Best Lenses for Landscape Photography by Adam Karnacz

We look at the best 3 lenses, their focal lengths and how they will help your landscape photography.

Today we are going to talk about the best lenses for landscape photography. There are not many surprises here, we’re talking about the holy trinity but I thought you’d find it useful if we talk about each lens and look at why and when we might use a particular lens and how that’s going to effect our landscape photography.

I am really keen for us all to start thinking about landscape as an art rather than a technical exercise and this is true with our lens choice too. The lens you choose for a particular image will tell the story differently so I think it’s important to understand why we are choosing a particular tool to create that narrative.

Wide Angle Canon 16-35mm f/4 IS

I chose this lens over the more expensive 2.8 because it’s still has great image quality, it’s lighter and it has IS which helps me for video. 

What this lets us do is to open up our field of vision and capture much more in the frame. It particularly lets us tell the story about relationship between the foreground and the background. This can be used creatively where we can get nice and close to our foreground and fill the compositions with it. A great example of this is rocks on a beach or a craggy mountain. When we do this be aware that the background will appear much smaller so a huge background is required. A sky full of colour or interesting clouds is perfect for seascapes or huge dominant mountains are also big enough to fill the background and look great. There are also times when you physically can’t move any further back and the wide angle still lets you get everything in…..caves are an example of this.

An important point to note, and something people often get wrong, it that focal length does not change perspective. A normal rectilinear wide angle lens does not cause perspective distortion. It increases the field of view but perspective is only controlled by the relationship between the camera itself and the subject.

There are two tests you can do to show this. Firstly set up an object and shoot it from a distance with both a wide angle lens and a telephoto. Crop into the wide angle shot so the object is the same size, and apart from a resolution loss, it will look the same. Now shoot the same object but make the object the same size in the frame for both shots. This time the perspective is wildly different and the images look completed different. This distortion in the wide angle shot is caused by the camera to subject distance, not by the wide angle. If it was the lens that caused the distortion then distant mountains would also appear distorted and they don’t.

Tamron 24-70mm

If I could only have one lens it would be definitely this one. This particular one is really decent, probably to the standard of the original Canon lens but the IS makes it great for video. Once Canon release a 2.8 version with IS then I will upgrade.

This focal range is just so useable and it’s why most kit lenses hit roughly this range. 24mm is plenty wide enough for the majority of occasions and 70mm can still get you in pretty close. It’s a perfect walk around lens for handheld shots and you’ll find yourself using the full focal range at some point or other. 

Not much more to say about this one. The focal length of our eyes fit into this range and I think most of us instinctively know what to do with this range.

Canon 70-200mm F/4

Canon has four lenses in this focal range so it can become quite confusing. This is the version without IS which I don’t need for landscapes and it is also relatively small and light. I use the 2.8 IS II when I shoot weddings……it’s probably my overall favourite lens but it’s just so damn heavy and completely impractical for landscape photography.

Now the 70-200mm range is really interesting for landscape photography. It lets us stand in front of a scene and really pull out the interesting elements. Get close in on the interesting light, the distant detail and essentially create a portrait of the landscape. It gives us control of the story too. When we are stood in a landscape, we see the whole thing with our eyes but it might just be the one distant element evoking the emotion in you. If you were to shoot this with a wide angle all the other irrelevant parts of the scene would enter the scene and distract the viewer from what you are trying to show them. You are the story teller and the viewer does not always need to know what is just out of the frame. Often a really good image would hint towards this anyway and spark the viewers imagination to fill in around the frame anyway.

There are also only so many amazing vistas in the world and we’re getting to the point now where they have all been shot in great light. This lens though gives us more room to be creative and capture something truly unique.

Start PRINTING your photos today | ESSENTIAL Tips and Tricks by Adam Karnacz

Everything you need to know to start printing your photographs perfectly today! Whether you’re using a lab or you’re own printer I’ve got some tips to really help you out.

Printing your own pictures is a truly satisfying experience. It is the final step to creating an image and brings the work to life. I genuinely believe that photography is an art and when you print out a picture and hold it in your hand, it is difficult to argue that it is not. You can see and feel the amount of work that has gone into creating the image. It takes on a new life once you can physically hold it in your hand and becomes something special and meaningful.

Print.jpg

Imagine driving a great car. It is a decent experience. You drive around in it everyday and it is enjoyable and satisfying. Some people notice you, others do not. It is just like leaving your images in digital format. But every now and again, when the sun comes out, you take a drive down an awesome coastal road, beautiful girl/boy next to you, rolling with the top down; it is an absolutely magical experience and everyone takes note. That is the kind of feeling printing your work can invoke. It’s similar to the the normal process but also vastly more enjoyable and fulfilling.

With that picture in your mind, if you have not printed your work before, you really must. So how do we do it? To reproduce images accurately there’s a few steps to follow before we go ahead and print. This applies to whether printing using a lab or printing at home and will help to avoid being disappointed with the final results.

Brightness Adjustment

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Assuming Lightroom is the editing weapon of choice, (other editors are very similar) the first thing to do is create a virtual copy of the image. This acts as a print file without upsetting the original edit. Looking at images on a screen, the perfectly backlit monitor adds brightness to the image, even with a calibrated monitor, which creates and evenly illuminated picture. Once printed, the image is front lit and room light can be inconsistent and the image is at risk of looking dull. This can be compensated for by increasing the exposure by about a third to half a stop. Not too much to blow out the highlights, but just enough to give the brightness a little boost and avoid disappointment.

Lab Vs DIY

Having your own good quality photo printer is a very nice thing. I have been using the Canon Pro 10s which prints up to A3+ size. It produces prints that are equal to the quality of a lab and the results are exceptional. Cost is an issue though with replaceables like paper and ink and the upfront cost of the printer also needs to be taken into account. It is a personal decision for each photographer but you will probably ‘know’ when the time is right.

A lab can often work out cheaper if your printing is sporadic. Labs are also more versatile in terms of the size of print, the material you can print on and you can easily try out different papers. The downside is the lack of control. Results can often be disappointing and colour not accurate. Taking shipping or visits to the premises into account, time is also a factor and it takes longer to get the print in hand.

Exporting

Printing at home is easy because we can print directly from Lightroom using the print module. The higher end Canon printers also come with Canon Print Studio Pro. This Lightroom plugin gives ultimate control over your prints and is designed to work with those specific printers.

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The lab will not be able to read a raw file so the photo will need to be exported as an image file. Most good labs accept a wide range of file types to provide ultimate versatility to customers. However, to get best quality, the preferable file format to use is a TIFF file. These are uncompressed so no information is lost like it is with a JPEG. The file size will be much bigger but the results will also be more accurate.

Colour Accuracy

Accurate colour is important because we want our images to print out to match how they were edited on the screen. A beautiful orange and pink sunset will be ruined with a print containing a nasty green tinge. There is a lot happening to go from screen to paper, so we must use ICC profiles to make it easy. ICC profiles are plugins for photo editors that are based on the type of printer being used and the type of paper we choose. Once installed into software such as Lightroom we can enable soft proofing in the develop module, select the paper being used, and the ICC profile will simulate how the print will look on paper. Adjustments can then be made as required prior to print. Good labs should all provide ICC profiles by way of a free download. When printing at home, paper companies also provide them for your printer model.

Paper Type

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Generally there are three kinds of paper:

  • Glossy
  • Semi Gloss
  • Matt

The type and quality of the paper being used can massively affect the final print. It is very much a subjective thing and something that requires personal experimentation. As a general rule though I use a glossy finish for images that are heavily saturated and colourful. The glossy finish helps the colours pop and it works perfectly for the water drop images I create and gives them extra impact. 

Semi Gloss - I think is my favourite. I have been using Canson Baryta for years and it’s just a magnificent paper. It feels and looks extremely professional and the high quality paper works extremely well on a wide range of images. The majority of landscape prints I sell are printed on this.

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Matt or Rag paper - Good cotton rag paper is the best bet for a matt finish. Good rag papers will have a high DMax rating which means they hold the blacks very well. Rag papers are perfect for black and white images because it holds really strong contrast. They are also great for certain landscapes and colour portraits when a more muted fine art feel is required.

Borders

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Many photographers like to have a white border around the edge of their print. My preference though is to  print borderless whenever possible. Borderless printing maximises the size of the print and once it is in a frame, with a mount, the overall work has a border but also maximise the size of the paper. A border can be useful though. It lets you put a footnote on the print, makes it easier to handle and some people prefer the double border in the frame. Some printers also do not print borderless with certain types of paper like heavy rag paper and also when using a custom paper size. A border also makes it easier to attach to the mount. 

Printing is an in-depth topic and much of it is subjective. The best thing to do is to start printing and experiment for yourself. One things is for certain, you will not regret it once you are holding your physical work in hand.

You can also head over to store check out all the prints I have for sale. I would be honoured if you choose to buy one and it also helps me keep the lights on.

The Essential Workflow to Backup Your Photos, Videos and Digital Life by Adam Karnacz

Backing up your files is a hugely necessary and sometimes frustrating step in your photography and video workflow. I show you my backup solution that keeps me moving forwards and all my files safe.

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Firstly as a basic theory you always want to have two copies of your files. Drives fail, data corrupts and if you only have one copy you are vulnerable.

So from the start, I’m out in the field and I am photographing, filming and creating my content. With some cameras the backup starts straight away with dual cards. With cameras like the Canon 800D or a drone they only have one card slot so as soon as that picture or footage is captured I’m vulnerable.  I want to move onto the next step as soon as possible.

I get home or back to where I’m staying and I want to dump the cards as soon as possible and transfer the files to the computer. Laptops now don’t have massive storage capacity so if I’m travelling I’ll take something like an SSD to copy the files to. I can now relax a bit because I have two copies, on the computer and on the cards.

I will then generally try to edit my footage or images from the internal SSD of my laptop because it’s faster. After that it’s then time to transfer the files to the main external hard drive or server. Until very recently I was using using a 5TB drive. It’s decent but it’s one drive and it’s slow compared to an SSD which makes re-edits unpleasant to do to and slow.

So I’ve recently upgraded to this the Drobo 5D3. This uses a kind of RAID 5 which increases speed because it’s writing data to all the drives at the same time and also gives you redundancy. If one drive fails I can just pull it out and pop in another and my data is safe. This one is thunderbolt 3 so it’s also nice and fast and you can actually edit 4K footage straight off this. In the Drobo I’ve got three 10TB seagate drives which gives me 18TB of storage with that redundancy. This is pretty expensive and that’s where the pain comes. All this time and money spent is not glamorous but you need to spend it to keep your files safe.

Now the next step is to backup all this on a separate drive to again give us that redundancy with two copies. You can use Time Machine or Acronis to do this and you even need to do it with a RAID system like the Drobo. If the Drobo unit itself fails, then your data is gone. At the moment I am using an 8TB seagate drive and I’ve copied all previous years work to separate external drives.

I then back all this up again using the cloud. Offsite backup is important in a case of fire or theft. I am currently using Backblaze which is a kind of set it and forget system that you get for a small monthly fee and you can back up and restore your files. You can access them online like Google drive or dropbox. I’ll put a link down below for you to check that out and you can store unlimited data and that includes external HD’s. 

Now the last step with your photos that we don't immediately think of is to print them. There is a theory blowing around that modern human history and knowledge is currently at massive risk because it is all stored digitally. Printing your pictures guards against this and it also just an extremely satisfying thing to do anyway. 

Backup Flow Chart.jpg

I created this diagram a little while ago to show my backup workflow so feel free to screen shot it and use it as a reference. Please also share this video with someone who needs to hear the backup message.

Out.

Ramp Up Your Sunset Photography with this Easy Technique by Adam Karnacz

We use a very simple technique and a bit of layer masking to take your sunset landscape photography to the next level. 

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In this landscape photography tutorial I show you an amazingly simple technique to ramp up the quality of your sunset photographs when you are shooting straight at the sun.

Water Drops-3.jpg

There are two difficulties when shooting directly at the sun that we need to overcome. First is the exposure difference between the sky and the ground. The sky is almost always brighter than the ground so we must take action to balance the exposure across the frame. This is easy to solve and we have a choice of two different methods.

We can use either ND Grad filters, that darken the sky at the point of shooting, or use bracketing. This is where we combine images of the same scene with different exposures to have well exposed highlights,  mid tones and shadows. The video tutorial below gives details of how to do bracketing when doing sunset photography.

https://youtu.be/ndoolGymQJM

The second problem is dealing with lens flare. Those nasty, ever expanding rings that enter your image and ruin the shot. They can be avoided by not shooting at the sun, keeping the sun to your side or using your hand or a lens hood to block it. Sometimes that is not possible or the composition necessitates pointing toward the sun. Thankfully there is very simply technique that anyone can apply, with any camera, as long as a tripod is employed.

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The trick is to very simply place your finger in front of the lens and block out the sun with your finger. We take at least two shots, keeping the camera perfectly still, to expose once for the ground and once for the sky. When exposing for the ground just pop your finger between the sun and the lens and it removes the flare. In the video I show how to then combine the two images using Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop with simple masking.

Water Drops.jpg

It is an easy technique and will work in many situations. On some occasions some additional luminosity masking can help balance the exposure if there is a big difference between the ground and the sky. Luminosity masking is a subject for another day and I only mention it briefly in this video.

One small safety point. When you are shooting straight at the sun do not look at it directly through  the viewfinder as it can damage your eyes. It is much safer using live view and this will not damage the sensor of the camera if only done occasionally.

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The on location section of this video is an extract from landscape photography settings tutorial.

https://youtu.be/0uhG0HvjXGw

How to Find Your Landscape Photography Style by Adam Karnacz

Finding your landscape photography style can be a rewarding experience by helping you understand what you love to shoot and it can take your work to the next level.

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When you look at another photographers work, especially a good one, their style often shines through. Having a defined style sets you apart and creates a photographic identity that people will be familiar with and enjoy. If it is original, others will copy it and the attention that you draw will grow.

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You may have never thought about your style before and that is ok. I do not spend a lot of time thinking about it, but it is there. This video will give you some tips on how to find your landscape photography style and where it comes from. 

Subject and Location

Firstly it comes from the subject you are shooting. With landscapes this very much depends on the location you have visited. I have become well known for visiting the Lake District so mountains are a big part of my style. Woodland or Cityscapes might be your thing but the location very much influences your style. 

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Composition

Secondly is composition. Some photographers become will known for the type of shot they take. Some may prefer very wide, big vistas. Whilst others might prefer closer in, more intimate shots. Some can’t resist getting their perspective very low and filling the image with close-in foreground interest. Others are now heavily into high perspective drone photography. I do a lot of long exposure photography which again sets me apart, especially once the exposures go over the two minute mark. 

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Post-processing

The third element is how you edit the images. This is where most photographers will really stamp their style down. The biggest element is the control of colour. Cropping, contrast, sharpness, clarity and white balance all play their part too and the combination of options are almost limitless. In the video I use Adobe Lightroom to show how the simple sliders can be used to create different styles.

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The Journey and the Story

Your landscape photography style could come form just one, or all of these elements. The important thing is to work hard, experiment with lots of different things and then shoot what you love. By following your passion and doing what you love your photographic style will really start to shine through. It will also evolve over time as your journey progresses and that serves to add to your art and the story you are telling. 

How to EASILY create a HYPERLAPSE by Adam Karnacz

We look at a couple of ways to easily create an awesome Hyperlapse to enhance the story of your films and videos.

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Time Lapse Vs Hyperlapse

We looked at how to do a high quality time lapse the other day so what is the difference between a time lapse and hyperlapse?

They are both quite similar and employ the same photographic techniques and both help to move the story along by condensing a large period of time into a small clip. They can both be done by either speeding up video or capturing a series of still images. The main difference is the movement. In a time lapse it is important for something to be moving in the frame like the clouds or a car. With a hyperlapse the movement in created with the camera, essential moving through time and through space. 

When I do my hyperlapses I simply film normal video and speed it up in post production and that's what we're going to do today. Taking a series of still images whist moving is time consuming and does not particularly add that much to the overall film. 

It's particular effective with drone footage. 

Camera Gear

Just a video camera is required. I use my Canon 800D vlogging camera. Try and keep the camera as stable as possible, but for my vlogs a little shake does not matter once it is speeded up. So set the video going and then just start walking. When you have got to your final point stop the recording and you're done and it’s time to edit in Adobe Premiere Pro.

In the tutorial we go through the editing process in Adobe Premiere and take a couple of minutes to create the final clip.

Very easy and very effective.

How to make a high quality TIME-LAPSE! by Adam Karnacz

We look at how to make the best quality 4k time lapses that can add a new dynamic and level of quality to your videos.

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Time lapse photography is a brilliant way to add to the story you are trying to tell. You can condense a long period into a small amount of time to transition and move your story along. Time Lapses are also brilliant if you only do photography because they can add some real interest and something a little different to your portfolio.

How to shoot a time-lapse

A time lapse can be made in a number of ways. You can simply speed up video, use a camera’s built in time lapse mode or combine a series of still images. Each has their benefits. I prefer the later because it gives you total control over the final image in post processing and they are much higher quality. The other two methods create a video file that has less room for adjustment.

Gear

So what camera gear do you need? 

Almost all cameras can make time lapses these days but if you want to combine still images then you need an intervalometer that fires the camera every few seconds. A lot of new cameras like my Canon 5D Mark IV have one built in, otherwise you need an external one that plugs into the camera. These can be bought very cheaply for each type of camera. 

A tripod is also a requirement to keep the camera steady so the final time-lapse will be smooth and free of judder. Any tripod will do but if you are shooting a time lapse in the wind it needs to be sturdy. 

Shooting

When shooting still image time lapses I am always in manual mode. That is so the exposure does not change between each image. You want the scene to change not your exposure. One tip here, especially if you are shooting a sunset, is to bear in mind that the last image will be much darker than the first. If you over expose the first image slightly, the images in the middle of your time lapse will be perfectly exposed and the darker images will still contain detail. It is the opposite way round for a sunrise.

Intervals

Next I think about the interval. I use the same recipe for all my time lapses but it depends what you want to shoot. I do mine with:

  • 3 second intervals
  • 10 minutes to shoot
  • 200 images
  • 8 seconds video
  • 25 fps

This creates nice smooth time lapses and whilst it is shooting, gives me chance to get the drone up. 

Post processing in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop

In this time lapse photography tutorial we also go through how to post process your time lapse and create the final 4k video clip using Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom.

Water Drop Photography | EVERY STEP from start to print by Adam Karnacz

We take a look at the amazing world of water drop photography. I show you how I created this beautiful piece of art from the original concept through to the stunning final print.

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Welcome to the world of water drop photography.

Type a quick search of ‘Water Drop’ or #waterdrop and you will quickly see just how popular this area of macro photography has become. I have written before about why shooting these kinds of images improves your skills as a photographer, but that does not explain why people love them so much.

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Freezing a moment in time  

Shooting water drop photography highlights the pure essence of photography, capturing a moment in time. We see thousands of water drops every day, but rarely pause to consider their architecture and movement. During a particularly heavy rain storm we may marvel at the size of drops bouncing off the ground, but the rest of the time we take it for granted or do not notice. Freezing this moment forces us to appreciate the beauty, complexity and symmetry of a most regular occurrence and brings into sharp focus the importance of water in our lives.

All about colour

The addition of vivid colours, opaque liquids and well controlled lighting, adds drama to the scene and gives the images that ‘wow’ factor that is becoming increasingly rare in today’s world.

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More than a photography tutorial 

This is a bit more than a photography tutorial. I wanted to provide an overview of what it is all about. If you want to give it a try for yourself then please click the link above to watch my in depth tutorial.

Photography Blogs

My video photography blogs are designed to entertain and document how I go about capturing my work. If it provides photography tips and inspiration along the way then please share it with your friends so more people can benefit from the content. If you enjoyed this photography vlog I would really appreciate it if you subscribed to the channel so you can come along for the journey.

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Adobe make BIG Lightroom CC changes!! by Adam Karnacz

What is the difference between Adobe Lightroom Classic CC and Adobe Lightroom CC? In this video we discuss some of the big changes that have been made by Adobe this week that is causing many photographers to be nervous.

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Adobe Lightroom Changes

Adobe Lightroom has gone through some big changes in the last few days. It’s a staple of millions of photographers worldwide and changes like this can make many of us nervous. In this video I’m gonna go through some of the changes, discuss how it might affect everyone, from the absolute beginner to the seasoned pro and share a couple of my thoughts. 

On Wednesday Adobe updated their full suite of apps and some of the biggest changes involved Lightroom. For years it has been the main software used by photographers all over the world. Prior to this week it hadn’t been updated since 2015 and has been plagued with slow speeds and has become increasingly complicated. 

Problem Solving Approach

Adobe have now tried to solve these problems by splitting Lightroom into two parts. Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic CC. These names have caused some confusion.  Adobe Lightroom Classic is pretty much the same program we have always known and has been updated with new features like luminosity masking and much needed performance improvements. Lightroom CC is now a stripped back version of Lightroom that is cloud based. It is basic but powerful. It still edits raw files but works seamlessly across all your devices including your desktop and even a web browser. 

This has been much needed. Recently on my workshops I have come across photographers who are new to photography or just getting back into it after years of being away and the essential step of post processing is something that has been intimidating and difficult to learn. With Lightroom CC we can now make all the most straightforward edits without the complexity and still shoot in raw. The files and the edits are stored in the cloud so there is no need to try and manage all your files on an ageing computer. They can be made on your iPad, phone or other devices with the Adobe servers doing the hard work. 

More User Friendly?

The interface has been reworked to be more easily understandable and user friendly. The app imports all your cloud based collections from your current Lightroom mobile account. You can load in new files and edit them like normal. I can see this being useful even for seasoned shooters. One way I can see me using this is for simple family pictures, quick shoots or even weddings. I will load in the raw images into Lightroom Classic, select the keepers and place them into a collection and the come over to Lightroom CC where I can use any of my devices as suits me to make the simple edits required for these type of shots. I can still open them into photoshop from the desktop version of Lightroom CC. If need to make more complex images like bracketed shots or combine panoramas then I can move back into Lightroom Classic.

Cost

From the start of next year all Lightroom products will now be subscription based. The basic package is the Lightroom CC package.  This includes Lightroom CC and 1TB of cloud storage for £$10 per month. Next is the photography package. This includes Lightroom CC, Lightroom CC classic, Photoshop and 20gb of cloud storage. The final package is the same as the photography plan but with 1TB of storage and costs £$20 per month. 

Photographer Nerves

Understandably there has been some nervousness and confusion about the changes Adobe have made here. They are clearly targeting the 95% percent of the world who have previously been happy to never edit their images.  It makes the rest of us worry that we are going to be neglected. I don’t think that will be the case though. I think Adobe could have done a better job just by naming things a little differently. Adobe Lightroom CC and Adobe Lightroom Pro CC would have been much more descriptive and made us traditional Lightroom users feel special, rather than old and out of date. 

How I Make Money With Photography by Adam Karnacz

I explain how I make money with photography and how I use my Squarespace website to make it happen.

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Squarespace

When Sqaurespace got in touch with me to ask if I would make a video about their platform I decided I would only do it if I could provide value at the same time as advertising their service. Thankfully the good people at Squarespace wanted the same thing. 

A base on the internet

I was a Squarespace customer for about 6 months before they started sponsoring me. The website it the gateway to how i make my money with photography and the two are intrinsically linked. Having that base on the internet provides some context about who you and people will take you seriously.

Selling Prints

The first way I make money with photography is by selling prints of my work. The website provides a fully integrated store where the prints can be ordered directly online. I make the prints myself using the Canon PRO-10s which puts me in full control of quality. Selling prints is an obvious way to make money as a landscape photographer but finding a market and people who want to buy them requires hard work and the ability to build an audience.

Landscape Photography Workshops

The second way is via my landscape photography workshops. These launched successfully recently and form part of almost all landscape photographers income. This is a much bigger topic that deserves a dedicated video. If you are considering running workshops it’s important to consider your teaching style, locations, legal issues, insurance and much more.

Weddings

Thirdly is weddings. Most professional photographers have shot a wedding at some point. It’s another big subject that I will cover more in future. However it is a great way to make money as a photographer, the market it always there. The pressure, hard work and importance of being professional with a client can’t be overstated. You get one chance to capture each moment of the day so do not accept a wedding job lightly.

YouTube

Fourth is YouTube. There are several ways you can make money with YouTube. Advertising revenue, affiliate marketing and sponsorships are the usual kind of pathways to make money. Creating videos for YouTube can be amazing fun but if you plan to create videos consistently, it is very hard work.

Hard Work

With enough dedication, hard work and a little talent, anyone can make money with photography. If you want to start a website and start making money from your photography, make your next move with Squarespace.

What's in my Camera Bag 2017 | Landscape Photography Edition by Adam Karnacz

In this video I am still in Snowdonia and we delve into the depths of my camera bag to see what I am using to capture my landscape photography in 2017. 

Check out all my gear.

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What's in my Camera Bag?

One of the things I love about photography is the marriage of technology and art. It seems often the cool thing to do is to pretend you don't care about the gear. Whilst the gear are just tools I use to create my art, from time to time I really enjoy talking about my tools. I am not alone in this. I am contacted daily by people asking me what gear they should buy, what is the best lens for a certain situation, what filters I use etc etc. So on my recent trip to Snowdonia I took a few minutes to show exactly what is in my landscape photography bag. 

To see a full list of my camera gear please use he link above. 

Camera Bag

I also get a lot of questions about the bag itself. I am currently using the F-stop Sukha camera bag. This is an amazing photography bag that is perfect for the rugged mountain conditions I am faced with. It is was waterproof and provides great access to your gear that is stored in the ICU or internal camera unit. It is a big bag and has addition room for food, camping gear and more. 

Cameras

My main body is currently the Canon 5D Mark IV. It is truly an epic camera. I have reviewed it before in a big real world test. Hit the link below.

https://youtu.be/5HGxkQw5hto

I am also using the Canon 800D for vlogging. For well under a thousand pounds this is a great camera with superb video features and still ideal for landscape photography. You can see my recent review on the link below.

https://youtu.be/F9e4HymcZn4

Lenses

My current lens setup covers all the important focal range for capturing landscapes. Having a wide angle lens is important if you want to capture the big wide vistas. I use the Canon 17-40mm f/4 lens. Whilst it is an older lens it still provides excellent quality and can also be picked up for a bargain price. I have not felt the need to upgrade to a newer 16-35mm lens. 

Next I use the Tamron 24-70mm. Image quality is on a par with the original Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 but the Tamron also come with image stabilisation. Perfect for video. 

At the long end I use the Canon 70-200mm f/4 to capture the more intimate landscapes. I purposely use the cheapest version which is the f/4 because it is the lightest and easiest to lug around. I use the Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS mark 2 for my wedding photography. It is a stunning lens but weighs more than an elephant. I do not want to carry it up mountains. 

Filters

As many of you know I do not use graduated filters. I prefer to use screw on filters. I feels they are easier to carry around and quicker to use. 

I carry a circular polariser for each of the lenses and Neutral density filters for long exposure photography. I have a 6 stop ND and a 10 stop. They can also be combined to give 16 stops of light reduction.

Accessories

What's in my bag accessory wise? Photography equipment is made up of accessories such as lens hoods, eye piece covers, memory cards, batteries and other stuff such as food and safety gear for the mountains. I no longer use a shutter release cable or an intervalometer as the Canon 5D Mark IV has it built in along with a bulb timer.

Perfect Your Landscape Photography Editing Workflow by Adam Karnacz

Losing your images or misplacing them across numerous hard drives is a horrible feeling. Having an efficient workflow for your landscape photography images is important. Get it right today and it will look after you in the future. 

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I organise and edit my photographs using Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. Lightroom is my main photo editing app as I have less and less need for Photoshop these days as Lightroom continues to evolve. They are truly awesome bits of software that I could not survive without. Click the link above to get a free trial. 

Get your landscape photography editing workflow right

A landscape photography editing workflow may differ from other types of shoots because generally there will be less individual images compared , to say, a wedding. It is however still important to maintain a solid naming structure on your hard drive. I use a theme as he top level eg, ‘Weddings’ or ‘Videos’. This is followed by ‘year’ and then sometimes ‘month’. I initially copy the files to hard drive and the import into Lightroom. 

Using Adobe Lightroom

Once in Lightroom I organise, mark and flag the images to help me decide which to keep and edit. This is detailed in the video. I am using a MacBook Pro so once I am finished editing I need to move the files over to my external storage drive. It is important to do this within Lightroom itself which will copy both the physical file and the Lightroom catalogue data. Watch the video now to get full details. 

No Landscape Vlog this week

I was unable to shoot a vlog this week due to suffering a dreadfully bad back. Instead I decided to stay in and shoot this video. I will be returning to the landscape photography vlogs next week.  Leave a comment down below and let me know what you think of this video, does your workflow differ? Which bits work, which bits don't? I would love to hear from you.

Landscape Photography Editing - High Cup Nick vlog images by adamkarnacz@me.com

Get an insight into how I edit my pictures in Adobe Lightroom from my latest landscape photography vlog at High Cup Nick in the Pennines. Get a free trial of Adobe Lightroom - https://www.firstmanphotography.com/get/photography-plan

Watch the vlog - https://youtu.be/5IC4xH2eSQo

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First Man Vlog - https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLa6Vwwb8Hgm2doJUbTS5Bro5VS2PVyzXN

In this video I edit the images shot on my recent trip to High Cup Nick. The weather was poor and the trip was intended as a scouting mission but I am still pleased with some of the images captured.

We go through the edit in Adobe Lightroom of seven images and I discuss composition, camera settings and my thoughts I had whilst capturing the shots. I share my photo editing tactics to show you how I work in post production.

Some say that I edit my pictures very quickly and this may be true. I believe dong it quickly allows me to bring a natural feel to the edit employing the artistic and instinctive part of my brain rather than analysing things in too much detail that can sometimes lead to over processed images. I do often take a second look and tweak a couple of things and I also apply profiles and manage resolution when I print my images.

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Editing Landscape Photographs from a Canon 5D Mark IV by adamkarnacz@me.com

Landscape Photography on a Canon 5D Mark IV

The Canon 5D mark IV has changed the way that I shoot and edit my landscape photography. You will either love or hate this new trick.

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The Canon 5D Mark IV is an incredible camera. I reviewed it previously in an epic real world review - see the link below:

https://youtu.be/5HGxkQw5hto

The dynamic range of the Canon 5D Mark IV is a huge improvement over previous generations. What is truly impressive though is the amount of detail that can be pulled out of underexposed and shadow areas. Even a 2-3 stop increase in exposure will still lead to a relatively clean image, especially when shot at ISO 100.

Subconsciously I have started to use it to my benefit especially in some of the landscapes I have been shooting lately that contain huge dynamic range. Purposely underexposing the image as a whole has allowed me to capture the highlights with perfect exposure and then raise the shadows in post-production using Adobe Lightroom.

The main benefit is a huge saving of time with barely no downside. Normally capturing a scene with such wide dynamic range would require the use of multiple exposures by bracketing, HDR, blending or the faff and inconsistent results of physical ND grads. The Canon 5D Mark IV lets me do it with one exposure.

The speed at which I am now capturing landscape photography, and then later editing it in Adobe Lightroom has improved my overall work flow. I can now deploy that time on other things and really concentrating on the story I want to tell with my work. At the end of the day, that is what I am trying to do.

Landscape Photo Editing in Adobe Lightroom - Waterfalls Vlog Images by adamkarnacz@me.com

In this landscape photo editing session I use Adobe Lightroom to edit the images from the Winter Woes and Waterfalls vlog and discuss composition and post processing techniques. Get a free trail of Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop - https://www.firstmanphotography.com/get/photography-plan

Watch the Vlog here - https://youtu.be/tYVuZS_oHJE

Google NIK Collection Video - https://youtu.be/ALkbAwitdrg

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This video is the full live landscape photography editing session from the images I captured on my recent vlog at Ingleton Waterfalls and Ribblehead Viaduct. The post processing is done in Adobe Lightroom.

The video is relatively long and probably not for everyone but gives you the chance to really see how I edit my images from start to finish.

During the edit I discuss several Lightroom editing techniques such as using the graduated filter tool. I also provide more information about the composition of the shots shots and discuss the rule of thirds and leading lines.

If you find the format of the video useful please let me know and I will document my future editing sessions in the same way.

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How to do Smoke Photography by adamkarnacz@me.com

Smoke Photography made easy.

Create some beautiful, fun and abstract smoke photography using these very simple methods.

In this tutorial we look at how to photograph smoke to create some striking images that are jam packed with colour. Smoke Photography has an artistic and abstract feel freezing a moment in time that is often not given any attention. This is very similar to water drop Photography. If you have not seen water drop Photography check out the playlist below.

Water Drop Photography

Smoke Photography is easy and can be achieved with a normal camera. No special macro lens is required although, if you do own one, it can give a different feel to the smoke images that you create.

Gear required to photograph smoke

The gear you will need does not form a long list and many of us will already have the items lying around. Firstly you need a camera. Ideally it will be a camera that can fire an external flash. You will also need an external flash with the ability to fire it off-camera. Wireless triggers can now be picked up very cheaply. See the link below for all the required gear.

How to produce the smoke trails

Smoke can be created in a number of ways but I use Sandlewood incense sticks. They smell a bit but produce a nice constant smoke and are relatively safe. You then need a desk lamp to shine at the smoke to assist the camera to focus although the flash will light the smoke for the picture. If you are using a studio flash then the modelling lamp will be fine.

Photo Background

The images work best with a clean black background. Any kind of black material is fine but pop backgrounds are cheap and effective. You will also need something block the light from the flash hitting both the background and the lens as it flashes from left to right. A piece of card will do the trick just as well as more expensive barn door attachments.

Camera Settings

The images will work best with the camera in manual mode. Shutter speed should be set to the flash sync speed, this is often around 1/200 sec. An aperture of f/8 or f/11 will work well to keep the smoke sharp and in focus. ISO at 100. In the video I had the flash power set to 1/4 power but this will be dependant on the distance between the smoke and flash.

With everything set, go ahead and shoot the smoke trails. Waft your hand around to move the smoke to generate some interesting patterns in your images.

Smoke Photography is a good antidote to the winter weathe, but is also fun and creative. The abstract images you create will grab people's attention making them look twice at you work.

In the video we go into the post processing of the images very briefly using Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom.

Gear

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Landscape Photo Editing in Adobe Lightroom - Flamborough Vlog Images by adamkarnacz@me.com

Landscape Photo Editing - Flamborough

In this landscape photo editing session I use Adobe Lightroom to post process all the images from the recent Flamborough vlog.

Get a free trail of Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop - https://www.firstmanphotography.com/get/photography-plan

Watch the Flamborogh Vlog here - https://youtu.be/hiWX_DKOMRc

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Instagram - http://instagram.com/adamkarnacz

This video is the full live landscape photo editing session from the images I captured on my recent vlog at Flambrough Head. The post processing is done entirely in Adobe Lightroom.

The video is relatively long and probably not for everyone but gives you the chance to really see how I edit my images from start to finish. Especially when I made a couple of silly mistakes at the time of shooting.

During the edit I discuss several Lightroom editing techniques such as using the graduated filter tool. I also provide more information about the composition of the shots shots and discuss the rule of thirds and leading lines.

If you find the format of the video useful please let me know and I will document my future editing sessions in the same way.

Finally, for those of you who celebrate it, have a very Merry Christmas. To everyone else, i appreciate you watching, you are awesome.

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How to Capture Amazing Long Exposure Photography by adamkarnacz@me.com

Long Exposure Photography Tutorial Redux

In this video tutorial we show you how to take long exposure photographs. If you have never seen long exposure photography before you are in for a treat and capturing these images brings new challenges and creative possibilities. Essentially what is happening is by increasing the exposure time we introduce movement into our image that would normally be frozen and it gives the picture added interest and a look that would not be seen by your own eyes.

This video focuses on capturing a long exposure landscape during the day but the principles are the same no matter how you use long exposure photography.

You will already understand the exposure triangle so when increasing exposure time we need to balance things by reducing ISO or making our aperture smaller to prevent the image being over exposed. However, in daylight conditions, even with ISO at 100 and aperture at say f/16, your shot could be over exposed before even one second has passed. To achieve the desired effect we want our exposure to be at least 30 seconds. The only way to do this is to use ND filters. These are filters added to the front of your lens that reduce the amount of light passing through the lens without severely affecting the colour. ND filters are rated by how many stops of light they reduce the exposure by. For example if you attach a 2 stop filter to your lens you will need to increase exposure in your camera by the same 2 stops to obtain a proper exposure.

Neutral Density Filters

In the tutorial we are using a 6 stop filter combined with a 10 stop filter to give a full 16 stops of light reduction which allows us to get some extremely long exposures of several minutes, even in bright daylight conditions.

Exposures of this length have a number of uses. It will reduce the roughest waters to a smooth tranquil scene and add lots of movement to even the slowest moving clouds. In city scenes it can also be used to remove people from your images. At night it can be used for star trail shots and create interesting and varied light painting images.  The resulting image will often have a fine art feel, especially when carefully converted to black and white.

Shutter Release Cable

In addition to the ND filter you will also need a shutter release cable allowing you to lock the shutter open when using the bulb mode. Keeping your camera very still is also essential so a good sturdy tripod is handy. If you don't have a tripod you could also place your camera down on a wall or some raised ground. A bean bag can be used to allow a small amount of adjustment or to keep things level on an uneven surface. When using a DSLR it is worth covering your viewfinder with some gaff tape or a viewfinder cap because light can creep in and ruin your image.

Once you are armed with this knowledge and the few tools you need; get out and take some pictures. It is an amazing motivation to go and see the world.

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Image debrief from the Canon 5D Mark IV Review by adamkarnacz@me.com

We take a closer look at the images captured during the Canon 5D Mark IV review. I share some of  my thoughts, vision and feelings from the shoot.

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You can check out all my current gear on the link below.

My gear:

How to Enhance Autumn Colours - Lightroom Tutorial by adamkarnacz@me.com

Take your Autumn landscape photography to the next level with this easy trick using Adobe Lightroom.

Try Adobe Lightroom today - https://www.firstmanphotography.com/get/photography-plan

In this Adobe Lightroom tutorial I show you how to make some very easy adjustments to your Autumn Landscape photography to make those beautiful autumnal colours really pop.

Landscape Photography in Autumn

Autumn is an amazing time if you shoot Landscape Photography as the swathe of colour we are treated too is truly spectacular. The summer of lush greens and high sun gives way to vivid oranges, yellows, reds and and maroons. Shooting a landscape photograph from one position can look completely different in the Autumn to how it does in the Spring, Summer or Winter.

Autumn Colour Gamut

Despite the amazing gamut of colour on offer, the overriding colour is often still green. Normal Lightroom edits can result in over saturated greens that leave the beautiful Autumn colours we are seeking, overwhelmed.

It can be resolved using a very simple trick where we desaturate the greens to enhance the appeal of the Autumn colours. Using Adobe Lightroom in two slightly different ways will effectively give the desired control. In the Lightroom tutorial I show you how it is done, and, how it can easily take your Autumn landscape photography to the next level.

Lightroom HSL Panel

The Lightroom HSL panel lets us easily control the saturation of colours across the spectrum. It is an effective Lightroom tool in so many areas of photography where careful control of colour is required. The colour panel will also let you adjust the luminance of colour and also the hue. If you have never experiment with the adjustment Lightroom provides in the area it is well worth a go.

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