Don's Pages

Monday, 31 December 2012

The New iPad 3 Review: For Photographers.



Don's Review of Apple's New iPad or iPad 3.





The latest incarnation of the iPad has been around for a while now and I'm certain another new one will be announced imminently. Whenever a new Apple product is released there is always an incredible hype, joyousness and buzz about it, and with the New iPad or iPad 3 (as most people call it) there was no exception. There seemed to be delight in the crowd at the Apple big launch video that I watched on youtube, but for me the New iPad was underwhelming, because it seemed so much like a giant iPhone, so I was not amongst the unprecedented amount of people who placed pre-orders. There just didn’t seem to be enough new things in the New iPad to WOW or tempt me immediately. It’s great to get your hands on new technology and gadgets, but I like to wait until most of the bugs have been sorted out first, then read insightful reviews that highlight the strengths and weaknesses of a product. However, that didn’t stop many Apple devotees though, because the immediate demand for the New iPad resulted in a shortage in the Apple stores in the first few days. In the end though, three million New iPads were sold in the first three days. Imagine that, a million iPads a day… phew! Those cool Apple guys must be cock-a-hoop and full of high spirited delight, but it still took me a few months to be convinced enough to dip into my gadget savings account, coupled with the fact that we were going on holiday and I didn’t fancy lugging around my laptop, before I decided to out and get one. Do I regret waiting so long, not really, but now I don’t know what I’d do without my New iPad, it’s just so useful for so many things.

However, since I've had my iPad for a few months now and have been able to put it through some rigorous testing both at home and abroad, using it for business, pleasure and photography, I feel I'm ready to share with you how I feel about it.

Let me say at the outset that I love my New iPad and my wife thinks I'm too attached to it already:-) Before I owned an iPad she used to say to our close friends, "There are three of us in this relationship; Don, me and Niko (my Nikon D700)" Now I've thrown her into confusion because we're now four, because everywhere we go, you've guessed it, Nikon, iPad, Don and Julie go.... LOL. I know that sounds really sad, but I've found uses for my iPad that I never could with my iPhones, so it's a no-brainer for me that iPad comes along too.

My Granddaughter Leila with my iPhone, she didn't want to let it go and now my family are addicted to Apple Devices:-) 


Just like an iPhone only better: If you've ever owned an iPhone, then most of what it can do the iPad can do too, but only better, much better. Why is the iPad better? I'm getting older and sometimes need glasses to read my iPhone, no forget sometimes, that's me just being pig-headed and obstinate, not wanting to admit that I need reading-glasses. The iPad is better for me because I can read most things on it so easily. However, it really is essentially the same thing as the iPhone with a  much bigger screen. Also better because the viewing experience of photos and video is awesome. When I got to play with my son's iPad 2 and looked at some of his holiday snaps I was instantly WOWed....

Qualified Progressive Experience: That reminds me that I'm due to review my iPhone 5 having just upgraded from the iPhone 4 (I missed out the iPhone 4s incarnation). But I've owned every iPhone since it first came out in 2007, so have significant experience using IOS devices for photography, pleasure, creativity and business.

Taking the Plunge: Why did it take me so long to get an iPad? Well, I wanted one for ages, but couldn't justify the expense, because I had an iPhone that could do almost everything an iPad does and more. Also, until recently I've been using a laptop for mobile writing and photography. What prompted me to get an iPad really? Well my oldest boy works in the City of London (Banker), and he's owned every version of the iPad since it's first release in 2010. Every time he comes around he'd be using his iPad for something. Face-Time: Then we did face time together and once again I was WOWed! We then face-timed my youngest son who lives in Plymouth (250 miles away) on the iPad's big screen, we were chatting away and watching my newest grandson playing, crying, laughing and learning to walk. Seeing his silly expressions and funny faces LIVE, I knew in that instant an iPad was impendent. Since owning one we've used facetime whilst on holiday in Lanzarote.

My family's and their relationship with iPads: facetime...
Most of my children now have an iPad too, so facetime is awesome. We just contacted my son Richard on holiday in Egypt. Which was quite funny as we forgot the time difference and they'd just gone to bed.
Also it was my daughter Abi's birthday yesterday and we were able to see her little face with facetime, she lives about 250 miles away.
So just for facetime, portability and fun the iPad is awesome.
My grandson was playing Monopoly on it yesterday and he's only five.
My granddaughter was drawing on the iPad and loves seeing all the pictures, pinching and viewing albums. But I have to watch her as she deleted some by accident recently.

So we're definitely an iPad family. We've also got quite a few friends who've also go iPads and I'm sure we'll be using them more often to have facetime conversations with them as well.


More Good Reasons for me to get an iPad:

Start-up time: For years I stuck doggedly with a laptop computer, but what always bugged me was the time it took to start up and get going. I know I could have just closed the lid and it would fire back up in a few moments, but I always forgot to charge the damn thing. The iPad is instantly on and that's just bedazing.

Weight, Charging & Peripherals: Lugging my laptop around had become a real chore and a burden for me. Not only did I need the heavy thing, but the charger and mouse (I hate using the trac-pad) had to come along too. The speakers on my laptop were crappy for listening to music too. Now the iPad came to the rescue, it was light, portable, easy to carry and I didn't need a whole let of other things to make it do what I needed. You don't need a mouse because the touch-screen does everything and you just get into the habit of charging-up the iPad overnight. Especially if you use it all day.

Photography and Business Apps: Now we're getting down to business. The innovation of Apps constantly inspires me. There seems to be an App for everything and for Photographers that's fantastic. I've tried many over the years on both the iPhone and iPad, but a few stand out among the crowd for real usefulness. (See Apps I've Tried Below)...

Photography On the Go: 

Whilst on Holiday in November 2012 in Lanzarote (Pics Here), I wanted to be able to connect my New iPad and view the pictures. Thankfully I was able to get the Camera Connection Kit. This enabled me to both see and check my images from the cameras that I had with me and show off the pictures to my wife and new friends at the hotel. 

The Connection Kit comprises: An SD Card Reader  USB connector, but I had to purchase a separate cable to connect my Camera to the USB... Not too much trouble, but you'd think they'd include one in the kit.

With the iPad Camera Connection Kit, it's incredibly easy to download photos and videos from your digital cameras to your New iPad so you can view them on the gorgeous iPad display and share them with family and friends.The Camera Connection Kit: includes two connectors, each with a different interface:
  • The Camera Connector features a USB interface. Just plug it into the dock connector port on your iPad, then attach your digital camera or iPhone using a USB cable (not included).
  • Use the SD Card Reader to import photos and videos directly from your camera's SD card. Connect it to your iPad, then insert your digital camera's SD card into the slot.
After you make the connection, your iPad automatically opens the Photos app, which lets you choose which photos and videos to import, then organises them into albums. When you sync iPad to your PC or Mac, the photos and videos on your iPad are added to your computer's photo library.iPad and the Camera Connection Kit support standard photo formats, including JPEG and RAW, along with SD and HD video formats, including H.264 and MPEG-4. 

Showing Off Your Portfolio & Connecting your Camera: 

Connecting the Camera and reading from an SD Card was so easy and glitch free. The iPad instantly recognises them and you can view, select and upload to the iPad. A new folder is created called uploads. You can easily rename this later if you want.



It's great at the end of the day to be able to lay back and enjoy the wonders you've seen on your travels and captured with your camera. The Cameras I had on holiday with me were: Nikon D700 and Canon S90. As the Nikon had Compact Flash I had to connect the camera via the USB and cable, but the Canon had an SD card that could be inserted in the adapter.

I can imagine for Blog and Travel Writers that this would be so useful. Once again the iPad is much lighter compared to a laptop computer and more flexible.

The downside: The Hotel we stayed in didn't have internet access in the rooms so we could only connect in the Hotel Foyer and access was quite slow compared to our broadband connection in the UK. (Talking with the manager: He said they'd be upgrading this so that we'd be able to connect to the internet in our rooms soon)
The upside: However, at least it worked and I was able to share my camera pictures via the iPad connectors to FaceBook to excite and or bore family and friends. At least our good friends appreciated this and loved sharing in the excitement of our amazing holiday.

APPs I've Tried and Like: 

The Photographers Ephemeris.
This App is great for me because it shows clearly the direction of the Sun, Moon etc on the map at any time of year so you can work out in advance the best location and time to be in position to get great sunrise and sunset shots anywhere in the world. Fantastic!

Camera Awesome
Another great little App for Photographers that lets you adjust both the point of focus and exposure independently, there's also a wealth of options for different effects to apply as you shoot.

Camera Bag App & My Camera Bag 2 Review: I find this an amazing little app and desktop prog. You'll just love playing with it.

flickr App & flickstacker Apps: I really like this little App and can see what's happening whilst watching TV in the lounge with the wife.

Photo Wall Pro App: Is really awesome for producing collages with great background and flair for uploading to FB for fun and family sharing.

iPhoto App: Is good but it's a massive prog and takes up a lot of memory for what it does.

Adobe Photoshop Touch App: A wonderful app if you really want to do Photoshop on your iPad, but I don't at the moment (see below).

Portfolio Pro for Ipad App: This is a great tool to show prospective clients and those who've had a photo-shoot your work. If you connect your iPad to their TV it's awesome. However, apart from adding your logo etc, it doesn' really offer much more than the basic Photo Album App that already comes with the iPad (Perhaps they'll develope it some more in time). Also, I think it' way overpriced for what it does. But that's just me.

Fine Art America App: Good but needs adaptation / development for community feedback, comments, likes etc... But it's great for showing clients your work. One great feature is the ability to let clients see a work on their own wall in the own home and how it will look at any given size. For me this is even better than Portfolio Pro above, and it links with my online galery.

Apps for Developing / Processing: As I do most of my processing on my Desktop I'm not really into iPad adjustment progs but there are some really good ones if you need them whilst out on location or on holiday. However, I like to leave that until I get back home again and work on the full versions of Lightroom and Photoshop.

Google+ App still needs some development to make it work properly for me. Just MHO...

Blogger App: Still needs more work and development. But it's a start.

Facebook App is just Great: Join me on my Photography FB if you want to be a friend.

PhotoStacker for 500px App I like this little app. Check out my Don's 500px Portfolio if you like.

Apps I'd like to see: RedBubble...

Photography Help Apps

I'll be adding to this list later.

With the wealth of amazing Apps available you could be a bit lost. So I'll be doing individual reviews of some of the Apps in time. But check out Camera Bag 2 Review and you'll see what I'm going to be looking at for Photographers.

For Photography Itself the IPad is great, but it does look weird when you are taking photos / films with your iPad. However, if you can get over looking strange it's OK. My wife used it on holiday to take some shots of me and she was very impressed with the results. Of course she would be:-) LOL.

Facetime Conferencing on iPAD: In the new IOS 7... 

What I would like to see in the next IOS 7 Update: Facetime Conferences. So we can chat with all the family at once and see their faces on the screen. That would be fantastic! Imagine: My son in Egypt, my daughter in Plymouth, my brothers and sisters in Scotland and us in London? Now that would be something for the New Year. Come on you guys at Apple let's have Facetime Conferencing.

What about the other players on the block? 

Tablets seem to be coming out in droves; Microsoft Surface, Google Nexus, Sony Experia, Amazon Kindle Fire and Fire HD, I've never tried them, but I'd like to find out how they compare  and stack up against the Apple iPad. My wife just got a Kindle Fire for Christmas from my son Richard, so I'll have a poke around on it and let you know how I feel.

However, they all seem to be copy-cats of Apple's iPad innovation. I'm sure they'll catch up soon if they haven't already. As I've taken the leap into iPad world, I may as well make full use of it and I do enjoy the experience. But I'm an adventurer and Gadget Geek at heart (That's why I joined the RN at 16 and left home to see the world).... I'll definitely be keeping an open mind.

Downsides to the iPad? I'll let you know ASAP. But I definitely want facetime conferencing soon.
















Wednesday, 26 December 2012

CameraBag 2 Review.

CameraBag 2: Software Review.

I was so impressed with both the Apple iPad App and Desktop Software that I thought I publish a little review of this amazing new software.

Available for; PC or MAC and Apple iPad / iPhone.

What is CameraBag? Camera bag is an image adjustment software.

For Photographers looking for a unique style to their photography, there are limitless variations to try and all the old style film simulation modes too.

What I like: It’s a much smaller program than Photoshop, Elements or Lightroom. Therefore it loads almost instantly. This is a real advantage to photographers who need to get something done quickly. You’ll love playing with all the different settings and it’s so easy to set up your own style filters and add them to you favourites for batch processing.
Interface: The Interface is intuitive and very easy to learn. It’s clean and uncluttered. It’s intelligently arranged. It’s adaptable to your own particular preferences should you with to change from the defaults.

What's good news for me is that I mainly shoot in RAW (NEF for Nikon) and CameraBag 2 opens these up too. Brilliant for tweaking and getting more out of an image.

There are tutorial videos on youtube too (See links Below), which will get you up and running in no time at all.

Price: One great factor is the amazing price. It’s really cheap for what you can produce so quickly to get professional results that will impress your clients, friends and family. $20.00 well spent. 

How does Don Rate Camera Bag???
  • Style: Awesome 5 out of 5 *****
  • InnovationAwesome 5 out of 5 *****
  • Reliability: Awesome 5 out of 5 *****
  • Ease of use: Awesome 5 out of 5 *****
  • Price: Amazing 5 out of 5 *****
  • Will I use CameraBag regularly? Awesome 5 out of 5 *****


Getting Started with CameraBag 2:
You might want to begin by taking a look at the Learn tab and going through the "10 Things to Try First" list. Then come back here for more details.

Opening CameraBag:
Double-click to open the CameraBag application, which should be located in your applications or programs folder or wherever you saved it on installation.

Opening and Browsing Photos:
To open a photo, drag an image into CameraBag or go to "File > Open" (Hotkey "O") and select the image you want.

Once you have an image open, you can browse to the previous and next images in that folder/directory by clicking on the left and right arrow keys, respectively.

Rotation
Images can be rotated at 90 degree intervals to the left or right using "Edit > Rotate Left" and "Edit > Rotate Right", or simply pressing the L and R keys.

The Tabs: Styles, Adjust, Borders, Favourites, Quicklooks
Styles are carefully-crafted one-click looks for your images. Each has a built in "Remix" slider which lets you adjust within the theme.
Adjust is where you'll find the more "traditional" photo editing tools, as well as a few new innovative ones. Whether you want to crop, adjust the highlights, or add a vignette, you will find it here.
Borders come in two kinds: Dynamic and Image. Dynamic borders hug your photo's dimensions and can be adjusted dynamically by you. Image borders are inspired by classic film photography, and your photo will be cropped to fit inside them.
Favourites can be any series of Styles, adjustments, and borders, combined and customized by you. We've included a few to get you started, but this is a place to make CameraBag your own. Click the "Add Current" button to save the current contents of the bottom tray to your Favourites list.
Quicklooks is where you can get a quick preview of all of the options for each tab. Click on the button for a screen filled with visual options.
Hover Previews
Mouse over any effect in one of the tabs to see a preview of that effect. You will see a live preview of what that effect will do to your image, as well as a short text explanation of the effect.

Tip: Tired of the Hover Previews? You can disable them by going to "View" and unchecking "Show Hover Previews".

Applying Effects
When you find the effect you want, click on it. It will be applied to your image, and you will see sliders over the image to adjust that effect just how you like it. Clicking on an Adjust effect adds it to any other effects you have selected. Clicking on a Border effect always replaces the previous border tile you had selected.

Tip: Some effects (Styles and Favorites) have plus symbols on part of their effect buttons. If you click on the plus part, that effect will be added to the end of your current tray, like the Adjust effects. If you click on the named part, that effect will replace all other tiles you have in your tray.

The Bottom Tray
As you apply styles, adjustments, borders, and favourites from the menus on the right, each will appear as a separate tile in the tray. Simply select tiles to edit each effect further. You can also rearrange the order, delete tiles, etc. This active history approach ensures you can always see and edit everything that's affecting your photo.

The set of contents in the tray is the current "filter" being applied to your image.

Tip: The icons in the right and left corners of the tiles are very useful! Click on the small "x" to delete a tile. Click on the Power Button icon (right) to turn an effect on and off.

The Icons in the Bottom-Left
These icons are easy ways to change your editing space. Click on the Down/Up Arrow icon (far left) to show or hide the tray with the effect tiles. Click on the Power Button icon to turn all of the effects in the tray on and off. Click on the X icon to delete the tiles in the tray--once to delete the pure image editing tiles, then again to delete the more utilitarian tiles, such as cropping, borders, and output size.

Saving an Image
Saving is easy in CameraBag. Just click on "File > Save As" or use the hotkey "S" ("Cmd/Ctrl + S", or "Shift + Cmd/Ctrl + S" also work). Unless you have already set an output size for your photo, you will get a popup asking what size you would like your saved photo to be. Use the original values (given) or enter in new ones, then click to continue. You will then be able to specify where you would like your edited photo to be saved, as well as what you would like it to be called.

Important Note: With quality set to 100, only TIFF and PNG are available as saving formats. If you change the quality to 99 then JPG will again be an option. Since JPG is inherently a compressed format, it isn't able to support a true 100% quality save, which is why it is not available. A quality setting of 99 will give you a JPG with maximum quality preserved.

Batch Processing a Folder of Images
As well as saving individual photos, CameraBag has the ability to apply edits to an entire folders of images at once. This is called Batch Processing.

To batch process a folder, open one image from that folder in CameraBag. Then apply the effects you want, and select "File > Batch Process Folder..." (or use hotkey "Cmd/Ctrl + B"). A dialogue will pop up asking you what (if any) postfix you would like appended to the file name of the saved images. Type one in (or use none) and click Next.

You will then be taken to a Save dialogue to choose where you would like the processed batch of photos saved to. Pick a folder, click Choose, and you're done! Remember that if you did NOT choose a postfix, you should not save into the original image folder unless you want your original photos to be replaced with the edited versions.

Tip: A useful tool for Batch Processing is the Output Size tile, found under the Adjust tab (at the bottom). Here, you can preset the Width, Height, or Maximum Side length for all of the images you will save out during the batch process.

Cropping, Straightening, and Resizing
Cropping and Straightening can be done using the "Crop/Straighten" tile, found in the Adjust tab. Use the sliders or grab the edge of the crop to get your image just right. (If you would like to rotate your image 90 degrees, please use the L and R keys.)
Resizing is done either at the time of saving (with a pop-up dialogue) or through the Output Size tile, also found in the Adjust tab. Note: Resizing for Batch Processing must be done through the Output Size tile.

Built-In and Additional Help Resources
CameraBag has built-in features to get you started. Mousing over any effect will popup a preview window with text explaining what that text does. In the Help menu you will find access to additional help resources, including our

In-Depth: Selected Features
CameraBag always works in 32-bits-per-component colour depth. This is higher than the default in Photoshop, for example, and matches the highest precision you can work with in Photoshop.
There are actually many ways to adjust the colour of an image, each with different and useful results, but most image editors force you to use just one. CameraBag includes many and puts them side-by-side, including Tint, Colour Balance, Colorize, Colour Filter, and Dye.
Our unique Colour Corrector tool offers targeted colour adjustment, a brand new approach to precise colour corrections and modifications. It's curve-based, so you can target different brightness ranges using all of our built-in colour adjustments.
The sliders in CameraBag are big, but it's not just for style: big controls give you precision unmatched in other apps.
We've carefully thought out what each slider range should be, and what should happen at the end of each slider's range. It can be frustrating in some photo editors when adjusting exposure, for example, and the software doesn't let you make your photo as dark or as light as you want it.
Arrow key navigation makes it easy to quickly view lots of photos with different filters. Use left and right to go between files, and up and down to switch filters.
There are three ways to browse possible looks for your photo in CameraBag: you can use the full-screen Quicklooks, mouse over each filter in the side panel to get a hover preview, or you can use the up and down arrow keys on your keyboard to view each filter in the main window. Each is best in different situations.

Getting Inspired: You can also get inspiration when you don't know what look you want by pressing the spacebar, which calls the Random Remixed Filter command from the Edit menu. This will choose a random filter from the built-in styles or from your saved favourites and randomly set the Remix value for any tile that has a Remix slider. Keep pressing it until you find something you like.

Filters are easy to export as files to share online. Just drag and drop a filter file to apply it in CameraBag. Once applied, its tiles are fully editable.

You can download a trial of CameraBag Here: CameraBag2
You can also search for the iPhone / iPad App in the iTunes Store: iTunes Store

10 Things to Try First with CameraBag 2 Software. Click Here.
Conclusion: I hope you have as much fun as I've had with this great little App and Desktop Software. I know I'll be using it regularly from now on. It would be great to know what you think about CameraBag 2. 







Tuesday, 25 December 2012

10 Things to Try First in CameraBag 2



Back to Don's CameraBag 2 Review: Click Here.
CameraBag 2
10 Things to Try First
CameraBag 2: Is just so easy to play with and try different things.
  1. Drag a photo into CameraBag (or use File > Open). Use the left and right arrow keys to load other images in the same folder.
  2. Click on the Styles tab. These are some of the core building blocks in CameraBag, which will appear as a single tile in the tray. Mouse over the names to see previews. Click one to apply it to your photo. Slide that Style's infinite "Remix" slider to see its variations. The sliders feel great with touch-based scrolling on laptops.
  3. Still in the Styles tab, click the Quicklook button. This will give you side-by-side previews using the current image. It's a great way to choose the best look.
  4. Apply Colorcross from the Styles tab. Now, mouse over the Mono style, and click the plus icon on the right side of the button. Both styles are now applied at once. Select the Colorcross tile and drag its Remix slider for nice black and white variations.
  5. Order matters. With these two styles still applied, click and drag the tiles in the tray to rearrange the order, and notice the change in effect. Drag the sliders for both styles until you get a look you like.
  6. In step 5, you created a new filter! Press the + key to save it to the Favorites tab (or click the Add Current... button at the top of the Favorites tab).
  7. Go to the Adjust tab to see CameraBag's suite of photographic adjustments. Try Cropping. Use the Multi Tool to make common adjustments. Experiment with the advanced Luminance Contrast, which is perfect for reclaiming an overexposed sky. Use Undo. Play with Vignette.
  8. Try out the Borders tab. "Image Borders" are inspired by classic film photography, and your photo will be cropped to fit inside them. "Dynamic Borders" are fully customizable and follow your photo's dimensions.
  9. Use the tray icons. Look in the bottom-left and click on the Arrow icon to show or hide the tray. Click the Power icon to temporarily disable all tiles. Click the X icon to delete the tiles in the tray--once to delete the pure image editing tiles, a second click to delete ALL tiles.
  10. Finally, check out the Favorites tab to see the huge range of possibilities within CameraBag. These are all filters built from the building blocks in the other tabs. Try saving (press S) your image with a few very different looks. All of these filters are just the beginning; you'll add many more as you work with photos and create your own new styles.
Back to Don's CameraBag 2 Review: Click Here.
 

 

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Getting Photography Commissions

Successful Sharing = Advertising = Commissions...


It's amazing how things take off. I've been posting my pictures on Facebook for years and all of a sudden people are beginning to mention that they really like the quality of my work with comments like;
  • "Your photos are amazing" 
  • "You should take it up professionally" 
  • "You've got another career after..." 
  • "WOW These look really professional!"
  • "I just love your amazing photos"
etc etc etc...

Here are some of the shots they really liked; 








Now some people have begun asking;

  • "Can you do a photo-shoot for me?"
  • "I know you can do a great set of pics of MY kids too!"
  • "I'd love you to come and take some shots of my grandchildren?"
  • "Do you do 'first day at school' pics?"
  • "I'd really like you to take some pictures of our family?"
  • "Do you do couple shoots?"
  • "How much do you charge for a photo-shoot?"

To cut a long story short: An old friend (not age wise) asked if I could come on a certain date in Dec 2012 to take some shots of her grand-kids  I thought about it for ages (10 mins) and then wrote back; "I'd love to"... Next the 'fear' crept in... and questions in my head; "Will I be able to deliver the goods? will she like my work? Will I get her grand-kids be in focus? Will the kids like me and co-operate? 

As the day got closer, needing inspiration, I trawled the web for kid photo-shoot advice etc. Found a great source of advise, help and comfort in the form of  Annabel Williams  I really love her approach to portraiture and people... and I had all my questions answered, fears allayed and some brilliant ideas in my head. Now all I needed to do was transpose those into actual photos...

Nearere the day in question, I wrote again to my friend telling her what to expect from the day's shoot and how to prepare the kids. e.g. Clothing, Time, Expectations, Fun, Food, Drinks and attitude and possible places to shoot depending upon the weather...

The day before I had to make sure all my kit was ready (see kit list below).

One thing that was still a horror to me; She wanted a Photo-Shoot in December in England at the Coast on the Beach...... Ahhhhhh! If the weather didn't play ball I could look like a real 'plonker'.

How did the Grandchildren Photo-Shoot go?

I was praising God in Heaven, because most of my fears were ill-founded. We had a great day with fantastic sunshine and warmth for a Saturday in December at the beach. To be completely honest I was totally shocked by how lovely the weather was because we'd had a whole week of rain and wind and cold in London. We took two of our own grandchildren with us for them to play with and after some refreshments and a much needed toilet visit after our journey from London to Barton on Sea in Hampshire, also we arrived later than expected due to traffic. They were not upset about that, because apart from Facebook we hadn't seen each other in ages. 

Scooters at the ready we headed for the beach which was only a short walk away from my friends house. 

















Here's a little video I've put together for my friend to share with her family and friends too;

Photos from the day: (Click Here)

I took about 360 shots in about 2 1/2 hours at the Beach. Some of the best ones were as we walked along rather than the posed shots. (Click Photo to take you to the pics from the day).


After the walk along the cliff common at Barton on Sea, we then arrived at Granny's Beach Hut, ahh the kids were excited, but the locks had all rusted up and it took ages to get inside. Once inside, it was like a minature house. Our friend Julie had done a great job of making and hut into a home (but that's another story). Posing in Granny's hut was a real treat, next it was water fights at the tap and then down onto the rocks and beach itself.

How were the kids? 

Two boys ages 5 and 8, not the most cooperative when trying to get them to pose, lots of play breaks and even then they didn't want to do certain things. However, at the end of the day we were friends and still laughing joking and making fun and getting some lovely shots.

It's always good to have some idea of what they like to do and I asked if they had scooters, thankfully they just loved playing on them. The older boy collected stones and had a lovely set of polished stones he's been treasuring, so we used them for a few shots. Getting the kids involved in the shoot is key to success. Remember to try and think what it was like for you as a child and play along with them too (that's not very difficult for me as I'm a big kid at heart anyway). The younger boy liked hats so many of the shots he's wearing one that was bought specially for the day. They both had boots and trendy gear that are a craze for youngsters at the moment.

Try and think what they'll be happiest doing and go with the flow. The key is to have some real fun yourself too and they'll just join in with you.

In my kit bag:

It's really strange but I always take more than I ever use, just in case. However, I'm learning to limit myself and just use what I've got.

Cameras: Nikon D700 with D40x back-up and Canon S90.
God forbid that your main camera should pack up or get broken, but I learned from a wedding photographer, on her first ever shoot who dropped her very expensive old camera and it shattered. So do take a back up with you. Remember it's not the camera it's the photographer that matters. Even if all you have is an iPhone, I'd use that.

Lenses: Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR11.
Nikon 50mm f/1.4.
Nikon 28-300mm. (My favourite all rounder).
Nikon 16-35mm wide angled lens.
Sigma 105mm f/2.8 macro.

Lens filters: Polariser.

Tripod:

Spare Batteries, Spare Memory Cards, Lens Cloths, Torch, Water-Proof Trousers, Hat and Gloves if it's cold, a flask of something warm. Energy bars...













Barton on Sea Photo-Shoot

Here are some the shots from the day at Barton on Sea, Hampshire.
Click Here to go to introduction, tips, gear and information about this kids photo-shoot.
















































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