expression, mood and persona. But sometimes taking a step back and letting your subject get consumed by the location can result in a less-staged, more natural feeling portrait.

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By getting the model to stand on the middle stone it meant I could capture his full reflection in the water.

3. A Portrait Doesn’t Need to Include a Face

The aim of a portrait is often to capture the personality of the subject. You can photograph all kinds of things that reflect a persons personality, job, interests. Here I chose to photograph the models tattoo’s as they contribute to his identity.

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4.Use the Light (natural or artificial) 

If you’re ever feeling uninspired look to your nearest light source. You don’t have to use it- block it out, cast shadows or shoot night photography. But it does act as a restriction which often triggers creative ideas and solutions.

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5.Embrace a Lack of Ideas!

It never lasts for ever and some of the best ideas come after stepping back and taking a break from photography. The portrait below came from me wanting to photograph what it feels like to have a creative block…

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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

Where to Shoot Street Photography in London

London has long been one of my favourite places to shoot street photography. No matter the time of year the streets are always filled with opportunities to photograph people. In this post I’m going to break down my favourite spots in London.

First up: Trafalgar Square. The square is home to both the National Gallery and Nelsons Column. This provides a great space to photograph people interacting with the architecture and environment around them.
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Leicester Square/China Town

Located next to each other, Leicester Square and China Town provide plenty of colour. If you find yourself overwhelmed by the amount of people and finding it hard to spot scenes to photograph, try and focus on shooting one thing such as dogs, the colour blue, people wearing hats etc. Whilst I was here I focused on photographing couples..

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Leading you from Oxford street to Leicester square is Regent Street. It’s a wide road filled with shops such as Apple and Hamleys. If you get there during golden hour the light hits just right through the buildings to create some striking portrait opportunities.

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Outside of Buckingham Palace you’ll find the full spectrum of emotions from vloggers and excited tourists to stressed parents and tired children..

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Street photography takes lot of patience and you have to be prepared for people to watch you taking pictures. But its a great way to see a city and when you take your shoes off after a long day walking theres nothing better than flicking through the photos you shot and coming across your new favourite photo.

More Street Photography

Camden  Prague Golden Hour  How to Use the Background in Street Photography

Dougie Wallace When the Subject Spots You  East London

Lisbon Travel Diary: The Oldest Bookshop in the World!

Our second full day here in Lisbon started with a free walking tour I had booked. I had done them in Prague and Bratislava a few weeks ago and really enjoyed them. Learning about the history of the places we stood really helped me feel more connected to the city and understand the city in the context of Europe.

The meeting point was in the Chiado neighbourhood- named after Antonio Ribeiro, a 19th century continually drunk poet with a high-pitched voice (Chiado means squeaky).

Antonio Ribeiro Statue

The tour was led by Luis, a small but energetic 25-year old local who has lived in Mozambique and all around Europe before moving back to Lisbon to lead walking tours.

The tour was 3 hours long, but they really did fly by. Lisbon has enough interesting history to entertain for days from numerous invasions, revolutions and finding Brazil to how they stayed neutral in the Second World War by selling tungsten to the Nazi’s and lending land to the allies.

The tour also took us pass a bookshop, but not any old bookshop. The oldest bookshop in the world! (or universe as Luis put it).

On every travel website or book you look in the Santa Justa elevator is recommend as a much do. Yet both our tour guide and hotel receptionist said that it is overrated- yes it provides great views at the top but it’s not worth paying €5 to queue for half an hour to then go in a lift for a few seconds. So instead Luis led us to a staircase- after climbing for a few minutes we were right at the top of the elevator! No queues and no charge! The panoramic views gives you a real sense into how the streets of Lisbon were designed and you can pick out all the different, individual neighbourhoods.

After the tour ended at 2pm we grabbed some lunch and our first Portuguese custard tarts. As it was sunny we decided to catch a boat across the river to explore the city of Almada and walk up to Christ Rei (a 25m high statue of Christ which sits at the top of a hill). With my embarrassing seasickness in tow (it was a 5 minute river crossing) we started our walk. The Hill was deceptively huge and took a sweaty 45 minutes to reach the top. But boy was it worth it, although not religious myself it’s hard not to be impressed with the sheer size and architecture.

It costs €5 Euro’s to get a lift to the top, and if you’ve made it this far you might as well pay. Once you get to the top you are faced with a breathtaking 360 view.

After taking in the view at all angles and gawping at the ginormous statue ( which is based on Christ the Redeemer in Rio) we headed back down and started on the long walk home…