Photography Tutorials

Lightroom Mobile Tutorial Gone Wrong


How to edit Raw Files on an iPad, iPhone or Android using Lightroom Mobile.

To get a FREE trial of Adobe Lightroom and Lightroom Mobile click here -

When I started out shooting this video I had a solid plan in mind and was looking to raise the bar on my normal tutorials. Sometimes things don’t go to plan though and events can take a different direction. Watch the video now to see what happened.

However this is still a video about Lightroom Mobile which is an excellent system that allows us to edit RAW files on mobile devices like an iPhone, iPad or Android device.

Raw files are amazing things and contain a massive amount of data so are not yet the natural Partner of mobile devices. Adobe have therefore come up with a pretty slick method of dealing with this.

We start Lightroom and import your raw files into your computer as Normal. Add the images to a collection and then hit the sync with Lightroom mobile.

Once this is done you can head out with your iPad, iPhone or Android device and start editing the photos. You have access to many of Lightroom’s normal adjustments and are free to head out and edit wherever you choose.

Once the files have been adjusted on the iPad, Lightroom Mobile will sync them back to your computer with the RAW file fully adjusted.

It is an extremely useful, and easy to use feature, when you don't want to carry a laptop around or you quickly want to share or adjust your images whilst showing your work to colleagues, clients or friends.

Give it a try and let me know what you think or if you've already been putting it to good use, I would love to know.

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HDR Photography Tutorial - Using Adobe Lightroom


See more of the world with HDR photography.

In this video I show you how to do HDR photography using a simple technique in Adobe Lightroom. Get a FREE trial of Adobe Lightroom today -

HDR stands for high dynamic range.

When we see the world through our own eyes your brain and eyes work cleverly together to perceive many different shades. We can see detail in very bright sunny areas and also lots of detail in shadow areas.

The processor inside a camera is by no means as powerful as our brain so struggles to capture detail in both bright areas and those in shadow. Although cameras increase their dynamic range with every new model that comes out they still have some way to go.

Thankfully we have a way to get round this using HDR photography. All you need is your current gear and the power of Adobe Lightroom. It is a simple method of taking two or three shots with different exposures, to capture the shadows, mid tones, and highlight areas in separate images and then merging them in Lightroom.

When HDR images became popular many people were creating highly stylised pictures that made images look unrealistic and felt like someone had thrown up all over the picture. Thankfully you can use HDR to your advantage to create some beautiful images of scenes where there is high contrast and your camera just cannot cope.

Firstly you need to get out with your camera to somewhere great and capture a beautiful scene. Many cameras now have a HDR mode, like your iPhone, but if you want those high quality images you will want to use your DSLR or mirrorless camera.

The video explains how to do HDR photography:

  • Take an image focusing on the mid tones.
  • Apply those settings to manual mode
  • Use bracketing. This takes three shots consecutively at set exposure intervals.
  • Adjust the bracketing depending on the dynamic range of your scene
  • Take your shot. You need to keep the camera as still as possible. It is possible to handhold but better off using a tripod.
  • Merge in Adobe Lightroom.

HDR photography is fun and easy to do and this tutorial will get you started so you can shoot some beautiful images of your own.

Watch Episode one of the First Man Vlog -

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How I Import, Edit and Organise My Photographs.


See my post processing workflow using Adobe Lightroom.

Your Photography workflow is something that is worth getting right from day one. It will help you to stay organised, work quickly, and easily reference an image again in the future. I have not always followed this advice in the past and it has been a time consuming and unhappy process correcting matters.

Adobe Lightroom now makes organising and editing your photos easier than ever. The catalogue system keeps everything together and allows you to edit in a non destructive manner. However, how you store and organise your files on your hard drives is entirely up to you.

Get a FREE trail of Adobe Lightroom - Click here.

I find that it is best to organise jobs or shoots into year categories first and then something more descriptive as you go down a path level. For example, 2016>Weddings>John & Carrie or 2014>Landscapes>Scotland>Ben Nevis and so on. This could work for you or you might find an equally effective method but some form of categorisation is definitely required to stay organised.

At the beginning of the workflow I extract the images form the camera by removing the memory card and plugging it into a card reader. I find this a faster and much more reliable method than asking your camera to talk to your computer via a USB cable. I will also copy the files directly to my hard drive in the place I want to store them rather than using Lightroom’s import features. This is my own preference but I feel more control using this method.

Once the files are on the hard drive I will then import them into Lightroom by adding the folder to the catalogue. This opens the import window and you can add keywords, to assist your future searches, and add copyright information and change metadata.

The images them begin to load in and you can instantly start to view them. The next step is to grade the images deciding which ones are keepers and which can be discarded (although I never delete images altogether). I then go through a second grading to narrow down to the images I want to use and then edit. Once the images are edited they are ready to be exported and presented to the world.

The final stage of the workflow is to transfer the completed files to an external hard drive where they will live out their days in archive. This is done by dragging the folder containing the images within Lightroom. Doing it within Lightroom ensure both the Lightroom catalogue reference and the physical file are both moved. You are then left with space on your main HD for the next job.

Please make sure you back everything up too. Click the link below to see my back up solution.

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How to Do Time Lapse Photography


The amazing world of time lapse photography.

Time lapse photography is very simply a series of images taken of the same scene over time and then combined and speeded up into a video sequence effectively speeding up time.  The images are taken a few seconds apart so because time passes between each frame it gives the interesting animated feel that does not exist when simply speeding up standard video.

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Time lapse photography is generally used in video work but can also be an extremely effective tool for photographers to add interest to their portfolio and grab the attention of viewers. Especially on services made for short videos like Instagram and Facebook. Video can make many photographers feel very uncomfortable. However they are well placed to produce great time lapse photography because they are created using a normal camera and requires photography skills such as capturing proper exposure and a great composition.

The only gear you will need is a camera and somewhere stable to mount your it.  A wall or the floor will work but a tripod is ideal. You will also need an intervalometer. Some cameras have this built in and others you will need a separate device. These are extremely cheap to buy online. The intervalometer simply fires the camera over and over again at a set interval.

To shoot time lapse photography you need to be in manual mode so the exposure remains constant throughout the final time lapse video. You will get better shots if you go somewhere interesting that includes a lot of movement. Cities work well with people and vehicles moving around for example.

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To shoot your time lapse movie you must be in manual mode. Capturing consistent exposure on each image is vital to making your time lapse look realistic and authentic. Go somewhere interesting that includes some movement. Places like cities work well with lots of traffic and people moving around. Next you need to come up with a great shot bearing in mind you are creating a video. You therefore are composing a 16x9 aspect ratio image as opposed to the usual 3x2. You can use the cameras video mode to give you a better idea of the crop that happens at 16x9.

When setting your interval, five seconds between shots works well. If things are moving faster in your scene try something quicker like 3 seconds. We are creating a video file so you need to think about your video frame rate. I shoot most of my videos at 25 frames per second so when the camera has fired 25 images that will create 1 second of footage. My time lapses in this video are about 8 seconds long so included about 200 images.

The video shows how to put your time lapse video together in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop so go ahead and give it a try for yourself. Get a FREE trial of Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom - Click here.

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How to Do Mirror Photography to Capture a Next Level Selfie


Take your selfies to the next level using mirror photography.

Photography in it's purest form often has a reputation for being very serious and stuffy. This is not always underserved given the behaviour of some photographers and the exclusive nature of the art world generally. Whilst I am super serious about my work, I also want it to be fun. I want to have fun doing it and sometimes I want the images themselves to be fun. There is no harm in this and a creating a interesting selfie using mirror photography fits the bill nicely.

In the video we go through how to shoot mirror photography and create an interesting and fun selfie. The video covers how to shoot the shot and then takes you through the relatively easy edit in Lightroom and Photoshop.

To get a FREE trail of Photoshop and Lightroom click the link below.

Shooting fun photography can be technically challenging and will teach you a lot. Learning the processes involved in capturing images like this mirror photography shot, can help you take your skills to the next level. Selfies have become the domain of smart phones but a good selfie will really make your work stand out from the crowd.

You can use the mirror photography techniques we go through in this video in a variety of situations and really let your imagination run wild. Imagine taking a full length mirror out into the woods and creating an effect where it appears you have stumbled upon the doorway to another dimension. It does not have to be a self portrait either. Employ a friend, a model or anyone else to feature in you image and you will have a lot of fun shooting it.

Using mirrors in your photography can work at other times too. For example, shooting the reflection of a bride getting ready for her wedding can add an element of creativity to a moment that is often shot in a relatively dull setting like a hotel room or living room. Just think about where you want your camera to focus. Sometimes you may want the reflection in focus and sometimes the subject themselves. These creative images will always lead to your work being noticed and, for most of us, grabbing the attention of the viewer is what we are aiming to achieve.

reflection photography

Whether you use mirror photography to shoot a creative selfie, add interest to an otherwise standard shot or use it as the theme to a photography project it is entirely up to you. Give it a go and let your creative juices run wild.

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Other videos mentioned:

The Ups and Downs of the Photography Histogram


Use the Histogram to take your images to the next level.

The Histogram is one of the most useful tools in Photography but is also little understood and often ignored. When used correctly it can help to take your images to the next level ensuring the exposure and contrast is the absolute best it can be.

Since the arrival of digital photography assessing your shot is an instantaneous event. Briefly looking down at the camera screen to check your shot is quick, easy and will give a good indication of the exposure and the quality of the image. This is a perfectly acceptable way of shooting. It is quick and effective in the vast majority of situations. When accuracy of exposure is your number one priority then reviewing the histogram and using a light meter may become essential.

The histogram is a mathematical measurement of the image you have captured. It can be used to accurately assess your image for exposure and contrast. The horizontal x-axis represents the tones in the image and goes from 0 - 255 where 0 is absolute black and 255 is absolute white. The vertical y-axis measures how much of each tone there is present in the image. If a tone goes off the chart it indicates that tone has clipped and detail will be lost.

In the video above I explain the histogram. We go through several images with different histogram readings explaining how to interpret them, what they mean and how images can be processed to maximise their potential. There are some occasions where the histogram is of less use such as high key and low key lighting setups and this is also explained.

The histogram serves little purpose to me when shooting. I shoot RAW so do not need to be 100% accurate with my exposure. My process is to estimate the settings I require based on the conditions I see with my eye, take a test shot, look at the screen and then adjust the settings and repeat if required. I generally get within half a stop of the correct exposure which can easily be corrected in post with virtually no drop in quality. Another option is to use a light meter and the histogram, but I value speed and time more than getting everything 'right in camera'.

In post-processing I use the histogram on virtually every shot. In Adobe Lightroom it sits nicely in the top right corner and I reference and look to it throughout my editing process. My main use for it is to ensure proper exposure and be certain of getting absolute black and white.

Shots that are properly exposed with good contrast, bright whites and beautiful deep blacks are the hallmarks of a photographer at the next level; someone who consistently produces beautiful images time and time again. A gallery made up of images created and developed in this way will stand out amongst many others and for most of us that is the attention we seek.

To get a FREE trial of Adobe Lightroom click here.

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Water Drop Photography - How to Use the SplashArt Dropper


Capture water drop collisions using the SplashArt Dropper. 

Water drop photography is a very popular form of photography thanks to the amazing moments in time that it captures. In a previous video I detailed how to do water drop photography using a basic setup with standard household items. The video also touched on how to use an electronic water drop system called the Splashart dropper.

water drop photography


Since that video many of you have been sharing your images and have also invested your time and money into water drop photography and purchased the Splashart dropper. Following that there have been numerous requests for another video detailing how to use the SplashArt Drop System. This video answers that question.

The Splashart Dropper can be purchased here.

The system has a water bath that produces drops through a solenoid and nozzle. The release of the drops is controlled through an electronic control panel.

water drop photography

The SplashArt dropper uses an electric control panel that has four control knobs. The first knob controls the size of the first drop. The second knob covers the time between the two drops. The third controls the size of the second drop and the bottom knob controls the delay between pressing the activation button and when the camera is fired.

Whilst much of water drop photography is automated there is still a large amount of creativity and patience required. It is a matter of trial and error and the creativity comes from your composition, lighting, colour combinations and your post processing. Follow the link below to see how I post-process my water drop photography images.

If you are shooting water drop photography be sure to follow me on Instagram and share your images every Wednesday for #waterdropwednesday.

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How to Rescue an Underexposed Image


Bring an underexposed image back from the brink.

Sometimes mistakes happen. They happen to the best of us. Imagine the scenario where you see an amazing photo opportunity, line up an incredible composition and pull the trigger knowing your shot is going to be great. You look down and are horrified to find the exposure is way off. This could be due to your auto/semi-auto exposure being thrown off or a mistake when shooting in manual. Sound familiar?

With the dawn of digital photography and RAW images we now have the ability to easily and effectively adjust exposure. If a shot is overexposed and the image is ‘blown out’ there is often nothing we can do to recover it. However if an image is underexposed you might be able to rescue it, even if you have missed by around 2 stops.

A question worth considering though is should we be rescuing images?

Many would argue you should capture everything correctly in-camera. Anything else makes you an unskilled heathen, unwelcome in photography high society for evermore. There is such as strange attitude towards post-processing at the moment where everyone is terrified an image may be misrepresenting a situation. Why is photography under such scrutiny when people believe a misleading headline or a five second video on Facebook without a second thought? We so often feel the need to justify our work with comments like ‘no major processing, just small contrast and saturation boost'.  How is this different? Who draws the line where an image goes from being enhanced to manipulated?

This argument is really a misunderstanding of what digital cameras do, whether they are a hardcore DSLR or an iPhone. If the camera is capturing JPEGs, then it is post-processing the image before you ever see it. They add contrast, saturation and sharpness on every single occasion so claiming you 'get it right in-camera' is not be the badge of honour people think it is. An unprocessed image looks like a RAW file image. Flat, with low contrast and very little sharpness.

RAW files capture a large amount of image data that allows a number of changes to be made and this includes a decent exposure range. In the video I show you how to rescue an underexposed image using Adobe Lightroom.

Whilst it is unlikely rescued images will end up displayed on a wall or in your portfolio, they still have a place. It could be an important moment in time captured or simply, an image to share online. Services like Facebook and Instagram compress images heavily and use low resolutions so detail of images often cannot be seen. Sharing your rescued images on these services is a very reasonable way to put extra content out into the world and continue to grow you audience.

So should you rescue your underexposed images? In answer - yes. It is not hurting anyone and it will be your audience who decide whether it is good or not. Personally, I give very little thought and time to those who are critical of my creative process. You are free to not enjoy my methods and my work as I am free to ignore you.

Get a free trial of Adobe Lightroom - Click here.

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How to Add Vignette in Lightroom


Draw attention to your subject by adding a vignette.

To get a FREE trial of Adobe Lightroom Click here.

A vignette is the darkened area around the outside of an image. It is caused by the fall off of light from the centre of the frame as light is blocked inside the lens barrel. It happens naturally, often at wide apertures and particularly with prime lenses.


It is an effect that can be very appealing. It draws attention in towards the main subject in the centre of the frame and masks any distractions around the edges. It is particularly effective in portraits and is often used in wedding photography, placing the focus of the image directly on the happy couple.

When the effect happens naturally you may sometimes want to remove it if it was not part of your planned image. We have covered removing vignette in Lightroom previously and you can watch that here:

In this video we go through a quick edit in Abobe Lightroom to add a vignette to an image. We take a look at three different types of image to give an idea of how the effect can work in different scenarios.

To add a vignette, load your image into Lightroom and then open the image up in the develop module. Navigate over to the adjustment panel on the right hand side and scroll down to the effects panel. Open this up and then you should see the post-crop vignette section. Drag the slider to the left to add a vignette. The other sliders control the, feather, roundness and midpoint of your vignette.

It is important to edit your image first and add the vignetting at the end of your edit after you have finished cropping. Otherwise you may crop out some of the effect. It is also the kind of effect where less is more. Aim to achieve nice natural looking vignettes that do not overpower your image and achieve the goal of focusing attention onto the subject in the centre of the frame.

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Macro Photography - The Complete Guide


The ultimate video guide to macro photography.

This series of macro tutorials takes you from a basic macro setup, through to a more advanced setup. It concludes by delving into the complex work of macro focus stacking. Also included is a water drop photography tutorial. This is a practical and extremely fun use of macro photography.

Macro photography is an exciting area of photography and is accessible to all photographers. There is something suitable for all budgets and skill levels. It is all about getting close up, magnifying the small and blowing it up to a larger than life size. We do this with the power of our lens and camera.

The first video covers shooting macro photography on a budget. We use cheap gear like a standard kit lens, macro reverse ring and extension tubes. This introduction is the place to begin if you are entering the world of macro photography for the first time.

The second video features a more advanced macro photography setup. It includes the use of a dedicated macro lens, macro flash, tripod and off camera flash. The better quality gear and increased skill levels will allow you to capture beautiful images in uncountable scenarios. Everything from a dragon fly hovering above a leaf, to a cool close up of a Star Wars lego character.

The third video covers the complex world of focus stacking. This area of macro photography overcomes the very shallow depth of field often associated with high magnifications. It allows us to capture amazing images with sharpness from front to back. The video includes shooting the images and the post-processing in Adobe Photoshop.

If you enjoy the guide please Subscribe to the YouTube channel to enjoy all the First Man Photography content as soon as it comes out. Please support me by using the links below if you decide to purchase any of the gear featured.

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Buy the Canon EF 100mm f2.8L Macro IS USM Lens

Buy the Neewer Pro4 Way Macro Focusing Focus Rail Slider

Buy the Canon EF 50 mm 1.8 STM Lens

Buy the Yongnuo YN-14EX Macro Ring Flash

Buy the Manfrotto 055 3 Leg Section Tripod - Aluminium

Buy the Manfrotto 496RC2 Ball Head with Friction Control

Macro Focus Stacking Tutorial


Get super sharp macro images using the focus stacking technique.

This is the third video in the series covering Macro Photography. Focus stacking is about as complex and difficult as macro photography can get but the results of this dedication can be truly stunning. The first video covers shooting macro photography with budget gear and the second with more advanced gear. This video will assume you are familiar with the techniques described in the previous episodes.

Focus stacking can be used in various areas of photography but is most naturally suited to macro photography. Essentially focus stacking is when we combine a number of images into a 'stack' to ensure sharp focus across the image where it would not normally be possible. In macro photography when we get in close to our subject the depth of field will be extremely small even when using small apertures such as f/16 or f/22. This means that many of our images will have large parts of it that are out of focus. This can be a desirable effect in many situations but for many shots a bigger depth of field is required such as taking portraits of insects. The only way to achieve this is through focus stacking.

Shooting the Image

Focus stacking is shot by taking a series of images with the same composition and gradually changing area of sharp focus. Depending on your aperture setting and the image you are shooting this could be anywhere from a few shots, up to 30+ frames. These images are then stacked in post-processing and the computer extracts the sharp area from each image and combines them to create one image with sharpness across the frame.

It is vital to keep the composition as still as possible between frames so a tripod is virtually essential. There are then a few ways to adjust your area of focus between frames:

  1. Adjust the lens focus ring.
  2. Move the object.
  3. Move the camera.

Only one of these options is truly accurate and effective and will produce good results every time. With many parts of macro photography you will want to get as close as possible to your subject to maximise the magnification. We therefore want to have the lens focused to it's minimum focus distance. If we then achieve focus stacking by adjusting the focus it means we have to initially focus on the furthest part of the subject away from the lens, then, bring the focus further out as we start taking our stacking images. The downsides of this are that accurate micro adjustments of your  focus ring can be extremely difficult. Also, changing the focus causes small adjustments to the focal length even when using a prime lens; this will cause problems when stacking in post.

Secondly moving the subject is unlikely to work unless you have it on something that can make precision movements. Let us discount this method for today. This leaves moving the camera and this is the method featured in this focus stacking video tutorial.

The best and easiest way to do macro focus stacking is to move the camera using a macro slider. The camera sits on top of the macro slider that is mounted on the tripod. The slider then lets us make fine adjustments moving the camera gradually closer to the subject. We start our stack by focusing just in front of the subject, at the minimum focus distance, and then gradually move the camera forward taking the focus across our subject as we shoot each image. Most macro sliders have scales on them to allow fine and accurate adjustments. There are also automated systems available that will move the slider and fire the camera for you. Once the images have been captured it is time to move into post processing.

Post Processing

All the processing is done using Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. To get a 30 day FREE trial Click here.

1. Normal Image Adjustment

Assuming the stacking images have been shot in RAW the first thing to do is make your normal image adjustments to each image eg, exposure, contrast, white balance etc in Lightroom. Copy the settings and paste them to all your stacking images.

2. Export JPEGs

Create a suitable folder and export your images as JPEG’s. This will save you a massive amount of time when Photoshop processes the images than if you tried to use RAW. If you have edited the images in Lightroom prior to exporting then you will have already reaped all the benefits of working with RAW.

3. Merge the images

Open Photoshop then go File > Automate > Photomerge. Hit the ‘Browse’ button and select your stacking images. Leave on Auto and uncheck all the boxes at the bottom including Blend Images Together. Click Ok and let Photoshop run the images. It will the load the Merged images into layers in a new document.

4. Create the Stack

Next move down to the layers panel and select all the new layers Photoshop has created. Go to Edit > Auto-Blend Layer and then ensure ‘Stack Images’ is selected under the ‘Blend Method’. Select ‘Seamless Tone and Colours’ and then hit ‘Ok’. Photoshop will then do it’s thing and spit out something close to your final image.

5. Final Adjustments

It’s now time to make the final adjustments to your image as you see fit. You may need to clone out any imperfections you had not noticed or crop the edges of the image as Photoshop may have created some transparent areas of the image where it has pulled the stack together.

Your image should now be a well stacked image with sharpness from front to back. If there are areas of the image that are blurred then it is likely that the adjustments you made during shooting were too large. You can rescue this by cloning bits out.

Good luck and don’t forget to subscribe to the YouTube channel.

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Landscape Photography Tutorial


The essential elements to capturing beautiful landscape photography images.

In this video we give you an introduction to landscape photography. Landscape photography is arguably the most popular area of photography as we capture the amazing scenes the world has to offer. Most people who have ever touched a camera will at some point have taken a landscape photograph. This does not mean it is easy however with most of these images being nothing more than snapshots. The interest in viewing these images is also massive with landscape photography shots capturing far greater attention on photo sharing mediums such as Instagram and Flickr.

With this in mind, truly great landscape photography is not as common as you might think. A quick flick through Instagram will show this and is proof that landscape photography is an art. Having the natural talent and 'eye' for things will be a large help but there are certain rules that, if followed, will allow you to start capturing some beautiful images.

Gear - Great landscapes can be captured with any type of camera including smartphones. To take things to the next level though you will need a camera with the ability to shoot at wider angles. Having these wider angles allows more of the scene to be captured. Extreme wide angles can also give the sense of how big the scene is when used correctly.

A tripod is also extremely useful for landscape photographs. It becomes essential for long exposure landscapes or even when the light begins to fade and your shutter speed slows down.

The Secret - The absolute key to getting amazing landscape photography images is to travel to somewhere with amazing scenery. A simple fact that is not always easy achieve.

landscape photography tutorial

Rule of Thirds - This is a common photography rule that gives guidance to composition and to what can create pleasing images. In landscape photography the rule of thirds is best applied to where we place our horizon line. Keeping the horizon line along the bottom third of the image or the top third of the image will create a much more pleasing image than a horizon that runs along the middle of the frame.

rule of thirds

The Golden Hour - The hour after sunrise and before sunset is known as the golden hour. When the sun is low in the sky it creates a beautiful golden light that will flood your scene and produce long interesting shadows. Use this to your advantage when composing your shot.

landscape tutorial

Focusing - Most landscape photography will require sharpness from the front to the back of the image. Focusing on the area about 1/3 of the way into your scene will usually provide the optimal focus. Hyperfocal distance dictates the science around this and can be read about here. If you have a key point to your image such a castle, then focus on that point.

landscape photography

Camera mode - Manual. Use landscape photography to introduce yourself to shooting in manual and controlling your exposure in every way.

Aperture - To get everything in focus we generally want to use a small aperture (large f/stop number). To get front to back sharpness, f/11 or f/16 will nearly always provide this. If your shot does not contain any foreground then f/8 can be used to maximise sharpness as many lenses are at their sharpest at f/8.

ISO - 100 or lower.

Shutter Speed - Control your overall exposure with the shutter speed. If the shutter speed starts to get slow then ensure you employ your tripod.

Lighting - Shooting into the sun might, at first, seem like a silly thing to do. However it can result in some really interesting images and includes all sunset shots. Shooting with the sun directly behind you will often result in flat images in terms of contrast. the same applies when the sun is directly above.

Filters — Your landscape photography can be taken to the next level by introducing filters such as neutral density gradients, circular polarises, infrared and big stop neutral density filters that allow you to capture long exposure landscapes.

Long Exposure Photography tutorial -

Infrared Landscape Tutorial -

Use the timer - When using a tripod, using the timer or a shutter release cable will ensure there is no unwanted movement in the camera.

Following these simple rules will give you a solid base on which to start building your landscape photography portfolio. Be warned, it is an addictive pursuit and you will find yourself regularly checking weather forecasts, tidal times, sunset and sunrise times and travel times to certain locations. Good luck and enjoy.

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Macro Photography Tutorial - Using Advanced Gear


Take your macro photography to the next level.

In this video tutorial we take a look at macro photography using a more advanced setup with dedicated macro gear such as a macro lens and dedicated macro flash.

In the first tutorial we looked at capturing macro shots with gear that will not break the bank -

The basic gear is fun to get started with but, as our macro photography skills improve, we want to have more control and consistency in the shots we are capturing. The use of dedicated gear will provide the opportunity to achieve this.


A Macro Lens

This is the most obvious place to start and is the best place to start when building up your collection of macro gear. There are options for varying budgets and needs, so a bit of research will be required. I am using the Canon 100mm f2.8 -

Buy the Canon EF 100mm f2.8L Macro IS USM Lens

Macro lenses will generally provide genuine macro which has 1:1 magnification ratio. This is where the actually size of an object is the same size as the projected image on the camera sensor.

When using a macro lens there is very little practical difference between using a full frame or cropped sensor camera and I do not mention it in the video.

Canon 100mm f/2.8 L Macro Lens review.

Off Camera Flash

Off camera flash provides ultimate control of your light and is the basis of much studio based photography and is the thing that really gives an image that ‘professional look’. In this video we use a wireless transmitter to fire just one flash but you can add more transmitters to fire more flashes. This is the setup I also use in my water drop photography tutorial -

Drop Collisions 2-6

Macro Flash

A dedicated macro flash makes shooting macro photography very easy and will allow you to shoot handheld photos quickly and easily in almost all situations. Having the flash attached to the front of the lens ensures the subject is properly lit and no light is physically blocked by the lens as is the problem with normal on-board flash.

When using a macro flash it is best to use manual mode use the following setting:

  • ISO - 100 or 200
  • Shutter speed  - 1/200 sec (or faster if your flash sync speed allows)
  • Flash on ETTL (auto) mode.
  • Aperture I adjust depending on the depth of field I want to use.

Once these settings are locked in you are free to start exploring a miniature world. Many things will look good that are not immediately obvious to the naked eye.

macro photography

I will be giving the flash featured in the video away in the near future. To be in with a chance of winning subscribe to the YouTube channel and leave a message in the comments below as to what you are planning to shoot in the world of macro photography.

If you are reading this after the competition you can buy this very reasonably priced flash here -

Yongnuo YN-14EX Macro Ring Flash for Canon Cameras


A tripod is such a useful piece of kit in so many photography situations and macro photography is no different. This is especially the case when shooting in very close. Any movement in your lens can cause a large shift in composition or your area of focus. A tripod allow you to control this and is especially vital once we move into the world of focus stacking in the next video.

macro photography tutorial

Good luck and let your imagination run wild.

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Macro Photography Tutorial - Using Budget Gear


An introduction to macro photography using affordable gear.

In this video tutorial we give you an introduction to macro photography and show you how you can start capturing beautiful macro images without breaking the bank.

Macro photography has a reputation for being expensive as it introduces the need for specialised gear and expensive lenses. Whilst a dedicated macro lens can be extremely useful it is not the only way we can get in close and magnify the micro.

A number of options exist for capturing macro photography with the gear you already own and most cameras built in the last few years will have some kind of macro mode. Many compact cameras, phones and DSLR kit lenses have the ability to focus very close to your subject. This is essentially what achieving macro photography shots is about.

There is much theory out there about what true macro photography is, where you achieve at least 1:1 magnification (where the actual size of the subject is the same as the projected image on the sensor). Often this only serves to discourage people from getting into this exciting world. Very simply we want to magnify small things and make them look larger than life in our final image.

All camera lenses have a minimum focus distance. If you get too close to the subject the lens will no longer focus. This is exactly the same as to how your eyes work. If you hold your finger very close to your face your eyes will not be able to focus on it. Macro lenses are specially designed to focus in very close but there are different, cheaper, types of gear that we can also use to reduce this minimum focus distance.

Let’s discuss a couple of options.

A macro photography reversing ring is a very cheap piece of kit and attaches to the filter threads of your lens. Once the lens is detached it can be reattached the opposite way. It then allows you to focus much closer and magnify your subject. However the electrical connection to the lens is broken so you will not be able to adjust the aperture and any image stabilisation the lens has will not work along with auto-focus. Likewise, if your lens is focus by wire, manual focus will also not work. You then have to focus by manually moving further away or move in closer. With some lenses the aperture can be locked before detaching the lens. Do this by setting the aperture as required and then hold down the depth of field preview button whilst detaching the lens. This should not cause any damage to your lens or camera but is not recommended by camera manufacturers. Wide zoom angles of the lens will mean more magnification and zoomed in will show smaller in the frame. This is opposite to when mounted normally.

macro photography

Macro extension tubes are an attachment that adds space between your lens and camera. They have no optics so do not alter image quality but allow closer focusing since the lens is moved away from the focal plane. This allows you to turn many lenses into a macro lens. It works especially well with prime lenses like a 50mm or 85mm. Many macro extenders have electronic contacts so will still have aperture and stabilisation options and auto-focus. Macro extender tubes can also be coupled with a dedicated macro lens to get even closer. This is an excellent option to test the waters of macro photography but is slightly more expensive than the reverse ring. Macro extenders are very simple pieces of kit so please do not waste your money buying the Canon or Nikon versions when £20 versions from Neewer do the job just as well. See link below.

Macro Extension Tube Set for Canon Mount

macro photography tutorial

Armed with this gear it is then a case of shooting and seeing what interesting images can be found.  Apply all the usual rules of composition and you will soon be capturing some great images. For ideas of what to shoot with macro photography please subscribe to my channel where there will be two more videos in this series. The second will be shooting images using a more advanced set up, including a macro lens and a macro flash, and the third will show how to do focus stacking.

In the meantime check out my video on how to do water drop photography that is an exciting use of macro photography. Water Drop Photography Tutorial

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How to Change Your Camera Lens


Change Your Camera Lens Without Fear

In this video we show you how to change your camera lens quickly and safely.

Photography is becoming evermore popular and, in addition to DSLR's, many of the latest crop of camera systems have interchangeable lenses. This means that when it comes time to change your camera lens the sensor of the camera becomes exposed.

Much of the advice out there instructs that you must only ever change your camera lens indoors away from any tiny spec that could turn your camera into an expensive paper weight. This over reaction is a symptom of advice handed around by over protective photographers that seem to prefer their gear over anything else. The phrase 'all the gear and no idea' springs to mind. My thoughts, and the working methods I employ, are very different.

Essentially a camera is nothing more than a tool to capture photographs and hopefully some beautiful images along the way. It should therefore be used as such. If a situation arises where you need to change a lens, even when you are outside in the field, then you should change it. Many do not have the luxury of owning two camera bodies so changing lenses regularly will become normal once you upgrade the kit lens that came with your camera.

Changing your camera lens should be done without fear. Following a few simple methods you will minimise the risks to your lens and camera, building up confidence to change your camera lens in most shooting situations. This will ensure you do not miss a shot because you are too afraid to change your camera lens.

Once you become accustomed to changing your lens when required, used to the fact that your camera is just a tool you will be able to focus on honing your craft and capturing beautiful images.

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Photoshop Layers Tutorial


Photoshop layers provide the keys to the photo editing kingdom.

In this video we give you an introduction to layers in photoshop and how they work.

If you have ever tried, or looked into, using Adobe Photoshop before you have probably heard of photoshop layers. Being central to how Photoshop is used it is vitally important to understand what layers are and how they work.

The first thing to understand is that layers are transparent. However when you open an image into Photoshop it will be placed onto the background layer. Likewise if you create a new document the background will be filled with white by default.

layers in photoshop

When you click to create a new layer it will be transparent and sit on top (or in front of) the background layer until you add elements to it, such as text, shapes or other images. A photoshop document can contain numerous layers with the layer at the top of the list being visible before any others beneath it and so on. This means any element in a layer will obscure anything in the layers below (unless the opacity is reduced). In many circumstances this will be a desired effect as you aim to cover or replace the main image below, for example when adding a logo or some text to an image.

Things get more complicated once we start adding adjustment layers and masks but photoshop layers provide a high level of control whilst being non-destructive. Edits and changes occur on layers above our main image leaving the main image unaffected. This means changes are reversible if we make a mistake with an edit or your vision changes at a later date.

Photoshop layers can be dragged within the layer panel to adjust the order. They can also be made invisible by clicking the eye icon. This is very useful to assess the effectiveness of a particular edit or temporarily hide the effects of the layer from your image.

Depending on the file type you choose to save your images with, e.g. .psd, layer information will also be saved so edits and layers can be revisited at a later date.

It is important to understand photoshop layers and how they work and much of what photoshop can do is built around the principle of layers. Once understood using Photoshop will feel much more natural and a lot less intimidating.

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How to Use the Patch Tool in Photoshop


Remove objects from your images with the patch tool.

In this video tutorial we show you how to use the patch tool in Adobe Photoshop. This is the third tutorial covering the tools used to remove items, objects and blemishes from your images in Photoshop. The other two tool are the clone stamp tool and the spot healing brush/spot removal tool. The links below show the tutorials for those two tool.

Clone Stamp -

Spot Healing -

The patch tool works by drawing a selection around the area you want to remove and then dragging the selection area to a point on the image you want to copy. The tool is intelligent and samples the copied area’s texture and patches it over the original selection maintaining the tones from the original area. The allows you to remove more complex shapes from your image that would otherwise be difficult using the clone stamp tool or the spot healing brush.

The patch tool can also be used in reverse to copy an object or item and repeat it several times like the stones in the tutorial image. This can be useful when extra detail is required in your images.

The image in the video is of Fewstone Reservoir in the Yorkshire Dales. I captured this panoramic image by stitching together around eight images each of which had a 20 second exposure. The images are then easily combined in Photoshop and I will show you how to do this in an upcoming tutorial.

patch tool photoshop

If you have not done so already sign up for the First Man Photography email list and I will give you a copy of my eBook - Understanding Exposure - for free today.

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The Exposure Triangle


Understanding the Exposure Triangle.

In this video tutorial we introduce the concept of the exposure triangle that contains the three elements of exposure: ISO, aperture and shutter speed.

Understanding Exposure is one of the most important technical skills you will learn during your journey as a photographer and is vital to producing beautiful images on a regular and consistent basis.

It is so important in fact that here at First Man Photography the belief is everyone should have access to this information in order to get the best out of your gear and reach the next stage of your photography journey without any barriers. Having written the photography guide, Understanding Exposure, it seemed the only fair thing to do was to give the eBook away for free.

In the book we explain and lay out the Exposure Triangle and break down the three elements that form it; ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed. See how each of them work and how we can use Aperture to create beautiful blurred backgrounds or 'bokeh' and how shutter speed is used to freeze action or, conversely, create movement in your image.

The book lays out in simple terms how to control the exposure settings on your camera and the various modes that can be used like Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority. It explains how to make minor adjustments using Exposure Compensation and introduces the concept of shooting in manual mode.  Once mastered the camera simply becomes an extension of your body where you no longer think about the technical aspects of shooting, leaving you to focus your creativity to capture beautiful images every time.

The book has been created in two different versions. Firstly a beautiful, rich and interactive iBooks version for you iPad, iPhone or Mac and secondly a PDF document giving you the flexibility to read the book on virtually any device.

To get your copy of the eBook and start mastering exposure now, simply fill in your details and download your preferred copy.

A Guide to Capturing Perfect Exposure

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How to Remove Vignetting in Lightroom


Quickly Remove Vignetting in Adobe Lightroom

In this short video tutorial we show you how to quickly and easily remove vignetting in Lightroom using a simple automated tool.

Very simply Lens Vignette is when the light falls off to the edge of the frame within your image. It results in a dark border around your image. Sometimes this is desirable in your image as it can draw the viewers attention to the main subject in the centre of the frame. On other occasions you will want to remove vignetting to have even exposure across the frame.

Lens vignette occurs with most modern lenses but is more obvious in some lenses than others. Large aperture prime lenses will generally create more vignette when shot wide open. This happens because they suck in so much light the internal barrel of the lens will block some of the light coming in from a wider angle compared to the light hitting the lens head on. This results in the darkened corner of the images and on many occasion you will want to remove vignetting in Lightroom to counteract this effect. Once stopped down, the smaller aperture directs the light away from the inside of the lens barrel so the effect is much reduced.

To remove vignetting in Lightroom all you need to do is head into the Develop module and under the Lens Corrections panel select the Enable Profile Corrections box. Once this box is checked it will remove the vignette based on a profile based on the camera or lens you used. These profiles are built into Lightroom.

On other occasions your photography can sometimes benefit from adding vignette to an image. This is also extremely easy to do and can be very effective in focusing a viewers attention. The addition of a vignette will be featured in an upcoming tutorial.

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How to Edit Water Drop Photos


Take your water drop photographs to the next level.

Welcome to the world of water drop photography. In this video we show you how to edit water drop photos in Adobe Lightroom to improve your images quickly and easily.

Capturing these water drop images in camera is the first stage. View the tutorial here:

If you are interested in taking water drop photos or have already caught the bug there is a nice little community going on Instagram at #waterdrop. Follow me now at Instagram -

Water drops are clearly an area of photography that people are loving and there are some great images going up. However there are a few key elements that could improve the images I am seeing. Nice straight lines on your water bath is a must but most other things can be corrected or improved in post production, the issues are:

  • Exposure - Get you exposure up so it’s nice and bright.
  • Contrast - Add more. Boom!
  • Saturation - These images are all about colour!!!!
  • Clarity - This is the key to your image popping off the screen/print

Hopefully this will help you take your images to the next level and I look forward to seeing what you create. Please tag me in your shot on Instagram for me to view them.

Good luck and happy shooting.