Sunday, 3 June 2012


Okay, so we've been out for an hour or two merrily snapping away and we've got a camera full of award winning photographs we hope.

We get home and us digital shooters don't have to contain our excitement for too long. The moment of satisfaction or despair has arrived and we upload our work to the PC or laptop.

Several things become apparent at this stage. Firstly we realise there are a couple of hundred images to plough through and we are going to be kept 'amused' for hours.

Then we discover that the pic of the day that looked great on the camera's LCD is over-exposed,out of focus or simply doesn't work. The temptation we have now is to either spend ages tinkering with it or use it anyway and hope that others will see it as the great image you once hoped it was. Simple fact is that the first option will waste time and the second will put people off looking at our other work so neither option will be of any benefit to us. Delete the files and move on to the next shot.

My workflow method is as follows :

1. Run a slideshow of everything captured

Sometimes I'll let it run straight through but often I'll hover over the pause button to delete any obvious failures as I go along and other times I'll wait until the end and go back and delete them.

2. Repeat 1. as often as necessary

I will tend to repeat this exercise a few times, gradually weeding out all those that can't be salvaged or which I have better versions of if I've taken a series of pictures of the same subject.

3. Pick out the best

By now I've seen every image several times and know which ones are likely to be best when processed.

4. Process the RAW file

It's always best to work from the RAW file if you've got one - it contains the most information. Since I always shoot in colour and most (but not all) of my shots work best in black and white I'll make any exposure adjustments required and convert to monotone.

5. Fine Tuning

I have an old version of Photoshop and intend to get a copy of Lightroom in the future but for now I find the manufacturer's software adequate for my needs. In my case this is Olympus Viewer 2. Now, if I'm working in monotone, I'll try each of the B&W Filters to see how they look but usually these don't have much effect. Then it's just a case of tinkering. I'll probably start with a Gamma adjustment to bring out the mid-tones if they need it and then it's brightness, contrast and lightness and that's about me done. Of course, if it's a colour image, the saturation might require a tweak.

6. Zoom In and Check

As you go along you'll want to keep checking that you're not losing highlights to the dark side or blowing out areas you want to keep so I find it useful to zoom to full size and keep an eye on things. We may also want to try to adjust for any softness in the focus and my final stage, and only if the image is quite soft, is to use the Unsharp Mask to sharpen things up a bit.

7. Reviewing & Cropping

I don't subscribe to that rubbish about only ever using the image as it came out of the camera and neither should you - photographers have always trimmed and tweaked things in the darkroom; even and especially the greats. In our initial weeding out stage we should have removed any images where people or objects in the foreground or background have obviously spoilt the view of our main subject. Now we can look again to see how the shot might be improved. Check left, right, top and bottom and identify any obvious distractions such as people, cars or trees that will take the eye away from what you want to be the main focal point. At the same time, though, look for things that might create a natural frame such as pillars, window frames, flora etc. Now crop it if it needs it and leave it if it doesn't, being mindful not to take too much away or you'll only ever be able to print 6x4s. Personally, if I was going to remove more than half of the original image I'd probably just pass on that one altogether and would simply delete it at the first stage. Now, save the JPEG.

8. Save RAWs and Back Up

Once I've completed all the processing above and any cropping I leave my jpegs in the original folder and move all the remaining RAW files to a separate folder and back them up to an external hard drive.

Now I'm ready to release my pictures to flickr or 500px or wherever for critique and hope others get as much pleasure out of looking at them as I got from taking them and creating the final image.

I managed to get out a couple of times this week and here are a few of the shots that I might hand, or have handed, over to the critics. I'm reasonably satisfied with them but we all have different tastes and they might bomb under peer review. We'll see.

Monday, 28 May 2012


I love to shoot portraits and record activity on the streets but there aren't always crowds and hustle and bustle where I live so, having arrived early last Friday, I decided that I needed to find something else to keep me amused.
Summer has finally arrived in the UK and I had clear blue skies and strong sunshine to light the day.

Living on the East coast, the sun was shining directly on the seafront buildings and they were extremely photogenic so I decided to expand my focus and start to record the manufactured environment in the town, with or without visible humans and also to look for interesting details round and about. These will be new projects to run alongside my candid portraits.

Here are a few of the keepers from the day which are best viewed in large format.....

Walking Great Yarmouth Promenade

Who's Watching Who?


A Holiday Couple


Great Yarmouth Seafront Vista

Where Did It All Go Wrong?

Great Yarmouth Atlantis Tower

The Empi..

Man In Fedora

Three Angels

Man With A Bag

On Hire

Thursday, 24 May 2012


Yesterday was the first time that the Olympus 12mm f2.0 ZUIKO Digital ED Micro Four Thirds (24mm equivalent) lens had been used on the street.

After shooting with the 45mm for the past few weeks it requires a complete change in style to use. Instead of the few yards between myself and the subject for a full length candid portrait I realised that you have to get really close with the 12mm. With the angle of view being so wide you can almost stand next to the subject to take the shot.

Of course, the advantage here is that so much of the periphery is in view that it's not entirely necessary to point the camera direct at an individual and the depth of field, even with a fast aperture, ensures plenty of the scene is in focus.

I found myself taking plenty of pictures 'from the hip', even as I or the subject moved past one another since the light was bright and this afforded a fast shutter speed - technically at least....please read on.

This lens also opens up whole new opportunities for group and scene shots which are more restricted with a slightly longer lens.

It will take a fair bit more experimentation to become truly proficient with this lens but I really enjoyed the change and the new challenge and it's going to get used a lot more. I think I will probably cover the same ground on a session, interchanging the lenses as I go.

Now for a word of advice to myself and anyone else who becomes engrossed in composition and forgets about the camera settings.

My personal preference when out on a session is to set my camera to Aperture Priority, select a value and leave the camera to work out the shutter speed. It was a bright, sunny day yesterday so I dialled in f2.8 and ISO200 and went about my work.

Today's lesson is to always check your camera settings at regular intervals.

I proceeded to merrily snap away for over an hour afterwards only to discover that I had inadvertently moved the wheel on the camera and changed the aperture to f22. Result = lots of unintentionally blurred images.

We live and learn!

Still, there were one or two reasonable shots from the earlier ones I took and I persevered for a while afterwards. Just a shame that a few good ones were rather spoilt.





Friday, 11 May 2012


A combination of weather, transport and work have kept me away from the physical act of photography for a few days so I've been studying other people's work and developing my presence on a couple of the main photo sharing community sites.

I joined 500px a week or so ago and I really like it. Whilst it doesn't possess the biggest community of photographers in the world, the site is clean and easy to use and displays your work very well. Another nice feature is the opportunity to buy and sell images, either as prints or digital downloads. Simply opt-in and the site takes care of things for you.

The big daddy online, though is Flickr. With over 50 million registered users and 1 billion + images on it's servers it is huge. Getting noticed amongst all this 'noise' requires time and effort on the user's part. It is no use simply to upload a  picture and expect people to notice it; you have to work at it!

That means for each shot you should be adding as many relevant tags as you can think of, including a description and a title and posting in appropriate special interest groups where you will be reaching an audience that will be more appreciative of your work or be able to offer constructive criticism.

Another important way to attract attention is through association with like-minded individuals. Search for other members who produce similar images and add them as contacts. You will be learning and gaining inspiration from them and with a bit of luck they will also add you as a contact and see your new posts when they open their 'Contacts' tab. By visiting their pages you can also see what inspires them by accessing their favourite images and adding these photographers as contacts if they also appeal to you.

That's my brief overview of a couple of the most popular sites and I will return to this subject in the future when I have more user experiences to report on.

My Flickr

My 500px

My Facebook Page

Monday, 7 May 2012


Just a few shots taken on a cold and blowy May Day afternoon.

And I've now got my Flickr account set up : Public Places - David Hodgson's Flickr Account

The Drink Seller

The Jewellery (Jewelry) Man

A Helping Hand

On The Move

Itching Eye

That Kitchen Sink Is In Here Somewhere