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Friday, 18 May 2012

Local Photography Tips

If you are one of the many keen photographers in Milford on Sea you may find this interesting. Matthew Pritchard, is a professional photographer living in the village and he has shared some tips on taking great photographs below.  He also run a Photography Workshop should you find that of interest.


Have you recently purchased a DSLR camera or one of the new hybrid models and  despaired at the inadequate manual or are you just looking to get a little more control of your photography? Firstly you need to tackle the tricky hurdle of getting a correct exposure. Hover between automatic and the picture modes and you will never get to see the full potential of your new shiny machine. The first step to improving your photography is taking back that control.
You needn’t jump straight to the manual setting there are middle paths that can also help you to understand what is happening under the bonnet. If you’ll excuse me I will switch metaphors to one that is more location appropriate. Your new camera is a sailing boat and the two principal controls are the tiller (iris) and mainsheet (shutter). On board at all times is know-it-all Captain Automatic who will happily sail you round all day. You’ll never win races that way, but he’ll get you home safely. You do have the option however of throwing him overboard and taking control, but that’s a bit rash (especially in bad weather - excuse the extended metaphor). There’s a safer alternative. Take part control - first let the captain take the mainsheet and learn how to control the tiller - switch from manual to Aperture Priority (often abbreviated to Av or A). The iris, just like a tiller is counter-intuitive; to widen the aperture of the iris you must turn the number dial down. On a common lens that is sold with a DLSR the widest aperture is f/4 the smallest aperture is f/22. Play with the different numbers - called f stops, remembering that the wider the aperture the more light is let through the lens. There are other quirks that arise from the various aperture settings that you will discover as you play. After you feel comfortable controlling the iris switch to Shutter Priority (often abbreviated to Tv or S); this like the mainsail controls the speed. The higher the shutter speed the greater is your chance of capturing fast moving objects, pin-sharp without a blur trail behind them. It is a good setting for shooting sportsday or your children playing on the beach and where you’ll truly be glad you left your old laggy compact at home.
So remember in priority modes you can learn to experiment safely. Captain Automatic will always take part control and compensate to give you a correct exposure. When you’re comfortable with the new modes, practise with the following photography tips:
Tip 1:
When you are handholding a camera a general rule of thumb to avoid blur is to set your shutter speed higher than the focal length you are using. Look at the top of your zoom lens to find the focal length (eg: 70mm). Now in shutter priority mode (often abbreviated to Tv or S) turn the dial until it reads the same (eg: 70 or 70/100th sec). This is a good starting point for handheld photography. Then the faster the action, the higher the shutter speed required.
Tip 2: If you like a bit of blur in your portrait photography try moving your subject away from the background; the further away they are, the blurrier it’ll be. Move yourself away from your subject and zoom in. Set you camera to Aperture Priority (often abbreviated to Av or A) and turn the dial until you reach the widest aperture (confusingly the lowest number - often f/4 or f/2.8 depending on the lens you are using). Indoors on a long zoom it is best to use a tripod in this set-up but failing that increase the ISO setting.
I’m Matthew Pritchard, a professional photographer who lives in Milford. My commercial clients include Greenpeace, Channel 4 and Waitrose. For a number of years I have been a principal tutor at Shadows & Light workshops. In June, photographer Julian Hawkins and I are bringing our beginners DSLR workshop to Milford-on-sea. We use sill-life and portrait studio set-ups to teach ISO, Aperture, Shutter Speed and use of lenses. By the end of the session you will have great shots taken on your own camera and more importantly you’ll know how you achieved them.
‘DSLR - Out of the dark’ a Shadows & Light photography workshop
Sat June 30, 2012   9:15am - 1:15pm  Milford-on-sea Village Community Centre.
Price: £65  (deposit £35)  To book call Julian on 07973 862006
For more info go to

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